^^ My 12 week transformation (the rest of the photos were taken throughout the 12 weeks)
^^ The four of us trained together for months for the Pink Series Half Marathon. Between all of us we have 10 kids! I'm so grateful for these amazing mamas I'm lucky to call my friends!
^^ Last Saturday when I ran 10 miles with my dad and husband. The views were gorgeous!
I've had this post ready to share for a few weeks but for some reason I kept putting it off. I've been really nervous to share it for some reason. I put in so much hard work to get to where I am now and I still want to keep improving! I have never shared a full bikini image of myself. I either wear a one piece or high waisted suit and would only really ever share shots of me facing the front because when I turned to the side I was so embarrassed of the way my stomach looked. I think all of us - no matter our shape or build - have areas we are proud of as well as areas we are self-conscious, embarrassed of and want to improve.
I tried to start working out six weeks after I had Jackson but I just couldn't do it. I was tired from the newborn stage, I was still nursing and I just couldn't mentally get to a place where I felt motivated. I bought the BBG program right after I had Isla and started it but never finished because shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Jackson. It was a goal of mine to complete the program (eventually!!) but I just didn't even know where to start after I had Jackson.
Several months later (in May) I hosted an activity for the women of my church at my home. After the activity, two young moms in my neighborhood stayed to help clean up and we got to chatting. We were talking about how amazing and hard it is to be a mama! We then started talking about our post-mom bods and two of us were asking our fit friend how in the world we were ever going to get back into shape and how she did it. I had no idea she had meal plans or a fitness Instagram account since I only ever saw her in the hallways of church when we were both chasing our wild toddlers around.
She told me she used BBG to get back into shape, showed me her before and afters and then talked to me about how passionate she was about promoting confidence in women and their ability to change their life, body and eating habits if they really put their minds to it!
She completely inspired me (and the other ladies who were there that night who participated in the conversation) so we decided we were going to start a "mom fitness group" for our girlfriends using the incredible program, BBG (Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines). The conversation was on a Thursday night and by the time Sunday night rolled around I had completely forgotten about it and didn't think we would ever really do the fitness group. Well, late Sunday night my friend Carli texted me and said, "Ok, see you bright and early tomorrow for the first day of BBG!" We decided to do it in my backyard so I had no choice but to wake up and go outside and workout. Surprisingly it was so much fun! I got to connect with old friends and meet new women from my church and neigborhood and have a fun time socializing with all of them before and after!
The next morning rolled around and I was excited to workout with them again. Now it's five months later and we still do it together!!
One important thing I want to note - my fitness journey was one that I eased into. I did not go from 0 to 100 right off the bat. I started slow and worked out three days a week doing using the BBG App. At week 4 I slowly started adding in cardio classes. At week 5 or 6 I bought Fitness Carli's meal plan and added that into the routine I had already established. That way I wasn't trying to do a thousand new things at once. I knew I'd get too overwhelmed if I tried to bite off more than I could chew. At about week 9 on top of the BBG resistance training and eating I started training for a half marathon. I now workout six days a week and look forward to doing it every single morning!
Below I've answered all your questions you sent in. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!
...How are you able to squeeze time in-between your two kids and life in general? I sometimes get mommy guilt. How do you do it?! I totally get mom guilt, too!!! Mom guilt is a real thing and I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone. I wake up at 6:00am and get BBG or my runs in before my babies wake up. I used to not be able to wake up before 9:00am but after a few weeks of making myself get out of bed at 6:00am it became easier and easier and my body has gotten use to it. I actually love waking up that early now!! Have you changed your eating habits too? Or just working out? Yes I have! I eased into my fitness journey though. When I first started BBG I ate whatever I wanted, but at about week 5 I started seeing some results and it motivated me to do better! That's when I started doing Fitness Carli's meal plan. And to be honest, that's when I saw my best results. I was tracking my calories and protein. As hard as this is to hear it's true when they say it's 80% eating. If you're not eating right you won't see the results you're looking for. Your resistance training and eating go hand-in-hand. Do you also follow the BBG nutrition plan? No. Since Kayla, the creator, is from Australia a lot of the foods were pretty foreign to me. I follow Fitness Carli's meal plan and love how simple, delicious and realistic it is. How long did you wait to work out after your c-sections? Does that area ever give you trouble no matter what type of fitness you do? I didn't start working out until I stopped nursing Jackson. So probably 6 or 7 months postpartum. How long do you work out every day? BBG is super quick but super hard (in a good way!!!!). It's two different circuits that are 14 minutes each. So about 30-45 minutes total including the time I take to stretch after. When I run during the week I go about 2-4 miles so anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes. On Saturdays I typically do a longer run when I'm training for a half marathon and those usually take 1-2 hours. Do you think I could do it at home using the app? Yes!! I do it from home a lot of the time! You can do everything on your living room floor if you want to! What's your favorite workout attire and workout brand to wear? I love lululemon and Kiava! Did you lose pounds or inches? Both!!! I still had some baby weight to shed. I probably lost more inches though! Give us more details on your meal plan. It's realistic, easy and really good. It's the only meal plan I've been able to follow for a long period of time. It was a lifestyle change with balance. How do you stay motivated on days you just didn’t want to work out or eat properly? Honestly, the more I workout the more I love it!!!! I look forward to it every morning! I'm a numbers person; give me a number and I have to get to it. I love the mental challenge each workout gives me every morning to complete each rep. It's like a game to me!! Pre-workout info? I eat a Treetop Apple Sauce pouch before BBG and I always eat a slice of peanut butter toast before a run. I stretch and make sure my muscles are warm before I start. How have you managed to maintain such a great physic after having 2 kids? I naturally have a slender frame but my bad eating habits were starting to catch up with me and like I said, I've never felt confident in a bikini my entire life. There's a difference between being skinny and soft and skinny and toned or strong. After I had Jackson I quickly realized I was going to have to work hard to get back to where I was. So I eased into it. I slowly started working out a few times a week, then eating really healthy (with cheat meals on the weekends, of course!!) and now I workout 6 days a week and I love it!!!! I feel better than I did when I was 17! Do you do it at home or at a gym? Is it something you can stick with longterm? I've done both depending on the day! Yes you can totally stick to it longterm. What are your best breakfast ideas or snack ideas? I always drink a protein shake with spinach added in so I get my greens and proteins all at once!! What equipment does the program require? Hand weights and a mat. Sometimes there will be a bench or a medicine ball, but the app gives an option if you don't have those. What was your fitness level prior to starting BBG? I was a dancer my entire life so I've always considered myself somewhat athletic, but I hadn't worked out in over a year when I started. Tell us all your secrets and how it changed your life!!! My biggest secret is to ease into it. Take a before photo (trust me - this is key to keep you motivated). Find a girlfriend to be your workout partner, get into a routine you feel comfortable with and enjoy, then start on the eating. Don't try to do it all at once. Think of it as a lifestyle change, but be patient and consistent. Balance in all things! Enjoy yourself on the weekends or you'll go crazy!!!!! Along with BBG workouts will you add what you do for LISS and when you started adding in HITT? I added HITT in at about week 5. I like to do High Fitness or sprints on the treadmill. What are your go-to snacks when you get the munchies? Boom Chicka Pop, Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt, a protein bar, an apple and a cheese stick. How do you incorporate your meals with your kids and husband? Do you eat separately from them? No! Carli's meal plan is amazing! My family eats the dinners too! I do make something different for my babies for breakfast and lunch. How often do you do cardio? About 4 times a week but that's because I'm training for a half marathon. If I wasn't training for that I would be doing 2-3 times a week. Did you do all of this while pumping or nursing? No, I waited until I was done nursing. Did having a c-section present any issues when it came time to getting back into fitness? Yes, I had to modify all the ab workouts to be a low-intensity ab workout since my abs separated. It's called Diastasis Recti. Have you ever missed a day or taken a break? If so, what do you do to makeup for it? I haven't missed a day of BBG since May (BBG is only three days a week). When I'm on vacation I still do it! I have missed run or cardio days though. Are you using her app or just the original E-book? App! I love it and I love how easy it is to follow. I personally think it's easier to follow than the PDF. What do you eat before you exercise? Treetop Apple Sauce pouch. How do you eat out while on a meal plan? I eat out on the weekends and use it as my cheat meal. There are restaurants that I can eat at that work with the meal plan. The Wild Rice Kale Salad from Cubby's is my favorite!! Do you count calories? Yes I do and I promise it's not as bad as it sounds!! I use the app Lose It! to track everything. I love it! What are your ultimate fitness goals? To be healthy, confident and happy. Do you use a apple watch or any other tracker? Yes, I wear my Apple Watch for High Fitness (a cardio class and to run). But I don't wear it while I do BBG. Do you do the normal LISS that Kayla recommends or something else on the non-resistance days? No, I don't. I do HITT most non-BBG days. How early did you see results? How long did it take your body to start transforming? I saw subtle results each week. At about week 7 I really started to see and feel it, especially when I compared my progress photos. Are you able to customize workouts to fir your specific problem areas? You certainly can, but I didn't. I just followed her program as is. Would you recommend getting any weights or items to use at home, or do them all at the gym? If you're doing BBG at home I'd for sure get a mat and weights. If you're doing it at a gym they'll have all of the equipment there for you. Can you do BBG without the meal plan? Totally! I'm going to be honest though, if you want to see maximum results do a meal plan with BBG (like I said, I used Fitness Carli's plan). What does a typical day look like for you? Workout, chat with my mama friends after I workout, wake up my babies, have breakfast, check emails, go to meetings, do some photoshoots, wrangle my babies, eat lunch, take naps, play, have dinner. It's different and crazy everyday! Any supplements you use? Protein powder and pre-workout. I love C4 when I run and I've also used WM Nutrition pre-workout. How long does it take you to make meals from the meal plan? Not long at all! Not any longer than it would any other meal. I eat out way less since doing the meal plan which I'm very proud of!!!! What do you do with your kids while you workout? I wake up and do it before they're up. Did you start HITT at the beginning? NO!! Not until about week 5. Ease into it!!! How sore were you when you first started BBG and how did you manage the pain? So sore!!!! But a good sore! I just took some Advil. ;) Do you ever complete HITT workouts along with a resistance workout? Or a regular cardio workout followed by resistance? If not, how do you typically complete workouts? I'll run a few miles on the treadmill on BBG days but only because I'm training for a half marathon. Do you have cheat meals or days? YES! I save those for vacations and weekends!!! I reward myself for being really good during the week. Did you have any injuries? No. I always make sure to stretch before and after each workout which is so important when trying to prevent injuries. I also warm up before I start, just a speed walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes to get my muscles warm. Do you have to have a trainer lead you through? My friend Carli leads it. You don't need a trainer, you can totally do it on your own. How do you do the circuits? How many times each one? Or do you do one skip to the next and repeat? I chose to do the 14 minute circuits. Kayla has a 7 minute option repeated twice so each circuit equals 14 minutes, but mentally I think the 14 minute is easier. What activities did you choose for LISS and HITT? Running and High Fitness. Did you feel like you were dying in the beginning? I found the first week so hard and wondered if I should continue? Yes, it was so hard but your body will adjust to it and you'll get stronger, so it will get easier. Is the meal plan calorie based or did you work with macros at all? Calorie. Macros are way too complicated for me to track! Do you workout at the same time everyday ? Yes! Bright and early in the morning! Did you do BBG or BBG Stronger? I did BBG since it was my first time. Did you deal with Post Partum depression? Yes I did. Luckily I came out of it when I stopped nursing. What is the hardest part about starting BBG? Waking up the first morning to do it. After that each morning got easier and continues to get easier. Get your friends to do it with you!!! Did you notice both sliming down and getting stronger? Yes, both!! It was really fun to see the muscle appear and how much easier it was to lift my kids in and out of their car seats or high chairs. With your group of friends, did you all buy the app or just the one girl instructed? All my girlfriends I did BBG with (at some point) bought the PDF or the App and just never finished. We all decided to do it together and we all finished! Some of us have started our second round! How long did it take for your stomach to go down? It's still going down! haha but it's gone down SO much I honestly can't even believe it! I'm a whole jean size smaller now. My stomach shrunk each week I did BBG. Each week you'll see subtle changes but when you compare your progress photos you'll be amazed at the progress you maybe didn't even notice yourself when looking at yourself in the mirror. What headphones do you use? Beats Wireless Headphones. I love these because they wrap around my ear so they don't fall out while I'm running or doing resistance training (squats, jumping jacks, etc.). They also have bluetooth to my watch or phone so I don't need to deal with annoying cords. Where do you put your phone when you workout? I either hold it or put it in my bra (this bra has the perfect pocket for your phone!!), or I'll put it in a pocket if my running leggings have them. Sometimes I'll just take my Apple Watch so I don't have to hold my phone when I run. What's your training program for a half marathon? I use the Hal Higdon training programs. Follow the mileage exactly so you don't hurt yourself. I did the novice 1 program for my first half. This was my schedule with BBG added in: Sunday: REST Mon: BBG/light RUN Tue: RUN WED: BBG/light RUN Thurs: REST or Cardio Class Fri: BBG Sat: RUN Do you feel like BBG workouts have helped with your running strength and pace? YES!!! I did two half marathons years ago before I had both my babies and I barely made it through both races because my knees were hurting so bad. I came to the conclusion that running just wasn't for my body. I started BBG in May and gave myself a month to build up some muscle. I started slowly adding in some short runs each week and I was able to build up a faster pace than I ever thought I could do ( and without any knee pain!!!!). Resistance training is key to running a faster pace and not getting hurt. What kind of shoes do you run/train with? I run in my Saucony Freedoms. Do NOT run in Nikes! You need to have a good running shoe to prevent injury. I do like to train in Nikes though (these are my favorite and also these). Why did you decide to repeat the BBG program? Honestly, I learned to love it and really fell in love with how it made me feel. It sparked something in me that I didn't want to end, so I'm currently on week 9 of my second round!