Tone It Up Tuesday!

Good Morning!

I am back in full force! My board exam is over and I can get back to real life! And with real life comes my diet and fitness plan. I have mentioned once or twice already that I go through many fitness phases and enjoy doing different things, and currently consider myself a “Tone It Up Girl” (aka TIU). In the TIU world, Tuesday is “Tone It Up Tuesday”, so I figured today was the perfect day to share my experience with TIU and introduce you to K&K if you have never come across them before.

Tone It Up was started by Karena and Katrina, two fitness lovers in California. They have extensive fitness and training backgrounds, and one day decided to start posting fitness videos on Youtube. The videos became successful and now TIU is a full-fledged lifestyle program. Yes – lifestyle. That is what draws me to TIU so much. It is not a diet program. Karena and Katrina don’t tell you that you need to lose weight, and their program doesn’t promise it. Their number 1 goal is to make you feel confident and radiant, and they give you the tools to do it. The other great things about TIU is that it can be totally free of cost or you can make purchases to support the business and enhance your experience.

I could babble about this all day, so I will break my experience down into small sections to keep it concise. But, for the best and most information, go straight to the source!

Disclaimer: I am writing this post of my own accord. I am not being paid and all opinions are my own.

How did I discover TIU and when did I start?

I heard about TIU through a few classmates of mine in early 2014. I started off by doing the workouts on their website because their annual “Bikini Series” challenge was going on. I LOVED the workouts and I felt so good doing them. Once the series was over, I stopped doing the workouts so much because I got busy with school and working out fell to the side. In February 2015 I decided that I wanted to go full force and purchased the nutrition plan and 2 of their DVDs. I have been hooked ever since and have not had a break!

How much does TIU cost?

One of the best things about TIU is that it can be totally FREE if you want it to be! K&K post a weekly workout schedule every Sunday. If you follow pinterest and instagram close enough, you can get an idea of the kinds of foods that are in the nutrition plan and basically create your own eating style. If you do choose to purchase the nutrition plan, it is $150 ONE time. That’s right. No monthly fee, no annual fee. LIFETIME membership. There are different versions of the plan (regular, vegan, gluten free), but the plan basically consists of eating guidelines and recipes. Every so often (it seems like once or twice a year), they put out small updates of the plan that have some new recipes (like I said, no extra fee). The workout DVDs cost somewhere between $35-$45, I forget exactly, but to me they were well worth the money because I use them ALL THE TIME.

Ultimately, I would recommend you try out the free stuff and see how much you love it before making any purchases. It’s only worth the money if you know you will use it and love it!

What are the workouts like?

The biggest reason I have stuck to TIU is because the workouts VARY…and the girls make them fun. They have cardio routines (treadmill, elliptical, bike, yoga, HIIT) and toning routines to hit every muscle in your body. K&K create a weekly schedule so that you don’t over-train a certain part of your body, they make sure you rest your legs every now and then and focus on your arms, etc. This takes the guess work out of the routine. I just wake up and go (or click play)! In general, each day will consist of cardio (recommended in the morning) and toning (recommended in the afternoon). Workout times range from 5 to 60 minutes, depending on what you’re doing!

What is the Nutrition Plan like?

My one hassle with the nutrition plan is it is LONG! Which is a good thing because there are plenty of guidelines and variety. It does not lay out each meal, day by day (except for the Bikini Program part of it). They are guidelines of what to eat and when, and then recipes to help get you there. The recipes are marked for which meal they are appropriate for. It is all fresh, lean food. Mostly chicken and seafood, lots of fruit, veggies, and nuts. I love the plan because it is basic nutrition. It doesn’t count calories (although I still try to – and with the daily 5 meals I usually end up between 1500-1900 calories), and it focuses on fueling your body appropriately. The other thing I like is that it doesn’t deprive you. You consistently eat throughout the day, and they demand you have treats! Wine, chocolate, etc – all in moderation of course.

Do I have to follow every little thing they say to be successful?

Not at all! Although the plan spells out everything you SHOULD be doing – the first thing it says is that you have to do what’s best for YOU. If you don’t want to do the scheduled workout that day – do something else. If you have another healthy meal you want – go for it. The whole plan is just guidelines, and it encourages you to try new things and share them with the community.

Have I lost weight?

Let me put it this way – when I stick to the plan, I lose weight. When I go out and celebrate (aka almost weekly or more this summer), eat too much ice cream, or spend all afternoon snacking…I don’t lose weight. I’m getting ready to go wedding gown shopping next month so I’m at the point where I’m trying to string enough “good” days together to lose some considerable weight (like more than the 3 lbs I keep losing and putting back on). And although I haven’t exercised enough self control with food to actually lose weight, I am so much more toned. My thighs and booty have smoothed and lifted, and my arm and ab muscles are way more defined. It will be crazy to see how they look if (WHEN!) I really start sticking to the plan.

It sounds like a diet and exercise program, where does the lifestyle come in?

Like I said earlier, Karena and Katrina don’t focus on losing weight at all. They feature members who have lost weight, yes, but they also feature members who have added muscle and perhaps even gained weight because of it. They also like to focus on being happy and radiant and really LIVING your life. They constantly talk about making the most of each day and doing your best and doing what you love. They talk about challenging yourself and trying new things and living in the moment. Once you adopt that, you’re living the TIU Lifestyle. Every week in the workout schedule you will find little challenges the incorporate the TIU Lifestyle – recipes for a dessert, have a glass of wine, plan a girls night, plan a weekend getaway, take a bubble bath, wear a new color lipstick – you get the gist.

What is my favorite thing about TIU?

My favorite thing about TIU is the COMMUNITY. Karena and Katrina are very active on social media and encourage all of the members to be as well. There are forums on the website, but the instagram community is massive. So many women posting about their day and so many more liking, commenting, and supporting each other. I have met some great ladies through TIU, and have connected with many more who aren’t in my area.

There you have it! You can check out the whole TIU community at the website, on youtube, or check out #toneitup on instagram! You can follow my TIU journey on instagram @ldoltiu if you would like!

For a look at a workout, here is what I’ll be doing at the gym this morning. It may look easy because walking is involved, but the incline is KILLER!

Fleshing It Out: Squats

Now let’s talk about Squats. Well, fitness.

My history with fitness is long and complicated. It has become more stable over the past 3 years, but I’m still figuring it out.

If you’ve been reading along, I was overweight (okay, obese, I’m just overweight now) my entire life. But I played sports, and for the most part played them very well. I was on several upper level teams, and played varsity basketball and softball almost exclusively in high school. The problem? I was never “in shape”. I couldn’t keep up with the other girls in terms of endurance. So while my abilities put me at the level I was, my physical fitness hindered me. I quit playing soccer because I was a goalie and saw no reason for me to have to do all of the running drills. Soccer practice was something I dreaded and it just wasn’t fun. So that was it. Something that stuck with me from soccer in high school was the coach made us run for 20 minutes every day during pre-season. I remember that 20 minutes seeming like 200, and I never could actually run the whole time. I always ended up walking.

Fast forward to college. I went to a Division 1 school, and while I was good at sports, I wasn’t that good. Besides, I didn’t even WANT to play sports in college. Number 1, I was going for pre-med at the time and wanted to focus on studies. Number 2, I DID NOT WANT TO RUN ANYMORE. Straight up. I was terrified of all of the running I would have to do if I played a sport in college. So I didn’t. And outside of sports, I didn’t know what working out was. I was always told what to do by coaches and trainers. I was clueless on how to do it by myself. So with the exception of a few visits to the gym with friends, I did pretty much nothing unless I was walking around campus. Enter the freshman 15 (and for me, the freshman 40-50) and my weight just got even more out of control.

Then, as I believe I’ve mentioned, I woke up one morning in January 2011 and decided I wanted to give one of my Christmas gifts a try. Mom had given me a Wii, a Wii balance board, and a game – “The Biggest Loser” (subtle, right?). Well, on that fateful morning in January, for whatever reason, I wanted to try to lose weight. I was tired of being fat. I’d been on diets before, sure. I would make efforts at eating healthier and try to work out, but nothing stuck. It had been a life-long battle. I think what was most different about January 2011 was that I literally expected nothing to happen. I didn’t go into it with high hopes. I just thought, “Let’s see what this game is about, and if I’m lucky I’ll lose 10 lbs”.

Guess what? I freakin’ loved that game. I craved it. It was a competitor’s dream. You could literally watch your progress on the screen. 2 months and 20 lbs later (WHAT?! I LOST MORE THAN 10 LBS WITH THE GAME?!) I decided I wanted something different. Spring was approaching and my yearly itch to get outside and do something was strong. The Biggest Loser game was all circuit training in my bedroom. Squats, pushups, lunges, high knees, jogging in place, whatever. I wanted to do something outside the bedroom. So I went to the gym in my apartment complex and got on the treadmill. I ran at a whopping 5.0 mph for 8 minutes before I had to walk. Oddly enough, this didn’t frustrate me. I made treadmill attempts a couple times a week until one day I wanted to run outside. I was so excited I tripped and fell within my first 50 steps. Classy.

The running continued through the spring. I got faster. I went further. I also complemented it with this amazing Boxing class at the gym. I went with my best friend and we put on boxing gloves and pads and punched and kicked each other and it was great. I discovered a path behind my apartment complex that I could run on. Out and back was 3 miles, and I made it my MISSION to run the whole thing. I don’t think I had ever run 3 straight miles until that point. EVER. Even during my sports training days, 2 miles was a big accomplishment. And by the end of April, I had done it. At the end of May I ran my first official 5k in about 35 minutes. Solid. I ran that same 5k in 28 minutes the following year.

I graduated college just above the weight I entered it 4 years prior. I felt alive and fresh and it was unlike anything I had ever done before. I can’t even tell you what other workouts I was doing, but mostly I was running. I had my eye on another prize. In September, when I was pretty sure I could handle it, I signed up for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. Un-freakin-believable.

Long story short, I had a stomach virus 2 days before the half-marathon, so the only energy sources I really had in terms of food were the hot dog I managed to eat the night before along with a bagel and banana before the race. After throwing up constantly for 24 hours I had no hopes for the race, I just wanted to finish. I had fun trotting along and taking pictures with the characters. I finished in about 2:45. Case in point: I FINISHED. And I did jog most of the route. The girl who hadn’t run more than 3 miles in her life before April 2011, who was 260-something pounds in January 2011, finished a half-marathon in February 2012 at 180-something pounds. Those are two totally different girls.

I’ve now finished 4 half-marathons, my most recent one I finished in under 2 hours. I go to spin class. I dabble with yoga from time to time (I hate it but want to love it). I still run. I hit the elliptical. I go to a step aerobics class here and there. I miss kickboxing but theres nothing good in my area, and nothing has compared to that class I took in college. I’ve done heavy weight lifting and light weight lifting, and there have been periods of time when I’ve done absolutely nothing (yeah, I went paleo for 2 months and could never muster up the energy to work out).

And right now? I call myself a Tone It Up girl. The challenges and consistently changing workout schedules are perfect for my fitness ADD, plus I LOVE the results I’ve gotten, even when I pig out.

I could talk about Squats for hours. And I will. But I think this gives you a pretty good background.

Do any of you have a FAVORITE fitness activity? Or are you fitness ADD like me?

❤ L

Disney Half DC Half AC Half OC Half

Pictured:

1. Disney Princess Half Marathon
2. Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC
3. Atlantic City Boardwalk Half Marathon
4. Island to Island Half Marathon (Assateague to Ocean City) – Under 2 hours!

New Beginnings

Hello, Blogosphere!

Welcome to my new blog! Yet ANOTHER girl who wants to share her two cents on food, fitness, and fashion. I do not claim to be an expert in any of these areas (although with how much I eat, food could be a close one), but I like to talk, and I just wanted somewhere to organize my thoughts, feelings and experiences with these three categories. I love food (mostly baking, hence the sugar), I work out to counteract that love (hence the fitness), and I find any excuse to shop (fashion).

A vague story about me, which may give you a better idea of where I am coming from: I grew up overweight. I ate junk food like it was my job, especially sweets. A particular childhood friend of mine used to count the number of different ice cream varieties in our freezer every time she came over. It was her thing. I played sports my whole life, stopped when I went to college, became even MORE overweight/morbidly obese, and then decided to get my act together. I lost 80 lbs in a year, and have now successfully kept that weight off for 3 years. I still have SOME weight I ultimately want to lose, but overall I am pleased with where I am at. I still eat plenty of sweets (because I firmly am addicted to sugar), but I enjoy being fit and working out. And the best part, I now (generally) can shop anywhere and find something that works, as long as it can fit around my large and muscular thighs/booty, which is something I will always battle.

Sound interesting? Let’s hope so.

❤ L