I still remember my very first workout in April of 2016 when I started my fitness journey. It was the most awful, dreadful and exhausting feeling I had ever felt before. After 2 minutes walking on the treadmill I was as out of breath as someone who had just run a marathon. I felt like I was going to pass out or be sick as the heat overwhelmed my body and my head started to spin. BUT I also had this incredible sense of pride. The adrenaline my body produced allowed me to get through my workout and the feeling I had when I finished it was unexplainable. My blood pumping, my face pouring with sweat, every shallow breath, my playlist entering it’s cool down mode… every single bit of that moment, both good and bad, contributes to why I have fallen in love with this process.
Last night I ran my very first bootcamp and that same adrenaline rushed through my body, except this time in a completely different way. I stood there, in front of four people I managed to get to come out for a workout, petrified out of my mind. This was it… this was the moment I had been waiting for since I started this blog in January. I was finally going to put these people through a workout routine I created.. ME. The same woman that struggled so much just a year ago. These people were looking up to me and put their trust in me that I knew what I was doing. Leading up to it, my heart started beating faster, I started sweating and various thoughts crossed my mind. “What are you thinking Kierstyn? You can’t do this? You have no idea what you’ve got yourself into.” Hell, I was nervous. For those of you that know me personally, I don’t normally get nervous. This was different. THIS was out of my comfort zone. But then something happened. As the workout started, the fear and doubt started to evaporate and the excitement started to kick in. I watched these individuals perform every exercise in the sequence I created. Every drop of sweat that fell off their face, every time they said they hated the feeling, every time I imagined them cursing my name. I couldn’t help but feel proud. Proud of myself but most importantly of them. What they didn’t realize was that this adrenaline rush that they were feeling was the same feeling that I experienced a year ago and it is going to be enough to change their lives.
I was made to do this. I felt it in every inch of my body. Last night was the first time I thought about how I’ve spent so much time working towards my dream only to realize that I’m already living it.
Adrenaline is a beautiful drug. It helps you step out of your comfort zone. It gives you the push you need to conquer your dreams. A year ago, I got a small dose of the adrenaline that pushed me to reach for my goals and work extra hard. Now, that same adrenaline comes in full force to push ME to help YOU crush your dreams. I wouldn’t change that feeling for the world and I will continue to look forward to that feeling every single day for the rest of my life.
My whole life I told myself that I couldn’t eat healthy because I couldn’t afford it. So in turn, I ate whatever I felt like and the only exercise I got was walking to and from my car. The result? I was sick and tired all the time- the two things you most definitely don’t want to be as a student in school trying to get good marks and keep stress low.
When I first started this journey, I realized I needed to come up with a plan really fast if I was going to eat healthier and try to build strength. I started laying out a meal plan for myself and making sure to budget the amount needed each week. If this was going to be a serious life long commitment, I had to be willing to sacrifice going out drinking with friends to ensure I had a healthy meal to cook every night.
Kierstyn’s Grocery List
- Brussell Sprouts
- Nature’s Path Superseed Oatmeal
- Chicken (package of 9 breasts- if on sale)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Almond Milk
- Sunflower seeds
With this list, I make the exact same meals for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner from Sunday to Thursday. It costs me about $60 a week. You’ll notice that there aren’t any grains or dairy in this list and it’s because a) I’m lactose-intolerant and b) I’m currently on an elimination diet to help determine what’s been causing me so many stomach issues. Regardless, eating healthy isn’t as expensive as everyone makes it out to be and once you start doing it, you find ways to opt for healthier, cheaper options!
- If you live at home with your parents, eat the brands they already buy.
- If you live with roommates, see if you can buy in bulk.
- If you live on your own, make sacrifices for things you currently do to ensure you have enough money each week for healthy food choices. (ie. rather than having date night out with the girls, have a small potluck at home!)
- Buy things on sale. Find discounts.
- Plan ahead. Don’t show up to the grocery store without a plan of what you’re going to buy or else you’ll just buy everything.
- Eat before you go grocery shopping so your cravings don’t take over!
Now I know you must be wondering what on earth I make for meals with such a limited grocery list and I can tell you.. it’s nothing special. BUT it gives me the energy I need throughout the day.
Kierstyn’s Meal Plan:
Breakfast (8am): Oatmeal w/ almond milk, banana and sunflower seeds
Snack #1 (10am): Apple
Lunch (12:30pm): Half chicken breast, vegetable and sweet potato
Snack #2 (3pm): Carrots/cucumbers
Dinner (5pm): Half chicken breast and vegetables
Note: You’ll notice that I don’t currently take any supplements including BCAAs or protein powders. I’ve made a decision not to consume any products that are processed in a lab and only obtain my nutrients from natural sources. This is a personal preference and if you enjoy your supplements, that’s totally cool too!
By ensuring that all of my meals are the same, I maintain the cost. Find what works for you. Make adjustments according to your budget. Shop for things on sale! Be an extreme coupon-er! I generally change up my meals every couple of weeks to have variety but they are always of the same style.
Eating healthy is a huge lifestyle change because it doesn’t just affect your habits, but it affects your bank account as well. You have to make the right choices and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Every person is different and has to eat different things based on their workout program/ dietary restrictions so my plan may not work for you. It took me about 6 months to finally figure out a meal plan that would work with my busy schedule and my student budget. Reach out to me on the contact page and maybe I can help you come up with a meal plan that works for your lifestyle!
As we approach another beautiful summer, we often decide that THIS is the time of year to get active, eat healthy and make big lifestyle changes! Woo! That’s exactly what I did a year ago and it’s been the best decision I could have ever made. BUT before you make this decision, you need to ask yourself a few key questions!
1. Why do you want to change your life?
Have you been in a slump all Winter? Do you love sports but you’ve lost touch with them since you started your job? Do you want to build strength? Do you want to help your family become more active? Do you want to take your chance at some new recipes? Did your doctor advise you to eat healthier or walk more? What was the main reason why you started thinking about making lifestyle changes? These kinds of questions are going to put you in the right mindset for beginning your journey as they set the foundation for why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you find yourself saying things like, “well my friend is doing it and I want to do it too,” or “I want a bangin body by July,” you’re starting this journey off wrong and you need to take more time to think about what you reaaaaaaaaally want.
2. What are you hoping to gain from making lifestyle changes?
If your answer to this is “rock solid abs” or “size zero pants,” cool. But let’s be realistic about it! You’re not going to get these things in a set period of time. You have to build a lifestyle that you’re going to live for the rest of your life and these things will come. Identify some key goals you have and work at them with an open-ended timeline. Having these goals in mind will help motivate you and push you to continue!
3. How do you plan on starting?
Are you going to tackle a workout program? Are you going to meal-prep? Are you going to join a sports team? Walk your dog every day? What is going to be the one thing that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? Find something that makes you excited to get fit- mentally and physically. Try a new activity like yoga or go to a new restaurant! Broaden your horizon and use this as an excuse to do the things you’ve always wished you could do.
4. Who do you have in your life that is going to support you and hold you accountable?
Having a strong support system is key. Those people will help guide you when you fall off track and pick you up when you’re feeling down. Is it your parents? Close friends? Your partner? Whoever it is, make sure they have your best interest at heart. Can’t name one person in particular? Pick me. I’ll support you. I’ll guide you. I’ll most definitely hold you accountable.
5. How badly do you want this?
Falling off track happens. It’s happened to me many of times. But I ALWAYS pick myself back up. Why? Because I want this. I need this. This is my life. If you don’t want it bad enough, you’re not going to be able to make the commitment. Make sure that what you’re doing is what YOU want to be doing. Not what someone else wants you to be doing. And then ask yourself how committed you are to the life you envision yourself in.
What I’ve come to realize over the course of the past year is that this isn’t just a 12-week journey or a 6 month journey. It’s a lifelong journey. I’m building the foundations right now to be able to live the most healthy life I could possibly live out of habit. Eating healthy because it’s just what I do. Exercising because I love the feeling. Going out and doing things by myself or with others that make my spirit happy. I once wanted abs, and I wanted them in a 3 month time frame. That was incredibly unrealistic and a year later, I still don’t have “abs” BUT I feel incredibly healthy. THAT is what is important. Every single day I step out of my comfort zone and try something new or push myself a little harder. This incredible life I’ve built is one that will stay.
So, ask yourself these questions. Make the decision to change your life when you are mentally ready to. Then, everything else will fall into place!
Many of you have probably heard about the song “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles (one of my top 3 favourite bands). It’s been stuck in my head a lot this week and it got me thinking a lot about love. I think that a majority of people are afraid of talking about love and I am not sure why. Once I heard someone say, “Love is the one thing in life that can bring you as much pain as pleasure.” I think that this is very true, however we shouldn’t always look at it that way.
Love comes in many different forms: platonic, unconditional, relationship etc. The Greeks came up with 8 different types of love including Eros (erotic), Philia (affectionate) and Philautia (self). Seeing as love has been talked about for centuries shows that it must be an important part of humanity. I am currently taking an Intro to Ethics course (philosophy based) at my University and the other day in class our professor asked us, “What is the most important thing in life?” A few students pondered this question and some responded with happiness, wealth, education or health. After discussing these answers my professor said, “What about love?” Everyone in the class paused and my professor continued, “Without love, we wouldn’t have access to all the other things mentioned. We need love to be happy, to succeed in life, to learn and to be healthy. Love cures all of these things and opens the door to a numerous amount of opportunities. I think love is the most important thing in life.” After hearing him say that, I couldn’t agree more.
Love allows us to live. It allows us to grow. It lets us see the beauty in the world. We as humans shouldn’t be afraid to love. We should open our hearts and let them swell up with love and emotion and depth. Love opens up new pathways to incredible journeys. It gives us new experiences, both good and bad that we can learn from. We shouldn’t be afraid of love. Instead, we should love everyone around us. Whether it be our parents, children, partners, friends, teachers, strangers or ourselves; love them all equally and unconditionally. Love gives us hope and love gives us life. We shouldn’t fear it; we should embrace it. Love your career, love your relationships, love your life. And most importantly, love yourself. It will bring you endless amounts of possibilities and joy.
Learn to love, love.
- Nothing is guaranteed and everything is temporary. Feelings, thoughts, and people.
- Giving love is important but giving yourself love is most important. You can’t fully love others without fully loving yourself.
- You shouldn’t apologize for who you are and you shouldn’t keep people in your life that expect you to be anything more than you already are.
- People will walk in and out of your life- sometimes expectedly but mostly unexpectedly and that’s just the way the tide flows.
- You can’t let anyone make you feel unworthy or disposable and if they do, they can’t be a part of your life. You deserve better.
- Wearing your heart on your sleeve is NOT something to be ashamed about- it’s something to be admired for.
- You need to take risks. Lots of risks. Don’t wake up at 65 and say, “I should have done this,” or “I wish I did that.”
- Friendship is a two way streak. If you’re the one putting in all of the effort, it’s not a friendship. It’s a, “be there when I need you” ordeal but who’s going to be there for you?
- Life is hard and you will have to make tough decisions BUT you will always know what the right decision is. Listen to your instinct.
- The best investment you can make is in yourself. Invest time, invest money and invest passion. It’s going to be the biggest payoff. I promise.
- You don’t have to pretend like you’re okay all the time because that’s not realistic at all. You’re allowed to feel sad. You’re allowed to do poorly on an exam. You’re allowed to stay in bed all day crying. Forgive yourself for these things. You’re only human.
- Read books. Not just fiction but non fiction too. Books that make you laugh. Ones that inspire you. Ones that help you find your passion. Educate yourself. There is so much knowledge out there that’s just waiting to be found.
- Take every day 30 minutes at a time. What are you going to do in the next 30 minutes that you will be proud of? What in the next 30 minutes is going to make you smile? Motivate you? Encourage you? Inspire others?
- Doing things alone is important for your mental health. Go to the movies alone. Have dinner alone. Draw yourself a bubble bath. Go for a walk. Watch endless youtube videos. Make quality time for yourself.
- Give your all in everything you do. Make yourself proud.
- Don’t be fooled by love. Be patient. Learn about the other person before throwing your feelings out there.
- With every loss, you gain something new. Whether that be a lesson learned, a beautiful memory or a new found strength.
- Believe in some sort of higher power. It doesn’t have to be God, or Buddha, but just have faith that something out there is going to guide you. Trust the world.
- Heartbreak sucks. But what is heartbreak? The aftermath of something beautiful that once was. Be grateful for the fact that you get to love. Be grateful that you get to stand on this Earth, breathing this air and living every moment the best you could possibly live it with experiences that enhance who you already are.
- You can’t make someone love you. Just be a person that can be loved.
There are a few products that I own that I would not be able to go a day without- items that provide me with value and help get me through the week!
You Are a Badass
You are a Badass is a book that, when I read it, makes me feel invincible. It motivates me and encourages me to unleash my inner badass. If I’m ever feeling down, I flip to one of my favourite pages and I’m instantly inspired. Inspired to get out of bed, inspired to make something healthy, inspired to pursue my dreams! (UPDATE: It’s currently 50% if you buy online here!)
Resistance Bands/ At-Home Weights
Being as busy as I am makes it hard for me to get to the gym every single day so I invested in some home weights and Dominika bought me some resistance bands! When I get home from a long day and all I want to do is go lay in my bed, I see my weights and tell myself that it’s a good release. It’s a good chance to focus on myself and reflect on the day I had. I use these weights every single day!
My Fitbit is my favourite accessory! It’s the one thing that constantly reminds me to keep moving. It’s come to the point where if I don’t wear it, my arm feels naked. I’m a pretty competitive person so being able to compete with my friends adds a little excitement to the day! (This is the current version I have however they just recently came out with the Alta HR- add me: squatsoversweets)
Betty Lou’s Powdered Protein Packed Peanut Butter
For those of you that know me, I’m addicted to sweets BUT I’ve found something that curbs my sweet craving while also not blowing my daily intake goals! Betty Lou’s powdered peanut butter hits the spot and whenever I’m having cravings- this is the stuff that gets me through! It doesn’t taste exactly like regular peanut butter but it’s definitely close enough.
These are just a few of the things that help me through my hectic week. What are some of your go-to items?