I’m Ditching Diet Culture

I’ve made a major fitness mistake; I’ve been actively participating in diet culture.

Dietician Christy Harrison defines diet culture as a system of beliefs that worships thinness, promotes weight loss, demonizes certain foods and oppresses people that don’t match others picture of health. Diet culture is an oppressive fatphobic, food-phobic system. It teaches us that juice cleanses, 1200 calorie diets and excessive macro tracking are the only ways to be happy in your body. Diet culture is a joy thief. 

As someone who loves exercise and the fitness industry, I have fallen hard into the clutches of diet culture. I tried to become a booty builder and eat 1gram of protein per body weight. Then, I followed all the fitspo’s and copied their diets. Debated going vegan just to be part of the vegan body-builder movement. I #mealprepped and yet, none of it ever made me happier. Movement improved my mood but obsessing over what or when I ate never made my life feel full; instead it made eating in to a chore. 

Anti Diet Influencers

I’ve been sitting with this uncomfortable feeling towards diets trying to determine my next move.  It wasn’t until I saw one of my favorite booty builders Madalin Giorgetta go anti-diet culture that I realized I needed to dig deeper into this. Sad to say but it wasn’t until I saw an influencer, who had made most of her fame off of the fitness industry and being conventionally pretty (that I love and follow), throw it all away for this message. Her willingness to shake up her life for this message encouraged me to dismantle diet culture. Through her influence I realized that I have thin privilege. I will never be rejected from a job for being too fat. As someone with this privilege I need to use voice to speak out against diet culture and fatphobia. 

This sounds like a mission so to frame learning experience I’ve tasked myself with answering these questions: 

  • What does health/wellness mean? And why do we associate diets with health?
  • Why are we afraid of “fat”? What does fatphobia look like in our everyday lives?
  • Is body neutrality better than body positivity? 

Want to come on this journey with me? Let me know in the comments. 

Fitness Program Review: I Tried Natacha Oceane’s CUT

I’ve flirted with many fitness programs. I’ve tried PIIT28, BBG, instagram booty builder workout splits (no judgement on these, they gave me some of my best results prior to this program), yoga and everything in between. Over the last couple years I have fallen in love with the weight room because of the results it gave me.

My newfound love of weight lifting led to started following fitness influencers. One of my absolute favorites is Natacha Oceane. As a former gymnast, I am a huge fan of plyometric movements to get my heart rate up and Natacha emphasizes plyo. After following Natacha on instagram I began throwing in a few of her functional or plyo moves in to my workouts with B. He tolerated them, so after a few months of adding box jumps and HIIT to our split we decided to take the jump and purchase Natacha’s 10 week CUT fitness program.

CUT is marketed as a program that will help you burn fat, gain muscle and not jeopardize your metabolism. I personally was interested in this program because I want visible abs and this seemed like my best option (Natacha is absolutely ripped!). After completing this program for the first time I do not have visible abs but I have gained strength and did not have to change my eating habits at all.

CUT is a unique fitness program. The workout split is broken down in five workouts, with an optional and a mandatory rest day. The workouts are broken into plyometrics, upper body & HIIT, lower body, total body and HIIT. Each week the moves in the workouts change but the pattern stays the same. These workouts are KILLER and the upper body & HIIT day is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. My favorite thing about these workouts is the variety. A total body day can go from pull ups, to jumping lunges, to push ups without skipping a beat. I get bored by doing the same moves every week so I loved that the variety kept me going through the 10 week program.

To complete CUT I had to purchase the following items because my gym did not have them.

**The following links are Amazon affiliate links.

Long Loop Resistance Bands

Needed for pull up assistance, glute kick backs, etc.

Barebell Pad

My gym does not have these available and without them I refuse to do hip thrusts

Cons

There are only two cons to CUT as a fitness program.

The first is that you have to have an hour or more to dedicate to the gym for each workout. This is great for endurance but can be difficult when you work a regular job.

The other complaint I have is that I was constantly running across the gym for the next move. I was running from squat rack, to a plyo corner, to leg press, then back to the squat rack for most of the workouts. This is fine if you go to the gym at 6am (like we usually do) or in the middle of the day BUT if you have to work out during peak hours this does not work. The few times B and I had to go to the gym after work we had to switch up the order we did the moves in so we could utilize equipment while it was open.

Contrary to my complaints I absolutely LOVED CUT and am already jumping back into it for a second round! Have you tried CUT or another workout program that you love?

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Gift Guide for the Fitness Inclined

Oh the weather outside is frightful and your Christmas shopping list is not delightful so to make your shopping less stressful, read below read below read below!

Happy Holidays! I know the most wonderful time of the year is usually synonymous with the most stressful time of the year so to ease some of your shopping discomfort I’ve come up with a list of gifts that are budget friendly, easy to buy & will still have time to be delivered gift guide for any fitness lover in your life. I love giving people items that are cute & useful in their day to day life especially if they are setting intentions of practicing healthy habits in the new year. 

**All links in this blog post are affiliate links

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Resistance Bands!

Resistance bands & hip circles are the new cool kids at the gym. The instagram fitness community swears by these, especially if you need a way to up your leg day without upping the weight you are lifting. I’m a huge fan of these and for under $25 they are a thoughtful gift for your gym friend who’s trying to build a booty!

Leggings!

Queenie Ke makes amazing gym & budget friendly leggings. I have a black pair of these that I hold to the same caliber as my Gymshark leggings.

Gym Bag!

Any gym goer knows how much of a pain it can be to carry your water bottle, keys, IDs, warm-up clothes & whatever else you deem necessary for your workout. A nice gym bag is an amazing gift that can be both cute and functional. You can get creative and buy one in a fun color or stick to the classics like I did.

Water Bottle!

Single use plastic is out and cute reusable bottles are in. A reusable water bottle is a great gift because regardless of how many someone owns you can always use an extra. I chose this one because it was cute, well priced and BPA free.

Yoga Mat

Yoga mats are the BEST gifts. You can never have too many! Depending on what flooring I’m on I’ll use two at a time to cushion my achy old gymnast body. Bonus: they’re super cute!

Hope this helps anyone with a last minute shopping list that is a mile long! Let me know in the comments what your favorite fitness item is! Happy shopping!

But Really Thought Tries – Barry’s Bootcamp

I love to dabble in fitness classes. When I lived in SB I took Barre classes all the time but since the move I haven’t been frequenting the studios. I’m currently opting for a weight lifting gym sessions during the week. I’ve started to get a bit bored so I decided to expand my fitness horizons and take up classes again. Recently, this has taken the form of a tumbling class, which has the added bonus of rekindling my love for gymnastics

The cardio queen in me was feeling a bit underwhelmed by all this lifting and flipping so on Saturday morning, so I dragged B to the hardest cardio I could think of – a Barry’s Bootcamp class.

Barrys Image 1
Cardio Queens Unite 

Barry’s Bootcamp is self-described as a high-intensity interval workout (think HIIT) with “killer music” and “signature red lights”.  Upon arrival, we were eagerly greeted at the front desk, were given a locker and met the instructor. The instructor talked us through the workout split as the class requires specific moves to be performed at specific intervals/timing. We started on the floor with resistance bands and weights, then we moved to the treadmill, then back to the floor for arm, then off to the treadmills we went to finish the class.

Barrys Image 2
In my head this is what the red lights looked like…in reality they were just red light bulbs instead of white. 

Highlights included:

  • The treadmill and and the single touch option to switch incline/speed
  • The red lights
  • Full length mirrors to check form

I truly enjoyed the class but it was insanely challenging. I know that fitnesses classes work for me because someone else provides the rules. It’s easier to slack when I pick the pace for my HIIT so having someone tell me what to put the treadmill on and for how long prevents me from cheating myself.

I will definitely be taking another class at Barry’s but I will not be doing their recommended 3-5 classes a week. I love that the class gave me workout inspiration and I can now create a similar workout for myself at the gym (saving me a cool $40 per class).

Have you tried Barry’s? Did you love it or is it not for you?

Fitness is Fun? My Relationship with Fitness

My relationship with fitness has been similar to many of my relationships. On and off, with a lot of drama and unnecessary pints of Ben & Jerry’s. We would flirt, I would run a half marathon or go to the gym for a couple months, but I wasn’t ready to really commit myself to my health, or end my drunken late night hook ups with Dominos and Taco Bell.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most of my fitness relationships failed because I jumped in a little too quickly. I went straight to the engagement without going on a first date. My success this round has come from slowly working my way into fitness.

In January of this year, I began with a 30 days of yoga challenge on the YouTube channel “Yoga with Adriene.” If I can be anyone (besides Katie of course) when I grow up I want to be Adriene. Her yoga videos are calming, silly and human. She renounces the yoga robot lifestyle. Her catch phrase is “find what feels good” and makes me feel like yoga is a choice – not a chore.  

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The Hangover Yogi Slayer, Adriene

She is a beautiful and gentle soul. Her videos reminded me of the positives of working out like being flexible, feeling that wonderful muscle shake, and getting stronger. But she also keeps it real — girl has a yoga for hangovers video. It reminds me that even if my alcohol calories will always stand between me and the six pack of my dreams — that’s ok. There is a safe yoga space for me on YouTube.

After completing a month of yoga, I decided it was time to get serious about fitness, but needed a program that was still free just in case I decided later I wanted to back out.

In February I began a blogilates fitness calendar from Cassey Ho. Cassey is the peppiest and most motivating fitness instructor, but damn she goes hard. I “completed” the February workout calendar by doing about half of the videos each day. Luckily, Cassie loved me enough to stick with me through to March.

I realized this relationship with fitness was getting serious around mid March. I began questioning my late night relationship with fast food and I began to call my long time lover Dominos less frequently (I’m sorry, I still love you D). I began to crave healthy food like veggies and chicken. I began asking Katie for fitness advice. I actually did all (read most) of the videos for each day on the March calendar. My body may not have changed much externally but I began to sleep a little better. I felt like maybe I was getting a bit stronger.

At the beginning of April, I bought the ring: PIIT28. PIIT28 consists of pilates and hiit workouts six days a week. My love of just three months, blogilates, had convinced me that Cassie’s new workout program could make me get the results I have been pining after. I purchased the workout program, but not the meal plan since I have so many weird dietary issues already. Like I mentioned earlier, Cassie is INTENSE and this program is no exception. This program had me feeling muscles I haven’t felt since I was doing ballet 6 days a week in high school. By Day 21 I began to notice small changes in my physical appearance (ok so I may have just lost my mind when one of my friend complimented my muscular arms) but more importantly after I finish the workouts I feel like a BEAST.

Lest you think I am all sunshine and rainbows, PIIT28 does have its negatives, which I think I understand well now after a few months of working with the program. I will be sure to post about those soon!

What workout programs have you been loving? Do you use free online programs? Do you also yell obscenities at your online workout coach to make you feel better? LMK!

-Em