WHAT YOU SEE IS NOT WHAT YOU GET
It takes TWO years to fully recover from having a baby-mentally, physically and emotionally. Initially my journey to the #snapback consisted of pure exhaustion and frustration. And full disclosure, social media is to blame. Now, I have nothing against methods of self improvement but, we often see the #nip- tuck when we think we are seeing the #gains. For me personally, I needed to own the sense of accomplishment I knew I would feel when I finally pushed myself away from the excuses. I was sick and tired of dodging the mirrors as I walked through my house. Not only did I feel like a stranger but, I was over being unable to recognize myself.
The culprit of my frustration was a combination of many factors. Adjusting to the demands of motherhood, for one. Breastfeeding is a full time job in itself! Combine that with a sedentary life, the weather in Pittsburgh, my baby not sleeping regularly and you name it- I had an endless list of reasons as to why I could not focus on my physical health. All of these “reasons” disguised as excuses. There is a quote that says, “Excuses are monuments of nothingness, they build bridges to nowhere. Those of us who use these tools of incompetence seldom become anything but nothing at all.”
My journey to recommit myself to a healthier lifestyle began when I stopped making excuses. Now that my baby is almost a year and a half, I know that while I am not where I want to be physically, I have come a tremendously long way. I know that every day I am achieving my goals and growing stronger and stronger.
I had not realized that one of the greatest motivating factors was right in front of my face! My friend, Arleen Jenkins is a dedicat- ed fitness guru who transformed her life and body with a strict regime. I watched her daily transformation and witnessed her results unfold with a combination of eating healthy and challenging her body with diverse and exciting workouts.
Arleen is gorgeous, strong, and highly knowledgeable. As a fitness guru, she is a pioneer in the social media world with her #buildabooty workout routines. During a recent workout session with Arleen, I discovered a few of her secrets to building and maintaining a healthy toned physique.
DS: Let’s start with your background. Tell me about yourself, your hometown and interesting facts about you.
AJ: My entire childhood revolved around sports! I played 3-4 sports all year round. I have my dad to thank for keeping me so active. Growing up, my dad was a basketball coach for two different varsity leagues and he also coached an adult co-ed softball team for over six years that my mom even played (on). He did this while operating his own business which kept him constantly busy. I never understood why he dedicated so much of his free time to coaching until I discovered I wanted to be a personal trainer.
DS: What motivates you to workout with such intensity and consistency?
AJ: There are many reasons that keep me motivated to workout (prevention of chronic diseases, having a bikini body, boosts of energy) with such intensity and consistency, but my number one reason is for mental health.
I wasn’t aware of the impact working out had in my life until it brought me out of an abusive relationship. I was tired of feeling depressed and compensating my feelings with food so I stepped into an old gym and rediscovered my love for moving. It felt as if I was living in black and white and then suddenly, life became brighter and all these colors started to appear. I was happy again and my mind was no longer captive to my insecurities.
DS: How do you stay disciplined with your diet?
AJ: I maintain a health friendly kitchen. To overcome cravings, I stock my fridge and pantry with healthy food. The logic is simple, you are more likely to make healthier food choices if you have healthier options.
1. Stay Hydrated. I try to stay hydrated as much as I can, always aiming for a gallon a day. Many times, we get hydration confused with being hungry and that can lead to overeating. Drinking water curbs your appetite and prevents overeating. My favorite water bottle is the Hidrate Spark bottle. It’s a smart water bottle that tracks your intake and glows to remind you when it’s time to drink H2O.
2. Set Goals. I am not on top of my diet 100% every day, but what keeps me going is setting short-term and long-term fitness goals. A diet goes in hand with my fitness goals so if I fall off, I just remember my short-term goals to keep me motivated. For example, if I want to lose 10lbs then I would break it into a 60-day goal and aim for losing 1-2 lb. a week.
3. Sacrifice. In order for me to reach my goals I had to learn the power in saying no. No to happy hours, no to late dinners, even skipping out on dessert. Instead of feeling like I’m missing out on having fun, saying no empowers me and brings me closer to my goal(s).
4. Small Meals. I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks at 3-hour intervals each day to curb my appetite. It prevents me from overeating and pushes my metabolism into beast mode.
DS: What are your overall fitness goals?
AJ: I have so many goals that I want to achieve in the fitness industry. For starters, I am completing my NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certification through Lifetime Academy to become a personal trainer. I also want to speak to girls and women about the importance of living a healthy and fit lifestyle, but mainly advocate how it can help ease depression and boost confidence.
For more banging body workout tips, follow Arleen via social
Edited by Joy Davis