Bondi Beauty Anita Senior undertook the Xtend Barre 60 Day Challenge -A combination of Pilates and ballet with some healthy eating rules. It was a life changing experience for her.
Here are 10 things I learned on my journey.
1) Push ups and squats are your friend
These two exercises are hard work but probably two of the most simple to set up (you can do them anywhere, no equipment needed). They combat so many different problem areas for women including the glutes, thighs, biceps triceps chest and back. Its almost a full body workout in two exercises.
2. Never underestimate the power of resistance training
Working off your own body’s resistance is a simple fast and effective way to achieve results. After years of going to the gym and using wight machines, I felt that all my muscles were at work all the time and you get more work done in a shorter time span because lots of muscles are at work at once.
3. Protein at breakfast is a must (even for the sweet tooth)
Eating protein enriched foods at all meals (but particularly breakfast) as prescribed in the 60 day challenge manual really helped with cravings throughout the day. As someone with a sweet tooth I felt that my sugar levels were much more stabilised with a hearty omelette and greens. Breakfasts with natural sugars would be a treat on occasion.
4. Lemon water works wonders
Having lemon and warm water first thing in the morning is a great way to kick start your metabolism. This rule is so simple bit golden. It’s nice to have a rule that was easy to abide by and didn’t actually feel challenging at all.
5. There is nothing quite like group fitness for an energy hit
There is something special about entering a studio full of people who are pumped and ready to go. The atmosphere is electric, competitive, energetic. No matter if classes were morning or evening, having the moral support of other Xtenders and knowing that we were all in the same boat made it more appealing to battle through and challenge ourselves even more.
6. Coffee is difficult to give up
While I didn’t have to give up coffee completely for the challenge, it was a requirement for those Xtreme Core participants. So for two weeks I did attempt to cut out the caffeine. Much to my shock, withdrawals were more severe than anticipated. Cutting out coffee all together is difficult for me long term. I can’t help it. I don’t have many vices but coffee is definitely one of them. While there are many health benefits there are some downsides to coffee too but my mini coffee detox just made me aware of when I can cut out coffee and when I can have it as a treat.
7. Preservative free shopping is a piece of cake
It may seem like there is a science to buying preservative free but what I discovered while on the 60 day challenge is that being nutrition savvy is easier than it looks. The food labels on the back of packaged foods are actually quite simple and as a general rule, buy fresh avoid packaged processed food but if you must give in search the food label and be aware of ones that are saturated with numbers rather than natural ingredients. I became especially aware of the staggering difference in the various protein and so-called natural bars on the market for snacking. Always read the back of labels with these kinds of foods. Marketing can deceive.
8. Social situations will test you
Working in a bar, I was constantly surrounded by alcohol, a lot of which was either free or discounted for me too. Even the incentives we received were presented in the form of a food and drinks voucher or free bottle of wine. They want to see me fail you begin to think.
With a limit of two units of alcohol per week, it will be difficult to maintain but the trick is to try and save them for the end of the week. Don’t indulge in the unnecessary glass of vino on a tyesday night when there is a whole week ahead. Reward yourself on a saturday or sunday safe in the knowledge that you haven’t touched a drop all week.
9. Healthy eating can be done on a budget
When trying to be healthy it was hard not to give into temptation. When you’re in a rush and convenience food is so cheap and readily available, staying healthy can be testing. But there are ways around it. Buy fruit and vegetables in season, buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Try using grains more such as rice and oats which are really cost effective and not as stodgy as other carbohydrates can be.
10. Look ready, feel ready
There’s nothing like some new exercise attire to boost performance at the barre. Xtend Barre have some great gear available at the studio and whether it was a new pair of grip socks or some brightly colored leggings, a bit of retail therapy can get you out of a lazy slump and encourage some hard work in the studio.
By Anita Senior.