I’ve followed Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up for almost a year now. I regularly accessed their free workouts from their website and YouTube channel, but it wasn’t until this January that I decided to fully commit to their 6 week “Look For Love Challenge”. While I admit the title felt a little bit corny, I decided to accept the corniness in all its ways and fully commit to “Look For Love” for the first 6 weeks of 2017.
In no way is this article meant to convince you all to join this particular plan or even the Tone It Up community as a whole; but instead I wanted to tell you the honest truth behind what it’s like from a college girl’s perspective.
I didn’t set out to lose any amount of weight but instead I was striving to get back into a good fitness routine. I also wanted to make it my new year’s resolution to meal prep more often to help save time (and money) during the week.
So here’s a sneak peek into the ups and downs of the 6-week challenge.
Starting the program on January 1st would have been too hard as a college student. I was still on winter break and out of my normal routine. So January 2nd, which was also a Monday, would mark the beginning of embarking on this 6 week challenge. I vowed I wanted to follow their vegetarian meal plan. I had dabbled with being vegetarian before and loved how my body felt (I have digestive issues, so I feel best when I eat meatless).
It was a rocky start. I prepped a big batch of roasted veggies and quinoa to make my meals throughout the week. I even cooked up a batch of protein muffins and prepped some overnight oats to eat for breakfast. It was still a little tough to follow through with the challenge at my mom’s house, so I figured I would get into a good routine back in my own apartment at school.
Back in Tallahassee. I went grocery shopping on Sunday to prep for the week. I quickly realized I hadn’t prepped enough food to last the week, and would need to do more next weekend. The weather was super cold, so it was getting harder to wake up in the morning to workout. I’d been setting my alarm clock earlier so by the 2nd snooze I’d get up and have enough time to make coffee, hit the gym, shower and eat breakfast before my classes started.
By Wednesday, I felt like I was in a better routine. Friday I took “happy hour” at a yin yoga class and it was awesome! Lots of great stretching to get the kinks out from all my hard work this week. First week back in Tally also meant enjoying myself a little more than anticipated on Saturday night, so I spent Sunday recovering and meal prepping. Couldn’t let the hangover affect my whole week!
Meal prepping from Sunday included egg muffins to heat up for a quick breakfast, and a big batch of roasted veggies to toss in salads or use as a side for the week.
Meal prep Sunday: check!
I felt so accomplished at the beginning of this week. Took my favorite yoga class. Started to feel like I was in a good routine.
I was almost at the 21 day mark; that’s how many days it apparently takes to form a habit, so hopefully my daily moves will become an instinct. Kinda like checking my insta feed.
School started to pick up mid week and I was getting very tired. Decided I needed to work on not snoozing my alarm every morning.
As the challenge went on, it got harder to sit down and collect my thoughts about the week. My journaling turned into more of a quick jotting down of bullet points of the highlights.
I also started to incorporate more meat into my meals because I was getting a bit bored with my food.
It was getting easier to wake up at 6:30/7am. I’d been meal prepping like a boss on Sunday and it made it WAY easier to get going in the morning. I didn’t waste any time making food and I always got a great breakfast.
I woke up every morning to workout this week, I was on a new high!
The weekend was hard because of traveling. It was hard to feel off schedule while I was out of town, but I tried to enjoy my time meeting my friend for the weekend. I vowed I would get back on my new schedule when I returned home.
However, I stocked up on travel snacks in the airport; the cashier called me a “hungry girl”. I responded, “Hell yeah, I got goals!” to which he said “I can respect that”. The whole interaction made me chuckle.
School is picking up and its harder to wake up to workout. I don’t know how people live in the cold and get to the gym at 6 am in the snow. Anyways, I worked hard this week to try and accept that it is ok not to make it to my workout every single day.
Meal prep didn’t happen because of traveling and getting home late Sunday night. I woke up early to get to the grocery store on Monday, but man I wish I meal prepped.
Overall, I had pretty good energy this week. I wasn’t super hungry. The following week would be exam week, so I planned to do my best to use the weekend to set myself up for success.
I’d been following Tone It Up on social media, and loved seeing inspirational posts from Katrina and Karena on Instagram. I also really appreciated the flood of inspirational emails they send out – it definitely helped me feel motivated to keep pushing myself through to the end.
Here’s a glimpse at my inbox from them over the past week:
They really do a great job of making me feel like were gal pals and they’re just giving me a nudge of encouragement in the morning; I’ve really been looking forward to them!
Week 6. Last week of the challenge! Got my meal prep done. My energy levels were super high.
Good thing, too, because I had two exams on Thursday. But they were NBD. I also was going out of town that weekend but with all the healthy habits and confidence I built up through the challenge, that didn’t feel like a big deal either!
It was early Valentines weekend, and I felt confident rocking my bikini on the sunny beach of California (even after eating all the sushi in the land)! I felt confident and proud that I stuck it out for the 6 weeks.
So What Did I Learn?
That I need to be flexible!
With my workout schedule, my meals, and my daily routines. It really is so much easier said than done. I usually get into such a negative head space when I can’t get myself to wakeup in time to workout or can’t find anything in my fridge for dinner. But by pushing myself to really commit to making the time for these things most days of the week, I didn’t feel poorly for taking a day off to rest or get homework done.
Here’s how Tone It Up helped. They:
- Put together daily workouts
- Sent out daily reminders
- Sent weekly motivation
- Sent emails halfway through the challenge to remind me that it’s ok if life gets in the way and it’s ok if I haven’t been sticking to the plan 100%. They reminded me not to focus on the setback but instead to jump back in and remember why I started.
I really love that they keep in constant contact with their community. I now appreciate my body even more for doing all that it does, especially in the weeks that I push it super hard. Now, I forgive myself for not eating a perfect diet or missing my workout some days; I know I’m simply trying my best.
The Tone It Up community is full of inspirational women of all body types trying to lead a more active lifestyle. I have honestly been inspired by the love and encouragement found in their community.
So if there’s a new workout class you’ve been dying to try, a fitness guide or challenge from a real live gym or online community, go for it! If you’re laying down some heavy dough for it, do your research as much as you can and really plan out the time in your schedule to commit to workouts and meal planning so you know you’re really getting your money’s worth.
Header image taken from toneitup.com.
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