The Month That Changed My Body
When I signed up for the Bari Failproof program, I was pumped.
Bari is a boutique fitness studio in TribeCa (and Laguna, New Jersey, and the Dominican Republic) that combines trampoline, dance, and strength training for what NY Mag calls "NYC's best hybrid workout". My plan was to pair each Bari bounce with a bite of my 20-Day Sakara program -- it felt like the perfect match, the perfect way to start off 2016, and the perfect challenge (which just so happened to be my mantra for the year).
When I think back to my initial measurement and the very first Bari class I took, in my heart of heart’s I didn’t truly believe that this 5-week long challenge was going to have any real, noticeable affect on my body. I've done month-long challenges at a couple of the other boutique fitness studios in the city before (who shall remain nameless because I’m not in the bizz of yucking other people’s yum), and no matter how many two-a-days I did, my body stayed the same. I’d get stronger, yes, both mentally and physically, but I’d wake up everyday with the same arms, abs, and ass, my clothes feeling just as snug, and my Seamless bill climbing through the roof.
So, deep down, was I expecting to put in five weeks of blood, sweat, and tears at Bari, and come out with a body I felt the same in? Yes.
Was I completely and totally wrong? Yes.
The powers of Sakara + Bari combined changed my body for the first time in my life. It all started when I decided to try on a pair of pants I'd bought on Black Friday (that were initially too small and I had forgotten to return), and they magically fit like a glove. I wore them to work the next day and got so many compliments on how amazing my abs looked (yes I expose my belly at work on the regular). Then, people at Bari started stopping me after class to say “you look amazing, this is really working for you!". Eventually I took a minute to step outside of the day-to-day rat race and looked at myself in the mirror with a fresh set of eyes. I was so impressed with the body standing in front of me that I took some naked pictures and sent them to my boyfriend of six years who hasn't received one of those in a good while. I was so impressed with my naked pictures that I showed them to my coworkers, friends, and even my Bari trainer. I was proud, and I was shameless.
Other than losing a full percentage of body fat (I was measured before and after the program, and got to geek out on all the nitty gritty details), fitting better into my clothes, and feeling so much sexier in my skin, I also learned a heck of a lot about fitness, food, and my body that I will hold on to.
Here are some of the big ones:
I learned that it is possible to change my body.I have tried so many different diets and exercises so many different times to create a body I felt better in, and regardless of how extreme I got, my body always stayed the same. I assumed this was the cards I was dealt, but these five weeks showed me that putting work into something does pay off -- my body can change, I just had to find the movements, foods, and lifestyle that worked best for me. And the best part is: that change is not a result of treating my body in an angry, negative, or harmful way. It comes from loving, supporting, pushing, and nourishing.
And yet, I also learned that my body is my body is my body.While I can most certainly sculpt, tone, lengthen, and grow, there are certain things about my body that will not change. No matter what. My hips are going to stay wide, my shoulders will aways look strong, and my tummy will always, always have a little something to grab onto. Right now, that something just happens to be sharing prime real estate with some pretty sexy muscles. My body will never look like Lily Aldridge's body, but it does have some wiggle room within itself to grow into something that I feel as good in as I imagine feeling in Lily's body. And that's pretty exciting.
Abs are made in the kitchen and on the trampoline.Working out hard with a crappy diet has never given me abs or flattened my tummy. Neither has chomping on kale and sitting on my bum all day and going for occasional walks. The magic recipe? Clean eating + cardio + strength-building. The combination of Sakara's clean eats, Bari's strength-building classes, and the sweat-dripping trampoline has given me abs for maybe the first time in my life. Just ask my coworkers.
Feeling good is contagious.I made no promises to myself of changing any habits outside of exercise and diet (that felt like enough). But because I felt so good, I found myself making absurdly healthy choices to keep those good feelings going. I very seriously cut my drinking back to 1-2 glasses of wine/week, was getting an average of nine hours of sleep/night, and kicked all mindless snacking to the curb. I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full as if it were as easy, effortless, and joyful as sitting down to watch the Bachelor every Monday night at 8 PM (go Lauren B!).
Feeling good in my body is power.It has fueled me for the past five weeks. I've felt energized, I've felt powerful, I've felt smart, I've felt strong. I've dressed, acted, communicated, and loved with a confidence that, for lack better word, is powerful. I'm grateful to know what this feels like in my body, because I now know there are no excuses not to live differently.
Challenge = purpose = real results.Without that sense of challenge, I don't think I would have felt that same sense of purpose, determination, or drive, nor that indescribable sense of accomplishment when I crossed that finish line. Challenge is a good thing. I hope you find ways to challenge yourself this year and then take the time to celebrate when you reach your goals. You deserve to feel as good as you want to feel.
Have you found what your body truly responds to? Tell me in the comments below!