Your Story Matters – Emma from @affirmationfitness
Emma is a gorgeous girl from WA. I came across her on instagram and instantly took to her approach to health and wellbeing. She loves keeping fit for keeping healthy and strong and has a great Instagram account! Thanks so much Emma for taking the time to chat to me!
Can you tell the readers of North of Here a bit about yourself and your lifestyle?
My name is Emma, I am 29 years old, I work full time as a teacher, I live in Perth with my husband and dog. I moved to Perth from England alone in 2010 to study and am now a permanent resident. My lifestyle is very healthy physically and mentally. I like fitness, watching movies, going to the beach and walking my dog. I love trying healthy eating restaurants.
What does a day in your life look like?
- As a teacher I have been getting to work at 8.15am and leaving at 4.00pm.
- I wake up at 5.30am and workout before work at home or walk the dog or read a book with a coffee depending how my fitness plans are going. Last year this was the BBG guides, this year it was marathon training and my own eBook workouts. Now it might be body pump which means waking at 4.45am and from next year I will be focusing on bodybuilding at the gym and setting my alarm for 4.45am to be at the gym and working out from 5.30am before work. I don’t always exercise before work but always get up early.
- Go to work.
- Try to be home at 4-4.30pm. Though next year I am starting a new role so this may be later.
- Walk the dog, go to a PT session or F45 training.
- Cook dinner, watch TV and early night at 9.30pm
- On the weekends I will exercise, clean the house, food shop and my husband and I have been renovating so that has taken up our time.
What keeps you motivated?
Setting goals for myself. Last year I wanted to do both the BBG guides. This year I was running a marathon for charity, now I am focusing on muscle and strength building. Earlier this year I wanted to do clap pushups and I can do do them and chin ups.
Can you tell us about some of the challenges you face when it comes to looking after yourself?
I am a perfectionist and very competitive and tend to be very hard on myself. I like to get things right and need to remember that some things take time. The reason I have set myself the plan of exercising before work next year in my new role is because as a new person I may get stuck at work late and then too tired to go to the gym and then angry. So if I exercise before work it is out the way and I have started the day achieving something.
As women, we often neglect a part of our own health/well-being, what is one thing that you’ve been neglecting, and would like to get on top of? (And are you working on this, if so, how?)
Last year doing the BBG guides I was so obsessed with exercising and the way I looked and what I ate it started to affect my relationship with my husband. I was neglecting my relationship. This year my husband and I started going to bootcamps, PT sessions or F45 together once or twice a week. This way we are exercising together and he motivates me as he is stronger than me.
I also try to read a positive reading every morning and having a quiet moment to say a little prayer to help me get through the day. Sometimes I neglect this. I tend to rehash things and hold onto resentments and I need to learn to move on from things, not be so hard on myself and forgive and forget. This is part of mental wellbeing.
What does your training routine look like?
I exercise about 5 days a week sometimes twice a day.
This last week:
|Saturday||Bodypump am, hour at the gym pm|
|Monday||walk the dog before work, gym after work|
|Tuesday||walk the dog before work, f45 after work|
|Wednesday||after work HIIT workout at home for 15minutes then walk the dog|
|Thursday||f45 before work, hour PT after work|
Since starting my journey July 2014 I have always made sure I have one rest day. With the BBG guides you do 3-4 resistance days and walking and running. With marathon training I was running 5 times a week and increasing distances, I also rowed and did HIIT during the winter when running was difficult before work in the dark. Since the marathon I have been doing F45, weights, gym passes, body pump and other fitness classes. I am going away from 2-9 January and when I get back am doing a 12 week muscle building program so will be at the gym 5 days a week, ideally before work or if not after or the weekends.
You started your fitness journey tackling Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, can you tell us what made you start it and how you went?
I started the guide July 2014 as I injured my leg whilst running. Before that I had always run 3-5k a few times a week. I would also bike ride but nothing too strenuous.I saw her on instagram and became obsessed with looking like the girls with six packs. I started the guides and found the first few weeks easy as I had some level of fitness from running.
However, I had never done push-ups or burpees so my form for a lot of things was off. It has taken me a lot of time to focus on form. This is probably something I should have done but all I focused on during the guide was getting through many rounds to get the best progress. I used her food guide for about 8 weeks and became very depressed and sick mentally and physically. I had lost weight but still had no six pack and it was all I would think about.
When I ended the second guide I was glad I had finished and never wanted to do them again. The workouts had become too repetitive for me, I didn’t always like the timer as I would rush to get through more moves and lose form and was always comparing to others and their progress.
For me the guides made me thinner but not happy. Now I am just as lean but weigh more due to muscle and am a lot stronger. I know the guides work for many but for me they started my journey and are not the be all and end all. I want to find my own path.
Now I am a lot happier no longer eating in a deficit and not doing countless pushups but focusing on weights and strength and various moves.
You also spend time in the gym lifting weights and completing your own circuits as well as running – what do you love about improving both your strength and fitness?
I love getting stronger. I have run a marathon, can do chin ups unassisted, deadlift 65kg and use the heaviest weights at F45. I love seeing my progress, working on my form and achieving something. Every workout is an achievement in some way. If I go to the gym angry I usually feel better after.
If there was one message you wanted to pass onto other women what would it be? Find your own path. I was so obsessed with following the BBG guides and looking like others that I lost myself. Now I am following a bodybuilding plan from the new year and the main reason is because I do not know how to target all muscle groups so need a plan to cover all of them. Do not follow what others are doing and do what works for you.
Grocery shopping is generally a pain, what are some of your favourite foods that you buy that make you feel great?
I always buy and freeze bananas for nice cream, spinach for green smoothies and salads or wraps, chicken thighs, eggs, pasta, rye bread.
What is your favourite recipe at the moment?
I am obsessed with boiled eggs on toast, spinach and banana smoothies, nice cream, BBQ vegetables and chicken.
What are your three top health tips for living a healthy lifestyle?
- Plan your food shop and workouts. I write shopping lists and plan my meals. When it comes to the gym I decided to download a bodybuilding plan to start after my holiday but in order to be prepared I am now using my gym time to go round all the machines in the plan and write down the weight I can use and understand all the moves. This way when I start the plan I am prepared and do not need to waste time finding what weight I should be on. I also watch videos on YouTube to help me.
- Allow yourself treats. I eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday with two snacks. One dinner will be a cheat/treat meal like pizza, Chinese or fish and chips and about three nights a week I have chocolate after dinner.
- Remember that instagram is only a sample of someones life and people may not tell you their full story. I followed girls and obsessed and then found out they had been dishonest about their journey saying they were doing one thing but actually adding more or eating less. I decided to unfollow lots of accounts as I didn’t want to see the daily update and compare and obsess again. Only follow people that you like and remember that mental well-being is just as important as physical.
What does ‘wellness’ mean to you?
Being physically and mentally well. Not waking hating myself, not being hard on myself and being able to exercise and achieve something.
What are five things in your workout bag?
Headphones, Nike trainers for the gym or Asics for running, iPhone for music, water bottle, makeup wipes to remove make up after work. I never exercise wearing makeup.
What is one thing you do for yourself, for your sanity/health/wellbeing that you do everyday without fail?
Spend time with my dog, she keeps me sane, she is my best friend and walking her or hugging her makes me happy.
You can find Emma on Instragram @affirmationfitness.
Your story matters: Is a regular series where I sit down at chat with women like you about your health and fitness story. Everyone has a story to tell and we can all learn from each other. If you would to be featured please email me: hello <at> northofhere.com.au