Apr 29, 2014

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2014

I'm starting to reintroduce real coffee into my life now that I'm moving out of the first trimester and let me tell you, it feels good. I'm making it as weak as possible and it's still giving me that little push to wake up from a horrible night's rest courtesy of pregnancy bathroom breaks, a bad shoulder sunburn, and a cat who likes to play with our blinds at 4 AM. So if this post seems a little energetic, now you know why ;)

The Tone It Up Bikini Series officially kicked off yesterday! I've talked a little about TIU in the past, but I wanted to go into a little more detail about this series today because it holds a special place in my heart.

Like most people, I struggled with weight fluctuation throughout college. Never anything too crazy in retrospect, but crazy enough where I'd have to buy new sizes of bottoms multiples times throughout the year. The thing is, I was never willing to give up eating what I wanted to eat. I hate...HATE salads, I'm not a big fan of egg white things, and I don't eat chicken so there goes a bunch of typical "diet" staples. When I started dating my husband, I ended up subconsciously matching his style of eating and amount he was eating and gaining even more weight. Of course he never said anything because he's the best man ever, but I got a little wake up call when our wedding started approaching and I hadn't made any significant progress even though we were running and eating a little better.

I came across some TIU-related vlogs on YouTube last April and was so impressed with the dedication and positivity those girls had. I had purchased the TIU Nutrition Plan a few years earlier, but never really got into it. The 2013 Bikini Series was fast approaching and I decided to sign up and give it my all. This meant following the nutrition plan, which was very doable given the variety of recipes it offers, doing the daily workouts, and "checking in" with friends online every day. (My favorite way to "check in" is on Instagram. You can even make a separate account for TIU! Here's mine.)
 {Totally not necessary, but the TIU DVDs and vegan protein powder rock!}
{My vision board from the last June}

To say this series changed my life is an understatement. It lasted 8 weeks (I think...) and even though I wasn't perfect...I definitely had my cheat meals and skipped some workouts...it changed my body and outlook on a healthy lifestyle. Losing weight ended up becoming a "bonus" and I became way more interested in fueling my body with the good stuff and gaining muscle and endurance. I also made lots of TIU friends from all over, including my Bikini Series partner Alysha from Canada. We emailed regularly and got to be real with one another when things got tough. Consistency with working out and eating well isn't my strong suit, but I have this wonderful foundation to fall back on when I feel like I need to head back in the right direction.

The biggest thing that differentiates Tone It Up from other workouts/diet plans is that it's a lifestyle and a community. The positivity is overwhelming in the best way possible. There's no negative self-talk or bashing others. Heck, I don't even think I've ever seen jealousy show up in the community. It's a bunch of women of all ages and in different stages of their fitness journey working together. Kind of a neat idea, huh?

If you're looking for a way to kickstart your fitness journey, or even if you're just interested in how to incorporate some things into your life, I can't recommend signing up for this series enough. It's absolutely free (unless you want to buy the nutrition plan, which is not required in the slightest) and totally doable. Last year I did it while finishing up school, working, and planning my wedding. The time requirement is what you want it to be, but I'd say the average is about an hour a day. If you have kids, plenty of TIU girls involve them by walking or running with them in the stroller. They can even try to do the exercises with you at home! A weekly schedule is posted on their website every Sunday with the workout plan and little goals to accomplish every day. It's great!

I'm participating this year, but modifying things a little.

For cardio...I'll be sticking to walking and maybe some HIIT. I wasn't running regularly when I got pregnant and I personally just don't feel comfortable trying to get into it at this point.

For strength training...I'll definitely have to modify some moves. I'm still a little unsure as to what's safe during pregnancy. I also plan on incorporating some workouts that are specifically for pregnancy. So far I love the ones by Pop Sugar Fitness!

For eating...I'm not going to be following the nutrition plan completely. We'll eat as clean as possible, but I'm not going to deprive myself of rice or pasta at dinner if that's what I want. Instead, I'll be focused on getting more fruits and veggies into my diet--something I've been lacking for the past few weeks.

Obviously my focus this year is not to lose weight or even get in shape. I just want to be staying active and eating healthier throughout pregnancy!

Let me know if you sign up for the Bikini Series! Like I said, it's what you want it to be and there's no obligation to do everything or even finish it (but you should!). Tone It Up is a great, uplifting community to be a part of!

P.S. I don't know about you, but having good music is super important to me when I'm working out. TIU puts together some pretty awesome playlists! Here's their most recent one on Spotify: 

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