When I first set myself the target of completing Kayla Itsines’s 12 week exercise programme, I remember feeling motivated and excited. But when I actually began the programme, my initial determination was overridden with shame and disappointment.
Struggling to do even 5 push-ups, I was ashamed that as a former gymnast I now battled to do an exercise that was once a warm-up for me. As a former long-distance runner, I was disappointed that I had let my fitness level reach such a low point that I was left sweating and out of breath after a few minutes of cardio.
However, I did not let my lack of fitness deter me from achieving my goal. I followed her programme religiously. I woke early every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and complete the workouts with my digsmates, who were just as eager as I was.
The workouts were exhausting and really tested my perseverance. I remember after day 1 of week 1 my muscles ached for an entire week – even sitting down was painful. Some of the exercises seemed impossible and I was often confused if I was doing them correctly. But at the same time I enjoyed feeling stiff and tired because it meant I was really challenging myself.
As the weeks went by, however, I could feel myself growing stronger and fitter. For instance, I can now do 15 burpees in a row, without having to take a break after every 5 to catch my breath or rest my muscles like I used to. I can now do push-ups effortlessly, as well as any other type of exercise which requires upper-body strength. I can see definition in my abdominal muscles and I feel more agile, flexible, and energetic. Exercise doesn’t feel like a chore, but a normal part of my routine. I think that the fact that exercise is now something I look forward is the greatest success I’ve gained from this experience. What started as a weight-loos journey has turned into a realisation of the importance of health and fitness. While I have lost a few kilograms, and have started to fit back into my “thin-jeans”, what I find more exciting is the change I feel in my attitude about exercise.
I now look back at the person I was when I first started – unfit, unhealthy, inactive and misguided – and I feel fantastic that I can say that I am no longer that girl. The Kayla Itsines programmed has changed my outlook on exercise completely, and I recommend it to anyone looking to improve their lives.