I recently spoke to someone about the 21 day fix. She asked for some info, and I went to give her my blog post about my results and suddenly realized...I NEVER POSTED IT!!! My husband and I had been separated due to a relocation for his job and he came home the SAME DAY that I took my results pictures. After that, it was (date night, of course), packing, moving, and unpacking again once we got to (sweet home) Alabama. I wrote a post of my review of the program a few days before I finished, as I knew things would be hectic with our move, and I did put the pictures up on facebook (obvi), but I just cannot believe that I never posted my final results. So, without further ado...I lost .25 inches from each arm, .5 inches from my waist, an inch off my chest, and another inch off my hips! That's 3 inches off my body in 3 weeks!!! I'll take it!!! Can I mention I also lost 9lbs? In 21 days?!?!? Aside from the numbers, I felt smaller and looked much thinner in my midsection. It's been about a month now since I've completed the fix, and guess what? Surprise surprise, after being reunited with my dear husband, I put on a few pounds...Guess what else? After I realized that I had gained them, I went back to the fix eating program for 3 days and was RIGHT back to my end weight! This program is amazing. I cannot say it enough. The workouts are awesome, and even though I am not following the program 100% nowadays (more like 80%...I aim to do fix portions Monday-Friday), I have tossed the workouts into my rotation quite a few times since finishing. I love the fix pilates, upper, and lower workouts. For my cardio, being that it's perfect weather right now, I am enjoying running, and for my weight training I am doing my good 'ole standby Les Mills Pump. I am also using the containers constantly. During the 21 days I was able to use them to get a good idea of "eyeballing" my portions, but I still use the green and yellow quite frequently as measuring devices (I tend to under-eat my veggies and over-eat my carbs!). If you are thinking about trying this program, you NEED to do it. It has honestly CHANGED MY LIFE. I had no idea how off my portions were before, even though I was eating pretty healthy. I was eating way too many of some things and not nearly enough of others. I truly know now what it means to have a "balanced diet", and the best part? I didn't have to drive myself insane counting calories, and I was never truly hungry once.
I started out yesterday wanting to make a video for you all. The topic for the video was to be my WHY. Why do I do this? And why should you join me? As I ran through everything in my mind that I wanted to say, I started having a flood of thoughts that there was just no way I could organize into a coherent video presentation. To be honest, this may not even be a particularly coherent blog...but at least this way I can go back and edit ;). What sparked these thoughts, was a video that one of my fellow coaches posted on her wall. It was deeply moving. She talked about how she was at the gym and there were piles of sugary pastries and treats set out, and how much it bothered her, not because she is the food police, but because there are people that are going to the gym to ESCAPE those things, and to try and save their lives. You could feel the passion in her voice as she started to tear up when she said that the gym was supposed to be a place where those people felt supported because in many instances, that may be the ONLY place they can go to get refuge from unhealthy influences. It really moved me, and got me thinking...What am I that passionate about?
Now don't get me wrong, I certainly don't think it's cool to eat GMO's or shovel fast food burgers down your gullet (don't you just love that word?) each day at lunchtime, BUT my passion is not nutrition. I will always advocate eating lots of (organic if possible) fruits and veggies, not eating tons of sweets or white flours, and generally avoiding most processed foods. However, my heart is not 100% sold on that notion because for my fitness journey, that's never been what it's all about. If you've ever shared a meal with me at a restaurant, you will see that I eat with reckless abandon. I LOVE ooey gooey treats, and if I'm ordering a plate of loaded nachos, you can bet your arse that the only "nutritional" demand that I make is that there is no pork (I love my piggies). Again, as with a lot of my posts, here's where you ask yourself "...and how is this person a fitness coach?". Don't worry, I'll get there...My meals of that nature are few and far between. I enjoy one date night (sometimes two depending on his schedule) a week with my husband. During the rest of the week I am drinking my shakeology, eating whole grains and oats, fruits, and lean meats with veggies for dinner. I have worked very hard for my body, which even though I'm still about 12 pounds from my goal weight, I still completely LOVE. I understand that depending on lots of factors (type of exercise, bloating, etc), there will always be a fluctuation in my weight. It's important to me that I am HAPPY and love myself EXACTLY how I am right now, despite the fact that my ultimate goal is 12 pounds away. So anyways, back to my passion. Here it is. Well, I should say, there it is. I want other women to feel EXACTLY the same way that I do. I spent a good part of my life being "chunky". I was always active in gymnastics, and had a very muscular build, but did not ever do "cardio" until I started gaining weight in college. To be honest, I didn't even know "cardio" was a "thing" until my roommate told me that's how I could lose weight. I can remember thinking about summer and dreading being invited to pool parties...How would I explain the fact that I don't want to get in the pool? Do I say I have my period? Honestly...I would debate announcing to the whole world that I had blood running from my vagina just so that I wouldn't have to say "I'm fat and don't want you to see me in a bathing suit"...That may have been TMI, but it's the truth. Then there's wearing a shirt to the beach over your bathing suit and saying "I don't want to get sunburned". Come on lady, if people have their babies out in the sun you can slap on some sunscreen and disrobe. Here's the worst part. I KNOW that I'm not the only one who has contemplated this. I KNOW without a doubt that there is someone reading this right now who has done, and is already thinking about doing these things this summer. It's an awful feeling. It has taken me 2 years to shed 60 pounds, mostly due to my love of nachos. I started in April 2012. That summer, I stayed away from pool parties (I know now it was because even though I had completedINSANITY and everyone was telling me how great I looked with my clothes ON, that I didn't follow through on the nutrition aspect and didn't have as great results as I could have had). But guess what? I continued to work hard. I ran, I shaped up my diet (a little), and did Turbo Fire. The following May, when my husband and I got some time off together and finally went to one of our Texas "bucket list" locations, Schlitterbahn, I donned a new bikini....With no T-shirt on top!!! I was nervous, but when I got there, I realized that even though my body was far from perfect (at this point I was still almost 30 pounds from my goal weight), I had muscle tone, and CONFIDENCE because I KNEW that I had worked hard to get where I was. To my surprise, I looked at the other ladies in bikinis and realized that they looked pretty close to me! ***I didn't, however, compare myself to the 18-22 year old set...that's just not healthy for a 34 year old woman to do...Unfortunately I see A LOT of women get caught up doing so...I'm telling you now, STOP IT***
What I'm trying to get at here (I told you there were a flood of thoughts), is that where my passion lies is in that deep dark spot in many women's heads that says "I can't wear a bikini" or "I'm too fat for this dress". What I want people to know is that first of all, you NEED to be healthy, you DO NOT need to be skinny. Wherever you are in your journey, you should LOVE yourself for deciding to make a change and you should LOVE your body for the things that it's capable of. The other thing that I need you to know is that if you haven't yet made a decision to get healthy, and you don't want to spend another summer at the pool with a T-shirt over your bathing suit, YOU CAN CHANGE. I promise you can. You don't have to be at your ultimate goal weight to don a bathing suit. You just need to start TAKING THE STEPS to get there, and I cannot tell you how much your confidence will soar. I post A LOT of pictures on facebook. I am guilty of "fitness selfies". I take pictures of myself when I look cute. It's not out of vanity or bragging at my accomplishments. It's because when I look back for "transformation tuesday" pictures, I have VERY FEW to pick from. Not because I didn't spend a good amount of time being well overweight, but because I deleted EVERY bad picture of myself. The only ones that got kept were the ones that made me look SKINNIER than I actually was. I don't ever again want to quit documenting my life just because of my insecurities.
What I want everyone reading this to know is that you DO NOT have to put yourself out to pasture just because you don't have your "twenties" figure anymore. I started my journey at 32. I'm not saying that's old. In fact, I feel younger now than I ever have, but I also know that there are women out there who are thinking "I'm in my thirties, what's the point?" The point is two things. Your HEALTH and your WELL BEING. I'm of the opinion that being unhappy is just as detrimental to your health as a fast food drive thru, and unfortunately sometimes the two go hand in hand. I hope in some way my brutal honesty has spoken to someone out there and helped them feel that they aren't alone. If it has, please reach out to me. I've been there, and I know how hard it is, but I am also willing to commit to you 100%. If you don't give up on you, neither will I.
An issue has come up quite a bit recently among the team that I coach as well as friends and coworkers asking for fitness advice. This is a common misconception, so I'm hoping I can clear up the confusion. Here it is:
CRUNCHES WILL NOT GET RID OF YOUR BELLY FAT!
What? I thought that article that was trending last week about getting the "tummy of your dreams by summer" was going to change my life!!! Welp, sorry. They lied. We see articles like this almost DAILY, so it's no wonder we all think that if we confine ourselves to our room each night and do 1000 crunches we will have a 6 pack like Britney Spears. I have a secret for you. Britney Spears doesn't JUST do crunches. She gets an insane cardio workout from running around on stage several nights a week, and I would venture a guess that despite those Cheetos that she loves so much (who could blame her?), for the most part, she's eating lean meats, fish, and veggies on the daily. Ok, enough about Britney. The point I'm trying to make here is that if you have fat on your midsection, unless you do something to lose the FAT ITSELF (ie cardio, weight training, and a strict diet), all the crunches in the world will not give you a flat belly. That's not to say that you should give up on the ab work completely, though. Even if you can't get rid of those excess fat cells by doing abdominal exercises, they can help to lean out your shape (the fat will still be there, but the area may look more "toned"), and core strength is OH SO important to your general health and fitness. So don't skip your crunches, people!
So what's a guy or gal to do? Here's the crappy part...You have to lose the fat ALL OVER and pray that your genetics help you out. Not the answer you were looking for, huh? Sorry! All bodies are created differently, and we all carry excess fat in different areas. Some of us carry fat in our belly, others carry it in our thighs or buttocks. All you can really do is put in the hard work, stick to a clean diet and blame your problem areas on your ancestors (...jerks). I have lost 60 pounds, and believe it or not, my thighs are STILL just about the same as they were when I started my weight loss journey. Trust me, I measure them! My waist, however, is about 8 inches smaller. So what do I do? Take pride in the fact that I've dropped about 6 dress sizes and can fit into cute dresses; not bash my thighs for their stubborn resistance to my progress. We are all created differently. We can work on our "flaws" or problem areas, and some of us might see real results, but to me, the most important thing to remember is that the goal should be for HEALTH, not fitting into society's standards of beauty. If your goal truly is to have a chiseled 6 pack, then you have to know that you'll need to put in the work and train (and more importantly, eat) like one of the people in the P90X videos. I respect everyone's goals and know that some people strive for that perfect physique. But no matter what your fitness goal, my hope for you is that above all, no matter what the mirror or scale tells you, that you will LOVE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU ARE. I'm not going to use this blog as another soapbox for self love, but I do believe that we have to be happy with ourselves and our progress. If you know you've put in hard work but those last few bits of adipose tissue are just hanging onto your midsection, remember above all else how hard you've worked and how far you've come. Those love handles are still part of your body, and your body is beautiful.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.