My Fitness Journey: How I Started to Get Fit

haley ivers fitness journey

Hey lovers! 

A lot of you guys have been asking me quite a lot about my fitness routine over on my Instagram. It's actually been wonderfully overwhelming how often I receive questions. I thought I would just write a little bit about my fitness journey to give you a better understanding of how I've come to look and feel the way I do now!

The Decision

My first two years of college I noticed I weighed more than I ever have before. To the average human, maybe it wasn't a lot, but to me, it was.

I vividly remember being in the school bathroom, staring at myself in the mirror, wondering how it was possible that my favorite boyfriend jeans were getting too tight on me. Why my face looked a bit rounder. Why my stomach didn't look good enough to wear tight tops or crop tops. 

Well, I thought to myself, I don't exercise. It's seriously as simple as that. And I should be taking better care of my body because my body needs it.

The Start

I got a gym membership and I started going twice a week. Both days, I would run on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then do an hour-long class (it was usually non-stop cardio and weights and bosu ball exercises.) This is when I began to enjoy running, too. Soon, I found myself going on runs around my neighborhood during the days I didn't go to the gym.

My Diet

Beginning:

Two summers ago, I went to see a naturopathic doctor to help me with some of my health issues. I took a test to see what foods I am sensitive too and I was really surprised that I was sensitive to some of my favorite foods and these might be the reason I was having some problems, such as lots of tummy bloating. I learned I was sensitive to shrimp (my all time favorite, but looking back, I now see the signs of my sensitivity.) I also learned that I am sensitive to dairy and gluten.

We started eliminating foods from my diet to see how they affected me. After the course of several weeks, I actually became gluten-free and vegan. 

This only lasted about four months, but during that time, I felt clean. I felt like I was detoxifying my body. Most of all, I wasn't bloated and I was happy I was able to get to the root of that problem. I could finally look at my tummy and be happy with what I saw. With that being said, I didn't continue to be gluten-free and vegan because of the negative effects it had on me. I was eating every two hours which was extremely exhausting and repetitive. I was also always so so tired and never had any energy to do anything, despite taking Vitamin B12 supplements (which many people recommended for that). I think it was a good cleanse, but it's not something I chose to continue.

Now:

Dairy: First off, I do limit my dairy intake. I rarely drink milk or yogurt. I actually prefer almond milk if I eat cereal or granola and I enjoy homemade cashew cream instead of yogurt (or whipped cream). I do eat cheese though with my eggs, in pastas, or in sandwiches.

With this choice, I don't find myself bloated which was one of my biggest insecurities in the past. 

Carbs/Gluten: I don't eat gluten-free bread, but I do limit my carbs to usually breakfast or lunch. I love my onion bagels with eggs in the morning :)

I limit my carb intake because the more bread and pasta you eat, the more you crave it. And carbs get stored in stubborn areas on your body like your lower tummy and inner thighs. Carbs are a great source of energy though which is why I choose to eat them earlier in the day.

Fruits/Veggies: I eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables. I'm actually obsessed with fruit so whenever I need a snack, that's the first thing I look for. I always eat fruit with my breakfast and always eat veggies with my dinner. Lunch is either or both, whatever I'm feeling. 

Meat/Fish: I eat chicken and salmon mainly. Because I'm sensitive to shrimp, I can't eat it often but I do love it and indulge. I do like skirt steak too but don't eat it often. I rarely eat beef, pork, ham, or salami. 

Water/Drinks: My two favorite drinks I consume on a daily basis are water, which I flavor with organic fruits or herbs, and tea. 

For water, I try to flavor it with lemons, mint, cucumber, or anything natural I have in my kitchen to encourage myself to drink more and so I can enjoy it a little more too.

I drink one or two cups of tea a day and my favorite is Trader Joe's Mango Black Tea with honey added and no milk.

Desserts: I have the biggest sweet tooth and I eat sweets too much. Not gonna lie to you. This is the only thing I'm currently working to improve in my diet. I have noticed an improvement from the past but whenever my period comes around, I have no self control and that's when I know I'm not doing my best when it comes to my eating choices.  

What I don't eat/drink: I pretty much never eat fast food or junk food and I try to stay away from processed food as much as possible (Doritos, Cheetos, Goldfish, pizza rolls, potato chips, Taco Bell, all that kind of stuff..) Okay, I eat burgers from Snarfs sometimes but not regularly haha. I never eat candy or deep fried food. I also barely ever drink alcohol and never drink soda or coffee (or drinks from Starbucks.) 

Exercise

Alright, now to the fun part - what my exercise consists of!

Cardio: So generally, I always do cardio to start off my workout. I usually always run 1 mile and aim to run it under 8 minutes. Lately, however, I've been having more trouble with my knees and running has been hurting me. So instead, I've been using either the stair master or the bicycle machine and do that for 30 minutes. 

Free Weights: Free weights are my FAVORITE form of exercise because no matter what you may be targeting, you are engaging your entire body! Everything is working together, not just your arms or legs. That's mainly the reason why I have such a strong core!  I'm always engaging my core whether I'm doing leg and butt day or arm and back day! Look at all those exclamation points...that's how exciting free weight exercises are for me!! Lmao.

Also, I get allllll my exercises from Pinterest. There are a plethora of exercises to choose from and I always try and do something different with each workout because I never want my body getting too comfortable doing something. 

Weight Machines: I also do weight machines, generally for my legs, and usually always do them when I work out with my boyfriend Sean. He always shows me new machines to try out and pushes me to always reach my goal. He also makes me feel comfortable trying these machines because they can be really intimidating, especially because I never really know how to work them and they're in the weight room which is dominated by hulky guys haha. 

I like the weight machines for legs because some of them really target specific areas on the leg that I can't always hit when I'm doing free weights or no weight exercises. 

How often:

When I am back in Boulder, I go to the gym around 3-4 times a week. When I'm in California, it's a bit trickier to get to the gym because it's not a 5-minute walk from my house haha. And during the summer, because this is the time when I work my ass off, I struggle to make enough time to work out. So instead, I take the time to go on more runs and do more free-weight exercises at my house whenever I get the chance (at least two times a week.)

Example of some of my workouts:

 

Workout Apparel 

Lilybod: I actually just did an Instagram collaboration with Lilybod and I wanted to share my thoughts about this brand. (I was not required to write a blog post about them, I decided to write this on my own because I genuinely have good things to say about this brand.)

In the photos below, I'm wearing Lilybod and I just have to say that I think this is my new favorite athletic wear. To give you an idea of what the material feels like, it's that of Lululemon - soft, stretchy, but also tight (but not too tight.)

Don't get me wrong, I love Lululemon and own several pairs of leggings, but every single person known to mankind owns Lululemon. I just don't feel as unique when I'm rocking Lululemon as I am when I'm rocking Lilybod. 

The brand also has really unique textures and little details on the leggings which I absolutely adore. When picking out my Lilybod gear, I thought my leggings were just plain pink when in actuality, they have white dot overprint towards the bottom part and pink rubber stripes. Also, these ones are high-waisted and the length of the legging is 7/8ths which is my favorite length. 

Shop: Sports Bra // Leggings

Glyder Apparel: This is another brand I discovered and love (I especially love the unique colors of their workout clothes!) I put their leggings and sports bra to the test when I hiked to Angels Landing in Zion, Utah and I'm super satisfied with how they felt the entire time. 

This material is definitely thicker than Lilybod and Lululemon which I like on colder days and for when I want my body to feel really lifted and tight. The material isn't as soft but it's not uncomfortable or itchy by any means. It's just a totally different kind of fabric - "customized yarns, and the perfect 4 way stretch tension" is how they advertise it, to give you a better idea!

I have the leggings and matching sports bra in their color "Silver Pine" which is a medium grey, green color! It's so unique and beautiful and I especially love it because it brings out my green eyes and makes them pop!

These leggings are also high-waisted and the leg is full length. The sports bra is SO supportive (not that I have much to support) but I would highly recommend this sports bra for fuller chested women who cardio like running or jumping!

Shop: Sports Bra // Leggings

Final Words

My fitness journey has been a really fun one and that's how I want you to think of yours! No matter where you are on your journey to a healthier version of yourself, celebrate that you are taking care of your body. Compare yourself to no one but you in the past and use that to motivate yourself to push for and reach your goals. Try out as many different kinds of exercise until you find the right ones for you - that way, exercising will be something you look forward to.

Lastly, stay strong. Physically and mentally. You got this