For the month of September, one of our OG-original babes, Alana, has taken on a personal thirty day challenge. Delving into her day-to-day life, antics, emotions, thoughts and how her movement fits in.
For the past six to eight weeks, Alana has been feeling increasingly uninspired by exercise. It became an increasingly debilitating cycle of being excited to exercise, not being able to do so properly, feeling unable to activate muscles and allowing that inner critic to be far too harsh. Everyday she’d try again, and everyday she would leave feeling deflated and hurt. From here, we started seeing less and less of Alana, as she gave her body something that we all deny we ever need – rest.
Alana once struggled with an eating disorder and eighteen months ago, alongside renourishing her body and her mind, she found this studio, tucked in an old Queenslander on Montague Road. She has grown, she has learnt, she has made amazing friends and filled the studio with her non-stop positivity and good vibes. We are so happy to say she is back, she is rested and she is ready to document her ‘second-coming’. Did we just liken her to a certain divine being? You would too, if you knew how many squats this girl has dropped.
Alana promises real. Alana promises raw. Alana promises herself thirty days.
Read her personal entries below x
Mondays are my favourite day of the week. I set out my weekly goals that are health, mind and task orientated. This morning I had a simple goal of getting my booty out of bed after a Sunday sesh and smashing out pilates. I am so grateful I did. After a set of glutes I turned to Gabi and thanked her for the pure satisfaction. It felt as though it was the kind of thanks you offer to someone after some really good sex. I LOVE and live for that burn in my glutes and pilates always delivers the goods. Adrenalin kicks in and I’m like, “Yep, this is what Alana has come to class for.” We good we poppin’.
Once upon a time if I didn’t exercise first thing in the morning my day would feel so out of balance and I wouldn’t be able to focus throughout the day. But this morning I slept in and enjoyed the company of another and allowed my body that extra sleep and snuggle time. I got my butt out of bed made a productive task list (smashed it, with ultimate satisfaction) and ended the day with pedalling my heart out at a spin class followed by a pilates nightcap that I know I will feel tomorrow – I’ll smile at that.
Growing up I was the queen of throwing a tantrum. And yesterday I was on the verge of one at the ripe age of 25. What felt like a migraine had me contemplating whether I should be strutting into a 75-minute barre, mat and mind class, or just indulge in my bedroom floor tantrum. After much contemplation and arguments made in my own mind, I came to the conclusion that I knew I would feel so great afterwards. So, I left my house; listened to some gangster rap on my journey and showed up and Oh. My. God. It was killer. Like killer. I nailed it and I loved every second of it. It was the absolute highlight of my day and seeing my fav gal pal instructor was like the added bonus of hummus to a rice cake! I left feeling the best I had all day. I have never ever once regretted a barre class – ever. There is always someone there to make you laugh and forget what’s outside the door (maybe because your in deep deep squat mode, but hey it works).
I’ve always had this inner curiosity and pull towards the country India, maybe it’s because I really like an Indian curry or maybe it’s because I enjoy yoga. What really intrigues me is the concept of Ayurvedic medicine. I know when I follow what best suits my dosha, I always feel so much more nourished. Today, I walked out of my Ayurvedic massage feeling like a reborn Hindu Goddess that will only put pure goodness into my body (which I totally did). I made the herbal warm water and felt all at one with myself. Like I was hugging my insides. But can we just pretend that I didn’t reach for some dark chocolate later in the middle of the night? It’s called balance and I did yoga that morning, so it’s fine.
You know what grinds my gears? When my abs or butt muscles just decide to tap out and switch off after getting a good workout from the previous set – it’s like hellooooooo, not done with you yet. So I’m there, just trying to work all angles to wake those little babies up, probably looking like a total fish out of water. How dare they betray me like that? I’m just here, trying to have a sculpted waist and a booty that won’t quit and they go and do that. But, you know what that means, Alana? It means you’ve smashed it – and how amazing is that. To say you’ve literally given something your all and you’ve accomplished it. You absolutely exhausted those little suckers and they just need a moment to absorb that goodness you’ve put them through. Relish this moment.
Saturday night rolled around and I was craving a good glass (or glasses) of red wine accompanied by some dancing. Like come on, I’ve been super productive and healthy this week – every day so far day has included a barre, pilates, or yoga class, so wine will be fine. So here I am showered, makeup done, in my nighty (note to self, once the nighty is on I pretty much should just accept I won’t be leaving) and poured my first glass of wine. Everything was great and then I started youtubing what dreams mean, interesting health facts and weird tips that might save you’re life one day (the suggestion box just kept on topping up with things that I suddenly needed to know). So I did not go out dancing and my dignity stayed intact (more or less). I did my youtube browse, got my social media stalk on, got just a tad tipsy in my room and was able to wake up for morning stroll by the river. Perfect really. Some weekends you wake up on a Sunday, filled with regrets from former you, no money and a sore head. Other weekends, you wake up a bit smarter, a bit fresher and richer (not just finance wise). Balance baby.
I always tell myself at the start of the semester that I’ll start my assignments early and be like super on top of it. I’m all like yeah girl you’re going to make this semester your bitch. But really the semester always seems to make me its bitch. Sometimes you just reach that point of ‘totally done’, click submit and hope for the best. I do love studying natural medicine, but the one thing that has always ruined my experience is referencing. It is the bane of my existence. Not to blow my own horn, but I wish I could reference my own brain sometimes (I wonder how that’d go down in the reference list and in-text citations). Anyway, I submitted on time, so don’t stress guys. I also made it to Sunday stretch and left my previous week behind – entering the new with some stretched out hips and hamstrings.
Today I am grateful. I am grateful for my 6am barre cardio, seeing my fave pal, a cute sleepy face waiting for me to return home nice and sweaty, that first sip of coffee (first in four weeks), the little bug I saw swimming in that flower vase, the sun on my skin, old Aussie hip hop, my pyschologist appointment, seeing missed co-workers back from holiday, hearing my mums voice on the phone and the T2 member for brewing my favourite tea to sample. My day of appreciations began at the end of this morning’s class – during the blissful guided relaxation. I am so thankful for allowing my body to release and melt into the mat, physically and mentally. It set me up for accepting every moment this Monday, so I could be truly invested in these little wins, to be my true self and give my true self to others. It was perfect.
So I’m going to tell you my funny little story of having a total ‘There’s Something About Mary’ moment, but I’m keeping it PG. I’ve had this really tight neck/upper shoulder thing going on for a while – the reason I had to take some time off exercising to let it just be. Anyway boring. The awesome thing I’m going to discuss is finding your sweet spot. Don’t get too excited, heads out of the gutter please, I’m talking when you’re in an exercise and just can’t feel it’s full potential, but then you give yourself a little jiggle and a manoeuvre and BAM – you’ve reached that sweet spot and you’ve found that burn. This happened to me today during a certain ab workout that I thought just wasn’t for me. I had given up on it so many times before, but for some reason today, I just moved the ball up my back a little bit more. I found my sweet spot. And hopefully it’ll lead to my abs finding their way to the surface. It’s different for everyone, but don’t pretend you can feel it when you can’t. Speak up or wriggle around. Find your sweet spot, you won’t regret it.
The beautiful thing about emotions and life is that you truly don’t know where it’ll lead you for the day. My day was going amazing – yoga in the morning beside my bestie, another Ayurvedic massage then my fave uni class. Prior to my night shift at work, I decided to do one of my most loved past times – clothes shopping. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong in that decision. It ended with me in a horrible, self-depreciating head-space. After being so underweight for 5 years, it’s still such a new feeling for me being ‘normal’. Recovering is not just about weight restoration, but recovering emotionally with how you see yourself. I’ve accepted who I am as a person and more days than not I accept the body I have. During my freak out, I messaged a friend, subconsciously wishing for some sympathy, but in stead, I got ‘reigned in’ and was reminded that every woman and man struggles with their bodies, daily. It’s okay to feel this way occasionally, it’s part of life. But what’s not okay is to neglect nourishment.
I have this wonderful friend, who shall remain nameless for the sake of the internet. Every week we have a single girls date, with a focus on physical activity, mindfulness or an act of complete selfishness. We have both suffered from anxiety, as well as recently having our fair share of shit dealings with the opposition sex, so we like to uplift ourselves and be independent, nourished beings allowing only good vibrations into our space (sah spiritual, but I totally believe it). This week we attended a stress management event at City Cave. It was insightful and a lovely reminder that we need to invest in ourselves to keep that cortisol level balanced, so we don’t literally flip our lids over spilt almond milk. As a society, we invest so much into material things to look good, but this doesn’t go far if your mental and physical health isn’t being looked after too. So book the massage, lower that stress hormone and know that you are worthy. I’ll do the same.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the beautiful weather this week has brought to us Brisbane beings. Also, taking a moment to appreciate my body for smashing out a 7am Saturday morning class, followed by an hour and half yoga session under the trees at the markets. It was so blissful. I’m so proud of my body for allowing me to challenge it and push it into squats, chair poses and upper arm work. I was conversing with a friend about my body challenges earlier in the week and she said to me something that I’m going to take with me into the following week. That’s to not focus on how my body is looking, but on the strength it is gaining. Since week one of being back into my routine, I’m already smashing little exercises that I couldn’t do at the start. It’s so encouraging and satisfying. You can always squat a little lower, lift one more time or squeeze a second longer and you will build strength bit by bit. Baby steps baby, you got this.
Being a woman/girl in a world where most photos have several filters and edits over them makes it hard to accept the fact that cellulite, stretch marks and blemishes are actually a real life thing. So I have this routine before a morning shower, where I dry body brush my booty and body to stimulate blood flow (apparently it helps with cellulite). I’ve been upset by the site of it for some time now, however, one morning I was doing my thing and a close friend said to me, “I don’t understand why girls are so concerned about their cellulite, so many people have it and I don’t find it any less attractive.” I kinda died and thought “omg, like, bless your soul.” So now when I see it I’m just like – yeah, you know what? It’s there and it doesn’t make me any less of a person. It excited me when I saw that my bum had stretch marks from the daily squats I do – it’s growing! Growth is such an amazing and natural occurrence in life. We are always changing and constantly evolving. So sprout and spread your branches, embrace and accept.
I met with a beautiful friend from uni last week who has moved his life down to Melbourne and trying to embrace the unpredictable weather. Majority of our conversation was based on how we all frequently use the expression: “when I have my shit together.” The pressure we are putting on ourselves to have it all together is a bit far-fetched in the fact that it doesn’t actually collectiveky mean anything. Everyone has such different ideas of success and being ‘together’. To me success is happiness, (here comes the cheese) a wonderful relationship with myself, my friends and family and having more good days than bad. Not working excessively to reach a certain point of fortune but embracing every step, jump and fall along the way. Life is happening right now! Enjoy the process and maybe you’ll realise you already do have you’re ‘shit together’.
“You’re not a drop in the ocean, you are the whole ocean,” were the words left with us in meditation this evening. I would like to add; you are the whole damn ocean! There’s been a muddle of conflicting thoughts these past few days about self worth for a number of people around me, myself included. I just wish everyone knew how special and wonderful they are. Tonight, I walked up my steps to my apartment, with a belly full of chai, calmness through my veins and warmth in heart (ssh – I’m allowed to be super cheesy) as I’d just shared chats with one of my favourite humans. Going into this week, I feel that it will only bring good things. It was the perfect way to end a Sunday and begin this week ahead me. Slow down, breathe, and embrace it. Everything is going to be alright. You are alright (more than alright to be honest), capable, and the whole damn ocean.
The other evening after class, a fellow babe mentioned how she loves that everyone apart of Barre Brisbane isn’t ashamed of working hard or being healthy. We all own that we wake up at 5am to workout, know what kale is and don’t eat mcdonalds on the reg. Being healthy and fit is hard work – it takes discipline and self control. When you get set into your routine, there’s this health kick high and it’s this feeling that makes it all so worth it. I understand everyone has a different body and mind, as well as that fact that I completely believe in balance and not driving yourself crazy over counting calories, steps and fad diets – not at all. I’m simply agreeing with my fellow barre babe and saying that if you wake up early to sweat, buy organic and drink green smoothies, you shouldn’t be ashamed of staying on track – own that shit, you work for it.
Ownership. Own every aspect of your life – body, mind and soul. It’s yours; so own that piece of gold! Give it love, give it light and some dark chocolate now and then.
I think about this often, as sometimes I think I’m giving it my all, but I’m like, “No Alana, I think there’s even more inside of you to give just a smidge (or a lot more).” After class last night, Gabi said to me that she believed I am stronger than I think. I feel as though that applies to everyone. We are all so much stronger than what we usually put into an exercise. What are we scared of? Realising we are the hulk? Sorry, not going to happen. What will happen is: pride, satisfaction and determination to go further tomorrow. So I’m going to take my own advice and squeeze, push and hold a bit longer.
Every day is a new day (yes, obviously), but so is every single minute. You have the complete power to start something new or change your thoughts into something more positive ever minute of the day. Why wait until tomorrow? You can start now and get to the goal sooner rather than later. And how amazing is that as it’s more time enjoying the journey than wallowing in when or if you’ll get there. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself alllll of the time to be perfect. We slip up on occasion and that’s okay. You can start afresh 20 times a day – it’s better than staying stuck and sad waiting for the sun to rise tomorrow.
Weekly girl date with my pal was to attend a mini health seminar. Prior to this outing, I purchased some sage and smudged my living area – cleansed away all of those bad vibes. I then met my friend, ate a healthy meal and we giggled away like school-girls. My heart was full and my belly nourished. It was a wonderful night, learning about how you have to be your own healer. You can create how your body needs to feel and evolve by what you do with your thoughts, nutrition and activities. Everything works together and accumulates, so when one falls from the balancing act, disease can come knocking. It’s about taking that control – owning who you are and where you want to be in all aspects in life. I always tell myself; you go to bed with you and wake up with you, so be the best version you can be for yourself.
So its been three weeks now of daily barre/pilates/yoga. Everyday I get these little wins with the exercises – squatting a bit lower, holding longer or squeezing tighter. It makes me so happy and proud of myself, my body and the instructor for always pushing everyone in the room just that little bit further. Persistence is a massive effort (and such a bitch sometimes) but its so worth it. Progress can be quick or it can be slow. But progress is progress and it’s a win all in itself. These little goals (and smashing them) keeps up this momentum to keep cracking on the following day. I finished Patty’s yoga class last Thursday and afterwards I was already so excited for the following week’s class. I’m feeling stronger in poses and I cannot wait to keep warrior-ing on. Find your passion, and hold it tight.
I hate to admit this, but I missed one day. Embarrassing, but real. And I promised I’d be real. So would you like to know what happened? I had a hangover and decided that cuddling for a few hours that morning was nourishing for my soul and as much as I hated the discomfort of not moving my body in a class, I survived the day. As I’ve said in a previous post, not exercising for just one day would once ruin my mood completely – I’d feel so flat and thought it would undo all of my hard work. It does not do that at all. I made it through and could still drop a squat the next day. Go easy on yourself if you miss a day, it just means you’ll give the next workout even more sass than usual.
Boy, am I glad I got up and did barre cardio Saturday morning, because that afternoon I indulged on a few too many gin, vodkas and sweet potato chips. It’s Saturday, so it’s totally accepted and fine to have a fun night, where the next day is bound to be spent with a sore head (literally – I bumped my noggin on a girls shoulder). It was beautiful evening sitting on the hill with my girls, listening to London Grammar and getting to hear my favourite relaxation song in class at the moment by James Vincent McMorrow. I danced like a lunatic, got very white girl and don’t regret a thing. Because, in that moment, I was so happy and free and had no where to be or do but just dance and laugh and drink. Balance babes!
Some days it feels as though I’m fighting myself more than I am loving myself. It’s so exhausting. We all have our own battles and little self-critical voice getting all up in our business telling us we are failures, not good enough, unable, or weak. When you spend so much of your day fighting these little challenging thoughts and setbacks, you drain both your mind and body of energy. It’s so sad to think how hard we are on ourselves. I am a one hundred and twenty-one percent believer that our thoughts create our state of wellbeing. Feed your mind good thoughts and all the rest will fall into place. Sounds super easy right? Haha no. It takes practice and patience everyday to turn away that bad critical devil on your shoulder. Look at yourself and your life and think of all the hard things you’ve overcome that you never thought you would. All the tears shed that you thought would never stop and the days spent going from bad to worse – you are still here, you are alive. The tears stopped, the sun set and rose again. So think of how strong and enough you are, because some days are hard and shit and you hate your body, you slept in and spilt your coffee or your boss is being less than fun. But you will get through the day, your body is getting you up, moving and working for YOU because you are more than worth it. Every little bit of you is strong, your mind just needs to catch up with the programme.
So I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist, but apparently I am, because I don’t think that I am. Makes total sense right? I’ve been told this many times and I still don’t understand or believe it. So this morning I’m working out, doing barre cardio trying to drop it low and my muscles are so sore that I thought I was going to just fall to the ground (Gabi knows how to work us). Anyway, I had to stop, which annoyed me because I wanted to be able to perfectly do the donkey kicks like the rest of the class. Gabi asked what was wrong and I explained that I’m still in pain from her killing my butt in pilates the previous day and I was suffering from the aftermath of what was pushing myself a bit too much. She said to just take it slower, and take it easier, so I kept going, being a little gentler on myself. Sometimes you do just need to take it slow and easy – have a rest day, do the exercise a bit slower or alter it to best suit your ability that day (just THAT day guys, not everyday). Sometimes we do just need to step back, be kind to our body and let it rest so we may smash is out tomorrow and let those little tears in the muscle rebuild. Don’t feel bad if you need to put the weights down in arm circles, or go down on forearms in a plank. Love your body and it will love you back. Plus, you showed up to class that is a win in itself.
Days twenty-six and twenty-seven
So look, I’m going to be real. I’m sore. My butt and arms are just building so much muscle I can’t keep up (haha I kid). But seriously, again, I’m sore. Moving every day is hard and tiring. But I kind of (well actually I do) love the feeling the following day or even that day, walking up my apartment stairs after smashing glutes with two extra-heavy resistance bands. I know how much the instructors love to see us burn, but do they know how much we love to feel it? So this is for you. Thank you ?
We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, feel happy, make you laugh and people who can be honest with. My mum is the most wonderful human. I talk to her everyday and tell her (more often than not) a lot more than she’d like to know. There were two things that got me through every hospital admission – that was her and myself. Thank those people you are giving and spending your time with. So thank you, Mumma, for your emotional and financial support, so I can get up everyday, kick some butt at barre and live a life you’ve helped me be here for. These people we are surrounding ourselves with help us on our journey, just like the instructors help us to get lower and push us through jump squats. Just be sure to remember to thank them for the post workout high.
It’s been an interesting little year. What did you set out to achieve this year? I didn’t have any goals this year to be honest. This year has been a learning curve, in the way of learning to embrace more of myself, set boundaries, be okay with saying no and walk away when deserving better. As well as of that, I’ve also been seeing my sister go through a not-so-nice period in her life – inviting me to and step up as the little sister. It breaks my heart seeing those around me suffer from depression, but it’s something that does need to be talked about – how we are all really feeling. You don’t need to have the answers, you just need to listen (or speak up if you’re the one struggling). Even if it’s the same sentence and thought pattern over and over, just listen, it’ll mean so much to them to verbalise their thoughts and feeling validated. If you haven’t looked into it yet, I highly recommend checking out the Mental Awareness Foundation Walk for Awareness, taking place on the 8th October. Donate or partake and raise awareness. It’s cool to be kind.
So my thirtieth and final day has arrived. What have I received from this thirty day comeback after some time away? Addiction. Addiction to rising from my bed early again and feeling amazing for just that. Addiction for the burn and meeting new faces, as well as seeing my fav old faces too. Apart from the booty gains, I think (well I know it) is the best friends I’ve made since this special studio opened over a year and a half ago. Honestly, I’ve found my people. I’ve met the most beautiful best friends, who I have and will continue to share endless laughs, squats and sometimes tears with. And that’s what gets me up at 5.30 (sometimes 5.40am) – to be in a room with other sleepy, yet excited people ready to smash out whatever it is that’s coming our way in class and in the day ahead. So here’s to continuing thirty days of SoBa, because I can’t stop and won’t stop.