Meet Alyssa | Fitness babe, blogger and badass bish

Holy H-E-Double Hockey sticks! This fitness journey is, in our opinion, hella motivational. We feel so blessed and lucky to be able to connect with such inspirational women and to share their fitness journey's on our blog and with our followers. We can't thank them enough for opening up to help us on our quest of inspiring women to embrace their journey.
Check out Alyssa's Q & A below to find out how she overcame a major hurdle and pushed through with a positive attitude and outlook on life. 
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your fitness journey?
A: I was always pretty athletic my whole life and participated in multiple sports and activities at a time. I was always running around trying to make it to a practice or game and eating on the go. I was athletic, but I did not have any real muscle definition or physical muscular appearance to me, just a normal athletic girl.
However, when I went to college that was all placed on the back burner because I focused a lot on my school work, friends, family, and job. I didn’t focus on my eating habits and getting in a workout as much as I would have liked. My senior year in college was very stressful. It was filled with student teaching for a duel major and going back and forth from school (which was located in PA) to my home (located an hour and a half away in NJ) on the weekends to work.
The college I went to was located in a small PA town called Kutztown and did not have a lot jobs and I had a lot of bills to pay, so going home to work was what I had to do. My nights were spent pulling a lot of all-nighters to finish lesson plans while enjoying a pint of Ben and Jerry’s evil and delicious ice cream to get me through it.
My “cardio” session was the mile long hike up a large hill called Main St. to get to and from class.
I was not working out like I used to back at home and eating like any college student does. Extra-large chicken bacon ranch pizza, smothered fries with every topping you could think of from Spuds, and shakes from Pops. (Milkshakes, not a protein shake! Lol) I should have been packing on the pounds, but noticed something weird starting to happen. I was losing a significant amount of weight instead of gaining any. I thought it was due to stress and anxiety, but when I lost about 23 pounds in a little more than two weeks, still eating with the same bad college habits I knew I had to contact my doctor.
After some invasive testing, (yes, they did a colonoscopy… lucky I was asleep!) it came to be that I have a stomach disease that produces too much acid. Luckily, it was caught at a good time and I was put on medicine that made me feel gross and bloated all the time. I also began working on changing my diet because I was had constant stomach aches ALL the time and lost any appetite I had when I began taking the medicine. My appearance suffered a lot too. I looked so fragile and sick like a skeleton. My confidence began to diminish and my anxiety had gotten worse. Anyone I knew or was friends with made it a point to tell me that I looked so sick and I was so small like a skeleton.
When I graduated, I was able to go back and unfreeze my gym membership so I could begin going again! I moved in with my boyfriend and we both went to the same gym, which was great, but a little intimidating at the same time. He was very knowledgeable about lifting, fitness, and nutrition. It was something he was really into and I learned a lot of what I know from him, as well as some of my own research! I decided I was sick and tired of everyone telling me I looked sick and tired and needed to do something FOR MYSELF. (I can’t stress enough how important it is to do this for yourself. It is your journey!) I set a goal to become fit, strong, and all around live a healthier life. I was going to build muscle and get rid of this fragile skeleton like appearance everyone was so focused on. I am in no way, shape, or form a fragile person, so I was sick of being portrayed that way. This was for me and my sanity and I was 150% committed.
I started to do my own research and began a fitness program through an app on my phone called “Sweat”. It is through Kayla Itsines and I highly recommend, especially for a beginner and to get comfortable in the gym! It is really easy to follow and teaches you a lot, plus it has an added meal plan to help you follow. (She has a blog attached too, which is great and I enjoy reading from time to time BTW) I loved it because you did not just have to go to the gym, you could do some of the workouts at home too. This program introduced to me to HIIT and LISS workouts with circuit training, which is my favorite now! This program was great for my busy schedule (working 3 jobs plus grad school is not fun or easy) and helped me get over what I like to call “Meathead Induced Gym Anxiety”. This is when you get nervous or anxiety to work out because all the meatheads in the gym slamming down the weights are staring at you when you’re trying to figure out new equipment, form, and exercises. It can be very intimidating and turns a lot of people away from the gym.
I like to thank my boyfriend a lot because he has really taught me a lot about the machines and helped me over this hurdle. I have also found a lot of help and motivation through social media. It is not just filled with “Fake” people and profiles. I even gained enough confidence to start my own fitness page!
I have learned to embrace my workouts and have become so much more comfortable in the gym, I consider it my second home. (If there were beds and it was acceptable to live there, I would.)
The key is to just focus on yourself and pretend that you have a whole playground all to yourself. Fitness has really boosted my confidence and self-esteem. It has helped lower my anxiety and stress levels a lot! The feeling after a workout is unexplainable. It leaves you so relaxed, high on life, and like you conquer anything life throws at you. This journey has not only changed my life, it has saved me. I hope that I can spread awareness of how vital exercise can be to an individual both physically and mentally. It is amazing how much we can learn and grow as humans through it!
Q:What is your ultimate goal?
A: My ultimate goal is to become stronger both physically and mentally. There is always room to grow and learn as a human being. We can always improve in everything we do and try to be the best that we can at it.

No one is perfect, so we are always going to be working towards some sort of goal. I know I still have a long journey ahead of me, but that’s what is so great about it. This journey doesn’t have to end. It can be as continuous as I want it to be. If I reach my goal, I will still work towards becoming a better me. There is always going to be something I can work towards in life, including my fitness goals. If I reach my goal of how much muscle I want on my body, I can always work on maintaining it and toning other parts. There is no limit to a single goal; we can always become even stronger and healthier. So, I will be continuously working towards my ultimate goal of becoming stronger physically, as well as mentally.
Q: What does the term “Embrace your journey” mean to you?

A: The term “Embrace your journey” means a lot to me. Embracing your journey is first accepting the fact that this is YOUR journey and you are going to accept whatever is thrown your way.
A journey is unpredictable. We can plan for how we would like things to go, but life is filled with its hiccups. In order to be successful in our journey, we have to embrace everything that comes along with it. Whether that be good or bad we need to accept it and face these challenges head on. In order to be successful in life and this wonderful journey, we must accept new challenges and find ways to overcome those little hiccups when they arise. WHEN and not IF those bumps in the road occur because all roads and all journeys have bumps and challenges.
You will have days where you feel down, frustrated, sluggish, but it’s important to remember that it’s just a bad day and not a bad life. It’s how we handle these challenges that will determine which direction your journey take you. Everyone’s journey and goals are different, just like every human being is different. It is important to remember this because too often we compare ourselves to others. We all go through life at different stages, as well as tough times. We need to remember to do what is right for ourselves and our journey and not get caught up in someone else’s.
Life is unpredictable and your journey will be too. We can plan for things to go a certain way, but sometimes they don’t. So, plan to embrace change and accept it 150% and you will be successful in your journey. Guaranteed.
Q: Who/What are your biggest inspirations and why?
A: My biggest inspirations would be my boyfriend, my mom, and my best friend. My mom inspires me every day because of how hard she works. She has raised 4 kids alone without help from anyone and is still able to wake up with a smile on her face. She busted her butt for myself and all of my siblings every single day and still does! She works a full time job and goes straight to a part time job just to try to make ends meet. When she’s struggling financially or just longing for more sleep, she doesn’t give up and continues to push every single day. There are no sick days for her or taking a break with time to herself. I don’t think I know anyone that works as hard as that woman does. She is truly my inspiration in life.
My next inspiration is my boyfriend. He pushes me each day in a way differently than my mom does. He has helped me grow and has stuck by my side through it all. He has also had a great impact on helping me get back into fitness and helping me reach my goals in life. He is actually the ONLY person not to tell me I looked like a skeleton when I was sick. He’s helped me grow as an individual both physically and mentally.
My best friend is also my inspiration because he does not let anything get him down. He was in a car accident eight years ago and stayed in a coma for 9 long months. When he opened his eyes finally, he was blind and would never get his eye sight back. (This is how I got to be a teacher for the blind and visually impaired.) He has THE most positive attitude ever and can always put a smile on your face no matter what. He has pushed through every challenge life has thrown his way with a smile. He also did not lose his sense of humour and can make you laugh even if you’re about to cry. Just his positive attitude and fighting through challenges to survive makes him my hero and inspiration.
Q: What is your process for tackling a challenge and the hard day?
A: Tackling challenges and hard days is not as easy as people make them out to be. We are all going to have bad days or things that just won’t go how we would like.
I have found that keeping a positive attitude and mindset can really make a difference. I know what you’re thinking, easier said than done, but you are right. It is easier said than done in a lot of situations. There are so many factors to life and it is hard to stay upbeat or positive when something bad happens. I used to get in a big funk and let it ruin my whole day. But, I realized that I’m letting one thing affect me so horribly and tomorrow could just be a fresh start. Not only did I let a challenge or bad day affect me, but that bad attitude and horrible mood affected those around you. We don’t always realize it, but how we act and our attitude has a lot of impact on the individuals we come in contact with that day.
For me, I learned that taking a deep breath and taking some alone time for myself really helps. I listen to music or just go for a walk. It is a great way to clear your head and try to think of the positives or a good way to overcome this challenge. The gym always puts me in a better mood, especially if I’m having a bad day. I tend to workout harder too when I’m angry or upset and feel like weights have been lifted off my shoulders at the end. Just try to be positive!
Q: How do you come up with your fitness routines for the week?
A: So, currently I have a crazy schedule and have to be creative with my workouts. I work a full time job teaching the blind during the day and certain weeknights and weekends I work in 2 different restaurants. On top of all of that, I go to grad school and try to maintain a social life with my boyfriend.
Living on my own now has helped a little because there are 8 people that live at my home between siblings and grandparents! (Talk about losing your mind lol!) I have found that I like my “Sweat” app in case I do not have time to plan or want different ideas. I have veered off from using it for every single workout and like to incorporate certain workouts into it or use it for a nice at home or outside workout.
Usually I look up workouts on the Instagrams I follow and on www.bodybuilding.com. (They have great ideas and explanations to help you learn new exercises… plus its free!!) So I look up different exercises and modify them a lot as to how can I make this harder, more fun, or challenge myself.
I keep a notebook and have it sectioned out by my workouts so I can plan for the week. (Example, biceps and back, abs, glutes, etc .) I organize my workouts in my notebook and plan out each day what I am going to target and workout. This has helped me get a bigger view of my week will look like and try new workouts I think might be fun. I like things that are different and unique. I also keep a binder for my recipes to help me stay on track with eating for the crazy week as well. I bring my notebook with my workouts to the gym too because if certain machines are too packed I will switch it up. A lot of my workouts target multiple muscles at a time which is great if you go to a crowded gym like mine. It gives you a lot of leeway in your training too!
Q: A piece of advice you would like to give others on their fitness journey.
A: Do this for you and for you only. This is your journey and no one can control what you do or how you do it. Have fun and do not be afraid to TRY NEW THINGS. This can be the biggest hurdle to get over, but repeating the same workouts each week will not do anything. You need to switch it up and be brave in your workout. You might just surprise yourself!
Fill your journey with things you love to do. Do NOT compare yourself to others and focus on yourself. Sure, it’s okay to look for motivation and get inspired, but do not compare yourself. We are all different and grow at different paces. It is not a competition either and it is really important to remember that. The only competition is the reflection staring back at you when you look in the mirror. So keep pushing, keep sweating, and it will all pay off in the end. Be a happier and healthier you!
Alyssa's fitness journey is so inspiring, it actually made us tear up when she was talking about her mom and being her inspiration. We often forget that everybody has a story and everybody has gone through or is going through something that has shaped them into the person they are today -- we can learn from these experiences and get inspired by others stories to help motivate us on our own journeys. 

Leave a comment