INTRO BY WOLFE
We are so inspired and motivated by the women and even some of the men (shout out to @veggiebulk and @mikedfitness) we follow on Instagram. Whenever we feel too sluggish to workout or even follow a healthy path that day, we open up Instagram and are immediately inspired by those we follow to pull ourselves together and get going!
We have decided to do a series of Q & As and guest blogs featuring some of the people we follow on Instagram! They have incredible stories we wanted to share to help inspire others on a similar path to health and wellness. The one thing they all have in common -- they started! :)
So check out our Q & A with Harriet below -- you can follow her at @harriets_healthy_life
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your fitness journey and why you started?
A: Like most people, i first joined the gym to 'get fit' however, I didn't quite know what they meant and how I was going to get there. I was a cardio Queen, doing a mixture of 5k runs after work and spin classes. Anything to 'burn calories'. At this point, I was trying out any quick fix diet I read about in magazines and was a typical 'skinny fat' 20 something losing weight and quickly gaining it back (and then some) when I stopped restricting myself.
A few years later, I met my now fiance who was heavily in to bodybuilding and subsequently looked great. It took me a few years to listen to his advice but finally I gave up the endless nights of cardio and picked up some weights. I started to enjoy working out and seeing my strength increase from week to week. The cellulite on my legs was starting to disappear and my arms were starting to get some sort of shape, that's when I fell in love with fitness. Weightlifting made me feel powerful but also so much more feminine than ever before because instead of a 'wobbly' tummy, I had a toned, flat stomach and a bum!
Q: What have you learned about yourself along the way?
A: I think the biggest thing I've learnt is that I don't need to follow the crowd. When I first started weightlifting, I followed loads of motivational women on Instagram and would copy their workouts down to the T but sometimes found that I wasn't enjoying it and then my training wouldn't be consistent because I'd lack in motivation to get to the gym. I actually enjoy cardio and in the 'bodybuilding world' it's talked about so negatively that at the start of my journey, I barely did any because I didn't think it was 'cool'. Now, I do what I want to. Some days I don't fancy lifting at all so I'll do a HIIT circuit or go for a long walk.
Q: What is the message you want to share with other women on their fitness journey?
A: It's not a rush and everyone is unique. What you enjoy doing and how you will get results will be different to someone else so don't copy those you see on social media. You have to do what you enjoy otherwise this 'fitness lifestyle' will never become a lifestyle and working out will always be a chore.
Also, food is not the enemy! Reducing your calories to extreme lows will not get you the body you desire, trust me, I've tried. Your body needs food to fuel it. I eat more now than I ever have and yet I look and feel the best I ever have! It's a difficult idea to grasp, although obvious once you truly understand it, it can be daunting to eat so much when you're so used to quick fix diets that put you on extremely low calories a day but seriously, trust the science.
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations on Instagram?
A: In all honesty, everyone I follow on Instagram motivates me. When I'm not feeling it, all I need to do it look on my Instagram feed!
When I first started weightlifting, although my other half was really helpful and gave me the confidence to step foot in to the free weights section at the gym, I wanted to gain a bit of knowledge myself so I started watching women on YouTube like Heidi Somers (Buff Bunny), Paige Hathaway, Amanda Bucci and Emily Hayden, all bikini competitors who share their workouts, knowledge and experiences. I watched hours of their videos (still do) to gain tips on nutrition and motivation for workouts.
>>Buff Bunny is one of our faves too! Follow her on Instagram here: Buff Bunny
Q: What's the one thing you hate seeing on Instagram from fitness people?
A: I created my page to share my journey so I document the times when I've over eaten or not been motivated to train because it's the truth and I want people on their journey's to feel okay about doing the same, we're all human, it's normal and eating pizza and sweets every now again, is not a bad thing, life is about balance. So I particularly dislike pages that don't represent a healthy mindset and make people believe they have to "earn the calories" or "burn the calories off" when they eat something perceived as 'bad'. I read a post the other day that said 'You can eat all the raw cacao, soy protein, chia, quinoa in the world but if you're still obsessing over the slice of pizza you ate last week, that's not healthy' and that is exactly the lesson I have learnt on my journey and the message I want to share on my page.
Q: Do you want to give a shoutout to anyone on Instagram?
A: I'd like to shoutout all of the women (and men) out there finding their own way on their journey to a maintainable, fit and healthy lifestyle.
Harriet's journey is definitely one to follow on Instagram! She is so inspiring in so many ways from her love of yokly foods to her awesome outdoor workouts! Make sure to follow her at @harriets_healthy_life!