Good afternoon! Last week, I brought you the first installment of the Bootcamper of the Week – a new series highlighting the amazing participants of Best Body Bootcamp. They work hard and deserve some recognition for it. Please join me in welcoming this super awesome chick – Athena!
NAME & BLOG:
Hi everyone! My name is Athena Karalekas, and I blog over at Fitness & Feta, a Greek girl’s guide to healthy living and a happy life.
I’ve been following Tina’s blog for awhile now, and it is honestly one of my favorite healthy living blogs out there. She’s genuine, motivating, and I am so excited to be here sharing my story with all of you.
SHARE YOUR “STORY”:
I am an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and an ACSM certified personal trainer. I have also completed the Wellcoaches wellness coach training program and will hopefully have another certification under my belt this year.
Full-time I work for a medical software company which probably seems a bit out of left field, but I work in our staff development group and am building/implementing a work site wellness program from the ground up. Part-time I am the Group Exercise Coordinator at my local YMCA and teach a bunch of group exercise classes!
Needless to say, I don’t have oodles of free time, but when I do you can find me blogging, trying new restaurants, experimenting with different recipes in the kitchen, or enjoying a well-deserved alcoholic bevvy (or two).
WHY DID YOU JOIN BBB?
I have been a consistent Best Body Bootcamp participant for rounds 2, 3, and 4. I love it! The workouts are right up my alley: varied, flexible in terms of schedule, and I love the strength training. Most importantly, however, Tina’s workouts challenge me. It can be really easy to fall into a comfort zone, especially when teaching the same types of classes week after week, but gains are hard to come by when things get too comfortable.
If you are wondering why the heck I would want to take part in something like this since I have a fitness background myself, well, sometimes it’s just nice to have someone else plan my workouts instead of always being the one planning. I also love getting new ideas to use in class and apply to the concepts I teach. It’s just refreshing!
SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED:
Aside from all the new exercises I learned, BBB taught me how powerful it can be to write down your goals every single week. Doing this definitely helped keep me more accountable than I otherwise would be with aspects of healthy living besides fitness and nutrition. Everyone has something they struggle with, and my issues are definitely with getting enough sleep, beating stress, and remembering that sometimes it’s okay to just say no instead of doing too much! BBB’s goal-setting component helped keep me motivated to work on these things.
FAVORITE EXERCISE OR WORKOUT FROM BBB?
I noticed that my favorite workouts from Best Body Bootcamp are always the ones in weeks 7 or 8, or Phase 4 where we should feel like fitness freaks like Tina says! I am LOVING the full body power training workouts this week, and I often still do the Tabata workouts from phase 4 of Round 3. Some of my favorite exercises learned include the halo, any and all types of planks (I’m seriously obsessed with planking), and step popovers. I also really enjoyed all the new "templates" for cardio interval training.
WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING BBB?
Since I first participated in BBB, I have increased the amount of weights I use. Previously I was stuck in a 5, 8, and 10 pound rut; however now I am using 12′s, 15′s, even 17.5 pound dumbbells! To any females out there who fear that upping your weights will make you "too jacked," I promise they won’t. I love rocking heavier weights now! My body is strong, I’ve lost a little bit of weight, and not gonna lie, I feel a little bad-ass.
The most recent round of BBB included fit tests along the way, and it was great to see progression through the program. I got over my hatred of the treadmill (ok I still hate it a little bit), and I got my treadmill mile time down to 7:33 from an over 8 minute starting point. I also held over a five minute plank for the first time ever – told you I was obsessed with planks!
WHAT STRUGGLES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED? TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?
I was a little nervous at first about fitting the BBB workouts into my already busy schedule, but Tina’s program provided a ton of flexibility. If I wanted to do a different workout one day, that was okay. If I wanted to change an exercise here or there, that was fine. There was never any pressure to do things as is, and Tina stressed to make the program work for you. I often taught the strength workouts in my fitness classes, which took some creativity at times, but it was fun!
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?
A few different things help me stay motivated throughout BBB and in general. First, the BBB Facebook page was a great place to start. It’s inspiring to hear so many different stories, goals, accomplishments and more from the different people participating in the program. Also, my friend Jen that moved to Canada last year was doing it, so this was (another) good way for us to stay in touch. Finally, I have a wonderful group of gym friends at the Y that keep me motivated. It’s an amazing community, and some of them also participate in BBB. I feel very fortunate to have made friends with people who share the same passions as me. We keep each other going, but we know how to have fun out of the gym too!
ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE:
To any of Tina’s readers that are "on the fence" about whether to join BBB, I highly recommend it! Thank you, Tina, for creating such a wonderful community through your program. You rock!
And you kick our butts, but we love it.
Glad you love it, Athena! Love right back at ya! And stay tuned, friends, for the opening of Round 5 registration SOON!