I Finally Had Enough & Didn’t Know Where to Start
My Journey to Health: Jennifer Hayes
Name: JENNIFER HAYES
Kaia FIT Location: Woodland
What brought you into Kaia?
I was always active growing up. I played sports through high school and college. After college, I began taking kickboxing and boxing classes. I had my first daughter and was able to get back into kickboxing. While I was physically active, I did not make the best food choices. Fast forward three years, a move back to Woodland, and a second daughter…I was an exhausted, stressed-out mom. I worked full time and put everybody else first; my health, along with my self image, self-esteem, and mental attitude went down the tubes. I tried in-home workouts and I would do well for a few weeks, but without anybody to hold me accountable, I could not stick with it.
After my second daughter turned two, I finally had had enough, but had no idea where to start. I posted a question on a Facebook page asking for suggestions for gyms. A stranger (who is now an amazing friend) reached out to me and suggested that I come try a Kaia class with her. She messaged me and when I was ready, she told me that she would meet me there and where I could find her. I was embarrassed at how far out of shape I had allowed myself to get. Where I could once do 50 regular push-ups, I could no longer complete one. I had never been one to shy away from physical challenges, but I found myself very anxious about going to a workout class with a bunch of strangers. I went and met up with the person who reached out to me. After the first workout I was hooked. The coach and the class were so supportive. I did not feel judged and I left feeling better about myself than I had in a long time.
What were some of your initial goals?
Initially, I really wanted to lose weight and get into better shape, but my goals have shifted now.
What were some of your fears about starting a new workout and nutrition plan?
I had let myself get so far out of shape that I feared judgement about how weak I had become. I was fearful that I would fail and be defeated. After my second workout I actually vomited (while I was getting measured), so then I was fearful about what others must have thought of me, including the coach (everybody came to my aide, the coach told me not to worry, others brought me water and something to snack on). When I first saw the nutrition plan I felt very overwhelmed. I was worried that I would not be able to follow it. And truth be told, it took me a while to start following the nutritional guide more closely.
What were some of the first positive things you noticed about your body?
Some of the first positive things I noticed about my body is that I felt stronger. A big thing for me was when I no longer had a fat roll on my back/hip area. People commented on it looking like I had lost weight (even though the scale hadn’t budged) and I was going down in the sizes that I was wearing.
Anything surprise you?
I was really surprised at how quickly I improved. Honestly, if it weren’t for the challenges and tracking sheets I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Not huge improvements, but little ones. Things like not being able to do a push up on my toes to being able to do a few, to now being able to do about 30 before I switch to my knees. I was also really surprised when after my first BRIK I went to Tahoe with my family. My 2 year old wanted to be picked up while on a nature walk. I picked her up, put her on my shoulders and carried her a long way without tiring. My ability to keep up with my kids, running with them, carrying them etc., was really noticeable to me.
What were some of the challenges you faced as you went along?
I find waking up and dragging myself in at 5 am to be challenging still to this day! Food and food prep is also a challenge that I have faced every step of the way. It does get easier, but it is difficult. There were also times where I felt guilty about what I ate, I have now learned not to feel guilty but to accept it, move on, and get back on track.
How did you work to overcome them?
I know that when I show up and complete my workout, I leave feeling accomplished and ready for the day. I also know that when I don’t show up, people in the area of the room that I am in will notice, and they usually check in to make sure that everything is ok.
What role did (does) Kaia have in supporting you along your journey?
Kaia has been instrumental in helping me on my journey to support my health. The classes are fun and challenging at any level. The coaches are wonderful and supportive, they will push you to challenge yourself. The Kaia girls help keep me motivated, we are all there to help support each other.
How did your eating change? Favorite healthy recipes?
I eat less processed food and eat a lot more clean foods. I am more conscious about what I eat; however, that does not mean that I don’t indulge. I have also learned that I can indulge without feeling guilty and that is ok. My favorite recipe from the book is the Carrot Curry Soup. I also enjoy overnight oats and just throwing together a salad with my favorite toppings.
What parts of the programs would you recommend to others?
I would recommend all parts of the programs to others. If it seems overwhelming, start with the workouts and add the food plan in as you go. However, the better I eat the better I find I am able to complete the workouts.
How have your goals changed over time?
Initially I just wanted to lose weight and make it through the workouts. I now try not to focus on the scale (it does not move much for me, but I do lose inches). I also have shifted my mindset to look for small improvements.
What is your favorite Kaia workout?
Honestly, I cannot pick one. I love them all. At first I HATED the FLOW workout. Yoga really wasn’t my thing. I find it hard to quiet my brain. However, by the end of my first BRIK, I grew to love FLOW.
Suggestions for anyone looking to join Kaia?
Try a class. Talk to the Kaia girls. Come join me in the front, I promise I don’t bite. Just put your mind to it and show up. Showing up is 99% of the battle. Reach out to your classmates and coaches if you are struggling, chances are somebody else is having the same struggle. You are not alone in your journey when you join Kaia, you have your Kaia family to support you in your success.
What are some of your new goals?
My goals now involve losing inches and bettering my performance during class. I now push myself to do everything I possibly can at Kaia level. I have set goals to increase the amount of weight that I lift and to improve my running times on things. I also am determined to one day pull of a handstand without falling on my head, and to complete a pull-up unassisted. I not only want to see myself succeed but I want to see my classmates succeed. Personally, part of my goals are also to make new girls feel welcome and empowered (as best I can), and if I see any of my crew struggling to encourage them to keep going.