I am BEYOND excited to introduce y’all to Toni, one of the over 800 precious women who have joined me in The 30-Day Exercise Challenge. Toni’s from New Zealand, y’all! I have a friend in New Zealand! That sounds so exotic from here in North Texas (read: I’m a dork.). We call her John the Baptist. She’s our forerunner. Because of the time difference from New Zealand to North America, where the majority of us are, she works out half a day ahead of us and loops back to tell us what’s in store for us. By the time we’re working out, she’s fast asleep. Like many of us, she has faced obstacles to being successful in The Challenge but has persevered! She blazes a path for us to follow. I just love her, and I know you will, too. Here’s my conversation with Toni.
AinW: Hi! You’re awesome, and I love you, but you already know that! AinW readers who aren’t in the Super Secret Squirrel Facebook group want to get to know you, too. Would you mind sharing the city where you live, your age, and a little about your weight loss/health/fitness journey before The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, including your fitness level before starting?
City: Auckland, New Zealand
Age: 37 (38 one week after the challenge finishes)
Fitness level, etc. before The Challenge: Active enough to keep up with my kids (just) but probably among the first to get eaten in a Zombie Apocalypse.
AinW: You crack me up! One of the things I love about this Challenge is that you can make it your own. Choose whichever program or plan works best for you! Which exercise program did you choose (i.e. 30-Day Shred, T-Tapp, other) during The Challenge?
Toni: I have been Shredding, walking and searching random workouts on YouTube to spice things up when I am bored. Does swearing at Jillian until I am out of breath count as cardio too?
AinW: You bet it does! One of our group members routinely calls her an Evil Cow. That sounds about right. What do you like about The Shred?
Toni: I do feel like I am getting a workout that pushes me (huh, you think?), but I can still do most of it (admittedly with all the elegance of baby bird in mud).
AinW: What do you hate about it?
Toni: Um, the exercising part.
AinW: Well, that makes TWO of us, sister! In week one of The Challenge, I went out-of-town. Talk about your obstacles! Then, my DVD wouldn’t play in my computer! Ugh! What are some of the obstacles or challenges you’ve overcome in completing The Challenge daily?
Toni: My husband left on a 6-week military exercise, and we have no contact with him, which is hard. He also kindly gifted us all head colds before he left. Did you know that puppy pee pads are great for catching nose dribbles when doing plank jacks? Just FYI!
AinW: How lovely of him! Be sure to pay him back when he returns to his skinny wife! What benefits have you reaped from exercising daily?
Toni: Well I haven’t lost any weight (in fact I put on a whole bunch, but I blame the emotional eating for that), but although I weigh a little more I didn’t put on any inches. I am definitely fitter already and stronger – I can now complete a level 2 Shred and not spend the next day having to lower myself onto the toilet by wedging my arms on either wall because I’m afraid that if I don’t the impact from my free-fall will break the seat! I count that as progress!
AinW: That first-week thigh pain is no joke. I was right there with you! What do you believe about yourself and your body’s capabilities that you maybe didn’t know/believe before beginning The Challenge?
Toni: I didn’t know I would be a “gym grunter” – you know those people that grunt or groan every time they lift a weight or get to the end of their set. *Facepalm* I am one of them!
AinW: What are you hoping the second half of The Challenge will bring for you/your health and fitness?
Toni: Some weight loss! Seriously those pounds and inches, or as we say here in NZ kilos and centimetres, can just take a hike. I won’t even try to find them again, and I won’t miss them even slightly.
AinW: I’d be willing to bet they’ll fall right off now. What kind of eating plan have you followed during The Challenge? Do you feel like it’s helpful in the process or not and, if not, what is your plan moving forward?
Toni: I have been following Trim Healthy Mama…well, I stayed in the Facebook groups and read the recipes posted (if only it were that easy) but didn’t do so great (who am I kidding? I sucked!) at keeping on plan in the 2 weeks before my hubby left. I have now started a 2-week fuel cycle to give me a boost. I’m on day 4 and proud to say no cheats!
AinW: Wow! That’s awesome! What’s the one piece of equipment you could not exercise without?
Toni: Ok there are a couple of things here depending of what level of Shred I am on…
Level one: a pillow. Seriously, I must have the world’s most pathetically weak knees! I know this because my pain tolerance is actually really, really high (the kind of high that involves stubbornly refusing to be put under and making the surgeon go ahead with your emergency C-section even though the anesthetic isn’t working because the specialist told you your baby might not be ok. I am that woman. Yes, it really hurts having your tummy cut open and, yes, my baby was fine), but when I wasn’t strong enough to do a proper pushup and had to resort to the “girly” kind, my pathetically pansy knees couldn’t handle it!
Level 2: a closed door. No-one should hear those sounds!
Finally no matter what level I am on: A good sports bra! These beasts ain’t “puppies” no more, they are full grown St Bernards, and likely to bounce up and black my eyes if they are not properly restrained!
AinW: Try not to frighten the children or black your eyes, would you? What’s the funniest thing that’s happened during The Challenge related to the exercise?
Toni: My daughter reacts worse to Jillian Michaels than most kids do towards Santa. It is like she stole Christmas or something!
AinW: She’s a mean one, Ms. Grinch! What has been the most encouraging or motivating factor in this process for you?
Toni: The Facebook group, and being the “forerunner”. Wow nothing like 800+ other people backing you up!
AinW: How has being a part of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge on Facebook spurred you on to persevere?
Toni: As above and knowing that when I have had a bad day, or not gotten the results I wanted there are others there in the same boat, feeling just as frustrated and annoyed but also willing to reach out to a stranger and urge them on. Aw, warm fuzzies!
AinW: I’m pondering future 30-Day Exercise Challenges. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Recommendations? Requests?
Toni: I am thinking of doing some kind of training that will allow me to do a charity run or triathlon type event….or survive the zombie apocalypse. Those type of things require stamina!