Michelle Chapman is a 90 Degree by Reflex lover and our Health and Fitness inspiration for the month. Check out Michelle Chapman's interview with us and her Instagram page to get some sweat motivation and healthy food pics to share: @healthyhappymichelle
Learn more about Michelle:
Tell us a little about yourself and your Health and Fitness Journey?
I’m 29 years old, originally from upstate New York but now living in the Greater Boston area. I was pretty active growing up—I took dance lessons and taught classes for years and I was a cheerleader. I started going to the gym when I was in college but never lifted a single weight—I was a total cardio bunny. I never really learned how to exercise until recently when I found Kayla Istines’ Bikini Body Guide (a 12-week strength training program). I’ve been doing that program for over a year now and I feel stronger and healthier than ever before!
What is an important motivating factor that changed your life?
After my wedding in 2014—when I was no longer worried about looking good in my wedding dress—I started eating and drinking whatever I wanted and quickly put on some weight. Not only did I not like the way I looked in the mirror, but I was really frustrated that I wasn’t taking care of myself or giving my body the nutrition it needed to stay healthy. So I decided I was going to commit to Kayla’s 12 week training guide and try to make small changes to improve my eating. Little did I know that those 12 weeks would spark a real passion for health and fitness. And now that I’ve seen how my body has changed and how my mind has changed throughout this process, I’m motivated and determined to keep going.
What advice do you have to inspire our Health and Fitness fans?
People always look to others for motivation, which is natural—I do it, too. But once you learn that YOU can and should be your own biggest source of motivation, you will be unstoppable. I’d also say STOP weighing yourself and START taking regular progress pictures. Photos will show changes in your body that aren’t always reflected on the scale. And that’s the kind of motivation that will keep you focused. Also, surround yourself with inspiring, kick-ass women who support your journey. Whether it comes from your real life network of family and friends or an online fitness community, having support and encouragement is really important.
What are some challenges that you face when adhering to a healthier lifestyle?
I probably struggle most with balancing my healthy lifestyle with my work life and social life.
How do you overcome these barriers. Share an experience with us.
For many of us, our idea of being social involves going out for dinner and drinks, which can be challenging when you’re trying to keep your diet in check. I’ve cut back on drinking because I no longer like the way it makes me feel, so that means my social priorities have changed. I’m no longer out at bars until 2am, instead, I try to meet up with old and new friends to take fitness classes together or try out a new healthy restaurant in town. It can also be difficult to find balance if you work a full-time job like I do and have other priorities or responsibilities in your life. I used to always hit the gym after work, but I found I’d often miss sessions if I got held up at work for too long that day. So now, I wake up around 5am every morning to log my workout before anything else can get in the way. Being healthy and active isn’t always easy, but if it’s really a priority for you, you will make it happen—even if that means making other adjustments in your life.
Have you experienced any beneficial changes to your physique since starting your health journey?
Absolutely! Before I decided to get healthy, all of my clothes were tight—and no one enjoys that feeling. Over the last year+, I’ve lost a lot of stomach fat (healthy eating has a lot to do with that) and lost inches from my thighs. My leg, arm, shoulder, back, and ab muscles are all much more defined. I also have more energy and a positive body image!
Tell us your fitness routine, and tips on how to get a stronger healthier body.
As I said above, I follow Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide. With that, I strength train (upper body, lower body, and abs) three-four times a week and log 2-3 days of both low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio and high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio. I also make sure to warm up before my workouts and cool down afterwards to prevent injury. I think the biggest key to seeing results is consistency. You will have some days where you get a sweat in and eat all your vegetables and others when you just want to sit on the couch and eat ice cream. That’s totally normal. But the key is being able to get back on track after a lazy day or a cheat meal and to start making exercise and healthy eating a part of your everyday life. Motivation will start your journey but consistency and routine will keep you going.
What is your favorite nutritional dish that you can share with us?
I have a pretty big sweet tooth, so I love making healthy sweet treats. The blog Ambitious Kitchen is my go to resource! They have so many delicious recipes. I especially love baking healthy muffins. So instead of using white flour, sugar, and butter, you can bake with ingredients like whole wheat flour, almond flour, or coconut flour, and bananas, egg whites, or unsweetened applesauce. You can really get creative and still satisfy your sweet tooth! I also try to add a scoop of protein powder into recipes when I bake.
What is your favorite 90 Degree by Reflex item and why?
The high-waist, tummy control leggings are my FAVORITE! They are so slimming and they don’t bunch, gap, or fall down when I’m at the gym. Perfect fit, great quality, and they give me killer curves!