Fitness promotes self-love and a sense of community

Kady Braswell
A&F Staff Writer
kbraswe1@unca.edu

For weeks now, Mary McCrory has made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle and if that means waking up early before an 8 a.m. to get a workout in or not splurging on a bowl of ice cream every other night, then so be it.

The Bikini Body Guide (BBG), created by fitness guru Kayla Itsines, is a series of weekly workout guides including resistance and strength training and everything from arms, legs and abdominal workouts. The workouts only take up 30 to 50 minutes of the day.

McCrory, a sophomore chemistry student, started the BBG after an especially hard semester last spring that left her tired of looking in the mirror and not loving the skin she was in.

“I knew the importance of treating my body with love and I had not been doing so,” McCrory said. “I wanted to make a change and become the best version of myself.”

Society teaches people their value is held in the way their body looks, which is terrifying to McCrory. She credits the BBG for a renewed mental strength to match the physical strength she is gaining.

Senior Savannah Purdy also found balance with BBG as a catalyst helping propel her toward a goal she wasn’t sure how to achieve on her own, while giving her a community full of support, positivity and love.

“I saw what positive impacts BBG was having on a couple friends of mine,” Purdy said. “It was more than just a physical difference. Their attitudes about themselves and life in general seemed to boost in positivity.”

Purdy said she was really encouraged by these promising changes and hoped to see the same within herself.

BBG offers a quality of coaching that millions of women around the world follow and with a 5.7 million fan base on Instagram, Kayla Itsines brings a renewed sense of self-love to working out and showing what the body is capable of.

Purdy credits these 30 to 50 minute workouts to her newfound sense of balance between pushing herself and giving herself grace when she needs it, especially after a weekend of untracked eating with friends or family.

Kayla Itsines’ fast-paced circuit workouts and strength and resistance exercises receive encouragement and support from social media and accountability groups.  

Thanks to the BBG community she found through social media, Purdy said it is easier for her to do just that.

“BBG has been an extremely helpful mechanism in bettering myself and my life. It’s a support system. It’s a community. It’s positivity and self-love,” Purdy said.

Purdy and her roommate, Brianna Carberry, a biology student, said they have even found their own community within each other as workout partners. It is a constant source of encouragement having someone else doing the same thing and having someone there to use as motivation to push harder and keep going even when the workouts get tough.

“They are there to cheer you on when you want to give up and you are able to be there for them,” Carberry said.

The two seniors also made friendships in the gym after running into other girls from the BBG online community.

Along with Carberry and Purdy, McCrory said she now wakes up wanting to workout and craving fruits and vegetables because she now understands the importance of fueling the body for a good workout.

“The things I strive for are very different than they were before I started BBG. When I look in the mirror and see the rolls on my stomach and stretch marks on my thighs, I can smile at how far this body has brought me and the fact that I am constantly able to improve and make it better,” McCrory said.

However, McCrory knows from experience just how hard it can be to start a new workout plan or even stick with it, so she advises those who are just starting out to just keep going and remember that progress is progress no matter how small.

“There is not going to be a more convenient time. It is hard. There are mornings I do not want to work out and days I want to eat my own weight in Chick-fil-A, and I do, but that does not mean I stop moving forward,” McCrory said. “Appreciate where you are at and that you are moving forward.”

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