Brenda and I have been friends since we were 12 years old. We influence each other, listen to each other, laugh a lot together, and in general support each other to live healthier and fuller lives.
In August 2018, Brenda and I were on a walk in Maine and she told me about Ana Victoria Body Love app and that she was going to do it. I felt like I could use a challenge so I said I would do it too and suggested we each keep a journal to share our experiences with the JFH community. If you don’t know about the app, here is a video from youtube.
Oftentimes when reviewing exercise programs, women use before and after weights and photos to measure their “success”. Committing to a regular regime has had an effect on our physical appearances, but this was not the primary goal of the challenge or this post. Brenda and I did this to satisfy our individual desires for personal fitness. The other goals were:
- Challenging ourselves to reach a specific, time limited goal
- Increasing our energy levels
- For mental health
- Improve our posture
- Increase our activity level every day.
So, here’s the joint journal we kept during our experiences.
Brenda, What was your fitness routine before you started Ana Victoria body love?
The majority of my fitness activity has been weight training. I’ve dabbled in yoga, Pilates, step aerobics, PIYO, and running. I prefer the physical and mental results weight training produces for me.
Brenda, what motivated you to try out this fitness routine?
Coming out of a five year period of major life changes, an erratic schedule and a sedentary work life, I was craving a return to a consistent schedule. I gravitated to Ana Victoria for her fitness style and philosophy.
Brenda, tell us about your eating pattern before you started the Ana Victoria body love app.
I’ve historically eaten healthy and found it easy to maintain a consistent, healthy weight. However, as a result of major life changes, I found myself eating poorly the past 5 years and not maintaining a solid workout routine. I knew how to work out and eat properly to get the results I wanted – I simply wasn’t focused. I religiously track my food intake and monitor my macronutrients through the My Fitness Pal app.
Kenden, What was your fitness routine before you started Ana Victoria body love app?
I walked 10,000 steps 2-3x per week and did mat and reformer pilates via online classes with pilates anytime. Over the past 5 years, I have done sporadic weight lifting routines with online classes from fitness blender on YouTube, but I always feel a little lost and somewhat scared, so I back off after a few sessions and return to the movement I love: pilates and walking.
Kenden, what motivated you to try out this fitness routine?
At 40+, I was interested to know how doing a regimented and consistent strength training routine would feel physically and emotionally. I liked that the exercise routines were 30-45 minutes and that all I had to do was turn the app on and follow the routine. Quite simply, I wanted to challenge myself to do something new.
Kenden, tell us about your eating pattern and weight before you started the Ana Victoria body love app.
I have eaten a plant-based diet for the past 10 years (here is a nice gentle getting started guide if you are interested in learning more). My eating is centred on fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, roots/tubers, intact whole grains, and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils. I enjoy simple whole foods that are minimally processed.
When I started to eat a plant based diet, my body naturally returned to a healthy weight which has stayed consistent. Tracking my food intake with my fitness palhelped me understand how what I was eating every day made me feel. This was so helpful!
It was eye-opening to realize how weak my body had become! By the end of week 2, my posture had improved and inflammation reduced. Each week I saw slight improvement to my physique (inches lost around my thighs and leaner midsection). I have an intense work schedule which includes a lot of driving, so through the first 4 weeks I got up at 4am to make certain I had no interruptions with workouts 6 days per week. Although the app is a bit “glitchy”, I loved how simple the workout instruction and logging was.
What I liked:
- Clarity. Everyday, you are given a specific routine to complete.
- Instant results. After the first routine, I felt more energized and like my body was getting stronger.
What I struggled with:
- The app is made for iphone so it was a little clunky to access on my android. Good news is that they are releasing the android version late this year.
- The routine calls for 30 min of cardio and ab work twice per week. The cardio is up to you, but I would have preferred something specific to follow.
- There is no warm up or cool down routine. I ended up doing the fitness blender ones on YouTube. Here is a 7 minute warm up and here is the cool down and stretch routine.
- Lifting makes me feel contracted and so on some of the cardio/ab days I would do a 45-60 min pilates mat class which helped me feel more lengthened, calm and strong.
- Strength training makes me feel more revved up from the inside – sometimes I like that but sometimes this extra energy feels too strong and aggressive.
- I liked my body before, I enjoy pilates and walking and so I was having thoughts like, “why am I doing this?”, “will strength training make me really bulky?”
- Strength training makes me hungrier so I had to re-think my eating pattern and calorie intake.
What results did you notice?
- I feel stronger
- My body looks more defined
In week 5 I struggled – I was dealing with some personal stressors and felt exhausted. I listened to my body, took a couple days off and slept a lot, and picked up week 6 recharged. I’m on week 7 and feel amazing! I’m pleased with the improvements to my physique. I continue to see results weekly. Each weight training day I try to increase the loads and have been able to replace fat with lean muscle.
These weeks I felt like I was in a flow, used to weightlifting and the program. Sometimes, I felt a bit robotic doing the workouts day in and day out. I had more energy and physical results during these weeks.
What I liked:
- Weight lifting felt easier because my body and mind are used to it by now
- I discovered jump roping YouTube fitness routines for the cardio sections
What I struggled with:
- Feeling of contraction in the body. I replaced some of the cardio with pilates routines and making sure that I completed warm up and cool down after each of the workouts.
Results I noticed:
- Strength training really does give me a burst of energy
- Around week 6, I really noticed the changes in my body like a slimmer waistline and more definition in my legs and arms.
Brenda: I finished week 12 and feel strong! My body composition continues to change while my weight is relatively the same, which confirms I’m losing body fat and gaining muscle. A note that I injured my hip joint in week 8 and had to reduce cardio – a week of rest and increased warmup time has me back on track. I will continue the program, pushing to increase the weight loads. Overall, I’m very happy with my results. It is a high level of commitment to follow the program as outlined, however, it has really become a normal part of my day and I look forward to the challenge.
In week nine, I sprained my ankle when feel into a pothole getting out of the car. It was nighttime and in Cambodia, there are some deep potholes! Anyway, I had to take a week off from the gym. During that week, I decided I had done enough of the program.
I feel satisfied that I completed eight weeks of the program! The final weeks were easy and fun most of the time. The struggles I had were sometimes feeling bored with the routine and still feeling tight despite stretching a lot. The program was true to its claims for me: it increased my strength, my energy levels and overall fitness. In my 40s, posture is something I think about and this program has improved mine. I feel successful because I committed to the program to the end.
I continue to do weight training and really am enjoying it!
In ending, the most important thing to remember is that moving your body is a self support activity that we do for our own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
I hope that this review helps you know more about Ana Victoria’s Boby Love App and make a good decision for yourself.