Here you'll find adventures from my tiny kitchen in Dublin and beyond. My food is healthy, plant-based (mostly), and totally gluten-free. My food philosophy is eating with the seasons and creating tasty, feel-good, soulful meals. All recipes are my own unless otherwise noted.

My first week with Kayla

I've heard people rave about Kayla Itsines for years.

Her "Bikini Body Guide (BBG)" workouts and meal plans have taken instagram by storm. If you don't know, Kayla is an Australian-based personal trainer who developed the BBG to help women feel confident in their bodies. Instead of taking a fat-shame approach, Kayla created a community of women who cheer on and support one another through social media. Pretty cool way to use the internet for good.

I've always second guessed the workouts. As a former exercise class addict, I thought the only way to get a good sweat in was to be in a room with a trainer and 50 other people. That's where my competitive side comes out and I play the comparison game, which in turn makes me work really hard. Since moving to Ireland, I decided to lessen my obsession with the comparison game, and try just working out at my apartment or outside. 

I had downloaded the Sweat with Kayla app once before. I glanced through the content but, again, loved classes so deleted the app and went on with my life. This second first time around I was determined to give it a fair try. Not only have I just moved to Ireland and don't have the money to be going around to fitness classes, but I'm curious to whether I can make a home workout worth it.  

Day 1 (Wednesday): 
Downloaded the app and ready to go. I had a little mini-breakdown in the morning due to my unsuccessful job search and general unfamiliarity of living in another country, but was feeling much better and ready to take my stress out on a run. One thing I love about the app is you're able to choose your workout for that day. For example, I'm in Ireland and it rains out of nowhere some days, preventing me from (comfortably) doing cardio outside. On those days I can pick resistance training to do indoors.

On this day, I wanted to run. So I chose cardio and HIIT. A warning pops up saying HIIT was only recommended for those who have been working out for some time. Understandable because this was week one. But I went ahead with it. 30 seconds on and 30 seconds rest for 20 minutes. By the end of it I was dying! But it wasn't anything I hadn't done before.

Day 2 (Thursday):
Not really sore... but Shit! I haven't been following the meal plan. Today I was going to do arms and abs. I don't have any weights or equipment besides a yoga mat, but it ended up being okay because you only need a medicine ball for one of the exercises, and I could use my coffee table as a bench. The workout was HARD. So many variations of pushups and my arms were shaking after only the first round. The resistance workouts are all formatted the same. 7 minutes of circuit one, 7 minutes of circuit two, repeat. 30 seconds rest between each circuit. 
By the second round of circuit one I was shaking. I could feel my chest and wrists and triceps all burning. And I was sweating. And I felt really good. 

Day 3 (Friday):
WOAH I'm sore. My arms can barely hold my phone. I can feel my abs soreness when I breathe. Also, still haven't really followed this meal plan. Legs today. I'm so ready for this. Legs had the same format as arms, 2 different circuits, 7 minutes each, 2 times through. My apartment is directly over my landlords house, so I had to take it a bit easy on the burpees and squat jumps, but otherwise this workout was great. Tons of squats, tons of step-ups. I again used my coffee table as my bench. I worked up a sweat in the first four minutes. The stretch at the end was so sweet after 28 minutes of tough work.
The funny thing about this workout is I wasn't that sore on the day. I felt like I could have gone running and been fine.

Day 4: (Saturday)
OMG my butt. I'm. so. sore. I can't move. Okay I'm giving up on the meal plan stuff this week.
The after effects of leg day hit me like a train. Shaun even asked at one point why I was walking so slow. Even sitting down was painful. Today I did LISS, kinda. It was hard to walk. 

Day 5: (Sunday)
Another day without the mealplan... Still so sore today. Decided to take Sunday as my recovery day. You are suggested to do 2 recovery sessions through the app, but most of her's involves a foam roller which I don't have so just stretched which felt so good!

Day 6: (Monday)
Full-Body workout today. The full-body was much more cardio-focused than the other resistance work, but it got me sweating for sure! Again, due to my downstairs landlord I couldn't do a lot of the jumping, but was able to get good work in. For example, when I was prompted to do burpees I would step forward instead of jump. I worked in a bit of recovery on this day as well. I used an empty wine bottle with a towel around it as my foam roller. Ouch!!

Day 7: (Tuesday)
I made it! Although I didn't even attempt the meal plan, I can say the workouts are for real. Every day challenged me in a new way, whether it was being pushed to my max in resistance, cardio, or being sore. On this day I did a LISS by walking around my new neighborhood :). I will definitely try to keep up with these workouts as they are so easy to fit into a day.

Overall, I loved the program. The flexibility of it is incredible! I can't wait to see how strong I am able to get by staying consistent. I would recommend Kayla's workouts if you like something quick and dirty, without any frills. I would not recommend it if you have a hard time motivating yourself. It would be super easy to fall off the train if I didn't want to do it one day, as there are no sign-ups like in fitness classes.

Belgium: Gluten-free Brussels and Bruges

Belgium: Gluten-free Brussels and Bruges

Germany: Gluten-free Oktoberfest

Germany: Gluten-free Oktoberfest