This Fall, Dimvaloo sent me to experience FitU, an educational nutrition and fitness course. Given that I’m a passionate fitness and nutrition enthusiast dedicated to inspiring healthy living through whole-food nutrition, I excitedly agreed, and couldn’t wait to connect with others in the area that were open to learning more about nutrition and fitness.
Fast-forward over the eight-week course, I’ve learned countless nutrition and fitness lessons. Even more so, I’ve learned community, kindness, and how to better understand my body. These things I will take with me far beyond the program. There are so many different aspects of FitU that I truly enjoyed and loved, but I've limited it down to some of my most favorite moments spent with other FitU members and the crew from FitFlavors throughout this experience.
FitU consists of 12 different sessions that include a nutrition seminar, a cooking demonstration, and a variety of different workouts.
The program kicked off with the Nutrition Seminar on September 15th; I was automatically welcomed with positivity, smiles and authenticity at my first class. Everyone, including the leaders in the group, was extremely welcoming and open to the different questions floating around the room that night. Allison, the registered dietitian, led the group discussion and offered a lot of helpful insight on how to navigate the shelves at the store, which are becoming increasingly more difficult to navigate, and she explained what simple nutrition looks like. The other trainers in the room, most who have worked one-on-one with their clients in the gym, were also extremely receptive to the members and their questions or concerns. They offered valuable information that everyone could understand and take home to build on. The overall nutrition seminar covered a variety of nutrition topics, such as macronutrients, portion control reading labels, debunking fad diets, spotting misleading claims on food packaging, and refreshing outlook on nutrition.
The second best part—for myself at least—was the Cooking Demonstration. I’m most definitely not skilled in the kitchen, something that I’ve said makes eating healthier hard (wrong). I’m so thankful for my clean, plant-based protein shakes and healthy bars for day’s I don’t feel like cooking or I’m in a hurry; though, dinner was an unavoidable meal that I always hated having to prepare for. I couldn’t wait for the FitU Cooking Demo to learn some simple, healthy, meals I could manage on my own in the kitchen–I just didn’t know they’d be so delicious! Not only did we get to learn how to make some amazing, healthy meals from a personal chef, but dinner was served to the class that night with a meal to take home. Food—how could this NOT be my favorite part of the program? Perhaps it was just my utter inexperience in the kitchen, but I was excited to see what “blanching vegetables,” meant along with other exclusive cooking tips such as building a flavor profile (something else I had never known about) and cooking for different cuisines to provide full-of-flavor food that lasts longer. I enjoyed the Cooking Demo so much, the only thing I can say is that I wish there were more time and more opportunities to cook with the pros, because I think failing to prepare and plan your meals out is one of the biggest struggles in maintaining a healthy diet rather than relying on fast food.
Cooking Demo - 10/06/2016
Peanut Butter Chicken with Rice and Veggies
Turkey Burger with Sweet Potato Fries and Veggies
One of the best parts of FitU was the variety of workouts on the agenda. At first-look, they seemed daunting. I was with a new group of people I didn’t know, and I was comfortable with my normal routine of cardio at the gym, along with the few exercises I knew on my own. I had never been on a hike or to a Yoga studio, so, naturally, I was a little nervous to start doing new things; however, I trusted the trainers in the room and their confidence and experience in the field. What I found was that I had been telling myself that fitness had to look and be a certain way. That way solely consisted of a gym room and constantly trying to keep myself motivated through an entire workout. While I enjoyed working out and the feeling after, a lot of times, I left the gym knowing I could have had a more productive, effective workout for my time. Spending so much time finding the right exercises to do and learning how to do them made exercising on my own a drag. I’d catch myself doing the same movements as the day before –it was a cycle of effort, let-down, effort, let-down. Being a part of the variety of exercises through FitU, the hiking, the bootcamps with Ryan, the Yoga –fitness and exercises became fun again. That feeling of making fitness fun again, will forever be one of my favorite things about the experience.
Castlewood Hike - 9/21/16
Bootcamp Workout with Ryan Hansen - 10/09/16
Bootcamp Workout - 11/09/16
Overall, the program is designed to help educate and guide the public through their personal health journey by offering various resources and coaching help. Throughout this experience, I became much more aware of the food I ate and how it affected my body. Did I feel energized after? Or droggy? The feeling that lasts after a meal is a sure-sign of the type of food you’re putting in your body—another lesson from the nutrition seminar. The best thing the program offers though, is simplicity. Jillian Tedesco, founder of FitFlavors and FitU, promotes complete simplicity throughout this program by cutting past all of the misleading information out there, and going back to the basics. They’ve made it about as simple as possible to get back to the healthiest version of yourself. Ryan Hansen, one of the professional coaches in FitU, says, “It’s simple. It’s fruits and vegetables, it’s sleep, its moving your body, its more water—it’s a cycle. It’s just a cycle of making consistent, simple, small changes. Don’t overcomplicate it.” That was advice that I, myself, have always tried to live by when I’ve become caught up in what to do and what not to do. It’s also something that became more clear and easier as the relationship with peers grew throughout this experience. I became very close with two girls, one being a health coach herself and the other learning to love her body again. We talked for hours throughout the program as we hiked Castlewood to standing outside our cars for an hour past class talking about everything personal in our lives to struggles in our health journey. It was extremely easy to talk and get to know others in FitU, something I loved about showing up to the next class. Everyone was in different places on their journey and it brought different questions, and new challenges to every class—it added to an overall, positive energy and learning experience.
FitU may be over for me; however, I encourage anyone struggling in their physical fitness, trying to find a happy balance with food, or simply looking for an uplifting community to follow and surround themselves with, to take a look into FitU. I walked away with new experiences and surprisingly, new friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Open yourself up to an inclusive group of local, professional coaches and peers who can make a difference in your life. The only catch? That you learn.it.for.life - you can't accomplish it all in 8 weeks time - you must take these core values throughout the program and lay them as the foundation for the rest of your life in order to truly undergo transformation in every way. In the words of the Dimvaloo mantra, "Active Living is an Infinite Journey," and so is your Healthy Living journey.