Real People, Real Inspiration
Finding the motivation to keep up with exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be hard at times (like really, really hard). When it comes to staying motivated, a little inspiration can go a long way. And personally, when I’m trying to find inspiration, I look to others. There are so many amazing and relatable people out there, each with their own story and struggles. Being able to relate to someone else's story really can have a huge impact on your personal motivation. That’s why I have started a new series on our blog to give you a little extra dose of inspiration. Each week, I will be showcasing someone who my Inspodotfit team and I find inspiring. I have reached out to some really awesome people and am so excited to share their stories with you. All of these people are real, and come from diverse backgrounds, ages, locations and lifestyles.
The first Weekly Inspiration Spotlight is yoga-extraordinaire Illsie. She is a 30-year-old Production Accountant currently living in Morocco. She has a great sense of humor and loves wine, bacon, traveling, cooking and hosting dinner parties. I found her on instagram and was so impressed and inspired by her pictures- especially the ones of her balancing on her dresser and kitchen counter. She is so creative with her yoga poses and shows that yoga and working out really can be fun (this girl does yoga in high heels sometimes, how cool is that?!). I was also in shock to learn that she has only been practicing yoga for a year AND she does all of it in the comfort of her own home- she’s never even had a gym membership! She proves that there are no excuses when it comes to fitting exercise into your daily routine. I provided her with a questionnaire and am sharing my favorite answers below.
What is your favorite form of exercise?
Yoga is my favorite- you get an external and internal workout. I’m a huge fan of Power Yoga. February 23rd will be my 1-year Yoga anniversary. It marks the day that I made a full time commitment to practicing yoga. I started taking photos of myself practicing and really saw something there. I’m hoping to complete my YTT 200 (200-hour yoga teacher training program) this year or next year!
Have you always been an active person? When did you start getting into exercise?
I’ve always been active. Growing up in the countryside near the mountains, I was always outside playing. But once I graduated college and started working, I gained about 22 lbs. over the course of 5 years. When my largest pair of jeans didn’t fit me anymore, I knew that I had to make a positive change. So in 2013 I lost the 22 lbs. over the course of 9 months, and have been able to maintain my goal weight ever since.
Illsie proving that yoga can be done anywhere.
What is your inspiration or motivation for exercising?
I just want to be healthy and strong. And healthy for me means, I want to be able to go hiking and not lose my breath. Or play with my nieces and nephews and be able to keep up with them. I truly believe that health is wealth, and that our bodies are temples. I love the energy and love for life that comes with a healthy lifestyle! Not to mention that when you do so, you inspire others.
What is your normal workout plan like?
Depending on my work schedule, I try to fit in at least an hour of exercise each day. I’m a huge fan of Jillian Michaels and I try to do her 30-minute videos 5 days a week. And then of course my at home yoga practice and yoga challenges- which really doesn't seem like a workout to me. I’ve always worked out at home and have never been a gym member. I usually only attend yoga classes 1 month out of the year.
Do you watch what you eat or diet?
I don’t necessarily diet. I gained about 22 lbs. over 5 years, and I dieted and exercised to lose that weight. Then once I was back to my goal weight, I just maintained it. I stick to a pretty healthy diet. I avoid junk food and eat a lot of vegetables and fruits! Every now and then, I’ll indulge. Especially over the holidays!
Using her kitchen for more than just healthy eating.
What has been your biggest obstacle or challenge with fitness?
Finding the time in a busy workday to exercise. But I realized that I had to make it a priority. Doing yoga challenges on Instagram really helps me stay in shape when I’m working on a show. When I’m working 10-hour minimum/6 day weeks, it’s not easy fitting in a workout, but I make it a point to do so.
Illsie finds the time to fit in exercise everywhere she goes.
Do you ever struggle to stay motivated? What do you do to get back at it?
Before I started practicing yoga, I would definitely struggle with staying motivated. It wasn’t easy at all. I would try to find someone that I was accountable to so I would be encouraged to keep on going. Now that I practice yoga, I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s an opportunity for me to honor, respect and love my body enough to exercise it and look after it.
Taking on yoga AND boxing at the same time.
What is your favorite motto or inspirational quote?
“When you know better, you do better” – Maya Angelou. This quote resonates with me on so many levels. It reminds me that it’s okay to mess up. You learn from it and you move forward and avoid making the same mistake again.
High heels and high hopes.
What is the best advice someone has given you about staying motivated and active?
I remember doing a Jillian Michaels workout and the words she said when we were cooling down were something like; “You should be feeling super proud of yourself, that you worked out today, possibly tried something new, and no matter what, you did a really intense and awesome workout”. So I’ll think of that and it really does motivate me to get on my mat and do my workout!
What piece of advice would you give someone who is new to working out and is feeling discouraged?
I would say just take it one workout and one day at a time. Don’t get discouraged! Think less- the more you think about it; the less you’ll want to do it. So just do it! And before you know it, it’s done. You can cross another day or another workout off of your list!
I loved learning about Illsie and found her words so inspiring! She has patience, determination, and a willingness to try new things. I love that Illsie is honest about her workout routine and her eating habits. She shows that it’s ok to indulge, as long as you are happy and healthy. I also love how she shows that exercise can be fun and can fit into any schedule. Illsie finds time to fit in exercise every day- even if it's taking ten minutes to practice yoga poses will drinking wine (a woman after my own heart). I am still in awe that she does all her workouts by herself, at home. I personally find it so hard to workout by myself; I need someone there to coach me or push me. For Illsie to be able to come this far in her yoga practice by herself, in just a year, I think she deserves a big round of applause.
Health means different things to different people, and it is important to strive for what is best for you. Illsie doesn’t take her health and workouts to an extreme- health to her is as simple as being able to play with her nieces without getting winded. I think it’s important to make small goals for yourself like this and not look at fitness as just a means to lose weight. Illsie shows that with a little hard work and creativity you can achieve your goals and be proud of yourself.
We love ya Illsie! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Check out her instagram account here for more inspiring and awe-some pics!Check back each week to see a new spotlight on someone who makes us smile, laugh, and gasp at everything they are able to accomplish!