From Student to POPFLEX Model: Dzoanna's Inspiring Fitness Journey

From Student to POPFLEX Model: Dzoanna's Inspiring Fitness Journey

October 29, 2020

When you're thinking about taking on a huge project, starting a new challenge, or taking on an exciting-but-maybe-scary fitness journey, it can be really tempting to think that you're all alone. 

Today, we're gonna talk ALL about how to find the support and motivation you need to make your dreams happen. 

We had SO MUCH FUN working with Dzoanna for our Retro Rainbow launch and when we heard a little about her story, we were so inspired. 

If you've ever wanted to hear about setting and crushing your goals, finding workouts that work for you, or having a healthy perspective throughout an incredibly inspiring wellness journey, you'll want to read this.

Without further ado - here's Dzoanna!

dzoanna retro rainbow

Tell us about yourself and your journey with Blogilates.

I came to America 9 years ago to study industrial design. I didn’t know anything about healthy or clean food. I was a student; I ate bad cheap things, and drank lots of white chocolate mochas daily. My weight was growing, and I felt heavy and depressed. I cried a lot, I was embarrassed to take pictures of myself, I did not go to any parties. I couldn’t do things I wanted to do. I couldn’t go for hikes or bike rides, because I was out of breath within in the first 5 min.

When I reached that low point, I decided I need to change. 

I fell for all the weight loss traps, tried all the diet supplements, skinny teas, and lots of other weird drinks that advertised results. Anything you can think of – I probably tried. I lost some pounds and gain some, but nothing really held long term.

I realized there was no magic pill. I needed to put real work in. 

7 years ago, I tried a couple different workouts from YouTube, but I couldn’t make myself stick with anything. Some videos were boring, some were too hard to follow, and some I didn’t like the instructor. 

I stopped trying. I went back to crying and hating myself and trying to numb my pain with donuts. 

Then, I decided to give it another try. I went back on YouTube; scrolling, scrolling and I found Blogilates. I played the first video, and the music was fun, and girl leading the workout was really positive and smiling. I will admit, I watched that first video while eating candy, not doing the exercises.

The next day I woke up, got on the scale, and found that I had gained one more pound. I was so angry, I threw the scale across the room, and was going to go to my bed to cry. 

But something in my mind shifted. I put on Cassey’s video; the same one from the day before, and I did it. It was hard, I needed to take breaks, but I felt happier and accomplished after. 

Next day, I played a second video, and I was hooked. I started to follow Cassey’s free monthly calendar and did workouts at least 6 days a week. The positive feeling I got after completing each video was like a drug, and I wanted more. My happiness grew, and that motivated me to go to the next level and start eating better. I purchased Cassey’s book Hot Body Year Round and started to cook her recipes. I fell in love with cooking healthy meals and working out. I loved how it all made me feel. I had more energy, I was more calm, happier, and I started to love my body and my life. I also noticed I was acting much nicer to people around me. Now I am 40lb lighter, so much happier, and I still find my way back to doing Blogilates videos, and I know this love will never die!

I still to this day follow Cassey’s free calendar. I love how challenging the workouts are and that they are not repetitive. They continue to be fun and uplifting. She is such an inspiration to me.

dzoanna fitness journey

What were some of your initial health and fitness goals? What did it feel like when you started seeing progress towards your goals? 

In my first month I started to see that my clothes fit better; and in two months, people started to notice changes and complimented me, which made me want to work even harder. My progress became my biggest motivation.

My first goal was to lose weight, of course! 😊  But the more I worked on my fitness, the more my goals changed. For the longest time, I thought health meant how I look, not how I feel. 

Diet industries show us perfect bodies and tell us that only looking one way means you are healthy. In my journey I came to the realization that health should be about how you feel. 

Do you have enough energy to do your workouts? Do you have enough energy to go through a day and accomplish your dreams? Do you feel happy and mentally strong? It's not about having six pack abs; it's about how you feel from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. My goal shifted to become stronger and better than I was yesterday; to be able to do 20 mile hikes; to carry groceries in one trip; and to have enough energy so I can take care of my dreams and help others around me. A toned and fit body became an added bonus. We should work out to be healthy as a gift to our body not as punishment!

dzoanna fitness journey popflex

Did you ever have days where you wanted to give up? How did you motivate yourself to keep going? 

I had lots of days when I wanted to give up and I did give up. I fell back into my old eating habits. I felt unhappy and I would try to go back to a healthy lifestyle with exercise and good eating. Then I would fall off again. I thought I was just not disciplined enough to have a good fitness routine. But that was not true! 

The workouts I was doing before I found Blogilates were boring. I was just not exited to do them. I also needed to remember my strong WHY. 

To stick with a routine and to be consistent, you need a strong WHY! Why are you doing it? Why do you want to achieve your goals? Maybe a revenge body will be an amazing reason to start, but it will not be sustainable in the long run. To actually stick with it, your reason should be YOU! Days when you will feel sluggish, lazy, and not motivated, pull out your WHY, and that will keep you going!

dzoanna fitness journey popflex

What were some of your favorite mini-victories throughout your journey? 

The first one’s silly, but we all get excited about it. I went to the store and my typical size 8 jeans where way too big on me. I might have accidentally squeaked out loud from excitement when I fit not into a size 6, but a size 4! I hadn’t realized I was that much leaner. I was so happy all day.

My bigger one was when I went hiking in Zion National Park. On the first day I hiked The Narrows from the top down which ended up being 22 miles down the river where cold water was up to my mid-thigh. It was challenging, but my strong legs and body did it. I am so proud about my body’s resilience and it made me appreciate my legs that much more.

You recently modeled for the POPFLEX Retro Rainbow collection! How did that feel and what was the experience like? 

It was absolutely a dream come true. When I submitted my application, I never even thought that I would be picked. I remember reading the email from Blogilates, telling me that I was picked, and I thought it wasn’t real. I was jumping up and down and had the biggest smile ever. Honestly, that was my happiest day in long, long time.

This was my first time ever modeling. I had never had professional makeup or hair done. That alone was an awesome feeling. I felt like a little POPFLEX princess. I was so nervous at the start of the photoshoot because I had no idea how to pose, where to look, and what to do with my hands. The other girls at the photoshoot were so amazing and encouraging. We all were laughing and cheering each other on. 

dzoanna fitness journey retro rainbow

Sleek, colorful activewear made me feel confident and powerful. I was sad when it was over. But I took this confidence and power girl feeling with me, and it still lives in my heart. It gives me courage and makes me believe that everything is possible if you dream big! 

What advice would you share with someone who is about to embark on their own health and fitness journey? 

  1. Do not compare your fitness journey with others. 
  2. Surround yourself with people that inspire you to grow both in real life and on social media. 
  3. Be clear and realistic about your goals. Make sure they are achievable. If they are not, you will get discouraged and be tempted to give up. Maybe start with how you want to feel at the end of your journey, not the way you want to look.
  4. Take a fitness challenge. This instills a sense of dedication and responsibility. For me, when I fell off my fitness journey, the best way to get back was always to take a fitness challenge. Blogilates has multiple free challenges you can take. My favorite one is the 30-day Abs Challenge. The hardest part is to start, but the more you do it, the easier it will get.
  5. Be consistent. Follow a workout plan. You can make your own, or sign up for a fitness app. It will be easier at start to stay committed. 
  6. Find what schedule works for you. Maybe you are a morning person and that’s when you have the most energy. If so, you should work our first thing in the morning. Maybe lunch time is perfect for a run, etc. Listen to your body. 
  7. When I feel unmotivated, putting on a new, fun workout set helps so much. I feel confident and usually crush my workout.
  8. Allow yourself to have a bad day. Don’t get discouraged if you miss a workout or have a few cookies. Missing 1 day is not an excuse to quit. We all do it so don’t tell yourself you ruined your progress. Shake it off and keep going on the next day!
  9. Make time for yourself!

dzoanna fitness journey retro rainbow

I’ll leave you with one last thought: You and only you can choose to make your dreams happen. “One day or day one, you decide!” - Paulo Coelho

Note: Dzoanna's answers were lightly edited for length and clarity. 💛



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