Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge

21 Mar

*All content expressed in this post is based on personal experience, opinion and research*

Ashy Bines is a majorly controversial topic at the moment. She has created a massive media buzz around the internet but her many critics claim it is for mostly all of the wrong reasons. With thousands of girls considering purchasing her Clean Eating Diet Plan or joining an Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge location, I thought I would share my own experiences to help you make up your mind.

Ashy Bines

The Concept
There are multiple elements to the Ashy Bines ’empire’. The cornerstone products are the Ashy Bines Clean Eating Diet Plan and the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge. The diet plan is more suitably described as a pdf guideline of the diet which Ashy follows before her Bikini Competitions. The Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge is a 12 Week Bootcamp involving challenges and up to six weekly sessions. They are ‘supported’ by products such as Ashy Bines supplement range, the new Green Smoothy Revolution book, motivational emails and youtube video’s.

The ‘Diet Plan’

Although it is named a diet plan, the pdf ‘e-book’ is actually a set of guidelines and some general principles of Clean Eating. Clean Eating was not invented by Ashy herself, it is a concept followed by many body-builders,fitness fanatics and health guru’s globally for years and years. The basis of Clean Eating is to eliminate processed food and the toxins within them from your diet and eat food at its most natural state possible. There is a wealth of information, recipes, ideas and concepts of clean eating available freely on the internet. Ashy obviously had the smart idea to capitalise on the clean eating principles she used to shape up for her modelling competitions by targeting a market of young girls who were desperate to loose weight. She has combined Clean Eating principles with some ‘recipes’ and meal ideas. Along with purchasing the ABCEDP you receive access to the online forum, the Facebook forum and 24 hour support.

My Experience with the ABCEDP

I bought the plan in August 2012. I was tipping the scales at an unhealthy and unhappy 96kg. I had been living my life for the past two years as ‘low carb’ as possible but every day was a struggle with my weight and the inner demons that being so overweight had created. I saw some friends had ‘liked’ the Ashy Bines page on Facebook which showed reams and reams of amazing transformations. I wanted to be one of those girls badly but I had recently tried another diet which used similar marketing and had found little results. I watched the page for months and decided to take the plunge and pay the somewhat small $79 for the program. After going through the sign up page I received an automated email including a link for a closed Facebook group. Another email came through shortly afterwards promising a further email which would include a user name and password for a website from which I could download the book. The email never arrived and I could see on the Facebook group that a lot of other girls were having the same problem. One of the veteran members of the page suggested checking junk mail and sending an email to the ‘support team’. I followed their instructions but whilst waiting the 7 days to receive my email link, I jumped head first into the Facebook group. I asked questions, read through some of the hundreds of files and looked at other peoples advice and transformation stories and pictures. There were only a few thousand members when I joined the group and everyone was helpful. It was obvious that the admin were running some kind of military regimen though, cutting people down who asked ‘inappropriate questions’, deleting people for questioning Ashy or the plan or expressing their concerns, and advising many girls to ‘google it babe’ if they had a question which required any level of educated response. When my guidelines finally arrived I was so excited, I was totally convinced that this was the one for me. I read the guidelines, thought they were simple, made sense and not too demanding or depriving. I had never heard of clean eating and this was all new to me, I felt enthusiastic. After just a few days of following the plan, doing Ashy’s recommended ‘Fat Burning Walks’ and working out in the gym everyone was commenting on my weight loss. My skin was clear and glowing, my mood was lifted and most importantly I was finally loosing weight. From August to November 2012 I dropped 16kg following the guidelines to a ‘T’. During this time the actual guideline and the online site progressed to include more information and become slightly more sophisticated but the situation on the Facebook Forum was spiralling out of control. A large part of the success I was experiencing was due to the support of the other girls on the forum which had now reached around 20,000. However admin’s started to have little presence other than to delete posts without warning and block people from the page without explanation. Girls were getting into cat fights about what to eat and when to eat it, and everyone seemed to jump on every bandwagon of diet craze of workout DVD’s, laxative tea’s, cellulite creams and supplements. It was honestly like blind leading the blind amongst a battle of dramatic young girls with no admin or professional to lead them or advise them. I stopped looking at the Facebook group because it was too much of a daily bitch-fest. The emails which were supposed to be sent weekly were always unreliable. I would often see it posted on other websites that the content was plagiarised from experts and many of those accusations were backed up with evidence. However, due to the results I was achieving most of this had little effect on my dedication to the plan. After some birthday and christmas overindulgences my weight slowly plateaued and that was when I decided to look into the bootcamp.

Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge

The ABBBC is a 12 week challenge. Each girl can select their location and package (based on availability). The Bootcamps are ran by area managers and trainers at outdoor locations across Australia. Their are 3 levels of package which allow you to attend varying amounts of sessions based on your needs. The equipment and content of each session are largely down to the trainers and managers of each individual location to organise. The times of the sessions, the frequency of the weigh-ins and the weekly challenges are set by the program.

My Experience with ABBBC

I had wanted to join ABBBC for quite some time. Every time I looked into it I always missed the sign up or the location near me was full. Conveniently just as my interest in the gym was starting to falter, I managed to secure a spot at my desired location starting in Jan/Feb 2013. I had to pay an initial $59 registration fee apparently to secure my place. I chose the Platinum Package which allows you to attend 6 sessions per week at a reduced rate of $29.95 as you commit to the program for 4 rounds of bootcamp. I signed up eagerly and was sent a link to the Closed Facebook group for my location. My area manager soon emailed with all of the other information necessary. Upon signing up for the direct debit it was squeezed into the small print that there would actually be a further surcharge for each direct debit. Considering that the debits are deducted on a weekly basis this created a substantial surcharge over the course of the 46 weeks of $92 which was going directly to ABBBC and not the direct debit company. My area manager and trainers were great, the girls were great but after the first couple of weeks I started to feel unsure about a few aspects of the bootcamp;

  1. One of the trainers was MUCH weaker than the rest. The content of her sessions wasn’t great and this meant that if you were stuck in her group then you may not get as much out of the session as the rest of the girls.
  2. We were promised sponsors who would donate prizes for mini-milestones and small competitions within the course of the bootcamp. Evening guests and excursions were arranged based around health and fitness. Our area manager had problems getting sponsors as they did not want to be associated with ABBBC this meant that no prizes actually eventuated. One excursion was organised, paid for and then cancelled as the provider did not want to be associated with Ashy Bines. On more than one occasion local supplement reps or health reps pulled out of coming to our bootcamp to deliver presentations.
  3. The sessions were generic regardless of fitness level or previous experience. There was no variations given for each exercise based on personal abilities. Everyone was treated as though they were new to working out.
  4. ABBBC do not provide the trainers with any resources for the bootcamps. Any equipment has to be either bought by the trainer or in most cases bought by the girls themselves.
  5. The fitness tests set by ABBBC were often unrealistic for many people in the group. The beginner exercise for a round one challenge required 50 push ups on feet, most girls couldn’t even get close meaning the majority of the group were sat at the side for up to 5-10 mins waiting for 1 girl to finish the level. Such a waste of time and money.
  6. The times of the sessions are inflexible. This is mostly a personal thing. I have a lot of commitments in terms of career and education leaving me with little time in between. After a 7 weeks of early mornings and late nights, I was drained and feeling ill. The time slots of 6am-7am(Mon, Wed, Fri) and 6.30pm-7.30pm(Tue, Thurs) were really impractical for my lifestyle. I need to flexibility of the gym which is open as and when needed.

Given all of the above downfalls of the bootcamp I attempted to cancel my subscription. I informed my area manager who gave me instructions on how to handle the cancellation. She informed me that other girls were experiencing a lot of problems in cancelling. I was aware that ABBBC impose a $150 cancellation fee and that was fine by me. I called the number given by my manager but reached a voicemail so I left a message. In the mean time, I logged a job through the 24 hour support which promises a response within 48 hours. When I hadn’t received a response within 48 hours I sent an email to the ‘Support Angels’. When that went unanswered I attempted to call someone else up to 5 times. I sent another email which still went unanswered. It is beyond me how any company can advertise 24 hour support when a simple request cannot be acknowledged and 7 days have lapsed. The only answer to my problem was to cancel the direct debit through the 3rd party company. This was definitely not a solution because until the debits are actually cancelled by ABBBC I am still liable for the direct debits. Without any response it is impossible to resolve the situation.

Overall opinion

I have been a major advocate for the Diet Plan. I think that the content of the guidelines and the method of mass communication has made it really accessible for a lot of girls. I think it is basic and I really do have that plan to thank for changing my attitude towards food and eating. Since becoming more educated on weight loss, health and fitness, I have learned that most of the information available in the guidelines is available online for free along with a wealth of other information and recipes. Websites such as the gracious pantry offer far more reliable clean recipes which are accompanied by the nutritional content of the dishes. However, without ABCEDP I would never have started looking and learning so I suppose I do need to credit the plan to some degree. I would only recommend it to anyone who has no knowledge of weight loss or clean eating or those who do not have the time or resources to research it and implement a plan for themselves. The information is elsewhere for free so if you would begrudge paying $80 for something which is available for free then don’t even go there. Similarly, if the location trainer is experienced and committed and you don’t have high expectations (exercise wise), want to exercise in a group and social environment then the ABBBC could definitely work. The real pit fall of the company and the thing which has the reputation of Ashy Bines in tatters is her lack of professionalism on any level. The plan is full of spelling mistakes, the support system is non existent, she breaches OFT and ACL legislation constantly, buys Facebook likes and pretends that genuine photo transformations were made using her plan when they were actually people who had surgery etc. I have no doubt that if Ashy had some integrity in the way she ran her business and she demonstrated both personal and business ethics then she would not be half as hated as she is.

Let me know your opinion of the Ashy Bines empire if you have one?

Turning Point

17 Mar

I AM BACK ON TRACK!!

I am pleased to declare that I have rediscovered my motivation to diet. It just hit me like a train after my last post- Hallelujah. I woke up on Wednesday and I just knew that I had to get back into it. Armed with a list of my goals for this year (fitness, weightless, money and general lifestyle) I belted my way through 2 days of fantastic food choices. Not only did I feel better about myself, but my mood was lifted and everything just fell back into place- much to the pleasure of my poor boyfriend.

On Thursday night my best friend (Posh) messaged me amidst the dullest study session known to man with a link for a 14 day kick-start diet. I had already badgered her into following Ashy Bines Clean Eating Diet Plan back in January so that she could stick to her New Year resolutions- thats what friends are for right?! For two months we have gossiped about the in’s and out’s of the Ashy plan and debated the pro’s and con’s of various brands of greek yoghurt. We both got sick a few weeks ago following a disgustingly brilliant weekend including a festival, a mosh-pit, too much sweat and even more alcohol. It just so happens that both of our boyfriends decided to nurse us back to health with cream eggs and caramel slices. (I’m sure its the thought that counts!)¬†

Anyway, Posh is going on holiday in a couple of weeks and after 2 weeks of being out of the diet and exercise loop she was desperate for a game-changing plan which would kickstart our step back into the land of clean eating. When I opened the link, I immediately thought-oh no its a big bad fad diet. But to my amazement, on further research and purchase of a few books it seems this could be scientifically sound and hopefully just what we need. The plan is James Duigan’s Flat Tummy Fast 14 day kickstart diet. James is credited as the guy behind Elle McPherson’s drool-worthy figure and is apparently a UK Clean and Lean God.

The plan is restricted to lean protein, good fats and green veggie’s. No carbs, no fruit and no dairyūüėź We are now into day 3 and it is tough, and all I have to say is that it is definitely not something that could be maintained long term. I calculated that the calorie count for each kick-start day always comes in just under 700 which I realise is extreme. However, it is only designed as a kickstart as it is teamed with some delicious looking recipes and guidelines for everyday living.¬†In my case I really needed a quick burst of results along with the organisation of a meal plan to regain my M.I.A motivation.¬†

The main thing that I have taken from the diet so far are;

  1. My body can function on MUCH less food than I usually give it- even when I think I am being ‘good’. I suppose this is really the definition of ‘eating for fuel’. Some of the portion sizes gobsmacked me!¬†
  2. I cannot wait to get back to Ashy Bines, I definitely realise that following that plan and incorporating a few changes to suit myself has become a lifestyle for me. I can stick to the guidelines as an everyday way of living and still enjoy food. I really don’t care what any of the Ashy haters protest about. The plan really has changed my life and taught me a whole new way of eating.
  3. I have come such a long way since August 2012. I now crave fruit and greek yoghurt whereas before, I waltzed around like a barrage balloon thinking my subway was the healthy choice whilst craving (and often giving into) sugar and takeaway treats. The sad thing was I really believed that I had earned them. I think this realisation has motivated me most and it feels good to say that I am proud of how far I have come.

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As a final note I am really not sure how I feel about the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge Bootcamp. The trainer is amazing, the girls are motivating but for me…I miss the gym. I never thought that I would say it. Exercise is a challenge for me, it is the hardest part of weight loss. I really need to tap into the zone and focus on my goals. I find that being at bootcamp with dozens of others doesn’t allow me to do that. I always walk away feeling like I have just attended a social event rather than pushed myself to the limit. The fact that my personal trainer was so amazing and had really tailored my workout to my needs probably has a lot to do with it. I had sickened myself with the gym when I started bootcamp, forcing myself into 5 2 hour sessions per week when I was already physically exhausted. I was feeling off-put by the amount of pumped up, jacked up egotistical jerks who swarmed the gym at peak hour. I think that now I would prefer to go back into the gym two or three times a week for early morning PT sessions, start Pilates or Bikram Yoga and enjoy Ashy’s staple FBW’s and jogging. I am open minded when it comes to exercise- let me know how you stay active! I still have 5 weeks of bootcamp left and my initial subscription was for a year and I don’t know if I can get out. I will let you all know how I go with making a decision.¬†

Have a good week, make it count. All that’s keeping me going is knowing that this time next week I will only have 4 more days left on the kick-start plan. I can and will do this :)¬†

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Failure and The Future

12 Mar

I dont even know where to being with this one, I am about to understand how those AA meeting attendees feel when they have to sit down and say it out loud….no I’m not an alcoholic, but I am a gigantic diet lifestyle failure.

I have well and truly fallen off the wagon, which has now fled into the sunset leaving me lying in a big pool of chocolate and self pity.

University started back again and I became exhausted pretty quickly whilst trying to juggle two jobs and a law degree. Of course the first thing to go was the clean eating. I started allowing myself a sneaky caramel slice to ‘pick me up’ during the relentless hours of studying. I would make crappy lunch choices whilst cramming in study on my lunch break at work. At this point I was giving myself the hideous justification that it would be balanced out by the exercise which I was doing 4-5 times per week at my ABBBC bootcamp. But guess what?…that turned into a major fail too. A combination of early morning meetings, fleeing straight from one job to another and letting myself win the battle with the alarm clock meant I was making it to one, maybe two sessions per week. Then after one weekend of severe over indulgence and gluttony on every ugly level I became ill with laryngitis and have been unable to talk or very little else for 10 days.

I sit here now feeling truly disgusted at myself. I was a person who had the motivation, drive and determination to loose 16 kgs only a few months ago, how have I allowed myself to fall into this trap of laziness and excuses again? I realised my predicament whilst writing on the wall for my ABBBC group. I was about to ask the girls to motivate me into returning to training in the morning whilst reeling of a whole heap of excuses about why I haven’t been at training in over a week. Then it struck me, I really need to take ownership for my own journey! I need to motivate myself and look at all the reasons why I need to do this for me. Generic motivation from the bootcamp girls just wasn’t going to cut it. And here I am again! In a desperate attempt to force myself back into a healthy lifestyle I am going to make a motivation board.

One mistake does not excuse countless others

Enjoying summer in a bikini without being self conscious

Uncovering my Cheek Bones

Bubble butt not blubber butt

Collar Bones

Never Give Up

Do something every day, even if its just small

It takes time, have patience.

to make my boyfriends jaw drop!

So that I won’t be mad at myself every time I try to shop but nothing fits or looks good.

Being able to wear feminine shorts without looking like a sack of potatoes

Not needing a shoe horn to squeeze into skinny jeans.

Surprising family and friends when I go home in June.

Not having to employ a military strategy to avoid cameras at all costs.

Don’t loose faith

Overindulgence is never satisfactory.

I want¬† will move forward from here. I will achieve everything that I want to achieve not just for all of the reasons above, but because I deserve to do this! I will no longer be the ‘pretty but plump’ girl who is too scared to have fun in case her skirt busts, or the one who has to strategically place her handbag over her gut, or wear something second best because the ideal outfit was ‘not flattering for your shape’. I owe it to myself to get there, however long it may take! When my alarm goes off at 5 in the morning I will think of all of the reasons I need this, and when I get home at 9pm after a double shift, I will remember why I don’t need a handful of chips, a chocolate biscuit or a buttery slice of toast.

I think for the next two weeks I need to safeguard myself from my inner Miss Piggy. I want to try and create a meal plan with 3 main meals and 3 snacks and prove to myself that I can stick too it. Hopefully after those two weeks are over, I will be motivated enough by the results that I won’t want to stuff myself with nasties or skip a session. I feel ready to take on the challenge !

I am already feeling motivated, Let me know what keeps you on track when things get tough, and how you pick yourself up again after a major fail.

The New Beginning

7 Jan

Hello and Welcome,

This is my very own patch of cyberspace, created to keep me motivated and interested in reaching my goals. I am a self-confessed beauty addict who has, over the past few years, developed a little bit too much of a love/hate relationship with carbohydrates and exercise. I say ‘relationship’ but basically I loved¬†the former and loathed the latter. Last year started as a big year for me, in every sense of the word. I wanted to make change, I found the motivation and the tools to start the mammoth task of shedding my flabby butt, I kicked my own arse for a while and lost 16 Kgs….and then Christmas happened. I happily binged on everything sinful and basked in the sugar coated moment. When I returned to the gym for the New Year shake up, I found that I had loved the ‘pasta-cup’ and potato wedges so much that my body decided it just couldn’t let them go. I had gained a vulgar, but definitely deserved, 4 Kgs in 5 little weeks. Whilst I am desperate to shift the bulge, I decided it would be far easier if I was in some way accountable for my food and exercise choices….and here we are!

2013, my yearTo set the scene for my journey, I should probably tell you a little bit about myself. As much as I hate awkward introductions-here goes!

I am 21 years old and live in Perth, Western Australia with my gorgeous and supportive boyfriend of 4 years. Whilst I love the guy to pieces, he’s an ex personal trainer-turned chef who can shed 10 Kgs in a few days with minimal effort. Becoming clearer how I became a fatty and now need a blog for supportive measure?

I get an un-natural amount of joy from cosmetics, skincare and haircare and nothing makes me happier than indulging in a pamper session…every night! In all honesty I do believe it is an addiction, but I don’t think I’m alone with this one.

I have a hectic lifestyle but I really couldn’t have it any other way! I have two part-time jobs and I am also studying full-time towards my law degree. In my spare time I squeeze in shopping, gym and spending some rare but precious time with the chap.

Whilst I love living in the sunshine and frolicking around the beach, I am actually an English rose who migrated to this little piece of heaven in 2011. I am so incredibly appreciative of the life I have here…aside from the fact that 90% of the female population are 6ft, sun-kissed goddesses and I am a vertically challenged frump!

I have the most amazing family. This, of course, includes my little pooch who I love like a human baby! It’s sad but tragically true.

I am an Ashy Bines girl. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a great supporter of Ashy and her diet. I know that the plan is not without its fair share of ‘haters’ but it has changed my life along with countless others. Finding the plan totally revolutionised my attitude towards food and eating. I work out 6 days a week and have a beautiful and dedicated personal trainer who is always challenging me in many ways.

That pretty much summarises me at the moment. Please come back to support me, follow my journey and hopefully enjoy my ramblings over loosing weight, getting toned, finding fitness and improving myself.

Much love xoOne Day..

Oh…. and it’s Superglue lipgloss because I think every girl wishes weight loss were so easy!

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