All Smiles

Jera Foster-Fell inspires with an “All smiles all the time” attitude

All Smiles

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Twenty Seven year old New Yorker Jera Foster-Fell, also known as the @WorkOutBean radiates with personality and positivity that excites and inspires others to reach their potential.  Jera is anything but shy and her triumphs as well as her trials are on display for her following.

Jera, who is a graphic designer by training is super psyched to “finally be doing something that I feel passionate about, that makes me happy, and gives me a sense of fulfillment. Through movement, sweat, social media, and hard work, I’ve created a brand for myself that allows me to not only feel good about myself, but have a positive impact on other people’s lives. ”  I wouldn’t take this to mean that Jera doesn’t love graphic design but to say that fitness has struck a special cord with her.

When did you first start on your Fitness Journey?

Everything began for me in April 2015. I woke up one morning and it was like a lightbulb went off. I had followed some fitness accounts on instagram for about a year and I always had the urge to get healthier, but never did. But something changed that morning. I got out of bed with purpose, I bought Kayla Itsines’s Bikini Body Guide twelve week workout program, went to the gym, and began. That same day, I created a fitness Instagram account, @workoutbean, to hold myself accountable. I had no idea at the time that it would turn into what it currently is today.

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It’s always so interesting to look back on certain times in your life and realizing things about your situation that you weren’t aware of at the time. Back in April 2015 when fitness first became an essential part of my life, I had just come out of a few challenging months. I don’t think I consciously realized that I needed some sort of an outlet, but clearly I did, and I found that through exercise. Working out allowed me to create the space I needed to focus on myself, and the social media aspect of it created a space where I was able to make connections and friendships with other women.

First, when I initially began working out consistently back in April 2015 with BBG by Kayla Itsines (a twelve week program), twelve weeks seemed like forever! I had never come close to working out consistently for that length of time. Despite that, I finished the twelve weeks and was incredibly proud of myself. Once I completed that guide, I felt confident that I could do anything else that I set my mind to.

When did you first know you were going to become a ‘Fitness Influencer’?

I think it took quite some time to realize that I was a “fitness influencer” and to be honest, I still have a hard time saying that phrase.

I feel like a normal person doin’ normal thangs!

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But I do remember fairly early on, perhaps just a month or so after making exercise a priority and creating my instagram account, girls would message or or comment on my photos telling me that I motivated them to workout that particular morning. Or that they used my recipe to make dinner. Or that simply, I inspire them. I’ll never forget that feeling of realizing that however small it was, I was impacting people in a positive way. That made me feel so good. I realized that it was a feeling that I had never gotten before as a graphic designer, and that feeling made me want to seriously consider leaving my job as a graphic designer and transitioning over to fitness full time.

Is there anything about your upbringing that you can link to your inspiration and success thus far?

My parents always allowed me to explore creativity as I pleased. Whether it was stomping in the mud as a toddler, wearing pink zinc and blue sparkles on my lips as a kid, creative writing as a teen, or graphic design in college, I was always encouraged to try new things and do as I pleased. I think being given the flexibility to test the waters of new interests was huge for me and absolutely was a major factor in leading me to where I am today.

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Jera Foster-Fell is @WorkOutBean

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your fitness journey?

I don’t think there has been one single significant obstacle that I’ve overcome in my fitness journey thus far.

I would say that there is the more general day to day  challenge of staying consistent with physical exercise.

Everyone always asks about motivation, and that’s such an interesting subject because motivation is so fleeting. Most days, I don’t wake up and say, “I can’t wait to work out today!”, that’s just not how it works. But a few things get me past that moment of hesitation:

1. Routine.  Creating a routine for yourself forces you to create a habit. Once you have a habit formed, you do it no matter what, regardless of if you feel motivated.

2. Workout buddies. Having someone with similar goals as you, whether they’re with you physically or not, is incredibly helpful for keeping yourself accountable.

3. That post workout feeling. No one ever regretted a workout!

Why did you choose to start your fitness journey with BBG?

Close to two years ago, I was scrolling through Instagram’s explore page and I came across the instagram account, @kayla_itsines. I wasn’t into fitness at all at the time, it was probably the least active phase of my life, but I was enthralled by the transformations that I saw on her account.

When I decided to bite the bullet and try it myself about a year later, it seemed like the only logical step to take in terms of getting into a fitness routine. Besides going for a run or using the elliptical, I was clueless in terms of what to do in the gym. Following BBG laid everything out exactly as I needed to do it and gave me the confidence to walk into the gym and get my workout done.

BBG is an exercise program on the surface level, but underneath that, it’s so much more.

There is a huge community of mostly women on instagram who do BBG, and it’s such an incredibly supportive and empowering community. Where else in the world do you see strangers, particularly women, coming together to cheer each other on in such a genuine way? When I first created my fitness account back in April 2015, it was simply a way to hold myself accountable to consistently working out, but I quickly realized that it had way more potential than that. I started connecting with other women, many of whom have become my real life friends.

So is BBG a workout program? Yes, definitely. But is it also a revolutionary movement bringing women together from all across the globe to get healthy and support each other in the process? Absolutely.

What else did you try?

I did about two and a half rounds of BBG before switching to PPCG aka Progress Pure’s Curve Guide. The creator, Molly, was my very first instagram friend. Her guide is based around lifting. I was one of the first people able to test out her guide, and I loved it because it allowed me to explore the weight room which I was always a little intimidated by.

Was there ever a time when you were contemplating quitting?

I’ve been on a mission for close to a year now to become a SoulCycle instructor. As soon as I got my heart set on it, there was no turning back. It was probably good that at the time of this decision, I didn’t quite fully understand how difficult it is to become an instructor!

Part of the process is auditions, and this was absolutely terrifying for me. Up until that point, I was a graphic designer and I had zero fitness instructions experience. On top of that, I had a fear of public speaking. I went into that first audition with all odds against me, but I somehow pushed through and survived. And I thought I did a decent job!

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A week later, I got an email saying that I did not make it to the next round. I was heartbroken. I felt like I put my heart and soul into the audition, and to have them say no hit me at my very core. It made me question if I was good enough, or if I would ever be good enough. Though I allowed myself to wallow in self doubt for a day or so, I was able to turn those feelings around and used them as extra fuel for the fire to prepare for the next audition. Getting a “no” made me work that much harder to eventually get a “yes”.

I didn’t quit because a “no” right now doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be a yes down the line. I think that sometimes, not getting what we want is important. Not only does it build character, but it makes us figure out how badly we want something. If we get a no and then quit, well, maybe that wasn’t the right path.

“It’s not failure until you give up.”

What’s been the most rewarding part of all of this so far?

The most rewarding part of my journey so far has absolutely been hearing that I’ve had some sort of positive impact on people’s lives. When I hear that my instagram post motivated someone to get out of bed that morning, or that sharing my own personal challenges has helped others tackle their own difficult times, I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel.

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Jera is a certified personal trainer & a SoulCycle instructor

It’s an interesting cycle- I workout, feel good, share bits and pieces of my life, post about it, and in turn other people see it and feel motivated, feel good themselves, and tell me about, which makes me feel good. Though it’s not always glitter and unicorns, it’s this crazy positivity train of empowerment, and people just being real with each other.

What advice would you give to a person that wanted to follow a similar path?

If you want to commit to a healthy lifestyle, there are a few things that need to happen. First, you need to make a solid decision that this is not something that you’re just going to say that you want. It’s not something that you’re simply going to wish for. It’s something that you’re making a firm decision to do. No one else is going to make a change for you. Realize that you are the only one responsible for your body, your mind, and your health, and you are responsible for taking care of it.

Next, I think that when you want to start exercising consistently, it’s best to have some sort of a program to follow. It can be really confusing at first to walk into a gym, and I think a lot of people resort to the cardio machines as a default. Everyone needs to do cardio, but there are so many other ways to break a sweat, and it’s essential to keep your body moving in a new ways. By signing up for a workout program, you’ll feel confident about what to do, and you’ll have an easy plan to stick to.

Another great tool is having a workout buddy to hold you accountable. Whether that’s your significant other or someone you met on instagram, find someone who is going to make sure that you get your butt moving each day!

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself to have rest days. Indulge in a dessert now and then. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout.

A huge part of a healthy lifestyle is balance.

Sometimes we get crazy at the gym, and sometimes we netflix and chill.

Who do you consider the icons in health & fitness?

I think that the everyday girl is quickly becoming the next icon in fitness. Social media makes everything so much more accessible and connected, and because of social media, people are able to have a voice in such a way that wasn’t possible just a few years ago. Models are gorgeous, athletes are powerful…. But they’re not relatable. Now, more so than ever, women want to look up to other women that they can find some common ground with.

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What’s the next frontier in building your fitness tribe?

I would love to start creating video content! I grew up with my mom who is in film, so I learned how to edit from her. Every single project I did growing up involved video and editing, and currently, video is becoming more and more popular. Whether it’s workout videos, sharing about my life, or something more on the creative side, I’m really looking forward to diving into video this upcoming year.

Where did the name ‘WorkOut Bean’ come from?

My parents have had all kinds of nicknames for me growing up!

Bean, Jera Bean, JB, among many others (don’t ask why my dad calls me “Rabbit Brains”!) I’ve always loved Bean, so any time I’ve needed to make an instagram handle, I’ve used that.

My first account was my art and handlettering account, @bean_robin, and when it came time to make a fitness account, @workoutbean was the first thing that popped into my head.

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@WorkOutBean is an inspiration for women that are exploring and wanting to make healthy changes

What do you feel is the most important element for a personal just starting or struggling in a fitness program?

For someone who is just starting off in a fitness program or for someone who is trying to be more active, it’s crucial to create a routine for yourself. When you’re first starting out, everything is so new, it can be easy to get sidetracked. If you build a schedule for yourself and make a promise to yourself to stick to it. And  you will set yourself up for success.

Something else to keep in mind though is not to try and change too much at once. You don’t have to simultaneously start working out six days a week. Then drinking a gallon of water a day, getting 8 hours of sleep each night, and never eating dessert. Instead, try to slowly incorporate healthy habits one by one so.  This you can adjust to each change with the time that you need to get used to it.

“For anyone who starts to doubt themselves. Otherwise, feels themselves struggling, remember that you didn’t come this far to only come this far.” – Jera

Whether it’s focusing specifically on our fitness journey or taking a step back and examining our lives, remember that the ups and downs are inevitable.

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

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Jera Foster-Fell (@WorkOutBean)

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SnapChat: WorkOutBean

Day by Day

Day by Day

Tinchy of @FrecklesInMyMind makes progress through habits and routine
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Twenty Eight year old fitness enthusiast and influencer Martina, affectionately known as ‘Tinchy’ by her friends and family is the personality behind @FrecklesinmyMind.  I talked with her about her fitness journey, her inspiration, and how she keeps motivated to strive for healthy goals.

How would you describe what it is that you do?

My aim is to show people that no matter how little free time they have on their hands, taking a half hour off your day to move and nourish your body will help them both mentally and physically. You take it day by day, a meal by meal, a workout by workout, and slowly, but steady change your lifestyle for the better.

When did you first start your fitness journey?

I “officially” started my fitness journey in July 2015, when I’ve also opened my instagram account to keep myself accountable and to find inspiration. Before that I tried going to the gym off and on, but never had the determination to really stick with it.

What was the impetus to get you started?  

It was getting sick all the time, my immunity was really low and I was under a lot of stress. I was lacking energy, felt anxious all the time, had trouble sleeping properly and felt like my days are passing and nothing was changing. Working out daily helped tremendously with all of that.

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Tell me about your childhood, is there anything about your childhood that you can link to your inspiration?

My parents always supported all my choices and let me do my own thing..even if it meant playing piano and practicing handball which was a nightmare for my piano teacher since I fractured my finger twice, LOL.   Growing up I’ve always had extracurricular activities and I’ve loved doing different things.

I have been active pretty much through all my childhood. I played handball through my elementary school and high school and when I went away to university, I’ve tried rowing and tennis. I love moving my body and when I stopped playing sports I felt like something was missing.  That’s something I found again which  through daily fitness, when I brought that back into my life.

Who do you consider the icons in the Health & Fitness space?

Well, if we are talking about instagram fitness community, I find Kayla Itsines a great role model that’s promoting a healthy lifestyle, positivity, and not promoting diets.  She teaches just nourishing your body with good food 🙂  

I also like Emily Skye because she shows all the good and bad and keeps it real.   I really like Kevin Hart who daily inspires people to just go and smash their workouts 🙂 Oh, and also makes you laugh a lot.

I think having positive role models is great, especially today, when so many print, tv and online media are pushing their own agendas without really thinking of the damage they are doing to young people growing up.  It takes a lot of time and effort to change the mindset that a scale is just a number that does not define your worth; that beauty and happiness comes from within; that you should workout and eat healthy because you love your body; and not because you hate it.

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Little by little, things are changing and more and more people are showing that a healthy sustainable fit life is doable by sharing their day-to-day lives on social media.  That in turn inspires other people, which I think it’s amazing.

What is your training regimen? 

I am following Kayla Itsines BBG program (bikini body guide).  

This means I do resistance training 3 times a week:

Monday is leg & cardio day, Wednesday is arms day, and Friday is either a full body or abdominal workout. Thursday and Thursdays are reserved for liss sessions (low intensity steady state) which for me is usually taking a 30-45 min fast paced walk.  However, since I’ve been doing BBG program for a year now, to change things up a little, this round I am not doing any liss sessions but mixing BBG resistance workouts with running 4-5 times per week.

I’m hoping to attend my first half marathon in the end of October, which makes me feel pretty excited.  I try to do my resistance training in the morning before work, and go running in the evening.  Even though it seems a lot, I make sure I have a rest day or two to let my body recover.  I’m also trying to incorporate more yoga, to help with recovery of my muscles.

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like?   

I believe that food should have good nutritional value and that you should pick wholesome foods instead of processed ones.  The food you eat should not make you sluggish or give you cravings which a lot of  junk food does.  Good food makes you feel good too.  Personally I do not follow any performance diets.  I try to listen my body and eat healthy.

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What are the obstacles that you see preventing people from being their healthiest?  

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford was so right about this!

To be honest, I believe it all comes down to the mindset.  Everyone has to start by wanting a change and then do your best to show up every day for yourself.  Make yourself a priority at least half an hour a day.  No one can make your life better if you do not put effort to make it better yourself.  Taking shortcuts is easy way and well we all do it, but putting an effort is something that actually makes a difference. You have to understand that you won’t feel motivated everyday and that’s why it is important to build up habits and be dedicated – so that you still do what you need to do even though you don’t really feel like it.

Changes can be scary because we are all creatures of habit. Even though we sometimes don’t like where we are in life, over the time we got used to it, and thus find a comfort in the known. Starting something new can be hard and people often give up before they’ve managed to create new habits for themselves.  It takes time, but once you do create new, good habits and feel their benefits you will not want to go back.

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I noticed that you wear some of the coolest fitness gear.  Can you tell me what you look for in fitness apparel?  Any anecdotes or advice there?

Thank you 🙂 Since I’ve made fitness a part of my daily life I feel like I’m spending all my time in workout clothes, LOL.  The comfort of the clothes is a priority to me.  If something irritates your skin during the workout or moves in a way it shouldn’t, it will bother you the whole time and distract you from your goals.

Apart from the functionality, it needs to look pretty too!  I love different designs and the fact that active wear has gotten so popular that there are plenty brands to choose from.  Most of my workout clothes end up being black or monochrome for practical reasons, but I love seeing colorful clothes too.  Also, I think one of the most important thing is to have sneakers which offer good support to your feet.

Anything else you would like to add?

Don’t be afraid of starting because you might fail.  Start and give it your all.

If you fall, pick yourself up again.  If you want a change, do not wait for the next monday, next month or a specific date.  Start now.  Every little change counts.  

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Find some activities you are passionate about and it won’t seem like a chore.  Not everyone likes cardio and not everyone likes lifting.  Just because someone else does it or just because something is popular and everyone else seems to enjoy it does not mean you will too.  It does not matter what anyone else thinks, they are not you.  So you do you and find what works for you.  Surround yourself with people who share your interests, who lift your spirits, and push you in the right direction.

And most importantly, believe in yourself.

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Tinchy @FrecklesInMyMind

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