Fit Girl Interview: Healthy By Fifty a.k.a Dr Ally
Attention members of the BBG community. Are there BBG girls you crush on? You know those accounts you visit daily for motivation and maybe a kick up the butt? I do, and while I know there are no “secrets” to success when it comes to health and fitness, I know that the awesome ladies who have completed the BBG guide successfully (much more than once in most cases) will have a plethora of wisdom to share. And so I have set out on a mission to interview these inspiring people while I complete the Kayla Itsines 12 Week BBG Guide in the hopes that their advice will help me—and all the other newbies out there—along the way.
My first interview is with a woman who inspires me daily, Dr Ally a.k.a healthybyfifty. Dr Ally has completed the BBG 1 guide twice and is now finishing off a round of BBG 2. For non-BBGERS, BBG 1 refers to Kayla Itsines first bikini body guide and BBG 2 refers to a second guide that follows on from the first.
As mentioned in her Instagram description Dr Ally is based in the UK, a PHD graduate in Pharmacy/Medicine, a married mother of two and a woman on a mission to get fit and healthy by the time she reaches fifty.
I have been following Dr Ally for at least six months (which is a long time considering she started her account last September) and am continually inspired by her balanced approach to food and exercise, the gut busting HIIT sessions she posts (#drallyhiit) and of course her amazing progress photos. The entire account is very earnest and super inspiring. I know others feel the same because Dr Ally has 55.9k followers and counting.
When asked about the rapid growth of her account Dr Ally says,
“I’m shocked that people want to follow me as I think I’m just an average person wanting to feel healthier before the big 5-0! I try not to focus on the number of followers – I like to treat everyone as an individual and always respond to messages and comments. . I hope that people find me genuine and can relate to me – there aren’t many women my age on Instagram”.
Sadly popularity on social media does come with a downside. Dr Ally is not free of Internet trolling. While a majority of the comments on her feed are supportive there are also hundreds of negative comments made about the way she looks along with accusations of progress pictures being photoshopped.
“It saddens me that women can tear each other apart about their physical appearance when we should be supporting one another.
If I receive hurtful comments I try and send a positive message back. It’s frustrating when I receive comments that my progress is fake or is photoshopped because it diminishes the hard work and effort you’ve put in each day. I wouldn’t have the time to photoshop photographs – I’m too busy!”.
We love Dr Ally right?
Along with not having time to photoshop images, Dr Ally has always been comfortable in her own skin.
“I’ve actually always been proud of my body – stretch marks and all – I’m blessed that my body functions in a normal way. Having worked in hospitals, around others less fortunate, you appreciate the body you have and how truly amazing it really is. I think my goal to getting healthier was different to most people’s – I wasn’t that concerned about changing my physical appearance at my age – I did it to prolong my life, manage stress levels, reduced my risk of cardiovascular disease, have more energy, sleep better and improve my strength and flexibility”.
I’m almost certain these trolls have never actually completed a Kayla Itsines workout. Anyone who has completed even ONE BBG workout knows that the amazing before and after pictures we see on the Internet are not faked.
On that note, since my very first BBG workout was near catastrophic, I wondered what Dr Ally’s was like.
“I don’t even want to talk about my first workout – it still gives me nightmares!! I thought I was relatively fit for my age when I started – how wrong I was!!”.
Good to know I am not alone there.
There were a lot of really important takeaways from my interview with Dr Ally. In fact, Dr Ally provided advice for BBG newbies that was so practical and sustainable I decided it needed to be featured in it’s own post. Click here to read Dr Ally’s 7 Tip For BBG Newbies.
As for the rest, I will post it below. I know you all want to read exactly what Dr Ally has to say about her weekly workout schedule without my interference. Actually, I lie. I did interfere. I highlighted parts in bold that I found to be particularly important.
What does your weekly workout schedule look like?
If the children are at school my day usually begins with an 8am dog walk. I use my dog walking as LISS so sometimes I will walk really briskly and incorporate a few hills.
Three times a week I will do a 28-minute BBG resistance circuit, beginning with a 5-10 minute mobilisation and warm up and ending with a 5-10 minute cool down and stretch.
I will try and do at least one 15-20 minute HIIT per week. I love HIIT as you don’t need equipment or much space and it is so quick! I create my own HIIT workouts and often record and post them for others to use (#drallyhiit). I usually workout at home in the garden but I’ve been having to use a gym lately because it’s just too hot!
My goal for the summer is to try and incorporate one proper stretch and relaxation session, including foam rolling or using a massage stick. I’m trying out a few different relaxation classes and I quite like body balance and PiYo . I’m going to make a real effort and go to one a week before the children break up for the summer.
What motivated you to start the BBG program?
My motivation to start BBG was quite personal. Both my parents were knocked over by a van while crossing the road last year and my father was seriously injured. After months in hospital, he returned home and I’m convinced that his prior fitness at 87 years old helped his recovery.
You just don’t know what is around the corner and this spurred me on to change my health. My two girls (aged 14 and 10) love watching me workout and often join in. I’m hoping that they will realize that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle and can be fun!
Do you ever modify the workouts by doing things like swapping out exercises or taking longer breaks between circuits?
BBG is a tough programme with advanced exercises – I still modify every single workout I do. I think it’s important to realize that this is YOUR workout and BBG is a GUIDE only! At the moment I’m removing all jumping moves and replacing them with low impact weighted moves to improve my strength. If I use heavy weights I take more breaks during the circuits and I’ve always taken a minimum of a 2-minute rest between circuits. I feel my body needs it.
I don’t rush through the circuits – I don’t use them for a cardio workout (I use LISS/HIIT for that). I like to go slow, keep good form throughout each repetition and engage the muscles for as long as possible. Do what works for you – there’s no wrong or right way.
Who is your fitness inspiration?
I don’t have one particular fitness inspiration. I do get a lot of motivation from mums that are juggling careers and young children – getting up at 4.30 am to get their workouts in. I’m also so inspired by individuals overcoming disabilities or illness to be in the best health possible – if they can do it I can!
Images: All images courtesy of @healthybyfifty