I have been lurking in a WeChat group called “21 Day Fitness Community,” filled with international Beijing women. Long-time Beijing resident Hannah Northcott created this group to help and support women getting healthy and fit. Now why would I be lurking and not participating, you might ask? I was skeptical at first and felt it might be a group of judgmental fitness junkies. Less is true, the group is filled with supportive women ready to help each other getting the best out of the program.
What is this challenge about? It’s 21 days following a video complete with exercising woman and a meal plan to streamline your health journey. I have been on a different journey myself, recently undergoing a weight loss surgery. But watching these ladies sending their sweaty selfies and encouraging each other has been planting a seed in my head to put those DVDs on or go on Chinese video streaming platforms and follow the workout programs you can find there.
Many ladies thrive on accountability and this group does just that, showing struggling women that exercising keeps you going. Northcott has grown this group to include 120 followers. It is very active (no pun intended) and pictures of healthy food and sweaty women keep it entertaining. I find this special because ladies of all sizes and shapes have been training to find a more healthy version of themselves. Northcott has been partnering with several Beijing-based companies to give out some little treats to the ladies that have completed the program. We asked Northcott some questions about the 21 Day Fix Program.
Why did you develop this group?
I wanted to create a safe space for women to support, inspire, and motivate each other to become healthier and happier versions of themselves. Our group embraces women of all ages, shapes, sizes, cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and religion.
As women, we have a deep desire to be seen, heard, known, and loved. The WeChat group has given us a space to love our bodies by exercising (for 30 minutes a day), fueling it with healthy food, sharing our struggles, posting sweaty selfies, and celebrating non-scale victories as we climb the difficult hill of juggling families, a career, passions, a social life, and taking care of ourselves.
As Autumn Calebrese often said in the 21 Day Fitness work-out, “fitness is a journey, not a destination.” Although the fitness journey is a personal one – as we all have unique demons that we battle against – we are not meant to do it alone. Having other women travel along with us on this path makes the challenges not only do-able but fun.
There are times for example that I don’t want to work-out, but a post like Kelly doing push-ups at a Bangkok airport, Sara a mother of five exercising before 6:00 AM, or Lia Lia pressing play on a work-out video near midnight, inspire me to do my exercise for the day.
Women need women. If we use our powers to help each other, we can make changes within ourselves that can create a positive impact in our families, communities, and the world.
What has been the most inspiring?
I’ve been inspired by the transformation that we have seen in the ladies not only physically but in their mindset and habits. There has been a mind shift from “I can’t” or “this is too hard,” to “this is hard, but I can do this.”
Hope arises when we show each other what is possible and through the sweaty selfies, stories and progress photos of real women, we empower each other to do what we once thought was impossible. Everyone who has committed to the 21 Day Fix program created by Beachbody super trainer Autumn Calebrese – which has a 30-minute video work-out and a color-coded nutrition plan – have seen visible physical results. There have been women who have lost up to 20 lbs, 25 inches, and dropped down from a size 12 to a 4. Polina for example shared:
“I’m a mother to a 2 year old, always busy and tired, exhausted even. Unhappy and unhealthy, trying to cover my guilt in food. And as an answer to prayer, Hannah started a 21 Day group. I jumped in without having an idea of what I committed myself to. I started to slowly change – my mind, myself, my confidence, and later on, my body. I decided I needed to change. I needed to love myself and do it for myself first. As well as, to show my daughter that she is strong, that she can do anything…some days it’s really hard, but each day is my step for a better me.”
Polina has finished a couple of rounds and has started an 80 day Obsession program. Another working mom, Sharee shared, “I’m one of the morning crew and it’s been motivating to know that there are at least a couple of women exercising at the same time as me around Beijing. My body has been completely re-shaped by exercises, and I can feel that I am stronger. My posture is better and I have way more energy…”
The sisterhood and camaraderie that has been formed from this group has been a gift as we have created a bond out of the desire to be a better version of ourselves. Add Hannah on WeChat to get more information: Hannah_Northcott
Photos: Dave Studio