The Secret Online Workout Community That Helped Me Get in Shape
We’ve all heard of Kayla Itsines and her famous Bikini Body Guides—I’ve personally been a fan of the personal trainer-turned-Instagram star’s 28-minute workouts for years now. However, despite being excellent, there’s only so many times a girl can complete Itsines’s three-month program. It’s why I recently started hunting for something new that would keep me motivated during fall—even when it’s way too cold to make it to the gym. And then I discovered Fit Girl Code, a Dutch Insta-community of crazy-motivated women laser-focused on improving their physical and mental well-being. It launched in March 2014, and has since grown into one of Netherlands’ best-kept secrets. Until now, of course.
Keep scrolling to find out more about this online workout community!
I first discovered the hashtag after meeting with a London-based fitness entrepreneur, Camille Roegiers de Silva from e-boutique Fashercise. “The community is incredible, and it just keeps growing,” she gushed over an herbal tea, urging me to check it out. Typing #fitgirlcode into my iPhone, I discovered hundreds of thousands of snaps of women on Instagram sharing genuinely insightful advice about how to lead a healthier lifestyle—from the yoga routine they use to wake up in the morning to easy and nutritious recipes. Even better: Despite being a Netherlands-born movement, a lot of the captions are in English.
Like many addictions, this one started small and snowballed quickly. Over the first few weeks, I was increasingly drawn into the community and soon began trawling the hashtag for everything from healthy breakfast ideas to motivational quotes. After seeing thousands of impressive before-and-after pictures posted by women following the Fit Girl Code plan, I was hooked. So $27 later, I became a very excited owner of the #fitgirlcode e-book.
Inside I discovered eight weeks worth of workouts that not only don’t require any equipment (perfect, considering I own none), but are easy to follow in a tiny New York City–based apartment like mine. Most take around 20 minutes to complete, and every day a different area of your body is targeted. I deviate from the plan occasionally to go for a run, try a new workout class, or visit my favorite yoga studio, Y-7, but have mostly stuck to the guidelines and seen great results.
There’s also a section on mindfulness (including guided audio sessions), and you’re required to fill out a daily “happiness journal” to track your energy levels compared with how you worked out and what you ate to fuel your body. The meal plan includes shopping lists and recipes geared toward folks who feel more at home ordering Seamless from the subway than cooking something from scratch in their kitchen, like simple bean and chicken salads and low-calorie wraps. It’s almost too easy.
“Our Fitgirlcode Guide is a food and workout plan together with a health guide that goes beyond dieting; it's a health guide for the brain. We believe that having a rushed and stressed feeling does so much more damage then many of us realize,” Aranka told me, explaining her holistic take on health and fitness.
It’s now been nearly two months since I discovered the community, and six weeks since I downloaded the fitness plan. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t track the hashtag. While I can’t say I’m the fittest I’ve ever been (that title will forever be reserved for 2009, when I worked part time at a gym), I’m definitely feeling strong, fit, and focused. I’m someone who enjoys working out, and who was already pretty healthy before I discovered the guide — even if I was beginning to lack a little motivation. Now, however, I feel as though I’ve found a balanced approached to wellness that I could see myself following long-term. So Aranka, it’s time to release Fit Girl Code Guide Part 2, please.