Jamile DeSouza Davies
THE RISE OF THE FITNESS INFLUENCER
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have completely changed the world we live in. If you stop sipping your latte for a second and look around your favorite coffee shop, you will likely notice that over half of the customers are thoroughly immersed in one of these sites, via their mobile device. Instagram is one of these life-altering sites and unless you’ve been living off the grid with the indigenous people of the Amazon rain-forest, you have heard of it before. As with most of these sites, Instagram relies on followers. The amount of following you have, directly determines the amount influence you can provide and savvy Instagram users can turn that influence into currency. The people who are able to use social media to generate revenue are commonly referred to as influencers.
One of these fast rising influencers is Jamile Desouza-Davies. Jamile is a former professional ballerina turned fitness icon who is the creator of a 4 week, personalized training regiment called Alpha project.
This fitness coach is also a lecturer at Aberystwyth University, with two Masters degrees in management and marketing. She has a huge social media platform, with 150 thousand followers on Instagram. Unfortunately, one day she logged into Instagram to find that her account had been hacked and that her 150k followers had all disappeared to zero.
What would you do?
Most of us would panic, throw a tantrum or both, but not Jamile. She ended up taking her own advice which is to use exercise and meditation to battle and defeat the many stresses of life. It took an entire year for Jamile to get her following back to influencer level. She made it happen while maintaining her composure through exercise and meditation. This is the best way to tackle stress, so here are twelve exercises, one for each month, that you can do to keep stress at bay and stay focused during a crisis like Jamile did.
Celebrating one year of the alpha project with Jamile's monthly workouts
July 2018: Side Planks
Perform these exactly like a normal plank except Lay on your side with your forearm flat on the floor, line your bottom elbow up directly under your shoulder with both legs straight our. Your feet should be slightly spread unless you need more of a challenge, then feel free to stack them. Use your core to lift your hips off the floor, forming a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
August 2018: Knee Raises
Another core exercise that has variable ways to execute depending on your skill level. Most people start with their body weight resting on the arm pads, gripping the handles. Raise your knees to your chest and pause, don’t let the momentum of your body swing you. Return to the starting position. If your advanced, instead of using the arm rests to hold your weight, perform these while hanging from the pull-up bar.
September 2018: Scissor Kicks
This exercise is a staple for your ab day routine and can be done anywhere at anytime, all you need is a floor. This specifically targets the transverse abdominus, hip flexors and lower abs, where your muffin top resides. To perform this correctly, you need to focus on utilizing your core. Start by raising your open legs to a 45 degree angle with your palms flat on the ground. Bring your legs together and slightly cross your feet over, then return to the starting position. Try to hit between 12-15 with 3 sets.
October 2018: Resistance Band Abduction
Hip abductors are a fantastic way to hit those glutes, but you don’t always wanna make that trip to the gym, so what do you do? The solution is resistance bands to make her dance. These bands are so versatile and can be used on almost any muscle group, but what Jamile is demonstrating is hip abduction. This exercise targets those butt muscles to make your yoga pants pop. Its gonna be hard to stay stressed when you have a nice round ass to show off.
November 2018: Leg Extensions
You might of heard several conflicting opinions regarding leg extensions. One minute they’re good for you and the next, they’re the worst possible exercise you could ever do. Personally I'm a fan of ripped quads, and to get those, cranking out reps of leg extensions is helpful if done correctly. The problem is, the leg extension machine puts a lot of stress on your ACL, so it shouldn’t be performed with lots of weight. This is a low weight, high rep machine, designed to isolate your quads and give them some definition.
December 2018: Snowboarding
When you’re seriously bogged down by worry and the regular routine at the local gym isn’t cutting it, you might need to get away and expose yourself to something new. Learning new things can be exciting and that excitement releases endorphins that cause us to feel good. Give your stress a time-out and feel good for a minute. Usually you can come back to the issue with a fresh perspective and maybe the thing you thought was major, was actually pretty minor after all.
January 2019: Kickboxing
If you're serious about your cardio but are also feeling like a trapped hamster on the treadmill, it might be time to switch up the routine and add some kickboxing. You will burn major calories because this works muscles you didn’t even know you had. This is my go-to for stress relief because its really hard to think about life’s problems when you're focusing on whether to throw a left hook or a right uppercut. Before you venture off solo and start wailing on a bag, you should find a trainer or attend a kickboxing class, just until you're familiar with the right stance and punching techniques. You don’t want to become good at doing something the wrong way, so learn it correctly with an instructor.
February 2019: Reverse Grip Curls
Most people understand how to do a basic barbell curl but there muscles that could greatly benefit from adding a slight variation to your form, such as the extension muscles in your forearm when you perform reverse grip curls. When you reverse the grip, the biceps are locked out and you will feel the burn in your forearm instead. These muscles aren’t as strong as the ones in your arm so try to start with a lighter weight and set your target for 3 sets of 12 slow and controlled reps.
March 2019: Tricep Dips
Tricep dips are a must if you want your arms looking anything like Jamile’s. This is another exercise that doesn’t require any fancy equipment, all you need is a bench or a chair. Sit on the edge of the chair and grip the edge next to your hips. Your legs are straight out and your feet should be about hip-width apart with the heels touching the ground. Look straight ahead with your chin up. Press down into the chair or bench to lift your body and slide forward just far enough that your behind clears the edge of the chair. Lower yourself until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees. Slowly push yourself back up to the start position and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 12 .
April 2019: Bicycle Crunch
This is one of, if not the most effective abdominal exercises available and it requires zero equipment. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Move your legs as if you’re slowly riding a bike and simultaneously crunch and twist your torso to that your elbow touches the opposite knee. Make sure to refrain from pulling your neck forward, use your torso instead. This exercise crazy effective because it works your front and side abs, rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus, respectively, as well as working your quads. Three for the price of one. Try for 20 seconds and repeat for 3 sets
May 2019: Push-ups
Push-ups are tricky because they look easy but most people perform them wrong. Ideally you should start on the ground with your feet together and your elbows close to your ribs, not flared out away from you. The latter causes unnecessary strain your rotator cuff muscles and can lead to injury. If push-ups are new to you, they might too difficult to perform in the traditional stance. If you find this to be the case, you can try spreading your feet. If they’re still too hard, try using your knees until you feel yourself getting strong enough to perform them the regular way.
June 2019: Stretching
Stretching should happen everyday. It is amazing for stress relief. When you’re experiencing stress, there’s a good chance your muscles are tense. That’s because your muscles tend to tighten up in response to physical and emotional stress. Stretching increases the blood flow to your muscles to allow improved circulation and helps with recovery from tension. There are two main types of stretching; static and dynamic. Static stretches involve putting yourself in a comfortable position to stretch and hold that position for 20 seconds. Dynamic stretches are more of a warm up. It involves moving the muscles without weight, throughout your range of motion. Dynamic stretches are done before a workout and static stretches are done after.