Last month, I finally had the chance to meet Remi of the popular Instagram and blog @rrayyme. She’s a health and fitness blogger, Adidas ambassador, student health coach, and one of my biggest fitspirations since joining Instagram two years ago. We chatted over delicious Dragon bowls at Cafe Henrie where she shared her fitness journey (and let’s be real, how she got those killer abs) and what exactly she does to stay fit and healthy.
“Before I started Kayla’s BBG guide, I went through a phase of wanting to grow a butt, so I was going to the gym three times a week and doing heavy squats. It actually worked and I had a big booty for a while, I swear! [Laughs] One day, I was sitting at work and getting a little bored of my routine, when my coworker showed me Kayla’s guide. She was like, ‘It’s only 30 minutes long, but my roommate and I can barely get through it. You should check it out.’ After seeing all the crazy transformations on Kayla’s Instagram, I decided to give it a try.
The first few weeks were really hard. I remember doing my first arms workout and thinking, this is SO painful. You know those lay down push-ups? I was dying through those, but I pushed myself to do all 15 of them. I only got through it once, but I finished it. The next day, I couldn’t put my hair up. I couldn’t even put my seat belt on. It was pretty bad. But I started noticing changes around three weeks in—I was more energized, I felt stronger, and just more productive overall. I felt like a new person.
Along with the workouts, I also decided to start eating healthy. Until then, I was pretty careless about what I ate. I loved butter, fried foods, and French fries. My ultimate guilty pleasure was hot Cheetos. So I was searching for some healthy inspiration, scrolling through Instagram, when I came across this girl @goodhealthgoodvibes. She would post all these healthy meals, but they looked so delicious—like chocolate oozing out of an oatmeal bowl with bananas and salted caramel. That day, I immediately went to Whole Foods and decided to change my diet.
After 8 weeks of consistently following the program and eating healthy, I started noticing more definition throughout my body, especially in my upper abs. That pushed me to work even harder to finish the last four weeks. In the BBG guide, the last few weeks are pretty ridiculous. You have to do 2 HIIT workouts, 3 LISS workouts, plus 3 to 4 circuits. So I was working out twice a day, early in the morning and after work. At the end of the 12 weeks, my body had completely transformed and I realized I had a 6-pack—which I never had before.
During this whole process, I was working full time at a hospitality design firm, and sharing my fitness journey on Instagram on the side. I’d wake up at 6:30 a.m., get my 30-minute workout in, shower, make breakfast and shoot it for Instagram—sometimes multiple shoots—and bang that all out before I went to work at 9 a.m. It was tough at times, but I truly loved what I was doing and having a community on Instagram kept me accountable and motivated to keep going. After awhile, I realized that I was more passionate about what I was doing on the side, so I started working part time and slowly transitioned to becoming a full-time blogger. These days, it’s so cool because I’m able to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle and call it my job—and I’m really grateful for that.
Nowadays, I like to experiment and change up my workouts. I’ll try out some new moves or classes like SoulCycle or workout with friends to keep me motivated. This is what a typical week of workouts looks like for me:
Monday: I do Kayla Itsines BBG legs. I’m usually super motivated, so I’ll throw in an extra HIIT workout, which is 15 minutes of intense on-and-off cardio. I’ll do that on the treadmill or the stairs.
Tuesday: The next day, I’m super sore, so I’ll usually take it easy and do LISS, which is powerwalking for 45 minutes. After that, I’ll do some abs or my 600 rep butt challenge, where you do three moves at 200 reps each. You’re focusing on the butt in a short period of time, so it really burns.
Wednesday: I do BBG arms and abs. They’re both 30 minutes long, and it took me some time to build up to doing two circuits.
Thursday: I do HIIT or I’ll go to SoulCycle—just something really intense and sweaty, or something fun like hiking.
Friday: I do BBG abs. After that I’ll do another butt workout.
Saturday: I usually have a workout event, so I’ll do some form of exercise.
Sunday: My rest day!
When I’m travelling, I’ll usually do abs or arms. I’ll just get a towel and do mountain climbers, ab bikes, crunches, and some planks. I’ll do them for a certain amount of reps, like 100 reps each, and then repeat it three times. I’ll do that just to get my heart sweating, and I’ll run if I have time.
On days where I don’t feel like going to the gym, what helps me stay on track is a schedule that I make for myself. I’ll plan out all my workouts and tasks for the week on Sunday night and try to stick to it as much as possible. When I workout early in the mornings, I’ll layout my sports bra and gym clothes in the bathroom—so once I get up and brush my teeth, it forces me to just put it on and go.
FOOD & DIET
I’m taking health coaching classes these days and I’ve learned a lot. My philosophy now is no refined sugar, not a lot of salt or overly processed foods. As far as meat goes, I stick to grass fed, organic, and humanely-raised products. I do my best to follow the suggested daily servings guide (6 servings of grains, 5 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of fruit) but I’m not as strict with it as when I first started. I love my parent’s home-cooked food and trying out new places in LA—so now, I’ll eat clean 80% of the time and enjoy cheat meals.
MY DAY ON A PLATE
Morning: When I first wake up, I’ll have water or tea, and then my pre-workout energizer. I use this plant-based, gluten-free blend called Vega Sport Pre-workout Energizer. It’s all natural and caffeine-free, but it always gives me a boost of energy to push through my workouts. I’ll usually go workout, come back, and have breakfast—oatmeal with fruit and a serving of yogurt.
Mid-morning: I’ll have a snack like banana with peanut butter, cinnamon, and honey or sliced apple ‘donuts’ drizzled with crunchy almond butter, granola bits, and cacao nibs.
Lunch: I’ll usually have a macro bowl filled with greens, sea veggies, butternut squash, beans, and quinoa.
Afternoon: I’ll have another snack midday, usually a protein smoothie, and throw in whatever I have in my fridge. I love tropical flavors so I’ll do mangoes, banana, pineapple, and coconut milk and then I’ll add plant-based protein, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. You just blend it up and it’s ready to go. Super easy.
Dinner: Lately, I’ve been having this delicious Turkey Taco Bean Salad from this cookbook I love called The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor. It’s really flavorful and crunchy. It’s got beans, tomatoes, corn, and jalapeno. You just mix it all together, put it over lettuce, and drizzle it with a creamy avocado cilantro dressing.
For me, it’s about finding two recipes a week that I want to try or that I love. I’ll cook the first recipe for the first three days of the week, the second recipe on Wednesday for the next three days, and then I’ll go out on the weekends. Food generally stays fresh for half a week, so it works really well. If those meals are more protein based, I’ll cook a heartier vegetable soup to balance it out. So I might have the vegetable soup for lunch and then the protein-packed meal for dinner and switch back and forth.
BEAUTY & SELFCARE
I don’t wear any foundation when I work out, but I do always do my brows—that’s the one thing I don’t leave the house without. [Laughs] I have my lash extensions so that’s super easy. I just put a little bit of eyeliner on the ends and do a lip and cheek stain. After a workout, I’ll usually dab a cotton pad with Simple Cleansing Water and wipe off all the dirt and sweat. It sounds weird but it does the job and prolongs the life of my lash extensions. When I really need a deep scrub, I’ll wash my face, but I don’t do it often. I do wash my hair every day though, because I don’t like that dirty, oily feeling. I use Deep Purple Shampoo by Voce. I also use a tongue scraper. It’s this long, u-shaped metal piece that you scrape your tongue with. I got it from Whole Foods, and it’s the best tongue scraper I’ve ever used. You can literally see it remove the top layer of your tongue. It supposedly removes toxins and bacteria and helps clean your breath.
For me, exercise is how I de-stress. I feel the most relaxed and happiest after I finish a workout. I also try to look at everything with a positive mindset. I think I get that from my mom. No matter what happens she always looks at the bright side of things, so I see it that way too. You’ll never catch me in a bad mood.”
As told to Stephanie Park, July 2016.
Photos courtesy of Remi Ishizuka.