So it’s nearing the end of February, and I’m sure most of us have fallen off the wagon when it came to our well intentioned New Year’s resolution to get back in the gym and start getting fit. Well, not all hope is lost! We sat down and spoke with Adriana Blanc, a student and personal trainer who is making it her mission to empower young women to be the best, healthiest and happiest versions of themselves. With easy to follow workouts and delicious looking meal prep ideas, Adriana uses Instagram and YouTube to connect with hundreds of young women struggling with their fitness journey. With specific advice for university students trying to juggle a healthy lifestyle with deadlines and the odd night out, Adriana offers practical advice whilst being your own personal hype girl.
Adriana’s personality shines through in the following interview, it’s clear she feels passionately about health and well-being. So give it a read, get inspired and keeping pursuing those health and fitness goals. We can’t wait to see what she does next!
Hi! First of all, could you just introduce and tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Hi! I’m Adriana Blanc, I’m a 21 year old final year student at the University of Bath studying Chemistry and I’m also a personal trainer.
I have a genuine love and interest in helping young, newly independent females like myself implement long term and sustainable healthy habits, so I created an Instagram account called @adrianablancfit aiming to achieve just that. The « Healthy at Uni » Facebook community I created has two groups with over 140+ girls in both so that I can connect to them more personally. As a uni student, with both of these platforms I aim to help female students healthily transition into and experience university life by providing them with informative resources on exercise, nutrition, and mindset.
I also have various off and online personal training clients, and teach circuit training fitness classes at university to girls !
Where did you start with your fitness journey? Have you always liked working out or was it a lifestyle change for you?
It was never a lifestyle change for me as I’ve always been in love with sports – my family is very athletic so I grew up playing volleyball, tennis, and football competitively and am currently on the university volleyball team. I got into structured gymming/working out during my first year of university – just working out in my dorm room because I felt way too intimidated by the university gym (Uni of Bath is literally known for their huge athletes!) In second year, I decided to overcome my fear and just hit up the gym and slowly but surely my confidence in there built up. I started to love mixing heavy weightlifting with circuits, High intensity training, and cardio as an overall fitness routine, so have continued since and will continue for life!
What made you want to start your fitness Instagram account?
I was getting asked a lot for advice and help from my friends, and I noticed that often their questions were self-sabotage driven, such as “I hate how I look in this” or “I want to get rid of this”. While I of course understand the motivation behind those worries, with my account, I want to instill in all girls my age the mindset that exercise and healthy eating should come from a desire for self improvement, self care, and self love, NOT from a place of shame, self-hatred, and wanting to fundamentally change yourself. It is so important to develop this mindset. It’s essential to establishing long-term habits that make you enjoy the process, that make you patient (rather than have you searching for a « quick fix ») that make you feel proud of your efforts (rather than feeling frustrated for the speed of your progress) and that make you KIND to yourself.
With my stories and posts that just show my realistic day to day life of my nights out, stressing over uni coursework, having fun meals with friends, but still being able to fit in exercise and cooking OVERALL, I want to show that it really is a LIFESTYLE, not a strict set of rules that we have to 100% live for.
The reason I wanted to create a “healthy at uni” theme to my account is because university is a particularly vulnerable point in the lives of young females; it is the first time we are fully independent and rely on our own willpower/motivation for self care (cooking, exercising, socialising). It is widely known that this often results in a lack of self care; in US colleges a popular term called the “Freshman 15” refers to this in that freshers may gain or lose 15 lbs in their first year of university at the expense of their health. An overall trend has been observed: often this quick decline in health in first year directly affects many other aspects of our lives, such as academic performance, self confidence, and body image (especially given our tendency to spend so much time on social media channels that portray a “ideal” body). Also, gym/exercise intimidation is especially prevalent in student university gyms (and even more so at the #1 UK 2018 sports university) where gym members tend to be known acquaintances and already knowledgeable and experienced athletes. This often deters young female students from either joining, consistently attending, or making the most out of the gym. With my Instagram account, I wanted to create resources (workout programs, budget/quick meal recipes, and self help/development messages) that are dedicated to and account for university life and culture.
With guidance, it is completely possible to both enjoy and have fun at university (the social/drinking/eating out/late nights aspect of it) while developing and implementing healthy habits. When practiced from the VERY beginning of university, I genuinely believe the students will be able to overall make the most out of and feel our best throughout university: mentally, physically, and academically.
It’s great to see that you don’t just focus on exercise, but on well-being and nutrition too! Why is that stuff so important to you?
Exercise is just one form of self-care, and knowing how to use it in a way that is enjoyable, that benefits your ambitions and that you can actually stick to is what will make it enhance your life.
What advice to you have for someone too scared to start their own fitness journey?
I talk about this topic all the time because I feel so passionate about giving people the courage to push past their fear of change, others people’s judgments, so that they can just START doing the things they know they want to do.
Like anything in life, the beginning is uncomfortable. Usually, there are 3 reasons why someone would feel intimidated or scared: You’re unsure if you’re doing things correctly, you’re intimidated by those who are more experienced/you compare yourself to them, and you think you will have to dedicate 100% of your effort all the time to “being healthy”.
I have a YouTube video that discusses gym confidence which you can check out!
This is a post I wrote dedicated to this topic:
To all the ladies that tell me you really struggle with lacking confidence when doing any of this fitnessy stuff…
Here’s the thing my gals: confidence comes from a series of repeated actions. That’s all it really is 🤗 Repeated actions.
Think about it: you probably lacked confidence at your first local job because at first, everyone else knew how it all worked, where everything was, and how it all got done, while you did not. But now? You know your job like the back of your hand, walk around like you own the place 💃🏻💃🏻, and you’re bros with your boss
So, when you’re 💪🏼goin at it💪🏼, think of that. And if you start to get uncomfortable, and you start to get frustrated, wishing you just had the confidence to properly get it done, remind yourself that:
Discomfort is normal.
Discomfort is good.
Discomfort is your friend.
Discomfort is opportunity for growth.
Because the coolest thing is that if you keep exposing yourself to it, you will soon overcome it.
Don’t convince yourself that discomfort, or lack of confidence, is a legitimate barrier for going for what you KNOW you want to go for. It is PART of the process. Everyone has felt it.
And overcoming it, little by little, is what creates that confidence you will very soon feel. So KEEP IT UP my gal❤️
How do you balance all of it with university?
I view it as a priority! self care will always be a priority for me; I will perform much better as a student, friend, athlete, you name it – if I am taking care of myself.
I’ve written a couple posts on the workout side of this:
I want to highlight these 3 mindset shifts that SERIOUSLY helped me because ✨mindset ✨is everything✨!!!!
1.PRACTICE SELF AWARENESS
be REAL with yourself and realise that, girlies, we DO have time. ⏱how often do we open insta/twitter/snapchat and scroll through for 15 minutes? As I write this while chillin, it’s probably my 5th/6th of the day, and as you read this, it may be yours as well. No need to feel guilty, because we like doing it – but pointing it out is a perfect way to be self aware that we DO have the time. Realise it and convince yourself of it – so that you can use it.
2. VIEW IT AS A PRIORITY
Here’s the thing amigas, there will literally ALWAYS be coursework you can get ahead on, lecture notes to write, socials to attend, nights out calling our names, a shift at work to get to. And it’s honestly overwhelming that uni life is KNOWN for that fact that no one can really tell us what to do anymore; WE have to set our priorities. So: consider the workout JUST AS IMPORTANT as the lab report – so that you go when you said you would, EVEN IF you didn’t get as ahead in the assignment as you said you would. Why? Keep reading heheh (look at me buildin up the suspense)
3. Realise that it will IMPROVE YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT and productivity
When you schedule it in, you subconsciously motivate yourself to plan a structure around it, and stick to that plan. AND without getting too scientific, there are a SHIETton of studies that directly correlate exercise to boosts of productivity; whether they’re immediate (we all know that post workout high!) or long term (memory improvement, energy generation, stress relief OH SO MAny)
So when you are struggling to fit in your workouts/cooking as a student, start with your mindset. Convince yourself of these three things:
⭐️ You DO have the time
⭐️ It IS a priority
⭐️ It WILL improve your time management, productivity, and make you a better student
⭐️ In short, REDUCE the amount of decision making you have to spend on aaaaany of it!!
1️. SCHEDULE IT IN
⭐️ Whether its a class, or a gym date with a pal, or a YouTube workout. I encourage you to write👏🏼it👏🏼down👏🏼 Gives you a sense of accountability that will help you as a student IMMenseLy trust meh (and the fact that i tried to go 4 months of my first year chemistry degree without an agenda LOL #itdidntwork #atall)
2. BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR SCHEDULING so that you can literally only set yourself up for success
⭐️ Is it a particularly reeeally busy week? So it looks like you can only do 2 workouts (even though your plan requires 4). That’s fine! Schedule in those 2 workouts, and do them. Think about the mental significance of this: you can be proud that you ACHIEVED the 2 workouts you scheduled in, rather than frustrated for writing off 2 that were unrealistically put in.
3️. ALWAYS HAVE A PREPARED GYM BAG so that if it’s a workout day, all you have to do is pick it up
⭐️ For a long while I literally used a grocery bag lol and just always had it by my door. quickly replaced the sweaty with the clean, set it back down by the door, ready for its next use. (tbh often I don’t even switch out some stuff ewies heheh but gotta save the wash monies where we can)🤷🏻♀️
4️. WORK OUT EFFICIENTLY by following a planned guide/structure so you don’t faff around
⭐️ Nothing worse than walking in and feeling like “sooo what now” or walking out and being like “what did I just do in the past hour”!!Walk in, check through each planned move, walk out feeling lit and sassy (and sweaty) af
5️. (personal preference) GET IT DONE IN THE MORNING
⭐️ teehee. There’s just something about starting your day with a huge check to your to do list and a boost of energy. It takes getting used to FOR SURE but try it ❤️
MEAL PREP TIPS
You save so much time and money meal prepping! Instead of spending 30 min in the kitchen every night, lots of time queuing for/deciding on food on campus, you spend 1 hour every 3 or 4 nights making food you know you’ll like and for much cheaper.
- Buy food on Sunday. Then meal prep on Sunday and Wednesday evening.
- Make one pot (4ish portions worth) and one oven based (4ish portions worth) recipe at once – so that way in 30 min you have yourself 8 meals.
- Instead of putting it in individual Tupperware (that’s 8ish tupperware…way too much) put each recipe in one huge Tupperware (so you’ll have 2 tupperware that easily stack on each other in the fridge).
Do you think this sort of lifestyle is compatible with being a student that maybe drinks and has dominos more than they really should?
Of course! That is the entire message of my platform and what I stand for. I want us gals to realise and remember that progress (of any form) comes from CONSISTENCY, not RIGIDITY. I want us to realise that drinks out, occasional dominoes, and some late nights are all a part of this fun stage in our life, and to stop mentally bullying ourselves into thinking we “failed” at “being healthy” when this happens. Focus on what you can “control” on the WHOLE, such as the self-made food you can nourish yourself with (and save lots of money on), and the workouts you can get energy from. The other fun bits are called LIFE.
As uni students there is a social aspect so entrenched in the uni experience (drinking with friends, having food out, late nights etc) that may make “aesthetic” results slower than if we were at another point in our lives – I fully realise this and embrace it.
So I always encourage students to shift your mentality to view consistent exercise as an investment in your LONG term health, discipline, and happiness, rather than an immediate way to get aesthetic results (as it’s so often marketed as).
When I’m lacking motivation, I turn to my beloved science for some: SO MANY studies consistently demonstrate how daily exercise boosts your brain capacity, helps to prevent depression, and prevents long-term chronic diseases (Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, dementia etc).
So now I view every half hour workout as this: an opportunity for major endorphin release immediately after, an opportunity to have some daily time to focus on myself, and an opportunity to better my long-term health.
I prioritise getting my exercise in as much as I prioritise writing up that essay. In the long term, the mental clarity and brain boost I feel from every workout, and the confidence in myself that I’ve developed from a consistent exercise routine, has contributed so much to my discipline as a hard-working student. If I can trust myself to squeeze in a 30 minute workout even when I’m not really in the mood, I can trust myself to just write up those lecture notes when I know I should. so STICK TO IT: the time will pass anyway, so may as well fulfil those daily self-promises to workout that your long term self will seriously thank and feel proud of you for.
How did you balance it with working full time? Do you have any top tips for staying motivated when the 9-5 has you ready to collapse into bed the minute you’re home?
My biggest (and probably most annoying!) tip is to get it done in the morning. It takes getting used to but here is a post I wrote on it:
Things I do the night before:
💃🏻 I sleep in my workout outfit (it’s clean and comfy don’t you worry heh)
💃🏻 I place my alarm clock (phone) across the room – classsssic trick
💃🏻 I place my headphones, a water bottle, my shoes and my jacket next to it
So the morning of goes something like this:
👉🏼 The stupid flippin “diddledumdumdumdumdum…. dumdumdumdum” iPhone alarm goes off (literally singing that in my head right now)
And I’m tired. I don’t want to get up. The bed is so warm. Oh so very warm. But I literally have to get up – to turn the world’s worst tune off.
💃🏻 So I do.
💦 And drink the water, it perks me up a lil
🎧 And put on the headphones, play “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior – that tune perks me up a lil more
And I’m up: in my outfit, headphones on, water bottle in my hand and jacket/shoes right there…lesssss just go my gals!
For the girls who aren’t already ‘fit and slim’ how do you cater for them in terms of lower impact exercises, diet change etc.?
In my fitness classes, I always encourage the girls to do what they can while MAKING SURE to challenge themselves. All of us know our levels, and we all know when we are challenging ourselves (even if we don’t admit it!)
Learn how to build up every move: the squat, the pushup, pull up, etc!
Never ever be embarrassed of your current abilities. Everybody starts somewhere, so don’t convince yourself you’re naturally restricted to certain abilities!
For diet change, I always emphasise the importance of adding habits rather than removing very engrained ones as a form of gradual habit formation. For example, ADD ON drinking 2L of water a day, add on veggies to your plate, ADD ON cooking your own meals instead of buying out. Once you see it’s pretty simple to stick to those habits, you trust yourself to be able to remove some habits you don’t think are that great for you!
It is never ever too late to start adding on exercise and self-cooking into your life, no matter your life circumstances, current fitness level, body type, etc. Exercise and diet change is not “one size fits all”, and every little effort counts.
What are your own personal goals for your growing fitness empire? What change do you want to make?
I would love to make a big community out of it like Kayla Itsines has done – where I can offer a subscription service (like an app) with workouts, meal prep ideas for one, written articles on mindset help, and have the ability to personally meet anyone that uses it with big meetups. I’d especially want to emphasise the “connection” and “community” factor. The thing is; you can google workouts and recipes at any point in time anywhere, but I want to humanise the process by appreciating their actions, easing their frustrations, congratulating them for their efforts.
That’s why I like to put a lot of thought into my captions! Each post is a chance to connect with someone, and encourage them. While we are subconsciously taught to “want” to work out and eat well to I want to instil in every person that comes across my platforms and encourage them, and make them feel fully capable!
You can find Adriana here:
YouTube: Adriana Blanc
Text by Holly Butteriss
In-text photos provided by Adriana Blanc
Picture research by Juliey Pham; featured image by
@fezbot2000 on Unplash.