The day before her wedding, Anna Victoria, an Instagram fitness star known for The Fit Body Guides (opens in new tab) and her 978,000-strong following, Snapchatted her pre-wedding body looking super-toned. She then sent out a second photo of her stomach rolls, which was taken two minutes after the first photo. She posted it later on Instagram in response to requests to do so.
Something about the typically flawless fitness guru getting real AF struck a chord: The photo racked up more than 58,200 likes. We touched based with Anna—who's currently on her honeymoon—to get the backstory:
What motivated you to share a photo of your belly right before your wedding?
I reached my "goal" body a long time ago, but I still see pictures of fitness models on Instagram who have visible abs when they sit down. I most definitely do not, and it's something I used to get really down on. I would wonder why I work so hard to be in the best shape and still look so different. It's taken me a while to get to a place where I fully understand that everybody is different and, most importantly, that that's okay!
As far as sharing it right before the wedding, I knew that my wedding body was in the best shape I had ever been in. I wanted to further reiterate that when you sit down, it's normal to have rolls, even if you have a very low body fat percentage. I wanted to show that it's OK for your body to look different from various angles. Everyone has bad angles, but that's not what defines us.
What habits did you change to get your body "wedding-ready"?
I follow my Fit Body Guides (FBG), so I continued to follow the principles laid out in my meal plan, but I was a lot more strict. I usually have a cheat meal every week and I don't hold back, but in order to get ready for the wedding, I limited my cheat meals to much smaller portions to avoid going overboard. During the week, I kept my meals as clean and natural as possible.
My body responds best when I am eating food that is entirely unprocessed, so I made sure that I ate several servings of vegetables throughout the day, and that my meals were balanced between protein, good carbs (mostly veggies), and good fats.
As for my workouts, I continued to follow my FBG workouts, but I focused on keeping the intensity level high to increase the caloric burn, while still focusing on muscle engagement in order to tone my body. On the days I did cardio, I focused on high-intensity cardio or sprints, as well as my FBG ab circuits after.
How many photos do you typically take before posting one on Instagram to find your best angle?
If it's a day I am feeling particularly lean—and I do tend to bloat easily; some days are better than others—I will take about a dozen photos before I stop to see if I actually like them. If I do, I will choose between up to about 15 shots to find one I like. The differences between the photos are always extremely minor, something like the difference in my hair or my smile.
What advice do you have for women who compare their own bodies to bodies they see on Instagram?
If you see a girl on Instagram who has a beautiful body, use it as your motivation, not as a comparison. Work hard to achieve your own dream body, not someone else's body. A big part of a fitness journey is actually learning to love yourself for who you are.
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Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more. Follow her at @ejnarins.
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