Motivational Stories

Faces of Fit: Bree Balkanli

A woman's before and after fitness transformation

Check out our special Q&A and get inspired to create your own fitness journey!

Q: When did your journey start?

I worked out during my third pregnancy doing circuit training at Planet Fitness three times a week up until three days before the birth in Aug 2014. I started walking in Feb 2015 then worked up to running a few months later to lose the baby weight gained. Fell in love with running and all the benefits, weight loss, energy, and general happiness.

In Oct 2016, we moved from New Mexico to East Texas where I stopped working out, gained weight, got depressed and just was overall miserable. I started to run again in Feb 2017, and had discovered the protein from IdealFit through Amazon and gave it a try. I loved it and a few months later I started going to the gym and began lifting weights after a one-time session with a personal trainer.

I joined the IdealFit Women Facebook page and have taken many tips, inspiration, and advice from many of the trainers and other women in the group, applying them to my own designed workout routine. That first summer my kids were out of school and I had to go to the gym early in the morning before everyone woke up because my husband had to work so much making it difficult for him to watch them later. During the summer I was up at 5 or 6 in the morning 5 days a week!

I committed and kept going. I had my ups and my downs, but am so proud of where I am today.

Q: What made you want to make a change?

I was tired of being tired, depressed, unhealthy and not feeling confident in myself. I wanted to have something to be passionate about that was good for me. I wanted to be active and have my kids see that as something positive.

My husband lifts weights and I wanted to try it out, so I started lifting weights. Now I have a passion for it!

I incorporated a yoga class into my weekly workouts and completely enjoy it too. I loved when my 6-year-old daughter told her teacher at the end of the school year, “Hey look at my mom flex, she is strong and has muscles!” I like to be that positive influence for her and my other kids.

Q: What tips do you have for others starting out?

Find what works for you. What may work for one person may not be best for you.

It is important to not lift weights that are too heavy, compromising your form and possibly getting injured. Make the adjustments that work best for you and what you are capable of doing without injury. tried doing squats with a heavy barbell and weights and it didn’t work for me, I was getting injuries, even though I was trying to pay attention to my form. I switched it up and found something that worked for me better with a little less weight and higher reps.

Also, try not to worry about what others think. I was very self-conscious starting out, even picked up a weight back then that was too heavy for me to put back on my own and had to have some guy help me put it back. I felt like a fool and was embarrassed, and thought I can’t go back. I didn’t let it affect me and now I feel confident and don’t think if any others are looking at what I am doing.

I just do me and feel great because it makes me happy and I love it!

Q: What have been some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to
overcome?

Some of my biggest obstacles have been when I hit plateaus in weight loss or weight lifting ability. There were those times when it seemed for a few months I was not noticing my weight going down or any real difference in my physical appearance.

I felt discouraged because I felt like I was working so hard and being so disciplined with eating habits. I wanted to give up several times, but I told myself it’s just going to take time and pushed through. I never gave up and was patient with the process, I knew I was older and also had Hypothyroidism and it was going to take time.

Q: What are some of your go-to, favorite meals?

One of my favorites is veggie penne pasta tossed in a skillet with olive oil, red onion, crushed garlic, spinach, grape tomatoes, shredded roasted chicken, and a little Greek seasoning! I will also use spaghetti squash instead of veggie pasta.

I also enjoy making Greek Chicken Feta Burgers (ground chicken, red onion, garlic, wilted spinach, feta cheese, seasoned with a little Himalayan pink salt, fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes. I will have a side of a baked sweet potato with a little brown sugar on it. 

I do also enjoy mixing the IdealLean Protein powder in some Greek yogurt for a sweet snack or dessert.

Q: What are some go-to supplements that have helped?

I have used the IdealLean Protein for over a year and a half now. I have used the BCAAs as well.

What I really feel helped me to achieve my current physical appearance, especially around my stomach area were the IdealLean Burner and IdealLean CLA that I have now been using for the past four months.

It seemed to give me that little extra on top of my disciplined and elevated workouts, along with a disciplined diet.

Q: What are some of your biggest victories?

The biggest victory was the day I really was able to see a flatter stomach with ab definition. I never thought I could have that after having three children. Not me.

Some of my other big victories were the day I was able to do 50 decline sit ups in one set, scissor kicks to a count of 250, goblet squats with a 50 lb dumbbell, and decline dumbbell chest press 25 lbs for 15 reps.

Q: How has this affected your life?

I have become more positive and healthy all around. I truly feel amazing about how I feel and look and have developed a real passion for fitness.

It makes me feel really good when I hear that someone is inspired or admires where I am in my fitness and how I got there. I also feel the best I have ever felt in my life at 37 years old. My kids look up to my active, healthy lifestyle and seem excited about doing the same.

My kids will try to flex or be excited about eating healthy food. I recently incorporated yoga into my life once a week that has been a real benefit to both my mental well-being and physical fitness.

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