Interview with Allie Ducote | #FitLife

A friend of mine from university, Allie Ducote, runs an amazing fitness Instagram account. Allie focuses on how weightlifting has helped her become stronger both physically and emotionally. As soon as I started planning this series, I knew I wanted to feature her account, her inspiring determination, and her great outlook on fitness and nutrition. I'm so happy she agreed to do this interview; make sure to check her out on Instagram. 

Can you introduce yourself? 
Hi! I'm Allie Ducote and I'm a 22 year-old law student from outside of New Orleans, LA. I am a law student, CPA candidate, and fitness enthusiast. In my free time, I run a fitness Instagram, @thislilbeast. While my Instagram is almost as old as the platform itself, I began posting fitness related content at the beginning of 2016.

When did you first start lifting weight? 
In June of 2016 I began lifting weight, but I began my fitness journey in February of 2016.

Is weight lifting different than what you'd thought of it before? 
Weightlifting is absolutely different than what I thought it was before. Growing up, women are shown gendered images of different zones of the gym: women have swinging ponytails on the cardio machines and men have bulging muscles lifting heavy weights. I wanted to challenge that stereotype by being a woman with a swinging ponytail lifting heavy weights next to any person -- man or woman. Weightlifting, and the gym in general, is now my playground, safe haven, and where I go to improve my physical self daily.

How have you learned so much about nutrition and fitness? Any resources you recommend?
I am constantly researching different topics in nutrition and fitness. I typically subscribe to fitness YouTube channels that have a science basis. I recommend Stephanie Buttermore, Jeff Nippard, Amanda Bucci, and Christian Guzman. I use other ways of gaining information, but I would start with credible YouTube channels.

What misconception about weight lifting/the gym/fitness do you hate most?
I hate the misconception that women need to do endless cardio to have the body aesthetic they desire.Many women think that fitness needs to be boring and staying in an elliptical to increase their caloric deficit. In fact, women benefit more by resistance or weight training if they are hoping to lose body fat.

What is your favorite workout?
I love working out my legs. Typically my leg workouts begin with a compound movement (such as squats or deadlifts) and then have 3 or 4 more exercises that focus on hamstring and glute growth.

What motivated you to start using your Instagram as a fitness account?
Many women reached out to me at the beginning of my journey thanking me for being open and honest about the difficulty of losing weight. When more and more people appreciated my vulnerability, I knew I needed to continue sharing. I ultimately decided to stop posting about makeup and continue encouraging other women to find their strength.

What has the response been like to your Instagram?
The response has been overwhelming and humbling. I receive messages daily from strangers (typically women) that have been following me for some time and appreciate the time I spend educating my followers and sharing my everyday life.

You're really passionate about some of the fitness brands you use. Is there one in particular you wish more people knew about? 
I wish people knew more about Detox Organics. When I started drinking this chocolate green powder, I was skeptical that it would indeed taste so good and still be healthy. Every morning, I drink 16-20 oz of cold water and then 8 oz of water mixed with one scoop of Detox Organics. In that one scoop, I get over 10 pounds of vegetables, fruit, and plants that work to detox, alkalize, and cleanse my body. It has dramatically reduced my bloating, inflammation, and fatigue in the morning.

What do you think is the best thing you've gained from weight lifting? 
I have gained physical, emotional, and mental strength through weightlifting. Naturally when you are lifting large amounts of iron, you can increase your physical strength. But I never truly knew what it would do for my emotional strength. I now know that I can overcome any obstacle or hurdle that life can throw at me because I've had the strength to complete this journey thus far.

Would you say you're more confident now than you were before you started? 
Absolutely. Two years ago, I spent two hours each day doing my hair perfectly and meticulously applying my makeup. At the time, I rationalized it by saying that I devoted two hours each day as me-time, but it was time really spent hiding imperfections and scrutinizing myself. While I usually portrayed myself as someone who had confidence, I truly had none.

When you devote yourself to a goal, usually your biggest obstacle to overcome is your mind. Your mind will hold you back from getting to that next level because it is not the norm and is difficult. For me, I had to earn confidence along the way to even think about achieving my goals.

Some girls are intimidated by how male-dominated the weight lifting part of the gym often is. Did you feel that way at first and if so, how did you get over it? 
I definitely felt that way in the beginning. I talk about this a lot on my Instagram because it's a question I get so frequently. First, men that are in the gym find it incredibly attractive to see a woman working out next to them. They find your hard work and strength attractive, so why would you feel intimidated? They are checking you out, but more importantly you are focused on bettering yourself.

If you are so focused on your form and the movement you are performing, there should be no reason to get worried about the male-dominated section of the gym. From the beginning, I have always treated myself to cute gym clothes. It isn't necessary to wear the baggiest t-shirt to hide your body. A ballerina doesn't wear a huge t-shirt at the barre and neither should you. You are the sexist creature out there and spending time to look even more sexy! Don't hide it!

What's your next step from here? Do you have anything exciting planned you can tell us about? 
I have a lot of contacts with companies that I am working to leverage currently. A YouTube channel is in the works and I am thinking about taking on fitness clients in the future! In the far future, I'd love to have a fitness clothing line devoted to Lil Beasts everywhere.

What do you think is a good way to get started for someone who wants to try weight lifting? 
I would first start with YouTube. Watch as many "beginner weightlifting" videos as you can. Go to a couple of group exercise classes at your gym to get a feel for the terminology and what weight you are comfortable working at. Buy a couple of cute workout outfits (I recommend Target, BuffBunny Collection, and Lululemon) and then commit to 30 days.

You don't need to work out every single day, but commit to the lifestyle for 30 days and allow yourself to fall in love with it. You couldn't expect to commit to a partner without a couple of dates at first! And if you are ever struggling with form, exercises, or motivation, reach out to a fit friend. We seem to be everywhere!
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