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Practice Self-Love With Coach Allison’s Principles for Healthy Eating

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate yourself by fueling properly for exercise (and life).

Valentine’s Day may be best known for emphasizing romantic love, but in reality, love comes in many forms. Self-love is arguably the most important, allowing you to build a strong foundation for everything else. One surefire way to show yourself some extra TLC is by fueling your body with the nutrition it needs.

You might think that self-love and healthy eating have always come easy to people who are fit, but many of your favorite Tonal coaches have had to work at self-love continuously. This includes Allison Tibbs, certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, who admits she has had to work at self-acceptance continuously.

Here, Coach Allison shares her self-love journey and her best tips for practicing self-love in your workouts and in the kitchen. Then on February 14, check out her on-demand Valentine’s Day workout or try any of the three Live workouts with Coaches Gabby Sansosti, Trace Gotsis, and Liz Letchford (see the full schedule below).

Coach Allison’s Self-Love Story

“I went through a period in my teens and 20s where I was literally getting dressed in the dark because I hated to see my reflection in the mirror,” says Tonal coach Allison Tibbs. It’s a vicious cycle: “When you don’t love yourself or your body, you’re not going to take care of it because you don’t respect it,” she explains. 

That’s what finally inspired her to leave her job as a corporate marketing executive—where she was eating out every day, drinking too much, and not sleeping enough—and pursue a career in fitness and nutrition. “I had gotten to the point where my body felt like it wasn’t my own anymore,” she says. 

“For the longest time, this whole idea of self-love felt like this very superficial, fleeting, unattainable thing for me,” Coach Allison recalls. “But things really started to change for me when I was able to look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘This is who I am in this moment.’”

Acknowledging that fact gave her agency to decide what she wanted to do next, she explains. Once she started working out consistently and cooking her own meals again, she gained control over both her body and how she perceived it. 

Fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand when it comes to self-love: By exercising regularly, you’re protecting your heart and strengthening your body (sure, you’re also going to look and feel good for date night, but that’s just an added bonus). And by following a healthy diet, you’re helping your body reach its potential.

Coach Allison’s Tips for Self-Love

“It’s really about nourishing yourself in a way that’s going to serve you in the long run,” says Coach Allison. Here’s how she’s made practicing self-love a way of life—especially in the kitchen.

Get in Tune with Your Body.

There’s so much conflicting information out there about exercise and nutrition that it can be hard to distill what’s right for you. “You have to understand that what your body needs is going to be very different from every other person around you,” says Coach Allison. But your body is incredibly intelligent, and it will tell you what you need if you pay close enough attention. 

Track your nutrition for three days and pay attention to how your body feels and responds to what you’re eating—what are your energy levels? How is your digestion? Are you sleeping well?” she suggests. “Now you have some data from which you can make changes—if you feel confident doing that—or that you can take to a professional.”

Choose Principles over Rules.

Rules were made to be broken. Instead of creating rules that limit you, create principles that are tied to really loving and feeling good in your body (i.e. prioritizing protein because you want to make sure you’re supporting your workouts). 

“The second you start restricting yourself from something, the more you’re going to want it,” says Coach Allison. But principles are based on values—which makes them much harder to abandon. 

“One of my principles is to eat my colors,” she explains. “One, it makes me feel good to see these beautiful colors on my plate. Two, it makes me feel good knowing that all these different colors are vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are going to literally help me feel better.” 

Make It Meaningful.

You know how trainers always encourage you to find your “why”? Anyone can tell you to do something—whether that’s work out three times a week or drink eight cups of water a day—but “it’s only when it matters to you that you’re going to stick with it,” says Coach Allison. 

Think about just one thing you can do every day that connects you to your “why” in the long-term and makes you feel better in the short-term, she says. It could be as simple as drinking more water every day: Every time you go into the kitchen, you drink a glass of water. Suddenly, you have more energy, you’re sleeping better, you’re losing weight. “It all adds up,” says Coach Allison.

Allow Yourself to Indulge.

Just don’t call “indulgences” guilty pleasures or cheat foods, says Coach Allison—that wraps it in a certain sense of shame, something that’s contrary to self-love.

“If I go to a restaurant that makes a chocolate cake I like, of course I’m going to order the chocolate cake,” she says. “And I won’t feel bad about it, because it’s not something I do every single day. I’m going to enjoy every single bite and then tomorrow, I’m back to my normal diet.” 

When you allow yourself to really enjoy these indulgences, you’re less likely to overindulge, she adds, and “it eventually gets to a point where you start to lean into self-responsibility and self-accountability, both of which are very important for self-love.”

Tonal’s Valentine’s Day Class Schedule

Put your principles into action and celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day with our love-themed lineup of classes that will get your heart pounding. Join us live or on demand. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect on February 14, 2022:

Heart Rate Hike: Coach Allison will take you through some classic plyometric moves, using large muscle groups for a blast of heart-pumping energy. Cardio is an important part of overall fitness, so sweat it out and enjoy the results.

Heart-pounding HIIT: If you’re looking for heart-pounding cardio, this workout is for you. With a mixture of core, lower body, and HIIT, this session will quicken your heart rate in all the right ways.

A schedule of Tonal's Valentine's Day 2022 classes

Breakup Bootcamp: This class isn’t exactly what you think. It’s a combo of strength moves and cardio to get your heart pumping so you can improve the greatest gift of all… you. With a mixture of big lifts, cardio, unilateral work, insights, and fun, Dr. Liz will motivate, educate, and open your mind while encouraging you to shine.

Date Night With Trace: This high-intensity and fun workout will give you the confidence to absolutely crush your date night while feeling great. With three blocks filled with heart-pumping action and Trace at the helm, we’re confident you’ll have a great time.