Self-Care Practices Beyond Beauty

Ain’t no bathing recommendations today.

After spending a month abroad, a day back home and leaving again for the next conference, today is my first full day back home, and I’ve decided to turn this Tuesday into a self care Sunday. Today is SUCH a gloomy day here in CPT and I would wish more than anything else to take a long hot bath but because of the CPT drought, this is what I got up to instead…

Self-care ideas are so often packaged up as a beauty-related posts. Now sometimes it is and unless you’re an avid bathing hater, there’s not many people who would argue that having a bath doesn’t make you feel absolutely fantastic.

The same goes for a face mask. Or doing your nails. All these things things involve you cutting time out of your schedule to do something for yourself. However self-care doesn’t necessarily need to involve partaking in an activity that concerns itself with aesthetics. Self-care means dedicating time for yourself to anything that replenishes and revives you. Something that ups your energy levels, decreases stress and tends to both your physical and mental needs.
So, I’ve got thinking about the self-care practices that I’ve incorporated more and more over the past couple of months as the work pressure has increased, but I haven’t been able to switch off by taking my daily bath like I did in Germany. #capetowndraught
Carla (46 of 79)

Find your crowd. There are certain people that whenever you are around they have such a calming and uplifting effect on you that just leaves you feeling energized. For me that’s JD, my parents, my dog and a few selective friends. I never look at my phone, we laugh, we tell stories and we eat. It’s heaven. Identify the people you have in your life that make you feel this way and organize your schedule so that you get to spend as much time as possible with their company.

2. Exercise. I know it’s such a classic cliche coming from a personal trainer, but there really is something special that happens when a client or friend says ‘I LOVE THIS’ instead of ‘DO I HAVE TO DO THIS? Exercise doesn’t just have to be one thing, and you don’t have to like the same workouts as I do. It’s about empowering yourself and mind through movement, whether that is weightlifting, running, yoga, or all of thee above. Whatever you decide, it’s a time for you, phone-free, where you’re taking the time to exclusively care for yourself both internally and externally. Find your thing and participate in it as regularly as you can.

Carla (50 of 79)

3. Outdoors. Growing up we ventured out on camping holidays every weekend and school holidays, so I spent a large amount of my childhood making dens in the woods and exploring most of the country I grew up in, South Africa. Even when I go away with my friends now a big part of the weekend is camping and hiking. There’s such simplicity in following a trail, eating your jungle oats bar, not seeing anyone else for hours at a stretch, being completely off the grid. I mean if that’s not the ultimate self care then I don’t know what is…

4. Music.  So this is something that I’ve been trying to do more; making playlists on Spotify and downloading albums I enjoy and then just putting them on and listening. I love anything acoustic, live or in my room. I use to play the piano, and although I’ve lost most of my skills and being able express myself creatively in that way, music will always be a part of me. Even if it’s just a throwback playlist taking you back to a certain time in high school, or your holiday from last year. Music has an amazing impact on my mood.

Carla (48 of 79)

5. Writing. The irony, as I’m writing this now, but writing, blogging and instagramming if that’s even a thing is how I love to express myself. If you, as a reader had to know how much I write, that never get’s published, I hardly post 10% of what crosses my mind or get’s written, because sometimes I just need to get things out. I don’t need anyone else’s judgement on my opinions, but writing my thoughts down definitely organizes and clears my chaotic mind.

6. Organisation. Now this is SUPER LAME I know, but a re-organize or just a little tidy-up is really up there with my most chill-inducing tasks. A little Sunday spring clean, fresh sheets, starting your week on a organized and clean note. I can’t think of anything more satisfying haha

ASK Carla + coffee chat



How do you balance personal life and work life? 

This is something that I still struggle with, to be honest. My most helpful tool has definitely been my planners. I know it’s crazy but I use both a digital and physical planner. But most days my work and personal life is one thing, as I work with my boyfriend on Carla West Fitness, every date night turns into a meeting. When I go to the gym I feel like people are watching aka that is my marketing. So usually when I go camp or hike with my close friends I seem to ‘escape’ a bit.

What is your biggest fear? 

I think the scariest thing I have done, is get on multiple one way flights, with no security or job on the other side. I’ve done that 3 times now, and the scariest one was coming home! (Even scarier when I moved to a country without a job not even speaking the language.) What can I say, my early 20’s were a wild ride, I’m going to try and change that in the second half of my 20’s. But I think I will always be the spontaneous, irrational travel girl. SO with that being said I honestly don’t feel like I’m afraid of anything? I don’t really want to skydive or bungy jump, and I don’t really like deep water. But I also like challenging myself and facing my fears. SO… challenge accepted haha


Reading: I’m currently reading ‘Into the water’ and ‘the 4 hour work week’ Next up, I plan on reading ‘you before me’. I’ve never seen the film before.

Listening to: I’ve recently fallen in love with podcasts again and I’m currently listing to ‘Bucci radio’, ‘Business meets fitness podcast’, and ‘from the heart’, but my favorite and something you probably won’t expect from me is, ‘the MFCEO’ podcast. It gives me life! But you are more than welcome to send me more suggestions! I’ve also been listening to a lot of fun dance music on Spotify, my go to for music, because I have been practicing my dance jam routines at home for Europe later this year (#nerdalert).

Watching: Flip, I am so bad with this, getting back to the first question. I never get ‘down’ time and when I do I watch quick Youtube videos.  (Should I do a whole post about my favorite youtube channels?) My guilty pleasure is reality tv, and the most stupid shows where I don’t have to think much, like ‘survivor’, ‘the bachelor’, ‘boer soek ‘n vrou’ and maybe even ‘love island’. Sorry babe! haha I really need to find a good series to get hooked on though. Suggestions welcome!

Working on: Lots and lots of fun behind the scenes projects for my business. I have had the opportunity to grow my business so much in the past year so this year I’m focused on creating a ton of valuable passive income products.

Waiting for: All my travels this year, going to Mozambique today, Europe in August and looking forward to the best summer here in SA. Oh and moving out from my parents place. Sorry parentals, I love you guys but this needs to happen someday. I can’t wait to have my own little apartment and kitchen to decorate again.




What have you been reading, watching, and listening to lately? Also if you have any questions for me for a future “Ask Carla” posts, please DM me on Instagram with your questions.


Some days, you look in the mirror and you really feel that girl looking back at you… J Lo, who?! The very next day, you look in that same mirror and it’s like blah. You think, “girl you look like sh!t.”



Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but honestly, I’ve had that exact experience and those exact thoughts. I know I can’t be alone on this one.


Okay, why do I keep spelling shit like sh!t haha. As if that’s more appropriate. For the sake of keeping it real, let’s just use the word crap. Well, just the other day… a Monday to be exact… I felt like complete CRAP.

Background story….. if you watched my insta stories, you don’t need to read this.

I’ve had a stalker/bully that’s been messaging me on Intagram, telling me I’m a complete slut for presenting my body like that on Instagram, and a prostitute if I back it up with, I’m in the fitness industry, “it’s my job”. I brush it off, what ever. Then blaming me that my ex cheated on me because I put such low standards on myself, and I’m embarrassing my family. Just btw my mom, grandma and aunt are always my first 3 likes. My family represents! That stung a bit more, then on Sunday night I get home after the funnest day of watching Matthew Mole perform at a wine farm, I get home to notification of tags, of insta stories he has posted of me. Circling body parts of me he dislikes. The rolls on my stomach, the cellulite on my thighs, and how flat my butt is in this one photo in 2016 that use to be my cover photo for my website for ages. “I can’t preach fitness.” he says.

“I choose not to Photoshop my pictures, even less my professional pictures because I portray a realistic image and not a perfect photo shopped barbie. Am I body positive and confident? YES. Did this put me in a negative mind space about my body? DEFINITELY!”


So the next day rolls around, Monday morning. I have a shoot booked for that evening, and even I will have a little bloat by the time its evening after a whole day of eating so I really tried to watch what I’m eating that day.


It’s late morning and I arrive at the gym, my happy place, where I go 5-6 times a week because I love it. But today, I feel like crap. I sat in the car for about 30 min really trying to get myself out of a dark place, but to walk into the gym with a positive mind.

I took off 4 days from the gym before that due to a light stomach bug, so today I am here to train my butt off (not literally, we all want to grow the glutes) so I can look better tonight…. ya right, you are not going to change your body in a few hours. But I was so stuck in this mind set that I am fat, and I’m going to look terrible and bloated in these photos. I better not eat the whole day, not drink any water and go do 2 hours of interval cardio now so I can look lean……

Needless to say, this is a very dangerous and negative mentality to have. and NOT like me at all. So I spent the next 30 min in the car trying to convince myself that I am at the gym, because I feel like I need it because I am stiff after not moving my body for 4 days. I am going to do interval runs because I love to feel strong, and fit and fast. I am going to do strength training because I want to increase my strength and because I love it.

And I tried and tried to get the negative thoughts out of my head before I walked into those doors.

So when I got to the gym, I get on the treadmill, I put my favorite song on to get me pumped up. All my mind was telling me was, your thighs are going to wobble when you run, people will stare at you, “you can’t preach fitness”…… I decide to put a podcast on to keep my mind busy. And as I am searching for a podcast to listen too, I hear the gym’s intercom announcing a Grid class will take place right now, and I pull the emergency beak on that treadmill and I walk straight over the the grid floor where the class will take place. This would be my first time taking part in this class.

And it was the best decision I’ve ever made!

The grid class at my gym has no mirrors near it, I couldn’t see myself in the mirror once, it was another trainer pushing me and I had to follow his exercises, and they were not picked out surrounding the body parts I disliked about myself, they were just random full body exercises.

“they were not picked out surrounding the body parts I disliked about myself”

I’m not usually a class going type of person, but this day it really probably saved my day. Soon enough the endorphins came, I was on a workout high after that and my mood completely changed. I was ready for that photo shoot, maybe not physically but mentally I was ready to enjoy it and have some fun.

Now this blog post is not so much about body shaming, I addressed that in my insta stories already, but more about mental health.



If you know me, you know I am very comfortable in my skin, maybe even too much, I love my body BUT I too sometimes feel like CRAP! I’ve had bad skin since coming back to SA, and I haven’t quite figured out why, this stomach bug gave me a weird bloat and now I’ve got someone circling out my imperfections and posting it on his public profile.

What I want to get through with this though is,

  • don’t go to the gym with a negative mentality,
  • don’t workout because you hate your body,
  • don’t try to change your body in a day.


Heck, I’m the first one to preach about self love and loving your body no matter what it looks like but that doesn’t make it easy.

Bottom line though… you don’t have to feel confident all day every day. That’s an unrealistic expectation.


Simple – own it!

When you don’t feel good, embrace it.

My solution sounds silly but so often when we feel an emotion we don’t want to feel, we fight it off. You know what I mean?

We are women. We are the queens of “oh yeah, I’m okay” when in reality we are so far from okay.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not used to looking at a photo or video of myself and not liking what I see. Again, it’s not because I look amazing; it’s because I don’t look for flaws. On Monday, however, that wasn’t the case. All I could see were flaws.


“it’s because I don’t look for flaws


Here’s something a little proactive that we all need to do too… fake it until you feel it.

I don’t mean that in an inauthentic way. I’m not saying you should put up a Facebook status of “Loving Life #Blessed” when you feel like crap.

What I’m saying is that if you’re not feeling confident, fake it a little bit until you truly feel that way.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself your beautiful.

Google some positive affirmations and read them.

Open your Notes and write down 3 things you love about yourself.

That will force you into feeling a little bit more confident. If you can fake it just a little bit, it will develop naturally.


Thank you for reading my lengthy rant/vulnerable post and allowing me to be raw and honest with you guys. I honestly have never received so much love on social media like I did after sharing this on insta stories. I am so grateful for this platform. xx

What it feels like coming home after a year of living abroad (now 4 years)

Today I’m sharing a blog post I wrote a little less than 3 years ago, for people who don`t know, I’ve had numerous blogs and Tumblers over the years and I have always been secretly writing. I was very happy when I still remembered some of my old login details and could go read some of my old stuff, and this is one of them that I wrote, on a blog no one will ever find and that was never shared on any form of social media. I think I’ve read it to a friend once. But although this was written so long ago I felt like it is just as applicable now, and there is still so much truth in it.
I hope you enjoy a little vulnerable look into the 21 year old brain of mine. 🙂
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“A month ago I came home after a year of living abroad. 8 Months living in London and 4 months living in Germany.

Until that day, in the past year I haven’t seen one of my family members once. Being someone who is indescribably close with her parents and siblings, this was a big step in the right direction in my early twenties, having now graduated college and with a desire to step out and create a life for myself outside of what I know.

Although I have only been home for a few days, many people have been quick to ask what it feels like ‘being back’.

My heart kind of sank a little, I forge a smile and politely claim “it’s great!”. But it’s not because it isn’t great – it is. South-Africa is one of the most beautiful places I have found myself out of all my travels, my family and friends are incredibly hospitable and caring, and I can’t describe how fond I am of all the local places like Spur, Ocean basket and the list continues.

This year living in two counties in Europe has sparked a change in me that I can’t quite put my finger on. But for whatever reason, home doesn’t feel like home anymore – at least not right now.

Whilst it was never an easy feat setting off to move to the other side of the world solo.

There are many things this year living in Europe at 21 years of age has been about, but finding myself or running away from my troubles has never been one of them.

(Sure, I changed a lot in the past 12 months and slowly but surely evolved into the happiest, most confident and collected version of myself to date.)

Rather, I’d like to think this year has been about creating myself.

The day I booked my one-way ticket to London departing at the beginning of this year after I completed my 2 College diploma’s. On a day where I was supposed to feel like I completed and achieved something from my tertiary education, a day of perceivable certainty, I couldn’t have felt any more confused by the whole ordeal. Lost? No. Okay, maybe a little. But more confused? Yes.

This past year has taught me a lot about myself and others around me. It has taught me to be patient. It has taught me to be kind to others, especially those who can do nothing for me. It has taught me to be understanding of others, even if their beliefs, traditions and cultures. It has taught me to be open and embrace every offering of help, which a stubborn person like me is very unlikely to accept.

Coming home feels like a complete contradiction. On the one hand it brings me indescribable joy to see my family and friends after a year without them, hearing their voices and just being in their presence.

But on the other hand it is completely overwhelming how little has changed. How little everything has changed… but me.

I’m no longer the sheltered, insecure and indecisive 21 year old that left one year ago. For starters I’ve added another year to my running tally… but the change I have experienced in the past year runs much deeper than any number. It’s in the way I look at things. Its in the way I perceive my reality and that of others. Its in the way I read, write and speak.

Change is often a scary thing when considered as a distant ideal or something you wish to achieve. But when you take a look back at how much change has occurred within yourself over a period of time, there could not possibly be a more comforting feeling.

For the rest of my life I can always go home, but I’m in my early 20’s, there is no better time than now to explore the world, and myself.

Home doesn’t feel like home, at least for now…

written by Carla West”


That being said, the only thing that changed is that after 4 years of traveling is that home is home now, I do not plan on moving anywhere anytime soon. I feel at peace here and that I lived my life to the fullest in Europe. Everything that little 21 year old dreamed of, I did and achieved in Europe and I hope I made her very proud.


Free Summer body guide by Carla West

Gooooood evening everyone!

How times has flied, phase 2 is already starting today and I haven’t even posted about it on my blog!
This delicious weekend of overindulging has officially come to an end and honestly….. I’m pretty happy about it. 4 days straight of eating and no training has not only shocked my body into a allergic reaction rash on my face and a bloated belly making me look 3 months pregnant, it has also reignited my motivation to get back on track AND most importantly it has reminded me on why I love living such a healthy and fit lifestyle. As much as I loved my choccies, I think I definitely over did it a bit. (and that is saying something)
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I would post a photo of all the chocolate, but I ate it all…..
Today is still a public holiday and I won’t be training but tomorrow phase 2 of the Summer body guide kicks off!! And with that I’m going to have to detox in some way to flush all this sugar out.
Okay so what is this Summer body guide actually?
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This is a Ebook I wrote including a overview, nutrition tips and a 4 week workout, 12 weeks in total split up into 3 phases. And a body measurement chart.
Just some things to clear up about the eBook:
– It’s completely free 🙂
– It is gym based, using weights, barbells, machines, balls etc.
– It is not personalized, this is something I wrote for myself because I want to pick up muscle and lose body fat before the summer and I’m am sharing the plan so other girls can join me and we can motivate each other.
– BUT I am there with you every step of the way, as a mentor and a trainer to answer any question you might have!
Okay so now that everything’s said, if anyone is still keen to join, we still have 8 weeks left. Email me at and I’ll send you the program and ebook. 🙂
I am SO keen to start training again after this 4 day break and I can’t wait to see the results after the next 8 weeks!
All my love,


DSC_0675Moody Monday

So I always have Mondays off, it’s my day to reset. I’m home alone all day, cleaning the flat, organizing, cooking for the week ahead, writing blog posts and planning my week ahead. But this Monday….was a fail. Although I sat in front of my laptop for about 8 hours, not a single Blog post was written. I have so many posts in my drafts but just nothing that spoke to me, that I felt passionate enough to share. But now a week later, and no Blog posts posted in a week. I’m back 🙂


Back to work I go, covering a lunch trainer shift for someone at Hugo boss head offices where I work as a trainer once a week, a break and then off to my my normal work (another gym) till 8 pm.


Arrived at the gym (the gym I train at) at 7 am in the morning, and although I only worked at 10 am I wanted to give myself enough time to go through my trainings plan slowly, do my cardio in advance for Thursday and take some time to stretch and that’s exactly what I did. That night I finished work at 8 pm and rushed home to pack for FIBO the next day.


3:30 am wake up and we are off to FIBO… It was all smooth sailing and we went straight to the convention. We got there at about 10 am in the morning and it was still very quit and amazing! (Full post about FIBO coming soon)

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… wake up at 8 am and we were at Fibo again the whole day.

Hitting the highways on a Friday afternoon on the start of Spring holidays, it took us 5 and half hours to get home!! We got home at 7 pm, I went straight to bed to get to work the next day.



Working the whole day, did some shopping as I kind of lost half my make up while packing for FIBO and then coming straight home to catch up on sleep again! (I use my weekends to catch up on sleep apparently, I’m not always this boring I swear haha)


It felt like one of the best days I’ve had this year, I finally woke up energized after the last few days, but with the dirtiest flat I’ve ever seen, mountains of dirty washing that I haven’t even unpacked yet. So I got up and got to it, I felt super productive, cleaned everything, sorted out all my bathroom cupboards, and got all the washing done. Today was about 28 degrees, so by lunch time we heading out.

I put on my new suede shoes, making my boyfriend promise were just walking to the ice cream parlor (100 m away), last minute he suggests the bikes, so I make him promise no silly adventures, and what happened 10 min later….. we were doing jumps at the local park, with my cream suede shoes. But they survived.

We then stood about 30min in line to get ice cream, ate our ice cream and jumped in the car to drive to the river near our house. Took a blanket and lied down in the sun. The perfect Sunday and the perfect end to the week.

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Me and my pasty legs 😛

Life update February 2017 

You ready for one big ol’ ramble?
I know it’s only February  but I thought I’d share what’s been going on in my life this year so far, from travels to work to future plans.
January was great, but February started with a bang. In the first week of February I’ve managed to accept a job at a new gym, quit my current job, tick my first travel destination of the year off the list, see my best friend whose always traveling the world. And to say it was a bit over whelming is a understatement, as everything was very spontaneous and last minute. (I know, another new job, another city, I think its getting boring to my family and readers by now)
I thought I would add this as this is the month of love, and no we haven’t done anything for  Valentine’s Day yet. But me and my boyfriend celebrated our 3 year anniversary in January, and after my birthday in November, Christmas in December, Anniversary in January I think we are over presents and celebrating by now, we celebrate Valentine’s Day everyday haha (corny)
From the 1st of March I will be back in Reutlingen again working at a small personal training studio called PT Reutlingen. I think after 4 big box gyms it’s time to “settle down” and work at a bit of a slower pace. I wasn’t even looking for a job when this offer was given to me and it was quite a shock, but I applied to this gym my second day I arrived in Germany, without speaking a word of German and now 2,5 years later she (one of the owners) remembered me and we decided to work together.
If you couldn’t already tell by my Amsterdam post, it was an absolute dream. I was so lucky to be out there with a truly awesome group of people from Fashion potluck. Future travel plans will definitely be somewhere tropical and warm though, this winter is just getting too long. Read my previous post (Finding Motivation in Winter). We are having my sister and her boyfriend over in June and then heading to Italy which I am very excited about, but I don’t even know if I’ll make it till then. Maybe I’ll convince my boyfriend to come with me someone warmer in Spring or something.
I know I’ve promised a YouTube Q&A but I just couldn’t get my camera to film me properly, i don’t have a flip up screen and i just couldn’t get myself in focus, but I’m in the process of selling my camera for something smaller that can fit in my hand bag, and with a flip out screen. If anyone has any suggestions please comment them below! That will then hopefully mean more workout videos, more YouTube content and better photos for my blog. Because I never have my camera with me and when I do I am traveling and flying with a 3rd bag which really annoys me! Till then I might just film it on my phone when I get the time.I’m also planning on upgrading my blog in March, oooooh getting serious haha and drop the and get my own domain name. I am enjoying blogging and the feedback so so much! So keep a look out for that!
Aaaaand I’m planning on releasing an eBook in spring! To kick start your fitness journey for summer, I’ll be doing the workout plan as well because I need to get this butt into shape, this winter has not been treating me well and I won’t be seen dead in a bikini right now. I hope you girls feel my pain? Or am I the only one?
Anyway, that’s all the updates for now. Thanks for catching up with me!
All my love ❤