Now that the Olympics is over, I guess I have to blog about something else. I had a dream last night that the Final Five were my friends, and I got to touch their medals. They were staying at my house, and I waited there for them while they went to compete and then we were supposed to go out afterward. I think the end of the Olympics is really hitting me hard! I haven't blogged about my fitness journey for a while, but I've been at it for going on nine months now. I'm no Olympian, but building strength, and sticking to a challenging workout schedule makes me feel like an athlete.
To recap January and February, I did a pretty hard core 8 week challenge I found on Instagram. I got and exercise plan that included weight lifting and cardio, plus personalized macro support. It was exactly what I needed to get motivated, get results, and find out what the heck I should be eating. I could work out 'til the cows come home, but nothing would change until I fixed my nutrition. I worked out five days a week for seven weeks without losing a single pound. I was exhausted, discouraged, and frustrated, but determined to see it through. It's hard to keep going when you can't see change in the mirror or on the scale, and this is the part where I really learned how important it is not to get impatient and give up. I felt like I was getting nowhere, but in that last 1 1/2 weeks I finally lost weight. It was only 3 lbs, which isn't much, but when I looked at my side by side before and after pic I was shocked to see that there was real change even though I couldn't see it. My clothes were fitting looser, and I lost an inch in my waist and almost two inches in my hips.
I'd been struggling for so long that I approached it with an all or nothing now or never attitude. I needed to make this happen now. That's why I started early, and why I was 100% perfect in my diet, during those first four weeks. The person doing my meal plan encouraged a weekly cheat and a weekly dessert that could be on the same day, but I didn't introduce weekly dessert cheats (if I wanted it) until after four weeks, and waited eight weeks for my first actual cheat meal.
March to May I did Kayla Itsine's Bikini Body Guide 2.0 week 13-24. I did week 1-12 last year, and said I'd never ever do it again because it is so hard, but I needed hard. I needed results and that was all there was to it. During the first few weeks I thought, I must be in really good shape because it isn't so bad, but I don't care what kind of shape you are in it just gets harder and harder until the point where you feel like you are dying after almost every workout. Some of the ab circuits aren't so bad, but every single leg workout and total body work out is killer. It was around week 8 that I felt like I couldn't do it anymore. My body was exhausted. I was doing 3-4 HIIT circuits, plus 1-2 days of cardio to get in 5 workouts per week. I was also taking a 3 hour writing class one night a week. I felt broken emotionally and physically, but then something amazing happened. It got better. During the hardest workouts my body felt like this amazing machine that could do anything. It didn't get easier, I got stronger. I didn't get as tired on the treadmill. I was attacking those leg workouts hard, and getting that mythical endorphin rush that everyone talks about. I embraced the pain, and got a natural high pushing my body as far as it could go. I felt myself getting stronger and stronger every week. Again, I didn't feel that I was making any drastic changes in the mirror, but wanting to maintain that strength and continue to build on it motivated me to keep going. The intense workouts pushed my old lady knees to the limit. I got the dreaded fluid build up in one of my knees during the last four weeks so I had to space out leg circuits to compensate, and sometimes I couldn't go as hard, but I never missed a workout. I was so excited to be done, and it felt like such an accomplishment to finish it out. I lost another inch in my waist, half inch in my hips, and 4 lost more lbs over the course of that 12 weeks.
My body needed a break, so I took an active rest week where I did yoga, Pilates, walked, and avoided all things HIIT and cardio.
In June I added an extra day and worked out six days per week. I went to the gym for cardio one day per week and did circuit training type exercises the other five. The circuits were a combination of BBG and ones from my 8 week challenge, but no real schedule which was nice after five months of regimented workouts. By the end of that month I dropped 2 more lbs and lost a little bit more in my waist and hips.
This is about the time when I got a bit more lax with my diet. I had no choice, because we went to Delaware for six days. It was the longest I had been away from diet and exercise plan so I was a little worried that all of my hard work would be undone, by vacation eating and inactivity, but also knew that I had to be realistic. Life happens and that's okay. I can't be perfectly on plan all the time and I shouldn't feel like I have to be or else I'll get fat. When I came back from the trip only 0.7 lbs heavier than when I left, and it disappeared within a day, I knew all my hard work was paying off. It took me almost 2 1/2 years of hell but my metabolism recovered, and I finally started to feel a little bit better about my body and progress.
I consider July a lost month for working out because I only exercised about ten days of it. I had two long weekend trips for Olympic Trials and Las Vegas that automatically knocked out 10 days of exercise. After Vegas I didn't go back to exercise right away and it turned into a much needed 10 day exercise break. Not an active rest week. A total break. Not even a walk. I still meal prepped, but didn't worry too much about hitting macros perfectly. There was a lot going on, and I needed it.
My short term feel good about my progress goal was Las Vegas last month. Mission accomplished. I felt comfortable in my bikini and so so proud of myself for putting in the work to get there. A friend just announced that she just lost 8 1/2 lbs in three weeks on Jenny Craig, and I've been working my butt off for that amount all year. But do you know how expensive Jenny Craig is? It's costing her about $800 per month. It took me seven months to lose 9 lbs. That sounds terrible. That's like .32 pounds per week. Nobody wants to put in that much effort and lose that little, but I knew my body was going to be stubborn and I also knew I couldn't give up. I had to be patient. I had to use non scale victories as motivation. I had to trust the process, and I had to do it the right way. It took me a really long time to get here, but I finally learned how to nourish my body with food and not punish it. I exercise consistently, and I eat real food consistently. I learned the hard way, that starving is not the solution and there is no diet plan that can save you, because you have to save yourself. You have to learn how to eat properly and understand that consistency over time is the only way.
I was worried I would have a hard time getting back on the wagon after 10 days off, but Monday fell on the 1st, which feels like a fresh start and I started a new work out plan to keep me motivated. Another Instagram find! My fitness journey continues.