This blog is a big leap away from my usual drivel so I will forgive you if you don’t read it!
A strange thing has happened to a Welsh Mama, she has been bitten by the gym bug. Well not just the gym bug but by the whole package of weight loss, change of diet and exercise bug. Presumably this is because I will turn 50 in February and I guess this is my mid-life crisis. I had always thought that my midlife crisis would include wine, women and song, but on reflection that has been the theme to most of my life so I embrace the change.
I blame the Other Half who started attending a circuits class at our neighbourhood Gym (Personal Training Gym) and working out with a personal trainer (Charlotte Koscian Personal Training). It wasn’t long before the constant nagging started that I really could do with dropping a couple of pounds (i.e. stones) and it wouldn’t harm to do some exercise. I feared that my mumbling of arthritic knees wasn’t cutting the mustard when a message was sent home from Charlotte saying that she could provide a programme to my lack of fitness and dodgy knees and in fact it would help to strengthen the muscles around the said knees. So that was it – one evening I found myself quaking outside the gym waiting to be weighed, measured and put through my paces by a Personal Trainer – not a sentence I ever thought I would write.
So after a few weeks of attending on a one to one basis with Charlotte, she dropped the niceties and had the conversation with me about food or more to the point my food consumption. A down side of social media I fear – she was following the Blog and my Instagram account. Even adding #donttellcharlotte didn’t work!
Then something strange happened, I started to enjoy being put through my paces at the gym. I won’t lie, it hurts like hell, I shake for about and hour after and need help getting out of my sports bra but I really do have endormorphines and they really are being released.
Then of course there are those times when I am away and miss the sessions, I soon realised like life, you have to work at it and can’t just stop and expect to be in the same place. So during half term when we were on holiday with the kids and I hadn’t exercised, had over eaten and drunk Cornwall dry, I had an epiphany and decided to sign up to the Body Coach (Joe Wicks) 90 Day Shift Shape and Sustain Plan. So I sent off my measurements, a food plan of all I had eaten and drunk the previous week (I needed a second page) and some pictures of me in my underwear (not a pretty sight), paid my money and waited for the plan to hit my inbox. Within three days there it was, I will admit to being a tad scared to open it.
Basically the plan is split into three cycles. The first 30 days are obviously Cycle 1 and you are sent just that Cycle which consists of a number of recipes – including weights an measurements of ingredients which are allegedly tailored to your personal energy demands based on the information given in the questionnaire. You are also allocated to a Support Hero you can chat to in case of any issues. The plan focuses on fat burning exercises which are called HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and you are encouraged to complete four or five HIIT sessions per week which with a warm up and cool down last 30 to 35 minutes in total. The plan includes a link to Joe Wicks taking you through a HIIT session and then provides links to you tube videos of work outs (all of which are available without signing up to the plan). I must say that this part is a little disappointing – I thought there would have been more individual exercises given and that I would’t have to search for them on You Tube.
The food is based on macronutrient timing – making sure you have enough stored energy to exercise and then top up with protein and carborhydrates post training. The recipes are easy to follow even if you have never cooked in your life, they are also really tasty. There is not a feeling of being deprived here, there is a phenomenal amount of food to prepare and eat and sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming.
Jo will say that the key is to be prepared and encourages you to ‘prep like a boss’ i.e. complete your meal plan for the week, shop and precook a lot of the meals and invest in tupperware so you are ready to go. I am not cut out for prepping a meal in advance or completing a weeks meal plan. However I decided to meet him half way and completed a weekly meal plan but cooked each meal from scratch. Having completed week 1 and cooking each meal from scratch, being careful to weigh and keep to plan, I soon realised that Mr Wicks is right – you do need to ‘prep like a boss’ if you want to have a life not chained to your stove and weighing scales. Therefore as I start week two, I have batched cooked a number of the meals so I can just put them in the popty ping and am topped up and ready to go again.
As for the exercise, it’s hard – its a shock to the system but you can feel yourself getting stronger and fitter which is quite an incredible feeling as your stamina builds. The cycle 1 exercises you can do anywhere, no equipment is needed -basically it is about completing bursts of exercise to raise your heart rate, then have a rest before raising the rate again. This apparently is the key to fat burning. I am lucky as I am able to still have a personal training session with Charlotte once a week along with attending her circuits class during which she tailors exercise for the above mentioned knees (which are definitely getting stronger) and I follow two You Tube videos of Joe Wicks.
Its a huge change to my usual lifestyle choices so I have been surprised at how I have embraced it. I had a little wobble on Sunday night (Day 7) as I was tired and really could have done with a bottle of red and a takeaway, but I ploughed through and the results were obvious as I completed a gym session on Monday morning. I have definitely had a grumpy no carb couple of days (day 7 to day 9) but am through the slump and looking forward to nailing Cycle 1. Joe is anti jumping on the weighing scales at every opportunity (he calls it the sad step) hence the measurements and photos. At the end of Cycle 1 I will be expected to submit another round of measurements and photos.
So thats it in a nutshell, I hope that answers the questions about my experience so far, a few people have asked and all I can say is go for it. Give it a try, and don’t forget the key is to be prepared, do a batch of cooking, work out your weeks meal plan and when you are going to train and stick to it.
I’ll keep you updated with my progress although won’t put you through the horror of photos of me in my underwear!
Have a good week. x