Hey all! Long time no blog! I’ve been a slacker blogger (if you can even call me a blogger), but I’m okay with it. The reason I started writing again was so that I could write when I have something to say. Turns out I just don’t have a lot to say, (although if you follow my Twitter, you might disagree.. haha). Anyway, I have something to say today, A lot to say actually! I just finished my first round of Action 90 at Action Conditioning, and I wanted to tell you guys about it. I can’t believe it’s already been three months. So much has happened and so much has changed, mostly good! I mostly just want to talk about how my work-outs, my eating and my body have changed since I started A90 3 months ago, so here goes! (Be prepared for a LOT of writing)
Obviously, this has been a HUGE part of my Action 90 experience. I don’t want to give away all the Action 90 secrets, but I’ve been doing three months of progressive work-outs six-days a week. Each month, we rotate through three different strength and total body routines with our trainer and then we had prescribed cardio to do on our own which is meant to condition our hearts and develop our energy systems so we improve our metabolism and endurance. Both the strength and cardio routines change each month.
I managed to only miss one strength work-out for the entire three months, despite this meaning that I had to get up at 4:10am every M, W, F. We had an awesome trainer and I love everyone in the 5am class! We really got to know each other and got good as supporting one another and pushing each other just enough! The work-outs were always challenging, but also super fun and never boring.
At the end of each month we did fitness tests and at the beginning and end of the entire program, I’ll talk about those when I talk about my body changes!
Not surprisingly, my eating was the biggest challenge out of everything in the program for me! We’re given a really easy-to-follow and fairly intuitive nutrition plan. It’s not restrictive, it just focuses solely on whole foods instead of processed pre-packaged stuff. I just love food! I do really well during the week but struggle with wanting to eat everything bad for me on weekends, and although I’ve gotten better at it, I’m still working on being consistent with my good eating habits. One thing that ended up being surprisingly easy for me was saying goodbye to dairy. This was totally my choice and my digestive system, my skin and any stomach issues I was experiencing immediately improved. I also definitely think that it helped me burn a lot of stomach fat and reduced a lot of puffiness that I was experiencing from a possible reaction to dairy.
What I would LIKE to do, but has been slightly more challenging, is cutting out wheat. Again, this was more of a personal choice, but I know that it will help me in the long run. There’s lots and lots of other great carb options out there, but I just love bread! I’ve significantly cut back, but the first thing I think of when I want to binge on a weekend is bagels and bread and chips and tortillas.
On top of this, I had a couple really bad weeks where life kind of sucked and I was feeling really down. The last thing I cared about was eating properly and I ended up eating a lot of excess carbs and junk to make myself feel better (note to self: that doesn’t actually work..) It’s true that 70% of your success when trying to lose weight and get healthy is what you eat, and only about 30% is exercise… so if I’m only eating properly 90% of the time, I can’t expect the most optimal results! While eating the way I’m supposed to is something I’m still struggling with, I’m definitely not giving up and will be pushing a little more on the eating side of things the next time through.
This is probably the one everyone wants to hear about the most. I haven’t seen my before/after photos and don’t know if I’ll post them, but I’ll let you guys know!
So, Did it work? Yes! Absolutely. But not the way I expected it to. I’ve hardly lost ANY weight! But, BUT… hear me out first!
The scale and my number on the scale is something that I have always invested a LOT of importance in. Part of this is because I need to lose a certain amount of weight to qualify for a breast reduction. Part of that is also because-let’s face it- society places a lot of focus how much people weigh. It’s hard to get away from.
I’ve always, always struggled with body image, and I’ve been told that I have an extremely distorted view of my own body by a lot of people. Logically, I understand that I look different (maybe better?) than I think I do.. but mentally, it’s almost impossible for me to perceive myself the way other people see me. I used to see a counselor at the university for a while and when she asked me to pick a picture of how I thought my body looked, I picked a picture of a 300-lb woman that I honestly think looked like me. The ONLY way I was capable of seeing a difference in myself was by seeing a number change on the scale. This distorted body image is something that’s taken a lot of work to overcome, and seeing myself in a different light is something I’ve definitely improved at, but I still struggle with this issue a LOT.
Okay, so back to Action 90. When we first start, we take our body measurements, weight and “before” pictures. Each month we re-take our body measurements and weight and at the end we re-take our photos as well. I kept feeling so dismayed as looked at the scale every week and didn’t see a change, even though I was working SO hard. Then we took our first month measurements and I’d lost 9 inches! What the heck?
I was so confused and partially convinced that the tape measure was super wrong. How was this possible? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a little bit of muscle weight a lot more than the same weight of fat. After talking with Mark and reading a couple articles, I realized that I was gaining muscle at the same rate I was losing a similar amount (weight-wise) of fat, so the scale was staying the same. Logically, it makes sense that a lb of muscle is going to look a lot different than a lb of fat. It takes up less space and it’s a lot firmer and less jiggly!
By the second month, I started to get tons of compliments about how good I looked and how much slimmer I was. I didn’t fully believe them (back to that body image thing), but when the numbers on the tape measure kept going down and my clothes kept getting looser and looser, I started to realize that my body was DEFINITELY changing whether I could perceive it with my messed-up body image or not. When I realized that the numbers couldn’t lie, I also started to see those changes in the mirror too.
On top of that, I was getting SO much stronger. At the beginning, I couldn’t even do a proper push-up from my knees. I could get my chest about half way to the ground and then my arms would give out. Now, I can rock out knee push-ups like nobody’s business and am well on my way to being able to do ALL of them full from my feet. Additionally, by month 2 my biceps and triceps were starting to be visible, my calves, thighs and glutes were noticeably more toned and my muscle AND cardio endurance was so much better.
By the end of month three (aka now) the differences have become increasingly more noticeable. Even I can’t deny them. You can see the outline of my ribs a little bit, my shoulder blades and collar bone stick out a tiny bit, my arms, tummy and bum are less jiggly and cellulite-y and my biceps and triceps are visible even when I have my arms relax. My back is getting stronger and I stand up straighter despite the huge load (aka my boobs) that I have to carry around. Mark commented that you’re even starting to be able to see my upper abs a little bit, where my waist has become a lot more trim.
Even though the scale hasn’t moved much, the numbers, the comments I get and the results of my fitness test don’t lie. I definitely saw improvements! In total, I lost 15.75 inches. Most notably (and most exciting for me) 2 inches from my waist, 5 inches from my tummy (belly button) and 2.5 inches from my hips! My belt that I wore for almost 2 years is too big for me now, and my favorite jeans can’t be worn without a belt anymore! Obviously, I wasn’t very muscular at all when I started this process.. I thought I was in okay-shape but looking back I’m pretty sure I was just a big marshmallow and had a LOT of muscle to develop.
I saw huge improvements on the fitness test as well! This post is long enough, so I won’t go into all the details, but I am WAY stronger than when I first started. I can do more squats, more push-ups, more assisted chin-ups, and more sit ups than when I started. Plus, can hold planks and wall-sits for longer and sustain my cardio for longer. Not to mention, I just feel amazing! I have more energy, I’m healthier, my skin is clearer than it’s ever been and I sleep like a baby.
My future plans:
All-in-all, Action 90 has been a great success for me and I’ve loved every minute. I actually look forward to working out and seriously adore everyone at the gym! I’ve come a long way in the last 3 months but I still have a long way to go with my fitness and weight-loss. I’ve signed up to take the program again, starting next week. The nice thing about Action 90 is that it can be challenging no matter what fitness level you’re at, so even though I’m starting over, it’s not like it’s going to be easy for me. My hope for this time is that I can do even better with the eating aspect of the program and that I’ll continue to get stronger but my muscle-to-fat replacement ratio will shift so that the scale starts going down. As much as I love the results I got, 193 lbs isn’t a healthy weight no matter what, so that fat has to start to go away sometime! Plus, I know that I can work a little harder and do a little better this next round now that I know what to expect.
I’m sticking with the 5am class because a) I love having my work-out out of the way by 6am, b) I love my current trainer, c) Two of the other 5am members are coming back too and I can’t imagine working out without them and d) getting up at 4:10am is not as bad as I thought it would be!
So yes, in a couple-thousand words, this where I’m at! I can’t wait to see what the next three months bring and after that who knows what’s next! Finding a gym with people and trainers that I love and a fitness program that’s easy to follow has been so important. PS. If you’re in Lethbridge and looking for a great gym, I definitely recommend checking out what Action Conditioning has to offer. There’s something for everyone!