The ‘must have’ shape over the last year or so has been the perfectly toned, strong, lean body and from this has steamed even more..‘Incredible workouts’, that hideous ‘Beach Body’ advert which offended us all, various ‘6 week plan to ab’s’ and so on…
I’m healthy, I like my body and everything it can do and I’m not overweight or unfit..
But I’m curious..
I want to know if it is really possible to transform myself from slim/content to a girl who carries lean muscle, is stronger, faster and fitter in just 10 weeks?
Will I be unhappy? Can I do it? Do I need an expensive plan? Can I build lean muscle?
I have so many questions and the only way I’ll get the answers is to dedicate 10 weeks and test some of these theories and form my own opinion, whilst sharing my journey along the way.
I have a LOT to say so please, get comfortable.
What are my objectives?
- Carb Cycling – I want to understand this more: Will this be successful for me? How will I feel? What can I eat?
- Running – Can more careful attention to my nutrition improve my running? Or will I run out of energy? Will lifting really make me a stronger runner? Will I finally improve my 5km time?
- Weight Lifting – In a fitness world where women with incredible physical form credit weight lifting, can I do the same?
- My Fitness Pal – I’ve openly discussed my distaste for MFP previously but I’d given it a second chance with calories set by me and as a resource for watching my macros’ but will it be a friend or foe?
- To share a ‘real’ story – We see so many ‘transformation Tuesday’s’ but what is really going on behind the scenes?
What am I NOT aiming for?
I’m not aiming to become ‘thin’ or encourage unhealthy eating habits
I’m not interested in restricting my calories under 1,750 a day
My objective is not and never will be to make people feel inadequate for not following a certain lifestyle this is partly an experiment and it may not be successful
What is my plan?
- Continue my running and HIIT workouts – Include different moves (to keep everything fresh) and add at least two weight training sessions a week.
- Monitor workouts with a HRM monitor – To understand my Heart Rate Zones and see approximately how much energy my body is using.
- Use MFP everyday – But I may tweak my calories/macros’ along the way if required.
- To lightly Carb Cycle and limit sweet snacks – Twice (maybe three) times a week I shall eat ‘low carb’ and I shall reign in my incredibly sweet tooth.
What is my starting point?
*Weight: I’m at 9st 10lbs and 16% bodyfat
*Running: My present 5km time is around 26/27min, no were near PB territory…
*Calories: I have started with a ‘base’ of 1,750 a day and will be eating back my exercise calories.
*Lifting: I am barely lifting a few times a month right now, I will be setting aside at least two workouts a week which will be a big change.
*Working on my 5km Time *Weight Training in the garden *Goodies for our girly night whilst staying ‘on track’ *Low carb breakfast bowl
Thorpe Park: All you can eat pizza, pasta & Salad! Wow – Previously I’d have gone hell for leather and eaten tonnes of pizza, as it’s something I so rarely go near but I stuck to my gun’s and had one slice (it was incredible). I filled up on salad and vegetables, I also took Nakd bars and a protein bar, plus plenty of water to stay on track but well fuelled also.
‘Low Carb – Day 1’ : I have not gone as low carb as some people would aim for but I really expected this to be a massive struggle. Alas by starting the day with 600 calories of protein pancakes (made with two eggs to increase the protein), nut butter, a peach and coconut yoghurt I beat my hunger pangs from the word go.
‘Low Carb’ – Day 2’: My head is absolutely pounding, I think this is partly due to the lack of sugar as I had disregarded the amount of sugar/carb’s that come from my daily ‘date & nut butter fix’. Whilst it’s easy to argue that a date and nut butter has far more nutritional value than a bar of diary milk, having a little less still gives all the same withdrawal’s for me and I found myself craving a sugar hit more than ever.
‘Water Belly’: I have made a significant effort to increase the amount of water I am drinking and welcomed ‘water belly’ (highly technical term!) whilst I felt bloated and uncomfortable at times, it’s not a permanent feeling.
Avoiding ‘Treats’: This week I walked past our ‘treat’ table at work with complete ease, I’d reset my mind that they were not what I’d ‘really look forward to’ and felt no temptation. This is 100% a physiological thing, when I have a treat I want it to be something I really genuinely fancy, something that makes me think ‘I enjoyed every mouthful’ rather than ‘I regret that’. It may not sound like a big deal to most of you; for me this was a really big achievement and I’m proud.
Lifting: I Completed both of my lifting sessions for week one, plus I added some big weight moves in whilst running intervals on Sunday and was left achy but very content.
Bad night sleep = I want to give up: I really did, one bad night of sleep and I wanted to eat all the rubbish I could lay my hands on and I had zero motivation to workout. So, I ate over the level of calories MFP gave me for the day (so there MFP!) and worked out in the evening whilst I was more fuelled. But this reminded me just how important having enough sleep is to balancing a healthy weight and keeping you on track, never underestimate rest.
Pushing the running a little more: As I mentioned in the beginning, just changing my body to ‘look’ a certain way was not enough, I wanted improvements and a new PB. Keeping my pace at the flat 8 minute mile zone is going to take some serious effort, alas it’s something worth having so it’s worth working for. So I hit the treadmill and I mixed up intervals of running with kettlebell moves – Sweaty but worth it.
Low Carb + Rest : On Wednesday I faced my lowest ever carb day, I was convinced it would be a real struggle so I slept in and allowed my body to rest and rebuild some energy. My overall objective was to blast a really strong workout the following day and test if the ‘carb-cycling’ concept will help encourage my body to use the extra energy on my active day more efficiently. This was also my lowest calorie day so far with just over my ‘base’ at 1,769 calories, as I picked my food choices carefully I actually felt really good.
‘My head is a jungle’: I am keenly researching and reading up on lifting, fuelling and gaining muscle and whilst most articles are consistent I see the odd spanner in the works. It’s easy to understand why some of us are so confused; I’m being told in some articles to avoid almost all cardio, then on others to keep it under a maximum of 45 minutes. Whilst I love the big wide web I do find some ‘information’ confusing at times and it’s not taken long for me to question my objectives and my plan, I’m constantly questioning am I doing too many reps? Am I lifting enough? Am I bad person for loving running?
Carbs, calories and confusion: Continuing with the carb cycling has given mixed results; on Friday I was ‘low carb’ and felt fantastic but on Saturday I was a tired, frustrated, mess. I used several calorie counters which produce the same low numbers, yet I know my body and I *know* that if I continue to eat enough (of the right food) I’m sure I can get results and not feel restricted, or at least I hope so. On my high carb/normal day’s I’m eating closer to 2,300-400 calories of very balanced food and feeling very content, the lowest I’ve hit so far was 1,769 and that was on a rest day.
Oh, hello delayed muscle onset soreness: If my shoulders could talk, they would tell you that they hurt more than ever before and even hugging aches and it’s not big and it’s not clever.
Low Carb Advice (so far)
*Eat enough calories: I’m not aiming to become ‘thin’ or compete in a body competition so I feel that ensuring you can eat enough calories (which can be hard) is really important for steady energy.
*Don’t fear FAT: A high percentage of my calories came from fat/protein and I always kept a bag of cashews in my desk draw at work for when the ‘nibbles’ feeling kicked.
*Have a more restful day: I would have a lighter lifting session or a rest day on lower carb days has made me feel less tired and kept my energy levels balanced.
What is coming up next?
As this is an introduction to my challenge in my next post I’ll be updating on how I’m getting along, I’ll be sharing my workouts, what I’ve learnt (if anything!) and any changes to my body.
I’m also aiming to keep sharing any information I pick up along the way, I’ve got a selection of Podcasts to tune into so I’ll share those too!
Links you may find interesting
*Please note I’m not fully following this as it would not be sustainable for me and frankly I don’t fancy it.
So tell me, have you ever tried to make dramatic changes to your body? Do you lift? Carb cycle? Have any of those made changes to your body? What would be your ideal ‘cheat meal’?
I am not a Doctor or Personal trainer, I have chosen to try this whilst in good physical health and my opinions are strictly my own and writing about my own journey. I am not advocating changing to a certain lifestyle or implying that to be fit/healthy/happy you should fit the mould society suggests we should be.
Please; try to keep negative comments about my shape to yourself, this is not an online search for insults or compliments, posting a bikini picture of myself took more courage than you may understand.