Tuesday, 31 May 2016

8 months & 10kg...from fat to fit!

(Disclaimer before I get started; I’m not saying that if you’re 53kg or above that you’re fat; it’s purely a title for the blog and at only 5’0” and weighing in at 53kg with zero exercise and eating rubbish, I was overweight for my body type)
It’s hard to think having just competed in a bodybuilding competition that just 8 months ago I looked how I did on the photo below and I have a range of emotions when I look back at it. It was taken in Fiji after 9 months of travelling. I’ve spoken before about how my year progressed whilst travelling so I’ll not spend too much time talking about that here other than to say in the last 5 months of being away any muscle tone, shape, definition, fitness or form of abs that I did have, certainly wasn’t there anymore.
Fiji (8 Sept 2015)
My biggest emotion when I look back is sadness. Whilst I accepted that whilst travelling my fitness would have to take a back seat, I never imagined I would end up so out of condition by the end of it. And to be honest I never felt myself really getting to this point. My friend who I travelled with often says to me she didn’t realise I looked that way at the end of our travels and I didn’t either. It was a slow gradual build up over a matter of months as a result of poor diet and no exercise.
Likewise with the photo below which was taken back in Australia in September just a couple of weeks before I flew home, my PT often says he doesn’t remember me being so out of shape when I returned home.
Australia (12 Sept 2015)
It saddens me that I did end up like that and it also upsets me as I remember those feelings very well. Having got in brilliant shape the year before it genuinely upset me to find myself overweight and unfit less than a year later. I’d had an incredible year exploring but it still didn’t stop me feeling disappointed with my body. Being so small in height I really can’t afford to carry extra weight and I definitely felt it; in my clothes, physically on certain parts of my body and definitely in any form of training I did occasionally do.
By the end of my travels I was just desperate to get back training and clean eating. I didn’t stress too much about the shape I was in as I had my PT on hand when I returned home ready to beast my workouts and I knew I would clean my diet right up. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get from the above to a body that was fit for stage so I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts, insights and feelings during those 8 months as I battled back to full strength and fitness and into the best shape of my life.

Back to it...
I still remember my first PT session back in October. I met Michael in the cafĂ© at Total Fitness and we had a chat about my goals and where I was currently and where I wanted to get to. I remember feeling embarrassed as Michael knew me before I went away; from training at the gym and doing his classes and I remember thinking that he must think ‘wow she’s let herself go’. If he did, he never said anything and everything was very much forward focused at where we were going and not where I’d been. My goal at the start was pretty simple; I just wanted to drop a bit of weight and get back to a good level of fitness and build up my strength again. I just wanted training and clean eating to be part of my daily life as it used to be and I knew I would see the benefits from those changes.
Looking a sweaty mess after Bootcamp!
Training during those first few weeks was tough. Very tough. I felt heavy; carrying 5kg extra than when I left for Australia and knowing this was absolutely pure fat and not muscle that I’d put on (as well as losing some of my previous muscle mass as well). I started out at 53kg and those first dozen PT sessions I was a sweaty mess by the end of them. The DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) was bad every single time which was a battle in itself as previously I didn’t suffer much from DOMS and now I found myself with DOMS pretty much every day for the first 8 weeks.
I had x2 PT sessions per week and then I used to train an additional 4 times on my own. At this stage it was mainly weights based and I didn’t do much cardio. My legs had remained quite strong after a few years of heavy training but my upper body was very much the opposite after neglecting it during previous years. We were starting from scratch with my upper body and I hated those sessions for the first couple of months as they were so difficult and painful.
Regular training started from 1 November and I made big progress over the next 7 weeks leading up to Christmas. My diet was clean 80% of the time, supplements were introduced to my diet and I noticed the benefit from them and slowly but surely I felt my strength and fitness starting to return. It was a great feeling and I was so glad to be back.
The diet didn’t take too much adjusting to as I was actually sick of rubbish food after indulging on my travels so I was happy to be back eating healthy and cooking fresh meals. I found it a little difficult resisting treats as I hadn’t restricted anything over the previous 4 months so your body gets used to the sugar and fat so it still craved it for a while. I had a good balance though and allowed myself the occasional treat without it impacting on my improved diet too much.
After Christmas my diet stepped up a gear as I was put on a comp-style diet even though at this stage I hadn’t committed to competing. I did book a photo-shoot for March so we thought this would be a good test for me to do the diet and see how I got on. Those next 8 weeks I found incredibly tough. My training was going well at this point and I felt a massive difference in my fitness and strength, but it was the diet that killed me. I got sick twice during those 8 weeks which made it so tough to stay on track with healthy food and I was now calorie and macro counting, something I’d never done before. I found myself frustrated at the diet during that point and I did slip up a few times I don’t mind admitting but I stuck with it. The diet overall looking back wasn’t that strict in comparison to what was to come; I was allowed variety in my diet as long as I avoided certain bad foods and stuck within my calorie and macro range.
Food got very miserable on diet life...
8 weeks down and my photo shoot was soon up. I made the decision to move this back to the end of April as I didn’t feel like my body would be in a place I was happy with. It was also starting to creep into my mind the prospect of a competition. My PT and I had discussed it but I had never wanted to commit. I think because for so long my body felt so far away from being competition ready that I just couldn’t allow myself to think of me being at that stage. I knew I had to focus on the process. And also because it was a daunting prospect. But deep down if I’m honest I knew I’d do it. It was a challenge, one of the biggest challenges I could take on and I was ready for it mid-February with 3 months of preparation to go.
I had 12 weeks at this point to comp having completed 8 weeks of dieting already. And at that point something flipped in my mind and I was absolutely on-point from then on, in. The diet remained strong, the commitment to training could not be faltered and I well and truly had my eyes on the prize. I used to remind myself often of where I’d started back in October and I was so proud of my progress. Those first few months were tough and looking back it would have been the easiest thing in the world to throw the towel in as I had so much work to do. But that was never an option as I never thought of how much more work I had to do, I focused on how far I’d come and literally took it day by day and week by week and just enjoyed feeling better in myself, even if I was still a fair bit away from my previously toned self.
As you’ll all know through my blog posts during competition prep, I found the diet incredibly hard. The training was tough and I got tired with extra cardio and such an intense programme but it was the diet that almost killed me. It was boring and monotonous and I craved good food so much. It made me moody and impacted on my life so much; I had no life – bodybuilding was my entire life. But I knew I had to do it and just dig deep. When you have a goal to work towards it’s so much easier. I’m going to do a vlog (video-blog) soon where I answer some of the questions I often get asked including those about willpower etc. so I’ll cover this in more detail there but having that goal made it much easier for me to stay on track.
Over the 6 weeks before prep I loved watching my body become so lean. Probably more so because I knew where I’d started out back in October. I knew it wasn’t sustainable that I would stay that lean but I was certainly enjoying every second of it. And I did when I stepped on stage too. I loved the fact I had some form of abs, which I’d never previously been able to achieve properly. I loved that I had obliques and that my muscles stood out as I had very little body fat. My body felt good; despite the tiredness from training and my body enjoyed digesting clean, simple foods.
Enjoying seeing some abs come through
Feeling very lean in April
The competition itself I absolutely loved (see my other blog post for details of the day) and since then I’ve been very aware of not putting the weight back on. My PT and I talked often about reverse dieting and for me that starts properly this week. I allowed myself a week of indulgence (and boy have I done that!) but now I have to be sensible and build things back up slowly. A poor post-comp diet can leave you in worse shape than before and with the photos from Fiji and Australia firmly etched in my mind I’ll be honest I’m absolutely terrified of putting the weight back on.
One of the best days of my life!
Having got down to 44.1kg on the day of comp I knew I would probably put a few kg on afterwards as that wasn’t a sustainable weight given the diet and to be honest wasn’t really that healthy so I always feel at my best physically and for strong training at around 48kg. During the last week I’ve put on a bit of weight (I haven’t weighed myself as I don’t want to be too focused on the scales post-comp) and that has been through indulgence so I need to calm down with that. It’s likely I’ll put on some weight as I look to build more muscle and get stronger over the coming months so I won’t be worrying too much about the scales as I never did before and I’ll work more so off how I feel and look.
It’s pretty surprising to look at the before and after photos now as even I can’t believe the transformation some days. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but by far one of the best things I’ve ever done and I have more confidence in my body than I ever before. When I think back to October now and those first few sessions and how hard they were; I sometimes wonder how I stuck it out especially because of how fit I’d been previously, it was soul-destroying in some ways. But I am so, so thankful that I did because I’d have carried on being unhappy and unhealthy and it would have no doubt impacted on other elements of my life. I find I’m the best possible version of me when I’m healthy and training and it makes me better at work and socially too. Training and being healthy gives me confidence and lifts my mood.
Before and after (8 months difference)
So the biggest piece of advice I would give to someone who is unhappy with how they currently look; make a start. Just do something to get you going, as small as it may seem. Little changes will make a big difference and I can guarantee you that once you start seeing results you will become addicted to it. It is one of the best feelings in the world watching your body change for the better and feeling better in your body and the positive benefits that come with that. Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can. It’s not going to happen overnight but it can happen; with some willpower, dedication and commitment. And I promise you that it will all be worth it in the end.

1 comment:

  1. Fanastic Bec... well done you. I wish i had the willpower like you! xxx