Tag Archives: body transformations

This is Why You Fail in the Gym, Part 5 (Final)

11 Oct

Yep.  This is the final part in this 5 part series.

Don’t cry guys.

No, please don’t, cause if you cry, I’ll cry.

Oh no, wait, that only works with me and vomit…

Anyway, yes, this is the last part of the series but the blog will live on of course!  And this final piece of the puzzle is to me the MOST important piece.  If you do not have this, you have nothing.  You will 100% fail if you do not have this.  Trust me.

Motivation.  It’s all about DESIRE.  How badly you want something.  What lengths you will go to to get it.  How hard you will push yourself and what sacrifices you will make.

I was having a chat to a work friend the other day who has, over the past year, lost a whopping 5okg.  That is no easy feat!   She was saying how her friends keep asking her what her “secret” was.   And she said to me that there is no “secret”, it’s just a sudden realisation that this is more important to you than anything.  We agreed that it’s something within you that if other people don’t have it then it’s hard to explain to explain to them how to get it.

But I’m going to attempt to do just that.  Let’s go on a journey of self-discovery…

Look, you can set goals until the cows come home but if you do not have the motivation to make those goals reality they are nothing but words.  They have no importance to you because there is no consequence if you don’t achieve them – you simply just don’t meet your goal.  The end.  Let’s have another piece of cake.

So, how do we get the motivation to achieve the goal?  How do we make it a priority above all else?  How do we KEEP motivation from slipping when our goals could take weeks, months, or years to achieve?

For me, it was easy.  Lose weight or get diabetes.  Simple.   However, before I knew that I was close to having diabetes I had always wanted to lose weight.  I felt such self-loathing towards myself which I projected outwards onto others.  I was miserable in my own skin (not to mention just a plain old misery to be around) and I couldn’t believe I had let myself get that way.   I did what most people do though, I let life get in the way and never made my goal important enough to take action towards achieving it.

So, why do YOU want to lose weight?  That’s the first and foremost question you need to ask yourself.  WHY.  It might be because you feel uncomfortable and depressed at your current size, it might be because you’re not fit enough to keep up with the kids or maybe it’s because you feel lethargic and tired all the time and want that zest for life back.  Whatever the reason is you need to own up to it.  You need to recognise it and understand it.  Do not brush it off as a passing thought – it is reality and you need to face it.

After you have had a think about “why” then you need to have a think about what is the consequence if you don’t reach your goal?  Again, my consequence was that I would wind up having diabetes but even if that wasn’t the case the consequences were pretty dire.  If I continued on my pattern of self-loathing and body hate I was going to end up alienating myself from friends and family and  living a life of “make-believe”, where I acted like I was happy but I was really far from it.  I would have just existed in this world rather than lived life to it’s fullest because I didn’t think that I was worthy of happiness.  Yeah.  Deep right?  If you look within yourself and starting asking yourself these things you will go deep too.  And it’s hard.  It’s REALLY hard to face up to these feelings, but well worth it.  Because you will start to recognise the motivation within you to do something about it.  Write down your reasons and consequences and keep them somewhere close.

Right, so now that we’ve all had a look into our souls and hopefully had that “lightbulb” moment we can start to spur ourselves into action.

The first few weeks are the hardest and it is when you are most likely to make a few slip ups or even just dump the plan all together.  If you feel like that is about to happen, go back and read your reasons and consequences.  You’re making a promise to yourself here to build a better and healthier life.  Why would you want to let yourself down like that?  It’s so exhausting trying and failing and trying and failing over and over again.  It’s time to just do it and get it over and done with!  Once and for all!

The most important things to keep you on track are planning and organisation.  If I didn’t do these things I would be a complete failure.  Every week I enter into my diary what exercise I am going to do and what time I am going to do it.  I schedule it in and I make no excuses.  I get it done because it is my priority.  I am too important to myself to let myself down. I know that if I don’t do my planned exercise it will just mean my goal is further away from me achieving it.   Nuh uh.  Not happening.

I also  plan all my meals and snacks and have everything on hand, ready to go.  This means I have no excuses to eat something that is not on the plan.

In the beginning I of course made this blog to keep me accountable and I recall some of my earlier posts were about what I was eating that day or what exercise I was doing.  This helped IMMENSELY.  Even if you just create a private blog or keep a diary, it will help keep you accountable.

For me, once I had done the soul-searching and organised and put some structure into my life, it provided me with the motivation to continue, day in and day out, to make myself a better, healthier, happier version of me that I could ever dream possible.

And once you start getting results, oooooo weeee, now THAT’S motivation.  You won’t want to stop because you can feel and see the changes that are taking place in your body week after week.  That spurs you on like nothing else.  Plus, you get fitter, less tired and exercise becomes easier.  You get used to your new healthy way of eating and all of a sudden it all falls into place and it just becomes life, second-nature to you.

There you have it – that’s my take on motivation and what it takes to keep going.  Now do you dare share your reasons and consequences in the comments below?  I think you should!  Go on… do it!  🙂

 

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Project Tighten Up: Update 10 – Measurement Results

26 Jul

Reallllllllllllly quick one guys!  😀

Here is my measurement results for the month:

[click image to enlarge]

I had pretty good results again this month with some good loses from the mid section and chest (sigh) and a surprisingly yet very WELCOME loss from the upper thigh!  BOOM!  It’s about time!

It’s also worthy to note that I am now officially a size 10 up top (according to eBay Australian Sizing charts) and only 3.5cm away from being a size 10 around the hips!  OH HAPPY DAYS!

Okay – that’s it from me.

Told you it was a quick one.  😉

An Interview with an Inspiration

5 Jul

Social networking is a godsend.  There is nothing I rely on more for motivation and inspiration. Whether it be tweeting fitness tips with my tweeps, sharing advice on forums or following the world’s top figure competitors on Facebook, I know my little online community is there for me through thick and thin.

I am very lucky to have formed strong bonds with so many inspiring people but no one has inspired me more than Charlotte, a 27 year old Sydney-sider who went on a dramatic total life transformation to change her life for the better.

Charlotte is currently 9 weeks out from competing in the World Natural BodyBuilding Federation (WNBF) NSW competition on the 4th September, International Natural BodyBuilding Association (INBA) VIC competition on the 11th September and possibly the INBA QLD competition on the 25th September.  If she qualifies she will move on to the INBA Australia competition in VIC on the 9th October and the WNBF Asia Pacific competition in Adelaide on the 29th October.

Whilst I am not interested in competing in bodybuilding myself (I may be interested in doing some sort of “fitness model” competition in the future), I admire the dedication and sheer determination that bodybuilders possess when striving towards their goal.  After you read Charlotte’s story below, I’m sure you will admire it too.

You weren’t always in the top-notch shape you are in today, what were you at your heaviest and what made you decide to change your shape?

I have always been a little heavier than the rest; being tall (5’10”) I managed to get away with it for the most part. At my heaviest I weighed in at 95kgs. I managed to get there by eating ridiculously large portions of everyday food.  I wasn’t necessarily a huge junk food eater, so this made me think I wasn’t doing too badly. In reality the volume of food I was eating and the fact that it was primarily based around a high carbohydrate diet lead me to stack on the kilos at lightning pace. I was also a smoker and social drinker which only compounded the issue.

About 5 years ago, I was in the process of making some huge life changes. I had recently kicked some serious substance abuse issues and was getting my life back in order. This included enrolling in a Health Science/Natural Medicine course, purely out of interest in the human body.

This opened my eyes to what I had been doing, and what I was still doing to my body. Education was really the key that unlocked the door to greater understanding about the impact lifestyle choices had on not only my body, but also my mind and emotions.

I started understanding the role that processed high carbohydrate foods had in weight gain and obesity, I began to see the link between what you eat and how you look.  Before this I had really not made the connection. Sure, I knew that eating too much made you fat but never really put two and two together in my own situation. Wholesome nutritious foods became staples in my diet.

I started going to the gym, seriously, for 15 minutes at a time. I would go in and only manage 10 minutes on the treadmill and 5 minutes on the rower. I’d be puffing and panting and sweating like I’d run a marathon. The smoking was holding me back, so pretty soon I had given that up.

Each week I pushed myself to do just a little bit more in the gym and I set goals for myself by participating in fundraising events such as the Mothers Day Classic fun run, The Sydney Bridge Run and the City2Surf. Having small goals and seeing progress spurred me on and I have not looked back since.

Charlotte at her heaviest - 95kg

Charlotte at her heaviest - 95kg

Why did you decide to compete in bodybuilding?

I had gotten great results with running and cardio based exercise. I had dabbled in strength training, lifting weights and working on the machines, but never followed a structured program.

I looked in the mirror and was reasonably satisfied with what I saw, but still had trouble buying jeans to fit; my butt just seemed to stay plump!

One day just over a year ago, I picked up UltraFit magazine with Raechelle Chase on the cover with an article titled ‘Why Women Bodybuild’. I looked at her body and though… “I want to look like that!!!”. The negative demons in my head said, “Pffft… you have got to be kidding, there is no way you can ever look like that!”. For about a second I believed them, and then I went about the task of investigating what this Bodybuilding for chicks was all about.

Pretty soon I realized that 99% of the women in fitness magazines (Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness Hers etc) do the photo shoots post competition or if not they spend a fair amount of time preparing for the photo shoot. They don’t look like that all the time!

So there I had it, a new goal! After a bit more investigation I realized that I would definitely need some professional help. Luckily I stumbled across an amazing trainer/coach/mentor who has been the true hero of my journey thus far.

October 2010

October 2010

April 2011 - before cutting for competition

April 2011 - before cutting for competition

Back pose April 2011

How do you stay motivated and do you have a good support network?

Motivation comes easily for me. It amazes even me how I manage to keep pushing every day and not lose sight of the goal. I never think about giving up or giving in. I don’t think anything within reason is impossible; it just takes hard work.

I think I gained this ability from my experience in escaping addiction. Life was pretty shitty back then and getting away from that life was like turning a cruise ship around. But once I was on the right course and heading in the right direction each day that passed built up a momentum that is still pushing me forward today.

I have a great support network helping me along as well. Of course my family, particularly my Mum, has been a blessing and I take comfort in knowing that no matter how bad I stuff things up, they’re always going to love me! Secondly my trainer, Jasmin Higgs from MBS Gym. Without her knowledge and support it would not have been possible to make the changes in my body that have occurred over the last 10 months.

What’s your typical days food like at the moment?

My daily diet consists of lots of high quality protein like lean chicken breast, lean steaks and eggs. And, of course lots of vegetables and good quality carbohydrate sources like whole grain oats and sweet potato.

What’s your training regime currently like?

At the moment I train weights 4 times per week and do a mixture of low intensity cardio and interval sprints 5 times a week.

I have found that the interval sprints have done amazing things for dropping fat. I no longer adhere to notion that hours of long distance running/cardio delivers the best fat burning results.

All that running I did before training for my upcoming figure competition did a great job in reducing my overall size but what’s really done the trick in reshaping my body is the combination of HIIT and heavy weight training.

What advice would you give to women who want to get into shape?

Get good sound advice from someone in the know. There is a mountain of information available on the internet and in magazines which will give you an understanding of how to achieve your best possible shape, but nothing beats dedicated personal advice from a trusted source who understands what your goals are. Seek out people who have experience in whatever your chosen sport is, be it Bodybuilding, Cross Fit, Kettle Ball training… whatever.

And most of all, don’t expect results without hard work. Dedication and perseverance are the key; nothing happens overnight. But if you stay focused each day and know that what you did today is taking you one step closer to your goal, pretty soon you will look back and weeks, months, years have passed and you will be safe in the knowledge that you spent each one of those days doing everything you could do to achieve your goal.

June 2011 - during cutting for competition

June 2011 - during cutting for competition

July 2011 - 9 weeks out from competing - with bunny face - approx 65kg

Project Tighten Up: Update 7 – Progress Photos

2 Jul

Guess what! I didn’t die. Isn’t that amazing? I had 3 solid days lying horizontally this week and there was one point there where I thought, my god, this is it, isn’t it? I don’t want to go on like this! Okay, I’m being melodramatic but I REALLY don’t cope well with being sick. 😉

So, finally, here are my progress pics 9 weeks into Project Tighten Up.

At the beginning of this journey I thought that I would have an entirely different result to what I have achieved so far. I thought that I would probably have abs by now, a sleak, long set of toned pins and a derrier so perky you could bounce a quarter off it.

But realistically, that was never going to happen. My body likes to do things real slow. That doesn’t mean that changes don’t happen but I am never going to be one of those 12 week transformation success stories that you see on bodybuilding.com. I’ve come to terms with that. So, it might take me 22 weeks instead. 😉

I think I did make some sort of progress this month. I did actually lose 11cm off my body all over so that has to account for something, right? The bulk of it was off my hips, navel and waist. Also, some off my arms. I have to upload my new measurements graph. I’ll do that next week. Promise!

Also, one more thing and then I’ll post the pics, I bought a pair of size ten stretchy jeans from Lonsdale today. SIZE 10. Can you believe that shit?? Either Lonsdale make a generous size 10 or I’m getting closer to my goals than I’ve realised, I’m not sure, but either way, I am happy as a kid in a candy store. Or as happy as a dieter in an organic fruit and veg shop.

Start - 2 mths in - 3 mths in

 

Start - 2 mths in - 3 mths in

 

Start - 2 mths in - 3 mths in

Start - 2 mths in - 3 mths in

Note: This post is dedicated to my masseuse Gary, who told me that my bikini was too big and unflattering and I should change it for the next shots. I did, Gary, are you happy NOW?

It’s Time to Disconnect

18 May

One of the hardest things that I have had to overcome during my lifestyle overhaul (and especially during Project Tighten Up) was to stop eating food for pleasure.  I loved food (I still do, but not as intensely) and whilst I didn’t eat extremely unhealthily, I still made taste the main focus of my meals.  A lot of people would think, “Duh, taste is what it is all about!” but when you embark on a mission to TOTALLY reshape your body, taste can no longer be the primary or only focus.

When we eat something yummy it sends little signals to the pleasure centres in our brain that says, “Om nom nom, this is GOOD” and we want more.  So we eat more.  And the whole time there is a little party going off in our mouths and our heads and it’s a glorious time.  Ever been to a party and there’s some amazing soft cheese there?  How hard is it to stop at one piece?  Bloody hard, if you’re a cheese-a-holic like me.  That’s because food is almost like a drug – you become addicted to the pleasure it provides.  Hence, fat happens.

So, how do we disconnect these crazy little signals?  It all comes down retraining the way you think about food.  At the moment, I think of food as fuel.  I figure out what I will need throughout the day to fuel my workouts and I plan my menu around that.  I know I will need low GI carbohydrates to give me slow release energy, lean protein to help my muscles grow and aid recovery and healthy fats to keep me full.  I can make these things tasty and therefore give my pleasure centres a lil sumpin sumpin by adding garlic, herbs, lemon and chilli without increasing the calorie content.

People ask me if I get bored eating the same thing every day.  I honestly don’t because I’m now so focused on food being fuel that it doesn’t bother me.  I make my lunches for the week on a Sunday and I will happily eat the same breakfast, lunch and snacks every day resting assured in that fact that by doing so I will be moving closer to my goal of taking over the world of achieving ultimate health and fitness.  And a bangin body to boot.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t reward those pesky little pleasure centres every now and then because I certainly do and would probably die if I didn’t.  Okay, I probably won’t die but I would be a sad little bulge battler.  Once a week or so I’ll indulge and have a treat – that might mean a few pieces of chocolate or it may mean a delicious takeaway thai beef salad but I maintain the discipline not to go overboard and to keep it within a reasonable calorie limit.  Only on special occasions do I allow myself to indulge further and have something that I really want (like my favourite pub meal – steak, salad and chips) and maybe even a few glasses of wine.  But apart from these moments I stay strict on my food and alcohol intake because I don’t workout this hard to go and undo it by eating foods that offer me no nutritional value.  I’m going forwards people!  I do not want to stay at a stand-still or go backwards!

Think before you reach for that chocolate or that piece of pizza next time and ask yourself – why do I want to eat this?  Is it purely because it tastes good?  If so, you’re falling back into the old “food for pleasure” cycle.  Have something that offers better nutritional value instead and treat your body like the temple it deserves to be.

Do you think of food as fuel or are you stuck in the “food for pleasure” cycle?