Operation Hot Mama Update
I realize it’s been some time since my last health/fitness related post. Usually, that would indicate that I’ve fallen off that health and fitness wagon, but in this case, that’s actually not true – yay!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been keeping up with IIFYM and working out pretty consistently, and I perhaps just am not so great at keeping up with blog posts :).
In June, I will officially celebrate my one year “Fitiversary,” and that feels pretty incredible. I haven’t had some knock-your-socks-off, crazy transformation by any means, but I have become a person who works out consistently 3-5 times a week, tracks my food intake, and has set some pretty big, exciting fitness goals for the upcoming year. Even more than that, I have learned to set non-aesthetic goals and love my body at every stage.
Here’s what my slow, sustainable change has looked like in the last year:
June 2015: Joined a local 9Round gym. This was a great start for me, because it is a 30 minute workout that doesn’t have set class times and made me sweat buckets:). I set a goal to go there 2X per week. Sometimes I went in the morning, sometimes after work – I didn’t really have much of a regular schedule – just made sure I went twice a week. By August, that naturally turned into 3X per week and I learned that it was easier to consistently fit it in if I got myself out of bed at 4:45AM to fit it in before work. I still was able to sleep in later 2 days a week, and that worked pretty well. I wasn’t necessarily focused on nutrition at that point yet, as I didn’t want to try to work towards too many goals at one time. After three months of consistently working out, I felt pretty confident that I could begin to add in some nutrition-focused goals.
August 2015: I heard about a book called The New Rules of Lifting for Women from a friend, which is a weight-lifting program. I decided I wanted to start lifting some weights! At this time, I also stumbled upon IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and started researching that as a potential nutrition focus. I started adding in weight lifting following NROLFW 2-3X a week after work in my work gym, which didn’t have all of the equipment I needed necessarily (basically just dumbbells and benches), but was a good start. I loved this as an introduction to weight lifting, because the workouts were short (about 30-40 minutes), but included enough phases to last me a good 6 months or so. In total, I was now working out an average of 4X per week and “dabbling” in IIFYM.
September 2015: I hired an online coach (Mallory King) for a six-week nutrition and workout program. This included weekly checkins with her for accountability and access to tons of resources! She created a custom lifting plan for me and gave me custom macros to follow. During those six weeks, I lost 5lb and 6 inches overall. Her plan followed a split to focus on different muscle groups on different days and had me lifting a total of 4X per week. She gave me modified versions of exercises as needed based on what equipment I had available in my work gym. I still managed to fit in 9Round 1-2X per week (but usually on the same days as my lifting workouts). I also started doing some fun things like something I called #makeitfitmonday by relying less on the scale as a sign of progress and finding ways to invest in nonscale victories.
October 2015: I joined a “real” gym (Impact Fitness). By that, I mean a gym with a squat rack, olympic barbells, huge weight plates, and basically any piece of equipment you can imagine. Honestly, it was quite intimidating. I still stuck to my dumbbells and benches for the whole first week – ha! The second week, though, I worked up the courage to use the squat rack. It was early enough in the morning that there weren’t really many people there, so I figured if I looked like a complete idiot, I could probably just shrug it off without someone recording me and posting it on some gym fails website for the world to see. I did, however, record myself so I could send it to my amazing coach Mallory for feedback and help! Side note – I REALLY encourage everyone to record yourself in the gym from time to time. It really helps you see what you need to improve with your form over time and also is really fun to just go back and view later when you’ve made those improvements:). Once I completed the six week program from Mallory, I jumped right back into the NROLFW where I left off. I started adding in some different types of HIIT cardio a couple of days a week instead of going to 9Round, but I did still go to 9Round for fun when I found the time. I consistently lifted 3X per week (30-40 minutes following NROLFW) with 15-20 minutes of HIIT cardio added in 2X per week (although some were on the same days as lifting). I was pretty good about tracking my macros 3-4 days a week, but didn’t really track on the weekends. All of my workouts had pretty well shifted to the mornings now, and I was now setting my alarm for 4:30 AM! This trend continued for quite a while, all the way through February!
February 2016: I actually completed the New Rules of Lifting for Women. That was a big milestone for me. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do next, but I felt ready for something new. I looked around on bodybuilding.com (they have tons of free workout programs, by the way), and just sort of did some different things here and there. I did a bit of Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred, but found I didn’t have enough time to fit the entire workouts in the time I had in the mornings. I did, however, love the cardio acceleration he uses in his plan and started doing that even when I did other things. Then there were a couple of weeks where I just hit a lull and lost motivation for a bit. I was tired, I had just accomplished something big, and I felt a little lost. There were some life stressors, work stressors, and I just let it all sort of get me down. Then I beat myself up for not staying motivated – you know how it goes. So, for about 3-4 weeks, I didn’t do a whole lot. I worked out here and there, didn’t really track my food most days, and didn’t really have any goals ahead of me. So, I rested. At the end of March I went on a nice little vacay with the hubbs for our ten year anniversary, and in April I came back, ready to get back to the grind.
April 2016: Still didn’t really have specific goals, but I decided to get back to work anyway. I went back to Mallory’s plan, because I loved it so much and set a goal to hit the gym 3X a week. Now, I moved my alarm time to 4AM so that I could eat a little breakfast and still be there when the gym opens at 4:30! I got back into the groove and started loosely tracking my macros again, but didn’t want to focus on too much at once since getting back into the swing of things is hard enough without setting yourself up for failure – ha! It took a few weeks for my body to readjust to the super early mornings, but I forced myself out of bed at least 3X a week anyway, and now it’s getting easier again.
May 2016: Well, it’s now mid-May. And, I’ve set some specific goals for the next long while, which I’m super excited about! I’ve decided I would like to enter a powerlifting competition by this time next year, and I’d like to start out in the 57kg (125lb) weight class. That means I’ve got to get serious about two things: shedding fat (and losing weight on the scale) and increasing strength. I’ve broken this long-term goal down into some smaller, short-term goals, because that’s how I roll. I started a program called Powerlifting For Fat Loss by Jordan Syatt. Phase 1 of the program (which lasts 30 days) is FREE, which is always a plus. Then I will move into Phase 2 of the program (which lasts another 30 days) which cost some $, but not much (I paid $57). I will be following the suggested macros while on the plan – the first 30 days at the “sustainable fat loss” recommendations and the next 30 days at the “rapid fat loss” recommendations. After that, I will go back to “sustainable fat loss” macros until I reach the 57kg weight class and will eat maintenance calories from there. I have also already been looking at specific strength-focused beginner powerlifting programs to start after completing 8 weeks of Powerlifting For Fat Loss, and as of now I’ve landed on Powerlifting To Win, which will grow as a program as I grow as a lifter. I won’t move past Phase 1 of this program until I “stall out” or stop making progress. I’m looking forward to this new journey to powerlifting, and I will keep you updated on my progress!
Oh, and here are some non-aesthetic changes that have happened in the last year:
Major Lifts (5 Rep Max):
Squat: 85lb to 135lb
Deadlift: 95lb to 155lb
Bench: 65lb to 80lb
7MPH max for 1 minute intervals (10 minutes) to 8MPH max for 1 minute intervals (20 minutes)
Pushups to failure: ZERO “real” pushups to 8 “real” pushups
So, this is where I am. I still have a long way to go and some pretty big goals ahead of me. Another year from now, I hope to be competing in my first powerlifting competition! I will keep you updated (and hopefully it won’t take me quite so long for the next update:). Be sure to subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook to keep up!