Monday, May 23, 2011

Six Short Weeks

I have come so far in six short weeks. I joined the challenge not knowing what to expect. I had a couple of goals: get smaller, get stronger and get faster. Did I accomplish those goals? You bet I did.

 Today I wrote up a summary of how I reached each of those goals. It is fairly long and in depth, but I thought I'd share it with you.  I added a couple of pictures that were submitted for my entry in the contest for everyone.


My Trek in "The Greatest Contest In The History Of The World"!

I started this contest following the Operation Slim Down and Body Weight Brigade. I vowed to do strength workouts three days a week and do some cardio HIIT twice a week.

My goals were simple ones:
  • Get Smaller
  • Get Stronger
  • Get Faster
I accomplished each one of those goals with awesome successes.

Get Smaller

I started this contest at 286.2 pounds. I ended at 272.6 a difference of 13.6 pounds!  It has been increasingly harder for me to lose weight as I continue getting smaller.  I started my weight loss journey 7 years ago at 412 pounds, which was 139.4 pounds ago. Over the past year I’ve struggled with losing and gaining weight by fiddling with my diet and exercise until somewhere along the line, I threw in the towel. The Operation Slim Down guide, following the Paleo diet, gave me hope and made me feel great!  Those pounds of fat just started melting off. I didn’t have a huge problem transitioning to Paleo. I allowed one meal a week where if I wanted something, like pizza (hey, I’m from Chicago!), I could have it and more importantly, not feel guilty about having it.  Some weeks I took advantage of it.  Some weeks I didn’t.

I took a host of measurements during this challenge.  I have a Body Fat Scale, but I didn’t feel those measurements were 100% accurate so I also did a calculated Body Fat percentage based on body measurements and tried to do caliper testing on myself (I don’t think those are 100% accurate either).  I then took the numbers and averaged them.  My body measurements were the following areas: waist, hips, chest, thigh, calf, bicep, neck, belly, wrist and forearm. According to my measurements, I lost 22.26 inches and 5.13% averaged body fat.  My belly, which is my most embarrassing area, went from 55.5 inches to 49!  What’s even better than seeing the numbers is looking at the pictures. I can see the difference.  I took pictures every 2 weeks, looking for the smallest changes. It amazes me to see the differences in my body.

** Here is a picture montage of my success. (Yes, it took a lot of guts to share these)
Me from start to week six!

Get Stronger

I began this challenge, focusing on the body weight workouts. I wanted to have the ability to do the workouts at home when I wouldn’t be able to get to the gym during my work day.  Did I get stronger? You bet I did! Let’s break it down.

Push-Ups & Close Hand Push-Ups – I started both of these on my knees.  I had previously started doing the 100 push-up challenge on my knees so I figured this was a good place to start. When I could do sets of 20 after the 6th workout of each type, I moved to incline push-ups. I even tried to do some normal, regular push-ups.  While I couldn’t get fully to the ground, I got about half way down… for 7 to 8 push-ups in the end. That amazes me!

Chin-ups – I started without a chin-up bar, at home, trying to do inverted body-weight rows from my kitchen table.  Oh, and I couldn’t get my ass off the ground so I just lifted my upper body.  When I started doing my workouts at the gym, I used the smith machine, gradually lowering the bar until I was laying on the ground lifting myself up.  I switched it up, doing underhand and overhand, lowering the bar when I hit around 8 reps.  Every now and then, I’d attempt negative chin-ups from the newly purchased chin-up bar, only to fall straight to a straight arm hang. Until my last workout... I felt myself stronger that workout.  I could actually feel my muscles trying to hold me up and go slowly down.  It still was a matter of seconds, but I felt it. I felt stronger.

Squats – Squats were fairly easy for me in the beginning.  Yeah, my ass would hurt after doing them the first few days, but I was hitting totals for the day of 150 by the 4th workout.  So, I moved on to attempting (notice the word attempting) the assisted pistol squats. Around the last week I realized I have no balance and tried doing more of a split squat with one leg behind me on something (bosu ball, couch) and squatting from there.

Lunges – A few months before I started my RSG workouts, I had hurt my knee doing a lunge.  When I saw the video of how the lunge was supposed to be done, it worried me.  I worried about my knee hurting again. It didn’t.  It felt great! I went down until my knee graced the ground. When I got to about 15 reps per set in the 6th workout I figured, hey, why not move to level two and do the squat/lunge combo? Those things hurt!  But I did them, even so far as talking myself into completing a set and rewarding myself with a soda during the last workout of these.

Planks – Both side planks and normal planks started out not looking impressive.  Then suddenly both were looking awesome. For the side planks, I started with the top hand on the ground for balance.  Then I finished the challenge with that hand in the air. The regular planks?  I graduated those up to attempting the 1-1 planks, but realized I had issues with balance (I think I said that before) so I did as much as I could then went back to regular planks when I couldn’t hold the pose any longer.

** Added photo for y'all!
Muscles and end of Week 6!

Get Faster

When I started the challenge, I wanted to do some cardio during my rest days for two reasons: one, to help with the fat loss, two, to get out of my office every day and do something. I decided I would do a HIIT triathlon, 1 mile on the elliptical, 3 miles on the bike and 1 mile on the treadmill. My goal simply was to complete each distance faster. I did it!  My time on the elliptical went from 11:32 to 8:30! The bike went from 11:49 to 10:18!  The treadmill went from 14:28 to 12:01! I’m ecstatic with the results! Towards the end I was taking 90 seconds rest intervals rather than 120 seconds. What amazed me the most of this was the speeds I was able to go on the treadmill.  When I did a 5k last September, I ran it in 48 minutes.  That’s an average pace of about 3.87 mph. I ran 30 second splits at 8.5 mph the last couple times I did the workouts. That improvement is AMAZING!

Final Words

This challenge kicked my ass. It challenged me. It made me feel great about myself.  I went from being unhappy and insecure to being someone who is happier with herself. I am someone who is getting stronger, not only with my muscles, but from within myself.

I plan on continuing my training with the Rebel Strength Guide. I am going to move to the dumbbell division for the next six weeks for the days where I have gym access. On days which I’ve chosen to take off work and am due a workout, I will do a Body Weight workout. My rest days will actually consist of rest.  I will do bike rides either alone or with my family… outside, enjoying mother nature, I will do them for fun. I won’t force myself to do cardio for the sake of doing cardio (I don’t love it!). I will enjoy the summer!

I have had a blast getting to know both Steve and Vic and working with them (Yes, I might have imagined either one of them in the gym with me on days I was struggling with my brain) on this challenge. I am proud to have been a part of the initial group of people following the Rebel Strength Guide and look forward to more challenges!


Sarah said...

So proud of you! And look at those pipes! Nicely done!


Sara said...

Wow, awesome job!! The physical changes say a lot! You look great! Now I'm off to find out more information about this challenge.

♥ Trisha ♥ said...

@Sara The challenge I did was part of a contest through NerdFitness following the new Rebel Strength Guide. You can find the guide here: :)