Updated: Jan 13
My phone buzzed one day, to announce the arrival of a text from an old school friend. She had seen my posts on social media about keeping fit and in her replies, she praised my recent transformation. She mentioned that she would like to replicate my regime and she asked me how I had achieved it. I replied with details of my current gym routine and her response back was... ‘Crap!’
Clearly the content of my reply was more than she had bargained for and upon reflection, I knew that I should have taken more time to explain how I achieved it.
I had not expected my fitness journey to be the focus of so many conversations, but over the last six months, I have received lovely messages of support. More surprisingly, others have been inspired and motivated by what I have achieved and this has encouraged me to share my experiences.
My fitness journey has consisted of habit and routine changes, a new fitness regime, a calorie deficit and team work.
It all began in February 2019. It was cold, wet and uninviting outside, I drove four minutes from home to the gym. In early March, we were blessed with some unseasonal warm weather and on a day when I had more time, I decided to walk to the gym. It took me 11 minutes.
After a great session in the gym, I bounced home with a spring in my step and enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine. I realised that if I walked instead of driving, I could increase my daily step count by 3,000, save petrol (not to mention the environmental benefit) and lift my spirits.
So, I promised myself to walk whenever it was dry. I found that I enjoyed the walk to the gym and I even braved the rain. Now, if for some reason I can’t walk to the gym, whatever the weather, I get frustrated.
If someone had suggested that I should walk to and from the gym six months ago, I would have laughed at them, but I would also have been overwhelmed and daunted by the prospect. By making small, gradual changes, I have altered my mind-set and I am no longer afraid of the extra time the walk takes and I definitely do not mind the rain, so my training routine has really evolved over the last four months.
I started by going to the gym three or four times a week and I practiced what I had learned during my Personal Training session. I have now built that up to training five to six times a week.
I work with my personal trainer once a week, then I work on building up my strength and improving my technique during a further two sessions. I also attend two to three challenging classes and I enjoy a light training day once a week by going to Zumba.
I always give myself one full recovery day every week.
This works well for me, because I have discovered the right exercises for my personality and attention span. The combination of learning Olympic lifting, CrossFit and Functional training is perfect. I enjoy working on techniques, which appeal to my problem solving nature, while completing small numbers of reps and sets, it all keeps me focused. Although sometimes, when I am around seven minutes into a routine, having already completed two rounds, which includes squats and lunges, ’just 10 push-ups’ seems impossible.
I also confirmed my beliefs that there is no magic to weight loss. There are no food groups to avoid and no time of day when it is wrong to eat. It is all mathematical. It takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound in weight, so if you reduce your calorie intake, you will lose weight.
The size of your calorie deficit will determine how quickly weight is lost (a calorie deficit is when you consume less calories from food and drink than you burn through activity). To reach my goals, I initially chose to work with a 750-calorie deficit per day. Over the first few weeks, I learned how my body reacted to food and which foods satisfied me for longer. I messed up a few times and had to choose between being hungry or taking a hit on calories (about 150-200), but I accepted these days as learning experiences, adapted and moved on. I didn’t counter balance any calories burned during exercise against my in-take, I kept these separate, because I needed to understand about my food intake and portion control.
I know that I would never have achieved my goals alone. I quickly recognised my fellow class attendees and we bonded over the challenges of exercises like... ‘dumbbell thrusters’ and ‘pistol squats’. Over the weeks, this has developed into supportive friendships, which help and encourage me to attend the classes. We are all there for our own personal goals, but we all take comfort in being ‘in it’ together.
However, I honestly believe the main factor of my success comes from teamwork with my personal trainer, Dennis. He once told a friend of mine... “Chris does the hard work, I just tell her what to do”. To which I replied... “But I daren’t not!”
Joking apart, Dennis knows what I am capable of and he programs the sessions around my abilities, while also challenging my strengths and fitness.
My commitment to improve my fitness, means that I at least attempt whatever Dennis asks me to do. There are occasional cries of... "I can’t do that, "I’m scared". Or... "Oh nooooo, not burpees". The thing is, if I don’t at least try, the only person that I am letting down is myself. Sometimes I get scared, lose faith in my ability and occasionally I need to take a step back, but I have learned to trust Dennis and I always smash my goals and progress... If I don’t, what is the point of engaging with an expert?
I believe that the results speak for themselves. I am physically fitter, toned and I have a lower resting heart rate than I ever had before.
I have lost 25 pounds in weight, 5½ inches from my hips, which means I am smaller and lighter than I have been in at least 21 years.
I truly believe that anything is possible with the right focus, attitude and commitment. There is so much more I want to share and I want to help, support and encourage anyone considering embarking on their own journey. I am seriously looking into options to incorporate fitness and support into my professional life. Watch this space! For information about training with Dennis, visit: GanzFitness