Progress Update: Changing Up Your Fitness Routine & Increasing Intensity

August 26, 2015: 5' 5" & 136 lbs

August 26, 2015: 136 lbs (5′ 5″)

Fridays. Ah, we all love Fridays. For many, it’s the end of the work week and the beginning of a fun-filled weekend with friends and family.

For me, it means bicep/tricep day 😉

Since I’m just over 10 months into my journey to change my lifestyle, I thought I’d do a quick recap and update.

Last October, I finally hit a breaking point. The weight I’d gained over the previous few years was taking its toll. I couldn’t do activities I love as I once had–I was nearly in tears during a 5-mile hike. Even tying my shoes and painting my toes was becoming uncomfortable! Hell. No. This was not me.

So I squeezed into some leggings, wore loose tees to hide the tire I’d acquired around my waist, and started hitting the gym.

At first, it was hard. Hard to stay motivated, hard to not feel extremely self-conscious, hard to believe I’d ever be “in shape” again.

I started going just three times a week. I’d do 20 minutes of interval training on the treadmill, adding in more and more sprints and hills over time. But mostly I lifted. I lifted as heavy as I safely could and started building strength. This is the basic routine I started with:

  • Day 1 – Chest, biceps, triceps
  • Day 2 – Legs, butt
  • Day 3 – Back, shoulders

That’s it. Simple. And a good start for someone who’s out of shape. It wasn’t so much, so fast that I would burn out. It also allowed me to manage some of that initial soreness you feel from putting in hard work after a long period of inactivity. I started seeing some progress almost immediately, and once that happened, I was hooked.

My husband went with me everyday. No, I’m not one of those people who needs a workout partner in order to go to the gym. But it’s a truly wonderful thing to have a supportive, reliable person to accompany you when you’re feeling less-than-motivated. So if you have someone–a friend, sibling, whatever–recruit them!

As soon as I started feeling too comfortable with an exercise, I’d switch it up. More weight, more advanced version of the movement, adding more exercises to my routine, etc. Same for cardio. More sprints, more hills, and adding stairs in once a week (I HATED stairs, but I love being challenged).

Finally, the gym became a habit. Just something you do, like eating or brushing your teeth. Of course I have blah days and don’t feel like going. But I suck it up and go. And now, I even crave getting my sweat on! I yearn for my gym fix.

Three days a week was no longer enough. Not only because I loved working out again and the iron was calling my name on rest days, but because I needed to challenge my body even more. Over the past couple of months, I’ve redesigned my program so that I’m in the gym 5-6 days a week for about an hour each session. It’s not that much time out of my week – come on, you know you watch more Netflix than that each week.

Left: March 2015, 138 lbs Right: August 2015, 136 lbs Yes, only 2 pounds of difference but MAJOR changes.

Left: March 2015, 138 lbs
Right: August 2015, 136 lbs
Yes, only a 2-pound change but a MAJOR difference!

In total, I’ve lost 25 pounds of fat and gained an incredible amount of muscle. My weight loss has ‘plateaued,’ but my fat loss HAS NOT. That’s important to keep in mind if you’re lifting. I kept asking myself why the hell my body wasn’t changing anymore, but then I did some side-by-side photo comparisons and guess what? My body looks way different today at 136 pounds than it did a few months back at 138 pounds. That was exactly the boost I needed. Just think what my body could look like in another 10 months!

This is why I encourage everyone to take pictures. Documenting your progress with photos can be an incredibly motivational tool and can keep you on track. You may notice the little changes here and there in the mirror over time, but miss the big picture. These little changes add up and, by looking at before and after photos, you’ll realize you’ve made major progress!

I can’t stop flexing. I don’t care how narcissistic that sounds. I’m starting to see some serious definition and I’m fucking loving it. This can be you, too. You don’t have to spend all day, everyday in the gym. Be consistent, be patient, challenge yourself, and track your progress. Do this and you will find success. A 12-week “bikini body miracle workout” might be a good start, but don’t go into it with high expectations. The best bodies out there take years of hard work, discipline, and dedication. I’m willing to put in the work – are you?

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