90daysssplan: Cycle two begins

So my plan to blog weekly quickly went out the window! I started a new job so haven’t had quiet as much time on my hands. But I’m still trucking through this plan and am starting to get really happy with the results I’m seeing.

The introduction of weights has been a revelation. My cycle two workouts see me interspersing weights with HIIT and I’ve love it. Like most, I was a little daunted when I saw the words “German Volume Training” (GVT) appear in my plan, and it is a huge challenge, but I don’t think any weights training in the world would turn this weedy body of mine into a body builder’s in four weeks, so I went in wide-eyed really looking forward to the results.

I started with eight rounds of 30-second HIIT, or lots of jumping up and down, followed by 10x 10 reps of weights. This was repeated twice, with two different weight exercises. It’s hard, but still over quickly enough to not eat into my day too much.

Saying that, anyone into cycle two will know all about the first-time leg DOMS; I could barely walk for a week!

The results are already showing themselves; I could actually see my muscles moving while doing bicep curls the other day, and my back is showing a hint of definition. I’ve only been lifting for two weeks – madness!

The food is pretty different too, still huge portions, but more carbs have been introduced and I’m now eating them with every meal on training days. This was really difficult to begin with but I’ve adapted to them pretty quickly – I guess it’s just what my body needs.

This cycle has also done away with the set recipes, which I must admit I was quite happy about as they were getting a bit repetitive towards the end of cycle one. I’m now given options for meat, vegetables, seasoning, side sauce and carbs/fat (depending on whether I’m training or resting) and can create my own meals using one of each.

It’s made cooking more challenging, but I quite like that I’m not having my hand held where food is concerned anymore.

Easter weekend is coming up and I know I’ll end up going a little “off-piste”, but I’m hoping the flexibility of the plan will enable me to make some relatively smart choices. We shall see!

90daysssplan: Cycle one done!

The clue’s in the title, really! I finished last week. I sent updated pictures to The Body Coach (aka Joe), along with my new measurements and, if I’m honest was pretty underwhelmed with the physical results. I looked a tiny bit slimmer, but really wanted to see more of the six-inch loss from around my body in front of me.

After a few hours feeling glum I wrote to Joe to explain that, although I’d really enjoyed cycle one, I was a little disappointed with my results. I was feeling great inside, I just wanted this to show on the outside too! His reply was great; he pointed out a few things in my photos which I had failed to see (a flicker of abs showing, for example) and explained that some just don’t see significant results on cycle one, but respond much better to the changes in cycle two.

I needed to remember the fact that, because I wasn’t overweight to start with and was already exercising before I started the plan, I was never going to have hugely drastic results. I decided to think positively and remind myself that I was feeling better and my clothes were fitting much better; not to mention the fact I really had enjoyed the last 30 days and was genuinely still excited to see what cycle two had to offer.

Plus, I had lost around six inches in one month – that’s still no mean feat!

I’ve had a few days off from following cycle one militantly – I’ve been loosely following the plan and cooked a massive roast dinner for some friends and me on Saturday (which turned into a pretty massive night!). I’ve also done a couple of Pilates sessions and have been on a run or two instead of the favoured HIIT sessions of cycle one. I was curious to see how the HIITs had changed my running times and it was great to see I’d still improved my time, despite having a nagging cold! HIIT is awesome!

I received cycle two yesterday and will be starting it tomorrow. I’ll let you know more once I’m underway, but the picture above offers a little insight into my approach!

90daysssplan: nearing the end of cycle one

Tomorrow is the last day of cycle one and as much as I’ve enjoyed it I’m excited at the prospect of changing things up a bit. Though, saying that, some research on what to expect from cycle two tells me to expect a ton of weight sessions, so hopefully I’m not speaking too soon!

But overall, the last 29 days have been brilliant. Aside from the changes in my figure (which will hopefully be confirmed when I send off my new measurements later this week!), my energy levels are much higher, my skin is less dry and most of all, I’ve received a fantastic crash course in how to eat alongside my body’s demands.

The HIIT sessions have been going really well so I decided to knock 15 seconds off my rest times last week and am now doing 45 seconds effort with 30 seconds rest. This helped keep things interesting and, because the sessions are so short, it’s good to get as much out of them as you possibly can, even if I feel like I might die afterwards!

I’m still struggling with a couple of things – the water intake is really difficult for me for some reason and the amount of greens I’m eating is also hard at times – but like most people starting this plan I’ve made a lot of changes in quite a short space of time, so I’ve accepted some adjustments might take a little longer than others and if I keep making small improvements I’ll get there.

I don’t think I’ll be getting cycle two through until after this weekend, so I’ll be making the most of that by cooking an epic sirloin steak roast for some pals on Saturday. I’ll post pictures in my next post, alongside my full roundup of cycle one!

90daysssplan: two weeks in

Now I’m 17 days into the 90daysssplan, I thought I’d offer a few pearls of wisdom which will hopefully help anyone thinking about signing up. So here they are!

Buying the food
You’ll be eating a lot of fresh produce so in my opinion it’s much better to go shopping weekly, with an idea of what recipes you’ll be cooking, to avoid any wastage. Meat can obviously be frozen so you can buy this whenever you like – just make sure you check out what’s on offer to keep the costs down!

Preparation
During the first week of the plan I felt like I was spending my entire life in the kitchen. I don’t mind cooking but it did get a bit much at times. Chopping up lots of onions and peppers will save you valuable hours over the 90 days. You’ll be using lots of them.

Batch cook
The variety is pretty wide, but given it’s recommended you eat from the plan you’re given it’s definitely worth cooking a few portions of some meals in one go. The eating part of the plan can take a while to get your head around, so if you’re stuck for time or can’t decide what to cook having a few meals to heat up can be a godsend.

Buy Tupperware
A pretty obvious one, but making sure your meals are easily portable will avoid you going off-piste!

Keep water by your side
I’m still struggling with the water intake, but it really is an important part of the plan. So take water with you EVERYWHERE; carrying a refillable bottle will help with this

Keep checking the transformations
The Body Coach’s Instagram account is full of before and after pics. While I’m sure they work as a great selling tool for the plan he’s created, they’re also invaluable for keeping you on track. While everyone is different, it’s living proof that the regime works so definitely offers that little extra push to keep going.

Have a meal off
Mr Body Coach may not saying this (and it’s obviously only my opinion) but having an occasional meal off has definitely kept me sane. I‘d had Saturday-night plans lined up a few weeks before starting this, so I decided to make those the occasions I deviated from the recipe list.  I’ve been having a few glasses of wine on those nights too (the plan recommends you steer clear of the booze), but knowing I have something to look forward to each week, rather than feeling like I’m depriving myself, has really helped me stay on track the rest of the time.

Obviously the more effort you put into sticking to the plan, the more you’ll get out of it. I worked out that having a meal off once a week means I’m following the plan 95 percent of the time, which can’t be too bad! If you’re on the plan and you do have a wobble, just get back into it in time for the next meal and you’ll be golden.

The Sunday morning after the first night I went out I woke up feeling a little delicate and was tempted to have beans on toast before going low-carb for the rest of the day. I decided to have a smoothie (on the low-carb list) instead. Not only did I give myself a little pat on the back for ignoring the devil on my shoulder, the blended veg sorted me right out!

…So as you can see, I’m still going strong; I’m (mostly) sticking to the food plan, am still going strong with the HIITs and have definitely lost the odd inch here and there as a result. I’ll check back soon, hopefully with some exciting results to share!

90daysssplan: Week one. Food, food, food!

I started cycle one of the 90daysssplan just over a week ago and have to say I’ve really surprised myself. I’ve never thought of myself as someone with willpower to spare so thought I’d struggle with sticking to it.

But o far, so good, much to my relief! Before I go on to speak about my experience, I’ll sum up what the plan’s all about:

  • You complete four or five High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions per week, which last no more than 25 minutes
  • You eat three meals per day, plus two snacks, and drink three (THREE!) litres of water
  • On rest days all meals are low in carbs and high in healthy fats and protein
  • On training days you eat one higher-carb meal within 90 minutes of your session and two low-carb
  • All meal recipes are provided in your plan, with tailored ingredients measured gram for gram, according to your body’s needs
  • The meals are HUGE

Being a bit of a carb monster with a love of all things bread, pizza and pasta, I geared myself up for a really hard time when I started. But I was shocked. Despite there barely being a crumb of bread in sight (apart from the AWESOME build-up bagel, stuffed with chicken, beef and egg which reminds me of something from Beigel Bake on Brick Lane – except I’m not eating it drunk at 3am!), the majority of the meals were really tasty, fulfilling and easy to make.

With a spring in my step after overcoming my first mental hurdle, I started to throw myself into the exercise.

My plan states I should be training at 30-45 seconds effort, with 45-60 seconds rest, 15 times. During the “effort” part, you should be working as hard as you can. This can be outside or at a gym doing hill sprints, or at home completing moves like high knees, jumping jacks, burpees, etc.

I decided to pair the longest effort with the shortest rest, to see how I went. In my mind, the shorter the rest. the quicker the whole thing was over, so that seemed to work for me! So far I’ve been exercising indoors, using sites such as Blogilates, Fitness Blender and The Body Coach himself for HIIT inspiration.

I’m not working at the moment (more on that another time) and, not being much of a morning person, I didn’t want to fall into the trap of turning nocturnal if I didn’t have anything in particular to get up for. The plan states that training first thing in the morning, fasted, is the best way to burn fat. So, I thought I’d give that a go, rather than waiting until I can be arsed to exercise like I used to.

It’s been a struggle at times, but the dangled carrot of a carbalicious meal in half an hour’s time if you get out of bed and do a HIIT was enough to convince me to start the day that little bit earlier.

Back to the food, and the one thing people should note before starting the plan is that there’s a lot of it. It could be just specific to my plan, but most of my meals are accompanied with around 160g of green veg, which is surely an obscene amount in anyone’s books!

I found this hard to chow down on on at first, but to my surprise it got a lot easier in the first week. That said, I’m still reluctant to give the meal with 170g of salmon fillets a go after what it put me through the first time!

I’m going into the second week pretty confident; hopefully my next blog will reflect that!

90daysssplan: The journey begins

As I mentioned in my last blog, I recently started the 90daysssplan, created by internet fitness supremo The Body Coach.

I hadn’t piled on a huge amount of weight – I was eating pretty well and exercising a couple of times a week or so – but there were a couple of stubborn areas I wanted to shift and I’d never really learnt about how to eat alongside my lifestlyle, so I thought I’d give it a go.

At £149 for a three-month plan (split into three cycles) it’s not cheap, but I’d seen enough transformations on his Instagram account to convince me it was worth parting with my hard-earned cash.

So part with it I did, and I was immediately tasked with filling out a lifestyle questionnaire so he could see how I’d been living over the past few months.

Given that I signed up after Christmas and a week-long holiday to Dubai, I decided to include what I’d eat and drink in a typical week, rather than the most recent one, otherwise he’d probably wonder how on earth I’m still alive!

I also had to send front, side and back images in my underwear, which was pretty uncomfortable, as I was feeling pretty bloated and sorry for myself after the recent festivities. But I can see why he’d need to see people’s body compositions, as he won’t be meeting his clients in person, and they’ll also be used to compare after each cycle, so need’s must!

With all my warts-and-all info sent off, I waited patiently for the three-to-five business days I was told my tailored, Cycle One plan would take to arrive. To my surprise, it dropped into my inbox two days later and, at 61 pages long, it was already starting to look like it was money well spent.

The plan was excellent; pages and pages of info about exactly how I’ll be eating and exercising for the first 30 days.

I’ll write an update on how it’s going once I’m a couple of weeks in – at the moment I think it’ll take me that long to get my head around it – wish me luck!

Welcome!

Welcome to my shiny new blog! I’ve been planning to start one for an age so it’s definitely long overdue, but I’ve been making a few work and general life changes lately so I thought it’d be good to document them.

Over the next few months and beyond you’ll be reading about me throwing myself into Joe Wicks’s (aka The Body Coach) 90daysssplan in an attempt to get healthy and lean as well as my forage into the world of a freelancing, They’ll also be a little bit of wine geekery and Rugby World Cup and Glastonbury excitement thrown in for good measure!

I’m not sure how far into the interweb this site will travel, but if you’re interested in any of the above, be sure to check back soon to see what I’ve been up to!