My 4-Week Fitness Challenge Results

I can’t believe it’s already been 4 weeks and my fitness challenge is over. Here’s my full recap on it, the results, and what I plan to do going forward!

*This challenge involved things such as food tracking, which could be triggering to some people. If you feel like this may be you, check back later this week!

A look at my 4-week fitness challenge results - what the challenge entailed, how I did it, my results, and what I plan to do going forward!

The Challenge

I went into more detail about the what and why of the challenge in this post, but to summarize:

  • work out at BTY Training LabΒ 4-6 days/week exclusively (yoga and mobility classes allowed, but you know me)
  • follow customized meal plan based on body assessments taken prior to challenge starting
  • before and after pictures (emphasized to take on your own)

The Workouts

What I loved about the workouts is that they followed more of a Crossfit format than anything. The beginning portion of the workout would focus on strength and included some Olympic lifting on various days and the second part was a metcon, or “metabolic conditioning.” This means that it’s time to push yourself to work for an allotted period of time, get your heart rate up, and really challenge yourself.

During the week there were two lower body days, two upper body days, and two conditioning days (think a metcon asΒ the entire workout). Due to my schedule, I was able to get to both lower body days (my favorite), one (sometimes two) of the upper body, and one of the conditioning days. Each week we would do the same strength exercises in the first part of the workout, but go up in weight and down in reps as we progressed towards our heaviest weight.

I got my fair share of bruises, but they made me feel awesome because they were from moving some seriously heavy weight around.

What I learned:

  • It’s ok to take a longer rest when you’re working with very heavy weights. Two reps can still make me sore the next day.
  • My body responds well to these types of workouts
  • A workout I’m scared to walk into is usually one that I need to do to challenge myself

The Food

Food makes such a huge difference in results. As hard as it is to do, getting your diet (noun, not verb) under control while working out is crucial in reaching your goals.

I was terrified of this part of the challenge until I figured out my eating. When given your meal plan, it’s a simple breakdown of how much protein, fat, and carbs to have at each meal and a grand total at the end. This means you can eat whatever you want, but your goal is to hit those macronutrient values at the end of the day. Any green vegetables or ones that weren’t starchy like potatoes and parsnips we didn’t have to count towards our daily calorie goal.

We were also given a calorie range to aim for and when I saw mine was 1350, I almost lost it. I felt like that was super low and that I would surely die of starvation.

In the beginning, I had a tough time. I would normally come home from a workout, have a big green protein smoothie, and then shortly after that make my breakfast of eggs and turkey bacon. This meant that I had used up almost half my calories by 9 am, so I felt panicked throughout the day that I still had so many hours and could only eat 600 more calories.

Breakfast is my favorite meal and usually my biggest, but what I learned to do was have my smoothie and then push my eggs and bacon until closer to lunch time. That way it was broken up more throughout the day and I wasn’t panicking and hungry as the day went on. I wasn’t really hungry immediately after my smoothie anyway, but my routine was always to just eat it all in close proximity.

By spreading out my calories into 3 meals and a snack or two, I was quickly able to stay within my ranges. I didn’t always get to eat my delicious English muffin, but my body felt good with what I was fueling it with.

Tracking my food made me more aware of what types of food I was eating and how much, even though in the beginning I was a little nervous about it given my past. Just like a step tracker alerts people that they might not be as active as they think they are, tracking my food showed me how much I love fat and carbs and that just because I work out, that doesn’t always justify 2000 calorie days.

What I learned:

  • 1350 calories is totally doable and I don’t feel like I am starving or withholding food (remember, this was tailored to me and everyone is different)
  • My goal was to lean out, so my challenge calorie goal was a little less than I could realistically eat on a regular basis
  • I snack a LOT. When I’m bored, when I’m looking for a break from the computer, or really any time I feel like it
  • I need to be more mindful of what I eat

The Results

Results were good guys!

  • lost 3.6% body fat
  • put on 4-6 lbs of muscle (I messed up my starting weight bc I guessed, so muscle gain is a range)
  • weight went up because of the muscle gained, but look/feel slimmer than before
  • I can do a pull up! One. πŸ™‚
  • I feel hella stronger than I did before

What Now?

I’m continuing my membership because I love the workouts and I love that my friends are there continuing with me. This challenge was only 28 days, so I expect that my results will continue to improve as long as I don’t go off the deep end with donuts.

I’ve continued to loosely track my food because I’m still not 100% comfortable knowing off hand if I’m eating too many carbs vs. protein, etc. Inputting different foods allows me to get a better idea of the ratios until I can do it more off the top of my head.

As I’ve written about many times before, a good workout is one that you’re going to do. Over time my body has craved different types of exercise and right now it is really loving this mix of heavy strength training and metabolic conditioning. I’m excited to see how everything progresses and I’ll be sure to share with you as I go!

If you’re in Chicago and looking for a great workout with a great coach who really cares about what he does, check out BTY Training Lab in the West Loop. This isn’t paid for in any way, I just honestly love it!

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.

Questions:

  • Have you ever done a fitness challenge?
  • What types of workouts are your favorite?
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37 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      My goal was to lean out, so the calories were definitely lower than my normal amount would be. By the end I was totally fine and not hungry though!

  1. Ashley
    March 8, 2017 / 7:20 am

    Looking super awesome!!

  2. March 8, 2017 / 7:20 am

    Woah so awesome! You look great–glad it was a good challenge for you! Hope you can now add in some of your beloved sweets and/or large sandwiches too πŸ˜‰
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Pregnancy Update: Weeks 21-24My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      Oh you know it!

  3. March 8, 2017 / 7:52 am

    Wow! 1350 seems low but as long as it was tailored for you and you weren’t struggling. But, how is that not close to just what you need in a day before you add in movement? The results are pretty fantastic, though! Glad you are loving CrossFit! I love it so much!! You should definitely stick with it! #beastmode
    Jennifer @ Fit Nana recently posted…SURGERY AND THE THIRD WEEK: AKA THE WEEK THE ANGER SET INMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      It is close actually but my goal was to lean out so it’s lower than what it would be normally to maintain. I’m going to add in some cookies now for sure πŸ™‚

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      Right?!

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      Oh man those are tough! I’ve never done one but I’ve seen people prepare!

  4. March 8, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Wow, you got some AWESOME results Erin! 1350 did sound low, but if it was specially done for you, it sounds like it worked, and I did learn from this that abs truly do have to be made in the kitchen + strength training.

    Would you do something like that again?
    Emily recently posted…WIAW: The Very Darkest Parts of RecoveryMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      Totally. I’m continuing it for awhile, just playing around w the food part of it since I don’t really need to lose weight or lean out much more for what I want

  5. March 8, 2017 / 11:18 am

    It’s so awesome how much muscle you can put on in a short period of time.
    My initial reaction is 1350 seems loooowwwwwww, but I’m also assuming it was given merely for the 28-day period and we do have to cut calories in order to lean out.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…My Experience Rumbling with Rumble BoxingMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      Yup. I will increase it some now going forward. COOKIES.

  6. March 8, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    Congrats on your results! That’s awesome. Such a difference food and diet makes.

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      I know! Food is always such a big part of it.

  7. Barb
    March 8, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    How did you manage to gain 4-6 pounds of muscle if you were eating way below your TDEE? I’m glad you enjoyed the challenge and the results look great (and seems like you learned a lot!). I just find that muscle gain really surprising so want to hear more…

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:12 pm

      My goal was to lean out, so the calories were less than they normally would be. A large part of my diet was also protein so I was able to keep and increase my muscle mass while losing the fat!

  8. Elizabeth
    March 8, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    Unfortunately, I found this post somewhat triggering. I understand that a lot of the blame belongs to me for reading this sort of post, but in the future, could you please maybe put a trigger warning at the top?

    Sorry if this comes off as a pain. I’m a big fan of your story and your blog! (and your homemade nut butters!)

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 1:56 pm

      Yes! So sorry Elizabeth. That was not my intention at all. I’ll add it now!

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 8, 2017 / 6:46 pm

      Thanks Alicia! I hope you can find one!!

  9. March 8, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    Way to go girl! Good job. I know how you feel about the low calorie amount. I guess when you eat healthy foods that can actually be a lot. You look strong.
    Ivanna recently posted…CHOOSING A REAL FOOD DIETMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 9, 2017 / 9:28 am

      Thanks girl! And it’s not a value I’m sticking to on the regular, just for those weeks. You know those desserts aren’t going to fit into that low of a number haha

  10. March 8, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    You look amazing Erin! I count my macros and have been for a few months. I originally started when I was training for my marathon and my body felt so good with it I continued. I have def leaned out some from it as well, which is a benefit. And I love me some CrossFit workouts! This sounded like a fun challenge.
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains recently posted…Apple Cinnamon Protein CookiesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 9, 2017 / 9:27 am

      It was! And I know you love your crossfit haha. It’s so awesome πŸ™‚

  11. Tammi Lewis
    March 8, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    Totally awesome job!! Congratulations! Four weeks and the change is great! That is so freakin cool! I’m kinda on the bench right now, doing physical therapy. Lower cross and upper cross syndrome, but working my way back. But congratulations again!

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 9, 2017 / 9:27 am

      Take care of yourself girl! I hope you come back swinging haha

  12. March 9, 2017 / 8:59 am

    Great results. Congratulations.
    Restricting your calories for a period was definitely worth it.
    Runwright recently posted…Text MessageMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 9, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Thank you. Now bring on the donuts!

  13. Hillary
    March 9, 2017 / 9:17 am

    I am curious if this calorie number was given by an actual dietitian or somehow at the gym who is a “trainer”. Especially if you come from a disordered eating background, restricting your calories to below what you need is never really worth it. And to build muscle, you need more calories than you burn. If you are eating less than you needs for an extended time, your body is not going to “build” anything. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but this is what is normalized in our world and it’s not okay. 1350 calories for a young, active woman is not okay. I encourage you to talk to some dietitians trained in both eating disorders and athletic nutrition. I am all for pushing yourself and trying new things, but we women need to stop the restricting!

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 9, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Totally get it Hillary. And I should have been more clear in stating that it was only for this challenge and bc my goal was to lean out some. Once I finished out my eating schedule it was really no issue, but I understand your points. Now that the 4 weeks are up I’m not sticking to that as a regular baseline πŸ™‚

  14. Julie
    March 10, 2017 / 6:04 am

    Would you consider sharing a sample meal plan that you followed for this challenge? I’m mostly interested in seeing what food choices you made to keep you full throughout the day and what you used for preworkout fuel.

  15. Alli O
    March 16, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    I like how honest you always are in your posts and especially through this challenge. The results are awesome! And knowing that it was a short lived goal with the restriction makes it doable. A lot of the comments were about how low your allowed calories were, but as you said in the beginning of the post, veggies weren’t counted in that amount, so I’m sure you were actually eating a more “normal” amount once you add those in too. Keep doing your thing, it’s inspiring πŸ™‚

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