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!
I went into more detail about the what and why of the challenge in this post, but to summarize:
- work out at BTY Training Lab 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)
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 as 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
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
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. 🙂
- I feel hella stronger than I did before
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.
- Have you ever done a fitness challenge?
- What types of workouts are your favorite?