Welcome back to my Transformation Series! These last two weeks have been really challenging, but I’ve got through them and there’s so much I want to tell you. Let’s begin!
Week 5 The Plateau
So the first month of my bodybuilding transformation was simple. It certainly wasn’t easy getting used to eating 6 times a day, walking every morning before breakfast, weighing all food and training like a man possessed in the gym. But it was new, it had novelty and I was excited. I also wasn’t too bothered when I seemed to be gaining weight at first, as my trainer Tommy said, it takes a while to figure out what your body needs and how to respond to what you’re doing.
But by week 5 I was beginning to flag mentally. Not only was I not losing weight, I was actually continuing to gain weight! Now weighing myself twice a week, I was baffled to see the numbers going up, despite all my excellent eating habits and hard training. Luckily, Tommy didn’t seem phased at all: “you just need to do more cardio” was his answer. So we put in 5 hiit sessions a week, to be done at the end of every workout!
A hiit (high intensity interval training) session is some serious cardio. I was told to go all out for 40 seconds, then go at a normal pace for 20 seconds, then repeat 15 times! The idea is that it shocks your body past where it is comfortable by only giving it short active rests after intense activity periods. It definitely gets you sweating and as I got on the bike for my first season after already beating up my chest in a chest session, I was nervous.
Cycling isn’t really my favourite cardio and the idea of clock watching and being both bored and severely challenged at the same time was a real challenge. The first 3 rounds seemed to last forever! But then I hit 5 minutes, then half way, then 10 minutes, then it was all over. As I gingerly stepped off the bike, with a very sore bottom and wobbling slightly, I looked in the mirror at the sweat soaked madman and gave a big grin. Before guzzling vigorously from my water bottle.
The difference when you add in cardio though, is that you feel better afterwards. I enjoy running and after a good shower and a stretch, you really do feel good. This is because of the release of endorphins into your system post exercise and I was glad to feel that the runners’ high worked for cycling too! At the end of Week 5, I was glad that we added in the extra cardio and was happy for it to be finished!
Week 6- Hang Tough
I can handle discipline. I like it and have welcomed it over the years; as a musician, then as a teacher, as a martial artist and now with bodybuilding, discipline is a great thing. And so too is giving your best in your training, whatever that may be: weightlifting, running, walking, exercise classes; there is real satisfaction at the end knowing you did your best.
Now I also love the mind and its endless possibilities. I love a challenge and pushing myself past limits and helping others to do the same. But the mind also presents the biggest challenges and by Week 7, I was beginning to feel disheartened. I’d definitely been getting stronger, no doubt about that, but I guess that by then I was expecting my love handles to start to say goodbye. I was expecting a little less fat in my face, just something to know that I was on the right track… I don’t mind working hard for something, but to continue and keep on, when you are not seeing success or even a glimpse of encouraging results, is a real challenge.
So what did I do? Well firstly, I did not give up. I know for sure that I cannot be doing any more than I am at the moment: dieting 💯, training 5 times a week with intensity and doing 5 hiit sessions. So it was my mind that had to change and it was only then that I realised something. For over 10 years, this had been a dream of mine: to have a fantastic, super healthy body and mind. And here I was actually attempting it! No excuses, no blaming anyone else for my results, just me. No longer was I talking about changing my body, and really giving it everything, I was actually doing it.
And what I realised is that I’m committed to this. I said I was going to do it and I will. And now, although I still look for results, I am not hopeful. But therein lies the paradox, I am no longer hopeful for the results, I now know that they are inevitable, because I am giving my very best. I have a good trainer, and I know that I can do it. Like Frodo and Sam continuing up mount doom when they had gone past all hope, I just keep going- meal after meal, workout after workout, day after day. I’ve given up expecting quick fixes, I’m in this for the long haul…
Oh and by the way, Tommy told me about the trick up his sleeve to accelerate fat loss for the final 10 weeks,
no cheat meals at all….bring it on!
I wish you all the very best in your training, yours studies, your relationships and your life.