As I had spent the previous week planning for the challenge, week 1 was all about getting stuck straight into it.
The night before weigh in, Mario and I had been in Brisbane for his nonna’s birthday. I must admit, part of me thought “eat up now because you’re not going to be able to do this for the next 12 weeks”. A more evil part of me thought “eat as many heavy foods as you can, it means you will be bloated for the weigh in”. The evil part won, and the Cobb loaf I ate that night was divine.
The next morning, Mario and I drove home and prepared for the gym; he was going to work out while I was doing all my bits and pieces.
It’s terribly confronting to finally face the reality of your own body size. You can’t just put it down to a wrong angle, or a distorted mirror. You’re there getting prodded, pulled and weighed, and there is nowhere to hide. Yet I also felt this complete sense of relief, like I was saying “here it is, my overweight body in all its glory, but just wait because in 12 weeks you will be stunned“. I think it was because I didn’t have the stress of trying to hide anything anymore, or just pretend it didn’t exist. I’d been forced to face it.
It was my body, and I was doing something about it.
The staff at goodlife were incredibly professional. When we walked in they had set up numbered stations, so it was just a matter of working your way through and doing what was asked. I was photographed (by a female, who had a great sense of humour and put me at ease), I was prodded with the calipers to get my fat percentages, had measurements taken, and finally, weighed. It was the whole shebang. The good part was that I had already been through this with my trainer earlier, so I knew what to expect and was comfortable. But for those who it was their first time, the sheer efficiency with which the staff got on with things they never let you dwell on what was going on, so it was over before you knew it.
Unfortunately at the end of it I didn’t remember to get a copy of my measurements to share with everyone here, so I guess they can remain unknown until the next weigh in at the halfway mark. Let’s hope for some hefty improvements.
Online meal plans
As part of the 12 week challenge you are provided with a meal plan delivered online via an interactive website. You’re able to select from a couple of the typical dietary requirements, for example vegetarian. Despite my recent efforts with the autoimmune protocol, I was happy to just select a regular diet.
Since starting the meal plans we have been pleasantly surprised. The first night we had vegetarian spaghetti, which was almost blasphemy for Mario, since he’s italian and very much a carnivore. However it was incredible!
The thing I appreciate the most about these meal plans is that you make a double serve at night, then you have the leftovers for lunch the following day. That’s huge when you’re working 9-5 and don’t have the time to prepare yourself a gourmet feast every day (I’m just lucky that I have a boyfriend that wants to cook for me all the time so I don’t even have to make dinner). In comparison, the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Challenge was so expensive in that every meal was different, and you rarely ate leftovers unless you went out of your way to switch off one of the meals. I had bottles and bottles of things in my cupboard and fridge that were never revisited again after the first meal, until eventually they were thrown out. A complete waste of money (and food). I can understand they’re trying to open up the participant to a variety of foods and meal options, but when you’ve already paid $220 for the pleasure of getting access to those recipes, you don’t want to be spending another $200 a week on food for one person.
With the Goodlife 12 week challenge, the mornings are mostly made up of smoothies. This is also a good thing for me since I prefer the quick and easy meals in the morning. The smoothies are really tasty though, and so far a mango protein smoothie and a green spinach one have been my highlights. The spinach one also contained yoghurt, which feels a bit weird for me but it tastes great.
The website has some other great features, like the ability to select all your meals for the week and translate that into a shopping list ready for the grocery store. You can also see an overview of your plan for the week, which is great to put on the fridge as a reminder. As I eat each meal I can mark it as “done”, so I can see what’s remaining for the week (I also use this as a reminder to put my meals into MyFitnessPal before I can mark it as done).
I do think the web site can be improved somewhat though:
- Have the option to remove seafood from your diet – I can’t stand seafood so I’m constantly swapping out salmon and fish for other meal options
- Not all meal swap options are relevant, and you only get to see three at a time – that really needs to be improved. For example, if I’m trying to swap out a salmon dinner, I don’t want to see two breakfast options and only one meal relevant to dinner. Some sort of tagging mechanism needs to be added so that when you’re swapping a dinner option only other dinner meals should be visible (and preferrably more than 3 at one time).
- The shopping list format could be improved quite a bit. I printed out 3 pages for one shopping list, and there was a lot of spacing between each ingredient. The whole list probably could be condensed to one page. In the end I only needed half of those ingredients too. Mario and I have instead adopted a method where I’ll read out the list to him from the screen, he’ll check the cupboards and if we don’t have it I’ll add it to a handwritten shopping list instead. Not as easy, but certainly saves a lot of paper.
Overall though, I’m pretty happy with the tool for the next 12 weeks. It certainly makes things a lot easier.
Group training sessions
This week saw the first group training session kick off. All 12 week challenge participants are required to attend, whether you’re doing the Transformation (like me) or the Fitter Faster Stronger category. We broke up into groups, and from there worked our way around several areas of the gym for a workout:
- The classroom area (where they hold big group classes like Pump, Yoga etc)
- The cardio area (treadmills, rowers etc)
- Functional area (TRX system, free weights, medicine balls etc)
I don’t think I was expecting to work as hard as I did; part of me almost expected it would be a bit of a novelty session.
I was completely wrong – damn they work you hard!
At the end of the first session I was sore – it was great! I had done so many push ups and squats and lunges that all the main body parts were groaning. I had done sprints on the treadmill, which I had never done before. It was something I enjoyed so much I’m actually planning on repeating that when I head to the gym by myself. And in the functional area, I did so many burpees I felt like I was going to burpee my food over the floor.
I love the fact that with the group training session you get to meet other people going through the same thing as you. This is what I had missed the most about Michelle Bridges, where it felt like you were going through it on your own – having an online forum can’t ever replace the feeling of actually working out with someone.
It seemed like quite a few friendships were formed that night. I had caught up with a girl that had signed up with the same trainer, Ashlee, and we became workout buddies. She is AMAZING. When it comes to the exercise you just don’t ever see her giving up, and the whole time with a big smile on her face. She inspires me to push harder, and she is the most incredible, friendly person. She’s awesome.
Speaking of my trainer, she was there that night helping out with the group training session and had come over to see how my workout buddy and I were going. She gave us some great feedback and some encouragement, which was really nice. It was easy to see that both my workout buddy and I had built a great rapport with our trainer. At this point I’d only had one proper one-on-one PT session together, but the program she had given me was tough. I will have to write more about her in the next update, since this post has become a novel already, but I can just say I’m really loving what I’m doing there. I’m hoping to see some massive improvements in my trouble areas.
So at the end of week 1 of the challenge, I can say that I’m really in the swing of things. I’ve got a great support system at home (including personal chef), and a great support system in the gym. I’ve got friends cheering me on and providing motivation and encouragement. The only reason why this could go pear shaped is myself.
I need to make sure I don’t let myself down.
No excuses 2015.