The transformation picture above shows me on the left at 57kg eating a low fat meal plan, training at night in the gym doing Les Mills classes and focused on cardio.The picture of me on the right shows a different me; training in the mornings with mainly weights and a little bit of cardio, also I was and still am eating a high protein diet, I now weigh 52kg. I have much more energy now and am much stronger than before, my 'Pear Body Shape' has shifted and changed to a more athletic build (I'll always have bigger thighs but they look more in proportion than before)
HOW DID I MAKE CHANGES?
Every weekday morning for several years now, I have woken up early and tackled the gym, 5am the alarm goes off and I'm up preparing a full breakfast (I eat a cooked brekky every morning before I go to the gym so I have plenty of fuel to smash it out)
Once I'm there, I spend 60 to 75 minutes doing squats, dead lifts, and all the other hard lifts. Of course, this isn’t remarkable -- the Cross fitters still put me to shame. But here’s what is special: how quickly my attitude shifted from “I just can’t imagine myself committing to a program like that after so many years without lifting” (this is where I was at the beginning of 2015) to loving it so much that I crave it. Even on rest days.
Worth taking a minute (as it always is when you succeed in making a dramatic habit change) to ask why it worked.
The quick answer is, “Because I started seeing results.”
But that’s obvious, right? If you’ve ever become a runner after hating it, or made the switch from eating junk to eating healthily, you know the feeling ... once you get over the hump and start to experience the benefits, what used to seem impossible starts to actually feel good.
So the real question is, How do you get over that hump? How do you get through the dip and start seeing results, before the shock of the change drains your willpower, and you fail epically? (is that even a word haha)
When I step back to examine it, what has made this change work, when so many other attempts at big changes fail:
- An exciting goal. I really didn’t want to be the skinniest girl but I did want to grow muscle and see how far my body could be pushed.. I even entertained the idea of competing in a fitness comp (and it still crosses my mind lol). I set a goal to reach a new level of fitness and to see what my body could do - I see all these amazing inspirational fitness people in the industry and know that they go above and beyond general health and fitness and I wanted to feel what it's like.
- Real accountability. Having a program to follow and using my App (yes I use my own App to train) helped me see on paper (well on the screen) what I achieved the first week, the second week, first month etc. I saw that I was getting stronger by being able to lift a little heavier every month and that motivated me as I knew it was working. Having a program to stick to meant that I didn't need to think about what i needed to do each session, I just had to turn up and do it.
- Easing in (aka starting small). I don’t believe that you have to jump in the deep end, but as I was already a regular gym goer and loved the feeling of working out, I did commit to 4 training sessions a week as a bare minimum. If I could conquer the minimum then I was able to add another session here and there until i reached a happy place - I happily train 6 days a week and allow myself to miss a day if life gets in the way (this rarely happens though, I make sure that I get my workouts in)
And finally, one that you don’t hear about as much: this habit change has been helped along by a bunch of others: eating cleaner, drinking way less alcohol, waking up early, decluttering the house / office etc ... all working together to help me feel better and happier.
It isn’t easy to engineer a string of changes, because most people try to change too much at once. But if you can find a way to stack new habits on top of each other, one after another in a way that’s synergistic instead of stressful, this “spiral of success” is one of the best weapons you’ve got.
And I believe it’s in those stretches when it's working for you -- or rather, when you make it work for you -- that you change the direction of your life, for good!
This is just some mind/body strategies that I have found helped me and that might be able to take you to a new place of health and happiness both physically and mentally.