Monday, 29 December 2014

Kayla Itsines BBG Review - Week 8

Monday: Resistance (arms and abs)
Tuesday: LISS
Wednesday: Resistance (abs and cardio) & 1/2 LISS
Thursday: -
Friday: LISS
Saturday:  Resistance (legs and cardio)
Sunday: LISS

Greetings from Amsterdam!

Week 8 was Christmas week and I have to admit I was a bit scared that I was going to completely mess up my progress, which I see now was ridiculous! 

Ok so I ate A LOT over the key 48 hours. And it was GOOD. But whatever. I'm now looking forward to very happy and healthy 2015!

I kept up with my workouts over the busy period, which wasn't always easy, and better yet I managed to get my boyfriend to do leg day with me - finally!

I could tell he thought it wasn't going to be that tough, so I couldn't help but laugh a few minutes in when he realised what he'd got himself in for. It was satisfying to show him that the Bikini Body Guide isn't just a fluffy, girly workout plan.

Yesterday morning we flew out to Amsterdam for a mini break before the new year. I've never been before and it's beautiful here. I'm also making the most of the cycling culture and delicious healthy food places. Holidays certainly don't have to mean constant cheat meals and no excercise! I'm not sure that the leg workout the day before we flew however was the best idea... SO SORE!

I can't wait to see what the final 4 weeks of the plan have in store for me. Have a fantastic (and safe) New Years Eve everyone, I'll see you on the other side!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Kayla Itsines BBG Review - Week 7

Monday: -
Tuesday: Resistance (legs and cardio) & LISS
Wednesday: Resistance (arms and abs)
Thursday: LISS
Friday: LISS
Saturday: Resistance (abs and cardio) & LISS
Sunday: -

Hooray! Despite another busy week, I stayed on track with my workouts and managed to hit my LISS target.

My pre-Christmas nutrition is still a bit of an issue with all of the parties and office snacks floating around. I've continued to make an extra effort to keep all of my normal meals lean, clean and green, and I've also kept coconut water and healthy gluten free bars in my desk drawer to help me stay on track and stave off those sugar cravings. It's not always effective though, and I'm paying the price with bad skin and a gain of 2lbs. Stupid, stupid me.

The resistance sessions this week are the same as week 5 so I knew again what to expect. I was definitely not a fan of the arms and abs session (mostly arms) in week 5 - I struggled big time - so I was pleased to see an improvement in my strength this week. I'm still rubbish at push ups but I'm getting there, slowly but surely!

Week 8 falls over Christmas, so I'll be scheduling my workouts carefully to make sure I don't miss any during this busy time!

Have a fantastic Christmas everyone!

Here's my results picture from this week:

Monday, 15 December 2014

Kayla Itsines BBG Review - Week 6

Monday: -
Tuesday: Resistance (arms and abs) & LISS
Wednesday: LISS
Thursday: Resistance (abs and cardio) & LISS
Friday: Resistance (cardio and legs)
Saturday: -
Sunday: -

Massive fail with my LISS sessions and nutrition this weekend... I'm finding the Christmas season pretty hard, I wrote a blog post about it here. I hope I'm not the only one struggling to fit everything in and stay on track?

I'm making an extra effort to eat super clean for all of my normal meals throughout the week, I refuse to throw in the towel and completely ruin my hard work, but the endless Christmas parties and office treats are taking their toll...

I enjoyed all of the resistance sessions this week, but by Friday night I had a horrendously bad back, which is not something I usually suffer with. I couldn't sleep properly and had to take it easy over the weekend. I can't pinpoint what caused this, but I think it could have been the straight leg jackknifes on Thursday as that move offers no support to the lower back... I need to make sure that I reread the education section of the guide so I don't cause any further injury, and I'd obviously urge you to do the same if you're thinking about starting the guide.

I'm afraid there's no progress picture this week. I had my Mum's 60th birthday family meal on Friday, followed by a friends Christmas dinner on Saturday, topped off with my Mum's big bash on Sunday. So needless to say I was not looking fantastic AT ALL...

Despite all of this, I do continue to feel myself getting stronger which I love. I started the guide with the ultimate aim of looking better at the end of the 12 weeks (which is still a key aim of course) but I didn't expect to feel so much stronger and confident week by week.

I hope to concentrate on my LISS a bit more next week and bring a more upbeat and inspiring review for week 7!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Christmas Season Struggle

This is my first winter since I made the decision to start living a healthier lifestyle, and I sauntered in to it naively thinking that my dedication and passion from the summer would see me through the winter months no problem. I thought for sure I'd be in a bikini come the first hint of sunshine in Spring, lean and lovely, a smug grin on my face...

Yeeeaaah. I think it's time to admit that maintaining this lifestyle in Winter, especially when you don't live in the eternal sunshine of California, is hard. Really hard. It's dark when you wake up, it's dark when you get home, it's bloody freezing, and if it's not too cold it's probably raining.

Chocolates, mince pies and biscuits start appearing everywhere in the office, and when you're out of the office there's plenty of Christmas meals, drinks and parties to contend with.

Peoples admiration for your dedication actually turns slightly negative...  "Oh bah humbug, just eat it, it's Christmas."

I won't be throwing in the towel, that's for sure, but I am definitely not finding it easy. I'm glad to be following a workout plan during this period as it's given me some focus, but my physical results are certainly not what they could be because my nutrition is not 100% - and nutrition is absolutely key to results.

So enough of the wining, it is what it is and I've come to the conclusion that it's time to let go of the guilt and accept the bumps in the road. As long as I don't let cheat meals/evenings become cheat days (Christmas day being the exception!) and stick to my workout plan as best as I can, then that's fine. Soon it will be a new year, and around the corner, a fresh spring.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Party Season Diets

As December hits, newspapers and magazines are releasing their annual 'drop a dress size by Christmas' or 'Magic 10 day weight loss' type plans. I feel as though I'm being hit around the head by these things and they are all full of so much crap.

Only a year ago I was one of the people who believed the hype and blindly followed these schemes, only to get discouraged and depressed when I still looked and felt exactly the same come that big Christmas party. Sound familiar?

It's only now, after months of educating myself on how to nourish my body properly and effectively exercise, that I've learnt the simple truth: there are no quick fixes that will give lasting results and won't damage your metabolism. Throwing yourself in to a drastic diet will cause your body to panic, slow down, and store as much energy (calories) it can from what you do eat - not good, and not what you signed up for.

It's far more effective to bin all of these fad diets. Simply cut back on the junk food and move your focus to exercising more. People with more muscle mass have better functioning metabolisms, so focus on treating your body like the amazing machine it is and give it the treatment it deserves - the physical results will then come naturally. Hard work really does pay off.

If you struggle with getting active, read my tips on committing to fitness.

You can do it. December is the new January!

Kayla Itsines BBG Review - Week 5

Monday: Resistance (cardio and legs)
Tuesday: LISS
Wednesday: Resistance (arms and abs) & LISS
Thursday: LISS
Friday: -
Saturday: Resistance (abs and cardio)
Sunday: LISS

Blimey. Week 5 resistance steps up a gear and introduces higher reps, additional moves and harder alterations to existing moves. Weekly LISS sessions are also increased from 2-3 a week, to 4-5.

The cardio and legs session seemed to be going so well until the last of the 4 rounds when all of a sudden my body was raging, blood pumping, and I had to shout and push my way through the last 7 minutes. I was not a pretty sight by the end of it - it's moments like those I that make me thankful that I workout in the privacy of my own home! I loved it.

Then on Wednesday came the arms and abs session, which I really didn't enjoy. It was mostly an arm workout involving a lot of pushups which I still find really difficult. I can't seem to lower myself down as far as you are meant to which is extremely frustrating... the inclined pushups especially sucked.

The final session of the week made up for it though. It was abs and cardio which is a new combination, not included in weeks 1-4. Ab workouts are probably my favourite thing to focus on so it was great and I certainly felt it the next day.

I've found it tricky to schedule in the increased LISS sessions this week - the guide recommends not doing LISS and resistance sessions back to back which ultimately means having to workout twice a day on a few occasions, which is hard to do whilst juggling other commitments. I just wish there was gym or shower access at work so I could make the most of my lunch breaks!

If you're wondering what LISS is and you haven't read my previous posts, I'll explain! LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State and is therefore divined in the plan as any moderate or long duration cardio vascular exercise that maintains the same intensity throughout. Kayla suggests 35-45 minutes of power walking (approx 6kpm) but you can run, cycle, swim etc. I'm still gradually working on getting my running times back up after a knee injury, and am getting a road bike for Christmas - excited!!

I ended the week feeling a bit bloated again...

Now that the Christmas party season has started, it's pretty much impossible to stick to a completely lean, clean and green diet 100% of the time when faced with set menus, unhealthy restaurant locations, plenty of alcohol and champagne celebrations. Nutrition is so important and I'll continue making the healthiest choices I can for every meal that I can, plus keeping up the workouts of course, but unfortunately I have to accept that my strongest results will come once the party season is over!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Kayla Itsines BBG Review - Week 4

Monday: Resistance (cardio and legs)
Tuesday: 35 minute fast walk, 5 minute run (and no pain!)
Wednesday: Resistance (arms and abs)
Thursday: 30 minute fast walk, 10 minute run (no pain again!)
Friday: Resistance (full body)
Saturday: 22.6 mile bike ride
Sunday: -

This week I decided to try and slowly introduce running in to my routine again after resting, icing and foam rolling my bad knee (IT band) for a month now. It felt so much better, phew! I'm not going to go crazy and try to cover my old distances straight away, but it's a nice step forward (no pun intended). 

The resistance sessions were good - week 4 is the same as week 2 so I knew what to expect. I'm still making time to stretch and foam roll after each session which I think is really important in keeping muscles healthy and happy.

I finished off the week with a long bike ride with my boyfriend in the sunny Surrey countryside. It was challenging but I managed my longest distance by far of 22.6 miles - I think this is partly down to my improved leg strength from the BBG. Road biking is not something I previously enjoyed (at all!) but now that my body is getting stronger I am starting to see why my boyfriend loves it so much.

I need to get him to try out a BBG workout - I love seeing pictures on Instagram of girls getting their boyfriends involved in resistance sessions from the guide to prove how challenging they are, and I'm definitely going to make that happen in the next few weeks! Mwahaha.

Here are my results this week:
My bloating from last week has reduced, and I'm seeing the results similar to those at the end of week 2 which I'm really pleased with. Next week the resistance sessions are taken up a gear... not gonna to lie - bit scared!!