After winning second place in the 16th TT Transformation Contest last year, I thought life was pretty sweet. I went on to finish the rest of the fitness goals I had for 2013, including getting my AFAA group exercise certification, running a couple 5Ks, and continuing TT workouts to the end of the year.
When an email from Craig popped into my inbox about the newest Transformation Contest this past January, I didn’t think anything of it…until I read that the new Pro Women category had been added. I smelled a challenge. :) After all, if I would continue doing TT workouts anyway, why not throw my hat in the ring AGAIN and see if I could improve?
My focus this round, however, wouldn’t be losing weight and fat. (If anything came of it, though, I would gladly take it!) 2014’s mantra became: “Build muscle. Get stronger. Kick ass.” My husband and I signed up for the Tough Mudder in May, so I had an event goal to use as my motivation for getting stronger.
At the start of the challenge, I had decent lower body strength but no upper body strength to speak of. I figured the most challenging part of this experience would be getting used to feeling weak and uncomfortable. And it was. And it still is. I forced myself to focus on back and chest by progressing through push-ups, pull-ups, and row variations. I hated feeling like a weakling, but I reminded myself that I would get stronger.
I had a couple of setbacks to work through – a pulled quad muscle in January, a bruised tailbone at the end of February (it’s still healing). These injuries almost certainly made it easier to focus on upper body since there wasn’t much I could do from the waist down until I healed.
I’m a little disappointed in the numbers, but honestly, I could have done better with my eating. Last year, I used data a lot - calorie tracking through the MyFitnessPal app, weigh-ins every few days, exercise log. This round, I wanted to wean myself off “numbers” - I ate food intuitively, weighed in once a month, stayed consistent in my workouts (and still kept an exercise log). I wanted to know I could continue doing this as part of my lifestyle without micromanaging.
There are some things that “numbers” cannot reflect - surprise at needing to buy better-fitting jeans one size smaller, the joy in seeing little muscles make an appearance during daily tasks, being able to carry more grocery bags from the car to the house. I’m getting stronger! I also showed myself that I could stay committed and consistent to a cause. And “numbers” can’t beat that feeling. :)