I'm not gonna lie to you.
It wasn't easy.
But it was simple.
Twelve weeks of chiseled focus and determination so I could sail into my birthday in the best shape of my life: Priceless.
What made me believe I could transform in such a short time? The same thing you're doing right now - I looked at the photos on this site and read the essays written by ordinary people who were getting the results I so desperately sought. Insta-belief! Just add water!
I had a bikini photo of myself from the last time I was fit. I did have to scramble around a bit for inspirational photos when I surpassed my former level of fitness at just 9 weeks into the contest! Go me!
So, if I’d been this fit before, how did I become the unfit doughy mess I had allowed myself to turn into? Parenting turned out to be pretty time consuming. Okay, okay. Overwhelming. We all just lose it after we have kids, right? It’s just what happens and then you spend the rest of your adult life growing larger. That’s right, right? Okay, not so much.
You’d think getting asked daily if I was pregnant would have been enough of a kick in the butt. But somehow, no, I just kept on with the magical
thinking and vague hoping. That’s right, I was going to think away the huge belly. Oh and you know, have lots of cinnamon and green tea, and um, stuff. Yeah. That would do it.
Except, it’s really, really depressing to look like that. And worse, with knee pain constantly increasing and my belly fat having the absolute audacity to continue to grow as well, simply getting through life had become a burden. I no longer had the energy to take my kids on simple outings. Even meeting up for a park picnic was daunting. Packing up food, getting 2 kids ready, carrying all that stuff, sitting on the ground, getting up from the ground without looking like a crippled old lady: all quite overwhelming.
Better to just stay home. And get fatter. Yeah.
Better, in my distorted thinking, until I learned that belly fat was caused by cortisol, the stress hormone, and is a huge health risk.
Boy, was that a wakeup call. I was already stressed to the max but now I was even more stressed thinking about how dangerous my condition was.
I’ve always considered myself healthy but I had to recognize that I was anything but! I’d always looked young for my age but that, too, was no longer true. So my motivation was first and foremost my health. And no less importantly, to get back my energy, reduce pain, and get lean and fit and strong again. What did it take? Simple - but totally effective - changes to my diet, frame of mind, and exercise program.
After two years of steady dieting and exercising, I wasn't getting very noticeable results. I was stronger and down a measly ten pounds but I still looked and felt bad and the pain was no better. I hadn't realized my diet was bad! Calorie counting helped me realize my portions were out of whack. Who knew a “healthy” salad could weigh in at well over 1000 calories?
Then I discovered Turbulence Training. The nutritional support in Turbulence Training is spot on. It’s not hard once you realize what you have to do; the number one thing is to simply start logging everything you eat, which I had never been willing to do before, perhaps because I worried it would be too time consuming or discouraging. I also worried I’d feel deprived but in fact, it didn’t really take long at all to get used to getting used to eating appropriate portion sizes.
I use the LoseIt iPhone app which is wonderful. It has loads of data and you can use it anywhere, even with no Internet access. I constantly tweaked my diet and monitored my results. It’s critical to measure not just pounds but inches and body fat. I might not see anything on the scale but other measures told the story of a great week. And because of my improved diet, I’m not bloated, for the first time in my life. Lemme say that again. I am not bloated.
That’s not all there was to the diet though. I monitored calories very closely and got more aggressive with goals as the weeks went by. Weight loss was anything but steady. Early on, I lost 3.7 pounds one week! Awesome! Only, for the next few weeks, nothing budged. So while it looks great on paper to have lost a pound a week, I was at times eating few enough calories to be on target for 2 pounds a week.
Weight loss, though, tended to happen in whooshes, rather than steadily. By constantly tweaking and changing as I hit plateaus and learned more, I was able to keep moving forward. Within a few weeks, I was doing Eat Stop Eat. I never ever thought in a million years that I’d be able to fast but in fact, with knowledge and support, it’s not hard at all.
I actually look forward to my fast days now because I just like feeling lighter. At first, I was afraid to even get off the couch on a fast day but now I simply go about my day and look forward to a great dinner. Skipping two meals worth of calories creates a far greater caloric deficit than an hour of working out ever could. I also played around quite a bit with “cheat meals”. I did drop these at the end of the contest with no noticeable improvement. They are so important to my attitude that I’m not sure I would ever give them up again. Sanity is important. Trust me.
Getting Rid of Stress
Another piece of the puzzle was getting more proactive about learning to deal with stress. I know some of my stress came from carrying a lot of guilt about every aspect of my life. Not good enough at business, parenting, marriage, friendship, health. Oh, those terrible voices.
Because of all this guilt, I never gave myself permission to do anything nice for myself, and my sleep was disrupted. I came up with a simple meditation that allowed me to get to sleep and fall back asleep quickly. Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to fatloss and I am sure this was related to my finally getting the results I was seeking.
As I got more sleep, I started automatically waking up at dawn. I began to use the time before anyone else was awake to have a nice solo breakfast and do some peaceful reading and set the tone for the day, making me feel even more relaxed and grounded. I also put on podcasts when I do housework so I can use that time to continue to learn and feel inspired. I especially enjoy Craig Ballantyne’s and other motivational podcasts. I always pick up new tips so I have quite a few tools in my toolbag. It keeps things fun and fresh.
The diet got a lot of unwanted fat off but then what’s left? I want muscles
showing and that’s where I am so grateful for Turbulence Training. I had
been a gym rat since college and thought I knew what I was doing but this
was like starting over.
Turbulence Training is a totally new way of working out. I’ve learned exercises I’ve never heard of before. I love going into the gym with a purpose. My husband and I take a few minutes before we start to gather the equipment we need so there won’t be unnecessary delays. We now work out with timers. Finish a superset, time our rest, and we are back on. We are drenched with sweat shortly after the warmup. I have certainly sweated while lifting before but never anything like this!
Because I know I will be done in ten to twenty minutes, and I’m only going to have to do about four to six high intensity intervals, I just crank some good workout music and get it done. I get bored by cardio workouts so I love that I can do the workouts on the bike, stair machine, treadmill, or even using equipment like jump ropes, medicine balls, or just mats and bodyweight stuff. It’s always fresh and that keeps me motivated to get through it. The feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction afterwards is wonderful!
Because the workout is brand new every 4 weeks, my body is totally guessing! The first week, I’m getting used to the new workout. The second week, I can do the whole thing. The third week, I increase weights. The fourth week, I feel very proficient. And then wham! I’m a newbie again! Awesome!
My goal when I started working out was simply to get rid of the belly flab. Something shifted in me, though, when I decided to do the transformation contest. I looked at the photos of previous winners and finally believed that I could have a really amazing transformation. I set out to win. To win, I’d get rid of all that belly fat.
I have had a goal of my body fat getting down to 20% for some time. It was going so slowly and it seemed ridiculously aggressive to hit that goal in just 12 weeks. Even at 5 weeks into the contest, I was not sure it could be done, but I stuck with the workouts and really worked hard on my diet. In the last 2 weeks alone, I lost nearly 1% body fat! I am ridiculously proud to have finally checked off this long standing goal!
My other goal was to prove to myself that the Turbulence Training workouts worked for me. I had been educating myself for two years and felt I understood about weight training and interval training. One of the contest rules is to only use Turbulence Training. I stuck to that.
The only other workout I ever did was Zumba class once a week and cardio or whatever on my off days. I used to do Zumba with a goal of burning the most calories possible but when I started Turbulence Training, I ditched the heart rate monitor and started having fun with it! It’s very freeing to not be so competitive about it.
I have shared my journey with friends and family throughout, but it's when I posted my Five Week Transformation contest results that the questions started pouring in. Many friends wrote just to tell me how inspired they were by my results. I, in turn, follow people who inspire me. I spent a ton of time on the TT forum reading old contest threads and have my own contest thread where everyone is so supportive! It’s so much fun to share workouts
with others who have been there and to learn from other workout journals. It’s wonderful to be able to share the hard bits too like the very bad day and how to deal with stress.
My current goals are to take some time off and maintain my weight, continuing to use Turbulence Training and at least one weekly fast. I am doing the Booty for Wife program now (goal being, obviously, the tush) and
on deck is a Meathead program (goal being increased muscle mass) and an Abs program (goal being much better ab definition). I look forward to entering the next transformation contest. My goals at that time will be first to get body fat to 18%, and then, if I’d still like to take off more belly fat, down to 15%. I want to strengthen my back and improve my posture and then have a trainer look at any other areas of weakness.
There have been so many unexpected bonuses with this contest. Here is one that is especially noteworthy. Not only have I cleaned up my diet, but the whole family’s as well. We all have a weekly “cheat day” and there is no more nagging for pizza or ice cream the rest of the week! And my older daughter has become aware that certain foods are not ideal for daily consumption so she is learning what’s healthy. Both girls constantly ask if something is healthy. They are really learning and this is knowledge they'll carry for a lifetime.
Intermediate (plus Zumba once a week)
TT for Fatloss
Buff Dudes Hot Chicks (plus Zumba once a week because girls just wanna have
Start End Difference
Weight 160.8lbs 148lbs -12.8lbs
Percentage body fat 25.7% 19.99% -5.71%
Chest 34.5” 34” -0.5”
Waist 29.5” 27” -2.5”
Waist at Belly Button 33” 28.5” -4.5”
Hips (hip bone) 39” 36.5” -2.5”
Thigh 22” 20.5” -1.5”
Calf 14” 14” no change
Ankle 8.75” 8.25” -0.5”
Bicep 11.3” 10.6” -0.65”