Yvonne’s body fat is down by 10pc since the start, so she’s still making good progress, but don’t settle into a comfort zone if you want to achieve lasting results
Yvonne’s transformation is continuing. It is nearly 12 weeks since she embarked on the road less travelled on her journey to health.
This road involved a change of eating habits and the implementation of a regular exercise programme. There are many people who try to go from problem to solution but if they do not solve that problem, it will continue to haunt them.
Change takes time. You can eat and exercise perfectly today and tomorrow but when you step on the scales, you will not have lost 25lbs. Everything you want in life takes time: a great relationship, wealth-building. Changing your body shape is no different.
The key to Yvonne’s continued success is her focus, perseverance and motivation. The people who struggle with motivation and self-discipline are those who have not made certain things non-negotiable that could derail their fitness plans, ie, alcohol, poor nutrition and consistent training.
The reason most people fail is they try to figure out what to do instead of asking who they need to become.
Yvonne has been committed since day one, when she planted a stake in the ground, and has been excellent ever since. She has continued with her target progress rate, which was to drop 0.6pc body fat each week.
Her initial weight was 81.3kg, of which 56.4kg was muscle and the remaining 24.9kg was fat. This gave her a body-fat percentage of 30.4pc, or 55lbs of fat.
Yvonne is now 72.6kg, of which 57.6kg is muscle and the remaining 15kg is fat, and her body-fat percentage is now 20.6pc. The goal we set at the start was to get below 16pc so we are on target.
Yvonne had been performing a full-body programme as she built up her tolerance to weight training. We were altering the variables of exercises, repetitions, rest periods and frequency but now we need to implement a change in the style of the programme to prevent her body from plateauing.
A common mistake I see people make is to adopt certain exercises and do them over and over again, to the exclusion of all others. Soreness is a good thing in training, but you don’t need to be sore all the time.
However, you should be sore 48 hours after you initiate a new training programme.
When you are trying to build fat-burning muscle, you should be sore to some degree after the first two workouts.
The next four workouts you adapt, and then by the sixth workout you’re ready for new soreness from doing something else. We tend to adopt the same habits in other aspects of our lives.
We tend to shop at the same time, eat at the same restaurants, frequent the same stores. We are creatures of habit.
In training it is imperative that we break out of these ruts. We have to try new movements or different ways of doing the same old movements.
Variety is not only the spice of life but it’s the main ingredient for success in weight training. Yvonne is now alternating between doing an upper-body workout and a lower-body workout. This kind of split will help her build a more balanced body structure, reduces the rest time between sets and it allows her to complete more work in any session.
This was proved by a study which looked at the effects of three kinds of fitness training — a low-intensity circuit training group, an endurance (cardio) only training group and a high-intensity circuit-training group.
It concluded that of the three, the high-intensity ciruit training showed the greatest reductions in body weight, percentage of fat mass, waistline, and blood lactate. So setting up a circuit of high-intensity exercises will be more effective for fat loss and weight reduction than doing pure endurance training.
So, as Yvonne’s goal is weight loss or fat loss, we are setting up her exercises in super-set, tri-sets or circuit (four or more exercises) fashion to really maximise results.
If you add in some interval training (high-intensity work followed by a rest period) and clean up your diet, you’ll make progress just like Yvonne.
You can read the next instalment of Yvonne’s progress on June 14
No one is more surprised than me at how I’m sticking to this new lifestyle
I am now training with Damien four times a week, up from three, and the workouts have changed dramatically.
I have been doing lots of weight-bearing squats and lunges, which really make your legs burn, and dead lifts, which are my favourite.
At one point I was lifting 60kg and I felt like Wonder Woman. Three months ago, I couldn’t even open a jar of pickles.
Any inhibitions I had in the gym have gone. When I first started, I was shocked by the noises coming out of some of the people working out. Now I am sweating and grunting along with the best of them. It is just impossible to lift ridiculously heavy weights in a ladylike manner.
I am really seeing results and not just in terms of losing weight. I am so much fitter. At a family birthday recently I was able to run around and play with my two nephews long after the other adults had run out of steam. I have much more definition. I notice it in my shoulders and arms in particular. A month ago, there were no circumstances under which I would wear anything sleeveless, but now, I wouldn’t give it a second thought.
I had a work do recently, which required an evening dress. I hadn’t intended to go shopping this month, although I have been buying gym gear every couple of weeks for safety reasons (loose pants are very dangerous around exercise equipment).
I had been putting off buying normal clothes. I didn’t want to spend good money on something that I wouldn’t be able to wear for more than a couple of weeks and I still had a few dresses that I could wear, from the ‘I’ll get this because it is on sale and some day it will fit me’ section of my wardrobe.
Also, if I am to be perfectly honest, I kind of like the fact that all my clothes are too big for me. It’s sad, I know, but it makes me feel skinny.
So off I went on my first real shopping trip since I began to lose weight.
And it was great. The whole shop was my oyster. Where before I would have restricted myself to just one style of dress, now there were no limits, other than the usual financial ones, of course. I found a dress I liked.
It was pink and short and gorgeous. I took a size 12 in to the dressing room — I didn’t want to be too cocky — and it was too big.
The shop assistant knocked on the dressing-room door. “Can I help you with anything?” she asked. “You certainly can,” I replied. “Do you have this in a size 10?” Reader, it fit. In fact, it was slightly on the roomy side. Yippee.
The dress was kind of flimsy, so off I went to the underwear section to buy a slip to wear under it, size small. I was having the time of my life.
If the shop hadn’t been about to close, I would have done serious damage with my credit card. The freedom of choice that not being fat brought was quite intoxicating.
Attending an event unencumbered by Spanx for the first time in years was also a thrill, and made the throbbing in my calf muscles — I had started a new programme that morning — worthwhile.
Three months in and I have relaxed a bit on a few things.
When eating out, instead of regaling the waiter with a long list of things I can’t have or don’t want, I just order a dish with the sauce on the side and leave whatever I don’t want after me. I even had ice cream after a meal recently as my weekly cheat, although I did wake up feeling really guilty, a feeling that was purged only with a visit to the gym.
I have also started drinking coffee again, this time without my usual two sugars, and find that I enjoy it just as much as before.
I am still really focused and determined and am still enjoying this new lifestyle. I haven’t missed a session in the gym or fallen off the wagon with the food, and no one is more surprised than I am.
I think the reason I can stick to the rules so rigidly is that I made a couple of things non-negotiable, like having a breakfast before I leave the house, having snacks between meals, going to the gym at least five times a week and keeping up with my food diary.
I am particularly rigid about keeping my appoint-ments at the gym. If I know I am going to be busy at work on a certain day, I get up a few hours earlier to make sure I will be able to leave the office on time.
Ironically, considering that going to the gym eats up at least six hours a week, I feel like I have never had more time.