Sit down this is going to be a long one! Fitness is a massive part of my life and I wanted to share my fitness journey with you.
For around seven years I have enjoyed going to the gym and keeping active, the gym has been a constant part of my routine for the past few years, even at university with a hangover! I’m a motivated person and really enjoy keeping active, setting my 5am alarm twice a week to go to the gym before work, I’ve well and truly got the fitness bug.
Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who can eat anything and not put on any weight, I am one of those people who looks at a chocolate bar and gains a stone! I was always bigger than my friends at school and I hated being the bigger one, I would come home and do a fitness DVD a few times a week but then eat bad food. The problem I had was that I HATED fruit and veg, I felt sick every time I went to eat either, which meant I wasn’t getting a lot of nutrients and was relying mainly on carbs.
When I went to college I started going to the gym, doing cardio and light weights, I lost around three stone and felt incredible but still ate rubbish food and drinking a lot of alcohol, see my transformation pic below (apologies that it’s not the best quality!). I worked out quite a lot and didn’t eat a lot for around three years, I still wasn’t eating fruit or veg and would eat smaller portions.
Struggles of University
Moving to university I kept up my fitness routine, especially in first year when I avoided nights out. Having to cook for myself, I knew what was going into my food, I used to live on premade sauces. I used to follow a routine that a gym instructor would give me, trying to add in more weights.
Then came second year and although I still kept up going to the gym, I drank a lot of alcohol and ate a lot of takeaways, I was still working in retail at the time so on my working days I would be on my feet all day. Putting on a bit of weight, but nothing too drastic.
I found a lot of my workouts online and tailored them to work on upper and lower body, not really knowing what I was doing. I would go to quite a few classes at the gym such as HIIT and spinning, as I liked my heart beat going up and feeling like you’ve had a good workout. I’d spoke to a PT at the gym I went to and decided to start some sessions with him, learning how to properly use the scary equipment such as squat racks, leg press and so on.
Juggling Working Full-Time & The Gym
I then went to do my placement year and was sat on my hour journey to work and back, sat at a desk for eight hours and going out every weekend, and doing far less steps, the weight piled on even though I kept up going to the gym four to five times a week.
The Body Coach
I decided to do The Body Coach Plan by Joe Wicks while working full-time, I didn’t get the results I wanted, but you have to follow it to a tee. There were certain meals with certain grams you had to have (not good for someone picky like me!), although the workouts were easy to follow and required little equipment. For me the struggle is food and this plan didn’t work for me, although it has worked for so many other people.
Thinner, Leaner, Stronger
I then read about Thinner, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews, which explains macros. I then started to plan all my meals and count macros, planning my meals around things I enjoyed to eat and trying to incorporate more vegetables and fruit into my diet. The plan was easy to follow and I noticed a change, I fell in love with weight training. Usually with plans you have a set amount of days you need to go to the gym, but with this plan you could pick 3, 4 or 5 workout days which was good if I couldn’t fit five workouts in a week. I was undertaking this plan for around 7 – 8 months I think (it’s been a while!) and followed this during my final year at university. It worked really well for me but the last months at university were hard and I didn’t have time to count all my macros or cook healthy meals, so I let go a little.
Moving home from university I was no way happy with my body, I felt really big and unhappy, I stopped drinking and going to the gym more and I started to notice a difference but it wasn’t enough so I decided to join Slimming World (which all weight lifters and PT’s will hate!). I did well with it, it was nice to not have to weigh out all of my food and still keep healthy, however, it can be restrictive. I didn’t lose as much as I wanted because with weight lifting, I was putting on muscle weight. I ended up losing just over a stone with Slimming World but decided in 2018 that I’d go back to counting macros, as that way I can eat what I want as I track what I can and can’t eat.
The Ultimate Full Body Guide
I’d followed Carys Gray for a while and admired her body, keeping up to date with her fitness vlogs and stalking her Instagram, when I heard she was doing a guide I couldn’t be happier! I started The Ultimate Full Body Guide in November 2017 and started as soon as I could, it was very specific and you had to do certain exercises in order, which was difficult in a busy gym! At first I was doing this alongside Slimming World and then carried on doing this when I started macros. In the guide, it details the sort of macros you should have and the splits, you should consume less carbs and more fat on rest days and more carbs and less fat on workout days, it was hard at points having less carbs as I love pasta and potatoes and they form a lot of my diet!
Busybee’s Shape Up
In May after almost completing the UFBG, Carys joined forces with Connor Swift for the summer shape up and I decided to give this plan a go. I lost track a few times and have restarted, I’m still working my way through the guide and keep restarting, but it’s challenging but easy to follow, taking it back to basics with simple compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, bicep curls and so on, along with a HIIT workout. It’s fun to follow and I’ve seen a difference, in both my body composition and the increased weights I can lift. I continued counting my macros, having less carbs on rest days and more carbs on workout days, which works really well for me.
Grace Fit Guide
Grace is another vlogger I’ve been following for a while, I’ve not tried her main plan but I do follow her Booty Burners exercises, I got myself one of her bands and it has been a life changer. I had one of the workouts before my leg day and after to ‘feel the booty burn’, I love being able to feel the burn and her bands are an incredible way to shape the booty.
In the New Year, I’m going to restart the Busybee guide again (and not have a break or keep restarting!), carry on with Graces booty burner exercises and continue to count my macros. After completing, I’d like to do the follow-on guide as I find them easy to understand and challenging. In regards to food, I’m going to continue counting my macros and adjust my calories where I see fit, my current target is 1,800 calories a day which I sometimes exceed and at other points under eat, I’ve got a lot planned next year, therefore want to kick my butt into shape!
The gym can be a very daunting place for females, four years after starting weights I can go into a weights area, know what I’m doing and go in and get my workout done, although some men still tend to stare at me, I block them out, so don’t be afraid, put your headphones in and block everyone else out! Find a plan that works for you and don’t be afraid to change up your routine or ask the instructors in your gym to help with form (that’s what they’re there for!).
Have you tried any of these guides before? If so, what did you think? Let me know of any recommendations for new guides, I’m always on the lookout!