I started my 12 Week Challenge on Monday 14th January. It ended on Sunday 7th April. It’s been a journey! Lots of ups and downs and much learning along the way. I’m was ‘up North’ for the final weekend which was a good opportunity for some down time and to review the last 12 weeks…
Review of the 12 Weeks
I’ve learnt about what does and doesn’t work for me. I’ve upped my calorie consumption from around 2000 a day to 2500. My weight has stabilised at present and I ended the 12 weeks at 50kg and 17.6 per cent body fat. I started the challenge at 48kg and 16.4 per cent body fat.
Going forward, I’ll be looking to continue to build lean muscle and reduce body fat – but without getting smaller. Not easy!
I’ve still been having ‘treats’ over the 12 weeks – for example, I enjoyed an ice cream after my run Saturday morning. Well, I was at the beach after all…! I also enjoyed a fish and chip supper on Sunday!
At the start of my challenge, I decided to reduce my runs down to once a week and focus on developing my leg strength. This was because my knees were playing up after I’d ran. I also stuck to flat runs for most of the challenge. This was a good decision. By the end of Week 11, I’d gotten a 10k Post-op PB and re-introduced the odd hillier route. I am also now running twice a week again.
I started on a new strength plan in Week 1 which gave me focus in the gym. I’ve progressed my weights on several key exercises. My back squat is now 30-35kg (depending on how knees feel) – up from 25kg. Incline Chest Press machine has progressed from no additional weights to 5kg. I’ve also started bench pressing with a bar rather than dumbbells. My cable seated row is now at 25kg (up from 20kg). Press Down & Lat Pull Down are both now 25kg – up from 20kg. So my progress is measurable and I will continue to push on – I have progressed through my training plans and have increased the weights on several key exercises. I’ve also introduced some new exercises along the way to challenge. If it doesn’t challenge, it doesn’t change! I will be reviewing my training plans and putting a new one in place to begin my next block.
The pictures below compare Week 1 and Week 12. I’m happy with what I have achieved in 12 weeks. I feel that my anterior hasn’t changed much visually, but I’m definitely stronger through my core. I am now able to touch the floor with my foot on single leg lifts without my back arching off the floor. I’m now working on double leg lifts but these will take time!
My posterior has changed though! My back has more muscle ‘bulk’. It always had a ‘toned’ look as I carry very little body fat there. But it is much stronger and more defined now. Building muscle takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight and 12 weeks is a relatively short time period. So this will continue to be a focus.
I started Week 1 feeling ‘skinny’! I was 48kg and was going too long between meals. So I started to have 6 ‘meals’ a day. I’m now eating 5 or 6 times a day and having increased my daily calorie intake to around 2500, it’s working for me. But it may have to increase further if I’m to continue to build muscle and not shrink!
It doesn’t end here. It’s not over. It’s just one chapter closing as I open another. Allowing myself a few weeks of ‘free training’ – just enjoying what I’m doing, learning new things etc – I will be starting a new 12 week block.
But this time, I’ll be inviting you to join me on my journey. So if you fancy the challenge of pushing yourself; seeing what you’re capable of; enjoying the accountability and seeing the resulting changes, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be workouts to follow; nutritional advice; a private Facebook group and endless accountability and support to keep you on track. I’m game. Are you?