My weight gain and fitness challenge: Phase one

To say my first few weeks of following a food and exercise plan set by a personal trainer was a complete success would be a lie. But then again, it wouldn’t be fair to say I failed either. Let’s go with it being a time of change.

If you missed my last post, I’ve taken the plunge and enlisted the help of a personal trainer to start getting fit and hopefully put on a bit of muscle on my currently toneless body. The best part about it is that it’s all programmed into an app, so you can work it around your lifestyle and not have to commit to joining a gym.

When my trainer Rhys uploaded my fitness and nutrition programme to my app I was quite excited to see what I was getting myself in for. Both aspects of the plan were covered in detail, making it look very easy to follow.

I’ll start with the exercise side of it, seeing as that’s going to be the biggest change.

I won’t lie, I’ve done very little exercise for the past four years – since I got pregnant with our eldest really. We go out for walks and I chase after our boys, but that’s as far as it goes. Going from nothing to the three sessions a week plotted in my app’s calendar for the first four weeks was quite daunting. But I was determined, so started the day after my programme was set up.

Ok, so session one wasn’t a complete success. I jumped straight into it, enjoyed it, but didn’t feel as if I’d been pushed. It was only later that I realised I’d actually done a third of the session as I was supposed to repeat certain parts of it as a mini circuit. At least I’d had our youngest as an added weight during my squats as he refused to let me put him down. Go leg muscles!

As I have no equipment and don’t go to a gym, the workouts are based around callisthenics (body weight as resistance), with a warm-up and groups of exercises to repeat as many times as your programme says. So things like high knee jogging, tricep dips, planks and push-ups.

There were a couple that I genuinely struggled with, but a few weeks in and I’m already seeing progress in my strength and flexibility, which is fab!

Over the first few weeks I actually managed to get up at 6am to do workouts before work, went for a run at the weekend, and a couple of times even squeezed in some exercise after putting the boys to bed. This would be impossible if I was trying to go to the gym, especially if Stew was working nights, so an app-based fitness plan is definitely the way forward for me.

One benefit that I hadn’t even considered is that working out at home means I can wear whatever I want. If I was going to the gym I’d be conscious about wearing decent workout clothes and matching socks, but with nobody else around I can wear shorts and a pj top with my mismatched socks and not care what I look like! It’s the little things…

The other half of the plan focuses on nutrition, with what I would describe as a high protein and low carb diet to follow. The food calendar is pretty basic, with outlines of meals that you can adapt to suit – chicken with broccoli and rice for example can be added to to make a Chinese style chicken with egg fried rice.

To be completely honest, I found it a bit tricky sticking to the plan as Stew does the vast majority of our cooking. But he’s been working from the Joe Wicks books, which are mainly high protein, low carb recipes anyway.

There are also two almond milk, fruit oats and protein powder smoothies a day to add between meals, which makes it feel like you’re eating quite a lot. I got bored of the smoothies after a couple of weeks so mixed it up and have one as porridge in the morning and drink the second in the afternoon. This has made a huge difference and I no longer feel the need to snack as I kept full between meals. It certainly fills the long gap between breakfast and lunch.

After the first four weeks I can definitely feel a difference. I feel more energised, stronger and already healthier. I haven’t been craving chocolate like I usually do, and am loving making the time to exercise … even if my rest times are spent running back and fore to the kitchen making drinks, snacks, fetching toys etc…

Most importantly, I’ve managed to make time for something I want to do for me. And the boys have seen me making an effort to exercise at home, which can only have a positive influence on them.

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