My weight gain and fitness challenge: Putting on muscle and feeling fit

Weight gain journey

For me to voluntarily set my alarm for 5.50am to exercise before work means that something is going right. And yes, it has actually happened. On more than one occasion.

If you’d read one of my recent posts, I’ve set myself a goal of putting on some weight. Before Christmas and into the new year I’d been feeling a bit run down, quite weak, and as if my body is just getting a bit too small and tired. That probably sounds a bit odd, but I know what I mean … there’s just not enough of me to keep me going.

Before I was pregnant with our first son, I weighed around 8.5 stone on average. While I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to stick to quite a strict low carb / high protein diet to keep my blood sugar at a safe level. For me, this was a huge change as I’m a big time carb lover … lunch would be a sandwich or baguette, crisps and chocolate before, which changed to something like one pitta bread with chicken and salad, with some veg on the side. I was actually told off for having two pitta breads one day.

Unsurprisingly, I lost weight over the five months I was following this diet, and was down to just under eight stone after our son was born.

It was no different while I was pregnant with our second son. I ended up weighing less than eight stone again once he was born (I joke that his chubby cheeks stole any fat I had left) and I’ve struggled to put the weight back on over the last two years. I now weigh between 7stone 12 and 8 stone, which for my height puts me as underweight.

Now, I could quite easily start eating more fatty and sugary food to put on some weight, but knowing what it’s like having to test my blood sugar four times a day and having to explain myself to a nutritionist, I just couldn’t do it that way. So I’ve embarked on an overall health and fitness mission with trainer Rhys from Webfit Wales.

It was a bit of a shock getting into regular exercise after years of basically doing not very much at all, but I soon realised how much I’ve missed it! I used to be very active, but at the start of this year wouldn’t have been able to run a mile without struggling, and couldn’t hold my weight for a press-up (and as I’ve just said, I’m underweight, which goes to show how weak I am!).

Rhys has put me on a plan which steadily increases the difficulty level of exercise sessions to ease me into it. The first week or so was more about finding a routine for fitting exercise in, and the next couple of weeks were designed to build some muscle mass and strength.

I’ve enjoyed pushing myself to do more reps, hold planks for longer and increasing the intensity of sessions, but what’s more difficult is finding time to fit it in. I’ve tried to do most sessions before work – hence the getting up at 5.50am – but after a bad night with the boys waking, or Stew working nights, I’ve had to do a few after work. This ends up with me either in the living room trying to answer the boys’ questions in short bursts of words, or in the kitchen using my rest breaks to cook their tea. I really hope the neighbours haven’t spotted me through the window because I’m not a pretty exerciser!

I was a bit daunted when I saw Rhys had added some runs into my schedule. I hadn’t been for a run since September 2014, and wasn’t at all confident that I would make it around the block without collapsing. The aim was to do 20 minutes – 10 minutes out, then turn around and run 10 minutes back home. I set off in a random direction and intentionally didn’t keep track of my distance so I wouldn’t be disheartened when I found out how far (or not) I’d gone. By the time I got home I was exhausted and as looking like a beetroot, but do you know what? I did it. I ran for 20 minutes without stopping or walking, and that’s a huge achievement for me!

Six weeks in to my training plan I’m exercising four times a week, and even managed two gym sessions during a weekend away. And I ventured into the weights room on my own! My workouts are nothing like they would have been before. I was all about cardio, and would go for a run or just use the treadmill in the gym. Now it’s all strength and resistance training, and I can feel such a huge difference.

Along with the high protein meal plan (not as extreme as when I was pregnant, thank God!), Rhys has made me feel leaner and stronger, and this is just in six weeks. I can actually see some stomach muscles forming … and they were non-existent after growing two big bubbas!

As I explained when I started this fitness mission, Rhys and Webfit World work through an app where your meal and exercise plans are uploaded and regularly reviewed for progress. You keep track of which workouts you’ve completed, can add extra sessions if you’ve been super keen, and can upload weekly photos to keep track of changes in your body shape.

Although it means you never actually meet your trainer, they’re always there if you need help. Rhys has been messaging me asking how I’m getting on, if I’m finding it challenging enough, if I’m enjoying the meals. And if there’s something I’m struggling with he’s happy to make changes to the plan to suit me.

The main appeal for me was not having to join a gym, pay expensive monthly costs and never find the time to go and workout. I’ve been able to do all the sessions at home, and have just bought a couple of dumbbells and a kettle bell (pretty ones, of course) to increase my resistance. You should have seen my first attempt at swinging a kettle bell … I nearly knocked myself out!!! But I’m managing to keep up, and as I think a workout is getting easier Rhys cranks up the pace to keep the challenge going.

I’m feeling confident to wear a bikini on holiday … and am even packing my gym clothes to keep it up while we’re away. Now that’s dedication!

To find out more about the packages Webfit Wales offer, click here.

2 thoughts on “My weight gain and fitness challenge: Putting on muscle and feeling fit

  1. Oooh I didn’t realise you struggled with with being under weight. Everything in society is geared towards helping people lose weight (which obviously i am obsessed with until faced with cheese!) and there’s usually little sympathy for people trying to put on weight and i always think that’s so unfair. A struggle is a struggle and i think it’s awesome that you’ve decided to tackle it in such a healthy way! I’ve upped my exercise this year (doing classes and and couch to 5K) and i am LOVING it! GO US! 🙂

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