While gearing up to write a “year in review” type article, I, once again, find myself in awe of what I have been blessed enough to accomplish during the last 3 years of my Fitness Journey. As I was going through my progress photos on my computer I realized that I largely still keep these photos to myself. Sure, I write about my workouts and share my excitement about nutrition and the value of variety of in a workout program, but I am pretty conservative when it comes to sharing photos. I believe this is due to a healthy boundary of over-sharing personal information on the world wide web. It seems like it is about time for me to take a leap of faith. I have a story to share – which I have stated in words – but would more likely inspire others if I provided additional visual aids. So, here it goes. A restatement of my Fitness Journey – with photos:
In my early twenties I saw myself beginning to fall into the standard American way of living. Unfortunately, this is not a complement. When the term “standard American diet” is typed into the Google search engine, among the first few hits is this description: high intake of red meat, sugary desserts, high-fat foods, refined grains, high-fat dairy products, high-sugar drinks, and eggs. The nutrition ratio of the majority is 15/50/35 (% protein/ % carbs/ % fat). I can’t say for sure if my macro-nutrient ratios were this sad looking before I became more conscious of what a good nutrition plan looked like, but I can say that my daily dinner was “homestyle” – meat, cheese, potatoes, and some sort of vegetable. Shortly after starting college, I quit smoking cigarettes and started a daily workout routine of cardio and resistance circuit training at the gym at my university to truly change my habits. I went from being relatively unhealthy person with bad habits to a fairly healthy person with good habits. As I slowly worked my way through school I worked out less and less, and next thing I knew I was graduating and getting married in a size 14 wedding dress. I love my wedding pictures, but I wish I had known about Beachbody years ago so a fitter woman would have been in those pictures (at least I can say I don’t long to fit in that dress again! 😉 Beachbody helped me kick out heavy casseroles and traditional comfort food, etc., so that I now feel proud of how my fridge and pantry look when I open them. The well rounded fitness packages that Beachbody offers made the difference in my lifestyle. I’ve always loved to cook, and I do even more so now that I make clean healthy dishes.
When I started P90X, in December 2010, I took it on with my husband, Frank. Frank and I did the workouts with consistent dedication for about a month. At the time Frank was working terribly long hours and commuting over an hour to work, and I think he saw the quick gains he was looking for and stopped working out with me. During that time we weren’t strictly adhering to a nutrition plan, and I saw strength gains but little weight loss…if any. I have the tendency to focus on numbers, so I didn’t weigh myself during this first round. Fortunately I took these progress photos! It looks like I lost some weight, and gained a little muscle tone.
After I finished the first round of P90X, I began Insanity at the encouragement of a girlfriend that I worked with. She lent me her DVD set in March 2011, and by late May I felt like a different person. I started receiving comments and kudos from lots of my colleagues and found myself talking about the programs and nutrition at length with many people. At the beginning of May 2011, my girlfriend Marion started joining me pretty frequently for my second round of Insanity. Marion and I started joking that she should move in so we could work out together every day. The weight came off so fast during those months, and I felt really great that I was sharing my passion for fitness with others.
The above photo is a head shot that I still finding shocking – 12/2010 compared to 6/2011. P90X gave me a fitness base that is irreplaceable. Even though I’m not ‘wowed’ by my progress during those first 90 days, I am super proud of the commitment I made and the dedication it took to press on past that 90 day mark to make fitness a part of my daily life. I have a clear memory of how HARD I worked.
Insanity was a whole new beast. Considering I was still out of shape, yet in better condition than pre-P90X – those workouts were hard. I remember being impressed by how much sweat my body was capable of producing in a 50 minute time frame. I remember that Cardio Abs and Core Cardio and Balance (CC&B) were really the only two workouts I could (sort of) do! I inserted CC&B into my workout schedule all over the place during that first round of Insanity….which for those of you unfamiliar with the program schedule – CC&B is essentially considered the “Recovery Week” workout, and is less intense than many of the others. LOL! The first part of the workout has a move called the Log Jump where you jog in place and jump laterally when instructed. That was hard for me. I would just keep my eyes down and only jump when Shaun T said the word…but that means I was slightly cheating because toward the end of the move he was talking about form and encouraging cast members…while we were supposed to be continuing to jump on beat. Modifying that workout led to me getting better, dominating it, and gradually getting good at the other workouts too.
During the summer of 2011, when I started doing a hybrid of Turbofire/Insanity/P90X, I finally noticed my wild muscle development that had been going on all along under my soft exterior. That summer was filled with cool down walks down my street with cold results and recovery in hand! I’m sure my neighbors had to wonder what I had been doing to come out of my house that sweaty, and if I was going to pass out during my walk!
The photo above was taken in December 2011, just before Frank and I began our project of finishing part of the basement for our workout room. We finished it before we began our first round of P90X2 on January 16, 2012.
This photo above (Back flex pre (left) and post (right) round one of P90X2) is proof of the difference that pull-ups and push-ups make on muscle definition! P90X2 was a great winter challenge for Frank and I. I loved it! Tony Horton takes good care of me because I don’t know of any other program that I could do daily without getting over worked. The kind of guidance provided in X2 for proper recovery and maintenance (foam rolling) gave me the knowledge I needed to listen to my body and take care of myself so I can keep bringing it long term!
After our first round of P90X2 – I designed a Insanity / Asylum / X2 hybrid for us that kept us feeling challenged through June. Then I began mixing in some more cardio kickboxing type stuff with Turbofire, and got back to the basics with Power 90 workouts. August brought Body Beast into our lives, which was a true game changer. We rang in 2013 with a X2 / Beast / Asylum hybrid as a follow up to our first round of Body Beast.I’m down 55 lbs from my starting weight of 189 lbs…which was too much extra stuff on my 5’8” frame. I aim to keep my body fat percentage right around 10-12%, which is a comfortable range for my lifestyle…otherwise I would probably need to eat every 20 minutes!
This spring was made up of mainly P90X, P90X2, Turbofire, and Body Beast workouts. Here is a photo of me feeling espeically pumped up after a Bulk Arms workout. Body Beast has given me the power to lift heavier in all of my resistance workouts which is funny…because I felt like I was lifting heavy before! This summer was a wild combination of T25, Asylum Volume II, and yoga. A month of following the T25 schedule has chiseled my abs, so they look like this: Yeah, I’m honestly still floored when I see photos like this…or catch glimpses in the mirror. It has been a great journey so far, day 1114 (and counting)! I’m getting pretty pumped up as I sample the P90X3 workouts. This one was taken before a morning workout last weekend.
When I became a Team BeachBody coach in January 2012 I was a little nervous. I didn’t want to just do it for the discount, though that is a great perk, I really wanted encourage others to find their way to a healthier version of themselves. Being a “product of the product” truly helps get the word out there, and I want to be here to support other people going through these programs. A big part of that is being open in sharing my own progress, which has been hard for me…because I sometimes feel like sharing is bragging. I hope it seems like sharing, and that if you are considering taking on any Beachbody program that I can offer you support and some unique insight. I have, you know, been becoming an expert through my experience with them; ) P90X3 is the next challenge on the roster! Frank and I are currently sampling the workouts, and will officially begin on January 6, 2014! Let me know if you would like to join us! I’m thinking of setting up a Facebook accountability group if there are a good number of people interested.
Plus, it always helps to know someone else is in it with you!