I have reached the final week of my 12-week body transformation, and it’s an amazing feeling.
I found this program to be one of the best things I’ve ever done.
I’ve pushed myself physically and mentally, and although at times it’s been hard and on some days I’ve wanted to quit, I haven’t.
I’ve powered through, and my results speak for themselves. I’m so pleased!
It was never about weight loss for me. I just wanted to get as fit and as strong as possible and mentally get to a place of feeling strong too. Shaping my body has been the icing on the cake though. I feel fantastic.
I started seeing results after about two weeks. I noticed my muscles getting tighter, and I was able to lift for a few more reps or a higher weight. I felt empowered!
My skin also began to look a lot clearer too, and I was sleeping better and waking up less sluggish. If you treat your body well, it really will repay you!
The most enjoyable part is the training for me. I know from my videos I’m in pain, and I’m struggling at times and looking like I’d rather be somewhere else, but time on the gym floor at UP is that good kind of pain! The one where you know it’s working, and you’re bettering yourself.
My trainers at UP, Mark and Steve, are also great at making sure you have a laugh as well as knuckle down. I hate anything too serious or boring, so they constantly mixed it up for me and threw new challenges at me each week.
I surprised myself in how quickly I stopped craving crap food. They say it takes around 21 days to break a habit, but for me, it was sooner than that.
I thought I was going to struggle not having biscuits with my coffee or pizza in the week, but I didn’t really. The support I got from Mark and Steve made it easier and I’m not at a place whereby if I want pizza or chocolate I’ll have it. I’m not sat thinking “I need a sugar fix! Where’s the chocolate!” I’m I’m in control of my mind and body, and it feels great.
Now I feel fantastic and seeing my pictures from my shoot almost made me cry happy tears. It’s made everything worth while and has shown me just how capable I am if I put my mind and heart into something 100%. Twelve weeks was nothing, really!
Your mind is always first to quit with training, but you have to push past it. Break through that wall and keep digging. I feel like I’ve learnt how to do that with training at UP.
The hardest bit for me was the first session. It’s daunting because it’s obviously designed to be hard. I felt sick, I was shaky, and part of me was disheartened as I thought I was fit to start with.
The bigger picture is, I was fit but we can all always be better. That’s what I had to get into my head. I was here at UP to better myself in every way possible so suck it up and stuck at it!
I’ve learnt I’m stronger than I thought and I was actually quite sad when we finished my last session. It was a proud, bitter sweet moment. I’ve decided to continue my training at UP as I know I’ll continue to get better whilst having fun and being in the company of people all on the same journey. It’s like a family, and I feel proud to be a part of it.
Here are the 10 most important things I’ve learned on my journey with UP…
1. Cardio vs Weights for Getting in Shape
For me, I’ve learned that they both go hand in hand, really. Cardio alone isn’t going to do anything for your shape, it’s a good tool to lose fat. But as far as shaping your body, you’re going to need to create an overload and to do that you need to lift weights.
For me, I’ve been doing small blasts of cardio at the end of each session. That’s either the prowler or sprints on the bike or farmers walks – fun kinds of cardio.
You don’t need to do hours and hours of cardio, which I think some people believe you have to do.
I’ve been doing 45 minutes a week on the bike on a Wednesday and that’s it, other than the other little bits on the end of my weights session.
To shape your body, weightlifting is the way forward and creating that overload. I still get bits of cardio in, because I still like being physically fit.
2. Strength training is key
Strength training has benefitted me in every single aspect really – my posture, my appearance, how lean I am, the strength I’ve got from it, the confidence it gives me and the fat loss. Everything with strength training is all rolled into one. It’s a combination of all the things that you want for your physique.
It’s been hard at times, but it’s amazing to see how strong you can get. In 12 weeks I’ve gone from like 7kg dumbbells on the shoulder press to 14kg dumbbells on the shoulder press.
I’ve got a lot more strength, and I’ve been able to lift heavier. My muscles have grown – but not in a way that looks unattractive.
I’m a lot leaner. So many people said ’12 weeks weight training, you’re going to look like a man at the end.’
But I don’t. I’m just stronger, fitter, curvier and leaner; I look more athletic, my posture is better, my circulation is a lot better, and I’m even sleeping a lot better. Strength training is the way forward!
3. The Importance of Sleep for Optimal Performance
Sleep is a major factor. I have to get up at 4-15am for work every morning, so I like to be in bed at the latest 10 pm – 9 pm if possible.
Sleep speaks for itself. If you have a baby or a puppy, they sleep all day sleeping because that’s when they’re growing and recovering.
It’s the same for us as adults – we need sleep to recover, repair and recoup.
People who function on little sleep it’s going to affect their day-to-day; their concentration levels, their energy levels, their drive and enthusiasm – Everything suffers.
Sleep is a major, major factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If I’ve not slept, I’m just really ratty. Ideally, I’d love eight hours, but I’m currently functioning on six hours a night.
It’s okay – but I could do with more. That’s why I keep on top of my nutrition because I think if you do one without the other it won’t work.
People think with regards to having a healthy lifestyle and living the best life possible, they can just go to the gym, or they can just eat vegetables. But it really is a combination of everything – you need to put all factors into making yourself the best version of ‘yourself’ possible
It’s tough with everyday life when you have a job, kids, social life; but the more you can prioritise yourself, the better everything around you will be.
4. Getting Your Nutrition Right
I’ve learned the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is 100% true.
If you pile your body full of nutrients and goodness and energy, your body will repay you from the inside, out. Your skin will be better; your hair will be better, your energy levels will be better.
If you constantly poison your body with 40 fags a day, crap food and processed junk and refined sugars, your cells are going to ultimately start dying.
They are not going to be able to work at their optimum level, and everything will suffer.
You want to be that person who can run around with their kids without getting tired or having chest pains; or the person who can run up a load of stairs without having to take a breather. In order to be that person, you need to give your body the best chance possible.
You’re in control of what you eat, and you’re in control of how you move, so if you have a choice to fuel your body or poison your body with each meal, always go with what’s best for your body.
5. Think of food as fuel
My best tip is to go off what you need as opposed to what you want. Obviously now and again people go with what they want at weekends, because they’ve worked hard and they want a reward.
The best tip is to think of it as fuel and not just food. You’ve got to think that you’re eating to fuel yourself, not just fill a hole or satiate your appetite.
Just re-evaluate what it is you put in your system and think ‘is this food or is this something processed from a shelf that’s full of crap that will give me a fix for 10 minutes or is it something that’s grown, fresh and nutritious that’s going to make me feel great?’
It’s stepping back and thinking about it before just shovelling any old thing in.
For me, the best things that fuel me are eggs, salmon; I love rye bread, oat with fresh fruit in it, bananas, almonds and things like that.
I always think if something roams, grows, swims or flies, then I can eat it, if it doesn’t, then I have. If anything has a label on and I can’t pronounce what’s on the back of it, then I don’t really want to eat it.
6. Fat loss is about consistency
I think the main thing that’s helped me most with fat loss is about what I eat and portion control. Then being consistent with my movement and consistent with my exercise.
Fat loss isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight; it’s going to take time, and your body needs time to start responding to it.
I think being consistent, persistent and patient are the three things you need.
For me now, it’s not a case of ‘oh, now the programme is done, I’m going to eat crap again’. It’s a case of ‘the programme’s done, now I’m going to maintain it.’
I’ve learned so much that this is just a way of life for me now. I’m going to continue to train three or four times a week; I’m going to continue to eat nutritious food. I will continue to have a pizza and some wine on a Saturday night with the girls, but then the next day, get back on it. It’s about having a balanced life.
7. Food Prep is Vital
Food prep has been a lifesaver. Because of the hours I work, I’m out most of the day working from 5 in the morning until at least 2 pm. So, for me to prep the night before and make sure I have my breakfast, lunch and snacks is vital because, depending on my meetings, I never want to be caught short and have to nip into a petrol station for a sandwich. I don’t ever want to have to do that.
I have a drawer at home that’s full of Tupperware. A couple of night’s a week I just cook a big bulk of food. Something like a veggie chilli with lean mince, some lean chicken or a stir fry.
One big portion for me makes about three big meals that I can fridge it or freeze it.Then it’s there if you need it.
I freeze bananas, so if I need something sweet they’re there for a quick ‘banana ice cream’. As long as you’ve got something prepped that you can go to, then you won’t be caught short. It saves a lot of time too.
8. Dealing with cravings is easy
They say it takes 21 days to break a habit, so the first three weeks were the toughest, then after that it was fine.
Yesterday, I wanted something to eat, so I just put some strawberry BCAAs in my water and just drank that and it was fine.
Again, my frozen fruit like bananas or berries are great too.
I don’t really crave sweet stuff. The cravings have gone, so if I have sweet stuff, it’s because I want it. At that time of the month, I do crave certain stuff. I crave things like bread and pasta, but I just have it. I listen to my body and I know it’s hormonal and that in two or three days I’ll feel fine again.
It’s about listening to your body and just being sensible with stuff. One bad meal doesn’t have to turn into three bad meals, doesn’t have to turn into a bad day or a bad week.
As long as you’ve got the willpower to say ‘that’s done’ and draw a line under it, shelve it, and get back on with things, I don’t see it as a problem.
9. A great personal trainer can help you achieve amazing results
For me, a good personal trainer is someone who genuinely cares about your results. They’re not just plodding and thinking ‘I’ve got another client today’.
Mark and Steve genuinely care about my results and genuinely want what’s best for me.
It’s someone who understands it’s never just simple black and white; just because they do it, I’ll be able to do it as easy.
They understand that everyone is on an individual journey and that what works for one, won’t always work for another.
It’s about being supportive, but not being strict with it; not cutting corners, but at the same time not knocking me down if I do fail a few reps.
It’s about building you up. They are your biggest support both inside and outside the gym. They’re on this journey with you. You do feel part of a team.
10. Lifting Weights Makes You Mentally Tough and Ready for Anything
I’ve realised that I’m stronger than I thought and I’m much more capable that I thought.
I never thought I had all this in me; I was a bit run down with stuff and feeling a bit sorry for myself.
I’m a lot more badass than I give myself credit for. Now anything that’s thrown at me, mentally I can handle it.
Anything thrown at me physically too, I know I can handle it. The way I train, I get to the point where it’s painful and I think ‘right! It’s working!’
I’ve built a mentality where on the last set of everything, I go to failure. I don’t start counting until it starts hurting – that old Bruce Lee motto!
It helps me mentally to get through more.
If you’re inspired by Gemma’s journey and want to start your own body transformation, talk to us about our Personal Training Plans or BOOK A CONSULT NOW!