I’ve just finished my eighth week of training at U.P. Manchester and I’m ready for Christmas, I’ll tell you that for free.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: meal-prepping is the devil.
They don’t tell you quite how much tupperware you’ll go through and how many hours you’ll spend slaving away behind a hot stove (or microwave.)
Once you get the hang of that, the nutrition is easy work. I’m somewhat of a pro at juggling chicken and veg these days.
In the last few weeks, it’s really hit home quite how poorly educated I was on the simple things. “Everything in moderation” is the key with any transformation.
As you’ll read, I had quite a few occasions to contend with over weeks five to eight. Thankfully, with the support of my trainer Joe, I was able to stay motivated and on-track.
Week 5: Cardio is hard-io
After getting over the initial shock of my first few weeks training, Joe introduced additional cardio into my program.
Myself, being a former ‘queen of cardio’, felt excited at the thought – “Spin, my old friend, we meet again” I confidently mused.
Let’s just say, I was a little over-confident, to say the least.
Team an hour of cardio with three hours of weight-training a week and you have a recipe for exhaustion.
You see, the weight seemed to be dropping off me and I was beginning to, dare I say it, look forward to the training – so the idea that I could be doing more to aid my transformation actually excited me.
So, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I was to add in 30 minutes each day of light cardio – my weapon of choice was the rowing machine. I found it easy enough at first, and it was great to get to know everyone at the gym a little better – I finally had the confidence to talk to the other trainers at U.P., and get to know some of our fantastic clients on a similar journey.
Obviously, as someone who had been moving very little pre-transformation the training tired me out a fair bit. I was definitely sleeping better and as expected my weight was still dropping. I just couldn’t shake the yawns, both in the gym and out.
Thankfully, this cleared up quite quickly and within a week of my new program – I felt better than ever.
If this transformation has taught me one thing, it’s that we must trust the process.
Week 6: Strongwoman
Another week, another extra session.
In my sixth week, I felt I was confident enough to take on a new challenge; a Saturday morning group session at the gym.
As someone that suffers with social anxiety, the thought of a new situation with lots of new people daunted me. But, I do love proving myself wrong where possible.
I enlisted the help of a few work colleagues to join me at U.P. Manchester at 9:30am on that Saturday morning, and I haven’t looked back since.
The energy and intensity of Strongman was exactly what I needed to further boost my confidence. The community spirit and energy during these sessions highlighted another reason why I’d started my transformation; to put myself out there again.
In the few years leading up to U.P., I’d lost a few aspects of my personality that I slowly saw making an appearance again – the fun, confident Jess was making her way back and fingers crossed, she’s here to stay.
Week 7: New York, baby!
My first test: a week in New York.
Up until this point, I’d been 100% ‘on it’ with regards to nutrition and training. I hadn’t touched a single bit of food without consulting Joe, and I hadn’t even thought about cheating.
The thought of a week going ‘off-plan’ scared me. I’d worked so hard, I didn’t want to un-do it all in 7 days.
On the other hand, I’d saved up for a year to visit The Big Apple and I also didn’t want to waste an opportunity that might not arise again.
Something that’s supported massively at U.P. is the idea that our clients have lives – people travel, people eat out and people go out. There should never be any guilt around enjoying your life, and our trainers certainly enforce that.
So, how was my week in NYC I hear you ask?
I ate my way around New York, I made sensible choices (where possible) and took the time to get in as many steps as I could whilst exploring. I had no guilt and it gave me time to reflect on everything I’d learnt about nutrition so far (don’t tell Joe about the pancakes though.)
All joking aside, one of the most amazing things about my trip was that I actually wanted to get in front of the camera!
For years I’d been camera shy – hiding my body and standing behind people in group shot – the thought of a full-body picture scared the life out of me. Not any more, I finally want to show myself off. Uploading the pictures to Instagram was daunting but after some extremely supportive comments from friends, I knew I’d made another step in the right direction.
Another milestone passed with a big smile on my face.
Week 8: Party season
After the excitement of a week away, I was more than ready to get back into the swing of things and enjoy a few plates of chicken and broccoli.
Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, it was the week of our U.P. Christmas party.
My trainer Joe obviously took great pleasure in working me to the bone in the week that followed NYC but, much to his dismay, it was well and truly party-season.
Another small victory for me was fitting into a size 14 dress for the occasion – a full two sizes down from Christmas 2018. It felt good to know that I would feel comfortable in my own skin this year, after worrying and stressing about my appearance the year before.
Again, the thought of straying from my training and nutrition panicked me but with reassurance from Joe, I felt like I could stay relatively on track, whilst having a fun weekend in London.
There was no need to worry – being sat on the table with U.P. Founder and CEO, Nick Mitchell, I found it exceedingly easy to keep my hands away from the bread basket.
The tequila on the other hand, was quite difficult to resist – we learnt that the hard way.
Another social event ticked off and another 2KG lost this week.
The eight-week roundup: The biggest loser
I’m sure you’ll hear this from me again but I truly had another amazing four weeks on my body transformation with U.P.
I finally hit a 15kg loss milestone, all whilst working hard and playing harder.
The last four weeks taught me that life happens, fun happens and most importantly, change happens when you trust yourself to make sensible choices.
If this month is anything to go by, the next four are going to be awesome.