So it’s a no brainer that diet and exercise will result in a fitter, healthier version of you…
I’ve recently undergone a bit of a lifestyle change because of a few internal gut health issues ( goodbye apples and prawns!) and I’ve received so many complements about how healthy and great I’m looking. In total I’ve lost close to 30kg since having the kids and it follows with the golden question…
“What are you doing?! Because it’s working!”
And here is the answer, the miracle you’ve all been waiting for… finally that secret, that ONE diet that will FINALLY work, (because like me, you’ve tried them all)…
The Answer: Clean diet and exercise.
Holy crap! Incredible! NO ONE has ever tried that before! 😊
I know it sounds so boring but it’s really not rocket science. Eat great nutritious food (please, no starving yourself), sweat out more calories than you eat and viola! I promise you will not only lose weight, but you’ll have more energy, be in a better mood, be more productive at work, have less aches and pains, have better sex and those positive vibes will be just flowing from you in every move you make. If that alone doesn’t inspire you to make some positive lifestyle changes, nothing will!
Most brides I’ve come across try some sort of nutrition and exercise plan before their wedding day. Whether you want to loose a little or a lot, or perhaps just get a little more toned in your arms and back to knock your partners socks off in that low back dress, the fitness and wedding industry really go hand in hand in the lead up to the day and there is plenty of info out there to confuse the hell out of you. So I thought I’d share some of my journey to help you get started on your road to wed – shred.
One thing you need to learn: HIIT
You may have already seen this acronym or have seen it floating around in instagram hashtags in what seems to be a never ending array of fitness chicks through your insta feed. And as soon as you double tap on one of those inspiring body “before and after” pics you are introduced into a whole new level of fitness related products, workouts, and fitness apparel.
I won’t lie, I had to google what HITT was before I got into it so I thought I’d save you the minute of doing so. #yourewelcome
It stands for : High Intensity Interval Training.
It’s gaining so much popularity because this style of training is designed to burn the most amount of calories, in the least amount of time and for all of us that are feeling the time poor pinch, its the perfect solution that will fit in with almost anyone’s busy lifestyle.
What I can tell you is that it makes me feel amazing, day in, day out. So like anything, find something you actually enjoy doing and everything will fall naturally into place. In a nutshell, HITT training is short intense bursts of working out, with small breaks in between. i.e thrash yourself on the rowing machine for 30 seconds then have a 10 second break, then repeat. Several times over until you are a ball of sweat.
Sounds like hell to you?
Let me tell you where I came from… I was the person that enjoyed exercise once it was over and done with, my first thought in the morning wasn’t to get up and workout, and over the years I’ve “tried it all”…from fad diets to juice and tea detox, to personal training and 12 week challenges… yet nothing, until now, have I actually ENJOYED. I was always looking for the relatively quick fix only to have my brain wander half way through, to never finish a 12 week challenge, to get sick of having shakes for breakfast and lunch or worse yet, kidney stones from a juice detox diet. There was always an excuse. Work and being time poor were powerful ones to turn my allocated workout time to admin and emails.
So ..I now find myself in a position where I’m “one of them”. I’m the girl that springs out of bed to get to my 6am workout class. I’m the one wearing the latest Garmin watch tracking my steps, my heart rate and how many calories I’ve burnt. I’m the one decked out in the latest Lorna Jane, because, #activewear ( it’s comfy!!) Let’s just say I’m totally addicted to this style of training.
F45 are known as the HITT training specialists and they are popping up everywhere. The fitness franchise frenzy that guarantees results and a positive atmosphere. I initially signed up at my local F45 studio thinking I’d go maybe 3 times a week, you know… to try it out and loose those last few kilos I’d put on since having the kids… Before signing up to f45 I had heard of it but didn’t know anything about it. The word “cult” got thrown around loosely so I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for to be honest. But what I do know, is that I’ve finally found a form a training that I feel like I can stick to! And it makes me feel so damn good!
And to be honest with you, I still can’t believe that, almost 6 months in, I still enjoy F45, and would actually go onto to say I LOVE it!
I practically dance my way into the studio and feel those endorphins racing around my body as I make the drive home once it’s over and I’m a happy ball of sweat. I’ve always thought exercise to be a chore, something I had to do, not something I actually wanted to do, let alone WANT to do everyday.
So, what it is about F45 that is so good? Well… for me, I go to the 6am class most days, generally 5-6 times a week. ( yes, I choose to go everyday!) It’s a 45 min circuit class. Either cardio based or resistance ( weights) based and sometimes a mix of both.
According to Luke Hanley, F45 Dapto ( my local) owner and trainer, all round nice guy and key motivator, F45 “is so addictive because it delivers and guarantees results and is delivered in a fun, motivating group environment”. And he’s dead right because you just wouldn’t go back if it wasn’t because its bloody hard work!
Now, what I’m going to say next is a revelation.
No Two Classes Are The Same !!
That’s right! I’ve been going 5-6 times a week, for 6 months and have NEVER repeated the same class. Boredom, there is no such thing. There are certain ‘themes’ to the classes, so they have structure in terms of time frames and reps but you’ll never do the exact same class twice. A combination of jumping, skipping, hopping, sprinting, box jumps, chin ups, squats, burpees, rowing, stationary bike, kettle bell swings, burpees, mountain climbers, burpees, and did I mention there are a few burpees thrown in too? 😊 The best part is that everyone has a different level of fitness, and everyone works to THEIR own pace, capacity and strength. When I started I could barely do 1 burpee but no I can smash out several, and even plank for 2 minutes straight! #thatcorestrength
This class structure is absolute genius for those, like me, that make the boredom excuse when it comes to exercise. Well it seems those days are long behind me.
Yep- this is me- Sweating it out with a weight bar on my shoulders mid challenge in November 2018 at my local F45 studio.
Luke has been in the fitness industry for 7 years and he has helped a number of brides achieve their weight loss goals for their wedding day. He has seen it all and says so many brides will achieve such great results, that they will stay on and continue their F45 journey long after the wedding day because of the enjoyment factor.
When I asked Luke what the biggest mistake brides make when training for their wedding? He explained that many brides become obsessed with a dress size.
“all dress sizes are beautiful it’s how you wear it that counts. If you’re a size 12 own that shit and don’t try and be an 8… There is a tenancy to choose bad habits in both training and diet, which become unhealthy and are not sustainable…aim to sustain!!!”
When you are choosing the type of pre wedding workout for your wed shred, obviously, the longer you have the better, but as a trainer, Luke suggests “8 weeks minimum although most brides do at least 12, when they have so much going on before a wedding …be the turtle!!”
Slow and steady wins the race? Or in this case gains those back muscles!
In October 2018, I decided to sign up for their version of an 8 week challenge just to keep myself motivated until the end of the year and loose a few kilos before Christmas, so I didn’t feel too guilty for eating ( and drinking) Christmas calories 😉
In 100 days, I completed 84 sessions at F45. That’s on average 6 sessions a week ( does this make me a cult leader??).
For the last 14 days of the challenge, I went everyday and loved it. I can confirm that F45 is addictive. Why? Because you see results!
In the 8 weeks, I lost almost 7kg, 4% body fat , and saw the most positive changes in my body shape, overall fitness and strength and my mood!
And when you see and feel really positive results and start your day with really positive people, that’s why I believe it’s so addictive. The brain loves to achieve goals, and the high five you give every class member at the end of each session I think really adds to the positive vibes!
Recently one of my beautiful Brides Amanda, whom I had the pleasure of doing her wedding makeup, went through her own fitness journey in the lead upto her day. Amanda and I got along like a house on fire and, like me, she hated exercise. Found it a bore and a chore. She gave herself 100 days before the wedding to really ramp up the fitness routine, hiring a personal trainer twice a week.
“I signed up for PT sessions and a year of gym membership to try and lose the extra weight and really tone. I had been attempting to do this by myself for a few months but couldn’t quite shift the extra few kilos. It kept me accountable, not just because of the cost but to my PT. She really kept me motivated and helped me to enjoy the whole journey. She celebrated my successes with me which was fantastic”.
Rule number 1. Be accountable to someone. Whether that’s to the money you’ve put on the table to invest in yourself, to a trainer or to a friend (or your hubby to be!) to drag along.
Amanda says..“I set a goal – I wanted to lose 10 kilos. It was never really about the kgs though (although it was something that I could track and kept me motivated) it wasn’t really about the actual kgs, it was about feeling good in my skin again and seeing a slimmer face and toned arms in photos”.
And when I asked her if she got to her goal weight?
“I sure did achieve it!” ( she says with the BIGGEST smile ever!)
Side note- when talking to people about their weight loss journey or achieving their goals, they never whinge or are sad while discussing it. They are always SMILING!!!!
Gorgeous Amanda on her wedding day
Rule Number 2. Set a goal.
Preferably a realistic one. Set out to achieve it.
Ok so you’re starting to think about signing up for some sort of fitness wither it be HITT, or PT and you’re wondering how much of this body prep should you commit to? As a bride that’s been in those shoes, Amanda suggests 3 times a week is a good mental and physical place to start.
“My minimum was 3 times a week. At least two days of cardio, one day of weights, but generally speaking I would do at least both in a session”.
Not only will you loose a few kilos and tone, Amanda said some of the biggest changes she noticed was the fact her back pain almost went away!
“I feel physically more well and fitter. I have more energy and more concentration. My face is so much slimmer, my arms and back are so toned. My back pain which was a daily annoyance for me almost disappeared. It is great fitting in clothes I haven’t worn in over 5 years. I was really happy with the amount of prep I put into myself and my body. It’s amazing what a difference it made, not just to my wedding day but my life holistically. I received so many compliments from all sorts of people in my life, not just in my appearance, but in my attitude, efforts, confidence, professionalism and motivation”.
So while Amanda’s wedding day came and went in November 2018, I asked her if she thought the prep she put in was worth it when she looks back on her photos…
“Oh my goodness, I love my photos. I have been told by so many people that I was the happiest bride they’ve ever seen, and you can truly see that in my photos. I felt so happy and comfortable in my skin and had not a care in the world. I married the man of my dreams in front of all my loved ones, and had a bangin’ bod! Definitely felt the effort was worth it. It was great not feeling at all self-conscious”.
Well there is a news flash if I ever did see one. Not feeling self-conscious! Is that even a thing in the female brain?! That alone is great motivation to start your journey ASAP!
Amanda had Chris in tears when he saw her!
Nothing to be self conscious about here! Just amazing, happy smiles!
So we have your exercise covered. Call it body movement, call it training, call it anything that your brain registers as positive. I like the word ‘training’, because “train and eat” sounds so much better than “diet and exercise” to me!
What about nutrition?
I think the majority of us know what is good and bad for us nutrition wise. But for me, it was the hidden calories and sugars ( too much fruit, not enough veg) and the empty calories ( alcohol) that ruined my progress.
Rule Number 3 . Educate yourself on your own empty calorie intake .
I’d recommend you start tracking everything you eat and drink for a month to find those hidden calories, so you can educate yourself to make better choices for the long term. It’s incredible how many sneaky calories you can consume without even realising it. That 2nd cappuccino, the fizzy drink, the gin and tonic, ( vodka lime & soda is a much better alternative) but alcohol in general….. liquid calories I found were the killer for me.
Use an app like My Fitness Pal to enter your food intake to stay on track and help you educate yourself on your own empty calories. It will allow you to make better choices and when you physically see the calories at the end of the day, it’s amazing to see that some foods, just aren’t worth it!
Rule Number 4. Cut the Alcohol.
It didn’t matter how great my diet was, my weight didn’t budge until I gave up the wine ( insert massive sad face here). At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, it was tough. Being a parent, running small businesses, and life in general, a glass of red was my husbands and I one thing we really enjoyed at night.
In the lead up to your big day there is plenty to celebrate, engagement parties, family get togethers, bridal showers, Christmas…I know… I get it. But my rule now? Quality vs quantity. If I’m going to have wine, its going to be a damn good bottle. So when I’m raiding our beautiful wine fridge, the guilt I feel grabbing a bottle of $150+ wine that technically should be cellared for a little longer, far outweighs actually opening it because you know, its Wednesday ( and yes, I’ve used that excuse before). To combat the afternoon wine o’clock itch, I drink sparkling water with lemon and lime….in a wine glass. Its amazing how much this changes the mental taste. I dare you to try it!
One thing I want to mention when it comes to nutrition is portion control. This is where I found the F45 challenge meal plans fabulous and educational to know how much was enough to sustain my body. Not only were they super delicious ( yay for variety) but the way they structure them is to make a meal, save half for the next days’ lunch. On the F45 challenge meal plan, I didn’t feel hungry at all- it was actually quite the opposite. I felt that all I was going was eating!
When you give up things like coffee, sugar, alcohol, dairy etc I really found my little mantra of “train and eat” got me through those harder days. I also say to myself, that “weights will give me the body I want, and cardio will allow me to eat what I want” ( to a degree!) . I’m not a fitness expert and this is probably not true in the slightest, but it works for me and that’s all that matters 😊
Rule Number 5. Consume less calories than you burn.
Once again, not rocket science. Weight loss is calories in vs calories out.
A quick side note on bread/ starchy carbs/ dairy / alcohol- MY SKIN! Oh my skin it was perfect. So hydrated, so clear, so soft and smooth. I have perfect bridal skin everyday now! Maybe time for a vowel renewal with the hubby!
If you’re like my bride Amanda and sticking to a meal plan isn’t your thing she suggests a little common sense, and cut back on general junk…
“We weren’t on an official meal plan, but my husband and I cut a lot of sugar, white carbs and general junk food for the majority of the year. We ate a lot of stir-fries, soups, wraps, fruit and salads. But saying this we still had a cheat meal here and there”.
Cheat meals and she still smashed her goals! Winning!
Remember: One cheat meal a week wont ruin your progress. But one cheat meal daily will.
Take it from someone who’s been there… here are Amanda’s top tips for bridal body prep;
– Start early and make it a habit. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit.
– Don’t be too harsh on yourself. It’s okay to have a cheat meal every now and then just not all the time.
– Try to be prepared – with your food and with your workouts. Know what you’re doing and just do it. Try not to over think or doubt yourself.
– Find someone to share the experience with who will motivate you. My PT and I were on the same level and she was “my kind of person”. She got me and I got her.
– I didn’t go over board. I didn’t sweat it out at the gym everyday, because I would hate that and it’s not me. Find what you enjoy and stick to it.
– If it’s about weight loss for you, weigh yourself often. I found seeing the results daily and seeing the figures go down (mostly down, sometimes they’d go up a bit!) was a great way to stay on track.
– Download some fitness aps and use them. I loved C25K and I also watched a lot of the Blogilates videos on YouTube to help with some at home workouts and specific area workouts (ie abs, arms, booty etc)
And from my own weight loss journey, I can suggest;
- Find a form of training you enjoy and be sure to set a goal. That way you can justify that ridiculously expensive pair of wedding shoes as a “reward” for reaching said goal. …. People who know me well know I’m a shoe girl through and through 😊
- Up the water intake . 3 litres daily. No exceptions.
- Get up earlier. Start your day if you can, with your workout. It’s amazing how much more productive you’ll be at work, how much more energy you’ll have. I found that working out in the afternoon, especially in summer, it just got too hot and I made every excuse under the sun not to go.
- Go to bed early. If you are training, your body needs to recover. I found Magnesium powder supplement helped me relax at night time.
- Limit the dairy. I did this as a test on myself and I can honestly say my gut health has never been better and my skin has never been clearer.
- Cut the alcohol. If you want a flat stomach and less cellulite, this one key thing alone is a game changer.
So what are you waiting for? Your wedding day is fast approaching, and your only regret will be not starting sooner!
The next F45 challenge starts on the 2nd Feb 2019…. I’ll be doing it….. will you?
P.S I know it might have seemed like it, but this was not, in any way shape or form a sponsored blog by F45. I just truly love it and wanted to share my progress, and help motivate someone out there because I know how hard it can be to get started on something new! <3
Amanda & Chris.
Married November 2018 at Centennial Vineyards Bowral, Southern Highlands.
Their day was magically captured by James Day Photography who’s beautiful images feature throughout this blog.
A huge thank you to Amanda for sharing her journey and to my trainer Luke,
for continually kicking my butt into gear at 6am every morning.