Six months ago on Saturday just gone I woke up, took my final photos and measurements, and submitted them to the The Body Coach team. The Body Coach plan itself was only 90 days but felt like a lifetime because I was so desperate to see changes, however these past six months have absolutely flown by. I suppose as soon as you stop focusing so obsessively on something, you stop caring about what day it is and how long until you reach the metaphorical finish line. So what’s life been like post-plan? A lot of graduates of the plan tend to go quiet about what they get up to once they finish their 90 day stint, so I wanted to write a little truthful update for those who might be wondering what goes down ― plus a few pointers for those who’re anxious about ‘the end’.
What a crazy six months it’s been! To get up to speed I recommend reading this post, where I talk very openly about the first couple of months of flying solo. It was a daunting time and I got myself into quite a dark place mentally, constantly worrying about my food, my body shape, my size and my progress at the gym. It’s hard when you finish a plan to know what to do, particularly when there’s a heap of competition around you who’re making irritatingly good post-plan progress. If you ask me it’s normal to struggle a bit, but not to the extent that I did. Was this caused by the 90 Day SSS Plan? I don’t think it was the sole cause, though I do believe that it contributed to it.
My next post-plan fitness updates came in the form of my first, second and third holiday fitness prep posts, where I shared my general gym and diet progress in the run up to my holiday (which is now only a week away!). Although parts of these posts remind me of the version of myself who I saw in the post I mentioned above, I can also see how far I’ve come both mentally and physically since my post 90 Day SSS Plan wobble.
So where am I at now? I’m going to do a fourth and final holiday fitness prep post before I go away next week to fully explain what’s been going on, but to put it bluntly, I’m not as lean as I was when I graduated. I’ve gained weight, body fat and a whole lot of bloat despite my efforts to get leaner post plan. Why? Because unless I eat like a bikini competitor, I cannot stay as lean as I was on graduation. It’s just not sustainable unless I cut out all junk food, which in my opinion is no way to live. Some people can keep their physique, some can’t, and I seem to fall into the latter category.
Before my next post with a full update on my progress, I wanted to talk specifically about a few things that I wish I’d read when I was about to become a 90 Day SSS Plan graduate. This isn’t me being negative towards the plan by any means, I fully stand by what I said when I preached about it being a great plan, this is simply me extending a hand out to those who’re now in the position I was once in, wondering where to turn next.
Don’t get hung up on the regimental food structure
The plan is great because the way that your diet is set out to help you evolve from bad habits to good, and to inevitably help you to drop a few pounds and build lean muscle, means that in turn it teaches you such valuable lessons and gets you into a much better frame of mind towards health in general. That said, for me personally, there is no way on this earth I could have maintained that diet. I look back and laugh because, despite my results being successful, I genuinely wonder how me, queen of quitting, managed to get through the entire process without self destructing. Ok, that makes it sound horrific which it definitely isn’t, but it IS testing and it IS supposed to challenge you. Mountains of greens, protein refuels an hour post-workout and your strict three meals and two snacks per day were the God send tactics you needed to succeed, but are they sustainable? No way. Not unless you’re about to become a pro bodybuilder or bikini competitor. So to put it simply, don’t worry, there’s probably only 1% of us grads who still eat the way we did on the plan. That doesn’t mean we’ve all gone back to our old ways, far from it, it just means we’re not living by a script anymore.
Don’t feel like you have to continue with the training plan
Love or hate the GVT or HIIT training, it has to be done. Do you have to carry on with it once you graduate? Absolutely not! Like the food, it’s designed to help you slim down and lean up fast, so it’s intense, and if I’m being completely honest, not fun at all. I like HIIT and I like lifting weights, but the structure the plan gives you wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed ― not enough to continue, anyway. Take what you loved from the plan and make it your own! It’s important to switch up your training to keep those results coming in, so no, 200 lunges aren’t mandatory to keep the gains you made during the plan. Trust me. Get a PT or try going it alone, whatever you choose, it’s fine. It’s so important to enjoy your time in the gym so you get the most out of it.
Ignore the other grads
I cannot scream this loud enough. Stop looking at everyone else around you! I followed those who graduated before me like a hawk. “Why are they continuing to lose?” “Why are they lifting heavier than me?” “How come they get to eat that much food and keep the weight off?”. It’s exhausting. Ignore it. Comparison is the thief of joy, as they say, and it’s one hundred percent true. Just do you and remember that every single individual is totally different. You’ll be much, much happier that way.
Consider if you really want your photos shared
I feel this is really important to talk about. No matter HOW HOT you look in your grad photos, people are going to criticize you. My body improved significantly and yet I still got plenty of hate, as did a friend who has probably the most impressive results I’ve seen. You simply cannot escape the comments. My advice? Ask for the photos not to be shared. Why do people need to see it anyway? I did it thinking “ooh this will be fun, I can finally shout about my hard work” only to be told that I looked better before and “skinny” isn’t a good look. Oh, and the amount of people that will question if it’s actually even you in the photos is almost laughable. The nice comments give you a great ego boost, don’t get me wrong, but the negative ones do bring that feeling of happiness down a peg or too. If I could choose again, I’d opt not to have my photos shared on Joe’s social media pages. Effing trolls.
Once you graduate, take a step forward and leave the past behind
What do I mean by this? Well, unless you loved the plan so much that you want to marry it, Joe and the support heroes collectively, leave it in the past. Results aside, you finished the plan which is bloody big achievement in itself, so cut yourself some slack and take a step in the right direction. I didn’t. I stayed on the Facebook groups, I kept checking the 90 Day SSS Plan hashtags on Instagram and I kept reading post after post about “what to do next”. I lingered around the plan like a bad smell, and now I feel glued to it. I feel like unless I ‘check in’ with those who’ve also experienced it, I won’t know if I’m doing well enough. It’s silly, I know. If you enjoy being a part of the community 24/7 then by all means go for it, but if you feel it’s slowing you down, remove yourself.
Set new goals
You’re done, which means it’s time to move onto bigger and better things! When you graduate you’ll be healthier, stronger, fitter, more confident ― the list goes on ― so be sure to change your targets. No, you might not have the ass that you said you wanted at the start of Cycle One, I certainly don’t, but there’s so much more to work for now. Set new lifting PBs, aim to get in that new dress, strive to feel better in your swimwear on holiday. Ignore the numbers, ignore the ‘inspo’ images on social media and focus on you. Your goals will change quicker than you could ever imagine, so don’t get hung up on the small stuff.
I hope this has been helpful to anyone who’s worried about what to do once they graduate from the plan! Enjoy the process and all it has to offer, it really is a great plan and Joe knows what he’s doing, but don’t let it take over your life. There’s so much to look forward to post-plan that often gets ignored and left in the gutter.