Two months of this plan are officially complete. If you read either my initial post talking about why I’m doing this “plan”, otherwise known as The Body Coach’s 90 Day SSS Plan, you’ll already know why I’m putting myself through this challenge. If you haven’t read it, it might be a good place to start. This plan is three months long and I promised that I’d post an update at the end of each cycle, which is exactly what I did for cycle one. To be totally honest I was going to post these updates regardless of if anyone actually read them, because it’s such a refreshing way for me to vent about the highs and lows of the past thirty days, but bizarrely I actually had people requesting my cycle two update. Thank you to those people, it means more to me than you probably think. So as promised here is my cycle two update, and in case you’re wondering, it has just as much real talk as the last post. Nothing worth having comes easy, as we all know, so there’s no point in covering up the raw truth with fluffy unicorns and rainbows.
As I’d already been through four weeks of these weird and testing lifestyle adjustments, there were no headaches, mood swings or mental breakdowns. Though what I did experience was bloating, which ultimately made me look six months pregnant. As heavenly as it was to have carbs for every meal on my four training days per week, the heaviness of the bread, pasta and rice took its toll on my body – and energy. I’m a tired person anyway, so this was a struggle, and the thought of waking up for my 5.30am workout made me want to throw myself at the carpet and unleash a toddler-style tantrum. Bloating and sleepiness aside, the food was so freaking good. The pick and mix style of eating worked way better for me than set recipes, and having more flavours and textures to add to my meals was a god send. Admittedly I was quite boring and stuck to the same things most days, but these foods make me happy, so why avoid them? Workout wise, I hated it. Really hated it. Going from twenty-five minutes of HIIT, to ten minutes of HIIT followed by 100 reps of a weighted exercise (which you then had to repeat with a different weighted exercise) was hell on earth. I was in the gym for well over an hour each time, which left me running around the apartment trying to peel off my now-gross fitness gear while inhaling my post workout shake like an absolute lunatic, desperately trying not to be late for work. The twenty minutes of HIIT was fine, but the 200 reps and obscenely long rest periods made me feel considerably negative about the entire thing.
Days eight to fourteen were all very similar to what I experienced in the first week. I loved the food, though the bloating was still there, and I still hated the exercise – though admittedly I began to get into the swing of things a little more towards the end of the week. The only downside for me, apart from the mountain range of greens that graced me with their unfortunate presence at every damn meal, was the fact that I had now been doing this mad eating and training structure for six weeks, and for the first time, I desperately wanted to give up. I hadn’t binged on even a crumb, but mentally I was drained. “You’re half way through now, keep going!”, people would say to me. Yeah, easier said then done guys. The only reason I didn’t give up was because I wanted to prove something to myself. Sometimes being stubborn is a blessing in disguise.
Halfway through cycle two, I was getting somewhere. The bloating lessened, I (naughtily) reduced the rest periods during the weight training to a much more suitable time to make me despise the workouts a little less, and I started to realise how I was actually smashing this plan. Sometimes, you just need a bit of self-appreciation to keep plodding on. Although the bloating had gone down, I was beginning feel like some sort of overweight livestock. Although Darryl assured me I didn’t actually look any bigger, I felt it. I felt huge, which is stupid because I knew I wasn’t. Something was going inside my head which said “you eat so many carbs girl, you’re expanding”. From what I was told from my fellow plan guinea pigs, this was totally normal as cycle two is essentially the bulking phase.
The fourth and final week of cycle two eventually arrived. I had almost done two thirds of this plan! Everything remained the same during this week, though my motivation was increasing rapidly the closer I got to the finish line. A lot of people say “enjoy it, it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet!”. I get that, honestly I do, but for someone who doesn’t actually want to lose weight, for someone who just wants to learn how to control their eating habits, this process did seem to be taking an absolute lifetime. What makes it worse for me is that when I focus on the ‘end goal’, I want time to fly by as quickly as possible. I’ve never been good at living in the moment. Lucky for me I had every intention of carrying on, and I had fully prepped myself mentally for what cycle three was going to have in store for me. Does that mean it got easier in the last week? No, but I’d learnt how to handle it better and I began to view everything differently, which proves that this plan changes more than just your body shape.
Yesterday was my thirtieth and final day of cycle two. I tracked the changes early once again so I could begin cycle three almost straight away, and so my weight, measurements and photos were submitted on day twenty-eight. Considering this was a bulking phase and I felt like I’d gained two stoned, I was pretty happy to discover I’d lost 0.5kg / 1lb. Inch wise, I lost 1/2 inch off each thigh, 1/2 inch from around my backside, 1/2 inch from each calf, 1/2 inch off my waist and one inch off my chest (gutted). In my head I’d hoped for more of a change, but since digesting the information, I don’t actually think that’s too bad. When it comes to the progress photos, I can’t personally see much of a difference, though those that I showed said otherwise, which is encouraging. If I’m being totally honest (and potentially arrogant), I do feel like I deserve those results. I pushed through all thirteen workouts, and apart from a few cappuccinos, one Subway salad which I ordered to match my rest day ingredients almost perfectly, two ‘plan approved’ (sort of) Nandos, which again fit my ingredients options, and one single Smartie which I genuinely considered spitting out last minute from sheer regret (how stupid), I didn’t allow myself anything off plan at all. It was hard, of course it was, but at least I got to results day knowing that I hadn’t let myself down.
Tomorrow I begin cycle three, the third and final hurdle. This will be hell on earth no doubt because the training is harder (as if could get much harder!?), and the food? Well, regular carbs will soon be a distant memory. As it’s a fat shredding cycle I have really high expectations, so I hope that by the time my cycle three update comes around, I’ll have some interesting results for you. If I don’t, I’ll tell you anyway, because if anyone’s going to laugh at the fact that I’ve spent three months working my rear off trying to get mega lean, only to look no different, I can assure you that it’ll be me. Now it’s time for my in-between-cycles cheat meal, and pizza and wine are calling my name. I might be mad for doing this plan, but I am still human.
A word of advice for anyone out there currently battling Cycle One? Stick with it, if you put the effort in, the results are completely worth suffering through the crappy moments. Yet to begin the plan entirely? Do it now, because you’ll always wonder what you could have achieved if you don’t.