Fitness & Health 6 Week Transformation Results

I absolutely cannot believe that it has been six weeks since I started changing my lifestyle for the better.

It has been a real challenge to get into healthy habits where eating, exercising and even thinking are concerned. Exercising almost every day has been difficult, as has eating the right foods, and eating so often. I have been checking and rechecking ingredients for unnatural additives and eating grapes when I’d rather have a packet of wine gums. I’ve been going to TRX classes when I’d normally be watching Eastenders with my mam and Personal Training Sessions when I’d be binge watching shows on Netflix and munching on all the junk food. And do you know what? I’m going to keep it up!

Enough waffle.

Here are the body transformation  results:

Weight: I dropped 3 pounds. This might sound like nothing for six weeks of hard work but I’m not really interested in the weight as I started of at 9 Stone 5 Pounds, which isn’t exactly heavy. I’m also not that bothered as my amazing trainer, Mairead, continually reminded me it’s about inches, not pounds. So…

Inches: I lost 10.5 inches all over my body! This is the most I have ever lost in any fitness programme I have done and I cannot be happier.

Body Fat %: I dropped 4% bodyfat bringing me down to 25% body fat. I am also incredibly proud of this because I have never lost more than 1% beforehand and I plan on getting it down even more.

Strength: My strength, or lack there of, has always been the butt of my family’s jokes. I am a weakling, text book. When I started this programme, despite already being quite active in terms of exercise, I could just about do kettle bells with a 5kg bell. Just two or three weeks ago I was struggling to lift an 8kg bell over my head and now I’m using 12kg bells. Also, I conquered my everest, The Queen’s/Captain’s Chair. This bad boy defeated me during my first PT session but now it’s no bother to me.

Stamina: My stamina has definitely improved! I don’t find classes anywhere near as tough and torturous as I did to begin with and I find myself less out of breath at the end of an intense workout. I’m even finding the classes I used to struggle with in my local gym too easy!

Body: My body has definitely changed. My tummy has visibly shrunk, my arms are so much more tonned, as well as that my legs look more shapely. I feel like I have a fit body for the first time in my life!

Body Transformation Progress

My Progress – small but something to be proud of!

Below are the before and after shots my trainer took. The first thing I noticed is that I am no longer a Noreen No-Bum! As my trainer said, I lost a belly and gained bum; delighted!

Body Transformation Baldoyle Review

No more Noreen No-Bum

What really matters

This whole thing has been such a positive experience and the first thing I have ever done that I have truly been proud of. I’ve overcome struggles in the past, managed this mildly successful blog and even earned a degree and a good job in Marketing, but this has been the hardest thing I have done and the thing of which I am most proud. It isn’t just about the body, it’s about the mind as well and I am happier, more confident and clearer in my head than I ever have been before. What’s more is, now that I have achieved something I never thought I could, I feel like I can achieve anything.

I was the girl in Secondary School who came up with every excuse under the sun to get out of PE. I was the girl who took extra modules in school just to get out of PE in 5th and 6th year! When I was a teenager all I would eat was chocolate, pasta, chicken and cheese and even in recent times I was practically afraid of eating a big lunch or dinner for fear of getting “fat”. Now? Well now I look forward to exercising, I’m squating in my sleep, or so I’m told! Instead of fretting over what low in calorie foods I’m going to choke down for lunch I’m enjoying planning healthy, nutritious and tasty lunches. What I’m saying is, if I can take on this challenge and come out the otherside a healthier, fitter and more postive person, anyone can.

I’m not done yet; I have some more inches to lose, more muscle to tone and more confidence to earn.

I did my training at Body Transformation Studios in Baldoyle with Mairead, an absolute gem of a trainer who instils positivity and belief in her clients. They have a wonderful nutritionist, Suzanne, who will give you a totally new outlook on food; it is a much more positive and empowering experience than any traditional gym can offer.  Check out their website for more information.

I’d love to read your thoughts on health and fitness below. 

Fitness & Health: A Minor fitness setback isn’t failure

A Minor fitness setback isn’t a full on failure- Stay Motivated!

A lot of you will know that I have been taking part in my first 6 Week Body Transformation Challenge in the Body Transformation Studio in Baldoyle.

I have been doing quite well as my half way mark  update outlined and I have certainly become addicted to the physical and mental effects exercise and healthy eating has been having on me. I am in my last week now and I have come face to face with the biggest challenge of the 6 weeks; losing weight I put on due to a lapse in judgement.

I was weighed in last Thursday following a weekend of birthday celebrations, namely cocktails, cake, take aways and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I figured that because I had been doing so well and had lost so much weight and so many inches that one weekend of badness could do no harm; after all “it’s my birthday”.

How wrong was I? Three days (it was a long weekend here in Ireland) set me back two pounds. I was devasted to see the figure on the scale. I was so close to reaching my target of 126 lbs – the weight I had been at my happiest before all the weight gain, and I through it all away for celebratory and emotional eating. I was thoroughly annoyed at myself and vowed that I will never over indulge in such a manner again.

My trainer assured me that it would be easy to lose in the week ahead; which I seriously hope I have as this week is my last of the programme. Failure is not Failure

Looking at the exercise I did this week and my food intake it looks like I’m set to lose half a pound of the two I gained which would leave me with an over all result of about 2 and half pounds lost over the course of 6 weeks. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

One thing I know for sure is that one weekend did an awful lot of damage, but unlike times gone by, I’m not going to call it a failure because I didn’t give up at the sight of  “129” on the weighing scales. This in itself is an achievement because usually I just give up if I don’t see the number on the scales dropping; this certainly shows the mental benefits of regular exercise.

I also have learned massively from this little hiccup that exercise is only half the battle when it comes to wanting to change your  physical appearance and fitness. I had kept up the exercise and saw a huge improvement in my strength and stamina over the past week, but the food cancelled out the other benefits.

All I can advise is that if you have a busy weekend, likely to involve plenty of food and possibly drink, enjoy it, indulge a little, even, but don’t expect further improvement even if you have been keeping up the exercise. Weight goes up and down, motivations peaks and troughs but as long as you keep returning to your healthy habits you will never fail!

Regardless of my little bit of weight gain, I will keep at this even after my final assesment this Thursday. I’ll have a full report of my results ready to go over the weekend, so keep an eye out if you’re interested in seeing progress pictures! I have to admit I am horrendously nervous about my final weigh in and measurements because of this little slip in progress so it could be a very emotional evening!

I’d love to hear if you have had similar setback when trying to lose weight? How do you cope when you don’t get the results you want?

Fit Mind Healthy Body: Loving TRX and Kettlebells

TRX is great for building strength and feeling good (and sore).

I realised last week that while I had written blog posts about food and progress, I had only written one “quick and easy” exercise routine when your short on time as I’m going through my 6 week body transformation challenge.; I haven’t really talked much about the exercise I’ve been doing.

TRX Exercise

Image from Skinnymom/ Pinterest.

In the 6 week programme I’m focusing mainly on building strength. My regimen consists of 3-4 classes (TRX & Kettlebells and Spin & Kettlebells) and one personal training session per week. I adore the PT sessions, but of the classes, I am falling in love with TRX and Kettlebells.

Prior to my attempt and getting a better grasp on a healthy lifestyle I had only tried TRX once, and I hated every second of it. The agony the next day made me despise it even more. I had never even touched a Kettlebell! Launching straight into classes incorporating both of these things was quite a challenge in itself.

However, since starting this challenge, I’ve found an appreciation for this kind of strength training. Although the idea of using your own body strength via suspension training straps may seem torturous is probably the most rewarding exercise I have ever done.

I’ve been doing at least two of these classes a week and I am loving it for a number of reasons.

Just in case you are unsure of what either of these are here’s a quick definition of each of them.

TRX:  an approach to strength training that uses a system of ropes and webbing called a “suspension trainer” to allow the user to work against their own body weight. (see image above) 

Kettlebell: The kettlebell is a cast-iron weight (resembling a cannonball with a handle) used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. 

Combine the two of them and you have one of the toughest training sessions you probably ever do.

Progression

Nothing instills a sense of achievement like obvious progression and you continue to take part in TRX classes, you will easily see how much stronger, more flexible and fitter you are becoming as weeks go on.

From Ilovethispic.com

From lovethispic.com

After my first TRX and Kettlebells classes I was in excrutiating pain. Every movement the following day required an abundance of effort and serious amount of muscular agony. During the class I was struggling throughout; my body not quite being able to manipulate itself to do the exercises required.

A few weeks on and I still find the classes are tough; however I am lifting heavier kettlebells and I am able to push myself more on the TRX.

Feel Good Factor

All exercise is a mood booster but TRX and Kettlebells classes definitely boost my mood more than any class I have ever done.

Exercise benefits

from pinterest.

I’m not a scientist, my old biology teacher will confirm, so I can only assume that the increased mood boosting properties of this semi-torturous class is due to the extra work you have to put in. You need to concentrate on finding the balance of your body on a lot of TRX exercises and you also really need to focus on pushing through to your next 10 second break without giving up. A combination of the extra hard work needed to get through the class with the intended results and the shift in attention from anything that was bothering you to the body and your physical abilities.

No matter how much I am dreading the class, which has been a lot lately, I come out feeling brand new and full of positivity.

The Challenge

Although I love TRX I am positive that it is absolutely unnatural to partake in. Humans are simply not supposed dangle from straps and do crunches; it’s not right. But that makes it even more enjoyable.

When a class instructor demonstates a new TRX exercise I’ve never done before, I look on in fear but I look forward to tackling yet another new, albiet small, challenge. I feel like I am testing my body and even if I can only sort of complete the move, I feel like I have accomplished something I wouldn’t have been able to a matter of weeks ago.

The Results

My body is changing, not just as a result of the TRX and Kettlebells classes, but definitely with the help of them.

Without the TRX I can confidently say I would not be strengthening my tummy muscles as much as I have been. I’ve lost a few inches of my tummy and waist and while this is a combination of food, other exercises and these classes, the aches I get after TRX in the abdomen area confirm that a lot if it is down to the work I put in during TRX.

Because this is such a challenging class, I feel proud of myself every time I get through it, and every time I do a little better than the last time. The sense of accomplishment is enough reason to keep at it and it is a fantastic way to instill a bit of positivity into your weekly routine.

I take my classes at the Baldoyle Body Transformations Studio 

Have you got any particular fitness classes or exercises you love doing? Would you give TRX a go? 

Fitness & Health: Easy at Home Workout.

An easy at home workout for when you’re strapped for time.

Sometimes it’s not viable to get out for a run or head to the gym; maybe you have a lot on that day don’t have much time to spare, however that doesn’t mean you have to miss a day of working out!

On Saturday I had a packed day and wouldn’t have time to head to the gym, workout and get home, so I decided to dig out the old exercise mat and resistance bands (purchases from one of my many failed attempts at getting fit) and got a quick 20+ minute workout in. No, it wasn’t an intense one hour session but 20 minutes is a damn sight better than no exercise at all.

I find working out at home to be a lot harder than in a gym, with a trainer or in a class; it’s difficult to get motivated which makes it feel a lot tougher, so at home, I don’t think I could manage anymore than a half hour session.

Prior to the 6 week challenge I’m currently taking, I would not have even bothered to squeeze in a five minute workout; If I was even slightly busy, I would have come up with an excuse not to do a set of sit ups, never mind this workout. It is genuinely easy to do, doesn’t take a large chunk of time out of our day and you don’t need much equipment for this one.

At home workouts

Proof that you don’t need much equipment to get a workout at home

In my personal training sessions I’m focusing on building strength and toning up, so I wanted to focus on this for my quick session at home. The exercises I did, including the warm up, targeted the legs, back, arms and tummy, getting each area a quick blast in such a short session.

Using resistance bands is a great idea if you don’t have room in the house for sets of weights. They can be used in a multitude of ways, sitting, standing or lying down. I tend to emulate upright rows, deadlifts and triceps extensions with them, or use it as a rower while sitting down. You can get a decent set in Argos for around €16 with varying strengths on the bands.

I finished the session off with ten minutes of yoga to stretch out the muscles and relax the mind. Yoga is not only great for relaxing and unwinding, it’s a great way to improve flexibility, strength and to lengthen your muscles. I use the Daily Yoga app on my phone for guidance. It talks you through each move like an instructor would in a class and it isn’t over complicated or pretentious in that it descibes each pose, rather than just naming them. For this particular workout session I used the Yoga sequence for beginners, which combines both sitting and standing poses, without being overly complicated.

You can download the app here on Google Play and here on itunes

Here’s the workout:

Easy at home workout I’ll share some more quick and easy at home exercises over the next while (provided I keep this new lifestyle up), including some that don’t need any equipment apart from a mat.

Do you have any tips for squeezing in exercise on a particularly busy day? 

*I am absolutely NOT a fitness trainer or expert, this is all based on the knowledge I’ve obtained for personal training sessions and nutritional consultations.

Fitness & Health: Healthy Breakfast Ideas.

If you’re anything like me breakfast is something you have to do, rather than something you enjoy eating, like you would with lunch or dinner. I was wolfing Belvitas on the go and horsing plain, boring porridge just to get some kind goodness into me in the mornings only a week ago. Worse still, I was skipping breakfast on the weekends, or munching on sausages and rasher sambos, not bothered to think up something nutritional to cook. Not anymore!

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Some of you will have read that I am embarking on a 6 week challenge that will put my body, mind and habits to the test.  A big part of this challenge, and one of the main reasons I’m doing it, is to improve my relationship with food. One thing I learned this week is to step away from the calorie counting and “it’s fattening” mentality and focus on the good of the food and the benefits it will have on my body.

I’ve been enjoying preparing, and most importantly, eating breakfast this week, thanks to a wide variety of ideas, some self-inspired, some inspired by the nutritionist at the Bodytransformations Studio in Baldoyle.

The thing is, it’s really hard to think up breakfast ideas that don’t take ages to cook or that don’t  involve eggs and are therefore impossible for “deskfast”! If you’re looking for some inspiration why not try out some of these ideas; all of which are low in the bad fats and high in nutrition; ideal for fat loss or maintainance.

Porridge with Berries and Chia seeds.

Chia seed ideas

Chia seeds are my new favourite thing; they’re flavourless but full of goodness and they add texture to the blandest of things. This one is simple, just make your porridge in the microwave throw in some blueberries and raspberries and sprinkle a tablespoon of Chia seeds on top.

This is so much tastier than my usual plain, boring, flavourless porridge and there is a hell of a lot more nutritional goodness in there with berries providing vitamins and the Chia seeds providing a huge amount of calcium, which is great if you, like me, are dairy-free, and phosphorous which is fantastic for your teeth and bones.

Morning-after Breakfast Smoothie.

Protein Smoothie Ideas

No, no. This is about a healthy lifestyle for your mind and your body. I don’t mean that morning after, I mean the morning after an intense workout. Taking a twist on a recipe from the nutritionist, I added my own flavours into a hearty smoothie, stocked full of Delayed Muscle Onset Soreness battling foods.

Almond Milk

Water

Spinach

1 Scoop of Protein

raspberries

Blueberries

Banana

Chia Seeds (They’re in everything I make now!)

I did stick a kiwi in this when I made it, but I will not be doing that again. It didn’t blend very well and the flavour was too strong. The idea behind this is that it’s nutritional, but also that is heaving with food that is recommended for post-workout, and the nutritional value  is through the roof. I didn’t take a picture of the finished product because it was a little nasty looking but one thing is for sure, it tastes so good that I won’t be taking the lazy way out and buying bottled smoothies from now on.

Fruit Salad with Chia seeds

Chia seed ideas

This one is pretty basic. I had this the morning of my third training session this week; partly because I had prepared a huge lunch and partly because I felt I need the energy from the fruit.

As I made it the night before I was nervous about the apples and pears in the fruit salad going brown so I drizzled lemon juice over the salad. The result the next day was phenomenal; the lemon juice added a summery, fresh taste to it that worked alarmingly well with the other fruits.

Don’t keep the Chia Seeds in the fridge with the salad, throw it on top just before you eat up.

One thing I would suggest, if you’re not used to making fruit salads, is if you want banana with it, just add it prior to eating because they will go bad in the fridge overnight otherwise.

Protein Smoothie

This was probably my favourite of the entire week. It was creamy, flavoursome and gave me enough energy to get through the toughest fitness class I have done to date!

I cannot recommend enough that you whip one of these up, especially if you like peanut butter.

Almond Milk

Water

1 / 2 Scoop of Protein

2 table spoons of Peanut Butter

1 banana

and , you guessed it…

a teaspoon of Chia Seeds.

Hopefully this will give some you some tasty, and healthy, and might I add quick, breakfast ideas that can only do you good. If you are not working out, work away with the smoothies, just don’t add the protein; it is still exceptionally good for you, and a great way to kick start your metabolism for the day.

Have you got any quick yet healthy breakfast ideas that I could try? 

Baking Bad: Banana Bread Recipe

Episode 5 of Baking Bad took a while to complete production! Last weekend I tried my hand at Banana Bread and it was the most anxiety inducing baking experience I have ever had.

This is something I have been threatening to bake for years but I never got around to it. The concept of it, for some reason, was incredibly daunting , I mean banana bread, is it sweet? Is it savory? What if it is lumpy? Definite baking anxiety.

It was touch and go for a while with this one. Could this be the first disaster of Baking Bad? 

Ingredients for Baking Banana Bread:

200g of Self Raising Flour

4 Bananas

150 g of Sugar

150 g of Butter

2 Eggs

A little extra butter for greasing the loaf tin.

Method for Baking Banana Bread: 

Cream the butter and sugar together

Sieve the flour in to a big mixing bowl.

Throw the sugar in.

Lump in the eggs. 

Mash the bananas up until only slight lumpy and add to the mix. 

Blend away with a handheld whisk. 

Make sure your loaf tin is greased (ideally with the same butter used in the mix) 

Pour the mix into the tin. 

Bake for 1 hour at 150 degrees

How did it Turn Out?:

I was surprised at the results of this banana bread. When I made the mix I was sure it was not how it was supposed to look. Banana bread is always brown so I was apoplectic at the sight of the creamy mixture that mellowed before me.

Easy Banana Bread recipe

The offending mixture

I grumpily put the tin in the oven expecting an absolute disaster when the hour was up. Thankfully, when the oven beeped I was greeted with a delicious smelling, brown loaf of Banana bread.

Using real butter instead of margarine was definitely a good choice. The cake was light  as a feather and the flavour worked really well with the banana. As for the overall flavour; yes, it’s boasting but it was pretty amazing. This is probably the cake I am most proud of baking. It was slightly different to any other banana bread I had ever tasted, and not necessarily in a bad way.

I was surprised at how easy it was to make. If you, like me, find the idea of baking Banana Bread a little off putting, go for it. It is too tasty not to!

Banana Bread Recipe

The final product

 

Reaction to the Banana Bread:

This went down a treat in chez Kane with my brother and Mam taking a particular shine to it. I was asked the following day if I was baking more, so this recipe seems to be a good one.

Baking Bad Tunes:

I was listening to a bit of Mr Otis Redding while baking my Banana Bread!

Have you got any banana bread recipes of your own? 

Feel free to tweet me your pictures if you try this recipe out, I’d love to see your pictures. 

Fitness & Health: 6 Week Challenge.

I try to avoid being open and personal when I write online but from reading other blogs, I’ve seen how it can be used as a tool for self-motivation. “Fit Mind Healthy Body” will hopefully be a source for people who are looking for a little healthy fitness information and some positive living ideas, albiet from a total ammature.

Last month I posted some tips in this new section of the blog, detailing ways to take control of yourself from the inside out. The truth is, those tips haven’t been enough for me.

Tomorrow night I’m starting a 6 week challenge with Bodytransformations in Baldoyle, Dublin and I consider this to be the last time I try to change my lifestyle for the better. Not because if it doesn’t work, I won’t try again, but because it will work, and I won’t stop.

By “work” I don’t mean losing weight, I don’t mean being ‘skinny’; I mean being happy, healthy, confident and in control. Throughout the course of the six weeks and possibly beyond I’ll be tracking what I learn and how I progress.

The challenge sets out to help people achieve their fitness and health goals with support from the trainers, a nutritionist and fellow challengers. I’ve already received meal plans and nutritional guidelines and I am very excited about it. The best thing about this, from what I’ve heard and read so far is that it isn’t just about transforming your habits and lifestyle, it’s about learning to love yourself.

Motivation

*image from pinterest

I definitely don’t want to come across smug and pretentiously healthy here on musicandeverything.com so if I do, stop me! The reason I am blogging about this kind of thing is that I know there are people out there like me who find it hard to adopt healthy habits and get into a fitness routine. Hopefully this arm of musicandeverything.com will help anyone else reading get some ideas and maybe even get motivated to gaining control of their own feelings and habits.

I am a member of my local gym and I do try to stay healthy and fit but my motivation peaks and dips intermittently. Last year I lost a lot of excess weight I had gained and to my disappointment I had regained it; I’ve been fatigued, demotivated and inventive with my excuses not to head to the gym.

The six week body transformation will give me the kick up the rear end that I have been crying out for as of late. Not only will it get me into shape, it will help me improve my eating habits, energy levels and hopefully it will make it easier to hop out of bed in the morning, rather than peeling myself away from my cosy, plush haven of a bed.

One thing I need to make clear is, this is not about losing weight or achieve the unattainable physiques attached to motivational images on Pinterest. This is about adopting healthy habits, both physical and mental. It’s about being positive and confident and the work that I put in to get there. If even one person who reads the Fit Mind Healthy Body section on the blog feels a little inspired, it will be worth getting personal.

I’m not sure exactly what these posts will entail although here are some ideas I have floating around my head:

Food posts; recipes for easy, heathly breakfasts, lunches , dinners and snacks. 
Tips from the nutritionist. 
Tips from the personal trainers. 
Things I find helpful in staying motivated. 
My personal benefits. 
Exercise regimen information. 

Are there any posts you’d like to see in particular? 

Have you successful taken on a lifestyle change? You might have some tips for me.