Okay, so this post is not entirely food related, but I think this deserves a spot on this blog because of the importance of the message. Get fit, get healthy, get active!
Over the past 12 weeks, I have been following a fitness and nutrition program called 12 week body transformation (12WBT) by celebrity fitness instructor Michelle Bridges (She’s of Australian Big Brother Biggest Loser fame). Coming to the program, I had very little expectation of what it could do for me. Or rather, I had little of belief that I could endure the whole regime. I was at the lower end of my health, battling with hormone balance problems, which was driving me absolutely insane. I did not want to depend on medicine. I wanted to change my lifestyle to battle these things but was scared to take the steps.
Those self-doubt thoughts were dealt with even before the program started. 12WBT had pre-season tasks, where participants were supposed to come personal and honest with themselves, identifying excuses that held us back. “Too tired to workout”, “No time to prepare food”… Sound familiar?
Those pre-season tasks were valuable for me to set my head straight and went through the program. It was not entirely a smooth sailing. The program was tough. There was a calorie limit (1200 calories for girls); exercising was required 5 days a week; there was a lot of cooking and preparing. Sometimes I was so tired, I wanted to quit. But then, I came back to those pre-seasoned tasks, reminding myself of why I wanted to fight and what my goals were. It was like reading a letter I wrote for my future self. Those words brought me back.
I have come to love all of it. The morning exercise, the fresh and healthy food, the pain in my body after a hard and long workout. I have cleared my time to exercise most days. I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight, and felt a whole lot better. My journey still continues, and I am back for another round of 12WBT.
Some asked me about the programs. And here are a quick snapshot, and my thoughts.
12WBT Snap Shots
- Participants start and finish the challenge together. There are a few pre-seasoned tasks which focus on goal setting and motivation.
- For 12 weeks, each week there are new nutrition program and workout program. There are varieties for different fitness level (beginner to Advanced Lean and Strong. Even a train for marathon one!).
- The nutrition program builds around 1200 calories limit a day (more for guys and pregnant/breastfeeding women). Food are nice, fresh and healthy. A lot of cooking is required, although the recipes are very simple.
- Workout is “intense” with 5 sessions a week, with a nice mixture of cardio and strength training. The Saturday one is a SUPER SATURDAY SESSION, which often lasts 1 hour with a fitness/circuit challenge.
- There are weekly “mindset” videos from Michelle Bridges herself, which are motivational and informative.
- Supports are available via forums with the crew and fabulous members!
- I knew what good food should be like, but not the entire story. Good nutrition is essential and I learned a lot about it and my body via the program. Like, no, making a healthier cake does not mean that you are making a healthy choice. It is still TREAT FOOD!
- Cooking creatively within the good nutrition framework is really fun. I don’t blog about the healthy recipes often enough. But I will!
- Portion control!!!!
- “You are a lot stronger than you think” – this is truth. Put your mind into it and you can. I was unable to run, now I can jog and start running short intervals. I am getting somewhere!
- There are no quick fixes, but building good habits take time and efforts.
- 12WBTers on Facebook and the forums are the most supportive bunch
- Integrity – no up selling of protein powder, fitness equipments etc. There are cross promotional activities, but they are done in a nice and “fair” way. I am so sick of empty promises that a lot of other diets/fitness programs offer. This is real, and I like Michelle’s frankness.
- It is not cheap. A real additional cost if you have already paid for gym membership. I mostly work out at home coz I can’t make it to the gym early enough before work. I spent quite a bit on good video workouts AND some hand weights, yoga matt.
- Food cost per week is quite expensive for a lot of family… That is if your pantry is full of “crap” food. I did not have a lot of problems here, coz most of the ingredients the program uses I already have (olive oil, quinoa, grains, beans etc.). I actually save a lot of $$$ by planning the menu for the week and bringing my own lunch to work.
- Commitment – to cook and stick to the program. Hard if you are truly time poor…
- The meals do not always appeal to your family – Yeap. My family will NEVER eat salad for dinner. I can. So it’s a fine balancing act. I swapped out meals with other comparable recipes, reading Michelle’s philosophy of food and stick to those principles, 80% of the time. This is where the food knowledge of being a food bloggers do come in place.
- A little guidance is given on eating out – I think the focus is really on “getting to the kitchen and get cooking”. But I am often at loss when I eat out (which is a lot these days). So I try to eat light on days I am out, and stick to the calories intake on any other days.