Final wrap up of Cassie’s 8 week program – Determination, strength and long term changes

This is, sadly, the last blog post to wrap up the final session and results of Cassie’s journey, our 8 week Summer Body Program winner . Cassie not only completed the 8 weeks, she totally smashed it and always did whatever was asked of her and more. Over the 8 weeks Cassie learnt a lot about fitness, nutrition and lifestyle but she mainly learnt about her personal strength and how much she is capable of achieving. She freely and openly admits that when she found out she won, she actually wasn’t sure if she wanted to even start. Cassie has battled with anxiety and depression and she has realised how important it is to listen to your body and your mind and how important mental health and wellbeing is, as well as physical fitness.

cassie week 8 exercise

During the 8 weeks, I gave Cassie a new program every Sunday night for the following week. These were hard programs and she even said once that she actually thought I was trying to kill her. The reason for this is so she would see progression each week and learn to push herself out of her comfort zone to complete all of the workouts. She only had 1 scheduled rest day each week and she had a double session on a Monday (morning and afternoon). We also worked on her nutrition and I went through a 3 day food diary with her to analyse what she was eating and drinking in a typical day. We discussed her diet and made a few changes including increasing how much she was eating for breakfast and the importance of healthy snacks during the day. I actually told Cassie she could increase the amount she was eating during the day. We also minimised the amount of added sugar (mainly to tea and coffee). These were simple changes that she could make and it fit in with her busy lifestyle (she is a working mum of 4 young children). Cassie’s entire family were so supportive of her new lifestyle changes and her husband and kids were encouraging her during her exercise and also enjoying the new food they were eating.

I met with Cassie 3 times during the program for training sessions. We  discussed how she was finding the exercise sessions, whether she was on track with her healthy eating and most importantly how she was feeling, physically and mentally. The most important lesson to come from our 8 week training program is that in a short timeframe such as 8 weeks, it is not only about weight loss and numbers on the scales. Cassie is the perfect example of how much balance exercise and fitness can bring to your life. She felt stronger and more positive after working out and even on the days she might have not been feeling great she still pushed herself to do her workouts and she always felt better afterwards. When you do something that makes you feel better mentally, it carries over into all areas of your life and Cassie also felt like a better wife and mother. The mental benefits are huge. What an awesome role model for her children! Our children are always watching what we are doing.

cassie and son

Another awesome example of Cassie really pushing herself out of her comfort zone and proving once again how strong she is and how far she has come, was when she joined our FitM.U.M Mount Lofty Walking Group one weekend. For those that aren’t aware, Mount Lofty is a steep and fairly long hike up a mountain in Adelaide… it is definitely tough! I was so pleased that Cassie came and she never once gave up even when her mind might have been telling her to stop or when panic may have set in. Her husband came with her to support her and she overcome a massive mental barrier that day and should be very proud of her efforts.

Towards the end of our program Cassie and I had a very honest discussion about the medication she is on for her anxiety and that it makes weight loss very difficult but that it was important that she remain on it to feel her best and not impact on her life. This program was about a complete change of lifestyle and it simply can not be all about one area only. To be successful and make any form of long term changes , it needed to be manageable and maintainable and that is exactly what we did. Cassie lost 2kg and at least 1-2cms from her waist, hips, arms and legs. But best of all she feels so much better and is managing her anxiety and depression and she has shown herself how much strength she has and that she can do anything!

Enough from me, let’s hear from Cassie now that she has finished the program….

Well my 8 week challenge has come to an end. I have learnt so much from Kelly and also about myself over the past 8 weeks.

At the beginning I wasn’t sure if I would make it to the end. I was at a pretty low point mentally and not sure if I was up for the challenge. BUT I did it!

I feel so proud to say I have done almost every workout Kelly has given me.

However, I haven’t lost much weight, only 2kg. And this has been so hard to come to terms with, when I’ve been working my butt off. I haven’t lost any weight due to my depression and anxiety medication and I probably won’t lose much while I’m still on it.

But I have gained so much physically and definitely mentally. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone too many times to count. I never thought I was this strong, not just physically (don’t get me wrong I did 100 push-ups today when I couldn’t even do one in the beginning), mentally I am so much stronger now than when I began. My depression has decreased and I have the motivation and determination to continue pushing myself.

Just because my 8 week challenge is finished, I’m not finished with exercising. I’ve changed my lifestyle now and Yes I still have my low days but the benefits of the new lifestyle are definitely worth the effort.

Thanks for following my journey and all of the support you have all given me along the way. Xx

cassie and kel

Cassie was such a deserving winner and I am so grateful that I met her and could help her to incorporate exercise and diet changes into her life. She is an amazingly strong woman and a fantastic wife and mother. Never underestimate yourself Cass, you are a champion who should be very proud of what you achieved over the 8 weeks and how much you have changed! I am proud of you and feel as if I made a friend in the process! Keep up the great work FitMumma!!  xx

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FitM.U.M 8 Week Summer Body Transformation Check-In

The lucky winner of our FitM.U.M 8 Week Summer Body Transformation, Cassie is just about to start week 4 and will be half way through this 8 week program. However, knowing Cassie and the amazing changes she has made and the way she has embraced the exercise and nutrition changes, this will just be the start of a whole new lifestyle for her. I am so impressed with her motivation and determination to work hard no matter what. She is a  wife and a busy mum of 4 and works part time while trying to juggle everything else that a busy life entails. She has previously suffered anxiety and depression and I am so glad that she entered this competition and made the commitment to do something for herself and start her journey towards a healthier, happier and more active life (for her and her family!!). What a fantastic role model for her children!

As well as seeing Cassie’s physical strength improve and fitness increase, one of the best things as a Trainer is to actually to witness her confidence and self belief grow. She is changing her life and becoming a much stronger and happier person because of it. The workouts I have given her have been HARD but she has done every single one of them with no excuses!

Cassie enjoying a strength workout

Cassie enjoying a strength workout

Let’s hear from Cassie about her first three weeks of her program:

Wow! What an amazing three weeks it’s been. Kelly has given me a workout plan every week consisting of body weight exercises, weights and cardio. She also provided me with some awesome food advice.

I was totally shocked when I read my first workout plan. I thought there was no way I was going to do it. I had six days of workouts with one rest day and Monday consisted of two workouts!
But I did it! I completed the whole week and I felt amazing.
During week two Kelly came to do a PT session. I was really nervous, but didn’t need to be, she made me feel completely comfortable and didn’t mind helping me to correct my technique and to pick her brain.
It’s now week three and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.
Next week I go for my massage I won as part of the competition, can’t wait.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. Thank You everyone for your support and kind words of encouragement, I was in tears reading all of your messages x
Cassie.
I hope this story may help, inspire or motivate someone else who has their own challenges and may be starting their health and fitness journey (or thinking about starting). Set yourself goals and do it for yourself! Today is your day to get started.
Head over and join our wonderful FitM.U.M community on Facebook to stay motivated with other likeminded people!
xx

FitM.U.M Product Review – Polar Loop Activity Tracker

I was lucky enough to be contacted a few weeks ago by the Marketing Coordinator of RunStopShop, a fantastic online fitness store (http://www.runstopshop.com.au/) to be a brand advocate for them and try a few of the awesome products that they stock.

runstopshop logo

This blog post is one of two posts to review the first two products I received. As well as ooohhing and ahhhing over the many, many fitness products, I also spent some time finding out more about the company and I love that their purpose is simple: to provide the products which enable you to get the most out of your active lifestyle, and enable you to reach your goals faster. This is something I’m all for…. as a busy mum of 2, who is not only on my own fitness journey, but who also motivates and trains many mums who are all embarking on regaining their health, fitness and active lifestyle! The timing could not have been more perfect, I was literally in the market for a fitness activity tracker and was researching different brands so when I saw the Polar Loop 24/7 Activity Tracker I knew I had to have it. It looks great, is extremely easy to set up and is very comfy to wear.

Polar Loop from RunStopShop

Polar Loop from RunStopShop

It’s features include:

  • Heart rate (when you are wearing the Polar H7)
  • Calorie expenditure
  • Total steps
  • Time of day
  • Activity Benefit gives feedback about your day, week, month
  • Waterproof

I love that it is simple to use and displays all the important information at the touch of a button but also has a smartphone app and website syncing which provides an accurate insight into your everyday activity and movement & sleep habits. I am definitely someone who is driven by having goals and targets to reach so, in the week that I have been wearing it, I have been so motivated to reach my daily fitness activity goal of 14,000 steps. Another feature I really like is that it tells you how much more activity you need to do to reach your goal (eg. jog for 30 mins or walk for 1hr 15). So far, I have achieved my goal each day.

As a mum of a 10 month old baby, who isn’t the best sleeper, I am up A LOT during the night to breastfeed her, so even though I am aware I am getting a very interrupted nights sleep, it has been good to see how much restful sleep I am getting at night. It accurately shows the times I get up and I find it quite amusing to see the tracking of me walking to her room (blue activity lines) and then sitting in the chair feeding her (grey activity lines) and then walking back to my room again and going back to sleep….. hey, at least I’m getting extra steps in my day. There are 24 usable hours in every day…. it’s no wonder I’m reaching my target.

Polar Loop App - Activity Breakdown

Polar Loop App – Activity Breakdown

So, although I have only been wearing my Polar Loop Activity Tracker for 1 week, I am hooked! I only take it off to charge it and I am much more aware of my movement and activity patterns and I am making sure I am staying active throughout the day. If you are looking for extra motivation to help you on your fitness journey and want to track your daily fitness, activity and sleep then I highly recommend using an activity tracker and, personally, I am loving my Polar Loop. I think it is on sale at the moment and you can shop this awesome product here.

Enjoy xx

Your reason or your excuse… which is greater?

It happens to all of us, sometimes we just don’t want to exercise. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter, there will be a day where you just do not want to get out there and get it done, plain and simple! But it’s funny (almost ironical) because those are usually the days that if you can overcome that feeling and switch to ‘mechanical’ you mode and do it anyway, you will probably enjoy it more, get good results and feel a whole lot better afterwards.

This is something I have been working hard on in the last 6 months. Yesterday I went for my run, it was my seventh day in a row and my legs were heavy, I had quite a bit going on, living on about 5 hours of sleep and quite honestly, it would have been very easy for me not to go. But I knew that wasn’t really what I wanted and that I would actually be disappointed if I didn’t do it. I set myself a realistic goal and off I went. I went through the paces and surprisingly I felt good and actually went 4 km’s further than I set out to go! The distance wasn’t huge and it wasn’t my fastest run but the whole way I felt proud of myself. It’s these workouts that actually make you a stronger person. I kept repeating things to myself like “I’m one run stronger than I was yesterday”, “I’m closer to my half marathon goal”, “my legs are strong and my breathing feels good so keep pushing!”, “make your family proud but more importantly make yourself proud”, “do it because you can, and for the people that physically can’t”….. there are lots more mantras I use to get me through. I use my running time as my thinking time, my planning time, my reflection time, my alone time. I always surprise myself at what I am capable of and what I can achieve. It’s my mental strength that has surprised me the most above and beyond my physical strength and capabilities! If you can overcome the mental barriers and negative talk etc you are well on your way to achieving whatever you put your mind to!

The reason I put my shoes on and went outside yesterday and did it was because my ‘want’ to get it done was far greater than my ‘excuses’ not to! This is not a post about #noexcuses…. do you know why, because at times we all have real reasons why we can’t train and that is totally OK. We are mums, and we have sh!t going on, I’m no different, but we deserve to do something for ourselves and we deserve to spend time on our own health, fitness and sanity! For me that’s keeping fit, healthy and active and sticking to my training plan for my half marathon this year!

stronger than your excuses

I know I am much happier when I do fit my exercise in and I find it also means I tend to eat better too. If I skip a day or a session, for some reason it carries over into the rest of my day/lifestyle and I seem to not eat as well and I am grumpy (hence the reason my family are so supportive of my training ha!).

I’ve said it before in my posts and anyone who knows me will tell you, I am no elite sportsperson. I am a mum who has decided that this is my year to be the best I can be! I am constantly striving to be a better me, stronger me, fitter me, healthier me, happier me….These are my reasons for getting it done every single day! .This is my motivation.Every run or workout I do brings me a little bit closer to all of that, especially the ones where I bloody well didn’t want to do it!! What are your reasons and motivation? It’s so much easier when you have a clear and defined purpose for doing what you do (and that’s in all areas of life, not just exercise!).

The saying is “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going” but I actually think motivation is what gets you started and your purpose and reason is what keeps you going… no matter what. If I give up on my reason, I am giving up on myself and I am not going to let that happen. I’m sure we can all come up with at least 10 legitimate excuses why we just can’t be bothered exercising today, but how much will we let them get in the way and actually stop us from doing it anyway and getting closer to reaching our goals?

This post was in my head while running yesterday and it didn’t quite come out as well written down as it sounded in my head (I really need to start recording myself while running as things seems much clearer when I’m not at a computer) but I am sure it will resonate with someone else and hopefully it will motivate even just one person to not give up on your own goal just because you might have an excuse or two. You are not alone, I was there yesterday!! It’s all part of the journey.

FitM.U.M xxx

Fit, Fast & Furious Training Session with Guin from Guin’s Everyday Style

Guin and Kel

WOW! What a session.We were both super excited about starting our first Personal Training Session. Guin wanted to be pushed and push her I did. I put Guin through a 45 minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Session which was predominantly body weight exercises. We did use a set of dumbbells for some of the exercises but most can be done without.

Guin already does a variety of exercise so she wanted to compliment her other workouts with a full body High Intensity Session. These sessions are awesome as they full of short burst intervals with minimal rest and they burn mega calories and get the heart rate up high. My trusty stop watch was getting a workout that’s for sure as I wanted everything we did to be between 20 – 50 seconds of hard work (max. Effort) and 15-30 seconds of rest. HIIT Training is no good without a stop watch so we can keep an eye on the time and really make the most out of the workout.

HIIT Trainers Secret Weapon

HIIT Trainers Secret Weapon

We also did a hard set of Plyometrics. For those who are unfamiliar with Plyometric Training, it is explosive, fast paced moves which work several muscles at once. It is a great way of training to increase fitness, speed and agility and also burns mega calories as your heart rate stays elevated the entire time, allowing you to continue burning calories after your session is finished.

The Plyo set I put Guin through was Squat Jumps (reaching up nice and high on the jump), alternating lunge jumps and mountain climbers. It’s fair to say her heart rate was up and her legs were burning! But she was still smiling at the end of it so I continued to push her with an upperbody strength session with shoulder press, burpees, pushups and punches followed by abs and lots of stair sprints!

It was a fantastic first session, Guin pushed through everything I threw at her and never once stopped. She is a machine and I am looking forward to our weekly workouts and seeing Guin’s results. She is also working on her nutrition at home and paying particular attention to snacking and ensuring she has healthy snacks handy at all times. The key to good nutrition is planning and preparation, see my previous blog post all about this topic!

So, session one has been conquered and we are both looking forward to session two next week. Stay tuned via FitM.U.M’s Facebook page and blog and Guin’s Everyday Style Facebook page and for updates, tips, progress, photos and workouts and feel free to comment with any questions or words of support for Guin, who has been fantastic to share her health and fitness journey with us all!

Peace xx

A FitMUM’s busy week… if you can’t find the time, make the time!

It’s no secret that there is a lot to fit into a week, especially for mummies. I am lucky enough to currently be on maternity leave (bubs is now 4 months old) but some weeks I still struggle to fit everything in to a week. It’s crazy! This week was quite a busy one for us so I thought I would use it as an example and elaborate on how I make time (even if it’s only a small amount of time) for myself and to make sure I fit some form of exercise in every day.

findaway

Like a lot of you, it was back to school for my eldest daughter this week after a busy and fun filled holidays and it was immunisations for my youngest. Irondad is in training for a short course duathlon on Sunday which he has set a pretty high expectations and goals for himself (EDITED post race to say that he smashed it by the way but that’s a different story!). We’ve had plenty of appointments, visits and of course all the household jobs that don’t do themselves as much as we’d like them too. So at the beginning of the week I knew I would have to work hard to fit in my exercise and not use any of that as an excuse to let it slide. It is easy to say “stuff it, I’ll just skip it today” but that can lead to the next day and the next day and before you know it you’ve changed your habits again. That is self-sabotage, try hard not to head down that path. Keep your motivation high and remind yourself of your goals. I am constantly reassessing my short term and long term goals to help me stay focussed and always have something to work towards. I do this in life and in fitness and I find that it really helps me stay motivated, accountable and achieve things.

My week from Sunday to Sunday included 7 runs (1 treadmill interval training run and 6 road runs) ranging from 4km – 7.5km, 3 x HIIT sessions, 1 Gym session and stretching and foam rolling (my old muscles can get a bit sore after running and foam rolling is perfect for easing those knots in your muscles).

Even on the days where I think it is going to be hard to fit it in, I find opportunity when I can and try my best to make it happen. Two good examples of this which I had to do this week were:

* Thursday my little one had her immunistations late in the afternoon and I hadn’t had a chance to do anything beforehand. That night we were having dinner at my parent’s house (they have a treadmill) and I didn’t want to be too far away from bubs, so going out for a run was out of the question as was the gym. I planned to get to my Parent’s house a bit early, got baby to sleep and did a 40 min interval session on their treadmill. It was actually a great sessions because it broke up my running week and provided intervals and heart rate training that I wouldn’t otherwise get on a road run. I was sweating hard, burnt mega calories and it gave my dodgy knee a bit of a rest from the road * all boxes ticked*.

* Friday I had a full on day so once Irondad got home we decided to do our weekly food shopping as we knew we had a busy weekend and wouldn’t get it done. Never one to miss an opportunity, once we had loaded everything into the car, including the children, off they went home with Dad and I ran home from the Supermarket. It is only 4.5km to our house but at least I fit it in, otherwise it just wasn’t going to happen. Do you know, the bonus of this is that by the time I got home all the shopping was put away too. I also did a quick 10 minute HIIT session out the back when I got home to finish the session off. I am usually dressed in my workout gear, you never know when you can improvise and squeeze in a quick run when you are out and about.

As you can see it is not rocket science and if I can fit these little exercise sessions in, hopefully you can too. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box and use 20 minutes when you can grab it. The shorter the timeframe, the harder you should push yourself! It all counts. I am just an average mum like everyone else, who’s time is in demand but all I do is make sure I plan and prioritise so that I don’t miss out! I am so thankful I have such a supportive family too.

If you have to go somewhere as a family on the weekend make sure you wear your workout gear (or at least have it with you in the car along with a hat and suncream and earphones if you like to run with music – be prepared and you can’t go wrong) and get dropped off on the way home and run there. Make sure you pick a distance you know you can comfortably run and increase it each time. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I have done this. Sometimes the family even pace me in the car and drive along side me for part of the run. My 7 year old loves yelling out the window to encourage me.

4 percent of your day

If you can’t find the time, make the time!

I have done previous posts about the importance of planning and having a goal, read here https://fitmumblog.com/2014/09/29/good-choices-planning-a-goal-results/ it’s the only way to get things done. So, even a busy week can be just as productive, it’s what you do with your time that counts. The choice is YOURS.

30km run week

H.I.I.T Sweat Session

Try this awesome High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) session. Give your maximum effort and get maximum results. You will feel amazing afterwards and you will burn more fat doing this type of workout and continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished! Now that’s a bonus!

sweat

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest between exercises. Enjoy this full body session. It will take 10 minutes so if you are feeling brave and want more of a workout… do it twice!

H.I.I.T Sweat Session
Push Ups (knees or toes)
Burpees
Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Plyo Lunges (alternating lunge jumps)
Tricep Dips (use a chair)
Ab Brace (plank)
Squat Jumps
Step Ups or Skipping (if you have a rope)
High Knee Sprint

enjoy 1