The picture on the left is from April 2015 when I decided I to make a lifestyle change. The picture on the right is from November 2021, 6.5 years later. Here is how I went from feeling over-whelmed and helpless to confident and empowered.
I found myself inactive, eating take-out daily, and unhappy with my lifestyle choices. I decided my goal was to lose 10 pounds. Unsure of of how to best approach this, I decided to commit to the good 'ol Insanity workout videos. I was familiar with this type of workout have gone through the 60 days of insane workouts about 10 years prior. I also become mindful of my nutrition and tried to eat mostly nutrient dense food. Here I am on the left after completing insanity exactly two months later. I should mention now that I do not recommend this type of workout, there are much more effective means to fat loss.
I was pretty lost when it came to nutrition but in August of that year I begin tracking my calories ensuring I was eating in a deficit. Here I am on the right a few months after tracking my calories.
For the next few years, I continued finding circuit-style workouts with bodyweight and light dumbbells. I also started a few challenges but never finished them, but at least I got progress pics out of them :). Here I am in 2016, 2017, 2018, and January of 2019. As you can see not much changed from year to year despite me staying very consistent with my workouts and putting in work. (If you are gonna work hard, be sure the work you are doing is effective!)
Then in mid-2019 I began lifting using progressive overload, a technique in weight-training known to build strength, grow muscles, and speed up fat loss unlike other types of workouts. I also starting tracking my macros and learned how to adjust my macros correctly. In just a month I saw noticeable changes! Here I am just 1 month, 3 months, and 1 year into my new fitness routine.
I took the next year to continue to build muscle, get stronger, and grow. This required me to eat in slight caloric surplus most of this time. While building new muscle tissue, we also build up some fat cells. This is normal and expected. Here I am in 2020 and mid-2021.
After considering a bodybuilding show for a few years, I felt ready to compete! It was time to diet again and show off my muscles. Here I am at the start of my cut in June 2021 and at the end in November 2021.
Lastly, here I am 2 months post-show. It is unrealistic to stay show-lean all the time. My current goals are to build muscle and will be doing another lean bulk.
A few important points about my journey:
Progress is not linear
Progress will look different for different people.
Some forms of exercise that are more effective at building muscle, losing fat, and appear toned
Nutrition plays the biggest role in fat loss.
Fat loss is not the same as weight loss
It becomes harder to build muscle the leaner you get. At this point, a caloric surplus is usually needed followed by a deficit.
Becomings stage-lean requires a large amount of dieting and consistency and is not sustainable forever.
Your journey is uniquely yours. Be sure to have clear goals, own these goals, then find the most effective way to reach your goals! Reach out for support if you do not feel you are progressing or need help getting started! Learn more about online coaching or in-person coaching.