Tag Archives: exercise programmes

End of round 2 of TFBR

Fran Benson working out in the garden
Me in the garden just before working out

The sun has risen into a cloudless blue sky, there’s a warmth to the day and it feels like it’s bulging with promise.

It’s also the London Marathon today and I’ve just completed my last workout in the 12 week schedule of TFBR. I feel much calmer this time contemplating the last three months.  Before I was exhilarated that I’d actually finished it and also anxious about whether I’d continue with all the good efforts.  So, yes I’m chuffed to have another one in the bag but it feels more like it’s a continuation of something bigger rather than an isolated incident.

I’ve lost another six pounds since the last round taking me to nine and a half stone which I’m pleased with.  I haven’t been this weight since before I had the children.  And as I have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which affects how my body loses weight ie. it finds it very hard, then that makes it even more of an achievement.

I was hoping to see a reduction in my fat percentage levels, and although they have nudged down a little bit I’ve found that my scales fluctuate between 27% and 29% on such a random basis that I don’t know what the real number might be. However I’ve lost three inches from my hips and pulled in my waist a little bit more so the results are there to see.

Again I feel stronger and healthier although I was tempting fate when I wrote my blog post a few weeks ago about my back getting stronger.  No sooner were the words typed than I put my back out and had to miss a week of exercise, followed by one light week and then this last week where I’ve had to skip the “Belly Shred” exercises.  Which is a shame as I wanted to give those abs a blast.  However my back is recovered now and so after a lighter week this week I’ll be back doing the TFBR exercises immediately after Easter along with the rest of my TFBR buddies.

To all those who have just completed TFBR for the first time – yay! Well done!  I’ve seen some amazing results on Julia Buckley’s facebook page (and her website);  it is so inspiring to see how others have got on with it.

I can’t recommend this approach to exercise enough.  Regardless of your size or your age, if you want to get fitter and lose body fat and you either haven’t tried exercise or you’re doing it and not seeing results then give this a go (here’s a link to the book on Amazon – and no I’m not on any commission I just really believe this is fantastic).  Adapt your eating to be healthier and cleaner too and there is no reason why you won’t see the results that others have done.

It really is yours there for the taking.

PS. If you’ve completed TFBR please drop me a comment below with how it’s worked for you – I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Halfway through TFBR

Fran Benson portrait-006
Image of Fran Benson

So I’m halfway through phase 2 of The Fat Burn Revolution which is also halfway through the whole programme.

I’m feeling fitter and stronger and pleased to see that my waist has dropped below the 28 inch marker which was my overall goal when starting to exercise again with the first phase.

It’s a different experience second time around.  First time there was a slightly obsessional feel about it.  I was determined to achieve all of my goals inside 12 weeks then dust  myself down and get on with life.

But somewhere along the way things changed which is why I’m here in my second round.

I can clearly remember though that phase 2 of TFBR last year was a testing time.  The enthusiasm of beginning something new had waned and I was looking forward to the end, which felt like a long time away.

Phase 2 was also when I started to make some tweaks to my diet.  Less starches (bread, potato and pasta) and more vegetables, pulses and fats (lentils, chickpeas, avocado and coconut oil).  I probably didn’t get the balance quite right to start with and felt flat and lacking in energy.

I persevered but it was hard sometimes to do my work outs when I hadn’t got my fuelling right.

But then it all started to come together: I was eating the right foods in the right quantities and feeling strong again.

This hasn’t happened to me this time.  Probably because with a pretty solid nutrition base behind me I haven’t had to make those changes – they were already in place.

But there have been different challenges.  Two weeks ago the builders moved in and ripped out our kitchen and I had no cooking or washing facilities.

Whereas normally I plan my week’s menu in advance I didn’t even know if I’d have electricity on any given day.  I was relying on a slow cooker, a steamer and a camping stove and if all else failed the pub or my mum.

I’ve made the best food choices I can under the circumstances but they haven’t always been the ones that I would have made had I had the full range of facilities available to me that I normally do.

But life is settling back into some sort of normality.  My kitchen isn’t quite my own yet – decorators like to cover everything up in sheets for the day – but I am back to planning my weekly menu.

My workouts haven’t slipped once.  I’m generally finished and dressed before the builders have turned up – although there have been a few close calls when I’ve nipped downstairs for a glass of water in my crop top and shorts only to hear the key in the lock just as I’m scurrying up the stairs again.

I think the biggest change this time round is that I no longer see it as something with an end to it.  Yes the programme is 12 weeks so there is an end in that sense but eating more healthily and exercising – really exercising and pushing myself harder – has become embedded into my lifestyle.

So although I’m looking forward to where I’m going to be in six weeks time in terms of results and fitness levels I’m also wondering what I’ll do next.

I’ll certainly do another round of TFBR after a brief gap but I think I’d like to get out and do a bit more running and try a couple of weights based fitness dvds that I’ve seen mixed up with a workout or two from TFBR as well.

It feels like there is a huge world of fitness possibility just waiting for me to explore and that I will get fitter and healthier as I carry on on this journey.

 

 

Round 2, Day 1 of The Fat Burn Revolution

The Fat Burn Revolution Book
The Fat Burn Revolution

It’s back to daily and intense exercise after the lull and recovery period that I have been enjoying.

The first round of The Fat Burn Revolution finished in early December and although I have been exercising over Christmas I have kept it easy and given my muscles chance to rest.  Perhaps a bit too much rest, but having said that although I don’t feel quite as toned as I did six weeks ago the difference is minute.

So here I am back at the beginning with the 12 week programme laid out before me.

What’s different this time?

Well there’s a sense of home coming.  A familiarity.  Like climbing a hill that you’ve climbed before.  You know it’s going to be hard work but the view from the top is worth it.

I know I can do this and I also know that it works.  I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for a very long time.  I know what I need to work on and I’ve set myself some goals.

At the end of this round I want to be measuring a body fat of 25% – which is another 5% down on where I am now.  I don’t care how much I weigh.  I think we are psychologically programmed to always feel good if the scales show a downward shift but if I drop my body fat I’m going to be leaner so what the scales have to say on the matter is irrelevant.

I also want to master press-ups.  I can manage them from my knees but not from my toes so three months on I want to be able to bang out six in a row.  I’m not feeling brave enough to commit to ten, but who knows I may even get there.

I was quite excited last night getting ready.  I’ve moved my workouts back to early morning.  My back protested at this first time round but I’m hoping the strength I’ve built up will help me out there.

I’m also getting up an extra half hour earlier to do a few chores and give my back a chance to warm up and loosen up.

Last night I laid out my clothes, took my weights out of the cupboard and put my notes and the TFBR book (opened to the right page) on the side.

If I’m not completely ready the night before I know that I haven’t fully committed to getting up the next day.  Once it’s all in place it’s very hard to stay under the duvet when the alarm goes off, no matter how tempting.

It’s like the pile of clothes and the weights and the book are a little reminder of how determined I was the night before.  So even if I’m wavering there’s a memory in my mind of how much I really do want to do this.

Why am I going on about all of this? Because it’s the key to success: planning.

Planning the workouts, planning the shopping and the food, planning for when it goes wrong – and it will.

I could be wrong, but I think it’s one of the most important things to do to get the results that you want – in most areas of life but particularly here.

So whether you’re doing the programme for the first time or you’re sitting there comfortably wondering whether to join in (do!) I’ll keep you posted on my progress over the next few months.

My New Year’s Honours List

Beckham might be feeling slighted for being skipped over in the New Year’s Honours list but in my own personal list it’s all about health and fitness.

So bypassing the normal rules for who gets a gong here’s my top five rundown of who deserves more than just a pat on the back for inspiring others to change their life for the better.

1. Kathleen Desmaisons.  Never heard of her? Well, she’s an American who sold her house to fund a Phd study of how certain foods, namely sugar, can be addictive and what effects this can cause certain people including depression and low self esteem to name just two.  Her book Potatoes not Prozac and her support groups have helped thousands of people all over the world turn their lives around from one of addiction to one of radiance.  It was reading her book in 2011 that finally got me off the sugar roller coaster which puts her at the top of my list.

2. James Duigan – an Australian. Founder of the Clean and Lean approach to eating ie eating everything in its most natural state and so avoiding processed foods.  He’s also a fitness trainer and founder of the Bodyism gym and so his books are a mixture of healthy recipes and simple exercises.  What I like about him is that it is all common sense and he embodies the lifestyle that he recommends.

Yorks Fitness-0173. Julia Buckley.  We’re back in the UK now and Julia is a Staffordshire lass like myself.  She’s also the author of the soon to be released Fat Burn Revolution programme.  A 12 week fitness plan with healthy eating guidelines which as many of you know I have just completed.  It’s an intense programme with daily workouts of between 20 and 60 minutes and it is brilliant.  I went from a size 12 to a 10 and feel stronger and more energised than I have in a long time.  More importantly I finally feel like I’ve got back to being the healthy person who enjoys exercise that I was before I had children.

4. Michael Mosley – he gets my vote for his documentaries into fasting and exercise which have gone on to be published as The Fast Diet and Fast Exercise.  I don’t follow the Fast Diet (also known as 5:2) but I know plenty of people who do who have had very good results with it.  I am fascinated by the science behind it and the health benefits that it seems to bring so I’m keeping my eye on it.  What interests me the most though is the more recent Fast Exercise book that he wrote with journalist Peta Bee.  It’s all about short bouts of high intensity exercise – a few minutes of hard work a week could make a big difference to a lot of people. I recommend this book to absolutely everyone.  If you want to make only one change to your life then this is the one.

5. Jamie Oliver. I know he’s not a typical health and fitness kind of person but he is all about food and cooking from scratch and if more people did that then there would be less health and weight problems in this country than there are now.  He’s done a lot to improve food in schools and his books, particularly an earlier book, Ministry of Food, have encouraged people who haven’t been confident to cook before to give it a try.  All he needs to do now is set up a national cookery programme to be added to the school curriculum so that the next generation are equipped to cook healthy food for themselves and I’ll be happy.  Go on Jamie, you can do it.

Whatever your health and fitness wishes are for the new year maybe one of the above will help or inspire you and I hope you have a healthy and happy 2014.