| AGE 42
WEIGHT 138 lbs
BODY FAT 26%
| AGE 43
WEIGHT 117 lbs
BODY FAT 14%
Why I Decided To Transform
I fell in love with strength training 10 years ago when friends who'd been college athletes introduced me to free weights. Back then, I worked out three times per week and ate whatever I wanted with good results. I worked out consistently, even through and after my pregnancy, until about two years ago when I took a part-time job and fell into some bad habits.
The realization came slowly at first - clothes fitting more snugly, feeling tired most of the time, having to go way back to find good photos of myself, and making the decision to buy bigger clothes.
At my age, I told myself, 'It's a natural progression, right? It's sort of expected, and I deserve some slack.'
Well, last spring I was forced to endure what turned out to be a mortifying experience wearing a bathing suit to a kids' birthday party. No big deal, I thought initially. It's the first time this season, but so what? I wore swimsuits all the summers before, and didn't expect my reaction.
Something was different. My body looked weird. I spent the entire time hiding - feeling like the elephant woman. Then I thought to myself, 'Hey, this is NOT you. What are you DOING?!?' That was it for me.
Now, I feel like myself again, only with a vengeance this time! I decided that a comeback was in order, but it needed to be serious. I'm serious about all of it (training, dieting, and supplements, which I never used before).
I'm so confident and comfortable in my skin, knowing all the work it took in the 12 months getting to where I am now. I love being able to perform old school moves like pull-ups, deadlifts, and squats. Hoisting luggage into the overhead airplane bins with little effort isn't bad either!
How I Accomplished My Goals
The key element to getting in shape is diet. I'll say it again, D-I-E-T! I'm not sure why it took me so long to accept this fact, but it is so true! I really just can't emphasize it enough.
I have to give most of the credit to Jamie Eason. She's so accessible! It was like having her as my own personal trainer. I followed her guidelines about eating and it paid off! I eat 6-7 times per day, depending on when I go to bed.
I no longer indulge in anything I haven't planned to eat - nothing at work, no kids' birthday party cakes … it's amazing how much mindless eating I was doing! I DO believe in cheat meals, and think I would have a hard time without them. I usually work these in during planned meals out with friends or family and at special occasions. This allows me to feel "normal" on a regular basis and not feel deprived.
The other most important factor is consistency. In the beginning, I was religious about getting to the gym and rarely missed a workout. I saw amazing results in just two months. This kept me motivated to continue way past my initial goal of fitting into my old clothes.
I had to revamp my entire wardrobe because I can't wear much of my old clothing. Having support from my family, friends, other gym rats like me, and sometimes complete strangers does wonders for motivation!
Once the people around you acknowledge and appreciate how far you've come, the last thing you want to do is let them down!
Supplements That Helped Me Through The Journey
Creatine: Of my small arsenal of supplements, creatine has shown the most impact for me. When I first began, having an effective leg workout was nearly impossible for me because I'd be completely exhausted after the first few exercises.
After taking creatine, I started to notice how much more strength and power I felt on leg days. Now, I have steadily increased my weight on all exercises and leave the gym feeling that nice 'pump' in my lower body that I'd always had in my upper.
Diet Plan That Guided My Transformation
Carbs: I do preach about eating right, but I don't reduce carbs unless I am preparing for something major. Too little carbs leaves me feeling light-headed and shaky, so I am pretty generous on average with the good carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc.).
1 1/4 scoops (w/ 12 oz Unsweetened Almond Milk)
Training Regimen That Kept Me On Track
I workout five days a week - lifting five days with three sessions of cardio sprinkled in. I ALWAYS do my cardio immediately after my weight workouts to save time. Since I'm already warmed up, I only need to perform 20 minutes to get the job done.
I usually don't do cardio on leg days because it's too intense. I tend to do the same cardio all the time because the stepmill and treadmill really work for me. I absolutely don't dig cardio, so I'm OK with this for now.
Cardio: I am a firm believer that the more muscle you have the better - what's easier than having on-board fat burners all the time? In my case, I started out doing cardio five times per week, and ended up losing most of the muscle I built. I looked really stringy. I reduce the cardio and cherish and protect any mass I can hold on to!
Progression: Lift heavy, and heavier. I see so many dedicated women at the gym day, after day, lifting too little weight and just going through the motions. You have to work hard and keep progressing to see the best results. I use a journal for every workout to make sure I'm always upping the ante.
Be careful to progress at a safe pace, though. For example, on lying leg curls, I work each leg separately and the weight stack uses increments of 5 pounds. Because I want to avoid injury, I'll use a 2.5-pound plate attached to the stack with the pin to ensure I'm still lifting heavier, but not too heavy. I also will use drop sets for the same reason.
In some cases, like the barbell press, I have a hard time progressing, so I'll only be able to get 2-3 reps in for the first set with a new weight. I'll write that down, and drop the weight for the rest of that set and the three remaining sets. Then I'll be sure to increase to 3-4 reps the next time I perform that exercise, then 5-6, and so on.
Since my lower body is still a work in progress, it gets two full workout days. My upper body responds well, so the second workout (Friday) combines everything for upper body with fewer sets. I emphasize chest and back since they are the largest muscle groups.
Below is a sample of the exercises I do most. Squats, pull-ups, and dips are performed twice per week because they're compound moves and I find so much success using them. However, I do rotate my exercises every two weeks to keep things fresh.
I base my workouts off The Bodysculpting Bible for Women (Villepigue & Rivera) training programs. They cover so many moves; it's easy to rotate them. I also follow several figure athletes and incorporate new moves they recommend that seem fun or extra tough! Single-legged squats and plyometrics are new for me, and they're awesome!
So far, I don't do any abdominal work. I have had success building my abs in the kitchen!
I do 4 sets of 8-10 reps for all exercises within my plan.
Bodyweight Lunges (Shown with dumbbells)4 sets of 8-10 reps
Suggestions For Aspiring Transformers
Set The Example: The best element of all this is letting other women know it's not over just because you're a mom, and because you're over 40. Don't let society talk you into giving up! Also, try not to let the naysayers get you down. I got a lot of "Wow! Don't lose any more weight!" and "You need to EAT more!"
I am so happy with my transformation, so I let it all roll off. Having good muscle definition is not the norm for most females, and people aren't used to seeing it close up. Some folks might feel intimidated by fit physiques, so I've tried to remain approachable by smiling a lot and just being my friendly self, especially at the gym.
This goes a long way, and actually helps facilitate conversations with others who may not be sure how to go about getting healthier.
Shots on white background:
Photography by Desiree
217 Jefferson St. Fort Collins, CO 80524
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