Deputy editor Rosemary Mac Cabe is at the end of her six-week stint at Lift Training Studios, and it looks like Six Weeks to Strong may need a rebrand – cos she's in it for the long haul.
Looking back on these photographs, it’s kind of hard to believe this was only six weeks ago (missed out on weeks one, two, three, four and five?). Less than a month and a half ago, I was eating Indian takeout twice a week (at least – chicken tikka masala, Peshwari naan, pilau rice and a Diet Coke plsthx), Eddie Rocket’s another two nights, a brownie (gluten-free, mind you) at least three times… And zero exercise, bar the odd spin class and it’s no wonder I was sizing myself out of the high street, feeling fairly rubbish, digestion-wise and had no energy before the third coffee of the day.
In a very weird way, that person feels like a totally different one – and while I started out this project thinking, yeah, I’ll give it a go for six weeks, now? I’m really determined to keep it up. So when Niamh at Lift Training Studios in Smithfield asked me, “How far do you want to take this?” I knew I wanted to take it further – just, er, “I’m not sure?”
“Well, she asked, do you want to look like Fionnula McHale?” (I talk about Fionnula a lot – the woman is the ultimate fitspiration.)
“I wouldn’t mind, but, like, I want to have a life,” I responded.
“Okay, well, do you want to see abs?” she asked.
This seemed like a trick question. Who wouldn’t want to see abs? I nodded, cautiously.
“Well, would you give me a year?”
Again, a trick question. “A year?! I’ll give you my fecking boyfriend if you’ll guarantee I’ll see my abs at the end of it!” (I wasn’t joking.)
So here we are: six weeks in, embarking on a year-long mission to find my abs and get fitter than I’ve ever been in my life before (and hopefully just as fit as I will be for the rest of my life!).
After six weeks, well, the pictures kind of speak for themselves. I totally regret wearing those clown-like Adidas by Stella McCartney trousers, but they do help illustrate the point; my legs, waist, chest… Everything’s smaller and tighter than it was before.
In practical terms?
I’ve lost 7% body fat – a little over 1% a week – and my measurements have gone down significantly, too.
Waist: was 90cm now 83cm
Bum: was 116cm now 102cm
Thigh: was 59cm now 54cm
Arm: was 32cm now 29cm
Niamh doesn’t like to focus on weight, but it’s the #1 most asked question, so I’ll lay it bare: when I started, I was between 14 stone 7 lbs and 14stone 10 lbs, depending on the time of the month / time between weighing self and consuming chocolate malt. Now, I go from 13 stone 2 lbs and 13 stone 4 lbs, depending on which bathroom tile I put the weighing scales on.
I won’t lie, I’m delighted with what I’ve achieved in six weeks. I have totally overhauled my eating, and I go to Lift between four and six times per week. When I’m there, I work (relatively) hard; I walk to work 90 percent of the time; I fit into (almost!) all of my clothes again; I feel happier, not just with my body but in general – I’ve discovered a positive side to myself that I never knew existed. (Turns out the cliché, in my case, was true; I was sarcastic and cynical because I was unhappy, not just because I’m sarcastic and cynical.)
Now, we’re continuing with what we’ve been doing – training hard and eating clean – with the addition of a few other things that I don’t quite understand. Such as, er, “monthly periodisation” and (I do understand this part) monitoring my lifting, so we go harder and heavier.
Come Saturday, I’m gonna be having the refeed of my life – planning a PB chocolate malt at The Counter Burger with sweet potato fries, a burger in a bowl (what – I’m healthy now) and onion strings. After that, it’s back to super-clean eating and monitoring everything using MyFitnessPal (my username is rmaccabe if you wanna creep on what I’m nomming), and this time I am all in.
Tune in over the next few weeks and months to see what we can achieve in a year – going by my six-week progress, I’m pretty excited to see what that’ll be.
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