Six Weeks To Strong: Week 5 And I’m Almost At The Finish Line – Or Am I?

Deputy ed Rosemary Mac Cabe's on the home stretch of her six-week challenge, but the biggest surprise hasn't been the changes in her body – it's been the changes in her mindset.

So week five of my six-week challenge at Lift Training Studios is done (unless you want to ruin the whole sorry story for yourself, go back immediately and check out weeks one, two, three and four), and I’m simultaneously thrilled with what I’ve achieved, and kind of surprised that I haven’t achieved more.

Bear with me here, okay? In my mind, I was imagining that I’d be just about ready to compete in powerlifting competitions after six weeks. I had a vain hope that – if I did absolutely every thing right – I’d be ripped, a bit like Andreia Brazier, only less tanned. The thing was, I was 100 percent sure that I wouldn’t do everything right. Here’s what was going through my head at the start of week one:

“So, you’re starting a six-week challenge, yeah?”

“Yeah, but I’m really rubbish – I’ll probably quit after two weeks.”

“Why don’t you write about it for STELLAR? That way you won’t be able to quit.”

“That’s a pretty good idea, but I don’t think that’ll be enough to keep me on the wagon. It wasn’t the last time…

“How do you feel about the imminent loss of your favourite bi-weekly Bombay Pantry dinners?”

“Er, I’ll probably get a Bombay after the first five days… I’m a real comfort eater.”

You can see where I’m going with this; I was perfectly willing to give it a go, but I was under no illusion that I was going to achieve anything remarkable. Yet here I am, five weeks later, and I haven’t wavered once. I’m not even lying; I’ve stuck to Niamh’s food plan, word for word.

Rosemary Mac Cabe six weeks to strong Lift Training Studios

Clean lunch at Mayfield Deli & Eatery in Terenure

I’ve had my scheduled “cheats” (or re-feeds, below – Paulie’s Pizza amazingness), really enjoyed them, and gone back to clean eating.

Rosemary Mac Cabe six weeks to strong Lift Training Studios

I haven’t missed a session in the gym (I did try once, but that was soon nipped in the bud). My body fat has gone from 31.2 percent to 24.6 percent; I’ve lost weight, from 14 stone 10 to 13 st 5 (that’s 19 pounds, or three slightly petite babies).

Rosemary Mac Cabe Louise O'Neill

Here I am (for a change not feeling enormous) with Best Author Louise O’Neill

My fifth week showed me how far I’ve really come, and I don’t mean physically. With the STELLAR Shine Awards on, it was all hands on deck – and a seriously stressful night, organising the first event I’ve ever organised in my life. Historically, my responses to stress would fall into one of two categories: smoking or eating. Having successfully kicked the former habit, I strongly suspected the latter was going to come back to trip me up.

Rosemary Mac Cabe six weeks to strong Lift Training Studios

But no: I stuck to my food plan, even fitting in five sessions at Lift (I know – like, what?!) instead of four. I completed my two-week elimination diet without a single cheat or mishap, and while, yeah, I felt majorly stressed, I didn’t have to treat myself to a takeaway to get over it. Like I said, it’s not very like me.

This week, I’m gonna work as hard as I can on my diet, but also during my workouts – and see just how close to Andreia I can get within the six-week timeframe. (Stay tuned for another mortifying transformation pic!)

As training diaries go, this was not the way I thought this one would turn out. I expected hilarious mishaps, trip ups and falls (on my face). I thought I’d end this pretty much the way I started, eating takeout on the couch and thinking, life’s just too short. I guess it goes to show that you really can teach an old (ish) dog new tricks.