Ulster Life fashion columnist Eve Brannon talks fitness…

by • April 12, 2013 • Featured, Health & WellbeingComments (0)3094

‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’

Post 6.

 

Done and dusted!

I sit in an Internet café in San Francisco, California and contemplate the last few weeks as I write my final blog post of my ‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’ challenge.  Last week I completed my final days of the challenge, totalling an uninterrupted period of just over 11 weeks (I had to end it a few days short of the 12 weeks in order to travel to the US).  This period involved following a strict programme of healthy eating and exercise.  The exercise regime was to complete four sessions a week at BODY VIBES training on the Power Plate machine, the healthy eating programme was to follow a personal ‘eating clean’ plan created by nutritionist Peter Baird of NI Supplements & NI Fit Kit.

In order to carry out this challenge to the best of my ability and get true, legitimate results I followed all instructions to the letter – from when to eat, quantities of foods, volumes of water, times to train, etc.   To many this may have seemed overly regimented and a few friends and family did comment that the level of commitment required was a little extreme, especially for nearly a three-month period (added to the fact I had just completed the initial challenge of ‘Three Months To A New Me’ training programme).  However I felt the need to be strict with myself, not fall off the wagon and only ‘cheat’ on the allocated and instructed once-weekly ‘splurge meals’ and never miss a training session.  I figured this was the only opportunity to test and push my body under qualified expert supervision – and when would I get the chance to do this again?

However, the last few months have brought their own struggles; mostly I found the experience to be testing when it came to social situations.  I wasn’t able to conduct my life in the way I was accustomed to – such as impromptu dinners out with friends, cocktails with the girls, family birthdays, even wedding celebrations were difficult: I wasn’t able to eat the meals with fellow guests or indulge in wedding cake.  More often than not I became the designated driver on evenings out, as alcohol was a limited luxury.  I also found myself turning down invitations to see friends at times, when I knew I would be ‘the awkward one’ not able to eat the food on the menu at the chosen location.  I became aware that turning down food that friends or family were enjoying or offering may make them uncomfortable or unnecessarily aware of their own eating habits, which was never something I wanted to do.  All meals had to be carefully planned, so on occasions when I did eat out socially I had to investigate the menu prior to visiting to ensure I could make it work around my eating plan.  I found a fail-safe menu option was to ask for the Caesar salad – without the croutons, or the dressing, or the bacon, or the Parmesan.  I.e. can I please have some lettuce and chicken, and a side of water?  This got a little depressing at times, so it ended up being easier to eat in or bring my own food, which with my own ingredients were actually very tasty meals.  The lack of healthy options on menus was really highlighted during this process, as well as a distinct lack of knowledge of ingredients or cooking prep from serving staff at times.

Although I did find the process extremely difficult at times, a part of me really enjoyed eating and training within boundaries and in following the set instructions carefully, I was able to observe the gradual changes to my health and body.  When around supportive people or others who were also in ‘the zone’ of training and clean eating I found the lifestyle enjoyable and my nutritious menu easy enough to follow with planning and preparation.

As the weeks went by the positive changes I felt within myself as a result of clean eating and exercise continued to grow. I noticed changes in the condition and growth of my nails and hair, my skin was clearer than ever, my eyes were brighter, my sleep was massively improved, my energy levels were up and above all my fitness levels improved massively.  When I first began training at BODY VIBES I really struggled and genuinely could barely run for a bus (no exaggeration!).  My first few sessions on the Power Plate were uncomfortable to say the least and the urge to vomit was the prevailing feeling associated with intense exercise.  I could just about swing the lightest kettle bell and one press up was about all I could muster.  It was at this point I knew I needed to act or my fitness levels would remain at an embarrassing low.  Today I feel like a different person when it comes to exercise – we are comfortable buddies now.  I completed the three-months swinging and pressing the heaviest 12kg kettle bell, doing press ups and all manner of other exercises with ease (and enjoyment) on the Power Plate.  It’s important for me to state that the only method of exercise I took during this period were my sessions at BODY VIBES, I truly believe in the whole-body workout of Power Plate fitness and would highly recommend it as a way to tone up, loose weight or improve personal fitness – for the cynics out there, it does work!  With the support and guidance from my trainer Garvan Liddy, I built up my strength and increased intensity of exercise as the weeks went by and with time I started noticing physical changes in my body in muscle tone.

Throughout both challenges I’ve monitored my body stats and measurements and have aimed for gradual and healthy improvement.  A prerogative was to make positive changes through diet and exercise that were realistic, not drastic, in order to be able to maintain any results.

My stats at the end of the period are as follows:

Weight: 7.2 stone (45.7kg)
LOSS from 8.1 stone (51.2kg) I have lost nearly a stone in weight (over the full 6 month period), bringing my BMI down from 21.3 to 18.9

Body Fat: 15.7%
LOSS from 26.9% My body fat percentage has dropped by 11.2%, making my body fat now lie in the ‘Athletes’ category

Metabolic Age: 13 Years
LOSS from 19 Years (metabolic age is a reflection of physical health in the form of a calculation based on the base metabolic rate)

Upper Arms: 25cm
LOSS from 27cm

Waist: 66cm
LOSS from 70cm

Lower Stomach: 78cm
LOSS from 86cm

Hips: 86cm
LOSS from 93cm

Thighs: 46cm
LOSS from 51cm

I promised the team at BODY VIBES that I would allow a few photos to be taken at the end of the period to show any changes in my physique.  Cue lots of posing and clenching…

 

I am proud of the changes I’ve made to my body and have a true sense of achievement, as I have put in a lot of hard work and have really made this transition the focus of my time for the last several weeks.  Above all my knowledge and approach to eating and exercise have changed for the better.  I hope to continue to make time for exercise and make it a way of life permanently.  Although I don’t intend to continue to eat to such a strict plan and pattern, I will definitely hold onto the eating clean way of life, as your diet really is what makes the lasting changes to your body and physique.  I intend to relax and enjoy my time here in America and sample lots of delicious foods for sure!  I will never forget the past 6 months and the experience I’ve had trying something new through both challenges – and the knowledge is something I will carry with me.  A huge thank you to Garvan Liddy and the team at BODY VIBES, as well as nutritionist Peter Baird – a great bunch of guys that I would highly recommend to anyone hoping to reach their ‘Next Level’!

Eve x

 

Body Vibes
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

NI Supplements
49-51 Castlereagh Road
Belfast
BT5 5FB
T: 028 9543 9593
W: www.nisupplements.com

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‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’

Post 5.

 

All tupperwares, no wrappers!

Writing this entry it’s hard to believe I am nearing the final weeks of my ‘eating clean’ plan.  I’m at the stage where my current diet feels like a way of life and my body feels very much accustomed to it, meaning as the days are rolling past I don’t feel the big excitement I thought I would at the prospect of the end nearing. In some ways it’s a little daunting to know in a few short weeks I won’t be eating and training with the same ‘purpose’.

That being said I experienced a tough couple of days recently. My workload in my job has really kicked in, being freelance this is great, but also means long hours and having no one to delegate to – if I don’t do the work it doesn’t get done.  Also, no sick days – I’ve been feeling a little under the weather and have had a cold, so my energy levels have been slightly low. This is where eating well is so crucial and important to maintaining a level of fitness and physique. In the past, a run-down day meant rest, hot chocolate, ‘comforting foods’ and caffeine… but this time I made sure I didn’t slack on my exercise plan and completed my 4 weekly sessions at BODY VIBES, as well as loading up on lots of colourful, nutrient-rich vegetables, drinking lots of water and keeping my protein intake up. Training on slightly lower energy levels can zap your stamina, so maintaining a healthy diet ensures that the body not only has adequate fuel, but also has the reserves to recover and top-up for the following days’ endurance.

Most athletes know of the importance of eating before exercise, however, what and when you eat after exercise can be just as important: something my nutritionist (Peter Baird of NI Supplements & NI Fit Kit) has installed in me. While the pre-exercise meal or drink can ensure that adequate glycogen stores are available for optimal performance (glycogen is the source of energy most often used for exercise), the post-exercise meal is critical to recovery and improves your ability to train consistently.  As a big part of this challenge has been the training element, consistency is a massive part of achieving my goals. Since April I am yet to miss or cancel a training session so I wasn’t going to let the sniffles stop me! Post-exercise it is beneficial to consume some small volume of carbohydrate immediately within 15 minutes, to help restore glycogen levels. Then in terms of a meal, research has shown that eating 0.3-0.6 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight within three hours of exercise is essential to building adequate glycogen stores for continued training. Conversely, waiting longer than three hours to eat can result in 50 percent less glycogen stored in the muscle. The reason for this is that carbohydrate consumption stimulates insulin production, which aids the production of muscle glycogen. So the make-up of my post-training meal is a vital component when ensuring I get the most from my work out (especially when feeling under the weather). These post training carbs are something I really look forward to – and often focus on when training to spur me on! Generally the chosen form is a sweet potato, along with a protein source such as chicken or fish (providing the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense exercise) and a portion of healthy fats, such as avocado. This has become one of my favourite meals and being creative with the seasoning and cooking method means I’m yet to tire of it.

Eating at regular intervals has become easier as the weeks have passed.  Initially I was uncomfortably full when squeezing in my 5 meals a day, I had gotten into a bad routine of skipping breakfast, and often lunch (just snaking on fruit and coffee) and then overeating in the evenings. But now my body expects to be fed every three hours and I find the hunger pangs creeping in just as my “time to eat” alarm reminder goes off on my phone: proof that the body and mind truly can be re-educated and re-programmed. Statistics say that the average Brit eats three meals a day, with snacks in between, which sounds perfect. However the three meals often centre around refined carbohydrates, saturated fat and processed foods. The ‘snacks’ often come out of wrappers. Endless coffee shops, petrol stations and sandwich bars make this way of eating the norm in today’s society.  So to make all five mini-meals in the form of freshly prepared foods has undoubtedly been a challenge and a real readjustment, but as I’ve said before – it’s all in the preparation. All Tupperware, no wrappers!

Working off my eating plan and maintaining the set exercise programme means I am continuing to see changes in my body. The ‘difficult areas’ that were most definitely my slow starters at the beginning are showing change and I am continuing to gain definition in my arms, stomach, back and legs.  In a few weeks time, at the end of the challenge I have agreed to take some photographs to show development as well as sharing those oh-so-scary final body stats! In the meantime, my eat alarm is chiming so it’s feeding time.

Until next time,
Eve x

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‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’

Post 4.

 

“Let each become all that he was created capable of being”     – Carlyle Thomas

The weeks are really flying in; here I am in my sixth week of my new eating routine.  Neither my loved ones nor myself thought I’d successfully reach this point, so I’m feeling relieved to have hit this mark (yippee).  I’ve found I’ve reached a stage that my current diet feels more-or-less the norm – I no longer wake up and crave my previous breakfast offerings, nor does that doubt creep in of how I will approach the ‘clean eating’ day ahead and I don’t stare longingly at friends with their fry-ups (as much!).  My morning meals are an important part of my day; instead of flying out the door with a banana in hand, I now make time to ensure I “eat breakfast like a king” (in the words of my Nutritionist).  This consists of a mixture of food groups and tends to be along the lines of eggs with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, as well as a portion of nuts, green tea (or on occasion an organic black coffee) and a morning boost of Amino Acids.  This is varied through the week with other protein sources (got to keep things interesting!).  At the beginning of the plan I often struggled to eat this kind of breakfast.  Always craving my cereal or just a fruit bowl, but now I am used to it and do enjoy it – it really sets me up for the day.  My partner has also adopted this as his breakfast menu and says he really feels better for the change, having increased energy and fewer cravings for ‘elevenses’!  Couples who eat together and all that…

Many other previous routines have changed also.  We no longer do weekly shops (apart from stocking the freezer with poultry and fish), now I tend to shop daily for fresh vegetables, eggs, fruit and herbs. Around three times I week I do a ‘batch cook’ of chicken breasts or salmon fillets, as well as roasting up lots of fresh veg.  This sounds like a bit of a chore (and I often end up doing it at silly o’clock) but really does make ‘meals on the go’ easy throughout the week – and there’s no chance of needing to impulse buy foods or choose less than healthy options.  I’ve become a dab hand at quantities and measurements, the scales are less in use, as I know what suitable portions look like and have developed my own little recipes to keep my menu varied.  I’ve found keeping a food diary on my phone really helps monitor intake and prevents slip-ups.  All in all things are ticking along nicely!

Going back to the initial goals of this challenge, my aim is to get to a stage of health, fitness and physique by ‘Eating Clean and Training Mean’, so it has been important to continue to log and observe my stats and progress with my trainers at BODY VIBES, where I continue to train 4 times a week.  With the help of the team at BODY VIBES and the trusty Power Plate I am at the point now where I have reached a healthy, lean weight for my height and build (ensuring my BMI is within healthy NHS guidelines).  Therefore I am not wishing to drop anymore in weight; instead strive to gradually gain in muscle tone, as well as continuing to pull back my body fat percentage.  Although these figures are important to track my progress (and the scales never lie!), it’s key for me that my goals are healthy and realistic, not drastic.  Gradual, even progress is vital in order to maintain any results achieved.  My main objective is to develop a way of exercising and eating that works for me long term – not just as a ‘challenge’ to blog about for a period then move away from.

When I hit the one-month mark, my Nutritionist Peter Baird (of NI Supplements & NI Fit Kit) and I discussed the implementation of further foods into my personal plan. I had been super strict to this point in order to kick-start some changes in my body, such as increased metabolism and fat burning, but now it was time to make my menu a little more varied (and tasty!) and in turn more realistic to stick to long-term.  Believe me, I was excited for this day.  Limiting your diet, albeit in a healthy way, for a period in order to achieve results does make you miss some flavours of foods, foods that you never thought much of before or thought had little taste.  For example, at one-month I re-introduced peanut butter (the organic, no added sugar variety) and I was in PB heaven!!  Despite it tasting very different to the peanut butter I was used to previously – full of added sugar and salt – it tasted even better than before (actually like whole nuts) and is a now a healthy addition to my diet. Healthy fats are taking an important role in my meals, such as avocados, oils, nuts and oily fish. I am also enjoying a further spectrum of carbohydrates, especially post-training however sticking where possible to unrefined sources.

As I have been changing my eating habits I’ve developed a real interest in healthy eating and how to fuel your body in the best way possible, as perhaps sad as it sounds my bedtime reading at the moment is an online nutrition journal (instead of vogue) and in my car I’m listening to food and fitness pod casts rather than Radio 1 (never thought I’d say that).  But there really is so much information out there and endless sources of educated help and advice for those who want it, after of course you’ve waded through the minefield of nonsense diet advice from celebrities and wannabe ‘weight loss experts’.  For example, through reading up on various popular diets (some healthy, some definitely not so healthy) such as The Paleo Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Dukan Diet, the list goes on – it is clear that many of these so-called revelations in healthy eating all work around similar principles to the eating plan I’m following: lower intake of trans fats, up healthy fats, moderate carbohydrate intake, lower refined sugar intake, up protein intake, higher potassium intake, lower sodium intake, higher intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  It’s really not that difficult.  The more I learn about the ingredients of food (a real eye-opener), the effects our diets have on our bodies and minds, the benefit of regular exercise – it really is simple and unfortunately there is no Holy Grail secret diet to weight loss and fitness.  In the last few weeks I can’t count the number of times someone has offered me a bun or a chip or a sweet with the phrase “go on, life’s too short” – what a contradiction.  By no means am I saying I won’t ever eat these things (on my once-weekly splurge meal I eat whatever I may fancy believe me).  I definitely agree everyone should enjoy treats from time to time, but making healthy, conscious daily decisions about how you choose to treat and fuel your body, the most valuable thing you have, has to be the best decision you’ll ever make don’t you think?

Until next time,
Eve x

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‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’

 

Post 3.

 

Eat Good: Feel Good…REALLY?

Here I am, at the end of my third week of eating clean.  At this stage I can say that I am feeling a tad victorious to have completed 3 weeks, without a slip-up or naughty moment.  I have followed nutritionist Peter Baird of NI Supplements programme to the letter and been super-strict with myself, eating completely clean (bar my allotted once weekly heavenly ‘cheat-meal’) whilst training 4 times a week at BODY VIBES, combined with any other exercise I can fit in.  I have encountered several dreaded social situations and handled them in a manner anyone would call restrained.  For example this week my lovely big sister had a birthday.  Part of the family celebrations included a night of indulgence (all chosen by my heavily pregnant and crave-tastic sister) including a mass take-away feast, finger snacks, several Haagen Dazs ice cream flavours, prosecco and a huge chocolate-layered butter-cream birthday cake.  I sat around the table with my jovial family and served up my chicken, broccoli and spinach salad from my tupperware.  Then for desert, green tea (no birthday cake!!).  My young nephew thought the family weren’t allowing me to partake in the meal and kept setting mercy morsels of his kiddie pizza on my plate.  This was my hardest evening to date, but ultimately my salad did taste good – and did satisfy me.  And in bed that night I wasn’t missing the food I didn’t eat, I was feeling healthy from the food I did eat.

So when it comes down to it, why is healthy eating really so important?  What qualifies as ‘healthy’?  Most people’s lives are so hectic and full that considering the possible health benefits (or consequences) of the food they eat can often take a backseat.  Eating well can seemingly get lost in the madness of 21st century life.  In turn people (including myself in the past) often turn to fad diets or quick fixes to solve a weight or health issue, which ultimately rarely work and cause stress, often perpetuating the cycle of yo-yo dieting.

Clean eating isn’t a faddy diet; it’s a simple, obvious approach to a healthy lifestyle.  Once you adapt to this lifestyle, it’s hard to imagine that you once thought black coffee and a piece of toast for breakfast was a ‘healthy choice’.  After all it is so easy to overlook healthy eating; the standard diet in this country is high fat, high sugar, mostly pre-packaged and processed.  Often created out of the need for ‘convenience’ food or meals.  The alternative healthy diet consists of a wide variety of whole, unrefined foods that are in their natural (or closest to natural) form.  Made up of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and lean protein, along with plenty of water.  Clean eating shouldn’t be viewed as a diet; it’s a lifestyle that provides the body with a fuel of natural, nutrient-dense foods.

Not forgetting, eating the right foods does make you FEEL and look healthier. Whole vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins balance your energy levels and leave you sustained throughout the day. The positive effects are thinking more clearly, improved muscle tone, efficient absorption of nutrients and seriously boosted energy levels (to name a few).  On a surface level, eating healthily can also promote cell growth, resulting in healthy skin, hair and nails – I am seeing these effects already.

Nutritious foods help prevent disease by building a stronger immune system and gut.  Building up your immune system through the right foods allows it to fight off illness naturally and recover quickly. You can ensure that your body and immune system run at optimal levels by eating plenty of colourful servings of vegetables, as well as drinking plenty of water every day.

Processed, packaged, and junk foods cloud the mind and cause the body to feel sluggish, tired and overworked.  Eating natural, whole foods high in healthy fats will keep the brain functioning at top capacity.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, adopting a ‘brain-healthy’ diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes and encourages good blood flow to the brain.  Today people tend to turn to sugar or caffeine for an instant ‘energy kick’, this rush is actually a quick spike in blood sugar, followed by an intense insulin response, which then causes a crash.  After the crash, you will likely feel worse than when you started and continue to crave the initial ‘hit’.  Consuming healthy options of protein and fibre can boost energy levels naturally and effectively, allowing a slow and steady release of sugar.

There is a never-ending list of benefits to take away from eating clean, let alone the rewards from exercise when combined properly with a healthy, whole diet – which I will look at in depth in another blog…

For now I feel like I’m fighting fit – and strong willed.  I am already seeing results from my new lifestyle, both physically and mentally.  Clean eating combined with exercise is continuing to bring my body fat down and muscle mass up, while maintaining a now classed as ‘lean’ body weight for my height.

A message I have taken away from these first weeks: ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you’

Until next time,
Eve x

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‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’

Post 2.

 

Well I’m back from my relaxing holiday with loved ones, which turned out to be suitably indulgent and I’m now home, raring to go!  I didn’t fully let things slide whilst away though, every other day I threw on the lycra and sloped off to the beach (or nearest field) with my trusty kettle bell and found a secluded spot to train and sweat profusely in the unrelenting sun.  Running on sand while pressing a kettle bell turned out to be fairly strenuous and not that relaxing, or tranquil scene as I had envisioned.  Meaning that returning to training at BODY VIBES on Monday after a week off wasn’t too painful after all – and to be honest I had missed it.

With Monday came D-Day (diet-day) and the start of my new eating plan, created personally for me by Nutritionist Peter Baird of NI Supplements & NI Fit Kit.  In order to be ready to commence the new programme, preparations had to be in place.  I did a fresh veg food shop to see me through a few days, bulk-purchased copious volumes of chicken breast fillets, salmon fillets and eggs.  As well as those key post-training carbohydrates, coconut oil to cook with, fresh spices to season with, herbal teas and (key to my training) various beneficial, natural supplements.

Next came the cooking and meal prep, involving crucial meal planning for each day.  I underestimated the effort and thought this would require – aside from cooking which I enjoy, I have to carefully plan my days more or less around eating.  With 5 meals to eat per day, at specific intervals it became apparent that I would have to work around the various stages of my day ensuring food and drink is continuously at the ready – i.e. dry foods on the go, perishables in a cool bag, shakes pre-prepped, green tea in flask, meat pre-cooked, etc.  It became clear quickly that the key to a eating well is planning and preparation.  Now that I know this I’m in full flow!  If there’s anything my friends will say about me it is that I love a project – and to make lists!  So part of me is relishing this frenzy of organisation.  I have my eating plan printed on the fridge and saved on my phone, it’s fairly intricate in terms of quantities and intervals so I follow and refer to it throughout the day.   A few days in and I have the ‘batch cooking’ down, my nuts are pre-counted, my dry-weight meats are pre-weighed, I have tupperware boxes coming out of my ears (and the fridge) and I’m feeling on top of it!  Now comes the eating.

My first adjustment has been eating the likes of fish or chicken and green veg such as spinach or broccoli for breakfast.  This has definitely not come naturally and I can virtually taste the bran flakes and bananas in the cupboard (my breakfast staple over the last years).  But I am being creative and have founds ways to make it more palatable at an often ungodly hour.  For instance, I’ve found I prefer my morning broccoli raw (the smell of cooked broccoli doesn’t appeal first thing).   The rest of the day so far, has been fairly pain-free.  I’m not a fussy eater (luckily) and everything Peter has allocated for me I enjoy, so far so good!  Though I am still really missing my fruit overload and the odd chocolate fix of an evening – my body is still craving its regular sugar rush, though I’m told this will pass (fingers crossed).

The most taxing part so far has been getting my meals in around my working day.  As I am self-employed, generally this shouldn’t be a problem – I schedule my own working hours, lunches, breaks etc.  However on long photo shoots or appointments I will be challenged!  Mid-week I had a busy day’s personal styling with a client.  Sure enough my ‘food alarm’ on my phone chimed away at its set intervals, cue a quick ‘toilet break’ and dash outside to inhale a chicken breast and some asparagus.

Week one is nearly complete and while I’m enjoying this new way of eating, the long weeks stretching ahead seem daunting.  I am yet to encounter how I will work my eating plan around social situations such as meals out or work events – this should prove as interesting reading!  I’ll keep you posted.  The main thing is that I can already feel its positive effects on my body.  Despite eating more daily than I ever have, consuming more (healthy) calories, I feel less bloated and sluggish – whilst never feeling hungry.  The supplements are giving me an extra boost throughout my training at BODY VIBES and filling my body with the clean fuel it requires feels good… after all, the best project you could ever work on is you.

Until next time,
Eve x

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‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’

Post 1.

 

Here I am at the beginning of my next challenge, my next adventure.  The ‘Three Months To A New Me?’ exercise programme was a personal achievement, reaching beyond my fitness goals.  Now it’s time to step it up a gear.  This next challenge sees me take on a strict and precise eating plan – not ‘a diet’, but a new way of fuelling my body (almost as a machine) in order to get lean through eating clean.  Meanwhile I’ll be maintaining my exercise programme with BODY VIBES, this time training 4 times a week.  I will continue to document my progress and journey through this latest blog ‘The Next Level: Eating Clean, Training Mean’.

I am being guided by top Nutritionist Peter Baird, of NI SUPPLEMENTS, who has created and tailored a personal eating plan for me to follow.  This plan aims to promote accelerated muscle growth and fat loss, whilst encouraging full optimisation of training, ensuring I obtain maximum benefits and results from exercise.

When I decided to go for this new programme I certainly had my doubts and reservations – I had little idea what I would be required to add to my diet or cut from it (and this was daunting).  Throughout the past three months I have been more in control of my eating routines – with exercise comes an increased awareness of your body, its functions and capabilities.  I have found that training came hand in hand with a desire to eat well and cut out the ‘stodge’ in my meals that often left me feeling uncomfortable, overfull and zapped of energy.  As a result I haven’t eaten bread, pasta, potatoes or rice in three months (bar the odd mouthful within my once-weekly ‘cheat meal’).  This has been a big change that I have felt many benefits from and I think it would take a lot to go back to regularly eating these heavy carbohydrates again.  The other main change I have made is pretty much cutting out chocolate – my vice.  I had developed a pattern of eating chocolate most evenings after an evening meal and this pattern turned into continuous cravings: sugar cravings.  However, although I managed to break this cycle, I replaced it with another vice – fruit.  I currently eat 4/5 pieces of fruit a day (bananas, oranges, apples, pineapples, melons).  Although many may say this is a healthy trait, the fact is I have just replaced one sugar rush for another.  I am aware that this fructose overload is not aiding in my fight to be fit, or letting go of excess body fat (so I expect this will be a supervised change within my new plan!).

My first consultation with Peter is extremely interesting, informative, daunting and exciting.  He tells me I am eating nowhere near enough calories, that I don’t have enough protein in my diet and that I am overloading on sugar with all the fruit (thought as much!).  I learn that skipping meals (often due to busy schedules and lack of planning) is detrimental to my metabolism and that I am not eating the right foods before and after training.  I have lots to learn!  Peter takes me through the key points of my new eating plan: more calories incorporating ‘healthy fats’, a goal of increased protein each day (I am currently only consuming around 40 grams), lots of green vegetables and LOTS of small meals often.  This is totally new for me.  I have grown up ‘counting calories’, ‘saving points’ and opting for ‘low fat’ options… this is all going to change.

I am due to commence this new eating plan (which I will share more detail of with you in my next blog) once I return from a much-needed holiday jaunt.  I intend to enjoy it, as when I’m back it’s straight into eating clean, training mean, and getting lean!

Wish me luck,

Eve x

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 8.

 

THE RESULTS ARE IN!

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals” – Henry David Thoreau

So today is day 84, the end of week 12 and the 3 months of the ‘Three Months To A New Me’ fitness challenge.  I started this Power Plate training programme at BODY VIBES on Monday 8th of April and have completed 3 sessions a week from that date, completing class 36 this morning.

At approximately 30 minutes per session, that works out as a solid 6 hours per month and a total of 18 hours in the 3 month programme.  If you ask me, that sounds like very little.  Very little time to commit to exercise, very little time to spend working out.  And it is.  That has been the beauty of Power Plate fitness for me; I have been able to fit the training around my busy (and often unpredictable) work schedule, my home life and my social life.  This is down to the high intensity interval training (HIIT) that BODY VIBES provides with the Power Plate.  HIIT is an enhanced form of interval training: an exercise strategy that alternates periods of short intense anaerobic cardiovascular exercise.  These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism and improved fat burning, which is exactly what the Power Plate offers you.  In terms of achieving a ‘full body workout’, I have most definitely felt this has been the case.  Each class is broken up into three sessions, working on specific areas – generally core, arms and legs.  Regardless of the luck of the draw of which of the three trainers takes your class, you are guaranteed to come away with wobbly legs, aching arms and an over-clenched tum!  It’s all in aid of working through the burn to push the muscles and the body to reach new goals…or so I’m told!

Speaking of goals, my first thought at the beginning of April was would I feel any health benefits in such a short period?  And would there be any significant REAL physical results to reflect progress?  Well looking back I personally feel I have come a long way.  From the girl who can hold her hands up and say I could barely run for a bus 3 months ago, to now, I can see and more importantly FEEL improvements and personal progression.

I have (nervously) completed my week 12 stats and the results are in:

Statistics

Muscle Mass = GAIN 35.6kg to 37.8kg (2.2 pounds)
I have gained 2.2 pounds of pure, lean muscle.

Weight = LOSS 51.2kg to 48.4kg (6.2 pounds)
I have noticed this mostly in my clothing, starting out as a rounded size 8 – 10 (mostly 10!) I am now wearing size 6 – 8 jeans and dresses.

Body Fat = LOSS 26.9% to 21.1%
My most dreaded statistic that I was determined to shift – down by 5.8% Whoopee!  For my age group of 20-40 years old, a ‘healthy’ body fat percentage is classed as between 21-33%, so I am closed to being classed as ‘Underfat’ which is where most athletes lie.

BMI = LOSS 21.3 to 20.2
My Body Mass Index ratio has dropped

Metabolic Age = LOSS 19 years to 13 years (actual age 28)
Meaning my overall fitness and metabolic activity is currently that of a 13 year old (this still seems so bizarre to me!).  ‘A metabolic age that is lower than his or her actual age, suggests that the body is in good health, while a metabolic age higher than the actual age indicates that someone may be experiencing health problems’.

Measurements
This was pretty grim to injure at the beginning, no-one likes to stand in their underwear in front of a mirror and have their wobbly bits measured (especially when feeling less than their best) and I have to admit I was dreading doing this again at the end of the 3 months…

Upper Arms
LOSS 27cm to 25cm

Chest
LOSS: 80cm to 79cm

Waist
LOSS: 70cm to 67cm

Lower Stomach
LOSS: 86cm to 81cm

Hips
LOSS: 93cm to 90cm

Thigh
LOSS: 51cm to 47cm

Total Body Sites loss = 18cm

And breathe…!  I am so relieved and happy with my final stats (currently giving myself an auld pat on the back) for achieving above and beyond my goals. I didn’t enter this training to loose weight or centimeters off my body, but I feel I have where I needed to.  This was done through exercise, with minimal change to my diet and lifestyle.  I can certainly say I feel in the best state of fitness I have been in for many years.  My body feels healthier, happier and stronger.  I am gradually gaining definition and have tightened up the softer areas.  So, I promised I’d put up some before and after pics… believe me I have a few ‘before’ photos that are less than flattering but just to show change of shape I have added one here, as well as me in the same gym gear, before (top on!) and after.

Before / After                               Before / After

It’s at this point that I would like to say a sincere and massive thank you to Garvan Liddy at BODY VIBES, as well as the other top trainers Sean and Jonny.  I am so grateful to have experienced what BODY VIBES can offer and to be introduced to the ever-fabulous Power Plate (you can see the plate and I have bonded over recent weeks!).  I can whole-heartedly recommend these trainers and Power Plate fitness as a method to get fit, get healthy, lose weight and tone up.  I encourage anyone who has followed this blog to make the most of the FREE TRIAL and see how it works for you too!

From here I don’t want to stop, I have caught the exercise bug and would be so disappointed to let it all fall away now.  So what’s next?  Well I am taking on a new challenge!  As of this month I am going to start straight into another 3 month programme, still incorporating BODY VIBES training (yey!) but upping the anti with an extra fourth session a week.  On top of this I will work with top Nutritionist Peter Baird, of NI Supplements to follow a strict eating plan of eating clean and lean whilst maximising results from training.  I am excited to see what this will bring, what I will learn and to move to the next stage of personal fitness… and of course I will continue to blog and share all my ups and downs with you!

More details coming soon…

Until next time,
Eve x

BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 7.

 

The weeks are flying in and I have now been training at BODY VIBES on the Power Plate for roughly 9 weeks.  I can safely say this is the longest I have solidly committed myself to one form of exercise!  I have continued to train 3 times per week and have been determined never to miss a session.  Dare I say it I have even braved the plate with a touch of a sneaky hangover (from a celebratory weekend) but I confess as horrific as the thought of a workout was, the session really did it’s job as always of making me feel on top form – that and copious amounts of perspiring!  To be honest I have never actually wanted to miss my tri-weekly date with the Power Plate.  I have relished in reaping as much as I possibly can from this three month period and as the weeks have passed, if anything my motivation is has continued to grow, as I see continued results and have re-established my love for exercise.

I think I’m pretty much au fait with all the routines, exercises and positions that the trainers like to impose.  My body is gradually learning and my muscle-memory seems to have kicked in – I feel less like an uncoordinated bambi learning to use her limbs.  With time I have developed what I might call ‘favourite’ exercises on the Power Plate (though I’m hardly clapping my hands with glee and enthusiasm, but these are my most enjoyable).  They include: v-sits, kettle bell work, tricep dips and free weights.  My least favourites (i.e. they evoke internal groans) are: burpees, some exercises involving the large stability ball (myself and the ball still have some bonding to do)  and press-ups. Though all in all it’s not meant to tickle, so I’m not complaining!

I’ve happily got to the stage now where I’m not counting down reps wildly in my mind, longing for the wonderful moment of reaching zero.  Instead my head is more focused on achieving the purpose of the exercise and perfecting that rather than simply ‘getting through it’.  I also don’t particularly pay attention to which ‘set of three’ I’m on – the session is divided up into three sections, with 2 minutes rest in between.  Initially, in the first few weeks I was aware of every minute passing, of each set and it was all about reaching the halleluiah goal of the end of the class.  Now that focus has shifted.  In moments of suffering I imagine the benefits to my health and to my body – and I envisage the toned and honed physique I may reach if I just power through ‘the burn’!

For example, some simple exercises done on the Power Plate that effectively target what some might call popular troublesome areas are:

The Plankfor that oh-so-coveted trim tum
Muscles targeted: abdominals, core and shoulders
Procedure: place bent elbows on the plate, feet hip width apart on the floor.  Keep arms and hands relaxed.  Hold.
Coaching Key:  Align the body in a straight line from neck to feet, drawing hips inwards.  Engage abdominals

Plank

 

Tricep kick back with cablesfor arms sans bingo wings
Muscles targeted: upper arms, upper back
Procedure: stand on the floor, feet hip width apart, facing the
plate. With palms facing inwards, hold the handgrips at a ninety-degree angle.  Extend the cables back, bending at the elbows only.
Coaching Key:  Keep the upper arms stationary and strong

*The below image is of another variation of cable exercises*

Cable work

 

Lungesfor a bootyful derrière
Muscles targeted: legs and glutes
Procedure: Stand with one foot on plate and one foot on floor. Bend at the hips and knees on repeat, then alternate legs.
Coaching Key:  Securely plant your bent knee for balance

Lunges

 

Incorporating the plate, these simple exercises really do pack an effective punch I can guarantee that, I am continuing to see positive changes in my body, shape and tone.  BODY VIBES classes ensure all areas of the physique are accounted for and worked upon, guaranteeing you will feel the benefits of a full body workout with the extra power-kick of the plate behind it!  As I draw to the last weeks of my programme I hope to continue to share positive results and progression with you.  My next session is in 3 hours and I am already looking forward to my date with the PP!

Until next time,

Eve x

 

BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 6.

 

If It’s Good Enough For Madonna…

For a number of years, celebrities in the media spotlight have touted the power and value of the Power Plate technology, which has now truly caught on amongst the celebrity elite.  Devotees include Elle McPherson, Sting and Madonna, to name a few.

With Madonna’s heavily muscled (and somewhat intimidating) arms and super lean body, you would be forgiven for thinking it is the result of a punishing exercise regime at the gym.  But it seems the Queen of Pop’s notorious shape is, in part, thanks to the Power Plate – which she dubbed the ‘miracle machine’.  After Madonna revealed she had invested in her own Power Plate, international sales went through the roof; at one point John Lewis’s version – retailing at £2,599 was the store’s fastest-selling fitness product. And in turn, Harrods gross sales of over 20 machines every weekend.  In fact, rumours have it that Madonna now takes all her telephone calls while pumping it out on the plate and she claims that the ‘buns of steel’ she revealed on her latest tour were honed and perfected on her personal Power Plate.  I personally will stick to my three studio sessions a week, as there is little chance I could articulate calls during my workouts, or a sentence for that matter.  A pant is the best I can manage.

In preparation for the 2010 biographical movie ‘The Fighter’, actor Mark Wahlberg’s personal trainer Brian Nguyen developed an intense training strategy that accommodated the actor’s busy filming schedule with an efficient fat-blasting workout programme that would quickly build muscle mass.  Trainer Nguyen used the ‘Atomic Push-Up’ as a key exercise on Power Plate, where feet are suspended in the air instead of resting on the floor; hands are then placed on the plate. “The push-up itself is phenomenal for scapular and core stability, essentials for any boxer.  The added vibration and suspension takes this exercise from basic to crazy-advanced!”  Introducing the Power Plate as part of his functional training program alongside Acceleration Training within his gruelling boxing sessions clearly worked wonders!  Check out Wahlberg in training on the Power Plate in this CLIP

Furthermore, it has been documented that the Power Plate is favoured by athletes all over the world such as Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie and Serena Williams with the result of improving their fitness training and game-play.

X-Factor judge and all round hottie Nicole Scherzinger names the Power Plate as her “secret to looking good”.  Her personal trainer, Adam Ernster, states she has machine to thank for her uber-lean body. “It packs the most intensity in the least amount of time, which is what she and I need while she’s on the go. The cool thing about the Power Plate is that you can vary the intensity and make even doing a static move (like squats) feel brutal,” he says. “For Nicole, it’s not enough for her to work hard; she wants to feel the pain too!”

If this isn’t enough evidence of the PP super-powers, read on for more glowing celebrity testimonials!

Claudia Schiffer – Model
“I love using Power Plate as part of my fitness regime as I can do a really intensive work out in such a short space of time. As a working mother with a hectic work schedule, using the Power Plate machine helps me stay in shape without having to spend hours in the gym.”

Courteney Cox – Actress
“The Power Plate has dramatically changed my workout. I know that every muscle in my body is being ignited in ways that you can’t do with regular training. Its uses are limitless. I love this machine!”

Sting – Singer
“The band must be in peak physical form to withstand the demands of daily travel and nightly performances. The Power Plate is that key component in helping us feel and look our best. Taking it on the road made a big difference.”

Emma Bunton – Singer / Presenter
“My Power Plate machine has changed my workouts for the better. It is quick, fun and convenient. I’m already looking and feeling in better shape, and the best bit is that by doing short sessions at home I can fit fitness around the other demands of my work and family life.”

Dannii Minogue – TV Presenter / Singer
“For me, exercising on the Power Plate machine is the quickest, easiest way to tone up and create a lean body. With just a few short sessions a week, I keep fit whether I am relaxing on holiday or busy working. My friends have noticed the difference in how I look, and that has been rewarding. Power Plate has made me look forward to exercising!”

Elle MacPherson – Supermodel
“I love my new Power Plate. Even after only 2 weeks on Power Plate I can already see a difference in my legs and stomach. It is really working, everything seems so much firmer. I love the fact that I can see results in such as short time with such little effort!”

It’s clear that it’s not just mere mortals such as myself that are digging the good vibrations of this fitness phenomenon!

Until next time…

Eve x

Check out your complimentary FREE TRIAL session and discover the magic for yourself:


BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 5.

 

It’s no secret that exercise can help you to lead a healthier and longer (and happier?) life – we’ve all had this drummed into us enough through media and magazines.  The simple truth of it is, regular exercise not only helps you to trim and tone, but it also helps you to avoid and recover from illness, feeling great inside and out.

Entering my 6th week at BODY VIBES I can say that I have definitely seen evidence of this.  I mentioned in my initial post that I had been unwell for a period with ongoing kidney problems – getting my body back to full health has been such a pleasure and a positive experience with the help of the Power Plate and the team at BODY VIBES.  What was a scary proposition initially has become something I would truly miss.  Not only do I feel fitter and stronger but I FEEL HEALTHIER!  Not to rattle on with my cheerleader-style positivity – but my body seems to be functioning at its best in years, including my digestion, sleep, energy and mood.  Therefore in this blog post I am focusing on the health benefits of the programme I am following.

In many ways, it’s a wonder that the Power Plate didn’t make it on to the market many years ago.  Vibration technology first proved hugely successful in the seventies, assisting Russian cosmonauts in maintaining muscle strength and bone density in space.  While American astronauts (who trained on conventional equipment) were forced to return after 120 days due to muscle wastage, the Russians were able to stay up more than three times as long.  Since then, vibration technology has been widely used to give Olympic athletes an added edge, and was eventually developed in its Power Plate format by a Dutch Olympic trainer, Guus van der Meer.  So we really are dealing with a serious piece of equipment here!

Furthermore there have been several studies outlining the health benefits of the Power Plate (beyond getting bikini body-ready and honing your guns):

  • The vibrations produced by the Power Plate machine can cause an immediate localised increase in circulation and blood flow
  • Improved muscle strength and definition, by activating rapid contractions in nearly all muscle fibres
  • Increase bone mineral density, by influencing and reconstructing the quality of the bone
  • The instability created by vibrations, forces activation (switching on) of nervous tissue and muscle fibres including the ‘core’ musculature
  • Faster recovery and regeneration from injury and training, by gradual regeneration of the muscles through low impact exercise
  • Enhanced metabolism and lymphatic flow
  • Reductions in cortisol (a stress hormone)
  • Increases co-ordination and balance, by stimulating the neurological system
  • Increases the production of collagen to encourage firmer, smoother skin
  • Helps prevent age-related muscle loss, bone density loss and skin wrinkles
  • Improves flexibility, by stimulating circulations through the muscles
  • Reduces cellulite, by increasing circulation and oxygenating blood flow, leading to a reduction in toxins within the body
  • Reduces body fat, by enhancing the body’s metabolism which causes more calories to be burned even during periods of inactivity

Sounds good eh?  All in all, your body is reaping several rewards while you’re packing a punch on the Power Plate.  What’s not to love?!  A real positive is that people with medical conditions (at any age) can exercise while working within their personal physical limitations.  What’s more, the Power Plate is a registered medical device – a fact that truly separates it from the cheaper alternatives, ensuring you can train with confidence.  The instructors at BODY VIBES are aware of their clients various needs and health conditions or injuries and in turn can cater to them specifically within the class.  And if you’re lucky enough you can experience cool-down PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) assisted stretching after the session for full optimisation of your workout! Feel the burn!

It’s true that regular exercise breeds health and vitality, however maintaining it takes will-power, stamina and most certainly motivation.  I certainly have a long way to go before I reach my personal fitness goals – but I’ll keep trying – one vibrating squat at a time.

Eve x

BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 4.

 

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” – Plato

This past week brought the arrival of a daunting and to be frank, slightly scary day for me: a review of my results and body statistics to document any progress from my first 3 weeks at BODY VIBES.

I have always enjoyed exercise intermittently, this is my way of saying I have been guilty of starting classes or gym memberships and then within a matter of weeks I have felt little (to no) benefits or results, so I have made my excuses and sloped back to the comfort of my old friend, the sofa.  With this pattern lurking in the back of my negative subconscious I felt dubious when trainer Sean suggested I jump on the scales to see how I was progressing so far.  The machine used in BODY VIBES is the Tanita Body Composition Scale, which provides a detailed full body and segmental body composition analysis of vital statistics.

I wasn’t sure that there would be numerical evidence of improvement, as although I feel stronger and fitter I was unaware if these factors would have a direct correlation with stats such as muscle gain and body fat.  For me the one measurement I hoped to reduce was my body fat percentage.  In my initial blog post I set myself a first goal of pulling this number back.  I felt my initial reading of 26.9% of fat was higher than I’d like.  ‘Healthy’ body fat percentages fall in the bracket of 21% to 33% for my age group of 20-40 years of age, so I listed in my logbook that after 3 months I would like it to sit around the 22% mark.  Would there been change in this number as yet?  Here’s hoping!

Another factor in my mind was that although I have been training hard and putting the effort in, I have still continued my lifestyle pretty much as normal.  I have been increasingly conscious of my diet and intake, but my social life and work life do mean that I often partake in indulgent meals out and tipsy sessions.  The last fortnight has been particularly busy with events and social occasions, which I have tried to allocate as ‘cheat days’ as much as possible!  Would these luxuries cancel out the hard work and training sessions?

The results are in:

Muscle Mass: GAIN 35.6kg to 36.4kg (1.8 pounds)

I have put on nearly 2 pounds of pure, lean muscle.

Body Fat: LOSS 26.9% to 21.7%

The dreaded number was down by over 5%… hurrah!  I have reached my 3 month goal in 3 weeks.

Weight: LOSS of 2.2kg (4.9 pounds)

I don’t feel as though I have lost this much weight, but my jeans do feel looser and the muffin-top is more of a half-cal muffin than full fat perhaps!

Metabolic Age: LOSS 19 years to 13 years (My actual age: 28)

This is the one I was most surprised with. Metabolic Age is a term used in the health and fitness industry to describe overall fitness and metabolic activity. If someone’s metabolic age is lower than his or her actual age, it suggests that the body is in good health, while a metabolic age higher than the actual age indicates that someone may be experiencing health problems’.  I was initially shocked that my start metabolic age came in at a spritely 19 years of age (at the ripe old age of 28 this made me pretty chuffed) but to hear that after 3 weeks it had dropped to the age of a barely teenage 13 year old, I was seriously impressed – and now loving the scales machine!

So, I can conclude thus far that the Power Plate really is working for me.  I am aware that this surge of progression may plateau out as my body becomes accustomed to exercise, but I am really impressed with results so far and genuinely can’t recommend BODY VIBES highly enough.  As long as all the numbers continue to move in the right direction I’m more than happy.

Until next time!

Eve x

 

BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 3.

 

So, I am now about to enter my fourth week of my 3-month programme at BODY VIBES and after nine sessions I now feel I have a definite understanding of the Power Plate routine. A (slightly misleading) gentle warm-up of ‘get your knees high’ running on the spot, followed by 25 minutes of hardcore vigorous pant-like-a-lunatic exercise routines on the plate.

Keeping it fresh and maintaining a level of surprise and anticipation, every session is different. What’s more BODY VIBES has three instructors: Garvan, Sean and Jonny – all with their own assortment of skills and varied forms of preferred torture-techniques. Garvan, the ‘Technique Guy’ is full of knowledge and passion for how positions and exercises work the body effectively. Sean, the ‘Cardio Guy’ holds sessions that are fast-passed, heart pumping and sweat inducing. Jonny, ‘Slave Driver Guy’ pushes you to your limit with 30-second reps of core crutching exertion. Each class, the sheer volume of new and inventive ways to work the Power Plate increasingly impresses me. So far I have experienced cardio, v-sits, kettle bell swings, lunges, squats, press ups, knee ups, crunches, planks, boxing, circuits, tricep dips, dumbbell tricep extensions and mountain climbers. The options are endless and the variety ensures every little tiny muscle (including ones you didn’t know you had) get a full, gruelling work out. And believe me I am continually reminded of this for the days following the sessions; my body doesn’t remember its pain free existence. As much as I grumble, the classes are good because they work. They push you and leave you with a satisfied sense of accomplishment that these 25 minutes are the most productive minutes of the whole day. And joy of all joys – the timescale means I don’t have to choose between enjoying my leisurely evening or going to the gym – I can do both!

At this stage I am reaping several benefits from my new high-speed exercise regime – my energy levels are the best they’ve been in as long as I can remember and every night (including non-exercise days) I am getting the best, undisturbed sleep of my life. A noticeable difference during sessions is that my technique is improving and I am able to complete reps of exercise without pauses or gasps for water – always a good sign. I definitely feel stronger. I can safely say I’m hooked!

Eve x

BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 2.

 

Week one – and I’m still standing!  Though I am slightly shaky around the knees.  I first found BODY VIBES when on a whim I decided to give it a go through their Free Trial offer.  I called up, booked a slot and the next morning pulled my old gym gear out of hiding and trotted up the Lisburn Road.  I was reluctant to sign up to a gym membership or commit to a new fitness programme without being sure it was right for me and most importantly, that I would enjoy it.  If it wasn’t fun I knew I would end up making my excuses and slopping off to the nearest Starbucks.   The Free Trial meant I could join one Power Plate fitness session at no cost, with no obligation – perfect!

Garvan Liddy, the proprietor and trainer at BODY VIBES was taking this session and firstly explained to me how the Power Plate works, what it does for the body and how I would feel when first using the machine.  Then it was shoes off  (you do the session in your socks – cue old woolly socks embarrassment) and jump on!  The Power Plate isn’t as daunting as it looks.  At first you can feel the vibrations through every muscle in your body and more, but once instructed to bend and soften my knees, it felt quite natural and not like I would be propelled, vibrating across the room as I envisioned.

This first session began with a brisk knees-up-run to get the blood pumping, followed by 25 minutes of trying to emulate the instructor in tasks that look oh-so-easy, but because they are being performed on the plate they are actually most challenging.  Including various holds in the plank position, v-sits in rotations, kettle bell swings, squats, etc.  Before I knew it the machine timed out and settled to a calm still.  Off I jumped feeling physically exhausted but chuffed that I’d managed it without weeping.  “How did you find that first 8 minutes?”  Ah.  The session is split up into three 8-minute sections of rotations.  Oh goodness, there’s more.  I am now realising how unfit I have really become during my exercise siesta.  Quick lug of water, removal of a sports hoody and back on I go.  At the end of the 25 minutes I feel like a broken woman.  My limbs are shaking, a slight queasiness has kicked in (I should never have had that warm-up mochachino) and my face resembles a tomato.  But I leave BODY VIBES feeling victorious and strangely invigorated!  And this feeling lasts; it felt good to push my body, wake up some dying muscles and I thoroughly enjoyed the session – AND I. WANT. MORE!

A week in and I have completed my quota of the 3 sessions for the week.  My body is tired and sore in more places than I thought imaginable, but it feels good!  Each session has been different and the instructors continue to surprise me with new forms of torture (I mean exercise) on the plates.  Anyone who lives by the sentiment ‘no pain no gain’ is going to be sceptical about such short sessions, but the Power Plate proves it’s a quality workout that matters more than the quantity of time spent sweating.  In this first week I have logged my body measurements and statistics, including some (more graphic than I’ve cared to share here) ‘before pictures’.  Fingers crossed I will see some changes in a few weeks… and for now the energy boost is enough in itself to see me through the coming weeks!

Eve x

BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

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Three Months To A New Me?

Post 1.

 

So, Christmas has gone and (well and truly) past, St. Patrick’s Day came, along with a taste for ‘the black stuff’ and Easter finished me up with obscene volumes of chocolate…is it wrong still to be craving Easter eggs?

With the arrival of April came the cruel realisation that I need to shape up.  Not necessarily to shift pounds (though that wouldn’t be bad) but to sort out my distinct lack of fitness.  The last real exercise I did had a shelf life ending a year ago.  I enjoyed running and on mild evenings my partner and myself would pound the streets of South Belfast – until I developed shin splints.  No amount of fancy, supported or overpriced trainers made any difference and the ‘hobby’ folded.  I then spent the last year dealing with ridiculously stubborn kidney problems, which concluded with two bouts of surgery in the early months of 2013…queue more self-comforting indulgence.

So here I am hoping to improve my fitness and overall health, perhaps tone up the softer bits and finally to strengthen that oh-so-important ‘core’. Enter ‘BODY VIBES’, a Power Plate fitness studio on Belfast’s Lisburn Road.  I have signed up to a 3-month programme, which consists of 3 classes per week.  For me this felt like a big commitment (as sometimes I struggle to find time to even get motivated) however I was pleasantly surprised to hear that each session is a mere 25 minutes long.  So basically to fit this programme in all I had to offer was less than an hour and a half per week.  Sounds good eh?

So what is a Power Plate?  And how does it turn me into a toned goddess?  Firstly yes, it is that scary machine in the corner of your gym that looks like an oversized vibrating treadmill.  The difference here is, at BODY VIBES they only use the best.  There are countless replica and imitation vibration plates out there that jiggle the body about, but these are the real deal – tested and certified in both medical and fitness industries.  Safe to use and extremely beneficial to several health conditions (I’ll touch on that again another day), how it works is fairly simple. Here’s the science part: the Power Plate stimulates your muscles to contract 30-50 times per second, thus engaging 90% of muscle fibers as opposed to 60% in conventional forms of training.  Various forms of exercises and positions are repeated on the plate, activating multiple muscle groups simultaneously to stretch, tone and strengthen.  Ultimately delivering an extremely effective workout.  And boy, is it a workout!

Within this blog I will document my experience at BODY VIBES and my progress over the 3-month period.  This began with the delightful task of logging my initial starting statistics, including measuring all pudgy areas.  Not too painful a thought, until I discovered my body fat percentage.  Coming in at 26.9% I felt it was an upsetting ratio (I have never been fond of maths).  I quickly learned from Garvan, my ever-encouraging trainer that between 21 and 33% is ‘healthy’ body fat, so I guess I’m not doing too badly – though I would like to get my number down a little.  First goal now set!

I look forward to updating you in coming days, until next time, WISH ME LUCK!

Eve x

BODY VIBES
527 Lisburn Road
Belfast
BT9 7GQ
T: 028 9066 0137
W: www.bodyvibes.co.uk

 

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