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131. It's not a straight line, it's not easy, it's not fast.....but it IS WORTH IT.

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Anyone wondering if 2019 is going to be their year needs to read this post....it's an email I got from one of our Strongirl members last night.

As a coach and owner, it doesn't get much better than opening your inbox to this.

The sender would prefer to remain anonymous, so I won't share her name, but I'd like to say that I'm proud of her for what she has achieved and of our coaches and fellow members for helping her along the way.

This is what TeamCC is all about....

"At the start of 2018 I'd been through a very tough time. After a friend told me about it, in January I signed up for the 8 week challenge at CC. I had to convince Russell I was up for it - not to lose weight but to become strong and fit. He took a leap of faith to be honest. I had never stuck to any exercise or nutrition plan. I was a blagger - did events and got medals but never trained properly, always finished but always near the back. Always a bit better than last time but never good enough for me and I always felt like I'd failed myself not to do it quite properly.

I started to go three times a week to StronGirls. I struggled, I cried, I was exhausted. I am older than all the others, I wasn't even slightly fit. Never lifted a weight, couldn't do a burpee, a squat or a pressup. I felt like I couldn't do it, couldn't keep up. But I kept going. To be honest it gave me something to do three evenings a week. And exhausted me so much that some nights I actually slept. Every session, every week I managed a bit more and started to feel like maybe I can do this. I loved telling people 'I lift weights' and see the surprise in them. I loved feeling I could do it.

I've always eaten well, good food, no ready meals, no fast food. But I soon realised that my portions were wrong and I was easily tempted to snacking - toast mainly and carbs. So I stopped buying bread and butter and mayonnaise. I started food prepping, following the plan exactly. Except when I went on holiday or away. Which I did a lot - because I couldn't bear to be home on my own. My friends don't live in Poole. I drank water, and started to realise that without it I felt more tired. I understood how important to get balance and macros right. I remember being ecstatic when I hit exactly 115g of protein one day.

I started lifting. Seemed to be good at deadlifts but shit at benching. Couldn't squat. Really struggled and cried when I failed - again. Always had encouragement from the coaches. Always telling me I could do it. I kept going and got better, a bit. I found I could keep up with the girls. Maybe not such style or doing things quite properly but good enough for me and always getting a bit better. I got guidance from the coaches and they put me right on how I needed to use my growing muscles and strengthening body to lift more and properly. I didn't hurt myself and could feel muscles becoming more defined and fat reducing.

I had decided not to buy clothes for a year - partly because I have become very conscious of how much stuff I have. I didn't want to buy for the sake of it. I would wear what I had and throw away what I didn't wear. By Easter I was having to adjust my thinking - new jeans if my jeans were too big, and new work clothes if I was getting embarrassed that clothes were too big. As months went by the piles of clothes for clothes-swap and charity shops grew. New clothes became too big and I had to replace. I decided not to buy gym clothes and have worn race t-shirts and running leggings I've had for 10 years. They hadn't had much wear before. I would wait until I felt I wasn't embarrassed.

I set myself a target to lift 1.5 times my bodyweight by the end of the year. I'd read articles and books, followed strength and conditioning things on Instagram. In November I did a 110kg deadlift. Target achieved. I was massively pleased.

In April I finished a half marathon, in June a 10k, in September I climbed a 2500m high mountain - 12 hours up and down. In September I did a 50k cycle, in November I started parkrunning, 9 this year, 35k this month, a bit faster every time. I did all that.

It's the end of the year. My waist is 10cm smaller. My butt has lifted and is toned. My arms are toned and any hint of bingo wings has gone. My legs and shoulders are defined and show muscle tone. The bra strap bulges are gone. My wrists are smaller, my watch is too big. I swear there's an ab or two showing. I have pecs - didn't even know women had them. I'm 6.4kg lighter from my heaviest this year, but my body is very different. I haven't been this weight for about 20 years and I know a lot of it is muscle and not fat. I'm at least 2 clothes sizes smaller, and I've punched four new holes in my belt, having already tightened 4 holes. I've bought new leggings, still black but with stars and stripes. It's a start.

There's more to do but I'm so so pleased with what I've done with the most amazing support from the coaches and girls, and the guys in CC. The interaction at sessions and in the various Facebook groups, the motivation videos and explanations on what we need to do and more importantly how important mental strength is, has just been amazing. Bit too dramatic to say life changing, but not far off it.

I recently met a friend after a while - you look like someone who is fit and works out - I was told. I do. And I am a StronGirl. And I am confident I will always be one.

Thank you Team CC."

It's not a straight line, it's not easy, it's not fast... .....but it IS WORTH IT.

Russ.

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