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12-week body transformation


Mid-way through her 12-week body transformation plan and 12 pounds lighter, fitness writer Stephanie Bradbeer updates us on her progress…

The aim of the plan is to shred weight with a personalised macro and gym programme, designed by personal trainer Nicole Aristides.

Macros are your fats, proteins and carbs and the aim is to hit the right amount of each daily. The gym programme contains a variety of weight lifting, bodyweight and cardio exercises, designed to burn fat and keep me in a calorie deficit. For more information on the plan read my first post.

Progress

Halfway through my 12-week body transformation and it’s been an absolute roller coaster. Some weeks are a lot easier than others, and as my macros are squeezed I’m having to be more organised and much more inventive with my food. It’s not easy, but I can confidently say that I have never been left hungry or lacking the energy to work out.
As I write this, I am 12 pounds lighter than when I started six weeks ago – and I’m feeling rather proud. It isn’t all about weight loss, but this feels good and proves that what I am doing works. I feel leaner, fitter and I’m lifting heavier weights.

Food glorious food

I have noticed a huge decrease in my appetite, but there are days when all I can think about is food. I have noticed a difference in my appreciation for food – I now savour every bite!
Eating out can be tricky. But there are restaurants and cafes that are able provide you with your macro numbers, including We Grill in Leadenhall Market and Simple Health Kitchen in the City. They are still few and far between though, meaning I’m almost always preparing my own food and carrying it around with me.

Upping the exercise

My weighted gym sessions, which I do at Fitness First in Angel, change weekly, keeping it interesting. In the past few weeks, Nicole has added Low Intensity Steady State (LIIS) cardio to the end of my gym sessions, to increase the calorie deficit and to help me continue to burn fat without having to reduce my my calories too much.
The cardio sessions, which I am doing once or twice a week, are much more fun, as I can do a range of classes at my favourite studios. I have been switching it up with spinning at Boom Cycle, TRX at Ethos Alchemy and a range of HIIT classes at Virgin Active.

Challenges

Time: When you are busy, it is hard to stay on track, fitting in workouts at silly o’clock and lacking the time for food prep. The good thing about a rolling weekly plan is that, if you have a bad day, not hitting your macros or getting your workout in, you can make up for it the next day and it all averages out.
Protein: One of the main challenges is getting enough protein – currently I require about 130 grams a day. As a vegetarian I need multiple protein shakes and bars to hit it. I’ve never eaten so much tofu!
Patience: For the first few weeks, even though I was dropping weight on the scales, I wasn’t really noticing a change in the way I looked. I’m learning to be patient, losing weight isn’t easy and it takes time to see real progress.

What’s next

Over the next three to four weeks, Nicole will be monitoring my progress and adjusting my exercise levels and macros accordingly, with the aim to shred more body fat. For the final two weeks, my plan will be similar to bikini body-competition prep: fewer carbs, more cardio and potentially less dairy, making sure my body doesn’t hold on to any extra water. I’m excited to see what the next few weeks hold.
Stay tuned for a final progress report in a few weeks and, in the meantime, keep up with my progress here. Give my coach Nicole Aristides a follow or visit her website for information on her online coaching.