I have been so excited about sharing today’s Client Spotlight!
Amy, a 25-year-old environmental chemist in Minneapolis, was the winner of the Tone Every Zone 28-Day Challenge last month. I was extremely impressed with how she dedicated herself to tackling each week’s workouts, as well as the overall nutrition habits encouraged by the program. Without fail, she was incredibly consistent with her accountability check-ins and weekly progress updates.
All in all, it is estimated (based on weight and measurement changes) that she lost 13 pounds of fat and gained three pounds of muscle during the 28-day program… which is pretty dramatic!
Now, she’s doing Level 2 of the TEZ challenge, but I wanted to check in with her midstream to get her thoughts on the changes she’s made.
In her own words…
On Losing Touch with Fitness…
In general, throughout my life, I’ve never been a super active person. In college, I got into martial arts and felt great about myself. I was proud of what I could do, and I thought I had been hooked on training to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Then, a job change drastically changed my schedule, and I totally fell off the bandwagon and gained 30 pounds. It was kind of a shock for me, and I felt bad about not being active in my [martial arts] community anymore. I also didn’t feel good in my body, and felt shame around that. I was just never able to conquer that schedule change in a way that kept up with my previous routine.
It was a minor failing on my part, but it ended up escalating into something that was too big, and lasted for too long.
I felt like I needed a little bit extra help. I saw your program, and I really wasn’t sure about it. I thought, “I don’t know… this could be something that I start and can’t really complete.” But I talked it over with my boyfriend, and we decided that we would make it work. He said, “I’ll try not to interfere with your goals, and we’ll see what happens.” And it ended up being really good.
On Mental Obstacles…
All of my obstacles are in my head, especially as a woman. I have a gym membership, but I have a really hard time going and doing things that I want to do, because I feel so self-conscious going there.
Then there’s the mental cycle of being worried about what people think about you, if you’re going to do stuff publicly. “What if I put in all this effort and nothing comes of it. And why does it feel like everyone is watching me?”
On Working Out at Home…
Basically, before the challenge, I’d never really worked at home. Ever. For some reason, I was turned off by that idea. But actually, it’s great! I can play my own music, I can blare it as loud as I want, and it doesn’t bother anyone. Working out at home for sure was a big change for me, but it was a really good one.
Also, working out directly after work was a big change for me. I was a little worried that I’d be too tired directly after work to make that work for me. But I wake up at six in the morning, and I’m not a morning person, so there was no way that was happening before I went to work!
I just decided that when I get home from work, as soon as I enter the door, move the coffee table to the side and start the workout right away! And that was a really good habit to set for me.
On Dietary Changes…
One of the big changes for me was my breakfast. I have always been a breakfast person. Normally, though, I would do a bagel and cream cheese in the morning because it was super easy and I could take it on the road with me. Moving to protein shakes was a little more effort – honestly not that much more effort, but a little bit more. I honestly like it, and after the challenge ended, I still do it for the majority of the time.
The other change was being on top of meal prepping. I had meal prepped in the past, but it wasn’t as thorough. It would normally be one meal per day, so I’d meal prep either for dinner or for lunch that week, but now I was doing both lunch and dinner, which was way more time. But the effort put in was worth it and made my week so much easier and set me up for success, if I could just get it done.
In the past, I’ve gone into this mindset of “good food, bad food,” and I really wanted to avoid that. I’ve learned that when I do that, it makes me into a very anxious and self-sabotaging person. I would beat myself up over having a little bit of “bad food.” Honestly, moderation is better for me.
During the challenge, there were multiple friend or family gatherings that I went to, and sometimes there would be a lot of candy or junk food. I did my best to just practice moderation and to think about what I actually do want to eat.
I’ve sort of learned that – in my head – I aggrandize my cravings, and food tastes better in my mind than when I actually eat it.
I also communicated with my friends and family- “Hey, I need some healthy options here for munching.” It turned out, a lot of other people appreciated me saying that, because they wanted something like that too!
On Overcoming a Major Challenge…
Side note from Rachel here… During Week 3 of the challenge, Amy’s house was robbed. While she and her boyfriend were out of the house when it happened and everyone was safe, it was extremely stressful for her, and I have to be honest – I have seen clients thrown off track by lesser challenges. However, Amy took it in stride. I asked her how she handled it here…
A big part of it was luck. The break-in happened on a Saturday, and normally I would meal prep on Sunday nights. But this week, I had decided to meal prep on Saturday, and I don’t remember why. But I had all my food for the week set up already, and if I hadn’t done that, I think it would have been a very different story for me. I would not have had the mental energy to give that time. But I already had all the food there.
That week I did skip out on workouts here and there, listening to what I needed, but still tried to do what I could.
As I (Rachel) pointed out – it wasn’t pure luck, as she had put in the work, and that’s what meal prep is for – to carry you through life when it’s less than perfect!
On Social Support…
The other thing I’m realizing was really important was that my boyfriend was super supportive. He’s sort of known how I’ve changed over the last few years and how I’ve struggled with being active, and he pushed me to keep with it. But he still encouraged me to listen to myself and skip workouts if I felt like I needed to.
There wasn’t a moment in his head where he thought, “Amy’s going to quit.” His attitude was, “She’s going to keep doing this, and she should, but we’re going to have to modify a little bit.” He’s great.
On Getting Out of Your Head…
Something I recently thought about is that – while it’s hard to make life changes – if you try a new habit for a “x” amount of time, it’s not a waste of your life. That time was going to pass no matter what.
Don’t you want to see what’s going to happen if you enact these things in a week or two weeks or a month?
Don’t get too much in your head about it. Do what you think is going to be best for you, and play with it, and see what changes that makes for you. Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t.
I would warn about doing too much at a time. One of the great things about the challenge was that the exercising is only 20 minutes of my day. That feels super manageable. I can find 20 minutes to myself every day. Find things that will fit into your current lifestyle but improve you a little bit.
One of my goals from this challenge is to get back to doing martial arts. I’ve made it my mentality that either I’m going to do one of the program workouts or go to a martial arts class. I’ve been way more active in martial arts in the last few weeks than I have been in a long time, which feels like I’m getting back to who I was and who I want to be.
Rachel again! I truly appreciate Amy sharing her story, because I love that she:
- Focuses not just on appearance, but also what her body can do and accomplish
- Demonstrates great insight about moderation and avoiding “good food” / “bad food” thinking
- Exemplifies Charles Duhigg’s cue-routine-reward cycle – she walks in the door after work, she pushes the coffee table to the side, and she gets going on her workout… this is the best way to stay consistent with exercise!
Are you interested in the 28-day challenge that Amy participated in? Check it out here.