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The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Final Results

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Last week I completed my nine week Afterburn Nutritional Coaching at The 12 in Irvine. In spite of the fact that I spent the final weekend of my challenge on a girls weekend in Chicago – vacation binging – I am happy with the results.

After the weekend of indulging, I was a little nervous about my final weigh in. Luckily, I had done enough well over the nine-week period that I could overcome some deep dish pizzas, Chicago dogs, and cold beer. By the way, totally worth it.

At the conclusion of nine weeks of Afterburn Nutritional Counseling, I am happy to report that I have lost 10.8 pounds of fat. I am even more excited that I gained 1.1 pounds of muscle. Muscle gain is not easy for me to do at this advanced age. 😉

Reluctantly, I share a before and after photo. It’s okay, my kids don’t read this blog. Here is my mama-belly, before and after –

IMG_1485

My weight is fairly evenly distributed, so it’s not a dramatic change in the photo. I did reduce my body fat percentage by 28%, from 24.7% to 17.7%, which is a pretty significant improvement. An improvement that allows me to fit into all my clothes again – no Spanx required.

Far more important than the reflection in the mirror or the number on the scale though, is how I feel – healthy, strong and happy. I celebrated a birthday during the nine-week program, and took time to reflect and appreciate this step I have taken to improve my long-term health and wellness.

There may not be anything I can do about the growing number of candles on my cake, the gray hairs on my head, or the wrinkles on my face, but what I can control is what I feed my body and how much I move. My goal for this life is to be healthy and strong enough to participate in the activities I enjoy – hiking, running, and generally just keeping up with my teenagers. I hope to enjoy these activities for many years to come. I want more moments like this – my sixteen mile hike to the top of Santiago Peak.

Hikepic

Thanks to the Afterburn Nutrition program, I achieved this goal, and am looking forward to tackling more in the future.

The Afterburn Nutrition program gets results. I’m not speaking just for me. I have seen it time and time again – for every client who truly commits to the program. These are some of the reasons why I believe it works so well:

Personalized nutritional counseling and education – The 12’s team of Certified Nutritionists customize the program for each and every client. Their extensive experience helping a broad range of men and women, means that they have the training and in-depth knowledge to help each individual client achieve his or her goals. They understand the connection between macronutrients and the human body, but that everyone is ultimately an experiment of one. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It was very much customized to my body type, activity level and fitness goals. The 12’s Coaches also juggle work, family, and fitness themselves, and understand how to help clients achieve balance. Plus, they are a pretty photogenic group.

Afterburn Nutrition Coaches

Daily food logging and accountability – The process of logging everything you eat and having that log reviewed by your coach provides immediate and sustained accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “I really don’t want to log this food and I really, really don’t want my coach to see that I ate that.” Just that thought alone prevented me from eating (and drinking) things that would not have helped me achieve my goals.

Eating frequently and focusing on macronutrients – I detailed my diet extensively in this post, so I won’t get into many specifics, but eating frequently (5-6 meals per day), with  balanced macronutrients revs up your metabolism and staves off hunger. I never felt hungry on this plan. What was really exciting for me, is that I could actually feel my body becoming more efficient. I imagined it becoming a fat-burning machine, and in reality, it was.

Limiting alcohol – Right after “what are you eating?”, the biggest question people asked me during the nine weeks is “how are you doing without wine?” In truth, I didn’t have zero alcohol for the entire nine weeks of the program. I was very good for about six weeks, then reintroduced wine to my diet during the last few weeks. For me, this was more realistic. I know that I will not forgo wine forever, so learning how to balance it during the last few weeks was important for my long-term success.

A couple of notes on alcohol. First, if you want to achieve your best results, eliminating alcohol is key – not forever, but for some extended period of time. If you just do this one thing (and keep everything else constant), you will make improvements in your health. Second, when I eliminated alcohol entirely from my diet, my sleep improved dramatically. As a person who suffers from insomnia somewhat regularly, a good solid night of sleep is one of the most coveted things in my life. When I eliminated sugar, processed foods and alcohol from my diet, my sleep improved significantly. I have been sleeping well for nine weeks, and I can’t even tell you what a difference that makes in my life. It’s a nutritional challenge miracle!

Exercising regularly – While participating in the program, I exercised 4-5 days per week. I detailed more about my exercise regimen in this post. While regular exercise maximized my results, it was not significantly more what I was doing before I started the nine-week plan. Exercise keeps you healthy and strong (both physically and mentally) but if you are looking for fat loss, it really, really, really boils down to nutrition. I can not emphasize this point enough.

A coach in your corner – Having my coach, Cyrus Mokhtari, in my corner was invaluable. I learned so much about nutrition in our weekly meetings – about optimizing pre and post workout meals, balancing macros, best sources of proteins, fats and carbohydrates – the list goes on and on. What I loved most about working with Cyrus is that he is understanding and supportive. He cheered me on when I had success, and didn’t criticize or make me feel bad when I made mistakes. He is on his own journey to achieving his best version himself, so he understands the struggle. He can relate to his clients, and his clients to him. This made me feel like I was part of a team – working together to achieve maximum results.

With good nutrition, regular exercise, and great coaching, I am feeling better than ever heading into summer. Now, my goal is to not get too far off course by all the summer barbecues, vacations and parties – to find the balance between enjoyment of food and discipline in my nutrition. I know it will be an ongoing journey, but now that I’ve completed the Afterburn Nutrition program, I feel armed with the knowledge I need to make the right choices and maintain my results.

If you are interested in discussing how an individual nutrition program can help you achieve balance – physically, mentally and emotionally, I encourage you to contact Cyrus Mokhtari at The 12 for a free Afterburn Nutrition consultation. You have nothing to lose, and a better version of yourself to gain. Summer is a great time to start your own journey. And Cyrus is the guy to help you get there.

Thank you Cyrus, trainers Angela and Sofee, and all the good folks at The 12 for providing me with this opportunity, believing in me, and cheering me on along the way. I couldn’t have achieved the results without you.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

 

The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Exercise Maximizes Results

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I am currently in week eight of my nine week nutritional counseling program – the Afterburn Nutrition Program at The12 gym in Irvine. Almost to the end! It’s not really an end so much, as it is the beginning of new and healthier diet and exercise habits.

I detailed the eating component of the nutrition program in my last post. Although the nutritional plan is the primary focus of the program, an additional (and important) piece is regular exercise.

Throughout the program, my goal is to work out four times per week. For my regular source of exercise, I attend the Afterburn Training classes at The12 in Irvine.

The 12’s Afterburn Training classes focus on body part specific, multi-directional movements – utilizing free weights, resistance bands, cardio equipment, and body weight – with high intensity intervals. The circuit style classes are formatted to burn maximum calorie levels within each 60 minute group class.

The12Collage

People often ask me why I travel to Irvine, when there are plenty of gyms closer to my house. Yes, I do admit that fighting morning freeway traffic is not so fun (more enjoyable when carpooling with friends), but the classes at The 12 are not like any I have found in my local area. They are motivating, effective, and most important, fun.

Classes each day of the week focus on various parts of the body. With no two classes ever the same, I never get bored. The workouts are also designed for maximum benefit while always emphasizing good form. Unlike other workout programs I have tried in the past, I never find that I am doing anything that hurts or doesn’t feel right, risking injury to my body.

In addition to the workouts at The 12, I have been trail running and hiking one to two times per week, gradually increasing my mileage week over week of the program, with a very specific goal in mind.

A couple of months ago (before I started the nutrition program), I was scheduled to  complete a hike with my son – to the top of Saddleback Mountain. It is a 16-mile hike, with a fairly vigorous eight-mile uphill trek. During that uphill climb, you gain 4,469 feet in elevation, ending at Santiago Peak – the highest point in Orange County.

At the last minute, I backed out of the hike, and my son went without me. I just did not feel confident at that time that I could make it to the top, and certainly not at a pace to keep up with my son. I was disappointed in myself for not having the courage or ability to complete the hike, and missing out on this bonding experience.

When I began the Afterburn Nutritional program, I needed to set a goal for myself – one that had nothing to do with the numbers on the scale, but everything to do with my physical and mental health and well-being. I knew immediately what this goal should be – to get to the top of that mountain, and do it in impressive time, without strain or injury.

I picked the date months ago and have been focused on that date on the calendar throughout the program.

I am happy to report, I made it to the top last Saturday. The completion of a bucket list item for sure. When I got to the top, I literally felt on top of the world…

Hikepic

Now, with just a week and a half to go of my Afterburn Nutrition program, I am feeling better than ever – happy, healthy and strong. Looking forward to sharing my final results soon.

I was so hesitant to begin this program eight shorts week ago, but now, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. It’s truly one of the best things I have done for myself. I’ve learned so much about nutrition and wellness. Most important, I have developed new and better habits I can maintain for life.

If you are interested in discussing how an individual nutrition program can help you achieve balance physically, mentally and emotionally (bringing out the best version of you), I encourage you to contact the folks at The Afterburn Nutrition program for a free consultation. It’s a journey worth starting. You never know where it might take you.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Meal Planning and Progress

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I’m in week four of my nine-week Afterburn Nutrition Program at The 12. I’m down six pounds, feeling strong and sleeping like a baby. Excited about my results to date. But I’m not done yet. I still have work to do.

The question that people are asking me lately is “what are you eating?” I’ll try to provide some clarification in this post.

Keep in mind, the Afterburn Nutrition program is highly customized for each client. My meal plan is based upon my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR); activity level; body type; and food likes, dislikes, allergies, special dietary requirements etc. The nice thing about working one-on-one with a nutritional coach, is that the plan is customized for me – to deliver MY best possible results.

With that said, there are basic guidelines that apply to anyone participating in the program. First and foremost, the goal of the nutrition plan is to eat the right amount at the right times to keep your blood sugar level as consistent as possible – avoiding large spikes or drops. You want your blood sugar to look like the dotted waves within the two lines on the following chart:

Blood Sugar Chart

To do this, you need to keep your body fed consistently throughout the day. For me, this means eating six, yes SIX, meals a day. Not large meals obviously, but meals that provide a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat – to regulate blood sugar and give my body the fuel it needs throughout the day. A meal with too many carbs spikes blood sugar, causing us to store fat. A meal without any carbs drives it down, burning muscle and causing energy crashes. Protein helps us build and maintain lean muscle. Some healthy fat in every meal is like a referee in your stomach saying “Slow down everyone. Let’s hang out for a little bit and chill. We don’t all need to hit the blood stream at once.”

My Afterburn Nutrition coach, Cyrus Mokhtari, helped me to understand this whole process. Together, we developed my daily meal plan – exactly what I need to eat each day. There is no special food to buy. All meals use real food I already have in my kitchen. I can vary the meals from day to day, but the basic meal plan provides me the framework to make the right choices. It’s easy and simple and takes the guess-work out of meal planning.

I log all my meals in the My Fitness Pal app. Cyrus reviews them throughout the week and provides me with feedback. I also weigh in weekly at The 12. The scale there measures my weight, body fat percentage, percentage of lean muscle, water weight, BMR, and more. After weighing in, I meet with Cyrus to discuss results and make adjustments for the following week. We also have a weekly nutritional topic to help me learn about all aspects of nutrition so I can achieve optimum health through diet and exercise, in the long-term.

OCGreenMamaweighin

This week, after losing five pounds of pure fat, I also lost a pound of muscle (nooooo….). The answer to this problem – more calories and more food! For my BMR and activity level, I wasn’t eating enough calories to avoid losing muscle, so we increased my total calories and developed a new meal plan to keep me burning fat and gaining muscle in the weeks to come.

I can honestly say, that although I still have cravings from time to time (hello wine, cheese and bread – I see you there. We will reunite at a later date), I have never felt hungry or deprived on this program. To the contrary, I feel like I’m always eating – like ALWAYS EATING.

For those interested, here is a quick rundown of my daily meals:  My pre-workout meal is generally coffee (yay for coffee) with a little half and half and Stevia, and steel cut oats with some protein powder mixed in. (Choose protein flavor of your choice – no butter or sugar necessary.) My post workout meal is a banana, blended with protein powder and ice.

Lunch is usually a “rice bowl” – using cauliflower rice instead of white rice – with some protein (chicken, ground turkey) and veggies. (Side note, the Riced Cauliflower at Trader Joe’s is a God send. If you can find it in the freezer section of your local Trader Joe’s, pick some up immediately. It will change your life, seriously.) Yesterday’s “rice” bowl:

OCGreenMamaLunchBowl

Then, I have a “snack meal” of some almonds and cottage cheese, or hard boiled eggs and veggies, or apple with almond butter, or if I’m on the road, a Yeah One or other type of protein bar.

Next is dinner, with grilled fish or chicken, veggies, with a roasted sweet potato or cauliflower rice. Finally, a late evening snack, that is high in protein and low in carbs, like some chicken with avocado slices or cottage cheese and tomatoes.

If you want more detail about what I’m eating each day, you can follow me on My Fitness Pal – @ocgreenmama.

Five weeks to go. I’ll update here in a couple weeks with more results and details about the exercise component of the program. Until then, please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

For more information about Afterburn Nutrition, contact Cyrus Mokhtari at The 12.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

The 12 Afterburn Nutrition Program: Let’s Do This

A couple of years ago, I participated in a 12-week challenge at The 12, an Orange County gym with locations in Irvine and Costa Mesa. As those of you who followed my journey know, I had a great experience and some incredible results.

Sadly, good changes don’t always stick, especially without continued effort. I did sustain my post-challenge results for a little over a year, but then, things started to slide. Although I am working out consistently, the weight is creeping back slowly and steadily. When the stress gets high, I too often turn to my comfort foods – generally bread, cheese and wine.

I realize more than ever that diet makes ALL the difference. And mine needs an adjustment. I want to change, but don’t want to it alone. The advice, guidance, moral support and accountability during the 12-week challenge is a big part of the reason I was successful.

I was lamenting my slide in results when Cyrus Mokhtari, a certified Afterburn Nutrition Coach at The 12, approached me after class and asked if I would be interested in participating in The 12’s new nutritional counseling – called Afterburn Nutrition. After a few days of can-I-do-this-again thoughts running through my head, and emails back and forth with Cyrus – basically me asking “Do I really, really have to give up wine for eight weeks?” Short answer to that – yes, I do. (Pray for me friends). In the end, I decided to go for it.

I’m excited about starting this program because I know how good my results were last time. I know there is a better version of myself in there, and she just needs a little coaching to get out.

The better version of me looked like this after photo from my 12-week-challenge a couple of years ago.

OCGreenMamaChallenge1.12Collage

For me, nutrition and health isn’t about looks though. My before may be another person’s after. And my after, someone else’s before. All of our bodies are different. I just want to be the best version of me again because it FEELS good. The post-challenge version of me felt better than I ever have in my adult life – healthy, strong, and confident. I also slept like a baby and was full of energy to take on each day. That is the person I want back, regardless of what the scale says. (Though I will admit that ditching Spanx this summer would be a nice side benefit.)

So this time is going to be different…really. First, because now I have a clear vision of what type of results are attainable for me. I’m also wiser about what it takes to maintain those results. Second, the Afterburn Nutritional coaching is highly customized for each client’s body type, fitness level, and lifestyle, so my specific nutritional needs will be taken into account when creating my plan. The Afterburn Nutrition Coaching program can help me create a program I can stick to…for the long term.

I began my nine-week program this week. Like the 12-week challenge, the Afterburn Nutritional program starts with a ten-day cleanse. I wrote extensively about that cleanse here on my blog last time, so I’ll spare the long explanation here. Suffice it to say, forgoing caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar, salt, eggs, soy, beef, pork, foods with wheat or wheat flour or corn or cornflower, and any and all processed foods is no small challenge. I’m on day three now and definitely looking forward to day ten – bring back the coffee, that beautiful warm tasty beverage …

I’ll update again soon with my post-cleanse thoughts and results and the next steps in the Afterburn Nutritional program. I hope you will follow along with me on this new journey, learn about the Afterburn Nutrition program, and be inspired to make your own nutritional changes for better health.

Disclaimer: Although I am receiving some complimentary services from The 12, I am not being compensated in any way for participating in this process and documenting my results. All information shared in this blog (as always) is my unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

An Appeal for Gym Etiquette

My Fellow Gym-Goer –

As a gym regular – I hit the gym at The12 multiple times per week – I have a few requests. And while I do admit to being mildly OCD, I feel like most people (OCD or not) would agree, these simple considerations would make everyone’s gym experience better.

1. PLEASE CLEAN OFF YOUR EQUIPMENT WHEN YOU ARE DONE SWEATING ON IT – I labeled this number one because it’s the single most important. Please, please, if you drip sweat all over the spin bike or treadmill or mat, wipe it off. Not with your hand. With a towel. At The12, they provide everyone with a towel. Forgetting it at home or in your car is no excuse.

But it is key to remember that the towel is not just for drying yourself off, it’s also for wiping your sweat off the gym equipment. Otherwise, you are leaving it to me to wipe up with my towel. Your sweat on my towel?! Gross.

Plus as a mom, I have enough people (who also do not always smell very good) to clean up after at home. The gym is my time away from that. Please help it stay that way.

2. PLEASE DON’T MOVE MY WEIGHTS – When we are doing a circuit, I choose my weights carefully, use them for the intended exercise, and place them in a particular spot when I’m done (generally with one weight over the other and near my water bottle – like I told you, I’m a little OCD like that). Often times, when I come back to that exercise in the circuit, my weights are gone, nowhere to be found. I don’t mind sharing if I’m not using them, but please, please, put them back where you found them so I don’t waste my exercise time running around looking for the right weights again – which I already had to begin with.

3. PLEASE MOVE THROUGH THE CIRCUIT IN THE RIGHT ORDER – At the beginning of the circuit, the instructor usually tells you where to start and how many people should be at each circuit and each exercise. The reason they do this is so that we don’t get all clogged up in one spot, without enough equipment for everyone. It’s our job as conscientious gym-goers to continue that pattern.

For example, most classes at The12 start with about four stations. Each station then has two to five exercises to run through. If you start on station two, when you are done you move to station three – not to one or four or whichever one sounds good to you at the time. Don’t be that person.

Also, each circuit has two to five exercises within it. If you start your first station on exercise three for example, you go to your next station and start with exercise three. It’s simple. It’s math. And when you are OCD, you get a little mental when it gets out of whack. Plus the bonus is – there is enough equipment for everyone. Yay!

4. PLEASE CHECK YOUR OUTFIT IN THE MIRROR (AND MAYBE BENT OVER) – Hmmm…how do I say this? Um, remember the Lululemon “see through” workout pants controversy from last year. Let’s just say it’s not limited to Lulu. A good solid pair of workout pants and a well-padded bra go a long way toward avoiding gym distractions. This doesn’t really affect me so much, it’s just that I struggle with not putting on my mom-hat, placing my arm around you and gently whispering that I can see through your pants. Now if you don’t mind it, that’s totally fine. It’s up to you. I just worry that you don’t realize it. And I don’t need one more thing to worry about. Believe me.

5. PLEASE CLEAN UP AT THE END – At the end of the class, wipe off your mat, put your weights away (if they could be with the numbers facing up that would be awesome, but I’m not going to get too picky), and generally clean up after yourself. Wash your hands. While you already have a towel in your hand, use it to dry off your hands – save the planet one paper towel at a time. Then, drop your towel in the hamper before you leave. If by mistake, you bring the towel home, wash and return it. I’m sure the folks at the gym will appreciate it. They probably already buy enough new towels every week.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, let me say that these are just small requests, from me to you – fellow gym-goer – with love. If you forget, I’m not going to get all crazy on you. But, if you could find it in your heart to keep these things in mind the next time you hit the gym, I would love and appreciate you and we can hustle on forever and ever.

Hustlers

Thank you! Hugs (but not super sweaty ones).

Come to think of it, let’s just make it a high-five.

xoxo – Allison

My Twelve Week Challenge: The Results, Part One

I finished my twelve-week challenge at The12 on December 29, 2013. The best part about the timing is that for the first time in my life, I began the new year with my diet and exercise goals already met. I can’t believe it – I literally have no New Year’s resolution about changing my body, my diet, or my exercise program. My only goal is to just maintain what I’ve already accomplished, and not screw up my progress to date. I can’t tell you what a great feeling that is.

Looking back, it was a long twelve weeks but also seems like it flew by – from my fears before starting, to my ten-day cleanse, to learning about macro-nutrients and food logging. Then there were the inevitable slip-ups, but finally, my ultimate commitment to the program and “remembering to be awesome”.

Along the way, I learned so much, and realized all the things I was doing wrong before I joined The12.

One thing I can honestly say about this journey is that it was easier than I initially thought it would be. I did not have to work out every day – actually, I only exercised about four times a week. I did not have to starve myself, and at no point did I ever feel hungry. As a matter of fact, some days my problem was not being able to get in enough food. I had support, coaching and encouragement every step of the way.

And, then there are the results. Those speak for themselves.

First, to the numbers, pulled straight from the InBody scale at The12 …

OCGreenMamaChallengeNumbersCollageIn just twelve weeks, I lost 12.4 pounds – from 130.1 pounds to 117.7. Most remarkably, this weight loss was entirely from fat. No loss of water, no loss of muscle. 100% fat loss! My total percentage of body fat dropped from 23.5% to 16.5%. You can see in the body composition percentage numbers above, my body fat mass (the purple line) went way down while my dry lean mass (the blue line) stayed the same.

Then, on to the photos. This part makes me all squirmy and uncomfortable. (I had my daughter take these – yes, she may be scarred for life – every Monday morning literally right before heading out the door to the gym – no hair or makeup – just 43-year-old me. Okay, no more excuses, here goes …)

OCGreenMamaChallenge1.4Collage

OCGreenMamaChallenge6.10Collage

And for the final picture, I think it’s good to look at week one versus twelve. Here is a different angle to mix it up a bit:

OCGreenMamaChallenge1.12Collage

At the beginning of the challenge, my coach asked me to write a letter expressing my reasons for wanting to participate in this challenge – a letter that I could look back on in the weeks ahead to provide the extra motivation I would need to get through the challenge.  

Here is me reading the letter (it will make a bit more sense if you read “this post” before viewing – you know if you have time and all) and a few thoughts after – unscripted, unedited. I had no idea there would be tears and as much over-sharing – which also makes me a little uncomfortable – but here goes…

So there it is – raw and unfiltered. My thoughts on completing this twelve-week challenge. It has been quite a journey, both physically and emotionally. I realize that losing twelve pounds is not some great, earth-shattering accomplishment. I know that others have jumped over much greater health and fitness hurdles than I have. But for me, in my life, it was big. I truly believe that the outside transformation is just a physical manifestation of the transformation inside. There is such a mind-body connection. When you realize that when you put your mind to it, you can transform your body, you also realize that you can transform your thoughts. When you transform your thoughts, you can change your life.

I’ve arrived to a place of peace and happiness, which feels better than any weight loss ever could. Well, that and throwing medicine balls. Those suckers are surprisingly therapeutic.

Finally, a really big thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this challenge. Not only the people at The12 – who were awesome – but also to family and friends who sent me kind words, left me likes and comments on my posts and pictures, and offered words of encouragement. Each and every one really meant a lot to me.

This is merely a step of my journey – not the final one. I am setting out new goals and challenges for 2014. For the first time in a long time, I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the new year. #12monthchallenge coming up next. I’m ready.

My Twelve Week Challenge: When You Remember to be Awesome

First of all, let me clarify that I am not claiming that I am awesome. However, I do have the capacity for awesomeness, and this is something I have a tendency to forget.

At some point during this challenge, I think shortly after the time I wrote this post about my struggles, I decided that there was a little bit of awesome left in me, and I should probably start using it.

I just woke up one day and thought, “What if I kicked ass today?”

And then I did. And then the next day, and the next, and the one after that. Before I knew it, my schedule looked like this –

Guess what happens when you decide to kick ass? You get results.

Results mean you hit your twelve week goal by the end of week seven. Bam! And that feels really, really good.  I’ve dropped ten pounds and reduced my body fat percentage by 4.7% (from 23.5% to 18.8%).

That is a 20% change in body fat in under seven weeks! It’s remarkable to me. For years, I have tried and failed at something that I was able to do in just seven short weeks of The12Movement’s Twelve-Week Challenge.

At the beginning of my challenge, Josh Boyd, CEO and Founder of The12, said to me “If you follow this plan, I believe you will hit your goal by the end of week seven.” And my internal critic was rolling her eyes and saying “Sure Josh. No problem – cough, cough”.

But, guess what? Josh was right. I followed the eating plan, put my all into my workouts, remembered to kick some ass along the way – and I did it.

So what happens now? Do I just hand in the towel and be done?

Well, the first thing I did is gave myself a “free night”. There may have been bread AND cheese AND wine. Shhh, don’t tell my coach Derek Graham.

Now, the next thing I do is get back to work. Yesterday, I met with my coach and we created some new goals – which include building more lean muscle mass and seeing how much I can possibly sculpt this stomach I do not love – the one that two doctors told me nothing short of surgery will fix. Well, now I’m just out to prove them wrong.

And maybe, just maybe I’ll tackle that marathon I’ve been talking about for years. You never know what some great coaching, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of awesomeness can accomplish.