Fitness · Health · Self Discovery · Weight Loss

The 10 Week Challenge That Took Me 11 Weeks

My faithful exercise buddy who doesn't judge.
My faithful exercise buddy who doesn’t judge.

Eleven weeks ago, I started a challenge.  It was supposed to be only 10 weeks, but a trip to Phoenix to see my daughter derailed my motivation.  And it’s not as if I couldn’t have exercised while in Phoenix — I was alone on the ground floor of a hotel with nobody above or below me, but I chose to skip it.

It seemed I was already sweating so much just walking from the hotel to my car that it became less thrilling to make this necessary body function happen on purpose.  Throw in the fact that my A/C died in Phoenix, and I was even less motivated to sweat.  If you have ever been to Phoenix before, you know how hot it gets, and even if it is a dry heat, it’s still 115 degrees!

What is the T25 10 Week Challenge?

The challenge involved buying Beachbody’s T25 program and getting on auto-ship of their meal replacement product called Shakeology.   I don’t know why I picked this challenge because I am not very good at following through on certain things especially when it comes to diet and exercise, but my friend, Kristen, convinced me that I could do it.

What you get with the program is 10 different DVDs, rubber exercise bands, a couple booklets to help you be successful, and a chart to follow.

There is an Alpha and Beta phase.  And while I was in the middle of my program, BeachBody unveiled a Gamma phase.

Dieting and Exercise is Not One of My Strengths

I am one of those people who go on a diet on Monday and by Wednesday, I am over it and go back to my terrible eating.  Well, okay, it’s not the most terrible diet in the world, but because I know better about what I should be eating, and choose to munch on Fritos while sitting in front of the TV, well, that is what makes it terrible.  Otherwise, my daytime diet is pretty flush with fruits, vegetables, and beans.  Nighttime appears to be when it is the most challenging for me to stay on the right path to health.

Day One of the T25 Challenge

Starting the challenge wasn’t really going to be a problem for me, but following through was.

Because I have been going to boxing classes and walking my dog for miles on end every other day, I thought I was in pretty good shape, but the thing is that Shaun T is in way better shape and he expects A LOT!!

Day One of the challenge was an eye-opener.  I was gasping and sweating more than I have ever before in my life.  The sweat poured from every pore and I wasn’t sure I could go on to Day Two.

But I did continue onto Day Two and Day Three until the end of five weeks, and the Alpha portion of the challenge was over.

I flipped the pack of DVDs over to the Beta phase.  I was scared to start Beta.  If Beta was worse than Alpha then I was going to really struggle.

Beta Phase of the Challenge

After my return from Phoenix, I started the Beta phase and I’m not sure if it was because I had taken a week off from exercise or what but at the end of the 25 minutes, I was lying on the carpet wondering how I would get through the final five weeks (I took a picture from the floor — see above).

I was happy to be moving on to the Beta phase, however, because I was getting bored with the same DVDs in the Alpha phase.  With the Beta Phase, Shaun T. adds in some weights which I really liked.  In fact, I kept doing the Rip’t Circuit from the Beta phase DVD every other day because I enjoyed it so much.

What Did I Learn?

After 10 weeks (ahem, 11), I learned 10 Things:

1.  I can follow-through on something when I see that doing so is providing results.  I definitely got measurable results.

2.  Taking a before picture is vital.  When I saw my before picture, it was a wake-up call.  I kept that horrible before picture in my mind as motivation to just keep pushing play.

3.  Measuring myself was crucial to my success, too, because I didn’t think I had gotten “that big.”  The measuring tape doesn’t lie, unfortunately, although I begged it to!  Department stores have vanity sizes these days so I was still in single digits, and that lie used to be good enough for me.

When I am really honest with myself, though, I know they’re vanity sizes and I should look at the European sizes to see where I’m really at (but that somehow seems too cruel).

4.  Participating in heavy duty exercise is one thing but to get really great results, one must watch what goes into one’s mouth.  I didn’t and although I lost 2 inches from my waist, I know if I had changed my eating habits completely, I would have done even better.

5.  I believe I stuck with the program because I had to be accountable to the T25 Challenge group Kristen put me in.  Every day we were required to log on to a private Facebook group and post when we had worked out.  We also had to mention that we had our Shakeology shake.  Every time we posted, we earned a point.

I’m not sure why I felt like I had to check-in with absolute strangers, but we became cheerleaders for each other.

6.  Drinking the Shakeology shake was important to me.  After completing a grueling workout, with sweat pouring from my head, I had something extremely cold and sweet to look forward to.

I ordered the new vanilla because it was so versatile.  It could handle fruit, chocolate, nuts, or anything I put into it.  Variety is indeed the spice of life, especially in a calorie restricted life.

BeachBody provides recipes with the shipment of Shakeology, but soon I was branching out and making my own creations.  I know I would not have stuck with the Shakeology requirement with just the chocolate.  I’m one of those weird people who thinks that chocolate and fruit do not go together.

7.  Anybody, even me, can do 25 minutes of exercise.  I normally do an hour or hours and hours.  I got better results with less time.

8.  With the T25 program, I got a prescription of how the week was supposed to go.  Day one is Core Cardio, day two is Speed 2.0, Day three is Rip’t Circuit, etc.

9.  It appears I have a preference when it comes to exercise — I prefer working out with weights.  I feel like I am getting more from the weights than what just cardio can give.

10.  The most important component to my success, however, was being able to listen to my own music.  It turns out, the music they usually put on exercise videos doesn’t cut it for me so having the ability to hear Rhianna, Flo Rida, Drake, Usher, and other highly motivating artists was absolutely key.

Tomorrow, I am starting a new challenge in a new Facebook group with new people.  This challenge seems to be less rigid in that a participant can do any BeachBody workout that’s available.  There’s still a Shakeology requirement but that’s become such a staple of my diet that it’s not a problem.  I drink a vanilla Shakeology shake every single day without fail.

What am I Going to Do Differently?

After reflecting on my experience with the T25 group, I know what I need to do to be successful.  There are only two things I need to do and although that may seem simplistic, it really is that easy:  follow-through on daily exercise, and stick to a healthy meal plan.  It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of daily life, but the bottom line is simple–diet and exercise.

My only real challenge is handling the nighttime snacking, otherwise, I’m planning to be in the best shape of my life for my birthday in December.


4 thoughts on “The 10 Week Challenge That Took Me 11 Weeks

    1. I can definitely recommend the T25 program especially for busy moms. Sometimes when I think I don’t have enough time to exercise, I know it’s a lame excuse. Everyone has 25 minutes!!

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