My Fitness Journey

Part 8: Five Months of Fitness


Happy New Year

2016 went really quick. I was glad to see the back of it if I’m honest but very excited about 2017 as I have a couple of great projects launching over the coming months.  So here I am waving goodbye to a year that has brought me a number of life challenges, some bad, but some good.  I’ve just completed five months of fitness and it’s changed my life, but what have I done in December to stay within my plan? Here’s the lowdown…

 How I Kept Fit This Month

This is the first time since beginning my fitness journey that I haven’t followed a programme by Beachbody’s Shaun T. When I was following Shaun’s workouts between September and November ’16, it got a little repetitive mostly because that’s exactly what it was….repetitive. It was the same workout for four or five weeks, so an easily-bored impatient person like me is bound to want a change.

This month, I decided to follow my own fitness plan, a very weights focused plan which was partly devised by Men’s Fitness magazine. I’ve included a list of the exercises below for you to see. I’ve also made a note of the muscles which were affected by the exercises, but experts out there will note that some of the ‘moves’ affect more than one muscle, in fact, some are compound moves which affect many or all muscle groups.

I’ll be honest here, this is not a perfect workout at all. It’s quite intense really and I could have benefitted more by cutting out some exercises and doing more sets/reps of others. This is all trial and error for me and I’m glad I tried it because it was enjoyable and I’ve seen many benefits which I’ll talk about in a moment.

Quads / Glutes Dumbbell Squat to Curl Start squat down with dumbbells by side, stand up to curl
Quads / Glutes Dumbbell Forward Lunge Stood up, dumbbells up, lunge forward, lift above ahead
Quads / Calves / Hams Dumbbell Side Step Up Weights out in front at 90 degrees , step sideways up onto a box
Quads / Calves / Hams Dumbbell Step Up Weights out in front at 90 degrees, step forward up onto a box
Quads Dumbbell Side Lunge Stand up, weights in hand by side, lunge left, up, lunge right, up
Cardio Star Jump 12 star jumps
Cardio Tuck Jump Stand tall, crouch, jump up, bring knees high as possible
Shoulders Dumbbell Bench Press Lie on back, lift dumbbells above head
Shoulders Dumbbell Shoulder Press Stand up, lift dumbbells above head
Shoulders Dumbbell Bent Over Row Bend forward, lift up, elbows high
Shoulders Dumbbell Front Raise Stand up straight, lift weights out to the front.
Shoulders Dumbbell Standing Fly Stand up, fly weights out to the side
Chest Incline Push Up Lean forward against table top
Chest Dumbbell Fly Lie on back, lift weights to side
Chest / Triceps Dumbbell Bench Press Lie down, lift weights above head
Chest / Lats Dumbbell Fly Lie down, weights up, drop to the side keeping arms straight
Chest / Triceps Dip Back against a bench sat down with legs out straight. Arms up behind on bench, lift yourself up.
Traps Dumbbell Shrug Stand up, weights in hand by side, shrug shoulders up down and round
Lats Dumbbell Row Stand up, lean forward on one leg, pull back with dumbbell, elbow high
Forearms Dumbbell Wrist Curl Stand up, arms down, lift weights with wrists only, keep arms still
Biceps Dumbbell Biceps Curl Stand up, arms 90 degrees, lift up to shoulder
Biceps Dumbbell Bent Over Fly Stand up, bend forward, lift weights out to side
Triceps Skier Triceps Swing Stand up, bend forward slight, lift weight behind
Triceps / Lats Dumbbell Triceps Extention Lift weights above head, back behind head
Abs Crunch lie down, sit up “slightly”, hands clenched behind head
Abs Bicycle Crunch lie down, sit up “slightly”, hands clenched behind head, cycling motion with legs
Abs Sit Ups lie down, sit up all the way with hands touching toes
Abs Plank In pushup position on the floor, forearms on the floor, parallel with to body.
Abs / Obliques Lying Scissor Kicks Lie down, legs out straight, alternate lifting legs up high in scissor motions
Abs Press Ups Twelve press ups, get as low down as possible
Abs Mountain Climbers On a mat in press up position, bend legs and move in a rock climbing motion
Abs Lying Leg Raise Lie down, raise both legs up, then down, alternate
Abs Seated Leg Raise Sit down, legs out straight, hands by side, lift legs up high as possible
Abs / Obliques Side Plank Lie on side, leaning on forearm on floor, lift hips till body in straight line
Lower Back Superman Lie on tummy, arms out like Superman, legs out straight, lift up
Ab Core 6 in 1 power trainer

Ab Core 6 in 1 power trainer

That’s quite a lot of weight-pumping I know, but I only did this four times a week; Monday, Wednesday, Friday and either Saturday or Sunday for 20 minutes per session.

I had a little help over the past week with my Christmas present, an Ab Core Power Trainer. This supported me during press-ups and sit-ups so that I wasn’t straining myself too much. Sure, it’s not meant to be easy and I’m meant to be feeling the strain a little, but I’m still carrying more weight than I’d like to. Therefore, exercises like sit-ups aren’t as easy for me as they are for a toned 11 stone male!

I also used a few other products this month, one of which was a pack of Ultra Ketone and Garcinia Cambogia dietary supplements from Amazon. Actually, scrub that for a moment. Early in December, I had tried some pills straight off the shelf at Tesco called “Adios”, and ironically that is exactly what I said to them after one week of use. This is because they gave me horrendous brain throbbing migraines every day. They didn’t cost much, probably around £6.00 so they weren’t expensive at all, but they were horrid. Anyway, back to the pills off Amazon…

Ultra Ketone Plus and Garcinia Cambogia

Ultra Ketone Plus and Garcinia Cambogia dietary supplements

I’ve used pills before and they helped. They were  T5 diet pills which work really well for some people but not for others. In fact, I’ve been sent other supplements to try by new company Forza which I will be starting on January 2nd and reviewing here, so look out for that. Hopefully, they’ll work better than the awful Adios pills and these useless ones off Amazon!

I say useless, but there are no 1-star reviews on there, yet there’s plenty of 5-star reviews. It’s worth noting that many (but not all) reviews on Amazon are provided by people who have received their reviewed product for free or discounted in return for “an honest and unbiased review”. Really!? I’m not sure I’d be saying a product is terrible if PR firms are sending me the goodies for free!

Whilst I’m talking about Amazon, I should point out that I almost did not receive these pills and here’s why. I was patiently awaiting a Sunday delivery of these goods whilst blogging on my laptop in the front lounge. Everybody who comes to visit can see me sat there in the window as my sofa is right against it!  But Mr Amazon didn’t arrive as planned, so I checked online only to find out that the parcel had been “handed to resident”. Erm! No! I am the resident, and I didn’t have the parcel!

Chris Brophy's Wheel Arch

Amazon’s new car wheel arch delivery service!

So I went to look inside my porch, but still… no parcel. Then I put on my shoes and ventured outside into the frost to see if Amazon had thrown my parcel over the side fence of my house, just like those kind people at Yodel did with a Christmas present last week! But I didn’t make it as far as the side fence, because to my complete amazement, Amazon had stuck my parcel in the wheel arch of my car. That’s right, they didn’t even attempt to deliver the parcel by knocking on the door. Instead, Mr Lazyitis 2016 decided to deliver it to my car in the driveway. Seriously, he jumped straight out of his van, shoved the box in the wheel arch and drove off!… no door knocking, no doorbell ringing, just shove and leave!

Anyway, this is meant to be a positive blog so I’m not going to talk about it any longer, let’s talk about happy things like Turkey, yes Christmas turkey and lots of it too! I didn’t over indulge too much over the holiday period and was actually quite sensible. Sure I had the usual Christmas dinner, but I didn’t have puddings and sweets and chocolate. I knew that if I developed a sweet tooth again, it’d be too easy for me to fall back into my old ways!

This month, before workouts I would usually have a healthy shake; the Herbalife 24 Formula 1 Sport which was Vanilla Cream flavour. Mixed beautifully in their Smart Shaker drinks cup. Quite a nifty little thing actually. It has a spring inside which, thanks to YouTube told me it was for mixing the powder properly. So pop in two scoops of powder, 300ml of water, give it a shake and you’re done. There’s a compartment underneath for putting the powder just in case you don’t want to drink it just yet and prefer to make it up at work. Additionally, there’s a compartment for your pills too, but hopefully not the terrible ones I’ve been taking recently by the folk selling them on Amazon.

Oh, I should point out that when I exercised I used an Everlast Slimmer Belt which cost me around £7 off Amazon. Surprisingly, they delivered it right into my hands. I kind of expected them to roll it up and shove it in my exhaust pipe!!

Herbalife 24 Products

Herbalife 24 Products sent to me in December by Herbalife

The Formula 1 Sport drink is a meal replacement shake, so I had it for breakfast and also for dinner on ocassion. The flavour is absolutely gorgeous, however; I wasn’t as keen on the “Rebuild” (post-exercise) shake which was chocolate flavour. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, after all; it’s what got me fat in the first place, but this was still a little ‘powdery’ for me. It was nice, but I much preferred the Formula 1.

Rather than drinking water all day, I’d often put some “Hydrate” orange flavoured powder into my water. I love my spring water, but there was just something quite refreshing about this calorie free electrolyte drink that I loved.  It provided me with tons of vitaminic benefits (is vitaminic even a word? – if not, it sounds nice so I’ll keep using it!) The drink also provided me with magnesium which contributes to electrolyte balance and helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.  Worked for me! I was full of energy almost all of the time throughout December, except for when I had a week of the dreaded man flu. It completely wiped me out and I didn’t exercise for the whole week sadly!… just a week before Christmas.

I would also take their acai berry flavoured CR7 drink during workouts. It is a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution that contributes to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged exercise. Plus it enhances the absorption of water during physical exercise. A gorgeous drink that I now use during every exercise I do.

Herbalife’s protein bars are actually the best I’ve ever tasted. Tons better than the Tesco’s own brand that I had been used to, which I have to say are also incredibly tasty, but these were the size of a Milky Way, quite small, chewy and of a really nice flavour; Vanilla Almond.  I don’t particularly like almonds themselves but these bars didn’t have any effect on me and my nut allergy at all. They were stunning, as were the chocolate meal replacement bars.

I’ve eaten a lot of “normal” meals this month too, such as white fish, chicken and fried eggs etcetera, so I’ve not stuck to a fixed Herbalife diet. Maybe if I had done, I might have lost more weight. I seriously recommend the Herbalife range of products, not just as a weight loss aid, but for generally making you feel and perform better (whether you exercise or not). I felt more focused and alert during the day… better than I’ve ever done, to be honest.

What Results Have I Seen and How Much Weight Did I Lose?

Chris Brophy Biceps and Triceps

Chris Brophy Biceps and Triceps

There has been some obvious increase in muscle this month, after all, it’s been pretty full on with those dumbbells in December. I have particularly noticed a change in my biceps and triceps. I could always feel them, but they weren’t ever noticeable unless I flexed. Now, you can really see the roundness on top and particularly in the shoulders.

My abs are visible also, only just, but they are strong as hell under that remaining flab. So I have no doubt at all about those abs looking impressive once the flabs have gone!

In terms of calves and hams, I haven’t done a great deal of exercise for the legs at all, but they do look toned and feel tough. I intend on doing more leg exercises in 2017.

So let’s look at the weight loss I’ve experienced this month. Remember, though, that I have not just been “dieting”, I have been lifting weights, so I may have lost considerably more fat than you think, but gained it back in muscle. More information on weighing yourself in my article here!

End of Jun: 16st 7lbs (231lbs) – At my heaviest before I started exercising!
End of Jul: 16st 3lbs (227lbs) – When I decided it was time to fight fit — lost 4lbs somehow!
End of Aug: 15st 3lbs (213lbs) – After a month of running on a treadmill — lost an additional 14lbs
End of Sep: 14st 9lbs (205lbs) – At the end of Focus T25 Alpha — lost a further 8lbs
End of Oct: 14st 3lbs (199lbs) – At the end of Focus T25 Beta — lost an extra 6lbs
End of Nov: 13st 13lbs (195lbs) – At the end of Focus T25 Gamma — another 4lbs lighter
Now – End of Dec  13st 10lbs (192lbs)  – At the end of my own workout plan — 3lbs lighter

39 lbs lost so far22 lbs to lose still

 Please share this article on social media and let me know your comments. It’s always great to hear from you. Happy new year and a healthy, fitness filled, motivational 2017 to you!

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