So, I wanted to have this written and posted about a week ago. My bad.
On Thursday, August 30th I went for a 60 minute run, marking the final workout in Livefit Trainer. I started the program in June and followed it as closely as I could (I had a few extra rest days thrown in there, so it took me an extra 5 days or so to complete. No biggie though). I wrote my thoughts on Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3, but I wanted to sum up my experience as a whole.
(This is probably the closest thing I have to a before picture. I started Livefit about 3 days after I got back from my vacation to Mexico at the end of May).
I had seen the workout program mentioned on various blogs (mainly Janetha’s – my goodness, those abs) and had thought about starting it for a while. I’ve always been a cardio queen, with running as my exercise of choice. I had been doing strength training for about a year, but using light weights and without any real sort of dedication or plan. I was starting to see a little bit of change in my body definition, but I wanted more.
It took me a long time to finally decide to commit to the workout program. The reason I was so hesitant? Phase 1 has no cardio whatsoever.
While I do consider myself recovered from my ED and have purged most of the related thoughts, the idea of going without any sort of cardio program for 4 weeks terrified the hell out of me. In my head, no cardio = massive weight gain. I would wake up after a week without it and instantly be 10 pounds heavier.
In the end, I pushed my fears aside and decided to go for it. And, I’m glad I did.
I felt a lot better on this phase than I thought I would. I thought I would instantly gain weight and would pretty much have an anxiety attack without running for four weeks. But you know what? I did fine. My weight stayed the same, and I actually enjoyed the break. It made me realize that while running obviously helps me stay fit, taking a long break every once in a while is nice too.
I was definitely ready to get back into the cardio game at this point! I started slowly, because that was what my body needed. As for the lifting, I LOVED this phase. I loved the powerful feeling I got from lifting heavy and seeing my weights go up every week.
The downside here? I started to feel a little chunky from all the muscle I was adding. I had read that phase 2 makes you feel like you’re getting massive, and I definitely had a little bit of that. It felt pretty bad at the time, but I decided to stick with it.
I’m not going to lie, I did NOT enjoy weeks 9 and 10 at all. All the combinations of back-to-back sets and active rests combined with sprints afterwards were killing me. I skipped the final day of sprints because my body just couldn’t handle anymore.
However, weeks 11 and 12 were my favourite of the entire program. Why? CIRCUITS! I love, love, love circuit training (like Julie!) and feel it’s the perfect combination of cardio and strength. I also enjoyed the 1 hour of cardio day that was included in this part – It allowed me to feel confident that my running abilities were still strong even after taking 4 weeks off in phase 1.
Also, the program promised that I would lean out with this phase, and it definitely delivered. I still had muscle, but without the chunky feeling.
The Meal Plan
After reviewing the meal plan that comes with the program, I decided I would apply the basics (high in protein, eating multiple times a day) but I would not be following it. I made this choice for several reasons.
- I’m happy with the way I eat. I eat healthy, but without feeling the need to deprive myself. If I want cake, I’ll eat it, but I eat plenty of lean protein and veggies as well.
- I don’t believe in universal meal plans. Every body is different, with different needs. For example, my BMR (basic metabolic rate, aka the minimum amount of calories your body needs to survive) is around 1300 calories. According to the Livefit plan, I would have been eating approximately 1450 calories a day, even on days where the workouts took over an hour and a half to complete. Umm, no. That would be torturous and my body would suffer.
- I didn’t want to complicate my eating. I don’t want to count protein grams or carbs. Carb cycling sounds torturous.
While I’m happy with my Livefit results, If I wanted to get super cut and lean I would have followed the plan a little more closely. In the end, I know I made the right decision for me. Looking back, I might have considered some of the supplements she recommended, but that’s something I can revisit in future strength training plans.
(last night’s date night. This sort of thing definitely happened during the program too. )
In following this program, I noticed some awesome changes in my body.
- I actually gained about 3 pounds. But, it was much needed muscle. My arms were twiggy before, now, there are actual biceps.
- I’ve always had toned legs, but they’ve never been like this. I’m in love with them right now, as they got a lot more shapely on this program. Kind of sad I finished this program at the end of summer – I can wear shorts like nobody’s business right now.
- My butt is so perky, I could serve coffee on it.
- For the first time in my life, I have muscle in my upper body. You can actually see biceps and triceps when I flex, my shoulders are broader and my chest is more muscular.
- I lost a little bit of body fat, about 1%. I wouldn’t have minded if I had lost more, but it wasn’t particularly high to begin with so I’m not too disappointed.
- I lost a little bit (about half an inch) around my stomach/waist and got a little more toned in that area, but I do not have anything remotely resembling a six pack. While I would have loved for it to flatten out a little, I know that I have the “apple” body type – my tummy is where my body likes to put on weight. I am not destined for a flat stomach, and I’m learning to be ok with that.
Would I Recommend it?
Absolutely! If you’re looking to muscle and strength, it’s a fabulous program. The workouts are easy to follow, and as long as you’re following a decent diet you will definitely see results. I would follow the eating plan if you’re looking to get in super-cut/toned shape, but I don’t think it’s 100% necessary as long as you have a fairly healthy diet.
A few issues with it though: I would find this program really hard to follow without gym equipment. I’m sure it’s possible, but you would have to make a lot of adjustments.
Also, this program is a huge time commitment. In phase 3, some of the workouts take over an hour and a half to complete – not easy if you’re working or in school. I did this program over the summer while I was off, so I was able to fit in the workouts just fine. I don’t know if I would have been able to do so if I had other obligations.
Overall, I am thrilled with the results and would recommend it to others. I’ve never been in better shape in my life, and I am loving it. It’s taught me how important strength training is – it’s a great workout and it CREATES RESULTS, people. I am a heavy lifting convert.
So do I look like Jamie Eason or a fitness model? Hell no. But I approached the program the way I wanted to and I couldn’t be happier.