Way back at the beginning of summer (eons ago, basically) I said that I really wanted to up my fitness game. Not in a ‘get fit for summer’ kind of way – that’s never a healthy attitude – but just because I’d have more time on my hands in the uni summer holidays and fancied a challenge. Then along came the opportunity to try out a 6 week workout and nutrition programme from Myonomics, so everything worked out quite nicely.
Whilst I’ve been working out regularly for years now, this was the first time I’ve ever followed a strict plan. I’d been feeling like I’d hit a bit of a plateau, so it was definitely needed! As someone who usually takes a ‘make it up as I go along’ approach, having Aaron set exercises and macros for me and go through proper form was super helpful. Less ‘I feel like going to spinning and doing some abs today’, more ‘today is Upper Body Push Emphasis’ day, and that’s that. Scoliosis gives me back pain on the regular – my legs want to squat and deadlift heavy, but my back doesn’t – so it was definitely helpful to have all the technicalities of proper form explained and demonstrated to me. Anyway, as promised, here are my thoughts on the whole programme thing!
a fixed workout plan
After listing my goals, my programme was worked out as 5 weights sessions and 2 LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio sessions per week. Not *too* dissimilar to what I’d already been doing – I’m no newbie at the squat rack – but more regimented, and with less high intensity cardio and plyo. 5 weights sessions per week suited me just fine, and I definitely hit my goals of squatting heavier and increasing upper body strength. I felt the benefits of more upper body sessions than I was used to; last week I went to boxing for the first time in ages and was told I’d improved so that’s always a good thing!
Something I’m glad I tried is low intensity cardio, which burns fat rather than muscle. At first uphill walking/jogging might sound more appealing than sprints, but I quickly got bored and wanted to just run faster to get it over and done with! Who’d have thought I was so impatient eh? Usually I do most of my cardio in group classes (Metafit, Spinning, Body Attack, that kind of thing) and I didn’t realise how much I’d miss the social/motivating side of it. Low intensity cardio did ensure that more of my energy went into lifting weights though, and I’ve never hit so many PBs in a short time so can’t complain.
This programme has taught me just how much the gym does for me mentally, which is part of the reason I now much prefer actually going to the gym over home workouts, which I swore by when I was at school. My uni, work, and chillout time is all at home, so I want at least my workout place to be somewhere different.
tracking macros and counting calories
Firstly, I’m aware that tracking macros and counting calories can get a bad rep these days. It’s sometimes seen as obsessive at best, and contributory to eating disorders at worst. Before this programme I already ate pretty healthily, and had a healthy relationship with food and body image, so for me, keeping tabs on everything I ate was absolutely fine.
My macro targets were 140g protein, 195g carbs, and 45g fat. Eating more protein was the biggest change for me, so I started adding protein powder to my porridge or making protein pancakes for breakfast, and eating a hell of a lot of tuna and chicken. Anyone who watches my Instagram stories will know that my protein pancake obsession is real! Tracking macros really made me aware of how many carbs are in everything too – I’m the kind of person who’ll mindlessly sit and eat 4 pieces of fruit in one sitting, so knowing I had a carb limit made me pay far more attention. I may or may not have consumed my day’s worth of carbs in the form of Pinot Grigio one day, but never mind that. Miraculously stuck to my macros that day somehow! Tracking macros is how I was able to see so much more progress in this 6 weeks than any other, but I’m really glad I had the guidelines tailored to me (by someone who knows what they’re doing) rather than just something I found online.
Will I carry on?
Whilst I won’t continue to track macros to the same degree, there are definitely huge elements of this programme that I’ll carry forward – namely the upper body workouts and increased protein. Logging my food isn’t something I’m going to continue with forever because it’s just a bit faffy, but I’m glad I did it to increase my awareness of what’s actually in the food I’m eating. At the beginning of my holiday in Tenerife I was probably the strongest I’ve ever been, so mission accomplished! When I want to be at that point again, I will track (and keep a lid on the carbs). However for day to day life I really enjoy healthy food anyway, so I’m going to carry on just making (mostly) healthy choices without being too strict. As for the workouts, I’ll 100% be continuing with the extra upper body sessions and overall focus on weights, but throwing in more classes and different workouts like boxing to mix things up too. If you want to really kick things up a notch fitness wise, I’d highly recommend giving one of these 6 week programmes with Myonomics a shot!
Lily Kate x