I had hoped to blog on a weekly basis about my progress on my 90 day SSS plan with the Body Coach but unfortunately time seems to have been against me. I thought I would do a quick blog this week to share my thoughts in advance of getting my cycle two results.
I am now about 3.5 weeks into cycle 2 and I have to say I have found it much harder than cycle 1 in terms of the time commitment required.
In cycle 2, the focus is on "Shape" and the plan is geared towards training. Instead of short 20 min hiit sessions, the plan focuses on short bursts of intense cardio followed by short bursts of intense resistance training. The sessions are broken down into 2 rounds of hiit cardio of 10 minutes each with 2 rounds of weight training in between - essentially a 4 round circuit. The plan is based on 4 sessions per week with three rest days with the weight sessions being arms, chest and back, legs and shoulders. That doesn't sound too bad but when you realise each weight round includes 100 reps, it becomes pretty time consuming once you add in rests. In order to keep my runs in, I do one hiit run session per week in the park and do press ups in between the two hiit sessions. I have had some funny looks from dog walkers as I do my press ups at 7am with my head torch on! I have also been able to keep one constant run in. I was recommended to do a weights session before I do my run but I tend to find it easier to do it after the run. Hopefully this wont impact too much on my results.
The change in training structure has meant that most sessions have gone from being around 20 minutes to taking around an hour to complete. For my gym based sessions, I am still doing these in the morning and thanks to flexi time I have not had to get up any earlier in order to get these done - but it does mean I am needing to stay later at work, which leaves less time for meal preparation for that night's dinner and for lunch the next day.
Due to the increase in training intensity, the meal structure has changed too. It follows the same principles as cycle one with three meals and two snacks per day but on training days all meals include carbs and likewise for non-training days it is reduced carb options. The meal options are also different in cycle 2. Instead of following recipes, meals are now based on a pick n mix principles and give much more flexibility. For each meal, you pick a meat or fish, spice or seasoning, vegetables, carb source or additional fat source (depending on whether you have trained) and then a side sauce.
I was quite looking forward to getting back to cooking my own meals but I have really struggled to find recipes that include all options. In cycle one, most of my carb meals were at breakfast after training so it meant I could bulk prepare meals for dinner and have them for lunch the next day. This was not as easy as cycle one as the meal structure would depend on whether it was a training day. It did mean I had to become more inventive with recipes and I did begin to feel that all my time was taken up preparing meals.
I contacted my support hero just before Christmas looking for some advice as I was finding it tough and with her help have now restructured my training so that I do two sessions at the weekend and two during the week in order to give me more time to prep. She did suggest bulk cooking and freezing meals to cut down on prep time but I do prefer to eat fresh and only tend to have something the night after I have made it. Thankfully, I have been off since just before Christmas so I have been finding it easier to manage. She has advised that cycle three is more of the same so I know I need to try and find a good balance.
Each cycle and part of the plan comes with meal planner sheets, which are really helpful to plan your meals in advance. Obviously this cycle has included Christmas festivities, which has meant I have been off plan, eating and drinking more than I should be. There are rather a few blanks for my week 3 cycle sheets where Christmas has taken over!
Thankfully, I have managed to make sure I keep all my exercise sessions in. Looking back through my meal plans, I have probably stuck to the plan around 80% but that being said there have been some pretty substantial Christmas meals. I have been given the option of adding a few days on at the end of the cycle before submitting my results but doing the plan is about fuelling my body properly, not a short term fix, and so I am not going to get too hung up about the results. Well, perhaps I will wait and see what next week brings!!!!