Getting your fitness regime started can be the most difficult part of the journey to a better body and lifestyle.
We live in a world where we want results fast and NOW. I for one am far more interested in a process where I can really see the results of my efforts.
Unfortunately most 'quick fixes' are over as soon as real life sets back in.
But what if you combined several extreme methods of weight loss to reach that three week habit hit (it takes 21 days of repetitive behaviour for something to become a habit) and therefore creating lifestyle changes that are not only visible but also sustainable.
I like to start with the most extreme method and build my way up. A Juice Diet for five to seven days.
Now there is a lot of taboo with juice diets, but honestly the difference to your body that a few days can make is pretty unbelievable. I used the Jason Vale seven day juice before winning Miss Great Britain, and it made such a huge difference to my waistline and got rid of any extra water I was carrying. Half of it isn't even what your losing its how fantastically confident you feel after doing it.
To be clear the juice diet for me is not a long-term fix, however I find that after seven days of just juice, I'm so appreciative of a healthy salad! Something that before the juice I would have seen as a 'small' meal suddenly has become extremely satisfying.
It is 70/30 ratio for diet/exercise - Diet is 70% responsible for the bodily results you will see, with just 30% being down to exercise. After shifting excess 'water pounds' on our juice, it times to bring in the exercise. As with the extremity of juicing, I signed up for some movement extreme with a fitness bootcamp.
I chose No1 Bootcamp in Ibiza (they also have a site in Norfolk, England) I visited them last year and loved the variety of different exercising methods as well as a more holistic approach to typical bootcamps - The morning hikes allowed you to explore the Island, whilst the variation between cardio, weights and yoga keeps everything fresh. A typical day consists of:
7am - Wake Up
7.15am - Run (with intervals)
8.15am - Breakfast
9am - Ready to leave for HIKE
10.30am - Snack
12pm - End of Hike, Return for lunch
1.30pm - Lunch Break Ends, Weights Class
2.30pm - Snack
3pm - Group Sports (often in pool)
4pm - YOGA
5pm - End of Day
Without a doubt the best part of signing up to a bootcamp, is the pre-organised schedule.
It completely removes the stress of everyday life's decision making - They decide everything for you!
You just have to show up on time and give each class your best effort. The freshly prepared meals are also absolutely delicious. The portions sizes are certainly quality over quantity, but having come straight from having been on a juice, I felt completely overfed.
I know for a fact, that doing the juice beforehand made a huge difference to my success at the bootcamp.
When I had previously visited the year before - I was sneaking off at night to eat pizza! Resulting in losing absolutely no weight at the end of the week!
This time I had no desire to cheat, as the portions were more than enough for me. A typical day's diet will consist of:
Breakfast - Coconut Porridge & Almond Crumble
Snack - Half an orange and handful of nuts and seeds
Lunch - Chickpea & Quinoa Pesto Salad
Snack - Frozen Watermelon (Honestly its indescribable until you try it!)
Dinner - Roasted Herb Cod & Miso Lentils
The principle of the diet is simple - Eat natural. If Mother Nature didn't make, don't eat it etc.
Back to reality
After putting myself through the extremes of a juice and bootcamp it was time to get back to the real world - and it to see if my efforts would reflect in my behaviours and become habits.
Before leaving the bootcamp I had to ask myself honestly how I was going to fit an hour a day of exercise into my daily life. After a week of 8 hours a day exercise, an hour seems like nothing.
However it's fitting that hour into your routine everyday. Personally, my lifestyle involves a lot of travelling and constant changes in environment making it less simple than just joining my local gym.
I eventually decided to purchase a TRX trainer (a fabulously simple "suspension trainer" to allow the user to work against their own body weight. It can be hung from a tree, door, just about anywhere!) this meant that combined with running (which again you can do anywhere) I have the option to train whenever and wherever I want. No excuses if a gym isn't available.
(There are loads of fantastic tutorials you can YouTube of different TRX exercises)
Dietary wise, keeping everything natural and clean as possible is key. Just simple switches such as in restaurant substituting heavy carbs like bread and pasta for vegetables and selecting the fish over pizza.
I maintained this strict hour a day of exercise, and clean eating for another week following bootcamp and voila 21 days were complete - and hopefully habits that are there to stick!
We all of course need to rest and cheat sometimes so following on from my 3 week blitz - I allow myself one day off a week to eat what I fancy, and to train at least 5 times a week.
But for the most part the changes in lifestyle are now effortless - It's something I automatically want to do everyday - and can maintain and sustain.
Week 1 - I lost seven pounds on my juice diet
Week 2 - Two pounds and two inches from everywhere on my body
Week 3 - another one pound weight loss and another inch off my waist
This is really quick and easy to make:
Beef Bolognese with courgette spaghetti - absolutely delicious!!