I am three weeks into my 90 Day SSS Challenge, a tailored fitness and nutrition plan designed to help people get fit, burn fat and build lean muscle. It’s been all quiet on the blogging and social media front for me throughout this time as I have immersed myself in all the plan entails. A few friends have been asking how things are going. As it is a complicated sort of answer, I thought it timely to pen a quick update.
Let’s start with the three things that get my thumbs up thus far:
- Taking on the challenge with my husband*: Truth be told, I would genuinely have quit thus far if it hadn’t been for him. There are days when that 5.45am alarm goes off, particularly if my night has been peppered with little people disturbances, that I just want to roll over and pretend the 90 day challenge doesn’t exist. But he encourages me up, and before I know it the endorphins have kicked in while we workout together. I’ve been surprised to discover how much I am enjoying our being fitness buddies. Our early morning HiiT sessions have become “our thing”, our window in the morning to take something on together, to overcome a challenge and win. And that is a definite bonus in my books.
- Rediscovering a long lost love of fitness: I am BEYOND chuffed to be feeling fitter, stronger and better able to keep up with our eldest daughters as they pelt down the road on their scooters en route to school. One 90 Day SSS graduate wrote that one of the key things the plan taught her was to think of herself as an athlete, and not as “a lazy someone trying to exercise”. That’s been a game-changing helpful lens for me. Once upon a time I was a fitness lover. I hit the gym regularly, was a Pilates fiend and keen amateur dancer. And I LOVED it. I thought those days were numbered since life in London and little ones kicked in. But thanks to the plan, I am starting to believe that I can be that girl again. Hurrah!
- Feeling empowered to change my body for the better: It is one thing to feel uncomfortable in your body’s post-baby status quo. It is quite the other to have someone spell out exactly how to go about changing things for the better. And to watch it work, one day at a time. A leaner, fitter, more energetic version of myself is slowly but surely emerging as I stick with the nutrition and workout plan I’ve been given, and for that I am truly thankful. It is early days, but I know by now not to despise humble beginnings. So I will continue to plug away.
The Not So Good
Over the course of these three weeks, I have battled all sorts of discouragement and challenges. The following three seem to be my biggest hurdles.
- Adapting to the meal prep and new menu:
- Every single meal eaten while on the plan needs to be from a specific set of recipes, each of which has been tailored to help me either burn fat or recover and build muscle post workout. This has meant going from instinctive, easy cooking to militant measuring. Weighing every ingredient and multiplying each ingredient’s weight by four or six (to make three or four sets of meals for hubby and I) makes for a slow cooking pace, and seriously eats into my free time. I do miss the familiar staples that I could knock up quickly and easily.
- I quit sugar a long time ago, and ate kale and the likes by the bucketload, so I thought I was in a pretty good place to start with. Turns out big change was still needed on the menu front. I totally underestimated how I would struggle with having to put my personal preferences on pause and follow prescribed recipes. My husband is in seventh heaven with all the meat, curries, soy sauce and flavours foreign to our usual family fare that are on the menu courtesy of Joe Wicks. I am somewhat less enamoured, but am pleased to have picked up a few new good recipe that I will probably use after we have finished the 90 Day Challenge.
- Not eating the same meals as my children. I love cooking and baking with my kids, and family meal times are an important part of our everyday rhythm. Since being on the plan, my husband and I have eaten a different dish to the kids, every single time. Although we make light of it with them and have explained what we are doing, I do not like the message it sends to them about family meals when the grownups eat ‘special’ different stuff. Plus different menus for each meal mean more time cooking. (Moan over. Just saying).
- Sacrificing my writing time in favour of working out. Early morning HiiT sessions four mornings a week for three consecutive weeks have totally killed my capacity to pursue my much needed creative outlet here on the blog and on Instagram. It’s like I have run out of words as I channel my focus into making this lifestyle change happen whilst juggling everything in my everyday. On the flip side, I am enjoying the workouts, so it’s not the end of the world.
I am a planner, and as such I like to think ahead. I do find myself wondering if this drastic lifestyle change we have undertaken is sustainable long term. The working out aspect – highly likely, for all the reasons articulated earlier. But the food? I’m not so sure. The meal prep workload is considerably extra, even for a seasoned meal planner like myself. But I suspect that by the time our three month challenge is done, I will have picked up some nutrition principles that I can apply to our every day life. So I’ll hold back on any judgement until then.
So there you have it, an honest insight into my everyday adventures on the 90 Day SSS Challenge thus far. Despite the challenges, I am so glad I decided to take this on, and am determined to see it through to it’s full three month duration. I have one week to go until I have completed Cycle 1. I’m hoping to finish it healthier, trimmer and fitter than I was when I started. I’ll keep you posted once the results are in.
In the meantime, if you have any tips from taking on the 90 Day SSS yourself or any similar fitness adventure, do let me know via the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
*FYI in case you are wondering – my husband is eating the same as me to make meal times that bit easier for me. Having to cook something different for him as well as for the kids might have done me in. But as the meals have been tailored for my body’s spec and activity levels, he is often hungry and supplements with other snacks to keep him going. The workouts can be adapted to any level so although we both follow the same HiiT sessions online, he can push himself harder than I am able to at the moment.