The last 12 weeks I've been running a Transformation Contest in my company. 4 volunteers signed up to transform their bodies as well as their mindset towards a healthier lifestyle).
Each volunteer was asked to commit to training 4 times a week, 1 private training session, 2 home workouts and a Bootcamp session aswell.
They also followed my nutrition plan for the 12 week duration which involved the Elimination Diet, Metabolic Typing and Eat Stop Eat.
I'm really proud of all the transformers that took part. All lost body fat and changed their bodyshape.
Here's the winner's story and pictures. Jenny McComb lost an amazing 2 stone and completely changed her body shape.
She will receive a £250 cash prize.
I have just completed the 12 week Evolution Challenge, and I have to say I loved every minute of it! It’s been a great experience from start to finish and the benefits are amazing. I have written a testimonial to show you all how it went...
On the first day I went to see Sam before the contest started I was so nervous! I really didn’t know what to expect. My only experience of sport instructors up until this point had been psychotic PE teachers at school who made us do various sporting activities in a t-shirt and underpants whilst barking orders at us and telling us how rubbish we were at everything, so my hopes weren’t too high! I couldn’t have been more wrong. I think Sam could see how nervous I was so he put me at ease straight away whilst still grilling me a little to make sure I was committed to the program. Which is fair enough, you don’t want time wasters! Anyway, I felt instantly comfortable with him and COULDN’T WAIT to get going. I had the perfect motivation too as my partner surprised me on Valentines Day by asking me to marry him! So as well as being thrilled, I was instantly thrown into a panic at the thought of having to get into a wedding dress and being photographed on the day. I DEFINITELY needed help!
As I said I didn’t have a very good introduction to sport at school, so I developed a real fear of anything gym related as I thought there was no way I could be any good at it, so my weight has always fluctuated as a result. However, things started to improve when we moved to Sevenoaks a couple of years ago. Knole park is on our doorstep, so I couldn’t avoid being active any longer! Initially I started off by enrolling myself in swimming classes. They were great fun, and I was the only person there under 60 so I think I was a bit of a novelty for them! We spent as much time laughing (old ladies have a VERY dirty sense of humour!) as learning to swim, so I finally realised not everyone is like my old PE teacher, so maybe this exercise lark wasn’t so bad after all! So I started swimming 3 times a week at Sevenoaks Leisure Centre.
Whilst I really enjoyed the swimming, and I was noticing the benefits a little weight-wise, it wasn’t having as much of an effect as I would have liked, so my Fiance, Steve, suggested running. My immediate reaction was that I couldn’t run the length of myself, but with Steve’s help I went for a few short runs in the park and realised I could cope better than I thought. So I took the plunge, bought some running gear and joined the throng of runners on the South Bank in my lunch breaks. Again, I was super nervous to begin with and worried I would just look ridiculous, but what I saw was a wide range of runners of all ages, sizes and abilities, so I settled into a routine and started to really enjoy it. I saw results quite quickly which was really encouraging, but again I seemed to get stuck at a certain level and couldn’t get much further. Then, on impulse, I picked up a copy of The Vine magazine and saw Sam’s ad for the Evolution Challenge. It sounded perfect! Once I started training with him I was pleasantly surprised by my fitness levels. I think the swimming and the running were having more of a beneficial effect than I thought. So whilst I struggled with the workouts and Bootcamp to begin with, it wasn’t so bad that I had to stop, so I was really pleased with that. I was by no means fit yet, but I was on my way!
I have to say that I was a little skeptical of the Evolution Challenge at the beginning, Sam seemed very nice, but all the talk of the special 30 day diet of giving up wheat, dairy and alcohol (?!) did sound a little bit fad-diety to me, but I thought he must know what he’s talking about to have all those muscles on top of muscles! And he was so right. Almost instantly I started to feel better than I had done in years. I was worried as Sam had warned me that I would feel really rough and horrible for about a week, but it didn’t affect me too much, probably as I’m not, and never have been, into junk food. Steve and I ate mostly the right things, but our diet just needed a lot of tweaking rather than a complete overhaul. The only ill-effects were stomach upsets. I have always been prone to them since I was little, so the de-toxing did hit me quite hard in that department, but since starting the Challenge my tummy has felt better than it has done in years! I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice to say I’m now regular as clockwork! I think for me it was definitely some form of wheat intolerance as cutting out bread and pasta has been extremely beneficial. The 30 day diet plan also made me take a good look at how much alcohol I was drinking. I was definitely drinking too much for my age and size, matching Steve drink for drink in the pub. I have cut the amount I drink by about two thirds now, and again I feel so much better for it. I still enjoy a nice glass of wine now and again, but everything in moderation! I think this has had a huge effect on my weight loss, as I suppose large glasses of wine and pints of beer were my equivalent of burgers and chocolate. The beer has gone completely! I feel quite embarrassed to think I was drinking big man pints! Anyway, the important thing is that I’ve made the change, so I’m not going to get too hung up or guilty over my past misdemeanors. Suffice to say, I still enjoy a drink (I am Irish after all!), but I’m much more mindful of what, and how much I’m drinking. Sam’s idea of keeping a food diary on my daily blog was great, it does make you think twice about what you are consuming as you don’t want to look bad in front of other people! It really helped me loads to write it down.
The other challenge with the eating side of things was the Eat Stop Eat program. This involved fasting for 24 hours once a week. I was extremely unsure about this. It sounded a bit too faddy, and a bit like an eating disorder. I approached it very warily as I wasn’t too sure whether I wanted to do it or not. I quickly found out that it wasn’t as hard core as it sounded. The more information Sam gave me about it the more relaxed I felt about doing it. I think this is one of the key points of the Challenge. Nothing that Sam asked me to do was randomly plucked out of the air, everything was properly and extensively researched and he could answer every question I had with ease. This gave me loads of confidence in what he was asking me to do. The fasting was hard. I’m not going to try and pretend it was easy! I do get quite grumpy and frustrated when I’m hungry, so I did find it tricky, but the way it made me feel was amazing. I felt lighter, less sluggish and I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue it for quite some time. Steve still takes cover on the days I’m doing it as a hungry Jenny is a grumpy Jenny, but I’m hoping the longer I do it the better I’ll get at it! I think I just need to be better at taking my mind off what I’m doing and not obsess about food too much.
So food-wise, the Challenge wasn’t quite as tricky as I had anticipated once I got my head round it. The exercise on the other hand! I don’t think I have ever sweated as much in my life as I have over the past 12 weeks! At first the exercises Sam showed me seemed a bit strange. There wasn’t as much jumping up and down as I had thought there would be! There were a lot of slow, controlled movements. I always thought up until that point that you had to be running around like a mad thing for it to do any good! Again I was skeptical, but one look at Sam’s bulging biceps told me he must know what he’s talking about! I couldn’t believe the results. Body issues I had been harbouring for years, and I mean YEARS started to melt away. My bum became perter, my thighs less wobbly, my tummy flatter, my face thinner, my arms less flabby, cellulite started to disappear from my thighs, I just couldn’t get my head round what was happening. And the results came so quickly that Steve and my friends and family were amazed. We all thought it would start to work towards the end of the 12 weeks and then I would have a long hard struggle ahead of me after that and that it would take the best part of a year to see real results, hence me doing this so far in advance of my wedding (14th August 2010, woohoo! Sorry...) This just wasn’t the case though, very quickly my clothes started to not fit properly anymore and people at work really started to notice how I was changing, it was truly unbelievable.
The only down side I encountered were that a few friends started to be very negative about what I was doing. They were obviously going through their own body issues and seemed to be getting annoyed with me for being proactive and doing something about it. They kept going on about my “weird diet”, why wasn’t I having a glass of wine, was I sure I didn’t want dessert, was I becoming boring, saying they couldn’t see any change in me and was I sure I was losing weight? I felt a bit upset about this to begin with, but I soon got over it when I bought my first pair of skinny jeans in a size 10!!!!! Don’t care what anyone says, I own a pair of skinny mini jeans and that’s the most important thing :)
I really thought I was doing all the right kind of exercising before I met Sam, but very quickly I realised I had been getting it all wrong. The concept of fat loss was a new one to me, I thought it was all about weight loss, but how wrong I was! I don’t really care what I weigh, I’ve never been one for obsessive weighing, so much so that I only bought a pair of scales when Sam asked me what weight I was at the beginning! But losing the excess body fat is what I’ve been trying to do unsuccessfully for years. If only I had met Sam 9 years ago, I could have saved myself a lot of time obsessing about my appearance. I really did think that although I was quite chunky, that I was quite fit, but I was wrong about that! Although now I feel fit as a fiddle! Walking up the steep hill from Sevenoaks train station on my way to and from work doesn’t take anything out of me anymore, I can run for about an hour solid without having to stop, I can keep up with Steve when he takes me hill walking, I feel so much better both mentally and physically.
I think one of the most important things that this Challenge has given me is a positive mental attitude. I’m much more upbeat and feel like I can do anything. I’m so much more confident in myself since I started this process 12 weeks ago. I went from a “Maybe I’ll do that if I can” to “Of course I can do that!”. So much so that I enrolled myself on a Children’s Book Illustration course at St Martins next year, something which I’ve wanted to do for years, but finally felt confident enough to give it a go. If it works out and I get a new career out of it, great, if not at least I gave it a go instead of always wondering if I could do it or not.
So, to put it all into perspective, I’ve put the facts and figures below of exactly how my body has changed:
BEFORE: 10.5 stone
AFTER: 8.5 stone
Chest - 92cm
Shoulders - 40cm
Waist - 82cm
Hips - 100cm
Thigh - 59cm
Calf - 37cm
Chest - 91cm
Shoulders - 38.5cm
Waist - 72cm
Hips - 92cm
Thigh - 53cm
Calf - 35cm
Tops - 12
Bottoms - 14
Tops - 8, sometimes 6
Bottoms - 8, sometimes 10
So there you have it! Proof that the Evolution Challenge REALLY works. No messing. I would encourage anyone who is considering this Challenge to definitely do it. I know what it feels like to feel absolutely miserable about your appearance. It takes over your life and it’s all you can think about sometimes. No matter what size you are, if you’re not happy, you’re not happy. If you think it’s impossible to change (and believe me, I did) then you are very, very wrong. This Challenge works, that’s all there is to it. If you follow it to the letter and do everything Sam asks, no cutting corners or just doing the bits you like the sound of, then you will DEFINITELY see results. Then you can finally look in the mirror and be pleased with what you see, and that is worth so much. You will also see massive benefits to your health and your mental attitude, who could ask for more?!
I think it’s also worth saying that the Challenge isn’t so strict that you can’t enjoy yourself. You are not constantly hungry, this isn’t about starving yourself, it’s about eating the right things and the right size portions, and you can still fit your life in around the workouts as each session only lasts approximately 45mins, so it’s easy to fit in even with a busy lifestyle. I worried a lot before starting the Challenge that it was going to take over my life, but that simply wasn’t the case. If anything, it’s added a whole new dimension and introduced me to new hobbies which is great, and through the Bootcamp sessions I did I met some really nice people which is brilliant as before this I didn’t know anyone in Sevenoaks! However, having said that, you need to be willing to really get involved in the Challenge and work very hard at it, no cheating! It is hard work, but if you embrace it 100% you will see the benefits really quickly.
So if you’re thinking about taking up the Evolution Challenge, please do, you won’t regret it. Maybe I’ll post a picture of me in my wedding dress up here next year.
I love hearing stories like this.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below.