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Body makeover challenge: Blogger Hannah Thompson’s 3-month journey on hot trainer Joe Wicks’ programme kicks off


Our new Body Makeover Challenge blog features Hannah Thompson, 27, a serial dieter who has had enough so she is trying out the Shift, Shape and Sustain (SSS) plan from personal trainer Joe Wicks. Each week she will be blogging through the highs and lows 

First leg…

Tomorrow I start the first phase of the Body Coach’s three-month SSS plan – the Shift, Shape and Sustain programme from personal trainer Joe Wicks – and I’m not as terrified as I thought I would be. Hmmm.

This is before I started my 3 month

Consisting of three one-month “cycles”, it is a tailored nutrition and exercise plan based around the concept of macronutrients. That means getting the right proportion of fat to carbs to protein. According to Wicks (and many other trainers), it’s this that will help your body optimise its health, lose fat and become stronger especially when done alongside High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) five times a week.

You fill in a questionnaire about your usual food and exercise habits, tell them about any health problems – such as my underactive thyroid, which can make losing weight feel like an exercise in impossibility – and boom, one week later… You get your tailored plan.


Why the plan?

It’s not that I’m massive – I’m not. But as a naturally curvy girl standing just five feet tall, with genes that do not work in my favour when it comes to weight, I can very easily tip the scale from curvy to chubby to too big (this doesn’t make me happy). When I’m too big, I feel lethargic and sad. So I’m always trying to do something about it.

When I’m too big, I feel lethargic and sad

Hence this latest plan. It’s popular and born of the social media generation. Joe Wicks is a bit of an Instagram, YouTube and Twitter name, with over 43,000 followers on the latter network, having boosted his profile purely through online word of mouth. So, because I’m a good little social media sheep (I love my Twitter), here I am. If it works for all those headless before-and-after-shot people, it will work for me, right?

HIIT me with your best shot…


For over a year now I’ve been doing HIIT, in the comfort (is that the right word for HIIT?) of my own home. I began with Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred [DVD], and got addicted from there. Now I do some kind of intense workout for 15-30 minutes most days of the week. And unbelievably for something that makes you sweat like a pig and feel like passing out, I have actually grown to enjoy it (almost).

The HIIT is the one part that doesn’t bother me…much.

Problem is, unless you sort out your diet, all the HIIT in the world is a bit pointless. I’m slightly more toned, yeah, but it’s hardly anything to write about.

Because the thing that really scares me is the food. I’ve done quite a few diets – the Atkins, the South Beach, Slimming World, good old calorie counting – and even seen considerable success on them.

And I’m by no means the biggest I’ve ever been now (that was after my final year of undergrad, when I’d been eating entire slabs of Hotel Chocolat chocolate to soothe my exam nerves). I’m actually about a stone lighter than that, so I’m not without hope.

The problem is, at least some of the weight always goes back on, not because the plans don’t work. If you follow them properly, they do. But staying on a restrictive eating plan isn’t easy.

And, I love food. It doesn’t suddenly walk out on you, or ask you to work on a really difficult project. It’s uncomplicated, basically. And it’s everywhere.

I love food. It’s sociable, it’s comforting, it’s readily available, and it doesn’t ask questions.

Get the train home from the station – food. Walk past a supermarket – food. See a friend for a catch-up – food (and drink). Celebrate a birthday – food. Go on holiday – wonderful food (and drink). You get my drift? I’ve often wished I was one of those people who stop eating when they get stressed or upset, but alas, I’m the opposite.

For someone like me, whose job often revolves around food (I’m a restaurants and hotels writer), and uses it very consciously as a comfort blanket and happy social glue when life gets tough, but who also happens to put on weight like it’s going out of style, it’s a nightmare.

So signing up to a food plan is also my idea of a bit of a nightmare. Not that the food doesn’t look good – we’ve got turkey, chicken, beef, quinoa, avocado, bagels… But where’s the chocolate?

I’m already going to start badly because tomorrow I’m at a breakfast event interviewing none other than the Roca Brothers. Yes. For those of you unaware, these are the legendary chefs behind the Celler de Can Roca in northern Spain, voted Best Restaurant in the World multiple times. Yes, I am starting a diet on the day I go to meet three icons of Catalan cuisine. And there will be food there. Yep…Shoot me now.

Yes, I am starting a diet on the day I go to meet three icons of Catalan cuisine.

In all seriousness though, I’m going to give this plan my absolute best shot (once the breakfast is over).The success stories and progress photos from those who’ve succeeded before me are genuinely hit-the-floor spectacular, and if this plan means I finally drop the extra kilos I’ve been carrying around with me for years, and actually develop some muscle, find more energy, and see an improvement to my mood, then fantastic.

Before my three month SSS plan

At the very least, a three-month plan should educate me enough so I know what to do, should some of the weight creep back on again.

The exercise shouldn’t be too tough because I’ve already established a HIIT habit (thankfully, otherwise I think I’d be keeling over from the fear of starting everything at once) – and on the food side, I know, from my previous diets, that the key to success is planning.

As such, I’ve planned my first week, and shopped for all the ingredients – including more Tupperware, so I can be organised in advance ‒ so technically, this should be a doddle. Just stick to the timetable, prepare as much as you can in advance, eat what you’ve planned, no biggie right?

Hmm. Wish me luck!

Hannah’s starting data

The before shot

1st June 2015

Waist: 29” (At bellybutton: 30.7”)

Hips: 36.5”

Chest 36”

Right Bicep: 12.5″

Left Bicep: 12.5″
Right Thigh: 22.5”

Left Thigh: 22.5″


If you want to see quick results by doing easy daily workouts, try Healthista’s 30 Day Challenges. 

Hannah, body makeover challenge, post imageHannah Thompson is a serial dieter and daily high intensity exerciser with one problem – she really loves food (and not always the right stuff, either). Constantly on Twitter, she’s decided to do the Shift, Shape and Sustain plan from social media whizz and personal trainer Joe Wicks, which is a semi-tailored food plan and HIIT exercise programme.

Follow her on Twitter: @HannahsRhapsodyJoe-Wicks-200x300

Joe Wicks is a health and fitness professional with a strong background in sports science, nutrition and personal training. Joe focuses on weight loss, building muscle tone and training for endurance events by providing boot camps, personal training, diet plans and personal workouts whilst providing motivation.

Follow Joe on Instagram and Twitter@thebodycoach

You can try Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy

Start your 90 day SSS plan now, by clicking here. 



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