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Hit a plateau? This is how to get motivated – Body Transformation Week 7

Olivia's transformation MAIN (5)

Want to get motivated to go to the gym? Healthista’s Olivia Hartland-Robbins has hit week seven of her body transformation at Transition Zone gym – and a plateau – here’s how she beat it  

So I spent a week away last week on a sort of work holiday, and although I still lost weight (read how I did that here), I honestly really missed my training sessions at Transition Zone. Just one week off from exercise and I felt so lazy and useless.

But this week I am back and ready to tackle anything life or PT Mark Stanton throws at me without complaint (except maybe split squats because honestly I really still despise those).

Anyways, this week my measurements showed a bit of a plateau. Not ideal but also not the end of the world – it was bound to happen eventually. I have still lost weight, taking my total weight loss to 5kg’s but my body fat has crept up slightly – so as you can imagine I am more motivated than ever to turn this plateau around.

Before and after alllll angles week 7

Before Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7
Weight kg 68.9 67.4 66.3 65.5 64.8 64.8 64.5 63.8
Body Fat % 27.0 25.8 24.2 24.6 23.2 22.8 22.4 23.1
Hips cm 107 107 104 105 104 104 104 102
Waist cm 77 75 74 73 71.5 71 71 72
Stomach cm 90 88 86 86 84 83 84 84
Thighs cm 56 55 54 55 54 54 54 54
Overall Weightloss kg N/A 1.5 2.6 3.4 4.1 4.1 4.4 5.1


Before and after alllll angles week 7 (1)

Before and after alllll angles week 7 (2)

Motivation, motivation, motivation

I have been asked many questions during this transformation: Are you mad? What were you thinking? You’re giving up alcohol for 12 weeks – are you crazy?  Aren’t you hungry all the time? Aren’t you sore all the time? But the question I hear the most is: ’12 weeks is a long time – how do you stay motivated?’

Well for starters it turns out 12 weeks is actually no time at all.  I seriously cannot believe I am already more than half way through this transformation, time is flying so I must be having the best time ever – totally am by the way.

As far as motivation is concerned – I really wasn’t very happy with myself before I started this healthy, get fit journey and it really is as simple as that. Whenever I feel like giving up I remember how I used to feel when none of my clothes would fit me, or how I would wear the baggiest top (or coat even though it was boiling) to family events or how I would feel upset when I saw old pictures of myself.

Those factors alone have been reason enough to keep me feeling motivated, but of course there are also many other factors that have kept me on transformation track. Here’s how I am staying motivated during this whole body transformation thing…

#1 My PT is bloody amazing

Well this goes without saying, but without my personal trainer Mark Stanton, (@insidetrack_pt) I totally would’ve given up by now.  Even when I walk into the gym at 6:30am looking less than impressed, he’s there with a smile on his face, ready to get me through the session.

Plus he’s a pretty good PT if I do say to myself, I think my measurements every week have proven that right? Mark knows his stuff. He has a decade of personal training and sports performance coaching under his belt, and has completed an undergraduate degree in Sports Science followed by a Masters in Strength and Conditioning.

Mark Stanton Transition Zone
PT Mark Stanton

And he’s not the only trainer who I see at Transition Zone that actually cares about their clients. All trainers at Transition Zone believe that when it comes to health and well-being one size doesn’t fit all, everyone is different. They tailor programmes to fit each of their client’s individual requirements in order to get them exactly where they want to be.

I think many people underestimate how important it is to get a personal trainer who actually gives a shit (pardon my French). Because if he or she doesn’t care what is the point?

Ask yourself this, does your PT care about you? Do they want you to get to the same goals you do? Do you even get on with them? Do they have the right experience? Do you like they way they teach?

Some people may prefer being shouted at like they are training for the army, but most people do not, including me. I needed someone tough but also someone who wasn’t going to shout at me when I complain about my legs hurting for the 50th time but who also politely reminds me why I should shut my mouth and get on with it – which Mark does perfectly.

Ultimately to keep yourself motivated, you need to look forward to your training sessions rather than dreading them, and I look forward to my sessions with Mark every single time.

#2 Nutrition advice is vital for success

It’s week seven, and except for a few naughty treats here and there I have pretty much stuck to the healthy eating side of things – which has been honestly been one of the most challenging parts.

Think about it, a training session only lasts an hour. You have a shower, grab a protein shake and all the burning muscle pain seems like a distant memory. You then have to stay motivated and not give in to temptation for another 23 hours. Ok that’s an exaggeration because we sleep for some of that, but the point is you spend more time battling with your willpower than you do working out.

At the beginning of the transformation, all I could think about was food, but now in week seven? I’m pretty sure I have already made some lasting healthy habits, thanks to a lot of help and support from Transition Zone’s in house nutritionist Emma Bardwell, and my friends and family. (@emma.bardwell)

Olivia and Emma at Transition Zone
Me with nutritionist Emma Bardwell at Transition Zone

Don’t get me wrong the whole not drinking and avoiding the naughty stuff all of the time has been tricky, but other than that I have remained motivated to make the healthiest food choices possible.

Plus, before I reach for a biscuit or nearly burst into tears when I see cheesecake in the fridge I remind myself of how hard I worked in my training session and was all that pain really worth it just for a piece of cheesecake that I will gobble down in just five minutes.

One thing both Emma and Mark both made clear from the beginning was that body fat loss can’t be achieved with weight training alone, diet plays a key role. So there is no getting away with letting my diet slip or simply I won’t get the results – that is motivation in itself.

#3 Make sure you like your gym

As well as who you workout out with, where you workout definitely has an effect on your motivation and overall enthusiasm to workout. For starters you have to like your gym. I am SO picky. I recently quit Virgin Active and I still can’t tell you exactly why I didn’t like it – I just got bad vibes, and I literally dreaded going.

So it helps if you actually like your gym. But also think about other factors, is your gym spacious or claustrophobic? Too hot or too cold? Is it clean or dirty? Are the staff helpful or rude? Are there enough machines? Is there enough equipment? Is it close to work or home so it’s convenient? Can you park nearby or get public transport? Is the music bearable? Are the changing rooms nice?

Transition Zone 1

All of these things can make the difference between actually wanting to go to the gym and dreading the gym. I feel so lucky to have the chance to be training at Transition Zone, I really don’t want to go to any other gym, ever.

Transition Zone has such a great atmosphere, and I have never not looked forward to walking in the door – honestly. I feel comfortable, motivated, surrounded by friendly people, the gym is spacious, cool, calming and the changing rooms are great. So honestly, find a gym that you actually like and you will never dread a workout again.

Transition Zone 2

#4 Tell your friends, family, colleagues, postman and dog so there’s no hiding

I’ve seen the memes – ‘don’t tell anyone about your goals, just focus on yourself blah blah blah’. But actually, telling anyone and everyone who will listen and even those who wont, has really helped my motivation.

Yes it puts the pressure on but is there anything wrong with a little bit of added pressure? Definitely not. The more people that know mean more people I have prove to that I actually can do it.

Besides I have had to tell friends and family why I am not drinking alcohol or eating McDonald’s or they’ll think I’m pregnant or having a quarter life crisis or something.

#5 Lay out your gym clothes the night before

I think I may have mentioned this once or twice. But you want to stay motivated? Then get organised. Laying out my gym clothes next to my bed the night before has been such a simple way of getting myself organised.

I also pack my gym bag with my clothes I will be wearing the next day and put that next to my bed too. All I have to do is get up, put my gym kit on, grab my bags and go.

That way when my alarm goes off at 5:15/30am and I know I have all this sorted, it is far easier to get out of bed and I feel far more motivated to get up and go. But the mornings where I haven’t been prepared? It is just that little bit harder to get out of bed.

#6 Make your food the night before too

As well as sorting your clothes out the night before, organise your meals for the next day also. No matter what you tell yourself the night before, you will not wake up early to make your lunch and if you do it probably won’t be as nutritious as if it would be if you made it the night before. The alternative? You end up going to your local Tesco and getting one of those dreadful meal deals.

I put my FAGE yoghurt, my lunch and any snacks on the same shelf in the fridge and put the bag that my lunch goes in near the fridge. Seeing that bag in the morning reminds me that I need to grab my lunch before I leave the house.

Honestly, organisation has kept me seriously motivated so far, I highly recommend it also to those who aren’t going to the gym in the morning, organisation helps to de-stress and clear your head of ‘what do I have to do next’.

#7 Push yourself that tiny bit harder each time

Every week the weights get heavier, which means every week I am getting stronger. You don’t need me to explain just how motivated this can make you feel.

PT Mark is all about progression, because that’s what it’s all about, getting better, getting fitter and getting stronger.  Progression basically means adding more weight or doing more reps of each exercise when what you were doing feels easier – actually you really should be adding more weight or reps regularly, however it’s feeling.

The body responds better when we challenge ourselves. So if you know you can squat 15kg and you aren’t struggling or out of breath afterwards, try increasing the weight. Don’t just stick to 15kg just because you know you can do it, challenge yourself. This won’t just improve your workouts, it will also mentally make you feel unstoppable and capable of anything – well almost anything.

#8 Set up a bedtime routine

Get your sleep routine right and I promise it will literally change your life. Sleep is so important for not just weight loss but your overall health too. And if your overall health is in check, your motivation probably will be too.

Quite simply, if don’t get enough sleep, you will find it harder to get out of bed, struggle to perform exercises in the gym, and be less likely to make good food choices. This will mean a major slump in your motivation.

One of the main lifestyle changes Mark and Emma asked me to make at the beginning of the transformation was creating a good sleep routine. That meant getting enough sleep, going to bed at a similar time and not looking at any screens before bed.

In fact, a recent study found that having a regular sleeping pattern of going to bed around the same time and waking up around the same time could be protective of metabolic health. Metabolic health includes type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and other serious illnesses.

The researchers looked at the relationship between variability of sleep pattern and the development of metabolic risk factors in 2,003 people aged between 45 and 84 years.

They found that for every one hour of day-to-day variation in bedtime or length of sleep, there was a 27% raised risk of developing metabolic risk factors.


Sleep matters not only to overall health and motivation but also to body fat and weight loss. This is because sleep helps regulate the hormones that govern our appetite, ghrelin and leptin. ‘When we don’t sleep well and are not fully rested, two important hormones called leptin and ghrelin, known as the appetite and hunger hormones can be affected,’ says nutritionist Emma Bardwell.

These two hormones are both responsible for letting us know when we are full up and when we are hungry. So if these hormones aren’t sufficient we could end up feeling hungry even when we aren’t.

study looking into whether sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism saw 1,024 volunteers report on their sleep habits through questionnaires and sleep diaries. Fasted blood samples were evaluated too for leptin and ghrelin (the two key opposing hormones in appetite regulation).

The study found that participants with less sleep had reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin. The differences in the two hormones leptin and ghrelin were said to be a likely cause of increased appetite.

The study also noted that in Western societies, where chronic sleep restriction is common and food is widely available, changes in appetite regulatory hormones may contribute to obesity.

So if your reading this in bed, you have permission to stop reading my story and GO TO SLEEP.

#9 Try on old clothes

My university clothes fit me once again – and I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. Remember in week one when I bored you all with my sob story about putting on three stone after leaving uni and not having any clothes that fit me?

Olivia at nine stone
Me at university

Well those days of feeling sorry for myself are over. I am now wearing all of the clothes that fit me at university. I put on my favourite pair of summer shorts the other day and they were…loose.

Have you ever lost some weight and then tried an old dress or outfit on? You felt amazing right? Well, putting these shorts back on has seriously motivated me to get over this plateau.

#10 Remind yourself WHY you’re doing it

Lastly, ask yourself ‘why do I want to lose weight?’ I am sure you have a very good answer, whether it’s to look good at a wedding, not be out of breath when running up the stairs, or to be the healthiest possible version of yourself. There was a reason you started this transformation journey.

Don’t forget that reason. Ultimately, you have to be committed, and any decision you make during a transformation comes down to how committed you are. Don’t lose hope just because you can’t notice a drastic change in your body shape, don’t give up just because you have had one bad day.

If you make the right and healthy choices everyday or as much as you can over a long period of time, I promise you, you will see results.

Come back every week to read Olivia’s week by week diary of her weight loss transformation with Mark Stanton and Emma Bardwell at Transition Zone. 

Get 15% off Personal Training at Transition Zone – Register your goals and quote HEALTHISTA 

For a free 15 minute introductory call to talk about goals, symptoms and expectations click here. And for new client offers click hereFollow Transition Zone on Instagram or see their website and latest newsletter for more information.

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