Oh. My. God. If you think strength training equals bulk, you have got to see the results of Thelma Mensah’s 12-week Strength Training Blog. What a finish!
I’ve only gone and done it people! I have completed this 12 week body transformation challenge and lived to tell my tale to you all. It has been an amazing journey over the last three months and definitely life changing.
When I first started this journey I wanted to show that women in their forties can lift weights, without looking bulky, and show how lifting heavy will give you a more sculpted, strong body as opposed to a scrawny un-toned body that you can sometimes get through just doing cardio. I’ve also managed to get into a pair of hot pants and a crop top – woohoo! – and this was one of my main motivators as you know.
I’ve learnt so many things about myself during this transformation, the first thing being that I am not a quitter and I do have discipline. I’ve fallen off the wagon plenty of times but never at any point did I feel like giving up because it meant too much to me. Going into my forties has made me realise that apart from the whole aesthetic side of things, yes I want to look hot, but I also want to be healthy on the inside too. My mind has been reprogrammed too and I now realise I can never let stress take that kind of hold on me again to the point that it makes me gain weight and knocks my confidence. In fact, working out has been a massive stress reliever for me and has given me a goal to focus on – I was all over the place before I started.
HOW TO GET STARTED ON YOUR OWN STRENGTH REBOOT My five tips for any ladies thinking of doing this kind of challenge would be
- Get set for a body, mind and outlook transformation Despite what the title says, it not just a strength challenge, what I’ve completed is competition prep it’s the same process that women who want to compete with their peers go through. Any personal trainer in the gym can give you a programme with weights. Competition prep or ‘body transformation’ requires you to transform you body, mind and outlook on food so you can get as lean as possible. You need to forget everything that you have seen in the media relating to diet and weigh loss for women because this process turns everything you believed about changing your body on its head. No more obsessing about measurements and weighing yourself all time. That has been the biggest lesson for me I no longer care about those things so long as my arms, belly and arse are not dragging on the floor when I go into my fifties and I don’t collapse walking up a flight of stairs I am pretty much good.
- Get a good coach You simply won’t get the same results without a good coach unless you are super –confident and knowledgeable in the weight area. Also, coaching can work out cheaper than a personal trainer as your coach isn’t with you all the time. In the beginning I saw Clara once a week and during the last two months it was less than that. However if you can’t afford a coach then there are some good body transformation guides (such as London Muscle) that you can get on the internet, but like I said you would have to know your way around the gym big style as they can be quite technical you’d also need to already have a super-strict diet . There is also the option of online coaching via Skype which my coach Clara offers.
- Mindset – how badly do you want this? If the answer is ‘really badly’, then prepare your mind for some serious lifestyle changes. On paper it looks like its just training in the gym a few times a week but it’s so much more than that and it will take over your life. Your social life will suffer because your mates will be out and you will have to hit the gym. Your body will ache so much afterward that you will start to wonder if the pain will ever dissipate and as for the food part – see point four.
- Nutrition – are you prepared to give up drink, cakes, starchy carbs and basically anything fun-food-related for at least three months? I told you this wasn’t your regular strength regime and this is what it takes to get a dramatic result. Even if you think you eat pretty well, prepare yourself for a life of chicken breast, green veg and protein shakes because this type of food will become your staples.
- If you are prepared to do all of the above and trust in the process, you can rest assured that you are going to get some amazing life changing results.
The next step for me diet-wise is to go on a maintenance diet. The maintenance diet will be pretty much like the food I ate in my first three months – there is a bit more flexibility in the fact that I can introduce some lean red meat in the evenings and I can return to carbing up on Saturday and Sundays.
I finished this program a couple of days ago and thought I’d have that ‘epic banquet’ I spoke about last week but it didn’t happen. Oh, I had a cake and some small snacks here and there but resisted the massive binge-fest I’d been planning and this was partly down to the fact that I am not quite done with this journey. Also, why would I give up all this hotness and undo my hard work for some bad food.
Exercise-wise I still have a few problem areas that I’d like to work on, obviously my pesky hips could go down some more but I’ve accepted that they are in my Ghanaian genetics and are going to take a little more work to get to where I want them to be. I’ve lost a lot of body fat in the bumper area, and although I didn’t have much of shelf back there in the first place, I would like to build it up (you can do this too ladies) so I have more of a toned bubble-like-butt. It is not about having a cardio (long and flat) butt for me, that won’t work at all I need something to pack out my short shorts.
Moving forward my exercise will be more about maintaining all the muscle I’ve built and gaining more. My training schedule will probably go down to four days and week as opposed to 5-6 days a week and the sessions will be shorter too which I am looking forward to because I practically lived in that gym. My journey does not start and finish here it’s just the start and by the time 2015 comes around I plan to be on stage in a bedazzled bikini taking part in my first competition. I am looking forward to really taking my body to the next level by competing with other fitness models of my age and really showing that you really can be fit at forty.
Thelma was trained by Body Transformation Coach, Clara Mosha – contact her on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Clara on Facebook or Twitter: @UPTByClaraMosha
Thelma Mensah is a personal trainer and founder of the uber-cool blog kicksandkit.com.
Read previous weeks from Thelma’s strength training challenge
What REALLY happens in a weight training programme
Week 2 Strength training challenge
Week 3 Strength training challenge
Week 4 Strength training challenge
Week 5 Strength training challenge
Week 6 Strength training challenge
Week 7 Strength training challenge
Week 8 Strength training challenge
Week 9 Strength training challenge
Week 10 Strength training challenge
Week 11 Strength training challenge
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