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Strength training challenge Week 9 – just three weeks to go on our blogger’s body transformation

thelmah headshotThelma’s stuck with her super-strict nutrition plan (no cheat days!) and six-day weight training routine and getting nearer to that crop top tummy she wants. With three weeks left she’s training hard for the final leg. 

Something strange has been happening in the free weights area of my gym.  Men that never even acknowledged me are starting to say hello to me or give me a head nod.  They are also starting to say things to me like ‘Can you please tell me when you have finished on that equipment?’ As opposed to ‘how long are you going to be?’ I think, dare I say it, it’s called respect and they are finally giving it to me because they can see that I work my arse off in training and am consistently in the gym. These aren’t just any old men that frequent the gym, most of them are trainers and PTs.


Clara and I analysed this behaviour and are both in agreement that, a lot of men though not all, still think that women can’t lift anything substantial  and that most of them belong in the cardio area.  I know when I first started training that nobody was giving me ‘a head nod’ or even a wave let alone acknowledging my presence so it has to be because they can see the level that I am training at and the way my body has changed since I first started all those weeks ago.  This is a shame that women have to prove that they know what they are doing with weights in the first place and I know this can be very intimidating for ladies and become a barrier to them even venturing in that area of the gym. Like I have said before, a good coach, like Clara, will help you get to grips with those issues and overcome not only going into that area in the first place, but teach you how to set up equipment, like the squat rack, for example safely.thelmaspinning

The new nutrition plan has been interesting to put it politely, I’ve stocked up on my fish since this is what my dinner will consist of until the end of the transformation.  Thank goodness for my local market in Hackney where I managed to pick up loads of salmon for £12 – bargain. I bought some cod, haddock, tilapia fillets and stocked up on loads of tinned tuna.  I have to say that this is the first time that I have ever felt hungry since I started and I’ve realised that cod and haddock is doing nothing for my tummy – it doesn’t even touch the sides. thelmafish

As my training buddy Leny says, cod and haddock is like, ‘eating soup’ so true!!   As a result, I’ve banned them both and now rotate my dinners between salmon and tilapia with green veg both of which are a little more filling.  I have to be super-strict with the diet if I am going to get the ‘crop top effect’ in my tummy – no more sneaky teaspoons of peanut butter or very tiny bits of my daughter’s leftovers it all has to stop.thelmatummy

Some of the exercises that Clara has given me on this program are like nothing I’ve ever seen, I think she makes them up (ha ha). I know that they are effective because my old friend ‘DOMS’ (that stands for, delayed onset muscle soreness) is back with a vengeance.  I am now doing loads of supersets. For example I might do a set of biceps exercises, then a set of triceps straight afterwards (with no break) and that counts for one set and I have to do four sets which is a lot of work!

The cardio length has increased as well. I am now up to 40mins on the stepper and because I always do my cardio after my strength (I did the stepper after training my legs) you cannot even imagine how long those minutes felt.  I now do the whole cover-the-machine-with-the-towel so I can’t see the time and be clock watching because there is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve done 20 minutes only to see that you have only just done five minutes of cardio – I have to listen to some hardcore motivational gangsta rap (there is such a thing) to get me through the last hurdle of my session.

I am really honing in on making sure that I stretch at the end of the day as I noticed that, even though my flexibility is good, a nice long stretch at the end of the session ensures that my legs don’t give way when I have to walk up or down any stairs. This has happened many a time trust me.  This means that my sessions sometimes run to nearly two hours or more but that’s quite normal at the beginning of a new plan when you are trying to find your feet and it should get shorter over the last three weeks.

Contact Thelma’s trainer Clara Mosha:

Clara on Facebook 

Twitter: @UPTByClaraMosha

Thelma Mensah is a personal trainer and founder of the uber-cool blog She is Healthista’s Kit Diva blogger.

Read more 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

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