Ann has been training with us since 2017. She’s attended all of our programs from large Boot Camp style workouts to Small Group and Private personal training. Ann has built up her home gym to the point where she’s now doing Online Coaching with us, and exclusively training at home.
She has learned so much over the past year about consistency in her routine, nutrition and how to get the most from her workouts with minimal equipment. Ann was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions about her goals and what’s working for her.
What fitness related goals are you working on in 2021 and why are these so important to you?
I set two main goals for this year. By December 31, 2021, increase my muscle mass by 3 pounds while staying at the lower body fat percentage I have maintained since spring 2020.
I have been working with the Figarelle gym since 2017, but really focused in 2020 on losing body fat while gaining muscle. I’d gone through two previous times where I had done that, but not maintained it.
I wanted to make it stick this time, and it did by committing to new processes. I achieved some of the definition I wanted and more strength in 2020. Now I want more muscle in my arms, back and legs, while maintaining a lower body fat percentage.
I want to be more powerful in the gym, which translates to confidence and an outward presentation of health. I want to do this while still maintaining my other healthy body markers: healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
I am 45, and I plan to go forward in life lean, fit and strong.
My second goal is building a new weekly habit of prioritizing the essentials during my work days and personal time by spring 2021.
Steph recommended the book “Essentialism” last year, and it was one of the best books I read.
The summary is this: Figure out what means the most to you and prioritize it so you make it happen. The book made a lot of great points:
- If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
- When setting your essential priorities, if the answer isn’t a definite yes, then it should be a no.
- What do you want to go big on?
I set this as a goal because I know I will benefit from stripping away the meaningless parts of my day, so I make sure I do the things I enjoy that will have the most value to me and others I care about.
What are some of your daily habits that keep you focused on your fitness goals everyday?
When I focus on the essentials in my personal life, nutrition and fitness are on the list. To make sure fitness is prioritized, I started the new year by going into my work calendar and setting a recurring “meeting” for 12-1 p.m. every work day through June 30. I know that’s my time to work out.
If it’s on my calendar, no one else can book over it for another meeting. The commitment’s made.
I’ve been working full-time from home for 9 months and will likely be doing that through the early summer. During 2020, I built up my home gym slowly, now including dumbbells up to 40s, a kettlebell, an adjustable bench, stability ball, resistance bands, mini bands, an ab wheel, ankle weights and pull-up bar.
I start my work day at 7 a.m. by putting on a mix of workout and work clothes, so the transition to exercise is quick. The place where I work and where I work out is actually the same – a room off the back of our home.
I’m doing online training with Steph for the next few months. She helped me build four different 55- to 60-minute workouts for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Midday, I grab my workout tracking log for that day, set up my weights and get right to it. My lunch hour becomes my workout time. When I finish, I take a quick shower and grab my lunch that’s pre-planned for the day and eat while I work.
Wednesday is a rest day – or I go for a walk during my break time – and Saturday I do a Zoom lifting workout with Lela and a small group in the morning. Sunday is a day for a family walk or hike.
My nutrition is similarly planned. I have tracked on MyFitnessPal daily for the past 365 days. I’ve found when I track, I’m consistent in my eating. When I don’t track, I’m guessing, and then I don’t end up where I want to be nutrition-wise.
I’ve been tracking in some fashion for several years, and it’s become easier with time. My family cooks a lot and I’ve uploaded most of our recipes to MyFitnessPal. Given that food history is now in place, planning my meals for the week doesn’t take that long.
I grocery shop once a week and plan out my meals one week ahead of time in MyFitnessPal. Most of the time, I can make my dinner match my family’s dinner, maybe with some little adjustments, and that’s great because we eat together at night.
During the week, I make small changes day to day, but the big planning has already been done. To me, having these systems in place for nutrition and fitness ensure both happen, and that frees up more time to think about and accomplish other stuff I’d like to get done; spend time with my family, read, go for a hike.
What are some of the ways you have shifted your mindset around exercise, nutrition and physical change since working with us?
My mindset definitely shifted during 2020. These past 12 months have been really challenging for everyone in different ways. At times, I felt out of control: I had to cancel trips to see family. I had to change the way I worked. I became a full-time worker and a teacher’s assistant at home while my two sons have been learning from their bedrooms since March.
I found the best way for me to respond to this was to take back the control where I had it. To find the opportunities that were there. When I took back control and looked for opportunities instead of losses, I started to make a positive shift that continues today.
Working out sporadically or on unplanned days turned into consistent, pre-planned, scheduled workouts four days a week into the summer, and then five days a week since fall. Lifting and staying active became part of who I was on a daily basis.
I had more control over my nutrition because I no longer had to spend time thinking about packing large grocery bags of food and lugging it to my office every week. My home became my office, and I had full control over food planning without the need to spend time packing for the next work day.
This gave me more control of my sleep. I added 40 minutes of sleep each night since March. All of this really felt empowering. I miss a lot of things, but this new way of living and working has given me so much control.
I still do great work at my job and I’m working long hours sometimes, but taking the control in my fitness, my eating, my sleeping and cutting out some of the busy errand-running of previous years has shown me what’s possible when you look for it and make it happen.
I’m going to do what I can to keep some of these new ways of doing things going throughout this year.
Do you have any advice for those who don’t want to macro track? Any thoughts on pros/cons to tracking?
Macro tracking takes time. There’s no doubt about that. And the earlier you are in the process, the longer it takes to fill out your log.
You need to figure out what you normally eat, find it in the program and plug it in. Or you need to manually enter the recipes you use. I did that slowly over the years, and now there’s a lot of pattern to my eating.
My breakfast, lunch and snacks are pretty routine, so plugging that in takes just minutes. I found what I like to eat, played around with protein sources I enjoy and figured out how to play with the math to make it work out for the day.
It’s easier to do that if you think of finding what you like to eat, and then just scaling that up or down in a day. Like yogurt? Eat more if you need more protein. Cut the portion size if you need less. On the whole, I enjoy what I eat now at every meal, even if it I repeat a lot of the same things day to day.
I read this recently on a website, so I’m not claiming it as my own. But it makes sense: If you were baking a cake, you wouldn’t wing it and guess at the amounts of ingredients you need to make the cake great. So don’t wing it when choosing the kinds and amounts of food you are eating if you want to feel, and look, great.
As I said earlier, I’ve found when I track macros, I’m consistent in my eating and can stay on track for my goals to maintain, or now add some muscle.
When I don’t track, I’m guessing, and then I don’t end up where I want to be with my goals. In the past, my health and fitness goals were not maintained when I stopped tracking macros and when I strayed from my fitness plan.
This year, I met all my goals when I continued to track macros and stuck to my fitness plan. My goal long term is to find ways to track nutrition consistently the vast majority of time, and find a more flexible way of tracking when I am on vacation.