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Improving my metabolic age from 20 to 12 in a short 12 weeks

Over the 12 weeks of the THR1VE Transformation Challenge a lot of things changed for me.

I ultimately wanted to look after myself, to not only look, feel and perform better every day but so I could be a positive role model for others. In a short 12 weeks, some of the most notable changes include:

– A drop in my metabolic age from 20 to 12
– The ability to take on a 5km outdoors run without needing to stop
– Discovering new, higher limits at the gym where I’ve increased my deadlift to 85kg and squat to 60kg
– Preferring a natural sugar snack rather than craving and / or binging on processed sugars
– Losing body fat and gaining muscle

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photo by Allan Manalac, taken after completing the challenge

While working in an office in Canberra during winter, it can be easy to live a life indoors and you can slip into a lazy lifestyle. Even when it isn’t cold outside, a busy lifestyle may mean we don’t feel we have time or energy for exercise and meal preparation. We could come up with a million excuses for not living a healthy lifestyle, right?

When I started the THR1VE 12 Week Challenge people would often say things like, “But you’re already skinny!” Although I already had what people may call an average or smaller than average body build; I felt bloated a lot of the time (often carrying a “food baby”) and wanted to be fitter, toned and have more energy. I was excited to have support through the Challenge to stop mindlessly eating and kick my addiction to sugar.

Here are some changes I made through the 12 Week Challenge:

  • When my gym membership ended so did my exercise routine. My first challenge was to get into the habit of different types of exercise and stop using the excuse that I couldn’t work out without a gym. I wanted to try new types of exercise that had more “primal” or “functional” movements to really test out the paleo and primal theories, meaning using things like kettlebells and running outdoors instead of on fitness machines. I started lifting heavier weights at home and went for runs. I completed the 5k Run with the Wind in around 30 minutes and came third in my age group for females. This was a big achievement for me considering I didn’t like running in the past and my mind told me I couldn’t run 5k without stopping. I changed that! Over the 12 weeks my metabolic age changed from 20 to 12!
  • When home workouts and running started to feel too repetitive towards the end of the Challenge, I got into bikram yoga for a week (hot yoga in a 38.5ºC room). I also tried Crossfit which pushed me work harder in a shorter period of time. I used to squat about 20 kilos at the gym and I could squat about 60 kilos at week 11 of the Challenge and deadlifted about 85 kilos (one rep max!) Those numbers still make me laugh because my mind told me that I was already lifting as much as I possibly could but I really pushed past my limits! I had a two friends coach me at the final weeks of the Challenge who really encouraged me to keep on exercising and eating well. I don’t consider myself an athlete but I have made a huge difference in myself knowing what I am capable of doing if I put my mind to it.
  •  When avoiding processed foods and sugar, you can’t really go to a café or food court and eat whatever you want. I could still eat out but asked a lot of questions and made special requests e.g. skipped the sauces, chips and breads.  I would cook most of my meals at home and have lunch at THR1VE. I learnt a heap of new recipes and discovered new ways of cooking. I cut out refined sugar and was able to stop binging on sweets. Now I can control myself with sugary foods as I know I feel lethargic and irritable after eating them, and prefer to have more natural substitutes like fruit. I am also not afraid of eating fats: good fats that is, like nuts, avocado and coconut oil. Calorie counting is no longer needed as eating good fats and nutrient rich foods keeps me more satisfied. I felt full most of the time and ate quite a lot, but with the right food choices I managed to lose body fat and gain muscle. I read a lot of nutritional information and am much more aware of what my body needs and doesn’t need.

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Over the 12 weeks I learnt so much more than I thought I would, tried things I wouldn’t consider in the past and achieved things I thought I couldn’t. I would like thank the team at THR1VE for the opportunity to take on this Challenge. I am also grateful for the support of my friends and family who kept encouraging me to be the best I could be. This is only the beginning of the journey for me.

I would like to encourage you all to continue with your journeys this year towards positive goals. A healthy lifestyle isn’t having the perfect lifestyle, but it is looking after yourself the best you can with what you have. You can take small steps to clean eating and know that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. May this year see us feeling better on the inside and shining brighter on the outside.

 

– Abigail 



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