Over the summer I found an old photo of me from 10 years ago or should I more accurately say 10kgs ago….er, ok more like 12 kgs ago. In the past 5 years I have had 3 children…and you know how the rest of the story goes because most of us have the same story. Got out of a routine, no time to exercise, etc, etc, etc. I am high risk of developing diabetes and the best advice my doctor gave me is that “Exercise and Diabetes do not go together.” Ready for a lifestyle change, I decided to jump start my fitness routine by participating in Haddins Primal Transformation XIV.
What is this Primal Transformation?
It is a month long program designed for you to meet your fitness goals. The exercise program begins with an initial assessment which includes squats, burpees, lay down/stand up, bear crawl (what the?) and a timed run. The next 18 sessions are a mixture of cross fit circuit training based on functional body movements. The aim of the program is to make your body stronger. The last day you take the assessment over to see how well you have improved over the course of 4 weeks.
Incorporated in is the nutritional part of the program which starts with a 4 day detox, followed by 24 days of “clean” eating. Think Paleo but stricter. The aim is to get you to eat smarter and healthier. You are given a list of allowed foods and a lot of recipe ideas. It isn’t easy, but you can get through it. There is a closed group support page set up on Facebook specifically for those on the program, so everyone encourages each other.
I had done Primal Transformation in September 2013 but did not commit fully to the nutritional phase of the program for several reasons. This year, determined to give 100%, I roped in my husband to do the same program. The nutritional part of program is difficult if you have no sense of willpower (which I have little). I knew if I wanted to be successful having him on board would make my life a bit easier.
I attended the 8:30am sessions (aka School Drop – Off group). Everyone is super friendly and encouraging. I was pleasantly surprised to see familiar faces from last year. They had never left. They had become members and this was now a part of their life. Evidence that this is a program that works. Lifestyle change in effect.
TO WORK HARD. You will be moving, jumping, pulling, carrying – all movements that your body is meant to do. The instructors are motivating and encouraging. They only expect that you put in the effort. You have one hour to work your hardest. The hour goes by quick. What I found is that EVERYONE works hard, which then makes you want to do the same. It doesn’t matter what level of fitness you start with. Everyone is different but the amount of effort you put in is the same.
The exercises vary from day to day. One day you may be doing sprints and bear crawls, the next you are doing cross fit circuits of burpees, tire jumps, stair climb, sit ups or whatever gruelling combinations the instructors have planned. It is hard but you can get through it. Whilst there may be exercises that you end up doing a lot (burpees, pushups, sit-ups, planks) no two workouts were the same. Every day was something different….which keeps it FUN!
On the nutritional side – it starts with a 4 day detox that will clean out your system. Entirely. The next 24 days will be healthy eating – no sugar – following an intermittent fasting schedule. There are restrictions on what to eat, however, there is a variety of meals to prepare. I didn’t repeat many dinners. We were always trying something new. I felt good after eating, not stuffed and lethargic. It takes planning but it is worth it.
THE HARDEST PART
Whilst some may find the exercises most difficult, I found that the hardest bit of the program was the nutrition on the weekends. The first weekend we stayed home as a family to avoid the temptation. We weren’t strong enough yet to reject that cappuccino, burger and fries, or bagel or anything else we were craving. It is surprising what crazy combos of food that pop into your head when you are following a strict nutritional plan. The thought of Nandos peri peri fries, cheesecake, pizza, actually anything you are not allowed will make you salivate.
Each weekend was a challenge but by the third weekend we were ready to put ourselves to the test and met with friends at Stars N Bars for lunch. How can we go to Stars N Bars and not order all of our old favourites (burger, fries, nachos, Pepsi)? Well we did it. There were Haddin friendly options. These were options that we had previously wanted to try but always reverted to the old favourites. By this point we had learned enough to make the right decisions when it comes to what to eat.
Over the course of the month I lost 4 kg . I was hoping to lose more but what I found was that my body changed shape. I lost 13 cm around the waist. That was major. My back side reduced dramatically as well. I still have a ways to go to get back to my ideal weight – which used to my “I Need To Lose Weight!” weight.
After a few weeks of eating right and exercising – it starts to become routine. It feels great to get your sweat on and it is not so difficult to eat healthy. What feels amazing is taking the assessment at the end of the program. You can see how you have improved. It is a fantastic feeling! Everyone is all smiles even though they just want to collapse.
What seemed like a major overhaul change in diet, doesn’t seem so bad now. The good habits are sticking around. I don’t crave sweets like I used to. My body feels stronger and I feel better in my clothes (which are all getting a bit baggy). A bonus benefit is that I realise I DO have willpower. It is possible for me to stick to a plan – whatever it may be. Plus I got to meet awesome people who want to achieve the same goals. Would I do it again? Already started Primal Transformation XV. Hopefully will eventually be brave enough to try Primal @ Yas Beach.
For more information regarding the Primal Transformation program, take a look at the Haddins Fitness webpage or visit their Facebook page. Haddins Fitness has 2 locations: Masdar City and Zayed Sport City. No More Excuses! If you are serious about getting fit, want overall fitness, and want to meet like minded people – I highly recommend this program.
**Not a sponsored post