Have you ever wondered what happened to the people at the end of a fitness program? Did they gain back all the weight they lost? Did they spiral out of control? Or are they stuck in the loop of continuing with a trainer, simply because it is what they have become used to? Or did they make these changes permanent?
These few months passed by so quickly and I realized recently that it had been more than 12 weeks since I completed my program at The Playground Fitness (TPF).
And this is my after story.
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With increased upper body strength, I noticed that I could carry heavier luggage and grocery bags, which means more things per check-in luggage during travel and less trips to the convenient stores. I could share the load with my family, literally. Besides that, I have more confidence in activities that needed upper body strength such as indoor rock climbing, pole fitness and aerial silk.
Although I have grown to love strength training, I find myself gravitating towards the quiet and calming nature of yoga. All of us have different take in fitness, and we have that one sport that we enjoy and find meditating, especially when workload starts piling up. My brother enjoys BJJ. My future sister-in-law prefers muay thai and cardio. My cousin is passionate about hiking. My coach, callisthenic. And for me, that is yoga.
My physical strength may not have improved significantly since, in terms of the progression of pull-ups and push-ups, but I started practicing inversions. Inversions focus on understanding of muscle engagement and how the core works; with each practice, the lifting of my legs becomes more controlled. To be honest, headstand was a pose that I never thought I could achieve, until I could. And that was just the beginning. I started exploring different variations of inversions, from headstand to tripod to forearm stands and even handstand. With wall assist, for now.
When I started the program, TPF has just opened for less than 2 months. Apart from the personal training sessions, I attended group classes. Back then, the group classes were small and personal, a huge change from the crowded commercial gym I frequent. And sometimes, I miss that. As the months progressed, and TPF gained more publicity and had more deals, more people started pouring in. The classes started to feel just as crowded, and at times, disorganized.
A month after my program ended was about the same time when I began to clock in extra hours at work, and whenever things get overwhelming, I return to the mat. I could tone out the chaos and clear the fog that builds up in my head, especially in the craziest of the days. I breathe a little deeper, a little easier. There is no constant shouting and hyping out the environment. I went to TPF from as frequent as 4 times a week to once a week. And that’s okay for me.
The biggest difference before and after program is that I get to define my own workout, free from any expectations of others. Although sometimes I would consciously hush that inner voice that wondered if my lack of progress is anything but disappointing, I focus my energy that slow progress is still progress after all.
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Diet & Nutrition:
This is the “after” part that I was most curious about. I have had series of dieting before, if you called them that, from extreme calories count for the entire high school years to multiple times of clean eating, lasting from as short as half a year to a full year. My relationship with food may not have been the healthiest at times, but having self-control in food consumption isn’t exactly new to me. Despite that, the change in diet was the most conscious effort I had to make in the program.
I adjusted quite easily to the diet required for the program as I generally prefer clean meals over fast food. Although my current diet consists of small portion of rice and bread, giving up direct carb sources completely (during the program) was quite unsustainable as there are limited choices when eating out.
The hardest part for me was to give up on desserts, i.e. cakes, ice cream, and all the goodness of the world, which I did, for exactly 98 days. A week after my program ended, I had my birthday cake that sugar rush was so overpowering that I stopped eating desserts for a short while after.
Although I was quite resistant at first, I finally understood the need for a change of diet in any fitness program. The first week was the most difficult period as your body goes into withdrawal mode. As my body adapts to the low carb (and sugar) high protein diet, I soon become more susceptible towards the same amount of sugar.
The more drastic the change, the more likely you are to return to your old lifestyle. The difference is that I am more conscious about the type of food I eat. I still bring food from home for lunch and prepare more nutritious breakfast.
At the end of the program, I reintroduced carbs in more controlled portions, for a more sustainable living. I eat more snacks and enjoy desserts once in a while. Despite that, although my weight increased slightly, I did not gain back the two dress sizes I lost during the program and my body fat percentage was at one of my lowest reading of all times (I never took the measurement right after the program ends, so I’ll never know).
And the most important part, I am happier than I ever been. Maybe it’s the sugar rush talking.
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While 12 weeks may not be sufficient for a lifetime of change, undergoing a fitness program is a definitely a good place to start. I am quite resistant to change. However, I am glad that I took a leap of faith and invest in a fitness program at The Playground Fitness, instead of opting for a personal trainer at my regular gym. The vibe of TPF feels comfortable as there are good synergy among the coaches themselves and between the coaches and players (as how TPF like to call their members). That is one thing that draws me back for more. As I continue some group classes at TPF, I found some pretty interesting friends in the process.
So, take a leap of faith.
Sometimes, you never know what you may find.