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I Tried a 12 Week Home Workout Challenge… This is What Happened

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Today I’m sharing with you a really intimate post… my HIIT results, including my HIIT before and after pictures.

I’ve read articles about people who did Yoga everyday, did a plank everyday, gave up alcohol for a month, or did 10 minutes of strength training everyday, I once tried Intermittent Fasting for a month, and I tried running four times a week for 3 months, so I was curious what doing a HIIT Challenge could do for me. 

If you’re looking to try Intermittent Fasting, check out my post and my Intermittent Fasting results here.

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The background story

My mom passed away in January after a 4 month battle with cancer. She lived 5km from my house, so I was very close to her. When she was diagnosed I went to my parents house and helped my dad out most nights with mom’s care as the cancer had made her bedridden, and the pain medications impaired her thinking.

I took a week off of work after she passed to help me grieve. We were in a lockdown, and there was nowhere to go and it was a cold miserable January. While I only run outside, and I’ve been running for over 20 years, I just couldn’t motivate myself to do it – the thought of running in the cold made me miserable, and all I wanted was to feel better.

During the days my husband was working from home in his office, and each of the kids were in their rooms attending school online, so I was trapped in my room, grieving with nothing to do. I decided to find a workout video on YouTube. I had purchased a set of dumbbells for my daughter’s weightlifting class she was taking online, so I decided that since I had invested so much in them, I should use them.

The first video I found was a no repeats HIIT video of Heather Robtertson’s and I fell in love! It was amazing and exactly the level of difficulty I was looking for! I got the endorphin rush I LOVE and it was not like anything I had ever tried before.

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise, these workouts often mix aerobic and resistance training. 

What HIIT Challenge did I do?

I found Heather Robertson’s 12 week Challenge on YouTube, then I found her Facebook group. After asking a few questions in there, I was encouraged to try both the 12 week challenge and the monthly workout calendar (the monthly calendar is a pdf calendar emailed by Heather every month outlining workouts to do from her collection of YouTube workout videos). While I was heavier than I’ve ever been when I started, I’ve been very active over the past 20 years so I knew this runner needed a BIG challenge.

On February 4th I started the challenge and I finished the HIIT challenge on April 25th.

My starting point

I’m a runner, and while I did continue to run 4x/week most of last year, and did HIIT workouts two mornings/week outside with my neighbour, the stress of the year had taken its toll on me. One of the last things my mom said to me when she and I were at one of her oncology appointments was: “When are you due?” She was excited that I was going to have another baby – I wasn’t expecting though, stress (and mostly overeating) had caused me to be the heaviest I’ve ever been despite exercising regularly.

At 45 years old and 5 feet 2 inches, I started this challenge weighing 143.6 lbs, with a BMI of 26.4, a body fat % of 31.5%, a resting heart rate of 69 bpm, and VO2 max of 36.9.

12 Week HIIT Transformation Before Photos

The first thing that Happened

The first thing I noticed was that unlike running, I wasn’t crazy hungry after working out. After getting dressed, out the door to run, running for 5km (which takes me at least 30 min), then coming back home, getting undressed etc. I always felt like I deserved a big ol’ snack. I love cooking (after all this is a recipe blog), so I often have some delicious baked treats around, that I felt like I deserved after going for a run. I probably eat back all of the calories I burned running within a half an hour of getting home. With the HIIT workouts I didn’t feel the same hunger, nor the same sense of OMG I did this amazing workout so I get to eat this Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf.

My 6 week HIIT results

Halfway through this challenge I was ready to quit. The workouts were fun, and while giving myself a “Star” on the printable tracker was motivating, I wasn’t losing weight nearly as fast as I wanted to. At 6 weeks I had only lost 3lbs. My husband reminded me that was 3 lbs less than I was 6 weeks before, and half a pound per week over a year would result in a 25 lb weight loss, so I used that as motivation to keep going. The progress pics that I was taking were also starting to show a bit of a change.

My HIIT Results

During the challenge I lost a total of 6.4 lbs and 1.9% body fat. The biggest change was not my weight, it was my posture! Both my posture and my self confidence improved so much!!

My resting heart rate also improved from 69 bpm to 62 bpm, and my VO2 max also increased! Not only did I look stronger, but I also had quantifiable fitness results!

My HIIT Before and After Transformation Photos

I’m sure this is what you’re here to really see, and I don’t really blame you! Before I decided to invest the many hours into doing this challenge I searched out HIIT Before and After photos too!

As you can clearly see, the biggest transformation was my posture. My core certainly got a lot stronger – which I really hope will help me with my low back pain.

Conclusion

Focusing on the challenge helped me through the longest, darkest three months of my life. Instead of coming out of these lockdowns, and the grief of losing my mother even more overweight, I’m coming out in better shape than I was going in. I’m not sure what challenges I’m taking on next, but I assure you I’m not done yet!

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Deborah

Sunday 2nd of May 2021

Thanks for sharing your results! I think it's great that you focused on other aspects of fitness and not just the scale. Body fat and RHR are so important in the over all picture. Feeling stronger and having better posture are a win for sure. Most importantly sounds like you found something you like and will continue to do. Congrats on your success

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