A 12-week body transformation
With a wedding on the horizon, I knew it was time to get serious about getting in the best shape possible (considering I would be reliving this day in pictures for years to come!). Let’s face it, the 852 is jammed packed with gyms and training programmes and it’s often difficult to know which one to choose!
However, I had seen images and heard stories of the complete body transformations that Ultimate Performance was responsible for, so I was immediately drawn in. Ultimate Performance prides itself on being a truly consultative training centre that caters to the needs and goals of each individual member. While they offer several personalised programmes, I opted for the 12 Week Fat Loss Programme to shed those pounds (and tone up!) before the big day.
I always thought I was pretty fit, as I regularly went to the gym and did dragon boat practice twice a week. I wasn’t new to weight lifting either, as I was part of a Crossfit gym back in the US… but trust me, this workout was different! Not to scare anyone off, but I did get sick after my first training session and was told that this was not uncommon (I think it was nerves!). That first session was definitely a humbling experience but I didn’t let it get me down! If anything, it made me more motivated as I knew I had a lot work to do.
My training sessions lasted about an hour and I would go between 2 -3 times a week. What’s so great about Ultimate Performance is that the workouts are really tailored to you and your goals. I had a goal of getting a strict pull up (came so close, but I’m still working on it!), so we would start off each session with pull up work to strengthen those muscles. The rest of the training session would include several gruelling sets of leg work, arm exercises and the dreaded track. For those who’ve never heard of a prowler, lets just say it will leave your lungs burning and your legs wobbly in a matter of seconds.
My favourite part about the workout sessions were how far I was able to push myself. When you are working out on your own or even in a group class, it’s easy to cheat yourself and skip that last rep or use a low weight. The trainers at Ultimate Performance are there to push you to your limit and hold you accountable for the work you are capable of. The biggest improvement I saw was in my arms. My arms were never the strongest and I would often struggle through just one (real) pushup. Over the course of 3 months, my dumbbell press went from a mere 5kg in each hand to 9kg and I can now bust out 12 pushups in a row! Strong really is the new sexy!
In addition to killer workouts, the Ultimate Performance 12 Week Programme also comes with a major nutritional overhaul. I didn’t think my diet was that bad either to begin with, as I would try to watch my calorie intake and stay away from lots of carbs. However, I quickly learnt that all calories are not created equal!
As with the workouts, the trainers at Ultimate Performance will sit down with you at the beginning of the programme to learn the ins and outs of your current diet. They will then tailor your meal plan specifically to your needs while taking into account your fitness/personal goals.
I started off my programme eating 1,600 calories a day, which is a whole lot of food if you are eating the right kind of food. I did away with anything processed and all carbs, sticking with a high protein diet that included lots of veggies and healthy fats. Each day I would take photos of my meals and track them through My Fitness Pal on my phone to send them to my trainer at the end of the day. This accountability really helped with getting my eating on track and I started to become aware of all the snacking I would do on a daily basis (an M&M here and there really adds up!). Instead of looking at food as just food, I started looking at as fuel to get through my day.
Each week, my trainer would carefully monitor my progress and how my body was reacting to the diet. We decided my body functioned the best when I cut out all carbs (even fruit!) and stuck to high protein. The beginning was definitely hard as I would look at all the things I couldn’t eat, but somewhere in the programme, my mindset changed. I began looking at all the things I COULD eat and how they would make me feel good and fuelled after eating them.
My entire mindset towards food and nutrition has done a complete 180 since completing the programme. Don’t get my wrong, I still have a big sweet tooth, but I recognise that those cravings should be seen as treats and not part of an everyday diet.
After a tough but totally rewarding 3 months, I ended up loosing a total of 7kg and dropped 5% in my total body fat. I saw the biggest difference around my waist where I went from 75cm to 67.5 (hello abs)! While I feel really accomplished with all the hard work and progress I made, I couldn’t have done it without my trainer Alex who kept me accountable and always provided motivation.
Ultimate Performance’s 12 Week Programme might not be for everyone, as you must be committed and willing to put in the hard work. It’s a long process but one that I enjoyed every step of the way and I would highly recommended it to anyone who is truly looking for results!
UP Fitness, Unicorn Trade Centre, 127-131 Des Voeux Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong, www.upfitness.com.hk