To say this journey hasn’t come with its fair share of highs and lows would be a lie, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it and for that I am happy for the last 3 months. It’s taken me slightly longer than the allotted 12 weeks due to travelling a lot with work, holidays, and gym equipment ‘incidences’ that we all agreed never to speak of again, didn’t we? Yes. Excellent. Moving on…
It has been challenging, but any new journey is, especially a fitness one, and I would be lying (again) if I had said I was expecting it to be plain sailing and easy. I think from my 6 week halfway review (you can refresh your memory by clicking here) you guys knew I would be completely honest with you, and this full review will be no different. I was posting picture on Instagram (@xtakcfitness / @xtakaizerchief), Twitter (@xtakaizerchief) and Snapchat (kaizerchief) throughout the 12 week plan.
So without further ado, let’s begin:
1.The workout videos
There were times where I found myself struggling but having someone telling you to keep going is a great help, it was very motivational in that aspect. They were encouraging, original (albeit a little cringeworthy) and high tempo. I enjoyed some more than others which I think is natural as will depend on the individuals’ preference of exercises, which is why it’s great that they cover so many different ones. While I did begin to find them significantly less challenging, particularly during the last 3 weeks of the programme, I fully appreciate that my fitness and stamina have inevitably improved. In saying this, I would expect the plan to remain consistently challenging right through to the end. I would have like to have seen:
– Additional weights for muscle building
– An increase in the difficulty over a longer period
– An increase with the number of reps and not the speed of the reps
The exercises were generally really good though; there were many I have never seen or done before which I thoroughly enjoyed, and they often left me looking something like this:
Where’s Lucy? I was quite surprised to see a lack of Lucy in so many exercise videos. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t know why this bothered me so much, but I felt as though having her name plastered everywhere meant she would be experiencing the sweat hell that I had to endure 4 times a week
Why so quick? The speed of the exercise in some circuits don’t allow for proper technique. I did worry that I was risking and injury through compromised form by doing an exercise for 5 seconds
Where’s the music at, love? this was my biggest pet peeve (yes, more so than not seeing Miss Mecklenburgh creating sweaty imprints in her yoga matt like I did). As it was hard to keep going when you’re being pushed to your limits, music on all videos would have helped to keep going. As you had to hear what the instructors were saying, I wasn’t even able to have music playing from a different electronic device.
2.The Diet Plan
I’m not going to lie to you kids, I failed miserably here. I am very much a creature of habit and once I find something that works for me I tend to stick to it like a ritual. So much so that after I tried and tested the plans stir fry recipe, I ate it for dinner for around 2 weeks solid. I changed the protein aspect (switching between chicken, beef, salmon, prawns) but I stuck with the rice noodles and mixed vegetables.
I don’t want to lie and say it isn’t to do with ease and practicality, because it is, it involves a lot less planning and effort when it comes to doing my weekly shop, I just doubled (tripled, quadrupled, yeah you get the gist) up on everything. As mentioned in my 6 week review post, I get free lunches at work, and while that hasn’t changed, I have been out of the office a lot over the past 3 months, and I mean A LOT. Numerous trips to Surrey and Leicester, involving overnight stays and often working long 14 hour days, means eating heathy freshly prepared food is challenging. I did try my best to make healthy choices, but eating out in restaurants and picking on hospital food leaves little to be desired in the ‘knowing what you’re eating’ department.
I can hold my hands up and admit to the pizza I had in a hotel room at 10pm after not having eaten for the whole day, but it tasted amazing and totally worth the wait so was guilt-free to me. Despite being generally healthy and not picking on unhealthy snacks, it hasn’t been the strictest 3 months of my life and my results would have definitely been affected by this.
I did enjoy the website on my phone; clearly stating the recipe and ingredients for every meal. But life happens guys, and you can never out plan a busy life schedule, and that leads me to my next point:
3.The Results with Lucy HIIT Harder plan
The HIIT harder plan itself is one of many options the website has to offer; they have plans suited to different people of different fitness levels. The website is easy to use and the videos flow on from one to the next so you are able to just leave your device playing and work through the whole 40-50 minutes. When you pay for the plan you will receive an end date and you have up until that point to complete the plan. I think this is a great motivational feature of the plan as it keeps you on track. When you log in it will automatically open you up to the day of the plan that you are on, which is also a nice feature.
A couple of bug bears I have with this is, firstly, if you wanted to re-do the plan a few months later, you would have re-purchase the plan which I find discouraging seeing as it’s not necessarily cheap*
Secondly, like I said above, life happens and sometimes work or family or relationships (or all 3 if you’re really unlucky, or lucky depending on your situation) get in the way, or maybe you just simply don’t feel like exercising for a month. It happens, we’re human, welcome to the club, there’s like 7 billion of us.
The photos I posted on my 6 week review accurately represent my full 12 week transformation. The last 6 weeks haven’t seen me put on weight or lose definition, but at the same time I haven’t made any further changes, again I put this down to my diet and not the plan. My stamina has increased slightly since then and I do feel I have made some confidence changes that won’t be seen from any angle in a mirror or from a transformation picture (you can see that picture here).
Overall, I would advise anyone who wants a new challenge and doesn’t like going to the gym to join this plan; it does give you a very good increase in stamina and you will drop fat. I don’t feel as though I have built any muscle though, due to lack of additional weights. While doing this plan I put my Bannatyne’s gym membership on hold but I had access to a small gym in our office (another luxury I lost when I was away travelling for work). The plan ensures you fit in four 40-50 minute workouts into your week, and can be done on whichever days you prefer, but just not back-to-back.
So, what’s next? I have signed up to take part in Tough Mudder in May with some work colleagues and intense training for that will begin in the New Year. Until then, I have my birthday AND Christmas to look forward to, along with a 5 day trip to New York for NYE. Have I mentioned this is my favourite time of the year? No? Well it is, and I am going to enjoy every bloody second.
*The HIIT Harder 12 week plan costs £59. Results With Lucy kindly provided the plan for me in exchange for an honest review
PSSSTT. For eagle eyes followers of my fitness Instagram (@xtakcfitness) you may have noticed I haven’t posted anything in quite a few months. I started to receive some ‘unfriendly comments’ and it made me re-think putting myself out there so much. I may start using it again sometime in the future, but for now I’m happy to keep myself a little more private. I’ll still be blogging about my fitness (and life) journey on here, so feel free to hit the subscribe button as to not miss a post if you enjoy my rambles!