Wow, well where do I start? This first week has been great, but challenging at the same time! One thing you ought to know before beginning cycle 1, or any cycle I believe is that preparation is key! You definitely cannot just dust off your plan and start on day 1 as the chances are you won’t have what you need in the house.
Once I decided this was the right plan for me and paid the £149 (you can either pay in one go or across 3 months in equal instalments), I was allowed into my client zone, an area where I filled in and submitted a pretty long questionnaire in order to receive my cycle 1 plan. Within this, as well as filling in weight stats, I had to fill in a 7 day food diary, so I actually ended up starting the plan week later than scheduled. This information, coupled with my photos (front, back and side – horrific!), was enough to let my Support Hero create a plan tailored for me according to the correct macronutrients I need to lose fat and get lean. In order to let my support hero know I had started the plan, I had to submit my starting measurements. So this included thighs, arms, waist, bust and weight. Once all of this pre-work was done, I was (almost) ready to begin!
After approx 3-4 working days post submitting all my information, I received my ready made plan. I was super excited to get started, but then realised there were about 80 pages in the pack (a lot of which were recipes to be fair), so printed the entire lot out and started reading! Within the pack is a 4 week meal planner template by week which is super helpful for planning meals. This became my Bible during the first week, following it to the letter!
Once I had decided which meals I was going to have when I went and shopped for the ingredients (the days I planned to do a HIIT session, I’d be allowed a 1 carb refuel meal, 2 reduced carb meals and 2 snacks. On rest days no carb refuel meals allowed, 3 reduced carb meals and 2 snacks only). Now I would say this plan is not cheap. The fact that it is high in protein and veg means you’re shopping the more expensive items in store. When I say veg I mean leafy greens and the odd sweet potato. The guilt free fry up for example has a sirloin steak as the meat and turkey bacon, so that’s 2 different types of meat there fore one meal. The portion sizes are so big that something I may have made 2 portions of in the past, is now only 1 meal! The build up bagel has so many slices of chicken and beef (about 10!), with tomato, rocket AND egg, whereas in a usual sandwich I’d only have perhaps 2 slices!
You need to be really thorough in looking through your meal plan and buying the right quantities of groceries. I made 2 of everything to make things a little cheaper and more convenient for myself, and felt great when I got back from the shops and could proudly look at my fully stocked fridge full of healthy food!
I must add whilst I was waiting for my plan to come through, I ordered some vitamins, BCAA supplements and a foam roller to aide my recovery after my HIIT sessions. I already had protein powder for my post exercise shakes and protein bars from the lovely guys over at Multipower. They sent me the powder, which I love and have talked about here in a previous post, and the bars to try. On the days you do a HIIT session, you’re allowed an additional protein shake as well as your 2 snacks. I’m not a fan of protein shakes made with just water, though I do force them down when needs must, so I alternate between a protein shake one fay as my additional snack, and a Multipower 40% Protein Fit bar. I LOVE these! Not only do they taste great (my particular favourite being the blueberry vanilla flavour), I much prefer the size of this bar over the 50% Protein Slow & Fast Protein Absorption bar. The smaller bar is much more of a snack and much easier to eat. Filling, but not overwhelming! The other great thing about the 40% bar is the nutritional information. At 35g, the bars have around 0.8g sugar (flavour dependent), 2.8g saturated fat, 14g of protein and only 126 cals. For someone who really struggles with her sweet tooth, being able to have a treat like this twice a week is something I really look forward to! They’re easy to take around with me too, so on those days where I’m out and about and likely to make a poor snack choice, having one of these bars in my handbag is simply perfect.
Once everything I needed to buy was delivered and safely in my hands I was ready to start the plan. My official start date was Monday 6th Feb, which was slightly annoying as I was going to a friend’s place for lunch! Not to be deterred, I smashed a hit session, had breakfast and made sure to take my lunch to her place with my watermelon snack. In order to be able to have food to take around with you, and an easy life back at home post work for example – you MUST prepare food and snacks over the weekend. I’d say that’s the only way this plan is do-able. So I made 3 days worth of evening meals over the weekend, weighed out snacks such as nuts and watermelon and kept them in small tubs, in portion size. It was Thursday when I hadn’t bought the ingredients needed for the Teryaki Salmon by 7.30pm, I was super close to just ordering a pizza! So definitely prep as much as you can beforehand and have the ingredients you need in the fridge or freezer so it’s a lot easier for you to quickly whip up something, or just re-heat a meal.
So far, I’ve found the plan pretty straightforward and easy to follow. The meals don’t take too long to cook, thought the ingredients prep part can take a bit of time. Portion sizes are something I’ve really had to get my head around and force myself to eat them. In the past I’d miss meals, have tiny portions if I knew I was going to blow out later, skip breakfast etc, so 3 large meals and 2 snacks everyday has been a lot to swallow. Quite literally!
I’m pretty new to HIIT, I dabbled a bit at the gym last summer, but preferred endurance training instead. As I’m quite the novice, I’ve found Joe’s HIIT’s on his YouTube channel pretty tough, so I’ve stuck during this first week with Angela’s Beginners HIIT over on her YouTube channel. Hopefully I can work my way up to Joe’s beginners HIIT in weeks 3 or 4. I’m aiming for 5 HIIT sessions a week, 4 is fine according to the plan. I completed my 4th today (Friday – Weds was my rest day) and will complete a session tomorrow morning. Yes, they are killer but you feel so much more energised afterwards, can reward yourself with a carb refuel meal, and due to the nature of HIIT training will be burning fat hours after the session. All fantastic reasons for keeping on track I’d say!
Week 1 has been great (apart from the headache on day 2 from sugar detoxing)! I can’t say I feel much difference physically, I don’t sleep any better yet, I’ve just inherited a massive spot on my forehead so my skin hasn’t cleared up yet. However, I’m hoping I’ll be able to post some positive changes for week 2! Wish me luck!
Until next time.