1. Read the book, yes, but don’t just leave it at that. Get up and DO it the work outs and eat the meals.
2. Schedule your work outs for YOUR peak energy times.
3. Plan your initial 2 weeks of workouts and meals right away before you start.
I dropped out of my first two attempts at this because of some moronic
residual perfectionist streak from my Asian overachiever student days.
If I screwed up more than 2 days in a row, I’d just stop, because I
told myself that if I wasn’t perfect, than what was the point? If I
couldn’t excel at something, I didn’t want to do it at all. Stupid,
I look back on it now and realize that I just wasn’t committed to
going the full distance. I printed out the workout sheets for upper
and lower body weight training and did great with those, but I hated
the cardio and somehow always found reasons to not get my runs
completed, or half-@$$ed them by walking or doing steady-state for 20
minutes at 5 mph instead of the true HIIT. (Bear in mind that I was
running a respectable 9 to 9 1/2 minute mile–between 6.3-6.7
mph–less than 2 years before this when I was in the army and hadn’t
gained any weight since I got out…I had just turned into a lazy,
squishy computer jockey in the interim. I could have easily run
faster, but I just didn’t want to do it! How lame is that?) My
nutrition was all over the place–I read through the information,
didn’t eat much junk food, and tried to stick with the portion
requirements, but I was only eating 3 meals a day, each of them too
high in carbs because breakfast usually included a cup of raisin bran
with milk, and lunch and dinner always included at least one cup of
white rice with some sort of stir fry. I wasn’t giving my body enough
fuel, and I definitely wasn’t getting a 40/40/20 ratio.
I saw some results, but without stated goals, an ongoing plan for
nutrition, and enough focus to make me suck up the cardio and just do
it right, I never made it past week 3.
This time–my third attempt–I looked back on my past mistakes and
attitudes and fixed them. I do all of my required BFL workouts in the
morning, and save optional silly stuff like pilates and a ballet tape
for the evenings when I might or might not have the energy to do them.
I gritted my teeth and hopped back on the treadmill and did the 20
minute cardio solution the way it was meant to be done and just as it
was explained in the book. In 9 weeks my “high point” speed has moved
from 6.0 mph to 7.5 mph, and I expect to be going at 8.0 mph by the
end. I re-read the Eating for Life chapters and stocked up on whey
protein, cottage cheese, and enough veggies to stock my own vegetable
cart. I cleared the junk from my refrigerator and cupboards and said
a sad goodbye to white rice and sugary cereals for 6 days out of the
week. I learned how to modify Chinese recipes to fit the BFL
requirements, and became more open to trying out new recipes.
Finally, I made sure that I had accountability to someone other than
myself. I told friends and family what I was doing and kept them up
to date on my progress.
Week 1, I was horribly sore and sucking wind on the cardio, but I
stuck with it, knowing it would become easier. (Try going from
completely sedentary bookworm who could only do ONE full pushup and
took 30 minutes to get through a 2 mile course to a somewhat reluctant
soldier girl who could do 35+ pushups in 2 minutes and an 18-minute
two-mile run in just 8 weeks sometime while learning how to fire a
rifle accurately at 300 m, march in formation, and pitch a two-man
tent in freezing rain…BFL is NOT that hard in comparison! I had to
keep telling myself that with each labored breath on that treadmill
the first week.)
Week 2, I still dreaded the running, but everything else was going
well and I felt great. I joined a BFL women’s group on MSN and
started posting accountability reports daily to help me stay on track.
I also posted my before photos and told my sister and at least 3
friends what I was doing so I’d *have* to finish in order to save
face. I made it impossible to quit without embarrassing the heck out
of myself in front of the people I respected the most.
Weeks 3 and 4, I just kept plugging away, and things didn’t hurt so
much anymore. I kept up with my accountability posts.
Early in week 5, I had a LEEP procedure (outpatient surgery), but I
actually ran my cardio the night before the Tuesday operation so I
wouldn’t miss a workout. My only question to my doctor before the
operation was “How long will I be out of commission for work outs
after the procedure?” The day after my procedure, I was doing my
lower body weight training, right on schedule. It was at that point
that I realized I was home free. Committed. Dedicated. In ’til the
end. And quite possibly nuts.
From that point on, I was on autopilot. I’m starting week 10
tomorrow, and once I finish up on August 21, I will probably launch
right into a second full challenge at full tilt. I’ve even grown to
almost like the cottage cheese and the running, and those are things
that I swore I’d hate until my dying day in my earliest posts.