Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Melt: Results Not Typical

On May 1 I started a limited time program at a local training facility.  The idea of the program was to lean my body out by reducing fat and building muscle.  When I went in for the initial assessment, several measurements were taken including weight, body fat percentage, muscle percentage, and visceral fat - that's the one that lays over your abdomen and is the one doctors tend to be most concerned about.

None of my numbers were good.

The program consisted of 8 small group personal training sessions, unlimited use of the facility and the large group conditioning style classes offered, as well as an eating plan and unlimited support from the staff.

When I looked at the eating program and began meal planning, I realized I already eat the way they were asking - whole foods vs. processed - so I knew I'd have no issue with that.  They also wanted us to remove alcohol and as much added sugar as possible. I knew this wouldn't be a problem for me, all except for 2 days - my anniversary and Mr. Helen's birthday which both fell during the program. But, I also knew that if I didn't adapt this a bit for my own real life, there really was no use.  And so, I began.

I really enjoyed the personal training sessions.  Though there could be up to 4 people that the trainer was working with, at least 5 of my sessions, I was the only person! For my personality, having an appointment where someone was waiting was just the thing I needed - in addition to the fact that I could make the appointments to fit my very busy life. That's not always easy with a full time job, a part time job, and a household to run.

They had straps and bands and items that were used to get around the arthritis in my knees and hands and I was able to do some things like deep squats and lunges for the first time in several years.  While there was a bit of actual weight lifting, it was miniscule in comparison to the other types of strength training I was doing.  In short, I loved it and began to look forward to my sessions each week.

I tried every type of class they offered and while they were fine, I wasn't enthralled with them like I was with the small group personal training. I could easily see myself just not going. The times of the classes weren't necessarily convenient either, but I wanted to try everything they had to offer. With everything I did, except maybe Saturday morning, I was working out at my lowest energy point of the day - between 4 and 6 p.m.  When my energy is like that, it's really easy for me to say I don't feel like going to a class, especially if I've already run in the morning.

So for the last 25 days, my schedule consisted of running 5-6 days a week, 2 personal sessions per week, and 1 extra class.

I want to say up front, I wish I had taken actual tape measurements because I definitely feel thinner through my upper abdomen area (i.e. from the bottom of my chest to my waist).  Especially in the last few days, my shirts were feeling looser, and in fact, two people said something to me yesterday about me looking like I was losing a bit of weight.

I was looking forward to seeing the results of my hard work in black and white and yesterday afternoon I went to get them.

Let's just say, for whatever reason, I am an anomaly when it comes to this sort of thing.  My friend joined this program a while back (her program was 21 days) and lost 10 lbs..  She ended up joining for a year because she was so pleased.  I wasn't expecting that sort of weight loss at all (dumb thyroid) but I also wasn't expecting what I got either.

I lost 3 pounds.  I wasn't thrilled as I was hoping for at least 5, but again, with my history 3 pounds is still 3 pounds.  But even the head of training was stunned when he looked at the rest of my numbers. Not only did I NOT lose any body fat, my percentage went up by .7.  Additionally, my muscle mass went down.

This is pretty much the exact opposite of what they want to see.  He was so shocked that he was almost speechless though he did manage to sputter that my diet probably needed adjusting and that I should have been eating more protein and less carbs (they include fruits and vegetables as carbs). Normally I do eat less carbs, i.e. especially fruit, than what they asked so hey - maybe I know my own body better than they do!

They had asked us to keep a food diary - not counting calories or anything, just write it down.  I did that and turned it in.  The nutritionist emailed me early evening and said my food had been spot and and that even on the two "indulgence" days the only thing she would have picked on was the wine I drank and the cake I ate.

This was a money back guarantee program and I have been mulling over writing them and asking for a refund - or additional classes at no charge, because I really did like it and I'm wondering if, with consistency, those stats could change.

I am also mulling over joining.  The program I was on cost twice what I paid and I cannot afford that at all.  Even the next level down with 4 personal training sessions is more than I can swing right now. The least expensive option does include them designing a program for you that you do on your own.  I just need to think hard about if I would actually do it on my own.

Many of the things I learned I would need to have some equipment to do and looking into that I estimate it would cost about $500 to buy the things I would need to be able to continue.  That might be an option but again, I would run into not being able to do anything in the coldest months as there is no room in my house - our garage is our workout area.

Such a conundrum.

At the least, what I have learned or maybe had reinforced is FOR ME, being the anomaly I am, I cannot concentrate on stats, numbers, scales or any of those things.  I have to concentrate on just eating as clean and healthy as possible and to continuing exercise because it makes me feel better.


  1. Totally agree with your conclusion. I wonder if you could get just a couple of personal training sessions a month, since you enjoyed them so much, and also because it seems that is where you might be learning new strength training techniques that you enjoy.

    I'm also wondering--your friend that went and lost 10 pounds--was this a complete change from her normal way of eating and working out?

    1. Personal training in this area is quite expensive and at this facility you have to have a membership for them to take you on as a client.

      My friend was someone who I considered to be quite fit and honestly, thin. She joined because she was seeing the old menopause spread and wanted to combat that. I honestly believe the difference is her thyroid/metabolism vs. mine.

  2. Interesting post!. Thanks for sharing.
    You're not an anomaly; you just have to define your goal. If your goal is weightloss, then you're not exactly on the right track. I say this from my own experience.

    Work out helps (it should be moderate otherwise it opens up the appetite). Sleep (7 hours) helps even more (during sleep one doesn't eat and metabolism is great). However, what is mainly responsible for weightloss is a balanced, low-calorie food intake (approx. 1550 -men; 1250- women). You can do that on your own, no need to waste money and time on programs.
    Good Luck!

  3. OK, so I love that you flummoxed your trainer - and showed him that it's not always black and white when it comes to training and nutrition. I'm glad you got a chance to give this program a try for a reasonable price and for a short term; in the end, I hope you can find your comfort zone, numbers be damned.

    1. Numbers be damned indeed. I do feel a little wistful as I really did enjoy the couple of workouts a week. Why does it have to be so expensive?! Honestly if they would run these programs every so often and let me repeat I would do it but they don't :|

  4. I'm sorry it didn't work out as you had hoped. At least you really enjoyed the training. I would definitely ask for some more training sessions instead of money back because who knows, maybe you just need a little more time?

    1. I'm not sure I had any particular goal in mind, it was just very upsetting to find out what happened because until I saw the numbers I thought I was feeling better and stronger. I agree that maybe I need more time and sure do wish I could afford to buy it.

  5. I am going to be the positive polly and think that you most definitely lost inches if not body fat. I give you props for sticking it out and that you enjoyed going to the personal training - I've never taken advantage of that at any gym I've joined.

    Hugs! Have a great long weekend!

    1. No Biz, unfortunately I did not lose body fat, I gained body fat as I wrote above. I do think I lost inches but if those lost inches came from lost muscle mass, that's not good!

  6. What???? That is just not right!!!! That said, our bodies sure do like to do their own thing and play jokes on us!!!!!!! Can't wait to hear what you decide!!!!