When I began IronTribe, Sam told me the goal was to get through the door. Well, the first goal is to get out of bed so I can get to the door. There have been days when that has been difficult. I looked at the workout, and would think, “I can’t do that” or “I don’t even know what that means” and cancel going. Sam and I made a deal that I would not look at the workout the night before because there is a scale for every move. (I have actually gotten to the point where I can look at the workout and know that there is a scale for the things that I am not quite able to do yet.)
This post is about the Transformation Challenge, a 40 day challenge that began Jan. 4 and ended on Feb. 12. When I joined IronTribe I decided that I was not there to compete with anyone but myself. I joined the challenge to well, challenge myself for the 40 days. I have learned a lot about what I am able to do with encouragement and if I push myself. It has also made me realize some things about the rest of my life, my diet in particular.
I could be discouraged about the challenge if I only focused on weight loss. I did not lose weight during the challenge. I actually gained a few pounds but I know why. I was traveling part of the challenge, I fought off a cold for at least a week, and I didn’t stick to the eating plan that I know works well for me.
For the past year eating in a way that makes sense for me has been my challenge. I know what works – a whole food plant based diet with some eggs and fish once in a while. I’ve been pulled in many directions on diet – to try the ways that work for other people. I also traveled a lot last year which always makes eating right somewhat difficult. I say somewhat because it is not impossible to continue eating fairly well when I travel. I always make the choice. The most difficult times are when I don’t have time to prep for the week ahead. If I don’t get my prep done on Saturday or Sunday then I have a more difficult time during the week. That time is my priority.
So, I did not lose a ton of weight during the challenge. I want to celebrate what I did achieve over the past 40 days.
- I gained lean muscle mass.
- I made it to IronTribe 27 days (they are not open on the weekends so that really isn’t too shabby with travel.)
- I increased the amount of weight I can lift and back squat.
- I RX’d a workout for the first time.
- I made it on the leader board for the first time – thanks to my partner, Hannah.
- I’m attempting burpees on the floor. It’s pretty ugly.
- I am stronger.
- I tried pull-ups on the bar. That is a process.
- I have some awesome 6:15 am friends to hang out with.
- I never thought I would get to the bar on the right (35 pound), but that is the bar I start with now.
On Friday we re-tested with the same weight and movements from Jan. 4. On the first day of the challenge I did 4 rounds +6 reps and DNF’d the second part. On the 12th I completed 6 rounds of the first part and finished the second part. The workout included thrusters, front rack lunges, ring rows (scale), 50 calorie row, 50 sit-ups and burpees -not in that order. In some ways it felt more difficult on the 12th because I am now working with heavier weights. So to go back to a 15 pound bar felt like I wasn’t lifting much. But I was able to do the movements quicker and do more. I still cannot lunge well but that will come. My left knee continues to give me some problems.
Encouragement is a big part of what makes IronTribe different than a lot of places I have worked out. I would not have tried to back squat 105 pounds if I hadn’t had Carrie and Katherine telling me I could do it. The special workouts we had on Saturday’s throughout the challenge helped me tackle some other moves that I would not have tried otherwise.
What I have discovered is that I am stronger. The work I do in the gym improves my yoga practice. I feel better when I begin the day working out, which I already knew from the years I have worked with Sam. One of the issues I have struggled with is not being able to get to other activities that I enjoy like swimming and biking. I just don’t have time right now. I have had to finally realize that it is ok for now. I’ll figure out when I can swim and bike again as I make some adjustments to my schedule in the coming months.
This is an ongoing process. The journey doesn’t end with the end of the Transformation Challenge. Tomorrow morning I will be in the gym again, seeing what I can do, how I can challenge myself. I will encourage others as they encourage me.