Thursday, June 27, 2013

{Wedding} Workouts and Diet

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After posting a few wedding pics and a couple of bachelorette party pics (the one where I went out semi-naked), I've received a number of emails/messages/comments to please post about the workouts/eating plans that I followed in the lead up to the wedding - 

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When readers have contacted me asking for my "pre-wedding-bod regime" - I feel that what they are saying is "TELL US! WHAT IS YOUR SECRET!? WHAT DID YOU DO?!"

Let me start by saying, there is no secret. There is only doing it. Or not doing it. Because

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and honestly tell me that you don't already know what you need to do in order to shape up, tone up and get sexxxay. You already know that exercising will make you strong and fit and healthy. You already know that drinking more water will make your skin healthier and your body feel better, You already know that choosing a plate of lean meats and un-starchy vegetables -
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is going to get you hot-bod results over choosing a melty-cheesed-up pizza with all the trimmings -
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Will a plate of lean meats with tomato, lettuce, broccoli, cucumber and maybe a boiled egg taste the same as a salami-olive-feta-bacon-sundried-tomato-cheesy-sauced-up pizza? Absolutely not. But will it get you results? Yes. Yes it will.

Yep, I can say with almost dead-certainty that you absolutely already KNOW all of these things.

So what I feel people are really saying when they ask for the "pre-wedding-workout/eating plan" is not "What did you do?!?!" It's more "I already know what I have to do... but HOW do I get myself to actually do it?!" So let me just tell you what I know -

DISCLAIMER: Before I get all up in yoh grill about working out and eating properly - let me very clearly state that I am NOT a dietitian, I have no medical background (unless you count matric biology), and I am not a qualified nutritionist. I have done a Spinning Instructor's course, but other than that, I am just a normal person. By "normal person" let me also clarify that my body is not perfect and by no means are these pics or post, claiming it to be 'all that', I am just sharing what I know and what has worked for me at the request of many readers. I also do not advocate the idea of "EVERY BRIDE MUST BE ON THE STRICTEST PRE-WEDDING DIET TO LOSE THOUSANDS OF KGs!!!" For me, it was just about being at my best, most awesome shape. I want to be able to look back on my wedding pics and be proud. Let me also add that I have always been a small person - so the pre-wedding-bod-regime was less about dropping kilograms and more about toning up.  There is still a lot of exercising/eating properly that needs to happen in order to keep it up and to get even stronger/leaner -  I will never have the body of Candice Swanepoel (Sorry Warr), but I did work hard to achieve the results I did, so let me tell you what I know -

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EXERCISING (the very first thing):

In the pre-wedding-bod-regime, I exercised every day. For a clearer english translation, that means every day. That means, exercising every day. Not "I'll skip today and work out twice as hard tomorrow" or "I'll start on Monday" or "I ate really well today maybe I can give it a break?". It means every day. Capiché?
The type of exercising you do will also affect the results you get, most of which can be done right in your home. In fact, the 7 months directly prior to the wedding I did not have a gym membership at all. (WHAT?! HOW CAN YOU EXERCISE IF YOU DO NOT GO TO THE GYM?!?!).

I did follow a number of really amazing workout videos from a variety of different trainers. My favourite videos come from the P90x Training System - which incorporate a variety of workouts including plyometric training, interval training, kenpo/kickboxing, cardio, weights training and yoga.

I also followed some of the Jillian Michaels Workout videos - including the 30 day shred and some of the Biggest Loser Workout Videos. The Jillian Michaels videos are convenient in that a lot of the workouts are slightly shorter which is great for when you are starting out - but very quickly - if you workout consistently, you might find that you feel like working out for slightly longer - which is why I loved all the P90x DVDs.

I didn't follow either of these programs religiously - ie: I didn't do all the videos exactly as they are recommended by day in the program but I chose a different workout each day (mainly from P90 and sometimes from Jillian Michaels) to follow, which worked perfectly well for me. Some workouts are 40 minutes, some are half an hour, many are an hour and a bit. They all include some kind of warm-up and stretch.

All/most the workouts include some form of weight training. I have always been "an exerciser" but generally always more focused on cardio: running, spinning etc. I still went for runs often (esp when I was in London with fiancé) - and I know running can be tough - especially when you are starting out, but when you do start running and you are out on the road and thinking about stopping - imagine that right around the next corner/bush is someone waiting to jump out and surprise you- someone who you REALLY wouldn't want to see you walking. It could be an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, mother, father, husband, sexy-guy-from-the-gym, high school bully, whatever. Just picture them around the next bend and you will. not. stop.

Have little mental images for yourself to keep yourself going - Every time I went for a solo run back in SA and I was getting tired or wanting to stop, I would pump up my "wedding playlist" and picture Warren waiting at the end of the road, shouting and waving his hands and cheering me on. Extra speed, guaranteed.
I know, right?

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(I'll be honest a good playlist helps too)

Anyway - including weights training into my workouts really made a huge difference to my overall body tone and strength. Sometimes I didn't have weights around ( - they aren't exactly the kind of thing you pack in your suitcase for an overseas trip) so when I didn't have any weights with me - I used whatever I could find: tin cans, full wine bottles, piles of books -

If you are serious {about getting toned up and sexy}, you will find a way. If you are not so serious, you will find an excuse.  - Ché Dyer, 2013. ©
 After a short while of working out consistently I felt noticeable changes in my core strength, my endurance, my body and my general enthusiasm for working out so hard. After about a month, I began to really look forward to getting my sweat on -

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(and yes. that is sweat coming out of my SHINS people. I'm serious.)

I really can recommend the P90x program. I have included a link to download one of the P90 workouts - which you can get here - as a sample only, but if you are interested and I can really recommend it, check out their official website. There is the P90 {older version} and the P90x {newer version}) but the internet is filled with LOADS of different kinds of workouts, free videos, toning moves and "body challenges". You just have to do it. I have collected a bunch of different workouts (and a few health snacks) on my Pinterest Body Board - (you can follow it here). I found this BodyRocks website via Pinterest - The first time I watched and followed one of the BodyRocks workouts I was like "WHAT IS THIS? IS IT PORN? IS IT A WORKOUT? WHAT IS GOING ON?! I'M SO CONFUSED?! BUT LOOK AT HER ABS!!!" (see here). The key is - pinning great workouts on Pinterest is not going to get you sexy/skinny/abs. DOING the great workouts on Pinterest will. All of the workout pins on my pinterest board, I have personally tried. A lot of them only need very basic equipment such as a skipping rope, a gym ball or some free weights (or if you are gangsta like moi - that means a bottle or two of wine. To lift. Not to drink. See Below.)


Something that I once heard a gym instructor say that I have always remembered -
"You can't out-gym a bad diet"
True. Speaking about food and "dieting" is always a touchy subject because there are thousands and thousands of differing opinions/diets/fads/doctors/celebrities/nutritionists that all recommend something different. Let's be real though - you already know what is good for you and what is not good for you. ie: Any food that you eat and feel that little twinge of guilt afterwards - not good for you. Any food that you have to justify to yourself -  "um.. well... it was Mary-Lou's birthday. And she baked it especially..." - not good for you. Don't get me wrong, I think it is near impossible trying to have a perfect diet all the time - but if you want to see results you will need to become a lot more conscious about what you are eating, the amount you are eating and the type of food you are eating.

Cut back on the alcohol. Yep. Sorry about that.

When I was over in London, Warr and I ate very strictly during the week - high protein and low carb was what worked for us - (Think: half a tin of tuna, {boiled egg optional}and salad leaves for dinner. We also often had soup in the evenings when it was cold). For breakfasts we would have oats, sugar-free bran/oat muesli or protein shakes (In South Africa, I absolutely love the Futurelife breakfast range - which can be made into shakes or high protein porridge). Lunches were also lean salads or soups. (I say lean because a lot of pre-made salads these days are very sneaky and are out to TRICK YOU with all their extra extra mayo/cheese/olive/creamy dressings).

Weekends were our cheat days where we could have more "regular food" and maybe a glass (or two) of wine. Eating so strictly during the week was only really maintainable because we knew the cheat days would be coming soon! Many people will argue that during the week this is a very restrictive diet - and I don't entirely disagree - but I also do know that the human body needs way, way less than we generally give it in order to function optimally. (Something I learnt doing the Maple Syrup cleanse - which I do not recommend).

When I was back in South Africa, my carb intake increased slightly, (which coincided with increased weight training), but I was still very conscious of portion sizes and making "good" choices when we were out at restaurants etc. As far as possible (and it's not always possible -  I'm a girl/i know these things/I have needs), I tried to avoid chocolates, sweets and desserty things. After a short while of being dedicated to "good choices", I can promise you, that your body stops craving it. Herbal tea after dinner is a good way to wean yourself out of it.

Snack on things that are good for you. Snacking on a mug of cereal (ultimate food-vice) at 4pm, is not going to get you HONEYMOON*ABS. Drinking an extra cup of herbal tea, with some sticks of cucumber/cocktail tomatoes/carrots just might. And let me be frank - herbal tea with sticks of cucumber and carrot at 4pm does not taste anything like a cup of hot milky coffee with an Ouma Rusk (or two) to dunk. But, as I've figured, you can either have delicious taste or delicious abs. Entirely your choice.

A Few Other Random Tips for how to get yourself to actually DO all the things you already know you should be doing in order to shape up:

Set Yourself a Goal
I'd say that getting married is one of the easiest times to shape up, because your goal is already very clearly defined. You have an end date in mind and it is very easy to focus towards that date if you wanted to. If you are not getting married or are already - set yourself a very clear goal. Make it short enough to be achievable, but long enough to start noticing results. I'd say two months from now is good. (Two months is only like 60 days, which is only like "one minute" if you pretend the days are seconds. WHATEVER. JUST DO IT.) (If you are properly diligent, I would say you could start noticing results within as little as two weeks).

Put it on a Calendar
Once you've got your goal - mark it on your calendar. The P90 program (a lot of whose videos I used), advocate marking your daily progress in a calendar. Each day clock what kind of exercise you did - was it an interval training session? Was it weights training? Did you go for a Run? Write it down. Write down how hard you pushed yourself on a scale of 1 - 10. For each day, make a note of how well you think you ate from 1- 10. Basically, make yourself accountable for your own progress.

Get a Buddy
When I was in London with the fiancé, it was very easy to keep motivated to eat well and exercise regularly, when there is someone else who is doing it with you (and for you). Make sure your buddy is as dedicated to the goal as you are, because a buddy who is easily able to convince you that "maybe we could just get a curry and a glass of wine and do it tomorrow instead..." is not the kind of buddy who is useful to you. Give that buddy a beer and a pie and send them on their way.

If You Can't Resist, Desist.
If you absolutely cannot stop yourself from eating all the smarties/chips that are sitting in your cupboard, stop buying them. Throw them out or give them to a friend/neighbour/dog. (NO. CHOCOLATE WILL KILL DOGS). Stock your cupboards with healthy things. When there are only healthy things around, then there are only healthy things to eat. Soon, (esp when you start seeing results - and you will), your mindset and taste buds will shift.

Drink More Water
Yep, one of those things you definitely already know. But here is my tip - you cannot drink more water, if you cannot see more water. Get yourself a fancy-pants favourite glass: fill it up and plonk it right next to your desk. Right where you can see it. Is your iTunes playing? Ok, every time the song changes, take a swig. Are you on the internet? Ok, every time you change tabs, take a sip. DANG! Make up drinking games for yourself but with WATER! Do whatever you have to do, to drink more. It will ONLY be to your absolute benefit.

Also with this - try a few different herbal teas. (Cut the caffeine if possible - Warr completely cut caffeine for a while - {because he is weird} - I couldn't and still had a cup in the morn but tried to cut down all other coffee/tea.) Warr and I got into the most delicious flavours of herbal teas - peppermints, green teas, berry teas, ginger and lemon teas - which are really nice to have after dinner. We even bought ourselves a fancy leaf-tea-brewing-tea-pot. 'Cause we're hipster like that.

Take Pictures of Yourself to Document your Progress
I never intended for these pictures to make their way onto the indieBerries' realm of awesome - but you have asked what I did in the pre-wedding workouts so I thought I would share them. (And also so that you know that I haven't made any of this shit up.) The P90 program actually suggests taking photos of your progress as a kind of marker as to how far you have come - so these are the pictures that I snapped along the way - (you may also note that a tan makes a huge difference. lol). I took three different sets of pictures - October // Christmas // March (Wedding: April 6). Don't take the pictures too close together - rather spread them so that you can see your progress. It is an awesome way to plot your progress and to keep you motivated and feeling strong.

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So there you have my little pre-wedding workout/eating plan. It may not be for everyone and the high protein/low carb thing may not be everyone's cup of (herbal) tea -  (in particular doctors/nutritionists/dietitians). I am not advocating that you completely cut out any food group - but if you are mindful of the quantities and portions of each food type you are eating and focus more on "bulking up the proteins" it will leave you less space on your plate for loading up on carbs and heavy starches. Be diligent, but don't be too hard on yourself and do allow yourself some "cheat days" to have a big ol' sandwich or a glass of wine. Because you will have earned it.

Anyone with any other nutrition/eating plan/exercise tips to share - 

please leave them below - would love to hear them!


Ilze said...

Hey Che'

I'm sooo inspired!! Think I might've just repinned most of that board!

Photos are a MUST! So easy to get discouraged when there isn't a definite way of measuring progress!

Thanks so much for this.

Amy said...

really awesome post! great ideas, I am going to keep it and re read it when I need some inspiration to keep going!

GeeGee said...

Love Insanity - strength, core, asthma - all awesomer and improved in the case of the asthma :P I think the most important part of this post is the quote "you can't outgym a bad diet" - you're not doing this to 'earn' some chocolate, you're doing this to look amazinger! Also - measure - photos and measurements are even better than scales :)

Congratulations for completing P90X too, I can't bear the instructor so even more impressed with your dedication!

Johlet said...

Oooh I love this! I'm actually doing a 10 day strict protein diet. I hate diets. I'm just doing this to get my cravings in order. After these 10 days I hope those sneeky little good tasting buggers won't be bothering me that much anymore and I will go to eating lean and training mean! :) Thanks this post really made me realise what I have to do! Plus the little bet I have going on with my boo isn't too bad for motivation either. hehe xxx

FutureMrsOrpen said...

Jeepers you look incredible! Have been wanting to get my hands on the P90x system but its pretty pricey down here... so instead I have began Body Rocking and HITT sessions at gym... but now I need to say no to woolies cake pops and imported milkybar buttons, LOL.

I am beginning this 30day challenge hosted by Betty Rocker as I have 79 days to get something into shape before I walk down the isle! If anyone would like to join me here is the 30 day challenge link:

waitingformeg said...

Your tips are so spot on. Cutting caffeine has already shown some results, and desisting is the best tip ever. I've told Flip that he is no longer allowed to bring Coke or chips home, because I just don't have the control to keep away from it.

The funny thing is that I will never ever buy myself a fizzy cooldrink, or order it when I'm in a restaurant, I'm a huge soda water fan, but at home, when coke is readily available, I'll finish a two liter in an evening. But I don't crave it, so it isn't a difficult thing to give up.

Rhianne said...

I wish I could carry this around with me all the time - I have the worst discipline when it comes to food - but like you said - if you can't resist, desist. I'm definitely an all or nothing kind of girl... I think this is so perfect for non wedding advice too - you're right - I do know what I need to do to lose weight, I just don't do it.

Alicia Smit said...

I recently lost 4 kgs by only cutting out beer and fizzy drinks for 2 weeks. I still have a glass of wine with dinner but something about the carbs in beer just make you puff up like a blowfish. I would really recommend that anyone with a love of the fizz try to swap it out for something a little less fizzy for a week or two. That little change made such a difference that I'm now actually motivated to try and eat more healthy. Bring on the veggies :)

Nicola McCreesh said...

Chedall- wow!

Recent advice that I love to share; my dietician Kelly Lynch told me: "Eat like you would feed your children!" Let me expand, we should do less dieting and more changing into healthy eating plan- when you first change you will loose weight, so far I have lost 5.5Kgs. Now for explanation- you would never allow your children to go to school without breakfast, skip lunch or eat once every 6 hours. You would never cut a food group out of your child's diet and you (hopefully) will always encourage them to play sport and not be a couch potato. So if we wouldn't do that to a child why do we do it to ourselves? We eat the healthiest at school- Breakfast, tea, lunch, tea, dinner and sport - hopefully by changing the way you think about food we can change the way we eat!

Love you chedall!

Jhan said...

Thanks for sharing your tips and advice. I'm willing to give eating "right" a go again.

P.S. I totally know what you mean about the first impressions with BodyRockTV.They're hardcore excercises totally made up for it, though. :-)

Jason said...

Am I seeing something different here??? your before pictures make you look healthy and your after pictures make you look way too thin ????

Florence said...

Was feeling rather down about my workout routine and I read this. Brought back my motivation again! :)

Che Kershaw said...

ah yay!! am happy to provide some re-motivation! YOU CAN DO IT!! :)

Che Kershaw said...

hahaha Bodyrock TV is all like "WHAAAT?!?! what is going ON HERE?!?!" haha but they do have some cool exercises :)

Che Kershaw said...

Totes agree! I am a huge snacker and MUCH prefer the eat. eat. eat. eat. approach rather than BREAKFAST. LUNCH. DINNER. thing. What i really found to be the best thing for me - was how motivating it was once your mindset changes, your body starts changing, you start seeing results and you actually start looking forward to exercising hard, you realise that yes - ordering a huge salad at a restaurant will actually (usually) make you full and that you CAN have a chocolate pudding if you wanted to - but your body doesnt even really feel like it or want it - because honestly - like basic kid/animal-science, it knows what is good for it. Warr and I have been living the slightly more "indulgent" life of late - but we are back on the bandwagon :) and its so nice to have a running get-fit partner. absolutely LOVED how strong and (weirdly) in control of my life and body that these workouts made me feel! VIVA! miss you Doctor Mc! (Mc not for too much longer!) x

Che Kershaw said...

Yes! wow epic loss for such a small change! I have never been a huge fizzy drinks drinker - but they do often mention in these programs how many hidden sugars are in the things we drink and that we should be aware of not "drinking our calories" unless you are making some kind of epic fruity-yogurty-nutty-all-the-goodness-smoothie-breakfast-mash-up.
OK. totally need to find myself a blender right now. haha.

Che Kershaw said...

Caffeine was a hard one for me to cut , so I still had a cup in the morn-sometimes even black with honey. But Warren did cut it completely and he did tell me that he was very surprised that he found he had way more energy - and that "4pm afternoon slump" - right when you need another cuppa coffee - just never really happened after he had given up caffeine for a month or so.
I totally hear you on the fizzy drinks - see my comment above - I've never really been a fizzy drinks person - but if it's around, i will drink it. So rather... don't have it around ;)

Che Kershaw said...

ah thank you! There are so many amazing (and free) workout videos and programs online that you can tailor your own workout to suit your personal needs! A lot of the workouts require very little equipment too - so all you need is your lounge floor! (Have a look at my pinterest board if you're interested in some of them - link in the post). Have totally signed up for the bettyrocker site - am keen to see what her workouts are about. Most of the P90 workouts involve cardio, core work and strength work - which is the basic winning combo!

Che Kershaw said...

and yes - put down the cake pops! haha only until you start seeing results - and then you won't even want them! ;) Wedding on the way! ;) yay!

Che Kershaw said...

hahaha bets are always good for motivation! and it's true that once you start seeing results you won't even want or crave all the "bad" stuff you usually do. But once you start getting fitter/stronger/leaner - you will realise that the odd cheat day isn't so much of a big deal anyway! ;) YOU BETTER WIN THE BET YO!

Che Kershaw said...

Ah the insanity workouts are INTENSE! Mmmmm asthma sucks! but there is a lot of yoga and core workouts that burn up a lot of gunk! and yes - you are totes doing it to look AMAZINGER! and MORE AWESOMER! and STRONGERER!! and KICKBUTTERER!!! :) am def a fan of the photos over scale - real VISIBLE results that everyone can see!

Che Kershaw said...

YAY for being INSPIRED! I am def a huge fan of photos over the scale - they are a way more realistic, and VISIBLE progress report! And it's what everyone else is seeing too. :) So get snapping and get moving! :) yay!

Che Kershaw said...

Ah for sure! Was actually a bit dubious about putting "pre-wedding" into the title of this - because having a good workout vibe and healthy eating isn't only for "pre-wedding" and its so awesome just to feel so strong and fighting fit! :) once you start seeing results it's much easier to say a polite "no thank you" to the choccies and ice creams! :) (although... everyone needs a cheat day!)

Johlet said...

That's my plan!!! Win Win Win!!! :) Thanks for your blog!

Che Kershaw said...

As I mentioned, I am generally a small person and have been for all of my life. For me it wasn't at all about losing weight or "getting thin" - I don't think I have even used the word "thin" once in this blogpost - for me, it was about getting toned, getting stronger and getting fitter. I absolutely LOVED how strong, toned and generally awesome these workouts made me feel. I love the better tone in my abs and the greater definition in my arms and legs. Husband loves it too - so guess for us, it's a win win :)

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