It’s been about 4 weeks since our first post on our body transformation / Fit at 40 journey with The Arrow Club and we thought it was time for an 8-week update. If you missed the first post and want to know where it all started, you can catch up here.
The last few weeks have been kinda chaotic, to be honest. Our workload was through the roof and we were putting in 12 hour days just to stay on top of things. To top it all off we were in London for about 10 days, away from The Arrow Club and our trusty meal plans. Why am I telling you this? Well, because that’s life right? Something always wants to get in the way of you and your goals and it’s never gonna be easy. So, how did little sleep and a travelers diet affect our transformation? Well, let’s take a look.
With the exception of our one week away, our workouts have continued as normal. Continuing on The Arrow Clubs principles of mobilizing, activating, overloading and conditioning we’ve been doing 3 sessions a week of full body workouts. This includes a very mild warm-up of some inclined treadmill walking followed by about 10 minutes of mobilizing and activating the muscles we’re about to train with a resistance band. This has still been a game changer for me, not only has it given me the ability to learn how to properly target the muscles I’m working out but it’s also kept me injury free for over 8 weeks – a rarity for me.
The workouts have been mostly focused on strengthening our weaknesses, building our postures and increasing our range of motion. My workouts are usually tri-sets with one push exercise, one pull exercise, and one abdominal exercise. We do 3 sets for lower body and three sets for upper body then finish off with some conditioning to squeeze the last bit out of you and increase your fitness. The results have left me feeling a little stronger each session while taking 8 cm off my waist and adding 2 cm to my chest! Boom!
Now as you may (or may not) know, 6 packs are built in the kitchen, not the gym so eating really is key to your overall results. No point having a rock hard six pack under a layer of fat, is there?
As I mentioned in my previous post, The Arrow Clubs approach to eating has truly been the best ‘diet’ I have ever tried. Having spent years demonizing certain food and cutting out entire food groups I can now finally eat everything. Literally everything – Just in much smaller quantities of course. Every week we receive a bespoke meal plan based on our current weight and are either put on a calorie deficit (to lose weight) or a maintenance plan to stop your body going into ‘shut down’.
The problem with talking calories is that no one really knows what calories actually look like! Would you spot it in a line-up against… I dunno… atoms? How much is 1000 calories? Will I be starving if I’m on a calorie deficit? How do I even know how many calories are in something? These are the conversations I’ve been having over the last few weeks so I decided to try and demystify it a little. My last few weeks have hovered around the 1750 calorie mark on a calorie deficit so I thought I would show you exactly what 1750 calories looks like. We have a little digital kitchen scale to weigh everything and use the My Fitness Pal app to track all our calories – the app pretty much has anything you could ever put in your mouth in there – You can even scan product barcodes to obtain their nutritional information! Genius! Anyway, here’s a day in the life of my mouth!
Post Workout – 285 Cal
• Peanut Butter – 15g (roughly one teaspoon) – 98 Cal
• Protien Powder – 1 Serving – 115 Cal
• Rolled Oats – 20g (roughly 2 tablespoons) – 72
Each meal plan comes with a macronutrient breakdown of carbs, fat, and protein as well as how much of each you should aim to get in each day. It’s most important to hit your protein goal, so I try and smash a protein shake straight after our workout. We prep it before we leave and drink it as soon as we get in the car. The addition of oats here really helps bulk it up and the peanut butter not only delivers on all those good fats but also… I mean it’s peanut butter! Delicious!!
Hot Breakfast – 498 Cal
• Plain Bagel – 230 Cal
• Eggs – 2 Large – 143 Cal
• Avocado – half a medium sized avo – 120 Cal
• Siracha Sauce – 1 teaspoon – 5 Cal
Rediscovering bagels has been as close to a religious experience as I’m probably ever gonna get! I mean, have you eaten a toasted bagel? I’m not sure there is anything better! Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day and I never get sick of this one – truth be told, I sometimes eat this even when there’s something else on my plan!
Lunch – 525 Cal
• Rump Steak – 150g – 188 Cal
• Baby Mediterranean Potatoes- 125g – 72 Cal
• Tenderstem Broccoli – 100g – 31 Cal
• Egg – Large – 72 Cal
• Olive Oil – 1 Teaspoon – 40 Cal
When was the last time you had steak, egg, and chips on a diet? I’m guessing never! This meal really starts showing you how varied foods caloric value can be. I always thought potatoes were an absolute no go, but at 72 Calories for a serving, I say gimme! My advice is to invest in an air fryer, pop those potatoes in that sucker with little to no oil, spice them heavily with some cajun seasoning and you’ll have crispy spicy potato wedges in 20 minutes. There’s some seriously dark magic that happens inside that little thing! Oh, it’s also a good idea to fill up on some greens, 100 grams of broccoli is gonna leave you feeling pretty stuffed without putting a hefty dent in your calorie savings account.
Dinner – 471 Cal
• Cooked Chicken Breast – 140g – 200Cal
• Cooked Basmati Rice – 110g – 150 Cal
• Bok-Choi – 100g – 12 Cal
• Sweet Peppers – 85g – 25 Cal
• Olive Oil – 1 Teaspoon – 40 Cal
• Oyster Sauce – Half a Tablespoon – 15 Cal
• Low Sodium Soy Sauce – Half a Tablespoon – 5 Cal
• Chilli Garlic Sauce – Half a Tablespoon – 8 Cal
• Crushed Garlic – 10g – 16 Cal
Now, not only do I love eating, but I love cooking too, so this meal has been through some pretty serious tests to pack a lot of flavor without shooting the caloric lights out! Sauces and condiments can quickly add up to a whole bunch of empty calories so use them wisely. Can we also just give a massive shout out to Bok-Choi for being the winner of the lowest calorie thing ever – I mean its not really a competition, but finding delicious low-calorie foods is a new hobby for me and Bok-Choi is my blue-eyed BOY! Lastly, I just want you all to know how happy I am to be eating rice again. It’s the perfect thing to eat when you want lots of something.
Those extra 100 Cals
At the end of the day, you’re gonna have about 100 Cals left in your calorie bank account – sometimes a little more sometimes a little less depending on whether you ran out of bagels or gave yourself a little more chicken. This is when your little ‘treat’ comes in.
Personally, this has been a lifesaver for me. Being able to treat yourself to something you enjoy is a big part of making your diet sustainable. Elzaan and I have found a range of chocolates and snacks that offer a good 100 Cal portion. There’s even some really decent protein infused chocolates above that are a great option when you haven’t hit your protein goal for the day – just keep in mind this is often not the best quality protein!
As we know, I love me a little tipple now and then, so finding drinks that won’t push me over the top has also been key for me. If I want to join the gents for a drink after work or have a little sundowner here at home, I just plan for it in my day. I have definitely found a new appreciation for lite beer and a classic Americano. Just so you know, there is a difference between Lite beer and Light beer and it’s more than just the ‘g’. Lite actually stands for “Low in Total Energy” whereas ‘Light’ just means low in alcohol… and really what’s the point in that. : ) A good lite beer can deliver all that beery goodness at about 100 Cals a bottle! Just drink them ice cold or they taste dreadful! If you’re more in a cocktail mood, you can’t beat an Americano, made with 25ml of each Campari and Martini Rosso then topped up with soda, is the ultimate gentleman’s drink at 92 Calories!
It is important to note though that your first choice should always be nutrient dense food, in the end, it will keep you fuller longer and give you better results.
So, are six-packs truly built in the kitchen? Did the 10 days of traveling mess everything up or is this really a sustainable lifestyle? Let’s take a look.
So, 8 weeks in and I’m almost 6 KG’s down. In fact, at some point, I was more than 6Kg’s down, but my weight started doing a weird yo-yo thing a few days before the weigh-in and it jumped up a kilo…then dropped nearly a kilo the very next day to 67.25kg’s. For the sake of honesty though, I represented my weight and measurements as they were at the 8-week mark.
The biggest physical difference for me is definitely my posture and waist (seen best on the side view) – Though to be honest, I could feel all that already in my clothes. My chest feels as though it’s building up a little and with my waist getting smaller my back is definitely looking broader. I have 2 more abs to show for all the hard work and at this rate, the last 2 should pop at the end of the 12-week mark! I’m happy to see that despite the difficult 4 weeks everything has kept dropping.
My hopes for these last 4 weeks is that I start seeing a little more definition in my muscles and maybe add a couple more cm’s to where it counts. Either way, I’m proud of my progress and really enjoying the lifestyle change.
Elzaan is still looking absolutely incredible and to be completely honest the above photos do no justice to how incredible she looks in real life! I mean, she always looks incredible, but lucky for me I get to see her when she steps out the shower : ) She’s definitely getting a lot stronger and knocking out pull ups and push ups like it’s her job! Amazing! I’m super proud of how dedicated she is and how far she’s come in such a short space of time. What a babe!
All the training gear (except Elzans prized Stella McCartney sneakers) are available on Adidas.co.za (In fact the white training tights and grey and white ultra boosts are currently on sale with a whole bunch of other stuff). If you’re looking at doing a little weight lifting yourself, I highly recommend the training gloves, they’ve saved my hands and my grip too.
That’s it! I’ll be back in about 4 weeks with the final update! If you have any questions about any of the above I’ll do my best to answer them in the comments below! In the meantime, you can keep an eye on my Instagram stories for what’s going down!
Okay. Stay fit and fancy.