Beta Testing Julia Buckley’s Ignite

I’ve been trialling a new 4 week program from Julia Buckley called Ignite. She’s moved away from free weights and on to body weight exercises for this particular program and presents her material in video format on her online gym website.

Julia has been asking her beta testers to identify a four-week goal and then commit to 3 daily habits that will take us there.

Four weeks is not a long time so we had to be realistic. Mine was to feel more comfortable in a t-shirt I was given a for a Christmas past. I’d like to wear it this Christmas without feeling as trussed up as the proverbial turkey.

Here’s the before shot:

Birk Larsens – The Killing

One of the things I really like about the Ignite program are the effective and varied warmup and cool down sessions that Julia builds into the 30 minute sessions. This is always the element of workout that I skip when I train unguided, despite having seen clear evidence that my body performs so much better after I’ve practised the move for a few times or “greased the groove”.

Julia is a very effervescent or bubbly character and can maintain a constant chatter throughout the workout videos. This can be quite high risk with exercise videos and is thing that turned me off celebrity workouts of the 80’s. My memory of workout videos is that they tend to be ok on the first viewing but then the jokes and catch phrases very quickly become irritating.

With Julia’s Ignite program you are cycling 6 different routines so only repeat each on a weekly basis. That’s a lot of variety for one program and does mean they feel fairly fresh each week.

Julia’s relaxed style means you feel like you are exercising with a buddy rather than being instructed from the screen. She leaps up and down maintaining the chatter while I huff and puff beside her. Perfect really because there’s no way I could talk through it.

The exercises are variations in HIT body weight moves such as lunges, squats and burpees. They focus on power, strength and balance.

I’m only two weeks in but so far I’m really enjoying it. There’s a lot of variety and since I’ve dabbled with the Freeletics movement I’ve become quite familiar with body weight exercises and the dreaded burpee in particular. The best thing has got to be the duration. 30 mins is perfect and that includes the warm up and warm down.

I’m not pretending that I don’t still struggle to motivate myself to do it some days but it’s hard to convince yourself that you can’t squeeze in a 30 minute session. The other bonus in these particularly wintry days is that you feel warm for ages after completing the session.

Ignite turns me into a fiery furnace.

A Lunge for the Samaritans

I’ve just started another 12 week round of fitness and fat loss with Julia Buckley. Last time was The Fat Burn Revolution but now its stepped up a notch and become Extreme Inferno.

I kicked off the week with an Insanity styled grilling called SweatMax. After 25 minutes leaping around the front room I was left with a semi-permanent frown, sweat blindness and a mass of lumpen concrete where my calf used to be. Just my cup of tea.

Side plank dips

Today was time for MetaSculpt which meant I got to drag out the dumbbells again and partake in increasingly tricky, whole body moves. Here’s Julia illustrating the particularly nasty side plank dip. I managed 5 heavily modified side plank dips before deciding it was time to move on to the next set. Unfortunately that meant I had to start lunging on my dodgy calf. I’m not good at lunging at the best of times and as my Achilles appears to have calcified these were especially wobbly versions.

Side plank dips

I therefore surprised myself when on the morning walk into work, I managed to perform the smoothest and deepest lunge of my adult life.

I spotted, a few yards ahead of me, a discarded crumple of paper. The paper had a certain quality about it, the sort that makes you not want to draw too much attention. I looked ahead, ensuring that I wouldn’t give anything away with my line of sight. And then I walked on and in perfect flow, I dipped with a knee to floor action, scooped up the crumple and came back up again into a walk.

I continued on my way and didn’t examine my pickings until I’d cleared at least a mile. To my delight I found two £5 notes scrunched together and now sitting in my hands.

Not wanting to offend the pavement gods I have now deposited the offering in my Samaritans charity fund. So my Grand Union Canal Challenge fund is slowly rising but I still have a very dodgy calf and a very, very long walk to do this weekend.

12 Weeks to a Sleek Body with The Fat Burn Revolution

Fat Burn RevolutionI’ve known Julia Buckley for a few years now, through the running and blogging ether. Earlier this year I decided to join in the second phase of her Fat Burn Revolution pilot scheme.

The original pilot was designed to test a program that she was planning to bring to a wider audience through the publication of a fitness manual – The Fat Burn Revolution. By coming in at the second stage I was working with a tried and tested routine and by the looks of it, it’s the version that made it into the book.

The weight loss / fat loss market is huge and it’s hard to imagine a space for yet another book on the subject. When Julia’s book dropped through the letter box I have to admit to be a little underwhelmed. I was expecting another me-too book with pretty pictures and a smattering of familiar advice.

I have to say I was wrong. The book is very pretty, really well organised and whoever was in charge of the page layout deserves a thumbs up, but the book is so much more than I expected.

Inside the Fat Burn Revolution

There is real content here. Inspiring, sensible advice from someone who comes across as a truly honest and insightful guide, a guide who encourages you to seize control of your own life by offering you the tools and the permission to be steadfast with your goals.

The tools aren’t just limited to the exercises, you will also find advice for dealing with saboteurs, the way to decline offers that intefere with your goals and how to plan to succeed.

The type of advice that resonates with me:

Always remember that it is totally up to you what you eat. You are an adult and no one can make you eat or drink anything you don’t want to.

and when dealing with potential diet and exercise sabateurs:

don’t invite unhelpful comments from others by intimating that you’d rather be doing anything else……turn it down politely, but not apologetically

As I’ve said, I have known Julia in a distant capacity for some time and having had near daily contact with her for 3 months while doing the fat burn program I can confirm that Julia is genuinely supportive and truly wants you to achieve your health goals.

The exercises and routines are very well described in the book and have full colour photos to accompany the descriptions. Just as with the program I took part in, the Fat Burn Revolution is split into 3 phases which build in intensity (not necessarily duration). There is a combination of high intensity sessions, plyometric routines and weight lifting. The weightlifting section is a refreshing addition to a mainstream fitness program but for anyone who wants to shift lard and/or develop a strong, sleek and fit body it is the secret key.

The Fat Burn Revolution is an ideal program for both beginners and more seasoned sporty types. It will lead you away from a focus on sustained endurance activities to short, sharp bursts and progressive weigh training. The ideas are likely to be new to most people.

I came to the program from years of long distance running which had initially helped me to shift about 6 stone in the early years but had allowed me to stabilise somewhere close to 5 stone above my ideal weight. After 12 weeks on the Fat Burn Revolution I had shifted another stone, much of which was fat, and most importantly I had dramatically improved my appearance and my sense of well being. If you want to see the results of someone who has completed a number of back to back sessions of the Fat Burn program you should check out Becca’s blog at From Snickers to Marathon.

I’m very grateful to Julia and her program for introducing me to the tools that my body responds to. All my programs post The Fat Burn Revolution have included more HIT and strength sessions than endurance ones and this has helped me to maintain my losses and my fitness.

If you are about to embark on this program I strongly advise you take the measurements and most importantly the horrendous before photos, these can be so inspiring to compare with at the end of each phase. Check out Julia’s transformation pages for illustrations of how the pilot groups did.

Transformation – Phase 2

Squished by a Barbell

I’ve been in a six-week workout dither since I completed Julia Buckley’s 12 week Fat Burn Revolution program.

I had some good results on the program – take a look at the transformation photos on Julia’s site for evidence, but I’ll leave you to guess who’s who. By the end of the 3 month stint though, I was ready to take control and create my own routine.

Unfortunately the new routine has taken a little while to bed in.

I was convinced of the benefit of strength training and so the new program was going to involve lifting heavy weights as well as more running. As Lynn had bought me six sessions of British Military Fitness, it was also going to include a load of running around in the local park looking like a bullied fool.

I kicked right off with Starting Strength, a remarkably simple and progressive routine for rapidly increasing strength. It’s a barbell routine, mixing up deadlifts, chest press, shoulder press and squats. It’s easy enough to master and each session is relatively short as the exercises chosen work multiple muscle groups in one go. If you use the amazing JEFIT PRO App you can grab a pre-designed starting strength routine here.

Squished by a Barbell

The strength gains are quite rapid but that also became my downfall.

I started off in the garden squatting and bench pressing a fairly manageable dumbbell, by week 3 I had to call for assistance to be released from a bar that was now heavy enough to pin me to the grass. If I want to progress much further with this I’m either going to require a squat rack contraption in the garden or I’ll need to brave the testosterone area of the local gym.

Zombies, Run!The running element is going really well, I’m strengthening my feet with Cool Running slant board and I’ve re-kindled my love of the Zombies, Run! app. The Zombie chases work perfectly with my new focus on interval training and I’m enjoying the running buzz all over again.

So although there have been some positives over the last few weeks and I haven’t been entirely lethargic I can’t claim to have  been incredibly focussed either. This week I’m stepping it up again. I’ve had a six week dither and dabble but now its time to enter the next 3 month showdown. I’ve drawn up a mega program comprising a hybrid of the intense P90X and Body Beast programs from Beachbody, combined with 1-2 BMF sessions and 3 running sessions per week.

As if all that exercise were not enough, I’m restarting the highly effective Whole 30 paleo diet plan as well.

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Here is this evenings set up for Day 1 of P90X. It may look as if I’m about to hang myself but its just the required gear for the Chest and Back session which is a mix of assisted pull ups and an assortment of push up variations.

So far so good, it’s early days and way too soon to judge the P90X program but it looks like its going to be just my cup of tea – way less intense than the nutty Insanity program with the added advantage that its focussed on weight training.

I’ll post a few updates along the way of my modified Body Beast and P90X 90 day challenge but if you want more regular updates please consider joining the newly set up warriorwomenblog facebook page which is looking very lonely or join me on twitter @warriorwoman.

 

The Whole 30 Challenge

I’m nearing the end of the Julia Buckley Fat Loss program with just 2 more weeks of hard graft before I take the final measurements and review the before and after photos.

Julia’s program has a very structured training plan but the nutritional aspect has been left much more fluid, enabling the recruits to guide themselves towards a healthy and workable nutrition plan. The food motto for the JBFL program would probably be “Mostly good, most of the time”, where good means low in processed carbs.

I started my diet plan with a predominantly Paleo foundation, so immediately cut out bread, pasta, potatoes and sugar. I’m afraid I was following a French caveman who turned out to be a founder member of the Stella Artois brewery and alcohol managed to sneak past my paleo principles.

3 weeks ago I decided to take the plan a bit more seriously and went in search of hardcore Paleo rules.

The Whole 30I found the Whole 30.

For the last 25 days I’ve been following an über strict paleo detox. So that means NO milk, NO alcohol, NO bread, NO sugar, NO pasta, NO grains, NO pulses, NO flour.

I’ve been living off jasmine tea, eggs, chicken, tuna, veg, fruit and cashew nuts. That’s pretty much it. If it weren’t for the cashew nuts I’d probably be wafer thin by now.

Its been a struggle. Cutting out milk in my tea turned out to be the surprise challenge. I had a very sulky patch during week 3 – I was bored with the monotony of it all and wanted a god damn beer. I did have a couple of blips in the end. I had two bottles of Mythos at a Greek restaurant and a dollup of Elmlea fake cream with some strawberries. On the whole though, this has been a rewarding and successful challenge.

One of the main ideas of the Whole 30 plan is to detox or get clean for a whole month so you can slowly re-introduce food types into your diet to assess for any intolerances. I don’t think I’m bothered much by food intolerances so expect to be able to re-introduce milk and alcohol almost immediately. I hope I’ve learned something about moderation though.

My intention is to stick to a mostly Paleo inspired diet, the reduction in processed carbs and sugars has freed me from many of the intense food cravings I had and I feel much less of a slave to food. I’m looking forward to a bit more freedom and flexibility though.

If you’re tempted by the Whole 30 Challenge I would recommend the following two books “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat” and “It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” as well as this amazing iPad recipe app, “Nom Nom Paleo” which is a joy to use and includes some really delicious and inspired Whole 30 compliant recipes. Despite having cut out a number of potential ingredients from my diet, with the help of these 3 guides I’ve actually been incredibly creative in the kitchen, knocking up homemade mayonnaise, Chinese style cauliflower “rice” and a rather special Vietnamese beef dish.

Packing my Bags

I’m in to the final taper week for London2Brighton.

I was scheduled for a gentle 10-miler but due to the actions of rogue trader, Russell Hollick we were rather pre-occupied attempting to clear up his mess. We were unfortunately introduced to this serial scam artist (aka Russ Hollick Heating Engineer) some months ago and recently allowed him into our home to fit us a nice new kitchen. He chose to take our money, rip out our kitchen and then clear off to enjoy the spoils.

So its been an interesting weekend but not quite as planned.

I don’t think the missed 10 miles will make a jot of difference to my ability to finish the 62 mile course next weekend; the years of overeating and regular Stella indulgence may though.

London2BrightonWe’ve been poring over the stage details this evening and I’m panicking again. I’m not sure if the discovery in the small print of a 33 hour cut off point is a good or bad thing. On the one hand I don’t want to feel the sweeper truck nipping at my heels all the way to Brighton but at the same time, if I’m threatening to be walking for more than 30 hours I would love someone to carry me off the course and put me out of my misery.

ActionChallenge have just released the checkpoint menus and I see that if I can make it as far as Ardingley I will be treated to the Vintage Fudge and Toffee stop. I could almost kill for a good fudge so I’m sure I can walk 67.5k for a chunk.

Lynn is able to meet me at 3 points (25k, 52k and 87k) before the finish so I’ve spent the evening assembling checkpoint packs filled with ever warmer clothes, stronger pain killers and most importantly, fresh bags of fruit sherberts. I am of course sworn off fruit sherberts for my 12 week Julia Buckley Transformation program but I’m having a 33 hour window of sin next weekend where anything that will tempt me to take another step is considered fair game.

If you want to send me a message of support here’s the link to my Samaritan’s charity page.

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New Schemes

DumbbellsMy latest fitness and weightloss scheme is the Julia Buckley Fat Burn Revolution. A 12-week program that rotates sessions in the style of many of my previous fads. It has a definite likeness to the Body For Life program with its emphasis on protein rich meals, weight training and high intensity, short lived cardio sessions but it also mirrors the plyometric Insanity workouts with a hint of Convict Conditioning body weight training.

I’m a week in. Only 11 weeks to go to a new me.

Last week I took the before photos and spent a good 10 minutes sobbing at the results. It shouldn’t have been a shock, I weigh myself daily, I know how horrific that number is. Somehow though, the numbers managed to hide the visual impact.

The years have taken their toll and the photo emphasised the impact of gravity, the pounds have shifted downwards and my thighs are now hovering in the place my knees used to occupy.

I have high hopes for the program. Julia has achieved impressive results with previous recruits and obviously I am hoping for my own transformation. I am 10 days away from the biggest challenge of my life and 12 weeks away from my summer holiday and potential beachside humiliation.

I am completely open to transformation.