So, Christmas happened. Read into that what you will, and watch some of the exercises painfully executed post-festivities:
It may come as a surprise to hear, but the best part about this challenge is the food! As long as you’re eating the right stuff, you can eat a lot! All it takes is a little bit more time to plan and get creative. Here are our best picks.
This is our very own homemade banana bread. It’s made with almond milk, coconut flour, eggs, bananas and topped with pecan nuts and maple syrup for a sweet edge! It lasts for ages and is great for mid morning snack. Oh and it is AMAZING!
Tiger prawn tagliatelle
For those of us on a restricted carb diet, this is the perfect dish as thin slices of courgettes are used instead of pasta. They are simply created with a potato peeler, mixed together with peppers, tiger prawns and lime juice and then baked in the oven for about 8 minutes.
For those not worried about carbs, this gluten free pizza base is a great way to feel naughty but still keeping within your macros. Here we have added tuna, spinach, mushrooms and a tomato base.
Vegetable beef soup
This is exactly what it says on the tin – slow cooked vegetables, ground beef and stock. We spiced this up with cumin, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper and paprika.
Yes these are allowed! Made purely with healthy fats, they are a gooey, chocolatey delight and made in 10 little minutes. They are made with almond butter, coconut sugar, cacao-nibs and a tiny bit of pure vanilla extract – just mixed together and baked. Yum!
Curried sweet potatoes
What a tower of joy! This is a well crafted tower made out of sweet potatoes, peppers and cherry tomatoes. All the veg is baked in the oven, constructed into this beauty and then smothered with a mixture of full fat coconut milk and curry powder.
Almond butter pancakes
We love making pancakes as you can use protein powder to replace the flour and it’s still delicious. These little beauts were made with chia seeds, almond milk and eggs. We topped them off with almond butter, raspberries, mango and maple syrup. They were delicious, although Lady Belle doesn’t look too impressed!
Turkey meat balls with cauliflower puree
This is such a easy dish to make and is so filling. Cauliflower has become our best friend as a perfect alternative to white potatoes and rice. The meat balls are oven baked and then dipped in a homemade tomato and garlic sauce (cat topping optional).
Banana almond milk smoothie
Here’s a great tip for you – put your banana in the freezer before turning it into a smoothie as it thickens it up into a delicious milkshake. We have used almond milk, blueberries, goji berries, pecans and chia seeds.
Stuffed sweet potato
After oven baking the sweet potatoes, we sliced the top third off and scooped out the flesh. This was mixed with scrambled eggs, caramelised onions, chilli and spring onions, popped back in the skin and munched away.
Three planks… enough said
As expected, the massive change in diet hasn’t been very easy. There were a couple of temper tantrums during the first two weeks! It has got a bit better, but I’m very much missing processed sugar! Saying that, I’m actually really enjoying breakfast! It’s super easy to throw a load of yogurt, berries and seeds in some Tupperware and it lasts for at least 3 days.
A delicious breakfast of yogurt, rolled oats, goji berries, blueberries, chia seeds & pomegranate
Lunch isn’t working so well for me, as I generally don’t have time to grab something in the middle of the day. To solve that, I’ve started throwing all the leftovers from dinner in a tub, but I do forget it more often than not. Failing that, I’ve got a supply of My Bar Zero next to my desk and they are pretty yummy!
Workout wise it’s going well. I’ve managed to up all of my weights by about 5kg and I’m definitely getting stronger. I actually find most of it pretty easy. So rather than just doing legs, arms or upper body, I’m mixing things up a bit and doing double days.
Not sure taking photos is in the job description of a Spotter
I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure that anything was really happening when I looked in the mirror over the past weekend. However, Laura mocked up the images from day one, next to the end of week 2. There is definitely some belly shrinkage and my arms are looking pretty good!
- Favourite exercise: Dumbbell trap bar squats
- Most excruciatingly painful exercise: Bulgarian split squats (really not loving these)
- Breakfast Recommendation: Yogurt, rolled oats, goji berries, blueberries, chia seeds & pomegranate
I’m feeling pretty good overall as we head into week three. Looking forward to seeing my next plan for month two – hopefully free of those Bulgarian split squats! Super excited to see what the pictures look like in two weeks time!
I won’t fib to you, the first fews days weren’t a great deal of fun. I felt tired and light-headed, and had a very strong metallic taste in my mouth. Oh and I couldn’t sleep. The prospect of the next 12 weeks didn’t fill me with joy, but I was assured this was perfectly normal when you switch to a high protein diet, and these reactions do subside… and they did.
The biggest impact on my life has to be the food. As previously a part-time pescatarian, having a substantial amount of protein with every meal is quite tricky, and certainly something I’ve never considered before, especially when looking at it alongside fat and carbs.
On a daily basis I aim to consume 1867 kcals a day, which is made up of 55% protein, 30% fats and 15% carbs. So far I’ve kept to a pretty basic meal plan, such as:
Breakfast – fish (most often salmon), eggs and spinach for breakfast
Elevenses – cottage cheese or tofu with veg and a handful of nuts
Lunch – salmon, veg in coconut oil and avocado
Post workout – protein shake
Evening meal – more fish and a small sweet potato or lentils
As soon as I get a bit more comfortable with it I’ll be as adventurous as Sezer. Although protein balls were a revelation…
Protein balls in the ice cream container (which was definitely not eaten during the challenge) and Tofu in the frying pan
They may not look like much, but believe me, they are little balls of deliciousness. All you need to do is mix together almonds, dates, protein powder, chia seeds and a tiny bit of coconut oil for a delicious sweet treat when you need one (and if your calories allow of course).
In the gym
Working out has been great, I’m really pleased with my exercise schedule as it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and awoken some muscles I didn’t even know existed! Each session is hard, but not unbearable (which was a pleasant surprise).
The hardest of all has to be the walking lunge and Bulgarian split squat combo – all five sets of them. I didn’t think anything could be worse than the first time I did it. I was wrong. The second time was hideous, and both times I have been unable to walk for a number of days.
We will leave it up to you to work out what is about to be said
The pre (Acetyl L Carnitine), intra (BCAA 4.1.1) and post (Whey Isolate Protein) workout supplements are definitely helping me through. In fact, I actually forced myself to the gym the other day so I could have a vanilla shake at the end!
L Carnitine doesn’t taste great, but it’s just a shot so it’s absolutely fine. The Berry Blast BCAA 4.1.1 however is delicious. Whilst I haven’t yet seen a drastic amount of differences, I have noticed the love handles reducing and two little pillow forming just at the bottom of ribs, which I am allowing myself to believe could be the formation of my very first two-pack. Exciting!
Apparently anyone can get ripped in just 12 little weeks, so Myprotein has challenged three regular Joes from Voucherbox to do just that.
Myprotein has provided all the supplements, individual diet and exercise plans, plus a lot of encouragement. Now it’s over to these guys…
Diet: junk food
Biggest weakness: sweets and crisps
Weekly exercise: 4 lazy hours in the gym
Goals: trim and define
I’ve been a bit of a tub since I was younger. About four years ago I was weighing in at a rather embarrassing 120kg. I managed to go on a bit of a two year health kick and dropped to 76kg at my lowest, which was amazing!
About two and a half years ago I started a new job, but unfortunately the new work schedule was detrimental to my training routine. I found I no longer had time to go to the gym as often and fell into my same old routine of junk food and late nights in front of the computer. Back up to 90kg for me.
I’ve worked with MyProtein a lot over the past couple of years in the digital marketing space and when I was approached regarding the twelve-week challenge, I thought, why not? It will be the perfect opportunity for me to get back into shape and incorporate work and fitness.
The exercise plan itself doesn’t scare me too much initially, as I do enjoy sport and spending time in the gym. The biggest challenge for myself personally will be regular sensible eating. For someone that doesn’t really eat in the day and then cakes his face at night, it will be a massive change. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I ate breakfast.
Red face disclaimer: should have taken the snap before the run
Dress size: 12
Biggest weakness: cheese and wine (oh and cake)
Weekly exercise: 3 x exercise classes, 2 x 3-5k runs and 1 x squat and deadlift session
Goals: fat loss and toning (especially arms and stomach)
My exercise regime and diet is pretty average. By that I mean I go to the classes at the gym I enjoy, I occasionally run because I feel I should and I do one weight training session because I’m told I should. I try and eat healthily during the week, but as soon as that weekend comes along, all restraints are off. As such my body is as it deserves to be; not too bad, but accompanied by wobbly and protruding bits I’m not very fond of.
I have lost weight before – I was a size 14 for most of my twenties, so I thought I knew a reasonable amount about how to get in shape, despite not practising it recently – turns out I don’t. The experts at Myprotein have informed me the amount of cardio I’m doing means I’m making it harder to lose body fat. So I must ditch the cardio and get on the gym floor, eeek!
Well I will at least entertain my fellow gym goers as I figure out exactly what a banded high and wide leg press with 10s isometric hold is, amongst other things. In fact it’s safe to say I am unfamiliar with quite a lot and not just the exercises, I mean what is a snow pea?
Whilst this made the arrival of the exercise, diet and supplement information a tad daunting at first, thanks to the very patient guys at Myprotein, beefy people making terrifying YouTube videos, and a very wise boyfriend who knows his stuff, I’m feeling confident… ish.
Diet: paleo, apart from…
Biggest weakness: free office snacks
Weekly exercise: 3-4 days weight training
I never had issues with my body or the way I looked in the past to be honest. I thought I was fine and felt confident in general. However, when I saw pictures of myself in December last year, I had realised that I had gained weight rapidly. I could no longer ignore my clothes getting tighter and could definitely not blame the washing machine for shrinking my jeans and jumpers.
So I decided to change my nutrition drastically. Sure, I would go to the gym eventually – right? If I would be able to commit myself to a healthier way of eating, I would definitely be able to commit myself to the gym. A close friend of mine was a huge fan of paleo and was convinced how it effected his look on nutrition in a positive way. I thought what the heck, and gave it a go.
I went from daily take-out food and carb heavy meals to actual home cooking; prepping my food for work and avoiding all added sugars. I was basically 100% paleo proof for the first 3 months. I lost weight in no time and could fit in all of my clothes again, without worrying if anything was wobbled from the sides.
What I did realise is that there is no good or bad in nutrition. You just have to figure out what works for you and your body. Prohibiting yourself leads to failure. I had my ups, but I definitely had my downs as well. But hey, Rome wasn’t build in a day either. with my nutrition on track I decided to sign up to the gym. Me.. a person who never set foot in a gym in 30 years was about to feel intimidated by the Ikea closet sized men and women with legs to die for.
I figured that a caloric deficit would be the best way to start. Sure, I was somewhat skinny, but I still had the unwanted fat covering my bones and so I focussed on reducing my body fat for about 6 months. It was great!
I became a twig and decided that I no longer needed to reduce my body fat, so about two months ago I started with a caloric surplus diet. It is quite scary moving from 6 months of fat loss to another (or longer?!) of muscle building. And muscle building equals EATING MORE. It is quite hard for me to stuff my face with all the essentials, hitting my daily recommended carbs when on a paleo diet.