Health & Fitness Update – 8 Week Progress

Have you ever had one of those big goals that just felt SO daunting at the beginning that you couldn’t see any end in sight? That’s how I felt two months ago when I embarked on a journey to improve my health and fitness.

Hiring a personal trainer had been on my “Big Goals” list for over two years, and I finally decided that enough was enough. Although I was (unnecessarily) terrified of shelling out a chunk of change to have someone tell me what to do six days per week, I bit the bullet and hired a personal trainer to guide me through my journey.

Marissa Herbstler [Insta | Facebook] had been on my radar for a few months, and I shot her an email…

Within a few days, I was armed with a meal plan and we had scheduled our first workouts. We’d be hitting the gym together six days a week (Monday through Saturday) at 6:30 am.

Struggling to figure out how to track your health and fitness in your Bullet Journal? These spreads might help :)

** DISCLAIMER: Please don’t use this plan as your own! These plans were tailor-made for me and my personal goals and fitness level.  Always consult a professional before embarking on ANY diet or fitness routine! **

In my last post, I showed you how I was planning to track my progress in my Bullet Journal. Today, I’m excited to show you the results!


IT WASN’T EASY

Even though I have shared a lot of my positive progress over on my personal Instagram account, I have to confess that it hasn’t always been easy.

There were ups and downs throughout the entire 8-week program. I even missed an ENTIRE week towards the end due to me getting the flu followed by a sinus infection… yuk! (Don’t worry, we added an extra week onto the end to make up for it)

I struggled with the “meal plan” portion of my program when life got busy and I stopped tracking my diet for a few weeks. I even had a few days where the LAST thing I wanted to do was go to the gym. Certain days of the week were always harder than others (leg day, anyone?), and I found myself psyching myself out on those mornings.

But one thing remained consistent throughout my program — my commitment to ME. I knew from experience that once I got back into a good workout routine, I’d fall in love with fitness again. I just had to drag myself through the mud at times in order to get there.


8-WEEK PROGRESS

I’ve shared these progress pictures over in the Boho Berry Tribe Facebook Group for accountability, but this is my first time sharing them publicly… so please be kind ;)

BEGINNING PHOTOS (Feb 27th):

These first photos were taken by my husband at the very beginning of my journey. I’d like to note here that I was NOT unhappy with my body… it was more about the way that I FELT on a daily basis. I was lacking in energy and I felt weak all the time. My goal was never to lose weight but rather to get stronger and more confident in my own skin.

FINAL PHOTOS (May 6th):

Here’s the kicker, y’all! I actually GAINED a half pound over the course of my 8-week program! You wouldn’t know it by looking at the pictures though. I lost inches where it mattered, and gained muscle as well.

Overall I’m extremely happy with the progress that I’ve made!


STAYING MOTIVATED

Besides our regular check-ins every two weeks, my main motivation was keeping up with my fitness trackers. I used a combination of analog and digital helpers to track my progress and was excited to update them after each and every workout.

ANALOG:

I used my Bullet Journal religiously to keep track of my workouts and fitness assessments along the way.

(You can click on these images to view them larger)

** DISCLAIMER: Please don’t use this plan as your own! These plans were tailor-made for me and my personal goals and fitness level.  Always consult a professional before embarking on ANY diet or fitness routine! **

DIGITAL:

My main digital motivation was my Apple Watch. I tracked each and every workout with my watch and loved the challenge of closing my “activity rings” each day.

** For those of you not familiar, the Apple Watch tracks your activity in three areas or “rings”. Red = Move, Green = Exercise, Blue = Stand.

As you can see, there were days where I struggled to meet my goals, but seeing the majority of those rings closed brings me SO much joy! (That las week of April was when I fell ill)

Another app that I loved using (and still do) is HeartWatch. This app takes those activity rings to a whole new level with insights based around your heartrate readings on your Apple Watch. The screenshots below are just a small sampling of the data it provides.


MOVING FORWARD:

Now that my time with my personal trainer is over, I’m looking forward to continuing this journey on my own. Marissa kindly created an additional 8-week workout plan for me to follow over the next couple of months, and I plan on tracking my progress in much the same way.

Here are some changes I’m making and ways that I plan on staying motivated going forward:

TINY GYM JOURNAL:

I’m using a pocket-sized Leuchtturm1917 notebook to bring with me to the gym and track my workouts. I decided to keep a list of my PR’s (personal records) at the front of the journal for each of my common exercises. (I haven’t filled the numbers in yet)

After that, it’s just a quick rapid log for each day containing my workout and a food log for each day. The night before, I fill in my workout for the following day. While at the gym, I log the weight I used for each exercise and any additional notes as they come up.

(PS – Sweaty palms = smears!) Haha!

FITOCRACY:

Just last week, I created an account on Fitocracy. The mobile app is a bit clunky, but I absolutely LOVE their website and concept. Fitocracy allows you to log your workouts and earn points for each exercise. You level up as you earn more points, and can even earn achievement badges and complete quests along the way.

There’s a great community aspect to Fitocracy as well, where you can ask questions, give and receive “props”, and join groups centered around your personal interests.

Psst – If you’d like to connect over on Fitocracy, my username is “MrsBenz” :)


Long story made very short — I feel like a whole new woman!

I’m excited to continue on this journey, and I’m feeling stronger and more motivated than ever before.

I want to say a HUGE thanks to those of you who have been following along over on Instagram and providing your support these past couple of months. Your encouragement has helped me more than you know!

Kara Benz
Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.

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  • Thank you, Kara! I’ve just checked Fitocracy – it looks great <3 I feel so much more motivated ^^
    And all the best for you :) I don't have Insta and don't follow you there, but here I can write – you rock ^^

  • Thanks for sharing Kara. I’m really lacking the motivation right now, but I love the way you make it all look so fun. Filling out Fitness Spreads could really motivate me as silly as it sounds, haha.

  • Barb Wire

    Blimey!! Good job! I’m so impressed and inspired. If I recall your regime was pretty hardcore but wow what results!!

  • Laura B

    Fantastic job, Kara! Goodness the work you’ve invested and it’s definitely paying off. You look great, and I’m sure you feel even better than great! Your inspiration has been such a gift to me (and so many others out here in the #BuJo world. Thank you for sharing your workout pages. I just hired a PT about 2 months ago and IT WORKS! Keep up the good work!

  • chocorucci

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s a true inspiration since I’m struggling with my fitness and getting started again, too! I just loved reading your story so far. Keep it up!

  • tishushu

    This is awesome, Kara! Glad it all worked out for you! And you look great!

  • Vanya Boon

    Do you have any recommendations for health blogs/vlogs Kara? I’ve found that when I surround myself with healthy living mediathings I am way more motivated to actually go work out, so I’m trying to find some good ones!

  • Cole@ColeSmithWrites

    Great work, Kara! Changing lifestyle is one of the hardest things to do, and you’re crushing it :)

  • simkins5634

    Technoogy gives us more opportunities to take care of our health. I think such kind of tips should make us more aware about our health and we find a better world in here.