As Tessa and Tina burpee and squat their way to the end of Kayla Itsine's Bikini Body Guide challenge, they're seeing results and learning what it takes to keep up the good work.
I'm surprised and a little proud that I've made it this far through BBG 1.0 - we are now in Week 11 of the 12-week program. I never found it easy to be consistent with a workout regimen. Life gets in the way. But I have found that blogging about your workout wins and fails for a national news outlet is a really good motivator for sticking with the programme.
I'm concerned about what will happen once BBG 1.0 is over and there won't be any more blogging about what heinous tasks Kayla put us through this week.
Will I still do the exercises without the accountability of Tessa or editor Rebecca or blog post commenters? Or will I reclaim my corner of the couch and lose everything I've achieved so far? Because that couch is really comfortable. And there's always something new to watch on Netflix.
The thing is: I like how my body is changing. I've toned up and slimmed down. I don't really know if I lost any weight; I don't own scales. (I suggest you don't own scales either. It's very freeing.) But I know my pants fit better.
But I don't want to be a slave to the bikini body. I want a life of moderation. I want to exercise to maintain good physical health. I also want to feel comfortable enough to indulge in the more feel-good experiences that help preserve my happiness. Those experiences might include another serving of potatoes. Mmm, potatoes.
I worked out on Sunday, knowing that there would be an amazing roast dinner waiting after I finished BBGing. After doing my leg workout and a low-impact cardio session, I came back feeling amazing. Really amazing. And not because I was going to tuck into a carb coma. The exercise-induced endorphins were flowing, and I decided I wanted another fitness goal to work towards. I'm thinking of doing the 10K walk at the Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon on May 14.
The race finish is at a winery. Score.
Maybe having a fun event is the way to keep the good results from BBG going, while also hitting that workout-life balance I'm trying to seek. BBG has got me to a point where I have some decent stamina and strength. Could BBG 2.0 be a nice complement to completing a 10K? I think so.
How I'm feeling: Good. Really good. Is this what an endorphin high feels like?
What I'm listening to: Girl Talk radio on Pandora. Special thanks to Wale for helping me get through a particular heinous set of burpees plus jumps
Favourite exercise: Cardio
Least favourite exercise: There's this one workout which is a burpee, then you have to jump up on to a bench or a step. I have to summon everything I have in me to make that jump happen
I give myself credit for making it to the second to last week of this guide. It certainly hasn't been easy to stay on track with the programme as well as manage the rest of my life for eleven weeks.
I often see photos of girls who are at Week 24 or Week 42 of Kayla's Bikini Body Guide, meaning they have repeated the guide twice or nearly four times. Ladies and gentlemen, that is what I call commitment.
Last week I spoke about the connections and effects of mental and physical wellbeing. We often push ourselves when it comes to working out, because we are afraid of making excuses.
What we don't realise is that maybe we do need to take a break. Not just because we're physically exhausted (I mean it's not that physically tiring to sit at a desk all day) but because we're mentally exhausted.
I personally think that we don't take enough time to focus on whether we're mentally prepared enough to take ourselves through a workout. This goes beyond just working out and I think mental health is something we need to take more notice of.
That is one thing I have learnt from my time doing Kayla's programme. If you're mentally fatigued then it's likely that your body is probably not going to perform well either. It's better to rest and recover, rather than push your body too hard.
Having said that, sometimes a workout is exactly what the mind needs - it helps to let off some steam, and release those endorphins that keep us feeling happy and healthy. The key is to listen to your body and know where your limits lie.
As we venture into the final two weeks of the guide, I'm looking back at all that Tina and I have accomplished, as well as all that lies in front of us. Will I continue the guide? Maybe. But perhaps at a pace that better fits my lifestyle? Will I achieve my New Year 2016 resolution of running a marathon and learning Chinese? Well, stay tuned.
Meanwhile, this is what I look like at Week 11...
But also kind of feel like this...
But here's hoping I actually turn out like this....
How I'm feeling: Tired. Gosh, I am eleven weeks of tired
Favourite workout music: Jeremiah "anything" - I'm kind of obsessing
Favourite workout: Sit ups. Because the abs are slowing coming and I get to be on my butt
Least favourite workout: Tricep dips. Because I lack tricep muscles, therefore it's extremely hard to even "dip"