After taking a few months off Flywheel, I recently returned to my favorite indoor cycling/barre studio to lose a few pounds. Within two months, my previously snug jeans were loose on me. When Flywheel offered their latest 28 Days to Fit Challenge, I accepted in hopes it would make an even bigger impact on my body.
I signed up for the FlyPlus Challenge, which consisted of three indoor cycling and three barre classes a week for four weeks. The Challenge offered a meal planning guide, a weekly conference call with a nutritionist, weekly motivating emails and a Facebook page for questions and encouragement.
I was hoping the meal planning aspect would change my life, but I’m lazy. Short of someone cooking those meals for me, not much is going to change. I did buy a few things off their list of approved foods, but mostly just snacks that I wouldn’t normally have in the house. Having bags of dark chocolate chunks, peanuts and pumpkin seeds on hand at the slightest hunger pang wasn’t my best idea. Needless to say, my diet the first two weeks was worse than when I started.
Those first two weeks also saw me not meeting my three for three class goal. Knowing I had to weigh in at the end of the month did hold me accountable though. When I didn’t make it to a wheel or barre class, I went running or did another strength training workout, but nothing was as intense as I find Flywheel to be.
The last two weeks of the Challenge I started turning things around. I met my Flywheel class goals, got rid of the extra “approved” snacks and tried to make better food choices. The latter for me means avoiding sugar and bread, which is a constant battle.
At the end of my four weeks, my measurements indicated that I lost a 1/4 inch in my left arm, but gained a 1/4 inch in my right arm. Despite thinking that my legs looked leaner and meaner, there was no change in my thighs. I did however lose a 1/4 inch in both my waist and hips, but I gained four pounds. I tried to rationalize the extra weight as muscle gain or water retention, but it also could have been that I went on too many Coke and M&M binges.
Feeling less bloated a couple days after my final weigh in, I thought about re-taking my measurements in hopes of seeing better numbers. Instead, I decided to track my progress based on my barre instructor Elena’s criteria. Since results can be affected by a number of things – fat loss vs. muscle gain, measurements being taken in a different spot each time – she suggested the best way to determine fitness success is by how you feel and how your clothes fit.
Based on Elena’s yardstick, my 28 Days to Fit Challenge results are as follows:
- My jeans are still looser in the waist than when I returned to Flywheel three months prior. My butt looks perkier in my workout pants, I notice more definition in my calves, and, despite what my measurements say, I believe both my biceps have made positive, albeit small, improvements.
- Before retuning to Flywheel, my Total Power (combination of Torq, a.k.a. resistance, and speed) was usually between 180 and 220 (on average, women finish in the mid 200s, with an elite few hitting 300). Now, I’m never below 200, even on the days I’m not really feeling it. I also meet my instructors’ suggested RPM/Torq goals easier and I have graduated from always finishing at the bottom of the TorqBoard, to usually landing in the middle of the pack.
- I can hold my weights up for longer periods of time during FlyBarre’s arm routines and my hips no longer sway wildly during plank shoulder taps.
- I am still motivated to come to class. Usually I lose interest in a workout after two months, with my attendance tapering off during the third month. Not only did I attend all my Flywheel classes by the end of the Challenge, but, encouraged by the changes I’ve seen in my body so far, I’m looking forward to seeing what a fourth month in a row will do for me.
A six pack might never be in my future, especially if I don’t change my diet, and I may never hit 300 total power on my bike, but Flywheel makes me feel stronger, more confident and happier about the way I look. Four pounds heavier or not, I consider that a success.