9in6 challenge

14 June 2016
Lets get the important facts out of the way: 
I SMASHED THE 9KG IN 6 WEEKS CHALLENGE!

I lost 9.3kg, going from 70.4kg to 61.1kg. 

Its been 4 days since I weighed out of the challenge and I'm still struggling to find the words to perfectly describe the feeling I felt when I hit the 9kg mark. It was undescribably phenomenal. Ecstatic. Overwhelmed. All time adrenaline high. Comparable to skydiving. I was on a rollercoaster high of emotions. I'll come back to this. Before we go any further, let's start right from the very beginning.

Ultimate You's approach to the 9in6 is a combination of mindset, nutrition and fitness. No shortcuts. I've signed up for many gyms (Fitness First, Melbourne City Baths, True Fitness, KLGCC etc) and yes, they're perfectly equipped but nothing is really personalised? They don't care about what you do outside of the gym. You just ate a whole cake after a 2 hour gym session? Go ahead. You're feeling crappy and you don't feel like gymming? Ok don't go, we don't care, as long as you've paid your membership fees.

But UY is different. It realises that you need to master your mindset before you can set yourself goals to do anything. They can give you a perfect exercise and nutrition program, but if you're feeling lazy and undetermined? You'll get nowhere. Not having a good mindset means you're just setting yourself up for failure. I've experience this first hand. I feel this in my soul. 

You can have the best membership to the best gym with the best equipment, you can buy hundreds of workout dvds, you can have the best nutrition plan - but if you don't have the mindset to carry on any of these things. Whats the point? 

I love that I found a program that teaches you how to empower not only your body, but also your mind and spirit.

You might ask, what was the mindset I was in before the challenge?
 Since I came back to Melb in Feb, I was feeling inconsistent and lost with my fitness. I was doing Kayla's BBG still but not as regularly and definitely not on schedule. It made me so frustrated. Sorry, I made myself feel so frustrated. Going from a good roll of consistency from last year to not having that much at all.  It drove me crazy. I felt so disappointed in myself. 

So at the start, the driving force behind my efforts has been determination to get my health back on track. I wanted consistency. I didn't want to feel lost, frustrated and angry at myself anymore. 

With the 9in6 challenge, the program doesn't accept everyone because if you're doing the program for free, they're putting their reputation on the line.  They'd also like to meet you to see if you're suited for the program, or put simply, even have the 9kg to lose. 

When I went for the interview, I told them why I wanted to do it and I told them I'm sick of being in my comfort zone and I wanted to see how far I could mentally/physically push myself. They said they'd love to have me and then asked I put a deposit down for $497. 

At the end of the 6 weeks, if you hit the 9kg mark, you get your deposit back, no questions asked

This is a major incentive for most of the people on the challenge. $497 is a lot of money.. Do you know how many eyeshadow palattes I can buy with $497? Dude... A LOT! Hahaha. 

When I signed the contract (ya it was legit af), I had to go through 3 pages of RULES of the challenge. These are the main ones:
  1. 5 days of doing group classes (Minimum of 1 class a day to as much as you want, as long as it's 5 days a week). 
  2. You have to check in on Facebook everyday after a class. You must have 30 check ins at the end of the 6 weeks.
  3. You have to weigh in every Thursday and send in a report to your coach. Fill them in about how your week went, what classes you did etc. 
  4. FTDP! Follow The Damn Plan. They've given you exercises and a nutrition plan. Follow it down to the T and you WILL see results. 
  5. Change your profile picture on Facebook for the whole 6 weeks. Its probs for marketing but for me, it acted as a really good accountability strategy. 
  6. No fruits, no carbs, nothing processed, no dairy or dairy alternatives. Only protein (chicken, fish, beef, lamb etc) and whole vegetables (spinach, broccoli etc). 
  7. NO CHEAT MEALS!

Before you go any further, I'd just like to say 9in6 experience didn't feel like a one-off thing for me. It felt like a lifestyle change. So I'll be covering this post from all aspects, skin, food, health etc.

Front

Back

Side

I'll take it through with you week by week. My kick off date was on a Saturday, 29th April 2016. Weigh out date was on a Saturday, 11th June 2016. A seminar was held for the people that undertook the challenge the same time as me.

There really was ZERO negativity in UY gym. Just love and support. 

Kick off day! Andrea (the co-founder) just talked us through on ways to conquer your mindset. Andrea and her husband, Andy founded Ultimate You together! Power couple!!!



After the kick-off date, I changed my profile picture. Wow. Can I just quickly shout out to my amazing friends? I am so fucking grateful. So grateful that I am surrounded by the most supportive people in the world. Not even ONCE, someone criticized me or put me down. It was all of them just egging me on and telling me to keep going. Their words of encouragement made me want to keep going. So I did. Thank you guys if you're reading this. I don't know what I've ever done to deserve beautiful and loving beings like all of you. They were so supportive when I couldn't join dinners and lunches. I'm so grateful.

I was a bit iffy on changing my profile picture at first but I'm glad I did. It made me accountable. It made people aware. If more of my friends knew that I was doing the challenge, the smaller the chance of me slacking off and not sticking to the program. So this was a great mindset cheat. KEEPING YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE.

During the kick-off day. My weigh in photo. I was bloated and lethargic.

NUTRITION PLAN:

At the start of the program, they gave me a specialised nutrition plan to follow. It caters differently to everyone. Some are on the vegetarian plan, some are pescatarian, some eat more protein etc. 
This was my food intake for the past 6 weeks. 

Meal 1: 30g protein shake + a side of 100-200g veggies
 Meal 2: 1 Glass of Green smoothie (400ml) + 120g beef/chicken
 Meal 3: 160g beef + 200g veggies/salad 
Meal 4: 30g protein shake
 Meal 5: 160g chicken + 200g veggies/salad
 Meal 6: (optional for if you're hungry) 30g protein shake OR 3 egg whites *** 

So my protein shake, I used Horley's Ripped Factors. It acts as a thermogenic (fat burner) too and the protein purity is one of the best in the market.
I didn't cook beef or lamb throughout the whole 9in6. Only chicken breast, white fish (barramundi/flounder) and occasionally, salmon. My veggies were mainly spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts and asparagus.

Another very important aspect is MEAL PREPPING!! Fail to plan, plan to fail. 
I made my meals a few days in advance. Then I'd reheat in the microwave. Meal prepping was crucial to my 9kg success. It made me less susceptible to grabbing something unhealthy and it forced me to eat smaller portions. So if you're thinking of weight loss - PREP YOUR MEALS.

WEEK 1
This was the hardest week out of the 6. From eating hanaichi everyday for 2 weeks, a packet of oreo, butter cookies, to having none at all. This week I was cranky, grumpy and pretty much exhausted 97% of the time. Sugar and carbs withdrawals = not funny. For me, the hardest part about the whole challenge is eating clean. I often had really intense cravings and I had to learn to just ignore it.

At one point, I was crying in bed because I missed eating food so much. Not tearing but hearty sobs. HAHAHA.

Every time I saw food or walked in the city, I salivated. I was still going through an adjustment period and my tastebuds were adjusting to the lack of flavours in my food.  

Exercise wise, amazing. I was already exposed and have done HIIT-type exercises through Kayla's BBG. So from the first day of 9in6, exercises came relatively easy. It made me focus on volume and technique. How long could I exercise for and how I could polish up my techniques. 

The group classes are so fun - high energy and never boring. UY's got indoor bootcamp, HIIT, spin tabata, spin core, spin abs, boxing class, strong fit, challenger etc. I never got into group fitness classes until UY and I'm so glad I did. It makes working out so much more exhilirating, with everyone pushing their limits. Makes you feel inspired to do the same.

I'll be reiterating this throughout the whole place but from DAY ONE, everyone has been SO WELCOMING and SO FRIENDLY. All the ladies that I met in the locker room were all wishing each other good luck for the next 6 weeks :)  

First week, I did 12 hours of training in total, when the minimum is 5.

All the morning classes are 45 minutes and the evening classes are 1 hour. They are all HIIT style classes designed to burn fat. I think I'm one of the youngest in the program because 95% of the people I've met are working. The classes timetable really cater for the working folks.
 5:15 am, 6 am, 7 am then there's no more classes until 5:15pm, 6pm, 7pm.


Most of the classes are on the green. Spinning (cycling) classes are in the spin room and boxing classess are in the studio.


Free weights at the back. 



Calories burnt after 3 back to back classes.

My skin when I just started the 9in6. Bloated and meh.

Eating rice with fried chicken and oreos = skin that lacks translucency. Non edited photo so you can see the tiny little bumps in my skin. I'll show you towards the end how diet and water intake changes EVERYTHING. 

In the car with my no.1 supporter :)

WEEK 2 

After the previous week's slump, I felt happier and more comfortable with the adjustments. I got used to the food and the exercises. Every day I was smashing 2-3 hours of training. I was on a high. I felt like I had more energy and I'm slooowly seeing results on my body. Face getting smaller. 

Not much to say about this week except for feeling generally happier and energized.

HAPPY DANCE



My skin started improving!!!! This was the week I started using Korean skincare. In conjuction with having cleaner meals and drinking 3 litres of water, my skin started being clearer and the whiteheads on my forehead went away. I was using sheet masks twice a day too.

WEEK 3:

I felt a general slump, in terms of motivation and drive. I was warned this could happen. Andrea told us in the kick-off seminar, in the 3rd week your motivation levels will slump down and your body will most likely hit a plateau (very little weight loss). She said this happens to everyone and the most important part, is to PUSH YOURSELF REGARDLESS. 

This is a test, you're midway through your challenge. Are you going to push forward or retreat? Are you going to give up or make it to the finish line?

On Monday and Tuesday of week 3, I felt like I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I could have and it really bummed me out. I knew I could go harder, faster and stronger. But I didn't. I was busting my ass during the classes but I wasn't seeing results as fast as I wanted to. 

On Wednesday, I acknowledged I wasn't feeling 100% but I told myself that yes I am still far from my end goal but I am closer today than I was yesterday. That kept me going. Every little progress counts. Its easy to be discouraged by the lack thereof progress in visuals but you must TRUST IN THE PROCESS. 
FTDP and be consistent. 

I saw my waist getting smaller during this week. 

Met a new friend from Colombia. Vivi who has rock hard abs!!! A joy to workout with.

Week 1 and 2, I didn't do any exercises by myself. It was all from the group classes.

Week 3, I started doing some max incline (15%) and brisk walk on the treadmill for 1 hour every morning, on an empty stomach. This is called fasted cardio. Slow steady state of exercise but it makes you sweat like crazy + good kickstart for your metabolism.

I grew more comfortable with making myself go to the gym by myself rather than just relying on UY group classes. 

Enjoying clearer skin from week 2 onwards :)

With Andy, Andrea's husband. Founder of UY!


Week 3 sum up:
First few days, felt like shit. After that, I picked myself back up again and gave 110% in everything I did. 

WEEK 4:

I bought PT sessions from Andrea. She's a fitness model/queen and she has the most god-like body I've ever laid my eyes on. Most of the stuff you see on instagram, I see in Andrea. Her PT's are designed around weights with HIIT so its a bit different from group classes. She is such an amazing motivator and so inspiring. She's also very particular about technique WHICH I LOVE. 

I've got to meet other girls who train with Andrea. Again the most supportive and hardworking people I've met. During PT, they're just busting their ass nonstop and I love that. There are people who have PTs with the trainers in the gym and they're all TeamX, TeamY etc. 
I'm team Andrea!


Week 4 was the only week I cheated because of Faiz's birthday. We went out to Vue De Monde and Cutler&Co. Not gonna lie, I went all out. Ate cakes and lots of bread and butter. Gained 1.5kg from the weekend.


I got really sick of eating chicken breast so I started eating lots of white fish. I ate this for 3 weeks straight until the end of week 6 and I didn't get bored. I just changed around the veggies.


Off to evening class!

WEEK 5:

Only 2 weeks left until my weigh out. On the weekly weigh in, I had 4.2kg to lose in 10 days. 
Panic started to kick in but I stayed calm. I was only doing 1-2 classes a day instead of 3-4 but I started upping the ante in terms of burpees and sprint intervals. From the start of week 5, I was exercising everyday with NO rest days. This is a very extreme measure because your muscles NEED to rest and recover.

I stopped doing low intensity exercises and would only do chest to floor burpees. Lots and lots of burpees. Did it first thing in the morning and in the evenings after the classes as finishers. I used to hate doing burpees, especially when I did Kayla's BBG. But they're so effective in burning fat! I started doing a little more every day. I started off with 200 burpees a day. I'd break it down into two sets of 100. Then I'd set a timer and see how fast I could beat my previous time.

Lots of wins this week. I lost 2.3kg in 5 days!

The feeling of hitting the 100 burpees mark for the first time made me feel like such a winner! From struggling doing 15 in a row to doing 100, it feels FUCKING FANTASTIC!!!

I remembered on this particular day, I was feeling really hormonal and grumpy the whole day. Girls you know what I'm talking about when it's a few days before Aunt Flo visits and you wake up feeling sad? Ya that was me. But I made myself go to the gym regardless and I felt SO SO SO much better! Like myself again.

You'd think at 530 am, the gym would be empty but it's actually the busiest time of the day.



Treadmill settings if you're keen on trying.

Scars from doing barbell jump squats with Andrea. I love her Hitler-style PT. 


My midsection getting smaller and starting to see definition on my arms.

Sometimes, I'll jump into the sauna for 15 minutes after doing burpees just to let my muscles relax. 

Outside UY gym with my protein shake. I don't take any pre-workouts but I'll mix a teaspoon of instant espresso (my favourite is Nescafe Gold Intense) with my protein. 

Weather's getting colder too!


In my apartment's gym.

My friends have asked what do I do with the sore muscles? To tell you the truth, I think the 3 times a day protein shakes have helped a lot. I was rarely sore and the only time I was sore was because I had a muscle knot in my back and after foam rolling for an hour it went away. So protein really helps with facilitating your muscle recovery.

Gross looking but really YUMMY protein pancakes. Hahahah. Only 1 egg, protein power, baking soda and water. The sauce is just leftover protein batter. I had to learn how to be creative with food and everyone on the UY group are always sharing recipes!

When you have 0 fucks to give

Written on the last day of week 5. 

WEEK 6

I shit you not when I say, most hectic week of my life. I had 3 essays (2500 words each) to write along with morning/evening training sessions. I was sleep deprived and on auto-pilot most of the time. I had to manage my time carefully. I was up at 530 am and as soon as I'm home, around 8 am I'll hop into the shower, have a protein shake then write essays until 430pm before I had to go to 530pm training. For 6 days nonstop, that was my schedule. I was regurgitating a 2500 words essay every 2 days.

I didn't get discouraged by the amount of essays I had to write because it is MY FINAL WEEK! I kept telling myself over and over again,
 "final stretch,"
 "almost there."

Start of week 6, I was doing 400 burpees everyday. 200 in the morning and 200 in the evening. Along with group classes and sprint intervals. I could feel it in my bones, my stamina improving. It made me feel so empowered and strong.

I also started drinking a litre of water with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in the morning. Just to kickstart my metabolism and suppress any sugary cravings. I had virtually zero at this point. I wasn't even swayed by the idea of fucking up my diet when I was so close to the end.

I knew after week 2, I wasn't going to do it for the $497 deposit anymore. I was going to roll over the deposit to a UY membership. So the monetary motivation was out of the picture, at this point, it was just me proving how far could I push myself and what limits I could overcome. 

The weather turned really cold overnight as well. Faiz made fish soup with ginger and zucchini noodles.

Mask on while I wrote essays at home.


Protein shake in the gym


On the left, my skin from January this year. On the right, week 6. 





At the locker room

I'm a million times more efficient when I'm at the UY gym. Faiz would drop me off and leave me there for a few hours, leaving me no choice but to exercise. I love it. Great strategy.


With Lilian! Taken on Thursday night, my weigh out was on Saturday morning.

Another amazing gym partner!! We did burpees, tyre flips, trx jump squats and sprints. Such a lovely person to talk to and she didn't let me stop ONCE. 

Everyday when I'm at UY gym, I'm giving high fives to someone new. I make new friends. The conversations are fulfilling and inspiring. UY really felt like a community to me and it was the greatest feeling ever, walking into a gym and feeling right at home. 

I didn't feel foreign or out of place. I felt comforted and welcomed.

I would have this twice a day and protein shake 3 times a day. The great thing about having smaller portions throughout the day, it keeps your metabolism turbo fast and full throughout the day. I'll be retaining this habit even after 9 in 6 is done. Small meals, 5 times a day. I actually crave protein shakes now can you believe it?

9in6 surprisingly, turned me into a creature of habit. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! I used to get bored of food really quickly and would always over-buy groceries for 'variety'. But now I'm perfectly content with having a routine. 


WEIGH  OUT DAY! I woke up at 5 am and did sprints intervals then sauna, then burpees, then sauna, then sprints. For about 2 hours.  

On the way to UY gym. My weigh out was at 10:15 am. I came at 8 am, did a spin class, dried off my sweat then proceeded into the weighing room.

Week 1, Week 3 (midway) and Week 6. I had 5.2 kg to lose in my last 3 weeks and I lost 3.8kg in the first 3 weeks.

I kept note of my progress in my iPhone's notes.

My weigh out photo on the last day of week 6.


I HIT THE 9KG MARK!!!! I couldn't sleep at all and I was restless the whole night. I was overwhelmed with tears. Everyone was giving each other hugs and congrats. The energy was electric, it made me feel so alive. I felt triumphant. I felt like a winner. I didn't give up even though there were many moments where I wanted to. 

The only time I ever felt like that was in the last year of high school, when I was picking up my IGCSE results. 

I remember for the last trial exam in April 2012 (my IGCSE was on June/July), I scored really badly for all of my subjects. I was bottom tier in my year. I remembered getting the lowest for biology in the whole year (11%) and I only got an A for Malay. No B's, 1 C and mostly D's and E's. I felt so depressed and useless because I only had 2 months to study 2 years worth of content. I went home, gave myself a good reality check and studied 9-11 hours everyday for the next 2 months. I never thought once I was a naturally smart student but I worked my ass off. I don't memorize well so I had to put in extra effort to retain information. After two months of nonstop studying, I left high school with all A's, top 2 results and the highest in my year for biology (97%). 

The triumpant feeling of completing 9in6 is similar, if not identical. 
It made me feel empowered and inspired by my own efforts and actions. 

If you are putting in the work, like you feel it in your soul that you are giving a 100% and that you're not cheating yourself with shortcuts, whatever your goal is, YOU WILL GET RESULTS. I always tell myself, you can only do your best. So DO YOUR BEST and give 110% EVERY TIME.

Its easy to fall into a denial of thoughts, "its just a bite," "its a healthy cake, there's fruits in it." Of all people, I should know how it feels. I am the queen of denial and procrastination. I can teach you a thing or two about making excuses for yourself. After 9in6, I realised I couldn't go about that way of life anymore. I had to tell myself harsh truths and stop being in denial. Then something amazing happened. 

When I stopped being in denial, I started seeing results. 

At the end of the day, you're cheating noone but yourself. Who are you really doing it for, if not you? 

It feels easy and nice in your comfort zone. I was in mine for the longest time, for years. 
Getting out of it was hard. But consistently working outside your comfort zone is even harder. 
Its uncomfortable. It requires constant conscious effort. But it made me feel alive. I was challenging myself everyday and yes, I was exhausted and tired most of the time but bottom line is, 
I was over-the-moon happy. I couldn't achieve this level of happiness from being in my comfort zone. I realise this now.

You grow so much as an individual when you're out of your comfort zone. You learn so much about yourself. You're making new notions about yourself everyday. 

From the 9in6, I learnt that your mind will give up before your body does. Its all in the mind. If you tell yourself to keep going, "one more rep," "one more set of sprints," your body will follow through. It sounds cheesy but whenever I feel like I wanted to stop with the exercises, I'd tell myself "I'm a fucking warrior" and "I'm unstoppable". Empower your mind with positive and empowering thoughts and your body will deliver. 

Always remember, progress, no matter how little, is still progress. You're closer to your goal today than you were yesterday. I could never do sprints, I used to hate being on the treadmill, I'd make excuses "its so boring," "i'd rather run outside," but excuses are the biggest deterrent to your sucess. Do a little more everyday and you will see an improvement. Use that change, to inspire yourself to push harder and stronger tomorrow. 

I also kept myself accountable. I didn't blame anyone or any situation but myself. I had cheat meals on Faiz's birthday, thats on me. I didn't give a 100% in the gym, thats on me. I overslept for training, thats on me. I didn't blame uni for giving me 3 essays to write on my last 9in6 week. I sucked it up, wrote the essays and did the exercises. When you stop complaining, stop blaming others, and take accountability for your actions, you will see change.

I promise you, I promise you with all my heart. 
There is no greater feeling, than the feeling of you being inspired and empowered by YOUR OWN ACTIONS. None. Zero. Nada. 

You can spend hours looking for inspiration on instagram or tumblr or youtube, but the inspiration that will stay with you the longest, is your own. 

I am not in competition with anyone but myself. I am the least competitive person I know but I will always strive to improve and enrich my own personal standards and feelings of happiness. Everyday I feel grateful for something new and its a beautiful feeling to have.

Faiz's gorgeous bouquet of flowers


 I remembered on the first day, Faiz told me he didn't want me to worry about finding parking or driving recklessly if its too early in the morning.. He made a decision right then and there to send me to the gym, waking up at 5 am for the morning classes, then 5:15 pm for the evening sessions. It was all Faiz. My heart is swelling with gratitude and so much love for him. He knew that if I found it troublesome in any way I'd make excuses on why I shouldn't go to the gym. He gave me no choice but to go. No reasons to procrastinate. He was there through it all. From day 1. When I had sugar withdrawals, he hugged me till I felt better. When I was exhausted, he gave me supplements to facilitate muscle recovery. When I craved for oreos, he made me a protein shake. When I wanted to eat a burger, he made me steam fish. When I have to wake up at 430 am, he'd wake me up and made me get out of bed. All of my results, all of my progress, none of it would've been possible without Faiz. NONE. He is the reason why I push myself so hard. He is the driving force behind my 9in6 success.

All of my tears, sweats and efforts. This one is for you baby. 


Lots of love,
Sara
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