October 8, 2014

Weight Lifting for Scaredy Cats: Review on Jamie Eason’s Livefit Trainer

I survived Jamie Eason’s 12 week Livefit program, I freaking made it!   It was a hard 12 weeks but it was so worth it. If you don’t know what it is, I’ll give you a rundown in this post. First off it’s FREE, that’s right free. It’s also really good, especially for beginner weightlifters like me.  You can find the program on Bodybuilding.com.

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I have become a bit of a fitness junkie this last year, but I was more of a cardio fiend. I would do intense cardio 5 or more times a week. I ended every class dripping in sweat and feeling like I conquered the world. But after a while I wanted to change things up and get some muscles! So I decided to start weight training. I really had no idea what to expect. It is something I had never done before outside of my classes. The immediate drop in cardio was a bit shocking to my system, but eventually I got used to it. I have to admit when I told my husband he was super supportive but was concerned I would get too bulky…. the typical ‘man’ comment. By the way LADIES, do NOT typically get bulky muscles because we don’t have enough testosterone for it. Women get just the good stuff—defined, muscular, and strong.Unknown-1

TRUTH: I was really intimidated and even a little scared to step out on the weight room floor. I had been going to my gym for a while, and was super comfortable with my routine and my classes. “What if I look like an idiot, what if I do something wrong?” I envisioned myself out in the weight room with a bunch of “meat head” guys. And it was a little like that, but it wasn’t bad at all. There were a lot of ladies out there too. I struggle with change, and perfection in general. So stepping outside of my comfort zone was scary. But it was a GREAT change for me. I met some awesome people, everybody was very friendly and willing to help if I needed it, and I learned a TON in the process.

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OKAY SO THE PROGRAM: This program is 12 weeks of step-by-step training divided into 3 phases. Each phase is harder than the last. Each day is marked on a calendar online. You click on the day and it breaks down the workout step-by-step.   The best part….detailed pictures and videos. The videos of the exercises were so useful for me. I could check the exercise before my workout and make sure I knew how to do it correctly. I loved being able to go to the gym with a plan, instead of aimlessly wondering around trying to piece together a workout. In this program Jamie also explains how to correctly do supersets, incorporate active resting, how many reps and sets to do, diet, carb cycling, and supplements. During Phase 1 and phase 2 workouts are scheduled for 5 days a week. I actually piggybacked days and I was still able to fit in some of my favorite classes at my gym on “off” days. So, for example Day 1/arms and Day 2/back I would do in one day. Then next day I would do Day 3/chest and Day 4 /legs. Of course, if you do this always make sure you are working different muscle groups each day not the same muscle group. In phase 1 & 2 I was working out 5 days a week and fitting in all of Jamie’s workouts and also working out in classes a few times a week.  The workouts during the first two phases lasted about 1 hour for each daily plan. By phase 3, the workouts were designed for 6 days a week, and were much longer and much more intense. At this point I was not able to piggyback days. The workout for week 9 and 10 included lots of supersets with plyometrics and cardio. By week 11-12, there were large circuit workouts ending with moderate cardio. Phase 3 workouts took about 2 hours for each daily workout. During phase 3 I still worked out 5 days a week, so it actually took me about 13 weeks to finish the 12 week plan. I still got results, just took me a tad longer to finish.

THE DIET: In the program Jamie provides a detailed diet plan. When you click on your workout for the day, your diet details are on the same page for the day. I did NOT follow the food plan exactly. I didn’t commit to the diet fully.  However, I did really focus on my protein intake and started counting macronutrients for a 40/30/30 split. That is 40% of my calories coming from protein, 30% from fat, and 30% from carbohydrates. This was livable for me, and I actually up’d my daily calories a lot to help support muscle building. I continued my normal diet of healthy lean proteins, fruits, and veggies. I continued to cut out all processed foods, limited dairy, and sugar. I also drank 3 protein shakes a day, even on non-workout days. Ok ok and every once in a blue moon I had a splurge night. In phase 3 I did begin to carb cycle as Jamie’s plan suggests. Carb cycling is rotating low carb days (20% of my daily calories), and high carb days to lose fat and “lean out” as people call it. I followed the plan and cycled 3 low carb days and 1 high carb day, for the last 4 weeks! I’m sure the results would have been a little better if I did Jamie’s exact diet program through out the entire program. But I feel good about how it worked for me. Jamie also recommends supplements detailed on bodybuilding.com

THE EXERCISES: There is a lot of repetition in exercises especially in phase one, which is good because in this phase I was just trying to find my way around the equipment. It gets a little more intense in phase two with some more detailed moves, but remember you have the videos to help guide you through. One of my favs was the donkey calf raise, when I watched the video unsure of what it was I actually said “ um hell no” out loud. Just take a second to enjoy this little piece of magic!

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Needless to say, I skipped this. There was no way I was going to ask someone to jump on my back to finish my workout. I did replace it with a standing calf raise. That was really the only really “crazy” exercise. The rest of the exercises were really straight forward and easy to understand quickly. By phase 3, I felt so much more comfortable and yes the workout was harder, but my body was ready for it at that point.

BEFORE  & AFTER

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THE DOWNFALLS:

1) LOSING ENDURANCE — Before I started this program I was doing mostly cardio with some HIIT type classes in between. My cardio stamina was very good. One of the immediate things I noticed in this program was the sudden drop in my cardio endurance. That was very hard for me at the beginning. During the 2nd and 3rd phases as the cardio increase my endurance also picked up.

2) FEELING WEAK-The carb cycling during the 3rd phase was pretty hard. It was three days of low carbohydrates (20% of daily calories come from carbs), followed by a high carb day. Carbs are in about everything you eat to some extent. Basically I ate a piece of toast in the morning for my carbs, and the rest of the day was lean protein and veggies. The first week was the hardest. I had headaches and felt weak on the third consecutive day of low carbs. By the end of the program those symptoms had decreased a lot. By the 4th week on the carb cycling, it was much easier.

Will I continue? Yes, this is just the beginning for me. I feel like I have uncovered a hidden passion in myself. I honestly did not think I would like weight lifting as much as I have. I love it. I love feeling strong, and being able to shape my body the way I want it. And strong is beautiful.

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   I want to give a big thanks to my workout buddy Melissa for sticking with it, and finishing STRONG!!!  Friends make gym time more fun!

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