After 12 Weeks…

It’s been 12 weeks since I first signed up with Suzanne to transform my body through a rigorous weight lifting program. (The follow-up to Phase 1 is here.) Before I signed up with Suzanne, I lifted weights a lot but I didn’t do any specific plans that were structured–I just did machines and moves that I enjoyed–and thus, I didn’t see much by way of results. I never understood WHY I wasn’t seeing more results on my own. I’m really glad I signed up for this training program.

The first 6 weeks of the program, I saw and felt immediate changes. I also had a 4 week span of NO KNEE PAIN. I attribute that to the weight training targeting my glutes. Sadly, I had another flare-up of knee pain and ended up having to take 6 weeks off from lower body workouts.

The good news: I did not see any negative effects by not doing lower body workouts. I signed up with Suzanne for another 6 weeks, this time tailored to what my doctor specifically said to avoid. She did a great job with that. Two weeks into Phase 2 I was back to HAPPY KNEES! YAY!

This post is the conclusion of Phase 2 with measurements and a weight in. But first, I want to discuss the improvements I felt with this program.

Happy Knees

Yep, they were so much better when I spent my workouts lifting weights. The fact that the flare-ups went away twice (phase 1 and in phase 2) just reiterates that. I think the activities I was doing strengthened my muscles, improved my balance a great deal, and boosted my confidence. I’ve been cycling a few times now and my knees are happier, not cured entirely, but better.

Swimming

With weightlifting 3 days a week, I had to drop one swim day because I wanted to add a yoga night. Only swimming once a week had me worried that I’d lose my swimming fitness and cardio fitness.  The opposite seemed to happen. With each week of weight lifting I noticed that I could swim faster than ever before.

Another benefit I noticed was that I was able to do the backstroke! This is a stroke I’ve NEVER been a fan of and didn’t do it on a regular basis. It was hard, I had a hard time staying afloat on my back, I had a hard time going very fast, and I struggled to swim in a straight line. Which is the complete opposite of how I am with all other swimming strokes. It was frustrating that I was so deficient in this.

I started including the backstroke in my routine because I had to give up the breaststroke for 6 weeks of rest (that move aggravated my knees). I was SHOCKED at how I could suddenly do the backstroke effortlessly. Seriously–I was like a rockstar in the pool doing the backstroke! I know that it has to do with strengthening my core with Suzanne’s program. What else could it be? That’s the only thing that has changed. I was so happy and now I include the backstroke in every session. I’m almost as fast at the backstroke as I am doing freestyle!

Stronger

I definitely feel stronger now than I did 12 weeks ago. I see muscle development in places I didn’t see it before. I have triceps muscles! I have sculpted shoulders! I feel proud and confident and want to wear sleeveless shirts all summer. 🙂

delts

Of course this is the part of the post where I show the progress photos. I always feel like I look more like this:

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Than a graceful, attractive “after” pose. 😉 Oh well!

arm1

Like with the first program I bought, I liked the fact that I had a plan whenever I went into the gym. It’s sometimes daunting to figure out what to do in the gym and I don’t know about you, but I tend to get stuck in a rut and just do the same things over and over again. Then I wonder why I don’t see results.

I’ve started Phase 1 over again in the interim. I want to sign up with Suzanne again but it might end up waiting until this fall. I’d like to take advantage of the nice summer weather and get outside. My hope is that I can bike and/or hike at least once a week while I rehab.

I saw a new specialist a few weeks ago, who was much better than the first one, and I’ve been doing the things she suggested. I also see the new PT she recommended next week. I’m kind of burned out on physical therapy and hopefully I can just go to this one appointment, get a bunch of exercises and then be done with going to the doctor for awhile.

So there’s the update. I definitely recommend Suzanne’s programs. I am happy with the improvements I’ve seen!

QUESTION: What are your summer fitness goals?

17 Responses

  1. I’m glad your knees are better. I know the knee injury was causing you great consternation. That pic of the kid flexing is hilarious! A couple of my summer fitness goals are to win the weigh-in in September and tighten and tone my chest and arms.
    Marc recently posted..Conquering YOUR inner food demons

  2. OMG, I love that awkward photo!! Great job! I agree, strength training does help – even after the first few weeks of Insanity, I was able to shave a whole minute off my previous 5k time and did it in 33:11!

    My summer goal? By August 31 to run a sub 30 5k. 😀
    Biz recently posted..Failure is Not an Option

  3. Great job! Lifting affects so much more than you realize. I love the NROL programs because they are programs you can follow and always challenge yourself.

    My goal for this year is 2500 miles on the bike outdoors. I am almost halfway there. Of course, that goal will be shot if we get an early winter, but I will give it my best shot.
    Lori recently posted..Rain and more rain

    1. I definitely feel challenged. I’m half way through phase 1 again since I can now do squats and lower body exercises. I definitely feel the challenge and the burn!

      That’s a great goal for you, Lori. Good luck! Hope they are easy miles. 🙂

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