Progress in the gym, but not in the mirror

  • I just started my 5th week and had my fiancé take some pictures of me, hoping I could perceive some changes when comparing with my befores that I don't notice otherwise. What a mistake. If anything, my stomach, arms, and legs are bigger than when I started! My belly clearly is pushing out further, and though the increase in my arms and legs is surely gained muscle, it doesn't read as muscle in the photos. My weight hasn't really changed since I started (148), and I've only measured a 1 in. loss at my navel (though the photos seem to disprove my measurement), with no loss elsewhere. On the other hand, my strength and stamina have caused me to have to increase my weights and increase the intensity of my cardio several times, and my resting heart rate is in the 50s now. So I know I'm healthier, but the physical results are not at all what I had in mind. I may be bulking, but what I want is fat loss!

    I work hard in the gym, and have missed only two workouts in the past month. I've even skipped two of my free days due to unforeseen circumstances screwing up my diet at other times during the past two weeks. How can I stay motivated when I'm bigger now than before?!

  • Ive Noticed Nothing in the mirror either but I feel better and feel like I look great MY self esteem is high so i take that as a win all i can say is keep at it and youll see result eventually. dont give up.

  • From my past experience (the Challenge I tried last year and extensive reading on this forum), it can take anywhere from 6 - 8 weeks for some peoples' bodies to start creating noticeable physical changes. This is a pretty typical issue with the Challenge. Just keep focused and know that if you stick with the program, you should begin seeing the physical results soon!

  • That is encouraging to hear.

  • It is so true that the changes we crave seem to take soooo long! I only hope that you look at how much good you are doing to your body and remember that the changes WILL be evident if you only keep on doing it! Sometimes I wish they wouldn't put those incredible pics in the book because they represent a small fraction of the thousands that do this program...some of us just come out the other end feeling better, having looser clothes, stronger bodies, better minds and the knowledge that WE DID IT.

    I am finishing my 2nd challenge in 5 days. I am not where I want to be...  but I know how to get there! C3 starts on April 9 for me!

  • Hi to all on this thread,

    I am in agreement with BobbyA about the huge percentage of us who do the program heartily but don't see the phenomenal changes that some get. Of course we see some improvement but we have to remind ourselves of the ways that we are healthier and appreciate whatever degree of physical change there is.

    I've wondered why it is that some see such amazing results and some more modest results. I am going to put aside the obvious thing that everyone wants to believe .. that the one with modest results didn't work hard and didn't eat correctly.

    I found one plausible reason in Tim Ferris book "The Four Hour Body" He talks about short twitch fibers and fast twitch fibers  and the difference that makes. We don't get to choose which we have a preponderance of and it's the ones with more fast twitch fibers who build muscle so much more easily. I found that very interesting and satisfying to even get a hint of the reason behind it.

    I'll still keep on working out and hitting those tens and eating super healthy, it may take longer than it does for some but I'll continue to build healthy muscle, to keep my body fat % at a healthy low and to feel good about doing a lot for my physical and mental health. The long term benefits of that are more valuable than impressing the world with my musculature.

    So, you're starting April 9th. Maybe I'll wait till then to start C3. I had planned to start next week but I could wait. Maybe I'll just give myself those as bonus workout weeks and formally start on 4/9

  • It wasn't until my 8 week progress pics that I notice any real big changes.  Then what happened between week 8 -12 were truly amazing!   Hang in there!  

  • Hangin' in there is right! That's the easy part. When you've already been doing that  it's a matter of accepting what you get from it and not expecting more or having unrealistic expectations.

    The ladies success document is full of women who don't see changes till week 8 or even beyond. Most women do see real changes and it's exciting to read about them and see them feel good about themselves.

    This is week 24 for me, (week 12 of Challenge 2)  ... and I've done multiple years of the BFL program without formally joining a challenge ... so I think I've got the hangin' in thing down. This is a different matter.

    Different variables are going to affect people. People who are overweight and more obviously "unfit" are going to see more dramatic changes than others.

    As for me, my weight and body fat were already on the low side of normal so it's largely a matter of building more muscle and continuing to lower the body fat % in the process. Those changes are often more subtle, especially for a woman because we don't enough testosterone to build big muscles. Another variable for any woman is hormonal changes. When you hormones take permanent nosedive it affects you. I am now 55 ... I weigh 117-120 and my body fat is around 18% and I can't seem to get my body fat lower. In my forties I could keep my body fat in the 15-16% range without killing myself. I could weigh more then too so I assume I really did have more muscle. At one point I actually weighed 133 and still had 15% body fat. The woman who administered the test was surprised at how much I weighed ... because, of course, muscle doesn't make you big like fat does. Now I am staying at a lighter weight easily and my body fat is not bad but it's deposited differently and I cannot seem to change it. I never used to store fat on my belly at all and now I have a saucer full that won't go away. I am a perfectionist and that may be one of the things that needs to change. I admire and envy people who can feel so darn good about themselves even though they, too, are far from perfect. Some people are so gentle with themselves too. I think that it is because they are comparing themselves to something worse than what they currently are ( whether it's a former version of themselves or other people) whereas I compare myself to perfection. Needless to say, I'm gonna fall short. I do think it's good to strive for the highest and best possible ... but it's hard because it's hard to be satisfied with the results.

    So, as for hang in' in there. thanks for caring enough to offer it. You're absolutely right and I'll follow it ... as usual.

  • I am in the middle of my week 8 of my first challenge.  I can feel the difference, I know eating healthy is important to feeling good.  I can notice enough muscle definition to keep me motivated.  Honestly when I started this challenge I told myself to keep low expectations and just finish the program.  I believed enough in what I read that I knew that I will achieve some kind of positive results from following this program.  I did not take the pics or the measurements partly because I was not a big fan of the condition my body was in and partly I guess I was not sure if I would complete it.  I am 8 weeks stronger now and have put in too much effort to give up now.  I can see changes and I am happy.  This forum provides a great source of motivation and cant wait to hit that week 12!  I know I will follow this challenge with a second one because I am very happy with the results so far.  I am with the majority and want to just say stick with it and see this thing out.  I think you will be happy for completing it!   Best of luck!

  • 5 weeks is not a long time. You have missed 2 workouts and messed up on the diet a few times. Maybe you should post your diet and have people look it over and help tweak it and clean it up. Do you own the book? Are you doing everything by the book? Are you allowing yourself foods that are not approved? What about water intake and bloating from sodium, carbs, or time of the month? Keep pushing hard and try again with pictures and measurements at the end of week 8 and week 12.

    “"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out..." - Robert J. Collier”

  • @HeatherC - Thanks for the advice; your progress pics were actually very motivating. Seeing the dramatic change in the last few weeks of your challenge has made me feel a lot less despairing. I can see in my movement that there is new lean inside my body, I will just have to wait for it to show in photos.

    @PatriciaK - What is the ladies success document? Could you send me a link? Thanks.

  • Ladies Success Document: Complied by Mike Harris, RIP.

    “"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out..." - Robert J. Collier”

  • I am sitting finishing up lunch (raw broccoli & carrots) and reading this thread - Wow for all the encouragement!  I took my pictures last week for week 4 and I didn't see much change, but I see a stronger person & more confident person in the picture.  I just accepted that as my reward for this moment!  I also, picked up some new nail polish!  We are all different and changes will occur.  I have read that women see more after week 8.  So, here is to a few more weeks and look again!  

  • @BryanL I finished reading the book for the second time today and did gain some insight. I haven't so much "messed up" the diet as had to switch my free days unexpectedly (according to how the book describes use of free days), so otherwise I am eating clean, and "by the book." No extra condiments, nothing. I've gotten to love eggs with salsa and plain oatmeal. Mixed together it's actually like a zesty "Scottish Breakfast."

    Anyway. I had my bodyfat tested at the gym yesterday and I am actually down 1.4% bodyfat! That's not a huge amount, but for 4.5 weeks, I'll take it, especially since it proves I'm losing fat and gaining muscle. It just goes to show that just because I can't see it doesn't mean the change isn't happening. I try to imagine my lean body pushing it's way slowly through my fat body, melting the old as the new comes through. Weird, but makes the burn of my workouts feel like results in progress. Thanks so much, guys!