Lianna Speers 12 week challenge

I made the brave decision to swap my balanced routine for a 12-week challenge that consisted of cardio (cringe), weights and what I like to call “The Bro Diet”. Usually, my diet is flexible. I stick to my daily calories but I fill those calories with whatever I choose to or whatever I feel like at the time. I thought it was time to challenge myself in a different way and really see what I can achieve when taking on a personal trainer who looks after your meal plan and training program.

Introducing, Luke Hazzard and HAZPT, the personal trainer I have chosen to challenge my fitness-driven soul. I enjoy a good challenge, there’s something about self- satisfaction that I love. Feeling good about yourself and smashing goals that you thought wasn’t possible makes you feel on top of the world. It’s great for your mental health and while, the actual challenge itself might cause you to feel drained and exhausted, the saying goes “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” so, just imagine the feeling when you smash your 12-week challenge.

This article is more of a personal one, I suppose an online documented diary of how I was feeling throughout the challenge. It’s an indication for those of you out there who are umming and ahhing about doing a challenge. Let me tell you, it’s not for the faint-hearted, you must really want to change something to be able to stick to it because my willpower is strong but even I struggled towards the end.

Here you will get an insight of my feelings and thought-process, you’ll see check-in photos and my weight throughout the 12-week challenge.

12 Week Challenge

Week 1:

Like any shock to the body, a 12-week challenge was a big one! I was a flexible dieter by nature – filling my calories with anything I wanted and still receiving the desired results. I was eating Jatz biscuits and the occasional Nutella toast because, well, it fitted into my daily calories. Now, having started this 12-week challenge, my body is now following a bro-style diet. It’s a low GI diet that leaves me fuller for longer. I don’t crave the sweet food because I am full and not thinking about food and having all my food prepped and ready to go makes it easy to stay on track during the 12-week process.

The first week is always the hardest but I prepped all my meals during the first week, which equalled 42 meals; 21 boxed meals and that makes it easier because you don’t snack.

Liannas 12 week challenge

Before photos (49.9kg)

Average weekly weight: 50kg
Body Fat Percentage: 16.5%

Supplements:
BPM Labs: AM/PM Burn
EHP Labs: OxyShred
X50: 100% Lean Whey Protein Vanilla

Week 2:

Before this challenge I used to skimp out on leg day, it’s never really been a focus of mine and I never really shared the “booty goals” thoughts. I was just excited about my bicep pump and abs.

I start making PBs in legs a couple years ago when I was serious about gains and PBs and then I would quit and become weak again.

Week 2 of my challenge I am squatting 50kg, which is my body weight. And, considering I don’t usually squat, that’s not a bad effort.

My calories are only 50g lower than what I was usually eating, so my body is pretty content with my food intake. The challenge will probably affect me when my calories drop dramatically and my body freaks out.

Week 2 Check-in

Liannas 12 week challenge

Average weekly weight: 50kg

Supplements:
BPM Labs: AM/PM Burn
EHP Labs: OxyShred
X50: 100% Lean Whey Protein Vanilla

Week 3:

Nothing too much to report in this week, my body is performing well in the gym. I have noticed an increased amount of strength with my exercises and I’ve found the amount of food I am on is substantial for the activity that I am doing. Most days I am in deficit, some days I have found I’m not as active in my gym and cardio – due to an office job that sometimes requires me to sit all day.

Average weekly weight: 50kg

Supplements:
BPM Labs: AM/PM Burn
EHP Labs: OxyShred
X50: 100% Lean Whey Protein Vanilla

Week 4:

Week 4 was a bit of a ride off week – I went away for 4 days, which no matter how prepared you are, you’ll always come into some sort of diet challenge. I packed around 20 meals for my trip, it was only 4 days but that’s what it tallied up to for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was challenging because I’m only allowed one cheat day in the week and I had to be very careful which day I chose. Once I had my cheat I felt full and included with my friends, but the next day it was the same story, I wanted to be a part of the fun. Luckily, I got through it because I had my goal in sight. Dinners were a lot easier to be included in because you can literally get a steak and salad anywhere.

Week 4 Check-in

Liannas 12 week challenge

Average weekly weight: 50.2kg

Supplements:
BPM Labs:
AM/PM Burn
EHP Labs: OxyShred
X50: 100% Lean Whey Protein Vanilla

Week 5:

Week 5 was a week full of PB’s, my strength increased dramatically and even I was surprised with what I was achieving.

  • 45kg flat bench press
  • 80kg squats
  • 80kg hip thrust
  • 15kg each hand – dumbbell flat bench press

Average weekly weight: 50.5kg

Supplements:
BPM Labs:
AM/PM Burn
EHP Labs: OxyShred
X50: 100% Lean Whey Protein Vanilla

Week 6:

Calories dropped from 1950 to 1640

The first week was ok. I usually find the first week of new calories easier because it’s new and my body doesn’t know what it’s in for. It’s the next couple of weeks where my body is like “Hang on, where’s the rest of the food you used to eat?” I had no cravings for anything during my first week of dropped calories.

Week 6 Check-in

Liannas 12 week challenge

Average weekly weight: 50.2kg

Supplements:
BPM Labs:
AM/PM Burn
EHP Labs: OxyShred
X50: 100% Lean Whey Protein Vanilla

Week 7:

Week 7, well, what can I say about lucky number 7 … my metabolism is burning like WILDFIRE. I am constantly hungry and craving ridiculous foods! I’m like a pregnant woman who has cravings like pickles on toast with Nutella … WEIRD! 
I’m dropping fat and building muscle. My weight has stayed somewhat the same, with the odd 100g difference because of a cheat meal the night before.
Cheat meals are life! And, I look forward to every single one of them now. I even count down the hours until breakfast because Proats are amazing … and sweet!
Overall strength has improved dramatically. Even with the calorie drop and added cardio sessions, I can feel I am stronger in all my exercises.
HANGRY, is an actual thing … and I didn’t realise this until my family was eating pizza and I had finished my last chicken meal for the day. I’ve noticed that decreased carbs make you crazy, really crazy.
I don’t feel too drained and my energy levels are still performing well. Of course, as we all do I’ll crash here and there.
Cardio is making a huge difference in this part of my challenge. I feel that if I continue to smash out my cardio sessions, I will notice a massive change that I haven’t seen before (I wasn’t much of a cardio person until this challenge).
Average weekly weight:  49.9kg
Supplements:
X50: 100% Lean Whey Protein Vanilla
Scivation: Xtend BCAAs Mango Flavour
BPM Labs: Annihilate Rainbow Sherbet Flavour

Week 8:

This week I started noticing I was holding a bit more weight and feeling a lot more bloated than usual. I wasn’t sure if it was the meals I was eating that was affecting me or perhaps it was just that annoying time of the month?

Week 8 check-in

Liannas 12 week challenge

Average weekly weight: 50.1kg

Supplements:
Blessed Protein: Salted Caramel Flavour
Scivation: Xtend BCAAs Grape Flavour
BPM Labs: Annihilate Rainbow Sherbet Flavour

Week 9:

This week was a rough one, I had the biggest sweet-tooth and I just couldn’t satisfy it. I highly depended on sugar-free jelly and sugar-free lollies and because of this, felt bloated all week and sick – It was confusing and couldn’t work out why I was weighing in heavy. My bloated stomach appeared like it was going to stay. So, I cut out the sugar-free lollies and everything went back to normal. Eating one or two is okay but don’t depend on them.

I have found I am looking forward to my once a week cheat meal more and more now. Strangely, I feel incredibly good after eating a pizza. It’s like being ‘carbed up’ is a superpower. The next morning, I have a low weigh-in and still feel great. The next couple of days, I have higher weigh-ins and still feel good.

Average weekly weigh-in: 50.4kg

Supplements:
Blessed Protein: Salted Caramel Flavour
Scivation: Xtend BCAAs Grape Flavour
BPM Labs: Annihilate

Week 10:

Here’s a snapshot of week one and week ten. Big changes between both photos. It’s no secret that I didn’t go into this challenge without abs. But, my problem is, I have a lot of skin and untoned muscle in some areas and there’s always room for improvement. I noticed this week I was still weighing in heavy. My water intake was poor, really poor. I wasn’t drinking enough water to compensate for my training.

The Fitness Show in Sydney was an eye-opener because it’s week 10, half of me says ‘Yep, that’ll do’ and then the other half says ‘Keep going!’. Going to the expo showed me what I could achieve if I kept pushing.

Liannas 12 week challenge
Average weekly weigh-in: 
50.6kg

Supplements:
Blessed Protein: Salted Caramel Flavour
Scivation: Xtend BCAAs Grape Flavour
BPM Labs: Annihilate Rainbow Sherbet Flavour

Week 11:

Holy-Moly! Week 11, this is where things are tough, I’ll either succeed or fail. My calories have now dropped to 1250 and my cardio has increased to 60 minutes, 6 days a week. It’s only day 3 and I am feeling completely overwhelmed and my body is in absolute shock. It’s going to be a tough 2 weeks.

Average weekly weigh-in: 49.5kg

Supplements:
Blessed Protein: Salted Caramel Flavour
Scivation: Xtend BCAAs Grape Flavour
EHP Labs: PSI – non-stim pre workout

Week 12:

Ok, I don’t think I have ever dreamt about food as much as I have in this last week. Every night I am dreaming of sliding down chocolate slides or face-planting a cake with loads of frosting. My cravings for food have increased rapidly and it’s driving me BONKERS!

My mood is crossed between happy (thank god this is coming to an end) to agitated (get out of my face), there is no in between. It’s one or the other.

This is the second week of my calories being really low, and I have noticed a huge difference in my weights sessions, I am not as strong and I find myself gazing off into space thinking “I should be doing my next set, ok, and go!” My cardio sessions are testing my mood and energy levels – 60 minutes 6 days per week pushed my boundaries.

My body has reached the breaking point and I’ve questioned everything in existence.

WHY. AM. I. DOING. THIS?!

I have found that I am craving my cheat meal 4 days ahead of time and I have changed my cheat meal about 20 times now.

This week was hard. May 4th was my finish date but due to not being able to get a DEXA scan until Tuesday the 8th of May, I had to extend my challenge into week 13.

I had my cheat day on Saturday, and my God, I changed my mind so many times as to what I was having because it was just so damn close I didn’t want to waste calories on something, well, CRAP! Luckily, I went with a Snchitty deluxe burger from Mackies Cafe and Woolworth’s sweet potato chips. It was absolutely delicious and the best decision I’ve ever made. Then, Monday I had my high carb day, it was bulk rice, oats and pancakes. Tuesday, I got ready for my scan at 9:30 am, I followed all of Luke’s instructions to make sure I was getting the best results. I had a McDonald’s breakfast to kickstart my day and lots of water.

Sunday was an interesting day, it was the day my body just called it quits. For the first time in 12 weeks, I fell asleep on the lounge at 5 pm and slept rights through to 9 pm and even then, when I woke up for dinner I felt groggy and out of it.

Liannas 12 week challenge

After photos: 50.1kg

Average weekly weight: 48.9kg
Body Fat Percentage: 13.8%
Muscle: 2.5kg gain

Supplements:
Blessed Protein: Salted Caramel Flavour
Scivation: 
Xtend BCAAs Grape Flavour
EHP Labs:
 PSI – non-stim pre workout

Overall challenge tips:

  • Prep your meals for the week ahead
    • Always have your meals ready to go
  • Don’t skip out on workout days
    • Always make an attempt
  • My go-to hunger savers:
    • Zucchini in oats
    • Chewing gum
    • Sugar-free lollies
    • Sugar-free jelly
    • Chan’s Super Lo Cal noodles
    • Salad – lettuce, mushroom, cucumber, tomato
    • Drink BCAAs and water
    • Coffee
    • Diet Coke
  • Don’t set yourself up to fail or create unattainable goals
  • Your body will thank you for a cheat meal if you’re allowed to have one.
  • Follow your challenge for optimal results.
  • Don’t have the “I’ll just have one” mentality
    • One leads to two and two leads to three, then suddenly you’re off track and forfeited your challenge goals.
  • Don’t get caught up in the “I’m missing out on so much”
    • Work on yourself, be happy with yourself and you can enjoy again once you achieve what you set your mind to.

I hope you enjoyed my week to week article entries from my challenge. Now it’s time to decide what’s next for me and my fitness goals.

Stay up to date on my fitness journey by following me on Instagram: Lianna Speers

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