About this time last year you many remember that I started the ‘My Best Body’ trial for my good friend Abbie.(You can find that review here)
Since then she has released a short a sweaty guide, which I am yet to try, and has been working hard on a ‘My Best Body Home’ workout guide. Like with the first guide Abbie approached a group of us to trial it, to iron out the kinks before releasing it to the world.
When I knew that this trial would be starting in 2017 I was on the fence because I was really focused on training for a half marathon and I knew I would want to give both my 100% effort, but both are intense so I would have to make the choice. Life made that choice for me, I ended up with a pretty hefty groin injury from increasing mileage and sprinting hills too fast; it turned out that I wasn’t balancing running and strength training enough in order to avoid injury, oops.
After a long chat with Abbie about the set-up of the guide it seemed like the perfect mix for me to balance running and strength training – I was all in, super excited and ready to be injury free, strong and fast again 😉
A week before the trail started I found out I was pregnant…. So in actual fact Abbie was one of the first to know because A. I needed to make sure it was going to be okay to swap out some exercises for pregnancy safe ones, and B, this is her livelihood, I needed to make sure she was okay with me not having normal results; after all whilst others midsection would get zipped in, mine would certainly be letting out.
So what is My best Body Home? This program is along the same thought process as the first, just with the ability to do it from home, and with a more fat loss intention: A program that focuses on YOU being the best version of YOU; YOU being the strongest, fittest and happiest you can be.
As a trial member for My Best Body there were a few guidelines I and the rest of the team had to abide by:
- Commit to the program 100%
- Do not do any other form of exercise outside of the program.
- Follow the nutrition/ macro guide correctly – I was exempt from this aspect.
- Take progress photos at every phase of the program and send to Abbie.
- Take body fat measurements every phase and send to Abbie – Exempt from this too.
How is it broken down?
Like the Gym based program the home version is a 13 week program not 12 like most programs
Week’s 1 – 3 Stabilisation & base training: The focus during this stage is to focus on the movement of every single exercise to avoid injury as the program ramps up and to create a solid, strong stabilizing base (especially in your core). It also has assessments on certain exercises and optional running distances so that you have a way to gauge your strength progress and cardiovascular conditioning throughout the program rather than just aesthetical progress. There are a number of cardiovascular workouts in this stage which I loved because I was able to work on my running.
There are also unilateral challenges during this phase to ensure that your body is being trained evenly on each side, and to challenge and improve balance. I like this phase because it set a solid foundation for the rest of the program, it was the right amount of challenge so that you don’t feel defeated by a workout at the very start, in fact I feel it’s set out to set you up for success. There is also a heavy focus on rehab from day one, ensuring we as ‘MBB Atheletes’ carve out time to stretch and foam roll to help avoid injury and help recovery.
Week’s 4 – 9 Strength training: During this phase you will add to your library of fitness knowledge with a number of different sets to keep your muscles challenged, along with the introduction of 21’s…. and no they aren’t just limited to arms. This phase truly is dedicated to strength, it will put your muscles to the test and will work them to failure, which is of course what you want. The cardio in this section is more medium intensity and conditioning; this type of training makes us runners excited because it’s the type if training that will help increase your ability to run further and faster. The program gives you the chance to choose your poison in regards to cardio, so if you like running go for it, but if you can’t stand it you can either head to the elliptical or get the skipping rope out. The exercises in this phase get really creative which makes it easier to get up for every workout!
Week’s 10 – 13 – Power Training: During this phase you will see less of the traditional weight lifting set up in regards to sets and more circuit type training combining both weight and plyometric style training to ramp up that calorie burn and to show off those muscles you’ve been working so hard on. This phase is of course physically hard, but it’s during this phase you will be digging into that mind of yours to search for that added mental strength. There are less long cardio sessions in this phase as you will be doing cardio in almost every workout – it does call for low intensity training which you should take seriously and not overdo.
Before you start
Before you even embark on this program I recommend taking a week off to reset your body and to prepare it for the 13 weeks ahead, so that you can start strong. The program recommends that you take unflexed and flexed real photos before you start, you will do this at the end of each stage too. Why the unflexed real photos? Because Abbie wants you to see your real beauty and your true progress without relying on funky angles and lighting to make you feel good.
I actually still have a gym membership and did every leg workout at the gym because I like to lift extra heavy on leg days, but If you do not have access to a gym and will be doing this program 100% at home, this is the equipment I think you really need.
- Mini bands – you will want these no matter where you do the program. In many cases, these are optional, but they are cheap to buy and really take your workouts up a notch!
- Workout bench – I chose this over a step because its higher and you can adjust the back position. If you do not have access to a bench, many of the exercises can be done on your mat. Abbie provides alternatives for these exercises.
- Dumbbells – I would get at least 3 different sets – I used 5lb, 10lb and 15lb
- Kettle bell – I have a 25lb one and that gives the perfect challenge. In many cases, alternatives are provided for the kettle bell exercises, but it’s a good idea to have one.
- Skipping rope
- Exercise ball – you know you’ve found the right size ball when you can sit on it with your feet on the floor and legs at 90-degree angles.
- Exercise mat
- Foam roller
You may wonder where on earth to keep all this stuff, but if you get creative you can create a very cute gym space – I actually combined my workout space with my office space and I think it’s perfect.
There will not be a separate nutrition guide for the home program; Abbie worked with us individually on our nutrition which is something over the next year she will be offering through individual 30-minute consultations.
Like the gym based program, this version challenges so many angles of your life which I think is fantastic because you do not end up obsessing over the desire to see physical change. (I’ve kept the milestone title as the same as the first review to remain consistent but some do not apply to me right now)
Mindset – My mind set was very strange, again I’m pregnant so it was a very different mindset than before. I started the program not expecting any physical change, all I wanted was to compete every single workout to the best of my ability and not use ‘I’m pregnant’ so I’m taking it really slow as an excuse. I have found a different love for exercise over the last 13 weeks; with zero physical transformation expectations I had nothing but the endorphin’s of exercise to motivate me.
Nutritional – I started this program around 7 weeks pregnant, so amidst the morning (ahem day) sickness, food aversions and extreme exhaustion my nutrition was nowhere near fantastic. The last 4 ish weeks of the program I was able to start eating well again; but I know 100% that if my nutrition had been perfect my aesthetical results would have been better; but all I focused on was ensuring I was eating enough food (even if it was chips) to avoid burn out.
Physical strength – Again, no expectations here, however I was able to continue to increase weights in a safe way throughout the program. I was only able to do 5 negative triceps dips without stopping during my first workout of this program, but by the end I was able to do 15 negatives without stopping! My running splits of course have reduced but I have the ability to run for longer because of the cross training in this program; the conditioning training also enabled me to keep my HR low enough to do the HIIT training in the final phase.
Visual transformation– Let’s get something straight here, I had no intention to lose any weight during this program, I also did not expect my muscles to grow; however that doesn’t mean it was easy to watch my mid-section grow each week despite putting in 101% of effort. However, I was absolutely speechless to see the change in my upper body and legs throughout this program. Which I think speaks volumes about this program and its ability to make you not only stronger but also obtain the muscles you’ve always wanted.
As many of you know, I spend a decent amount of my time on the road which means I need a program that works with hotel gyms – when I do a gym based program I end up having to find an Anytime Fitness close by and it just makes the whole logistics of working away more complicated. I was able to do every single one of these workouts in even the most minimal of gyms.
I would recommend this program to fellow newbie runners in order to obtain a balance between running and strength training, which I know is hard to figure out at the beginning. I would also recommend this to anyone that is new to exercise, or if they’ve hit a plateau in their training or anyone that is looking for a challenge.
I am going to keep this statement from the gym version because it’s I probable could put it a better way – This IS a challenge and it is not for the faint hearted, if you’re looking for a quick fix, this program unfortunately is not for you. BUT if you are ready to really commit to yourself, to learn to love yourself during every up and every down, to love yourself when you don’t have a visible defined core, to love having a healthy lifestyle not just the body that comes with it, then this is the program for you.
I finished this program feeling stronger both mentally and physically; you will really need to dig deep in those final few weeks for mental strength as there are challenges that repeat themselves so you know the pain/gain that is ahead of you – but let me tell you, it’s so worth it.
The amount of workouts per week ranged from 5-6, depending on the phase, the workouts typically took me 45-60 minutes to complete.
This program enabled my husband and I to do a workout together each week which was amazing. It ranged from the low intensity runs to the high intensity circuit training once a week from about week 5. The workouts John did he absolutely loved, they challenged him but they weren’t so out of context to his training goals that he was able to fit them into his schedule.
Overall thoughts (cont.) and Tips to have a successful 13 weeks
I did this section in my gym based review and I think it was so great to get perspective from more than one person, so I’ve done the same for this one too– especially because I had to alter a few things to accommodate my babe.
My top tips
- Study the photo exercise library: Abbie will supply you will a helpful photo exercise library in the ebook to support all exercises in the program; do not look at them for the first time in the gym before you start your workout. Set time aside on a Sunday night to look at them properly, some of the exercises are complex, the photos and explanations will show you how to execute them correctly and safely.
- Practice: Some exercises will be new and a little complex, so before you start each workout do 2/3 reps of each new exercise so that you are familiar with how it is performed; this will avoid getting confused mid workout and losing momentum whilst you figure it out.
- Find a buddy: There are so many elements of this program that are more enjoyable to do with a friend, plus it keeps you accountable. I did at least 1 run each week with my friend Maria and then 1 high intensity circuit with John each week.
- I loved the assessments – this was a short term way to see your strength build without focusing on a scale which I loved.
- The exercises were new to me and Abbie kept introducing new/more challenging options throughout the 13 weeks (e.g. Not like other programs where you got so freaking tired of jump lunges and burpees for 12 straight weeks)
- The workout time was perfect. I was used to the 28 minute circuit style of BBG but didn’t always feel like that was enough time. But these were about 45 minutes which I thought for a mom who also works full-time this was the perfect amount of time and afterwards I always felt like I got in a great workout (even on AB day!)
- As someone who only works out at home I loved that she provided alternate options if you were missing equipment (I didn’t have a kettlebell or a slamball, but I was still able to work those same muscles by modifying to fit the equipment I did have)
- The workouts were FUN! I’ve never felt stronger in my life!
- First of all I want to say that this is the first program I have ever done that I have enjoyed every second of, and I have done so many in my life!
- It is so full of new exercises and the workouts continuously change which is super fun and keeps you and your body guessing!
- The 13 weeks flew by so quickly and I can’t believe it is already the end. I think that to have a successful 13 weeks and to stay on track you must remind yourself why you started. What really helped me the most was the support and kindness from all the trial girls, so find a friend to start this program with.
- This was such an incredible experience for me and I am super happy because whenever times were hard, the group and Abbie were always there to cheer me on and motivate me to continue kicking my own butt!
- would recommend this program to everyone because it truly is one of a kind
- Phase 1: AMAZING! After I completed the first exercise, I was afraid the program would be too intense for me, since I am brand new to lifting and heavy exercise. I remember telling Abbie my elbow was so sore the next day and I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to complete the program. Well, I was proven wrong. After that first exercise (and some adjustments from Abbie) I was well on my way. The stability phase was by far my favorite part of the program. I am in major need of improving my balance and overall core strength, so the exercises she put together were exactly what I needed. Within the first four weeks (though I didn’t lose a lot of body fat) I DID already start showing more muscle and strength, especially in my back.
- Phase 2: I enjoyed this phase, but not as much as the first. I must admit, a big part of this was probably the fact that it was more challenging for me, but I also think it really helped improve my strength and overall flexibility.
- Phase 3: I still have one week left of this phase, and it has been TOUGH! It did prove to me that I am much more capable than I think I am. For the first time, I was completing sit-through’s and doing the T rotation up to the amount of reps specified. Week 12 legs had me BURNING and holding myself up on the wall to stand after the Bulgarian split squats, but it was worth the challenge. This phase though is the hardest to keep up in the recommended schedule because it requires both stamina, strength and heavier cardio, it is hard for me to keep it up each day so take another rest day if needed – (again, at a beginning level)
- Overall, this program has been such an eye-opening experience! When I started, I could barely do a correct wall push-up, had absolutely no core strength, and I had NEVER been able to complete a successful lunge or squat. I remember the first week going through the exercises and thinking…I cannot do this, but Abbie pushed me. I now can perform a squat and lunge (still have a long way to go), but I’ve built up a good starting point as I continue to progress in my own fitness journey. This program has given me the courage I needed to pursue a more active fitness lifestyle. And now, when I do go to the gym, I will have more confidence to perform exercises correctly and know my limits.
Melody is yet to finish the last phase, so no photos yet!
- Be willing to try new things! Even if you already think you know how to do something, have an open mind and try the new way to see if it gets you closer to where you want to be. Whether it’s a different way of eating or tweaking your form on a new (or familiar!) exercise, have the courage to change your mind. It could change your life!
I have started this program again from the beginning and plan to continue doing this program to the end, however this time round as I get larger and approach the third trimester if I have to take more rest days I will. This program should take me up to about 34 weeks pregnant which is where I will probably start transitioning to walking and lower intensity weight training and yoga to prepare for my little girl to make her appearance. Long term I do plan to do this program postpartum along with the nutritional help from Abbie. My current thinking is to complete this program in January to get my fitness and strength back up before I start training for quite possibly my first every marathon….. But who knows.
I am so overjoyed that I had the opportunity to experience this program and I have no doubt that this will change lives.
Thanks for stopping by,