With her clothes feeling a little too snug, Cathie Hamilton decided to put her health first. In the process, she not only became a role model for her kids, she became her own inspiration.

Cathie Hamilton - January 2014 BodyBlitz winner

Realising that I could no longer fit into any of my clothes and was struggling to keep up with my two very active children was the catalyst to take a long, hard look at my own health and fitness levels. I’ve lost track of the amount of time I’ve spent considering entering a fitness challenge, but I’ve chickened out every time. This time, I made a promise to myself to get in the best shape of my life. I committed myself to focusing primarily on me for 12 weeks. My health became my number one priority. I acknowledged that the person I needed to be accountable to was me. I always loved looking at before and after images of BodyBlitz monthly winners and decided it was time to take on the challenge.

What’s more, I decided to combine it with the Maxine’s Challenge to give me extra motivation. I realised I am the sort of person who needs a specific goal to work towards with a hard-and-fast deadline, which is why the BodyBlitz 12-week challenge was perfect.

Making time for the gym

Like any mum with young kids, making the time to fit in such a large number of gym sessions was tricky. I was lucky in that I had a supportive husband who helped me plan a timetable of when I could hit the gym and juggle the kids. This resulted in early morning gym sessions before everyone woke up, which was a big adjustment in itself as I’ve always been quite the night owl. I used our spin bike at home to be able to fit in the extra cardio session and even invested in a boxing bag towards the end of the challenge, which I love. Although my husband and I began to feel like ‘ships in the night’, I knew my health needed to take priority for these few weeks and I stayed committed.

Overall, I loved the training. In particular, the weights were a favourite. The nutritional side of the challenge was a big adjustment, although the part I found the trickiest was ensuring I got enough sleep and drank enough water. Pre-challenge, I would regularly go the whole day without water – surviving mainly on a string of coffees. I would also regularly work very late into the night, functioning on minimal sleep. Changing these two habits was probably the most challenging part of my experience.

I didn’t use a personal trainer at all. I did have a training buddy at the gym on Saturdays, but otherwise went about getting fit on my own. I had forgotten how much I loved the gym and enjoyed the ‘me’ time it provided. I still don’t have a great love of cardio, but I do love to lift weights and found that building muscle through lifting is what gave me great results. I also found the nutritional plan of six smaller, regular meals and higher protein worked really well for me.

Resisting a holiday blow-out

We had a family holiday in Bali about halfway through the challenge. It was an all-inclusive package and avoiding the open bar and all-you-can-eat buffet was rather difficult. I was proud of my willpower and it was interesting that upon reviewing my results, some of my best losses came that week.

In general, family and friends were really supportive. My husband was great in particular – taking on a lot more of the morning shifts with the kids to allow me time to go to the gym. Like with anything, there will always be negative comments but it’s up to you as to how you handle that and I think I’m much more self-aware now as to how different things affect my body.

Although I have started a few 12-week challenges in the past, this BodyBlitz challenge was the first I actually finished. Although it may sound corny, I think the main reason for my success was that this time I did it for me. I was clear about my reasons up front. I knew that I needed to make myself accountable and learn to keep the promises I made to myself. It was really important to me to keep the promise I made to myself and get into the best shape of my life.

I have a much more positive outlook on life and appreciate my body for what it can do. I love feeling fit and strong. It’s also had a positive impact on our family life. Not only am I more positive overall, I have so much more energy and can now keep up with my super-active kids. I’m proud to be a positive role model for my kids, in particular, my daughter. When my three-year-old asked for broccoli and zucchini, I was so excited to realise how much my clean eating habits had rubbed off on the kids. They’re excited about exercise too, and often join me in a workout.

I started off this journey to get into the best shape of my life and I’m absolutely stoked at my results. I’ve continued to lose more weight and have seen huge improvements in my strength and cardio fitness. However, I definitely believe the challenge is more mental than physical. With both my training and my nutrition, I tried really hard to focus on consistency. In the past, if I’ve missed a workout or eating something I shouldn’t have, I would fall off the bandwagon. During the challenge, I really focused on forming good, lifelong habits. It was really important that I not only got into great shape, but that I became a good role model for my kids on how to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

EXERCISE ROUTINE
Weeks 1–8
Monday: Lower body weights
Tuesday: Upper body weights
Wednesday: Lower body weights
Thursday: Netball training
Friday: Cardio
Saturday: Upper body weights + netball match
Sunday: Rest

Weeks 9–12
Monday: Lower body weights + cardio
Tuesday: Upper body weights (chest/back) + cardio
Wednesday: Upper body weights (shoulders/biceps/triceps) + cardio
Thursday: Spin bike + lower body weights
Friday: Spin bike + upper body weights (chest/back)  
Saturday: Upper body weights (shoulders/biceps/triceps)
Sunday: Rest

MEAL PLAN

Breakfast: Protein powder + oats (in water), coffee

Mid-Morning (Post Workout): Protein shake

Lunch: Chicken and salad plus sweet potato

Mid-Afternoon: Fruit + almonds

Dinner: Chicken or fish and steamed green veg + brown rice

Before Bed: Protein powder + yoghurt

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