Ailsa Dicarlo / Transformation

Ailsa Dicarlo's amazing Maxine's Challenge transformation

  • Before
  • After



164 cm


Tone & Shape - Advanced

Reason to start The Challenge

With my 40th birthday coinciding very closely with the end of the challenge I saw this as a sign and a great opportunity to rather than just attend a gym to train but to use the structure and knowledge from the challenge to achieve an overall goal of a physically healthy and mentally happy body.

Having always lead a active lifestyle but with 3 little boys in tow (one with special needs) unfortunately a lot of the time my goals and aspirations are not a priority. It was getting hard to do what I need or want to do.

This challenge will enable me to acknowledge and facilitate a personal transition that emphasises the importance of self care and healthy lifestyle so as to be able to take care of the people that I love in my life.

What did you like most about The Challenge?

The challenge achieved a great balance between providing structure and an easy to follow format for its participants whilst simultaneously scaffolding the education of challengers in nutrition, training and mindset.

This ensured that the individual developed an understanding of the process that they were undertaking (and grasp “the why” rather than just doing “the what”) which set them up for independent and lifelong application of new habits and positive lifestyle changes.

I had a number of AHAH! moments where what I was reading in forum responses, social media posts and provided resources set me up personally to succeed and either reinforced some prior knowledge or opened my eyes to a better way of training, eating, thinking etc which was realistic and sustainable.

What was the hardest thing about your Challenge?

Overcoming a lot of self doubt and having confidence with my own ability to achieve what previous challengers had. I had confidence in the program but not in myself. Flipping my mindset was the key for me and enabled me to take full advantage of the opportunity the challenge provided.

Taking one day at a time also helped me immensely but this needed to be balanced with the obvious need to plan ahead.

On a practical note the hardest thing was sometimes juggling training sessions in amongst “life” but I learnt quickly that the program, although nicely structured and clearly defined could be flexible in its application especially for participants with young children. You can make it work if you really want it to!

What impact has The Challenge had on your life?

I have an enormous sense of pride in what I have achieved. Concurrently and understandably my confidence has sky rocketed not just because of my outward physical appearance changes but also my personal self-perception.

I now know that I actually am a pretty tough cookie and although I have been told I am in the past by others I now believe it myself. My overall energy has been improved out of sight and I am a much happier and positive mother/wife and friend which enables me to look after the special people in my life to an even greater capacity.

What would you say to people who are thinking of doing The Challenge?

Don’t sit on the fence! Have no regrets and go for it! Take a chance at something which could change the way you feel potentially forever!

We are all here for a short time so make the most of it – if getting yourself happy and healthy has always felt too far away the challenge will guide you and at the same time educate you to ensure your success.

Set a goal, make yourself accountable, prepare and plan for success. The challenge provides many platforms for improving both the physical and mental well being of the its participants and both of these components are equally important in terms of life long health.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your Challenge?

I realise now with reflection how much of a rut I was stuck in prior to the challenge starting. From both an appearance perspective and about my perception of myself and my circumstances.

The challenge has lifted me up and out of that rut and I will do whatever I can to not fall back into that little hole I had dug for myself at that time.

Right at the end of the challenge I turned 40 years old and I feel better now than when I did when I was in my twenties. I am proud of my resilience, perseverance and application and am very grateful to the program for setting me heading in a more positive direction.

I hope now that I can motivate others to swallow their fear and take on the challenge as I am so very glad that I did.


  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    14 Apr 2018
    5:48 PM

    END OF WEEK 12 - The very last day ! I sit here with very mixed feelings - it is a little surreal in some respects that I have officially completed the challenge but this is combined with some uncertainty as to what will happen next. I am very proud and can hold my head high and say that I gave this endeavour my all and have no regrets as to my effort, application and commitment. I would dearly love to ramp things up and continue to train utilising a similar framework as clearly it works. All my weekly journal entries I have structured in terms of What I have learned in terms of myself, training and nutrition Goals and moving forward This final journal entry I am going to do exactly the same thing but instead of reflecting on my challenge journey I am going to journal these mindful thoughts for my future healthy lifestyle post challenge. WHAT I HAVE LEARNED MYSELF - With a positive mindset I am able to set a goal and plot a pathway to reach it. This does not necessarily need to be a super straight line and having flexibility actually provides scaffolded resilience. Success is determined by the participant and my ongoing training will be based around clear goals, consistent application and an optimistic attitude. TRAINING - This is definitely physically and mentally hard - I am very honestly going to say that there were days where I literally took one set at a time for the exercise in the session I was doing. This does get me through when perhaps some negative thoughts of "I can't do this" creep in and it will be tools like these that I will remember to engage when training in the future. Do not feel overwhelmed. NUTRITION - This is a biggie - My future healthy lifestyle will maintain my current established eating routine - my training in the past has been sabotaged by a complete lack of fuel! - I will be concentrating especially on peri workout nutrition moving forward from the challenge. GOALS POST CHALLENGE It would be lovely to say that I have concreted these in and am rearing to go BUT everyone needs some time for reflection so as to identify priorities and re establish motivation. I will use the week following the challenge to assess this but I do have some work in progress ideas * Establish a 4 week on 1 week off training regime to maintain my current fitness which allows for a little more recovery time. I would endeavour to do this until the September Maxine's challenge so I had a good platform to launch from for it. * Do a park run - I'd just like to prove to myself I can do the 5kms! * Register and complete the September challenge but this time in the Get Strong program - would love to get some more muscle development. I am now 40 years of age (as of 4 days ago!) so as I am getting older I am more aware that (maybe) undertaking this could get harder in the future. Tomorrow I am doing my final photos - then uploading them and closing the book that is this current challenge. The story however will continue - I am not done - I am definitely a happier and healthier me but this is not "THE END" yet ! :)

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    12 Apr 2018
    1:35 PM

    I have done my Dexa scan and I have after 12 weeks lost 3.6 kg (now 50.7kg) with an overall body fat % loss of 6.6%. My lean muscle tissue increased by 6%. I am happy with the results and am looking to build on this for next time. I think I might try the Get Strong program when I go around again. Now, need to get rid of this sickness so I can get back to training!!

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    12 Apr 2018
    4:49 AM

    MID WAY WEEK 12 I am currently feeling really frustrated!! I've stuck to the program 100% and now during the very last week I am really sick!!! Have not been able to train since Monday (it's now Thursday). To rub salt into the wound yesterday was my 40th birthday (one of the reasons I did the challenge) and I was bed ridden and consequently miserable. I've worked soooo hard over the last 11 weeks and I am fearful that some of that is going to be lost. I am hoping to do a total body workout tonight, Friday and Saturday as I have my photos scheduled for Sunday. I really want to look my best to show how much effort and sacrifice I have put in to this. I guess my reaction to not being able to train is also indicative of how much I enjoy and look forward to the sessions... 3 days now and I'm going a little stir crazy. We also have put our family dog to sleep which was very distressing and I think possibly was what pushed me over the edge re getting sick. Kids are devastated. THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED MYSELF - I am now a role model for others, and not just my family. A lot of people have been asking what I've been doing and I have been using my knowledge acquired from the website resources to start filling in the gaps for people who might be considering the challenge themselves. TRAINING - Having not been able to has made me realise how much it is a big part of my life. I need to be patient and hope that I can get in a session or two before the end of the week. NUTRITION - reading a lot about water loading, glycogen and carbohydrate manipulation prior to this week. I now realise that for all the time I had been weight training I had been missing that vital post workout nutritional window more often than not. When glycogen stores are low following training you really need to fast track your fuel to reap maximum benefits from the workout you just did. I would often not eat for 1-2hrs and explains a lot regarding my recovery also. Live and learn. GOALS FROM LAST WEEK Abs - cable crunch has progressed really well now up to 40kgs (from 34) but I think this is my limit esp given my current sickness. I have either added reps to current weights or upped weights for same reps this past week also, am proud as to how far I have come since week 1. I am very self directed and confident, I have obviously learnt a lot along the way. Dexa scan is today - feeling a bit apprehensive as there is no place to hide with one of those!!! This is my first and only weigh in/check in for the whole time since before week 1. I will post my results tonight. Time to get this body well to bring things home in the last few days.

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    3 Apr 2018
    1:39 PM

    START OF WEEK 11 Easter and my middle sons birthday party on the same day was the ultimate test of willpower over the challenge so far. I prepared in advance with cut up cucumber and carrot as well as an icy protein shake and some grape flavoured intra boost to sip on for the afternoon but it was still bloody hard!! On that day I felt like I missed out on things - sharing birthday cake etc - on reflection I will be able to incorporate this into life after the challenge ends but at the moment I am trying to stay 100% focused on nutrition - which I have done over the last 11 weeks (I am not about to blow that now with not long to go) I would like to be able to say that following the end of this that I committed completely to the endeavour and for that I will be very proud of - anything else will be a bonus. A little worried about catching the cold/cough that my children all currently have - thankfully I do not usually get sick but have been extra vigilant with the probiotics and vit c just in case! THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF – knuckling down sometimes means you rely on the routine/s that you have created - especially if momentum has lulled a bit. Having a training partner helps or someone to keep you accountable on a certain day is fantastic (Thanks Jarrod - Sat morning enigma!) Getting into good habits is so important for now and for after the challenge ends. I read somewhere that if you take from a training program 2 aspects of it and regularly keep it incorporated into your daily routine post program then the program has done its job.... as its' these daily healthy changes that ensure longevity of good health and exercise for life TRAINING – School holidays upon us - training has to be chunked up - body part divisions have been used as having 3 little boys in tow means that extended periods of time training are just not possible. I still get through what is needed for the day but it has been divided into mini sessions NUTRITION – I've discovered almond butter (WOW) a teaspoon of this is great! I have also spent last week doing multiple therapy appointments and meetings for my autistic son which meant a lot of food on the go (protein shakes, burn bars, mixed greek yoghurt and protein powder etc) as that was all I could do. Back to "real" food the last few days - enjoying the vegies and red meat again (my iron was really low at the start of the challenge - it would be interesting to see how it is going now.......) GOALS FROM LAST WEEK AND MOVING ONTO THIS WEEK regain focus and momentum – I have stepped things up a bit - added in some additional leg work - x band and clams for the glut medius as well as some additional ab work. My legs are lagging a bit so I really want to get them as good as possible - my abs are my strong point - would love to maximise these as much as possible - after having 3 children I am pretty proud of my core both in function and appearance. Training - I've taken on board the advice that every rep counts and at this pointy end of the challenge adding 2 or 3 more reps will make a difference. I have utilised something I have been using the scenario that if someone was holding a gun to your head and your life depended on doing just 2 more reps you obviously could dig deep to get those extra out! AND confidence!!! ... Reflect back on your training log and see your progression over time - this drives you to pick up that heavier dumbbell or add another plate to the bar..... AB goals – I feel this needs priority as it is an area which has really developed in that last 1-2 weeks – am enjoying cable crunches and am currently am at 32.5 kgs - this has moved up to 34kgs now (!) but I am now struggling to pull the cable down to the start position - unless I grow taller or have someone to help I am not sure I can go any higher in weight... we'll see I guess. I have just booked my spray tan for Friday next week and my DEXA scan is the day before and printed out the instructions for the few days prior to photos posted by the ambassador's - it feels very real now and fingers crossed it all falls into place...

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    28 Mar 2018
    9:31 PM

    START OF WEEK 10! (OMG) I can honestly say if I did only make it this far without doing the additional 2 and a bit weeks left to go I am very proud of myself. I have been committed and focused and there are definitely outward and inward signs that this has paid off. I have turned a bit of a corner in terms of confidence and there has been a moment of self realisation that instead of worrying if I can do this that in fact I have done this!! As a surprise and as the end of the challenge coincides with my 40th birthday my husband has arranged a photo shoot as a reward for all my hard work – I am initially feeling quite uncomfortable about the idea and expense as I am not one for putting myself “on show”. In saying that though one of the reasons for doing the challenge was to improve my self confidence and self belief so perhaps this goes hand in hand scaffolding some of this new found positive energy… I have a couple of weeks to get used to the idea as well as sort out something to wear (yay – online shopping!) THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF – give away your self doubt – unfortunately tall poppy syndrome exists and is rampant – I have had a number of negative comments over the last week regarding my appearance (veiny male arms, you have no curves) as well as my food choices – we all have choices and I have chosen mine – as an individual you need to take care of yourself and base your choices on your needs and wants instead of unnecessarily taking on board others opinions TRAINING – Tempo! – what a huge difference this makes even at a light weight – insert cringe here regarding bicep exercises! – I was tested today with my tolerance to the pain and making it through was extremely tough! NUTRITION – Sometimes your budget cannot stretch to red meat etc all the time – eggs, black beans and almonds are great alternatives and I have found their flexibility handy when the budget is getting tight. GOALS FROM LAST WEEK AND MOVING ONTO THIS WEEK regain focus and momentum – I have read through the previous top 10 finishers so many times -this has really given me the extra push – they are all so ecstatic and really positive. the photos are also going to be the little kick up the backside for the last 2 weeks as obviously I want to look my best (gulp) Get to bed at 10pm at the latest!!! – DONE! Except one night – so much easier when you are rested to be focused as well. I even managed to swing a 9am training session (and not 415am!) was wonderful to have a little additional recovery time. Training - would love to get to 25kg bicep curls (I am still not there) and also do a park run before the end of the challenge. Park run not happening – I train legs on a sat at the moment and the run is at 7am – save this for after… With the current tempo biceps goal is not realistic (unless I have a deathwish) – this will also need to be saved to when straight sets are done. AB goals – I feel this needs priority as it is an area which has really developed in that last 1-2 weeks – am enjoying cable crunches and am currently at 32.5kgs – maybe up to 37kg by the end..??? 10pm bedtime curfew approaching and still would like to do some online shopping ! 😉

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    20 Mar 2018
    3:29 PM

    START OF WEEK 9 Got the last phase program and at the moment I am still processing it and how I can make it work - Am enthusiastic about doing something new BUT will feel better once I make my way through the first week to be able to prove to myself that I can do it. Home has been pretty tough and with additional work commitments there has been A LOT of early morning training where I am up with the birds - once I am up I actually enjoy this part of the day but have learnt my lesson that I need to be more mindful of going to bed earlier the night before - having little people means that this can be hard - Sleep is so important - I struggled big time with a session following a 4 hr sleep so much so that I had to throw in the towel (I had nothing to give) this is the first time I have bailed on a part if the program to date. Ive been using the entries and photos from previous challengers to motivate me. They are all so positive and proud of their achievements and are a testimate to the Maxines program - I have seen some changes in my body and loading my 8 week photo alongside my original has proven gratifying. THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - Get those zzzz's and listen to your body - you cannot burn the candle at both ends. You soon find out that your body says NO! TRAINING - the benefit of slow negatives to boost your strength - the very slow negative has really helped me to hop over and above plateaus in weight lifted and changes the emphasis for the area you are training. Also have reaped the benefits of keeping a training log, so much easier to see your progress as well as gauge a starting point for new exercises or rep ranges NUTRITION - I need to eat a little more at each meal - whether a small increase in protein or vegie component I have found that this has helped me with my energy levels. Snacks for me are Maxines protein bars (my fav is caramel crunch) almonds and mini cucumbers, celery and carrots. I also need more water - this has lagged of late and my digestion is telling me that! MOVING ONTO THIS WEEK (NEW PHASE) Regain focus and momentum - so close but still need to keep going. Get nutrition tweaked so energy levels are constant - and get to bed at 10pm at the latest!!! Training - would love to get to 25kg bicep curls (I am still not there) and also do a park run before the end of the challenge.

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    13 Mar 2018
    8:58 PM

    START OF WEEK 8 - START OF 3RD PHASE Whoah! where did that time go ? I am enjoying the training of this current phase so much so that I am actually a bit sad to possibly see it change (? a lot) for next week. Feeling similar feelings of anxiety with something new to undertake as well as still concerned about how I am going to manage the last 2 weeks of the challenge and the school holidays.... Brainstorming some motivational ideas - people have mentioned booking a photo shoot etc but I am not sure about this. I may use small weekly goals to get through the last 4 weeks as my life with 3 little boys is very unpredictable and things can change a great deal THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - I can use my knowledge to inform and motivate others, a number of people have asked what I am doing and comments at work regarding what I have for lunch are opening up conversations about what is actually in our food and making people able to see that making different choices is actually a really good thing! TRAINING - Mindset is a great portion of what gets you started but supplements are also helpful - I have begun using Intraboost to get me up and at them and have found it really great for those days where the mind is willing but the body is having its doubts! NUTRITION: Have discovered the benefits of adding some good fats (avocado)to my diet and tweeking my overall protein intake up slightly - better energy and feeling fuller for longer. Not really craving anything - despite the kids still having some treats meaning that those sort of items are in the house. If I am feeling that way inclined I have found making a bowl of low calorie jelly and keeping it in the fridge is enough to get me through. HOW I FEEL A little excited as I have a glimpse of the end coming up but also a bit worried... Have I reached a plateau and can I do more to make more changes. Not sure but hopefully this weeks release of the new program will answer that. GOALS FROM LAST WEEK/MOVING ONTO THIS COMING WEEK I maintained my deadlift at 75kgs and concentrated on form and feeling the muscle contraction - this was better than adding more weight The Db chest press got up to 15kgs today following last weeks suboptimal chest day - this was a little disappointing but that's ok. My pushup form is much better (having been given advice) and I feel very solid doing these now (like I am using my chest to do them and not my shoulders!) Still at 22.5kgs for bicep curl reps but as it only Tuesday haven't actually done this muscle group this week... fingers crossed! Hoping to mix up my cardio for the rest of the week - perhaps try the local parkrun and maybe a different gym class - I think I need a new challenge. As an aside our dog needs to be put to sleep soon - she has a cancerous growth in her leg and has started not eating - very upsetting for the kids (esp the one who is Autistic as he finds a lot of comfort in his interactions with her -really hard time ahead but training will help.

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    8 Mar 2018
    10:52 PM

    END OF WEEK 6/HALFWAY THROUGH WEEK 7 I have obviously been putting off this entry as it is way after the end of Week 6 atm. I hit a wall at the start of Week 7 - I was very wiped, tired and TBH a bit fed up. I did not want to type anything here as I was very negative and did not want to have this space as a sounding board etc. Training was hard (really hard as I just felt I had nothing to give) and despite being so focused over the last 6 weeks I needed a mental health day away from all things home, work and I hate to say it training too. So I took a day off (Wed week 7) and it was exactly what I needed - mums need to fill their bucket so as to be able to be there for their family and although I have really embraced the challenge I have had to make some (further) sacrifices to get to that end goal. I did not train - I spent some recovery time getting a manicure (a rarity) and getting a haircut (the first one I have had in 6 months) and I feel much better and rejuvenated ready to keep chipping away at changing my body. THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - Put on your own oxygen mask once in awhile - you cant be there for others and support them without looking after yourself. TRAINING - Injuries come and eventually do go = there is always an alternative exercise - you just need to be patient! I've also learnt a bit about mobility and how embracing it actually makes you lift better and recover better - for me particularly I have been trying to be more conscious of my core and bracing this better before doing reps (especially deadlifts etc) as well as trying to make my tight thoracic spine a little more flexible using pre session rolling etc NUTRITION: A light hearted comment - I have been eating cucumber as an in between snack food and too much of it gives me a sore tummy! Gotta find an alternative snack which will be easy - browsing the online recipe glossary has given me a few ideas HOW I FEEL Rejuvenated and looking towards the end of this phase - life has been really busy at home and work and I need to slow down. I have started to look ahead as the last 2 weeks of the challenge are the easter school holidays - its not the chocolate that I am concerned about rather than how am I going to get the training done with 3 children at home. I will be pulling in a few favours I think - I do not want to stall so close to the end! GOALS FROM LAST WEEK/MOVING ONTO THIS COMING WEEK I got my deadlift goal of 75kgs - this was on the day of training that I really struggled so I guess that means I could possibly do more....we will see next Monday. The Db chest press of 17.5kg did not happen - I did EMTOR instead as I was not feeling well at all (hence the mental health day the next day) this will be next weeks goal. I'd like some sort of bicep orientated goal for next week also - perhaps trying to get to 25kg for some bicep curl reps... I am currently at 22.5 kgs.. Backing up tomorrow with a 415am weights session prior to leaving for work - Fridays are better done in the mornings (something Ive worked out over the last few weeks) as by the time Friday arvo arrives I am not at my best! Going to refuel the sleeping quota so I am fresh for tommorrow

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    26 Feb 2018
    9:33 PM

    END OF WEEK 5 I am happy to say I have enjoyed the change of pace with the change of program. Although there is a lot of accessory exercises for the legs parts I can see the method in their madness. It has been hard incorporating the sunday session but it is do able and I find once I do things once this provides me with enough drive to be confident I can do it again. Food was a challenge towards the end of this week with craving associated with cycle changes almost getting the better of me. I did NEED to eat more but steered myself towards better choices and not processed sugary fill ins. I have also toyed with weighing myself - which I deliberately did not do for the end of the 4 weeks BUT have decided that I do not need "a number" to define me. Clothes are beginning to feel loose so I figure that despite being poor at observing myself that I must be heading in the right direction. THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - Literally mind beats matter (proximity and distraction also help!) I am proud that I can despite quite a number of external stressors still achieve more than most with regard to training. My body was tired mid week so I listened to it and did active recovery for one of the cardio days. TRAINING - You can almost always do a couple of extra reps or add a little extra weight - you can surprise yourself and be very adaptable. Trainers have helped me with some technique tips for some of the accessory exercises to get more bang for my buck with reps - keeping weight off the non working leg during step ups and changing the level I row to with the BB row ensure that I am engaging the correct muscle and not cheating! NUTRITION: A little more food goes a long way - I think I am quite active metabolically as I notice that if it more than 3 hours since I last eat I get really HANGRY! The convenience of the Maxines bars and shakes have helped a lot in this department. Sometimes despite all the planning you get caught out and these are super convenient and taste good too. HOW I FEEL Refocused and looking forward to the second week of the new program. Looking to move on with training after using the first week to test myself, it is not time to challenge those muscle in order to change them. GOALS FROM LAST WEEK/MOVING ONTO THIS COMING WEEK I am going to continue with the deadlift goal through phase 2 - aiming for 75kgs by the end of week 7. AND 17.5 kg DB for the chest press by the end of week 7 - I can definitely get this for one set at least! I also need to remember to make plans for my birthday (April 11th) which is only 4 days before the end of the challenge. I will be 40 years old and I would really like to get to that milestone feeling great.. Time for rest now - it has been a long day.

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    21 Feb 2018
    2:08 PM

    END OF WEEK 4 - START OF 2ND PHASE Well I would not be honest if I didn't say that I was a little anxious after opening the new training plan. It was a lot to digest all at once and my first thought was how am I going to do all this...? The Instagram community has given me a bolster this week with regard to this - quite rightly pointing out that our bodies adapt and need change to precipitate change. This was what I needed to set my mind to and it has worked. I have also done my 4 week check in photo and I can see some more definition in some areas which has provided some motivation that was a little lagging towards the end of week 4. I originally did not want to do this as I thought it would mess with my mind but I am glad I did. THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - To have focus is a very powerful thing and I have chosen to focus on the new combos of exercises and the accessory work as something I actually really enjoy - instead of dreading and worrying about the change - I have found that the sessions I have done so far of week 5 have been really great. TRAINING - Having mentors (and friends) is an important part of an undertaking like this. A number of wonderful individuals at my training venue have provided an outpouring of support, advice and motivation. I am very grateful. I have learned also to train smarter and that despite liking structure there is room for swapping out and it does not mean you are no longer on the right track. This next phase I need to refine my technique to get the most out of each rep so that the correct muscles are working. I also need to be more mindful of my posture and also pushing those last two reps out (even if they are going to be a bit ouchie) - I need to force some more adaption as I seem to need this. NUTRITION: Going really well with this - again using some substitutions where necessary but comparing macros before doing it so it is "an apple for an apple" so to say. We had a birthday party at my house the last day of week 4 - but I was prepared and had more nutritionally dense options and stuck to soda water as my drink of choice - I would of in the past perhaps had some cheese/wine etc but I am better off for not having it especially with the loss of the rest day during phase 2. HOW I FEEL Great actually! Despite an initial mini panic attack about the new program I am back on a positive mindset and ready to tackle weeks 5 -8 - excited to see what changes I might be able to create! GOALS FROM LAST WEEK/MOVING ONTO THIS COMING WEEK I have gotten up to 67.5kgs for my deadlift (which is above the 65kgs I was aiming for! very pleased) AND Got all my reps out on the BB Bench at 27.5kgs as well - very glad to wave goodbye to it though as it is not my favourite - much happier with the DB version. Goals for this week will I think be feeling my way through one weeks worth of the new program - I would like to continue some sort of leg orientated focused goal as that is the body part Id like to change the most. Am thinking maybe getting up to using 15kg DBs for the split squats by the end of week 8...? will update this once I have done week 5 in its entirety. Time to move forward and make the next 4 weeks something to be proud of :)

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    11 Feb 2018
    9:18 PM

    END OF WEEK 3 I have felt really energised this week with my nutrition and the routine of regular meals throughout the day established - so much so that if I am getting close to a meal being "due" I notice my body looking for that fuel not too far off the actual time. There may be a few physical changes that I can see - all those leg reps I think are beginning to show with some definition in my quads that I do not think was there previously - I have been using interval running as my cardio I do think that my legs are more powerful in terms of function also. I am a little worried about what might be coming up with the change to the program following the end of week 4 as I am just starting the feel comfortable with the current program.... perhaps that is exactly why it needs to be changed! THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - I am a tough cookie- more than I think - I am surprised as to how self directed I have become with training where previously I would of needed some external push along or assistance with getting going. I think the challenge has allowed me to implement my strong organisational skills and determination to my fitness journey rather than exclusively to the needs of my family. TRAINING: My body is adapting and I can see with the training records I am keeping that I am getting stronger - although there are some days I don't look at the big picture but rather focus on what I haven't improved my mindset needs to be realigned to how far I have come in 3 short weeks. My body feels very strong at the moment and this has helped with motivation to keep going. NUTRITION Food is fuel - the wrong type or not enough makes things hard (or at least harder) I have not missed the small amount of processed food I used to eat and my skin is also very clear as an added bonus (I'm sure all the water is helping too) I have also ventured out for a long overdue date night with my husband this week and we chose Japanese - I chose an appropriate dish which was packed full of vegies and with protein - goes to show you can make great choices and still feel like you are not missing out. HOW I FEEL Pretty good actually - I am alert and raring to go for the next week. My elbow is (dare I say) also feeling like it might be improving - I have had to change my grip on a number of exercises to get some pressure off the extensors in my forearm and that has definitely helped. GOALS FROM LAST WEEK/MOVING ONTO THIS COMING WEEK I got my deadlift to 65kgs for all reps during the second leg session this week -- very happy with this! - My bench press is solid with my technique refined so as to take the emphasis away from my shoulders so this weeks goal is to get 27.5kgs for all reps (I was doing 30kg - but was using my shoulders!) My cardio goal for Wednesday is to run 5km in 25mins The chin up challenge is on hold for the moment (I am not wanting to send my elbow backwards!) Excited to see what this coming week will bring but also a little on edge as to what is coming up after! 3 weeks done = 1/4 of the journey experienced and enjoyed :)

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    6 Feb 2018
    7:37 PM

    END OF WEEK 2 I've had a very emotional week with issues surrounding my special needs child and school. Training and eating well was my saviour and without these aspects to me life I think I probably would of crumbled and fallen to pieces especially when there has been quite a lot of sleep lost also. I will definitely say that the physical affects of this stress did affect my training and I had to split two of the weights sessions into am and pm so they were still completed on the one day but in a more manageable format. This made me aware that despite having goals and sessions that I want to complete there is some room for flexibility and it does not mean you have mucked it up. I am into a good routine with the nutrition side of things and have relied heavily on being organised and ready to go at the start of the week. THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - Self doubt needs to be dealt with - positive thinking and focusing on what can be done rather than what can't is very important not just with regard to the challenge but with life in general. TRAINING - Less weight and executing the full range of motion is better than struggling to get a specific number of reps etc. I currently have an injury (tennis elbow) and I have needed to make some adjustments to some of the weights exercises so as to take some pressure off that area - I am still going well and progressing but need to be careful. NUTRITION - I am really liking the recipes section of the challenge, there are a number of things that can easily be adapted to suit the family and/or can have simple substitutes if not appropriate for me (or them) I have not found the food component as much of an issue as I thought I would (re cravings etc) The burn bars and more recently the Yumm bars hit the spot for that mid morning cup of tea break which I really look forward to. I have also embraced the protein mug cake and mousse dessert substitutes and don't miss conventional dessert at all (at least at the moment!) HOW I FEEL After a draining week I am refocused and back at crafting a better (and happier) version of myself. I can see that despite it only being the start of week 3 now that my body is responding in a very positive way so there is some internalised motivation there to keep going. GOALS FROM LAST WEEK/MOVING ONTO THIS COMING WEEK I have gotten some great help from a trainer at my gym as to why I am semi struggling with my BB Bench - seems my grip is too wide and the bar (when pressing) is travelling up too high - I am using my shoulders more and that is why I am not getting there with this exercise - this makes sense as the military shoulder press was really challenging me which follows on from the Bench Press as my shoulder had already done too much work already! Refining my technique this week and hoping to feel more confident with these tips on board. My tennis elbow is treading water in terms of its progress - not worse but not greatly improved - work is not helping (sonographer) but I can manage - heat and strapping have kept it stable. This week I would like to increase my deadlift weight to 65kgs (up from 60kgs) and get the reps out Attempt the chin up challenge - find out what my range is now and aim to add 5 reps by the end of week 6 (am a bit worried about my injured arm so I may reassess this goal - I will see how I go!) Week 3 I am ready.

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    28 Jan 2018
    7:40 PM

    END OF WEEK 1 I have used this first week to gauge the way the challenge training is going to be incorporated within my busy lifestyle. I started with some ideas about how to make it work and with a bit of adjustment here and I can definitely make it work! Things may not be exactly the same week to week but I can juggle it to still get what I need. THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED: MYSELF - I need to be more confident in my abilities, I tend to be very cautious but this week showed me that I can do much more that I think! TRAINING - Take one session at a time, and within that session take one set of one exercise at a time - concentrate on form for each rep and feel the muscle being targeted. As much as it is good to look ahead (to plan) there was a point during the week where I was thinking too far ahead and not being 100% present. Don't forget to breathe when doing the reps either (kinda need that oxygen!) NUTRITION Surprisingly I was not hungry - I loaded up on the vegies and actually realised towards the end of the week that I need to make sure I eat the protein source before filling up with the greens as some meals I ate too much of the latter and was struggling to finish The forum has been great for finding out some details here and there about nutrition - the search function is fabulous. The challenge community on Instagram has also been wonderful - everyone have been very supportive and there has been sharing of some great recipe ideas to add some variety. HOW I FEEL: I currently feel more confident that I can reach my goal of getting to the end of the challenge. My energy levels on the whole have been surprisingly good and my recovery after each session has been better than I expected. I have made a point of focusing on recovery as I feel this is what will either make me or break me - using the Maxine's supplementations (Burn Powder, Bars and pre workout have definitely helped) I am also using foam rolling, Epson salt baths and being mindful of (TRYING!) to get to bed by 930pm. I am not going to be weighing myself until the end of the first phase - I am going to use how I feel as a guide to my adaptation to the program in general. GOALS FOR THIS WEEK: Getting all my BB Bench reps out myself - almost there during 2nd upper body session but not quite!! Getting some pain improvement in my tennis elbow injury which I had coming into the challenge - I have worked around it up until now - hopeful I can amp things up by the end of the week Looking forward to week 2 :)

  • Ailsa Dicarlo
    21 Jan 2018
    10:15 PM


    PREP WEEK - Night before the start of Week 1 Sitting here with a mix of excitement, anticipation AND worry! I am not a super confident person but I am a hard worker and a quiet achiever. Fingers crossed that these attributes combined with a background of consistent weight sessions and an awareness of good nutrition will get me to the end. I will be very happy and will hold my head high if I can get to that end goal. The key to achieving this for me will be RECOVERY - I have 3 young children with one having special needs so my cortisol levels are pretty high a lot of the time. I also have flagging Iron levels so the way I manage the physical stress from training will be very important. I am choosing foods to support my body and its need for extra Iron. I have chosen kangaroo for my main source of protein for lunch this coming week to get the double whammy benefit of high protein and iron simultaneously! My accountability is on track, my food prep for the week has been organised, my body is ready to go for this week - I am going to take this week as "lets test the waters" and then fine tune things at its completion. Time for me to retire to bed - sleep is going to be a key player in my quest to make it to the finish line!

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