It was a couple of days before my sons graduation in April 2014 and I was desperately searching for something decent to wear.
I knew I had gained some kilos in the months prior (and I already was overweight before) but I always avoided looking too closely at myself in the mirror. Standing in this fitting room that day, seeing each and every single “love handle”, returning one outfit after the other because it didn’t fit – I just couldn’t deny it any more: I needed to lose weight…NOW!
My name is Sonja, mother of two (20 & 22) and I am 44 years old. I used to be skinny before my pregnancies, never needed to pay attention on what I ate and never did any sports. Due to my scoliosis I have been – even as a young girl – short on breathe as soon as I started to do some training. So I thought that I’m just not a sporty person and accepted it. Working in a hotel with long working hours and lots of walking around all day long helped keeping the weight low too I guess.
Well, after my pregnancies I gained a little weight. Then I started to work in an office, so I was basically sitting around all day. Coming home in the evening, cooking, spending time with the kids, doing some household and then, finally, time to relax: laying on the couch, reading a book, eating some chocolate, watching TV, snacking some chips – on the weekends accompanied by a nice glass of red wine. I gained more kilos and kept them over the years.
Then one day eventually, I wanted to change! But how? I started running – after 3 month I had to stop because of a heel spur (had several surgeries on that heel – it’s my weak spot). Changed nutrition and lost 8 kilos until that very strange evening when I had cravings for bell peppers and drove to the supermarket just to get me some. Used to do this for chocolate… but for vegetables?! I wanted to see if I still liked chocolate – and sadly I did.
I went to the gym (and yes, stopped for some other silly reason), changed nutrition again…and every time I went back into old habits I gained more kilos than I have lost before.
Eventually my stomach started acting up. On advice from my doctor I quit smoking (couldn’t quit coffee I have to admit) – and gained weight, still with stomach problems. Problems with my foot occurred again and I needed surgery. It took about a year until I could walk longer than half an hour without pain, and during that time – surprise – I gained weight.
And eventually the day came when I needed something nice to wear for my son’s graduation. My weight was up to 97kg that day…
So, I started Nordic Walking. And I heard about OCR Races for the first time. I thought that it really sounds like a lot of fun. Trying to find out more about this, I ended up on the Freeletics website. Ok, I have to admit: I was looking at the workouts and thought THIS is not for normal people.
I told my son about it: look, this is crazy – in the easiest workout you’re supposed to do 45 Burpees. He told me, that 45 Burpees aren’t easy and we got into a discussion: me trying to tell him that 45 Burpees are better than 150 (look at this one, first round you’re supposed to do 50! Burpees) and he telling me that this still does not make 45 Burpees easy. I secretly tried out one! Burpee – and closed the website.
Next day, I put on my sportsdress and went outside, trying to do this workout. 30min later I was literally dead, wondering how anybody could possibly do this in 5 minutes. Went back inside, looked at the homepage again, saw that there were more workouts available if you get the coach and thought: maybe they are easier! And this is, how I got myself the freeletics coach, it was the first of July 2014 and my weight was 95 kg.
Up to that day, I have never been able to do one situp or pushup and the first workout with running was when I found out, that I also wasn’t able to run on a tee for 400m.
But I was willing to change this, I wanted to get fit for an OCR (sounds much better than: I wanted to lose weight, right?).
I asked my daughter if she could remind me why I am doing this whenever I don’t feel like working out. She did an awesome job 😉
So, over the next couple of weeks my daily routine changed a bit – instead of relaxing on the couch after work I started to do my workouts. And it was feeling very strange putting on the sporting clothes. I did the workouts, where no one could see me or very late in the evening, when I assumed everybody else was at home, sleeping or watching TV. Well, until I got caught red-handed by a neighbors bulb light who was wondering about the strange sounds in my yard (I was practicing jumps).
After that I started to do my workouts in public.
It took about 5 weeks, until I was finally able to do my first situp and several months for my first pushup. At the beginning, I wasn’t even able to do more than 20 Jumping Jacks without a break. But slowly, I improved. Very slowly. I could see in the feeds that everybody else becoming faster, having great improvements and then there was me, fighting to to do a workout below 1 hour that others could do in half an hour – or even faster. And about my weight: yes, I did lose a bit but after half a year I still had around 90kg.
I was paying attention about my nutrition; always trying to cook fresh – but I had my problem with cookies, chocolate and chips. I mean, I was doing lots of sport now, so I should be allowed to snack, right?
New year came and I finally was able to do Aphrodite (50,40,30,20,10 Burpees, squats and situps) with a star and below one hour.
Nevertheless my first enthusiasm was gone. I went down to three workout days per week and sometimes even stretched it to one and a half weeks. Then I saw ‘Aphrodite world challenge’ in the feed which was organized by Freeletics World (now Goliaz) and it seemed like a great idea to me- everybody around the world suffering because of the same workout on the same day and the same local time. I decided to join as well.
Later on Freeletics World (Goliaz) was asking if anyone would like to participate in a monthly challenge to improve their time for the ‘Dione’ workout. Since there was nothing for me to loose and I really wanted to improve I decided to join, sending an email to the person organizing the whole thing (Eduardo Santos). If I had known back then that this simple email would change my life I would have marked the day in my calendar.
One month with five workout days per week followed- four days with paced Burpees, Squats, and Situps plus Jumping Jacks as fast as possible and one ‘fun day’. It was really difficult, I often had doubts if I was even able to manage the pace (and couldn’t quite a few times) but I did my duties. The final day came and I was really nervous, I felt like getting ready for a race. The result of the one month challenge was a time improvement of 18 minutes. I was flashed. And really sad it was over.
A couple of days later word got out that there would be a monthly challenge every other month. No doubts on my side, I wouldn’t want to miss a single one. I spend the rest of the month waiting for the challenge to start and tried out all workouts I have done so far, seeing improvements in each one.
With the July challenge, I improved my pushups. And after that there was a small challenge to make waiting for the next monthly challenge easier: last Goliaz down – 400m run, Metis endurance on day one, day two 400m run, Metis endurance, 400m run, Metis endurance…lets see how far you get. Well, I made it till day 11 and during that time I lost my fear of 400m runs. This was good, because the September Challenge came with quite a few runs.
Then I heard about the Goliaz (former Freeletics World) 4 month transformation project, starting in November. I immediately applied. On my birthday I received the mail that I could participate. Best present ever!
4 months Goliaz transformation project including the November and January challenges – it was a great time. I learned how to stop time consuming discussions with that little voice that kept telling me things like:
– you can’t do all these workouts, you’d be busy all night.. well, better get started soon then, right?
– too many kilometers to run this week, you can’t do this with all the workouts that are waiting after work…well, guess I need to get up a little earlier then and do the runs in the morning.
And I learned: Coach knows! I don’t even know how often I was looking at the paces/workouts/reference times, shaking my head, and thinking this is crazy, impossible for me. But I am a little stubborn and I don’t like the word impossible – not even when I’m the one thinking it. So, if I’m supposed to do this – then hell yeah, I will! And for the most part, I was able to meet my time.
The part I was mostly concerned about, the nutrition, went also very good. We had to track our daily kcal and macros (carbs, protein, fat). After the first weeks adjusting I knew what I need to eat to hit my macros. I got used to write down everything I was planning to eat that day right in the morning…yes, sometimes the plans changed but writing down everything before eating helped me to stick with the macros most of the time. And, by using a heart rate monitor during workouts I realized that doing lots of sport burns calories, but not enough for all the candy an snacks I ate before.
I got into a group with some German Goliaz girls (Tina, Heike, Christina, Britta and Sabine) who participated in the transformation project as well. We were writing almost every day about our worries, problems and successes, motivating helping and cheering each other on. And, to celebrate completing the transformation project successfully we finally met in real live.
With Sabine I realized my goal to participate in an OCR in Mai 2016. We joined a Team we met for the first time about 2 hours before the race started. The OCR was an absolutely amazing experience to me and the team was just great. Next year’s race is already set.
The next challenge came and after that, again, I had the great opportunity to join the Goliaz “super you” 4 month transformation project. There was still some fat to loose and I wanted to improve my fitness. Because even though I was fitter than ever before, I got breathless too fast. I included cycling and swimming to my weekly duties. We could choose our goals (weight loss for me) and whether we like to eat HCLF, HFLC or normal. Most of the time, I choose the normal nutrition but I also tried out the other forms for a little while, depending on if I felt like eating lots of carbs or fat.
So I found out, that every form of these 3 nutrition works for me if I want to lose weight – if the calorie intake and the macros fit. It also helped me to stick to the nutrition plan without running wild with cravings- when I felt I needed to eat carbs, I just switched to HCLF for a while. So I was eating healthy carbs and the craving was gone. Instead of snacking the carbs “secretly” even though the nutrition plan said enough for today, I used to tell myself that I would start watching out tomorrow again. That’s how I always failed before.
So, thanks to Goliaz I am fitter and I lost more weight than I thought would be possible for me. When I started 2 years ago, I thought loosing 10kg would be realistic. I still would weight too much but I thought much more wouldn’t be possible for me. Well, I did lose 30kg.
I am astonished and grateful about my body, who I treated so badly for many years. I can go for a run in the morning and do some workouts in the evening without any problems. When I started, I needed about 3 days of rest after a 5km run, now I can do my workouts for 1 or 2 hours, go cycling or running without feeling “sick” for the next days. My stomach problems are gone as well as my hurting “bones”.
And finally, I have a healthy relationship with nutrition. I am calmer, don’t get upset that fast anymore and if there is something that bothers me I don’t eat it up…instead I might go for a run to clear my mind.
I am more self-confident, more outgoing and positive and in return I’m getting a lot more smiles from people around me…especially when I’m doing army crawls in the park 😉
Today, it’s a little over 2 years ago that I did my first Burpee and thanks to Goliaz, this time I didn’t give up.
And of course, thanks to the best coach one could wish for – Eduardo Santos – who is always pushing us to the limits and who knows so much better than we do where these limits are today…because tomorrow we can already go further. And who is taking care, that the challenges will never get boring or routine. Who still makes me wake up very often in the middle of the night just to check if my RT’s are out – even after participating in the challenges for over a year now.
Thanks to Ceci for always coming up with the perfect motivation quotes, cheering for us and for being a role model on what it means to “go beyond”.
And thanks to my kids who have been supporting me all the way and never complained when I told them countless times my workout plans for the day.
Again, thanks to Sabine, Tina, Heike, Christina and Britta – always there when needed
Thank to Goliaz I finally like myself, I found new friends, and the amazing Goliaz community.
My plans for the future? I’m going to wait for the new challenge – and for THE App, keep doing my Goliaz workouts, running, cycling and swimming, planning on participating in some more OCR’s, maybe get some swimming lessons… a decent bike… I was reading something about cross triathlon the other day…think that sounds like fun.