A word from Rachael:
”If you’ve been following me on Instagram, or reading my blog, you know that you girls are my main inspiration & motivation. This is why I recently reached out to some of you to ask about your progress and feedback. These are their stories. Hope you find them as motivating and uplifting as I have.”
In this interview, I chatted with 26 y/o Sam from New Zealand. She recently finished my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program. Here is a summary of her experience & results after completing the Program.
SAM: I have always been a really active person. My go-to form of exercise right from intermediate through to my early Uni years was always running.
Unfortunately, I had a bad accident in 2017 where I tore the cartilage inside my left hip joint. It took a long time to diagnose and I am still now in recovery.
Due to my injury, I was constantly in pain and frustrated with not being able to do the exercise I liked. I tried different exercise programmes, group classes at the gym and swimming to fill the gap in my usually active lifestyle but fell out of love with these pretty quickly as they didn’t really help with avoiding the pain.
I have always been a leaner person and never restricted what I ate. Due to my injury and being unable to exercise, I started to lose my athletic figure and felt so weak and out of touch with my body.
After finally realising that my HIIT based exercise program that I was doing at the time was getting me nowhere, my physio sat me down and talked to me about the benefits of low impact strength training exercises.
This chat came at exactly the right time because I was so stuck in a mindset where I thought that smashing out high-intensity exercises and running would get me back to where I was before my injury.
SAM: I started googling some of the exercises that my physio had recommended to me and came across your Lean Legs program.
I showed it to my physio and she was on board with the low impact resistance workouts in the LL program, but I needed to work up to these as my injury was so bad by this point that I needed to do 2-3 weeks of walking before I was ready to start the first week of the program.
I downloaded the free 7-day slim legs diet to get a feel for how the recipes would fit in with my weekly routine and grocery shop budget and cycled through these recipes during the 2-3 weeks of walking before committing to the program.
The recipes tasted great and were easy to work into my meal prepping lifestyle, and after just 2-3 weeks of fast walking in the mornings, I already had noticeable differences in my energy levels as well as leaner muscle in my legs.
At that point, I was sold and purchased your Lean Legs program for Mesomorphs.
SAM: I had heard about the different female body types before doing the program but always just had the assumption that I must be an Ectomorph because of my shape (being on the taller and leaner side).
SAM: My top three favourite parts of the program (because I can’t choose one):
1) Not only seeing the results but feeling them!
My number one intention for taking on the program was to build back my strength back up and I ended up being the strongest and fittest I have probably ever been and best of all, without any pain.
I used to not be able to do a single push up but can now do 20+ in a row, can smash out a HIIT session that I wouldn’t have dreamed of being able to do before the program. And am back to being able to run for 30mins straight which is an extra bonus for me as getting back to my running was a total “moon shot” goal for me.
I honestly don’t think I ever would have got there without following the LL program as it kept me on track with more of an emphasis on consistent low impact resistance training that built my strength up to a point where I could do all of what I can now (I will note here that I only did the running a maximum of twice a week on advice from my physio due to my injury – I always listened to my physio while following the program).
2) Having SO much more energy.
This was definitely the most unexpected result of the program given I was putting in the most amount of hours of exercise per week I had ever done.
3) The recipes.
I have always tried to master the art of healthy meals and meal prepping and especially on a reasonable budget. The recipes in the eBook are so easy and taste so good! I cook these for my partner and my family and they have loved them so much that they have cooked them again and again, to the point where they have committed most of them to memory.
SAM: For me, learning to fit my exercise and healthy eating around my busy weeks was the biggest challenge.
I had two weeks where I was travelling for work and for the first time, I really had to think about how and where I was going to do my exercises and how I was going to fit my eating plan in.
It actually turned out to be super easy! I found very similar foods to what was in the LL nutrition program while I was out and about (sometimes I needed to do a bit of planning the day before to grab something and keep it in the fridge in my hotel room ready to take out the next morning if I was going to be super busy). Also, I committed to packing my gliding discs and ankle weights as well so that I could do my resistance training in my hotel room.
Once I had got through busy weeks, tougher exercises and got further and further into the program, any time I thought about skipping my training or breaking my healthy eating plan I had to tell myself “you’ve totally got this, this week is nothing compare to what you have already done.”
It was definitely easier to be more motivated towards the last 2-3 weeks of the program because I was seeing such great results and feeling so great after I finished a hard workout that I didn’t want to give up and go backwards.
I will say that I was very strict with myself on the eating plan and followed this pretty much 98% of the time. (There was an incident with French waffles and chocolate sauce at a night market that I still dream about so no regrets there).
SAM: I definitely noticed a change in my energy levels in the first two weeks.
I refused to step on the scales and the only time I would allow myself to look if I really wanted to would not be until the very end of the program because I didn’t want to be disappointed about a number that at the end of the day, doesn’t mean a lot.
I took a progress photo every two weeks and could see that by week 4 I had definitely lost some weight and by week 5-6 I had leaner muscle, especially across my abs and my arms.
In my case, I didn’t actually see a noticeable difference in my legs and glutes until later in the program (around weeks 7-8) but the change was really dramatic across those last two weeks that I wouldn’t have even needed a photo to see the difference.
I was absolutely stoked with my results and so proud of myself for sticking with it!
The program taught me so much about myself, my physical limits, and what works best for my body. I never expected to learn so much about the foods I ate as well.
Even though I have finished the program, I still cook all of the recipes in the eBook and have incorporated what I have learnt into new meals that I make to ensure that they are a healthy option.
SAM: After finishing the program, my partner and I went travelling for a month overseas which involved a lot of hiking, walking and other physical activities.
I did one resistance training session a week during this time to keep up a base level of muscle strength.
Basically, I took a well-needed break from the program to prepare myself for the next round. I am just starting again with a higher number of reps for the resistance and HIIT workouts.
I am so happy and beyond grateful that I have been able to get back into my running and I want to keep this up. But given how far I have come and the enjoyment I have found from the exercises in the program, I only plan to keep my running to 2-3x per week so I don’t overdo it.
I’ve been looking to pick up a boxing class once a week as well as I’ve always wanted to try it and now I have a lot more confidence in my upper body strength.
SAM: Yes, I would!
I think that the low impact resistance workouts make this program a lot more applicable for those just starting out on their fitness journey, getting back into it or needing to manage an injury like myself.
Don’t get me wrong, these workouts aren’t easy! You will still feel the burn and get a mega sweat on. But because the workouts are controlled and a lot kinder on your joints, you develop the strength you need to be able to keep up with the intensity of the program week to week without injuring yourself.
I had done so many other exercise programs in the past and after not seeing any results, I felt so reluctant to try the Lean Legs Program but I am so so glad I stuck with it.
My partner was really supportive of my choice to do the program as well, I think it made a big difference having someone who was on board with cooking all these new recipes and making sure we arranged our day and household workload so that I could fit in the programme.
My other piece of advice would be to listen to your body, your happiness and health comes first. There were a couple of times where I was totally burnt out from the week and opted for a good night’s sleep and stretch session over a run or HIIT workout.
Other times I knew I could push past the mind fuzziness and a workout would make me feel better. Only you can know what will work for you and your body.
Thank you, lovely! You did an amazing job and I’m sooo proud of you! <3