Left: Tiffany at 123lbs, 25% body fat. Right: Tiffany at 126lbs, 18% body fat. More muscle + less fat = magical.
I’d like you to meet AWorkoutRoutine.com reader Tiffany.
If you follow the AWR Facebook page (and if you don’t, you should seriously start), then you’ve already seen me show off some of Tiffany’s impressive progress. Today I want to show off even more of that progress, and allow her to tell the equally impressive story that goes along with it.
I first talked to Tiffany about 5 months ago. She told me: “I have honestly seen better, more noticeable progress in the last couple of months using your guide than I have in the last 3 years using anything else! I seriously cannot wait to see what the next couple of months bring!”
She also included a few pictures showing off that noticeable progress she mentioned, and she was right. She was looking pretty good at that point, and I told her to check in again and keep me updated on how well things were going.
And then, about a week ago, she did just that. Only now her progress looked better than pretty good. It looked “I-need-to-show-this-off” good.
In fact, I thought she’d make a perfect example for me to show the countless women I talk to on a daily basis who are still doing most (if not everything) wrong and have doubts about what might happen if they actually did things right.
Luckily, Tiffany was perfectly happy and willing to be that example (thanks!). So, let’s do this…
Who are you and what are your current stats?
Hello! My name is Tiffany Meinhardt. I am married to my best friend and have 3 amazing kiddos; 20 year old son – Airman of the US Air Force, 18 year old daughter — Army Private (starts basic in just a few days), and then my 7 year old daughter — the little princess, and future artist. Sorry, I have to share – totally proud mama here!
I am 38 years young; 5’3″ tall; weight 126lbs; body fat is 18%.
I’m not sure what would really be considered impressive as far as pounds lifted, but I am pretty proud of the fact that I can now do 10 (unassisted) consecutive pull-ups. It took me well over a year before I could do just one unassisted. I am also pretty pleased that a year ago I was squatting 60lbs and that number has a little more than doubled!
What are we looking at in your before pictures?
The before pics were taken in March of 2010. I weighed 123lbs and my body fat was around 25%. A year or so before those pics, I took up jogging to combat the weight I knew I would gain because I had quit smoking (finally, after 19 years). Other than that — no exercise whatsoever!
Which is better? A) The increase in back/shoulder/arm muscle or B) the decrease in lower back fat? I’m gonna say C) all of the above.
What has your diet history been like? What kind of eating habits did you have?
At 16 years old I developed an eating disorder. It came about innocently enough. I was just a little pudgy — I was 5’3” tall and weighed around 135lbs – 140lbs. Baby fat really. I decided I wanted to lose a few pounds and it went to hell from there.
I didn’t know anything about proper dieting and had no one to provide good advice or a good example (to this day my mother has an eating disorder). I watched as she lost weight by not eating anything at all or very little for days. So, I followed a diet of 1 cheese sandwich a day and nothing else for some time (I don’t remember how long). I was shocked to find that I got down to 110lbs in no time at all.
And so it began — a 20 year struggle of maintaining an ideal weight that just continued to get lower and lower.
In 2004, when I remarried, I weighed 98lbs and was pissed because I hadn’t reached 95lbs by my wedding day. This constant need to be skinnier and skinnier became so bad that my new husband threatened to divorce me if I didn’t seek help. I did go to a therapist for a while, but it did not really help.
I cannot really say what that breaking point was when I decided I couldn’t continue the way I was. I think I just seriously got sick of it — sick of constantly worrying about the number on the scale; sick of thinking of nothing but food, but not allowing myself to have it; sick of being tired and never ever feeling good; just freakin sick of it!
And I cannot really give a precise time of when I changed my habits and views as far as eating and how much I weighed. It happened very slowly — little by little (probably over a space of a few years).
I quit smoking in 2007 (I only remember because I quit the day after we had a party for my youngest daughter). I knew I was going to gain weight and I knew it was going to be a physical and mental struggle for me, but I also knew it was important to get rid of the cigarettes. I weighed 108lbs when I quit.
When I took up jogging in 2009 I weighed around 120lbs -125lbs. The running was not really a help to me — my weight continued to go up and down because of my poor eating habits. At that point, nothing would have helped with my weight — not until I would learn to deal with the mental part of it.
What has your exercise history been like?
In 2010, I was up late one night and an infomercial came on advertising a very popular exercise program. My son told me if I bought it he would work out with me, so I made the purchase (the booger never did work out with me — lol).
Up until I bought this program I had never lifted a weight in my life! Lifting weights had never even crossed my mind! I changed! I love how I felt when lifting! It may be cliche, but I seriously felt physically and mentally stronger. It gave me a confidence in all my years I had never had!
I saw some results. I slimmed down a little and saw a little definition that I had never seen before. I wanted more! I began to research and read. I started meeting new people with similar interests (via social networks). I had gained a boost of self-confidence, but not quite enough to venture outside of my home. I bought every single work out DVD I could get my hands on, but I wasn’t getting the results I really wanted.
I invested in some heavier weights and tried all kinds of programs found on different websites. I bought all kinds of new equipment — medicine balls, a sandbag, kettlebells, resistance bands, etc. I was changing up my routines every few weeks. I was buying all kinds of supplements. I was overwhelmed! Lol!
I didn’t know what piece of advice to follow; I didn’t know what article or website was accurate, as there are always contradictions or differences in opinions. So, needless to say, I was inconsistent as hell. I’d work out with one program for a couple / few weeks and then I would take a couple / few weeks off or I would revert back to jogging.
Then in October or November of 2012 I found Mr. Jay’s website, aworkoutroutine.com. I literally sat and read through his site for hours. I loved the way he wrote — to the point, no fluff, and totally loved the humor that was inserted into everything I read. I never once felt like he was blowing smoke just to get a sale!
So why would I not buy The Best Workout Routines?! I was more impressed and psyched to utilize his advice / approach than anything I had tried so far!
All I can say is OMG!!! Lol!!! When I think back on how much flippin money I have spent and how much time I have wasted I can only shake my head. I can only imagine where I would be with my strength gains and muscle definition, and even more importantly, my state of mind (concerning body weight and eating habits) had I found A Workout Routine sooner!
In my wildest dreams I never would have thought I could look the way I do and feel the way I do now! I love what I see when I look in the mirror now and I love the acceptance and peace that I have found within myself.
Left: March 2010. Right: July 2013 (Tiffany’s personal favorite)
What does your diet look like these days?
My diet is pretty simple and straight forward. I don’t follow any kind of low-carb, low-fat diets. I’m all about balance.
My daily caloric intake varies between 1500 and 1700 calories, and with that my weight has stayed pretty constant. I try to keep my protein intake at 1g per lb of body weight; fat intake is 25%; and carbs are around 160g.
I feel that I am extremely lucky in that I am a very picky eater. I don’t like much, therefore it is very easy for me to follow a diet. My food staples are skinless, boneless chicken (pulled or grilled), pork loin (pulled), brown or white rice, raw spinach, green beans, bell peppers, onions, salsa, massive amounts of tabasco, peanut butter, and my favorite sweet that I have every Friday is soft-serve frozen yogurt.
The typical goal of most women is to be “lean” and “toned” and “firm” and 50 other adjectives that all mean the same thing. And the typical way most women approach this goal is by getting on a treadmill for hours and hours, doing endless sets on the inner and outer thigh machine, and doing a bunch of high rep sets of “toning” exercises with 2lb pink dumbbells. What advice would you give them?
Total silliness! Unless, of course, you enjoy it! I absolutely hate cardio and would rather scrub toilets! Lol!
I have had more results in the last 9 months than I have since I first picked up a set of weights in 2010, and this is with next to no cardio. Every now and then I’ll do 20 — 30 minutes of interval sprints (walking for 2 minutes at a 3.0 pace; running for 1 minute at an 8.0 pace), and that is usually because I plan on eating more than normal.
I want to work smarter not harder! As long as you watch your diet and have a deficit, cardio is not needed in my opinion.
As a mother of 3, what advice do you have for other mothers? The ones who claim it’s impossible to workout and eat the way they need to because they’re too busy with the kids? And the ones who claim that there’s just no way their body can ever look how they want it to after giving birth?
All 3 of my children were born via c-section, and I gained 72lbs with my youngest child! For the longest time I truly believed the only way I was ever going to get a flat tummy was to get a tummy-tuck, and honestly, if I hadn’t started getting the results I have over the last several months, next year I most certainly would have gone forward with a tummy-tuck.
My stomach looks better now than pre-children — well, except for the stretch marks!
I get up to workout at 3am. I do this because by the time my family and I get home in the evening there are about 2 — 3 hours left before my youngest daughter’s bedtime. I don’t want to lose the short amount of time that I have with her and my husband, so I workout in the early hours of the morning.
I have also found that I have more drive / energy for my workouts this time of the morning! It’s also my “me time” to think or blare my music on the drive to the gym.
Once my workout is complete, I drive back home to shower and get the family up so everyone can get ready to go where they need to. On a normal week, I work 9 hour days. I am also a full time online student. I am in my last year of obtaining my bachelors in nutrition science. So, some nights I may also have homework or a live seminar to attend. I spend a couple of hours with my family and go to bed directly after my youngest daughter, between 8-8:30pm.
Meals are very simple and pre-made. I usually spend Saturday and Sunday afternoons with 2 or 3 crockpots going with different meals. I’m fortunate enough that everyone in my family eats what I like for myself, so that saves some time to. After the cooking is done, the food is weighed and put into individual containers. Easy-peasy!
A 2 year comparison. Left: September 2011. Middle: June 2013. Right: July 2013
I think more important than what I’ve already stated is that you shouldn’t set yourself up for disappointment and possibly, failure by setting unrealistic goals / expectations as far as time and progress goes. It’s a slow process, and it’s not going to happen overnight.
You are going to have days when you skip a workout or eat everything in sight! And that is okay. I can tell you right now, I will never give up frozen yogurt, peanut butter and jelly, Mexican food, or pizza! I’m just not going to have it all the time, and when I do have it, I’ll be smart about the portion sizes.
Do not let having a set-back (although, I wouldn’t even really consider it a set-back) stop you! You start the next day brand new and keep working hard. Do not necessarily let the scale determine success for failure. There are so many environmental and biological factors that can influence the number on the scale, especially that one time a month for us ladies. I rarely get on the scale now. I go by what I see in the mirror and how my clothes fit.
I also do not agree with trying to find something that motivates you. I think it is simply determination. For me, I can look at pictures of other people all day long and that isn’t truly going to make me get up at 3am. I get up at 3am because I know what is important to me and what I want. I don’t want to feel guilt because I think I’m neglecting my family by taking time from them after work to go to the gym, so I do it in the morning.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely days when the alarm goes off and I lay there thinking screw it, I’m just going to sleep in today, but then I end up lying there harassing myself. I tell myself that I know I’ll be kicking my own ass at the end of the day if I don’t get up, and I think how I’ve already laid here arguing with myself for 10 minutes — get up! I also remind myself how good I’ll feel once the workout is done.
Nine times out of ten I get my butt out of bed, and I have never once regretted it! Lol!
What are your goals at this point?
A few – Right now, and always I guess :), getting stronger and maybe working on the definition in my legs a little more. I don’t know if you have heard of Andreia Brazier or Dana Linn Bailey, but those ladies have got some killer legs! Very very impressive!
I’d also like to be able to bench my own body weight and get my squats up to 1.5x my body weight.
Thank You Tiffany!
Thanks for being willing to show off your awesome progress and tell your story. And thanks in advance for being an example I direct other women to approximately 75 times a day from this point on.