Ben McEwing / Transformation

Ben McEwing's amazing MAX'S Challenge transformation

  • Before
    75kg
  • After
    82.2kg

Details

Height

181 cm

Program

Lean - Intermediate

Reason to start The Challenge

I'm 41 years old and have made the decision to stay in my prime. It's really important to me. Whilst I am in reasonable shape, I have definitely been in better shape and want to return to my best. I know it's possible. All it takes is a big enough 'WHY'. I've got it. GAME ON!

What did you like most about The Challenge?

I loved finding my focus again and couldn't wait to get to the gym for each workout.

What was the hardest thing about your Challenge?

Nutrition! I found it hard to give up chocolate and those other celebratory impulses that seem to happen a lot. It's the main reason I'm not as lean as I'd like to be at the end of the challenge.

What impact has The Challenge had on your life?

It's definitely increased my self-confidence and reminded me what I'm capable of achieving when I put my mind to it. It's also had a ripple effect because my girlfriend has started working out regularly now. Once she felt my buns of steel, she wanted in on the action!!!

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

Do it if it ignites something inside you. When I was told about it, it was an instant "hell yeah!" I'm doing this. It was the right place, right time kind of thing. You have to be ready and willing to commit. If you are, it'll be a game changer for you.

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

The Challenge isn't ending for me. Now that I have the momentum from the past 12 weeks, I'm going to continue. There is definitely more I can improve on and I'm committed to staying on this path.

Journal

  • Ben McEwing
    6 Jul 2017
    10:14 AM

    Wow, it's been 2 whole weeks since I last posted. How the time has flown. I was just reflecting on why I haven't posted. All I can say is no news is good news. I really feel like I'm in a good rhythm with exercise and nutrition. I can't wait to get to the gym every day and also am really relishing the rest days too! My body is responding well and the ongoing supplementation is a life saver. The only thing I'm still struggling with is getting enough sleep. Obviously this is a big one, so I've been looking into natural remedies to help me get the much needed recovery time. I went to an organic shop and spoke to the in-house naturopath. She put me on to valerian root. It smells like a cat marked its territory in the jar, but hey, if it helps me get some zzz's, here kitty kitty kitty! I'll live with it. A few days into using it, it seems to be working. I'm sleeping more deeply and for longer, plus my body is lapping up the rest. It all leads to increased gains. YESSSSSS!

  • Ben McEwing
    22 Jun 2017
    3:37 PM

    It's amazing how a kind gesture can turn your day, even your whole week around. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a 4 week check-in winner and today I received my prize from the Challenge team. I want to express my sincere gratitude for it. In the past few weeks, I've been having a tough time in one area of my life, so it made such a positive impact on me to be recognised at this stage in the challenge. The timing couldn't be better. AND holy moly, the Creobol is amazing! I tried it for today's workout and felt super human. I'm pretty sure when I looked in the mirror a few times, my skin was turning green and my whole body was morphing into a giant as I crushed rep after rep, set after set. I found myself really focused and was able to go to actual physical failure during sets. Even when my mind was crying, my body was asking for more. And my workout felt really clean. All the exercises were smooth, my form and strength were solid through the full range of each movement. It was very satisfying. That's how I want to exercise. I don't care about being the biggest nor strongest dude in the gym. I care about connecting with my body, both teaching it and learning from it and seeing what it's truly capable of achieving. I know when I've done my best and when I haven't. I don't need to compare myself to anyone else to make that assessment. Today felt like my best and I'm certain it was fuelled by the lovely acknowledgement from the team as well as the kick-ass product they sent me. In the words of everyone's favourite big green super hero... "Hulk happy"!

  • Ben McEwing
    19 Jun 2017
    11:39 PM

    Today was a good day. I FINALLY did a morning workout. OMG I'm so so so much better working out in the morning. It's like night and day!!! Seriously though, I had much more focus, I got the job done and I really enjoyed myself. I'm still getting over a bit of a cold, but I decided that a positive mindset and plenty of fluids would get me through. It's amazing how the right frame of mind can make such a difference to anything, specifically training. To be honest, I forgot I was sick when I walked in the gym. I was just stoked to be there in broad daylight for once and didn't even think twice that maybe my energy would be low or anything. I'm very grateful for that shift. The thing I love about the earlier workouts is that it sets the tone for the day. That sense of accomplishment can never be understated. It's powerful and I really want to feel that way each and every day. I really am a morning person so from here on in Australia, I'm going with mornings! I also had a really good diet day. As mentioned in another post, I have found that evening workouts mess up my eating routine too much as I was trying to cram three meals into not enough hours. I'm sure it was part of what's been taxing my body: constantly digesting large amounts of protein takes a lot of energy, so the irony is that my system was finding it hard to relax. I've been "blessed" with the stress gene (thanks Mum!) so I need to ensure I do everything I can to chill as much as possible. I meditate. I read a lot. I like to be silent and still when possible. And I need my body to be treated like a high precision organism, not a trash compactor! It's not like I've been eating crap, just eating too much too late at night. Lesson learned and today was a good reminder to stick with my instinctive training and eating style. I feel a cabillion times better.

  • Ben McEwing
    18 Jun 2017
    6:28 PM

    80kg

    Here is my work in progress photo. I can see definite gains and am feeling good about it. Not too happy with the mid section right now, but I'm sure I can sort that out from here on. One big problem I've come into is being super tired. So much so that I've come down with a cold. I felt a sore throat coming on last Wednesday and then by Friday night I was KO'd. I still trained on Thursday night, but have had to take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. I've been doing my best to get this cold out of me as quickly as possible, so I can keep training. A few things I'm considering is getting back into a morning routine. I much prefer working out in the morning as it gives me energy for the day and feels like I get more recovery time. Instead I've fallen into an evening routine and a few of my workouts have gone as late as 9pm. Once I eat dinner, catch up with any activities and then have a pre-bed protein shake, it's at least midnight. I'm not the best sleeper at the best of times, but it's really thrown me off. Putting my body under such stress with training and not having enough recovery is showing. I can't continue with this, so I need to either switch my times or find a way to train differently. I don't know about anyone else, but I still think the training plans are too long for me. It's rare that I'm out of the gym under 90minutes. It's really draining. I've done more functional style workouts in the past which are an intense 45 mins including warm up and cool down. My body tends to respond well to this style. I guess I'm confused because I want to follow what's been advised, but also don't want to burn out and get sick again. Any advice on this matter would be appreciated. I'll post in the forum as well. Looking forward to the next 4 weeks.

  • Ben McEwing
    11 Jun 2017
    11:44 PM

    Well my calve training experiment has some pros and cons. Pro: I'm feeling it and I think I'm starting to get some growth. Con: I'm feeling it and I can't walk! At least I couldn't walk properly for the past few days. I've either had to walk with stiff legs like Frankenstein or else walk on my tippy toes like a character from Pan's Labyrinth. Either way it's been tough. At the worst of it, it was more efficient to crawl around my apartment to get something rather that take the time to stand. To recover, I've been spraying magnesium oil directly onto my calves and rubbing it in plus using a foam roller and trigger ball. When I've been stretching my calves, I often feel the tightness go all the way to underneath my feet and even up into my glutes. From what I'm learnt about fascial release, I've been hitting trigger points in those two places and it's been helpful to relieve the calves. Even though it's been painful, it solidifies one thing for me: the human body is freaking amazing and I love learning about it. The interconnectedness of this organism is mind blowing and doing the Max's Challenge has really reconnected me with wanting to improve my knowledge even more. I'm watching and/or reading something about exercise, fitness or nutrition almost every day since starting the challenge. My biggest problem is not being reactive and trying everything out. I know my own patterns and that is to jump around and try lots of different things because i love to experiment. I am aware, however, that this is about consistent training and diet, so I'm catching myself each time I get excited to try something different. That's why I'm writing about it here too, to keep myself accountable. I'm happy with how things are progressing. My workouts are good and I'm seeing gains in strength and muscle tone. I've been a little bit inconsistent with diet in the past week. I'm not eating any junk food or stuff like that, but I have noticed sugar wanting to creep back in sneaky ways. Gotta watch that. This week I'm going to pre-prepare as many of my meals as possible, so I can eat more regularly. Best of luck to everyone for week 4. Oorah!

  • Ben McEwing
    6 Jun 2017
    10:32 PM

    Let's talk genetics. I've been blessed with broad shoulders and cursed with puny calves! Yep i'm one of those guys who used to avoid wearing shorts because I was so shy about my chicken legs. Now that I'm a grown up, I'm still shy about my puny calves, but determined to do something about them. I did some reading on different methods to build calf muscle mass and got some really good tips. The biggest one is that they need to be trained often and in varying ways. At my gym, they have a seated calf raise machine, so that's all I was doing. I was wondering why I hadn't seen much growth and then found out through my research that seated calf raises only really build the soleus muscles, not the gastrocs. Not helping this little chicken. ;-) So today, the first thing I did before any other exercises, was standing calf raises with a smith machine. I was advised that doing these with straight legs is a great way to build the gastrocs and get some meat on them bones. They said think like a dancer because they have great calves built from repetitive movement. So the workout I did was one giant set that added up to 75 reps of rest-pause training. I did as many reps as I could in the first "set", rested for 10 seconds, then kept going until I couldn't do anymore, rested, continued, etc. At 75 reps I felt less like a chicken and more like a... guy who did the work. More again tomorrow. Over and out.

  • Ben McEwing
    5 Jun 2017
    11:05 PM

    Now that I'm physically in the swing of things with regular workouts and that natural feeling of wanting to go to the gym, I'm really turning my attention to my mindset and the mind/body connection. I've been listening to some interesting exercise advice by a guy I've mentioned before, Victor Costa. I really like his approach to bodybuilding as it's as much philosophical as physical. I'm a self-confessed seeker. I don't just like doing things for the sake of it. I like to know why I'm doing it and always search for a deeper understanding of what I'm doing. Victor talks about the subtle connections we make with our muscles through visualisation techniques. I tried some today and was pleasantly surprised. For example, his suggestion for a way to get the most out of leg extensions is to squeeze the muscles at the top of the rep, but not just squeeze them through trying to straighten the legs. Squeeze them independent of the weight. Whilst doing this, imagine the weight pushing itself back down on your ankles. I tried this and it felt really different. I honestly felt more connected to my quads and found I was able to squeeze the muscles more and get that extra burn out of each rep. It was brutal towards the end of each set, but it also gave me fuel to keep going. Another suggestion came in how to do leg press. It's worth noting that I've decided to stay away from squats at this point because I don't have the flexibility in my calves, ankles and knees to really get the most from them. The leg press allows me to be more conscious of using my legs and stops my hips from twisting out of shape like they do when I do squats. It feels dangerous and a pre-cursor to injury, so I'm sticking with leg press. Anyway, he talks about imagining lifting from underneath the body, ie, with the butt and rear of the legs. He also suggests thrusting in the first part of the contraction and slowing the weights down as you reach extension. Again, I tried this with great results. I felt strong and was able to push a lot more than I had on previous leg days. I must admit though, I did still find my mind wanting to give up before my body did. On one set my mind was telling me I was done and I almost believed it, however, I set myself a challenge to do 5 more solid reps before stopping the set. Surprise surprise, I did it! Quite easily actually. Then I made myself do 5 more and I did that too. By then I was so amazed that I lost focus and stopped the set. In truth, I don't think I pushed myself as far as I could of today. I reckon my legs had a lot more in them, but for some reason I still held back. I'm putting it down to experience and it's making me more determined to commit to what I'm capable of next time. As long as I've noticed this and also have some valuable mindset tools to help me, I'm confident I can start really amping up my workouts.

  • Ben McEwing
    4 Jun 2017
    11:21 PM

    I just want to say a special thank you to SUNDAY. It's the kind of day where time seems to stretch out and life flows more than the other days. Today was no exception. I slept in later than normal, had a cuddle with my girlfriend, made a delicious breakfast, then got hip-deep in domestic duties, some of which were really fun. For example... We have two cats. One likes to explore. The other likes to eat. We live in an apartment building with only a small amount of apartments. We have a balcony and it's pretty easy for the explorer cat to get over onto the neighbour's balcony too. An angry, red faced neighbour came by last night to tell us our cat has been "marking her territory" on his balcony for a while now. For such a small cat, she sure pumps out the poo! (I think she's secretly doing the Max's Mass Intermediate.) Anyway, my girlfriend and I went to Bunnings, bought some materials and channeled our inner MacGyver to build a cat-proof screen so she can no longer get into the neighbour's place. So far so good. The day continued in that style. Things to do and sunshine and dirty almond chai (my new favourite drink) and rest. Yes today was a rest day for me. I was actually itching to go and do a big leg workout, but my body gave me gentle signs that it needed today for other things and (high fiving myself as I write this) I listened. I chilled. I enjoyed some downtime. I also ate a delicious veggie stack for dinner. Had to take a photo. Yum yum yum. Early start tomorrow and legs legs legs on the workout menu. And some shoulders. And legs. Yes, I can't believe it either. I'm excited to do legs!

  • Ben McEwing
    2 Jun 2017
    10:38 PM

    I had a very calm workout at the gym this afternoon. It was quiet, only a few people there and I also personally felt "quiet" inside my mind. I was focused and really worked on getting the most out of good form and pushing those last few reps on each set. I'm enjoying the mindset side of things just as much as the physical benefits that are starting to show. I've taken to closing my eyes sometimes when I'm doing a set so that I can really strengthen the mind body connection. I imagine pulling with the main working muscle and really feel the muscle's contraction and lengthening on each rep. It comes in handy when I'm at the end of a set and my mind wants to give up. I just close my eyes, get in touch with my breath and focus on that muscle pulling (or pushing) even if I'm only moving a few centimetres. It feels good because I know that even if I can't fully complete that last rep, I have given it my all and not succumbed to breaking form. I must admit, it's so hard to watch other dudes in the gym huffing and puffing and throwing big weights around at the expense of form. It's none of my business, but I can't help wondering how they must feel the next day. Is their lower back sore from trying to yank too many Kgs on the lat pull down, so they end up using momentum instead of strict form? Even though I may seem like I can't lift as much, the results I'm already seeing after less than two weeks are astounding. I'll stick with that thank you very much! In this challenge, I'm being the tortoise, not the hare and we all know how that turns out...

  • Ben McEwing
    31 May 2017
    10:52 PM

    Confession: I had a tough day yesterday. I've been staying with my Mum in Queensland and yesterday was time to leave. Normally I'm cool with this. My Mum and I have a great relationship, but hey, she's 76 and I'm 41. We're both set in our ways. The reason it was tough this time is because I don't think she' very well. Her memory is getting pretty bad and she's also very anxious. Both her parents succumbed to dementia and I believe she is showing the very early signs of it. Leaving her behind whilst returning to Melbourne was bitter sweet. I had spent the week patiently answering the same questions again and again. Listening to the same stories again and again. I held it together well, being gentle and not getting frustrated, but it took its toll and I lost my shit just before we left. I was openly vulnerable with my Mum and my girlfriend and shared what was on my mind. It was met well and I think my Mum is going to see a doctor to get the help she needs. So why am I writing this in a journal for a fitness challenge? I think it's important we acknowledge ALL parts of the journeys we're on. Especially for men, who generally have a hard time accessing and sharing their feelings. It's one area I've been particularly interested in for quite some time now. I see how we all tend to bury things in order to avoid looking weak or not on top of everything. The sad truth is we can only bury things for so long before they start revealing themselves in other ways: anxiety, aggression, addictions, etc. All I can say is thank you Max's for this challenge, this focus. It is really helping me during this tough time with my family. For all the emotional ups and downs of the past week, I still managed to get to the gym, still managed to keep myself motivated to exercise and fulfil my commitment to this experience. Even today, back in Melbourne, and finally getting to my "home" gym, felt so good. It's a place I can find a positive release and strengthen my relationship with myself. Standing in front of a mirror, doing reps, doing sets, finding the energy to keep going even though I might not want to, is such a metaphor for everything else that is happening in my life. The will to NOT give up. The will to push it for the last few reps. The will to do this for myself in order to be a better man. A stronger man and a man who is courageous. Courage isn't the absence of fear, it's the acknowledgement of it and the determination to act despite feeling it. Today I found a little bit more of that courage. I'm so grateful.

  • Ben McEwing
    29 May 2017
    11:46 PM

    So glad it's Monday and the chance to get the workouts happening for Week 2. I'm happy with my progress so far and am building on what i'm learning. I've got that hunger back to go to the gym. It feels like a sanctuary, a place to have solid "me" time that is both challenging and rewarding. I do have an admission to make though. I've decided to change my workout routines. Whilst I enjoyed the training plan that Max's has set out for me, I've realised there a few things that don't work for me, namely that I have real trouble doing squats. I have tights calves coupled with tight ankles, so i'm not able to get the real depth one needs to get the most out of squats. I've noticed that as much as I focus on great technique (and I do really focus on it), the mechanics of my body don't allow me to get the full range, so I've already started getting a few early warning signs of injury. My shoulders and neck are tight as well as my lower back. This is from straining too much with squats. So i'm swapping them for leg press. I've always felt much more comfortable on this machine because my back is supported and i can really focus on the movement. This is supported by a workout routine I discovered years ago by a bodybuilder named Victor Costa. His website is https://vicsnatural.com/. He has one of the most amazing physiques I've ever seen, so he must be doing something right! Vic also has a really good philosophy about working out and it aligns with my style, so I'm going to use his suggested routine. It will mean some adjustments in exercises, sets and workout days, but I'm up for it. I'm treating this whole challenge as an experiment and also listening to my intuition about what is best for me. I'll know in a couple of weeks whether i've made the right decision. Fingers crossed!

  • Ben McEwing
    27 May 2017
    10:52 PM

    Just a quick entry today. It was mostly a rest day today because my girlfriend and I were traveling up to the sunshine coast to stay the night at this resort that seems more like a theme park than a hotel. It's right near the beach so we went for about an hour's walk in the sand. Good for my aching legs to get a soft and varied surface on which to walk. Plus it was super serene looking out into the Pacific. We really do live in a beautiful country. I also have a confession to make. Today was my worst diet day yet. As mentioned, I've been really good at eating clean, healthy food, but still need to work on measuring out the portions. Today, however, I was really good at eating lots of food! This resort has a restaurant that happened to be serving a seafood buffet for dinner. We went, we ate, and ate some more. BUT... The good news is, I really mostly ate high quality seafood. No creamy pastas or buns or any other heavy carbs. It was oysters, prawns, mussels (from Brussels?!) and Moreton Bay bugs. The protein intake was off the hook, plus all the great vitamins and minerals so that's a win. And I just used lemon juice as dressing, so no other sauces were had. BUT... There was a dessert table. Holy moly. I've always had a sweet tooth and temptation took me to the dark side of sugar. I ate a few different types of cake and a bunch of chocolate covered strawberries. They had a chocolate fountain so, you know, it was fun to have my cake and eat it. Do I feel guilty? Honestly, no I don't. I'm no longer a believer in beating myself up for those rare occasions when I break from routine to indulge in something special. It really doesn't happen very often these days, so tonight was a gift to myself and my girlfriend. Happiness is just as important as discipline and hard work, so I'm letting myself off the hook. That said, it's back to clean and lean tomorrow.

  • Ben McEwing
    27 May 2017
    12:20 AM

    Today I woke up early because I wanted to see the sunrise. I'm currently staying in Queensland at my Mum's place. She lives across the road from the waters of Moreton Bay in a sleepy town called Scarborough. Even though I hadn't had much sleep (for someone reason my mind was very active last night), I still had a strong desire to see the new day at its most spectacular. I wasn't disappointed. It was glorious. There's something about seeing the first rays of light appear over the horizon that makes me feel like anything is possible. I took a photo to pass on the good vibes to whomever is reading this. I also went for a walk along the foreshore. After the DOMS of the past few days, I wanted to get the blood moving in my legs in a more gentle way. The walk was perfect. A nice meandering path with a few inclines and declines and an inspiring view. Way better than walking on the spot on a treadmill! I find nature to be so balancing and a very good teacher at that. When I returned from the walk it was about 8am and I was feeling really tired. So I listened to my body (see yesterday's entry) and went back to sleep for a few hours. It was the best thing I could have done. I felt refreshed when I woke up and ready for what the rest of the day would bring. It turned out to be a good one. My girlfriend flew into Brisbane and I went to pick her up. We haven't seen each other for a couple of weeks, so it was a heartfelt reunion. We spent time in Fortitude Valley having some lunch and catching up on the latest and greatest. Fast forward a number of hours and I didn't get to the gym for my Day 4 - Upper Body until some crazy time like 10pm. I must admit I had a moment before going where I considered skipping it and doing it tomorrow. My awesome girlfriend was the one who tipped me over the line and reminded me that I would feel so much better if I went, even if it was going to be a late one. It's so important to have the support of those close to us when doing a challenge like this. The rational mind gets in the way sometimes and makes up stories that can be limiting. Having that little bit of encouragement was all I needed and off I went. I joined a 24hr gym so the time was no problem. In fact it was really good because there were only a few people there. The gym felt calm and spacious and it was easy to stay focused. Plus there's the added benefit of not having to wait for equipment. That comes in really handy when doing super sets on machines that are usually in high demand like the lat pulldown machine. In the gym I'm currently at here in Qld, the smith machine and lat pulldown machine are on opposite sides of the gym floor so I'm glad it was quiet in there. My workout was good. I had a few small gains, but I'm not really worried about that at this stage of the challenge. I'm more interested in keeping the momentum and making my form the best it can be. Overall I'm happy with my progress for this first week. Some areas of improvement could be my diet. I've been very mindful of what I'm eating, but haven't been super strict with portion size. I make more than I probably need and then stop when I feel full and save the rest for another meal. It's working OK, but I would like to see, for example, what 200g of protein + 150g of sweet potato actually looks like. I'll make that a goal for next week. Also, I'm very much a morning person. I love working out first thing. It's a great way to start the day and I feel like I've accomplished something worthwhile right out of the gate. It's been weird to do the opposite, working out anywhere from 4pm to 7pm to tonight's epic 10pm start. I don't think I'm at my best at night. This has mostly been due to the fact that I'm on holiday and spending time with my Mum and now my girlfriend too. When I return to Melbourne next week, I'm going to reset myself to morning workouts and see what happens. Stay tuned...

  • Ben McEwing
    25 May 2017
    10:54 PM

    Today I had to swallow some truth pills. At first they got stuck in my throat, but then I washed them down with a big glass of reality check. What I mean is I started days 1 & 2 of the training with such enthusiasm to "workout" that I neglected a very important part of the training: fascial release before training and stretching after. Instead I walked on a treadmill for 5mins each time. BIG MISTAKE! I woke up this morning still super sore with my calves feeling like they were folded over like a DOMS omelette! This stressed me out because I had no idea how I was going to do legs again. I was determined though and decided to remind myself how to do fascial release work. I looked up a bunch of helpful videos on YouTube and committed myself to doing whatever it took to get my body relaxed, open and ready for Day 3 - Lower Body. I went and bought a trigger/massage ball. I have a bunch at home in Melbourne but being interstate, I didn't think to bring one. Where I'm staying isn't the fitness capital of the world, so it took a bit of ringing around then driving around, but I finally found one. Even just having it in my possession made my body relax because it knew it was going to get what it needed. I enjoyed a leisurely day with my Mum up here in Queensland, going for a drive to a beautiful little town called Maleny. We had lunch (quinoa salad with sweet potatoes for me, BOOM!) and strolled around the shops. I let myself relax, but was keenly aware of that trigger ball in the car, calling to me like The One True Ring. I knew it was going to be intense when I finally connected it with my body, but I was also excited. We got home and I went immediately to work on my glutes, hamstrings and calves. I had been feeling really tired all day, but once I found about a cabillion sore spots, I was WIDE AWAKE! I was still a little sore and scrunched up, but I felt enough release to take myself to the gym. When I got there, I did some more release because they had foam rollers. I'd picked up some pro tips on YouTube and put them into practice. They worked. Around this time, the Beta Pump and Creatine were kicking in and I was ready to squat. The truth pills were swallowed once I started squatting. I didn't feel as strong nor focused because my form was lacking. Even though I'd done all that releasing, I simply couldn't get the depth because my calves were still quite tight. It took more mental effort than the past two days. I was only two sets in and knew I was going to have to dig deep and find the fortitude to give this workout my all. I looked in the mirror and could already see the fatigue in my eyes. But hell, this is a journey, and I signed up for it for a reason. These are the moments that test us and remind us to be mindful and balanced in how we train and approach the challenge. I made a commitment right then and there to go for gold and I did. I forgave myself for my silly oversight and promised myself to do fascial release every day and stretch after each workout. That's just what I did and as I'm writing this, I feel great. Tired, but relaxed and grateful for the wisdom of my body. It gave me an early warning sign to be good to it. It will be there for me throughout this experience, but I must Must MUST listen to it and give it what it needs. We out!

  • Ben McEwing
    24 May 2017
    11:15 PM

    Hello soreness my old friend! Happy to have a rest day today. It's been a while since I couldn't walk properly after a workout. I've been hobbling around like Bilbo Baggins! Getting in and out of my car took a while. I even tried to do a good deed and pick up a piece of garbage on the ground as I was out doing some shopping. By the time I'd picked it up, the sun had gone down! I filled my belly with high grade magnesium, took a bath then rubbed tiger balm into my calves and neck. Starting to feel like a normal human again. Hopefully a protein shake and a good night's sleep will get me ready for another day of legs tomorrow. Can't wait!

  • Ben McEwing
    23 May 2017
    10:52 PM

    Two days in and I'm loving it! I went to the gym for the upper body workout. Before I went I watched some videos on the best techniques for each exercise. It was very helpful and reminded me that slower reps and precise form trump lifting big weights every time. It meant that once again my workout lasted about an hour longer than I expected, but I was so happy with the quality of it. I'm enjoying taking all the supplements. The betapump and intraboost are life savers. They're like having a team of motivational coaches pumping through my system. I kept finding more strength, more focus and more desire in every rep. Very grateful. On a more "woo woo" front, I noticed my ego wanting to jump in and make comments too. It came in two forms: the first was when I was watching other people lift bigger weights than me and I had moments of feeling like I could/should be doing more. The other was me seeing people performing exercises with poor form and little mindfulness and I felt my judgemental side come in. Ah, the ego. Such a trickster. So consistently confusing! I used these moments to practice my own kind of mindfulness. I reminded myself that I was in that gym for myself and it didn't matter what anyone else was doing. Each time I found my mind wandering, I'd come back to my breath and consciously relax my body. Then those negative thoughts would melt away and I'd get excited about the next set or exercise. I made it a physical meditation. I'm happy that I was lifting lower weights and doing it with laser precision. My body is already feeling the benefits. And sheesh, it's only day 2, week one! There's a big journey ahead and it's one I'm so glad I'm taking. I hope everyone else is getting in the flow too. Go for gold friends. You deserve it. Cheers, Ben

  • Ben McEwing
    22 May 2017
    11:07 PM

    Workout one complete! It felt so good to have a really solid sweat and see it through. I was feeling concerned because I'm currently interstate, so I'm not in my comfort zone right from the start of this challenge. No excuse though. I live in Melbourne but am up here just north of Brisbane visiting my Mum. She doesn't quite understand what I'm undertaking with this challenge and organised a lunch catch up with some family friends at a place that had NO VEGAN OPTIONS on the menu. Not even vegetarian. Hmmm. So I had to adapt and choose the leanest, cleanest thing I could for lunch, but it did involve eating meat. Rather than feel bad about it, I'm just accepting it and rolling with it. Luckily I could get back to my normal diet for dinner. Feels so much better. My first workout was tough and took way longer than anticipated. Legs are my kryptonite! I had to find my way around a different gym and also get back into the rhythm of this kind of training. I've been doing a lot of home workouts and bodyweight exercises for the past 6 - 12 months, so I wanted to be really committed to keeping good form and not overdoing it right out of the gate. It was worth taking the extra time. I also made sure to really focus on those last few reps in each set. The more I relaxed all my body parts that weren't lifting, the more I could push through the pain and the doubt. I'm doing the Lean Intermediate workout, so am going for around 15 reps per set. In some of the sets, I heard my mind wanting to stop around the 8 rep mark, but I kept telling myself that that point was actually the START of the set and I just kept going. One rep at a time. Smooth movement. Calm mind. Solid breath. And every time I made it to 15 reps! It's amazing what we can accomplish when we simply make the decision to do it. Onward...

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