2016 in Review – Kicking Ass & Taking Names

Before and after weightloss pictures, between March 2014 and October 2016

I am a badass WARRIOR WOMAN and I’m not afraid to say it.

So I didn’t make all the above progress in 2016, but I thought that ‘before’ picture was a great way to illustrate how far I’ve come.

I discovered weightlifting

In February of 2016 I found weightlifting. And oh, my word. I love it. And you know what I REALLY love? How I combine weightlifting with reading. WHO KNEW!! This is hands down my favourite part of the day (well, maybe after breakfast, which is great, because coffee + hazelnut syrup).

I wrote a bit about my lifestyle change in June if you want to check it out. I talked about how I lost 30 pounds (which is pretty much the difference you see in the above picture).

I’m happily maintaining

I’m pleased to say that I’m still going strong since writing that post seven months ago. Right now I’m happily working on maintaining my weight at around 133-134 pounds and eating an average of 2,150 calories per day. If you read my previous post, you may notice that I’m eating more now. I’m no longer trying to lose weight, so I’ve raised my average intake a bit from the ~2,000 calories it used to be.

I’m at a point where increasing my lifts is pretty slow, but I’m fine with that. Ultimately I’m very pleased with where I’m at right now, which is why I’m kind of hanging out in maintenance mode.

My exercise routine

At 3:30 or 4pm, I hit the gym — with my Kindle. I’m usually there for an hour and a half, 4-6 days a week, which sounds pretty good on paper, but honestly I’m like the least hard-working girl at the gym. It’s actually kind of funny. I look around and see people working SO HARD all around me. They’re running, jumping, lifting, and barely stopping to catch their breath. It’s constant GO GO GO. (Which is seriously great—good for them!)

What am I doing?

  • Lift heavy shit for like 30 seconds.
  • Plop down on a bench and read… for like 3-5 minutes…
  • Lift heavy shit for like 30 seconds.
  • Plop down on a bench and read… for like 3-5 minutes…

So I spend most of my time sitting there reading while everyone else is panting and out of breath LOL. Do whatever works for you, of course. I just find the contrast funny. It makes me look so lazy.

But it’s seriously awesome. I love lifting weights, I love having big beautiful muscles, and I love taking my book to the gym and getting in a good reading session. I’m so insanely glad I discovered my love for this. ♥

Goals for 2017

Pretty much just keep swimming. I’ll be happy to just continue exactly what I’m doing now!

The one big lifting goal I have is to improve my pull ups. I’ve been in a bit of a slump since May. I do three sets, but I’ve been stuck at 7 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps (give or take). I’d really love to make some significant progress there, even if it’s just a solid three sets of 7!

Did you set any fitness/health goals for 2016? If so, how did you do? Will you be setting any new goals for 2017?

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Olympic lifting is my happy place. We have a hodgepodge gym in our basement that we’ve scrapped together over the last six years, so I can do basically any olympic lift while my baby runs around. Right now, I’m using an app called Behind the White Board for the actual lifts. (I cannot create my own workouts to save my life).

    Lifting has saved my life. 🙂

  2. You look so fit, I love the transformation! I don’t life weights but I do a ton of strength balance exercises like turkish getups and slow running motion on one foot — this workout has a name but it elude me right now. My fitness goal for 2017 is to run a half marathon and be a better soccer player since I’m coaching my son’s soccer team. The half marathon was a goal for 2016, but I changed it to running 10Ks without being completely exhausted for the rest of the day. Now I can do two 10k runs a week and not feel completely drained, which, technically, is almost a half marathon so… I never said I’d run a half marathon in one day. Hey, whatever works, right? 😀

  3. This is awesome – congratulations – you look fantastic!! And I love how you take your Kindle to the gym. I’m like those people you see panting around you – I like a good sweat session and do a lot of running (mostly outdoors), but have been mixing in heavier weights this year. I’ve gained a few pounds from it, but am SO much stronger. I can now rock those strength training classes much better than last year. And, my reward at the end is a nice, long stretching session while reading my Kindle 🙂

    1. Thank you Sarah!

      Good for you for working up a big sweat – that’s awesome. 🙂 When you start lifting weights you definitely have to ignore the scale a bit since it can definitely cause water retention and muscle gain (both of which add weight). But you can still look and feel a lot better!

  4. I discovered that I prefer listening to audiobooks at the gym, instead of music. I get less bored, and can whip through a reading list a lot faster (which is great, because it seems all of my Overdrive audiobooks that I requested came in at the same time!). I also love lifting weights. I started doing it again this week after taking a long, unnecessary hiatus, and then only doing cardio (talk about boring!). I hurt, but it’s a good hurt.

    1. It’s great that you’ve found a love for audiobooks. 🙂 I’ve only tried it once but it didn’t really work for me. I think I just have a hard time concentrating.

  5. you are so awesome…my husband has been trying to get me to do weightlifting…I usually just live on the elliptical with an audiobook…the rare times I go…lol

    1. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy. 🙂 For me that’s weightlifting, but for you it might be something else. Who knows! It helps to experiment a little.

  6. This is awesome, Ashley! Congrats! I recently started an exercise routine myself and am definitely planning on keeping up with it in the new year.

  7. Yay you! I’m so happy you found a work out routine that works perfectly into your life and that you enjoy! I think that’s one of the most important things for finding something that will stick.
    My favorite thing is my eleptical while watching old DVDs. Right now I’m going back through Friends and I love laughing so hard and sometimes crying too. It’s so much fun! I throw in some weights here and there along with an evil Jillian Michaels video when I need my butt kicked, but I’m definitely happy with my routine and results. Here’s to 2017 being another fabulous year for you!

  8. You look amazing! Last year I had a baby. While I would LOVE to go to the gym, I honestly have no time. Or, I should say, I would rather be getting slobbery kisses from my baby than go to the gym, lol. Adding some sort of exercise to my week is my goal for 2017. I’m interested in trying the StrongLifts 5×5 you talked about in your other post.

    1. StrongLifts is fantastic! It can also be completed in a fairly small amount of time since it’s pretty much only like 3 exercises a day (3x per week).

  9. After I got away from reading last year I also got away from reading my favorite blogs and totally missed this-big congrats on your accomplishments! I’m approaching my 4 year maintenance anniversary here in the next few months (50ish pounds lost) and I love reading others success stories 🙂 Just checked out your other progress post and see that you may be using MFP? I spend waaay too much time on their forums (which is why I haven’t been reading actual books ugh, lol). If you hang out on the forum area we’ve probably run into each other-I’m crzycatlady1 over there and I have quite the loud mouth lol.
    -Sara (former book blogger and re-committed book reader 🙂 )

    1. Congratulations on your weightloss! And 4 year maintenance is fantastic. 🙂

      I do use MFP to track but I’m not active in the community at all. But I will for sure keep your username in mind in case that changes!

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