Fitness: Caroline Girvan’s Beginner Epic – Round 2

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Welp. It’s Wednesday, half way through the week and this post just came up… because I didn’t exercise on Monday or yesterday. It’s been a week, guys. I try not to go too heavy in my posts online but I’ve slowly become obsessed with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Originally it was checking a little per day, but as Russia has ramped up the war crimes I’ve just found myself getting increasingly upset, depressed and distressed. I applaud all the international heroes who have signed up to fight for Ukraine, I am so impressed with Zelenskyy, and above all I am amazed by the Ukrainian spirit and fortitude throughout all of this.

All that is to say, I’d gotten myself to a place where mentally I had become so absorbed in a conflict thousands of miles away that I had checked out from life.

If ever I was wondering if I still had an addictive personality, this proves that I do. My husband warned me last night to not make it an idol after witnessing me basically pass multiple days having done nothing but refresh news about it for the entire day.

I think that was the warning I needed. As with all addictions, it may be best for my mental health to just quit cold turkey and stop following updates until Russia gets the heck out of Ukraine. I failed that this morning, but at least today I’ve made some progress by getting a workout done.

Mentally, I’m not in the best place right now. But after a pandemic, increased costs of living and now a war, who is?

I’m not going to be finishing off round two this week. The start date of Chloe’s next challenge has been pushed back by a week, so I’ll still have time to finish off this round next week. My body needs the extra rest days anyway, I’ve been working out quite intensely the past few weeks after all.

Round Two

3/9: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 1 – Completed 14:52.

Man, it sucks when you’re not in the right frame of mind, doesn’t it? Add in a lower back injury and you’ve essentially got my absolute dread for doing today’s workout. I was so certain I was going to be mega weak. On one hand, this was true – I had to stop a lot more to take breathers and stretch out my back. But on the other hand, I could tell I’ve become stronger.

I was able to actually feel muscles in my left glute that I have never felt before, and in my recording it’s actually incredible to see some of those muscles pop out. I pushed my body to failure multiple times, took a breather and a stretch, and then pushed myself hard again.

For most of the moves, I counted reps in my head to ensure I was doing the same number of reps on both legs, and I am almost certain I managed more reps this time. This is especially true for the hamstring-related exercises because I literally could barely do them last week. There were also moments where my eyes were basically glued shut from sweat, so that was fun. Looking at my Apple Watch, my HR reached a peak of 176bpm. That’s higher than it gets for my HIIT workouts sometimes!

I lost steam towards the end though, maybe I pushed myself too hard. I basically sat half of a couple of exercises out in favour of panting on the floor. That said, I did try a few reps of both just before the timer ran out for good measure. I had given up pausing the video by then.

All in all, I now feel much better and a bit more on track with my life now that I’ve done a good workout and am blogging again. I’ve had my post-workout protein snack and now it’s time to go shower and work. Very, very glad I worked out today, even though I don’t look it here.

3/13: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 2 – Completed 15:50.

Oh wow it’s Sunday and look how many workouts I didn’t complete this week lol. My body apparently decided it wanted nothing to do with exercise this week, despite me mentally wanting to get my workout on. I’ve been nursing a headache on/off, and otherwise just dealing with fatigue. I guess going so hard with exercise recently has been taking its toll.

So these two weeks will be taking it easy before the start of Chloe’s new challenge.

I have 3 days’ worth of this challenge left, which should be doable in the coming week, but I shan’t push myself harder than what I can do. I’ll be working as hard as I can for the new challenge because I’ll be doing it in a team and don’t want to let my team down!

Today’s workout was tough, but I can see that my form has improved significantly from last week, especially with the cobra pushups or the other modified pushup prep moves. Last week, my head was straining to reach the ground, giving me the impression that my body was low to the ground when in reality my chest was still quite far up in the air.

This week, my upper body went up and down as a unit! Unsurprisingly, that hurt a helluvalot more so I wasn’t able to do nearly as many reps and my arms felt like spaghetti, but getting the form right is just so important and I’m mega proud of the improvement. Last week I couldn’t even do a single one of those shoulder pushups properly but this week I was able to do 2, and oh my gosh they hurt like hell. I’m actually amazed I managed to get through it.

I actually adore this video, my progress and increase in strength is palpable, so I will definitely be coming back to this Beginner series between challenges next time too.

Another update is I checked my measurements this morning. If numbers trigger you please turn away. My waist is currently floating between 66.5cm. The lowest I’ve ever seen that figure in my adult life is probably around 65.5cm, and I think that’s when I’d dropped down to about 118/119lbs.

Except now I’m like 121lbs. I was pretty sure I’d put on muscle (kind of a requirement to be able to do movements that I wasn’t able to do before, plus I could have sworn I could see muscle definition that didn’t previously exist) but gaining weight while losing cm sort of proves it I think?

3/15: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 3 – Completed 12:11.

Remember how last time I barely felt it in my abs? Well, I actually felt it a lot more today. I’m not entirely sure what the difference was, but at least for most of the exercises I definitely felt my abs working. I originally planned to do this workout yesterday, but I ended up starting my period so I took it easy. Very glad I did that, since I was feeling tired and weak anyway.

Today I felt slightly more energetic, and part of the reason I think I felt my abs more this week was maybe not stretching my arms as far back. I think maybe I overdid it last week and moved my arms back further than I should have, meaning I felt strain in my upper back/neck more than my abs. For some of the moves, I also just don’t think I have the right muscles in my abs to even ‘feel’.

In fact, I don’t know if I even have enough muscles in other parts of my body to supplement my abdominal failures ha. My left leg was shaking more and more as we got further along in the video, and towards the end I began to feel a little light headed.

Daylight saving time has been doing a bit of a number on my body and I’ve been waking up at “9:40-10:00” these days. By the time I get to exercising, it’s already past 11am, so my body is probably in need of sustenance, even though my body clock probably hasn’t fully adjusted yet. Anyway I am pretty sure I just needed to eat by the end of it, so while I still worked hard, I went a little easier on myself when I felt the need to.

I have a looong way to go before I build up enough ab strength to do this particular workout, but I’m already seeing some degree of improvement, and that’s good enough for me for now!

3/16: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 4 – Completed 14:02.

I am so proud of my workout today! It’s been a long time but I finally got out my 8lb dumbbells. I purchased them ages ago when I was still exercising regularly, but since I took a long break from exercising I basically haven’t been able to pick them up again. But I was able to today for a few of the exercises! Only a few, but that’s still more than the zero from before.

I still stuck with my 5lb dumbbells for most of the workout (apart from the hamstring exercise where I just didn’t even bother trying – my hamstrings are not at that point). I think that next time I can probably go for the 8lb dumbbells for even more of the workout, but for now I’m just really pleased with my progress.

I mentioned last time that I had back pain – this time, it was a lot milder because I was able to keep most of the energy off my lower back and use the other muscles that I should have been using (e.g. core, upper back, glutes). So again, I am still seeing increasing progress that is very exciting for me.

I exercised a few hours after eating a protein-filled breakfast and so far I’ve just felt great all day. I had a huge headache last night so slept earlier than usual, and was able to wake up a little earlier than usual as well. I wonder if that had anything to do with my increased energy today as well?

I think I like these weighted workouts a lot more than just the bodyweight ones to be honest, even though the bodyweight ones are best for working on form. But these just feel more effective for strength building, and I feel my whole body working with these compound weighted exercises.

It’ll be a while before I do this workout again since I’ll be trying Chloe’s new program starting on Monday, but since it’ll be a weighted challenge I feel I’m ready to use heavier weights where appropriate. These two rounds feel like the perfect prep for tackling Chloe’s new challenge. I’m really looking forward to it.

3/18: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 5 – Completed 11:30.

Yikes, today has been… insanely busy. It’s past 10pm and today has literally been jam packed so I haven’t had a chance to update until now, despite having finished the workout this morning.

Anyways, you’ll notice that I missed a day yesterday… because work has been so hectic I didn’t get to sleep until 2am on Wednesday, causing me to be absolutely exhausted yesterday, plus I still had so much work to do that I ended up with zero time to complete the workout.

Today, however, I also had a crazy schedule but thankfully I woke up early enough to do my workout! Unfortunately, I was not at peak capacity. I just felt so weak this morning, probably due to loss of sleep the past couple of days, but also because I didn’t eat before the workout.

Normally I can do fasted workouts, but I guess not when it’s an actual HIIT and I’m running on lack of sleep. Studies have also shown that loss of sleep affects hunger hormones, and I for sure felt hungry this morning when I normally wouldn’t at that time.

Even though I wasn’t able to move as fast or do as many reps as the previous time I tried this workout, I pushed as hard as I could – often to absolute failure, to the extent I wasn’t able to jump for the burpees or do more than 1-2 burpees after a set. But I don’t know if that was actual improvement or just me being weak.

I ended up having to pause at 75% of the way through to get some food in me because I was really starting to feel faint. I wasn’t able to exert nearly as much energy as I usually am, even though it felt much harder than usual (max HR was only 163bpm and I was already in pain).

I will say, though, I’m proud of how I went down for the pushup moves! It was much more of a straight line than the flops I was doing last time. To the surprise of absolutely no one, I felt better after eating something haha. It didn’t make the workout any easier though.

It’s a shame I wasn’t at 100% for this one because I thoroughly enjoyed it last time and, despite struggling like mad, I still enjoyed it a lot this time too. This is the last I’ll see of Caroline for a bit. Chloe’s new challenge starts on Monday and it’ll be 28 days long. I’ll be doing it in a team and am so excited, woohoo!

Yes, I know I’ve been wearing the same bra for the past 3 workouts. I’m completely out of workout bras, pls don’t judge me. Everything will be washed this weekend ok?? ><;;

See you in the next challenge!

Muchos love,


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