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Anyone else doing Caroline Girvan's EPIC programme?
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BigButtons · 22/07/2021 15:50

I thought I was pretty fit and toned. I have exercised consistently most of my life: weights, cardio, hit, running etc ( now 53). I have just finished day 8 of EPIC and feel like a complete wuss. It was the lunges one. I wanted to be sick even though I was standing infront of a large fan the entire time.
How do people actually manage to get through these? I have just looked ahead to the burpee day and feel like I am simply not up to this. Sad

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LumpySpacedPrincess · 22/07/2021 17:04

Sounds painful, that's why I do yoga Grin

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BigButtons · 22/07/2021 18:35

@LumpySpacedPrincess I sometimes do yoga too😃

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LumpySpacedPrincess · 22/07/2021 19:13

You are very motivated! I find my heart is willing, the energy levels are there....but my joints say Nope!

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FlowerArranger · 22/07/2021 19:23

I absolutely love Caroline!
I was already pretty fit when I started with her 5 months ago, but she has taken me to an entirely different level.
I'm in my sixties but I'm fitter - and stronger!! - than most women half my age.
Yes, it's tough, it's challenging, but my God it works.
However I do not follow the EPIC programme religiously. I usually do one EPIC one day, and then something less challenging
the next day.
I like doing HIIT on alternate days, usually with Anna from Growingannanas. She's great too.
And I don't use anywhere close to her weights Grin. Currently mostly 5kg, occasionally 7.5kg.
Part of her appeal is that she clearly know what she's doing and she emphasises the importance of good form. She explains and demonstrates each exercise really well.
Oh - and no shouting or fake enthusiasm!!

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BigButtons · 22/07/2021 20:16

@FlowerArranger that’s impressive indeed! I really want to try me keep with EPIC simply because I have never managed to complete any programme. I am dreading the burpee hiit as I have a hand injury from a bad burn over a year ago and sustained pressure on it hurts like buggery. Press ups are also difficult now for the same reason. Might have to be that I find an alternative for those sessions and not feel bad about it?

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FlowerArranger · 23/07/2021 08:22

@BigButtons - absolutely substitute with more appropriate exercises if you find something difficult. I do it all the time, e.g. missing out the push-up in burpees and doing them way slower than CG does. Burpees are a killer - sometimes I just do mountain climbers instead.

If you have concerns about your wrists though, I'd urge you to see a physiotherapist for a couple of sessions, for advice on what you should or shouldn't do. I have very mild carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand and I always use a brace when lifting weights.

I would also recommend Rebecca Louise and Lucy Wyndham Read for some good but less challenging routines. I particularly like these (I credit Lucy for my very strong skiers' legs...)



And this is brilliant for abs:



And Anna for HIIT:



Here is some more inspiration and encouragement for you:

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jul/23/a-new-start-after-60-i-was-sick-tired-and-had-lost-myself-until-i-took-up-bodybuilding-at-71?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

'“People need to know, especially women, that you are not finished at 40, definitely not finished at 50 or 60 or 70. You can go on and on until the day there is no more,” she says. “And you should be able to do it with pizzazz.”'

Hey - you can do this!! Smile
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Worldgonecrazy · 23/07/2021 08:49

I love Caroline . I have wrist, back and knee issues and though exercise helped before, the improvement since starting Caroline’s programmes has been massive.

A definite yes to the wrist supports. I have nerve / ganglion issues. Also I find push up bars help with wrist pressure.

And always form before reps and weights. It took me years to build up to lunges thanks to arthritis is my knees, but I got there.

And I even did one slow tricep push up the other day, that has taken a year to build up to. Go me!!!!

I use a mix of 5, 8, and 15kg weights. No way could I lift as heavy as Caroline but I always choose to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do.

As Caroline said, one good rep is worth more than several bad ones.

Keep going, it’s scary seeing some of the routines but the feeling when you realise you just made it through thirty minutes of burpees is amazing.

Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think.

Hi used to think Jillian Michaels was tough, but Caroline pushes you to go places you thought were impossible, and she makes it fun.

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BigButtons · 23/07/2021 11:29

Thanks so so much for the recs , tips and encouragement. I have done some Lucy WR and RL and like them a lot.
I will try out the growinganannas one too especially if the burpee hiit is too much for my hand.
My mad injury is actually on the meaty part of my palm as it joins my wrist.
I had a second degree burn over a year ago and although the skin healed quickly I cannot put much pressure on that spot, even resting it on a table. I think it must be nerve damage and not much can be done.
I have learnt to adapt push ups and burpees but 30-40 mins of them would be impossible pain wise.
Today is EPIC day 9. I can already see a big change in my body though. I had put on a bit of weight in lockdown- too much booze- and lost tone and was feeling crap about myself.
I’m feeling more hopeful now and with all your encouragement I think I will be able to see it through 🙂🥰

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Discovery65 · 23/07/2021 12:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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FlowerArranger · 23/07/2021 12:58

If you're a size 10/12 you are slim. I'm about the same. And yes, I also have a bit of a stomach pouch...

80% of abs are made in the kitchen, but even if the fat layer cannot be eliminated completely, just feeling your abs makes such a difference. If I were you I'd definitely focus on strength work.

In any event, there's only so much weight you can lose through cardio. I'd say at least 75-80% of my workouts focus on strength work, using both bodyweight and dumbbells.

I find if my abs are strong, I feel less hungry. Maybe it's psychological.. Grin

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BigButtons · 23/07/2021 13:21

@FlowerArranger since starting EPIC I am very hungry! That’ll be from the huuuugggeeee amount of effort required to complete each session I guess!

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FlowerArranger · 23/07/2021 13:37

Well, if you do really tough strength work, your body will crave protein Grin

I do my workouts in the morning, then eat 2 or 3 eggs and some fruit. Love eggs - lots of protein and only 70 calories.

It's all good - muscle mass weighs a lot more than fat, so use a tape measure, not just scales...

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wetpants · 23/07/2021 15:07

Over the last 9 months or so I’ve lost 2.5 stone by low carbing and during this spring started to lift weights too.
I’ve done CG’s stand alone sessions on and off, feeling much better about myself I started the 1 week Heat beginner and nearly died Grin

I’ve attempted Epic but gave up on day 8 (I think). Not just because it was too hard, I also struggled to fit 45 mins into my morning routine. I’ve carried on doing her stand alone routines but planning on starting the Heat series after our holiday next week. 30 mins sessions fits in much better in my mornings. Bloody scared of it though!!! Grin (dreading the burpees and the maker 😩)

So far I already have some visible muscle definition which is very encouraging and motivating. I hate her during the session but the first time ever I feel really good afterwards and have a kind of euphoria lasting all day. I never achieved that when I used to trudge along in the gym.

For the reference I’m 48 and permenopausal.

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Moonflower12345 · 24/07/2021 09:33

Epic is hard! But I promise it does get easier and the results are 100% worth it. I am more lean and toned than I've ever been and at my lowest weight as an adult.

I've done epic 1 and just finished 2 and absolutely never thought I would get to this point. I remember being like you in the first week thinking I was going to die but your strength improves so quickly.

I really can't recommend Caroline enough. Her workouts are so well planned and the results speak for themselves!

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Moonflower12345 · 24/07/2021 09:35

Should add as well I only use 3 and 5kg weights and have still seen excellent results. I have had 3 c sections and had zero core strength and now I have the start of abs.

Weight lifting is so good for women as we age I really cannot shout enough from the rooftop about this!

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BigButtons · 24/07/2021 10:16

@Moonflower12345 that’s so encouraging. I find myself really looking forward to each session, which doesn’t make sense as I find them so tough! I find it is giving me such a buzz though and is making me feel better physically and mentally. I have an hours full body dumbbell today- next is the burpees which I will try but might have to substitute for another recommended by @FlowerArranger🙂

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Moonflower12345 · 24/07/2021 10:54

BigButtons you can do it! Please keep this thread going with your progress - we can all motivate each other!

Yes modify as much as you need! As Caroline says herself it is you vs you. I do find her FB community really supportive but there are some people who take it a bit seriously for me. Do what you can with what you have at your disposal I reckon!

I hate burpees so much, but I actually didn't find the burpee workout that bad (I won't talk about the EMOM right now Grin). But there are workouts that have genuinely taken me hours. For some I would just do 10 mins, then another 10 mins later etc until it was done. Can you maybe rest on your finger tips and step in lightly rather than jumping? I'm sure you'll find a work around anyway.

And glad you shared the Joan Macdonald guardian article @FlowerArranger what an inspiration she is Flowers

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BigButtons · 24/07/2021 11:03

@Moonflower12345 I will do that!
It’s so helpful to find out about modifications too.
That article was inspiring. Yes weight lifting is very very important for women. My mum is having problems with brittle bones now in her 80s and I want to try and keep myself as strong and healthy as possible going forward.

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FlowerArranger · 24/07/2021 11:46

weight lifting is very very important for women. My mum is having problems with brittle bones now in her 80s and I want to try and keep myself as strong and healthy as possible going forward

I would like to shout this from the rooftops!!
This is so, sooooooo important.

For those struggling with Caroline every day, I'd highly recommend doing HIIT with Growingannanas on alternate days. They compliment each other really well, particularly if you add in a short workout for legs, arms and/or abs.

I also like to do a daily minute plank:



Let's keep on encouraging each other Smile
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Melassa · 24/07/2021 12:11

I’m also doing the EPIC series and today is burpee day for me, I was not looking forward to it so hearing it’s not too bad does help. I used to do Jillian but got bored of the same sessions over several days, plus I am now in my 50s so wanted to up my weight training to offset muscle loss. Like many lockdown has meant less movement overall and I’d lost a lot of muscle tone, which has since been replaced with chub!

My DM has osteoporosis and joint problems and I want to avoid getting it as much as I can, plus I’ve always had fairly defined arms and legs and a couple of months ago I spotted the beginnings of a bingo wing, so decided to get off my backside and do something about it.

10 weeks is a long time though and I’ve looked ahead at some of the HIIT sessions and they seem pretty scary, so I’ll be following this thread to help me to keep going and not sack it off.

I do need to up my weights though, currently using 3kg as the next size up in my house is 15kg, but I’m finding them far too light now. I might need a trip to Decathlon to pick up some in between weights. Does everyone gradually increase as you go along? Or do you all stick the the same weights throughout the programme?

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Moonflower12345 · 24/07/2021 13:30

@Melassa I only have 3kg and 5kg dumbbells. I mainly used my 3kg with the 5s here and there. I haven't increased but have noticed in the last week of epic 2 that the 3s felt a lot lighter. I'm planning to go up to the 5s when I start again next week.

Lidl and aldi also have dumbbells sometimes cheaply - mine are all from there.

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BigButtons · 24/07/2021 13:31

@Melassa I decided to stop looking in advance!
I have burpees after today.
I did JM for years and then Joe Wicks. I also have kettlebells. I use either the 8 or 12 kg bells for some of the squats. I have just bought myself some 7.5 kg weights as the 5 is too light for some of the movements, although for some arm ones, particularly the shoulders I have to go to 4s as my shoulders are weak( I find push ups difficult unsurprisingly). Hope That I will gradually up the strength. Love to know how you get on with the dreaded burpees!😃

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FlowerArranger · 24/07/2021 14:00

I started off with 3 + 5 kg, but after I started working with Caroline, I very quickly moved up to 5 + 7.5 kg. I'll probably get some 10 kg dumbbells for RDLs, squats and the like pretty soon. It feels soooooo good!!!

For those who struggle with certain types of exercise or have weak knees, ankles, shoulders, whatever, I would suggest that you look at Redefining Strength. This lady doesn't do workouts as such, but she explains HOW to do things really well - as well as pointing out what NOT to do.

She has several videos on push-ups, e.g.:



And this one focuses on dodgy knees:



Have fun!!
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BigButtons · 24/07/2021 14:05

@FlowerArranger that’s a very good point re form. When I was doing Joe Wicks I really buggered up my shoulders doing push ups. I was doing them all wrong I am sure . Great links I will have a cuppa now and see what she says about push ups. I started using a resistance band round my wrists to stop my elbows flaring out.

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BigButtons · 24/07/2021 15:43

Well that was bloody hard work. I am feeling end of term exhaustion today anyway. I am soaked in sweat, even my bare feet are sweating. No pain, no gain was my motto today and there was pain a plenty,
Pistol squats? Even holding on to a wall my knees couldn’t take it.
On a brighter note I watched the tips on push ups clip and used the ideas to help me. Even though I couldn’t do anything but a basic push up using the sofa most of the time( no fancy decline ones- as if ) I did manage to do some full ones ,so count that as a mini victory. 🙂

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