12% BF

Because I like to be a little controversial and do things differently, while most people are buying Xmas pressies, attending parties,  munching on mince pies and getting sloshed (I may have made up that word, but I’m pretty sure you know what I mean… 🙂 ), I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge: getting ripped!

Above is a photo taken towards the end of my honeymoon last year, where I was about 12% body fat, healthier, stronger and more ripped I’d ever been. And I tell you this, felt reeeaaally gooood!

So I thought, a lot of people use winter as an excuse to let themselves go. They take it easy on their exercise regimes and forget about healthy eating. Sure why do it when you can hide under a big coat right?

Well, you can choose to eat your body weight in mince pies or lift your body weight in chin ups, and I’m choosing the latter. While most people put on between 7 to 10 pounds during the festive season, I’ll be shedding about that, and a few percentages in body fat too.

Why, you ask?

Why not?

I know how most people are going to feel after Xmas: bloated, fat, hangover, tired, cranky and guilty!

I don’t know about you, but I hate feeling like that!

I am not going to be that person who makes a resolution to get healthy and in shape starting on the first of January, when I know that only a tiny percentage of the population actually follows through. I am starting now. Not next Monday, not tomorrow, now.

So, if you have a challenge too and you want to join me, get the accountability, support, and motivation you need, simply leave a comment telling me what your challenge is. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with health and fitness, but whatever else you want to accomplish. Just as I am doing with this post, you must put yourself on the line!

Make sure your goal is big enough to make you want to get up in the morning, and small enough that you can accomplish it within the next 4 to 8 weeks.

Mine is to be ripped for my upcoming holiday in South Africa in February!

With this I hope to create a small community of friends who for the next few weeks will make something happen, instead of letting things happen to us.

Every week I’ll be posting my progress, adventures and misadventures… and you’ll get the chance to post yours too, ask questions, make comments, get and give support.

So, here is my Xmas challenge, what’s yours?

Empty Your Mind And Focus




  1. Sarah Douglas says:

    Hi Anna, I love your mails and your posts on facebook, and with this my respect for you just carries on climbing! What an awesome challenge! Go girl!

    I’m detoxing at the moment, struggling a bit with it but generally managing ok, then when this is finished I want to get down to some serious fitness training and healthy nutrition. I want to lose about a stone and get my body fat %age down -I won’t say what it is right now (!!) but I’d like to get to 20% for starters. Oh, and I’d also like to increase my running endurance to 7K and I’d like to do all this by the end of January. I love the idea of taking on this challenge at a time of year when everyone else is thinking about letting go and indulging themselves, and for me to do this alongside someone I find truly inspiring – you! – is the best I could hope for. Let’s do it!
    Sarah xxx

  2. I’m in!!

    I’ve been working on 2 things the last few months which i hope will be sorted in december!!

    One is about confirming a title sponsor and media partner for an event in february for Leaving cert students!! Thats 75% done, just waiting on some poeple’s answers…so fingers crossed please!! (pray even if you like.,…)

    The other is about securing finance to develop an awesome iPhone app, I’m hoping to have that sorted this month too!!

    so there, they are out in the world – hopefully “the secret” will sort the rest out haha!!

  3. Jenny May says:

    Hi Anna

    Id love to start to , my goal is LA & Vegas in March , not sure id get to be ripped but definately tone up 🙂


  4. Hi Jenni,

    Thanks for joining us! 🙂 It takes something special to not just put it down on “paper”, well blog paper ;), but also to let us and the universe know what you are planning to do. The first step is 100% commitment. The second is a plan, and the third is attitude! So, what’s your plan, how are you going ot make sure you do this and how can we help you?


  5. Hey Cormac,

    Thanks for joining us on our crazy crimbo challenge! I’ve no doubt you will make things happen. If you need a prayer, we will pray, even though I’m not the best at prayers, but I am good at other things, so the thing is what do you need to make this happen, and if there is anything we can help you with, we will!

    The Secret… ay ay ay!



  6. Hi Sarah,

    Yes, let’s do it! To be honest this is as great for me as for you. In my experience what people lack most of the time is not desire or the “how to” things, but the actual commitment and a support network. I could keep this challenge to myself and do or not do the things I need to do. but by putting it out there now I have you guys to make sure I do the stuff I need to do, and I hope to do the same for you!

    So, Regarding your challenge, you need to be able to measure your progress, so I advice you get your body fat checked by a trusted fitness professinoal (make sure they use callipers!) I can recommend a few. Regarding running, you need a program that’ll allow you to build up to 7k without burning yourself out or injuring yourself. The whole point is doing it while feeling great, as the better you feel the more you’ll want to do it.

    Again I can recommend someone who can help you with that if you need help. Other than that if there is anything you want me or the rest of the group to help you with, just ask! 🙂


  7. Ok, so here’s my progress so far:
    Since I wrote this post last week a nasty tummy bug somehow managed to bypass my immune system! Still, I managed to train 3 times last week and ate well, except for the days I was sickly, when I was not able to eat at all without hitting the toilet after. That’s one way to get the body fat down I suppose…! Just not ideal 🙂 I feel better today, still a little queasy but I am training tonight after work and I am back to my 5 meals a day eating plan. So far so good!


  8. what do i need to make it happen…

    I need to follow up with the irish times and get them onboard!! Which i hope and think they will…

    other than that I’m waiting on the universe to work with me here…once the times are on board…game on!!

    So yea, start praying and watching the secret and stuff!!!

  9. Anna I’m in!! I want to get my body fat % down to 16%, last time it was checked (about a month ago) I was 21%. I know I need to train 3-4 times a week and keep my nutrition really tight! Going to be tough over Christmas but it’s what I want! have made huge changes this year so this is my final challenge of 2010!

  10. Hi Anna

    My plan is to train at least 5 days a week. As iv fallen off track lately. I have started my healthy eating regime and feel better already. I love your recipe ideas 🙂 so any further tips on healthy delicious food would be great ! Think im going to try your curry this week !


  11. Hope you feel better soon !! Fair play to you still fitting in your training sessions 🙂

  12. That’s great Jenny! I’m glad you like the recipes. The curry is yum, you’ll love it!


  13. Are you really watching The Secret Cormac? Personally, I think a deep trance would do you the world of good! 😉

  14. Hey Ruth, that’s great! Most people find Xmas challenging, including me. That’s why I have a strategy. Remember you gotta plan for what you want to happen, how you are gonna deal with tricky situations. It’s all about putting ceratin things into place to help yourself succeed. Keep posting!


  15. After talking to John about my body fat % goal, going to aim for 18% first and work towards that first! Training went well this week just have to keep my nutrition on track.

    But will make that 16% even if it’s a little later than this challenge 😉

  16. I think that’s a great idea Ruth, more realistic and achievable. Go for it!


  17. Sarah Douglas says:

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for your encouragement, sorry I haven’t replied earlier.

    I admit I was going to rely on the body fat percentage reading on my scales at home, but I can see that it varies depending on how hydrated I am, so I’ll get myself measured with calipers at the gym tomorrow (and might report back, depending on what it is!), thanks for the tip. Thanks also for offering to put me in touch with someone to help me but I’m a looooong way from Dublin (pity, cos I’d love to join you at bootcamp!). But there is a good pt I can ask at the gym I go to.

    My latest update is that on Sunday I managed to run 5.5K – wahoo! I didn’t go any faster than 9kph but I’m not looking for speed, more endurance so I’m quite happy with that and feel it’s a good start.

    I guess what I’d like from you just now is a nudge now and then to make sure I’ve got positive progress to tell you about. Also, I have an issue with holding more fat on my lower half -Ruth and I have already talked about this! 🙂 – so if you’ve got any tips as well as cauli and broccoli for getting fat off the thighs and not the boobs and face I’d love to hear them!

    That’s it from me, sorry for going on a bit! How’s your challenge going? Who needs mince pies?!
    Sarah xx

  18. Certainly not me Sarah, I hate mince pies! 🙂

    Ruth has probably got you in the right direction. Usually excess body fat in the lower half is related to excess estrogen. Making sure the foods you eat are seasonal, fresh and organic when possible should address this. Also, avoiding sugary foods, simple carbs… and tap water, a chemical cocktail! Lots of dark green veg. will help you lean out your hip and thigh area. Filtered water or Evian is best. Make sure you get your bf checked on the same day and at the same time, preferable first thing in the morning, and never after working out. Other than that, you go girl! Seems like you are making great progress! I’m getting mine checked this week! Any other questions, feel free to ask 🙂


  19. Ok so here’s my progress so far… had my body fat tested this week and to my surprise it is still 15%, which is kind of a miracle considering I’ve not followed my 5 meals a day programme fully. I’ve had a couple of nights out, but abstained from dessert and only drank 1 glass of wine with the meal. Same thing I plan on doing right through Christmas. My trainer (and hubby) John reckons I’ll have no problem getting down to 13% in the next 6 weeks, but I’ll have to stick to the program very strictly! All in all I’m happy with my progress, I’m training right through xmas and looking forward to it too! How are you guys getting on?

  20. Hey guys, I know, it’s St. Stephen’s Day, but I’ve just finished my mini interval workout and thought I’d write a post. So, here you go: 15 minutes and ten rounds of planks and sprints later – I decided to call this totally improvised workout “For Stephen’s Sakes” 😉 -, I feel just great! Exactly what I needed after last night’s Christmas dinner, which by the way I thoroughly enjoyed, as I’m sure you did too 🙂 As planned, I gladly tucked into the ham and turkey, and filled my plate with lots of veg. No potatoes, no bread, and just one glass of wine. I did enjoy a small bit of chockie dessert though as it was made especially for me (I only like chocolate desserts). All in all I had a lovely Christmas, but by today I was already itching to get going! So, went out for a walk in the snow and then did this mini workout to get the blood and endorphins pumping. Let me know how your Xmas went and how you are getting on with your challenges!


  21. Sarah Douglas says:

    Hey Anna, well done for sticking so close to your plan – inspirational stuff!

    I started with a cold on Christmas day that turned into a chest infection and it’s still lingering, so that did for my plans for upping my running (or doing any at all!) so I had to stick to strength training and lots of walking instead. I had a little bit of the Christmas naughties while I was staying with family, but not nearly as much as I normally would so overall I’m feeling pretty good about how it all went over the ‘danger’ season! Now I can’t wait to get properly well so I can start running again, I’m determined to lose 7lb by the end of Jan. Thanks for the tips about diet, Anna, and getting bf measured – I’ll do those things. I’ve made your spinach and feta tart a few times for me and my husband and it’s now a firm fave on our menu. If you have any more vegetarian recipes I’d love to see them.
    Sarah xxx

  22. Sarah Douglas says:

    I’ve done it! Today I reached my 7k goal – in fact I ran 9.5k! Not super fast (it took me about an hour to run 9.5) but I feel great and very happy. Thanks for putting this challenge forward, Anna, I’m sure I’d be still thinking 5k was my limit if you hadn’t. How’s everyone else doing with their challenges? xxx

  23. Hi Sarah many congrats! Wow 9.5k is impressive, especially for me since I have a no running policy 😉 only sprinting! I’ve made good progress too and I’m am now in my fourteens regarding body fat %. Following a strict food and training plan still. I have 3 weeks to go and hope to be down to 13% by then, which should be a “breeze”, as in a lot of work! 🙂 Keep it up and yes, how is everyone else doing?


  24. Sarah Douglas says:

    Thanks, Anna, and that’s great news that you’re doing so well, you’re going to be totally beach babelicious! I hope everyone else is doing as well with their challenges xx

  25. Thanks Sarah 🙂 have 2 weeks to go before I head off To South Africa and by next tuesday I hope to be in the 13%s, so I’m happy with my progress! You’ll need a new challenge now! I wonder what everyone else is up to…?


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