When @Liam_J_McIntyre and @TyroneBell19 first started talking about Legion Training on Twitter, I have to admit I was just amused at first. Yet here I am, 13 weeks later, writing about it.
Those who follow this blog regularly know I'm not much for recommendations or endorsements. I don't have time for a lot of that kind of stuff, but when I do, I mean it. So the fact that I'm writing a really long post about something that is totally unrelated to writing, soccer, or Star Wars, I must be serious.
I love the Spartacus series. It's full of naked or mostly naked, hot, sculpted men and women, betrayal, blood and violence. What's not to love? but the idea of "regular people" doing the same exercise program as the Spartacus Gladiators? Please. But Liam and Ty kept tweeting about it, and it kept grabbing my attention. I went to the Legion Training website, read up a bit on it, watched the videos, went "holy shit" at Ty's physique, and then closed the browser.
I kept thinking about it, though. I'd been out of shape since I quit playing soccer many years ago, and hadn't done a lick of exercise since then. I was bordering on obese and hated the way I looked and felt. However, there was just too much going on in my life to take up something like a regular exercise routine. I worked 50-60 hours a week at the day job, wrote books in my spare time, and then there's the family - kids to raise, pets to care for, and a husband who would like to spend a couple minutes with me if I could spare the time.
Still the tweets continued: Join the Legion Army - just 19 minutes a day. That fit into lunch hour or before work. It would even fit neatly into right after work and before dinner. 19 minutes. What could you really do in 19 minutes? There was talk of a diet plan, and I'm a vegetarian. Most of the diet plans these days are 99% meat, right?
I watched a couple more videos to get an idea of what it was like. I talked to Mr. Savage about it, and he rolled his eyes. I talked to my doctor about it, and she laughed. She also told me to go for it (likely because she knew I had been acting like a slug), to be careful not to hurt myself, and we'd see the results, if any, at my next physical.
So, I did it. I signed up. I said "Yes, Tyrone - I wanna be a gladiatrix!" *giggle*
I'm going with the cliche here, but since then, Legion Training has changed my life.
First, let's make sure we're all on the same page here. I was a 42 year old woman who had never lifted weights before in her life. I was aware gyms existed, but other than the elliptical machine at the local YMCA, I hadn't actually DONE anything at one. I was totally starting from scratch. So, how well did it work? Let's start with the basics.
Since May, 2013 I have:
- Lost over 25 lbs
- Lost 15% body fat
- Lost 6 inches around my waist and 2 inches around my hips
- My cholesterol dropped over 50 points since the last time I had it taken (it had been years, so I can't say for sure how much the nutrition plan contributed, but I think it did)
- I'm stronger than I have ever been in my life
Let's talk about that last one, because the others are easily quantified. What did getting stronger do for me?
- I can carry things I couldn't carry before! Maybe this is obvious, but I keep realizing every day that there's one more thing I can pick up and move without needing assistance. I used to struggle with the 40lb bag of dog food and water softener salt, but not anymore. I barely notice. Daily activities are easier and faster for me now.
- I can walk up stairs and steep hills without getting winded. We haven't had winter since I started yet, but I'm actually looking forward to taking the kid sledding this year. I used to dread the walk back up the hill.
- My dancing has improved. WTF you say? Seriously - doing that many squats has definitely improved my dancing. Can you go down low? :)
The vegetarian aspect of it was a little challenging, but Ty was fabulous in supporting me and helping me figure out vegetarian options for the nutrition plan. He also helped me out when I hurt myself (not during workouts) and had to tone it down a bit for a couple weeks until I healed. He's fabulously attentive and supportive, even from half a world away. He wasn't just a picture on the website - I truly felt like I was working with him.
Not gonna lie - it took some getting used to the whole thing, especially the nutrition which is 90% of the program. It is a TON of food. Don't worry about going hungry at all. Actually, I had a horrible time in the beginning trying to eat these insanely huge portions every 2-3 hours. You need it though. Now that my body is used to it, I don't have to look at the clock to see if I should eat again - I'm ready for more food right on schedule! That's just how much my metabolism has changed.
More than anything else, I feel good. The nutrition is strict and you have to stay on it without cheating for optimum success, but now that I am used to it, I can say that I honestly prefer to eat this way. I eat good, fresh, natural food from the grocery - not pre-fab meals and a lot of supplements. It's not costing me a fortune to eat. I don't have the stomach issues I used to have, the number of migraines I have has dropped, and I've confirmed what I'm eating is doing great things for my body with blood tests.
I know what some of you are thinking - it wasn't the Legion Training program - you have a personal trainer as well! You're right, I do now, but @savage_trainer didn't come along until I was about 2 weeks shy of completing the first round of Legion Training, and I didn't start working with him regularly until I was done with the first 11 week program. If I hadn't already been doing Legion Training, I probably never would have met with @savage_trainer past the first "welcome to the gym" freebie session. Today I still stick with the Legion Training nutrition, do the same cardio, and supplement the workouts I do with my trainer with Legion workouts. [I actually think my trainer is considering joining the ranks of the Legion Army!]
Considering where I started, I still have a long way to get to my personal goals. I'm definitely not posting any before and after pictures for public consumption at this point. Maybe after the next round, but probably not until after the next TWO rounds. Maybe. :)
- I've seen beautiful sunrises over the lake near my house on my morning LISS cardio walks.
- My dog is getting a lot more walks, because I have more energy and I know it gets me a little extra cardio during the day.
- I can fit into costumes I haven't worn in years. Yeah, the cosplayer in me is seriously thinking of doing a gladiatrix costume at Dragon Con next year!
- My bras stay on! This wasn't at all expected, but my entire life has been spent yanking my bra straps up as they fall off my shoulders. As I worked out my shoulders and they got rounder, the straps now stay up! I had NO IDEA this was the problem. I can wear tank tops now!
- Last and possibly best, I met @savage_trainer, who has become not just my personal trainer and cover model for my books, but a good friend. (You gals got a lot out of this one, too! ;) )
So to conclude all of this, I can't express enough how much Legion Training has benefited me. I'm sure I've forgotten a dozen more ways my life has improved, but I can only list so many. I will say this, though - whether you are fit person who wants to get a little more tone, a bodybuilder who wants to buff up more, or a housewife who has never done this before, Legion Training will work for you. You CAN do it. It's going to take some dedication - you can't half-ass it and expect it to work - but if you follow the plan you WILL see the results!
To Tyrone Bell and Liam McIntyre - GRATITUDE!
To Tyrone Bell and Liam McIntyre - GRATITUDE!
Shay Savage - Legion for Life