I’ve been wanting to do BUILD by Stephanie Sanzo in the @sweat app since it was released earlier this year and I feel like I’m finally ready to lift heavier and work harder towards my weight training goals. Even though I’ve incorporate strength training in my exercise regime before I never really focused on progressively lifting heavier so this was the perfect opportunity for me to see what this body is capable of.
Getting back to the basics of weight training and getting stronger was the reason I chose this program. I started using weights and lifting heavier about 2 years ago and even though I’ve been loving the Functional Training that I’ve been doing the last 9 months, I also wanted to change my routine up a bit and have a stronger focus on strength. BUILD was created for that purpose.
So why weight lifting? Lifting heavy and weight training have also given me a sense of empowerment. There’s nothing quite like feeling strong and appreciating what your body can do. It’s what I need physically and mentally right now. The aim now is to get stronger, build more muscle and improve my lifting performance. The mental benefits of perseverance, patience and pushing limits is a great tool for staying consistent. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt on this journey, is to set yourself up for success. Choose what works for you in the current space you’re in.
“I’d love to see you conquer this and would be so happy to help along the way.”
The before mentioned was the words sent to me by Stephanie. At first I was scared and hesitant to get this serious about lifting weights, but Stephanie tackled my questions and concerns head on . “The goal should be to make all of your lifts successful rather than attempt a weight you might not be able to do. That will always be the best way to build your strength and confidence over time”, she advised .
Quick Facts About the Guide
All About Performance! Each week builds on the previous week’s workouts to help you increase your lifting strength and enhance your performance
- Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/Stephaniesanzo/
- Guide Link: https://www.stephaniesanzo.com/
- Home/Gym: Gym
- Focus/Style: Power Building Weight Training
- Format: Sweat app
- Weeks: 12
- Duration of Workouts: 40 to 60min (average); 5 – 7 sessions per week
- Cost: $19.99 USD on a monthly plan; $119.94 USD on a yearly plan
- Value added features: Meal plan, In-app videos, Online Guidance
- Adaptability: The program provides a solid structure with main weight lifting workouts with added LISS which provides space for additional activities such as running.
- Modifications/Progressions: Stephanie provides useful videos on her Instagram channel with possible modifications for beginners, she also responds to her DM’s and has advised me personally on exercises to use to strengthen my knees
- Value for money: Yes, all in one exercise plan with videos and nutrition guide.
- Fitness Level: Intermediate to Advanced
I started on BUILD week 1, skipping the Beginner BUILD weeks and the workouts for the weeks was as follows:
- Workout 1: Upper Body – Bench Press 1
- Workout 2: Lower Body – Squat
- Workout 3: Upper Body – Bench Press 2
- Workout 4: Lower Body – Deadlift
- Workout 5: Shoulders & Back Optional
- Challenge x 1 Optional
- LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Training) x 2
- HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) x 1 Optional
- Recovery x 1
- Full Rest Day x 1
The above may seem like a lot but with a structure and scheduling in place it can be done. Also keep in mind that some of the sessions are optional. Notably with BUILD I could not combine sessions like I have been doing with other programs as the workouts are longer. Some days I do train twice a day as moving during my lunch break is of vital importance to my health. I have a desk job and study part time so exercising is the only time of the day where I get to move my body.
I structure my weeks as follows.
|Monday||LISS: Endurance Run (10km)||Upper Body Bench Press 1|
|Tuesday||Lower Body Squat||Challenge|
|Wednesday||HIIT: Sprint Run||Shoulders & Back|
|Thursday||Rest||Lower Body Deadlift|
|Friday||LISS: Progression Run (8km)||Rest|
|Saturday||Upper Body Bench Press 2||Recovery|
Week 1 to 3
The program started with a 1RM Assessment for 3 Primary Movements and my results were as follows:
🏋️♀️ Squats (52kg)
🏋️♀️ Bench Press (32kg)
🏋️♀️ Sumo Deadlift (67kg)
The Sumo Deadlift felt uncomfortable for me at the start of the program due to a niggle in my knee (I had a meniscal tear repaired in January 2018) so the first weeks I alternated my deadlifts between sumo and conventional deadlifts.
The biggest adjustment during this weeks were the fact that my heart rate was lower than usual but I was determined to be disciplined and stick to the program without adding too much traditional cardio or HIIT during my strength sessions. This type of training was definitely new to me as I’m always doing something functional or plyometrics in between my strength movements. However, my muscles felt fatigued after super sets and I felt a different type of tired after my sessions. I’m reaching muscle fatigue with higher weight and lower reps.
Being back on the @sweat app was great as I’ve actually really missed the convenience of it all. The warm ups, timer, cool downs really helps you to stick with the program and do the workouts properly. It is like having a Personal Trainer in your pocket.
“Embrace your Strengths instead of Punishing yourself for your Weaknesses”
Pulls Ups have always been challenging to me and I was glad that they were a weekly occurrence in the BUILD Shoulder and Back Sessions. I also had to get comfortable and confident on the cable machines at the gym for the first time in my life.
We all have weaknesses and it’s good that we work on them especially if they are holding us back from being the best version of ourselves. But being hard on ourselves, and having an inner critic that punishes with every misstep is not healthy at all and damaging to the self esteem. We need to accept that we’re not made to be perfect.
By embracing our strengths, it will help us to balance out the negativity that may come with acknowledging our weakness. It will stimulate positive thinking and help us make peace with the fact that there are some things we are great at it and some not. Focusing on what we’re good at also helps to reinforce confidence.
Your fear of Bulking is Bullshi*t
It is harder for women to build muscle partly due to our hormonal and genetic make up, our unique body types and a fine tuned balance between training for strength and endurance. We’re just not made that way. Which can be frustrating for those of us that want to become stronger. But persistence, patience and consistency is the name of this game.
What I absolutely love is the warm up sets and progressions in the BUILD workouts. I feel like I’m properly warmed up before I attempt heavier weights. My callouses are developing and I’ll have to remember to pack gloves, though I did not mind them at all. It made me feel like a true heavy lifter.
“Training shouldn’t just be measured by the amount of weight you lift. It should be measured by the WAY you lift too”
To be honest, this is at times a hard lesson to learn as most of the time we want to run before we can walk. I’m guilty of at times rushing through workouts and focusing too much on lifting more than thinking about form. But by doing BUILD I’m learning that the quality of my movement is far more important the quantity that I’m lifting.
Picking the right weight can be confusing at time, especially when starting out. And it will be different from person to person because our abilities and strengths differ; and its largely dependent on the exercise as well. I may be able to do heavy squats but not deadlifts yet. Challenge yourself bit by bit and look out for your body’s limits when experimenting with increasing your weights – I’m consider buying fractional weight plates for this exact reason.
The best thing about the BUILD program is that the @sweat app gives you weight recommendations for each movement as you progress which is an absolute game changer! I’ve never done a program that is this intuitive and it’s refreshing not having to worry about how much I should be lifting during my workouts. .
The app recommends is structured with proper warm up sets at lower weight for the primary movement. This warm up allows you to focus on form and gets your body ready to lift heavier on the next round of sets. .
It really does feel like the BUILD program is structured in a way to set you up for success. Lifting heavier seems scary at first but with the right guidance that BUILD offers, you’ll be smashing goals in no time! This week I discovery my love for seated rows and single arms rows, using 16kg Dumbbells for the first time in my life.
Week 4 – 6
Be stubborn about your goals but flexible with your methods
I did Week 4 of the BUILD program over a space of 2 weeks as I did not want to train Lower Body before my very first Half Marathon race. I only did Upper Body workouts that week specifically and repeated them the week after. Stephanie was so kind to advise me on how I need to approach this. I also asked her about alternative exercises for Leg Extensions as my knees are not happy on those movements and she advised to swap the Leg Extensions for banded TKE’s. Stephanie is a wealth of information and I highly advise contacting her with your questions while doing the BUILD program. .
I’m really loving the upper body days in the program. There’s something so damn empowering about walking into the weights section at the gym with growing confidence (and hopefully muscle too!) My only gripe is when the gym is busy and I cannot use the cable machines for let’s say bicep curls but luckily it’s easy to switch it up with dumbbells.
Post Half Marathon race brought some relief from cardio and added enthusiasm to build more muscles and get stronger. The Sweat app also updated this week with additional functionality, a sleeker user interface and enhanced timer functions
Progress in small steps is still progress
I invested in a set of fractional weight plates to gradually increase my weight, especially on my bench press. A small fortune but a great investment into my strength journey. I also managed to get back up to 7 unassisted Pull Ups during this week and I can feel I’m getting better form with less swinging on these too. Did I mention how I love how these are included every week? Yes I did! But ladies, this exercise is the creme de la creme of strength training and such an essential for a sexy, strong back.
It’s the small things that add to and build on your progress and success
I also bought myself a pair of wrist straps for support during bench presses, My wrist were bending a bit too much while benching so I got wrist straps to help them remain in the correct position and to avoid injury. With my new set of fractional weight plates I’m able to increase my weight on the bench presses little but little and BUILD up strength progressively.
My first leg day in 2 weeks brought DOMS for days as I smashed my Squat session for the week. I love how the lower body days both contained a focus Squats and Deadlifts and switch these movements between primary and secondary. I feel like I am constantly progressing at these movements and gaining strength, not only in lifting heavier but with better form too.
The workout structure changed slightly towards the end of this block with more sets at lower reps and at a heavier weight on the primary and accessory movements. And the circuit super sets had more laps but less reps overall. Even though the actually exercises don’t change much (which I’m not used to at all ad I’ve always done mostly functional training with variety in each sessions), the structure changes make the program pretty interesting.
Slow down and get stronger
After weeks of half marathon training, balancing it with another workout programs and studying and working, my body welcomed the slowing down for strength and basic movements. Every phase of this journey will be different, we don’t have the same goals year on year, month on month, so why should our methods stay the same?
I’m a firm believer in doing what serves your current state of being.
I managed an incredible 70K Deadlifts for 3 sets of 5 reps during week 5 and it was something I’ve never been able to do before. As I’m getting stronger, and working harder on my form, I’m feeling proud and the purpose of sharing my journey has always been to share my work in progress moments too.
BENCH PRESSES IS NOT ONLY FOR DUDES!
And I’ve realised how much the bench press has always been seen by me (and I would think many of you) as an exercise meant only for guys so I did some light or rather heavy reading about it and here is a few take outs:
WHY CAN’T WE SMASH OUT REPS LIKE THE DUDES?
I guess what gave us this opinion about this exercise, is the fact that you see a guy with this massive barbell over his chest, arms pumping and it looks effortless. Me on the other hand, when I lie below that barbell and its loaded with my miniature plates, I fear the worst of dropping that bar on my face or chest. Hello anxiety!
BECAUSE WOMEN ARE NOT SMALL MEN
I remember this beautiful saying from @drstacysims ROAR book earlier this year and this is true for exercises like the bench press. We need to exercise our upper body more in isolation to increase our strength. It means working on getting stronger triceps, biceps and shoulders. Let’s face it, in a world where fitspo is driven by 6 pack abs and big booties, our upper bodies are sometimes the last body part we think of training. This makes our bodies feel off balance completely. And sorry doing only push ups to work that chest ain’t going to work.
BUT BENCH PRESSES IS NOT ONLY FOR GUYS Adding this power move to your strength routine can really be beneficial for developing your pectoral muscles which in turn helps to keep those boobies lifted. It won’t make them smaller or bigger, it will just help them to be more lifted, naturally. It is also a compound exercise, meaning it works more than one set of muscles. It will work your Pectorals (chest muscles), Triceps (back of your arms), Anterior deltoids (front of your shoulders), and Latissimus dorsi (back muscles). Now that’s a lot of bang for (BENCH) buck! .
I hit the red heart zone at the start of week 7 during an upper body session and I was shocked. I hit a PB on my favourite exercise at the moment, seated at 45kg. My exams were approaching during this block and my husband decided to renovated some parts of our home so needless to stay the stress in other aspects of my life compounded. But my workout sessions were a saving grace from the stress, providing me with some well needed sweaty solitude.
I’ve also been seeing gradual improvements in my form and how much I can lift in the 3 core movements: Squat, Deadlift and Bench Presses. Having this level of structure in a lifting program is something I’ve always needed to take my weight training to the next level. Even the smallest hint of growth on my arms excites me and makes me feel like such a bad ass. It’s such a tough area to train and seeing progress even in the slightest feels great.
I managed 12kg Dumbbells (4 sets of 10) for Incline Bench Presses in week 7 as Stephanie advised that overload is easier on the incline bench with dumbbell. I dared to go heavier and vowed not to be afraid of the BIGGER weights. But prepare for DOMS in your arms and smaller muscles in your upper body that you never thought existed.
Things I am doing differently since starting BUILD: WARMING UP PROPERLY
The @sweat app will warn you about the dangers of not warming up should you choose to skip it, which I did when I was doing FIERCE earlier this year. But the guilt tripping finally worked (jokes) and since starting BUILD, I usually choose the Cardio and Movement option. This will usually be either 3min of skipping or rowing, followed by exercises mainly focused on mobility to get your body warm, loose and ready for lifting heavy.
That extra 5 to 10 min spent at the start of your workout to warm up is definitely not time wasted. During that time your blood flow increases and there will be less stress on your joints and tendons, and may help to avoid injury and improve performance.
To top that, every primary and secondary movement in the BUILD program starts with warm up sets to help you gradually increase the amount you are lifting. This has helped me to get deeper into my squats, more comfortable on heavier bench presses and have better form during my deadlifts.
“Don’t let your emotions dictate your next move”
Stephanie Sanzo doesn’t only talk the talk, she walks the walk and her page is updated daily with motivation that is real and speaks truth to the struggles of this journey. This quote helped me to get through my most stressful week of exams and allowed me to focus my attention on getting shit done, processing my feelings and making sure that I don’t wallow in self pity.
Emotions can be productive up until a point. It’s good to give them the space to be there, acknowledge them, analyze them. But move on swiftly. Because getting stuck can be a downward spiral. It can debilitating and prevent you from being the best version you can be.
Things I am doing differently since starting BUILD – PART 2: NOT MIXING IN CLASSIC CARDIO DURING MY STRENGTH WORKOUTS
The jury is out on this one, and you will find a 50/50 opinion online on why you shouldn’t add cardio to your strength routine and why you should. I used to belong to the latter for my entire exercise journey leading up to doing BUILD. I’ve always been a firm believer of Functional Training and this includes mixing strength and plyometrics during most workouts. Quite frankly I love the thrill of getting my heart rate up and kicking the shit out of a boxing bag.
But when I decided to start with BUILD, I was in the midst of my tapering phase for half marathon training and I could feel the impact that the longer runs were having on my body. It definitely needed a bit of break from running AND doing functional workouts which included skipping and boxing. So by doing BUILD I decided to stick religiously to the structure of the workouts, and run for the LISS/HiiT days. My body needed the extra rest and I was on the verge of over-training. .
Can you combine cardio and strength? It depends on your goals, your body type and your schedules of course. I exercise for non-aesthetic reasons, don’t want to lose weight and at the moment I love the feeling of getting stronger but gaining muscle isn’t a major goal for me. I am just listening to my body and trying out different programs to see how my body reacts to it, and how I feel while training. Don’t over complicate your exercise routine if your goals are just to be healthy and to move. Do what makes you feel good!
Things I am doing differently since starting BUILD – Part 3: ADDING ACCESSORIES FOR SUPPORT .
You don’t necessarily need these to exercise and be successful at the BUILD program but I felt I needed the extra support and comfort that these additional accessories provide.
BARBELL PAD The soft cushioning of a barbell pad is a welcome comfort for the hard surface of a barbell. Wrapped around the center of the barbell, you can use while squatting and doing hip thrusts to protect those shoulders and hips.
GLOVES To be honest, I don’t mind the callouses that come with the power lifting territory but when your hands are starting to hurt and get raw, gloves are a god sent. Especially when your equipment is made of steel or you like to hang off pull up bars like I do.
FRACTIONAL WEIGHT PLATES These plates have enabled me to progress slowly towards a heavier weight on most of my lifts, especially on bench presses. The baby weights may seem ridiculous to some, but to be honest, I am finally seeing progress and I am not forced to add weight in increments of 5kg. I feel safer knowing that I’m adding weight slower that is within my capabilities. Fractional plates remove the fear and the limits. .
WRIST STRAPS I got straps to support my wrists as their positioning during presses were bending a bit backwards, pinching the nerve between my hands and wrists. They have helped to correct the positioning and forces it straight while I bench presses.
WEIGHT LIFTING BELT I’ve reached that point where I really want to lift heavier especially on my squats and deadlifts and weight lifting belt may help to prevent injury. The belt assist with bracing your core and maintain a level of rigidness in the spine as it cues the core to tighten.
Things I am doing differently since starting BUILD – Part 4: LETTING GO OF FEAR
To be honest, I’ve never been one of those girls that were afraid of “bulking” due to lifting heavier weights. Physique isn’t the goal of my journey, strength, performance and mental challenges conquered have more staying power than my reflection in the mirror. In acknowledging that, I’m not going to lie that I do love the muscle in my arms that’s never been there before; or the slight definition in my calves. I am human after all.
Since starting BUILD, I am learning to let go of 2 fears tho. The first one being the number on the scale systematically increasing slightly. Muscle is more dense than fat. The scale will go up and trying to move past years of conditioned thoughts, spurred by society’s standards is a tough mental challenge. But with every workout and program I attempt, my mindset is shifting slowly. It’s a process and progress in this regard also means consciously and consistently telling yourself the scale DOES NOT MATTER.
The second fear that I am trying to overcome with BUILD is my anxiety around fear of injury while going heavier. This means really being in tune with my body, listening to its signals when I push too hard but also knowing when I have more to give. But when I do lift heavier, and see my form is better than the last time, I get excited because I know I am gaining so much in terms of physical and mental strength.
Things I am doing differently since starting BUILD – Part 5: BREATHING BETTER WHILE EXERCISING
I should know better that breathing correctly or at all can make a helluva difference during a “stressful” moment. I may have forgotten the beauty of breathing while doing loads of Yoga a few years back and doing the BUILD program has reminded me how important breath can be.
Taking deep breaths is a great way to calm the mind and helps to focus on controlling your breath once you start lifting heavier. I’ve read a few articles online and most advise to breathe out when lifting the weight, and breathing in when lowering it. Holding your breath is not advised although there is a few contradictions floating around. Breathing also helps to brace and strengthen the core.
I have definitely started to pay attention to my breath though and taking note when I do hold my breath or feel anxious around lifting heavier. For someone that’s asthmatic like me, it’s important to actually breathe! For now, it’s important to me to just REMEMBER to actually do it.
” NEVER CHASE THE DESIRE TO BE ON TOP OF THE GAME. BE HUNGRY TO MAKE AN IMPACT”
At one stage, I had a humbling moment of realizing that my body won’t be able to perform every single exercise heavier every single time. We cannot expect our bodies to perform 100% all the time in everything but we should not let this stop us from training, giving our best and fall into the demotivated downer. Handling our set backs and challenges with grace, learning from our hardships and continuing with this journey consistently will bring many high and some lows. As long as we continue consistently to make an impact on being our best selves.
Weight lifting is about lifting the impossible, overcoming what we think is not achievable. If you don’t lift things that are hard, and only do the things you can do, it’s only going to get boring. Unless you want to lift beyond your limits to get stronger, to achieve new goals, and to be satisfied, you got to lift past these challenges, and still lift the things you think are impossible to really understand how your true strength will show” – Chasers Holmes
But week 9 also turned into a week of smashing PB’s. I was starting to feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life physically spurred on by a motto I’ve followed many times before: ➡️ Let’s see if I can! ⬅️
- 18kg Dumbbell on Single Arm Rows
- 12kg Dumbbells on Bicep Curls
- 52.5kg on Seated Rows .
- Comfortably squatting 50kg at low reps, more sets
- Comfortably benching 30kg at low reps, more sets
- Reaching a new PB of 32.5kg on my bench press
- Comfortable deadlifting 70kg at low reps, more sets
- Hip Thrusting at 90kg for the first time ever
The start of this block was extremely tough while I had to juggle work deadlines and personal struggles. During times of stress, sweating has always been a saving grace for me. A safe space to switch of my mind and find calm. My sessions during lunch is a perfect mid day break but it’s also at times my second session of the day.
Fitting in all my sessions from BUILD and adding running to the mix my seemed like a daunting task at first but with proper planning and paying attention to my body’s signals, working out twice a day is possible.
I do have the following requirements when planning my workouts:
- Use LISS sessions for running
- Combine Running + Upper Body in one day; Never Running + Lower Body
- Must have 1 full rest day per week
- Limit twice a day sessions to maximum 3 times per week
It took a while for me to erase the habit of not taking lunch and being stuck in work sitting for hours at end. But systematically I realized that moving during lunch made me more productive in the afternoons when I usually went through a slump.
Another factor that impacts my workout planning is the program I am doing. Earlier this year with FIERCE it was easy to fit in 2 sessions into an hour (Upper Body and Lower Body for eg) but with BUILD I can only do one sessions which lasts about 40 minutes.
I focus on fueling my body with nutritious and ENOUGH food when I train like this. AND I prioritize recovery and rest when I feel it’s too much. That being said, I haven’t had symptoms of overtraining as yet and I firmly believe it’s because I am resting and eating enough.
This week’s training felt a little easier than week 9 with lower weight but higher reps. And I’m sure that the structure is planned in this way to give your body some time to adapt. Highlight of week 10 is the fact that I managed to Hip Thrust 100kg. I felt brave, I felt courageous and I has added on plate after plate, I felt strong, mentally and physically.
LOWER BODY LOVE
As I’m close to wrapping up BUILD, I realized my love for the Lower Body sessions have definitely grown over the last few weeks. The burn after a heavy squat session and accessory movements to completely tire out the legs leaves me feeling satisfied.
The movements during the workouts mainly remained the same but varied in reps and sets. Most workouts flowed like this:
- Warm Up for Primary Movement – usually 2 to 3 sets at higher reps, lower weight
- Primary Movement – 3 drop sets at a heavier weight, varying week to week
- Warm Up for Secondary Movement – also 2 sets at lower weight but higher reps
- Secondary Movement – 3 drop sets at a heavier weight, varying week to week
- Accessory Movement – this complement the primary and secondary movements and are usually 4 to 5 sets with a high RPE
- Superset 1 – 2 movements working the same muscle for maximum burn and RPE of 8/9
- Superset 2 – 2 movements working the same muscle for maximum burn and RPE of 8/9
RPE: Stands for “Rate of Perceived Exertion” or how hard an exercise feels. A 10/10 RPE would therefore be maximum effort. Dependent on how I felt the day I would push between 7 and 9 RPE.
I AM STRONGER THAN I THINK
I’ve gained so much power during the last 11 weeks. Powerlifting has definitely showed me that I’m so much stronger than I think. I used a 20kg dumbbell for my single arm rows in week 11 and it was my heaviest yet. I was afraid of heavier weights at one stage. Not due to fear or bulking but rather fear of failing, of hurting myself, of not being able to, of embarrassment. .
But all of that fear was holding me back from reaching a potential I never thought existed. Potential to be stronger, more resilient and having more confidence. My husband recognized my progress and boasted that I am “becoming a little Powerhouse”. That right there is so damn empowering. And the fact that I also managed to Deadlift more than my hubby’s body weight was the cherry on top.
Work.. and then go WORK HARDER
Just because I am in the last week of the program, does not mean I will be slacking. Oh no! Week 12 started with smashing PB’s left, right and center. Bench Presses require patience as progress on lifting heavier is slow but I managed 37kg on my Bench Press. The next day my heaviest squat ever was at 58.5kg, the first time I’ve managed to squat more than my body weight. I combined this squat session with the Hamstring Challenge for the week which had me doing 200 Hamstring Curls, pure torture and pain but a good type of pain.
A note about the challenges, I managed to always combine them with another main session whenever I could fit them in and did not miss any one in the 12 weeks of the program. Usually with the challenges I would start at a heavier weight but reach muscle fatigue after the 2nd or 3rd lap then drop the weights so I can at least complete the challenge. The challenges are definitely harder than any of the other Sweat app programs I’ve tried before but then again that is the definition of a challenge, it’s supposed to be tough!
My second bench press session for the week was done in the gym and I was still on high from my Lower Body session and felt brave enough to row 60kg on my seated rows, again more than my own body weight. While doing dumbbell bench presses with a set of 14kg dumbbells that old familiar fear lodged in my throat as I struggled to pick them up so I can lie down again but that fear quickly disappeared when I managed more ok than I anticipated.
On my final 1RM attempts I managed the following:
🏋️♀️ Squats: 60kg
🏋️♀️ Bench Press: 38kg
🏋️♀️ Sumo Deadlift: 85kg
I also progressed on my unassisted pull ups (from 5 to 8) and my hip thrusts I smashed from starting at about 70kg 12 weeks ago to thrusting 110kg during this last week.
My initial goals for the 3 movements were set extremely high and I realise now that lifting heavier requires a lot of patience with your body as it gradually gains strength over time, it requires commitment and consistency, and there are no shortcuts! Initially I was disappointed but…
During this last week I was reading #Girlboss and the one quote stuck:
“Dive headfirst into things without being too attached to the results”
and it completely made me feel okay with not reaching those high targets I set for myself at the beginning of BUILD. This mindset has opened up space for me to really enjoy the journey, to give it all I’ve got but without the judgement. It’s the mindset that will make me come back to this program again and again. I’ve never felt this strong in my life and who wouldn’t want to experience that more often.
I did my final 1RM Assessments and my results were as follows:
🏋️♀️ Squats: 52kg to 60kg
🏋️♀️ Bench Press: 32kg to 38kg
🏋️♀️ Sumo Deadlift: 67kg to 85kg
Things that BUILD taught me:
- To stop doubting myself, I never thought I’d be able to go as heavy as I have with weights but yet here I am, lifting more than I ever have before
- To let go of fear, fear of weight gain (screw the scale), fear of embarrassment, fear of hurting myself (and to rather trust myself and my body’s signals)
- To be brave and reinforce my health journey motto of the last few years “Let’s see if I can”
- To be confident, in my own skin and in the weights section of the gym
- To listen to my body, when to rest, when to eat more and when to push beyond my limits
The amount of strength I’ve gained will never reflect in progress pictures but it does feel good to see a difference. It feels good to be comfortable in a stronger albeit heavier body, it feels good to have gained so much confidence, in my own abilities and in the gym, it just feels so damn good! BUILD has taught me so much about loving the different phases my body will encounter throughout this fitness journey. BUILD has taught me that being strong is more than just a look, it’s about being strong enough to break through our own physical and mental barriers. Thank you Stephanie Sanzo for showing me my potential for being stronger, for helping me reach new heights in my fitness journey and for encouraging and supporting me along the way.
For those ladies wanting to try BUILD but have been scared, hesitant or not sure, the 2020 #SweatChallenge has been released and is live in the app starting 13 January. I urge you to give BUILD a try, the challenge is 6 weeks and will give you a great idea of how strong you actually can be!
Your Instagram Questions answered
Is it worth the Price?
When the Sweat app was first release I honestly felt it was not worth the money as the app was filled with bugs and it only hosted BBG. Fast forward a few years and the Sweat app has now become my app of choice when I have to choose training programs. It now hosts the following programs that cater to any and every fitness level across 12 weeks + per program, type of training and includes meal plans for all needs:
- BBG Stronger
- BBG Post Pregnancy
- PWR at Home
- PWR Post Pregnancy
- Body and Mind
On top of basically having a personal trainer in your pocket, the functionality and features of the app has improved tremendously and in my opinion is worth the subscription fees. My only wish is that they would add Natacha Oceane onto the Sweat app – that would be life changing!!
What did you enjoy most during the BUILD program?
Seeing dudes’ expressions in the weights section of the gym as I reach for heavy dumbbells AND manage to lift them! Jokes aside though, I loved the structure of the workouts and at first I thought I may get bored easily but I was proven wrong each week. What made me enjoy it as much as I did is the fact that it pushed me to lift heavier when I was doubting myself and scared. It helped me to smash the boundaries I’ve set for myself and basically, said actually Luci, you may be small but you can be strong!
How does BUILD by Stephanie Sanzo compare to BUILD by Natacha Oceane?
The only similarities between the 2 programs is the fact that they share the same name and it ends there. You can read my full review of BUILD by Natacha Oceane here. In essence though the style of training is completely different in both programs. I would say if you want to get the basics of weight training right, BUILD by Stephanie Sanzo is a fantastic place to start. If you get bored easily, then BUILD by Natacha Oceane would be more for you.
|BUILD by Stephanie Sanzo||BUILD by Natacha Oceane|
|Hosted in the Sweat app – more functionality, features and user friendly||Hosted in the Aflete app, functional but could have more features|
|Training Style – Powerlifting||Training Style – Functional Weight Training|
|Fit for beginner fitness. Intermediate to Advanced fitness levels accommodated through increased weight.||Fit for intermediate fitness. Beginners accommodated through progression. Might be challenging if you never worked out before.|
|Longer workout duration||Shorter workout duration|
|Focus on 2 basic movement (Squat, Deadlift & Bench Press) with accessory movements to complement.||Focus on a variety of movements to build muscle and fitness. Challenging coordination and agility.|
|Weight to lift is recommended. 1RM is tracked automatically.||No tracking or recommendation of weights to use.|
|Stephanie Sanzo interacts very well and responds to DMs||Natacha Oceane interacts in general but not to the extent that Stephanie does.|
|Four Beginner weeks to ease you into the program.||No beginner weeks.|
|Main program is 12 weeks with additional 12 weeks afterwards.||Program is 12 weeks.|
|Meal plan as per the Sweat app||Nutrition guide explaining how to use food as fuel, macros etc|