When our much-loved Bodies by Ryan trainer Justine Spurr joined us for the BBR’s four-year anniversary challenge from April to June, it was always going to be fascinating to witness. With her swimming background, she was no stranger to lifting BIG weights and has a monster cardio side that lights up the conditioning stations. She’d obviously be a weapon of mass destruction in the gym, but how would our burger-loving, carb-crushing, snack-addict Jussy cope with the challenge meal plan? Would she be able to #sayno? As we watched her progress week after week, turned out she could. And her results lit up social media. Justine shared with us what inspired her to start, what she loved and exactly how she achieved the abs of dreams…
What (or who!) convinced you to do a challenge and why did you decide it was time?
Ryan had hinted it to me, and I figured why not give it a go and see what the members put themselves through. I was super busy with uni and work, so it was a good way to ensure that I was able to have total control over at least one aspect of my life. So, we decided to see how lean I could get.
What goals did you set yourself at the beginning?
I’ve never done anything like this before, so I had no idea what to expect. My initial goal was to just keep myself accountable to #STTP (stick to the plan!) and see how my body changed. Safe to say, I saw a big change after the first week and realised that I wanted to go all in and see how far we could get.
What was your schedule for the challenge from training sessions to cardio, meditation to meals?
I was averaging 3-4 BBR classes a week, 4 of my own lifts, as well as doing my walks and jumping on the bike erg where I could every day. My day usually started off with meal 1 at 4.30/5am and meal 2 around 9am between classes. I would then occupy myself with uni or a lift between coaching the last morning class and pushing lunch back as late as I could. My afternoons consisted of cucumber and cups of tea to stop myself snacking and would have to wait until I got home at 7pm for dinner and dessert. I think by the end, I was doing 30-45mins bike a day and racking up 3-4km of walking (on top of the steps that average out to be around 1km per class).
What was the hardest thing to change in the early days?
I am a BIG snacker, so that was hands down one of the hardest things to stop myself from doing. I managed to get into a good routine after week 2/3 and just made sure I stayed busy during the afternoons to pass the time. I was still living at home, so it was always painful to say no to some of the meals that were being cooked and eaten in front of me, but I always felt that little bit better afterwards for #sayingno. My weekends tend to fill up with social outings etc, but I think I got to the point (especially being cold winter nights) where I was much happier sitting in bed rugged up with my night time protein and a hot tea.
You had some big changes quickly… can you talk about the results journey (whether you dropped fat/weight or saw big strength gains in particular weeks, or every week) and whether that played a part in motivating you throughout the 8 weeks?
I knew that I probably had a few kilograms to lose, considering I was literally a living, breathing carb. So after completely STTP to the gram for trial week, I lost 2.5kg within 6 days. That got me super excited. It was mainly a dump of water that was stored from my billion grams of carbs I was inhaling each day. But from there, I saw a drop every single week up until week 6 and then dropped again for the last 2 weeks. My strength numbers stayed relatively the same and was able to still shift a decent amount of tin. I think the photos I took of myself each week kept me motivated. I was seeing new lines and definition that I hadn’t seen before, so that helped me to say no to the 100 potential burgers I could’ve eaten in 8 weeks.
At what point did it get really challenging and the craving for burgers started to set in….?
Speaking of burgers, I managed to get through my first International Cheeseburger Day in 4 years without having a burger…. I think that’s a pretty good win! Towards the end, I had a week of uni prac that had me driving to and from Rockingham; which meant over an hour in the car where I would literally just think about how long it would be until my next meal. I would get back to work and then get home and be so hangry and tired and all I would crave was a bowl of ice-cream or some comfort food. BUT, having a quick squizz at my abs before bed reassured me that it’s all worth it.
Did Ryan start to incorporate cheat meals into your plan at some point to keep you going? What did that look like and did it help?
He didn’t officially plan any cheat meals in for me; I just kind of allowed myself one night a week to have a little splurge. I’d usually save it up for a weekend meal and go out for dinner with some friends and then would jump straight back on plan the next day. It definitely helped during the week knowing that I had something to look forward to at the end of a busy week of work and uni.
Did you pull up very sore at any point?
Yes and no! I always pull up sore from the BBR classes because they’re different to my normal training, but that’s how gains are made right? I am a sucker for punishment and love getting to that next level, but I also know if I’m not sore that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked hard enough.
What did you do to look after yourself, as you managed your own training, coaching us, and your fairly demanding uni schedule?
My swimming background has prepared me for anything and everything. After I left school, I was swimming 8-9 times a week, working 3 jobs and completing my undergrad at uni. I was so organised everyday and had to be on the ball with everything, so I think it’s just part of who I am now. Now completing my masters, coaching 90% of the BBR classes, doing my own training and trying to manage other bits, I know when to listen to my body and when to ease back. In saying that, I hardly ever pull back because my brain doesn’t work that way, but I just make sure I take time to myself when I get home everyday and chill out over the weekends.
At the end of the 8 weeks, tell us about your results… how you felt and the shred you pulled off?
I felt SMALL. All of my clothes were fitting me differently (jeans were too big, I was told my work shorts looked “baggy on my bum”). I loved it though. All the burger and pasta sacrifices paid off and it was completely worth it. I had random people off the street and at cafes, and messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years saying how fit and healthy I looked and what was my secret (I think I started to walk around as a BBR advertisement). Coming out of challenge and having gone back to a few comfort foods (mainly burgers), I actually miss how small and toned I felt.
What did you enjoy most about the process?
The end result of course. But I think I enjoyed actually being involved in the Facebook group this time around and getting in on all the meal prep photos and banter that these crazy members throw around. All-time favourite? Definitely the celebration with everyone at the end of it.
What were your favourite meals?
After getting the hang of prepping and learning that spices change everything, I actually enjoyed every single one of my meals. Probably another highlight of the process, was that I looked forward to every single meal and would have gladly licked the bowl of each one had it not have been that I was in public for 3 out of 5 meals each day.
Still can’t go past Tabata. Coming in an hour early on a Saturday to do a 40-minute Tabata session is probably my favourite way to finish the week.
A few weeks have past, how have you managed with maintaining the results and enjoying some nights out? What part of challenge life has stuck and what were you glad to be done with?
I miss the structure! I actually went and did my prep before the next trial week even started as I just missed feeling in control of everything (also because I had eaten my weight in food the week before). I’m still trying to stick to my first 3 meals, and then enjoying whatever food I have for dinner. I have definitely reconsidered my portion sizing compared to what it use to be (still trying to limit myself to 80g of rice for a meal instead of multiple heaped spoonfuls). I love having a balance and love food. So, if I go out for a meal, I won’t say no because I feel guilty, but I will also make sure that I get all my scheduled sessions in across the week and will go for the extra walk or run if I start to feel like a lump again.
Would you do it again?!
Don’t have to ask me twice! I have backed off this challenge as I am just getting back into the swing of things with uni and starting a big 6-week prac block. But come summer time, it’s game on again.