WHEN THE TITLE FOR MR OR MISS MAY WAS UP FOR GRABS, THIS WEAPON WON THE TITLE UNANIMOUSLY WHEN THE BODIES BY RYAN TEAM THREW IN VOTES. LIZ BIGGS HAS BEEN WORKING AT HER GOALS FOR MONTHS AND NO PANDEMIC WAS GOING TO SLOW HER DOWN… SHE SHOWED UP FOR EVERY ONLINE SESSION DURING #ISOLIFE, POSTED MANY A GLOWING SELFIE AND NOW SHE’S SPORTING SOME SERIOUSLY INSPIRATIONAL RESULTS. BBR IS KNOWN FOR ITS FRIENDLY AND HARDWORKING MEMBERS, AND LIZ TAKES IT NEXT LEVEL, MAKING EVERYONE FEEL WELCOME WITH HER GOOD CHAT AND LAUGHS IN BETWEEN DOMINATING STATIONS. SHE’S POWERING TOWARDS HER BIG 40TH GOAL, LOOKING FIT AF ALREADY, AND SHE SHARED WITH US HER SPORTING HISTORY, WHY CHALLENGES ARE HER JAM AND THE LITTLE CHANGES SHE’S MADE THAT HAVE MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE.
When did you first join Bodies by Ryan and what was the state of your health and fitness prior?
I joined BBR in March 2019. I was fit in the sense that I went to the gym every day and walked a lot, but other than that, I led a pretty sedentary lifestyle. I guess I have a history of “planning” my exercise, with limited incidental exercise in my day to day life.
At school and university, netball and tennis were my sports, but I haven’t really played either in over 10 years. I know as soon as I pick up a tennis racquet again, I am going to be SO frustrated because I am so bad, so have been putting it off!
What was the motivation to join BBR?
I used to go most mornings to a Mum n Bubs class in East Perth. It was great as the kids got to crawl/run around a huge space with gymnastics mats, and yoga balls, etc whilst I (sort of!) got a workout, but by the end, it was almost a 2-hour round trip. When I went back to part-time work in early 2019, I found myself very time poor, so a gym that was 3 mins away from home was the answer.
What was your first impression of the gym?
Ryan greeted me with a huge smile and his signature “Maaaaate” that first day. All the trainers were so welcoming and friendly – they all knew my name and corrected my form. I clearly remember arriving early to my first Strength class, and walking in really flustered and embarrassed, as I had nearly backed my car off the ledge! I was literally mm’s from going over. The trainers (and I think Steph and Tiff?) laughed it off with me and assured me that I wasn’t the first one. That kind of broke the ice!
I loved the blaring tunes and the vibe/energy of the classes straight away. I loved the constant encouragement of the trainers to “push yourself” during the session and the “3, 2 aaaaand 1”, as opposed to a clock timer going off. The programming wasn’t too dissimilar to what I had been doing at my old gym, but I now realise I hadn’t been pushing myself enough. Everyone at BBR (trainers and members) encourages you to go hard and I love that, especially in the Strength gym, there are plenty of girls who give the boys a run for their money in the “lifting tin” stakes!
The biggest impression and what I remember the most from that first week was that all the other gym members were SO lovely and approachable. Everyone was simply there to get a good work out and have fun. There was no make-up, blow-dried hair and people just going through the motions. Everyone looked like they had just rolled out of bed (as they should at 5am!) and left red faced, sweaty, fist-pumps/high fives all around, smiles on their face and ready to start the day!
What challenged you the most in your early days?
Besides adjusting my body clock to the early 5.15am starts (which I now love!), the biggest challenge was the intensity of the sessions. I thought I was relatively fit before, but those first HIIT sessions, especially the Tabata session, were absolute killers! But soon, that feeling of being puffed and exhausted after a session became addictive.
Please share your physical and mental transformation over your time at BBR…
I have a big appetite and when it’s not in check (like in my fresher year at uni or first trimester), I can tend to really blow out! After two kids in 18 months (and 20kg plus weight gain for both), even going to the gym most days, I wasn’t able to lose the extra kilograms I gained during pregnancy. It’s been a slow and steady race, but since joining BBR, I’m pumped to say that I’ve lost the baby weight, got back to my single/pre-meeting my husband weight AND then some…..I’ve lost about 15kg in total (and hopefully put on some good lean muscle too!). Mentally, I feel more alert, calmer, I sleep like a baby and seem to have a lot more energy to run around and have fun with my kids, which is a win for the whole family.
You’re a challenge weapon and thrive off them, Liz what is it about challenges you love so much?
I’ve always had the discipline to exercise most days, but the nutritional-side of things has been my downfall. That’s what I love about BBR so much – it’s a one-stop shop and Ryan is able to guide you through both the exercise and diet. All the hard work is taken out of the equation during a challenge – Ryan tells you what to do and if you listen, trust the process, and STTP – you will get results. It seems ridiculous, but having the challenge as an excuse to say no to the birthday cake or glass of champagne, just makes it that bit easier. I’ve done three challenges so far:
- The first 30DC was hugely successful, but old bad habits crept back in the months afterwards.
- The second 6WC was good, but I was a bit disheartened with the results as the scales hadn’t dropped as much I had hoped. Thankfully, I had a DEXA scan afterwards, which made me realise that I had done well, and my body composition (as opposed to the scales) had mostly changed.
- The third 8WC has been awesome and very effective. I think it’s mostly because the meal plan was sooo good (who doesn’t love a chicken wrap for lunch?), and I’ve generally been able to follow it ever since.
The planned cheat meals are key! The accountability factor during a challenge is huge – to yourself, to Ryan, to the rest of the group. For me, I think it was probably the biggest motivator. For this reason, I have to give a huge shout out to the DSC girls (you know who you are!). A couple of us agreed to keep each other on the straight and narrow when our resolve was tested and cinnamon scrolls, chocolate and wine, etc were calling. The slightest sniff of temptation and those girls would remind me why I had signed up in the first place and set me straight!
How did you stay so motivated throughout the COVID-19 period where the gym was shut?
I am a total creature of habit. I was really bummed when the gym, and then the outdoor sessions, were shut down, but once I had my weights/equipment at home and the Zoom set up worked out, it was pretty easy – especially the sleep in part!
Because I felt like I was on a bit of a roll after the 8WC ended, Ryan and I agreed that he would give me an updated meal plan as long as I committed to sticking to it and I had to give him progress updates. Having to check in with Ryan on a weekly basis with mostly good (but every now and again bad!) news was the biggest motivator for me during COVID. Again, Ryan kept me accountable and gave me a much needed, no sugar coated reality check when required!
What’s the biggest health or fitness challenge you have ever overcome or achieved?
My biggest health challenge would be that for years I would put my back out doing something innocuous like throwing my handbag in the front seat of the car – it would take weeks of physio, rehab and drugs (not going to lie, I would eat Voltaren like candy!) to get right again. After a bad episode in 2013 where I was hunched over and literally couldn’t walk, I had back surgery for a bulged disc. I still have a slight bulge on another disc which can rear its ugly head every now and again, so that’s why I am super cautious doing deadlifts, box jumps and burpees, etc.
My biggest fitness achievements include running a couple of 14km fun runs (I never quite got to a half marathon) and I believe (don’t hold me to this!?) I hold the BBR Chicks Ass Bike Record!
What are your daily health routines that help you achieve your goals outside of the gym?
Four game changers to my health regime this year have been:
a) I have no milk in my coffee – I have long blacks (or cold brews);
b) I make sure I drink about 4L of water a day;
c) Incidental exercise is key and a long Sunday beach walk with friends and a big bike ride with the kids have become firm weekend activities; and
d) Today, Monday 15 June, I have just finished 100 days of no alcohol!
What are some of the goals you are currently working towards? Tell us about this killer 40th goal you’ve been working towards… and are you there?!
I was six months pregnant when I got married, so I kind of missed out on that “wow” moment of being the very best version of yourself, and looking and feeling as good as you possibly can! I said to myself that I would be as lean, healthy and looking as foxy as I could for my 40th birthday. I’m definitely feeling fit and fab approaching 40, but I’m not quite at my goal yet… I have 1kg to go, but my birthday is in August so fingers crossed!
Tell us something special/surprising about yourself that your BBR friends wouldn’t know?!
In 2013, I sailed with my now husband (and another couple) all the way from Fremantle to Bali. It took 13 days and for 10 days we were in stormy weather, huge swell, up to 50 knot winds and I was petrified! It was the worst (and best!) experience of my life as I think the way that Andrew and I were able to laugh and work together as a team during an incredibly scary time was a pretty good foundation to a successful marriage. But despite all that, I still cannot sail a boat!
Fast five favourites
1. Fave HIIT/Strength station? Dumbbell squats
2. Least fave? The ole Leg Lifts/Bear Crawls/Bounding Burpees/Ass Bike combo OR Sissy Squats
3. Fave café and your order there? Poached Chicken Salad at Typika OR the Wok Fried Brussel Sprouts at Vans
4. Fave cheat meal? Crab Linguini at Il Lido
5. Fave holiday destination? Hvar, Croatia circa 2005 or Rottnest with the Family.