Karen’s 6 Week Tuffit Challenge: “I’ve lost five and a half inches overall”

This is Karen’s Story.

Karen Barrett, 58, lives in Huddersfield with her husband and her gorgeous little dog.  A truly remarkable challenger, Karen has given it her all and despite having some health issues has fully committed to the Tuffit Home Gym Challenge Programme.

Here she tells us all about the incredible results she’s experiencing after taking part, her new found body confidence and why she deserves a Brownie Badge!

Tuffit Home Gym

Karen’s had plenty of support from a furry friend!

Hi Karen! The 6 weeks have finished! How do you feel? 

I feel quite exhilarated now that the challenge has finished and very proud that I managed to do it and improve my fitness, stamina, confidence, strength and wellbeing well beyond my expectations.

What have you taken or learnt from this experience as a whole? 

Since having breast cancer treatment 10 years ago and then being diagnosed with osteoprorosis I have really struggled with low energy, stamina and strength which has limited my exercise to within what I believed I could achieve without injury. I’ve also had problems with anxiety and depression which can put you off doing anything at all. However, doing the programme over 6 weeks has allowed me to build up my exercising gradually, increasing stamina and adding on new activities as I felt able to take them on. Although I know that there are exercise types that are still not advisable, I can still find new things to do that I can be involved in and now have the stamina and motivation to enjoy. This week I managed an all time high of 585 mins, including 135 mins of Tuffit time. I compared this to the government health advice that came out this week that adults should be doing at least 150 mins of exercise a week and gave myself a Brownie badge!

Other things I have learnt/taken from this are that:

It’s better to take one day at a time and deal with that, to work with what my body can do at that time. Trying to look ahead too far or trying to do too much would have been demotivating or could have led to injury. I loved the way the Tuffit workouts were graded and described e.g. would rather be on the sofa! And it made it easier to progress. I started on level 2 and by week 6 had progressed to level 4 for each programme I did – with 10 repetitions in each set.

Keeping a spreadsheet to record everything I did, time taken and level achieved was good. I could see at a glance what I’d done, compare to the previous week/ month and see overall improvement. It also meant that I couldn’t ‘kid’ myself I’d done more than I had, so helped me stick with it.

Having a challenge with an end date to focus on was motivating for me. It gave me something to aim for in a reasonably short timescale. Now that the challenge is over, I’m looking for another goal; perhaps the Midnight Walk at the local Hospice

Having support for what I was doing was great. This included the Tuffit team who kept in touch by email, social media and phone and the friends on social media who liked my posts and commented and voted. At home my husband and little ‘coach’ dog were also really supportive. Brilliant!

I learnt that ideally I need a mix of exercise, some of it carried out on my own and some of it in a social setting such as a class. I also enjoyed doing the challenge with Fiona, Anna and Lauren, despite the fact that I haven’t met them.

Before doing this challenge I didn’t appreciate how important strength work is for an exercise routine; I have always tended towards cardio/flexibility before. I feel the strength work has been the missing link as I now feel better, stronger and more able to do other exercise. I need to continue including this in my exercise programme in the future.

Would you do it again?! Definitely!

Karen’s energy has increased leaps and bounds

What results have you had? 

Physically my energy has increased by leaps and bounds. I used to fall asleep at tea time on a Thursday after 2 classes in the morning , but not any more…

I’ve lost five and a half inches overall from abdomen, hips, upper arms and waist which has toned me up. The toning up includes my dreaded bingo wings! Weight wise I only lost 1.5lbs as I didn’t change my diet which is good anyway – lots of fruit, salads and home made soup. The dog lost half a pound which is a lot for her as she’s tiny!

Anxiety has decreased considerably and low days didn’t hang around once I got going – I don’t think there was time! Wellbeing and general confidence have increased tremendously

I’ve tried new activities eg studio cycling and have gone back to others that I enjoy eg swimming. I’ve spent over a year booking and cancelling studio cycling classes because I was scared of not having the stamina to cycle to even one full song. This week I did a class and really enjoyed it; future classes are already booked in.

My sleep has improved greatly. I still wake up during the night but apart from a blip of 4 days in the middle of the challenge, go back to sleep again which is brilliant.

I have finally got into a realistic and challenging exercise routine, something I’ve been trying to do for years, without success

I also learnt that if I build up exercise slowly I can change and add to it as necessary; I don’t need to be doing it all from day 1! (I’ve tried this before, more than once and unsurprisingly gave up not long after)

I learnt that some little treats are good. My treats are a nice body cream to use at the gym or a nail varnish, for example.

Considering a score out of 10, what would you rate the Tuffit? (please be honest!)

Although I couldn’t do the full range of exercises on the Tuffit – over twisting and jumping type exercises are out, which limited the cardio work – I found it great for steady, controlled strength work and liked the fact I could interchange exercises I found too difficult for others that I could manage. I also found that because I was doing the strength elements on the Tuffit, usually in front of the TV and not having to try and do them in the gym (the gym lasts about 3 sessions then I give up), I then had time to do the cardio/flexibility activities at the gym and could increase them as necessary. The Tuffit exercises were appropriately ‘bite sized’ and easier to build up. I know I would have been defeated by attempting an hour’s workout from day 1. The Tuffit and classes/swimming/cycling/dog walking complemented each other perfectly and I got a balance of working on my own and social class activities which kept me motivated. Without the tuffit to start building strength I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did and wouldn’t have achieved so much. Tuffit support was excellent and this included the emails, phone calls and the excellent website and support materials such as a book. I liked the videos on the site that showed how each exercise should be done, (in addition to an exercise description and book) it was like having your own personal teacher to guide you. I also liked the Tuffit add-ons such as bands and arm weights which cleverly extended what you could do with the equipment but didn’t take up space as it all stored in the Tuffit. The compact design was a bonus too as it fitted neatly into a corner and now looks part of the living room. A friend came round and thought we had a lovely new stool.

What has been the best thing about the whole challenge experience?

Finding that I have so much more energy and enthusiasm for life

What has been the worst thing about the whole challenge experience?

Getting started – the first 2-3 weeks were very tiring

What would you say to someone who was thinking about hiring a Tuffit for home use?

Go for it – especially if your exercise time is limited, or if you have osteoporosis! It’s easy to fit in a small block of exercise even if you’re tired. It’s also very flexible with a huge range of exercises to choose from. The 10 min blocks I added to main programmes were great.

One final quote – anything you’d like to say about the Tuffit Challenge?

Without being dramatic, this has been quite a life changing experience for me. I have far more confidence in my body and it’s ability to function than I’ve had for many years.

Now it’s time for the final vote!  Please vote for the finalist you think has worked the hardest this week.  Remember, the grand prize is a Tuffit each for our winner and a friend, so choose wisely!  Voting closes for the last time on Friday 21st April!  You can only vote for one of our finalists (Karen, Lauren, Anna or Fiona) and only one vote allowed per person.  Multiple votes received from the same email address will not be counted.

The competition has now ended.

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