Over the past 6 months or so, I’ve gotten quite a few great Impossible Abs success stories. Today I get to share with you one of them.
Toyah first emailed me a few months ago:
I did your 8 week impossible abs challenge and lost 14 kilos.
Just wanted to say thank you. Your blog has changed my life in a lot of ways, not just health wise.
I had to do some conversions, but I did the math and 14 kilos is 31 pounds for us Americans. In just 8 weeks. Woah!
I decided to sit down with her to see exactly what she did:
Hey Toyah, Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! Before we get started, what’s your story? Can you give us a little background about who you are and your fitness history?
A: Hi Joel, no worries, I’m a police officer and my fitness history doesn’t go much further than a few years ago when I started to think about becoming a cop. It was one criteria that needed to be met to get into the academy, so my first taste of training for anything was the beep test, the Illinois agility run, hand grip strength testing and a 75kg dummy drag. It was a pretty gruelling introduction to training and I hated every second of it. If I knew back then what I know now about it all starting in the kitchen it would have been much easier. But I guess things have to suck at first for you to start looking at better avenues to take things, so it took me a few years to figure that out.
Cool, So How Did You Find Your Way To Impossible HQ?
A: There’s an Australian woman who runs a Facebook page, she’s very paleo focused. It’s called Eat. Sleep. Move. She often posts bits and pieces she finds helpful from other facebook pages like Bellatrix Nutrition, I was looking through a few things and found a link to your Impossible Abs Challenge that both Bellatrix Nutrition had posted at Eat. Sleep. Move.
So Why Did You Decide To Start Impossible Abs?
A: It was the way you wrote it that got me, no excuses no bullsh*t attitude, and I thought “this guy’s on to something” over a few days I read pretty much everything on your blog and everything on the Impossible HQ website. And then lastly I read the manifesto. I was in Spain during that time, I’d run off and left home for a few months after an incredibly sh*t year and I felt I was either going to make a massive change in my life and go home with a new outlook or just run as far from home as possible which probably would not have helped me at all.
After reading the manifesto I made a decision to not run away and to become stronger by facing everything. Doing the challenge wasn’t about weight loss anymore it was about owning myself and giving enough of a shit about myself to be happy, regardless of how crap life can be sometimes. Taking control of such a small thing like your diet and exercise, I found, brought everything else into line.
So You Jumped In! I Know When Most People Start – The Actual Starting Part Is The Hardest – How Did You Jumpstart The Program In Order To Make Sure You Didn’t Fail Before Even Starting?
A: I used cold shower therapy to start the diet, I needed to know I could do anything even if it initially sucked pretty badly. As I said before I was in Spain and I was feeling pretty down and pretty desperate. Cold shower therapy woke me up out of my lull. Once I’d done my first whole 5 minutes I got out feeling ruthless, stealthy, and just a bit awesome. It puts this realisation into the forefront of your mind that you are able to do anything, but only if you’re willing.
Did The Program Work? What Results Did You See?
A: It worked much better than I expected. After all those years of looking for the quickest way to lose weight and finding out it seems like the “hardest” way, was actually the most effective. I haven’t tried another eating or diet plan where a person could lose this much weight in such a short period of time. I lost a stack of weight. My mind was more focused and clearer than it had been in about 2 years. And that’s what I most loved about it.
How Did You Track Your Progress Throughout The Challenge? Did You Find That Helpful?
A: I was ‘all in’ when I started, nothing was stopping me at all, I took photos of myself every few days and when I felt a lull in progress I’d have a look at them. The best part of this program is its simple for people like myself who don’t have time to write things down and take notes on workout and all that. I ate until I was full, I would work out until I was wrecked. And at the end of that I’d take a photo and compare it to last weeks. And noting the difference was how I tracked my progress.
Have You Tried Other Programs? What Did You Do Differently This Time Around?
A: Not necessarily ‘programs’ but I’ve gone vegan before which yes, I lost a lot of weight but I was incredibly unwell. And then I went paleo and put all the weight back on. Don’t get me wrong paleo is amazing, but we all need to do what’s right for ourselves, I was obviously having too much in the way of carbs via my fruit intake.
What’s Your Current Workout & Nutrition Regime?
A: My current workouts are a lot less, a couple times a week I’ll do short sharp sessions of body weight exercises, all kinds of push ups, dragon walks/bear walk/spiderman walks, dips, kettlebells and isolated weights with free dumb bells, and a lot of burpees. I stay away from the assisted machines as much as I can. Diet recently has been pretty relaxed, and when I say relaxed I mean there’s fruit in there and I’ve for onto this Bullet Proof Coffee that you love Joel! So there’s some butter in there. However, I’m beginning the 8 week impossible abs challenge again, so it’s on like king kong!
What Was The Toughest Part Of The Program? Did You Ever Want To Quit?
A: The toughest part of the program I felt was justifying things to other people. “Everything in moderation” they’d say or, “I don’t know how you live without carbs.” I felt I’d had this massive awakening and I wanted everyone else to have one too, but a lot of the time I was talking to a brick wall.
However after all my success. I have swayed the bravest few who are eating clean and loving burpees with me. When you first start those little voices start getting really loud, and you can easily pull the pin. But I found as I got healthier my mind got stronger. And while people were putting their two cents in, I was telling myself in my head was positive and reassuring that I was on track and doing the right thing.
What Do Your Friends & Family Think? Have They Noticed The Change?
A: Oh yeah! Everyone’s noticed. After I’d done the challenge I’d lost 14 kilos (31 pounds for you Americans) and now I’ve slowly lost another 4 kilos since (~9 pounds). My face looks completely different, everyone’s pretty amazed by it all.
What’s Your Next Impossible Thing? What Do You Want To Do Next?
A: Well Joel I did my first fun run yesterday – first one ever. I wanted to start getting into those kinds of things. Now, I’m looking at a triathlon which is coming up in a few months, as well as running the 88 flights of stairs of the tallest building in the southern hemisphere here in Melbourne called the Eureka towers. I’m fit as a fiddle right now, and I love it, I can do anything! No really I can!
Since the initial challenge when Impossible Abs launched, Toyah has lost another 9 pounds for a total of 28 kilos/40 pounds lost. Lets break down why it worked for it and why she continues to be successful.
Toyah’s Keys To Success
“Everything in Moderation” Is A Load of B.S.
HA! Moderation sucks. I’m kidding, but seriously…
When you work on breaking habits “moderation” is a death trap for staying the same. It’s an easy way to justify complacency. There’s time to be moderate when you get to where you want to be, but if you’ve got 20, 30, 50 or 100 pounds to lose, it’s not time for moderation - it’s time for war.
“Everything in moderation” sounds nice and fuzzy but the reality is you might need a good dose of extremism to get ready to suit up and go to war.
She Did It For Toyah
I felt I was either going to make a massive change in my life and go home with a new outlook or just run as far from home as possible which probably would not have helped me at all.
She decided that she wanted to do it for herself. It wasn’t about impressing anyone. It wasn’t about vanity, it was about taking back control of her life.
No one could have made that decision for Toyah except for Toyah.
She Wasn’t Afraid of Cold Water
She kickstarted her challenge with cold shower therapy which helped her tackle the mental aspect of the challenge. Once you figure out the mental part, the rest is simple.
I’ll say it over and over and over again.
If you’re having trouble kickstarting a new habit or getting out of a rut, give Cold Shower Therapy a trial run. 30 days of cold showers and you can do anything.
She Tracked Her Progress
The photos of the beginning of the workout are what kept her going when things got tough. Take a photo once a week. Even if the scale doesn’t show a huge difference, the best proof of all is a photo in the mirror. You don’t always notice a difference week to week, but over time, looking back at the photos is what shows the cumulative effort you’ve expended.
She Ignored The Haters
A Frustrating Truth: People want you to stay the same. They might not say that, but if you start changing, it starts to make people uncomfortable. When people started questioning Toyah about this crazy diet and how it’s probably not “safe”, she put them out of her mind and kept going. Not because she believed some random guy on the internet with a blog, but because she saw results and results trump all.
People will try to keep you exactly as you are. If you want to change, you’ll have to ignore them and fight for it.
She Realized It Was More Than Just Abs
People tend to thinks Impossible Abs is just about abs, but like Toyah said:
Doing the challenge wasn’t about weight loss anymore it was about owning myself and giving enough of a shit about myself to be happy, regardless of how crap life can be sometimes. Taking control of such a small thing like your diet and exercise, I found, brought everything else into line.
Weight loss, abs or whatever you want to talk about is one aspect of it, but it goes much deeper. Once you realize you can exercise control & discipline in your own life, you’re able to apply that to other things. It’s also why Toyah’s now moving on to things like fun runs, triathlons and other adventures & challenges. Losing weight was a gateway drug into doing other impossible things with her life that she wasn’t physically capable of doing before.
She Didn’t Believe Me – But She Tried It Anyways
I love hearing form people, “I didn’t really expect anything, but I was really blown away by the results.” I’d rather undersell something and overdeliver than the other way around. 100% of the time. No question.
Here’s the deal: you don’t have to believe me. You really don’t.
But, try it for yourself. Experiment. Hold on to what works.
Toyah had a healthy dose of skepticism coming into this, but she still went ahead and did the work anyways. And guess what? She saw results.
She Went “All In”
Best of all, she went all in. She didn’t pick 3 different programs and do 10% of each of them. She picked one went after it and gave 100%.
She was all in.
What About You?
Toyah’s story is really inspiring and the great thing about inspiring stories is that they’re – well – inspiring. It’s amazing to see what regular, normal people are capable of doing.
However, there’s a trap that’s very easy to fall into – and that’s the trap of living vicariously through others. Reading other people’s stories and letting the inspiration you get from them substitute the feeling that you get when you actually accomplish something yourself. Once you start doing that, you never actually do anything because it’s so much easier just to watch inspiring things on youtube than it is to do something inspiring yourself. You fall into a black hole of inspirational porn.
The last week I’ve had a sort of overload of incredible testimonials & transformations come in and it really is one of the coolest things you can get. If you’ve started impossible abs or the no excuse workout, how is it going for you?
And…if you haven’t yet started….why not?