Home > Meet Sara > Meet Sara…The Final Chapter

Meet Sara…The Final Chapter

Over the past few weeks, you have been witness to one woman’s transformation.  While I was initially hired for the physical transformation, there were other changes Sara didn’t expect.  While raising two children and dealing with her husband in a war zone, did foster her self-reliance…Sara’s transformation also gave her self-reliance and self-respect.

In this final installment I reveal the leg training program I used with Sara to transform her legs from what she initially described as “lumpy,” to their current state of “awesome!”

Prior to working with me, Sara’s workouts were pieced together from numerous female fitness magazines and performed inconsistently.  If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, then you know how I feel about fitness magazines in general.  Not only do they give both men and women false hope, but the tactics employed to get you to purchase their magazines are outright deceptive.  Read this for more information.

As with her nutritional lifestyle changes, I designed Sara’s workouts based on her time restrictions, only increasing the length of her workouts when her schedule allowed.

Weeks 1-9

For motivation, I instructed Sara to buy a bikini she wanted to eventually fit into, and hang it on her refrigerator door handle.  For the next 11 months, the bikini would act as a reminder of why she was busting her *ss.

Due to work commitments and child care issues, Sara could only devote 35 minutes, three times a week to her training.  With these restrictions, I utilized full-body workouts in order to create a substantial metabolic demand within the allotted time.

Full-Body Workout 1

A1) Front foot elevated split squat 4 sets x 10-12 reps, rest 30 seconds

A2) Supinated grip pull-downs 4 sets x 12-15 reps, rest 75 seconds

B1) Lying leg curls 4 sets x 6-8 reps, rest 30 seconds

B2) Incline dumbbell bench press 4 sets x 10-12 reps, rest 75 seconds

The multi-joint exercises combined with the short rest periods create high levels of lactic acid, creating a hormonal cascade favoring fat loss.  This style of program design would be the cornerstone of Sara’s transformation.

Weeks 15-20

By this point, Sara was able to schedule most of her commitments in the late afternoon, freeing her mornings for her 1 hour training sessions.  In this phase of her training, I utilized four weekly training sessons:

Monday-upper body strength

Tuesday-lower body strength


Thursday-upper body fat loss

Friday-lower body fat loss

Weekends: off

I used this training split for multiple reasons: to relieve boredom and to include exercises to combat some “issues” Sara had with her shoulders.  Plus, having weekends off, allowed her to spend uninterrupted time with her children.

Upper Body Strength

A1) Chin ups 6 sets x 3-5 reps, rest 120 seconds

A2) Semi-supinated dumbbell bench press 4 sets x 4-6 reps, rest 120 seconds

B1) Seated row 4 sets x 6-8 reps, rest 90 seconds

B2) Standing unilateral shoulder press 4 sets x 8-10 reps, rest 90 seconds

C1) Seated dumbbell external rotation 3 sets x 8-10 reps, rest 75 seconds

C2) Flat bench dumbbell Powell raise 3 sets x 10-12 reps, rest 75 seconds

Lower Body Strength

A1) Narrow stance, heels elevated back squat 6 sets x 3-5 reps, rest 120 seconds

A2) Lying unilateral leg curl 6 sets x 3-5 reps, rest 120 seconds

B1) Split squat 4 sets x 8-10 reps, rest 90 seconds

B2) 45° back extension 4 sets x 10-12 reps, rest 90 seconds

Weeks 40-43

This was the last training phase before Sara’s big premiere.  For her “unveiling,” Sara chose the annual pool party the military base holds for children of active duty military personnel.

On the last workout of this phase, Sara would finally be able to remove the bikini hanging from her refrigerator door and wear it to the pool party.

To ensure all eyes would be on Sara as she walked into the party, I designed this training phase for fat loss.

During this training phase, instead of performing a predetermined number of sets, Sara would perform 2 exercises back to back, for a specified length of time.

When it comes to fat loss, this is one of my favorite protocols; however it’s not for those just starting a resistance training program or for those whose training programs have consisted primarily of exercise machines.  This training protocol requires mental fortitude as you’ll be generating so much lactic acid your body will feel as if it’s on fire and you’ll be tempted to quit half way through your workout.  If you have the guts, this program will deliver results.

Full-Body Workout 1

A1) Rear foot elevated split squat

A2) Kneeling 1 arm row

For both exercises, choose a weight you can perform for 10 reps.  Perform 5 reps for each exercise, for 20 minutes.  Rest 3 minutes, then perform the next series.

B1) Lying leg curl

B2) Close grip barbell bench press

For both exercises, choose a weight you can perform for 12 reps.  Perform 6 reps for each exercise, for 20 minutes.  Rest 3 minutes, then perform the next series.

C1) Incline dumbbell hammer curls

C2) Low pulley abdominal pull-ins

C3) Decline dumbbell triceps extensions

For each exercise, choose a weight you can perform for 12 reps.  Perform 6 reps for each exercise, for 15 minutes.  Rest 3 minutes, then send me an email calling 50 different dirty names.

Using the “A” series unilateral exercises as an example, you would perform 5 reps of split squats for both legs, and then immediately progress to 5 reps for each arm on the kneeling row.  Then repeat the whole process for 20 minutes.  The goal is to perform as many sets of both exercises within your allotted time frame.  The challenging part is trying to minimize the amount of rest you take during your 20 minute period.  During your first few minutes, you might not need to take any rest between the exercises.  However, 10-12 minutes into your time period, with your heart racing and sweat dripping into your eyes, you might need to take a short break to “collect your thoughts.”

If at the end of 20 minutes, you didn’t feel challenged or didn’t break a sweat, then the weights you choose were too light.  Ideally, you should finish the 20 minute period with the same weights you started.  Take a rest only when you need it!

I know too many women who have failed in their quest for a lean and healthy body, due to attempting to do too much, too soon.  Achieving the body you’ve always wanted takes patience, and most importantly, consistency.

My goal with this series was to demonstrate a real world example of where small, continuous steps can ultimately lead you to a body that not only looks good, but helps improve your self-esteem.  So, learn from Sara, and start applying some of her tactics into your life and see where they lead you.  I wish you the best and let me know how you do.

Categories: Meet Sara
  1. March 16, 2010 at 14:49

    Brillian, I so waited for this 😉 Now I have to read it again to slowly absorb the principles and to understand all the movements you’ve used. I do a lot of lactic acid/metcon training, but with different movements patterns as you prolly know. Have to check these out!

    But a real question: do you think it’s pointless to try estro detox while being on a pill? I’ve been eating birthcontrol pills since I was 16 (now 31) and they’re not allowing me to stop because I had a tumor (2kg) in my lower tummy when I was 17 and they want to keep things nice and steady and quiet… That unless I would’ve want kids which I don’t. I’m just pondering are most of the efforts (and money spend on DIM et cetera) sort of fighting against windmills? Or WILL I get there? 🙂

    And it’s not that big of a deal, I’m comfortable in my bikini, but I’m just curious 🙂

  2. March 16, 2010 at 14:50

    (and pardon me for all my typos)

  3. March 16, 2010 at 15:13

    Meri…I sent an email to your blog with my private email…write me there & I’ll respond.
    Jess Banda

  4. March 8, 2013 at 08:58

    Thank you…new blogs can be found at http://www.jessbanda.com and http://www.bandatacfit.com

  1. January 9, 2012 at 03:27

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