Keep It Moving

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At the beginning of last year, I, like most other hopefuls, started the New Year with this resolution: “this is the year I get back into shape, I’m going to get this!”

I had heard about a new kickboxing gym in Toronto through the Kool-Aid drinking of my husband. He signed up to a six-week challenge at 9Round, and wanted me to try it out. 

I lasted only a couple of months. My resolution had run out of steam, I’d say officially over by my 48th birthday.

And then, near the end of 2018, I decided to take another jab-cross-hook at it.

This time, my entire family had joined. If strength in numbers doesn’t encourage and hype you up, then what will?

The 9Round six-week challenge is a commitment to working out three times a week, while following a low- carb, low-calorie meal plan, designed for you according to your weight and body fat.

It’s an easy diagram to follow.

Okay, maybe food choices are not easy to follow, when you compare it to the easy fix of going to your favourite restaurant or pulling up UberEats on your phone.

But I’d already seen how that transformation was possible. My husband committed and completed the challenge, and guess what? He lost 25 pounds and six per cent body fat. Amazing!

What is 9Round?

9Round is a kickboxing-themed cardio gym, where you work your way through nine stations of interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens. Each round is three minutes, with a 30-second break in between, totalling a full body workout in just 30 minutes. It’s completely exhausting, but it’s well worth it to know you’ve burned anywhere from 500-700 calories.

As I started my journey, I got into the whole craze of Keto, which, if you’ve ever tried this new eating plan, it’s protein-heavy, zero-sugar, but more than that, it helps get your eating into some kind of order (I’m sure not everyone agrees with the science, but it worked for me). 

Shortly after, I came back to 9Round when a brand new facility opened downtown in the fall. It was going quite well.

Then my parents came to visit. Who can resist mom’s home cooking?

Anytime my parents are in town, it’s time to get out the rice cooker and get the fiesta started.

Filipino food is comfort to me – it’s all about home.

My mom whipped up the classics, and second helpings come naturally. I can’t turn down her adobo, smile when I smell her sinigang or when I open up the pot to some afritada … and don’t ever forget the leche flan.


On a side note: growing up in a Filipino household, either my parents or my lola (grandma) would call me to the dining table.

“Abbylina, do you want some lechay plan?”

Of course I said YES!

My whole life I believed it was pronounced and spelled lechay plan – when all the while it’s proper pronunciation is leche (Spanish for milk) and flan with an ‘F’.

I didn’t know until my adulthood how to really pronounce it. When people ask what Filipino food they should try, I would recommend adobo. And for dessert, do the lechay plan – it’s the best!

I just got sidetracked. But back to the plan, not the flan.

I do love my desserts, so I knew it would be tough if I decided to do the six-week challenge.

Added to that was the other challenge staring me down on the calendar: birthday week.

Nearing the end of the challenge, a series of birthdays were to be celebrated, beginning with mine, followed by my eldest son Isiah two days later. His girlfriend’s would follow three days after that.

9Round three times a week, how about cake three times a week?

I wasn’t sure if this would be my time to do the challenge.

But I signed up.

“I decided to take another jab-cross-hook at it.”

My husband joined the challenge for a second time, and he proved to be my saving grace.

He prepared all the meals, which consisted of a breakfast (I never usually ate), a shake (I didn’t ever do shakes) and a lunch (with a portion that was more than I would ever eat).

I remember the first day, I’m sitting at my desk, thinking “how on earth am I supposed to eat all this?”

It seemed like a lot. And much of the time, I had to remind myself: it’s all by design.

In my mind, it’s about getting back into those designer jeans (do people still say designer jeans? Did I just age myself?).

I didn’t Marie Kondo them. I kept them in my drawer because it was going to bring me joy again.

Along the way, I had some doubts I could make it through the physical part of the commitment. Because it gets really hard. And hard for me equals burpees. Who looks good doing burpees anyways?

What helped me out though, were the amazing trainers, who are always so encouraging – and they actually look good doing burpees. 

After building a consistent routine for a month, at the five week mark, we arrived at birthday week.

I got so busy, the workouts and the eating took a hit, with all the get-togethers, and, yes, of course, my love for cake.

But something awesome happened when I jumped on the scale. I still lost two pounds.

“I just got sidetracked. But back to the plan, not the flan.”

Looking back I realized that although I may have cheated with desserts, I was still eating quite healthy and controlling my portions for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My body had adapted to this new system!

Here’s what I gained from this journey.

Working out on my own wasn’t going to keep me on the path. It’s easy to fall off and lose motivation when you’re on your own.

For me, the support was the key. I was fortunate to have my family as my cheering squad.

Whoever your tribe may be, it’s great to have a community of encouragement. 

Now, if you are someone who can get it done on their own, all the power to you. If that’s not you, perhaps finding the right community and the right fit is key.

It doesn’t need to be 9Round – though I’d recommend trying the first drop-in, it’s free!


It could be Zumba, a running club, yoga or any fitness group who encourages and  promotes your wellness.

Personally, I found the right gym that supports my fitness goals of getting stronger, through motivation, and accountability. Even if you are doing workout at your own station, there is still a camaraderie as each person is working to that final bell.

My three important takeaways:

  • Cut sugar – it’s okay to have cake once and a while. I stand by this.

  • Portion control – I intend to keep meal sizes the same as they were in the challenge

  • Consistency – even after I reach my goal, I intend to keep active

I did a little research on fitness, and as you get older, the resounding message is to work out three times a week. For women, it’s important because osteoporosis is a factor. Our bone mass weakens every year after age 50.

By no means am I an expert on your physical condition, so check with your doctor to help find the best wellness plan for you, based on your own health.

I didn’t quite lose the 25 pounds as the challenge promised, but I also didn’t thoroughly keep to the commitment. I still had cake and life happened. As a result, I didn’t put my gloves on the required three times a week.

However, this morning’s last weigh in, I lost 15 pounds and two per cent body fat.

I’m on the way to living healthier because at almost50, I still have more in me to become the best version of myself.