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Into the home stretch: STS Round 2 Final Week


I had been meaning to post an update much sooner but I am laptop-less at the moment and updating via iPad or phone is just painful.

Well, I’ve almost made it. Today is day 34 of this round of Shortcut To Shred. That means I’ve got 8 days to go! In some ways it feels like the last 5 weeks have flown by, but it’s definitely been a challenging round. Actually, this week has probably been one of the hardest…

This time last week I had a big night. As a non-frequent drinker, when I do decide to have a big night, it really hits me hard. And this one hit so hard I lost all motivation to do absolutely anything besides drag myself to work for days afterwards. On Saturday morning I did a massive full body workout, made some healthier chocolate crackles (recipe up soon) and went to the party. The workout made me sore for days, which might have also contributed to my unwillingness to do anything. By Tuesday, I felt like the old Cassie had seeped back in and my old sloth-y ways had begun again. While some days I am exhausted and don’t feel like working out, it’s rare that I wholeheartedly don’t want to get up and get moving. And for a few days this week, I really just wanted to sit on my butt, eat and feel like crap. So, I allowed myself to have a break from the gym, and then picked myself back up, dusted myself off and got back into it on Wednesday. Sure, I missed a few days but I am counting them as “mental health days” and to be honest, I think we all need them sometimes.

Getting back into it on Wednesday.  (Source: instagram - cassiedawson_)

Getting back into it on Wednesday.
(Source: instagram – cassiedawson_)

The rest of this week has felt pretty good. Yesterday I broke my Smith Machine Standing Calf Raise record with 60kg (plus the bar weight, if you want to be technical) for 15 reps. I knew they are one of my favourite exercises for a reason. I’m really starting to see definition in my upper arms and shoulders too, which I am loving. I must say that Shortcut To Shred does amazing things to your shoulders (though maybe i’m a little biased as I love training shoulders).

Friday :) workout + song of the day

Friday 🙂 workout + song of the day


Stand by for progress photos next week! Up until now I have not wanted to post progress photos of muscle tone, but we’ll see 😉



4 weeks in, 2 to go!

So I am four weeks into Shortcut To Shred and to be quite honest, I am exhausted! I know I’ve just got to keep on pushing but as winter is just starting here, it is becoming more and more tempting to stay rugged up in bed rather than getting up for workouts. Oh well. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!

So, this happened on Saturday:


Yessss! 200kg! This has been a goal of mine for a long time now. I have bad hips and get remedial massages to fix them every two weeks so having a heavy squat goal would most likely make my hips worse at the moment. Leg press however… All. Over. It. And damn it felt good to get to 200. And for 5 reps… Not even just one. The achievements make the struggles all worth it.

I feel like I have been making decent progress overall as well, but I have been struggling with a lack of energy and at times, a lack of motivation. I had considered that I might be getting sick since I have been getting enough sleep, but so far no cold symptoms have reared their ugly little head. I guess we’ll see!

I guess that’s it for now!!

Shortcut To Shred: Round 2, so far…


Hey there!
I’m almost two weeks in to my latest round of Shortcut To Shred, so I thought I’d post a little update if how it’s going.

First up, I have been ridiculously tired these last few weeks. I don’t even think it has to do with the crazy workouts or anything else in my life. I’m really hoping I’m not getting sick or anything, but I guess we’ll see. I’m just taking it one day at a time and making sure I don’t completely run myself into the ground.

I had almost forgotten how much of a challenge the STS workouts can be. I think my fitness level had definitely improved since my last round, but I still find myself drenched in sweat and totally exhausted by the time each workout is done. Jim Stoppani, you are crazy.

Nutrition has been a struggle when I’ve been feeling so run down. I didn’t get a chance to prep lunches and snacks last Sunday so I had to cook on Tuesday night and buy prepacked snacks and lots of fruit to get me through the rest of the week. This weekend I am definitely going to make a few batches of healthy slices and snacks that I will actually enjoy. The photo at the top of this post is actually the prep I did on the day before this round started. It was only half the food I had prepared!!

Progress wise, I am definitely heading in the right direction. My work pants are getting loose and I can’t keep them up properly. I recently bought new gym pants that are now too big around the waist. I had forgotten how good this program is for my shoulders too. In such a short space of time they have become much more defined and shapely. I am loving it. I’ve definitely got more muscle definition all over, which I guess is as much from fat loss as it is muscle building.

On some sort of side note, I realised a few days ago I never measured myself before I started this round. Rookie error. I guess all I have to go off is photos now, but somehow that’s quite a liberating feeling.

So these are the things I am going to work super hard on improving over the next week…

Number one – I am scheduling myself in a relaxed weekend and at least one big sleep in. I feel like I haven’t had a sleep in for a very long time so maybe it’s exactly what I need to get back to feeling good. I am also planning to get a good dose if vitamin D and sunshine, which is certainly something I have lacked lately.

Number two – I need to work on the nutrition side of things more. If the choice had no consequences, I would more than likely choose a schnitzel and chips over steak and veg every time. I need to work more on self control and beating cravings.

Number three – not directly STS related, but I think I am going to start journaling more (offline). Mental health is just as important as physical health, after all!

That’s everything for now!! If anyone else out there is doing STS or a similar program, I’d love to hear how you are doing!! x

And so round 2 begins…

Today marks the start of my next round of Shortcut To Shred. Even though it’s not the first time I’ve done it, the first workout was a challenge. 745 calories later, I was ready for nap, but unfortunately my day was just beginning. My gym gets painfully busy around 5pm, so I don’t really have a choice but to train in the mornings, or go later at night (which I know I won’t stick to). My biggest struggle this round will probably be staying organised, but I’ve prepped as much food as possible and really just need to kick my butt into gear.

I have been trying to think of something to get myself as a reward at the end of the 6 weeks. It’s not something I usually worry about, but I think it’d be nice to have an extra incentive. So I need some ideas – what have you bought yourself as a reward?

Smashing It

I feel like a lot of my progress story gets missed on here because it all goes onto my Instagram and Facebook page, so here’s a post from earlier tonight. Loving doing Shortcut To Shred again. Almost two weeks in and I can see changes and am feeling much stronger!

Smashing It - Shortcut To Shred

“1 & 2. Smashed Shortcut To Shred today.  3. Just because we all know I’m a sucker for a nice scenery shot (shame it’s crappy quality). “

Restarting STS and IIFYM learnings

Hello! Here’s a bit of an update….

I mentioned a few posts ago about wanting to redo Shortcut To Shred since I loved the workout structure so much. Well, that was 2 weeks ago and since then I’ve kind of been a bit wish-washy with the gym and my fitness since I’ve had no clear plan. I’ve still been going 3-5 times a week and putting in a solid effort (with the exception of yesterday, more details in a moment), but I am ready to give it 110% again. I’ve decided as to restart the program as of tomorrow! I am a lot more excited this time around as I know what to expect and what I’m capable of. Last time I was seriously worried, particularly since I knew people would look at me like I was crazy for running and everything in between sets.  As for the diet portion of the program, I will be sticking to the IIFIYM concept since it’s a lot more manageable for me and my schedule.

I also posted not long ago about starting IIFYM/Flexible Dieting. To say that it’s been eye-opening is a massive understatement. I guess until now I hadn’t really sat down and studied the micronutrients in the foods I eat (or was eating), and so it’s been a big learning curve. It’s definitely made me realise why I have struggled to lose any more weight for the last few months – I have a serious carb addiction! Hopefullly once I’ve stuck at this for a few months it will all come a lot more natural to me, but for now it’s going to take a little bit of work and time to get it right. I’m totally thankful for MyFitnessPal, too. Saves me lots of thinking and calculating. If you have any other time saving or general IIFIYM tips, let me know in the comments of this post or on the Facebook page – I need all the help I can get!

Review – Shortcut To Shred

Anyone who follows my Facebook or Instagram (and this blog) would know that I’ve just finished Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut To Shred program. I really enjoyed it so thought I’d do a quick overview for anyone looking to do it too.

Anyone with an ectomorph body type like me would know how much if a struggle it can be to lose weight. I am naturally very curvy and I also have short legs meaning a model-type body is never going to be much of a realistic option for me. This program was great in that it was like doing a HIIT workout, but without having to so sprints on the treadmill or elliptical. I get bored easily with cardio so it was awesome to get my cardio in my rest time and be able to get in and out of the gym quicker.

I was a bit worried going in to the program that I would struggle as it was labeled as ‘expert’ on and it seemed to be mostly targeted towards men. I’ll admit, they were the hardest workouts I’ve ever done. But they were also the most rewarding. As for diet, I let myself down and didn’t apply myself to the nutrition side of the program as much as I should have, and that’s why I’m planning on redoing it in a few weeks time (not to mention I am now a cardio acceleration convert).

At first I was a little hesitant as I tend to care a lot what people think of me. Well after 6 weeks of people looking at me wondering what I was doing in between sets, it’s safe to say I care a lot less! For the most part, I did running on the spot and sprints up and down the gym (when it was empty) for my cardio acceleration. I know the plan had a variety of exercises, but for me, running gets my heart beating the hardest and requires a lot less coordination than something like bench step ups.

The variety of exercises and routines was something I also really enjoyed. I don’t really have a gym partner which made low rep/high weight days a bit hard, but luckily most exercises can be done with a smith machine.

Though my dieting willpower/skills/time management let me down, I’ve still seen awesome results for fat loss and muscle gain. I can’t wait to redo the program and give the diet 100%.

I’d definitely recommend the program to anyone who has a fairly solid knowledge of gym machines and exercises. I probably wouldn’t launch straight into it if you’re just starting out with free weights though. I love that Jim Stoppani uses science as the basis of the entire program and teaches you new things along the way.

I have proper before and after photos on my computer but I’m on my phone at the moment so this one will have to do for now. It doesn’t look like a huge change but I have noticed big changes in my arms and muscle mass on my legs (what was fat is now muscle).

tl;dr – the 6 weeks of people staring at me like I was a maniac were totally worth it. 10/10.

My next round of Shortcut To Shred starts on the 16th of June 2014. Stay tuned!



I’m writing this from the hairdresser with no glasses on, do you’ll have to forgive me for any typos!

This week I started Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut To Shred program. I know what my body is like and just doing straight up weightlifting sessions does not help my burn fat. The STS program is like a bit HIIT session – in between every single set you do one minute of cardio. I can easily say they have been the hardest workouts I’ve ever done.

And the most effective. I can already see significant changes in the amount of muscle I have (particularly biceps and triceps) and I did a sneaky weigh in on Wednesday (3 days in) and had lost 1kg!

I have never felt as exhausted as I do after these workouts but that’s also a backhanded good thing as I know I’ve worked as hard as I could. Diet wise, I feel as though I’m constantly eating, but I think it has definitely started fixing my otherwise ruined metabolism. I’m now eating 6 or so meals a day and having casein protein before bed to keep my digestive system moving while I sleep.

I have taken ‘before’ photos, though I think I’ll post them at the end of the six weeks for a comparison.

I’m loving this program so far and highly recommend it. I love that its backed by actual science (Jim has a PhD and heavily researches everything).

If you want to check the program out, it’s free on

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