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    I Did Shay Mitchell's "Four Weeks Of Focus" Workout Plan And My Body Has Never Felt Stronger

    It's different than what I expected.

    Hello, fellow humans. I'm Andria, your average twentysomething battling body issues and poor mental health that has only continued to decline thanks to the pandemic. 😅

    Obviously, working out with others hasn't been much of an option for the past year (again, thanks to the pandemic). I've somehow managed to continue running, but finding the willpower to get myself up, outside, and moving has been more challenging than ever. So when I came across Shay Mitchell's four-week workout program, I thought it could be just the nudge I needed to get myself back into a regular fitness routine.

    The program — called 4 Weeks of Focus — is simple: you work out every (week)day, 30 to 40 minutes a day, for four weeks. Routines vary between leg days, arm days, and core days, but with a heavy focus on toning legs and glutes. The whole thing is hosted by Openfit, where you sign up for a three, six or 12-month subscription ($8 per month) that gives you access to all of Openfit programs including this one.

    BuzzFeed / Via giphy.com

    Throughout the program, each workout routine is demonstrated by Shay, her friend Stephanie Shepherd and fitness trainer Kelsey Heenan. And realistically, the actual workouts are only about 20–25 minutes with the warm-up and cool-down time factored in.

    Here's how my four weeks went!

    Andria Moore

    Here we go! I'll be honest, I was super excited to get started, but when that 7:30 alarm hit Monday morning... I definitely hit snooze a couple times. But once I got up and got moving, I was feeling good!

    Andria Moore

    Here's me doing a pretty horrid squat, tbh. (We can't all be born with excellent form.) I was so focused in the beginning on doing the moves that I wasn't paying attention much to my form, even with Kelsey's constant reminders. Spoiler alert: form is SUPER IMPORTANT. Don't be like me.

    So that you can get an idea of what the routines look like, here are some of the popular exercises done throughout the program. These are all from Day 1 (a 40-minute workout day, welp.)

    Openfit

    The lateral squats are actually some of my favorites because not only does it firm up your butt, but it also works your hamstrings, back muscles and core. The overhead press is a Kelsey go-to move, and as the weeks go on, she bumps up the weights to increase the difficulty.

    Andria Moore

    Although the workouts are pre-recorded, it's fun to feel like you're working out right alongside Shay and Steph. It definitely helped my confidence that they struggle with many of the same exercises that I do.

    Each circuit is definitely challenging, but bearable because Kelsey provides 30-second breaks between sets, and is sure to offer modified versions of each move.

    Downside: there's no music, and as someone who relies STRONGLY on the soothing sounds of Megan Thee Stallion to hype up my workout, this was a definite con. (Although, the new version available now supposedly includes music.)

    Andria Moore

    Week 2 — or as I like to call it, "hell week" — was the most challenging week for me. I was still sore from the previous week and my body still hadn't quite adjusted to the new, rigorous schedule.

    Andria Moore / Via BuzzFeed

    One of my goals throughout this program was to feel comfortable in my own body. For me, that meant forcing myself to confidently wear a sports bra and leggings without hiding my body underneath a T-shirt. I naturally tend to be an anxious, self-conscious mess, so posting photos like this is not something I ever do. But I found that working out in a sports bra and leggings boosted my confidence and made me more eager to complete each session.

    On day three, I recruited my best friend, who is a fitness queen, to complete a session with me. She exercises super regularly (like an annoying amount) so she didn't find the session as strenuous as I did, but enjoyable, nonetheless.

    Andria Moore / Via BuzzFeed

    Her analysis reinforced my initial thoughts about this program as a whole: that it's definitely more geared for beginners or for those who exercise fairly regularly, but have been finding their willpower lacking during the pandemic. It challenges people like me, who would typically only work out two to three days a week to commit to a regular schedule.

    That being said, I do think there are ways to increase the difficulty of the program for those that want more of a challenge. You can use bigger weights, jump around between days and pause to add additional reps if you'd like.

    In short? Week 2 kicked my butt. ESPECIALLY day two.

    Openfit

    Day two was particularly hard because of the faster reps that included jump squats, running in place, and then dropping down into shoulder taps and push-ups. The B stance RDL's were something I'd never done before and my hamstrings were on FIRE.

    The end of week two is when you complete a fitness test to test how your strength and stamina have improved halfway through the program. The test is as many jump squats as possible in one minute and then as many push-ups as possible in one minute. (I did 35 jump squats and 10 modified push-ups, which is a significant improvement for me considering I suck at push-ups.)

    Near the end of week two, I was lucky enough to speak with Shay Mitchell herself to ask for some advice and hopefully get some inspiration. Shay said her initial drive to complete this program came from her desire to be "the best version" of herself for her daughter, Atlas. And the motivation came from knowing the program had a start date and an end date.

    Although I am not a mom (unless you count my 2-year-old cat), I can still definitely relate to the goal of wanting to feel your best for not only yourself, but others in your life. Shay wanted to get back on track not only physically, but mentally.

    "Honestly, I will say this: I didn't enjoy pregnancy. I didn't love it by any means — it brought the best thing in my life to me — but it wasn't my most favorite time. So the thought of doing that again was a lot more daunting before I did this program. And now, knowing what I was able to achieve in these four weeks for this short duration of time, I am actually excited because I know right after the second one [child] — if I'm fortunate enough to be able to do that again — I will go right back into this program and I will snap forward again."

    Andria Moore

    I'm alive but I'm dead.

    Andria Moore / Via BuzzFeed

    I woke up feeling... dead, frankly. My poor muscles still hadn't recovered from the previous week. But, on the bright side, I also went into this third week with a renewed sense of inspiration after talking to Shay.

    Pro tip: Get you a matching fit like this and it will not only boost your confidence, but also inspire you to want to work out. Week three is when I started noticing very subtle changes in my body.

    This entire program focuses heavily on circuits of different variations and lengths as well as EMOMs (Every Minute On the Minute) repetitions. Here's an example from week three:

    Andria Moore

    Keep in mind this is only a tiny portion of everything included in one day's session.

    The bear claw rows truly made me want to die, but I somehow managed to find the willpower to push through.

    Openfit

    As someone with virtually zero upper body strength, I appreciate that this program finds ways to challenge and support people with different levels of strength. I enjoy workouts with varying levels of difficulty so that I feel empowered rather than discouraged.

    MADE it.
    Andria Moore

    The week my butt became strong as a rock.

    Andria Moore / Via BuzzFeed

    By week four, my muscles were less sore and I found it easier to complete each session. I don't know if it's because I had more stamina, or more motivation, but I actually enjoyed week four's sessions the most I think. There was a good mix of EMOMs, 30-second or two-minute circuits, and alternating between leg and arm days. I went into week four feeling more confident and stronger than ever. I'm not saying that this program completely eliminated my body insecurities, but it definitely felt good to feel more comfortable in my own skin and more energized throughout the day. Plus, my butt was looking more toned than usual.

    The whole program is heavily targeted toward toning the glutes and legs because according to Shay, one of her goals was to work on her "derrière."

    In my final fitness test, I did 15 (modified push-ups) and 43 jump squats. Definite improvement!

    Andria Moore

    Done and DONE!

    Andria Moore

    The most rewarding part for me was that I felt stronger overall and mentally I felt a lot happier. My legs and arms stopped shaking so much by week four, so I definitely gained significant strength and stamina. Overall, I didn't notice a drastic change in my body, but that was never the goal. The goal was to remind myself how much better I feel both physically and mentally when I regularly exercise, and in that way I succeeded.

    My final thoughts? Everyone has to find what works for them, but for those who are intimidated by committing to a daily workout, this one is doable. For me, I found it worked best to work out in the morning before work. It helped me start the day off on the right foot and mentally, I just felt happier throughout the day. I can't say I will continue working out every day going forward, or at least not in this capacity, but this four-week program is a great way to push yourself back into a regular exercise routine if you're the kind of person that needs a bit of encouragement.

    How have you maintained or modified your workouts during the pandemic? Share in the comments below! 💪