Can 28 Days Change Your Body and Mind?
For two best friends, the answer is yes.
When a personal training-only gym opened around the corner from my apartment (and even more conveniently, in the same building as my BFF Kimmy Scotti), our fitness prayers had been answered. I was new to the area and trying to change up my workout routine, and Kimmy was also looking to up her fitness game. Seeing as how we both worked out regularly, we thought we would CRUSH our training sessions and decided to go all in by signing up for Iconoclast’s signature 28 Day Transformation. Developed by owner (and the most fit human we had ever seen) Ngo Okafor, the program is designed to not only transform your body, but also to help you build long-lasting healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
The first two weeks of the program had us working out with our trainer five days a week for one hour and then doing 30 minutes of cardio either before or after. The other two days were meant to be used for a different type of exercise such as spinning or dance. The last two weeks had us working out for two hours a day. Our diet was simple and to the point: oatmeal for breakfast, two snacks of nuts and dried fruits, and two meals of protein and vegetables. By the time we reached the end of our journey, not only were our bodies changed, but we also came away with a lot of mental changes as well.
For me, building a new community was a huge game changer. Starting every morning off with an amazing group of trainers and their clients had a really positive effect on the rest of my day, and I noticed my anxiety lightened up and I was more focused. I walked into the 28 Day Challenge thinking I was already in great shape, but the program allowed me to set even more aggressive fitness goals, and accomplishing them became really exciting, boosting my confidence both inside and outside the gym. When I started, I could not even run across the street, and by the end I was running for almost 20 minutes straight on the treadmill—something I never thought would happen. Ever!
Of course there were the obvious changes in my body that came with the intense regimen, too. My arms were more defined, my tush a little lifted, and my core tighter. While I’ve always maintained a healthy diet, Ngo’s tips coupled with his daily texts to check in on us also helped me adopt some new healthy habits.
By the end of the challenge, I walked away with an extremely solid foundation. I was now exercising in a way where my moves were being closely watched and corrected, and I *finally* understood the purpose for what seemed like one million squats and lunges. Throw in some added community and a reduction in anxiety and brain fog, and I considered our transformation a huge success.
Keep reading to see how the challenge impacted Kimmy’s life and to get some expert tips from Okafor himself.
Kimmy: “Steph and I had been working out together since we met—hitting various sculpt-style boutique fitness classes on weekends—when we decided to take on a trainer. As luck would have it, Iconoclast moved into my building at about the same time, so we sat down with Ngo to learn about his 28 Day Transformation.
“The schedule—90-minute daily workouts that ramp up to two hours a day for five days a week, plus two days of an hour of cardio on our own—sounded literally impossible. Just ahead of starting, I said to Steph (and probably to myself…), ‘We can do anything for just 28 days,’ and we got started. For me, diet has always been more of a challenge than anything else, but with Ngo, who takes no prisoners when it comes to enforcing the regimen, there are no excuses, and you quickly learn “you can’t out-train a bad diet.”
“The soreness was *so real,* especially in week one, so each week we treated ourselves to some bonus self-care—infrared sauna and cryo at Vitality or massages, or soaks and steams at Great Jones Spa. The workouts escalated in difficulty, but so did our strength and agility, which was super exhilarating. I watched my body totally morph—one ab line and then another, cheek bones that I never had started to emerge. I had been in the midst of a weight-loss kick, and this supercharged that effort. By the end of the 28 days, we were basically addicted to the transformation, and we went right onto a second, third, fourth, and FIFTH 28 Day Transformation.
“What we thought had been totally impossible at day one became our new baseline. By the end of the first 28 days, I had dropped a full two jean sizes from a 28 to a 26 and a full two dress sizes from an 8 to a 4.”
Below are Okafor’s tips and workouts:
Dumbbell Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press
Benefits: The bicep curl strengthens and tones the bicep (the front of the upper arm), giving the arm that long, lean look. The shoulder press stabilizes, strengthens, and tones the muscles in the shoulder. Tone and definition in the shoulder helps create the illusion of a smaller waist. The combination of both exercises creates long, lean lines in the arm and shoulder, which gives that sinewy, dancer-like body.
Benefits: Dips add lean muscle and tighten the triceps (the back of the arm), where most women store fat. It also helps fight the development of cellulite in the back of the arm.
Goblet Kettlebell Squat
Benefits: Due to the fact the weight is being carried in the front of the body, the goblet kettlebell squat not only helps build a tight and lifted butt and shapely legs, it also tightens the abs.
Romanian Kettlebell Dead Lift
Benefits: The Romanian kettlebell dead lift strengthens and lengthens the hamstrings (the back of the legs). It also helps build a tighter butt.
Reverse Lunge to Shoulder Press
Benefits: The reverse lunge lengthens the leg and butt muscles. The shoulder press stabilizes, strengthens, and tones the muscles in the shoulder. Tone and definition in the shoulder helps create the illusion of a smaller waist. The combination of the two exercises, which utilize upper-body muscles and lower-body muscles, raises the heart rate and burns a ton of calories.
Benefits: The rowing machine is the perfect combination of a full-body strength-training workout and high-intensity cardio exercise to produce one of the highest-calorie-burning workouts out there.
Benefits: Donkey kicks specifically isolate and target the butt muscles without any danger, building a lot of muscle in the legs.
Benefits: Sit-ups are the old-school but still extremely effective way to strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles.
Want more stories like this?