Some of you may recall that last month I tried my first ever juice cleanse, courtesy of Plenish. Doing the cleanse was part of my preparation for the Charli Cohen London Fashion Week catwalk show – as huge an honour as it was to be asked to take part, the request came with less than 3 weeks notice – yes, less than 3 weeks to get catwalk ready and face the Fashion Week crowds! My diet is always relatively strict (I eat clean 80% of the time, with a focus on lean proteins and fresh vegetables and fruit) but in the lead up to the show I really focused on tightening up my nutrition – no more cheat meals, no more unnecessary calories or sugar, just fresh and very nutrient dense food. As a very active fitness professional it is hugely important for me not to under eat or starve myself as my days are long and physically demanding, not to mention the fact that I usually train 6 days a week and therefore my body needs pre and post workout fuel so that my metabolism can use excess body fat as fuel so that I can concentrate on building lean muscle.
In the week before the show I really wanted to ensure I had done everything I could to be catwalk ready and not have any regrets about the way I looked in the press from the event! So having been curious for quite sometime about how it would work and how I would feel consuming only liquids, I decided to try a juice cleanse for two days. I did quite a bit of research on the various cleanse/juice delivery programmes available (there are a lot! Who would have thought we’d become a nation of juice addicts?!) before deciding to try Plenish. One thing that stood out for me was the fact that it was still providing me with a good amount of nutrition, and around 1100 calories per day, which although low, to me does not count as starvation! I decided to do the cleanse on two days that were slightly quieter than normal, and that I didn’t have to teach Group Fitness classes (as these are very physically demanding). The cleanse was delivered to my door neatly boxed and clearly labelled (there are 6 drinks per day) with my own glass straw and cleansing manual. They had also started sending me support emails from the moment I signed up for the cleanse online, with tips like making sure I eased into the cleanse and started to cut back on things like red meat, caffeine and heavy carbs for the couple of days leading up to it, and to be prepared to break my cleanse gently once I had finished. I had my last meal of a large fennel salad and went to bed slightly nervous of the fact I wouldn’t be eating solid food again for over two days!
My first day started well, I enjoyed the Sweet Sexy Greens juice I had for breakfast, and by the time I had my third juice (my favourite of the programme, a blend of Pineapple, Mint and Aloe Vera) I was feeling positive and very light. I went for a half an hour walk in the sunshine at lunchtime, but about an hour later my energy levels dipped dramatically. I had three PT clients back to back that afternoon and had planned to save my next juice for my break after the third one, but midway through the second session I was really struggling to concentrate and my stomach was making some distinctly unusual noises so I had to have my fourth juice whilst working. I started to feel worse as the day went on – tired and weak and to be honest almost daydreaming of the nut milk I would be having for dinner (a blend of cashews, filtered water, and himalayan sea salt). The nut milk is supposedly the most filling of the 6 and I thought I would feel better after having it that night, but I actually felt awful – sick and just not with it. I consulted the cleansing manual which said that if you struggle with fatigue/sickness you could have something very light to eat e.g. a piece of fruit or some green leaves, so I had some rocket and spinach with lemon juice, and then went to bed feeling sorry for myself and wondering if I could do this for another day. Day two was a revelation though. I woke up after one of the deepest and most satisfying sleeps I have had in ages – feeling refreshed, bright and full of energy. I felt completely different to the night before, and by the time lunchtime rolled around I had even forgotten I wasn’t eating. The thought of food didn’t cross my mind and I felt so good I decided to train – I did a light upper body session but didn’t struggle at all and completed my usual 45 minute weights based circuit. By the time I drank the last of my cashew milk that night I was actually starting to think I could have done the cleanse for another day! When I woke up the next day, I had been advised to start eating lightly to break my digestive system back in. I had pineapple for breakfast and later that morning an almond milk chia pudding – the thought of eating anything like oats or rye bread just didn’t seem appealing. I stayed on my light, raw food for the rest of the day and by Saturday morning (two days after the end of the cleanse) felt absolutely full of energy with a clear mind and visibly clearer skin, not to mention the tightest abs I have had in months! So all in all – whilst the first day was unpleasant and difficult, overall I loved the Plenish cleanse. The juices were delicious, the service and support was fantastic and the results were quite incredible. I would definitely do a cleanse again, but I would definitely recommend cleansing during down time – if I had a full day of clients that first day I’m really not sure I would have coped. Of course everyone is different and some may find not eating easier than others – for me once the first 24 hours were out of the way it was plain sailing! If you’ve got any questions about my juice cleanse experience, or you’re thinking of trying one yourself, let me know! As a digestive detox and weight loss kick start, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.