Category: Motivation & Mindset

The Best Time to Workout

What’s the best time of day to workout? Ok, get ready to be annoyed. It’s the time of day when you’re most likely to workout.

I’m sorry. I know that’s not the answer you really want. But I think it’s true, partly because of experience and partly because of research. (Not like the conducting experiments or gathering data kind of research, just the reading articles on what I consider reliable websites kind of research.) I, at different times since I started exercising, have sought out the best time of day to work out. Like, when are you most likely to get the best results? The most bang for your buck? And, while my research hasn’t been exhaustive, I have come to the conclusion that there’s no one right answer.

Some people advocate exercising first thing in the morning. You’re in a fasted state, you’ll burn off stuff already in your body (glycogen I think?), that kind of thing. You might burn off more fat. I’ve also read that late afternoon is really the optimal time to workout– energy wise, performance wise. Hormone levels might be at a more optimal level in the afternoon, too. I haven’t read that nighttime is ideal, but I bet someone out there says that it is.

The answer I gave above- the time of day when you’re most likely to workout is the time of day when you’re most likely to workout- isn’t my favorite answer for me either. But I’ve accepted it as the truth.

I think the real best time of day for me, as far as how good a workout I get, how I feel during and after, when I have the most energy, is mid-morning. In a perfect world I’d wake up, ease into my day, have breakfast and coffee. Then I’d either relax with my kids and husband or do some chores around the house (though I guess in a really perfect world I wouldn’t be doing chores ever, would I?). About an hour and a half to two hours after I finished eating, I’d exercise. This does happen once in a while, and it really is when I feel best. But it doesn’t happen a lot.

The reality right now is that my time is not really my own. I can’t exercise at that time of day because it just doesn’t work. I have things to do, places to be, other people’s schedules to consider. So I wake up early. Now I’m sure some of you are saying, “I can’t exercise in the morning. That’s not happening. I’m not a morning person.” I said the same things. I didn’t think I could ever do it. I didn’t think it would happen. I am so not a morning person. If anything I’m a night owl….A night owl who has grudgingly become more of a morning person. Thanks to #1- kids and #2- really wanting to exercise and knowing if it didn’t happen then it might never happen.

I think the morning is probably the best time for most people for the same reasons it works for me. Once it’s done you can move on with your day. If you don’t do it first thing there’s a good chance something will crop up during the day that prevents you from doing it. Or you’ll be too tired to do it. You’ll also get that good feeling early, and what a great way to start your day. But it does take some getting used to.

When I first started exercising I did it at night. (Back then I would think I could never do it in the morning, now I look back and think how did I ever do it at night?!) It was what worked for me then. I had an infant I was breastfeeding, who was still waking up a few times a night to eat, plus three other kids, ages 3, 5, and 7. I was so tired and needed that sleep in the morning. Night time was the only time I could get it done. I’d put Danny to bed around 7:00, then the other kids, and exercise in the living room, before Danny woke up for his first nighttime feeding.

There was a period of time between those nighttime workouts and when I started working out in the morning when I had to accept and deal with a more difficult truth. I had to workout whenever I could, and that would change day to day. I would have much rather have had a set time, a schedule, a routine. But things were hectic, mornings were unreliable (usually due to a child or two or three or four who had made it to my bed or lured me to their bed sometime during the night). I was so tired at night, and the kids were staying up later. I had to accept the need for a more flexible mindset. It irked me, but that’s where I was at that time. This transition period might ultimately have made it easier for me to embrace the idea of morning workouts.

So I’d encourage every one to consider morning workouts. Even if you’re not a “morning person.” No birds are pulling my blankets back as I awake feeling refreshed and perky and ready for a fantastic day. Looking radiant of course. There’s lots of hitting snooze and internal dialogue, some of which I can’t repeat here for fear my children might read this. But it happens. Most days. I’m tired and cold and puffy-eyed and crazy-haired and feeling rather grumpy most days. But by the time the warm-up is over I’m usually feeling closer to human and by the time the whole thing is over I’m often feeling like a superhero. A pleasant, life-loving superhero. (Until I try to wake up my middle schooler anyway)

Wherever you are at right now, make it a priority. That’s the most important thing. My crazy-runner-husband used to say all the time, “You have to make it a priority.” And I used to roll my eyes and curse under my breath. But that idea must have nestled somewhere in my brain and eventually manifested itself. Because here I am telling anyone who will listen to make it a priority. It just has to be. And it might be tough at first, but keep at it and one day it will really be like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Just something that’s part of your day. Often one of the best parts of your day.

Have you found your ideal time? Are you struggling to make time for exercise? I’d love to hear from you! Sometimes just venting or chatting about something can help you process things and make things click 🙂

 

Clean Eating Groups

I am loving the January feeling of this January. Sometimes I get a little case of the post-Christmas blues. My parents leave for Florida right after Christmas and it will be months before I see them again. The festiveness of the season is over. The rushing around and busy-ness is behind us (and it’s a relief, but also a little sad). We’ll see family and friends less again….

But not this year. This year I am all-in to this January thing. Goal setting, vision boards, resolutions, oh my!

 

I am energized, still plugging away at goal setting. (Is it this hard for everyone?!) I made a Google calendar and generally mapped out my time so I feel more purposeful and with direction during each day. I joined a vision board group on Facebook. I started a new personal development book. The Beachbody Health Bet started this past Monday and I started a new workout program- Core de Force. I’m finishing up Body Beast, a program I’ve been wanting to do for ages and have absolutely loved. So I am all geared up. Plus, now I am running a clean eating group with my team. It starts Monday!

What is a clean eating group? you might be wondering. In general, our clean eating groups are private groups on Facebook. We provide some information on clean eating, as well as a meal plan for the week, complete with recipes and a grocery list. During the week, participants are asked to post what they’re eating. And we are all committed to eating clean for the course of the group, usually 5 or 7 days. Basically, no white flour, no white sugar, no processed foods, no alcohol. Hey, it’s only 5 days! Hopefully you’ll continue with clean eating when the group is over, but knowing that it’s only 5 days can make it easier to take this step. After the 5 days, you can decide how “strict” you’re going to be. If you really commit to the group, it can help keep you accountable. You are more likely to stick to the guidelines if you’re feeling committed to the group. What will keep you committed? Motivation, support, inspiration. Maybe even a little guilt! I’d feel guilty eating something that wasn’t allowed. I can do that for 5 days. It can be motivating and inspiring to see what everyone else is eating, too.

What can happen in just 5-7 days? You’d be amazed. Depending on your regular diet before the group started, you might detox. By the end of the group you’ll have reduced your cravings, probably lost some weight, learned a few things about clean eating. It can help you with brand new goals, or help you commit to goals from which you’ve strayed. It might even change your life. Clean eating has changed mine! You would be amazed at what a difference it makes. Clearer skin, more energy, better moods, clearer thinking. And the effects can spill over to people in your life, too!

What makes a clean eating group great? The best clean eating groups are the ones with the most participation. When you really post what you eat, you have a better chance of success with your own goals. It’s like keeping a food journal (shown in studies to be effective in losing weight) that other people can see. People who are like-minded and there to support you and cheer you on. There’s a cycle to it; you post and inspire someone and they post and inspire someone. When the group gets on a roll, it’s easier to stick to your goals and succeed.  Some people might feel uncomfortable posting at first. Maybe they’re shy, maybe they feel silly posting what they’re eating, maybe they’re intimidated by other people in the group who post gorgeous, exotic, super-healthy meals on fancy plates. If you can get past the initial discomfort, you’ll start to feel the camaraderie. I’ve come out of some groups feeling like I’d made some new friends. And it’s uplifting to see someone else doing well!

Why join a clean eating group? If you’re looking to learn more about clean eating or get some new ideas, a clean eating group would be a great place for you. It’s also a good way to lose to a few pounds, get back on track after a bad spell of eating (like after the holidays!), or kick some bad habits. Some people join just to learn what clean eating is, some want new recipes and food ideas, some want to stop drinking soda (for example) and need some support.

Why am I especially excited for this clean eating group? Because it’s January! There’s a feeling of freshness and renewal and energy. I’m also excited for the timing with my fitness goals. I really want to commit more stringently to the eating plan that comes with Core de Force. I was not so stringent with Body Beast, and it makes a big difference in your results. When I am part of a clean eating group, I always make better food choices and I always learn something. I also lose a pound or two or three! I feel like I’m feeling so energized and other people are, too; this group is bound to be great.

If you’d like to give it a try, comment here! Or visit me over on Facebook and send me a message. It’s not too late to join!

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s been about a month since I posted 🙁

 

December kinda kicked my ass this year.

Kids home sick from school, a nasty case of strep throat, my mom’s birthday, and of course Christmas with all the fun things that come with it…going to see the Nutcracker, two Christmas concerts and a Christmas play, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas with family we don’t see on Christmas.

We also decided to take a little road trip to Arlington, VA to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and niece. We drove down on Wednesday (the drive was torture- 6 hours of volume and traffic) and just got home today. We went sightseeing in DC and spent a lot of quality time with them. It always amazes me how close my kids are with my Virginia family. They all enjoy each other so much. In between sightseeing and out-and-about stuff, there was painting and jewelry making, games, cooking, watching movies, walking the dog, going in the hot tub. It was a non-stop party. We even stayed up past midnight last night! Unfortunately, we also have two new cases of strep and some general colds and crustiness. Ugh. Who else but family would welcome a germy family of six for four days in December?

That was a ton of fun, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just feeling like tomorrow might really be my January 1st. No workout today, no food shopping, no prepping for the week ahead. We picked up a pizza on the way home and I scratched out a meal plan somewhere in New Jersey. Luckily we made it home in about 4 hours, but we’re all still wiped out. We have enough milk to get through breakfast, so I’m just looking forward to a shower and pjs.

But I am so excited for the new year. And I don’t think I have ever been this excited for January. The fall is a busy time of year, and then from Thanksgiving to Christmas things just pick up speed. The week between Christmas and New Year’s feels like a limbo land. The bulk of the craziness is over but you can’t really settle back into routine. New Year’s Eve is coming, the kids are off from school, the house is still crazy from Christmas, there’s still more family stuff going on…I will be so happy to do a big, normal food shopping and settle in for a little winter downtime.

I’m also itching to get at some planning and organizing. I have a new planner and calendar I haven’t touched yet, and hope to sit down tomorrow to work on those. (I’m sure organized people have this done already!) I have been reading up on and practicing setting goals and that kind of stuff. I feel the excitement of a new year and a chance to refresh and recommit. In my wonderings I stumbled across the idea of a bullet journal. It sounds like something I need to explore….Have you ever heard of a bullet journal?

I’m also looking forward to settling down to my regular workouts and nutrition. Too many “treats” have me feeling pretty gross. Time to reboot!

I am a week behind in Body Beast. I was supposed to finish up on Saturday, the 7th, but being sick and the holidays and then being away have me off schedule. The timing had been perfect as I was going to start Core de Force on the 9th as my program for the Beachbody Health Bet. But, things aren’t always perfect and don’t always go as planned. I’ll have to overlap the two for a week or so. I am excited to complete Body Beast, and even more excited to get going with Core de Force! I think it will be a nice change. The Health Bet couldn’t come at a better time. I love the added accountability and motivation.

Are you hatching plans for 2017? Making resolutions? I’d love to hear some!

December: New Month, New Goals

December doesn’t seem like a really good time to set goals for some reason, does it? It’s a busy month. Lots of shopping, running around, decorating, baking, socializing, class parties, winter concerts, etc….

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And you don’t need a new month to set goals. I love that I have learned (and really believe) that any day can be a fresh start, a good day to start anew, a time to set goals. That said, there’s something about a new month, a new year, a Monday, that feels like a fresh start. So, don’t let a Tuesday or March or the 4th of the month keep you from making a new start, but take advantage of those days that just feel like a natural time for it.

I’ve been in a goal setting frame of mind lately. I think it’s an area I neglect. I don’t really set goals, and if I do they’re usually vague. A vague idea of what I want to do. But a lot of the reading I’ve done lately, and things I’ve listened to in podcasts and stuff, has emphasized the importance of clarity. It makes sense to me. So it’s an area I’ve chosen to work on…

This month’s goals are…

  1. To set goals (haha!). Clear ones.
  2. Run 2-3 times a week.
  3. Decorate more for Christmas.
  4. Enjoy the season and avoid the stress.
  5. Read books that will help me grow (at least 10 minutes each day)

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#1 Well, I talked about goal setting. I want to really work on the vision I have for my life. I’m not sure where I’m going. Does this sound crazy? I’m 41; shouldn’t I know? This might be because I’m approaching a time of transition in my life. Next year my youngest will go to kindergarten. Full-day kindergarten. I feel like a phase in my life is coming to a close. (I will not cry right now, I will not cry right now, I will not cry right now) So this raises some questions. What will I do? Will I go back to work? I don’t want to go back to teaching full-time, not yet at least, maybe not ever. I don’t want to get into too much detail here, but this is on my mind. I need to figure out what I want so I can better go about making it happen. I think having a bigger picture kind of goal will help me with goal setting in the different aspects of my life.

#2 I think I need to run more. I love my at-home workouts and I will never give them up. They are my base. They make me feel good, I enjoy them, and they get me the best physical results. But running is good for me in other ways. Mostly it’s good for me because it gets me outside. There are benefits to exercising outside that you just can’t get at home. Fresh air and sunshine are so good for us; even when it’s cold air and clouded sunshine. So I’ll be happy to roll out of bed and go work out in my living room on all those cold winter mornings. But I know I need to get out for it too sometimes. I have house-cat tendencies and I need to make sure I don’t become a full-on hermit sometimes 🙂

#3 This is not to impress anyone but my children. I am low maintenance when it comes to holidays and home decorating. But my children love decorations! I have overheard several conversations over the years between kids about what kinds of decorations kids have at their house. Danny, he’s 4, was especially disappointed at Halloween time. He brought it up again yesterday, and I said, “Well, we put out some pumpkins….And a scarecrow.” The pumpkins are the size of baseballs and they were plopped lamely on the mantle. The scarecrow is about a foot tall and I stuck him behind the piles of crap on the dining room table. I felt guilty even as I said it. So, I have decided to up my game this year to make them happy. They are also easy to please and very appreciative, so I know it won’t take a killer light show or anything.

#4 Again, this one is inspired by my little ones. I don’t want to be stressed or overtired this holiday season, because I hate when I get snappy with them at happy times. I also want to watch Frosty with them and bake with them and have fun with it all.

#5 This is a topic for another day. But I think reading books that are thought-provoking and/or positive and/or encouraging can only be good. Some people might find the idea too touchy-feely or silly or whatever. But I think it’s important to put time into developing as a person. Reading or listening to positive stuff with this intention is an easy step in the right direction.

I’m sure more goals will pop up as I go along, but this is my new month mindset for today.

What are your goals for December?

Do you set goals for yourself?

28-Day Plank Challenge

Have you seen challenges everywhere? Especially plank challenges and squat challenges? I have and I have never done one! I’ve been most intrigued by the plank challenge, but never actually went ahead and did it even though my belly is in need of the most attention. To put it nicely.

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A few weeks ago a friend mentioned doing a plank challenge and I thought it would be a fun thing to try for the first time on my Facebook page! What better way to honor my trouble spot? It will be a tribute to my core, the core I can get so cranky about. Maybe it will be just what my poor core needs….

So I’ve been looking around online at different challenges to get ideas, and I put together my own schedule. My very own 28-Day Plank Challenge. I decided to go with the basic forearm plank to keep it simple. There are a lot of plank options out there, and I think trying out different ones could be a fun way to try them out and focus on strengthening different areas of the core. For now, though, I want to focus on one exercise. I also went with 28 days instead of 30 or 31 because I’m a nerd and I like to finish up on a Sunday, not some crazy day like Tuesday.

We will start at 20 seconds. If you have not been doing planks regularly, or have never done one, this might be a long time. You can shorten the length of time and/or modify the plank by doing it on your knees. If you have been doing planks this might seem too easy. You can always modify if the times don’t seem right for you. We can adjust the schedule- add or subtract seconds here and there- so that it works for where you and your core are at 🙂

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We start Monday, May 30th!!! Each day I’ll post an accountability post on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/stayathomefit. All you have to do is comment on that post to let us know you did your plank. We’ll encourage each other through the 4 weeks, and hopefully share our progress!

How do you do a plank with proper form? You can watch a quick video from Fitness magazine here. Do pay attention to form- I don’t want anyone to get hurt! And of course if you have any back issues or injuries that put you at risk for injury modify or consult your doctor first!!

What are the benefits of doing a plank? It’s a wonderful way to strengthen your core, but also your upper and lower body. It can increase your flexibility, improve your posture, and have a positive effect on your mood! I’m excited about all of those things! I hope you’ll join us 🙂

 

 

Progress & Pictures

I just did something that makes me feel a little like a crazy person, like I’m a little unhinged from reality…I posted before and after pictures on my Stay at Home Fit Facebook page.

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This was hard for many reasons- I hate pictures of myself, always have. I just hate them- I’m not very photogenic, they make me more self-conscious, blah blah blah. All of this coaching stuff has gotten me to confront my discomfort for sure. Sweaty selfies are still painful, but I know they’re important. They hold me accountable. People who are supporting me (and maybe whom I’m motivating) might be motivated by actually seeing me going through the motions. So I get it and that’s why I do it, and I think- you know what? It’s probably really good for me too.

Half-naked pictures though in the dead of winter? Ugh. Takes it to a whole new level. But I felt like I owed it to some people to share my progress. There’s one person in particular who is in my head- she’s encouraged me, and her comments have inspired me too- inspired me to take better care of myself- eat better, workout harder, really commit to what I’m doing. I felt like I owed it to her to show her my physical progress. If I saw someone post on and off for 8 weeks about this great new program, when it was over I’d want some kind of conclusion I think. Like, “So? What happened?”

Well, this is what happened…

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I have mixed feelings to be honest. And it’s hard to share some of it- I feel vulnerable. I also want to be positive and have a good attitude, but part of me is just sick of my damn belly. Yes, I love my belly- it was home to 4 beautiful children, it’s mine, it’s healthy, I’m strong and all that. All that is true. And I think the last 3 years have been a turning point in my health and fitness because of a change of mindset- I went from wanting to be skinny to wanting to be strong and fit. I am also a thousand times more confident than I’ve ever been, at any time in my life. All that said, it kinda sucks when you work out consistently and eat really healthy and you still have a muffin top.

I have progressed- I am proud of my body and I feel comfortable in my own skin. I don’t dread getting dressed like I used to….I just have this trouble spot. The better part of me just wants to be patient and knows that if I keep doing what I’m doing I’ll continue to progress. I think part of the reason my middle is lagging behind the rest of me is that the belly is often the last part to go. I think it’s also because I never in my life worked my core. I have no muscle memory in there. Never having been fit or in shape means I have a lot more work to do. Also, it’s my body type. I’m an apple, if you like the whole fruit thing.

Your body is part of who you are, like it or not. For most of us, our physical selves affect our mental and emotional selves. Number one, it’s healthier to be fit, to lose weight (especially weight around our middle, like my pet), to exercise and eat healthy, of course. But feeling good about ourselves is important too. We don’t have to be skinny, or look like a supermodel, or aspire to some unrealistic airbrushed body type, but as my husband once said, “It’s hard to get out of bed when your pants don’t fit.” It’s nice to feel comfortable with your physical self, it’s nice to fit comfortably in your clothes.

Part of me was afraid to share because I feel like some people might be like, “she does all this work and looks like that? why bother?” I can’t worry about that. I can tell you I am proud of the glimmer of abs on the horizon. For the first time in my life I am seeing the beginnings of definition. I can also tell you that my body has transformed over the last 3 years- from the outside and the inside. My legs are strong and muscular, I have biceps, my upper body is strong and looks strong. I am healthier. I am no longer plagued by stomach trouble like i was almost my whole life, I feel a thousand times better, I have more energy. The most wonderful part is the mental and emotional part, though. That has meant the most to me.

Overall, I think before and after pictures are so helpful as part of your fitness journey. They are motivating and they are a better gauge of progress than the scale. That little bugger is temperamental, and we have all heard how muscle weighs more than fat and all that. I think taking “before” pictures before beginning a workout program really gets you in the right mindset, too. I know it sucks taking them. I know you feel ridiculous (and maybe like a crazy person) taking them. But I also know that they serve a useful purpose, and you might look back at them one day and feel a great sense of accomplishment.

So what next? I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I love my workouts and I love my clean eating. And after my next round of Hammer & Chisel I’m going to share some new pictures and we’ll see what happens. Either way, i’m going to focus on the positives and be kind to myself about all those things that bug me.

Finishing a Workout Program

Yesterday was the last day of Les Mills Pump for me! I love finishing a workout program. There is a real feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. I’m proud of myself! It was hard; some of these workouts are an hour long. I struggled through some of them, and there were some days I didn’t want to start.

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Les Mills Pump is a 13-week program, so it’s been part of my life for a while now. Finishing a program is kind of a big deal. If you’re like me, you can probably think back to lots of fitness programs or diets or workout fads you started and didn’t finish.  And I think that might be part of the magic of Beachbody. You commit to a program, and something about the way it’s all mapped out helps you succeed. When you succeed, you feel good, you can see and feel results, and you are motivated to continue. When you commit to a program, see it through  to the end, and complete it you feel so good. You feel proud of yourself. I love this quote about self-esteem and I think it’s so true.

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I am proud of who I am as a person, and I’m proud of various things I’ve done in my life. I’m proud of being a stay-at-home-mom. But there are few things I see the finish of day-to-day as a stay-at-home mom. I’m not handing in a project by a deadline or getting an A in a class. I’m tremendously proud of my children, and I have feelings of satisfaction when my children do something, but it’s pride and awe of them and who they are and joy at being the one who gets to watch these moments. I feel good about stuff, and I love being home with them. There’s nothing I’d rather do. But sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the needs and desires of your family, and feel a little lost (as an individual) in the shuffle.

When I finish a tough workout I feel proud of myself. It’s a great way to start the day. And the feeling I get when I finish a whole program is amazing….

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I beat myself up about my tendency to start things and not finish them. I also hate the quote, “It’s the thought that counts” because I have terrible follow-through. I’m scatter-brained at home, I write notes to people and don’t send them, I have gifts meant for people from three years ago in my closet…Follow-through is not my strong suit. But I finished Les Mills Pump. And Insanity, and Piyo, and P90X3, and Chalean Extreme, and every other Beachbody program I’ve started. I stick to it and I am so proud of that. I’ve made a commitment to my health and well-being and I haven’t given up, I’ve made changes for life.

This program was great and I definitely feel stronger than I ever have. I did an Insanity workout on one of my cardio days and I could do more than I used to be able to do, and do some of the moves that I really used to struggle with.

I also run faster. When I run up a hill I feel like my quads and hamstrings are powering me up…I feel them engage and think of my workouts! A few years ago I don’t think I knew what a quad was 🙂

I see the glimmer of abs on the horizon, too…my stomach is definitely my most difficult area. I am an apple for sure, and it is very frustrating. I am trying to be patient, but I’ll admit I have days where I get just plain pissed off that my middle isn’t further along. This program definiltey gave them a nudge in the right direction, though. I can see a little bit of definition.

My “core” also feels stronger. I can keep my lower back pressed to the floor during crunches, which I could never really do before. I think having a complete lack of muscle in my core is what’s making it take so long…I think I had so far to go to build any muscle that it made doing the exercises difficult and made for some slow progress. I know if I keep up the clean eating, and stay consistent with my exercise, I’ll see more results. I just have to watch that I don’t get impatient and sabotage my hard work with crappy eating! I’m so good so much of the time, but I still struggle with stress eating sometimes!

So there is a great feeling of satisfaction that comes with completing one of these programs. It’s also exciting! And it’s fun. I loved Les Mills Pump. I am soooo excited to start my next program: Hammer & Chisel. I feel like a little kid over these programs sometimes. I can’t wait for it to start!

Between now and then I will be busy with the wonderful Christmas season. I’ll play around with some workouts I haven’t done in a while or have been wanting to try. I’ll definitely throw a few Pump workouts in there to stay on top of the gains I’ve made. I’ll eat clean hopefully 80% of the time and enjoy the other 20% without feeling too guilty!

What are you going to do to stay on track during the holidays?

 

Post-Thanksgiving Update

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving! It might be my favorite holiday…I love the homey, relaxed coziness of it all.

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We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here….filled with treats such as this:

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My daughter loves to bake, and she is really good at it! She found the recipe online and did almost all the work herself. I helped with the frosting. “Pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.” Oh, my…

which is why I am getting ready for this again:

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Yes, I overindulged. I enjoyed it, I didn’t fret about it, I don’t really regret it (well, maybe that last cupcake was a bad idea). But sometimes when I indulge like that it leaves me wanting more. So, I started a 21 day stretch of tightening things up (hopefully literally as well as figuratively) and will help kick those cravings with a 3-Day Refresh starting Sunday. I really can’t wait…I felt so good after the last one!

I did start my Thanksgiving off with a 5-mile Turkey Trot! That was a lot of fun, and I am very proud of how well I did- for me. I am a s-l-o-w r-u-n-n-e-r…but my finish time was my best ever! It goes to show how much all my other workouts carry over into overall fitness. I run faster now than I did when all I did was run!

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I’m also really excited to share the release of Hammer & Chisel! It’s a brand new Beachbody program featuring 2 trainers- Autumn from 21 Day Fix and Sagi from Body Beast. I have never done Body Beast (not yet anyway) but I have heard amazing things about it; it seems like the people who do it love it. Hammer & Chisel was just released December 1st. I will be starting that program in January to kick off 2016, and I am really looking forward to that, while enjoying the rest of this year.

I have one more week left of Les Mills Pump. I can’t believe it! I am going to miss it…it’s funny how you get attached to these programs. I have definitely seen some changes with Pump and I love, love, love the weights. It’s a program I’ll come back to, and probably sneak in some of the workouts here and there in the meantime.

That’s where I’m at now…and looking to recommit to my blog! Sometimes I shy away because I feel like I don’t have anything important or meaningful enough to post, but this is my life and my “journey” (I feel really sappy using that word, but that’s what it is) and maybe even the boring parts will help someone 🙂

I am grateful each day that I have discovered all the joy there is in getting fit…

My Review of the 3 Day Refresh

I just tried the 3 Day Refresh for the first time in September. Before I began, I googled it to get an idea of what I was in for…and I was terrified by what I saw. Well, maybe terrified is a slight exaggeration. But I was nervous- it seemed terrible!

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I LOVE the 3 Day Refresh!!! It was difficult, yes, but not terribly difficult. I never felt woozy or light-headed or sick. I didn’t cramp up or have trouble sleeping. And when it was over…I felt AMAZING! I was elated, full of energy, and had zero cravings for anything other than healthy food. The feelings lasted a while, too.

I did not lose a ton of weight. I had seen stories of people losing 8 or 9 pounds, or at least 5 or 6. I lost about 3 pounds, but I’m not a drop-weight kind of person. I am pretty near my goal weight (if I had to pick a number- I know it’s not all about that number, but I do have one in my head). I was happy though. It did nudge me past a number I’ve been stuck at for a while. And while I felt a little deflated on the third morning when I looked at the scale, the way I felt the next day more than compensated for it- I felt so good.

So I’ll give you a run-through of what the 3 days look like…each day is pretty much the same. I kept my foods pretty much the same too, but you are given some choices in the guide book.

My box arrived and everything is very clearly spelled out for you…

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Basically, you have Shakeology for breakfast, along with a serving of fruit. So I had strawberry Shakeology blended with ice and water, and half a banana each day for breakfast. Mid-morning I had a cup of green tea. Coffee is allowed, but this was my first time doing it and I wanted to do it by the book to get the best results. In the late morning you drink a fiber drink. It was not tasty, but it was not awful either. I just chugged it down. It reminded me of Metamucil.

For lunch, you have a shake, a fruit option, a veggie option, and a healthy fat. I loved lunch! So I would have the shake (I did not like the shake- I ended up chugging the shake down, too) and half a grapefruit, and celery with sun butter. It felt so satisfying.

You can also have an afternoon snack, and I loved this too. I had celery and almond butter every afternoon. I had never had almond butter before because of nut allergies in the house. But I was very careful and cleaned up well after eating it…and it was soooo good! Very satisfying snack.

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Dinner consists of a shake and an option from a list of recipes. I had the same thing each day- a big old salad. It seemed like the most food to me! And it was tasty- a little olive oil and sunflower seeds. Yum!

The 3-Day Refresh guide offers you a list of options for the fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and dinners you get each day. You can also have vegetable broth with dinner. I had it the first two nights, but not the third. There is no animal protein included in the three days, which is why I chose the package where the vegan Shakeology is included. Plant protein is easier to digest.

I felt pretty good the 3 days. I was definitely hungry, but like I said earlier, it was not terrible. I exercised the first and third days (a short workout) and went for a walk with my husband and children on the second day. So I wasn’t languishing on a coach somewhere. I did have a slight, dull headache the whole three days. I’m guessing that was from no coffee!

I’ve always had mixed feelings about cleanses…I believe our bodies are pretty efficient at doing what they need to do, so we don’t really need cleanses. But then I feel like our bodies are up against so much- so many toxins come into them from the food we eat and the air we breathe. They work hard all the time, maybe a cleanse is a good way to help the body out. A cleanse is a good way to reset the body and help you get your eating on the right track. I also think cleanses can be useful when you’re feeling stuck. Sometimes you can break through a barrier with a cleanse and your body is revved up for better weight loss.

The 3-Day Refresh definitely helped me with my cravings. When I finished, all I craved was good, healthy, natural food. I felt fantastic. My energy was also through the roof. I felt truly elated- happy, strong, positive, refreshed. It was wonderful! And I will definitely do it again and again, periodically to give my body a break, or after a vacation or holiday, to get back into good habits. And (ugh- my first time sharing pictures like this anywhere!) I was happy with my results!! Excuse the mess behind me 🙂

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My tips for the 3-Day Refresh:

  • Plan Ahead. Definitely make sure you have everything you need for each day ahead of time. You don’t want to get caught hungry!
  • Time it Right. Don’t plan to do it when you have a special occasion or a big event. The added stress won’t help! Try to do it when you don’t have much going on. I also found the first day the hardest, so maybe plan around a weekend.
  • Drink your Water. Drink, drink, drink. It will help you to feel more full.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by my experience. Yes, I’m a Beachbody coach, but I truly loved the way I felt when it was all over. And I did not gain the weight back on day 4. In fact, I’ve since lost a few more pounds! It helped me break through a plateau. That’s a big success for me.

Have you ever tried the 3-Day Refresh?

 

My Beachbody Story

In June of 2012 I went to a friend’s house for coffee. I had just had my fourth baby, a boy, in May. I love this friend, and I don’t see her very regularly, but when we get together we have a ton of stuff to talk about. That day she told me about a program she saw an infomercial about on TV called Insanity. I had never heard of it…

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I went home that day and watched the informercial on my phone while I nursed my son. It looked pretty crazy. When I spoke to my friend again, I said, “That looks amazing. I just don’t think I could ever do it.” And I believed that. I had never done a pushup outside of a physical fitness test. I may not have even known what a burpee was at the time. I went on with my summer.

It was a fun summer, I’m sure. But there was a growing uneasiness inside me. I had gotten “almost fit” before my fourth with a brief stint of running. But I was feeling very heavy, very uncomfortable in my own skin. My husband has a quote I love: “It’s hard to get out of bed when your pants don’t fit.” And that is so true! All vanity aside, this is the body we live in and spend the day in and we have to clothe it and when we can’t do that comfortably it just sucks. I felt out of control, weak, helpless, unhealthy.

That September, my birth month, I just did it- I ordered Insanity. It was somewhat impulsive, but I feel like it had been floating around in my head since June. It was a lot of money for us; money is tight with me staying at home and I probably had no business spending $120 on a fitness program. But I did it. And I tracked the shipping every single day.

When it arrived I took the fit test. I almost threw up. That would happen again a few times that week. And throughout the program. I also cried a few times. But I stuck with it and I somehow loved it. I loved the craziness of it. I loved what I was doing with my body. I loved pushing myself to the point of tears. I loved the challenge and the sense of accomplishment that came after. And I saw results. Pretty quickly. I saw improvements in what I was doing, and I saw changes in my body. That was very satisfying. When I saw friends at Thanksgiving that I hadn’t seen since Labor Day, it was an almost jaw-dropping reaction. All of this was good for my self-esteem, my confidence. I also started to thrive on the joy you get from exercise- the endorphins, the good feelings it generates, the improvement in your mood. I became a better mother- I was happier, more fun. I had more energy and more patience because I was becoming more at peace with myself. I felt better, so my mood was better, so I treated those around me better.

I also loved the example I was setting for my kids. They watched me a lot in those days; we only have one TV in our house. They watched me sweat and struggle and push through and finish and feel proud. I think those were good lessons for physical challenges and any other challenge. I was proud of myself.

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I would go on to do Insanity again, and then I tried other Beachbody programs. I joined a Facebook accountability group (grudgingly) and was surprised by how much I liked the sharing and the support. I have loved every program I have done- Insanity, T25, Insanity: The Asylum, P90X3, PiYo, Chalene Extreme, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Insanity Max 30. They are all motivating and they give you results. The variety is great, but you know you’re gonna see progress. My body is completely different than it ever was; I used to wonder if you could change your body and I have learned that you can!

I have learned a ton about nutrition and clean eating with the programs. And I continue to grow…I have a lot of fitness goals yet to meet. I need to work on some issues. I want to do a pull-up, unassisted. Pushups drive me crazy; I want to be able to bang out 20 pushups no problem. I still have a sweet tooth that pops up unexpectedly and won’t go away. But my pants fit. It is much easier to get out of bed when your pants fit, when you don’t feel like you’re expanding like a balloon.

There is a particular moment that sticks out in my mind from years ago…I was on a canoe trip. It was one of the funnest days ever. I had a great time. But I remember being in the water, with clothes on and a life vest, and having to climb back into the canoe. I couldn’t do it. I felt like a beached whale (I wasn’t particularly heavy at the time- just totally out of shape) and I couldn’t do it. I shrugged it off and somehow got back in and had fun the rest of the day. But I was struck by that feeling of not being able to haul my fat self back into the canoe.

I think part of the success I’ve had the last three years has been because of a shift in goals…yes, I would like to be thin and to wear clothes that fit nice and look good. But I mostly want to be strong, to be fit, to be healthy. I want to set goals for myself and meet them; I want to do things I thought I could never do.

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I have become passionate about health and fitness and nutrition and it was three years of loving Beachbody that finally got me to become a coach. I wanted to add Shakeology to my life, too, and knew the discount would help out there. So I signed up…and I love the added motivation and accountability that being a coach brings. I love seeing it change other peoples’ lives that way it has changed mine. I get downright mushy about it, because it has genuinely changed every part of my life. And all for the good.