Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whole 30- Week 3

We're now into the last part of our third week on the program! I can honestly say that it has been MUCH easier to follow the past 2 weeks. Week one was a bit torturous. Feeling the effects of ridding your system of sugar, dairy, and wheat feels very hard before you start to feel the benefits.

A simple chart that helps you understand what the "rules" are:

Week one I had cravings, like I just wanted to get a candy bar or ice cream. I never eat candy bars really, so that was kind of strange. Looking back, I think my body was just craving the artificial sweetness that sugar (artificial and added refined sugars) adds to food. I really encourage anyone aiming to try this program to read up on it first, but the fact is this: food additives and sugars (both fake and "real" added sugars) trick your body into craving tastes that do NOT exist naturally in nature. Once you detox yourself from those tastes by cutting them out, you can really appreciate how food actually tastes. I swear, apples taste sweeter to me now.

Week two I felt like I was really into the groove. I wasn't feeling as hungry as I did in week one. I figured out how to cook enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day. Breakfasts have been either hard boiled eggs or a banana with almond butter or almond milk (some people disagree with almond milk on The Whole 30, but I'm using an unsweetened one). I've had a bunch of really great dinners that have been filling and flavorful. Spices are your friend here, and if you under season, things will be bland.

Snacks are either an apple, a few nuts (almonds or cashews), or a lara bar. Tonight we're doing breakfast for dinner with poached eggs, bacon (nitrate and sugar free from Trader Joe's), and sweet potato home fries with peppers and onions. Sliced avocado on the side. That's a perfect example of a meal that will NOT leave you hungry! Tomorrow night I'm making Barbacoa Beef from Paleomg. Her blog is one of my favorite resources, and her recipes have been hits with us.

Matt is feeling really good as well, and has officially hit the 30 pound weight loss mark! His weight loss started back in October, so it's been slow and steady. I think he should be most proud of getting through the holidays without gaining anything back, even it things stalled slightly then.

So, are we going to turn the Whole 30 into an ongoing food regimen? No. Because that would mean cutting out alcohol (not gonna happen!), never enjoying deserts, and not being able to enjoy some favorite foods that aren't necessarily that healthy (pizza). We're going to stick to a mainly Paleo diet, and allow splurges now and then. I'm not going to say we'll have one "cheat" day, or meal, or any real count of when to splurge, rather we will try to do our best with diet and indulge when we feel it's worth it.

I will say that the biggest effect I feel physically is having no bloating. My stomach has been completely flat since we've started, and I'm sure cutting dairy is the reason. I've seen a lot more muscle definition as well. I didn't take any pictures before, but I might post an after to show it off!

I've officially filled my last notebook with workouts- I always write out my class design and workout for that day. Yesterday, I picked this one up:

Maybe a little cheesy, but the cover says "Live Your Dreams, Discover Your Purpose". I really feel that teaching fitness enables me to do just that. Every single person that stays after class to tell me that my class is the best they've ever taken, or that they love how each class is a totally different workout, really inspires me to keep working at being the best instructor I can be. Helping people achieve their weight loss, fitness goals, and lifestyle changes is such a wonderful motivator to continue living my own healthy lifestyle.
This weekend we'll be having some fun with built in babysitters, I mean grandparents, visiting. Connor can't wait to show off how big of a boy he is. New words are keys, and "cheesus" (you don't want to know the translation there). Let's just say Matt and I now know we have to watch our mouths. Shit just got real.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quick Workout

A friend and former client texted me this morning and wanted some input on an at home workout. Hi Kristin, I know you're reading!! 

Try the workout I sent her, and Kristin, make sure you do it because I'll be checking in later ;)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meals lately/ How to maximize the results in your workout

We are now into week 2 of the whole 30. Only (well, that's an understatement) 3 weeks to go! I've been reading a lot of other people's experiences on the program, and I relate to a lot of what they're reporting. Basically, I've read that many people say the first week is tough, and you start to feel a little discouraged by how restrictive the program is. I felt that way 100%. I also was dealing with feeling a constant sense of hunger in the evenings. I'd have a snack of an apple and almond butter most nights, but then worry that I was taking in too many calories. I'm not trying to lose weight, but I'm not trying to gain weight by any means. Matt has also been frustrated because he gained a pound in our first week (despite feeling like he's hungry)! He's going to stick with it and weigh in again next week. I know the program suggests to not weigh in, but that doesn't really work for Matt (who has been doing so well with his weight loss) and it also goes against how I maintain my weight.

This program can be tough if you're not a big meat eater, which I am not. I eat meat (not much red meat), but it's not something I crave, and I don't have large portions of it. That can make it hard to get full, especially at dinner. I've been eating sweet potatoes with a lot of our dinners to help get full.

I loved our dinner last night. We had fajita style chicken, peppers, and onions. Instead of cooking it in a grill pan like I usually do, I baked it in the oven. It was easy clean up, so I think I'll stick with this method.

I sliced up boneless/skinless chicken into strips, and sliced one (very) large onion and 3 bell peppers. Then I added cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt on top (just estimated amounts). I squeezed the juice of half a lime on top before baking at 400 for about 40 minutes.

Keeping it easy, I cubed avocado in the shell, juiced the other half of a lime on top, and added chopped cilantro. It was a VERY easy version of guacamole. We each had half of the avocado with our dinner. This was nice and filling!

On to a little workout stuff. One method I use in my classes to really get the most effective results is to pulse or hold a movement at the most challenging part.
For example, instead of doing a regular squat, try squatting low, pulsing up halfway up, bring it back down, and then come all the way up. You really get double the muscle work done in that one squat. Try that method with other simple exercises to get the idea down, and then you can move onto more complicated moves.
I always love to work total body instead of just one body part, so combine a lunge and curl with the pulse. Start low in the lunge, come up halfway with your legs (they will be working the entire time) as you do a bicep curl halfway. Pulse it back down as you lower your arms, and then come all the way up with legs extended straight and arms curled up. It's a great way to mix things up!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Workout and some treadmill running

It's been way too long since I've posted a workout, and for that, I am sorry! I'm up to teaching 6 classes per week, so my workouts have mainly been teaching my classes with a run thrown in here and there. This weather has put a serious cramp in my running because I really hate running on the treadmill. I'll run outside in the cold, but with the snow totals we've had, the sidewalks have been kind of non-existent. I was all dressed and ready to run this morning and then saw the freezing rain. That's just a little too much for me, honestly. Rain? I'll do it. Freezing rain? Get the hell outta here.

Snow days brought out our creativity, and Connor found a new love for coloring and play dough.

Yesterday we were still dealing with the clean up from almost a foot of snow, and my morning class was cancelled. After a snow day on Thursday, I needed to get out of the house, so I bundled Connor up and headed to the Y. I geared my self up (mentally) to get on the treadmill, which is one of my least favorite activities. Once I was going, I felt really good and did 4 miles. My mental capacity on the treadmill is usually 3 miles, so this was big! It's crazy how I can run really far outside, yet inside each minute drags on so slowly.

You might be wondering why I forced myself to get on the treadmill when I clearly dislike it. That really goes against everything I believe with working out. I'm a huge advocate for finding something you really enjoy, and sticking with it.

I love running outside which is why I am not a treadmill runner. A few months ago I signed up for the Philadelphia Love half marathon, which is on March 30th. I really haven't mentioned it here though because between the snow and teaching so many classes each week, I really haven't trained! This is also something that goes against everything I believe about working out! To say I'm a little nervous is an understatement. My longest run has been 6 miles last weekend. I felt great, so that combined with doing other workouts so often is making me think I'll be able to finish the race without a problem. Fingers crossed. The forecast looks like it should be warming up soon, so I still have time to get the long runs in there. I'm hoping to do 7 next weekend, and then add a mile each week to build up to 11 before I taper. Not a training schedule I'd recommend!

After my 4 miles I did a circuit of:

Bosu crunches- opposite hand to toe reach for 30 secs, switch sides
1 min plank holding sides of bosu
1 min ab cincher- forearms in plank position on round side of bosu, aim hips side to side while drawing belly button to spine
12 kettle bell snatches per arm

I repeated that twice and was done.

This week I'll be trying out a few more new recipes to keep on the Whole 30 plan, so look out for those! I have to say, the


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 3: Whole 30 and a Recipe

We have officially completed 3 days on the Whole 30! Only....27 more to go, ha!

When I first read about what the plan consisted of, it looked like more of a list of what you couldn't have vs. what you could eat. I'm sure that is pretty intimidating to most people (including myself), but it honestly hasn't been that challenging.

What I've learned in the past few days about how to succeed on this plan: you need to meal plan in a new way. When I typically meal plan, it's for 4 dinners. Sometimes we have leftovers that are taken for lunch, other times Matt picks something up and I'll have a few different snack type things for lunch. Many of those items include granola bars, peanut butter and an apple, a yogurt, cheese stick, etc. ALL items that are banned on the Whole 30. Meal plans need to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we can't just plan on eating out Friday and Saturday nights. I'm cooking a crockpot meal tomorrow that will be dinner for Thursday and Saturday nights. We're having Whole 30 friendly pulled pork. Of course, the difference with this recipe is that there is no sugar (which is always one of the first ingredients with any bottled or prepared sauce). This recipe uses pineapple to sweeten it. I'll serve it with roasted broccoli and carrots.

Matt and I are both feeling really good. We haven't been having any crazy cravings (thankfully), but Matt has had a few headaches. From what I've read, this seems pretty typical. I think it's probably a mixture of sugar withdrawal and caffeine withdrawal. We have both only been having one small cup of coffee each morning because unsweetened black coffee basically sucks.

So far this week we've had Chili:

Salads with veggies, grilled chicken, and roasted veggies on the side.
And, Curry Chicken with peppers, sweet potatoes, and onions.
Now, the picture of the Chicken Curry really doesn't do it justice (forgot to take a picture until I had packed up the leftovers in tupperware). This recipe is SO GOOD. And I'm completely patting myself on the back, because it's something I pretty much winged without a recipe. I love the Trader Joe's Thai red curry sauce, but one of the first ingredients is sugar. I looked at the other main ingredients in the recipe, and made this version. Try it!
1-1.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 can light coconut milk
4 red/orange bell peppers
1 large white or yellow onion
2 sweet potatoes cut into medium chunks
1 T cumin
1.5 T curry (more if you like it spicer, less if not)
2 t garlic powder
1 t powdered (more of fresh if you have it) ginger
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro on top (as much as you like)
1 lime wedge per serving to squeeze on top
Olive oil to saute
Pre-heat oven to 410. Throw the chopped sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until fork tender, I do about 15 minutes, flip, and another 15 minutes.
In a small sauce pan, combine coconut milk and all spices and heat over medium  low heat. Whisk it together as it heats. I let it simmer while the chicken and peppers cooked, it will continue to cook in the larger pot with the chicken and veggies.
In a large pot, brown the chicken pieces on medium high heat in olive oil (or coconut oil), set aside. Add a small amount of oil back into the pan, and throw in the veggies. Sautee until browned, about 8 minutes. Add chicken back in. Pour the coconut milk/spice mixture over the chicken and peppers. Let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
I served this with the sweet potatoes on the bottom of a bowl with the chicken curry mixture on top. Yum!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Whole 30

I can't stop reading about or hearing from people who have done The Whole 30 program, and my curiosity recently made me start to read more about it. Trying to sum up the Whole 30 isn't easy, so I'll give you some basic info straight from the source.

What is the Whole30®?

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?

This will change your life.

We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact—the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and tens of thousands of people have done it since, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion. (Need convincing? Just read some of our stunning testimonials.) The Whole 30

I first thought it was a "diet" intending to cause weight loss, but that really isn't the main point. People do lose weight on the program often, but not always. Even though I try to maintain a healthy diet, I've been feeling like too much sugar and dairy have been creeping in (I have a minor Reece's addiction). I'm hoping that by being pretty strict and cutting sugar and dairy out completely, I'll be less likely to reach for them. I gave up dairy for about two months when Connor was a newborn because I thought he might have a dairy intolerance. While I don't think he really did, what I noticed was how much better I felt off dairy. I didn't feel bloated, and my skin was completely clear.

Cutting out legumes isn't something I've ever done, or wanted to do. I'm going to get rid of them during the Whole 30 and then re-evaluate when I incorporate them back in. I like the idea of starting from a "clean slate" in terms of diet so you can really see what works for you, and even more importantly, what doesn't work for you.

Matt has agreed to sticking to the plan for the 30 days, and I'm trying to make it easier for him by preparing our dinners and helping him decide what to eat or bring for lunches.

This week I'm making a new chili recipe from a paleo blog that I found, Chocolate Chili. The blog is called The Clothes Make the Girl, and the author writes a lot of tasty looking recipes. I'm also going to make a chicken curry with peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes, which is a recipe I made up and already make on a regular basis. I'm making big batches of everything so that we can either have leftovers for lunches or other dinners. For breakfast I'm going to either do hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit or an egg scramble with veggies. Lunches will either be leftovers from the previous night's dinner or a veggie packed salad with grilled chicken on top.

I'll report back with my take on the Whole 30 periodically, and while I'm not in it to lose weight, I'll certainly update you with my results! Hopefully he won't kill me for writing this, but Matt is down 22 (or 23?) pounds and looking amazing! He's really been so on point with food, and it very motivated to give the next 30 days a shot.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Focus on Bosu Training

Hi All! Something I've been loving recently is the Bosu ball.

The purpose of the Bosu is to challenge your balance by providing an unstable surface (instead of the floor, which is a stable surface). This forces you to find your balance by using your core. You must utilize your stabilizing muscles in order to stay balanced on the ball.

If you're new to Bosu training, start by taking a simple exercise and incorporate the ball. A good move to try is plank up and downs. Start in high plank with your hands on the ball and lower down to your forearms. You'll need to draw your belly button back to your spine and really fire up the core. Try and keep your hips somewhat level to the ground. They will move a bit, but shouldn't be flying side to side.

Using the Bosu is a good way to switch up your workout routine, and most gyms have them readily available. Bosu training can provide a total body workout without having to use any additional weights.
I'm very excited to announce that we are starting a Bosu Training class at the Y this upcoming Tuesday at 10:30 am. The focus will be total body training with the Bosu, focusing on body weight training, cardiovascular conditioning, and core work.
Try out this circuit of my favorite Bosu exercises. I alternate higher intensity cardio moves with strength moves to give you a chance to catch your breath, but not enough of a break to let your heart rate get too low. Work for 45 seconds, and then rest for 15. Repeat this circuit for 2-4 rounds. I did 4 on Wednesday.
Funny aside before the workout- since we've had a crazy week with snow, Wednesday's am class was cancelled. The Y opened at 10, so Connor and I were waiting for the doors to open. I had a Bosu workout ready to go, and went to the group ex room since I knew it would be open (classes were cancelled in the morning). As I was working out, two women that attend my classes popped in to see if I was doing a class. I told them I wasn't, but they were welcome to join my workout if they wanted to. They did, and a few minutes later another woman (that I didn't know) came in, grabbed a Bosu, and started the workout! I didn't tell her that I wasn't teaching a class, because we were almost finished, and I didn't want her to feel awkward!
Try this circuit- 45 seconds WORK, 15 seconds rest.
Out and ins (start on top of the bosu, jump your feet off to the sides, and back on) keep knees bent
Pushups with an optional leg raise (raise leg up as you lower into the pushup)
Bosu burpees
Mountain climbers
Plank up and downs
Squat jumps from floor onto top of ball
Crunch get ups (hands behind ears, crunch and stand up at the top)
Plank with toe taps (hands on floor, feet on top of ball, walk feet off and on the top of the ball)
Have a great day!