Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: THE FAT BURN REVOLUTION by Julia Buckley

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of The Fat Burn Revolution for review. 
As always, opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.

In the past I was in the very bad habit of sticking to a handful of trainers that I was familiar with. While this worked for me at the time, remaining in my small circle of trainer-comfort-zone was holding me back from some amazing new trainers and ideas. I have since branched out and am beyond glad that I did. In doing so I have stumbled across many a new trainer that I've fallen in love with!


Like: Julia Buckley. I must confess that previous to being contacted to receive a copy of her new book I had never come across Julia before. I'm so glad that has been remedied because I'm head over heels in love with this book.

For this program you'll need:
Dumbbells to suit your ability
Exercise ball
Bench, box/step, or chair (for moves like tri-cep dips, split squats, etc)

Info on The Fat Burn Revolution (from Amazon.com):

Looking for a way to shed stubborn fat, or wondering why your current exercise programme isn't helping you slim down? Having trouble breaking through a body fat or fitness plateau? The Fat Burn Revolution demystifies fat burning fitness, answering all these questions and more to put you on the right track for the lean body you have always wanted.
With insights into the latest fat-loss information used by top personal trainers combined with tried-and-tested metabolism-boosting workout programmes, the Fat Burn Revolution gives you the tools to sculpt your body.
Leading fitness journalist and trainer Julia Buckley shows you the healthy way to condition your body for optimum fat burning - even when you're not exercising.


* Adaptable for absolute beginners wanting advice on how to get started, through to experienced fitness aficionados.
* Effective and efficient exercise programmes can be tailored to suit your lifestyle.
* No gym membership is needed - the workouts use just a few key pieces of equipment, so can be done at home. 
* Hate running long distances or spending hours on boring cardio machines? No problem, these intense, varied lessons - lasting up to 45 minutes - are tough, but never boring!
* Easy to follow nutritional advice is included as well as solutions to common barriers to exercise and fat loss, and tips on maintaining a lean healthy body in the long term.



I devoured The Fat Burn Revolution in two days and, like I said, I love it! It completely gels with my personal health and fitness philosophies (even Julia's nutrition suggestions are very Paleo-friendly). 

Julia walks you through a complete 12 week workout program (broken into 3, 4-week phases) which includes everything from getting your mind right, to getting your food right, to warm-up, to amazing workouts, to cool-down and stretching. She lays out everything you need in a clear and concise manner, and makes it all understandable (to any level exerciser) and in no way overwhelming. 

I really enjoyed Julia's positive and encouraging approach. She manages to discuss the hard stuff like commitment, accountability, negative self-talk, and taking responsibility for ourselves in a very "you can do it" way. I think that's crucial. She also, doesn't just spout all the wonderful things her program can do, but she gives tangible tools, tips, and suggestions for making it work for you.

What I love about the workout program itself:
  • The focus on intensity. I don't like to waste time with my workouts and these workouts are all business. Love that.
  • The focus on lifting heavy. I love where she says, "Forget tiny toy-like dumbbells. For real results, pick up real weights."
  • The variety of moves/exercises and workouts throughout the 12 weeks. Julia changes things up consistently, which I think is important to avoid boredom and plateaus.

Honestly, I like this book so much I'm hoping to fit this program into my schedule soon. The Fat Burn Revolution is a solid resource and I absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to lose weight and/or get in great shape!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Ultimate Booty Workouts - Phase 2 Recap, Results, and Review



I'm really not ready for it to be the last day of March. Excuse me while I have a bit of a freakout...

Seriously, where did the month go?! 

Oh well, it went. I'm just glad Spring is here. This mama needs some sunshine! Anyway, on to my Ultimate Booty Phase 2 discussion:

Recap
This was my planned workout schedule for March. Lots of people have
asked where I print these calendars. I print them from imom.
At first I wasn't sure, but I loved having this many rest days scheduled. I did add in a couple of extra days of cardio in the month, but it was nice to have that flexibility. I also found my not quite up to par post-baby body needed the extra recovery time. Two words: sore muscles.

I really enjoyed this month's workout. Possibly even more than last month...maybe. I loved the new moves, the intensity, and the addition of the HIIT at the end. For me it was sprints on the treadmill.



All in all, my workouts were great. I used my 10 lb weights and am ready to progress to my 15's for most moves. Super excited about that! I haven't seen my 15 lb weights in over a year. Oh yes, and I burned an average of 350 calories per workout. Say what?! Awesome.



My food was better this month. Still working on portions, but definitely more mindful of it. A couple examples of dinners:


Grass-fed steak with asparagus and white sweet potato.
Paleo taco salad.

Results
Upon completing Phase 2 I am definitely feeling stronger and am excited to be seeing a difference in the mirror as well. PROGRESS! After the long back and forth, round and round I've been putting myself through post-baby I cannot tell you how excited I am to be making progress. I also notice my posture seems better.

My stats...

Weight: 
Before-194.5 After Phase 1-191 After Phase 2-187
Bust: 

Before-44 After Phase 1-43.5 After Phase 2-43
Waist: 
Before-36.5 After Phase 1-36 After Phase 2-36
Hips: 
Before-44 After Phase 1-43.5 After Phase 2-43
Right Calf: 
Before-14.5 After Phase 1-14.5 After Phase 2-14
Clothing size: 
Before-13 After Phase 1-Can wear some 12's After Phase 2-12

A pound a week? I'll take it.

Review
OK, no beating around the bush: I love this book, I love these workouts, and I'm super excited to start Phase 3.

I'm off to find my 15 and 20 lb weights. Now, where on earth did my pregnant self stuff them...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Return of the Running Bug


You might have been bitten by the running bug if...

  1. You have more running shoes in your closet than regular shoes.
  2. You craft your running playlists more carefully than most people craft the seating charts at their wedding.
  3. You watch Spirit of the Marathon on Netflix...for the 5 million and third time.
    image via Amazon.com
  4. You lose hours pinning running gear to Pinterest.
    image via Pinterest
  5. You dream about running a 4:25 marathon and immediately upon waking start figuring out how hard you'd have to train to do that.
  6. You start having dreams about running.
  7. You spend more time on DailyMile than you do on Facebook.
  8. You can't stop registering for races.
  9. You tweet your friends asking which GPS watch is best (or shoes, or socks, or...).
  10. Your instagram feed is filled with people running races before most people are out of bed on the weekends.
  11. You're pretty sure you need that cool new pair of kicks. Really, you don't have that many pairs of running shoes...

It's official.

The running bug is BACK.

I've spent the last week drooling over gear...


UA Boyfriend Cap.
Image via UnderArmour.com
I need that hat. Really, need.


Asics Lluca Long Sleeve Tee.
Image via AsicsAmerica.com
I haven't looked at Asics gear in a while. They have some seriously cute stuff, why hadn't I noticed this??


Asics Fit-Sana Long Sleeve Tee.
Image via AsicsAmerica.com


Asics Performance Fun Capri.
Image via AsicsAmerica.com


Do you have a GPS watch? Do I need a GPS watch? I want a GPS watch...


Nike+ SportWatch GPS.
Image via Amazon.com


Garmin Forerunner 10.
Image via Amazon.com


I signed up for one race and am pondering several more (several, like, you know, a million).


Seen on my run...
Hooray for Colorado sunshine!
This weekend I ran outside for the first time in over a year. It was bliss. 

It will be a journey back to my pre-baby running state, but it just feels good to be out there doing it. To WANT to do it.

Welcome back running bug, I've missed you.



Have you been bitten by the running bug? What races are on your calendar??


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Run Motivation #9kOrBust


I had a beautiful baby girl last June. It has been my goal since late summer to get back to 5k shape post-baby. When I ran my marathon I promised myself I'd always be in good enough shape to run a 5k any time I wanted to. Lately I feel like I broke that promise to myself.

Being back to 5k shape was one of the goals that was most important to me, but somehow not one I've worked much towards. I've struggled with making myself and my runs a priority in my family dynamic. I've struggled making time for runs. I've struggled prioritizing runs in my workout schedule. And, honestly, I've struggled believing in myself and my running in this post-baby #4 body.

But I miss it! I find myself craving it. 

Running is not simply exercise or a way to burn calories to me (though that's how it started out years ago). Running is my time to clear all the cobwebs out of my brain. Running is my stress relief. Running is where I plug into my creative side; I get my best ideas out on runs. It's my time to get out in the sunshine and just be me in my body. There's a mind/body/spirit process going on out on my runs that I need at a level I'm not sure I can put into words. But here's what I know for sure: I'm a better wife, a better mom, and a better me when I make my running a priority.

Light bulb! I need to motivate myself and make the time.

Two things:

  1. I need a race on the calendar to light a fire in me. Just having the vague goal was NOT enough to get me moving and consistently working towards it.
  2. A 5k isn't enough of a stretch. I think that in the back of my mind 3 miles just isn't a big enough goal; I know that I could struggle through it even now and so it doesn't really motivate me to get out and do the work. I need something that is going to stretch me.

Baby O. will turn 1 in June and I WILL run a race before then. It's been fine to be gentle with myself and not rush the postpartum journey back to my pre-baby weight and fitness. But a YEAR is plenty generous. It's also been fine to adjust my priorities for this time with an infant. However, again, enough. I need this. Line drawn in sand, time to step up...


SO last week I registered for the Title Nine T9K in May!



I was terrified and elated all at the same time, but there's just nothing like paying for a race (and announcing it to the world) to get me out the door. Oh, and new kicks, those never hurt.



For those curious, my 9k training plan will look like this:



Monday/Thursday is my Ultimate Booty workout. Which handily ends in treadmill intervals. Tuesday will be an upper body weights workout, and Saturdays will strictly be runs. As my goal is simply to finish (and run the whole thing) and not for time I'm mostly focused on getting to running 6 miles comfortably. Since I'm currently blogging through Ultimate Booty Workouts (and those workouts are lifting heavy/quite intense) I've given myself 3 full days rest. Over-training is often my pitfall and I'm just not going there.

I've mapped out my 9k training plan, dug out my running gear, enlisted my husband's support, and I will. Do. This. Thing. 

If you're interested, you can follow my efforts (and maybe cheer me on?) on twitter and instagram. I'll be using the #9kOrBust hashtag.


How do you motivate yourself when your run mojo is MIA?


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ultimate Booty Workouts - Phase 1 Recap, Results, and Review


I can't believe I've been doing this program for a month! Wow, the time flew.

Recap
I began Ultimate Booty Workouts Phase 1 very gung ho and my plan was to do 3 sets of the Phase 1 workout, 3 times a week, using my 10 lb weights. Then, to do an upper body (my own, not included in this book) workout twice a week and cardio once a week (Oh, and I hoped to throw in some yoga too?!).

Didn't happen. 

I did the first workout, doing 3 sets using my 10 lb weights, and was sooooo sore for two or three days following. What worked for me was to drop down to my 8 lb weights and give myself 2 days of rest between workouts. I tend to think I'm a badass, but my post-partum body doesn't quite agree yet. I also only got the upper body workout in once a week and only did cardio the last 2 weeks (though cardio isn't a requirement for Phase 1).

Best laid plans I guess. However, I'm proud of myself for adjusting to what my body needed and persevering instead of getting frustrated and quitting (like I've done over and over post-baby). I'm glad that this book is so flexible and gave me different options to make this work at my fitness level. My last workout of the month rocked and I felt I'd mastered the Phase 1 Workout! 

My eating choices were great this month, but my portions were a bit over what they should have been. As fat loss is one of my goals I am going to track on My Fitness Pal for Phase 2 just to be sure I get that in check.

Results
The main thing I've noticed this first month is that for the first time post-baby I am feeling stronger! It's an amazing feeling. One of the main things I've struggled with (since probably my 36th week of pregnancy) is feeling so weak. I revel in feeling strong and it's been tough for me to not have that feeling.

I burned an average of 275 to 300 calories per Phase 1 Workout. A great burn for a weights workout.

Weight: 
Before-194.5 After Phase 1-191
Bust: 
Before-44 After Phase 1-43.5
Waist: 
Before-36.5 After Phase 1-36
Hips: 
Before-44 After Phase 1-43.5
Right Calf: 
Before-14.5 After Phase 1-14.5
Clothing size: 
Before-13 After Phase 1-Can wear some 12's now

Review
I have thoroughly enjoyed Ultimate Booty Workouts so far. It crossed my mind that I might get bored doing the same workout for a month (because I tend to have workout ADD), but I didn't. I enjoyed the workouts and how they made me feel strong and energized. They definitely suit my workout preferences perfectly and I'm glad to have found something I want to stick to.

Music is very motivating to me and I really loved having my own music to workout to (and making new playlists on my ipod) instead of whatever music plays on a workout DVD. Those that workout at the gym may take this for granted, but for me it is something I'm not used to and have enjoyed.

The foam roller instruction included with the stretch and cool down section is awesome. I've had a foam roller forever and didn't know exactly what to do with it! I will confess I haven't done the stretching and foam rolling after every workout. Going to work on that for phase 2.

My previously little used foam roller is definitely feeling the love lately!

Overall, upon trying the workouts for a month, I still give this book a thumbs up and am excited to tackle Phase 2!

Updates:
Phase 2 Recap, results, and review

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Onnit Foods Review and Post-Workout Recovery Shake Recipe #getonnit

Disclaimer: I was sent the following products for review. As always, opinions are 100% honest and my own.

I must confess: lately this mama has been feeling run-down. Depleted. That's hard for me to admit to myself, but really no shock given what my body has been through the last year and a half! I've been searching for things to add into my diet to supercharge my nutrition and just help me feel over-all WELL again. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to review these items from Onnit.

The Earth Grown Nutrients PowerFood was what I was most excited about. So much amazingness jammed into this all in one daily greens mix. You can read the label here. When I'm feeling depleted greens are my first line of defense.

From Onnit.com:
EGN Powerfood is a nutrient-dense combination of some of the world's healthiest natural foods. Top nutritionists, doctors, and coaches agree that a highly varied diet of earth grown foods is key to optimal health and performance. While our lifestyle and taste buds don't always allow the inclusion of such vital vegetation, adding EGN can ensure that you have your bases covered.

This is the first 'superfood' or 'greens' powder I've tried that I can drink plain, in a shaker cup, with just water. I also think if I was a juice drinker it would be great that way. However, my favorite way is in a smoothie with almond milk and frozen strawberries. YUM.


With my new workout program focused on lifting heavy I know I'm not getting enough protein. You just can't beat the convenience of a protein powder. I've tried a few whey proteins, but sadly I just can't do dairy. I was excited to find a Paleo friendly option in Hemp Force.


From Onnit.com:
Hemp FORCE utilizes a rich and complete protein isolated from organic hemp seeds. Containing all of the essential amino acids, all three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), and both essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), the protein profile of hemp seeds makes them one of the most nutritious sources in the plant kingdom. Cocoa and maca root not only enhance the natural flavor of the hemp, but also contain several antioxidant and bioactive compounds beneficial for peak performance. With a touch of stevia, a natural zero calorie sweetener with its own health benefits, Hemp FORCE supplies the body with an all-natural, easily digestible protein supplement with a nutrition profile unlike any other protein food available.

While the Vanilla Acai Hemp Force wasn't to my personal taste preference (though it was pretty tasty in a smoothie with almond milk and frozen berries), the ChocoMaca Hemp Force... I am madly in love with. Madly.

My pet peeve with chocolate protein powders is they are never chocolatey enough! Who has time for sort of chocolatey protein powder? I mean, really.

I was delighted to find that ChocoMaca Hemp Force is super chocolatey and super delicious! I love this stuff, it's become my new go-to protein powder. I love the clean (vegan and Paleo friendly) ingredients and most importantly, for me anyway, I love the taste. It's great plain in a shaker cup (with water or almond milk) or in my new favorite post-workout shake:



Chocolate-Dipped Banana Frozen Post-Workout Recovery Shake

1 Cup Almond Milk Coconut Milk Blend Almond Breeze (or whatever 'milk' you prefer)
1 Sliced Frozen Banana (on my food-prep day I slice 5 or 6 and put them in separate baggies in the freezer so they're ready to go for the week)
3 Scoops ChocoMaca Hemp Force (that's one serving)


Blend all ingredients well in your blender.


The  hemp hearts blend in with this recipe and don't settle out. Plain in a shaker bottle they tend to settle. I found I like them and let them settle to the bottom and sort of chew them up at the end. Yum.

OK, I've saved the best for last. The Trilogoy Butters.

From Onnit.com:
The Raw Advantage
Eating raw nut butter vs their roasted counterparts is a valuable nutritional choice. Like raw honey or raw milk, the natural enzymes, oils, vitamins and minerals often get altered or depleted during the heating process. While occasionally nutrient benefits will be accelerated with cooking, it is generally considered optimal to eat plant based food in its most natural form, and nuts are no exception. Our nut butters are 100% raw, organic and made of the most delicious nuts on the planet.


One word: obsessed.

My new go-to when I have a sweet or chocolate craving is a spoonful of this amazingness.
These Trilogy Butters are so, so, so, OK... SO good. While I'd love to say I whipped up some amazing Paleo recipes with these (next time, I promise, really), I must be honest: they're so good on their own we just ate them with a spoon!


Overall I have to say I'm very impressed with the quality and clean (Paleo-friendly) ingredients of all of the Onnit products I tried.

*** Use Code: FitFood10 for 10% off Onnit Foods ***

What do you do when you're feeling a bit run-down?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Review & Giveaway(closed) - Ultimate Booty Workouts #UltimateBooty

Disclaimer: I purchased my own copy of Ultimate Booty Workouts and was sent a copy from the publisher which I will be giving away. Post contains affiliate links.

Ultimate Booty Workouts is a new book out by fellow blogger Tamara Grand. UBW is a 12-week progressive weight training program focused on perfecting your backside. 

The Ultimate Booty Workouts program is broken into 3, 4-week Phases. Each Phase maps out your strength training, cardio, and nutrition to support fat loss and muscle gain. These gym or at-home friendly workouts come complete with warm-up and cool-down (including foam rolling and stretching). 



It really is the total package: a complete program in a book.

From the back of the book:

The targeted programs in this book will have your booty toned and perky in no time. Plus, your new sculpted, stacked rear end will be more than just nice to look at--it's strong glutes and hamstrings will help:
  • Accelerate Fat Loss
  • Improve Posture
  • Decrease Back, Hip & Knee Pain
  • Tighten and Flatten Abs

Sign me up.

I must confess I was a bit apprehensive about a workout book. I only workout at home, but tend to like workout DVD's. I just wasn't sure how it would be working out from a book...

Well, I LOVE it! I love being able to workout wherever and not needing a TV/DVD player. I love the fun I'm having building playlists for my workouts and not having to deal with whatever music is on the DVD. Most of all? I love the workouts. Well, I've only tried Phase 1 so far, but it kicked my tush. Literally!

My first time through the Phase 1 workout I burned 263 calories. For a 35ish minute strength workout that's amazing for me.

Ultimate Booty Workouts is a good, solid program. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone from beginner (Really, completely beginner accessible!) to advanced. In fact, I'm so impressed, I've decided to blog through it. I started yesterday and will be checking back in at the end of each 4 week phase with my thoughts and results. (My only variance from the program as set forth in the book will be that while Tamara recommends whole grains and legumes, I'll be keeping it Paleo of course.)

Will I have a bum you can bounce a quarter off? Will it help me with my post-baby weight loss? Let's find out...

My Pre-Ultimate Booty Workouts Stats
Weight: 194.5
Bust: 44
Waist: 36.5 (at belly button)
Hips: 44
Right Calf: 14.5
Clothing size: 13
(I also took a 'Before' pic which I'll share at the end with an 'After' shot for comparison)

Want to try it with me? I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!


To enter simply leave a comment below. I will use random.org to choose a winner 7 PM Mountain Time February 17, 2014.



Ultimate Booty Updates:


Friday, January 24, 2014

No More #PaleoChat


Sad to say it, but I have decided to say farewell to #PaleoChat.

Thank you so so so much to those that supported me (especially my die-hards, group hug!) in the two years that I hosted the chat. I enjoyed every single chat and loved getting to know you all better!

But, life has gotten crazy busy for us (check out my other blog if you don't know why) and I have to know what to let go of in order to enjoy this process.

I'll still be blogging and yammering on my social channels (I know, you're excited), just no chat.

Bye #PaleoChat! You were a blast. On to the next adventure...