Monday, June 1, 2015

Jillian Michaels BodyShred Weeks 1 and 2 Ignite + What Fit Means to Me

I was sent the BodyShred set for review. As always opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Two weeks into BodyShred and I have to say I am so glad I started this program. I'm thriving on the routine, feeling stronger, and seeing results. Woohoo!

Before I discuss my first two weeks on the program (and results), I want to talk a little bit about what being fit means to me. I mentioned on Instagram today that the thing I missed most in this whole body after baby process was feeling strong and capable to take on whatever life throws my way. While I feel mentally strong, I am definitely NOT physically strong right now. I miss feeling that way.

Currently we're living in a small rental house, but we're looking at a house on 10 acres (send a little prayer our way!). That move will mean getting back to my normal way of life. Including things like needing to haul around 50 lbs of chicken feed. I need to be strong.

Also, I want to be strong for my family. Of course, I want to be a good example and keep up with my kids for years to come. But also, I want to be strong for my husband. I've mentioned here before that he has narcolepsy. Many hear that and vaguely remember some movie they saw. Few fully grasp what it means in my life.

Yes, he takes more naps than most, but also with his narcolepsy comes cataplexy. You see, with cataplexy, strong emotion can cause complete loss of muscle control for him. So, a funny joke can cause my strong amazing husband to fall to the floor. It's sort of a slow collapse to the floor. In the past, I could see these coming if I was near and sort of help guide him safely to the floor. 

Eating Paleo has been amazing for him and we see these episodes of cataplexy rarely (where they used to be almost daily). I'm thankful for that. However, if he gets a little off his Paleo eating or runs out of his medicine or just gets overtired we do still see them. Here's my point:

It REALLY bugs me that in my current physical state I would likely hurt myself if I had to help my husband with an episode of cataplexy right now. No bueno.

I realize most people do not have the need to ease a 200 lb man to the floor, but I'm sure we can all relate with wanting to feel strong and capable for the things life throws at us. That's what fit means to me. 

I want to be fit again.

OK, now to my first two weeks on BodyShred...

The Workouts
The first two weeks of BodyShred is the Ignite phase. There are 6 days of workouts alternating between push muscles, pull muscles, and straight cardio days. Weeks 1 and 2 use the Launch, Rise, and Fire Up DVDs. 

I was a bit intimidated the first week (silly!) and must confess I went a little too easy on myself. Definitely in no way pushed it. However, by week two I was feeling more confident and was pleasantly surprised at what I could accomplish. I was also feeling stronger already! I needed to do the modified moves much less, moved up to my 8 lb weights for some moves, and definitely have seen progress. This is what I'm here for. This is what I'm most excited to see.

The Food Plan
The meal plan for me is roughly 1400 calories, unlimited greens, and overall seems pretty balanced. Being Paleo I have to swap a few carbs around (since I don't eat grains), but it hasn't been a big deal. In fact, I'm really liking some of the recipes.

The Results
Now to the numbers. As with feeling stronger and more fit, I'm also pleasantly surprised with the scale/measurement results I'm seeing already. 
Week 2 stats:

While I was thrilled to see the scale go down, the inches amazed me!

On to week 3 and the Accelerate phase!!

How about you, what does fit mean to you??

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day 1 Jillian Michaels BodyShred

Today is Day 1 of Jillian Michaels' BodyShred!!

I got up bright and early (Hello 4:30 AM!) and took my weight and measurements. I'll be taking pics after I write this post. Though I won't post them until the end of the program. Just not feeling it right now :) Then, I did workout 1! 

AND only had to modify the push-ups, woohoo!

First, the numbers:

Beginning BodyShred Stats

Weight 197.4
Right Bicep 13
Bust 44
Waist 37
Hips 45
Right Calf 15

Not going to lie, I did NOT expect to see that number on the scale. I expected it to read somewhere between 188 and 192. But, there it is. Fruit of my poor choices lately. Funny thing though, instead of feeling horrible about myself as I would have in the past, I felt motivated. Line. Drawn. In. SAND. Starting line!

As I took my weight and measurements this morning, then looked myself in the mirror anticipating before pics, I felt no self loathing. Instead I'm just being very honest and real with myself. Real about where I am and real about where I want to be to live my best life as my best self. I don't see a 'before' I just see me. I see this as a beginning. A starting line. I'm me. Before me, after me, always me. I just want to feel strong again. To fit into some of my smaller clothes. And that's OK. No need to bash this me. I am where I am and I'm willing to change my choices to get where I'd like to be. THAT is all progress for me from the last time I went through a weight loss journey.

First Impressions

So far I think I'm going to love these workouts. They're set up in circuits with weights, cardio, and abs (similar to some of Jillian's other stuff) which I like. They're also only 30 minutes/6 days a week. Perfect. They're challenging, but the modifications make it totally doable for my less than what I'm used to fitness level. I honestly was worried about whether this program would be too tough for me. Just to be sure, a week or so ago I did the week 1 workouts to test it out. Humbling, but doable! I did however have to purchase 5 pound weights because the lightest I own are 8's and, uh, NO. Again, humbling, but just a starting line.

And now, I'll have to cut this short. My laptop battery is dying and there are no plugs in my walk-in closet (seriously, no plugs?? rentals...) I'm hiding in my closet because Baby O. is very into electronics these days and hugely fond of my laptop. :) Glamorous fit mom blogger life...


Week 2 Results

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Knowing vs Doing

There was a time in my life when I didn't know how to live healthy. A time when I didn't know how to listen to my body and give it what it needs to thrive. I didn't know that grains and white potatoes make me feel like crap. I didn't know I needed more water and less Sugarfree Rock Star to get through the afternoon. I didn't know how great taking care of myself and making good choices could make me feel. I didn't know my body was capable of working out hard, capable of running for miles and miles, capable period! I didn't know.

Fortunately I took the time (let's be real, it was years) to figure these things out. To research. To learn. To experiment with what works best for me. And now I know...

If only that was all it took!

You see, I know, but I'm not doing.

I'm not doing the things it takes to take care of my body. I'm not drinking enough water. I'm not running. I'm not lifting weights. I'm not working out at all. I'm not reaching out for accountability. I'm not fueling my body so that it will thrive. I'm not meal planning. I'm not food prepping. I'm just not.

I know what works for me, but I'm just not doing it.

What I am doing is shutting my alarm off and going back to sleep because I'm "too tired". Or I'm getting up and making excuses why I can't workout this day. I'm eating french fries with my kids because they taste good. (They eat white potatoes, which I think is fine, but I know I can't. They make me immediately sleepy.) I'm using coffee as a crutch instead of just something I enjoy. And, yes, there have even been Sugarfree Rock Stars a few times. 

I'm exhausted. I'm taking naps with Baby O (and I'm not a napper, naps make me feel worse). I'm just flat not taking care of me.

I know, but I'm not doing.

Knowing vs doing is a funny thing. All the excuses in the world I can make are just plain silly because I know. I know how to take care of myself. I know how to lose this baby weight. I know how to eat so that I'm not exhausted at 1:30 in the afternoon. I know. 

It's that shift from knowing to doing that has just not happened (at least not for long) since having Baby O. She turns 2 the end of June. That's a whole lot of excuse making!

This time in our tiny rental house has been good for me. It's given me no choice but to take a hard look at me. At why I am where I am and what I need to do to fix it. 

I know.

Now to do...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hype or Help: Jillian Michaels BodyShred

I was sent the BodyShred program for review purposes.
As always opinions are 100% honest and my own.
I first heard about Jillian Michaels' new program BodyShred from a twitter friend. Excitement doesn't begin to describe my response; I couldn't get to the BodyShred site fast enough! After perusing the site a bit and reading about the program I decided THIS is exactly what I need right now! Jillian workouts are among my favorites and I had great results from her Body Revolution program pre-baby. A new Jillian program?! Yes. Please.

I've wandered pretty far off track with our move from Colorado to Idaho. My weight loss and fitness were not a priority (I know, I know, you'd think I'd learn...) During the move my eating was pretty good, but workouts didn't happen. AT. ALL. I think I went 3 weeks (maybe 4?) without working out once. Then, once we arrived in Idaho (while we wait for our CO house to sell) we rented a tiny house with a small yard and I'm finding myself very sedentary without the land, animals, chores, garden, daily goat hikes... I don't even have my jogging stroller here right now! I've also noticed I'm munching out of boredom. Life in the suburbs has been quite the adjustment for this country girl. It's definitely time to ditch the excuses and make a game plan for myself in this new space.

I'm craving routine. I'm wanting results. I'm so ready for BodyShred.

Instead of just doing a review, I've decided to take it a step further and do a Hype or Help review series on the BodyShred system. I'll be following the program (workout and diet) and sharing my experiences, thoughts, and results. Then, at the end I'll do a final review of the program.

The rest of our stuff is supposed to be here next weekend (hello, why didn't I bring my Enell with me??) so I plan to start the 60 day program Monday, May 18th. Not going to lie, I'm a little nervous about the initial weigh in. Ah well, I am where I am and that's where I start!

Jillian Michaels' BodyShred program, hype or help? Let's find out...


BodyShred Day 1-Beginning Stats and First Impressions

First 2 Weeks: BodyShred Ignite Phase Workouts, Meal Plan, Review, and Results

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review: Six Pack Fitness Renee Tote Meal Management Bag

 2015 is shaping up to be the year of travel for me. From blog-related travel like events and conferences to family-related travel like road trips and even an out-of-state move I'm going to be on the road a lot.

I'm completely committed to ditching the baby weight by year's end and so I was a bit concerned with how I'd stay on track with all of that travel. I don't know about you, but I really struggle with my food when travelling. I struggle with finding quality Paleo-friendly food. I struggle with portions and I struggle with the expense of good food on the road.

The nice folks at Six Pack Fitness sent me one of their Renee Totes in red to try out and I do believe my problems are solved!

The Renee Tote

I immediately fell in love with the look of this bag. It's super cute. I love that it's incognito and just looks like a really cute bag.

The Renee Tote is the perfect size for my needs. There is plenty of room for an entire day's worth of meals and snacks. I think I could even stretch it into 2 days, but I haven't tested how long the ice packs last.

 It comes with four food containers, a supplement container, and three ice packs.

There are oodles of pockets to stash anything I need.

I take quite a few supplements, but I find the container to have ample room.
(You can read about my supplement routine here.)

The top compartment has a padded spot for my chromebook as well as tons of room for anything else I need. I pack a Blender Bottle, lip balm, my wallet, my keys, my planner, and my phone and still have room to spare.

Other Uses

This bag works amazingly well for more than just me. I find myself using it for tons of mom-related things. It's perfect for our homeschool field trips. I pack wipes, a few diapers, and some toys for Baby O. in the top compartment. Along with my wallet, keys, etc. Then, I pack our lunch in the food containers and snacks and miscellaneous other necessities in the pockets. I used to have to take a purse, diaper bag, and a backpack. Now I just take this ONE bag! Plus, I feel like I look like put-together mom instead of pack-mule mom! It's a beautiful thing. I also find this bag perfect for family road trips. I pack it up with all our food and snacks for the road.

I'm also using the supplement container and food containers on a daily basis, not just when I travel. I am forever forgetting to take my supplements and I find filling the container up at night with all of the next days' supplements to be the perfect solution. The food containers are perfect for my weekly food prep. I usually use them for my lunches. They are the perfect size for my usual lunches: a salad or some chicken, sweet potato, and a green veggie.

Final Thoughts

I'm sure you can tell I love this bag. It's very comfortable to carry and everything from quality, to functionality, to style is on point. I absolutely recommend it. In fact, I'm so in love with Six Pack Bags I'm already drooling over another one of their bags. I love that they have come up with such a great solution to a common problem. Also, they have an amazing selection (for men and women) and I love their color options (The Renee comes in Black, Red, Sienna, and Stone).

How do you stay on track when you travel??

Get 15% off site wide with code leadthepack!

Connect with Six Pack Fitness on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

Shop Today!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Banana Cinnamon Chia Paleo Pancakes

My kids think pancakes are a food group. I think they’d eat them at every meal if I was willing. When we went Paleo as a family they pined for their beloved pancakes. OK, maybe I did too…

The thing with trying to make a Paleo pancake is that almond flour and coconut flour just don’t behave the same as wheat flour. This isn’t as noticeable in some things, but really can be problematic in pancakes.

I’ve tried and tried again at a great Paleo pancake. Some of the failures were soooo terrible! Some were super dry, some wouldn’t even come together as a pancake, and some quite honestly tasted like warm cardboard. Yum, right?

Finally, I’ve had success. These Banana Cinnamon Chia Paleo Pancakes may not taste anything like Grandma’s pancakes, but they are pretty tasty. They remind me of a whole-grain banana pancake I had at a restaurant once (though they’re grain-free!).

My kids whole-heartedly approve! They could eat them daily right now. I’m not sure if they realize they have chia seeds in them… Our little secret?

2 eggs
2 bananas, sliced
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Beat the eggs with a hand mixer. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth and there are no big chunks of banana remaining.
Heat a skillet to medium and add a bit of Coconut Oil.

Add a small amount of batter. (These do much better as smaller pancakes. They can be hard to flip if you make them too big.) Let the first side cook well before flipping. Once it seems well set, flip the pancake and cook until done.

Serve plain (they’re so good they really need nothing else) or top with sliced bananas, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and/or a sprinkle of chia seeds or chopped nuts. 


Let me know if you try them!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Day In The Life: My Fitness, Food, and Supplement Routine

A group of my fitness blogger friends decided to do Day in the Life posts today. I get a lot of questions about my routine. My Paleo eats, how much I work out, what supplements I take, how I fit in my blogging/freelance/work...stuff like that. I thought joining and doing a day in my life post would be fun and a great way to answer all of those questions at once!

This was yesterday (Tuesday 1/20). It was a pretty average day for me.

4:30 AM My alarm on my phone goes off. I get up, get dressed in my workout clothes, and take my pre-workout (it says to take it 30-60 minutes before your workout, I shoot for 30). This is a new supp for me and I'm still just taking 1 to see how it goes. I also take my Acetyl L-Carnitine because the bottle says to take it on an empty stomach. 
Sometimes I hit snooze until 5, but I'm trying hard not to do that. A lot of people say to sleep in your workout clothes to save time, but that doesn't work for me. What does work for me is to have my workout clothes, water, supps, and workout set out the night before. No thinking required!

4:30ish to 5 AM I read. I pray. I meditate. I ponder what I'm grateful for. I journal. I get centered. and get myself right for the day ahead. I call this my morning quiet time. It's a must for me.
Also, had coffee with 2 Tablespoons of half & half. I go back and forth with dairy. Right now I'm doing a little.

5 AM Workout. Most days my workouts are 20 to 30 minutes. Occassionally 45. I have one yoga DVD that is an hour. I save that for weekends. Generally, I either run or do a workout DVD. In the dark, cold Colorado winter it's been a whole lot of workout DVDs lately. Today was Jillian Michaels Beginner Shred Workout 2. I'm working on a review of that.

5:30 Post-workout. If my workout gets shuffled to later in the day I make a frozen smoothie post-workout. However, if everything goes as planned like today I just have some almond milk with a scoop of whey protein or some BCAA Powder.

5:35ish Work. I used to try to slip work in all throughout the day. What I found was 1. I was working constantly and 2. I wasn't able to focus. Also, I didn't like how my attention was split from my kids, homeschool time, etc. Now, I plan focused chunks of times for work. 
I take advantage of the time before everyone wakes up and have a marathon work session. I use this hour to check in on social media, read emails, respond to emails, and work on whatever posts or freelance content I need to. Sometimes I listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I'm working.

6:30 Hubby time. We like to have coffee together every morning if we can. It's just time to chat, talk about what needs done for the day, and just be us sans kids.

7 AM Kids get up. I shower while hubby makes breakfast. People often ask me how I do all that I do. My answer: my amazing husband.

7:30 Breakfast and supplements. Today it was an omelet sprinkled with chili powder and topped with salsa. Normally I would have berries or something with this, but I need to get to the store and fresh stuff goes first around here! Salsa was a vegetable today. With breakfast I take CLA, Plant-Based Omega-3, CoQ-10, and Vitamin D.

8 AM Outside Chores. Unless the weather is bad or just too cold we do our outside chores and take the goats for a walk as a family. Today there were a few extra shenanigans because we weren't sure how the weather would hold up the rest of the day.

The cats go too. They can never be left out.
9 AM Inside chores. (Normally these start at 8:30, but you know, extra shenanigans) The boys do things like unload the dishwasher and vaccum the living room. I clean up the kitchen, swap laundry, etc. Baby O likes to help too. She loves to unload things. The dryer, the dishwasher silverware tray, our entire DVD collection onto the living room floor. Things like that...

9:30 Homeschool. We usually shoot for 9 or 9:30 to get our homeschool day started. Some days it's 10. As long as we get at least 4 hours (not counting PE time) in I'm pretty relaxed about the schedule.

10 AM Coffee. I'm trying to cut back on the calories I put in my coffee, so this cup was black. Two things: 1. I'm loving Peet's Major Dickason's and Donut Shop Dark lately and 2. yellow cups make me happy.

11:30 (or noonish) Lunch. The kids take a lunch break and we go outside for about 30 minutes. Then they play video games for the first time of the day. Depending what I have that's pressing, sometimes I do about 30 minutes of work. Today got cold/snowy and it was video games only. 
I had a big salad with chicken, apples, and baby tomatoes topped with some EVOO and apple cider vinegar. 

1 PM Back to homeschool. If everything goes as planned we're done with school by 2, but because we got a late start today (and the kids took a longer lunch break) we weren't done until 3.

I love my fitness tracker. It lets me know when we've been sitting too long! We get up and dance around the kitchen or march around the house singing "The watch says move! Everybody move, the watch says move!" Ya, silly, but that's how we roll.
3 PM More work. The kids are free to play and I try to get an hour or two of work in here. I check in on social media again. Read blogs. Write. Edit posts, work on images in Canva or PicMonkey, or respond to emails. Some days I work on recipes and food pics. Baby O seems more intent on interupting this lately. She wants me to play Duplo's with her. Read to her. Take her outside. Today was more interuption than work. I do what I can. I've shuffled a lot of my important work to Sundays when hubby is here to occupy the kidlets. 
I take my L-Carnitine again here. Oh, and, more coffee...

3:30 Snack. I generally have a snack somewhere between 2 and 4. Today it was raw mixed nuts (peanut-free mix). I have to measure nuts so I don't get carried away with portions.

5 PM Hubby comes home about now. We talk and download from our days and I start dinner.

6 PM Dinner. Today it was Paleo Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. Also, with dinner I take my CLA and Co-Q 10 again.

6:30 Family time. We play Legos, board games, or a game on our Wii U. If it's still nice we go outside. It's just chill-out family time.

8 PM I put Baby O to bed and do a few clean-up chores. Then I read (OK, and sometimes shove a little more work in, though I'm trying to not.) while hubby and the boys watch a show on Netflix.

8:45 I make my to-do list for the next day, set out my workout gear, and have a cup of tea.

9 PM Hubby puts the boys to bed (and usually reads to them). Yes, he's amazing. Sometimes I stay up another hour and do some chores or read, but lately I crash by 9! Sleep is my friend.

That is a pretty typical day for winter. We definitely have more margins this time of year. In spring/summer it's a lot different because there is much more outside work to be done with our little farm here.

I'm big on routine, but not necessarily schedule. Pretty much these things happen in about that order most days, just not a specific time every day. Also, we go with the flow. Some days we oversleep or life just happens. We adjust.

My food is pretty similar most days. 3 Paleo-friendly meals, a snack (sometimes 2), and a post-workout. My fitness and supplements have been this way for a couple of months. The pre-workout is new. I am liking it, it will probably stay in my routine. I'm getting ready to change my fitness up a bit though (stay tuned...).

Did you do a day in the life post? I'd love to read it! Link up below.