Let that SHI(F)T go!

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Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Anything is possible when you remove the phrase “I can’t” from your vocabulary. I have to admit that I was initially intimidated by SHIFT SHOP. The moves are intense, and the meal plan is pretty strict. I wanted to fully commit myself to a program that is known for getting people great results in record time, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped right in. I’m so glad I did.

This Beachbody workout is for everyone. Whether you’re new to fitness, a seasoned pro, or trying to bust through a weight loss plateau. It’s hard, but trust me, you CAN do this.

SHIFT SHOP is a 21-day program with six working days and either a stretch or rest day on Sunday. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster. Most challengers (including me) will save these for round two.

I stream my workouts right from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. For a low monthly price of $8.25, you can access to ALL the Beachbody programs available (including any future releases). This service is the Holy Grail – the Netflix of Fitness!

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like scrambled egg stuffed sweet potatoes or Icelandic yogurt with berries, pistachios, and cacao nibs. I’m on a yogurt kick lately – I love adding a lot of mix ins to vanilla.

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A delicious mix of white plum, coconut chips, and pistachios!

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot for this, and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends three meals and two snacks, but you can design your own plan. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating three filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you.

There are over 80 recipes designed just for SHIFT SHOP including Turkey and Brussels Sprouts Frittata, Pork & Sweet Potato Kabobs, and Watermelon Heirloom Salad. Yum!

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns in some way. While SHIFT SHOP is really it’s own plan that varies by week, you still use the Portion Fix containers as a guide. A simple formula can help you figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet. This turns out to be plenty of food, but SHIFT SHOP allows for unlimited veggies, so if you’re still hungry, pile on the greens! This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

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Snap peas are seriously the BEST snack. Plus, they satisfy that need for a crunch!

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger, keep you hydrated, and help prevent your muscles from cramping. Both Beachbody Performance Energize and Hydrate are encouraged for ultimate performance.

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I drink this before every workout to push harder and burn more calories.

Equipment

  • Agility Markers – (these can also be printed from BOD)
  • Weights
  • Yoga Mat
  • Towel (for Sunday stretch)
  • PT Sandbag (optional, used for Deluxe workouts)
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Great quality and definitely worth the investment – especially if you love the program.

The Workouts

I love every workout in the SHIFT SHOP and actually look forward to my daily 5 am sweat sesh. The variety is great – there are alternating cardio speed and fat-burning strength workouts for each of the three weeks, all building on the previous week’s sessions.

Week 1 workouts are 25 minutes, Week 2 are 35, and Week 3 are 45. If you get the Deluxe Kit (or have a BOD subscription), bonus workouts are 50 minutes. All are fun and challenging.

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Check out this calorie burn from Speed 45.

There is a modifier for every move, so you don’t have to worry about giving up or falling behind. Remember, remove the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary, and you’ll be capable of amazing things.

Each week ends with a 20-minute stretch or rest day. Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with a 12-minute core workout (15 minutes for the Deluxe). If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, I highly recommend the Relief workout from Core de Force. It can be done each night right before bed – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainer

Chris Downing – Officially Beachbody’s newest Super Trainer, Chris has trained both amateur and pro athletes, including individuals at all different fitness levels. He pushes you to do your best and give it your all. An amazing motivational coach – he will have you laughing your behind off (literally).

The Results

SHIFT SHOP works. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent with both workouts and healthy eating. This my favorite program. Overall, I lost 6.4 pounds and 9 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength, definition, and confidence. Nothing compares to feeling comfortable in your own skin.

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My 3-Day Refresh & SHIFT SHOP results.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this program to everyone. Give it a try. If you decide it’s not for you, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

 

 

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

 

My aching back!

When my muscles start screaming, I know they are overworked and need a little TLC. In my earlier days, I would have popped a few Advil and called it a day, but now I rely on natural methods of pain relief. Here are a few things you can do to ease muscle tension and discomfort.

Drink more water

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Don’t like drinking water? Make it into an hourly game or buy fun water bottles like this one!

I think the girls in my challenge groups must be sick of me saying “drink more.” What happens when flowers don’t get enough water? They dry up. What happens when lakes don’t get enough water? They dry up. What happens when your body doesn’t get enough water? You literally dry up – flaky skin, brittle hair, chapped lips, etc. Hydrate your body and your muscles to help increase your energy and prevent muscle cramping.

Stretch

Never underestimate the power of the cool down. I used to hate this so much. Once I was done with the meat of the workout, I was DONE. That meant no extra time to stretch out those muscles I just literally worked to the bone. It hurt, and I quickly learned my lesson. Think of it as your reward for finishing a tough sweat sesh – your muscles and body deserve it. I also recommend stretching or light yoga just before bed to prevent cramping at night.

Eat up post-workout

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I love Icelandic yogurt with berries and pistachios post-workout. It’s a nice treat!

I never miss an opportunity for a snack! After working out, you’ll want something to fuel the day as well as calm inflammation, aid in muscle repair, and improve mental focus. I have a brand of gluten free post-workout bars that I absolutely LOVE, but you can also opt for eggs, a protein shake, grilled chicken, oatmeal, bananas, cottage cheese, berries, or a handful of nuts.

Take a warm bath

Nothing is more soothing than a warm bath with lots of bubbles. Add some Epsom salts and lavender essential oil and take a deep soak. Both help to ease the tension in your muscles and joints.

Rub on some essential oils

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I use these two oils post workout and also diffuse the lavender one throughout the day.

There are a host of oils that are good for post workout – cinnamon bark, wintergreen, and basil (for sore muscles and joints), grapefruit (lessons mental and physical fatigue), lavender (eases muscle tension), and peppermint (clears breathing). Diffuse in the air or rub directly on your skin. For sensitive skin, you’ll want to use a carrier oil or cream. Just mix a drop or two of your essential oil with your carrier and apply. I only use 100% pure essential oils of high quality so I know I’m putting the good stuff in my body.

Try a foam roller

Foam rollers improve flexibility and also help to massage tired, achy muscles. For this reason, it might be painful at first, but after prolonged use, it will feel oh so good! Benefits include the reduced likelihood of injury, better sleep, boosted energy, and soothed muscles aches.

Get some rest

wp-1501720797577.If you’re feeling sore, don’t overdo it. Curl up with a book or find something on Netflix and then get a good 7-8 hours of sleep. Your body needs time to recharge and create energy, so don’t skimp out on those old fashioned zzzs!

How do you relieve your achy muscles?

Got goals?

I like to visualize my goals. It’s easy to look at and carry everywhere! 

Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” He was right. It’s so easy to say you are going to do something, to create hypothetical goals, to wish that things were different, and to hope that all your dreams will come true without taking any action. But that only leaves you stuck in the rut you are trying to escape.

Many goals are easy – “I’m going to find 10 minutes each day to catch up on the news.” Some are harder – “I’m going to set 3 hours aside each weekend to meal prep for the week.” And then there are those that seem entirely out of reach – “I’m going to increase my annual income by 10% within the next six months.”

Below are some steps to take when goal planning. As you will read, it’s not just one and done – all things, whether great or small take effort. The more you give, the more you’ll get.

Step 1 – Trust in the Universe

Before you even set your goals, you have to set your mindset. The truth is that EVERYTHING is attainable. Yes, you read that right. Everything that you can think up is available to you. The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like, so if you set a goal, but don’t believe it’s possible, it won’t happen. If you have negative thoughts, you’ll only receive more negative situations to feel bad about. On the contrary, if you set a goal, believe in it, and take action, you will achieve it.

This is the hard because it’s difficult to put faith and trust in the unknown, we love the feeling of control, and – let’s face it – when things are rough, it’s hard to be positive. Just give it a try and see what happens!

Recommended Reading: The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein and E-Squared by Pam Grout

Step 2 – Set SMART Goals

You may have heard about SMART goals at work. Companies are all about these, and for good reason. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-Bound.

Specific

Be specific and detailed in what you want to achieve.

  • Vague Goal– I want to make more money.
  • Specific Goal – I want to make an extra $100 per week through my soap making business by December 25, 2017.

The Universe can have a sense of humor. If you’re not specific with what you want, you may get exactly what you asked for – such as a $5 gift card for taking an online survey Hey, it’s more money, right?

Measurable

This allows you to track your progress and help you stay motivated. So, if your goal is to make $100 more per week through your soap making business by December 25th you might achieve this by increasing your marketing efforts and then tracking the sales. This is something tangible that can be physically reviewed and monitored, so you’ll know when you hit your goal.

Goals that aren’t specific are so much harder to track and measure.

Achievable

Okay, I know I said ALL goals are achievable, and it’s true, but let’s be realistic here too. If you want $1 million by tomorrow, it’s probably not happening unless you win the lotto. But, if you’re just starting out your career and want to grow your retirement savings to $1 million by the time you hit 65, that’s entirely possible and achievable. Make sure you have access to the resources you need to make the goals happen.

Relevant

Does the goal matter to you? People tell you what to do all the time – you should eat better, sleep more, lose weight, etc. But if the goal is not top of mind for you or it’s just not a good time to start working on it, it’s not worth your effort or energy.

Time-Bound

All goals need end dates. When do you hope to lose 50lbs? Eventually? I hate to burst your bubble, but eventually is never going to happen. Set a realistic target date for achieving and then work on it every day.

Recommended Reading: The Push by Chalene Johnson

Step 3 – Take Action & Be Consistent

You don’t have to go at it all at once. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take baby steps. Even small efforts towards a bigger goal will add up over time. You’ll never reach the goal if you don’t start somewhere.

Recommended Reading: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Step 4 – Track Progress

Get a journal or an app to help track your goals. Writing them down reinforces the behavior and looking at them often will help you realize where you are and where you need to be. When you make a step in the right direction, note it. If you have a setback, note that too. This will help you reevaluate future goals.

Recommended Journal: Chalene Johnson’s SmartLife PUSH Journal

Step 5 – Reward Yourself

It goes without saying that kids love rewards. Secretly, adults do too! Indulge your inner child and give yourself a little extra motivation. I wouldn’t go overboard, but having something extra (such as a manicure, new pair of sneakers, or a tablet) at the finish line will give you a boost to reach those goals. I have a few goals to crush by November and I’m picturing a Lularoe Amelia dress (that I’ve wanted for months) hanging in my closet!

What goals are on your list for the coming months?

Remember, whether you think you can achieve them or you think you can’t, you’re right.

 

Fire up your workouts

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I could begin and end my review with one sentence: Energize is liquid gold. Seriously, if you’re looking for a pre-workout that’s going to give you a boost and help you power through every tough workout, look no further.

Beachbody’s Performance line was designed to help you go faster, harder, and stronger so you can get the results you want and crush those goals.

Energize has been scientifically shown to:*

  • Improve performance
  • Increase energy & endurance
  • Sharpen focus & reaction time

Nutrition

Energize is lemon flavored, and to me it tastes like summertime lemonade – yum! There are only 10 calories and 4g of carbs per serving. Just mix with water, shake, and chug!

Beta-alanine – buffers muscle acid buildup, slowing down muscle fatigue.

Green Tea – helps improve reaction time & enhance energy.

Quercetin – helps improve performance & recovery.

The Tingles

A few people have reported a tingling sensation after drinking. If this happens to you, don’t be alarmed! Thank the low-dose of caffeine from the green tea for this – it means it’s working. If you’re a regular coffee drinker or you consume other forms of caffeine (like Monster), you probably won’t even notice.

It Works

The proof is in the pudding. On average, I would say I burn about 10% more calories when I drink Energize prior to working out. Below you can see the same workout (SHIFT SHOP – Speed 25) completed around the same time of day. The only difference? One time I drank Energize, the other I didn’t! IMG_20170720_164823_672000The Bottom Line: I recommend this to everyone. If you want results, Energize will give you the boost you need. It doesn’t get anymore real than that. Plus, it tastes great!

Energize is available in packets of 10 or a 40-serving tub.**

 

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor before trying any new supplement.

**Visit teambeachbody.com for current pricing.

 

 

 

I’d never do another Whole30 again!

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Whole30 gets a lot of press – good or bad, it’s still attention. Last year I completed my first and only Whole30. After a month without dairy, grains, legumes (including my beloved peanut butter), sugar, alcohol, daily superfood shake, and baked goods, I felt accomplished and proud of myself for completing such a huge feat.

If I’m fully honest, I didn’t experience any of the earth shattering changes that others have. I didn’t lose a ton of weight, the headaches I was experiencing almost daily didn’t decrease, I still wasn’t sleeping well, and I didn’t feel like a completely new person.

In one respect, the Whole30 was a total eye-opener. Prior to starting my month-long journey, I didn’t realize how much sugar and hydrogenated oils were in EVERYTHING. I took many of the “healthy” grocery store items for their full-face value. I never thought that ketchup, bbq sauce, salad dressings, mayo, and even bacon and diced tomatoes would be laden with every form of sugar that you can imagine. I was blind to the fact that what I was putting into my body was actually doing more harm than good. I took “good” food for granted.

On the flip side, I believe that the Whole30 can facilitate an unhealthy relationship with food. Now, I might get a lot of crap for saying this, but hear me out.

Where it went wrong

When I did my first Whole30 in July 2016, I thought it was the greatest idea since sliced (paleo) bread. I followed the rules and when other people were posting Whole30 meals that weren’t quite compliant on Instagram and Facebook, it made me angry. I started buying foods in the spirit of the Whole30. I stocked up on the books and even gave the new cookbook for a Christmas gift. For a good six months, I was a self-appointed Whole30 police officer. After a while, it was giving me so much anxiety, that it got old.

In the last year, I’ve tried to complete a second Whole30 multiple times. I planned menus and grocery lists, I tossed all of the unapproved items from my kitchen, and even set up a 30-day calendar. I was ready. Then, multiple times, it just didn’t happen. I really beat myself up about it. Seriously, how hard is it to START something? Something that I was supposedly obsessed with not too long ago.

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Typical meal prep Sunday.

I turned to Whole30 Facebook groups for support or guidance, but that just made it worse. There is so much cattiness, rule breaking, and unsupportiveness that I found the groups to be the opposite of encouraging. I left each one and decided to find my own way.

After playing with my diet for a couple of months, I realized that I don’t want to cut out so many foods from my diet. I enjoy mixing a spoonful of raw local honey into Icelandic every morning, I love making pancakes for Sunday breakfast, I look forward to sushi date nights and a nice burger with a bun every so often, and I will never miss another National Ice Cream Soda Day! They key isn’t cutting out all the foods that make you happy (unless medically necessary, of course), the key is moderation.

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Anyone else LOVE creamsicles??

Everything in moderation

I’ve finally comfortably settled into a “diet” that seems to work for me: portion-controlled and mostly keto/paleo. What does that mean? I consume around 1,400 calories a day (it’s PLENTY), and eat a diet high in fat and low in carbs and protein – pizza, chocolate, and dessert included! It’s satisfying, it’s yummy, and although it restricts HOW much I pile on my plate, it doesn’t restrict WHAT I can eat. I never go to bed hungry.

How does this work? Well, because I’m not limiting myself, I don’t have crazy cravings for sugar or carbs. In fact, I’ve actually all but eliminated peanut butter (one of my favorite things!), alcohol, and several other unapproved Whole30 items at will – not as a direct result of my Whole30 experience. I’m just making healthier choices and looking at food as fuel.

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A typical breakfast – hella yum!

The 80-20 Rule

No one eats 100% healthy 100% of the time – it’s just not sustainable. A lot of health coaches and fitness-minded individuals practice the 80-20 Rule, which means that you eat 100% healthy for 80% of the time. That other 20%? That’s when you fit in the donuts, chocolate, wine, nachos, cake, ice cream sodas – all the stuff that makes your soul sing. It works because you don’t feel deprived, because you know that you can have your cake and eat it too, and because you won’t feel guilty for indulging a little when out with friends or on the weekends.

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The right size treat.

The (New) Bottom Line

Every once in a while I’m really, really wrong. This was one such time. The Whole30 taught me an important awareness about food that continues to this day, but it also made me a little neurotic. I’m no longer recommending or endorsing the lifestyle. However, I will say that if you are interested in learning about it, check out the book “It Starts with Food” from your local library. Written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, creators of the Whole30, it breaks down the science and why behind the bad foods we put into our bodies. It is relatively easy to understand, even to non-science-y types and will give you a very granular view of the program.

If you have questions about finding a diet or way of eating that is right for you, feel free to contact me. I’d love to help you find a good fit!

 

Shift Shop Sneak Peek!

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Photo property of Beachbody, LLC

I’ve never been so excited for a workout program to launch. Until now. Shift Shop challenges you to push your limits. It’s hard, but once you finish a workout, you’ll be so proud of yourself. It’s a shift for your body and your mind.

I have to admit that I’ve been super jealous of the top coaches who’ve had the opportunity to participate in the test group. Their results have been amazing. Seriously, I’m in awe of what can be accomplished in just 3 short weeks. If you thought the 21 Day Fix Extreme brought kick ass results, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Because the program doesn’t officially launch until July 12th, there are still a lot of unknowns, but I’ll do my best to paint an accurate (and unbiased) picture.

What, exactly, is the Shift Shop?

An awesome combination of cardio and resistance. It will get you shredded in record time. Over the course of three weeks, workout times will increase from 25 to 45 minutes and some days include a 12-minute bonus workout – Shift Core – which focuses on sculpting those abs. Sundays will either be a day of rest or stretching with Shift Mobility – your choice.

I was able to try out Speed 25 twice and it was exhilarating. This is actually the first time my heart rate skyrocketed over 190 and I burned over 200 calories in just under 30 minutes.

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My results from Speed 25

For this particular workout, there are one-minute rounds where you give it your all and then a little break in between to grab water as the trainer explains how to do the next move. I appreciated these breaks because I needed them.

The Trainer

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Photo property of Beachbody, LLC

Chris Downing – Officially Beachbody’s newest Super Trainer, Chris has trained both amateur and pro athletes, including individuals at all different fitness levels. He really pushes you to do your best and give it your all. A fantastic motivational coach!

Nutrition

Details are a little hazy here. I know that Portion Fix Containers are involved, but the breakdowns are not the same as with many of the other programs. I did hear that you can eat extra veggies – always a good thing!

Since the program seems strict, Sunday meal prep will help you stay on track. Even if you just make meal starters to help you with dinners throughout the week, you will be one step ahead.

It goes without saying, but make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. You might even consider adding Beachbody Performance Hydrate into your routine. I also love Beachbody Performance Energize to get that jumpstart before the workout even begins.

Agility Markers

I personally think that the Agility Markers (pictured above) are too expensive when purchased separately – $19.95* plus $6.95 shipping. Yikes!

I’ve looked for comparable ones elsewhere, but those are around $20 as well. To me, it’s just not worth it. I might try my hand at making them with felt or foam from a craft store. Way more budget friendly!

Your best option would be to purchase a Challenge Pack, which includes a 30-day supply of Shakeology or (my favorite option) the Shift Shop Deluxe Kit, which for $119.70* includes 6 base workouts, two bonus workouts, three additional deluxe workouts, nutrition guide, jumpstart guide, 3-week calendar, 3-week deluxe calendar, agility markers, and sandbag.

I’m a Beachbody on Demand girl, myself, but I love having the original wall calendars (instead of printed ones). Maybe Beachbody will start printing and selling them one day!

The Results

Right now this is the newest program and it has a ton of hype surrounding it. For good reason – it works. Beachbody even claims that “anyone can get fit and lose up to 10 pounds with Shift Shop – now, that’s bold. I read a ton of positive reviews from those participating in the test group. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent. Expect to see a shift in both your body and your mind.

Bottom Line: Beachbody claims that Shift Shop is perfect for beginners, but I have to disagree. I will easily recommend this program to anyone, but I believe you have to be in the right mindset to make progress. The Shift Shop is a high-intensity program. If this was my first program, it probably would have turned me off from fitness altogether. Now, however, I welcome the challenge.

In all, I seriously can’t wait until July 12th!

 

 

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an intense exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

* Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%. Current prices valid as of 6/28/2017.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

Get your chocolate fix

Looking for a chocolate fix? Go Dr. No.

I (virtually) met Amale, the woman behind this amazing chocolate, last year. We chatted via email a bit and I learned that she wants to help people suffering from cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses live happier lives. She really wants to make a difference in our world and has a heart of gold. And really, what better way to spread the happiness than with good-for-you chocolate?

What makes it different?

How cute is this stamp?

Dr. No Chocolate is 75% cocoa and organic with a rich and smooth taste. It makes a perfect treat for diabetics or those eating low carb because it’s sugar-free and void of artificial sweeteners. It’s also gluten free and doesn’t contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

The chocolate comes in three delicious flavors: Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Seed & Sea Salt (my favorite!), and Almonds. I love the salty-savory combination that the pumpkin seeds and sea salt add to the sweet chocolate – such a unique and delicious treat! If you have a HUGE sweet tooth, I recommend the variety pack so you can try one of each and pick your favorite!

Great for gifts, baking, or snacking when you’re craving something sweet. You won’t believe it’s sugar-free!

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Dr. No Chocolate. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.