Obsessed – Phase 3

It’s all fun and games until it’s not fun anymore. These last four weeks have been pretty tough to say the least. But I’ve been looking forward to writing this post because I need to tell you that I was wrong. Hey, it happens. I was wrong when I thought I was falling in love with 80 Day Obsession. When I thought it was my new favorite program. Well, after almost 80 days, I can honestly tell you, this one is NOT for me.

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Awesome calorie burn doing Country Heat!

I realized this at the beginning of Phase 3. I wasn’t passionate enough to want to wake up early and get it done. I struggled through every workout, every move. I just wasn’t feelin’ it. So I ended up switching to a combination of SHIFT SHOP, Core de Force, A Little Obsessed and Country Heat. I can dance my heart out – almost 700 calories – and still want more. In fact, I’ve been consistently working out for an hour by doubling up on the above programs. These four get me excited about fitness. They are my obsession.

Why am I telling you I failed?

I’m writing this for the people who feel like they have to push through, so that they can say they finished. It’s okay to give up (if that’s what you want to call it). It’s okay to say “this isn’t for me” and move on. I gave it a fair chance. Most people love 80 Day or say they do. Not me. And you don’t have to either. 22 Minute Hard Corps wasn’t for me, but I have a friend who does it EVERY DAY. To each their own. Country Heat is my #1, but I have a friend who can’t stand country music. To. Each. Their. Own.

So, yeah, I wanted to be better than ever in Phase 3. It didn’t happen with 80 Day, but it happened with workouts in general. I don’t feel like I gave up, because I’m still working out 6-7 days a week. I don’t feel like I gave up because I’m still doing hard things. I don’t feel like I gave up because I still wake up at 5 am and push through when I really don’t want to. Essentially, I am better.

Nutrition

There were two Refeed Days in this phase – that’s an opportunity to pad your diet with a few extra carbs. It’s by no means a cheat day. I really deviated from the eating plan during this phase by cutting out some of the fruits and veggies and including wo new supplements from GHOST . If you want more information on the eating plan, check out my Phase 1 post.

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GHOST supplements are fun and effective.

Weekly Obsession

While I may not be crazy about this program, I still think this show is the highlight of 80 Day. It was fun learning about how the crew pics out their outfits and seeing their progress over the last few weeks. They should definitely do this for each new program that launches. Joel Freeman – I’m talking to you!

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These Weight Watchers approved 2-ingredient bagels are soooo good!

Equipment

  • Weights
  • Resistance Loops
  • Sliders
  • Yoga Mat (optional, but encouraged if you work out on hard surfaces)
  • Towel (for all that sweat!)

The Workouts

We work out six days a week, and Sunday is a rest day with the option to do a Roll & Release or Stretch & Release workout. Or, if you’re like me and can’t sit still, you’ll use this as an opportunity to dance and belt out some tunes with the other side of Autumn in Country Heat. (Still true.)

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Trail mix is an easy to grab post-workout snack.

There is no music in the background, but there are designated playlists on Spotify that you can stream during your workout. I choose to do without, but I heard she had some pretty interesting music for the booty workouts.

Mondays – AAA

Arms, Abs, and Ass was okay. I loved some of the moves (Bridge Pullovers) and hated others (Camel Bicep Curl). It kept me engaged for the time, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again. Very different from the previous two phases.

Tuesdays – Cardio Flow

Cardio Flow grew on me a bit. We were back to four reps, which was nice. What wasn’t were the eight rounds of everything at the end. Surprise!

Wednesdays – Legs

I liked this day the best. Some of the moves were a little complicated – I’m not that coordinated during the day, but at 5 am? Forget it. I’m still proud of myself for lifting 20s. I never imagined that I’d be strong enough for that, and counting. I wish all of the Phase 3 workouts had been this good.

Thursdays – Total Body Core

Well, this one wasn’t horrible either. ½ Turkish Get Up to Push-Up – this move was crazy. I was feeling it all over when this routine was finished.

Fridays – Cardio Core

Cardio Core was tough, but I liked it more this phase. It challenged my body and I love that. I love proving to myself just how strong I really am. I still think you feel the burn from this one two days later. Beware.

Saturdays – Booty

I was NOT feeling Booty day this phase, no sir. My balance was off, my bands rolled up, and it just wasn’t fun for me. I was disappointed that this ended up being the Saturday workout because I always have more time to dedicate on the weekends.

The Trainer

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer, creator of Country Heat, the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix extreme, co-creator of Hammer & Chisel, author of the Fixate cookbook and cohost of Fixate on BOD. Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff! While I love many of her other programs, I found her a bit too chatty and distracting during Phase 3.

The Results – Phase 3

I see definition and booty gains. On the one hand, I can fit into a skirt that has been sadly hanging in the back of my closet for half a decade now, just waiting for me. On the other, I can’t fit into my everyday jeans. Go figure. I think my body is just re-proportioning.

I gained about 3 lbs of muscle and feel more solid in my thighs and arms. Toned. It’s nice and makes me want to work harder for more muscle gains – something I was always afraid of in the past.

Maybe I didn’t stick with 80 Day, but I’m proud of myself for pushing myself and working out harder than I ever have before. I hope that this inspires others to do what works for them, not get sucked into the current hype or program of the moment.

I’ve been on this fitness journey for years now, but I’ve never felt so comfortable and confident in my abilities. I’m strong, and I got this. So do you – no matter what program or exercises you’re doing.

 

 

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 Disclaimer for more information.)

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

Go GHOST

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored in part by GHOST. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker Successful. All opinions are my own. Links are not affiliate links, just links to specific pages on ghostlifestyle.com.

This year I began a search for the perfect workout supplements to complement my new intense workout schedule. I’ve been putting my body through the ringer with hours of cardio and resistance training each week, and there have been days when I feel as stiff as the Tin Man. I knew it was time to fuel my body with some good-for-you supplements.20180326_1609461346354529271089403.png

While there are many, many types to choose from, I decided to stick with pre- and post-workout energy and recovery. And so the search commenced for the best-tasting drinks that would also oil my joints.

Enter GHOST

GHOST supplements stand out on the shelves, and for good reason. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, judge away because the products taste as awesome and intriguing as the containers look.

Full Disclosure

GHOST prides themselves on their Full Disclosure label, which provides the dose and detail of each ingredient. You know what you’re getting every time, without the B.S. That’s something I can get behind.

Pre-Workout

My first sip of the GHOST LEGEND x WARHEADS Watermelon pre-workout was a blast from the past. When I say that this tastes exactly like the sour candy, I mean it. And, there’s nothing like shocking your tastebuds (and body) into a 5 am workout. Pucker Up!20180326_1609222881165771260261167.png

The first time I tried it I was AWAKE for hours. I felt like what I can only imagine my 18-month-old Jack Russel feels when she’s excited. Burned over 700 calories dancing around my gym and could have worked out longer if I had time. Yes, it really was that good AND effective.20180321_063456469741297519503781.jpg

My stamina and energy levels soar after using this pre-workout, which is my new go-to liquid (rose) gold. I love that the flavor is so far out of the box than the typical lemon. You can mix a scoop into 6 or 8 oz of water, or 4 oz if you want more of a sour taste. I’ll let you guess how I roll.

Each serving has only five calories, and contains 4g L-Citrulline (for heart and blood vessel health), 2g Beta Alanine (for increased performance), and 202mg Caffeine (for an energy boost), among other good things.

Other flavors include fruit punch, blue raspberry, and WARHEADS Black Cherry, which will be next on my list.

Post-Workout

Post-workout recovery has become increasingly important to me. I’ve always shied away from whey protein because I’m lactose intolerant, but recently learned that whey is one of the best proteins for muscle recovery. So I did a little digging and realized that whey protein isolate contains less than 1% lactose, and can usually be tolerated by individuals with an intolerance.

Enter GHOST Whey

The product gets all 25+G of its protein from Whey Protein Isolate, Concentrate, and Hydrolysate. It also contains lactase, which is an enzyme that helps to break down lactose. I’ve been able to tolerate this blend and find it a lot easier to digest than pea or other plant-based proteins. It also tastes a hell of a lot better. One serving of the Cereal Milk flavor contains 130 calories, and only 4g carbs and 2g sugars. It’s also soy and gluten free.

The powder easily mixes with water or almond milk with just a few shakes. No ball needed. No clumps or residue. No B.S.

Whoever thought of putting the scoop on a little shelf at the top of the container was a genius! I hate digging for the scoop before that first use. And, somehow, it is ALWAYS at the bottom. This right here would give even a bad-tasting protein at least two stars. (This goes for the pre-workout as well.)

Cereal Milk

Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about because I can honestly say I love the taste. Cereal Milk is vanilla ice cream meets Cap’n Crunch Cereal. I would know because I spent many a Saturday morning slurping the leftover milk from a big bowl of this golden deliciousness. Cap’n Crunch FTW – minus all the sugary crap, for sure.

It’s sweet, but after drinking in the morning, keeps any cravings at bay. The rich and creamy texture is perfect for sipping (or chugging) post workout. And it doesn’t get super frothy after shaking. Win, win, win.20180326_1609036110824171415482097.png

Fruity Cereal Milk

I went ahead and purchased Fruity Cereal Milk too because Fruity Pebbles just happens to be my one of my favorites. And, while I still use them as an occasional topping for donuts, I don’t usually indulge in a whole bowl. I have yet to try this one, but I have high hopes!

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Don’t they look delish?!

Other flavors include Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Toaster Pastry, and Peanut Butter Cereal Milk, which will be next on my list.

Rewards

I love loyalty programs because nothing shows customer appreciation more than free stuff!

Create a free account on GHOST’s site and earn points by sharing on social media, making purchases, referring friends, and more. Then choose between points or cash when making a purchase online.20180326_1612559191923736815319164.png

Super shoppers (Gold members) are rewarded with perks like free shipping on all purchases, birthday coupons, and VIP access to exclusive events.

What are you waiting for? Sign up today.

Buy in Store

Not into buying online? That’s okay. You can also purchase products at a GNC near you. Each item also comes with a unique code to enter on GHOST’s site and redeem loyalty point. I like this option because you can forgo shipping charges and leave the store with product in hand.

The Bottom Line: I recommend these supplements to everyone, especially the pre-workout. If you want results, GHOST will give you the boost you need. If you’re looking for a yummy shake that will hold you over for a few hours, here it is. Great tasting and effective. It doesn’t get more real than that.20180326_1608041424233641042396359.png

To purchase one of the above supplements or to check out GHOST’s entire line of supplements and gear, visit them online.

 

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

**GHOST’s warning label states that their products are only intended for healthy adults. Please take caution and I encourage you to research the company (like I did) prior to purchasing.

Thanks!

Obsessed – Phase 2

“You can do hard things” has taken over my life, and I’m so okay with that! I managed to keep kicking ass on the long weekend I spent in Canada, after I had a hard day at work, and even after shoveling way too much snow. But I was down for the count for four days after falling stomach ill in week 7. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone – okay maybe my high school history teacher because he was a real shit, but I digress.

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I absolutely hated that I had to pause the workouts for so long – especially ones that are specific to each day. It felt like I was giving up and giving into my weakness. In hindsight, it was just what I needed to recover and be better than EVER in Phase 3.

10K training also starts this month, so I will be back on it in no time. There’s no shame in self-care. I repeat: there is NO shame in self-care.

Nutrition

There were two Refeed Days in this phase – that’s an opportunity to pad your diet with a few extra carbs. It’s by no means a cheat day. I refrained from this because my tum-tum has been out of whack. Still sticking to Plan B as much as possible. For more information on the eating plan, check out my Phase 1 post.

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These came in handy when I physically couldn’t stand to cook.

Weekly Obsession

This show is still the highlight of the program. I love learning more and more about the cast each week. Richardson is my favorite character – what an infectious personality he has! Each week I felt like Autumn was talking to me, specifically. She is such a real and down-to-earth person. I would love to be one of her background cast members one day.

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Equipment

  • Weights
  • Resistance Loops
  • Sliders
  • Yoga Mat (optional, but encouraged if you work out on hard surfaces)
  • Towel (for all that sweat!)

The Workouts

We work out six days a week, and Sunday is a rest day with the option to do a Roll & Release or Stretch & Release workout. Or, if you’re like me and can’t sit still, you’ll use this as an opportunity to dance and belt out some tunes with the other side of Autumn in Country Heat.

There is no music in the background, but there are designated playlists on Spotify that you can stream during your workout. I choose to do without, but I heard she had some pretty interesting music for the booty workouts.

Mondays – Booty

Still loving booty day! Who knew an hour with weights and loops could be so fun? I can already see a heart forming! I really love the after burn from this one, and I finally pushed over 500 cals.

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Boom. Booty.

Tuesdays – Cardio Core

Ugh. Cardio Core. Just kidding! The Phase 2 routine was a lot more favorable, in my opinion. Just when I thought we had one more set to go, we were actually done. The slider moves were a little tough, but I loved them so. You always feel this one two days later.

Wednesdays – Total Body Core

This one’s great because it really does work the ENTIRE body. I don’t think there’s been a TBC workout I didn’t like. Hoping that Phase 3 is just as good.

Thursdays – Legs

I still enjoy leg day – even when I’m lifting 20lb weights. Yes, weights with an “s.” I’m really proud of myself for lifting so heavy, especially with a bad shoulder and knees. It might be a small feat for some, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me.

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Getting stronger.

Fridays – AAA

Arms, Abs, and Ass was totally intimidating. I took one look at the tracker sheets and wondered how the hell I was going to do it. Then it got going and I found another workout to love. The lesson here – you are stronger than you think.

Saturdays – Cardio Flow

Yikes! Cardio Flow is still not my favorite. Six reps is no joke, but we are going back to four next phase, so that should be a cake walk!

The Trainer

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer, creator of Country Heat, the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix extreme, co-creator of Hammer & Chisel, author of the Fixate cookbook and cohost of Fixate on BOD. Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff! She’s a doll, and her upbeat attitude and tough love approach will motivate you to finish every rep and bonus round.

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Energize and BOD are my JAM!

The Results – Phase 2

It’s always about the weight loss – seriously, the scale really holds us prisoner. In all honesty, I step on the scale about once a week, if that. Yes, it’s important that I keep my weight at a decent number and BMI, but I always remind myself that (1) muscle weighs more than fat and (2) weight fluctuates constantly. Non-scale victories are the true wins. Are you sleeping better? Are your jeans looser? Do you have more energy and stamina?

That being said, I lost about 4.75″ in my problem area – love handles/hips/thighs. In previous posts I’ve talked about losing weight with clean eating and exercise. In fact, I’ve remained under 130lbs since January and it feels ahhhmazing! I’m proud of myself for picking right back up after my illness because in the past I would have used the downtime as an excuse to continue being lazy.

I’m really going to be on my game in this last leg of the program. I’m taking vitamins, eating healthy, and visiting a GI doctor this week to make sure that I can fix whatever is going on with my stomach. Phase 3 – It’s just you and me!

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 Disclaimer for more information.)

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

#chickswholift

If you love to workout, a monthly subscription from Miss Muscle Box is definitely for you. Each themed box comes with seven or more goodies to help you stay motivated and reach your fitness goals – expect a quality tank top, workout guide, and yummy snacks to help you power through or recover from the toughest of workouts. At just $22.99 plus shipping, it’s a great value for the money.

I was lucky enough to receive TWO recent boxes to try out and review. The themes were Dumbbell Damage and Strong is Sexy.

Dumbbell Damage

Treign ‘Squad 1’ Tank- $25
Dumbbell Damage Workout Guide – $10
FATE: CLA Softgels – $9.99
Protes Protein Chips – $4.99
Shanti Bar: Vitality – $3.50
Shanti Bar: Boost – $3.50
Shanti Mini: Recovery – $2.00

Retail Value – $58+

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Strong is Sexy

‘Strong is Sexy’ Limited Edition Singlet – $19.99
‘Strong is Sexy’ Limited Edition Hydracup – $12.99
Explosive Plyos Workout Guide – $10
3 Zoganic FruitZip – $7.50
OhYeah! Victory Bar – $3.00
2 NuGo Slim bars – $7.00

Retail Value – $60+

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My Favorite Items

HYDRACUP– The possibilities are endless with this dual section cup. The most obvious option is to carry your pre- and post-workout formulas in one shaker. But, you can get pretty creative and use one side for your drink and the other for ice, snacks, or storage. You get 28 oz of space on the inside and a motivational message on the outside. It’s also more spacious than a traditional shaker cup. What’s not to love?

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FATE CLA Softgels – Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid naturally found in meat and dairy. Okay, that doesn’t sound so appetizing, but research indicates that it can help decrease body fat and improve lean muscle mass and strength. It may also curb appetite and improve metabolism. That’s great news for someone who is ALWAYS hungry!

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Tanks – You can never have enough workout tops. But at $20 a pop, who can afford to have a closetful? Thankfully, it’s no longer an issue.

Workout Guides – Each box comes with a fun workout guide tailored to that month’s theme. I love these because you can take them anywhere – even on vacation – and don’t need to find a TV, fiddle with a DVD player, or watch videos on a tiny cell phone screen.

Rewards

Get your friends to subscribe to Muscle Box, and you’ll earn $5 off your next box. Just share your unique link as many times as you wish. Your next box could be free!

More Options

Muscle Box – For men who are into fitness

Protein Muscle Box – For men and women looking to get healthy and build muscle.

The bottom line: I love subscription boxes because you get to try out so many different products – some you probably haven’t even heard of. This box is worth every penny. I suggest trying it out for a month or two to see what you think. It would even make a great gift for the fitness lover in your family or group of friends.

Visit Muscle Box for more information or to purchase.

 

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Muscle Box. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Obsessed – Phase 1

“You can do hard things” has become my mantra over the last four weeks. In fact, I’ve even decided to get a decal printed for my soon to be renovated basement gym.

I’ve been known to quit things – or, I guess more accurately, lose interest – when things get tough. But not this year. This year I decided to do things that scare the shit out of me, and I’m happily checking them off as I go. Next up – completion of 80Day Obsession (80DO) and 10k Training.

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So, 80DO. Holy Shit it’s hard. I thought I was fit – I did Shift Shop, Core de Force, 21 DFX. But I was not 80DO fit. That’s some other level fit. However challenging the last 26 working days have been, I survived and I know the rest of you did too!

Nutrition

By now all of the Beachbody programs use the same container breakdowns in some way. While 80DO is really it’s own plan with timed nutrition, reefed, and deplete days, 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 (A) is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet. However this time it didn’t feel like enough food, so I ended up bumping up to Plan B, which allows for one more fruit, carb, and teaspoon per day. This plan can also be designed around a vegan lifestyle.

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Can you believe this is approved?

Let’s talk about that timed nutrition for a minute. Not only does Autumn tell you how many of each container to eat daily, but she also tells you WHEN to eat them. This is huge because eating the right foods at the right times will help you recover and build those beautiful muscles! Eat every 2-3 hours, with 4-5-hour workout block, specifically formulated to increase performance and aid in recovery.

Weekly Obsession

This show, which is like the fitness version of The Real World, highlights some of the drama, fun moments, and bloopers of the upcoming week. We get to know the cast as they progress and struggle along with us. Scripted or not, I actually look forward to watching this every Saturday because I know exactly what to expect and when I’ll need to push myself harder.

Equipment

  • Weights
  • Resistance Loops
  • Sliders
  • Yoga Mat (optional, but encouraged if you work out on hard surfaces)
  • Towel (for all that sweat!)

The Workouts

We work out six days a week, and Sunday is a rest day with the option to do a Roll & Release or Stretch & Release workout. Or, if you’re like me and can’t sit still, you’ll use this as an opportunity to dance and belt out some tunes with the other side of Autumn in Country Heat.

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I love a good calorie burn – but resistance workouts are necessary too!

There is no music in the background, but there are designated playlists on Spotify that you can stream during your workout. I chose to do without for Phase 1, but I heard she had some pretty interesting music for the booty workouts.

Mondays – Total Body Core

This is the perfect Monday workout. It’s an hour long, but definitely flies by. It’s challenging and gets your body moving right away. I may or may not have thought my arms were going to break in week 4, but I survived to type my heart away! I always burn upwards of 400 calories with this one, and it hurts so good.

Tuesdays – Booty

My absolute favorite day. California, here I come! Man are those resistance loops tough. I’ve only used a light loop in Brazil Butt Lift, but nothing compares to the last 4 Booty workouts from 80DO. By the second to last rep, I have to push myself to finish, and by the end, I can barely do anything but sit on my mat with my knees pulled up to my chest. That’s how you know it was a good workout. Actually, right now I’m wondering how I’m going to work out this week when it hurts to sit down (insert crying face emoji).

Wednesdays – Cardio Core

Oh boy. I was not a fan of Cardio Core. This is not one I would recommend doing upon waking because “jumping rope” is just too much to handle. Essentially this is a series of 3-minute HIIT followed by ab exercises. The only equipment you need are sliders, but by the time you get to them, you will be FEELING IT!

Thursdays – AAA

Arms, Abs, and Ass. Yup, I can say that – even if Autumn can’t! I love this workout because it literally works everything. You use the sliders, weights, and loops for this one. You work the negatives – count one when contracting and then three to get out of it. Yikes! Feel the burn. Not a huge calorie burner, but its mainly about resistance.

Fridays – Legs

Raise your hand if you love leg day? Can you see both of mine in the air?? Our legs have some of the strongest muscles, so we can work them hard and heavy. I love these exercises that surprisingly only include weights. Get ready to squat and lunge until your legs shake and don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights – you got this. At the end of these workouts, I noticed how ripped my arms looked. Swimsuit season, here I come.

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Seriously, though – look at those gains!

Saturdays – Cardio Flow

This sounds like yoga, but is NOTHING like it. And that kind of made me happy because as much as I try to like yoga, it is sooooo hard for me to relax and find the zen zone. This workout is a series of 10 exercises that are put together in progressions, starting with inchworms and ending with mule to frog. Don’t be fooled by the short workout time – you will be breathless by the end. I always dreaded this one, but it was actually pretty fun once I got into the groove. At first I was excited to ditch this workout in Phase 2, but nope! We’re keeping it and bumping up the reps from 4 to 6. Now that will be a challenge!

The Trainer

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer, creator of Country Heat, the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix extreme, co-creator of Hammer & Chisel, author of the Fixate cookbook and cohost of Fixate on BOD. Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff! She’s a doll, and her upbeat attitude and tough love approach will motivate you to finish every rep and bonus round.

The Results – Phase 1

I know the part you’re curious about – the pounds and inches lost. But let me first say that it’s not all about the scale. Yes, it’s important that I keep my weight at a decent number and BMI, but I always remind myself that (1) muscle weighs more than fat and (2) weight fluctuates constantly.

That being said, I lost about 3″ in my problem area – my hips and thighs. In previous posts I’ve talked about losing weight with clean eating and exercise. In fact, I’m down over 6lbs since January 1st! I am so proud of myself for being consistent and never missing a workout. Even when I woke up late, took weekend trips, wasn’t feeling it, or had a blazing headache, I got it done. Sometimes at 11pm.

I’m really pushing myself to work harder than I ever have before, to have self-control when it comes to eating all the things, and to inspire others to do the same. I’ve been on this fitness journey for years now, but I’ve never felt so comfortable and confident in my abilities. I’m strong, and I got this. Phase 2 – I’m here to CRUSH you!

 

 

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

Sugar Free Me – Reintroduction

For those of you who have been following my Sugar-Free series, I started reintroducing some of the questionable foods into my diet on January 22nd.

It ended up being a pretty long and stressful part of the process. The Guide recommends ditching the gluten-containing grains, but since I was trying to find out my headache triggers, I added back everything – just to be sure.

During the last week of the actual detox phase, I created a reintroduction calendar that would test out dairy, gluten-containing grains, legumes, caffeine, and Shakeology.

How does it work?

The first day (Monday), I ate according to my clean eating plan with the addition of dairy at all three of my main meals. Then went back to clean eating for two days. On Thursday I added gluten to all three meals. Then went back to clean eating for two days. And repeated this cycle until all of the food groups were reintroduced.

Allowing for some in-between time helps identify any triggers that might not have immediate reactions.

Dairy…is the devil

I was really looking forward to my breakfast of cottage cheese and fruit, and the addition of cheese with lunch and dinner, but after I ate my first meal, it felt like someone was trying to knot my intestines together. Oh, the pain.

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I swear there is cottage cheese under all those berries!

I tried a little mozzarella with lunch, but the bloating and twisting returned. I melted a little Monterey Jack on my burger for dinner, and, fortunately, that didn’t seem to be too rough.

It looks like, for the most part, I will be avoiding dairy or looking into lactose-free alternatives. Of course, there is always the last resort Lactaid that I will bring with me on vacation – just in case!

Other than the stomach pain, I found no correlation to headaches.

Gluten…doesn’t seem to be a threat

I can’t tell you how excited I was to reintroduce this. I’m Italian, so I literally grew up with a chunk of bread in each hand. I know it’s just food, but I would probably be heartbroken if I couldn’t indulge in my favorite doughy treats – zeppole, pizza (sans cheese), and gnocchi – every once in a while.

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Isn’t this a beauty?

I ate a jumbo lemon poppy seed muffin with breakfast, half a sandwich from Panera for lunch, and a burger from Five Guys for dinner. And…nothing happened. No bloating, itching, or pain, and my headache seemed to remain the same that day. The next day, it was less intense. Go figure.

Legumes…aren’t all bad

Before I became more familiar with the different food groups through research, I had no idea what legumes were. The most obvious are peanuts, peas, beans, and soy.

Sushi rolls and miso soup were the first items on my list to try. I love both of these, so I was pretty ecstatic when I didn’t sense any type of reaction from the foods. I think coconut aminos are wonderful and all, but my wallet tends to disagree.

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From the Fixate cookbook.

I haven’t had PB in a really long time, so I decided to add that back into my diet as well. I quickly learned that was a mistake when I experienced sharp pains in my intestines and head. Just to be sure, I stretched out Legume Test Day into the following day. And, yes, to confirm – peanuts are a no go.

Over the course of the detox I learned that almonds give me hives, so I’ll be sticking to sunbutter or cashew butter for now.

Caffeine…is just fine

Almost everything I’ve read about headaches cites caffeine as a culprit. Now, I’m not a coffee fiend, nor do I rely on caffeine to get me through the day, but I do enjoy some caffeinated things once in a while.

Pre-detox I started my intense workout days with Energize, a Beachbody Performance caffeinated energy drink. I’ve found that I burn about 10% more calories when drinking it.

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After about a month without “treats,” this actually wasn’t very satisfying.

Some of my favorite mocha, chocolate, and cafe latte shakes include caffeine.

Then there are brownies, chocolate chip pancakes, RX Bars – you name it. So, it would be a little disappointing to be anti-caffeine.

Today I had one serving of Energize, a cup of green tea (ahhh matcha!), and a mint chocolate RX Bar. Easy does it. No reaction.

Shakes…TBD

The last item I introduced were shakes. I love Shakeology and Vega – they both make quick on the go meals and awesome emergency food when you are out and about. I even brought Shakeology on a road trip to Canada!

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My favorite blueberry blend. Just realized how much blue is actually in this photo!

I blended vanilla Shakeology with blueberries, raw honey, oats, and a scoop of collagen peptides. I only drank about half of it before heading into a 5.5-hour meeting (no, that isn’t a typo).

I ended up having a slight headache that evening, and the next two days it was more intense. I’m not sure if the culprit was the shake, the lack of a full breakfast, the stress associated with work, or the fact that mother nature will be visiting me this week (sorry guys!).

So this one stands unknown for the time being – I’ll try shakes again after my headache fizzles out.

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The bottom line: The reintroduction period was an important part of the overall program. It’s helpful to be in tune with your body and know how certain foods affect you. However, because I noticed that I’m reacting to some foods (e.g., peanuts and almonds) that have always been okay to eat, I decided to see an allergist and have some confirmation testing done. I believe there is a place for both holistic and conventional medicine, and would like to see if there are any underlying causes for my allergies and reactions. The appointment is scheduled for February 15th and you know I’ll follow-up!

To find out more about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, click here. Then check out my week one, week two, and week three updates!

The Showdown: Whole30 vs. 21-Day Sugar Detox

You might be wondering why a girl who swore she’d never do another Whole30 again, just completed a 21-Day Sugar Detox. Aren’t they practically the same?

Well, there are many similarities when it comes to what food groups you can and can’t eat, but in my opinion, the other restrictions put on the Whole30 can facilitate an unhealthy relationship with food.

Whole30

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The premise of the program is to eat clean, whole foods for 30 days, but of course, that’s just the first layer of a very well thought out program. Eat three meals a day, large and nutritious enough to sustain you until your next meal. Don’t skip breakfast. Stop eating a few hours before you go to bed. Veggies are “required” at every meal and fruits, which should be eaten sparingly, can be eaten with a meal. Snacking is discouraged – not forbidden – but it really depends on how active your lifestyle is.

  • YES Foods: lean protein (meats, eggs, fish, seafood), veggies, fruits, healthy fats and oils, nuts, seeds, condiments, and supplements like collagen
  • NO Foods: added sugar in all forms (even honey), alcohol, legumes, grains, dairy, protein or meal replacement shakes, and the recreation of baked goods, junk food, or treats turned into healthier options.

21-Day Sugar Detox

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The Sugar Detox is all about cutting sweet cravings naturally to eliminate short and long-term side effects of sugar addiction including mood swings, fatigue, depression, and even PCOS. There are three levels to the program, and all meal plans include three meals and a snack – which definitely comes in handy during the gap between lunch and dinner.

  • YES Foods: lean protein (meats, eggs, fish, seafood), veggies, fruits (only green-tipped bananas, green apples, and grapefruit) healthy fats and oils, nuts, seeds, homemade condiments without sugar or date paste, and supplements like 100% pure protein powder
  • NO Foods: gluten-containing grains, starchy veggies like cassava and plantains, legumes, cashews, all other fruits, dairy, alcohol, supplements with multiple ingredients (like Shakeology)
  • Plan 1: The least strict, allows for the addition of gluten-free grains, legumes, and full-fat dairy
  • Plan 2: The in-between plan, allows for full-fat dairy
  • Plan 3: The most strict, avoids both gluten-free grains and full-fat dairy

The similarities

Both programs…

  • focus on cutting cravings and eating healthier by eliminating foods that may cause triggers or irritation over a period of time.
  • observe and encourage a reintroduction period after completion of the main program.

The differences

Helloooooo Captain Obvious – one is 30 days, the other is 21. Wink wink.

Sweeteners

Whole30 gives you options when it comes to using natural sugars – sweeten ketchup or bbq sauce with date paste, choose any fruit you’d like as long as it’s eaten with a meal, and grab a Larabar or RX Bar to snack on the go.

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The beautiful variety.

21-Day Sugar Detox says NO to any kind of sugars, whether natural or artificial, you can only choose between green apples, grapefruit, and green-tipped bananas, but they don’t have to be eaten with a meal, and really, you’ll be hard-pressed to find compliant on-the-go snacks.

Treats & Desserts

Whole30 says absolutely NOT to recreating desserts, the creators even coined the phrase SWYPO (Sex with Your Pants On) to describe this. The basic premise is that your eating habits and behaviors will remain the same if you keep eating the way you always have. If you regularly eat doughnuts for breakfast, recreating paleo doughnuts doesn’t do a thing to change your old habit.

21-Day Sugar Detox is pretty lax when it comes to this, in fact, there are recipes for pumpkin pancakes, coconut milk smoothies, apple cinnamon doughnuts, and almond butter cups right in the back of the book! (One day I even made banana pancakes for breakfast and I didn’t feel so restricted to EGGS – see photo.)

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Quick and easy banana “pancakes”

Snacking

Whole30 says to limit snacking unless you have a very busy or active lifestyle, in which case it’s unavoidable.

21-Day Sugar Detox says YES ma’am to snacking and even has it built right into the meal plan. This was helpful at work and actually kept me AWAY from the vending machines because I had enough food throughout the day.

Overall

After the Whole30 I could not wait to go back to my previous (aka gluttonous) ways of eating. The perceived restriction was just too much. I felt like a little kid being told no – it just made me want to break the rules even more! I mean, what harm can one paleo doughnut do?

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Whole30 perfect plate.

The program definitely wasn’t intended this way, but I replaced my sugary junk food (not allowed) with sugary fruits and Whole30 packaged snacks (allowed) and ended up feeling guilty for it. Of course, my taste profile didn’t change because I was still relying on sweet things to get me by.

I didn’t lose any weight or experience any miraculous changes. If anything, I just felt hungry and powerless. I rebelled against the lifestyle that was essentially trying to help. Then I ended up going on vacation soon after and pretty much ruined any of the progress I had made.

After the 21-Day Sugar Detox, I jumped right into the reintroduction period, as advised, and walked away with a healthier mindset. I didn’t have any desire to wreck the progress I made.

During the 21-Day Sugar Detox I made healthier choices – granola made with nuts instead of grains, coconut flour doughnuts “sweetened” with applesauce, chia pudding. All of these were recreated treats (SWYPO in Whole30 lingo), and yet, after the Detox, I had absolutely NO desire to run to Dunkin’ and scarf down a dozen “real” doughnuts. Why? Because I didn’t feel deprived for an ENTIRE freakin’ month.

I didn’t indulge in sugary sweets because I didn’t have the option – it just wasn’t in my meal plan. So, over the course of 21 days, my tastes started to change. I no longer craved super sweet things, but was content with spicy, or even better, umami. And banana with almond butter tasted pretty damn near dessert!

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These two give me that umami fix!

Today is day 29 and I’m almost done with my reintroduction period, with no desire to stuff my face with any of my old favorite junk foods – I have untouched ice cream and salt and vinegar kettle chips in my kitchen as I type.

The bottom line: So, which method is right for you? Maybe one, maybe both, maybe even none! All I can do is provide you with my experiences and tell you to do your own research. Many people swear by the Whole30. It’s definitely more popular, but does that make it better? In my opinion, the 21-Day Sugar Detox is very realistic and achievable while the Whole30 is quite the opposite and fosters an unhealthy relationship with food.