Clean eating changed my life. I know. That’s overdramatic. And ridiculous. But it’s true. I am a different person and have been since June 2013 when I started taking this more seriously.
Eating clean is the only nutrition plan that doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. I eat certain foods many times throughout the day. I don’t feel starved or deprived. If I do feel truly hungry, I fuel myself with something from the earth. It’s so simple and basic, and I think that’s what I love most about it. Sure, you fall off the wagon from time to time. But there is always a Monday around the corner to get it back on track. And yesterday was just that.
I really wanted to try and eat 100% clean all day. To keep me motivated, I decided to take pictures throughout the day. (Btw, I don’t know how I ever had a food blog. It was incredibly difficult trying to remember to take pictures all day!) I couldn’t help but notice some trends: lots of greens and lots of orange. Most plates were pretty balanced in terms of portions. Honestly, it was a killer day, and I’m too proud not to share:
When something works, all you want to do is share it. So that’s what I’m doing here. I am truly feeling the effects of this nutrition plan: more energy, a maintained weight, better skin. I can’t believe how long I ate diet foods, complained about stomach aches, and wondered why I couldn’t seem to keep weight off. Now, it just seems like a no-brainer.
When I started adding in regimented fitness programs, things also started to take off for me. T25 has been my go-to for six months now. I consistently feel stronger each time I complete a workout. I’m now at the point where 25 minutes a day isn’t enough. Yesterday, I added in a set of 15 push-ups along with a quick 15-minute HIIT. It made me feel alive and energized.
I realize fitness and health isn’t everyone’s thing, and that’s okay. You don’t need to be a health fanatic to feel good from just eating well and moving often. Some days, I can’t believe how simple this combination really is. I feel that too often, we get distracted, losing sight of how to live properly. I love days like this when I remember that all over again.
On Sunday I attempted something I hadn’t done before: 50 power jumps. I learned this move from Shaun T’s Insanity, and basically it looks as the visual suggests. You jump with your knees up in the air. I like to do sets of 10 at a time to get it over faster.
I hadn’t planned on doing these power jumps, but I was trying to capture an in-action photo of myself working out. (Do you know how hard that is to do?) My coaches post pictures online, and I find them super inspiring. But every photo I took was out of focus or strange. Nevertheless, it put a challenge in front of me: perfecting the jump. I kept doing it until I got a photo I liked. And then, when I was so close to 50, I decided to do another 15 jumps.
Needless to say I was incredibly sore the next day. It’s been a while since I really challenged my body like that. On top of the 50 jumps, I also increased my weights during my upper body workout. There is a big difference between 5 and 10 pound dumbbells! I swear I am still sore, two days later.
The entire workout reminded me of the importance of changing things up. When I was a hardcore runner, I’d often fall into fitness ruts. I’d put in my 30 minutes on the treadmill and get out of the gym. My weight stayed the same (despite my attempts to shed pounds). And I wasn’t gaining muscle. It all makes sense given this article Jenna recently passed on to me. Which is why I love Shaun T. and his fitness programs. Or adding in a few power jumps to a routine workout. It all adds up to something bigger. And I don’t get bored.
I have been doing T25 for the past couple of months, and I can feel myself tiring of the program. So, I’ve been adding running back into the workout schedule. Right now my weeks look something like this:
- M: Run 3 miles
- T: T25 Upper Body Focus
- W: Run 3 miles
- Th: T25 Rip’t Circuit
- F: Rest
- S: T25 Dynamic Core/Core Cardio
- Su: Run 4-5 miles
I am training for an 8K with Jenna, and I think this is the perfect routine to keep me from getting bored. Plus I get to enjoy the last nice days of the calendar year!
How do you change things up?
There is a reason for posting this photo that goes well beyond vanity:
For once in my life, I have arm muscles. Things take shape when I move my arms. There are indents in places that used to be squishy. There are sharper lines and curvatures. There is real definition.
I realize that posting a picture of yourself post-workout in “gun show” position seems a bit narcissistic. And honestly, that’s usually the case with blogs – they are designed to be self-centered. But posting this picture goes beyond that. This picture is proof that, even when I feel like I’m slacking, I’ve spent the past several months working hard. We all know muscles don’t come overnight.
The old me would have never, *ever* posted a photo such as this. I’d spent years being embarrassed by my body, trying to cover it up. It’s not that I flaunt it or anything now. I am still a work in progress. But I’ve gained a confidence I never had before, and it was all through a few daily pushups (and some serious Shaun T. training).
This year I’ve completed Insanity, Focus T25, and I’ve trained and ran a half marathon. At the moment, I’m looking for something new. Since time is in high demand, I’m re-doing month two of T25. But, as I feel every couple of months, I want to kick things up a notch again. Focus on a new program or exercise.
I’ve contemplated CrossFit, but I’m not sure I can fit the daily WODs into my schedule (they are at a bad time), and I don’t want to become obsessive with exercise or suffer from a muscle meltdown. I am thinking about running another race, at least a 10K, now that I live next to a beautiful trail. Thoughts? What do you suggest should be my next endeavor?
This week I’ve transitioned from the Alpha Cycle of FOCUS T25 into the Beta Cycle. It’s my sixth week of this program and, honestly, it doesn’t even feel that long. I still love it. The program is so short it doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing it so long.
All in all, this has been my favorite Beach Body program yet. I can take it with me anywhere. I did workouts on my parents’ porch while home for my grandmother’s funeral. I complete workouts in my office at the end of the day to avoid busy commutes. And I can easily squeeze it in during a Saturday or Sunday morning before a busy day. Not to sound like an infomercial – but it’s worked more for me than any other exercise (including running).
In truth, I’m not seeing such drastic results as I did with Insanity – but I’m still losing pounds and inches. To date, I’ve dropped 3 pounds since I started the program and several inches off my thighs, waist, and chest. Even more important, my arms are truly toned for the first time in my life. I’m not embarrassed to wear a tank top – something I’ve avoided for the past two years. I just feel more healthy and confident in my own skin.
So far it seems that Beta is faster than Alpha. There aren’t any breaks in either program, but I feel like all the movements are done more efficiently and quickly. I especially like this because the 25 minutes seems to blaze by. Though I will admit I’m taking more breaks than I’d like.
My goal for the next 5 weeks? Finish the program. Take less breaks. And continue to feel good in my own skin. I have no doubt that this program will see me through!
How are you doing with your workout program/s?
I really enjoyed Jenna’s last post recapping the Color Run and her fitness goals. And, like any good blog post, it inspired me to consider my own fitness goals.
Drenched in sweet & feeling strong.
For a while, I was a runner who would “phone it in.” My goals were simple: I would go running every other day, putting in 3 miles at a moderate pace on a treadmill. It wasn’t inspiring or fun. It helped me maintain my weight, but it didn’t tone my body. And it certainly didn’t challenge me.
At the time, I wasn’t mentally sound. I’d become a sad person, and my body began to resemble those emotions. I was overweight, tired, and unhappy: the beginnings of any typical weight-loss journey.
Then, I found Insanity. In truth, I had it for months before starting the program. Mentally, I wasn’t ready to get out of my routine rut. That was a convenient plan. But then I completed the program from January to March of this year. And I was hooked.
Afterward, I moved into half-marathon training and completed the Pittsburgh Half in May. I got my best time yet, and I credit Insanity and working hard. Since then, I’ve been taking a variety of hip hop classes and other workouts. So I’ve been ready to start a new program like Focus T25.
For now, that is my goal. For the next 10 weeks, I will commit to this program. But I have a few other fitness goals, too.
Short Term Goals
- Complete additional workouts on top of T-25. These include: hip hop classes, softball games, and walking.
- Shed a few pounds, gain strength, and toning
- Continue eating “clean”
- Make the workouts “work” for me: fold them into busy days, allow space for social events and hobbies
Long Term Goals
- Reach my goal weight or below (I have about 7 pounds to go) OR drop a clothing size/inches.
- Run another half marathon in 2014. Beat my time from last year.
- Maintain a balance of exercise and healthy eating as I move into a busier fall/winter.
What are your goals?