Tag Archives: fitness

ChaLean Extreme: 60 Day Results!

2 Oct

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Wow – it is hard to believe it has been 60 days of working out with Chalene (Well really 67, I pushed back a week per Dr.’s orders). It has been an awesome 60+ days and I am still enjoying the program.  I feel strong, I look forward to the workouts, and the time needed to complete them is working out quite nicely with my unusually full schedule.  Because I’m not following the diet plan prescriptively, I am likely not seeing maximum results.  Nonetheless I’m still pleased with my progress – at least what I can see with my eyes!  The numbers haven’t really changed, somewhat as expected.  Maybe my body has reached its happy place numbers-wise?  Totally possible.  I’m a few weeks from celebrating my “anniversary” of starting P90X and rededicating myself to regular fitness.  That’s one year of pumping it and working out – perhaps my body has found its new normal!  Either way, ChaLean is still a program I’d highly recommend, just keep in mind I didn’t use the program for huge changes…but based on others’ experiences, it is possible to have a transformation.

These results are based on:

  • Completing almost every ChaLean Extreme Workout (except for the week skipped for health reasons, and I missed the cardio video twice).
  •  Increasing the Ab video from once (as directed)) to 3 times a week.
  • Aiming for around 1500 or 1600 calories per day.  There were some cheat meals in there (the wedding and usually on weekends), during the week I am pretty disciplined. If you are looking for big results you’d have to be more strict.  Personally my balance of strict during the week and more relaxed on the weekends works well for me.
  • I’m not following the ChaLean diet Guide.

Tape Measure Results:

Waist: -.25

Chest: 0

Hips: 0

Thigh: 0

Bicep: -.25 on the left, 0 on the right

Weight:

-1 lb.

Muscle Definition:

Tough to measure, but again, according to my eyes I feel more defined.  My back and shoulders seem much tighter.  And really my arms are much stronger and tighter as well.  So far so good!

Body Fat %:

No change.

Up Next:

I just started the “Lean” Phase and the very last phase of ChaLean Extreme!  Hard to believe I’m coming to a close here soon.  I feel ready to really push it and make sure I finish strong.  The lean phase seems to be a bit longer (workouts 45 min instead of 35) so I’ll have to plan accordingly.  After ChaLean I’m considering doing another round of ChaLean Extreme, or possibly a round of P90X.  With the wedding falling during that time, I really want something structured.  Yep, I’ll admit, the desire to look trim and great for my wedding is alive and well.  What is that?!  I’ll be happy to have it behind me so working out can always feel fun again (okay mostly feel fun).  Sometimes when I feel like “I have to,” I don’t want to, and it begins to feel like a job.  Funny how that works.  Anyways…structure it is, because it does make it most enjoyable and doable for me!  Because I’m still having pretty significant knee issues I will stick to something lower impact.  But we’ll see, looking forward to finishing up!

And pictures… I forgot to have Adam take pictures of me last weekend (it was a busy, busy moving weekend full of pouring rain, crazy mishaps, and all sorts of ridiculousness).  BUT, he will return this weekend, so I’m going to ask he take some pictures then.  Hopefully I’ll finally get some stinking pictures up (cough cough, slacker, cough).  I have found it’s much, much harder to document my progress living alone.  Here’s to next time getting some better pictures.  Have a wonderful week!

-Kelly

ChaLean Updates!

26 Sep

Hey Friends!

I hope all has been wonderful!  It’s been a whirlwind of a two weeks for me full of a wedding (no, not my own, 114 days til that!), a time-out on working out (Dr.’s orders), and moving.  I always said that I wanted to blog because I had something helpful or valuable to share…and let’s face it folks – the last two weeks just haven’t been very interesting.  So I didn’t blog, because whatever I said would have been painfully boring.  Sure I’ve been busy, but who wants to hear “Oh my gosh I’m SO busy.”  Gross.  You’re welcome for not blogging.  Let’s try and keep this stuff relevant and interesting. ;)  Additionally, it’s one of those things where when faced with the choice of blogging about healthy living or actually trying to live healthy, I’m going to pick the latter every single time.

So what has been so important to keep me away from all my blogging friends!?  Well, a picture essay for you all to enjoy:

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A lovely South Carolina destination wedding!

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This lovely beach wedding was for Adam’s cousin, though sadly Adam couldn’t attend (stupid residency). I sang “Lucky” during the ceremony and had a lot of fun!

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Oh yeah, and I wasn’t the most healthful eater. Oops.

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But I caught the bouquet! Hooray! :)

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Packing up my apartment! My lease is up and I’m moving in with my soon-to-be in-laws (the coolest people in. the. world.) until the wedding. Call me old fashioned.

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I made egg scrambles for my parents. Let’s just say they were overwhelmed with my sheer amount of culinary talent.

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My Dad picked out his suit for the wedding! Isn’t he dashing?

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The bridesmaid dresses came in! I tried it on to show my gals! One lives in Seattle and the other in Atlanta, so pictures are everything! Please ignore the moving mess behind me. :)

Yeah – so life is crazy.  Anyone else out there a perpetual let’s-make-things-busier-than-needed person?  I do it every time.  But again, I must enjoy it :)  And if you’re crazy like me, I’m sure you do too!  Okay, onto some relevant updates!

ChaLean Extreme

I’m still pumping iron with Chalene and loving it!  I feel strong, lean, and really haven’t noticed adding any bulk.  This week I “restarted” week 4 of Phase 2.  Last week I had a non-emergent medical procedure that forced me to take 5 days off from working out (stir-crazy!).  I decided to just re-do my week and will begin my FINAL phase of ChaLean Extreme next week.  I’m still really enjoying the program and would HIGHLY recommend it as a terrific beginner program – because Chalene is so patient.  BUT, it’s also great for advanced folks because she really pushes you to lift heavy.  An awesome program.

I’ve also been doing some thinking on P90X vs. ChaLean and will have more words with a complete post – but I do find ChaLean to be an excellent introductory program to P90X.  I think it could really help people get ready to complete P90X successfully.  If you’re worried P90X is too extreme, ChaLean is a great thing to try, because it really offers many modifications (more modifications than P90X).  Additionally, ChaLean is shorter (avg. 40 minutes a day vs. 75 minutes a day).  If you’re not used to working out daily, adding just 40 minutes a day is more doable than the full 75 of P90X.  So if you’ve been wanting to give lifting a go – give P90X a try (I’m thinking of you Lucy!!).

That being said – coming from P90X to ChaLean hasn’t seemed like a huge step-down for me.  Sure it’s shorter and not as intense (time wise and variety of movements), but I think it’s been a needed break and variety while still pushing myself.  Honestly I recommend it either way.

I’m still struggling with the eating program.  It is not as structured as P90X, so I’m having a hard time sticking to it.  I’m doing sort of a hybrid of P90X/lower calorie thing.  It’s been semi-successful, but mainly I’m just trying to eat clean, healthy food.  Which I find difficult if I’m not structured, a struggle for me.  I’m not really doing ChaLean for weight loss (though I wouldn’t hate losing a pound or two) – so I haven’t stressed too much about staying to the recommended 1300 calories.  I will say – I would probably have better results if I followed that, but that’s just common sense!  Not practical for me at this point though.  But please note – your results will differ largely from mine if you do incorporate the eating program.

Knees

Yeah it stinks and still hurts and I still can’t do anything about it.  I try to run every couple weeks just “to check” to see if it’s better.  I ran yesterday to wake up to excruciating knee pain today.  I don’t have anything nice to say about it so I won’t say anything at all.

I’ve decided to abandon running to protect my knees for all the DANCING I’m doing.  I’m rehearsing choreography often and I feel like that’s enough strain on my knees.

Post-wedding I’m planning to get more serious as far as doctors, tests, solutions to my knees.  At this point I’ll just settle with being happy I can dance and do my lifting programs.  I don’t want to inflame them to the point I can’t work out at all.  Smart?  Yes I do agree.  So much for my “running” blog.  Yeah.  Poor me.  Hahah.  I think I’ll survive.

I think that’s enough for now.  Happy almost-Friday!

Kelly

When You Get Off Track…

11 Sep

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Maybe if I had an alarm clock like this I could get up…

Hi folks!  Happy Wednesday!  This week has been an awesome one and will continue to bring more excitement (eek!).  With a visit to Nashville on Monday/Tuesday (sigh, 3 weeks is too long without seeing Adam), and a wedding down in South Carolina on Friday and the rest of the weekend-  it’s completely full of awesomeness!  It’s during times of awesomeness (or complete crazy unpleasant stress) that I find it hardest to get my workout in.What to do when things are all out of sorts!?

Last night I got in super late from Nashville and this morning I. Could. Not. Get. Up.  My alarm rang and rang and I just kept pressing ignore (I have a bad habit of not being fully aware of this).  Suddenly I have 15 minutes until I have to leave, let alone workout!  I scrambled around, managed to get clothes on and throw together a lunch (I call that success).  Yet I sit here now kind of disappointed I didn’t get my workout in (that feeling always happens!).  There are several options when you skip a workout (if you have a set weekly schedule).

1. Push the workout back.  I could continue about my day as if it were a rest day.  Tomorrow I’ll do what I planned to do today.

2. Do the workout in the evening or afternoon.  I’m a morning worker outer (note, not a morning person), so the afternoon is always a great back-up.  And I would…but I have 2 hours of dance rehearsal tonight.  I won’t get home until 8:30 and likely won’t be in any physical shape to lift.  But… I could make it happen. No excuses right? Chooo Choo… do you hear the excuse train??

3. Skip the workout.  Come on Kelly, live a little!  Just skip the workout and tomorrow start “Thursday’s” workout.

Honestly I’ve done all three, and they all work.  :)  My favorite tends to be 2, as normally I can find a way to squeeze it in.  But what’s better on your body?  Switching up the routine?  Keeping at it?  Here are some thoughts on each of the options.

When to Push it Back:

If you have built in rest days and pushing back the workout by one day will not ‘mess up’ the next week, go for pushing it back.  This keeps your week on schedule, but just slides things back a bit.  Generally if I’m out of rest days and pushing back means I spill over into the next week I’ll stay away from doing this.  It’s okay to slide, but I hate getting that out of routine.  Getting so out of sorts makes it SO easy to skip more workouts.  Other times I won’t push back?  If I’ve already skipped a workout in the week.  One change up is great, two… is a slippery slope.  (I’m naturally so lazy, I gotta watch myself! One minute I’m working out and the next I’m laying on my couch pinning and eating white cheddar cheezits, yikes ;))

When to Do it No Matter What!

Some days if I sleep over my workout, I just have to make it happen no matter what.  If I have a free or ‘freeish’ evening I generally try to make this happen.  Also, if I’ve skipped workouts previously in the week, or had a pretty treat filled weekend (a la Labor Day) I will make the workout happen!  Generally I decide in the morning what option I’m going with.  This helps me mentally plan and prep for an evening workout.  I’m a huge expectations person, so talking myself into the workout nice and early is helpful!

When to skip the workout

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make it work!  Times when I’m okay skipping?  If I’m sick or completely exhausted (like crazy-land exhausted, not just ‘meh I’m tired and don’t want to workout’ <– duh, that’s everyday).  I’ll also skip if somehow in my day I replaced the workout – i.e. went on a run at work, or a 2 hour dance rehearsal.  And finally, I’ll skip if I’m out of rest days and my day is so jam packed that I can’t do anything else.  Even if I’m disappointed in myself for not getting my rear in gear, I have to ‘forgive’ myself and move on!  Tomorrow is a new day – channel that energy to make tomorrow the best workout ever!!  Or just working out, I’ll settle for that too ;)

A fourth option – swap the workout.  If you don’t have time for a full workout but can get in something shorter, say yoga?  Do it!  I’ll do this option if I just ‘want to get something in’.  Something is better than nothing!

So what am I going to do today?  Honestly I’m not sure!  I’m hoping that I can talk myself into lifting after my dance rehearsal.  This is one of those situations where I won’t really be able to push back with the destination wedding this weekend.  Fingers crossed I’m not dead after my dance rehearsal!

Speaking of which… the first dance rehearsal for White Christmas was on Saturday!  I danced for 8 hours.  There was a dance workshop for 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours of learning the choreography to “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing.”  (Swoon!)  I felt like I had signed up for Dancing with the Stars. Seriously – imagine beautiful waltz, fabulous dress, spinning, lifting, dancing!  Oh dear goodness, excited and nervous!

Though…I am still sore (yeah, it’s Wednesday, that was Saturday).  I think that rehearsal was more difficult than most of my races – half or full! (except for that one marathon I didn’t really train for, yeah that sucked).  My knees gave me a bit of trouble so I’ve cut back on running – I may even have to kiss my November half-marathon goodbye (tear).  But I really feel like I have the responsibility to take care of my body with all of this dancing.  And if running is a known irritant… it just makes sense to lay off it for awhile.  It’s still a bummer to me that I can’t run normally without pain, but that’s another sob post. There are FIVE lifts in this ONE dance number, just to give you an idea of the physicality required.  I may spend my time doing abs and planks instead of running (cuz lordy, I’m gonna need it!).  I’m SO excited for the show – it should be amazing.

And because it’s Wednesday: here’s a wedding craft for you to enjoy.  Adam is a whiz and put these together for our tables – me on one side and him on the other.  Yay!

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Kelly 02Adam 02

Have a great rest of the week! :)

-Kelly

Edit: Also totally spaced that today is 9/11.  We must never forget!  (clearly I’m talking to myself).

How do you handle missed workouts?  Do you do option 1, 2, or 3… or another way of dealing? Any tips or advice when you get off schedule?

Recipe: Simple Egg Scramble

4 Sep

So guys, I have a confession… I’ve been cooking.  Gasp!  I know, it’s pretty amazing.  Now let’s get this straight – I haven’t been doing anything fancy.  But there’s still something yummy about some warm, home-cooked food.  At least my Mom is impressed.

Cooking is not my forte.  I repeat, cooking is not my forte.  But, I do understand and value home-cooked quality meals.  Over the past few months I’ve worked to slowly add simple, quick recipes to my repertoire.  My simple asparagus and simple arugula are still some of my favorites that I rotate in pretty often.  Lately I’ve been switching up my routine a bit from my normal shake (shakeology and protein) in the morning.  I have been cooking in the morning, with a shake for dinner.  I find that sometimes when I come home from work I really crave something sweet and often don’t have the patience for a meal.  Living alone, this swap has worked pretty well.  I don’t do it everyday, but I’ll throw it in for some variety.  And who doesn’t love variety?

This egg scramble is super simple and is a great way to get in lots of veggies!  It is one way that I ‘trick’ myself into eating more vegetables!  Additionally I’ve used the same principles to make many spin off dishes, like breakfast burritos or sautéed veggies and pasta.  Now I’m really getting fancy.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs or Egg Beaters (when I use whole eggs I do three egg whites plus one whole egg, lately I’ve been using egg beaters and do 1/2 or 2/3 of a cup).
  • Morningstar sausage patties (made of soy, but you could substitute for any other protein source).
  • Pepper (I throw a whole one in!)
  • Spinach (a handful works well)
  • Zucchini (I’ve been using half of a small one, cut into small pieces)
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Nonstick spray

Directions:

  1. Heat a large frying/sauté pan (see I don’t even know what cooking things are called!). Normally I put mine at about a 4 on my stove.
  2. Once the pan is hot, spray with the nonstick spray, and throw in the cut up veggies.
  3. Let the veggies cook for around 10 minutes, flipping them occasionally.  Often I’ll turn down my stove and let them cook a bit longer if I’m getting ready for the day as well.  Multi-tasking at its finest.
  4. Once the veggies are cooked to your liking, throw in the 2/3 cup egg beaters and cooked morningstar sausage (I normally heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds).
  5. Stir everything about and scramble it!
  6. Let all ingredients cook until they are to your liking.  I tend to like them a bit on the browner side – I know, I’m weird. Often I will turn down the stove once everything looks dandy just to keep it warm.  Right before I walk out the door I’ll throw it into a tupperware for a delicious hot breakfast at work.
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Cook the cut veggies on their own first.

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Next, add in the eggs and sausage.

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Ta da! Hot food on a plate. Amazing.

It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s an awesome way to get in those veggies!  I have experimented with all sorts of different chopped veggies.  Instead of eating a salad, I’ll eat my egg scramble full of veggies.  Much yummier.

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The breakfast burrito variety – just add a wheat tortilla!

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Look at these fancy veggies!

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Look! Veggies with pasta!! Yum.

When I showed my breakfast to my co-worker he responded, “Oh so I can see that you’ve learned you can put anything in egg beaters and it’s delicious.”  Apparently it’s a thing.  :)

Enjoy and happy eating!

-Kelly

What have you thrown into eggs?  Are you a lazy chef?

ChaLean Extreme: 30 Day Results!

27 Aug

Howdy folks!  Happy Tuesday to all!  This weekend was another busy one full of pine cone collecting (I now have 481!  HOW did that happen???  Maybe I can sell my extras ;)), gown fittings (for my bridesmaid and wedding dress), and wedding crafting (making myself some sparkly sticks for decorations).  Yes, life has been crazy.  But all this craziness has made me SO excited for the next few months.  I’m trying to front load my work as much as possible to just coast and enjoy almost-wedded bliss. (Or at least that’s my valiant plan ;))  Sounds perfect, right??

With things so busy I’ve had to make some decisions blogging wise and have settled on a new goal of blogging once a week.  It makes me sad to reduce (and hopefully you too?!), but I think it’s the best move to both enjoy blogging and keep my sanity.  But the good news is less spam for email followers.  SWEET!  :)

Up this week: ChaLean Results!  Woot!

For the last 30 days I have been thoroughly enjoying the ChaLean Extreme Burn Phase.  It’s actually incredibly hard to believe it has already been 30 days.  This has been a great reminder to me that time passes quickly whether you want it to or not, so may as well make good use of the time.  My time with Chalene has definitely been the definition of time well spent.  I feel stronger, more toned, and happier to be back following a routine.  I can’t say enough positive things about this program.

Because I started out from a place of pretty good fitness (Just finished 1.5ish rounds of P90X and 2 half-marathons), I DID NOT expect big changes, if any at all.  This does not mean that you can’t get big results from this program.  Personally I don’t have the high numbers to drop huge numbers (like I did when I started P90X) – I’m fairly close the smallest I could be naturally (and healthily and/or not hiring a personal chef/trainer).  Keep this in mind when looking at the results.  Additionally, I measured myself.  I feel I am not as accurate as when Adam did my P90X measurements.  He is a meticulous measurer :)

These results are based on the following:

  • Completing every ChaLean Extreme Workout
  • Switching one of the cardio videos for my long run in the last week (I plan to do this moving forward).
  • Increasing the Ab video from once (as directed) to 3 times a week (more similar to P90X).
  • Running 3 times a week (starting on week 2).
  • Aiming for around 1500 or 1600 calories per day.  There were 5-6 cheat meals throughout the month and overall I was not as disciplined as during P90X.  I have found it easier to remain disciplined during the week and relax a bit on the weekends.  This has proved to be a healthy balance for me.  But also has affected my results.  If you are looking to lose big time you’d have to be more strict.  My balance has been working great personally.
  • I am NOT following the ChaLean Diet Guide – mainly because I can’t cook (oops) and there are not many vegetarian options (I don’t eat several types of meat).  Also I’m a picky eater.  Haha. :)

Tape Measure Results:

Waist:   0

Chest:  -.5

Hips:   0

Thigh:   0

Bicep:   +.5   (interestingly, -.5 in the left…hmm, user error?)

Weight:

– 2 lbs.  I was pretty surprised and happy with this.  I feel like these 30 days took off the little extra fluff I gained during my running/P90X vacation :)

Muscle Definition:

This one is a tough thing to measure, but I feel like I look more defined.  Two people have commented that my body looks more toned (unsolicited, I swear!).  My abs seem to be popping out a tiny bit more (I still need to lose a few more pounds to uncover them completely ;)) and my shoulders seem tighter.  Overall I feel I am looking more lean.  It’s kind of fun to be a strong girl!!

Body Fat %:

-.5%  This one was REALLY tricky to measure on myself.  I can’t say I’m 100% confident in my measurement, okay let’s face it… not that confident at all!  But I believe there was a slight decrease down.  Either way – I’m feeling more toned which is the whole point anyway! :)

Wedding Dress:

Hah!  Don’t you love that there is a category for this??  One of my biggest “signs of success” with the program: my bridal fittings.  When I went in to get my dress hemmed I had to try it on again.  It fit and it looked great. (PHEW!)  I’m really pleased with how my arms and back are toning up.  I took a few pictures and actually was a little surprised at how much I liked it.  I tend to be somewhat critical of myself (um, like every girl), and I was excited that I what I saw on the camera phone.  SWEET.

Up Next:

I have now moved into the “Push” phase and I’m excited to keep moving with the program!    So far so good.  I haven’t noticed “bulking up” at all.  Overall I feel the muscle gain has been very lean and slimming.  Can’t wait to see what Phase 2 brings!!  At this point I would recommend this program to anyone!  I’ll wait until I’m completely finished before making any large declarations though.  :)

Also – I would post my pictures, but my self timed pictures are seriously horrendous.  In what is visible, I was happy with the slight changes.  Hopefully next month I can get someone to take some actual pics.  It’s tough to do on your own!

Have a great Tuesday!

-Kelly

Running After Runner’s Knee

20 Aug

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Well folks, the good news – I’m running again!  I just finished my second full week of running and I’m feeling pretty okay.  I can’t say great, but I also can’t say bad.  I’ll take it!  My knees still feel somewhat achy, but are not full on painful.  Additionally I’m taking it slow and being very patient with myself.  I feel like until my alignment is really 100% straightened out I will probably continue to have achy knees.

To recap, what I have done since my Runner’s Knee diagnosis.

  • Took roughly 2 months off from running
  • Worked to improve my hip strength and flexibility through targeted exercises and yoga.
  • Stayed away from high impact exercises like Zumba, Insanity, or Plyometrics.
  • Focused on strength training (for my whole body).
  • Slowly working back into running following a running program from my doctor.

So far, it seems to be working, albeit far too slowly for my liking.  I know it takes time to develop the strength to improve my alignment, and it requires diligence.  From my doctor, research, and personal experience – these are the things to keep in mind when returning to running after Runner’s Knee.

1. Take it slowly!  You will not be able to BOOM run exactly how you were running.  And that’s okay.  Be patient and let your body get back into the swing of thing.

2. Continue to work on the root cause.  In my case, my runner’s knee is caused by week outer thigh muscles.  This is causing my knee alignment to be a bit off.   I have continued to work on these muscles even after starting up running again.  The exercises that help most: balance exercises, squats, or leg raises to the side.  Essentially anything that gets a little burn going in the outer thigh.  This is the number one thing to actually fix and lead to a successful recovery.  If you don’t attack the root cause – it will likely not “just fix itself”.

3. Maintain (or gain) a strong core.  Strength training can be a huge tool for runners to build endurance and speed.  I’ve continued to lift weights to remain strong and durable for my runs.

4. Increase mileage slowly.  I’m taking this one to heart and very carefully (and slowly) increasing my distance.  The most I’ve gone so far is 3.5 miles, with this week getting up to 4.5.  I really want to allow my body the chance to acclimate to distances.  No knee freak-outs please.  :)

5. Stay positive.  For me this translates to continuing to do other activities like ChaLean Extreme or Yoga.  If my knees hit another road block, I don’t want to fall into a dark pit of despair.  My positivity is also allowing me to focus on carefully and mindfully train.  I don’t want to get too excited and do some damage!

 

Until I’m back at it 100%, I’ll just keep plugging away at my recovery plan.  My doctor assured me that Runner’s Knee is relatively minor and it is totally possible to fully recover.  But I want to know…do any of you have success stories recovering from Runner’s Knee?

Have a great Tuesday!

-Kelly

Strength Training for Women

9 Aug

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If you’ve been around here a time or two before, you know I LOVE lifting.  It keeps me strong and has been super helpful keeping my mind off running (or the lack there of).  It hasn’t always been this way though.  I used to be a little cardio monster…pretty much only doing cardio.  I had it in my head that I would bulk up with weights.  Genetically, it seemed completely possible to bulk up, as both my sister and I have always had arms a bit on the thicker side (really helpful in things like tubing behind a boat :)).

When I first started P90X last October, there was always this little bit of fear…am I going to turn into a manly lady?  Not that that’s a bad thing, just not what I’m going for here. Throughout round 1 of P90X, I found myself not bulking up, but actually toning up.  The heavier I lifted, the more it seemed to work and the tighter I got.  By round 2 of P90X I lifted as heavily as I could and guess what?  No evidence of going hulk!  In fact, I loved what the strength training was doing for my body!  As a previous cardio monster, I wondered how I was ever going to get that toned look.  “Come on, I’m running 40 miles a week – shouldn’t that be enough?!”  Well, for me the secret has been strength training.

P90X and ChaLean Extreme are both programs with a heavy focus on strength training.  Meaning we do curls, lateral raises, squats, tricep extensions, and presses – all with weights!  Most of the time I’m fluctuating between 5-15 lbs. per exercise, but this far exceeds my previous days of  my 5 lb. limit: “if I lift over 5 lbs. I will get bulky.”  In my experience, it seems that the only way I would get bulky is if I was trying to: supplements, hormones, or other means.  Amazing.  Mind blown!  (In a good way!)

Inspired by my experience of shattered ideas (that I’ve held for most of my life), I went to the internet to find some support.  Of course I found articles on bodybuilding.com or bodybuilder about the importance of strength training.  But what surprised me was the other locations that touted strength training for women (and training more than just the 2 or 3 lbs. that I thought would get me looking toned).  Discovery Health, the Huffington Post, Prevention, and Shape all had a few articles pop up in seconds, and there are literally hundreds more.  If you’re curious about women weight-lifting you’ll find all that you need in just a couple of clicks.  These were some of the highlights from my research (articles above) that stuck out to me, talk about empowering:

Reasons for Strength Training

  • You burn calories after the session.  A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that up an extra to 100 calories were burned in the 24 hours after a weight-training session.  Take that cardio!
  • Bye bye Belly Fat!  A study by the University of Alabama found that women who lifted lost more belly fat than those choosing cardio alone.  Yes please.
  • Injury prevention.  The stronger you are, the less prone to injury you will be!
  • A stronger core will make you faster (running).  This happened to me, and I was shocked!
  • Strength training revs up your metabolism!  Chalene is always saying that we’re waking up our metabolism.  And that’s a great thing!  As she said, “higher metabolism, more food” Yay :)
  • Strength training lowers blood pressure for 10-12 hours after the session according to William Haskell at Stanford.  This is one of plethora of health benefits – I’m not even talking vanity.
  • Strength training gives you a sculpted, defined look.  Period dot.  My arms didn’t change “size” in measurements during P90X but holy cow did their look change.  Much more toned!
  • Lifting weights is excellent for women because it can help with the battle against bone loss.  This is especially crucial to prevent osteoporosis.  Now that I think about it… I should really be talking my mom into this!
  • You feel like a champ.  I mean, I feel like a lot of words after a good strength training session.  But let’s just say champ.  Or maybe like Will Smith getting out of the space ship after kicking the alien’s butts in Independence Day.  Yeah, like that.

So if you’ve never considered lifting or strength training, I highly encourage you to give it a go.  It may surprise you, just like it surprised me!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

-Kelly

Are you a fan of strength training?  What benefits have you found?

ChaLean Week 1 Complete!

5 Aug

Happy Monday!  I’m excited to start my second week of ChaLean Extreme.  And when I say excited, no sarcasm here.  I am truly excited to keep at it.  Perhaps I’m still in the honeymoon stage, but I am seriously loving ChaLean (and Chalene :)).  Since I already gave you all the reasons I like it so far, I thought I’d share a bit of the schedule and type of workouts I completed this first week.

The first 30 days (of 90) is the Burn phase.  Each phase is 30 days and has a different focus (Burn, Push, Lean). I’m only assuming that each of the workouts reflect this focus.  I’ve definitely been feeling the burn with this first week!  There has been a big focus on lifting (heavy weight) and combination strength training.  Another nice thing about this program: 2 rest days a week!  This is perfect if you’re like me and enjoy variety.  I plan to do stretching or yoga on my days off to mix it up.

ChaLean Extreme Schedule:

Monday: Burn Circuit 1

  • This workout is about 35 minutes long (awesome!) and starts off with a nice warm-up.  I used 5, 8, 10, and 15 lbs. throughout the video doing squats, curls, and presses.  I probably could’ve gotten by with less variety in weight, but I have them so might as well use them! I was sweating by the end of it and really liked each of the exercises.  Throughout the video there was always a low-impact option (which I always took).

Tuesday: Rest Day!

Wednesday: Burn Circuit 2

  • Similar to Burn Circuit 1, this one is about 35 minutes long and focuses on lifting.  Many exercises had similar moves to circuit 1 and a similar lay-out – but it didn’t feel repetitive to me.  Again – another thoroughly enjoyable workout!

Thursday: Burn Intervals and Ab Burner

  • What a fun little change!  The heavy weights were gone in this workout, instead focusing on reps.  I used much lighter weights (I don’t think I went over 5lbs), but we did about a billion reps.  I sweat a lot and loved the upbeat feel of this one.  This day is a bit longer with Ab Burner (10 minutes).  I think I was working out for about 50 minutes total?

Friday: Burn Circuit 3

  • Back to heavy weights for this one!  More squats, push-ups, and curls.  A similar style to circuit 1 and 2, but again a nice new variety.  Loved it.  Around 30 minutes?  (Clearly I should’ve paid more attention!)

Saturday: Burn it Off and Recharge!

  • Made up of two different segments, this workout was more about cardio.  We did some classic plyo moves and a few with some light weights.  Again, there was always an option for low-impact with I always took.  Fun and energetic, I enjoyed the variety.  The recharge element consisted of yoga-like stretching.  This was the longest day or tied with Intervals, at maybe 45-50 minutes.

Sunday: Rest Day

Progress So Far:

Call me crazy, but I feel like I’m already getting results!  Yes, they are very minor…but I am feeling stronger and healthier.  I’m watching my diet more closely and even attempting to cook!  It’s amazing what really clean eating can do.  I feel more toned and can’t wait to see actual results.  I think my results of this week are more a mental thing – I’m just feeling great!

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This is real life. I actually made this. BY MYSELF! Egg whites, peppers, soy sausage on a whole wheat tortilla. I’m fancy.

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This week I’m taking it to the next level with pre-chopped bags of veggies to add to my egg whites. Extreme fancy.

After upping my calories to around 1500-1600 calories I’m in a much happier place.  It seems to be a more doable amount of calories for my size and activity level.  I’m not quite as angry :)  I’ve decided to continue to use the MFP app to track my food during the week.  With this program I’m giving myself the weekends off – at least from strict tracking.  Honestly tracking your food is hard work, and allowing myself a bit of a break will hopefully allow me to return each Monday refreshed to track again.  I’m still planning to eat well on the weekends, just not quite as intensely! This weekend I attended a bridal shower and enjoyed some of the tasty yumminess as a treat. :)  During P90X I allowed myself treats around once a week and this strategy seemed to work well.  Everything in moderation!

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Working on drinking more water. I even added these fancy cut limes to the water. Are you noticing a fancy trend?

I feel like I’m just gushing about this program, sorry for the annoying enthusiasm about it – but I have just been so happy with it.  It could also be a rainbow of happiness just to have a program I can follow again that I enjoy, and that my knees will allow!  My heart is just happy to be working out again!

Kelly

Beginning ChaLean Extreme: First Impressions

31 Jul

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With Day 1 officially behind me, I can happily say: I am loving ChaLean Extreme!  Like in-an-excited-mood-all-morning love it.  Now… I’ve only done the fitness test and one workout, so I may not be the best judge yet… but I thought I’d give a few first impressions of the program.  I can’t wait to continue and see what the next few weeks will bring.

Initial Good Impressions:

  • The workouts have a time countdown clock on the screen (in usual beachbody fashion), so I knew exactly how long I’d be sweating this morning.  Very convenient for planning purposes.
  • The workouts are different everyday!  There is a calendar telling me exactly which workout to do when.  I love the structure, but variety.  I really hate doing the same workout each day.
  • Chalene is awesome.  She is motivational, but also sincerely sweet.  I feel like she’s just training me and not putting on a show or making a video.  I’m really looking forward to working out with her.
  • I love lifting, and that was pretty much all we did for the first workout.  LOVE.  The first workout was 35 minutes and consisted of a warm-up, several exercises (squats, shoulder presses, chest presses) in sets of 12, and a cool-down.   Perfection.
  • Holy injury prevention.  Not only can all moves be modified, but they are done slowly and correctly.  I was massively impressed with Chalene’s ability to fully explain how to do a move.  I’ve completed P90X, so I’ve done a workout or two .  Chalene explained things in a way that was straight forward without either talking down (if you’ve worked out before), or talking up (if this was your first day picking up a weight).  I’m thrilled I chose this program and if the next few workouts are similar, I think it will truly help strengthen my runner’s knee issues.
  • I’m actually excited to see what tomorrow’s workout brings.  I’ve been feeling on the burnt out side for awhile now – it’s awesome feeling jazzed about fitness.

Negative First Impression:

My biggest beef is the nutrition plan.  1300 calories is the recommended amount based on my weight.  And let me tell you folks, that’s just not very many (for me).  I did pretty well yesterday, but when I came home from work I was grumpy, irritable, and starving.  I just about bit Adam’s face off – it wasn’t pretty folks.  He did make the comment “well it’s definitely extreme.”  Hah.  Good point.

I ended up scarfing almost a whole bag of baby carrots on top of my dinner (that already put me at 1300).  I was still dying so I went with some cheese, grapes, and a whole wheat tortilla.  I ended up going over my calorie allotment yesterday.  It was an important lesson that I’d rather eat a bit more throughout the day than get to a crash/crazy lady person point.  Essentially if eating 200-400 calories more in oatmeal or fruit prevents me from eating 800 calories in cheese and crackers – that’s completely worth it!  I want to focus on whole, fresh foods – not numbers.

Additionally my goals with this program are not truly weight loss.  Sure, I’d love to lose 3 or 4 pounds (who doesn’t?).  But my main goals are fitness, muscle definition, and a trim body.  Of course I need a low enough caloric intake to make this happen, but I am not looking for any extreme weight loss (remember, that wedding dress still needs to fit, I don’t want to get it taken in!).  I’ve decided to up my calories to 1500 for today.  I’ll give it a whirl and push it up to 1600 or 1700 if that’s killing me.

I would prefer if the nutrition guide gave ratios of protein/fat/carbs and a range of calories.  I don’t do well with strict allotments.  But I’m just going to modify the best I can and keep moving forward.  I learned a lot from the P90X nutrition plan even though it was hard in the beginning, so I’m going to do my best to glean info from Chalene as well.

The good news?  At this point – no other negative thoughts.  :)

Tips to Begin

  • Print out the workout sheets!  I forgot about this one and was bummed this morning when I didn’t have them.  They are available online.
  • If you’re doing your measurements and pictures on your own, plan a little extra time.  I was surprised how long it took me to measure and photograph myself without someone around to help (and it was also hilarious/frustrating).  A little bit late to work because of it…oops. :)  But – also make sure you do take measurements and pictures…they are so inspiring at the end!
  • Watch the beginner DVD.  I actually didn’t get around to watching it until I was making breakfast this morning and it was very motivational.  I enjoyed it and should’ve started it before I began the program to get all pumped up.
  • Do your best.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t stick to the nutrition plan entirely, but today is a new day!  Time to just press play again and use every day to get a little bit better.  It’s easy to get frustrated with a new program either by not being able to do all the exercises or following the guide.  Don’t let the frustration get in the way of keep pressing play!

So far I’m very pleased with the program, and I’m excited to keep moving forward.  I love the set-up of a 3 month program.  I will do a different workout every day, but each of the four weeks within a month will be the same.  Then the following 4 weeks will be new DVDs.  And so on.  It progressively builds and changes.  The variety is there, but consistency as well.  Perfection.

Happy Wednesday!

-Kelly

ChaLean Extreme Prep

29 Jul

Happy Monday!  I’m coming back from the most wonderful weekend out in Seattle with my little sister.  She moved there this winter and it was my first chance to get a peek at her new life out there.  We did a little of this…

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Checking out the AMAZING views Seattle in the summer has to offer. We did lots of exploring!

 

And then we did a little of this…

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Took lots of selfies to show Mom we were still alive.

 

We threw in some of this…

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Wedding fun! Trip to Ikea for some cheapo wedding decorations.

 

And we can’t forget, some of this…

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Ahh, relaxing at the pool.

 

All in all – a completely awesome trip.  I wish I were still there!

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And of course silly pictures to send our family. Love ya Jules!

 

Unfortunately I had a bit of a flight snafu and instead of my nice early flight (with time to prepare for ChaLean!), I had to take the red eye.  Yeah.  So I flew home last night, landed in Indy, hopped in my car and went to work.  A day running on just a few hours of sleep.  Absolute madness.

I had my fingers crossed I would have a certain package waiting for me.  And sure enough: ChaLean Extreme had arrived!  This evening after getting home from work I skimmed the program manuals and got familiar with the program.  I plan to officially start the program in the morning, and I wanted to be prepared.  My flight situation threw off my plan, but I decided to do the prep work tonight and start tomorrow.

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Hooray! Look what arrived :)

So, how do you prep?

The most important thing for me – remove all barriers.  Essentially, I wanted to set myself up so that tomorrow I don’t have any excuses not to begin.  It’s easy to push things off, “Oh I’ll do it next week” or “I’m too tired and I can’t start now.”  I want to start strong and motivated, and that requires effort.

Step 1: Read and Plan

It’s crucial to understand more about the program.  Tonight I didn’t do my deep dive of planning, but I got familiar enough to begin tomorrow.  This week I’ll spend more time specifically mapping out recipes and workouts (once I’m running on more than 2 hours of sleep).  Tonight I skimmed the books and made a plan for the morning.  Because there is a fitness test prior to working out, I needed to plan for it… I can’t just start workout 1 tomorrow.  I’ve decided to do my fitness test in the morning as my day 1.

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Doing some light leisure reading.

Step 2:  FOOD!

Diet is 80% of results and I knew I needed to get some fresh food to start strong.  I cleaned out my fridge, made a list, and tackled Target.  I broke my cardinal rule of always throw a chopping party immediately – but with my restful-sleep-on-a-plane night, I cut myself some slack.  The chopping party will be tomorrow evening.  :)

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1. I threw out all old/expired food and made a list of what I needed.

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2. I gave the old fridge a nice cleaning.

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3. Weeeee! Fresh food purchased and ready to go!

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4. Voila! Instant full fridge of yumminess.

It looks like the ChaLean program follows a high protein diet, limited by calories.  This isn’t typically my favorite style – I really loathe calorie counting.  I’m planning to give it a solid go though, as I want to follow the program as closely as prescribed as possible.  I was pretty disappointed that my calorie intake is set to 1300 calories.  Yikes.  I miss the P90X diet of 1800.  But I know what I’m up against now, and filled my fridge accordingly.

Step 3: Equipment

Because I have a lot of equipment from P90X, I was pretty much set and ready to go.  Tonight I picked up a cheap scale, as I know that’s one of the metrics used in the before/after.  It was a little annoying not having a scale with P90X, so I splurged on a $7.99 dial scale at Target.  It doesn’t show half-pound increments, but that might be a good thing.  I really don’t like to obsess over numbers.  General trends is what I’m looking for.  Other equipment like resistance bands and a fat caliper came with the program.

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The newest piece of equipment.

Step 4: Bring it!

My alarm clock is set and I’m ready to start my day with photos (this will present an interesting challenge alone), measurements, and a fit test.  I’m excited to give myself a baseline, though I know “Day 1” can often be a somewhat depressing place to start (I think most people can agree!).  I know I’ve lost a bit of fitness in the last 2 months.  But the good news?  There’s no where to go but up!  I’m already looking forward to day 30, 60, and 90!

I feel as ready as I can be to start, and that’s so crucial.  My foundation is set and there’s nothing left to do but press play!  Wish me luck on my first day!

-Kelly

How do you start a new workout program?