Tag Archives: p90X

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?  

Reasons to Exercise

24 Jul

The past few days have been a little rough.  Last week I decided I was going to just totally unplug and take a break from working out.  I finished up Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 and I was planning my next program.  I was feeling kind of un-motivated to work out, so I just went with it.  For several glorious days I pushed my alarm back and basked in the glory of several guiltless workout free mornings.  It was fantastic.  This past weekend I relaxed a bit and enjoyed some delightful culinary wonders like girl scout cookies and Indian food.  Again, fantastic.

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Oh yum… yeah a few too many of these.

Doesn’t really sound so rough huh?  Well yesterday I feel like I finally hit a wall from all my wild and fancy-free living.  And then it hit me: my body truly has been trained!   After months of P90X and focusing on better eating, my body craves healthy food.  My body wants to be active.  Saturday and Sunday I had a dull headache and just felt sort of blah.  My lack of healthy-living may not be entirely to blame, but it certainly played a part.  Call me crazy, but this is pretty awesome!

It’s common sense: eat a bunch of candy and you’ll get a tummy ache.  But now I feel like I’m at a new level – my body truly has gotten used to a regular diet of fruit, veggies, and working up a sweat.  When I deprive my body of these things, I feel it.  It took 3-4 days to really feel it, but this is such a change.  It used to take a few weeks of living unhealthy to really notice it (Christmas break in college ehem).  What a cool revelation.  When I changed my life style back in October I was really hoping that this would happen!  (Doing a little happy dance).

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Now I crave these things! Okay not all of these things and not all the time… but I’m making progress!

Last week I was really feeling some pressure that I was entirely putting on myself.  I found out I got the part and Adam and I were in the heat of several big wedding decisions.  Definitely exciting things, but I sort of felt my edges cracking from my own pressure (I think all other type a-ers can relate to this!).  So while the good news is my body craves healthy-living, and I will naturally want to get back on the healthy train…the bad news is that I sort of turned to food to deal with my stress.  Feeling stressed about needing to be an athletic dancer to play the part in the show?  Yes, eat more peanut butter and cookies…brilliant strategy to achieve your fitness goals.  Yeah…not such a great habit.  My eventual goal would be push my stress away by making a delicious yummy healthy or doing some yoga.  Now those are coping mechanisms I can get on board with!  Patience Kelly, one thing at a time.

The past week has been a great discovery of how far I’ve come fitness-wise, but also seeing that I still have room for growth.  As I left Adam’s apartment yesterday I made the comment, “You know I think the number 1 reason I work out is for balance and attitude.”  All of these thoughts got me really thinking about why I work out.  Why is it such a part of my life, and why do I want it to continue to be a priority.  In usual fashion, I present to you a list!

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Hooray exercise!

Reasons to Exercise and Stay Active

  • Attitude.  Working out keeps me mentally sane and balanced.  I just have a better attitude when I’m active.
  • Health.  From preventing heart disease to avoiding diabetes to controlling my asthma, health-related reasons to be active abound.  I want to be around a long time and I want to be healthy while I’m around.
  • Outlook. (And not the microsoft kind). Holy positive.  I am a much much more positive person when I take the time to invest in myself.  Suddenly the birds are chirping and I’m thrilled about the rest of my day.  Yes it may sound cliché, but come on… there are definitely endorphin side effects to exercise (and happy people just don’t kill people!  What movie?? :))
  • Confidence.  When I’m active, I feel like I can take on the world.  Whether it comes to pushing myself out of my comfort zone socially, pushing myself physically, or pushing myself to go stinking shopping even though I don’t like it – I’m more confident!!  And believe me, confidence just makes life easier.
  • Keeping up!  When I’m in great shape I’m much more of a “yes” girl.  Want me to join a dodgeball league?  Yes.  Want to run a 5K with a day’s notice in green tights?  Yes.  Want to go hiking?  Heck yes.  I just don’t have the excuses to say no.  “I can’t keep up” or  “I’m not in good shape” aren’t in my vocabulary!
  • Taking care of myself for others.  My friends and family receive major benefits when I work out.  I’m kinder, more balanced, and more passionate about life.  In addition, I’m healthier and more durable for whatever life throws my way.  If I can’t get myself to work out for me, often thinking about them will be the extra push to get me out the door.
  • Nutrition.  Fact: when I’m active, I make better food choices.  There is such a symbiotic relationship between food and activity  – I love reaping the benefits from both!
  • Looking good.  Let’s face it, one of the side effects of fitness is looking your personal best.  It’s nice to look good and feel comfortable in your skin.  It helps with confidence and being a “yes” person!
  • It’s relaxing and therapeutic.  Or at least it can be…eventually. :)  It took me a long time to view running as a ‘relaxing’ activity – but it’s awesome to just take time away and focus on yourself.  Be one with the run (or zumba or crossfit or whatever)!
  • The challenge.  I love setting goals and reaching them.  Fitness is an awesome place to compete against yourself for yourself.  It can be very motivating and satisfying to see yourself reach them.  The first time I did a pull-up I just about cried!
  • To enjoy treats.  Okay I had to add this one… regular working out makes the occasional crack-filled cookies from my mom totally doable (Note: not filled with actual crack).  Everything in moderation is one of my favorite phrases, and working out regularly allows me to really live this phrase out!  Because I just can’t say no to cupcakes every time.

So if you’ve been in a rut like me, there are a few reasons to push play or get out the door!  If you’re looking for more reasons or motivation head over to Catherine @ A Two Storey Home.  Ironically she had the exact same thoughts today, and beat me to the punch (which is good, because she’s been thinking about working on her defense skills)!  She lists a lot of great reasons to focus on strength over skinny – I love it!

In other news, ChaLean Extreme officially shipped yesterday, woot!  I’m so excited to share the process and my next phase of pushing myself!  Until then, I’ve climbed jumped back on the healthy train with a quick stop at the grocery store for some fresh produce and some invigorating yoga this morning (thanks Lucy for the motivation to get back at yoga!).  Man does it ever feel good to be back on the train.  Next stop: ChaLean Extreme!

-Kelly

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

What are your reasons to work out?  Why do you maintain your fitness?

And the winner is…

22 Jul

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After about a week of researching, thinking, deciding, and putting off my decision… I have finally decided my next workout program!  In the battle between T25 and ChaLean Extreme, it was an extremely close call.  And honestly I will probably do both over the next 6 months.  But, for right now…because I miss the lifting and variety of P90X, I have ordered ChaLean Extreme!  I’m really excited, though still not 100% sure I made the right call – don’t try to change my mind, I think it’s already in the mail ;)  Here are a couple of the main reasons:

The Reasons

  • I miss lifting.  I really started seeing benefits from it, and I’m excited to do that again.  I sort of feel weak now…whomp.
  • A gut thing.  I’ve been thinking about ChaLean Extreme for a long time, and just think I’m really going to like it.  My curiosity is getting the best of me – I’ve gotta try it!
  • A time thing.  I have a bit more time through October (when rehearsals for White Christmas start ;)).  I can do T25 when I’m truly ‘busy’ and 25 minute workouts will come in really handy. For now, I can handle the 45 minute or so workouts from ChaLean.
  • I feel ChaLean might be lower impact than T25, though I could be wrong…again an instinct thing. I watched a couple clips of both programs and feel this might be a better fit for now.
  • ChaLean is a bit older so there is a small cost savings there.  I can use every penny I can get!

The Plan

After ordering it today, I’m hoping it will arrive sometime this week or next.  That being said, I’m tentatively planning on starting next Monday, July 30.  When I did P90X I was careful to plan ahead and make sure I was truly ready to begin the program.  Having seven days to mentally get prepared for my start will be awesome.  Next weekend I can do my before pictures, take measurements, and get serious.  I can start mapping out my meals and have a chopping party Monday night.  With P90X I marked my milestones on the calendar so I knew exactly when pictures would take place.  Mentally that was really helpful.  Fingers crossed that the program arrives in time for my projected start date!

Until Then…

Until I start I’m going to focus on staying active in other ways.  I’ve been going on a lot of walks lately and have found them helpful. Though, not quite as awesome as running (yeah not even close). :(  I want to take a break from DVD workouts until I begin next Monday, so no random P90X or Jillian Michaels workouts this week.  I want to start fresh and ready!  A huge part of success for me is feeling mentally ready.  Now that the program is ordered I have roughly a week to get my mind wrapped around the idea “that this is happening.”  Then there is no turning back!  I have found that if I just start something without really planning and thinking about it, I’m much more likely to abandon it.  Now I’m really just ready to get committed to a new fitness program and make sure my eating is healthy – I think ChaLean Extreme will be just the ticket!  I have made the financial commitment and the public commitment to all of you: so it’s on!

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend I spent in Nashville (yay!).  Three weeks was just too long without seeing Adam.  We are so happy to be around each other once again.  Though it was funny, both of us mentioned a few times, ‘I really gotta get back to working out like we did before’.  With Adam’s residency crazy work hours, my knees, and losing our regular workout partner, we’ve both been a little under-motivated.  Hey, it happens!  Though Adam is actually considering doing T25 now, hooray!  Which would be convenient for me… I could just borrow it when he’s done. :)  With his crazy schedule, it could be perfect.  Though really he needs something that doesn’t cause weight loss!  I swear that boy has lost weight since I last saw him.

We rounded out the weekend with a huge day of wedding planning yesterday!  I know, aren’t I kind?  ‘Hey Adam, your first day off in 10 days, let’s wedding plan!’  Okay I swear it wasn’t that bad – but we did make a lot of the big decisions that I’ve been waiting on his input.  That’s success!  Invitations are ordered, save the dates are addressed, and ties are picked out.  And he managed to squeeze in a few video games as a real treat.  A day off of perfection :)

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Some possible ties! 40% off at Macys… sweet. Adam’s is the gray one in the center. But which one for the groomsmen?

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

-Kelly

Did I make the right call with ChaLean Extreme?  Any tips for getting started?

Workout Program Showdown: ChaLean Extreme vs. T25

16 Jul

The showdown begins!  What showdown?  The big decision: now that I can’t do Insanity, which program will I do?  The opponents?  ChaLean Extreme and T25.  Both of these programs are by Beachbody (the makers of P90X and Insanity), which is a company I really like, and have found success with lately.  Why do I like their programs so much?  Well, frankly, I am kind of lazy.  I enjoy the pre-packaged style of these programs.  They normally are for a set length of time (2 or 3 months) and include a diet plan as well.  Essentially all I have to do is follow the recipe to success!  I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  For me, this system works great as I really enjoy structure.  I like making and meeting milestones, and seeing progress.  Both of these programs will allow for structure, direction, and motivation.  Personally, without a set plan I tend not have quite as much success with fitness.  I will definitely remain active on my own, but having the structure is the little oomph I need (especially with all the weddings coming up – no pressure or anything :)).

Thanks to Beachbody’s satisfaction guarantee,  I actually was able to return Insanity and will now buy a lower impact program due to my knees.  What a win!  I’m so excited to select my next program and get going.  I have not done either ChaLean Extreme or T25 before, so they will be a completely new experience to me.

Wedding Fitness Goals

With 90 days until my brother’s wedding and 186 until my own, let’s just say my desire for fitness might be taking on a slightly more vain approach than usual.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I just don’t want to have to pay to get either dress altered (haha just call me el cheapo).  My bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding barely zips.  I’m talking barely.

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It zipped…thank goodness!

My own wedding dress fits snugly, but I don’t want any anxiety about either fitting.  I’m looking for a program that will help me tone and lose just a few pounds.  I also don’t want to lose too much weight – that means alterations as well!  Thanks to P90X I’m pretty close to where I’d like to be, so I’m also not looking for anything crazy extreme.

Detailed Personal Fitness Goals:
  • Trim and tone – looking for a lean look (think of all the pictures!!)
  • Working out up to 1 hour per day.  Ideally 5 days a week. (I like making fitness a priority, but want to also have a life :))
  • Low impact.  I can’t do anything that would mess up my knees.  My doctor said any exercises with heavy squats or angles on my knees are a no-go.
  • Enjoyable.  I tend to work out in the morning and I hate the morning (it’s a problem).  I want something I can look forward to.
  • Variety!  I love programs that have different workouts every day and give a lot of variety in the type of workout.
  • Easy to follow – make it simple for me.  I don’t want to think (remember, I’m lazy).
  • Lifting component.  I feel like I’m losing my strength from P90X – okay I’m definitely losing my strength.  I miss weight training.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these programs.  First up… ChaLean Extreme.

ChaLean Extreme

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From Beachbody’s website:

Get ready to burn fat, boost your metabolism, and get lean with ChaLEAN Extreme®. Trainer Chalene Johnson will help you build toned muscles so you can lose up to 60 percent of your body fat in just 3 months. ChaLEAN Extreme is designed to give you visible results in only 30 days.

Chalene’s Lean Phasing® technique shifts your body’s fat-burning focus from cardio to resistance training. By using weights or resistance bands, you’ll build lean muscle and ramp up your metabolism. When you have more muscle, you’ll burn fat long after your workout.

The details:

  • 90 day program
  • All days are under an hour, with the shortest around 35 minutes.
  • 6 days a week.
  • Nutrition guide included (Recipes though, which I stink at)
  • 15 workouts included
  • Variety of strength-training, cardio, and abs
  • Focus on lifting – similar to P90X in this sense.
  • Very positive reviews on Team Beachbody
  • Low impact and modifications shown in the DVDs

And on the other side of the ring, Focus T25, the brand new program from Beachbody.

 Focus T25

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From Beachbody’s website:

25 MINUTES. 5 DAYS A WEEK. 100% RESULTS.

The only thing standing between you and the results you want is TIME.

Shaun T experimented for the last year to design a program that delivers the same kind of results you’d expect from an hour-long program, in under 30 minutes. He’s pulled out the rest to give you everything you need, nothing you don’t.

The result is FOCUS T25—and the name implies the intent: If you focus your intensity for 25 minutes, and you do it 5 days a week, you WILL get results.

The details:

  • 25 minutes a day
  • 5 days a week
  • Nutrition plan included
  • No reviews yet on Team Beachbody – it’s too new!
  • A little concerned it could be too high impact, though I’ve been told it’s not. Also seems that there are low impact modifications.
  • 10 week program
  • No equipment needed
  • 11 workouts
  • Variety of workouts
  • Simple movements and straight-forward instruction.

The Decision

Such a tough choice!  It seems like I’ll be in great shape (no pun intended, though it is a clever one ;)) with either option.  I may eventually do both of them, it’s just a matter of which one first!  I’m leaning toward ChaLean Extreme first to give my knees more time to recover…but I like the idea of T25 first because it might be more cardio focused and requires less time…remember the tiny Bridesmaid dress, yeah I need that to fit.  Will all the lifting in ChaLean Extreme cause me and my ginormous muscles to be busting out of the dress?  I’ve been thinking over the decision a lot lately and still can’t quite make up my mind.  Any ideas from those of you that have done either of these programs?

Until the decision is made… Happy Tuesday!

-Kelly

Have you done ChaLean Extreme or T-25?  What do you think is better? 

(Note: I do not work for Beachbody, coach, or have family/close friends that do, additionally I will be purchasing either program using my own money).

Updated Shakeology Thoughts

2 Jul

Chocolate-Shakeology

I have officially gone through my first entire bag of Chocolate Shakeology!  This equates to about a shake a day for a month.  A few months ago I gave a review on Shakeology based on a one packet taste.  Adam and I made a shake and gave it a whirl.  We loved it!  You can check out the full review here.  When I ordered the Insanity workout program I received a month’s supply of Shakeology as part of a Challenge Pack (a great way to bundle costs).  I knew from the sample that I wanted to give it a more everyday try.  Now that I’ve been drinking it more often I feel obliged to give an update as a regular user.

The Good:

  • Taste.  I still really like the taste.  Though I will say when I got my first bag it seemed different than the packet – but I think that might’ve had to do with expectations and anticipation waiting for it to arrive.  Overall I still give it an A for taste!  I mix mine with ice and water everyday.  It’s simple, but the ice makes it more smoothie-esque.  I know there are many recipes out there, but this easy one suits me just fine!
  • Ease.  This is a huge one for me.  It is so easy to drink a shake and know I’m getting some awesome nutrients.  I’m not a great chef and with my real chef (Adam) gone, I have to be more conscious about being a better eater.  Shakeology helps me know I’m getting lots of good stuff in one drink!  I love that I can mix a shake right before walking out the door – it’s awesome.
  • Cravings!  I actually sort of miss it when I don’t drink it for a few days.  When I was on vacation I didn’t bring any with me and boy did I miss it! That was one thing I couldn’t wait to get home to!  I knew I liked it, but I was a little caught off guard by the, dare I say, craving for it.
  • Health Benefits. I like the way it makes me feel.  I won’t say that wow bang boom my face is clear and my skin looks great and my health is at 100% (maybe I need to use it longer for those effects ;)), but I do like the way I feel when I’m drinking it.  A little bit could be a placebo effect (I know this is supposed to be healthy and make me feel great – oh look, now I feel great).  Either way I feel healthier and better when I drink it.

The Bad:

  • Expense.  It’s still expensive.  At $139 a bag (that lasts about a month) – it ain’t cheap.  It’s about 5 bucks a shake, which is a lot for me.  (Edit: Shakeology is a little under 139 per bag – so comes out to more around 4.5 per shake). At this point it is a cost I’m willing to work with (Adam is gone and I am buying less groceries :)).  If the cost becomes too much of a burden (remember, I’m planning a wedding people!) I will likely suspend it for a time until I’m able to budget for it.
  • Appropriate Expectations.  It’s not a miracle drug.  Shakeology is an awesome health drink, but I’m not going to expect it to cure my asthma or runner’s knee.  As long as your expectations are correct you’ll like it!  But maybe at 139 /bag you might think it should cure cancer ;)
  • Auto-Delivery.  Beachbody automatically enrolls you in auto-delivery.  Yeah – this was a shocker for me.  I knew you could do auto-delivery, I just didn’t know you had to opt out instead of opt in.  If you want to just try one bag be aware of this feature.  As soon as I figure out how to opt out I’ll let you know.  :)  Because I’m happy still using it I haven’t spent much time investigating.  But it was irritating seeing an unexpected charge on my credit card.  (Edit: check out Heidi’s comment below to see the logic behind auto-delivery aka Home Delivery).

Overall:

Personally I am enjoying the benefits of Shakeology and it allows me to spend less time on one meal of my day.  It makes more confident that I’m getting healthy foods in on a daily basis (hooray!) – because we know my Ramen dinners might not be doing the trick. ;)

I’d recommend it to folks that are looking for a convenient way to get better nutrition and are willing to spend a few extra bucks on it.  For me, at this stage in the game, it is a worthy expense!

-Kelly

Edit: I am not a Beachbody coach or affiliated with Shakeology in any way.

Guest Post: P90X from a Guy’s Perspective

20 Jun

After an awesome guest post from Lyndsay, engagement pictures, and vacation – could this week get any more exciting??  The good news – it sure can.  The second and final guest blogger of the week: Adam!  Yep Lucy, you were right!  He’s going to share a couple thoughts on completing P90X as a guy – adding a little different perspective!  Enjoy :)

View More: http://emilyweisphotography.pass.us/kellyandadam

Adam’s the guy on the right – okay you saw through me, this was just an excuse to post another engagement picture.

Hello races, reps, and ramblers, and happy almost Friday!  Kelly and I are still on vacation with my family, but before we head back to the real world, I’m making my first foray into my fiancée’s blog.  Since we just finished P90X about a month ago, I’ve decided to give you some thoughts on the program from the perspective of a guy trying to gain weight.  I’ll do a quick recap of my results before discussing a couple points I feel are important to guys trying to pick or progress through a training program: P90X vs. the gym, and how to handle a nutrition plan (especially if you’re looking to gain weight).  I ask only two things of you as readers: 1) if you love this post, make some comments about how awesome of a guest I am; 2) if you hate this post, make some comments about how awesome of a guest I am.  Should work out well.

Results Recap

Overall, I was very pleased with my results from P90X.  I gained a ton of strength (increased the number of pull-ups I could do by about a billion percent), and I saw a lot of physical change as well.  By the numbers, I gained some inches in my chest and lost some in my waist (always nice), but I didn’t gain any inches in my arms.  I also lost weight throughout the program, which was not intentional (I’m a pretty slim dude to begin with).  You can check out this post for full results.

Adam Back Oct-May

The Battle Royale: P90X vs. the gym

Round 1: The Time

Performing an intense workout regimen takes a ton of time and dedication, whether that’s at home or at the gym.  While P90X is rather lengthy for a DVD based workout (averages >1hr/day for 6 days a week), it carries a lot of benefits over traditional gym-going. (Random side-note: who decided that Yoga X needed to be an hour and a half?!  Someone needs to have a talk Beachbody.)  With P90X, your workout time is not constrained by the hours of the gym, you eliminate travel time to and from the gym, and perhaps best of all, you don’t have to plan workout/work clothes and materials in advance (I find this last one to be a huge time saver).  P90X takes Round 1!

Round 2: The Iron

Working out at a gym has long been the standard for weightlifting and building mass for the average guy.  P90X claims to be able to get you nice and jacked from the comfort of your own living room, without all those big machines and huge weight racks.  Well… can it?!  Yes and no.  P90X can definitely be as effective as lifting at a gym; however, you need a broad range of dumbbell weights to do so.  With most dumbbells costing about $1/pound, it can get very expensive to accumulate the appropriate weights.  One option to get around this would be buying adjustable dumbbells.  I don’t particularly like them (they can be awkward to lift with and usually only go up to about 50 lbs anyway).  Also, you could use the bands that they suggest in the videos to avoid buying dumbbells.  I’ve tried the bands, however, and while convenient for traveling, I don’t think they’re intended for maximum bulk gain.  In the end, if you’re planning on slowly building your way to a home gym (as I am), investing in the weights for P90X makes sense.  If you don’t see that in your future, then you might be happier spending your money on gym fees.  Tough call, but I’ve gotta give Round 2 to the gym.

Round 3: The Accountability

One of the best ways to succeed in a workout program is by doing it with a partner.  The added accountability does wonders for your workout motivation wherever you may be training.  So what does P90X have over the gym in this regard?  Well, most of the moves in P90X can be done simultaneously with your partner.  Whether it’s camaraderie or competition you’re looking for, it’s just a little more fun if your partner is doing the same move at the same time.  It’s easier to shout at your wimpy roommate for not doing enough pushups if you’re in the privacy of your own home, too.  In the gym, however, a partner can still motivate effectively and provide accountability.  Also, if you’re not significant others, roommates, or neighbors, a gym can often be a convenient place to meet up with a partner for a workout.  Round 3 ends in a draw.

The Skinny Guy’s Nutrition Plan

I have always been on the thinner side, so you might imagine the horror when I realized I was losing weight (10 pounds off at first weigh in) during P90X.  I was following the nutrition plan to a T, and I couldn’t figure out why I was losing so much weight.  I did end up gaining a pound of that back before finishing, but I was still disappointed that I wasn’t able to gain weight during the program.  A few weeks later, we read through the Insanity program to get Kelly started on it, and it suggested eating an extra 300 calories per day if weight gain was the goal.  Whether this was omitted form the P90X nutrition guide or I just missed it I can’t say.  But I can tell you I wasn’t eating an extra 300 calories per day.  That would have added up to 2100 calories per week, and maybe then I would have been gaining weight!  In the end, I learned that as a skinny guy with a high metabolism, I probably need to be eating even more than the guide’s suggest to actually gain weight.

To clarify, this doesn’t mean I can have an extra Snicker’s bar or two.  You still need to eat healthy foods that are within the realm of whatever plan you’re on, but you just need to eat a lot more :)  For some guys, even sticking to a specific nutrition plan can be tough.  When eating out with friends, it can be socially embarasssing to order a salad, or perhaps veggies instead of fries.  If anyone gives you crap about it, I say forget ‘em; just say, “I’m trying to be a little healthier, and every bit counts.”  And if the still give you crap, just take solace in the fact that your six-pack will be laughing at their beer gut in about 3 months.

Final Thoughts

So in conclusion, I think P90X is an excellent at home workout plan for guys, especially if you are thinking of working towards a home gym in the future anyway.  It gives you an excuse to start building your army of dumbbells!  With that said, the variety of weights and machines available at a gym may still be more attractive to the most hardcore of lifters.  Secondly, if you’re looking to gain weight, it may be a good idea to eat an extra 300-500 calories per day above your nutrition plan (depending on your metabolism).

Before I sign off, I just want to take a minute to thank my amazing fiancée.  I’m so proud of her for achieving a dream of hers in starting this blog and putting her ideas out there to help others in a similar situation.  Thank you so much for being a part of her readership and helping me support her in her goals.  It means the world!  Have a good weekend, everyone!

-Adam

Successful half-mile run!

6 Jun

Well, after an exciting/disappointing assessment from my most recent visit to my sports med doc, I put in my first couple runs on my training schedule!   Tuesday I ran my half mile jog and this morning I graduated to my 1 mile run.  Yep, that’s all!  I felt pretty good, though a bit tired.  It’s funny, when you are used to running at higher distances it’s amazing how short half a mile can feel.  That was a pretty nice feeling.  Though it reminds me of my rehab days from my ankle injury a couple years ago.  After getting out of my cast/crutches/cane/walking unassisted, I was absolutely elated when I was able to first run a half mile without stopping!  This week I’ve been trying to recall that experience and the joy at being able to run any distance.  So whether it’s 7 miles or half a mile – I’m going to celebrate it!  Running really is a gift, and I am so fortunate to have a body healthy enough to do it!

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Do you see the giant bird I spotted on my run this morning?

Because I am not able to do Insanity (yet), I have fallen back to my trusty P90X videos.  I really enjoy the workouts and I am to the point where I don’t like missing a weekday of a workout (Hallelujah!).  I am not doing them in any particular order at this point – just one a morning to maintain.  Over the next week my plan is to create a workout schedule for the next 6 weeks.  It’s going to be called “Get My Knees and Hips BUTT KICK Strong”  or something like that – I’m still working on it :)  I’m hoping to combine running, P90X videos, hip/knee exercises, and maybe throw a couple Zumba/other videos in there just for some spice – I have been doing P90X for more than 6 months so I’m ready for a mix-up.  I’m looking forward to sitting down and mapping it out next week!

 Ch ch ch Changes…

This is Adam’s last week living in Indianapolis and bittersweet for sure.  It’s finally sinking in that he’s leaving (sniff).  Adam begins his residency program in Nashville, TN on July 1st and that next chapter will be incredibly exciting!  I get nervous butterflies for him just thinking about his first day!  I will stay in Indianapolis at least through our wedding (January) – so it’s back to long distance for a bit.  Womp, womp.  It’s going to be a shock to the system, but I figure I’ll have more time to wedding plan, workout, and blog about both of those things!  Additionally for my birthday a few weeks ago, my family got me a TV and cable/Netflix (I think they thought I might be lonely).  I am not used to having a functioning TV (sort of got used to living without it for the past couple years), so I guess I could call that my fiancé replacement :)  If you don’t hear from me, I’m probably fine…just watching whole seasons of Lie to Me in my pajamas oblivious to the world for shower-less days on end.  Yikes.

 Pause for a moment of Mushy Gush (or skip ahead)

Remember that cabaret Adam sang in last week?  The one where we got to dress up like fancy people.

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Heading to the cabaret. Yay for fancy clothes!

Well, a review of the show came out, and I almost dropped my computer when I read it.  Please bear with me while I share an excerpt – I’m bursting with pride!

Baritone Adam N., undeniably the most impressive member of the cast, is a recent IU Medical School graduate who is leaving Indianapolis soon to move to Nashville where he will undergo his residency. Showing the sort of star quality that might have landed him in the entertainment big leagues had he chosen that route, Nagy was stupendous in both his vocal and dramatic interpretation during his swan song performance of Jason Robert Brown’s “She Cries,” from the musical “Songs for a New World.”

For serious!  I can’t make this stuff up.  At another point it calls him electrifying.  Wow.

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Looking good Dr. Adam!

Learning to feed myself again

So in addition to losing my singing, working-out, doctoring fiancé…I’m losing something else.  I have a big confession to make.  A big one.  Like I don’t even want to admit it.

Deep breath… so Adam has been on vacation the past couple months (i.e. no work).  Because of this extra time and his kind heart, he has made my food for the last 2 months or so.  And by food, I mean every single thing I eat.  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and snacks… yeah… everything.  I know, I am beyond spoiled.

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He even tells me if I need to get things to supplement the meals he makes.

I’m almost embarrassed about how much of a help he is to me…I don’t want to use words like “helpless” or “lost”…but that’s what next week could be like for me.  Pathetic, I know.  So one new exciting aspect to this blog could be “Kelly learning how to feed herself again.”

Quiet on the blog front

In our last couple days together in Indy we’ve been doing exciting things like Wedding Registry and packing.  It’s a thrilling life, I know.

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Doesn’t this towel look lovely for our registry? I swear I’m not pregnant – just my purse underneath it. Adam says I look like a creepster in the picture. I say classy.

The nice safety net is that although Adam moves next week we’ll just have 4-5 days apart before reuniting for a week of family vacation (with his family in Hilton Head).  Woot!  Because of this upcoming departure, things will be pretty quiet on the blog front for the next bit.  I want to make sure I’m soaking up every last minute of time together.  Send me strong thoughts and vibes so I don’t totally lose it next Tuesday when the moving truck pulls away!

Happy almost-Friday! :)

-Kelly

Weekend Relaxation and Insanity in the Morning

2 Jun

What a great weekend!  It all started with an amazing Thursday evening.  Adam is a wonderful singer and performed in a local cabaret.  It was a great opportunity to dress up and listen to my favorite crooner.  On Friday I left for a weekend in my former-home, Madison, WI.  I spent time with old girlfriends, and it was fantastic to catch up.  We enjoyed shopping, eating things not on the P90X nutrition plan, and even went to see Wicked!  It was phenomenal.  I even managed to find some green accessories and shoes for the engagement photo session next week. Score.  All in all, an awesome time.  I left Adam behind, but I don’t think he was too upset…reportedly lots of video game and TV time occurred.  Oh the horrors.

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Delicious heavenly cheese curds from Madison’s Farmer’s Market. I may or may not have eaten this entire bag. (Hey! I shared…)

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This chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream…totally on the P90X nutrition guide ;)

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Green shoes and accessories from a successful shopping trip!

After such a relaxing and somewhat indulging weekend, I’m actually really looking forward to starting Insanity in the morning!  I’ve had several days off from a serious workout, and I’m sort of itching to get back at it!  Last week, though I had finished with P90X, I did do 3 of the DVDs just to have something in there.  Watch out, bright and early Insanity begins!

What is Insanity?

Insanity is another at-home fitness program by the some company as P90X.  The program is made up of a series of DVDs I’ll watch and requires no equipment (cool!).  It varies from P90X in that its primary focus is high-energy interval training (I’m imagining something like P90X’s plyometrics, but I’ll find out soon!), instead of using weights for lifting.  Insanity comes with its own nutrition plan and the program lasts 60 days.  This evening I spent some time reading about the program and planning out the meals for tomorrow.  Insanity DVDs typically last 30-45 minutes and are done 6 days a week.  The short duration will be a welcome change, though I’ve heard they are so hard it will feel longer!

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Opening up my kit to learn all about my next 60 days!

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Day 1 begins with a fitness test and ‘before’ pictures.

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Adam carefully reading the nutrition plan. He’s going to be my chef this week – what a doll!

Tomorrow morning starts with the fit test and introductory DVD bright and early.  I’m excited to see what it will bring.  Wish me luck!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

-Kelly

Have you done Insanity?  Any tips for a beginner? 

Final P90X Results and Review

30 May

After 3 intense months Adam and I are officially P90X graduates!  It has been a lot of hard work, planning, and early mornings, but man alive it has been so worth it!  Adam and I have both seen big changes in the mirror, but more importantly in strength and overall fitness.  I love what P90X has done for my running and my overall durability.  I just feel strong.  And I like it. This is a program that I highly recommend and can personally attest to the results.  Check out the P90X page to see more tips or thoughts on getting started.  The information below is based on Adam and I completing the “Classic” version of P90X. Onto the final results (and embarrassing pictures)!

What is P90X?

P90X is a home fitness program designed by Tony Horton and produced by Beachbody.  They are the same producers of Insanity, Turbofire, and many other at-home workout programs.  The program calls for a minimum of 6 days a week of workouts which vary from heavy lifting for the arms, legs, and shoulders, to high intensity plyometrics, to Yoga.  P90X is known for being an intense, but well-designed comprehensive fitness program.

Final Tape Measure Results:

(Kelly in blue, Adam in green, in inches.  Feb – May).

Waist: -2.25      -3

Chest: -3      +1.25

Hips: -2.5    -1.75

Calf: +.25     +.125

Bicep:  0    0    (I swear we did the arm workouts)

Body Fat Percentages:

(This is from Phase 2 – we didn’t get a fat caliper initially)

Kelly: -2%

Adam: -3%

Weight:

From Oct – May (We didn’t weigh ourselves again at the beginning of Round 2 Phase 1)

Kelly: -8.5 lbs. (down 10 lbs. from my heaviest last spring)

Adam: -9lbs.

Running:

While training for my half-marathon this spring I have consistently noticed higher and higher paces.  I believe a huge part of this is due to P90X.  I am stronger and faster.  P90X also helped me to attain my fastest half-marathon to date!  A full 15 minute PR from last year!

Photos:

Adam and I initially started a first round of P90X in October.  With this round we ate generally healthily, but didn’t follow the nutrition guide to a T.  Additionally we started this round over the holidays and got a little over half-way.  Adam had to drop after about 5 weeks of P90X so in week 9 or so I jumped ship and we started a brand new round so Adam could join in again.  This explains the transition from Oct – May.  The plan from Oct – Feb was based on healthy eating, completing a minimum of 4-5 workouts per week.  The plan from Feb – May was based on following the nutrition plan and a minimum of 5-6 workouts per week.  There were some cheat meals in there around the holidays as well.  These photos show our complete progress of the entire 6-7 months of following the workouts.

Kelly Back and Side Oct-May

Adam Back Oct-May

Pros:

  • If you put the work in, you will get results.
  • There is a wide variety of exercises (yoga, lifting, plyo, kenpo).
  • You can literally do the whole thing in your house.
  • It’s well organized and set up for you – you don’t have to think!
  • Tony is motivating and knowledgeable (and intense).
  • They show a wide range of levels and modifications.  I used these modifications heavily in the beginning.
  • Tony never makes you feel bad if you can’t do something initially – Do your best and forget the rest!
  • It’s a great program for men and women.  Adam and I could successfully do it together even though we desired different results (gain muscle vs. lose weight).
  • It’s a great program to do with a partner of either sex!  It was great to have something Adam and I could share and do together.
  • The videos include a warm-up and cool down which makes each workout comprehensive and complete.
  • From a woman’s perspective: you don’t bulk up.  This was a big fear of mine.
  • From a man’s perspective: you build muscle and can get bigger!
  • After purchasing P90X you get to keep it.  Unlike a gym membership, you have the videos and program as an investment.

Cons:

  • The workouts are long and a commitment.  Minimum of 60 minutes, but average 75 minutes.  Yoga is 90 minutes.
  • 6 days a week workout.  I would’ve loved 5 days a week.  This gives you flexibility and you can always get another workout in another way.  6 days a week made it hard to plan around P90X if you are super busy or travel often on the weekends.
  • Some of the ‘characters’ might annoy you, including Tony.  For me this was never a deal-breaker, but something to note.
  • From a guy’s perspective: To really maximize results it can get expensive.  Adam really could’ve used heavier weights.  He needed more of a range of weights (and at $1 a pound, 2 thirty pound dumbells is 70 bucks).  It’s an investment that you’ll use over the course of time, but it’s certainly an investment.
  • The nutrition plan can get a bit stale.  At times I felt there weren’t enough options in each of the categories (we did the portion plan).

 Final Thoughts

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my P90X results.  When I look back on my pictures I don’t remember looking that way.  It’s pretty amazing what hard work and dedication can do!  I really enjoyed the set-up and ease of the program and it is something I have recommended to family and friends.  Personally I think it’s an awesome program for both men and women.  Initially I couldn’t find a lot of info for P90X for women, but after completing the program myself I can definitely say it’s effective for either gender.

P90X is intense so I would make sure you’re relatively fit before beginning the program.  You can always do a “pre-P90X” in the form of Power 90 or another Beachbody program.  Another option is modification.  Many moves I couldn’t complete in the beginning and made modifications to make the moves easier.  This strategy worked great for me.  Then it was super thrilling when I could complete them!

This program can change your fitness level and life, but it is definitely a commitment.  Do your research and prepare before diving into it.  If you’re able to stick with it the program is very rewarding.  It has taught me a lot of good habits that I look forward to carrying forward with me.  P90X is something I will definitely hang onto and do again (probably before the wedding :)).  This has been one investment I’m thrilled I purchased!

Thanks P90X for an awesome program!

-Kelly

Note: I am not affiliated with Beachbody or P90X in any way, shape, or form.  I am not a coach nor do I work for the company/know someone who does.  The opinions expressed are mine alone and I was not compensated in any way.