Before & After | Bender Fitness Lean Muscle Building Challenge

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lean body back3This past weekend I completed the Bender Fitness 4 Week Lean Muscle Building Challenge. I really wasn’t expecting much in just 28 days. I mean, I am a realistic person. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the progress concerning my physique in just 4 weeks!lean body front3

The upper back portion of my body looks tighter, my lower back looks the same. My arms have slight definition and look broader. My legs are definitely leaner and stronger. Best of all, my stomach is shows just a little bit more definition and my “love handles” are a little less pronounced. Overall, I am quite happy with my four weeks of progress.lean body side3

This concludes the second phase of my 90 Day Lean Body Building Plan. The last portion concludes with the 21 Day Challenge. Alas I did not make my DietBet goal, but I’m ok with that. I lost two pounds and probably some inches (I did not track the inches “doh”) My overall goal this year is to obtain a leaner body, not lose lots of weight. I will do more comparison photos at the end of the challenge. On a totally separate note, I’m definitely tan! Gotta love Florida!

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The 21 Day Total Fit Challenge

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No, I’m not talking about the 21 day fix. MrShutUpandTrain is a personal trainer to many celebreties, and once a year he shares a 21 day challenge for free! The challenge includes workouts as well as meal suggestions. 

I have been waiting for the announcement, and it’s here. The challenge begins this Sunday and is for 3 weeks. It’s right on time because I finish the Melissa Bender Lean Body Challenge this Saturday and was trying to decide what to do next. I will post pics next week of my Bender Fitness before and after, but in the mean time I am geeked for this total body fitness challenge.

The woman pictured lost 12 lbs and several inches in just 21 days! Photo from Facebook

What about this challenge appeals to me most?
The challenge is actually completely free! There are no shakes, supplements, etc to buy. Its a combo of clean eating and great exercise. All you have to do is sign up here, and you will receive emails with grocery lists and links to the workouts. Check out the website for more details and then join us! Like I said it’s a completely free challenge, so why not? 

I will be sure to post my results, continue with #whatiatemonday on instagram and I will of course share on social media outlets along the way. It’s time to Shut Up and Train!

*All photos are from the Mr. Shut Up and Train Facebook page

July: 3 or 30 Rule Challenge

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I have decided that for the month of July I will take on the 3 or 30 Rule as a fitness Challenge. Meaning every single day I will either run for 3 miles or do some sort of 30 minute fitness activity, which will more than likely be Yoga.

As you can see, this idea comes from a Popsugar.com post, from which I also want to do a twice a week weight training workout as well:

I tried the circuit once this past week and although it looks light, it is intense. I like the ease of the moves and the simple instructions. I am using 5 pound weights, which as I could tell the next day, is more than enough. I am shooting for twice a week because I have been running 4 days a week, so I will do the circuit after my first and middle run (before my rest days). I jump started the month and this challenge with a 5k:

firecracker

My running is definitely beginning to improve because I found myself speeding toward the finish. Yes, I paced myself well enough to have energy in the end, and I am not sore today. Training actually works! (hahahaha). As far as food goes, I plan to keep on meal planning and eating clean with one excused meal a week.

 

2014 Fitness Challenge | Daily Yoga

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Last year, I focused on running and getting a consistent fitness schedule started, and that was largely successful. This year I want to focus on Yoga by practicing once a day every day.

For the month of January I focused on doing Surya Namaskara A and Surya Namaskara B daily, paying special attention to breath and just getting stronger. 

By the way, I have been practicing Yoga on and off again for several years now, my first Ashtanga class being some time in 2008. With January past, I decided to add some poses, aka a mini challenge, for the month of February. I have also begun going to Ashtanga Yoga class once a week again.

After my Vinyasas I work on Dancer’s Pose, which I realized I have not done outside of Hot Yoga class. Its much easier when sweat is not dripping down your foot :-).

Bow pose is next. I have tight quads, so this is a nice way to challenge my body to take itself a step further each day. I really focus on getting deeper into the pose by way of breath.

The last of the mini challenge is focused on the ever elusive split. Did I mention that I also have tight hips? Welp, as far as splits go, my philosophy is to just work towards them. A true split will more than likely take me years to achieve, but it will never happen if I do not work towards that goal.

I usually end my flow with an inverted pose or two because they are my favorite and believe it or not, the easiest for me. Probably because I used to do walking hand stands all the time as a kid. I end my practice with Shavasana for a total of about 20-30 minutes of yoga every day.

Meal Prep | Jan 27-Feb 2

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Saturday I made red lentil soup (video will be up Thursday), made some meal plans and a grocery list.

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Breakfast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Grilled

Cheese

Sandwich

w/strawberries

Cream

Of

Wheat

w/Chia Seeds

Snack

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Lunch

Lentil

Soup

w/small

salad

Turkey

Sandwich

w/veggies

and hummus

Turkey

Sandwich

w/veggies

and hummus

Bean curry

w/fruit

Turkey

Sandwich

w/veggies

and hummus

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green Smoothie

w/toast

Snack

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Dinner

Mahi Mahi

Quinoa

Green Beans

Roasted

Veggies

Quinoa

Bean Curry

Basmati rice

Beans

Mahi Mahi

Quinoa

Sweet potato

Pizzadilla

Salad

Tilapia

Quinoa

Green Beans

Tomato

Bisque

Pita Bread

Sunday I went grocery shopping and did my usual meal prep, which only took an hour this time.

meal prep2Tonight I plan to make enough quinoa and basmati rice for the week. Starting at the far left, the jars contain pizza sauce and curry sauce. The blue containers contain broccoli and cauliflower, green beans, and sliced strawberries. The green containers are holding red bell pepper, carrots and a roughly chopped sweet potato. The right containers are specific meal prep; the ziploc bag has a piece of Mahi Mahi,the container directly under holds one serving of lentil soup, the top purple container holds pizzadilla fixings (mushrooms, pepperoni, onions), and the bottom purple container holds a veggie mix for roasting (red cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, onion).

I made the granola a couple of weeks ago, it resides in two mason jars placed in my kitchen, and I have fruits and other snacks just lying around my house. This whole meal prep thing is pretty simple, and it truly cuts down on time throughout the week. I have healthy meals planned, and I am sticking to them.

Post Holiday Weigh-In | 2014 Goal

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Welp, my goal for the Holiday’s (Thanksgiving through the New Year) was to not gain 20 odd pounds, like last year. It was a singularly seemingly simple goal with difficult application. To manage this, I ate healthy for breakfast and lunch, and ate everything in sight for all Holiday meals, parties and functions. I baked lots and lots of cookies, but refrained from eating them all, I mean I gave away at least 12 dozen cookies. I continued to run, I did 6, 7, 9, 4, etc miles each week. I didn’t go to a single group fitness class, and there really wasn’t any type of consistency to my running, I just knew that I was going to run 3-4 times a week.

I weighed in last Sunday and the results are in:

jan weight

 

Last January I was 157 lbs. and this January I am 140.8 lbs.  I lost and maintained a 17 lb weight loss in 2013! I ate everything I wanted for the Holiday’s, cookies, pies, fried foods and more, and still managed to loose a couple of pounds! Crazy!

My goal for 2014 is to loose 10 lbs and to continue to develop a healthy life style. Tomorrow I will post my new refrigerator set up and I will have my sister take pics of me for comparison this weekend. Cheers to a great 2013 and an even better 2014!

 

The Refrigerator | 90 Day Challenge

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I have decided to take on the idea from my last post for 90 days. Every week I will religiously prep and plan (which I do for grocery shopping anyway).   I plan to use Mason Jars and Glass Lock containers like these:

 

The meal prep containers will contain exactly that, preparatory food for the week. That means that these containers will have the ingredients that I usually use in my dinners plus whatever I need for meals that week, the usual prep ingredients will include:

  • sliced red onion
  • pre-cut broccoli (sprouting lid)
  • pre-cut cauliflower (sprouting lid)
  • cubed bell pepper
  • cubed sweet potato (in filtered water)
  • red cabbage (sprouting lid)

In the eat containers, I plan to keep my regular fruits and vegetables, which include snacks and lunch sides. I LOVE fruit, so I will keep some fruit in my fruit basket on the counter as usual, but I also plan to keep a seasonal berry and another fruit that needs to be refrigerated in the fridge, these include:

  • celery sticks (in filtered water)
  • sliced bell pepper
  • berries
  • pineapple (melons, etc.)
  • boiled eggs

Lastly, the ready to go portion of my refrigerator will include:

  • Curry Sauce (homemade)
  • Vegetable broth (homemade)
  • 5 oz leafy greens
  • Pesto
  • Hummus
  • Lunch (which is often left over dinner)
  • Greek Yogurt

My crisper drawers will hold overflow for refilling, cheese, and herbs. Combined with the changes I have made to my pantry, this should work quite well to keep my eating clean. I tested this idea yesterday for snacks and dinner, I have tangerines and apples lying around, so I snacked on them and nuts (homemade granola recipe review coming soon). My tester began Sunday when I made an Indian curry sauce and put it in my fridge:

curry sauce

I took it out of my refrigerator, a can of beans and my pearl couscous from the pantry. I set the couscous to cooking and threw the beans in a pan covered it in curry sauce for warming, and 5-10 minutes later, I had a complete meal. Next time I will add bell pepper and record the process.

meal prep

It was so easy!!!!!!! My snacking was pretty brainless, and dinner included a grain and protein, next time I will add a veggie for a completely nutritious meal in no time. The great thing about curry sauce is that it can be used on beans, meat, and veggies and I use curry sauce often, so its something I feel safe keeping in my refrigerator. Plus I can make many different types of curry sauces thus keeping things interesting.

I was on the fence before last night, but now, I am pretty sure that this is a good step for me. Anyone else wanna join me and tell me your experience with this method along the way? The original blog that I found this pic on that explains the premise behind this idea is “Our Mindful Home.”