challenge

The 6 week focus

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Starting today, I am challenging myself to 6 clean eating, workout challenging, water guzzling weeks. It’s time to FOCUS. The holidays are over (and let’s face it—have been for some time). Spring will be here before we know it. And my bad habits aren’t magically getting any better.

Why 6 weeks? It’s long enough to kick into high gear and see results without leaving you wondering, “When is this going to end!?!” It’s also a good amount of time to establish some healthy principles that can be continued even after the challenge has ended.

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My goals for the next 6 weeks include:

  • tracking my food every day
  • following a 40/30/30 macro split
  • drinking a gallon of water every day
  • 5 days a week of scaled GPP workouts
  • completing a 6 week cycle of GPP’s Shaping Bias
  • HIIT cardio workouts 2x a week

Where did the motivation for this come from? I have been eating like crap, not working out consistently, and just generally feeling blah. I KNOW that working out regularly, clean eating, and drinking lots of water makes me feel good. But it sure can be hard to get back at it when you’ve been off track for a bit, can’t it?

I’ll be sharing my progress with you, along with my meals and some workouts.

Skin In the Game Challenge Recap

On October 7 I started an Optimal Health Challenge with GPP Fitness. I’d hit a slump in my training and was feeling pretty blah. I was getting in most of my workouts, but eating pretty crappy and just kind of drifting along with no goal. GPP’s Skin In the Game Challenge was just what I needed to re-light the fire under my ass.

You can see more about the challenge and “rules” by clicking the above link.

Participants were asked to create at least 3 goals (one for physical health, one for nutrition, and one for lifestyle health) and decide how much “skin” ($$$) they wanted to put on the line and risk losing if they did not reach their goals.

My goals were:

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I didn’t set any goals based on numbers or weight loss because I wanted this challenge to be a stepping-stone for a healthier lifestyle in general, not a quick fix of some sort. Also, I am a healthy weight and any weight lost is for merely vanity. Basically, I just needed some consistency in my life, especially with food.

I decided to take progress photos along the way, instead of focusing on a number on the scale.

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September 30, 2013 – a few days before the challenge began

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Mid-October 2013

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Early November 2013

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Late November 2013

At first, I attempted to follow GPP’s Burst Cycle diet as it is written, but very quickly realized it was not enough calories or nutrition for my active lifestyle. I felt like crap for the first few days and had absolutely no energy.

I ended up modifying the BCD to fit my needs, cycling three days “on” with very clean eats and sticking to a 40/30/30 macro split, and one day “off” as a burst day, where I ate mostly clean, but indulged in whatever I’d been craving without worrying too much about macros. My diet sort of ended up being a combo of Burst Cycle and IIFYM.

A few weeks into The Challenge I realized how much I was loving the more muscular physique I was starting to develop. I wanted more! My focus shifted and I began to concentrate on building strength and muscle, which meant I needed to eat more! I continued the BCD pattern of 3 days “on” and 1 day “off” and stuck to the 40/30/30 macro split, but increased my calories to fit my goal.

Did I Achieve My Goals?
Yes! I put $50.00 on the line and will be getting $40.00 of it back. (Every time you went off plan you could pay a penance of $2.00. All money collected from failed goals and penances are going to a food bank.)

I achieved 5 workouts a week every week of the challenge. There were 51 days in the challenge and I paid penance for 5 of them, meaning I stayed on track 90% of the time. I’d say 90% is pretty darn consistent. My husband has been very, very busy with Grad school, so it was nice to make sure we were spending quality time together regularly no matter how busy we both were. And finally, my ability to wake up at the same time each morning improved.

Was it worth it?
Absolutely! There was a $25.00 buy-in for the challenge and then whatever Skin you wanted to put on the line (and hopefully get back!).

The one thing I really wanted to get out of this challenge was consistency. I’ve always struggled with over-indulging in the things that should be treats and not focusing enough on clean eating. Moderation has never been something I was able to make work because I didn’t understand how to balance treats and clean eats. Rotating the 3 days “on” with 1 day “off” helped me to understand how treats in moderation looks and feels in practice.

I also started to feel really strong and see a lot of progress in my arm and back muscles.

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What will I take away?
I plan to continue with the general principles of the BCD and IIFYM mixture I’ve been using, along with calorie counting. It works for me and I love the way I feel with this “diet.”

I will also continue with my 5 days a week of GPP workouts. GPP recently released a Shaping Bias (Bodybuilding) protocol that I am considering adding to my programming. I really enjoy heavy weight lifting and find it very motivating and I just want to keep going with that.

My focus will continue to remain on staying healthy and getting stronger—not on a specific number on the scale.

Weight Loss Challenge… so far

So, I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been participating in a fitness/weight loss challenge at the gym where I work. It began on January 26 and runs for 8 weeks. If you’re not good at math (like me!) I’ll help you out… there’s a little less than 3 weeks remaining.

The challenge is being hosted by one of my gym’s personal trainers and requires participants to attend a once-a-week workout. Workouts/eating well during the week is up to each individual.

For two weeks of the challenge I was working with a personal trainer twice a week, in addition to the challenge workout and other cardio on my own. But, that ended a few weeks ago and now I’m on my own.

So far I’m down 7 pounds and 2% body fat and I’m back in my “skinny” jeans, which is awesome!

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Since ending my 1 on 1 workouts with a personal trainer, I have started doing GPP again, twice a week. Today I did Shape Shifter. It was a 30-minute weight and cardio session.

Post-GPP I did a 2 minute run on the treadmill. I am sick of the treadmill. Please hurry, Spring!

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All in all, it was a great workout and I really felt like I worked hard the entire time.

Tomorrow is my birthday, so I’ll be spinning for my workout. My favorite spin instructor is making me a special Taylor Swift spin for her express lunchtime spin. Can’t wait!

A MOVE-ing Challenge

Hey friends.

First things first, Monday and yesterday were total bombs on the eating front for me. I went over my calories on Monday because I wasn’t being very thoughtful and yesterday I was out of town and decided against tracking. Just throwing that out into the Universe and also letting anyone who reads know I’m not perfect. Today’s a new day, though! :)

The other (real) reason for this post is Move More in May, a fun challenge my friend Janetha came up with to encourage more movement throughout the day—not just from your workout.

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Like I said, this isn’t my idea… it’s Janetha’s genius brainchild. However, I AM PARTICIPATING and hope you guys will, too. Besides the gift of extra activity, there are also some pretty amazing prizes. All you have to do is get in some extra movement during your day—workouts DO NOT COUNT (you should be doing those anyway!)—and then leave a comment on Janetha’s Move More in May page. You can access the page and get more information by clicking the graphic above!

Who else is in?