Monday, January 31, 2011

Color your plate

I mentioned in my earlier post about how I color-coordinated my fruits and veggies. I wanted to expand on that more. This is probably going to be a long post, but it's good information! Try to stick around until the end!

How many servings should I be eating?

To find out how many servings of fruits and veggies you should eat each day, go to this website. You can enter your age, gender, and amount of physical activity to get a more accurate suggestion, but the general rule of thumb is 7-8 servings a day. Almst any form will do - fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice. Whole fruits, however, usually contain more fiber than juice (I usually don't count juice unless it's V8 or V8 fusion), and raw fresh produce is going to be the best for you. Sometimes that can be tough to do, especially if you're not used to consuming that much fresh produce. If you haven't been getting enough, try to ease yourself into it (if you try to do it all at once, you might have some digestional problems like gas - not good!). Try adding in 1 more serving of veggies and 1 piece of fruit for a few days, then add in some more. Do this until you reach the recommended amount. Why should you eat more fruits and veggies? People who eat more generous amounts of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including strokes, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.*

What if I don't like vegetables or fruit?

Who wants to eat 6 cups of broccoli and 4 apples every day? Not me. You don't have to limit yourself to one type of produce. What if you don't like steamed broccoli? Try grilling it with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Don't like spinach? Mix some fresh stuff up in a smoothie with lots of berries (I kid you not, you will NOT be able to taste it! And yes, it will turn the smoothie green.). Can't stand apples without smothering them in fattening peanut butter or caramel dip? Try coreing it, sprinkling it with cinnamon, and bake it for 30 minutes at 350 in the oven - then fill the middle with nonfat vanilla yogurt and sprinkle with granola. My point is, if you don't like something, try cooking it a different way. By doing this, I've learned to love lots of veggies that I didn't like much before (eggplant is now one of my favorites!). There are so many different options out there, you shouldn't limit yourself to just one or two types of produce. Mix it up! Also, since you have so many options, try a bunch of different kinds of produce until you do find something you like. You don't have to force yourself to eat cauliflower or mushrooms if you can't stomach them. Just find something that you will eat instead! (More options listed below.)

Why do I need different colors on my plate?
Okay, now onto the importance of colors. Did you know that each color has different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a whole host of beneficial nutrients? It's true!

Red fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigments called "lycopene" or "anthocyanins." Lycopene in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit, for example, may help reduce risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Lycopene in foods containing cooked tomatoes, such as spaghetti sauce, and a small amount of fat are absorbed better than lycopene from raw tomatoes. Anthocyanins in strawberries, raspberries, red grapes and other fruits and vegetables act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Antioxidants are also linked with keeping our hearts healthy.*

Examples of the red group: Red apples, Beets, Red cabbage, Cherries, Cranberries, Pink or Ruby Red grapefruit, Red grapes, Red peppers, Pomegranates, Red potatoes, Radishes, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tomatoes, and Watermelon

Orange/yellow fruits and vegetables are usually colored by natural plant pigments called "carotenoids." Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Scientists have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, can improve immune system function, and lower the risk in developing age-related macular degeneration (an eye disorder common among the elderly which can lead to blindness). Carotenoids also may be good for your heart. One study found that men with high cholesterol who ate plenty of vegetables high in carotenoids had a 36 percent lower chance of heart attack and death than their counterparts who shunned vegetables.*
Citrus fruits like oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.*

Examples of the orange/yellow group: Yellow apples, Apricots, Butternut squash, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Grapefruit, Lemons, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Yellow peppers, Persimmons, Pineapple, Pumpkin, Rutabagas, Yellow summer or winter squash, Sweet corn, Sweet potatoes, Tangerines, Yellow tomatoes, and Yellow watermelon

Green fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigment called "chlorophyll." Some members of the green group, including spinach and other dark leafy greens, green peppers, peas, cucumber and celery, contain "lutein". Lutein works with another chemical, "zeaxanthin", found in corn, red peppers, oranges, grapes and egg yolks to help keep eyes healthy. Together, these chemicals may help reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness if untreated. The "indoles" in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables may help protect against some types of cancer. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.*

Examples of the green group:
Green apples, Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocados, Green beans, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Green cabbage, Cucumbers, Green grapes, Honeydew melon, Kiwifruit, Lettuce, Limes, Green onions, Peas, Green pepper, Spinach, and Zucchini

Blue/purple fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigments called "anthocyanins." Anthocyanins in blueberries, grapes and raisins act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. They may help reduce risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. Other studies have shown that eating more blueberries is linked with improved memory function and healthy aging.*

Examples of the blue/purple group: Blackberries, Blueberries, Eggplant, Figs, Juneberries, Plums, Prunes, Purple grapes, and Raisins

White fruits and vegetables are colored by pigments called "anthoxanthins." They may contain health-promoting chemicals such as "allicin", which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may help reduce risk of stomach cancer and heart disease. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are good sources of the mineral potassium, too.*

Examples of the white group include: Bananas, Cauliflower, Garlic, Ginger, Jicama, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Turnips

How are you doing so far?

If you're like many Americans, your plate may benefit from some added color from fruits and vegetables. Try adding this to your food journaling and highlighting each fruit or vegetable in with the color it is. Write down all the fruits and vegetables you ate yesterday, or keep track of what you eat today. Did you have any fruit for breakfast? Lunch? Snacks? Dinner? What color groupings did you try? Try to aim for a little from each color group every day. Check the strategies you will try:

  • Keep cleaned fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator -- ready to eat.
  • Have vegetables with low-fat dip for a snack.
  • Try commercial prepackaged salads and stir-fry mixes to save prep time.
  • Add vegetables to casseroles, stews and soups.
  • Drink 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks or soda pop.
  • Have fruit for dessert.
  • Keep a bowl of apples, bananas and/or oranges on the table.
  • Choose a side salad made with a variety of leafy greens.
  • Bake with applesauce instead of oil to reduce fat and increase fiber.
  • Add lettuce, onions, peppers and/or tomatoes to sandwiches.
  • Order veggie toppings on your pizza.
  • Enjoy fruit smoothies for breakfast or snacks.
  • Pack fresh or dried fruits for quick snacks.

Thanks for sticking with me till the end! If you read all that, you deserve a cup of raspberries drizzled with warm chocolate sauce. Yum.....


food journal

I thought I would share what's on my menu today just for a bit more added accountability. All the calories are approximate according to sparkpeople. I have also included the Weight Watchers PointPlus calculations just to see how it compares. All the fruits and veggies are changed to the colors that they are (more on this later).

8am Breakfast (481 calories; 11 points):
1/2 cup orange juice
Bagel sandwich - 1 Thomas' Everything bagel thin, 2 tsp low fat chive & onion cream cheese, 1 slice low fat cheddar cheese, scrambled 1 egg + 1 egg white, and 2 slices Canadian bacon
1 large cup coffee w/2 Tbsp creamer

10am Mid-morning snack (172 calories; 2 points):
1/2 cup raspberries
6 oz fat free strawberry yogurt
1 orange

12pm Lunch (358 calories; 8 points):
2 slices whole wheat bread
6 thin slices lean deli ham
1/4 avocado, sliced
sliced apple

3pm Afternoon snack (169 calories; 2 points):
1 medium banana
1 sugar free jello pudding snack

5:30 pm Dinner (356 calories; 9 points):
1 lean hamburger patty on a whole wheat bun
with lettuce, bbq sauce & mustard
steamed green beans drizzled with low fat balsamic vinaigrette
dessert - sugar free raspberry jello

Total approximate calories for the day: 1535
Total PointsPlus: 32
Serv protein: 4
Serv whole grains: 4
Serv fruit & veggies: 6 (not counting orange juice)
Serv dairy: 3

I exactly hit my Points target for the day, and I'm perfectly in range for calories, carbs, fat, and protein according to sparkpeople. In looking at the nutritional stats in grams, I think I should be getting more protein, and I could stand to lower the carb intake a bit. Seeing the totals for everything caused me to rethink some of the choices I was going to make today. I was originally going to have pita chips instead of a banana, caramel dip with my apple, and cheese on my burger. But I decided those weren't worth the extra 7 points/150-200 calories.

If you haven't tried journaling your food, you should definitely try it. I find it helpful to plan everything out before I eat it. That way I know exactly how much I should be eating. It's an extremely useful tool when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can check out free sites like sparkpeople or the daily plate. I still love the Weight Watchers program. If you don't want to go to meetings, their online eTools are available for $17.95 a month. You can even download the eTools app to your smartphone and track as you go!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've found myself in need of a clean-up of my diet. I haven't been following the new Weight Watchers program as closely as I should be (I'm rebelling to the changes), and my eating habits have been slipping back to what they used to be. The scale doesn't lie - the number is reflecting my slowly degrading habits.

So, the other day I posted an article about the 8-Week Transition Diet. My friend over at A Healthy Wait offered to start an accountability group with this transition diet. I just wanted to throw that out there in case anyone else wants to join in!

So if anyone is interested, please let me know if you'd like to join in on the accountability group to go through this diet. We'd have weekly check-ins on the diet with me posting my update and open commenting for your progress.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

P90X/BBL Hybrid: Week 2

Day 8

P90X Ab Ripper X (16 min)
BBL Hight & Tight (35 min)

I've made some improvements in Ab Ripper! I can now do all 25 reps for In & Outs, Seated Bicycle, Crossed Leg/Wide Leg Sit Ups, Hip Rock 'n Raise, and Pulse Ups! Woo hoo!

High & Tight was tough again, but I was a bit more comfortable with it this time. And there was no husband/peanut gallery to comment on the "Salsa Playboy" this time. If you don't know what I'm talking about, see this post.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

And now for something completely different...

Name that quote... anyone?

I'm currently in a state of living where my homework is now dominating my free time. I'm working hard to catch up and get ahead on it, so hopefully it won't interfere with my workout times much anymore. I will probably be re-starting Week 2 of my P90X/BBL hybrid... just a heads up!

When reading through my emails, I got my beachbody newsletter and found this article about an 8-week transition diet. For those of you just starting out and don't know where to start, read on to see some great ideas to get your diet from fast food, junk, and dinners out (or whatever your issue is) to healthy in only 8 weeks!

The 8-Week Transition Diet
by Steve Edwards

Week 1


No junk. Eliminate junk food from your diet. That's it, just junk. Other than this, you can eat whatever and whenever you like. Now, how hard can that be? Guess this depends on what I mean by "junk." But all I'm concerned with this week is the obvious stuff like potato chips, candy, ice cream, cake, etc. You may be stricter if you'd like, but for Week 1, don't be too hard on yourself. For many of you, this step alone will reap huge benefits.

Cheat Days: 2

Since no one's perfect, you get 2 days to cheat. That's right, 2 days where you can eat anything you want! A trick on these days (and, yes, this means there will be more) is to listen to your body. At first, it'll probably tell you it wants whatever you've been denying it. However, over time, it'll start to crave nutrients you're deficient in. Learn to read your body's subtleties. If you're craving ice cream, you may be short on essential fatty acids. If you crave a hamburger, your diet may lack protein. This way, you can make better food substitutions. It's a way of getting in tune with yourself that will benefit you for your entire lifetime.

Weekly focus: Water. Not swimming in it, though that's good too, but staying hydrated with it. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Diet sodas and such are no substitute, because they contain a passel of ingredients that live right at the bottom of the junk heap. Drinking a glass of water when you feel hunger pangs coming on will not only keep you hydrated, but will help stave off your hunger to some degree.

As for other drinks, juices and sugary sodas also (obviously) fall into the junk category. And alcohol should be kept to a minimum. We tend to forget (purposely or not) that alcohol has calories. A lot of them: 7 calories per gram. Mixers can be even worse—not only can they add calories, but sugary calories influence the way alcohol reacts with your body. When you do drink, red wine is the alcohol of choice, with natural beer running second.

Week 2

Small Meal
Each week's rules are cumulative, so the "no junk" rule from Week 1 will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week's rule. Remember that this is a learning and conditioning process. It's like you're in school and the subject is your own body.

Eat small, eat often. Eat four to six small meals a day, and don't eat anything for about 3 hours before you go to sleep. Following these rules will keep your blood sugar levels more static and your energy level will stay consistent. Try to keep each snack or meal balanced. Keep a 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrate, and 30 percent fat scale in mind, though you don't need to worry too much about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient group. Eat based on what you'll be doing for the next few hours (if you're working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little less). The 3-hours-before-bed rule is important, especially for fats and carbohydrates. By allowing time for all the carbs you eat to get into your bloodstream, your body will sleep in fat-burning mode, rather than in calorie-storing mode. This is important because undigested carbs in your stomach at night are stored as adipose tissue (fat).

Cheat Days: 2

Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are very good for you and hard to overconsume. While you don't want a diet based on nothing but carbs, making the right carb choices will maximize your body's potential. Try to avoid white rice and flours. Read labels, and try to avoid ones that use the word "enriched," because this means these products have been stripped of their natural nutrients, overprocessed, and then fortified with a few random nutrients.

Week 3

Eat some colorful, low-density food at every meal.
These are foods that take up a lot of space without a lot of calories. Veggies are the most obvious example. You can eat a salad bowl overflowing with lettuce and veggies and you most likely won't exceed 100 calories. By eating low-density foods like veggies and fruits, you'll keep your portions under control naturally, because they have very few calories for their size. Conversely, high-density foods, like chocolate and butter, are loaded with calories in even the smallest amounts. So beware of salad dressings and other things you add to salads and veggies. Only add enough for flavor; don't fill up on them. When it comes to live foods, the richer the colors, the fresher the products tend to be. Try to eat a variety of colors in your diet. This simple and somewhat random act will help ensure that you're covering your bases, nutrient-wise.

Cheat Days: 1

Weekly focus: Protein at every meal. This becomes even more important as you eat more low-density food, because protein tends to be high-density. Many veggies have a lot of protein, but the quantity you must consume starts to become prohibitive. Try to get some protein—meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, or legumes—each time you eat, especially when you're working out hard, because you need to repair broken-down muscle tissue. Frequency of protein consumption is even more vital for women, who aren't able to digest as much protein at one time as men are. It's almost impossible to get all your necessary protein at one or two meals, so try to get 10 to 20 grams of protein each time you eat. Reading labels is a simple way to learn how to estimate your protein intake, but if you eat natural foods, most of which don't have labels, you can look at online nutritional information guides to determine the amount of protein each serving contains.

Week 4

Man Cooking at Home
Cook at home.
One of the best ways to control your eating is to prepare all your meals yourself. Eliminate all fast food (which should have been gone in Week 1) and most other restaurant food. You may still eat food from certain restaurants where you can be sure of the ingredients (most will be savvy enough to make a point of how healthy their food is). But avoid all fast food chains, even ones that claim to be "healthy." Restaurants need their food to taste good, so they'll often use compromised ingredients, even when they list low numbers on fats and/or calories. Fast food can contain many hidden evils in addition to calories. For example, next time you see one of those nutrition charts, check the sodium levels; most fast foods use ridiculously high amounts of salt. Avoiding fast food alone will often bring your body closer to homeostasis (its desired state of balance). This can be hard for many of us because we now have to plan our meals and prepare ahead of time, but try and treat it like vocational school—you don't learn a new "job" without a little retraining.

Cheat Days: 1

Weekly focus: Fat is essential. Remember that fat is a vital part of your diet, not just something that makes you fat. What is not vital is a lot of saturated or trans fats. Trans fats are mainly those that are artificial, and hopefully they've been eliminated from your diet by this point, since they're generally only found in junk. Saturated fats are found in dairy products and meats, and you don't need too much. For cooking, try to use olive oil when possible. Also, the addition of either flaxseed or hempseed can have a pronounced effect on your health. These seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6). Be careful about that amount of fat. It is dense and has 9 calories per gram, as opposed to 4 for both carbs and protein. A tablespoon goes a long way!

Week 5

Reduce starchy carbohydrates.
Starches include rice, bread, potatoes, corn, beans, and other legumes. While many of these are in no way bad foods, most people tend to consume far too many of them. So what you want to do this week is cut way down on them, if not cutting them out completely. Then add them back in when your body feels like it needs energy, which it will at some point if you're exercising (and why wouldn't you be?). But don't add a huge plate or bowl of pasta; instead, add a small single serving. Starches are great energy food, but if you eat too many, they turn the tables and make you sluggish!

Cheat Days: 1

Weekly focus: Sugar is only beneficial after a hard workout. Your body doesn't need processed sugar. But if you really enjoy it and can't avoid letting some sneak into your daily diet, the 1-hour period after you exercise is the best time to indulge. During this window, your blood sugar is low, because you've used it up to finish your workout (assuming you pushed yourself), and sugar during this time will help you recover faster because it speeds into your system and initiates the recovery process. Adding a little protein, but not too much, will enhance your recovery even further. The best ratio is 1 part protein to 4 parts carbs. You should avoid fats during this immediate post-workout period, because they slow absorption—a good thing most of the time, just not during and immediately after working out.

Week 6

If man makes it, don't eat it.
This is likely to be the hardest week of your diet. You want to eat only whole foods and eliminate all processed foods, even good ones, for the week. This includes breads, most salad dressings, all cereal, luncheon meats, cheese, dried fruits, anything with preservatives, and alcoholic beverages. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural whole-grain rice, poached eggs, etc. Since your eating habits have been slowly changing, this shouldn't be that big a shock to your system, but keeping in focus that you only have to do this for 7 days will make it easier. (Although each week's rules are cumulative in the plan, Week 6 is more of a "cleanse" or "reset" week where you avoid all processed food; after Week 6, you can go back to the occasional processed food, but chances are you'll take what you learned this week and tend to make healthier, smarter choices.)

Cheat Days: 1

The "cheat day" mentality isn't a bad one. Rewards like decadent desserts, a night at the buffet, or drinking with friends are good for you as long as you keep them in perspective. These are rewards for a life well lived and you should be able to feel good about doing them. Plus, there's some method to this madness as well, in that you still tend to crave nutrients you lack. So if you're cutting down on the calories to lose weight, allowing yourself a cheat day will give your body a chance to take in what it needs to avoid being malnourished.

Weekly focus: Nuts make great snacks. A handful of raw almonds or cashews is a quick and easy snack that goes a long way. Don't be put off by the high fat count of nuts, because this means it takes fewer of them to satiate you. Nuts are loaded with important phytonutrients, as well as good fats, proteins, and fiber.

Week 7

Woman with Food in both Hands
Be yourself.
No rules—just try and eat as healthily as you can and do it by feel. Trusting yourself might seem like a lot of responsibility, but by now you'll be up to it. Learning to eat by feeling what your body needs is an important step in your transformation. Consider the way you've been eating over the last 6 weeks, but don't worry about what you should and shouldn't do. Just fuel yourself. The point is to take a mental break. Relax and allow yourself to eat in a way that feels normal. You may be surprised to find yourself craving something healthy instead of a candy bar or soda. You'll be better at listening to your body because it'll tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you're used to eating. Your body should feel somewhat transformed. Does it?

"Reward for a Life Well Lived" Days: 1

Weekly focus: If you're so hungry at night that you can't sleep, try a protein shake before bed. When it's real, and not habitual, hunger means you lack nutrients your body needs to repair itself as you sleep. You want nothing but protein powder and water. No carbs or superfluous calories. But protein at night, especially whey, will help the body repair damaged tissue and enhance the natural growth-hormone spike that you get while you sleep.

Week 8

Sliced Eggs, Peppers, and Cucumbers
Eat a perfect diet.
Now it's time for a real challenge—are you ready? The perfect diet is strictly individual, as there's no one diet that suits everybody. So who better to choose the perfect diet for you than you? Our bodies are all different, and the key to your own perfect diet is learning about how your body reacts to different foods under different circumstances. Your journey over the last 7 weeks should have brought you to a new understanding of how food affects your body, both for good and for bad. Now it's up to you to put it to the test. See how well you can eat for a week. In fact, see how well you can eat for the rest of your life. Live and enjoy.

Reward Days: 1, of course!

Weekly Focus: Don't bonk. Bonking is a state where your body runs out of stored blood sugar for energy. If you feel like your workouts are going backward instead of forward, this is a likely culprit. Use your energy level as your gauge. As soon as it starts to drop, start adding carbs back into your diet until you feel energized all day long. When you feel energized during your workouts and not sluggish throughout the rest of the day, you'll know you've found the right balance between carbs and other nutrients. Also, remember that as your body puts on more muscle, you will need to eat more. Muscle weighs much more than fat so as you gain muscle and lose fat, you will shrink at the same weight. You will also require more calories in order to maintain your muscle. So when you're working out hard, don't be afraid to eat more carbs than you do otherwise.

Hope you enjoyed this little break from our regular programming. I hope this helps someone! I thought there were some great ideas in this article.

Original article source found here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 8 - a pretty terrible day

This was one of those days where life happens. My Monday was supposed to be a relaxing day off where I could work on things I hadn't had time to get to for a while. However, my day turned out much differently.

Between the heater (set too high) and my cat (likes to sleep on my neck/chest), I didn't get much sleep during the night. I slept in a bit because of that, and then went to bake a cake for my cake decorating class. The dishes hadn't been run yet, so I ran the dishwasher and got on with my day. I ran a few errands and then came back to meet my husband for lunch. My plan for the rest of the day was to paint the last few doors & trim that have not been painted yet. In order to do so, I needed to lock up the cat in our bedroom so she wouldn't try to get into the paint. Problem was, we didn't have a doorknob to lock her in. So after putting the cake in the oven, I made a quick trip to Home Depot for a new doorknob for our door. I came back and took the cake out of the oven to cool, then tried for half an hour, with little success, to get the doorknob on. Near tears of frustration, I gave up and then went to take my cake out of the pan. It fell apart. Cue waterworks. After that, I decided I could still probably get a few doors painted today. I went down to the basement to get the painting supplies, and discovered another leak in our basement. More tears. Then I went to the store to get more baking supplies and came home just in time to throw dinner together before the hubby came home from work. I finished dinner and started working on my new cake when the hubby texted me that he had to work a little late. Great. Now dinner was going to be cold. I finished my cake and got it in the oven just in time for my husband to walk in the door. We wanted to watch one of our favorite shows while eating dinner, but I realized that I still needed to make 2 double-batches of frosting for my class, which was supposed to start in 45 minutes. So no relaxation. I ate quickly and then pounded out the frosting while packing up my supplies for class. I knew I was going to be late already because my cakes weren't done cooling.

On the plus side, my final cake today turned out nicely, I had fun making it, and my new cell phone arrived in the mail today.

So needless to say, I didn't exercise yesterday. Sometimes life just happens and you have to roll with the punches. Check back later today for Day 9!

Update: Day 9 consisted of nearly 3 hours of math homework. Better luck tomorrow!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

P90X/BBL Hybrid: Day 5,6,7

Day 5, 6, and 7 for me were rest days. We took a little weekend getaway with my family and some close friends to our family's cabin. I definitely got my exercise in today by helping to haul firewood and clear brush, but the weekend was for relaxing. It was so needed and so refreshing. Check back tomorrow as I start week 2 of my 90 day hybrid!

Friday, January 14, 2011

P90X/BBL hybrid: Day 4

I owe you an update!

Day 4

BBL Sculpt (50 min)
P90X Kenpo X (56 min)

Sculpt was a good workout. You need 3-5 lb handweights for the workout. Leandro goes through very typical strength moves (curls, extensions, presses, squats, etc.), but he leads you through the exercise at different paces. You go slow - "up one two, down one two", then you go regular speed - "up one down two", then he has you hold and pulse little exercises. He also incorporates lots of muscle groups at the same time. For example, one exercise is a bicep curl into a shoulder press, then slow the resistance down and then you put the weight on the ground for a deadlift. Incorporating lots of muscle groups aids in calorie burn because of the extra cardio you're getting.

Kenpo is one of my absolute favorite P90X workouts. It's a mixture of karate and kickboxing, and is super fun so you hardly realize how much time has passed. Here's what it looks like:

Warm up (I actually hate the warm up on this one)

Twist/Pivot (25 each side)
Twist/Pivot with Hook/Uppercut (25 each side)
Jabs (30 each side)
Jab/Cross (25 each side)
Jab/Cross/Hook (25 each side)
Jab/Cross/Hook/Uppercut (25 each side)

Cardio Break - run 30 sec, jump rope 30 sec, jumping jacks 20 sec

Step Drag/Hi-Low Punch (30 each side)
Jab/Cross Switch (20)
Hook/Uppercut Switch (20)
Knee Kick (30 each side)
Ball Kick (30 each side)

Cardio Break

Side Kick (30 each side)
Back Kick (25 each side)
Three-Direction Kick (18 kicks per side)
Side Lunge with High Sword/Low Hammer (15 each side)
Step Drag/Claw/Low Punch (25 reps)

Cardio Break

High Block (30)
Inward Block (30)
Outward Block (30)
Downward Block (30)
Star Block (16)

Cardio Break

Front Shuffle with High Block/Low Punch (25 each side)
Knee/Back Kick (15 each side)
Front & Back Knuckles/Ball Kick/Back Kick (10 each side)
Hook/Uppercut/Low Side Kick (10 each side)
Elbow Series (30)
Vertical Punches (100 + bonus reps)

Cardio Break

Cool Down

I love love love Kenpo!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

P90X/BBL hybrid: Day 3

Day 3

BBL Tummy Tuck (20 min)
P90X Shoulders & Arms (60 min)

Tummy Tuck wasn't anything too difficult. It was a lot of basic ab and core work - crunches, pulsing crunches, reverse crunches, side planks, planks, etc. It wouldn't have been so brutal had I not still been so sore from Ab Ripper on Monday. Because of this, even the simple crunches were painful.

Shoulders & Arms is one of my favorite workouts from P90X. It's jam-packed with great exercises and some of the best Tony Horton quotes.

"Tip of the day - don't smash your face! Okay? Let somebody else do that."

"I only got one word to say - WOW. And what is 'wow' upside down? MOM."

He just makes me giggle throughout the entire workout.
Here's what the workout looks like:

Warm up

Round 1
Alternating Shoulder Press (12-15)
In & Out Bicep Curl (16)
Two-Arm Triceps Kickback (12-15)
Repeat sequence

Round 2
Deep Swimmer's Press (12-15)
Full Supination Concentration Curl (12-15)
Chair Dip (max reps)
Repeat sequence

Round 3
Upright Row (12-15)
Static Arm Curl (16)
Flip-Grip Triceps Kickback (12-15)
Repeat sequence

Round 4
Seated Two-Angle Shoulder Fly (16)
Crouching Cohen Curl (12-15)
Lying-Down Triceps Extension (12-15)

Bonus Round (optional)
In & Out Straight Arm Shoulder Fly (16)
Congdon Curl (12-15)
Side Tri-Rise (max reps)
Repeat sequence

Cool down

Between each round is a 30-60 second break to shake it out and get water. During these times, I take a "kitty break" because my poor attention deprived cat (or so she believes) must have my attention constantly while I work out.

i can has muscles?

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

P90X/BBL hybrid: Day 2

Day 2

P90X Cardio X (43 min)
BBL High & Tight (35 min)

With the normal P90X program, I'd be doing Plyometrics. However, Plyo is a bit beyond my physical capabilities at the moment. It's still something I have to work my way up to. I attempt it every once in a while, but I generally stick with Cardio X.
Cardio X is a great workout from P90X. It takes moves from four other dvds, so if you go through the program, all the moves are familiar. It's broken up into four parts: Yoga, Kenpo, Plyometrics, and Core Synergistics. Here's what the workout looks like:

Yoga (warm up)
Sun Salutations/Vinyasas (2)
Runner's Pose
Warrior One
Warrior Two
Reverse Warrior
each position slowly gets added to the original vinyasa

Ball Kick (20 each side)
Hook/Uppercut/Side Kick combo (15 each side)
Front & Back Knuckles/Ball Kick/Back Kick combo (15 each side)
Jab/Cross/Hook/Uppercut combo (25 each side)
Three-Direction Kick combo (18 kicks per side)

Airborne Heisman (30 sec)
Swing Kick (30 sec)
Jump Shot (30 sec)
Tires (30 sec)
Wacky Jacks (30 sec)

Core Synergistics
Squat X-Press (30)
Steam Engine (50)
Dreya Roll (60 sec)
Squat Run (30 sec each side)
Superman/Banana (60 sec)

Cool down/Stretch

High & Tight definitely held its own - it may be tougher than most of the P90X workouts. It's broken down into three sections:

Standing work with resistance band
Floor work with resistance band
Floor work with ankle weights

I did the first two parts with the resistance band, and man, did I feel the burn. Then for the last part, it's recommended to have 1- or 2-lb ankle weights. I only have 5-lb ankle weights, which would be waaay too much to start out with. So I opted to skip the weights. I'm so glad I did. I almost died on the last part. Okay, not true, but I was in major pain... the good kind... that you only appreciate when you're finished. My husband can attest to my groaning and complaining in the last section. Here's an instant replay of our conversation when he came home.

Me: "uuuuuuugh..."

Hubby: "What?"

Me: "That was only the first leg."

Hubby: "Really??"

Me: "Yeah... now we're going to do all that on the OTHER leg...."

Hubby (after listening to the brazilian music in the background): "It sounds like you're listening to a Salsa Playboy..."

Me: "uuuuuugh..." (because I have no idea what a Salsa Playboy is, and I don't think I really want to know)

Update: Hubby clarified that a Salsa Playboy is a Latino pimp... Yeah, I didn't really want to know.

P90X/BBL hybrid: Day 1

Day 1

Chest & Back (52 min)
Ab Ripper X (16 min)

I woke up late yesterday, so I had to squeeze in my workout after 9pm. Yuck. So I did Ab Ripper and the first half of Chest & Back. In my experience with P90X, if I don't do Ab Ripper first, I won't do it at all. It's not fun, but it's short. Don't underestimate Ab Ripper - it's a brutal 16 minutes. Here's what it includes (reps are noted):

In & Outs (25)
Seated Bicycle (25)
Reverse Seated Bicycle (25)
Seated Crunchy Frog (25)
Crossed leg/Wide leg sit-ups (25)
Fifer Scissors (25)
Hip Rock 'n Raise (25)
Pulse-ups (25) - the only one I can do with no breaks
V-up/Roll-up Combo (25)
Oblique V-ups (25)
Leg Climbers (12 each side)
Mason Twist (40)
Cool down (upward dog, child's pose)

So that's Ab Ripper X. Your abs should be burning after this. You definitely feel this the next day.

Chest & Back is mostly push-ups and pull-ups, and go you through the workout twice. Here's what it includes:

Warm up
Standard push-ups (max reps)
Wide Front pull-ups (max reps)
Military push-ups (max reps)
Reverse Grip chin-ups (max reps)
Wide Fly push-ups (max reps)
Closed Grip Overhand pull-ups (max reps)
Decline push-ups (max reps)
Heavy Pants (12-15)
Diamond push-ups (max reps)
Lawnmowers (12-15 each side)
Dive-Bomber push-ups (max reps)
Back Flys (12-15)
Cool down

I do all of the pull-up/chin-ups with resistance bands on one knee. I don't have any doors that I can mount a pull-up bar to, so I work with what I have. For push-ups that are too difficult, I do them against the wall or on my knees to help me get a few reps in. Despite how difficult it is, it's actually one of my favorite P90X workouts.

So do you think you could do this?

Monday, January 3, 2011

P90X & Brazil Butt Lift hybrid

Here's what's next for the fit wife:

and... (?!)

Before you go off and think I'm crazy (even though I am), let me explain my reasoning for doing a hybrid of these programs. With P90X there are three different workout plans: classic, lean, and doubles. I have attempted to do each of these at least once. With the classic program, I don't feel like I'm getting enough cardio. With the lean program, I don't feel like I'm getting enough strength training for my upper body. And the doubles program is a HUGE time commitment (averaging 2-3 hours of the dvds a day). I love most of the workouts that I've tried with P90X (with a few exceptions), so I'm following a hybrid of the two programs to give me a more rounded approach to the cardio to weight lifting ratio. Hopefully this will motivate me to keep up with workouts because I will be enjoying them more. This way, I can also switch out different workouts for the ones I can't stand (Yoga X mainly) for ones that I will like better. Honestly, I just would skip the workouts on Yoga days before.

So there you have it - For the next 3 months, I am going to mix Tony Horton's P90X program with Leandro Carvalho's Brazil Butt Lift program (both from beachbody). My workouts will average 1-2 hours daily. Hopefully this will kick my butt back into weight loss gear and help me to get into the best shape of my life. I'll be taking one day at a time. One thing that I've learned from these workout programs is that you have to adapt the programs to what will work best for you. I use these programs as a general guideline for how I should be planning my workouts. Some days, I just don't have the time that I need to put in the full hour-long workout and I will need to substitute what I can do for the day. As long as I'm working on improvement, not perfection, I'll be doing well. As Tony likes to say....

Do your best and forget the rest!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolution - Make a Plan

Studies have proven that 90% of New Year's resolutions fail. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble with that fact. Most of the time this is because people make vague resolutions without a plan to make it happen.

Say that your resolution is to lose 30 lbs this year. Here's how I would break it down.

For January, focus on learning the basics about fitness and nutrition. Google "nutrition", borrow books from the library, read blogs about nutrition and fitness, or download some free podcasts about exercise, nutrition, portions, and healthy foods. Purchase a healthy cookbook or look up healthy recipes online and learn how to eat well at home (which will also save you cash from not eating out). Then, start out slow with some exercise - decide to walk for 20 minutes two times a week.

For February, focus on putting what you learn into practice. Start overhauling your pantry and eating habits. Look up the Eat This, Not That series by David Zinczenko and start making simple swaps to help you make the switch to healthier eating. Increase your walking to 20 minutes three times a week, and add in some basic weight lifting once a week (I still recommend Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred).

For March, focus on increasing your intake of fruit & veggies and train for a 5K. Are you getting the recommended daily intake of 9 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day? If not, try to add in one serving a week until you get into the habit. After you've gotten used to exercising a few times a week, consider making a goal of running a 5K. Follow the C25K running program to help you achieve your goal and sign up for a race to keep you motivated.

Keep going with small goals every month like increasing your water intake, joining a gym, getting a personal trainer, adding a Physical Education class to your semester schedule, eating less red meat, trying out Zumba or a dance class, switch to organic foods, starting a weight-lifting program (like The New Rules of Lifting for Women or P90X), or whatever you think will help you get to your goal. Chances are, if you make small changes each month and stick to them, you will reach your goal of losing 30 lbs long before 2011 is over. So instead of saying "I want to lose 30 lbs this year," figure out how you will achieve that goal. The key to your success will be making a plan that you can stick to. You don't want to promise "I will go to the gym every day this year" when you know you won't be able to stick to it. That kind of resolution will set you up for failure. Instead, break your goal down by tangible steps that you can manage.

Photo from here.