Monday, January 2, 2017

I had my first failure of 2017

Hi stranger!

Day 2 in and it already happened.  Surprised? Crushed? Mortified?

After my round of Hammer and Chisel at the beginning on 2016 where I leaned out I strove to find a balance.  A balance between my workouts not consuming my life and a balance where I never felt deprived.  A balance where my social life never suffered and I always strove to be the best I could be.  I succeeded in some ways, but I knew I felt the holiday bloat of overeating and I couldn't stop.  My mind knew exactly what I needed to do in order to get back to feeling like me and yet I just let myself keep slipping.  I kept working out, but with a reinjured right ankle (I just can't seem to get it back to normal) I knew my cardio fell short and I lost some of my momentum.  I finished 2016 with a second round of hammer and chisel except for this round I didn't keep my eating as clean as I should have. Did I skip the beers? yes.  But then did I have extra wine? yes, again. Did I dabble in other clean eating tactics that might help me? yes.  Did I order the salad when I wanted pizza or a beer? Guilty as charged.  Maybe somewhere I was hoping that I could find a balance of eating whatever I wanted when in all reality I knew better.  I knew I'd feel bloated and disgusting and yet I let it continue.  I already knew the tools I needed to use to succeed but I was having trouble committing to them.  I felt leanest whenever I ate clean during the week and gave myself 1 "free" meal a week where calories didn't count.  Except I let those habits slip.  Honesty is the best policy right? Time to be brutally honest with myself.

I decided to start 2017 with a round of 3 day refresh.  I had done it twice before and felt amazing.  I wanted that same feeling.  I wanted to give myself a 3 day reset button thinking maybe it would rewrite the damage I had done by not eating my usual amount of vegetables.  During day 1 (on January 1st) I had an epiphany.  What was I doing? Why was I putting myself through something that wasn't going to make me a better person? I was feeling the lack of coffee hangover and felt like I was neglecting the relationships in my life by saying I "had" to do something.  That's not health.  That's not being the best me I can be.  I don't want to deprive my body.  I want to fill it with the things that make me feel strong and healthy.  This isn't some quick fix.  This is my life and I want to make it count.  I want to make a difference.  I want to feel healthy, lean, and strong.  I want to get back to eating my veggies like they're going out of style.  I want to help someone else achieve their health and fitness goals.  I want to focus on how I want my life to look- not how I thought my body has to look.

How am I really starting 2017? With another Beachbody program.  Not a quick fix but a long term plan to take it one day at a time and get back to fueling my body to feeling my best.  My mind knows that when I feel my best, I give my best.  Here's to round 1 of Core de Force where I'm focusing on fueling my body with what it needs to give my best every day.  I'm starting January 9th and I'd love to have you join me!

Happy 2017 blogging world!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Round 1= DONE

"Regular fitness creates a diametric shift in attitude about who you are and how you can impact others.  It brings great job and happiness to life.  If you aren't afraid to struggle a little bit a few times a week, you develop a different perspective then people who don't. That's the nature of the work and the discipline." - Tony Horton


And with that the last stretch Round 1 of Hammer and Chisel is done!

I am still absolutely blown away with the after effects of Round 1.

I found a balance.  I love lifting heavy.  I love jumping.  I crave moving my body athletically and knowing I can crush it.  This program gave me compound movements that utilized every muscle in my body and left my sore in all the right places.  This program gave me the nutrition tools I needed to help me dial it in and finally get serious.  Committing to the workouts is the easy part for me.  Starting my day with this every day as a hot sweaty mess helps me find a balance and a focus throughout the rest of the day.  I'm so close to a real pull up and chin up.  Using the chin-up max was the absolute best thing I could have ever done to build my strength and challenge myself more than I even knew I could.

Committing to the eating plan was challenging but I've loved every second of it.  I feel both the mental and physical strength that comes with controlling what goes on your plate.  I'm looking forward to finding a balance.  I love the 85% clean 15% dirty rule and the best part is I don't feel controlled by food anymore.  I used to feel restricted and controlled by making sure the right amount of food is in my body at all times.  Food has become my fuel throughout this program.  I know what to eat and when to eat and how much to get the results.  I used to stress about making sure I had enough fuel in my tank for whatever workout I have planned but this has changed my gears and I'm more concerned with making sure it's the right food in my tank because that can get me through anything.

The most important thing I've gained from this program is a new kind of self love.  Even though I lost my initial 30 pounds I rarely felt comfortable in my own skin.  I always felt out of place and I was rarely comfortable in my own clothes.  About a month into this program those feelings completely evaporated and now I love that I'm healthy, my clothes feel amazing, and I feel like I can rock any outfit I choose.

It's a lifestyle change.  I knew I needed something specific to latch on to and figure out what works for me.  I don't feel deprived in any way shape or form.  I eat well.  I eat often.  I eat a lot.

Progress not perfection.  It won't happen over night.  I got frustrated for not seeing results like other people.  I got frustrated that I felt I was still in the same place.  Then I compared the side by sides.  I compared my number of reps and my max weight.  I beat myself.  I stepped back a hot second and realized I was being way too hard on myself.  It's a constant decision to be the best version of myself that I can be and I plan on winning every single day.  It started with a simple step and simple changes.  If you're looking to take that next step I'd love to help!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

It's not a workout- It's your life!

7 weeks of The Masters Hammer and Chisel officially in the books!
I've felt stronger that ever.  I've felt empowered. My muscles are growing and my confidence has echoed into the other areas of my life.
I feel unstoppable.

I believe that it has everything to do with following the nutrition component of this program.  I've found a balance where I never feel deprived.  I've been using Autumn's cookbook Fixate and there isn't one recipe I don't absolutely love!

Up above is spaghetti squash, italian meatballs, and Grandma's Tomato Sauce.  This sauce literally tastes like the sauce my grandma makes and the meatballs give something different that seem like a decadent treat.  The recipe makes a ton and I never got tired of eating it all week long.

The egg cup omelettes are my go to for breakfast during the week.  They are the easiest thing in the world and it's one less pan to scrub in the mornings before I head out.  Who wouldn't love that?

This Chili Chicken Salad is from The Masters Hammer and Chisel cookbook and it is quite literally one of the most delicious things I've ever made.  And it's super duper simple.  The purple onion in it make me feel super self conscious about my breath but it's totally worth it.  

These flourless brownies are delicious! The recipe makes 16 brownies and 1 counts as a yellow. I froze the batch after I made them and eating my way through one square satisfies any and all cravings I may have and make me feel like I'm never missing out.  

During the week this is one of my typical dinners.  It's the tomato sauce, meatballs, pasta, and veggies as well as strawberries in greek yogurt for those days where I still had more containers to eat.  I'm never starving and I really do love getting to eat all of my containers :)

Here's a shot of avocado toast (sprinkled with Tony's) and two of the egg cups.  I love knowing I have this to look forward to after a tough workout.

Thinking about a pizza? Fixate had a fix for that! This big guy was hammer and chiseled approved and it hit the spot in all the right ways.  I also threw my green beans sprinkled with tony's in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes and they tasted better than french fries.  

Most of my snapchats are of avocado toast.  Look at that beauty.  Enough said.

This week Beachbody also sent me a golden scoop for being a 365er! I go nuts without my Shakeo so it's a good thing I've learned to not run out!  Thanks Beachbody!

Sweet potatoes, cod, and lots of veggies always make an incredible meal! 

Steak fajitas from Fixate were definitely a winner! It was like being out at a Mexican restaurant but I know the calories are significantly less and the ingredients are a whole lot better for me.

Cottage cheese and mixed berries are really dessert.  I could never get sick of this.

Happy Eating Fit Fam!

Here's to crushing the last week of Hammer and Chisel! I'm so excited to take my measurements next Saturday and see the comparison!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A different kind of therapy

Back in October I had a nasty foot injury that caused me to have to postpone my second half marathon.  After being extra careful and using a walking boot for 2 weeks I boosted my mileage back up to a 5k to run the Turkey Trot with my brothers on Thanksgiving.  That 5k was some of the hardest miles I've ever done since I wasn't really back into the running groove.  That next Sunday I went for a sprint on the treadmill and had another shooting pain in my foot.  I knew it was time to see a Physical Therapist.  I had my evaluation right before the Christmas Holidays and started going to PT 3 times a week once I got back to Knoxville.

Going to physical therapy was one of the smartest things I've ever done.  My PT had me start at the beginning and we worked on exercises to strengthen my foot and ankle as well as analyze my stride and clean it up.  I've been rocking balance exercises and plyometric moves to get back to running better than ever before.  I started off walking 3 minutes then running for 1 4 times.  After I did that a few times I switched to 2 minutes walking and 2 minutes running 4 times and then 2 minutes walking and 3 minutes running 5 times.  I just finished the rotation of 1 minute walking and 3 minutes running 4 times.  These have all been on the treadmill but I've been officially cleared to run on the pavement tomorrow with 1 minute walking and 2 minutes running 6 times and I am beyond excited to throw in some gangsta rap into my headphones and hit the ground running.

This entire experience has given me a new perspective on my running.  I think a huge part of it has been committing 200% to the Masters Hammer and Chisel nutrition plan (I've been cooking up a storm in the kitchen and a post on that is definitely coming).  Fueling my body with whole real foods gives me more energy than I ever thought possible.  I love never feeling overly full but just satisfied.  I rarely have cravings and I love how this eating plan has become a lifestyle.  It doesn't feel like a diet and I'm never deprived.

This is one of those programs that has changed my outlook on life.  I love the endurance, the weight training, the flexibility, and then agility that have helped make me stronger than I ever thought possible.  Knowing that the work I'm putting in the kitchen is making a difference just makes me fall in love with falling in love with the process even more.

Monday, February 1, 2016

It won't be easy but it will be worth it.

I knew I wanted to start off 2016 with a bang.  I felt a fire I had never felt before.  I knew it was time for a serious cut from the accidental bulk I accidentally did over 2015 (sorry not sorry because I do love my muscles). I decided that bang would be with the new program The Masters Hammer and Chisel.  My roommate calls me a Beachboy junkie- and it's true!  With every program I feel a new strength and determination and I couldn't wait to see what Sagi and Autumn had in store with this one!

After completing the first month of Body Beast (I definitely feel like I need to go back and do that entire program but that's another story ;)) and a round of 21 day fix extreme in December, I knew this program would be the perfect way to kickstart this cut.  It's 60 days (well really 56 but who's counting) of heavy weights, dynamic movement, delicious food, and commitment to making a change.  I always feel so focused during my challenges.  My friends may give me a hard time sometimes but they also know (at least the good ones) that I'm too stubborn to give up on something once I've made up my mind.    

Starting the nutrition plan 100% really wasn't that difficult.  It's how I generally like to eat with the except of adding in popcorn, wine, a dark beer or two, and an occasional treat.  There is so much buzz over the best way to lose weight- low-carb, IIFYM, straight up counting calories, etc.  Everyone has to find their way.  My favorite is finding the richest nutrient dense foods I can possibly find and fueling my body with those.  I feel a significant difference in how I perform athletically (high school and college Emily still can't believe how much current day Emily LOVES and CRAVES performing athletically) when I fuel my body with these foods.  I feel more confident when I up the weights.  I feel lighter when I run (which right now have been at the mercy of my Physical Therapist following that nasty foot injury in October- but that's another blog post altogether).  I have more energy in my everyday life and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  When I eat and train this way I feel more alive than ever.  I mean look at this meal! It's not a diet.  The program comes with some recipes and Autumn's book Fixate has been a lifesaver.  Grandma's tomato sauce literally changed my life and the chicken salad is one of my all time favorite things to make now.  Also the chocolate chip cookies are the bomb when I want to give up 1.5 yellows! ;) It's a lifestyle and I've never felt more satisfied.  

Being committed to the workout has never been my problem.  Now that I've locked down my nutrition I feel my body starting to benefit from the workouts.  I was stuck at a plateau and I didn't know what to do.  Apparently the answer was eating more, which was such a struggle ;).  This eating plan bumped me up from my previous bracket and my body has never been more thankful.  I see my muscles growing and I feel the difference when I workout.  I can lift heavier and push harder in my spin classes.  When I'm eating this way I don't feel weighed down when I run and I don't feel tied down to food.  I feel a freedom with this kind of plan and the results in 4 short weeks speak for themselves.

When I decided to commit to this program I knew my goal was different.  I had already reached a healthy point and lifestyle but I knew I wanted more.  This time it wasn't about pants sizes changing. It isn't about weight going down on a scale.  I passed the point of the scale defining me a long time ago once I realized the muscles I've built and my physical bone structure mean it will likely never get down to where I have a conception about where it "should" be.  I also really like my clothes and I'd rather not spend a fortune changing them out.  I want to look like the athlete I feel inside.  I want to really lean out and feel that unstoppable power that comes from inside.  That feeling that ripples into every aspect of your life and helps keep you focused.  This semester is the toughest of any of my years of grad school.  This program and commitment to myself helps keep my mindset so incredibly laser focused that there's no other option but to crush it.  

I'd be lying if I said I don't miss wine or the occasional beer.  I do.  But I love having the strength and willpower to say no because I know I'm working for something bigger.  I never want to take the easy way.  The hard working way is so much better.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

I stepped on a scale

For the first time in months I did the dreaded deed- I stepped on a scale. I didn't want to.  I knew the numbers would be awful after my foot injury, thanksgiving, my birthday tailgate, and lots of delicious beer.  I started the 21 day fix extreme again as part of my Year End Resolution (saying see ya 10 pounds!) and knew I had to make sure I was eating in the correct calorie bracket.  I saw the number and gasped and became incredibly discouraged.  But then I also became super motivated.  I didn't feel like that number.  I'm proud of my muscles and I more importantly- I like them.  They help me do so many incredible things.  I can power through a workout that once seemed impossible.  I can jump higher than I ever could before.  Am I perfect? Absolutely not.  Am I still working towards a specific goal? Abso-freaking-lutely.

Weight is just a number.  After 4 days of clean eating and dedication I already feel 100 times better.  I need to get a body fat percentage scale and measure it that way instead.  Don't focus on the number.  Focus on fueling your body with whole nutritious food to dial in that nutrition.  Focus on challenging yourself physically to see the wonderful things your body is capable of.  On day 4 I already feel that definition in my legs coming back.  I already feel my abs poking out through the holiday excess.  I already feel myself becoming stronger in my workouts.  The rest of 2015 is mine for the taking and I'm ridiculously excited!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Just a little perspective

I don't sit still well.  In high school I used to be known as the energizer bunny who just never stops moving.  I love moving.  I love jumping from project to project.  I love staying focused on a goal.  I love achieving those goals.  I don't do well when I feel stationary in my life.  I don't like slowing down because there are so many beautiful things in this world I don't want to miss.

Training for my second half was drastically different.  I used different runs and increased my mileage over a longer period of time.  I ran more often than last time to ensure that I could just put one foot in front of the other.  Not every run was perfect and I was proud of getting the distance even if I walked more than I wanted to.  I had a balance of cross training and weights as well as running that I even balanced with my nutrition where I didn't feel limited at any time.

This past Sunday I finished my first 10 miler and then pain hit.  When I say pain I mean intense serious pain.  I like to think I have a high tolerance and I can handle anything.  The middle of my foot hurt more than I could have ever imagined every time I stepped on it.  It had a shooting pain even when I was sitting down with no weight pressed on it.

I immediately texted my super amazing runner friend Christine asking her what I did and what I should do.  It felt like my injury after the warrior dash last year and I immediately went into panic mode and worried that I broke it this time.  In my 24 (almost 25) years on this gorgeous planet I have never broken a bone and I'd like to keep it that way.  I immediately went straight to elevation and ice and remained stationary Sunday.  I had plans to hit golf balls and maybe get a hike in that turned into, "no just kidding you can't even walk because it hurts worse than getting punched in the gut five hundred times" (not that I've gotten punched there but I can imagine it really hurting).


Those long runs and months of training... gone.

I trained harder. I thought I trained smarter.

I had my goal and I was working for it.

I was appreciating what my body could do and yet my body is the very thing that failed me.

Panic set in for awhile.  I didn't want to accept it.  After a visit to my favorite sports medicine doctor I got a diagnosis of a repeat injury same as last October and a walking boot for 2 weeks.  Walking boots are absolutely incredible.  I am still beyond amazed that I was able to eliminate all pain (which was at a solid 8) from the second I put it on.  It took some getting used to.  The first few days were rough.  Now it's been over a week and I'm so thankful that I have the boot to help me.  Yes it's a pain to take it on and off but I know I've been resting my body and preparing it for everything else I have yet to do.  Some days I still feel lopsided if I wear flats or wedges that are too high.  Some days I still get incredibly sad that I'm not running the half.  Luckily I was able to transfer my registration to the next half marathon in April but, that doesn't mean I'm not incredibly sad that my focus had to change.

Shifting my focus has given me perspective.  Once I'm back to normal I know I'll never take for granted the things that I am able to do.  It's still things that Emily 2 years ago couldn't have ever dreamed of doing.  I'm thankful I'm able to heal and take a break before I hit the ground running and focus on different goals.  This injury has helped me slow down and be patient even though that was absolutely the last thing I wanted to do.  This injury has given me a strength I didn't even know needed to be strengthened.