NOTE: Next group 24 Day Challenge is starting Monday October 6th, 2014…please e-mail if you would like info on ordering and joining us!
Whether you are thinking of taking on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, have already purchased your challenge bundle, or are a few days in….then this post is for YOU! Let’s get you your money’s worth and load you up with 24 tips to get the best possible results over the next 24 days and beyond.
As many of you know I have a large Facebook support group for people I help coach through the challenge. While I am the first to admit I am no where near a health & fitness expert, I have definitely gathered some useful information through the experience of working with so many people. We all seem to face the same road blocks, we all struggle with the same questions and we all seem to find the same success by making adjustments where we need to.
I need to preface this by saying that we like to run a pretty strict 24 Day Challenge in our group. You will find a variance of opinions out there regarding the “do”s and “don’t”s of the challenge, but I am here to share advice that has yielded the best results for me and the majority of my fellow Challengers!
So without further adieu….
1. Read over the Daily Guide and products carefully. As soon as that box shows up at your door I know it’s tempting to want to dive in head first, but trust me when I say you should look through your products and get a better idea of what the next 24 days are going to look like. Take things one day at a time, but familiarize yourself with the products and what’s to come.
2. MEAL PLAN. Every weekend plan out your clean meals for the entire week. I typically eat similar things for breakfast and lunch but dinners I plan a different meal for each night of the week. I use this nifty little notepad, fill it out completely, take it grocery shopping as my list, then hang it on my refrigerator so I know what Im having each night for dinner. I can’t stress enough how much this will help you stay on track and feel organized.
You can see an example of one of my weekly meal plans HERE
3. Journal your food. This doesn’t have to be anything obsessive, and if it ends up becoming something you don’t enjoy doing, then stop. The cool thing about what you will learn from this challenge is to stop obsessing over food. Portions, calories, points etc…let them be a thing of the past. But, I will say writing down what you eat is kind of fun, gives you a plan for the day, and gives you something you can look back on and share with your coach to see if there is anywhere you can make some changes if you feel stuck. I do a daily check-in on the Facebook page and it’s great to start my day writing out what I will eat, and sticking with it. It also gives others an idea of what they could eat that day and really helps you feel organized.
4. Do the 24 Day Challenge with someone else. Get your spouse, family member, best friend etc to tackle the next 24 days with you. It makes it fun to have someone who understands exactly what you are going through! Plus it’s much easier to stay the course when someone you are close with isn’t tempting you with what they are eating, and supports you in your new clean eating lifestyle.
5. Take before photos and measurements. I know those before photos are hard to see…but take them! You will feel so incredibly motivated when you can SEE the difference in a matter of 24 days. Don’t let that scale tell you how you did, let the inches and visible proof do the talking. You will be amazed! If you are a member of my Facebook group I have a great measurements sheet that you can print straight from the “files” tab on the board before you get started.
6. Plan on starting on a date that avoids tempting events. Although I’m not encouraging you to keep holding off on starting a challenge, I do think it’s best to avoid beginning when you know you are about to leave for vacation, when your birthday falls within the 24 days, the week before Thanksgiving (even though I did make an awesome clean Thanksgiving meal HERE) etc. If something major falls within the 24 days that you know could bring about temptation, I would wait until you know you have a low key month to get started.
7. DON’T CHEAT. Like seriously DON’T CHEAT!! Repeat in your head over and over it’s only 24 days, it’s only 24 days. Don’t take nibbles of things you shouldn’t, don’t sneak in one little treat because you’ve been so good, don’t have one drink just because it’s the weekend and you feel you deserve one. What you really deserve is to truly commit to this, and to yourself that you can do this. You are probably wondering how one bite of something can really mess up your results…the problem is that one bite just mentally gave you permission to do it again, and again. There is a reason they call this a challenge…prove to yourself that you won’t be defeated.
8. Don’t give up. Ok, so let’s say you did end up falling off course and snuck in a few things that aren’t challenge friendly. Don’t tell yourself that you have “ruined this” and there is no point in continuing on. Although you can’t hit rewind, you can certainly press play and continue on. Talk to your coach if you need a little motivation…that’s what we are here for.
9. Exercise!!! What you put into your body is the most important part of the weight loss equation, so the 24 Day Challenge can get you results without exercise. But why not take all that extra energy you’ll be fueled with and do something with it that will get you even further ahead, and will just make you feel great?! Ease into what you are comfortable with. Even just setting a daily step count and challenging yourself to move more than you did the day before. Find a way to get in 20-30 minutes of something that gets your heart rate up! You will be so surprised with what you can do!
10. Drink lots of water. I repeat…drink lots of water. Take your body weight, divide it in half, and that’s how many ounces you need to drink. Don’t worry, your Spark counts towards that!
11. Don’t skip your snacks. Or any of your other meals. It is so important to keep eating throughout the day. Eating five to six small meals a day, they say, helps regulate blood sugar, control cravings and keep hunger at bay. I know that fiber drink might make you full, and all that water drinking can curb your appetite…but really do your best to stay on an eating schedule especially with your supplements in the Max Phase.
12. Speaking of Fiber Drinks. There are a lot of silent observers in the Facebook group, but let me tell you something…everyone comes out of the woodwork when our beloved fiber drink is discussed! Are you ready for it? Here’s your advice. Throw it into a blender bottle, with ice cold water, shake it, don’t let it sit at all…and CHUG. Keep adding water if you need to. If you need to mix half a pack at a time you can do that too. If you’re feeling really desperate squeeze the juice of a fresh orange into it, or mix it up with your Spark. You’ve got this!
13. Use Catalyst. Did you purchase a bottle of Catalyst with your challenge? I sure hope so. There is a reason this product is nicknamed “lipo in a bottle”. The branched chain amino acids that are in Catalyst will help burn additional fat, tone, define and preserve your lean body muscle and enhance your strength and endurance. This is my go-to product…all day, every day (and Spark too of course)!
14. Buy extra Spark. Speaking of Spark…if you like it, you’re going to want more! Love the convenience of the packets that come with your challenge bundle, but next go around get yourself a canister of your favorite flavor. It’s a much better value and will last you a long time…unless you have to share it all with your Spark obsessed husband like I do!
15. Eliminate all processed foods. The next few tips will be advice regarding how to eat while on the Challenge. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we run a strict challenge in the Facebook group. There is no set definition on what “clean eating” means, and there are several opinions of what this encompasses. The list below are foods that should be avoided at all costs while on the 24 Day Challenge:
* Coffee/Soda/Alcohol* White foods (pasta, bagels, white bread, white rice, processed foods) * Soy Sauce or any sauces/dressings with sugar in them *Sugar * Dairy Products (cow’s milk, yogurt, cottage cheese etc) *Fatty foods, Fried foods, fast foods*
16. Incorporate all fresh foods.
*Tons of fresh fruits and veggies *Brown rice (in moderation) *Brown rice pasta (in moderation) *Sprouted grain Bread (in moderation…Ezekiel is a good brand) *Chicken, fish, lean ground turkey *Almond milk *Eggs *Nuts- raw almonds, raw natural peanuts, raw natural peanut butter *Vegetable broths *Fresh diluted Juices *Legumes (in moderation).
Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.
We have so many awesome recipes we share in the Facebook group that it’s almost overwhelming how many exciting meals you can create within these guidelines. Which leads me to…
17. Be creative with your food. This is not a “diet”…yes, it’s a change in your diet…but we want you to feel like you can do this forever (because you can). If you are on the group page, I have made our clean recipe Pinterest folder a sticky post at the top of comment section. Dive in there and grab some of your favorites. Try something new each week, and of course stick with some of your favorites. Try to make variations of some of your previous favorite meals…spaghetti and meatballs? How about baked spaghetti squash with homemade turkey meatballs? There are so many ways to get creative but…
18. Don’t indulge in “good” versions of “bad” foods. What does this mean exactly? Stop with the gluten-free cookies and crackers and the Paleo-fying of desserts, junk food and baked goods. Trying to recreate some of your previous indulgences and addictive foods will not be what frees you from these bad habits. Protein pancakes, almond-flour blueberry muffins, banana and oat cookies, Paleo donuts!!… Are there some great clean treats you can occasionally make for yourself post challenge? Of course! The problem with these kinds of foods are they still taste awesome and often people give themselves the green light to overindulge because they are “healthy”. True…they are healthier (much!) but good luck trying to just eat one paleo peanut butter cup when you have been eliminating these kinds of foods. If you are having a serious craving for something sweet, then obviously these are a much better solution than caving to the real thing but trust me when I say, don’t make these kinds of substitutions throughout your whole challenge…it’s a slippery slope!
19. Don’t be a short order cook. I know this is a hard one, but give it your best shot….what you eat, your family eats (yes, I mean your picky 2 and 4 year old). If you start to feel like a slave to your kitchen and are making 3 different dinners for your household, this will get old real fast. You can ease into it…if you’re making chicken fajitas for yourself maybe still use a tortilla and cheese for the other members of your family but even that, slowly start eliminating. There are so many amazing meals you can make out there that everyone will like AND everyone will benefit from. What’s better than amazing, fresh, non-processed and healthy meals for your entire family? Nothing…good health for all! (We have more tips for this in the Facebook group as well)
20. Don’t step on the scale until day 11 and day 25. Everything in-between doesn’t matter. Come to think of it day 11 and day 25 weigh-ins aren’t all that important either. Losing weight on the challenge is one of the awesome benefits that comes along with it, but if you can see past that number on the scale and focus on how you’re feeling, how your skin is glowing, how your pants are looser, your tummy is flatter, your energy is up, the intensity of your workouts have increased, your cravings have subsided, your bad habits have been kicked and how happy you are knowing you have only been putting the very best foods and supplements into you body…well then you can stop obsessing over that number on the scale, and be proud of your lifestyle shift. We always say this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Step off that scale….the number on there isn’t your medal for crossing the finish line.
21. Talk to your coach. Can you do the 24 Day Challenge on your own? Yup…I did! However, the whole premise for starting the Facebook group was to provide for others, what I felt I was lacking on my first challenge. A support system. A cheerleader. A person to turn to for all your questions. I am often shocked at the number of e-mails I get from people who are almost done their challenges, and are completely lost in the process and are out on the internet Googling answers and end up finding my blog. I can’t speak for all the other distributors out there, but know that when you click “submit” on your order you are getting so much more than an AdvoCare box delivered to your doorstep. You are getting my help, group support, and someone who genuinely cares about your success. Put your coach to work, that’s what we are here for!
22. Plan ahead for day 25. As you head into the middle of your Max Phase, and are feeling and looking the best you have in awhile…like many, you will start to panic. What should I do next? This is a great time to reach out to your coach (if they haven’t already reached out to you), to discuss what to do as your challenge ends and the rest of your healthy lifestyle begins. I actually wrote a detailed post HERE if you would like some specific information regarding day 25 and beyond.
23. Become a distributor. Liking how you feel? Seeing awesome results? If you’re ready to continue on with your new and improved lifestyle and have found some awesome new products that you can’t live without…save yourself, and potentially make yourself, some money. Anyone who is deciding to be a product user should get in touch with their coach so they can hear more about getting 20-40% off all of their future orders.
24. Embrace the change. This…all of this, is for YOU. Taking on the 24 Day Challenge is not meant to be something that you push through just to be finished with and say you did it. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not something fighting against you, it’s not holding you back, you shouldn’t wish for it to be over…it’s helping you grow and emerge into a better version of you. What you can learn in 24 days can honestly change the way you look at food, fitness and overall health for the rest of your life. Go into this challenge with an open mind, and the willingness to allow this to be that game changer you have been searching for. It really should be called the 24 Day Solution.
I hope you found these tips helpful and are feeling a bit more prepared for your challenge. As always send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or head HERE for more information on how to purchase your challenge to join our Facebook group. If you’re feeling ready, grab your Spark and let’s get started!