Well it’s been about 3.5 months since I posted my original plans to “Change Things Up“. I had reached a plateau in my fitness goals, and I knew it was time to step out of my comfort zone and do something different. I found online coach Leah Peters on Instagram, and for just $50 she gave me a very in-depth consultation that involved tracking my macro-nutrients and completely changing how I was exercising.
Since I had already had great success with the 24 Day Challenge, this new plan wasn’t too far off from what I had learned through my experience with AdvoCare. I still had to eat clean, I still got to use all my awesome Performance Elite supplements, I just needed to refine what kinds of clean foods I was eating, and how much of each of them I was eating. I will recommend that EVERYONE start with a 24 Day Challenge when they are looking to make some changes. It certainly benefits weight loss, but even an athlete who is ready to reset and feel their best will benefit from this being their starting point.
The biggest change in the new plan was WEIGHT LIFTING…on my own…in the gym. Can I just say I have completely, head over heels, fallen in love with going to the gym. Talk about feeling empowered and inspired ladies…go grab some heavy weights and literally watch your body transform over a short amount of time! You can’t leave the gym in a bad mood, you just can’t.
So did “changing things up” break me of my plateau? I would say YES! Actually even more than I expected for such a short amount of time. I dropped about 3% in body fat and definitely feel stronger, and can see my body composition changing. If you follow my new Instagram account you have seen most of these photos since I do frequent updates there, but for those of you who don’t, here are my before and after photos with a 3.5 month difference between the two.
So now what? I wouldn’t use the word plateau this go around, but I will say I know it’s time to push myself further and continue to make slight changes to what I am doing. There was a good two months where I felt continuously sore from my workouts. When that soreness subsided it was a sign that my muscles were getting too used to what I have been doing, so I reached back out to Leah for my second consult. My new and “improved” plan basically just increases EVERYTHING….cardio, weights, repetitions, calories, and carbs, oh my!
I have been asked on Instagram to share recipes, workouts, what supplements I’ve been using, how to track macros etc…and since none of those things are something I can sum up in a comment on IG, I wanted to do this post! Now I always need to preface that I am NOT a professional, I am not a personal trainer, and I am not a certified Nutritionist (even though I do have some curiosity in pursing this), so my advice really isn’t advice at all. I am just documenting what I have been given, what I have been doing, and what has been yielding my own personal progress in hopes that it helps to keep me accountable while also providing some insight to others who may be looking to do the same.
One of the first questions is….
WHERE SHOULD I START?
If you know me by now, AdvoCare has my heart! Deciding to do the 24 Day Challenge almost 2 years ago was undoubtedly the best decision I have ever made when it comes to providing overall wellness for myself and my family. You can say you want to start eating right and exercising all you want, but you need a PLAN and you need a COMMITMENT. Do you have to do the 24 Day Challenge specifically? NOPE! There are certainly other programs out there that could be the jumpstart you need, but I can’t stress enough how important having guidance is. Do something, and do it for a specific amount of time. Break bad habits, learn how to eat correctly, challenge yourself, and commit to it and commit to yourself. Once you have the basics down, and see results, and feel your best you are so much better prepared to challenge yourself further and to make a sustainable lifestyle change.
HOW DO YOU EAT?
Initially I tried counting calories when I was first trying to lose weight, and well that backfired when I tried to fit as many 100 calories packs of Doritos into my day as I could. Learning to eat real, unprocessed “clean” foods, and eating throughout the day was the game changer. I have been a “clean eater” for the past two years, but where I needed to fine tune to break my plateau, was learning the right way to balance the clean foods I was eating. This is where I flipped back to calorie counting, and macro-nutrient counting…only this time I was doing it with healthy foods! The past 3 months I have been staying between 1500-1600 calories, and around 130g carbs, 150g protein, 45g fats, and tracking this all through the MyFitnessPal app. This was to help me burn fat and lean out, but also be able to sustain the type of cardio and weightlifting I was doing. My new program with Leah has me bumped up to 2000 calories a day, and has me increasing my carbs, protein, & fats steadily each week for the next 3 months. This is to start building muscle, but also doing it in a way that keeps you lean. I’m not going to lie, Im a little nervous about it and haven’t fully committed yet. But I will after the holidays! If you want to get an idea of how to track your macros and where you should be for your goals I HIGHLY recommend checking out iifym.com AND getting a $50 consult from Leah, so she can come up with something specific for you and your goals.
A lot of people will read what I just wrote and think it sounds overly complicated and a bit too obsessive, but I promise you, once you get the hang of it (and have already mastered your clean eating) you can integrate this in and start to know how you should eat, and how your body responds to it. I have meals upon meals that are my favorites now and I just keep them in rotation, and know I’m staying within my targets.
I mean really does it look like I’m lacking in fun things to eat?
Also note, I am making all these changes to last me a lifetime. So do I still have date nights, girls nights, go on vacations, drink wine occasionally, eat all my kids’ Halloween candy? Yup! This is what makes you feel like you have forever CHANGED your diet, but you’re not ON a diet.
WHAT KIND OF EXERCISE DO YOU DO?
If you have been reading my blog, you will have probably seen my progression from light cardio & classes at the gym to distance running, then to bootcamp type workouts and now to weight lifting. They all were wonderful for what they were throughout this process. You definitely have to find something you love doing!! I will say weight lifting has surpassed my expectations and has become something I consider a hobby now, because I thoroughly enjoy doing it. I know that gym can be intimidating so Im happy to share what I have been doing with you if you want to try some of it out for yourself. Seriously save this image to your phone, look up any exercise that you may not know what it is, and then walk into the gym confidently because you have a PLAN (that you can pull up on your phone and copy and just look like you’re switching songs on your playlist haha)
So here is the deal. I have been told to start with 45 minutes of fasted cardio 4 mornings a week (meaning on an empty stomach), and to do 30 minute HIIT workouts the other 3 days. It’s a lot, but Im trying to get myself there. So far I would realistically say I have been doing 30-40 minutes of cardio to start my workouts. 20-30 minutes of that is on the stairclimber then the next 10 minutes I do sprints on the treadmill. I figure its combining cardio and HIIT all in one right? I typically try to burn between 250-300 calories before even starting in on weights.
Then I follow the plan below. Each exercise I do FIVE sets of 10-12 reps unless otherwise noted to do a different amount. My last set I always lift to failure (when you can’t possibly do one more). You will basically want to die, but in the best way possible!
Don’t forget to get some core/ab work in there (you hear that Lauren?! Yeah I need to listen to this advice too), and of course listen to your body if you need to rest. Again, Leah can provide you with a plan that is best suited for your goals and the amount of time you have to workout!
WHAT KIND OF SUPPLEMENTS DO YOU TAKE AND WHEN?
Something you don’t know about me is I went through a phase, when I first moved to California, where I was into lifting weights. It doesn’t even come close to how I feel about it now. It wasn’t invigorating, I wasn’t seeing that much progress, and it felt like a chore. Looking back now I know the difference… I wasn’t eating correctly and I didn’t use supplements. Energy, strength, recovery, and just proven science behind good quality (and safe) supplementation can be the difference between being a good athlete and being a GREAT one. I feel like a million bucks before my workouts, during them, and after and I know I can give a huge hug to my beloved Performance Elite products for this.
Here is my daily regimen:
Mix the following in a blender bottle-
-1 scoop Fruit Punch Spark
-1 packet BioCharge
-1 scoop Mass Impact
-1/2 scoop IsoPure unflavored protein powder
Add lots of water and ice and shake shake shake!!
Take 2 Catalyst and 2 Muscle Strengths and head out the door, shaker bottle in hand. Drink some on the way to the gym. Get on that stairclimber and drink mixture throughout. Don’t drink it all and when you’re done cardio top off with more water. (Remember this is just what I do, doesn’t mean its necessarily correct lol).
Add in a packet of Rehydrate if you need more flavor and for electrolyte replacement.
I sweat A LOT, so all this liquid drinking leaves me with an empty blender bottle by the end. As soon as I am done working out I mix up a Muscle Gain protein shake and drink it as Im leaving the gym and have a banana waiting in the car for me.
Get home and eat breakfast and take your multivitamins too (in my case AdvoCare MNS 3-working on getting better about remembering everyday)
More Spark and Catalyst around 3:00pm. If I had a tough workout- pop a couple of Nighttime Recovery before bed.
Instead of going through each product with you (that’s a whole other post), I have created a bundle with all my favorite products in it. You can click through them and read about all their awesome benefits and see if any of them sound like something that could help support your workouts and lifestyle.
Whew…that was a long post. See I go away for a long time, but all I am doing is storing up all this info to come blast you with one big, long, update! Thanks for hanging in there! I hope those of you who have asked me questions have found this information helpful. And if you ever have any additional questions definitely shoot me an e-mail, message me on my Facebook page, or say hello on Instagram.
I also need to give a big ole shoutout to the #fitfam on Instagram. I never realized there were such distinct communities within the Instaworld, and I am so happy to have squeezed my way into this one. To wake up each morning and scroll through photo after photo of inspiration, honesty, struggles, motivation, and lots and lots of MUSCLES, I am just so amazed by the positivity, support and drive that I am witnessing on a daily basis. It makes me smile everyday seeing so many of you working towards a healthier you, and I am proud to be amongst such great company. Keep on smilin’ and keep on flexin’…I am definitely watching, and I’m beyond inspired!
Have a happy and healthy weekend my friends and as always…thanks for reading!