Tuesday, January 28, 2014

21 Days to Awesome

There has been a lot of buzz in the fitness community about the new 21 Day Fix that is being launched by Beachbody in February. And if this thing delivers what it promises, it is going to rock the fitness world. Losing up to 15 pounds in 21 days....crazy talk or is it?

The 21 Day Fix is a 21 day program with trainer Autumn Calabrese that focuses on portion control and exercise. Portion control through tupperware containers. So easy. No weighing portions, no counting calories or points. If it fits you can eat it....within reason.

Who is Autumn Calabrese?

She is a mommy, a celebrity fitness trainer, certified trainer and a national level bikini competitor.  A rising star in the fitness community, she's made a name for herself by helping people lose weight and get fit through simple portion control and consistent exercise. Autumn holds personal training certificates from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA). Her supportive, motivating style has made her a highly sought-after expert among celebrities and the fitness industry.

How did she come up with the 21 Day Fix?

I love this story. She has worked with many clients as a trainer and talked about how often she sees how hard she pushes people in the gym and looks at what they are eating and it doesn't add up. They should be losing more weight. (Ummm...hello I feel like this all the time.) And it wasn't until she went out to lunch with one of her clients and she saw her client eat a huge salad. Autumn got the same thing and ate 1/3 of the salad. Her client ate the entire thing. And in her client's head, she only ate a salad for lunch and something right there clicked. You can overeat on healthy food too. (Story of my life.) I mean how frustrating is it to keep a food journal and look at all the healthy good things you eat and still not see the movement on the scale you want? If you are anything like me it makes you crazy. Crazy to the point of getting your thyroid tested, talking to doctors and wondering all the time, what is wrong with me? I am so excited for this program to come out I can't even stand it. Because let's be honest, who at home is weighing all their food on a food scale or like me are you just guessing at what a portion size is and how many you are eating? And if you are I give you a standing ovation because that is amazing.

Portion Control Containers:

Now there is no container for chocolate cake but there is the built in to have chocolate on occasion...even a glass of WINE! (Yay wine!) Even though I don't think going 21 days without chocolate or wine is a deal breaker, I love that the option is in there. So the tupperware you get with the program is color coded. For example - Fruits may be purple, protein red, carbs yellow etc. and there is a list of foods that fall under each category. The list is going to start with the best choice and end with the least desirable choice. You pick what you want. Measure it with the container and done. There is a calculation that lets you know how many of each container you get per day. I am assuming it will go off of your current weight, goals, gender, activity level much like the other Beachbody program meal plans.

30 Minute Workouts:

I am in love with the 30 minute workout. (And whoever did the research that found we get the most of our workout in the first 30 minutes, I want to kiss you.) Everyone can find time for 30 minutes in their day, whether it means dvr-ing your favorite show until post workout, getting up 30 minutes earlier, or using part of your lunch break, giving up your facebook scrolling in the morning before work....everyone can squeak in 30 minutes somewhere. Look at your schedule. Where can you spare 10 minutes, 15 minutes and then use them to get in a workout? Trust me. It's possible. And the results can be awesome.

I was able to listen to an interview with Autumn this morning and she briefly about what these workouts are going to be. There are going to be 7 workouts included in the Fix. Including: yoga, pilates, cardio, cardio with weights (LOVE!), and weight training. You will need some type of resistance (dumbbells or bands), a mat, and some awesome shoes. There is a modifier and the exercises are designed for any fitness level. So even if you've done Insanity or P90X, you can push yourself here and get results. This workout is not above or beneath anyone. Check out the video below for more info.

So when does all this go down?

The program is available February 3rd. If you want to be added to the list to be one of the first notified when this thing goes live please click here and sign up for a free account with me as your coach. I will be sending out info to all of my peeps as soon as it launches. If you would like to be part of my exclusive test group starting on February 17th please fill out the application here. And as always if you have any questions or need anything at all please leave a comment below or contact me!

January 2014 Flash Sale

The promotions this January have been nothing short of awesome. Two HUGE products that are aimed at getting killer results in 30 minutes a day or less. And everyone's got time for that.

Both the T25 and P90X3 challenge packs are on sale for $180 this month....which is a crazy good deal. You not only get the workouts but an entire month of Shakeology included in that price. (Seriously...better than my coach discount!)

Personally, I have been using P90X3. And three weeks in I am in a really deep like with it (not quite love yet...maybe infatuation. I mean it is a little early.) But I am getting some great results. My flexibility has improved. The number of pushups I can do has improved. So some great non-scale victories there! And the Tony Horton cheesy one liners are kept to a minimum. With only 30 minutes there isn't much room to chat. Get in and get out.

Maximum efficiency is something that is really important to me. I don't have all the time in the world to stretch and hold yoga poses (as much as I would like to....well maybe the yoga not so much) with a toddler getting into trouble and two dogs running around beneath my feet (most likely hiding from my toddler who is chasing them with something.) When mom is preoccupied, it turns into crazy town around here. Less time working out, typically means less time she can find to get into a giant mess (that I will have to clean up later!)

I know you're all like, that is great Sara....we know your life is crazy. Mine is too. So what about this flash sale. We already know about the promotional prices and that you are doing X3 and that T25 is only 25 minutes, I mean people have been talking about that for almost 6 months....

So here is what I am going to do for the last week of January 2014 only. Starting January 27th through January 31 EST I am going to give you $30 cashback on ANY challenge pack order and $10 cash back on any Shakeology Home Direct order. All those that are ordered through me as your Beachbody coach of course...which we can totally make that happen right here.

So if you have been eyeing up either T25 or P90X3 this is a great time to try it. (Umm...Shut the front door. A month of Shakeology plus the workout for $150. That's crazy talk.)

Not loving the idea of T25 or P903? There are a ton of other workout programs available. (Hello Turbofire. Love of my life.) So please contact me about what could work for you.

And as always Shakeology has a bottom of the bag guarantee so if you end up less than satisfied, you can totally send that back. So it is pretty much risk free.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Unstuffed Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls over Farro

I was on a mission. I really wanted cabbage rolls but didn't want to deal with actually making them. Steaming the cabbage. Making the filling. Getting it to roll (and stay) together! And I wanted to throw it all in the slow cooker so I could get other things done. (I know. I'm needy.)

And I wanted some meat but not a lot of meat. I am not a huge meat eater. I typically just don't have a taste for it. Blame it on the P90x3 or the heavy lifting I have been doing lately, but I have just been craving it like crazy. All I want to eat is meat or eggs. Or eggs on top of meat. This is so weird for me but I have been really trying to listen to my body and give it what it needs (if only this rational worked for chocolate cupcakes....)

So after searching without really finding what I was looking for, I decided to just combine all the different recipes I perused online. And really how bad could it be? We are pretty much talking cabbage, sauce and a few variations. Kind of hard to screw up.

I also knew I wanted a grain. I had a bag of farro I picked up when I went to visit Bob's Red Mill this summer (I love that place!) that I hadn't done anything yet so I figured it was time. I also looked up some info on the ancient and not mentioned very often grain (since I really had no idea what it was used for and what--if any-- benefits there were to adding it to my diet.) and here are some of the highlights....

It is related to modern wheat and considered to be an ancient grain. It is typically found in Italian cuisine. (Think ancient wheat growing on the Tuscan countryside.)

It has a higher protein and a higher fiber content than it's more popular cousin.

It is high in magnesium and B vitamins. And we don't talk about magnesium much but it is really important to have in our diets. It is typically found in green leafy veggies and nuts and seeds. It may be super important for bone health and density, help control inflammation, and even aid in energy production  (For more magnesium benefits check this out.)

In a 1/2 cup of raw farrow you get:

  • 170 calories
  • 1.5 g fat
  • 34 g carbohydrates
  • 5 g dietary fiber
  • 6 g of protein
  • 2 mg iron
  • 4 mg niacin
  • 60 mg magnesium
  • 2 mg zinc

It is chewy and yummy and really reminds me of barley (which I love.) So it was perfect to make a hearty (and clean) bowl of comfort food for a snowy night.

So here is my recipe for super easy throw it all in the slow cooker and walk away

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls 

1 head of green cabbage coarsely chopped
1 jar marinara sauce
1-2 cups of veggie stock
1 lb ground meat (I used organic free range turkey)
1 package mushrooms
1/2 large sweet onion - diced
sprinkle nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Place a thin layer of marinara sauce at the bottom of the crock pot. Add the raw meat (broken up), mushrooms and onion. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add chopped green cabbage. Pour in the stock and remaining marinara. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Eat over cooked farro (I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Farro) or grain of choice. Follow package directions to cook.

I set a timer and made the farrow about an hour prior to when we wanted to eat so it was all ready at the same time.

It was pretty awesome (and so easy) that this will definitely make the recipe rotation (with or without the meat.)




Sunday, January 12, 2014

P90x3 Week Two Meal Plan and Week One Results

I both love and hate starting new workouts. I love the excitement of something new and mixing it up. I love the potential for killer results. I even love how sore I am after starting something new or different from what I was doing. But I also hate starting new workouts. I hate not knowing what each DVD means (especially when they are called things like The Warrior -- what does that even mean except it is a workout for warriors. Maybe I should borrow my daughter's makeshift sword?) I hate not knowing what equipment I will need when. I hate not knowing all the moves and spending the extra time watching what they are doing, sometimes waiting for the modification and then skipping back to try and get the most out of my time doing the workout.

So during week one of P90X3 I followed the classic schedule which is designed to have the traditional balance of
cardio and resistance with muscle confusion. I am crazy sore and feel great but I also feel a little bit lacking in the cardio department (mark that down because this girl hates cardio!) So for week two I am going to switch it up and follow the lean schedule. Now the lean schedule isn't better for weight loss. It is just designed to have a bit more cardio so your results are a more toned look. Both lean and classic can work equally well for weight loss but with lean you target functionality, mobility and cardiovascular fitness instead of muscle hypertrophy (growth of muscle cells.) So after looking into both options further, I am opting to switch to the lean schedule.

Even though I am switching to the lean schedule I am scheduling a doubles day and keeping The Challenge in the rotation. I LOVE it. It is so hard. Essentially for 30 minutes you alternate pull ups and push ups. Since I suck at push ups, I feel this is a personal mountain I need to climb. I want to be an awesome push up doer (and to be able to do them ALL on my toes. But looking at the fact that last year at this time I could barely do five on my knees, I have come a long way! Yay for non-scale victories!)

CVX was another awesome workout (it might be my favorite) that I am so happy to see included in the lean schedule. It cardio with weights. That had me dripping sweat and feeling like I was going to die (in the best way possible!)

And I lost three pounds this week. Whoo hoo!  Even with messing up my meal plan big time due to schedule changes, weather problems, unexpected meetups with friends we haven't seen in forever and all that stuff we like to call life happening. This is a double edged sword for me because I have trouble keeping my eyes from wandering over to the whole "well what would my results be like if I did what I was supposed to do?"

So my big week two goal? Follow my meal plan.

I am also going to be running a new challenge group starting on January 20th. If you would like to join me in a New Year New You challenge or would like more info please fill out the application here

Monday, January 6, 2014

P90x3 Week One and Meal Plan

Today is the day of truth....the day that real life comes back and the holidays are OVER. The tree is down. Ornaments and decor is packed away. (My house looks barren!) My family is back to being scattered all over the country and no longer crammed in my little one bathroom house (8 adults and one bathroom -- super scary!) And, for the most part, I am over my post New Year's Eve sickness I caught from my little one. And it's a monday. The first Monday of the New Year and it is time to get it together.

Over the holidays I slacked. (Total confession -- I took a week and a half off. No workouts at all!) I had a few too many dinners out (that were totally worth it -- catching up with friends I haven't seen in forever.) And I enjoyed every minute of it. Isn't that why I am doing all of this. All of the eating real food, working out, being the best me I can be -- so that when it comes down to it I can enjoy an awesome dinner out and a glass of wine (or 3) with friends and family? I think that all of these things that we view as "cheats" are vital to living and enjoying life. Our resolve to stick to our "diet" should not restrict our willingness to live and savor our lives. It should be the exact opposite! I am committing to eating this way and taking care of myself so I am around to enjoy my life and I have the energy to do it. 

But....all things in moderation. I am not willing to throw all my hard work out the window either. I have learned to pick my treats (so much better sounding than a cheat, right?) well. If it isn't something totally amazing, then it so isn't worth it. No more M & M's or Hershey kisses when I am want chocolate...I am going for the good stuff. The rest isn't worth it. I want it to be something I can completely enjoy. I am going to pick my moments and bask in the joy of living. I want to totally savor my life. 

So that is why, instead of focusing on what I could have done better over the past week and a half, I am focusing on what I gained. Mornings spent drinking coffee and talking to my family (as we all wait patiently for our turn in the shower.) Dinners out with friends talking and laughing. Really great things that can't be measured and calculated. 

And while I am not going to dwell, I am going to move forward full force. I am diving into a new program (P90X3) and am super excited about it. I am also going to really focus on meal planning this time....one of my vices. I am a terrible meal planner. But yesterday I put some time into really getting it said so that it will help me later this week. And I am going to share that meal plan because there is nothing like sharing things to keep my accountable (lesson learned!) 

I am also going to be running a new challenge group starting on January 20th. If you would like to join me in a New Year New You challenge or would like more info please fill out the application here

Happy New Year! 

New Year New You Challenge

The new year is here! The dust has settled (even though I am still trying to clean the glitter on the floor where my tree stood a few days ago.) And it is time to focus on what we want to accomplish this year. I hesitate to use the phrase New Year's Resolution. It causes such a reaction in people. They either embrace it or reject it and it's no wonder. Only eight percent of people actually accomplish their resolutions. EIGHT PERCENT! Crazy. And the number one resolution....to lose weight. (Thanks Statistic Brain for the resolution stats!)

So here is my thought on resolutions. If they work for you, great. If they get you started, great. If you use them to accomplish things, awesome. If they feel like a burden, ditch the term resolution. Just make the decision to change your life. It may be to lose weight, it may be to spend more time with your kids or your spouse or your friends. It may be to look for a new career and to take a different path. It may be to move somewhere you always dreamed (and the temperature never hits -12 below! It is freezing in the North East!) Set some goals. Make a plan. Make it happen. Sounds easy but this is one of those situations where it is much easier said than done.

Last year my goal was to get back to my working retail, running around like a crazy person weight. Did I get there, no? Did I start to blaze the path, yes. It was so much harder than I thought. I faced so many obstacles (including two cross country moves) where it would have been easier to just give up. Even if I took a week (or two) to throw myself a pitty party, I eventually put on my big girl pants and kept going. I didn't hit my goal weight but I changed my life. I consistently eat real food, better food. I consistently work out, it is part of my daily routine and I miss it when I don't (I know, crazy!) I consistently drink my Shakeology that gives me crazy energy and keeps me totally satisfied so I don't go running to sugary processed foods when the going gets tough. And that is what it is all about,

So here is my challenge for you:

60 days. A closed Facebook group dedicated to working hard. Committed to each other through all of it. Even what I like to call the middle of the program slump-- where the excitement that propels you forward at the beginning has worn off and the end still seems so far away. (This is where I struggle the most and what I think is the hardest part!) We will break our goals down into 30 day and 60 day goals. We will talk about clean eating, meal preparation, meal planning and everything you need to get set up for success. We will measure progress by not just using the scale but by measurements and photos (I know. Super scary but when you think you aren't making any progress it is amazing to see what you actually done in the photos. Believe me. I've been there!) We will do this on Day 1, Day 30 and Day 60.

We will not only support each other with workouts but with clean eating as well. We will be dedicated to eating healthy foods that will fuel our bodies. We can share recipes and I will provide you with a meal planner and lots of ideas and lists for how to grocery shop and what to buy.Clean eating can be hard. It is hard to imagine but trying to eat 5-6 times a day can be tricky (and you think it would be easy. More food. Yay!) But I tend to get busy and forget and then over indulge later. I developed a planner page that will help you track your meals and plan your day so this doesn't happen. So not only do you get a weekly meal planner but you get a day planner as well so that nothing can be left to chance. 

We will commit to trying out Shakeology for 60 days. I know once I did it, I fell in love with the energy I had and how great I felt from getting all the nutrients I need. (*Side note* my nails look awesome. Better than when I was on prenatal vitamins. It is my current obsession since I have struggled with weak and peeling nails forever! One of the perks I didn't know I was going to get.) So Shakeology is going to fuel your body (key word fuel) with the vitamins and nutrients you need throughout the day. And there is a 30 day guarantee on Shakeology so if it isn't working for you, we'll talk (and you get your money back.) --For more on my experience Shakeology read this.

We will also commit to working out 5-6 days a week. I don't care if you run, walk or lift. Just get that body moving! If you already workout regularly think about stepping up your game. Adding some weight training to your cardio. If you don't have an exercise regimen we can talk about options. If you are interested in trying a Beachbody program, we can talk about that too and get you set up with something that totally works for you. There are so many options outside of P90x and Insanity (which I feel gets all the love) so if hard core intensity isn't for you, we can totally find something that is. I am in LOVE with Chalene Johnson and her workouts. Turbofire makes me so happy. It really gives my inner cheerleader some much needed attention. I have also found a lot of success with her other program, Chalean Extreme as well which offers low impact options and heavy lifting. I have found success with the at home programs from BeachBody because they are a killer workout and they all come with a schedule. So I can wake up, get my toddler some breakfast and toss in a movie, look at the schedule, pop in a DVD and press play. I don't have to worry about getting her ready to go to the gym with me or what series of exercises I am going to do that day. I know me and I need that schedule. I get really freaked out if I am going to miss a day and "mess up" the schedule or the order. But whatever works for you, we will make it happen.

We are going to check every day and post three things. If you had your shake, how your clean eating is going by rating it from 1-5 for the day and how much you brought it in your workout - also by rating it on a 1-5 scale. There will be ups and downs. There will be super awesome days and some cheat days. There will always be support, encouragement and tips on how to do it better tomorrow.

Plus I will give you daily motivation, tips and tricks and share all the research I have accrued over the last few months.

So the challenge starts with pre-season January 20th and the official kick off date of January 27th. For more info or to sign up for the challenge please complete the application here.

To sign up for a FREE Beachbody account click here. You will find message boards, articles and other motivational tools for you to use. (The goal tracker is my favorite!)
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