Weighty Weekend Ramblings

April is my favorite month of the year.  It’s my birthday month, it’s when spring usually actually springs and it’s my birthday.  Oh wait, I said one of those twice 🙂

But seriously, I’m really excited about the new month.  Fresh starts, new beginnings and a time to plan what I want my year of being 31 to look like.  I almost can’t believe I’ll be 31 next week.  Being 30 has been work.  Getting healthier despite myself.  Getting through my husband’s job in Memphis.  Getting through tough assignments at work.  I know 31 will have ups and downs – that’s just what happens in life.  But I also am ready to keep up all the forward momentum from being 30 and hopefully instead of just setting goals and setting the groundwork for achieving those goals, I will start crossing things off my goals list one by one.

Always getting more and more intrigued by the way our bodies work.  I swear my weight and my inches do NOT always go together.  My beachbody coaching group has been posting our transformation pictures this week.  It’s always amazing to see people you know who have really changed their bodies.  It’s motivating to see what is possible and to know that it’s definitely not a photoshop.  One of the coaches, Chelsea Blush, was talking about the scale and how she put on muscle so went UP 10 lbs.  Well let me tell you that she looks amazing with these extra 10 lbs.  Our scale is wonky right now (victim of the move), so I can’t weigh right now…and I’m kind of glad after reading what she posted yesterday.  I think that we sometimes get SO focused on the numbers on the scale that we don’t look at what is in front of us.  Are my pants getting looser?  Is my face getting thinner?  Are people telling me that I look smaller?  Hell, I can take my supposed to be work pants totally off now without unbuttoning or unzipping them, which I could not do until recently….shouldn’t I take THAT as the victory, not lament that the scale hasn’t moved like I want it to over the last few months?  I realized that I’m asking the wrong question when thinking about progress.  All those years of doing weight watchers and weighing in and feeling like a loser when I don’t lose weight that week….it’s conditioning that I’ll probably never actually lose.  I honestly don’t even want a scale that works right now.  I will get weighed at the doctor on Thursday and I guess I do want to know all my starting stats for the reset  because I’m a nerd and will want to know how everything changed from day 1 to day 21.  But other than those 3 occasions over the next 6 weeks – do I need to weigh myself?  I don’t think I do.  I think I need to take a break from the scale and my scale acting up is giving me the perfect excuse to do just that thing.

Sometimes the universe knows exactly what you need when you need it eh?

Oh and I have an announcement.

I RAN.

I know right?  Me.  I hate running.  But I wanted to watch the basketball game and I needed to get my workout in yesterday, so I got on the treadmill since the apt has tvs on them.  I did intervals – high incline/medium speed and low incline/higher speed were my peaks.  Note my “higher speed” was only 5 and 5.5 mph.  I probably could have gone faster too..but mentally I was so surprised at how comfortable those speeds felt while running I think I was shocked to try faster.  Not comfortable like lah de dah I could do this all day.  Comfortable like wow – I’m running and I don’t feel like I’m about to fall off the treadmill and I can do this for a little bit.  Either way, it’s the most I have run in probably 2 years…since I “quit” running before.  I think of any activity I have done, I noticed my weight loss most while running yesterday, because I actually felt like I could run instead of feeling like I was being tortured.  Progress is a beautiful thing.

Ultimate Reset: Part Deux

My hubby has been talking about the reset a lot lately.  He has had to go to the doctor because he wasn’t feeling well and because he has strayed way farther from the post reset life than I.  With him being in Memphis and me being in Virginia last time, he kind of just went back to what he knew.  Since he got back from that job and has been home, we both have struggled.  Him with my cooking not being as processed/not healthy as before and me with trying to keep on my healthy path someone who is not quite there with me also in the house.

Rewind to a few months go when he asked about doing the reset again.  I was like um…didn’t we just do it? It’s not a cheap program and I really didn’t know about diving in again so fast.  But then I stopped to listen really to what he was saying.  He wanted to do the reset again to get back to that place of health and he knows this time with us in the same state, I’ll be there to catch him as he comes off of it.  To keep him from having such a large relapse because I won’t go there with him.  Now the money seemed to not really matter or the fact that we already did this…this started to be something bigger…something that was about him taking back his health again.  It became clear that he felt he needed this to be back in control of his eating and that made it clear to me as his wife that I needed to support him on this.  I had to stop thinking about the fact I wanted to finish Combat or that I wanted to do something for me.  It became about the fact that he needs me to do this to help him and it will not hurt me one bit to join him and support him.

So, today we ordered the dual Ultimate Reset kit.  I was just going to order the refill kits – but it’s actually cheaper with the sale to just buy the whole dual kit.  Considering since we did it last year there have been a few program changes (the soothe supplement, reset in a hurry, and shakeology incorporated into the meal plan if you want to drink it) I was glad it worked out that way.  We aren’t starting right away – we are starting April 21st – so in about a month.  This gives us time to get the new kits (regular shipping from Beachbody is about a week) and time for us to adjust to a new schedule (the man is going to be taking on a new position with a very different commute in April) and avoids the April celebrations (I have 2 bridal showers, a bachelorette party, and a birthday all going down in April and while I am trying to lose weight, I’m also a human who really demands a piece of birthday cake on my birthday) so I don’t have to face a delicious cake on day 2 of the reset or something equally insane.  It is manageable to do the reset and have events…but it’s definitely not preferred if you can avoid it.  And since we have some open time between the party madness and the wedding I am in…just makes sense to wait until the open time.  Of course…I am lucky that my dress for the wedding is a corset back so I have some room to lose without fear because I can just tighten the heck out of that sucker if I need to do so 🙂

Anyway…I’m working on getting a facebook like page up and running so if you want to join me on this crazy venture we will have a place to discuss the whole process.  I am hoping to have a challenge group of 5 people…but the more the merrier.  If you order before the end of March, you can save on the reset.  If you can’t order in the next few days, you can still order in April and have your kit in time to start with us on the 21st.  Here is my before and after shot from when I did the reset in September 2012.

I lost 21 lbs and felt really good by the end of it.  I was sleeping better and had way more energy and was able to handle stress a LOT better.  I’m getting excited to feel that way again…I have never felt as great as I did during week 3 of the reset and the month or so after before going back to a less regimented diet.  And as you can see, I was in a hotel at the end – I finished the last 4 days of the reset on travel for work.  It can be done!

Are you in?  Email me at healthyengineer@gmail.com for questions or check out my Ultimate Reset site  All the deals are listed on my March Promotions page for a break down of what you save with each version of the reset.  If you are interested in signing up as a coach you can do that by going to my main site here and you will save some extra on your kit (it’s an extra 25% off for a coach…which is huge with this kit).

Hello Again :)

I finally am back in my groove and it feels oh so good.  I got the living room all cleared out and started back on Combat yesterday.  As I mentioned in my post the other day, I decided to just start over based on where I was in the program and the long break.  I knew I felt fluffy in the middle from not working out and eating different…but I KNEW I lost fitness when I was struggling to keep up with Combat 30.  I remember the first time I did it, it was hard, but it wasn’t impossible.  Yesterday I felt like it was the hardest workout ever.  I got through it, but I was struggling.  Today with HIIT: Power I had to drop weights a lot.  I was at 12/15 lbs…today was 12/9 lbs.  Definitely lost some fitness.  But that’s ok…because it’s temporary.  What’s funny is that my clothes do not fit any different.  This is just a feeling that I have now from not working out.  Change is happening…

My plan right now is:
1) Les Mills Combat Ultimate Warrior Schedule – 60 days of fighter fit baby!
2) Add in 2-3 days a week of weights.  Preferably Les Mills Pump or heavier lifting at the gym here at the apartment complex. 
3) Eat CLEAN.  
Yes number 3 is a biggie.  By packing up a kitchen and moving it over the last few weeks I haven’t been eating my ideal diet at all.  I’ve been eating microwave food (mostly Amy’s organic meals) and a random restaurant menu.  I’ve tried hard to eat right…just a few blatant slips here and there.  But now that the kitchen is back in action, I’m going hard core again.  As I type this, I have brown rice in the rice cooker, the Ultimate Reset fish recipe marinating in the fridge (I know…I’m cooking fish!) and am going to stir fry some veggies to make a delish lunch.  I miss eating my own food!  The buzzer just let me know it’s time to put the fish in the oven so I’ll catch you later 🙂

Open Gym!

Today was the first day back in a workout mode in a long time.  Didn’t I mention how I cleaned up the living room so I could get back on combat?  Well that got ruined last night when I moved some stuff around to play carpernter and put together my IKEA dresser.  I’m going to finish unpacking into the dresser today…but that meant at 6am I had to find another place to workout or wait until after work.  Ya’ll know I do NOT do after work well or consistently…so that wasn’t an option.  So I figured I’d check out the morning rush at the apartment gym and scope it out.  I figure some mornings I will want to bring my laptop down here so I can do the DVDs if they are high intensity (I don’t live on the ground floor) so today was a scouting trip.  I was beyond surprised to see…..

Right….nobody.  I was in the gym for about 40 minutes and there wasn’t a single person that was there when I got there or came in while I was working out.  Perfect for me…it’s like my own private gym 🙂  You can see from the picture that the apartment gym is pretty well stocked – treadmills, arc trainers, bikes, yoga mats, medicine balls, swiss balls, free weights and weight machines.  There is some free room by the free weights that I could use if I set my laptop up with a DVD.  Plus I could probably do some kick butt P90x in there if I wanted to since the weight rack is close.  
Today I was pretty all over the place to be honest…I’m usually better with building my circuits.  But I was just antsy to workout.  So I did a 5 min warm up on the arc trainer then did a low weight/high rep circuit alternating legs and upper body.  Added abs at the end and cooled down with the bike for 5 minutes.  The good thing about this gym is that I will definitely get some practice building my own circuits and routines 🙂  
Also – if anyone out there is a personal trainer/health/wellness coach and would not mind me asking them some questions, can you please shoot me an email – healthyengineer@gmail.com.  I am currently researching certifications and getting wildly confused about all that is out there!

Starting Over vs. Starting Back Up

Scenario:  Happily going through your workout routine.  Loving every minute of it without a care in the world.  Then BLAM – curveball from life and now you haven’t worked out in too long and can’t figure out what to do next.

Have you been there?  I certainly  have and I’m there again right now.  My move is way more of a disruption then I predicted it would be, ugh.  I have been busy until late in the evening every day, which means I’m not getting up early to workout.  I am trying to bust my butt to get the new place unpacked so this week is the last week of this mess.  I have mentioned this before – I don’t do well in life when I’m not exercising.  It makes eating right a MUCH bigger struggle then it normally is for me.  I am doing a lot of moving – cleaning, moving boxes, lifting things, unpacking, ect.  I haven’t sat down much at all.  But that kind of movement is different than an hour of Combat, know what I’m saying?  Long story short – I’m at the point where it’s been a week since my last workout because I have only taken one day off work this whole time, so it’s been late hours packing and unpacking and moving.

Here is a handy checklist I have created for anyone else who is wondering when it is worth it to start a program over versus just picking up where you left off:

1. Has it been more than two weeks since your last official workout?
2. Was your break due to injury?
3. Have you been inactive during the break (meaning little to no physical activity outside of normal everyday tasks)?
4. Are you in month 1 of your program?
5. Do you feel that your fitness has decreased at all?

If you answered more yeses then nos….you have two options – start over (which if you are in the first few weeks of a program is easy to do without losing much) or repeat a lower intensity week (go back to month one, weeks 1 or 2 and repeat that.  see how you feel and go forward from there).  And if you answered yes to question 2, you should automatically start over.  Why?  Because you start to lose fitness within one to two weeks of stopping exercise. Yes, 7 days off of exercise will literally set you back in physical ability.  So this means that if you have been inactive or doing mostly nothing you are actually getting a little weaker/slower then you were before.  With the 60-90 day programs (all of them..not just Beachbody), the intensity tends to build gradually over the weeks.  When you take time off and lose fitness, your body recognizes that change, but your brain doesn’t.  Your brain is going to want to go balls to the wall and kick butt…but your body is not ready for that like it would have been with no break.  So you may end up injuring yourself, which does no good to anybody.

Obviously this checklist is short and there are other things that come into play – your beginning fitness being the main one.  If you are already someone who has lost a ton of weight and are in great shape – you may just need the one drop back week to get back into the swing of things before going back into the program.  If your program is Combat or TurboFire or P90x, you can probably get away with just a few shorter workouts, because the intensity of the workouts is very similar. Something like INSANITY – I would start that month over at a minimum.  If you are injury prone, definitely be careful.  I have horrific knees, so if I were doing INSANITY right now, I would most likely start over so I can build up again.  Combat I’m less concerned because the program is inherently low impact.

So what am I going to do?  I am going to start over with Combat.  By the time I get to a point where my living room is free and clear (and so it’s clear – I’m going from a whole basement to workout in to a living room of a 1 bedroom apartment…so that’s why it’s taking so long) it will most likely be this weekend – almost 2 weeks of not doing a workout.  I am going to try to get to the apartment gym…but with work and moving stuff left…it’s unlikely.  So I would like to do at least the first week of Combat over with the shorter workouts.  Well I was only finishing up week 2 anyway…so if I’m going to do week 1 over, I might as well just do the whole thing.  And I’m totally good with that.  I like the fresh start idea a lot, it’s something that I thrive on.

Links and Moving Update

Hey ya’ll!

Finally through the packing and into the unpacking phase of moving.  How we got so much stuff….I can’t figure out.  I have been throwing a lot of stuff away though….new start clean start kind of thing.  That’s why posting is a little slow lately…I just haven’t been really doing much except trying to stay on track, exercise when I can (and where…box jumping is today’s activity, lol), and trying to get this new apartment livable.

So today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite fitness/health links.  Please share some of your favorites in the comments too, I’m always looking for more good resources.

Michi’s Ladder – very good resource if you are trying to start eating clean.  It works pretty easy.  Figure out what tier your foods are in and try to swap out a tier 1 or 2 item for your tier 3-5 items.  It’s not a diet – it is a clean up your eating plan.

Daily Hiit – used to be BodyRock.  I started with this and UFC Trainer on XBOX in January 2011 at 300 lbs.  No, I couldn’t do everything and yes, there are probably better workouts to start off with that would have given me faster results because I was so big and out of shape there was so much I couldn’t do.  But I was SO pumped up and motivated after finding out about BodyRock and so wanting to start that I just jumped in and did what I could do.  This is what happens when you just wake up and decide to go forth and do something on a whim.  Anyway, long story short – I owe a lot to this program because it got me moving and starting the weight loss process.  A lot of the early posts on this blog are breakouts of my BodyRock workouts.

Fleur Meets Fitness – This blog has served as many a motivating moment for me.  Fleur is a Australian girl who lost a ton of weight in a very short amount of time.  It’s motivating for me because it’s a story of what you can do if you really put your money where your mouth is.  You can do pretty much whatever you want to do if you decide it’s your #1 priority.

Truly.Into.Fitness – I just like reading about the lives of people that change their weight.  And apparently aren’t from the US, lol!  Jess is French Canadian and is living the dream – lost the weight and became a personal trainer.  Motivation in leaps and bounds.

Team Beachbody – Great resource if you are doing a Beachbody program for sure.  Also if you just want recipes and a fitness community.  I use the message boards a lot, especially to research a program.  I spent a TON of time on the message board before deciding finally to take the Ultimate Reset and I still check the forum a lot.
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Don’t forget this month’s deals:

1. P90x and Ultimate Reset deals end on March 31st.  Don’t miss these awesome deals if you want these programs!
2. Shakeology greenberry and chocolate (non-vegan version) go up in price by $10 a month as of April 1st. Order on HD this month to lock in the price for life.
3. Challenge pack or Shakeology HD orders this month get a free Shakeology shaker cup!  🙂

INSANITY Finishing T-Shirt

I have posted a few pictures on Instagram (@healthyengineer) of myself in my INSANITY “I Earned It” shirt.  From the comments I’ve gotten, I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t know how to actually get their shirt when they finish.  I wanted to share how to get your shirt because if you are like me, you are so ready to sport that bad boy when you finish.

  1. Look at the INSANITY t-shirt form and figure out what your proof of purchase will be.  They aren’t hard, but you do need to think about it just so you can take the picture or remember to keep the email.  And you have to have a proof of purchase of some form to qualify for the free shirt, so don’t forget this!!
  2. Before you start, take your before stats.  First up are the pictures.  Take the ones in the form and make sure you wear something that shows your shape.  You don’t have to wear a sports bra and shorts, I certainly didn’t.  But don’t go for the baggy, because then you can’t see anything.  Take your measurements and starting weight.
  3. Do the program – all 63 days.  Curse Shaun T out daily during this endeavor while praising him when you realize you are actually shrinking.  Neither the cursing or the praise will stop for 63 days, don’t worry.
  4. Repeat step 1 with your new after body.
  5. Fill out the INSANITY t-shirt form and email it to Beachbody (email address is on the form) with your pictures and your proof of purchase.
  6. Wait for your new favorite t-shirt to arrive.  While you are waiting, submit your results to the Beachbody Challenge.  Why?  Because for just filling out the info, you can win anywhere from $500 to $25,000.  For something you already did.  Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Easy enough right? Hopefully this helps someone who doesn’t know how to get their t-shirt 🙂

Snow Day Announcements

Being from Michigan I still get a kick out of the fact that this little bit of snow means the entire WORLD in the DMV area shuts down!

So I’m going to take this day to catch up on some work that I am behind on from being so busy this week, do a little laundry, do a little packing, and do a little work on my Beachbody business.

Also I wanted to let you guys know that if you sign up for a challenge pack this month, you get (1) this discount on the Shakeology for life (2) a bonus Shakeology shaker cup (3) and me as your coach for one on one support via text/email/Facebook/Instagram – all of these, none of these, whatever you are looking for.  Why a challenge pack?  Because you get the meal plan, the Shakeology, the workout program, and the one on one support for one discounted price.  It’s a good deal and one of my favorite discounts that Beachbody does.  Pile on the current discounts on P90x and the Ultimate Reset this month (both end on the 31st)…and you can really save some money going forward on your healthy journey.  Questions?  Email me at healthyengineer@gmail.com.  I want to help at least 5 people…hopefully more…with their health journey this month.  Do you need a little help and support?  Let’s team up together and work on our goals!

One Week of Les Mills Combat

So as I’ve been mentioning – I tried out Combat when I got home from Michigan because I needed a boost. Since then, I’ve been following the ultimate warrior calendar.  It’s a 6 day a week schedule with 30-60 minutes a day.  I wanted to discuss some of the workouts and how I liked them.

Combat 30:  This is a 30 minute workout that focuses on kicks and punches.  I felt super sore in my core and across my upper back/shoulders after this one for sure.  I liked how intense it was for a short workout – it ramped up rather quickly so it got to the point.  The immediate thing I noticed about this program from the first workout is that the low impact option actually is a good one.  Some workouts (INSANITY) don’t really have a low impact option and others (TurboFire) have them, but sometimes it’s too low.  This one was pretty good.  I use the low impact sometimes when my knees are bothering me, but aim for high impact whenever I can.

HIIT: Power: This workout is stupid hard.  Lots and lots of burpees.  Lots of them.  And squats.  As much as Combat 30 is focused on the upper body, HIIT: Power is a butt workout.  The weird thing about this one is that weights are used.  Not for the whole DVD, but in parts of it.  It is short, another 30 minute workout, but also intense.

HIIT: Plyo: Burpees, burpees, burpees.  Which I’m ok with – I mean they work.  I think at one point you do like 40 in one set, that kind of erases your mind.  It’s a 30 minute workout.  This one was weird to me because it seemed not really a HIIT or a plyo workout.  It wasn’t bad, just not what I expected.

Combat 45: Very similar to Combat 30, just a little longer.

Lower Body: So I thought this would be a strength workout…it’s not really.  It’s a cardio workout with more kicks then punches.  Oh and burpees.  I guess martial artists love burpees.  Okay, it sunk in by day 6 of week 1.  This was a hard workout and I did feel the burn.  I am not sure I would really consider this a lower body workout…more of cardio workout with a bit more of a lower body focus.  I do think it’s a good workout, just not what I thought I was getting by reading the name of it.

Combat 60: See Combat 30 description.  I will say that this was closer to the full class that I’m used to from way back in the day when I took combat at a gym.  I liked the DVD and it’s pretty hard.  There is a section at the end, the last track before the abs/pushup track, that kicked my butt that I loved – probably my favorite track of the program to date.  Lots of punches and cross jacks.  The kick tracks on this one are some of my favorite as well.

So right now I am on the 2nd week (did day 1, week 2 this morning).  I’m really enjoying it and now that I’m finally healthy and over this cold (I’m claiming it…even if it’s not 100% true yet) I want to try to add some activity in the evenings like I talked about a few days ago.  I am so ready to really boost it this month.  I took some photos this morning and I’m not really happy about it.  Yes it’s a little remaining bloat from that time of the month, but it’s also from the fact my eating has been meh ever since going home for my Grandma’s memorial.  I am really now back in the buckle down mode.  Beast mode if you will.  Let’s go.

Operation size 16 – Mission Complete!

So my goal in February was to fit nicely into my size 16 jeans.  I think I made it…do you?

I definitely think I could wear these out the house now and be good to go!  I’m really REALLY happy with the changes in my body and I learned a valuable lesson – leave the scale ALONE.  The scale right now has me up in weight.  Partially I know from that time of the month and partially from leftover stress from February.  But obviously I haven’t gained weight in the sense of my body getting bigger or flabbier.  I get compliments about having lost weight and looking smaller, weird.  I feel really good going into March and the March Madness challenge.  I know I can keep making big changes in my body if I stay dedicated and CLEAN with my diet.  It will be hard since I have very little in person support for that.  But I know I can do it if I try really hard.