#JuicyInJuly – Home Stretch!

One more week of #JuicyInJuly to go!  This challenge has been leaps and bounds better for me than #JuicyInJune was, but still not without its own struggles.

My main struggle has been to stop at *just one* cheat per week, because I have a tendency to want to keep the party going, once I allow an indulgence.  But, that’s also the POINT of this challenge!  The goal is to build healthier habits within my less-than-healthy behavior.  I want to be comfortable enough to have a single cheat without it turning into a 2 week food vacation.

Also, something super cool happened!  The folks over at Lose It!, the weight loss app that I started using during the #SnatchedForSummer challenge, saw my video where I first mentioned that I was enjoying the app.  And, they were cool enough to offer all my internet pals (and me, of course), a trial of the premium version of the app, FOR FREE!

I’ve never done any collaborations on my blog or YouTube channel, up to this point.  (Indeed, I have declined a fair number of offers, simply because I don’t want my little corner of the internet to become just another ad.)  But, I’m really happy that something I actually use, IRL, happened to be on the company’s radar, and allowed me to share a cool little offer with my blog readers and subscribers.

You have the entire final week of #JuicyInJuly to take advantage of snagging a whole month of Lose It! premium for exactly zero dollars.  Just use the code JUICY in the Lose It! app any time between now and next Thursday, July 28th, and you’re good.  I repeat, you only have until July 28th, 2016 to get your free month of Premium.  That’s next Thursday, so move your ass if you’re interested.

If you don’t already have the app installed, you can get it right here!

Oh, and if you’re in the app and can’t sort out where, exactly, to put in the JUICY code for the free month, go to here to get walked through it.  Lose It! Premium is new to me, as well; but, I’ve been looking around the new features, and it has quite a lot of tools that I didn’t have access to, with the free version.

Amongst the new shit I didn’t have before is the ability to set goals for my macros, by calorie percentage and/or by grams.  I’ve been procrastinating on sorting out how to get my macros right for a really long time, because it’s so goddamned tedious.  So, having it within the app will be a big help in finally getting my act together, and hopefully figuring out my ideal macros to finally get things moving on the scale again.

They also have workouts, which I’ll admit I haven’t dug into, because I’ve got that part of my routine sorted.  But, I do want to utilize some of the other “custom goals” features, like hydration goals and weekly calorie burn goals.

Even though this is the final week of the actual challenge, the habits that I’ve been practicing during it are the same ones that I will strive to maintain in my day-to-day life, from here on out.  More water.  Exercise a solid 5 days a week.  Don’t eat too much.  And, if I want to go to Roscoe’s with the boyfriend on the weekend, I can do that too.

Let’s kill it in this last week of the challenge!  And, be sure to let me know if you decide to check out the fancied up version of Lose It! with me.  You know, if you like to be fancy and prefer apps that require you to use them with your pinky up.

#JuicyInJuly Week 2!

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Week 1 = DONE!  It went *okay* for me.  I actually didn’t meet my own criteria of 5 workouts minimum, thanks to Lady Problems.  In recent years, I typically don’t have cramps too badly, when it’s that time of the month.  (I have a lot of thoughts on why that has improved so much, but that’s another post entirely.)  Nonetheless, I am still unlucky a couple of times a year, and this was one of those times.

I actually really hate to use that as an excuse, but I seriously couldn’t have handled a workout that day.  And, since it was toward the second half of the week, I didn’t have enough days left in the week to make up the workout that I’d missed, without doing a double.  As sad as it is to say, I just didn’t have a double in me this week, either.

Besides faltering on getting the prescribed 5, the first week of this challenge has gone really well!  I feel like I’ve bounced back from being overtrained from #JuicyInJune, and my old knee injury seems to be calming down again.  It’s not completely quiet, but it’s definitely not as pissed off at me as it was.

My cheat for week #1 was a chicken parmesan sandwich– one of my favorite things to eat in life!  I really do think that knowing I get to cheat again each week might be a good way to keep me from my typical bouncing between the two extremes of eating SUPER STRICTLY for 4-6 weeks, only to then go full crazy once that period is over, and eat everything in town.

No more extremes!  That’s the goal.  Just do my best, all the time, and maybe have a slice of pizza on the weekend.  Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

I started off week 2 today with the WOD posted above, which wasn’t terrible.  I hate thrusters, and it didn’t help that I also had to do them in yesterday’s WOD.  I’ll be hitting the gym in the morning tomorrow, as well, and then I’m off to a birthday party for adults that is going to have a bouncy house.  Seriously.

Even though it’s only week 2, I’m really excited for week 3, because I have something pretty cool lined up for my YT/blog fam.  So, stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, I’m gonna watch this week’s episode of American Ninja Warrior, and floss my teeth.  Good night!

#JuicyInJune = Done, #JuicyInJuly Starts Friday!

I’ve slacked *big time* on updating during the second half of #JuicyInJune, but I did complete the challenge of 30 workouts in 30 days.  I’m planning to talk more about the challenge’s conclusion in an upcoming post, but if I end up blowing that off, suffice to say, 30 workouts in 30 days is not something I would recommend, nor is it anything that I’ll be doing again.  EVER.

#JuicyInJuly kicks off this Friday, though!  I’m looking forward to getting back into a more structured routine, because my workouts haven’t been on a proper schedule, the past week.  Basically, I’ve just been working out whenever, and took more rest days than I’d planned over the July 4th weekend.  Time to get back to business!

#JuicyInJune Day 16: Frustration & Disappointment

I went through with weighing in this morning.  Even though I’ve been worried that I look about the same as I did at the beginning of this challenge, I had low key thought/expected to see a 2-3 pound loss.  After all, we all have a hard time detecting progress with our own bodies, since we see ourselves every day, and I’ve been doing everything I should be doing.

Instead, my fears were confirmed: I am exactly where I was, when I weighed out at the end of #SnatchedForSummer.

Actually, it was worse than that.  I was one pound UP.  I became depressed pretty much instantly, and went right back to bed.  It was about 6:30a, so I didn’t have to be up yet, anyway.

When I got up for the day for real, a bit later this morning, I weighed again and the extra pound was gone, probably thanks to peeing.  The point is, there has been zero progress whatsoever on the scale.

I feel really defeated, because the dark thoughts of never being able to break through this plateau are becoming more and more real.  I want to lose 25 pounds, which is already a lot of weight to lose.  And, I’m working so hard, only to fail at losing even 1 pound.

I’ve cut calories to only about 1500/day, meaning I’m eating at a deficit daily– which should be enough on its own for weight loss.  I’m working out pretty hard.  And A LOT.  For fuck’s sake, I went to CrossFit and two spin classes yesterday (after the normal 45 minute class I went to was over, the instructor invited anyone who wanted to to stay for her next “express”/30 minute class, for free; I did so).  WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO DO?

I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed by hopelessness.  My next move will be to dial in my macros, I guess.  I’m going to have to sort out meals that will leave me with a 45/35/20 percentage of calories from protein/fat/carbs.  This is the distribution recommended by Michael Matthews, and a lot of people seem to have had success with his advice, based on Amazon reviews of his books.

So I guess there’s a lot of chicken breasts and broccoli in my future.  Ugh.

#JuicyInJune Day 15

After today, I’ll officially be past the halfway point of #JuicyInJune!  Things are going pretty well, but I do have a double today to make up for a rest day that I took last week.

This is what this morning’s metcon looked like:

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I most certainly did NOT Rx this one.  I’m still forcing caution upon myself– not to mention, I’m just not necessarily on the level of feeling like I really could Rx this wod without shit getting ugly.  You know, bad form, questionable reps, etc.

More than anything, I didn’t want to have to worry about snatching or cleaning/pressing a heavy-ish 95# from the floor for each set.  I can muscle clean 75# easily, so I figured that would be a good weight for me, and went with it.

Finished the wod in 8:30, which was a respectable time; and, I used a respectable weight, based on what I saw from others on the board.  Had a beautiful breakfast (still completely devoted to my blueberry coconut pancake + eggs with avocado combo), and now I can recharge a bit and get some work done before wod #2, which will be The Dreaded: spin.

The problem is, spinning really is great for torching calories.  I finally figured out how to get my heart rate monitor working (more on that to come, but spoiler: I’m LOVING it), and I discovered in a spin class earlier this week that I burned somewhere around 480 calories in 45 minutes.  And, that was on a day where I wasn’t even feeling juicy!  I imagine if I felt like I could’ve given my all, the burn would’ve been even more impressive.

In terms of my appearance, I’m at a point where I feel like I look the same, and have looked the same for a few weeks.  I’m trying not to stress about it, and just trust that living right will sort everything out.

I’m also considering doing a weigh-in tomorrow morning, just as a check-point for being halfway through #JuicyInJune.  I want to make sure that I’ve made progress, because if I haven’t, I’d rather know NOW, so that I don’t waste the final two weeks of the challenge repeating things that aren’t working.

Then again, the scale stresses me the fuck out.  So, yeah.  We’ll see.

#JuicyInJune Day 8

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Coconut flour pancake + eggs and avocado = HOTSA HELLZ YEAH for under 500 calories!

This morning was a HIIT workout, which was fairly miserable.  It was very nice to come home and have a dope ass breakfast, afterward.  I’d planned to do a double today, but decided against it, since I already have a double lined up for tomorrow– and one of those will be 1RM testing for my deadlift, followed by metcon.  That’s going to be taxing.

My energy has been a lot better, the past week.  I’ve been sleeping more or less through the night, and I feel pretty good in the morning.  Throughout the day, my mood is also pretty good.  But, I’m still not quite where I want to be.  There’s just an overall haziness, a cloak of slight drowsiness that seems to plague me all day, even when I’m feeling “alert.”

My hunch is that it’s parasites/a parasite.  I know, I know, *shudder*.  But, the truth is, we ALL have parasites, pretty much all the time.  I’ve wanted to do a parasite cleanse, but I have an allergy to tree nuts.  Black walnut hull is one of the main things you need to do a parasite cleanse, so I’m not really sure how to go about this.

A year and a half ago, I was about 5 months into Nutrition Response Testing (I no longer do this; stopped sometime last fall because I’d failed to see progress in several months).  I won’t go too far into my experience and thoughts on that here, because it will completely derail what is meant to be a quick update.  But, maybe for another day, another post.

Anyway, one day around my 5 month mark, I woke up and I would’ve sworn I was CURED.  My energy and mood were incredible.  I had such clarity.  I even felt like my vision was sharper.  And, I’d lost weight, which I hadn’t been able to do on my own for a year, maybe longer.  I just felt like a completely new person– no, even better, I felt like my old self!

But then, after a week or less, it went away.  The energy and overall joie de vivre that I’d felt was gone, and I went back to just feeling “okay” at best, and “not great,” the rest of the time.  I’ve tried to reclaim the way I felt that week, ever since– indeed, it’s why I wasted my time in Nutrition Response Testing for over a year afterward.  The feeling never did come back.

In retrospect, I’ve come to believe that I may have passed a parasite, just before that Magical Week.  It’s really the only explanation I can come up with.  A major part of the first phase of Nutrition Response Testing is killing shit.  Fungus.  Bad bacteria.  Parasites.  So, I was on high doses of supplements, at the time– many of which were aimed at killing shit that was harming my body.

I think that the supplements successfully killed a parasite, or something, and that was why my body was able to thrive again.  I think the feeling didn’t last, though, because there was/is more work to be done.  Something else needs to be killed.

So, yeah, now, I want to figure out a parasite cleanse that won’t send me to the hospital in anaphylactic shock.  It’s on the “to do” list.  For someone who exercises, eats well and gets adequate sleep, I should have SO MUCH ENERGY.  But, I don’t.  And it fucking sucks.

#JuicyInJune Day 6

I saw this today, and I said “FUCK YES I’M DOING THAT.”

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I thrive with squats.  I live for a metcon that’s all bodyweight.  It’s basically everything I love to do when I train, in one workout.  But, it wasn’t going to be easy.  There were quite a few obstacles standing in my way.

1.) I haven’t tested for my 1RM on anything in over two years.  So, I legit don’t know where I stand with my maxes.

2.) I had a doctor’s appointment today (nothing serious, just a checkup), and I knew I’d have to fast in preparation of getting blood work done.

3.) Said doctor’s appointment wasn’t until 2:30pm today, which basically meant I’d have to starve all day long.

4.) On top of all that, I’m already struggling with issues of fatigue on the daily, so that’s fun, too.

Bearing all of that in mind, I vetoed a morning workout.  I knew it would be less-than-smart to 1RM, and then do a metcon, and then NOT EAT FOR SEVERAL HOURS AND THEN ALSO GET BLOOD DRAWN.

Unfortunately, I still knew I’d only have about an hour between the doctor and the gym, which isn’t enough time to digest a big meal.  So, I suffered all day, went to my appointment, raced home as fast as I could and smashed in 2 coconut flour pancakes (with some ‘naners in ’em, this batch), and some eggs with avocado.  I also had some green tea, knowing that a little caffeine would be critical, today.  Then, I headed to the gym.

As Kendrick Farris would say, “bless the gym.”  The walk to the gym sucked.  And, warming up with a 1000M row didn’t build any more confidence in my energy level, today.  In short, I was NOT feeling juicy.

But, somewhere between sets 2 and 3 of squatting, I realized that I felt strong— even though I didn’t have all of my blood.

My old 1RM on the back squat was somewhere around 200#.  Maybe a bit more?  I don’t remember, honestly.  And, I’m not going to go dig out my old CrossFit notebook, just to check.  So, today, I worked off of a hypothetical 1RM of 190, for all of the sets.  In the end, I squatted 195# successfully, then bailed on a 205# attempt.  I think I could’ve done it, but I freaked out at the bottom of the squat, instead.

Metcon went decently well, too.  I did it in 8:15, Rxing the 20″ height (for ladies; guys had 24″), on the box jumps.  Not a fast time, or anything.  I just kept a steady pace, plodded through it and felt better for it, in the end.

The blood work results should be back toward the end of this week.  I’m expecting to hear that I’m deficient in Vitamin D, because I tested super low for it 2 years ago, and never filled my prescription from the doctor for it.  I wanted to try to correct the issue naturally, and I was seeing a holistic specialist at the time who warned me strongly against taking any supplements that were made in a lab.

While I still agree with that approach, I’m still tired as fuck, all the time, 2 years later.  I stopped seeing my naturopath because I was failing to see any results with her advice.  So, I’m pretty sure that I’m as low in Vitamin D as I was before– if not lower.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do, once these results come back.  But, I do know that I’m going to keep a more open mind to what the doc says, this time around.

#JuicyInJune Day 2

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This was today’s WOD.  The deadlifts went pretty well, considering I’m still playing it super duper safe with my weight loads.  I “quit” CrossFit a couple of years ago.  But, much like Jay Z’s retirement, my retirement turned out to be a bunch of horse shit.

Since I’m just coming back to CrossFit, though, I’m making sure I stay really conservative with my weights.  This isn’t my first rodeo, and I’m going in with a “FUCK INJURIES” mantra.

In CrossFit Round #1, my 1RM deadlift was 295#.  I’m not stupid enough to think I could do that today, since I haven’t tested for my 1RM in about 3 years.  So, I maxed out for my “50-60%” today at 135#.  It felt pretty easy, which made me happy.

The AMRAP wasn’t too bad.  I was able to Rx it, since the wallball Rx was only 14#, the box jumps were only 20″ and I’m used to swinging heavier 16kg in my home workouts.  I detest overheard swings, though.  I think they promote bad form, even on people who have a good foundation with kettlebells (in other words, me).  But, I did them anyway, because sometimes I’m an idiot and do what’s on the board, even when I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Then, I had signed up for another class after CrossFit that’s usually 85% stretching, with a little bit of strength work thrown in, but the normal teacher was out.  So, instead, it was about 5-10% stretching, and the rest was a moderately challenging strength circuit.  Uhm, so yeah.  I accidentally did a double today…  Could be worse, because now I’ve earned a #JuicyInJune rest day, for when I feel like I need one.

Then, I had dinner.

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Best part of my day, easily.  Yes, the burger is grass-fed.  I’ve been using iceberg lettuce for my lettuce-wraps, lately.  It works so much better than lettuces that…you know…actually contain nutritional value.  I guess I’m willing to trade some vitamins for a lettuce that’s actually sturdy enough to hold my burger, which can’t be said for green leaf or red leaf.

The fries were baked in the oven, and that is exactly 3 ounces of them, which is one serving.  Look, lay off me.  I’m counting calories.  I don’t claim to eat a paleo diet, so I do enjoy white potatoes, in moderation.  These are the Alexia Organic Yukon Select Fries, which I buy because they don’t have apple juice or any other weird shit on them.  Yes, apple juice.  Read the ingredients on your foods, and you’ll be surprised what you find.

The pickle is a pickle.  I’m only mentioning it because I’ve really been enjoying these particular pickles.  They’re the spicy dill pickles by Ruuska All Natural Pickles.  I found this in the refrigerated section, and they live there because they don’t have any preservatives.  This is also the main reason I like them.

Even after adding 2 tablespoons of ketchup (I used Organicville’s today, if it matters), this whole meal clocks in under 450 calories.  I really love this dinner, because, hello, burgers and fries!  It allows me to have a classic combination that’s a personal favorite, while still avoiding the foods I like to avoid (dairy, grains, soy and sugar, though the ketchup does add some sugar from the agave in it).

Best of all, it doesn’t blow my entire calorie budget for the day, which would almost definitely happen if I had this meal at a restaurant.  Mind you, that’s still a nice size burger.  4 1/2 ounces, pre-cooked.  Finding meals I still get excited about is what makes all of this hard work not seem so hard.

Now, I’m off to floss and get ready for bed.  After all, tomorrow is just day 3 of 30 in this challenge.  Ugh.

#JuicyInJune Day 1

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That was my morning.  Modified T2B with knees to elbows, scaled down the lunges to 55# and did front rack *rear* lunges, because my knee hasn’t been super happy with me lately, and rear lunges are safer for me.

I wasn’t feeling really “up and at ’em” this morning, but I still had a decent workout, in the end.

Truth is, you’ll never regret working out.  The hardest part is usually just showing up.

#JuicyInJune 2016

Well, the fun’s over. Tomorrow, my next fitness challenge begins, and this one is an even bigger undertaking than #SnatchedForSummer was.

I’m calling this one #JuicyInJune.  “Juicy” is a word I’ve always used a lot in the gym, and in life.  It has a couple of meanings/uses for me.

For one, I use it interchangeably with “strong” or “powerful.”  Used in a sentence: “I was feeling juicy today, and managed to back squat 250#.”

I also use it to refer to certain aspects of my appearance.  Used in a sentence: “Even though I want to drop some LBs, I want to make sure I still stay juicy in all of the right places.”

So, “juicy” is just a word that I really like, a word that exudes positivity and confidence.  Also, it is fun to say “juicy.”  Thus, #JuicyInJune.  Spoiler alert: Due to a failure of imagination, the challenge I’ll be hosting on my YT channel in July will be called #JuicyInJuly.

All of the rules from #SnatchedForSummer will carry  over, but I’m adding the new challenge of doing 30 for 30– meaning 30 workouts for the 30 days of June.  I’m taking today off, since I most likely won’t have many (or any) rest days in my near future.

To avoid becoming overtrained, I’ll be playing around with doing two-a-days to make sure I have the option of taking a couple full-on rest days during the month, and/or I will work out much lighter 1-2 days each week, in lieu of a full-on rest day.  For me, that’ll look like a 5 minute workout (Zuzka has loads), or just going for a walk– I’d say a good 2 1/2 to 3 miles should do.

#SnatchedForSummer was important to get me back on the wagon with working out and eating right.  And, it worked.

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It’s hard to believe that those three photos span just 6 weeks.  But, #SnatchedForSummer really only restored normalcy.  I’m back to my usual weight, where I feel pretty happy, but I am still not at my final goal– a goal which has eluded me for my entire teenaged and adult life.

So, now begins the daunting undertaking of breaking my weight loss plateau, and getting to my dream weight, once and for all.  It’ll be a long road, because I need to more than 20 pounds, to get there.  I realize that this goal weight just a number, and a relatively arbitrary one, at that.  But it’s a lot more than than just a random number, to me.  It symbolizes a decade+ of failing to reach my potential, of being complacent and settling on “pretty good” time and time again, instead of achieving my absolute best physique.

To get there, I’ll be counting calories, which I have not done since I was in high school.  In other words, A LONG ASS TIME.  And, counting calories kind of sucks!  However, I’m hopeful that this is going to be the key to finally having success in breaking through and getting below the weight that I’ve been stuck at for the past year and a half.

I’ll admit, I’m a little afraid.  I mean, what if this doesn’t work?  What will I do then?  And, truthfully, I don’t have an answer, other than to assume that this WILL work, and to have faith.

Otherwise, I’ll be doing CrossFit, along with some more general HIIT circuit training, and a bit of spin at Flywheel.  I’m excited for the day that my above week 6/”after” photo becomes my “before” picture.