The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 3 Results: (-4 lbs); Cummulative Results (-8.5 lbs)

For those new to this blog, this entry follows my progress as a member of the 2012 – 10 in 10 Challenge, where a group of 50 or more people have committed themselves to losing 10 or more pounds in the first 10 weeks of 2012.

This blog report covers progress through week 3 of 10, January 23rd through January 29th.

How’d I do? (The Outcome Goal) I had a really horrible majority of the week due to driving to NY/CT and back, working crazy hours and just a general lack of ability to get workouts in and falling into easy eating which meant eating like garbage. I bounced back on the weekend and got myself back on track but all in all as you’ll see from the Joe’s Goals report, I have a LOT of white space.  Lost four pounds. I have to credit this to not throwing in the towel even when I got off track. I wrote more about this on my prior blog entry “The Little Things Can Make All The Difference”. Onto week #4.

I now weigh 210.5 pounds, and am down 8.5 pounds for the challenge. The rest of my report focuses on my process goals where I use three levels of performance measures. Less than Expected, Met Expectations and Exceeded Expectations. My grade for this week?

Overall, for week 3 I gave myself a self assessment of Less than Expected because of the items I described above. I did not meet the majority of my process goals, so regardless of the outcome goal, I would have given myself this assessment result. Let’s jump into particulars.

My year to date weekly progress:

  • Week 1: -6.0
  • Week 2. +1.5
  • Week 3. -4.0
  • Cumulative Challenge Results to Date: -8.5

Report Card: Week 3

January 23 to January 29:

The chart above is created using Joe’s Goals.

Caloric Intake/Nutrition = Did Not Meet Expectations

January 23 to January 29:

Eat light and often: I ate light all week, but not often and I wound up eating when I was already really hungry rather than keeping my blood sugar and insulin levels within a narrow and even range.

Eat Healthy Breakfast: I missed a few breakfasts and relied on Bueller’s Bagels a few days this week in Wallingford. I got back on track but not until Saturday.

Eat fresh whole foods and protein: This was a week of carbs. I didn’t eat fresh foods hardly at all and instead ate bagels, breads and even pizza on one occasion when we got it for the team working late.

No chocolate: I screwed up having my first chocolate in 2012 in the form of a Panera chocolate chip cookie brought to our meeting. Not happy about this one. The silver lining is that I didn’t let it get out of hand or become a trend.

Avoid junk food and sugar: Ick. See above.

Stop eating 60 mins. before going to sleep: Pretty good here as I didn’t snack before going to sleep.

Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress = Did not Meet Expectations

January 23 to January 29:

Workouts captured on Buckeye Outdoors, a free online training log.

Workout early: No, nada, nuca, notta chance. I didn’t get in a single morning workout due to travel and business meetings. I don’t think that’s happened to me before except the weeks I was in and post surgery.

Min 45 mins of Cardio: You can see from the reports above that I missed a full three days of working out and only this weekend did I really get in any quality volume. Not a great week.

Resistance training: Uh, no unless you count the time in the 13 meter hotel pool when I did kickboard reps and treaded water for 15 mins. Hey I improvised.

Stretch and Core: I fit in a couple of sessions here, little one’s, but it’s the little things that can make the difference.

Recovery/Adaptation = Met Expectations

January 23 to January 29:

Sleep min of 7 hours per night: I was so exhausted that when I did sleep, I passed out and couldn’t get myself up and productive early enough to get in a workout before early morning meetings.

Conclusion: Worst week I’ve had in awhile that still resulted in positive results. Bounced back at the end, but clearly need to be more consistent in Week 4.

The little things can make all the difference

This has been a crazy week from a nutritional and training perspective. As most of you know, I’m participating in the 10 in 10 Challenge to lose ten or more pounds of unproductive weight in the first ten weeks of 2012. I’ll post this week’s results tomorrow after I do my weigh in but didn’t want to wait (weight) to give you a few observations and insights I had this week.

In short, it’s the little things that can make all the difference. When striving to achieve a goal, inevitably you’re going to get thrown off course or have bumps (failures) along the way (weigh). For me this past week, I drove back and forth from Ohio to NY to Wallingford, CT to NY to CT to NY to CT to NY to CT and so on until I drove finally from NY to Ohio. I probably lost 40 hours in the car this past week during prime training hours. Add to this the extended hours I worked and I would have had to have woken up at 4am to get my workouts in which I clearly wasn’t ready to do. This only jacked my blood sugar around so badly that I ate whatever was conveniently placed in front of me including three slices of pizza (thanks Vandana ;-) and two chocolate cookies.

So why am I actually pretty okay with where I am? Primarily because since the macro issues were so jacked up, I didn’t focus on them this week, but did focus on what I could control – the little things.

Nutrition

From a macro nutritional standpoint my eating sucked, empty calories with no or at best little positive nutritional value. But from a micro standpoint, I didn’t let it get out of control, meaning as bad as it was, I could have given in and it could have been so much worse. For example, after eating three slices of pizza and then driving two hours through traffic to get back to NY, I would up in my hotel with a decision to make. Thankfully, what was left of my self control took over and I passed on the late night dinner an opted to just go to sleep.

I could have easily written off the day and said, hey if I’m going down today, I want to go down in flames and ordered up a slew of comfort foods or stopped to get a pint of Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream before passing out, but I didn’t. And this mattered because instead of saying tomorrow I’ll do better – having no idea how tomorrow was going to play out, I ended the day doing better which means when tomorrow came and I still couldn’t get a workout in, I knew that I had done something to positively stay on course. And since this happened day after day after day this past week, I had five separate opportunities to keep myself from completely falling off the wagon and I feel pretty good because of it.

Training

This is the first week since being laid up in bed from my surgery that I didn’t workout in the morning any day all week long. The drive time consumed my traditional training hours and by the time I got back it was dark and I was exhausted. Again, instead of writing off the week to a taper week without a race in front of me, I found a few opportunities to use the time I did have for a few minutes of quality training, and I do mean a few minutes. For example, I dropped down and did core abdominal work and pushups before jumping in the shower one morning, I stopped in CT to run a 5-mile course in the middle of my drive back south on another and on Saturday, I even ventured out to the hotel’s 13 meter pool and since I couldn’t get a quality swim workout in at 9:30 at night, I focused on what I could do, which was doing kickboard drills back and forth for 30 minutes and then treaded water for 15 minutes to work on my strength and rehabbing of my neck and arms.

When I got back to Canton this weekend, I found myself using an old trick to get a full ten miles in on the treadmill, which corresponded to 90 minutes of mental agony. What I did was pretty simple and you can try it yourself:

First pick the amount of time you want to run and start running with that amount of time in mind. Find something on the television in front of you that has a variable time component – in my case, I chose the Kansas v Iowa State basketball game. What I mean by variable is that in college basketball each half is 20 minutes long with an additional 15 minutes for halftime. But it really isn’t 20 minutes long, it’s 20 mins of time plus all of the time outs, commercials, and time stopped for a whole slew of reasons. In reality each half is closer to 45 minutes, perfect for what I was trying to accomplish. I started my run thinking about 90 minutes and then started playing games with myself, including working hard during the first half to get a solid 7 miles in and then dropping the pace during half time to recover before picking it up again in the second half. I also watched as the real time left on my session got closer and closer to the time remaining in the game until they were both equal and then I switched over to just focusing on the game clock. What this resulted in was me getting in an extra mile or two on the treadmill that I might not have done, as well as walking for an extra 10 minutes after I was done, burning some additional calories I hadn’t planned on. Again, it’s the little things that can make the difference and in addition to my calories spent, I felt really good mentally and emotionally for achoieving a better than expected result.

It help to turn a negative week, where I’d already missed three days of training, into a positive one where I felt I ended strong and set myself up for an even better one next week.

The key message here is that, similarly to what I explained above, I didn’t throw in the towel on any particular day or on the whole week. I found small things to get me back on track and I know that while my weigh in tomorrow won’t be as good as it could have been, it’ll be a whole lot better than it otherwise would have been if I hadn’t make these small positive choices.

Lastly, I wanted to throw out a shout out to my good friend and RacewithPurpose holistic nutritionist Christine Lynch, aka @holisticguru who will be hosting a free Nutritional Resolution workshop tomorrow Monday, January 30th at 6:30PM in NYC at Jackrabbit Sports at 140 West 72nd Street, New York, NY. Check out all of the deets here at Christine’s blog. This is a pat of Jackrabbit Sports Resolve series. If you set a resolution and didn’t stick to it, or if you just want to participate in what will be an awesome exchange of ideas to super charge your efforts going forward, do attend. And it’s FREE!

Until next time.

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 2 Results: (+1.5 lbs); Cummulative Results (-4.5 lbs)

For those new to this blog, this entry follows my progress as a member of the 2012 – 10 in 10 Challenge, where a group of 50 or more people have committed themselves to losing 10 or more pounds in the first 10 weeks of 2012.

This blog report covers progress through week 2 of 10, January 16th through January 22nd.

How’d I do? (The Outcome Goal) I had a really good week, I mean really good and my result was? One and a half pounds GAINED. Hun? Whaaat? How the heck could I have gained 1.5 pounds after eating really well and working out consistently. I even pulled my belt another notch tighter. Oh well, these things happen. Such is the variability of any individual weigh in. Chalk it up to misfortune and get back at it. Onto week #3.

I now weigh 214.5 pounds, and am still down 4.5 pounds for the challenge. The rest of my report focuses on my process goals where I use three levels of performance measures. Less than Expected, Met Expectations and Exceeded Expectations. My grade for this week?

Overall, for week 2 I gave myself a self assessment of Met Expectations. It’s Met Expectations not because i lost or gained but because I really stayed true to the process goals that I know yield beneficial and desired results. Let’s jump into particulars.

My year to date weekly progress:

  • Week 1: -6.0
  • Week 2. +1.5
  • Cumulative Challenge Results to Date: -4.5

Report Card: Week 2

January 16 to January 22:

The chart above is created using Joe’s Goals.

Caloric Intake/Nutrition = Met Expectations

January 16 to January 22:

Eat light and often: I ate light all week. Similar to last week, I did not however eat as often as perhaps I should, meaning, I didn’t regulate my eating to align to my goal of eating regularly every 3 hours and map to the timing of my caloric expenditure.

Eat Healthy Breakfast: Pretty goo. A few days I workout out or traveled so I missed eating breakfast.

Eat fresh whole foods and protein: Lots of fresh whole fruit. Protein came primarily through eggs.

No chocolate: Haven’t had chocolate since December 31, 2011.

Avoid junk food and sugar: Pretty good.

Stop eating 60 mins. before going to sleep: Pretty good here as I didn’t snack before going to sleep.

Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress = Met Expectations

January 16 to January 22:

Workouts captured on Buckeye Outdoors, a free online training log.

Workout early: Yes – for five out of the seven days.

Min 45 mins of Cardio: A good week with 4 Runs (30 Miles), two of whoich were really quality – a 10-mile Back Bay run and a 11.5-mile snowy Towpath run, and 3 other cardio workouts, including my first swim workout at the Renaissance Club Sport in Aliso Viejo. I missed two full days of training due to business travel.

Resistance training: I did hit two great Pilates classes last week which felt great! Not enough!

Stretch and Core: Overlap with Pilates. Not enough!

Recovery/Adaptation = Met Expectations

January 16 to January 22:

Sleep min of 7 hours per night: A good week of sleep and recovery and my stress levels were fairly low, even with a challenging week of work.

Conclusion: A less than thrilling result after what I thought was a pretty solid week. In short, more work to do. See you in a week.

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 1 Results: (-6 lbs); Cummulative Results (-6 lbs)

For those new to this blog, this entry follows my progress as a member of the 2012 – 10 in 10 Challenge, where a group of 50 or more people  have committed themselves to losing 10 or more pounds in the first 10 weeks of 2012.

This blog report covers progress through week 1 of 10, January 9th through January 15th.

How’d I do? (The Outcome Goal) My Outcome Goal is to lose 20 pounds in the ten week period. This will bring me down to 200 pounds for the first time in more than four years. I’m happy to have started this year lighter than I started last year and this has been a great start to 2012 but it still leaves me about 20 pounds heavier than where I need to be to get back to competition and where I feel healthiest. That said it is an AWESOME beginning to the year. How’d I do? I lost six pounds in the first week of this challenge. SIX POUNDS LOST. This is pretty darn exciting, in fact when I got off the scale showing 213 pounds, I felt energized, I felt lighter, and I felt really good!

I found a photo of myself from 2007 from the Cadence Kona Challenge and was shocked how how different I look now. My friend and fellow triathlete Tammy asked if I was discouraged or inspired by seeing this photo. In truth, I’m not sure of the answer.  Having reflected on it for the past day, I find that this has only strengthened my resolve to get back to a strong physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being.

Now to the six pounds lost. As excited as I feel about this result, I also realize that there is some variability to any weight result on any given day simply due to hydration and other factors. I need to take it all in moderation.

My weekend at ZenTri Base and Nutrition Camp here in San Diego definitely contributed to this positive result as I was taken out of my normal environment for 3 of the 7 days and surrounded by health conscious folks eating small healthy meals regularly primarily of green foods that don’t come with UPC labels.

The facts are that I now weigh 213 pounds, and am pleased with the way my own personal Challenge has started. I’m progressing in the right direction.The rest of my report focuses on my process goals where I use three levels of performance measures. Less than Expected, Met Expectations and Exceeded Expectations. My grade for this week?

Overall, for week 1 I gave myself a self assessment of Met Expectations. Let’s jump into particulars.

My year to date weekly progress:

  • Week 1: -6.0
  • Cumulative Challenge Results to Date: -6.0

Report Card: Week 1

January 9 to January 16:

The chart above is created using Joe’s Goals.

Caloric Intake/Nutrition = Met Expectations

January 9 to January 16:

Eat light and often: I ate light all week except for one digression for some Italian food. I did not however eat as often as perhaps I should, meaning, I didn’t regulate my eating to align to my goal of eating regularly every 3 hours and map to the timing of my caloric expenditure.

Eat Healthy Breakfast: Consistently.

Eat fresh whole foods and protein: Lots of fresh whole fruit. Protein came primarily through eggs.

No chocolate: Haven’t had chocolate since December 31, 2011.

Avoid junk food and sugar: Pretty good. Less about sugar, can still make progress on chips and breads.

Stop eating 60 mins. before going to sleep: Pretty good here as I didn’t snack before going to sleep.

Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress = Less Than Expected

January 9 to January 16:


Workouts captured on Buckeye Outdoors, a free online training log.

Workout early: Yes – for four out of the seven days.

Min 45 mins of Cardio: An okay week with 7 Runs (25 Miles), and 2 other cardio workouts.  Not great as I missed two full days of training due to business travel.

Resistance training: Nothing :-(

Stretch and Core: Got to participate in MovementU with Jessi Stensland here at ZenTri Base and Nutrition Camp but I have a lot I can do better here.

Recovery/Adaptation = Met Expectations

January 9 to January 16:

Sleep min of 7 hours per night: A good week of sleep and recovery.

Conclusion: A really fantastic result after a week that was primarily dominated by effective nutrition. I adapted to my environment of being in three cities in three states this past week and still did enough to keep progress moving forward. Next week has even more challenges that I will have to overcome by effective time management and keeping healthy foods as close as possible as I will lose the support that the camp provided and will be working and living out of hotel rooms. See you in a week.

Exercise – A Little Goes A Long Way

Today many of us started on our challenge to lose ten pounds in the next ten weeks as part of the 2012 10 in 10 Challenge. While this is an admirable achievement, even MORE benefits will come after that ten weeks has long passed. The habits and rituals which we need to adopt to be successful in the first ten weeks of the year will make us much, much, much healthier by the end of the year and hopefully far beyond that as well.

Healthy living should be a part of your life like brushing you teeth. Unfortunately healthy living is more like flossing, everyone knows that we should be doing it, we know the negative effects if we don’t, but unlike brushing our teeth, flossing hasn’t become a habit and therefore most people in the US simply don’t do it on a regular basis.

Here’s the good news, a series of studies have shown that by just getting off the couch of doom and making walking around, moving around, and exercising a part of your daily routine you will dramatically increase the years you will live as well as the quality of life in those years that you live.

Check out this great and entertaining video from Dr. Mike Evans that explains all of the scientific details:

That’s it. It’s that simple. Throughout the next ten weeks, many of you will be exploring a variety of behaviors that will help you lose weight in a healthy manner, and in the process you’ll probably also find a few that you thought would work but didn’t. This is the fun part, keep trying. Try a variety of things and use your network to seek out advice until you find what works for you. The thing to remember is that while you are trying all of these things out, keep moving. This alone will help make daily exercise a regular part of your daily routine and once its part of your routine, it’s really hard to strip it out.

 

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 1: I Weigh What?

HAPPY NEW YOU!

It’s January 9th and today we begin our 2012 10 in 10 Challenge.  Our goal? To lose 10 pounds in ten weeks and then, of course, to develop the habits and rituals necessary to keep improving on our new healthy and active lifestyles. As of last night we have 42 participants in this year’s challenge. That is OUTSTANDING. When everyone is successful, we will have collectively lost 420 pounds in just ten weeks.

A few tips to remember today. Whatever number shows up on the scale today, do not react, either positively or negatively. It is a number, like any other number. It is neither good nor bad, it is just a number, a starting point from which you will begin to measure your performance. Additionally, remember what you did today before your weigh-in as you’ll want to do the same thing each week, every week for the next ten weeks. Do your best to limit variety in this part of your challenge.

Chose a scale and stick with it.  If you can, pick a scale that you can control or one that will maintain stable performance over the next ten weeks. In past years, we’ve had people use their own scales, scales at gyms and even one person go into Restoration Hardware every week to get her weigh-in done. Whatever you do, recognize that scales need to be calibrated every so often, so its best to pick one scale and use the same one for the next ten weeks.

Do it at the same time of day. Your body will fluctuate a few pounds up or down throughout the day, so my advice is to weigh yourself in the morning, before you do anything else, including eating or working out.

Do it without clothes. For the lady at Restoration Hardware this might be a bit tricky, but do your best to stay consistent and not include the factor of different weights for different clothes. In fact, like most things in life, it is best to do your weigh in nekkid.

Limit any exogenous factors: What this means in plain English is reduce potential variability in your week-to-week weight at the time you’ll be doing your weigh-in from sweat loss, food weight gain, etc.

Putting all of these items together creates a scenario like this one – Weigh yourself every Monday first thing in the morning right after waking up, after using the facilities, using the locker room scale at the gym, wearing nothing, not eating or drinking anything beforehand.

That’s it. Happy New You!

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – The Wonder of Wonder, Joining a Running Club

While only tangentially related to the 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” we’ll all be starting tomorrow, January 9th, I thought this was worth mentioning. This morning I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I ran with a group of newbies, runners who for whatever reason have decided to do the work necessary to run and finish a marathon. Canton, Ohio will be hosting its own marathon this year and to prepare locals for this race, they’ve established the Canton Marathon Training Program. A sizable group primarily made up of wide-eyed newbies meet weekly to share in each others enthusiasm and anxiety, effectively balancing the outward expression that “anything is possible” mixed with an inward healthy dose of “what have I gotten myself into”.

Canton has a rich history of collegiate x-country running with perennial powers of Walsh University and Malone College right here in our backyard, but in the two plus years that I’ve lived here, I’ve seen the community evolve from no formal running groups to at least three main groups with their own identity and yet they are all open, inviting and embracing enough that members migrate seamlessly from one to another based on their schedule, their attitude and in some cases where they are in their training or recovery from an injury. Every community has to have a local running store to support a running community and nobody does this better than Shannon Bragg at Second Sole. Sporting a quick smile, an always encouraging comment and now his own version of a Sons of Anarchy Van Dyck, he’s visible at most every running event in the area.  Jason Vickers leads the first running group by sending out an innocuous email every evening to a group of fasties, unassumingly acting as the resident running cult leader for overachievers who get out there in the dark, ice and snow at 5am every morning to follow the Daniels Marathon training program, to do quality speedwork on some days as well as do an easy 8 miler at a 7 min/mile recovery pace on others. Always smiling, always joking Pete Dennis and Brian Daniska started the Jackson Running Group, an irreverent club which seems to subscribe to the belief that “we take our running seriously but not ourselves” and which is filled with folks both training hard to qualify for Boston as well as those-used-to be-runners like myself who struggle to maintain a 9 min/mile pace these days. But the Canton Marathon Training Club is the one for which I have the most appreciation, because we all started there, wondering what we were getting ourselves into and with the understanding that not finishing is still a possibility. As the years, races and miles pass underneath our feet, so do the memories of our first marathon. We take it for granted. And while we may find ourselves running with a single person who is dedicated to this goal, there is something spiritual and  cleansing about diving into a pool of those for whom all of this is still so new.

This morning I had no idea what to expect, in fact the reason I showed up initially was because a few weekends ago as I finished my own run around Lake Cable, I saw dozens of folks picking them up and putting them down in the pouring rain. This was the first time I’d seen so many people running together in our community. I had to see what this group was doing so well for having inspired so many. What I found when I showed up this morning was a training group fully committed to each others’ success and a very supportive staff. I went out and ran a few minutes chatting with their coach Matt Sidel, who has all of the qualities you look for in a group running coach. As he went off to chat with other runners, I found myself running with a lady named Amy who like most others is training for her first marathon. Her reason? It’s something she always thought would be cool to do but wasn’t sure she would be able to finish. The announcement of a local marathon in her backyard is all she need to dive in.

What’s beautiful about this is their innocence. A veteran marathoner’s reaction to a June marathon in Ohio humidity and heat may well be to file this under “What were they thinking?” There’s no way I’ll PR this race, it will be brutal and why would I torture myself like that. If you’re going to make me run a marathon in the summer there better be swim and bike segments attached. To a newbie, however, they aren’t thinking about any of this. They are simply excited to be able to prepare themselves to toe the start line, put one foot in front of the other and cross the finish line crossing this off their own list of items that people have said was not possible for them and yet they did it anyway. Their coaching staff can make sure they do this safely, all behind the scenes. To a newbie, there’s no difference between a hot marathon and a cold marathon because they have nothing to compare it to. This simplicity is quite refreshing, and for me running with this group this morning reminded me what I take for granted. It inspired me to add 8 hill intervals into the run to give me a few extra miles, but also to take advantage of being out there on a sunny 36 degree morning with a group of folks throwing off the positive energy that anything is possible today.  Maybe it’s because they are still so in awe of what we veteran marathons have already done, or maybe it’s just because this community is slowly but surely turning into a true running community for those of any ability. Either way, I got my own quality run in and had a blast doing it.

If you’ve been running for a few years or for all of your life, I strongly recommend finding a local running club to give a few miles back to those who are following in your own footsteps. And for those who are contemplating running a marathon at some point, do look for the local running club around you.

 

 

 

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 0: Start Moving!

For the first few days of this prep-week of the 10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge, we’ve been focusing on nutrition, which is all about optimizing calories-in to create energy. Today is all about how to use those calories and that extra energy to help you achieve your goals, including those related to losing a few pounds of extra fat this year.

This is going to be short and sweet focusing on five main points for you to remember:

Get out the doorDo something every day. Everything starts by lacing up your shoes, turning the knob and walking out the door. Consistency is more important than perfection. Doing a ten minute jog on a day you scheduled a 30-min run is still the better choice. You may not be happy, you may even be frustrated that your day didn’t go as planned but after you get out there I guarantee you will feel better physically, mentally and emotionally as you will have reinforced your commitment and kept your streak of consistency intact.

Keep it simple – Tied to the first point, it’s easier to stay consistent by choosing to get your workouts in as close as possible to your current routine and in a manner that requires little if any preparation. For example, if you want to join a gym, pick one that is either on your way to/from work or close to your home. If you have to go out of your way to get there, chances are, the inertia that has gotten you to this point will outweigh (get it “outweigh”) your better judgment and you won’t go. Similarly, select choices that are easy. Walking or running don’t add the complexity of putting on cleats, helmets and winter gear like cycling might. You can go to a gym in shorts and a t-shirt, while getting out into the snow might be more challenging.

Get the help you need – Take a realistic snapshot and ask yourself why you haven’t succeeded in the past and more importantly what are the factors that will help YOU to succeed this time? Now is the time to take up your friends on their offers to go with you on walks, your runs or to be your gym partner. You might feel embarrassed about doing this. Don’t. This is the role friends play and don’t be shy about asking new members of your community, such as others doing the 10 in 10 Challenge to help you as well. If they won’t join you, you’ll also know that they suck as a friend and you’ve saved yourself $30 on next year’s Christmas present. If you need scheduled appointments to help you, consider joining a gym that has group fitness or spinning classes, or join a running or cycling club that has weekly group workouts – there’s nothing like having  people depending on you showing up to overcome the desire to hit the snooze alarm.

Burn fat by building muscle – Yes, you need to do resistance training. For someone who has been living on the “couch of doom”, walking is resistance training because you are supporting your own weight which requires muscles to do it. If you’ve already stepped beyond that and don’t like the idea of lifting weights up and down, have no fear, check out the classes at your local gym and look for anything that says strength, Pilates, core, functional strength, boot camp, or something similar. These will all include significant amounts of old school pushups, situps, planks, jumps, squats, etc that will definitely count toward your muscle building goals AND build the stabilizer muscles at the same time. It’s this simple, the more muscle you  have, the hotter your fire and the more fat you burn, just by being you.

It’s much harder to burn fat when you’re injured – I know that you are all geeked up about achieving your objectives, but do keep things in moderation. If you’ve never even walked before on a regular basis, don’t start doing sprint or hill interval run workouts each of the next five days. You will get injured and it’s a whole lot harder to stay on target when you can’t walk without a limp. If you are starting from scratch, ease into it. If you already have a solid foundation, then remember to make your hard days hard and your easy days easy. If you are working out, then workout. If you are recovering, then recover. Your body will thank you, you will stay healthier and injury free and you will be true to the number one tenet here which is to emphasize routine and consistency above anything else.

Happy training!

 

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 0: bRING in the New Year with Healthy Snacks!

Now that you spent yesterday clearing out your refrigerator and cupboards of the crap in it, it’s time to continue our preparation week for the 2012 10 in 10 Challenge by filling up some of the empty shelf space with healthy snacks and ingredients, the types of the foods that result in increased energy and a healthier feeling you. There are a thousand references available to help you understand what you should eat, why you should eat it and what it will do for you. If you do this right, you will maximize the amount of weight you lose as well as maximize your body’s performance. To simplify and summarize all of this for you, I’ll provide you with six key things to remember:

  • Eat light and often
  • Shift to a nutrient-dense plant-based diet
  • Reduce the size of your portions
  • Increase the number of small meals throughout the day
  • Eat protein, PH balancing foods and low glycemic foods first
  • Don’t ignore your cravings

We’ll cover each of these in more detail in the weeks to come. To start, your objective should be to put energy producing foods into your system by eating light and often. This should be your mantra for the next ten weeks and beyond – light and often. By starting this week, you’ll get your body prepared and you’ll initiate the behaviors necessary for you to accomplish this one simply goal. From a physiological standpoint, you want to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels as constant as possible, avoiding any wild swings by either starving yourself or binging. If dripping nutrients into your system through an IV was practical, I’d recommend that, but since it isn’t, set yourself up for success by having light healthy snacks readily available for you. Put them where you will need them. Don’t give yourself any excuse not to eat them, in short time, you’ll grab them willingly but for now reduce any barriers to adopting that which might be a new behavior for you.

In my experience, there are two types of eaters, those who prepare foods and those who don’t. Being a road warrior, I’m clearly in the latter category. If you’ve never been a food preparer, and you have the urge, go for it. If you find it relaxing, you’ll get an added benefit. But if it gets in the way or creates anxiety for you, realize that there’s probably a reason why you haven’t done it to this point so during this transition period, start by changing what you eat rather than how you prepare it. Regardless if you are a food preparer or a food purchaser, to help you along, our good friend, accomplished triathlete and holistic nutritionist Christine Lynch has prepared a list of foods and ingredients based on the type of eater you are:

List #1 For the Food Preparers – Key Ingredients for Your Shopping List

  1. kale (or another leafy green veggie that you haven’t tried)
  2. quinoa
  3. acorn squash (or another root vegetable)
  4. lentils
  5. toasted sesame oil
  6. salmon
  7. coconut oil
  8. tempeh
  9. berries
  10. coconut oil

List #2 for the Food Purchasers – Healthy Snack Ideas (first identify whether you are craving crunchy, sweet, salty, or creamy)

  1. (crunchy) -  crunchy crudités of veggies and dip (hummus, tabouli, vinaigrette, favorite dressing)
  2. (crunchy) -  light popcorn or plain popcorn: use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan
  3. (sweet) - apples and almond butter
  4. (sweet) -  fruit “ice cream”: peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or raisins and serve; can be put through the screen of a juicer for a creamier consistency.
  5. (sweet) - organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips
  6. (salty) - salted edamame
  7. (salty) – olives, pickles
  8. (salty) -  tabouli, hummus
  9. (creamy) – mashed sweet potato
  10. (creamy) – avocado

Snacks are usually between 100-150 calories max and you want to eat them approximately every three hours. Never let yourself go longer than four hours without eating.

Christine will be providing additional tips each week throughout the 10 in 10 Challenge to help with preparing great meals with the ingredients listed above, and if you want personal advice or help setting up your own nutritional plan, reach out to her directly. You can find her blog at www.holisticguru.blogspot.com.

Remember, that today is about filling your refrigerator and your spirit as you continue to prepare not only for the beginning of your 10 in 10 Challenge journey but for the rest of your healthy life. Don’t be afraid to try new things and have some fun with it. One thing you might also do is “Like” #i8this on facebook. It’s a fun place where people just like you post photos and comments about what new foods they are trying and their reactions to them. Essentially it’s a place that encourages you to “Play with your Food”.

Happy snacking!

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 0: Throw out the CRAP!

 

Yesterday we started our preparation week for the 2012 “10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge” by going through the registration process. You can read that by going here. Remember, the 10 in 10 Challenge begins on January 9th with the first of ten weekly weigh-ins.

To give yourself the best opportunity for success, we’re spending this week or Week 0 preparing ourselves and our environment for success.

With the holidays behind us, undoubtedly there are Sees Candy boxes, cookies, ice cream, chocolate covered raisins and gift baskets filled with a variety of sweets laying around your home. Today is the day to THROW THE CRAP OUT!

I know that you feel compelled to finish it all off because there are children starving in Africa, but they’d prefer for the US to have money that can be spent on entrepreneurial efforts like Toby Tanser’s Shoe4Africa than by you eating the extra five thousand calories that are laying around tempting you.

It’s time. Your body will thank you, your mind will thank you, your heart will thank you and at the end of the ten week challenge, you will thank you for setting yourself up for success. Go through your refrigerator and cupboards, and pull out anything that isn’t “healthy”. Look for hidden gems. For me, it’s chocolate. Anything chocolate has to go. I’ve learned this from experience that there are some people that can do things in moderation and there are others who are straight up sugar addicts – I’m the latter.

For everything there is a time and as “Uncle Bob” would say “Time’s up!” when it comes to the crap lying around your home. Think of it like the common ceremony of supporting your child as he or she throws their binky into a fire signifying that they are no longer a baby. It’s pretty much the same. For some of you, this will be tough to do, and I can only tell you that simply by doing this one act (and of course by not refilling the coffers with crap) you will avoid putting on 7-15 pounds of fat next year. That’s just grazing fat because the stuff is there.

So enjoy your Tuesday, grab a trash bag and strip your kitchen and your life of anything that is unnecessary and bad for you. Uh oh, I think I hear Cindy calling with a man-sized trash bag of her own. Hope it isn’t meant for me. See you tomorrow!

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