Energize- What it is and why I’m obsessed

If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you know how much I love my mysterious yellow powder every morning:

13735674_1751175281800035_3226257933566180334_o

I have tried so many pre-workouts: C4, Super HD, No X-Plode, something that was in a green bottle that was recalled because it contained lead (no lie), and while I’m always all for a boost of energy, I’m not all for the effects I noticed with some pre-workouts.

Here’s the deal (for me):

Energize DOES:

  • Give me a noticeable boost within about 10 minutes of taking it
  • Give me a slight tingling in my arms and hands as it kicks in
  • Lengthen the amount of time I can work out without feeling fatigued
  • Get me talking (I’ll talk Justin’s ear off after taking it)
  • Taste really, really good- very similar to lemon-lime Gatorade

Energize DOES NOT:

  • Make me sick to my stomach
  • Make my ears/ face itch
  • Make me crash
  • Make me cranky a few hours later
  • Make me feel like I can hear colors/ see sounds (Super HD, that was fun, but I am not Bradley Cooper in Limitless, and the way I felt 45 minutes later just wasn’t worth it, not even a little bit)

Do you have a favorite pre-workout?

Want to chat about Energize? Click here and shoot me a message!

 

Advertisements

Vanilla Protein Peanut Butter Cups

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far. Here’s a little not-so-bad for you sweet treat that I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

You’ll need:

IMG_8696

  • Vanilla Shakeology
  • Coconut Oil
  • All-Natural Peanut Butter
  • Muffin cups

Instructions:

IMG_8697

Melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in the microwave.

IMG_8698

Add 4 tablespoons Shakeology and stir- consistency should be pourable, adjust as needed.

Add approximately 1/2 inch layer of Shakeology mixture to bottom of each muffin cup. Place in freezer until solid (2-3 minutes).

IMG_8699

Add 1 tsp peanut butter to each muffin cup, top with remaining Shakeology mixture.

Freeze until solid (about 10 minutes).

IMG_8700

Enjoy!

Are you whipping up anything delicious this weekend? I’d love to hear about it!

#TransformationTuesday- The Mental Stuff

I shared the following on Instagram today, and wanted to elaborate here.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.43.37 PM

Today’s#transformationtuesday is a mental one- not a physical one. I had an early appointment this morning. I have a long, full day at work, filled with deadlines and ends that need to be tied up. I have 15 coaches on my list that I need to check in with today. I have a glance into coaching group starting next week that I need to create. I have two challengers who are getting started today and need my help. A year ago, having such a full day would have caused me to do what I thought was “simplifying.” I would have skipped my workout, skipped breakfast (to save time), ran on coffee and takeout, and collapsed, tired and anxious, when it was all done. Now… I know how much more productive and pleasant I will be if I put my well being first. Clean lunch (chicken salad, blueberries, banana, Shakeo) was packed last night. Breakfast was made at home. The workout will happen the mi it’s I get home- before I open my laptop or respond to texts. Consistency is hardest, and therefore most important, on days like this.

I used to think I was doing myself favors by doing more in less time. By skipping breakfast, I could get a few more things done around the house and get to work a few minutes early. The other side of that is I would be crazy hungry and therefore have trouble concentrating on anything from 10 a.m. to noon. By skipping my workout, I was able to mindlessly decompress by watching tv. The other side of that is I would wake up anxious and antsy (yet somehow even more tired) because I didn’t take the time to move my body and get my endorphins flowing. By giving myself the short end of the stick, I felt that I could offer more to others.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’m NOT saying that we should always put ourselves first- I don’t believe that- however, I am saying that self-care cannot come in last place. When we don’t love and take care of ourselves, how can we possibly help those around us? When we’re tired and run down, no one is getting our best. The people around us are getting the short end of the stick… and we end up feeling miserable.

Bottom line: If you want to give others your best, you must start by treating yourself with respect.

How I Make Morning Workouts Happen

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

We all have the best of intentions when it comes to morning workouts. The alarm is set, and you go to bed with visions of getting it all out of the way before the sun comes up. Then… it happens. You hit snooze, and you hit snooze again. You figure out what time you have to be at work, subtract how long it takes to drive there, and figure out exactly how late you can sleep. Then exactly how late you can sleep if you don’t wash your hair. Then exactly how late you can sleep if you don’t put much makeup on. Tell me I’m not alone!

Over the past few months, I’ve become a regular morning exerciser, and it’s been so nice to come home after work and know that I my workout is done and all I need to do is… everything else that I need to do, ha!

Here’s what works for me. The more I have done the night before, the less overwhelmed I feel when I wake up, and the more likely I am to get moving. As with so many things in life, the key is in the preparation!

The Night Before:

  • Load and run the dishwasher (for some reason my life feels so much more organized when the sink is empty- I don’t know why, but knowing that the sink is empty makes me more likely to get up)
  • Lay out both workout clothes AND work clothes in the closet
  • Plug in computer and have it set up in front of the TV (since I stream Beachbody On Demand for my workouts)
  • Put Energize on the counter, put cup on the counter, make sure Brita is full in the fridge
  • Pack lunch for next day, put full lunchbox in the fridge

The Morning Of: 

  • Text my accountability parter at the agreed upon time to make sure we’re both getting our workout in (I can’t say enough how valuable this is)
  • Get dressed, get out of the bedroom, turn some lights on
  • Drink Energize and KEEP MOVING (laundry, put dishes away, let the dog out, whatever- just dont lie down)
  • After 10 minutes, whether I feel like it or not, the workout HAS to begin.

What works for you? How do you get moving for those super early workout sessions? I’d love to hear your tips!

Ready to start your own program? I’d love to talk over some options with you! Click here to message me so we can get you started!

 

Lazy Sunday

Today has been the most perfect, lazy Sunday. I love making the most of my weekends, but sometimes you need a day to just lay around and recharge, you know?

I got up much later than usual and got this pretty lady out for a morning walk. Because of her mouth issue, she can only go for about 20 minutes until she’s pooped, especially when it’s super hot out, like today. What a trooper!

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 8.08.43 PM

After that, I cut up some cherries for breakfast- why must cherries be such a labor-intensive fruit?! I guess that’s a good thing, though, because it stops me from eating the entire bag at once.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 8.06.02 PM

Scooped up some Energize out of my almost- empty container (come on UPS- show up tomorrow), got my workout in with Cize, checked in with my challengers and coaches, and wrapped up my Sunday power hour! Power hours are so productive on the weekends… because they often turn into two or three hours, and I don’t mind in the least. I love getting super productive and losing track of time.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 8.05.55 PM

Had this amazing salad for lunch! Garlic soy grilled chicken topped with a little Sweet Baby Ray’s over greens- so good. It’s amazing how the Refresh reset my tastes when it comes to sugar- I couldn’t believe how sweet this salad tasted!

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 8.06.09 PM

Time to get dinner started- honey bbq chicken thighs on the grill over broccoli 🙂 Yum!

I hope you had a fabulous Sunday! What was the best thing you ate today?

3 Day Refresh RESULTS!

100% DONE.

And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

For anyone who hasn’t been following me over the past few days, I’ve been completing the 3 Day Refresh- a program that focuses on resetting your body for clean eating, getting garbage out and and getting loads of vitamins and hydration in. Was it always easy? No. Was it worth it? Totally.

A few people have asked me if I was hungry the whole time- not. at. all. The first day was rough with hunger, but I’m pretty sure that was actually my sugar cravings hard at work due to the “throw caution to the wind” way I had been eating on vacation during the previous week.

THE RESULTS:

Starting weight (Wednesday morning): 137.8

Ending weight (Saturday morning): 133.2

High points: If you follow me on Facebook, you already know- the morning of day 3 (and, really, the morning of day 4) feel incredible. You feel lighter in the best way, cravings are gone, skin looks great, energy is high. I can totally understand why someone would do this multiple times. You know that feeling you have when you eat a ton of garbage and feel like a slug (kind of like I felt after my Oreos-dipped-in-Nutella binge on vacation)? The high points of the Refresh are like the opposite of that feeling.

Low points: End of day 1 was my lowest point, no doubt about it. If I hadn’t told my fellow coaches that I was doing the Refresh, I would have quit. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that the vast majority of them have already done it. I would have felt like a piece of crap leader if I couldn’t do it too (thanks ladies for all your cheerleading along the way). As far as the day-to-day, I found that late afternoon was a little bit tough, but this was only due to poor planning on my part. I should have brought my afternoon snack to work with me instead of having it when I got home.

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t see significant change in such a short period of time, but… looks like it all worked out (before on top, after on bottom):

3DR results

I will definitely be doing this again after holidays and vacations. It took that “I’ve got to get back on track” thing that can take months and squashed it into 3 days. Crazy happy with this process and the results.

Ready to refresh yourself? Send me a message, and let’s chat!

3 Day Refresh- Day 3

Allllllmost there!

Today has been so much easier than Days 1 & 2. I woke up with renewed energy and felt fabulous. I’ve heard that this tends to happen on day 3, but with the way I felt on days 1 & 2, I didn’t really believe it… but it’s oh-so true. I now completely understand why people do this every few months- day 3 (and therefore, I would imagine, the days following day 3) feels incredible.

Here’s how today played out:

Breakfast– Vanilla Shakeology, cup of coffee (totally out of habit- oh well!), 4 cups water

FullSizeRender 8

Mid-morning– Fiber Sweep, plus 3 additional cups of water. Was not at all sad to throw away this last empty packet!

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 6.01.11 PM

Lunch– Vanilla fresh shake, 1/2 c. black cherries, 1 c. steamed veggies topped with salt, cumin, and 2 tbs olive oil (it’s crazy how filling veggies are when they’re topped with healthy fat- I’m going to remember that when this is over and use it to my advantage)

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 6.01.03 PM

Mid-afternoon– 1 c. salad, 2 tbs hummus (may have been more like 3 tbs hummus), plus 2 cups water.

Dinner– Vanilla fresh shake, 1 c. salad, 2 tbs hummus

Here’s how we’re feeling today:

Energy

Amanda- 10 (seriously- maybe more like 11)

Justin- 6

Hunger (1 being the lowest, 10 being highest)

Amanda- 2 (it’s completely flip-flopped)

Justin- 8 (womp womp- maybe this is a little tougher for guys!)

Mood

Amanda- Light, happy, at ease.

Justin- Good!

If you’re on Day 1 or 2 of the Refresh right now- hang in there! I can’t wait to hear how you feel on Day 3!

Interested in doing a Refresh of your own? Click here and send me a message!

3 Day Refresh- Day 2

66% done!

Today has been much easier than yesterday! The hunger has eased, the cravings have almost ceased, and the energy is up! Here’s how today broke down:

Breakfast: Vanilla Shakeology with half a banana, 1 c. water, 4 ice cubes. 2 additional cups of water.

Late Morning: Fiber Sweep- and the tips that some Facebook friends told me yesterday made all the difference! Stirring/ swirling the sweep in the cup between gulps makes it so much easier to get down, and that way, it’s not all gross at the bottom.

Lunch: Steamed veggies seasoned with salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 3 cups of water. It was so freaking cold in my office today that I couldn’t wait to get warmed up! Normally, I would have been craving a latte, but steamed veggies did the trick! Also had a Vanilla Fresh shake (just shaken with water- no blender at work).

Afternoon: These little devil berries (the caption says it all), plus 3 cups of water:

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 7.01.04 PM

Dinner: Vanilla Fresh shake blended with mango, water, and ice, Salad with 1 tbs of hummus, and 1 tbs of almond butter, straight out of the jar.

Here’s how we’re feeling today:

Energy (1 low, 10 high)

Amanda- 6.

Justin- 8.

Hunger

Amanda- 3. SO much better than yesterday.

Justin- 10.

Mood

Amanda- Clear headed, calm.

Justin- Tired, relaxed.

Just one more day to go!

Interested in doing a 3 Day Refresh of your own? I’d love to coach you through it! Click here and send me a message.

#TransformationTuesday- My Story

 

The highlight reel.

We’ve all heard this term, right? It’s meant to remind us that when we read blogs and scroll through social media, we’re seeing the parts of life that others want us to see. The perfect birthday parties, the homemade sushi, the cocktail garnished with garden fresh herbs, the perfectly posed after-workout selfie. Rarely do we see pictures of piles of laundry that went unfinished, greasy Chinese containers on the counter, or workout calendars with tons of unchecked boxes.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing positive things- we all do it- but rarely do they paint the whole picture. Thinking about this made me want backtrack a little bit and share my fitness story. I don’t want you to think that I was always some 5 am- wakeup- do a workout- post pictures- drink a shake- pack a healthy lunch person, because nothing could be further from the truth.

transformationtuesday

November 2014

I was a 6th grade science teacher at a charter school in Philly, and I was subsisting mostly on coffee (large iced, 7 pumps of mocha, 7 packets of Equal, extra milk- I can’t make this stuff up) and Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwiches, with the occasional Wawa turkey on white, oil and vinegar, provolone… stuffed with Doritos and polished off with a king size candy bar.

I was perpetually exhausted. My sleep schedule was erratic. I stayed up too late, woke up too early (only because I had to- my workload was not manageable for me), and was riddled with anxiety and irritability. I would come home exhausted, give myself yet another jolt of caffeine and sugar, toss and turn all night, wake up exhausted… you get the picture.

One day, while I was teaching my students, I got a text from my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Justin, telling me that we got orders, and we were going to be moving. Fun thing about the military: they’re not too keen on unmarried couples moving together. We had already planned on getting married in 2015, and we couldn’t bear the thought of Justin leaving and me not coming along (<3) so we changed up our timeline. We got engaged just before Christmas, and we went into overdrive and planned a wedding for January 31, 2015. I was so excited, but also felt an incredible amount of stress. I was quitting my job, finding a new one, leaving the city that had become my home, getting married (into the military, no less), and moving 7 hours from my family.

I wish I could say I dealt with this stress in a healthy way… but that would be such a crock! As my stress increased, so did every unhealthy habit I had. I ate more garbage (shout out to Pizza Hut), guzzled more caffeine, exercised even less, slept less, drank more. I was looking for stress relief in the wrong places, and I didn’t find it.

February 2015

On February 15th, we moved to Dayton. The next day, Justin went to work. I did not, because I didn’t have a job. Instead, I puttered around my empty house and tried to busy myself.  I wanted to make friends, but was too nervous to put myself out there, so instead, I binge watched Army Wives on Netflix in hopes that I would find something semi-realistic that I could relate to so I’d feel less alone.  I would wait and wait with anticipation for Justin to come home for lunch. I would eat when he was there, and I would eat again after he left. I remember going through an entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in one day on more than one occasion.

I was feeling like garbage, yet again. I heard about this thing called Diet Bet, and asked Justin if he wanted to give it a try with me. At that point, I’m pretty sure he would have done anything to snap me out of my funk. We did a few rounds and lost a few pounds, which was exciting, but what I was doing wasn’t sustainable. It was a lot of crash dieting right before the deadline, only to gain those pounds back after the submission day.

While scrolling on Facebook, I noticed one of my friends made a post about a clean eating group. I didn’t know what clean eating was, but the concept sounded so… refreshing, especially compared to what I was doing. I called my friend and asked her to fill me in, and she talked to me about how clean eating focuses on a diet consisting of whole, real food- not packaged stuff. I remember feeling a little confused at first. If I wasn’t eating packaged food… what could I eat? What else was there?

I knew I had to do SOMETHING, so I joined the next clean eating group she was a part of. I knew that the group was Beachbody-related, but I didn’t know Beachbody from Advocare/ Herbalife/ Isagenix/ Slim Fast/ South Beach Diet, honestly. I started to get the hang of it- Ezekiel bread replaced hamburger buns. Eggs were served with salt, pepper, and sriracha instead of piles of cheese. Turkey replaced beef, a shake replaced pancakes, and daily walks replaced TV time (at least once in awhile).

April 2015

I saw progress eating clean- my energy was up a little, and so was my overall mood. After the ended, I didn’t want to stop. I talked to the leader of the group and asked if she was running anything else, and she asked me to join her challenge group. All of the women in the group seemed to be doing programs, and I remembered that, years before, in a moment of I-don’t-even-know-what, I had ordered Insanity off of an infomercial. I found the box, dusted it off (literally) and put the DVD in the Xbox. I was only trying the workout so I could be like the other girls in the group.

That first workout sucked. There’s no other way to put it. I had to take break, after break, after break. My asthma was a mess. My stomach hurt. I didn’t have a good time. I was annoyed by the women in the video because who looks like that?! Regardless, I saw the women in my challenge group posting their sweaty selfies and pushing through their workouts, day after day, so I did too.

Then, something weird happened- I completed the entire first month of the program.

There was something magical to me about that 30 day mark- I felt like I had accomplished something big. I realized that just as these women in my challenge group had motivated me to make a change, maybe, maybe,  I could motivate other women to make a change as well. I had always been pretty good at motivating students, so perhaps I’d be good at this too?

I talked to the coach running the group and got myself signed up, with no idea what I was doing. I plodded along for months, sometimes telling others about my workouts, sometimes getting really into eating clean, sometimes ordering pizza three nights a week, sometimes following a program, sometimes not, and saw very slow, yet consistent, progress in my own fitness.

December 2015

We were at home in Northeastern Pennsylvania visiting with my parents, and my mom had a Beachbody package show up. It was supposed to be Turbo Fire, a program she wanted to try, and instead, it was… the 21 Day Fix? Total shipping error. I got on with our customer service team for her, they sent her the correct program, and told her to go ahead and keep the Fix. She wasn’t particularly interested in it, and I felt like I should give it a go, simply because I was a coach and lots of coaches did it.

I took out the little containers and couldn’t believe how small they were. I downloaded the app and stuck to the plan (for the most part- there were two pizza nights, if I recall correctly). I drank my water, got consistent with my Shakeology, and stayed on top of my workouts.

That shipping mistake changed EVERYTHING.

Those stubborn pounds that had been hanging around for a year began to melt away. My energy levels soared. My anxiety decreased. I was sleeping like a baby and waking up with intense energy, no caffeine required. My mind was clear, I was decisive, and within a few days, my cravings were gone. The payoff I got from eating crap was no longer worth the consequence.

July 2016

Now, after many rounds of the 21 Day Fix (as well as a round of 21 Day Fix Extreme) as well as a handful of other programs (major shout out to Cize) I’m closer to my goals than I ever have been in my adult life, and I’ve done it in a healthy, sustainable way. I still eat crap sometimes. I am not perfect. There are nights when I don’t get enough sleep. There are days when my workout doesn’t happen. Takeout is still a thing in my house.

All those things being said… most nights, I do get enough sleep. Most days, I get my workout in (bonus point- it usually happens in the morning!). Most days, all of my food is home cooked and clean.

For some people, lifestyle overhauls happens overnight. For me, that wasn’t the case. Please remember, if you’re taking steps to be healthier every day, you’re moving in the right direction. If you’re making progress, no matter how small, you’re moving in the right direction. If you’re feeling happier, less anxious, more energetic, and less controlled by food, you are moving in the right direction. 

I’d love to hear about your fitness story!

Ready to get your story started? Let’s do this. Click here to send me a message!

 

6 Ways to Break a Plateau

Stuck in a plateau? I totally know the feeling- I was there myself a few weeks ago! Plateaus are when sticking to the plan becomes so, so hard. SO MANY PEOPLE give up/ fall off as soon as the progress stops or slows. I get it- You’re eating right, you’re working hard, you’re planning your meals, you’re tracking… and the scale stays the same! Of course, progress is not all about the scale. If you have more energy/ your clothes are fitting better/ you’re feeling less stressed, you’re making progress! Sometimes, though, we want to see those numbers move, and I totally get that. Chalene Johnson, the mastermind behind PiYo and The Chalene Show, went over some tips that helped me break through my last plateau. I’ve included some of hers as well as some of mine below. Hooray for these things helping get back to the 130s!

Tip #1: Sleep

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 3.52.14 PM

Stella does what she wants.

Sometimes, to lose more, you have to do less. That’s counterintuitive, right? When we aren’t getting enough sleep, our stress hormones build in our bodies and make it more difficult for us to drop fat. Some things that are helping me get more sleep are not eating past 7 (makes me restless at night if I eat later), shutting off the Netflix at a set time (anyone else tend to lay there and suddenly realize it’s 11:30?), and having a set routine that lets my body know that the day is winding down. Bonus: Those morning workouts come a LOT easier after a solid 7 or 8 hours asleep.

Tip #2: Water

So important, so simple, and so easy to forget. I’ve found it helpful to drink a full glass of water with a little bit of lime juice immediately after my morning workout, and another one on my way to work. This gets about half of my water out of the way for the day. Even if I forget to pick up another glass for the entire workday, I’ve already gotten a ton in. This makes me less prone to cravings, and it does wonders for my skin.

Tip #3: Workout Change

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 3.55.21 PM

Want to see how strong your communication skills are with your significant other? Rent one of these bad boys.

Every once in awhile, you have to switch. it. up. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your enthusiasm for working out comes back once you get some different muscle groups moving. I loved 22 Minute Hard Corps, but as soon as I implemented some of these tips and threw CIZE into the mix, the pounds started falling off again. This has worked for me in the past as well!

Tip #4: Breakfast Like A King

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 3.49.35 PM

Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper. If you’re anything like I was about a year ago, you have this totally backwards. I get it. It’s nice to look forward to a big dinner after a stressful day at work, but when you’re packing in the food at the end of the day, you’re more likely to a) sit on the couch and watch tv all evening and b) have disrupted sleep. Increase the size of breakfast, decrease the size of dinner, and there’s a good chance that the scale will get moving again. I’ve found that a big plate of eggs, salsa and cheese for breakfast, a medium size lunch, and Shakeology plus a lean protein source works really well for me (along with snacks throughout the day, of course).

Tip #5 Workout Break

This one comes directly from Chalene- sometimes, your body needs a rest, and that is not something to feel guilty about. A lot of us (especially those of us in the coaching profession) have a tendency to bounce from program to program without really giving our bodies a break. It’s ok to take a week or two off and just do walking, or just do yoga, or just do nothing! Sometimes your body needs to rest to move forward.

Tip #6: Manage Stress

IMG_7102

Is there anything that relieves stress like curling up with a dog? Nope!

Meditate. Go for sunset walks. Hug your pet. Watch a favorite show. Re-read a book you love. Call your mom. Visit your BFF. Cook a favorite recipe. Listen to calming music. When your body is stress, all of your energy goes to that stress. Let go and you’ll help your body let go of the weight too.

Have you ever dealt with a plateau? How did you get through it?

Want to chat health and fitness? Click here and send me a message. 

Follow me on IG.