Workout Plan (and other lessons learned)

Holy Moly! I had grand plans to do it all today! I was going to go to work for a couple of client’s personal training sessions, get in my own workout, get my grocery shopping done, all my food prep done, write an epic post for you with a beautifully designed workout plan that came completely from my own programming, and get to sleep by 8:30 p.m. (since I wake up at 4:30 am). Unfortunately I made it all the way through grocery shopping and a teeny tiny bit of food prepping from the meal plan that I put out yesterday and then stalled out. I decided to make the creamy chicken pot pie soup, and double the recipe so that my family could have some for dinner too (check it out here). So, if you set out to make this soup, let’s just say that I now have a few pointers to pass along.

*If you’re roasting your own chicken, choose a bigger whole fryer chicken from the store and roast it yourself. Then keep the bones in your freezer until you’re ready to make bone broth. (I’m obsessed with bone broth! We’ll talk about that soon.)

I learned this next tip the hard way:

*Steam your cauliflower and cut up all of your veggies, before you are ready to actually make your soup. This isn’t really a measure and prep the ingredients as you go kind of recipe. If you do it like that (like I did), you’ll end up with a hint of burn’t flavor (which is super lame since I made a double batch)!

*Don’t forget to stir frequently!

*If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend that you purchase this veggie chopper. It’s an absolute game changer in speeding up the chopping process!

Let’s change subjects…

Given the current COVID environment, and the impact it has had on gyms, rec centers, etc. I want to tell you about some of my favorite exercise equipment that I have here at home. A majority of these you can find fairly inexpensive, but will still be able to get in a killer workout (especially if your gym is operating at limited capacity and on a first come first serve reservation system…).

First, resistance bands. These bad boys are so awesome because you can get many of the same muscle strengthening and building movements that you’d find on the expensive equipment at the gym. They’re effective at targeting calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, shoulders, and arms.

I also love using these resistance cables will effectively replace the cable machines you’ll find in the gym. The variety of exercises you can do with these cables are huge! They’ll hit every muscle group, and you can increase or decrease the resistance simply by adding or subtracting cables to the handles.

The newest addition to my own stash of home workout equipment are these gliding disks. I love gliding disks, so much! There are some really killer core, chest, and leg exercises that you can do with these!

Yoga balls are so great to have around. They’re awesome for core and stability strength. I’ll show you some fun core and gluteus exercises with these in the not too distant future (and your kids will love playing with them too!).

The next items on the list are a bit more spendy, starting with my most favorite piece of at home exercise equipment: The TRX (thank you Santa for bringing me mine)! This is a form of suspension training and with it, you can target every single muscle group with these cables. You can also get an awesome cardio workout with these!

If you’re comfortable going even bigger with your spending, these adjustable dumbbells are the best to have at home! My hubby gifted these to me a handful of years ago, and they have been one of my most favorite gifts ever (If you want to save some monies, see if you can’t cash in on someone who has already given up on their New Years resolution and check to see if you can find them used, think Facebook Marketplace).

I will be highlighting different exercises that can be performed with all of these pieces of equipment in the coming weeks.


As for this week’s workout, I’m going to do this a little bit different than planned. I’ll show you what I did for my own workout, this morning, and what I’ve planned for Tuesday. But then I’m going to highlight other awesome trainer’s workout program creations for the Wednesday through Friday’s workouts. I mean, good sleep is a very important part of the weight loss journey so sometimes a girl’s got to prioritize that over digging deep to create her own original workouts. But don’t worry, that which I’ll be pulling from the World Wide Web to show you will be workouts that I am going to commit to completing for myself those days as well!

Here’s what I did for my killer leg day workout this morning. I did this at the gym, but it can be done at home with some weights.

Monday:

30 minutes cardio (get your heart rate up! A good measure of if your heart is pumping is it should be difficult to carry on a conversation)

Leg day:

  • Equipment needed: Dumbbells

Superset 1

Superset 2

Superset 3

Tuesday:

  • 30 minutes cardio, including 15 minutes of HIIT 
  • For 15 minutes of this cardio session, rotate between 1 minute of really high intensity (think above level 9 on your cardio machine, can barely get a word or two out between breaths), and 1 minute of really low intensity to get your heart rate back down.

Chest and abdominals day: (yes, even women need to strengthen their chest muscles)

  • Equipment needed: Dumbbells
  • Repeat each superset 1-4 times based on current conditioning level 

Exercises:

Wednesday:

  • 30 minutes cardio(get your heart rate up! It should be difficult to carry on a conversation)

Back day: (repeat this video 1-3 times based on your current condition level)

Thursday:

  • 30 minutes cardio, including 15 minutes of HIIT 
  • For 15 minutes of this cardio session, rotate between 1 minute of really high intensity (think above level 9 on your cardio machine, can barely get a word or two out between breaths), and 1 minute of really low intensity to get your heart rate back down.

Arm day: (repeat this video anywhere between 1-4 times based on your current condition level)

Friday:

  • 30 minutes cardio (get your heart rate up! It should be difficult to carry on a conversation)
  • Shoulder day: (repeat this video anywhere from 1-4 times, based on your current condition level)

That’s it for tonight! I’m practically falling asleep at my keyboard! I’m looking forward to finishing my weekly meal prep tomorrow, (hopefully without any additional burn’t foods that are going to have to last me all week), along with getting these plans in motion.

Also coming tomorrow, watch for a new post where I break down some of the nutrition jargon that you hear floating around out there (and that I’ve even used here in my posts).

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Chronicles of the Two Voices Inside My Head – Installment #1

Client Amy: 

Ugggggghhhhh! 2020 was not good for my waistline! In March and April I let myself stress eat without abandon.  Don’t get me wrong, the covid baking was pretty epic! That star shaped bread! How cool was that!?!? Oh and all the different kinds of cookies, and homemade pizzas (Now forever nicknamed pandemic pizza in our house). It really was a delicious year!

Then there’s the whole thing about the binge eating disorder that has been a constant companion for the majority of my life.  That one bears some weight! I mean, I’m a personal trainer and nutritionist for crying out loud! I should know better! I do know better! But you put even one morsel of almost anything sugar in my mouth and it’s, “Sorry family, you can have one or two but the rest are mine and I’m going to eat them all in one sitting!” (Or let’s be real, hidden in the pantry or the other room when no one is watching). What the heck is that!?!? 

That comes and goes in spurts. Sometimes the mindfulness to eat strategically feels easy. But quite frequently, my focus on strategic eating is derailed faster than I can eat a box of mint chocolate truffles. That happened a lot in 2020!

Finally, there was an incident in October with a 15 pound medicine ball which left me with a broken nose and a concussion that I’m still feeling the effects of two months later.  I’ve had to take time off of exercise to let my brain heal.  Normally, exercise is my jam. Like seriously, one of my most favorite past times. I can usually combat the weight gain from binge eating because of my love for a good long sweat session with the weights or running the trails. But since there was a good solid month without exercise, and with an overabundance of emotional eating I can visibly see the extra bloat I accrued in November. My favorite jeans are almost too tight to wear, and my muffin top is ridiculous! Like I said before, 2020 has made me fat!

Trainer Amy:

Okay, first things first, are you really a victim to the year 2020? Yes, certain circumstances were hard, but the difficulties you faced never forced you to gravitate toward the kitchen when you weren’t actually hungry. They never force fed you when your emotions were heightened. You have the power to choose your own actions.  We’ll have a nice chat another time about overcoming the victim mentality, but since we can’t change the past, what do you want the future to look like?

Client Amy:

(Sighs) No, you’re right. The past is behind me. What I want is to feel better in my own skin.  I want to not be at the front of the exercise class that I teach feeling insecure because there are folks in the class who are in better shape than I am.  I want to feel like I have power over food, and not the other way around.  I want to go to bed at night without the chastisement from my thoughts as I think back on the day’s food consumption with regret. I want to eat holistically and feel the powerful healing that takes place from nourishing my body with the nutrients that it thrives on, and not be hindered by the excess junk food.  I want to follow the rules of nutrition which provide the natural consequence of a healthy body. And since I’m human, I want to like the way that I look. I want to lose 15-20 pounds!

Trainer Amy:

I can absolutely help you with this! 

Client Amy:

Awesome! What’s the game plan? Keto? Intermittent fasting? Whole30? Jump start with a detox cleanse?

Trainer Amy:

Woah! Slow down! While you do have the knowledge on the ins and outs of these nutritional approaches, they all fall in the category of extreme dieting.  Since we know that you have binge eating tendencies, taking on an extreme approach will never get you to your end goal.  You’ll fall into the exact same trap that you’ve been unable to escape every time you’re re-committed to losing weight again. (We will be utilizing some intermittent fasting, but in general, that is not the best approach for the binge eater to take frequently).

Client Amy:

I’m listening.

Trainer Amy:

First, because you have been all over the place with your food intake, we need to do a little bit of metabolism correction. We’ll start by having you eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day.  This will help to condition your body to digest and metabolize nutrients in smaller quantities on a more frequent basis. This process will train your metabolism to speed up. Plus, you like eating all the time, so this approach is good for you!

There will be a little bit of emphasis on calorie quantity.  We’ll talk more about this later too, but you’ll need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight.  We’ll accomplish this through a focus on macronutrient ratios (I know, big words that may initially be confusing to understand, but hang with me and i’ll break it down for you). In general, you’ll target 20-30 grams of protein in each meal, and 1-2 cups of veggies in each meal.  We’ll adapt the quantity of fats and carbohydrates that you take in as we go.  But since eating carbs and fats together tend to make you bloated and gassy (it is what it is), you’ll mostly be eating those macronutrients in separate meals from each other.

In conjunction with this, hydration is critical! You’ll need to target drinking 64 ounces to one gallon of water each day.  Sufficient hydration is so important for all of your organs, muscles, and skin.

Lastly, your exercise routine has been good, but we’re going to up your game a little bit.  You’ll need to commit to 6 days a week of consistent exercise.  Your workouts will include 5 days of weight lifting with a focus on a different muscle group each day, and 15-30 minutes of high intensity cardio (think running, elliptical, or even some laps in the pool). These workout sessions will last 60-90 minutes. Then on the 6th day, you’ll aim to do a longer cardio session (think 45 minutes to 90 minutes). You’ll take one rest day per week (the Sabbath is always an excellent choice for this!) 

Client Amy:

That’s good and all, but we know I am not infallible.  What about when I want a treat? What about indulgence meals? What if I’m too busy for 5-6 meals? What if I work out less time than you’re prescribing? What if I mess up? (Correction: when I mess up)?

Trainer Amy:

These are all valid concerns.  We are going to plan strategic treats that have nutritional content which will actually benefit you. Think dark chocolate, chia pudding, fat bombs, etc.  

As for indulgence meals, they definitely have their place, but they need to be planned for and respected. To start off, you’re going to push through two to three whole weeks without an indulgence meal while we work to reset your body. I know, that’s tough, but critical getting you started off on the right foot (and think, two weeks, vs years of being frustrated with how you feel about your body, really isn’t that long). After that point, we’ll work in one indulgence meal per week. These indulgence meals will consist of one full hour where you are allowed to eat anything your heart desires. There are no rules within that hour, but there will be a hard cut off at the one hour mark. 

If you find that you’re too busy for 5-6 meals, you can multiply the meal’s macronutrient target range by 5-6 and divide it by the amount of meals you’ll actually be eating in the day. 5-6 meals isn’t necessarily a magic number, we just know that you like to eat frequently so that is an excellent approach for you. Consistency in your eating approach is where the magic happens, so do your best to have the same meal quantities each day.

As far as getting less or shorter workouts than are being prescribed, that’s ok! All you need to worry about is doing your best. Your best includes giving yourself a pep talk when you’re just not feeling it, but there is room for forgiveness when circumstances only allow a 15 minute session. Your nutrition is going to be the most important aspect of this weight loss process, so you’ll want to do your very best with that. Exercise comes second to that, and allows more forgiveness.

Now, what if you mess up? Don’t worry, you will (comforting, right?)! It is up to you to do your best at maintaining focus so that you can quickly pick yourself right back up after a mistake.  Accountability partners are important.  Make sure that everyone in your inner circle knows the efforts you are making for your health and esthetics. You might get a little bit of backlash, but those who love you really do want to support you (We’ll talk later about the times when you’re not getting the support you want and need).

Client Amy:

Okay, but I kinda suck at sticking to my word when I tell my friends or loved ones the approach I’m going to be taking for my weight loss journey.  Do you know how many times I’ve told someone, “today I am intermittent fasting”, and an hour later I’m eating five cookies or a plate of cinnamon rolls? 

Trainer Amy:

Well, maybe you haven’t had enough skin in the game.  Maybe the consequences haven’t been big enough? Maybe the idea of your ideal body is just that, an idea, you don’t want it bad enough. It’s going to take some sacrifice, commitment. What are you willing to do or give up to finally meet the goals you have for yourself?  

I have an idea, here’s what you’re going to do….  You’re going to start a blog.  You’re going to share your whole weight loss journey with everyone that wants to follow along. You are a personal trainer and nutritionist, maybe someone out in cyberspace will benefit from the knowledge you can get out of your head and written down.  Maybe someone out in the world wide web will benefit from watching you succeed. You really do want to help others (and yourself) on their journey in fitness and nutrition.  

With this blog, you’re going to find your own success in weight loss by being completely transparent. You’re going to post pictures every step of the way. You’re going to tell the world what you weigh now, and every week for the whole year! This will allow for the weight loss period as well as the path of maintenance. You’re going to show the world your food logs, workouts, daily strategy plans and how the day actually turned out. You’re going to tell the world all about your mistakes, unplanned indulgences, etc. You are going for full vulnerability here.

This is going to be epic!

Client Amy:

Gulp… You want me to what!?!?

Trainer Amy:

You heard me. This is your best path. Let’s get at it!

Client Amy:

(tentatively, timidly, reluctantly). Okay… Let’s go show the world my love handles and cellulite!

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