We are currently wrapping up week 4 of the F-45 Global Challenge, and I am on my way back to Vegas after a fun filled weekend at the Arnold Sports Expo.

At the moment I am sitting in the airport in Columbus, Ohio waiting to board my flight. I have been in Ohio since Tuesday afternoon working with my fit fam, Gorilla Wear at the Arnold Sports Expo. While it was an absolute blast, I am more than ready to get back to my little doodle man (and of course my main man).

Tuesday began with meeting up with the team to get settled into our hotel. They originally had us an apartment rented for the week so we could all hang out together, but we were informed Monday morning that the apartment had an unexpected pipe burst, so we were relocated to the Hilton, downtown. The Hilton is one of the host hotels for the Expo so it actually worked out pretty well. The main thing that had us all a little aggravated was the fact we no longer had a kitchen to meal prep, which left us eating out every. single. meal. The breakfast buffet was actually re-vamped to cater to the Arnold and competitors so there was plenty of variety: eggs, egg whites, boiled eggs, steel-cut oats, greek yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts, potatoes, and grilled veggies. We began every morning with a group meet up at the buffet before heading to the venue. During the day we were all so busy that we didn’t have time to think about food. We kept a cooler on hand jam-packed with fruit, protein bars, sandwiches, and protein drinks for those quick few minutes throughout the day that we could squeeze something in, but for the most part, we saved our feast for the evening. We ended up eating at the same restaurant every evening (with the exception of one night). The restaurant was literally right next door to the venue, so it was perfect for our raging late-night appetites. The menu was pretty limited, but they did have a veggie burger that was pretty scrumptious. This ended up being my go-to four out of five days. While yes, it was good, almost anything after a ten-hour day would have sufficed. I will say however, they had a Scottish Ale that surpassed just about any beer that I have ever had. By evening two, everyone at our table had tried it and made it part of their regular order. Is beer considered acceptable on the F45 challenge menu?! Um, no. No, it is not. But after an eight to ten-hour fast each and every day and working my booty to the bone, I drank that beer along with my black bean burger without a single trace of guilt.

Expo days are insane, intense, exhausting and motivating all at the same time. It is so inspiring to be surrounded by like-minded individuals that share the same passions and desires. We had several Gorilla Wear athletes that made appearances: Erko Jun, Felice Herrig, and William Bonac .

While all three were super warm and welcoming to everyone that came to the meetups, Erko, has a presence that cannot be dismissed. He is an extremely funny guy, and after a couple of days, I have to say that I am a total Erko Jun fan!

I got to meet a handful of people that I had only interacted with through social media. Meeting Jordan Edwards was a huge highlight for me this weekend. I have followed her for the last couple of years and always flip to her Instagram when needing a good ab workout. I was walking from the restroom back to our booth and recognized her and her boyfriend. I went up and introduced myself, and she just wrapped her arms around me and squeezed me big. She was (genuinely) so sweet. We spoke briefly about the industry, and of course, had to grab a quick pic to document my fan-girl moment. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 5.55.51 AM
I met the hilarious Jen Heward, aka @hunnybunsfit while roaming around and while we did get a selfie, her eyes were closed and I looked a mess after a 10 hour day, so we’ll just leave that one in the mysterious cloud. I caught glimpses of several influencers that I admire and just being in the same venue sharing the same passions is enough for me. I didn’t have time (nor the patience) to stand in line to meet anyone.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I am sitting in CHM airport. I have to share with you all that I am sitting in the general food court and Jessica Arevalo is sitting to the right of me, and Bradley Martyn to my left. So on that note, I am going to hit pause on this entry, perhaps go say hello, make my way to my gate, and I will pick back up with you guys once back in Vegas.

I am excited to share my newest series with you all, “F45’s 8-Week Challenge.”

F45_Challenge_2019_02

We are now coming to the end of week two, so let me catch you all up.
Beginning week one I had my body composition broken down using the In-Body Test.  I weighed in at 132.7 pounds with 19% body fat.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 4.39.53 AM

My goal throughout the next eight weeks is to attend at a minimum, three F-45 classes while still incorporating three to four days of Olympic Weightlifting and/or Power Lifting and squeezing in at least 15 to 20 minutes a day of yoga and mobility. I typically coach three to four days a week, so I usually go in before coaching and complete the day’s workout. This allows me to get my workout in and heart rate up which in return, gives me plenty of energy for coaching (also allowing me to burn another 200-300 for each class coached as well).

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 4.21.24 AMScreen Shot 2022-10-02 at 4.21.16 AM

The challenge gives guidelines to support members during the 8-week Challenge. The F45 nutrition team provides weekly meal plans with mainstream and vegetarian recipes specific to male and female body compositions. These nutritional guidelines are what you will traditionally see with any “healthy eating” meal plan prescription: lean proteins, whole grains, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, no sugar, and no alcohol. The F-45 8-Week Challenge isn’t a magic pill or prescription. It is an approach to “challenge” each individual to put forth their best effort to reach personal goals.

An observation within myself since the challenge began is cardio improvement. If you aren’t familiar with F-45, the HIIT training is incredibly intense! We do a lot of agility training and explosive movements with extremely short rest periods. Only two weeks into the challenge and I am seeing great improvements in my speed and recovery rates (a tighter waist and glutes are just an added bonus).

As for my menu, not a lot has changed. I typically stick to healthy eating habits all year round (with the exception of my weekly pizza and beer indulgence on Friday evenings). Last week (week 1 of the challenge), I had midterms for school and didn’t adhere 100% to my schedule. I always keep it real with you guys, so I have to report my slip-ups as well. I missed a day of training and the same evening, indulged in a bit of late-night snacking due to excessive studying. You know what though, it’s okay! Just like I tell my clients and fellow challengers, “one slip up is not detrimental to your progress, just like one workout doesn’t make you fit”. It’s all about consistency and getting back to the grind.

Having said that, Week two has been, LIT!!
This morning’s workout (deemed Hollywood) is our longest workout of the week. On Saturdays, our F-45 classes are 60 minutes long, rather than a typical 45-minute class. We also have a DJ that comes in and keeps the energy high and the class hyped. You can’t even begin to imagine the flow of energy without the experience first hand! We weren’t able to get in a workout before coaching this morning, so instead, we hung around after class and got it done.

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 10.45.40 AM.png

I am going to jump right into this post because I am super stoked to share this new blog series with you all! I invite you to follow along over the next six weeks as I attack Las Vegas’s  Camp Rhino  6-Week Challenge.

b349840a.jpg.780x780_q85

Recently while out for a run I stumbled upon Camp Rhino. I thought it was strictly a CrossFit gym, but I stuck my head in and noticed they also offered indoor and outdoor obstacle training. I got back home, looked them up, and read about this thing called the “RHINO 6-week challenge.” It grabbed my attention when it said I had the potential to earn my money back. To join the challenge costs $300. If you attend a total of 24 classes, meet all nutritional requirements, and strive for daily improvements, you get every penny back. This was an incredible incentive! I need a new goal, LFG!

I attended the initial athlete’s meeting at the beginning of the week and was accompanied by a room full of eager and motivated individuals just like me, looking to score a free 6-week gym membership.

The next morning (day 1),  I woke and logged my stats:
Starting Measurements:
• Weight 137#
• Chest 36″
• Waist 28″
• Hips 33.5″
• Glutes: 39″

Once I established my starting point, I laced up my Nanos and to the gym I went. This was the first CrossFit class that I have attended since leaving Italy at the end of last year & it felt incredible! Days 1 & 2 complete!!

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.26.17 PM

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Now, fast forward three weeks….This week marks the halfway point and I am feeling great! So what is the challenge providing me that was lacking in my previous training program? This is easy, more intensity. I still begin my mornings as I have for months now, with some sort of pilates/yoga/core session at home, and then I head to CrossFit. I try to maintain this routine at a minimum of four days a week, and two days a week I focus strictly on isolation training at home.

As for my diet, my food choices relatively remain the same all year round; however, since beginning this program I have replaced my weekly “treat meal” with just an increased calorie consumption of the foods I already eat (the camp-rhino program allows for a weekly cheat, this is a personal choice). My top carbohydrate sources are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, with higher-glycemic foods structured around my workouts. I avoid saturated fat and trans fats as much as possible, and I use olive oil 99% of the time when sautéing veggies. I incorporate nuts and seeds at least 3-4x a week and typically include one small avocado a day. As for protein, I typically stick to chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs.

As of this morning, I have lost 3 pounds and a total of 4 inches. I joined this challenge for a free gym membership, but the additional abs are cool too!

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.18.05 PM

Fast-Forward:
Here it is, 6-weeks later and I have completed Camp Rhinos 6-Week Challenge!!
I had my final check-in Wednesday afternoon and earned 100% of my money back!

I reached my lowest weight of the challenge earlier in the week at 131.8 pounds. I chalk this up to the fact that I failed to meet my water intake and woke up a bit dehydrated.  I weighed myself the morning of my final check-in at 133.5 pounds and that was the final weight logged. Overall, I showed a weight loss of 4-pounds and a total decrease of 6-inches. Most importantly, I met some cool folks, and collected my $300 dollars (which I rolled over to pay for the next two months).

Olympia weekend is only a few weeks away so I will continue a cut for a few more weeks. If you make it that way, look for me at the Gorilla Wear booth!

As I left the salon today, I detoured across the street into Orange Theory Fitness. My motivation for summer shredding has been lacking a bit, and I credit this to the fact, this is the first summer in 5 years that I don’t plan on stepping on stage. While I am still in the gym 5 to 6 days a week, I need a change. After doing some research about OrangeTheory Fitness, I was intrigued.  The “theory” behind OrangeTheory seems to be scientifically based, and this science nerd is all about the whys, hows, and facts behind everything. All of us fitness enthusiasts know that interval training in comparison to steady-state cardio burns more calories post-workout, and that is why interval training is so incredible!!

So, after two weeks and two workouts at two different locations, I can share my thoughts on the “theory.”

My first OT experience was shared with two of my girlfriends, Kaitlyn and Kelly. We all three headed into OT last week with a water bottle and no expectations. We arrived about 15 minutes early to fill out any needed waivers or paperwork. The first initial impression was, welcoming. The girl working the front desk was friendly, energetic, and eager to offer assistance. People continued to trickle in, but with only 5 minutes to spare before class starts, we had no idea what we were going to be doing. The instructor was nowhere in sight. The front desk girl apologized for the instructor’s tardiness and took us into the gym area. We were instructed to take our pick of either a rower or a treadmill (not really knowing why). I personally never felt uncomfortable (only because I am familiar with the unfamiliar when it comes to group fitness), but Kaitlyn and Kelly (a bit newer) were probably a bit uncomfortable. I tried to offer what advise I could regarding rowing techniques while we were warming up, and then about a hundred meters or so in, the instructor arrived. She apologized as she jumped on the mic and got us into a warm up. I will say things started off a little rocky. She was calling out commands to the class, but not being familiar with any of their terms or “lingo,” I just rowed with intensity and assumed if I was screwing up royally, I would be called out. We continued to row with uncertainty, and all of a sudden we heard “switch” yelled out, so we just went with the flow of the others. Once we found our way to our new location, we were instructed to partner up. I told Kelly and Kaitlyn that I would fly solo and try to find a regular member and they could pair together. I paired up with another female and the workout consisted of rounds for time of treadmill sprints, rowing sprints, and dumbbell work. After 60 minutes I was a sweaty, red-faced mess. Class ended and the instructor approached us with apologies for being late, and poor presentation of the class introduction. We assured her that our workout was still great even if we were a bit lost.

After class, we were back up front to talk memberships. I chose the basic package of one session a week. This would allow me to get in 60:00 of intense cardio training each week for the next month, perfect. This is worth $59 alone, but when the girl behind the desk said she would throw in the heart rate monitor for free, I was sold!


*Class pricing varies by region, so it’s worth giving your local studio a call to find out the exact cost of a membership or class. Your first class at any OTF is free; after that, the studio’s packages start at $59 and can go up to about $200 for an unlimited plan. The average price for a drop-in class for nonmembers is $28, with a few select locations costing slightly higher than this.

Now, fast-forward another week and I came back for round 2, except this time at a new location. Last week I visited an OT in Summerlin, but because I flew solo this week, I decided to go first thing in the morning to a location 10 minutes from home.

image

Yesterday’s class was endurance based, meaning that we ran…a lot. We began on the treadmill with a base pace for 5 minutes, followed with just over 20 minutes of combinations with both base and push efforts. If that weren’t enough, a 1-minute all out, give it everything you got, race to the end.

image

After running, we hopped on the rowers for more base and push efforts combined followed with dumbbell work. After 60 minutes, my body was spent and my lungs were on fire.

What I find to be most successful about the OT approach is the use of the heart rate monitor. I began wearing a heart rate monitor years ago when I began training for my first triathlon, and have worn one ever since when it comes to cardio training. This method of training enables you to see exactly where your heart rate percentage is at all times, allowing for continual improvements.

A big screen hanging overhead continuously displays your name, heart rate, percentage of max exertion, calories burned, and “splat points” (how often your heart rate is in the “orange zone”).

Below is an analyzation of each color:

image
  1. Grey Zone (50-60% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is the safest, most comfortable zone, consisting of very light activity.
  2. Blue Zone (61-70% Maximum Heart Rate) – This zone is specifically geared for warm-up and cool-down exercises. You are merely preparing your body and mind for high-intensity interval training, but you haven’t unleashed the burn just yet.
  3. Green Zone (71-83% Maximum Heart Rate) – In this zone, you have reached a challenging but doable pace. This is what Orangetheory categorizes as “Base Pace,” a pace that you can maintain for 20-30 total minutes. Your body starts to burn fat and carbohydrates evenly.
  4. Orange Zone (84-91% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is where the magic happens and where you achieve “EPOC” (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) – what we call the “Orange Effect / Afterburn.” The goal is to accumulate 12 minutes or more in this zone within a 60-minute period to achieve the maximum caloric burn up to 36 hours AFTER your workout is completed.
  5. Red Zone (92-100% Maximum Heart Rate) – This zone happens organically and may be achieved during ‘All-Out’ efforts when you’re emptying the tank and using every ounce of energy left in your body. You don’t need to set an All Out pace for more than 1 minute at a time to experience maximum results.

This “zone” approach definitely gives you continuous motivation. I know personally, each time I looked up, if I wasn’t in the correct zone, I would fight until I reached it (this meant digging deep a few times).

image

Once the hour was over I felt accomplished. I took a quick snip of the board to log my totals on the way out the door, but I was informed by an OT staff member that my stats would be emailed to me within minutes (which was pretty great!)

image

Within minutes I received an inbox with my heart rate and zone summary.

image

My overall opinion of OT summed up in one word, effective. I personally will not use OT as my only form of exercise, because lifting is my jam, but when it comes to shredding… this will definitely be a great addition!

image
image

Follow along as I continue to share my experiences while exploring the versatility of fitness.