Hey guys! Here we are wrapping up week 4 of the F-45 Global Challenge!

I am currently sitting in the airport in Columbus, Ohio waiting to get back to Las Vegas. 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 toward 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 for a vegetarian diet, but they did have a veggie burger that was  pretty scrumptious. This ended up being my go-to four out of the 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 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 they all three were super warm and welcoming to everyone that came to the meet ups, 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, Steve walking towards my direction. 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. 

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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 iCloud. 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 the 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.

Fast forward another week and here we are….Let’s catch up!
I made it back to Vegas this past Monday night around midnight, and had to be up at 5am to coach a couple of early classes Tuesday morning.

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Luckily I was off Wednesday because I began feeling like total poop! The last time I flew (which was the last time I went to Bama to visit family), was the last time I got sick. All of the recirculated germy air is absolutely repulsive to think about, so I always double up on the vitamins and nutrients before flying. I did great with my micronutrient intake before flying out, but working long hours at the expo and minimal rest, I fell victim to the reclaimed plane pathogens (blah, so disgusting). Anyways, so now that I have been back almost a week, walks with Jack have been my only form of cardio.

 

It’s now Sunday morning and I am finishing coffee number two with hopes that I will muster up some sort of energy to head into the garage for a shoulder workout. If not a lifting session, at least some yoga to get the blood flowing.

Needless to say that, week five of the F45 Challenge has not been so great, but here’s to week six!

 

Well y’all, I haven’t done so well keeping up with blogging this new year like I had hoped, but I am excited to share my newest series with you all, “F45’s 8-Week Challenge.”

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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. This service was offered by our F-45 gym as part of the challenge; however, your girl here had not had her pedicure and was not about to get bare foot and show off these half painted, runner’s toes! Instead, I made an appointment on the military base and had it completed the next morning. I weighed in at 131.8 pounds with a body fat of 20%. When competing, my off season body fat would usually sit around 17-18%. Although it was a bit higher than what I expected, I’m not terribly disappointed seeing as I haven’t tracked or logged nutrition consistently in over a year.

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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 days 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).

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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 for 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, its 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.

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Hang around over the next few weeks and see what the challenge brings!!

Good morning guys! 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.

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I should probably begin by stating my reasons for joining this challenge. You guys know that since being back in the states I have been working out in our home gym with a few random drop-ins around town. Most of all, I wanted to find a place that I could be surrounded by like-minded individuals, and it was a priority to find a gym that offered variety. After scoping out a few different places, I stumbled upon Camp Rhino. Camp Rhino not only offers CrossFit, but has multiple boot-camp locations across town (indoors & outdoors), and to top it off, obstacle training. I read into the 6–week challenge and was convinced to join when I realized 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 incredible incentive!

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. There were people that had previously battled cancer, men that were powerlifters but joined the challenge to support their wives, competitive athletes, and people like me, simply looking for a new gym to call home.

Tuesday morning (day 1),  I woke and logged my stats. This was the first time that I have been on the scale since my initial “summer-shredding” weigh in. I began my cut (before the challenge) at 143 pounds and dropped to where I currently sit at 137 pounds.
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!!

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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. As I mentioned before, Rhino does offer boot camp, obstacle training and mobility classes, but my focus has been on CrossFit. I still begin my mornings as I have for months now, with a 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 in place of going to CrossFit.

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). If you follow my personal food log on IG (tiffany dietetics), you will see that I consume primarily whole foods. 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 have gradually converted to a plant based diet with the exception of egg whites and the occasional raw sushi roll (this has been a gradual transition since the beginning of this year for a nutritional study. I will share my reasons behind this decision in a separate post).

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So what about my stats? As of this morning, I have lost 3 pounds and a total of 4 inches, which is awesome considering my primary purpose for this program has been to find a new gym to call home; so, tighter abs and glutes are just an added bonus!

That’s just it you all, I wish I could stress the importance of a healthy, well-balanced diet! If you adhere to healthy eating habits and couple that with a few days of intensity within your training, you are guaranteed to yield results.

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Now 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! If you recall from my first post introducing the challenge, the total cost of the challenge was $300. To earn back your money one must meet the nutrition recommendations, attend 24 classes, and track and log progress stats for 6-weeks.

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 found a new gym to call home. I collected my $300 dollars and rolled it over to pay for the following two months.

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My plan is to continue with my cut for a few more weeks until Olympia weekend (look for me at the Gorilla Wear booth!) I did allow for a night out this weekend with some friends and indulged with a few gin and tonics and had a veggie loaded thin crust pizza on Saturday night, but this morning it was back to the grind.

Good morning fit fam 🧡
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On my way to the salon today, I detoured across the street into Orange Theory Fitness. As I have mentioned a few times over the last couple of weeks, my motivation for summer shredding has been lacking a bit. I credit this to the fact, this is the first summer in 5 years that I don’t plan on stepping on stage. You guys know that this is my lifestyle. Whether it be bikini season, or I am bundled up in a down jacket, I am still in the gym 5 to 6 days a week, still incorporating cardio, but….I need a change. After doing some research about Orange Theory Fitness, I was intrigued.  The “theory” behind Orange Theory 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 HIIT 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 in to 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 (but not in an overpowering, annoying way). People continued to trickle in, but with only 5 minutes to spare before class starting, 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 never felt uncomfortable (but only) because I am familiar with the unfamiliar when it comes to training (thanks to many years of coaching and CrossFit). I tried my best to guide Kaitlyn and Kelly (who were a bit unfamiliar), through rowing techniques during the warmup. After a hundred meters or so, the instructor arrived. She apologized and jumped in. I will say that the guidance started off a little rocky. She was using the microphone to call 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 when we heard “switch” yelled out, we just went with the flow of the others. After the warm up, 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 great, and her tardiness was not the determining factor of our impression. 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 HIIT training a week. This means all of my HIIT training for the week is taken care of in 1 class!!! This is worth $59 alone, but when I told the girl behind the desk that I would sign up if she threw in the heart rate monitor ($69) for free, and she said “OK”, 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 next to the salon, but because I flew solo this week, I decided to go first thing in the morning to a location 10 minutes from home.

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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 a 10 minute push pace and 1-minute recovery- then, a 5 minute push pace, a 2 minute all out pace, 1-minute recovery and ending with a 1-minute all out, give it everything you got race to the end 💦.

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After running, we hopped on the rowers for intervals mixed with dumbbell work. After 60 minutes, my body was spent and my lungs were on fire (I loved it).

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 aerobic and endurance training. Keeping a monitor on your heart rate allows you to you see when you’re crushing your cardio, as well as when you’re not actually working as hard as you think you are (this is usually the case). Your heart rate shows you exactly where you are, and where you need to be, and this method of training allows continual improvements.

A big screen hanging above the cardio equipment 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:

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  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).

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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!)

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

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My overall opinion of OT summed up in one word, effective. I personally will not use OT as my only form of exercise- I am first and foremost a weightlifter. Olympic weightlifting and compound lifts are my jam, but when it comes to shredding, cardio is a must, and this approach, I feel personally is the best for optimal results. Interval training is hands down the best method of cardio when it comes to getting the most “bang for your buck.” What I mean by this is…you can spend an hour on the eliptical and burn 500 calories doing steady state cardio, or you can spend an hour doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), burning 500 calories, plus causing excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also known as the “afterburn.” This causes a stimulated metabolism and increased energy for hours post-workout.

 

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Continue to follow along as I share my experiences while exploring the  versatility of fitness. By expanding and diversifying my routine, I hope to find new elements that will continue to target any weaknesses within my training.