Monday marked 20 days until 2022, which also meant it was check-in day. I weighed in at 146 pounds, 1-pound shy of reaching a 10-pound loss. Next Wednesday will be my final check in before Christmas, a total of 6-weeks following a caloric deficit.

While I could continue with my cut over the holidays, enjoying time with my family without worrying about tracking meals takes priority. Instead, I plan to head into a maintenance period. Being in maintenance doesn’t mean a free-for-all, it simply means larger serving sizes of the same nutrient dense foods (while allowing for an occasional dessert or extra side of potato chips), all the while still remaining at the current weight.

Not only does this approach allow me to enjoy the holidays without feeling as restricted, I also believe it to be extremely beneficial for the metabolism as well. When I head into maintenance (aka “a diet break”) it will be after following a caloric deficit for 6-weeks that has yielded on average a 2-pound decrease every 10 days. In order to keep these results consistent over another 6-weeks I would most likely end up having to create a greater deficit in my calories, ultimately leading to a slower metabolism. So instead, I will increase my calories over the next few weeks (putting me in maintenance), and then when I am ready to cut some more, I can get back to it without having to drop my calories drastically.

Another great benefit for incorporating maintenance periods/diet breaks is that tracking calories and/or macros can be especially mentally taxing, and for the newer tracker, completely overwhelming and exhausting. Taking these periodic breaks allows an individual to commit to a longer program while learning to implement maintenance calories around routined life events, like the upcoming holidays, or birthdays, and vacations. Breaks allow a person to feel in control, because they are in control. It is a scheduled break, and it too is part of the program. It is important to remember that while trying to reach a desired size or reach certain goals, real life events continue to occur.

Finally, in my personal and professional opinion, the number one, most important reason for implementing maintenance periods/diet breaks, it helps get a person into a mindset of what maintaining their weight will feel like when they finally reach their goal weight. This transition can be tricky for anyone that has been dieting for long-extended periods of time. There is almost always the fear of not being able to adjust to eating “normally” again, but when a person takes time to incorporate these breaks periodically, one can see that their weight can hold steady while enjoying and living life, normally.



We wrapped up the F45 challenge this weekend with a kickball game to celebrate all of the challenge participants and everyone’s progress! Y’all, it was so much fun!! The weather was perfect, and it sure didn’t hurt that my team won!

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I had my final in-body scan on Friday and had some pretty good progress with the challenge. I lost 4 pounds, and while that is amazing in its itself, my greatest improvement was my cardio game!

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Over the next 8-weeks I plan to continue implementing 2 F45 classes each as we prep for our trip to the beach!

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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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!!

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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. 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!

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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.

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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 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.

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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:

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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, because lifting is my jam, but when it comes to shredding… this will definitely be a great addition!

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