Good morning y’all and happy Monday! I am going to jump right into this post because I am super stoked! The time has come, today officially marks the beginning of my 8-week Summer Shredding Series!
While I was already looking forward to beginning this series for summer, my husband shared some news with me this weekend that sweetened the deal even more! We have officially booked our two-week summer vacation! We will be taking our annual road trip the first two weeks of June to visit family and friends in Alabama, Florida, and Indiana. My birthday, June 5th, will mark the end of this 8-week series, just in time for the beach! I won’t begin this series by promising to blog every single day, but I do hope to check in weekly.
After typing up this blog entry over a cup of coffee, I decided to take a break and get in a good stretch session. My back and hamstrings have been incredibly tight recently, so a little extra TLC over the next few weeks is a must to make certain that I can bring my best to each and every workout. I spent about 55 minutes stretching, really concentrating on the areas that are lacking in range of motion and flexibility.
Following my morning stretch session, I had a big bowl of oatmeal mixed with liquid eggs and topped off with nothing other than Texas Pete hot sauce. On the side, I had a green smoothie made up of cashew milk. spinach, greek yogurt, and coconut water. I take my supplements in the morning with breakfast. Currently, I am taking in a tablespoon of Turmeric, fish oil, glucosamine, calcium, and a women’s multi-vitamin.
After breakfast, Jack and I made our way outside to do some lemon picking. The biggest harvest for lemons is during the fall, so this is the final batch before summer comes along.
Lunch was a big bowl of brown rice, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and avocado.
I had to coach this afternoon, so I made a point to go in early and jump on the In-body to have my stats recorded for a starting base. I am sitting where I was last week at the end of the F45 8-week challenge. I am just under 133 LBS (132.7 to be exact), and my body fat read to be 18.9%. My body fat percentage showed an increase, but this is why it is imperative that you follow procedures when having these tests completed. I tested after having two meals and almost a half-gallon of water, so I am not sweating the inconsistency.
After coaching, I decided to hang around and take today’s class. It was 45 minutes of intense intervals that left me dripping with sweat and completely spent!!
It is now 8 pm and I am finally finishing up my dinner, which consisted of a veggie burger, two corn tortillas, carrots, zucchini, and avocado.
I would say that day one of summer shredding has been a success!! Cheers to the next 8-weeks!!!
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.
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 an 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.
• 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!!
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). 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).
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, 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.
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.
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!
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 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 (but not in an overpowering, annoying way). 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 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.
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.
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 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:
- Grey Zone (50-60% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is the safest, most comfortable zone, consisting of very light activity.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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!)
Within minutes I received an inbox with my heart rate and zone summary.
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 elliptical 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 stimulated metabolism and increased energy for hours post-workout.
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.