Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015 Transformation with the 21 Day Fix

2015 was quite a year for me - so many changes for the better, and I owe a lot of that to the 21 Day Fix and Autumn Calabrese!  She gave me the tools I needed to focus my efforts and really kick start myself into becoming a woman truly comfortable and content in her own skin.


*Results may vary

I have always wanted to be thin, fit and happy with what I see - who doesn't? And I have definitely enjoyed plenty of my life that way - I was lucky that it came naturally when I was young. I also lost a lot of weight when I got married, and when I was between jobs - but I always had some kind of extra push. This year was the time I decided it was time to do it simply because I wanted (and needed) to. 

 I had tried to get myself back in gear repeatedly with very little results, so I never kept up with it long. Then one day I saw the 21 Day Fix infomercial. 



Yep, I was suckered in by an infomercial. But it looked doable! Exercise is never something I've enjoyed, but I can suck it up for 30 minutes. And the food plan looked flexible enough to work easily with my needs for a strictly gluten-free diet, and also not too radical - it's a good balance of protein, carbs, and produce, with a few treats available to keep it livable. So I took the plunge and officially began my first round June 15, 2015. At that time, I told myself I could do anything for 21 days. 

Next thing I knew, I was hooked. This was a plan that worked - I was actually seeing results! On top of that, I felt amazing. Between all the clean eating, Shakeology and exercise I was finally hitting all of the things I needed to make it happen. And I finally felt in control of my food.  You really can't exercise off a bad diet. 

In just a few short months, not only have I gotten myself to the point where I truly love my body for what it looks like, I'm also crazy impressed with what it can do. Those workouts are so effective in building strength and endurance! I regularly pushed myself to modify less and go up in weights, and it felt so good. By November, I was ready to take it to the next level with 21 Day Fix Extreme, and now I'm gearing up to try out the Master's Hammer & Chisel on Monday!  If you had told me in June I'd be attempting an advanced program in January I would have laughed. And yet here I am, at least ready to try.


On top of that, this program has upped my mental game considerably. I have the energy to do more than just what I have to, and it's paying off! I became a Beachbody coach, initially to help me afford my new Shakeology habit, but it has really started to open up possibilities for having my own business to provide extra income. On top of that, my performance at work improved and I was recruited for a new position at my company!  And thanks to my new healthy choices, I feel absolutely ready to take it on and succeed in 2016.  Confidence truly is priceless.




So what are you waiting for?  See what the 21 Day Fix can do for you!  Reach out to me on Facebook or at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com - I can help guide you along the way.  You've got nothing to lose but self doubt!



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

21 Day Fix: Where to Begin

So you've made the decision to kick start your transformation with the 21 Day Fix. Great choice! You now have all the tools you need to achieve your healthy goals - the eating guide, the workouts, and can't forget the Shakeology - and you just have to follow it. Easy, right?

Then you open that box and start reading over your new plan, and suddenly it starts to seem a bit overwhelming. You get the workouts, the containers, and the lists of foods you can eat all laid out for you in a clear and simple way, but translating that into action can be challenging.

The good news for you is that I've been through it, and I can help! I've been following the plan with great success since June, and it has completely changed the way I treat and view my body. I even became a Beachbody coach because I loved it so much and wanted to share with others.

 The 21 Day Fix is designed to fit easily into your busy lifestyle, but it does take some planning to really succeed and get the results you want. So where do you start?



First of all, give yourself at least a few days, ideally a full week, to prepare. This is a major life change for most people - it takes some forethought! You want to have your equipment, food, and plan all in place before you begin so you can hit the ground running on day one.



Think about where you can do the workouts - you'll need a room with at least enough space to lay flat and spread your arms out (I have plenty of space on my 6x8 rug).  I recommend having some kind of padded surface as well if it's not a carpeted area - I put a thick nonslip carpet pad under the rug on my tile floor.  And if you don't have a ceiling fan in the room, I'd invest in a portable one!

In that area you'll also need a way to play the routines - if you just have the program, you'll need a TV and DVD player.  If you subscribe to Beachbody on Demand, you can stream the workouts from a variety of sources, including anywhere you have a web browser.


There is a resistance band modifier on all of the weights workouts on the 21 Day Fix, so technically that's all you need, but I really recommend using free weights.  I've used the band when traveling and it's doable, but kind of complicated and awkward.  The lighter weights are very inexpensive and easy to find.    I started with 3 and 5 pound weights - I was not necessarily a stranger to exercise, but it had been awhile since I'd done anything more strenuous than yoga.  Err on the side of lighter/no weights though if it's been awhile - that initial few days of sore is tough if you go too hard.  Plenty of time to work your way up as it gets easier!

You'll also want a yoga mat for the pilates and yoga days, and either a cushioned mat or a beach towel for extra padding for your hands/knees for the floor moves - really necessary to protect your skin if you're on carpeting.

Make sure you have comfortable workout clothes - I usually wear running shorts and lightweight workout tanks for the most mobility.  I switch out for yoga pants on the yoga and pilates days.  For the shoes, cross trainers are your best bet since there are a lot of lateral moves (I absolutely love my Asics Gel-Fit Sanas, super lightweight and flexible!).  Also good to have a water bottle and some extra hand towels for all that sweat you'll be pouring :)



Start thinking about what you're going to eat.  You only have to work out for 30 minutes a day.  You have to sustain yourself throughout the rest of it!  Without planning, it's easy to quickly derail on the food - and that is the key to seeing results on this plan.  Contrary to many hopes, you can't exercise off a bad diet.

You've got your portion ratios and a list of foods, but that's all it is - numbers and foods.  You've got to make meals of that!  Unless you live alone, you probably have to think about other people's needs and wants as well for at least some of those meals.  If you're eating something entirely different from your family, it's not going to be easy to stick with.  Look at the food list, and note down items you use in family meals and snacks already.  It'll be easier when you stick to what's familiar, especially at first.

Hit up Pinterest for recipes and meal plan ideas - there are so many out there!  Autumn also has a fantastic cookbook, Fixate, that makes it really simple to find family-friendly recipes and translate them into containers.

Finally, start working on your meal plan - check out my post for some tips!  I like to plan the entire week ahead of time so I can shop and prep over the weekend.  It takes the pressure off during the week, you are setting yourself up for success, and it saves a ton of time.  Seriously.  I can't stress this planning thing enough!


Another element to planning is when.  Schedule your workouts just like appointments so that you don't miss them.  For me, this time is first thing in the morning, because getting up earlier is my way of adding the time I need to my day.  I also am notorious for blowing it off after work.  But maybe you're an evening person instead because your mornings are crazy.  Figure out what time works for you, and plan it.  It's just 30 minutes!

Also think about when you'll do things like meal prep and shopping - for me, I like to plan on Saturdays, and shop and do some prep on Sundays and some each evening - for more tips, check out my meal prepping post.

I promise, you CAN do this!  It's such a great way to turn around your eating and exercise habits for the better in a way that fits into your life.  If you want more personal help and guidance getting started, I can help with that too - just get in touch at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com or head on over to my Facebook page.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Are You Ready for the 21 Day Fix?

It’s almost that time.  The time when everyone wakes up from their holiday celebrations and indulgences and realizes that the party has to stop sometime.  The time where all of the media that constantly surrounds us suddenly goes from displaying every indulgent treat imaginable to clean and healthy food, new exercise gear, and lose pounds fast fitness tips.  I welcome it - it’s about to be a fresh new year, and a great chance for a fresh new you!


I’m going to be starting a new round January 4th with a laser focus on my nutrition, as that is easily where I see about 90% of my results.  The workouts are fantastic, and a great way to keep your metabolism humming, your mood up, and sculpt those muscles – but when you add in the clean, balanced eating plan that’s where the magic starts to happen!

That is why the 21 Day Fix program was the key for me.  In the past I’d start a workout regimen and give up after seeing barely any results over the course of a few months despite logging long hours at the gym.  I thought I was making healthier eating choices, but I still wasn’t balancing them correctly and eating too much of the wrong things. 

This program not only gives you condensed 30-minute workouts that can be adapted to all levels and get you in and out quickly in the comfort of your own home, it also provides an eating plan that uses a simple color-based method of balancing your food choices so that you are feeding your body for optimal nutrition and fat burning.  Add in the month’s supply of Shakeology that comes with the challenge pack and all its amazing benefits, and you’re well on your way towards jump starting your own healthy lifestyle! 


Now, Autumn Calabrese will give you the plan, but I think that to really succeed you also need some guidance - and that is where I come in.  I’ve done these programs for over 6 months now, graduating from 21 Day Fix to the 21 Day Fix Extreme program, and I want to help you!  I have the experience with it and the connections in the Beachbody coaching world to answer your questions, provide tips and ideas for success, personal encouragement and motivation in my online challenge group starting Jan 4th.  If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Facebook or via email at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com.

Also check back throughout the week as I post more about my transformation story and my tips for successful preparation for the 21 Day Fix program!

                               

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Simple & Delicious: Roasted Kale

So I've been a kale fan for awhile, but it doesn't come into the meal plan all that regularly since lately I seem to tend towards roasted vegetables that require little effort and cleanup. That is before though...as I have now figured out how to roast kale in a way that I actually like it.

I had tried kale chips in the past and was not a fan. When it gets really crispy crunchy, it almost dissolves in your mouth and I really could not get behind that. But last night I started thinking about the idea of getting it to a partially crispy state, so it still had some of that greens texture, while also getting that nice flavor from browning that makes roasted vegetables so irresistible.


Not only did it work really well, bonus that it was super quick, simple and even delicious left over!

Roasted Kale
Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 (I did mine on convection roast at 350).

Remove tough stems from kale and coarsely chop. Toss kale in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet in foil. Spread kale out on the baking sheet (it's ok that it will not be in a single layer - it will shrink as it cooks).

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until leaves just start to brown.

I ate mine with a side of roasted spaghetti squash and chopped chicken, and it was really delicious! 21 Day Fix container equivalent of the above pictured plate - 2 green, 1 red, 1 teaspoon

I only ate about half of what I roasted last night, so I stored the rest in the fridge overnight and took it to work today for a hearty twist on my usual lunch salad. It was surprisingly really delicious cold, too! It even retained a little of the crispy texture.


I served it up with chopped chicken, quinoa, sliced almonds and balsamic vinaigrette. It is definitely going to be making an appearance many, many times in future lunch boxes! 21 Day Fix container equivalent - 1 red, 1 yellow, 2 green, 1 orange, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 blue

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chicken Tenders with Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli

I absolutely love spaghetti squash. If you haven't tried it, it's definitely worth a shot! It's simple to prep (although it does take some bicep strength to cut in half) and very versatile - it essentially just takes on the flavor of whatever you mix with it. Which is especially good when that something is cheese.
I paired my cheesy spaghetti squash with quick homemade chicken tenders and roasted broccoli, which I cooked at the same time while finishing off the squash on the stovetop. It was simple enough for a weeknight, and a healthy dinner that fits right in with the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan!

Chicken Tenders with Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli



Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 packages chicken tenders, about 2 lbs
  • 1 cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (or any milk)
  • 1/2 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tbsp high-quality butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Spicy seasoning blend (I used Weber's Bold Chipotle)
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 for convection, 425 for regular oven. Cut spaghetti squash in half. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet. Roast 30 minutes, until squash is golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool, at least 15 mins.

While squash is cooling, spread the broccoli out on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, season with spicy seasoning. Next, prep the chicken tenders. Spread breadcrumbs, parmesan and spicy seasoning blend on a small plate. Drizzle the chicken tenders with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then press in the breadcrumbs. Lay out on a lined baking sheet.

Roast the broccoli and chicken tenders for approx 15 minutes, or until both are crisp and browned. If needed, roast the broccoli a few extra minutes while the chicken tenders rest.

While the broccoli and chicken is cooking, use a fork to shred the spaghetti squash (for a quick demonstration, check out my video). Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the gluten-free flour and whisk together until browned. Pour in the milk and whisk for about four more minutes, until smooth and thickened. Whisk in shredded cheese and remove from heat once melted. Stir in the spaghetti squash - add in stages, as depending on the size of the squash you may have more or less. Serve immediately with the chicken tenders and broccoli.

This dish also reheats really well! I run the chicken tenders and broccoli through a couple of rounds in the toaster oven, and microwave the spaghetti squash for about 30 seconds. Using the toaster oven crisps it right back up so it tastes as good as the first night!

21 Day Fix Serving Suggestion:

I served myself three chicken tenders, 1/2 green container of broccoli and 1/2 green container of the spaghetti squash and counted it as 1 Red, 1 Green, 1/2 Blue, 1/2 Yellow, 1 Teaspoon

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Team Beachbody is Doing it Again–Join the December Fix!

Just in time to combat that holiday weight gain and get your new years’ resolutions started early, Team Beachbody is hosting another massive Facebook challenge group, the December Fix, for a round of the 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme!

21DayFixDecemberFix

The group is already going strong at over 30,000 members, already larger than the Labor Day Fix group – and it doesn’t start until Dec 1st.  All you have to do to join is click on this link and ask to join – it’s a welcoming bunch! It’s really cool to see just how many people out there live the 21 Day Fix lifestyle or are trying the program out for the first time, everyone comes together and shares their experiences, ideas and support for each other.  It’s set as public now so people can easily join, but will switch to private once we get going.

On top of all the motivation and a whole nation of people doing a round alongside you, Team Beachbody is sweetening the pot a little with some prizes!  You can check out all the details here, but the best one in my opinion is one they are giving out to everyone who does a round and sends in their results – a special December Fix Challenge tshirt!  I’ve already got a 21 Day Fix tshirt, and I’m looking forward to my PiYo shirt and 21 Day Fix Extreme tank top coming soon.  I want a whole collection! Might as well get the freebie and show off how you got your amazing results right? Smile  Other prizes include Beachbody Performance line supplement samplers awarded to randomly selected participants, and a chance at $5,000 prizes for the most inspirational transformations.

Been thinking about trying the 21 Day Fix yourself?  Now is the perfect time to start getting the hang of it and help combat that holiday weight gain and send the numbers in the other direction instead and enjoy the support of all these people, plus all the personal support and motivation you need from yours truly!  The 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack special was extended through November – you can get the program for a mere $10 on top of the cost of Shakeology, the best thing that happened to my body all year and the reason I became a coach.  It’s truly amazing, and you can get all your money back if you don’t like it.  Can’t lose!

The program includes 30-minute workouts, one for each day of the week, a set of Autumn’s color-coded containers that make the nutrition balance super easy to follow, and a complete eating plan.  It even comes with a free insulated tote bag and a bonus workout.  This could be your jump start on the journey to a fitter, happier, healthier you.

21DayFixThanksgiving

This program has truly changed the way I view both exercise and eating, and has totally turned my life around.  If you have any questions or want to hear more, reach out to jennifl@beachbodycoach.com.  I’d really love to help you on your journey to the best you.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite in our house!  Unfortunately, our usual way of pan frying makes it more of a special occasion dish thanks to the time, effort and cleanup involved.  Not to mention extra calories and fat!  So I came up with a quick and easy baked version last night that let us feel like we were indulging, but doing so in a healthy way. 

Healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles

IMG_0065

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded to about 1 inch thick
  • 1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (I used a mix of Italian fine and panko)
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella for topping (I used shredded and pearls)
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (I used convection, so you may wish to go 450 in a regular oven).  Prepare a baking sheet with nonstick foil.  Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan  cheese on a plate.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil over them, rub to coat.  Press them into the breadcrumb mixture firmly to adhere crumbs, and place on baking sheet.  Bake 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with tomato sauce and mozzarella.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.

While the chicken is finishing, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil in (optionally add some chopped fresh garlic).  Add the grape tomatoes and zoodles to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, until zucchini is just softened.

You could also just use thinly sliced zucchini in place of the spirals, but I love the fun texture and appearance of the pasta-like substitute!  Will be posting soon about my experience with my favorite new kitchen toy, the Paderno Spiralizer.

21 Day Fix Container Equivalents per serving (approximate)

  • 1 Red
  • 1/2 Yellow
  • 1 Blue
  • 1 Green

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Easy Method for Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Cold Brew Coffee is the new hot (cold?) thing these days - it's quite hip to drink the cold brew!  But I don't drink it because it's trendy, I drink it because I love my coffee cold anyway, and the cold brew method reduces the acid significantly and makes for a smoother, less bitter taste.  But it's also crazy expensive in coffee shops and stores, and as someone who cannot bring themselves to drop $4 for a cup of fancy coffee (especially when you can get a meal replacement as fabulous as Shakeology for that price tag), I had to investigate at-home methods.



Turns out, it is super easy to make!  It does involve more time to brew, but all you have to do is let it sit in the fridge, so you just have to make it in advance.  And as someone who only has a single-brew K-cup machine in the house, it's also a great solution for making a pitcher of coffee without having to go a cup at a time.  So for me, it's actually less work.

To get started, all you need is ground coffee and a French press coffeemaker, which you can find for a great price at stores like HomeGoods, but they are widely available and affordable.  

Next, all you have to do is add coffee and water to the carafe, let it hang out overnight (12 hours is recommended), and then in the morning just press the grounds down and voila - perfect cold brew coffee!  

Check out my video for a quick demonstration of the process - 



That's all there is to it - simple and much more affordable than buying it premade!  You can get particular about the beans and grind and all that if you're a coffee connoisseur, but I use just regular old pre-ground Dunkin Donuts coffee and it produces great results.  Cold brew is my liquid of choice for Shakeology, as it gets my morning coffee and breakfast all in one convenient cup that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.  Can't beat that!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Join My Healthy Happy Holidays Support Group

When you think about holidays, you think food, right? Halloween - candy galore. Thanksgiving - massive turkey dinner. Christmas - hams and pies and cookies and basically everything under the sun that you can indulge in. Nothing wrong with indulging, though! We all have to live, and clearly food is a central part of celebrating.

This year, though, I want to make sure I do it in moderation, and that I continue to make exercise a priority. I do not want to derail all of these efforts I have made to transform myself with the help of Autumn Calabrese, Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix program. I want to sail through the holiday season as happy, healthy and fit as I feel right now.

So I'd like to invite you all to join me for a new support group, Happy Healthy Holidays, starting October 25th. If you'd also like to try to keep up with the healthy habits and stay active with me, we can support and motivate each other all the way through to the New Year!



I will provide you with lots of tips and tricks for navigating the holiday pitfalls, healthy holiday recipes and ideas for entertaining, and as much good advice and motivating fitspiration photos as I can come up with to get us all through each holiday. I will also post regular challenges and activities to keep us all interacting and pushing ourselves.  For anyone new to the plan, I will also provide advice and tools to help you get started and prepare yourself for success!

Want to start getting into those healthy habits now, boost your energy levels tremendously to help handle the holiday stress, and start the new year with your resolutions already firmly in place?  The 21 Day Fix program is exactly what you need!



During the month of October you can get this fantastic challenge pack deal - the complete workout program and eating plan, a month's supply of Shakeology, an amazing superfood protein drink, plus great bonuses like extra workouts, an insulated tote, and a free trial to Beachbody on Demand for a huge library of online streaming workouts - for just $140.  This challenge pack special is the best deal Beachbody offers - it's like getting everything else for $10 when you try Shakeology!  And you get me, your personal coach, absolutely free - I can provide guidance, support and motivation to help you see the same success I did on the plan.  Check out this video for more information -


These online Facebook groups are a great way to get started and connect with others who share the same desire you do - to feel healthy and fit.  They have truly helped me stay motivated and committed.  Together we can share ideas, support each other, and provide a judgment-free zone for our frustrations, messes and successes. I welcome anyone who would like to join, whether you are new to the 21 Day Fix and Beachbody or if you are a veteran who has already realized how amazing this plan is!

If you want to join, just get in touch either on my Facebook page or via email at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com. This program changed my life for the better in so many ways, wait until you see what it can do for you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad

My latest 21 Day Fix recipe is going to be in my regular lunch rotation!  It is so delicious, stores well, and is designed to be served chilled, so it's perfect for on the go.  I've bulked up the dish to a really generous portion with the addition of lots of crunchy cucumber noodles and thinly sliced bell peppers to the regular noodles - which I've also subbed out for a healthy (and gluten free of course) alternative noodle made of buckwheat and sweet potato.  It's still a yellow container, but it's a good yellow!

The shredded chicken for the salad is so simple - check out my easy method!


I used my Paderno spiralizer to make noodles out of the cucumber (the medium spiral size matched the noodle size perfectly), but you could also julienne it, or slice it up.  I just like playing with my new favorite kitchen toy, it truly makes my vegetables so much more delicious and interesting!

Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad



For the Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/2 tbsp raw honey (or regular honey)
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp ginger juice (or grated fresh ginger)
  • few drops sriracha
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice if 1 lime
Warm the peanut butter and honey at a low setting in your microwave for about a minute to soften them up.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together.  Set aside.

For the Noodle Salad:
  • 3 oz soba noodles, cooked and chilled - I used King Soba Buckwheat Sweet Potato Noodles (could also use spaghetti noodles) (3 yellow containers)
  • 1 large English cucumber, spiralized (or julienned, or sliced) (3 green containers)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (1 green container)
  • 2 cups of shredded chicken breast (3 red containers)
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Peanut Sauce, above
Toss ingredients together well, then top with peanut sauce and toss until distributed evenly.  Serve immediately or store for later - it's even better after it sits overnight!  The above makes 3 servings with the following recommended container counts for each - 1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green, 1 orange, 1 teaspoon.

The cucumber noodles give it an amazing crunch, and the flavors are so fresh.  I love the buckwheat sweet potato noodles because they keep a nice texture when cold, and they only take 6 minutes to cook!  Vitacost is a great resource for cool new foods like that, I have discovered a lot there - both the ginger juice and raw honey in the sauce are Vitacost finds of mine as well.  They have great prices and sales, which are made even better with cash back at Ebates









Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Have Chocolate for Breakfast


Yep, that's right. Pretty much every day for the past few months, I have enjoyed chocolate for breakfast. And I have lost weight and gotten myself back into a fit, healthy and happy place.

How is this possible? Well, I discovered Shakeology. It's dubbed "The Healthiest Meal of the Day," and now I don't go a day without it! Not only do I get my daily chocolate fix, it also helped me get squash those intense junk food cravings I experienced when I first started the 21 Day Fix challenge. I went from Googling whether or not it was a scam to being completely enamored with it once I gave it a shot. I truly believe it was and continues to be a key part to my success in my healthy lifestyle and habits.

So what's in Shakeology? It's basically a protein shake with all kinds of superfoods for a complete nutritional powerhouse - as they sum it up, it's your daily dose of dense nutrition. It has a whole host of benefits, from aiding in digestion to making your skin glow and boosting your energy. No artificial sweeteners in it, either - a big reason why I like it. Well, that and it takes about 5 minutes to make and reminds me of a Wendy's Frosty. Except it's good for me!

The texture and flavor is really pleasant, unlike other protein powders I have tried that I find either too saccharine or chalky. And it's full of all kinds of goodness, too - check out everything you get! It takes care of all of those expensive vitamins and supplements and wraps them up in one delicious package.

One of the first things I always hear is how it is so expensive. I won't deny, yes it is. You pay for quality, don't you? (who's reading this on a top-of-the-line iPhone that you pay dearly for usage of each month without blinking??) When it comes down to it, it's about $4 a serving. We use it as a meal replacement, so it's replacing other food we are not buying. Also, there's the bonus savings we enjoy of not buying all that crappy junk food we didn't need in the first place. Medical bills are a lot more expensive, and this helps motivate me to eat healthy and gives me the energy to stay active. Win win in my book!


For my gluten-free people out there, it is made with gluten-free ingredients. However, it is not certified - here is their statement on the gluten-free status of the product. To summarize, it's manufactured in a shared facility that follows strict standards to prevent cross contamination. I personally have never had a reaction, and I am highly sensitive. I easily run more risk eating at a restaurant than drinking Shakeology.

Shakeology comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, plus two vegan options that are made with plant-based protein. There are also new boosts designed to take your shake to the next level! Not quite ready to commit to a flavor? Go for the sampler pack!


There's a Bottom of the Bag money-back guarantee on Shakeology, so you've got nothing to lose but that extra weight! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or contact me at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is
not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fall Into Fitness with the 21 Day Fix!

The holidays are fast approaching - are you ready? I definitely believe for once that I am! Thanks to my experience with the 21 Day Fix, I feel like this year I have firmly established myself in my healthier habits and as a result will be going into the season happy, healthy and full of energy! It's all about the 80/20 lifestyle for me now...I want to be fit, but I don't want to be extreme about it all the time. Good food (and wine!) is and always will be one of my favorite ways to relax and connect with family and friends, so I'm never going to be perfect. But I can be better!

That is one of the biggest mental changes I have experienced - the concept of just being better. You might not always make the best choice, but making the better choice can still get you to your goals. That's what healthy habits are all about! But first, you have to kick start those healthy habits.

That is where the 21 Day Fix challenge comes in! When you've been making the easy choices for awhile, it can be hard to get back on track with exercise and eating right. Ultimately, you have to want it. Me telling you how fantastic it is isn't going to get your butt off the couch. But if you want it, Autumn Calabrese and I can help you get it - and even make it fun!


What you get with the program is a simple, flexible nutrition plan and a set of workouts that are just 30 minutes a day and include a modifier to make them doable for all levels. Together, the plans help you get amazing results in very little time! I have made a few attempts in the past to shed extra weight, and it took me 6 months to lose what I lost in 6 weeks on the Fix plan. It combines muscle building to boost metabolism and clean eating for ultimate fat burning. Check out this video for a quick overview.

So why join me and my group? Support! This is often a big change for most of us who decide to start the plan, and change is hard. Who doesn't need help? I will provide guidance, answer questions, share ideas and tricks I've learned. You'll get to connect with others going through the same experience and learn from them too! Plus, as a bonus gift for joining my group, I will give you your very own FREE exclusive online meal planning tool, complete with a sample week's plan, food lists and recipe links.

Commit to 21 days with me - you have have nothing to lose but inches and self doubt! There's still plenty of time to join and get prepared. Order your challenge pack today to try the full program complete with the super tasty and healthy craving-killer Shakeology for the best results, or you can order just the program to get the workout DVDs, containers, and eating plan. Don't forget to add in your copy of Fixate for even easier meal planning - check out my review here and get a sneak peek recipe!

I really cannot say enough good things about this program. Giving it my all for those 21 days really turned around my unhealthy habits, and I found myself addicted to the results and inspired to keep going and sign up as a coach to inspire and help others too! My energy is sky high, my skin is clear, I am regaining my confidence, and reveling in all the positivity that I have added to my life through my new connections in the Beachbody community.

Just let me know in the comments below or reach out on Facebook to tell me that you're IN and I'll help get you started!

 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

21 Day Fix - The Fixate Cookbook

One of the things I love most about the 21 Day Fix is how simple the food is. Clean ingredients, simple methods, delicious and healthy results. But I found myself repeating the same things over and over, and craving something different, which would often result in a cheat.



Enter Autumn's new cookbook, Fixate! It is full of new ideas for every kind of meal, from soups and sides to desserts and cocktails. There are also plenty of gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan options, and a handy index at the back of the book that groups them. There are beautiful illustrations of the recipes to inspire you, and it is truly a pleasure to flip through and explore. It definitely kicked my meal plans into a new gear, and made it a lot easier to keep it interesting and fresh! I make at least 2 new recipes from it a week, usually more, and have had very few that I didn't fully enjoy.

You can get Fixate either by itself or with a full set of the containers, so you can try out the eating plan without buying the whole program.

One of the great things about the book that makes it so much easier to plan is Autumn has linked up a lot of the recipes to use up leftovers in new ways - for example, her Grandma's Tomato Sauce is used in 10 recipes! Plus she provides variations for a lot of the recipes so you can change it up.



My favorite of the entire book so far is the Creamy Chicken Salad. Simple, I know. Who doesn't know how to make chicken salad? The key, though, is the honey mustard dressing. It's light, tangy and flavorful, and lets the clean flavors of the salad shine through. Going to share that recipe with you today!

Honey Mustard Dressing from Fixate

makes 8 servings, 2 tbsp each (1 orange)
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (recommended brand: Fage)
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
Warm the raw honey briefly in the microwave at 50% power to soften, then whisk in the yogurt, mustard and vinegar until well mixed.

Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly until blended. Season with salt as desired. Then use it to make chicken salad!




There is a recipe for the chicken salad in the book as well, but I basically just toss a little bit of the dressing with chopped cooked chicken, sliced grapes, diced Granny Smith apples, and chopped scallions. I make a good-sized batch on Sundays and it keeps nicely in the fridge all week, and is quick to portion out for my daily lunch prep.

More Fixate reviews to come! Other recipes from the book I have tried and loved:
  • Grandma's Tomato Sauce - this seems to be the universal favorite
  • Protein Waffles
  • Vegetable Egg Cups
  • Toasted Kale Salad
  • Caprese Chicken
  • Italian Meatballs
  • Open Meatball Sub
  • Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites
  • Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
  • Skinny Pina Colada
What recipes do you love from Fixate? Share in the comments so I know what to try next!

Also check out this great post on the Team Beachbody blog - even more delicious pictures of successes from the cookbook!
9 Reasons Fixate Will Help You Cook Like a Pro

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

21 Day Fix Meal Prepping Tips

OK, so you've done your meal planning. Now you have to actually make it happen! I have found that prepping is a great way to keep me motivated to stick to the plan. If the food's ready to go, it becomes the easy option.

Now, I'm not saying you should become one of those people who lines up an entire week's worth of meals with military precision...if this works for you, fantastic. But for me, not so much. I don't mind some repetition, but I do like to vary it up so I don't want 7 days of the same thing. (except Shakeology. Every day. Always.) And I don't mind devoting a little time each evening to the task - in fact, I've started to enjoy it!

Weekly Prep

On the weekends, we shop and spend some time on prep to get us on the right track for the upcoming week. One thing that always involves is cooking a lot of chicken. We cook it, chop it up and use for lunches all week - Hubs favors green salads, and lately I'm a big fan of the Creamy Chicken Salad from the Fixate cookbook so I've been making big batches of that. Also works well to have on hand as a quick protein for dinners and snacks.

Other prep tasks that I do every week:

  • Make a pitcher of cold brew coffee
  • Make a bottle of 21 Day Fix salad dressing
  • Pull out proteins to defrost
  • Wash produce

If I have time, I'll do a big batch of something like Grandma's Tomato Sauce from the Fixate cookbook that I can use in meals all week.

Daily Prep

Every evening before bed, I pull out my meal plan for the next day and take 10-15 minutes to get my lunch and snacks ready to take to work. My containers make it easy to portion and pack.

  • Chop veggies/salad
  • Wash/slice fruit
  • Portion out leftovers

I started out doing it in the morning but I always felt rushed and frazzled. Now all I have do is blend up my Shakeology, which only takes about 5 minutes, pop the containers in my cooler bag, and head out! Mornings went from stressful to easy breezy.

As far as dinners go, I usually prep as I go or take shortcuts at the store. I keep it easy on weekdays - often we just toss meat on the grill and a pan of veggies in the oven to roast. I also always plan at least one night of leftovers. Can't beat a nuke it night when you've had a long day.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure you make sure you plan ahead and shop so you've got what you need on hand to stick to it

 

 

 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

21 Day Fix Meal Planning Tips

Today I want to talk meal planning for the 21 Day Fix. I think that this is one of the hardest areas of the program - and one of the most necessary. Planning really makes it possible, as the containers can be a tricky balance. It's not easy, especially at first, to figure out how to divide it all up. But as I got used to the routine, it became easier, and I've got some tips to help you out!

 

* Find a meal plan template that works for your style. I am a computer geek, so I made a spreadsheet. There are some great printables out there if you're more the handwriting type - Pinterest is full of them!

* Start by filling out your meal plan with anything you repeat regularly, like Shakeology for breakfast.

* Go for the dinners next - this is likely the area you will want to have the most variety, especially if you eat with others, so this will make sure you account for those containers right away.

* Plan some dinners that have leftovers and work those into the lunches - I like to vary my weekday lunches between leftover meals to reheat and green salads with chicken or other leftover proteins.

* After that, look at the containers you have left and fill in the remaining as your snacks or breakfast.

It made my life a lot easier to have a fair amount of repetition in the breakfast and snacks after all that other meal planning effort. My go-to's are Shakeology, fresh fruit/raw veggies, Boar's Head low sodium deli turkey, and peanut butter with crackers or a slice of bread. Anything portable and easy to prep/pack for work!

If you want some ideas for recipes, check out my recent blog posts for some that I've come up with - the Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini is especially popular! Pinterest is also a fantastic resource for some 21 Day Fix food inspiration, and of course Autumn's new Fixate cookbook is full of great 21 day fix approved recipes!

What have you found that works for you?

 

 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Join Me & Thousands Doing the Labor Day Fix!

Are you ready for a jump start to a healthy, fit lifestyle to round out your summer? Well, so are thousands of others! I'd love to see you join me for Labor Day Fix, which is going to be a truly epic round of the 21 Day Fix with guidance and motivation from Autumn Calabrese herself! It officially starts August 17th, prep starts this week.




I've been participating in the Facebook group and it's full of people on the same journey I am, giving encouragement, asking questions, sharing experiences. Autumn's going to be handing out lots of prizes, and if anyone is interested in joining me I'll do a separate private group with my own help and prizes! Just comment below or get in touch at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com.




Why do I find this program so great? It's the whole package! It tackles portion control, salt & sugar, proper balance of food groups, all in a simple container system. No calorie counting! Then it adds workouts that not only easily fit into your day at a mere 30 minutes, they are highly effective and easily adaptable to a wide variety of fitness levels.


I have seen all sizes and ages doing this program and they all love it. One thing that really stands out is people's comments that they have tried other programs and they were just too hard/caused injury, but not this one. It's 7 workouts, balanced between weights, cardio and stretch. And minimal equipment - all you really need is a resistance band and mat, although I use dumbbells instead of the band. They are set up as rounds of short bursts with short rests, and it goes quickly. The yoga workout is also among the best I've found on DVD, perfect mix of flow and static poses.


I've personally had many positive changes with the 21 Day Fix Challenge - check out my round 2 results! And that doesn't even scratch the surface on the improvements I've experienced. I really would love to be your coach and help you change your game.


You still have time to start with us on the 17th! Order your 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack today - amazing deal, you get the program for just $10 when you try Shakeology, which is a great way to round out your nutrition and help with carb and sweet cravings. Even if it's not here on time, you get immediate free access to Beachbody on Demand for 30 days, where the whole program will be available - eating plan PDFs and all the workouts to stream. And I will be here for you to help plan and answer any questions. No excuses!! Who's with me?



 

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

One-Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken

Every now and again I come across a combination that I just love.  Balsamic and honey might just be my new favorite!  This meal is a great one for a simple weeknight meal - one pan, minimal fuss, delicious results.


One-Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken & Veggies

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Directions

Mix together the Italian dressing, balsamic vinegar, raw honey and crushed red pepper flakes to make the sauce.  For the raw honey, I recommend putting it in the microwave for a bit to help it combine more easily - use low power, or a soften setting if you have one.  

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown in skillet - about 3-4 minutes per side.  After they are browned, add half of the sauce to the skillet, reserving the other half for later.  Coat the chicken in it, then remove the chicken to a plate, leaving sauce in pan.

While the chicken is cooking, partially cook the green beans in the microwave - I usually do about 2 minutes in my amazing silicone steam cooker (obsessed).  I add this step because I find green beans take awhile to cook, and the balsamic sauce reduces down quickly.

Add the green beans to the skillet and finish cooking them through, coating them in the sauce.  Remove them to the plate with the chicken.  

Add the remaining sauce to the skillet and stir constantly for a minute to let it thicken.  Add the chicken and green beans back to the skillet, and add the tomatoes.  Toss it all together and serve.

21 Day Fix Containers (per serving)
  • 1 Red
  • 2 Green
  • 1 Orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon
                            

Thursday, July 30, 2015

21 Day Fix: Round 2 Results

So I made it 2 rounds of the 21 Day Fix, back to back!  There were some cheats, particularly since during round one we celebrated the 4th of July, and during round two we took a brief vacation up to St. Augustine.  But I still made healthier choices on both those occasions, and while I had some other cheats on the diet, I definitely stuck to the workout plan and kept pushing myself.

And guess what?  I really saw results this time!  Last time I saw good ones but I felt like I did not look very different.  After round two, I could really tell a difference in my before and after photos.  I actually lost the same number of pounds/inches each round.  Keep on going for a peek at my results!



I really think that round one was my key to getting my mindset and habits back on track - as they say, it takes 21 days to make a habit, and that was something I could definitely tell.  It was easier to get out of bed in the mornings to work out (partly because I was less sore, but also because I was used to it).  I found it easier to do the workouts and keep up, and even keep pushing, so that part got fun.  And this time I really saw a difference in my body as well as my strength.  In this final week, I upped my light/heavy weights from 5 lbs and 8 lbs to 8 lbs and 10 lbs!  I surprised myself, actually, and can't wait to see what I can keep doing.



I kept up with the Shakeology - I'm not sure I'm ever going to give that up.  I enjoy it, it's really good for me, it helps with cravings, makes me feel great, and it's chocolate.  'Nuff said.  #shakeologyforlife



I am looking forward to my journey as a Beachbody coach, and the community of amazing people that I have found to motivate, inspire, and share with.  I really, really hope that my experience, results and desire to help you achieve your goals will inspire you to join up with me as your coach and join the 21 Day Fix challenge!!  I'm going to be participating in my coach's challenge group starting up Monday, and will start recruiting for my own groups after that.  Would love to have you - I promise it will change your game completely if you are up for it!

So as promised...results!  

I never thought I'd be one of those people who is all, I lost so many inches in so few weeks!  Or post before and after pictures of myself publicly.  Eep.  But here I am, proof positive and proud enough to do it.  Overall I lost 12 inches and 8 lbs - a full 2.5 inches from my waist and 3.5 from hips!  These photos don't even show how nicely this program has started to shape my legs too.  Autumn Calabrese totally knows what she's doing.

I would still like to keep moving forward and trim down more, but it's really exciting to see such a difference.  I know a lot of people would probably like to see miracle results in just 21 days, but...it takes time.  I still think 6 weeks is a ridiculously short amount of time to see this much progress, I've never had these kinds of results before.  You never know until you try!








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