The key for most people to a lot of things like digestion, maintaining or losing weight and fueling your body all depends on portion control. I say most people because before we get into this post, this may not be for you if you have have disordered or restrictive eating in the past. Please consider this before continuing.
Have you ever found yourself eating “healthy” but not losing weight? Did it make you want to give up? Maybe it is your portion sizes. In a land where we get bread before meals, unlimited sodas, bottomless mimosas (a favorite of mine) and huge portions when we eat out, it’s not hard to sometimes understand what a “regular” portion is. We get asked if we want to supersize things when the original portion was probably plenty. We eat chips out of the bag instead of thinking about what the serving size is and figuring out how many services we are actually eating.
The worst things about eating too much is that overfull feeling you get. When I was younger, I used to go to the Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat buffet for lunch and eat until my stomach hurt! It was almost a rule you couldn’t leave until you felt that way (actually, it was a rule, I’m not going to kid myself). I can only imagine the thousand of calories I ingested…then had to go back, sit at my desk and try and have a productive afternoon.
I think I finally got good at portion control when I was packing lunches for my daughter to eat at school. Since she has Type 1 Diabetes, it is essential that she knows how many carbs she is eating so she can give herself the appropriate amount of insulin. Every morning, I pack her lunch and snacks and include a little note with all of the carbs counts for the day.
Packaged foods or single serving items are easy but I have a scale to measure grams or fruits and vegetables. I also use it for chips and other snacks out of a bag (I used to count out 28 veggie sticks or 30 grapes before that scale, so it is a lifesaver!) Almost every type of food has a code you type in so it tells you exactly the nutritional value for that particular serving size. You can get this scale on Amazon. This is great if you are counting your macros as well.
Another way to keep track of your portion sizes and your macros is to use a program like Ultimate Portion Fix. You have several different sized containers representing veggies, carbs, proteins, fruit, healthy fats along with nuts and dressings. Based on a formula, you figure out how many containers or each you can eat each day based on your weight, activity level and goals. This is extremely helpful when preparing your own food at home and something that I have personally used in the past. It also helps to keep eating fruit and veggies in the front of your mind because you have to get your containers in. Alcohol is allowed and counts as one of your carb containers.
The benefits I see from managing my portion sizes really boil down to the fact I feel satisfied but not overly full and bloated when I am balancing my macros with healthy portion sizes. Note the key word satisfied and not hungry. Now obsessively measuring your food when you are NOT eating in a balanced way is not what I am advocating. I am not suggesting you count out 10 almonds to eat for lunch. There is a big difference between restricting your portion sizes and managing your portion sizes. Please take this advice in a healthy and balanced way.
Do you have a problem managing your portion sizes and how does it make you feel? Comment below.
Back in January, when I decided to do Dry January, I thought why not couple it with the 21 Day Ultimate Reset. This program is by Beachbody and is touted as a no-starvation cleanse to help (and this is a direct quote) “restore your body to its optima; ‘factory settings.’” You can purchase the kit directly from Beachbody and comes with multiple supplements as well as a meal guide/cookbook to last the 21 days.
A Note: I did the Ultimate Reset last year, back in March and since we all remember how March 2020 went, you can imagine all of the good habits I was working on went straight out the window! I did more of the daily recipes then where I am doing more “Reset in a Crunch” or being repetitive with recipes for ease this time.
The Reset is broken up into three one-week sections: Reclaim, Release and Restore. There are daily recipes and each week comes with different dietary restrictions and enhancements as well as supplements. The first week, you have animal products until Day 4, and then you are vegetarian. By week 2, you are vegan and week 3, you cut out a lot of carbs and protein and are mostly eating fruits and vegetables. Some days your calorie intake is pretty low however this is offset by the lack of major physical activity. For example, if I eat 1000 calories on the Reset but only burn 50 calories doing restorative yoga, it is actually less of a deficit than the days I eat 1500 calories but burn 600 in an hour long circuit training class.
The supplements: You are also told to drink distilled water, adding a supplement called Mineralize to it. The other supplements are Revitalize (helps with digestion), Detox (supports natural detoxification and healthy liver function), Optimize (nutrient absorption) and Soothe (digestive health). Every afternoon you also drink Power Greens (helps support the body’s acid/alkaline balance). A note of caution: none of these claims are FDA approved nor do they have to be, so the descriptions are straight from Beachbody.
It is recommended that you don’t do strenuous exercise during these 3 weeks. Restorative yoga, walking, swimming and tai chi are all that is recommended. This is because your body is working harder on the inside and since exercise technically damages your muscles, you don’t want to ask you body to do too much. I personally did yoga every day of the Reset. This help me rediscover my love for yoga and well as it’s restorative benefits. This is one of the many things I have kept after the Refresh.
For a day by day description, scroll down, but if you want the summary, here it is. My digestion was immensely improved, almost immediately. Gone was the constipation and bloating. I also fall asleep much easier (and without interruptions, I sleep much better). As warned in the materials, I actually was able to process some emotional things as well. It’s amazing how much mental space you free up when you no longer have to think about what you are eating or what exercise you will be doing. I also lost almost 15 pounds. There were days I wanted to quit the restrictive diet and there were a few times I went off program (I blame Epcot) but overall stayed the course.
What am I left with, a few months down the road. I gained about 4 of the pounds I lost back and I was not surprised. I still can fit into all the clothes I could in mid-February. I drink much less alcohol than I did before. My snack cravings are still gone and my stress eating is a thing of the past. My digestion is still very good. I can fall asleep much better. I have a healthier relationship with food and myself! I will more write about that in the near future.
Final Thoughts: Will this Reset be the end all be all? Probably not. On the Facebook groups, people talk about how they do it every year because they ultimately fall back into old habits. Will this help if you are committed to making a major change? Absolutely. Will I do the Reset again? Probably not, although there are a few recipes I continue to use. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking to get some help in making a major dietary change or someone who wants to challenge themselves with dietary discipline. It’s akin do doing Whole 30 or something similar. You are going to change your diet and restrict many things you normally eat for a set period of time.
DAY BY DAY
Day 1 – I ate breakfast according to the plan but I ate a leftover FitLife lunch and instead of salmon according to the menu, I made a piece of salmon I had in the freezer. I also had a protein shake for an afternoon snack. Otherwise, I took all the supplements and water according to the timing required. I forgot that the Power Greens you take in the afternoon are a little gross but I think I added too much water to this blend so there was more to drink! I did 20 minutes of yoga and had a great night sleep without melatonin or any sleep aids.
Day 2 – I ate everything according to plan: oatmeal & blueberries for lunch, salad with chicken & pine nuts for lunch, a shake for a snack and Southwest veggie tacos for dinner. This is almost too much to eat for dinner and I am not able to finish it all. This dinner is one of my favorites and one I will repeat this week. I had a little headache throughout the day and I was so tired. Like laying on the couch not wanting to do anything tired.
Day 3 – Eggs, spinach & toast for breakfast, salad with pine nuts and miso soup for lunch, berries and yogurt with cinnamon for snack and the veggie taco again for dinner. You are allowed to repeat meals within the week you are in so I am definitely taking advantage of that! Tonight, I was able to finish the whole taco! I wasn’t tired today but did have a headache off and on throughout the day. I also did 30 minutes of yoga.
Day 4 – I slept terribly last night and woke up with a headache but it went away quickly once I drank some water in the morning. I repeated breakfast and lunch but missed my snack because of work meetings. I also had a lot of back pain today, like you feel when you are sitting too long. I remember I had this pain last time I did the reset and I think it has something to do with your kidneys working hard. Stirfry, quinoa and a sweet potato for dinner will make up for the missed snack.
Day 5 – I slept a lot better but the back pain was pretty intense. Upon waking and moving around, it felt better but I still utilized a heating pad through the day to help, especially since I had a lot of Zoom meetings today. Other than that, I felt great and the meals were really good. I ate mostly from the Reset in a Crunch list today. I had yogurt, oatmeal and berries for breakfast, a salad and miso soup for lunch, a shake for a snack and stir fry, brown rice and more miso soup for dinner (the actual day 5 dinner). I skipped the Nori Gomasio because I could never find the seaweed needed for the recipe, but that was minor. I ended the day with some yoga. (I am really enjoying the Apple Fitness app and will write a review down the road when I test out some more workouts.)
Day 6 – Still sleeping great but still having a little back pain so the heating pad worked well today. I repeated the oatmeal, berries, yogurt breakfast, had soup and salad for lunch again and repeated the veggie taco for dinner. No yoga today because I just decided to rest.
Day 7 – Last day of Phase 1 and I am feeling a clarity of mind and body I haven’t felt in a while. The back pain is gone and I’m feeling really good. I switched up my breakfast and had a chocolate protein shake (my preferred brand is Shakeology) with strawberries and it really tasted like chocolate covered strawberries. I always just mix my shakes with water. I’ve never been a big fan of milk in the shakes. Not sure why. I repeated yesterdays lunch and dinner for ease and fit that 30 minute yoga session in as well.
Day 8 – Beginning of Phase 2 – Release. Release changes the supplements a bit where it is adding in a Detox drink before each meal. It actually has a pleasant taste and it much easier to drink than the power greens! We also start cutting down on protein a bit. For breakfast, I had a giant plate of fruit. Today, I had pears, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries which surprisingly kept me full until lunch. I kept the same salad and miso soup but dinners are going to be more heavy on the veggies from now on. So today’s dinner was brown rice with pinto beans, steamed zucchini and green beans with lemon. I’ve been skipping the snack for the last several day because the meals are keeping me full and I just wasn’t hungry for an afternoon snack. I’m getting more consistent with the yoga but I actually did it in the morning today to ensure I fit it in. In case you were wondering about weight status, I am down a total of 5 pounds so far.
Day 9 – This plan is really becoming a habit now and it doesn’t feel restrictive at all. My daughter ordered lunch from Panera today and I wasn’t even slightly tempted to add on my favorite cookie! Instead, I had 1/2 serving of the pinto beans and rice from last night and a salad (in addition to my fruit breakfast). The salad recipe today called for toasted pumpkin seeds. I couldn’t find raw pumpkin seeds and the store so I purchased some already toasted. They tasted really good just out of the bag but putting them on the salad was a total fail – it just didn’t taste right. Next time, I will just eat these on the side (because I am definitely repeating the pinto beans again). For dinner, I was supposed to eat this homemade sweet potato bisque. My plan was to buy an organic sweet potato soup but of course the store was out of it. I instead substituted a butternut squash soup that was vegan. This was paired with some asparagus roasted with a small bit of olive oil and salt topped with almonds. This was by far one of my favorite veggies by far and one I will definitely keep around. Yes, I did my yoga but because of my terrible WiFi, the first session froze so I finished with a 10 minutes session so it wasn’t as satisfying as I was hoping for. I plan to make up for it tomorrow!
Day 10 – Almost halfway through. This isn’t feeling like I’m denying myself anything because the food is so good, but it could just be that I was definitely ready for it. In the Facebook groups, people are already dreaming about their Day 22 meals. The program recommends that you to the Refresh in reverse or at the very least to ease back into caffeine, animal proteins and alcohol. My plan is to do a full week of FitLife meals before going back into fully cooking for myself, just to keep on track. Anyway, Day 10 started off with the chocolate and strawberries shake. I had a salad with cucumber and some butternut squash soup. For dinner, I had a favorite: stir fried veggies with liquid aminos and a sweet potato. I also did 30 minutes of yoga.
Days 11, 12 & 13 – Fruit for breakfast, my salad and miso soup for lunch, shake and strawberries for a snack and a repeat of the stir fry for dinner. I miss the brown rice in the stir fry these past few days so I added it instead of the potato on Day 12 and have pinto beans and rice on Day 13 instead. 30 minutes of yoga both days.
Day 14 – Fruit for breakfast, Leftover pinto beans and rice for lunch and stir fry with rice for dinner. I skip the snack but fit in 30 minutes of yoga. End of Phase 2 – DOwn
Day 15 – Beginning of Phase 3, which means mostly fruit and vegetables. Fruit for breakfast and this is a huge plate of fruit! A salad with avocado and sunflower seeds on the side for lunch. No yoga today but the hip pain I’ve been feeling for years from running isn’t there today for the first time that I can remember. We end up staying the night at Disney and I forget my supplements so nothing tonight and tomorrow through dinner. We go to an all you can eat place but I stick with mostly veggies and salmon. I do have a cookie and a glass of wine, which ends up giving me a huge headache the next day.
Day 16 – Breakfast at Disney of pineapple, coffee and a mini Mickey waffle with peanut butter. For lunch, I cave because of my headache and get some Mongolian beef with broccoli and rice and nibble on an egg roll. For a snack, I pick a yogurt parfait with berries. I ended up skipping dinner because of the wine headache! No yoga but we did walk almost 20k steps around Epcot. I did drink the Power Greens when we got home around 6:30 and went straight to bed.
Day 17 – Back on the Refresh fully. Fruit for breakfast, salad with avocado and pumpkin seeds for lunch, 1/2 a shake and strawberries (1/2 shake is recommended in phase 3 to cut down on the protein) and stir fry, sweet potato and miso soup for lunch. I still have a headache from the wine two days ago, although it comes and goes throughout the day. I decide to do 45 minutes of yoga hoping to banish the headache through sweat. It doesn’t work.
Day 18: This is the first day I’m really feeling over it but I think it has more to do with my choice of being repetitive with the meals rather than the Reset itself. Maybe it was eating “regular food” on Saturday or the two-day headache from one glass of wine but I’m really looking forward to being done. I’m already planning some meals from Week 1, especially that veggie taco!
Days 19 & 20: I’m basically eating the same thing every day: Fruit, then salad and miso soup and ending with stir fry. Most days I am fitting in 1/2 a shake for a snack, some with strawberries, some without. Yoga has been a great addition, although I only fit in 10 minutes on Day 20.
Days 21 – Finally! I am so happy to be done that I actually add some shrimp in with my stir fry tonight. I also do the first workout of a new program instead of yoga but do incorporate stretching at night. It was nice to get in a good heavy workout and lift weights again.
Days 22 onward: I went back to Week 1 for my breakfast and lunch recipes, eating eggs and wheat toast for breakfast and making the Southwest taco into a rice bowl for lunch. I met some friends out for dinner so I ate a burger a little quicker than I planned but left out the bun and fries and instead ate brussel sprouts and beet humus. Instead of FitLife Foods, we started ordering from Hungry Root, which I will write more about later. I am more mindful about my fruit and vegetable intake, where I could easily not eat either on any given day. I plan for healthier snacks and overall feel really good!
Working my way through the Beachbody on Demand catalog, I wanted to mix up my usual workout selection. I felt like I had hit a plateau with what I had been doing and I needed something to give myself a kickstart. I decided to do Joel Freeman‘s boxing workout 10 Rounds. 10 rounds is a six week program consisting of five days a week, three days of boxing and agility and two days of weight lifting.
The workouts range from 30 to 40 minutes but don’t include a cool down or stretching at the end. (There are videos included in the program that you can watch afterwards for a cool down but I just cooled down and stretched on my own.) The boxing and agility were the longer ones and clocked in at about 40 minutes. One day of lower body and one day of upper body weightlifting usually was around 28 minutes, so a very quick workout. The way Joel structures the program is that you can work out any five days of the week and rest the other two of your choosing but just to do the workouts in the order specified. Another cool thing about this program is that it was done in real time and the cast went to a different city every week so it was really interesting to see where they would be.
When I first started this program, I felt pretty clumsy and uncoordinated, and this is coming from someone who used to routinely have to follow choreography for dance teams and cheerleading. After the first couple of agility workouts, I did get used to it more and then the soreness the following day really made me realize how hard you were working out! I loved the lifting workouts because they weren’t multiple sets that were very repetitive. It was a really fun way to get that workout in and I’ve actually incorporated those lifting workout into other weeks where I’m doing something different.
Results wise, it was pretty shocking! While my overall weight didn’t change anything dramatically the amount of inches that my body changed was crazy! My biceps are actually bigger and more defined and my legs are smaller, leaner and definitely stronger. Overall, I enjoyed this program because I got very good results in a short period of time and it’s just added on to my goals of being stronger and leaner.
You can access this program in the Beachbody on Demand workout catalog. Joel also incorporates this program into some of his hybrid calendars that you can get from following him on Instagram. I will probably do the hybrid of this and Liift 4 sometime in the spring.
I wasn’t going to review another Autumn Calabrese workout this soon but I just finished 21 Day Fix Extreme and I had to get my thoughts down while they were fresh. This was a really tough program for me but it was also a fun challenge to see how hard I could push myself and what I could accomplish!
I did 21 Day Fix (Real Time) and 21 Day Fix Extreme (Real Time) back to back so I really did a 42 Day program. 21 Day Fix Extreme is similar to 21 Day Fix in that it progresses in difficulty each week but is also very different in difficulty and complexity. It is definitely an advanced program. For example, most moves are compound (squat to shoulder press) and your plyo and cardio moves are done with weights. There are a lot of 30 second holds and plyo jumps. By week 3, your burpees are really two shuffle steps with a weight, the burpee and then a plyo jump with the weight! I have see this program advertised for fitness competitors to follow to prepare for competition.
As a note, I have never done the original 21 Day Fix Extreme, which I believe is 7 workouts that you repeat for 3 weeks. It is available on the BOD library but I like the Real Time programs as they offer a unique workout each day and they have the weekly progression.
I loved and hated this workout all in one. It pushed me but it also caused pain and soreness like I haven’t felt in a while. There were many workouts where I was checking the clock to see how much longer I had to do it! The Pilates with the workout band was so awkward and difficult, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. On the flip side, I loved the upper body workout, which is usually not my favorite, and the yoga pushed me and stretched me like no other! I finally nailed crow pose!
Bottom line, I really got results. Doing these two programs back to back shaved 10 inches off my body and I am fitting into clothes that have been in the back of my closet for a while. I am sure I will do this program again but it won’t be in the near future!
This list isn’t about workout equipment or outfits, but about little things that make my workout routine (and life) a little easier. I really can’t live without them!
1. Pre-workout and post-workout supplements
I personally use supplements from the Beachbody line: Energize and Recover. Honestly, since I don’t really drink caffeine, Energize is my go-to morning drink even when I don’t workout. It gives me a boost of energy for my workout and the day without jitters. I mix mine with lots of ice so it’s like a refreshing glass of lemonade. It comes in lemon, fruit punch and mixed berry. I really like the fruit punch but I have some mixed berry to try next. Energize has also helped me relieve headache pain!
When I first started lifting regularly, I didn’t use any type of post-workout and I definitely had muscle soreness the next day or two after. When I started using Recover, my muscle soreness became virtually nonexistent and it also helped increase my endurance for my subsequent workouts. Recover comes in chocolate but I prefer orange flavor which tastes just like a creamsicle! A thicker shake-like drink but definitely a pain-saver.
2. Dry shampoo
I have a lot of long hair and I couldn’t possible wash it every day, plus who has time for all of that? Dry shampoo is a girl’s best friend anyway but when your head and hair are all sweaty, you need to get clean. I have tried a bunch of different kinds but my favorite by far, especially after a workout, is Bumble and bumble Post Workout Dry Shampoo Mist. It’s better then just the standard dry shampoo and really works on the sweat to make your hair manageable, presentable and smelling nice. Perfect on second (or third) day hair!
3. Yoga Balm
I was introduced to Yoga Balm this year after a massage at the Ritz Carlton where we stayed for my birthday (ah, the pre-pandemic days). Yoga Balm works with the heat generated in a massage or while you work out so I put it on anything that is sore prior to exercising. It works really well on the parts of my back or neck that sometimes feel sore from sitting all day. It smells much nicer than a sports cream and feels much better too. It’s a little on the pricy side but a little goes a long way. It’s not currently available on Amazon so I linked to it at the Ritz shop. You may be able to find it somewhere else less expensive.
4. A good playlist
I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to get through cardio or a tough workout without a little music for inspiration. It can be as simple as listening to a playlist on an Amazon Echo or curating your own inspirational list. I used to have a great list of music for my Half Marathons to keep me going. I would make sure they would last as long as my run without repeats and would throw in some special songs depending on the race (Star Wars for Disney races and some Vegas-related songs for running the Strip at Night). I used to save mine on Apple Music or listened to other playlists on Spotify. If you aren’t sure what to listen to, there are plenty of playlists to sample. Most music services will let you save songs to a playlist as you are listening.
What are some of your workout essentials?
To purchase any of my favorites, just click the link. I don’t have an affiliation to any of the products listed above with the exception of Beachbody, which I will earn a commission if you purchase using my link.
Carbs are almost a dirty word in todays society. There are just about as many no or low carb diets as there are carbs themselves! Whether you did Atkins or South Beach decades ago or you are keto now, some people swear by the no-carb life.
I was watching the Netflix show Down to Earth with Zac Efron. While they were eating pasta in Italy, Zac mentioned that when he was filing the movie Baywatch, he didn’t eat any carbs. The carb-filled diet of the centenarians in the town they were visiting was the opposite of what any trainer had told him. His diet made a lot of news at the time but he also said it made him crazy and even depressed. I know competitors in fitness competitions carb cycle in the weeks before to enhance their physique. I have never thought of a no or low carb diet to be sustainable long-term.
The problem with cutting out all carbs is that some carbs are good for you. Following a balanced macronutrient diet, like I do, carbs can account for 50% of your diet! (I am usually between 40-50% each day). Carbs provide you with glucose for fuel and fiber for digestion. They also help to keep you full and satisfied so you aren’t tempted to over-eat on unhealthy foods.
We also try and watch carbs in our house because we have two people with Type 1 Diabetes, which is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is needed to break down glucose into fuel. Type 1 Diabetes has no known cause or cure. Although people with Type 1 Diabetes can eat whatever they want, they must inject insulin to “cover” the amount of carbs they eat or drink.
How do you choose which carbs to eat? In our house, we know that most cereals or refined/processed carbs are going to spike blood sugar levels. Same with fruit juices or sugary sodas. I look at these types of carbs as empty calories. I prefer whole grain bread to white bread. There are low-carb or vegetable pastas, even cauliflower rice (although we eat plenty of brown rice).
Some people avoid fruits because they contained carbs. I avoid fruit juice because it only has the carbs but the fiber has been stripped away. We eat a lot of berries, apples and pineapple. Also good are melons and oranges.
In reality, there are many ways to reduce bad carbs still eating the foods you love. Using some of the carb substitutes mentioned above is one way. If you season your cauliflower rice correctly, you can make it tasty, I promise! I have a spiralizer to make zucchini pasta, although there are plenty of options at the grocery store. Even a burger or sandwich can be lower carb by removing the top bun or piece of bread or putting it over a salad. I promise you, as I write earlier, a taco over a salad is still delicious!
For those of you using the Ultimate Portion Fix container list, I usually have whole grain toast as one of my containers. Other popular carbs are sweet potato, black or kidney beans, lentils, brown or wild rice and quinoa. Of course, when you have a glass of wine or beer, that counts as a yellow container, so plan accordingly!
Also, check out this article from the My Fitness Pal blog about the top myths about carbs.
Don’t forget to check out some of my recipes that are filled with good carbs, including cheesecake! Keep checking back for more delicious recipes and let me know if there’s a particular food you would like to see a healthy carb version of!
A cheesecake with only 244 calories that tastes like one with 1000 calories? It’s possible and this one was a favorite with everyone! When I make these again, I am going to skip the jam and just add more mixed berries to the top. So easy and amazingly delicious!
21 Day Fix (and now 21 Day Fix Real Time) is one of the most famous Beachbody programs there is. With super trainer Autumn Calabrese, you will exercise seven days a week for three weeks: upper body, lower body, cardio, cardio with weights, pilates, yoga and what she calls the Dirty 30, which is a total body weight workout. On the third week, you can add a second workout each day if you wish. There is also 2 days of 10 minute abs.
I am on week three of this program right now but this is probably the 5th time I’ve done it. I love this program for three main reasons: the workouts are 30 minutes a day, the program is only three weeks long and there is such a variety day-to-day. This is a great program if you are just starting out or you want a sense of accomplishment. If you do multiple rounds of 21 Day Fix, you can really see how much stronger you get with each round.
It’s not to say that this program is easy. Even in 30 minutes, it will challenge you. In fact, the first time I tried this program (on DVD years ago), I didn’t even finish the first week! I had to pause abs and cardio the first few rounds! The biggest thing is, as with any fitness regime, you have to have the right mindset. As Autumn says, whether you think you will succeed or you think you will fail, you are correct. It’s all about what you choose to do.
Autumn is one of my favorite trainers. I’ve done two rounds of 80 Day Obsession, I follow her nutrition program Ultimate Portion Fix and I love her cookbooks and cooking show, Fixate. If you do one of her programs, you are going to get a lot of talking, inspirational quotes and motivation throughout the workout, something that I know is not for everyone. Last year, Beachbody remade 21 Day Fix into a real time program, meaning each workout is different. The workouts also progress in difficulty each week in the updated version. I love this format because you don’t get bored and it really brings out the personalities of both Autumn and the cast. This really helps with home workouts!
I guess a fourth thing I love about this program is that I don’t outgrow it by not having heavier weights. I have weights that range from 1 pound to 15 pounds. When I was doing 80 Day Obsession, there were days I really could have used 20 or 25 pound weights. With the current pandemic, weights are extra expensive and backordered for months, so I haven’t upgraded my collection yet. However, because of the other enhancements in the workout, I could easily challenge myself without needing something heavier than a 15 pound set of dumbbells.
If home workouts aren’t your thing, I also easily brought this workout into the gym and on the road to the hotel gym. With Beachbody On Demand, I would just throw on my AirPods, prop my phone on the weight rack and follow the program . No one ever looked at me funny (or if they did, I sure didn’t notice them!)
As with most Beachbody programs there is a modifier who works out alongside everyone else but uses low impact moves, a smaller range of motion or lighter/no weights. This truly is a great program for all fitness levels. It even made me enjoy HIIT cardio, which is really saying something!
There’s also a 21 Day Fix Extreme (also updated to real time last year) which I will be starting next week so check back for a review on that program. This one I haven’t done before so it will be exciting to try something new!
If you want to try Beachbody on Demand for free, click here.
This was a fun and easy recipe that really hit it out of the park! The whole family loved them.
SERVES: 24 (1 ball each) Prep Time: 20 min.
1 cup all-natural smooth peanut butter 1 Tbsp. cornstarch 3⁄4 cup coconut flour 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup Hot water 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, 62% cocoa or higher, chopped 2 tsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil, unrefined
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine peanut butter, cornstarch, coconut flour, and maple syrup in a medium bowl; blend well with a spatula until mixture forms a uniform dough.
Using clean hands, shape dough into twenty-four 1-inch balls; place a toothpick in the center of each ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Fill small saucepan with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low.
Place a heat-proof mixing bowl over saucepan. Add chocolate and oil. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes, or until just melted. Make sure water does not splash into the bowl.
Remove balls from refrigerator. Hold a ball by the toothpick and dip into chocolate, swirling to completely coat. Return to baking sheet. Repeat with each ball. (For any uncoated areas, coat carefully with a spoon dipped into chocolate.)
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chocolate has hardened.
Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
TIPS: • You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Place morsels and oil in microwave-safe container. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until just melted. Do not overcook. • To prevent the balls from sticking to your hands when you roll them, lightly coat your hands with nonstick cooking spray.
I did not chop the chocolate chips, just melted them by stirring frequently over heat. I also recommend a little more than 20 minutes to harden the peanut butter as the toothpicks weren’t in there solid enough to swirl in the chocolate without the help of a spatula. I would also recommend taking the toothpicks out after the chocolate is on and before you put them back in the fridge.
I have been feeling a little off lately, not sleeping well and bloated, so I decided to do a 3-day refresh. This is a Beachbody program that involves lots of fruit, vegetables, water and fiber over a 3 day period. This is not a cleanse but more of a reset to balance your digestion and hydration. I started mine on Tuesday. So what did it entail?
Start each morning with 8-10 oz of filtered water
Breakfast: Shakeology blended with water + one serving of fruit
Optional morning tea (one hour after breakfast)
Fiber Sweep digestive drink (one hour after tea)
Lunch: Vanilla shake blended with water + one serving of fruit + one serving of vegetable + one healthy fat
Afternoon snack: One vegetable + one healthy fat or raw juice (at least one hour after Lunch)
Optional afternoon tea ) one hour after snack)
Dinner: Vanilla shake blended with water + Dinner recipe list
Optional evening tea
The program provides the list and serving sizes of the fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. It also provides the fiber sweep, vanilla drink and Shakeology along with an instruction book, recipes and a post-refresh maintenance guide.
Tuesday morning I woke up at 6am and drank a large glass of water. Then I had a vanilla vegan Shakeology with mixed berries added to it. Around 8:45 am, I had a glass of green ginger tea. (I found when I have done this in the past, the tea really helps with any hunger pains.) A little after 10am, I drank the Fiber Sweep. For best results, you really need to put this in a shaker cup and make sure it’s mixed thoroughly. Otherwise, it’s thick and clumpy. This is definitely my least favorite part! It has a lemon flavor to it but it’s best to drink it fast. Then around 11:45, I had my lunch of a vanilla drink, one fruit, one vegetable and one healthy fat. I added cinnamon to my vanilla drink (a “free” flavoring” and only a few ice cubes so it was more like a drink and not a shake). For my fruit, I was going to have 1/2 an apple but both red apples were rotten in the middle! Luckily we always have plenty of strawberries and a serving size on the Refresh is 12! Carrots and hummus round out what is actually a decent lunch.
At 2:30 I sautéed some zucchini in avocado oil for the veggie & healthy fat. Dinner was at 5pm and was a nice little veggie stir-fry with another vanilla drink. I kept with the cinnamon since it was so good at lunch. The dinner choices are all plant based and range from different steamed or roasted veggies or various salads. There’s also an option to have vegetable broth with fresh herbs. I wasn’t hungry or wanted anything else so I didn’t have tea in the morning of afternoon.
Days two & three I ate the same breakfast, lunch and dinner but I switched out steamed cauliflower for my afternoon snack with a scoop of nut butter for my healthy fat on Day 2. I didn’t feel hungry at all these days and didn’t have any tea.
Generally, it is recommended that you only do a light workout or none at all over the three days because you are only consuming about 900 calories, but I did my normal 40 minute leg workout on Thursday and I added my Recover drink after my workout. BOD has a 3-day yoga program specific for use during the refresh.
So overall, what did I get out of this? Even during the first day, I could feel the bloat dissipating and by Day 2, my digestion was much better and my bloat was completely gone. Night 2 was the best night sleep I have had in over a month. Overall, I also lost 4 pounds. I also feel like my sweet tooth cravings are diminished. I never felt deprived or overly hungry. It was much easier than the 21-day Ultimate reset that I did back in March! This is something I would be more than happy to do if I ever feel “off-track” again.
Going forward, I am looking forward to having healthy carbs and protein again but I feel this was a good building block to help me get back on track with balanced macros and helped to cure my cravings. If you are interested in trying it out, you can purchase it here.