Fitness/Exercise

Change is Constant

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IMG_7569Lots going on — which is why I am slacking on updating often. My day job has been in the midst of a lot of change – my awesome boss has decided to leave, our CEO resigned and we are moving offices -which will add a sucky commute to my work week- all in the span of a few weeks! Talk about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, not to mention the kids are now out of school for the summer and my puppy, Trooper, has been away for two weeks getting some serious obedience training. We miss him terribly and have been all excited for him to come home and yesterday the trainer texts asking if they can keep him an extra week at no charge, so they can work with him on tracking. So – I would say he’s doing well with his training and we can’t say no –but man, we miss him.

Oh, and HB is done with middle school. It’s hard to believe my little baby is now heading to high school. I have mixed feelings about it all. I just really cant get my head around the fact that she is growing up so fast. She is now officially taller than me. I keep having flash backs of little moments when she was a baby and it really does seem like yesterday. Then I am reminded that it was a very long time ago when she tells me I don’t understand anything and how could I embarrass her so much by <whatever it is that particular day>!

As for my fitness life – I’m down another pound. Seems like that’s my MO. Slow and steady. That’s 11 pounds down and about 3% body fat lost. I’m really happy with the progress. I feel so much better and you can see a lot more definition in my body. It’s the protein I tell ya! Eat more protein!  I’ve been enjoying my 2x a week sessions with my trainer, Wayne. I’m doing some strength training I have not ever done before and he seems to enjoy trying to figure out how to make me sore. Every session he has been asking me how are you feeling and I have said, a bit sore but nothing major. Well, this week – my calves were SORE. When I went in for yesterday’s session – he seemed to revel in it a bit more than he should and proceeded to have me do a very intensive upper body circuit that left me shaking. It’s been interesting to work 1:1 with a trainer. It takes a few weeks to get acquainted. I guess you can say it’s like dating. At first, it’s all nice and once you are more comfortable, the real sets in. Well – we are at the real point. In a good way of course – He is pushing me and I am seeing results. Which is the point – and it has reignited my motivation. So I would say it’s been money well spent.

Then of course there is [Solidcore] and Boxing — a well-rounded fitness cycle. Some people ask me how I find the time to do it all and still take care of stuff in my life. Well, it’s a good question. Some of it is getting up super early to get my work outs in. Some of it has to do with asking for help. My hubby knows it’s important to me, so he does his part to help the gears run. And finally, my kids know that it’s just what Mom does and I hope they take my lead and continue to be active throughout their lives. It’s about 5-6 hours total out of each week if you think about it. There are MANY hours in a week – 5 or 6 is nothing – and we all deserve ME time. It’s my therapy, my time to hang with my friends, listen to some good music, challenge myself physically and mentally, and set the example I want to set for my kiddos. How can I NOT find time – ya know?

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Making Progress is the Name of the Game

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Last week was a good week – I’m down another 2 pounds, making it 8 pounds total so far. Five weeks/8 pounds. I’m eating a lot more protein and have not had any major cravings for sugar. And it doesn’t hurt that people are noticing my loss — even one of my boxing coaches asked me earlier last week if I was losing weight. I feel so much better too — more energy and as I mentioned before, a renewed sense of inspiration.

I’ve been back to Solidcore quite a few times the past week or so — and each time I am noticing improvements. It’s still not easy, mind you — still very, very challenging but not as brutal as the first time. I think what I like so much about it is how challenging it is — it’s all very slow movements and it’s all about the core. It’s also a very mental routine — pushing yourself when your muscles are twitching.

Personal training is going really well as well. Last week we worked on the TRX for one session and did a bunch of back and shoulder work for the other. There have been a few times I walked into training and really did not want to do it – I was dreading the workout Wayne was going to put me through – but it’s supposed to be a mental challenge as well. So walking lunges up and down the weight room holding kettle bells is supposed to make me strong –mentally and physically and it does –trust me, it does!

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Focus and Doing the Work Equals Success

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Steph HoaglundI didn’t see any weight loss this past week, but I also didn’t see any weight gain – so it’s still a win. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me though. I have been on point, eating well, no crap snacking and exercising as usual. You would think my body would step to it and show results. Although in fairness, I am about to hit that monthly time, so it could be the cause of the lack of results this past week. I’m going to go with that and see what next week’s weigh in produces. My clothes are looser and I have had more than one person mention that I am looking leaner -so I am going to try my best to focus on those positives. It’s not easy though. I want proof!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to open up my shoulders and chest during strength training. Not only is my posture less than stellar in general, I also tend to pull in during boxing as well. I’m becoming more excited each workout to see the changes happening to my arms. shoulders and back.

I’ve also been mixing things up too. Solidcore has opened in Ashburn, so I bought their opening rate special and will be adding that to my weekly schedule one day a week. With boxing and Body by Wayne training — it’s a pretty well rounded fitness routine that includes Core, Strength and Cardio Work. With two rest days each week –which I know I get asked about constantly. Working out is my stress releaser – it’s hard to take rest days but I schedule them just like other stuff.

Solidcore Ashburn

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The Eat More Protein Diet Plan

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Tulips  - live fit and soreI’m down another 2 pounds this week. Which means I’m down 6 pounds in 3 weeks. Seems adding more protein, cutting out the majority of processed crap/extra snacking, and being focused –  in addition to appreciating how much better I am feeling..mentally and physically has made all the difference. Funny how the old fashioned/no gimmick way works if you commit (which is the hardest part).

Slow and steady — is the name of the game; 1-2 pounds a week.

The other thing I have noticed, besides feeling better and my pants aren’t cutting off my breathing is my face looks less puffy. It’s one of those subtle things that most people don’t even notice but I do. I had been eating gluten and dairy at least once a week regularly for months, and it was causing inflammation and puffiness. I am starting to see that go away now that I am 3+ weeks into re-energizing.

So-am I doing anything mind blowing or off the charts to see progress? Nope.

First, my mind is right. I am all aboard on this — committed and focused and present.

Second, seeing progress and hearing about my progress from my support system around me.  I try to surround myself with uplifting, awesome and like-minded people who give me props and understand the importance of lifting one another up- so we can all win.

Finally, I am making sure that when I go to eat – my first thought is what am I going to eat with protein. I am so used to eating more carbs – no matter the form – that I have to really make an effort to include a protein source each time I eat.  I have not been eating enough protein overall. And even though it’s only six pounds, I have had a lot of comments about how much leaner and cut I am looking. I haven’t changed up my fitness routine all that much, but I am considered very active – so I definitely need more protein.

I have been using an organic veggie protein powder that I mix in my Ninja blender with almond milk and ice to get more protein. I also have been adding in phliosophie -superfood a really great tasting and healthy super food/protein blend powder to give it an extra boost. The blends are made by a small company: Philosophie. I read about the founder Sophie and her products via an article a while back. Here’s the description from the website…

Each of the Philosophie Superfood + Protein Blends is vegan, raw, gluten-free, and has absolutely no filler ingredients. The detoxifying Green Dream blend, beautifying Berry Bliss blend, and energizing Cacao Magic blend contain nothing but the purest, most healing ingredients that have been deemed “superfoods” due to their exceptional nutrient density. Because these blends can be added to absolutely any food, it is easy to enrich every meal with the amazing health benefits of the world’s most potent superfoods. When the body receives optimal nourishment from these wholesome, plant-based sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, it more readily releases unneeded material and toxins, leaving you feeling renewed and vibrantly healthy.

I have tried all three blends and like them all – although the Cacao Magic is my favorite because CHOCOLATE.  I also read a pretty good review/comparison of another super food blend that shares my same views about Philosophie:  Smoothie Food Fight: D’Vida vs. Philosophie.

So, there you have it – I’m sure you can sense my energy and excitement as I get closer to my goal — and I gotta be honest, it feels so good to be excited about it again.

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The Mediterranean Diet: Heart & Mind Healthy

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Mediterranean DietHave you heard of the Mediterranean diet? Here’s the basics…

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise

Recent research has shown that eating this way can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death: Science Daily: ‘Mediterranean’ diet linked to lower risk of heart attacks, strokes in heart patients.

“A ‘Mediterranean’ diet, high in fruit, vegetables, fish and unrefined foods, is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease, according to a study of over 15,000 people in 39 countries around the world. The research also showed that eating greater amounts of healthy food was more important for these people than avoiding unhealthy foods — a ‘Western’ diet.”

In addition to lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke, the Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.

If you look at the basics of this approach, you can call it whatever you want. It’s eating healthy: not eating a lot of processed foods and exercise!  (I’m sure many of us love the drinking red wine part!)  No shockers, no surprises.  Most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.

When I am on point, this is very much how I eat – although I do use Kerrygold butter and don’t eat legumes often. I am also gluten and dairy free (minus the butter!) for sensitivity issues Through trial and error, I have found that Dairy causes eczema and congestion for me and gluten seems to cause me gut and fatigue issues. So, when I do partake in eating them – it’s after careful deliberation on the pros and cons of what’s being eaten.

Want to learn more? Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan That Can Save Your Life

MediterraneanDietBenefits

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Alive or Breathing

Goals: Focus, Patience and Acknowledgment

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Weigh in again this week — I’m down 1.5 more pounds and about .5% lower in body fat (2.5% lower total). So, it wasn’t a whirlwind amount, which bummed me out a bit, but it is lower. And before anyone lays into me, I realize that in the grand scheme of how much weight I have to lose, it’s actually a good amount to be down. I know this! But you know how you focus and stay on point and then get that sort of let down feeling when you see the number? Yeah – i felt that.  It’s so damn easy to put weight on, but to take it off – seems double the effort.

And earlier this week, I craved some carbs big time. With the focus on more protein and no crap food — I haven’t been super hungry and for the most part, not even a little tempted to go hog wild. But the other evening, I wanted nothing more than carbs – so I had them. I opted for some crunchy rice rolls. So while not the worst thing I could have chosen (no gluten, soy, GMOs) – it was empty calories and I of course ate the entire package because stuff like that are like potato chips to other people. I can not eat just one —  But the next day was a new day and I moved on…

I know that if I want to reach goals I set for myself, it’s all about focus, patience and acknowledging any and all steps that get me there and that set me back.

musclevsfatweb12 day stats:

  • 4.5lbs lost
  • 2.5% loss in body fat
  • More energy
  • Better Sleep
  • Skin looks better

Training Progress

Working out with a personal trainer has been challenging and fun. I am learning to appreciate as well as just get used to having individual attention throughout 30 minutes of training. There is no where to hide or skirt around the reps or exercises which has me pushing myself farther than usual.  For some of the work I am doing, Wayne has me lifting lighter weight for higher reps to increase muscle tone. Previously, I was used to going heavy for strength training.  I am now learning to incorporate both concepts into my training to improve my overall fitness.

Here’s a good article about low vs high rep strength training and which approach is better (or are they?):  High Reps vs. Low Reps: Which is Better?

And here’s info on some recent research about low weight, high rep training:  LOW-WEIGHT, HIGH-REP EXERCISE INCREASES BONE DENSITY

Currently, I am scheduled for 2 weekly training sessions with Wayne and then I hit up boxing 3x a week, including one 12 round (1hr 15min) class.  As I mentioned before, working out has not been an issue for me for years now. I can’t imagine not being active. My challenge has always been eating — and the reality is, it will be always be a challenge whether I like it or not.

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Making Progress and Gains

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I just completed a full week of the Body by Wayne challenge and guess what? I lost 3#s and 2% body fat in 6 days.

13096237_10207416016253386_1114629256812570428_n Me Before/After

What am I doing, you ask? Here are the high level things that have been on point this week for me…

Focused strength training

Wayne has been guiding me each PT session on what strength training to focus on — and then supports, instructs me as I take on whatever challenge he has in store for me.  I’m still boxing 3-4x a week as well.

Tracking my food intake

I’m back to square one and need to track my food so I can get real about what I am eating. I started using Fatsecret.com, which like many other programs out there, has a large database of food/nutrition info and counts my calories and calorie breakdown.  It has been helping me be more mindful of what I am actually eating – which is key.

Added more protein

Most women don’t eat enough protein – it should be 30% of your total caloric intake for the day. It’s daunting most days, but I am aiming for around 140g of protein each day.  To get that much, I am drinking a protein shake as one of my snacks using almond milk. The shake powder has around 20g of protein, and then I’ve been adding Cacao Magic, which is a superfood and protein blend with 10x the antioxidants of green tea, more magnesium than 3 cups of broccoli, and more calcium than a glass of milk. It adds another 10g of protein to my shake and tastes pretty good.

Having support

I needed some attention plain and simple. It’s been helpful to have someone else on my team, holding me accountable for the commitment I’ve made and getting excited when I did lose the weight this week. I am usually everyone else’s cheerleader –which is a role I love – but it’s nice to have someone (whether I am paying them or not) to be as invested in my progress as I am.

The good/bad news is there is no one special, outside of the ordinary thing I’ve done this past week to make progress – I’ve been focused, present and excited to take on the challenge of getting back on track. Outside of nutrition, it’s a mental game! And just like with any skill, you have to continually use it to make progress.

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Adventures of a Personal Training Session

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Me after the workoutThis pic is me after my 30 min session with Wayne. I was crushed. Fair to say it was a very long day. I did a 6A intense boxing workout, then worked my day job, and then went in for my PT session (add in parenting duties too!) Wayne didn’t do anything I wasn’t comfortable or unfamiliar with — the focus was strength training – dumb bell arm work, back squats, push ups and a few other things, including a long session of db walking lunges. When I say long — I mean it felt like it was miles.  After the session, my muscles twitched for quite some time, i drank a ton of water and I felt the soreness start within minutes. Now that’s a good session.. Wayne said that he could tell I was a ‘worker‘.  Truth.

As for my clean eating — I am now on Day Three. The first two days weren’t that big of a deal, but today I woke up with a headache and just feel sluggish and cranky. I am warning everyone that interacts with me that cranky Steph has arrived. Fair warning to them all.  I’m not starving, but I am craving sugar and carbs. To combat them, I am drinking water and/or herbal tea whenever I feel the cravings creep up. I am peeing a lot more thanks to that strategy…

Wednesday evening I got out the good ole crockpot and made some Cilantro Lime Chicken, which I figured would last me a few days but my family liked it too –so it only covered me for dinner that evening and lunch the next (because I packaged some up right after it was ready to eat!). I am going to make some more – it was that good!

As I sit here, I can feel the soreness every time I move. It’s not immobilizing or anything but it’s a sign that I worked hard. And although I am bit achey and cranky from this clean eating detox period, I can feel the excitement start to flood back with this challenge – which is a good thing.

My next session is Sunday, so stay tuned…

After sharing my last post, I read this article:  I’m a Fit Chubby Girl and I’m Sick of People Telling Me I’m Unhealthy which I thought was relevant and timely. While I see the point she is making, I am not necessarily of the same mindset when it comes to my own health.  For me, I don’t want to be the chubby fit girl because I know mine is caused by the nutritional choices I have been making. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a fanatical nut about it all either. It boils down to I am not happy where I currently am and I don’t feel my best. If the author feels she is at her best –more power to her. Healthy living is what matters in the end – not the number on a scale. Keep exercising and moving your body on the regular.

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Getting Real: Body by Stephanie

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Steph Hoaglund - April 2016I’ve been struggling lately — struggling to find the motivation and joy in my fitness routine and struggling to stay focused on good nutrition. In fact, the truth is I have all but fallen off the nutritional wagon. It started about two years ago if I am being honest – when I was laid off from my job and I went into a funk. I kept my work out routine up but started to slip and slide down with regards to eating. And although I don’t eat gluten or dairy on the regular, it has been creeping back into my weekly diet.  I’ve been frustrated with the lack of interest and attention my fitness instructors seem to display lately as well. One thing I know when it comes to me having a successful workout – I feed off of the energy and attention of my instructors.

It’s all added up to a perfect storm of frustration and lack of motivation and here’s the brutal truth: a 25+ weight gain over the past two years. My friends say “no way”, “you can’t tell” and other words of support when I share my weight gain frustrations but I see it.  And it’s hard to reconcile because of how active I am. I know it boils down to my lack of focus on nutrition. I do eat well overall, those salads I eat during lunch are real- I am a sugar addict and a carb snacker.  Evenings are the worst for me…

Add the lack of nutritional focus with the lessening motivation to really hit the workouts and training hard, it’s not going to end well…

I need help
Im HungryWhen I feel I need some help and guidance, I seek it out. So, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met with a personal trainer, Body by Wayne, yesterday. I was nervous because I have never worked one on one with anyone. It forces you to be very honest about where you are. I never step on a scale and yesterday I had to.  We spent about 20-30 minutes talking about goals, my fitness & nutrition history and where I should be. Then I did a 20 minute fitness assessment so he could assess exactly where I was fitness wise. It included bench press, push ups, core work, and balance exercises. Afterwards, he said was very impressed, which was a relief because I have been working out for almost 8 years straight now!

It was clear after this first session, Wayne knows his stuff. This is his career and understands it’s a combo of cardio, strength and nutrition that will get the job done. When it was over, he printed out sample nutrition plans for me to follow and other information. He approached it like we will do this together, if I am game- we are a team.

So, what now? 
I agreed to take him up on his one week free Wayne Challenge which includes 3 free workout sessions. I also agreed to eating clean for the week, which means keeping a food diary.  He also gave me his rate sheet that offers different options and costs for training. So, starting today I am doing the Wayne Challenge. This morning at 6a, to kick it off, he sent me a Facebook message reminding me to plan for my meals today.  Ahh, accountability!

So there it is — the truth. The journey to be more fit and healthier is never going to be easy – life seems to get in the way. It really is a pain in the ass to be healthy when it’s so much easier to just go with the flow – but I’m not happy with where I am and it’s up to me to change it.

Stay tuned as I continue to share my Body by Wayne Challenge experience…

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The Magic You Were Born With

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PinkI was trying to figure out what really bothered me about the latest Kim Kardashian instagram image.  It’s her body, so what do I care if she wants to show it to the world. But yet, it still bothered me. Then I read something posted by Pink today on Twitter that captured what I was feeling:

“Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their talent, their ‘magic’ that they were born with, that only they possess. It may not ever bring you as much ‘attention’ or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses, but women like you don’t need that kind of attention. In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from attention, you will feel something called pride and self respect.” -Pink

It is absolutely her right to show her body off and be proud. I just can’t help but think about what happens when her ‘looks’ stop getting her attention. What happens then? More plastic surgery, treatments, perfect lighting to keep up the facade? I would imagine that when your fame and career all stem from how you look – you get wrapped up and it consumes you.

Pink QuoteWhen I saw her IG posts, I didn’t stop and say oh, i wish I was just like her. Quite the opposite actually, It bothered me. It felt cheap, unnecessary and an over the top cry for attention.  It also angered me – my teen daughter sees images like that all over the place now and in her still forming mind, she begins to think that’s worthy of attention and worthy of emulation.

It makes parenting that much harder…

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