It's time to spring-clean...and I'm not just talking and thinking about de-cluttering and organizing. My health and fitness habits need a major overhaul and I think March, with spring (and summer) right around the corner, is the perfect time to do it!
Hannah told me about this great program she was doing back in January. Called the 21-Day Fix, it's basically a full nutrition and workout plan that you commit to for, you guessed it, 21 days. Hannah had nothing but positive things to say about its ease of use and results, and my interest was piqued enough to commit to giving it a try in the March challenge group.
High-level, here's how it works: you receive seven color-coded containers, each of which corresponds to a food group. Based on your current weight, you calculate a certain number of containers you eat every day, and whatever fits in them is fair game. The plan obviously focuses on veggies, fruits and proteins, and cuts out sugar and simple carbohydrates almost entirely. In addition to food containers, you add one "Shakeology" shake every day as a superfood booster.
The nutrition aspect of the program has been pretty much foolproof for me so far...it's easy to follow and understand, and doesn't require a ton of thinking and calculation. The only drag is meal prep...I spent about three hours last Sunday starting to get things ready, and ended up spending about an hour a night doing the same. The plan actually allows for a lot of food, which is nice...I haven't found myself hungry-snacking on crap at work like I usually do! Plus, it's founded an addiction to Brussels sprouts for me...oh man, caramelize those babies on the stovetop with a sprinkle of goat cheese and I am in business. (Had you ever told me I'd be talking about craving Brussels sprouts instead of like, chocolate, I'd have laughed in your face!)
A typical food day for me last week looked like this:
-a breakfast of an egg scrambled with peppers and onions plus half a whole-wheat English muffin with a teaspoon of peanut butter
-a Shakeology around 9:30 at work...I think chocolate is my favorite although strawberry and vanilla are also really good!
-a lunch of a salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, an apple or orange, and a little quinoa with salt, pepper and olive oil
-an afternoon snack of cottage cheese with fruit
-and a dinner of chicken, a few different kinds of veggies, and Greek yogurt with fruit for dessert.
Workout-wise, the plan is based around DVDs with seven different half-hour workouts. Every day offers something different, including two days of cardio, an "upper" and "lower" fix, Pilates, Yoga, and "The Dirty 30," a weight-interval routine. Trainer and plan guru Autumn Calabrese is actually pleasant to follow...her absolutely insane abs and legs are great motivation to power through the workouts, she focuses on correct form, and there's always a modification (which is great for me just starting out!).
The workouts have really hammered home for me just how out of shape I am. When I'm at the gym, it's really easy for me to trick myself into thinking I'm working out hard, but these workouts put me through my paces and then some. It's a great but frustrating feeling to totally burn out a muscle group part-way through a workout, knowing that I have more work to do and that I'm going to be excruciatingly sore the next day. Favorite workouts so far have been Dirty 30 and Pilates, and least favorites are for sure the two Cardio routines...they're brutal.
As for results? I'm feeling lighter and more energized due to the totally clean food plan, and physically I can feel muscles that haven't been worked for far too long starting to wake up. I'm noticing clearer skin from drinking about twice as much water as I usually do, and small modifications to my daily routine have me feeling more productive and focused than I can remember feeling in a long time. Numbers-wise, there's been a surprising and positive change so far, but I'm more excited about finally making a change that I can stick to to better myself in the long run!
If you're interested in checking out the Fix for yourself, head here, or stay tuned for weeks 2 and 3 updates!