Tag Archives: Shakeology

My Four Steps To Fitness

Every time I hear something or see a post about someone I know who’s my age or younger and is in the hospital due to weight or dietary related ailments, I am grateful I got off my butt a couple years ago!  I finally decided to do something besides couch surf.   I was embarrassed by my condition-or lack thereof-and inspired by friends.  I didn’t just jump into the deep end of the pool. (Good thing too, as I’m not a terrific swimmer!)  Frankly, I started out easy in the wading pool and worked my way up.

 

  • The first step was mental, not physical.  I had to decide to take action.  It’s so easy to stick with what you know, that which is safe even if not healthy.  It is far more difficult to choose that which is unfamiliar.  Our lizard brains view “different” as “dangerous” and so we resist change.

 

  • The second step was committing to a course of action.  I began with biking 3 to 4 nights a week.  I started walking at least 30 minutes on my lunch hours at work.  I posted to Facebook as a way of forcing accountability upon myself.  Once you start something like this, repetition eventually puts the lizard brain into a coma.

 

  • The third step was to start eating intelligently.  No more would I eat an entire large double pepperoni pizza in one sitting.  Is it any wonder I was fat?  I took a friend’s advice and began having Shakeology for breakfast and avoiding fast food, and lost 8 pounds in 3 weeks!  I ditched the Doritos and started eating more fruits and vegetables.

 

  • The fourth and presently ongoing step is that I began exercising in earnest at least 6 days per week.  I’ve done a variety of Beachbody workout programs, in increasing difficulty levels.  Although some of these workouts are pretty tough, none of them are impossible because I have a fantastic support and accountability network in place.  That has been the key to my success, in my opinion.

 

My before and after photos.

That’s me before, on the left and and after, on the right.

Stuck in a Rut?

I recently finished my fourth round of Beachbody’s P90X. Now, I am looking forward to doing something different. It isn’t that I don’t like P90X-far from it. You don’t do something so challenging four times unless you really like it. And I do like the challenge, the potential for always doing one more pull up, one more push up, or moving up one weight from what I did the last time. The thing is, even with its inherent muscle confusion basis, doing the same workout program all the time can get a bit boring.

In the past I have done Body Gospel, Rev Abs, Shakeology 30 & 50, P90X Plus, and P90X2, all from Beachbody. Clearly, there is something about this company’s programs which I like. I think at the heart of it, all of these program share one underlying trait: support. The trainers lift you up, they don’t talk you down. If you can’t do something perfectly, they encourage you to do what you are able to. Or, as trainer Tony Horton says, “Do your best and forget the rest!”

I’m ready for a new trainer: Shaun T. and his Insanity-The Asylum program. Last night I did the first workout, “Speed and Agility”.  I thought because I’ve been working out for six days a week for a couple years, I’d be able to breeze right through this. Well, it didn’t exactly end up that way. Do you remember the Biblical saying “Pride goeth before a fall”?

The warmup alone was an eye opener for what is to come! It wasn’t that I’m not in good shape. Rather, it was a tough workout because I was doing agility and other moves with which I was not familiar. There’s going to be a steep learning curve. You know what? I look forward to it!

There is perhaps a life lesson here too. I assumed that past experience with one thing would enable me to do another somewhat related thing with no effort. This was untrue. While experience can inform and guide us, it is not a substitute for effort and learning.

Welcome to the Asylum!

Welcome to the Asylum!

Meatless Thursdays

I decided today that I’d take one day a week and devote it to eating vegetarian.  I’d shoot for vegan, except that my daily serving of Shakeology contains whey.  So, that would make this a lacto-vegetarian day.  What ever I choose to call it, I think I can commit to one day per week.  That day will be Thursday.

This isn’t being done to make some kind of statement against eating meat.  I freely admit to enjoying a nice steak now and then, and chicken and fish feature prominently in my meals.  The inspiration came from several sources including a friend who recently began eating vegetarian, some online discussions on the subject, and a general desire to expand my nutritional horizons.

Some might view that last item as incongruent.  How can limiting what is on the menu expand my horizons?  Put simply, doing so requires a thoughtful approach to ensure that the vegetarian day does not fall short in the nutrient department.  It requires planning so that adequate protein is consumed and excess carbohydrates (from grains and so forth) are not.  In short, for at least one day per week, I’m going to need to be more aware of how and what I eat than is typically the case.  A little introspection and self-awareness is a good thing!

A colorful mixture of many vegetables.

I can handle this one day a week. How about you?

Day One of My Shakeology Cleanse

I’m technically 10.5 hours into my 3 day Shakeology Cleanse as I write this, and so far, so good!  A Shakeology Cleanse consists of 3 servings of Shakeology made with water instead of milk or juice, a couple pieces of fruit for snacks, and one large meal comprised a leafy green salad with fish or chicken and minimal dressing.  Beverages are all the water you want, and decaffeinated green tea. As it turns out, the morning portion isn’t a lot different than what I do every day anyway.

Most mornings, I have a cup of black half-caff coffee and a serving of Shakeology made with skim milk or orange juice (chocolate and Greenberry, respectively.)  Some time around the middle of the morning I have a piece of fruit or an Odwalla bar or some almonds for a snack.  The morning portion of the cleanse is pretty much the same as what I already do.  After that, it will get interesting.  I did stick to the one cup of black coffee I pick up on my way to work each day.

So why am I doing this?  There are several reasons:

  • I’ve been stuck on a weight loss plateau for a couple months, trying to lose the weight I put back on last November when I was ill.
  • The cleanse will give my digestive system a bit of a break and allow it a minor reset.
  • The cleanse allows your body to purge sugars, toxins and accumulated contaminants like preservatives.  Although I minimize my intake of highly processed food, it’s tough to avoid it altogether.

Stay tuned!

Shakeology Tropical Strawberry, Chocolate, and Greenberry.

Shakeology is the healthiest meal of the day!

Is Alzheimer’s Disease Preventable?

My stepfather has advanced Alzheimer’s Disease.  I know I can’t inherit it from him, but I have become much more aware the past few years.    Before he came down with it, Alzheimer’s was something that happened to other people, but not to anyone I knew.  It wasn’t really something that I thought about a great deal.   Bill Cosby said that old age is always 15 years away, but I don’t intend to wait that long to take action.  Having it strike so close to home and seeing the effect it has had on him and my mother, I’m determined to take what steps I can to reduce my chances of getting it as I age.

From what I have read, diet can play a significant role in Alzheimer’s.  First, I’m going to eat more fish-not exactly a hardship for me!  Our brains are about 70 percent fat so the kinds of fats we eat do have an impact on our brain health.  Fish is well known as a great source of omega-3 fats.  People who consume high levels of these anti-inflammatory fatty acids have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain, docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, protects brain neurons against the toxic events associated with amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which accumulate from Alzheimer’s disease.

Next, I’m making sure to get a lot more antioxidants in my diet.  Eating fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant levels will lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease by protecting the brains from oxidative (think, “corrosive”) free radicals that cause wear and tear on the DNA in our cells. Most colorful red and blue berries, like strawberries, blackberries and blueberries contain polyphenols that fight free radicals. Other antioxidant foods containing polyphenols include grapes, pears, plums and cherries, as well as vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, celery, onions and parsley.  The easiest way for me to take in antioxidants is to continue to have Shakeology for breakfast each day, as well as eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Between these two factors, along with exercising regularly to reduce the potential for plaque building up in my arteries, I hope to reduce (if not eliminate) the potential of contracting Alzheimer’s Disease.  By staying fit, my serum cholesterol level will be good, and I won’t need to resume taking statins to reduce it.  This is important because there are some medical professionals who are persuaded that statins interfere with the glial cells of the brain, leading to Alzheimer’s.   In fairness, there are conflicting opinions on this issue.  However, I prefer to take a conservative stand.  Besides, eating well and exercising have many benefits beyond those I’ve mentioned, so why not pursue diet and fitness on general terms?