PSA: Just a few spots left at our Costa Rica retreat! Also, we're getting ready to plan summer and fall retreats if you want to chime in. But if online is more your jam, we now have video bundles available for all levels. Don't forget that you'll get a free gift when you screenshot your review of our app to Lauren. And lastly, our book, Namaslay, is available for preorder.
In this week's Workout Wednesday I'm talking about my on-going fitness goals, which I only just started in October. In case you're new to YBC, here's a quick recap of the past few months:
- I have always enjoyed working out. Here's how my workouts have changed over the years.
- This past summer, I landed a book deal, and decided to get in the best shape of my life. What was so mind-blowing for me was that aside from the fact that it was the best physical shape I'd ever been in, it was also the best I'd ever felt overall. I felt like everything was in balance - my sleep was excellent, my energy was consistently high, my mood was upbeat and even, my recovery time was great - everything just felt good.
- After the photoshoot for my book was over in January, I kind of lost the drive to stay in top shape, because let's be real - between meal prep and training - it's like a full time job. But my slacking in doing all the little things ended up being detrimental to other aspects of my life. I started having trouble falling and staying asleep, my energy levels crashed, I couldn't recover from workouts, my stress levels were out of control, and my skin started breaking out. And that brings us up to date.
Checking in for another fitness goal post. Basically my two goals are to feel as good as I can and to continue to build overall strength. I'm particularly interested in finding balance like I did in January, just after my photoshoot. I'd felt in excellent physical condition, but more importantly - everything else was in alignment. My hormones, my stress levels, my energy levels, my mood, my ability to fall and stay asleep, my recovery time - everything was just really even and that felt so good. That's where I'm hoping to get back to.
In the weeks after my photoshoot in January, I lost the drive to stay in great shape. I stopped caring so much about what I put in my body, and it really kind of did me in. I immediately noticed old annoyances coming back: I couldn't fall asleep easily, and would keep waking up throughout the night. I didn't wake up with great energy. I didn't have a ton of energy during workouts, and it took me a really long time to recover. My skin started breaking out a bit, and I could tell my body composition had changed - I felt less strong and not as toned.
So about three weeks ago, I got back on the horse. I paid extra on the MyFitnessPal app to have the macro tracker available to me, and I started to make better decisions about the kinds of foods I was eating (like, you know, maybe dark chocolate wasn't the best thing to have first thing in the morning?!), and dedicated two evenings per week to food prep so that I'd always have food on hand. For me, it's all about preparation. If I'm hungry and there's nothing prepared, I will either skip the meal or just eat something like plantain chips to hold me over. And there's nothing really wrong with plantain chips (they're delicious!), but it's not the best fuel to have when it's time to eat lunch, you know?
Anyway, my friend James, a nutrition and CrossFit coach, reached out and said it was probably time to change my macro numbers anyway. (Apparently it's good to switch them up every so often to keep the body guessing.) He asked me to weigh myself and send him a detailed email about everything going on and we'd go from there.
Well, I never weigh myself. In fact, before I weighed myself for him in December when he first did my numbers, I hadn't weighed myself in probably five years, because I am just not a numbers person. My body just fluctuates too much for me to focus on the numbers, do you know what I mean? Like, in college, I'd be 105 one day, 108 the next and 110 the next! And I'd literally see no difference in composition or anything! I wouldn't even feel different from day to day but the scale was saying I was a good five pounds heavier than what I was two days prior! So I just couldn't focus on the numbers because the numbers weren't consistent.
So I just stopped weighing myself and started to go by how I felt. For some people, that doesn't work. Some people are just numbers people, but for me, the numbers were too varied from day to day to be something I wanted to focus on. The other thing is that muscle weighs more than fat. We'll get to that in a second. Back to James and December.
So I got on the scale. It the most I'd ever weighed in my life but the number didn't phase me. I knew I was the strongest I'd ever been and that muscle weighs more than fat. So who cares what the number was, you know?
Quick workout today: deadlift work. Then 5 Rounds: 40ft overhead walking lunges w 10kg kettle bell, 8 Trx rows, 10 cal row, 8 15lbs med ball slam. Then finished up with 4 rounds of this core work. For me, it's not so much the moving my legs that's hard as it is holding myself up on the bars for so long. 😭 Always something to work on - no worries, just keep at it. 👊🏽 #namaslay #fitfam #workout #ybcgym || pants by @sweatybetty and bra from @carbon38 and sneakers from @apl
Well then I got on the scale again, two weeks ago, and I was five and a half pounds heavier than in December. Again, I knew I'd put on more muscle since December, but I also knew that in the last month or so, I'd slacked off a lot on food prep, which had affected my sleep, which affected my hormones, which affected my body composition. So yeah, I wasn't feeling the best about myself, and I was sort of irritated with the number, but James said the best thing: Forget the number. The number means nothing. If you feel good, you're sleeping well, and your energy levels are good, then forget the number.
I knew this, of course, but it was nice to hear it reinforced.
He then sent me my new macro numbers and since I've been focusing on hitting my macros, it seems like everything is slowly coming back into alignment:
- Sleep: This was the first thing I noticed to improve. Literally, the day I started hitting my macros, I slept like a brick. I fell asleep quickly, and woke up 8 hours later ready to rock and roll. It was crazy. I've had good sleep every single day since.
- Energy levels: This was the next thing I noticed to improve. Within two or three days of hitting my macros, I was waking up and just ready for my day. Now, I am able to work hard and consistently throughout the day without feeling tired or run down. I usually go to the gym around 3 or 4, get a good, solid workout in and I always have the energy to power through. Then, I get home, shower, eat dinner, and veg out for a bit. By 9:30pm or 10pm, I am ready to crawl into bed. I usually read until I fall asleep between 10:30pm and 11:00pm and don't wake up until 7:00am or 7:30am.
- Mood: This is the next thing I've noticed. Since hitting my numbers, my mood has been even. I'm not irritable or moody. Even around my period, I am still pretty even. This is a huge change from even a few months back when I'd get extremely emotional and moody around my period. So to me, this is great news because I think it means my hormones are evening out.
- Stress/Skin: I have noticed a correlation between stress levels and breakouts. When I am stressed out, my skin goes haywire. The other time I tend to break out is around my period. Since I've made significant efforts to decrease my stress levels, my skin has started to even out, and with the macros, I've noticed that as my hormones seem to balance out. My skin has broken out with far less frequency and less intensity since dialing it in with the macros. It's definitely not perfect, but I'm trending in the right direction, so I'm happy about that and looking forward to seeing if that continues.
- Body composition: I'm far less focused on this than I was for that photoshoot in January. I think the physical body is the last to respond to these kind of changes, so I didn't expect to see any between the last check in and today, but I was surprised because looking at the photos above, I do see a change. I can see I've built up some strength through my arms. My core seems like it's continuing to develop and I have to say - the six pack is not as impressive to me as the deep core development I can feel. The obliques, the intercostals, the entire trunk of the body has developed in a way I've never felt before, and it's been a huge factor in my handstands...and just overall day to day stuff I do. Like, I know this sounds ridiculous, but I have to walk to the other end of my building when I need to do laundry, and I used to really feel exhausted by the time I'd get there lugging my laundry basket. But now I feel like I am so stable and so strong through my torso that I can carry my overflowing laundry basket there and back without a problem. It's the little things, people! So while I can see I'm not as lean as I was in January, I can also see that I am stronger, and overall I'm feeling good. Feeling like I'm on the right track to meeting my fitness goals. I feel strong, energized and motivated to keep going. My goal is to keep building overall strength and I'm doing that by following a training schedule that James has given me.
Like I said, I use MyFitnessPal to track my foods. What a genius app. Especially for people like me who don't want to carry around a notebook or break out the calculator to figure out the breakdown of the nutrients of everything. The app is really user-friendly, and I've been trying to hit my numbers every single day. I find that I consistently struggle with hitting the protein. I've been adding this Paleo Pro Protein powder to my afternoon shakes and that seems to help get the number up. I'm also consistently coming in high on fat, and I think this probably goes back to my GAPS days, which is so heavy in good fats to heal the gut that I usually reach for what I know. But, I've paying close attention and trying to keep the fats in check.
A few people have asked what I eat daily. This is generally what my days look like:
7am - lemon water or bone broth
8am - 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 1 piece of toast
10am - Purely Elizabeth oatmeal superfood with a few strawberries or blueberries
12:30pm - ground turkey, broccoli, sweet potato, sauerkraut
4pm - protein shake
5:30pm - ground bison, salad, quinoa, homemade yogurt or sauerkraut, bone broth
8pm - chocolate (duh)
As you can see, I still have some GAPS elements (the probiotic foods and bone broth) but I've added grains and I am enjoying them and digesting them without a problem.
Someone recently asked me about fats/carbs and how it all fits in with someone who is trying to heal. In my opinion, I think the GAPS diet is excellent for someone who is trying to heal their gut. But it's not a long-term diet. In fact, the doctor who created the diet advises no longer than two years max. Once you've hit the two year mark, it's probably time to find something sustainable because by that time the gut should be healed and then you might want to look at what else seems to need healing (and, interestingly, from the close friends I've had who have dealt with GAPS and gut issues and from my own experience, that healing seems to have to do with hormone balance).
Allllmost had that bun tap! 😆 Just finished 16.5 and feel so so good! I started lifting weights with more regularity in October and it has made a world of difference not only in my yoga practice but just in how I feel overall. I have never felt so good in my life. So strong. So capable. Growth doesn't come from comfort zones so get out there and challenge yourself to try something new. With an open mind, a yes-I-can attitude, and consistent work you can do anything 👊🏽 #Namaslay #yoga #Yogabycandace #ybcyogis #yogaeverydamnday
I've been following a training program by James and it's been awesome. I feel stronger than I ever have. It's really, really hard, but I feel so good. The workouts start off with a warm up and then we usually do heavy lifting for a little bit, followed by a 15 - 30 minute hiit workout and then some ab work. I've been training Monday - Friday, with Thursday as an active recovery. In the last two weeks, I've been adding 20 minute sprint work once a week as well. I also followed along with the CrossFit Open this year. It was so much fun to do the open wods every Friday - 16.5 was my favorite. I've met a couple people from my gym who were into it as well, so it was fun to do it together. If my local CrossFit weren't $120/mo, I'd probably join. But I can't beat my current set up - my gym is under $30/mo and I've got a great training program to follow. So thankful for that.
How I Feel
Right now I feel like I'm on the right track. It's a lot of work to keep up with the food prep, but for me I feel like it's worth it to feel my best. I keep thinking back to January, and how incredible I felt every single day, and I'm looking forward to getting there. Like with everything worth doing, I know it'll take time and dedication, but I know it's within reach and I'm motivated to stay the course. As always, I'll keep ya posted.
How are your fitness goals going? Any areas you struggle with? Do you food prep? Have any secrets to food prepping you want to share?!
If you're interested in also working with James, he charges $100 for two months or $60 for one month and will give you a suggested diet and do your numbers for you. He'll also be at your disposal to answer any questions you have throughout your one or two month period. At the end of your time together, you can rebook if you like and he will redo your numbers (as they usually need to be switched up every so often so the body can stay guessing). He asks that you fill out the form below if you're interested and he'll be in touch.