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We're back with another Workout Wednesday and I have to be honest - over the past few months this has easily become one of my favorite series. This journey has been a really great learning process and I've enjoyed connecting with you guys and sharing my ups and downs along the way.
I recently received the following question and I thought I'd take the opportunity in answering it to share an update about maintaining the progress I'd made:
I have been following you for years now, after I found your 15 minute morning video that I still use to this day!
I loved your post about achieving the best shape of your life - thank you for posting about this! Newly engaged and turning 30 this year, my fiance and I have made a goal together to get into the best shape of our lives as well - this post was totally relevant and exciting!
I am currently working on an upper body day and a lower body day model with additional cardio days, with the idea of toning and lose around 5-7 lbs. It's not always easy finding trustworthy routines on the web! I was wondering if you could share your workout plan privately or on the blog? I am also curious if your routine changed throughout your 3 month time frame (change the routine altogether or added additional weight as you became stronger)
Thank you for being so approachable and inspiring. I adore you xxx
Answer: Thanks so much for the kind words. My workout routine for the three months I was prepping for my photoshoot didn't change much except toward the end. Here's how it went down:
I worked out 5 - 6 days per week, between 50-60 mins.
- The workouts were structured like this:
- 5-10 minute warm up
- 10-20 minute heavy lifting of one or two lifts, focusing on technique and strength building (cleans, clean and jerk, snatch, deadlifts, back squats, front squats).
- 15-30 minute HIIT workout. Usually a circuit like cleans, rows, double unders, box jumps and repeat, or sled push, sprint, back rows, spring, sled pull and repeat, or burpees, box jumps, pull ups and repeat. I share a lot of my workouts on snapchat (@yogaby_candace).
- Two weeks prior to my shoot I started switching out one day of regular workouts with sprints. I'd do about 20 minutes of one minute on, two minutes off.
- I also did yoga (filming for the blog and gentle stretching after each workout) nearly daily. If I had two rest days in a week, I'd use one of them as an active recovery and would take a class at a local studio.
Eating to feel your best
I know you asked about workouts but you mentioned wanting to tone up. The biggest thing for me in toning up was my food intake. The toning up was just the added bonus, though. The real reason I re-evaluated my diet was because I felt like blah central.
At the start of my three months of prep for the photoshoot, I was doing okay, but around December (two months in), I was feeling lethargic and it was taking a really long time for me to recover from my workouts. I didn't feel like I was able to give 100%. I was tapping out around 60%, you know? Not only that, but I'd seen the progress in my body composition start to plateau.
So my friend James, a crossfit trainer and nutrition coach, said he thought he might be able to help and asked for some info (weight, amount of time I was working out, etc). He ran some numbers and presented this whole run down of how much he thought I should be eating. He suggested I take in X amount of calories, and try to hit a certain number of grams of fats, carbs, and proteins (aka macros). He said he'd started doing it a few months back after feeling the same way I did, and not only did he feel amazing during and after his workouts but he noticed he'd started to lean out and cut up immediately. Notice that I said his focus was on how much I should be eating, not what I should be eating. The idea is that so long as you're hitting your numbers, you're likely making smart, healthy choices.
Looking at his numbers, I realized just how much I needed to be eating in order to perform at my highest level. I realized I was under-eating big time. And not only was I under-eating, but I wasn't eating the right type of food that my body needed because, out of habit from my GAPS days, I just wasn't eating many carbs.
Immediately, I started incorporating more food and carbs into my diet. I added quinoa, steel cut oats, and sweet potato. I went HAM on some granola in my yogurts and sourdough toast with breakfast. It was delish, and as you can see in the first two pictures above above, I made major strides toward my fitness goal of leaning out in just two weeks. But the really amazing thing was that the difference in how I felt was night and day compared to before. I had so much more energy in the top right picture than I did in the top left picture. I was able to recover quicker from my workouts, and I was sleeping better.
Some people have made comments like 'You looked better in the first picture." That's fine, but I didn't feel good. I had zero energy. I was walking around feeling like every day was a Monday after a hard night of drinking. In the top right picture, though? I felt incredible. Lots of energy, no problems sleeping, no mid-afternoon slump, and I was leaning out. I was psyched. It was a lot of work in terms of food prep and making sure I was eating all the time so that I could hit the ballpark range of my numbers.
The photoshoot, which was in mid January, lasted over ten hours with constant movement and while I was mentally tired, I powered through and felt incredible in terms of energy. I also felt I met my fitness goal of toning up.
After my shoot was over, though, I eased up a bit on trying to hit the macros as hard just because I felt like I met my goals. I stopped eating as much - and let's be clear, here - it's not because I was trying to restrict my intake or anything, it's just that I hate food prep and I slacked. In retrospect, that might've been find if I'd lowered my workouts, but the problem was that I didn't slack there because I genuinely enjoy them. I show up and give it as much as I can. But how can you do you're best when you're not taking in enough calories, you know? When I don't prep, I just don't eat as much. And that totally came back to bite me because guess what started to happen?
About two weeks of slacking on food prep and I started to feel irritable, have a hard time recovering from my workouts, and I didn't have as much energy as before. I wasn't sleeping as well either, and felt like my progress had plateaued.
So, about a week ago, I started back up with being mindful about eating more, doing the food prep thing, stocking my fridge with lots of options, and trying to eat the right foods so that I could get back to feeling my best. And that's where I'm at right now.
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 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.