Workout Review: 21 Day Fix Extreme

21 Day FixExtreme

It only takes 21 days to create a habit.  By now many of you are well familiar with Autumn’s first life changing program, 21 Day Fix.  The 21 Day Fix fitness program has been sweeping the nation helping everyday people get back on the horse through cleaning up their nutrition and exercise habits.  But for those of you that maybe are in the been there done that stage, or perhaps are wanting something a bit more challenging, a bit more extreme, Autumn released the second training series based on 21 Day Fix called 21 Day Fix Extreme.  And it’s no joke.

The title says it all.  This, my friends, is not for the faint of heart.  If you found yourself in a pool of sweat during the original 21 Day Fix prepare yourself as this program will have you literally sweating buckets and blasting through plateau’s.  Much like 21 Day Fix, Extreme features the best of cardio, resistance training, and those feel good classes like pilates and yoga for a full body transformation. The eating plan is similar to  21 Day Fix with the containers however it’s even more strict cutting out loving elements like your wine and guilty pleasure of dessert.

What are my thoughts?  I LOVED it.  In fact after completing the program two years ago I still incorporate at least one of her workouts like the lower body workouts, cardio fix extreme, pilates etc within my weekly routine. I really like how she diversified the timing for each exercise.  Before she primarily used the one minute interval approach, which that’s fine but i get bored easily and need changing interval times, exercises etc to keep me engaged.  21 Day Fix Extreme included that.  She mixed things up with one minute intervals, 30 second intervals etc.  Bottom line, if you have been working out on a somewhat regular basis for >6 months this is an excellent workout for shaping up for that wedding, bikini season, or a random trip to the islands.

Let’s take a deeper look into the workouts and nutrition, shall we?

# of workouts included: 6 main workouts, 3 additional workouts

Cardio workouts:

  • Plyo Fix Extreme – jumping, jumping, and more jumping…. oh but with weights, like 10lb weights!
  • Cardio Fix Extreme – cardio intervals mixed with strength intervals
  • the Fix Challenge – no equipment, 13 moves in a pyramid style routine
  • ABC Extreme – Abs, Butt and cardio to finish you off

Resistance Routines:

  • Lower Body Fix Extreme – Every muscle in your lower half will feel it 5 minutes in, sooo good.
  • Upper Body Fix Extreme
  • Dirty 30 Extreme – upper, lower and abs
  • Power Strength Extreme

Flexibility and Core: 

  • Pilates Fix Extreme –  pilates on steroids with bands
  • Yoga Fix Extreme – dynamic yoga flow
  • 10 Min hardCORE abs

I’m not going to go into crazy details on the nutrition plan. Fact of the matter is, I love the containers. I use them daily to transport things to and from work or anytime i need a quick measurement on something but I do not live and die by this plan. If you do not eat the cleanest or are trying to diversify your eating habits then I do recommend you give the nutrition program a chance as it can really help you understand the fundamentals of what you are eating and why and it takes the guesswork out of prepping meals for the week.

Want more insight into the program itself or the nutrition?  There are a lot of great reviews out on the web.  Here are a few of my favorites I recommend checking out:

21 Day Fix Extreme – A Review From a P90X Junkie and Marathoner

How do I get ripped?

The Dysfunctional Parrot – Review: 21 Day Fix Extreme

So did you try this program?  If so what are your thoughts and would you recommend it to a friend?

 

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The Power of Naturopathic Medicine

power of naturopathic medicine

There comes a time in one’s life where stress gets the best of us, people get the best of us, life gets the best of us. Sometimes this comes on suddenly like a thief in the night and other times things progressively head south over an extended period of time.  Whether this is a mental issue, or a physical issue is indifferent they both lead to the land of blah. We try to self medicate with exercise, wine, sleep etc but nothing seems to be able to reset us back to that once calm, centered state we were in before.

I’ve been there and back.  I’ve tried numerous avenues to reset myself like mentioned above but none of which gave me any solid results. It was frustrating and draining. After my failed attempts I decided to try a holistic approach as I had heard numerous friends talk about the power of acupuncture, supplements and oil.  All sounded like voodoo to me…  but I decided if this has been around since ancient times let’s give it a try.

I started visiting a Naturopathic doctor last summer. What I loved immediately is she addressed the whole of me. She didn’t just go straight to what my issue at hand was she dug deeper and instead analyzed the whole.  After a bout of blood work and various other less invasive tests we sat down and went through the results.  What was really interesting is that what we found were areas of weakness in the body.  But those areas of weakness were not what my perceived issues were.  What I learned though is how closely related functions of the body are.  If one is weak it can affect a whole different part of you.

After review we started acupuncture to balance out my body and strengthen my pulse. I proceeded to get accupuncture treatments twice a month for about 5 months.  It was like a glorified nap for 20 minutes while I “baked” with needles stuck in me.  Seriously though they don’t hurt and if positioned right you can almost feel the energy circulating your body.  In addition I started taking what I now consider essential supplements with a myriad of benefits: Magnesium Lactate, liquid Vitamin D3, supplements to balance my blood sugar levels (they were a bit wacky), and L-theanine in liquid form to help with stress.  At first I was a bit skeptical as supplements are not cheap.  But as I started taking these I could literally feel the change.  My mood was lifted (thanks to the Magnesium), I felt stronger, less ornery and less stressed.  In addition to the supplements, I also carried my lavender essential oil everywhere…. you can never get too calm when you have a Type A personality!

Finally after those 5 months were up I decided to discontinue the acupuncture (for financial reasons… it is not cheap…) but I have continued to use the supplements with great results.  I am nowhere near that funk I used to be and just feel more balanced and ready to take on the world.

Moral of this story is, sometime life throws lemons at you.  Use that opportunity to dig deeper and explore other options. You don’t have to live feeling less than great.  What is awesome about naturopathic medicine is it is natural… you are not adding chemicals or other crap into your body to try to band aid a deeper issue. You are healing yourself from the inside out.  Balance. Strength. Power. Beauty.

Have you tried Naturopathic medicine? What was your experience like?  Would you recommend it?

 

 

The Magic Equation for Success

I often get questions from people on what are the most important things they can do to see change whether that is weight loss, toning up or addressing health issues.  The equation for success is a simple 3 step process:  Set a goal, be realistic about what you can/cannot do and whatever your plan is be consistent.  That’s it!  The magic formula that stands between you and crushing it.

 

Fitness success formula

So why then is it so hard?  Why do people often fail?  Did you know that approximately 70% of people who start an exercise program quit?! Talk about the odds stacked against you. But the question still remains why did your plan fail?  Starting is step #1 and a great accomplishment but without the proper amount of forethought before beginning your plan motivation quickly slides into a slippery downhill slope.

Now the story can go two ways…. there are those of you who are like “yeah that’s totally me, I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”.  On the flip side, there are others who say “I did have a plan and a goal but I saw no results so I just quit”.  Do you think Simone Biles got to the olympics by throwing the towel in?  Hell no, she tried it again and again and again until she perfected her craft.

So then what sets these two groups apart?  Why did one plan fall through and the other plan play out like an airplane stuck on a runway? Lets take a look into what happened in both scenarios:

Scenario #1: “I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”

For the majority of you, chances are you fall into a version of the above (based on the previous stat at the beginning of the article). It’s ok the great thing is that it is NEVER too late to start again.  In the words of Janis Joplin, “Tryyyy just a little bit harder”.  So how can you try a little harder?  Let’s be frank, you need to set a goal.  That’s usually the biggest missing piece it’s lack of clarity from what you want and are expecting to achieve.  If you don’t know what you want, no one else will either. So my advice to you is come up with a solid plan… think it through.  What do you want?  What are your expectations?  Are they too high?  By all means it is good to challenge yourself but if you set some super high expectation of yourself that’s almost just as bad as not setting one at all.  Start small…. crush it…. set a new goal again and again and again.

So what are some types of goals you can try out if you need some ideas?

  1. Upcoming event  – for some of you maybe you have a vacation or wedding or event coming up in a few weeks, months etc that you want to look your damn best for.  What’s great about this goal is there is a clear date and a clear timeline to follow.  You know exactly how much time you have and are committing to.  The trick though is once you nail your goal don’t stop and say “ok I’m good i’m going to go back to being lazy now”.  NO! Set another goal…..  see below for some more ideas.
  2. Health related – Maybe you went to the doctor recently and uncovered that you are overweight or have high cholesterol, or worse are pre-diabetic or maybe you just want to be able to have enough energy to keep up with your kids. Whatever it is don’t just sit there wishing you could do something different just do it!  Use that goal as your driver to get healthy and benchmark your change.  By 6 months from now I want to be 20 lbs down or by my annual health exam next year I want to lower my cholesterol.
  3. Vanity goal – Maybe honestly you just want to look good.  You want to wear those size 4 or 6 pants you buried in your closet for the last 10 years or you want to see definition in your abs or firm up your butt. That’s ok too.  In this case find and clip pictures of what you aspire to be, how you want to look and use those pictures along the way as motivation toward your goal.  Just keep in mind realistic expectations… unless you are willing to supplement time, nutrition and hardcore years of training/clean eating most people will never look like the airbrushed models in a magazine (sorry!).  But that’s ok, be your best version of you.

The great thing is that once you start a plan that you thought out and succeed, that success will continue to motivate you to smash your goals again and again!  In the words of Sagi Kalev in Beachbody’s program Master Hammer & Chisel, “Are you a hammer or are you a nail?”.  Be the hammer….

Crush it!

Scenario #2: “I did have a plan but saw no results so I quit”

It’s ok, I’m not going to yell and say you didn’t try hard enough, I don’t know your situation.  But I do have a question for you.  What didn’t work?  Did you set a realistic goal?  Did you focus on exercise AND diet?  After all it takes two to tango.  You can kill it day in and out at the gym but if your diet is filled with crap choices your going to be stuck in the same spot like a hamster running on a wheel. To really succeed you need to be realistic too… maybe you were too extreme with exercise and diet and burned out before seeing any changes?  Think back on why you quit and then try again a different way or with a more defined goal in mind.  See how that works.

Look, no matter which scenario resonates with your current situation it is never too late to figure out what works but you have to be willing to try and no one can motivate you more than you can yourself.  Check out some of the other articles on this site to help inspire your new workout plan and diet and apply the 80/20 rule to all that you do.

Lastly, in this super long post, I do want to take a moment to congratulate those of you reading this that have figured out what works for you.  I know there are at least a few of you out there killing it and seeing really great results.  You, my friends are what can help the rest.  Share your success and what works for you.  Remember, we are all in this together…. we only have one life to live so let’s make the most of it.

By Kim Hale, founder of HoneyCrunched Fitness

 

The Secret to Gorgeous Abs

 Ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”?  Well it’s true, seriously!  Abdominal definition goes beyond doing a billion crunches or even just “eating healthy”.   Don’t get me wrong your abs and body very much do need at LEAST the minimum amount of daily/weekly activity recommended BUT the biggest change you can make when you are not working out is in your diet way of life.
 healthy foods
Photo via Flickr by Aria Ziai
It’s not about the amount of food you eat (within reason of course).  Nor is it about starving yourself with just smoothies or salads to reach your target weight.  Do you have a plan for after you hit that number?  How will you sustain?  This is how the vicious cycle of lose some, gain more is achieved.  To really make a difference you need to create a workable way of life that you will stick with long after bikini season comes to a close.
One of the biggest areas of impact you can have in the kitchen is the quality of food going in your mouth.  Don’t be shy, raise your hands… how many of you look at labels for the items you buy BEFORE you buy them?  That’s what I thought… the fact is most people don’t nor do they know when they do what they are looking for.  Below are just a few basic guidelines to help you avoid those bloating, artificial junk foods that call your name loudly when you are perusing the grocery aisles at your  local Target or Mariano’s etc:
Mantra in life and while grocery shopping: I have standards!
Rule 1. If it has more than 5 ingredients do NOT buy it
Rule 2. if the first 3 ingredients aren’t even related to what the items it’s a big NO (ex tomato sauce should not have #1 ingredient sugar it should be tomato, water, salt that’s about it maybe some seasoning).
Rule 3. NO yellow #5 (aka Kraft mac and cheese… switch to Annie’s brand or another alternative).  Yes may cost your family $.15 more sense but the health benefits outweigh that price.  Simple put, yellow #5 is crap and it’s been known to cause hyperactivity in children.  Yellow #5 is even in goldfish!  So not kid friendly…
Rule 4. Corn syrup, palm oil, high fructose corn syrup -is you see these ingredients ditch it they are just garbage.
Rule 5. enriched white enriched wheat enriched anything NO (this one is least of all but is a reason for belly bloat).  I think this is the hardest one as it’s really in everything.
Look for cane sugar, honey, agave as sweeteners. Corn is good too so cornmeal, corn chips, tortillas if corn not flour all good.  All natural ingredients skip the sugary enriched crap.  Lots of veggies quinoa, brown rice, lots of protein but not modified protein.
Here’s some of my favorite brands you can go to as alternatives to what you are using today:
  • Ezekiel bread products
  • Amy’s Brand
  • Annie’s
  • Rudi’s
  • Skinny Pop or Angie’s
  • Skinny Sticks (great flavors)
  • Trader Joe lentil chips…yum. Actually trader joe is a fantastic inexpensive way to eat healthy on a reasonable budget.
  • Applegate
  • Boar’s Head Natural
  • Most Kashi
  • Honest

 

These are just a few of the brands I like.  Some of your favorite brands can be still enjoyable as a lot of these companies do have less evil alternatives to the foods you love it just takes quick research in the aisle initially.  Once you find your favorites it should be easy weekly just to pick these up and add into the mix.  You and your family’s health is worth it!

 

By Kimberly Hale

 

4 Spring Cleaning Tips

Late Spring cleaning

The first day of spring is just a few days away.  That glorious season where windows can once again be open and fresh air can bask any room giving it a clean feeling.  Spring is also a season for new growth and beginnings.  It’s an awesome time for renewal and rejuvenation of things once left behind.

Spring also denotes the perfect time of year to rekindle those new years resolutions we may have let slip over the past few months (ahem… comfort foods in lieu of the not so comforting temperatures of winter).

Here are 4 great tips on spring cleaning your life, sure to get you pointed back in the right direction.

  1. Open some windows – letting the breeze in your home not only re-humidifies the excessively dry air that’s been circulating from your ever on furnace.   Additionally air flow is fantastic in reviving feng shui and stability within not only your house but your life.
  2. Get outside – the weather is clearing up and the days are beginning to stay lighter longer.  What better opportunity to get out for that run, jog, walk that was once your new years resolution.  Need some motivation?  Sign up for a run/walk or 5K going on this year.  What better motivation then knowing you have a goal to work toward.
  3. Eat more greens – The cold of winter air is fading as is dreading cold meals like salads and fruit. Say bu-bye comfort foods and hello to making fabulous salads and fruit combos stocked with fresh ingredients.  Set your next few months up for success by planting a few staple vegetables in a garden or container box.  Once that kale or spring beans or squash begin to grow you’ll be able to reap benefits of fresh healthy food all summer/fall long.
  4. Clean your house – Dust bunnies get out!  Spring is the perfect motivation to deep clean those not so clean areas in our homes (aka windows, dusty shelves, salted kitchen floors and entryways).  Not only will your house be gorgeous once again but you’ll also burn a ton of calories in the cleaning process!  So scrub, scrub away!

These are just four  of the many easy ways to incorporate health into the new approaching season.  What other ways or goals do you set for yourself as Spring approaches?  Share with us!

Written  by: Kimberly Hale

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5 Fun Health Facts for those “Off Days”

We all know exercising regularly and eating well are the best tools in preventing illness. We have also had the days when we just don’t want to work out and those days when we can’t stand to eat another salad. I’ve collected a few ideas that should help you on those “off” days; they work for me!

Pizza

  1. Did you know that Laughing out loud reduces cortisol levels and improves your bone density?? Finding more reasons to laugh seems doable.
  2. The word ‘gymnasium’ comes from the Greek word “gymnazein”, which literally means “to exercise naked.” Sounds fun to me.  
  3. A study done by American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition states that eating a bowl of  ice cream two hours after a workout triggers your insulin, which is a hormone that is essential in the muscle building process. Helping my muscles, one scoop at a time…
  4. An Italian research team found out in 2003 that people who ate pizza on the regular were far less likely to develop esophageal, colon and mouth cancer. Check and check.
  5. Interval workouts produce post-workout calorie burn, and increase mitochondria growth (mitochondria help to burn fat). So, even while you enjoy your post-interval-workout sit on your couch, you’re burning calories. 

My takeaway here is: interval training then pizza, ice cream and laughter. Who’s with me??

Contributing Writer, HoneyCrunched Kate Milde

 

 

Source: Crazy Health Facts, Huffington Posthttp://thegymlifestyle.com/10-shocking-fitness-facts/; http://www.fitness.com/articles/648/15_amazing_health_facts_you_may_just_not_know.php

What Does Your Body Shape Say About You?

Written by Kimberly Hale

Four body shapes of females.

Four body shapes of females. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Body type can play a huge role in maintaining a healthy life and healthy weight.  Do you know if you are apple or pear shaped? How about Banana bodied or the envied Hourglass?   Knowing this information can give us a lot of insight into what types of nutrition and exercise our body needs to perform at its best and it also tells us how our bodies are “pre-programmed” to distribute fat.

Below will help you figure out your body type as well as the health risks.  I’ve also included overall nutrition and fitness recommendations to perform at your best. Because I’m queen of workout dvd’s I also included recommendations for anyone looking something new to try within their body type.  All are great for anyone though…

Apple Shaped:   Broad shoulders, small hips, and a thicker waist- athletic builds fall into this category too.  This shape has to be particularly careful due to how they store fat.  This puts them automatically at a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes.

  • Nutrition Tips: Eating a well balanced diet is key.  Try and avoiding large amounts of carbs, saturated fat, and sugar.  These three items are huge contributors in fat storage and reducing consumption is advised.
  • Exercise Tips:  cardio and interval training will do the trick here.  Strengthening your core with planks is excellent too.  Just remember, fat cannot be spot treated, solely focusing on crunches or planks will give you rock solid abs hidden under a layer of stomach fat!  You have to remove that layer if you want to see results. (DVD Recommendation: Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 pack or Killer Abs)

Pear Shaped – Those having a pear shape tend to store all their fat around the hips, butt, and thighs (Heelloooo Kim Kardashian!). 

  • Nutrition Tips:  This body type has an increased challenge with their metabolic rates.  An overall healthy diet is the key to success here as well as eating those foods that keep your metabolism going and strong.  Try eating smaller portions and more frequently throughout the day.  This will keep you full and your metabolism firing.
  • Exercise Tips:  Aside from a healthy exercise routine, lunges and kicks can be your best friend.  Focus on exercise to build muscle and reduce fat on your hips, thighs, and butt.  (DVD recommendations: Jeanette Jenkins kickboxing dvd, or Bob Harper’s Ultimate Cardio Body)

Banana Shaped – These bodies are long and lean with no distinct differences in waist, bust, or hip ratios.

  • Nutrition Tips:  Eating a high protein filled diet will help with building muscle definition that this body type is so often challenged with.
  • Exercise Tips:  Because this body type is so long and lean, one of the biggest challenges they face is building muscle tone. Working on toning, building muscles in the legs, arms, and back should help overall strengthen this figure.  (DVD recommendations: Pure Barre dvd’s,  Jackie Warner’s Power Circuit Training)


Hourglass Shaped
 –  big shoulders/bust, big hips, and a tiny waist.  (Think Marilyn Monroe)

  • Nutrition Tips:  Eating a well balanced diet is the best recommendation here.  Hourglass shapes can also follow recommendations for pear shaped as they both share in common larger hips compared to banana or apple shapes.
  • Exercise Tips:  further defining shoulders and legs would be a great suggestion here and paying attention to toning tummies/back muscles to further highlight that so coveted hourglass.   (DVD recommendations: Bob Harper’s Yoga Meltdown, The Firm’s Get Chisled.)

These are just a few suggestions/recommendations for the different body types.  Did you find your type?  Once you know your body type you can further customize how to approach nutrition and fitness so that you can maintain your best form.  I’ve tried to just give you a guideline and insight into how much of a customizable nutrition/fitness program you can make to target specifically what your body needs.  Afterall there is no “one size fits all”.  What shape are you?  What is or isn’t working for you?  Let us know!

Sources: