PSA: We just announced our Italian Summer Yoga Retreat and you're invited. We also have 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. Our Summer YBC Mantra Box is now available for pre order! And lastly, our book, Namaslay, is available for pre order as well. Thanks for the support!
We're back with another Workout Wednesday post and today is my monthly update regarding my fitness goals, which kind of started back in January when I decided to try to get into the best shape of my life for the photoshoot for my book Namaslay (now available to preorder on Amazon). If you're new around here, I'll give you a quick recap:
In December (first pic), I was feeling awful. I was in the middle of trying to get in shape for the photoshoot in January and I had hit a plateau in my gains, had zero energy, couldn't recover from workouts, felt awful. I was talking to my friend James, who is a personal trainer at a gym he part owns in Miami, and a nutrition coach who had mentioned the same thing happened to him as he was following a similar diet to mine (limited carbs, sort of Paleo-ish), and he said as soon as he added in more traditional carbs, he saw huge improvements. He said he thought I probably wasn't eating enough, and not only that, but I might not be eating the right amount of stuff (ie I should be eating more carbs). He suggested running some numbers based on my height, weight, how much I worked out, etc, and suggested I give it a try.
Two weeks later (second pic), you can see what a difference that made! I wasn't following the macro numbers really, just trying to hit the caloric intake because I realized I was under eating, given the amount of energy I was expending. I also bumped up my carbs big time and it was like putting gas in a car that was running on empty. I felt so good.
January (third pic): I felt incredible. I was sleeping well, I was recovering well from workouts, I woke up in the morning with energy, and felt "even" in terms of energy all day long. However, it was a ton of work. It felt like a full time job between meal preps, workouts, getting enough sleep, etc, so after my photoshoot I kind of went off the reservation.
February (fourth pic): I stopped keeping track of my meals, stopped meal prepping because I find it so tedious, but continued my workout schedule just because I enjoy working out. That quickly backfired. I was right back to square one - low energy, poor recovery, poor sleep.
March (fifth pic): Got back on the macros horse but this time really paid attention to the actual macros, rather than the caloric intake. Now that I had an idea of how much I should be eating, I wanted to try to get my percentages right (ie take in the recommended fat, carbs, and protein for optimal health). After a conversation with my good friend Carley, who mentioned that counting macros was a recommended way to balance hormones, that kind of sealed the deal for me. Because here's the thing: while my gut was healed after longterm antibiotic use for Lyme disease, I still felt things were just a tad off in terms of my hormones. I want to apologize in advance for being TMI, but on the other hand, I don't and am not going to. My periods have always been regular, but in the last few years things have just been off. I suspect that had to do with the state of my gut health, but basically my skin would be out of whack (especially around the chin and jawline which indicates hormonal imbalance according to Chinese face mapping), I was having trouble sleeping, and I would be moody, super emotional and exhausted the week before my period. I also suffered from major breast tenderness and, like, a visible change in size. While I know that's somewhat normal, I'm talking this was downright painful to even lay in any other position than on my back, not moving! It was ridiculous. Anyway, I figured maybe this would be the thing to help balance things out. What did I have to lose, you know? By the end of the month, I started to feel really good, and I could tell based on my complexion, energy level, mood balance, and breast tenderness (not as painful as recent months) - that things were beginning to even out.
April (last photo): I've felt pretty great all month except for the last week, where I've just been under a ton of stress and my jaw pain has returned with a vengeance. I'm working hard to get that under control, but it's affected my sleep the last few days. Other than that, though, I have been feeling great. My skin, the breast tenderness, moodiness, etc is all slightly better than it was in March, so I can tell I am trending in the right direction. I try to hit my macro numbers every day and I love logging into the app (I use My Fitness Pal) and putting in the meals before I eat them. It just makes me feel so good that I'm making strides toward feeling my best.
What started as a very physical thing (I wanted to feel and look my best for this photoshoot) has turned into something much deeper - I want to be balanced, and feel as good as I can. Throughout this process, I've learned that it's really all about balance - at least for me - and in order to feel my best, the following things need to be in check:
- food (eating enough, and in the right portions for me)
- exercise (doing the workouts I need to do in order to meet the goals I have)
- rest (I cannot stress this enough. Rest is VITAL to growth and improvements.)
- stress (Huge underscore here - stress is a killer. It's something I really need to keep an eye on because it has physical effects on me - for example, the jaw pain, uffff.)
- sleep (If I get less than 8 hours, I start to see a decline in my productivity, quality of the work in my workouts, etc.)
- support (Having family and friends who just let you do you thing and appreciate that you're just living your life the best way you know how it so key. I feel really lucky that every single one of my friends and family members just get me and let me do my thang.)
When those things are all balanced, then I feel amazing. When one thing is off, I notice, but it doesn't throw me off too far. When two or more things are off, I start to notice and see an impact in how I feel. Right now, currently, that's where I'm at. My stress is high, my sleep has been impacted, and I'm just a little blah about it. However, I know that in the past I've gotten over much worse stress and sleep issues, so I know I can do it. Just need a little OMMMMMM and woooosahhhhhh in my life, haha.
Anyway, I thought I'd share a typical day in meals because I get a lot of questions about what I eat. Here we go!
I always start the day off with water, salt and lemon. Sometimes a splash of pure cranberry, too, if I want a little umph. Salt (sea or himalayan) is great to jump start the adrenals, and lemon is good to wake up the digestive tract. Today I also had some bone broth (turkey neck and lamb bone, yum). Bone broth is excellent for digestion, skin, and just the whole body overall. It's super easy to make and I absolutely love it.
About 30-45 minutes after, I'll eat breakfast. This is a typical breakfast. I wish I were better about putting in some greens in there, buuuuuut....I'm just not haha. Today I had two pieces of sourdough with butter and three eggs (I usually switch up how many eggs/egg whites I have just to keep it different every day but I ran out of egg whites this morning).
Mid morning I always have a little snack. Sometimes it's yogurt and trail mix, other times it's oatmeal, and some days I reach for the chocolate. I'll usually have like two to three pieces about the size above. I try to buy chocolate that has just simple ingredients and never buy chocolate with an emulsifier like soy lecithin. They're hard on the digestive tract so I steer clear. This brand is a good one, although I wish I'd bought the dark chocolate version of this just because I prefer dark chocolate to milk.
Vital Proteins sent me their collagen beauty greens, and I've been having that before lunch. The flavor is coconut vanilla but it's a very mild taste to me, so you could easily pop them in a shake or smoothie but I just throw a scoop in water and shake it like a polaroid picture. The product is a combo of marine collagen peptides with raw organic greens, hyaluronic acid, and probiotics.
This is a typical lunch - meat (this is a ground turkey burger), sauerkraut (gotta get those good probiotics in!), sweet potatoes and asparagus.
I'll usually have a small something before I go work out. Sometimes it's two pancakes, other times it'll be some yogurt. Today I had a cup of soup. This is one I made with bone broth, veggies, ground beef and potatoes. I recently learned how to find the macros of a dish like this and I'll share in a post soon.
A typical dinner includes a meat - here I'm having haddock, with a veggie (green beans and peas), carb (this is butternut squash puree) and my trusty sauerkraut.
I'll usually end the day with some sort of snack like this Paleo trail mix I found at Whole Paycheck (don't make fun of my "bowl" which is actually a mason jar lid - girlfriend had dishes in the dishwasher, ok?!).
And that's about it! I have been really pleased with how my body composition has changed - I feel strong and really empowered. But more importantly than the body composition, I just feel so good knowing that I am finally eating to support my lifestyle and for optimal performance and health. I am so, so grateful to the people who have helped out along the way like all the love and support from the people in the YBC Community, to my friends who always are there, and especially to James, who has taught me so much about what I need to do to feel my best. If you're interested in working with him, he charges $100 for two months or $60 for one month and will give you a suggested diet and do your numbers for you for macros so you know how much and what percentage is recommended for you to feel your best. 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.
Let's talk: How are you doing in your fitness goals? We're thinking of doing an 'Ask a Trainer' series - let me know what questions you have!