Five Nutritional Tips to Help You Gain Muscle

Gaining muscle is not easy for people who struggle to put on mass. The good news is there are proven guidelines that, if followed, can help you gain weight in a healthy way without feeling bloated all the time. Below are some tips and tricks to keep in mind. Keep in mind everyone is different so the right meal plan and foods for one person will be different than another person’s nutritional needs. The best way to ensure success is to find a nutrition coach who can help you figure out your recipe for success.

  1. Consume enough protein. Muscles need protein to grow. It’s important to make sure you are getting enough to fuel your strength training workouts. A good rule of thumb to start out with is one gram per pound of bodyweight. Now, your body cannot absorb more than 25 grams of protein at a time so you’ll want to spread out your protein intake throughout the day. For example, a 120-pound female might consume five meals a day with roughly 24 grams of protein at each meal.
  2. Healthy fats are important! Don’t shy away from fats. Eating the healthy unsaturated fats is a great way to add mass. One gram of fat is equal to nine calories! Protein and carbohydrates are only four calories per gram. The best way to add healthy fats is to supercharge shakes with MCT oil, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flaxseeds and nut butters. You can also enjoy nut butter or nuts as snacks throughout the day. Be careful to measure out all your portions, though, because those calories can easily add up to too much!
  3. Carbs are not bad. Your body needs carbohydrates for energy. If you are exercising regularly, especially if you are lifting heavy, you need to fuel with carbs. That’s why runners carb at key times in their training. The thing to remember is that you want to eat the healthy carbs and not just fill up on junk. The healthiest carbs include steel cut oats and whole grain toast for breakfast, sweet potatoes, brown rice or whole grain bread for lunches and dinner, and rice cakes or all bran cereals for snacks. Livestrong.com has a great list of healthy carbs that you can bookmark for future reference.
  4. Eat enough calories. You need to make sure you are eating a little over your maintenance calories to gain. This is important. So many people eat too little and then wonder why they are not gaining. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain. But, you want to be gradual about it and healthy about it, too. How many calories you need depends on your basal metabolic rate. There are calculators online that will help you figure that out or you can even have it scientifically determined at a physician’s office or gym, if they have the equipment. Once you know your maintenance, start by eating 300 calories more. If you are not gaining, move to 500 calories, and so on.
  5. Don’t despair if you are not hungry enough during the day. It’s challenging to consume more calories than you need, believe it or not. There are days you will just not be hungry. Keep plugging away. Add a shake before bedtime if you are short. I have a jug of Serious Mass on hand in case I fall short. If you don’t want to invest in that, a high protein snack, such as Greek yogurt with nuts and berries, steel cut oats with chocolate chips or whole grain toast with nut butter will help you add another meal without ruining your sleep.

You might be wondering how many carbs and fats to eat daily. That all depends. As a baseline, start with 50% of your calories from carbs and 25% from fat. See how you are doing. If you have trouble eating that many carbs, up your fat. Find the right mix for you. As I age I find that I do better with higher fats, which help regulate hormones. You may find that, as well. See what works for you. You need at least two weeks to really determine if it’s working or not.

Beyond the first few weeks, remember gaining muscle and mass is a long game. It takes literally years. I’m in year four and have gained about six pounds. This is OK! Don’t get discouraged and stick to the plan. You will see results with hard work and dedicated focus. Have specific questions? Hit me in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Five At-Home Workouts to Build Strength

It’s challenging to figure out how to adjust your normal strength routine for the at-home environment. It’s been seven weeks for me and I’m still experimenting! But, I finally have a decent plan for you all that incorporates minimal equipment that you probably already have or can easily obtain. You can also substitute other items if you don’t have dumbbells, such as kettlebells, soup cans or water bottles. It is a body part split plan and I would recommend the following schedule:

Monday – Chest/Triceps

Tuesday – Leg Day #1

Wednesday – Back/Biceps and Abs

Thursday – Leg Day #2

Friday – Shoulders

Saturday – Abs

Also, try to get outside as much as possible. A 20 to 30 minute walk will do the trick. If weight loss is your goal, add more cardio to this plan – at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity three times per week. The full workouts are listed below with videos where I had them to share. If you have any questions about how to do any of these, let me know! I continue to add to my video library and will try to get to all of these in the coming weeks. Enjoy!

Ab Home Workout

Equipment Needed: Dumbbells

Superset 1 – 3 times through

Leg lifts – 30 seconds

Plank30 seconds

REST 15 SECONDS

Superset 2 – 3 times through

Russian twists30 seconds

Bicycle crunches – 30 seconds

REST 15 SECONDS

Superset 3 – 3 times through

Deadbug – 30 seconds

Plank crosses – 30 seconds

REST 15 SECONDS

Superset 4 – 3 times through

Side plank thread the needle – 30 seconds (15 per side)

Pilates toe touchdowns – 30 seconds

REST 15 SECONDS

Finisher

V sit – 30 seconds work/10 seconds rest for 3 cycles

 

Back/Biceps Home Workout

Equipment Needed: Resistance band, dumbbells, barbell (optional)

Warmup

Halos 15 seconds to the left; 15 seconds to the right
Arm Circles 30 seconds
Rear delt raises 2×10

Workout 

Close Grip Lat Pulldown w/ resistance band 4×15
Row w/ resistance band 4×15
Straight arm pulldown w/ resistance band 4×15
Dumbbell or barbell row 4×15
Dumbbell biceps curl 3×15
Resistance band biceps curl 3×15

Finisher 

Resistance Band Alternating Row20 seconds work/10 seconds rest for 8 cycles

 

Chest/Triceps Home Workout

Equipment Needed: Resistance band, dumbbell

Warmup

Arm Rotations 10 per side
Pushups 10

Workout

Floor press 4×15
Floor chest fly 4×15
One arm resistance band cable cross 3×15
Dumbbell skull crushers 3×15
Tricep pressdown w/ resistance band 3×15
Tricep overhead press w/ dumbbell 3×15

Finisher

Tricep pushups (arms close to side) – 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest for 4 cycles

 

Shoulder Home Workout

Equipment Needed: Resistance band, dumbbell

Warmup 

Halos 5 per side
Arm circles 10 per side

 Workout

Dumbbell shoulder press 3×15
Dumbbell side shoulder raise 3×15
Rear delt raises 3×15
Dumbbell front shoulder raise 3×15
Resistance band face pull 3×15
Upright dumbbell row 3×15

Finisher 

Shoulder press drop set – start with heaviest dumbbells you have and keep pressing lowering the weight, if you need to until you completely fail.

 

Home Leg Workout #1

Equipment Needed: Resistance band, dumbbell, ankle weights (optional), booty band (optional)

Warmup 

Booty band crab walk 3×30 sec
Leg swings 10

 Workout

One leg glute bridge 4×15
Frog stance glute bridge 3×15
Sumo deadlift with dumbbell 4×15
Romanian deadlift with dumbbells 3×15
Split squat with dumbbells 3×15
Donkey kicks (use band or ankle weights if you have them) 3×20 per side
Booty band clam shells 2×20 per side

Finisher

Glute bridge drill – 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest for 8 cycles

 

Home Leg Workout #2

Equipment Needed: Resistance band, booty band, dumbbells, ankle weights (optional)

Warmup

Booty band crab walk 3×30 sec
Bird dog 5 per side

 Workout

Resistance band squats 4×15
Resistance band assisted pistol squat 3×15 per side
Step up with dumbbells 4×15
Single leg Romanian deadlift 3×15
Hamstring curl on all fours (use ankle weights if you have them) 3×20 per side
Donkey kicks (use ankle weights or booty band if you have them) 3×20 per side
Booty band clam shells 2×20 per side

Finisher

Wall sits45 seconds work/30 seconds rest for four cycles

 

How You Can Deal with Stress and Anxiety through Keeping Healthy Habits

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. There are very good reasons that I am sure many readers will relate to, such as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on our lives. But, even without this public health emergency, I have been experiencing stress and anxiety over another life-changing event – a relocation and transition to a brand new, higher level job. They say moving is one of the most stressful things a person can do in life. It’s right up there with starting a new job, general work life stress and health concerns. It’s bad enough when you have one of those stressors to deal with. I have multiple ones. This post is not about my stress, though, because despite it all, my family is healthy, we are employed and we’re doing fine. I know that is not true for a lot of people and I pray for them every single day. What this post is about is how to deal with stress and anxiety in these homebound days. These are tips that have worked for me and even if one of them helps you, I will be glad to have shared.

Keep a Routine 

We’ve been home now for about seven weeks. If you’re doing the math, that’s approximately 49 days. Experts say it takes about 21 days to form a habit. So, it’s safe to say that by now you’ve settled into a new routine. Or have you? Some of you might be all over the place still, and that’s understandable. But, trying to keep some semblance of a routine is extremely important in these days where it can seem like Groundhog Day, the monotony is real. Routines are important for a few reasons. For one thing they keep you from wallowing in the self-pity and lack of motivation that can come from losing your normal life and activities. Another thing a solid schedule can do is help you accomplish the things you need to do so you don’t fall into the trap of being lazy and letting your anxiety cripple you.

I keep a bullet journal as I have always done. But I’ve added personal “to do” lists and habit trackers to keep me honest. I get up at the same time each day and try to do the same things I would have done had COVID-19 not kept me home all these days. I still workout first, followed by prayer, a shower and breakfast while I peruse the news of the day. I still start work promptly at 8:30 a.m. and I still break for lunch at around the same time. I go to bed around the same time as I used to, even though at times I’ve been tempted to stay awake longer and sleep in! I still make a grocery list on Fridays for a trip to the store on Saturday. And, I still tune in to Mass on Facebook Live Sundays at 9 a.m.

So, even though I never leave my house anymore, my routine looks nearly the same and that has kept me sane.

Keep Exercising 

I mentioned above that I am still working out each day. That’s important. You need to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep to keep yourself feeling healthy. Not only will you avoid weight gain that can happen from being more sedentary at home, but you also can keep your stress levels in check. Working out at home is not the same as going to a gym or participating in a class. Believe, me I get that. It’s not fun for me at all and it’s been tough for me to keep at it. But there are so many different options popping up now for you to get at least 30 minutes of activity in whether it be through a free app, a jog or walk around the neighborhood or finding a new home workout on a fitness influencer’s social account. Try to commit to three days a week at least. But, if you want to do a little something every day, that’s even better. Walking the dog even for 20 minutes a day will do wonders for your mental state and it will get you some fresh air outside the four walls of your home.

Keep Eating Well

It can be tempting to snack all day when you’re home. But, don’t do it! You will only feel worse and your energy level will plummet. Eat as healthy as you can. For us, we’re trying to limit the amount of sweets in the house. In fact, since we’re preparing to move, we’re trying to use up everything we have, which has yielded a lot of creative recipes and saved money! Since meat is scarce, we’re eating more plant-based proteins and that has been less expensive, as well. We are also still meal prepping dinner and sometimes breakfast, as well. On Sundays, I make steel cut oats in the Instant Pot, for example, to have them on hand. Whatever you need to do to make sure you eat well, do it, whether that be to have only healthy snacks on hand to preparing. You likely have more time to think about and plan, as well as to make your own recipes! Take advantage of the time!

Keep Keeping House

We’re home all the time now. Why not take advantage of that time and spring clean? Or, better yet, reorganize and declutter. We have been doing that in anticipation of the move and it feels so good to purge. It’s a bit anxiety producing to see boxes all over but for the most part, my husband is moving the boxes out to the garage so out of sight out of mind! I have friends who are painting rooms, gardening and improving their homes. It seems as though we will be spending a lot more time at home in the weeks and months to come. You might as well make it the best environment you can.

Keep Taking Care of Yourself

Take the time for you. Last weekend, I spent a nearly a full day on my back deck in the cool sunshine reading a fabulous book. It may seem lazy, but it was much needed. Meditate, take a bath, do a face mask, pray. Whatever you need to do to focus on you, schedule that time in. It’s so important.

COVID-19 is a public health emergency that is causing untold issues for all of us. From health concerns to financial worries to overall stress and anxiety, we all need to try to focus on what we can control to keep us healthy and happy. In the coming days I’m hoping to post a few home workouts and healthy recipes for you all, as you create and maintain your own healthy routines. Is there anything else this personal trainer and nutrition coach can help you with? Comment below and stay safe, healthy and happy!

How to Feel More Confident in the Gym

Now that we’re into 2020 many folks might be falling off their resolutions a bit and not making it into the gym as often. Some may have found it to be intimidating and have hesitated to go due to nerves. Not everyone is confident working out in front of other people and depending on the layout of your gym, you may feel like you are in a fish bowl. Here are some tips to help you gain that confidence you need to work out in a gym.

  1. Go when there are not as many people. Ask the folks who work there when the least busy time is and try to arrange your schedule to be there at that time. When I first started lifting, I went early in the morning. Not only were there fewer people but it was easier to get through my workout without the machines and weights being tied up. That schedule has stayed with me to this day but I don’t find it to be quiet at that time anymore, at least not where I work out. Sometimes it can be later in the evening, so if you are a night owl, that might work for you, as well.
  2. Take advantage of the free personal training session when you sign up. Many gyms offer a free session. Not only should you take it but you should use it to orient yourself as far as what equipment is where and how it works. It’s less intimidating to be learning something new with a trainer and it will help you feel better about trying things on your own.
  3. Find a buddy. There’s safety in numbers, so they say. Find a friend who is willing to go with you and you will feel better about doing your routine. Plus, they may be able to give you a tip or two about different exercises and routines. It will also help keep you motivated to keep going and hold you accountable.
  4. Use an app. There are so many online fitness apps out there now and you can follow along right on your phone. Doing a prescribed routine like that will help you feel more confident because you will look like you know what you are doing! Plus, because you are focusing on your screen to ensure proper form and what’s next, etc. you won’t have time to worry and wonder about people looking at you!
  5. Buy new fitness clothing. There’s nothing like a great pair of leggings or a new workout top. When you have clothing that fits well and you like, you feel more confident. Plus, you will look the part and blend in better with the rest of the crowd.
  6. Find a corner. Nearly every gym has a few nooks where you can be virtually alone with your routine. Some even have a separate room you can go into. Take advantage of those spots and set up your workout so you can stay out of the fray and away from the crowd.

Remember everyone had to start somewhere and most of the time, even though you think people are looking at you, they’re probably not. In fact, they’re probably wondering if you are looking at them! Just go in and do your thing. Focus on your exercise routine and you will gain confidence, especially as you make those gains!

How do you grow your legs and glutes?

The leg and glute muscles are the largest muscles in our body and are critically important to our overall movement and strength. There are so many muscles making up the lower body complex that it can be challenging to hit them all. A new leg/glute program by Shawna Moran (@trainforlife_fitness) aims to grow your legs and glutes in 12 weeks! She’s testing it right now on about 12 ladies, including me, who are committing to three to four days of her program in the gym each week. Each one of us has a slightly different program because she has customized it for our goals. Some ladies want to gain and some want to lose weight but gain muscle. She has us checking in weekly with progress photos and she’s available as needed throughout the week. 

My first week was great! I definitely felt it, especially in my hamstrings, which have been week historically so that makes sense! Lots of hip thrusts, which according to “Glute Guy” Bret Contreras are gold when it comes to growing your glutes. Even men should be doing this exercise a few times a week. There are also many different exercises for hitting all sides of your glutes/legs, as well as that glute/hamstring connection that helps give the butt more lift and shape. For this program, you do need access to a gym, and some accessories are helpful, too, such as resistance bands. Shawna’s customization takes into account what equipment I have in my gym, as well as my comfort level with different exercises, such as back squats and deadlifts.

I worked with Shawna in the past and the program she wrote for me about a year ago helped me put on more than two pounds of muscle in just 8 weeks. She’s amazing and knows her stuff! For this program, I’m hoping it helps me break through my plateau to make some big gains in my legs/glutes. Right now, I’m not doing any cardio but my warm-up three days a week is on the stairclimber. Shawna will adjust the program as I go along, too, so cardio may come later, depending on what she’s seeing. She will also help adjust nutrition, if necessary. Right now, I’m sticking to my current macro split of 25% protein, 45% carbohydrates and 30% fats and eating around 2350 calories per day, which is 220 higher than maintenance. 

In addition to keeping track of my own nutrition, I’m also doing my own upper body program, hitting the gym for a total of 6 days each week at this point. I’m using progressive overload so I’m keeping track of my weights to ensure I am pushing myself at least every two weeks to lift more. At the end of the 12 weeks, I have a feeling Shawna will be offering this program to everyone and I predict it will be well worth your time and investment! Go follow her on social media now so you don’t miss that announcement! Plus, she has great health and fitness tips, too. Happy lifting!

 

Too Busy for Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse?

I’ve bowed out. Last night was the last meal on the Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse for me. Those who know me well know I am not a quitter. I’m the opposite of a quitter and usually am dedicated and loyal until the bitter end. This time, though, I had to listen to my body and know when to quit. My hesitation with a sugar cleanse was always the low carb nature of the plan. I knew I needed healthy carbs for energy and I worried about how the lack of carbs would affect me.

I am up at 4:44 a.m. every morning (Syracuse University reference all the way with that specific time!). I go go go all day long, from the gym where I strength train pretty hard, home to make sure everyone is ready to start their day (I have three kids) to work at Syracuse University, where I put in a 9 1/2 hour day on average with a very short to nonexistent lunch break (I eat but not always away from my desk.). It doesn’t stop there. I head home by 5:20 p.m., get dinner on the table, clean up, make school lunches and help drive the kids to practice or lessons. I set up for the next day and by the time I’ve put my youngest to bed, it’s 8 p.m. I attempt to have at least a half hour to myself to read or cross stitch or play on my phone and just be. I’m in bed by 10 p.m. at the latest. I share all this because it’s relevant to the reason I couldn’t hang with the sugar cleanse. I believe I may be too busy!

This cleanse has you prepping every two days. After seeing what my day is like you might wonder how I had time to prep!? Well, it was rough. I often didn’t get things wrapped up until after 8 p.m. on prep nights and my husband helped clean and drive the kids around. It was exhausting to be honest! I didn’t have any time to spend with the kids the way I usually do in the evenings and that made me sad. I knew it was only for four weeks though so I pressed on. But, one thing that was nagging me the entire time on the cleanse was the complete and total lack of energy. The exhaustion was real. I was having trouble concentrating at work and every five days or so I had a massive headache the entire day. My workouts were poor and I was winded more than usual. I could barely get through some of my lifts. Finally, at the risk of oversharing, despite my increase in magnesium intake and taking everything as prescribed in the cleanse, my constipation was rough and uncomfortable and I just plain hated it!

After much debate with myself on whether to adjust the cleanse to add carbs to the meals or transition out or just stop, I decided to transition out. I prepped the week 3, days 3/4 for my husband last night, making sure I added a carb source to my own lunch, and moved on. He will prep his own for the remaining week and a half on the cleanse. It was my daughter’s birthday last evening and she turned 10. I had a cupcake with her to celebrate; life is good again.

Do I think it was a mistake to try the sugar cleanse? No, not at all. But, it validated something for me that I knew all along – I need healthy carbs to complete my diet. Too much protein and some fat is not going to fuel my busy life and metabolism. I have so much muscle on my tiny frame and it needs carbs along with the fats to synthesize the protein and help me maintain and grow that muscle. I’m in my mid-40s and it’s super hard to keep mass on my frame now more than ever. But, carbs are an essential part of the formula.

Going forward, I will keep the shakes and breakfasts that the cleanse included. They are healthy and excellent ways to start my day. I may also use some of the snack ideas for my mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks at work (the cleanse only had a mid-afternoon which also was a bit of an issue for me – I need to eat every few hours, smaller meals). We also decided that meal prepping could be useful for us on nights when the kids are all over the place. But, I don’t think I can sustain meal prepping every two days. It took way longer than a half hour to prep and usually took 90 minutes. That was tough to fit in to an already packed schedule.

I think the cleanse is terrific for those with the time to do it and the weight to be lost. My husband has lost 16 pounds and counting! For some, I think it’s super valuable. But, for me, who already only took in around 40g of sugar a day anyway, and didn’t have any weight to lose, it was more an exercise in sacrifice, organization and willpower! I’m glad I got through two weeks and feel that is better than not trying at all. And although it hurts me to quit anything, I’m slowly feeling good about stopping. I know I listened to my own body and did what was right for me. If you try the cleanse, I’m curious to know how it went for you! Or, if you’re on one now, I’m happy to answer any questions. Drop me a note in the comments! And, remember, always listen to your body. It’s OK to quit, if you need to. No shame! Stay healthy!

First No Sugar Weekend

I made it. The first weekend on the Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse went pretty well! It was a bit harder to stick to my meal timing with a flexible schedule on the weekend but I fit it all in. The best part was Sunday dinner, the kids ate turkey burgers while we ate them just as patties. They also could share the sweet potato fries and salad! So, one dinner instead of two – bonus! Still, I’m having a nagging feeling that I might not be able to sustain this cleanse through the final days.

I am used to way more carbs. Now, I don’t always choose the right carbs (that’s why I’m doing this cleanse) but I did well about 65 percent of the time, I’d say. And, now I am not eating nearly enough to fuel my busy lifestyle, training and to keep up with my fast metabolism. I am a bit worried about losing gains and/or compromising my goal of gaining muscle mass and staying around 100 pounds.

I am doing a bit more research to see what might work best. I have a few options at this point:

  1. Keep going with the cleanse and add more servings to up the calories even more.
  2. Keep going with the cleanse and do a full serving of Serious Mass in the evening (instead of the half serving I’ve been supplementing with).
  3. Add a healthy carb as a pre-workout snack to get through my training better.
  4. Add a healthy carb to each meal in the cleanse, avoiding grains until week 4.

I’m going to weigh myself on Saturday and see how I’m doing with muscle to fat and go from there. Sunday is a refeed day so I know I’ll get the carbs that day! Still, today is sluggish and I slept from 8:30 p.m. until my alarm went off this morning, which is unusual for me. Plus, I’ve been cranky. This cleanse is having the desired effect!

The most important thing anyone can do when trying new things with training and nutrition is to listen to your body. You know you best. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. But, give it a fighting chance and make sure you fully understand what’s what before deciding to abandon whatever track you’re on.

Meantime, I will say this. Regardless of whether I stick it out until the end or not, I will definitely be keeping a few habits – morning smoothies are the highlight of my day now! I’ll keep you posted!

Sugar Cleanse – Week 1

As week one draws to a close – or the weekday part of it anyway – I thought I’d share some initial observations about how this “Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse” is going.

Meal prepping is hard! I have often thought of myself as an excellent time manager, multitasker, organizer but this is on a whole new level for me. Between prepping for our cleanse meals, preparing dinner for the kids, packing for our work day and making school lunches, my evenings are packed! Thankfully, my husband is doing his part and taxi-ing the kids to all their activities while I stay home and do all this. He is also the dishwasher (thank you, honey!). Still, I haven’t had much down time after work at all this week. By the time I get all that squared away, it’s shower time for my youngest, followed by bed, and then my middle child and I do our 20 minutes of reading homework. I’m lucky if I’m on the couch relaxing by 8:45! Some things I have learned that should help me in the subsequent weeks:

    • If steamed veggies are on the sugar cleanse dinner menu, make extra so it can be part of the kids’ dinner, too.
    • Try to do double duty – put everything in the oven together, if you can; cut veggies up all at once for the various meals and let the Instant Pot handle the eggs and veggie steaming (we have 2, thank goodness).
    • Put all the food in the fridge together so it’s easy for my husband and I to grab and go the next morning. I also prepackage the shake ingredients in snack sized bags to save time. I bring mine to work but it’s a time saver for my husband to just dump and blend.
    • Look ahead in the meal plan. I didn’t really so I am not sure I made enough meat sauce for us to have it Saturday and will probably need to supplement.
    • When logging your meals, take the easy route and copy from day to day. That saves a ton of time since there are a lot of ingredients to log.
    • Consider adding a mid-week grocery trip to keep ingredients fresh and save room in your fridge.
    • I made my own soup to add to the Lazy Bone Broth soup recipe but we got sick of it as the week went on. I ended up giving in and buying cartons of soup for next week.
    • If you make your own bone broth on the weekend when you have time, it will last all week and it’s cheaper than buying jars of it at the store.
    • Try to buy pre-cut vegetables, pre-made patties and whatever else you can buy that saves you time. It really does make a difference.

I’ve made my grocery list for next week already and I can see that it will not be as pricey as the first week. Some of our pantry items are still available, for one thing, which is a huge relief.

So, How Does the Food Taste?

Most of the recipes are terrific. The shakes are the bomb and my husband and I think we’ll continue to incorporate those long after the cleanse is over. We discovered, or I did anyway, that ground turkey is better than ground chicken in terms of taste. I hate sauerkraut and am afraid to try kimchi due to the heat. So, that is hard for me to stomach. Ditto on the greens shot. The greens powder that came recommended as best tasting has an Ok taste but leaves a smell in my nose that reminds me of vomit. There, I said it. It’s a rough introduction to my daily routine each day. I am not doing the ACV and water but my husband is. I haven’t done the fire shot either. I have a history of reflux and would just prefer to leave well enough alone.

What About the Cravings?

The first day I was pretty tired and headachy all day. The next day was MUCH better and days 3 and 4 have caffeine in Meal #1 shake which is a huge help. I’m feeling good and have wanted something sweet in the afternoon but I think it’s more due to habit than actually feeling like I NEED it. I nearly grabbed a piece of candy from the dish on the way out of a meeting the other day. Automatic! Thankfully, I stopped myself just in time. And this morning there was my favorite breakfast pizza in the office but I declined and was actually not that sad about it.

Weigh-In

I forgot to weigh myself and check my body composition at the beginning of the cleanse but the last weigh-in I did was 12/28/19 so close enough. I use the Renpho home scale and I have no idea how accurate it is but the trends are more what I pay attention to. You can see below what my current stats are (yes, I’m tiny!). My goal is to gain but I’m not actively bulking right now since I’m doing this cleanse. When the cleanse is completed, I’ll update you on what my next plans are.

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If you look at the trend over time, I have hit a plateau when it comes to muscle gain but I didn’t lose any muscle, which is great considering I’m eating differently on this cleanse and back into Train with Lyzabeth, which is different than the bodybuilding I was doing at the end of last year.
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Body fat is down .1%. I’m in the range for an athlete. I don’t want to go below 13% since women need at least that much essential fat.

I’ll keep monitoring and see how things progress. I don’t want to lose my gains. I predict a bit higher muscle mass at the end of week 2 (I hope!). Going into my first weekend on the cleanse. I’ll give a report Monday morning!

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

The Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse commences today, Jan. 6, for my husband and me. As such, we spent much of last week and weekend preparing. We probably overthink it too much on the whole however preparing for something like this is essential to success. You must review the entire plan, take it to heart and ask any questions you may have before you begin.

For example, my husband wondered about men and whether the “busy babe” cleanse truly would be Ok for males. After asking in a private group Lyzabeth Lopez has for those who have purchase her lifetime Train with Lyzabeth program, I learned quite a few husbands had not only done the sugar cleanse with their wives, but had great success! Another question we had was about soup. One of the staples of this 30-day cleanse is a recipe for “Lazy Bone Broth Soup,” which involves mixing bone broth with another kind of soup that must be low carb, low sodium. Well, I was having a tough time finding a soup that qualified! After posting in the group, I received a few ideas!

Grocery Shopping

This plan includes a full grocery list for each week, thank goodness! So, I split my shopping into two trips to save time, purchasing the pantry ingredients first, followed by the fresh ones. One thing I immediately learned is that we just don’t have the refrigerator space for all this food! My husband and I are both doing the 2,000 calorie plan so it’s a lot! We are using our regular refrigerator, as well as the smaller one he has in his office and we’re maxed out! I would think that for ladies who are doing this on their own and/or at a lower calorie level, this would not be a concern but we’re thinking of doing two shopping trips during week two, depending on what’s needed. Plus, I brought two days worth of food to work this morning since I have a refrigerator in my own office and can easily do that.

As for the shopping, it was painless however I did have a bit of sticker shock! I spent $475 for week one! About $75 was the regular stuff I always buy for the kids’ lunches and things, another $200 were items that hopefully will last longer than one week and the rest of it was the meat and produce. This is a consideration for anyone thinking about doing this. Again, there are two of us cleansing, so the cost would likely be less for one person or for lower calories.

Meal Prep

The plan indicates it will take 30 minutes to prep for each two-day meal menu. It took a lot longer for me. Now, I was multitasking a little bit getting the kids’ lunches made, plus I ended up making my own chicken patties (couldn’t find pre-made), as well as my own soup to go in the “Lazy Bone Broth” but even if I didn’t do those two things, I still think prep is more like 45 minutes to an hour. I haven’t meal prepped before but I see on social media that folks who do spend an entire Sunday afternoon so an hour or so is a lot less than that! And perhaps I will get better at it.

I used my Instant Pot for the soup, which sped that up a great deal, and my husband helped with various things to help keep things moving. We decided perhaps we’d alternate who is in charge of prep week to week since it is a bit of a job!

The other part of our prep involves making sure we have everything we need for work the next day. For example, I’m making my shakes at work in my office NutriBullet so I had to measure out all the powders and ingredients to take with me. Some folks may just do this all at home. Plus, i planned out my husband’s day since he’s new at intermittent fasting, which is a component of this cleanse. So, I mapped out when he should eat what and got him squared away, as well. Again, fail to prep, prepare to fail! You absolutely have to be ready to go to be successful.

Day 1

It’s the morning of day 1. I started with a greens shot, followed by BCAAs during my workout (Day 1 of the Train with Lyzabeth program). I drank my usual protein, creatine, glutamine, collagen peptide cocktail on the way home from the gym. Now, I’m at work, with a full water jug (I’m aiming for 64 ounces today) and have stocked the fridge for the day. I’ll have my shake at 10, followed by meal 2 at 12:30, meal 3 at 3 and meal 4 at 5:30. I may have some herbal tea before bed.

This is my plan for now and if I find that workouts are too hard without the carbs for energy, I may add a Serious Mass shake at the end of my day before bed to help with that issue. But, I will see how everything goes.

So, there you have it! The Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse is on!

 

Sugar Cleansing for a Healthier You

Happy new year! As with most January blog posts, I typically share my New Year’s Resolutions with readers to help hold me accountable and perhaps inspire and motivate others to do the same. This year, I’m planning to eat healthier by hitting my macros more often, eating healthier foods. To start that process along, I thought I’d try a sugar cleanse to wean my body from craving the not so good foods to begin with! I figured it would be a nice way to reset and engage with a new, healthy way of eating.

The cleanse I chose is by Lyzabeth Lopez. She named it the “Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse” and created a step-by-step tutorial that is super easy and less time consuming than other cleanses I have seen. For many who tried it during a pilot she ran over the summer, they experienced clearer skin, fewer cravings, increased energy and fat loss! For me, I’m not looking to lose weight, but being a lean, mean metabolizing machine is not a bad thing! Plus, I’m looking forward to the reduction in sugar cravings. This plan is also lactose and gluten free so it eliminates many of the triggers that cause me to feel lethargic, gassy, bloated, etc.

Lopez recommends a parasite killer supplement or kit, as well. We all have parasites in our bodies whether we want to think about it or not, especially if you drink tap water, eat sushi, have pets or travel. It’s best to do a cleanse at the same time as eating a low sugar diet since parasites feed on sugar in our bodies. If we’re already starving them, it’s easier to remove them completely. I’m not planning to do this since it’s already going to be quite a shock to my system to be this restricted! But, just know that is a thing and an option while doing a sugar cleanse.

The other characteristic of this particular cleanse is intermittent fasting, where food is consumed within an 8-hour window. I’m not planning to do this either since I really need to energy for my workouts and overall lifestyle. I do better eating small meals throughout the day, spaced out. Finally, some may opt for an enema or colonics to help move things through the system. Sometimes a cleanse can back things up a bit. Again, I’m not planning to do this, but I will be sure to take probiotics and digestive enzymes as needed.

The cleanse is 30 days or four weeks long. Each week is carefully laid out with a grocery list, recipes and instructions on when to prep what. I love that the weekdays have smoothies for breakfast, making it easy for me to make at work with my NutriBullet. It’s also nice that you prep for two days, eating the same meals two days in a row, but then the next two days are something different. This eliminates the need to prep for hours on Sunday and then the headache of finding space to store the food and hoping it stays fresh the whole week. Some items are prep the day of but they are literally minutes of prep not hours.

Pre-Sugar Cleanse Prep

In the next few days, I am going to be preparing us for the prep. I’ve already purchased more meal prep containers and printed out the plan, placing it in a three-ring binder for easy access. Next, I’ll be creating our grocery list and Saturday is shopping day! We’ll be prepping Day 1 and 2 on Sunday evening and will be off on our way!

My husband is also planning to do this cleanse with me. It’s great for families, as well, judging from the recipes I reviewed. I think kids would totally eat this food. But, our kids won’t be joining us on this journey this time around! We are starting Jan. 6 and wrapping up Feb. 2, which happens to be our seventh wedding anniversary. I think it’s meant to be that it worked out this way because we can go out to dinner and celebrate our successful cleanse. It gives us something to look forward to! Plus, there isn’t a lot going on in January that could derail us. I’m also looking forward to having the meal prep assistance from him, which should make it easier for both of us to stay on task!

In the days to come, I’ll be blogging often about my experience and you can follow me on Instagram, as well @fitprmomlife where I’ll be posting to stories frequently. If you decide to purchase the Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse yourself, comment below! Let’s help keep ourselves accountable and motivated together! Here’s to a healthier you in 2020!

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Sugar Cleanse – Week 1

First No Sugar Weekend

Too Busy for Busy Babe Sugar Cleanse?