Wine for a Macro Epiphany

Those who have been reading for a while know that I’m a workout fanatic. In fact, I’m loving it so much that I’m in the midst of obtaining my Certification in Personal Training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. But, that is a story for another post. Today, I want to talk macros (again!).

In January, I entered a fitness challenge at Athletic Apex in Syracuse, New York, which came with it three personal training sessions, as well as a couple of assessments designed to optimize my training and determine the best workout and nutrition plan for me. One of the assessments was the RMR, which determined my resting metabolic rate and, in turn, was used to help devise my ideal daily caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown – in other words, how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats I should consume each day.

I started with the goal of building muscle and gaining weight, something that I’ve struggled with for years. I was excited to get a real formula based on science and not just gut (no pun intended!). My total calories were set at 2,100, which was lower than I had been at on my own. I averaged 2,200 to 2,400 and was struggling to gain anything. I was a bit skeptical about going down but then wondered if maybe I was eating too much of the wrong foods or something. So, I gave it shot.

Initially, it was great for me. I gained muscle in a way I never had before, while reducing body fat. I put on two pounds. But, then, the progress stopped. I increased my calories by 200 to see what would happen. Nothing. Then, I decided to move the macros around. Still nothing. The whole time I was progressively lifting heavy, following the BUILD 1.0 program. Now, I realize I had two variables going on – the new fitness program and playing around with the macro ratios but still!

Fast forward to earlier this week when I saw a mention of the Cronometer app in a workout group of which I’m a part. The person said they felt it was more accurate than MyFitnessPal for tracking nutrition. So, I figured I’d give it a shot. My first impression was that it was a pretty basic app and it wasn’t pretty or organized well at all. It was an endless list of what I was eating and it wasn’t grouped together and there wasn’t a lot of white space with the design. BUT, once you get passed all that? There is one key difference that is completely changing my life. MyFitnessPal never truly synced to my Apple Watch. But Cronometer does. So much, in fact, that my daily calorie needs adjust as the day goes on and I burn more calories. I am realizing just how many more I need based on my activity. I consumed nearly 2,500 calories the other day, for example, and yesterday just more than 2,400. Today, 2,234 is my current goal, but I imagine it will go up as the day goes on, especially if I go for a walk at lunch.

So, there you go. Science can only take you so far. While my RMR may have been accurate, the data was not enough to account for my energy usage all day long, particularly since my metabolism may run a bit faster than average. I weighed myself last night and was at 100.3 pounds for the first time since I was pregnant! Now, a female’s weight fluctuates daily, for better or worse, so I’m going to check again in a week, but my scale indicates body fat and muscle mass percentages, too. The trend is going up for muscle mass and body fat is about the same. So, those are all good signs.

The whole time I’ve been experimenting with all this, I’ve cut way down on my alcohol consumption. A couple glasses a week is now my new normal. So, that also could be helping as alcohol is not the greatest when it comes to getting good sleep and it can interfere with metabolization of key nutrients, too. This past weekend was the exception. I celebrated the first full gorgeous weekend in Central New York with a $5 Sauvignon Blanc from Frontera in Chile, as well as Clean Slate Riesling, an old standby. Life was good in the sun all weekend! Cheers to many more as we dive into summer!

Wine for a Wine Bar: A Review

Last night, my husband and I went out to dinner at a newish wine bar in the Westcott Neighborhood near Syracuse University. Saint Urban Wine Bar and Restaurant has only been open a few weeks from what I understand but colleagues at work were raving and since we love wine and food, we decided to check it out pronto!

We made a reservation easily from the website and chose dining but there also was an option for communal dining at a long table down the middle of the restaurant. We had a nice two-top near the corner which allowed us to chat pretty easily and wasn’t too close to people on either side of us. The entire space is quite small so I can see why reservations are a must! But, we didn’t notice too many people at the bar, though.

The menu is more wine than food however Saint Urban offers three-course specials on a weekly basis — appetizer, main dish and dessert. There were three choices in each category. While wines are not suggested for each course, our server assured us that the chef designed the dishes with the wines in mind and there would not be a poor pairing!

Using what we knew about wine and food pairings, we came up with a good collection of wines and small plates and shared/tasted each other’s to give us even more depth to our overall experience. My husband had Carpaccio with vegetables and duck; I ended up on the seafood side of things, trying a chilled pea soup with crab, sea scallops. For dessert, he chose Burrato with strawberry-rhubarb; I went for the chocolate and cherries plate.

My appetizer and dinner wines:

Laroche Chablis, 2014
Burgundy, France

Stephano Mancinelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Superiore
Cru Santa Maria 2017
Marche, Italy

My husband’s appetizer and dinner wines:

Dauvergne-Ranvier Luberon Vin Gourmond 2017
Rhone, France

Pike Road Pinot Noir 2015
Willamette Valley, OR

Now for dessert, my husband grabbed the dessert wine I really wanted so I decided to try a Hungarian wine for the first time. We ended up realizing our mistake after one bite/taste! We shared our dessert wines but I mostly drank his — Broadbent Colheita Maderia 1999, Madeira, Portugal; while he sipped more on mine — Royal Tokaji Late Harvest Tokaji 2016, North Hungary, Hungary Furmint.

The menu offers wines by the taste, half glass or full glass, allowing you to freely taste and enjoy many different wines without breaking the bank or drinking to excess! I overheard our server explaining that the owner really wanted to create a fine dining and wine experience for people who ordinarily couldn’t afford a high end establishment. I think he succeeded. The three-course meals are $39 each plus the wines are various prices, depending on the wine and serving size. All together, our bill came to $150, which was reasonable considering we each had three courses and three different wines.

Service was excellent, competent and friendly. I think we’ll definitely be back! 10/10!

Wine for Choosing an All-Star Cheer Gym

Last year at this time, my now 9-year-old daughter came home and declared that she wanted to be a cheerleader. She had never cheered in her life. None of her friends cheered. She just decided it was something she wanted to do. So, I did what all Type A moms do. I went on social media and started asking my network about cheerleading. Did anyone’s kids do it? Does anyone know anyone? Where do I begin? Surprisingly, it was challenging to get any information about cheer. Google searches turned up lackluster results. One website kept coming up time and again and it turned out to be the place we landed, CNY Storm.

We signed her up for a six-week program called FUNdamentals designed to give her a taste of cheerleading. I figured it was a good way to try it out and see if she really wanted to do it. She was a natural. Flying high and smiling her heart out, she convinced me to let her join a mini-prep level team. I had no idea what mini-prep was or what was to come. I just blindly did it, carried away by my daughter’s enthusiasm.

After a year spent experiencing and learning all there is to know about All-Star Cheer, I’ve learned several valuable lessons. This information is not readily available online from what I could find. For me, it was just something I had to figure out. But, I believe in paying it forward. Here are my 7 lessons learned from the first season of All-Star Cheer.

  1. Get everything in writing. If you don’t understand the fee schedule or what you are required to purchase or do, ask and ask again. Preferably get the answers in writing so you have them to refer to later. So often I didn’t understand something and I felt embarrassed to ask since everyone else seemed to know what they were doing. Fees are most important. There are a lot of incidentals that are not discussed up front, such as the cost of sneakers, practice wear, makeup, even travel.
  2. Make an appointment with the owner or manager of the gym and interview them. This is something I failed to do the first time. You need to make sure the gym is a place where you can envision your child and yourself for that matter. You spend a lot of time there and with these people. If you are not comfortable with the staff, or they are not welcoming to you, seriously consider that before joining. Make sure their values align with yours and the vibe is your jam. Plus, the one on one time helps you get answers to all the questions you have without the activity and noise of the gym.
  3. Ask for references. It’s helpful to ask for references so you can chat with other parents about their experiences at the gym. It helps you gain perspective and avoid any pitfalls later. Parents can tell you what questions to ask and what to look out for, plus they can give you a sense of their own journeys and why they chose the gym for their own children.
  4. Get a sense of the travel schedule. All-Star Cheer involves some level of travel to the different competitions. Some gyms even have international teams that travel to Canada. Travel is a HUGE expense in terms of not only money but also time. Make sure you know up front how many competitions there will be and where they will be. Also, book those hotels early. If you’re not sure where to book or how, ask. I didn’t ask, thinking I’d figure it out and ended up in different hotels from other families, as well as booking and un-booking when competitions ended up not being “stay to play.” The whole thing confused me and instead of asking someone, I just went along with it.
  5. Ask how communication will take place. This is key. I can’t stress enough how important communication is in an All-Star Cheer facility. There is a lot that happens between your child’s team and growth as an athlete, fundraisers, competition information, weather closings and more. Make sure you are comfortable with how you will receive information and provide feedback to the staff. Facebook groups are not enough. You need other options, too. Make sure you ask other parents how they feel the communication is. The freer the information flow is, the fewer rumors and issues there are.
  6. Find out about the training plan for your child. Cheerleading is hard work and involves developing skills that take tremendous time and practice to perfect. Make sure there is a plan for your child to train, not just learn a routine for competition. Find out about classes and other opportunities for your child to learn new skills and make sure they are affordable for you, as well.
  7. Find a buddy. This is the best advice I have. Find another cheer parent who is willing to help you learn the ropes. I had a few here and there but no one solid to count on. I think it would have helped a lot if I had someone to ask all the questions. I had a lot to learn! It’s always helpful to find someone else who’s been there to help you through it!

Now that I know more about this sport and how things work, I have come to realize that CNY Storm is not the right fit for my daughter and me. We’ve decided to make a move to Core Athletix for the 2019-20 season, a facility headquartered in Rochester, New York, with a satellite gym in North Syracuse. It’s larger overall, but a smaller environment here, which was appealing! Plus, the overall expense is lower, saving us money, which always helps.

So far, we’re thrilled. We started with a personal interview with the manager of the Syracuse facility and tried a few open gyms to make sure it felt right. After only two visits to open gym, a time when you can work on whatever skills you want with the support of a few coaches roaming around, my daughter has perfected her back walkover, learned the front walkover and completed a back handspring with a spot — skills she failed to develop after an entire year at the other gym.

CNY Storm doesn’t include tumbling classes with your mini-prep registration payment; they are extra and it adds up. What’s more, the classes are often disorganized and kids are just doing cartwheels and not truly working on skills. If your child is missing a skill, they end up in a different role for the routine and they never really have the opportunity to learn it. This was disappointing for me to find out. Core Athletix values the skill development and includes tumbling classes with registration. If your child is a flyer, they are required to attend tumbling AND flyer classes. This makes so much sense! That’s why the kids are in cheer — to learn how to cheer! When they learn skills, they do better in competition, too.

What kind of wine goes with learning the hard lessons and paying it forward? One that is reminiscent of education, of course! Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon is an easy drinking red for pondering these great questions.

All-Star Cheer is a huge time and money investment. It’s one I’m willing to make, given the right facility and management. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Core family and excited to feel nothing but welcomed! Team placements are this weekend. Lucia can’t wait to meet her new tribe! Cheers!

Wine for Bodybuilding

It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything. End of the semester craziness along with competing priorities have gotten me out of my blogging groove. No matter what is happening in my life, though, I never miss a workout. I’m still a huge fan of Lyzabeth Lopez and will be meeting her at the end of June when my husband and I visit Toronto. I hope to train with her, too!

But, as fitness freaks know we often need to do something different to switch things up and shock our muscles a bit. One goal of mine has been to create an hourglass shape and more curves on my banana frame. I have an amazing foundation from the Train with Lyzabeth program and now I’m working on my overall strength. Enter BUILD 1.0 by Stephanie Sanzo.

BUILD is part of the SWEAT app, which I have mentioned in previous posts. The app includes several trainers all focused on a different type of training. BUILD is a powerlifting, bodybuilding style workout. I chose it because Sanzo has a tiny frame like me. She’s five feet tall! If she can build muscle, so can I! So far, I’m really enjoying this style of training. I feel like such a badass lifting all that weight.

Basically, each workout focuses on one major movement, such as a sumo deadlift, squat or bench press, plus a series of supplemental exercises or accessories, designed to build the muscles. Some sets include higher reps and others are only 4 to 6 reps. It’s been fun trying to see how much I can lift when the reps are lower. I finally feel like I will reach the strength goals I’ve set for myself based on research and my bodyweight and fitness level – 80 pound bench press, 120 pound squat and a 150-pound deadlift. After nearly two weeks on her 12-week program, I’ve gotten to a 65-pound bench, 80-pound squat and 85-pound deadlift. I’m on my way!

Like Lopez, Sanzo is extremely active on social media, particularly Instagram, which I find empowering and uplifting. What’s more, she responds when you mention her or ask her questions, providing helpful tips. This week, I had some difficulty with the front squat because it was bothering my wrists to hold the heavy weight that way. She suggested a reverse lunge instead or showed me a picture of straps that you can use around your wrists to help position the bar, all through Instagram messaging!

stephanie sanzo's instagram

I’m still trying to figure out my best macro combination. I’m sticking with the 158c/131p/105f for now but increasing my calories when I can. Some days I go a bit higher on the carbs, too. I am curious how Sanzo breaks down her calories because her overall total seems a lot lower than me. So, in time, I hope to figure that part out.

I haven’t been drinking as much wine lately just because I’ve been so busy and tired to be honest! In the evening, all I really want to do is curl up on the couch for a bit and then head to bed! But, last night, since it was #WineWednesday I enjoyed a Chenin Blanc from Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma County, California. It was tough waking up this morning, between the wine last night, which kept me up a bit later and the soreness from my new workout routine.

Overall, I think BUILD 1.0 is amazing and I’m excited that 2.0 is being launched soon. If I really love it, I don’t have to stop! Download a free trial today and see for yourself if BUILD or any of the SWEAT workouts are right for you. Cheers!

Wine for Holy Week

Faithful readers of this blog will recall that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read the Bible. I read it once a long time ago in college but it was for a humanities class and not read through the lens of my Catholic faith. This year, I decided to read it again, thinking about my faith and more carefully about what’s happening through each passage.

I started out reading one chapter a night starting at the beginning. I, of course, fell out of that routine after about three weeks, reading a few nights a week instead. That same week I learned that my parish was sponsoring a Bible Study during Lent. Though the Wednesday evening meetings were tough for me to make, I signed up and have been following along on my own, watching the videos, using the workbook and reading for homework each week. We’re at week 5 now, and this week I’ll attend my second in-person study.

Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible, by Ascension, teaches the reader to think strategically about the Bible and recommends only some books read together and in conjunction with related books. This makes the whole book more manageable and it helps it make more sense. An accompanying chart helps the reader identify key characters, plot lines, themes and historical references. In a somewhat linear fashion, the reader can see how something that happens in Genesis foreshadows what’s to come in the New Testament.

I’ve really enjoyed the videos, as well, since the leader of the study is engaging, smart and funny. I can imagine he must be amazing to hear in person, as well. The workbooks follow his talks and there is lots of room to make notes, which I have done fastidiously.

Not many people have an opportunity to do studies like this one. What’s more, I’m fortunate that this came at a time when I was attempting to read the Bible on my own. This support has made it all the more possible that I will make it through, if only through the books highlighted in this study.

The wine that I have enjoyed during one Bible reading session is Liberty Vineyards and Winery’s Pinot Grigio. It is described as a wine you want to sip while reading a good book. And there is no greater book than the Bible.

Wine for a Cheer Road Trip

As our first all-star cheerleading season comes to an end this week with a trip to the Platinum Nationals in Rochester, New York, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about our recent road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania for the
Lake Erie Cheer and Dance National Championships.

Our Little Winds are a mini-prep team; nearly all the girls are in their first year and it’s been a learning experience for the 6 to 9-year-olds. This was the first time we traveled this far from home for a competition and they were so excited to stay in a hotel! Plus, one of the girls on the team celebrated her 8th birthday and we had the opportunity to have lunch and cake together as a team with her.

I absolutely hate driving. I don’t mind long car rides but I really dislike being the driver. So, this trip was about three hours and 45 minutes and, man, it felt like forever — that is until I started to see an exciting sight out my windows. On either side of New York State Thruway were vineyards are far as the eye could see. It was almost like seeing cornfields spread out for miles but it was grapes. Now, the grapes are still dormant in Upstate New York but my mind could imagine how beautiful this sight would be come later spring and through summer and fall.

When I first spotted the grapevines, I was curious. What winemaking region is this? Part of Niagara? Something else? Then, I told myself maybe it was where grapes are mostly grown to make jelly and jam. I could not have been more incorrect. It turns out we were driving through Lake Erie Wine Country, the largest grape-growing region east of the Rockies. It extends roughly 50 miles from Chautauqua County in New York to Erie County in Pennsylvania. The farther we drove, the more vineyards we saw until we started to see many blue signs noting the names of the different wineries we could visit.

I made a mental note to stop on the way home and see what this region is all about. Since we left Sunday morning, many of the wineries in Pennsylvania were not open but just outside of Fredonia, New York, we stumbled upon Liberty Vineyards and Winery in Sheridan, New York. After a warm welcome from one of the owners, my daughter and I surveyed the scene. They were having an Easter-themed tasting complete with wines paired with Peeps, dark chocolate and milk chocolate eggs and jelly beans. I was mainly interested in what they were known for and wanted to taste the wine not the candy! But, they were smart and provided the candy to my 9-year-old along with a bottle of grape juice!

I tried wines from various profiles, including a Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Diamond Select, Red Blend, Fredonia and Sparkling Riesling. My favorites were the Diamond and Fredonia, which I could imagine having with dark chocolate, pizza or a burger. In addition, I tried their best-selling Reds, Whites & Blues, which is a sweet rose they use in their popular sangria recipe.

We left with seven bottles of wine for about $100, as well as a fun bottle stopper we won after Lucia chose a plastic egg from the basket. We also learned enough about the region for me to want to make another trip back with my husband. It looks like there is a lot to see and taste in this area, which to me is a well-kept wine secret in New York State!

Oh, and about that cheer competition? Those Little Winds won the national championship! Their winning routine is below:

CNY Storm Little Winds gave a flawless performance to become national champions in their class at the Lake Erie Cheer and Dance National Championships April 6.

Wine for the Annual Slump

It’s just past the Ides of March, the time of year when inevitably, no matter what is happening in my life, I hit the biggest slump. I don’t really know why. Sometimes I think it might be the time change; Daylight Saving Time is usually just before the middle of March. Other times I blame it on the weather; it’s usually still winter and gray and cold but with a few 50-degree days thrown in to remind us that spring is coming. Whatever the reason, I’m grouchy, groggy and listless.

I’m not sure there is a wine on earth that can help when you’re feeling exhausted, bored and drained. It’s hard to know what to do other than to put one foot in front of the other and try to stay motivated. I also am trying to get enough sleep, though the past few nights I’ve actually gone to bed later than usual, which isn’t helping. At any rate, I am trying to stay on my game and motivated despite the lack of energy. Here are my top 5 tips on how to survive a slump:

  1. Recommit to your New Year’s resolutions. By now, if I’m being honest, some of my resolutions have gone by the wayside. One way that I recharge my batteries is to review my progress and step up my game, if needed. For example, one of my resolutions was to read the Bible and I realized I haven’t been reading a chapter a night as I intended. I went all in and joined a Bible study at my church. Now, I have a game plan and a new way to understand how to read the Bible, which is reinvigorating that resolution for me.
  2. Read a few great books. I love to read. I always have. When I’m feeling lethargic, there is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a blanket and a good book.
  3. Give yourself a new goal. If you need motivating, set a new goal for yourself. You can reach for a new personal record at the gym or start training for a 5K. If there is a hobby you’ve wanted to explore or skill you’ve always wanted to master, do that. Find something toward which you can work.
  4. Clean out. Start your spring cleaning a little early. It helps to reduce the clutter in your life physically, so you can feel spiritually cleansed, too. I’ve seen a meme floating around social media about getting rid of 40 items during the 40 days of Lent. It’s a great way to get started.
  5. Start planning summer camps and vacations. Looking ahead to summer is great way to beat the blues of mid-March. Begin to plan your kids’ summer camp schedules or your family vacation. Thinking about warmer weather just might kick you into a higher gear.

As I mentioned earlier, wine typically makes me more sluggish and relaxed, not more energetic! But, I suppose if you’re in a slump, trying something new is one way to beat it. For #WineWednesday this week, I’m planning to try a Chardonnay/Riesling from Salmon Run, one of Dr. Konstantin Frank’s from New York State’s Finger Lakes region. It sounded interesting to cross the two grapes together. It’s not the riskiest move in terms of trying a new wine but it’s new to me! Maybe, it will remind me of warmer days driving through the vineyards along Seneca Lake without a care in the world! Cheers!

Wine for a Gym Challenge – The Outcome

As promised I’m sharing the outcome of my 45-day Athletic Apex Transformation Challenge. I killed it. Nailed it. Beat my own goals. And it feels great! In only 45 days, I managed to gain 1.24 pounds of muscle, reduce my body fat from 15.2 percent to 14.9 percent and nearly everything across the board moved in the positive direction. How cool is that? Below is a chart I made to show the improvements:

A comparison of my two Dexascans, 45 days apart.

Below is a comparison of my two Fit3D Scans, showing my measurements at the beginning and today.

A comparison of my body measurements, 45 days apart.

What is so amazing about this is how much I gained in such a short period of time. I really didn’t get into my new workout and macros until about two weeks ago. If I can do all this in 45 days, imagine what I can do, if I stick to this plan?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have data helping to support you on your fitness journey. You can’t argue with the numbers and they help keep you honest. But, even more than that, I was focused in a way that I haven’t been before. I knew what I needed to do and I was able to dedicate myself to reaching the goal. For me, the numbers were motivating and inspiring. If there is a future challenge, including scans, I will definitely jump right in again, but even if there isn’t I can seem myself getting these assessments every three to six months just to see my progress.

For me, these last 45 days have been a reboot that I desperately needed for my own fitness journey. I’m excited about the next 45 days and beyond. What kind of wine goes with killing all your workout goals? Why, a glass of bubbly, of course! Prosecco is my go to. But, since it’s not #WineWednesday just yet, that celebration sip will have to wait. Cheers!

Wine for a Scientific Review

Last week was a blur for me with a bunch of deadlines at work so I didn’t get a chance to post about our trip to Ithaca, New York over Winter Break. I took the kids to the Sciencenter, a place we had driven by but had never visited. While it wasn’t all that large, it made up for it with the quality of the exhibits. The kids enjoyed all kinds of activities from touching a starfish and horseshoe crab, to making music with their feet to creating origami creatures.

We spent a couple hours in the morning, and then made our way to lunch at Purity, famous for its ice cream. Before we filled our bellies, though, we had to stop at a wine store, of course. Right around the corner from the center is a shop called Red Feet Wine Market and Spirit Provisions.

Red Feet Boasts a Unique Variety of Wines

At first I wasn’t sure what I would find inside, but the kids and I decided it was worth a look. I was not disappointed. From the floor to the ceiling were many rare and hard-to-find wines from smaller producers from around the world. I was shown a few different kinds of wine, based on the description I gave for what I was looking for. I went home with a French red from a smaller producer from the Cru Beaujolais region. Leading sommeliers will tell you that the best value wines on earth come from this area and I was excited to try one.

I added a white to my pairing, choosing a grape I had never tried before called Passerina from the Abruzzo region of Italy. It reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc but instead of citrus overtones, I tasted apple and pear. It’s my new favorite white. Wow. Such a great tasting wine. I nearly drank the bottle on my own! It would be amazing with sushi and for good reason. The region is known for its fishing.

It’s a blessing and a curse that this shop is not closer to home for me. I might go broke stopping in there all the time,” but I wish I had the opportunity to stop in more often!

Purity Lives Up to the Hype

I’ve lived in Central New York my whole life and have never visited Purity. Well, if I did, I don’t recall. Since it was a kid day I knew we had to get some ice cream but we wisely decided to eat “real food” first. Everyone enjoyed what they ordered from grilled cheese to a turkey avocado BLT to a hot dog, everything was excellent. Of course, the dessert was the best part! I do understand why everyone says this is a “must do” when in Ithaca.

After lunch we headed back to the Sciencenter since the kids wanted to play with everything more. This day trip, door to door, took about seven hours so it’s doable when you have a day off or just want to skip town on the weekend. Just make sure you manage to stop at Red Feet and Purity while you’re there!

Wine for a Gym Challenge

This Monday marks the end of the Athletic Apex Transformation Challenge. A 45-day contest, the challenge allowed members to establish a baseline for their fitness journey, using data obtained from DexaScans and Fit Body 3D assessments. My challenge officially began Jan. 18 with my own scans and I learned that for me, the challenge is continuing to build muscle, particularly in my legs and trunk.

For the past nearly 45 days I’ve changed my macros a bit, taking in healthier fats and fewer carbs and I’ve worked with a personal trainer to establish a muscle building routine that will help me reach my goals, as well as improve areas where I am weak. I even added a Resting Metabolic Rate assessment to ensure my calories and macros are on target for how my body behaves.

This assessment required me to fast for 12 hours. It measured how many calories my body burns just to exist, as well as what my total energy expenditure is on a daily basis. It even showed me that I burn 66 percent of my daily calories as fat, rather than carbs, which is good information to have. Overall, the assessment was short, taking only about 20 minutes but it wasn’t the most comfortable test. You had to wear a nose plug and breathe only through a tube for the duration of the assessment, which I was not a big fan of! But, I’m glad I did it because it’s more data I can use to reach my personal fitness goals.

While I’m excited to see if I’ve made any progress at all over the last 45 days, I’m also disappointed that I didn’t have more time to reach my goals. I only just figured out my formula a couple weeks ago, which to me is not enough time to even see if it’s going to work! But, I do have two points of pride as I head into my final scans this Monday evening: 1. At my annual physical my doctor said I gained four pounds since last year! 2. Since the start of the challenge, I’ve gained one pound!

Hey, it’s the baby steps. Consistency and focus are what counts when you’re on a health and fitness journey. The other night, I celebrated #WineWednesday with a Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon, a yummy, simple red perfect for sipping at the end of a long day and reflecting on success. While I’ve cut back on wine drinking quite a bit since refocusing on my fitness, I still enjoy my Wednesday habit, as well as a glass or two on the weekends. I’ll keep you posted on the final results next week! Until then, cheers!