It's that time of year where people start thinking about what they will change in the new year. To some degree, I think this is a good thing! If you listen to any media sources, you are bombarded with the talk of "resolutions". The thing that also comes with talk of setting resolutions is how you can be successful with your resolutions, or how to not break your resolutions, or even the talk about how "X" percent of people will fail by "X" day.
I mean come on, if there is as much talk about failing and how not to be one of those statistics, what do you think is going to happen? You will BECOME one of those statistics!!! Where your mind goes, your energy flows. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you know that 75% (or whatever that number is) fail at keeping their resolutions, when you begin to slip, mentally you are ok with that. You are normal. Most people fail, so don't feel bad.
Here's the thing, if you are reading this, you are either a really good friend or family that want to support us. You are trying to kill some time at work. Or you actually care about being successful with your health and weight loss transformations. Or maybe you want to grow your online business. For the sake of of this post, let's just assume you fall into that last category!
Here's some advice for you. Instead of resolutions, I want you to write out goals. Goals are serious, they are different. They don't have all the baggage that resolutions have with them. I recommend writing out new goals at least once a month. By doing it monthly you are constantly being reminded of what you want to accomplish. It isn't some distant thought that you had 6 months ago. The same goals might be on your list for 6 months which is totally fine. Next, make sure you write them out by hand on paper! Yeah we are talking old school. There is something that happens when your brain tells your hand to write something versus typing on a computer or phone.
Another thing that I heard the other day about goal setting and building a life of your dreams, is that most people tend to focus on all the ways they can't accomplish something. I can't start a new business or fitness program, I don't have the money, I don't have the time, I don't have the skills, I don't have enough friends, I don't have the education. Just like with all the talk about resolutions and how people fail because all they hear about is how people fail, the same thing happens if your mind is wrapped around all the reasons you can't do something. With your list of goals, I want you to write out all the reasons why you CAN and why you need to accomplish them. It will also help when writing out your goals to write them in a definitive tone or even in a past tense. For example, I will lose 20 lbs or I lost 20 lbs. Rather than I want to lose 20 lbs. See the difference?
Progress starts with a shift in your mindset. Once your mind is right, action becomes so much easier. When there is no doubt that you will take action, your mind already has, so your body will follow. With action comes momentum and even though you will hit some roadblocks there will be nothing that will stop you from accomplishing your goals.
I just saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens earlier this afternoon. I'll start off by saying it is awesome and you should totally go see it. If you are worried I will spoil anything for you in this post don't worry, I won't dissect the storylines and characters. I'll leave that up to some other hardcore geeks out there.
I do want to share something regarding Star Wars and the publicity it has gotten this past weekend. The thought that I had was about how so many people were raving about this movie. I totally get why, there was hype behind it and it delivered. (Side note: totally worth seeing in 3D and on an IMAX screen, I'm still a bit in sensory overload but in a good way.) Even people with no connection to this movie or nothing to gain from promoting it, other than share an enjoyable experience with friends, were promoting it.
You might be able to see where I'm going with this. People promote things all the time! Movies to go see, restaurants to check out, airlines to take or avoid, or golf equipment to use (I used to be a golf pro). They promote because they want to help their friends and family out and recommend things they like.
Network Marketing works on the same premise but there is just a business structure that is built behind it. I'll use our situation as an example: we love the workouts that Beachbody has to offer and feel that they can help other people too. We also love Shakeology and use it every single day because it helps us. We didn't become Beachbody coaches because we saw a public need in the market. We did it because we loved the products and they work for us and will likely work for others. Just like me promoting Star Wars to people and telling my friends to go watch it, I promote Beachbody products because I see a benefit that my friends can get from it.
For some reason I feel there is a stigma that network marketers are in it to make money off of their friends. I'm sure some are, but I think a majority really do care and want to help. Here's the crazy thing though... Even if your friends were in it to make money, wouldn't you rather give your money to your friends versus some corporation that you have no connection to or ties to? I think the thing that rubs people the wrong way is when someone tries to promote products to people that have never expressed need or a desire for. Going back to the Star Wars theme, that would be like me telling a friend that I know despises science fiction that they need to go see this movie...that Star Wars will be the movie that changes them and their thoughts on science fiction. I can share how amazing the story line is and how awesome it is to see characters from the old movies in the new one. I'm not helping that friend, I'm just annoying the crap out of them.
So here's the takeaway... if you are in a network marketing company, don't be annoying and recommend cleaning supplies to a homeless guy or handbag to lumberjack. If you aren't involved in a network marketing company, understand that your friends really enjoy the products that they are promoting. They aren't doing it to make money off of you! Also if you aren't with a network marketing company I might encourage you to look at the products you are using on a regular basis, chances are there is a company out there that would allow you to use products at a very similar price. You could help a friend out, and even potentially make some money yourself!!
I believe this is the most important question a person can ask themselves if they are trying to get healthy or lose weight.
"Is it Working?"
I think people can get very dogmatic in their approach to nutrition and it can lead them down an unhealthy path or maybe just a frustrating one. I think this is more prevalent today with the creation of so many "diets" or "lifestyles" out there. You have the Standard American Diet which I find funny that the acronym for that is S.A.D. Then you get into Paleo, Vegan, Zone, Vegetarian, Atkins, Pescetarian, Raw Food, Mediterranean, South Beach, Ketogenic, and Alkaline to name a few. Then you have the balance of macronutrients, low fat/high carb, high fat/low carb, low protein or high protein. Yeah, is your head spinning yet???
The truth is all of these "diets" could work. The opposite is also true, all of them could be totally wrong for you as an individual. If you ever hear someone say that this way of eating or that way of eating is the best way, my advice is run the other way!
Humans and the environments that they live in vary so much that there is no one size fits all diet. There are some common themes that science is showing gives people the best chance to be healthy and lose weight. Eat more vegetables and eat fewer processed grains and sugars. After that everything else is pretty much up in the air.
This is where that question, "Is it working?", comes into play. In order to get results I think you need to ask this of your current diet and fitness regime at a minimum of every 3 months and a maximum of every 1 month.
Why that time frame?
It is possible to over manage your choices...that's why I like 1 month minimum. You need to give things a chance to take hold and your body needs to adapt to the changes you are making. The concept of 1 step backwards to take 2 steps forward totally applies. Our bodies may have some perceived negative results before the good stuff starts happening. For example, if you start weight training, you are going to be causing inflammation in your muscle tissue which leads to extra retained water and therefore added weight and size. Also going from S.A.D. to a more plant based diet may cause some digestive distress initially due to the added fiber, but that will regulate after a couple weeks most likely. Point being, give it some time!
On the other side, if you aren't asking the question at least every 3 months then you might be wasting effort and resources. Which will eventually cause a person to go crazy and throw in the towel. If your goal is to lose fat or change your body composition, this makes it super important to track your weight, measurements and take photos. Without proper tracking you won't know if what you are doing is working. Three months should be enough time to make progress on a given plan unless a person has major medical issues. If you haven't seen progress I would recommend making fairly minor changes to begin. Some things that could mean would be; eating more or less food, recalibrating the %'s of calories you get from different macronutrients, or increasing your compliance (fewer treats), or switching up the intensity/duration of your workouts. Or as simple as adding a multivitamin or fish oil supplement. You don't need to go from a straight Paleo diet to Vegan if you haven't seen the scale budge after 3 months. Start small, but make adjustments.
If you have a decent knowledge of fitness and nutrition you can probably make these small tweaks yourself. You can use an app like My Fitness Pal to track calories and macronutrient %'s. If you aren't keeping a food journal, START!!! That will help you understand if you are actually eating the foods that you think you are. In the journal you can also track how foods are making you feel and maybe identify foods that cause distress in your body and eliminate those.
If you are novice or beginner, i.e. you had to google macronutrient, then I would recommend reaching out to someone that is trained. Chances are you want results sooner rather than later. Working with somone that is trained will help you get you going in the right direction faster and be able to make more educated tweaks to your plan. Your time is valuable and your health is important, make the investment!
I'll close with this, when you are analyzing your progress, don't just focus on weight or measurements. Your exercise and diet should maximize your health and performance too. Make sure you factor in those things when figuring out if you are making progress. It's really easy to lose weight if you just stop eating...but you will lose weight really fast and your health will deteriorate. If you lead with HEALTH, the performance and body composition will usually fall into place.
So... Is your current plan/program working for you? Share in the comments your results and what has worked or what hasn't.
I've never considered myself a baker. There is just too much measuring and too many dishes to clean up afterwards. On top of that most baked goods don't exactly line up with healthy eating. What are the cornerstones of baking; usually a combo of white sugar, flour, and poor quality fats. Basically the worst combo when it comes to health and maintaining a healthy weight.
Now that I've poo pooed bake goods let me tell you about the super tasty muffins I made, lol. This recipe by no means qualifies these muffins as health food but I did remove those poor quality ingredients that cause inflammation and hormonal havoc in your body and replaced them with friendlier ingredients. The recipe that I based my recipe off of is one that my mom passed down to me. She would always make it as a bread loaf instead of muffins and I remember just loving it. Probably because of the amount of sugar that was in it!
So here were my "healthy" swaps. Instead of white sugar I used dates that I pureed with a little almond milk. Instead of regular wheat flour I used a combination of coconut and arrowroot. Instead of vegetable oil I used coconut oil. As you will see in the nutrition facts below I reduced the sugar by 18 grams per serving, which is huge and when it comes to weight loss and the insulin response that you would get from eating it. Swapping out the flours will help with GI issues that people have from gluten, along with the high Glycemic Index that comes along with regular wheat flour. Coconut oil versus vegetable oil is a no brainer unless you are still living in the 1980's and think saturated fat will kill you.
This are super simple to make and fairly guilt free as long as you don't eat 6 of them. They are a great kick snack for our 16 month old son too, which is super convenient. Hope you enjoy them!
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
Mom's Pumpkin Bread
Last Call for The Master's Hammer & Chisel Test Group
One of the benefits that I never really thought of when I first got into this home fitness thing was accumulating workout equipment. As you can see in the picture above we've got a pretty good start on our home gym. We didn't have all of this equipment on Day 1 but over the years we've been doing this it's added up. We really have just about everything we need, minus maybe an adjustable bench, but we've passed on that just due to space issues.
I come from a fairly frugal family and it is ingrained in my DNA to justify costs of things we buy. For example, I was just chatting with some friends about the cost of the Vitamix we bought and value of it. They couldn't get over the $400ish price tag. I explained that the ease of use and cleanup will save you time each time you use it. Since we use it 2-3 times per day and have had it for at least 3 years now, that's a lot of time saved. We all know time is one of the most valuable assets we have so BAM... Justified!!!
With workout equipment and programs I also see the value in owning the stuff I'm using rather than paying a membership fee to use someone else's equipment. I can justify spending money on that equipment based on what we save by buying home workout programs versus paying gym dues. I'll explain just how much we are able to save below.
When Laura and I first got married we were members at Lifetime Fitness which is an extremely nice gym in the Minneapolis area. We were paying around $130 per month I believe for both of us. After a year or so we couldn't justify paying that much so we joined our city community center and I think we were paying around $60-70 for the two of us per month. We then tried a another local gym after moving which cost us about $70-80 per month. The point being we did the gym thing for a while and we never really used it to the point that we saw results and also couldn't justify the cost with the frequency that we went.
I'm a bit of a numbers guy so I just wanted to breakout the costs of what we were doing versus what we pay now. We usually buy 2-3 new workout programs every year and those programs cost anywhere from $30-90. We will just say yearly between the two of us we spend $175 on our workout programs or $14.50 per month for both of us. We also both have access to Beachbody On Demand which costs us roughly $13/month. All in, we spend about $41 per month or $492 per year. Compare that to the lower end gym memberships that we once had at $70 per month or $840 yearly. We are saving $348 per year for the two of us!!! That is compared to the lower cost gyms too. I looked up the cost of some others like OrangeTheory and CorePower Yoga and you are looking at $139+ per month for unlimited use of those facilities. (EDIT: As of January 1, 2017 we now only pay $99 each per year for our All-Access Beachbody On Demand membership. This gives us access to every Beachbody program ever created and all new programs that come out in 2017.)
I will be the first to admit that you shouldn't put a price on your health. The best workout that you can do is the one that you WILL do. So if you don't get excited about working out at home but you can get to the gym regularly great. I wanted to share this for those of you that maybe haven't thought about the numbers before. Who knows, maybe knowing the numbers will get you more excited to workout at once you know how much money you could be potentially saving.
What could you do with an extra $348? Buy more organic groceries! We always here how people struggle justifying the cost of organic food! Food is the real driver behind health so that would be a good use of those funds. You could also buy some workout equipment! All the workout equipment pictured above probably cost us a little over $400. In one years time, with the money you save by working out at home, you could have nearly all the equipment you need.
I didn't even mention the value of working out alongside some of the best trainers in the country. Nothing beats a personalized plan. The next best thing would be to follow a generic plan/program that someone who knows what they are talking about created. I was guilty of thinking I knew what I was doing when I was at the gym. I knew what lifts worked certain muscle groups but there was no big picture plan. The value of a working with a trainer is huge and if you are gym goer, I highly recommend you use them so you know what you are doing is helping you get closer to your goals.
Also with all of the programs that we have purchased you get a nutrition plan! That's usually extra at a gym if it is even available. Oh and if you are one to purchase a program through Laura or I you get me as your personal nutrition coach, which I normally charge a minimum of $200 per month for with private clients.
Doing the at home workout thing is a lot like buying versus leasing car. There are certainly some people in the situation where leasing a car or workout equipment is the right way to go. There value in owning your stuff though. That's why I've become a big fan of slowly growing our home gym. My dream is to have a mini crossfit style gym at some point. I know with the money I save it will happen over time, one piece of equipment at a time!
I've heard it called a few different things, Monkey Bread or Pull Apart Bread. Not sure if that is a regional thing??? In Minnesota it goes my Monkey Bread, not exactly sure why but if you are interested I'm sure Dr. Google would let you know. No matter where you are from and what you call it Monkey Bread is straight up delicious. The warm bread! Some of it crusty. Some of it soft! The cinnamon. The caramel. It's a perfect combo.
I've been on a gluten free diet for a little over 6 months now, not by choice unfortunately. I'm always looking at making substitutions to recreate some of my old favorites. I've had a lot of successes and some failures. Beer has been a failure, seriously disappointing. Otherwise, I've found a bread recipe, some pancake recipes, some muffin recipes that are really good.
With this creation I wasn't even trying to recreate Monkey Bread. After having it though, it was as good as I remember the real thing. If you can't tell by the picture the key difference is that it is made from plantains.
The only tricky part about making these is having patience to allow your plantains to ripen to the point that they get semi-sweet. The plantains pictured below are still mabye even a little under ripe for how I would prefer them. You want to start seeing some black spots covering the peel of the plantain. That's when you know they are ready to go. If you buy them green in the store, it will likely take almost a week to get to that point.
I'm going to forego the fancy ingredients and directions because honestly this is so easy to make I can just tell you. A serving size for me is 1 plantain. Even our 16 month old son can take down an entire plantain himself. However, if you are watching your carbs a bit you might want to split a plantain with someone else. If you are cooking for more, just scale the recipe up.
To make these I will cut the plantains into 1/2" half moon shaped pieces. Then in a medium-hot skillet I add a couple teaspoons of bacon grease. If you don't save your bacon fat, start doing it, it makes for a great cooking fat. Sautee your plantains for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they start getting a little carmelized and brown/black. I usually season with a pinch of salt while they are cooking. Once they are cooked, there is the option to add about 1 tbsp of butter to really kick up the flavor. I just add that to the pan and toss the plantains until the butter is melted and coated the plantains. Depending on how ripe your plantains are they may or may not need the butter. When they are more ripe I will likely not add the butter but if they are still a little firmer texture they tend to soak up the fat and they need a little extra shot at the end. Either way they will be delicious!
I like to then put the cooked, buttered delicious plantains in a separate bowl and add roughly a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. I don't measure I just shake enough out of the spice jar until it looks like they will be adequately coated. I like to do this in a separate bowl versus a skillet because I find you have to add about twice as much cinnamon because a lot gets absorbed by the leftover fat in the pan and it doesn't make it onto the plantains. That's it!!!
Hope you enjoy and let us know if you try these.
We heard about the launch of this program when we were down in Nashville this past summer. My first impression was, wow, what a terrible name. We are going to tell people to go get "Hammered" and then I guess chiseled too. It kind of made me laugh. It doesn't quite roll off the tongue like P90X, Insanity, or 21 Day Fix.
Watching the promo video (posted below) though I got super excited for the style of this workout. I also thought it was a great way to get more women away from the treadmills and go pick up some weights. There is so much science out there that points out the metabolism boosting and health benefits of resistance training for both men and women. Here is Laura's take on lifting weights, Ladies, Don't Skip the Heavy Weights. I
I have no idea how the idea of women getting bulky actually started. I'm guessing it either stems from cover models of the 1980's and 90's that were rail thin so any visible sign of muscle would seem "bulky" in comparison. I think that image is/was more prevalent than the hulk like woman that may or may not have been taking steroids to gain ridiculous amounts of muscle. Either way I think we can all agree that both those extremes are not healthy, and from a guy's perspective not attractive. Women, unless you have an extraordinary amount of testosterone, combined with ridiculous amounts of food, combined with super intense workouts you will not get bulky. Yes you need all three for that to happen.
To the guys now, I can't begin to tell you how awesome this program is for us. It is a perfect combination of heavy lifting and high intense plyometric style workouts to help us shed fat and get ripped. This program also comes along with portion control containers that will help you either lose, maintain or gain weight. Personally my plan is to gain weight with this program, so the containers will help me get the right amount of food from the right areas to really maximize my results. Plus I'm looking forward to getting some seriously shredded abs!
Let's talk about what this program is all about and why both Laura and I are super excited for it. First off, we love that this program combines workouts from two different trainers. We love the style of workout that both of these trainers have done previously, so if it is even close to those we know we will love it. Having two trainers will also help keep things fresh too. You won't have to listen to the same trainer for 60 days straight! So here are the details...
PROGRAM DEATILS: It is a 60 day program, done 6 days a week. Workout lengths range from 24-41 minutes.
REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: Dumbbells (3 sets preferably, light, medium, heavy), workout bench OR stability ball, chin-up bar OR resistance band with door attachment (not included in base kit).
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: Yoga Mat or Beachbody Core Comfort Mat are helpful but not required. Medicine Ball.
There are 4 different types of kits. Here’s what is included in each one:
Base Kit: 14 workouts on 6 DVD's plus 1 additional workout when you order through a Beachbody Coach, seven color coded portion control containers, Shakeology shaker cup, Workout Calendar, Quick Start Guide, Fitness and Nutrition Guide.
Deluxe Kit: Everything from the Base Kit plus 4 additional workouts, an extra set of portion control containers, 8 lb medicine ball.
Base Kit Shakeology Challenge Pack: Everything from the Base Kit plus a 30 Day Supply of Shakeology, 30 Day Free Trial Club Membership that includes Beachbody On Demand.
Base Kit Performance Challenge Pack: Everything from the Base Kit plus two supplements from the new Beachbody Performance line, Energize and Recover, a pre and post workout supplement to maximize your workout performance and recovery. This package also gets you a 30 Day Free Trial Club Membership that includes Beachbody On Demand.
Chisel Balance: A total-body workout creating stabilization, muscular endurance, and core strength.
Iso Strength Chisel: An intense resistance workout using isometric holds and flexibility to increase strength.
Chisel Endurance: Increase muscular endurance and strength in this time-under-tension workout.
Chisel Cardio: The cardiovascular resistance routine will increase heart rate, circulation, and burn an intense amount of calories.
Chisel Agility: A challenging cardio workout that will help you move quickly, improve coordination, and create greater stabilization.
Total Body Chisel: This full-body resistance workout focuses on creating lean muscle and strength.
Hammer Plyometrics: This jump training workout will use your entire body to create force, speed, and power.
Iso Speed Hammer: A tempo training workout that uses speed and isometric holds to create strength and grow muscle.
Total Body Hammer: A hypertrophy workout focused on pyramid-style sets to maximize strength and muscle growth.
Max Hammer Strength: Start with a pre-fatigued muscle, finish with a maximum lift. Increase strength, power, and muscular development.
Hammer Power: This intense powerlifting-inspired workout will increase speed, reactive strength, and power.
Hammer Conditioning: A workout based on compound movements that will improve stability, coordination, and strength.
10 Min Ab Chisel: This core-crusher will transform your midsection, without ever getting on the floor.
10 Min Ab Hammer: Carve definition into your core while strengthening your entire ab complex.
Here are some of our coach friends that were a part of the Beachbody Test Group. This program works!
If you would like some more information about this program and whether or not it would be a good fit for you and to help you reach your goals, click on any of the images or submit your email address below. We have our own Test Group starting on December 21st too! For more information about that shoot as email, reach out on Facebook, or submit your name through any of the links on this page. Let's Get Hammered! And Chiseled!
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.