A New Challenge

In some of my most recent posts I’ve opened up about how I ended 2015 in a bit of a slump.  My clothes barely fit, I was ten pounds heavier than before I began running marathons and I was experiencing a major case of the post race blues. I needed to make a change.

While I always eat healthy and exercise at least 5 days a week, for a little while I was sort of just going through the motions. I needed something to reenergize and remotivate me. I needed a new challenge that didn’t involve running further or faster.

So when a friend of mine invited me to join in her 21 Day Fix Challenge this past February, it sounded like the perfect way to start off the new year and the first month of my 38th year. I have to be honest, I was a little hesitant to make a big deal about it when I first committed. Here’s why:

  1. I was afraid it could turn out to be another set of wimpy DVDs that barely made me sweat.
  2. I thought I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about eating clean and proper nutrition. I was skeptical that this could teach me anything new.
  3. I wanted to see what sort of results I got before I told anyone too much about it.
  4. I thought all my readers and friends might think it was lame that I was signing up to do a Beachbody program.

But here’s the thing. It’s about ten weeks later and now I’ve completed both the 21 Day Fix and I’m halfway through the Beachbody Hammer & Chisel program (while also running a few days a week to prepare for my spring half marathon.) And guess what. I’ve accomplished a lot.

Yes, I have achieved some physical changes;

  • I’m 10 lbs lighter.
  • I’ve lost inches of fat.
  • I’ve reduced my body fat percentage.

But, aside from the stats, I’m actually more excited about some other changes the program helped me achieve and some lessons I’ve learned as a result.

  1. The ankle pain from my injuries last summer and fall is virtually gone. My body is stronger, so my ankles are stronger. This makes me a stronger, more confident runner too.
  2. I’ve eliminated some bad eating habits that I picked up during marathon training, like snacking too much and eating extra treats after the kids go to bed. Since I’m not burning 1000+ calories per day from running so much, I’m not starving all the time and I can keep better tabs on my nutrition. I rarely crave sweets.
  3. I’ve picked up some healthier eating habits like reaching for vegetables instead of protein bars and drinking a lot more water.
  4. I can fit in my training before the kids are up so I have the three hours that John is at preschool to fit in work instead of workouts. I’m doing weight training from home that I really only thought could be accomplished at a gym. Who knew you could get a DVD workout program that has you doing cleans and jerks? Yes, you can. I do take a few mornings to add running in too.
  5. My whole body is stronger; my arms, my legs, my core. I’m not trying to look like some bikini model or weight lifting competitor. I just want to feel good in my skin, be strong, healthy and focused so I approach life with energy, confidence and guts. This program helped me feel that way again.

AND…

  • IMG_5757I’ve realized that finding the most fit, healthy version of myself doesn’t mean doing as much cardio as I can possibly fit in. It doesn’t mean running for as long and far as I can. It means doing a little bit of a lot of activities with a BIG focus on strength training. It means really honing in on feeding my body the proper combination of the right amount of whole foods. While I’ve tracked macronutrients for years (carbs, proteins and fats) along with calories, I was not necessarily always getting them in the right combinations to help my body burn fat and build muscle. I lacked confidence that I was doing it right. The 21 Day Fix helped me perfect my nutrition planning.
  • I feel more balanced than ever. I am motivated and focused, but not obsessive or ego-driven. I’m back to my happy, positive, BALANCED self. 

So while I have to say that I started out thinking I’d be the last person to recommend such a program, that is exactly what I’m doing.

Here’s a couple other things I like about it.

  • IMG_8196The recommended foods don’t require you to make time consuming recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, the simpler the better. For example, right now for lunch I commonly eat simply two hardboiled eggs, a cup of baby carrots, and a piece of sprouted wheat toast with 1/4 avocado mashed on it.
  • It’s not about depriving yourself of entire food groups like some other clean eating/cleanse programs. You are given a long list of foods that fit in each group and you can chose any combination of them from that list.

Normally in a post like this is where you see before and after photos of someone standing in their bikini inspecting the way their body looks in the mirror with their phone in front of their face. I hate those.

BUT, I’m including a photo of myself post program only because I want to show you how strong I feel. Am I trying to reach pop culture’s idea of the perfect body? No. I will never achieve that. Nor do I really want to. Been down that route and it’s really not a healthy one. Do I have a six pack and totally cut arms? Nope! But here is me feeling happy and focused again which feels so much better than the lack of focus I was experiencing just a few months ago.

IMG_5687

So why did I write this post? To show off pictures of myself in my sports bra? Hardly.

I wanted to reach out to any of you who might be in the same position that I was in at the end of 2015. Perhaps you might be looking to make a change and try something different, to find new focus and balance.

If you’re in this boat then I want to invite you to join me and other women as we embark on a new challenge together. I was invited to be the “featured expert/blogger/celebrity” (ha ha!) in a new Beachbody Challenge group that we created called “Fixate for Family.” If you’re interested keep reading.

FIXATE FOR FAMILY CHALLENGE

Starting May 9th here’s what we’ll do

IMG_5870

  • WORKOUT 30 MINUTES EVERY DAY FOR 21 DAYS. Together we’ll follow the 21 Day Fix program which includes 6 workouts (one for each day that you repeat in a certain order). They can all be done from home. They were challenging enough for me (a person who had already been doing some weight training and who had just run a few marathons). But they aren’t so challenging that you hate and dread doing them. They are actually enjoyable. Each is only 30 minutes. You can do them from your DVD player or using your phone with Beachbody on Demand or with Apple TV. See the link at the bottom of the page for ordering these workouts through me from Beachbody. I’ll be your coach!
  • EAT CLEAN – When you order the program you get all of this stuff above (Fixate Cookbook is separate). It includes the nutrition planning book along with the colored serving containers. The book tells you how many calories thus how many containers you get of each food group each day. You track them through a free app. It also provides some simple recipes. If you want more recipes you can order the Fixate cookbook. And I’ll be sharing my weekly meal plan and other special recipes through my blog to use with the program!!
  • TRANSFORM YOUR FAMILY’S DIET TOO! We’re calling this “Fixate for Family” because we know that many of you are moms and dads who have kids to feed.
  • We know you don’t want to follow a clean diet plan that requires you to make a separate meal for yourself and then “kid food” for your kids. That’s too much work and it’s poor food role modeling.
  • We understand that you want to help your family eliminate all the processed food that is lingering around your house, but you don’t want to listen to the whining or for them to go hungry. So you keep making them the chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and pizza you know they’ll eat quietly.
  • Through our “Fixate for Family” challenge we want to help you eat healthier while also helping your family to clean up their diet too. I’ll make it easier to do this by sharing my tried and true, family friendly, clean eating meal plan, recipes and shopping list. 
  • PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP – Just say the word and we’ll add you to the private Facebook group where I (along with a few other coaches) will provide daily motivation, inspiration, clean eating tips for you and your family and accountability.

If you want to join us on this challenge, you can email me at ashleycweingart@gmail.com. or you can comment on this post. You can also go ahead and order the 21 Day Fix and Fixate Cookbook to prepare.

But don’t wait too long because it takes a good 7 days for you to receive your materials. Here are the links!

21 Day Fix Workouts, Nutrition Plan, Recipes, Containers & Shakes

Fixate Cookbook

I can’t wait to hear from you! We are so excited to begin on May 9. Share with a friend so you can do it together!

Look for some posts from me the week before the challenge starts where I will include my supplemental family friendly, clean eating 7 day meal plan and shopping list! 

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