Wednesday, November 11, 2015

21 Day Fix Extreme - My Quest for a Six Pack

Call me vain.  I'm not really, but I am on a quest for six pack abs.  Well, some definition in my abs really.  I want to prove that age is just a number.  If you've read my other blog posts you know that I've been doing Beachbody workouts for a while now and I've had great results.  I lost weight, gained strength and endurance.  But the sixpack keeps eluding me.  When it comes down to it, abs are made in the kitchen.  I knew when the 21 Day Fix Extreme (21DFX) was announced, it was what I needed. 



 ***I'm late in posting this since my first round was in February 2015 and it is now November 2015.  Somehow I just never posted it and thought I did.  I'm actually doing my third round now.  I did my second round just before a vacation in July and I'm now running a 21 Day Fix Challenge group to get ready for the holiday season. This post is about my first round.****

So first, let me tell you a little about the program.  The 21 Day Fix Extreme is a new extreme version of the popular 21 Day Fix.  The concept is the same -- 30 minute workouts and color coded containers to control portions and each the right ratio of foods.  The difference is the nutrition is dialed in and the workouts are bumped up a notch or two or three. 


Meal Plan


There are no cheats and no treats.  Some of the foods on the original list are not on the Extreme list of allowable foods.  There are still plenty of options to make delicious and satisfying meals.  The other difference is it offers a Count down to Competition meal plan to really get quick results.  


I was training for an Ultra Relay team at the time of my first round so that was an extra challenge.  My total mileage for the relay was almost 34 miles so when I did the 21 DFX I was also running about 35 miles a week.  Therefore, I bumped up my nutrition to the second tier on the calorie chart during the week and went to the third tier on my long run day. 


So during the week I had the following:



4 Green – Vegetables
4 Red – Proteins
3 Purple – Fruits
3 Yellow – Starch/Carbs
1 Blue – Nuts & Cheese
1 Orange – Seeds & Dressings
4 tsp – Oils & Nut Butters

I was NEVER hungry and I was pleasantly surprised.  For the first week I kept it pretty simple and planned basic meals and thought of it in terms of protein and sides rather than composed dishes.  This was especially true on the Countdown to Competition days when there is only 1 yellow (for my tier) and no fruit and more protein.  It is strict but THAT is what you need if you want to melt fat away.  
What did I eat? 
I didn't give up coffee.  I continued to drink it with a little milk and coconut oil but I accounted for the amount of milk by reducing my yellow a fraction.  I had Shakeology every day.  I have my shake after my workouts in the morning and often drink it on my way to work so I continued that routine while doing the 21 DFX.  Once I got to work I mostly had steel cut oatmeal with a teaspoon of peanut butter and mixed berries.  That was just breakfast. 
Morning snack was usually a yellow, a red and another purple.  The oatcake recipe in the 21 DFX nutrition guide with yogurt and berries works nice as a morning snack. 
Lunch was typically a red, a green and either an orange and or yellow.  Salad with steak or chicken or tuna was easy.    I love seeds so I usually had half an orange of pumpkin or sunflower seeds and half for dressing.  
Afternoon snacks were often hummus and veggies or hardboiled eggs or fruit, depending upon what containers I needed to eat and knew I didn't have planned for dinner.  
As I said, my first week I focused on plain dinners.  By plain I mean simple, not bland.  I had bison steak, roasted veggies and potatoes, or roast chicken with rice and veggies.  One night I even made burgers from lean, grass-fed beef with oven fries and veggies. 
Over the course of three weeks I ate a lot of the same meals.  Listen, I love to cook and my family loves to eat.  But I wanted results more than I wanted to make some recipe I found on Pinterest.  You are not going to see change unless you change what you are doing. Cooking those meals and not focusing on your nutrition will NOT get you results.  Start thinking about food as fuel and it gets easier.

The Workouts
There is a different workout each day and there is work out each day of the week for 3 weeks. For the workouts you will need a set of light and heavy weights and a resistance band.  There are suggested weight in the book but I was using 8 lbs through 15 lbs.  But I found it hard to stick with just 2 so I also used 10 lbs and 12 lbs depending on the move.  My heavy weight for shoulders is different than my heavy for my biceps or chest.  I liked having the range and I felt it helped me get results faster. 

The resistance band.  What can I say about that.  Not my favorite and it is used quite a bit.  Make sure you have one.  It does not come with the base kit.  If you used T25 the band that came with that is perfect.  Otherwise you can order it online at www.katjohnsonfitness.com or you can get it at any sporting good store.  Go for light weight or up to 15 lbs resistance.  Pilates will be impossible if you use anything heavier. 


Results


I was pleased with my results.  I will admit that I did not follow the nutrition 100%.  My first weekend I had an annual girls weekend.  On Friday for dinner, I ignored the meal plan.  We ate, we drank, we had a good time.  Not part of the plan but its life.  But Saturday morning I was back at it and made steel cut oatmeal and yogurt for our breakfast!  For the most part I followed the meal plan precisely.  Here is my before and after photos and as you can see, I've got more definition in my arms and my abs.  This program works.  It will be my go to before events or vacations.  It is not a quick fix if  you have to lose a lot of weight but it is a program that will get you results.  It IS a quick fix if you are just looking to get that extra definition or drop those 5 pounds to get into that dress for a party next month.  




Stay tuned for my next round.  I still don't have the six pack that I wanted by the end of the year but I still have about 50 days to get there!

Click 21 Day Fix to go to my site to 
purchase or read more about 
it or click 21 Day Fix Extreme. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Running Crazy -- Ragnar Relay Ultra!



I have become a Ragnar junkie.   In 2013 I had never heard of Ragnar Relays.  In 2014 I ran in 3 of them -- Cape Cod, Reach the Beach (which became a Ragnar last year), and Adirondacks (my local Ragnar).  Leading up to my first relay I wasn't sure what to expect.  It seemed like a lot of work and a lot of money and honestly I wasn't sure why I was doing it.  But do you know what?  I had such a good time!  It seemed like a crazy thing to do but I loved it. 
What are Ragnar Relays?

If you are not familiar with Ragnar Relays and have not heard me talk about them constantly, let me tell you a little bit about them.  Ragnar Relay races are about 200 miles of running.  Usually you have a team of 12 and have 2 vans (My team this year was an Ultra -- little more on that later).  You tag team the relay over the course of 24-30 hours.  Each runner has 3 legs made up of different distances -- usually from 3 to 8 miles but it could be more, it could be less. You basically live in the van when you are not running and drive from Exchange to Exchange as your runner is on the road.  You run day and night and you don't stop until you are at Exchange 36!  You can decorate your van and tag other vans.  You can try to get "kills" by passing other runners when you are out there running your leg. There is not a lot of sleeping but you catch a few winks when you can.  Although there may not be much sleeping going on there is tons of laughing while you are driving through some beautiful parts of the country!  

My Obsession

In 2015 I am running in another 3 relays!  I ran Cape Cod again, I also ran in the New England trail relay and I will run in the Adirondacks again.  The Adirondack Ragnar starts in Saratoga, close to my home turf so its an easy one to commit to running.  I am even signed up for the Florida Keys Ragnar in 2016!!!  Yes, I am obsessed.  
They each offer something different but I decided that I needed a new challenge.  Runners always are looking for a new goal.  Whether it is a faster time or longer distance.  I have a few Half Marathons under my belt and I need something new.  So....I decided to run Cape Cod as an Ultra team.  I really didn't want to be team Captain but I really wanted to run it as an Ultra and knew if I didn't organize the team, it wouldn't happen.  
I had to find teammates.  Finding teammates for a regular Ragnar team where I live is not difficult.  My community is FULL of runners.  But I thought getting people to want to run one as an Ultra would be more challenging.  Well, it wasn't and I not only filled 1 team but I was able to fill 2 teams so we ran with partners!!

Running a relay team as an Ultra can be scary and overwhelming but if you have desire and can commit to training, it is possible and you will have FUN! When you are finished you will have an unbelievable sense of accomplishment!!  And the memories!  My sides hurt from laughing so hard.  And you better believe I would do it again!

A little about the Ultra

1.  3 legs vs. 6 legs

When you run a Ragnar with a team of 12, each runner has 3 legs.  When you run with 6 runners you have double the legs so you would have 6 legs.  However, you don't have to go out 6 times. You can do three legs but each runner stay out for 2 technical legs at a time.  For example, runner #1 would stay out for the first 2 legs, runner #2 runs legs 3 and 4, etc. There is a lot to consider in deciding.  Can everyone on your team do high mileage each time? If you stay out for 2 technical legs there could be some HIGH mileage.  We actually decided to only do 3 legs for 2 reasons.  The mileage turned out to be too uneven (some people in the 40s and others low 20s) with 6 legs and the thought of getting in and out of the van and changing 6 times sounded exhausting.  But seriously, the first leg for someone was 17.9 miles.  Yes, you saw that right!!  The last leg for someone was 15. 0 miles (that turned out to be me -- more on that later)!  So decide as a group based on what your team can handle. 

2. Everyone on your team plays a key role.

You all need to be committed and you need each other to get through it.  So support each other.  You will only be successful if your teammates are successful! This is not an individual race.

Getting ready to drive to the Cape

3. Get a driver!!  

It is possible to run a Ragnar without a driver but it is so much better if you have one, especially for an Ultra.  You will hear different things about this but we had a driver and a 12 passenger van for both teams.  We felt this gave us the room to stretch out and time to rest/recover. Our driver rocked!!  

4. Think about 2 teams

For your first Ultra, think about a partner team.  It might be difficult to find 12 crazies but I did.  Since I had 2 teams and I paired runners of similar pace, I was also able to divide the vans differently.  Instead of the team going in one van I paired partners together.  So runners 1, 2 and 3 from both teams were in van 1 and runners 4, 5 and 6 from both teams were in van 2.  This gave us an "off" van.  My van was actually able to take advantage of the tent city and get a few hours of sleep! That is hard to come by in general but nearly impossible in an ultra!  Running with a partner also gives you someone to "lean" on when you need encouragement!


What was it like?

It was awesome! I was runner #1 so my partner and I started the party!  That was pretty exciting.  We had a start time of 8:15 but it started about 10 minutes late.  It was really sunny out and warm for 8am.  My first leg was technical legs 1 and 2 and my garmin has it as 7.66 miles.  My partner and I took a nice and easy pace and I made sure to hydrate since it was so warm.

Went through the safety talk and now waiting for the start

And we're off!

My second leg started around 7:30pm and started along the water...I had technical legs 13 and 14 and my Garmin showed 10.45 miles. The weather was perfect -- not too cold but not warm either.  I thought it was pretty cool to run along a bike bath along side the water and then into a residential area once it got dark.  A great leg with a great partner. 



My last leg was a surprise.  I was supposed to run 26 and 27 but another runner on my team was having a bit of a hard time with the mileage.  I agreed to swap for his last run which totaled 15 miles.  I'm really glad I brought my sleeping bag and decided to sleep in tent city (the tents provided by Ragnar).  I got a good stretch of sleep (relatively speaking) and was ready when my turn was up.  

Now let me just say this was the leg, other than the 17.8 mile leg, that I said I would never run.  I mean 15 miles for your last time out.  Ugh.  BUT, I also viewed it as a challenge.  We started off a little too fast averaging 8:45-9 min/mile.  Normally that is perfect for me but not after all of the previous miles and lack of sleep and the fact that I had 15 miles on this leg.  We kept it up but around mile 11 I actually started to feel sick and needed to walk a minute for each of the last miles.  Hey, we still averaged 9:30 per mile and FINISHED!  It was one of the best experiences I've had. 

My team also finished 2nd in our Division of Submasters Mixed.  Woot!! 

My van mates were awesome.  The BEST.  I laughed and laughed and maybe even cried on the last leg but mostly laughed. We all supported each other.  One runner twisted her ankle just before her last leg (she tapped it and ran) and we just made sure to follow her and her partner and stop every 2 miles to see how she was doing.  

If you haven't done a Ragnar, you SHOULD!  And if you are a distance runner you should really consider doing it as an Ultra team after you've done a few.  You will feel badass for sure.  I will admit, I LOVED when I ran through the chute on my last leg people all oohed and aahed that we were an ultra team.  It felt good!  It's what I used to do when I saw ultra teams.  
teammates finishing their first leg

We are DONE! Getting ready to celebrate in Ptown!



Although you shouldn't care about kills when running an Ultra, we did get just a few -- 209!


So next week is my Adirondack Ragnar.  Not an ultra team but just plain fun!  Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fitness Accountability Group: Portion Control AND Workouts!

Are you ready for a change? 

Do you need help with portion sizes, healthy eating and 
workouts? 

Are you like me in that you have a tough time balancing life 
and fitness/nutrition?


Stay accountable and join me for my next Challenge Group, 
starting on August 17th.  It will be 3 weeks of motivation, tips 
and support. 

Reserve your spot today by emailing me, commenting below or ordering your Challenge Pack: 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme. 


The 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme are both programs designed to help you balance it all and help you with your goals and get results!  


The 21 Day Fix is for the beginner to intermediate fitness level.  The 21 Day Fix Extreme is for those who are ready to take their fitness level routine to the next level.

Monday, April 27, 2015

PiYo for Runners Challenge Group!!

My PiYo for Runners 
Challenge Group is starting soon!




Are you a runner?  Are you training for a race?  Increasing your mileage? Or are you just getting out there to run?  Then you are going to want to join my PiYo for Runners group!

What is PiYo? 

This program uses no weights and there is NO jumping.  It is a fusion of Pilates and yoga-inspired moves.  It is designed to strengthen and lengthen your muscles and provide you with a light cardio workout too!

What workouts are included in PiYo?

Define Upper Body - 20 minutes of upper body focus.

Sweat - 35 minutes A flowing cardio-yoga workout, including some bodyweight resistance strength training.

Core - 30 minutes Sculpt your abs, obliques and develop a strong core. A strong core is important to runners!

Strength Intervals - 25 minutes Develop strength without using weights.

Drench - 45 minutes The names says it all.  Maximize fat burning while working every muscle in your body.

Sculpt - 30 minutes  This workout uses varying tempos to keep your muscles under tension.  Sculpt your body but it won't leave you too sore for your run the next day!

Buns - 30 minutes Squat, lunge and flowing burpees!  Build those muscle that will help you build on your distance and speed!


How will my challenge group work? 


I'll have a private Facebook group where I will provide motivation and tips.  Chat with fellow runner and help each other!  Runners are some of the most supportive people I know!!  Lets support each other!!


You can incorporate PiYo either just on your cross training days or everyday!  I plan to incorporate it 3 to 4 times per week.



Why Cross Training While Running?

Mix things up-   Adding a different workout to your routines will keep things fresh.  PiYo has a different workout every day so you’ll really be mixing things up by adding this to running. Rotate different videos in each week or follow the PiYo schedule and double up with running on your light and easy run days. 

Increases Flexibility- Incorporating yoga and Pilates, PiYo builds core strength and loosens the hips, hamstrings and calves.  This is very important to running efficiently. 

Reduce the pounding- Let’s face it.  When you incorporate other workouts, you’re not pounding as much so you reduce the stress on your joints.  PiYo restores your body.  

Comment below for more details.  Or visit Kat's PiYo for Runners Challenge Group for more information on PiYo or to purchase PiYo.  

For other Beachbody programs, including P90X3 visit www.katjohnsonfitness.com 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Winter Running with P90X3 - 3rd and Final Month

I'm a little late in posting this since some family matters came up but this was my final month of  P90X3.  I was really excited to see what I was able to do this month.  As I have done in the past I continued to push myself extra hard this last month.  I added reps and I increased the weight I lifted.  Tony, I brought it!!

The final month brings back some of the workouts from the first month -- Total Synergistic and The Challenge.  We still see month 2 workouts like MMX and we even see Pilates X. The new workout this month is Decelerator!

Total Synergistics is a total body workout but with an emphasis on the core with every more you do.  It is a strength training routine that sometimes uses dumbbells.  The moves are challenging but that is what you want when you workout, right?!

The Challenge is so....challenging.  Really, you pick a number for pushups and a number for pull-ups and you try to hit that number each time you do a variation of a push up/pull up.  Seriously, it is all push ups and pull ups!  Its crazy but I love it.  I have to use the pull up assist to do any more than 3 pull ups but I know it helps be develop strength.  It is a great tool that gives you an adjustable amount of lift so you can work your way up to more unassisted pull ups!

My monthly mileage was lower than the month before.  I ended December with 90 miles which is pretty good for me in a month I wasn't training for anything.  This month I concentrated mostly on P90X3 and going out 3 times a week to run, weather permitting, and keeping my long runs to about 6-7 miles.  February starts my training for my Ultra Relay for the Cape Cod Ragnar and I want a fresh start.

So overall,  I think completing P90X3, meaning doing ALL of the workouts AND running, is very doable.  I don't think it is smart to do it while training and doing high mileage.  If you are training, just incorporate the workouts into your cross training schedule.  Another observation I have is that rest days are important. I am sure to do this schedule again next winter but I will do better about doubling up on the workouts on days I am not running so that I can be better about having rest days just be dynamix and not feeling like I need to make up a workout.


Virtual Half Marathon

Block 3

Week 1

Monday:Decelerator
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 1 mile on the treadmill, the Challenge (it's back!) and Agility
Thursday: 13.1 mile run baby!  That's how I start the new year!!
Friday: REST. Total Rest. I needed it!
Saturday: 6 mile run, Yoga and Triometrics.  It was a tough day.
Sunday: Total Synergistics and Dynamix

Week 2

This block mixes things up so you are not doing the same workouts each week and you get more variety.

Let me preface this week by saying the temperature was as low as -5 F and never was much higher than 8 F.  No run outside expect Monday.

Monday: 5 mile run
Tuesday: rest day - I felt like I was coming down with something so I opted for rest. Again, I needed it!
Wednesday: Decelerator and MMX
Thursday: Triometrics -- I love this workout!
Friday: Pilates - It's growing on me
Saturday: Eccentric Lower
Sunday: 3 miles on the treadmill and Dynamix

Week 3

It was another really, and I mean  REALLY cold week so not much running outside.  Plus I had to travel to Texas

Monday: 1 mile on the treadmill and Decelerator
Tuesday: 1 mile on the treadmill and Agility X
Wednesday: 1 mile on the treadmill and the Challenge -- I pushed extra hard because it was my birthday!
Thursday: 2.2 miles on the treadmill and Yoga X3 in the hotel room
Friday: 4.69 miles outside in Texas!!
Saturday: 1 mile on the treadmill and Triometrics
Sunday: 1.5 miles on the treadmill, Dynamix and ab work

So this week I missed Total Synergistics.  With traveling I just couldn't fit it in.  Yes, I could have done it on Sunday but I really felt like I needed a rest day.  The run on the mill was not fast and it was a good warm up and Dynamix is a stretch routine mostly.  I've given my all through this journey so its ok if I left 1 workout on the table.


Week 4 is not a transition week!  It is a full week of tough workouts before Victory Week!!

Monday: 7.11 miles outside.  It was icy but we found some dry roads. I also did Decelerator since I had the day off.
Tuesday: MMX
Wednesday: Upper Eccentric and ab work
Thursday: 5 mile run outside
Friday: 1 mile on the treadmill, Triometric and Yoga.  Pilates was scheduled this week but my back was crying for yoga.  I also did some ab work.
Saturday: 8 mile run in the snow and Lower Eccentric.  This was a hard day.  But I did not want to do Lower Eccentric on Sunday and not have a rest day.  Rest is very important for so many reasons.  Your muscles repair during rest and that means growth.  You'll likely get injured if you don't rest and you will burn out and get bored without rest.
Sunday: Dynamix



Victory week -- the final days!

Ok, I must say by now I am tired so I am thankful for victory week!  I did not run at all this week. 

Monday: Isometrix
Tuesday: Accelerator
Wednesday: Pilates X
Thursday: Yoga X
Friday: Dynamix
Saturday: Dynamix



So what were my results?

I was mainly going for strength and muscle, which I believe I achieved.  I am able to do more unassisted pull ups and I was able to increase the amount of weight I lifted.  However, I did lose 3 pounds and an inch off my waist.  I call that success. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Take Your Fitness to a Totally New Level!

I am looking for 5 people, ladies or gents, who want to take their fitness to the next level. 


The 21 Day Fix Extreme is here!!! And you can purchase it through me and I will be your coach! You can join my online accountability group or get private 1 on 1 coaching.  Your choice!

This program combines strength training with cardio and power moves to get you results.  Nutrition is key to your results.  100% clean eating.  No treats or cheats.  You get portion control containers, a nutrition plan and recipes to help you!  

My Challenge Group starts February 16th. You need to order soon so you have enough time to properly plan. 

Remember, summer bodies are made in the winter!  

Comment or email me katjohnsonfitness@gmail.com if you are interested in more details.  I CANNOT wait for this. 

I am ready to commit. Are you?

Check it out at: 21 Day Fix Extreme


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Paleo-like Spiced Pancakes

I do not follow a Paleo diet.  Instead, I use it as a guide since it helps me eat whole foods.  The Paleo diet is a way of eating that is supposed to resemble what humans ate during the Paleolithic Era.  There were no processed foods and really there wasn't agriculture so the foods available to eat were hunted and gathered.  I like that it goes back to the basics.  For many people with autoimmune disease, Paleo diets seems to help with symptoms.  I don't have an autoimmune disease so I continue to eat legumes and wheat but I do limit the amount.  


I call my pancakes Paleo like because I added chia seeds and I used a dollop of plain yogurt.  Why add chia seeds? They are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acid (ALA).  They have protein, fiber B vitamins, calcium and iron so they are a perfect nutrition boost to many meals. 

Ingredients: ( serves 2)
2 eggs
2 small bananas
1 Tbs chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Heat pan with 1 tsp coconut oil.  Blend egg and banana and spices until smooth.  Add chia seeds.  Add the batter to the hot pan just as you would making regular pancakes.  Heat for a few minutes ...they don't bubble the way regular pancakes do.  Flip and heat until golden.  

I think they are more crepe like than pancake like but either way they were good.  I had to share them with my boys!  I also served it with an egg so that I had a total of 2 eggs -- a complete protein for the 21 Day Fix.  The pancakes would be 1/2 red, 1 purple and 1/2 orange container.