Fitness Mini-Update

It’s been one month since I finished Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide! Sadly, I can’t tell you that I’ve been doing much since then ๐Ÿ˜• My body seems to have turned on me (again). It does that a lot, doesn’t it?

That is not saying I haven’t been able to work out some…it’s just been limited to mostly treadmill and exercises they gave me in Physical Therapy.

Setbacks can be difficult to deal with. I know I’ve had some ups and downs over the last month. Times where I felt like I was never going to get back into my fitness routine. Heck, there were times it felt like I was never going to feel well again at all!

Of course, that was (mostly) in my head! I am feeling better now, though I have come to the realization that the PT exercises for my back have to become a part of my daily life.

I am hoping to start BBG1 round 2 next week and can’t wait to get going again…hopefully with less injuries this time! ๐Ÿ˜€

How have your workouts been going? Have you been struggling this winter with your routine or had any setbacks? How have you dealt with them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide Round 1 Complete!…Well, Kinda Complete

Ever since I started Kayla’s guide the first time I have been looking forward to this moment. Through all the setbacks, the injuries, everything…I’ve been looking forward to being able to say I had completed it once and showing off these fantastic progress pics. Only…that didn’t really take real life into account.

This first round through has been full of difficulties. 3 injuries, 2 sets of stitches, 2 months of physical therapy (which I’m still needing to continue at home sometimes, this week included), sickness, the holidays, etc. All of those things were things I didn’t plan on when I started the guides. But that’s life. And that is a lesson that I think I needed to really learn when I started this journey. It’s a journey.ย It’s a lifestyle.

Life isn’t always smooth sailing. While I knew that, I don’t think I fully appreciated how that would play into my workout program, especially this workout program.

Weeks 9-12 fell during and directly after the holidays. Now, I’m not making excuses. I could have pushed myself harder some of the time and been more on top of things. But between work being crazy due to the season, the “winter blues” hitting me a bit and just a general feeling of exhaustion, I did not do as well during the last four weeks of the guide. I skipped some workouts, did LISS directly after my resistance workouts other times and just in general didn’t do as well as I had hoped to.

For a while towards the end and right after, I was beating myself up pretty good over my lack of performance. But I’ve come to the realization that just because I had an off few weeks doesn’t mean I failed or anything like it.

I am still in the best shape of my life! I can (usually) do 10+ push-ups in a row before I need to go to my knees! I can do box jumps and tuck jumps and all sorts of other jumps that I couldn’t really do before!

So while I may have not done every resistance workout and these progress pics aren’t as impressive as I had originally hoped they would be, I’m counting this first round as done and as a success!ย I have made so much progress over these last 4 months and I can’t wait to see what the next round of BBG brings! (Hopefully less injuries than the first round!)

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We did take measurements, but our methods weren’t practiced enough for me to be sure of the accuracy, though I think we are getting better at it! I am pretty positive that a few things changed though, especially one that can’t just be user error!

  • Waist: 37 in –> 31.5 in!

Things to Improve On During This Next Round

  • Go back to working out when I wake up instead of after work. I kinda fell out of that habit over the last month.
  • Keep LISS separate from resistance
  • Keep tracking diet for this whole round

I am currently having some issues with my back again, so I’m down to exercises from my physical therapy, LISS and yoga until it stops hurting so much. I can’t wait to start round 2 of BBG though!

How are your fitness goals coming? Did you have any difficulties over the holidays or due to the “winter blues” like I did? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

Sunday Meal Prep: January 24, 2016

Hey everyone! I am super excited to bring you this week’s meal prep! This week I am highlighting recipes from Eat Yourself Skinny. Kelly creates wonderful dishes that are not only healthy and filling, but full of flavor too! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you definitely should!

You’ve seen recipes from her a few times, particularly the Skinny Chicken Enchiladas that have been making an appearance the past few weeks. That one has quickly become one of Draz’s favorites, so don’t expect to see it going away anytime soon. Each week it’s “What would you like on the menu for next week?” and his response has been “Enchiladas!?” each time!

Now, on to this week’s meal prep!

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Along with our Mason Jar Salads, Sweet Potato Banana Bites, my grapes and cheese and the Skinny Chicken Enchiladas, I made three new recipes this week!

Sausage and Veggie Stir-fry: Her recipe calls for spicy chicken sausage, which I sadly couldn’t find. I did use the Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage of the same brand and it turned out wonderful! Hopefully I can find somewhere that sells the spicy version, because I would love to try it ๐Ÿ™‚

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili: Kelly is not exaggerating when she says it is the best turkey chili you will ever taste! If there is another, better recipe out there, I haven’t tried it. Quick to prep, easy, tasty, and healthy?! I think this will be our new stand-by for chili from now on!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken: I like the versatility of this shredded chicken. So far I’ve used it in a couple wraps with some cheese and it was really good! I want to try it with some taco fillings…I think it will be even better!

That’s it for this week! Expect to see many more recipes from Kelly’s blog in the future. Her recipes are just too tasty!

What are you making this week? Any new recipes? I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Fitness Update: 2 Months of Kayla Itsines’ BBG Complete!

Two months done! I’m not going to lie, this last month was rough, mostly schedule-wise. The holidays and my day job kinda threw everything off track. That being said, I’m really proud of myself for all that I did this last month! I did miss a few LISS workouts, and one resistance workout (kinda two, but that shoveling definitely should count as a full body workout!) but even with that being the case, my strength has shown improvements and I’ve been feeling much better overall!

The two workout sets (weeks 5 & 7 and weeks 6 & 8) are set side-by-side to show progress. The workout circuits are the same in each week, so I love seeing that I made it through a little farther in weeks 7 & 8! It wasn’t a huge amount of progress, but it is there!

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These progress pics were taken a little late and after not working out for a couple days, early in Week 9. I’m loving that I’m actually seeing progress now! (Although I’m pretty sure some of it is finding clothing that actually seems to work for progress pictures)

Hopefully I will see more visible progress in the next set of progress pics, but either way I know that I’m making improvements, so I’m just going to keep at it and trust the process!

Also, the reason that the side progress pic is a Week 1-Week 8 comparison instead of Week 4 like the others is that the Week 4 side pic was really weird and not accurate at all!

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I am redoing Week 9 next week, due to fighting a nasty cold all week this week. Even with that delay, I am loving this program and feeling better than ever!

How is your fitness journey going? Are you finishing the end of the year like you had hoped you would? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s meal prep, which is going to seem a bit different than normal.

Ok, so through my day job I get a lovely %25 discount once a year. This year a lot of that went towards groceries! When this discount was used also meant that we did most of our grocery shopping a few days early. So a couple things didn’t get cooked for on meal prep day, namely more of that Slow Cooker Korean Beef from last week. So that was already cooked, hence why there is only one main dish shown on here today. That stuff is delicious and so easy to make, plus Draz loves it! Plus the chicken for our salads got cooked one day in advance. I made double of that as well, the rest being frozen after I made the salads.

One of the things that we decided would be worth making extra of is our breakfast burritos! So a lot of my meal prep time went to making these, but we won’t be running out for quite a while…There are almost 70 total!

Our main dish for the week, other than the Slow Cooker Korean Beef, is this Spicy Beef Vegetable Stew from this cookbook. This was a new recipe for me and turned out delicious! (By the way, this cookbook has some of my favorite recipes in it and is really cheap on Amazon. If you are looking for a new cookbook, you should definitely consider this one! Also, not an affiliate. I just really like this cookbook.)

That’s it for this week! What are you making this week? Do you ever cook something in bulk to make things easier later, like I did this week with our burritos? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

 

 

Fitness Update: One Month of Kayla Itsines’ BBG Complete!

I am super excited to tell you all that I have completed one month of Kayla Itsines’ BBG! Those of you that have been with me for a while may remember that I have been trying to use this program for a few months, but multiple injuries caused some setbacks. I actually did have a small setback during week 4…my lower back started acting up and I ended up taking the rest of the week off from my workouts to heal up. I did repeat week 4 the following week!

But no more! I am all healed up and have FINALLY made it through the first of three months! So here is the breakdown of how my weeks went:

Week 1

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Week 1 (2)

Week 1 (3)

I missed this last Monday because I was still a little worried about my back acting up. That was the only workout I missed though!

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The many faces of Death By Kayla! I think the main thing present in all of them is the semi-euphoric state after my workout! Love that post-workout feeling!

As an extra motivator to keep on my workouts and healthy eating, I also participated in the ZP Challenge through my work! Each cycle of the challenge is one month long and I am really happy with how my first month went! (I finished my first month at the end of Week 3 of BBG) Workoutsย – DONE: 6 days a week! Healthy eating – DONE: 6 days a week, with one treat meal per week…I love pizza! I will be keeping up with this challenge on a monthly cycle. It’s been a great motivator, even more so than I thought that it would be!

Ok, now for the part I’ve been dreading…progress pictures. First off, I have realized two things: 1) I suck at taking progress pictures and my starting pictures are terrible 2) I really need some better clothes for progress pics. These exercise pants are not at all good for this.

Disclaimer: As hard as I tried not to, I’m pretty sure that I am sucking in a bit in the start pictures. It’s more a habit that I don’t even think about, and I think I was doing it in that picture. Along with that, the pants in the first picture are set higher than in the second, holding more of my stomach in.

In a happier part of the disclaimer, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! That is the same wall, but with paint on it now. Pretty light purple paint, painted for the first time while I’ve lived in this house! More will be coming on this bedroom transformation in a couple months or so, while I finish up the details ๐Ÿ™‚

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Overall…I’m not thrilled with these. And while I don’t think they are perfectly representative, due to my lack-of-good-pictures issue, I don’t think I made much visible progress in this first month. And I’m having a hard time not getting down or discouraged by this.

I just need to focus on the fact that I know I have made strength progress! When I started BBG, I couldn’t do more than a couple push-ups before I had to go to knees. Now I can do 10! That’s just one example of many that show that I have made some progress. I just need to keep at it and the visible progress will follow!

That’s it for this month! Hopefully next month I will be able to give you a much more positive (overall) update, with no injuries/setbacks!

P.S. I have a confession to make. I finished this post up a couple days ago and have been having a hard time actually publishing this. While I know that I have been making progress and I am thrilled to finish 1 month, I was really disappointed to see these progress photos. So much so that my motivation to work out took a bit of a nosedive. I took an early rest day to this week (Week 5) to try to get my head back on straight, and am now hopefully back on track. While blogs are not ever 100% reality, I don’t want to cover up difficulties like the one I have been dealing with. With all that being said, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!

How have your workouts been going? For those of you doing BBG or another workout program, did you see much progress in the first month?

 

October Recap, November Goals

October Goals Recap:

  1. Work out 6 days a week, even if I can’t restart BBG yet.ย -Complete! I am so happy I managed this one. This is still an ongoing goal, but this is a great start.ย Plus I didn’t even hurt myself!ย 
  2. Continue working on my photography, but with more focus. I would really like to build up my skills and create some stock-style photos for my blog. – I did pretty well with this one, but not great. I was hoping to work on this on a daily basis and didn’t quite manage that. I do think that I have been making progress with my photography skills!

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In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t take this picture. Boyfriend was nice enough to take some cooking “stock style” photos for me.

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The following photos were not taken by me, but are some of my favorites for this month. Boyfriend is wonderful and helped me get some photos that could be used for profile/general ones of me for the blog and other social media sites. I’m not a big fan of having my photograph taken, but I really like how these turned out!

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He played around with the camera settings for this one. I think it came out pretty neat and unexpected!

November Goals:

  1. Continue working out 6 days a week using Kayla Itsines’ guide.
  2. Incorporate the “active” into my active rest day. Do a stretching or yoga session to work on flexibility and decrease stiffness.
  3. Wake up on time to do my workout before work. This has been a pretty irregular thing for me so far, but I know that my day goes so much better when I do this!
  4. Finish at least 3 DIY projects

That’s it for this month’s recap and November’s goals! I’m excited to see what November brings!

How did your goals for October go? Any new goals for November?

Fitness Update: I’m Finally Back at it!

Those of you who have been following my journey for the past couple of months know that these last couple months have been rough for me, fitness-wise. Two injuries and a flare-up from a recurring back problem have made it very difficult to do much more than cardio on the treadmill.

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Me after BBG Day 1 workout. I was exhausted but feeling great!

But I’m back! Yesterday was Day 1 of Kayla Itsines’ BBG1 and I’m so glad to be back to doing the program! It was definitely rough with my lower activity since I stopped, but I didn’t seem to lose much progress during my down time. I’m a little worried about arm day since I don’t have full mobility or comfort back in my finger yet, but I’m pretty sure it should be fine.

I also decided to participate in a wellness challenge through my work called the ZP Challenge. I am participating in 2 out of the 4 possible categories; fitness and food. This basically is a month-long challenge in which you track how well you do by checking off if you made healthy food choices that day and had more than 30 minutes of exercise. I figured I’m already focusing more on my healthy and wellness, so why not participate?! It definitely has provided that extra level of motivation and I love checking off the box for the day saying I met my goals!

That’s all for this month’s fitness update! Now that I’m back at it I hope that I will have more to say this time next month, including progress photos from my first month doing BBG!

How are you doing on your fitness goals? Find any new tools or programs to help with motivation lately?

September Favs, October Goals

September

To say that this month did not go as planned is a bit of an understatement. That being said, I am not really upset about that either.

I started off the month in good spirits, sure that I would be telling you I had made it 4 weeks through Kayla Itsines’ BBG. This did not even come close to happening! First my back, neck and shoulder locked up. Then, just as I got cleared to restart the program and was all excited about starting the next day, I sliced my finger open. Another ER visit, more stitches, and not being able to put pressure on my finger for at least another week, possibly longer.

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I am really pleased that I am still managing to work out some, both on the treadmill and with some BBG workouts (modified when needed). I do hope that I can restart this coming month though!

I can’t say that the above pic is a “fav” but it does represent something that matters to me. I am pretty proud of myself for not giving up or having a mental setback of sorts with this most recent injury. This is the third injury in a row and it honestly feels like my body has turned against me sometimes. But I know I can keep at it, do what workouts I can and I will get back on track! I just have to remember that this is a journey and that will include times where things don’t go as I would like.

And now that I’m done whining about my setbacks ๐Ÿ˜‰ On to the September Favorites!

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I did pretty good about my second goal this month, which was to photograph something every day. I did take at least one photo most days!

October Goals

  1. Work out 6 days a week, even if I can’t restart BBG yet.
  2. Continue working on my photography, but with more focus. I would really like to build up my skills and create some stock-style photos for the blog.

How was your September? Did you reach the goals you set for yourself? Any goals for October?

Sunday Meal Prep

Hey everyone! So….you know how a couple weeks ago I said I didn’t see myself changing up my salads anytime soon? I was wrong ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know if it’s the limited activity level or what, but I definitely had the itch to try out some new stuff this week! Since I made multiple types of salads, I have put together some infographic-style pictures to break down how I put our salads together.

Enjoy!

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Snacks and Sweets! I am loving the addition of cubed cheese with my grapes, which is my first snack of each day. This one is a white cheddar with Habanero and is delicious!

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Along with our breakfast burritos, I decided to experiment with freezing Tuna Quinoa Cakes and cooked quinoa. Hopefully it turns out well!

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I decided that I have been having a little bit too much to eat for my breakfast, so decided to reduce the size of my breakfast burritos. I also switched from white to wheat tortillas.

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The full spread of meals…plus two photobombing pups!

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Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Balsamic Asparagus and Chili con Carne with Brown & Wild Rice.

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Greek Yogurt Parmesan Chicken with Saucy Green Beans, some leftover taco meat and tuna quinoa cake, and a couple hardboiled eggs!

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The Chili con Carne again, with brown & wild rice and steamed veggies. I wanted to add a little extra about this dish….This is the first recipe I have made from this new cookbook and I love it! I am so impressed and thrilled that these ladies put out their cookbook. I found them on Instagram through the BBG community and they are a constant inspiration to me! It looks great ladies! Check out their site for more information!

And now for the salads!

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For those of you that have been here for a while, this is the original jar salad that I started off with. It’s as delicious as I remember!

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Salad with Loaded Turkey Meatballs. I just discovered this site and I love it already!

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Taco Salad! I honestly wasn’t sure about this one when I put it together. I wasn’t sure if I would like the taco meat cold, but it turned out wonderful! Both this salad and the turkey meatball salad are inspired by this post.

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Both of these are Boyfriend’s salads. The Shredded Buffalo Chicken is another one that you have seen for weeks. It’s definitely still one of our favorites. He also had some with the Loaded Turkey Meatballs.

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And that’s it for this week! What are you cooking up this week? Anything new?

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!