Health and Fitness, nutrition, Personal Journey, weight loss, workouts

Shaun T’s Hybrid Program: My Journey

Has anyone else been off of their ‘A’ game in their health and fitness since school has let out? My routine has been all out of whack and if I’m being honest I have taken a much too long hiatus on my workouts, on my ‘healthy’ eating and even focusing on inspiring and helping others. It wasn’t on purpose but just kind of happened. We have had several personal matters that have developed in a short amount of time that I’m not at liberty to talk about and I have allowed those circumstances to completely distract me. I bet you can totally relate to that as well. Whether it’s a sickness, a family member being sick, maybe you or your spouse losing their job, maybe a death in the family or maybe your summer schedule has just been super hectic with vacations, weddings and graduations that you feel like your days are just too jammed pack for working out right now. I’m here to tell you that I TOTALLY GET IT!

This past Friday I decided that I couldn’t continue living that way. You see, for me working out and eating healthy helps me feel in control over my life even when things are crazy. Plus right now more than ever I need my workouts to be my therapy session. It’s during these thirty to forty minute workouts that I can focus on me…in that moment…and allow the stress and anxiety to melt away. So rather than waiting until a Monday, I decided that any day that ends in a ‘Y’ is a great day to start. Therefore I decided to fully commit to myself for the next 30 days with day one being this past Friday.

Part of my commitment was to treat myself as if I was one of my clients. I began with planning. First, I took my day one photos along with my weight and measurements. I haven’t weighed myself in ages since I go off of how I feel and how my clothes fit so hopping on the scale again was terrifying. I didn’t care for the number that I saw however I didn’t allow myself to dwell on it since I have been able to go down a size and my body fat percentage has been dropping. The scale is NOT the deciding factor of my success!

Second, I had to choose a workout plan. I decided to follow a combination of workouts by one of my favorite health and fitness motivators and trainers…none other than Shaun T! I’m sure you have heard of him but in case you haven’t he is the creator of many Team Beachbody at home workouts like Insanity, Insanity Asylum, Insanity Max 30, Cize and Focus T25. He recently launched a seven day workout series on Beachbody OnDemand which also includes an extended calendar using workouts from all of his programs. Because I needed to increase my intensity AND needing mental clarity I decided to go with Shaun because the motivation and the words he uses to push you during your workout are simply amazing! So much so that I have not completed one workout since Friday without crying at some point. Partly because I have been pushing HARD, partly because Shaun speaks to my soul and partly because I have had so much stress built up inside that I seriously had to let it out.

Here is week one’s schedule:

  • Day 1 – Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance
  • Day 2 – Insanity Max 30: Cardio Challenge
  • Day 3 – Shaun Week: Insane Weights
  • Day 4 – Insanity the Asylum: Speed & Agility
  • Day 5 – Focus T25: Alpha Speed 1.0
  • Day 6 – Insanity Recovery
  • Day 7 – Insanity Max 30: Sweat Intervals

The last component was setting up a plan to get my eating under control. Lately my meals consisted of too much pizza and beer so I took it back to basics. I started my planning process by choosing an 8 hour eating window. I do normally follow an intermittent fasting lifestyle however again since summer break and having the boys home I got out of my routine. In a nutshell, intermittent fasting, at least the method that I follow, has a 16 hour non-eating window and an 8 hour eating window. I chose 12PM to 8PM as my eating window. I also know that tracking what I’m eating is extremely important therefore I decided to use MyFitnessPal to track my calories and my Apple Watch to track my activity level. One thing that I also keep in mind is the portion fix system which encourages you to create meals with a variety of foods such as lean protein, tons of veggies, healthy fats, complex carbs and fruits. I’m keeping this system in mind when drafting my meal plan for the week and using MyFitnessPal to ensure that I’m in a deficit daily (burning more than I’m taking in).

I will be sharing my weekly recap every Monday here with you however if you would like to be part of the discussion and learn helpful tips so that YOU can start living your healthiest life then feel free to join my free Healthy Lifestyle Community Facebook group. This is where you will receive an exclusive look as to what I’m doing and how it’s working. This is also where I do monthly 5 day free challenges that allows you to get a jumpstart on your own health and fitness goals.

Hope to see you in the Community!

Xoxo,
Jennifer

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Health and Fitness, meal plan, Uncategorized, weight loss

Building Consistency in 2017

Happy Saturday Healthy Lifestyle Community! Can you believe that it’s the last day in 2016?! I seriously cannot believe how fast this year has gone and the thing is…it goes by faster and faster every year I get older. I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to 2017 and ready to tackle new goals!

As I look over 2016 regarding my health and fitness goals the one main area that I need to improve is consistency! Not so much with my workouts because I do workout daily however when it comes to nutrition…well, that needs improvement! To help me improve this area of my journey I have decided to create my meal plan along with grocery list and recipes each week…and….SHARE IT WITH YOU! Not only will this allow me to focus more on my nutrition but it will also help you learn how to create your own meal plans. Many of the people who I work with in my online health and fitness accountability groups just don’t know where to begin when it comes to eating. They get overwhelmed by figuring out how much to eat, when to eat and what to eat. This is why I know without a doubt that this will help you and myself crush our goals in 2017!

Now, before I share my meal plan for this week I need you to keep one thing in mind. I normally do follow a dairy free and gluten-free lifestyle however going into 2017, I have decided to test the waters in living a paleo lifestyle. So what does that mean? It means that you will see a ton of lean protein, veggies, several servings of fruit but NO grains, dairy, legumes or processed foods. I decided to implement this style of eating for several reasons. First, I haven’t been sleeping well and from my research, living a paleo lifestyle improves your quality of sleep and resets your internal clock. Second, I have had an increase of aches and pains in the past several months which may be a form of inflammation. Consuming paleo friendly foods decrease the amount of inflammation in your body which decreased aches and pains. Lastly, with not being on my anti-depression medication any longer I really need to tap into whole foods with limited processing to maximize my body’s natural mood enhancers.

Along with following a paleo lifestyle, I will be continuing a 16:8 intermittent fasting eating schedule. This means that I fast for 16 hours and have an eating window of 8 hours. One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is you burn off your stored fat rather than burning sugar since you are fasting for 12+ hours. Intermittent fasting is NOT a diet change…it’s a behavior (schedule) change. During my eating window I will not be counting calories. Instead, I will follow a portion control system based off of the 21 Day Fix meal plan created by Team Beachbody. I do have a certain calorie bracket that I stay within based on my activity level and my goals. Within that bracket I am allowed so many calories from veggies, fruits, lean protein, carbs, healthy fats, seeds/dressings, and oils. You will see these container allotments on my meal plan at the top then below each meal you will notice a break down of containers within that meal.

So…in a nutshell….
How much will I be eating? Each day I will be between 2100 – 2300 calories. Out of these calories my goals are to each 6 veggies, 4 fruits, 6 lean protein, 4 carbohydrates, 1 healthy fat, 1 seeds/dressings and 6 teaspoons which is oils.

What will I be eating? My ‘fuel’ will come from lean protein such as chicken breast, lean steaks, ground turkey and Shakeology. I will also be consuming any veggies and non-starchy fruits. As far as carbohydrates are concern, I will be consuming thinks like sweet potatoes, plantains and unsweetened almond milk. I will NOT be eating grains since grains are NOT paleo friendly. This includes oats, quinoa and rice. Healthy fats will come from avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and nut butters.

When to eat? Since I will be following the 16:8 intermittent fasting lifestyle I will be having an eating window from 1 PM to 9 PM. During my fasting window my only consumption will be a TON of water and my pre-workout prior to working out. You are allowed to have up to 50 calories during your fast window and my pre-workout falls below that which is great!

Now that I shared the back story of this new journey let’s get to the meal plan! Below you will see my meal plan for the coming week. You will notice that Saturday and Sunday are ‘pending’. The reason for this is I like to eat based on what I’m hungry for. With today being Saturday I have no way of knowing what I’m going to want next weekend or what I may have left over from this weeks meals. So…come Thursday or even Friday, I will start planning my weekend meals. Also, by doing this, it ensures that my produce, fruits and meats are going to be fresh since I’ll have to hit the grocery store again later in the week. I hate spending money on food and tossing it out because it went bad! This strategy works for our household.  Feel free to print the below meal plan and shopping list and use it next week along with me!  If you require fewer calories due to your activity level just make the necessary adjustments 🙂

Meal Plan

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Shopping List

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I would love to know if by me sharing my weekly meal plan with you is going to help you create the healthy lifestyle you are wanting so please leave me a comment below! Also, if you would like to receive the Healthy Lifestyle Community weekly newsletters with recipes and tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle sign up HERE

Super excited to start 2017 off on the right foot and be equipped with the tools that are going to get me closer to my goals!  If you would like to start 2017 by making yourself a priority but not sure where to start, need extra accountability or want to change your routine to maximize your efforts then simply email me at JenniferHepkaFitness@gmail.com and let’s see how I can help!

Now, off to get my workout done.  Enjoy your Saturday!

Much Love,

Jennifer

Fitness, Motivation

How to Stay Motivated with Your Weight Loss Goals

Good Morning Everyone! Happy Friday 🙂

I get asked a lot about how I have stayed focused on my weight loss goals and it comes down to 5 things. Take a watch at the following video to find out how by incorporating these 5 things, you will be able to reach your goals too!

Fitness, weight loss

CIZE IT UP Launch Group

CIZE
It’s finally here!

The fun way to get your cardio in, CIZE! If you’re someone who enjoys dancing but doesn’t like to do it in public OR love to dance no matter where you are, THIS program is for you! I have tried a few of the work outs already and not only am I sweating throughout it but I’ve got a big smile on my face the whole time because it’s so fun! You really are using every single muscle in your body and you can do it at ANY level of fitness–whether you’re pregnant and wanting to keep things low key, still needing to lose a significant amount of weight or don’t need to lose weight but want to TONE UP…this program will work for you and your goals!

::::: CIZE IS NOW OFFICIALLY READY FOR PURCHASE!! It’s finally here!!! ::::::
I am opening 20 spots in my CIZE IT UP group and you can be one of them!!
Here are the details!!
1. We are going to follow the Cize program every single day and get to dancing!
2. We are going to follow a dialed in meal plan to ensure fat loss and endurance.
3. We are going to replace 1 meal a day with a super dense dose of daily nutrition to help you improve your health!
4. We are going to work within a group of other women on a similar mission! We are going to support, motivate and inspire!
5. There will be weekly prizes along with a larger prize at the end of the 30 day group!

So here is how you join!!! Go to http://www.beachbodycoach.com/JenniferHepka click on ‘SHOP’, ‘CHALLENGE PACKS’ and CIZE and get the CIZE challenge pack that comes with everything you’d need for the group with the fitness & nutrition plans that we start on August 3rd, be able to live stream it 24 hours after you order it AND get a 30 day supply of Shakeology so get the best results you can in 30 days.

Email me at Jennifer.S.Hepka@gmail.com or Facebook Message me with any and all questions you have! Let me know once you place your order so that I can add you to the August 3rd group.

All orders need to be placed prior to 7/22/15 to ensure you have your program in time for the group.

Excited to to be able to help you through this program! I’ll be doing it right along with you starting on August 3rd!

XoXo,

Health and Fitness, weight loss

Weight Loss Tips

Not knowing where to start in your fitness journey can be difficult. Trust me, I have been there! What program do you do? What meal plan do you follow? How many calories are you suppose to eat? The list goes on and on. Here are several tips that have helped me in my weight loss. Keep in mind that this tips are great for maintaining your weight as well 🙂

Tuesday

Increasing your activity level: Where are you currently with this? Is physical activity on your radar or if it happens is it accidental? If you do workout then ask yourself this…how often do I work out, how many steps do I get in on average, am I incorporating strength training? Once you know these answers you can decide how you want to increase your physical activity level.

When increasing your activity level, be sure you don’t plan for what you HOPE to do…plan for what you KNOW you can do! If you currently have no planned workout schedule then decide how many days you can work out. I would recommend starting with 3 days a week, at least 90-150 minutes per week with no strength training. If you are using a Fitbit, I would shoot for 6,000-10,000 steps per day. If you are someone who is already working out 3 times a week, increase to 5 days a week, 150-250 minutes per week and at least 2 times a week incorporate strength training as well. If using a Fitbit, shoot for 10,000-14,000 steps per day. If you are someone who is currently working out 5 times a week then bump it up to 6 times a week, 360 minutes or more a week and at least 3 times a week do strength training. If using a Fitbit, aim for 18,000 or more steps per day.

Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime: Most people are late night snackers. You are sitting on the couch, watching your favorite TV show and snacking away mindlessly on cheese and crackers, pretzels, popcorn, etc. By stopping this habit, you will be able to decrease additional calories and only the calories that your body needs during the day. Your body doesn’t need these extra calories right before you go to bed! By reducing your calorie consumption at nighttime, this will allow your body to transition into low gear in preparation for sleep. During the sleeping hours, digestion shuts down therefore all of that food that you are eating prior to bedtime is just sitting in your body with nowhere to go. If you find that you are a late night snacker and do not sleep well, this could be your issue. If you just can’t go without having something late at night while watching your favorite show then try having a cup of hot green tea or I absolutely LOVE the Sleepy Time tea that can be found in your local grocery store. This will help with keeping your mind off of food, keep your hands and mouth busy while not impacting your night’s rest or your goals.  🙂

Eat 3 meals and 1 snack: Making sure that you are fueling your body properly is so very important. Research has shown that 80 percent of your success will be due to what you are eating. We naturally become hungry every couple of hours so it makes sense to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a snack. Missing one of these meals can increase your hunger and result in a major binge which will only hold you back from achieving your goals.

We have all heard how important breakfast is yet so many of us still do not eat it. Eating breakfast gives your metabolism a little jolt and begins to burn calories. By eating breakfast within the first hour of waking, this jolt will allow your body to burn more calories throughout the day instead of waiting until your normal time to eat. Now, I know what you are thinking…that you can’t simply eat within the first hour of waking up. Sure you can! It doesn’t take much time at all to make a piece of whole wheat toast, have some yogurt or a piece of fruit. For me personally, I’m not a morning eater but I do know how important it is to eat something. I turn to Shakeology since it’s super easy to make, I can have it on the go and I have peace of mind knowing that I’m giving my body essential nutrients and minerals to properly function.

I want to take a moment and talk about snacking. Many people don’t know what to snack on or they consume too many calories as a snack. The purpose of a snack is to hold you over until your next meal. For me, I need something mid-afternoon since my family has a later dinner which is usually around 6/6:30. Snacks should be limited to about 150 calories at the most. Here are several examples that can help you: an ounce of whole wheat pretzels with mustard, cup of bell peppers with a 1/3 cup of humus, a small apple and a cheese stick, Shakeology mixed with almond milk, cashew milk or water. Anything more than these examples are turning into a fourth meal and we don’t want that 🙂

Drink WATER: Our bodies are made up of mostly water, our organs need water to work properly, you sweat out water during your exercise or on a hot day….our bodies THRIVE for water! During this new health journey of yours, water will also help with your decreased calorie intake. Many times we think that we are hungry when truly we are thirsty. I like to drink 24 ounces of water at least 30 minutes prior to a meal. It helps me with feeling full and you won’t go for seconds which will help you get closer to your fitness goals. During your increased workout levels, your muscles will need the additional water intake to perform properly. If our muscles don’t get hydrated then they become fatigued and we can’t perform at our best. We want to make sure that our time working out is getting us closer to our goals therefore you need water! I recommend drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces. For examples, a 200 pound woman should be drinking AT LEAST 100 ounces in water in a day. She may need to drink more depending on how intense her workouts are. I personally shoot for a gallon..I just feel lighter and can push harder in my workouts when I drink this much.

I know from working with my clients that many people do not like water. Try adding sliced lemon, lime, orange or even strawberries to your water. You can also add mint leaves and cucumber for a nice cool water taste. Play around and experiment with different fruits but DO NOT add those powdered packets into your water! These will increase hunger levels and can have negative impacts on your insulin levels.

Limit Alcohol: I always suggest to limit or even eliminate alcohol consumption at the beginning of a new fitness regimen because alcohol adds additional calories to your diet. During this time you should be learning how to properly fuel your body and give it exactly what it needs to perform efficiently and alcohol does not fit into that equation. Alcohol is also absorbed quickly into your bloodstream, as a depressant and slows everything down…including your metabolism. By consuming alcohol you are slowing down your process to reach your goals and frustration can set in if you do not see improvement. I would HIGHLY suggest eliminating alcohol for at least 30 days and see how you feel. You never know, you may enjoy the alcohol free you 🙂

Beginning any new fitness routine for the first time can be scary but I hope that the tips that I have shared with you give you encouragement that you CAN do this! Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. Enjoy this journey and listen to your body. Will you have bad days? Of course…we all do. Learn from it so that you are prepared next time. Lastly, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better. Dialing into your fitness and nutrition 80 percent of the time will allow you to reach your goals. That doesn’t mean that the other 20 percent gives you excuses to dive into that sundae or entire bag of chips. It allows you to go out with dinner with friends while making smart choices, it allows that special occasion meal so that you aren’t left out and feel like you are being deprived.

As always, if you need accountability, daily support and motivation, I’m an email away. I would love to work with you one on one so if you need the additional help, message me 🙂

XoXo,
Jennifer
Jennifer.S.Hepka@gmail.com

Health and Fitness, Organization, Success, Uncategorized, weight loss group

Top Tips for Meal Prepping…

Here’s my thoughts on meal prepping….it’s a MUST you guys! If you want to succeed at all times with putting the proper nutrition into your body then this is the first step! Here is EXACTLY what I do each week.  

1) Clean out your fridge! There is nothing worse than opening your fridge and having a mixture of old and new foods…so get rid of the old. Make sure you wipe the shelves clean with a damp cloth as well. This will make your fridge look so much more inviting when you open it.

2) Make a list. Make a plan as to what you are going to be making for the next 4-5 days. Choose 1-3 meals for breakfast, snack ideas and 2-4 ideas for lunch and dinner. By coming up with this many food choices you can only purchase what you will need and on day 6 & 7 you can use up whatever leftovers you have. Not only will this save you time cooking but it will also SAVE YOU MONEY!

3) Get shopping. Take your list to the store and STICK TO IT! Don’t purchase things that are not on your list. When shopping, make sure you stick to the parameter of the store to guarantee you are getting whole foods filled with nutrients and vitamins.

4) Wash. When you come home, wash, cut and store your clean veggies and fruit in proper serving baggies. This will help for those times when you are packing snacks/meals or in a hurry. You can grab and go in a flash. You can also do this for pantry items. If you buy a bag of pretzels or some other snacks then portion them out. You can purchase a nice looking bin at Wal-Mart or Target and use it for all snacks. Portion out the snacks into snack bags, toss in the snack box and when you are packing, it’s already done! This will also help the kiddos learn portion control 🙂

5) Cook ahead. Look at your menu for the week and see what you can make ahead….especially for breakfast and lunches. I normally make 3-4 chicken breast every Sunday and use throughout the week for salads, wraps or as the main dish. I also find having a bowl of hard boil eggs in the fridge is helpful. Again, every Sunday I make a dozen of hard boil eggs and normally have one along with turkey crumbles (also made ahead of time) for my mid morning snack.

6) Plate it up. Line your countertops with containers and make your meals for the week. When you are packing lunches or it’s time for dinner, this will save so much time!

7) Organize your fridge. Place all veggies, fruits and protein at eye level. DO NOT put your veggies and fruits in the crisper! Instead if you have unhealthy options such as pudding snacks, beer, soda etc put these items in the crisper. Out of sight, out of mind….right?! 

Follow these tips and I promise, you won’t have to dine out, won’t have to stop at a vending machine because you will always be prepared!! You will achieve your goals with planning and prepping…I promise!