My IIFYM Kickstart

If you’ve been following along you’ll know I have now committed to if it fits your macros. I’ve had some feedback on my twitter asking about how I started, so I thought I’d post the details about my first couple days with IIFYM. Note: this is my personal experience and may not necessarily be right for everyone; please keep in mind that I am a beginner at IIFYM and am learning more everyday.

I decided to try IIFYM because I have played around with my diet and nutritional habits and found the best success when I specifically focused on my protein intake and getting in enough (over 150g). As well, I have noticed that the people I follow that are doing IIFYM have been able to get results that stick – since it’s “flexible” dieting you don’t deprive yourself of treats forcing you to inevitably fail by indulging, whether it be a birthday cake that is your demise or Thanksgiving dinner, life will always throw treats your way and I’ve found deprivation doesn’t work for me; that damn pumpkin pie at holidays calls my name and ice cream in the summer time, I mean how can you not? Thus IIFYM seemed like a good fit as it would force me to up my protein game while still allowing me the flexibility my life demands.

The first step in switching to IIFYM was to find out what my macro targets should be. I used the calculator on IIFYM.com to help me out. I tried both the Mifflin-St Jeor formula and the lean mass formula to see what the numbers of each would be and decided to use the lean mass formula in the end. For my goal I selected “fat loss” and because I tend to do things balls to the wall I went for the “reckless” option. The final step was to select my nutrition plan and I went with IIFYM and the suggested protein and fat options.

Ta da, out spit my numbers! IIFYM Macros

The next step was to see if I could actually have a day of eating that would hit these target. Side note: I have been using myfitnesspal to track what I eat for a couple years, on and off, so I already had an established account with many recipes already imputed. I used myfitnesspal, picking various food combinations and seeing if they fit my macros. After about ten minutes I had two days set out. The first day was relatively healthy. I added in a lot more fat than I normally do by adding olive oil to my breakfast and used a Quest Bar and whey protein shake to hit my protein target. In the second day I wanted to see if it truly was a “flexible” way to eat and created my day around a piece of my mum’s homemade cheesecake. The formula held true and I was able to hit my targets and stay in my calorie range for the day. Check out the myfitnesspal days below (click to enlarge):
MFP1MFP2

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IIFYM

If you’ve been involved in the fitfam twitter community at all in the past couple of months you’ve probably come across the acronym IIFYM.  IIFYM or if it fits your macros is a dieting plan that focuses on macro nutrients.  I’ve been following a few accounts that have committed to IIFYM and their results are intriguing and impressive, so I’ve decided to dedicate January to trying out IIFYM.  I went on iifym.com to get my breakdown and the calculator spit out 1,658 calories per day with 166g carbs, 46g fat, and 145g protein.  My goal is to lose body fat and I did pick their “aggressive” option; I’m moving in a month and I’m determined to see some results! 

After getting my macros, I then spent about 10 minutes on myfitnesspal planning out my next two days to hit my targets.  Surprisingly, I found it easier than I originally thought.  Looking at my planned days it seems like I’m packing in a lot of food but I have to keep in mind that it is a strict plan and everything must be counted (aka no midnight cups of hot chocolate left out of tracking).  In both my planned days I have included a protein shake to help me hit my protein target.  I am really excited to see how this all works out and if you have been doing IIFYM give me a shout! I would love any advice or feedback you can offer!  

Finding Motivation In A Mobile World

Since I’ve made my New Year Resolution to blog everyday, I’ve tried to make posting as easy as possible for a lifestyle on the go. Luckily, I’ve found the wordpress app for my iPhone.

With the way technology and the internet has exploded, I wasn’t surprised that there was an app for blogging. I can now tweet, blog, and track all from my phone. It’s really quite crazy when you think about it. But, does this access distract us from what’s going on around us or enhance it?

I personally like to think it enhances my life. Since starting my twitter account @livefitandfree I’ve been able to meet some fantastic people, discover new recipes, hold myself accountable, and encourage others as well. Just yesterday it helped me get closer to my goals as I was encouraged to discard a bad food option (cake) and make protein pancakes instead (recipe at the bottom); they were healthy and still hit my sweet tooth. I was also able to share my recipe with another account.

I’ve also found that by using social networking health and fitness apps on my phone, like myfitnesspal, I’ve been able to share my accomplishments with the #fitfam and those that follow me, while also getting support when I hit speed bumps in my journey. I believe it’s been a big part in my relatively consistent health and fitness journey for the last two years.

Now with adding blogging to the mix I already know some people are thinking I’m spreading myself too thin. But I like to see it as enhancing my journey even more. Instead of tweeting just the surface, I now have a platform to go a little more in depth. I’m hoping it helps me look a little deeper myself but also get a little bit deeper feedback from my followers. As well, with some of the life changing events I’m about to embark on, I’m hoping to use this as a way to stay in touch and update some people from home.

In a technological world that’s mobile and instant with so much opportunity offered at fingertips, it’s a personal choice whether you want to capitalise on the possibilities it has to offer and I’m not going to let it pass me by. It’s also a personal choice whether you use technology to participate in positivity or negativity. It can be a slippery slope using the internet with so many different opinions and personalities able to freely post. To get the most out of it, I choose to ignore any negativity or bullying that comes my way and try to offer a positive outlook to all of my followers. Remember, you choose who you follow so there is no need to continue following an account that is bringing you down. Let’s all strive to support and motivate one another with kindness and positivity; I know that by participating in that sort of social networking I will only be making myself better!

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes:
1/2 c uncooked large flake oatmeal
1/3 c milk
2 egg whites or 1/4c liquid egg whites
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 scoop whey protein powder or 3/4 scoop casein protein powder

Blend oatmeal, milk, and egg whites. I use a magic bullet.
After stir in pumpkin spice and cinnamon.
Lastly, slowly mix in protein until a smooth, batter-like mixture is made.
Cook on the stove like typical pancakes.
I serve with 1 tbsp peanut butter and syrup.

Persistence Brings Progress

As the title suggests, today I experienced some improvement on my arm day exercises.  I was able to up my bench press!  This is particularly exciting news for me as it wasn’t too long ago (think beginning of this year) that I was unable to bench the bar (45 lbs).  Check out my routine below:

  • Warm Up: Erg 1000m 4:13 
  • Barbell Bench Press – 55 x 12, 60 x 12, 65 x 10
  • Cable Pressdown (Rope) – 20 x 8, 20 x 10, 20 x 8
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – 3 sets 10 x 10
  • Cable Curl – 30 x 12, 35 x 12, 35 x 8
  • Pull-Up – 3 sets of 8 with 100lb assist
  • Tricep Dips – 3 sets of 12 with 100lb assist
  • Cool Down: 5 minute ARC Trainer and Stretching

I’m thinking that next time I do pull-ups and tricep dips I will drop the assist a little bit.  I’ve currently now done them with 100lb assists three times.  This does intimidate me a little bit as I’m only able to pull out 8 pull-ups at a time but I think that it’s more of a mental block than a physical one.  

I can definitely feel my arms now afterwards, especially my triceps.  I recovered with a Vega Vanilla protein shake with rice milk (the store was sold out of both almond milk and coconut milk, grrr) and had turkey on rice cakes with avocado for lunch shortly after.  I am happy to announce that I’ve already drank two litres of water today and am well on my way to make it to my daily goal of 3 litres! 

My legs are feeling fully recovered from yesterday’s hill repeats and I feel more than well enough to perform my slated 4k tempo run tonight.  Tomorrow I plan on doing leg/back day for my lunchtime workout.

Just before I end off this post, I want to bring to your attention that I do track my food using my fitness pal (www.myfitnesspal.com) and you’re more than welcome to add me; my username is: livefitlivefree.  Also, I tweet a whole bunch.  Check out what I’m saying @lvefitandfree

That’s all for now anyways, live fit

The Ups & Downs of Running

Down, up, down, up, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Today was hill repeats and I performed them over my lunch break.  I upped the hills repeats to 4 this week (as opposed to 3 the previous week).  I started with a 500m flat warm up jog and then got to it.  Performing the repeats on a steep hill that lasts over 1 km in length, I used the bottom, steeper half of the hill adding on 100m flat surface at the bottom for my workout.  I ran down the hill and then back up halfway to run down again and then up halfway again, etc.  My repeats ended up being 500m on the hill and 100m flat for a total of 600m each way.  I travelled 5.5 km in total averaging a 5:54 pace.  The whole workout took just over 30 minutes.

It was a good workout but I was very lucky that today’s temperatures were unseasonably cold as if there was humidity I would have been in trouble.  By the last repeat I was in need of water so as I add on hill repeats and my workouts get longer I’ll have to arrange to bring water with me.  When I got back to the office I recovered using Vega Vanilla Performance Protein with a cup of oat milk. I use a SmartShake bottle to mix it and it works wonderfully (can be ordered from bodybuilding.com).  

Now it’s time for me to actually eat my lunch and I’ll be having turkey with avocado on rice cakes.  I’m finding that going gluten and dairy free have helped my digestion 100% and everyday I’m finding new meals to put together.  The only problem is I now do not know if it is the dairy or gluten or both that have been giving me digestion issues and I’m too chicken to bring one back into my diet to find out; for now I’ll keep going being both gluten and dairy free.

I am still off of coffee, but have now started drinking green tea like a fiend.  I’m slowly trying to replace the green tea with decaf herbal tea but it’s taking some time.  As for my energy, I am feeling good.  I would say that most days I do not feel the need for a nap but there is still a day or two a week where when 3 o’clock hits I find myself at my desk daydreaming about taking a siesta.  Let’s hope today isn’t one of those days.

Tomorrow the plan is to hit up arms and back at lunch with my coworkers and then after work go for a 4k tempo run. Hope y’all are excelling at your fitness goals! More later.

Leg Day Lovin’

Today was leg day and it just might be becoming my favourite day!  I was able to get new personal bests in my stiff leg deadlift, leg extension, and leg curl.  My routine included:

  • Smith Machine Squat – 95 x 12, 105 x 12, 115 x 12, 125 x 12
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift – 75 x 12, 85 x 12, 95 x 8
  • Leg Extension (machine) – 90 x 10 (twice), 70 x 12
  • Leg Curl (machine) – 80 x 10 (twice), 90 x 10
  • Barbell Standing Calf Raise – 45 x 20 (3 times)

This time I made sure to include a brief warmup and cool down to hopefully minimize DOMS later on.  I started with a 1000m erg that took 4:15 and ended with 5 minutes on the ARC trainer and a 5 minute stretch.  

Oh, and another one of my coworkers got a gym membership today to join in on the lunchtime workouts.  I guess the endorphins are contagious 🙂 Once again I recovered with a vanilla vega protein shake.  

My plan is to run hills tomorrow on my lunch break and then depending on how I’m feeling maybe hit up the gym after work for a little arm and ab session.  We shall see.  I will post more later! 

The Good, the Bad, and the Detox

I did do the 3 day detox over the weekend (find out more by reading my earlier blog post “Enough is Enough”) and boy was it a challenge.  I’ll do a brief recap so that anyone thinking about embarking on the cleanse will be prepared for what would be to come.

The Good

  • Caffeine free since Friday with no headaches since Saturday
  • No longer bloated 
  • No more strong cravings for white breads, baked goods, or sugars
  • Officially dairy & gluten free
  • Learned a couple new recipes

The Bad

  • Horrible migraine Friday and a small headache Saturday (probably from caffeine withdrawal)
  • Low energy; had a nap every day
  • Started getting really sick of vegetables by day 3
  • During day 3 felt weak and couldn’t go for a hard run

The Detox

What can I say, it did it’s job.  I am officially off caffeine/coffee, which I never thought I would ever be saying, and I am gaining energy with each day.  The cravings I have now are manageable.  It’s been 4 days without empty sugars, junk food, processed food, gluten, and dairy and I no longer want them if I see them.  My stomach is no longer bloated (it was in a bloated state for probably 3 week prior).  I’m hoping to see further results the longer I stay off gluten, dairy, and caffeine so I will be continuously monitoring as time goes on. I did lose 4.4 lbs during the detox, although that was not the point of the detox it was nice to see.

Withdrawal

I’m blogging to try and distract myself from the heaviness I’m feeling in my head, especially behind my eyes.  Today is my first day of my detox and my first day in probably ten years that I didn’t wake up and immediately perk myself a cup (or two or three) of coffee.

My morning had a much different start today.

First things first, as per detox instructions, upon waking I had a large glass of filtered water with ginger and lemon added.  I then went for a walk with my mum that included a stop at Tim Horton’s.  Don’t worry, I didn’t order a coffee but I did enjoy a green tea (no milk or sugar added).

When I got home I made a green smoothie for breakfast.  I’ve claimed to make green smoothies for breakfast before but this one was the real deal; it tasted like grass and included celery, cucumber, parsley, kale, lemon, and an apple.

Thankfully, I am only working a half day today.  I did not have to pack my detox lunch but for a midmorning snack I brought celery, carrots, and cucumber to munch on… which were already gone by the time 10 o’clock hit.  Lunch calls for a “seaweed” salad so we will see what exactly that brings.  I successfully did all the grocery shopping for the entire cleanse last night so I do have all the supplies I need, I just have to figure out how to use them.

As for now I only have one more hour left of work.  Hopefully my coffee withdrawal doesn’t turn into a migraine.  I hear it gets easier with time and that by the third day I should feel like a new woman, one can only hope.  I have a feeling a nap is in my imminent future.

Enough is ENOUGH!

Every year I struggle in March.  The weather is still cold, the days are still short, and to top it off I’m right at the start of term paper season with exams looming.  It’s not a good situation and every year it’s where I fall off the wagon.   This past March I went from being 144 to 155 by the time exams hit in April.  It was the sort of situation where I would find myself sitting down to write a paper with a new tub of ice cream and find myself polishing off said tub of ice cream as I typed my conclusion.  It’s a situation that becomes a large problem when you find yourself facing 6 papers in two weeks.  Not my proudest moments (but I did get honours for every paper I wrote if that counts for anything).

Now it’s May and I’m still carrying my 10 extra “ice cream” pounds and struggling in over half my workouts and disliking how I look in the mirror.  It’s time to ask myself honestly what’s going on!

After my latest weekend spent being disappointed with my reflection in the mirror, feeling useless in my fitness journey, and turning to ice cream for comfort (it’s a vicious cycle isn’t it?), I’ve finally had enough.  It’s time for me to realize that unless I fuel properly, workout efficiently, and give it time to work, I won’t break the cycle I’m stuck in.

First things first, it’s time for me to kick my sugar cravings out the door.  I’ve done some research, and usually I never turn to cleanses as they do not produce long term results, but simply for the purpose of eliminating my sweet cravings I am going to give one a try.  This (http://www.hungryforchange.tv/article/3-day-detox-plan) detox is considered a “mild” detox.  Although, anything that has me skipping my morning coffee I consider extreme.

I’m excited to finally have solidified my motivation and determination back again, I could feel it slowly creeping back with INSANITY and my new running schedule, but this puts the final piece in the puzzle.  Working out + good nutrition = results

Hopefully by the end of this weekend I will be able to blog about the amazing results this detox brought.  A positive is that my mum is on board with the cleanse too and I’m doing it over a weekend so hopefully my focus can be bang on.

But I must know before going into the cleanse that this is not the start and Sunday the end.  Once my cleanse ends I have to be willing to step up to the plate and ensure good nutrition all the time. No more of this staying on track until dinner time and then letting it all go.  It’s time for me to realize that this is a lifestyle and not some outfit I put on for the day; what you eat in private you wear in public!

I will keep you all updated on how this goes, as well as with my INSANITY and running, and I hope that in a month y’all can read my posts and be proud with me of my progress! Time will be the test! 

Stay tuned.

 

Power and Resistance

Tonight I did day 2 of INSANITY and it called for Cardio Power & Resistance.  My bf said that he would do it with me but backed out and asked me to do it before he came over; apparently his manual labour job used up all his energy… excuses, excuses.  One of these days I’ll get him to be insane with me!

It was a good workout! Lots of legs, oh man! The warm-up caught me by surprise as the moves differed from day 1’s video.  This was something I was not expecting but I’m overall happy that the workout does get mixed up a little; keeps me on my toes and entertained.  I really enjoyed how the first time through each circuit, Shaun T took the time to explain proper form. This allowed me to get a handle on the moves and feel confident in my form.  It would have been nice to have someone there in person to critique my form but Shaun T’s reminders throughout the video sufficed.  I seem to forget about my core a lot so the constant “engage your core” cues come in very helpful and always at the right time.  

One thing I found that surprised me was the moving push-ups.  For some reason I was able to do this move continuously throughout the allotted time slots.  This surprised me as if I was asked to do regular push-ups I would struggle to pump out 10 consecutively.  

The place that I struggled with in this video was when the three tricep moves were performed back to back: tricep dips, tricep dips with a leg raised, and tricep ball push-ups.  I rocked it through the first couple but when that last tricep move came, the tricep ball push-ups, my arms were burning!  Let’s just say I may have taken child’s pose near the end.

After my workout, boy was I hungry! I had not two, not three, but four hundred grams of chicken breast!  I’m sticking to a clean eating plan thus far and I’m hoping to see results after the first week.  If you would like, you could follow my nutrition on myfitnesspal!  My username is livefitlivefree.  Don’t be afraid to toss me a friend request and critique any poor food choices.  Sometimes it’s handy sharing my food journal with the world as it keeps me accountable, even if it’s just to one or two strangers.

I was able to take before pictures but misplaced my measuring tape.  I will therefore post my stats tomorrow after I got get a new measuring tape.

That’s all for now but if there are any insanity users out there, let me know your thoughts on the workouts.  I would love to see where other people excel and struggle in their own journey!  Toss me a comment or an email (through the “contact me” tab at the top) and let’s connect!