Shakeology Challenge Group

When I learned that a new flavor of Shakeology was being released on Monday, January 13th, 2014 – I had one phrase on repeat in my mind.  “Please let it be peanut butter flavor.”  “Please let it be peanut butter flavor!”

I have been using Shakeology daily for just over 2 years.  I’m a chocolate girl – though I have tried all of the other flavors.  I managed to use the 30-day bags of the other flavors, but didn’t enjoy them nearly as much as the original chocolate flavor.  In order of deliciousness I rank them as follows:

1. Original Chocolateshakeo

2. Original Vanilla

3. Vegan Chocolate

4. Vegan Tropical Strawberry

5. Greenberry

I was nearly holding my breath as I waited for the page to load on Beachbody’s website that would announce the new flavor.  I was flashing back to the lengthy survey I participated in Summer 2013 that asked which flavors of Shakeology would I be interested in seeing Beachbody make.  There were several that sounded great, but clearly I was pulling for Peanut Butter all along…because that’s the only option that really stuck in my memory;)  The new flavor is Strawberry!  I know – not nearly as exciting as Peanut Butter, but I’ll continue wishing and waiting;)

In the past when I wanted to try a new flavor I would change one of my monthly auto ship bags of chocolate to the new flavor (a single time change, not reoccurring).  I was a little hesitant to want to do that for this new Strawberry flavor that is being released tomorrow since I wasn’t a huge fan of Tropical Strawberry.  Fortunately, I don’t have to this time because I was able to sample it this weekend!  It is pretty good – I think I would make it my new #4.  The texture and flavor was much different than Tropical Vegan – so if you like making fruit shakes, this would be a great option for you.

I began drinking Shakeology in January 2012 during my first round of P90X2.  I really got great results with that program, and I think it is due in large part to the fact that I began really nourishing my body.  Instead of just breaking it down with killer workouts, I finally started putting the effort into making sure I was giving it back the macro and micro nutrients my joints, muscles, and bones needed to continue functioning at the level I was asking.  There are more than 70 different ingredients chosen for Shakeology from around the world – based on their potency and ability to deliver the nutrients your body needs.  I think the biggest difference I noticed was in my digestion and regularity.  I know – we don’t talk about that sort of thing – but after about a week I felt totally different.  My body responds well to the combination of prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes in shakeology, in a way that nothing else was able to do for me.  A major win in my book!  This isn’t uncommon, from the success stories I’ve seen.

Shakeology is marketed as a meal replacement shake – which is fitting – because it is fulfilling and loaded with the benefits of rare superfoods that we don’t typically get elsewhere in our diets.  But, it’s much more than that to me because it represents an investment in my HEALTH that I hadn’t been making before.  Sure, I had been working on the fitness side of my overall health for a little over a year when I started Shakeology…but I hadn’t paid much attention to nutrition – which is where about 80% of our success lies!  Shakeology holds me accountable to keeping my nutrition clean – because what is the point of drinking an awesome-nutrition packed-expensive shake every day if I’m going to make bad food decisions for the rest of the day?  That wouldn’t make sense!  So my investment in Shakeology makes me want to make good decisions all around.  It is more “valuable” than “expensive” when you think about it from that point of view.

If you search the internet for more information on Shakeology – you will see two camps of people.  The first camp is made up of the people who think it is too expensive, and probably not worth the money (~$4 / serving).  The second camp is made up of success stories.

For many people, taking on a fitness program simply doesn’t fit right now – and for those people – and for those who are already on their fitness journey – I encourage you to join teamChiseledBranches Shakeology Challenge.  This is a 60-day challenge group that I will be opening on January 20th, 2014 to teamChiseledBranches members (Join the team here) who purchase any flavor of Shakeology and are ready to commit themselves to drinking 1 shake a day for 60 days.

This Facebook Challenge Group isn’t just for me to post my favorite recipes for the different flavors, or sharing healthy eating tips, it is for team members to ask questions, get answers, and connect with others going through the same journey.  Shakeology is great by itself, but variety is the spice of life, and you’ll find that there are so many small additions you can make to your daily shake to make it seem like a new experience each time.

Let me know if you are up for the challenge in the comments below, and I will add you to the Facebook group.  Read more about Shakeology, and order it here to get ready for our DAY 1 on January 20th!

All the best,

Coach Kimberly

FYI:  Also, keep in mind that Beachbody offers a bottom of the bag guarantee.  I mention this because I have a girlfriend who is breastfeeding right now, and found Shakeology to give her new born gas!  Things like this come up, and if it doesn’t work for your body (or your little one, in this case;) – Beachbody honors the guarantee with a full refund if you return the bag within 30-days.

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Announcement: 2014 teamChiseledBranches Challenge Groups

This is it!  TeamChiseledBranches is launching it’s first few 2014 Challenge Groups!  If you are reading this, then chances are good that you have already made the decision to maximize your time and effort spent on fitness by taking on a Beachbody program.  We’ve all viewed numerous transformations online, or in some cases witnessed them in person – but now it’s time to make your own.  Let me give you some more information on these challenge groups and outline the steps you need to take to join one so that you can turn your decision into a commitment!

1. Define your WHY!

When starting a challenge group, the first thing I have a new team member do is send me their WHY.  This why is your ultimate motivation.  Chances are that your WHY may run deeper than you think.  Sure, you want to lose some weight, tone up, clean up your nutrition – but I want to know if you are doing all of those things in order to be able to hoist up your three year old again, to feel stunning on your wedding day, or to combat a health related issue.  If you pin down this WHY – and share it with me – it will be a constant reminder of the big picture that is being built from all of the small changes you are making.

2.  Join the Team!

If you have already done this, skip to step 3.  If not, fill in this online form to make me your Team Beachbody Coach.  This is completely free.  Signing up entitles you to be a part of teamChiseledBranches so that we can help you on every step of your fitness journey.

3. Find the right workout program!

I’ve been posting articles on this site for a little over a year – and have went into detail about several of the Beachbody workout programs I love, so you may already have an idea of which one you should try.  There is something for everyone!  You can start with 10 minute trainer, Slim in 6, RevAbs, Power 90, Chalene Extreme, Turbo Fire – or go a little crazy with Insanity, The Asylum, P90X, or P90X2.  Tight on time? Focus T25 or P90X3 might be the perfect fit, with 25 and 30 minute workouts, respectively.

Some people might already feel like it is all they can handle to take on a exercise program – believe me, I was there!  However, for those of you who want to tackle all aspects of your fitness journey right out of the box – there is a way to SAVE MONEY by ordering a “Challenge Pack.”  Challenge Packs bundles your workout program, your supplements, and a VIP team Beachbody club membership, and free shipping for a reduced rate.  For example, through January 31, 2014, the P90X3 Challenge pack is on sale for $180.  This includes:

  • 16 extreme 30-minute workouts (value: $119.85)
  • Your first 30-day supply of Shakeology – the superfood shake designed to give you energy, reduce your cravings, and accelerate your fitness results (value: 129.95)
  • A free 30-day trial membership in the Team Beachbody Club, where you can go to find additional fitness and nutrition support you’ll need to complete your challenge (value: $12)
  • Free standard shipping (value: $29.95)
  • Plus, when you order through your coach, you’ll get a free bonus workout from Tony Horton 1-on-1 series. (value: $19.95)

Log-in to your teamBeachbody account and choose the Shop tab at the top.  Then in the left hand menu you can choose “Challenge Packs” to see all those that are available.

4.  Nutrition Tracking

Take the guess work out of nutrition by setting up an account with MyFitnessPal.  Track what you eat.  This will give us a starting point, and a way to see how much your macros need to be adjusted to compliment your goals.  Link up with me on MFP by searching for my screen name: KimberlyB32 – this will allow you to see my nutrition journal and is a great way to hold yourself accountable.  The level of results you get is in direct proportion to the effort you put into your nutrition.  Learn as much as you can about nutrition, and listen to your body…unless of course it is telling you to eat donuts (don’t listen in that case;).

5. Take your before photos!

Document everything – measurements, body fat, and take photos from the front, back, and side.  This will be a great way to show yourself how much your are changing, and to share your results with others later.

6.  Plan to Connect!

It is very important to be a part of a team, because we will hold you accountable and keep you motivated!  The links below will go live on the dates listed, so get your program ordered and contact me for any more details you need!

You can join the teamChiseledBranches X3 Challenge here on January 15th – Challenge starts on Monday the 20th.  To be eligible for the challenge you must:

a. Be a member of teamChiseledBranches

b. Have purchased your P90X3 workout program

c. Plug in to the Facebook group.

You can join the teamChiseledBranches 21-day fix Challenge here on February 10th – Challenge starts on Monday the 17th.  To be eligible for the challenge you must:

a. Be a member of teamChiseledBranches

b. Have purchased your 21-day Fix program (Available February 3rd!)

c. Plug in to the Facebook group

There are more challenge groups to come!  If you have a request, let me know in the comments below and we can work to set something up!

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Integrity

Like any workout you do with Shaun T and the agility ladder, you are expected to hit the deck for push-ups if you hit the ladder.  Some days – for meladder – that means I’m getting a bit of chest workout from all of the push-ups!  For most of 2013 I had taped a agility ladder silhouette to my workout room floor with painters tape, and it worked great.  However, when I started gearing up for my first round of P90X3 a few weeks ago, I removed it in order to just have two tape lines down for my Agility X workout.  What I found in going back to using the rope and plastic ladder that came with my Asylum program is that I might have been hitting the ladder more than I realized!  What?!  Quite the confession…I know.  Here I thought I was getting very agile and precise!  I can hear and see when I hit the ladder now, because the rope will move or I will hear the click of the plastic against the floor.  I can’t ignore it.  I have to drop down and do the push-ups!  Even though no one is watching, and no one would know if I did them or not.  I do them because I aim to be better than the me of yesterday, and part of that is having the integrity to own up to my imperfect foot placement.  It is good motivation to get it right next time!

During the Insanity Asylum Vol 2 X Trainer workout that I did recently, Shaun T turns and is getting ready to move into the next exercise and notices one of the female cast members doing push-ups.  He goes back to her – “Did you hit your ladder and do your push-ups?”  –  “Good, that’s integrity – but don’t let it happen again :).”  When you are working out in your home, there aren’t any witnesses to see how much work is getting done.  You are the only one who sees the sweat spraying around the room (or soaking the carpet)!  The trainers are only as good as you let them be.  So remember to check your integrity at the door, because Shaun T isn’t there to make sure you do your push-ups when you hit the ladder, and Tony isn’t there to make sure you do your push-ups if you tap your toe during a balance move – you have to make a decision and hold yourself to it.  Expect MORE from yourself, and you’ll GET MORE in return.

Push it to the max!  Can you go deeper in that push-up?  Can you finish that last pull-up?  Can you get a few more scissor lunges in?  Can you do one last squat press?  One more burpee? One more frog hop?  One more globe jump?  Yes.  Run with it!

 

 

 

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Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Muffins

Okay, so I’ve been experimenting with quinoa, as I mentioned last week.  So far so good!  I’ve been adapting some recipes from The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook  by Melissa Costello that I purchased a few months ago.  I’ve been slowly dipping into vegan recipes, and this cookbook is made up of entirely plant based recipe ideas.  The pictures are vibrant, and have really been inspiring me to bring them into my own kitchen.  I modify some things, since I haven’t converted to vegan-ism, but the changes I make are small enough that I still end up with deliciously clean meals.  We exercise hard, and we need good wholesome food to recover.  I present to you, Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Muffins!

muffinsI made my own applesauce from Honeycrisps from our local orchard this fall, and think that made these muffins really moist and wonderful.  Plus, I know for a fact that no sugar was added:).  Let me know what you think of these, and if you make up your own substitutions.  If you make them as written, the nutrition profile will look roughly like this:

muffinprofile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep bringing it (in your workouts and in the kitchen)!

Best,

Coach Kimberly

If you enjoyed this post, I ask the following favors of you:

1) I do my best to inspire others through my writing, please help me out by sharing them!  Click the Facebook “Like” links, and other share buttons so I can get more exposure and grow teamChiseledBranches.

2) If you are looking for someone to hold you accountable on your fitness journey – I encourage you to become a member of the Beachbody community by signing-up to have me become your free Independent Team Beachbody Coach.  You can visit my Team Beachbody website at: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/kimberlyb32  –  Thank you!

 

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A Reason to Work

We know common approaches to getting healthy.  Clean up your diet, get moving.  It’s basic.  I’ve read many articles about the obesity problem in America, but this one is great.  It was written by Tony Horton on AskMen.com.  It almost seems silly to talk about it again…but I just can’t help myself, because something has to give.  If me re-posting this article on my blog touches just one more person and it makes an impact on how they are living their life, it will be worth it.  Read on!

Human beings are social creatures. We like to hang out with each other. We play and watch team sports, go to restaurants, church, concerts, and the movies. We find comfort in sharing those experiences with each other.  

Because of this, we tend to adhere to new trends fairly quickly, simply because it makes it easier to remain within the group. There’s no shame in that. It’s simply a matter of adapting to our environment. We learn from our friends and family what is normal, and we build it into our lifestyles. We eat what everyone else eats, and we tend to become interested in what those around us do.

Sometimes, these trends aren’t that important — like wearing skinnier jeans or switching from 8-tracks to MP3s. Sometimes, they’re great — like the growing awareness of the benefits of organic foods or yoga. But sometimes, they’re bad news — like our burgeoning waistlines.

Our society, as a whole, is becoming fatter, and we’re viewing that as normal. Today, two-thirds of America is overweight, with Canada and Europe not far behind. One-third of adults are obese. And we just seem to be accepting this. We have larger seats at movie theaters, longer seat belts or extensions in cars and planes, home bathroom scales that go to 400 pounds. “Vanity sizing” is now a common practice in the clothing industry. What was a size large 30 years ago is now a medium. Think you’re losing weight because those new size 2 Gap khakis seem loose? Surprise! They’re actually size 6.

And, worst of all, many of our medical professionals continue to sugarcoat the truth by not advising their obese patients to lose weight. Why? Because they find it socially awkward.

I, on the other hand, have no problem calling it like it is. We’re a fat country, and we need to fix that. Our lifestyles have changed dramatically. Everything is urgent and there is no time to stop. Food is an afterthought, and when it is time to eat, it needs to be “now.” So we eat drive-through fast food, microwave meals, foil-wrapped bars packed with so many chemicals that they’d survive the apocalypse. High-sugar, high-salt, high-fat, high-calorie satisfaction with low nutrition. Not a winning combination. We’re on a treadmill and going backward. Increased incidence of diabetes, cancer, heart ailments, stroke, and metabolic syndrome are all symptoms of this new normal.

And what’s more frightening in this behavior is that it has been passed down from parents to kids. This is a learned behavior from childhood, a habit that is ingrained in our subconscious and almost impossible to break.

Luckily, there’s another aspect of the human condition that can come into play here. As a race, we happen to excel in finding ways out of “almost impossible” situations. Wars, plagues, financial crises, disco — we’ve surmounted all these things. And now we need to turn our focus to obesity.

To do this, let’s break it down to a simple lesson we learned in high school: cause and effect. The effect is obesity. The cause is too much lousy food and not enough physical activity. It’s pretty simple when you boil it down to these elementary terms. We cause our body to be overweight and unhealthy. We can change that when we learn that we are in charge of what we eat. We are no longer part of this ongoing problem but now part of the solution.  

A 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that obesity spreads like a virus. If you are surrounded by fat people, they’ll influence you to become fat.

I want you to become the antivirus. Start to lead the way and improve your lifestyle one meal or one activity at a time. Get your friends and family together and cook a healthy meal. Start a fit club in your neighborhood and share your ideas with your kids. Become the leader of your group and go for a hike. Feel good about not eating what everyone else eats and teach others your newfound healthy habits.  

You don’t need to do this alone. It’s not just you and me who want to fight this good fight. Take advantage of the fact that we are social animals and gather like-minded people to influence your town, city or state. Find your local healthy hotspots, P90X fit clubs, organic restaurants, farmers markets, classes sponsored by your municipality. If you can’t find any of those, take your search online, looking for fellow travelers on social networking sites.

It’ll take a little work, but you can do it. We can do it. I don’t know about you, but if obesity is the new normal, I have no interest in the status quo. So, come on, let’s end the trend of obesity!

I loved reading this article for a number of reasons.  The main one being that it is blunt, yet motivational.  It states a problem, and presents several ways that could work to solve it.  It involves making a commitment and running with it, and then hopefully rubbing off on those around you.  Good stuff.  Tony strikes again!

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Tips to Fight off Sickness

An article published in the December Beachbody Newsletter snagged my attention this morning because both Frank and I have been sick recently. This is very rare for us, I am lucky enough to only get sick maybe once a year and Frank even less frequently.  We were joking the other night about the fact that sickwe have probably used more tissues in our house in the last week than we used in the past 3 years combined.  Zack Zeigler wrote 5 Tips for Not Getting Sick this Winter.  I liked his points, so I am going to share them here.  It is a good idea to be as proactive as we can this time of year so we can keep up with all of the things we want to.  Zeigler’s points are as follows:

  1. Eat More Fiber
  2. Manage Your Stress
  3. Consume Lean Protein
  4. Sleep Better
  5. Monitor Your Exercise Intensity

Point #1, no problem.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the recommended daily intake of fiber should be around 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed.  This is a very reasonable expectation, because those 14 grams only represent 56 of those 1000 calories.  SO, to stave off sickness, and promote general health, boost your intake.  If you typically eat around 2500 calories a day, work about 35 grams of fiber into your diet.  Many studies have shown soluble fiber – such as that found in many fruits, veggies, and legumes – boosts immune system function.  This is because soluble fiber stimulates production of the protein interleukin-4, which in turn increases production of T lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell that plays a central role in cell-mediated immunity.  Plus, you’ll likely experience the bonus of gastrointestinal regularity 😉 There is a lot to be said for that throughout the year!

Point #2, this one is more challenging.  Do you even know what symptoms manifest when you are stressed?  It is different for everyone.  Some of us hold tension in our jaws, and may go unrecognized until we grind our teeth at night.  Personal and professional stressors are unavoidable, so the best approach is to learn how to best manage YOUR stress.  This is a personal thing.  Some people can breathe it out with yoga, others may need to punch it out with cardio kickboxing, or you may find yourself best managing stress with a combination of the two – or some other creative outlet.  Whatever the means, you just have to train yourself to LET GO.  This may take half a life time to figure out…so be patient with yourself: ).

Point #3, okay.  The recommendation here is to “Stick to proteins like organic and/or grass-fed meats, tofu, and legumes.  These tend to be filled with more antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, all of which boost immunity.”  What this means is that we are hoping to protect ourselves against reactive oxygen species generated during the inflammatory response to a pathogen by making sure our system has a sufficient amount of antioxidants.  Their main role is to maintain the cell’s redox integrity.  Omega-3 fatty acids are promoted for the same reason, they have potential anti-infammatory activity in a variety of human diseases.  There are many theories behind this, I found one that suggests that omega-3’s may actually enhance the function of B-cells, which are a white blood cell with the principal function of making antibodies.

Point #4.  Sleep.  Sleep!  We likely have this one covered with exercise.  Exercise and sleep go hand in hand, your performance during a workout is supported by quality and quantity of sleep.  Your sleep is supported by your exercise program.  Many ways to improve sleep involve changing behaviors, read about it, there is a lot of information out there.  Whether you are sick, or just recovering from a killer workout, nothing speeds up your recovery process as well as sleep.  According to the Sleep Foundation certain hormones dip and spike during our sleep cycles which promote a variety of things.  For example, levels of the hormone cortisol dip at bed time and increase throughout the night to promote alertness in morning.  Sleep can also balance our appetites by helping to regulate levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness. So when we’re sleep deprived, we may feel the need to eat more, which can lead to weight gain.  Researchers also have found that deep sleep helps improve athletic performance, because this is when growth hormone is released, which is what stimulates muscle growth and repair, bone building, and fat burning.

Point #5 goes back to listening to your body!  Don’t overtrain if you are feeling ill.  If you think a good yoga workout would do you some good, go for it, but the only reason I suggest this is because light yoga is considered restorative – and isn’t so strenuous that your body will redirect its energy.   To your body, trying to exercise when you’re sick is equivalent to overtraining.  You won’t recover as quickly from the exercise, and will likely increase the risk of making your illness worse, or having even more downtime.  If you get sick during a training cycle, consider it your rest week and continue pressing play once you recover.

If you enjoyed this post, I ask the following favors of you:

1) I do my best to inspire others through my writing, please help me out by sharing them!  Click the Facebook “Like” links, and other share buttons so I can get more exposure and grow teamChiseledBranches.

2) If you are looking for someone to hold you accountable on your fitness journey – I encourage you to become a member of the Beachbody community by signing-up to have me become your free Independent Team Beachbody Coach.  You can visit my Team Beachbody website at: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/kimberlyb32  –  Thank you!

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Nutritional Genomics

dnaWhen reading about different kinds of whole foods and supplements, there are a number of buzz words that get thrown around without much support.  The one that grabs my attention the quickest is “great cancer fighting properties.”  My first thought when reading this catchy phrase is “oh, that’s a good thing,” but the second is “okay, well how does that work?”  In general, most common human chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and many cancers are influenced by nutrient exposure.  Nutrient deficiencies can impair the function of transcriptional and metabolic networks, whereas nutrient excesses can over stimulate associated signaling pathways that maintain our internal balance.  This highlights the fact that the interaction between nutrients and genes cannot be understated.  Many micronutrients and vitamins are critical for DNA synthesis and repair because nutrients and metabolites function as signaling molecules that enable programming or reprogramming of genome events.  In turn, genetic variation among humans gives rise to the way individuals uniquely respond to, process, absorb and utilize nutrients, meaning that genes also encode for differences in food tolerances and nutrient requirements from person to person.  For example, have you ever had someone tell you that they have been found to be vitamin B deficient?  This may not be due to the fact that they don’t have enough vitamin B in their diet, they could have plenty, however their body may not be utilizing it properly.  If you were to search the internet for vitamin B, among the first hits would be a list of the chemically distinct B vitamins, the structure of which determines what role it plays in molecular function.  We see vitamin B, and many other vitamins and minerals, playing a central role in our metabolic, nervous system, and synthetic biological pathways.  The correct levels of vitamin B for one person can be quite different than the correct requirements for another – even siblings.  Our genes are always evolving and adapting to what they are exposed to.  This evolution is impacted by our natural environment, social environment, state of health, living conditions, nutrition and education.  Take a moment to digest that.

This is the very root of the central theme here at teamChiseledBranches.  The decisions you make, the changes you make to your nutrition and the environment you immerse yourself in have the greatest potential to deeply impact your being.  Your ‘being’ is, at its root, your genome (and your spirit;).  Your genome responds to carcinogens you breathe, garbage food you eat, stresses you internalize, nutrients you are missing, artificial flavorings your body doesn’t know how to process, heart pumping workouts, and more.  Interesting, right?  This is an exciting concept for people who make the commitment to incorporate whole foods and wholesome fitness into their lives, but the same concept can be very scary for those who don’t.  It’s not entirely possible to pinpoint how great of an impact the changes you make to move toward living a healthier life will have on your disease fighting ability, but it sure seems like a good risk to take if it can give you any amount of an EDGE!  So, to bring this back around to where we started, the reason why we see catchy blanket statements like “fights free radicals,” and “super cancer defense,” is due to the fact that it is hard to be more specific about how nutrients work in every individual.  Nutritional genomics is complex, and the best way the marketing industry can communicate that things are good for you is to use a buzz word in hopes that it will make you think about prevention.  I’ll make an effort to explain why the recipes I post are good for you, but don’t be surprised if, on occasion, I revert to a catch phrase about cancer prevention: ).

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