Jingle Kettlebells-Week 2

Week 2 of a Plan to Break the Holiday Cycle and End 2020 Healthy and Fit

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

Catching up on the Jingle

If you are brand new to my blog or this Holiday posting series, welcome! This post series is the final leg in a series about breaking the Holiday Cycle of adding pounds and inches to our waist from October- January 1, and making a New Year’s resolution to essentially undo the damage. If we are not careful, this can be an annual occurrence. For more information on this topic and ideas to make your own plan, please see my previous post.

Week 2 of my plan has been very successful when it comes to meeting guidelines and milestones I have set for a happy and healthy Holiday Season!

Challenges This Week

Well, we had a snow storm Thursday, which slightly threw off my perfect plan of the 5 day report to work week and the nutrition and exercise routine which accompanies. Thursday turned into remote work, clean up snow, and daddy day care. This added a slight bit of stress, and also some temptation related to having some nice dark beers after snow clean up, which is not part of my usual Thursday nutrition routine. I met this challenge by counting snow clean up as exercise Thursday (subbing out my planned weight training), and getting right back on plan Friday morning with my planned cardio and intermittent fasting. Unexpected changes in routine will come up, and it is very important that we think on our feet and make good decisions that support our goals when life happens.

Tip of the Week

Plan to exercise the day before, the day of, and the day after your Holiday! Making an exercise plan, and sticking to it will help affirm your commitment to your Health and Wellbeing. Even if it is going out for a walk the morning after your Holiday, the accountability and continuation of your fitness routine will go a long way towards ending 2020 on a high note. The trick is, make a specific plan. In your plan, include what you will do for exercise, and when you will do it…if you leave it open ended “I will do some type of exercise the day after Christmas”, you are much less likely to follow through as compared to making a specific plan. I will share my specific plans for next week at the end of the post, I hope you will consider making a plan of your own!

Daily Journals

*A word about my daily journals and routine. The main reasons I include my daily journals in this series are as follows:

  1. To show an example of what a daily journal can look like and hopefully spark some creative thinking and ideas for readers.
  2. To hold myself accountable…writing down my food intake and exercise/activity on the internet is a big motivating factor for me to follow through on my goals.

My daily journals are not intended to be a prescriptive program for readers to follow, this is simply what works for me. Whether it be my exercise routine, what I eat, or when I eat…it falls under the umbrella of “this is what works for me”. If you are interested in any of my rationale behind my meal timing and planning, I would invite you to take a look at my Thanksgiving post, sub heading of “Dietary Strategies I Use“.

Sunday

Exercise: Active rest (stretch and foam roll)

Food and Drink

Morning: Black coffee, water.

Around 9 am: Green tea.

Around 12:30 pm: Leftover greek salad with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Afternoon: 1 stout beer, 2 scotches.

Around 6 pm: Beef tenderloin, crab cakes, side of potatoes with cheese.

Monday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.70 miles (no “ski poles)

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can sardines; 1 sliced avocado; 1 cup air dried kale chips.

Tuesday

Exercise: Weight training. Pull up 6,7,6,6; Dip 7,8,9,8; Push up 10,10,8,7; Total Gym row 12,12,12,12; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10,10; Kettlebell Swing 53 lbs 12,12,12,12

For the above exercises, what I did is go through each exercise in the order listed, with very little rest in between each exercise, and then take a few minutes rest after Kettlebell swings before starting with Pull up again.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; left over crab cakes; 1 sliced avocado; 1 cup air dried kale chips.

Wednesday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.83 miles (no “ski poles)

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can sardines; 1 sliced avocado.

Thursday

Exercise: Snow clean up, probably around 2.5 hours total time. Yes, physical activity counts as exercise!

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During work at home day: Black iced coffee, green tea, some water.

Around 5:00 pm: 2 Stout beers.

Around 5:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can sardines; 1 sliced avocado; 1 humus and pretzel.

Friday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.92 miles (no “ski poles)

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 5:30 pm: Parmesan cheese crisps, humus and pretzels, guacamole and chips. *Not my usual spread, plans fell through for take out so needed to improvise.

Throughout evening: 1 stout beer, 2 scotches.

*Saturday is blog posting day.

My Weekly Progress Report

This is an update to see how I did on my goals/focus areas for the week, here is my check in for week 2:

  1. Sugar, Grain were treats only, had a little bit more alcohol than my standard week…not going to beat myself up, just staying accountable.
  2. Weight on Friday was 193.8 pounds, which is about a pound less than last Friday. Of note, there are a lot of factors that can influence weight on the scale. For my example this week, I may have been down some fluid (dehydrated) after the time spent clearing snow/ probably not enough water, 2 beers, and 60 minutes of cardio the next morning. Also 5th belt loop, so waist circumference is staying steady.
  3. I met my goal of three 60 minute cardio sessions this week! I will make sure to replicate this next week heading into the Holidays.
  4. I assured that each weight training day featured a kettlebells, and/or a barbell exercise…although I needed to sub out my planned Thursday weight training.
  5. I wore blue light glasses every light at least 1 hour before bed, I had 1 great night of sleep, over 7 hours. I had a few poor nights of sleep due to kid interruptions, so need to pay attention to his routine as well. Overall, kept a routine bed time of around 9 pm.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Next week has 2 holidays! Yes, for me Christmas Eve counts as a Holiday. I will not include food journals for Thursday and Friday next week because they will be full of delicious treats, but will have exercise logged for those days and my fasting window. Here are some specific plans I have to set myself up for success, leading into the Holidays next week:

  • Continue nutrition and exercise plan through Wednesday.
  • A slightly longer period of fasting Wednesday going into Thursday, and also Thursday going in to Friday.
  • Morning Exercise Thursday, with slightly higher volume (weight training). This will be a themed workout, Ring those Bells! Featuring Barbell Deadlifts, Kettlebell Swings, and Kettlebell Push Presses.
  • Exercise on Friday, cardio. This will be a themed workout, the Jingle all the Way Holiday Trot! AKA, going for a run in the cold.
  • Morning exercise on Saturday (Kettlebell Swings, Push Ups). This will be a themed workout, Answer the Bell post Holiday Jingle.

I am so excited to enjoy some family time in the upcoming week, and also staying accountable to my plan! Thanks for following along with me, see you soon!

Photo by Candis Hidalgo on Pexels.com

Jingle (Kettle)Bells!

A Plan to Break the Holiday Cycle and End 2020 Healthy and Fit!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

Introduction

If you are brand new to my blog or this Holiday posting series, welcome! This post starts the final leg in a series about breaking the Holiday Cycle of adding pounds and inches to our waist from October- January 1, and making a New Year’s resolution to essentially undo the damage. If we are not careful, this can be an annual occurrence. For more information on this topic and ideas to make your own plan, please see my previous post.

Why Jingle (Kettle)Bells?

This is a wordplay off of the Christmas song “Jingle Bells”. Recognizing that there are many Holidays celebrated during this time of year, my family and I celebrate Christmas, so this is the theme that resonated for me and will motivate me. Additionally, I plan to theme my weightlifting routines around Kettlebells and Barbells during the month.

*Pro-tip, themed workouts can add meaning and motivation to your plan! I will include my themed workouts leading in to Christmas as examples of how you can have fun with the topic and motivate yourself.

Finishing Strong

If you are reading this post right now and are interested in breaking the Holiday cycle, here are the two tracks/trajectories I see you as most likely on:

  1. You have been crushing it! You made a plan in October or November, and successfully navigated Thanksgiving without it derailing your health and fitness goals. You are looking for motivation and ideas to finish 2020 strong.
  2. You did not make plan, you feel tired and sluggish due to over indulgence. You are already feeling like you will need a New Years resolution to start undoing some of the damage from the Holidays.

If you are in situation #2, DO NOT WAIT!! Make a December 12 resolution, you will be amazed what you can accomplish before January…you will also be amazed how much further behind you can set yourself by continuing to over indulge and not exercise between now and January 1, get after it now!

Make your Plan

When making a plan to end 2020 making improvements to your health and fitness, start with where you are. What are your current exercise/activity levels, what does a week of food journaling look like for you? Once you have established where you are, make some specific health and fitness goals you would like to accomplish before January 1.

Tips on Getting Started (adapted from previous post)

  1. Make this winnable! I am using my plan as an example, not as a template for you. Start with where you are, make goals to be better in certain areas, execute your specific goals. Make your plan realistic so you can win. If you drink soda every day and your goal is to eliminate soda by January 1, that is winnable and you should go for it! If you do not exercise and your goal is to run a marathon by January 1, if I were you, I would reassess whether or not that is realistic/winnable in the time frame you are working with.
  2. Write it down! You have to write down your goals, and write down your progress towards them. Make yourself a daily, or minimally a weekly journal to help you measure progress towards your goals. If you do not track goals and progress, you won’t have a sense of direction or accomplishment, and most likely lack motivation. You won’t hit a target that you cannot see.
  3. Make time! You need to make time in your week to grocery shop, meal plan, meal prep, and exercise. Add this to your calendar like you do a work appointment, or it will not happen. If you need help finding time for any of these important areas, map out your week on a calendar. Account for every hour of every day, and include everything you do, including sleep and TV (for example). You may need to make some sacrifices (like TV/screen time), but I bet you can carve yourself out an hour each day to take care of your health and fitness goals.

My Plan (as an example)

My plan is to focus on maintaining my frequency and intensity of exercise through the Holiday season, and to not gain weight or belt loop holes in between November-January (kept from my Thanksgiving plan).

My Specific Goals

I made myself some specific, measurable, realistic goals to hold myself accountable (goals made November 9, 2020).

  1. Make sure that added Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol stay in the treat category (once per week max), focus on whole, unprocessed food being dietary staples.
  2. Keep weight on the scale, and belt loop position (waist circumference) the same, or improve them (I don’t want to have to loosen my belt on January 1, compared to November).
  3. Assure that my weekly frequency of cardio exercise stays the same, even when the weather gets colder. For December, I want to set the goals of working my routine up to 1 hour sessions, 3 times per week.
  4. Assure that each weight training day features a Barbell, and/or a Kettlbell exercise, increase the total volume (weight moved/lifted) of these lifts during December.
  5. Assure to wear blue light glasses before bed each night, consistent bed time, strive for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

The plan will also include a weekly check in on these major goals, to see how I am doing, and any adjustments I may have to make to stay on track.

Before the Jingle

These are some stats I am going to keep track of weekly during the 4 week program to see how I am doing and stay accountable. Stats and photo as of December 4, coming off my Thanksgiving plan.

Weight: 196.2 pounds

Photo:

Belt Loop: 5th (for me, 4th is ok, 5th is better, 3rd is not good…higher belt loops=lower waist circumference)

Cardio Frequency: 3 Nordic track sessions per week; I have hit 2 one hour sessions, and one 47 minute session in a week as my high bench mark.

Lets Talk About the Jingle [Video]

Video discussion on the Holiday cycle, making a plan, themes and why you should make your own, trigger foods.

Jingle (Kettle)BellsTime Frame

This blog post is documenting the time period of December 7, 2020-January 1, 2021. My plan is to assure complete focus on Health and Well-being leading up to, and immediately after Christmas, which my family and I celebrate. In my previous blog post, I outline the importance of enjoying the Holidays themselves, and also immediately getting back on your healthy plan. No one day is going to disrupt your health and fitness routine and progress, but developing unhealthy habits and patterns day after day, week after week will.

I am committed to a post each week, to serve as an example of how you could make and execute a plan, and also to help hold myself accountable. Let’s see how I did week 1!

Daily JournalsWeek 1

*A word about my daily journals and routine. The main reasons I include my daily journals in this series are as follows:

  1. To show an example of what a daily journal can look like and hopefully spark some creative thinking and ideas for readers.
  2. To hold myself accountable…writing down my food intake and exercise/activity on the internet is a big motivating factor for me to follow through on my goals.

My daily journals are not intended to be a prescriptive program for readers to follow, this is simply what works for me. Whether it be my exercise routine, what I eat, or when I eat…it falls under the umbrella of “this is what works for me”. If you are interested in any of my rationale behind my meal timing and planning, I would invite you to take a look at my Thanksgiving post, sub heading of “Dietary Strategies I Use“.

Monday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 47 minutes, 2.92 miles (no “ski poles)

*Note on finding the time, I have developed my routine so that I get to bed early enough to wake up before work and exercise. I have all of the exercise equipment I need at my home, which is ideal during COVID times. If you do not have equipment at home, never fear, you can still accomplish a LOT with body weight exercises…you have to make the time and find the way.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can sardines; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Tuesday

Exercise: Kettlebell bent over row 35 lbs- 10,10,10; Dips 7,9,10; Push ups 10,11,9; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10; Kettlebell Sumo deadlift 53 lbs- 10,10,10…with lots of hamstring and hip mobility work today.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bullet proof coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can salmon; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Wednesday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 4.01 miles (no “ski poles)

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can sardines; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Thursday

Exercise: Deadlift 135- 5,5,5 Double Kettlebell military press 35s- 10,10,10 Hanging leg raise 10,10,10

*Of note, had tightness in my lower back and hamstrings this week, so I needed to cut my workout short and do some stretching and foam roll in between sets.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bullet proof coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 4:30 pm: Spicy coleslaw made with slaw mix, olives, chopped garlic, hot pepper, dressed with salt, pepper, avocado mayo, apple cider vinegar, sriracha sauce; 1 can salmon; 1 sliced avocado; roasted seaweed snack.

Friday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.94 miles (no “ski poles)

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water, 2 green teas.

Around 5:30 pm: Take out Greek salad 🥗, 2 slices pepperoni pizza, scotch, 1 stout beer.

*Saturday is blog posting day, so will not appear in daily journals for the series.

My Weekly Progress Report

This is an update to see how I did on my goals/focus areas for the week.

  1. Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol were treats only, this strategy continues to help my overall energy levels and limit trigger foods.
  2. Weight on Friday was 195.0 pounds, which is about a pound less than last Friday under the same conditions (post morning cardio). Also 5th belt loop, so waist circumference is staying steady.
  3. I maintained my frequency of Cardio exercise, and worked towards my goal of 60 minutes, three days per week.
  4. I assured that each weight training day featured a kettlebells, and/or a barbell exercise.
  5. I wore blue light glasses every light at least 1 hour before bed, I had 1 great night of sleep, over 7 hours. Overall, kept a routine bed time of around 9 pm.

Challenges Faced this Week

You will always face challenges when trying to implement healthy lifestyle changes, so I have committed to include my weekly challenges as part of my journals each week. You will see notes on challenges, and how I addressed them (or, how I plan to address them next week). For week 1, my lone challenge was stiff, tight hamstrings and lower back. The way I addressed this challenge was to modify my exercise routine; I modified my routine so I was still able to exercise without aggravating the areas that bothered me. Another strategy I utilized was extra stretching and mobility work daily.

My suspicion is that my rapid change to the Nordic Track machine 3 times per week may have contributed to this challenge. I transitioned fairly rapidly from walking/running cardio to Nordic Track due to cold whether. This week, I did not use the “ski poles” part of the Nordic Track, as I felt it took some of the tension out of my back and hamstrings. I will monitor conditions next week.

Honestly, I did not face any challenges related to nutrition. I addressed a challenge from last week by making sure to spend time shopping and food prepping Sunday, so I did not need to rely so heavily on leftovers and my son’s snack foods.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Looking at the calendar, I have one more week to dial in my routine before a Holiday week starts. My 5 day work week routine has been very consistent and reliable during the Holiday season, so I am going to take advantage and make even more progress towards my goals before the Holidays kick off. I’ll make sure to start the week off right on Sunday with meal prep, and plan for meals and exercise during the week. I will continue to focus on stretching and foam rolling, and will hopefully hit my goal of 3 one hour cardio sessions this week.

Stay tuned, see you next week!

The Thanksgiving Blitz- Wrap Up

Putting a Bow on a 4 Week Healthy Holiday Program

Catching Up on The Blitz

A reminder if you are just joining me for this blog series, Blitz is a Football term, this is when the defense sends extra pass rushers after the opposing team’s Quarterback. I chose this term because there is Football on Thanksgiving, and it is part of my strategy this year; I went out to Blitz Thanksgiving this year, it was not going to get me!

To catch up on the beginning and weekly updates from this 4 week program, please take a look at my week 1 post, and also weeks 2 and 3.

My Plan

A reminder, my plan was to focus on maintaining my frequency and intensity of exercise through the Holiday season, and to not gain weight or belt loop holes in between November-January. Part of my plan was focusing my nutrition on mostly whole food sources, and avoiding processed food (mostly products containing grain and added sugar). My Thanksgiving plan was a good test and gave me a progress report at the mid-point of the season.

My Specific Goals

I made myself some specific, measurable, realistic goals to hold myself accountable.

  1. Make sure that added Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol stay in the treat category (once per week max), focus on whole, unprocessed food being dietary staples.
  2. Keep weight on the scale, and belt loop the same, or improve them (I don’t want to have to loosen my belt on January 1, compared to November).
  3. Assure that my weekly frequency of cardio exercise stays the same, even when the weather gets colder.
  4. Add volume (reps and sets) to my upper body, body weight exercise routine of Pull Ups, Dips, and Push Ups.
  5. Assure to wear blue light glasses before bed each night, consistent bed time, strive for 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

These goals were tracked weekly to see how I was doing, and if any adjustments were needed.

My Top Tips

During the program, I included a series of tips and strategies that worked well for me, I invite you to take a look at them below and hope they may give you some ideas or inspiration.

Intermittent Fasting: Put simply, intermittent fasting is going period of time without eating or drinking anything with significant calories (black coffee has some calories, but does not break a fast). There are potential metabolic benefits to fasting, and it is also a strategy to help manage your overall intake of food in a day. If you eat breakfast at 6 am, Lunch at 12 noon, dinner at 6 pm, and have late night snacks after dinner, your overall intake of food/calories will likely be higher than if you manage all meals within an 8 hour time frame each day.

The basic concept is to have a 16 hour fast, and an 8 hour period in which to eat your meals; this protocol can be adjusted to incorporate a longer fast and shorter eating period as well. The style I used this week was one meal a day (OMAD) intermittent fasting.

This is something I have in my dietary toolbelt because I spent some time building this metabolic flexibility while trying out the Keto diet for 30 days in September. If you started off trying to manage with one meal per day, it may be quiet uncomfortable if you have not spent some time trying out fasting and adjusting. If you wanted to give intermittent fasting a try, here is an idea:

  1. Eat dinner at 6 pm after a normal day, no late night snacks.
  2. When you wake up, do not eat breakfast, only have black coffee, tea, or water (no sugar or artificial sweetener.
  3. If you get hungry before 10 am, drink plenty of water.
  4. Eat your first meal at 10 am.

You have just fasted 16 hours!

Hydration: Hydration is important with any nutrition plan, but especially with intermittent fasting. Your body will sometimes send signals that indicate hunger, when actually you are thirsty and just need some water. And when I say hydration, I mean pure, clean water…you can have other beverages during the day, but the majority of your fluid intake should be water. Here is a helpful previous post on Hydration.

Eliminate Trigger Foods: Trigger Foods are foods that you are unable to stop eating once you have even a little bit, and they are different for everyone. It doesn’t matter if the food is “healthy” or not, what matters is your ability to control intake and stop eating the food. Mixed nuts may be considered “healthy”, but for me they can be a trigger food, so I avoided them during my Thanksgiving blitz.

Eliminate (or greatly reduce) Grain, Added Sugar, Alcohol: This is a strategy I picked up during my Whole 30, and found that there are exponential returns on your health and energy levels when eliminating these food and drink groups. If you think of your trigger foods from above, I bet you a vast majority of them either have grain, or added sugar (or, you have a harder time controlling the trigger food if you have a few drinks).

Make the Weekend Winning Time! Use the weekend to get even more sleep, spend more time meal planning, and do some fun movements and exercise. If you party, drink, have treats, and stay up late on weekends (every weekend), you take away progress you are working towards.

Exercise on the Holiday! Even if you are going to have your favorite treats on the Holiday, make it a point to move and exercise. Do something that is fun and meaningful for you; walk, run, push up, pull up, lift weights. Make exercise and movement part of your celebration, you will feel great, and rev up that metabolism before your big day!

Stick to your plan. You made a plan to be healthy during the holidays, make sure you stick with it! No late night snacks on Tuesday, no drinks and delivery Pizza on Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday (for example). If your plan is to dial in your nutrition every day except the Holiday, stick to your plan! Part two of this tip is immediately get back on your plan after the Holiday. Allowing the same habits to stick around for another week can be bad news for your goals, so get back to it!

On the Holiday, Eat what you like! What I mean by this is when you are deciding to enjoy a Holiday, or any particular meal, eat the foods you really like. You have already decided that it is ok to indulge a little bit and have some treats, but there is really no need to add foods to your plate that you consider to be just “ok”. For example, if you love Turkey and Mashed Potatoes, but can’t stand green bean casserole, skip the casserole! Do not worry about counting calories on the Holiday, but do consider that eating foods you don’t really love fills you up unnecessarily, can make you uncomfortable, and take away from the enjoyment of the day. Another example of this is eating things simply because they are there, like appetizers. Apply the same logic, if you really like the appetizer being served have it, if you don’t, skip it!

Exercise the Day After. No matter how you feel the day after a Holiday, get up and do something. Even if it is as basic as a walk, getting up and exercise the day after helps renew your commitment to health and wellness.

Challenges I Faced

My first challenge was getting started on this plan. I had a week off from work in early November, and did not make a great plan in regards to my nutrition and exercise routine, so I had some bad habits creep in. Getting started by dialing my nutrition back in, and exercising 5 days a week was a challenge for sure. Writing down my plan and having a strong motivation why I am doing it helped me overcome this challenge and get committed/started.

Another challenge was, you guessed it, sticking to the plan! There are a lot of tasty treats and temptations during this time of the year. My biggest pitfall in years past has been the week of Thanksgiving; drinks after work, eating a lot during the food prep day Wednesday. Building in accountability systems helped me stick to my plan; examples are writing down plans and goals, and telling someone about your goals who can help hold you accountable.

My third challenge to highlight is, getting back on your plan immediately after the Holiday. This started with setting an alarm for 5 am the day after Thanksgiving and making sure I got the hour of cardio in that I planned. Did I want to answer the bell that morning at 5 am? Not really, but I immediately felt great about my decision after finishing the workout. This gave me the momentum to get back on my plan heading in to the critical week after Thanksgiving.

Program Highlights, Tips, and Challenges [Video]

If you prefer video highlights, check out this you tube video where I talk through highlights, tips, and challenges from my Holiday plan.

Daily Journals

I am including daily journals for my final week, to illustrate the importance of getting right back to your healthy lifestyle following a Holiday. Overall I am very happy with my efforts getting back on the plan, the only adjustment I would make is better grocery shopping and meal planning the weekend after Thanksgiving, so I did not lean so much on leftovers Sunday-Thursday and pick at my son’s humus and pretzels. This blog series has been a wonderful illustration for me that one day will not derail your progress! Our day to day, week to week habits and routines are what ultimately will determine how we look, feel, and perform.

Sunday

Exercise: Stretch and foam roll.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8 am: Iced coffee (black).

Around 12 noon: Leftover Lobster mac and cheese,1 IPA beer.

During afternoon, 2 Scotches, water, seltzer.

Around 6:30 pm: Leftover stuffed mushrooms, asparagus, carrots.

Monday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 47 minutes, 2.92 miles.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: black coffee.

During work day: Plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Leftover turkey taco bowl with taco sauce, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sour cream; humus and veggie chips.

Tuesday

Exercise: before work, weight training. Pull up 7,7,6,5,5; Dip 8,8,7,7,5; Push up 11,10,8,7,5; Total Gym row 12,12,12,12; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10,10, 10; Kettlebell Swing 53 lbs 12,12,15,15,15

For the above exercises, what I did is go through each exercise in the order listed, with very little rest in between each exercise, and then take a few minutes rest after Kettlebell swings before starting with Pull up again.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof coffee (see week 1 for recipe).

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 3 pm: 2 oz. Bison jerky

Around 4:30 pm: Leftover turkey taco bowl with taco sauce, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, pickled garlic; humus and potato chips.

Wednesday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.79 miles.

Food and Drink

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8 am: Black coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 4 pm: Leftover turkey taco bowl with taco sauce, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, pickled garlic; guacamole and pretzels.

Thursday

Exercise: Deadlift 205- 3 Double Kettlebell push press 35s- 10,10,10 Hanging leg raise 10,10,10

*Of note, had a spasm/tightness in my upper back/shoulders, so I needed to cut my workout short and do some stretching and percussion massage. Could be my body telling me to take it a little easier after a decent training week last week, so I listened.

Food and Drink

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8 am: Black coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Bowl with 2 cans herring, 8 olives, pickled garlic, 2 hot peppers; 1 bag air dried kale chips.

Friday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.78 miles.

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 8 am: Black coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas , plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Mixed bowl with olives, pickled garlic, cheese cubes, green powder, olive oil; Bacon Cheeseburger salad.

Before and After The Blitz (Progress Report)

Time frame of this plan was November 9- December 4, 2020.

Photos

Before
After

Weight

Before: 201.6 pounds

After: 196.2 pounds

*Goal was met! In my case, I do not consider this “losing weight”, because I am back to where I started before my week off and bad habits in early November. I mentioned in post one that I had put on a few pounds on the scale after taking a week off from work and letting some poor habits creep in. This plan really helped me get back on track and “Crush it!”

Belt Loop 

Before: 4th (4th is ok, 5th is better, 3rd is not good…higher belt loops=lower waist circumference)

After: 5th! *Goal was met!

Cardio Frequency

Before: At least 2 walks (or equivalent) at least 1 jog (or equivalent) per week. Best run of a 4.9 mile loop, 48:30.

After: 3 Nordic Track sessions per week 40-60 minutes duration.

*This goal was met! Had to make the transition indoors due to colder whether, I am happy with cardio frequency.

Best Body Weight Set

Before: Pull ups 6,6,6,6; Dips 4,5,6,6; Push Ups 7,8,8,7 (done as a circuit, 1 exercise after the other)

After: Pull up 7,7,6,6,5; Dip 9,8,8,7,5; Push up 11,10,8,7,6

*The goal to add volume (sets and reps) was met!

What is Next?

Coming soon, I’ll be featuring a new blog series to keep the healthy momentum going through January. A month is plenty of time to crush some health and fitness goals, and also plenty of time to allow unhealthy habits and patterns to creep in, IF you let them. This blog series will feature tips and strategies to make your own healthy holiday plan, and I’ll also include my plan to follow along with.

Jingle Bells everyone, see you soon!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

The Thanksgiving Blitz-Tackle Turkey Day!

Week 3 of a Plan to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Catching up on the Blitz

If you are just joining me for this Blog Series, this is about making a healthy plan to tackle Thanksgiving and the other Holidays. The idea being to end the year on a high note, and not gain pounds and inches on your waist from October through January. My previous blog post includes my goals, an outline of my plan, and week 1 summary. Please take a look at my week 1/introduction post if you have not had a chance. Week 2 will give you a summary of how it has been going so far.

My Plan for Thanksgiving Week

My theory I am testing with this blog series is that no one day of indulgence will derail your Health and Wellbeing, as long as you are (mostly) dialed in on your nutrition and exercise routine day to day, week to week. Why the Holidays tend to be an issue is the tendency to let indulgence creep into weekends, weekdays, office parties, day after Holidays etc.

*Standard disclaimer, this is my plan and I am using it as an example, this is not intended as a program for others to adopt. If you are interested in making your own plan, take a look at the link above to my intro post to get some ideas.

In addition to keeping my nutrition and exercise routine on point this week, I also made some very specific strategies to help keep me motivated and be training at peak intensity for the big day. Here is a reminder of the plan I outlined from my week 2 post:

  • Continue nutrition (and exercise) plan through Wednesday, including my intermittent fasting (1 meal a day).
  • Longer period of fasting Wednesday going into Thursday, eat my one larger meal earlier in the day on Wednesday.
  • Morning Exercise Thursday, with slightly higher volume (weight training).
  • Breaking my fast with a small plate of food before the big meal Thursday. This is a strategy to help not over stuff yourself after a longer fast.
  • Morning exercise Friday, cardio.
  • Longer period of fasting from Thursday going in to Friday.

Tips of the Week

  1. On the Holiday, Eat what you like! What I mean by this is when you are deciding to enjoy a Holiday, or any particular meal, eat the foods you really like. You have already decided that it is ok to indulge a little bit and have some treats, but there is really no need to add foods to your plate that you consider to be just “ok”. For example, if you love Turkey and Mashed Potatoes, but can’t stand green bean casserole, skip the casserole! Do not worry about counting calories on the Holiday, but do consider that eating foods you don’t really love fills you up unnecessarily, and takes away from the enjoyment of the day. Another example of this is eating things simply because they are there, like appetizers. Apply the same logic, if you really like the appetizer being served have it, if you don’t, skip it!
  2. Exercise the Day After. No matter how you feel the day after a Holiday, get up and do something. Even if it is as basic as a walk, getting up and exercise the day after helps renew your commitment to health and wellness.

Challenges this Week

The biggest challenge this week was resisting the temptation to creep back into previous holiday habits, basically to treat this entire week like it is Thanksgiving day. The way I addressed this challenge was following one of my tips from last week, stick to the plan! I reviewed my exercise and nutrition plan for the week each day, reminded myself why I made it, and why it is important.

Daily Journals

Sunday

Exercise: Steps at work, around 5 miles total.

Food and Drink

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8 am: Bulletproof Coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas 🍵, plenty of water.

Around 5:30 pm: Bacon cheeseburger salad with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions (takeout); IPA beer, 2 glasses scotch.

Monday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 40 minutes, 2.44 miles.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: black coffee.

During work day: 2 green teas 🍵, plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Chipotle Coleslaw with shredded cheese and greens powder; 1 can sardines in olive oil; 1 humus and pretzels; 3 spoons mixed nut butter.

Tuesday

Exercise: before work, weight training. Pull up 7,7,6,6,5; Dip 9,8,8,7,5; Push up 11,10,8,7,6; Total Gym row 12,12,12,12; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10,10, 10; Kettlebell Swing 53 lbs 12,12,12,12,12

For the above exercises, what I did is go through each exercise in the order listed, with very little rest in between each exercise, and then take a few minutes rest after Kettlebell swings before starting with Pull up again.

*I added total volume, and a whole extra set of all exercises compared to week 2! Feeling great and energized heading in to Thursday.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof coffee (see week 1 for recipe).

During work day: 2 green teas 🍵, plenty of water.

Around 3 pm: 2 oz. spicy beef jerky (no sugar, have to watch out for that unfortunately).

Around 4:30 pm: Chipotle Coleslaw with shredded cheese and greens powder; 1 can of sardines.

Wednesday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.85 miles.

Food and Drink

Morning: Coffee, water.

Around 6:30 am: Green tea.

Around 9 am: Black coffee.

Around 12:30 pm: Side salad 🥗 with greens powder, 3 chicken tenders, a meatball, blue cheese dressing; 2 piece chicken parm pizza (skip crust).

Fast starting at 12:30 pm, water and tea only after meal (20 hours total fast)

Thursday

Exercise: Deadlift 205- 3, 5, 225- 3,3,3,3,3,3; Double Kettlebell push press 35s- 10, 44s- 8,9,9,8,8,7; Hanging leg raise 10,10,10,10,10,10

The goal today was as much volume as possible within 1 hour, so I chose sets of 3 Deadlift, 10 leg raise, and close to max reps with 44 lbs double kettlebell push press. Felt great, hope your Turkey Day workout was great if you did one!

Food and Drink

EVERYTHING! Gobble Gobble!

Friday

Exercise: Nordic Track, 60 minutes, 3.60 miles

Food and Drink

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 9 am: Black coffee.

Around 10 am: Green tea.

Around 11:30 am: 2 slices cheddar cheese, 4 slices ham.

Around 1:30 pm: 2 Slices Homemade pizza with pepperoni, pepper, and onion.

Around 6 pm: Potato Chips appetizer; chicken with mushrooms/ cream sauce, cooked spinach, asparagus, 2 potato croquettes.

Throughout evening: 4 scotches

Saturday

Exercise: Active rest, swimming with my kid.

Food and Drink TBA for posting purposes.

Favorite Meal of the Week

The Thanksgiving Plate

My Weekly Progress Report

  1. Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol were treats only, especially Thursday 😉 I had a few more drinks this week than previous weeks, but significantly fewer than previous Thanksgiving weeks.
  2. Weight was 197.0 lbs on Friday (up less than 1 pound from last week), and 5th belt loop on Tuesday (work clothes are needed for consistency). I was honestly surprised that weight was not higher Friday morning after Thanksgiving, even after doing an hour of cardio. This is a good early indicator that my theory is correct, no one day can derail you, consistency is your friend around the holidays.
  3. I maintained my frequency of Cardio exercise, and added some time to Nordic Track this week.
  4. I maintained my routine and volume of my goal upper body exercises, and even added some this week!
  5. I wore blue light glasses every light at least 1 hour before bed, and logged 2 nights of 7 hours uninterrupted sleep during the week. Overall, I kept a routine bed time of around 9 pm.

Next Week

Next week is a big week in testing my theory that no one day can derail your health and fitness goals, as long as you stick to the plan. Part of that plan means getting back on track with my nutrition routine, and keeping the exercise momentum from this week. I will include final before and after stats in my post next week, and also a preview of part II of my Holiday plan. The Thanksgiving Blitz served it’s purpose and got us to December, but now it is the home stretch!

Thanksgiving Blitz-Week 2

Week 2 of A Healthy Plan to Tackle Thanksgiving

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Catching Up on the Blitz

If you are just joining me for this Blog Series, this is about making a healthy plan to tackle Thanksgiving and the other Holidays. The idea being to end the year on a high note, and not gain pounds and inches on your waist from October through January. My previous blog post includes my goals, an outline of my plan, and week 1 summary. Please take a look at my week 1/introduction post if you have not had a chance.

Tips of the Week

  1. Keep in mind when you are trying to peak for training. This is in particular of you are have exercise goals as part of your Holiday plan. I am trying to have my highest volume week Thanksgiving week, so I am revving my metabolism for the big day. This week, I felt like I had 2 great days of weight training with more volume than last week, but I did not push the limit. Typically, if you go for a PR (personal record) or otherwise smoke your body with a workout, you are going to need to take a step back the next day, or next week to recover. Since I want my peak intensity to be Thanksgiving week, I left a little bit of energy in the tank this week.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Even if you do not set the world on fire related to your goals and program, celebrate your wins and be kind to yourself. If you are trying to cut out soda and you drink a soda 1 day out of 7 during the week, celebrate the win! Sure, maybe you want that to be 0, and you can make a plan to work towards 0, but celebrate your win first!
  3. Stick to your plan. You made a plan to be healthy during the holidays, make sure you stick with it! No late night snacks on Tuesday, no drinks and delivery Pizza on Wednesday (for example). If your plan is to dial in your nutrition every day except Thanksgiving, stick to your plan!
  4. Exercise on the Holiday! Even if you are going to have your favorite treats on the Holiday, make it a point to move and exercise. Do something that is fun and meaningful for you; walk, run, push up, pull up, lift weights. Make exercise and movement part of your celebration, you will feel great, and rev up that metabolism before your big day!

Challenges this Week

A challenge for me, which can be typical around the holidays, was busy times at work. Work was mentally demanding, and also required extra time this week. The demands at work made it especially critical to adhere to my plan and routine, because there could have been a lot of tempting excuses to sleep in and miss a workout.

Daily Journals

Sunday

Exercise: Mowing and yard work, 1 hour.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee and water.

Around 8 am: Bulletproof Coffee.

Around 1:30 pm: 1 serving humus and pretzels.

Between 3-5 pm: 3 IPA beers (helps yard work 😉

Around 5:30: Chicken taco bowl with sautéed pepper and onions, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, taco sauce (homemade and favored with orange, garlic, and Chipotle peppers) with a little bit of rice…I also had a refill on everything but the rice.

Monday

Exercise: Walking before work, around 50 minutes, 2.5 miles.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Black coffee ☕, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During the day: 2 Green teas, plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Bowl of coleslaw with cheese cubes and greens powder; 10 olives with 8 cheese cubes; 1 can herring with sriracha sauce.

Tuesday

Exercise: before work, weight training. Pull up 6,6,6,6; Dip 8,8,7,6; Push up 10,10,8,7; Total Gym row 12,12,12,10; Ab wheel roll 10,10,10,10; Kettlebell Swing 53 lbs 10,10,10,10

For the above exercises, what I did is go through each exercise in the order listed, with very little rest in between each exercise, and then take a few minutes rest after Kettlebell swings before starting with Pull up again.

*Managed to add a little bit of volume by way of reps in a few areas, but I also left room for improvement for the big week next week!

Food and Drink:

Morning: Black coffee, water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof coffee (see previous post for recipe)

During the work day, 2 green teas  (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw with greens powder and an avocado; 1 cup kale chips; 1 humus and pretzels; 6 olives.

Wednesday

Exercise: Nordic Track Ski machine, 47 minutes, 3.07 miles.

*The Nordic Track is my way of maintaining my frequency of cardio, which is one of my goals. I’m not dedicated enough to run outside when it is 20 degrees, so I need an alternative for cardio.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Black coffee ☕, water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During the work day, 2 green teas  (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: Coleslaw with greens powder and an avocado; 1 cup kale chips; 1 humus and pretzels; 6 olives.

Thursday

Exercise: Deadlift 205- 5, 5, 225- 5, 4; Kettlebell push press 35s- 10, 44s- 8, 8, 7, 7; Hanging leg raise 10,10,10,10, 8

Food and Drink:

Morning: Black coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Bulletproof Coffee.

During the work day, 2 green teas  (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: 4 Spoons of 10% Milkfat Greek Yogurt; bowl of coleslaw with greens powder and avocado; can of sardines; 8 olives.

Friday

Exercise: before work, 2.5 mile walk, around 50 minutes.

Food and Drink

Morning: Black coffee and water.

Around 7:30 am: Black coffee.

During the work day, 2 green teas  (unsweetened), plenty of water.

Around 4:30 pm: 3 spoons mixed nut butter; mixed bowl with avocado, chickpeas, cheddar cheese, greens powder, olives, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Evening: 1 glass red wine, 1 glass scotch.

Saturday

Morning: Black coffee and water.

The rest of Saturday is TBA due to posting, but will include a family meal with a Beef roast, and probably a few drinks.

Favorite Meal of the Week

Chicken Taco Bowl

My Weekly Progress Report

  1. Sugar, Grain, and Alcohol were treats only.
  2. Weight on Friday, 196.4! and 5th belt loop. Weight is an improvement, and sets me up well going in to next week.
  3. I maintained my frequency of Cardio exercise, I am starting to transition indoors and use my Nordic Track…I do not run outside under 40 degrees, sorry, not sorry.
  4. I maintained my routine and volume of my goal upper body exercises. I added a small amount of volume to both weight lifting days, and I feel like I can push for a big week Thanksgiving week.
  5. I wore blue light glasses every light at least 1 hour before bed, and logged 2 nights of 7 hours uninterrupted sleep during the week. I did stay up later Friday night, but overall kept a routine bed time of around 9 pm.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

This is the big week! I need to focus and make a fitness and meal plan that is dialed in leading up to Thursday. Here is what I am planning:

  • Continue nutrition plan through Wednesday.
  • Longer period of fasting Wednesday going into Thursday, eat my one larger meal earlier in the day on Wednesday.
  • Morning Exercise Thursday, with slightly higher volume (weight training).
  • Breaking my fast with a small plate of food before the big meal Thursday. This is a strategy to help not over stuff yourself after a longer fast.
  • Morning exercise Friday, cardio.
  • Longer period of fasting from Thursday going in to Friday.

I plan to completely enjoy myself on Thursday, so I will not log my specific food and drink items. I will log my exercise and fasting periods and let you know how that seems to go.

Home stretch everyone, lets go!!!