2018 Summer Shred!

It’s finally spring weather!! That means one thing – it’s Summer Shred time! I’ve done this shred for the past 4 years and every year I learn and improve for the next. Last year, I really got it right so I’m going to mimic what I did and tweak the workouts to be more functional, in accordance to what my body can actually do.

In 2014, I embarked on a 4-week shred and Mission: Hot Body challenge. I mimicked the very strict & regimented diet and workouts of bikini competitors. Super clean eating , 2-a-day workouts…you name it, I did it. It was crazy hard…but I got it done. After 4 weeks of extremely hard work, I had abs and was the leanest & most cut I’ve ever been. The problem was that as soon as the challenge ended, it was my birthday and with it came ice cream cake & plenty of drinks throughout the weekend. To top that off, just one month later I ended up seriously injuring my shoulder…which I have since had surgery to correct. Within two months, all of that hard work seemed to be for nothing. The next two years, I did slimdowns but couldn’t get it quite right. I still worked out and I continued to eat fairly well, but my body would only look how I wanted it to for a short time. Last year, that changed. Now, a certified nutritionist, I have combined my life experience and added a lot more knowledge to the bank. Last year, I did a 6-week shred that was strict…but didn’t totally eliminate things. I limited dairy and sugar. I upped my protein and kept my carbs early in the day. I lost about 10% body fat and about 10-15 lbs in that time span. My workouts were done with a fellow trainer (who is my magical ART guy as well), so while they were intense they were monitored. I killed it and looked great for my birthday…and throughout the summer.

However, the end of summer & end of year didn’t go well for me. Life events and health issues transpired causing a lot less workouts and a lot less motivation.

So here we go again. 4 weeks until my birthday…so a 4-week shred shall begin. I’m going to follow the same plan as last year for my diet (shopping list is below). My workouts will vary based on how I feel health-wise and injury-wise. There will likely be a lot more cardio along with some lower impact resistance training worked into the mix. I’ll post everyday for the first week, as I did last year, to give anyone following along a good gauge on what I’m doing.

In general, I eat pretty well…I’m just not super strict. For the next 4 weeks, I will be cutting out most sugar, alcohol, and limiting my caffeine & dairy intake. The food scale will also come back. Along with MFP, I found the food scale to be extremely helpful in keeping myself on track and accountable.

My ultimate goal with this shred, like every other, is to lose fat while gaining my lean muscle…and motivation…back. I’ve been pretty sick so I’m starting a little later than I planned but we begin TODAY (April 24) and go until May 23 (my birthday). You can continue the rest of that week if you choose, but since that’s my birthday…that’s when mine will end.

This is a list of the foods that I will be sticking to throughout the next 4 weeks, in case you want to reference it for food shopping:

  • Oats
  • Egg whites
  • Tuna
  • Brown Rice
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Chickpeas
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken
  • Ground Turkey
  • Veggies (kale, asparagus, string beans, zucchini, brussels, cauliflower, peppers, butternut squash)
  • Shrimp
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Cottage cheese
  • PB
  • Rice cakes
  • Frozen blueberries
  • RX Bars/Quest Bars
  • Unsweetened cashew milk/almond milk

**Not listed here are my kitchen staples (balsamic vinegar, spray/oil, hot sauce, mustard, spices, etc.) as well as my protein powder /BCAAs.**

I’m happy to help you with your own customized macros, meal plan & workout guide! Email me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com for more information. If you just want to follow along with me & be accountability buddies, that’s cool too! Shoot me a message so we can help each other out! Let’s get beach body ready & Fight to be Fit together!

-Gina

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Wrapping Up

As week 3 comes to a close in my winter detox, I’ve decided to stop. The purpose of this for me was to get back on track and I have. I reset my diet…and my mindset.

I knew this wasn’t going to be like most of my shreds, mostly because I couldn’t workout. I’ve gotten my diet back where I wanted it and in the process, I’ve also gotten my mind right once again.

This journey is full of ups and downs. Lately I’ve had a setback with my health, which has thrown my eating time table off a bit. I haven’t had much of an appetite due to the health issues and as a result, I’m forcing myself to eat foods I don’t want when I’m not hungry to eat. Combine that with my neck & shoulder setback, and it’s just not the right time for this. I plan on doing my usual shred before summertime (and my birthday) so stay tuned for that! Hopefully by then, I’m cleared for more exercises and can workout more regularly.

I feel that I got what I wanted and needed in just about 3 weeks on this detox…and that’s all I could hope for. I wish the same for all of you!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

Getting Over the Hump – Detox Day 3

Another day in the books! Today was a really hectic day for me at work but that didn’t throw off my diet at all. Here’s how it checked out:

Breakfast – 1/4 cup oats, 1 tsp pb. Iced coffee with 1 tbsp creamer

Lunch – 4 oz ground turkey, 2 oz brown rice, 2 oz string beans, 1 mushroom quartered.

Dinner – 3 egg whites, 2 mushrooms quartered, 2 oz butternut squash, 2 oz sliced turkey, sprinkle of cheese

Snacks – protein brownie, mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachio), almond milk latte from Dunkin’ (no sweetener or flavor), protein drink, rice cake

The high number of carbs doesn’t factor in my fiber intake. Carbs should really be around 85g. That’s still pretty high but I’ll do better with it next week. I’ve ordered protein powder, which I was out of, and I’ll be making egg muffins to have for breakfast instead of oats. I also will be having kale or lettuce everyday in one of my meals.

Exercise is at a major standstill with these injuries of mine. I will be going to PT twice a week, getting ART treatments, & doing as much cardio and yoga as my body will allow throughout the rest of this detox.

3 days down…27 to go. We got this! Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

Day 2 of Detox

Wrapping up day 2 so much better than day 1! As predicted, this day started out smoother & as a result I was a lot less hungry. I have to work on my meal timing so I can get more protein in earlier but otherwise a good day. My carbs look a little high but, if I subtract the fiber from veggies I’m actually good! No exercise; just some yoga stretches and my weekly ART treatment. Here’s what my meals for the day looked like:

Breakfast – 1/4 cup of oats with 1 tsp peanut butter. Coffee with approx. 1 tbsp caramel macchiato creamer.

Lunch – 4 oz. ground turkey, 1 oz brown rice, 2 oz string beans, 1 mushroom quartered

Dinner – 2 whole eggs, 2 mushrooms quartered, sprinkle of shredded cheese, 2 oz sliced turkey, 1 oz Brussels

Snacks – quest bar, protein cookie, protein chips, rice cake. I also had a second coffee made with unsweetened almond milk and 1/2 packet of Splenda.

Water – 64 oz – much less than yesterday and I’m feeling it

Winter Detox

I don’t know about you but I’m in serious need of a detox. I practice flexible dieting – mostly clean eating with some treats thrown in the mix. However, lately I’ve been WAY too flexible. So, I’ve decided enough is enough. Let’s get 2018 started off right! Beginning this Monday, January 15, I will be doing a 30-day winter detox. That word “detox” often scares people. Hell…it scares me too. I don’t believe in juicing or following any type of extreme diet. History has taught me that you will do much more harm than good by following any type of prolonged elimination. This detox is just a way to get our bodies and minds back on track. For 30-days we will be following a strictly clean, protein-heavy diet. No cheat/treat days/meals. Now, I do realize Superbowl Sunday falls in the midst of this. I will likely be participating so I will personally be extending my own detox a few days. Anyone following along can bring their own food to the party or do as I will. I’ve compiled a list to take shopping this weekend. We will be eating 3 meals and two snacks per day (a total of 5 “meals”). I will post everything I eat on here and on MyFitnessPal for you guys to see. If there is something you enjoy and you don’t see it on this list, please feel free to reach out! Also important to note, you do not have to purchase everything you see. This is just a list of compliant foods for the 30-day detox program. You can find these foods at any local supermarket.

  • Oats (quick, old fashioned, or steel cut – none of that pre-made, packaged garbage)
  • Plain, greek yogurt
  • Eggs/egg whites
  • Tuna (solid white, preferred. Always packed in water, not oil!)
  • Brown Rice
  • Low carb wraps (Trader Joe’s)
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers (English or regular)
  • Tomatoes
  • Chickpeas, black beans, or any beans you’d like (make sure they aren’t packed in oil or soaked in some sauce)
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken or turkey breast
  • Ground Turkey or chicken
  • Steak or ground beef – whichever cut you like…just make sure it’s very lean!
  • Peppers
  • Butternut squash
  • Veggies (kale, asparagus, string beans, zucchini, brussels, broccoli, cauliflower, etc)
  • Tilapia, salmon, or whatever fish you prefer
  • Almonds, cashews
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Seltzer (plain or flavored)
  • Brown rice cakes (Trader Joe’s sells a good one!)
  • Edamame
  • Protein pasta (Banza is a really good one and easy to find)
  • Unsweetened cashew, coconut, or almond milk (for shakes and soups)

**Not listed here are my kitchen staples (balsamic vinegar, cooking spray/oil, hot sauce, mustard, spices, etc.) as well as my protein powder /BCAAs.**

Water – make sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses (or 80-100oz) of water per day!

Protein Bars – You want to look for bars high in protein and low in sugar. You also want to be careful with carbs. Here’s a tip – look at the fiber then subtract from your carbs. That produces net carbs, which you should aim to always be under 10. Quest bars are excellent for this. RX bars have a higher carb count but have minimal and very clean ingredients. Depending on what you are eating throughout the day, this can be another good option. Other good options include No Cow & Paleo bars. If there is a brand that you prefer and you think will fit the criteria, send to me & I will let you know if it can be added

Fruit – this is tricky. A lot of fruits are extremely high in sugar and while it is always better than eating a cookie or candy, you still need to be mindful. They do contain a lot of vitamins and minerals so we will keep them on. For the next 30-days, stick with berries such as blueberries and raspberries. You can also use lemons or limes for your water. I would steer clear of grapes, apples, and melons for now. Bananas are loaded with sugar and carbs but are excellent before or after a workout. For that reason, I will allow bananas on the plan if you eat them sparingly…and only around an intense workout.

Coffee – If you know me, you know I rarely am seen without a cup of coffee in hand. I’ve done diets where it’s forbidden…and I have yet to figure out why. Of course, like most things, too much caffeine is not good. However, in moderation it’s fine. Now…what you put into your coffee may be another story. I always put almond milk in mine. Sometimes I get fancy and buy coffee creamer- which is eyeballed to the serving size. I don’t like super sweet coffee so that’s good enough for me. I recommend the same for all of you. NO SUGAR ADDED for the next 30 days. If you’re usual order is light & sweet you will have to adjust. Use skim milk and stevia (or Splenda if, like me, you hate stevia). Be careful to not use too much of those sweeteners! If you’re going to use creamers, measure it out. We often put way more than we think! You can also buy the creamers pre-portioned in small cups, also making them portable!

I will be posting some recipes and some of the foods I like on here tomorrow. Check out my Instagram for even more info – @thefight2befit

Let’s work!!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

New Year, New Healthier US!

Happy New Year and happy blogiversary to this little engine that could. 4 years ago, I started this blog in the hopes that by sharing my story & struggles I could help inspire some of you. I just want to show you that despite every obstacle & hardship, it IS possible.

A lot has changed over the last 4 years. When I started this blog, I was in the middle of my own weight loss journey. I was down 50lbs and starting to really figure it out. Since then, I’ve completed a Spartan race, WipeOut race, 4-week bodybuilding prep (did not actually compete), ran my first 5k – coming in first in my age group, and became a personal trainer. I went from a size 12/14 to a size 2/4 and dropped about 80lbs along the way. This journey saw some incredible highs…and lows. In that WipeOut race, I ended up with a SLAP tear which I didn’t get checked out (and operated on) until 2 years later. I also have had a variety of issues in my personal & professional life, which have caused me to slack on this blog from time to time.

2017 was a year filled with some of the very best…and worst…moments of my entire life. Despite my best intention, I haven’t posted a lot on here…especially recently. Truth is, I’ve had a rough couple of months in my personal life. However, after a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to share with you all. The purpose of this blog was, as I said, to help people, so while I tend to keep my private life private…maybe sharing this can help someone see that they aren’t alone. I will detail everything in an upcoming blog. This past year also saw me recover from major shoulder surgery…only to be set back further. I’ve recently been diagnosed with bulging discs in my neck. This has caused incredible pain to my traps & shoulder…and is likely the cause of the migraines that I get. I don’t need surgery but it’s going to be a long road to get back to normal. Suffice to say, I am happy to begin a new year and hopefully begin a new chapter in this book of life.

I start physical therapy again tomorrow. This injury is a HUGE setback to the intense workouts that I’m accustomed to. So, I’ve decided to begin working on some functional stuff. I’ve had terrible balance throughout my entire life – so I’ll be starting there. I;d like to make my ankles less wobbly & strengthen my core. I can’t lift heavy or run, but I’m determined to figure out a HIIT workout that I CAN do. I will be trying to design a different plan to keep myself motivated.

In addition, I will be hosting a winter “detox” beginning January 15. Unlike a lot of the typical new year cleanses and detoxes, this doesn’t involve any juice or extreme diet. Instead, we will be focused on super clean eating; Detox the body from the holiday goodies…and garbage…that we’ve filled it with and get the new year off to a healthy start with a nice clean slate. I will be posting a shopping list next week to get everyone started. Similar to my last shred, I will post everything that I eat daily. I’m not calling this a shred since I can’t do those type of workouts. However, I will be doing whatever I possibly can and posting that here as well. Anyone interested in joining me on my mission to healthier living, shoot me a message – thefight2befit@gmail.com – and I will try to help you out!

Thanks for following my journey! Let’s make 2018 our best & healthiest year yet!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

Road to Recovery – 1 year later

From day one to now

June 2014 – After training for months, I took part in the ROC race (think of the tv show, Wipeout). I trained like I had for Spartan races, focusing on my upper body above all. The day came and I was ready. I flew through the obstacles and then I got to the monkey bars. Historically, I was never any good at those. I was the little kid who’s parents had to hold her as she went across. But that wasn’t gonna stop me. I trained hard, doing many pull-ups. I could do this! I made it half way without a problem. Then I felt something pop and burn. I grabbed my shoulder and let myself fall. I shook it off and continued the race, finishing all smiles. In the weeks and months that followed, that smile quickly faded. At first I thought maybe I pulled a muscle or something…but it wasn’t getting any better. I continued to workout and work around my injury until one day I realized there was no muscle growth on my bad arm. I couldn’t take it any more. 

October 7, 2016 – I finally went under the knife to repair a nagging shoulder injury. After trying my best for two years to rehab and “fix” it on my own, I realized that my injury only getting worse. I went to the doctor and was immediately sent for a MRI, which revealed that I had a torn labrum and, because I waited so long, a frayed rotator cuff. The doctor was clear that while I didn’t HAVE to get surgery, the longer I wait the worse it will get…and the less likely I would be to get back to full strength. So I begrudgingly scheduled the surgery.

I’ve never had a broken bone much less surgery like this before. I had my tonsils out when I was 11 or 12 but nothing like this. Despite being clumsy my entire life, I somehow managed to escape the ER. Yet here I was – ready to undergo surgery. I wasn’t so much nervous for the actual surgery as I was for the recovery. I wasn’t wrong.

The surgery itself went fairly well, despite a nonsensical hiccup at the hospital the morning of. I was given a nerve block, meaning my entire arm was numb and feeling fantastic post-op. Until around 3am anyway. They say you should stay ahead of the pain and medicate. I didn’t want to overuse the drugs that I was given…so I didn’t listen. Big mistake. I learned good from that though and made sure to keep ahead of things for the next couple of days. I was religated to sleeping on a recliner for that first week…and almost a month in total. I couldn’t lay down without being in terrible pain so I gave up and slept like that. It killed my back but at least I was able to get some rest.

One week later, I went back for my first follow-up. I was given a clunky, yet very sturdy, sling/support device. I was also told that I couldn’t drive for at least another week, meaning I couldn’t go to work. I hate to sit still so this killed me. It’s important to note that I’m right handed…and the surgery was on my right shoulder. So this meant EVERYTHING was a chore. Basic things like showering and eating became a ridiculous task. 2 weeks after surgery I was able to return to work and begin getting back to “normal.” Which…wasn’t much. I couldn’t do many tasks at my job and I had to drive with my left hand (no sling could be worn…which hurt more than one may think). It wasn’t easy at all but I was determined. I also began physical therapy twice a week, which was a godsend. They got me moving again and helped me regain my strength.

Little by little, with the help of PT, I was able to get back to normal. A couple of months later, my insurance decided to stop paying for PT and that was that. I kept at it on my own, best I could. I had the idea of enlisting help from my co-worker, who specializes in massage therapy along with personal training. I knew that I needed help with correcting the bad form that I created and while I may be a trainer myself, it’s much more difficult to correct things on yourself. See, over the two years that I was injured I had to adapt and make changes to compensate for the pain. Some I knew I was doing…but many I didn’t. So I got the help that I needed and was well on my way to pain-free workouts…or so I thought.

March 1, 2017 – just under 5 months post-op and I was cleared for all physical activity. The doctor was really impressed with my progress, saying that I was healing faster than most. I wasn’t given any restrictions!  Sounds great, right? It was…except I know no limits and paid the price for that. I began working out the same as I always had…which produced the same pain it had in the past. As I write this, my eyes are rolling HARD. It was stupid to stop the PT warmups and just jump full speed ahead. People tried to tell me that – I didn’t listen. The following month, I began my 6 week summer shred. I went balls to the wall in my workouts and by the end I looked great…but my arm was killing me. 

I went back to the doctor, fearful that I did serious damage again. Lucky for me, doc didn’t think I did anything to my shoulder but he did think that I was suffering from some bicep tendinitis. I was told to scale back my workouts and to rest more. This completely deflated me.

Since then, I haven’t worked out much. I do weekly workout videos and often feel pain in the days that follow. It’s extremely discouraging but I have decided enough is enough. I was able to get back to full strength in just under 5 months…so I damn sure can get there again. I’m not the most patient person but I’m learning how to be better. I began my PT regimen over the weekend and my plan is to do that 3-4x per week (not counting other workouts). I will also enlist the help of my coworker again- not so much for the corrective stuff but for the magical ART work that he does. 

I want to ease my shoulder back into things this time. Knowing how I get, I’ve decided to work towards a couple of goals to keep me motivated. My first goal is to do pull-ups again…and do them unassisted. After all, they were one of my favorite exercises. I’m pretty sure that’s how I blew my shoulder out but maybe if I don’t overtrain and do it right, I can do them better than before. Another goal of mine is to do another Spartan race. That’s not on the forfront as I’m a little skiddish about hurting myself unnecessarily…but it IS something I’d love to do again. Lastly, and maybe most important, my goal is to have pain-free workouts. That is going to require A LOT of patience but I’m going to do my very best.

This injury has taught me many valuable lessons. I need to be patient and truly trust the process. I don’t do myself any favors rushing things. No one tells you how hard this is mentally. Everyone focuses so much on the physical aspect that the mental is all but forgotten. After going through this myself, I’ll tell you the mental is so much more important. If you can’t will yourself through the pain and will yourself to do the work, you’ll never recover. It’s truly a testimony of your inner strength so much more than physical.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an injury or injury recovery, know that it DOES get better. Take the time you need to rest and really take the time to get to know your body. It’s a long process but you will come out on the other side…stronger than before.

Until next time, stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina