Monday, February 17, 2014

Healthy Grocery List & Meal Plan

You've probably heard the old saying "Abs are made in the kitchen." That's because 80% of fitness is related to diet. Now, I'm no dietician, but I can promise that even if you workout like a machine, you won't get the results you're after if you're not fueling your body with the proper nutrition.

With so many diets and buzz-words out there (Paleo, Dukan, Mediterranean, Atkins, Flexitarian, organic, non-GMO) and so many restrictions (gluten-free, no-carb, no-fat, no-sugar) etc., how do you know what to eat? The solution is much simpler than you think.

Throw all those diets out the window, and go back to the basics. Just focus on eating non- or minimally-processed natural ingredients like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and proteins, nuts, etc. and prepare them in ways that won't drain them of their nutrients. For example, try steaming, stir-frying, grilling, broiling, baking or microwaving instead of pan-frying and boiling. And instead of slathering on the condiments (which are full of added salt and sugar), try seasoning your foods with a mix of dried herbs, or olive-oil and seasoning mix. And the bonus? When you eat healthy foods, you can eat more of what you love!

I'm not a nutritionist, and everybody is different, but I wanted to share with you what has worked for ME. So to get you started, I put together a list of suggested grocery items. Stick to this list and you honestly can't go wrong. Tip: Print this out and take it with you to the grocery store!

5 tips to help you make smart food choices: 

1. Every change you make to improve your diet matters. Start by making small changes like cooking with olive oil instead of butter when cooking, or adding a fresh salad to your diet once a day.

2. PLAN AHEAD! I know that if I don't plan my meals out ahead of time, I have a really hard time figuring out what to eat when hunger strikes.

3. If you are shopping without a pre-planned grocery list, stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store.

4. Don't focus on what you can't eat. Instead, fill your shopping cart foods you CAN eat, and there won't be any room left for the crap you don't need.

5. Still not sure about a food? Check the ingredients list. If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't eat it.

post signature

P90X3 Nutrition Plan and Menu

As promised in my Week 1 Review of P90X3, I wanted to tell you a little bit about the AMAZING nutrition plan the program comes with.

While many weight-loss programs focus on what you can't eat, or have you counting calories to produce a calorie deficit (where you burn more throughout the day than you eat), X3 instead shows you how much protein, fat and carbohydrate you should be eating in each meal or snack based on your gender, weight, activity level and goals. You then refer to the extensive list of foods provided for each category and build your meals.

For example, my daily plan (female, moderately active lifestyle, 126 lbs., wants to maintain current weight) looks like this (although you are allowed to move the numbers around as desired, as long as your daily intake for each category remains unchanged).
If you are a veteran of the original P90X, you will remember the awesome recipe book it came with (I still pull recipes from it weekly!), but be prepared -- the X3 nutrition guide is a little different. It tells you what foods (ingredients) you can use, but not necessarily how to prepare them. (This could be a pro or a con for you, depending on your cooking style). But the list of ingredients provided in each category is pretty extensive so I don't care who you are,  you will be able to find something you like here.

And the X3 guide does have some GREAT recipes for spice blends to use in your cooking (all-purpose, mexican, italian, cajun, lemon-pepper, seasoned salt, asian spice and seafood seasoning) as well as several homemade salad dressing recipes (balsamic vinaigrette, citrus vinaigrette, asian ginger vinaigrette, basil vinaigrette, sweet chipotle vinaigrette, creamy herbed salad dressing, and cumin vinaigrette). I've tried most of them and they are all DELICIOUS!

So you are probably wondering what the numbers mean and how much you can really eat. The guide offers two systems of measuring your food to choose from. The "way of the hand" uses -- you guessed it -- your hand to measure out foods, and the "micromanagement method" which relies on actual weights and measurements. I am a perfectionist (and horrible at eyeballing measurements), so I follow the micromanagement method using my food scale and measuring cups, but I bet most people would find the hand measurements to be much simpler to follow.
As mentioned, the list of ingredients provided for each category is pretty extensive -- to the point that I found it a little overwhelming, so I actually ended up creating my own short list with just the foods that I typically eat. Because it's so long I will save that for a future post. For now I just want to share with you what my meal plan for the first few days looked like. As you can see, I incorporate Shakeology into my routine every morning, and I typically don't vary my meals too much from one day to the next (I like to use up everything I buy at the grocery store). I ate plenty every day and never felt hungry. 

post signature

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chocolate Strawberry Protein Pancakes

Today's breakfast was AH-MAZING and I just had to share this delicious recipe for Chocolate Shakeology Protein Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce. They're clean eating, delicious and super-easy!


  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup raw oats
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
Blend all ingredients and pour into a hot, lightly greased pan (as you would any other pancakes!)


  • A few fresh strawberries, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. honey
Blend all ingredients and drizzle over pancakes. So good. 

post signature

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Recipe: Sweet & Tangy Strawberry Salad

I made this super-easy salad for lunch the other day and thought I'd share the recipe!

For Salad: 
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 tsp. minced sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. minced green onion

For Dressing: 
(Makes 1/2 cup; save the extra for other salads - use within 1 week)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/2 green onion

Put all dressing ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, Place all salad ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. salad dressing. Toss until thoroughly mixed. 

This recipe is perfect for make-ahead meal prep. I love this idea from my 12 Day Challenger Christine! She prepared enough for the entire week and stored it in grab-and-go mason jars to prevent the salad from getting soggy. Genius! 

{Photo credit: Christine Scott}

post signature

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

P90X3 - A Beginner's Review of Week 1

I have to admit, I was hesitant to buy P90X3. The commercials and ads look downright scary and I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up with the program, much less complete it. But I was ready to get serious about my fitness, and as a busy mama the 30-minute workouts really appealed to me so I went for it.

I can honestly say after completing week one, I am officially HOOKED. I've since had to take a break due to an unrelated back injury - but I wanted to get this up ASAP for those of you who are considering the program but are uncertain if you can do it. Because the answer is, YOU CAN!

First off, I love the flexibility the program offers. You can chose between four schedule options based on your specific goals: Classic - a traditional balance of cardio, resistance, and muscle confusion to help lose fat, gain muscle and increase agility; Lean - designed for those who prefer a more tines look (higher focus on cardio); Mass - for those looking for bulk over getting ripped; and Doubles - accelerated fitness gains and weight loss for those who are ready for it. I also love that you don't need a ton of equipment. I use a resistance band (instead of a pull-up bar) and two 5 pound dumbbells. THAT'S IT!

As a first timer, I chose to go with the classic schedule. Here's my daily breakdown for week 1:

Day 1 - Total Synergistics 
A full-body resistance workout utilizing multiple muscle groups in every exercise. The moves combined yoga balance poses with some light weights and hopping moves: push-ups, side planks, chair pose, crunches, boat pose and squats. The modifications were totally doable for a beginner like me and I can't tell you how amazing it felt to successfully complete my first P90X3 workout!

Day 2 - Agility X
A full-body workout that requires using two strips on tape to mark target spots on the floor to dictate movement. It uses aerobic and anaerobic energy to focus on precision, power, flexibility, balance and strength. I woke up sore after day 1, but I loved that day 2 didn't require any equipment or weights, just the force of my own body.

Day 3 - X3 Yoga
By day 3, yoga was exactly what my body needed to recharge and relax mentally and physically. It was by no means an easy routine, but I was able to get through most of the moves without modifications which shows that my arms are already getting stronger.

Day 4 - The Challenge
The Challenge is 30 minutes of various push-ups and pull-ups. I can't do one pull-up to save my life, but luckily they show you how to use a resistance band instead to modify. This workout was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but I completed it (modified the push-ups also by going on my knees) and I felt amazing having challenged myself! Note: Your arms will feel like jell-o after this one!

Day 5 - CVX
If you know me at all, you know I am not a big fan of cardio and day 5 was cardio using a light weight. I started off optimistic using my 5 lb. dumbbell, but as you can see in my day 5 picture below, that was too much for me and I switched to using one of my daughter's lightweight toys after the first minute. But I made it through all 30 minutes (with a couple of added water breaks) and burned almost 400 calories, which is a lot for me!

Day 6 - The Warrior
Day 6 was a tough workout, but it was Saturday so my husband and daughter were both home cheering me on, so I really gave it my all. The Warrior is an equipment-free workout based on military training techniques that combines upper- and lower-body resistance with core and cardio workouts. Like I said, day 6 was tough- but knowing that it was my last workout of the week was a huge motivation for me to kill it - and I did!

Day 7 - Rest
I made it through my first week of P90X3 and it feels AMAZING. If you told me a year ago that I'd be doing and CRUSHING a P90X workout, I would have laughed in your face. It's so amazing what can happen when you change your mindset, focus on your WHY, and set up a support system. Having an online support group with others doing the program has been such a blessing and motivation!

The other thing I love about P90X3 is that it comes with a complete nutrition plan to help you achieve maximum results. Remember, all that hard work is for nothing if you're not eating right -- you can't outrun your fork!! Read more about the nutrition plan and my week 1 meal schedule in a later post

If you would like to join me in doing P90X3, my challenge group will guide you through the entire program, getting you the amazing results you're after. You'll even have the chance to win $500 for submitting your before and after photos! Contact me to learn more, I can't wait to work with you!

post signature

Monday, February 3, 2014

21 Reasons to Try 21 Day Fix

As you know from a previous post, I am really passionate about Beachbody's newest program the 21 Day Fix because it combines simple portion control with effective yet easy-to-follow 30-minute workouts. It's designed for real people trying to lead a healthy lifestyle in the real world and places equal emphasis on exercise AND nutrition -- a critical factor that most exercise programs ignore.

The program is FINALLY available today only through your Beachbody coach. Here are 21 great reasons to try 21 Day Fix now:

1. Rapid results in just three weeks. Who says you have to bust your butt all Spring to get a bathing suit ready body? 21 Day Fix is designed to help you lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days. Slim down and tone up in under a month!

2. No room for nonsense. The most simplistic Beachbody program ever, 21 Day Fix is designed for actual people who don't have time for complicated food math, or lengthy exercise regimens. Using portion control and effective 30-minute workouts, this program is easy to get on and stay on -- even after your 21 days!

3. Shakeology's new best friend. Already a Shakeology lover? You don't have to miss out on your daily dose of dense nutrition with this program. It's integrated right into the meal plan!

4. Give calorie counting the boot. Say goodbye to the labors of counting calories. Complete with seven food-storage containers specifically designed to measure correct food portions, this program let's you ditch the calculator so you can spend more time enjoying your food!

5. Save BIG on the Challenge Pack Promotion. Save $20 off your Challenge Pack when you buy it in February. It is reduced from $160 to $140 and makes a perfect Valentine's Day gift for yourself and your loved ones! Currently, 21 Day Fix is ONLY available through a Beachbody Coach (like me!) Purchase your Challenge Pack here.

6. Eat what you want. Lose weight by eating the right serving sizes -- not by eliminating your favorite foods. Finally, a fitness program where you can have our wine and chocolate, and eat it, too!

7. FREE shipping for the month of February (with Base Kit). Rescue your waistline and your pocketbook by taking advantage of this limited-time, free-shipping order.

8. Easy-to-follow workouts. Fitness trainer Autumn Calabrese's 30-minute, total-body workouts have no complicated dance moves or choreography, so people at any fitness level can start the program and wind up a workout champion!

9. Modifications for every move. These workouts are designed to get your body moving while keeping you injury free. Whether you're ready to push harder or need modification, they provide the option you need so you get the workout that's best for YOU.

10. No complicated recipes or weird food ingredients. 21 Day Fix is designed to help you make smarter choices about real food - none of that funky stuff you have to buy at a health food store. By eating your food in a smart way, you'll set the routine for healthy eating habits that are sustainable for life.

11. A trainer you can relate to. A single mom, Autumn understands that real people don't have time for complicated fitness and diet regimens. Workout with a trainer who understands what will work for you.

12. Restaurant guide included. There's no need to give up your social life in the name of weight loss. Using the 21 Day Fix Restaurant Guide, you'll learn how to make smart choices while dining out with friends and family.

13. 21 Days to a free t-shirt and more. Enter the Beachbody Challenge to get a free t-shirt and a chance to win up to $100,000! A shot at big money prizes and the ability to wear your hard-earned effort (literally) on your sleeve? Don't pass this opportunity up.

14. Containers are perfect for meals-on-the-go. Don't let travel get in the way of your healthy eating. Your seven, perfectly portioned food containers are BPA free, DEHP free, top-rack dishwasher safe, and microwavable, making them perfect to take along to work or on vacation.

15. Keep cooking for your family. Unlike other diet plans that have you eating pre-packaged meals or unpalatable dishes, 21 Day Fix let's you eat real food, including the recipes you cook for your family. As long as your portions fit in your containers, you can still enjoy chowing down with the people you love.

16. Stay on track with the post-FIX maintenance guide. The hardest part about getting fit is staying fit, With the 21 Day Fix maintenance guide, you'll be able to keep those hard earned results long after swimsuit season is over.

17. All of these testimonials are amazing reasons: 

Chelsea O. - Lost 10 lbs. & 14" "Finishing the Fix, I don't think I have ever felt this healthy, this strong, this accomplished in my entire life. I'm going to look my best on my wedding day and that is the biggest gift I could have ever received."

18. Neil B. - Lost 11 lbs. & 9" "I went from 168 to 157. To be able to do that in 21 days was amazing. I feel light. I feel fresh. I feel renewed. The 21 Day Fix, it's my new secret weapon."

19. Mary C. - Lost 64 lbs. & 57" "The way I look and the energy I have is just fantastic. I feel like I'm at least 20 years younger. It's never too late to lose weight. 21 Day Fix has definitely changed my life."

20. Deon C. - Lost 111 lbs. & 58" "After completing the 21 Day Fix and achieving my results, I will continue to do the 21 Day Fix for as long as I live. I'm not stopping. It changed my life. It saved my life."
Deon sharing his story with Montel Williams and Autumn Calabrese about how he lost 111 lbs. through ten rounds of 21 Day Fix -- including 21 lbs. in his first 21 days!

21. Beachbody Co-Founder and CEO, Carl Daikeler, even got amazing results. "I was blown away at my 12 pound weight loss and visible transformation in 21 days!"

Or, if you're looking for something a little more extreme, the all new 21 Day Fix Extreme is scheduled to launch in February 2015! To be notified when it's available and enter for a chance to WIN IT FREE, make sure you get on the email list HERE!

post signature

Saturday, February 1, 2014

FREE 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge - Red Hot & Healthy

Here it is! The 5 Day Red Hot & Healthy Clean Eating Challenge has become the first step for reaching your long-term weight-loss goal! This program is designed to show you how far you can come in just 5 days by focusing on clean eating, exercise and implementing Shakeology into your diet (if you choose to). Trust me, THIS WORKS!

What is Clean Eating?

Very simply, clean eating is based on consuming foods in their most natural state, or as close to that as possible. It isn't a diet, but a lifestyle approach that leads to an improved life - one meal at  time!

With clean eating, you will forgo processed and refined foods such as white flour, sugar, bread and pasta in exchange for consuming lean proteins, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains to keep your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long. You will also want to avoid anything high in saturated and trans fat, anything fried or anything high in sugar. 

What this FREE challenge includes: 
  • A specific meal plan with each meal and snack planned out for you
  • An amazing 24/7 online support group to keep each other motivated and on track!
  • Fitness and nutrition tips and advice from me and my fellow coaches.
  • The chance to WIN a brand new workout to add to your long-term plan of attack!

Official challenge rules: 

There is no charge to participate in the 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge. All that we ask is that you actively participate and adhere to the rules below:
  • Sign up to have me as your FREE Team Beachbody coach
  • Send me your starting weight by Day 1
  • Drink 1 Shakeology shake per day* (*This is optional. If you would like to try it, you can purchase the 5-day supply from me for $25)
  • Follow the meal plan that I will provide for you
  • Do 30 minutes of exercise (even walking counts!) every day
  • Post your exercise and food journal to the group each day
  • Send me your end weight after 5 days
What can you win? 

Shaun T's amazing Hip Hop Abs Extreme DVD!

How do you win? 
  • Commit to the rules and you will be entered to win! There is no purchase necessary to enter. 
  • Participants who purchase a 5-day supply os Shakeology from me will receive an additional entry to the prize drawing. 
  • Participants who order a 30-day supply of Shakeology and/or purchase a workout program from me before the challenge ends will receive two additional entries to the prize drawing... a reward for going that extra step toward reaching your goals!
How to join: 

You *MUST* contact me ASAP to reserve your spot. You can also email me at with "Red Hot & Healthy" in the subject line, or message me on Facebook at Please feel free to invite any friends you think would like to participate... the bigger the support system and accountability, the better! However, the optional Shakeology is available on a first come, first served basis. Any participants who would like to purchase Shakeology will need to purchase their order by February 4th to receive it in time. 

post signature