It’s been quite some time since I’ve written with full transparency and honesty about more than just food. If you look back at my posts from earlier this year, there was more depth to my writing. I’ve realized that the busier I got, the less I let myself think about tougher topics: what I’m struggling with, where I need to improve, and anything too far past the level of “here’s a yummy new recipe to try!” Today, I’m breaking that cycle and jumping on the soap box for a quick post.
I will say that the focus of this blog is to share RECIPES. I’m not a fitness “expert,” certified trainer, nutritionist, or a doctor — I just know two things: 1.) how to cook healthy foods that taste good, and 2.) what worked for me when I was trying to lose weight. I purposely don’t write posts like this very often because I don’t have the “official” knowledge to tell everyone who reads this how they should develop a training or nutritional plan. However, sometimes I learn things the hard way, and I want to share it out so that you can learn from my mistakes. :o) And, of course, I won’t click the “publish” button on any post without including a damn delicious recipe. If you’re not interested in reading any of this “deeper” stuff, scroll down for CAKE. (Or, scroll down for cake now, make the recipe, then scroll back up to read the rest of this post while you eat the delicious cake. Yeah, do that.)
As most of you know, I’ve been into the whole fitness scene for almost two years. My passion for this started with Synergy back in November 2012 and has continued to grow over time. There are NO signs of it fading. I accomplished every single one of my initial goals and have changed my life for the better in the process.
Last December over the holidays, I developed a sincere love for lifting weights and started hitting my apartment gym in addition to daily boot camp sessions. The “alone time” that I get while lifting is really the only time that I feel like I can completely shut off everything else and focus solely on beating personal records and getting stronger. It’s just me and the weights, and I love it. Adding lifting sessions into my routine really helped me avoid plateauing after losing the first 30 pounds, and after a year of being consistent with boot camp, it felt AMAZING to add more strength training into my routine. I felt like I needed more, so I started waking up at 5:30AM to lift and kept up with my 5:30PM boot camps.
A couple of months ago, two of my dearest friends started attending the 6:30PM boot camp immediately after mine at Synergy. Obviously, I love seeing my friends. Clearly, I love working out. So why the hell shouldn’t I stay for both classes and get to sweat next to my girls? Two-a-day boot camp sessions in the evenings paired with lifting at 5:30AM became a regular thing. I impressed myself with my ability to power through so much physical activity — two years ago, I couldn’t even run a mile — and I wanted to keep going. If you don’t know this about me, I like to push myself to my extremes without thinking twice. Seeing just how much I can handle is thrilling to me, because part of me likes to think I’m unbreakable. (SPOILER: I’m not.)
So, three-a-day workouts where I was burning 1600+ calories/day was my new “normal,” and it worked for a couple of months. I kept my weight under control throughout the summer and a splurge-filled Mexican getaway with zero problems, and I even put on a couple pounds of muscle (which is what I was going for at the time).
Over the last two weeks, my weight on the scale has been dropping. I (optimistically) thought the added muscle mass and extra workouts were starting to torch through those last few pounds of fat and kept the course. Even though I’m below 18% body fat and in the “Healthy” range, getting to that “Athletic” level of 14-15% is another one of those things I’d like to do just because the old me never thought I’d be able to. I figured that since I’d been nailing my macros and busting my ass during multiple workouts each day, I must have been headed in the right direction.
After getting my body fat tested on Monday, I realized that I was totally wrong.
Don’t Trust Your Bathroom Scale
The drop in weight that I was seeing on my scale at home was the WRONG kind of weight loss. Somehow, in spite of my continued trips to the weight room (think HOURS spent throwing around some heavy-ass dumbbells and lots of squats) and doubled-up boot camps, my lean muscle mass was depleting. Not fat. Literally hours upon hours of hard work, sweat, and soreness wasn’t doing me any good. Yep, it was a little disheartening to see that 3 of the 4 pounds I’d lost in the last 8 weeks was solid muscle.
What had been working throughout the first part of the summer needed to be re-evaluated. I know I’m eating enough of the right things, so this is a rare case where I honestly don’t think diet is the problem. After talking to my wonderful coach on Tuesday, she told me something I never thought I’d hear any coach say (much less to me): “You need to stop working out so much.”
Listen to your body
This week, I’ve learned my limits. The love that I’ve developed for working out and lifting is a GREAT thing, but every individual BODY has a breaking point. Over-training is brutally real. Back in July, I realized (and even wrote about) the fact that I’d been feeling more sore than usual. I was exhausted, irritable, and I wasn’t recovering at my usual rate. I ignored the warning signs that my body was sending me — which ALL screamed “you’re overtraining!” — assuming that skipping out on a day or two and jumping back into two- or three-a-days 5-6 times per week was the answer. If I hadn’t gotten hydrostatic body fat testing done on Monday, I’d probably still be thinking that way. I’d also probably end up losing muscle more rapidly if it took me longer to come to this realization, so I’m glad 3 pounds is all that’s gone. THIS is one of the many reasons why hydrostatic testing is so valuable!
Thankfully, I now know that as my body continues to change, I have to continually adapt my training plan. After talking with Kristina for a few minutes yesterday, she helped me decide on 5 camps and 3 lifting sessions per week (and no more back-to-back camps!) to back off a bit. I’ve been doing around 7-8 camps and 5-6 lifting sessions each week, so this will be a pretty significant change for me, but realistically, I don’t need to spend 2-3 hours working out every single day. It’s not maintainable, and my body isn’t responding well to it anymore. I haven’t even been allowing myself enough recovery time. The BIG problem with that? Muscles don’t grow in the gym. We effectively break them down during workouts, and the rest/recovery periods are where growth actually happens. Personally, I need to work on the rest part. :o)
Listen to YOUR body. Don’t always assume that more = better, or that any other person’s training routine is exactly what you should be following. AND, if your exercise plan isn’t working as well as it once was, take the time to re-evaluate. A major part of getting in shape is figuring out what works best for you at a given time. Trial and error, people. It’s necessary. Just like rest is, apparently. Ya’ live and learn, I guess.
August is my birthday month (10 days from today!), and there is no better excuse for tons of rainbow sprinkles. Last week, I was craving something other than my usual dessert of Arctic Zero, Reese’s Oreos, and Cool Whip, so I decided to whip up a new mugcake. Conveniently, I had a box of Funfetti cake mix in my top cupboard, so I decided to put it to use. No, cake mix isn’t the “cleanest” ingredient on the planet, and it certainly isn’t a nutrient-dense food by any means, but having a healthy relationship with food is all about balance. (More on that in an upcoming post.)
I haven’t met a single person that doesn’t love Funfetti cake, and I strongly believe that there is room for sprinkles in almost anyone’s diet. Plus, this is the best mugcake I have EVER made. Ever. Hands-down. It’s moist, delicious, not overly egg-flavored, and it doesn’t taste like it has protein powder in it. And, 10 minutes for a delicious, perfectly-portioned dessert is the best thing on earth.
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 scoop (34g) Cellucor Cor-Fetti protein powder (or 34g vanilla whey protein)
- 48g Funfetti cake mix
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 c almond milk
- 1/2 pkg fat free, sugar free vanilla pudding mix
- 2 tsp coconut sugar (or 3 drops of liquid stevia)
- 1 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
- Mix protein powder and cake mix in a bowl
- Combine egg, yogurt, applesauce, and water in a separate bowl
- Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined
- Pour into two lightly greased coffee mugs
- Microwave for 2 or 3 two-minute intervals on 70% power, depending on how strong your microwave is
- For topping: combine almond milk, pudding mix, and sugar in a small bowl. Refrigerate until thickened, then pour on top of your finished mugcakes.
- MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Top with 1/2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles. (I also served mine with 1 scoop of Strawberry Arctic Zero. YUM.)