Core De Force Power Sculpt Review!

Power Sculpt is one of two strength training workouts in Core De Force – the mixed martial arts program developed by Beachbody.  It contains more cardio moves than Dynamic Strength, so you really get your heart rate up throughout the workout.

Power Sculpt

  • Length:  37 minutes.
  • Number of Rounds: 9.
  • Equipment:  None.
  • Description:  A total-body burner designed to sculpt lean muscle and build next-level endurance with explosive power and interval training.

Format:  There are 9 rounds.  With all Core De Force workouts, a “round” is 3 minutes long, like a boxing round.  However, unlike the workouts that start with “MMA,” the format for a round is a little different for Power Sculpt, as it is more similar to the format of Dynamic Strength.  There are three moves in each round – the first move is considered to be the easiest and performed for 1 minute; the second move is a little more difficult and performed for 45 seconds; and the final move is considered to be the hardest and performed for only 30 seconds.  You will typically see one variation of a push-up, one leg move, and one move that focuses on the core and/or balance.  There are 4 original rounds; after you do them, you start from the top.  There is a final 9th burnout round with no breaks.

Warm Up:  A short warm-up of the following moves:  pulse side-to-side with a chest opener, pulse side-to-side with shoulder rolls, jumping jacks, alternating windmills to warm up the hamstrings, hip rolls, and a torso rotation.

Round 1 and 5:

1. Hip Drive Throughs.  I need to do a video to describe this one sometime.  Basically, you start in a seated position, then roll onto your back, raising your legs and hips into the sky, then rolling forward into a kneeling fight stance.  This one’s fun, and a great first move to get the blood flowing!

2.  Jumping Firefly.  Crouching push-ups with an oblique knee.  ROUGH!

3.  Half Monkey to Guard.  These are similar to gorilla crawls from 22-Minute Hard Corps, but a little easier, as you’re only doing one rep from side to side, and you stay a little higher in the squat.

Round 2 and 6:

1.  Switch Roundhouse Kick.

2.  Ground-to-Fighter Stance.  One of my favorite moves!  Start from a fight stance.  Drop to the ground into a plank, then let your entire chest hit the floor, then spring back up into fighter stance.  Here’s a short video to demonstrate this one:

3.  Low Stance Switch.  Start in a squat position.  Jump your feet so that you’re twisting through your core, and one foot alternates being slightly forward. Return to squat position.  Alternate.

Round 3 and 7:

1.  Ginga Hop.  Ginga lunge, then jump laterally into a lunge on the other side.

2.  Alternating Clinch Knee.  This is one of the big cardio moves of the workout, performed for 45 seconds!  Lean forward to grab your imaginary opponent’s head, then lean back as you knee it!  Go as fast as you can while maintaining good form.  Here’s a short video to show you the move:

3.  Triple Alligator Push-ups.  This one is strength and cardio combined!  Start in a low spider lunge, do three push-ups, then do a plyometric switch to change positions. Brutal!

Round 4 and 8:

1.  Roll Jumps.  Roll back, jump; roll front, jump.  Easy?  Jump higher!

2.  Plank Skaters.  Start in a bear stance.  Move your right leg over your left so that it’s diagonally behind your body.  Return to bear stance.  Switch sides.  I like to add a hop in between to make it a little harder.

3.  Superman Push-ups.  Push-up with an alternating arms and leg raise at the top of the move.  Here’s a short video to show you the move:

Round 9:

1.  Reverse Lunge, Clinch Knees.  Basically lunges with alternating knees.  30 seconds on each side.  Jericho modifies the move to make it more difficult by adding a hop with the clinch knee.

2. Push-up, Leg Check.  Push-up with an alternating leg check.  One minute. OMG.

3.  Guarded Squat to Squat Jump.  Squat to a jump.  Demonstrated in this video:

Cooldown:  There’s a short cooldown (around 2 minutes) with the following moves:  Hip flexor to calf stretch with a shoulder stretch, quad stretch, hamstring stretch, upper back stretch, chest opener stretch.


The verdict?  This is one of two strength training exercises from the program, and it’s definitely a bit harder than Dynamic Strength.  The bursts of cardio between some of the lower impact strength moves keeps your heart rate up throughout the duration of the workout.  A lot of the moves in this workout are just, quite simply, FUN.  The hip drive throughs, for example, just make me feel like I’m a kid rolling around!

Interested in Core De Force?  You have a couple of options to buy it.  You can get a challenge pack that comes with Shakeology, or a performance pack that comes with two of my favorite performance supplements – Energize and Recover.  You can also check out the base kit or deluxe kit.

Need support?  It just so happens that I coach people through at-home fitness programs, like Core De Force!  So, if you order the program through one of the links on this site, I’ll be happy to work with you to help you stay on track and plug you into one of my online accountability groups!

Have questions?  Comment below or send me an email at distilledjill@gmail.com!

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Core De Force Dynamic Strength Review

How many different ways can you do a push-up?  This workout answers that question!

Dynamic Strength

  • Length:  47 minutes.
  • Number of Rounds: 12.
  • Equipment:  None.
  • Description:  Low on impact but high on intensity, this no-equipment, bodyweight throwdown is designed to carve impressive definition.

Format:  There are 12 rounds.  With all Core De Force workouts, a “round” is 3 minutes long, like a boxing round.  However, unlike the workouts that start with “MMA,” the format for a round is a little different for Dynamic Strength.  There are three moves in each round, each performed for around one minute.  You will typically see one variation of a push-up, one leg move, and one move that focuses on the core and/or balance.  There are two parts to this workout – during the first half, you are learning the moves, then in the second half, Joe and Jericho introduce a way to make the move more difficult by adding a progression.  Here is the format of the workout:

Warm Up:  A short warm-up of the following moves:  pulse side-to-side with a chest opener, pulse side-to-side with shoulder rolls, jumping jacks, alternating windmills to warm up the hamstrings, hip rolls, and a torso rotation.

Round 1 and 7:

1.  Inchworm Push-ups.  Here’s a short video of this move from the progression in Round 7, where you add a leg lift on each push-up.  During Round 1, there is no leg lift.

2.  Bridge Reachover.  This move is inspired by Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  Here’s a short video of the Round 7 move with a progression where you lift your heels off of the ground.  During Round 1, your heels stay on the ground.

3.  Single Leg Balance with a Kick (right side).  Another short video to show you this move.  There’s not really a progression in Round 7, though you can focus on kicking higher.

Round 2 and 8:

1.  Scissor Push-ups.  This move is rough!  It’s also in Insanity Max: 30, which is my favorite at-home fitness program by the way.  Starting in push-up position, bring one leg under your body so that your foot is on the opposite side.  The progression is Round 8 is actually floating your leg off of the ground, rather than having it rest on the floor.

2.  Sumo Squat with a Leg Check.  Squat, then at the top of the squat alternate raising one leg for an oblique crunch.  There’s no progression on Round 8; just try to get deeper into the squat.

3.  Single Leg Balance with a Kick (left side).  Same move as Round 1, just on the opposite leg.

Round 3 and 9:

1.  Walking Split Push-up.  I’m weird.  This is my favorite move from this workout.  Here’s a short video to show you this one, which include the Round 9 progression, where you raise a leg.  During Round 3, both feet stay on the floor.

2.  Circle Sit Uppercut.  Starting your back, do a sit-up with an uppercut at the top.  For the Round 9 progression, you add a hook.

3.  Balance Repeating Side Kick, Tap Down (right side).  This is a fairly slow side kick that gives you the chance to focus on your form and engage your core.  In the Round 9 progression, don’t tap your foot on the floor.  It’s a real balance challenge!

Round 4 and 10:

1.  Push-up to Knee Escape.  A push-up with an alternating knee tap.  In the Round 10 progression, as shown in the video, you instead tap your toe.

2. Floating Starfish.  Lay on your belly with your arms in front of you.  Raise your arms and legs off of the floor and alternate raising your right arm with your left leg and vice versa.  In the Round 10 progression, keep all limbs off the floor, while raising and lowering them all at the same time.

3.  Balanced Repeating Side Kick, Tap Down (left side).  Same as Round 6 move, but on the other leg.

Round 5 and 11:

1.  Triple Wide Push-ups.  There are three brutal push-ups in this move:  a tricep push, them walk your hands out to a regular push-up, then walk them out to a wide push-up.  There’s no Round 11 progression, but the challenge is to stay on your toes in both rounds!

2.  Left Reverse Lunge with a Twist.  Start in a lunge, then at the top of the lunge, raise your leg and twist through your core.  There’s no Round 11 progression.

3.  Alternating Side Plank.  Start in a forearm plank, rotate into a side plank, and punch your arm into the sky.  For the Round 11 progression, in addition to raising one arm, you raise your leg as well.

Round 6 and 12:

1.  Sphinx Blasters.  This is the hardest move in this workout… and maybe even the entire Core De Force program!  Here’s a short video of me doing this on my knees.  In Round 12, try to do a couple on your toes!

2.  Right Reverse Lunge with a Twist.  Same move as Round 5, but on the opposite leg.

3.  Sit-up Escape.  Great ground fighting move!  Start on your back with your front leg straight and your back leg bent with your knee to the sky.  With your hands in guard, do a sit-up, then transition into a bear stance, then switch sides for the sit-up.  There’s no Round 12 progression, but I like to try to do a hop in between sides.

Cooldown:  Staying on the floor, drop your knees to one side for a torso twist, followed by a hamstring stretch on your back with ankle rotations.  Roll up into a seated position.  The cooldown ends with a shoulder stretch, tricep stretch, and a chest opener stretch.


The verdict?  Other than the Active Recovery workout, this is probably the easiest of the Core De Force workouts, despite the numerous push-ups, though several of the moves are still pretty challenging!  It’s low-impact, but I definitely worked up a sweat!

Interested in Core De Force?  You have a couple of options to buy it.  You can get a challenge pack that comes with Shakeology, or a performance pack that comes with two of my favorite performance supplements – Energize and Recover.  You can also check out the base kit or deluxe kit.

Need support?  It just so happens that I coach people through at-home fitness programs, like Core De Force!  So, if you order the program through one of the links on this site, I’ll be happy to work with you to help you stay on track and plug you into one of my online accountability groups!

Have questions?  Comment below or send me an email at distilledjill@gmail.com!

Day 1 of Core De Force!

It’s here!  It’s here!

I am an at-home fitness junkie.  I lost 60 pounds without EVER stepping foot in a gym thanks to a variety of at-home fitness programs that I can do in the small living room of my condo in the city, practicing clean eating, and drinking Shakeology.  But before Insanity, the 21-Day Fix, and PiYo, I was doing Tae Bo.  I begged my mom to buy it for me in high school, and it was my very FIRST at-home fitness program that got me hooked on exercising at home.

So, when I heard that Beachbody – the creators of things like P90X, Body Beast, and Focus T25 – were coming out with a mixed martial arts program, I was ecstatic!  It’s called Core De Force, which it is so named because it is actually designed to work my #1 trouble area – the core.

cdf-arrived
So happy when Core De Force arrived in the mail!

According to Beachbody, each move, whether it’s a jab, a kick, or an uppercut, works your core from every angle.  The trainers and co-creators of Core De Force – Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews – call this 360-Degree Core Training, and I hear it’s more effective than traditional abdominal training to help you tighten up your entire midsection and carve a more defined waist.  Sounds like exactly like what I need!

Core de Force is a 30-day program, and it came with 8 different workouts on 3 DVDs that alternate Boxing, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai combinations, cardio spikes, and bodyweight training.  These’s also an Active Recovery workout for your rest day and a 5-minute relief workout full of stretches to help you prepare for the following day.  You don’t need any equipment for the program either, which is also appealing.  Perfect if you have to travel for the holidays or life in general.  The program also comes with a nutrition plan that uses the portion fix containers of the 21-Day Fix program, but I opted not to follow the nutrition plan.  I found my groove drinking Shakeology and being a clean-eating vegan Mondays through Fridays with decadent cheat meals on the weekends.  So, right now, I’m generally happy with where I am, and I’m in maintenance mode.

Anyway, enough background.  Let’s talk about my experience with Day 1.  Day 1 includes one workout – MMA Speed.

MMA Speed

  • Length:  27 minutes.
  • Number of Rounds: 6.
  • Equipment:  None.
  • Description:  Upper body- and core-focused, this Boxing-influenced workout is short – but packs a serious punch.

Learn It:  The first things I notice about this workout is that you are given the option to select either to do the workout or something called “Learn It & Work It,” which is 7 minutes long.  I opted not to learn it and work it because I’ve done both Tae Bo, Les Mills Combat, and some self defense in the past, so I had a feeling I could catch on quickly.  Plus, I’m short on time in the mornings, so the less I have to do, the better!  For the less coordinated, or people who are unfamiliar with basic MMA moves (like uppercuts and hooks), then I’d recommend starting with Learn It & Work It before jumping into MMA Speed.

Music:  Second thing I notice is that I am given the option to play the music that comes with the program or turn it off.  I normally listen to the music that comes with the program the first time I do it, and then if it’s generic music, I’ll opt to play my own workout playlist in the future.

Format:  There are six rounds.  A “round” is 3 minutes long, like a boxing round.  A round includes a one-minute MMA combination, then a 30-second cardio spike, repeat both the one-minute and the 30-second moves, then a 30-second break, during which the next move is explained.  Here is the format of the workout:

  • Warm Up:  A short warm-up of the following moves:  jog in place, pulse side-to-side with a chest opener, pulse side-to-side with shoulder rolls, alternating toe taps to warm up the hamstrings, hip openers, and a torso rotation.
  • Round 1:  Jab, cross, roll back, roll front for 1 minute, with a 30-second cardio spike of high-knee jump rope; repeat.  Here’s a video of the MMA conditioning move for this round:

  • Round 2:  Rear knee, switch knee for 1 minute, with a 30-second cardio spike of up/down jab cross; repeat.
  • Round 3:  Cross, hook, rear knee, switch knee for 1 minute, with a 30-second cardio spike of up/down hooks; repeat.
  • Round 4:  Front uppercut, rear uppercut, hook, roll front, roll back for 1 minute, with a 30-second cardio spike of rotating uppercuts; repeat.
  • Round 5:  Cross, hook, rear knee, double jab, cross for 1 minute, with a 30-second cardio spike of roll jumps.  Roll jumps always manage to get my heart rate up!

  • Round 6:  Rear uppercut, hook, cross, switch knee for 1 minute, with a 30-second cardio spike of ground-to-fighter stance.  Ground-to-fighter stance is one of my favorite cardio spikes!  You get knocked down? Get yourself up!

  • Cooldown:  A short cooldown of the following moves:  hip flexor stretch, calf stretch with a shoulder stretch, quad stretch, hamstring stretch, upper back stretch, and a chest opener stretch.

The verdict?  Day 1 has me HOOKED (no pun intended).  I love that this workout not only works the body, but the mind too.  It doesn’t feel like it’s choreographed, like Cize or Les Mills Combat does, but, similarly, you are learning some combinations, which requires some muscle memory, coordination, and agility.  I workout first thing in the morning, when my brain isn’t totally awake yet, so I feel like this workout helps me wake up my brain in addition to my body.

The workout also includes one person who is modifying the workout, so if you need to decrease the range of motion or take out some of the high impact for your joints, you can follow the modifier and still get a great workout.

Interested in Core De Force?  You have a couple of options to buy it.  You can get a challenge pack that comes with Shakeology, or a performance pack that comes with two of my favorite performance supplements – Energize and Recover.  You can also check out the base kit or deluxe kit.

Need support?  It just so happens that I coach people through at-home fitness programs, like Core De Force!  So, if you order the program through one of the links on this site, I’ll be happy to work with you to help you stay on track and plug you into one of my online accountability groups!

Have questions?  Comment below or send me an email at distilledjill@gmail.com!

My Review: 22-Minute Hard Corps

Well… I did it!  I completed 22-Minute Hard Corps!  While I’ve been posting in here somewhat regularly regarding my progress and the workouts, I also wanted to do a final summary of thoughts on the program as a whole.

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A happy girl finished with 22-Minute Hard Corps!

The Basics:  For those who are just now reading my blog, 22-Minute Hard Corps is an eight-week military-style bootcamp at-home fitness program developed by celebrity trainer Tony Horton.  Workouts are only 22 minutes, and they’re a mix of cardio and resistance training DVDs.

What did I love about this program?  I loved that it was only 22 minutes long.  This is one of the shortest workouts out there produced by Beachbody (with 10-Minute Trainer and Focus T25 being similarly short).  Having done many at-home fitness programs, I believe that 22-Minute Hard Corps is easily the most efficient workouts you can get for the time you’re spending exercising.  I also love Tony Horton.  He’s an awesome trainer.  I loved that the moves were not normally complicated.  The branding is also awesome.  It honors veterans and the military by using real military veterans in the workouts, it’s filmed in all sorts of military-themed locations, and the bootcamp-style seems pretty authentic.

What did I not like about the program?  The workouts can get repetitive.  With only three cardio and three resistance workouts over the course of eight weeks (nine weeks if you do the optional Hell Week), I was starting to get bored near the end of the 2 months.  Plus, many of the moves are similar.  For example, there is some variation of a burpee in every cardio workout AND some of the resistance ones as well.  Going into this program, I LOVED burpees, really I did.  But Hard Corps made me never want to see one again.  😛 There are also two core/abs workouts, but you do the same moves in both workouts, you’re just increasing the number of repetitions.  You also do the core workout every other day, with your cardio workouts, so the core workouts got a little repetitive too.

Was it hard?  Sometimes, yes.  I’m a graduate of many of Beachbody’s toughest programs, like Insanity and P90X, and Hard Corps kicked my ass at times.  Cardio 2 is one of THE hardest workouts out there, primarily due to the gorilla crawls and the way they’re incorporated into the larger workout.  Your legs are toast at the end.  I found all of the workouts doable, but challenging, and I got ridiculously sweaty in the mere 22 minutes.  Here’s a peek at each of the moves from Cardio 2, which I contend is one of the hardest workouts Beachbody has made:

Can anyone do this program?  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no.  I know that Beachbody probably likes for all of their programs to be workable for people of all fitness levels and there IS a modifier for all of the moves, but without totally modifying some of the moves into completely different moves, I don’t think Hard Corps is for everyone.  Some of these moves are VERY hard on your joints.  I consider myself to be a pretty fit person, and I woke up one day after Resistance 3 and my knees were in severe pain from mountain squats.  There are many moves in this program that put a lot of strain on your knees, elbows, and joints.  It is very important that you’re doing these moves on a comfortable, cushioned surface.  Get a mat.  So, if you have issues with those types of moves, there is something else out there for you.  Let’s chat if you need some recommendations.  Here are the mountain squats that messed with my knees:

I will also note that I experienced a bit of lower back pain during this program, which is NOT normal for me.  I would randomly pull a lower back muscle and need to modify for a day or two until it improved.  That had never happened to me during another workout program before.  I think it was because I wasn’t warmed up enough before jumping into the workouts, as the warm-ups are very short.  I found that the pain happened more during the resistance workouts, so I started warming up before all of the resistance workouts with the Cold Start (10-minute warm-up) and I never had back issues again.  So, I would definitely recommend incorporating the Cold Start warm-up as much as possible.  It’ll make your workouts 10 minutes longer, but it’s worth it.

What is Hell Week?  Did you do it?  Yes, I did.  I didn’t come so far to crap out at the end!  If you haven’t had enough after eight weeks of 22-Minute Hard Corps, you can choose to complete the optional Hell Week at the end.  The Hell Week includes 2-3 workouts a day, so 44-54 minutes of workouts a day, rather than just 22 minutes.  It is very hard, and you’re wasted at the end of each day, but it’s amazing.  I felt very challenged during Hell Week.  Here’s the Hell Week calendar:

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Hell Week Challenge

Did you follow the nutrition plan?  No.  I’m generally pretty healthy with my diet.  I drink Shakeology everyday.  I’m also a weekday clean-eating vegan.  On the weekends, I’ll do some calorie splurges and enjoy some cocktails, but no, I did not really change my diet at all for this program.

Did you use any supplements?  Yes.  I used Energize, which is a preworkout energy drink.  It’s all natural – no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives, and NO FILLERS.  It’s vastly superior to every other preworkout drink on the market, including my old preworkout drink – Energy and Endurance.  My cardiovascular endurance really improved during the program and I could push a lot harder and longer through my workouts, and I attribute some of that to Energize.

What kind of results did you get?  Honestly, being in pretty decent shape already, I didn’t lose a ton of weight.  I wasn’t really trying to lose weight, though, just trying to push my body to do something new and outside my comfort zone.  I lost around 5 pounds, but I did improve drastically with my muscular endurance on some of the moves, like the gorilla crawls.  The first time that I did Cardio 2, I could maybe do half of the gorilla crawls.  By Hell Week, I could do all of them.  I also could barely do pump jumpers (from Resistance 3) when I started, but could perform them no problem by the end.

Would you do it again?  I’m a Team Beachbody coach, so I hate saying this,  but I’m going to be honest here… No, probably not.  I might do some of the workouts here and there, but I’m not really interested in doing the program start to finish again.  It was a little too repetitive to me.  BUT I’m very glad that I did it, as I feel like I did get a lot out of it, and that it did wonders for my muscular endurance and really helped chisel my abs, but there are other programs out there that I’d rather do first.  Sorry, Tony!  I still love you!

I’m interested in this or maybe some other program, but I need some support and accountability.  Where can I get that?  It just so happens that I am online health and fitness coach!  I’d love to help hold you accountable with 22-Minute Hard Corps or some other program!  I can plug you into one of my accountability groups, which are free when you purchase a program through me!

Where can I reach you?  You can message me on Facebook or email me at distilledjill@gmail.com.

What comes next for you?  I’m on day 2 of the Master’s Hammer and Chisel!  So far, it’s awesome!  Check back here for more on that.  🙂

 

Post-Reset Check-In

I completed the Beachbody Ultimate Reset 17 days ago.  Today’s post is to provide an update on how my life is progressing post-Reset.

Body Stats

My weight has been pretty constant since the Reset ended.  I’ve been gaining and losing 1 pound.  I’ve lost a little bit of fat, and gained a little bit of muscle.  So, on average, I’m around where I ended on the last day of the Reset, which is great!

Exercise

One of the things that I missed during the Reset was my morning workout routine.  During the Reset, you are not supposed to workout at all, with the exception of some light exercise like walking, yoga, and tai chi.  Before the Reset, I did a variety of high-intensity exercise programs, like Insanity.  During the Reset, I did yoga and Insanity recovery workouts – nothing too intense.

When the Reset ends, there is a transition plan that you are supposed to follow.  As part of this transition plan, you are supposed to only workout to 50% of your maximum ability for the first week following the Reset, then give it 100% thereafter.  After the Reset, I started doing some Jillian Michaels workouts that were pretty easy to me before the Reset (the 30 Day Shred workouts).  These workouts were shockingly more difficult that I remembered, and I even got sore from them!  I was definitely out of the groove after not working out for 21 days.

I started Focus T25 the 6th day after the Reset ended.  These workouts also had not been all too hard for me before the Reset, but they were really challenging for me after the Reset.  This was a good thing!  Though, it was definitely frustrating to see how unacclimated my body had become to working out.  I took is slow, definitely giving more than 50%, but not quite 100%, and in time, began pushing myself harder and harder.

I’ll be starting week three of Focus T25 on Monday, and I feel like I’m back into the groove now.  I’m “nailing” those workouts, and it feels great!

Food and Drink

I’ve been following the transition plan post-Reset.  I described this in my last blog post.  Basically, it’s doing the Reset in reverse minus the supplements (though I did order the Maintenance Kit, which includes Optimize and Alkalinize, which I have been taking).  When you complete the Reset, you had been eating only fruits and vegetables for a week.  The first week after the Reset, I slowly started reintroducing  grains and legumes into my diet.  I stopped following the Reset Guidebook.  Instead, I started having a Vegan Chocolate Shakeology for breakfast every morning.  For lunch, I built a salad from my office cafeteria’s salad bar (full of good things like raw spinach, carrots, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, green peppers, onions, oil and vinegar).  For dinner, I would make us a recipe from the Ultimate Reset book, or we would go out and order something that conforms to our diets.  Le Pain Quotidien was actually pretty wonderful for this.

The second week, we started to add tempeh and sprouted grain breads into our diets.  We also started to increase the amount of grains and beans that we consumed.  Sprouted grain breads are essentially Ezekiel breads.   These breads use only sprouted organic live grains, unlike the bread that we normally have, which are, I guess, dead.  Ezediel bread is pretty good!  I started making a sandwich of Ezekiel bread, guacamole, smokey tempeh, cucumbers, spinach, sprouts, onions, tomatoes, and red pepper.  It’s pretty awesome.

Post-Reset Sandwich

Sandwich

I really loved tempeh during the Reset, so I was very happy to finally have it back!

Now, I’m 3 weeks after the Reset.  According to the transition plan, you can now begin reintroducing non-Vegan Shakeology (Yes! Greenberry, I have missed you!) and some animal proteins, like eggs and yogurt.  When I had my first hard-boiled egg, I had been completed VEGAN (not just vegetarian) for a full month.  Next week, is when all of the fun is supposed to begin – sugar, soda, coffee, alcohol, chicken, and fish.

Well… halfway through week three post-Reset, it’s my husband’s birthday.  So, we’re going to start all of that week four stuff a couple of days earlier, and I have no problem with that.  We’ve been really good for over a month.  I know that not everyone who does the Reset really follows the transition plan afterward, so I think I’m ahead of the game right now.

Yesterday, my husband and I went to (what was) the first certified-organic restaurant in the country and had dinner to celebrate his birthday.  This seemed very much in the spirit of the Reset.  We had fish, wine, and refined sugar a couple of days early.  We had an avocado-crab appetizer, which was amazing.  I had scallops and vegetable risotto for dinner, and my husband had halibut and vegetables for dinner.  We split a small chocolate cake and a bottle of wine.  Let me just say that alcohol really hit me.  Normally, my husband and I could drink a bottle of wine easily, no problem.  I was feeling the alcohol effects after the first glass!  That’s crazy!

Today, on his actually birthday, we had a very nice brunch.  I ate completely vegetarian – an appetizer of various dips (parsley, beets, and tzatziki); a carrot-ginger soup; eggs with mushrooms, a salad, and potatoes; and split a slice of walnut cake with my husband for his birthday.  Everything was amazing.  I also had a couple of wonderful cocktails – one make of vodka, Greek yogurt, honey, lemon, and rosemary.

Alcohol Epiphany:  I’ve changed my general attitude toward alcohol as a result of the Reset.  This is important.  Being sober for 30+ days sucked, but it was helpful in that it made me realize that alcohol is an accessory, it’s not an entree.  I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am going to waste calories on alcohol, that alcohol had better be AMAZING.  I’m talking fancy hand-crafted cocktails, craft beer, and fine wine.  I’m not sure I’m going to drink crappy alcohol (e.g., PBR) with the sole intention of getting drunk anymore.  If I’m going to drink, it better be something decent.

Meat Epiphany:  I’m thinking the same way about meat as well.  While I was never much of a fast-food (e.g., McDonald’s) type of person pre-Reset, it demonstrates my point.  If I’m going to eat meat, I don’t think it’s going to be a McDonald’s hamburger; it’s going to be grass-fed filet mignon or kobe beef.  I’m not interested in putting garbage into my body.

Reactions:  As you start to reintroduce new foods, you are supposed to listen to your body to ensure that you’re not experiencing any bloating, gas, skin, or sinus problems, which could indicate a sensitivity or allergy to the newly introduced food.  Until recently, I haven’t really experienced anything like that.  I’ve been having some minor digestive discomfort over these birthday celebrations, which could really be attributable to anything, so after this weekend, I will be sure to get back into the clean-eating groove.  It’s good to note that, this morning, after drinking wine, I did not feel wrecked.  I was really worried about how alcohol would affect me.  So far, so good.

My FREE Reset T-Shirt Arrived!

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Reminder

The Reset is ON SALE for a couple of more days – until the end of March.  Buy it here and start your journey!  This is truly an amazing life-changing experience that I would recommend for anyone who thinks has it in them to do it.  It is very rewarding, but it is far from easy.  If you’re looking to start the Reset, I am happy to help coach you through the process.  Please comment below.

Day 15

Today, I enter the final week of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset – the Restore phase.  During this phase, I’ll be eating mostly fruits and vegetables that are easily absorbed by the body for optimal nutritional value.  I think grains are completely cut out of the diet.  This phase comes after the detox phase, and it helps bring healthy bacteria back into your “freshly scrubbed” digestive tract by introducing pre- and probiotics to help restore the metabolism to maximum efficiency.  This is accomplished through the final supplement – Revitalize.  Revitalize comes in a capsule form, and its consumed three times a day.

While I am on the topic of supplements, I ran out of Mineralize yesterday.  Since Mineralize is only pink Himalayan salt, I just went out to the grocery store and bought some.  But, for those of you who don’t have the luxury of an organic supermarket in the neighorhood and need to send away for these things, make sure to have some extra pink salt on standby in case you run out.

This morning, I decided to try something new.  My usual morning routine outside of the Reset is a 30-60 minutes workout, usually something intense, like Insanity, to help wake me up and get my blood flowing in the morning.  I’ve never been a morning person, so, to me, this is essential to be minimally pleasant before noon.  On the Reset, you are not permitted to workout because your body is receiving such an intense inner body workout.  Plus, I don’t think you’re really consuming enough calories to really support your body during intense training.  Exercises like yoga, tai chi, stretching, and brisk walking are fine, but no Insanity, unfortunately.  This was one of the big adjustments for me, and I was skeptical whether I would be able to survive mornings without the jolt of adrenaline first thing in the morning.  Somehow, I’ve been surviving.  I’ve been doing free yoga videos that come on Xfinity On Demand.  They’ve been great, but I really missed Shaun T.  Today, I remembered that there are Recovery workouts that come with Insanity that I could do.  It would probably be a step up intensity-wise from the yoga I’ve been doing, but I was willing to try it.  Well, when I do Insanity, I normally substitute Core Cardio and Balance for the Recovery workout, because the Recovery workout is just too easy, doesn’t make me sweat, and isn’t enough to get my blood pumping in the morning.  Well, this morning, it got the blood pumping, and I was even sweating.  My muscles were literally shaking during some of the moves.  My legs are already feeling sore from this morning.  This makes me nervous about starting Focus T25 after the Reset is complete, but I’m going to jump on it anyway.

Also, this morning, I weighed myself for the second time of the Reset.  I’m down 2.4 pounds since day 8.  That means I’m down 4.4 pounds in only 15 days!  Not bad for a 5’2” tall chick.

During the final week of the Reset, breakfast is fruit only.  You’re supposed to choose low glycemic fruits, like berries, and avoid tropical fruits like bananas and pineapples.  I’m skeptical of the ability of fruit to keep me satisfied until lunch, but I guess it worked today.  One of my raspberries was shaped like a heart, which made this first day of the Restore phase extra special.

Day 15 Breakfast

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Last night, I prepared lunch for today – an Asian “cabbage” salad, 1/4 sliced avocado, and miso soup.  I put cabbage in scare quotes because I didn’t have cabbage.  Unfortunately, the labels in the grocery store produce aisle weren’t accurate, and my husband picked up mustard greens instead of napa cabbage.  It’s okay.  We’ll make do.  We had some extra Romaine lettuce, so instead of cabbage, I chopped up some Romaine and used that instead.  This lunch had a lot of onions in it.  The Asian salad had both raw red and green onions, and the miso soup had green onions.  I had to run to back-to-back meetings in the afternoon, and was so tempted to grab some gum or a hard candy to get the taste/smell of the onions out of my mouth.  Well, none of that is allowed on the Reset!  I chewed on some herbal tea leaves (it was all that I had in the office), and that helped a little, but I still felt bad for all who I came in contact with this afternoon.

Day 15 Lunch

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Dinner was awesome!  And by “awesome,” I mean baked sweet potato awesome!  Against my better judgement, I’m a huge fan of carbohydrates.  I was very happy to see a baked sweet potato on the menu for dinner.  I’ve actually never baked a sweet potato before.  It was heaven.  I’ll definitely be doing that again.  The sweet potato was accompanied by garlic veggies – broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and red bell pepper sauteed with garlic, lemon, olive oil, and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.  They were fine.  The sweet potato stole the show.

Day 15 Dinner

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Day 5

Everything that I’ve been hearing and reading about the Beachbody Ultimate Reset says that days 3 through 5 are the most challenging.  Beachbody recommends starting the Reset on a Wednesday specifically so that you can avoid these difficult days falling on work days (Monday through Friday for most folks). 

I am almost done with day 5 and have not really felt particularly challenged yet.  I went into the Reset knowing that I would be saying no to drugs and alcohol for 21 days (drugs = caffeine. Why, what were you thinking?!).  Resisting caffeine and alcohol is more of a psychological shift than a physiological pain for me.  Despite the fact that I would drink at least one cup of coffee during work days and pump up on Redbull on the weekends, I haven’t really experienced any caffeine withdrawal.  While I would like to be drinking alcohol on Friday and Saturday nights (especially outside on nice days like we’ve had in DC this weekend), I can resist it.  I think that days 3 through 5 might be really hard for people who are coming into the Reset with real addictions to things like caffeine and sugar, and for people who are making drastic dietary changes.  Pre-Reset, I normally ate things like quinoa and seaweed (think: sushi, miso soup), and stayed away from sugar and fast food.  So, I’m lucky in that this isn’t that hard (so far!).  The hardest part for me has really been the planning.  

Day 5 breakfast was supposed to include farina with walnuts, apples, and maple syrup.  Now, when I went grocery shopping according to the grocery list the Beachbody compiled for week 1, “rice cereal” was on the list but “farina” was not.  As a result, I ended up buying a hot brown rice grits-type cereal, not actual farina.  I doubt it’s a big deal.  Also, instead of maple syrup, I used raw agave nectar because I opted not to spend the money on maple syrup that it didn’t seem like we really used that much throughout the program.  It turns out maple syrup is used a lot more than agave nectar, so I am kind of regretting that choice.  But, boy, is agave nectar delicious!  Can’t say I mind much.

Day 5 Breakfast

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Lunch included a quinoa salad and hummus and raw veggies.  I love hummus, so I was very happy to see that the recipe called for a whopping 1/2 cup of hummus!  I was a pretty happy girl for lunch.

Day 5 Lunch

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The Reset recipes are slowly taking out animal proteins.  In retrospect, I don’t think that I had any today (unless there was something in the hummus).  It’s really amazing how veggies can fill you up until dinner time, which I will be having soon.

Today was another beautiful day in the District, so my husband and I went out for a couple of nice long walks.  You are not permitted to do strenuous workouts during the Reset – only walking, yoga, tai chi, or stretching.  Since I am used to doing high-intensity cardio workouts (Insanity is one of my favorites) in mornings before heading into the office, this is a big change for me.  On day 1, I tried the Tai Cheng sample workout that comes with the Reset DVDs.  Tai Cheng is basically a low-impact Tai Chi program developed by Dr. Mark Cheng.  While I could see the value of the workout, it was really putting me to sleep first thing in the morning, and I preferred the 20-minute yoga workout that I did the following day.  The sun salutations really helped wake me up a little bit in the morning, and since I perpetually drag early in the day, that’s essential for me in a morning exercise routine.  Did I sweat?  No.  Did my heart rate go up?  No, not really.  I can’t wait to go back to my normal exercise routines after the Reset.  My goal is to begin with Focus T25, then do Insanity, and then Insanity the Asylum.  I already own and have completed each of these, but I feel like I will really get the most benefit out of them doing them in sequence again after the Reset.  I’d say the next 5 months are pretty well planned.  Can’t wait!

The final meal of today is miso soup (my husband’s specialty!), stir-fried veggies, brown rice, and nori gomasio.  I made an extra batch of stir-fried veggies last night, have a big batch of brown rice in the fridge, and a bunch of nori gomasio, so my evening looks pretty easy!  I’m going to go start prepping for tomorrow now.  No rest in the Reset.

Day Zero

Healthraiser?  Why healthraiser?

Ever hear of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset?  It’s scary.  I’m horrified.  It’s only appropriate to name this blog, which will document my progress through the 21-day presumed horror that will be the Ultimate Reset, after a classic horror movie.

Based on what I’ve heard about the Ultimate Reset, it could easily be classified as the “demon to some; angel to others” that “will tear your soul apart.”  Okay.  Enough with the regurgitated cheesy “Hellraiser” taglines, what is the Beachbody Ultimate Reset?

As its Program and Nutrition Guide describes it, the “Ultimate Reset is not just a cleanse or detox . . . It’s a no-starvation, multifaceted, life-changing, cutting-edge, ‘this-is-the-real-deal,’ inner-body tune up.”  It cleanses your body, helps you eliminate waste, naturally and gently detox your body, and helps maximize energy production within your cells, and improve your ability to process fuel from nutrients.  Its three phases over 21 days include daily meal plans full of organic and unprocessed foods, a strict supplement regimen, and nothing else to drink but distilled water.  In the end, you’re supposed to feel better and be healthier than you ever have in your whole life – energized and renewed.  Sounds great, huh?

Yes, except it’s the process of getting there that scares me.  I am a foodie, and I love trying trendy new restaurants and avant-garde meals from celebrity chefs.  I love caffeine in all of its many forms – coffee, tea, No Doz, you name it.  Another love?  Alcohol.  Red wine, white wine, craft beer, craft cocktails, champagne, tequila, gin, vodka – shake it, stir it, blend it, shoot it, all of it.

Despite these damning indulgences, I am no stranger to health and nutrition.  I do not eat much processed food or fast food.  I avoid things like butter, sugar (I am blessed not to have much of a sweet tooth), and pasta; and instead regularly eat things like quinoa and kale, and drink Shakeology every day.  I try to balance my unhealthy habits with super strenuous exercise and fitness regimens (ever hear of Insanity?).  And while I have lost 40 pounds since graduating from law school about 3 years ago, my body is not where it should be. I crave more energy and mental clarity.  I drag in the mornings, and my brain constantly feels fuzzy (and no, it’s not from alcohol, I don’t normally drink during the week).  I’ve struggled with my metabolism my whole life.  I also know that I need to take better care of myself due to family histories of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  That’s where the Ultimate Reset comes in.

Here is me before and after Beachbody programs.  The left photo is from law school about 3 years ago.  The right photo is me today after Shakeology and Insanity:

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No red meat, no alcohol, no caffeine.  I keep telling myself it’s only 21 days.  I can do it.  The Program and Nutrition Guide tells you exactly what to eat each day.  I just got to make it and ingest it.  There are three phases, each one week long:

  1. Phase 1:  Reclaim.  You remove foods, such as red meat and dairy, that place stress on the digestive system.
  2. Phase 2:  Release.  Fully vegetarian diet.  You release the toxic compounds that are stored within your tissues, clogging your cells, and blocking proper nutrient absorption.  This phase includes a gentle colon cleanse.
  3. Phase 3:  Restore.  You restore your metabolism to maximum efficiency and eat mostly fruits and veggies.

During each phase, there are supplements that you take.  These include Detox, Revitalize, Alkalinize, Mineralize, Optimize, and Soothe.

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My Start Date:  Wednesday, February 17.

I will try to document as many days of the Ultimate Reset as possible.  My husband will also be joining me for the Ultimate Reset, and I will be sure to post stats and comments about both of us.  My hope is that my journey through the program helps others decide whether this is something appropriate for them, and also to inspire others to take control of their health.  Wish me luck!