Friday, December 12, 2014

My Journey Through Insanity Max 30 Day 1 and 2

I tried Insanity Max 30 for the first time at our Fit4Lyfe Winter retreat last week. I have to say, I was dreading it for a few weeks. I knew that my team was offering this workout, and I did not want to be the one person not brave enough to try it. The night before the workout I did not sleep much as I had never done an extreme program before. I was happy with my 21 Day Fix and PiYo experiences. I tossed and turned and dreamed about how hard the workout would be and woke up sweating in fear.

I think I had this fear because I used to be out of shape. I was the one that was out of breath walking up the stairs, and the one that could not get off the couch to be bothered to workout. This lurked in the back of my mind as the anticipation of the workout began.

Well the time came and I was ready. I swallowed my fear and told myself that I would live to talk about it. And I did! Actually, I kind of kicked butt at it. I surprised the heck out of myself. I actually was able to get through one of the hardest extreme workouts Beachbody had to offer. ME! The lazy one! I had underestimated myself and the hard work that I had put in to get my health and my life in order. When we finished I FELT AMAZING. I had so much energy and felt like I could conquer anything. I was super sore which I hadn't been in months, and this felt great. I knew I had really worked for it and that my body was ready for a change. I ordered my own copy of the program 30 minutes after I completed that workout.

Here I am now, beginning my journey and taking myself through the whole 60 days! I want to share with you very openly my thoughts, struggles and triumphs as I take this on.

Day 1 was cardio and it was HARD. There were very little breaks in which to stop and catch your breath and Shaun T had me moving every moment. Jumps, squats, running, plyo plyo plyo. I maxed out at 7:30.
Maxing out: to fail or falter on an exercise.

I learned that as soon as I fail, stop or begin to slow or struggle, that is when I have maxed out. Shaun T wants us to go as hard as we can for as long as we can and force ourselves to fail. That is how you improve in fitness.

I liked Day 2 a bit better. We worked out for 20 seconds and then had 10 second breaks. I liked knowing that I just had to push for a short amount of time and then it would stop. I lasted 10 minutes, and stopped in the middle of plyo push-ups. ya....those are going to take a while :)
It was a big test of mental strength to get through these two days, but I am learning so much about myself and how to push through. Today after the second workout, I was bouncing off the walls with energy. I was thinking clearly, and was motivated to go throughout my day with purpose. What a feeling!
I will post my progress pics each Monday and hope that you will follow me as I go through this program during this holiday season.  Follow my journey on facebook for daily updates #jennydoesinsanitymax30

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top 10 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

We ALL struggle with the holidays and maintaining health. There are endless parties, get togethers, dinners out, cookies being baked and alcoholic beverages being consumed. This is usually the time where I will have a free for all, and I can consume twice as much food as my husband can in one sitting. We are drinking because we are merry, and in a good mood (or in some cases because we are trying to take the edge off) and while that is fine for one day, it starts to add up throughout the holiday season as you attend more and more functions. Those small choices start to add up and before you know it, 3 weeks have passed and you've consumed an additional 10,000 calories in alcohol ALONE. 

But but but.... the beer! The wine! The holiday cocktails! The stuffing! The sweet potatoes! the gravy!! The amazing christmas cookies with the Hersheys kiss in the middle!!!! 

I am not saying you cannot have that. I am saying be aware of PORTION control and pick and choose your splurge days.

Here are some tips:

1. RESEARCH your the calories in certain foods before you to an event with a big meal. This is not to spoil your meal or make you feel guilty. It is to provide awareness so that when you serve yourself a portion, you do not accidentally eat 1000 calories in sweet potatoes alone. The average Thanksgiving meal is 4500 cals WITHOUT alcohol. Be aware. Take 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce and half the amount of gravy. You can have those sweet potatoes but take 1/4 cup instead of a mound.

2. Choose your splurge days: If you eat everything in site at every single party you go to, you are destined to fall off track. Choose 3 times that you are going to have "Cheat days" and indulge that Christmas cookie or two, a chocolate martini or some sweet potato casserole. It is the holidays after all. 

3. Bring your own dish to the party: If you make your own dish, YOU know what is in it and you know you can eat it without guilt! Bring enough for everyone of course, you don't need to draw attention to yourself by only bringing a small portion for you. Make something yummy, healthy and guilt free and fill up on that! 

4. Drink lots of water in between alcoholic drinks and throughout the day. Keep your body hydrated. Water will also help to fill you up so that you eat less. It will help you to be less drunk and then less likely to make bad eating choices throughout the event. There are like 25 different reasons I can write here. Water is awesome, so just drink it. A lot.

5. Eat normal meals throughout the day. Stay on track as much as possible. The last thing you want to do is go to a holiday event famished and then stuff your face like a deprived person on a diet. Eat your breakfast, lunch and snack and then you will eat less at your event.

6. Stick to your routine: Do you workouts. Every day. If you get up early and workout then continue to do so! Many people will tell me, "oh I have been eating like crap so I stopped working out and I will start again at New Years." NO! The time is now. Keep to your routine and keep going. It is healthy to workout and your body needs it now more than ever!

7. Eat HALF. Eat half eat half eat half of what you would normally eat. It is about portion control and not deprivation.

8. You do not have to drink at every single function. And if you do, LIMIT your drinks to 1 or 2. If you feel you need to have some liquor to take the edge off of seeing that one relative that makes you crazy, then stick to clear liquor and club soda. The fancy drinks are so high in calorie and have no nutritional value. Steer clear of those.

9. Have a plan Set up your health and fitness plan NOW. Don't just go to the gym and flail around and expect that will be effective. Do some RESEARCH and commit to a program or regime. When you have a plan that starts BEFORE the holiday season you will be more aware and make better choices overall. Maybe get an accountability partner to stay on track with and motivate each other.

10. Eat a lot of veggies. Chalene Johnson recommends eating a cup of raw veggies to help fill her up and get nutrients before a party. Also make sure you add these to your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as well as to your daily meals.

If you mess up and have a bad day, just get right back on track the next day. No one is perfect, but you can make better choices. You want to enjoy yourself. Focus on conversation and time with family and friends rather than food. The goal here is to still FEEL amazing by the end of the holiday season instead of feeling guilty, bloated and down because of all the nasty food you've consumed. Keep your eye on the prize and let that drive you!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Greek Yogurt Cookie Dough: A less sinful way to get something sweet around the holidays!

The holidays are coming and we are scrambling around to shop and get ingredients together to bring to parties, and in the meantime we are worried about our waistline. But we have to live a little right? I know I plan to have something sweet! This recipe is so fast and easy to whip up, and will save you some calories in the dessert department (just try not to eat the whole thing because this is GOOD). I have a party coming up this weekend, and instead of watching everyone enjoy dessert with a billion calories, I will bring my own creation with enough to share for everyone! That way I know exactly what is in it, and how much I can indulge in!

You will LOVE this!

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt1 tbsp nut butter1 tbsp pure maple syrup1/4 tsp pure vanilla (free fix food for those on the 21 Day Fix)1 tbsp mini chocolate chips.

Directions:Combine Greek yogurt with the nut butter, pure maple syrup, and vanilla (1 yellow container for fixers) Mix until smooth. Top with mini choc chips and enjoy!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Facing Your Fears: Motivation from The Sound of Music after 31 years

As a young girl my favorite movie in the WORLD was The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews. I would watch that movie over and over and drive my parents CRAZY with my obsession. That movie is what drove me to music. I began singing in choirs and taking lessons because of it. It is what inspired my to spend a semester of study in Salzburg where it was filmed. I learned and memorized probably every single word to that movie. That movie has shaped me in so many ways at so many different points in my life. Today, Maria's words are still playing strong in my head as I hear her words as she returns from the convent to reunite with the children: "Oh Liesl, you cannot run away from your problems, you have to face them!"

In my process of bettering myself and my life, I am working hard to face my problems and fears and talking about it openly. I am taking this one thing at a time and one step at a time. I hope to relate to someone, anyone in this situation and perhaps we can bond over our similar fears and create a plan to face them together.

This is the day that I have been FEARING for the past 6 months. I have lost sleep, fretted, gotten sick, looked down on myself, put this off and watched as the days crept closer and closer to facing this problem. I have literally woken up in the middle of the night sweating and having nightmares. Every time I think about it, I get a cramp in my stomach and I force myself to think of something else.

It is no secret that I have taken out student loans to pay for my degrees in music. When I began to take out loans, I did not quite understand what that meant. I did not really care actually. I wanted to pursue my passion and it did not matter what I had to do to get there. I did not read or research or pay attention to what I was doing. I signed the paper and took the money and went after a dream. I am not advocating for, or against taking out student loans. I have mixed feelings on the subject. For myself personally, I have been able to learn and do so much that I could not have done. Through being granted these loans I have met amazing people (including my husband), and filled my life with music, art, travel and education. I have become (I think anyways) a great teacher, with so much to offer my students in the way of music, singing and life. I am the person I am today because of all these experiences. But there is always a looming fear in my mind of the debt I had collected to get this life, and it sometimes hinders me so much that I cannot enjoy the life I've created. What I am advocating for today is facing my problems so that I can live a fun filled, anxiety free life.

Today, November 10 2014, is the day that I had to deal with student loan payments. After all my years in school, I am finally at that dreaded 6 month mark where it is time to start to pay. I waited until the LAST POSSIBLE DAY to deal with this. It has been a source of deep anxiety for me. Wondering how I would pay and how much. Wondering if I would need to take on 6 jobs to survive the outrageous monthly amount.

It's weird how things happen right at the moment you need them. Conveniently, I am reading a book right now that has helped me to psychologically prepare for this moment. Brian Tracy's book "No excuses", discusses facing your fears. He explained that worrying about them could be actually worse then facing them. So, armed with words from Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music and encouragement from Brian Tracy in his book, I made the call. I was shaking and tears were running down my cheeks, and I am pretty sure my voice was cracking I was so afraid.

The call lasted 10 minutes including the wait time to talk to someone. A very nice lady asked me a few questions about my income and family and together we worked out a number that I could afford to pay each month. She said she would send me some follow up documents I should fill out. THAT WAS IT. It was done. The anguish and torture that compounded through WORRYING AND WORRYING about today was over in 10 painless minutes. Imagine how much anxiety and time I could have saved if I had just faced this problem months ago??

What a moment for me. What a break through for my anxiety driven personality. Afterwards, feeling so much better, I proceeded to make a list of other fears I wanted to conquer and made a plan to face those as well. I will sleep much better tonight armed with knowing that I can face my fears and survive them.

Julie Andrew's and The Sound of Music continue to influence my life even at my adult age. The influences change as words take on new meanings. That phrase ringing in my ears today, I probably did not even understand when I was young.

My takeaway:
1. Read personal development. What? READ??? ME?? Listen to an audiobook. Many are free on This 30 minutes a day I have been putting in are actually changing my life.
2. ID your fear: Just writing it down so you can think clearly about solutions help greatly.
3. Just take the first step. Your fear of your fear is probably worse than actually facing it. My problem of debt is far from being solved. But I took the first step today and am now motivated to continue.
4. Watch The Sound of Music: this isn't a takeaway, but seriously if you have not ever watched this movie you need to. Right now. Go.

 My health and fitness journey have driven me to be a better person, and I would love to help you find your way too.  Please subscribe to this blog, and "like" my Fb page Send me a message. REALLY! I want to hear from you!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Egg Muffins! Fast, easy 21 day fix approved!

Hey you!

I always struggle with healthy breakfasts. I am so busy in the morning and do not have time to make anything fancy. Well today my husband and I made this breakfast during our normal Sunday food prepping and we are so excited to share with you!

Watch the video!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Shakeology Recipe

I LOVE Vanilla Shakeology! I was drinking Chocolate for so long and never thought to give Vanilla try. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Here is a recipe I just tried this morning:

~1 cup Almond Milk
~1 Scoop Vanilla Shakeo
~1 tsp Almond Butter
~1 Vanilla Extract
~1 tsp Cinnamon
~1/2 a banana
~1 tsp Honey
~8 pieces of ice 

GREAT holiday treat for when you are craving something sweet! Interested in Shakeology? Post here!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting Uncomfortable: Lessons and rewards from going out of my comfort zone

This past week I was asked to be a guest on the Linwood Jackson Radio Show here in Delaware.  I was so flattered by this opportunity, but immediately told Mr. Jackson that I had to think it over.


I have never been comfortable with public speaking. I am a performer, but typically lose my focus when I know I am being listened to and am expected to speak eloquently without a script. The thought of doing this made me nervous, and was definitely outside my comfort zone.
My wonderful husband always challenges me to do things that I am not comfortable with (when they are to better myself). He would not let me say no to this opportunity, and I am grateful to him for always pushing me. As I get older and am trying to mold my life the way I see fit, I have had to begin learning to do things outside of my comfort zone to get there. I've learned that I do not get ahead by staying my own "comfort bubble" as I call it. And it IS hard. But when you have goals and dreams you do what it takes.

So with a deep breath, I accepted the spot on the radio show. I was anxious about it, so I began to think of things he could possibly ask me, and prepared answers to those questions. I had to make sure that I was organized in my mind. This calmed me down a bit.

The day came and I was ready. NERVOUS! But ready. I steadied my breathing and spoke positive thoughts to myself. I CAN do this. I AM confidant! etc etc.

This whole time leading up to this, I was worried I wouldn't sound like everyone expected. I was worried that I had to manufacture this presence that was not really me. But when I went in, I was just myself and that was enough in my book. Was I perfect at it? No. There were definitely things that I needed to work on. But I did it. And more importantly, I LEARNED from it and I grew as a person, as an artist and as an entrepreneur. I walked out feeling accomplished, brave and successful. And what is great is that I said to myself "phew, now I will know how to do this even BETTER next time." 

There are so many times recently that I had to step out of my comfort zone. Sharing my weight loss transformation story, talking about my experience with cancer openly, starting a new job, moving to a new place, exploring new avenues with my singing and my online magazine for singers, reaching out to people I didn't know to ask questions and seek advice. Now that I think about it, you know what? A pattern is developing. The MORE I step out of my comfort zone, the MORE I am attaining my goals! I have had a few successes lately, and I believe that is the DIRECT result of getting uncomfortable.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. This concept can apply to anything. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and you workout and eat the same way for months and months without success you will continue to not have success. But if you need to step out of your comfort zone and CHANGE if up, you will! Try a new program, research a new way of eating, push a little harder. It is scary, but it results in getting you to your goal.

 Looking back, how COULD I even think to say no?? My goals are to inspire young singers to be the best they can be and to implore others to take control of their health and fitness. If I expect the people I work with on a daily basis to step up and start a fitness program that is out of their comfort zone, than I can certainly expect the same of myself and get my butt to the radio station and talk about myself for 20 minutes. :)

So get up. Get uncomfortable. Get successful. Share your story with us here.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Husband's 3-Day Refresh Results

My husband just completed Beachbody's 3-Day Refresh Cleanse! He hadn't been feeling very well, so we decided to give it a shot. He really likes to do cleanses, but he said to me "I don't think I'm going to see or get results in just 3 days." 

He wasn't a believer.

But he followed to instructions to a T, and 3 days later....

He is now a believer :)

Want to join me in a pre-Thanksgiving 3-day Refresh Challenge? Join me on November 5 to cleanse your system before you stuff it with holiday junk, and get a jump start on your health! Enter your email and phone number to the right of this post and I will be in touch to get you signed up!

EASY 2 Ingredient , no flour pancakes

2 ingredient (maybe 3 or 4 if you want) pancakes with no flour:


1. Take a banana and mash it or blend it. 
2. Add in 2 eggs. Mix well. 
3. Now just cook it how you would a pancake. Ummmm what??? So easy!

Add oats to the mixture for more texture. Add honey, stevia or cinnamon for a sweeter taste!

****21 Day Fix Approved: 1 RED, 1 PURPLE, 1 YELLOW (IF YOU ADD OATS)***

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Transformation: 21 Day Fix to Wedding!!

 In June of 2014, I was desperate. I was desperate to feel like I was beautiful for my wedding day (August 8, 2014). I had a deep fear that I would hate all of my pictures from this very important day if I didn't get fit. I worked out and worked out and ate well but I still plateaued. It had been 5 years since I had began my weight loss journey. I had lost 40 pounds and beat cancer after several rounds of chemo therapy. But now I had a new goal I knew it was crunch time. Having been in remission for 2 years, I was still always low on energy, feeling down on myself,  and sick as usual (I was always a sickly person and even before the cancer). I continuously saw posts for the 21 Day Fix  from friends on Facebook and even though I was poor, and had to pay for a wedding AND make a move across the country right after, I invested. I invested in my health, happiness and well-being. It was a small price to pay.

I had the same reaction I think most people do when they received their package; "UMMMM??? Why are the containers so SMALL??? I'm going to starve!!" Well I didn't. In fact, it was the opposite. But I did listen to my body and learn when to eat more if I was actually hungry.

Since I spent the money, I threw myself completely into it. I drank my Shakeo. I posted in my challenge group 5 or 6 times a day. I watched others transform before my eyes. I followed the super simple portion control, and I brought my containers everywhere. I didn't care if I looked silly. I had a goal and I was GOING TO REACH IT DAMNIT!!

The workouts were awesome. I did my 30 minutes every morning before work. I pushed and pushed and got up early and got it done.

Then, about 9 days in..something amazing happened. I woke up one morning and did my workout and planned my meals as usual and went to work. But something was different. It was like an ugly, musty and heavy cloak was lifted off my body after years of weighing me down. I. FELT. GOOD. What??? I had energy. I sprang off to work at my serving job and was in a great mood. I didn't feel dizzy or nauseous (a common feeling for me daily throughout my life). I just felt good. I didn't even understand this feeling. I raced home and decided to go for a run. I still had energy! I was floored. I had no idea that one could feel that good. I just thought that feeling was normal. 

That is when I began to believe.

After 21 days I rushed to the scale and to my camera to take my after pictures:

I was down 9 pounds!!!! What??? I was more than pleased with my after pic and results. But I was beginning to realize that it was more than just the weight and inches lost. 

I had JUST enough time to get another round in before my wedding. It was tricky, because I had everything my husband and I owned in my car (as we sold everything when we decided to move) so I could move out of Kansas City, go sing a gig in Illinois, and then drive from Illinois to Florida to visit family in 3 different parts of the state and THEN go to our wedding. We had everything we owned with us because we were moving to Delaware RIGHT AFTER THE WEDDING. It was so crazy.

But I stuck to the plan. I prepped and planned and packed my food in a cooler for all the road trips. I researched what recipes I could bring on the road and I brought my blender for my shakes, and my DVD player so I could do my workouts. I worked out in all kinds of spaces. Small, large, some closet like, some hot and unbearable and some with a great view. I added PiYo into my routine and felt even better. I did it. I traveled from KC to Illinois, sang my gig, drove to Florida and made 3 stops in a weeks time, and then drove to Sarasota to begin wedding festivities.  I even did PiYo with the Best Man and one of my Bridesmaids in my tiny hotel room (no doubt angering the people below us) and went for a mild run the day of my wedding. I did whatever it took.

Two days before the wedding, I had completed round 2 of the 21 Day Fix. Here are my results:
I had done it. I had gotten in the best shape of my life. After nearly 6 years of trying to find my way and to find what works for ME, I had reached my goal.
But my reward went way beyond losing weight and a tear drops down my cheek as I write this because I am so grateful. I was able to fully enjoy and be present for our wedding because I felt so good. I had the stamina, the energy, and the mental clarity to GO GO GO for the events all week long, and for the ridiculous drive across the country. I just know that I would have been feeling sick, or super tired and groggy without this program. I felt amazing. My friends saw the difference. My family saw the difference. My husband saw the difference (and he was pleased :))

I danced every single dance at our wedding. I felt beautiful and confident and therefore, could focus my energy on pouring love into my new husband and into all our guests that made sacrifices to be with us that week. 

 I just received my wedding pictures from our amazing photographer. Maybe it was old fears rushing back, but I was scared to look at them. I was still fearful that I would hate the way I looked and wouldn't ever want to look back on the memories of such an amazing day. 

I am thrilled to report that I accomplished my goal. I was pleased with the pictures and will proudly display them in my home without feeling self conscious. I did something about my fear and made it go away.

This program and Beachbody have changed my life. I have half the people at our wedding doing this program because they saw the physical AND emotional difference in me. I signed as a Beachbody Coach, and the people at my wedding were the participants my very first challenge group. 

When they started having results,
that's when it hit me and I really and truly believed

I believed I could help others start their journey. 
I believed that I had been through enough in the past 5 or 6 years to get anyone started.
 I believed in Beachbody, their products, their community and their business opportunity.
And lastly, I believed in myself.

                                            2009 at 175 pounds   VS      2014 at 125 pounds

Rise and Shine!

I LOVE the feeling of waking up with the sunrise with my puppy while the world is still quiet. I am so grateful to be in this beautiful apartment with a view of the river. It calms me. It is so peaceful, still and everything seems like it's ok. Early morning is the time of day I look forward to most. I get to workout, focus on myself, and be mentally prepared for the day. It took me a long time to get used to waking up early. I had to make it a habit. I knew myself, and I knew that I would not workout later in the day. Something always came up, or I just wanted to relax. And then I would get nervous about not getting my workout in all day long, and I would feel guilty. This way, I've been able to ensure that I will have the time to do it. It focuses my mind and starts my day off right. I reward myself with Shakeo, breakfast, coffee and relaxing with my puppy while watching the sunrise. AHHHH! Love early mornings!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekend Workout for beginners Volume 1- Burpees

Just because it is the weekend doesn't mean you get to slack! Here is a SHORT workout I developed to help build up your burpees! 

We all hate them! Start Slow and build your strength!