At the end of May I shared a HUGE milestone: Completing my first 100 Beachbody workouts.
When I set the goal to finish 100 workouts, it was a big stretch goal.
I’ve been pretty honest with how out of shape I let myself get over the past 14 years working behind a computer all day and how I’ve struggled to stick with any kind of regular exercise program. Each time I would find myself motivated to get started, I’d stick with it, going all-in for a few weeks and I’d feel amazing. But then work travel or personal travel inevitably got in the way.
The break from traveling would stretch into a week, then a couple of weeks, then a month, and then I’d give up because starting over sucks. Having to start after making progress — even if it is a little progress — isn’t a good feeling and it isn’t easy. I’d tell myself that I wanted to get back into it and constantly set future start dates…
- I’ll get started on Monday.
- Work is so busy today, I’ll get started tomorrow.
- I have a special dinner, event, or girls night this week, I’ll get started next week.
- Actually, I should wait and start on the first of the month so it’s easier to track my progress.
- This month we’re traveling so much, it doesn’t make sense to get started until next month.
Even with the best intentions, I struggled to find time to work exercise into my daily routine. I often felt frustrated and disappointed in myself.
Maybe you can relate?
Maybe you’ve struggled to get started or stick with an exercise plan or nutrition plan? Maybe you’ve been frustrated too? If so, I want you to know that it’s okay. Each day is a new opportunity to look forward, set new goals, and start fresh — and that includes today.
Hitting 100 workouts was an incredibly significant personal milestone, and upon reaching that goal, I set another goal: to complete another 100 workouts and hit the 200 mark.
Once again, it was ambitious and I wasn’t sure how long it would take, but those first 100 workouts showed me that I could do it.
Why Beachbody Didn’t Work At First
When I first found Beachbody and bought my Shaun T Focus T25 DVD set, I was excited to try something new. Then those DVDs came and it was clear, I might have bit off a little more than my out of shape body could handle. It was killer!
After a couple of weeks, I came to really like the program even while doing the modified version of the workouts. But as I said, I struggled to stick with it. And not only that, any time I’d post something to social media about getting started with Beachbody and T25, coaches would start DMing me those “Hey girl…” messages and pressuring me to spend more money, buy more stuff, and make them my coach. I was so turned off that I decided to keep everything to myself.
I was doing it alone.
I had no community, no accountability, no cheerleaders in my corner, no one to share the journey with, and no inspiration or motivation to stick with it. It would have been easy to say, “Beachbody doesn’t work,” but the truth is that I wasn’t doing the work. Life was amazing, business was outstanding, my family was incredible, my husband loved me, and I was happy. I also love food and dining out and I wasn’t quite ready to change any of that.
The Beachbody Difference
A couple of years went by and late last year, I was reintroduced to Beachbody through a new coach I really liked. I joined her Beachbody community and went all-in. It was a night and day difference from the experience I had before and that changed everything for me.
I committed to making 2020 the year I finally prioritized my own physical health and put me first no matter what.
I signed up for Beachbody on Demand to get access to all of the fitness programs, signed up for the nutrition programs 2B Mindset and Ultimate Portion Fix to see which would work for me, and added Vegan Shakeology to my daily nutrition.
I figured if I was really going to do this, I should do it all the way.
So far this year, I’ve completed:
- Focus T25 Alpha + Beta
- 21 Day Fix Real-Time and 21 Day Fix Extreme Real-Time
- 10 Rounds — Real-Time
- MBF (Muscle Burns Fat) — Real-Time
Pursuing my health and wellness goals has been so much easier because I’m no longer doing it alone.
With the real-time workouts, I’m progressing through a program at the same pace as the cast, which means on the days I’m sore, so are they! It feels more realistic — like they’re working out with you. Plus, I’m now part of a positive community, I’ve got accountability, I’ve got friends cheering me on who have signed up too, and I’m moving forward with others on the same path.
I would have never finished 100 workouts, let alone 200 workouts — (who am I even?!) — if I hadn’t been part of a community of people who are prioritizing their health too.
Lessons Learned On The Path To 200
There’s no way I could go from zero daily exercise and poor nutrition habits to where I am today without learning some really important lessons along the way — some of which have made a huge impact on my life and the lives of my family.
Listed below are the pivotal insights and lessons that have helped me… hopefully they will help you too!
- The first step is always the hardest.
The first day is the worst day. It’s going to be the hardest day — and if you’re as out of shape as I was, your workout will be hard and you’ll be sore. The thing is, if you stick with it, you only have one first day. Then, with each day that goes by, you get a little better and the workouts get a little easier. My biggest piece of advice is that if you’re sore, don’t stop. Doing nothing will make it worse and then you’ll have to repeat the first day again. Instead, do the next day’s workout, but modify whatever you need to.
- Modifications are there for a reason.
The modifiers are included to help you as you’re starting out and to provide direction when you need to dial it back a bit. When I first got started, I couldn’t even complete a workout doing the modified version. Yes, I had to modify the modifier! But over time, I got better and I got stronger. Eventually I could complete the modified workout, and then recently, after nearly six months, I completed that same workout without any modifications! Now I appreciate the modified option is there when my body needs a bit of a break!
- Water first.
Experts say you should drink half of your body weight in water each day, however, when you drink that water matters. The nutrition program 2B Mindset by Ilana Muhlstein teaches that we should drink 16 ounces of water right when we wake up, and 16 ounces of water before every meal or snack. This not only helps you feel fuller sooner and eat less but water keeps your body functioning properly.
- Veggies most.
Advice that also comes from 2B Mindset is to always make sure that veggies are the largest portion on your plate at every meal. I don’t always hit this goal, but this mindset have helped me be more thoughtful about what I put on my plate and the choices I make — mike choosing to pair hummus with bell pepper slices instead of crackers or pita bread.
- If you buy it, you’ll eat it.
Chips, crackers, cookies, desserts, candy, processed foods, baked goods, sugary drinks — they’re all so tempting! If you have them in your pantry, chances are high that you’re going to eat them. The easiest way to set yourself up for success is to do so by not purchasing these items at the grocery store.
- Don’t sit down.
If I sit on the couch or get into relax mode, it’s likely I won’t feel as energized to start a workout. If I sit down, I’m going to delay my work out and maybe not fit it into my day at all, so now I get it done first. I grab my water and start my workout before sitting down.
- Build a library of fast, simple recipes.
If cooking feels hard, you’re not going to do it. Trust me. The last thing I want to do after working a full day, is work more in the kitchen. I’m slowly building a library of delicious, fast, easy recipes and quick meals and this has made it easier to cook at home and make healthy choices, especially during the workweek.
- Meal prep makes choosing healthy foods easy.
Meal prep is life. For years, I only did meal prep for road trips. Then I realized that I could do the same thing even if we were staying home. Sundays are meal prep days and the focus is on prepping ingredients, snacks, and basics to make crafting delicious meals easy. I chop loads of veggies for breakfast scrambles and omelettes, prep snacks and quick lunch choices, and cook some dinner staples like chicken salad or a big batch of meatballs.
- Always have healthy snacks available.
There’s a reason why they say “abs are made in the kitchen.” If you want to make healthy choices, you need to have healthy choices available for snacking like apple slices, nut butter, celery sticks, baby carrots, hummus, Rx Bars, Epic Bars, beet chips, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and fresh fruit. Also, if you’re leaving the house, grab healthy snacks and stick them in your purse so you won’t be tempted to get the bakery treat at Starbucks.
- Don’t stop. Keep moving.
In the middle of a workout and need a break? No problem. Take the time you need but whatever you do, don’t stop moving your body! Instead, dial it back. If going full-out, drop down to the modified option. If you’re modifying, dial it back further. Sometimes, I just walk or lightly jog in place until I’m ready to dive back in.
- Don’t force it if you’re not feeling it.
The great thing about Beachbody on Demand is that you get access to a variety of workout programs, from yoga, pilates, and boxing to dancing, weight-lifting, and cardio. This means you can try a program and if it’s not your thing, move on to something else.
- Rest days are a good thing.
It’s tempting to work through a rest day and workout anyway. I’ve found myself doing that several times. But the reality is that your body needs rest days to recover and prepare for your next block of workouts. I’m slowly learning to embrace my rest days and enjoy them.
- Choose a nutrition plan that doesn’t cause “cheat days.”
If the nutrition program you’re following has you “cheating,” it’s not the right program. I’ve tried all sorts of things over the years — from Weight Watchers to low-carb or no-carb to Whole30 — and none of them stuck. Why? Cutting out foods you love isn’t sustainable. What is sustainable is a flexible approach to nutrition that allows you to indulge and enjoy your favorite foods without feeling like you’re cheating. That’s why I’m loving Ultimate Portion Fix. With Portion Fix, I can eat the foods I love and not feel bad about it.
- Never skip stretching or the cool downs.
Similar to embracing rest days, the cool down or stretching included at the end of a workout, or an entire stretching focused workout is there to help improve your mobility and prevent injury. To reduce soreness, I stretch for about 30 minutes each night before bed.
- The scale is misleading and doesn’t show your real progress.
After months of working my butt off, I didn’t see much movement on the scale and I was so frustrated I wanted to quit. I had to come to terms with the fact that my body needed time to build back muscle (of which I basically had none), and as it did, I wouldn’t see much change on the scale. As my fat was replaced with muscle, my weight didn’t change a whole lot. I did, however, notice significant changes in my body shape and in how my clothes fit because muscle, even if it is the same weight as fat, is a lot smaller than fat!
- Share your goals and get your family involved.
While being part of a larger health and wellness community has made a tremendous impact in my success, the support and buy-in from my family was even more important because my food choices and meal planning directly affects them. I needed them onboard so there wouldn’t be complaining when there weren’t cookies in the pantry or when I kicked them out of the family room so I could workout. As the person in charge of all of the grocery shopping, my healthy habits have trickled down throughout out family and now everyone eats better!
- Slowly collect the right equipment and tools.
One thing I think everyone needs when getting started is a great fitness/yoga mat, like this one available on Amazon, to provide extra cushion and better protect your hands, knees, and back. I didn’t have dumbbells when I got started and COVID-19 caused inventory everywhere to be decimated, so I had to get creative and used water bottles and laundry detergent jugs! Luckily, I got smart and snagged some resistance loops on Amazon, which worked well to replace dumbbells until I was able to snag a set.
- Celebrate the non-scale victories (NSVs).
Yes, the scale is misleading and it’s the last place you’ll notice results. Instead of focusing on the scale, focus on the non-scale victories like your pants being looser, dropping a size in clothing, fitting into a shirt that used to be too small, hiking a trail that you wouldn’t have been able to hike a year ago, lifting heavier weights, or making it through a workout that you couldn’t finish before.
- Find a supportive community.
There’s a saying, “If you want to go far, go together.” In my experience this couldn’t be more true. Trying to tackle my health and wellness goals alone was a ridiculous struggle. It wasn’t until I joined a community of like-minded people all working toward similar goals that everything clicked into place and I found success.
A Major Victory
I can honestly say that diving into Beachbody head-first has been the best thing I could have done for myself and my family. We’ve all lost those pandemic pounds we gained in March and April and Brian has noticed some of his pants are now too loose!
I’ve also noticed a significant improvement in my stamina, which is one of the main reasons I embarked on this fitness journey in the first place. As the kids are getting older, they can hike farther and hike more difficult trails but I wasn’t in good enough shape for that. Rather than say, “No, I’m not in good enough shape,” or “Go without me,” I wanted to be able to say, “Yes! Let’s go for it.” I wanted to be able to tackle harder, longer, more strenuous hiking trails on our family adventures.
We’ve been talking about hiking to the Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout for years, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. Not just because of my asthma, but because of my poor strength and stamina. So I just oogled photos from other people’s hikes and planned to do it someday.
But then friends of ours invited us to do the hike a couple of weeks ago. It was a five mile round trip in the hot Sierra Buttes that climbed 1,600 feet in elevation in 2.5 miles to reach more than 8,500 feet elevation and WE DID IT!
This was a bucket list hike and we knocked it off our bucket lists without injury, without an asthma attack, and without it taking the entire day. In fact, in the parking lot, we asked a couple finishing their hike how long it took, they said 3.5 hours. We completed it in 4.0 hours, which includes me stopping to take pictures the entire time!
This is the biggest NSV I’ve experienced on this journey to date and it means more to me than any number on a scale!
Hiking this trail has shown me just how far I’ve come this year and has motivated me to keep moving forward — I’ve got a long list of more strenuous hikes I haven’t been able to tackle that we’re going to do!
My Next Stretch Goal: Reaching 300 Workouts
When I completed 100 workouts, it motivated me to set a new goal of completing 200 workouts. Now, I’m motivated once again to set a new goal of completing 300 workouts by the end of the year. What’s been awesome, is that my focus has been on daily movement and healthy eating, not on the scale or a specific weight. And, even though I haven’t been paying much attention to my weight, it’s coming off!
I feel like I’ve finally built back enough muscle to start burning fat, which is awesome because right now, I’m currently working through MBFA (Muscle Burns Fat Advanced) by Megan Davies, which is 21 days long and pairing it with the Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition program. When that’s done, I’ll finish out the last two weeks of Barre Blend, a ballet-based program I was working through before I started MBF/MBFA.
After that I’m not sure what I’ll choose next!
- I really liked trainer Joel Freeman in 10 Rounds, so I may check out his weight training and cardio program LIIFT4.
- I also liked Autumn Calabrese in the 21 Day Fix programs and am considering 80 Day Obsession.
- Several people have recommended Amoila Cesar’s program: 6 Weeks Of THE WORK.
Luckily I have a little over three weeks to figure it out and make a decision!
All I know for sure is that any choice will be a good one because each day I’ll be moving my body, eating well, and making progress toward my goal of 300 completed workouts.
The bigger question is: Are you in? If you’re been going at it alone and struggling to stay on track, come workout with me — or at least join our amazing community so you can have the awesome support I have.