So many workouts, not enough time and energy…

Well this is a problem I never thought I’d have.

I actually have MORE workouts that I want to do, and not enough time or energy to do them all! I’ve been practicing my PiYo workouts as well as teaching live classes, and while those workouts are great, they really take a lot of time! Not to mention, they exhaust me. I burn about as many calories doing a PiYo workout as I do with an INSANITY workout. No joke.

Disgustingly sweaty after just 45 minutes of PiYo. #piyoproblems

I love to run and I want to be able to hit the pavement 2-3 times per week, but I just can’t seem to get out there during the week! I’m never going to prepare for my half-marathon if I don’t work in some 3 mile runs soon. I want to start prepping for INSANITY and P90X Live classes that I will start teaching soon, but I also want to be able to lift my weights so I can work on my OWN goals of getting lean and sexy.

Have you ever tried to do burpees or Death Stars after a heavy leg day? It isn't pretty.

Have you ever tried to do burpees or Death Stars after a heavy leg day? It isn’t pretty.

The only solution I can think of for this problem is to just schedule my workouts a month at a time. As my body gets used to running, teaching PiYo weekly, and adding in some strength days here and there, I think I will be able to fit my personal workouts in with my classes and not worry about over-training. The best thing about PiYo is that it’s a great complement to both running and strength training, as it increases flexibility and builds core strength and balance. And with ZERO impact, it doesn’t add to the wear and tear of my body!

Gettin' sexy and flexy

Gettin’ sexy and flexy

As I get closer to my race date – which isn’t until May 2016, so I have plenty of time – I’ll gradually cut back on some of my cardio workouts and just focus on running, strength, and stretching. At least… in my head… it sounds like a good way to plan.

Do you have any tips for working on multiple fitness goals at once? How do you ensure balance and avoid overtraining injury?

Do you want to try PiYo at home? Join in my next challenge group and I will support you!

#TransformationTuesday of Sorts

My last blog post was about being strong, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Since writing that post, I have really reflected on where I am currently in my life, and how that compares to the person I used to be.

I’ve written before about my fitness journey, how my life changed since I became a Beachbody coach 2.5 years ago, and how I’ve grown throughout the process. But I don’t really talk much about the person I was even before then.

Growing up, I remember being very shy. I was a smart, quiet girl who had good grades in school without needing to study, but had very few friends. I had no idea how to talk to kids my age and often felt like an outcast. I was the very definition of a “painfully shy” child. Assignments that required speaking in front of the class made me turn beet red and sweat buckets. I came very close to having a panic attack in college when I had to give my first speech.

Even into young adulthood, I continued being socially awkward. I wanted friends, and I had a few who were close to me, but I was never comfortable in new situations or when meeting new people. My self-esteem was so low that when one boy gave me attention, I wasn’t sure whether to grab on for dear life or run far away. I married my high school sweetheart and had my daughter fairly young. When our marriage went sour, I had an extremely difficult time getting out of the relationship. I struggled with anxiety and depression, and didn’t see value within myself. I was an emotional wreck without the strength I needed to pick myself up and move toward a more positive place. I hit rock bottom. I tried to take my own life because I truly felt that my daughter would be better off without me. Luckily, I failed.

I went to therapy for a year, and felt like I had some strength and control of my life. I moved on, dated a string of men, and tried to find someone to be my “other half.” I needed attention and needed to feel like I was loved and wanted. While I knew that I needed to be mentally well on my own, I still couldn’t stand to be alone. Eventually, I met my second husband and we got married. I was jealous, anxious, and untrusting of him… mostly due to my own insecurities. I never felt pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, or good enough. I ended up in therapy again, and tried to really practice the healthy thinking that I knew I needed. But it was always a struggle to keep my mind in a positive place.

Then I found Beachbody, and my life slowly changed.

Today, I stayed at home while my kids were in school. I practice a new PiYo workout because I am teaching fitness classes in two separate gyms on Thursday. I created a video to share on social media of me – in my perfectly imperfect body – doing a portion of a workout. I supported my online challengers and lead my team of coaches. I applied to be a contributor to a running blog as a guest writer. Sure there was a tiny voice that said I may not be good enough and I may not be the type of writer they are looking for…but I applied anyway. Just a few days ago I broadcasted my first ever Periscope — seriously?! Live video!! Of a workout! What if I messed up, what if I did it wrong… and in the end…so what. What if I didn’t?

Posting videos of myself online, teaching fitness classes in 4 gyms/studios, flying to LA to be filmed for a P90X workout, training for a bikini competition, being an entrepreneur and running my own coaching business, applying to be an ambassador for a local marathon (and being selected!), and continually taking risks in my life… These are things that make me emotional when I really think about what I’m doing right now. This was NOT the type of person I was, and isn’t even CLOSE to the type of person I ever thought I would be. There are times I get scared, times I get nervous and sweaty and red in the face, and times I get the urge to crawl under the blankets and hide because I am afraid.

And then I look at how far I’ve come, and I hold my head up, and run straight forward into my future. Because I am strong and I am worth it.

fly

Summer Vanilla Shakeology

I wasn’t really sure what to name this recipe, but it seems like a great drink for summertime – so there you go!

For this recipe, I used:

  • One container of coconut water
  • Half a banana
  • Half of a watermelon Chobani  yogurt (you could use the full cup)
  • Vanilla Shakeology
  • Ice

I blended it all up with some ice – DONE! It was pretty tasty!


A friend recommended a similar recipe, but she added fresh mint leaves before blending. I didn’t have any fresh mint — and I checked by biting some of the herbs I had in my fridge. Definitely NOT mint leaves. Yuck.

If you try this one, I’d love to hear what you think! Drop a comment or send me a message on Facebook. Enjoy!

Why Do You Gain Weight When You Start Exercising?

A challenger messaged me yesterday, concerned because she was doing all the right things (exercise, water, nutrition), yet she noticed she had gained weight. Obviously, when you’re trying so hard to LOSE weight, it’s very frustrating to see the scale go up!!

the-scale-lies

I spent a lot of time trying to find a comprehensive article for reasons you will see weight gain when exercising, but none of the ones I found made me happy. So here are the reasons I am sharing:

1. Water weight. When you exercise to the point that your body gets sore, the soreness is from micro tears in your muscles (those are a good thing!). Your body has to repair those muscles, which is how you get stronger, and the muscles hold water while doing so. In the beginning, you can hold a LOT of water while your body is trying to figure out what you are doing. The scale doesn’t discriminate between fat weight or water weight, it just knows you weigh more. Keep pushing and your body will eventually flush it out.

2. Stress. Your body may not be used to the changes you are making in exercise and/or diet, and it doesn’t know what to do about it. So again, it may hold on to water or calories/fat while it’s trying to decide what’s going on. As you continue with your program, it realizes you aren’t trying to kill yourself, and it lets out a sigh of relief along with the water and calories it was holding onto.

3. Glycogen storage. When you start an aerobic program (CIZE or running or whatever), your muscles get better at storing fuel, which is what glycogen is. You can store it in your muscles and your liver. For every gram of glycogen stored, your body also stores 3 grams of water. Yet another instance of water retention, but don’t fret! The better your body can store glycogen as fuel, the less it will need to store fat.

4. Food. When we exercise more, we burn more calories, and our bodies naturally try to find homeostasis/balance. It has somewhat of a comfort zone. If you’re burning extra calories, your body is going to want you to get those calories back somehow. You may be eating back more calories that what you’ve burned off, without realizing it. They only way to know for sure is to measure and track EVERY SINGLE THING YOU EAT.

Conversely, it is possible to eat too FEW calories for your body to be able to properly burn fat. If you eat less than what your body needs to function each day, it basically over-stresses your body and it stores every calorie you give it, because it is preparing for starvation. Eat healthy foods, eat often, and fuel your body.

5. You’re just a girl. Really. Most of us (if not all of us) in here are girls, and we know that our weight can fluctuate greatly from day to day. We bloat, thanks to hormones, and that can make our pants not fit or the scale increase. Not much we can do about this one except know that it’s normal.

So….here is what I suggest after saying all of that…

Focus more on inches and photos and how you feel. Is the scale being stupid but your pants are fitting better? Do you see more muscle definition in your arms or legs? Do you have more energy and a more positive feeling each day? Do you enjoy what you’re doing? If so, forget that silly scale!! That number isn’t as important as any of these other things.

If you just need to see your weight change, and you prefer that type of measurement, try either of these methods instead:

— Weigh yourself at the same time every single day. Yes, EVERY DAY. Right after you wake up and use the bathroom, naked. Write it down. Your weight can change from day to day, but you should be able to see an overall trend going down. I am actually 2 pounds heavier today than I was yesterday, but I know I ate salty foods last night ((and I need to poop)). And my period is due basically any day now, so that isn’t helping either.

— Weigh yourself only once per week. Again, first thing in the morning after using the bathroom, and no clothes. Write it down every week.

If you see your weight increasing by 5 pounds or more after about 2 weeks of consistent exercise and eating well, there may be another issue. It could be what you’re eating or how you’re eating, or there could be a health concern.


Coach Amanda

scale

Trouble Losing Weight? How to Deal with the Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau

A weight loss plateau has to be one of the most frustrating, discouraging things in the world. Even worse than trying to recreate a beautiful Pinterest recipe or craft, which you know will ultimately end up on Pinterest Fail. Accept it.

This is typically my luck. Darn you, Pinterest, for making me feel like a failure!!

This is typically my luck. Darn you, Pinterest, for making me feel like a failure!!

While a stall or plateau can make you want to throw in the towel and say “WHY EVEN TRY ANYMOOOOREEE?!!!”…let’s try to keep a few things in mind:

  • Why did you start? Is it enough to keep you from quitting? Don’t be a quitter. Those guys are no fun.
  • What was your ultimate goal? Are you trying to reach a specific weight because someone held a gun to your head and told you to? Or do you want to be healthy?
  • Exercise and eating well should be a lifestyle change, not a short term fix so you fit in those jeans.
  • A successful journey rarely travels in a straight line. There are bound to be curves, detours, hills and valleys. Don’t sit down in the middle of the road just because the path you’re on isn’t a direct one with the most scenic route and Ryan Gosling cheering you on all the way.

Although…that would make it oh so satisfying.

Anything you say, Ryan. ::swoon::

Anything you say, Ryan. ::swoon::

Ok, back to reality. Ryan Gosling may not “Hey Girl” to you as you sweat away those calories, but you can look at some different reasons for why you may not be progressing to try to get things moving again:

  1. Look at what you’re eating. And I don’t mean watch the cupcake as it enters your mouth. Really – WHAT are you eating? Are the foods clean? Are you drinking more soda or juice or coffee than water? Are you snacking on food that your kids leave behind? (We all do it, trust me.) Did you have one, two, five, or ten cheats last week? If you aren’t consistently fueling your body with proper nutrition, you probably won’t reach your goals.
  2. In addition to WHAT you’re eating, how MUCH are you eating? We all know that eating too much will cause you to gain weight, but also eating too LITTLE will make you gain weight. Seriously! It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes increasing your calories will actually let your body know it isn’t starving and it will go back to burning fat again instead of holding onto it like a 2 year old with a death grip on his new toy.
  3. Your macros may be out of balance. By that, I mean that your body works best when it has a proper balance of carbs, proteins, and fats. There are 50 bajillion diets out there, and I honestly don’t recommend ANY of them except portion control. Again – that doesn’t mean limit what you eat to the point that you are starving, but it does mean you should eat the proper foods in proportion to each other. Pair complex carbs with protein. Don’t avoid healthy fats. Eat foods from EVERY group. If you need help with portion control and knowing how much of each type of food to eat, the 21 Day Fix or the Portion Control program is perfect to help with that.
  4. Drink more water. You should aim for half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 oz of water. If you’re 200 pounds, drink 100 oz. Get it? Simple math. When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys can’t function properly, so the body turns to the liver for help. Because the liver is working so hard, what you consume is stored rather than burned off. Also, if you don’t drink enough water, your poop isn’t going to exit quite as much as it should. Not only will you feel bad, but you will hold onto that weight. Not fun. Drink water and poop it out.
  5. You don’t have the right vitamins and minerals to make your body work properly. Did you know vitamin deficiencies will cause you to not lose weight? Yeah, the girl who had super low levels of B12 and D3 can tell you firsthand. At the very least, make sure you take a good multivitamin daily. If you can, ask your doctor to check your labs to make sure you aren’t deficient in one area or another. And of course I’m going to recommend Shakeology daily, because it’s what has helped me to raise my B12 levels to a healthy range so I was able to stop my weekly injections. (Did you know Shakeology was clinically proven to lower A1C levels and cholesterol too? True story.)
  6. Moving beyond nutrition…you may need to alter your workouts. If you’ve been doing the same types of exercise for a while, your body may have gotten used to it. Try something different and see how your body responds to a new challenge.
  7. Lift heavy. Many people think that cardio is what they need to burn fat and get skinny. While you rarely see many overweight Kenyan marathoners, cardio isn’t the most efficient way to lose weight and reshape your body. Strength training will actually skyrocket your metabolism and help you to burn fat even AFTER your workout is over. Want more bang for your buck? Lift weights with very little recovery time between sets, so that your heart rate stays elevated even while you strength train. And YES, women need to lift heavy weights. NO, women won’t get bulky without actually TRYING to get bulky. Get over that fear.
  8. Sleep. Relax. Take a day off. Do NOT work out every single day. Your body builds muscle and repairs when you sleep. Aim for at least one day per week with no workout.
  9. Be patient. Your thighs weren’t built in a day, and they aren’t going to look like Giselle’s in a day either. Sometimes your body stalls just as it is preparing to start dropping weight again. It takes time and consistency. Don’t quit, don’t give up, and don’t let your mind get in the way. Even the 21 Day Fix isn’t a 21 day FIX. It’s 21 days to build a habit so that you end up living a healthier lifestyle. No quick fixes here, people. Hold your horses, change is gonna happen.

One final note…I often have clients and challengers who are in my private support groups who worry that they’ve been exercising for a week or two or five and they haven’t lost any weight. I know it concerns them, but that in itself doesn’t immediately raise red flags for me.

Here’s why: Weight by itself does NOT tell your story. A better indicator of progress would be inches, pictures, how your clothes fit, how you feel, how much energy you have, and your medical records (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc). It’s possible to drop more than one dress size but actually GAIN weight because muscle is more dense than fat! It takes up less room, so your body is getting smaller and tighter, but your weight is increasing. The scale can be beneficial in some ways, but in some ways it can derail your progress by making you stress unnecessarily.

Also, if you are working hard and exercising to the point that your muscles are getting sore (DOMS), your body is most likely holding on to water while it repairs your muscles! Again – that can appear to be weight gain but it isn’t like you just packed on 5 pounds of fat overnight. Keep pushing forward and it will work itself out in the long run. I promise.

A great article I stumbled across recently is here, and is one that I recommend to everyone. If you want my help with meal planning, tweaking your exercise program, or figuring out what is going to work best for you – contact me! The contact tab up there is full of ways you can find me, or just email me at amandaedenfield1@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you!


Amanda

***Disclaimer – I am not a nutritionist/dietician/doctor, and I am not in any way trained to diagnose or treat medical problems. I am a personal trainer and coach who is only sharing knowledge and experiences that I have gained from research, my own fitness journey, and that of my clients/challengers. If you have serious difficulties with weight loss that isn’t receptive to proper nutrition or exercise, please seek the advice of a medical professional. You may have a hormonal imbalance or other health condition that is interfering with your metabolism and ability to reach a healthy weight.***

8 Week Half-Marathon Training with Strength and Cross Training

...cheaper than therapy...

…cheaper than therapy…

Have you ever run a race? Any race — a 5k, a 10k, a half-marathon, or maybe a full marathon (in which case, kudos to you because dang that’s a long way!)? I’ve done a sprinkling of 5ks, a couple of 10ks, a quarter marathon, one 10 miler, and one half-marathon. So far, the half-marathon has been my favorite race…it hurt the most, and I got the WORST burn from my sports bra elastic rubbing on my chest, but that race was the most satisfying, empowering, and just 100% FUN.

It was in November 2012 and was the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in beautiful Savannah, GA. I had just moved back to Georgia after being gone for 5 years. I was happy to run my first “major” race in a city I loved. And that was one of the best parts! I ran through parts of the city I had never seen, as well as parts that were familiar to me. We finished in Forsyth Park downtown, and even though I was in pain, I was HAPPY. Full of pride.

Official time: 2:38:09

Official time: 2:38:09

Backstory: I was never a runner before. I couldn’t run longer than 60 seconds without stopping to walk. Well, I probably could’ve, but I didn’t want to. Once my chest started hurting and breathing got difficult and uhhhh my body was tired, I was ready to quit. One day, I just decided I wanted to run. I have no idea where I got that goal, but it’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to run longer than 60 seconds. Longer than a mile. I wanted to run 3 miles…and then I wanted to run more than that.

Never a marathon though, haha. Nope. I’m only “half” crazy. 😉

So I got the Couch to 5K podcast and started using it. Before I knew it, I had worked up to being able to run the full mile, a full two miles, and finally 3 whole miles without walking! I rewarded myself with a new pair of shoes and sports sunglasses. I signed up for the Triple Crown of Running, because I lived in Kentucky at the time. After I finished those three races, I was hooked and I wanted more. The Rock N Roll half marathon just seemed like the best one for me, so I committed. And I did it.

You know what else I did? I inspired these two awesome kids right here. I know they watch me. I know I have an effect on them. But I didn’t know that they would want to do what mom was doing. And that just motivates me to want to do more. How can I quit when I know they are watching?

Hunter's first 5k race - 2nd place!  Kaiden's 1 mile Superhero Run.

Hunter’s first 5k race – 2nd place!                  Kaiden’s 1 mile Superhero Run.

So now I’m training for my second half-marathon. I haven’t run a race since Fall 2013 when I did the Spirit of Survival quarter marathon (6.55 miles for you non-math people haha). I got a wild hair a couple of weeks ago and decided to sign up for the Colfax Half-Marathon in Downtown Denver. The only problem…it was 8 weeks away. So my training is going to have to be SERIOUS. Super serious.

I immediately sat down and wrote out my training plan. There aren’t many 8-week training programs, so I took a few popular schedules and made a plan that would work for me. I know I can’t run every day, so I am incorporating some cross training that I can do at home, as well as strength training. I don’t want to lose my upper body strength while I focus on endurance running, and I am well aware that lower body strength workouts will not only enhance my running abilities but prevent injury. (See articles here, here, and here for more information on that.)

8 week half marathon training, using cross training and strength exercises

8 week half marathon training, using cross training and strength exercises

As you can see, many of my days have two workouts a day listed. I’ll be honest though…my first/early morning workouts are the ones I am more focused on. The second workout of the day doesn’t always happen (it’s life), but is more of a “it would be really good if I can work this one in too” plan. So far, I’ve only done two-a-days a couple of times this month. Then again, it has been spring break and instead of having all this extra time to workout, I’ve been packed with appointments and events. Figures, right?

On the top of the calendar, you can see where my focus lies with my workouts. Obviously, not everyone has the extensive Beachbody DVD collection as I do (although there is Beachbody On Demand, so it’s available for everyone!). It doesn’t matter WHAT program or plan you use, as long as you have a solid plan for working your body and preparing for the big day.

Are you training for a race? Have you found a plan that works for you, or do you need help designing a training schedule? I would love to help you come up with one if you need it! Drop a comment or email me at amandaedenfield1@gmail.com and we can get started. But for now….it’s time to lace up and hit the road before the snow blows in.

Deuces!!
Amanda ❤

Life is for living…

I am starting week 3 of the 21 Day Fix Extreme tomorrow, and I’m pretty excited about finishing up, seeing my results, and submitting my pics for my free t-shirt! However, I would be lying if I said I had followed the program for all 21 days without cheats. Here’s why:

For the first week, I was on point. I think I had one little snack one night (Annie’s graham bunnies – the worst junk food I even had in the house) but the rest of the week I resisted temptation. Week two was ok…I felt much stronger with my workouts but didn’t stick to the plan as closely as I would’ve liked. I missed some of my proteins, didn’t eat all my veggies, and added in a few extra fats. Then this weekend…I decided to take a break. Friday night I went to my first NBA game (Go Warriors!) and enjoyed a beer and some Indian food. Mmmmm, naan. Impossible to resist. On Saturday, I knew my daughter would want to celebrate Pi Day, because she’s a total nerd just like her mama. Sure, I could’ve let her bake a pie and just not eaten any, but why? Because I want abs? Because I said I was going to stick to this program and not quit? Well…both are very valid reasons, but honestly, my kid is a better reason. A much bigger reason. So we found a recipe for chocolate pie, I bought the ingredients, she baked, and I enjoyed not one but TWO delicious pieces of pie WITH whipped cream on top. And I enjoyed every last morsel.

pie

I could’ve stopped there, but I didn’t. I also ate a slice of pizza for lunch (it’s just one more type of pie for Pi Day, haha). And for dinner, my boyfriend and I went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Sorry, but I had no intentions of eating a salad. I went for the meatballs and polenta, and I merrily celebrated with a lively group. I had a blast. I smiled, I laughed, and I enjoyed time with my friends.

I say this to show you how I feel about all of this health/fitness/clean eating “stuff.” Yes, I love the feeling I get after I exercise. Yes, I can focus on eating well about 80% of the time. But my life isn’t all about sticking to my food plan and killing my body every day. I take rest days from my workouts and rest days from my strict nutrition plan as well. I am happy. I enjoy myself. And I wake up refreshed and ready to get back to it. And for me, that’s ok. 🙂

good for your soul


Amanda

21 Day Fix Extreme Countdown to Competition Meal Plan

21dfx wood

Oh Autumn, you really wanted to see how hard you could push me, didn’t you? As if meal planning for the original 21 Day Fix wasn’t enough of a challenge, you go and throw the C2C plan at me and just rock my world!!

That’s ok because I got this.

I figured out that the most difficult part of planning for C2C was going to be fitting in #allthereds – because I never eat that much protein!! But, I think I have this meal planning thing down pat. Here’s my plan for this past week:

C2C plan March 2-8

You’ll see I am NOT eating cod 2829 times per day. Can’t. Just can’t do that. Props to Autumn and any other competitor who has that kind of dedication. I have goals and I have drive but I also don’t intend to make myself completely miserable haha. I know my limits.

I absolutely hate plain egg whites. Even hot sauce doesn't make it better. Bleech.

I absolutely hate plain egg whites. Even hot sauce doesn’t make it better. Blargh.

I also don’t strictly eat the + foods that Autumn has tagged in the C2C eating guide. I am avoiding dairy for the most part, but I am drinking regular Shakeology instead of vegan, and I am including some whey protein. I’d rather throw in a little whey and reach my protein goals for my red containers than try to choke down another serving of meat during the day. Again – I am doing what works best for me. My goal is to do better, not be perfect. 😉

As for my dinners – the chicken chili is modified from the turkey chili recipe that’s in the book. I am not a huge fan of ground turkey so I opted to use shredded chicken breast in place of the ground turkey here. The poached tilapia, beef and squash stew, and turkey meatballs are all found in the 21DFX eating plan recipes.

Today is day 6 for me, and I have stuck with this plan about 95%!! I had an issue with my lunch on Wednesday and ended up eating a bagel. And I may have had an extra carb or two today. Oops. However, I’ve had NO wine or beer this week, NO chocolate, and I’ve been eating ALL my reds! I am going to attempt to get 7 reds on my C2C days next week, since I am not really trying to lose any weight at this point. I just want to drop fat and gain muscle. I’m already down a couple of pounds and my muscles are super sore so I know I’m retaining water. Plus it’s my time of the month, so who knows what tricks my uterus is playing on me. She and my bathroom scale do not get along.

Do you have any awesome 21DFX recipes you’d like to share? Creative ways to get in all those dreaded reds? Please share! Drop a note below or email me!


Amanda

Family Friendly Meals for the 21 Day Fix

“How can I eat according to the 21 Day Fix meal plan without having to cook separate meals for myself and my family?” “What foods can I eat?” “I have no idea what to make for dinner!”

These are things that I hear often from my challengers who are trying to follow their plan with the 21 Day Fix, as well as from some friends who just want to try to eat healthier foods. But what about the husband and the kids? What do they eat? Easy…I’ll show you how I do it.

Honestly, you can continue eating most of the same foods you already eat, or at least cooking many of the same dinners that your family enjoys. As I have shown in my previous post on how to meal plan for the Fix, I always plan my dinners first. Those are the most complicated because that is the meal each day when our family all eats the same thing. I don’t enjoy eating a salad every night, and I am certainly not going to cook multiple meals for my family, so I just cook something that I know everyone is going to enjoy.

Some of our typical meals before I started following the 21 Day Fix were:

  • burgers and homemade fries
  • tacos, burritos, or fajitas
  • brinner (breakfast for dinner)
  • pizza
  • enchiladas
  • spaghetti
  • fish tacos
  • barbecue pork
  • buffalo chicken
  • grilled steak and potatoes
  • hot dogs or sausage and macaroni and cheese (that’s a bad one, haha!)
  • chili

And honestly, we still eat most of these meals now! The only thing I do differently is clean up some of my recipes. I use fresh ingredients and lean meats. I usually forego the bun or tortilla with burgers and tacos, but my family eats them if they want. I typically opt out of cheese and any sauces that contain sugar. I make my own spaghetti sauce and use whole wheat noodles. Even pizza can be a fun meal at home — just use pita bread or some other type of crust and everyone can make their own individual pizza! The only meal I have cut out is the hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. Oh and did we LOVE to eat that. On rare occasion, I’ll let the kids have Applegate hot dogs and Annie’s organic mac and cheese, but that’s usually a weekend treat. I use that time to either eat leftovers or make myself a salad.

We have also discovered some new meals we enjoy, and surprisingly my kids have adapted to eating “healthier” style foods! Baked chicken or fish, sweet potato fries, roasted broccoli, kale chips, sliced berries on whole wheat pancakes (and minimal real maple syrup needed, if at all!), even a Cobb salad is a family favorite.

red, yellow, green, and blue

red, yellow, green, and blue

What are your favorite family meals on the Fix? Or what are your favorite family meals, and you want to know how to incorporate them into your Fix plan? Drop a comment below or email me at amandaedenfield1@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to help you clean it up and work it into your plan! 😉


Amanda

How to Meal Plan for the 21 Day Fix

clean-eating-meal-plan-rfrd

((Edit: You can watch my YouTube video here if you would rather hear me talk through the steps of meal planning. Otherwise, keep reading below!!))

How do you meal plan? How am I supposed to figure out these containers? How can I follow this guide and still feed my family? I don’t want to make different meals for myself and my family!

Make sure you grab your book before you start planning!

Make sure you grab your book before you start planning!

I hear this often, and they are legit concerns! When you first get your nutrition guide and try to tackle meal planning, it’s almost enough to make you throw in the towel. And some people get so frustrated that they do just that. But don’t let meal planning be what stops you from sticking with this program! Here I will break it down and show you exactly how I do my meal plans each week.

Step 1:

I start with a chart. Yep, a chart. I need paper and pencil so I can sketch out what we will eat for the week. Some people use the computer and that’s cool, but I need it on paper. It works better for me that way.

Meal planning step 1

So my chart looks like this. I have the days of the week on one side and my meals on the other. Sometimes I have the days on top of the page, and sometimes I have them on the side. That’s pretty irrelevant – just make sure they’re on there somewhere haha. Moving on. I also have every meal and snack that I eat each day. You can add in an extra snack before or after dinner if that’s what you typically eat. This is just what works for me. At the bottom, I list the different containers and how many of each I am supposed to eat (I’m planning for level 2, the 1500-1799 calorie range). This allows me to put a tally mark as I enter the foods into my plan, so I can see how many of each I have planned and how many more I need to add in.

Step 2:

After I have my chart prepped, I start writing in the meals that are pretty stable. For me, Shakeology is breakfast Monday-Friday. I sometimes cook breakfast on the weekends, so it may get shifted to a snack on those days, but I rarely have time to cook breakfast during the week. So Shakeology goes in the chart first. Then I plan for my dinners. Taco Tuesday is pretty typical in our house, so some version of that goes on Tuesday. We also like to do burgers, brinner (breakfast for dinner if you aren’t a Scrubs fan haha), steak and veggies, fajitas…and so on. Those get placed in dinner slots throughout the week. If I have a new recipe I want to try, I figure out which night will work the best for me to cook it and I place it there. After I have my dinners planned…

Step 3:

…then I plan my lunches. Because I’m a teacher, I don’t really have the luxury of cooking something for lunch. Leftovers are my best friend! Pretty much 95% of the time, I take whatever meat we had for dinner and pair it with a salad for my lunch the next day. Yes, I will even cook extra for dinner to make sure I have enough to eat for lunch!

Dinners and lunches complete!

Dinners and lunches complete!

Step 4:

After I have my dinners and lunches planned, I go back and fill in the gaps. Snacks are generally the same thing every day. Fruit, almonds, deli meat, boiled eggs (oh wow, just realized I didn’t use those at all this week!), raw veggies and hummus…those are all pretty standard snacks for me. I tried to add in a little variety with this plan, but honestly I am a boring eater! I will eat some of the same things every day just to keep it simple. Then I don’t have to try to remember too many different things haha.

Fill in snacks and missing pieces!

Fill in snacks and missing pieces!

A zoomed in view

A zoomed in view

That’s pretty much it! You don’t have to be following the 21 Day Fix to meal plan this way. This method of meal planning can be adapted to any type of nutrition plan, and can also be used for the 21 Day Fix Extreme. I will definitely use this while I’m prepping my meals using the Countdown to Competition plan (eat #allthereds). For some 21 Day Fix approved recipes, check out my clean and healthy recipe board here.

If you need help with meal planning or want more ideas on meals and snacks, leave a comment or feel free to message me via email (amandaedenfield1@gmail.com) or on Facebook! Happy planning!

Amanda