RESULTS: An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review ‚Äď Week 8

 

Results Blog - PiYo Before and After With Weight Loss

For previous reviews, check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Weeks 4-5, Week 6 and Week 7.     

It’s the end! I finished Week 8 of PiYo and Shakeology. Instead of posting a long blog I thought it’d be best to have my results¬†measurements and photos. It’s embarrassing to see the before ones and I’m still not comfortable showing my midriff, but I want to show how effective the program was for me. So (deep¬†breath)¬†here we go!

Before and After Collage PiYo

I lost a total of 13.7 pounds on Beachbody’s PiYo program.

Results Blog - Side View Before Results Blog - Best Side Arms on Sides Left After

I also lost 15.1 inches all around my body – isn’t that crazy? I’m 5’1/2″ and didn’t know I even could lose that much. You can tell here that my waistline has significantly improved – I lost 3″ off of it in just 8 weeks.

Results Blog - Back BeforeResults Blog - Back Arms Down After

Check it out, no back rolls and a lifted tush! The thighs look way better too – the should since I lost 5″ off them total.¬† I also lost 3.5″ off my hips.

Results Blog - Front Arms Flexed Results Blog - Best Front Arms Flexed After

I got a little more definition in the chest by losing 2.3″ around. Although you can’t see a big difference in them, I did lose 1.3″ off the arms as well.

Results Blog - Front Twist Before Results Blog - Best Twist Arms on Hips Right Bester USE THIS ONE

So after seeing these results, drinking Shakeology and being in months of accountability Challenge Groups I have decided to take the plunge and become a Beachbody coach! It’s funny since I was so skeptical of Shakeology at the beginning but I¬†genuinely enjoy my daily shake.¬†I love the idea of combining my passion for fitness and my newly discovered respect for the products with helping people on a bigger scale than I can reach just by teaching local Pilates courses.

Would you like to see these kinds of results for yourself? I would love to have you join a FREE Challenge Group with me! Please visit my Facebook page, Motivation and Muscles with Miranda to find out about my next group or learn more about what I do as a coach.

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review ‚Äď Week 7

Truth. Read and repeat.

Truth. Read and repeat.

I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with the PiYo and 21 Day Fix programs as an independent fitness instructor trying something new.  I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry. For previous reviews, check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Weeks 4-5 and Week 6.

Week¬†7/8 , the light is at the end of the tunnel, but it’s easy to get a bit lax. This week I lost more weight than usual (a plus!) but also had a few indulgences due to being at work functions and having no healthy food options. The workouts were the same, rotating the tougher “Drench” workout with “Buns,” “Sculpt” and “Core.”¬† But I did find a way to shake it up…

The Workouts:

If you order PiYo through a Beachbody Coach you get a free additional DVD for each program. For Piyo I got “Hardcore on the Floor.” This is a DVD focuses on moves on the mat and really does challenge you. You can rotate it in by replacing the normal “Core” with this one. I was excited to get a bit of variety into the rotation and work some other muscles. Like past reviews, I decided to write down a breakdown as I went through it…so here it goes.

“Hardcore on the Floor”

33 minute workout with a 3 minute warm up.

A free additional workout for ordering through a coach

A free additional workout for ordering through a coach

The warm up reviews the basics we’ve learned with more of an emphasis on the core. Then it’s onto Beast¬†pose, one of my biggest challenges. This workout introduces more advanced versions of Beast, some of which I was not winning at but for those who may be going through the program for a second or third time will likely be advanced enough to need these.

Next are V-sits, variations of this classic move and then integrating them with crunches! Wow, it burns so good. Then we return to the PiYo pedals and rolls, a personal favorite.

Side planks with crunches, Beast and Roman oblique twists follow. All reviews of moves learned in previous PiYo workouts.

Then it’s time to go facedown on the mat with down dog variations, elbow planks and an inch worm-like move. This becomes a flow routine with planks, triceps push ups and down dog.

The workout closes with back extensions and a quick cool down.

For a freebie, this DVD was really nice! It wasn’t as challenging as “Drench” or “Strength Intervals” but it was really fun to take the basic poses and learn advanced varieties. Plus it’s great to always add in something news, I’m glad¬†I got this bonus through my coach.

Overall:¬† The workouts got a little easier this week, not sure if it’s because I have been doing them¬†repeatedly or if it’s because my endurance and strength has improved. Probably a combo of both, although I’ve gained significant muscle gain. Over this past week I noticed that I didn’t need to stop the DVDs as often for water or a break, so my endurance is definitely up which is awesome. I’m still challenged, even on week 7, so this workout program has really impressed me.

Week 7 Meal Prep

Week 7 Meal Prep

The Meal Plan:

This week was a combo. I cooked more and had successful meal planning. I made homemade mushroom barley soup, TVP tacos with black beans, etc. Some days I knocked it out of the park. Others I was proud and justified treating myself due to how much I’d accomplished. So there was a day when I had extra carbs because I was at a work event for 8 hours with no options and another¬†when I had two servings of wine instead of one. The days that I had pizza or extra wine I just made sure to eat very light and healthy the rest of the day to balance it or work harder the next day.

Overall: This week taught me that I need to stay consistent. My meal planning is strong, but I can see myself falling into old habits once the program is over. I am learning to be a bit more balanced, pick my meals thoughtfully and make sure that indulgences are occasional and paired with lighter meals and a walk or tougher workout.

Shakeology: Still a Shakeology addict! I’ve spent most of the week sipping on my Pumpkin Spice Shakeology recipe. While I love the variety pack, I think the Chocolate Shakeology will be what I always gravitate towards since I have such a sweet tooth!

With the power of Pinterest I found another yummy Shakeology treat, a Cookies and Cream recipe that is downright decadent without the calories of a typical dessert.  See the photo below for the recipe.

Yuuuuummmm

Yuuuuummmm

Overall: Beyond seeing the effects of Shakeology as a low-calorie meal replacement and¬†good source of protein, I’m seeing the impact on my external appearance, my nails and hair are growing faster and stronger. It’s almost annoying to have to keep doing my highlights but I’m glad to see proof of some positive changes to my health. I’ve stopped taking vitamins as it has a ton of nutrients and I don’t want to overdo it. I don’t do a unique recipe like the above every day, but when I use it as a late night snack or on the weekends to keep it from getting¬†monotonous.

Challenge Group Quote ChangeCoach and Challenge Group:

I’ve been more active with the challenge group this week, especially since I wasn’t checking in as frequently last week. It really has kept me focused on my health and accountable for my fitness. I’ve added more frequent walks so I could check in and say “Yes, I met and exceeded my goals today!” I shared meal prep photos and was happy to have a group of like-minded people to share my success, and in the case of days with too many carbs, my struggles.

Overall: I said it from the start and I will again, the challenge groups are one of the best assets to the Beachbody programs. You can buy all the health food and workout plans in the world, but if you lack motivation or accountability you won’t do them. While I’m a motivated person, on the days I felt like skipping I had my group to think about and it has made the possible difference between making it from day one to week seven.

Well I teased it at the beginning so here it is, my week seven results!

RESULTS:

1.4 lb. down for 13 lbs. lost in 7 weeks.  I’ve experienced significant muscle toning and gain too.

NSVs (non scale victories): I had the courage and newfound body confidence to model for a drawing club in a bikini after over a year of them asking me to do it. My husband said, in typical guy fashion, “I don’t know how to say this, but your but looks incredible. Not that it looked bad before, but it looks great now.” Hey, I’ll take it! ūüôā

Tune in for a review of week eight next week. Thanks for stopping by for my unbiased Piyo and Shakeology review!

Previous Entries:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3.

Weeks 4-5

Week 6

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review ‚Äď Week 6

Somehow I still don't look like her by week 6, LOL

Somehow I still don’t look like her by week 6, LOL

I am not a Beachbody coach. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with the PiYo and 21 Day Fix programs as an independent fitness instructor trying something new.  I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry. For previous reviews, check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Weeks 4-5.

Week 6 and I am back to a normal (non-vacation or wedding) routine again and seeing the changes. I weighed myself the first day of this week and got bummed because it looked like I had gained weight, but turns out it must have been water retention because I was lighter than ever, and received more compliments than the past few weeks, by the end of week 6.

The Workouts:

There were no new workouts this week, so this section will be short. What I will say is that this week is more challenging as it rotates Drench in more frequently and my muscles felt it! I haven’t felt like I needed the rest day until this week and I sure took it!

I noticed that my endurance has increased, moves that seemed impossible or I couldn’t do all the reps of I was finishing. There were still a few I needed to max out for a minute and then join in again, or take a water break after, but for the most part I was nailing the moves. I even did all the burpees! And I hate burpees.

Sweat was brought back and I have missed it! Sweat is a great routine, mix it with Sculpt and Drench and it’s been a killer week for my body in the best way possible.

Overall:¬† No more easy workouts! Now just the challenging Drench, Sculpt, Core, etc. I felt burning in my arms and muscles hurt that hadn’t before.¬†BUT I also felt stronger, did more advanced versions¬†and had more endurance so I know the plan is working.

Week 6 was one of the first weeks I felt super accomplished and ready to challenge the workouts. I think maybe after 42+ days of doing it, it has become a routine and that pushed me forward.

The Meal Plan:

Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad with herb vinaigrette

Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad with herb vinaigrette

I lost my mojo a bit this week with meal planning. I did a lot of planning on the fly or the night before, so I don’t have a great group photo like I have before, unfortunately. I did branch out into some new areas; I made and froze veggie egg cups for quick protein, I¬†roasted beets and added them to a salad with feta and herb vinaigrette (my own DIY version of this recipe)¬†and I whipped up a lettuce wrap with sliced veggies, quinoa and crushed walnuts.¬†So huzzah for new ideas on the go!

This was also¬†the week of discovering as much as I thought I had a handle on this, there were some areas I didn’t. A big one was my discovery that even though I have been eating Greek yogurt, it has been the wrong kind! What? Apparently on the 21 Day Fix you can ONLY have plain and mix in your own fruit or guilt free flavorings (lemon juice, spices, etc.). What a bummer to discover that while I thought I was making good decisions with my Chobani, I was not following the plan. You can still eat flavored Greek yogurts or even fro-yo, but it has to be considered one of your three weekly treats and no yogurt will replace my wine!

Fresh Baked Vegetable Egg Cups for Freezing

Fresh Baked Vegetable Egg Cups for Freezing

I also let my husband talk me into going to the movies for the first time since starting the plan. The popcorn smelled sooooooo good. I told him I would only eat half a cup and consider it a treat/my oils, but I barely ate that much. It just isn’t as good as I remembered. And it was so darn salty! I think maybe this plan has helped me taste what is BAD in bad food.

So while I¬†kept to the plan, but wasn’t as great as I have been at pre-prepping my meals. Luckily, I always have a large amount of healthy food on hand and I keep measuring cups and spoons from the Dollar Tree at my desk so I could still portion my snacks at the office.

Overall: Food temptations were strong, meal planning was weak but I still stuck to the plan overall. My goal is to commit more time to planning this week to have less night before or on-the-go panics on what I can eat.

Shakeology:

I admit, I was a Shakeology skeptic and now here I am wondering what I flavor I¬†am going to order for Month 3. I am still loving the variety of flavors, this week’s favorite has been vanilla because it is an excellent base flavor I can add to – see my newest, fall-themed creation below. Many fruits and spices¬†taste better in the vanilla vs. the chocolate as it’s a milder flavor that doesn’t overwhelm them.

The days I didn’t have fresh fruits or spices ready, I fell back on my chocolate and strawberry flavors. I have yet to make a great recipe for the strawberry one, but it’s coming I’m sure!

Let me introduce you to my latest and greatest creation: The Pumpkin Spice Shakeology.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Shakeology created by Miranda

Pumpkin Spice Latte Shakeology created by Miranda

With fall here, I have been craving some Starbucks PSL like the white girl I am and this idea came to me as a healthier option. It’s super easy, all you need is¬†2 ingredients plus water¬†for a fall taste that packs a protein punch!

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop or packet Vanilla Shakeology
  • 1/2 cup Tazo Pumpkin Chai tea mix (available at Target and most grocery stores)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup water to dilute tea mix (more water for less strong pumpkin spice taste)
  • 4-6 cubes of ice
  • Optional: cinnamon to garnish the top and add a little spice

Throw all ingredients into your bender and mix on high for 30 seconds to a minute. It’s the healthiest pumpkin spice shake I’ve ever heard of!

210 calories if you measure it out exactly per the above and about 52 mgs of caffeine.

Overall: I’m still drinking Shakeology daily and I seriously love it. I expected to be bored or not like it, but that’s not the case. It has become an essential part of my morning routine and it gives me energy and keeps me full from 7:30 a.m. to around 11 or so, so it’s become my breakfast meal replacement. Do I think it is a miracle in a glass? No. Do I think it’s insanely healthy and gives me more nutrients than I would likely consume daily? Yes. And for now that paired with the meal replacement and energy is¬†good enough for me.

Coach and Challenge Group:

Beachbody Challenge Groups

Beachbody Challenge Groups

I got added into another challenge group this week by my coach. YAY! But unfortunately I slacked more than usual, so boo on me. The girls did inspire me to post more often and take some photos, so it wasn’t a total loss. I even was asked to write a daily question/challenge for them since I am a fitness nut/always online. That was fun. It gave me a mini taste of what my coach does daily.

Full disclosure, the past two weeks I have been thinking that I could¬†probably rock it as a¬†coach. I am not committed yet, but it’s a consideration. I’ve had two people directly ask me how I am losing weight, tell me I was an “inspiration” to them, etc. and it seems like a waste if I just start to refer them to other people if they want advice from ME. I am not going to decide until my program ends and I finish blogging my review¬†in two weeks, just to stay unbiased and make sure it is right for me.

Overall: The challenge groups are what YOU put into them, so if you suck at posting, you probably won’t have a great time. But if you interact with the other women and stay consistent, it can be a great way to stay reliable, get some recipes and inspiration from others and be entered for fun prizes.

WEEKS 6 RESULTS:

1.2 lb. down for 11.6 lbs. lost in 42 days.  I’ve experienced significant muscle toning and gain too.

NSVs: Received¬†three “you look thinner!” compliments in one workday, looked at myself in my lingerie and liked what I saw for the first time in months.

Tune in for a review of week four next week. Thanks for stopping by for my unbiased Piyo and Shakeology review!

Previous Entries:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3.

Weeks 4-5

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review ‚Äď Weeks 4 & 5

I am not a Beachbody coach. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with this program as an independent fitness instructor trying something new.  I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry. For previous reviews, check out Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

This week I am combining Weeks 4 and 5 because I went out of town last week. Since they are over, I am able to fully review the new workouts, Shakeology and meal planning, etc. Here are my thoughts.

PiYo DVD Run Times

PiYo DVD Run Times

The Workouts:

Drench: I had heard from my Beachbody coach that this one was killer and she wasn‚Äôt kidding. It was 48 minutes of dynamic movement, sculpting and muscle burn. The time required was a shock, I barely got it in before work because the previous DVDs were 20-35 minutes, but I sweat through it and live talk-to- text myself my thoughts for an in-the-moment review. This is what I was thinking while performing the moves in ‚ÄúDrench‚Ä̂Ķ

0:01 complete: ‚Äú48 minutes? WTF?‚ÄĚ

7:00 complete: ‚ÄúOk, same movements we‚Äôve learned before, nothing crazy‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

12:00 complete: ‚ÄúToo fast! I can barely keep up, form is suffering on me and cues aren‚Äôt great.‚ÄĚ

18:00 complete: ‚ÄúFirst break due to butt cheek cramp. That‚Äôs a new one.‚ÄĚ

19:00 complete: ‚ÄúPlanks, planks and a new move!‚ÄĚ

25:00 complete: ‚ÄúSquats and burpees, nearly the same combo as before so thankfully in familiar, albeit thigh-burning, territory.‚ÄĚ

30:00 complete: ‚ÄúStopping for water. I‚Äôm surprised Beachbody doesn‚Äôt include a quick water break or two in their workouts considering how the 21 Day Fix is so focused on hydration.‚ÄĚ

40:00 complete: ‚ÄúI‚Äôm really irritated because this ‚Äėflow‚Äô section is really weak in terms of cueing, which newbies need. I know these moves from my past with Pilates, but someone new would be really confused and overwhelmed. Not good Chalene!‚ÄĚ

48:00 complete ‚Äď the end: ‚ÄúNice cool down. I feel very accomplished but this was my least favorite so far.‚ÄĚ

Sculpt: This workout uses varying tempos to keep your muscles under tension for different periods of time. Some felt like nice, long stretches, others felt like hell in the best way possible. Many of the moves are repetition from the past DVDs, so if you get bored easily it may be a low point for you. For me, I do these before work when I am groggy so it was a nice way to not have to think.

The claim for “Sculpt” ¬†is that it “generates muscular endurance and metabolic changes that will totally transform your figure.” I don’t know about that, but I did really enjoy the 30 minute workout. It focuses on lots of tricep push ups, planks, etc. and had a similar flow sequence to¬†“Drench.”¬†Was it the most challenging DVD so far? No, but it was a nice in-between workout to give your muscles a break from some of the more challenging DVDs like “Drench” and “Sweat.” Want to explore more? The “Fill Me With Meaning” blog has a great breakdown of all the exercises you do in “Sculpt.”

Week 5 I went on a camping trip and did not do PiYo for four days. I couldn’t do the workouts due to no electricity or wifi, but my coach thought that if I just worked out/did activities it would even out.¬†I hiked a minimum of 8 miles a day on steep inclines, kayaked 5 miles in wind with 2-4 foot tall¬†waves one day, etc. I’m hoping this trip didn’t set me back.

PiYo Meal Plan Week 4

PiYo Meal Plan Week 4

Overall: Weeks 4 and 5 introduced two new workouts – one I enjoyed but wasn’t as challenged by and another I felt was almost too-demanding for a newbie and didn’t have proper form/cues. While “Drench” is not my favorite, it did challenge me more than the others, so I have to give PiYo props for keeping my muscles tired and working. The past two weeks have completely cut Upper Body Define” and “Lower Body Define” out of the equation, so I’m excited to see the program getting harder and less elementary.


The Meal Plan:

As stated in my last review, meal planning has become much easier now that I can recall off the top of my head how many portions I need of what food group. Week 4 went well with me feeling amazing and excelling at meal planning. You’ll see my photo of a full work week of lunches and snacks prepped for the office. I noticed flatter abs and looser clothes and all was right with the world.

Week 5 was tougher; it was over a holiday weekend and I had a wedding to attend. I packed a cooler of goodies which helped me stay on track, but the build your own pasta bar, carrot cake and open bar proved to be a bit too tempting. I tried to limit my portions and not drink to excess, but I did indulge because I can’t be a total social pariah. I got back on track for three days, but then it was off to a long weekend of camping in a national park without internet access or a fridge. I looked up advice for camping on the 21 Day Fix and found this great article on the “Finding Motivation Everyday” blog. I packed my favorite healthy snacks, pictured¬†below, that are camping and 21 Day Fix approved, but it was still a struggle. I had to eat more processed foods than usual due to eating vegetarian hot dogs or canned chili. I tried to limit my starches, but when you hike 8 miles on cliffs and kayak 5 miles in the same day, your body will tell you that it needs carbs and you need to listen so I wasn’t 100% compliant with the plan. Plus, smores are a tradition, so I had to have those one night. I did my best, but I didn’t want to be starved or miserable so I did go outside the plan.

21 Day Fix Approved Camping Snacks

21 Day Fix Approved Camping Snacks

Overall: Still missing chocolate, wine, etc. in unlimited quantities but learning to live without excess. Being creative with the meals, planning in advance and cooking large portions has been the key to staying on track. Snacks for traveling are essential, but meals on vacation or at special events can be tough. I think it’s ok to take a break every now and then to celebrate with someone, everything in moderation right? I am starting Week 6 on track again, packed meals, less processed food and the motivation to get back to 100% compliance.¬†

Shakeology:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake

Week 4 I was finishing my bag of Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and still enjoying it. I was really craving chocolate cake one day and was having my shake at night instead of the morning, so I got creative and made my first Shakeology Mug Cake. It’s your classic mug cake or protein pancake recipe using ingredients you likely have on hand.

Ingredients
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
-1 tbs sweetener of your choice (I used agave)
– dash of salt
– 1 egg
– optional mix in: 1 tbs PB2 peanut butter, 1 tbs cocoa powder (I used both!)
Р2 or 3 tbs milk or almond milk

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake Ingredients

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shakeology Mug Cake Ingredients

Directions:

  1. ¬†In a mug mix Shakeology, baking powder, salt, peanut butter and cocoa, cocoa, and sweetener if it’s a dry sweetener like stevia or sugar.
  2. Next, mix in an egg, 2-3 tablespoons of milk and¬†sweetener if it’s wet like agave.
  3. Mix until dry ingredients are wet. Really scrape bottom to mix and sides.
  4. Microwave for 90 seconds. Don’t be alarmed if¬†the cake¬†puffs out above the mug, it will deflate once the heat is off.
  5. Let rest in microwave for 2 minutes as it is hot. Cake should easily pull away from the mug with little residue. Enjoy!
Finished Shakeology Mug Cake

Finished Shakeology Mug Cake

I love my chocolate, but decided to switch out the flavors to see what the others had to offer. I was excited to open my Beachbody delivery on Week 5 to find my combo pack – strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. A Neapolitan flavor box, if you will. I have tried the three and strawberry is my new favorite! If you like strawberry shakes or strawberry milk, this is for you. The combo boxes have 6 less servings than a bag, so I was hesitant to give up those days initially, but now that I have tried the others I think the variety will keep me excited for my daily shake and is well worth it.

Shakeology Combo Pack

Shakeology Combo Pack

Overall: Shakeology must have some addictive ingredient in it because I am shockingly not tired of it yet. I invested in the combo box (same prices, more variety, less servings) and feel that if you need to sample different flavors before selecting a 30-day bag of one OR if you are doing a long-term plan the variety it presents is worth the missing packets. Try coming up with new shakes, cakes, etc. and it will keep your stomach interested!

Coach and Challenge Group:

Weeks 4 and 5 were not as strong in terms of the support I received. One challenge group was over so I was switched into a 5 day one with new people who weren’t doing any BB exercises, which wasn’t as beneficial. Week 5 I was completely without a challenge group as my coach wasn’t running one, but she did encourage me to check in on her permanent accountability Facebook¬†page. The page is less active as people are posting sporadically so it was less motivating and engaging. I’m hoping that for Weeks 6-8 she puts me in a new one of women who are actively working to improve themselves.

Overall: The Challenge groups and support was missed during weeks 4-5. While my coach did check in, I missed the daily accountability. The groups are a nice, free tool that comes with your program, so use it!

…drumroll for results…

My PiYo and 21 Day Fix Abs Week 4

My PiYo and 21 Day Fix Abs Week 4

WEEKS 4-5 RESULTS:

1 lb. down for¬†9.6 lbs. lost in¬†35 days. I’ve experienced significant muscle gain too.

NSVs: Better endurance, noticing muscle tone in new areas, had the confidence to rock shorts for the first time in over a year.

Tune in for a review of week four next week. Thanks for stopping by for my unbiased Piyo and Shakeology review!

Previous Entries:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3.

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review ‚Äď Week 3

I am not a Beachbody coach. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal PiYo Motivationis to provide real information about my experience with this program. I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry. For the start of my review, check out Week 1Week 2 .

Today is my first day of week four of Beachbody’s PiYo teamed with clean, portioned eating through the 21 Day Fix. I have been religiously following the workout calendar, drinking vegan chocolate Shakeology and checking in with my accountability group and Beachbody Coach daily.  Now that I am done with week three, here are my thoughts:

The Workouts:

This¬†week was my toughest one yet with the workouts¬†– which means I felt the most accomplished. ūüôā Week¬†four starts to transition away from the “Define” workouts to the tougher ones focused on specific¬†trouble areas. This week I was introduced to the “Buns” and “Strength Intervals” workouts.

Buns:¬†Your glutes¬†and thighs will be crying after this one, but that’s how you know you are getting stronger. It brings back my nemesis move: burpees but Chalene rotates those with squats so you get some relief. Did I just say doing squats is relief?? The instructions are easy to follow and the music is enjoyable. Chalene has some classic one liners, like most of the DVDs, but she dropped this fact that I had to share: ” The legs are the key to your metabolism.” It’s a GREAT point – the legs have tons of muscles in them and comprise half your body, working them thoroughly is going to really accelerate your burn. Nice bit of education¬†and motivation while shredding of my lower half.¬†ūüôā

I updated the menu for PiYo's Strength Intervals with my recommendations

I updated the menu for PiYo’s Strength Intervals with my recommendations

Strength Intervals: Before you start this DVD,¬†put on a sports bra and athletic shoes.¬†I’m 100% serious and I was very disappointed this wasn’t listed on the “Items Needed” list you get before each workout. “Strength Intervals” is twenty-five minutes of non-stop moving and it includes jogging, high knee jogging, skaters and jumping¬†burpees mixed with lunges, planks, squats and more. I made it 5 minutes before I paused the DVD to put on a better bra and shoes. This DVD is tough if you don’t like cardio. It’s not as high impact as a P90X or plyometric based workouts, but it is higher impact than¬†the other PiYo workouts¬†so if you have back or knee issues I would suggest starting off with the beginner modifications and use a mirror to check your posture. That being said, this was the most challenging DVD by far for me and I feel like adding this to the rotation will really increase my strength, endurance and caloric burn.

Overall: Week three brought two workouts that really challenged me. “Strength Intervals” has jogging which ISN’T part of standard Pilates or Yoga, but does rev up the metabolism and keep the body warm for stretches. My body is adjusting to the other workouts so this is the perfect time to add in new ones.

The Meal Plan:

This week’s meal planning was a lot easier. I had some left overs from week 2 and planning has just become more intuitive. Instead of writing down “one protein out of four” I can remember exactly how many servings I need. However, I did discover this week that there are a few app available for the 21 Day Fix for iPhone and Android so it’s a great way to track how many servings down and how many to go. This website also has some great printables as well.

I’ve been getting more creative with my protein, trying new kinds of milk (almond, cashew, etc.) and integrating low fat dairy into the plan. As a pescatarian it’s been challenging and it would be easy just to say “all Gardenburgers!” but I also try to keep my soy down to one serving a day to avoid adverse side effects on my hormones (soy raises estrogen like crazy and can lead to swelling/tender breasts, fatigue, etc.).

Week 3 of my PiYo / 21 Day Fix meal plan. Yeah, that's pizza!

Week 3 of my PiYo / 21 Day Fix meal plan. Yeah, that’s pizza!

Pictured to the left is my meal plan for lunches and snacks. I always plan my meals for lunch/snacks at work and follow up with protein right after 5pm. Then I either prepare dinner at home or have something at a restaurant. As I said in previous entries, eating out is not a problem if you are smart about it.

Two things I noted this week in particular:

  1. I got ridiculously excited about random foods that fit in the¬†plan. “Chipotle Spiced Cashews? F**ck yeah! That’s my jam.” Or “100 calorie spicy guacamole in individual servings? Add that to the cart!”
  2. Buying strictly berries for fruit is expensive and will increase once summer is over. I integrated cheaper fruits like bulk clementine oranges and nectarines to offset the cost.
  3. How much people mean to me is directly related to if they are invited to share my three “treats” a week with me. I have been strategicly planning my nights around the three- 4oz servings of wine you are allowed and inviting my closest friends to share it with me. If you have made the cut, please know how special you are. ūüôā

Overall: Still geeking out over my meal planning – so many containers and such yumtastic food! I feel good knowing that I am not eating junk and I feel healthier on the inside as well. It’s nice to just reach for my pre-portioned foods daily and not stress what to pack the night before. Still¬†miss drinking more than one glass of wine, but economically I’m a cheaper date!

Shakeology:

I drink Shakeology in the morning typically after my PiYo workout and before going to the office. It’s becoming a habit that I enjoy – it’s like a morning milkshake. I bought some caramel and coconut extracts on Amazon so I could add on flavors without adding calories. It’s been fun, a favorite recipe is a Girl Scout Samoa cookie that I have posted below. I also have been using mint extract, various spices and more to add a flavor kick.

Samoa Shakeology Recipe

Samoa Shakeology Recipe

Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Shakeology Recipe

  • 1 scoop of chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of caramel extract
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut extract
  • A pinch of organic, finely shredded coconut flakes

Simply blend them all together and enjoy!

I have noticed that with Shakeology I feel full for a few hours (likely because of the high protein blend that has chia seeds in it) AND I am not as caffeine dependent as usual. It has a small amount of caffeine in it, but not anywhere close to what I usually drink. As a result, I have stopped running to the break room for cups of green tea and started having tea as an early afternoon pep up.

Overall: I’ve been pretty skeptical about Shakeology, mostly because of the price tag. But I am really enjoying the flavor and it gives me vitamins and a boost of energy. I ordered the mixed flavor packets for next month: 8 packets of vanilla, 8 strawberry packets and 8 chocolate. I am excited to see what those other flavors are like and maybe share some creative recipes with those. I think the variety of 3 packs outweighs missing 6 servings like you get with the bag – I will report back soon!

Coach and Challenge Group:

The Coaching and Challenge groups continue to be an asset to the program. I have found support, recipes and more through these. I have also won a few freebies like samples of different flavors and T-shirts, which are a nice bonus simply for checking in frequently.

One thing that is a bit confusing is that since PiYo is an older program, the groups are more oriented towards the two hottest Beachbody challenges right now: Cize and the 21 Day Fix. While I am on the same

A free T-shirt I won in a Beachbody Challenge Group

A free T-shirt I won in a Beachbody Challenge Group

eating plan as the 21 Day Fix, I am doing it for 60 days so I went from a free five day challenge group to a 21 Day Fix group and am now in two others simultaneously. It’s a lot of places on Facebook to check in and manage. I’m sure when PiYo was the new workout all the groups were oriented towards it, but it would have been nice to also connect with other women who were in it for the long, 60 day haul and not just three weeks.

But, I still enjoy seeing photos of other challengers, hearing NSVs (non-scale victories), swapping clean eating recipes and more.

Overall: The Challenge groups are still motivating and great for workout accountability. It also helps me from eating outside the plan, because I want to stay strong for the group and not post “lost my nerve in front of some cheesecake!” I have limited the number of notifications so my phone isn’t going crazy during work hours and just check the pages once or twice a day.

…drumroll for results…

WEEK THREE RESULTS:

1.6 lbs. down for 8.6 lbs. lost in 21 days

NSVs: Pants are looser, I’m sleeping better and my coworkers have started to compliment me on looking “thinner in the midsection.” All this leads to increased self-confidence, so while it isn’t a huge¬†weight¬†loss this week, I am very pleased!

Tune in for a review of week four next week. Thanks for stopping by for my unbiased Piyo and Shakeology review!

Previous Entries:

Week 1

Week 2

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review – Week 2

I am not a Beachbody coach or affiliated with one. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with this program. I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry. For the start of my review, check out Week 1

Today is my first day of week 3 of Beachbody’s PiYo teamed with clean, portioned eating ala the 21 Day Fix. I have been religiously following the workout calendar, drinking vegan chocolate Shakeology and checking in with my accountability group and Beachbody Coach daily.¬† Now that I am done with week two, I can reflect on what it brought:

PiYo CalendarThe Workouts:

This week rotated the workouts of last week and added in “Core.” As I stated in my last entry, “Upper Body Define” and “Lower Body Define” are not a challenge. I literally feel like I’m cheating on these days, even using the advanced modifications it’s not demanding enough. Thankfully “Sweat” and “Core” are higher intensity, offer more advanced combos and are longer.¬† The “Core” DVD is abs based and I like that she tells you which part of the abs you are targeting – so many exercises focus on the upper or lower only, she hits the sides, obliques, etc. I also¬†enjoyed some of the creative moves that combined plyometrics with Pilates.

Which brings me to one quick criticism, lots of ads for PiYo claim it’s “low impact with no jumping!”…well, the burpees combined with sumo squats could challenge that. It increases the calorie burn, but it is not a low-impact combo.

Overall: Week two offered a better challenge than week one¬†with the rotation of “Sweat” and “Core.” On the other days I still didn’t feel like I had a great workout, but looking over toward week 3, it appears to phase out “Upper Body Define” and “Lower Body Define.”

The Meal Plan:

Again, the Beachbody coaches are pushing the 21 Day Fix meal plans for all their plans and challenge groups, so that is what I am following. I realized early in the week that I had misread the requirements for protein and had missed a serving a day…not good. Especially since I’m a vegetarian and protein is more challenging to come up with. So review your caloric allotment and the plan with that.

I have been randomly enjoying the meal planning aspect. There is something satisfying about seeing your food in neat little containers and dreaming about when you can eat it all.  This is the recipe I used for week 2, for the bulk of my lunches: Sweet Potato, Kale and Shrimp Skillet. Here is a photo of meal planning for my snacks and lunches for the workweek, looks delicious and healthy, huh?

piyo week 2Bakers beware – you will accumulate a LOT more dishes and Tupperware than ever before if you portion everything out at the beginning of the week. This keeps me on track and makes it easy to reach into my stockpile and go, but if you don’t have a dishwasher or have more time before work, you may want to rinse the same Tupperware used for the dish before and reuse it or save your plastic baggies.

I’ve had some headaches over the last week. Perhaps due to the lower calorie intake or the missing protein servings. I am continuing to monitor it.

The wine allotment of three servings of 4 oz a week is still challenging, but I’m making it work. I can also sub in certain chips or chocolate, but so far the wine is winning the 3x/week indulgence.

Overall: Still enjoying the balanced eating that allows for treats such as nut butters and cheese, but I miss my daily chocolate and being able to have more than one glass of wine. It’s a small price to pay for results and at least I get to eat REAL food. Also, getting 4 servings of protein as a vegetarian means getting reeeallly creative.

Shakeology:

Not going to lie, I’m starting to crave Shakeology in the morning. I have been making some of the awesome recipes I found on Pinterest (check out some amazing ones here!). Adding peanut butter, mint extract, fruit or a teaspoon of pudding mix is delicious.

The jury is still out on if it delivers all it promises: better energy, faster growing nails and hair, etc. I’ve cut my vitamin intake because of all the nutrients in it. I will keep posting on any good, or bad, side effects.

I also learned how to switch up my subscription, so now I can sample other flavors because as exciting as chocolate daily is, I am going to get bored. I am switching to a multi-flavor package. The good thing is you can get 2-3 flavors of Shakeology so you can find a favorite…the bad is that instead of a 30 day supply like the one flavor bag, it is only 24 servings for the same price. Once It arrives I will decide if it is worth the 6 day deficit.

Overall: Still enjoying the daily Shakeology. Mixing it up with different extracts and add-ins has made it taste more like dessert, which is always nice in my book. Looking forward to trying a new flavor. Worth the cost? Jury is still out…

beachbody challenge groupCoach and Challenge Group:

I am in my second Challenge group on this plan. I was in a free, 5 day challenge my coach ran the first week and am now in a 21 Day Fix one she is managing for the next 3 weeks. The groups are a nice motivation, I felt like skipping a workout and didn’t want to write to the group that I hadn’t done it, so I forced myself into it and felt happier afterwards. There are daily check-ins with fitness, nutrition and I like the other women sharing their successes and struggles. It’s still one of my favorite parts of the program.

Overall: Other than getting a ton of Facebook notifications from the group, I love the Challenge groups and consider them a great benefit to the program. They are keeping me on track and giving me food inspiration.

…and the big ending here…

WEEK TWO RESULTS:

2.2 lbs. down for 7 lbs. lost in 14 days

Non-Scale Victory (NSV): Even though it’s only 7 pounds, I have less stomach bloat and feel more attractive.

Tune in for a review of week 3 next week. Thanks for stopping by for my unbiased Piyo and Shakeology review!

For the start of my review, check out Week 1

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review – Week 1

PiYo I am not a Beachbody coach or affiliated with one. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with this program. I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry.

Well, I finally took the plunge! After a few months of encouragement from a Beachbody coach, I decided to purchase a Challenge package that included Shakeology and PiYo. Why?

* I noticed my clothes were getting tighter and it was bumming me out

* I love Pilates and have always wondered about this program

* I want to tone up and gain strength

* It was on sale with purchase of Shakeology

I am a certified Group Fitness Instructor who teaches Pilates, so I am not new to fitness. I am skeptical of¬† many “As Seen on TV” workouts as they usually promise fast results but don’t give you the correct resources for maintaining them. Many often are paired with crash dieting.¬† Before purchasing the PiYo package I scoured the internet for reviews on the program, researched the meal plan and Shakeology ingredients, asked Beachbody lots of questions and watched snippets of the program online.

Here are my results from participating in the full program (workout schedule, meal plan, support group and daily Shakeology) for the first week. This review will be the longest to explain what the plan requires in each category, so subsequent weeks will be shorter!

The Workouts:

Included with all¬†the packages is a comprehensive 2-month calendar of what workout to do on each day. Each week includes one day of rest, which is smart and essential for muscle recovery. Workouts are typically 20-35 minutes in length and include a fast-paced, brief warm up that transitions into the main workout with stretching between. There is very little in terms of a “cool down.” If you are someone who requires a¬†longer warm up or cool down, I would suggest stretching before and after the DVD.¬†The daily routines focus on rotating parts of the body – upper body one day, lower the next to let the muscles recover.

Your first week is spent on¬†DVD one. Day one you will watch “Align” where you learn the fundamentals of each pose, some transitions and the PiYo lingo. If you are familiar with Pilates or Yoga, much of this will be a review. I really like how focused on correct alignment Chalene is, it adds a lot of credibility and safety¬†to a home workout program. As an instructor myself, I really appreciated that. Chalene talks a lot, but her cues are really great so that even in down dog you can just listen and follow her instruction without trying to do contortions to watch the screen. “Align” is not a workout, so don’t expect to be challenged.

“Define: Lower Body” is next, it works your legs, glutes, hamstrings, etc. I liked the exercises in this, but was not very challenged. I think if I was less flexible or new to Pilates, it may have presented a challenge, but I think the goal is to get you accustomed to the movements, flow and correct alignment in each pose.

“Define: Upper Body” follows. I have less upper body strength, so it was nice for me to work on some areas I don’t gravitate towards. The biggest takeaway from this workout for me was the correct way to do tricep push ups. Chalene likes to throw those in between various moves, so expect to see a lot of them. It offered a light challenge to me.

“Sweat” is the last workout on the DVD. It is very fast, works your whole body¬†and is the longest one yet (35 minutes). This is finally when I actually felt like I had accomplished something. The flows are quick and challenging. There are a lot of exercises utilizing your body weight, so you can feel the challenge but also need to be mindful of your alignment in the positions to avoid an achy back. I really enjoyed this one and could feel my muscles the next day, so I know it worked me harder than the others.

Overall: Week one wasn’t as challenging as I would have wanted, however I did work some areas I don’t typically and got a nice sweat on during “Sweat.” If the rest of the DVDs are anything like “Sweat” then I am optimistic I’ll see changes.

The Meal Plan:

caloric baselineYou start off your meal planning by measuring yourself, weighing yourself and figuring out your caloric baseline aka how much you can eat to see results without starving yourself. I’ve included the Caloric Baseline calculator¬†here.

From there, weekly meal planning is key. For my caloric baseline I have to eat 4 servings of protein, 3 servings of veggies, 2 servings of fruit, 2 starches, 1 healthy fat serving (guacamole, light cheeses, etc.), 1 serving of dressings and/or nuts and 2 tablespoons healthy oils and nut butters daily. Shakeology is one of your proteins daily. You are also allowed “free” foods such as vinegar, spices, hot sauce, lemon juice, etc.

I am already someone who eats whole, organic foods as often as possible, but this has really made me realize how important portions are. Since starting this meal plan, I am realizing my idea of portions was way out of wack on some items. The plan teaching me proper portion size is a huge benefit to me for my ongoing health. I am also incorporating more nuts and seeds into my diet than ever before, an unexpected bonus.

Trying to meet these limits daily without a plan is not a good idea. Thankfully, I have done meal planning in the past so I have been carving out time to prep on the Sunday before the week starts. I usually cook up 1-2 options for lunch that incorporate protein and veggies, bag and measure fruits, slice veggies, pour dressings and seeds into small containers, etc. I will be honest, this takes me about 2-3 hours to decide what to eat,¬†make it and portion it out, BUT I don’t have pack my lunch nightly like before. I store it all in a plastic bag so my husband doesn’t eat any and pull the necessary containers each day out and place them in my lunch bag the day before. This has kept me on track the week plus I have been doing this and takes away trying to add up my portions each day. I made a Pinterest board of meal and snack ideas that work with the plan here.

I have also been able to go out to restaurants, I just look at the menu ahead of time and choose light protein and sub out sides for healthy veggies and fruit. It’s actually not that hard if you have a place that offers grilled fish, healthy sandwiches, soups¬†or salads.

One thing to point out, 3 times a week you are allowed to swap a starch for a 4 oz glass of wine, chocolate, etc. I love wine. Love it. So this has been a bummer. But I have been able to share a small glass with friends and then just drink water the rest of the time to avoid being a social recluse.

Overall: The meal plan is very balanced and easy to maintain with some preparation. I don’t have to avoid going to restaurants or social outings, which is a huge plus. I really miss chocolate and enjoying more than a few sips of wine though.

Shakeology:

shakeology ingrediantsBefore starting the plan, it was near impossible to find a Shakeology review from anyone BUT a Beachbody coach. It was hella annoying to start reading and find out, “oh this person actually sells it…” So here is my one week experience using it daily as a non coach.

Shakeology is the part I was most skeptical about due to it’s high price tag. Many Beachbody affiliates claim “Oh it’s cheaper than a breakfast at McDonald’s”…that’s true, but as someone who eats a Chobani for breakfast daily for a few years, my budget for breakfast is like $1. Shakeology works out to be about $4/serving if you buy it at the non-club or non-coach price. That’s pretty steep, but I justified it by getting a package.

The ingredient list is above, it IS filled with a lot of GMO-free items, protein and tons of vitamins. I am ditching my regular vitamins for the next two months so I don’t OD, so Shakeology is “saving” me money on that I guess. It is incorporating a lot of super foods, so I appreciate that as well.

The taste is far better than most meal replacement shakes. No, it doesn’t taste like a milkshake, but it’s the second closest thing I’ve found that does (Muscle Milk is first, but it’s just FILLED with sugar so I don’t use it). I mix mine in my Nutribullet with water and ice. Some days I will add a little PB2 (powdered peanut butter) or mint extract for a flavor kick. I worry I will get bored with it, so I went to handy dandy Pinterest and made a pin board of recipes. You can find it here.

Overall: Drinking Shakeology once a day has been easier than expected and knocks out one of the four proteins I need daily. I’m a pescatarian (fish, dairy, etc. but no meat) so it is a nice way to get my nutrients and tastes like a treat. Is it worth the high cost? I’m not sure yet.

Coach and Challenge Group:

Prior to starting the PiYo Challenge, I had done a few free challenge groups with my Beachbody online. I reconnected with a high school acquaintances who is a Beachbody coach a few months ago and she started inviting me to them. They were mostly 5 day clean eating challenges following a similar meal plan to the above or squat challenges. All she asked for was everyone to check in daily and often offered a fun prize to the person who posted the most. It helped me work with portions, meal planning and made me accountable for my workouts. I met some neat women, shared recipes and felt healthier.

A coach and a challenge group are free with your Challenge pack and I would highly recommend them.¬†They¬†answer questions, such as earlier this week I asked “Is A1 Steak Sauce considered a fruit¬†or free food since it is mostly vinegar and raisins?”¬†You receive encouragement. Other people’s posts can give you new food ideas. And, for me knowing I have to check in daily makes me continue on and say “no” to sleeping in or eating the free candy at work.

Overall: Challenge groups have been a beneficial part of the program, as has my coach. I consider this a big success of Beachbody as you always have someone dedicated to you that you can check in and ask questions.

…and the big ending here…

WEEK ONE RESULTS:

5.2 lbs. down

Non-Scale Victory (NSV): Increased energy and self confidence