A Recap: My first run post pregnancy. And the raw honest truth about running after having a baby.

I’ve written a little about my postpartum fitness journey. But I have yet to tell you about my experience with starting to run again after pregnancy.

Well I am back at it, running that is. As I said in previous posts the minute I got the okay to workout again I hit the gym, NOT the running trail. I chose to weight lift and try to build my strength back as much as I could before I went to pound the pavement.

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It is true what they say, if you don’t use it you loose it. I stepped in the gym and belly flopped attempting to complete a single push up – just trying to put in perspective how much strength I lost during my pregnancy. Anyway, it was important for me to put on some muscle gains. I have heard to many times before, woman running hard after pregnancy, ending up injured and in PT. I wanted to avoid this, by getting strong again first.

Anyway after exclusively lifting for 6 weeks at 14 weeks postpartum, I decided I was strong enough to run.

The 2015 holidays approached and I debated on signing up for a family friendly easy 5 mile turkey trot. After much thought I finally decided NO. I didn’t want to be rushing out the door to run a race (even though it was only 5 miles) Thanksgiving morning- the holidays are busy enough. Instead, I would find the time on thanksgiving, on my own schedule to take a short casual run while my baby napped.

This run would be my first postpartum run. This run would be my first real run since the 2014 Turkey Trot. Yep, I hadn’t really ran in a full year. After the 2014 Turkry Trot I found out I was pregnant with Zoe, and from then on and through out my whole pregnancy my fitness goals changed. It was no longer about me pushing hard, taking it physically to my ultimate limit, but rather about us, and making sure I brought a baby girl safely into this world.

So on thanksgiving, I ran my first run post pregnancy. I grabbed my Garmin and laced up my Newton Gravity running shoes. I started my run a little slow, but picked up the pace. I ran my regular 5k loop around the neighborhood – mainly flat- one uphill, one down hill. To my surprise it was pretty easy. I ran the whole way. I felt great. I was running a 9:30 min/mile. Not as fast as I use to be, but not bad I thought.

And then…

I woke up the next morning with the worst knee and ankle pain.

They say the main reason for knee and ankle pain in female runners is usually because of a problem with the hips. During pregnancy everything expands to make room for baby, this is especially true for your hips and rib cage. Hips can even get tilted forward during a vaginal birth because of excess pushing. 

Although I had a c section, I knew my body was different. Could this mean my form changed? Could this mean I needed a different running shoe?

When I woke up with knee/ankle pain I went to my local running store. They put me in a new pair of Newtons and got me on the treadmill to evaluate my form. Turns out (they said) my form is perfect… Which also means, there was no magical shoe to quick fix my problem. I was slow and just needed to keep practicing. It had been a full year since I moved my body like that and I just needed to get those fast twitch muscles moving again and strengthen my weak ankles.

Now at 5 months postpartum I am finally running more like I use to. The knee pain and ankle pain is gone – a fresh new pair of shoes helped. Also because of weight lifting, my lungs and heart are strong – the endurance is there. The endurance is there but the speed is not (and I was not a super fast runner before – I was average, not slow though.) I can keep going long and far on the trail, but my legs just can’t go any faster. So now it is time to strengthen my core and focus on speed work.

But here is the truth:

Any mama that seems to have jumped right back into it after they had a baby, is full of shit. 

The raw honest truth- it may hurt. It is going to take time to feel comfortable finding my stride. It is going to take time to rebuild, speed and endurance again.

But once I do, I’m going to be stronger, faster, better runner than I have ever been before.

And since we are being honest, I am already feeling stronger and faster.

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Happy Running!

My post pregnancy workout- Livefit trainer: Phase 1, last Day

  
Boom! Yesterday, I completed PHASE 1 of Livefit, with an amazing leg session. To treat myself I bought a new pair of ONZIE leggings! (Shown in the picture above.) 

Phase 1 of the Livefit trainer is 4 weeks of exclusively lifting. Ladies DO NOT be afraid to lift, get yourself in the weight room and start gaining muscle and strength. The idea behind exclusively lifting for 4 weeks is with the main focus to gain as much muscle as possible. To gain muscle you need calories exclusively feeding your muscles, instead of being sucked up during cardio sessions. There is no room to share those valuable clean calories, especially if you have minimal muscle mass to begin with. 

To get back to the athletic level I was before pregnancy – I still have a ton of hard work to do, however I am most excited about the process, the journey.

Completing Phase 1 of the livefit trainer was a great accomplishment, mainly because it proved that even with a baby, as long as you make health and fitness a priority you can fit it in. It is important to me, as a mama to make some time, for myself. I also want to be a great example/role model for my daughter. Actions speak louder than words. By spending time on my health and fitness, I am showing her the importance of a healthy lifestyle. By being the best person I can be, this will make me a better mother and wife. 

As for progress and results. Every week I increased my weights. The first week I lifted easy and took things slow. Week two I started to find my groove. I added a little more weight, but really focused on form. Because of muscle memory, each exercise started coming back to me (just like riding a bike.) Week 3, I started feeling stronger and comfortable with my workouts. I added more weight and lower the reps from 12 to 10. Week 4, I was still doing (3×10) but really pushed it on the weights, adding more. I finally feel on some exercises I am lifting the way I use to. However, on some body weight exercises I am definitely not, push ups, bench dips are a struggle. It is obvious that my core is my weakest body part. 

I also customized the program a little, adding some new exercises. For example, I did some long walks with Zoe which also included walking lunges until failure. Always remember these trainers are great, but unlike a personal trainer, they do not customize toward the individual. So make some changes that will work best for you based on your goals and body. 

So on Friday, I will be starting Phase 2 and including some short runs into the mix. Because of pregnancy, it will be my first time running in almost a year. Crazy!

I fit in my Skinny Jeans!

  I have to admit this last week was a little bit exhausting. It was the first week that Zoe went to her babysitter’s house. And although, she is only going two days a week, it was a routine change for the both of us. 
My main priority is Zoe, so this week my work outs were put on the back burner. But with that being said, I’m definitely NOT worried. I’m just going to pick up my training right where I left off, with the mindset that it is going to take time to gain all my strength back. But I’m confident that with time I will get stronger, maybe even stronger than before.
Yesterday, I started week 4 of the livefit trainer when I should have been starting week 5. Anyway, I had a great leg session, however the gym was the busiest I have ever seen it. I need to figure out what time on the weekends the gym is slow, because it drives me crazy waiting and sharing equipment – I can’t stand the crowd- especially when I want to hurry home to spend time with Zoe.
Because I am set back a week in the livefit trainer, I am planning on doing a double on Monday. Today, I had an awesome back and bicep session. Monday will be chest and tricep, but I’ll work in shoulders and abs as well. Then I will end week 4 on Tuesday with a final leg session. And start phase 2. By doing a double I will be caught up. 
It takes time to transform a body. And although, I know I need to be patient I really want to complete the livefit trainer by the New Year. That means staying on track and really pushing it hard in the gym these last two months of 2015. 
I’ve had an amazing 2015- I did the coolest thing – I grew a human! The most beautiful girl baby, might I add. Using these last two months of 2015 to crush my fitness goals will just be the cherry to top off one of my best and favorite years.
As for progress, I definitely already see a difference and feel a difference too. I am lifting the weight amount I use to lift. I can’t wait to start phase 2 and take it up a notch! I am soooo ready.
Another way I have seen progress is in my clothes. I am wearing my skinny jeans today. This is the first time I am able to button them since being pregnant. It is crazy how much your hips spread to make room for a baby. I definitely have lost some inches. Having my favorite jeans fit is so exciting.  
So far I have not supplemented at all. In phase 2 I may start to supplement with protein powder and BCAAs. But as of now nothing. 
I’ve also joined the ATeam with Amber Dodzweit. She has a 7 week intense program that requires minimal equiptment. It is a program that can be done with out a gym, at home.
I need this so that way I have no excuse and on days that it will be impossible to make it to the gym I will still be able to get my workout in. Plus, sometimes I just want to be with my baby as much as I can, instead of leaving her and being at the gym for two hours. 
I also think it will be interesting to see if I can get results with minimal equiptment- I definitely like the challenge. 

Mommy & Me (Baby) Classes (Yoga and Pilates)

I have been wanting to try Mommy & Me (Baby) classes at Mind the Mat Yoga Studio, since the week I found out I was pregnant. My friend Mariana went with her baby (Jasper) when she still lived in the area and she really enjoyed the classes. Along with her, I also know a couple of other mamas who have participated in the Mommy & Me classes at the studio and they too were really impressed.

The studio offers Mommy & Me classes in pilates, yoga, and barre. However, because I was recovering from my c-section I wasn’t able to do any type of exercising with the exception of walking, until I got cleared from my doctor. This was disappointing for me, because I really wanted to take Zoe to the Mommy & Me¬†classes earlier, during my maternity leave – instead I finally just got to take her, this last week. We joined Piper and Lindsay at the Mommy & Me pilates class on Tuesday, and then went to the Mommy & Me yoga on yesterday (Friday).

Both classes are for babies before crawling age.

MOMMY & ME PILATES

The pilates class focuses on lower body, mainly glutes. This class is definitely a workout for the mamas. I was squatting and sweating while Zoe stayed in her car seat napping. It is especially important for breast-feeding mamas to get a good booty workout in considering breast milk is made from the fat from your booty.

zoe at pilates

MOMMY & ME YOGA

The yoga class is less intense then the pilates class. The first half of the class is for the mamas and focuses on the core muscles. The last half of the class is for the babies. This part was by far my favorite part, because nothing is better then having your baby smiling.

Zoe absolutely loved it. During the first half, while I was stretching, Zoe was watching me, smiling. Then during the second half, it was Zoe’s turn. I took her out of her car seat, and stretched her toes to her nose. I bicycled her legs, rotated her hips, stretched out her arms, and legs.

These classes are great!

While taking care of a baby, it¬†is easy for a mama to forget to take care of herself. However, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things. It can be really hard to find time to work out especially when you don’t have family to help watch your little one. This is why I love these classes. There are very few workout classes that allow you to bring your baby with you, and most gym daycares don’t allow young babies.

I will admit that I have never been to a louder class. Some babies were screaming their heads off, but because we are all mamas in the classroom, screaming babies do not even phase us.

If you are a mama in the DC area who has a baby who isn’t crawling yet, I highly recommend trying these classes. And if you are a mama to be, try their¬†prenatal yoga class¬†– it is amazing!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Post Pregnancy Training Plan and Goals

Last Tuesday, I got cleared by my doctor to start working out again. This means I am free to lift heavy and run far. I usually have no problem pushing myself and I actually enjoy it, however, because I had a c-section I want to take things slow. My worst nightmare would be to over do it and then have a major set back with an injury.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you probably already know, but one of my fitness idols is Jamie Eason. It was because of her, and her Livefit trainer, that I fell in love with weight lifting, and got in the best shape of my life.

She had a child two years ago, and she had a c-section as well. It took her three full months to feel good enough to even start working out again. This was really refreshing to hear coming from a fitness model/trainer. So many times you see people in the fitness industry jump right back into shape, but do they really, or are they just posting the good pictures.

Anyway, Jamie Eason has created a post pregnancy work out plan. It is available for free on bodybuilding.com. Her post pregnancy trainer focuses on the core and back muscles. The daily work outs are circuits, which builds endurance. She also has a 15 minute training day, which is great for the days you may not be able to fit in a long work out. My favorite part about the trainer is that she creates a training day  that includes your baby using a carrier or a stroller РI love this idea.  Most exercises are ones that use body weight and can be done anywhere РSo there is no excuse.

My Game Plan

My game plan is to spend the next month building back the muscle I lost, by completing the Livefit trainer again. I saw great results with the Livefit trainer, so I know it works. However, I also want to include some ideas and work outs from the post pregnancy trainer.

Because of hormones from breast-feeding, it may be difficult for me to build muscle. Plus, as long as my baby is taking in breast milk, I am not allowed to use any supplements. So for the next month, I am going to do minimum cardio, only long walks with my baby, and maybe a short run once or twice a week. My main focus is building muscle and strength back, and to much cardio can also deplete some muscle growth.

With my schedule, I should have no problem making it to the gym, however, I am also confident that I will be able to complete the work outs, outside of the gym.

I definitely want to do some yoga as well. And I’ll let you know when I am 100 % back to running again -trust me, I miss running most, and have already began to think of what races I will be doing in the future.

Mommy and Baby classes

I really love being with my baby, and enjoy her being by my side while I work out. I can’t wait to try some Mommy and Baby classes at Mind the Mat. I think it will be really fun for Zoe to be in a yoga studio with other babies. I’ll be going to my first class tomorrow.

So there you have it…

Last weeks work outs consisted of long walks on the trail with the baby, and some free weight exercises along with some walking lunges.12072767_10102786043199146_8981504843243271286_n Then on Saturday I hit the gym for the first time since having the baby. It felt so good being back. I’m really excited to share this next chapter of my fitness journey with you. I can’t wait to start seeing some serious results.¬†12074791_10102789844281746_6007220832008158331_n

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Love your Body.

It is Valentine’s day.

And, in honor of¬†Valentine’s day, we are going to celebrate LOVE.

But I’m going to challenge you…

for a moment to forget about the red roses, the jewelry, the chocolate, cupid, and whether you have a valentine or not.

Instead, I am going to challenge you to celebrate yourself, your accomplishments. I am going to ask you today,¬†to start loving your body, no matter what…

I have been very inspired by some amazing ladies who are going above and beyond. On facebook, Paige, Fran, and Sophia have been working hard on living a healthy fit lifestyle, during pregnancy and post baby. All of them have had babies with in the last year, and they are not only looking amazing, but defining every day, what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.

Paige has taken her yoga to the next level, and actually has started teaching classes, while cooking healthy meals for her kids. Fran has taken a different approach, by focusing on a nutritional program, cleansing her body. Sophia has been hitting the gym hard, and eating clean, even on days when she hasn’t gotten much sleep. All of these ladies have been making their healthy lifestyle one of their top priority, even with little ones by their sides. Pretty amazing!

So this Valentine’s day, lets celebrate YOU. ¬†Always remember, it is not about¬†what your¬†body looks like, but what it can do. ¬†Because what it looks like… doesn’t really matter… When you are running faster, running further, lifting heavier, stretching deeper, climbing higher, and for the mom’s out there, creating life. Your body is capable of some pretty incredible things. So lets start loving it! Earning your dream body is a perk, but the long lasting health benefits is so much sweeter. A pretty body is nice to look at, but can it perform? At the end of the day health is the ultimate goal, and nothing compares to, a Strong Healthy life.¬†

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Paige, Fran, and Sophia РThanks for always inspiring me, you ladies  are beautiful in every way. Not only do your results look amazing, but they prove your bodies can perform. You define a healthy lifestyle and continue to inspire! Keep up the hard work!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

Start Something New!

Hey lovelies!

I know, I know, I have been MIA! But honestly, I needed a break. So after my last Christmas post, I stopped writing and reading blogs, and just shut down… I barely checked facebook or instagram either. Social media was actually becoming overwhelming. So I knew it was time to take 2 weeks away.

Quick Update

During this break, my best friend, Mariana, came home from Sri Lanka. She is so pregnant. So we have been hanging out, and catching up. The baby is a boy and he is coming in 5 weeks. Her baby shower is this weekend. Exciting!

Together, we got to check out the health and fitness expo, and Union Market.

The expo was not what I expected. Because I am use to marathon expos, I expected it to be more fitness focused. But instead it was catered to people who are interested in starting a healthy lifestyle, not ones already living it. I expected more supplement vendors, and equipment vendors. On the positive side, Mind the Mat yoga studio was there, and they were worth seeing and supporting. (I’ve been to Mind the Mat, and it is an awesome studio.)

Union Market (although small,) is more than I expected. If you are a foodie, you will love it. It is basically a gourmet food court. There is also a really awesome shop, with house stuff, baby stuff, jewelry, lotions, etc. great for gifts. Because Mariana was with me, we loved all the super cute baby stuff! I definitely will be going back. If you come to the DC area, you must check it out.

Start something New!

2015

2014 was very hard to say goodbye to. It was a very special year for Erik and I. In February, we shared an amazing adventure to the oh so exotic country, Thailand. And then in June, we exchanged vows, and promised to love each other for eternity, aka, we got hitched! So although, 2014 has come and gone, it will always hold a special spot in our hearts.

2015 a lot has happened

But now, two weeks in 2015, the new year is here in full force. I usually by now have a new years resolution. In the past, I have had pretty creative ones, such as, Try one new interesting exotic food, I have never tried before, once a week. (Want to loose weight, try this one.)
2015 this is my year
But this year it has been hard to come up with one. I have been having a hard time because in 2014 I have become a huge goal setter. By constantly setting goals and reaching them, I don’t feel the need to set a new year resolution as much as I did in the past. Anyway, because it is tradition, I am going to set one. I don’t really want it to be too fitness focused because I am not weak in that area. I’m bored and just want something new and different.
My main focus this year for fitness and food is BALANCE. I want to be healthy, not obsessive. I have a pretty addictive personality so balance is something I need to work on.
Food and Nutrition: New Years Resolution, Goal
When it comes to food and nutrition, my goals are simple, boring, but necessary, drink more water, quit eating sugar, bring my lunch to work. 
Fitness, Running: New Years Resolution, Goal
Continue to Run and lift consistently Рto be healthy and have fun. Focus on yoga! Not bikram, I want to be upside down more.
2015 New Years Resolution: Goal, focus on Balance, Creativity and Start something New.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Balance
This year I am going to focus on balance when it comes to fitness and food.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Creativity 
I am also going to be even more creative in everything I do. This means more fashionable. Creating more art. Knitting more.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Start
But my main goal in 2015 is to Start something New. I don’t know what that new thing is yet, but I’m excited to report back to you guys, once I discover what it is. I am excited to write a blog post at the end of this year, with what I have explored. Can’t wait!
2015 best
What’s your focus for 2015? Are you planning on starting something new?
If you need tips on keeping your resolutions and goals click here.
© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Carpe Diem & Balance

6a011168668cad970c016302eba872970dLately, I have been craving yoga, and thinking about Balance, and being present.

I read a lot of fitness and healthy lifestyle blogs. Whether it is the sport they participate in or the diet they choose to follow, some of the athletes of these blogs, seem obsessive and extreme in some way or another. For example, body builders are putting on more gains during the off season and become even more lean weeks leading up to their show, claiming they are bringing an even better package to the stage. They are counting every macro, and the debate of which diet plan is constant – should I eat clean, or will IIFYM be a better choice? When it comes to long distance runners… They are running even more races, and some are choosing to run further distances.

All of these athletes are inspiring because they show passion, dedication, and hard work.

It is hard to tell in blog world, what the truth is… Just because someone only blogs about running, or prepping for a show, doesn’t mean, that is all they do. No doubt about it, these sports are time consuming and those who participate in them are very passionate about the sport they choose, but they do have rest days, and some are parents, and they go to work everyday. See my point?

Lately… I have been seeing these athletes ease up a bit and begin to talk about some of the other things in their life, and some have even talked about the importance of balance.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I need to work on balance in my own life. It is hard to juggle everything, and when one point of life gets busy others need to take the back burner, right? Not in all cases. By planning ahead and setting time aside for each task things can get fit in. It is important to figure out what your priorities are… Don’t let one part of your life take over.

I have read a couple blogs where the athlete made their sport and diet their life, and they ended up getting burned out or injured. They realized they needed to be more balanced. Actually, by being balanced they saw better results mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Balance is important in diet as well. Stop choosing a label (paleo, gluten free, vegan, low carb, clean eating, IIFYM,) ¬†to describe your eating habits. Start eating balanced healthy meals. Instead of obsessing over food, lets fuel our bodies. Nutrition isn’t restrictive, it’s healing.

 

Another aspect of life where balance is important is when you goal set. As I said in previous posts, I am a “goal digger.” I always set goals, and try to reach them. Once I reach them, I set new goals. Goal setting is very important, it is a glimpse of what you want for yourself in the future. It helps you challenge yourself and keeps you on track. However, you need to be balanced too. By always worrying about the future, you make forget to live in the present.

This is true for me as well. I love the word Carpe Diem – seize the day, but I don’t always live that way. I need to stop focusing on the future and start being more present, seizing the day.¬†large

 

How do you stay present? How do you stay balanced?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Butternut Bisque with Coconut Swirl

Besides running and cheering on the marathoners. I have been cooking and eating. It is my all time favorite season. The leaves are changing. The air is comfortably breezy and crisp. Lucky us! ¬†We have been having some absolutely beautiful FALL days here in Washington, DC. And although it hasn’t been too cold yet, I am still craving everything fall.

One thing that defines fall is butternut squash. When I was growing up it was a special treat that my mom made only at Thanksgiving, but now it is a staple in my house. I love everything about it. I eat it all different ways, but my favorite way is in soup form. That is why when I came across the Butternut Bisque recipe in the cookbook Isa Does It, I knew I had to make it asap, plus its Vegan!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you desire)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (extra for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS

ROAST SQUASH

TIP: (you can do cook the squash in advanced, and the soup will come together in 20 minutes.)

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the squash in half.
  • Remove seeds.
  • Brush the parchment paper with olive oil or coconut oil and place the squash pieces cut side down.
  • Roast for 45 mins. until squash is tender.
  • After squash is cooked let cool and continue with the soup recipe. If you are making squash in advanced, refrigerate the squash until ready to use.

LETS MAKE THE SOUP

  • Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat, add coconut oil.
  • Cut up onion, and add to the pot, saute until caramelized.
  • Add ginger.
  • Add garlic.
  • Mix in red pepper flakes
  • Add white wine and deglaze bottom of the pan, by scraping with a wooden spoon.
  • Peel and scoop squash.
  • Add squash to the pot.
  • Add vegetable broth (if you don’t have vegetable broth on hand you can use water.)
  • Add coconut milk.
  • Add maple syrup.
  • Add lime juice.
  • After everything is heated all the way through, add soup to you Vitamix. I actually use the soup setting, which continues to heat everything. Blend until smooth. If you are using a Vitamix it shouldn’t take long.
  • Pour bisque into a bowl, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and swirl coconut milk on top.
  • Enjoy!

What is you favorite way to eat butternut squash. I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about this recipe. 

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

The Clutch vs. Livefit Trainer, and how to customize your online training plan.

After completing 2 full rounds of the Livefit trainer. This monday, I decided to finally start The Clutch Cut. I have been wanting to try this program since it first came out. However, because of marathon training over the summer, I needed to build my muscle back and I knew the Livefit trainer would do that for me. My second round of the Livefit trainer ended right before my trip to Thailand, Feb 1st. Now, that I am back and have some significant muscle, I am ready to do Clutch.

What is The Clutch Cut? What is Clutch?

The Clutch Cut is a free training program found on bodybuilding.com. It is created by Ashley Conrad (follow her on instagram @ashley_conrad) a celebrity personal trainer, who has trained Kate Hudson and many others. It is an intense 21 day program, that promises to get you in the best shape. Why 3 weeks? The program was created with celebrities in mind… 3 weeks is usually the amount of time that most celebrities have in order to get in shape for a movie. Because it is only 3 weeks long, diet plays a huge role. Diet is the key to seeing results and being successful.

clutch nutrition

Clutch Diet

I have diet crossed out because I hate the word. This is not really a diet it is a way of life, and that’s Clutch. So every time you see the word diet, make sure you define it as a lifestyle choice.

The Clutch Diet is very similar to the diet on the Livefit trainer. Both are clean diets that eliminate processed foods. Both diets are based on eating organic whole foods. However, on The Clutch Diet, Ashley Conrad wants you to eliminate gluten and dairy as well.

Gluten and Dairy free…

It is a constant debate about eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet. Is it just trendy to go gluten free? Why go gluten free if you don’t have an allergy to gluten? Ashley has you eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet because they are both very hard for the body to digest, and because she wants you to see major results in a short amount of time. That is why, it is best to omit them completely.

Although, I hate labels, the reason why I am not calling myself a vegetarian. I will say this though, I eat a plant based diet, (most of the time.) And along with eating a clean organic, plant based diet, dairy and gluten are also pretty non existent – so I do not think this will be much of a challenge for me. However, I will definitely be reading labels, and making sure I stay gluten and dairy free – maybe I am getting more gluten than I think I am. We shall see… I also want to try to stay GMO free, and sugar free, whenever possible. I am hoping, if anything, this diet makes me more aware of what I am putting in my body, as fuel.

  1. Eat every three hours.
  2. Eat within the first 30 minutes of waking.
  3. Drink at least 1 gallon of water a day, with lemon.
  4. Eat gluten and dairy free with exception of protein powder.
  5. No fillers, preservatives, or color.

Carbs are Important…

Being a runner I greatly appreciate, how much Ashley stresses the importance of carbs. Do not eliminate carbs. They are important and you need them. They provide the ultimate energy for your physical body, and they are the reason your brain functions. The key is to be able to recognize good carbs vs. bad carbs. Make sure you know the difference between refined carbs (bad) and complex carbs (good.)

The Training Plans: Clutch vs. Livefit

Although, the diets are very similar, the Clutch and Livefit training programs are totally different. Here is why…

The Livefit trainer is a 12 week program that has 3 phases. Phase 1 is the muscle building phase. It consists of heavy lifting and no cardio. In phase 2, you incorporate supersets, heavy lifting, and 30 minutes of cardio. This helps you build muscle while burning fat. Phase 3 is your fat burning phase, your shredding phase. In phase 3, there are active rest periods, circuit training, and HIIT.

Weight lifting Day

The Clutch Cut is all circuit training and HIIT. Instead of lifting 5-6 days a week like in the Livefit trainer, the Clutch Cut has you lifting 3 days a week. On your weight lifting days, you are doing a full body circuit. You will be doing 12-15 reps of each exercise and 3-6 rounds of the circuit, depending on your fitness level. Your weightlifting day is followed by a day of cardio.

Cardio

When you are not lifting, Ashley has you doing cardio which ends up being 3 days a week. In my mind, cardio translates to running. Woohoo!!!

On your cardio days, Ashley has you doing HIIT. There are many ways to do HIIT. You can do this cardio on a bike, treadmill, outside, etc. When choosing a treadmill start out with at speed 5.0 for 1 minute, up the speed to 7.0 for 30 seconds, up the speed again to 10.0, then repeat up to at least 10x. Cardio is followed by a core/ab circuit. Each core/ab exercise is done until failure and you complete 3-6 rounds depending on fitness level.

The focus on core/ab work is another major difference between The Clutch Cut and Livefit trainer. I like how in The Clutch Cut they have a separate day for core. Ashley really has you focus on the core, where in the Livefit trainer, you worked core along with another body part.

Customizing your Program

There has been a lot of criticism about online diet plans and training programs. People claim that they are cookie cutter. I agree with this in some ways. Unlike a trainer, online programs can not personalize a plan based on the clients fitness level and goals. But you can be your own trainer and customize the online training plan based on your own needs. Listen to your body and use the online plan as your guideline.

On my weightlifting days, I may customize the plan by substitute one exercise for another depending on how my body feels.

Because I am a runner, who hates the treadmill, I will be customizing my cardio days. There will be days when I will run long distance outside. There will be days when I will do track workouts and hill repeats as my cardio. There are also tons of different ways to do HIIT and I plan on switching it up a lot. For all my readers who are runner’s who hate the treadmill, keep in mind that HIIT is equivalent to speed work. By doing HIIT on the treadmill you are not only burning fat, but you are also getting faster. These treadmill workouts will definitely help you PR in your next race.

As for customizing weight lifting days. There are tons of exercises equivalent to the exercises listed in the circuit. Don’t be afraid to substitute a different type of squat for the one listed, or add weight. Do push-ups on the TRX instead of regular push-ups. Switch it up. Customize.

First Week done… but will be repeated…

backprogressBack Progress after completing the Livefit trainer

day 1 clutchDay 1 of The Clutch Cut

day 2 clutchWeek 1 of The Clutch Cut completed.

I have completed my first week of The Clutch Cut. But because it was a new program, I needed to use the first week to get use to it. The first two weight lifting days I only had time to do 2 rounds of the circuit. Today, I did 3 rounds of the circuit and felt pretty good. I also have done all of my cardio days and will be doing a long run tomorrow. I am going to repeat week one (start over) so I can really kick it’s ass in the gym. Along with repeating week one, I will be doing the diet closely and taking the supplements.

As you may know, I absolutely love the Livefit trainer. It makes since to me. I saw amazing results, and it helped me discover a new passion for weight lifting. Because of the Livefit trainer I now know what strong feels like. However, during the Livefit trainer I was weight lifting 5-6 times a week. It became really hard to fit my running or yoga in. I felt like it was hard to do both and find balance.

So far I am really enjoying The Clutch Cut. I love how they have separated the weight lifting and the cardio. Now I have days of the week where I can really focus on weights. And I have days of the week where I can really focus on running. This will help me stay strong in both lifting and running. Plus, I want to do the running strength training program from The Cool Impossible, and I think it will be possible to fit it in on my cardio days, when I am focusing on my running.

What’s next…

When I complete, The Clutch Cut, I plan on completing phase 1 and phase 2 of Clutch program on Ashley Conrad’s website. And always, I will customize the plan, depending on my fitness goals.

Other Blog Post you may like…

  1. Livefit Trainer Progress
  2. Livefit Trainer Phase 1
  3. Transformation Tuesday
  4. The Cool Impossible

Have you tried Clutch?

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