Monday, June 30, 2014

What is a Coach?

I get a lot of questions about what a Beachbody Coach is... lots of times people who aren't aware of Team Beachbody assume I'm just a person trying to sell stuff. Which couldn't be more wrong. I'm not good at selling -- but I ENJOY sharing. I love to share nutrition information, healthy eating tips, recipes and fitness programs. Heck, that's why I started this blog. I started it over a year ago just to connect with like-minded people. It wasn't until I tried T25 and Shakeology, got results and fell in love with the company and it's mission that I became a coach.

Looking back, I should have become a coach so much sooner. My dad told me from the first time he tried P90X that I would love it and would be able to help so many people. But, like most kids out there, I ignored him and went on with my life. Boy oh boy was he right. I've helped people start their weight loss journeys, challenge themselves to lose the last 10 pounds, and redefine their bodies. I can't imagine where I would be with those extra 3 years he tried to give me! The coolest part is that some of my coaches and team members are such good friends of mine! They motivate me to do better, try my hardest and give everything I've got. I'm especially thinking about two of my coaches, Kelsie and Stacy. When I get emails from them I'm so excited! Can't wait to meet them in person one day :)


So, you're sitting there and thinking "that doesn't really explain what a coach is, Jess." I know, and I don't think I could do it in one post.... SOOOO, I have something new and cool to offer! A 7 Day Sneak Peak at What is a Beachbody Coach! Sign up below to get your journey started!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Progress Picture: Day 1

Well, when I promise something...I deliver! I connect with people the MOST when I'm honest. And honestly, this is where I am:




(Photo Credit: My main squeeze and hubby to be :)

I could sit here and pick apart all the things I hate about this picture, but then I'd be doing what I HATE MOST...when women pick themselves apart. Here's the 3 things I'm going to focus on in this photo:
  • True Smile: I'm proud in this picture because I just worked out to PIYO and it made me feel strong. 
  • Strong Legs: These are the legs that let me run 13.1 miles, but also spins on a bike and does tuck jumps in the living room. Can't complain at legs that let you do ALL that. 
  • Flatter Stomach: Compared to where I was 1 year ago, I've lost a lot of inches around my stomach! THAT makes me feel more confident every time I see the change. 
 Do you feel like sharing a before picture helps you to stick around for an after even more? How do you deal with your negative self-talk?


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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sweating for the Wedding

As you may or may not know...I'm engaged! We've made a lot of decisions already...one of which is that I hate planning. LUCKILY we've found a BOMB wedding venue that will take care of all the details for us. I've never been a picky person and I'm not changing that for my wedding! I want it to be beautiful and fun. I want the food to taste good and the booze to overflow with love from a friendly bartender. All of which I know our venue will pull off! So, the date has been decided. It's in late 2015! Haha, you thought I was going to tell you the exact date?? This gives me over a year to truly get in the best shape of my life.

However, a year is a long time. So I decided to make short term goals. Here they are so far!
  1. I WILL lose 5 pounds by August 2014. (Starting PIYO on July 7th to help this!)
  2. I WILL complete 1 Round of PIYO, and 1 Round of the 21 Day Fix by September 7th, 2014. 
  3. I WILL drop by body fat percentage by 10% by December 2014. (Gotta feel confident wedding dress shopping)
  4. I WILL post a progress picture every month.
  5. I WILL find 10 people during this time and help change their lives too!



There you have it, my next 6 months. I pretty much tell everyone I come in contact with that I'm Sweating for The Wedding. Even my boss knows....but since he's in his late 50's and doesn't even know what a Hashtag is, he didn't quite get it. HAHA.

Stay tuned for the FIRST Picture...coming TOMORROW!




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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

21 Day Fix Program: It's Easy, It's Affordable and It's Going To Get You FIT!


There's a lot of promises there in that title. But they're all SO true.The 21 Day Fix is so going to make  you rethink your nutrition and fitness. The best part is...it's EASY!!

I mean look...I've been back to following this system for only 4 days and I feel so much better! Your stomach will feel flatter than ever before. And here's what I looked like after just 6 days in....



The unique nutrition plan uses specifically portioned food storage containers that eliminate the guesswork from portion control - no weighing, measuring, or counting calories, carbs or points. If it fits in the container, you can eat it. And you'll lose weight. When eaten in the right quantities, there are no foods that are off limits.

The workouts are 30 minutes long. And you have a new workout for each day of the week. So...no boredom. You'll get sore, but you'll love it.  Here's what workouts you get:

Day 1: Total Body Fix - OMG. What a way to introduce challengers to the workout program. Cardio and weights. Feels so good!
Day 2: Upper Fix - This is no joke. I ranged from using 5 pounds to 12 pounds. 

Day 3: Lower Fix - I always feel like my legs are in shape, but Autumn reminded me that there's a lot of progress to make. I was sore for days after this one!
Day 4: Pilates Fix - This is exactly what you need on Day 4! Your body will love you for the break of not pounding on your joints, but your abs, booty and hips will still get a great workout (and you'll definitely sweat still!)

Day 5: Cardio Fix - You'll torch calories in this workout. And also need a towel :)
Day 6: Dirty 30 - 4 Rounds, 8 Exercises and 39 minutes. A great way to start the day and get a glow on!
Day 7: Yoga Fix -This is just a good stretch to get you centered at the end of the week and re-commit to your goals!
All you need to be successful is a set of light weights and heavy weights, or even a resistance band! I would recommend light to be 3-5 pounds, and heavy to be 7.5-15 pounds depending on your fitness level!

Here's another REAL LIFE Transformation!!



 So what are you waiting for? Contact me today to start your transformation!

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

5 Day Shakeology Challenge!

I'm hosting a small group Shakeology Challenge!! I want everyone to feel the amazing benefits of Shakeology and eating healthy. That's right...you'll be EATING on this! The cost is only $10, as to cover my cost for shipping and handling of the packets to you! I'm not looking to make money on this, instead, I'm trying to open your eyes to a whole new world (Aladdin just popped into my head, anyone else?? Haha). A world where a single meal is packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics and antioxidants!! Shakeology is CLINICALLY PROVEN to help your digestive system work better and leave you feeling full. Who doesn't want that? So here's the deal... I only have enough for 5 people!!

The first 5 people to sign up will receive:
  • 5 Day Supply of Shakeology
  • Meal Plan with Recipes and Tips
  • Accountability and Support! 

Signing up is EASY!! Just join my team for FREE ----> http://bit.ly/1nToI0y  I'll monitor the first 5 people and contact you via email within 24 hours. Then, you will PayPal me $10 (if you don't already have PayPal, I can help you with that too!).  After that, I ship you the Shakeology, send you your Welcome Kit and we get started on Monday, June 30th!!!

ARE YOU IN?!


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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Why Splenda Makes You Fat

I'm hoping that title caught your attention! It's not as insanely drastic as "eating Splenda = getting fat." There's a little more to it!

Splenda, and all artificial non-nutritive sweeteners (0 calorie sweeteners not made from a natural source), are created to be more sweet than natural sugar. This is the precise reason why it makes you "fat." Consuming artificially created non-nutritive sweeteners increases your taste buds tolerance of sweetness. Essentially you get a really big rush of sweetness whenever you consume these products. Then, when you eat something that contains natural sugar you don't get that same rush. In turn you eat MORE because your taste buds are craving that fake-sugar high that it gets when you choose diet or sugar-free options. Repeated exposure to artificial sweeteners trains your flavor preference and encourages sugar cravings and dependence.

Luckily, sugar dependence is just like salt dependence...YOU have the power to kick the habit. It takes an average of 30 days to train your taste buds to enjoy different flavors. I always tell clients who have high blood pressure or heart disease that they can learn to unlike salt, and in the same way, you can learn to unlike artificial sweeteners. Make the effort by clearing out your cupboard of all the fake stuff and replacing it with natural alternatives. My favorite natural alternative is Stevia (Stevia in the Raw is my favorite brand). Although this is a non-nutritive sweetener (meaning no calories), it is made from a natural source. It doesn't "blow out" your taste buds like the artificial products do. And, if you're not afraid of the calories, replace your Splenda habit with a teaspoon of sugar. It will take a few days, and maybe even up to 30 for your taste buds to realize that the teaspoon of sugar is sweet...but it will be worth it!

Craving something SWEET tonight?  Try my super easy recipe for strawberry ice cream!


Ingredients:
3 cups Frozen Strawberries, Sliced
1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 scoop Strawberry Shakeology (or Vanilla!)
 
Directions:
Blend all ingredients together in your blender. If the 1/2 cup Almond Milk isn't enough to get the strawberries blending, add more, just a little bit at a time. After you have blended the mixture, put in a container and freeze for at least 1 hour before scooping!
 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Dream

I’ve discovered the best way to actually let people understand you, is by being truly honest with them. Sometimes (oh who am I kidding?) MOST TIMES, on this blog I try to remain kind of “anonymous.” I’m afraid of having people who know me find out, because I’m afraid they’ll make fun of it. Not to my face of course, but behind my back. I’m too nice of a person to have people say it straight up like that! But I’ve realized that living in that fear isn’t getting me any closer to my dream. And because I haven’t shared my dream here before…here goes nothing!

My dream is to help empower women to feel their best and STOP judging themselves based on what media and this society calls beautiful. This is something I’ve internally struggled with for most of my life. I look back at high school and how I thought I was “fat.” Constantly trying to limit the food I ate—and then the same goes for college. Now, here at 25, I want to punch that young girl in the face. She was beautiful, and most importantly STRONG. The muscles I had were nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, my best friends had thinner thighs and wore a size 0 compared to my size 6…but was it really worth getting all bent out of shape over? I think I did a pretty good job of hiding my insecurities and portraying total self-confidence outward. I’ve always been very confident in who I am INTERNALLY, just not OUTWARDLY. I find flaws. I compare.  I’ve compared myself to every friend, relative and coworker under the sun at this point. And it’s truly never a comparison WORTH SHIT. Pardon my language, but really, I compare on outward things. I always forget that I’m nice, caring and sometimes I’m even funny. And that counts for a hell of a lot more than my weight. One day I got to thinking, if I’m thinking all of this... someone else has to be too! That’s what my college professors always said at least—“if you have a question, ask it! Someone else is probably wondering it too.” Anyway, fast forward to when I became a Team Beachbody Coach. I knew I was meant for more. I knew I was destined to reach women like me who struggled with acceptance. And so far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job. But pretty good isn’t enough anymore. 

My DREAM, like I said before is to empower women. And I mean A LOT of women. I just have to find those women. The ones who are sick and tired of beating themselves up; the ones who act cool and confident—but doubt themselves; the ones who are stuck in a rut; the ones who are on this crazy roller coaster of life and want more energy and time to enjoy it. I want them to know they’re not alone. You’re not forgotten and I CARE. I want to see you change…not just physically, but I want your confidence levels to rise, I want to see you start to believe in what’s possible for yourself again…and I want to see you become stronger inside and out!

Feels so good to type that all out. Feel free to reach out if you’re one of these women ready for a change!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WIN PIYO FOR FREE!

Hey! I had to post a second time today because I just heard my CEO is giving away 5 free copies of PIYO! (Read here to see what it's all about). How do you get entered? Sign up as my preferred customer! There's a couple different ways you can do it...so shoot me an email at jessicagracefitness(at)gmail.com and I'll fill you in! You only have until tomorrow to commit, so as my dad would say....get to gettin'! 




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How Do YOU Define Success?

I remember thinking that being successful in the fitness world only depended upon how you looked.

But in reality, success in your health and fitness can take on many forms. It can be that day that you finally commit to getting fit; the day where you follow your meal plan the whole way through with NO cheats or changes; the day you do 15 perfect pushups in a row; even the day you start to ENJOY eating fruits and vegetables.

To some I’m sure that my success in fitness is lacking. No, I don’t have that 6 pack. No, I’m not at my goal weight. No, I don’t run outside with just shorts and a sports bra. But instead of focusing in on all the ‘no’s’ about my journey (that, lets face it, come from me assuming what people think)...I decided to focus on some of the most recent ‘YES’ moments I’ve had:

-Waking up at 5:30am, 3x last week to workout.
-Meal planning dinners for the week; which included mainated pork tenderloin, chicken lettuce wraps and turkey !
-STICKING to my meal plan all day yesterday (and so far today)
-Reading a new personal development book that is getting me amped to HELP people

I guess what I'm saying is...define your success on YOUR 'yes' moments. Don't let those sneaky thoughts you have trick you into believing what other people think about you is true. Because it's not. And those other people don't matter. The only person that matters in this journey is you!

So tell me....What have some of your YES moments been recently??

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CYC CYC CYC!

But first, let me tell you about the last 12 hours! Joe and I woke up around 12:15am because of some serious rain. We have a skylight right above our bed, so it wasn't a huge surprise. Rain is freaking LOUD on that window! But after a minute of talking, Joe heard something far off in the distance that didn't sound like thunder. He went downstairs and opened the door... and BAM! SO MANY SIRENS!! Cops out, fire trucks whizzing by and the tornado sirens in Madison, Verona and Fitchburg all going off. We turned on the TV and then realized that a tornado warning was in effect for right on top of us. I immediately put on my shoes and was ready to run to the basement... but then heard the weatherman say that the tornado already passed over our development and was moving at 50 mph to the east. Talk about a nervous 3 minutes. I can't believe my phone didn't go off with the emergency alert system! We woke up this morning and found out that a tornado touched down around where Joe works, and only 3 miles from our apartment. He said cars were in the cornfields and a roof of a house was ripped off. No reports of injuries though! Thank goodness. I could never live in the real "tornado alley" area of the US, this was scary enough!

After all that excitement, I still had to get up early this morning because I was signed up (and paid) for a spin class. I'm pretty lucky because Madison is one of only 3 cities that have CYCFITNESS. It's a spin studio that incorporates free weights during the class so that you work abs, arms, shoulders and your back along with your legs. They also turn off the lights and you ride in the dark, lighted only by blacklights and bright colored spotlights. You clip in with the free spin shoes they supply (which I had never used before), have a towel waiting for you along with cold filtered water. The teachers are pretty much the most happy people. I'm pretty impressed with the amount of energy they have at 6:15am. They must take their E&E. Anywho, it's a killer 45 minutes and I'm addicted. It's always fun to mix up your workouts! It's pretty pricey though so I'm not sure how much longer I can keep going. Saving for wedding things = not spending a lot! We'll see!


What's your workout today?

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

PIYO!


Have you been hearing about this new workout program that Chalene Johnson is about to release?!

In 2 weeks I will be starting my journey with PIYO and I want to invite you to do it along with me! I’ve been looking for a program like this, where my morning workout doesn’t have to be High Impact, but still get a good sweat on! What about you? 

Usually I don’t mind the high intensity workouts like T25 and TurboFire, but I’m ready for a new challenge. I need to focus on building flexibility and strength. And I think we all should, I mean, who doesn’t want to protect their back and neck from injury? 



So Who Is PIYO For? EVERYONE! It’s high intensity but LOW impact. It can be modified to meet everyone's needs; and it’s meant to improve flexibility, torch calories and get you in the best shape of your life!

There is no jumping in this workout, so it's great for someone who needs a low impact option.  (HINT: MOM, I REALLY WANT YOU TO DO THIS WITH ME!! Mom has arthritis in her knees that keeps on getting worse :/).  Chalene designed this to give you an overall toned, sleek, and complete body transformation.  So…what’s with the name?? PIYO is inspired by Pilates and Yoga and was developed by Chalene Johnson who is also the creator of two of my favorite workout programs Turbofire and Chalean Extreme. Another cool thing? There are no weights required for this workout. You use your own body weight!


What Are The Details?
The workouts are anywhere from 25-45 minutes long.

You can receive your copy of PIYO 2 weeks before the launch of the program on Beachbody, so make sure that I am your assigned coach and you have contacted me to reserve your copy of the workouts. HAVE ME AS YOUR COACH!


Also, as a coach you can receive 25% off your Piyo Purchase as well.  So make sure to ask me about the preferred customer discount.

What PiYo Workouts Included?

  • Align (46 mins): The Fundamentals (46 mins)
  • Upper Body (35 mins): This focused workout will strengthen and stretch your entire body, while building on the movement patterns you have learned in Align.
  • Define: Lower Body (25 mins): This will shape and tone everything from your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves gently, yet effectively to help you get sleek and lean legs.
  • Sweat (35 mins) is a traditional PiYo Workout that is fast paced with body weight strength training and ab work!
  • Core (30 mins) an ab-centric workout that targets every angle of the abdominals and back. I’ve read this will be a calorie-torcher too!
  • Drench (45 mins) is a total body workout to get you sweaty, burning calories, and going to have your metabolism on fire!
  • Strength Intervals (25 mins) designed to tone the whole body and burn tons of calories with no weights required!
  • Sculpt (30 mins) no weights are required for this intense, full-body workout either!
Get the full set when they go onsale by signing up for an email reminder. You’ll receive 9 workouts total plus get them 2 weeks earlier through a coach – sign up to get them first here. 



Piyo will be released on June 23rd to Team Beachbody Customers.  You can be the first to score your copy of the Piyo Challenge Pack and land yourself a spot in an exclusive Piyo Test Group.  This is a select group of individuals who are committed to starting and finishing the program and getting the best results possible. In order to secure a spot you have to be willing to give it 100% commitment over the course of the program! You must be willing to invest in the fitness, the nutrition and the support.  If you put some skin in the game I am more than willing to meet you half way!

What is a test group and how do I join?
A Piyo Test Group is a group that is unique to my style of coaching.  It is a closed online accountability group. I’m having everyone submit their results to Team Beachbody for a chance to win the monthly and quarterly prizes, plus you will have the opportunity to be one of the first people to complete the program and share your proof that transformation is possible. If you follow the schedule, stay committed and are dedicated to your success.

I’m on a mission to get in the best shape of my life for my wedding and for my future. Will you join me? Fill out this form!



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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fuel Your Better

 I was fortunate enough to try out a super awesome product recently: Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer Formula! I'm always on the lookout for a product that can help give me the much needed energy boost that I need before a morning or afternoon workout, that's all natural and plant based. So, for the sake of science (and because I love me some new stuff), I set aside my ususal Energy and Endurance Formula from Team Beachbody and picked up some Vega!

Awesome packaging, I must say.
Pros:
  • Taste: The Acai Berry flavor is pretty much amazing. I felt like I was drinking a juice and loved that it was GOOD for me too!
  • Packaging: The on-the-go packaging was perfect for me when I was in a hurry to get to work. 
  • Ingredients: Plant based power really means plant based when it comes to this company. Boosting awesome supplements in it's preworkout like Kombucha leaf, Green Tea, Ginseng, Tumeric and Ginger, you're getting nothing but healthy!

Cons:
  • Calories: I know, I know, 70 calories per serving isn't THAT bad. But when you're looking to limit calories from beverages and drop some weight like myself--it matters!
  • Energy: I honestly did not feel the energy that I do from my usual supplement from this one. I SO BADLY wanted to have increased output in my workouts from it...but I just didn't. 
  • Color: I spilled the drink on my white shirt and had to deal with the yellow stain for the last 30 minutes at work. But hey, at least the yellow came from a natural source: Tumeric!
 
Overall: I think this is a good product, but I won't be using it for a pre-workout supp. I'll continue to use it in place of my coffee in the morning on days that I'm rushed. I also used it when I had to wake up at 3:45am to drive 1 1/2 hours to the Milwaukee airport. Worked like a charm! I really think you should give Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer a try to fuel your better!!

See, you can see the tired in my eyes...but I was full of life thanks to Vega Sport!



All opinions are my own. Compensation was the free product. 

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Healthy Shrimp Tostadas

I'm a huge Mexican food fan. Especially lately, where I've noticed that I can't get enough spicy salsa. The fact that the cruise ship didn't have any was a real bummer. So when we got back I immediately planned on eating this meal: Spicy Shrimp Tostadas. Enjoy this lightened up and super delicious version!

Spicy Shrimp Tostadas


Ingredients:
  • Corn Tortillas - 1 bag
  • Large Shrimp, Raw (Shelled and deveined) - 1 pound
  • Ancho Chili Powder - 1 tsp
  • Chili Powder - 1 tsp
  • Cayenne Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Olive Oil - 1 Tbsp
  • Cole Slaw Mix - 1/2 bag
  • Green Onion, Thinly Sliced - 2
  • Greek Yogurt, Nonfat, Plain - 1/2 cup (or split 1/4 cup yogurt with 1/4 cup sour cream!)
  • Lime Juice, Juiced from fresh Lime - 2
  • Truvia - 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic Salt - 1 tsp
  • Radishes, Sliced Thin - 3
  • Avocado - 1

Directions:
  • Heat skillet on medium high. In a bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil, chili powders and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt. Saute the shrimp over medium high heat until fully cooked (about 3 minutes per side).
  • Follow the directions for heating up the corn tortillas.
  • In a medium bowl, toss cabbage with scallions, yogurt, lime juice, Truvia, garlic salt and radishes.
  • On a plate, build the tostada: Corn Tortilla, Shrimp, Coleslaw, and top with avocado.

ENJOY! 



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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Welcome Back!!

HEYYYY!!!

I know, I know!!! It's been way too long since I've posted. But quite frankly, a lot has been going on! Let me catch you up--

My best friend and love, Joe, proposed to me! We've been dating for over 5 years and he put so much thought, care and time into the proposal and ring. He truly made my dreams a reality.  He also asked both my dad and mom for permission, which just melts my heart. He's a very traditional man and I love him for that! Here's a few pictures!




That happened over Mother's Day Weekend. And then the next weekend I jetted off to California to visit my brother, mom and dad. I got to run on the beach early in the morning and relax by a pool. Can't beat it! 

Beach!

Amazing Beef Carpaccio

Where we stayed in Carlsbad, CA

My friend at the La Costa Pool

Silly
After that fun trip, I just went on a cruise! I know, I know... so much travel! But believe me, having a dad with frequent flyer miles and hotel points helps! Joe and I flew down to Fort Lauderdale last Sunday and then we left for 5 days on a Princess Cruise. We traveled to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Snorkled and laid on the beach at both...which again, is all I ask for in life. Haha. I haven't uploaded the pics from my camera yet, so this is all you get for now!

Flying in style (or at least pretending that I have style!)

The view from our hotel room in Fort Lauderdale.

Our ship waiting....
I'll post some more fun pictures later. Let's just say, after ALL that travel my diet has not been on point. And with being a newly engaged woman, I'm not happy about it! I want to be toned in my wedding dress and so confident! So the wedding diet and exercise regimen has begun. I'll be counting on all of you as extra accountability to keep me on track too! How you've all been well!

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