Sunday, 8 May 2016

90 day sss plan - progress update, thoughts and tips by Bex

I've now been on the Body Coach's 90 day Shift Shape and Sustain plan for 13 days.  I'm still enjoying it but have a few thoughts and tips for anyone else starting or thinking about signing up.

One of my favourites and one of the quicker meals is the Build Up Bagel - I tend to have this for breakfast as I prefer to do my workouts first thing, I swap the BBQ sauce for mustard or Cholula hot sauce (or both).  I get up about an hour or so before the twins as although the work out only takes around 20 minutes, by the time I've sorted my shakes, drunk them, taken my other supplements (vitamins, etc.), showered and prepared breakfast, it takes about an hour and a half.

I also like the protein refuel pancakes but after my sweet shakes, I tend to fancy a savoury breakfast.  I really want to try them with my chocolate brownie protein powder instead of blueberry but I'm STILL waiting for my replacement from My Protein after a problem with my first batch.

I mentioned how disgusting I found the flavour of the Mango & Peach BCAA powder and have been advised to try The Protein Works flavours instead so I'm planning on trying the apple one but it just adds another layer of cost with yet more powder (which is expensive) and another delivery charge!

My other personal favourite recipes on cycle 1 (both protein based and carb refuel meals) are:

Cashew Chicken Curry
Chicken Stir Fry
Thai Beef Stir Fry

Devilled Steak with kale & potato rosti (The rostis are hard to form as they contain so much kale but they were tasty.)

Italian Sausage & Beef Casserole (I made this in the slow cooker and liked it but would add fewer herbs next time as they were a bit strong tasting.)

GoGo Green Smoothie (has a lot of spinach in it but was surprisingly nice!  I use the blueberry whey protein.)

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach & Feta

Spicy Turkey Mince
Tuna Salad

Mushroom & Mozzarella Omelette
Lean Muscle Mince (I have swapped out the BBQ sauce for Chimichurri as I hate the smoky taste)

I find there's plenty of variety of things I like and I've tried a few different ones now but have a few favourites I know are easier and make up a big batch.  I have to say, it actually makes life easier having them ready to go when I'm busy with the twins.  Spending the time prepping when I can at weekends or evenings is something I really hope I keep up as it works out much better during the week knowing I can grab something to chuck in the microwave.

All of the protein based meals (certainly the ones I've had) are served with massive piles of greens.  I didn't realised at first but when it says 175g raw spinach/beans/kale/broccoli is doesn't mean you can't wilt of cook the spinach!  It just means the raw weight.  I had assumed the others could be cooked as there's no way I could cope eating those raw for 3 months.  Wilting down the spinach makes it much more manageable as it is a proper mountain!  I've since added it into my omelette and other recipes and much prefer it this way.  Thanks for the tip to those who informed me!  I still find it's sometimes easier eating from a serving dish though!  The greens tend to overflow a bit!

When it comes to the curries and saucier meals, I do struggle to finish all the sauce.  Having a curry without the rice/bread to mop it up is quite an adjustment so I keep the greens separate for these so they are there to eat with the sauce rather than in it.  Luckily the curry is delicious!  I doubled up the first batch to make 4 portions and doubled the garam masala too which was not a good idea, it was far to cinnamony and dark.  The next time I made it I added half and it was MUCH nicer.  I also ground the cashews much more which was also better.

I do sometimes add a little salt to certain recipes.  We're supposed to keep salt intake down but can add a pinch if needed and it does make a difference when using low salt stocks and soy without overdoing it.  I also find it strange when some of the recipes are SO specific (i.e. 57g avocado) but others list 1 tomato (which vary in size) for example.  I guess it's just to get you used to weighing everything and being aware of what you're putting in everything.  Maybe some ingredients don't matter as much as others when it comes to quantity.

I've found a couple of cheats for when I fancy a change like having a dessert which I occasionally miss despite not having a particularly sweet tooth.  If I have the curry, I've left the yoghurt out to add afetr it's re-heated and sometimes don't mix it in but keep it for pud and have also added my fruit snack (which is limited to a few times a week, not every day) to make it sweet and a nice after dinner treat!  I found frozen berries worked well and almost made it a bit like fro-yo.

I've also seen a few recipes for turning the low-carb oatmeal into muffins for an easier pre-prepared meal and ditto for the omelettes and eggy meals - make them into crust-less quiches.  I haven't done this yet but I do plan to.

I was also given a good tip when I found I was hungry on the first couple of days to try having the more substantial turkey bacon muffins.  You get to have 2 of these as one snack and they're stuffed with different veg AND mozzarella - delicious and they've really helped fill me up!  I particularly like them when I have a smoothie as one of my meals - I eat a muffin with it and save the other as my snack, it makes the smoothie feel like more of a meal.  The only thing I wasn't keen on was the sweet potato in it, they're too sweet for me so I checked on the swap page and I can replace it with normal potato so I'm making a huge batch this weekend.  They're great as they can also be frozen.  (Also a top tip for the BUB - freeze a pack of bagels so they don't go stale and take one out the night before or give it a 30 second blitz in the microwave before slicing and toasting!)

Oh, another tip about the muffins - don't be a fool like me and think a cup tin is the same thing.  Oops!  I was like there's no way this will all fit with the eggy mixture once I started piling the veg in and still had the courgette and sweet potato to go (and I'd had to cut up the bacon which I noticed made pretty heart shapes!) and Nik pointed out that a muffin tray is much deeper!  Cue frantic trip to Morrisons once the twins were in bed!

In the correct size tray!


I have a few of the freezable meals stashed in the freezer now too so am a bit less stressed about being prepped in advance - I know I have back ups!

As for the exercise, I'm really enjoying the HIIT sessions.  I was dying the first few times (and still am because as you get fitter you just manage to work harder) but am now managing not to collapse on the floor quite so often!  I still really struggle with burpees and mountain climbers but have swapped them out for exercises I can keep up for the full 30 second slots as doing 3 and then lying gasping is doing nothing to help burn fat!  I have found a few other YouTube videos recommended on the unofficial Facebook page for the 90 day plan.  I like the pretend skipping exercise and have been doing easy planks instead of burpees.  I tried mountain climbers again today and managed more than last time so I do think my fitness is improving!  I've also downloaded an interval timer on my phone so I can just put music on rather than having to have the video on now I know some exercises.

I did injure my neck last week during my exercise.  I'm not sure how I pulled it but it was definitely muscular and I had to rest it and was panicking about not sticking to my plan!  Luckily I found exercises which certainly got my heart rate up and knackered me out without using my arms/shoulders or jogging my muscles too much - mostly climbing the stairs as fast as I could up and down for 30 secs with 30 secs rest between.  A pretty good leg based cardi HIIT methinks.  I actually find the stairs exercise quite motivating as I try to get up them the same number of times as the HIIT goes on and I'm getting more tired.  It keeps me working harder for those high intensity intervals!

I've decided I would like to get a heart rate monitor to see just how hard I'm working in each interval as I sometimes think I'm not out of breath enough.  I think it will motivate me to really push it for those few intervals.  I've been looking at the Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Blaze, Polar Loop, Microsoft Band 2 all of which were recommended by various people on the Facebook page.  Have any of you used any of these?  Which would you recommend?

I've to do 4 or 5 HIIT sessions a week so I always plan 5 and then if I miss one for whatever reason it's not a disaster.  So far I've managed all 5 but it's only been 2 weeks so I hope to keep it up.  I've had a couple of sneaky cheats.  I've generally followed the plan to the letter, although I have struggled on quite a few days to drink the full 3.25L of water, but last weekend was FIL's birthday and we went out for lunch.  I booked so I could try to find something as close to plan as possible and went for a lovely Turkish place in Greenwich (Efes Meze - highly recommended).  I did my HIIT beforehand so I could have some carbs and indulged in the dips with a little flatbread.  The dips being aubergine and yoghurt based so not too naughty.  I then had the chicken, avocado and feta salad which was delicious and all allowed on the plan but obviously the quantities may have been off.  I had the dressing on the side and hardly ate any as the chicken was char-grilled with a chilli sauce.  I did succumb to a tiny slice of his yummy chocolate roulade cake MIL made though!  Complete with cream filling but I resisted the berries (extra sugar).  I only had a sip of the bubbly though!

The other cheat was last night when we went out for the Buxted Ball.  This was planned ages ago by new friends of ours and we were really looking forward to it.  I'd chosen my menu choices before starting the plan too but they weren't bad - salmon tartare with crab tian and salsa then chicken (I was starving so despite trying to resist my roll I ended up eating it but it was wholemeal!?) with Mediterranean veg (I did eat half of the potato) and the cheese.  I did also succumb to one glass of prosecco and one of red wine.  It was delicious and as Joe himself says, having one naughty meal isn't going to make you fat, just as one healthy meal isn't going to make you slim!  To be honest, I can manage fine without the alcohol, I don't miss it, it's the foods I struggle with when they're in front of me!

It was lovely to get dressed up and although I still needed my full body spanx, I felt great!

So, so far, it's going pretty well I think.  I love eggs, meat and green veg so I'm really enjoying the food and the exercise is totally manageable.  I've definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels already and I'm feeling very motivated and confident.  I haven't noticed any difference in my body yet but I'm not measuring until the 4 weeks of cycle 1 are up.

Although I've mentioned the Facebook page a couple of times and have found it very helpful and motivating, some of the posts have made me nervous, especially about the time spent exercising in cycle 2!  I was nervous about adding in weights anyway but apparently you have to spend much longer doing it - over an hour!  I'm going to have to get up SO early, and despite seeing things about how you don't have to buy any equipment, it seems most people have invested in proper weights.  Anyway, I'll find out soon enough I guess.  I don't want too much of a delay between cycles though so I hope I figure it out quickly!

1 comment:

Claire said...

Sounds like you are getting on great B! Well done you. It's hard when you first start any new eating/exercise plan but it looks like you are really managing to get into a groove.

As for the Fitbits, I'm a complete Fitbit addict having had one for about 4 years. I've just recently upgraded from my charge HR to the blaze and totally love it! It doesn't 'look' like a fitness tracker which I love and you can switch bands to dress it up for evenings and wear it all the time (I found I didn't want to wear my charge out if I was going out at night time) I love the screen on the blaze and that you can see how hard you are working during your Hiit training right on your wrist. It also has loads of other aspects too. So worth the extra in my opinion. Any questions just send me a message. Xx

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