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My 8 Week Progress Report for #OperationRefocus

I just finished week #8 of working with my coach, Roman. Below is my current progress check in!

  • My Plan general overview from coach Roman: My November plan is still in play until further notice. I switched from the “insulin reset” phase to a “feast and fast” phase 3 weeks ago (more details below). My macros changed up a bit (higher carbs, slightly less fat than the first phase, and protein has increased).

The newest change brought a feasting period for 1 day each week. What that means is I can eat anything I want (preferably higher carbohydrates) beginning at lunch time, but I’m supposed to stop before I feel stuffed. I posted what I ate in the “my successes” section.

On the flip side of the “feasting period” is a FULL fasting day. :/

For the first 2 weeks of this plan, I feasted on Saturday and fasted beginning Saturday night until Monday morning at breakfast. The third week I adjusted my feasting period to coincide with Thanksgiving of course! 🙂

I’m working out a total of 6 days – 3 strength, 1 bodyweight circuit, and 2 cardio/HIIT style workouts. The style of workout changed from traditional strength training to escalating density training. This increases work volume and testosterone. All of this is great for muscle building and for fat loss!

  • My Successes: I’m very consistent with my workouts. As a matter of fact, I’ve only missed 1 workout in the entire 8 weeks. There have been a few times that I shortened a couple of circuits or substituted exercises at a hotel gym, but my consistency had been ON POINT. I continue to increase my weights in the strength workouts. My goals of getting stronger overall and stronger with my pull ups are definitely coming along!

I fully succeeded with my feast days. It wasn’t hard to do at all. Ha! You may wonder what I ate?!?

Well- The first week I had a normal breakfast for me, fajita chicken salad with chips and salsa, 3 slices of pizza for dinner followed by a donut and a package of Justin’s organic peanut butter cups. Yum! I had no GI issues from this. CELEBRATE!

The 2nd week I had IHOP for lunch (1/2 pancakes and 1/2 French toast with syrup plus eggs and bacon) then a normal dinner of grilled chicken and vegetables. For dessert I had 2 mini candy bars from my boys’ Halloween candy and a slice of creamy peanut butter pie from my favorite place. The IHOP meal gave me a tummy ache. 🙁

Then the 3rd week was Thanksgiving, so I just enjoyed all the plentiful food my family had available! It was so delicious, but I did get a slight tummy ache from the feast. BOO!

  • My Struggles: My biggest struggle over the last few weeks has definitely been the fasting period. With that said, I’ve made it all three times and ultimately felt fine. It’s gotten easier each week which is encouraging. During my fast, I’m allowed to have water, black coffee, and green tea. Once, I broke down and had a diet limeade to give my belly something to do besides talk to me. 😉 Basically, I feel physical hunger only a few times (under 5) during the fast. I ride the “hunger wave” and then it subsides. Of course the growling stomach hits on Sunday right in the middle of Bible class just in time to embarrass me! Lol. The good news is that I’ve woken up each day after my fast and been full of energy to crush my workout before breaking my fast. That part amazes me! I totally thought I’d struggle through, but no (to my pleasant surprise!).

 

  • My Outcomes so far:

Mentally, I’m stronger, more confident, balanced yet focused. Physically, I’m stronger too!

As for my overall numbers – I’ve lost…

  •  in bodyweight – 3 pounds
  •  in body fat – just over 1%
  •  in inches – 1″ from below my belly button, 3/4″ from my waist, and about 1/4-1/2 of an inch from both my thigh and upper arm, no inches lost in the other areas I measured (rib cage, hips)

The numbers haven’t changed from week 5, but I can see a difference in my photos. Let’s be honest though, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving to the fullest, so remaining steady is a great thing! I’m a day or 2 away from “shark week” so honestly, it’s not the best time to weigh and measure. 😉

Anyway, numberwise, my body is being a bit stubborn on me. I’m excited to get my next phase any day now and see the tweaks made to deal with this stubbornness. If my weight was staying the same and my body fat was decreasing, there would be no issue. That would actually be a great sign of body recomposition! For now, I’m holding steady which I’m ok with. I’m realizing that where I am right now is exactly where my body is perfectly HAPPY. To get beyond this point in the past, it took drastic measures that I’m not willing to do this go around. If coach Roman has a way to move me beyond this point without my losing hair, losing my period, and becoming an emotional wreck, then I welcome it. If not, I’m just fine where I’m at continue my pursuit of strength and meeting goals!

That’s it for now… I will post again in few weeks and letcha know what changes I’m implementing!

Post in the comments (or in the linked facebook post) to let me know what goals you are working on! I’d love to hear from you and cheer you on!!!

xo ~Jill

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New to Kettlebell Swings? Read This First!

Just over 6 years ago, I decided it was time to venture into fitness after my childbearing days had come to a close. (Why I waited until then is a completely different blog post!) My first attempt to “get fit” was to pick up running. I didn’t know the extensive benefits of strength training for women, and I certainly had never heard of kettlebells, so running it was.

 

As soon as the weather cooled off, I jumped on the chance to try an indoor program- not for the benefits of said program, but to get away from running, especially running in the COLD! No thank you!

 

I purchased and went through P90X a few times that fall and winter. I saw results that running didn’t offer me and was prompted me to research more and more about strength training.

 

That’s how I discovered kettlebells!

 

This one simple tool can make you stronger, faster, and leaner, in LESS TIME than any other piece of fitness equipment. I don’t know about you, but I love ANY thing that is time efficient PLUS superior! #SCORE

 

The very foundation of a great kettlebell program is the Russian kettlebell swing. I get a lot of questions from readers and facebook followers about how to swing, what weight to swing, and what are the benefits to the swing.

 

Kettlebell swings are known as the “mother of all kettlebell exercises” and for good reason. They give birth to many of the other kettlebells exercises. In other words, the kettlebell swing is a foundational exercise AND has some major fitness and fat loss benefits!

 

Here are a few of the benefits of the kettlebell swing. If you incorporate swings in your workout regimen, you will:

 

  • Get stronger
  • Get faster (hello better 5k time!)
  • Become more powerful
  • Perform better in other sports with increased endurance
  • Get Leaner
  • Develop a the infamous “kettlebooty” and who doesn’t want that?!!
With all of these benefits, I know you’re really wanting to add kettlebell swings to your life! The problem is that many people perform the swing incorrectly. This diminishes the benefits and increases the risk of injury. *sad face*

 

Because I don’t want that to happen to any of you, I asked my friend and colleague, Kristy Agan, who is a Level II RKC Instructor to lay out exactly how to progress into being able to perform the swing. She was kind enough to include some video demonstrations as well as a couple of bonus workouts for you to try! Take it away, Kristy….
Kristy Agan, RKCII

Kristy Agan, RKC Level II Instructor

Swing Tutorial for Beginners

By Kristy Agan

Kettlebell swings are a fundamental exercise when training with kettlebells. It is a very effective and explosive movement that burns fat and develops power. But before you can safely perform a swing, you must first learn how to correctly do a hip hinge, and from there, a deadlift.

Hip Hinge

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Push your hips back and allow your torso to move forward
  • Lengthen your spine and open up your chest
  • Your shins should remain as close to vertical as possible

Deadlift

  • Stand over the kettlebell
  • Perform a hip hinge until your hands are touching the bell (Refer back to the steps for performing a Hip Hinge)
  • Before you lift the bell, pull shoulders back/down and engage your lats (do not round your shoulders)
  • Brace your abs
  • As you lift the bell, think about pressing your weight into the floor and keep the weight on your heels
  • Stand up tall and squeeze your glutes
  • Repeat hip hinge pattern until bell is back on the floor

Russian Kettlebell Swings – Demo of the hinge and deadlift

Next: Transition to the Kettlebell Swing

Hike

  • Step back from the bell
  • Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart
  • Perform a hip hinge until your hands are touching the bell
  • Tilt the bell towards you
  • Before you hike the bell, pull your shoulders back/down and engage your lats (do not round your shoulders)
  • Brace your abs
  • Hike the bell between your legs. Your arms should come in contact with your ribcage and your forearms should come in contact with your upper thighs.
  • Return the bell softly back to the floor in front of you

 

kettlebellswing

Swing

  • Hike the bell between your legs
  • Stand up explosively, snap your hips and squeeze your glutes
  • The bell should float up into the air after your hips snap forward
  • Then hold your hips forward and maintain tight glutes until your arms come in contact with your ribcage as the bell begins to drop.
  • Then push your hips back quickly out of the way allowing the bell to go between your legs. (see video below of kettlebell swings)

Russian Kettlebell Swings – Demo of the hike and swing

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For more information and fitness tips from Kristy Agan, subscribe at www.kristyagan.com and receive a FREE copy of her Healthy Living Guide.

 

You can also follow Kristy on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!readerschoice

 

More about Kristy:  After the birth of her first child at the age of 27 Kristy realized her desire to pursue fitness as a career and not just a part-time gig. Kristy began her career as a  group fitness instructor certified through AFAA . Through training clients with multiple tools, Kristy quickly discovered her passion….kettlebells. Kristy self- taught her way into the kettlebell world where she eventually earned her HKC, RKC, and RKCII. Kristy is also a certified personal trainer through the American Council of Exercise (ACE) and TRX qualified. This wife and mother of two kids maintains a large following of faithful clients in Rome, GA where she trains at Pro Performance with Tim Vicchrilli and Mike Sarver. A big congrats to Kristy is in order! She was recently awarded the Readers Choice Award from Rome News Tribune as Best Personal Trainer for 2014.

 

p.s. (from Jill) Looking for more swing practice? Use my beginner’s kettlebell program, Simply Kettlebells!

 

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5 Week Progress Report for #OperationRefocus

By Jill Jacobs

I just finished week #5 of working with my new coach, Roman. Below is my 5 week progress check in!

  •  My Plan general overview from coach Roman: My November plan came recently, and my jaw dropped! I’m switching from the “insulin reset” phase to a “feast and fast” phase (more details below). My macros changed up a bit (a little higher carbs, slightly less fat, and protein is increased slightly). The newest change though is a feasting period for 1/2 day. What that means is I can eat anything I want, preferably higher carbohydrates, but I’m supposed to stop before I feel stuffed. The kicker is that I follow the “feasting period” with a fasting day- Yikes! My plan is to “feast” on Saturday afternoon until bed and then fast on Sunday. I’ll break the fast on Monday at breakfast. I admit, this is going to be hard, so wish me luck! My initial reaction to this plan was the same as October’s – “What have I gotten myself into???” Haha!

I’m working out a total of 6 days – 3 strength, 1 bodyweight circuit, and 2 cardio/HIIT style workouts. This is similar to last month, but the style of workout changed from traditional strength training to density training. This will increase work volume and testosterone. All this is great for muscle building and for fat loss!

  • My Successes: I’m very consistent with my workouts. The sheer volume of what I’m doing has probably doubled from what I was doing before hiring Roman. I’m eating more to keep up with my body’s needs. The workouts are challenging, but I’ve gone up in weight on so many things!
  • My Struggles: Besides the struggle to eat so much food, my biggest struggle since my last update has been Halloween candy. 😉 I didn’t go overboard, but I ate, over time, more than I’d like to have eaten. I only ate my favorite things. I didn’t make “mindless” choices, so that’s a win! On the nutrition front, Roman has me tracking my macros to make sure I’m getting the correct amount of everything. That pretty much stinks and is time consuming. I haven’t been on top of that during November, but I’m good at eyeballing portions and knowing the macros. I’ve re-dedicated to tracking to spot check myself.
  • My Outcomes so far:

I’ve lost…

  •  in bodyweight – 3 pounds
  •  in body fat – just over 1%
  •  in inches – 1″ from below my belly button, 3/4″ from my waist, and about 1/4-1/2 of an inch from both my thigh and upper arm, no inches lost in the other areas I measured (rib cage, hips)

PLUS….

  • I’m feeling stronger and more confident!
  • I’m feeling very focused! I’ve not been this focused on me and my personal goals in over a year, so it’s nice! 😀

That’s it for now…I plan to post every few weeks and fill you in on what’s going on!

Head over to the post below over on facebook and share some of your progress as of late! I’d love to hear from you and cheer you on!!!

xo ~Jill

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2 Week Progress Report for #OperationRefocus

You may recall that I announced a couple of weeks ago on my facebook page that I hired John Romaniello to be my coach for the next 4 months (minimum) for some goals I have. Below is my 2 week progress check in!

  •  My Plan general overview from coach Roman: I’m in the middle of an “insulin reset” phase so my carbs are low (for me) on my 3 strength training days and almost non-existent on non-training and cardio days. I’m working out a total of 6 days – 3 strength, 1 bodyweight circuit, and 2 cardio/HIIT style workouts.
  •  My Successes: I was eating mostly nutrient dense, healthy foods before, so I haven’t had the headaches and dizziness that sometimes come with starting a new nutrition plan. In the gym, I feel really strong and love the new workouts. They are challenging but doable! I’ve never done stationary bike HIIT workouts but am LOVING those!
  •  My Struggles: I abhor the treadmill cardio portion! Lol. I’m running treadmill intervals on certain days and I’d much rather be outside running regular sprints. On the nutrition front, Roman has me tracking my macros to make sure I’m getting the correct amount of everything for this insulin reset period. That pretty much stinks and is time consuming. However, it helps me be accountable to everything I put in my mouth! I’m also having trouble eating enough food on my strength training days. The macros are pretty high for me on those days, so it’s a struggle to get in all the protein and fat.
  •  My Outcomes so far:
    • I’ve lost…
    •  in bodyweight – 1.6 pounds
    •  in body fat – 1% (no muscle gain or loss)
    •  in inches – 1/2″ from below my belly button, and about 1/4 of an inch from both my thigh and upper arm, no inches lost in the other areas I measured (waist, rib cage, hips)
  • PLUS….
  • I’m feeling more confident!
  • I’m feeling very focused! I’ve not been this focused on me and my own goals in over a year so it’s nice! 😀

That’s it for now. I plan to post every 2 weeks and fill you in on what’s going on!
Head over to the post below on facebook and share some of your progress as of late! I’d love to hear from you and cheer you on!!!

xo ~Jill

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5 Fat Loss Tips for Navigating a Barbecue

It’s summer time!!

Well not officially, but Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of summer where I come from. If you’re like me you’ll be hanging out with friends and family around the grill this weekend!

barbecue

Here are my top 5 fat-loss tips for navigating a barbecue:

1. Wake up 10 minutes early to fit in a quickie workout. This will get your metabolism revved up for the day and put your body in fat burning mode from the start. You do not need hours to benefit from exercise. In fact, if you can spend just 10-20 minutes and get a full workout completed!

Try this for 3 rounds:

* 1 minute of jump squats

* 1 minute of mountain climbers

* 1 minute of plyometric lunges

{Finisher} Once you’ve completed 3 rounds, do 1 minute of push ups

Enjoy the workout then carry on!

2. Don’t skip breakfast. Eat a protein-packed breakfast so you’re not famished at the cookout. You don’t want to be starved and eat everything in sight!

3. Fill your plate with lean meat and veggies first. Grilled lean meats are usually plentiful at summer family gatherings. Make sure to eat your meat sans bun! If you think that veggies will be lacking, bring a veggie tray to add to the pot-luck meal! Once your plate is full of these fat-loss friendly foods, add a few bites of a couple of things you enjoy that aren’t so fat-loss friendly. For me, that includes my momma’s baked beans!

4. Drink your water! Drinking water is ALWAYS important for fat loss. It’s the magic weight loss pill you’ve been looking for! On a hot day spent outside, it’s even more important to drink up. Shoot for 1/2 your body weight in ounces as a goal.

5. Be choosy about desserts. Have 3-5 bites of your favorite dessert that you only get at special gatherings such as your Memorial Day cookout. This time of year, my favorite dessert is homemade banana pudding! I’m hoping that my mom makes it this year. 🙂

Using these tips, you can avoid damaging your waistline while still enjoying the yummy foods available at your summertime barbecue!

Most importantly, I pause to remember those who have given their lives for our country. If you have lost a family member serving in the military, I pray that God blesses your family in a special way for the sacrifice your family has made. May God Bless America!

xo~Jill