6 pack abs

Month 7!!! 6-Pack (Abs) Project

Hello everyone,

I wanted to check-in as it has been a very long time since I wrote about the major lifestyle change that occurred for me starting on January 16th. The change started when I committed to reduce the number of carbs and sugar consumed in my diet, intensify my workouts, and get toned to the point of having a 6-pack abs for the first time in my life. I needed to completely change how I thought about food, and eat only to fuel my body in a healthier way.

Although I do not have the defined 6-pack abs that I might have had if I would have done this challenge in my 20’s, I have lost a significant amount of body fat (9 lbs to be exact - mostly from my abdomen and thighs), I've gone down a pant size, enjoy regular intermittent fasting (I eat between a shorter window of time), and have reduced my appetite significantly to the point where my body requires less food to perform and function throughout the day.

In the beginning of the blog for the #6packproject I pushed myself really really hard. I was super strict in what I ate, and I worked out more regularly at the gym. My ab workouts alone took some time, and were insane. I was on a mission. When I wasn’t seeing an immediate 6-pack after a couple of months I realized I had more body fat to lose than I realized. Now, after 7 months, and not being so strict on myself, the results are better than I could have imagined. The way I feel far exceeds any short term gains of getting a well-defined 6-pack in 2 months, and then ending this initiative. I’m not concerned I'll fall off the wagon and become a carb monster again.....because I am not very strict now, and I naturally make healthier food choices. It's a win-win - YAY! 

As some of you may know, my low carb / low sugar diet in January, turned into eating a strict Ketogenic diet in February What I have not shared is that now is more of the primal diet....and I am way more laid back about it. It feels as though in the last several months my body has gone through a “reset” which allows me to eat pretty much what I want within my new healthier framework.

What this means is that I eat my favorite things on occasion (ie. ice cream) the scale stays the same, and I feel great (instead of bloated and looking like I am 5 months pregnant). Don’t believe me? Ask Andy. My husband, typically follows my lead when it comes to meal prep and diet, and agrees that his body feels as though a “reset” occurred somewhere along the way. Truth be told, Andy never really sacrificed his 1-2 beers at night and he’s still reduced his body fat and kept the weight off. He was less strict than me from the very beginning, and does about a third of the strength training and cardio that I do each week! 

Below are some of my favorite things that have helped me in my quest to get stronger and stay lean:

-       My first meal of the day is between 11am and 12pm.  Skipping breakfast has helped me reduce my overall appetite, become fat adapted, and is contributing other great health benefits. (I have shared this before but I love this article! So much good stuff in here! https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting)  

-       I stay away from carbs and refined sugar. I eat way less bread. I do eat a half sandwich on occasion if it’s the only thing available when we are on the road or camping, but mostly I try and stick to higher fat, low carb meal options and stay away from carbs, sugar, and gluten as much as possible. Want to learn more about the negative effects of refined sugars? READ THIS - https://urbanremedy.com/top-10-reasons-to-avoid-refined-sugar/

-       When I eat chocolate (which I still do daily), I chose healthier chocolate options.  The chocolate chips we use are Simple Truth Organic 72% Cacao, when I make cookies, they are almond butter cookies with coconut sugar - no regular flour, no brown or white sugar. THE FLAVOR IS WONDERFUL - https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/easy-flourless-almond-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

-       My new obsession is Simple Mills. Their mixes are made with only 5-7 all natural ingredients. There are no preservatives at all. It’s amazing. The Simple Mills options typically have significantly less carbs than the normal way of eating these carb happy favorites. I am obsessed with the Simple Mills pancake mix. I ordered 3-packs of pancake mix and pizza crust on Amazon and you would have thought it was Christmas. The flavor is wonderful and I eat them guilt free! Their chocolate cupcakes are also wonderful. Again no preservatives just whole ingredients. 

-       I look at all ingredients when I am considering what to buy at the grocery store.  I dumped all of the Ken’s salad dressings we used to love back in January and only use olive or avocado oil and vinegar for salads. Primal Kitchen also makes some yummy dressings as well. 

-       The only oils we eat are avocado, olive oil and coconut oil. (check out why here - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-cooking-oils#section1)

-       I eat more nutsthe healthy “fats”. I love cashews, macadamia nuts the most right now. I kind of overdid it on pecans and have been taking a break for a bit.

-       We eat wild caught fish and organic grass fed beef. We do not buy fish unless it is fresh caught. If you read up on the farm raised fish it is terrible for us and what I read totally grossed me out. Last week we bought grouper from a fish market in Denver to make fish tacos at home. Holy Moly, it was unreal!

-       Pinterest is a godsend! There are so many excellent recipes that are low carb, gluten free, dairy free, etc. You do not have to sacrifice flavor to eat healthy, just be willing to spend more time preparing delicious wholesome foods at home.

-       I eat dairy and don’t have any adverse effects from it.  I had a DNA test done in the spring and found out I am lactose tolerant (my body has no issues breaking down processing dairy – Yipee!). I love cheese and do not limit cheese from my diet.  I have recently started eating greek yogurt again as well. 

-       I’ve added intensity and heavier weight to my workouts. I see better results, it challenges me, it’s fun, and I burns more calories. I never get bored working out. Make it fun and it will never be "work" to workout ever again (hehe)! 

-       I run, hike, and bike as much as possible.  I make time for cardio and try to do most of it outside. There are so many benefits to keep your body in motion as much as possible (beyond the obvious benefit of fat loss). I still sit a lot while working at home on my computer but I’m aware that if I sit for several hours I need to get up and get moving. Even a quick walk with #athenathebear is better than nothing!

I probably could go on with this list for a while but I won’t…

These lifestyle changes are not hard to keep track of, and they come very naturally after 7 months. The weight I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose in January, came off naturally through mostly my change in my diet, has stayed off despite eating Ben and Jerry’s a few nights here and there, chowing on hot dogs, hamburger and avocado oil chips while camping, or drinking a beer or a couple of glasses of wine at night.

To wrap this up, I was the definition of a carbohydrate and sugar monster before this all started. With a little education and a new perspective about carbs, sugars, cooking oils, intermittent fasting, ultimately resulting in my body “reseting” (for this soon to be 37 year ole’ bod), I will be able to easily stay on track indefinitely, keep the weight off, and maintain a stronger physique than I have ever had in my life.  

If anyone want’s to learn more about my workouts or diet, please follow our Facebook page, Instagram, contact me on our website (www.cbsouthfitness.com), check out Mark Sisson’s book The Primal Blueprint, or his blog (https://www.marksdailyapple.com/) and learn more about many of the things I mention. Mark has some awesome recipes on his blog too!

Cheers to making our health and bodies a priority, and to making this summer count! 

Kristin

January 16th photo :P

January 16th photo :P

First time hiking Scarp Ridge 

First time hiking Scarp Ridge 

July 16th photo :) 

July 16th photo :) 

Hiking Whetstone mountain. a beautiful 12,500' peak we can see from the house 

Hiking Whetstone mountain. a beautiful 12,500' peak we can see from the house 

Simple Mills. My new obsession!

Simple Mills. My new obsession!

Family adventure hike up. Rode the CB chairlift down. 

Family adventure hike up. Rode the CB chairlift down. 

Early morning trail runs with my girl

Early morning trail runs with my girl

My version of "healthy" chocolate

My version of "healthy" chocolate

Blackened grouper for taco night! 

Blackened grouper for taco night! 

Celebrating 10 months of group training together!  CHEERS! 

Celebrating 10 months of group training together!  CHEERS! 

 

 

Week #6 & #7 6-Pack (Abs) Project (and Primal Blueprint Reboot) 

Howdy and Welcome March! 

Hopefully March will bring lots of snow for two reasons  1) This is our last month to ski and snowboard and  2) We need more snow for groundwater so that we can have campfires galore this summer in the new fire pit at home, and while out camping!  

The second of these two weeks marks my husband, Andy, and I's start to the Primal Blueprint reboot, which is eating a max of around 100-150 carbs per day to ween our bodies off of carb dependancy.  It’s pretty crazy what we can still eat on this plan and stay within the carb limits, and we have experimented with some great recipes in the new reboot book (https://www.amazon.com/Keto-Reset-Diet-Metabolism-Forever/dp/1524762237)

I decided not to follow the daily diet schedule in the book.  It’s a lot of planning way in advance for ingredients we need, and after 6 weeks of eating low sugar and low carb, plus extensive conversations with my girlfriend Katti in Texas about the Keto plan, I feel confident enough to prepare meals that I think fit the criteria of being Keto friendly.  For those of you curious what we’ve been eating, I will get into that more below. 

First, lets talk abs! 

WORKOUTS 

Okay, so I'm still not at the 6-pack mark, and although 7 weeks ago I would have thought that I would be there by now, it's totally fine by me that I am not.  I enjoy the workouts and like seeing my my body transition during this phase - there's a great sense of accomplishment! 

It would be hard to tell you exactly what I do for abs workouts each day.  I had a friend text me the other night asking what workouts I am doing with Spring approaching.  The answer - I am doing a lot of different workouts and blending my ab routine into kettle bell exercises, cable machine moves, using the Bosu, stability balls, medicine balls, and incorporating more planks than I have ever done before!!  Targeted ab workouts are around 8-10 minutes and include a lot of repetitions.  I am so used to the ab workouts that instead of wanting to quit after 3 minutes, I transition into the next move when I feel sore, and keep on movin'!  

GOING PRIMAL 

The Primal Blueprint and "Keto plan" involves eating a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet.  After a couple of weeks of the reboot, and when we are no longer carb dependent, we'll train our genes to burn fat and ketones instead of sugar as our primary fuel source.  When in a full on ketosis state, we'll consume just 50-100 grams of carbs per day (a highly active person may consume more carbs than this and still be in a ketosis state).  For the sake of the reboot we are on now, we are allowed 100-150 grams per day.  Are we counting carbs?  Not exactly.  But we are no longer consuming breads, grains, starches, and sugary sweets, and feel really good about that.  There are times that we want something chocolaty and I have been looking for easy recipes using 100% unsweetened baking cacao that will satisfy those cravings. 

FOOD DIARY - A TYPICAL DAY EATING PRIMAL

Breakfast (my favorite meal of the day!) - I used to love english muffins with peanut butter and agave on top, or french toast with eggs and pure maple syrup (can you say, hello carbs!!!), but now I love eating omelets each morning. You can make them different every day and they never get old! 

Omelet favorite - Sautéed red bell pepper, onion, garlic, with diced bacon and shredded monterey jack cheese.  I use 2 eggs in my omelets but for a person with a large appetite 3 eggs might be the ticket.  They are big omelets with just 2 eggs and very filling!  

Lunch - I used to eat a sandwich or panini (it stinks that I got a panini maker for myself for Christmas!).  Panini’s are fun to make and taste delicious!  Andy would usually break the chips out at lunch, and I would eat too many of those and feel guilty after.  In the afternoon I would feel tired and sluggish from the carb bender, but not anymore!  Now I eat a “Bigass salad” (no really, that’s what he calls it in the book!), without the mid afternoon lull.

"Bigass salad" favorite - Mixed greens with a kale mix from Tassinong Farms in CB South.  I dice the greens up small, and sometimes add spinach.  I top each of my salads differently based on what’s in the fridge.  Favorite salad toppings include: feta cheese crumbles, sunflower seeds, a few dried cranberries, diced carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, almond slivers or walnuts (or some other nut).  I top the salad with diced chicken that is prepared at the beginning of the week (it's so easy when you don't have much time).  Unfortunately, all salad dressings we have in the fridge are not keto-friendly, and so we drizzle with avocado oil and then I add some ripe peach white balsamic vinegar that we purchase every fall at Orchard Valley Farms in Paonia, CO.  It is an unreal oil and vinegar mix!  I might try red wine vinegar one of these days but haven’t gotten there yet.  The ripe peach is so incredible! 

Dinner - I used to pick healthy choices that didn’t include high carb content, well except for my all-time favorite, which is pizza (which we would eat at least one time per week). 

Dinner favorite - Dinners include a healthy protein like salmon, or pork, but since going low-carb there's no longer is jasmine rice or sweet potato on our plates.  We are starting to bake/cook different vegetables which has been, well…yummy!  A couple of nights ago we roasted carrot “fries” in the oven, tossed with melted coconut oil, salt and pepper (oven temp 400, cook for 20-30 min depending on desired firmness).  They were delicious!  We prepared asparagus on a skillet for 5-10 minutes with just olive oil and salt and pepper.  Both of these veggies are outside of our norm for dinner, and they did not disappoint.  The salmon was seasoned similar to the asparagus but with a lemon wedge drizzled over the top just before eating. 

NUTS ON NUTS (YUP-YOU HEARD ME RIGHT!)

Most nuts, except for peanuts, are allowed on the Keto plan, and as we have been stocking the cupboards with healthy nuts to snack on I have been researching which are on the 'nice list' and which the 'naughty list' as far as being “keto-friendly”.  Here is an excellent resource to see for yourself - low-carb nuts - https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/nuts

To add insult to injury (and because this plan includes eating as much butter as you like), I made buttered pecans this week (https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sea-salt-roasted-pecans-233690)!  For the record, I know that it might sound weird to make buttered pecans, but I promise if you make them you will not be sorry - they are un-freaking-real)! 

WEEK 6 & 7 HIGHLIGHTS

1)  The scale.  I am burning fat and losing lbs, and that makes me and my scale happy.  Although I don’t have an actual 6-pack (yet) my core is very strong and you can see more definition and muscle in other areas of my body.  I like the exercises I am doing and the time I am spending strength training at CB South Fitness.  I’ve never worked out hard and consistent like this in my entire life, and seeing there results makes it even more motivating!  

2)  In preparation for a trip to the sunshine state next week with my kiddo, I dug my bathing suit out of storage, and dusted off the cobwebs.  Trying on a bathing suit in March and not having anxiety when looking in the mirror is a wonderful feeling.  I was actually impressed and excited by what I saw!  I was always the girl in high school and college that waited until a few weeks before a spring break vacation to hit the gym and see what I could do to improve my appearance before beach time.  It usually resulted in losing a little weight, however it was always a short term solution, and typically I would gain it back on vacation or soon after returning home.  Fifteen to twenty years ago, I HATED lifting weights.  Lifting weights scared and intimidated me.  Silly, right?  I usually did cardio, stretching and ab workouts. 

WEEK 6 & 7 CHALLENGES

1)  Several months back I developed a ganglion cyst on the back of my left wrist.  Just this week I finally looked it up to research what was going on.  I had one of these cysts in the same spot many years ago, and it went away after time.  Right now, it only hurts only when I am doing push-ups, stability ball tucks, or anything with a lot of flection in my wrist.  You will see in some of the photos below that I am using dumbbells for my grip certain exercises, and they help so much!  I'm applying frankincense essential oil directly to my wrist, a warm cloth and other natural remedies to help it heal. 

2) We went to CB’s “Crafted” event on Saturday.  It was a great afternoon but very hard to know what to eat and drink that was safe during our reboot.  We drank the yummy wine of local wine vendors (knowing nothing about their carb or sugar content) and had a little beef chili and pulled pork and coleslaw on a plate (hold the bun please!).  It was fun to get out and mingle but from an eating aspect I couldn't help but feel guilty.  Essentially, we have much more control over what we ingest when we prepare meals at home, and I have a lot less guilt about it! 

3)  I'm cutting dairy out for a bit.  In the Primal Blueprint reboot the author Mark Sisson includes dairy in his recipes, but I think I am going to cut dairy out for a week and see if I feel additional benefits in the diet.  Dairy causes inflammation in most people, and I recently saw something that reminded me of this.  Although I do not drink milk, we love cheese when cooking or snacking, and on occasion I eat greek yogurt as well.  I'm wondering if cutting gluten as well as dairy will have more of an accelerated impact on my waistline.  I guess time will tell!  

WRAP UP 

Okay, time to say goodbye.  I will write again next week after being dairy free for a week.  This will be hard, but after the last 7-weeks of no ice cream and pizza, I can do anything.  ;) 

Have a great week all!  

-Kristin 

Sprint intervals - I hated them the first time I did them and LOVE them now!  There are so many great benefits to HIIT! 

Sprint intervals - I hated them the first time I did them and LOVE them now!  There are so many great benefits to HIIT! 

stability ball tucks #2.JPG
Morning coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Morning coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Skiin' with dad! 

Skiin' with dad! 

Hello muscles!  There are stability ball tucks using dumbbells to support my wrists. 

Hello muscles!  There are stability ball tucks using dumbbells to support my wrists. 

stability ball tucks #1.JPG
Skiing with the family.  This was Keiran's first day up Red Lady chairlift and he was so excited! 

Skiing with the family.  This was Keiran's first day up Red Lady chairlift and he was so excited! 

Abs at the end of week 7. 

Abs at the end of week 7. 

 

Week #4 6-Pack (Abs) Project

Hiyah! 

It's week 4 of the 6-Pack Project and things are good!  My husband, son and I are gearing up for a road trip to Texas and I have been planning ahead as to what types of foods I can eat while away, and what snacks we will bring with us.  The hardest part of this diet so far has been traveling, more so than going out to eat.  When I went to Denver last weekend it was hard to know what I could snack on during my 4+ hour drive on Saturday, and again on Sunday.  

Being on the road there are few options available that are low-carb and low-sugar, that are also quick and convenient (we won’t exactly be stopping for cooked chicken and steak dinners or fresh salads on an overnight road trip with a 3yo). 

So far here are the snacks I plan to bring for the road: 

-Hard boiled eggs

-Almond bars

-Dry roasted peanuts 

-Vegetables for snacking (celery & carrots)

-Hummus  

-Fruit (green apples, berries) 

Week 4 Highlights: 

1)  Sticking to my gym routine and mixing it up has been fun!  I am feeling really good about what I am accomplishing at the gym.  Yesterday I did sprint intervals on the treadmill with a full body strength workout after, and today I did a 45-minute Peloton ride with Denis (who is a great instructor if you haven’t rode with him yet). 

2)  Ab workouts are a norm now.  They are not a pain, and it’s not inconvenient - I’m really liking them!  My core has needed more focus and strength exercises ever since my son was born 3 and a half years ago and it is really exciting to see and feel the results. 

3)  Gearing up for our road trip. There’s always a slight element of anxiety with driving all night  but it’s totally worth it, and we will get to see family and friends in the Dallas area. 

Week 4 Challenges: 

1)  Going to events or gatherings where food is served, and cooking big meals at home.  We cooked a Blue Apron dinner a couple of nights ago, and it tasted wonderful, however, my stomach was not been feeling great for an hour or so after.  I try to pick the low carb dinner options with Blue Apron, but I still think that I overdid it, and ate too much.  In the past I would overeat and not think twice about it, and now I don’t think my stomach can handle it. 

2)  Keeping workouts consistent while we’re away.  I was going to workout at my in-laws house using their Bosu and a yoga mat, and then the other day Andy mentioned doing a couple of drop-in days at the gym near their house.  What a novel idea!  The comical part being that I hadn’t thought about doing gym drop-in's, and we get them at CB South Fitness all of the time! 

3)  If you’ve been reading the other blog content, in the last 2 weeks I have been making healthy chocolaty desserts and posting the recipes.  Chocolate brownies mostly.  One was an almond flour based recipe, and the other was a date and walnut base.  They are both so good and relatively guilt free…or so I thought.  Just a few days ago I realized that I was thinking about them, a lot.  I was becoming addicted to the healthy chocolate treats just like I used to be addicted to the regular bad-for-me chocolate treats!  Man, sweets are so addictive for me!  I do better to just not eat them at all. 

New Recipe: 

1)  Healthy Chili (that is so surprisingly good with only 4.4g net carbs!) - https://www.atkins.com/recipes/super-chili-bowl/620  (tip - use one jalapeño pepper) 

New Supplement: 

ceylon cinnamon suppliment .JPG

1)  Ceylon Cinnamon - Recommended to me by my trainer.  These cinnamon capsules are used for controlling healthy blood sugar levels (best if taken before meals containing carbs), helping support fat metabolism, and promoting heart and cardiovascular health https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GNUJEZW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

In closing, the workouts, the changes I am seeing in my shape, the diet, and the new tasty recipes are all motivating me to keep going.  I look forward to the week when I am lean enough that I can see #6packabs! 

-Kristin


Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers

Elevated push-ups

Elevated push-ups