RCR W4D5: Weekend Workout Strategy

I weighed in at 141.6 this morning, so I’m down a bit over half a pound from yesterday. This was not unexpected since I did a solid hour of cardio (30 minutes RCR interval run and 30 minutes of moderate elliptical and bike) after work AND was relatively low in carbs when making my meal choices from Val’s meal template yesterday following the SGX/Precision Nutrition/Paleo recommendation to keep the starches lower on non-training days. Anyway, with the numbers heading down again after almost two weeks at 143-144, I am confident that my 143 pound set point has been broken. Next stop, 138 (my next set point)!

No workout this morning due to another late wake up. I really need to reset my body’s clock this weekend. I’ve got a busy day at work and live band karaoke at Universal City Walk’s Rising Star club tonight (Woohoo! LOVE rocking on stage!), so I will be taking today as my rest/yoga day and scooting my workout schedule down by one day to Saturday (RCR circuits) and Sunday (RCR interval run + cardio).

It’s just as well…I think I want to head to the October company turkey fry potluck on Sunday with a 30 minute HIIT run and 30 more minutes of SS cardio already pumping up my metabolism. The turkey and one other item at the potluck will be my cheat items this week. I will be sticking to clean foods and staying out of the desserts otherwise.

All I can say is: Thank goodness I’m taking Week 4 pics and stats BEFORE the potluck.

Otherwise, I just plan to keep plugging away at my list of things to do around the garden (must plant fall/winter seeds this weekend and check on the growth of my sweet potatoes), kitchen (more bulk cooking!), and sewing room (need more cute workout clothes for motivation!).

Oh, and of course I’ll have to come up with a printable t-shirt transfer design for the 1st Annual Pink Dumbbells Charity 5k run on November 9, aka World Run Day. Most of the PDB members participating in the Lean, Mean Halloween 2008 challenge are going to run 5k on our own on Sunday, November 9, wearing homemade race shirts and numbers. Instead of paying a $20 fee to run in someone else’s 5k, we are going to donate $20 each directly to a local charity of our choice as our “fee.”

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TODAY’S EATS
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0. 1/2 green smoothie
1. 3 egg white omelette with 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower and 1/2 c. French cut green beans, 60g oats and raisins
2. 3 oz. eye of round steak, 1/2 c. spinach, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 c. brown rice, 1 t. ketchup
3. 2 slices sauteed tofu, 1 t. Szechuan chili paste, 1/2 c. sauteed mushrooms and spinach, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce
4. 15g walnuts, 20g raisins
5. 1 c. cooked shrimp, 1.5 c. green beans and brussels sprouts
6. 1/2 green smoothie

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* Walk (15 min)

RCRW4D4: Busting Through Set Points

142.2 lbs this morning, which continues the downward trend that started back up with yesterday’s 142.8 lb weigh-in. Where were these numbers when I needed to take pics and write down 3 week stats on Sunday?

Oh well. Losers can’t be choosers, I guess. I am just glad that I have finally broken through my 143 pound set point. I’ve been here for about a week and a half since my Week 2 weigh-in.

I tend to lose fat in chunks with set points at 148, 143, 138, and 134 pounds. These are weights at which my body historically likes to hang out for a week or two without budging on scale weight when I am trying to drop body fat. If I raise my calories up to maintenance at any of these points, I can easily maintain indefinitely as long as I keep my activity level about the same. I usually have to be nearly perfect on diet and water and bump up cardio (frequency, intensity, and/or duration) temporarily to get things moving again.

I realized I had hit the 143 set point last week when I bounced between 143 and 144.5 for several days in a row with no change to my diet or workouts. That is a large part of the reason that I decided to modify my training for the remaining 3 weeks by cutting out the easy home cardio and doing only the effective stuff at the gym or outdoors. It’s also why I am doing a little bit of carb cycling with regular carbs on RCR circuit days and slightly lower carbs on cardio interval days.

So if you have been stuck for more than two weeks at the same weight after a few weeks on a program, don’t despair. Follow these steps in this order:

  1. Take a look at your diet and make sure you haven’t been fudging it a little too often on your intake.
  2. Drink your water–around a gallon a day. Then drink another cup or two on top of that.
  3. Work a little harder when you exercise. Give up the easy, fun cardio and go straight for the middle to higher intensity stuff that makes you heave. If you’ve been doing the SAME form of cardio for several weeks, switch to something else.
  4. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
  5. Work out in the morning to maximize the benefits of your raised metabolism throughout your waking hours.
  6. Add in one to three extra cardio sessions (20-30 mins each) to your program.

I know the feel-good, politically-correct mantra when it comes to fat loss is “Progress, not Perfection”, but when it comes to busting through a set point or plateau where NO progress is being made, I say PHOOEY on political correctness and bring on the tough love.

Suck it up and work on the Perfection (or at least 90% compliance) for just one week and resist the urge to check Progress until that week is over. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Once the fat loss train starts chugging again, you can happily ramp back down and go back to the baseline workout program until the next set point hits you.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites/1 whole egg omelette with 1/2 c. mushrooms, 1/2 c. sauteed spinach, and 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower
2. 3 oz. eye of round steak, 1 c. spinach, 1/2 c. five flavor eggplant, 2 corn tortillas, 3 T. jalapeno salsa
3. 15g walnuts, 20g raisins, 1/2 green smoothie
4. 1/2 c. light soy milk, 3/4 scoop protein, 1 peach
5. 1 boiled egg, 1 chicken wing, 2/3 c. peas and green beans
6. 4 oz. tilapia, 1 c. Brussels sprouts, 1/2 T. ANPB

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* YF Flex (15 min)
* RCR HIIT Run #3 (30 min)
* SS Cardio – Bike @ Lvl 8 (15 min)
* SS Cardio – Run @ 6.5 mph (15 min)

RCR W4D3: Today’s Epiphany

I realized today that since my first Body-for-Life challenge in 2004, I probably take more bikini photos of myself in one year month than most women take in their entire lives.

Should I be concerned?

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower, 60g oats and raisins
2. 3 oz. eye of round steak, 1 c. green beans and spinach, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce
3. 15g walnuts, 20g raisins, 1/2 c. five flavor eggplant
4. 2 boiled eggs, 1 peach
5. 4 oz. Hi Fi fish sticks, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 brown rice
6. Green smoothie (pre- and post-workout): 1/2 banana, 1 c. light soy milk, 1 handful raw spinach, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 3 ice cubes, 1/4 c. cranberries, 1 peach

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* RCR Circuit A2 (60 min)
* SS Cardio – Elliptical @ Lvl 7 (30 min)

Cool Idea of the Day: Make Your Own 5k Race!

Irene at Pink Dumbbells challenged us this week to find a race in our area on November 9 and join her in walking or running a 5k. Well, as you know I am not fan of running, but I am usually down for a 5k once the weather cools down a bit in Florida, so I Googled around for some nearby races.

There was only one race in my area that day, and it was 40 minutes away in Celebration. The supported cause was prostate cancer research. While this is a worthy enough cause, I would not normally donate money to something like this because I prefer to give to local animal charities or international organizations that help educate women in developing countries. The registration for the race was $20.

Then I checked Active.com and found out about the 10th Annual World Run Day, a sort of DIY, worldwide race day which just happens to fall on November 9th this year. Registrants pay $17.99 via Active.com to officially put their names on the list of participants with a custom dedication and to receive a printable race number and a World Run Day race t-shirt. On the big day, you choose your own route and distance, run at your own chosen time, and then donate more money to a charity of your choice. As an added bonus, you can feel warm and fuzzy knowing that you are part of a global initiative to encourage fitness and giving.

Very cool, I thought, but what a pity that the $17.99 entry fee doesn’t include any sort of donation to charity. I’d have to give another $15, $20, or whatever on top of that to my chosen charity, which would hike up the price of participation considerably.

Then I realized: Why don’t I just skip the middle man? What are they providing me besides a row of text in a HTML table on a website no one I know will visit and a t-shirt that will end up in my “Refashion Fodder” box?

So this is what I plan to do:

On November 9, 2008, I will spare myself the 40-minute drive to Celebration and run 5k around my neighborhood wearing a race shirt of my own inkjet iron-on design (probably reading, “The only good part about running is STOPPING!” and “1st Annual Caustic Musings Pink Dumbbells* Charity 5k”) and a printed race number from the HP Laserjet at work. When I complete the 5k distance, I will award myself official-looking certificates for winning my age group, gender group, and overall. Then I will have a celebratory breakfast of buttermilk oatmeal pancakes, turkey bacon, honey, fruit, and an egg white/veggie omelette and dash off a $20 check to the SPCA of Central Florida.

So how about it?

Anyone else planning on making their own 5k race on November 9? What will you call it and which cause will you support?

* Name changed because several other Pink Dumbbells members are interested in doing this, too. I will be making a downloadable t-shirt design that everyone can print off on their own iron-on transfer paper at home.

RCR W4D2: Of Make Up Days and Artistic Ponies

OMG, I felt like I was working out all day yesterday between trying to make up the 30 minute HIIT run I missed this past Saturday in the morning and getting in the new RCR circuit (I switched over to the Weeks 4-6 workouts from the book this week) plus the extra 30 minutes of moderate cardio I just added to my plan and my 100 Push Ups week 6 max test (only 80 reps…I was pooped out). Oh, and I had to go to work, too.

I swear, I will not miss another planned workout again for the remainder of this 6 week contest, because yesterday was ridiculous. I don’t get paid enough calories to go through that sort of madness, dang it, but I wrote down 100% workout compliance as one of my Intentions for this contest, and I WILL achieve that even if it leaves me in a limp heap wallowing in a pool of my own sweat at the end of the day.

Food was on plan and water was stellar at over a gallon yesterday, resulting in a slight deflation this morning to 143.2 lbs.

Anyway, this morning I took to the streets for my regularly scheduled HIIT run (Deja vu…wasn’t I just running intervals yesterday morning?) but compacted it slightly by skipping the five minute warm up and cool down blocks and just getting down to business because I only had 20 minutes. I had a surprisingly good run despite being up until 12:30 AM finishing up RCR Circuit B2 yesterday. I used one of the TT style interval patterns: 30 second full sprint/90 seconds recovery for 10 rounds. I can’t do this pattern on a treadmill because it takes 11-13 seconds for the machine to ramp up from 3.5 mph to 10 mph and up, so by the time I’m actually going full tilt, the 30 second block is already halfway over.

I still need to get in another 30 minutes of bike/run sometime today, but I may replace it with a lunch time skate if it doesn’t rain. (2PM Update: Went skating on the roof of the office parking garage during lunch to take care of my cardio quota for the day. Yay!)

At work things are still busy, and I expect they will stay that way for the next 5-6 months. My team is working on three games simultaneously, so there is always something to do. On top of real work, a co-worker and I were talking about making custom My Little Pony figures from the cheap and readily available toys on Friday, and he decided that it would be fun to start up a company art challenge and throw it open to everyone. In two days, we have signed up 28 contestants and ordered 68 MLP figures for everyone to use as their base.

Here are some examples of custom My Little Ponies that others have done. Some are really amazing!

http://spippo.deviantart.com/gallery/
http://animeamy.deviantart.com/gallery/
http://elfenkatze.deviantart.com/gallery/

I picked up some Sculpey modeling compound for 50% off and acrylic paints yesterday at Michael’s, and I’ll be buying some paint brushes this week (with a 40% off coupon) as well since I threw all of the ones I had into the oil painting kit I sold on Craigslist a few months ago, not realizing at that time that I’d be painting customized plastic ponies this fall.

Our ponies won’t arrive for another 10-15 days, so the final entries aren’t due until November 21. I’ll be on a family vacation to Cozumel from Nov. 17-21, though, so my deadline will be a little earlier. I’ve already started collecting art reference and making sketches. This is going to be awesome!

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower, 60g oats and raisins
2. 20g raisins, 15g walnuts, 1/2 c. veggie
3. 4 oz. Hi Fi fish sticks with 2 low-cal Mi Casa corn tortillas, 2 T. salsa, and 2 c. mixed green salad
4. 1 boiled egg, 1 oz. Mix ‘n’ Yogurt trail mix, and 1 peach
5. 1 egg white, 1 oz. Mix ‘n’ Yogurt trail mix, 1/2 c. green beans
6. 4 oz. Korean BBQ burger patty with 1 cup veggie and small salad with 1 T. light dressing

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* Outdoor Interval Run (20 min @ 30 second full sprint/90 second recovery)
* SS cardio – Inline skate outside (30 min)

RCR W4D1: New Training Schedule and Menus

With three weeks left in the Red Carpet Ready 6-Week contest, I am ready to recommit to my intentions, my workouts, and my diet.

My baseline training schedule will look like this for the next three weeks:

  • Mon: RCR Circuits (60 min)
  • Tue: RCR Interval Run (30 min) + Moderate Bike/Run (30 min)
  • Wed: RCR Circuits (60 min)
  • Thu: RCR Interval Run (30 min) + Moderate Bike/Run (30 min) + Yoga (30 min)
  • Fri: RCR Circuits (60 min)
  • Sat: RCR Interval Run (30 min) + Moderate Bike/Run (30 min) + Shoulders (15 min)
  • Sun: Yoga (30 min)

Non-Running Bonus Cardio Plan (Choose from skating, incline walking, or elliptical trainer)

  • Week 4: 15 minutes on RCR Circuit days only
  • Week 5: 20 minutes on RCR Circuit days only
  • Week 6: 30 minutes on RCR Circuit days only

I’m hoping to get in a lot of skating this month if the weather will cooperate. I may even try skating to the gym instead of driving in the mornings if I can just get myself up early enough. 🙂

Meals on RCR Circuit Days will follow this plan:

  1. Green smoothie (1 c. light soy milk, 1 handful raw spinach, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1/2 peach, 1/4 c. frozen cranberries)
  2. 3 egg whites, 1/2 c. veggies, 60g oats and raisins OR Oatmeal pancakes (50g ground oatmeal, 1 T. powdered buttermilk, 1 egg), 2 egg whites scrambled with 1/2 c. veggie
  3. 4 oz. chicken or fish, 1 c. veggie, 1/2 c. brown rice (or 4 oz. sweet potato)
  4. Apple slices and 1 T. all-natural peanut butter OR 20g raisins, 15g walnuts
  5. 1 serving grilled tofu with 1 T. chili paste + 1 fruit
  6. 4 oz. fish and 1 c. veggie stir fry or 2-3 c. salad with 1 T. light dressing

Meals on Interval/Cardio only days will follow this plan:

  1. 4 egg whites scrambled with 1/2 c. veggies
  2. 4 oz. chicken or fish soft taco with 2 Mi Casa corn tortillas (70 cal), 2 T. salsa, and 2 c. mixed green salad
  3. 20g raisins, 15g walnuts, 1/2 c. veggie
  4. 2 boiled eggs and 1 peach or small apple
  5. 4 oz. fish with 15g walnuts or almonds (or 4 oz. Korean BBQ sirloin patty), 1 cup veggie and small salad with 1 T. light dressing
  6. 1/2 c. light soy milk, 1 scoop protein powder

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower, 60g oatmeal and raisins
2. 15g walnuts, 20 g raisins, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce
3. 4 oz. Hi Fi(ber) Fish sticks pan-sauteed in olive oil, 1/2 c. brown rice, 1 c. green beans, 1 T. ketchup
4. 1 boiled egg, 1 egg white, 1/2 c. Five-flavor eggplant, 1 nectarine
5. (Pre-workout) 1/2 Green smoothie with 1 c. light soy milk, 1 handful raw spinach, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 1 peach, 1/2 banana, 1/4 c. cranberries, 15g walnuts
6. (Post-WO) Other half of Green smoothie from above, 4 medium shrimp

Water: 16 cups
Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, 6 fish oil capsules

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* HIIT – Afterburn style, 6 rounds @ 3.5, 6, and 9 mph for 60 seconds each (30 min)
* SS Incline Walk (3.5 mph @ 6.5% incline; 30 min)
* 100 Push Ups Max test (80 reps in 2 minutes)
* RCR Circuit B2 (~60 min)

RCR W3D7: Week 3 Progress Report

Week 3 Measurements
(Starting measurements in parentheses; CHANGES since last week indicated in BOLD)

Height: 5’6″
Weight: 144.0 lbs (146.4 lbs)
BMI: 23.2 (23.7)

BF% (7-Site Skinfold): 15.7% (17.68%)
BF% (Omron): 21.2% (23.0%)
BF% (Tanita scale): 25.4% (26.3%)
BF% (AVERAGE): 20.7% (22.3%)

Neck: 12.5″ (12.75″)
Chest: 35″ (36″)
Waist: 26″ (26.5″)
Waist – 2″ below belly button: 31″ (31.5″)
Hips: 38.25″ (39″)
Thigh: 23.25″ (23.5″)
Calf: 14.75″ (15″)
Bicep: 11.75″ relaxed / 12.5″ flexed (11 7/8″ relaxed / 12 5/8″ flexed)
Shoulders: 41.25″ (41.75″)

RCR Week 3 Comparison (Front)
RCR Week 3 Comparison (Side)
RCR Week 3 Comparison (Back)

(Click for full size view in gallery)

Week 3 Review

The scale went up by a pound at my weigh-in this Sunday, but since my body fat has dropped and neck, muffin-top, AND THIGH (at last!) measurements are all down, I am not going to worry about it. (Coincidentally, Sunday is also the start of PMS week for me.) I’m pretty sure that I am retaining some water due to the foods eaten on Saturday and PMS.

In Week 3 I did not do as much machine-based, middle-intensity cardio as I did in the first two weeks of the program after my baseline RCR interval runs. I opted to go with more Yourself Fitness cardio and flexibility sessions vs. the usual recumbent bike for variety and convenience, but I think that the YF workouts just don’t work me as hard. The same goes for the one HIIT run that I replaced with bike sprints–not as effective.

The RCR circuits themselves have gotten a little too easy after 3 weeks even with my modifications and increased weights. I had noticed the calorie burn dropping with each successive workout, so I know I had adapted to them. Fortunately, I’m due to change up my workouts for weeks 4-6 Monday, so that should self-correct soon enough.

One thing I do plan to work on is getting the workouts completed in the morning as much as possible. I believe that doing so (circuits and HIIT) raises my metabolism for the entire day and increases total calories burned at rest. Conversely, when I work out at night I have trouble falling asleep (which messes up my morning workouts!) and the pumped up heart rate and body temperature are wasted because my body goes into hibernation mode.

I do plan on making those modifications I posted about earlier this week going forward:

  • Stay with 6 meals per day, but switch over to Val’s exact meal plan options and keep my menu pretty much the same for a week at a time for consistency.
  • Eliminate my full cheat meal per week and do two portion-controlled cheat items instead.
  • ONE heavier shoulder day per week to make sure I don’t wind up with bony Skeletor shoulders. :tongue_smilie:
  • On HIIT days, I will do 10-15 minutes of stationary bike and 15-20 minutes of steady-state running after my intervals.
  • On RCR Circuit days, I will add in 30 minutes of moderate, non-running cardio: inline skating, elliptical, incline walking. No more use of video or YF workouts in lieu of these sessions. Those home options are NOT optimal for fat loss in my case.
  • Complete workouts in the MORNING to boost metabolism during waking hours.
  • Continue working on flexibility with two 30-minute yoga or YF Flexibility sessions a week.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower, 60g oatmeal and raisins
2. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
3. 4 oz. Oriental sesame chicken, 3 oz. baked sweet potato fries, 1/2 c. green beans
4. 1.5 c. Honey Bunches of Oats cereal (Cheat item), 1/2 c. light soy milk
5. 4 oz. Hi Fi(ber) Fish sticks pan-sauteed in olive oil, 3 c. side salad with spinach, 1/2 apple, and lettuce, 1 T. light Asian sesame dressing, 1/2 c. veggie fried brown rice
6. 2 Chocolate protein fudgsicles, 1/2 oz. walnuts

Water: 16 cups
Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, 6 fish oil capsules

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* YF Flexibility (30 min)

RCR W3D6: Foodie Day

DH and I went to Ikea this morning hoping to score some wood laminate flooring for 49 cents per square foot, but his reluctance to get out of bed until 10 AM (when the store opened) and further dawdling meant that we didn’t arrive until almost 11 o’clock. By that time, all of the Tundra flooring had been spirited away by the mobs.

Sigh.

Oh well.

We did pick up some kitchen and bath odds and ends including a roasting pan, replacement nonstick skillets, towels, mixing bowls, chair cushions, and a turner, using up the last of our gift cards from our wedding last year. We stopped for lunch at Elephant Bar afterward, where I stayed on plan by ordering a grilled shrimp salad on mixed greens with a citrusy vinaigrette dressing. The sweet potato fries were tempting, but I promised DH that I’d pick up some yams at the grocery store later and make some baked “fries” at home for a fraction of the price and calories of the deep-fried ones at the restaurant.

I’m planning on hitting the gym (or pavement) with DH in tow (poor guy–spending all day herded around by me!) for my RCR interval run, then it’s bulk food prep time!

Today’s food prep list:

* Chicken, shrimp, and sausage jambalaya
* 2.25 lbs of lean Korean BBQ burger patties
* Steamed five-flavor eggplant
* Val’s Mashed Garlic Cauliflower Potatoes
* Hi-Fi Fish Sticks (Sneaky Chef recipe using a cauliflower/eggplant “white” puree and breading made from wheat germ, ground nuts, and WW bread crumbs)

I’m saving the gardening for tomorrow morning, but I should be able to get some housecleaning done today as well as a few graphics tutorials and the October budget.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 1 slice roast beef, 1 small apple
2. Elephant Bar – Jamaica Mojo Grilled Shrimp Salad
3. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
4. Green smoothie (1/2 banana, 1/2 peach, 1 c. light soy milk, 3/4 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 cup raw spinach, 1/3 c. frozen cranberries)
5. 4 oz. Oriental sesame chicken strips, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 c. steamed five flavor eggplant
6. 2 slices grilled tofu, 2 t. chili paste, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce

Water: 16 cups
Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, 6 fish oil capsules

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* HIIT – Afterburn style, 6 rounds (30 min) (Missed)
* YF Cardio (30 min)