RCR W3D5: Weekend Warrioring

Happy Friday!

I did finish up my W6D2 100 Push Ups workout last night with 60 reps (57 was the requirement) in my fifth set. I wish I could report that I also did my YF Cardio last night and RCR circuit A1 this morning, but nope…I got 7 hours of solid sleep instead. I’m going to shoot for my 15 minute walk and hopefully 20 minutes of skating (if the weather cooperates–it’s looking kind of cloudy) to make up for yesterday’s missed cardio during lunch. RCR will have to wait until tonight. Doing 3 rounds of each circuit takes me close to an hour, so I need to set aside a solid block of time for it. Val said in one of her weekly RCR Club chats that breaking up the workouts into separate chunks throughout the day would not provide optimal results.

I kind of like getting it all done in one shot anyway.

I took a look at the RCR meal options last night and came up with five different menus I wouldn’t mind following, including one with higher carbs, one with lower carbs, and a few middle-of-the-road versions. I’m still staying away from meal selections that contain dairy or wheat as I’ve been feeling GREAT since I cut these two food groups out–no sluggishness, bloating, or afternoon tummy gurgles. This should make my grocery shopping and planning a lot easier each week until the end of the contest. I’ll post my selections this weekend.

I don’t think we have any social commitments this weekend, so I’m going into Weekend Productivity Warrior mode to tackle some personal projects and home maintenance:

* Weed and clear out the square foot garden and replant with fall/winter veggies like Swiss chard, radishes, beets, greens, and bok choy
* Plant flower bulbs
* Tear out the ratty marigold border and replace with fall annuals
* Shop and bulk cook for Week 4 of RCR
* Refashion at least 5 shrunken tees into usable workout tops
* Get through four Xara Xtreme graphics tutorials from the learning CD
* Draft a pattern from my favorite pair of workout pants
* Update October’s budget
* Fall housecleaning!

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. Oatmeal pancakes (1 T. powdered buttermilk, 1/2 egg, 50 g ground oatmeal, water, baking powder, baking soda), 3 egg whites scrambled with 1/2 c. French cut green beans, 1 T. honey
2. 3 oz. roast chicken breast, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 c. brown rice
3. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
4. 6 oz. sauteed tofu, 1 nectarine, 1 t. chili paste
5. 2 hard boiled eggs, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce
6. 4 oz. flounder, 1 c. Brussels sprouts, 1 protein fudgsicle

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* PDB walk (15 min)
* Skate or YF Cardio (Make up session; 20-30 min)
* RCR Circuit A-1 (~60 min)

RCR W3D4: Tightening it up for Weeks 4-6

I ran this morning using RCR’s 2nd HIIT pattern of two minutes running (@ 6, 7, 8, and 9 mph)/two minutes recovery (@ 3.5 mph). My endurance has improved with the loss of 6 pounds: I felt choppy and held back at 6 mph, 7 mph was comfortable without going anaerobic, 8 was challenging to sustain for two minutes but not gasping, wheezing bad, and 9 mph was still rough. I can probably do steady-state runs at a 7 mph pace without issues now. I followed the run with my W6D2 push up workout, but was too tired and out of fuel to do the required minimum 57 reps on the fifth set, so I’ll be repeating sets 3, 4, and 5 tonight when I’m rested and fed.

I’ve also been doing a daily 15-minute mini-challenge walk for Pink Dumbbells during lunch. So far I’ve gotten in four out of the five needed for the challenge.

I did not have time to do the 20 minutes of bonus steady-state cardio I had scheduled today, however, so I’ll be making that up after work. I’m leaning toward some YF Cardio at home vs. more gym time since I am straight up out of clean sports bras and will have to work out in my Nike tankini swim top, LOL.

It’s coming up on week 4 of the RCR contest, and I am starting to think about what I’ll be doing (besides changing over to the RCR Weeks 4-6 circuit routines) to really kick butt in the last three weeks and make sure I am at my 138 lb/20% bf goal on November 2.

Here are my proposed modifications:

  1. Stay with 6 meals per day, but switch over to Val’s exact meal plan options and keeping my menu the same for a week at a time for consistency.
  2. Eliminate my full cheat meal per week and do two portion-controlled cheat items instead.
  3. ONE heavier shoulder day per week to make sure I don’t wind up with bony Skeletor shoulders.
  4. On HIIT days, I will do 10-15 minutes of stationary bike and 15-20 minutes of steady-state running after my intervals. Currently I am just doing 20 minutes of recumbent bike.
  5. On RCR Circuit days, I will add in 30 minutes of moderate, non-running cardio: inline skating, elliptical, incline walking.
  6. Continue working on flexibility with two 30-minute yoga or YF Flexibility sessions a week.

I am only going to make the diet and shoulder workout changes in week 4 to start with, then gradually add in the cardio tweaks only if I am not making the expected amount of progress. That should be enough extra calorie burn and clean eating to get me to my goal by the end of the contest without killing my energy.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 30g oats, 1 small diced apple, 5 pieces chili radish
2. 3 oz. roast chicken breast, 2/3 c. mixed veggies, 1/2 c. green beans, 1/2 c. brown rice
3. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
4. 6 oz. sauteed tofu, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce, 1 t. chili paste
5. Green smoothie (1 c. light soy milk, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 1 handful raw spinach, 1 nectarine, 1/2 banana, 1/2 c. fresh cranberries, 4 ice cubes)
6. 4 oz. tilapia or flounder, 1 c. Brussels sprouts, 1 protein fudgsicle

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* RCR HIIT 2 (30 min @ 3.5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 mph)
* PDB walk (15 min)

RCR W3D3: 143 Pounds…Then and Now

So this is me at 143 pounds…In both pictures.

MaggieAt143lbs

What a difference body fat percentage makes, eh?

I was almost 27% body fat in the picture on the left, and I’m closer to 21% on the right. It’s not about the scale weight, it’s about what’s happening underneath the skin and how that is affecting your shape and volume.

It always takes me three weeks of clean eating and steady workouts to start seeing changes on the scale, but I usually start to see and feel changes in my body before then:

  • sports bras and undies don’t cut in as much
  • pants ride lower on my hips
  • pant legs are looser
  • top two abs start showing
  • biceps and quads feel harder under the skin and fat
  • face looks leaner
  • tummy looks flatter from the side
  • belt needs to be tightened up another notch or two

So keep the faith and press on with your program if you notice any of the above signs of progress… even if the scale seems to be stuck on the same three digits. Do some nutritional housecleaning if you haven’t been at least 90% compliant with your diet and make sure you are getting in all of your workouts. Between PMS week, TOM week, and TOM recovery week, we women really only have ONE week per month during which we are NOT somehow affected by water retention. That’s why I always give a program at least 4 weeks of consistent effort before I start to make changes.

And yes, it’s true: 8 lbs of muscle (the amount of lean mass I have put on since the 2004 picture) DOES take up less space than 8 lbs of fat.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. Green Pre-workout smoothie (1 c. light soy milk, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 1 handful raw spinach, 1/2 nectarine, 1/2 banana, 4 ice cubes)
2. 3 egg white omelette with 1/3 c. French cut green beans, 60g oats and raisins, 5 pieces chili radish
3. 1/6 chicken pot pie with veggies, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce
4. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins, 1/2 peach
5. 6 oz. sauteed tofu, 1/2 peach, 1 t. chili paste, 5 baby carrots, 2 T. raisins
6. 3.5 oz. beef in broth with 1 c. daikon radish and 2/3 c. green beans

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* RCR Circuit B-1 (55 min)
* PDB walk (15 min)
* YF Flexibility (15 min)

RCR W3D2: Nutritious Reads

I’m plowing my way through several diet and nutrition-related books at the moment as well as reviewing the eating plans and approved food lists of the ones I have followed in the past.

Some were recommended to me by others, while others just sort of landed in my lap by happenstance. I plan on getting through all of them by the end of the year and pulling the best points from each one. I’m hoping that there will actually be something unique and interesting that I can take away from each book on my list.

I’m trying to keep an open mind about all of this instead of rejecting anything out of hand just because it differs from my eating patterns of the past few years. We’ll see how long that will last.

My reading list:

I’m also revisiting the meal plans from:

  • Red Carpet Ready
  • New Rules of Lifting for Women
  • M&F Hers March 2005 12-Week Makeover program
  • Precision Nutrition
  • Eat Right for Your Type
  • Turbulence Training

There are only minor differences between most of the meal plans above, but Eat Right for Your Type is interesting in that it advocates a mostly vegetarian diet for people with my blood type (A). This is similar to the rather crassly-delivered vegan agenda outlined in Skinny Bitch, which I have been listening to in audiobook format on my commute each day. I have not gotten too far in any of the other books on the first list yet, but I suspect that the Eat-Clean Diet will be in the style of most 6-meals per day bodybuilding diets with a stronger focus on organic and all-natural ingredients, You: On a Diet will be somewhat moderate and allow for more “iffy” foods, and the Paleo Diet for Athletes will likely use the carb-timing techniques of Precision Nutrition while cutting out most grains and dairy completely.

I’m probably closest to using a Precision Nutrition style of eating at the moment minus the wheat and dairy, so the Paleo Diet definitely piques my interest. I’d also like to attempt a mostly vegetarian diet at some point for a month or two, but I am not prepared to give up fish or eggs. I’ve plotted out an entire week’s worth of meals based on the approved blood type A food list for Asians (see other blood type food lists and ethnic breakdowns here) and recommended servings before, but have not actually implemented it yet. I don’t fully buy into the whole blood type diet deal, but since I actually like the foods in my MY approved list and have had issues with some in the Avoid list, I’m willing to give it a try in the future. 😉

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 60g oats and raisins, 5 pieces chili radish
2. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
3. 1/6 chicken pot pie with veggies, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 peach
4. 6 oz. sauteed tofu, 1/2 peach, 1 t. chili paste
5. 2 boiled eggs, 6 baby carrots
6. 3 oz. roasted chicken, 1.5 c. sugar snap pea stir-fry in oyster sauce, 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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* YF Cardio (30 min)
* 100 Push Ups W6D1 (45/55/35/30/65 max)
* PDB walk (15 min)
* HIIT – Stationary Bike sprints (30 min)

RCR W3D1: In the Routine Swing of Things

I woke up with a bit of lower back pain this morning, so I am switching tomorrow’s planned HIIT run to HIIT bike sprints instead. I’m not sure if it was due to sleeping on my side last night, Saturday’s Forza workout, or the recreational swimming I did the other day, but I probably need the change in cardio modality anyway to keep my sciatica-prone lower back happy.

This morning I did a moderate 30-minute YF Core workout instead of RCR A-1 for the same reason. I will be doing my 100 Push Ups max test at lunch along with the Pink Dumbbells 15-minute walk challenge, and the postponed RCR circuits will be done as soon as I get home from work. My lower back should be sufficiently warmed up and lubricated by then.

I am so ready to be back in the 130s again, LOL. I refuse to make myself any new non-Halloween clothes until I am at my happy zone of 130-135 again, so I really must keep my momentum up.

Meals 2-6 are prepped and ready, and I have today’s workouts scheduled. It should be a wonderfully uneventful and on-plan day for me. I love routine when it comes to fat loss.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg whites, 60g oats and raisins, 5 pieces chili radish
2. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
3. 1/6 chicken pot pie with veggies, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 peach
4. 6 oz. sauteed tofu, 1/2 peach, 1 t. chili paste
5. 2 boiled eggs, 1/2 c. natural apple sauce
6. 3 oz. roasted chicken, 1.5 c. sugar snap pea stir-fry in oyster sauce, 6 almonds

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* YF Core (30 min)
* 100 Push Ups Week 5 Test (84 reps in 1:27 minutes)
* PDB walk (15 min)
* RCR A-1 (~60 min)

RCR W2D7: Week 2 Update

Busy Sunday!

I took measurements and photos and got in a Yourself Fitness flexibility workout this morning while DH snoozed, made some breakfast with him when he finally woke up, strolled around the Maitland Art Festival for a few hours, went to the library to do some free book shopping, and rounded out my grocery shopping for the week with a few forgotten items on the way home. I plan to do some more bulk cooking tonight: a healthy pasta-less eggplant lasagna, a chicken pot pie, and some more stir-fried veggies.

Week 2 Measurements (Starting measurements in parentheses; CHANGES indicated in BOLD)

Week 2 Comparison (Front)Week 2 Comparison (Side)Week 2 Comparison (Back)

Height: 5’6″
Weight: 143.0 lbs (146.4 lbs)
BMI: 23.1 (23.7)

BF% (7-Site Skinfold): 15.9% (17.68%)
BF% (Omron): 21.7% (23.0%)
BF% (Tanita scale): 26.0% (26.3%)
BF% (AVERAGE): 21.2% (22.3%)

Neck: 12 5/8″ (12.75″)
Chest: 35″ (36″)
Waist: 26″ (26.5″)
Waist – 2″ below belly button: 31.25″ (31.5″)
Hips: 38.25″ (39″)
Thigh: 23.5″ (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″)

Week 2 Review
I seem to be dropping 1/4″ each week in most of my measurements except my thigh, but that was expected. My scale weight only decreased by 0.6 lbs since last Sunday, but my body fat is markedly lower according to all three of my testing methods: Tanita scale, Omron handheld analyzer, and 7-site skinfold. I’m VERY happy about this because it’s telling me that RCR is not causing me to lose only lean mass.

According to my weight loss spreadsheet’s “Fat Lost/Muscle Gained” calculator, I’ve lost 2.33 lbs of fat and 1.07 lbs of lean mass since starting RCR two weeks go. This is based on the average BF% I took from all three testing methods, so there could be a pretty significant margin of error. Besides, lean mass also includes water weight, and I KNOW I was retaining water when I first started the program due to TOM and dairy/wheat intake. I have 112.68 lbs of lean mass at the moment, and I’m hoping to go no lower than 110 lbs on lean mass at my final goal of 15% body fat. Based on my current stats, that puts my target at 130.22 pounds and would require that I lose another 12.78 lbs of fat (and 2 lbs of lean mass).

Most of the fat seems to be coming off my upper hips and boobage at the moment.

If it comes down to either having lean legs or a bust, however, I’ll take the legs without a second thought. There is always the Wonderbra for chest deficiencies, but nothing in the world will hide a jiggly bum and fluffy thigh baggage.

My shoulder circumference is coming down a bit, but I’m all right with this as long as they become more defined and don’t lose that slight cap they have finally developed. I am continuing to go slightly heavier on shoulders and doing the upper back and shoulder-heavy Forza workout at least once a week.

My pants fit differently already. The legs feel looser and the waistbands sit lower on my hips than they used to because I am losing upper hip padding daily. My legs aren’t showing any girth changes yet, but they’ll start coming along in a few weeks after the rest of me is lean and there’s nothing else to lose but leg padding. In my back photo, I think there is a bit less lumpiness going on in my legs.

I got in all of my RCR circuit workouts using the original Week 1-3 A and B programs from the original book as well as all three of my 30 minute interval runs. The workouts are not burning as many calories as they did in week 1 when I was less efficient at them. I’m glad that I’ll be changing them out after week 3 before I adapt TOO much.

I also completed week 5 of the 100 Push Ups program and got my max up to 80+. Bonus non-RCR activity included:

* Yourself Fitness Cardio x 1 session
* Recumbent Bike x 1 session
* Forza x 1 session
* Yourself Fitness Yoga x 1 session

Nutrition was on target for most of the week with my daily average coming in between 1500-1600. Friday was slighly high at 1750 due to my Thai lunch cheat meal. I feel that my sodium intake was a bit higher than desirable this week, so I’ll be trying to reduce that in week 3. The limited dairy/limited wheat experiment is going well. I don’t miss the ingredients at all, and my water retention level (and therefore weight) doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much now.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins, 1 packet hawthorn fruit snack
2. 5 four-inch oatmeal pancakes, 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg scrambled with 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower, 2.5 slices turkey bacon, 1 T. honey
3. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
4. Vietnamese pho with 3 oz. beef, 1.5 c. daikon radish and luffa squash, 1/2 c. brown rice
5. 6 oz. sauteed tofu, 1 c. bok choy and broccoli in oyster sauce
6. 1 c. light soy milk, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 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 (45 min)
* 100 Push Ups Week 5 Test

RCR W2D6: Saturday Shenanigans

Hey! It’s my 1000th post here at Caustic Musings!

Who knew I’d be so wordy for so many years?

😉

So today was not the cleanest day in the history of healthy eats for me. As I mentioned before, I had a pool party/BBQ to attend this afternoon, but I was bringing some burgers of my own making which I knew would be relatively healthy, and the host had told me that there would be both a fruit and veggie platter available.

I figured I’d be safe if I just stuck to one of my own burgers eaten with lettuce instead of a bun and combined with a plate loaded with fresh raw veggies and fruit. I even dragged DH to the gym with me before the party so we could both get in some metabolism stoking workouts–a 30 minute HIIT run for me and the 30 minute “express circuit” for Chris.

Everything went according to plan until around 5 PM when I saw it: A pristine, unopened box of butter toffee popcorn with peanuts.

OMG! Fiddle Faddle!

Yes, I had some. One cup at least. It was divine, and NOT one of the items on my 100% forbidden list; I also allot one full cheat meal (yesterday’s Thai lunch) and one cheat item (e.g. an off-plan carb or protein item with an otherwise clean meal) per week. And at least I had it with some grilled jerk chicken and a pile of veggies instead of one of the brats or hotdogs and a mountain of chips. I even got in some light swimming, kicking water, and throwing/catching in the pool to offset the damage.

My husband and co-workers found an even more amusing way to burn off their lunches. (Sorry for the poor video quality. I took this on my phone.)

In any case, DH and I weren’t particularly hungry after getting back from the party, so I wound up snacking on only about 250 calories worth of additional snacks for the day. (I’m trying to pay more attention to my body’s real hunger signals.) I should still log a decent deficit for today and am not worried about tomorrow’s stat and photo update.

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 60 g oats and raisins, 4 egg whites, 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower, 5 pieces pickled chili radishes
2. 3 oz. sauteed tofu, 1/2 t. chili paste, 1 c. garlic ginger luffa squash
3. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
4. 1 Korean BBQ burger patty on lettuce leaves, 1 T. ketchup, 2 slices jalapeno peppers, 1 cup cut fresh fruit, 2 hard pretzels
5. ~3 oz. Jamaican jerk chicken, 1 cup butter toffee popcorn, 7 grape tomatoes, ~ 1/2 cup raw veggies
6. 1/2 oz. dry-roasted peanuts, 1 bag Japanese rice crackers (135 cal), 1 pack hawthorn fruit snack (20 cal)

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* HIIT Treadmill Run using Turbulence Training intervals (30 min)
* 100 Push Ups W5D2 (20/24/20/22/80 max)
* Recreational pool time! (45 min)

RCR W2D5: Dragging

That’s what the hems of my pants are starting to do–dragging on the ground because I’ve started to drop fat from my upper hip area and those pants are all starting to hang lower from my body.

My upper body is leaning out from the waist line on up and down. It’s still early days, but I think I’ll be able to hang onto most of my shoulder mass this time around instead of looking so flat when I reach goal. Technically, at 143 pounds I’m at the same scale weight that I started my first Body for Life challenge at way back in May 2004, but my arms, chest, waist, and legs look a lot better than they did back then thanks to the magic of resistance training. I’m also wearing smaller clothes than I was back then, which is also a nice perk.

I took my planned weekly cheat meal today at Red Bamboo, my favorite Thai restaurant near the office. I had the panang curry with beef, veggies, and rice as well as a fish cake appetizer with cucumber dipping sauce. The rice made me drowsy in the afternoon, but it was sooooo delicious. I really must take another look at my Weight Watchers Take Out Tonight cookbook and attempt a curry recipe from the Thai food chapter. There must be a way to achieve the same flavors without the excess calories and high price tag.

This morning’s RCR B-1 workout was completed in 52 minutes and burned 397 calories. I had another pre-workout breakfast and kicked some major butt in the session. I’m most definitely sticking with the pre-exercise eats from now on. I’ll be doing a Powerstrike Forza workout for kicks after I finish up this post. Direct shoulder work gets kind of boring for me, but I love swinging a bokken around!

In other alternative cardio news, I’m hoping to return to Rebounderz soon to check out one of their calorie-blasting CardioRobics fitness classes. The classes are 45 minutes long and involve bouncing around the 6,000 square foot trampoline court. That’s all I know so far, but I can’t wait to give a full report!

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 60 g oats and raisins, 3 egg whites, 1/4 c. mashed cauliflower, 5 pieces pickled chili radishes, 2 packets Chinese hawthorn fruit snacks (~40 cal)
2. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins
3. (Cheat meal) 6 Thai fish cakes with cucumber sauce, ~1 cup Panang curry with beef and veggies, ~1 cup white rice
4. 6 oz. tofu, 1 t. Szechuan chili paste, 1/2 c. sugar snap pea veggie mix in oyster sauce, 1 peach
5. 3 oz. cranberry chicken breast, 1 c. broccoli and bok choy in oyster sauce
6. 1 boiled egg, 1 egg white, 1/2 c. broccoli and bok choy in oyster sauce, 6 almonds
7. (Forza PWO) 1 chocolate protein fudgsicle

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* RCR B-1 (53 min; 398 calories burned)
* Powerstrike Forza (60 min)