Macro Recap: Week 4 & Week 5

Week 4: October 1 – October 7

Week 5: October 8 – October 14

These weeks have been WEIRD, like really weird.

Week 4 was punctuated by the marathon, which was awesome! But it made fueling really different. Instead of hitting my normal macros, I added LOTS of carbohydrates to prepare me for race day! I struggled with the reality that a lot of “fun” carbohydrates come with lots of fat, which isn’t ideal before a race… donuts, scones, pastries, cereal, granola… a lot of these things use butters and oils. UGH, YIKES. Finding pure carbs was harder than I anticipated, and I found myself eating Honey Stinger gummies (intended for DURING the race) the night before to get to my carb numbers!! But it was a good exercise in reading labels and being creative!

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My flat runner pre-race^^

However, I could feel the extra carbs do their job on October 7’s race and I definitely could tell why they’re so necessary! My physical body (legs, knees, ankles) gave out before my heart and energy did 🙂

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Week 5 was defined by lots of rest, which was hard for me!

These were my goals:

  • rest
  • yoga
  • sleep

As you can see, after months of training for a marathon, these things felt idle and passive! I had to let myself sit still and take rest days. Thankfully, skipping a workout usually meant more sleep in the morning or evening, which was quite positive. Though I did still feel EXHAUSTED, which I’m blaming on post-marathon feels. Thankfully, my friends and family were so supportive and congratulative. which made it a special week!!

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Some congratulatory flowers!! ^^^

Overall, these weeks have felt frustrating; my weight has been alll over. Honestly, I expected my weight to sky rocket before the marathon, and it DID stay quite steady but it went up AFTER the marathon by a pound or two and that hasn’t gone away. So I stayed really really steady this fifth week, but I felt I was getting more protein and less carbohydrates than usual, which I expected would mean a loss of weight weight… not so. I am still learning the ropes here on macro counting, so I know that this is just bio-feedback. Plus, I wasn’t spot on… I lacked super consistency, and I fought the “celebration” feeling of wanting to indulge post-marathon!

However, the freedom of the marathon ending felt dampened by my macros. It’s been one of the first weeks that I felt very BOXED in by my macros. I know that macros should give me freedom (if-it-fits-your-macros mentality) but instead I wanted to celebrate this week and eat unhealthily and drink alcohol freely and I knew that I couldn’t.

So I leave you with this list… as I’ve struggled with macros, protein is the constant!

Here are some of my MUST HAVES!

  • egg whites
  • eggs
  • chicken breasts (can be kept frozen, so they don’t go bad!)
  • ground turkey
  • some sort of vegetable (snacks, add in for eggs, dinner veggie)
  • lunch meat (mainly turkey! it’s low fat!) (and I like the Whole Foods brand)

The FULLER my fridge is with easy proteins, the happier I am when I get a craving!

Macro Recap: Week 2 & Week 3

I lied!!!! I said I was going to review just week two right now and be one week behind schedule, BUT, that feels hard since my mind is wanting to discuss week three right now since it just ended! As such, this review is going to be a TWO FOR ONE DEAL! And if you haven’t read Week One yet, find that here!!

Week two: September 17th – September 23rd, 2018

Week three: September 24th – September 30th, 2018

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Heeeey and look at me dancing this week at Glossier + A Sweat Life’s event at Morgan’s on Fulton – staying active has made macro counting a lot easier too!! 

And more importantly, I made it 21 days! And I didn’t even realize that until I started writing this post. Then I did some research on if this whole it-takes-21-days-to-form-a-new-habit thing is ACTUALLY legitimate. It kind of is… and it kind of isn’t… apparently this study thinks that it takes 66 days on average, so I’m not there yet!! But making progress. Progress > perfection.

Macros by Percentages

I also like numbers and details to make me feel better about what progress really looks like, so I did a little experiment. I ran the numbers to see how FAR off my macros I was each week ON AVERAGE – this will also enlighten you to how hard it is for me to actually NAIL my macros on a daily basis. In the table below, the percentages are how far away from my target number I was (over or under, so the percentage is simply how off, no matter the direction). This shows progress! Madeline also gave me better guidelines during week three for how to handle the need for additional hunger on days I did TWO workouts, and this orderly way of adding calories was HUGELY impactful.

To interpret this,  you could say the following – for example – “During Week Three, Julia over-ate or under-ate her carbohydrate target of 176 grams by 6.1% on average.”

I’ll also add that my protein goal is a range, so I’m least worried about missing that target.

Overall, this illustrates that as I’ve practiced counting, I’ve gotten better at it. My margin of error is DECREASING. That is how I’ll be counting success as I learn the ropes.

Carbohydrates Fats Protein
Week One 26.7% 11.12% 8%
Week Two 20.1% 14.2% 4.6%
Week Three 6.1% 6.8% 4.8%

5 Tips to Making It 21 Days

In light of the above, I pulled together my thoughts on how to keep on keeping on. I am NOT an expert (obviously), but this is just my two cents.

  1. Admit to yourself your current triggers.
  2. Make it non-negotiable and realize that compromise is key.
  3. Eat protein, eat protein, and then eat protein.
  4. Think about benefits outside the scale.
  5. Drink your body weight in water.

#1 – Admit to yourself your current triggers. 

I have both a social job and a social group of friends. Chicago has a great bar and food scene (and doughnut scene!). What does this mean?  I am HAUNTED by temptation.

The first week of counting macros, I had countless meals out and multiple nights that I tried to include alcohol in my macros. I would feel confident that because I pre-logged my macros, that I would stick to them. This was ineffective for a few reasons. Here is what pre-logging DOES NOT do for you:

  1. make cravings easier to avoid
  2. make “cheat foods” less appealing
  3. make alcohol more filling

When you include alcohol or sweets or “cheats” in your macros, they COUNT towards your day’s calories. Which means that if cookies or a beer is LESS FILLING than a cup of quinoa, you may be hungry. And when you’re having hunger pangs while trying to avoid things that you love to indulge in, this is a recipe for disaster!

My solution to this issue: Admit to myself when I couldn’t trust myself just yet. Say no to a few extra social outings. Eat SUPER clean, filling, nutritious foods for the rest of the days when I knew I wanted to use 50g of carbohydrates for alcohol/sweets/etc.

*I know that for some, the obvious answer may be to give up these things. I cannot exist in a world that makes me sacrifice things I enjoy because it’s bad for my mental state, so this is just my take on how I did it!

#2 – Make it non-negotiable and realize that compromise is key. 

This one kiiiiind of is just an extension of #1 but I wanted to give it its own light too. In my first few weeks, I would willfully go over my macros in situations that I hadn’t pre-planned and tell myself I tried my best. While giving yourself grace is SERIOUSLY VITAL, I was still not really giving it my all in these situations.

Here’s an example: This week I had the chance to have brunch with my friend – and I really wanted to! But I knew that the food she’d prepare at her place would be eggs, sauces, avocado, etc. I mean first of all, yum, and that would TOTALLY be okay, BUT I knew I wanted to eat a MASSIVE cookie from my favorite bakery to celebrate my final marathon training run and I needed at least 20g of fats set aside.

So what did I do? I compromised with myself. She had eggs and bagels, I had half a bagel and one egg, plain. And I brought a big thing of non-fat Greek yogurt and added just a bit of natural peanut butter. That way, I was getting much more protein than if I just ate a two egg bagel sandwich, PLUS I saved myself fats and carbs through being strategic.

I told myself that hitting my macros that day was non-negotiable, brunch WAS NOT an excuse, BUT I could compromise and I still spent a fantastic 3 hours with my friend eating brunch and catching up!!

#3 – Eat protein, eat protein, and then eat protein. 

This one is pretty complicated. JK. Find protein, include protein, prioritize it. It will KEEP YOU FULLER and it will force you to create balanced meals (in my opinion…)! I am lucky to be a carnivore and I see where a vegan – for instance – would struggle here for hitting protein but if you’re like me, animal products (especially lean meats) are crucial.

I honest-to-goodness brought chicken jerky to a sports bar on Saturday to snack on if I got hungry (I also ate a big complex, nutritionally dense meal beforehand!!). The entire bag of this jerky had 2g fat, 18g carbs, and 30g protein!! That was 100x healthier and more filling than anything I could have ordered off the menu, even the salads!

Protein is filling and is KEY for athletes or individuals trying to gain muscle mass, so prioritize it and it will keep cravings at bay!

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#4 – Think about benefits outside the scale. 

Since starting on this journey, my average weight has fallen about 2 lbs. Not bad, I think to myself, and then the doubt creeps in.

Is this worth the mind space? Is this worth the effort? Is this diet actually more balanced? Is this going to be worth it?

THEN – I remind myself how much more in control I’ve felt the past few weeks. Not in a ED sort of way (thankfully!! though I entirely see how macros could be HUGELY triggering for those with an ED past), but more so, I am being CONSCIENTIOUS about what goes in my mouth and how I fuel my life.

I am CHOOSING when I drink alcohol. I am CHOOSING to eat doughnuts when I want them. THIS IS EMPOWERING. I am not a victim to my cravings or to “bad behavior”. I am electing to act with intention when I want those things. That part of macro counting rocks.

So, focus on this part when macro counting gets tough. This element of it makes me believe it is truly sustainable and THAT is thrilling. Not to mention, 2 lbs is exciting and I DO feel leaner than I have in a long time!

FINALLY,  my IBS symptoms have been WAY less intense lately. Say what!! It could be a number of reasons: more Greek yogurt, higher protein, less fats, you name it. But I will not leave this out of a list of benefits macro counting has brought me.

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#5 – Drink your body weight in water. 

Sigh, this advice probably gets so old! Like why do fitness people always say it? I annoy even myself…. but it’s so true. Ugh. When I find myself unusually hungry any day of the week, I usually start to think to myself – damn it, have I had even 20 ounces of water today yet?!

Water is key, it makes everything inside your body work better, so just do it, just drink water. Put lemon in it, put limes in it, drink some sparkling water, add a bit of Crystal Light if you must, but just drink it, kay??

Well, now that I’ve written this novel, I’ll finally wind myself down – BUT please hit me up here or via Instagram if you have any comments or questions, or if there’s a specific sort of commentary you’d like for week four’s round up!!

Pop Physique {NYC}

POP PHYSIQUE (thanks for being my guinea pig with me, Katie Wilson‼️)

 

Class Title? Pop Physique
Location? Nomad – 26th Street between 5th and 6th.
Instructor? Sarah E.
Length? 60 Minutes
Style? We started with warm up, including static stretches. Then the sequence moved through different parts of the body. This class relies a lot on small pulses and barely there movements to get the muscles BURNING 🔥🔥 Arms, quads, glutes, and abs. Pop Physique uses props which I like! For abs, the squishy pink ball pictured (this ball gets the burn going!). It was VERY similar to Pure Barre – almost identical.
Likelihood of Going Back? 50%
Cardio: 5%
Weights: 20% (only used for arms)
Abs: 25%
Resistance Strength: 50% 💪🏻
Music? 7/10
Apple Watch Calories Burned? 300
Average Heart Rate? 111 💗
Most similar to?
Bar Method
Pure Barre
First timers sign-in time? 5 minutes
Towels? Yes
Locker rooms? No – two single bathrooms.
Self-locking lockers? Yes – in the main lobby.
Location + layout? It’s on the right side of the street when coming from the east! The building is currently under construction and we almost missed it, but a girl coming out clued us in! It’s on the second floor so you feel like you’re walking into a construction site – keep going up to the second floor and suddenly, it’s like a chic loft! The door opens straight to the front desk with two classrooms – one to the right and left. We were in the classroom overlooking 26th street. We loved it. Honestly, the biggest difference between this studio and Pure Barre is the decor – more trendy New York loft than ballet studio.

EverybodyFights {NYC}

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Class Title? RoadxStrength
Location? Midtown Manhattan – 41st between Madison and Park
Instructor? Leo Wright
Length? 60 Minutes – 40 minutes of “timed work” with transitions, cool-down, etc.
Style? 4 intervals of ten minutes – 2 on the treadmill with hills and sprints + 2 of strength training work on the floor with weights and kettle bells
Likelihood of Going Back? 75%
Cardio: 50%
Weights: 30%
Abs:  20%
Music? 9/10
Apple Watch Calories Burned? 533
Average Heart Rate? 131
Most similar to?
Orange Theory
Torch – Studio Three (Chicago)
Shred 415 (Chicago)
First timers sign-in time? 5 minutes
Towels? Yes
Locker rooms? Yes
Self-locking lockers? Yes
Location +  layout? Enter off 41st between Park and Madison on the South side. Walk down a flight of stairs. Graphics on the stairwell serve to amp up visitors with a changing marquee board that guests see first. Down the stairs, you enter a basement type space with locker rooms straight ahead and front desk to the left.  Beyond desk further to the left there is a private boxing bags room, an open space with two boxing ring in the middle, and a half closed off room with treadmills and rowers (where my class was).
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Summary

As a fitness junkie who follows fitness accounts across the country (and world – hello @Kayla_Itsines), I usually feel decently apprised of upcoming and coming studios, health events, and go-to sweat sessions. Everybody Fights was one of those places for me once I moved to NYC. When I first moved to the East Coast, I intentionally started following more NYC based Instagram accounts to catch up on just what I noted above and one of these accounts – @LeanFitChristine – did a picture and review arc featuring EverybodyFights a handful of times, and my curiosity was piqued.

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Now, I am not shy about expressing my love and enjoyment of finding very bougie gyms – if Equinox wasn’t so expensive, you’d find me there on a regular basis – towel service, spa-like feeling, sauna, these things all win a lot of points in my book. And when I walked into EverybodyFights, I didn’t quiteeeee get that vibe. But that was is okay – it’s claim to fame is to be a full-service boxing gym, not a spa. And it’s facilities were neat – creatively designed and intentional, elevating the mood and environment. I was pleasantly surprised, too, by the locker rooms. Spacious, clean, plenty of lockers and basic hygiene products provided.
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The Class
I’ll admit that the layout is kinda all on top of each other – there are various classes that go on at the same time, so when I walked in at 7:10pm for a 7:20pm class, there was a lot of commotion happening in the main space (where the boxing ring is) due to a cross-training class. To get to the RoadxStrength class, we had to skirt the edge of this main room to get to the back room where there were treadmills and weights. It definitely wasn’t quite spacious but adequate. I jumped on a treadmill (of which I was a huge fan – the kind with all the # buttons which makes sprints really easy – top shelf stuff) and within a few minutes, class started. Our instructor Leo Wright seemed to be setting up the tvs that were intended to show the workout and have a timer, but then it seemed to freeze up – that or the tvs are used for other classes and he was navigating out of that interface… it was unclear. Though I’d argue that it may have been helpful to have visual cues in addition to his vocal ones. There were confusing transitions at moments. They offer tons of other classes (including their signature with boxing incorporated)! Check them out here: EverybodyFights Website. I am definitely interested to try more.
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The class itself – all that nonsense aside – was awesome. Broken into four sets of 10 minutes. I started with treadmill work that consistently of sprint intervals on a flat ground and then my third interval was running while the incline changed – gave the class a good variety and I clocked over 2 miles of running in class and it feels good to cover true distance than just jump on and off the treadmill. My second and fourth intervals were on the floor for full body weights (2nd) and then abs/arms (4th). I felt good and sore by the end of each period.
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One note I had was regarding suitability of related exercises, given that we each had only one kettlebell. As we transitioned between body parts and exercises, I felt like I needed heavier or lighter weights which made having just one inconvenient. There are a handful of studios I’ve been to in Chicago (Studio Three, I love you) at which each floor set has a full set of variety of weights – or at least students are encouraged to set their station up like that. Given that the floor stations at EBF aren’t static, I could see where logistically this wouldn’t work for them but I was frustrated with having one 35 lb kettle bell for Goblet Squats that they I was supposed to use for Under the Leg Passthrough Single Leg Lunges (…for sure just made this name up…). It’s unrealistic and could be confusing to people new to weights. My advice? Encourage students to grabs a series of weights so they can switch between for certain moves and cue them as to which they should try and go heavier or lighter.
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On this note, fitness education is a big priority and interest in mine. As such, another note of concern I have is that this may not be ideal for beginners who do not make their newness expressly know to the instructor. Due to the various levels of activity happening during this class, there wasn’t always one-on-one coaching given for form each move. Leo definitely did his best to walk around and make sure people weren’t injuring themselves, but I could see where a fitness newbie would have felt in over their heads with the variety and complexity of moves – or at least transitioning a bit slower between sets.
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Any negativity aside, Leo was a fantastic instructor, memorable and inspiring. You can teach cue-ing and format – you cannot teach passion and he had that in spades. He took his role as encourage-r and motivator incredibly seriously and I would go out of my way to take more of his classes. As we left the class, he pulled everyone together for a team send-off that I’m assuming is a studio signature move and then – he shared with us that our devotion of the day should be “to love.” That may sound cheesy or out of place, but as we all were huffing and puffing, inspired by the physical heights we’d just reached personally, his devotion felt incredibly appropriate. He shared briefly that we all should keep in mind that in a world full of hate, we have to stand for love, that at the end of the day, our greatest enemies do not lie outside of us, our greatest enemy is the version of ourselves we think we are or have to be. If we can stop looking at our neighbors as enemies as instead look upon then with love, the world could have a bit less hate. I can always get behind a fitness experience that ends in more than just a pat on the back for burning a few calories and EverybodyFights was there to deliver.