What is a Challenge Group?

Until five weeks ago, I had never heard of a fitness challenge group. Then, reading through Runner’s World, I learned about fitness groups that live in the same area, getting together to run and workout. The article talked about the success that resulted from being accountable to one another, and encouraging each other.

But an online challenge group is a bit different. We all meet together at http://www.facebook.com/leeschallengegroup  to share our concerns, struggles, and triumphs, without actually being together. Our friends and family may be two miles away, or two time-zones, and we can’t see what we’re all doing or not doing, and we are not actually getting to share a light lunch at the local diner after our runs. I definitely see a value to that person-to-person camaraderie that Facebook can’t match. But, for those of us who are too far apart to fellowship, it’s still a good forum to explore. We share articles on fitness, and advice from pros on everything from proper stretching to clean eating. We commit to follow the program and eat right, and to document our photos, weight loss or gain, and general notes about our shared experience.

Words can lie, but pictures cannot…

And since I see the benefits of a personal challenge group among peers, I am considering starting a local group as well.

What is your experience with challenge groups? Share your stories and advice with me! 


AND, if you’d like to know more about my Focus T-25 Challenge group, please comment below, or visit my Facebook page, or order yours today at http://www.teambeachbody.com/leemackenzie and choose me as your coach. My ID# 327883.


The Five Pound Bobber

That damned five pounds that goes up and down and leaves you elated one day and bummed three days later. It’s ridiculous. Why? It’s a five pound bobber because it’s the weight that seems to fluctuate up and down based on body rhythms and what you’ve consumed recently, and what of it you’ve eliminated- or not .

So, today it’s 134. And, I’m just about ready to not give a rat’s ass. I am staying low-carb, drinking a lot of water, diligent to drink my superfood shakeology, and I am working out five days per week. T-25 is not easy. I am also aware that my body is in repair mode a lot right now, as I continue to put micro-tears in my muscle fibers. Repair, in a biological engine like humans have, requires water.  

Meanwhile…I continue to chat up my Challenge group on Facebook. I have one member, and she’s awesome. She has already lost 9 pounds. She’s in the Coast Guard and was super-fit. Having a baby kind of set her back a bit in terms of having a super hard body. She is working hard, though, and is very young. She will be in great shape in no time. It doesn’t happen through wishing and planning. Fitness requires action. 

Everything worth doing requires more effort than you might expect or wish to expend. I like to think in terms of lift and drag. Getting airborne takes monumental effort, but once lift overcomes drag, you’re flying. Life is like that. 

I’ve spent way too much of my life crying over the effort required to fly instead of actually doing to the work to get up there. That has stopped now. I will no longer be content with merely hopping up and down pretending I am moments from flight. I have to back up, make an amazing run, putting everything I have into reaching my goal, and without stopping to be afraid of the height or wondering what I will do when I get up there, race full speed ahead into it. 

When it comes to fitness and weight loss, I know that my way is not the only way. Certainly not. It’s just the best way for me. Lots of others, too. But we are all different in what we enjoy, what we will and will not work hard at. 

Not everyone is going to want to be a coach with me. I will be lucky to find people who are intrepid, adventuring sorts who won’t let a couple of hundred dollars get between them and where they could be. Not everyone has a vision. Not everyone is an entrepreneur, or can see the value of being in business for way less than the price of two Katy Perry concert tickets. 

Most of all, not everybody wants to work hard. It’s just that simple. 

I was that person once. 

Not anymore. 

I will succeed. 

Come with me.

Another Pound DOWN ! Thanks Focus T-25!

So, here I am, still low-carbing it, but now I’ve added a new daily routine. It’s T-25. by Shaun T., creator of Insanity and Asylum. He’s inspirational, and a good coach. I am also a coach now, and so I am thrilled to be seeing results! My ketone strip showed moderate today, from a usual trace or low, and that’s also inspiring. My Shakeology drinks are really curbing my appetite, especially when combined with low-carb. So, actual amounts consumed now are 1100-1300 daily, with a very low amount of carbs, Those come mostly from the Shakeology itself, veggies, and fruit. I am still not eating things like couscous and quinoa, corn, rice, or any flour products, really, with the exception of the occasional low-carb tortilla. I’m trying to stay away from Atkin’s bars, but I do still use them a few times a week. I just feel like they are too lab-generated. I have developed a sensitivity or allergy to something in my life, though, and I am worried it might be something that is completely healthy and natural in my Shakeology, but that I personally might be sensitive to. I have developed strange rashes and bumps and reactions lately to I don’t-know-what. I hope it’s not the shakes, because they are full of good things. I just wonder if I am allergic to the mushrooms, or something?? But, all is well and the workout is INTENSE and amazing! Join me on my fitness quest, join my challenge, and get your own challenge pack and take your fitness to a whole new level! 

Commit and Succeed

You can’t actually click on this and get to my site, because I am not able, I guess, to place HTML code on my site, since it’s not actually my site. It’s a rental. And rentals don’t allow for repainting the walls, typically.

http://www.teambeachbody.com/leemackenzie  COACH ID FOR ALL ORDERS= 327883  Set up a free account and tell the system you have a coach, and this is my #. Thank you! 

The Weight Loss Begins!

So, this is day four or five of the ketosis push. That involves staying at 20 grams of carbohydrate a day. That includes any time you get up in the middle of the night to sleepwalk to the fridge. I don’t do that, but I know that some people do. However, those carb grams can be counted for the next day if it’s after midnight. 😉

I ran today. It was my usual plodding 10.7 minute mile, but I kept at it for a good 30 minutes, and I did intervals. 3 minutes at 5.0-5.5 mph, followed by 3 minutes at six mph, or more. Repeat that every three minute session until 30 minutes are up. I need to get faster, but my heartbeat is still hitting the target range.

Blogging. Maybe I will never be famous, and never make enough money to retire from this. I got that reality firmly into my head over this last year. I had to decide that those things were never truly the reason, and should not be the reason for blogging.

Did I share anything that people enjoyed? Did I share a good recipe? Did I inspire even one person to help meet their goals?

If so, then I truly have succeeded, whether I have 12 followers or 1200.

The weight loss: Well, generally, the first three pounds melt off seemingly overnight, and the elation flows. If one dropped the ketosis at this point, though, it would most likely be a mistake. I’ve accidentally gone over yesterday and today by 3-5 grams, and that will slow me down. Yeah, it’s that tight, that tough, that unbelievably important to keep to 20 or less. However, don’t throw in the towel. Keep it up. Keep exercising. It may feel much harder to get motivated to move during ketosis. Be sure to keep drinking a lot of water, and move anyway. Despite feelings or motivation, KEEP AT IT. Don’t cave in, and in time, more results will come.

It’s always a while for me before I can jump up to 26 grams. My weight loss stops at 25 grams, and I start to gain at around 32-35. I think the key to success this time, that I failed at before, was keeping my fats intake high in proportion to my protein. I was eating a lot of meat before, and now I am focusing more on things like sour cream, butter, and avocados.

I can’t tell you that I am going to drop these 7-10 pounds overnight. That’s not sensible, nor realistic. When I say ‘overnight”, I mean in less than a month. That’s a lot! But within three months, I feel this goal is attainable. It’s the little decisions every day that add up to a habit, and habits add up to a lifestyle. A lifestyle sets our course in life like a rudder sets the boat’s direction. Having my ‘map’, I also arm myself with positive affirmations, and recognize that my weight and my diet are just a PART of my life.

I am ready to let this new direction of health and fitness pull other aspects of health toward me. a HEALTHY MINDSET is also very important.

I AM GREAT AS I AM. I am AMAZING. I help others. I am growing. I know how to use emotional maturity. i choose to believe the best of others. I will give more of myself for the good of others. I will look for opportunities and seize them. I am worthy of love, acceptance, and a bright future. Age is just a number. I will not stop, I will not give up, and I will not go down without a fight!

These are the things I am telling myself. I am learning to be better about managing my time and resources. I am gaining friends and my career is about to take off in a positive direction! God loves me, my family loves me, and I bring joy to my work and to others.

So, that’s what I am feeding myself. In addition to salads and avocados. 🙂

What do you tell yourself?

The Sea of Me

Learning to float was the greatest accomplishment of my young life.

Everything important about life- well, most of it- was encompassed by the letting go, and finally stopping the fight; and yet, not letting go so much that you lost the will to rise.

A perfect balance, a perfect peace enveloped me. Birds chirped happily, the sun shone more intensely in the Florida gulf, and I learned to float.

Everything important about treading life’s waters is encapsulated in this moment. Rising above the weights of life that drag us down can best be illustrated by either flying, or floating. Since I have never achieved flight, let’s look at floating.

Balance. It’s all in the balance. Once achieved, you can put your arms behind your head, cross your feet, and almost take a nap. How? It’s harder to describe than to do. It is a balance between tension and relaxation. You come to a crossroads between focus, and absent-mindedly just doing it.

Life is like that. I ran today. It was tough. Once a week is NOT enough to maintain conditioning, and on the back 1.75 miles, I slowed tremendously. I thought I would quit, but I didn’t. I even had the energy to surge to pass pedestrians, and to go up hills. During my run I witnessed a person wrecked, taken to the hospital, and life-flighted away, and I saw all manner of birds, shadows and sunshine, rain and clouds. I didn’t quit and I didn’t walk. I knew that I had everything within me to finish the race against myself, even if it wasn’t that fast.

That’s life. You find your balance, and you never, ever, ever give up.



The Week In Workouts!

Since Christmas, I have been working out much more regularly than ever before in my life. I take that back. The only other time I worked out this much, or this hard, was when I was sixteen, with no car, and working at a car wash. Moving at the speed of high -pressure water, cleaning inside windows in the hot Florida sun was more of a workout. However, I am still getting more intense cardio work now. 

I have been working out every day this week, but today I am definitely taking the day OFF. I need to recuperate, and the massage chair is sounding really good. 

I have been alternating treadmill running and hill climbing with the Kathy Smith PGX Program. I don’t use PGX, or really know what it is, but the workout is great! This was given to me at work and sat in my locker for about six weeks. I finally brought it home and threw it in the DVD player and was surprised at how much I like it, her, and what a good workout it is. 

I am starting to see some new shadows and lines on my abs already. Not anything like a six pack, it’s more like contour lines of developing muscle that never existed before. 

Things I have learned:

Running can be hard on your neck and shoulders. I am not sure why, or how to change that.

Hit the protein hard right after a workout.

Working out every day without a break is Hell. Take a day off! Get a massage, even if it’s just a hand-held massage wand thing you are using. Not everyone can afford a pro massage very often!

Expect more hunger, but don’t feed yourself with high carbs and junk. Eat smart carbs if anything- vegetables, fruit, and whole, sprouted grains are best. But, rebuild the muscle with PROTEIN. 

My recovery fuel:

2 scoops vanilla whey protein ( 5 gr net carbs per serving. Sweetened with Sucralose (Splenda)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1 carrot

1/2 frozen mango or blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. 

1/2 frozen banana

about 1.5 cups of water or half and half, or milk- I like almond milk or water.

Throw all of this in your Ninja or Blend-Tek, or juicer. 

Enjoy your own fresh “Green Machine” at a fraction of the cost. 

Recovery day is today for me. I plan on a slow, restorative yoga session at home with the new age music, and a chair massage. 

I hear you- “Must be nice to have all that time to work out”. Yes, it is. But what it boils down to is making it a priority, and turning excuses, even if valid, into simply schedule adjustments to be made. 

Excuse # 1:

I work from 8-5. I have to get the kids to daycare/school, then make a major commute to work. After work I am just too tired. 

Solution 1: Get a treadmill or stair climber or DVD series and workout one hour prior to your normal wake-up time. Pick a spot in the house that won’t disturb others, especially the kids, who might come plodding out of their rooms and say, “What ya doin’? I’m hungry!”

Your objection: There’s nowhere in the house I can do this and not wake someone up. Ok, could you hit the gym in the morning before you have to get the kids up and ready? Ours open at five a.m. You could be home before anyone knows you were gone. (This is not recommended for single-adult households!) Could you put exercise equipment in the garage? Basement? Could you go out and run early in the morning? It may seem really hard to get up extra early on a cold, winter morning to work out. I know. Sleep is precious.  Still, the upside is that you will be surprised at how a morning workout will really energize your day. Three days a week, 30-40 minutes, though. You can do this. OK, if the morning just won’t work, do you have an hour lunch? Spend 30 eating, and the next thirty on a brisk walk. Many businesses have official walking trails. Others simply have large parking lots. Take advantage. Bring your workout shoes. Don’t want to get sweaty? Again, brisk walk, not a run. 

Finally, after work is the hardest time to hope for a workout. There’s dinner to make, and it you have kids, so much to do before bed! I am not a big fan of after work exercise, but when I do it, I actually end up feeling really good, and sleeping well. However, I would recommend a quiet, slow  yoga or light warm up- and stretching routine. Maybe an after-dinner walk around the block is more your speed. I have done that many times. It also is great to do with the whole family! But, sometimes it’s nice to have that quiet ‘Me’ time while someone else cleans up the dinner dishes. 

The bottom line : Where there is a will, there IS a way. If you want it enough, you will make it happen, and if you don’t, you will always find excuses. I know, I am a pro at it.