Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Sundress kind of day

Our weekend was about as summery as you can get.  We went to a park, IHOP, an outdoor shopping center where we got frozen yogurt and ran around, went to the beach, had dinner, and crashed.  Then we got up, went for a jog (well, son and I did), went to a park (daughter and I did), went to brunch by the beach, walked along the pier, went to the beach, and then went to a friends' place to swim!  And came home and crashed again.  So I spent a lot of the weekend in sneakers or a swimsuit.  But for brunch, I wanted to wear a nice sundress.  Of course, I knew I'd be walking up to 2 miles while carrying a 2-year-old, and again - beach town - so flats were appropriate.   

I paired this flowy but slim sundress (Thank you J--!!  This is another of the hand-me-downs) with my flat sandals and just went for it.  I think it worked, but I have to admit, it looks a bit awkward in the photo from the back.  More flip-flop style shoes would probably have been better.  On the bright side - people probably paid more attention to the adorable open back on the dress, and the happy red and white print, than my shoes.  :)

I can't wait to wear this dress for something (inland?) where I can wear my strappy white wedges.  I think those will pair perfectly with it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!!


This is probably my single favorite sale of the year. Every summer, mid-summer, Nordstroms puts some fabulous fall items on sale before the season starts.  For most other sales, sale items are end-of-season, so you will barely get a chance to wear them, or they're the leftovers that other people didn't want.  This is the brand new just-in-stores stuff!

Here are the minuses to the sale:
It's July.  It's hot.  And these are fall/winter items.  So it can be a little hard to decide what you want.  It can also be hard to say which trends are actually going to pick up.  And finally, the items might go on actual sale before you ever wear them.  SO...

Last year I bought sunglasses, a purse, a couple pairs of shoes, camis, bras, and some makeup that wasn't actually on sale but hey I was there.  And I used ALL of it a lot.  It was a very productive shopping trip.

This year - I'm just buying 2 bras.

But if you're in need of any basics, or have an idea of any fall items you want this year, definitely check it out!  It is a pretty great sale.  And the service is great if you go into the store.  You can also browse the Anniversary Sale catalog/mailer online, which is always fun.  :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back to reality

I took my new White House Black Market outfit out for a spin.  I loved it!  I didn't even realize it when I bought the blazer - but it has 8 pleats around the bottom part - such a neat detail.  I paired the outfit with my fun Target pumps (I still can't believe I found such stylish and comfortable pumps there, and that they've lasted me so long!).  This outfit was perfect - it was over 80 and humid outside, overly air conditioned inside, I had a casual lunch outside with my group, and a formal meeting inside with higher ups - so part of the day was without blazer and part with. 

One funny vacation side-effect - it's been so long since I wore heels like this that my feet were cramping by the end of the day!  Normally heels aren't an issue for me at all, but I guess it's because I really am used to them, and now I'll have to get re-used to them!  So, for all of you who don't wear heels much - if this is how you feel after a day in high heels - you probably just need to work your way up to it.  I know I've heard that, but I've never really experienced it before!  :)

A little reflection

I tend to write about exactly what I'm doing at the moment, fitness-wise.  But I just took a new "before" picture for boot camp, and it caused me to reflect on the last several months.

I started working out consistently and eating better at the beginning of April, and I have kept it up for 3 1/2 months now, including over a vacation, and in between fitness challenge groups. 

What really struck me about my new "before" pic is that, even right after my vacation, I look almost exactly the same as I did after my intense 21DFX round.  I'm eating a little more flexibly, I'm not using my containers regularly, etc.  But the general healthy eating habits I have developed must be okay or I'm sure I would have put on more chub.  I plan to go back to the containers when I get a little too far off track, which is sure to happen (holiday season, if not before), but for now I'm feeling pretty encouraged.

I've also varied my workouts more.  I mixed together 21DFX, T25, running, yoga, and those assorted travel workouts with a resistance band.  But I must be doing a decent job of mixing things up, because I haven't lost muscle tone (if anything I think my arms look a little better).

At this point, I doubt I will get more toned looking, because I doubt I'm willing to eat the way that I would have to for those muscles to show.  But who knows.  We'll see what the next month brings.

Anyway, for now, I just wanted to share my new before photo.  I hope you take this as inspiration - if you work hard and achieve some great results that you are happy about, maintaining those results will probably be a lot easier.  I definitely worked hard those 3 weeks I was following 21 day fix extreme exactly.  But the 7 weeks since then - I've just been having fun, in a healthy way (e.g., 5-6 workouts a week of my choosing, eating generally healthy but not watching exactly what I eat, and lots of playing with the kids at the park :) ).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Boot Camp Day 1

I went to my first day of bootcamp today!  Thanks to my super-awesome friend who gave me a free month.  I'm doing this one: Fit Body Boot Camp - Unstoppable Fitness Formula.


They are a chain (franchise), and I'm going to my local chapter.

They are open 6 days a week, and run anywhere from 3 (Saturday) to 10 (Mon-Thurs) workouts a day.  Each day is a specific workout - Monday is legs and Abs, Tuesday is Biceps and Triceps, Wednesday is Back, Shoulders and Core, etc.  And they introduce new exercises each week, so the workouts are constantly changing and challenging the muscles in new ways.

Today I went to a morning "Biceps and Triceps" class.  It was a blast.  They have 10 different exercises, 3 sets of each, with cardio intervals in between.  The exercises include fun things like ropes and TRX training. 
(If you're wondering what TRX training is, it's this:
It's one of the things I miss most with my home workouts - there's just something so playground-fun about TRX training.)

There were 2 trainers rotating around to keep us on track, yell at us if we were slacking, check our form, etc. They were totally doing a good cop/bad cop thing - one yelled at us and the other cheered us on.

Here's my take:
  • The number of people and self-selection of weights means that the workout is as hard as you make it.  I saw a couple of people who were taking way more breaks than they should have been to get a really good workout.  (Near the end, we were doing sprints across the parking lot outside and had to pause to let a car go by.  I was the *only* one who ran in place while waiting, until bad cop yelled at everyone else to do the same.)
  • The workouts are 45 minutes long, and you're really going that whole time (assuming you don't give yourself extra breaks!).  The "warmup" is really pretty intense - you really jump right in, and there is no cooldown or stretching.
  • The soft/bouncy mat surface is excellent.  There is a lot of jumping, but it felt pretty easy on my knees.  Of course, we'll see how I feel after 6 days in a row, but this is a good start.  
  • BUT, 45 minutes to work biceps and triceps?  I have never worked a single body part so thoroughly, so it'll be interesting to see what that does, but it also doesn't seem that efficient to me.  SO, we'll see how I end up feeling about that after doing a full week (and my whole body).
Overall, this workout is different enough from what I've been doing that I'm going to take a good set of before pics.  I'm curious if the super-thorough working of each muscle group will give me different muscle tone than I have now.  I'm also excited to be doing this just because it's going to be with a friend - that part will be fun.  At this point I think this is probably not for me long-term - it just takes too much time - basically an hour including drive time and a little extra stretching - vs. my 1/2 hour workouts at home (yay Beachbody! and especially 21 Day Fix Extreme).  But we'll see.  30 days is a long time, and I just finished day 1.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vacation Workouts

(Out for a morning jog in the Napa valley - the vines were covered in grapes)

This trip was all about relaxing and partying - we went to multiple parties, including a wedding reception.  We went to Napa.  And we had lots of meals with friends we hadn't seen in a long time.  So this was not a fit-and-active type vacation. But I also think that 11 days of sitting on my butt and eating horrible food would have made me feel pretty awful too.  I wanted to strike a balance.

My eating was definitely a bit worse on vacation - I drank at least a couple glasses of wine a night (at least), and had dessert almost every evening.  But overall I ate decently.  I wasn't suddenly having pancakes for breakfast and a burger and fries for lunch and pizza for dinner - I was still eating salads, greek yogurt, fruit, eggs....  Just throwing some wine, Indian sweets, and a few nibbles of those pancakes and muffins, on top.

Similarly, I relaxed a bit on my workouts, but I still managed to get some activity in.  I took a resistance band with me and I have a few fitness-related-apps on my phone.  Those both came in handy. 

Here's the 11-day run-down:
  • Thursday: woke up super early and did T25 Upper before we left
  • Friday: Running and lower-body strength with bands: I ran a 0.4 mile loop (with a hill) and did something in between each lap - run, stretch, run, squats and lunges with band, run, side-steps with band, run, stretch (20-30 minutes and 1.6 miles total)
  • Saturday: Warmup and upper-body workout with band in backyard (20-25 minutes)
  • Sunday: rest
  • Monday: 3 rounds of "Seven" 7-minute full-body workout app.  Modified to make it harder.  :)  (21 minutes)
  • Tuesday: Morning jog in Napa - just 1.7 miles, but a nice steady 10-minute pace (other than a pause for a picture - I was surrounded by grape fields!  I couldn't resist.)
  • Wednesday: slow/gentle 2 mile hike with baby on back in the morning - but there was some elevation gain and a narrow hill-side path, 20 minute flow yoga routine from YogaDownload in the evening (got the blood flowing, but also helped stretch my legs and back out after hiking with baby)
  • Thursday: rest
  • Friday: Warmup in back yard and upper-body workout with band inside (25 minutes)
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: 21 DFX Yoga, after coming home
11 days: 3 rest days, and the rest were mostly short 20-25 minute workouts.  But I got my heart rate up and my blood pumping and used my muscles.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how I did.  I felt good.  I certainly enjoyed myself with the food and wine, but I didn't eat so badly that I felt bad.  And the workouts were nice.  I could have pushed myself more on the exercise side, but I was really just trying to stay active and keep feeling good and energized - not increase my fitness level.  I ended vacation at the same weight as when I started.  The chub layer on my tummy is a little thicker, but a few days of eating well and normal workouts will probably take care of that.

And now I'll be starting my boot camp adventure, so I guess the vacation tummy padding will help to make the "before" bootcamp picture looking more before-ish.  :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Vacation outfits 7, 8 and 9: Indian wedding wear, saris and lenghas

For each of these events, I was finally ready to go right when it was time to run out the door, so I didn't get the best pictures.  But these give you some idea of what I wore.  The first two are saris, worn Gujarati style up top and the Sri Lankan take in traditional in the middle.  The bottom is a Lengha (floor-length skirt, top, and shall/scarf).

Friday, July 17, 2015

Vacation outfit 6: wine tasting day 2

We did a super awesome cab blending class in day 2.  These are pictures of me pouring and corking my own custom blend.  Wearing a yellow shirt for red wine tasting was a bit risky, but it worked out.  Shorts were a must since we were squatting in front of barrels pouring ourselves tastes for over an hour.  

You've seen this yellow top worn out with skinny jeans before, but I like it tucked into these shorts too - and wore it both ways over the course if the trip.

Vacation outfit 5: date-night dinner

I don't always wear bodycon dresses.  I love cute flowy dresses too.  This is a long-time favorite of mine.  For me, the key for a flowy dress is that it has to be short enough and fitted enough under the armpits so it isn't overwhelming or frumpy.

This was perfect for a nice dinner on a warm Napa evening.

Vacation outfit 4: wine tasting

Wine country is hot, and casual, and there's the chance of a stray red wine splatter.  But it's also relaxing and fun adult time.

I love the braided rope trim on this top, and I finally found decent length shirts that are low enough rise for me to tuck into.  And of course - one needs a hat when walking the vineyard grounds.  :)

I would have considered a cute day dress, but given the length of our trip it was important to pack things I could wear multiple times, and this is more flexible.

(Shirt: random little shop at a local mall - Asian owned and run, I tend to be a size l there.  Shorts: jcrew factory 4" inseam, hat: jcrew factory, belt: White House black market)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Vacation outfit 3: a nice dinner out with friends

Friday night we went to dinner with a friend in the city.  It was a nice chance for me to wear one of my Herve leger dresses.  I also took my leather jacket to wear over if it got cold outside - but I didn't have to use it!  

I included a photo of the breast petals (pasties) that is wore because I had to do a lot if searching to find info on these.  If you really don't need a bra - and this dress provides a lot if support so I don't, these can provide just that bit of coverage, in case it gets chilly.  :). These ones are fashion forms (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000144OHU/ref=ya_aw_oh_pii) and stuck well, but came off well too.  It has fairly negative comments in amazon, but all for being too dark.  I'm darker anyway, but also, I'm not really planning to wear items that are both backless and sheer.  I sortof want to see just what those women were wearing that it was a problem!

Finally, I probably would have worn edgier shoes at home with my full shoe wardrobe but these are great heels with both dresses and saris, so perfect for this trip.

(Dress, Herve leger from lollipuff, bracelet from outnet, ring ?? Can't remember!, earrings White House black market, shoes dsw, purse Rebecca minkoff from nordstrom (removable strap turned into a clutch - such a great versatile travel purse.)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Vacation outfit 2: Visiting a great grandma

I feel like great grandmas appreciate it when we dress up just a little to see them.  It was a short casual daytime visit with the kids, so I wore jeans and a Tshirt, but nicer jeans and a nicer Tshirt.  :)

Also, you've probably seen pretty glass pendants somewhere, I got this one in Venice but there are versions at mall kiosks and craft fairs too.  They are usually sold on black cord and look really hippy-ish that way.  But I really think wearing them on a necklace like this transforms them.

(Jeans: frame denim, top: White House black market, flats: ferragamo, newly polished and looking really refreshed, necklace: express, pendant: Venice Italy)

Vacation outfit 1: Dressing for a long drive

Dressing for a long drive is all about comfort.  But that doesn't mean sweats! This is what I wore for our 400+ mile drive yesterday. 

Thought process: sun shining in on arms for 8 hours is painful - long sleeves.  Central Valley is hot - shorts.  Driving all that time - need comfy shoes.  And simple/casual/all-purpose accessories will be useful for the whole trip.  

Baby boy got me that bracelet and it always makes me happy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Experimenting with T25

I told myself I'd hold off until after the Saturday 5k to try T25 in earnest.  So I started Sunday.  :)

I had just 5 days between the 5k and our vacation, so I decided to play around with different workouts to get a feel for it.

Sunday: Ab Intervals (Alpha) - a really nice heart-rate-increasing body-weight ab workout
Monday: Rip'T Circuit (Beta) - a heart-rate-increasing full-body workout with weights - great all-around workout
Tuesday: Cardio (Alpha) - a lot of jumping, a little speed work, and overall good cardio workout.  This was a little hard on my knees - I have to be super careful and thoughtful while I'm doing it to make sure I don't hurt myself.  But there's always the low impact modifier to follow if I want to.
Wednesday skipped - was up till midnight packing and trying to get work done before the trip.  I'm all for a late-night before-bed workout, but past midnight is a bit much for me...
Thursday: Upper Focus (Beta) - (so instead of staying up late, I woke up early! :) ) - oh so t25 - a great heart-rate increasing arms, back and chest workout.  I had to fully low-impact-modify to avoid waking the family, but it was still a great workout.  Not quite as heart-rate-increasing but still overall a great use of 25 minutes!

My overall take so far: I love weights too much to do the alpha phase as written - no weights for 5 weeks would be a little sad for me.  But the workouts are incredible.  They are all energetic and fun, and really heart-pumping.  The strength training workouts in Beta are fabulous - Shaun T takes a different approach than Autumn Calabrese (21 day fix), and I enjoy both!  Overall, I think I'm going to keep using the T25 workouts and mixing them up, doing them on non-run days, and stuff like that.  But I probably won't do the full-out 10-week T25 program exactly as written, the way I did with 21 day fix extreme.  I think it's also my personality - It's a lot easier for me to follow a single program, whatever it may be, for 21 days than for 70!

My next fitness adventure will be trying to still get some exercise during my 10 day vacation!  I'll let you know how it goes.  And once I get back - I'm going to try a Barre class with a friend, and then try a month at a Boot Camp Gym!  I am absolutely *loving* my Beachbody workout programs, but another fit friend (yup, I seem to have a lot of them!) convinced me to give boot camp a try.  :)

I ran a 5k!!

I ran my first ever 5k on Saturday!  (Yup, July 4th - notice all the flags and red white and blue! :))
It was a blast!  Here are a few things I learned:

1. When you'll be walking a mile to the race, and a mile home, it's worth factoring that into training.  Oops.

2. It's really not fun to be at the VERY back of the pack - because then you have to weave through all the walkers!  My friends and I took almost 15 minutes to run our first mile!  But then we ran the second two in about 19!  So yeah, positioning matters.

3. WOW, we can go fast!  :)  One of our friends is super driven and apparently pretty fast, so she pushed us to go.  And every time we passed someone we'd speed up a little bit to get around them - and then we didn't slow down!  So we basically just continuously sped up the entire time.  I'm sure the 3 of us could run an under-30 5k in the future if we want to.  We did our *last* mile in 9:14!

4. They take photos at the finish line!  Oops - probably shouldn't have let myself fall behind my friends *right* at the end!

AND, my time was 33:30.  (I'm totally regretting letting myself fall 2-3 seconds behind my friends.  Not for the time's sake, but we could have had an awesome crossing the finish line photo together!)  But still, not bad.  Obviously I wasn't going for speed, but given we expected it to take us about 37, and we were at the back of the pack and had to do all that weaving, I'm super proud of us.

It was a really fun event, and I'm so so so glad I did it.

Another hilarious thing - 1st mile, totally chatting.  2nd mile - a little chatting.  3rd mile - about 3 comments total from all of us combined.  :)

So last night...  we signed up for a 10k! 

It's in late October, so I'll focus on general fitness for the next month or so, and then start training for the 10k more specifically in September.  Pretty crazy for a woman who had never jogged more than a mile in her life as of a month ago, huh?  I'm having so much fun, and I really appreciate my friends encouraging me to try new things.

Under-accessorized: Oops

This was a pretty good start to an outfit - the pants fit nicely and are a rich caramel color.  The top is nice and bold, dressy enough for work but casual enough for summer.  The shoes are *perfect* with that exact caramel and the black colorblocking.  But what I really needed was a long pendent necklace.  And I don't own one!  Yup, that's right.  I have a great collection of short necklaces, but very few long ones.  So, I ordered one.  :)  I'll try this outfit again in a couple of weeks when my new necklace arrives, and we'll see if it helps. 

Also, I know I've totally been slacking on my posts lately!  We're going on vacation tomorrow, and it turns out *pre-vacation* is one of the craziest most stressful times!  I had no idea, because it's been so long since we've done a vacation!  But I'm determined to do vacation blog-posts, so watch for those.  The formatting won't be as good, since I'll be posting from my phone, but you'll still get to see pics.  :)  

Happy Summer!  

A rainy summer day

This is the last carryover from pre-vacation.  :)

Let the vacation posts begin!

A grown-up romper

I love rompers and jumpers.  I think they can be a little tricky to pull off, but they are comfortable and fashionable - that combination doesn't happen all that often.  I finally found a romper designed for grownups that actually fits me!  And because it is a little more grown up, I can wear it for just slightly nicer occasions.  :)  This was the outfit I wore to a 4 year old's bounce house birthday party.  I was able to carry 2 year old up the bouncy slide's ladder and come down the slide with her, run around, etc., but I still dressed up a bit.  I'm big on dressing up a bit for birthday parties - I figure it's a sign of respect.

I'm also super excited about my new chunky-heeled sandals.  I've been looking for something like these for *years*!  But most were pretty expensive, or just didn't fit me right.  And this isn't an item I'm going to wear a ton, so I didn't want to spend a ton.  I finally found this pair at Target!!  The buckles on the lower straps allow me to tighten the sandals to fit my slim feet, and the chunky heel was just the right level of chunkiness and just the right height for me.  

So - a grown up daytime romper outfit.  :)  

 (Romper: White house black market, Cardigan: J-crew factory, Sandals: Target)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The importance of wearing the right size

We can often get away with wearing clothing that is a size off, but it really does make a difference in how we look.  I did a couple of posts on how I made my too-big black suit work, and it's possible, but it takes thought to still look good, and not just frumpy. 

Last summer I had a fabulous pair of cropped cream/khaki pants that I wore a lot.  They were super useful and looked great.  This summer I put them on, looked in the mirror, and took them right off again.  What a difference one year makes!  Today I went and bought this year's version of the exact same pants, but two sizes smaller.  See what a big difference it makes?

For the last several years, I've made great use of a black cropped-sleeve blazer during the summer.  The lining is super soft, so it's the perfect comfy blazer to wear in the overly-air-conditioned office.  But this year it looked so bad - so big, baggy and boxy - that I made sure to take it off every time I left my office!  So I bought a replacement for it as well.  It was a fabulous blazer, and looked great for many years, but a shift in styles and my own body have just made it out of date for me. 

Especially for basics like these, it's worth investing/re-investing in some perfectly fitting pieces.  I know that these pants and this blazer will make a huge difference to how I look all summer long. 

One other note: almost all women's clothing these days has stretch (spandex, or other synthetics mixed in).  When in doubt, buy a smaller size - most clothing stretches out after even a single wear, and if you buy slightly too big, it'll get baggy fast.

The old pants and blazer are now in my donation box. 

(BTW, I took the pics straight after coming home from the store - so you can see tags still hanging off in the "Just right" pics.  :) )

(Pants: White house black market, Green top: Express, Purple top: White house black market, Old blazer: Ann Taylor, New blazer: White house black market, shoes: Payless shoe source (yup, you read that right))

Shakeology or other Protein Shakes - Worth it?

One of my challenge group members asked me to do a post on this topic, and I think it is a common question.  The reality is that protein shakes in general, and shakeology in particular, seem expensive, and we all want to make sure we're spending our money wisely.  SO, here's my take on it.

First, how much do they cost?

* There’s a $40 signup fee to become a coach, but they waive that fee if you buy/have-bought a Challenge Pack, like the 21 day fix challenge pack. 

Here’s how I think of it (and you know I ended up on the right side of that table, but I went through some of the other squares first):
  1.  Should you have a protein shake when you are working out consistently? Probably yes. If you are doing any strength-training, even body-weight or light dumbbell-based strength training, then the answer is probably yes.  And you should be doing strength training!!  Even if your focus is on more cardio-intensive activities like running or biking, that strength training is going to give you a more well-rounded strength and reduce your risks for injury.  It will also help as you age. 
          So why do I say “probably” yes?  Here’s how it breaks down:
a.       You absolutely need a post-workout snack that contains a mix of fast-digesting protein and carbs within 20 minutes of your workout.  No matter what source you read, this is true.  Running books will say more carbs in that mix, and weight-lifting books will say more protein, but the basic fact is that this snack helps your body.  The carbs replenish the glycogen in your muscles which you just used up, and the protein helps your muscles rebuild.  The speed is key here.  And that’s where a protein shake can help – its fast!  Could you make a snack of cottage cheese and fruit and eat that quickly right after your workout? Sure, but a shake is probably more realistic.
b.      You probably need a lot more protein than you think.  Unless you’re coming from an Atkins-style diet, you are probably eating too little protein for the average person.  Once you add in strength training, you need even more protein.  And so you are going to have to eat a lot of protein.  Let me put it this way: as an itty bitty 110-lb woman, which puts me in a pretty low calorie bracket, according to the 21-day-fix diet, I should eat the equivalent of 32 egg whites a day.  Yup.  32.  So, unless I’m really going to eat about the equivalent of almost 3 dozen egg whites a day, a protein shake can help to fill the gap – gives some quick, easy, and convenient extra protein. 

  1. Should you have a protein shake? Probably Yes.
  2. Should you take extra vitamins when you are working out consistently? Yes. I don’t have to say “probably” on this one, because the reality is that you should be taking extra vitamins even if you aren’t working out!  And of course, as usual, getting the right nutrients is even more important when you are demanding more of your body, like you are when you are working out consistently.  Here’s a quote from the Mayo Clinic: “Although a wide variety of nutritious foods are available in the U.S., Americans don't eat enough vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products. As a result, dietary intakes of several nutrients — potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D — are low enough to be of public health concern for both adults and children.”  A public health concern!  And for many other nutrients, it might not be quite so bad to be a public health concern, but we will feel better and our bodies will function better if we have enough.  
  • The reality is that we are all lacking in something.  No matter how healthy and varied of a diet   we eat, we are probably lacking in something. Taking a good multi-vitamin helps.  But there are caveats.  For example, did you know that your body can’t process calcium and iron together?  So chances are, your multivitamin has one but not the other.  There are other helpful things we can take that our bodies need – like added fiber, probiotics to help our gut health, extra B-vitamins for energy, extra vitamin C and certain other immune-boosting vitamins especially during cold and flu season.  Those don’t all fit into a multi-vitamin.   
  • For a while I was trying to put all of this together myself, and the reality is that it takes a lot of time and energy, and the cost really adds up fast (1$ a day for multi-vitamin, $1.50 a day for probiotic, $0.30 a day for B-complex and C vitamins, $1.00 a day during cold-and-flu season for some extra C and zinc, $0.25 for my quick-dissolving benefiber, …).  I still remember having breakfast with another health-conscious professor a few years ago, and we both pulled out a little pile of vitamins to take with our breakfasts.  We had a fabulous conversation about the benefits of different vitamins, and he convinced me to start fresh-grinding flax seeds every morning.  J  The quality of the nutrients is higher when you do this piecemeal approach, because you can get the best probiotic, and your iron can be in a form that is good for you to digest, you can time the taking of your calcium supplements, etc.  But it is a pain!
  1.  Should you have a protein shake? Probably Yes.
  2. Should you take extra vitamins when you are working out consistently? Yes.
  3. So, here’s where Shakeology can be super helpful.  You get that extra protein you need, the vitamins, fiber, probiotics, etc.  It’s super convenient.  And since it has carbs too, it’s a perfect post-workout snack.  You can tweak the protein/carb mix by adding more fruit or adding some greek yogurt when you’re blending up your shake, or just drink it as is.  And of the half dozen or so protein shakes I’ve tried, I’d say Shakeology is the best tasting.  That's also helpful when you're trying to eat healthier, because it can be your daily treat.  I still take my daily multi-vitamin, but I've cut out all the rest of that stuff, and I still feel better than before I added all of those in.
  4. The biggest drawback of Shakeology is this single big visible cost.  While it doesn’t seem like much when you consider the combined costs of the ingredients, and the benefit of the convenience, it’s still a big number.  That’s where signing up for a coach account can be worth it.  If you’re going to be buying it on an ongoing basis and you want the extra discount, might as well sign up for the coach account!  Like everything else at Beachbody, you can cancel at any time.  I've canceled a few of the free accounts (like the free trial of streaming), and it has always been super easy.

The reality is that protein shakes are marked up a good amount, so are vitamins, and so is Shakeology.  It is the reality.  But so is pretty much everything we consume.  And this is a pretty darn good-for-you one to pay the markup on.  I’d much rather spend the money on something that helps my body than, as good as it smells when I walk by it every morning on my way to the office, a cup of fancy high-cal sugary Starbucks.

Hope this helps!

Here are a few helpful links:
And finally, if you're interested in signing up to coach, to get that discount, let me know and I'll walk you through it (for example to make sure you get your fee waived).