Thursday, October 16, 2014

12WBT Michelle Bridges Review

Hi all, so here we are again with another workout and eating plan with online coaching.  This program is about to start its 12th week and I feel I have done enough of this one to truly remark on it.

It appears that many online coaching programs are doing a limited access site with "rounds" that you can sign up for and do.  I preciously gave the 10 Weeks BodyChange Changetime  a try and stopped it after 3 weeks.  The 12WBT is similar in the way that you have access for the 12 week span and each week you are given access to a new weeks worth of the program. You can go back and redo or review the previous weeks in both of them.  I have to say that this limitation is probably one of my biggest problems with both programs.

The upsides for the 12WBT are:

They have a whole prep section before you start your round to get you prepped to go, and this helps to keep you going good.
You are able to track eating, water intake, mood, and sleep.
You get full length workouts with Miche, but they are also broken apart if you just don't have the time.
The food is pretty diverse and lots of flavors.
You get to eat bread.  (For you carb lovers)
Miche is all over this thing.
You get pep talk videos that are supposed to help you overcome or face what you need to.
There is a workout plan that you get to say if you workout at a gym, or at home, and even outside.
The site is user friendly and if you post a question in the forum, they actually respond to you.

The downside for the 12WBT are:

It was $152.00!!!!!! (Even 10WBC was 99.00)
You get 12 weeks of access and then you are done.
The food options can get a bit hard to find the ingredients (Yeah, I'm in Alaska).
It is hard to make sure that you are eating what you are supposed to according to the meal plan when you are at work.
The workouts are about 45 minutes each.  Carving that much time out of your day can be quite hard sometimes.
This program is newer and Miche is not really known in the USA (I did see that after this session is over, that they are combining the USA and the Australia groups together).

Overall - The site is really well put together.  I like Miche, even though she can be a bit over the top.  I like the videos and the constant involvement.  I really hate sites that only give you 12 weeks of access.  So with a bit of meal swapping and planning, the diet was a nice change.  I give this plan a thumbs up.  I would recommend this for people, but I would recommend it more if it were more around $100 instead of $152.

As an updated note:  I just saw that with joining the USA and the Australia groups together you will be charged $199 Australian dollars, which equals today at about $175 US Dollars.  Then of course you can add on your foreign transaction fee.  This is especially important if you do the payment style, because every time you get charged, you get a fee.  I had to deal with this when I was training with a Canadian trainer.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Starting the 12 Week Body Transformation with Michelle Bridges (12WBT)

So I signed up for the 12WBT a little over a week ago.  I decided to try that $3 for 3 weeks promo that I kept seeing.  After I signed up, I went on the website and saw that we were "pre-season" and there were a bunch of videos and tasks that you are assigned before the program begins.  The videos  have Michelle in them talking over the different sections and why that part of pre-season will help you succeed.

I was initially put off by the pre-season.  I wanted to start right away and not deal with stuff in the meanwhile.  After the first week, when I was going through the tasks, I started to enjoy it.  New tasks, videos, and whatnot open up at different dates on the site.  You will see a notice when it will be made available.  Also, each week has a new task.

When I started, pre-season had been underway for a while and I only had about a week and a half to go through most of the tasks.  After the first week opened up, I had access to my meals, was able to modify the dishes.  There is also a workout plan that you can put in that you are working out either at home, at a gym, or outdoors.  This was a super nice feature.  If you can't get your butt to the gym but can force yourself to get it in at home, or you have a glorious nice day out - there you go.  You will put in a fitness level that you want to workout at and when you do the fitness test it will show you what level you are at.  Also, a nice thing is that Mich does a 45 minute workout video for each of your workout days.

I am now on day 2.  Things that I've come across:
They don't actually tell you when to eat your snacks, but they are factored into your calorie allotment.
Mich can really seem over the top like a pitchman on the tv selling oxypro or the like.
There is a forum on the site which is nice and you do get responses in a pretty timely manner.  I did notice that you do not see posts from past sessions, only the people you are in the session with. But you can see previous people on the video comments.
The food can seem a bit bland, and I had to figure out things to add some flavor but without calories or salt and sugar.
There is a water meter.  Yay!!
I like the overall setup of the web page.  It is definitely much better that the 10 Week BodyChange.
Michelle is all over this thing.  She isn't just a puppet letting her picture get posted on it but with no big involvement.  She is everywhere.  (OK, not the forum, lol).

Alright, so far so good.  I'm enjoying the program.  I like the website.  I like that there is the website forum and they have a Facebook page. The food is good, but just a bit bland.  I like the workouts.

Unlike some reviews I saw for this, I did not get a free membership.  I am paying for mine.  After my $3 for 3 weeks is through, I will be continuing for the whole session.  I will post some further reviews and my progress later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Taking Care of a Twisted Ankle

My adorable pup and I decided to take advantage of the good weather and went for a quick hike after work.  Anchorage has the benefit of having some really great trails right here in town.  Most of them make you quickly forget that you are in town and in an area that still has cell coverage.

We decided to check out the Spencer Loop system off the Campbell Airstrip Road.  It's a series of loops that you can decide how many you are going to do or just the outside perimeter.  Charlie and I made it about 1/3 of the way through the first loop when I fell, twisting my ankle. Oh my goodness, the pain was immense.  I tried to gather myself as quickly as I could and access how bad it was.  I was having pain shooting through when I stepped down, but thankfully had not heard a snap or pop.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to go through even one loop with my ankle in this way.  So, we headed back the way we came.  I was really trying to take it as easy as possible, even with trying to keep hold of my dog and uneven terrain. I ended up having my ankle give out twice on my way back.

I got to my house and put the dog inside.  Thankfully only three agonizing stairs. Even today, the day after, stairs are not my friend.  I grabbed my first aid kit and started to get to work on my ankle.  I should mention that I do have a first aid kit in my day pack for hiking, but was not prepared for an ankle strain, which I usually have a kit for my backpacking.  Guess I learned my lesson.  An up side, during the time that I was delving into a little Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I came across Herbal Ice (San Huang San) and picked some up from the Herbal Shop.  I got the pre-made mix so it was easy to toss into my backpack, but I suppose the powder can be kept longer.  I slathered this gel on pretty thickly as it told me to do.  Now the bad part... Where the heck was my gauze and ace bandage?  I ended carefully putting a men's sock over it and then covered it with another.  These were socks that I never planned to see again in case they were going to get stained.  I got an ankle brace from my husband (Thanks Hun!) which hurt like heck to put on.  Then I got my foot propped up on a pillow and stayed off of it.  I slept with the pillow under my foot as well.

I totally didn't even think that I could have wrapped my ankle with plastic wrap.  If this ever happens again I know what to do.  Also, if I didn't have my Herbal Ice, you are "supposed" to go back and forth from hot to cold therapy and keep your ankle elevated. (DISCLAIMER: Yes, we all have to have one.  In no way am I giving anyone medical advice.  I am simply posting what I did for myself.  If you are injured you may wish to seek a professional, which I am not.)  My Herbal Ice container states that it relieves pain and reduces swelling of bruises, contusions, sprains, strains, muscle pulls or any type of injury where you would normally use ice.

Next morning, the pain was still there but not as bad.  I used my trekking pole to help me get around, and took my Herbal Ice to work with me.  I nabbed some gauze and self stick wrap from the office first aid kit.  When checking out my ankle prior to re-wrapping it, I noticed that the discoloration wasn't too bad and not as swollen as it could have been.  I slathered on more Herbal Ice and wrapped my foot in gauze then the wrap.  I didn't put on the brace though.  I've also stayed off my feet as much as possible.

After a couple of days, I will start doing some stretches for the ankle and then after a couple more days I will start to try to strengthen the ankle.  I am pretty sure that I will not be hiking for at least a couple of weeks.

UPDATE:  Low and behold I didn't get better.  The Herbal Ice did help, but I apparently had a worse sprain than I thought.  I went to the doctor and had the X-rays done.  He said that there were no broken bones, but I had a pretty good sprain and it looked like I tore a bit of my achilles.  Because of the later part I needed to get a boot to fully stabilize the area and keep myself from using it.  The other part of my ankle wasn't healing because I was still using my foot.  The doctor said that if I didn't have the tear in the achilles, I could have used an air cast and crutches.

My father in law had just come into town and we were going to Fairbanks.  My husband decided that I just needed a better wrap to get through the trip.  It was killing me, and the wrap started digging into my ankle making it worse.  So I had to wait three more days until we got back and I could get a boot. My husband may think that it's over kill, but it's my ankle and I  say I'm going with the doctor's recommendation.

I've had the boot for two days now, and though my ankle aches a bit, it feels a lot better.  The doctor said that I have to wear this for a couple of weeks and then I can start stretching it out.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chicken Paprika Goulash

Chicken goulash, as my family calls it, also goes by chicken paprika or chicken paprikash.  It has been a family recipe that has been handed down to me from my father who was taught by his mother.  This recipe is so simple and tasty, and not to mention budget friendly.

I have tried adapting a couple of things, but mostly I have always stuck to the original.  My parents told me that you usually choose between potatoes and ganadle, but I do both.  I have also tried sweet potato.  The flavor was great and I will try it again, but with the long cooking time, the sweet potatoes disintegrated.  So they will have to go in later.

Ganadle is a Hungarian egg noodle that is spoon dropped into your soup like a dumpling.  I'm sure it goes by several different names, but this is what I have always known it as.

Your finished chicken goulash should end up spicy with a thinish broth and chicken falling off the bone.  The spice level depends on your taste.  Before I got married and moved out of my parents house, there were three of us in and out of the kitchen altering the spice level.  My dad liked his to burn your lips off (we normally serve buttered bread with the meal to help with this).  My mother liked hers so mild that you were wondering if she ran out of the paprika and decided to make the dish anyways.  Mine is kind of a medium hot.  I like it spicy with flavor and no crying.

Another note, is to look at what paprika you're using.  We use a Hungarian sweet paprika, not the generic crap you get at Costco or store brand whooy.  So important is paprika, that when I moved out of my parents house, I stole the paprika. I know, I know.  Most kids take furniture or whatever, but no, not me.  And so important is this paprika, that I showed it to my husband and told him he could use it, but if there was only a little left not to touch it unless he saw a replacement behind it. I then gave him the idea that there would be a terrible threat to his life if he took the last of the paprika.  Such is the importance of this divine spice.  I should also note that for my husband, I went ahead and got him some Costco paprika so he could cook his little heart out, without fear.

Chicken Goulash
1 bag of frozen cut up chicken
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 med potatoes, peeled and large chunk
1 - 4 T paprika (to taste)- start at 1 and work your way up
1 1/2 t salt

Saute onion in 2 T olive oil until it starts to turn translucent.  Add the salt and paprika, stir, then add chicken and potatoes.  Cover with water about 2 inches.  Bring to boil, then put on a low simmer for 90 minutes.  Taste occasionally and season to taste.  Usually we keep adding paprika and only a bit of salt.  If making ganadle, you can make it at about 75 minutes.

Ganadle
1 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 t salt
1-2 T of milk
couple of dashes of paprika (optional)

Mix together and add to goulash in drops.  Use the side of a spoon to scoop about 1-2 teaspoons out and use another spoon to help "roll" it out of the first spoon. Drop these all over the pot so they don't stick together.  They will float to the top shortly and you can simmer them there until done and they soak up some of the juice.

If you have leftovers of this recipe, the sauce will thicken due to the potatoes and the ganadle.  If you are making this as part of a pot luck or similar, you can make ganadle and spoon them out after they float and re-add them later.  This recipe can be put into the slow cooker on low without the ganadle.  I usually just do the 6 hours and keep warm until I get home from work.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lose Weight Stay in Shape Week 4 Sara Fennell Review

It is the beginning of the fourth week, and stuff is hitting the fan all around me.  How does this happen?  It's like a giant sign that goes on.   With everything going on with my business and personal life at the same time, I feel stretched too thin.  I haven't been able to workout to the intensity that I like, and had started to wane, but thankfully picked it back up again.

Eating has been difficult, also with everything going on and all of my obligations.  It's not like your meetings are going to stop because you need to eat your apple, almond butter, and rice crackers.  Which by the way, is not the easiest meal to eat at once.  I ended up making a almond butter sandwhich and eating the apple on the side.  And of course when you need rice crackers, suddenly there is a shortage. WTF!!!!

Okay, so the sad news.  I will not be able to continue on this path with the Lose weight Stay in Shape with Sara Fennell.  There are a couple of reasons for this.

1) money
2) website
3) interaction

I think that Sara Fennell in general is excellent.  She knows what she is doing, but it is definitely a business for her.  I didn't get that feeling of "warmth" that I would expect trying to work one on one.  I tried to find a lot out about her before I started and with some of her videos online, it looked like after her crossfit workout and paleo diet, she maintained the paleo diet.  I was kind of surprised when I started and it was not the paleo diet, when I thought that was what she was doing.

I still went with the meal plan.  Not bad, and it did get me back into the habit of eating every 3 hours.  This is the first time that I've ever eaten rye bread, and it wasn't bad.  My brain still screamed at me that I was eating bread!  Everything else was good.  It got a bit rough eating the same meals every day for 2 weeks, but at the beginning of the program she tells you what you can switch out so that the meal program doesn't become boring.  In that sense, she gives you a general and expects you to come up with it.

The website isn't the worst that I have seen.  There is food tracking and workout tracking.  It tells you when your workouts are and you are able to print them off from there.  You will also get them emailed to you on what seems to be an automatic system.  You are not expected to track on the website but can do so if you choose.  I found that tracking my meals was easier on Livestrong or the Daily Burn.  The calendar on the site also tells you your weigh in day, and you also give you measurements and email your photos.

The workouts themselves are pretty good.  You can get a pretty nice burn going, and I have the guys at the gym telling me that I am doing a good job, which is nice.  For some of the time, I would like to workout at home.  It's not just an easy thing sometimes to fit in a gym, but I can do it at home when needed.

I felt like the interaction was very minimal.  The emails that I got seemed quite generic and lost that personal touch.  You email with Sara once every two weeks, but you can email her with questions, but you need to try and keep all of your questions together so she can answer them at once (this was not actually a problem for me but it would be for some people.) There are no other email that you can really expect from Sara beyond this.  This is where I say that it really doesn't have that warmth feeling.

So with looking at the money... I was unable to do a money transfer from out of Canada, so  I had to pay extra to do the PayPal.  Conversion was a pain in the tuckas too.  If you look at the money broken down by week for a personal trainer, it really doesn't seem to cost much.  If you are like me and looking for a manageable program that doesn't break the bank, not so much.  For the amount for 4 weeks (about 150.00) you can get a program that includes forums, tracking, etc.  It is really about what you are looking for.  If I had the money, and I trained with Sara here at my gym, I would be all over this. I would find the money. But with the small things together, I found that this was not the right plan for me.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jook, Congee, Rice Porridge Recipes

Oh how I love jook.  I found this out when I bought my Instant Pot and it had a congee button on it.  I figured I had to try it out as it was on my new toy.  Little did I know that I would stubble upon what was to be one of my favorite food dishes.

Jook, which is the common Chinese term for congee, has such a long history, that when reading up on traditional Chinese medicine, it is in every one of the books.  This item is cheap to prepare, is easy on the digestive system, great for a diet, good for old people, and is down right tasty.

You usually use water or broth and if possible the broth should be homemade.  Not all of us have that luxury, but if I make a whole chicken in my Instant Pot, I then have the meat and the broth.  The broth can be used right away or frozen for later.  And if you make your jook at the beginning of the week, it will stay good for about a week, if it lasts, in the fridge.

Depending on what region you are coming from, jook is made either with rice or millet.  You can make jook with almost every variety of grain and can mix for better flavor. I use cal rose rice, mostly because that is normally what I have on hand.  You could make a fragrant jook using jasmine!

I like to also finish mine off with some black sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil. There are many common condiments that are served with jook. If you are making this for friends or family, these can be set on the table for people to pick and choose from.  Of course the list is general and you can always add you own favorites.

Condiments:
sesame oil
finely chopped green onions
white pepper
sweet cucumbers chopped fine
cilantro
chopped peanuts
toasted sesame seeds
chicken meat
hot sauce

I will list some recipes below for you to try.  If any of the recipes are good for a certain ailment, I will put that with it.  For all of the recipes, the way that I make it, is to have 2 cups of rice (or millet) to 8-10 cups of water or broth.  I, as stated above use an electric pressure cooker which has a button for jook so its pre timed.  If you are using brown rice instead of white, use 10 cups of water and adjust the cooking time longer.  I add 5 minutes on my pressure cooker.

Scallion and Rice Jook (Good for cold and flu)
5 scallions
1 small knob of ginger
2 cups of rice

Rinse rice once or twice. chop scallions and add white parts along with grated ginger to the rice. Add broth or water (broth is preferable in this dish).  Cook jook in pressure cooker, or cook in electric rice cooker.   You may have to cook twice.  After jook is ready, you may want to use a hand blender to smooth out the jook.  Then add a small amount of fresh ginger and greens of scallions.  You may add cooked and shredded chicken meat to the jook and let it warm up if you want.

Mustard Jook (Good for cough with phlegm)
One small bunch mustard greens
2 cups of rice

Rince rice once or twice.  Chop up mustard greens.  Add 10 cups of water.  Cook in pressure cooker, rice cooker (May need twice), or on stove top.  Bring to boil then simmer low with cover until super tender.  You can use a hand blender to smooth this out and also use broth for the flavor.  Mustard greens may taste bitter.

Village Jook (This recipe comes from the Chinese Village Cookbook, a practical guide to cantonese country cooking)

1 cup long grain rice
5 quarts chicken stock
1 lb. ground pork
1 T dark soy sauce
1 t salt
2 stalks green onions
12 water chestnuts

Rinse rice 2-3 times. soak overnight. mince green onion and water chestnuts. mix with pork, soy sauce, and salt.
Bring stock and rice to boil, Simmer 2-3 hours until soup becomes thick and creamy and rice is breaking down. Turn up heat. Form pork into small balls and drop into soup.  Cook about 5 minutes or until pork is done.





Monday, May 19, 2014

Lose Weight Get in Shape with Sara Fennell 1 Week Check In

It's been a whole week so far!

I'm liking the workouts, but would like to workout more.  I hate cardio.  Did I say that I hate cardio? Yes. Yes I did. Thankfully that is limited to mornings (optional) and after lifting.

The food is going well for the most part.  I have the hardest time during the weekends when my husband wants to go out.  For him, it's better not to eat for a long time and then get some crap food.  Apparently, my need for a structured eating program is something I'm going to have to fight for.  He also likes to go out and buy wine.  How awesome.

No, I haven't been an angel about drinking.  I have limited it, but during the weekend, when my husband brings me wine, is a different story.  I need to just say no.

My water intake varies from day to day, but I'm doing a ton better.  If I am truly lacking I will go ahead and add some flavoring.  I know its a no-no, but sometimes it's worth it.

So.........first week check in.  I have lost 2 pounds in this first week.  Not bad for seemingly to be continually stuffing my face with food.  I know that if I can tighten up on my bad stuff this will happen quickly.  So, hopefully next week is better.

FYI - you check in every 2 weeks with Sara, officially.  You can always email her if you have questions.

Till later