Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sweet 16!

Mondays are my “official” weigh-in day and this past Monday marked eight weeks since I started using Shakeology as a replacement for at least one meal a day!  And with no other major changes to my routine, I can now say I have lost 16 pounds in those 8 weeks, busting through a plateau that I was stuck on for much of 2013!

I tend to be a tell-it-like-it-is sort of gal, and I truly believe that Beachbody's Shakeology, when coupled with my regular fitness regimen, is fixing the nutritional aspect of my fitness journey!  Nutrition is the biggest challenge for many of us as we work toward bettering ourselves, and I believe that all the good stuff packed into a serving of Shakeology has been the answer for me.

A few notes on my observations of Shakeology:
1.   From day one, I noticed that replacing my regular breakfast with Shakeology kept me feeling full and kept the munchies at bay through the morning and beyond.
2.   I’m super-regular. Enough said.
3.   My newfound weight-loss can’t be entirely attributed to Shakeology, as in addition to working out regularly and tracking my calories, there are other things that start to happen when you start to see positive changes, for example:
a.     You start to want to eat smarter.
b.     You don’t want to skip workouts.
c.     You want to make smart choices to maximize your results!
4.   On a related note, Shakeology is my “insurance”. It is the one easy thing I can do right EVERY SINGLE DAY!

5.   It’s more than a protein shake; it’s a nutrient-dense and all natural super-food shake, and in my opinion, IT’S DELICIOUS (especially when you throw the following in your blender: 1 serving of chocolate Shakeology, 1 c. skim milk, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1 banana, and about 5 ice cubes).

Proud to be an Athena!

I ran my first 5K back in 2010, and finally in 2013 I decided to join my local running club, the Calumet Region Striders.  Last Saturday, the Striders held their annual banquet, which provided me the opportunity to reflect on my 2013 participation in the Striders “Gold Cup Series”. 

In hindsight, 2013 was rough!  I gained weight and plateaued, and I really slacked on my running.  Ever since my first 5K in 2010, my aim has been to run at least one event per month.  In 2013, I got to the point that I wasn’t really running in between my events (I was still doing other workouts, but not running regularly).  I got slower.  But I knew I could get it done.  If it weren’t for the friendly competition presented by the Striders Gold Cup Series (I had to run at least 10 races from the Gold Cup “menu”.), I may have abandoned running.

5th Place Athena* for the 2013
Gold Cup Season!
I had previously set some running related goals for 2014 anyhow, primarily getting down to a 28:30 5K, and setting a 10K PR (personal record).  Saturday night inspired me to really get more serious about those goals, and really work hard to be the best me I can be, and really compete in the Athena* Division of the Gold Cup this year!  I’d like to see myself finish no less than 2nd place in the division for the 2014 season!  And if I stick to my plans for 2014, I know I can do it!

I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who provide leadership to the Calumet Striders!  You truly make a difference for so many of us! THANKS!

*For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Athena” as it relates to running, it’s what I call “the big girl division” for females who weigh more than 150 pounds.  There is also the “Clydesdale” division for males who weigh more than 190.  (I struggle to say the Clydesdale one with a straight face, because I just picture my brother-in-law galloping like a draft horse.)  When you sign up for Athena or Clydesdale it takes you out of competing with your age group, and pits you against other big people.  Quite frankly, I’d love to see those weights be a touch higher.  I’m built like a brick outhouse, not a runner, I probably haven’t weighed 150 since junior high (or maybe even elementary).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Getting Faster, Next Race, & Weight-Loss!

One of my goals for the year is to get back to my running best, which means I need to complete a 5K in better than 28:30.  I also want to set a PR (personal record) in a 10K (need to beat 64:20)!!  I’ve been putting forth more effort when it comes to training, and last Friday I had an amazing 5K (3.1 mile) run on the treadmill…I beat any recent times by at least 30 seconds.  I’m an interval runner, and I completed Friday’s run in 33:26, an average pace of 10:47/mile.  (I would run 6 minutes at 5.8ish mph, and then walk for 1 minunte at 4 mph, repeating these intervals for 3.1 miles.)  Not sure I ran a 5K that “fast” in all of 2013!

My next race is The Chi-TownBig Game 5K on Super Bowl Sunday (2/2/14) at Soldier Field in Chicago.  Last year was the inaugural event, which I participated in, and it was AWESOME!  The pre- and post- race events were held in the posh United Club in the stadium!!  Taking some family with me this time… the sis, bro-in-law, and maybe even my cousin!

SHAKEOLOGY UPDATE:  I’ve now been replacing at least one meal per day with Shakeology for 7 weeks, and am down 13.5 pounds!  If you’re new here, please scroll back through some of my other recent posts to learn more about me… one key point you’ll find is that I had hit a weight-loss plateau long ago and Shakeology has helped me start losing weight again!

I read or heard somewhere that when your body is getting the nutrients it really needs, that you don’t crave the “bad” stuff (the greasy, sugary, yummy bad stuff).  I’m beginning to think this is true.  The longer I’ve been incorporating Shakeology into my routine, the less I crave those things, which further helps my overall efforts!

For more on my Shakeology experiences, check out the following two recent blog posts:
12/26/13:  -7 Pounds in 3 Weeks
1/6/14:  I'll Give it a 10

If you’re ready to make a positive change in your health and wellness, contact me (there's a contact form on the right side of my blog, or find me on Twitter or Facebook).  We’ll build you a Beachbody Challenge Pack with Shakeology and a fitness program that suits your needs (whether it be the all-new 30-minute workouts of P90X3, Tony Horton’s 10-Minute Trainer, Insanity, T25, or one of many more great workouts)… a complete nutritional and exercise package!  And we can even get you plugged into an online Facebook support group of other like-minded people to help hold you accountable and challenge you to work hard to reach your goals!  (Learn more about the Beachbody Challenge at

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

That's Just Dopey!

Jeremy PR'ed the 26.2 & has announced
his retirement from full marathons.
My biggest news of the past week is that my brother-in-law logged 48.6 miles in 4 days at Walt Disney World!  A few years back my bro-in-law, Jeremy, decided he wanted to do something epic… he wanted to become a runner.  My sister Anne and I followed along with the idea and became runners too!  Over the weekend, Anne and Jeremy were in Florida for the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend where Jeremy completed his ultimate goal, the Dopey Challenge.

What, you might ask, is the Dopey Challenge?  Well that crazy son-of-a-gun ran a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday (along with my sister Anne), and the full marathon on Sunday!! In the process he earned two additional medals for the Goofy Challenge (half + full) and the Dopey Challenge (all four races)!!

Jeremy's inspirational message for you: "If you put your mind to it, it can probably drag your ass to the finish line!" He also added that "Princesses love finishers!"  You can follow Jeremy and Anne on Instagram:  Jeremy is @mrbasseypants and Anne is @boilerbean1.

My Bondi Band headband doubles as
an excellent lightweight ear warmer!

As for me, on Saturday while they were running a half marathon, which my sister said was the most hot and humid race she has ever run, I was running through icy slush puddles in beautiful Chicago, where I ran the Polar Dash 5K!  My unofficial time was 35:26, which WILL BE my slowest 5K of the year as I work my way back to 28:30 in 2014!  (As long as I gave my sis and bro-in-law Instagram shout-outs, I might as well reiterate mine: @joangrott

And finally, just an update on my on-going Shakeology “experiment”… after having hit a weight-loss plateau at 217 pounds, I’m now down to 205 after six weeks of replacing my breakfast with Beachbody’s Shakeology.  This is the only major change to my routine, and I now truly believe that Shakeology is helping me correct the nutritional piece of my health and fitness puzzle!

I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach, and my team will be conducting a Shakeology Test Panel for the month of February to celebrate the all-new strawberry flavor that just launched.  If you are interested in learning more, contact me quickly, as space is limited!  If you’re on Facebook, visit for more details.

For more on my Shakeology experiences, check out the following two recent blog posts:

Monday, January 6, 2014

I’ll Give it a 10!

It’s a snow day here in northwest Indiana…the best true blizzard we’ve had since I was a wee little one! Everything is closed, even the interstates, we’re under a state of emergency, and I’m looking at a 4-foot drift on my patio! (Oh, and it’s cold, -15*F with a wind chill that makes it feel like -38.)

Despite all that I’m having a 10-star day…

It’s Monday, which is my weigh-in day. After a long-held weight-loss plateau, I’m down 10 pounds in the past five weeks! And in an effort to keep it real with you…my starting weight was 217, and I’m down to 207! The thought of getting into the 100s is quite exciting, as it’s been a loooooong time since I was there (despite what my driver’s license may say). I’m just super-excited about this recent weight-loss trend, as I was stalled out for sooooo long. (See more about this in this blog post.)

Who needs a bullet blender?! The bottom
of your blender pitcher fits a mason jar!
After five weeks, I’m now confident in saying that Shakeology is helping me correct the nutritional piece of the health and fitness puzzle! It’s my insurance… it is one easy thing I can do right EVERY single day! It is the healthiest meal of my day, EVERY DAY! It’s way more than a protein shake; it’s a nutrient-dense and all-natural super food shake! Learn more here.

So, I dropped 10 pounds. And then, as I scrolled through my Facebook timeline today I learned that I was selected to be a Social Media Ambassador for Bondi Band! I first encountered Bondi Band at my first-ever 10K…the Sunburst Races in South Bend, IN back in June 2011. They offer a variety of hats, headbands, and compression socks, and in most of my race pictures you’ll see me sporting one of their headbands! Stay tuned for more information about my ambassadorship with Bondi Band!

Me in my fav Bondi Band at the April 2013
Dyngus Day Dash 5K - 2nd place Athena!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Running Through 2013

I ran through 2013 with my sister Anne, my friend Lindsey, Got Chocolate Milk's Team Refuel, and the Calumet Region Striders running club! I ran in 19 races and volunteered at the one and only Chicago Marathon! Check it out in 15 seconds in the video below. And follow me at Joan's Fitness Journey for regular updates and your daily dose of motivation!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New YOU!

Do you set goals or make resolutions? I go for goals. To me, resolutions have a negative connotation…fixing something you do wrong; whereas I feel goals are a way to shoot for the stars without necessarily dwelling on a negative! 

And I’ve already started working toward my 2014 goals…I didn’t need to wait until January 1st to begin working toward being the best me I can be! I’m refocusing on my running, and have big plans to crush my 5K personal record (PR) time in 2014…I’m shooting for 28:30! It’s scary, but I figure if your goals aren’t scary, you’re not shooting high enough!  (I also want to set a new 10K PR and get myself below 200 pounds and keep myself there…lost 8 in December, after being stalled out for a LONG time…entering 2014 at 209!)

So what are you doing to be the best YOU that you can be? Facebook or Tweet me and let me know!