22-Minute Hard Corps: The brand new Tony Horton military-style program released on March 1, with great anticipation! I was one of those people who bought on Day 1 and started streaming workouts the very next morning. 22 minutes for a full, sweaty workout? I'm there!
During this program, I was also had the final 6 weeks of marathon training. This was my second full marathon (26.2 miles) and I was determined to run the race injury-free. I accomplished that goal and SMASHED my previous personal record by over 2 hours! Read about it here.
My running schedule shifted the closer we got to our adoption. We ended up leaving for China on April 13th, about half-way through the 22-Minute Hard Corps program, and just 3 days after the marathon. While we were gone (about three weeks), I had planned to workout when I could. Our schedule was crazy and I learned very quickly on that my focus needed to be solely on our new daughter while we were making this huge transition. She had to come first, and so she did.
When we returned home, I decided to repeat Week 5 of the program and continue on from there. I went through each day and ran a long run on the weekends. One of the coaches on my team continued the program from start to finish, with no break, and I was inspired to watch her work through the 9th (and optional) Hell Week. I knew that if she was going to do it, so was I. There was no question.
While our family is still adjusting and our daughter does not usually sleep through the night, I powered through the double workouts on 6 hours of sleep each night, or less. I would not recommend this, but if you are, or ever have been, a new parent, you understand how things can go.
My go-to tricks included Beachbody Performance line products and daily Shakeology. I typically use the chocolate Recover formula after long runs or really tough workouts. The 20g of protein and no fillers really help my body feel better. Throughout the 8 weeks of the program, I would typically mix half of a scoop of Recover into my post-workout Shakeology shake. During Hell Week especially, I made sure to add in the Energize, Hydrate, and Creatine formulas. These are amazing products, and I would only feel confident to recommend them after learning about the ingredients and knowing how I felt using them. Energize DOES give a bit of a buzz, so I only recommend this as long as it is not coupled with coffee! Hydrate is one of two hydration formulas on the market that does not negatively affect my stomach (Sword is the other). Creatine I used on occasion after tough resistance workouts, but not nearly as often as the others.
After completing this program, I have to say, I have been truly impressed. I love the three rounds of exercises, the inclusion of weight training, and the simplicity of everything. Modifiers always helped me when my knees could not take one more lunge. I wasn't sure how effective 22 minutes would be, but now I am a believer! And as a mom of three young kids, my time is precious and I can't be wasting it! This program allowed me to get in, get out, and get results.
Speaking of results, the PT Fit Test was a great indicator of my progress. I more than doubled the amount of pushups I was able to do, and increased all the other areas as well. My core got stronger and I was able to hold my plank longer without really even doing planks in the workouts. For someone who loves the gym, loves to workout, this program is perfect for you! If you are just getting started in fitness, this is a great starting point for you, too. Again, having those modifiers makes you feel like you can keep up and go at YOUR own pace. Everyone can do this!
I have to be completely honest. My nutrition was not 100% on track with this program. Had it been, I am sure I would have gotten great visible results. While marathon training, it is easy to excuse a few extra tortilla chips and salsa, or add on the carbs. By now, I know my body. I don't HAVE to eat very many carbs, even as a runner. However, those are my favorite, and I tend to overdo it (yes, even "clean" foods need to be in moderation), especially when training. While in China, we were at the mercy of the food there. Had it not been for Shakeology (even though I had to mix it with bottled water and no ice most of the time), I think my body would have never bounced back. Very little foods are fresh in China, and our meals consisted of mostly carbs, pork, fried and smothered dishes. I could not WAIT to get back to the U.S. for a green salad (and that is saying a LOT from someone who hates salad)!
If you want to make REAL changes. You HAVE to tighten up your nutrition. That's all there is to it. Many people complain that they are working so hard in the gym or running a million miles but not seeing any change in the mirror. That's because you HAVE to change how you eat if you want results. That is the truth. This is why I am not surprised that I have maintained through this program. I know what I ate, and had I been on track more, the results would have been clearer.
This is what I DO know:
If you WANT to improve your health and fitness, let me know. THIS is my passion. I want to help as many people as possible to end the trend of obesity. If a 22-minute workout program and simple color-coded containers is what it takes, let's do it! If you want accountability and support from someone who has been there (but is not perfect and fails forward), hit me up. I KNOW how hard it is to make these changes, believe me! I did not lose 35lbs overnight. It took TIME. It took consistency, and it took EFFORT. But, it was WORTH it.
Let's talk about my next challenge group and how you can get the support you need from like-minded people. Remember: YOU ARE WORTH IT. Let's go #GetSome!!!
I had run long-distance in high school track because I was never "fast." I ran off and on through college to keep from gaining the "freshman fifteen." I was a yo-yo runner. I didn't run consistently, but only when I felt I needed to get my weight back down or try to improve my health. Then the brownies and ice cream would come calling my name.
After my Dad passed away, I used running as an outlet. I ran 3 miles, 3 times a week in hopes of dropping some baby weight after my second pregnancy. I still ate tons of sweets and processed foods and never lost any weight. However, my endurance increased, so I changed my goals to longer distance, rather than weight loss. I ran my first half marathon in May 2013, 30lbs heavier than I am now.
So what changed?
I looked back at my pictures and I was disappointed. I knew I HAD to change the way I ate, or I would never truly change. Beginning in August 2013, I made one small substitution at a time towards clean eating. Sweet potatoes for white, wheat bread versus white, honey instead of sugar, etc. Very slowly, over time, I lost over 30lbs by Christmas and kept running. It was a very difficult journey, as I was making these changes alone. I had very little support and very few people understood why I wasn't eating the same and would make the remarks about being careful not to lose too much weight. I knew what I was doing was best for my body. Over time, I was able to maintain that weight loss and haven't looked back.
The biggest problem was that I did not have the tools to help other people do the same. No one seemed to have the patience to learn about clean eating on their own, though everyone around me wanted to know the "secret." Well, the secret is making those hard choices day after day. The hard decision to eat whole foods when everyone around you is not. It's not easy, but it is worth it.
So, marathon training...
In 2014, I felt called to run the Walt Disney World Marathon as a Show Hope Advocate to help raise money for a family to adopt their child. Our family had always wanted to adopt, but it wasn't our time, so I ran for someone else, someone I didn't even know, and raised over $3,800.00 through my training. I had never run a full marathon before and I honestly didn't know much about what I was doing.
I had learned to run half marathons with intervals, like the Jeff Galloway method. Since he is a huge partner with Disney races, I looked up his training plans and felt that it would ease me into the process and allow me to start and finish the 26.2 miles without killing my body in the process. The beginning plan is about six months long, with three runs per week. I began training in June 2014 for a January 2015 race.
As the training went on, I found myself pushing the plan. I ran more miles when I felt well, and I ended up having several 100+ mile months. When I wasn't running, I was hitting the gym and going on the elliptical or messing around with upper body strength machines. I thought I knew what I was doing and felt confident that the cross-training was beneficial.
After my 22-miler in November, I started having serious knee issues, eventually developing into tendonitis in BOTH knees. I was also experiencing some stomach issues with the Honey Stinger gels (seemed to be a "cleaner" version of fuel than GU). I ended up in physical therapy for the last six weeks of my marathon training. I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon injured from Mile 1. It was painful. It was hard. By Mile 18, my stomach gave out and I was taking baby steps to keep moving forward. I walked a lot. Because this race meant so much to me, I knew I was never giving up. If I had to walk the whole way, I would finish. By Mile 24, I was able to "speed walk" and that would be it. I finished in 6:36:40.
And THIS is where the story changes...
After feeling completely burned out and stressed out, I found something new to me: Beachbody. Go ahead, roll your eyes...because that's what I did, too! I knew nothing about this company except I had heard of Insanity and P90X from infomercials. I connected with a girl who was a coach and explained that I was already a runner, already a clean eater, and I wasn't sure how Beachbody was going to make me healthier than I already was.
This is what I learned: While my nutrition was better because I was eating whole foods, I was not eating the correct portion sizes or types of whole foods. I was still living with too many carbs and not enough veggies. I excused this behavior by claiming my runner status. Shakeology sounded like the protein shake I was already making, but the more I researched, the more I found that it was filling in those gaps in my nutrition and giving me the energy I was lacking. The programs that they offer can all be done from home, eliminating my need to leave my kids and go to the gym. I was a skeptic. I was unsure. BUT--I was burned out, tired, and needing something new.
After joining as a coach, I also participated in several challenge groups and then began hosting my own groups to share what I had learned. The groups provided daily accountability and camaraderie with others who were also just trying to live a healthier lifestyle. It was encouraging, supportive, and I felt like I was making friends with people who really understood the struggles of meal planning, getting kids to eat healthier snacks, and staying motivated every single day. We were in it together.
I started with 21-Day Fix and completed 3 rounds. I kept very strict to the program so that I could see the best results. Sticking with portions did not make me starve, in fact, I found that I was eating more than I anticipated and still lost a pant size! I kept running through this program, as well as getting stronger through the workouts. I ran less, about 1-2 days/week, but I ran for me...and I started to enjoy it again.
In the fall, I started training again for the Marshall University Half Marathon, with my sights set on a personal record, and going for a sub-2-hour half. (My previous Half PR was 2:05). I ran about 2 days a week and completed the 8-week PiYo program and stuck to my clean eating and Shakeology. No more stomach problems. No injuries. My body felt better than ever and I set a PR at 2:02. I realized that THIS STUFF WORKS! I was loving my routine and loving running for ME.
When registration opened for the Pittsburgh Full Marathon, I decided to sign up. Pittsburgh is my hometown, and since I had done the half twice, I wanted to complete the full at least once as a bucket list item. I had about 6 months to train, but I decided to hold off. I didn't want to over-train like I had for Disney.
After the Marshall University Half in November 2015, I set a personal record in my 5K race as well. My previous 5K was 25:34, and after my training with PiYo and the half marathon, I was able to finish with a 24:54. I was convinced that less running, proper cross-training, and great nutrition were the key to my success.
I spent the next two months training with The Master's Hammer & Chisel program right from my home. I modified and did not have a weight bench or pull-up bar, but I used what I had and resistance bands and door attachment. My strength was increasing daily and I LOVED this program. I had never done so many squats in my life. It was like having a personal strength trainer right in my living room! Because this program was more intense than some of the others, I ran 1-2 days a week, and kept a 10-mile base run on the weekends. I wanted to keep that endurance up through the "off season."
In January, I started training again for the full. As our adoption process moved forward, I realized that the Pittsburgh full would likely fall at the same time that we would be out of the country. So, I made some adjustments, and switched my Xenia, Ohio Half Marathon registration to the Full Marathon so that I could use my training for something. At that point, I had already trained to about 18 miles.
Along with the clean eating, portion control, and Shakeology, I started to use the Beachbody Performance Line products with my long runs and harder workouts. I had used the Energize and Recover, but I have to admit, Recover is my favorite. It is like drinking chocolate milk, but has the nutrients to help your muscles recover better than anything else. I started experiencing leg cramps around Mile 7-9 of every training run. I had no idea why, but within 5 minutes of drinking Recover, the tightness was completely eliminated, which is something that used to take an Epsom salt bath to cure. After realizing the effectiveness of that formula, I kept it with me for every long run so I could drink it immediately after a run and keep my muscles feeling good.
As race day approached, I knew that my training runs were proving that I could get around my 4:45 goal time. I had only been able to train up to 20 miles, and knowing my previous marathon experience, I was a bit nervous about my stomach holding out or my legs giving me trouble after 18 miles. But--I KNEW this training season was different. Less miles, less training time, better nutrition, more strength, and zero burn out.
While the weather was cold, windy, and a bit challenging, the Xenia course is fairly flat and honestly felt like a training run. And mentally, that is what I told myself it was. Just a training run. The water stops and volunteers were great, but it was certainly a no-frills race. Just a training run, right? In my head, I challenged myself to see how close I could get to 4:30 (just because I always want to push), but the later miles were passing more slowly than I had hoped. I KNEW 4:45 would be beat, so I just gave it my all and decided to go for it and be happy with my result. My body was tired and sore, like any body is when it is torn down for 26.2 miles, but it was NOTHING like Disney. I was not crawling at Mile 18. I wasn't crying at Mile 20, and I was still running at Mile 26.
I crossed the finish line and saw 4:35. I did it. I beat my first marathon by OVER 2 HOURS! Who does that? My official time was 4:35:24 and I am very pleased with that. I would like to say that it was hard work that paid off, but honestly, I feel like I worked SMARTER this time around, not harder.
Here is the thing. We runners are a weird bunch. We run, we justify eating poorly, and we burn a ton of calories. Runners will run because they don't have time or don't want to cross-train. Runners believe that hitting the road is good enough. Runners don't think about portions or food groups, but indulge in carbo-loading and celebrating with friends. I know this because I am a runner.
But, take a lesson from me. Nutrition matters. Cross-training matters. Portions matter. And eating the right food groups matters. Running can be adjusted. You don't HAVE to run 5-7 days a week to see improvement.
I learned all this through Challenge Groups. And now, I am a coach who teaches these things on a daily basis. It keeps ME accountable. It keeps ME on the right track. This fall will mark my 3-year anniversary of eating clean, and I have maintained my 30lb+ weight loss and never felt better.
Contact me today about getting on the right track. I want to help you achieve those goals that you have set for yourself. I will help you get set up with the right program for YOU and nutrition to stay on track. Be stubborn about your goals. Be flexible about your methods. Start where you are.
Oh my goodness, the program I have been waiting for since last year's Summit announcement is about to hit my online Beachbody store on March 1st!!!! Woop woop! Check it out:
I know the excuses: You’re too busy. The workouts are too difficult. You don’t have the space or the budget for tons of equipment. I've heard every excuse imaginable for not getting in shape, and I'm SO EXCITED because this program puts an END to three of the biggest obstacles holding people back: Time, experience, and convenience.
22-Minute Hard Corps is your no-nonsense, boot-camp-butt-kicking fitness program. Legendary trainer Tony Horton (you know, the P90X guy?) has created a challenging, but simple to follow workout program inspired by training program techniques used in the military. Each workout is a quick--and intense--total body drill designed to get participants "boot camp fit" in just 8 weeks. Each day of the program consists of a series of total body rounds within the 22 minute workout window, rotating through functional resistance, cardio, and core focused workouts.
Why I am excited about this?
I mean, check out these results!!!! That's only 8 weeks!
What inspired 22 Minute Hard Corps?
The men and women of the United States military. During the last 15 years, Horton has toured dozens of bases all over the world, helping troops in every branch of the armed forces maximize their physical potential. “I have tremendous respect for our troops,” says Horton. “And I wanted to honor them by creating a simple, challenging, boot camp-style program that delivers functional, real-world strength to everyday people.”
A word from Tony Horton:
“If you can carve out 22 minutes a day to exercise — and believe me, everyone can — you have all the time you need to lean out and muscle up,” says Horton. “This program is fast. It’s furious. And it only requires a few key pieces of equipment. I don’t care how many times you’ve tried and failed to get in shape in the past — if you want to be leaner and stronger than you are right now, this program will get you there.”
What are the exercises like?
What equipment do I need?
I'm not in basic training shape. Can I really do this workout?
While 22 Minute Hard Corps might sound intimidating, Horton promises that anyone can do it — regardless of fitness level. “Every exercise has modifier, so even if you can’t do the main move, you can do a less difficult version of it that hits the same muscles. Either way, you’re going to sweat buckets. This program is tough. But if you finish all eight weeks, you’ll see a leaner, stronger person staring back at you in the mirror — and that’s a powerful experience.”
SO many people WANT to be ready for summer. NOW is the time! Are YOU gonna be ready?
If you’re willing to step up and commit to spending 8 weeks with Tony Horton and 22 Minute Hard Corps, you’ll walk away Boot Camp Fit—even in the best shape of your life. It won’t just give you a mission-ready physique—you’re going to have to EARN it—but Tony supplies you with all the tools and motivation you need to blow past the limits of what you thought you could do. MY job as a coach is to help you with every step along the way! What do YOU need to do? You just show up…keep up…and you will get in great shape. The training is basic, but the results are absolutely epic.
Want to be ready when 22-Minute Hard Corps is available on March 1st?
Enter your name and info in the spaces provided to make sure you get the heads-up when 22 Minute Hard Corps is on deck. You won’t want to miss the cut on our initial shipment of orders, so sign up now!
Ready to get started?
Here are three tips to get the most out of the program:
1. Don’t Miss Any Days
The most important element of any training program is consistency. “If you only workout two or three days a week, you won’t see dramatic results,” says Horton. “It would be like only going to work three days a week, or only eating twice a week.”
2. Dial in Your Diet
“I can tell you a thousand stories of people who do the workout, but don’t do the diet, and get ho-hum results,” says Horton. “Your diet has to be on point. If you want to train like a warrior, you have to eat like a warrior.” With the accompanying Rations for Results meal plan, Horton will show you how easy it is to make healthy eating choices a habit.
3. Don’t Overdo It
“Too many people let their ego get in the way of a good workout,” says Horton. “Don’t try to blow the doors off the first few times—be patient, pace yourself, and do the modifiers if you need to.” You have to push yourself to see results, but you should never peter out early. “Finish every workout,” says Horton. “No excuses.”
Wife. Mother. Runner. Coach. Adoption Advocate. I strive to share HOPE through my journey and help others reach their goals.