4-week SHRED: Alex kills it in Week 2!

Alex (on the left) after successfully completing Week 2

Alex has officially completed week 2 of her 4-week GRIT by Brit Shred plan. Long story short – she killed it! You probably remember that Week 1 was all about “adjustments” but week 2 was all about “achievements.”  Below is her progress report; be sure check back next Thursday for her week 3 update.  Lots of luv, Brit 🙂

Weight

I’ve lost a few pounds but mostly lost inches. I got into my skinny jeans and can breathe in them – yay! Even better, I went shopping for a few staple items and was so happy I could fit most of the items I picked out!

Diet

Overall, my diet was a really good last week. I stayed within my 1,600 calorie budget everyday! I also incorporated a few “tricks” to keep my eating in check.  Like when I eat out, I look at the menu beforehand and plan what I’m going to order. Also drinking lots of water (sometimes 1 gallon per day) and unsweetened tea has a help me manage my diet.  Last, cooking at home for the week has helped me save time and money and cut calories. Stir-fry is my default and love!  (below is a pic of my favorite meal – organic (no-gmo) tofu stirfry)

Exercise

I’ve kept up with my GRIT by Brit workout plan for the most part. I missed my Saturday workout, but I actually still got some exercise in during the day by walking around and do some heavy lifting at a trade show that Sporty Afros was participating in. I kept my heart rate monitor on the entire day of the trade show and ended up burning 500 calories during the day!

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Fit for Office? Election 2012 Energizer Workout!

While I actually HATE politics, I do LOVE my country!  Election Day always gives me a natural feeling of US pride, gratefulness for my rights and appreciation of our history.  Here’s the workout I did this morning to build on the natural energy that permeates our nation on this awesome day.  Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc. we are all HUMAN and our HEALTH is a universal need.  So while you’re getting excited (or jaded) by this year’s election, do your body and mind some good by knocking out my 30 min “Election Energizer” workout.  Go hard, get a good sweat and Viva USA!

P.S.  Much love to all of my international followers as well 😉

  • Duration:30 minutes
  • Equipment: NONE, open area needed to jump around, piece of tape on the floor (or an imaginary line)
  • Calories Burned: 300 – 400
  • Focus: Maximum calorie burn, core toning, leg toning

Exercise Demonstrations for Complex Moves

Calf Jumps (continuous)

Side to Side Ski

Skater Leap

Flutter Kicks

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Brit’s Booty Builder

The good Lord didn’t see it fit to bless Brit with a booty…but it’s all good!

So yesterday I was chatting with one of my male buddies who asked, “Brit, why are you making booty BURN workouts? I think you should make booty BUILD workouts. Honestly, I appreciate a sizable behind!”

This got me thinking, we all have different “ideal” body preferences, which is a good thing. After all, variety is the spice of life! If you are like me and not naturally blessed with a “bangin’ booty” here is a workout that can help us get some nice firm, junk in our trunks. We’ll also build lower body strength and burn a lot of calories in the process – enjoy 🙂

  • Workout name: Brit’s Booty Builder
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Focus: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings
  • Calories burned: 200-250
  • Equipment needed: 2 heavy dumbbells/hand weights
  • Instructions: I’ve included some vidoes below to demo the exercises that may be confusing

Hamstring Curls

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmoRd3v-wtg]

Plyo Lunges

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiGxyswNsA]

Bridge Pulses
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxyPwHY9rXc]

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4-week SHRED week 1 update: Alex adjusts to meet her goals!

Alex on the right @ hair expo in Oklahoma City last weekend

In case you missed the kick off, Alex (@Alexandriawill) is my new 4-week challenge chick, CLICK HERE to check out her full 4-week GRIT by Brit SHRED plan.  After 1 solid week on the plan, Alex has learned some lessons about herself, her eating habits and her fitness.  Here are her thoughts:

  • Calorie counting is key, but too few calories are not beneficial – Really proud of myself on the calorie control because I was counting EVERYTHING I ate and if I didn’t know the calorie count, I would over estimate it.  However, I realized I was not having enough calories at one point and ended up feeling a little sick.  So I adjusted to ensure I got the calories my body needed while still staying in my budget.
  • Continuous diet adjustments are needed for success  – I realized I needed to consistently eat smaller meals/snacks throughout the day instead of 3 larger meals.  My eating habits are just that HABITS. On the weekends I eat 2-3 larger meals (probably 2) and 1-2 snacks where as during the week I eat much smaller meals with snacks every so hour.  Since I’m working out a lot more during the week on the GRIT by Brit SHRED plan, my body wants more energy = food.
  • Gotta keep it together on the weekends – I realized I binge bad on the weekends, even with just 1-2 meals. Couple that with not working out and I just killed all the work I did for 5 days! I crashed and burned this past weekend with being out of town for a natural hair expo in Oklahoma City. I didn’t fully prepare as I wanted too and eating in Oklahoma City as a vegetarian on a budget was harder than I expected. I simply didn’t have time to find a Subway at 11pm when things close at 10pm. I also just went into a “screw it” moment and forgot my whole goal. I was walking around, presenting and dancing during the weekend, but overall my eating habits were very poor – time of month too!  (maybe TMI, but hey, we’re family).  Overall, I am proud of my progress so far and I will push even harder in week 2!

BRIT’S 2 POINTS OF ADVICE FOR ALEX

  1. Great adjustment on the calorie intake! Remember, a calorie budget helps prevent over eating, but under eating can be counter productive to weight loss as well.  When we don’t eat enough calories, our body goes into starvation mode and our metabolism slows down, thus we burn less calories at rest.
  2. If you know it’s going to be tough to stick with the plan on the weekends, go ahead and adjust your week day diet and workout regiment to be more strict to make up for your “slacker” days.  An extra 10-20 minutes of cardio and a few super lean meals will help balance things out so you can meet your goals.
Alex pumped up and ready to kick start the 4-week SHRED plan at Body Pump class with Brit
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The ONLY way to lose weight…

Forget the B-12 injections, fad diets, miracle drinks, diet pills and quick fix workout plans.  Ask anyone who has successfully lost weight AND kept it off and they will tell you that they ATE LESS and MOVED MORE.  Burning more calories than you consume is the ONLY true scientific way to lose weight.  In reality, this is easier said than done.  So here are some helpful tips that have kept me on track during my weight management journey:

  • I CAN’T out exercise a bad diet – No matter how much I hit the gym, it’s simply too hard to burn off all of the calories of a bad diet.  Think about it, a burger and fries could be around 2,000 calories.  This means 2 hours of high intensity cardiovascular exercise to work it off.  There’s simply not enough time in the day to truly burn off the calories in a bad diet.
  • I CAN use exercise to speed up weight loss – You must burn 3,500 calories more than you consume to legitimately lose 1 pound.  So if you take on a low-calorie diet PLUS burn an extra 400-600 calories per day through an hour of exercise, you will obtain your dream body much sooner!
  • HOW MUCH I eat is more important than WHAT I eat – Look, you can eat too many apples and still be fat.  A calorie, is a calorie is a calorie. If you eat too many calories without burning them off, you WILL gain weight.  Don’t be deceived by healthy foods. Too much of ANY food will still pack on pounds.
  • MAKE yourself love fruits, veggies and water – No matter how much I try, I find it nearly impossible to get my body the nutrition it needs within my daily caloric budget without lots of water, fruits and veggies.  No other foods are as low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins.  Also, the water keeps my metabolism revved up and makes me feel full.

Keep these points in mind and you start your week.  Even a small personal commitment to be more active during the day, eat less or drink more water can make a big impact on your weight management.

I love a good sweat session BUT it MUST go hand in hand with a low-calorie, nutritious diet!

What’s more difficult for you?  Eating less?  Or moving more?

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NEW 4-Week SHRED: Health & Hair with Alex!

Meet Alex, co-founder of SportyAfros.com and my newest 4 week challenge chick!  Alex and I became gym buddies/good friends about a year ago and always try to inspire each other – she does a great job at this 🙂  As a triathlete and hair care guru, Alex is always looking for new ways to enhance her fitness, detox her diet and live an overall healthy lifestyle.

Scroll down to check out the fitness and nutrition plan I’ve put together for her.  Also come back to track her progress each week and, even better, try the plan for yourself!

Notice that I have given Alex a sneak sample copy of my GRIT by Brit Ultimate Body Burn DVD (Have you watched the promo yet?).  She will be my live “guinea pig” to show you results.  Not only that, she’ll be sharing with us unique ways that she keeps her hair looking good while pumpin’ and sweatin’ on my fitness plan.  Wish her the best – LET’S GO ALEX!

Alex’s Goals:

  • Complete the 4–week plan
  • Increase energy
  • Diet detox
  • Lose 10 pounds!

And here’s her GRIT by Brit plan…

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Dear (Food) Journal,

While I am admittedly no financial whiz, I am thoroughly familiar with the practice of budgeting… (after all, it’s expensive living in NYC, and a girl’s gotta eat!). A budget is a breakdown of one’s expected income and expenses, and provides consumers with the power to adjust their spending/saving/investing behavior according to their desired financial goals.

But what does any of this have to do with nutrition, you may be wondering?

Funny you should ask  🙂

Just like budgeting moola to help us spend more responsibly, we also can budget our food intake to help us improve our eating habits and overall health. Before creating any budget, however, we need to first assess our habits – right now. This is where FOOD JOURNALS come in. Food journals are a powerful tool for doing a diet inventory (kind of like expense reports!).

When I meet with a client for the first time, I usually instruct them to keep a week’s worth of food journals documenting everything they consume (including portion sizes, method of preparation, and brand). I also encourage clients to make note of any emotions before, during, and after the meal or snack. Finally, I have them rate their satiety level on a scale of one to ten (1 being ravenous, 10 being stuffed).

Food journals not only provide insight into your eating patterns — what, how much, and even how food you’re eating — they can also give you ideas about the types of dietary adjustments you can make for the better. Another significant benefit of food journaling is that the very act of tracking your food intake can actually lead to making healthier dietary choices! Food journaling has even been shown to help people lose weight (probably because it promotes more mindful eating).

Here are some examples of new insights you might discover:

  •  You’re still hungry after your typical salad + soup lunch — which also happen to be lacking in protein. Intervention idea #1: Add some beans to your salad, a slice of whole grain bread with hummus, or a greek yogurt to your lunch for an added protein punch.
  • You overeat in response to boredom, loneliness, excitement, guilt, etc. Intervention idea #2: Make a list of alternative activities you can do instead of eating, and choose one of these next time you feel triggered by one of these emotions.
  • You eat a generally healthy, balanced diet during the day, but find yourself binging on junk food every night. Intervention idea #3: Throw out the junk food you have stocked in your kitchen so that it’s less convenient (or impossible) to access at night. If you feel that completely cutting out your nightly post-dinner sweet fix is too drastic, replace the junk with a bowl of fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt instead.

There are a ton of snazzy apps and websites out there dedicated to making the pursuit of food journaling easy and fun, while offering a lot of other neat resources as well (see below). For example, Supertracker will analyze your nutrient intake based on your estimated requirements (you have to enter some additional personal data to use this feature), and offers a physical activity tracker , a recipe data base, and customized health tips.

While food journaling can certainly be a big help for checking in with eating habits, reducing mindless eating, and inspiring healthy dietary changes, I wouldn’t recommend it as a long-term intervention.  Writing down everything you eat all the time isn’t exactly practical, can get annoying, and can make you obsess unnecessarily. As Brit preaches in her last post, a healthy lifestyle (including nutritious eating) is all about BALANCE. Food journaling should not be used as a means to gain ultimate control over food. Rather, think of food journaling as check-up tool, with the intention of gaining a better sense of the connection between your current eating habits and your body’s needs.

Bon appetit, GRIT by Brit readers!

Guest post by FalafeLover, Grit by Brit Nutrition Expert – A registered dietitian, psychological counseling grad student, former Israeli professional basketball player, former college teammate of Brit.

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The Beauty of Balance…living a healthy lifestyle

To be fit requires only physical strength and endurance, but to be well requires additional elements of mental, emotional and spiritual development.  I don’t know about you, but I often overemphasize the “physical” element of my wellness because it’s more tangible and makes me feel productive.   However, simply relaxing, enjoying life and spending time with the people we love is just as, if not more, important than exercise.   This weekend I focused on the “mental” and “emotional” aspects of my wellness with some good ole’ fashioned friends and family time.

On Friday night, I hosted a ladies’ a book club with my fabulous girlfriends in Dallas.  Positive energy filled the room as we laughed, ate good food, sipped EXCELLENT wine (thanks to my girl Amy Hampton, Founder and Owner of Sociologie Wine) and engaged in heartfelt and inspiring fellowship…

Then on Saturday, my mom and I drove to Lubbock, TX to visit my little sister who is on the varsity dance team at Texas Tech University.   It was a great opportunity to share what’s been on our minds and enjoy the authentic, West Texas culture.  We also went to the Texas Tech football game to watch my lil’ sis cheer and dance on the sidelines.  People have always told me that I’m a lucky charm, and this week I proved them correct.  TX Tech football upset #5 West Virginia.  Yea buddy – GUNS UP, Red Raiders!

While this weekend I didn’t workout as hard as I usually do  (i.e. skipped my 2-hour Saturday Detox) I appreciated the beauty of balance.  As we all start a new week,  I encourage each of you take a moment and reflect upon your overall wellness.

Is there an element of your wellness that you tend to neglect?  

One that you overemphasize?   

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Wednesday Workout: Sweat, Tone, Sweat!

Good morning everyone!  Here’s your Wednesday Workout.  I tested this bad boy on Monday night and it’s definitely GRIT by Brit worthy.  The workout requires a stationary bike and 2 light hand weights.  The key is to stay on the bike and cycle for the entire duration of the workout.  It takes about 1 hour to complete and you can expect to burn 500-700 calories.  You can also expect to sculpt some lean sexy arms in the process.  Try it out and let me know how it goes.  Lots of luv, Brit 🙂

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4-week Challenge Final Update: Lak’s Top 5 Lessons for Healthy Living

4-week Shape-up Challenge: Lakshmi’s Final Update

I’ve spent 4 weeks on the Grit by Brit shape-up plan and in the infamous words of Ms. Brit, “I’ve seen some things.” Maybe more accurately, I’ve learned some things – about myself, my habits and my goals:

  1. Success is a commitment – I’ve finally realized that when it comes to my body and my health, achieving a goal does not happen at a finite point in time. It’s a continual commitment. There is a reason that the phrase is “healthy lifestyle,” and not “healthy moment.” Achieving a healthy lifestyle requires commitment to a healthy life. It’s not one of those quick fix wedding boot camps – be intensely committed for 3 weeks, look buff for the big day and then stop once he’s passed you the ring. Being healthy is something that I need to consider every time I want to eat something or be active (or not active).
  2. It takes a village – Hillary Clinton was so right – you can’t do this alone. Get supporters to cheer you on when you’re doing well. And to scold you when you’ve fallen off the wagon. Talking about my healthy life goals reinforced them in my head (the whole “speak it into existence” idea) and helped make those around me accountable for my success, too. No one wants to watch someone fail in health. If you tell people about who you want to be, they will enable success.
  3. My body is smarter than I am – My brain is my worst enemy. It tells me I’m hungry when I’m not. It tells me I need to stop cycling when I shouldn’t. It tells me to not get out of bed when I need to. Turn the brain off. I learned to listen to my body. Am I hungry? Let me ask my energy level and stomach. Can I go further? Let me ask my legs and heart. Sometimes the answer is “Yes, stop! You’ve worked too hard” and other times it’s all “Lakshmi, please, your grandmother could keep going.” Whatever the question, I learned to let my body answer instead of my brain.
  4. I am not perfect – Brit was continually telling me to not be so hard on myself. I find that when I hold myself to the expectation that my healthy behavior must be 100% compliant with the plan, I fail hard. And once I fail, I can’t pick myself back up. I need to lower the expectations of myself and minimize the impact of the failures so that I can get right back on-track.
  5. I am perfect – You all read about how a woman mistook me for being pregnant. My self-esteem after that episode was low. WAY LOW. But then I realized, I am who I am. I am a fertile looking woman, who is great as she is. I have (finally) realized that the whole idea that people come in different sizes isn’t necessarily because they have varying abilities to portion control. Instead, it’s sometimes just because you were handed those genes. I was at the Levi’s store this weekend (amazing transition from genes to jeans) and noticed that all their fits had positive names (Slight, Demi, Bold, Supreme Curve). This taught me my size – no matter what it is – is awesome.

Thanks friends for reading! And thanks Brit for being both my good cop and my bad cop.

Missed one of Lakshmi’s updates?  Catch up on her journey here:

Kick Off, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

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