As I write this blog, I'm sipping on a 200 calorie raw protein recovery smoothie. I've just completed my third and final week one workout. Today is another 1000 calorie day, and I think my body is beginning to adjust to the reduction, but it's still...unfun. However, I've been loading up on even more vegetables than before, and I didn't even think that was possible. Get this: in the official 1000 Calorie Challenge diet plan, there's a list of "free vegetables" that don't count towards your calorie counts for the day, and this list includes some of my all time faves like Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, all lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, and carrots. So, now not only am I packing greens and homegrown microgreens into my smoothies by the fistful, I'm piling veggies on my plate so high there's a mini mountain of them next to my high calorie items.
So, week one is in the bag, and I haven't written anything about the cardio days, have I? The 1000 Calorie Challenge comes with a manual called "Interval Training", which will give you the rundown on everything you should be doing on the days you're NOT doing the actual 1000 Calorie Challenge workout. If you're familiar with Tabata training and HIIT, you're in luck, because you already know exactly what to do. I'm a big fan of HIIT, and I just so happened to have some extra tools in my collection that make this workout plan even easier. Let me explain...
For the main workouts that you perform three times a week, there are videos you can follow along with and even convenient mp3s that you can use instead with all the cues timed up for you. However, the interval training is largely up to the individual. Specific instructions are given, but since you can get a HIIT workout doing pretty much any exercise you want, it's difficult to provide hard rules for the workouts. Fortunately, I have two extras at my disposal: Beachbody's Turbo Fire, and an adorable pink Gymboss Interval Timer.
If you don't have any experience with these things, let me tell you how awesome they are. So seriously awesome. This will be my third use for this neat little tool over the last year and a half, the last two being endurance running and bodyweight exercises a la BodyRock TV.
If you have this, you can just set the timers according to the instructions in the Interval Training manual and get to whatever it is you love doing without worrying about checking a clock or a watch. I can use this for sprinting outside, jumping rope, or whatever moves I feel like using that day, and plenty of examples are given in the manual. In addition, I also have 4 interval training sessions on DVD that came with my Turbo Fire workout from Beachbody. So I can either get outside and take a break from the apartment workouts, or I can stay in when it's too hot or cold and simply pull out the 15, 20, 25 or 30 minute HIIT workouts I happen to have here.
So, next week it looks like I'm actually increasing my workout times from 26 to 36 minutes, and adding in some pull up bar exercises. I just pulled my Iron Gym out of my room from last year's P90X experiment and I'm gonna put it up on my cheat day, preferably while eating something awful just to spite it's existence. The cheat day has really made a big difference in the motivation it takes to significantly reduce calories. Instead of just going to grab whatever it is that I want, I just write down the things that I really want in the moment, and then go over the list on cheat day and pick out the ones I want the most. It's interesting just how little I want a lot of the foods on the list after the moment has passed.
I'm also pairing this new workout program with a brand new herbal fitness formula I created recently to boost cardiovascular endurance, energy, support my immune system and adrenals, and much more. This stuff is amazing! It's loosely based on the Chinese women's Track and Field teams herbal formula with a little tweaking here and there, but the effects are wonderful and I'm really happy with it. No caffeine, no sugar, and it's perfect for long term use. If you're looking for something safe and legal to give you that extra edge, I'm getting it with this.
Are you on the fence about this program? I'm definitely no expert, having just started it myself, but leave a comment with any questions and I'll see if I can't answer them for you.