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90 day Natural Fitness challenge: Day 25 DIET VS. EXERCISE

Assuming you are one of millions who struggle with staying lean and mean…which do you think is more important when it comes to keeping weight off…

Diet? Or exercise?

Most of you will now give the pat answer…BOTH!  While I know that both are extremely important to our health and well-being, especially in the long-term, I want to find out what you all truly believe about the impact of diet vs. exercise on your body fat levels.

Diet

Please keep in mind that when I use the word “diet” I almost never mean “dieting.”  When I say diet it isn’t simple calorie counting I am speaking of (how much you eat), instead I am talking about your diet (what you eat).

The reason I am curious about this is because I am now 25 days into my 90 straight days of exercise challenge and even though it feels great to be so active and using my body this way, the results don’t seem to be as dramatic as when I ate only raw foods.

When I ate only raw foods for 60 days, I did very little exercise.  I deliberately wanted to see what effects the food was having on me.  During those 60 days I felt firmer, and the scale testified with an astonishing 37 lbs lost in only 8 weeks!

Exercise

After completing my 60 day raw challenge I had so much new energy that it was becoming impossible NOT to exercise.  When I would go on a long slow hike I’d find myself wanting to break into a run.  That’s when I realized that I had never been a consistently physically active person, and wondered what it would be like to do some form of intense exercise every day…

The 90 day Natural Fitness challenge (aka 90 straight days of exercise) was born.

There is only one rule with my new challenge (which several others have joined me on); do some form of real exercise EVERY DAY for 90 days.  The idea is for it to be strenuous.  Ideally it will get you outside sometimes into nature.  And one day a week it should be light exercise, that way you can give your body a break but still maintain the habit of daily exercise.

This time around I didn’t want it to be about raw food.  Obviously, anyone putting themselves through the 90 day thing is concerned about their health and is doing everything they can to eat right, but I wanted to see what the effects of exercise were on my body…

What I eat now

If you are curious I will give you an idea of how I am currently eating:

  • A green drink every morning (usually citrus and spinach).
  • Snack on fresh fruit, coconut water, LARA bars, and occasionally raw nuts.
  • Some days I have a raw energy shake made with raw cacao, maca, coconut butter, banana, and raw honey.
  • Other days my afternoon snack or lunch will be hummus and blue corn chips, or raw corn chips w/ avocado and hot sauce.
  • I work at night and snack on tangerines, LARA bars, bananas…
  • I always have a very late dinner (which is supposed to be a No-No, but that’s how my life is right now).  I only cook vegetarian meals at home, and because my girlfriend is a celiac, I don’t use any gluten at home.  That means simple dinners like chili poured over baked potatoes, brown rice pasta topped with marinara sauce, quinoa tossed with pesto/sun-dried tomatoes/and raw goat cheese, nachos made with blue corn chips/organic cheese/pintos/fajita veggies/and pico de gallo, or oven roasted veggies & fingerling potatoes, etc.
  • Usually have a glass of red wine with dinner or a gluten-free beer (they actually taste pretty good and are made with fermented sorghum). I sometimes have a (as in one) cocktail when we eat out or I will make myself one at the bar where I work when it’s time for me to close up and clean the place.
  • We eat out 1-2 times per week and if I am somewhere that serves organic beef I might have a burger.  Otherwise it’s fish tacos, sushi, or a vegetarian meal.  I don’t eat meat or dairy out that isn’t sourced naturally (without antibiotics, hormones, and confinement), which is much harder to find then people realize, and which means I have meat about twice a month now.

So I think my diet is pretty healthy and clean.  Certainly much improved over how I ate before I undertook the raw food challenge (I binged on pizza, burgers, mexican food, and drank over 100 adult beverages per week). But I feel “soft”, and my weight loss has slowed since going off the 100% raw food diet.

I know that I am also gaining muscle (Bikram Yoga is a killer lower body workout–very ass rounding), I can see and feel the new lean mass.  But I just don’t have that firm/hard quality I was getting from eating all raw (even with almost NO exercise).

So which has more impact on you?

Some of my friends swear that without exercise they have zero self-control over their eating.  And others, say that if they aren’t watching what they eat, they don’t feel it’s worth exercising.  It seems that often one or the other is the anchor needed to live a healthier lifestyle.

For me, if I didn’t first clean up my diet, I would have never undertaken an exercise regimen and stuck with it. In fact it was important for me to have ZERO expectation regarding exercise when I started raw so that I could focus only on my diet!

I think food is more important and gives greater results in the short-term, and that exercise has a greater impact in the long run…what do you think?

Please comment and let me know what your experience is!

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Today:

  • Making a big pot of homemade 3 bean chili. House smells great.
  • Will be doing some basic strength-training at home today; push-ups, curls, etc.
  • Started my day with my spinach drink.

Here’s some pics from yesterdays hike–we drove near Joshua Tree so we could play in the snow.

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90 day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 16 Why I’m going back to 100% raw food

Life is an experiment.  That’s how I’ve seen it at least since about age twelve.

And in this oxygenated test tube where trial and error sometimes scintillates and sometimes stings, the only rule is to keep testing…

Many of us enjoy the dance that comes with testing other people.  Sometimes by pushing buttons and outright manipulation, other times via that heavenly connection with another that makes us more aware of ourselves by finding where our edges are; and ultimately aren’t.

But the deepest experiments are those where we are the subject and the observer.  If you look at my recent foray into raw foods as an experiment, then you’d also have to see the years of near abuse with food & drink that brought me to that jumping off point as a kind of experiment too…

And now a new level of experimentation has begun for me.  Now I notice nuance in relation to my body-mind.  Whereas before I simply slumbered, drugged by white processed flours and grain alcohol, now I can literally feel the difference between just OK and fucking fantastic.

While completing my 60 day raw challenge I rarely exercised.  It was enough to take on that new way of eating.  Even without exercise I lost 37 lbs in 8 weeks…

After completing that challenge I committed to a new one–90 straight days of exercise.  For over two weeks  now I’ve been pushing myself and intensely exercising every day.  I still eat very clean (raw until dinner and then cooked vegetarian meals for dinner) and I have lost exactly zero pounds.

Now, I have noticed increased musculature in my chest, shoulders, and legs…so most likely I’ve lost fat which has been replaced by new lean mass…but I don’t feel lighter.  While I’ve still been careful about what I eat, adding “healthy” cooked foods into my life again has left me feeling soft and lackluster.

I miss the clean and almost endless energy that came with all raw…and I miss how succulent and hydrating that way of eating was.

So, I’ve decided to spend at least the rest of January back on a 100% raw diet.  More experimentation and more data to crunch…

The main thing I’m curious to see is how I will feel eating 100% raw again, but this time coupled with daily intense exercise?  Only time will tell.


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90 day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 12 Garlic knees & serial killers

Garlic Knees

Me pretending i didn't want to go to yoga this morning...

Due to scheduling difficulties [watching too many movies at the Film Festival] it has been nearly impossible for me to make it to Palm Desert for Bikram classes this past week.  So I was pumped to be able to go this morning, and even better got to take my friend Justin’s class for the first time!

Excitement unfortunately wasn’t enough to propel me through the 90 minute class; I hit a total wall before we even got to tree pose (there was still A LOT of class left, and zero energy in my tank).  Rough class.

My knees smelled like garlic–you spend a lot of time looking at and smelling your knees in yoga–and I was tempted to lick them for energy.

Today’s class reminded me how critical a regular yoga practice is if you want to make any kind of progress with flexibility and strength.  When I used to do Bikram regularly I found that it took about 3 classes every week to maintain whatever level I was at…and four or more classes per week to progress…

One or two classes a week (while sometimes that’s all I can do) can be frustrating.

I’ll be back in the heated room tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.  The super chill aspect to Bikram is that it doesn’t actually matter how “good” you do–the point IS to struggle–so it’s all good regardless.

Plus I got a “that’s a pretty good camel Ken” from Justin.  So there’s that.

Eating Is Confusing

My intention is to get back to a daily accounting of exactly what I eat.  Not because I haven’t been eating good, but because I need it as a tool to see what is working for me and what’s not.

Since ending my strictly 100% raw foods for 60 days thing I have not had ANY refined sugars, commercial meat or dairy, white processed flour, or any kind of fake foods (low-fat, non-fat, GMO, artificial sugars, fake meats, etc.).

What I have been eating is my citrus and green smoothie every day, fresh fruit, raw snacks like LARA bars, raw chocolate energy shakes, cold-pressed oils, hummus with blue corn chips, pasta made with brown rice that I toss with my raw pestos and tomato sauces, quinoa with lentils and roasted veggies, etc.

All that is fine & well.  My cravings are at bay.  My diet is pretty damn clean.  But…I don’t feel nearly as light and energetic as I did when I was 100% raw.

Another Raw Push & Beyond

not my girlfriend

Because my girlfriend is a gluten-free vegetarian and because we only have two nights a week we can eat together, I cook meals we can share on those nights.  The other nights I eat whatever is around when I get home from work.  Her diet works very well for her, but I suspect it isn’t what is best for me despite it’s being so healthy…

Like me, she eats a lot of greens and fresh fruits during the day (we both like that now and don’t feel the need any longer for traditional breakfasts and lunches) and then at night she eats a lot of grains, potatoes, grilled veggies, corn tortillas, legumes, and organic cheeses.  I love the way those foods taste, but they make me feel very soft.

When I was eating raw I had an intuitive flash that I didn’t want to be a vegetarian (many report the opposite epiphany).  My intuition tells me that the diet which fits my body best is almost all raw fruits and veggies, a little bit of raw nuts, seeds & raw goat cheese, with a serving of beef or fish a couple times a week. [I am now so picky about the meat/eggs/and dairy that I eat that it is difficult to find…]

Soon I will be setting aside two weeks to eat 100% raw beegan again, and during that time I will be seriously upping the number of yoga classes I attend.

After those two weeks are up I will be trying the above version of a high-raw diet vs. the one I do now that has a lot of vegetarian cooked foods…

If you are wondering why I don’t just eat 100% raw all the time and leave it at that, my simple answer is that I don’t want to.  I like to cook.  I like beans and rice.  I like melted cheese.  I just don’t need as much of it anymore and when I do eat those foods now, somewhere in the back of my head is an unshakable craving for an orange or a peach.  Often, after a cooked dinner, I immediately begin to imagine how good my morning green drink is going to be…

Tonight’s Movie…


Very excited about the film I will be seeing tonight at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.  It’s part of a trilogy about a serial killer, the series is called Red Riding. Tonight I will see film one: Red Riding 1974.

Day 12 Food & Exercise log:

  1. Quart of water on waking
  2. A coconut water before Bikram
  3. Another quart of water during Bikram
  4. A tropical tango smoothie after class (coconut water, coconut, papaya, pineapple, strawberry)
  5. Freshly made hummus from the health food store deli.  I add cold-pressed olive oil and roasted garlic…and eat it with “Sesame Blues” chips.
  6. Drank some water while I cut my Annie’s hair (I insist on being called Pedro while I cut hair).
  7. Will have a green drink (grapefruit/orange/spinach) before I go to the Film Fest.
  8. Will ride my bike to the theater and during the movie I will have a raw energy bar called ‘matcha’ from earthling organics..they taste like coconut graham crackers!
  9. I have a huge pot of veggies [brocc,leaks, garlic, red/blue/and yellow fingerling potatoes, carrots, asparagus, red onion, brussel sprouts] marinating in wine, olive oil, and herbs in the fridge.  I will oven roast them when I get home and we will have a huge veggie feast with some organic red wine from Trader Joe’s.
  10. Tomorrow is another Bikram class!


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90 day Natural Fitness Challenge: days 9 & 10 This is hard sometimes!

So I’m 10 days into my 90 straight days of exercise and it’s been pretty damn hard the last couple days to stay motivated…

WORK


I realized today that like most people my work is physically draining and exhausting and feels like…yup…EXERCISE!

But you know what?  It ISN’T!  It’s just physically demanding and sometimes horrible and a physical & mental drain.  But is IS NOT in anyway shape or form exercise.

So when I get home “I’m beat” and hungry and I feel like I did more than my fair share of physical activity for the day…sound familiar?

And if someone eats poorly work is even worse and more of a drain/stress load on you…but that only means we need real genuine sustained exercise even MORE!

HABIT


That’s why it has to become habit–it has to just be the way you live your life.  Several people have said they don’t like the idea of having to do exercise every single day-that we all deserve at least one day a week to do absolutely nothing.  I get that.

But…most of the people reading this blog and thinking about challenging themselves physically and making dietary changes need to completely OVERHAUL this aspect of their life.

That’s why even on my “rest day”, which we definitely need to allow our muscles to repair and to not overstress our immune systems; I still get out and do something physical. A casual bike ride, a long walk through the neighborhood…I want my mind and body to understand that this is who I am now..an active person.  Do I seriously need a day every week where I don’t move at all?  Am I convalescing?

TWO INVENTIVE DAYS

Yesterday I had to go on a midnight 45 minute balls-out bike ride in the pitch dark after I got out off from the bar in order to fit in my days exercise.  It was a blast!  I forgot how much I miss mountain biking and the thrill of making perfectly timed gear shifts and rapid decisions about where to point my bike!  With only a thin stream of light shining off my little handlebar light it was a crazy and swervy ride through the night that I gaspingly enjoyed and want to do again soon!

Today was my “rest” day and I took a long walk through a neighborhood I hadn’t explored on the south end of Palm Springs.  The Jetson inspired architecture was bitchin and the day was beyond spectacular–72 degrees and a clarity that just POPPED!

Each day I am attending film screenings for the film festival and I realized a couple things…

  1. It’s way more time-consuming than I originally thought!
  2. There are SO MANY movies!
  3. People love to beat people’s brains in in movies–like EVERY movie I’ve seen.

So the festival is taking up my time for one more week and it’s very difficult to fit in exercise and blogging but I wanted you all to know that no matter what I’m doing this!  If you have joined me in the challenge (or your thinking about it) please know that I am there every step of the way with you and will soon be back with more detailed posts!

Cheers!

-Ken


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90 day natural fitness challenge: Days 7 & 8 movies & exercise!

Today begins two busy weeks for me…the Palm Springs Film Festival opens today!

I have tickets for 8 screenings, and am psyched because I have two screenplay projects that I want to complete/figure out, but haven’t had the motivation…so I’m looking to the festival for some inspiration.

The trick is going to be keeping up with the 90 day Natural Fitness Challenge, bartending full-time and catching all these films…

But I’m pumped, I feel good, and I don’t have kids, so don’t shed any tears for me–the next two weeks will be great.

I may even throw in a movie review or two…

Day 7 (yesterday)

  1. 24 oz. of h20 w/ 2 tbs apple cider vinegar for my sinus thing
  2. juiced a grapefruit and 3 oranges and blended the juice with half a bag of spinach
  3. had a coconut water just before Bikram Yoga class
  4. drank a quart of water during my 90 minute Bikram class
  5. 24 more oz. of ACV & water
  6. watermelon juice
  7. leftover grilled veggies & potatoes before work
  8. road bike to work and snacked on a tangerine and a LARA bar at work
  9. Fresh pesto w/ loads of raw garlic, fresh tomato, tossed with warm quinoa after work for dinner! Frickin good.
  10. Uli Mana’s cacao date rolls and a glass of vino
  11. more water and ACV before bed (sinus thing is still lingering in background and I want it GONE GONE).

Day 8 (today-Friday)

  1. quart of h2o
  2. my favorite breakfast–a whole pineapple
  3. a small iced green tea, spicy blue corn chips & organic hummus for lunch
  4. saw Love & Rage (Vanvittig Forelsket) at a matinee at Palm Springs Film Fest–snacked on a raw snack made of cacao covered almonds & raisins
  5. an orange
  6. water water water, road my bike to work
  7. had a lara bar at work
  8. rode bike home from work and splurged with baked nachos–blue corn chips, black beans, organic raw cheese (unpasteurized and aged), hot sauce

For exercise I did push ups ALL day.  I think I will be doing this once per week.   Whenever I thought about it today I dropped and did 10 here, 6 there, 12 there, and they added up to…70 push ups. Next week when I do the pushup thing again I want to DOUBLE that number!!! I am sore and got a nice pump from today though.

Still feel a little under the weather and can’t wait to feel a 100%.  I’m one week in and I’m ready to be more intense…

Tomorrow is Farmer’s Market and another screening!


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 6 Health is the Ultimate Perk

I have some issues with this “challenge.”

I have to level with you and share that I have a real problem with the following words:

  • Natural – What the hell does that mean anyway?  Aren’t we all natural, even when we’re not?
  • Fitness – It’s kind of a gross word, that for me conjures up images of treadmills and those stupid giant balls people workout on.
  • Challenge – The word itself is a challenge, and in an abrasive way.  Sometimes we like a good challenge, but most of us don’t like to be challenged.

beats me

So why would I call this a Natural Fitness Challenge?  Because I only have words to work with here 😉 and because the three words together, kinda sorta almost convey what I am trying to do for the next 90 days of my life.  Actually I have 84 days left!

The whole package, aka, stronger & longer lasting.

Looking good Kim...must be all those Carl's Jr. salads...

I have tried–successfully & unsuccessfully–to “tranform” my body in the past.  Unfortunatley, even when I did succeed it was short-lived.  And something else always bothered me too…those transformations weren’t really about me.

Having only external goals like “I wanna lose weight and have big muscles,” or “the most important thing in my life is that I can wear a bikini this summer,” doesn’t get you to a place where the transformation sticks.  I want you to wear a bikini this summer too–I really do–but I want you to be wearing the polka dots every summer after as well.

That’s the thing that has been so different about both my 60 day Raw Food challenge and now this 90 day Natural Fitness challenge, I am focused on the whole package, and I want the change to become a permanent part of me.

Do you want to be healthy?

One of the biggest parts of the package is health.  What’s the point of getting super fit but in the process flooding your body with cancer causing artificial sweeteners, meat & dairy full of hormones and antibiotics, and “fat burners” that quickly wear down your nervous system?

And why undergo a trans-formative process that leaves you feeling only more critical of yourself?  That’s never healthy.

We live once.  We are these bodies, which I don’t believe are separate from us as most of us have been taught.

We can live incredibly with all kinds of savory sensory input and loads of dynamic energy and skin on skin and bellowing laughter, or we can drive around town with cheetohs on our dash and a big gulp in the cup holder with cigarettes burning our upholstery and our lungs hating the world and…you get the picture.

And yeah..I’m dramatizing both realities..we are all somewhere in the middle of that picture…which is right where we should be.

What I did on Day 6:

I am so blown away by how fast you can heal if you get out of your own way!  If you read the last couple blogs I mentioned I had to slow down a bit because of a debilitating sinus infection.  I rarely get sick, but when i get sinus infections they are serious business.

Gabrielle Brick, who I am a not so secret admirer of, gave me some great advice on how to make my sinus infection “cease to exist” quickly.  I used to have month long infections, following her advice it’s almost completely gone in 2 days!

Today I will be going for another strenuous hike since it’s my last day off for a bit and I must be outside in this gorgeous weather (it’s absolute sunny perfection and in the 70’s in Palm Springs).

  1. 2 glasses of h2o each with a tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar (for my sinuses)
  2. Juiced 2 grapefruit, 4 oranges, and blended with 2 big handfuls of spinach and some blueberries.
  3. 2 more glasses of water w/ ACV.
  4. took a slow hike at a pace that would get my heart rate up w/o stressing my immune system.
  5. ate a LARA bar on the hike.
  6. bought a new matcha green tea raw bar at health food store and ate it–so delicious! like a sweet graham cracker.
  7. made chickpea tacos with spicy mexicn seasonings and lots of fajita veggies: zucchini, carrots, onion, red pepper.  served on steamed corn tortillas and with spicy corn on the cob. i skipped the organic sour cream because of my sinuses.
  8. swallowed 2 big cloves of garlic (immune booster) in a tbs of raw honey (anti-bacterial).

Tomorrow I think I’ll feel good enough to get back to a Bikram class!


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 5 Meet some of the other “challengers!”

So far about a dozen people in the Twitter, Facebook, and blog world have told me they are on board with the 90 day challenge in one form or another.  Not sure how many will share their info and photos with me for this blog, but I’d like to feature as many people’s transformation stories here that I can!

I will start with  three people who I know well and who responded positively to the challenge immediately;  my aunt Carrie (she’s more like a big sister and only a few years older than me), my brother Mike, and my girlfriend Annie.

Carrie (In her own words)

I am turning 40 in about five months, and I want to feel the healthiest ever! Seriously…

I am as you know a mommy of two beautiful little ladies, and a stay home mommy and wife at that. I work my tail off and have always seemed to put myself last health wise.

I do the yo-yo diet thing, work out here and there, but since having our girls have not held to it as I did before. Clearly my fault, as I was thinking it was selfish of me to spend time taking care of me. NOW I view this far differently, and know the better healthier way to see this is to take care of myself, so I can take care of my family.

Keep in mind that while I admit to being overweight, I am muscular too from working out with weights.  I love LOVE working out, but as I said have felt guilt over it.  As you know it is very time consuming to do it all the right way.

I love being a mommy and a wife…

My goals are to lose inches, over all lose some pounds, and feel healthy. I want a clean diet and I want to learn how to stay off of this destructive yo-yo diet & working out thing I have done for the last 11 years since having my kiddos.

My plan is to work out with light weights and do high reps , with TONS of cardio, as much as I can possibly handle. I am doing a diet as of today that is known as the Sacred Heart Diet {it’s primarily a soup diet], which has worked before for me as a way to kick start weight loss.

I am open to doing the raw diet after I have time to gain enough insight to do it wisely AND I am open to any and all constructive advice you may have as time goes on. I want to complete this with a good success, so I can not only say I did it, but be able to see quality results.

I have also committed to absolutely no soda for the next 90 days, and and no fake sugars in my coffee, which is the only time I use them. I will drink it black for the next 90 days…

-Carrie

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Carrie forwarded me her starting stats including her weight and some measurements.  I told her I would keep those a secret until we complete the first 30 days together and have our first set of “after” pics to compare with the “before” pics none of us are dying to share just yet!

Thanks Carrie for writing this and I know you are going to have insane results and discover some cool new things about yourself now that you are open to giving yourself the attention you deserve!

More about Carrie in the weeks to come, for now you can find her on facebook.

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Annie

What can I say about Annie? She’s a funny girl who has a unique way of approaching everything.  And her diet is no exception.

Annie is a strict vegetarian who also eats no gluten or refined sugars.  She is one of the healthiest eaters I know, and one of the things I like best about her eating style is that she NEVER diets.

Annie teaches Bikram Yoga classes, practices Bikram herself everyday, and is a full time student.  Annie works, plays, and eats hard!

One thing Annie does most days is eat “raw until dinner.”

Each day starts with her massive signature smoothie and then she snacks throughout the day on mostly raw foods (we buy lots of LARA bars and tangerines).  She chows down on a big healthy vegetarian dinner (which I usually make) each night.  Usually it’s Mexican food or something like brown rice pasta with fresh pesto & tomatoes.

Tonight I’m experimenting and we are having a big pot of oven roasted veggies (potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, leeks, carrots, and garlic bulbs) marinated in olive oil, herbs, organic red wine, sea salt and pepper.  The veggies will be the star of the show and will be served with a side of lentils cooked with red onion.

So why does Annie, who already eats extremely well and who exercises every day already, want to do the 90 day challenge?

Because that’s the kinda hairpin she is…

Actually Annie is challenging herself by adding a once per week grueling advanced yoga class to her existing daily exercise routine.  Once a week for 12 weeks she will be spending 4 hours total in a heated room attempting to learn poses that have strange names and make me wince just thinking about them.  I admire Annie for challenging herself this way because I happen to know she really dislikes these classes and is making a real sacrifice to do them.

I snapped some “before” pics of Annie attempting to do postures she now finds impossible, and at the end of the 12 weeks I’ll take some new pics so we can see how much further she can bend…

More about Annie later, she can also be found on facebook.

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Mike

Mike says he wants to do this challenge because “it’s time.”  I feel you Mike.

Mike is frustrated with his low paying job (Mike drives a city bus), and tired of yo-yo dieting.

Mike and I have actually dieted together many times, one of the more famous attempts being when he and I ate only one bean burrito from El Poll Loco, and one 200 calorie “lean cuisine” TV dinner each night for several months.

Broke and living in Las Vegas together, we would get so hungry that all we could do was laugh. The one night each week we were allowed to “cheat” turned into these grotesque glutton fests.  We did lose a lot of weight…

Mike has always wanted to run in some kind of competitive amateur race or event.  His goal is to go from being overweight and totally sedentary to being able to run the distance of 10 miles at the end of the challenge.  My advice to Mike was to limit his running to no more than 4 days in the beginning and to spend the other 3 days doing resistance training, yoga, or cycling.  That way he will lower the risk of injury (running can be very hard on your body).

Mike eats pretty bad.  I say that with love as his brother.  He told me he is going to watch his overall calorie intake for the next 90 days while also making small incremental moves toward eating healthier.

Mike’s in search of a sustainable approach to food that will help him get off the diet merry-go-round for good.  He also wants to make being active integral to his new life.  My other suggestion to Mike was to keep it very simple, for example having a nutritious raw green smoothie for breakfast so he at least knows he’s getting a baseline of daily nutrients.

Mike is a huge music fan and travels the state to catch his favorite band Slightly Stoopid.  Mike has one of the funniest self-deprecating styles of humor i’ve ever encountered.  He and I both want to take some long-ass road trips in the near future…

More about Mike and his attempts to overhaul his life by taking control of diet & exercise in the weeks to come.  For now you can find him on facebook.

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I will have Mike, Annie, and Carrie’s full stories to share with you in the weeks to come. Hopefully I will also have some other people willing to share their personal transformations with you as we go forward.  If you are curious read more about the 90 day Natural Fitness Challenge here.

What I did for my Day 5:

I am still suffering from this sudden-onset sinus infection and am trying a variety of natural remedies to get rid of it as fast as possible.  Fortunately I have tonight off from work.

  1. Slept in until noon–badly needed.
  2. Drank 16 0z. of water with 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar (purported to clear the sinuses).
  3. Drank a green drink made of fresh squeezed OJ and grapefruits blended with spinach.
  4. Drank another 16 0z. of water.
  5. Took a 45 min slow hike almost straight uphill–some pics below.  My goal for today was just to get my heart rate up, feel my legs burn a little, and get some clean fresh air.
  6. My post workout meal was my favorite raw dessert, a slice of cheesecake from Earth Cafe.  Raw/Gluten and Dairy Free/No refined sugar/OUTSTANDING!
  7. More water with ACV.
  8. Dinner will be the big oven roasted veggie feast I described and some lentils with red onion.  Trying to eat extra clean today in hopes it will help me get over this damn sinus thing.
  9. Tons of water with lemon juice to follow…

you have to park down the road and walk up the road to base of mountains...

great views of coachella valley below

god i wish annie would keep up with me 😉

your supposed to strike that pose on top the mountain...