Monday, April 27, 2015

My CKO Kickboxing 10-Week Challenge...and a Sweet Potato Smoothie

Well friends, spring is officially here. You know the little saying, “beach bodies are made in the winter”? That didn’t happen this year. Would you be surprised if I told you it was difficult to muster the motivation to hit the gym during this long, snowy winter? I did well though, considering the circumstances. I joined a kickboxing gym in November and stuck with 2-3 workouts per week, most weeks. I maintained my weight while simultaneously carb-feasting, but now it’s time to get serious. We could be donning bikinis in just a few short weeks, after all, and I want to feel confident in mine. 

That’s why I joined CKO Kickboxing's 10-week challenge. The program involves one circuit training along with a recommended three kickboxing classes per week and meal plan recommendations. You track your food daily and submit it to your trainer weekly. You set goals at the beginning and track them throughout, with the overall goal of reducing your body fat percentage. The person who loses the most body fat wins a six-month membership – as if looking and feeling amazing isn’t motivating enough!  

Today starts week 4 of the challenge. I'm happy to say that I've lost six pounds already. More importantly, I finally feel healthy. The first two weeks of circuit training felt impossible. I was dizzy during each session and did not understand how the other seven people in my group weren't passing out. By circuit #3 I still felt the burn, but I got through it without having to stop from dizzy spells. PROGRESS! My kickboxing is also getting stronger each week.  

As a foodie though, my favorite part has been meal planning. I'm finding that the more I prepare, the healthier my meals are throughout the day. For me this involves grilling a ton of chicken every Sunday and lots and lots of fresh veggies. To keep it interesting, I'm also trying out new recipes, like this sweet potato smoothie. Sweet potatoes in a smoothie? You heard me right! I'll admit, the recipe took me two tries before I was satisfied. The first time I added nutmeg, and it tasted too much like I was drinking pie filling. The second try was rich and dessert-like, but not too much for breakfast. Try out the recipe below and let me know what you think! 

1 small sweet potato, baked then refrigerated  
1 cup vanilla almond milk (or similar) 
1 frozen banana 
1 teaspoon cinnamon  

Peel and slice the sweet potato. I like to pre-bake a few potatoes on Sunday to use for meals throughout the week! If your blender is of lower quality, pre mash the potato a bit. My Ninja is super powerful, so I just add the sliced chunks. Similarly, I also cut and freeze a few bananas for smoothie days as soon as I buy them.  

Once your potato is ready to go, add it to the blender with all other ingredients and blend until smooth. That's it!  

Do you plan your meals ahead of time? Share your favorites in the comments! 

Feel good, 

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