Boot Camp - A Day In The Life

This photo is from a particular morning that I was having a tough time.  We went to Red Rocks for cardio and I was listening to praise and worship, just struggling through my workout.  I came around to go down the stairs and saw this sunrise. It was like God was showing me that I was going to be OK.  It has become one of my favorite pictures from my time at boot camp.

I have had so many questions about what a typical day looks like for me.  More specifically, what a day of boot camp was like.  “How in the world did you lose 94 pounds in 90 days?”  The answer is science and a calorie deficit.  It boils down to burning a LOT more calories than I ate.  I ate 1,500 calories a day during boot camp, and throughout my entire year on the show.  I did not take any type of supplements, not even the multi vitamin that was recommended by Dr. Holly.  I can proudly say I spent my year working hard and eating clean.  And I was rarely hungry.  Did I have cravings? Sure.  But, in a typical day, I felt satisfied with the food I ate.

Do I still adhere to this schedule?  Food: yes.  Workout: no.  I eat between 1,500-1,800 calories a day.  I still eat five meals a day, spreading my calories evenly throughout the day.  But, now that I am in maintenance, I can enjoy a reward meal during the week also, rather than just reserving that for Sundays.  I also have a bowl of cereal each morning now.  Which was something I could not do during my year on the show.  (too many carbs in one meal).  I do still workout six days a week.  But typically for one hour.  Occasionally, I will do a second hour of yoga or cardio.

Also, during boot camp, there were other variables that went into how many calories we burned.  We were never allowed to take the elevator.  We always used the stairs. My room was on the third floor, so I was constantly climbing stairs to get to my room.  We never took a parking spot at the front of the store.  We walked across the parking lot.  All those sacks of groceries?  We carried those three flights of stairs too.  It all adds up to calories burned.  Do you look for the closest parking spot at the grocery store?  When is the last time you took the stairs and not the elevator when you had a choice?

So, here we go!  This is a typical “high carb” day.  We varied between 4 high carb days, two low carb days. We were up early every day.  Breakfast must be eaten within 30 minutes of waking.  So, it was get up, get workout clothes on, fill up the water bottle, and then breakfast.

6:30am, Breakfast:

·      Egg White Breakfast Sandwich

·      6 Tbsp. Egg Whites; Scrambled (protein)

·      Cooked Onion, Mushroom, Spinach (veggies)

·      100 Calorie Sandwich Thin (carb)

·      Topped with 1/3 Avocado (healthy fat)

·      Water

7:00-9:00am: Cardio Shredder. Hiking, walking/running, running hills, running bleachers, climbing the amphitheater stairs at Red Rocks.  Whatever it was, it was two full hours of movement.  Heart rate needed to average 150 beats per minute for the two hours.  We wore Polar Heart Monitors to have the detail of our workouts.  We knew heart rate, calories burned, distance covered.  Some mornings, I burned between 800-900 Calories in those 2 hours.   

9:30am, Mid Morning Meal: Greek Yogurt Parfait

·      1 Cup Low Fat Greek Yogurt (protein)

·      1/2 Cup Strawberries (carb)

·      1/2 Cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch (carb/protein)

·      1 tsp. Honey (carb)

·      Water

10:30am: Walk to Crossfit (1 mile)

11:00am: Crossfit.  This is what I fell in love with.  Crossfit was vital to our success because it has weight bearing movements.  When losing weight, you don’t want to lose muscle, just fat.  Weight bearing exercises allow you to keep/gain muscle while burning fat. Muscle burns fat, so we want to keep as much as we can.  I loved it.  Be watching soon, I will be posting a video blog giving more details about the benefits of Crossfit and why I enjoy it so much. 

11:15am: Walk home from Crossfit (1 mile) 

You can see that by lunch we had already worked out for three hours, plus walking the mile to and from Crossfit.  And yes, it was exhausting.  But, we got used to it.  Your body can do way more than you think it can.  If you had told me ahead of time what my schedule was going to be, it would have scared me.  But, when you’re there, you just do it.  There were days that were tougher than others. Some mornings, during my cardio, I would put praise and worship music on and just have to pray my way through the two hours.  Homesick, tired, body hurting, it wasn’t easy.  But other days were easier, and I would look back and think, “I just did that!”  I felt stronger, and as the weight came off, it felt great to be able to do the things they were challenging us to do.

12:30pm, Lunch- Fajita Salad

·      4oz. Grilled Chicken (protein)

·      Lettuce, Onion, Peppers (veggies)

·      1/3 C. Quinoa (carb)

·      2 Tbsp. Salsa (carb)

·      2 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt (protein)

·      Water

If I have one thing that is my absolute “go to”, it is this fajita salad.  I love Mexican food, and this is so filling and so good!  This is a meal that never disappoints.  Never makes me feel like I am missing out on anything else.  To make it a low carb meal, just remove the quinoa and add avocado instead.

After lunch we had a bit of down time.  In my book, it was known as Nap Time!!  I am a professional napper (just ask my husband).  My body needed it.  I also took this time to ice any areas that were sore.  My knees had some mild problems during boot camp. Entirely related to the fact that they were carrying 300 pounds around.  So, I would ice them during this time.

3:30pm, Mid Afternoon Snack 

·      Two sticks of Low Fat String Cheese (protein)

·      Cucumber slices, baby carrots, Peppers, celery sticks (veggies)

·      2 tbsp Hummus (carb)

·      Water

3:00-5:00pm- Cardio Fun Time!  I know, Cardio Fun Time?  Doesn’t sound like fun.  But, this was a much more relaxed cardio time.  This was almost always just spent at the Anschutz Wellness Center.  We were just supposed to be out of our rooms, and not sitting around.  We could hang out in the pool, or use the hot tub for recovery time.  Thankfully the wellness center has a huge hot tub.  Nothing like 15 obese people cramming in a hot tub. There was definitely days that we overflowed the hot tub. The pool and hot tub were a lifesaver for us.  Much needed relief for our sore bodies. It always felt great to just walk or swim around the pool for a couple of hours.

Our group at the Warrior Dash in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

This time was also a great opportunity to do extra work if you needed it.  There were weeks that some would have plateaued, or were working towards a milestone (getting under a certain weight, or losing 50 pounds).  So they would use this time to do extra cardio.

6:30pm, Dinner: Turkey Burger, Grilled Veggies, Salad

·      4 oz. Extra Lean Ground Turkey, grilled, flavored with Mrs. Dash (protein)

·      Topped with 2 tbsp Salsa (minimal carb)

·      Grilled Zucchini and Squash (veggies)

·      Green Salad- Lettuce, Cucumber, Celery, Tomatoes, Carrots (veggies)

·      2 tbsp. Italian Dressing (fat)

·      Water

Once dinner was finished, it was time to get some rest and call my family.  Typical housekeeping.  Cleaning, laundry, making sure our food logs were filled in for the day.  Some evenings we did a little shopping.  But, most nights we were just ready for bed!

Our days were full.  This is a “typical” day, but there were plenty of not typical days.  When we had heavy filming days, interviews and such, it was much more of a challenge for us.  We had to be “camera ready” but also still find time for all of our cardio, plus make sure we had our meals packed and ready to eat on time. 

I am very thankful for my time at boot camp.  Although being gone from my family was so hard, the knowledge I gained was invaluable.  I learned how to properly eat and workout.  I found out what it was going to take to succeed.  Chris and Heidi believed in me and made me realize that I could be successful.  They helped me fine-tune my nutrition so I would not fall off of the wagon when I returned to Oklahoma. 

Not much has changed since I’ve been home.  I have tried to stick to the same schedule.  I get up early and workout.  I still eat five meals of 300 calories a day.  I still do Crossfit.  It’s been a total life change for me.  I know not everyone has the opportunity to do boot camp.  But, there have to be pieces of this that you could adopt into your life.  Can you get up earlier and spend 30 minutes on a good brisk walk?  Can you eat smaller meals more often?  Can you make sure you are getting good healthy proteins at each meal?  Can you drink more water? 

I don’t share this to say, “Look how hard I worked!”.  I share this so you can get a glimpse of what it took to lose weight at the rate I did.  How much can you commit to?  Are you ready to make changes?  I believe you can do it.  I didn’t have any super powers.  But, I had a whole lot of “want to”.  I had a whole lot of faith that I wasn’t sent there to fail.  So, I did it.  Period.  And so can you.

What are some changes you can make today?  What are some areas you struggle with making changes in?