2,000 Days of MyFitnessPal

Today my log in streak on MyFitnessPal hit 2,000 days.  Another 1,000 days later I’m a bodybuilder and 2 time marathoner. 🙂

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If you’re interested, here is the link to my first 1,000 Days of MyFitnessPal.

The previous blog left off with a hopeful and excited Bethany looking forward to training for her first marathon.  That initial excitement triggered one of the most rewarding and frustrating projects of my life.  It took me almost 2 years of training to complete my first marathon.  I had my sights set to run the Twin Cities marathon in 2015 and wound up not running it due to an injury.  That injury was detailed both on this site and also on my YouTube channel so I will just leave that there for what it is.  I learned to listen to my body, as cliche as that sounds.  I learned when to pull back.  I learned how to really treat recovery like it’s own sport.

I rallied and instead focused on another race as my first marathon, the Delaware Marathon in May of 2016.  I ran it, I finished it.  But… I was about a minute over the official cutoff time.  I was still awarded a medal.  I still ran the distance.  But it just left me feeling unsatisfied.  I registered for the Twin Cities race again to try to improve my time from my first race.IMG_0085

Through my training for the Delaware Marathon I had also put on a bit of weight (20 mile long run = 2 million extra calories right?).  I felt heavy and sluggish.  Through some research, and knowing what I already did about training I knew I needed to put some strength training back in my life.  I was terrible at doing it on my own though.  My best friend recommended Fuse Fitness Coaching.  I started strength training regularly at Fuse and really enjoyed it.

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For the first time in a long while I started looking forward to working out instead of dreading the next run.  I realized I was not very good at balancing cardio and strength and the running and training became less of a priority.

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I started running only when I felt like it which was a few times a week and no long runs.  By this point I had planned to skip the Twin Cities race (again) up until a few weeks before the race.  I wondered…what if I showed up and just did my best?  More on this on my YouTube but spoiler alert:  I was able to run and finish the Twin Cities marathon.  I PR’d my Delaware Marathon time and finished under the TC cutoff.

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This leads us to October 2016.  I wanted a new goal, something strength focused as that was where I was having the most fun.  I still had some weight to lose and decided to just focus on fat loss.  Aforementioned best friend and I had a girl’s trip to Costa Rica planned and we just really buckled down, tracked our macros, hit the strength training hard together at Fuse.  We both hit our fat loss goals for the trip!

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, cloud, sky, water, outdoor and natureThis was incredibly rewarding and I wanted more.

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I decided to see how much fat I could lose for a photo shoot.  At the time it felt like a pretty vain goal but I wanted to see if I could achieve that toned fitness model look you see in magazines.  I worked with my amazing coach at Fuse for nutrition advice and daily workouts.  I tracked everything in MyFitnessPal.  I was able to cut a significant amount of weight and fat.  I had so much fun at the shoot and was in the best shape of my life.  I got my proofs back and was so proud of how they turned out.  But I still thought I could push myself more.  I wanted a bigger, badder goal.  At this point I’ve learned that what makes fitness fun for me is having a giant goal with an end date to work toward.

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I decided to register for my first bodybuilding show (bikini division).  I had been researching and following competitions for years as I trained for other things… always with this wistful thought of “those girls are amazing, I could never do that”.  I never thought my body could actually look like one of those ripped girls on stage.  But through my other fat loss challenges and the photo shoot I had a taste of what training hard and losing fat for a goal looked and felt like.  I knew this challenge would test my limits more than ever before.  I knew it would be expensive.  I knew it would be time consuming.  I knew it would be as emotionally and mentally challenging as it would be physically.  And I wanted it.  I wanted all of it.

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I registered.  I trained and dieted relentlessly all with the help and guidance of my coach at Fuse in a safe environment.  I learned how important it is to balance both weight training and cardio.  I weighed and tracked every gram in MyFitnessPal.  My prep lasted a total of about 20 weeks.  (If you’re interested, I documented this journey on Instagram @b.chan.fit.)  I stepped on stage at an all time low weight and body fat.  I was extremely proud of this accomplishment.

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I’m currently registered and training for my 2nd bodybuilding show this May and could not be happier and more excited to get on that stage again.  You’d better believe I’ll be logging into MyFitnessPal…every…single…day.progpics11-26

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1,000 Days of MyFitnessPal

Crazy milestone.  I’ve logged into myfitnesspal.com (MFP) every single day for the past 1,000 days.  I’m not sure if that’s dedication or insanity but there it is.  Here are some things I’ve learned through my experiences the past 1,000 days.

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Before MFP in March 2012

Let’s first paint the picture:  Rewind to June 2012.  I had previously tried tracking calories using SparkPeople.com with little success.  I would use it, not use it, use it, not use it – you get the idea.  I was visiting my sisters in Virginia when my youngest sister suggested myfitnesspal.com.  She said her (now) husband started her on it and liked the

My first day logged on MFP.

June 3rd – My first day logged on MFP.

usability.  At first I was a bit skeptical since I already had SparkPeople but figured I’d check it out.  Loved it.  When I found out there was a streak counter for days logged in, one thought came to mind “oh it’s on like Donkey Kong!”.  I’ve logged in every day since.  When I first started using the app I wasn’t very active.  I hated working out and just figured if I ate less I didn’t have to exercise.  I was a busy mom, chasing my kids, playing with them in the yard etc. and figured that was enough.  Looking at my diet now, I ate pretty poorly back then.  Lots of pizza, convenience foods (think EZ cheese, pop tarts, mountains of girl scout cookies).  Whatever was easy and whatever I wanted.

I started using the app to just see what I was eating.  From there I started slowly reducing my calories and did my best to stay within about 1,200 daily since that was what MFP recommended for my height.  It wasn’t easy and I often had “cheat” days where I didn’t feel like logging all my food.  But I did continue to log in.  Every. Single. Day.

January or February of 2013 I realized I needed to start exercising.  I realized I liked the MFP app so much I might as well see if there is anything that rewards consistent exercise the same way.  Enter Nexercise.  I don’t use this app anymore but I can’t tell you how big of a part this app played in my journey to health and wellness.  You get virtual badges for doing different kinds of activities or more minutes of an activity.  It counts everything from house cleaning to badminton to swimming.  It even listed specific brand exercises like those found on BeachBody.com.  There were weekly points where you could compete with strangers or your friends.  And boy did I!  I told myself that it didn’t matter what exercise I did, I needed to do something every day.  And I did.  And I discovered a whole world of new activities I love.  I jumped rope, I logged seemingly endless hours on the elliptical, I played baseball with my kids, I did yoga, I walked (I walked a lot), I biked, I took fitness classes for the first time in my life.  I was so excited to see my Nexercise steak continue and rack up the points.  I also noticed that MFP gave you extra calories for eating with all of this activity.  Now we’re talking. 🙂  I started logging my food more consistently.

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First 5K – May 10th, 2013

Enter (my now very best running) friend.  I saw on her Facebook page that she had registered for a night time glowed up 5k.  It looked super cool.  She invited me to come.  My thought was I could never run for 3 miles.  She was super encouraging and said it was okay to walk and some of the others who were going would be walking too.  I remember this vividly: I was at a hotel in Wichita Kansas for work and wanted to see if I could do it.  I got on the hotel treadmill and huffed and puffed for about 46 minutes.  I walked, I jogged, walked some more, cursed a little.  But I survived 3 miles.  I registered for the race that night.  I kept up with my other activities but didn’t really train for the 5k.  When race day came around I some how ran (okay, slowly jogged) the whole darn thing.  I was on such a high, within the week I was asking her when we could do another race.  I was hooked.  I registered for a 10K, but knew I needed a training plan.  I completed every day of the couch to 10K program sometime during that Summer in preparation for the race at the end of August.  In total I ran 9 races in 2013, including my first half marathon.

With my boys after finishing my second 1/2 marathon - September 2014.

With my boys after finishing my second 1/2 marathon – September 2014.

I kept up with running and eventually didn’t need Nexercise anymore to motivate me to exercise.  I continued to log everything into MyFitnessPal.  I took a couple months off in Winter for a surgery but jumped back in with my first race of 2014 in March.  Eventually after much research I realized I need to start strength training.  I discovered that endless Capture2hours of cardio are not going to get me to where I want to be in regards to my physique, strength and endurance goals.  In May I began the ChaLean Extreme program from BeachBody but abandoned it after about a month when I joined LA Fitness and started working with a trainer instead.  My sister also helped me get started with eating IIFYM-style after I saw her using it with great results.  Increased calories to support my fitness was great.  Additional muscles and strength were also an added bonus.  I kept running.  I racked up a total of 467 miles in 2014 and finished 20 races. I continued to log into MFP.

January 2015

January 2015

MFP has changed my life in a gradual yet wonderful way.  I wake up, I shut off the alarm, I log in.  Every day.  I’m the most in shape I’ve ever been in my life.  I love trying new things and being active with my family.  I have discovered a love of racing and am excited to start training for my first marathon in June.

And that, my friends, is how I’ve spent my first 1,000 days on MyFitnessPal.

If it Fits

…your macros.  I want to take a minute to talk about nutrition.  All of this training I’m trying to cram into my nutty schedule won’t do anything to change my body if my nutrition is working against me.  My sister in law turned me on to the If-It-Fits-Your-Macros (IIFYM) diet this past Spring and let me tell you it has been a game changer.  IIFYM is basically an eating style that allows you to eat some processed or traditionally “unhealthy” food in moderation as long as it fits within your macronutrients goals.  That is my really basic explanation of it although there is lots of information out there on the subject.  IIFYM.com is a great resource with calculators and the science behind it.  IIFYM sometimes gets a bad rap because it doesn’t put any foods on a ‘bad’ list or restrict them.  That said,  things I eat do have to fit my goals for protein, fats and carbohydrates at the end of the day.  For example, I know I can’t eat a bucket of fried chicken because it wouldn’t fit within my goals.  But if I want a cookie after my grilled chicken and steamed veg dinner?  It’s fine and I don’t have to feel guilty about it.  And I LOVE that about eating this way.  If I want gummy bears (as I often do!) I have them and I don’t cry about it.

mfpI still work toward eating as many fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains for most of my nutrition.  Yesterday I did not have produce available to me and was constantly on the go from thing to thing.  I wound up eating almost exclusively convenience foods and somehow still hit my macros.  Hit the macros but felt like garbage.  I didn’t feel guilty or terrible mentally but I just didn’t feel as good physically. Today I met about the same macros but included more (not all!) whole foods and produce and felt much better.  It’s all about what you do with what you have.

So today I’m celebrating this (pic)!  A perfectly zeroed out macro day.  The goal is to meet each macro within + or – 5 grams.  Dead on for me is pretty rare.  Feeling fit, feeling strong.  Now time for that 5 mile run. 🙂