Who do I Coach?

February 26, 2013

I’ve decided to keep things simple.  Lately I’ve really been thinking a lot about why I became a Beachbody Coach, what I hope to get out of it and why I continue to put lots of hours into my Facebook page, challenge group and answering emails.  Coaching takes a lot of time away from my family and friends so I’ve been thinking about WHY.  Here’s that response.  Warning:  this is not a white paper, essay or scientific review.  It’s just me and my thoughts.  It’s why I do what I do – raw and uncut.
What motivates me?  One word – obesity.  It’s that simple.  The obesity epidemic bothers me.  It just does.  I am touched by the trends that I see on the news, the people I pass on the street, the people I sit next to each day.  I don’t have any fancy studies to share with you – I think by now we all know that obesity is the latest (not so silent) demographic trend.  We all know that obesity leads to things like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even early death.  So, if we all know this (including the obese people), it must be that they need some help – otherwise they’d “fix” the problem on their own, right?  One of the guiding principles that I follow in life is to be a part of the solution and not the problem.  So, not only am I going to NOT be a part of the problem, but I am going to go out of my way to be part of the solution.  Period.
My motivation goes way beyond doing what I can to reverse the obesity trend.  I know how it feels to have those extra pounds that I “never used to have”.  I know how it feels to not want to wear a bathing suit in front my friends because I don’t want them to see that I “let myself go”.  Let’s face it – we have ALL been there.  We’ve all expanded and contracted.  About a year ago, I finally figured out a way to stop expanding and contracting and going up a size every year or so.  I thought to myself – how do I find a lifestyle that lets me feel satisfied with my health and weight AND is sustainable over the long term?  How do I make those changes that really do last?  Lucky for me, my Beachbody Coach came a long at the right time and I jumped on board.  The first Challenge Group I participated in changed my life forever.  After the first week I was HOOKED on developing a clean eating lifestyle (which I’m still tweaking BTW), drinking Shakeology (I can’t say this enough – Shakeology is AWESOME!) and my Slim in 6 workout program.  Never before had I started an actual fitness program that was varied and designed to help me actually ACHIEVE what I wanted. I thought to myself – why can’t other people figure this out if I have?
Fast forward one year – helping other people “figure this out” is what I’ve set out to do.  The Beachbody lifestyle may not work for everyone, but it works for me.   Different strokes for different folks, right?  If Beachbody doesn’t work for you – no problem – let’s figure out what does.  I’m happy to help.
So, I guess that’s it.  That’s my motivation for Coaching.  If you want me to help you “figure it out” – drop me a line.  I’m here for you – no matter how big or small you might be.  CoachHeidB@yahoo.com

My P90X Journey

October 29, 2012

P90X Before and After

By now you’ve probably heard about P90X.  P90X is an acronym for Power 90 Extreme.  It’s a workout program developed by Tony Horton (for Beachbody) that has been out for a few years now.   It’s a favorite amoung celebrities and politicians alike and is an extreme fitness program designed to completely transform your body.

To borrow from Tony Horton, for me P90X is “the mother of all workout programs” so I was really excited to start it.  I basically decided to do P90X for two reasons:  first, I knew it was a really challenging program so I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and second, I wanted to experience first-hand what all the hype was about.

So, how does the program work?  P90X includes 12 workouts that cover the full spectrum of workout styles from power yoga to jump training to good old-fashioned weight training.   The concept behind the program is that the workout sequences are intended to use muscle confusion to produce exceptional results – thus avoiding a plateau.  Once a P90Xer “gets used” to a particular set of workouts – Tony switches it up!  P90Xers need tons of fuel to get them through the workouts so subsequently nutrition is a huge part of the program.  The nutrition guide and the supplements are great.  I drank Shakeology every day and ate a lot of the P90X protein bars.  (They are the best tasting protein bars I’ve ever eaten – I’m not exaggerating!)

I have to admit, working out 6-7 days per week for 1 hour plus per day for 90 days was grueling at times.  It’s tough.  Tony expects a lot out of his P90Xers.  This is not a program for beginners.  It is a program for someone who is committed to fitness and is willing to put the work in to change their body and their life.  At the end of the day, I’m not sure how anyone can follow this program and not see results.

Prior to P90X I had already completed Slim in 6 and ChaLEAN Extreme so I was in good shape.  With P90X I lost an additional 2 lbs and 4 inches off my body.  The statistic that I’m most proud of is the number of standard push-ups that I can do in a row without stopping – 22!  That is amazing for me!  Back in February I could probably do one.  When I started P90X I could do 12.  I can also hold a plank for 4 minutes.  Again – that is huge progress for me.

I am very glad that I decided to undertake the program.  Having finished the program and earning the title of “P90X Grad” is a big accomplishment for me.  I feel like a warrior and I’m excited to try P90X 2 next year!

I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking to push themselves to the next level.  This program would be good for someone who is really ready to change their life and has the confidence to pick themselves up the next day when the going gets though.  I can assure you the going will get tough.  As Tony says, “do what you can and forget the rest!”

If you are interested in learning more about P90X or joining a challenge group that would support you through your own fitness journey – send me a note.  I host challenge groups every month.  These groups provide an enormous amount of support – which goes a long way towards achieving success with a challenging program like P90X.

Decide.  Commit.  Succeed.


I have a new challenge group starting today so I thought it was a good time to get back to the basics and review what clean eating is all about and how it fits into the Beachbody Challenge.

First, let’s discuss the Challenge.  To me – a Beachbody Challenge is similar to a 3 legged stool.  There are three “foundation legs” that the challenge is built on:

  1. Shakeology everyday
  2. The workout program
  3. Clean eating

With any stool, if you don’t have one of the legs – it might topple over.  With the challenge, you can still see results from following two (or even one) of the “foundation legs” – however to maximize your results and ensure success over the long term, all three are necessary.  For example, studies have shown that people who work out regularly have higher rates of being able to keep weight off (that was previously lost) compared to those who don’t.  So, if you’re trying to lose weight without working out (leg #2) you may very well be able to do so.  However if you added in a workout program, not only will you (most likely) loose more weight now, but you will be more likely to keep it off over the long term.

For me (and for many people) the hardest leg of the Beachbody Challenge is clean eating.  I drink Shakeology every day with no problem.  It tastes great and makes me feel great – so no complaints from me.  I’m also very dedicated to my workout program.  I follow the schedule and get up early to work out before work.  So, in general, I don’t miss many workouts.  Maintaining consistent clean eating – now that’s another story.

So what is clean eating?  I just received my first issue of Clean Eating magazine and I really can’t describe it better than they can.  Here’s their definition:

The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible.  It is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time. 

The magazine also has what I would call “guiding principles” to help achieve this improved life:

            Eat five to six times a day

           Drink at least two liters of water a day

           Get label savvy

           Avoid processed and refined foods

           Know thy enemies

           Shop with a conscience

           Choose organic whenever possible

           Consume healthy fats

           Learn about portion sizes

           Reduce your carbon footprint

           Slow down and savor

           Take it to go

           Make it a family affair

Since I started clean eating, I’ve drastically changed my approach to grocery shopping, preparing foods and the overall way that I eat.  I used to eat frozen low calorie meals for lunch at work.  Now, I prepare fresh salads every Sunday and pack them in individual containers so I can take them on the go.  My salads have changed too.  I’ve replaced “diet killing” croutons, store bought dressing, dried cranberries and cheese with “more healthy” fresh blueberries, quinoa, olives, and either vinegar or olive oil for dressing.  I also feed my body on a regular basis.  I eat within an hour of getting up in the morning and continue to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day.  This means that I have to be actively conscious of when I’ll be outside the house and bring snacks (or meals) as needed.

This all seems to make sense, right?  So why is it so hard?  The hard part is that the mainstream food choices don’t tend to be the foods that fall within clean eating.  If you practice a clean eating lifestyle you avoid all sugared drinks (soda!), alcohol (sorry, but it’s true), 95% of all bar served appetizers, fast food (even Subway – I love the sandwiches but I only eat the veggies, cold cuts are processed meats), fried foods and most packaged foods.  (I recently read that Ramen Noodles are coated in wax to prevent the noodles from sticking.  Think about what that wax might do to your insides.  You are what you eat!)  Clean foods also aren’t well advertised because they have lower profit margins.  How often do you see advertisements for awesome salads that you can make with fresh ingredients?  I see ads all the time for sugared cereals, however.

At the end of the day, clean eating is a lifestyle choice and therefore it is a journey.  I am still getting there.  My eating is not perfect, however it’s a whole lot better than it used to be and I’m reaping the benefits though improved energy, a faster metabolism and 12 pounds lost!

When I started my first Beachbody Challenge I decided that if I was going to commit, I was going to be “all in”.  I wanted every leg to ensure optimal results over the long term.  Now, I’m on my third workout program, can’t imagine life without Shakeology and even more so can’t imagine going back to those low calorie frozen lunches!

I’ll end with sharing my new favorite snack – Waldorf salad.  Chop up some apple (any type that you like), slice some red grapes in half and toss with fat free plain Greek yogurt.  Add some chopped walnuts (and maybe pecans – I love those).  If you want to make it a little more hearty, you can also add celery and grilled chicken.  For some extra taste – Dijon mustard is a great addition.  I have had the chicken version over a bed of spinach or in a sandwich too.  Yummy:)

Keep it clean!  I’m interested in hearing from you.  What does clean eating mean to you?  How has it changed your life?


This past week, each day I posted one of the top 5 “excuses” that I hear from people when it comes to making the decision to change their lives through improved health and fitness.   There are some powerful messages in those posts, so I thought I’d compile them all here (with a few tweaks).  Here they are:

Excuse #1:  Money.  “I can’t afford to pay for Shakeology, fresh fruits and veggies.”  “There are cheaper options.”

Sometimes people shy away from clean eating because they think it costs more or they can’t afford it. Six months ago when I started with Beachbody I had to “add” things to my grocery list that I had never bought before. Things like: Shakeology, large bags of organic products like chia seeds, almond milk, lots of Red Mill products.  What I didn’t realize was that I would also “subtract” lots of things like bags of candy, ice cream/other sweets, soda, juice and other beverages like lemonade, sugared cereals, boxed/dried foods.  At first I felt like I spent more on these new foods, however now that I’ve eliminated many other foods – I honestly don’t think that I spend more overall.  I also started bringing my lunch to work every day – which helps me control what I eat and reduces costs.  So, I’m not spending more but I feel better, look better and am improving my health which will lead to a longer, healthier life.  I’ll take it!

If you are still not convinced think of it this way…. just like prioritizing your work outs you have got to make getting proper nutrition a PRIORITY.  This means that you plan for it before you plan for anything else.  If it means that you budget for your food before you budget for your nail appointments, nights out drinking – then so be it.  In the end, healthy eating is a life decision that has to be a conscious priority.  It doesn’t just happen.  You CAN fit it into your budget if you want to.

Excuse #2: Time

I often hear, “I don’t have time to work out.”  Here’s the thing… you have got to MAKE time for your daily workouts.  We all have 24 hours in a day and we are all busy.  The people that successfully complete a workout program do so because they make it a priority in their day and schedule everything else after it.  If you say, “I’ll try to work  out this week” – I can guarantee it won’t happen.  You have to say, “I WILL work out this week.”  You may have noticed that I my workout schedule weekly.  On Sunday I plan out my week and I know exactly which workout I’m doing at what time.  It’s a priority for me and I stick with it.  If you can, working out in the morning is great.  You feel fabulous after and then you are all set for the day.  I have worked out at 5am before and 11pm before.  In the end it doesn’t matter what time you work out – you just need to do it!

Excuse #3:  Blaming other people.  “My spouse doesn’t like eating healthy.”  “When I go out with my friends we always go to the bar.”

You are CEO of your own body.  YOU decide what you are going to eat and not eat.  You pick the foods, you pick the times you eat, you pick the amount.  If your spouse is not interested in eating healthy foods – why?  Has he/she ever tried things like quinoa, lean meats and grilled veggies or is he/she in the habit of eating frozen pizzas and other unhealthy foods just because they are there?  If you do the shopping you can control what is brought into the house.  Maybe you start swapping out some of the foods you cook for your family with “better” options.  I agree – change for anyone is not going to come overnight (myself included) – however if your spouse starts seeing the same results that you see from eating better – chances are he/she will be encouraged to continue clean eating as well.

Another challenge to clean eating is hanging out with friends or going out.  When I go out, I limit my alcohol and sometimes I even eat before I go.  When I go to a party I always bring a healthy food choice like fruit salad, quinoa or maybe veggie burgers.  This way, I’ll know there will be at least one healthy choice.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to have perfect eating.  In fact, I find occasional cheats to be healthy for me – as these cheats allows me to satiate the (diminishing) cravings that I do have and prevents me from wanting to binge later.

Excuse #4. “I already have a gym membership.”

Chances are that you already pay for a gym membership and have been doing so for years, right?  Let me ask you these questions – over the period that you have paid for your gym membership:

  1. Have you consistently challenged your body to reach new levels?
  2. Have you achieved and maintained your ideal weight?
  3. Have you consistently used your gym membership at least 3 times a week?
  4. Have you been happy with the way you look?
  5. Is going to the gym always convenient for you?

If you answered yes to all of these questions – then great!   You have found something that works for you – so you should stick with it.

For most of us, “going to the gym” is simply not enough.  The gym is a great tool – however you have to know how to use it in order for it to be effective.  If you do not design a workout program for yourself that incorporates cardio, resistance/strength training, exercises to improve flexibility AND learn how to achieve proper nutrition – you are unlikely to reach AND maintain your fitness goals.

You have to switch up your workouts about every 3 months to keep progressing – otherwise your body will plateau.  You have to do the exercises that you don’t want to do – because those are the exercises that will help you reach the next level.  (Ask yourself… when was the last time you went to the gym and did all the exercises you hate?)

Excuse # 5.  Age.  “I’m too old.”

I have actually heard this one a LOT.  The truth is, you are never too old to workout, change your eating habits and improve your lifestyle.  Muscle knows no age.  People of all ages have the ability to improve their health through exercise.  In fact, exercise can help combat many health issues associated with age:  bone loss, memory loss, depression, loss of overall balance and coordination.  Exercise can also help alleviate symptoms of chronic illnesses.

These “excuses” can come up in all of our lives – even for those of us who have strong commitment to health and fitness.  The important thing to remember is that long term success is based on consistency, dedication.  Decide.  Commit.  Succeed

Weight of the Nation

July 15, 2012

I heard a lot of buzz about the HBO mini-series Weight of the Nation and decided to watch it.  So far I’ve seen the first two parts and it has been  eye opening and makes me really want to be a part of the obesity solution in the best way that I can.  These are the main ideas that I took away from this documentary:

  1. Childhood obesity is a MAJOR problem in the United States.  About 18% of our children are obese and 77% of those children will remain obese into adulthood.   The famous Bogalusa Heart Study (started in 1972) indicates that heart disease begins in childhood.
  2. There are 7 criteria for ideal cardiovascular health, yet less than 1% of Americans meet this criteria:
    1. Normal blood pressure
    2. No diabetes
    3. Healthy diet
    4. Physical activity
    5. Lean BMI (not overweight or obese)
    6. Normal cholesterol
    7. No smoking
  3. It takes being just a little bit overweight to start diabetes and other weight related illnesses.  You do not have to be morbidly obese to experience increase risk.
  4. Obesity and weight related illness is harming our competitive position in the world.  An obese person costs $1,400 more per year to medically treat compared to a non-obese person and a diabetic person costs $6,600 more per year to treat.
  5. If you “go with the flow” you will be overweight as 2/3 of people are.  Choices you can make today to improve your health are:
    1. Seek support from those who can relate
    2. Keep portions under control
    3. Track your calories
    4. Plan & structure your meals
    5. Set realistic goals
    6. Always make physical activity a part of your life
    7. The single best thing you can do is to stop drinking sugared beverages
    8. Getting eating under control will help you lose weight; exercise is the #1 predictor that someone will or will not keep their weight loss off.

The material presented in this documentary was shocking to me.  I never knew that such a small amount of excess weight can have a devastating effect on a person’s health.  I committed more than ever to help everyone achieve improved health.  If you or anyone you know is interested in taking this important step – please reach out to me.  Hbigelow01@yahoo.com.


July 14, 2012

I wanted to share my thoughts on Beachbody’s new skin care line – derm EXCLUSIVE.  First, some people have asked me, “Why would Beachbody start a skin care line anyway?”  Great question.   Beachbody is looking to help people achieve maximum health and wellness.  Shakeology will take care of your insides, the workout programs will take care of your ouside and now the new skin care line will take care of your skin.  It makes sense if you think about it.

As a 33 year old, I am very interested in anti-aging products.  I wanted to try derm EXCLUSIVE because I’ve put a lot of work into taking care of my body (insides and outsides) and for a while now, I’ve wanted to start taking better care of my skin – but I just didn’t know where to start.  I have an expensive moisturizer (which I like), however that’s generally the only product that I use.  There are LOTS of products out there – I’ve just never known which “would work” and given the high prices, I guess I just never took the plunge on any of them.

I bought the “4 pack” derm EXCLUSIVE and have been using it for about 10 days.  It includes:

  1. Micro Peel Resurfacing Pads – this is my favorite product!  These pads are intended to get rid of dead skin cells and unclog pores.  They idea is similar to what microdermabrasion does.  I really liked these.  They were not too hard on my skin and my skin looks instantly brighter after using them.  They are intended to be used at night about twice a week.  I have an at home microdermabrasion kit and these provide a similar result and are much easier/faster to use.
  2. Intensive Repair Serum – this cream is intended for AM and PM daily use and helps to accelerate your skin’s natural repair process (especially from sun exposure).  I found this to be very gentle and smooth to use.  I like it.
  3. Collagen Lift – a slightly thicker cream that is intended to be a gentler alternative to laser skin-tightening treatments.  This is also intended for AM and PM daily use and should help prevent sagging.  I also like this – it has a very smooth and refreshing feel.
  4. Fill & Freeze Wrinkle Treatment – plumps lines and wrinkles around the eye.  I had the hardest time using this product.  The first couple days I don’t think I used it correctly as I wasn’t putting enough on.  I have used it under my eyes and can see a difference when I put it on (now that I’m using enough!)

Overall, I’m very happy with the products thus far.  I ordered on home delivery and before my next shipment I’m going to upgrade to the larger package that includes the facial cleanser, moisturizer and volume lip therapy.  I have still been using my “old” moisturizers and cleansers – so I figure I might as well try the products that are intended to compliment these.  Stay tuned for my review!