The Oma Life, LLC: Healthy Habits Challenge (January 2017)


 Medical Disclaimer
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise or dietary program. This general information is not intended to treat any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise and dietary prescription. If any of these habits are deemed unsafe by your healthcare professional, do not follow them. If you experience any pain or difficulty with exercise or with food choices, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

According to the calendar attached, each day we will choose a certain number of healthy habits ranging from 1-4 healthy habits to commit to per day.

Each Sunday we will make a plan for the upcoming week, each Wednesday we will answer a question about our goals, and each Saturday we will reflect upon what we accomplished that week.

Healthy Habits Calendar

Note that you can change up which habits you commit to each day. You can also commit to more if you wish! The goal is to start small and work your way up.

Yes, there will be prizes!!! Starting January 1st, every time you post something showing your healthy habit and hashtag #tolhealthyhabits to Facebook or Instagram you will be entered to win a prize. The more you post, the better your chances of winning!

List of Healthy Habits

  1. Drink enough water – one generic way to determine a water goal would be to divide your weight by 2 – this could roughly be your goal of water in ounces (for example, if you weight 150 lbs., 150 divided by 2 gives a recommended 75 ounces of water).
  2. Perform an exercise that elevates your heart rate for at least 20 minutes total in one day (could include light exercise, or higher intensity exercise – anything that causes you to increase your heart rate above a resting heart rate. Doesn’t have to be 20 minutes in a row. Can be broken into smaller chunks, like 10 minutes at a time).
  3. Get a serving of high protein food with each meal (see list for ideas).
  4. Eat a food item rich in Omega-3 fat (see list for ideas).
  5. Get 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables.
  6. Increase the challenge of an exercise compared to the last time you performed (this could include resistance training (increasing sets, reps, weight lifted, and/or decreasing rest time) as well as cardiovascular exercise (decreasing rest time, increasing speed).
  7. Take at least 6,000 steps in one day.
  8. Choose mostly whole grains instead of refined grains (more than half of your servings of grains for the day are unrefined).


Tips for a Nutrition Friendly Barbecue

Grilled-Barbecue-Chicken-Barbecues are a great chance to have fun with friends and family, but often people feel guilty afterwards for overeating. There’s so much temptation! Don’t feel like you can’t stay on target even at a barbecue! I found this great set of tips for having a healthy barbecue:
In addition to those awesome tips I will add:
1. If you’re watching your calories and macros, logging what you eat will help you stay accountable – it only takes a few seconds and can be done from your phone with or

2. The link says to avoid snack foods like chips and such, but what I would say is that if you really want something along these lines, just try to choose wisely. Just like I’d recommend with holidays (or any day really) – try to choose one splurge like a small dessert, alcoholic beverage, or snack food like chips if you have a limited amount of calories to work with and make sure you log it for accountability

3. This link is helpful when figuring out portion sizes on the go:

Remember – we are practicing moderation, not restriction! The longer you restrict, the more you may crave something and that could lead to binging. You also don’t want to fear being out in public because you “can’t” have something. Instead we can think of it as “I can have this, but I only want the amount that won’t prevent me from reaching my goals”.

Want more tips like this on an ongoing basis? As a past or current client you have the option to join the official client distribution list for tips, support, encouragement, announcements, and prizes! You can register using the link below:
Have a healthy barbecue!
– Monica

Managing Nutrition on a Busy Schedule


I can definitely relate to being busy. I’m usually up before 5 AM, out the door by 6:30 AM, do a full day of work, then train or prepare coaching information for clients after work. Add on family duties and what little time there is left for working out, and a full day has gone by with very little free time.

Since nutrition is key in making or maintaining progress, it’s very important to still find time to make that a priority. Here are some tips that help me manage nutrition.

Meal prep on off day

I hope this helps! If you know some more, please contact me or mention them in the comments below!

Meal Planning Tips for Easier Calorie/Macro Counting

Below are some tips for meal planning. This would be helpful for those who struggle with hitting macros/calories or just want to save time and not have to log food every day.

Remember, in order of importance: calories (eat less than you burn to lose weight, more than you burn to gain weight), then at least get the minimum amount of protein you need, and at least the minimum amount of fiber you need. Where your carbs and fat end up are less important as long as you’re comfortable with your food choices.

Meal Planning Tips

Before you put your meals together in real life, I recommend logging them into your calorie tracker using the following ideas – after each step you can go back and see what room you have left in your calories, and keep adding until you reach your goal (or adjust the servings of what you’ve already logged if you go over on calories).

It’s good to do this at least a day in advance so you don’t really have to think about it the day of.

1. Splurges

Optionally: if you are craving something – a certain dish or some type of snack food that might be lower in nutrition, you can choose to log just a small serving of it first. For example, I randomly crave pizza so I will go and add a serving of it before I log anything else. If I can fit it in after hitting my protein and fiber, then I keep it in my plan.

2. Protein sources

Pick a main protein source for each meal – see “Macro Cheat Sheet” for ideas and also, see below for some leaner protein source ideas (it’s fine if you want something outside of this list also).

  • Egg whites – can be added to oatmeal, used in different recipes (I’ll forward some), used in place of eggs or even added to eggs to add more volume
  • Greek yogurt and cottage cheese (2% or low fat)
  • Lean cuts of meat:
  • Whey, egg protein, or vegetarian protein – though real food might be more satisfying, this is an easy way to get more protein. Can be added to things like oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies/shakes, etc. Also protein bars can be used to satisfy a sweet tooth and still pack protein. One of my favorites is Combat Crunch. Also protein pancakes such as Power Cakes come with whey powder added.
  • Shellfish such as shrimp and crab, and white fish such as cod, tuna, trout, etc.

3. High fiber sources

Pick 1-2 servings of fruit and veggies per meal (aim for a total of 5-10 servings per day to try to get enough fiber)

  • 1/2 cup cooked, 2 cups leafy raw salad, 1/2 cup cooked greens, 1 small-medium fruit/veggie are examples of a serving

Optionally, pick a high fiber grain or starch for most meals

  • Oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown or white rice, whole grain pasta, sweet potato, regular or red potatoes, etc.

4. Fats

By now you will likely have met most of your nutritional needs – for the fats, fill in with additions like dressing/sauces, cheese, butter, nut butters, nuts, whole eggs  – see more ideas in Macro Cheat Sheet

5. Anything else you’d like!

At this point, if you still have calories left over you could add really anything that you’d like. If you’ve gone over on calories, it’s ok to remove partial servings instead of taking out whole servings of food. For example, you really wanted a 1/2 cup of ice cream but don’t have the room in your intake, try 1/4 cup instead added to your whole grain waffle.

Note that you can have recipes that fit in multiple categories – you might find that something like lasagna is already high in protein from meat used in it and has whole grain pasta if you use it, and has cheese as a fat source. You wouldn’t need to add an additional high protein food for that meal.

Planning for the week:

Once you’ve logged your plan for the day you can then go and cook the food needed for as many days as you want.

As you go through the week, feel free to switch things up. Generally sub a fat source for another fat source, a veggie or fruit for another veggie or fruit, a protein source for another protein source, and a “splurge” for another splurge that’s around the same calories to make it easier.

Using these steps, you can start to eat with a pattern that can make it easier to maintain your results even if you’re not tracking macros!

Tips for Binging

For binging I would like to recommend a few things that help me:

1. Whatever you’re craving, fit it into your calories/macros – try planning ahead the day before and start by adding a serving of it to your calorie log for the next day. Then go in and add healthier food to make up the calories/macros. It won’t help you to suppress the urge to eat it. If you plan for at least one “splurge” per day it might reduce your cravings, since it’s not “off limits” and you know you can always have it the next day.

With that if portion size is the struggle, sometimes it helps to split the big container into small portions ahead of time, or to even buy single serving sizes. I had to do that for a while with things like pistachios (it’s weird the things you don’t think are triggers for binges, but pistachios were for a while for me lol).

2. Try keeping a journal of what you’re feeling when you want to binge. Is it usually in high stress situations? Is it when you’re bored, angry, sad, happy, etc.? Identify those feelings. Sometimes just writing it out will prevent you from binging (especially if you allow yourself the splurges and they’re not off limits, but try to keep it to a serving). No matter what I suggest, we will have to identify what the root cause of your binges are, or we can’t effectively manage them.

3. If you’ve already had your splurge for the day, and want more, do what we call “ride the wave”. Since you know you’ll be allowed more the next day, you can remind yourself that. Feel the urge to binge but don’t react to it. Usually that urge is intense but it goes away after a few minutes if you let it. The important thing is you really can have more the next day since this food is not off limits, so just keeping that in mind will make it easier to ride the wave of those cravings for more.

My Favorite Fitness Technology

I was recently contacted by Andrea Powers of Oscar Insurance who inspired me to post about my favorite fitness technology.

The health and fitness industry has greatly benefited from the new technology that’s emerging daily. It has become easier than ever to monitor and record food and workouts, assess health and fitness, and challenge ourselves with games targeting those looking to get in shape. There are a plethora of applications, health trackers, and gadgets to choose from, which can be exciting and even overwhelming to choose from.

When choosing a new fitness gadget or application, I base my decision on the following factors: ease of wear, capability to integrate with other technology I own, accuracy, and affordability. I’m a simple woman when it comes to fitness, and only use a few things to assist in reaching my goals. See below for my top fitness apps and gadgets!

 Heart Rate Monitor

When I decided to get focused on fat loss, one of the first things I incorporated into my regimen was a heart rate monitor (HRM). My HRM helps me by showing me my heart rate and calories burned, as well as estimating what percentage burned was fat. I am able to train with different intensities when needed, using heart rate as the guide. Since my key goal when losing fat is to burn more calories through the day than I consume, I will often use the HRM to challenge myself with a certain calorie goal. Without a heart rate monitor it’s difficult to know how much I’m burning, as I don’t use cardio machines often and online calorie burn estimators have been shown to be off by as much as hundreds of calories.

“Waterlogged” App

Waterlogged is an app that is used to track water consumption throughout the day. Drinking enough water is one major key to being healthy. Water has been found to contribute to metabolism, vitamin absorption, energy levels, digestion, and can even be used to prevent overeating if drunken before or with meals. As important as water is, I am guilty of not always committing to drinking enough. The Waterlogged app is great for helping out with water consumption because it not only allows me to track how much water I’ve had, but also allows me to set reminders within the app to tell me when to drink more water. By only taking pictures of my water container it can estimate how much water I’ve had. What’s more, I can also enter water amounts in any unit of measurement. This is nice because sometimes I’m drinking out of a gallon, sometimes out of a 20 oz bottle, and sometimes out of regular glass cups, and I definitely don’t feel like doing a bunch of unit conversions!

“Gym Hero” App

I absolutely love the Gym Hero app because it allows me to track my workout routines without ever using another pen and pad (who doesn’t want to save trees?).  I really like that once I’ve created and named a workout routine, I can pull that same routine up the next time I do it and it auto-fills all the exercises, sets, repetitions, and weights that I last performed in that routine. After that it’s easy to just update the weight if necessary. This app makes it very easy to track my improvement over time. No more misplacing workout logs – it’s all in one place!

“Seconds” App

I use the Seconds app to time my intervals for high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a form of training where one exercises at a high intensity for a short amount of time (often anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute), then alternates with a lower intensity exercise or rest for enough time to lower the heart rate slightly (often anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes). The interval then repeats for a certain number of times. HIIT can also be done with the same high intensity exercise for each interval, or different high intensity exercises mixed in throughout. I love HIIT because it allows me to burn fat while maintaining muscle, and burn a good amount of calories in a short amount of time. It’s important for me to be able to know when to move from one exercise to the next without distracting myself from the workout by checking my phone or a clock. Seconds is great for this because before I complete the workout I can write which exercises I’ll be performing and how much time I’ll spend on higher intensity exercises and lower intensity exercises and/or rest. I can also program how many sets I’ll perform of each interval. Once it’s programmed, I simply start it and it can indicate when another exercise is coming up and speak out the exercises for me. It even allows me to play music while in the app, which can really help push me through the workout.

“Calorie Count” website and app is a website that allows me to track calories, macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, protein, fiber, and water), vitamins and minerals, as well as log my exercises and calories burned. It also doubles as a social network, allowing me to connect with other fitness minded people. We share information such as tips and recipes, encouragement, and entertainment. There is also an app for the site that can be downloaded to my smartphone. This tool is great because it has shown me not only how to balance calories to lose weight, but also has helped me become more aware of how healthy my food habits are, grading foods from A to F in terms of nutrition. With the ability to write on message boards, write in a public journal, and gain “supporters”, I’ve also made some great connections with others who have supported me through the years!

Those are my favorite tools, and each has helped me in different ways to become more successful in reaching my goals. What technology has helped you along your fitness journey?

Feb 4 – Week 1 Day 3

To be honest, it’s messing with my head to consume so many calories. I’m still averaging 2100 calories on workout days because that’s around maintenance level for me. On days I don’t workout I will be eating around 1900 calories. After going so many years thinking about how to get smaller, I have to change that mindset. I have to eat to grow!

Here’s how today went.


I was thinking last night, “You know what? I want some chocolate chip pancakes”. If it fits your macros right? I made a “clean” version of this with whole wheat pancake mix, prepared as packaged, but added broken up chunks of 85% organic dark chocolate to the batter. I cooked the pancakes in coconut oil and topped with pure maple syrup. I’m thankful for the chocolate that I am able to receive!

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Ingredients: 1 cup (120g) Whole wheat buttermilk pancake mix (Hodgson Mill), 1 egg, 1/2 cup almond milk, 6 squares (20g) 85% dark chocolate (Green & Black), 3/4 tablespoon (15g) maple syrup

Meal total: 664 calories, 19.9g protein, 98.8g carbs, 24.2g fat


Simple lunch, a salad with romaine, smoked salmon, and avocados (would have had tomato if I hadn’t run out!). Side of greek yogurt with blueberries and granola.

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Salad – 2 oz smoked salmon, 2 cups romaine, 1/2 avocado

257 calories, 10.2g carbs, 18.3g protein, 17.2g fat

Greek yogurt parfait – 1 cup (227g) Fage Greek Yogurt (2%), 1/4 cup Michele’s original granola (28g), 2/3 cup frozen blueberries (85g).

389 calories, 40.9g carbs, 26.4g protein, 15.5g fat

Meal total: 646 calories, 51.1g carbs, 44.7g protein, 32.7g fat


Continuing with my chocolate obsession, I tried something new. I blended chocolate frozen yogurt with chocolate whey powder for extra protein. This was so delicious! If you’ve ever had a frosty from Wendy’s, it was the same consistency and had a very similar taste. I topped it with a few strawberries, you know, for health.

Of course this gave me the sugar rush I needed for an awesome workout!

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Ingredients: 1 cup After Dark Chocolate frozen yogurt (Stonyfield Farms), 1 scoop (30g) Chocolate Grass Fed Whey (Reserveage), 75g strawberries

344 calories, 50g carbs, 30g protein, 1.7g fat


After a hard weight lifting workout, I wanted to eat BIG. I planned in a lot of carbs following this lifting session to replenish those glycogen stores and allow my body to use the protein for muscle building!

I know this isn’t the best plating, but bear with me, I was famished and arms were wobbly :-).

Herb and mustard salmon (wild salmon baked with dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary, and black pepper), with a side of brown rice, baked sweet potato with cinnamon, and kale. Not pictured is a side of 2 cups of romaine (gotta get my greens!).

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Ingredients: 4 oz wild coho salmon, 1 cup brown rice, 2 cups raw kale, 1 medium sweet potato (114g), 2 cups romaine lettuce.

529 calories, 67g carbs, 42g protein, 11.1g fat.

Total for the Day:

2,148 calories, 259g carbs, 136g protein, 69g fat


New Rules of Lifting for Women, Stage 3 Workout A

This is a full body lifting regimen. I noticed that I was lifting much more than I have been, and I suspect it is because of all the extra calories!



February 3 – Week 1 Day 2

I woke up famished! The day after lifting weights I’m always extremely hungry. Anyway, here’s how my day went!


Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and a cinnamon raisin English muffin with coconut oil.

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Scrambled Eggs: 2 large eggs, 2 oz smoked salmon, red pepper, onion, pepper, 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

English Muffin: Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin English muffin (1 whole muffin), 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Meal Total: 522 calories, 36.8g carbs, 34.1g protein, 28.9g fat


Veggie burger and chili sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries I made by cutting 1 medium sweet potato into strips, then tossing with 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil and chili powder to taste. I baked at 350 and flipped the fries about every 5-10 minutes. I kept them in until crunchy (keep your eyes on these so the thin slices don’t burn).

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Veggie burger – 2 slices California Style Sprouted bread (Alvarado St Bakery), California veggie burger (Amy’s Kitchen), avocado, mustard

Sweet potato fries – 1 medium sweet potato (130g raw), 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, chili powder

Meal total: 656 calories, 94.0g carbs, 20.3g protein, 25.5g fat


I love pizza! This is a slightly healthier version. Mediterranean whole grain naan pizza.

I made this by topping a whole grain piece of naan with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, feta, sun dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives. I baked at 350 until crust was crispy at the ends and cheese was melted.

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1 whole grain Tandoori naan (365 Everyday Value), 1 oz pizza sauce (Nature’s Basket), 1 oz mozzarella, 1 oz feta, 1 sun dried tomato, 1 kalamata olive

Meal total: 456 calories, 48.0g carbs, 19.7g protein, 20.5g fat

Post workout/Dinner 

I worked out and then had my post workout meal along with dinner. I had a short circuit training workout, so I didn’t really need as many carbs for recovery. I don’t believe in spacing out meals by 3 hours to eat 5-6 meals. I’ll explain in a separate post, but for now here’s what I had.

Mango and strawberry protein shake, with salmon and steamed kale.

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Ingredients (Protein shake): 100g mango, 75g strawberries, 2 scoops Jarrow Formula unflavored protein, organic vanilla flavor

214 calories, 25.8g carbs, 19g protein, 4.0g fat.

Ingredients (salmon and kale): 3 oz wild coho salmon, 2 cups kale

176 calories, 3.5g carbs, 25.0g protein, 6.7g fat

Meal Total: 390 calories, 29.3g carbs, 10.7g fat.

Total for the Day

2,032 calories, 211g carbs, 119g protein, 85g fat


Power Circuit and Tabata interval routines from

Total of about 40 minutes, with a brief break between the two.

February 2 – Week 1 Day 1

Today’s goal is to eat around 2100 calories, and for about half of those calories to come from carbs. I’m on a muscle building spree and muscles need fuel! It is pretty well known that muscles need protein to grow, but one thing that I have overlooked all these years is the role of carbohydrates in muscle building. No more low carb diets for me ever! All these carbs will go to use – providing energy for workouts so my precious protein can go towards muscle building!


Sweet potato and smoked salmon hash with a fried egg. Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffin on the side.

breakfast feb2

For the hash, I chopped sweet potatoes, oven baked them a bit to soften them, then sautéed onion, red pepper, and the sweet potato in coconut oil. Once these were soft I added smoked salmon and cooked until the smoked salmon was light pink. I topped this with an egg that was fried in coconut oil.

Ingredients: 57g smoked salmon, 1 medium sweet potato, 1 large egg, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 whole muffin (Ezekiel cinnamon raisin), onion and red pepper (not included in count).

554 calories, 60g carbs, 30g protein, 24g fat.


Greek yogurt and blueberry parfait

feb2 preworkout

Ingredients: 1 cup (227g) Fage Greek Yogurt (2%), 1/4 cup Michele’s original granola (28g), 2/3 cup frozen blueberries (85g).

389 calories, 26.4g protein, 40.9g carbs, 15.5g fat


Dark chocolate frozen yogurt and raw chocolate cookies. This is a sugar packed combination that helps provide natural energy to get through the workout.

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1 cup After Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogurt (Stonyfield Farm), 1 oz Chocolate Super Cookies (Go Raw)

360 calories, 57g carbs, 10g protein, 9g fat


You’ll see that I really just structure how I eat around what workouts I do. This workout was a long weight lifting session with some high intensity cardio, so I had plenty of carbs before and after the workout.

Protein shake with mangoes, strawberries, unflavored whey powder, and real vanilla flavor. Veggie burger with “cheezy” kale chips and tomatoes. Maybe not that appetizing to the average Joe, but it hit the spot!

To make the kale chips, I rubbed 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into the raw kale, topped it with nutritional yeast to make a “cheese” flavor, and baked on 250 until kale was dried and crispy. 

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Ingredients (Protein shake): 100g mango, 75g strawberries, 2 scoops Jarrow Formula unflavored protein, organic vanilla flavor

214 calories, 25.8g carbs, 19g protein, 4.0g fat.

Ingredients (Burger and kale chips): California veggie burger (Amy’s Organic), 2 cups kale, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 12g nutritional yeast, 1 plum tomato

307 calories, 35.7g carbs, 15.8g protein, 13.2g fat

Total meal: 521 calories, 61.5g carbs, 34.8g protein, 17.2g fat


Salmon, brown rice, and kale. And a big chunk of romaine lettuce (because I didn’t feel like making a salad?). I like to get plenty of leafy vegetables per day – at least 2 servings daily. This is because they have a lot of nutritional value for very little calories.

The salmon is very lightly seasoned with black pepper, garlic, and rosemary.

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Ingredients: 2 cups raw kale, 1/2 cup cooked long grain brown rice, 3 oz salmon. 4 cups romaine.

334 calories, 35.4g carbs, 31.5g protein, 8.6g fat

Total for the Day

2,141 calories, 251g carbs, 133g protein, 74g fat

Workout of the Day

Barbell squat: 8×3, 165 lbs

Lunge with rear leg elevated: 8×3, 80 lbs

Military press: 8×3, 50 lbs

Step ups: 8×3, 80 lbs

Lat pull-downs: 8×3, 75 lbs

Intervals: alternated 2 minutes jogging (5.5 mph) with 1 min sprints (8.5-9.0 mph) for a total of 15 minutes

Glute bridges: 15×2, 70 lbs

Quadruped hip extension: 15×2, 25 lbs

Band standing abduction: 15×2, blue band



8 Weeks of Accountability

Hi folks!

I have decided to hold myself accountable for the world to see. By the world, I mean the handful of people who actually follow this blog. I will post an online food and workout journal for the next 8 weeks. Not only does this keep me accountable, but it also gives some insight into how I eat and the types of workouts I do.

You may be surprised to see that I don’t “diet” in the sense that I don’t cut a lot of calories and I don’t cut out different food groups to reach a goal. Most days I “eat clean”, meaning I eat whole foods that are minimally processed. This is because I don’t like the idea of lab made foods, not because of a fitness goal. Some days I eat processed foods as well because I believe in having a balance. You will notice some days I may eat pescetarian (no meat other than fish/seafood), but also occasionally eat vegetarian or vegan: once again this is just my lifestyle, not due to any specific fitness goal.

My workout routine is mainly weight lifting and high intensity cardio. Sometimes I follow a routine, sometimes I do what I feel like doing. Some days I go hard, some days I don’t. Some days I’ll do two workouts in a day if I feel like it! I also build 1-2 rest days per week into my routine.

DISCLAIMER: This is just me sharing what I’ll be doing over these 8 weeks. This is by no means telling you what to eat or what workouts to do. I am using my own research and studies to build a plan for myself. Though I will provide information on why I make certain decisions, each individual has to tweak their food and workout routine according to their body and goals.