22 Minute Hard Corps Week 1 | Women’s results

Today I sit and schedule and prep for the start of my next adventure.  See, as soon as Beachbody program comes out I am ready to commit to it as I know they are built for success.  Some programs I am more excited for than others but I do dig into all of them.

As I sat on my cruise in my bikini or lay in my bed on my side, I know just by feel that I am desperately in need of getting back to feeling amazing in my clothes.  I have muffin top syndrome going on right now.  In my eyes I have let myself go.  I have been lacking motivation since almost completing Hammer Master and Chisel (I love that program but life hit me with a curve ball and I had a hard time getting back on the wagon with it).  I am terrified of stepping on the scale in the morning and taking measurements.  I haven’t done that since my TEST GROUP experience with PIYO.  But I have committed to myself and am treating this as if I am in the test group for this program.  I know with that mentality, it is what keeps me pushing everyday including the days I want a big glass of wine or I just want to sleep in and not workout.

22 minute hard corps prep

My love for Tony Horton is strong.  He was my Beachbody First Love!  So, I will do everything in my power to complete this program EVEN with the Women’s Hockey National Tournament in 1 1/2 weeks.  Traveling on the meal plan will be the most difficult thing to do I will admit.  My goal for the next week and a half is to figure out how to stay on track while traveling to Minnesota.  I am happy that this workout is only 22 minutes and I can stream it on the new Beachbody On Demand App.  (If you have the program, email me and I can share with you how to stream it on an app)

Here is my first go around on the meal planning and I have to tell you that THIS MEAL PLAN is the BEST meal plan that Beachbody has ever done.  They have listened to the consumers and coaches over the years and have blown my mind with how simple it is to follow!!!

I will be hitting the Grocery Store today on the quest to make it super simple to follow and not to bore myself so that I can really just focus on getting my workouts done and not stress about the food.

Here it is:22 minute hard corps meal planMy meal plan for the week (email me if you would like a copy of my shopping list as well.  Just title your email “22 min hard corps shopping list”)

22 minute hard corps meal plan

It is time!

Anna Gray 22 minute hard corps



How does Paleo differ from the Slow Carb Diet?

I wrote about how I was testing out The Slow Carb Diet a couple years ago when I discovered what it was by the famous author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris.

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If you have never heard of the Slow Carb Diet here are the basic guidelines

Slow Carb Diet

1 – Eat Lean Meats, Beans and Veggies.  Don’t eat Fruit, white foods (breads, pastas, potatoes), or sugar.

2 – Give yourself a Cheat Day Each Week where you are allowed any of the forbidden foods.

You can read more about it in the Book 4-hour Diet by Tim Ferris

Why is this Diet Healthy?

You are rapidly burning fat as you are avoiding foods that promote fat storage.  It does use a bit of wild Hack-techniques like eating immediately upon waking and binging on a “cheat” food once a weak to give your Metabolism a little SPARK of confusion.

Other Guidelines

Eat the listed approved foods, eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and Lunch.  Most of us actually already do this.  Don’t drink your calories.  (1-2 glasses of red wine is ok — hee hee like this one).  Start your day with protein — 30 grams immediately upon waking.  Don’t eat fruit (Tomatoes and avocado in moderation).  You should be getting at least 20 grams of protein with each meal.

HERE is an Example of Approved Foods

Paleo Guidelines 

1 — A Paleo diet should be high in fat, moderate in animal protein, low to moderate in carbohydrates.

2 — Eat a generous amount of saturated fats like coconut oil, or clarified butter.

3 — Eat a good amount of animal protein.

4 — Eat a generous amount of vegetables.

5 — Eat a low to moderate amount of Nuts and Fruits.

6 — Cut out cereal, grains and legumes.

7 — Eliminate Sugar.

Paleo dieting has been the latest trend in food.  I will admit this is how I typically eat when I am dialed in my nutrition.  I accompany my Paleo eating with the 21 Day fix portion control system.  I do this because I could eat avocado all day, lol.  No really what I say is moderate and what you say is moderate can be completely different.  When we have the portion control system, there is ZERO guessing and I have been incredibly successful in weight loss and keeping my weight off this way.

So do I think one way is better than the other.  Absolutely not!  Do I think Sugar is bad and you should avoid it, YES!  Both programs avoid sugar which is KEY.  I actually encourage you to try both and see what works for your body.  I like to talk about our body’s having Bio-Individuality.  Everyone is different and what works for me may very well not work for you.  But you will never know unless you commit to something for at least 3 weeks and pay attention to how your body reacts.

I would be happy to help walk you through any of these programs in my coaching program and challenge groups.  Please email me at coachannagray@gmail.com with your concerns.

Comment below if you have tried either of these and let me know what your experience has been.

How to Fuel your Workout

If you have been following me on Instagram at @paleoish_fitbusymom then you will know that I am all about eating Paleo, or kinda, lol.  See there are no Paleo police out there to catch me from doing it WRONG.  All I know is that my body functions the best on this type of email plan so it is easy for me to look up meal plans and recipes that fit my needs because of the Paleo title..

Here is what Beachbody has to say about it.

Eat before you work out. Don’t eat before you work out. Eat only carbs after a workout. Don’t eat carbs…ever. The mixed messages in the media about how to fuel for and recover from a workout, run the above gamut and then some. Add to that the numerous extreme diet trends, and you’ve got even more (mis)information at your fingertips.

As a Paleoista, I’d like to set the record straight by going back to basics. Way, way back—like a couple million years, to be a bit more precise! Since our ancestors were athletes in their own right, we can look to them to mimic the food groups they consumed and model an eating plan accordingly. The goal is to eat with a focus on local, seasonal veggies and some fruit, wild fish instead of farmed (or canned), grass-fed meats, and a good dose of healthy fats.

Don’t worry—I’m not going to suggest you take up hunting, throw away your clothing in favor of a loincloth, and take up barefoot running. I’m Paleo, but I’m no cavewoman! What I do suggest is that you eat a variety of whole foods from farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and even your own backyard, and steer clear of processed, packaged items that are high in salt, sugar, bad fats, and assorted chemicals.

As we exercise, our nutritional needs change and the more we provide our bodies with clean, high-octane fuel, the better we can expect them to perform.

But how do we make full use of those foods? It depends on what you’re doing. What I eat when preparing for a long day of Ironman training is vastly different than what a client might eat for an epic strength-training session and still different from how you could prepare for a short bout of intense cardiovascular activity first thing in the morning. Let’s break it down:


1. Strength Training
Strength sessions done in a fasted state first thing in the morning can potentially help the body to release maximal levels of HgH (growth hormone) which allows the body to recover, repair, and refuel for the next workout. This can also happen later in the day if you do them roughly an hour after eating a lean-protein meal and follow it with a similar lean-protein meal about 45 minutes to an hour after your strength-training session.

Examples of lean-protein meals: Sliced, lean pastured turkey breast or an egg white omelet. (Save the yolks to eat later. They’re good for you!)


2. Shorter Duration Morning Cardiovascular Activity
Training first thing in the morning in a fasted state has been proven to help the body become more efficient at utilizing fat as a substrate. Even for those who don’t necessarily need to lose weight, Paleo practitioners believe functioning on fat as your fuel throughout the day provides for improved mental focus, balanced energy levels, and less cravings for sweets, as the latter is typically representative of a blood sugar crash in disguise.

If you haven’t tried working out in the morning without eating first, do so in a controlled environment. Start with something as simple as a 30-minute cardio session the first couple of times to see how your body reacts. You can build your way up to longer bouts of activity over time. Just be sure to give your body the opportunity to adapt. Don’t go out for a two-hour run in a fasted state if you’ve never tried it before and have been relying on carbohydrate gels up until now.

Afterwards, be sure to eat a proper Paleo-inspired breakfast focusing, as most Paleo plates do, on eating a hefty portion of a variety of veggies, balanced out with some wild proteins and a good dose of healthy fat. As your workout duration increases, begin to add some Paleo-friendly starches like yam, or a higher glycemic fruit, like ripe banana, to your breakfast to help your body recover.

An example of a post-cardio Paleo breakfast: An omelet made from two or three cage-free eggs then cooked in coconut oil and placed on a bed of leafy greens with avocado.

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3. Longer Cardio Sessions
If your workout stretches beyond two hours, begin to include more starch. (Contrary to popular belief, we do not need starch at every meal; we need it only when we’re going to be moving our bodies.) About two hours before a long workout, eat a meal that has a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. No need to overthink it—just have some yams (check out my signature Paleoista Baked Yam ‘fries’) with some easily digestible protein, such as couple of soft boiled eggs, or a homemade smoothie, such as this one.

Also keep in mind that it can sometimes get tricky to fuel with natural foods during long training sessions or races such as marathons or Ironman competitions. Subsequently, you may need to include some not-so-Paleo items, like carbohydrate gels. But the rest of the time, if the bulk of what you eat is real, unprocessed food, eaten in proper ratios, you’re hedging our bets for success.

To recover from a longer session, first hydrate, then eat something similar to what you ate pre-workout. Return to normal Paleo eating as soon as your body lets you know it’s time.

Low Calorie Foods Essential to Weight Loss

With obesity on the rise and posing one of the most single most severe health problems in the country, it is no wonder that so many are trying to lose weight through any means necessary. There are countless fad diets, diet food delivery programs, fitness regimens and weight loss plans that swear to give you fast, noticeable results, but, when it comes to dieting, there is no such thing as an easy solution. The best way to achieve permanent weight loss is by eating fewer calories than what your body burns throughout the day. Obviously, incorporating fitness helps as well since it burns calories and helps off set the calories in versus calories out.

Foods and Beverages That Aid in Weight Loss
Although it is important to cut down on calories consumed, it is also just as important not to restrict calories so much so that you are hungry all day and causing the body to burn muscle for fuel. In order to avoid this, you will not only have to restrict calorie intake, but will also have to incorporate certain foods into your diet that aid in weight loss simply by consuming them. Yes, that’s right, there are actually certain foods that are low in calories, low in fat and contain plenty of fiber. These foods help keep you full longer, speed up your metabolism and assist in digestion. They help prevent overeating and make calorie restriction a much easier goal to accomplish.

Water is the key component to losing weight, keeping it off and doing it in a healthy way. Water helps the kidneys and liver function properly so that your food is digested and fat is burned efficiently when consumed. If you do not consume enough water, your kidneys will have a difficult time processing protein and your liver will have to jump in and help. One of the liver’s main functions is to process fat in the body. If it has to do another job to help out the kidneys as well, fat burning will be inhibited. In addition to being a necessary tool for digestion, water also helps keep you full in between, before and after meals. By drinking one to two glasses of water prior to each meal, you will get full quicker and consume fewer calories.

Green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach kale and other leafy green vegetables contain a variety of nutrients critical to weight loss, especially an abundance of fiber. Fiber helps keep you full longer, hence helping you consume fewer calories at each meal. Leafy green vegetables also fight free radicals and improve muscle recovery after exercise. Incorporate a leafy green vegetable to each meal of the day by adding a green salad prior your main meal. This is an easy way to add fiber and cut caloric intake with a healthy, pre-meal food.

Whole Grains
Whole grains are important, especially when they are consumed and substituted for starches or white foods such as white bread and white rice. Some examples of whole grains are brown rice, whole grain cereals, quinoa, whole oats, and bran. Each of these foods, when eaten in small quantities at each meal, can help prevent the body from storing fat by helping move it along in the digestive system. This results in less fat storage and increased weight loss. Whole grains also provide a similar benefit to leafy greens and water. They help keep you full longer, preventing snacking between meals or overeating.

Lean Protein
Lean protein such as white meat chicken, lean turkey, fish and extra lean meats all assist in weight loss. They do so by assisting your body with the muscle building process. After exercise, it is suggested that you consume a high protein meal or snack in order to help rebuild muscle fibers and help muscles heal. High protein meals and snacks are also more filling than sugary, carbohydrate filled post-workout favorites such as granola bars, cereal bars or pasta.

Fruits contain many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the body to function. When it comes to fruit, however, it is important to choose the right foods in order to prevent insulin spikes and unnecessary fat storage. Fruits contain plenty of sugars, and although they are natural sugars, they will still have an impact on your blood sugar level and cause spikes in the body’s insulin levels. These spikes can cause you to feel hungry when you should not be, they can make you feel fatigued and can have an overall negative effect on mood. In order to consume fruits that will benefit the body and assist in weight loss, it is important to consume mostly low glycemic fruits. Some examples of low glycemic fruits are cherries, berries, grapefruits, plums, apples and pears. In addition to ensuring most of your fruits are low on the glycemic index, it is also important to eat fresh fruit and avoid juices or dried fruits. Juices do not provide all of the nutrients that the skin and meaty portions of the fruit contains. Dried foods typically have plenty of added sugars and some of their nutritional value has been depleted.

Low Fat Yogurt
Plain, low fat yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, is high in protein and calcium. This combination helps increase metabolism and break down fats during digestion. Research suggests that those that incorporate low fat yogurt to a balanced, low calorie diet plan maintain more lean muscle mass while losing weight.

The Bottom Line
While there are many foods that assist in weight loss, as previously mentioned, there is no magic pill or food that will shed calories without effort on your part. The keys to effective, permanent weight loss are simple. You will need to eat less calories than what you burn, either through calorie restriction and/or exercise and you will have to incorporate healthy, nutritious foods into each meal and snack you consume. Ideally, you should aim to consume less than 20% of your calories from fat each day. The remainder of your calories can be evenly distributed among proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The benefits of exercise are abundant. It not only burns calories, but also keeps the body’s metabolism working long after exercise is complete. This helps burn more calories and fat even while you are sitting at work or sleeping.

Healthy Foods to Eat During Pregnancy


Deciding to start a family and getting pregnant will be one of the most exciting moments of your life.  At the same time, it can also be a bit daunting since the nine months prior to your baby’s birth are so critical to his or her development.  Many expectant moms wonder what to eat, what to avoid, how much to eat and how often they should eat.  Some think they need to be eating twice as much as they did before getting pregnant, and some have no idea at all how to change their eating habits in order to properly accommodate their growing babies.


Pregnancy Diet Basics

The key to a healthy pregnancy diet is plenty of variety, including as many different types of foods as possible.  Eating many different types of foods will ensure that your baby is getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients he needs to grow and develop.  In the first few months, nausea may be an issue, and may inhibit you from eating certain foods.  To prevent nausea, it is best to eat small meals spread out throughout the day, and include foods such as crackers or breads to ease the discomfort.  Ginger has also been known to help fight nausea, and it is a healthy food permitted during pregnancy.  The nausea usually subsides at the end of the first trimester, and makes it a little easier to add variety to your pregnancy diet. This is the time when you should take advantage of the relief, and incorporate as many healthy foods as possible.  Remember, though, that being pregnant does not mean you need to eat twice as much as you ate before.  All your baby needs is approximately 300 extra calories per day. This can be just one more meal per day or two extra snacks.  Combined with prenatal vitamins and a healthy diet, the extra 300 calories will be more than sufficient to ensure your baby grows and develops into a healthy, happy baby.


Healthy Foods to Eat While Pregnant

For a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, an expectant mom’s diet should be balanced, nutritious and include plenty of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and fiber.  A little sugar is allowed here and there as well but should be kept to a minimum.  Below is a detailed list of smart food choices while expecting.  Incorporate these tips into each day, and your little bundle of joy should be born as healthy as can be!



Even when not expecting, it is important to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day to ensure proper kidney and liver function.  Water also helps with digestion.  During pregnancy, water not only helps hydrate you and keep the digestive system working at its peak, it can also help alleviate many of the side effects associated with pregnancy.  Water can help deliver healthy nutrients to the baby through the blood flow, it can prevent excess fluid retention and it can also prevent urinary tract infections which are common during pregnancy.  In addition to the above benefits, water during pregnancy is also critical in order to continuously help replenish the amniotic fluid.  Amniotic fluid is replaced several times throughout the day through water that is stored by the body.  Ensuring you are drinking plenty of water will help ensure your baby is continuously getting a new, fresh environment in which to thrive.



Foods high in fiber are important during pregnancy because they help alleviate constipation.  Constipation is a common side effect of pregnancy, and it can become very bothersome as a pregnancy progresses.  Some foods that can help ensure you get your daily dose of fiber include:

Bran cereal



Leafy green vegetables (Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, kale)


Pumpkin seeds





Citrus fruits



Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for a growing baby’s bones.  In order to ensure you are getting at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, you should eat three to four servings of low fat dairy products each day.  This can include:

Low fat milk

Low fat, low sugar yogurt

Cottage cheese

Pasteurized cheese



Iron is an essential nutrient, especially during pregnancy, because it is critical in hemoglobin production.  Hemoglobin is what helps red blood cells carry oxygen through the blood stream.  During pregnancy, the blood volume in the body increases by up to 50 percent.  This means the body needs extra help moving the oxygen through the blood stream and to the growing baby.  Expectant moms should consume about 27 milligrams of iron per day.  It is important to consume iron from plant foods, as well as from meats and animal products.  Three to four ounces of meats, poultry and fish, or about the size of a deck of playing cards, should be sufficient to provide you with the 27 milligrams iron needed daily.  Good sources of iron from both groups include:

Dark meat turkey

Chicken breast


Lean beef

Pork loin







Whole Grains

Whole grains are high in nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, niacin and vitamins B1 and B2.  In addition to providing so many essential nutrients, these foods are also an important source of energy for mom and her growing baby.  It is important to consume about 28 grams of whole grains per day.  Some examples of foods expectant moms can eat to get a proper daily intake of whole grains are:

Brown rice





Whole wheat bagel, pita or English muffin

Whole grain pasta


Healthy Fats

Fats are essential to every diet, but it is important to eat a variety of healthy fats, especially during pregnancy.  Healthy fats improve digestion in the mother, and they have also been linked to a reduced autism risk in babies.  Healthy fats should make up about 30% of an expectant mother’s diet and should preferably consist of monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids.  Some healthy fat choices include:

Olive oil


Nuts and seeds

Peanut oil

Canola oil







Prenatal Vitamins

Last but not least on the list is ensuring you take a prenatal vitamin each day during pregnancy.  Prenatal vitamins give the body and the growing fetus all of the necessary nutrients that may not be consumed through a healthy diet.  If possible, it is recommended that women planning to become pregnant in the next year begin taking prenatal vitamins early.  Taking a prenatal vitamin at least one month prior to conception, including one with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, can help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in the unborn fetus by up to 70%.  Since prenatal vitamins can sometimes cause nausea, it is best to take them just before bed with a small snack and plenty of water.


Eating Healthy: It’s All About Choices

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Eating healthy may come easy to some but, for most of us, it is a difficult task to accomplish with all the temptation that surrounds us on a daily basis.  There are the notorious office potlucks, the ever easy fast food drive through, a quick microwaveable dinner and the unavoidable holiday parties that we encounter year after year.  When you throw in a full time job and kids into the mix, eating healthy and making good choices for meals can seem impossible.  Believe it or not, there are ways to eat healthy and make it convenient.  The important thing to remember is to incorporate foods you love so you don’t feel deprived and find healthier ways to make them.  Below are some examples of foods and meal times when temptation and convenience may get the best of us.  Immediately following these examples, you’ll find ways to solve the problem and make better, healthier choices for yourself and your family.


Breakfast is the meal that is skipped by more children and adults across the country than any other meal of the day.  The mornings tend to be so busy and rushed that there’s hardly time to grab a cup of coffee.  Because of the lack of time, we tend to rely on unhealthy options such as bagels, donuts, toaster pastries and sausage sandwiches.  These options are laden with carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. They are also missing the key ingredient to keeping you full until lunch, protein!

How do you eat healthy in the mornings and have time to drop the kids off before work?  Start with quick, healthy options such as the ones below:

Shakeology (my personal favorite!)

–whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter

–an apple and Greek yogurt with honey

–whole oats with dried fruit and chopped nuts

–a handful of almonds and a string cheese

–your favorite yogurt with granola and favorite fruit

All of the options above have the perfect balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to give you the energy to start your day and help keep you full until it’s time for lunch. Most can also be eaten on the go.


Lunch is also a meal that is rushed, either because it is only 30 minutes, you choose to work through it and sneak out of work early or you run errands and opt for a fast food burger in between.  Eating a healthy lunch doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen the night before preparing it.  There are healthy lunch options you can take with you and also some you can pick up at your favorite fast food restaurant.  Instead of a greasy double cheeseburger, opt for:

–an apple, string cheese and a protein bar

–a veggie burger

–a grilled chicken sandwich sans mayo with mustard instead

–a grilled chicken salad with balsamic dressing

–Believe it or not, a kid’s meal from any of the popular fast food chains. Kid’s meals tend to have smaller portions (mini burgers) and offer healthy options for sides such as sliced apples.  If you’re desperate and not in the mood for a salad, this can be an option.

All of the options above are available at just about any fast food restaurant and most cost less than $3.

If you’re the type of person that snacks all day long, carrying a small lunch box with you throughout the day, while at work or running errands, is a great way to avoid temptations.  Fill it with plenty of water, nuts, fruit, string cheese, whole wheat crackers and dried fruit.  This way you’ll have food on hand when the hunger pangs begin and you won’t be tempted to reach for those tempting mall pretzels or sugar filled cinnamon rolls.


When it comes to dinner, there are endless options for healthy meals that taste as good as options you find in a restaurant. All you need to do is find healthy ingredients to make them with.  If you’re craving tacos, make them at home with ground turkey.  Less fat, just as much protein and a fun family dinner you can make together.  If fried chicken is one of your favorite meal time staples, try baking it instead. Opt for breasts since white meat has less than half the fat of dark meat and use whole wheat or panko bread crumbs for a healthier alternative.

Dessert after dinner is almost always a must and one of our biggest diet pitfalls.  Luckily today there are many varieties of desserts that offer low fat, low sugar options.  Many of our favorite ice cream flavors are available with half the fat.  If you want milk and cookies or a slice of cake, make them at home and use applesauce instead of oil and eggs to lower the fat content.

No matter what you’re craving, if it’s unhealthy, there’s most likely a healthier option out there waiting for you to find it.  All you need to do is make the choice to live a healthier, happier life by choosing to eat the right foods.