How To Periodize Your Workouts to Hit Your Potential

Maximizing Potential through Periodization:

Nick Dudas CSCS



Have you ever gone to the gym and felt like you have hit a wall, and the progression you once experienced is gone. Most individuals have including myself before learning how to properly periodize. This is known as hitting a performance plateau.

When starting strength and conditioning program the physical adaptations and psychological adjustments can be tremendous. If the program is left unchanged the athlete or individual will experience decreased gains and possibly become over trained.

Periodization was introduced in the 1960’s by a Russian physiologist Leo Matveyev’s. His concept was to divide an overall training program into specific time cycles. The first of these cycles is known as a macrocycle, this consists of the overall program going from one year up to four years. The next is a mesocycle, which last anywhere from several weeks to several months. Last is a microcycle, this last anywhere from one to four weeks. It is detrimental for athletes to have a preplanned strategy consisting of all three cycles to promote long-term training and performance improvements.

As athletes go through out their sports careers the competition becomes more and more intense. Knowing when an athlete should peak in performance is everything. Over time this can only be done through proper periodization. As the microcycles begin you want to start with a preparation phase, it is important in this phase to establish a 1-repetition max on core non-power lifts. This would be lifts such as bench press, military press, back squat, and dead lifts. Once the 1 repetition max is established the preparation phase begins with hypertrophy and endurance. Hypertrophy refers to muscular growth from increasing the cross-sectional area of existing muscle fiber as well as increasing the myofibrils with in the fibers. This can be established from doing sets of 3-5 and repetitions of 10-12. It is important to have a diet that puts to athlete in a surplus of around 500 calories a day to be sure to increase muscle diameter. At the end of the week the athlete should gain a pound of muscle.

After 4-6 weeks of building muscle and endurance athletes want to focus on basic strength. The importance to building strength is to take the muscle the athlete has gained and be able to generate a maximal force at specific velocity. In the basic strength microcycle the volume will drop to 3-5 sets of 4-8 reps. Once the first two microcycles are complete the athlete will want to take a week of lower volume and intensity to recover and prepare for the first transition phase, this is know as a unloading week. Depending on the experience and conditioning of the athlete an unloading week may be used after the first microcycle as well.

Once the unloading week is over the athlete should be ready to begin the strength and power phase. This involves taking the strength gained in the last microcycle and making it explosive. The athlete here will exert maximal forces at much higher speeds. The power microcycle will include not only core lifts but power lifts as well, such as power cleans, snatches, and sports specific plyometrics. The athlete’s intensity will increase and the volume will drop to 3-5 sets of 2-5 reps for 4-6 weeks. This leads us right up to the competition phase where the athlete increases intensity and lowers volume one final time. Everything that has occurred during the training season leads to this point where we want the athlete to peak performance wise on the field.

As the competition period continues the athlete will want to train 1-3 times during the week to maintain strength and power gained in the training season. Athlete’s focus will be turned to more sports specific activities as well to sharpen skills. After the competition period is over it is vital to give the athlete 1-4 weeks of active rest involving recreational activity to allow them to recover from the long training season.

The goal of periodization is to improve the athlete’s overall endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power throughout the seasons. This will keep the athlete focused at the task at hand, while maximizing their potential on the field. Properly transitioning throughout the cycles will keep the athlete’s workouts from becoming stale. Periodization will also keep them from overtraining or reaching the exhaustion phase. Remember that specificity and timing is everything for an athlete to reach peak performance.

8 weeks down and sprinting to the finish line

When I first thought about doing this diet, 60 days seemed like a very big challenge.  I started counting by the weeks, and it made 8 weeks seems so far away.  Today, I reached my 8 week mark, and I have 4 days left.  I’m not sure if I’m excited or scared about that.

Discipline is huge in the weight loss battle.  And you’re going to have temptations every day.  Someone is always going to want to go out to dinner, or have a drink, or there will be some kind of party, ball game, or BBQ.  It’s not going to be easy, and at times, its going to be really tough; but, it can be done.

Friday night, my parents came into town and they wanted to eat at Red Robin.  This is one of my favorite burger places. When I USED to go there, I would get a pretty basic gourmet burger with cheese on a wheat bun, and the endless fries, and I’d usually have a few onion rings as an appetizer.  I think my meal Friday night had fewer calories than the onion rings alone.  I had a bunless (and cheese-less) burger wrapped in lettuce.  Literally, it was a half a head of lettuce sitting over a plain burger.  I had a side of fruit.  My parents, who were eating burgers and fries looked over at me, and made a comment along the line of “that’s it?”  Yep mom & dad……  It was probably right at my caloric intake for a dinner for me, however, for the first time in my life, I left Red Robin still hungry. 

I was fully recharged Saturday morning when I woke up to see 2lbs down on the scale.  You get over the “I wish I had a real burger” pretty quickly.

That sums up my weekend. Whether it was the cookout or the movie theater, I had temptations, but when you know you don’t want it because you’d fail at the diet after 8 WEEKS, it’s easier to find a plan B.

I’m almost scared that my 60 day challenge is nearly over.  The blog has kept me very accountable on my actions.  I really hope to stick with this diet (after this weekend, and even then, I want 2 of my 3 meals to stay paleo). I have lost 10 lbs, and I FINALLY have a flat stomach… This is a first for me. Some people hold weight in their butt or thighs, others in their arms. I primarily hold it in my belly (thanks dad). I get my frame from him.  I noticed this weekend that my clothes do not fit right anymore, they are either comfortable, or just plain big on me.  Trying on last summer’s clothes is actually fun again.

I believe that my excitement over how I feel and how I look is trumping the fact that I can’t eat some foods I used to enjoy.  However, I do miss eating an actual burrito at Chipotle instead of the bowls.  And I was really craving pita chips and hummus the other day. So if I could keep things that simple and sporatically, I feel I would be ok.

It has been a learning experience the past 8 weeks.  And this time next week, I plan on getting back on track to see what my body can do over the summer…

By the way, I got my Vitamix last week.  I  made “Paleo Ice cream” over the weekend… VERY good… If you ever want recipes for the pancakes, ice cream, etc. Just let me know!

Emerge Fitness Training

Everything is good.

I think I have 11-12 days left of my 60 day Paleo diet challenge… I think it has been plenty of time for me to make a lifestyle change.  I feel too good not to. I’m not saying that I won’t eat a pizza or some fries here or there, but overall, I don’t need it.  (I will say though that between watching the Cardinals game and Blues game Saturday night, and the crappy weather, I EASILY could have gone for a delivery pizza… But I didn’t… Thought about it… But I didn’t…).

My weight is good, feeling good, sleeping REALLY well… All is good.

I had begun to think about what my “reward” for reaching my goal of this diet would be.  I thought clothes, shoes, a massage… Nada.. the clothes or shoes would be workout clothes.. Whoopie… A massage is something I do too regularly.. SO, I got something I’ve wanted for a while, yet will help me continue to this lifestyle of eating… I got a Vitamix.  If you don’t know what that is, google it… It’s like a blender/juicer/soup and ice cream maker, and several other things all in one.  =CONVIENENCE… Story of my life.

By the way, did you know that McDonalds has THE BEST unsweetened ice tea? I think it even gives QT a run for their money. 

Emerge Fitness Training

It's Simple: Do it or don't…

I’m into week six.. By this time, I’m not only feeling a difference, but I’m definitely seeing a difference. I kicked up my workouts and the scale is dropping once again.  My new experiment in the kitchen this week were Paleo Pancakes… Almond Flour, eggs, Cinnamon, vanilla and I added raisins…It makes 4 pancakes, each containing about 18g of protein… I used a small amount of 100% pure maple syrup and they were amazing. I ate two each morning, and I froze the other two.  I’m going to try to pop them in the toaster on a morning that I’m in a hurry. They actually taste pretty awesome, especially without the guilt.

My Paleo diet has become such a normal thing now, that I really don’t think about what day I’m on, or that I’m “deprived” of anything.  It’s just a lifestyle now.  When I go out to eat, I still scan the menu and make clean choices, but I’ve never said that I can’t eat at a certain place because they have nothing for me.  It can be done.

The thing I’m noticing more and more is people are asking me how my diet is going because they see results.  They hear me tell them how great I feel.  It motivates them, and I have had a lot of people, especially when I started, say that they were going to do it too… I haven’t heard out of those people lately, so I’m assuming  they fell off the bandwagon.  Most people don’t like to report failure, only success.  Others have said maybe they aren’t going to try this diet, which is fine, but they are going to clean up their food choices because they want to lose weight. Again, two weeks pass, and not a word.  It’s a vicious cycle that we as trainers see continuously, and it has to be one of our biggest pet peeves… If you want to lose weight, and you’re serious about losing weight, then it is very simple… Either do it, or don’t.

When a client, friend, or even someone on Facebook mentions they are going to lose weight, I can immediately tell if they are going to succeed or fail.  I know in that moment if this “diet” is going to last a week, or even a day. It’s not a gift, it’s just a matter of listening to them.  I can sit for an hour with a client and listen to their “game plan” and hear how they are going to “get serious” and there are SO many times, I really want to reply saying “Not gonna happen.”  If I don’t believe them, how do I expect they believe in themselves that they can do it. Hence this is why trainers can have clients for years that either “yo-yo” with their weight or they just never change at all.

Let’s get one thing straight first… I’m a trainer.  I’m not a therapist and I’m sure as hell not a cheerleader. I can not personally drop the weight for you.  The best way I  can explain what I do as a trainer is that I’m your GPS for your fitness goals.  You tell me your goals, and I set up the best route for you to take to get there.  I can’t drive the car for you. I can’t be there with you 24/7 to tell you what to eat/not eat. 

Fitness goals are 90% mental. Until you’re mentally ready to start a path to your fitness goals, you’re wasting time.  Even with this Paleo Diet, I didn’t wake up one morning and say “I’m going to start this diet today.”  It took me months to mentally prepare for it.  When I go for something I want to go 100% at it.  No one is making me do this diet, I’m doing it for me.  And no one is putting a gun to my head telling me not to eat something off the diet.  I CHOOSE not to eat it because it’s not in my plan.  My “plan” is to succeed.  It’s not always easy.  It’s not always something I want to do at that moment, but I do it because I want to excel far more than I want to fail.

This past weekend Emerge trainers Nicole and Julie, and a few Emerge clients competed in a figure/bodybuilding competition, and they all did very well.  Over the past 16 weeks, if you have been in the gym, you could see their bodies transforming.  They were leaning out, they were showing more muscle definition.  I heard a lot of “I want to look like that” from other clients.  I’ve heard girls point out they want to be thin like me, or get as little as Angie, or be as strong and fit as Beth.  That’s all fine and dandy, but guess what.  If you want to look like that, you HAVE to “WORK YOUR ASS OFF FOR IT”.  We don’t wake up every morning having the gift of looking like we do.  We diet, we do cardio when we don’t want to, we eat things we don’t always want to.  There are some mornings we have to get up extra early to get in a workout, or stay late after work to fit it in, but we do it because we’re mentally set to succeed.  It’s our priority to reach our fitness goals. 

I love clients who are mentally ready to lose weight.  When they come in for their first session, you know they are serious and passionate about being there.  It’s so exciting because they give 100% and they are so proud to tell you of their diet accomplishments.  They want to work harder and push further.  They are on a mission, and I make sure I’m not in their way because they will plow me over.  To see someone so aggressive with something they want so bad is so contagious.  Even us trainers get on board and it pushes us even harder for ourselves. We truly love helping people.  But I won’t lie, I really love helping those who are ready to help themselves. 

The next time you see a motivating picture on Pinterest, or you see someone with the body shape you’d like to have one day, think to yourself how badly do you want it.  How much are you willing to work to reach your goals.  Are you mentally prepared for good days and bad days, and does succeeding weigh out failure? Have you accepted that it isn’t going to be easy? The greatest risks lead to the greatest rewards. Anyone CAN do it, you just have to make sure your own self believes that you can. 


Kimberly Renoud,
Emerge Fitness Training

Endurance Athletes: LIFT your way to a new PR.


Distance runners: LIFT your way to a new PR. 

Jackie Pirtle Hall runs. She runs alot. 
Because she is among the elite in her sport of marathon running, the demands her training puts on her free time can be overwhelming. 

Hall typically runs around 80 miles per week. Unbelievably, this number is dwarfed by some of her peers who run 120-130 miles in a week. 

Running that distance, even really fast, takes a considerable amount of time.

Even if you aren’t at an elite level, running the distances required of marathon or half marathon training can be tough with a busy schedule. 

Hall recognizes this, as she is a high school teacher and a mom of a 3 year old. The time she spends in training must be as productive as they can be. 

As Hall puts it, “every single extra minute I spend training has to yield results, and I only have time for the most productive minutes.”

That means, at a certain point in her mileage for the week, any additional mile run would start to give back smaller returns. 

So, minute for minute, what will give a runner like Hall, after a certain point in her running training, an increased return (in terms of running faster, longer)?

Strength training will. Strength training for endurance athletes has shown tremendous results as far as running economy (how fast energy is burned) and stronger kicks when needed in a race. 

If youve ever witnessed the end of a long distance race, you will notice how most of the runners come in slouched forward with very short strides. This is because the demands on the muscles that keep them upright were beyond the capability of the muscles to do so. 

This posture is not conducive to a comfortable or energy efficient run. In fact, it will drain energy from you, quickly. 

Hall recognized this posture in herself and began a training regimen that focused on the back side of her body, along with the 29 muscles of the core that work together to stabilize her hips and spine. 

Hall also performs some of the classic strength training exercises with strength-endurance in mind. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, and certain power lifts are no stranger to her weekly training regimen. 

The result? Almost 26 minutes shaved off her marathon PR. 

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

5 weeks down… 3 1/2 to go… It's all downhill from here… Kind of.

It took me 5 full days to recover from eating dairy.  My allergies were insane all week.  Congested, sore throat, and I was coughing up phlem nonstop (gross, I know).  But Saturday I finally started feeling better.  I will admit though, my workouts were either crap or non existent the past week.  It was exhausting just doing daily stuff.  No excuse, I know.

Due to my lack of exercise, my weight plateaued for the week.  I’m ok with it. I know my sodium has been rediculously high and my activity was minimal.  It will change this week.

I have started to eat out more the past week.  I have stuck to my diet, but talk about temptation… I went to Outback twice.  And I had to stare at the bread twice… The hot, yummy bread.  I won’t lie.. I was hoping that those who were eating it “accidently” cut their finger while slicing the bread.  BUT> The main thing is, I didn’t eat the bread. I stuck to the diet. Yay me.

I went to Qdoba for lunch Friday.  I eyed the sour cream.  All I wanted was a little something extra on my “naked burrito”.  Nope.. Just meat, salsa, veggies, and lettuce… It was satisfying but OH SO SALTY…

Last night, I went to Texas Roadhouse in O’Fallon (It’s better than the one in St. Charles.. Just a side note).  For the first time in 5 weeks, I felt like crying at the sight of food.  I had to eye not only the scrumptious hot rolls and the dangerously amazing honey cinammon butter, but also fried pickles.. I had unsweetened ice tea and am empty plate in front of me while  I had to sit across the table and watch the rolls and pickles be consumed. I wanted to cry because I couldn’t eat any of it.  I watched baskets of those darn things keep going by… The smell was enough to make me want to crawl under the table and hide.  Luckily my food came quickly. The ONLY two things that kept me disciplined was #1… I kept saying to myself, “You’ll be in a calorie defecit rather than a surplus after this meal.” and #2… I looked around… I saw people eating baskets upon baskets of the rolls, and salads with cheese and ranch dressing.  I saw burgers go by and fries and desserts.. But I noticed that 80% of the people in the restaurant were overweight or obese… I had to tell myself that is the difference between me and them.. I could eat that too if I wanted to be overweight, but that would make me more unhappy much longer than this one meal would last.  So I survived. 

Today, I went back to Texas Roadhouse… I didn’t have the rolls.. But I split an order of the fried pickles… I won’t lie, they were very satisfying.  I was content afterwards… No regrets… But I don’t want them anymore. That one time is plenty for me.

Friday I went on a baking craze and  I made a few of my “regular paleo” recipes, but then I attempted a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Now, I’ll be honest, they are no Mrs. Fields cookies, by any means, but they are soft and fluffy and they do give the satisfaction that I ate something to kill my cookie craving. 

Speaking of cravings, I thought by now, I’d crave pizza, or lasagna, or ice cream or something.  Not at all.  Today, I said of all things I wanted at this moment, was a diet coke.  Just a quick trip fountain Diet Coke with crushed ice… That’s it… I didn’t get it.. I went with unsweetened ice tea…

I booked the hotel for my trip to Kansas City which begins the day I conclude with my “60 day challenge.” It kind of recharged my batteries, making me focus on the fact that I only have 3 1/2 weeks… 25 days left… I can do this easily.  BUT> I need to work on cutting down on my “sugars” (I’ve been consuming a lot of honey and raisins) and nuts and sodium.  BACK to meat and veggies… And frankly, I’m getting tired of meat… I really am… I never thought that I would, but it’s getting old.  There were two nights last week that I skipped dinner altogether because I’d rather eat nothing than choke down another bite of roast or chicken… I’ll snap out of it…

Here’s to a new week, with better decisions…
Kimberly, Emerge Fitness Training

Be Careful What you Wish For…

Before I had begun the Paleo diet,  I had decided that I would make Easter dinner my first (and hopefully only) cheat meal in 8 weeks.  Easter was soon approaching and I was getting anxious over getting “normal food.”  I decided to weigh in Sunday morning (I caved.. I bought a scale for home) and I was another pound down.  My clothes I had put on were looser than they had been weeks prior.  I was feeling good! Knowing that I would over indulge while I was at my parents, I kept my breakfast and “light lunch” just that, very light.  Just about 500 calories, but I ate every couple of hours.  I started hydrating immediately, because I knew my sodium intake was about to quadruple.

I got back to IL, and the first thing I got to try were jelly beans.  The Starburst kind, AND they are so clever that they make “Only reds” bags… This has always been my weakness.  I had maybe 2 servings and I was already over it.  The sugar burned my teeth. 

We didn’t end up eating until 3pm and by this time, I was starving.  I sat down and I am no kidding, I did not carry a conversation the entire meal unless it was to say “Pass me the…” or “I’ll take more of the….” And I didn’t stop eating.  I took down ham, green beans, corn, a layered salad, Mac n cheese, homemade applesauce… I cleared the plate… Then I did it all again… Two servings… Then mom mentioned dessert and I was all over that. A dessert consisting of angel food cake, strawberries, jello, pudding, ice cream, and cool whip… I don’t remember eating it.  I knew it was a huge piece. and I stuck my fork in it, then I looked up and it was gone.  EVERYTHING tasted AMAZING (sometimes I wish my mom was a horrible cook.. It would help with portion control if the food wasn’t good).

Two things I did differently: I stuck with unsweetened ice tea ALL day.  Normally, I love sweet tea, but I’m so used to unsweetened that I didn’t want to change.  Two: Mom didn’t make her famous sugar cookies. This saved me 500-600 calories (and tons of sugar).

By this time, and after raiding some more candy I had hit a sugar high.  I even told my mom if I had on some running shoes, I could easily go run a mile in a couple of minutes.  I was ready to go… I felt skiddish and antsy. 

By the time I returned back down to St. Charles, I wasn’t feeling so hot.  I felt tired and heavy.  I wasn’t really hungry, but I brought home enough leftovers for one small meal.  I literally had to shove it down because I refused to have any of it in my apartment today. I had no problem falling asleep.

I woke up at 4 am this morning itching and sneezing, and then my nose was running.  My head was congested and I was puffy.  I finally got up and moving at 7am and I looked in the mirror and my eyes were black, my face was so swollen.  All over I felt awful.  The best way I had explained it was that I felt hungover from the chest up.  My allergies were in full gear to take control of me.  I ended up having to take allergy meds. I got on the scale, and I was 4lbs up.  I literally felt like a walking sponge.

The more I moved around this morning, the more I realized my knees were killing me.  I looked down and my legs were so swollen you couldn’t see much of my knee caps! Seriously, this was all from going back to eat dairy and grains?

By the time I got to work, my throat was scratchy and I had no voice, and I was sneezing, a lot. I feel as if I have no energy to work out.  My coworkers even noticed I wasn’t looking “normal.”  My immediate response was “I’m never eating ‘normal’ again.” 

Taking one “meal” off has me wondering how on earth I used to be able to eat like this so often?  No wonder I would drag my feet at working out, so the days I didn’t want to work out because I was thinking it was my seasonal allergies making me sick.  It was the food I was eating the entire time! 

I have never been so thrilled to go back on this diet.  I’m not sure if it’s the diet or just the allergy meds, but the sneezing has stopped and I’m not congested anymore.  I’m still swollen.  I have dropped one pound of water, 3 to go. 

I’m taking in so much fluids, and consuming so much fiber just to get my body “detoxed.”  I’m going to try to get in some extra “sweat sessions” just to get rid of some of this salt and water.  I’m just happy that there aren’t any more holidays in the near future so I won’t be enticed to indulge.

I will blog again this week once I begin to feel more like my healthy self. 

Until next time,
Emerge Fitness Training…

Emerge's First Article in St. Louis Sports Magazine

Click on the Link to View the Current Issue.

“Emerging Fitness” article is just a few pages from the front.

When is Adding a Trainer MOST Important to Achieving your Fitness Goals?

The answer may surprise you.

In answering this question, the first instinct is to answer “when you first start an exercise routine.” There is a lot of truth to this statement.  This is your chance to develop great movement patterns and to create habits that you can build on going forward.

I personally spend  A LOT of time un-programming bad movement patterns out of clients that have been lifting with terrible technique since high school.  This takes time and will inhibit the progression that a client could make should these patterns not exist.

Even when employing these sub-par techniques, a first time lifter will realize strength gains and will generally progress despite a well thought out program utilizing proper technique.  The brand new stimulus will force an adaptation even if the exercise is performed less than perfectly.  This is not ideal, of course, and bad habits will develop and possible injury may occur.  The fact is, the novice lifter will see results at first even with a shoddy program.

As an athlete or fitness enthusiast progresses from novice, to an intermediate level, and then to advanced, the subtleties of the training program become VERY IMPORTANT to ensure continued results.  Once the initial shock and adaptation of the beginning months of training disipates, program design becomes more important.  As a matter of fact, a very advanced athlete nearing his or her genetic potential must program there workouts with a precision that allows them the smallest gains.  Small gains can make a BIG difference over time.  The difference between a 4.4 40 yard dash and a 4.5 (although only 1/10 of one second) can mean the difference in scholarship money and record setting performances.  Even with a recreational fitness enthusiast, these small gains are important.  Let’s face it, when you work hard it’s important to see the fruits of your labor. Hardly anyone I know works hard just to spin there wheels in place.

In short, having a professional guide you at the beginning of your fitness routine is important.  However, as far as results and continued change goes, an exerciser or athlete at an ADVANCED level simply must have a precisely designed program.  The smallest fine tuning matters more at this stage of a training career than it did at the beginning when ANY stimulus would force a change.

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS


Goodbye 150's, Hello 140's…

What is that old rule that a girl should never be asked her age or weight? Hell, I don’t care. They are both just numbers, frankly.  I have 8.5 months left before I turn 30, yet I feel better now than I did in most of my 20s.  As for my weight, it was near my all time high in the 150s (weight, not body fat… I was once a lot thicker, but that’s another story).

Yesterday I went to get in some cardio at Golds. I hopped on their digital scale and I didn’t see a number with a “5” in it… I saw one with a “4” in it… I was officially out of the 150s.  I won’t lie, I was pretty thrilled.  It definitely put a little more “oomph” into my cardio for the hour. (yes, I did an hour. It was phases of speed and little resistance then elevation with a LOT of resistance.) Anyways, when you see the numbers on the scale go down, it really motivates you to eat even better and to work a little harder. I won’t lie though, I wasn’t fully set on the number on the scale because it wasn’t the “official” scale (aka, the one at Emerge).  I just came into work today and it said the same thing… Winner winner, chicken dinner.. Ugh, chicken… I still can’t stand the stuff.

This past week has been pretty easy.  I hadn’t had any cravings, at least that I can remember.  Papa Johns is ruthless and continues to send me daily emails on their specials.  Some days, I get multiple emails.  Papa Johns and I used to be pals.  They knew my order before I had to say anything.  Now, I just find them to be the damn devil.

I only went out to eat twice all week/weekend.  I had a steak/veggies/ and a salad one night. The other night I went to Chevys.  I hate ordering when I have a “not so good” waiter.  He was more worried about looking/acting cool in front us girls than getting our order right.  “I want steak fajitas-no rice, no beans, but extra cooked veggies”.  SIMPLE… At least I thought it was… I didn’t even get finicky to the point that I could’ve said “no tortillas, no sour cream, no cheese” since they all come to the side anyways.  My food comes out just as it is on the menu. The rice and beans were LOADED on the plate.. Really?? There’s a tip deduction right there bucko.  I’m glad that the chips and salsa were entirely on the other side of the table.  I caught a glimpse at them once… But I stayed away….

As for my “normal” food, I had steak, elk burgers, spaghetti squash with meat and mushrooms, some chicken (ugh) for my meals.  I had the breakfast bread every morning (I added raisins.. HEAVENLY).  And then I got gutsy.  I got a recipe for Pale0 Thin Mint Cookies… Just like the Girl Scout ones.  I’m not a HUGE thin mint fan, but I can eat one or two occasionally, so I thought this would be perfect for me.  I made a batch, about 14 cookies… I think I have had a secret gift that I’m an amazing baker, that I just didn’t know.  Ha, I’m kidding, but they were pretty awesome.  I have a request to bring some home for Easter.

EASTER…. Oh yes, it is this Sunday, and before I started this diet, I said that Easter would be my first cheat meal.  Yes, I said MEAL.. Not day… There are some things in life that one should not ever turn away, and one of them is my mom’s cooking/baking.  There was only one rule… I could eat whatever I wanted to at my parents house for dinner, BUT I COULD NOT bring anything home that wasn’t Paleo. My family was thrilled to hear this because I would have had some pissed off people if they had to eat everything “Paleo”.

My biggest concern is that I hope that I am disciplined enough to go straight back to the diet when I get home.  I hope that a bite of cheese or grains won’t set me into some mindset that I want to eat everything.  In fact, I kind of hope that it makes my allergies go out of whack so that way it will make me want to go back to eating Paleo.  I have never in my life felt so good being able to breath easily and not sneeze every minute of every day.

I’ve had people comment to me that they can tell I’m losing a lot of weight.  I don’t “see” a lot of weight gone based on the scale numbers. I can just now start to see it in the mirror… Cheekbones! Where have you been for so many months!

So, it’s 3 weeks down, and about 5 1/2 to go.  I pretty much see it as a 1/3 of the way to my goal date.  I’m pretty happy with how I look and I’m extremely happy with how I feel.  If it’s this good now, I can’t wait to see the difference 3 more weeks from now.

Until next week,
Kimberly Renoud
Emerge Fitness Training