Well guys, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now!!
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I took part in the Oxygen Magazine “OC3,” Oxygen Challenge this past summer (it ended the middle of September.) It was great! I’m so glad I did it and I learned so much!
First off I just have to say that I LOOOOVE Oxygen Magazine. I’ve been interested in health and fitness for years and have always loved to read magazines like Shape and Fitness, but when I discovered Oxygen Magazine, I was like….”now THIS is what I’m talkin’ ’bout!!!”
It’s amazing. It’s like Shape and Fitness share nice ways to eat well and exercise, but Oxygen legit shows you how to GET IT DONE! They take health and fitness to a whole new level. The workouts that they share will actually yield results. The recipes they share are usually simple and full of clean, macro friendly ingredients.
Oxygen definitely has more of a “bodybuilding, freaking ripped chick” feel to it, but it’s still very practical and relatable. My ideal body type is a strong, lean, toned, healthy body and that is exactly what Oxygen promotes.
Anyway, I signed up for the first Oxygen Challenge in 2015 and loved it. I fizzled out the last month, but it was still a positive experience for me and I’m glad I did it. You can read all about my experience in 2015 here, here, here, here, here and here if you so desire.
I thought about doing the Oxygen Challenge last year, but it just wasn’t a good time for me. 🙁 So, when I saw the 2017 #OC3 Oxygen Challenge was starting, especially when I saw that Jamie Eason Middleton was one of the coaches, I just KNEW I had to do it!
AND, it was awesome!
Over the years I’ve participated in a bunch of different challenges, programs, workout plans, diet plans, etc. I have learned so much from all of them. I really think that living a healthy lifestyle is a skill that you develop over time. That skill is learned and strengthened by trial and error….by trying new things, challenging your body, succeeding and failing and ultimately just figuring out what works for your body and what motivates YOU!
With that being said, the Oxygen challenges, especially this one that Jamie organized is one of the most comprehensive, informative, helpful and doable plans I’ve ever seen. It is great! AND, even though the challenge is over, it’s still available to purchase and can be done anytime. In fact, I will probably do it again in the future!
It does cost money; it’s $89.95, but I’ve seen Oxygen run sales on it and their other programs sometimes. The Challenge includes an online 12 week course that includes a meal plan with tons of recipes, an exercise plan with videos showing how to do each move and also several videos of Jamie talking about health and fitness.
I thought this video really helped to give a basic overview of the program (I could NOT figure out how to make it bigger than this…sorry!)….
I was happy to see that a lot of the recipes were very simple, basic and easy to make. I was also happy that a lot of the meals were similar to things that I normally eat. The recipes included were things like smoothies, protein pancakes, egg creations, Greek yogurt creations, wraps, salads, soups, mini pizzas, chicken and fish entrees and tons of snack ideas.
I especially loved that the entire exercise plan is designed so it can be done at home. It just requires minimal equipment, mostly just dumbbells. That is really a HUGE plus because I’ve done a lot of plans in the past that are based around gym machines and equipment. I’ve LOVED those plans, but it can be frustrating when the equipment needed isn’t available. It’s also so nice to have to option to just do a workout at home when you need to!
The workout plan that Jamie created is challenging, yet awesomely simple. It really is an efficient workout plan that doesn’t require hours and hours in the gym. I would say that most of the workouts can be done in 1/2 hour- 45 minutes.
It really is such a great, comprehensive healthy plan! This should probably go without saying, but no matter how good a plan is, YOU still have to actually do the work. Even though this plan is very organized and motivating, it was still HARD and required a lot of discipline and dedication. I had to show up to do my workouts, I had to plan and then eat the healthy meals, I had to stay committed day after day after day.
It was tough. I started this program June 12th and ended September 15th! That is a long time and there were a lot of different things that happened during that time that made it a little hard to stick to the program. We went on a family vacation to San Diego, we went out of town for a family reunion, my dear father passed away and I had family in town for several weeks, there were several birthdays at our house and we celebrated our 21st Anniversary.
I can’t say I was 100% ON all of the time, but I remained committed throughout. If I did start to stray from the plan, I would find my motivation and get back to work ASAP. One thing that I did that helped me a ton is I tried to stay away from sugar as much as I could. Sugar is such an addictive thing to me and I know how easily it can derail all of my healthy goals. SO, I made a goal to just stay away from it! I’m happy to say that for the first half of the challenge, I did awesome! I didn’t have ANY sugary desserts and it was great.
Then, for some reason about half way through the challenge I started to have a little bit of sugary stuff here and there. I realized that it was causing me to get more and more off track, so for the last 3 weeks of the challenge, I stayed away from it 100% again!
AND, funny thing is that I noticed positive changes in my body (weight loss, clothes fitting better, feeling and looking leaner) after the first month of the challenge. THEN, during the middle of the challenge (when I was slacking just a bit), I really didn’t notice any changes at all. It was frustrating because I was still working hard, but I was getting nowhere.
Those small crappy choices really DO add up and really DO halt the progress.
However, the last three weeks of the challenge (when I recommitted and was working hard) I noticed positive changes once again. I followed a lower carb diet (according to plan) the last few weeks of the challenge and it made a big difference. When I ended the challenge, I felt great. I felt leaner, all my clothes fit me better and it was awesome.
I was so glad I did it and I learned a ton!
I already shared my before and after pictures on the blog when my challenge ended, but I thought I’d share a few more. Here are my official before and after pics that I already shared…
And, here is my before and after, side view…
Here’s the back view…
Ya know, although I can definitely see the progress in these pictures, I really don’t think they show how dramatic the changes were to ME! I definitely felt a HUGE difference. When I started this challenge, I felt chubby. My clothes all fit me tighter than I wanted them to. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
When the challenge was over, I didn’t feel chubby at all anymore. I felt leaner, my clothes all fit me well again and I felt more like myself.
Ya know, losing weight, gaining muscle, leaning out, becoming healthier, etc. all really comes down to hard work and consistency. You just have to challenge your body, work those muscles, fill your body full of good clean food and just keep doing it! Challenges, such as this #OC3 challenge are just vehicles that help to motivate, streamline the process and yield results.
I decided to scrounge up my “before” picture from 2015 when I started the first Oxygen Challenge and compare it to my current “after” picture. I was happy to see the difference in the two pictures! There is obviously 2 years between the pictures, but it was a reminder to me that healthy living is a lifelong process. The results can be slow, but over the months and years, those results add up!
In full disclosure, I had a 10 month old baby that I was still nursing when that first picture was taken. 🙂 My body always stays a little “fluffy” as long as I’m nursing a baby!
Well, I think that about sums up my thoughts about my Oxygen Challenge! It was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone! I hope you all have a fabulous night and a wonderful weekend!