Week 8 Progress Report

Hey friends, thanks for checking in with me for the Week 8 Progress Report. I have weighed in this week at 164.8 pounds and so I am down 0.2 pounds since last week. That doesn’t sound like a ton of progress, but considering that I seriously went off the wagon in the middle of the week on desserts, I’m pretty ecstatic that there was any loss at all. I’m determined to stay more focused on my goal, especially now that there is only four weeks to go.

The reason you always hear, “the last five pounds are the toughest to lose,” is because as you lose the weight, you have to work harder in your workouts to burn the same amount of calories and the way to lose weight is to make sure you are regularly in a calorie deficit. So, making sure you eat correctly and at the correct times combined with getting in a sufficient workout can get harder because you workout longer, therefore working harder to burn the same amount of calories, yet intaking the same amount of food. It’s a difficult concept, but one you have to stick to. I cannot wait to get to the point of just maintaining. But, I’ve got to earn it.

Thanks for checking in with me for the Week 8 Progress Report on Rebuilding Rome, I will see you all next week!

Week 7 Progress Report

Hey everybody, thanks for checking in for the Week 7 Progress Report and some pleasantly surprising progress was made this week. After having a rough week mentally with sticking with my positive eating habit changes, Thursday was a turning point. This week was not easy to get through, but I’ve come too far and invested too much in myself to let it be all for nothing.

This morning I weighed in at 165 pounds even, meaning I have exactly five pounds left to lose to reach my goal weight by April 2nd. Additionally, I’ve got five weeks left to reach that goal…which means I have to lose a pound a week from here on out. Very manageable.

Quickly, I updated the “Actually Rebuilding Rome” post and it now has a YouTube video that covers my weight lifting workout in order, so check that out if your heart so desires.

As for this week’s post, I’m going to be covering leg day…and tequila. Nope, that’s not a typo. Just look out for the post later this week!

One final note is that Rebuilding Rome is no longer on Snapchat or Twitter. I decided to make those profiles personal profiles, as it seems I’m gaining a nice little following on Instagram for Rebuilding Rome. If you want to connect with me on Snapchat, my handle is cal_beneze. And if you want to connect with me on Twitter, my handle is @calsrandomthots.

That’s all for the Week 7 Progress Report. Thanks for checking in!

Homemade Snacks for those Late-Night Cravings

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Late-night cravings. I think maybe every person has them. Here’s a nice science-ey reason for why that may be. Even before reading that article, I would always say, “Man, I either want a steak at night or a giant peanut butter cup before going to sleep.” I used to think I had some unexplained sodium deficiency in college, as my roommates can attest, I used to drink hot sauce at night because of it’s high sodium content (not one of my finer moments.) Anyway, I decided to go ahead and make a homemade casein protein bar that tastes like a peanut butter cup and a homemade casein protein smoothie that tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Mouth watering yet? Yeah, I thought so.

Your first question may be, “Cal, why do these snacks have casein protein in them…and what exactly is casein protein, and um, how do you pronounce that?” All legitimate questions. First thing’s first: casein protein is a slow-digesting, time-releasing protein commonly found in milk…which is why it is the ideal protein to consume before going to bed. It’s going to feed your muscles for hours, the hours you spend sleeping. There are many benefits to taking casein protein, for more information about casein protein, check out this article. And, in case you do want to know how to pronounce “casein” it is pronounced, “kay-seen.” Cool, glad we’ve got that covered.

If you must snack late at night, these might be some good options for you. I looked up several recipes for the protein peanut butter bars and I loosely based my recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie‘s “Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars” recipe and baking instructions, though I made slight changes that I’ll go over in this post.

I’ve found that since trying to introduce new eating habits into my life, the biggest cravings I’ve developed are sweet ones and they tend to constantly be peanut butter cravings as well. Both of these snacks taste amazing and are better for you and cheaper than store bought options. Pictured below are the ingredients for both the protein bars and the protein shake.

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Huge shoutout to verywellfit.com that allows you to add your products and has a database of foods that can count your macronutrients for you. I’ve mentioned before that I am not a math wiz and I don’t really have patience for it. The database isn’t perfect, but it allows you to get the macronutrients pretty close. It requires you to play around with the website a little bit to see what works. Anyway, you can see that the protein bars have the much lower caloric intake with just over 14 grams of protein. For reference, the healthiest store-bought protein bars have about 200 calories and 20 or 21 grams of protein. The protein bars are going to appear underdone when taken out of the oven. Put them in the fridge overnight to give them a chance to harden. The protein shake is going to be thick and it’s a 16 ounce serving, so it’s more of a small meal replacement. If you decide to have both, it comes out to 626 calories, so that is a legitimate meal…but it’s not the worst thing to have considering the intentional nutrition that goes into consuming these delicious desserts.

If you’re interested in the specific products I use, just comment or shoot me an email at romerebuilding@gmail.com. I will say I use PB2 from Bell Plantation and I have the original, chocolate, and strawberry versions of PB2. To get the best deals on all your protein, PB2, and supplement needs, check out luckyvitamin.com. They’re awesome and always have huge discounts. That’s where I get at least half of all of my supplements.

I hope you all have a pleasant evening, as I am appropriately finishing this post at 11:04 PM. Just in time for me to go into my freezer and finish that PB&J smoothie I made earlier this evening. Be sure to check-in Monday for the Week 7 Progress Report!

 

Week 6 Progress Report

Hey everyone, thanks for checking in with me for my Week 6 Progress report.

So, for the first time since Rebuilding Rome went live, I have actually gained weight since last week. I went from 165.6 pounds last Monday to 166.8 pounds this Monday. I’m not overly worried. Peaks and valleys are normal in a weight-loss journey. Yeah, I’m up a little more than a pound, but it’s important to know why. Well, it’s probably because I did back-to-back “My Nights” from my BistroMD plan (which is probably not the recommended way to use your “My Nights” from BistroMD.) But, you have to live your life. It was Super Bowl Sunday last Sunday and then on Monday one of my best friends was in town and we went to an amazing steakhouse called “Angus Barn” in Raleigh, NC. If you’re ever in the Raleigh area and you have some monies to spend, this is THE place to go for dinner.

I’m at the halfway mark and I’m looking forward to crushing my goal. Nothing worth doing ever comes easy.

Keep a lookout for the casein protein bar and smoothie recipes that I’m going to make THIS WEEK!

Thanks for checking in and have a great week!

Actually Rebuilding Rome

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Okay, so I’ve had several people ask me what my workouts look like and how often I do them and how do I continue to progress and so on and so forth. So, this post is going to be all about what I currently do in a normal week.

In MY world, the week starts on Monday. The week just starting on a Sunday is weird to me. It’s considered the weekend. Anyway, I digress. So, typically on a Monday I’ll do a boot camp workout with my small group class that I pay a little extra money for. I do that twice a week and every workout is different and super tough. It’s a circuit training style class and the workouts typically last 60-90 minutes. Rarely are there structured rest times in between the workouts we are given. It really is strengthening and muscle conditioning. It’s less weight and more reps. The movements are dynamic to get the whole body moving. These workouts really do burn some fat. Also on Mondays, I’m registered for a co-ed flag football league that has yet to start due to inclement weather here. I also signed up as a free agent, so I have yet to be placed…so fingers crossed for that one.

On a Tuesday, it’s time for an hour long cardio session. My cardio regimen equals two runs a week (either on the treadmill or outside running) and an hour-long cardio machine workout (either the Elliptical or the StairMaster.) For treadmill runs, they are designed to build up speed. I’ve found whatever pace I finish with on a treadmill, I’m right around 0.5 MPH slower on a road run. With that in mind, I’m always trying to progress 0.1 MPH with each treadmill run. I do this by running 2.0 MPH faster than my desired pace for the first two minutes. For the next 57 minutes, I run at my desired pace. For the last minute, I run 2.0 MPH above my desired pace. So, if I plan on running 7.6 miles in an hour, I’ll start my treadmill at 9.5 MPH for the first two minutes, throttle down to 7.5 MPH for the next 57 minutes, and then throttle up to 9.5 MPH for the last mile. If I complete that, then I’m able to move up 0.1 MPH the next time. Additionally, I currently take a hip-hop dance class in the evenings on Tuesdays and I burn about 500 extra calories, so that’s a nice bonus.

As for the Elliptical and the StairMaster, I also have unique methods. With the Elliptical, I do a manual workout for an hour, start at my desired level and do that for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, I’ll go up two levels for the next 10 minutes. At the 40 minute mark, I’ll go up another two levels and at the 50 minute mark I’ll go up two more levels. If I’m able to complete that workout, the next time I’ll start up one level from the previous Elliptical workout and repeat the process. With the StairMaster, I’ll do that for an hour and choose a level from the “Fat Burner” workout option. If I complete that without struggling, the next time I do a StairMaster workout, I will move up one level and repeat the workout.

On an ideal Wednesday, I’m back at it with the boot camp crew for another lovely workout. Side note: If you belong to a gym that offers group exercise (my gym does offer group exercise for free, I just choose to pay for this extra group) then take advantage of it. It’s included in your membership and they really do kick your butt. If you’re a competitive person, like me, you usually get a lot more out of the group workouts. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends.

For a Thursday workout, it’s back to cardio with either a road run or treadmill run. Right now, I’m only doing treadmill runs to build up my speed. I’m close to my target goal of running at 8.0 MPH for an hour. Once I complete that, I’ll do outdoor runs once or twice a week. I eventually want to do a full marathon and have already done a half marathon in my life. I’ll do another half marathon first and then train for a full marathon. Please guys, send me all the good vibes for that one!

Friday is a true weight lifting day. My weight-lift circuit is pictured above along with a video of each workout I do in order. I’ll break down the workout for you. You’ll notice in parentheses next to the workouts I have words like “Easy, Medium, and Hard” in there. “Easy” means that on the last set, I was able to get at least two more reps than the written amount and therefore can go up 10 pounds total the next time. “Medium” means that the workout was challenging and that I am not ready to move up, yet I did complete the workout. “Hard” means that the workout was too hard and I need to move down 10 pounds total for the next workout.

You’ll notice after my shoulder warmup I have listed the following: bench press, squat, hang clean, and RDL (Romanian Dead Lift or Straight-Legged Dead Lift). I call those the “Big Four” and I try to get those four lifts done, plus the shoulder warmup, in the first 30 minutes or less. I generally take 60 second rests in between each set, no more. I also try to do all of the workouts I have listed in order from top to bottom. They are designed strategically that way. If you want to know more or why I do this workout this certain way, go ahead and reach out to me. I designed this full-body workout myself and combined elements of my football workouts from high school and elements of my workouts that I did with a friend of mine during my freshman year of college.

Saturday is double workout day. I’ll go to Arrichion Hot Yoga in Raleigh, NC for the 9:00 AM Topaz session. It’s so good to get a good stretch in and I love the vibe over at Arrichion. They have so many different classes to choose from and I wish I was in a situation where I could do more. Maybe one day. Anyway, I’ll burn anywhere from 300-500 calories in a 45 minute session there and then I’ll head on over to O2 Fitness and get an hour-long workout on either the Elliptical or the StairMaster.

Sunday is…a REST DAY. Please people, take one-to-two rest days a week. Your body needs time to recover from all the work you are putting it through. Otherwise, your workouts will suffer, you will plateau, or you will get hurt. Everything in moderation guys, enjoy your rest day…you earned it.

Obviously, depending on your schedule you can deviate and change your regimen. Again, this is MY way of living. You do not have to do it my way. Develop something that works for you and stick with it!

 

Tackling Eating Disorders

*The following post was written by Brooke Beneze and all of the views expressed in this post are hers. As her brother, I absolutely am thrilled that Brooke wanted to come on here and talk about a subject I have very little knowledge or experience with. The beauty in people is that everyone is different, even if they share the same blood. Brooke and I may have slightly different methods for our own health and wellness…but we are both enjoying the journeys that we are individually on. So, of course, I support her and this post wholeheartedly. Enjoy!

Hello! I am very excited to be here! I am Cal’s younger sister, Brooke, and some days, I think we couldn’t be more different. This is why I volunteered to write a post from a different perspective. I really don’t like juice cleanses, food rules, and I don’t feel the need to exercise five-to-six days out of the week, though there was a point in my life when I let those things define me. While I believe Cal’s journey is incredibly impressive and his dedication is inspiring, I think I speak for many when I say that I also think he is CRAZY! All that money?! How many workouts per day?! I couldn’t do it. With that being said, he’s mentioned several times that this is his story and he isn’t trying to tell others how to lose weight.

Everyone goes on a unique journey when it comes to weight loss, body image, and self-esteem. I remember in the fourth grade, one of my best friends made a comment about my looking at food labels before I would eat a snack, and I guess that’s my first memory of when my obsession began.

I don’t think I ever had the healthiest relationship with food and the worst of it was probably from the ages 18-20. I counted EVERYTHING. I counted the calories of the gum that I was chewing, I weighed myself every single day and felt like a failure when I didn’t lose weight and I would never eat a dish if I didn’t know what was in it. I even remember going to bed very early because I was hungry and wanted to just time-warp to breakfast. Today, this behavior is called Orthorexia. I wasn’t Anorexic, I wasn’t Bulimic, I never binged, but I was incredibly restrictive to the point where it was very difficult for me to have a social life and actually like the person that I was in any capacity other than my appearance. I was holding myself back all because I let a number on a scale determine my self-worth. The lowest weight that I ever got to was 101 pounds. And now I weigh about 20 pounds more, I can definitely say I don’t ever want to go back to those days. All of the counting, rules, depression, and isolation was not worth being “skinny.”

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Nearly seven years into my journey, it wasn’t until last October that I gave up counting calories for good. I gave myself a break exercising, too, and I’ve never felt more free. The crazy thing is, I think I’ve actually lost weight, but I don’t really know since I stopped weighing myself, as well. It took me a long time to realize that my habits were detrimental to my mental health. I could never be satisfied with myself and I wasn’t very fun to be around, either.

These days, my goals and my lifestyle are very different. I’m still learning and getting better every day, but I feel like I’ve got a better grasp on balance. I focus on making myself feel good and fueling myself with primarily whole ingredients, while still allowing myself to drink lots of wine sometimes and have a piece of bread at dinner without feeling guilt. Sometimes I do still have weight loss goals, but I feel like it’s more important to just eat some more veggies and less packaged stuff, move around a little bit more, and let my body find it’s happy place. Ultimately, no one really cares about how much you weigh or if you have abs. Most people just want to see you be the happiest and most confident version of yourself.

Now, I want to help others! I want to help people that have had a negative relationship with food in the past, and/or peers that, like myself, work a 9-to-5 desk job and are just starting to become interested in beginning an exercise routine or meal prepping. With so much information out there and different methods being thrown in your face all of the time, it’s really daunting to get started.

My brother is very unique and extremely driven. For him, he can handle exercising as much as he does and being very strict with his diet. For most other people, however, his habits aren’t very realistic. Cal is absolutely fun to watch and his progress is astonishing already, but no, you do not have to do what he does in order to lose weight.

Cal, keep doing you as long as it makes you happy! Thank you for giving me the space to tell my story and offer a different perspective. I began this by saying that I feel like we’re awfully different people, but there’s no denying that we are both also very long-winded, driven, and “fitness-y” people, as well. Love you, brother!

Week 5 Progress Report

Hey everyone, thanks for checking in here on “Rebuilding Rome” for the Week 5 Progress Report. Progress is continuing to be made as I am down to 165.6 pounds. Happy to still be progressing. Also, since this was my first post in the month of February, I thought it’d be a good time to see the change on my body fat percentage and my body mass index (BMI). I am now at 12.3% body fat, which I am extremely happy with and I am at 25.2 on the BMI scale which puts me 0.2 over into the overweight category. I don’t get worked up too much about BMI, so I’m not overly concerned. Just have to keep eating right and exercising regularly.
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Make sure to check-in this week as I’ll be posting what goes into my weekly workouts as well as my (fingers crossed) casein protein bar and smoothie recipes. Thanks for stopping by “Rebuilding Rome” and have a good one!