beach runs in wintery chicago.

I had two weeks.

Just 14 days of bearable weather until winter turned a whole gaggle of ugly heads toward Chicago for the past 5 months. Running outside was simply dangerous, as ice consumed the sidewalks.

No amount of salt could fight it off.

But the past week, it’s been in the 40’s. And I’ve been taking advantage of clear grounds alongside Al and Lionel. I am officially signed up for the Chicago Marathon and will be raising $1,000 for a charity. More info on that later.

For now, I train.

Prepping for round three with P90X3.

The third installment of Beachbody’s “P90X” series hit shelves this month, meaning I raced over to to order the at-home workout plan that — plain and simple — just works.

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 begins it all. I’m excited to see what happens, working in at-home exercise on the 20th floor of my new building in Chicago.

To recap, in January 2010, I lost 30+ pounds (my college weight, essentially) in 45 days by sticking to the P90X workout and nutrition plans. A feat I have been proud of, definitely, but something that blew my mind more than anything else. I finished off the 90 days strong and continued to mix in P90X DVD workouts with all my running and lifting going forward.

In January 2012, I began P90X2, comprised of a lot more core strengthening exercises, as opposed to weights. It thinned me out within two weeks, and I was down to 155 pounds before I even knew it. I didn’t have much weight to lose at this point, but P90X2 gave me more day-to-day energy than I had ever felt with any workout regimen.

So, here’s to the 2014 kickoff just around the corner.

Updates will be provided here on my progress, if you’re interested.

I’m already hearing that my response to the comments I received on last week’s video is better than the video itself. You be the judge.

For the love of God, stop cheering for a school you never attended.

I’m on the “Juice”

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m currently juicing. And from doing so, my health has improved, my day-to-day job performance has skyrocketed and the energy I feel overall is indescribable. Honestly, at times, I feel superhuman. Captain Ginger! OK, let’s work on a much better name sometime.

It’s not a performance enhancing drug I’m taking to feel like this. No.

It’s an exclusive vegetable/fruit juice diet. Yeah, sounds gross. And boring. And a waste of time. And stupid. And just awful. Yeah, I know.

On Saturday morning, I began a 5-day cleanse: Nothing but the nutrients of fresh fruits and vegetables — via my Breville juicer — 5 times a day. In the past, I completed the P90X diet for 3 months. That wasn’t easy. It broke me down at times, but I pushed though. I dropped weight, got in better shape and felt like the best version of myself.

This, however? A whole different playing field. Apples and oranges, if you will (ha!).

I’m not doing this to lose weight. I’m doing this because my entire motto —eat/drink whatever you want as long as you workout every day — was compromised for 10 days. I embarked on a 10-day road trip north to Chicago/Detroit, eating out every meal and never working out. Not my balance. My zen? Not existent. 

So now that I’m back in Florida, I decided to start a cleanse: Rid my body of all the cheeseburgers, pizza, french fries, potato chips and ALCOHOL (yes, lots of alcohol) that I consumed in that 10-day time period. Pushing the “RESET” button felt like an obvious move for me. So that’s what I did.

So, it’s officially been 5 days. I haven’t chewed a piece of food since Friday night. And, I’ve never felt healthier.

For me personally, this lifestyle isn’t sustainable for more than a week or so. How Joe Cross did this for 60 days, I’ll never know. Major props to him for conquering that feat.

But there were things I learned in these 5 days that I couldn’t have predicted. Facts I learned via his documentary, but assumed he was overemphasizing the strength of them. Such as?

You feel full: I drank 5 glasses of juice a day. No solid food. And after day 3? My stomach never rumbled for food. I felt actually satisfied after a glass of juice. Why? Because vegetable juice fills your stomach and cells naturally, providing the nutrients they need to give you energy. When you eat a pound of french fries, you feel full simply because your stomach is just that, FULL. Not full of vital nutrients, full of starch and physical weight. Once you can train your body to feel great (after day 3) with just juice, the possibilities are endless for becoming a healthier, better-looking you.

Your palette is reset: You simply don’t crave salty, fatty foods by the end of this. Once your taste buds have only consumed vegetables and fruits for 5 straight days, you mentally forget what burgers and pizza taste like, and you don’t want them like you normally would. It’s incredibly weird. I woke up today (day 6) and immediately made my morning juice — carrots, celery, apples, ginger — because it makes me feel better in the morning than anything else.

You glow: Maybe it’s a mental thing. But my skin feels, honestly, healthier. When I look in the mirror, there is a glow there. I don’t have the guilt after eating a large sandwich for lunch. You know you’re only putting the world’s best types of food into your body, and there’s nothing you could be doing better for it. That alone makes you shine, as corny as that may sound. But those thoughts exist.

You lose weight: I didn’t do much extensive exercise during the last 5 days. I played basketball on day 1 and tennis on day 5, but other than that, only went for longer walks with Lionel. My total weight loss was 10.1 pounds. I house a lot of water weight in my chin/neck, and once I cleansed, this went away. Everyone gains weight immediately in a specific part of their body. Mine is chin fat. It’s annoying. So this helped against that.

and finally…

Your brain functions better: While on this 5-day juice cleanse, I made a few videos — story of my life, right? — which meant writing scripts, filming and editing. My job isn’t physically tasking, so individuals who are reading this, want to try it and are skeptical because they move a lot for a living? I can’t weigh in. But mentally, I felt on point. Inspiration came to my mind quicker and writing/editing didn’t require as much stress as it sometimes does. Maybe it was because this was my first time doing a cleanse? Would I feel this way going forward with the cleanse? I don’t know. All I can say is that these last 5 days made me think clearer.

In summary — I’m proud of myself. Starting something and following through to the end is hard for a lot of people. Even me sometimes. But waking up today and knowing I conquered my 5-day goal? I have an extra little pep in my step.

Maybe it’s the juice that’s doing that?

Either way, I suggest trying this program. Click here for the regimen that I followed, with recipes, too.