“Drink your water, people.”
“He’s a bad, bad man.”
“Party’s almost over…what a bummer!”
Anyone out there who has ever attempted P90x will lovingly (or maybe not so lovingly) laugh when you read those phrases. I don’t know about you, but I actually hear Tony Horton saying them in my brain, which makes me automatically reach higher..chest up..arms up…head up. Everything Up. P90x…I hate it, but I love it. I’ve got my favorite cast members (Pam the Blam) and my not-so-favorite cast members (Frogboy, anyone?)
And I can officially say that, yes, in fact, I am a P90X graduate now. And I am not saying that in a boastful way. This was intense for me. I took longer than 90 days because I took breaks over holidays and a few long weekend trips out of town where I didn’t work out. It was a definite love-hate relationship. In the beginning, if I had plans in the evening, I would make sure to get up extra early to “squeeze in” the minimum hour of pure pain and near-syncopal episodes. I followed the first phase of the diet plan religiously, which was really hard, given that I don’t eat meat. I got really really tired of egg whites. And I definitely had a glass of wine (or two) if I was out with friends and didn’t give up (and won’t ever give up) visiting and sampling cheese displays at grocery stores.
Being 32 and realizing that my cholesterol was high was a bit of a wake-up call. My body mass index was in the normal range, I don’t smoke, I get regular health screenings and teeth cleanings, and I walk my dog. I was actually pretty surprised when my LDL was high (see above: cheese displays.) But, with my dad’s recent serious health scares and long-standing history of diabetes, I knew that I needed to take care of myself a little bit better.
I think, and this is my humble and honest opinion, that so often, as women (and if you are a man reading this, you are awesome and this might apply to you as well), we neglect to take care of ourselves. Sure, we can get our hair and nails done, buy statement necklaces, and maybe even splurge a bit on hair products. But that’s just the external shell. I’m talking about major transformative change in the way of altering our chemical make-up. (more on this topic in coming posts.)
Working out is hard for everyone. After a long work day, I would much rather have a date with my couch, a cat on my lap, a few chocolate caramel truffles, and Real Housewives of Orange County. But after this whole experience, I know that I deserve to push myself to the limits as far as physical strength goes. And P90X is a pretty extreme way to do this (I do still modify plenty of the moves.).
So here are the results: Overall, I lost about 5-6 pounds of solid fat. Blubber. Mostly around my butt and thighs (BOOYAH!). Everyone has parts of their body that they feel less than thrilled with, and my “birthing hips”, as someone once called them, were not my favorite. But, while *only* 5-6 pounds of fat may not sound like much…I lost a ton of inches. Inches around my arms, my waist, my hips, my thighs. They are gone, in blubber heaven. I’m down about 2 dress sizes. For the first time in my life, I bought an extra-small in something (I kind of bought it just because I could wear an extra-small in something.) I can see some sort of muscle definition in my arms, upper legs, and…..get ready for it….maybe even a glimmer of my abs.
And the best part is this: When I try on clothes or get ready for work in the morning..I only hear silence. Nothing. Peacefulness. Calm. Why? Because that nagging, self-deprecating, overly critical voice that pointed out every flaw and imperfection has grown quiet.
Now, while she is still there in the background, folding her arms in the corner with a “let’s see if you can maintain this” attitude about her, she’s also kind of scared. There’s no one there to replace her, there’s still no one coming in and saying, “Yeah, rock star! You’re awesome and amazing and perfect!”, but she’s kind of been put in her place for a bit. It’s nice for me-a vacation, really. It’s like having the radio up really loud in your car while trying to navigate through really difficult traffic and then suddenly realizing that you can navigate…and think…much better when the volume is down or…off.
Baby steps. Grunting. Screaming. Telling Tony to “shut up” (yes, I did). A manic stream of expletives. Laughing at my cat while he tried to love on me during my Sun Salutations and constantly begging to be petted while I was in downward dog. Thanking God that I have a restaurant directly below me otherwise I might have a very unhappy neighbor due to the constant jumping/hopping/landing like a cat (yeah right) that I was doing. Sweating and drinking unhealthy amounts of water.
But feeling pretty damn good after each and every work-out.
And you know what? I start Round #2 tomorrow.
So, it seems fairly ironic that I would post a completely obnoxiously sweet/rich cupcake on the day that I celebrate this small victory. (I actually made these cupcakes pre-P90X days and have been waiting to post them for this sole reason.) Because we don’t need to get nuts here. Everything in moderation. I enjoy things like this in small doses (or sometimes larger doses if I have had a really bad day….)
I only made 12 cupcakes for this recipe because, as you probably already know, those little Ferrero Rocher candies can be a bit pricey. (If you want to skip them, just fill the cupcakes with Nutella instead.) I started with a simple chocolate cupcake base, added the chocolate in the middle of the batter, and then made a simple Nutella buttercream for the top. I had a few leftover chocolates, so I smashed them up and sprinkled them on top. Do whatever you like. And then go take good care of yourself.
Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream
Servings: 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
For the filling:
12 Ferrero Rocher candies, unwrapped
For the frosting: (****I doubled this recipe..it is listed here as I doubled it. I wanted a lot of frosting. If you would like less, please divide this ingredient list in half.)
1 and 1/2 cups (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Nutella
1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with the liners of your choice.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes or so.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
5. Add the vanilla.
6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
7. Divide the batter evenly into your prepared cupcake pan.
8. Lightly press a Ferrero Rocher candy into the center of each cupcake. (It’s ok if you don’t cover it completely with batter. I used a spoon to try to help cover it and I think this worked well.)
9. Bake the cupcakes until a tester inserted into the center (around the Ferrero Rocher candy) comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
10. For the frosting: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
11. With the mixer speed on low, slowly and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, mixing until combined.
12. Add the remaining ingredients, adjusting to taste, and mix until smooth.