About Me

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Creating my ideal figure, one workout and one meal at a time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New program

Woohoo!  Yesterday I started a whole new diet, workout, and supplementation plan.

During my last contest prep, I changed diets every month or so, and my workouts only changed 3 times in total;  Jason has already changed my diet 5 times, and workouts 4 times.  His theory is that the body is constantly changing, and we need to adapt our strategy based on how it's doing each week.  This is just fine by me!  I love the change as it keeps things fresh both physically and mentally.

I'll give you a little sneak peak of the diet:

Meal 1 - Egg whites & oat bran
And of course, black coffee.  Always coffee.....

Meal 2 - Chicken & puffed quinoa 
I can't believe I'd never heard of puffed quinoa before!  What a great breakfast cereal or baking tool it would make.  I had mine with some cinnamon and water.

Meal 3 - Tilapia & sweet potatoes
Do you like how I put everyhing on small plates to make it look bigger?  

Meal 4 - Chicken & asparagus
Oops, almost didn't make it in time!  That little splotch is mustard.

Meal 5 - Tilapia, green beans, and cucumber
Plus one huge glass of Perrier

Meal 6 - Egg whites & avocado
With some salt, pepper, chili flakes, and cilantro

The workouts are full-body, but with an obvious and intentional focus on my legs (specifically, my hamstrings and glutes - they need some work!!).  2 days on/1 day off.  More on this once I've done each workout.

Supplements are mostly the same as before, but with the addition of DIM (diindolylmethane) which, according to the internet, aids in immune system functions, has possible linkages to cancer prevention, and improves metabolism.  Should be interesting.

Happy Thursday everyone.... almost the long weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In my kitchen

John and I have always been thankful that we have very similar eating habits.  Outside of dieting, we both eat fairly clean about 80% of the time, and are perfectly able to enjoy food in its simplest form (S&P can go a long way).  However, we also both have adventurous palates and will try anything once... or twice, just in case ;)  I love to cook and try new recipes, and he's a willing Guinea pig!

Here's a look at what we keep in our kitchen.....

Berries, salsa, rice, and tupperware full of pre-cooked meat.  Though usually the entire top shelf is stacked with tupperware.  I wonder where all the meat is......

..... ah, that explains it.  Fish, chicken, and turkey bacon waiting to be cooked.  Sidenote: Turkey bacon is sooooo good!  I can't understand why anybody would use the regular stuff.  35 calories per piece vs. 115?  No-brainer there.

Water, juice, and EGGS!!  Omg, we'll easily go through all these eggs in just a matter of days.   Even our dog gets in on the action by polishing off our leftover yolks.

Lots of vegetables.  Broccoli, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, onion, and carrots are the staples.  Guest appearances by beans, brussels sprouts, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and fiddle-heads.

A couple fruits, oils, and vinegars.  Usually there are a few sweet potatoes kicking around the counter-tops as well.

Whole wheat bread, nuts (again, we could go through these nuts in a week) and OATS!  You remember I told you I love oatmeal?  John loves it just as much as I do.  We had to start buying our oatmeal, nuts, and eggs at Costco because we were going through so much lol.

We also buy most of our meat at Costco.  Salmon, chicken, ground turkey, and tilapia.  Yes, those are some frozen bananas in the corner, just waiting to be turned into "ice cream" or banana bread.

Lots and lots of tea, coffee, and some baking staples.  Hey, just because I can't eat the baked goods doesn't mean I don't like to make them!

Beans, soups, grains, spices, nut butters, dried fruit, and canned vegetables.

And finally, the "junk" cabinet: popcorn, cereal, crackers, whole wheat tortilla chips, granola and protein bars.  Told you we don't eat much junk!

Well, I'm off to the grocery store.  That fridge is looking pretty bare.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Craving Du Jour

Now, I know this is a fitness blog, and I should only be putting out healthy, diet-friendly recipes..... but sometimes your brain and stomach just want sugar.  Crappy, junky, fatty, SUGAR.  Stupid me went looking at pictures of desserts this morning and now they're all I can think about.  These were only a few of the images that got my stomach rumbling:  
Special K cookies
Belgian chocolate brownies

Cake, oreos, and brownie batter  

Lemon cookies

Some kind of delicious layered pancakes.  Gluten-free, but still sinful!

Peanut butter cups.... my all-time favourite!

Protein bars like I've never seen before.  I question how much protein is really in these things.

Pumpkin cinnamon roll


Cheesecake somethingorother
I feel fatter just looking at them.  But in all honesty, I will probably try at least 3 of them within the first few days after the competition.  95 days, 95 days, 95 days.....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Progress pics: 14 weeks out

Oops, last week I said I was 16 weeks out, but was in fact 15 weeks.  
Here's my pic from this morning:
14 weeks, 126 lbs

For fun, I thought I'd also post a picture of me at 14 weeks out this time last year.  

July 26th 2010.  14 weeks out, 122.5 lbs
Although I was nearly 4 lbs lighter then, I have more muscle and less fat this time around (look at those hips and upper legs!).  With the help of a body fat test, I estimate that I've put on about 5 lbs of muscle in the last year, which hopefully will translate well on-stage :)

In other news, (DISCLAIMER! If you are squeamish about bodily functions or are one of those guys who still believes women don't poop, stop reading now!!) I've been taking Metamucil the last few weeks to help me, er, get things moving again (going from 25+ grams of fibre per day to less than half that does have its consequences) but I've also been getting horrible acid reflux in the evenings!  I'm wondering if the two are correlated, or if it's just an unfortunate coincidence.  Has anybody out there ever taken a fibre supplement?  What do you recommend? 

Also, I've been getting up much earlier the last few days, and I'm happy to report it's going well!  I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoy mornings :)  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Burn, baby, burn!

It seems to me there are two kinds of exhaustion: The kind where you're attempting to lift a heavy weight and your muscle just doesn't seem to want to do it, and the kind where you've done so many reps your muscles start to burn.  Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the former; I get discouraged because my mind wants to push through but my body doesn't feel strong enough to do it.  I relish, however, in the latter of the two.   There's nothing more satisfying than finishing a set and feeling like your body's on fire.  I understand that both of these evils are necessary in a progressive program (can't get stronger if you don't lift heavier!), but I just enjoy those burning workouts so much more and feel so accomplished when I've finished them.

Which is why I've been loving my workouts this past week!  Jason has me doing a high-rep approach, and lemme tell you, my body hasn't been this sore in ages!!  Generally one would start with a compound movement then finish with isolation exercises in order to save the strength of the smaller muscle.  This program has me doing the opposite.

Using Chest as an example, a typical workout looks like this:
4 sets x 30 reps (Pec Dec)
4 sets x 20 reps (Decline dumbbell flyes)
4 sets x 10 reps (Incline dumbbell flyes)
4 sets x 5 reps (Bench Press)

I'd never done 30 reps of anything (except for abs) before, and I'll tell ya, 30 reps of any exercise will make even 5 lbs feels like lead!!

So now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that my pictures will reflect how my body feels this week - tight, hot, and AMAZING!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Childhood Obesity - Intervention Necessary?

I read an article today about how children who are dangerously (like, life-threateningly) obese should be temporarily removed from the care of their parents.  Personally, I agree.

What do you think?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Schedule affecting training?

I had another one of those days today where I was just not motivated to work out.  Correction:  I wasn't unmotivated, I just plain wasn't in the mood!  I barely made it through my morning cardio and begrudgingly finished my leg workout.  I can barely remember my afternoon cardio, except that I couldn't wait for it to end.

Instead of finishing my workout with my regular stretching, I decided to do a little mental check-in.  I went to the yoga room in the gym, shut the lights, and layed on the cool, bare floor (there's a heat wave going through Ottawa right now and lemme tell ya, that floor felt divine!).  I did a full-body scan: Am I tired?  No, I slept 8 hours last night.  Am I exhausted from the workout?  No, the leg workout was actually pretty awesome!  Am I hungry?  Trick question.  Am I achy?  Only in my arms, but that shouldn't have affected this workout.  Am I dizzy, nauseous, gassy, or dehydrated?  No, no, no, and no.  Ok, with that out of the way, I turned inwards:  Am I sad?  No.  Feeling weak?  No.  Self-conscious?  Definitely no.... I'm lookin' gooooood these days!!  Am I stressed?  YES!  There it is!  But why?

I accidentally slept in a whole hour this morning, and I had alot to get done today.  I watched the clock through my entire AM cardio, knowing I was running late.  I rushed through my breakfast (the meal I generally eat very slowly on account of me loving breakfast soooo much!), shot out a couple emails, ate again, then went straight to the gym.  I generally like to take at least 5 hours between workouts (enough time for 3 meals and a shower), and today I only got about 3 (I was meeting a friend later on, which is why the time crunch).  Not only is that alot of activity to fit into a couple hours, but I also HATE being rushed; I get antsy and frustrated, and once I'm in that mood it all seems to go even more downhill.  Time pressure has a weird way of messing with my head.

I realized that I've been feeling like that alot lately, which is surprising because I'm currently unemployed!!  I like to get up late, but I also like to hit the gym early, before the 4pm rush hits.  So what to do?

I'm going to try and start waking up several hours earlier.  My body's natural rhythm is to go to sleep at 1am and wake up at 10am.  9 hours of sleep, to the minute, no fail.  However, having worked at a government job for the last few years, I'd also gotten used to waking up as early as 4:30am.  With that in mind, I'm going to aim to rise at 6am for the next little while.  That'll give me plenty of time between workouts, will allow me to get to the gym early, and will even mean I can catch part of the sunrise :)  We'll see if this solves the problem of the stress.

It's nearing 10pm so I guess I should turn in.  The only thing that sucks about waking up early, is going to bed early.... it may be a rough morning tomorrow :S

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

6 Calorie-Free Ways to Liven Up Your Oatmeal

I love oatmeal.  Even without the diet, I usually eat it 5/7 days per week.  I love the texture, the warmth, the versatility, the nutritional content, I love the.... erm... regularity it provides my body.  During non-contest prep months, I can easily add some honey, fruit, nuts, or yogurt to my bowl to change things up now and then (Sidenote: my favourite mix of all time is a bit of milk, cinnamon, chopped almonds, and stewed prunes..... yummmm!!!).  But these days, I need to be a bit more creative so I can keep to my calorie count.  For anyone else in the same boat, or just looking to liven things up in the breakfast category, here are a couple ideas:

1a. Tea bags - When your water starts boiling, throw a tea bag in there for just a few minutes before adding your oats.  It gives a subtle flavour.  My favourite is Chai.

1b. And for that matter, why not try coffee?  I know, I know... sounds crazy.  Just try it.  Add a bit to your oatmeal after it's done cooking.

2. Sweetener - Ever heard of Stevia?  Dieters have been using aspartame-based sugar substitutes like Equal and Sweet 'n Low for years, but we all know how sketchy those chemicals can be.  Personally, I find that if I use more than 2 packs of those sweeteners in a day, my stomach feels weird.  Stevia is the perfect solution here!  It's plant based, totally natural, and calorie-free!  It does have a different taste than regular sugar, so takes some getting used to.  But otherwise, it's a no-brainer for the health-conscious dieter :)

3. Spices - Pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice all work nicely.

4. Extracts - All kinds of them!  Banana, almond, vanilla, coconut, peppermint, orange, rum.....  just add a few drops of one, or mix a few to make a new taste!  How about banana-rum oatmeal?

5. Change your oats - When you think of oatmeal, you probably think of the regular old-fashioned instant ones, like in the Quaker packages, right?  But there's a whole other world of oats out there!  Try rolled oats (similar to instant, but heartier), steel cut oats, and oat bran.  Or, if you want to get even more adventurous, why not try other breakfast grains like quinoa, Red River, cream of wheat,  or even wild/brown/arborio/long grain rice?

6. Pre-toasting - You know how nuts taste really great when you toast them?  Same concept here.  Bake your oats for a couple minutes until golden (not burnt) before cooking as usual.  I've only tried this a couple times, and I like it best when I've cooked most of the oatmeal regularly, then topped it with some toasted oats.


My morning oat bran (1/4 cup, extra runny) with cinnamon, stevia, and vanilla. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Progress pics: 16 weeks out

Well, I've been officially training for 7 weeks now so it's probably time I posted some progress pics!!

My heaviest weight was 140lbs, but I managed to lose 2lbs before starting on with Pro Revolution (www.prorevolution.com) on May 23rd.

Here is me at 23 weeks out, and 138 lbs
22 weeks out and 135 lbs
21 weeks, 133 lbs

19 weeks and still 133 lbs 
18 weeks, 130 lbs

17 weeks, 128 lbs

Today, at 16 weeks and 127 lbs

So 11 lbs in 8 weeks..... not too shabby.  I'd like some more, but I have to keep reminding myself that 11 lbs on a fit and small frame (I'm 5'4") is still significant.  Already my abs are looking much better than last year (I only started seeing them at 10 weeks out), and apparently my photo-taking skills have greatly improved since May lol.  I've also learned that applying some baby oil before taking my pics helps me to see the definition in my muscles better, much like on-stage ;)  Can't wait to see what the next couple weeks bring!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learning the biz - IDFA Ottawa show

When it comes to fitness competitions, I've seen the production from the spectator side, and from the competitor side.  But I wanted more than that - I wanted the full experience.  So I decided to volunteer for the IDFA Ottawa show yesterday so that I could see things from the organizer's side of things.

I arrived just after 8am and hit the ground running.  I was in charge of the registration booth, which meant setting it all up, making sure all the competitor information packages were complete, then greeting the athletes and assigning them their numbers, etc.  I've always considered myself a bubbly, friendly person, so I enjoyed this part of the day as it allowed me to interact with the athletes.  And I like to think they appreciated getting a big smile to start off their long grueling day!

In the evening I was asked to be the "corral" person, meaning I would be the one down in the trenches with the athletes, calling out their categories, rounding people up, and making sure everybody got to the stage on-time.

Let me tell you, it was chaos back there!!  Tanning product, hairspray, and Pam created a permanent haze in the change rooms.  Competitors were pumping up with their coaches in any open space they could find.  Girls were running around topless and getting their bottoms slathered with bikini bite by strangers, and the guys.... well, the guys were doing that too lol.
Let me tell you something else: gathering a group of people who are tired, hungry, water-depleted, and hyped up on sugar (and in some cases, alcohol) is NOT EASY; they're basically just very tanned posing zombies by that point.  There were always last-minute makeup touch-ups to be done, shoes going missing, outfits needing quick changing and adjusting, and people were scattered throughout the building's hallways/change rooms/wash rooms/stage/auditorium, all of which contributed further to the difficulty of rounding people up.

But let me tell you one more thing: I had so much fun!  I loved being right in the centre of all the excitement, getting to see seasoned pro's going through their rituals, and novices learning their way for the first time.  It's so inspiring to hear the stories of women who'd had children, gained weight, then worked so hard to get back in shape.  Or the men who have been painstakingly perfecting their physiques for years.  I loved that almost everybody there was so happy and friendly.  I loved seeing girls  make new friends through this common experience, despite being one another's "competition".  The more I'm exposed to the bodybuilding industry, the more I see that it's a tight-knit group of people who truly are all committed to elevating everyone around them.  

Yesterday gave me almost a second wind in terms of contest prep.  Not that I've been slowing down too much over the last few weeks, but it was a great reminder of why I do hour upon hour of cardio every day, why I pass up social gatherings in favour of getting a good night's sleep, and why I cannot eat a cheeseburger for another 3.5 months when I'll be the one going out for a post-competition celebration meal!

Congrats to all the competitors! Next time we meet though, it'll be on-stage ;)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Daily Creation: Fruit cobbler oatmeal

After staying up all night last night to watch the new Harry Potter movie, I decided to put my sleeplessness to good use and make John some breakfast.  I had some extra steel cut oats kicking around and wanted to use them up.  I cooked them as usual (I like to make 'em thick, so cooked for about 40 minutes, adding water every now and then) then added the following:
-Peaches, coarsely chopped
-Blackberries, whole
-Nutmeg and Cinnamon
-Honey, just a drizzle
-and my secret ingredients: Triple Berry jam, Apple jelly, and Coconut butter (a couple teaspoons of each)

I've found that the jam adds flavour and sweetness without the bulk of actual fruit or the extra water of juice, and the coconut butter (sheer genius) made it incredibly creamy.  Plus, John loves coconut, so I try to incorporate it whenever I can :)  The cinnamon and nutmeg gave it that "cobbler" flavour.  You could also add nuts if you so wanted, and I think dried dates would have been amaaaaazing.  I served it up with some boiled eggs to round out a complete meal.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to eat a bowl of this along with him.... I taste-tested it along the way, and got the fervent nod of approval from John afterwards.  I also forgot to take pics, so I guess I'll just have to make it again in 16 weeks so I can both eat it, and post it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Craving Du Jour

1) John's chicken wings.  He doesn't batter or fry them, he just slow-cooks them for a couple hours then bakes them for a couple more.  The result is a crispy yet juicy, flavourful little nugget of chicken that falls off the bone, relaxes in your mouth, then satisfies your most primal need for meat.

2) Bread and cheese.  A whole loaf of french bread in one hand, and a chunk of provolone in the other.  Maybe some full red wine to wash it down.  Yes, I'm French.

3) A banana, please.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Security in Fitness

Blame it on the years of karate, or on having a protective-dad-of-six-daughters, but when out and about I am constantly trying to find escape routes and weapons.  This is especially true if I'm walking home alone at night, as I'm still slightly afraid of the dark :P  I check my shadows, search the area for weapons, look around for other people, and think of where I could run to if I were to be attacked.  Paranoid?  Sure.  But a single gal has got to protect herself!

In times like these, I am always comforted in knowing that my body will do whatever I ask of it, when I ask.  I can go from standing still to a full sprint in seconds, keep that pace for 4 minutes, then jog for another 60.  I have strength to lift a heavy object and throw or swing it.  I'm agile enough to maneuver around objects or people.  And my flexibility allows me to kick someone roughly my height directly in the head.  These are things about my body that are a given, and I know I can rely on.  

This is one of the many benefits of being in-shape: confidence in your body's abilities. And if there's any one good reason I can think of for someone to become physically active, or to push through to that next level of fitness, it would be for their safety.

Train hard, eat well.