Going For The Title

Today is a milestone. Today I will walk through the doors of my favorite gym & register for my 4th competition. Exactly a year ago to the date I was walking through hospital doors. I’ve debated with myself on what to share & how to share. The thing is the events of the last year challenged me to grow mentally, physically, spiritually & allowed me to embrace my atmosphere with a heightened passion. So here it goes…

I had a hysterectomy. The future plans of my husband & I didn’t revolve around how many children we would have if any at all however having that option pulled was not a breeze. I felt we were champs about the situation. We didn’t read anymore into the situation than necessary & came to the conclusion that it was a fate not worth stressing over.

Post-surgery… I wasn’t expecting the flood of feelings that rushed over me. Thoughts I didn’t know how to process. I had the world’s most amazing support system but I wasn’t supporting myself. I decided I would bury myself in a prep with the goal of becoming a Pro within 8 months. I lost focus on healing my whole body & concentrated on the shell. In turn my body responded with a fight. The mind is so powerful & I believe it can completely take control for the positive or negative, which ever you allow.

Competing has always been about self-improvement, a challenge, & an enjoyable privileged experience. Being tensely aimed on the appearance & literally letting it consume me negatively made me question everything. I had more closed door tears shed than I’d like to admit but it happened. My spirit felt drained. Three weeks out from the competition those around me started to question if I was okay. It was the very question that I needed ask myself. So I did. I decided to nix doing the show because I wasn’t proud of how I felt & finally let myself process those uncomfortable feelings.

The realization is that I don’t need a coveted title, of any sort, Pro or Mom. The joy of knowing life is right where it is intended & that I have an opportunity to make a difference is indescribable. I honestly feel that this plan was laid out before me so that I could reach more people, more children. Something I couldn’t have done otherwise.

All the meanwhile I was watching a very dear friend go through her own child bearing grievances. I watched her closely & took note. I didn’t want to come right out & say I was hurting. Her poise through the process was inspiring. The intent of this post is twofold, 1, whatever obstacles have been given to you search for the gift in it. I guarantee there is one to be found. 2., Stay strong & encourage each other. Your actions have a huge impact on those around you when you least expect it.

Next weekend when I step on stage I can hold my head high & know what a genuine gift I have been given. As hard as it is to share I hope those out there that are focused on the shell will let their heart start doing the growing because as cliché as it sounds I’ve already won.

As always thank you for reading & letting me share. Live life big & best wishes my friends.

Loaded Squash, Zucchini Pizza Bites & More!

If you haven’t already liked IFPA Figure Pro Kristin Flanery’s Facebook get on it! This hard working momma takes food prep to the next level. Here are just a few my favorites directly from Kristin’s Facebook!

Loaded Squash

 

 

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Looking for more recipes? Check out the Fit Recipes & Fit Sweet Treats.

The Value & Belief

With it being the start of a new week I thought I’d share a way I stay committed to my goals, short term & lifelong.

You see I believe I have grand purpose, actually I believe we all have a purpose of great magnitude. Some aspirations are personally set & others, for me anyways, are faith driven. I’ve found the key is to establish the value & belief. Simply put, my purpose is like gold to me so that decisions & follow through leave little room to be debated. I suppose I rarely feel distracted because I consciously chose these values & ultimately decided to make them my priority.

Yet like everyone I get worn down & tempted to sway with convenience. This is when I take a moment to weigh my options & the outcome they will create. Do I want the things most important to me to fade away & fail? Absolutely not, so there my values take over & navigate my next move.

My recommendation, connect to your goal on another level, what is it worth to you. Then raise the standard of what is acceptable. Whatever it is in your life that makes you feel alive is valuable. Merely “saying” your family, health, etc. are priority followed by actions of repeatedly making choices out of convenience is a direct reflection of the significance they actually have.

This is your calling, your life & you have the choice to display what is worthy of your time. Now tell me, what do you value & how will you go forward. I believe you can do it because you too are gold.

the short side of it

Stuffed Peppers, Portobello Pizza & “Popcorn” Cauliflower

Here are three flavorful alternatives to enjoying bell peppers, Portobello mushrooms & cauliflower!  Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do & if you do please like, share, & pin!

 

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

· 4 bell peppers

· 8oz ground turkey

· 1 Tbsp. Amore tomato paste

· 1 Tsp Spice World Extra Virgin Olive Oil Garlic

· Mozzarella cheese- use the amount you feel is desirable

· 1 cup brown rice

Directions:

1. Cut tops off of peppers & remove seeds

2. Warm oven to 375.  Wrap each pepper with aluminum foil & bake for 15 minutes

3. While peppers are in oven brown ground turkey & place in large bowl

4. Add tomato paste, World Spice, mozzarella cheese & brown rice to bowl ground turkey.  Mix all together.

5. Pull out peppers from oven & remove foil.  Spoon mixture into peppers & bake for an additional 15 minutes

 

Portobello Pizza

Portobello Personal Pizza (low carb)

Ingredients:

·Portobello mushroom cap, washed & dried with stem removed

·½ Tbsp. Amore tomato paste

·Toppings of preference. I.e., pepperoni, cooked ground beef, peppers, etc. Shown is ground turkey

·Mozzarella cheese- use the amount you feel is desirable

·½ tsp. Spice World extra virgin olive oil garlic

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 & line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place mushroom, cap side up, on baking sheet & bake 5 minutes

2. Remove mushroom.  Spoon in tomato paste followed by spooning in toppings.  Top off with mozzarella cheese

3. Bake additional 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

Roasted "Popcorn" Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

I found out about this recipe through my Instagram by following Katelovestolift who pointed me to one of my favorite sites FitnessRX.  They call it “popcorn” cauliflower. Personally I found no resemblance to popcorn however it is absolutely delicious!!!  Pictured is the olive oil & sea salt recipe….I ate the whole bunch in just a few sittings

 

 

Resistance Ab Exercises

There isn’t a body part I dislike training therefore I’m going to aim to share some of these favorite exercises that work for me.  I look forward to hearing your feedback & please share your favorites with all of us.  Now lets do work!  

Abs

 Row Slide

15 reps, 3x

Focus: lower & core.

Get into a push up stand.  Place feet on the row seat & push forward letting your bottom create a hinge movement.

 

Weighted Twist

20 full movements, 3x

Focus: oblique

Hold a dumbbell or plate out from your body.  Keeping your hips forward twist from side to side keeping your abs tight.  The further out your arms are the more challenging it will be.

 

Resistance Band Leg Lifts

15 reps, 3x

Focus: lower

Wrap resistance band around something secure & place the top of your feet through the handles.  Scoot back far enough to create tension but not so much that you aren’t able to lift your feet.  Lay flat, arms at your side & lift legs.

 

Resistance Band Crunches

To failure (at least 20), 2x

Wrap resistance band around something secure.  Grab the handles & scoot away far enough to create resistance.  Lift your legs & pull the bands from behind you.  Lower into normal crunch position & repeat.

 

Looking for more training videos check out Nicole Wilkins website & the Cut and Jacked website.  Great info there!!!

 

Weekly Food Prep Tips

Over time I’ve found serious time & food savers when preparing food for the week.   Hope you find these helpful & please share if you have any great tips for all of us!

PROTEINS

Ground Meat

I brown a few pounds of ground up meat (E.g. turkey, chicken, bison or venison).  Half of it to have available to add to meals for the next 3-4 days (think zucchini boats, taco salads or chili).  Freeze the other half & pull it back out to thaw mid-week.  Personally I do not season when I brown it, this way I can add the appropriate seasoning to match the meal I’m going to have at the moment. Try this zucchini boat recipe.

Eggs

Never peel an egg again!  Spray muffin tin with PAM crack open one egg to each tin.  Bake at 400° 10-12 minutes.  The yolk pops right out.  They are good for approximately 5 days.  Here’s another egg muffin recipe

Never peel an egg again!

Never peel an egg again!

Omelets in 3 minutes.  Spray bowl with PAM & pour in 1 cup liquid egg whites (equals 5 egg whites).  You can add seasoning, mozzarella cheese or some of your precooked ground meat.  Cook in microwave for 3 minutes.  Or you can make omelets the traditional way & have breakfast.  Stays good for about 4 days.

Fish

Frozen tilapia is great to keep handy.  Place frozen fish in water for about 15 mins to speed thaw.  Line sheet or baking dish with foil, spray nonstick spray, season fish (I’m all the time using different spices!).  Back at 375 for 20 minutes.  Done!  Afterwards add any topping (guacamole, salsa, egg whites).  Try this tilapia wrap recipe

Refrigerator life of fish is short however it’s a quick easy meal.

Shredded Chicken & Vegetables

Add 6 frozen chicken breast, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, apple cider vinegar to taste, seasoning (Mrs. Dash Caribbean Citrus is my favorite) & 2 cups water (or chicken stock/broth) to crock pot.  Cook on high for 6 ½ hours.  The chicken will shred as you stir.  You can take half & freeze it while keeping the other half ready to eat.

Be creative with what you add to the chicken!  You can add beans, potatoes & almost any vegetable.  If you want more of a soup add more liquid.  Here’s another chicken crock pot recipe I like. You can also do chicken by itself to have to add to meals throughout the week.

VEGETABLES & MORE

Fresh Salad, the trick to keeping it fresh is to eliminate the moisture.  Place a napkin in each container & salad will stay fresh for days.  It works!

Vinegar Cucumbers, slice cucumbers & soak in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.  Will keep for several days.  You can also keep your cut up celery fresh for several days by keeping them submerged in water.

Beans, rice, Freekah can be cooked in mass & divided up to be frozen. More about Freekah & other carbs here

Roasted Vegetables.  Take a mixture of frozen veggies that have sat out about 10 minutes to semi thaw (& feel free to add in some fresh vegetables).  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil & bake at 350° for 15 minutes.  The roasted vegs pictured I used a frozen mixture of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli & green beans with fresh mushrooms, shredded cabbage & peppers. Delicious!

Whey Protein Powder Recipes

You can do more than simply add water & drink whey protein powder however you don’t have to do much more!  Here’s a list of protein powder recipes compiled from some of my favorite gym friends & a few of my own recipes as well.  Enjoy & please feel free to share!

**This list will be added to the Fit Recipes page!**

 

Salty Caramel Flurry
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp. Walden Farms Caramel
2 Rold Gold Tiny Twist pretzels
Ice & water to desired thickness
Blend & enjoy

 

Whey Pudding
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or use chocolate protein & skip the cocoa powder)
1 tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1 tbsp. water (add more to desired consistency)
Stir to make pudding
Peanut Butter Popcorn
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp. PB2
Add just enough water to make pudding
1 cup plain popcorn
Mix together & enjoy
Vanilla or Chocolate Oatmeal
Simply add any flavored protein powder to already cooked oatmeal.  Add water to desired consistency
Flavored Coffee
Warm Coffee (Do not use hot coffee. It will cause whey to clump up)
1/2 scoop whey
Pumpkin Pie Shake- Recipe from Josh Black
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling or add to taste preference
10-12 oz of water
4-5 ice cubes
Berry Pudding- Recipe from Josh Black
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
Mix enough water to make pudding consistency
Top with 1/4 cup mixed berries
Orangesicle- Recipe from Josh Black
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 tsp sugar free orange Tang
12-16 oz water
Pumpkin Pie- Recipe from Jan Rowlett
1 scoop whey
1 can pumpkin
Cinnamon & pumpkin spice to taste
Mix together & refrigerate a few hours.  Makes 2 servings.

Peanut Butter Sludge- Recipe from Rick Mayo
1 tbsp. Peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate whey
Mix in enough water to create a pudding consistency

 

Peanutbutter Balls- Recipe from Mendy Lynn
Mix 2 servings of PB2
1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder
Sugar free sweetener of your choice (the crystals work best, add to your taste)
Add 2 TBLS water. Mix until it dough like. May add a few drops of water (not too much).
Roll into a ball & place in refrigerator

10 Things To Know For Your First Physique Competition

No matter what federation or division you enter here are ten things to know to get ready for your first physique competition….

1.  “Normal” will never be normal again…ever.

Be aware there seems to be some invisible line that you can never cross back over to.  Ask any competitor & they’ll tell you it’s true.  Your current idea of what “normal” lifting, cardio, food, body image & even what’s fun won’t ever be the same.  You won’t bring your body to an elite level then turn backwards, you just won’t want to do it.

2.  Time commitment

Prepping for a physique competition will require a large chunk of time, time, time.  Think of it as a marathon not a sprint.  You will have lifting, cardio, posing & the ever so important food prep.  There aren’t any shortcuts.  You will need to be creative with your time & to do list.

3.  List your expenses

Consider the expense that goes into competing.  Gym memberships, supplements, nutrition coach, posing lessons, suit, tanning, food, trainer, entry fee, & possible travel or drug testing.  You don’t want to get half way into prep & realize your budget can’t cover the final expenses.      

4.  Get help

My personal view is do NOT skimp out on a prep coach, posing lessons or stage color.  Get referrals & meet with them.  Ask questions, you’ll want to discuss post show programs as well. You want the people involved in your prep to be a right fit for you.  Once you have your coach realize you hired them so listen, do the plan & log it.

5.  Everyone’s prep is different

Everyone’s body responds differently to proteins, carbs, lifting techniques, cardio, etc.  So stick to your plan.  As you meet other competitors you will share tips, recipes & exercises but do not expect to copy someone else & get the exact same results. Use the off season to experiment with what worked for someone else.

6.  A melt down will happen

Your body & mind will get tired.  From nowhere you will feel overwhelmed & doubt your outcome.  Stay positive & regroup.  Immediately take time to remind yourself why you want this & that you can do this.  A melt down should not occur daily or even weekly but maybe once or twice through your entire prep.  It is indeed crazy but it’ll most likely happen.

7.  Be nice

Smile, say thank you and appreciate all the people that are involved in this with you.  This means your family, friends, coaches, co-workers, the mail carrier, strangers, back stage expediters, competitors & the judges.  You can be in the best shape of your life but if you act ugly there is no real achievement.

8.  Get out

Go to family activities & hang out with friends.  Do not be a hermit.  Bring your food with you & enjoy being around others.  It’s the time with others that make the memories not the food.  And this may be difficult but try not talking solely about your upcoming competition.  Your family & friends love you but they may not want to hear about food macros & lifting nonstop.  If they ask then that’s great, maybe they’ll learn something new.

9.  Good & Bad Comments

Expect comments about bringing a lunch box everywhere you go, how often you eat or the type of food you are eating.  You will get complimented & you will have flat out rude remarks thrown your way, you’re too this you’re too that.  Keep yourself surrounded with as many positive people as possible.  You don’t need the approval of the one’s making foul comments so stay on point & keep doing you.

10.  Enjoy it

Prep is challenging but I enjoy seeing how my body responds to different foods & training.  I love all the amazing friends I’ve made along the way.  And I’m down right mind blown when I think about the changes I’ve made to improve myself on a physical & mental level.  You can make your journey as great or as miserable as you want, regardless you will spend the same amount of energy on it so you might as well enjoy it!

Grab & Go

On the go nonstop? Most of us are but that’s not a reason to reach for junk filled snacks. Here’s a Grab & Go list of items that are great for keeping at work, in vehicles, gym bags & purses (even that cute clutch). No refrigeration required & everything is temperature proof!

Grab & Go
1. Tuna packets
2. Unsalted raw nuts
3. Quest bars
5. Whey Protein
6. Individual almond butter
7. Rice cakes
8. Oatmeal
9. Individual Kashi cereal
10. Wheat crackers
11. Apple

Your results follow your choices. Snacking is great, if you’re truly hungry then I say eat! Focus on the type of food you’re filling up on rather than trying to curb your appetite. In the long run the junk will slow you down & not leave you satisfied. Now that you have your Grab & Go snacks there’s more time to enjoy the day!

Comments are welcome! What snacks have you found that help a fast pace life?  Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!

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Prep Time

I love what competing teaches me about myself.  I feel I’m handed scenarios that allow me to grow into a better person, especially in “prep” mode.  It’s exciting & rewarding, it’s as though a switch is flipped that mentally prepares me to rise to uncharted heights.  My discipline, desire & character are put to the test.  Knowing some of the process rattles up fears yet envisioning the accomplishment trumps my apprehensions.  Here I am, 7 weeks ago I began prep for the next intended competition (KC Classic). I’m moving full speed ahead…but wait.

I recently had to get an unexpected outpatient surgery that resulted in no weights or cardio for 2 weeks.  Yes, while I’m in prep mode.  When given the post op guidelines I felt crushed & I was instantly trying to evaluate how this affects my “plan”.  Just typing that last sentence is eye opening to how immersed I get into achieving goals.   Rather than focusing on my body healing I began nesting eggs of uncertainty & doubt, again over a 2 week disruption, ridiculous.

Nutrition & believing is achieving, two elements I deem essential for a healthy life. The reality, 2 weeks is not a big deal.  There are people with real problems, real struggles.  Time off from the gym is not a real problem, it’s a created stress I chose to let go of.  I’m fortunate for life & all I have.  The food I’m eating nourishes me & will continue to produce the results I seek.  I believe I am stronger than the slight detours placed in front of me.

I am thrilled to see what I will bring to the 2013 stage (internally & externally).   The recent growing season (aka off season) had been my best to date, thought processes were improved, nutrition was logged & I provided my body with maintenance I’ve overlooked in the past.  Good things are to come, I believe it.  Here’s to the journeys that make us stronger!

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