Wow! It’s been MONTHS!

So, I have majorly slacked on blogging. BIG TIME. I have been so busy with life in general and my new goal of competing. Yes, I said competing. Competing in bodybuilding- Figure to be exact. I spent 2013 bringing my nutrition in check and building muscle. I went through a solid bulk for most of the year (where you up your calories and weight train like mad ) and in December I hired a coach. I have been working with Shane ever since (Shane Heugly and his wife Tiffany) aka Team Heugly. It was the best decision I have ever made, as I would have never been able, as a first timer, to do this contest prep on my own. So many variables to take into consideration and just was not knowledgeable enough to do it on my own. This journey has taught me many MANY things not only about myself, but about dieting/nutrition, weight training and the industry.  It has been a long 5 months so far, but well worth the blood,sweat and tears. I am currently 3 weeks out from my very first competition (I will be competing down in Philly) and things have started to get pretty tough, I won’t lie…this industry is NOT for everyone that is for sure and it certainly takes a HUGE amount of discipline to do it.

 

I get a lot of questions from people asking me how I do it, to..do you really want to look like a man? To which I want to take a few lines to answer to this. First of all, how is it ok to ask a woman if she is ok looking like a man? Really?  First of all, I am VERY feminine and I look NOTHING like a man. I have muscles, does that equal me looking like a man? NO. Second, you are RUDE. Third, how about saying something like “Wow girl, that takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and although the look is not for me, I appreciate the hard work you put in.” Seriously..I just don’t understand people sometimes. My look is NOT for everyone NOR do I look down on people who do NOT look like me, but understand this..I have feelings and they do get hurt, but THANK GOD I do not take it personally or let it get me down. This is a  lifestyle that I chose ON PURPOSE because it’s who I am and it’s what makes ME ME ME feel good. NOT YOU, but ME. So stop knocking on what I eat, how much I work out and how much water I drink (or not drink, I need to work on that water intake BIG time). I don’t bag on you for your intake of fast food and garbage OR lack of exercise do I? No. Alrighty then.  Have a little respect, please and thank you.

Today is my first day of hi/lo cycling (which simply means 2 days of low carb and 1 day with higher carbs and then back down to 2 days etc..) so far so good, but, It’s only my first day. I also had my cheat meals removed from my plan as well (Which means that once  a week I was able to eat whatever I want including dessert for one of my meals) WHICH is HUGE for me, but I can do this. I want to do well and I trust in my coach and his plan for me. Trusting in your coach really is a huge deal and that is why you really have to make sure you do your research when or if you decide to hire one. I have such a great report’ with him and he always makes me feel like I am his only client (which I certainly am not). I really appreciate the fact that he allows for me to give my input and never ever makes me feel like I am being a nuisance. My coach gives me my nutrition plan along with my workout plans, so all I have to do is FOLLOW THE PLAN (which is something he says to me often! lolol). Takes all the guess work out of everything this prep, and one less thing I have to stress or worry about.

 

So What is figure?

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/figure_competition_prep.htm

Go have a look for yourself.

 

I work out 6 days a week at about 2.5/3 hours a clip. Depending on what bodypart  and how much cardio I’m doing. Let me preface this by saying that I am a MOM first and foremost. As most of you know I have 3 kids (12,13, and 16) who have VERY busy lifestyles. I also work 3 nights a week – 2/12’s and 1/8 hour shift. So I am VERY busy. It’s about how badly I want this (you or anyone has to decide how much you want it and then make it happen) and how disciplined I need to be to make it happen. It’s the same with running or cycling or any sport you do. It’s about making the time to get it done. No excuses. Period. Am I perfect? NO! Have I had slip ups? MANY!! Have I missed days? YES!! I am human and I make mistakes too. It’s about how you pick yourself up, dust off and keep moving forward. You just have to, as my coach says “MOVE ON” no need to stay stuck in your slip up. Just move the hell on! 

 

Nutrition is so very key in this whole thing. You can go to the gym and workout and do your cardio, BUT, if your nutrition is not spot on, then it really is all for not. Anyone can go and workout, but how willing are you to commit to the dietary changes that need to happen as well? In this day and age there are MANY different options out there to choose from, however, at the end of the day it always is truly about- calories in vs calories out. Plain and simple. Calories are calories. I eat 6 times a day because that is what works for ME. I like eating a lot and my body runs better that way and quite frankly, is used to it at this point. So I typically eat every 6 hours. I have a set plan that I follow that has my portions and food choices on it. I really do like not having to plan out things myself. I am looking forward to when I have a little more wiggle room and can get a little more creative, but, I am ok with things now. 

Well..that’s all for now! Time to eat! 

 

 

 

 

Carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are a very controversial and sometimes touchy topic for some people. Most of us have been  led to believe that carbs=bad, therefore, we should restrict our intake. I’m not here to tell you that you are wrong or that you are bad for believing in the hype, after all, it’s not your fault.

Carbohydrate- noun-any of a class of organic compounds that are polyhydroxy aldehydes or polyhydroxy ketones, or change to such substances on simple chemical transformations, as hydrolysis, oxidation, or reduction, and that form the supporting tissues of plants and are important food for animals and people. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carbohydrate)

 

Our bodies use carbs to make glucose, which provide the body with energy. Our bodies will do one of two things, utilize it immediately, or store it for later use. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, complex and simple.

A complex carbohydrate is best defined as, foods that are fibrous and starchy. Think potatoes and beans, or, breads and veggies. Fiber can be found in whole grain, fruits and vegetables.

Simple carbohydrates are best defined as anything that has sugar in it, naturally or added,( which also mean they are less nutrient dense foods).

There is nothing wrong with Simple Carbs in moderation. It’s all a balance now isn’t it? I tend to try and stick with the Complex Carbs not only because for me, I am getting more bang for my calorie buck (due to fiber content etc..) it seems to satiate me longer and give me the best amount of energy sources.  Which leads me to another important tip, it’s very important for you to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of fiber in your diet as well. Many,  MANY people have NO idea how much fiber they take in and when they decide to track it, find out they are eating very little if ANY fiber at all. Girl! You need to regulate yourself somehow! Get on that fiber! Fiber also tends to fill you as well, so if you are eating something that is high in fiber, it will tend to satiate you longer.

Fiber rich foods: Oatmeal, bran, fruits (in the form of berries), dried beans, peas, whole wheat bread, brown, rice, most veggies, couscous, bulgar etc..

I, personally, usually take in between 25-40 grams of fiber a day. Yes, that much. Now, I am not saying that is how much you need to take in, but you do need to figure out the amount that is right for you. I would honestly say, no less than 18 grams and right around 25 would be prec’. I would also gamble to say if you are getting less than 18 grams per day, you may need to rethink your food choices, as I can not imagine they are the most nutrient dense choices out there.

Now back to carbs. For a period of time, I bought into the low carb craze and tried out Atkins, South Beach et al. Following those plans left me feeling depleted and yuck. Satiated? Yes, energetic? NO. The reason why most people do well with weight loss on low carb is because they are consuming more in the way of proteins and fats which are MORE filling and satiating. It’s simple science. So the reason why you saw weight loss was NOT because you gave up carbs or severely restricted them, it’s because you were getting full, which led to eating LESS, which led to a caloric DEFECIT (because we all know that at the end of the day, calories in vs calories out is what gives us a loss) due to the higher protein and fat intake. However, I know that many people will dismiss this or try to argue  their way out of it, or STILL swear by the fact that carbs are bad and LESS is best. NO.

 

Most healthy adults should aim to get at least 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates. So if you are taking in say 2000 calories a day, you should be aiming to eat roughly 900-1300 calories from carbs (which will vary depending on your sex, your height/weight and most importantly your activity level) Remember that carbs are 4 calories PER gram. This is where I tell you that you must  make sure you are eating a well balanced diet when taking all things into consideration. Athletes tend to aim for a higher carbohydrate count for sustainability and energy.

Carbs are NOT the enemy and carbs ARE NOT bad for you. I will not preach about the good carbs vs the bad carbs, because I truly believe food labeling is something I strive hard to not do. Foods, ANY foods, which are used smartly and for the right reason are fine. Yes, even WHITE BREAD and chocolate. At the end of the day, you have to live with ALL your choices and the end result is something only YOU can decide what it will be. I can give the tools to help you, but you steer your own ship.

Next time I will talk about fats, calories and how all of these tie together (protein, carbs, fats, fiber), when trying to figure out how much and what you should be taking in on a daily basis.

 

Let’s Talk Protein.

As many of you already know Protein is a very important macronutrient and even more important if you are weight training, are a runner or any kind of athlete for that matter. Your body needs it. Let me break down in a little more detail exactly what Protein is and what it does for you.

Proteins are made up of Amino Acids, you can also think of Amino Acids as building blocks. Some Amino Acids cannot be made within our bodies. The Amino Acids that cannot be made within our bodies are called Essential Amino Acids. They are called Essential because it is essential that our bodies have them.

When referring to Nutrition and what we eat we have two categories, Complete Proteins and Incomplete Proteins. The difference between the two are as follows:

Complete Proteins: These provide ALL of the essential amino acids, you may also have heard them called high quality proteins. Some examples of high quality proteins are your meats, fishes, eggs, poultry, milk and cheese. CHEESE!! OMG, I love cheese!

Incomplete Proteins: It does not contain all the amino acids, it could be missing one or a few(think plant based). Two quick examples would be something like rice and beans. If eaten separately they are both lacking amino acids to make it a complete protein, however, if you eat them together (like us Latinos) you will then get a more adequate amount of amino acids. One interesting fact I found out was that you do NOT indeed need to eat incomplete proteins together to form a complete at one sitting, you can eat them throughout the day and your body will combine them naturally (http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html).

If you follow that link you will also see down at the bottom it gives recommended daily amounts of protein broken down by age. Please try and remember that those are baseline numbers, especially if we are talking about athletes, body builders etc.. At which point I say amounts of protein may vary, but like I have said in previous post 1g per protein by bodyweight is a good rule of thumb (however, with that being said, take into account that I lift weights and I am active. If you are sedentary and do very little in terms of exercise, you can scale that number back to about .8grams). I am 140lbs and I take in roughly 140 grams of protein daily. Some days I take in more and some less, but by weeks end I typically go by a daily average of about 135-140 grams.  Which leads me to the next topic of, can you get too much protein and how does the body break it down.

Your body can digest and absorb about 95% of the protein you ingest. The rest is broken down (which is roughly 5%) and used in other energy pathways. The absorption happens at various rates. There is much controversy on how much or how little protein one actually needs, depending on who you talk to. Some would say that you only need as little as .91 grams/weight (I still stick by my .8). Do your research, trial and error with your intake a bit to figure out what is right for you.

More times than not, I am shocked when I hear people give me a break down of their daily intake and it is severely lacking in protein. What most people do not realize is that the majority of their diets are made up of  carbs and fats.  This is why I say it is very  important to log your food for a while. This way you can see for yourself where your macronutrients are and where you are lacking or eating too much of. I realize some of you just don’t want to be bothered with it or could care less. I strongly caution you against this train of thought. Even if you are not looking to lose weight, don’t you at least want to know that you are fueling your body properly to ward off any future problems? Don’t you want to feel better? More energized? What have you got to lose? The 1/2 hour it may take you to find the food app on your phone and set it up? That’s it. After that, you are good to go. All you need to do is log your food as your day progresses, and the end of the day, it’s all there right in front of you. What you ate and what percentages of each macronutrient you consumed in your day. I mean then,  it won’t be a question of why am I not losing, gaining, still hungry, not hungry etc..you just open up your handy dandy little app and evaluate what you need to do going forward.

I really want to help you help yourself. Next time, I will focus on carbohydrates, what they are, why we need them and the pros and cons of having too little or too much.

Oh! Before I go real quick. I get asked what the difference is between Whey Protein and Whey Isolate (these are protein supplements that may be used to get your  protein requirements in for the day IN CONJUNCTION with the rest of your intake coming from whole foods).

Whey Protein- is the most popular and cheapest source out on the market. It is also the one we are most familiar with, and whey comes from milk, is the quickest and easiest for the body to digest. Whey contains between 70/80 % protein and roughly 5% comes from lactose (which is good to keep in mind for those of you who are lactose intolerant)

Isolates- These are more expensive and probably is the most purest of both forms, containing about 95% protein. They also contain little to no lactose and generally are lower in fat than whey.

Is one better than the other. In my opinion NO. Unless you have a lactose issue, go for the cheaper  variety of whey. If you are a protein snob and are watching your fats AND you are lactose intolerant AND have money to just burn..sure, go for the isolate.

Kbye!

88 Days Left..Really?!

I feel like this year has just flown by! Worked 12 hours last night, woke up and hit the gym. YES, I did. I know a hot topic for a lot of us is, “Well, I just don’t have time” and you  know what, nobody wants to hear me preach about the importance of making time. I feel like I do it often on here, but I cannot make myself any clearer. You just have to. I can be honest for a sec and say that when I first wake up, I am in NO mood ready, willing, or happy about going to the gym. I’m just not. I don’t force or rush myself out the door- my ritual usually consists of getting up, making coffee and throwing in 2 Eggo Multigrain Waffles into the toaster oven. If you know anything at all about me, know this, I am a creature of habit. I pretty much eat the same things over and over again. Does it get boring? No, not really, because, like I said..I am a creature of habit. I enjoy knowing what I am going to have and how it fits into my daily macro allotment. Anyway, I will eat, sit outside if it’s nice, browse and just relax and slowly wake up. The longer I’m awake, the better the idea of hitting the gym sounds to me. I can’t say I get excited, but there is a certain amount of enthusiasm that builds up over the course of the 30 minutes or so that I am sitting there thinking about what I’m going to do for my day’s workout.

Today I knew I wanted my focus to be on my shoulders. I LOVE working my shoulders and maybe that is because that is where I show progress the quickest and it’s easiest to see there. Either way, I do love a good shoulder workout. This is what I did:

DB Lateral Raises 4×12

Diamond Push-ups- 2×12 (I actually did these dead last)

Presses on the Hammer Machine-4×12

Db Front Raises 5×5

Barbell overhead Press- 4×8

Single Arm Cable front raises 5×5

cable upright rows- 4×12

Single Arm Cable lat raises-5×5 (which were supersetted with the single arm front raises)

great workout and very glad I went and got it done. NO cardio. Not a lick. I just did cardio on Sunday yo’, you know how I feel about cardio! On a side note, I was looking for a tshirt to throw on after my shower and I found my one running tshirt that has a ton a reasons why I run splashed across the front. I had a little teary eyed moment. I did. I had the strongest urge to just go out for a quick run. I did. I still think running is a part of who I am, because I do have feelings that reappear out of nowhere at times. Almost a longing , but for right now, it’s on the back burner. I’m really okay with it at the end of the day. I will go back to it, just maybe with a different perspective on it. So there you have it, I worked, I slepted and I got up and got my workout done.

I took a few pictures because taking pictures of myself (selfies If you will is a way that I gauge my progress. It isn’t because I’m conceited or I’m full of myself, CONTRARE to what others may think, it is merely another tracking tool for me) to see how my progress is coming along. Lately I have been feeling down on myself. I feel like maybe I’m not doing something right, I feel like my progress has been slow and honestly, I have been feeling discouraged. Which, btw are all NORMAL feelings to have. I took a look at the pictures and I realized that I am indeed going in the right direction and that I MUST be doing at least a little something right. I can smile on the inside a little bit more knowing that I continue to learn and I continue to work on myself and figure out what does and does not work for me. Everyday, all of this..it’s a learning process. I just hope to achieve my goals and inspire people along the way.

I turn 41 on Monday and although it is not as bad as turning 40 was, it is just a reminder that time does go by very fast. I am trying to do the best that I can to be the best version of me possible. I’m trying to learn all that I can and passing it along to those that want the help or that are interested. I LOVE helping people and I LOVE seeing the progress they are making. I want to prove to everyone out there that just because you are *older* does not mean you cannot achieve anything you want- whether it’s with your body or elsewhere. I want people to stop listening to the hype about all the reasons and excuses WHY they are overweight or WHY they can’t work out. You are NOT a failure and YOU CAN do this. Take a good look at yourself and figure out what you are going to do to make the changes necessary to be the best version of you possible.

I want to quickly add that there is also a lot to be said about being comfortable with the SKIN YOU ARE IN. If YOU are truly HAPPY with where you are at in your life, what you see in the reflection of your mirror, how you treat people and what you put out into the world, then you GO!!! Continue to strive for that every day of your life. Remember that everyone is going through their own struggles and battles in their lives. Take a minute to smile at people, say hello and brighten their day. People make mistakes in life, we are often misread, and often times we are forgotten about on a daily basis. Try to be aware of those that maybe you think you should be giving a little extra attention to, even if that person is YOU.

Be you..be true and live your life to it’s fullest.

Down to 90 Days..

I cannot believe I have made it this long. Well, yes I can, but I have done it with very little effort and have learned so many things along the way. The biggest piece I have learned is that life is about balance.  Balancing the good and the bad and  to just keep moving forward through all your ups and downs.

I want to talk a little about metabolic issues today. There is much controversy regarding metabolic damage (Metabolic Damage:”This is a condition where the nervous, endocrine, and immunological systems lose their ability to function properly due to extreme weight loss measures or repeated dieting. In functional medicine we call it neuroedocrineimmune dysfunction because these systems are not separate at all, but have overlapping communication and integrated function” -Jade Teta ND, CSCS). Some gurus simply believe it just does not exist, and then there are those that believe it truly does exist, because they are living examples of it.

The people I have read first accounts and stories of as well as people I know in real life are what I like to call “Perpetual Dieters”, they spend more time dieting than not dieting, and because they are constantly suppressing their system, losing weight becomes next to impossible for them. “I’m only eating 1000 calories a day and I’m not losing, I just don’t understand it” I see this ALL the time. Which is most often followed up with, “Please tell me what to do, BUT, note, that I cannot eat carbs due to the intolerance I have” Let me let you in on a little secret- you are NOT carb intolerant. NOT. (again, I must put in my little disclaimer of- I am NOT speaking of anyone with a true documented medical condition- celiacs et al..and when I mean documented, I mean not SELF dx’d, I mean you went to the Dr. and were officially tested for said conditions). What I like to tell these perpetual dieters is that first and foremost you really need to work on re-setting your *system*. What does this mean? This means that you must spend some time slowly upping your caloric intake to where it really should be. Which will vary according to a few different variables such as, your age, your weight, your height and your activity level. Then I tell them, if your not moving, you NEED to get moving, be active, exercise!! Which is followed by “Well I do cardio every single day, I am moving”, which leads me to say the unthinkable..ready for this? Hold on to your hats……”STOP DOING THAT MUCH CARDIO!!!” just stop.  What I would really prefer is for you to stop cardio all together for a period of time. NO cardio is NOT evil or bad and I know that some will argue with me until they are blue in the face. However, combining excessive amounts of cardio on top of EXTREMELY low calories is NOT beneficial to you. Sure, it may work at first, why? Because you are shocking your system and it’s something new. Trust me on this, you WILL eventually hit that stall. The  point where you stop losing weight and you may even start gaining- which makes people assume they must need to lower their calories even more and do yet even more cardio. NO. Just stop.

My advice is to cut back your cardio to maybe a few leisurely walks a week, some stretching and start picking up some weights. What I will warn you though is that stopping cardio cold turkey and eating more right away will make you retain water like nobody’s business and therefore you will see the scale numbers go up. Take it slow, I would first start dropping the cardio little by little (keep your calories the same right now), I would focus on eating more protein and fiber for awhile to keep you feeling satiated. Did you know that  you should be eating at least 1g of protein per your bodyweight? Some may argue it should be lean body mass vs total body weight..I say 1lb per your bodyweight. So if you weigh 125, it would be 125 grams of protein a day, 140 would be 140 grams per day and so on. I would also strive to be sure you are getting at least 25-35 grams of fiber in your diet daily as well. Most people really struggle with this, I highly encourage logging all your food to get a grasp on your macronutrients.

THEN start upping your calories little by little and at the same time, start incorporating those weights. Do not be afraid of lifting weights. I cannot stress this enough. If you are a woman NO, it will NOT make you look bulky and ugly. Put that thought right out of your pretty little head right now. Lifting weights will make you a little fat burning furnace, long after you have stopped your workout. Lift heavy. Period. There is no such thing as *toning* it is a myth people. Nobody spot *tones* anything. ANYTHING!!! You want to look leaner and stronger, pick up the weights and get to it. I cannot stress this enough. “Well I have back issues, I have shoulder issues, I can’t lift weights” YES you can. You may have to do a little more research to be able to sub out exercises, but you can do it. STOP MAKING excuses. JUST STOP. I have seen many people face many adversities and still keep going. They don’t give up. They continually strive to be the best them they can be. I have friends that have back problems, that have had back surgeries, you know what? They are still out there everyday fighting the fight and doing what they need to do. You have to first figure out why you keep making up excuses to why you can’t do what you know you really need to do. The only one stopping you is YOU.

My goal is to try and continue to get the message out that low calorie/extreme cardio diets are NOT the way to go. They are ruining your body. Get off the cardio machines and move some iron. I have come from a background of distance running as most of you know that have been following me. I have spent years running and years of depriving my system of the food and calories it needed thinking that is what I was supposed to do. I eventually burned out, hard. I was starving, my body was starving and my running began to become something I no longer loved. I hated it. I no longer wanted to associate with other runners that I knew, it made me sad and it made me jealous. I felt like a failure and without my running, I felt like they had no need to be my friend anymore, because the one thing we had in common, I put on the wayside for awhile. They stopped talking to me and I them. I spend a great deal of time physically and emotionally repairing myself. Emotionally because I felt like a huge failure. I felt like a fake. I used to say how much I loved running and it was who I was. The truth is, I ran myself into the ground. Do I miss it? I miss it a lot some days. Maybe I will go back some time, but right now, it isn’t my focus, and truth be told, I do very little cardio right now. Maybe 2/20 minute sessions a week at the most. My body has thanked me for it and you know what? My body is in the best shape it has ever been in. NOT because I run, but because I stopped and I started seriously weight training. Is running bad? NO! Of course not! What I will say, is if you are a runner, please be sure you are EATING enough to sustain your body and your runs. This was my biggest problem. I simply was not eating to fuel my runs. It took me a few months to really be okay with not running. I was very much like “Well, if I’m not running, then who am I?”.. I’m a wife, mother, friend and most of all an individual person that is separate from the rest. I have dreams and desires and things I want to do.

As you know, I personally follow a macro nutrient based lifestyle. This is what I like and what I prefer, so I will often refer to this lifestyle throughout my posts. I have had people ask me how it works and can I teach them. It’s very easy and very freeing. Step one is figuring out your macro breakdown do this by going to: www.iifym.com once you go there go to tools and figure out your numbers. Then it will then break down what your macros should be based on your daily caloric intake. Once you have that all figured out you are set to go. Like I have said in previous posts, you will need to log your daily intake- I highly suggest you get yourself a food scale so that you can be precise in your calculations and logging your food. If you find that your calories are MUCH higher than what you are used to (which I suspect it will be), my suggestion would be to start out slow until you work your way up to where you should be. You may have some initial weight gain, but that will even out and stop AND some may even find that they lose right off the bat. Either way, stick the course, do not give up. Stick with it day in and day out. Give it 10 days, once you make it 10 days, give yourself another 10 days..it will become a habit, I promise. Diet followed with a good strong exercise/weight training  regime will give you results. I promise.

If you have any questions, please post them and I will be sure to get back to you.

 

So, What Do I eat Then?

I actually eat a lot of different things. I’m not limited to chicken, tilapia, asparagus or sweet potatoes. Although, I would not have a problem with that, because I cook creatively and I can whip up a mean tilapia and asparagus dish:-) I also love chicken and sweet potatoes! So many variations! Anyway, I digress. My foods vary, but I am a creature of habit, so I tend to eat the same things in different forms. I’m fine with that. Honestly, I am.

I follow my macros. Which are your Carbs, Proteins and Fats and I also make sure I pay mind to my micronutriens (Fiber being the most important). I am a big proponent of IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) I know surely you have seen it around, since It is gaining much popularity as of late. I don’t do it because It’s popular, I do it because it works for me. What it basically is, is a lifestyle where you don’t have to worry about WHAT your eating, but making sure to HIT your macronutrients on a daily basis. Protein and fats being the most important and filing the rest with your Carbs. Can you eat crap? Sure, but you will find out PRETTY  quickly that you will go through your macros VERY fast. So, I tend to eat mostly foods that are more macro smart for me, which means I get to eat more:-) However, it does allow me the opportunity to also have that glass of wine (which, I have naturally cut back on, myself. I last had a glass maybe 3 weeks ago, not because I’m trying to, I just have not thought about it), ice cream, or anything really. I’m not so consumed with eating certain foods , and labeling foods GOOD OR BAD. QUIT labeling your foods! That is number one!

I do measure my food out (why? because you really need to get a clue on HOW MUCH you really are eating), because eyeballing is only really for the MORE experienced, it is VERY easy to gradually up your eyeball amount, with not really meaning too. So, yes, I measure. Do I mind it? No, not one bit. Is it weird? NO? Why would it be weird? Do I do it in a restaurant? No, THAT would be weird. I usually over estimate my portion sizes to be safe. Do I limit myself when I eat out? NO, remember, I said this is NOT about limiting yourself to “Good or Bad” foods. I eat what I want. Period. I also log my food. That can take a little time, getting used to it, the logging and tracking, but it becomes second nature. Sure, maybe you don’t want to do that, because then it takes the fun away, BUT, how else are you going to keep track of your macros? Even  your calories if you choose to still count them. You have to have an idea of what you are eating in order to see progress in either direction.

There are various sites you can visit to get that information (your macros, how much etc..) One site is called www.iifym.com , go to the tools tab and go to calculate your macros. Plug in all your information and it will spit out your numbers. When you put in your activity level, be honest about it. Don’t put in what you would like to do, but put in what you are ACTUALLY doing right now. Then you can go back and adjust it accordingly as you progress.

As a side note, know that Carbs and Proteins BOTH equal 4 calories PER gram and Fat equals 9 Calories PER gram. No matter what method you choose to use, whether it be counting calories or counting your macros, at the end of the day, calories in VS calories burned is what counts. If you are eating MORE than you burn in a day, you are in a caloric surplus. If you eat LESS than what you take in, you are in a deficit. You need to be in a deficit to LOSE weight and a surplus to GAIN. A lot of people like to figure out their calories and then exercise to GET MORE calories. DON’T DO THAT. Please. When you go to IIFYM (if you choose to, and NO I am not affiliate with that site) the numbers it will give you, take INTO ACCOUNT the amount of activity you do. NO NEED to add calories back after you exercise. Don’t get into the habit of trying to earn your calories. We don’t earn our food. Besides, even with all the new latest and greatest gadgets (“Oh, I have a bodybug, it says I burned a gazillion calories, so I’m going to eat back 1000 calories”..NO. Just NO), there is still ERROR in there. Trust me on this. You probably won’t, but I’m only trying to help you.

Once you have your numbers, find an app that you like to track your food. I would also highly recommend a food scale. You can find one at Walmart, Kohls, wherever you choose to go . They are there and inexpensive. Like I said in a previous post, I use mymacros for my food log, but have also been extremely happy with MyNetDiary as well. There are other apps out there that people swear by, but they are a little more difficult to navigate and put your macros in, and they also are NOTORIOUS for giving people welfare calories to live off of. Beware. I warned you. PS- you will have to customize your calories and not use what they give you. A little patience goes a long way here while you figure out how to do that.

That’s enough of that for today. Nobody wants to be preached to, but I believe it just did! Get it done!

Anyway, I eat a lot of different things like I said, I took a picture last week of some of my staples. But, normally I eat chicken (of course..duh), ground turkey, beef, tilapia (duh), cod, and occasionally pork (only because I’m not gaga over it, but I will eat it). I eat all kinds of veggies but asparagus (duh) is one of my favorite along with spinach. I LOVE spinach. I also love Kale, sweet potato (duh), green beans, swiss chard and zucchini. Luckily I belong to a local CSA, so I get most of that fresh. Now that we are in the middle of summer, I eat a lot of tomatoes,  (not a lot of corn, but I do love corn on the cob). I make fresh salsa which I  put on EVERYTHING. My eggs, my fish, my chicken, IT’S on there!

I also love me some peanut butter. I have like 5 jars of various kinds. Indeed. No lie. Ask my family. I use coconut oil, coconut butter, olive oil and spray oil for cooking. I eat whole grain waffles for breakfast, I make protein pancakes, egg whites etc..I love making protein yogurts for snacks..I mean the list goes on and on! I eat a lot, and I never ever feel like I’m being deprived. Just get creative and get cooking!

 

Also, always remember that failure prep and plan is a plan to fail.

Gotta run now! Chat later!

So, I am down to 115 days. Even though I still have a ways to go, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on what this year has been like so far. First and foremost, I want to say that I am grateful and thankful for all the help I have had along the way. Mostly to other bloggers, Facebook Groups, Websites and my friends. This has been a big journey, one that I am very glad I decided to take. I’m not sure everyone *gets* it, or wants to at least try and get it, and that’s ok. Everyone is unique and different in their own way,  and certainly nobody has to do what I’m doing. This journey is more than just me starting to weight train, this is about becoming more aware of my body, and being more aware of what I am feeding it and how I am treating it. I do believe that too many people take for granted the body they are in. We all do. I have, that much I know is true. I ran for many years and failed to take care of my body by fueling it properly, by NOT listening to the suttle cues it would give me, or by allowing it the rest it deserved. I subsequently, did some damage to my metabolism along with my ego😦 . I was asking entirely too much of it, and not giving it the fuel it so desperately desired. So I became what is considered thin fat. I looked thin to other people, but I knew better. I was flabby underneath it all. I ran more thinking it would help keep the number on the scale down and I ate less. Did I lose weight? Yes, of course I did. Running, coupled with little eating and stress  equals weight loss. However, I was tired, I hurt and I was beat down. I added a 3rd shift job into the mix and well, I sort of self imploded over the course of a year. My running slowed down and my weight started to creep up. Truth be told I probably put on about 13lbs since I stopped running regularly over the course of a year.

On the surface, I did not look like it too much, but my clothing was getting tighter and I looked a little fluffier. I was miserable from the lack of sleep, lack of seeing my family because I was always sleeping, and I was STILL trying to keep a few miles here and there. Something had to give. I decided that running was going by the way side and I needed to drop down to part time with my job (let me say that I am very fortunate that I am able to do that, and I realize how fortunate I am. I have a VERY supportive husband who has stayed by my side every painful step of my bitchy way). I have always dabbled on and off in weight training, but I wanted to try and start it again and stick to it. The only way to do that was to fix my eating first and foremost. What really set those wheels in motion was a woman by the name of Amber, who runs the site GO Kaleo (she also has a FB group). She finally got me to realize that I needed to EAT MORE (not just me, but a bunch of  people, a revolution if you will). At first of course I was skeptical, because I came from a background of eat LESS and do cardio MORE. Not eat MORE and do cardio LESS, the HORROR!!! Let me tell you, I have NEVER looked back to my old lifestyle. I began to do my own research, I walked the walk and I continued to read and learn. I had an initial gain. YES, I did. It had to  happen that way, I needed to get my metabolism moving again, I needed it to know I wasn’t starving it anymore. I wasn’t going to torture it with TONS of cardio. I was just going to eat and let my body heal.

I started to lift heav(ier). MUCH heavier. I stared following Wendler’s 5/3/1. My weight finally leveled out and stayed put, even though I was feeding it so much more. Then the real changes started, my physique started to change. My biceps started to take shape, my shoulders, my triceps, my hips started to thin out, YET, my weight stayed the SAME. My clothing size dropped again, YET, I was eating MORE. Amazeballs! Who woulda’ thunk!? I continued to lift heavy ( I am 5 cycles in now) and I continued to read and learn and read yet some more. I realized that doing this, studying about food and eating and cooking and weight training made ME HAPPY. I enjoy it. NO, not like I enjoyed running , but a serious love. Pushing my body, and fueling it, and learning and seeing the changes, it’s all Science. It’s all right there in front of me. No one can argue with results, NO one can argue Science. For so long I have believed in the low calorie band wagon (Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach etc..etc..) that had me consuming such low calories and had me doing lots of cardio. You know what? I do  MAYBE 2 days a week of cardio and only 15-20 minutes at that. For real. I’m SO much happier now. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my weak moments of bad self talk, I still have days where I pick myself apart in front of the mirror. Or I question all that I am doing, but, the times that I get compliments, or the times that people ask me to help them or tell me that I, ME, I inspire them,  reinforces that what I am doing is right. I AM learning, I AM applying what I’m learning to myself. There is NO magic pill, NO magic shake, just some work and time.

You have to be willing to make a change within yourself. Only you can do it. Nobody else. There are only so many tomorrows. Why not today? This is YOUR body, you were only given one. Listen, I am not preaching, because ultimately, whatever you decide, it will not effect me one bit. Your decisions are YOURS and no one else can make them for you. It just makes me sad when I know that you CAN change. YOU CAN. It’s hard to get started, and you will have days where you don’t want to. I still have them, but the benefits FAR outweigh  anything else.

You know what else? I get your busy. I am busy too. I am 40, I have 3 kids (15.5, 13 and 11), I also have a husband who travels and  I work 2/12 hour shifts a week (3rd shift like I said). My youngest is a competitive gymnast, he is in the gym 6 days a week (which is 40 minutes away ONE way). My daughter twirls, dances and does ballet. My oldest is a wrestler (and I am training him with Wendler’s right now as well). I still manage to put GOOD food on the table, everyone has clean clothing on, I keep my house relatively clean (lol) and I find time to train MYSELF. So, yea. I know BUSY. YOU have to decide are YOU really THAT busy? Or do you lack the  motivation that it takes to get there? If it’s the latter, then sorry I can’t help you. Look inward a bit and try to find that answer. Never settle.  Never.

 

 

Friday! Yes!

Now that I am down to 2 work days a week, I feel so much more NORMAL. My sleeping is back to being what is normal for me, I feel better, and I look forward to tackling my days now.

Dropped the kids off at school and headed to the gym (gotta love those early morning workouts, get em’ done and claim your day!) Today was chest, shoulders, tri’s and bi’s. I’m deloading so all my weights are light. I feel like screaming in the gym- “I AM ON A DELOAD WEEK! DELOAD! THIS IS NOT MY TYPICAL LIFTING WEIGHT!!” but, then I figure, who really cares? Nobody is watching me NOR do they really care. When you workout, never compare yourself to anyone other than YOURSELF.

Even though my weight were low, I went with higher repetitions, and yes, by golly I am a little sore. My routine was this:

Bench Press

Cable Cross-overs

Incline Flys

Incline DB Press

Bicep Curls

Single Bicep Curls

Tricep Rope pull downs

Dips off a bench

Presses

Lateral raises

Rear Delt Raises

I did some Ab work as well.

Most of these were 4 sets of 12-15 AND supersetted with one another.

 

So I have to share. I had stopped to go to the bathroom (well, because that is what happens when you drink close to a gallon of water a day), and a lady (a little older than myself) stopped me and asked what I did in terms of working out. She said she is absolutely amazed with my physique and my body is her inspiration. I was so COMPLETELY and UTTERLY  flattered. Her and I spoke for the next 20 minutes (normally this would bother me as I was in between sets, but I wanted to answer her questions), she told me how she lost 45 lbs over the last two years and how she has come to love going to the gym. She even went as far to say that she goes home and tells her husband about me, and how badly she has been wanting to talk to me (her husband finally pushed her to just talk to me..so FUNNY! I  just cannot imagine that) We had such a great talk and I so badly wanted to tell her to quit the daily cardio she is doing- BUT, I refrained. The first thing I have learned in this whole process is to NOT tell people what they are doing WRONG, but encourage them in all they are doing RIGHT.  She even went as far as to ask me if I thought it would be weird if she wrote down everything she saw me doing next time I was at the gym (stalker much? NO, KIDDING!! TOTALLY), of COURSE I said YES! I was so flattered. NO really. I hope to be an inspiration to SO many MORE people out there. I want people to know that this is a REAL attainable goal. You CAN do this. I am  HAPPY. I am not restrictive in ANY WAY. NONE. I don’t have any forbidden foods, I don’t do LOW carb, Low fat, Low ANYTHING. My workouts are SO rewarding. I love them.

 

I would not be fair for me to say that you can look like me or have the physique you want without saying that nutrition REALLY is a HUGE part of it. HUGE. You can go to the gym all you want, but you really have to close that nutrition loop. I am not talking about crazy diets (It isn’t a diet it’s a lifestyle), rock bottom calories or being miserable. So please, just take those thoughts out of your head. I realize that not everyone wants to have to measure their food, or watch their intake. I realize it may turn people off right there. I may have just lost someone in that last statement. It’s ok. When they are ready they will come back. The first thing is that you need to get an idea of HOW MUCH you are actually eating in a day. The only  true way to do this is to TRACK your food for a week. EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth, write it down. There are TONS of apps out there, that you can download to your phone. My favorite are Mynetdiary and Mymacros. There is myfitness pal as well, but I don’t care for it honestly. This way you can see where your calories are. That would be step 1. You really cannot just go all willy nilly and guestimate. It’s too important. I want you to be able to see if you are eating too much OR too little. Believe it or not, too little is a common theme.

 

I personally  choose to follow my macros. I enjoy this way much better.  I will talk about that tomorrow. However, for now, a good tip I received from a reputable source is this:

If you want to lose weight, multiply your weight by 12. If you want to maintain, multiply your weight by 14/15. That is a good GUIDE/STARTING point. This way you have a general idea of numbers. Well, I don’t want to bombard today, so I will post more soon. Remember, give it a chance. Track your intake for a week. It’s a real eye opener. Try not to be conscious of what you are eating. Just eat the way you are right now. Measure it and track it. Go!

 

Some of My Favorite Things..

Some of my favorite things..

Some of my favorite things..

DSC_0276 DSC_0277 DSC_0278 DSC_0279 DSC_0280

 

Some of us have “go to” foods that we use on a daily basis. I thought I would share just a couple of mine (God knows I have a TON). First is my Cellucor. This is by far the best brand I have tried to date. Seriously. Go get yourself some. Like, NOW. They are good for Protein Shakes (to which I say, I use mine with WATER only. Yes, it’s an acquired taste, BUT, you get used to it. Besides, the flavors are good enough to stand on their own), I use it for my proyos (which I posted a recipe for yesterday), I also use it sprinkled on some stuff here and there for extra sweetness.

Next I have my fats. I LOVE LOVE LOVE coconut anything. So, of course I use it to cook with! Duh! Coconut butter is my favorite to put on toast or sweet potatoes! YUMMO! Coconut oil has a very high burn point, so it’s good to use for stir fry, sautéing foods as well as taking the place of Olive Oil. (which I  do still use btw). The Spray oil is good for when I am watching my fats and I want to save them for say..umm..GOODIES..lol

Then there is my beloved Peanut Butter. Oh, how I love thee..My love…Okay, sorry. Anyway, I love Peanut Butter and Co PB, it is delicious. Beats ANY OTHER HANDS DOWN! So I have a few varieties in my arsenal. I keep adding, as you really can never have enough of the nut butters. I also like cashew and almond butter as well. Who are we kidding, I’m not prejudice, I will eat ANY BRAND and FLAVOR of nut butters. Remember that comment up there? The one where I mentioned saving fats for goodies. I introduce you to  me goodies. My besties. My nutbuddies. HA! (and yes, I have other fat sources as well! Avocados,  fish oil et al)

Ahh, lest we not forget my Quest Bars. These are the GREATEST CREATIONS EVA’! Do you hear me? EVA’!  These do not have all that crap in it that most (insert popular brand named protein bar here) have in them. No, seriously. I wouldn’t lie about something like this. They are fabulous. You can order them online, or GNC or Vitamin Shoppe carries them as well. I have found that Vitamin Shoppe has the biggest variety of flavors. My favorites are : Banana Nut, Apple Pie, PB&J,  Cookie Dough, Cinnamon Roll, White Chocolate Raspberry, Strawberry Cheesecake, Peanut Butter, Brownie ..Oh wait, see what I did there?  Ahh, yeaaaa, that’s  pretty  much ALL the flavors except a few I forgot to mention.  So, yea..go get thee some!

Have you tried these gums? The Dessert line? YUM. No, really YUM. I have probably ALL the flavors. My favorite is not in the picture because I am out. OR, maybe one of my kids stole the pack. Grrr..Anyway, it’s Sherbet.  So yummy. Fills that sweet tooth craving when you need it.

Then there is Liquid Aminos by Bragg. It takes the place of Teriyaki, Soy Sauce etc.. You can use it on tons of things. Chicken, rice, fish, etc..my favorite is to put it on my rice.

Anyway, your tastes of course may not be the same as mine, but I believe that everyone has their go to staples and these are a few of mine. I  have tons, but I don’t feel like taking pictures of my whole pantry/refrigerator!

 

As always, be sure to count all these in your daily macro intakes:-)

 

OH! I forgot to add, the one bottle up there with my powders are Branch Chained Amino Acids. I will speak about them at a later date.

 

 

 

Protein Pancakes..aka Proatcakes.

 

Protein Pancakes are really versatile. You can do tons of different combinations to satisfy your  taste buds. I have a few different flavors that I like to make, but I will give you a basic recipe.

1/3 cup oats

1 scoop Protein Powder (whatever flavor you like/or have on hand)

2 WHOLE eggs (you don’t have to use whole eggs, you can just as easily use whites, just be sure you double it then, I mean, really..use the WHOLE egg for this recipe)

1 tsp Baking Powder

1T Oat Flower (yes, I use it because it add a little more of fluff to them in addition to the baking powder)

1tsp Vanilla Extract

(If you are taking Omega’s, this is a good recipe to throw them into. I take liquid form so I just throw my daily dose in here)

Blend it all together in a mixer. YES, it will be thick. It’s fine. If it REALLY bothers you, you can thin it down with some milk (almond, soy, 1%, skim, full fat whatever YOU want)

Plop them in a pan and fry them up! This recipe will make 2 large ones, or 3/4 smallish ones.

My favorite is to melt some pb on top, SF Cool Whip and SF chocolate syrup. (No need to comment on my SF stuff, I use it sparingly, so it’s all good in my book)

 

Make sure you figure out your macros and log it all:-)

1 Quest 2 the Next

Outdoor activities & family fun on Long Island

Victorious

Strength for the body, mind + spirit. 1 Cor 15:57

Miss. Once Upon A Marathon

Enjoy the run. Both in life and on the roads.

HayleyHobsonBlog.com

Please note my new Blog address above.....

Don't Forget to Feed the Baby

Because they let you become a parent even if you have NO IDEA what you're doing.

boxfitness

Fitness for the modern

THE NINTH THEORY

"And the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" - Anaïs Nin

Fitness and Health Spot

just a student who enjoys health, nutrition, and fitness!

Hollis Plample

draws comics

The IDEA Bucket

Brings you the latest brew

College Tri

Giving fitness and triathlons "the old college try"

L-Jay Health

Nutrition and Fitness

The Evolution of Eloquence

Improving the English language one letter at a time

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 249 other followers