Category Archives: Nutrition

WHY I STOPPED TRACKING MACROS

WHY I STOPPED TRACKING MACROS

I stopped tracking macros about 3 months ago and here is why:

I tracked macros pretty consistently for about 2 years. I tracked through my last couple preps and continued to track them post. Anybody who has followed me for a long time knows that I have struggled with my relationship with food ever since I began my competition journey. I have been that girl who rebounds post show. I have dealt with BED. I have dealt with extremes on both spectrums of health and fitness.

Currently I am in a place of limbo a bit with my personal life and fitness lifestyle. Brandan and I have been trying to conceive for 8 months now and have worked with a specialist since October. When trying to do “everything right” the most important thing when trying to conceive is proper hormonal balance. I am not going to go super into detail about that part of our personal lives in this post but I am happy to say my hormones have stabilized/regulated quite a bit. Even into the fall of last year I was dealing with low progesterone levels, low DHEA, adrenal fatigue, etc. I have gained weight as it was recommended to me, I have cut out most supplementation besides the basics and I have come to believe I have found my current “set point” in weight. I do believe in the set point theory and I dont believe I have given my body a chance to get back to that in close to 5 years (According to the set-point theory, there is a control system built into every person dictating how much fat he or she should carry – a kind of thermostat for body fat. Some individuals have a high setting, others have a low one. According to this theory, body fat percentage and body weight are matters of internal controls that are set differently in different people.)

Genetically I come from a family of ectomorphs and should not be able to put on a large amount of weight as my family history and genetics prove that. Before I competed I never dieted, I ate whatever I wanted, I worked out when I wanted and never fluctuated more than 10 lbs from my high school weight. However, over my years of dieting I kind of ruined that for myself and have messed with my hormones enough to be able to reach weights over what I believe are my “set-point” weight. Basically I overshoot my set point now due to a slower metabolism. I knew in order to really balance my body back out I needed to allow it to naturally get back to its current set point and from there my hormones would be able to fully heal and recover – as long as I stayed at my current set point and didn’t do any type of extreme dieting or exercising for a sufficient duration of time.

So that is where I am at currently. And how do I know I am at my personal set point? Because I stopped tracking macros and have maintained weight within a 3 lb range for the last two months or so. Even with a drastic decrease in expenditure and with a few weeks of knowing my intake was much higher than I should have allowed it I didnt range more than +/- 2-3 lbs in either direction. I was actually shocked and very happy to see my weight down 3 lbs after not weighing myself for 3 weeks and having less than sufficient work outs (I cut my workouts back in intensity with doctors recommendations and also cut back in the amount of days I was working out drastically. Some by choice- some due to life events and travel.) Am I at a higher weight than I am comfortable with? Yes most definitely. But do I know the long term benefit of allowing my body to heal? Yes most definitely.

Do I struggle everyday with this? Absolutely.

Another reason I wanted to stop tracking macros was because I needed to not be so ‘focused’ on food. I am the type of person who in the past would think about every meal before eating it. I would obsess over “what I could fit” in my macros and feel guilty when things didn’t fit or if I didnt hit my threshold. All of these behaviors come from years of restriction and strict comp preps previous to fully knowing how to utilize flexible dieting and have a less than knowledgable coach who did not have my best interest in mind.

I know myself well enough to know that the more I focus on something the more its hard to live in balance around that particular thing. So with food, knowing it has been my struggle for many years- mentally and physically, I knew I needed to allow myself to take the focus away and start eating more intuitively.

Intuitive eating can be VERY hard. Many people stop tracking macros and use it as an excuse to over-indulge or binge eat. I have definitely been guilty of that in the past. However, knowing that I had been off of a “restricted” diet plan/calorie deficit for quite some time- I felt my mentality around food in general was at a place where I could eat intuitively and not fall into the trap of feeling “out of control”. Plus I know so much about macros and micronutrients now that I can keep a fairly accurate count of where I am at in a day without physically counting. But that is also something I wanted to give up control of. I wanted to live a truly balanced life around food and with that goal in mind I stopped tracking.

Overall I feel good about this decision for now. I am not telling anyone else this to try and promote intuitive eating if you have no food related torment or dont have an unhealthy relationship with food. Tracking macros works and most definitely will still be used in my future if and when I decide to cut or diet again. But for now, I am finding my balance in the best and most positive manner I can. Hoping to conceive and live a more all around balanced life.

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WHAT ARE MACROS? IIFYM TRACKING & SETTING

WHAT ARE MACROS?
IIFYM TRACKING & SETTING

So the number one topic that has been requested for me to touch on more has been tracking macros. Everyone wants to know how to do it, how you set your numbers, and what exactly IIFYM means and how to implement it. I haven’t touched on this more in detail for a few reasons but I will give all the information I can here:

The first thing everyone must understand is that setting your macro threshold should be dependent on YOUR individual needs, body composition, goals, metabolic efficiency, etc. The reason I don’t often list my personal macros is due to the fact that I know I have so many followers (and bless you all for your support and admiration) but you have to understand what I do is done based off my background, the way I personally know my body responds to different macronutrients, and my metabolic efficiency. I have been through hell and back with dieting over the last 4 years and have suffered from some metabolic set backs, adrenal fatigue, not to mention I know I am much more fat sensitive than carb sensitive and therefor I can get away with a higher carb intake than some, but must keep my fats lower. This is going to be VERY different than you most likely and copying what I do will not give you the same results. So to save many of you from making a wrong choice in setting your macros, I often ignore these questions. My macros change from time to time as well, depending on if I am in prep, reverse dieting, and how progressive I feel my metabolism has been in increasing my metabolic capacity. I believe the best way to learn is trial and error! However, I did do an interview with Erin Weiss at Live Life Active where I answered these questions in depth. If you are interested in reading that, the link is: http://www.livelifeactive.com/2014/06/05/interview-with-amber-dawn-orton/

WHAT ARE MACROS?

So lets start from the beginning. What are Macros? Macros = Macronutrients. There are only three macronutrients that account for every single thing you put in your mouth. Think of them as the atoms that make up the food you eat and everything has to be comprised of one or some combination of these three macronutrients which are carbs, proteins, and fats.

Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients:

Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat

While each of these macronutrients provides calories, the amount of calories that each one provides varies. Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram. Protein provides 4 calories per gram. Fat provides 9 calories per gram.

This means that if you looked at the Nutrition Facts label of a product and it said 12 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of protein per serving, you would know that this food has about 48 calories per serving (12 grams carbohydrate multiplied by 4 calories for each gram of carbohydrate = 48 calories).

Besides carbohydrate, protein, and fat the only other substance that provides calories is alcohol. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. Alcohol, however, is not a macronutrient because we do not need it for survival.

 

IIFYM

I want to address the idea behind IIFYM (If-It-Fits-Your-Macros) now because I believe people just don’t get it. The idea behind IIFYM is that a carb is a carb and a protein is a protein and a fat is a fat regardless of the source its coming from.

Example Scenario:

Now lets say you have a daily “allowance” of 150G of carbs. That doesn’t mean you would want to eat two donuts (lets say you know these donuts each have 75G carbs and 8G Fat each) because you would use all 150G of your carbs on those two donuts, and that would leave you hungry the rest of the day, not to mention the micronutrients of what those donuts are made of is not going to benefit you from a health standpoint. So, that being said, if you hit the majority of your macros/meals with healthy, micronutrient dense foods, but you have macros for a meal at the end of the day (lets say and you want to fit that latte or ice cream in because you have enough to accommodate) then it is not going to change anything or set you back from your goals. Side note: Another good way to fit “treats” in is post workout as this is when your body will utilize a higher carb source easier. So if you want to eat something higher in carbs post workout you could cut your carbs from your meals later in the day and that higher carb  giant bowl of post workout cereal is not going to set you back. Again, as long as your carbs at the end of the day are still within range of your set macros then that’s okay! Another thing you need to keep an eye on is your fiber intake. MFP will automatically set a fiber goal for you depending on your other macronutrient goals…. fiber comes from plant sources and therefor you will need to make sure you are hitting your fiber goal everyday which will ensure you are eating enough nutrient dense carbs. Because if you ate those two donuts you would use up all your carbs and not even 5G of your 30G fiber goal (thats an example).

So how do you set your macros?
There is no 100% accurate system to ensure you are setting the correct macros. Yes there are macro calculators online that are pre-generated to spit out numbers for the numbers you input. You can find such a calculator at http://iifym.com/iifym-calculator/ but just like any pre-generated system this will not be the most accurate for you because any system without a brain does not know you, your background, how your metabolism may or may not have been affected throughout your life, your lifestyle, current and pre-existing eating habits, etc. There are MANY factors that affect the way our bodies respond to food and therefor there is no way a pre-generated calculator could take all of these factors into account while calculating your macros.  This is why professionals and people with experience such as myself and other coaches have jobs, because this is not an easy thing to understand nor explain. Now I am not saying the macro calculator is not a good resource or you shouldn’t use it. Some people have a lot of luck using the macros they get back from calculators such as this. I just want people to know that you will always be better off with using a resource that can understand your background and what makes up your body’s response mechanisms.

That being said, everyone wants to know how you do it, right? Well that is another thing I cannot explain unfortunately. With my years in this business and putting myself through many of my own experiences with tracking plus learning from the hundreds of people I work with everyday I have created my own system in setting clients macros. I send over in depth questionnaires for each client to answer before even attempting to set macros. Again, this is due to the fact that everyone is different and to set any type of accuracy with macros in reaching goals you must understand underlying concepts and components regarding the individual at hand. Yes there are a few basic “rules” I have found that work in some ways, but again I look much further in to depth than just how much you weigh, how old you are, and how much body fat you have. But just to help some of you out, I will tell you most active females should be eating around 0.9-1.2x bodyweight in protein per day. Most active men should be a bit higher than this, ranging from 1-1.5x bodyweight a day. Again though, this is “most” and not applicable to everyone without knowing your background, goals, and metabolic capacity. Carbs and fat are something that are very variable and dependent on the individual. I cannot even begin to explain my personal methods on how I go about setting these macros as like I mentioned, it is just something I “get a feeling” about when reading through my clients questionnaires.

Again I want to encourage everyone to learn their own bodies as nobody knows your body better than you do. You can figure out your approximate resting metabolic rate, metabolic capacity, macronutrient sensitivity, etc just by applying yourself, doing a little research, and tracking plus adding consistency with your intake to see patterns in where you may stand.

More on IIFYM -Q & A from a client:

Client: I’ve noticed your posts about you finding balance with your flexible dieting by incorporating sweets or foods that aren’t considered “clean” throughout your day & I’ve been trying to get mentally more balanced with eating as well so I was just wondering if you just save your refeed day to add a “cheat” food or eat 80/20 everyday? Also when do you find it best to fit these foods & do you use them as your whole meal or part of it like a topping or side ?

My Answer: I think you tend to over think things. I don’t have any particular methods with my eating habits. I just eat when I feel like eating, if I am craving something sweet I eat it and adjust my macros the rest of the day. I really honestly have no “method”. That is the benefit of flexible dieting and implementing this lifestyle.

Client: But how do you keep from overdoing it? Like do you allow yourself to eat 80/20 everyday or if you knew you had sweets that day already you eat clean the remainder of your day? & according to your meal plan guidelines, I am supposed to eat every three hours but are you saying if im not hungry im allowed to wait longer as long as i fit my macros in for the day & have my pre & post workout meals at the appropriate times?

My Answer: The point of IIFYM is the flexibility to do what you want everyday. Like I mentioned, I don’t have any 80/20 strategy or eat clean for this much of my day and not for this much.. etc. I just make sure to hit my macros each day. If you are hitting your macros and fiber goals (your fiber should be auto calculated in MFP with the macro goals I have set for you) then you will be well balanced in your daily intake and it doesn’t matter. It would be impossible to eat brownies all day and hit your macros as they are comprised of very little protein, too much sugar and next to no fiber. Fiber comes from vegetables and whole grains.. so making sure your fiber intake will ensures you eat some clean meals as well. The meal planning guidelines I have sent are a reference, mostly for those who don’t eat enough or are in comp prep and cutting. Since you follow more of a flexible approach and understand macros, it doesn’t matter if you go longer without eating and eat bigger meals. The only other important element is your pre and post workout meals, in which I have given you macronutrient timing guidelines for. Other than that, dont think too much about each meal. Eat the majority of your foods from healthy, whole food sources. But if you are more hungry for one meal and want a bigger meal, that is okay! Yes you will have to adjust downward for a meal maybe later in the day, but again… as long as your daily totals are accurate- dont stress it!

And to anyone who is still wondering why such “healthy people” would want to follow IIFYM to fit “unhealthy” things in to their diet.. My brother Aaron Orton answered this best on his athlete page:

“I am so glad you asked. The entirety of most peoples preparation for a bodybuilding show leads to extremism under the very premise of what you are prescribing. CLEAN THIS CLEAN THAT, NO FALSE SUGARS, NO PROCESSED FOOD, NO DESSERTS, NO GUM, ECT. What happens thereafter, is the competitor binges wildly after the show is done, and cannot stop. They have to fulfill these needs. In fact, most put on every ounce of weight that they dropped in order to get in the best shape of their life. What you just posted HAS GOT TO STOP. These foods can be fit within any diet, and can serve as they please in any LIFESTYLE change. The key is MODERATION. When you see this food, you think that it is a free for all. You don’t understand that the muddy buddies were measured and seperated into individual bags based on their servings. Or that the pringles can be count 1 chip per 1 g of carbs. Or that the ice cream is far lower fat then any other ice cream on the market. These are ways to improve self control, by FITTING THEM into my macro nutrient (substrate) count for the day. The goal is to prevent extremism, which you are promoting. Please share with me how long you have gone without a single processed item in your diet? Or the very fact that most food is processed in one way or another in order to make it to a grocery store and is 100% fine for you, again in MODERATION. I want to consume these products, and many more, because I can get in amazing shape, pull 500lbs off the ground, sprint a 12 second 100 meter dash, and feel amazing while consuming them. But it doesn’t mean thats all I eat.”

 

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TRAVELING + EATING OUT OPTIONS & TIPS

Traveling + Eating Out Options & Tips:

Learning to eat clean while traveling can be tricky. I have done it for so many years now, I have found that if you know what to look for and know what options to keep in mind, you can travel and eat out without setting yourself back too much with your fitness goals. I have written a few tips and tricks along with eating out options to help below:

✰ Try to stay away from food options with sauces and “glazes” or fried food of any kind. Always ask if something can be grilled or baked rather than pan fried or deep fried. And always ask for light olive oil only to be used in preperation.

✰ Almost anywhere you go will have salad options. When ordering a salad, try to always include a lean protein source (chicken, ahi, shrimp, turkey) and omit or get light cheese such as feta. Try to avoid most dried fruit like blueberries or cranberries because they are just additional sugar. Salad dressing options would be salsa, balsamic vinegar, oil and vinegar (more emphasis on vingar than the olive oil), or fresh squeezed lemon. Always ask for dressings on the side.

✰ Most places will also modify food sources/options for you. So dont be scared to ask for the vegetables to be steamed with no butter/oils and the proteins to be cooked with just light olive oil.

✰ Always ask for sauces on the side if you are unsure of what they are made of.

✰ Burgers and sandwhiches can typically be lettuce wrapped to avoid carbs. If the restaurant offers a buffalo or turkey burger, this would be a great protein source as a burger option. Ask for sides such as cottage cheese, salad, fruit, black beans, steamed vegetables, or if available baked sweet potato.

✰ If you are out at mexican, a taco salad is always a great option with chicken, black beans, grilled peppers and onions, avocado, and salsa as dressing. Try to avoid tortilla chips and the taco salad shell, however.

✰ If you go out to breakfast, always ask if the restaurant can do egg- whites only for omelettes/scrambles. And ask for light or no oil to be used when making your breakfast. Vegetables of any kind are fine. Most places have oatmeal as well, add cinnamon and some fresh fruit and get some egg whites on the side for a blanced breakfast.

✰ Starbucks also had stealcut oats which is a great option while traveling. Just make sure you have some form of protein powder on you so you can either drink the protein or like I do, just mix the protein powder into plain oatmeal to flavor it. Jamba Juice is another place that serves stealcut oatmeal and fruit as well.

✰ If you are going to drink alcohol, try to stick to light colored hard alcohol with soda water and lime or lemon. Avoid juice, soda, and sugar. Ask the server to omit the simple syrup in something such as a mojito to cut calories and sugar. Or go with a glass or two of red wine.

✰ Try to pack some healthy snacks in case you find yourself in a bind. Some things I like to carry on me at all times are individual portion sized packs of almonds, protein powder or costco premier protein shakes, baggies of baby carrots or cucumbers, rice cakes, and quest bars (the healthiest protein bar on the market- you can find at super supplements, max muscle, online, or GNC).

For extra ideas, some helpful quick restaurant options when traveling are below:

✪ Subway double chicken Salad, use light dressing or mustard/honey mustard as dressing and if you can help it bring your own chicken!

✪ Baja Fresh Salad. Shrimp or Chicken Baja Ensalada. No cheese/No tortilla strips. You can add black beans for clean carb source or Skinny Chicken Bowl.

✪ Cafe YUMM bowl (Oregon based). Add chicken, get it vegan, 1/2 yumm sauce. Or you can do the yumm & Greens.

✪ Pita Pit, Chicken Salad, use as many veggies as you would like. Or chicken breast pita on wheat. Avoid high calorie sauces- use mustard or light tzatziki (yogurt/cucumber sauce).

✪ Jimmy Johns, Lettuce wrapped turkey sandwich.

✪ Laughing Planet (Oregon based)- Bollywood Bowl or Paleo Bowl.

✪ When out at a restaurant, stick to lean protein source (grilled or baked), clean carb source, and steamed veggies or salad.

✪ Starbucks or Jamba juice stealcut oatmeal. Starbucks also offers a turkey bacon eggwhite breakfast sandwhich.

✪ Fresh deli selections at grocery stores often have great options. Stores like Whole Foods, Market of Choice, etc. often have grilled chicken and healthy proteins they will warm up along with side options such as roasted veggies, broccoli salads, etc. Just make sure you ask what’s in them and avoid those with additional oils and mayonnaise type condiments.

Hope this helps with your travel! ❤ADO

 

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FASTED CARDIO & INTERMITTENT FASTING (IF)

Fasted Cardio & Intermittent Fasting (IF)

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Okay this is going to be a long one so bare with me. I get asked a lot about fasting and I have a lot to say on the subject. Apologizing in advance for spelling or grammatical errors as I tend to just type my thoughts out quickly/free write and dont proof read enough lol. Here are my current thoughts on the subject of fasting:

For starters, I want to make it clear that there is not one way for everyone and there are lots of methods that work for lots of people. So always find what works for you before trying to copy what anyone else is doing. Second thing is I want to put a disclaimer on this as I am a very knowledgable and experienced athlete, I feel I know my body well enough to know what is healthy in terms of extreme dieting and what is not and I dont want anyone putting themself in an unhealthy position as fasting can be very risky while cutting if not careful.

Okay so now that I got that out of the way.. I have been wanting to write on this topic for a while. However, I am still playing with the concept as I believe you can read information on every opinion out there- wether its backed by science or not- it seems anything and everything can be justified on the internet and sometimes I even find myself more confused on the subject after researching it. Anyone else ever feel this way? So in my opinion the best way of figuring things out is to test them on yourself and find what works for you.

I have to state that I have had many preps over the last four years which were all very different. I have had two different coaches and then coached myself with accountability check ins from my brother last year so I have experienced many different opinions and methods to prep. I have had preps where I never did fasted cardio, I have had preps where I did fasted cardio a few times a week, I have had preps where I utilized IF (intermittent fasting) one day a week, and last year I never fasted at all throughout my entire prep and had one of the most succesful years of my competiting career.

The first time I used IF it was extremely hard for me. The concept of not eating for a 16 hour window (basically from 10pm to 2pm the next day) was extremely hard for me. I would sleep in as late as I could on those days so I made sure to pick a weekend where that was possible. I would still drink coffee and water and take bcaas while I was fasting but my first meal wouldnt be until 2pm. Looking back- I think this was so hard on me for a few reasons. It was my third year of competing and I had developed this idea in my head that I NEEDED to eat every three hours or I was dying lol. The second reason was I had someone else telling me I HAD to fast and I have never been good at taking orders from someone else lol.. probably why I am my own coach and my own boss now, ha. So that being said, my mindset around IF at that time was negative. I didnt like it and I didnt like fasting. However, I did notice that the next day I would feel full easier and also my weight would typically drop.

When it came to fasted cardio in the past, again I have seen great results with it and I have seen great results without it. My mindset on fasted cardio previously has been this- If you are someone who feels naesous or sick if you dont eat in the morning and fasting previous to training (cardio) will affect your performance, then the benefit will not be there anyways and you should train in the state that you can expend the most effort. However, if doing cardio in the fasted state is something that doesnt bother you- meaning you feel no different than if you would have eaten and can still performe with some intensity than yes you can see benefit in fasted cardio. I have almost always been the person who feels sick if I dont eat first thing while in prep, which is why last year I never performed fasted cardio.

Now with all that being said, knowing that the body and brain changes with each prep and that many factors should be taken into account- I began to implement some fasting into my routine with my last prep and I continue to utilize it now. Let me address the idea of muscle loss really quickly here as well. Some people are so scared of burning muscle that they steer clear of fasted cardio all together. Why this doesnt bother me has to do with a few reasons. First, I always drink my BCAAs (Branch chain amino acids) along with some glutamine during fasted cardio. Second, I have a LOT of muscle for a bikini competitor and honestly wouldnt mind losing some lower body muscle (I know, I know- my gains). I develop lower body mass fairly easily and the problem with that is my legs become over developed and on my off season when I put on any fat mass, I feel bigger in that area which is not my cup of tea. Stretchy pants for life is fun and all but I dont need bodybuilder thunder thighs lol. The other reason I am okay doing fasted cardio is my carb intake is much higher than it was in my preps last year and I feel I have plenty of glycogen in my system to support my excercise even while fasting.

The other thing I have started to do is play with the concept of IF more. Now you may wonder why when I talked about my horrible experience with it previously. The reason why is this- I am starting to think long term about my brain and the way I view food. The concept of eating all the time has become so instilled in my head that post show or post diet I struggle hard because I feel the need to eat ALL the time and have had leptin issues which have made it very hard to feel full (I wrote about this in depth in my article published on Official Cut and Jacked if anyone is curious to read it the link is here- http://www.cutandjacked.com/Competition-pre-vs-post-show-finding-balance ) I want to be in control of those feelings when I am done this time around and IF has given me a feeling of control over my body. I control when I eat – IF proves this to myself as I can set a window for fasting and a window for eating that allows me to still get proper nutrients in but allows more control over the concept of not having to eat ALL the time. Plus like I mentioned- when I do eat again I feel fuller quicker than I did- most likely due to my stomach physically shrinking. I also am much more experienced with IIFYM and how to utilize that for reverse dieting than I was in the past, so that is also part of my current method but something I wont get in to here.

Again, this is what is currently working for me, my diet, my mindset and the way things in my life are currently set up. I dont expect anyone to be just like me or to implement the same thing as I do as everyone is different and you have to find what works for you and your current lifestyle.

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REFEEDS

REFEEDS:

(Pre-refeed on left, post-refeed on right)

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I get asked constantly about my refeeds. So I will go ahead and explain a bit here. Some people have cheat meals, I have refeed days. The difference is the strategy that goes into refeeds versus cheat meals. On Refeed days EVERYTHING is tracked. The point of a Refeed is to bring your carb intake up to help bring leptin levels back to a stable position and allow your muscle tissue to stay full. I typically double my carb intake if not more on refeed days. Again, this is what I do based on my daily intake/deficit/muscle tissue needs. Is this what you should do? I have no idea, so unless I am your trainer and I know what type of intake and expenditure you are on daily, please decide on your own if refers are something you believe you should implement into your current nutrition schedule.

How much should you refeed yourself? This will depend on how long you have been dieting, how intense your diet is, and your current level of bodyfat. Those who are at a lower level of bodyfat will need to refeed more often than those who aren’t. Similarly, the more extreme the diet being followed, the more intense the refeed. The last refeed I had in this before and after photo, I ate about 300G of carbs.  As you can see here, there are noticeable differences in muscle fullness before and after this refeed.

Tip: If the scale freaks you out, DONT WEIGH YOURSELF. I have completely detached my emotions from my weight and therefore I actually find it entertaining to see what my weight is at after a day of eating banana bread, lots of yams, oatmeal, English muffins. graham crackers, arctic zero or frozen yogurt, etc. I was only up about alb after the reefed I implemented in between these two photos and I could care less because I look AND FELT better!

Think about your muscles as a tube, like the inside of a tire. When you aren’t eating adequate carb intake and lifting/working out you deplete these tubes with glycogen (what carbohydrates break down into) and therefor you begin to look flat (like a deflated tire). A lot of people, girls specifically, get so scared of eating carbs because they think they will look worse. But you know that jiggle on your ass? Don’t you think it would jiggle less with some air in those glute balloons? You catch my drift? Filling your muscle tissue up will leave you with full muscles, making you look tighter and “hard” versus soft and flat. Why do so many people think they look better the day after a show? Because typically they didn’t properly fill there muscle tissue up with carb intake until post show.

The amount you refeed with basically has to do with how low your leptin levels are. The lower the levels, the more calories above maintenance you will be needing to bring them back up. I know my body handles carbs well, but I do not respond to fats well, so on refeed days I make sure my fats stay low and I choose foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat, aka- fat free frozen yogurt.. yumm! I try to keep my protein intake fairy consistent. The only macronutrient I really manipulate is my carb intake.

All of this information can easily be found and studied by looking up and researching refeeds. I get asked over and over about this in particular, so please do your research and figure out what works for you or hire a coach!

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LETTUCE WRAPPED TURKEY BURGER WITH SWEET & SPICY BRUSSELS

This is one of my absolute most favorite meals! It never gets old! So yummy, filling, and healthy!

I tend to make large quantities of proteins like chicken breast and turkey burgers so they are always on hand to throw into a meal such as this. This meal requires one 4oz broiled turkey burger (I just pre-make these with different spices and 99% lean ground turkey- nothing fancy). I then sauté 1/4 of a sweet onion and a handful of portobello mushrooms with brags liquid amines and garlic powder. After heating up the turkey burger I put it inside a few leaves of an iceberg head of lettuce, add the sautéed veggies, and then add reduced sugar ketchup and coney island mustard.

The ‘sweet and spicy’ brussels sprouts are made by steaming them in a microwave steamer after rinsing and cutting in half for 2 minutes. I then throw them in a hot pan with some coconut oil spray and add walden farms pancake syrup and cayenne until crispy on the outside. So yummy!

 

MACROS: 252 calories, 1G Fat, 27G Carbs, 43G Protein

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HEALTHY OPTION FOR ‘CHIPS & DIP’

What do you do when you’re craving chips and salsa/Mexican food while dieting?! Well I for one eat this. Even in prep I eat these daily. Best macros ever!

The magic pops are 16 cals, 4g carbs, 0g fat each. I find them at Hyvee in the MidWest but you can order them online in bulk or you can find them on Amazon.

The black bean dip is Oasis brand and 11 cals per 2tbs, 2g carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat.

The hummus is oasis fat free, 29 cals per 2tbs, and the pico de gallo is 15cals per 2tbs. You can find Oasis low fat dips in your area by visiting the following link:http://www.omcfood.com/locations/lookup/

Boom get in ma belly cause I love chips and dip 😉

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IIFYM and Travel 

I get asked a lot about how to utilize IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) while traveling. Mostly because anyone who has traveled in prep knows its a royal pain in the ass to carry all your bags with you, let alone prep, prepare, package and weigh your food out previous to leaving for your destination. One thing I loved about not being in prep in the past was being able to travel more freely, the get up and go approach rather than the two days of planning and packing before every trip. However, I would often find myself off track with nutrition on those days and I would feel I was regressing because I had no strategy or plan with my food choices if I didn’t bring along my staples.

My suggestion to traveling now is this; Its never a bad idea to bring along snacks when traveling. Whether or not you need to bring along every meal though is another story. I have found more balance bringing non-perishable snacks that are easy to pack and store such as individual sized packets of almonds, quest bars, whey protein powder, etc and then utilizing IIFYM for my main meal sources.

How to utilize IIFYM when traveling:

The first and most important aspect to properly utilizing IIFYM is making sure you have set your daily macro thresholds for protein, carbs, and fats in a macro tracker such as MyFitnessPal or MyNetDiary.

When ordering out you should look at your daily totals for each macro source and see where you have “wiggle room” to eat out. For example, if you were going to dinner and had been tracking during the day and realized through your tracking app that you had 40G carbs, 32G Protein, and only 7G fat left for the day you would want to make a choice that was higher in carbs and protein than fats. So a leaner protein source like chicken or fish would be a good protein option and your carb option could pretty much be filled with any carb source that wasn’t high in fat. Then while looking at a menu, you would make your decision based off knowing this information. For example, lets say you are at Red Robin. You could order a Grilled chicken sandwich with no mayo/spreads (spreads are typically fat based) for 32G Protein/29G Carbs/3G Fat. You would then still have 11G carbs and 4G fat to use to order a side or eat more later. Many restaurants have their menu options pre-programmed into fitness trackers which makes this decision even easier.

So what do you do if a menu is not programmed for macros in your tracker?

The best thing to do is dissect the parts of the meal and enter them separately. You would want to guess on portion sizes and be as accurate as possible. So for the same sandwich above, you would make an educated guess on the ounces of chicken, the type of bread, the veggies that may be on it, etc. and manually enter each source of food that was used to build the sandwich. Sometimes a fitness tracker will have a meal close to the one your ordering that you can utilize to at least give yourself an idea of what the macro breakdown may look like as well.

This method can be used for any or all meals throughout the day when traveling. Like I mentioned, sometimes its easier to just pack a few non-perishable snacks along with you that will help you ration your macros for the meals you will be eating out while traveling. But if you find yourself in a hurry to go somewhere and forget to bring your food with you, don’t fret! You can still stay within your macro goals and make progress  while on the go as long as you put the effort into tracking with IIFYM!

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