FRESH, HEALTHY, SUMMER LETTUCE WRAPS

Wanting a “summery” lunch? Try this meal idea out!

I used a 4oz. broiled turkey burger I made with Mexican seasoning and crumbled it up, mixed it with fat free hummus and fresh corn/black bean pico de gallo + sriracha and stuffed it in lettuce wraps. I’ve been craving fruit like crazy too so carbs in this meal were watermelon and cantaloupe.

MACROS: 230 Calories, 2G Fat, 23G Carbs, 32G Protein

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VEGGIE BREAKFAST SCRAMBLE

I love big breakfast scrambles! This was sweet onions, spinach and portobello mushrooms sautéed with garlic powder and hint of cayenne. 2/3c liquid egg whites added and scrambled. Mixed 1tbs fat free hummus + 1tbs reduced cal baba ghannouj into eggs (Both Oasis Brand). Topped with sriracha, a little black bean and corn pico de gallo, and fat free black bean dip (Oasis Brand).

Macros: 208 calories, 1G Fat, 19G Carbs, 5G fiber, 24G protein.

Find Oasis brand dips near you here! http://www.omcfood.com/locations/lookup/

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TOMATO, EGG WHITE, AND JALAPEÑO GARLIC GRILLED CHEESE

This was probably one of my most favorite things I have made yet! I have been having massive cravings for a sandwich! Particular grilled cheese haha. So I made a grilled tomato, egg white, and jalapeño garlic cheese breakfast sandwich.. yumm! I used two slices of whole grain Sarah Lee bread. 2/3c egg whites pan fried and folded, 2 slices of organic tomato, 1oz jalapeño jack almond cheese, and one garlic and herb laughing cow light cheese… Sooo good.
MACROS:
271 cals, 33G protein, 23G carbs, 4G fat

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EGG WHITE & VENISON LOW CARB QUESADILLA

Made an egg white&ground venison low carb quesadilla for dinner and OMG this was amazing! I used 2/3 cup egg whites pan fried with an ounce of ground venison mixed in (you could use ground turkey or beef or omit). Topped it with sliced tomato, 1/4 cup fat free cheese, and handful of organic spinach. Then warmed up a low carb tomato basil wrap (12G carbs/7g fiber- Tumaros brand), spread two tablespoons of jalapeño salsa Greek yogurt dip (Oikos Brand) on the wrap, topped with the egg&venison omelette and folded. Seriously amazing.

Macros: 261 cals, 4G fat, 16G carbs, 9g fiber, 41g protein

 

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HOMEMADE REFEED DINNER: MY VERSION OF A HEALTHY ‘5GUYS BURGER & FRIES’

So I have been saying all week I’m going to 5guys on my next Refeed day… Today is Refeed day but my hubbie @brandanfokken had his cheat yesterday and I had nobody to go with lol.. But since it’s hard to track macros at those types of places anyway and I have to be careful with my fat intake I opted to make my own version . So here you have a 3oz. broiled turkey burger (homemade) on an Ezekiel English muffin loaded with fat free cheddar, sautéed mushrooms and sweet onion, organic tomato, lettuce, and jalapeño Greek yogurt dip + reduced sugar ketchup and horseradish mustard as spread. With a side of baked sweet potato fries and a diet Hansons creamy root beer.
MACROS:
510 cals
9G Fat
72G Carbs
12G Fiber
37G Protein

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HOMEMADE REFEED DESSERT: ARCTIC ZERO PARFAIT

Homemade Refeed Dessert: I made this dessert to fit my reefed macros this week as I double my carb intake on these days and try to keep my fats moderate to low. This is a perfect reefed dessert after a high carb dinner!

1/2 pint of chocolate @arcticzero layered with chocolate walden farms and two tbls of pblean/water. Topped with 5 cal fat free @reddiwip and 1/8 of a chocolate chip cookie from @nutritreatsbakery

MACROS:160 calories, 2G fat, 25G carbs, 6G fiber, 13G protein.

You can order Nutritreats Bakery items at http://nutritreatsbakery.com

You can find arctic zero on the store locator for your area at www.arcticzero.com

arctic zero

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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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Glute Training

Whether or not your training for a show, dieting for a vacation, or starring at men in tight football pants, most people admire strong, muscular, “hard” glutes. Having nice glutes has been an area of focus for both men and woman but this has been recently amplified by the focus put on this specific area in women’s bodybuilding, primarily- bikini competitions. You may have heard the term “glute-hammie-tie-in” once or twice before which is just the new popular way to describe the area where the glutes meet the hamstrings. This can be one of the toughest places for a women to not only build muscle but also to burn fat from, making it a very challenging area to “bring in” to a show, and is often the determining factor between a top athlete and an amateur.

So whats the secret to glute training? Honestly I don’t believe their is one “secret” method to developing nice glutes. But I will explain what I have found works for me…

The first thing one must understand when focusing development on any particular part of the body is that everyones biomechanical make-up is different. Meaning a certain exercise may engage one muscle over another for one individual versus another individual. For example, I rarely get sore in my glute tissues from heavy squats. However, I ALWAYS get sore in my glute tissues from heavy weighted walking lunges. Others may feel heavy weighted walking lunges more in their quad tissue than their glute tissue, but again, this comes down to your biomechanics and what muscle is easier actively engaged within certain exercises. That being said, start to pay attention to where you actively feel muscle engagement while implementing your next glute focused leg day. Over time you will begin to understand which exercises are best for your specific build.

Now there are some exercises I truthfully believe are the best for building the glutes regardless of who you are, but that does not mean you do not need a combination of these or more exercises to really target all aspects of each of the glute muscles. I do think different angles of weighted kick backs, weighted versions of split squats, weighted lunges, plea style leg presses, weighted step ups, and different versions of deadlifts are very beneficial to developing all angles of the glute tissue. However, for optimal glute development – what you shouldn’t forget about is the unweighted movements that should be implemented along with these basic weighted movements. Its actually been proven that most individual’s glutes contract harder during bodyweight glute activation exercises than from one-rep max squats and deadlifts, so I will often times superset my weighted movements with an unweighted movement to force more blood flow into the glute muscle and therefor help with muscle engagement and growth. For example, I may superset heavy weighted smith machine donkey kicks with body-weighted hip thrusters or even body-weighted deep squats. And don’t forget, with glute focus you should always sit back as much as possible when you squat and push through your heels.

As I mentioned earlier, most female competitors are focused on the “glute-hammie-tie-in” . It is very important to work  the glutes but also the surrounding muscles- the hamstrings, adductors, abductors, and quad muscles. However, depending on your purpose for training you should ask yourself what the desired “look” you are going for is in terms of glute training. In other words, are you training for aesthetics? Strength? Speed? Performance? If you are training purely for aesthetic purposes you may want to place more emphasis on direct glute work along with a little hamstring work and less emphasis on “legs”. Anytime you train to develop a surrounding body part of a focus muscle group, you can unintentionally make the focus muscle look smaller in comparison to the muscle tissue surrounding the area. For example, if you train legs to develop bigger quads and hamstrings, this can cause the glute muscles to look smaller relative to your leg muscles. So therefor when implementing any training program you should ask yourself what your primary goal of training is. Everyone has different goals in developing the body and therefor everyone should train specific to his/her personal desires.

As for my personal background, I tend to develop leg muscles fairly easily. My quads develop extremely easily and therefor I rarely ever implement any direct quad work into my lifting routines. I also have developed plenty of hamstrings to not need any more mature muscle development in that area. Again, I want to push the point that I train for the sport I compete in, bikini bodybuilding, and for the look I personally desire to further my career and personal preference. That being said, I do 1-2 glute focused leg days a week with the addition of some light hamstring work.

Below is an example of what a glute focused leg day may look like for me:
Warm Up: 5 min incline walk, 5 min jog
3 x 20 deep body weighted squats supersetted with plea style leg press
3 x 15 sumo deadlifts supersetted with weighted bulgarian split squats
3 x 15 smith machine “donkey kicks” supersetted with body weighted hip thrusts
3 x 10/leg weighted walking lunges supersetted with single legged leg press
3 x 15 barbell glute bridge supersetted with weighted freebar squats
End with 4 sets of body weighted hyperextensions
Stretch!!

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Raspberry Cheesecake Crepes 

PoCheesecake Crepesur 1/2c liquid egg whites in hot pan, sprinkle with cinnamon, flip.

Repeat x2.

Spread 1tbs fat free cream cheese in the inside + 1tbs sugar free red raspberry jam.

Top with 1tbs vanilla/cinnamon whey protein + water + 1/2tbs softened fat free cream cheese mixed together and another tbs jam.

 MACROS: 200cals, 14G Carbs, 33G Protein, 0G Fat.

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ARE YOU EVER GOING TO COMPETE AGAIN?

I get asked this question a lot lately. Everyone is wondering when my next show is, what I am prepping for or if I am prepping, etc. And honestly… I don’t know if I will ever compete again and here is why:

When I started my fitness journey I competed for a few reasons. In the beginning I competes because it gave me something to be competitive at and I was missing that from my years of playing sports through high school. I have always been competitive by nature and was looking for something to fulfill this for me after I graduated high school. Then, after winning the overall at my first show, my mindset was… well, I guess I am good at this so why not pursue it?

From there I competed for a few different reasons. I liked the mental and physical push it gave me and the constant of a goal in my life. I also loved the way I felt when I was in competition shape… but who wouldn’t?

After my first show however, I switched coaches and started to have some resentment towards competing. From 2011-2012 I wasn’t placing quite as well as I would have liked and I wasn’t having as much fun with competing as I did before and honestly questioned it many times along the way. This was a direct reflection of my happiness overall and also the constraints this new coach put me under. My body wasn’t changing as quickly and I was feeling like it was getting harder and harder (which it was, as I broke down my metabolism from restriction and didn’t even realize I was doing it under my coaches new plans).

After going through a publicly embarrassing breakup with my ex-fiance/coach/team I resented competing. I hated the sport, I hated what it had done to me and my health. I hated the industry and the shadiness I felt from it. I wanted nothing to do with competing and thought I would be done with it all. At this point I was already endorsed with Max Muscle though and felt I had built somewhat of a name for myself in the industry. Either way, I took a step back that winter and really thought about what I wanted to do.

Christmas Day I remember doing cardio on the stepmill at my brothers gym. I was angry at the circumstances that I was in that winter.. probably one of the lowest points of my life to be honest. Family struggles, insecurities of weight gain, broken friendships and trust issues, I was a royal mess. I spent Christmas Day alone and thats the same day I made a very important decision. As I was on the stepmill I thought to myself.. who else works out for 45 minutes on the rolling stairs on Christmas Day? Why am I doing this? And I realized what working out had done for me. It gave me strength back. Made me feel good again. It gave me something nobody could take away from me. Made me feel empowered. I decided that day I wasn’t seeing things clearly for a long time. My ex made me feel as if I needed him for competing. I needed him for my success in the industry. I needed him for the team we created. Once I really started thinking about it.. I realized this was his sick way of making me feel dependent and really it was the other way around. He built his business of my success. He saw something in me he knew he could capitalize on. And I needed to see that in myself. I knew I had a marketable look. I knew I had the genetics and mental ability to bring a top level physique. I knew I had the education to market myself. I just had to believe in myself.

2013 I decided would be my best year yet. I was back on the grind with competing but I was going to take the control in my own hands. I was going to prep myself with the accountability help of my brother. But I was going to do it for different reasons. You see, I knew there was no money or financial gains in competing itself. Hell most competitors spend 100x what they will ever make back with shows. As a finance major, I knew if I wanted to “make it” in this industry I needed to look at competing as an outlet to get somewhere. To set myself apart and leverage my exposure. I told myself 2013 I would put everything I could into shows that year, work my ass off, market myself as much as possible, hopefully open a few doors along the way and then take a step back from the competition world. As I mentioned, there is no money in competing. Where there is money and financial gains is through sponsorships, endorsements, fitness modeling, promotional and print work, etc. But to get into that line of work I knew I had to set myself apart from the rest.

My first show of 2013 was The Emerald Cup which is the largest regional show in the nation. This would be my warm up show. For some reason I just knew I was going to win this show. I cant explain it but I envisioned it and it happened. My second show would be nationals in Chicago (where I met my husband ). Prepping myself for Nationals I did whatever it took to get my physique to my full potential. I lived competing. I knew I wasn’t healthy. I knew I was being an extremist. I didn’t have a social life. I was single. I was on a mission for one thing and that was to brand myself and make a name for myself in the industry. You could say I had tunnel vision. I went to Jr. Nationals last year and took 2nd, barely missing my pro card. This put me on the top rankings though and really got my name out there as a top contender for a pro card. I was also informed that the girl who beat me had a leg up as she was dating an IFBB Pro bodybuilder and there may have been some politics involved. This pissed me off, but there was nothing I could have done about it. I am not taking anything away from her, however, as I do believe she beat me in the glute department.

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Up to this point I had landed a few additional sponsors and my social media sites were growing. I felt things were “in the works” as far as what my main objective utilizing competing had been. But I also had the mindset that I NEEDED a pro card for my success. I had three weeks until Team Universe in NJ and knew it would be extremely hard to hold the conditioning and level of leanness I had achieved for Jrs. But I decided I would go for it because #missionprocard. I put every single ounce of my effort into prepping for that show. It was honestly the most brutal thing I had ever put myself through but in my head it was a means to an end. I had no desire to compete after 2013 and I knew that. But I wanted to expose myself in the industry enough to pursuit other routes, such as fitness modeling and sponsorships to live a more balanced life outside of competing but still relevant in the industry. I went to TeamU with the best physique I have EVER brought. I was by far the leanest I had ever been, the most conditioned, etc. I thought it would be a cake walk. I was ranked for a top placing on the NPC bikini rankings. People had started “talking” about me.. I guess.

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TeamU was a complete disappointment. If you think politics in the NPC are bad.. they are THE WORST on the East Coast. Now I am not trying to take anything away from the girls who won at these shows. All I am saying is that these politics exist and they aren’t fair.. but that is just how the world works. I was second callout. I was mind blown. I was pissed. I felt I didn’t even get looked at. I had no shot. So I spent the next two days eating my feelings and being absolutely mind fucked to say the least on what just happened. On the plane ride home I got to thinking about it though… and I told myself… you know, you really don’t need a pro card. If you cant beat politics, find a way around them. And I changed my mindset. I knew I had a talent to market myself and had made enough connections in the industry to really get to where I was going without my card. I just had to try.

Fast forward to today. I haven’t competed since that show in July of 2013. Since that time though I have acquired 10 additional sponsors, shot for the top fitness magazines including Oxygen and Ironman, landed a great endorsement deal, and found balance in my life. I thankfully met Brandan who obviously only helped in pushing my success as he himself is great at marketing.

So do I plan to compete anymore? The answer is no. I have no desire to compete. I don’t believe I need to compete to be relevant, to have goals, to be successful. Look at Jamie Eason.. one of the most successful fitness icons in the industry. I think she did two… maybe three shows? Look at Lori Harder, she hasn’t competed in a few years and her success was outside of the NPC. Look at Brandan.. one of the top athletes in the industry and admired by so many for his physique. You don’t need to compete to be successful. And to be honest, I feel living a balanced, more realistic life outside of shows is so much more inspiring that being able to get in shape for a show only to rebound 2 months later.

So my future plans at this point are this… I will continue to set goals for myself. To stay in shape because I love it and I like to feel good. I will l continue to build my business with my husband. To focus on having a family soon. To stay relevant through promoting balance. I will continue to love life outside of competing and pursuit other options that allow me to maintain a lean physique without the extremes. Who knows.. maybe down the road after  few babies I will decide to suit up again. But for the meantime all I have to say is #fuckaprocard.

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Always Real. Forever Raw. Never Sugar Coated.