Saturday, 1 June 2013

TWO WEEKS OUT!!! accountable; determination; focus; nutrition; desire; will power; moving forward; dreams; ambition; devotion; optimism; SUCCESS!!!

TWO weeks out!     

I have the suitcase out and filling it up with competition day essentials. 
My gorgeous suit, shoes and jewelry (check).... hair, nails, makeup, waxing, tanning appointments all done. (check)

It's all or nothing at this point, or as my Trainer Jared says...."ya wanna win or go home,  suck it up and give me 10 more"!   I am staying focused on my workouts and eating clean.    When I am not at the gym working out, I am at the grocery store or cooking chicken, fish  and GREEN veggies!     

So I am officially addicted to Broccoli Slaw!  
1 or 2 bags of Broccoli Slaw2 tbs dijon mustard  (I add more)

¼ cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
6 sliced radishes
2 Lebanese  cucumber cubed
sea salt and pepper

In a large bowl add all the ingredients together, mix, put in the fridge....EAT and enjoy!


6 Tips for Staying Hydrated


We all know that we need water to survive. But exactly how much we need to THRIVE has been a hot topic of debate for some years now. Eight glasses a day? Seventy-five ounces? 3.0 liters for men and 2.2 for women?
When it comes to staying hydrated, maybe there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. Each day, our bodies react to a variety of ever-changing variables – our level of physical activity, the foods that we are eating, our surrounding climate as well as our size. So we have to listen up! Pay attention to what our bodies are telling us and know the signs for when it’s time to rehydrate.
  • Thirst
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness/Lightheadedness
Best to avoid these symptoms all together.  Instead of waiting until it’s too late, stay out in front of your thirst. Try using a few of our helpful tips for staying hydrated throughout the day.
  1. Drink a tall glass of water every morning when you first wake up. Try putting it next to your bed the night before so it is ready & waiting.
  2. Carry water with you wherever you go. Spending the money on a quality reusable water bottle is well worth the investment. Think of it like an accessory.
  3. Serve water with every meal. Not only will you help keep yourself hydrated, you will also be less likely to overeat.
  4. Keep a pitcher of fresh water on your desk at work. Having a constant supply of water on hand will keep you drinking.
  5. Enjoy water-filled foods. Most fresh fruits & veggies are largely water. There is no reason why you can’t help keep yourself hydrated with a serving or two of cucumbers or watermelon.
  6. Add a bit of all-natural flavor. If the taste of water is keeping you from drinking your fair share, add a bit of lemon, mint or cucumber to snaz it up.
A little something to keep in mind, an unquenchable thirst might be a sign of more than a lack of fluids.  If you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day but can’t seem to shake that thirsty feeling, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue, common for those struggling with chronic, unmanaged stress.

SUGAR - tips!

Sweet Like Simple Sugars

Oxygen Magazine’s April 2012 Issue
There are three main varieties of sugar:
  1. Glucose – made by the body when starches and carbs are broken down.  Blood transports glucose to cells for energy.
  2. Fructose – found in fruits, metabolized by the liver and in natural sources such as apples, grapes etc, it is combined with fibre which is beneficial to the body. Processed fructose such as high-fructose corn syrup found in many foods is harmful and can cause an increase in triglycerides.
  3. Sucrose – table sugar from sugar cane and beets
Some of Oxygen’s Sugar Tips and Tricks:
  • If you workout regularly, added simple sugars (of a healthy variety such as sucanat, honey, stevia, brown sugar, maple syrup, xylitol, and molasses) can help fuel your exercise
  • Portion control is essential!
  • To see if food has added sugar, check the ingredients list not the nutritional information as this will contain both naturally occurring sugars as well as added sugars
  • Artificial sugars send false signals to the brain that sweet food is on the way but when it does not come the brain does not signal that you are satisfied, in turn, causing a craving for more sweets
  • Sugar alcohols are also found in many foods and can cause digestive issues and bloating for some people
  • Sugar is addictive so taking it out of your diet altogether will help with your weight loss/fit goals
  • Sugar can cause depression, brain fog, belly fat and fatigue in addition to more chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and leaves you open for more disease
  • Sugar causes inflammation in the body
For the athlete:
  • A combination of simple sugars (the good kind) may help to enhance athletic performance and endurance
  • Pairing simple sugar with fat-digesting protein such as whey, helps recovery after heavy resistance training
  • Use simple carbs (sugars) only around the time of your training as they will be burnt off fast and be used for your workouts
  • For the average athlete, save simple sugars for after your workout
  • Sugar supplement – Vitargo S2 is a sugar-free carb supplement that is recommended post workout as it digests twice as fast as regular sugar

AR-INFRARED SAUNA Treatments – Relax and enjoy the benefits!

Image of Infrared Sauna TreatmentsWHAT ARE FAR-INFRARED (FIR) WAVES?Infrared Spectrum
FIR waves are part of the sun’s invisible spectrum. These FIR waves can penetrate human tissue resulting in a natural resonance that warms our bodies. You can be exposed to FIR waves for hours and it will never cause your skin to burn. 95% of the energy from the carbon fiber emitters is transformed into FIR waves with wavelengths from 5 to 17 microns. The sun generates FIR waves at 9.4 microns.
FIR waves are essential to almost every part of life on our planet. In addition to warming a person, the FIR also enhance the body’s health on the cellular level. The technology is so safe that it has been used for years in hospital delivery rooms to help newborn babies maintain an acceptable body temperature.
 NOT A HOT BOXImage of Infrared Sauna Treatments vs Traditional Sauna
Imagine being warm throughout without the inconvenience of being in a HOT BOX (Traditional Hot Sauna). You will feel the heat being generated by the Carbon Fiber FIR Emitters immediately (20% as heat and 80% as FIR waves). FIR waves will warm up the human body, not the air inside the box. The temperature gauge is there merely as a guide for your enjoyment and safety. The key to your Infrared Sauna Treatments is to keep the unit working during the entire time you are inside to maximize the benefit.
“Far Infrared sauna treatments are the safest, most efficacious and economical way of eliminating stored toxins, making it a household necessity. I’m convinced that the Far Infrared sauna is something that everyone should do to restore health.  Far Infrared sauna treatments are far safer and more tolerable than a conventional sauna because it uses a heat energy that penetrates tissues, triggering mobilization of chemicals from fat storage, directly into the sweat.”
*Sherry A. Rogers, M.D. Northeast Center for Environmental Medicine
• Strengthens the cardiovascular system with deep Far Infrared penetration (up to 1.5″).
• Far Infrared sauna treatments detoxifies heavy metals, hydrocarbon residues, alcohol, nicotine, sodium and cholesterol.
• Helps liquefy fat cells, burns calories and Image of loss of cellulitecontrols weight. Improves and clears cellulite. Most effective way of burning calories. Burns up to 500 calories in one full session.
• Effective for treating sprains, muscle spasms and joint stiffness; relieves aches and pains.
• Improves your immune system by sweating at a lower more comfortable temperature than a conventional hot sauna.
• Increases overall health and resistance to disease.
• Sharpens senses and relieves stress, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
• Improves skin within a few minutes. Helps scars and burns. Acne, psoriasis and eczema conditions will also improve.
• This sauna stimulates endorphins of the brain and kills organisms like bacteria and parasites.
• Far Infrared sauna treatments energy penetrates deeply into the body producing a warming, relaxing and detoxifying effect.

Check out this link.  AWESOME  hints and recipes.  A great food list.

20 Reasons Why You Aren’t Losing the Weight

Are you trying to reach a goal weight/measurement/body fat% but having trouble doing so?
Stalled WEIGHT LOSS can happen for any number of reasons, but there’s a good chance your weight loss troubles are due to one or more of the reasons below:
1. You Just Started
Your body undergoes many new changes when you start a fitness program. If you went from eating processed food and couch potato to HEALTHY EATING and extremely active, it’s entirely possible you won’t lose a single pound the first couple weeks. Increased muscle glycogen capacity in response to more exercise is a big reason people don’t see weight loss at first.
2. You’re Being Impatient
It’s been a month and you’ve lost 5 pounds. Great! Or is it? To many, this is a failure. They aren’t getting back what they put in. Give it some time. Get it out of your mind that weight loss is a week to week event. Be happy about what you’ve accomplished. Progress is progress. Keep it up and it accumulates over time.
3. You’re Eating Too Many/Too Few Calories
Calorie intake is a tricky subject because eating too few calories is just as bad, if not worse than eating too may. It’s very difficult to overeat when you eat whole foods, so that’s why I focus on having people eat more food. It’s entirely possible you are not eating enough calories to LOSE WEIGHT. You need calories, and just as important – nutrients, if you expect your body to let go of its fat.
4. You’re Focused On Weight
Weight, weight, weight…we all seem to be obsessed about it. So much obsession, yet it’s so meaningless. Body transformation are about FAT LOSS. If you’re losing fat, you’re doing great. Put the scale away and buy some body fat calipers to track your progress.
5. You’re Not Including Strength Training
When most people think of losing weight, they think of cardio and long drawn out sessions on the treadmill, or running to lose weight. In reality though, strength training, not cardio is the real fat burner, and should be the focal point of every weight loss exercise routine.
6. You’re Not Very Active
Do you sit behind a computer all day? A little activity can go a long way. Sometimes a single workout followed by a day of inactivity just isn’t enough. Buy yourself a pedometer and track the steps you take in a day. If it’s less than 5000, you probably need to get moving a little more. A walk after dinner couldn’t hurt.
7. Lack of Sleep
How much sleep do you get a night? If it’s not 7-9 hours, you’re making your weight loss goals much harder to reach. Sleep affects everything from appetite to glucose metabolism. Make sure you’re making it a priority. Sleep helps you lose weight.
8. Too Much Stress
How is your mental health? Your “mental fitness” is an often overlooked part of a fitness program, yet there is such a strong connection between mind and body. Stress affects hormone levels, motivation, and weight loss.
9. You’re Being Inconsistent
A workout here or there isn’t going to get you anywhere. Consistency is a major key to success. The same goes for your diet too. You can’t expect to eat processed food whenever you get the urge and still make progress. Make a plan and stick to it.
10. You’ve Reached a Weight Loss Plateau
Weight loss plateaus are very common. Weight loss doesn’t occur in a straight line. You might lose 3 pounds one week and 1 the next. It’s unpredictable. However, if you’ve been stuck at the same weight for weeks, you might want to consider implementing one of these 8 tips for how to break a weight loss plateau.
11. You Don’t Need to Lose Any More Weight
Have you ever considered the fact that you are not losing weight because you don’t need to lose any more? If you’re already small in stature, the problem might be a lack of lean body mass, and not an excess of weight. Yes, you might have some fat to lose still, but fat loss does not always equal weight loss. See weight loss vs fat loss for a full explanation.
12. Your Workouts Lack Intensity
Are you just going through the motions when you exercise? Give your body a reason to change. You need to be pushing yourself to your limits when you work out. Don’t expect your body to drop the fat if you don’t physically show it it needs to. Besides fat loss, here’s another 8 reasons you should increase your exercise intensity.
13. You’re Not Really Eating Healthy
I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me they were eating healthy, only to find out that their diets were filled with processed foods once they showed them to me. Make sure you’re eating whole foods. The problem many people don’t realize is with their grain consumption. Not all grains are created equally. Cereals and breads can do more harm than good. Stick to whole grains. That means there should only be 1 ingredient (oats, wheat, etc).
14. You’re Eating Too Many Carbs
Before you freak out, I am not anti-carb. Carbs are necessary to efficiently fuel high-intensity exercise and central nervous system function. In reality though, glucose is what’s necessary, but that’s a debate for another day. The keyword is “efficiently”. Anyways, carbs should be eaten in proportion to activity levels. The more active you are, the more you’ll need. If all you do is a workout and then sit behind a desk, you don’t need hundreds of carbohydrate grams a day.
15. You’re Lacking Willpower/Motivation
Motivation, or lack thereof is a big problem for many people, and weight stagnation certainly doesn’t help things. What do you do? You find that source of inspiration that got you started in the first place, or you pick one of these 101 ways to get motivated to lose weight. I also send out motivational tweets on Twitter, so if you could use a little extra motivation, perhaps you should click the button below and follow me there.
16. You Have a Medical Condition
Yes, there are medical reasons for why you are not losing weight; however, these affect a very small percentage of people. Understand that a low thyroid is many times an effect of a poor body composition and lifestyle choices, and not the cause. That being said, some people have legitimate medical issues, and if you think you’re one of them, definitely talk to your doctor. Medications can also make it more difficult to lose weight.
17. You Haven’t Learned the Art of Grocery Shopping
You’ve probably already heard the golden rule of shopping – shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where 95% of the healthy food is. A few other things to keep in mind are:
Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
Establish a shopping routine.
Make a list and plan your purchases beforehand.
Pay with cash. This forces you to stay within budget, and keeps the processed “extras” out of your basket.
18. You’re Over-Snacking
For many people snacking goes hand-in-hand with sitting at your desk, or watching TV. These calories add up fast. In addition, many of the 100 calorie snacks from the stores are just empty calories that do nothing to help you lose weight. Make snacking work for you. You don’t want it to just not hurt you, you want it to help you. If you’re intent on snacking, at least consider eating one of these healthy snack ideas instead.
19. Your Metabolism Has Adapted
Prolonged calorie restriction can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Your body adapts to calorie restriction by slowing its production of many hormones such as thyroid. You can combat this though through cheat meals, exercise, or any one of these other 8 ways to boost your metabolism and fat loss.
20. You Still Haven’t Changed Your Lifestyle
As I’ve preached over and over again, successful long-term weight loss doesn’t come from dieting, it comes from changing your lifestyle. If you’re the person who jumps on and off diets, you need to take a different approach to weight loss – one that focuses on lifestyle changes. Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living.

The 15 Best Fat-Burning Foods

Stock your fridge and pantry with these fat-burning essentials

January 13, 2012
1. WALNUTS All nuts do contain some amount of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid, but most only contain trace amounts. The real fat hero in most nuts is monounsaturated fats Walnuts are actually a rich source of omega-3s. One ounce provides almost 3 g of alpha-linolenic acid.
2. GINGER Used for centuries to help relieve digestive upset/disturbances, ginger can also help reduce inflammation, boost blood flow to muscles and aid muscle recovery It has also has been shown to boost calorie burn when eaten.
3. OATMEAL This very slow-digesting carb keeps blood sugar and insulin levels low, so fat burning can stay high. In fact, research has shown that athletes who consume slow-digesting carbs in the morning burn more fat throughout the entire day and during workouts than those consuming fast-digesting carbs.
4. AVOCADO The monounsaturated fats found in avocados are burned readily for fuel during exercise and actually encourage fat burning. Avocados also contain a very interesting carb called mannoheptulose, a sugar that. actually blunts insulin release and enhances calcium absorption, both of which are critical for encouraging fat loss.
5. SALMON This fish is one of the richest sources of the omega-3 essential fats EPA and DHA. Unlike flaxseeds, which provide a type of omega-3 that has to be converted into EPA and DHA, salmon provides your body a direct supply of them with no conversion required. This way you know you're getting a direct supply of the fats that turn on fat burning and block fat storage.
6. SOYBEANS (EDAMAME) Soybeans are the direct origin of soy protein, which has been shown to build muscle as efficiently as other forms of protein like whey and beef. Soy has also been shown to aid fat loss, possibly by decreasing appetite and calorieintake.
7. WATER This just may be your best ally in fighting body fat Studies have shown that drinking 2 cups of cold water can boostmetabolic rate by 30%. It has been estimated that drinking about 2 cups of cold water before breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a year can burn 17,400 extra calories, which translates into a little more than 5 pounds of bodyfat!
8. FLAXSEEDS They contain the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid. These omega-3 fats have been found to turn on genes that stimulate fat burning and turn off genes that increase fat storage.
9. GRAPEFRUIT A study from the Scripps Clinic (San Diego, California) reported that subjects eating half of a grapefruit or drinking 8 oz of grapefruit juice three times a day while maintaining their normal diet lost an average of 4 pounds over 12 weeks--and some lost more than 10 pounds without even dieting! Results were likely due to grapefruit's ability to reduce insulin levels and to a chemical in grapefruit known as naringin, which prevents fat from being stored in the body.
10. HONEY Yes, it's a sugar, but it's fairly low on the glycemic index. Keeping insulin levels low and steady is critical for maintaining a fat-burning environment in your body Honey is also a rich source of nitric oxide (NO) metabolites; ultimately that means it actually encourages fat release from the body's fat cells.
11. PEANUT BUTTER Another source of helpful monounsaturated fat that can actually aid fat loss. What's funny is that many food manufacturers make low-fat peanut butters! Of course, they replace these healthy monounsaturated fats with carbs, namely sugar. Avoid these and stick with natural peanut butters that don't add the type of fat you surely want to avoid--trans fats.
12. EGGS Yes, we listed eggs in the muscle-building foods. So how can it also be a fat-burning food? Research supports the notion that those who start their day with eggs not only eat fewer calories throughout the day but also lose significantly more bodyfat.
13.CHILI PEPPER FLAKES Hot peppers contain the active ingredient capsaicin, a chemical that can enhance calorie burning at rest as well as reduce hunger and food intake. The boost in calorie burn is particularly enhanced when capsaicin is used with caffeine.
14. BROCCOLI This fibrous carb doesn't provide many net carbs or calories, but it can make you feel full--one reason why it's a great food for getting lean. Broccoli also contains phytochemicals that can help enhance fat loss
15. OLIVE OIL Like avocados, olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats. Not only do they lower levels of the "bad" type of cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health, but they're also more likely to be burned as fuel, which means they're less likely to be sticking around your midsection.

Can Eating Fat Really Make You Lean?

This is a question that I get asked all the time by many of my clients and friends who are trying to lose fat/weight, gain muscle and embark on a healthier lifestyle.  By adding healthy fats to your diet, you give your body the go-ahead to let go of the storage of fat from your body because of the fact that your body ceases to feel deprived.
The key to including healthy fats in your diet is portion control.  Healthy fat normally takes 4 hours to digest which helps to keep your body feeling full for longer.  This prevents you from reaching for unhealthy, sugar and calorie loaded snacks for a quick-fix.
When you hear the word ‘fat’, what thoughts run through your mind? ‘Avoid at all costs’, ‘Will make me gain weight’, or ‘Not part of a healthy diet’? Many people still have a negative perception of dietary fat and believe that in order to look good, fat should be excluded from your meal plans.
Unfortunately, this thought process is flawed in many ways and if you don’t correct yourself, it could hold you back from not only promoting optimal health, but looking your best as well.
Let’s have a quick look at some common misconceptions you may have.
Dietary Fat Will Make You Gain Body Fat
Hands down the biggest reason most people limit their fat intake is because they feel fat will turn to fat. Remember that just because you eat fat, it doesn’t mean it automatically gets deposited as body fat. It is a lot more complicated than that. There is a whole digestion process that takes place and it’s only when you overdo it (or any other nutrient for that matter) that there’s a problem.
Even carbohydrates and protein can get converted into body fat if you take in more than you need. At the end of the day calorie and activity balance determines whether fat is gained or lost – so that’s what you must focus on.
At nine calories per gram it’s important to be aware that fat does contain over twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates (the others come in at four calories per gram each), so use this information as you calculate your daily calorie intake and plan for some smaller serving sizes of fat.
Low Fat Diets Are a Healthy Way To Eat
Over and over you’ve heard about high fat diets increasing your risk of developing heart disease and some forms of cancer. As obesity is rising at an alarming rate, more and more people are being told to limit the amount of fat they are consuming as a way to battle these two conditions.
What you must remember here is that in general it’s the highly processed high fat foods that are causing the problems. We are eating too many fast food meals of hamburgers and French fries, donuts, pastries, fried foods and creamy sauces, all which are laden with saturated and trans fats, often sugar, and not to mention calories as well.
Additionally, there are different types of fats, and the type you eat will have a large influence on how they impact the body. Too much saturated fat, the type that’s found in all the foods listed above, will act negatively in the body and promote disease. This is the type that also raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly, often leading to heart disease.
On the other hand, if you consume mostly monounsaturated or unsaturated fats, your overall blood cholesterol profile will improve, as will your overall health in general. Good fats will benefit your heart, metabolism and immune system function, protect the internal organs, regulate reproductive hormones, maintain body temperature, and help with digestion – amongst other things.
Common fat-containing foods
Different foods contain different ratios of fatty acids:
• Saturated fats – sources include fatty cuts of meat, full fat milk, cheese, butter, cream, most commercially baked products such as biscuits and pastries, most deep-fried fast foods, coconut and palm oil.
• Mono-unsaturated fats – sources include margarine spreads such as canola or olive oil based choices, oils such as olive, canola and peanut oils, avocado, and nuts such as peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews and almonds.
• Polyunsaturated fats – sources include fish, seafood, polyunsaturated margarines, vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn or soy oils, nuts such as walnuts and brazil nuts, and seeds.
Sources of omega-6 and omega-3 fats
Polyunsaturated fats can be divided into two categories:
• Omega-3 fats are found in both plant and marine foods, although it is the omega-3 fats from marine sources that have the strongest evidence for health benefits (including reducing the risk of heart disease). Plant food sources include flax seeds and oil, canola and soy oils and canola-based margarines. Marine sources include fish, especially oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.
• Omega-6 fats are found primarily in nuts, seeds and plant oils such as corn, soy and safflower.
How Fat Helps With Weight Loss
In the context of weight loss, dietary fat can prove to be quite helpful. Having the healthy variety in the correct serving size will help to provide a long-term, even supply of energy so you can make it through your day without experiencing energy lulls and tiredness.
Additionally, it is also the macronutrient that is broken down most slowly therefore will help prevent hunger from getting too high between meals. Anyone who’s ever been on a fat loss diet knows that when hunger strikes, will power often fails. All it takes is a small amount of fat in your meal to make a huge difference in satiety level.
Serve Up Your Fat Correctly
Now you know that healthy fat in moderation is perfectly acceptable (and in fact desirable) on any diet program, let’s talk about how to add it to your meal plan. The following are examples of one serving of healthy fats for the average 55-65kg (120-140lb) woman. Depending on your activity level, try and include two to three servings each day based on your own calorie requirements.
• 15 almonds
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• 1 tbsp olive oil or flaxseed oil
• 60g (2oz) avocado
• 10 half walnuts
• 100g (3.25oz) salmon (which is also a significant source of protein)
So don’t fear fat any longer. Be smart about the type of fat you choose and how much you dish up onto your plate. If you do, you may well be surprised to find yourself becoming significantly leaner as well as experiencing much more energy all day long.
Written by: Sue Heintze

I am going to try this AFTER competition!

Paelo Recipe.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

1 cup coconut flour
... 3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 eggs
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2.Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. In a separate bowl mix eggs, honey, oil, and vanilla on medium speed for 15 seconds. Slowly add flour mixture until combined, batter will be thick.
3.Use a large ice cream scoop to place batter in cupcake lined tin.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

1 cup creamed coconut, coconut mana, or coconut butter
3/4 cup coconut oil
14 ounce can coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 cup raw honey
3/4 cup cocao powder
1.Using whisk attachment, cream creamed coconut and oil until fluffy. Add coconut milk, honey, and cocao, mix until combined. Chill for 10-15 mins. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes after they have cooled. ...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

339 DAYS of my 365 days of transformation: Food is fuel. It is neither therapy, nor your enemy.

 The final 4 weeks

I am very excited about my last 4 weeks before competition.    I am meeting up with my competition coach tomorrow for my  4 week program.     These last 4 weeks will be the  hardest.   The pounds you lose during the final weeks can have a dramatic effect on  my overall appearance for competition day.     I can't believe it has been almost a full year that I have been on my fitness journey towards this competition.   

Workouts have been hard, tough but awesome.  Jared is really pushing me to the max.     
My diet is all meat and vegetables     Training has been tough, some way some how I find the energy to battle through the training.  Jared says I have HEART!    

I have been practicing my posing every chance I get.    In between sets at the gym, I pose, if I walk by a mirror, I pose, I go into the group EX room at the gym and practice posing!  PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

PUMPED!!!  to pick up my competition suit this  Friday.  I can't wait to see it all blinged up.  

What's next you say?  MORE of the same.  I will continue to workout with my trainer and I will continue to EAT CLEAN.   I have been pondering a few new goals.  Once I have reached this current goal, I'll decide which awesome new challenge I will go after.   


Just for the record....There is NO magic pill, there is no secret.   It is 80% proper nutrition and 20% exercise.  That is a FACT.  

You are what you eat.  If you keep good food in your fridge you will eat good food.   


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More and more these days, we’ve begun to hear the axiom that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise.  In fact, more trainers and experts have begun to talk about it online are starting to recommend this strategy for weight loss and weight maintenance. For those of us that have spent most of our adult lives as firm believers that exercise is the true key to weight loss or that more exercise can make up for an non-optimal diet, it can take some time before we come around to the idea that more exercise is NOT better, and in fact, nutrition is the key.
 It’s time for us to start paying attention to this 80% figure.  Most of us are really striving for lifelong weight maintenance, and for those of us women who’ve been back and forth on the weight loss yo-yo a few (or more than a few) times, it’s important to realize that going on a ‘diet’ is very different than nutrition.  Diets are temporary, so they don’t allow for that weight maintenance that we all want.  What we really need is a lifelong nutrition lifestyle change – one that doesn’t make you feel deprived so that you can stick with it for life.
So, if weight loss and weight maintenance are 80% diet, what’s the purpose of exercise?  I used to be one of those 2 hour cardio marathon girls…and despite repeated muscle and tendon injuries and even fractures, old habits die hard.  But, when I came to accept the “80 % diet” rule, I was actually relieved to discover that I could meet the ‘fitness’ side of my health goals with a whole lot less time at the gym.
It’s helped me a lot to think of exercise as having the purpose of giving my body the ‘shape’ I want, and the strength and stamina that help me feel healthier overall, rather than thinking of exercise as the vehicle to weight loss.  For example, my focus now is that exercise will get me the lean strong legs and flat belly I want.  It will also help me to feel better, since I’ll have more energy , feel stronger and BE stronger.  But weight loss?  That happens in the kitchen.
Here’s a few tips to help you maximize the 80% diet rule and shift your nutrition goals AND your fitness goals.
1) Eat Small Frequent  Meals
This is key, because these smaller meals spaced about every 3 hours throughout the day help you feel full throughout the day.  No more energy dips or sugar spikes that will have you bee-lining for the nearest unhealthy snack.   Eating small frequent meals also helps boost your metabolism.  If you go too long without eating your primitive metabolism actually goes into fat storage mode, because it’s not sure when the next meal is coming – so gotta conserve those calories rather than burn ‘em, right?  The worst case scenario is skipping breakfast, because you have already gone 8 hours not eating while you sleep, and then tack on 5 – 6 more hours not eating until lunch time.  Eating small, frequent meals also has an effect on hunger and weight loss hormones .  For more on that, see this post.
2) Fill Up On Vegetables
Once a person begins to eat more veggies, they find themselves actually craving them.  Vegetables are not only super nutritious, but their fiber and water help you feel full, too.  If you can, make fresh cooked veggies or salad half or more of your plate, meal or snack.  I like to challenge myself to include two vegetable sides (not including a small portion of starchy carbs) and some protein at every bigger meal.  A snack can be a single fruit or veggie plus a lean protein.
3) Get Your Protein In
Protein is the building block of your muscles – so if you’re working on that ‘shape’ with a fitness plan, protein will help you create it.  Here’s a post from last month on how much protein a woman should get, and how it can sometimes be difficult to meet those numbers.  Protein powder can help supplement your intake if needed. Protein’s help in satiety is also unmatched – every meal and snack should contain some protein to help keep you full.  A protein snack within 20 minutes of finishing your workout helps with fast muscle recovery.
4) Don’t Skip Meals or Restrict Calories
As mentioned above, skipping meals is the fastest way to slow your weight loss progress, because it sends the signal to your metabolism to ‘conserve’ calories rather than burn them.  Instead of skipping meals, eat smaller meals more often.  Be careful not to overly restrict calories too, which has a similar effect on the metabolism as skipping meals does.  Once your metabolism begins to realize you aren’t putting a whole lot of ‘energy’ (in the form of food) in, it’ll go into conservation mode.

5) Don’t Overtrain – It Won’t Help
While training overtime might burn more calories, it has some side effects that make it not worth your while.  First, overtraining, and the associated extra calorie burn will make you feel hungrier – lots hungrier – and more likely to overeat the wrong things.  It also leads to elevated cortisol hormone in your body which will cause muscle loss, inflammation and signals your body to ramp up fat storage.  Overtraining also leads to injuries – and often times those injuries keep you from working out AT ALL. 
All of these tenets are central pieces of the Athlean-XX for Women nutrition and fitness plan.  First, in our nutrition plan, we emphasize the importance of eating small, frequent, healthy meals full of healthy proteins, fruits and veggies, healthy fats and slow burning starchy carbs (things like brown rice, quinoa and potatoes).  We want Athlean-XX to be a plan you continue FOR LIFE, not just for 90 days, so we designed it to be flexible and realistic. There’s no calorie counting and no restriction here – because with healthy nutrition and frequent meals your body will send a signal to stop eating when you’re full, especially since it knows you’ll be eating again in just a few hours.  Our fitness plan contains 3 complete 30-minute workouts per muscle group (we work a different muscle group each day) to give you the ‘shape’ you want without overtraining.  Fear not, these circuit strength routines are super challenging and will get your heart pumping, so you’ll get cardio and strength at the same time!  Finally, both the nutrition plan and the fitness plan are FLEXIBLE.  On the Athlean-XX for Women nutrition plan, you can choose to follow the set 90 days of meals we provide you, or use our lists of healthy foods to create your own meals.  As for the fitness plan, our unique system containing both DVDs and workout cards allows you to work out at home or at the gym!  The FLEXIBILITY and EFFECTIVENESS ofAthlean-XX for Women make it a plan that you can follow for not just 90 days, but for life.  Join us on Team Athlean now!

Change It Up

I know you have heard about the usual tips to make you bigger, leaner, stronger and healthier. I thought it would be great to share some simple tips to change some things up from your regular routine.

1. Instead of always drinking water try drinking soda water like San Pellegrino. What is interesting about this fancy liquid is that it is alkaline and when you add freshly squeezed lemon it tastes fantastic! What we do know is that foods that are alkaline are awesome for your health and it is harder to find foods that are alkaline rather than acidic!

2. Try eating a food that you have not eaten before every couple of weeks! Even if it is a cheat meal try something new. If I did not incorporate this rule into my weekly rituals I would never have tried certain rice proteins, hemp seed milk, quinoa, and leeks.

3. Try having 5 colors on your plate. Next time you sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal with great company, take a look at your plate. Do you see color? Variety? For example chicken breast (white), Quinoa ( try red quinoa), a cup of spinach and some cut yellow peppers. Adding in different colors will add variety and will also add more nutrients to your day.

4. Find some Game! Are you looking for more nutrients in your day? Tired of eating chicken, beef and fish? Worried about all of the harmful additives in these foods? Try eating wild game meats like Elk, Buffalo, Venison, Ostrisch etc. If you can’t find these meats, we will have buffalo very soon! Wild game is high in nutrients and has no antibiotics, and no hormones, and is generally grass fed. Add it to your new foods that you must try!

5. Switch some of your supplements up. Always using fish oil?, try cod liver oil. Always using a multi vitamin try using a superfoods 2-3 a day instead of using a multi. Switching your supplements around will give you nutrients from different sources. You could notice a difference in your energy, recovery, immunity and moods. You will still get the same nutrients but from different sources.
These are just some simple changes that you can make to your lifestyle that will add variety! We all get comfortable in our day to day routine and often we forget to spice it up a bit.

10 Food Additives You Should Avoid

What food additives are in your daily diet and should you be rethinking eating foods that contain them?
When it comes to food additives they are generally anything but natural in both their make up as well as why they are used. Food additives are usually added to help with processing, packaging and preserving foods. When you are at the grocery store, have you ever realize there are quite a few foods that can sit on the shelf for quite a while? Even things like processed meats seem to last for quite a while in the store and then your fridge, seems a little unnatural doesn’t it? What is tough to swallow is the average north american family spends about 80% of their food budget on processed foods! The worst part of this statistic is the health consequences.
Let’ have a look at some of the top food additives to avoid:

1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG / E621)

We have all heard of this one before, MSG is an amino acid used to enhance flavors in salad dressings, chips, soups, noodle bowls, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. A number of studies have revealed that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. Another important factor when it comes to MSG is that it effects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengages the “I’m full” function. This is why there can often be weight gain in those consuming MSG.
MSG can be found in: Chinese food (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome ) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners, alot of noodle bowls, cold cuts (sandwich meat)

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup or Glucose/Fructose

In the US it is known as High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and in Canada Glucose/Fructose. In both countries it is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one ingredient to help sweeten foods and beverages. It also is the number one source of calories in north american diets. You can find HFCS (G/F) in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects. Not only that, the chemical mixtures used in HFCS introduce mercury into the mix which has been proven to cause brain damage in those who consume it.
HFCS or G/f can be found in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals

3. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame, (E951) also known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is often found in foods labeled “diet” or “sugar free”. Aspartame is not only carcinogenic but is a serious neurotoxin. Aspartame produces Methanol when in the body which then converts into formaldehyde. While it is often believed that formic acid is the issue with Aspartame, it is actually formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a serious neurotoxin and carcinogen. According to the EPA, Methanol is considered a cumulative poison which means is accumulates in the body and very little is excreted each time it is consumed. and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumors. Read more about the dangers of Aspartame here.
Aspartame can be found in: diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello (and over gelatins), desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breathmints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste

4. Common Food Dyes

Common food dyes are not only found in foods but also other products we put on our bodies. Studies show that artificial colorings contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Alternate studies have also linked food colorings to cancer. Watch out for these ones:
Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)
Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage
Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods

Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)
Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission
Found in: fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!
Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)
Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.
Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!

5. Trans Fat

While it can be naturally occurring in animals, trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Trans fats can most often found in deep-fried fast foods and processed foods. Trans fats are created from the process of hydrogenation which is why foods like margarine or products that contain other hydrogenated oils are not a good choice for consumption. A number of studies have shown that trans fat increases LDL(“bad) cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol. This increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent, a move that effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.
Trans fats can be found in: margarine, other hydrogenated oils, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods

6. BHA and BHT (E320)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. They both effect the neurological system of the brain, contribute to altering behavior and increase the risk of cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
Both can be found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello

7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring founds in favorites such as bacon and hot dogs. Pretty much any processed meat or sandwich meat you buy at the deli will contain Sodium Nitrate. While it sounds harmless, it is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. Once there, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that find their way into the bloodstream and cause a number of issues with internal organs- the liver and pancreas being most affected. Interestingly enough, this product was motioned to be banned by the FDA but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. It is interesting to note that we destroy health simply to allow industry to flourish.Other than preservation this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It helps to make old, dead meats look fresh and pleasing to eat.
Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite can be found in: hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat

8. Potassium Bromate

Another one on the list that we are probably all subject to given it is household staple- Potassium Bromate. It is an additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer. Even small amounts in bread can create quite serious problems for humans. It is important to note that glutenous bread blocks nutrient receptors in the intestines which hinders the bodies ability to intake nutrients from other foods.
Potassium Bromate can be found in: breads

9. Sodium Sulfite (E221)

This additive is often why many people have trouble drinking store bought wine. It can also be found in other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately 1 in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites in food and wine. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.
Sodium sulfite can be found in: Wine, processed foods and dried fruit

10. Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

Sulfur additives are toxic and in the United States of America, the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited their use on raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.
Found in: beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.

Something to Think About

When we look at the majority of the health problems we experience today, is it not true that the majority, if not all, can be linked directly to the foods we eat? Is it worth debating whether these substances are good or bad when they aren’t natural or naturally occurring in the foods to begin with? Is it possible that maybe our food system has become more about convenience and not about health whatsoever? I think it is important to think about these things as what we eat does in fact affect what happens in our bodies in a HUGE way. Whether or not these substances will heavily affect you in the next 5 or 10 years, one thing is certain, they are not helping out your health in any way and considering most of this stuff is found in processed foods or HIGHLY acidic foods, we shouldn’t be consuming them anyway if good health is our goal.


Peanut Butter Fro-Yo

Had to share one of my favouite treats! I usually like to have this in the evening after supper to tame that sweet tooth of mine. This treat is healthy and feels like an indulgence! Plus it is so yummy! An easy recipe to whip up with just 4 clean ingredients of Greek Yogurt, Unsweetened Coco powder, Natural Peanut Butter and Stevia. **I have also made it with a 1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder too to meet my protein requirements for the day. It still works out just fine!


  • 1 serving of Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Unsweetened Coco Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Natural Peanut Butter
  • Stevia to taste (I usually use two packets)


~ Combine ingredients in a freezer safe bowl. Mix everything together…I like to almost whip it up into a fluffy pudding texture.

~ Put a cover or a lid on the bowl and pop into the freezer for about 30 minutes or so….if you can wait that long!

~ When I take it out of the freezer I like to let it sit for a few minutes to thaw.

What you end up with is almost mousse like…SO GOOD!
Yield: 1 serving
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes to freeze


I read blogs about fitness and nutrition all the time.  I have been experiencing some "not so nice" comments lately. (yes..really)   I read this blog and thought I would share it.

Jealousy. It’s an ugly word. I am sure we’ve all experienced it. Either we’ve been the ones who’s been jealous of something someone either has or has done, or we have been on the receiving end of someone who’s been jealous of us.
Sometimes we might not even realize that it’s jealous we are struggling with.
What I want to challenge us all to do is celebrate and appreciate the strengths in others. Be happy for them. Be excited for them. It’s so easy to get caught up in the, “Why not me?” mindset which only makes us feel that much more worse, and its an attitude that without reigning it  back in can spiral out of control.
Jealousy can damage friendships and relationships with family. It can get in the way. It can force us to put up self-imposed barriers. It can cause paranoia leading us to think things we otherwise wouldn’t. When jealous we tend to rationalize and make excuses of why we don’t have or can’t be whatever it is that that person can’t. And the end results oftentimes leads to a strained relationship.
Let’s put this in perspective. Yesterday I had the chance to spot a friend at the gym. She is younger, 26, and a former athlete in high school and possibly even college. Not sure. Yesterday she hit a new PR. And it seems like those PRs are coming a lot more frequently than mine. She is a beast in the gym. Yesterday while doing Shoulder Presses (sitting), she put up 50′s. Not 50′s as in total – 50′s as in each gripped hand and completed a full set of around 6 reps. I spotted her during the 45′s, but my hubby came over and spotted her with the 50′s.
Was I a little bit jealous? Sure? Hell ya! I wish it were me. I’d love to be putting up that much weight of course. But, is it going to affect my relationship towards my good friend? No way! I am happier than ever for her and feel so incredibly proud that she has come such a long way in the past year (she is a new first-time mom). Lifting as we are now is still relatively new to her, but she is putting in the work like no other gal I know, and it is definitely paying off. Her strength is through the roof, and I love it. I am happy for her.
But yeah, I still wish it was me. What do I do with this admiration? Let it destroy me? Let it get to me? No way.
I channel it in to drive and motivation. It just makes me all that much more determined to get my own butt in gear and hit some of my own PRs. There’s a good chance I won’t ever be putting up 50′s in a Shoulder Press, but who knows? Even if I just exceed my prior best in 5lb increments at a time, isn’t that something? Isn’t that still progress? And maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have been so driven if I hadn’t seen my good friend do it first? There’s a good chance. She’s moved up the deadline for my goals in my opinion. Seeing it first hand has lit the fire from a glimmer to a full-on flame.
Another example. So let’s just say you recently competed with one of your good friends. She placed top 5, and maybe you didn’t. Now how do you feel? Does it hurt? Did it get to you? Most likely. This is a much harder example to internalize and channel in a positive direction, but it’s all the more reason why it’s so important that you do. Friendship is so much more important than any trophy, than any stage, than any race, or any award. Friendship is what gets us through the hard times. Friends are there when the excitement of a trophy wears off. If you find that through competition, any kind, you’re competing with a friend, stop. Right now. Acknowledge it, and change your mindset. Work at changing your mindset. And if you have been the one on stage with a friend who placed (that day) better than you, recognize it for what it is – the outcome of what the judges were looking for that very day. Be supportive of your friend and give her all the praise you can as any good friend would. Make it meaningful and heartfelt. It will be hard, but WE CAN DO HARD THINGS. I actually have that saying hanging in my house. Doing what is right does not always mean doing what is easy.
Let the jealousy subside. Let the love take over.
I really do believe in Karma. If you do good for others, good will come back to you.
If you support others in times that are tough even when it’s something we truly truly want for ourselves, others will support and love us during our time to shine.

This photo with Mario Lopez was taken at last year's OPA competition (June 16, 2012).  I saw this photo and said ENOUGH!    That is the day I started my 365 days of transformation.    By the way....I am freaking proud of myself!  BAM!

                                                 May 2013                      June 2012

 photo below 2009                                                                                   Now