Fitness woman's physique.... Sexy not bulky

The Biggest Mistake Women Make in the Gym

When it comes to working out and truly transforming your body, you have to understand this one simple truth:

YOU MUST LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS

Now that we have cleared this up, I want to talk about the biggest mistake women make in the gym…. lifting light weights or, worse, no weight at all. It blows my mind when I see women, usually the same women, at the gym all the time and they look exactly the same. Yes, diet is definitely a factor however, the main reason is because these women come to the gym and do an hour of steady state cardio 5-6 days a week.. and nothing else. Lets take a look at why this is a bad idea.

1) OUR BODES WERE NOT DESIGNED FOR ENDURANCE “STEADY STATE” CARDIO. I know I’m going to get flack from all the runners out there but from a physiological standpoint, our bodies and metabolisms were NOT created to endure such a stress. In fact, the mere act of endurance cardio not only causes an increase in the stress hormone, Cortisol, it breaks down muscle tissue and signals the body to store fat too. Think about the days when our genes evolved, back when we were hunters and gatherers who lived in caves and foraged for food. Did you see cavemen doing 5ks? NO!  They were either resting, walking through the forest looking for the next meal or sprinting/fighting for their lives from a savage beast lol. Our genes were designed for high intensity bursts of exercise followed by adequate rest periods…. the antithesis of endurance cardio; anything else is detrimental to our metabolic machines and can cause massive damage if done chronically… Its no surprise hypothyroidism is rampant.

2) MUSCLE IS YOUR METABOLIC MACHINE. If you do not lift heavy, challenging weights you will not increase your muscle, burn fat or look defined. Lifting weights not only increases your muscle tissues, which utilize more fat and burn calories while you rest, it actually creates a cascade of fat burning hormones that tells your body to switch into fat burning physiology. So endurance running = fat storing and weight lifting = fat burning. Just look at the fitness and bikini models who have the bodies you dream about. They lift HEAVY weights and they are tiny. Get rid of the notion that you need to lose weight and start worrying about gaining muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the more you will start to tighten up and shrink in size…. and don’t be shocked if your weight doesn’t go down. I’ve gained 10 lbs and I am in the best shape of my life.

3) YOU MUST MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ADEQUATE MUSCLE TO SUPPORT ANY KIND OF CARDIO.  The biggest mistake a lot of people, and uneducated personal trainers make is not taking the body through proper muscular adaptation phases FIRST, before starting any kind of cardio. This is why body builders have a “building” phase where they work at putting on muscle and subsequently switch to a “cutting’ phase where they lean out. Most people cannot accomplish both at  the same time, successfully. In order to get the best results from your work outs you need to lift ( heavy) weights first and then once you have the muscle to support it you can add in cardio; preferably HIIT.

Now, I know I am saying to go lift heavy weights but PLEASE make sure to do your research or hire a *knowledgeable* personal trainer who can not only teach you the proper form but can help you decide what exercises are best for your goals. As great as lifting is, you can severely hurt yourself if not done correctly. You tube has tons of videos on proper form so just make sure its from a credible source. Lastly, don’t be intimidated by the weight room, you will eventually figure it all out. You cant expect change if you don’t change what you are doing.

Get lifting :)

 

 

SO YUMMY!

Clean Never Tasted So Dirty….Paleo Approved Chocolate Mousse!

I came across this recipe and I knew immediately the kids would love it! I cannot have any right now (BOO!) but I did have a tiny taste and its delicious!! The best part, it literally takes les than 3 minutes to make!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 Tbs organic cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp Organic honey

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl with beaters and that’s it!!

Additional tips:

  • You can add unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk if it’s a bit too thick
  • Make sure to mix extra well if you have picky kids so they don’t see the traces of avocado or banana… they will never know!
  •  Also try freezing for a gelato like treat

ENJOY!! :)

 

Paleo Approved Chicken Curry…

This is one of my favorite paleo recipes to make for dinner because its fairly simple and really good. I make it paleo by substituting rice with cauliflower rice.. I actually prefer it this way and so do the kids!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can organic coconut milk
  • 1 small onion, rough chop
  • 2 tbs fresh ginger, rough chop
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 1 lb chicken breast cubed
  • 2 cups of carrots, zucchini, peas or green beans washed and cut
  • 1 head of cauliflower, diced up very small
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  1. Add olive oil to pan #1 and turn to med heat. Add cauliflower and a tiny bit of water or chicken stock and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a blender, combine 1/4 cup water with the onion, garlic and ginger. Make into a paste. Turn pot #2 to med-high heat
  3. Pour paste mixture into pot #2 and cook for 1-2 minutes until its fragrant
  4. Mix in curry powder, let it cook for 10 seconds and then add can of coconut milk ( make sure to shake well before opening)
  5. Turn down to med heat and add in vegetables and cook for 5-8 minutes
  6. Add in  chicken and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

When both pots ready, pour curry mixture over cauliflower rice and add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.

There is usually not much left when I cook this!

Paleo Approved Chicken Curry

Paleo Approved Chicken Curry

 

 

 

 

i love wbff

If You Want the Rainbow, You Have to Put Up With the Rain…

It’s that time again! I took a good 9 day hiatus from any kind of dieting and/ intense work outs but I started back up again Wednesday. And for good reason. I have decided to switch federations to the WBFF ( World, Beauty, Fitness, Fashion) and compete in my first show in August! To paint you a picture of the difference between federations, the league I was competing in was equivalent to the performing arts center here in Tampa… and I am moving on up to Broadway!! The WBFF is much more glamorous and pageant like so I am very excited about this new venture. Their shows are elaborate and televised and held in huge venues, like Planet Hollywood in Vegas. And to top it off, I signed with Total Body Advantage, the biggest team in the WBFF, so I have some amazing coaches on my side. Another remarkable difference between these leagues is the camaraderie of the WBFF athletes and teammates. Everyone is so positive, supportive and helps promote each other. Its truly amazing and I am very thankful to be part of it!

I am currently awaiting my new plan but I know this plan is going to be no joke. I made great improvements on my last program but I am ready to get to the next level and I will do what it takes to get there. My goal is to turn Pro so I have to go to this show with my best package because their will be a ton beautiful athletes competing with me on stage. I know its going to take doing something I have never done before, but I am ready.

I will begin posting my food logs, work outs and weekly progress pics for you all again next week :)

I will leave you with my favorite quote because I am a huge believer that if you want something badly enough, you have to be willing to endure what it takes to get it… you need hard work, determination, positivity, belief and most importantly, perseverance.

” If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain”

 

Get out from behind bars….one thing that could be keeping you from losing the fat

Want to start finally losing body fat and see all of your hard work at the gym pay off? Then stop eating bars….

Yes, my little pun was intended. I feel like everywhere I go I am surrounded by delicious and convenient health food bars. From raw bars, to protein bars, energy bars, fiber bars.. you name it, they make it; and they are all in pretty little wrappers ready for us to scoop up and eat on the go. This is especially great for busy moms, like me… At least I thought.

I have come to realize these delicious little  ” healthy” snacks are actually not healthy at all…. even the supposed super healthy ones! Plus they are especially devastating to one’s fat loss efforts. Why is this, you ask?

Lets take a closer look:

1) Most bars have very little protein….. even the healthy protein bar options have less than 10 grams - which is nothing if you take into account the massive amount of carbs and sugar they tend to contain… Unless, of course, you are talking about the completely processed, hydrogenated and disgusting protein bars that have 24 grams of whey protein which will cause massive stomach inflammation and make you acidic. I wouldn’t eat one of those nasty bars if my life depended on it.. yuk!

2) Look at the ingredient label on the bars. If it has more than 6 ingredients and you can’t pronounce them, put it down and run. Some of those protein bars are like cancer snacks… it makes me sick to think that people eat them on a regular basis. …And you would be shocked how many bars that claim health benefits have things like artificial sweeteners in them. Your body isn’t designed to eat a bunch of processed chemicals made to taste like food….If it tastes too good to be true.. it usually is. Read the label.

3) Almost all bars have TONS of carbs and sugars. This not only spikes your blood sugar ( think fat block), it sets the stage for you to become really hungry shortly after you eat it. I can attest to this first hand… they taste good but they never satisfy my hunger like real food; so I basically end up eating empty, devastating calories. I have yet to find a truly healthy bar which isn’t chemical laden and has lower carbs and higher protein. Still looking…

So the moral of the story: eat real food. If you want it, work for it! get up earlier and make your meals ahead so you have food and you are prepared. I promise you wont miss them when they are gone. Especially when you are looking at your awesome abs in the mirror :)

Selection of energy bars in a health food store.

Food Logs- Wednesday… Yep, I Did It!

Yes, as everyone wanted to know, I had a cheat meal after the show… I actually had a couple! I ate amazing pulled pork and sweet potato fries on Sunday, followed up by ice cream. This was following my checkers escapade after the show Saturday night! Wow, was I a hot mess after though…. my body did not like that type of food.; in fact, I am actually fighting a sore throat right now as we speak so I think my body flat-out rejected it! I have been trying to stay “clean”, or rather, continue eating as clean as possible but I am also giving myself some slack this week because I know when I get back from NYC this weekend I will start my prep for the next show in July. And it will be hardcore because I will only have 3 weeks!! And everyone knows you cannot go to NYC without eating the AMAZING food there… and I will definitely be enjoying some wine as well!

Yesterday, I ate really well during the day but I decided after the past week and being so busy with everything I did not want to go home and cook and clean again after I got home late from Vinny’s breakdancing class so I said screw it….I ordered pizza! I had been looking forward to eating pizza the entire time I was training for  the show but I didn’t get a chance to have any this weekend. So I ate it, and it was amazing!! I think I have decided If I am ever in the electric chair and had to have one last meal it would be pizza. Yep, cheesy, garlicky, saucy pizza. Ok, I just bitch slapped myself lol

On to my food logs…

  • B- fresh greens juice; protein shake;  1 piece paleo bread w a tiny bit of almond butter
  • S- PWO - protein shake; plain steel cut oatmeal;celery and PB
  • L- 3 oz grilled chk;1/4 sweet potato
  • S-kind bar
  • S-3 oz grilled chk;asparagus
  • D- 3 pieces Pizza!! It did have lots of veggies on it ;)
pizza

mmmm…delicious cheesy pizza in my belly

Hell Week and Beyond….Lessons I’ve Learned From Competing In My First Fitness Show

Hello again! I am finally back to a somewhat normal routine after what competitors have coined ”hell week” to get ready for my show Saturday. For those of you who don’t follow me on facebook or instagram, I ended up placing 4th in my class… not bad for my first time.

I have to say, it was quite the experience and I definitely have an even larger respect for fitness and bodybuilding athletes because I have now learned how much dedication and hard work it takes to get ready for these shows. Not only do you have to get your mind under control and your body in amazing shape, the successful athletes spend a lot of time learning the intricacies of the sport, like exactly the kind of physiques and attributes the judges prefer in each division and how to train their bodies to get that way, the posing techniques, dieting techniques, suit colors, styles etc.. there is actually much more involved than just looking fit and in shape. All in all, I think it was truly an amazing experience and I am very glad I did it. In fact, I have decided I am going to do another show in July…. a national qualifier… go big or go home! lol :)

Here are a few random thoughts I wanted to share with you about lessons I’ve learned form competing in my first show:

1) JUST DO IT. I know it’s not very profound, but I’ve come to have a new appreciation for the Nike slogan now because I’ve realized that sometimes you need to stop thinking about something and just do it! Seriously, if you really want to do something, stop doubting yourself and letting fear get in your way. This can apply to so many things in life… your fitness, health, career, sports, dreams, passions….. Just make a decision and don’t look back. I’m sure you will surprise yourself by what you are capable of; I know I did.

2) LEARN WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE HUNGRY. If you are like me, you probably think being hungry means when you haven’t had a snack between lunch and dinner. But I can tell you, this past week I actually learned what it felt like to be truly hungry and it opened my eyes to my relationship with food. While I already knew this, or thought I did, I realized the purpose of food is just to give us energy and nourish our bodies…. it’s not meant to make us feel good and comfortable like most of us use to for. I felt what it was like to actually be  truly hungry and to have such low energy from a lower calorie and lower carb diet and it made me realize how much I appreciate food! It’s kind of funny I know, but I was also really saddened by it because I was thinking to myself how we ( Americans) have such a gluttonous relationship with food while there are people and children in the world who are perpetually starving. Pretty sad when you think about. And I can also tell you that being thirsty is a million times worse than being hungry… thankfully I only had to experience this type of thirst for one night.

3) STOP PICKING YOURSELF APART. Lets face it, we all have flaws. I know the majority of women out there probably do what I used to ( and still sometimes) do which is focus mainly on those flaws instead of all of your amazing attributes. I don’t know why I was/am so hard on myself.. I think my issues are because I was a competitive gymnast for 12 years…. and in gymnastics, it’s all about keeping perfect physiques….. so maybe that negatively impacted me as an adult.. who knows. Sometime in the last year, however, I just finally started letting it go and being confident in my own skin and this competition took it to another level. My old self would be totally negative about my body and my fitness and my look etc… however, I stopped the self-deprecating dialogue that goes on in my own head and started focusing in the things I do like. The results, I have to say, were amazing! It was like suddenly all the things I hated about body/looks just went away and I felt totally confident; so confident I decided to do a bikini contest!  Kind of weird I know, but it totally works and its very liberating.  And this positive attitude helped me in this competition. Part of me thought I still didn’t have the body to do this show but I just stayed positive and did it and I cannot believe the response I have gotten from everyone. It’s still blowing my mind. I wanted to discuss this because not only am I totally guilty of doing this, I work with and am friends with so many beautiful women who constantly put themselves down. It drives me crazy because they are all amazing!! Anyway, this was definitely the best lesson I took from my entire experience competing. I hope my sharing it will encourage you to do the same. Let it all go… You are beautiful!

4) THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. I think this is important in so many aspects of life. As one of my favorite quotes states ” if you are not green and growing, you are ripe and rotten”… so true. Having a positive mental attitude about your weaknesses and faults can only make you stronger because rather than being defensive and emotional, you can be open and receptive and turn those weaknesses into strengths. This has always been my attitude and I plan on keeping it for in this sport as well. I got my critiques back from the judges and if I want to be successful on a national level and eventually get my pro card, I have to tighten up my glutes more. So guess what? Operation tighter glutes in full effect!!

Here are a few pics for you to see… the first is my front pose, second my back pose and current glute conditioning and third is what I want my glutes to look like. It will happen!!

 

Front pose right and left

 

back pose

 

Back Pose

bikini glutes

 

 

 

 

Inside the Head of a Typical Gym-goer….You’ve Been Here… Admit It

 

THIS IS YOU:

You finally muster up the motivation to go to the gym. When you get there, you walk into the bright fluorescent room, looking around at all the super fit people, in their stylish underarmour gym clothes and matching nikes, working out on the press machines, cross core  and using free weights .  Some of them are even doing these crazy jumping exercises that look like absolute inanity..… but you ‘ll definitely pass on those because you’re afraid  might pull a groin muscle . You decide you are going to attempt something other than just the eliptical today so you walk up to a cable machine looking it over to try and figure out how to set it up properly. You see a bunch of knobs and pulleys but you can’t exactly figure out how it how it needs to go by the first glance so you just pull one of them- but it doesn’t come out; it actually won’t even budge or rotate and inch. As you sit here in a wrestling match with this knob, you start to break a sweat and your hand starts hurting from your relentless twisting. You realize everyone else in the gym is probably looking at you and laughing to themselves, so you stop. You know you might as well have a big name tag on your forehead now that says NOVICE so you decide to leave the weights and walk over to the ab mats to try something there. As you approach, you see what seem to be several different torture devices and a bunch of balls. You think they look easy enough to use so you grab torture device a) the ab roller, and sit down to try to get positioned correctly. As you are getting into the position, you see the old guy on the ab roller next to you with his legs in the air, thrusting so hard you are worried he is going to break a hip bone. You think to yourself “is that the way I’m supposed to use this thing? “ Unsure, you keep attempting to get your neck positioned correctly. To your other side is a really skinny woman, in cool spandex of course, doing these really strange stretching poses and breathing techniques that look like some form of weird exercise meditation.  Even though she is in amazing shape, you have no idea what she is doing so just you continue to attempt this weird ab contraption. You put your legs up in the air and pull hard with your arms and your neck gets pushed forward and you start rocking away. And you’re rocking… and you suddenly think “I’m not really feeling this in my abs. How fast am I supposed to go?”… so you keep doing them anyway because you know you already look like you have no idea what you’re doing from your tryst with the cable machine, so you can’t stop now… that would look even worse; you have to keep going for at least another minute. So you keep thrusting, but at this exact moment your hips and legs start shaking.  You say to yourself  “ crap, keep it together for just another minute” but the shake starts to get so bad that you now look like you have a mild form of epilepsy. So you stop… and get up and walk over to the elliptical.

Not quite how you thought this machine works, huh?

Don’t worry, we have all been there at one point or another too ;)

Workouts: Monday-Wednesday…..Eat Clean, Get Lean..Helloooo Abs!

I know this is my work out log but I have to begin by saying abs are 120% made in the kitchen! I have been pretty happy with my core before this week but the diet is really making all of my hard work show :) Here is my progress pic today, again with no tan and no filter. I can’t wait to see what I look like with my Oompah Loompah tan!…. You can see my abs are totally starting to pop…

This is my 3rd day of the final week before my first NPC show...

This is my 3rd day of the final week before my first NPC show…

Because I am on such a strict diet and its so close to the show, I have taken the intensity of my work outs down from about 60-70% Monday to about 30% today. This week is really all about the diet more than the work outs. I want to be nice and lean but not super shredded because that’s not a good attribute in the bikini division. From this point on I will be resting so my body can do its thing… wish me luck!!

Monday- 45 min full body with plyo

Tuesday- 20 min cardio- 30 minutes arms/shoulders

Wednesday- 15 minutes of very low intensity glute exercises.

Food Logs: Monday- Wed… Getting Stage Ready!

This final week I am on a very strict meal plan to get my body stage ready for Saturday. The goal is to make sure my muscles look full and I look lean and tight. If you have ever wondered why fitness competitors look so lean and ripped on stage and then look much softer after, it’s because of this last week’s process. While I usually share my food in detail, I’m not going to get too specific this week because my coach actually designed it for me and its kind of proprietary in its nature. I can tell you this though, IT’S ABSOLUTELY INSANE!! lol.  It involves carb cycling and water depletion… and it’s not high in calories to boot; let’s just say I barely made it through the day yesterday!  The good news is I only have to suck it up for 3 days because the rest of the week will be much easier; so I am half way there, baby! I am actually feeling better today than I did yesterday so I can’t complain. I am determined to look my best up there and like I told my husband, if I had two kids I can do anything.

The fact that I was fairly lean and ate pretty healthy to begin with really helped me prep for this show. I also think it helped my body to respond so quickly to my training without taking drastic measures like so many competitors do. It’s crazy but there are so many women ( and men) who do extreme diets and contest prep for months to get ready for their shows. By extreme, I’m talking about eating less than 1200 calories a day and doing 2-3 hours of cardio, in addition to their work outs. I don’t even understand how they survive! I mean, I’m only on a more strict diet plan for 3 days and I’m struggling lol and I’m barely doing 30 minutes of cardio! I’ve spoken to a few who have followed a ridiculous regimen like that and they all say the same exact thing:  it completely destroyed their metabolisms and now they are a mess. It’s just crazy to me to think they would subject themselves to that type of brutal regimen for long periods of time and for what? The possibility of getting a pro- card? My coach and I have the same philosophy in regards to contest prep and it’s that you can get into competition condition without the use of extreme diets, stimulants, work outs, cardio etc… and the whole weighing and measuring crap is for the birds! Seriously, who has time for all that? I certainly don’t. I will be standing on the stage ( hopefully with a trophy!!) proud to say I prepared for this competition in the safest, healthiest way possible and without spending all of my time slaving over food prep ;)

As I promised, I’ll post pics every day this week so you can see my progress. Here I am after my work out today….you will see my body start to look more and more hard as the week progresses..

This is day 2 of the final week before competing in my first NPC show this Saturday! My obliques are starting to pop out nicely

This is day 2 of the final week before competing in my first NPC show this Saturday! My obliques are starting to pop out nicely