Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bikini Contest Prep: 10 Weeks Out

Just popping in to share a progress picture I snapped today- 10 weeks out from my bikini contest.  I am seeing good progress, but I also am standing tall and "sucking in"! ;)  I hope that in the next few weeks, I won't have to try so hard! 


I'm happy to be back home so that I can stick to my eating and training routine.  Last week I was off my game with the trip to Dallas and then the Gala on Saturday night.  But, being home, I can eat my food and on schedule.  It's a lot of food to eat, but I'm hungry every few hours, so it's perfect right now.   

Also, while I was gone, we didn't get much sleep, staying up with late-night pillow chats that I wouldn't miss, but paid for when I got home.  I'm back on my sleep schedule now (which is CRUCIAL for the workouts I'm doing.  I notice a huge difference in the difficulty level of my workouts when I haven't gotten enough sleep.  Like, I want to quit and go home, but my trainer keeps me going.   I tend to be a night owl, but I find myself being ready for bed by 10:00 p.m. now.

I have to do posing practice for the show too.  I went to one session and it was terrible.  My coach said I was stiff and couldn't twist enough- she said I needed to get massages to loosen up . . .   My next posing practice is Friday, and I hope it goes better!  It feels ridiculous, but I don't want to embarrass myself on stage.

My trainer measured my body fat last Thursday, and it was down to 21% (from 25% when he first measured it).  I also lost 3 pounds.  I'm not sure how accurate the measurement it, and I really want to go to a facility to get it tested with the Bod Pod y'all recommended, but I haven't made time for it yet.  

I found the first picture I posted when I started working out again after the New Year.  It was taken on February 6, 2014.   The second picture is the one I took today, April 29, 2014- so just about 3 months apart.  And I only started with my trainer 5 weeks ago.  I'm wearing the same sports bra in both pictures.  Seeing it this way makes me realize how far I've come.  I'm proud of my efforts!


Okay, off to bed!  Gotta get that sleep!  Thank you for following in this journey with me!







Sunday, April 27, 2014

Eating Healthy When Traveling

With 10 weeks until my fitness bikini competition, I'm getting a little freaked out.  The meal plan I'm on is really tough, mainly because it's boring to eat the same thing over and over and over.  I have not been perfect, but I'm doing pretty well.  I flew to Dallas for two days on Thursday and in preparation for the trip, I brought food so I could stay on my meal plan.  My flight was only an hour, so I packed my small skillet (perfect size for my protein pancake), Pam coconut oil spray, ground oats (for the pancake), brown rice, and protein powder in my checked luggage.  My local friend Cassie brought me frozen chicken, veggies, and egg whites. 


We lucked out and landed in the penthouse suit of the hotel that was equipped with a stove and microwave, so I was able to prepare some meals.  But, nothing is easy.  The room was so high-tech that we couldn't get the stove working and the engineer had to come 3 times to get it to work.   My protein pancake had to be cooked in a special skillet designed for the stove and pretty much fell apart, but I ate it anyway.  (My pancake is just 1/2 cup of ground oats, 3/4 cup egg whites, 1/4 cup water and cinnamon).  I have been "cheating" and eating it with a trace amount of natural peanut butter spread on top. 


My chicken, rice, and veggies were easy to microwave and I had that several times during the trip.


But, I wasn't perfect.  I ate pita chips and hummus, small part of a chocolate bar, and a glass of champagne at the pool.  


Thursday night at dinner I ordered a buffalo burger with no bun and a side salad without dressing. We  ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Friday night, and although I ordered iced tea (when everyone had margaritas) and skipped the chips and queso, I ordered grilled chicken with onions, rice and beans and devoured it.  


Saturday morning before my flight, I didn't have time to eat breakfast before heading to the airport (besides an apple and peanut butter) so  before my plane took off I grabbed a turkey sandwich and just ate the turkey out of it since the bread was soggy.  And I had my Starbuck's iced tall 2-pump mocha on Saturday and Sunday.  Yikes.



At our school Gala on Saturday night, I had two glasses of champagne and on Sunday I had a piece of pizza!

I know that strictly sticking to the meal plan is key, so I'm going to be on it this week.  Tomorrow is a new day!  Last Friday I got my body fat tested again by my trainer and it went down from 25% to 21% in just a couple weeks, which is good progress.  I've found the best way to get through sticking to the meal plan is to just put it on auto-pilot.  Don't think about it, just do it.  The good results I'm seeing keep me motivated to continue.

I'll post a progress pic soon!



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sculpted Ab Routine (Just 3 Exercises)

As I mentioned yesterday when I shared my meal plan, I'm currently 12 weeks out from my first bikini competition and this week, I start doing my ab exercise routine everyday.  I have definitely seen improvements in the last two weeks in the toning/tightening of my stomach. I'm sure it's a combination of my clean meals, workouts/cardio, ab exercises, and perhaps this cream I've been using.  The picture below was snapped on Monday morning (April 15, 2014).  


Now that I'm 12 weeks out, I'm doing my ab exercises every day.  I do 3 exercises in a row, and repeat them 4 times.  These exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home too.  

1.  Leg Raises- 20 reps
When I'm at the gym, I do leg raises on the roman chair.  

via

At home, you can do them lying on the floor.  

Watch the video HERE.


2.  Medicine Ball V-Ups- 15 reps 
These are really hard, but I'm getting better at them.

Watch the video HERE.


3.  Russian Twists- 20 reps
I don't use any weight, I just sit on the floor and touch my hands to the floor on either side. 

Watch the video HERE.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

12 Weeks Out // My Bikini Contest Meal Plan

This week we're turning it up a notch in both the workouts and meal plan.  I still have fat to lose so, right now, there will be no fat in my diet, no sugar, no dairy.  I have to say that the meal plan is not very exciting, just a balance of lean protein, carbs, and veggies - 5 times a day.  

This is similar to how I've been eating, but there are things I'm cutting that I previously had been enjoying:  coffee with creamer (I can have coffee but don't like it without a lot of creamer, so I'm trading it for black unsweetened tea), peanut butter and syrup (on my protein pancake), peanut or sesame oil, egg yolk, low sodium soy, salt-free seasoning (in my stir fry), and milk (in my cheerios), nuts.  

Keep in mind that this meal plan was given to me for my specific goal of competing in a bikini contest in 12 weeks, and based on where I am in my fitness journey.  I'm sharing it with you partly to document my process and partly to just give you an idea of what these "fitness girls" eat like if you're curious. 


Here are some examples of lean proteins and carbs:

Protein:
  • Tuna or most any fish.
  • Cottage cheese.
  • Eggs (especially the whites).
  • Chicken breast (boneless skinless).
  • Turkey breast (boneless skinless).
  • Lean beef.
  • Low fat or no fat cheese.
  • Low fat pork.
  • Milk protein isolate.
  • Whey protein.
  • Soy protein.
  • Essentially most any other source of protein so long as it is low in saturated fat and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates:
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Oat meal, oat bran, oat bran cereal (i.e. cheerios).
  • Bran cereal.
  • Brown rice.
  • Wheat bread (try to limit to 2 slices per day).
  • Beans.
  • Low fat popcorn (low fat butter spray makes this a delicacy).
  • Fruits (limit to 2-3 servings per day).
  • Malto dextrin (during workout).
  • Dextrose (during workout)
  • Vegetables.
  • Stay away from refined grains and anything that says “enriched” or “high fructose corn syrup” on the label
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My breakfast (egg whites and oatmeal) will be made into a pancake and eaten dry (no PB or syrup)- boo. 

Meals 2 and 3 look something like below, on a smaller (9-inch) plate.  It is actually so much food.  This is 5 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, 6 oz. sweet potato, and 1 cup veggies. 


I'm still eating on the go a lot.  


Meal 4:  3/4 cup egg whites, 3/4 cup brown rice, and 1 cup mixed veggies cooked in a skillet with nonstick cooking spray, but no seasonings 

Meal 5:  Protein shake with one scoop of protein, 6-8 oz water, 2 ice cubes.  I make it like this because it doesn't make a huge drink. 

I'm now buying bags of frozen veggies and frozen chicken because it's so much food to keep preparing.   


And I bought a food scale that I really like so I can get the measurements exact. It's super easy to use and lightweight.  I poured through all the reviews and think this was a great choice- well worth the money.  


I think I will get one cheat meal a week and I'm already craving my iced tall 2-pump mocha from Starbucks.  But, I'm so excited to see the changes in my body.  I can't say I LIKE to eat this way, but I've never done it so cleanly or consistently and I have been wanting to cut sugar for a long time, so here we go.  Since the beginning of this journey I just keep thinking, "Do the work. Trust the process." 



You can follow me on INSTAGRAM too!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Healthy Pesto and Chicken Salad

If you've been a little burned out by all the prepared meals I've been sharing here, you're in for a treat with today's Healthy Pesto and Chicken Salad recipe from Morgan of Morganize with Me.  She's a girl after my own heart with a passion for health, exercise, organizing, and of course, her family (they have three adorable youngsters) and are currently living abroad.  That she lists "Target, pedicures, books you can't put down, and happy tears" as some of her favorite things makes me adore her even more.  I hope you like this healthy pesto and chicken salad.  I told Morgan I've never made pesto before, but this makes me want to give it a go!  And chicken for added protein? Perfect!

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I'm really thrilled to be here today and to share a yummy recipe with you! I'm also so happy that spring time is here. The fact that I am able to start wearing my flip-flops again just makes me giddy. Do you know what also makes me giddy? Being able to just toss a salad on the table for dinner. Especially if it falls into the category of being a "one dish" salad. (Meaning I don't have to make other sides.) This Healthy Pesto and Chicken Salad is the perfect example of a "one dish" salad. It is packed with protein and veggies and topped off with a homemade pesto dressing.

  Pesto Salad

This simple salad is a recipe that you can whip up ahead of time and have waiting for you when you roll in at the end of the day. (Just keep the lettuce and pesto dressing separate from the pasta mixture. Then toss and serve together when you are ready for meal time.)  

Healthy Pesto & Chicken Salad

Serves up to eight salad lovers.

Pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • 6 tablespoons chopped walnuts (toasted)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
Combine all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor; pulse 5-6 times or until finely minced. Set aside.

DSC_0531

Pasta

  • 4 cups cubed cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 3 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
  • 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 8-12 curly leaf lettuce leaves
DSC_0525

Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and rinse with cold water.

DSC_0536

Combine (cooled) pasta, chicken, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. Add pesto to pasta mixture, tossing gently to coat.

DSC_0540

Then place 1-2 lettuce leaves on each plate and top each serving with pasta mixture.


Toss this delicious salad on the table and you can say; "Dinner is done!"

Pesto Salad

Also if you prefer gluten-free just omit the pasta and replace with a gluten-free pasta, such as a quinoa. And if your kids aren't interested in the lettuce - just serve them the pasta portion.
Are you a fan of salad like me? How about flip-flops?

Enjoy your spring!

Headshot-CircleMorgan is the energetic and motivated, but also realistic girl, behind Morganize with Me. She specializes in Personal Organizing and Personal Training. Her mission is to share tried and true techniques that she hopes will encourage her readers and clients as they focus on their health and homes. She believes in simplifying, prioritizing, and measuring progress one day at a time.

Keep in touch with Morgan here:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Can You Get More Toned Skin From a Bottle? (Bliss Fat Girl Six-Pack)

Happy Monday friends!  Hope you all had a great weekend!  With all the working out I've been doing lately, I've noticed that I've been more tired at the end of the day (which is a good thing!) because it means I'm getting to bed at a decent hour instead of staying up way too late.  I even slept from 9:30 p.m. to 10:15 a.m. on Sunday.  I guess my body needed it.  As I write this on Sunday night, I'm thinking of the Monday morning workout with my trainer, which I know is gonna be awesome (and so hard).  I'm loving these workouts and actually look FORWARD to them!

I showed y'all last week that, although my tummy is looking much tighter these days, there's still work to be done.  I was provided a toning gel formulated to help firm and tone your skin, called Fat Girl SixPack by Bliss.  I'm giving it a try and will let you know what I think. The product states that it's not a weight loss or fat loss cream, but is formulated with amino acids, creatine, oat kernel extract, latex-rich manilkara tree extract, menthol, and a special botanical extract to help you get firmer skin (in combination with exercise and a healthy diet).


I have the exercise and healthy diet going on, so let's see if I notice any difference with this gel.  I'm going to follow the directions and put it on my stomach twice a day for 20-30 seconds for 2 weeks and will report back with my "findings".  I have tried it once (you pump the bottle up and massage the gel into your skin with the applicator. It's easy to apply and the cream feels nice and tingly on your skin- perhaps from the menthol.  


With bikini season/shorts and sundress weather right around the corner, now is the time to start working toward that body you want. ;)  Are you ready to start making some changes so you feel healthy, beautiful and happy this summer?  Have you tried Fat Girl SixPack?  If so, I'd love to hear what you think.  You can buy it at most beauty supply stores like Ulta or Sephora.   

Below are some pics I snapped on Sunday night, which shows where I'm starting with my Fat Girl SixPack, and also marks 13 weeks out from my bikini competition.  



Let's kick some butt this week! 

*Thanks to Bliss for sponsoring today's post.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sample Bikini Contest Prep Meal Plan

I know some of you would appreciate a bikini contest preparation meal plan that includes the nutritional breakdown of the food, so I snagged one from a friend of mine who is a bikini competitor. She is in her early 40s, about 5'3 and this is her second year competing.  She gave me permission to post the meal plan here, so it's all yours!
Have a great WEEKEND!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Veggies, Mushrooms/Onions & Brown Rice Meal Prep

We all know it's important to eat our veggies, but how many of us are actually doing it? I know I wasn't until recently.  The surprise is, I really like it!  I look forward to eating my vegetables, especially a variety, and prepping them is really easy.   

I'm eating a good 2-3 cups of veggies per day and typically prep a big bunch (my husband eats them too) so they are ready to eat right away. On Monday evening, I made a colorful variety of steamed veggies, brown rice, and sautéed onion and mushrooms to add to my lean protein meals.  Be warned, this makes a lot of veggies, so you may want to half it. 

Veggies = appx. 17 cups 
  • broccoli (2 bunches)
  • cauliflower (1 head)
  • squash (2)
  • zucchini (2)
  • carrots (1 cup)
Mushrooms & Onion 
  • mushrooms (16 oz pre-cut) 
  • onion (1)
Brown Rice = appx. 10 (1/3 cup servings)
  • brown rice (1 cup) 
After washing and chopping my veggies, I put them into a large pot with about 2 inches of water.  Put the lid on and let the water come to a boil and steam for a few minutes.  I don't let it boil too long because I don't like mushy veggies and these cook quickly.  Then, I strain the veggies and rinse in cold water to stop them from cooking.  I don't use any salt or seasoning. 

 

 

The mushrooms are pre-sliced, so I just cut up an onion and put it in a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil and let them sauté, uncovered, until nice and brown.  Just turn every once in a while.  They take a good 10-15 minutes to cook on medium to medium-high heat.  At the end, I poured in about a tablespoon of blackberry balsamic vinegar, but you don't need to.  


For the rice, I don't follow the package directions because I never thought it tasted right, so I found a way of cooking brown rice on the web (I don't recall the site) that recommends rinsing the rice (I use one cup dry rice), then add it to a lot of water (maybe 4 cups) and boil uncovered for about 15-20 minutes- I keep tasting it until it tastes cooked through.  Then drain and rinse again, returning to the pot with the heat off for a few minutes.  I don't use any salt or seasoning. 

I prepped and cooked everything at once.  The picture below is just before I put the lids on the veggies. 


And below is everything all cooked. 


It's really nice to have this prep done so you don't have to think about it for the next few days at least.   It takes a little time on the front end, but then no time later.  :) I haven't made this large a batch before, so I'm not completely sure how long it will be before it's gone (or stays good).  


Here's the food in action the next day at lunch and so you can see how I store them.  I just popped this in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. 


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bikini Contest Prep Training Schedule // 14 Weeks Out

Last week was my first full week with my trainer.  We worked out three times for one hour, I did 5- 30 minute cardio sessions on my own (3 on the treadmill, 2 on the stair mill) and also did an ab routine (3 exercises) 4 days.  That's hard work so I felt pretty proud of myself.  So, I think I'll be keeping the schedule below for now, until he changes it up.  I'll probably end up doing longer cardio and abs every day by the end.


On Friday, my trainer measured my body fat using calipers and the skin fold test.  Body Fat Percentage – is the amount of body fat (pounds) divided by total body weight listed as a percentage. 

I told him I guessed I was at 18% body fat.  He took the measurements and said he'd text me after he calculated it so we could get right to working out.  But, based on the measurements he just took, H most of my fat is in my stomach, lower back, and calves.  Later that day, I did my ab routine and 30 minutes of cardio.  Afterwards, I snapped a pic of my abs as they were looking pretty good right then.




But that's the thing about abs.  They don't always look so tight.  (At least mine don't.) Even in the two pictures above, you can tell that I have more fat in the second picture than in the first based on the way I'm standing and leaning.  Sunday evening, my trainer texted me my body fat results =  25.5%.  He said not to be concerned, as long as my lean mass continues to rise and my body fat decreases, I'm fine.  He's also working on my eating program.  But, I couldn't help but feel discouraged.  :( I thought my number would be much lower.  I tried to google what 25% body fat looks like on women, but of course it's so relative depending on that particular person's body fat distribution, body shape, age, etc. 

Here are some of the images I found . . . I have no idea how the person writing the articles identified the people at that percentage, so who know if it's really accurate??  Interesting though . . .







Yesterday, on Monday morning, after breakfast and before my workout, I snapped some more pics of my stomach so I can track my progress and so you can see that the "tight" picture above, taken right after abs and cardio, doesn't always look that way.  It's true that I'm holding fat in my back and stomach. . . 

 

At Monday's workout, my trainer said that about 8-12% body fat would have me at show ready (he previously said that 6-10% is where most women compete so I'm going to edit that post).  I have decided that I'm NOT GOING TO FOCUS ON THE NUMBER.  Same with the scale.  I'm just going to keep going, keep training, keep eating clean and watch my body develop. I KNOW it will change.  I KNOW that this stubborn fat is melting away.   I'm ready for this week.  Let's get to work!  

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