Merry Fitmas! Day 2:Holiday Eating

Merry Fitmas Everyone! So today I’m addressing the question of what do I do during the holidays? How do I keep myself from completely derailing from my goals? Well, here are some of my tips for staying on track with your diet and goals during the holidays, but before I start, I am completely aware that dieting at all during this time of year is extremely difficult, and I know that the majority of people will not be able to avoid all the Christmas fare for the entire month of December. So, that being said, these tips are tips on how to keep the damage as low as possible. It is not IMPOSSIBLE to diet during Christmas but for most people it’s close enough LOL

Tip Number 1: YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT EVERYTHING!!!

Just because there are 50 dessert options doesn’t mean you need to try every single one! Same with appetizers!! If you know there’s going to be a large meal, then skip the apps, and just eat the main course. Choose your battles guys! You don’t need to eat, anything, and everything that is available at any of your Christmas functions. Pick your favorites, enjoy them, and that’s it. Pick one dessert, if you’re having apps, don’t go nuts! It’s so easy to get carried away with the appetizers, that by the time the meal happens, you’re full. Avoid the cheese platter, or any cheese apps. Why? Cheese is high in fat, and therefore, high in calories. You can rack up your calories pretty high with the cheese platter alone before you even start with Christmas dinner! So again, one dessert, be modest with the apps, and for dinner? Have the protein, have the veggies, and be careful with the starchy carbs and the gravy! Starchy carbs will put you to bed, and the gravy is high in fat, and high in calories!

Tip Number 2: PLAN AHEAD AND USE MY FITNESS PAL!

Most people have very strong traditions that they keep during the Christmas holidays, and because of this, most people know generally what they’re eating and when. If this is the case, and you know what Christmas parties, dinners, and other social gatherings that you have planned, then you can plan your meals around them. Just because it’s the holiday season, does not mean that everything goes out the window, and you lose complete track of how much you’re eating. If you know you’re going to a party, or a Christmas dinner, and you want to enjoy some alcohol, or have dessert, then save calories for it. Plan your whole day of meals around this function so that you can enjoy yourself, with less worry about how the pie you want to eat will make you fat! The Holidays are meant to be enjoyed, yes, 100%! But if you want to stay on track with your goals, you need to plan ahead to be successful. MyFitnessPal is a great tool! Use it! Record all your meals in it including your holiday dinners, keep track of your macro-nutrients. This will help you stay on track with your goals, and it will help you plan your meals ahead of time so that you can fit your Christmas meal into your diet, or at the very least it will hold you accountable. It should keep you from veering too far off track.

Tip Number 3: WORKOUT!!!!

Most of us have some extra free time during the holidays. We take some time off, shorter hours at the office, whatever. Yes, take some time to relax and unwind, but there is no better stress relief, energy booster, calorie burner, mood booster… I can go on LOL than EXERCISE!!! So do it! Take advantage of the time you have and workout! I always plan my workouts around major holiday meals haha. I’m so used to getting up early, that, this past Thanksgiving holiday I did fasted cardio while everyone was asleep, and when I came home I enjoyed the traditional family breakfast. I mean, what else was I going to do? Wait for everyone to get up so I could eat? Then, once the turkey for Thanksgiving was in the oven, I went and did my back workout. By the time I got home, dinner was ready, and Thanksgiving dinner turned into post-workout gains! Everybody wins! The holidays can be a great opportunity for off-season muscle growth if done properly…What I mean is, don’t think that because you want to grow, it’s an excuse to eat everything in site LOL Plan your workouts around your holiday meals, so that the meals you do eat, feed your depleted muscles, which will help them repair, and grow. Also, if you’re worried about your waistline growing this holiday season, then keep up your workouts!! It will lower the possible collateral damage so to speak!

And that’s it folks! These are my top 3 tips for Holiday eating: don’r eat everything you see, plan your meals ahead or time, and save calories for big parties and dinners, and workout! This will help keep you from completely falling off course . Merry Fitmas guys! And stay tuned for more posts!!

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Me, my sister Maryanne and all our Giunta cousins that came to Sabrina’s Confirmation Brunch this past Sunday December 6th 2015


Will drinking Protein Powder help with weight loss?

I didn’t realize how many people were under the assumption that drinking protein powder would help them lose weight until one of my clients asked me about protein powder last week…

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So here it is, protein powder is a protein supplement. Meaning, it will help you reach your protein macro-nutrient goals. It is an economical way to consume protein without eating a bunch of meat products all the time. The only way that protein powders will help you lose weight is by helping you hit your macros everyday. By hitting your macro-nutrient goals everyday, you will get closer and closer to the physique you’re looking for. That is honestly the only way that protein powder would help with weight loss. It is important to eat enough protein during the day to help grow and maintain muscle tissue.

Protein powder is a very economical food source, because of it’s volume and long shelf life. In addition, if you don’t like eating a lot of meat, or if you’re a vegetarian for example, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan protein powder supplements to choose from to help make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet. Just make sure that when you’re buying protein, that you’re buying a quality protein that has no additives or preservatives. Also, if you’re looking at your standard whey protein powders, make sure you are buying a whey protein isolate. These are generally lactose free, and have a higher protein content. Also, if weight loss is your goal, make sure that your protein has no added sugars, and is low carb. Again, a whey protein isolate that is of high quality will be low carb. I typically look for whey protein powders that are sweetened with Stevia. Stevia is a zero calorie plant extract that is used as a sweetning agent.



Starbucks eating a hole in your pocket? Try this Iced Espresso! It’s diet friendly and it saves your pennies!

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Yes, I know we don’t use pennies anymore in Canada… sounds cute though right?!?! Ok, so I LOVE Starbucks… and sugar-free gum. It’s a serious problem LOL I have been in control of my coffee intake and limit it to one a day, and I always feel better when I make it myself because I can control the taste and flavor BUT a coffee a day (especially a specialty coffee from Starbucks) adds up real quick! It’s one of those expenses that we so mindlessly make on a regular basis that we don’t even realize how much it’s really costing us! Especially, if you’re like me, and you have a Starbucks Gold card (I have a lot of generous clients who know about my addiction) the money disappears from your card so quick because its invisible money. It’s not as painful of a purchase when you don’t have to count out the change for it. So recently, I learned how to properly use the percolator at home to make my own espresso! If you have an espresso machine then awesome! Making your own iced Americano of specialty coffee is just that much easier. Below is a recipe for an iced Vanilla Americano (or iced espresso coffee) that I made from home and it is awesome! Oh and it’s diet friendly too!! You can make this with regular coffee but if you like it strong like me then espresso is where it’s at!

Iced Vanilla Americano Recipe:

Step One:

Get out your percolator, open it up and take out the coffee holder and metal grate out of the bottom of the percolator. Then fill the bottom of the percolator with cold water. Most percolators will have a line indicator for the water. On my percolator, I filled it to the indent line where the screw is. See Below:

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Step 2:

Put the coffee holder into the percolator and fill the percolator up with espresso. Make sure you pack the espresso in tight! I used a teaspoon to pack it down.

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Step 3:

Once you’ve packed the coffee in tight, put the grate on top and then screw the top of the percolator back on. Once you know the top of the percolator is on tight, turn on your stove and wait. DO NOT FLIP OPEN THE TOP OF YOUR PERCOLATOR TO CHECK THE COFFEE!! IT WILL RUIN YOUR ESPRESSO! You will be able to hear your espresso bubbling up to the top of the percolator. Once it stops making bubbly sounds it’s ready!

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Step 4:

Take the percolator off the stove and let your espresso cool, about 20-30 minutes. Then transfer your coffee to a thermos or some other container and put it in the fridge. I usually make my espresso the night before and have it iced for the next day, or if I just want one espresso shot I will save the rest and have it iced the next day. But you can make it, let it cool and follow the next few steps to enjoy your iced espresso coffee sooner.

Step 5:

Once your espresso is cold transfer it out of the thermos into a jug or something bigger so you can stir in your sweetener, ice and so on. I would recommend 2-3 packets of stevia. This is a matter of taste (how sweet you like your coffee) and how bitter your espresso is. Put the stevia in the coffee and stir, then I added 2 packets of Italian Vanilla (see below) you can get this stuff at any grocery store. It would be in the baking aisle! Stevia is a natural sweetener, and you can get stevia drops in whatever flavors you like (vanilla, caramel and so on). However, this Italian vanilla packets are artificial flavors, still zero calorie but you should know that it is indeed artificial. When I made this coffee it was the only zero calorie flavoring I had.

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These are two different brands of the same thing.

Once you have added your flavor and sweetener, add your milk. Again, I used a bit of almond milk to keep the calories down, and it’s also lactose free, fat-free etc Add as much or as little milk as you like. This is a matter of taste, however, I kept mine low because I really like espresso and I like my coffee strong. Now, that all the ingredients are in and the taste is to your liking, add ice and serve! A full percolator of coffee will make more than one serving of this stuff! So share with friends, or save it for later. If you are planning on saving some for later, then add ice to the portion you are about to drink and then put the rest back in a thermos and put it in the fridge for later. Once you are ready to drink it, then add the ice so it doesn’t get too watered down. And that’s it!

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You can also have this drink hot, so make espresso, pour a shot or two into a coffee mug, add hot water to it so now you have an Americano. Then add sweetener, and flavor to your coffee if you like, and there you have it! You have now become your own barista who knows how to spell your name! LOL money saved, and coffee made just the way you like it! Saves your pocket-book and your waistline! And who doesn’t love that?!?!


Bulking… some tips to adding on quality muscle and size

So, the other day I posted a blog on weight loss and I got some feedback about wanting some advice on making gains. Since summer is officially over, I can’t think of a better time to talk about bulking. Bulking is basically a building phase, where you put your body under construction, wear all the sweaters, lift heavy, and eat all the calories required to build and maintain strength and size. However, there are some key do’s and don’ts to a successful building phase.

  1. Yes, in a building phase you get to eat more calories, and have a little more fun with your food. However, this does not mean you can go to McDonald’s on a regular basis and say “no worries guys, I’m bulking.” If you’re going to have “dirty” food, make sure that food is earned!! Push yourself in the gym, put on extra weight, go for a few more reps, really get yourself a pump and then go and enjoy something delicious like a burger and donut. You can’t just eat like shit, say you’re bulking and not put the work in at the gym. For example, the day of my birthday during my off-season I decided to do a back day because I knew I would get a bunch of treats that day and I really wanted my back to grow. So I pushed myself super hard, I added on weight to my exercises, pushed for more reps, and got a crazy huge pump! When I got home my mom had delicious treats waiting for me from San Remo Bakery. I had a cannoli, a zeppole, and a tiramisu cup with my protein shake post workout 😛 However, there was no guilt felt there!! It was my birthday and hell I earned it! So much so that when I taught Zumba the next night my lats were still so pumped that they chaffed against my tank top! So what I’m trying to say, is that bulking is not just about eating, and eating whatever you want, it’s about putting in the hard work at the gym so you can justify eating the calories required to grow. Plus the cleaner your bulk food is the better you’ll feel in the long-term.

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2. You need to have a goal in mind and you need to have a plan. A building phase is the perfect time to improve on your weaknesses. Find out what areas you want to see the most improvement and then develop a plan of execution on how you’re going to improve those areas. A training plan as well as a plan for how you’re going to eat. Make sure you’re getting enough protein, carbs, and fats to help sustain consistent muscle growth. Figure this out based on how much you weigh and how much you want to grow. Then figure out what numbers your should be hitting for your macro-nutrients in order to make that happen. There are a tone of calorie counters, and resources to figure out the protein amounts in foods like chicken and so on. You need to at least be eating 1 g of protein per pound of body weight. When I first started my bulk phase I was eating just under 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight everyday. Make sure you’re hitting your macros, and try not to go over too much either. At first it may be difficult to get all the food in. This is where protein powder and carb supplements can really come in handy! You may be feeling overwhelmed and don’t worry, I found it a bit overwhelming at first! So ask for help! From someone who has done a successful bulk before, a trainer, or coach. But it is very important that you have a plan for your eating, that you’re not just eating whatever. If you want consistent long-term gains, you need to eat consistently. Hit your numbers everyday and you will be successful in putting on muscle.

3. For me, in my bulk phase, my upper body needed a lot of work. I had a good amount of muscle and shape in the glutes and legs, but my arms, shoulders, and back were quite small. So my coach developed a plan where I would hit all of these areas twice a week. I had a back day, a shoulder day, an arm day, a back and bicep day, a shoulder and triceps day, and a leg day. That was my training split. Just because my legs were not a focus does not mean you should completely forget about them!! Boys I’m talking to you!!! TRAIN YOUR LEGS! No girl wants to date a Johnny Bravo first of all LOL and second, most guys need bigger legs anyway, so it should be a point of focus. Plus training your legs will help to improve your gains!! This is because your legs are your biggest muscle group and they help to stimulate an increase in the hormone testosterone. So have a plan, and don’t forget your legs!

4. REST!! Your body needs proper rest to recover and grow! Make sure you’re getting some good sleep and you’re allowing your body enough time between workouts to recover, So if you’re training back one day, train shoulders, then legs, then back and biceps, and so on. Give yourself at least one day in between training the same muscle group.

5. Alcohol… sorry friends but it really hurts you in the gym. I used to love to party, but once I started bodybuilding I’ve really stopped my drinking. Obviously, I don’t drink at all during prep, but even in the off-season I have really cut my drinking down. Not only does it make you feel like shit the next day if you drink too much, it leaves you tired, and dehydrated. Everything becomes so much harder after a night of drinking! Plus, I would rather save calories and eat them, than just drink them away with alcohol. Alcohol is empty calories, and can really add up quickly on a good night! These empty calories will only pack on the fat, and increase your cravings for McDonald’s! Which will only make you more fat LOL and to top it all off, alcohol makes it more difficult for your body to break down fat and it slows down your metabolism. If this doesn’t convince you to slow your roll, then let me tell you how alcohol will also slow down your gains. This is because alcohol decreases testosterone levels and increase estrogen levels in the body, making it harder for your muscles to grow. Plus your body needs to be fully hydrated for your muscles to contract properly and grow. I can go on, but I won’t. Alcohol is fun, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy a night out once in a while, but if you drink on a very consistent basis then you won’t see the results you would like to see in the gym.

Anyway, I have two weeks left of my prep and then soon enough I’ll be back to the drawing board for another building phase! Woo Hoo! I’m so excited for my upcoming show! It’s my first time doing Figure and I’m so proud of the growth I made over the past year from my last show in bikini! Soon, I’ll be enjoying some wicked post show pumps once some carbs are re-introduced into my life! Haha I can’t wait 😀

 


Serious about cutting weight? Here are some of my tips for successful weightloss

  1. Educate yourself!! If you’re serious about cutting some weight and keeping it off then you first need to educate yourself about diet and nutrition or seek out professional help! If you have no idea what foods to eat, how food effects your body, or anything about calories and macro-nutrients, then how are you going to get the body you want?! You are what you eat and that cannot be more true! There are so many myths about food and diet, and a ton of marketing out there to have you believe that the boxed items you’re buying on the shelf are actually healthy. NEWS FLASH! MOST PROCESSED FOODS THAT COME IN BOXES OR BAGS ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOU!! Please for the sake of your health and waistline be more mindful of what you ingest on a regular basis. Don’t treat your body like a garbage can and put whatever looks good in it LOL Honestly, if you’re overwhelmed, because it can be quite overwhelming ask for help! Talk to a professional and learn how to eat properly! However, I will shed a little bit of light in this post on some solid tips to at least get you on the right track!
  2. Eat real food… Vegetables, meat, eggs, fruits. Anything you find on the outside of the supermarket. The less it’s been touched by a human before it made it into the store the better (meaning it was less processed, less un-natural shit added to it etc). This also means that it will most likely have more nutrients in it. And honestly, I know a lot of you are so fucking lazy but let’s be real here, you can pay a little extra and get pre-washed pre-cut veggies and fruit that you literally can just throw in a bowl and make a salad. Come on people! It’s not that fucking hard! Plus the more meals you prepare yourself, the more control you have over your body and your pocket-book just saying…
  3. Along with educating yourself and eating real food, read the nutritional labels on the boxed items you buy! Ingredients are listed from the biggest amount to the smallest amount found in the product. Nutella for example, SUGAR is the first ingredient LOL there is no way that shit is healthy so use it sparingly! Vector is marketed as a healthy cereal but again look at how much sugar there is per serving, you probably don’t measure your food before you put it in the bowl either so you’re most likely eating more sugar than what it says. Try to buy foods that are low in sugar, high in fiber and protein. The Fiber and the protein should be higher than the sugar/carb in the product. Especially if it’s a yogurt LOL check the label you will be surprised how many yogurt are out there with more sugar than protein per serving… Plain Greek yogurt is the way to go if you must have dairy. If you can’t handle not having sugar in your yogurt just yet, then add fruit or a little bit of honey. That way you are in control of the sugar level, and you can always wean yourself off the honey to a point where you’re just having plain yogurt and berries.
  4. Be consistent! Consistency is key to being successful in anything you do! When it comes to your diet and losing weight you need to not only consistently eat through out the day, but you must eat well (nutritious and healthy) everyday. You can’t be on top of your game from Monday to Friday, fall off on the weekend and make up for it Monday. You will never lose the weight, and get the body you want. You need to consistently eat well all day, everyday, and have a cheat meal, ONE MEAL, or re-feed meal depending on your diet/goals. This cheat meal happens once in a while. It is earned, and it is needed to help shake up your body for more weight loss and to help with your mental toughness. It’s not a once a week deal, you maybe get a cheat meal once every 4-6 weeks depending. Doing this and making your cheat meal an earned treat, helps you to really enjoy the food you eat during this cheat and it helps to combat any feeling of guilt. You shouldn’t feel guilty about food, it should be enjoyed! Just understand the consequences of your treats and keep them to a minimum to reduce their effects, and if anything use them in a positive way.
  5. Have a plan! None of this matters if you don’t have a plan, if you don’t have a plan then you plan to fail. It’s as simple as that! You need to know how you’re going to eat, and what you’re going to eat everyday according to your specific goals so that you can therefore reach your goal. Don’t know where to start? That’s when you need to educate yourself, or seek professional help. There are even food services that will cook clean meals for you that are portion controlled! All you have to do is know what your macro-nutrient limits are for the day and order your foods accordingly. There are so many resources out there at your disposal, that if you were really serious about losing weight there is no reason why you cannot succeed! Educate yourself, learn how to eat, and GET HELP! There is no shame in asking for help! It can change your life, and leave you feeling great! Just be mindful about where you seek your help. Do your research, look up reviews, get more than one opinion, and ultimately follow your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, find someone else who coincides more with your values.

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GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT! TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! NUTRITION IS A LIFE SKILL, IT WILL KEEP YOU HEALTHY AND FEELING GREAT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!


Chocolate Avocado Pudding! Contest Prep/Diet Friendly Treat <3

Yesterday I was at work eating breakfast after I did some fasted cardio. For breakfast my coach had (just got a new plan) me eating 1/3 cup of oats and 250 ml or 1 cup of egg whites. I LOVE breakfast, it is my favorite meal of the day and at the time, one of my only carb meals during my prep. So, to keep things fun and interesting during my 16 week diet I would turn these oats and egg whites into pancakes! Some ladies saw me eating them, thought they smelled delicious, I gave one of them a TINY piece to try (have to save every last bite for me lol) and they loved it! So I shared the recipe, and then I realized I should share some of my favorite things to make while on prep. Things that keep me sane, and on track with my goals. Because, let’s face it, eating the same thing everyday can get boring! And during my last show prep that’s exactly what I did. So this time I decided to not punish myself so much and get creative!

I will share with you my protein pancake recipe here as well, but I never took photos of it lol that’s mostly because after fasted cardio all I wanna do is eat! But I did however, take a photo of this delicious avocado dessert that I made last night 🙂 Coach gave me a new plan yesterday and there’s absolutely no carbs in my diet anymore, except for a reefed day that I’m sure Coach will let me know when that is… Or I’m sure I’ll remind him lol 😉 Anyway, I’m allowed to have half an avocado as part of my last meal with the standard white fish and asparagus. So last night I was craving chocolate and I thought, aren’t there chocolate avocado recipes out there? Pretty sure there’s pudding I can make or something to make my Saturday night in more exciting LOL So I Googled and I was inspired to make myself this delicious bowl of chocolate avocado pudding! I literally scrapped the inside of the magic bullet to get every last bite! Totally hit the spot! I mean… I was still hungry a bit after but that’s all part of being on show prep lol C’est la vie! haha but it did make me so happy so that’s what matters! Now you have to keep in mind that this is a single portion for one person, and eat this if you’re really dying for something sweet late at night! Also, make sure it’s cool with your coach, and don’t do it all the time… I only say this because it’s better to be safe than sorry lol

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How I made my Chocolate Avocado Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 an avocado
  • almond milk
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 stevia packet
  • cocoa (2 heaping regular teaspoons, I didn’t use the real measuring spoons)
  • coffee grinds
  • cinnamon

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Get your magic bullet out, and put your avocado in it with two heaping teaspoons of cocoa. Then I put a dash of vanilla, one stevia packet (or Splenda if you don’t have stevia). I eye-balled the amount of cinnamon… I just sprinkled maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of it into the magic bullet. Then a smidge of coffee grinds to help bring out the chocolate flavor. Now, as for the almond milk, you can use any kind of milk really, but almond milk is fewer calories and more diet friendly. Pour about a 1/3 cup in and then blend, only add enough almond milk until you reach your desired consistency. And there you have it! A diet friendly treat that is actually so delicious! Maybe I just think it’s delicious because I’ve been prepping hard for 11 weeks now and the taste of chocolate is amazing! But honestly, I LOVED it and I’m sure you will too!

Protein Pancake recipe that I used during the earlier part of my prep!

  • 1/3 or 1/2 cup of rolled oats (I used both, depending on what coach allowed at the time for my carb intake)
  • 250 ml of egg whites or 1 cup
  • cinnamon, (or add a bit of your favorite protein powder in for flavor)
  • 1 stevia packet
  • a pinch of baking powder
  • vanilla extract

Take out your magic bullet and put the rolled oats, stevia, baking powder and cinnamon in. Blend until you’ve made a flour and there are no whole pieces of oats left. Then add your egg whites and a dash of vanilla extract. Blend in the magic bullet. Once it is all combined, add a spoon into the mixture because the oats tend to fall to the bottom, so stir it often while you cook it. Cook these pancakes in a skillet using coconut oil, coconut oil spray, or PAM. The first pancake tends to be the thinnest, but the rest of the stack comes out perfect! Especially, if you remember to stir the mixture a bit before you pour it into the pan! ENJOY!

Macros for the stack of pancakes: P 28g, C:26g (for 1/2 cup measurement) F: 0 (These are approximate and there would be some fat if you cooked it in coconut oil, but not much)