Green Mango Protein Shake

For the last little while I’ve been playing with different shake recipes. Ever since my roommate brought in a Vitamix, I’ve almost been living off shakes! Especially lately. I’ll be heading to Coachella in a couple weeks, so to get in protein in a low calorie, low carb way, shakes have been my go to meal. I wouldn’t suggest having only shakes as a way to get your meals in, but I make at least one shake a day. Especially since I commute a lot, travelling from client to client, it’s an easy way to pack a meal on the go. However, I’ve been making shakes using egg whites instead of using Protein Powder. I’m not lactose free, but I find using egg whites so much easier on my digestive system. So here’s my latest favorite shake:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any lactose free milk)
  • 1 cup of egg whites
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (2 cups)
  • 1 cup of frozen mangos

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass with a straw and enjoy!

255 Calories: 24.2g Carbs, 2.5g Fat, 29.8g Protein

You can always add a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter to this recipe as well if you would like to add more of a fat source. It definitely works well, but keep in mind this would obviously increase the amount of calories and fat of this recipe.

 


Delicious High Protein Smoothies Without Chalky Protein Powders!

I’ve posted one of these recipes on my Instagram account alexrinaldo, follow me if you’re not already! ūüėČ But, not everyone who reads my blog has Instagram… I know, shocking! So, I decided to post these recipes on my blog. I LOVE making smoothies, I make one literally everyday. It’s an easy, and quick way to have a nutritious and delicious meal, that you can take on the go. Lately, I’ve been making smoothies with egg whites, and I’m in love. I know this may sound gross, but it’s not. Egg whites don’t taste like anything, and these recipes do an excellent job of hiding the gloopy texture of egg whites. So, when you drink these smoothies, they have a nice creamy texture like a milkshake! Especially the banana, avocado smoothie!

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Recipe #1: Banana Avocado Protein Shake 405 calories

Macro nutrients: 15.9 g of Fat, 38 g of Carbohydrates, 31 g of Protein

  1. Put 1 cup of egg whites and 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk into the blender
  2. Add 100 g of ripe avocado into the blender and blend until smooth
  3. Put one whole banana (about 4 ounces or so) into the blender and then blend
  4. Add some ice and then blend again until smooth. Then once it’s all done, pour into a glass or shaker cup and enjoy!

Recipe #1: Strawberry Avocado Protein Shake 370 calories

Macro nutrients: 17.2 g of Fat, 22.5 g of Carbohydrates, 31 g of Protein

  1. Put 1 cup of egg whites and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk into the blender
  2. Add 100 g of ripe avocado into the blender and blend everything until smooth
  3. Add 1 cup of frozen strawberries into the blender and then blend everything together
  4. Once you have a smooth mixture, pour into a glass or shaker cup and enjoy!

Both of these recipes are delicious, and super easy to make! For the second recipe, you can literally use any frozen fruit that you like. I prefer frozen strawberries because the seeds don’t settle in your smoothie like blackberries for example, and they are relatively lower carb. I also enjoy using frozen raspberries as well because they are lower carb too. However, if you do change the fruit, it will change the calories of the shake and the amount of carbs in the shake. Let me know what you guys think in the comments section and if you’ve made any other versions of this shake, because I would love to hear your ideas too!


Gluten-Free, does that mean it’s healthy?

I was thinking the other day about how much our society obsesses over food, in not necessarily a good way. I mean there have been a lot more discoveries about food, and the potential harmful side effects of various food products like artificial sweeteners, genetically modified foods, hormones, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and the list goes on. I love that people are becoming much more aware of what they are putting into their bodies, and are educating themselves about nutrition. I think it’s great that more and more people want to be healthy, and that they are a lot more conscious of not only their health, but the environment as well. However, there are a lot of us who are not educating ourselves properly about nutrition, and are falling into diets because we think it’s healthy, based on what we’ve heard but not on what we actually know. Eating gluten-free does not necessarily mean that you’re eating healthier, and it also doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose weight. I mean you may lose weight by cutting down on processed carbohydrates, that’s always a good thing, but don’t cut gluten completely out of your life if you don’t need to. This is because, if you go on long enough without eating gluten, then you may start to develop an intolerance to it when you were perfectly fine digesting it in the first place!

Eating gluten-free has become super popular, it seems like more and more people are reaching for gluten free options because they think it’s healthier for them, and they also believe that it will help them to lose weight. Now these claims are not necessarily false, however, there are plenty of gluten free products out there that are just as bad for you as the original. For example, gluten free cookies are still cookies!!! That means they are still full of sugar and fat just like a regular cookie! Gluten, is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barely. These are all various types of grains. Gluten is a protein that is found naturally in these grains, this does not mean that it is bad for everyone! Some people like my mother, can’t eat gluten at all because of an intolerance that was diagnosed by the doctor. My mom however, doesn’t just have an intolerance to gluten, she actually has a hereditary autoimmune disease called celiac. When people with celiac ingest gluten, their body has an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks damage the lining of the small intestine (the villi) which promotes nutrient absorption into the body. When the vili is damaged, it is much more difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, which can lead to further health complications. When the body is attacking the small intestine because gluten was eaten at some point, it is very painful. The person will bloat terribly, and have terrible gas as well. No one wants to feel this way, and no one wants to be around a gassy person, and the only treatment for celiac so far is a gluten free diet.

If you don’t experience terrible bloating, gas, cramps, or irregular bowel movements when you ingest any wheat product, then there is no real need for you to eat a gluten-free diet. Gluten CAN be an inflammatory for some people. Just like lactose, eggs, and alcohol can all be inflammatory to people, but not to everyone. Sugar can be an inflammatory! It may not be the gluten that is bothering you, but the amount of sugars you’re consuming in your diet! So if you’re eating a gluten free cookie, you may still experience inflammation, gas, and weight gain. If you can eat toast, or regular wheat pasta without getting super gassy and uncomfortable then you most likely don’t have a gluten intolerance, and becoming gluten free won’t necessarily help you. However, cutting down on processed foods like store-bought breads, pastas, cakes, cookies, pastries, granola bars, boxed cereals, the list goes on, can help you lose weight, and will help you feel better overall. This is because, a lot of these food products contain high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and so on. All of these things can cause inflammation, and weight gain. Plus, because they are all high on the glycemic index, they will also cause your insulin levels to spike. This will give you a sudden burst of energy, and then a heavy crash if you’re eating too much of it at a time. So, if you enjoy bread, and pasta, then make it a once in a while treat. Eat it in MODERATION but you don’t have to get rid of it completely.

In conclusion, what I’m trying to say is this. Eating less packaged and processed foods will be better for your health overall, even if you’re gluten-free or not. However, ordering a gluten free pizza from Pizza Nova, will not make that meal choice any healthier FYI. I know for myself personally, when I eat too many artificial sweeteners, I can get headaches, and I can get gassy. I can also get really sick from eating really fatty foods, like too much cheese. Nobody wants to be around me after that! Last summer, I had a terrible episode in Miami… All of my closest friends know exactly what happened!! I ate a super greasy lobster roll, and let’s just say it didn’t end well… It was also soggy and gross ūüė¶ serves me right for eating a New England food in Miami in the summer time. So, if you experience any real discomfort after eating certain foods the best way to discover what the actual culprit is, is to talk to your doctor first or any other healthcare professional! If it’s nothing serious just gas and bloating, then the best thing to do is to eliminate all possible inflammatory foods. So, eliminate dairy, gluten, alcohol, eggs. Do this for a month, and then introduce one of these foods at a time. So one week introduce eggs and see what happens, then introduce dairy, and so on and so forth. You may not need to eliminate things completely, but you may need to restrict certain foods because they make you uncomfortable. Having terrible gas, or bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or even heat burn/acid reflux, is NOT normal, and you shouldn’t keep taking antacids, or Pepto Bismol because that is not actually solving the problem! You need to cut down or cut out the foods that are causing you this discomfort! Everybody’s body is different, and you need to figure out what types of foods make you feel your best, and help you to perform your best when exercising and going about your daily lives.

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A picture of a breakfast that I made for myself recently. I actually eat eggs, or egg whites every morning. It’s my favorite way to start the day ūüôā¬†


Weight Training is essential to FAT loss! Find out why!

Last month I was teaching one of my corporate fitness classes, and I was demonstrating a reverse lunge to the class, while holding a kettle bell. One of the participants asked me what the purpose was of me holding the kettle bell? Instead of going into a long-winded rant about the importance of weight training, I gave her a very simple answer about how holding a weight increases the difficulty level, forces your muscles to work harder, forces your balance to come into play and how it works your core (people LOVE that). A lot of people don’t really understand how important it is to regularly weight train. Most people assume that weights are only there to make you big and strong, and this scares a lot of women away, because the last thing many women want to be is BIG and Bulky. Yes weights do help to build your strength, but they do more than just that. If done properly, and with intensity, lifting weights are essential to you losing body fat. Cardio is simply not enough to lose weight, and it is not the ONLY option. Yes, cardiovascular training is important but it will not give you a nice butt! Trust me! Unless you become a sprinter… but let’s be real most of us are not going to start our weight loss journey doing the 100 meter dash!

I’ve written two other articles related to weight training and some of the myths that surround it like¬†How I‚Äôve enhanced my feminine shape through weight training ūüôā¬†or¬†Toned? or Skinny? Toned, the new word for skinny‚Ķ. There are so many misconceptions when it comes to weight training, and it is very frustrating! Not only as a fitness professional, but as a female. Lifting weights will not make you big and bulky! But too much of your favorite treats will! Lifting weights will actually help you achieve better overall fat loss than just cardio alone, and it will also give your body a better overall shape and definition. But how?

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  1. First of all, weight training increases your metabolic rate for 36 hours post workout. This means that not only did you burn x amount of calories during your workout, your body will keep burning calories for the rest of the day at a higher rate. Sure, you may burn more calories minute per minute of cardio than you would weight training, but you would only burn an additional 40-80 calories post workout from cardiovascular training. This means, that even though you may burn a lot of calories during a good cardio session, you would burn more calories overall with a consistent weight training program. In order to achieve a high post calorie burn from aerobic exercise, you must being doing it for a long period of time, like a marathon runner for example. However, people who are capable of such long distance running are not typically concerned with fat loss. Sprinting, on the other hand can bring about a post workout calories burn similar to that of weight training, however, you must be sprinting pretty hard in order to see these kinds of benefits.                                                        Image result for long distance runners vs sprinters  Image result for long distance runners vs sprinters
  2. Secondly, not only will weight training boost your metabolic rate for 36 hours post workout, it will increase your long-term metabolic rate as well. It does this by increasing your overall lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate will be. Your basal metabolic rate is a calculation of the amount of calories your body would burn just lying in bed, not moving, just breathing. The more accurate calculations would consider your lean mass as well, not just your overall weight, however, the point is, is that the more muscle you have the more calories your body will burn. This is why men, who typically have more muscle mass than women, can eat more than women and gain less weight. I need to be clear though, no one will just magically bulk up in lean muscle mass the second they pick up a weight. Naturally it takes a month to build 1-2 pounds of PURE MUSCLE for a male, and in the same amount of time a female will be able to build 1/2 to a full pound of muscle. This is does not include water and fat that come along with general weight gain. That being said, over time with consistent effort, this will make you much more resistant to weight gain as you grow older.
  3. Unlike cardio, weight training has the ability to completely reshape your body. Doing cardiovascular training does help with general weight loss, however, this weight loss will be a combination of fat, water, and muscle. Therefore, if you were just to do cardio, you will be left with just a smaller version of your current self. Also, too much cardio training can cause your body to release cortisol (stress hormone) which will cause your body to lose lean muscle mass, and to gain fat in the abdomen. Instead, if you are performing resistance training, with a proper diet, meaning you are consuming enough protein to sustain and grow your muscles, you are more likely to lose just body fat and some water. In addition to loosing your body fat, you will be enhancing the shape of your body, and the definition of your muscles. If you were to just do cardio, you will still be soft, and you won’t have the same muscle tone.
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    This was me in University in the 4th year when I used to teach a lot of cardio based fitness classes. Very long and lanky, not too much muscle tone. 

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    Through consistent weight training my body has more balance and shape. This is a photo from earlier this year (I need to be better with taking photos) my shoulders and arms have more definition and shape. 

I’m naturally more of a pear shaped female. I’ve always been leaner on top, and fuller on the bottom. It has been through weight training that I’ve been better able to balance out my body and create more of an hourglass shape. If you’re worried about becoming too masculine? Please don’t be! We females do not produce enough testosterone naturally to build that kind of size, and the average female does not consume nearly enough calories to get that big either. So, if you want to enhance your shape, lose body fat and improve your long-term health? You must weight train on a regular basis!


How diet is more than just “will power”

Lately, a lot of my clients have been asking me about what it takes to be successful. Especially when it comes to their diet. When it comes to improving your fitness, the diet is always the hardest part, and for some reason, a lot of my clients assume that it has something to do with their “lack of will power.” However, it is much more complicated than that. Believe it or not, there are¬†a lot of social, psychological, and emotional attachments to food, and to eating in general. These all play a big role in how successful you are at dieting. Here are a few things that I have come to understand about dieting, and how to lose weight successfully through my own personal experiences:

First of all, you need to decide whether or not you really want to lose weight. How serious are you about this goal? Has this goal changed from a want to a need? For example, generally when someone really wants something like a job, a new car, or shoes, they start to convince themselves that they “need it.” When someone really wants something, they will talk to themselves, and to others about how much they “need” this particular thing. Example: “Oh my God, I need these new shoes!” ¬†Whether or not they may actually need the new pair of shoes, is besides the point. The point is, they convinced themselves that they do, and therefore have justified the purchase to themselves. Now they’re happy, or at least for the moment, because they had achieved the goal of buying new shoes. They had gotten themselves something that they really wanted, and they now feel more accomplished, and happy. It is the same with weight loss. How unhappy are you in your current situation? How uncomfortable do you feel in your own skin? Enough to make a permanent and lasting change? If so, then we can actually start to set up a game plan to help you be successful. Permanent and lasting weight loss only works if you are committed to it. It is something that you have to work on everyday, it is all the choices that you make through out each and everyday that impact your weight loss success or failure.

At the very basic level, you need to put yourself, your health, and your body first. It must be a priority. If it is a priority, if being healthy and feeling good is so important to you, then you will choose better foods for your body, and you will find activities and exercise for your body and so on. If your health isn’t a priority, if you’re not unhappy with your weight, or at least not enough to really do anything about it, then why do you keep punishing yourself for the choices you make? Why do you keep calling yourself fat? And treating yourself like shit? ¬†If you are not willing to make any changes with your current lifestyle, then you must find a way to be happy with the person you are right now, because putting yourself through this emotional and psychological trauma just isn’t worth it. No one deserves that sort of abuse. It is not positive, and it is certainly not productive. Being mean to yourself isn’t going to change your life, and it isn’t going to change who you are. If anything, you become a victim of your own life, and the circumstances that you put yourself in. This only perpetuates the problem, and keeps you fat, unhealthy, and unhappy.

Being healthy, or feeling good about yourself in general, is a constant battle. It doesn’t just magically happen, and once you have found your happy place, you need to work to keep yourself there. ¬†The second you think you’re fine, and you don’t need to be as “strict” with your health goals, is the second you start to fall down your priority list. Before you know it, your back to square one, or worse. Your health and happiness is the most important thing in your life. In fact, YOU are the most IMPORTANT¬†person in YOUR life. Without you, and your body, you would not be able to experience life. If you want to be successful at anything it is more than “will power,” or discipline. It starts with you putting yourself, your happiness, your needs, and your goals first! Everything else is secondary. Once you know what you need in your life to be happy, you will do anything to get it, but only if your happiness is of the utmost importance!

Your happiness only becomes important to you, if you think you deserve it. You have to accept who you are now, flaws and all, before you can truly be happy. Once you believe that you deserve better, that you can have better, and that you are better than the way you are treating yourself, that is when you can really be happy. Failure happens, mistakes happen. You will never be perfect, and you may fall off your diet, but tomorrow is a new day. The only way you can truly be successful at anything you do including your diet, is through consistent, committed, hard work. You need to be 100% committed to consistent hard work, no matter how hard it gets, or if you’ve made a mistake, you need to be willing to get right back up on that horse and keep going. As they say, slow and steady always wins the race, and that could not be more true when it comes to long lasting weight loss. Being healthy and feeling good is a life long battle. If it is important to you, then you must be committed to consistently making the best food choices for you and your body every single day! Sometimes we may not make the best choices, but that is no reason to let it snowball, let it go, and get right back on track tomorrow. If anything happiness, and healthiness are both a life-long battle. I’m not saying that consistently looking a certain way will guarantee happiness, however, I am saying that consistently feeding your body healthy foods, and keeping yourself active does foster happiness. So if you want to be healthy and happy, then you MUST make the choice everyday to be healthy and happy.


How to Diet on the Go? My top three tips for sticking to your diet when time is an issue!

I’ve recently decided to move downtown, actually the very first Wednesday of the month I decided to sell my car, and move myself and my business downtown. Ever since then, I’ve had to switch gears, and I’ve been working tirelessly to make this dream a reality. However, because I’ve been so busy putting my car up for sale, looking at apartments, looking for work, and commuting via transit all the time, it really got me thinking about how difficult it is to stay committed to a diet when you’re away from home a lot. So, I decided to write a piece with some helpful tips on how to stay on track with your diet when you have a very busy life, and¬†you’re always on the go. These past two weeks have been extremely difficult for me, and I will not say that I was perfect with my nutrition. However, that does not mean that I am willing to give up on my goals just because it has suddenly become¬†a little more difficult for me, and neither should you! So here are my top 3 tips for successful weight loss with an extremely busy schedule:

  1. Make sure that you have a good lunch box. One that is big enough to hold more than one meal, and that is easy to carry.

There are plenty of lunch boxes out there that are stylish, and convenient. For example Six Pack Fitness has several different styles of lunch boxes that look like backpacks, purses, and even duffel bags. They can fit up to five meals, and all your personal belongings. These bags keep your meals cool, and your belonging (including electronics) safe. So, if you’re spending the whole day away from home, there is no need to resort to fast food if you have a good lunch box to keep all your food for the day. If the Six Pack Fitness bags are out of your budget, there are other lunch bags or small coolers that you can buy that are less expensive but still do the same job.

2. Plan ahead!!

Now you have the lunch box, and you know that you have a busy day, and/or week ahead of you, where you will not have a lot of time to prepare your meals, what do you do? Well, if that’s the case, then you need to spend a day, like a Sunday before your work week, or the night before to prep and pack all your meals. You can use the left overs from dinner, for your lunch the next day, or you can prep a whole bunch of meals for the next two to three days. For example, since the weather is nice, you can BBQ a pack of chicken breast on a Sunday, steam a bunch of veggies, make some rice, and then divide these things into 4-5 meals depending on your macro nutrients for the next couple of days. Put your prepared food into the fridge, put labels on it, so people know it’s yours, and then throw your meals into your lunch bag¬†in the morning on your way out. And if you’re super lazy, you can literally make several salads for yourself with pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables! All you have to do is throw them into containers, cook and measure your protein, and BAM you have lunch! There really is no excuse as to why you can’t pack your own lunch on a regular basis. Even if you don’t cook, there are several meal services out there that will cook and measure all your food for you based on your macro-nutrient goals and dietary restrictions.

3. What do you do if you don’t have access to a microwave? Or it’s just not convenient to eat chicken and veggies?

Personally, I have literally eaten chicken and asparagus out of a Ziploc bag this past week because I didn’t have time to find a lid for a container, so I threw my meal in a plastic bag and ate it on the go. It was a little awkward eating chicken like that in the middle of Yorkville before a meeting, but hey! Better than eating something unhealthy, overpriced, and/or disappointing. So, I did what I had to do! But, if you don’t consider that an option, and sometimes it is really inconvenient to eat chicken and veggies, then you must be prepared with other forms of nutrients that you can store in your car, purse, or gym bag without running the risk of it going bad. Some things that I like to always have on hand in case of meal emergencies where you had absolutely no time to prepare lunch, or a short errand turned out to take way longer than expected, are as follows:

  • Protein powder. I sometimes have extra protein powder measured and put into little Ziploc bags or small containers, and I leave them in my gym bag or purse just in case I get stuck without food somewhere and I really need something to eat. (Bottled water can literally be found anywhere so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to mix your powder…)
  • Raw, natural, unsalted nuts. Again a handful of nuts is a great snack to help you in between meals when you’re stuck. You can keep these in your car, or bag for meal emergencies.
  • Protein bars. Again a good meal alternative when you’re stuck in a bind! Make sure you have a quality protein bar that is low in carbohydrates! You want your protein bar to be high in protein with at least 20 grams of protein and very little sugar/carbohydrates. Ideally, your protein bar should be sweetened with stevia. If you’re vegetarian, again make sure that the total amount of protein in the bar is higher than the carbohydrates. Protein bars are not something I would consume all the time. There are better and more nutritious ways to eat, however, if you’re stuck and you’re hungry, it is better to eat a protein bar than to cheat horribly on your diet.

None of these food items will go bad right away, so they are safe to store in your car, or bag for any emergency food situation.

And there you have it guys! My top three tips for dieting on the run. The main thing is, is that you need to always be prepared. You need to have the right tools, and you need to plan ahead, if you want to be successful. It’s not really a question of time when it comes to dieting, it’s really a question of will. Are you willing to plan ahead, and prepare yourself so that you are successful with your diet? Or, are you going to throw caution to the wind, and hope that it will all somehow works out for you? At the end of the day, it is your choice.

Cookie Monster meme


My First week of Prep, on the road to Provincials!

I know that I’ve been a little MIA from my blog that last little bit.Things have been crazy for me lately, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to sit and pound out a new piece, so here it is! I have officially started prep this past Monday for my upcoming show on August 6th 2016. I will be doing the 2016 GNC Allmax Ontario Natural Championships, and I’m really excited about it!

I’ve done two shows in the past, my first show was a bikini show on November 8th 2014, where I placed 8th. Eleven months later, I did my second show this past October 2015, where I placed 2nd in figure. Now, I am getting ready to do my third show at the Provincial level! I’m really proud of the work that I’ve put in the past almost year and a half, and I cannot wait to show the package that I’ve built this coming summer! Right now, at the beginning of this prep, this is the best conditioning that I have ever started prepping for a show with. Now that I will be 15 weeks out on Saturday, I am sitting at the leanest that I have ever been this far away from a show. This is because I really stuck to my reverse diet, if I didn’t hold strong those 6 weeks post show, I would not be in the condition that I am today, and I probably wouldn’t have made as many lean gains. I did however, lose a bit of my discipline in the new year, but all in all, I stayed fairly lean, and I’m so happy about that!

For those of you who are just joining me on my blog, you can check out my bodybuilding journey so far by clicking the following links. These blog posts will give you a good idea about why I started bodybuilding, and my journey since ¬†then. The first post is my why. It is a piece that explains why I bodybuild, and why I love the sport so much.¬†Why Do you do Bodybuilding?¬†The next piece talks about the very beginning of my bodybuilding journey leading up to the prep of my second show.¬†My Bodybuilding Journey So Far¬†Then, this next piece talks about my final peak week ( the final week before my last show).¬†The Final Home Stretch! Peak Week!!¬†Next, is a piece I wrote following my second show. It talks about how my show went, and my plans for provincials.¬†My Bodybuilding Journey so far PART TWO!¬†And lastly, this final piece talks about reverse dieting, and what I did to come back from my latest show without rebounding.¬†Reverse Dieting, what does that mean? How do you come back from doing a Bodybuilding show?¬†All of these blog posts will get you up to speed pretty much to where I am at now. Happy reading! I will keep all of you updated on how my prep for this show will be going. Even though I may be in a stronger position out of the gate, I have a bunch of social obligations this summer that I simply can’t back out of, and well frankly, I would never dream of doing so. I am my best friend’s Maid of Honor!! So I have her bachelorette, and bridal shower to plan, and obviously attend before I step on stage this August. But if you know me at all, I like to have my cake and eat it too (so to speak), and I never take no for an answer when it comes to my passions. So, here I am #15weeksout and ready to kill this show, and be the best Maid of Honor a friend can have! Let’s get it!

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The top photo is me at 15 weeks out from my first Bikini show, and the bottom photos are of me 6 weeks out from the same show. My first bikini show was back in November 2014. 

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This is from my last show prep back in June 2015 where I rebounded from my bikini show pretty badly in my opinion. The left is 16 weeks out and the right is 15 weeks out from my first Figure show, that I did this past October 2015.

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This is me from this morning, #15weeksout from provincials. There is no filter on this photo because non of them really helped! And I’m not turning my knees out properly in the first pose, but you get the picture. This is the most muscular, and the leanest that I’ve ever been at 15 weeks! Let’s get shredded and win some hardware this August!

I’m excited to share the rest of my bodybuilding journey with you all this summer. I will keep you all posted through both my blog and my Instagram account. Thank you to all who have been following me, and watching me grow. There is so much more to learn, to grow, and to come in the future! Stay tuned, because I have plenty to share ūüôā


Spring is Here! Summer is around the corner! Are you beach body ready?

Spring has officially arrived! This means that fitness competition season is in full effect, and everyone has the summer on their brains! That being said, are you beach body ready? Every time spring comes around, and the weather starts getting warmer, everybody starts to come out of hibernation mode, and they start getting excited to wear shorts! But when we start thinking of summer clothes, we know this means we will be more exposed. This is why there is a sudden influx of people in the gym. Those New Years Resolutioners that have fallen off, get a painful reminder that summer is fast approaching, and therefore, march to the gym to try and get back on track with their fitness goals. Hey! I’m not complaining! It’s great for my business! And I get excited when I see people motivated to improve their health.

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of women on my Facebook News Feed, posting videos about beauty and body image. These videos are very female focused but I think body image, and self-esteem effect men as well, more so now than ever before. Obviously not to the same degree as women, but nonetheless the pressure to “look good” is strong for both sexes. This has got me thinking, with summer coming along, and the pressure to look good, how many people are terrified to hit the beach this summer? I’m sure that many of us feel this way, or at least you’re devising a plan to get you to a place where you¬†feel comfortable wearing next to nothing this summer. And this is where I come in. I plan on giving you some solid advice to help you get closer to your beach body goals! However, before I do, this is a disclaimer: don’t think that loosing weight is going to help you love yourself because it won’t. In addition, don’t think that by doing a bikini show it’s going to do the same, because it won’t. First of all you need to accept yourself as you are, you need to understand that your weight has nothing to do with who you are as a person. The number on the scale only describes your relationship with gravity, not your worth. Whether you are 100 lbs or 200 lbs, your values, personality, intelligence, etc. Are much more valuable to society than the size and shape of your ass. Beauty is fleeting, and your body is a vessel to take you through life. It must be nurtured, and respected. Not tortured, and mocked. Workout, and eat well because your body deserves the best. The healthier¬†and stronger your body is, the better your quality of life. So, if you plan on improving your fitness, it should be because you plan on improving your quality of life, not to fit a “beauty standard.”

That being said, here are my top 5 Nutritional types to help you achieve your summer fitness goals:

  1. DRINK TONS OF WATER!! HOT WATER TOO! – Staying hydrated is extremely important as the temperatures rise, however, it is also very important to help you get through your workouts safely. In addition, many times when you’re “feeling hungry” you may actually just be thirsty. This is very true when you’re watching your favorite series on Netflix after a long day of work, when we get the urge to snack, you should grab for water instead. For me? When I was preparing for both of my bodybuilding shows, herbal teas were my savior! Hot water helps you feel¬†full.¬†Herbal teas are not caffeinated, so they hydrate you, and I found it very relaxing. This helped me not feel so hungry before bed, and it relaxed me so that I could have a good deep sleep.
  2. MAKE SURE YOU GET PLENTY OF REST!! – When you’re trying to loose weight, you are generally restricting calories, meaning you are consuming less energy than you would normally. So, in order to conserve energy you must get plenty of rest. This will also help to minimize your stress levels, and the stress you are putting on your body. With ample rest, your body is able to recover properly so that you can workout, and complete your daily tasks.
  3. MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE EXERCISING REGULARLY!! – It is very important that you exercise, especially WEIGHT TRAIN while trying to loose weight. Anytime, no matter how safe the diet, you will inevitably loose muscle mass along with fat and excess water. In order to minimize the amount of muscle you loose, you must weight train on a regular and consistent basis!
  4. EAT PLENTY OF PROTEIN!!! – This is very important when you’re trying to slim down!¬†You will inevitably loose muscle mass, so you want to keep as much of it as possible, this is why you must eat a sufficient amount of protein. Also, because you will be weight training, you must eat enough protein to feed and protect your muscles. Lastly, protein is the most difficult energy source for your body to breakdown, this will help you feel fuller for longer. The amount of protein you should be eating, or the amount of calories you should be consuming to reach your fitness goals, should be determined by an experienced and trained professional.
  5. EAT PLENTY OF GREENS!!! – Sometimes, no matter how much water you drink, or herbal tea, you will still feel super hungry! Trust me, I know! I’ve been there! This is why I say to you that veggies, especially green veggies, are unlimited when dieting. They are high fiber, high water, and low carb. They will help keep you full, and they are full of essential nutrients to help keep you HEALTHY!!! That is the most important thing, you want to maintain your health over a certain “body image.” If you are using a calorie counter app, I would not include my vegetables, but I would include all of my fruits! Avocado is a fruit so please log it! So are tomatoes! Log those too! But veggies? Eat all the veggies, so to speak.

BEST OF LUCK ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS GOALS! ALWAYS SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP WHENEVER TRYING TO ACHIEVE YOUR FITNESS GOALS! ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T HAVE MUCH ATHLETIC EXPERIENCE! THIS WILL HELP TO ENSURE THAT YOU REACH YOUR GOALS IN THE SAFEST AND MOST EFFECTIVE WAY POSSIBLE.


How Exercise can help to slow down the aging process

This past Friday was my 27th Birthday! And I had the best time this weekend celebrating it with friends and family. I love my Birthday to be honest, it’s second only to Christmas as my favorite time of year. A lot of people once they past 25 stop loving their birthdays and start to get scared of their birthdays. This is mostly because they’re scared of aging. I think we’ve all been told at some point that turning 30 is so scary! And as I creep closer and closer to the dirty thirty, I am less and less afraid of it. I’m not afraid of getting older, because to be honest I don’t feel very old at all! I feel amazing! I mean every year I get more and more athletic, and I’ve become stronger as well. I¬†strive to improve every year, and because of this my confidence grows. I feel way better about who I am now than I did when I was 19. And fitness had a lot to do with it! So many of my clients, especially my female clients are afraid of getting older. Mostly because they are afraid of loosing their looks, their youth, and their vitality. They always ask me, “how do you look so good?” As if somehow my answer would change, and there is some sort of magical pill that will keep them young and beautiful forever. However, I always tell them that the fountain of youth lies within a balanced diet and regular exercise! This article is basically going to talk about how regular exercise can slow down the hands of time, and will help you age much more gracefully than if you didn’t exercise at all.

Me and some of my closest friends at my 27th birthday party ‚̧

First of all, your age is just a number. It really doesn’t mean that much, and you should never let your age define who you are. You are capable of being whoever you want, you don’t have to be a feeble, sick, weak, or fat person if you don’t want to be. And you sure as hell don’t have to feel old either! In my mind, you are only as old as you feel, and for the most part this works out pretty well for me, except for the fact that there are social expectations for you as you age… Other than that, I am convinced that I’m not a day over 21 ūüėõ But let’s get down to brass tacks, how exactly can exercises slow down the aging process?

How aging effects your health vs. Exercise:

Heart and Circulation Effect of Aging Effect of Exercise
Resting heart rate Increase Decrease
Maximum heart rate Decrease Slows Decrease
Maximum pumping capacity Decrease Increase
Heart muscle stiffness Increase Decrease
Blood vessel stiffness Increase Decrease
Blood pressure Increase Decrease
Blood
Number of red blood cells Decrease No change
Blood viscosity (blood thickness) Increase Decrease
Lungs
Maximum oxygen uptake Decrease No change
Intestines
Speed of emptying Decrease Increase
Bones
Calcium content and strength Decrease Increase
Muscles
Muscle mass and strength Decrease Increase
Metabolism
Metabolic rate Decrease Increase
Body fat Increase Decrease
Blood sugar Increase Decrease
Insulin levels Increase Decrease
LDL (‚Äúbad‚ÄĚ) cholesterol Increase Decrease
HDL (‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ) cholesterol Decrease Increase
Sex hormone levels Decrease Slight Decrease
Nervous System
Nerve conduction and reflexes Slower Decrease
Quality of sleep Decrease Increase
Risk of depression Increase Decrease
Memory lapses Increase Decrease

As you can see, exercise has a positive effect on your major organs and regulatory systems. Obviously the process of aging is inevitable, but exercise can either decrease¬†or slow down a lot of the effects that aging has on our vital organs, and regulatory systems. Not only does exercise effect our physical health in a positive way, but our mental and emotional health as well. Aging can have a very negative effect on a person’s self-esteem. However, regular exercise can have a very positive effect on a person’s self-esteem. Exercise along with a balanced diet can improve your overall body composition, making you leaner, and stronger. The¬†strength and empowerment you gain in the gym will also give you an increased sense of self-worth and confidence. Aging however, weakens your body. If you don’t exercise, as you age you will loose muscle mass and bone density. This will make you weaker, frail, and more prone to injury. You will loose your independence much more quickly as you age if you don’t exercise, than if you did. As the saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you loose it.” This is very true, as you can see in the chart above, if you don’t keep your body active, your body’s ability to perform will decrease much more quickly than it would with regular exercise.

Exercise is great for the body, mind, and spirit. Regular exercise and activity helps to keep all of these areas youthful. However, if you do decide to improve your physical fitness, and engage in an exercise program, please do so with caution! Especially if you are a beginner! There is no use in injuring yourself and setting yourself further back than when you started. Start off small, choose activities you enjoy, and ask for help! Always consult a professional when it comes to your health! Speak to a doctor, a nutritionist, and a well known coach/personal trainer to get you to a healthier, and longer lasting life! What is the point of living to 100 if you aren’t able to do anything when you get there? Eat well, workout, and you will have a more youthful and fulfilling life as you age.

My younger sister, me, and our friend Morgan celebrating my birthday this past weekend ‚̧


Invest more than $ into yourself

I haven’t been as consistent with my blogging this month as I would like, and I have been brewing this idea in my head for a little while now, but I have only recently found the angle that I would like to approach “investing” in oneself. My coach uses the line “invest in yourself” many times on all of his social media posts, especially the progress photos of his competitors and clients. Ever since the New Year, I’ve been thinking about what it means to invest in yourself. Most of the time when we think of investments, or investing, we think about money. This is the most obvious form of investing, but my plan is to tell you that it isn’t the only form of investment, especially when it comes to your fitness and health.

First of all, I would be lying if I said¬†that absolutely no monetary investment is required to improve your fitness, health, and lifestyle. Money has a huge impact on your ability to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. However, what I am trying to say with this article is that you cannot just keep throwing money at a problem and hope that it goes away. If you really want to make a change in your life for the better, you must invest more than just money. For example, if you bought the fanciest gym clothes, went to the most upscale gym, and bought an expensive personal trainer, that doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to reach your goals. Your chances of reaching your goals definitely increase, because now you have a means to reach your goals, but that’s about it. There are a lot of people who think that now that they’ve paid for a gym membership they are going to loose weight, or now that they have a personal trainer, they are going to reach their¬†goals. These things definitely help, especially having an educated trainer, but they are not a guarantee. Why? Well that’s mostly because of you. You need to be fully committed and invested in your goals. Not only financially, but mentally, emotionally, and physically. You literally need to invest your ENTIRE self into any goal that you set for yourself if you truly want to be successful. Investing in gym clothes, a gym membership, and a personal trainer, are all very superficial, and they mean absolutely nothing if you’re not fully committed to making a change in your life.

I was having lunch with a friend about two weeks ago, and we were talking about our businesses, and how most people like the idea of change, but they are not actually committed to making a change. This is why so many people make these superficial, financial investments like new gear, a fancy gym membership, and so on, but they don’t invest anything else into making a change. Just because you went to the gym, trained with your coach for an hour does not mean that you’re going to get ripped in no time, it almost means nothing at all… Now some of you may be asking yourself why that is? And well, sure you went to the gym, and sure you trained for an hour, but were you mentally present and focused for the entire hour? Did you put forth all your energy and effort? Even if you did all of that, that still doesn’t mean you’ll be getting ripped.Why? Well that’s because you only invested in just the one hour, there are 23 hours left in the day for you to mess it up! Some of you may be laughing at this point, and yes it is funny, but it is also true. If you don’t want that hour spent in the gym to be in vain, then you must invest the rest of your day towards your fitness goals. In fact, if being fit and healthy is important to you, then really you need to be centering your entire life around it. Like I’ve mentioned before, if you want to be successful at anything you must invest your entire self to it.

Now a lot of you may be thinking woah, wait… What is this girl talking about? What does she mean, center my life around being healthy? Or investing my entire self into being fit? I’m not a gym rat, I’m not that vain, I don’t need a six pack. And this is where my point is proved once again. A lot of people say, “I don’t want to diet, I want to be healthy, I want to make a lifestyle change…” However, a lot people don’t realize the amount of things they need to change and/or give up if they really do want a “healthy lifestyle.” Most people do not lead a healthy lifestyle, and most people don’t realize how unhealthy their lifestyle really is until it’s almost too late. This is why there is so much obesity, mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and disease plaguing our population! Now I don’t expect everyone to have the discipline it takes to train, and eat like a bodybuilder. Especially when it comes to getting ready for shows. I do believe in balance, and for each individual that means something different. But let me make this clear, you need to be very realistic with the goals that you set for yourself. You really can’t have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.¬†Don’t ever expect to have abs if you don’t plan on drastically changing how you eat and how you train. If however, you would like to reduce your body fat to a healthy level, and improve your overall fitness, you won’t necessarily have to drastically change your entire life to the complete opposite of the spectrum. Meaning, you don’t have to start training twice a day, and eating 6 meals a day right away, if being completely ripped isn’t your goal.

If you do want to make a lifestyle change for the better, start off small. Be realistic!! Make your goals manageable! Do not set yourself an impossible goal of going to the gym 5 days a week if you’ve never set foot in there before. Start at maybe twice a week, and increase it from there. You will stay much more motivated, and you will be much more successful if you can set attainable goals for yourself right at the start. After you feel successful at going twice a week, then add in a third day. After you’ve been doing that consistently, you will then have the confidence to make other lifestyle changes to further help you reach your fitness goals. This takes time, an essential investment that needs to be made when you decide to commit to a fitness goal. There is no magical pill, or invention that will do the work for you. Like I’ve said before, being fit and healthy is work. It is a labor of love, a love for yourself and your well being that is. It is also an investment that requires you to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially locked in. You can’t eat well for five days of the week and then every weekend you get completely derailed. You will never get any further in your pursuit for fitness and health. You need to be consistent with your diet and your workouts. You can’t diet during the week, fall off on the weekend, and then punish yourself Monday by dieting really hard again. Set manageable goals for your diet just like your workouts, AND STICK TO THEM!! Change requires COMMITMENT!!! You need to be fully committed aka fully invested in all your pursuits, fitness or not because money unfortunately doesn’t solve all of life’s problems.