Wednesday, April 30, 2014

First Bodybuilding Competition + Meal Prepping + A Recipe

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I know we did :) I wish by we I meant me and my hubby, but by we I mean me and my good friend Laurynn. We definitely found some things to get into! No problem keeping ourselves busy while the guys are away.

On Saturday I was finally able to get my hair highlighted! Yay!! (It was def looking pretty rough lol). And by an awesome gal over at Gaia Salon in Manhattan. If you are in the area I highly recommend Mindy. She is amazing! And the salon itself is great too. For us ladies out there, I know we like to be pampered- they even give you a complimentary shoulder/neck massage, foot treatment or hand treatment while your color sets! Can you say "Yes, Please??" It was awesome and the oil they use is really great! I could've gone into a comatose state and taken a nap right after haha. 

Of course we had to get a few of us...
Later that day, Laurynn and I got ready and headed on out to Kansas City to see my friend Angi compete in her NANBF Figure show, the Natural Southern States Classic.This was my first experience at a bodybuilding competition. I really enjoyed it! 

For those of you who aren't familiar, the NANBF or North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation, is an all-natural organization for competing. The athletes are required to take a urinalysis and polygraph test before competing to ensure that all athletes are completely natural. In some ways, I think this organization really does stand out because of that reason. There are so many organizations in this sport and everyone will choose the org that best suits their personal goals at the time. :)

I cannot help but brag about Angi and her show while I write this post....Angi was nothing short of fabulous; she looked absolutely amazing! She is not only a personal trainer, but is also an Army wife and mom of two. She has been working so hard on everything, throughout her journey, and to get ready for this show. And boy did it show!

I borrowed a few pictures that I saw her hubby post; they are definitely better than my Iphone pictures. Sad day - I forgot my good camera! Ah well! Wouldn't want my pictures to do any less justice than there should be, now would we? ;)


AH-mazing work friend!

Angi is always working to improve herself and inspire others while doing it. For her, it isn't only about prepping for this one show, but about continuing to make steady improvements all the time. Angi is one of those people who believes in bringing her best self each time and will not settle for anything less. She said, "I want to be a little more ripped each show!" Go for it girl! I'll be happy to cheer you on throughout your journey.

Angi- 3rd from the right 

Men's Physique and Women's Figure Competitors
I just cannot say enough great things about anyone who competes in bodybuilding. Really. Congratulations to all who take the time, commit to the dedication it takes, and every other detail involved in this lifestyle. Those men and women who stepped on stage this weekend really go the distance to set themselves aside from the "norm" because they are the exceptions. This is the next level. For this show, over 250 competitors took the stage, in Bikini, Figure, Physique and Bodybuilding. Just plain WOW. Many of those competitors were over the age of 35. Like many, Angi pointed out that she was very impressed by all of the women competing, especially the 40+ ladies!

Angi - 2nd from the right
The competition definitely wasn't easy by any means. With all of the ladies and especially those who did earn their pro cards that night, the differences in these women was very small, and may go unnoticed for someone new to the sport.  I say this because they were all ON POINT and it was a very competitive group of women. I know I would have not wanted to judge that group of women because it was close. 

 Here is a video of one class she was in and the mandatory posing for the group; this should be Figure Open Medium Tall.

Every single one of them should be SO proud of their accomplishments and presentation that night. No one should leave without knowing that they gave it their all. It really is an incredible sport to be a part of, and what looks like so much fun! I can't wait to be able to share the experience with fellow competitors! From the journey itself, to taking it to the next level.

Group shot of the Women's Figure NerG Athletes, and their AwEsOmE coaches/trainers Liz and Abu

And I have to "toot their horn" for them for a minute and did not want to leave them out of this post for this reason. Liz and Abu are also so great at what they do! I have seen Liz and Abu at a few seminars this year and had a posing session with Liz not too long ago, and she is wonderful! I know I can't wait to work with her more this year. From coaching, to posing, suits for the show, to training, or simply support for the day of the show, and so much more; they've got you! If you ever find yourself in need of a trainer, coach, etc. give these guys a call! Or anyone at Laser Sharp Fitness for that matter! I promise, you won't be disappointed!

After the show was over, Saturday night, we all headed over to Nicky's Pizza to get some food; I know Angi was probably hungry and so were we by that point lol. Sorry no pictures! It completely slipped my mind. Let me just say, if you are ever around the KC Missouri area and are in the mood for some good, homemade pizza you have got to check this place out! Thank me later ;) We got the Spinach & Artichoke Dip and a Mediterranean Pizza with regular green olives, added mushrooms and peppers. Boy was it yummy!

Then Sunday I had to catch up on sleep from getting in super early that morning, then do the normal activities: gym, laundry, grocery shopping, meal know, the usual before going back to work on Monday.

Got all my lunches and mid-morning/afternoon meals together

Awesome Egg Muffins > boring egg whites
And lately, I have been having 6 boiled egg whites to go with my yogurt, blueberries, and ezekiel bread for mid-morning around 10 or so. I added the eggs because the yogurt alone definitely isn't enough protein to hold me for very long. But man...egg whites can only get so interesting lol. It was time to switch things up, so I made my egg muffins!  

When I first began my journey, these were my go-to for breakfasts every week. I make enough for 5 days and eat them all week. This is the original recipe that I modified for my taste/goals. Before now, I was using some whole eggs so feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking and needs. Now I am only using egg whites to make these.   

Here's what you'll need:
-30 egg whites 
(or smaller/larger amount to fit your needs)
- 1 whole red bell pepper - chopped
-1 whole green bell pepper - chopped
-or other chopped veggies to your taste  (asparagus, spinach, etc.)
-1/4 (my case) very large Vidalia onion 
OR 1/2 medium white or yellow onion
-Garlic powder
-Onion powder
-Seasoned salt or sea salt
-Pepper if you like
-5 slices turkey bacon - cooked

  • Chop up all veggies and mix in bowl, then set aside.
  • Cook bacon in microwave or in skillet and set aside. 
  • Prepare muffin tins by spraying with non-stick cooking spray (I used 1 16 count large muffin tin, and 1 8 count large muffin tin). 
  • The put a large spoonful or so of the veggie mix into each spot in your muffin pans; I had extra so I spread it evenly in the pans. 
  • Put all egg whites in large bowl, and season to taste. I sprinkled garlic powder and onion powder in a thin layer on top- be careful and don't put too much onion powder or they will come out with a strong taste (yes I've done this with eggs before lol). Then salt and pepper to taste and whisk together.
  • Spoon egg mixture into pans on top of the veggies (Tip: I use a soup ladle and it doesn't spill). You will want to fill the tins almost to the top, but leaving room for them to rise. As long as you don't over-flow the cups you should be fine.
  • Chop up bacon into small pieces (kitchen shears work great for this), and sprinkle on top of egg mixture in your muffin cups. 
  • Cook on 350°F for around 30-35 minutes. They should be slightly brown on top. Check on them after the 25 minute mark, depending on your stove. Our gas stove cooks them quicker. 

And these could be great little go-to snacks for breakfast or any time of day, and for traveling as well. Enjoy! Let me know what you think!

The Hump Day Blog Hop

And I cannot forget, since it has literally taken me 3 days since I originally planned to post this- The awesome HUMP Day Blog Hop hosted by Liz at Fitness Blondie! So happy to continue being a part of this. I always find some amazing blogs and people to follow along with each week. And I cannot forget the co-host this week, the fabulous (and new blog to follow) Rebecca from Red Tag Chic Los Angeles! Now that's my type of shopping! Happy Blog Hopping!

Before you go, here are a few more of the pictures I took...Order of stage presence and awards (that I got pics of) follow their class.

 Men's Physique
(forgive me, I don't have the program to name the classes)

I'm pretty sure we missed the first 2 classes- this is the third
Nice Lat Spread
Top 5 places
Here are your winners!
Here is the class that came after...

Apparently I got tired of taking pictures of the men lol...

Awards for the first class...

And your winners are...

 Men's Physique Overall Judging

Women's Figure

So on the women's I was really lost with no program...learning for next time :)

Here is the first class-- Open Short maybe 

This might be a new class...

 Then it's Angi's turn!!!


Setting the stance...
Now the other half of this class

Lat Spread
Quarter Turn...

Front Pose

 Call-outs or could be a different class...


More comparisons...



She turned them multiple times so I picked the best and left some of those out...

Then a new class...

 And we had to leave before the women's awards :) 

Hope you have a great rest of the HUMP day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where to Begin with Creating Healthy Habits + HUMP Day Blog Hop!

More often than not, I am that person that a lot of people go to for advice and information. Not boasting or bragging here, but seriously I was always and still am that friend. You know that one friend you have that usually knows the answer or can point you in the right direction for a particular thing, or more than one in my case. That's just how I am. I love helping people and I just do it, no questions asked. So you get the picture- I don't like the term and I personally don't think of myself as a "know-it-all" because I'm not, really, I just like to look at it as...Using my resources more efficiently than others ;)

So when I got into fitness and health, you all know if you read my journey (if not click here), that I am kinda like a sponge. I try to absorb everything I can about a subject I am passionate about; and that is just what I did when I got into lifting a year ago and learned that I loved it so much. 

Get it? A sponge ;)

So needless to say I have thought about this specific post, more than once, and even have things already put together that I will use to pull from. I have been asked multiple times from friends and family members about different things I have learned about fitness and health; from starting out, to different steps in the process, ultimately put together to get to where I am today. And I plan to continue to learn and grow from here.

I will give fair warning, just like I tell everyone when it comes to this type thing, I am NOT a seasoned pro or trained professional. What I write is purely from my own research, experience, help from my trainer, etc. I am happy to share any information I have with you that I have learned along the way, but know that every person is different and will require customized plans for their specific goals and needs. 
Note: I am not a certified personal trainer or a nutritionist. Anything posted to this site is purely from my own personal experience and knowledge gained while on my fitness journey. I do not post information on this page with the intent to give advice for any one individual, as everyone will be different and see different results in his/her own journey. Always consult your physician before making a change to your diet or exercise routine.

With that being said, everyone can get healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. So, let's talk about a question...And this may require a few posts to give you more detail along the way...People ask all the time, myself included because I was once there asking the same questions, "How do I get started?" or "what can I do to start making healthier choices?"

The "what can I do" can get pretty complex if you want my opinion. But it can be simple too. So let's start with the basics. There are a few things you can do to start creating healthier habits, that mostly everything else will tie back to. 

Here are a few rules of thumb if you will:
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water - aim for 8 8oz glasses a day, at least
  • Clean up your diet. Don't go on a diet :) This means try to eat more whole, unprocessed foods and drinks.
  •  Eat smaller portions, more often. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and small 'meals' in between. Eating more often will speed up your metabolism, and make sure it is constantly working. This will also help keep your energy levels higher throughout the day and keep hunger at bay.
  • Avoid simple sugars and refined foods. Things like sugar, candy, sweets, soft drinks, white flour, etc. 
  •  Limit your alcohol consumption. Drinking Alcohol actually stops other metabolic processes, and switches to metabolizing that alcohol out of your body (from Fitness Rx for Women Magazine). In short, alcohol intake temporarily stops you from burning fat and building muscle. :(
  • Eat to live not live to eat. We can expand more here later :) Basics: Eat more healthy, whole foods and enough calories, but not too many calories. Even too much healthy food can be a bad thing.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Most of your natural, un-processed foods like fresh meats, fruits, and veggies, will be on the perimeter of the grocery store.
  •  Be creative. Don't be afraid to try new things or switch things up. It doesn't have to be boring to be good for you and healthy eating can be "good" eating.  We all love good food!
  • Eat things you like. You are more likely to stick to something if you like doing it, right? I know I would not continue eating the (mostly) clean if I did not like what I ate.
  • Get plenty of rest. Go to bed earlier, make sure to get quality sleep.
  • Recover. Take time to make sure you are staying well, and if you need time off then take time to let your body heal.
  • Get active. If this means going for a short walk on lunch, or simply getting up a few more times during the day to walk around the office or neighborhood (if you work from home).
  • Keep it simple. Start with small changes at first. Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to adjust everything at once (unless your crazy like I was ;) ).
There is a lot that you can do to live healthier and it doesn't have to happen overnight. It took me a long time to realize that I could not change everything all at once. Change takes time. The unhealthy habits didn't just "happen" overnight. It will take time and consistency to create the healthy habits. 
I also had to find balance for myself and my family. It can be really overwhelming diving head-first into creating a healthier lifestyle, and for some, change is scary.Take it one step at a time, find out what works for you and what doesn't, and know that not everyone will be able to do everything the same way and see the same changes. Make sure to strive for keeping balance in your life with the people you cherish and other activities/things you love and enjoy doing. 

Take it one day at a time, and don't be afraid to ask for help from others! I hope these tips are as helpful to you as I found them when I was beginning my journey. Once you get the basics in place and as a part of your routine, you'll be set! 

I plan on continuing this little "mini-series" if you will, and get into other things like meal prepping, grocery lists or what to buy, maybe how to shop on a budget, and other things like that that seem to peak people's curiosity. 

I would love for you to comment below with what you want to hear more about!

The Hump Day Blog Hop

 And, what better day than HUMP day to bring on lots of other awesome blogs for you to check out with the HUMP Day Blog Hop featuring our host Liz over at Fitness Blondie and co-host Tricia from Tricia's (Mostly) Healthy Lifestyle!
 I found Tricia's blog not too long ago through the Hump Day Blog Hop and hope you will enjoy her blog as much as I have! Head on over and show them some love and find new blogs to check out!

 Have a great rest of the Hump day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A relaxing saturday + oat flour + the PERFECT protein pancakes!

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying this relaxing Saturday as much as I am! Got to sleep in this morning a little later than I should have, but who's complaining? Everyone can always use more sleep! While the hubs is at NTC, it has been a little harder to sleep at night. But I digress and try my best to get good quality sleep while he is gone. Not to say at all that Im not missing the guy-- I definitely am. But he will be home soon!

A little throw-back to our engagement photos :) 

So I got up this morning still (phew! lol) caught up on some TV--because Sex and the City 2 was on--so what girl can't justify having to watch this when it's on? Love this movie still! Yes I know, for any guys reading, you and my husband both would definitely shake their heads at that one haha.

But before I sat down to watch the tube, well in this case the flat screen on the wall ;) I had to make breakfast. As much as I love to sleep in on the weekends, it really throws off my eating schedule; I was famished! And I couldn't think of anything better to have than another serving (first one last night) of the PERFECT protein pancakes!

Like these...By The Fit Bald Man
If you saw my Facebook post last night, you know that I have been in search of the perfect protein pancake recipe; and actually have been looking for weeks, maybe even months, to find one that turned out almost like normal pancakes. Let's face it, sometimes when you are eating cleaner and healthier, some things just don't turn out like normal (or like I was used to with the bisquick lol).

The problem I was having was the mere fact that mine kept turning out flat, sometimes not even "pancake-like" so definitely not fluffy; and last weekend they didn't even want to all. Sad day!   I think it was the protein powder I tried to use...It is so hard to find the right type to cook with- so if anyone has a favorite, please comment!

And honestly, in the world of cooking, I would still classify myself as a beginner (and I definitely don't have baking skills...But I'm learning!) Scotty even thought so and broke down and got me the "perfect pancake" pan for christmas. LOL! I'm telling you, my pancake shaping skills were...BAD. But I can still laugh at myself for it. Even with the pan I still make funny looking pancakes, but I digress! On to what you really want...the recipe!

As much as I would absolutely love to take credit for this recipe, I cannot. And I am happy to give credit where credit is due- because I promise you, you will want to send a personal Thank you to this person when you devour eat these! I bring you...The PERFECT Protein Pancakes!

Ok, so my food presentation skills need some work...
Last night, I topped these with ½ cup blueberries, and a little bit of the Vermont Butter flavored, sugar free syrup. I found this last night when I ran into Dillon's after the gym, on the aisle by the Walden Farms syrups. I know people have their different perspectives about to use or not to use certain things like this and the Walden Farms syrups...And I won't get into all of that right now, but I saw that this one wasn't terrible (for everyone now and then use), it didn't have aspartame in it, and it satisfied my craving for "real" IHOP style pancakes without all the extra fat and junk...So in my book- it was perfect for my pancakes. 


½ C Oatmeal (or oat flour - see below)
½ C Cottage Cheese
4 egg whites or ¾ C Egg whites in Carton
½ tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Baking powder
1 tsp coconut sugar or 1 packet Truvia

Blend everything together in your single serving blender like I used, or regular blender will work just fine. I tried stirring this in a bowl first, but the cottage cheese needs to be blended. I poured in almost enough to fill each circle in the perfect pancake pan and this mixture made 8 pancakes. It was definitely a large serving (for some) but was perfect if you eat big like I do! 

Browned them a little but they were still oh-so-yummy!
And they fit my macros to a 'T'- almost anyways...Winning!
So needless to say, after two meals in a row- these are HANDS DOWN the BEST protein pancakes I have made yet! And I have tried a TON of recipes over the months, some OK, and some terrible. These were tasty, fluffy, and exactly like the real pancakes that all of you know. And it would not be right to not give credit to my down-right awesome friend Laurynn, and her mom Michelle Deibele for giving me this recipe to use.  

Laurynn and her mom Michele
And give her a shout-out for her amazing accomplishments! I mean, Her physique is AMAZING and I cannot wait to meet her one day! From the little bits I have heard about her, she is an amazing woman; and anyone who has this type of dedication and drive, while ALSO being a Mom, is a type of superhero in my book. 

A huge THANK YOU so much to both of these great women! I know for a fact that Laurynn will be a great friend in the long months ahead of us :) Love ya girl!

And I'll let you in on one more thing I got to thinking about, and before I head to the grocery store...last night when Laurynn was telling me about the recipe, I had the thought that I could use my home-made oat flour instead of worrying about whether or not the oats came out in chunks in the blender and in the pancakes. If you have cooked with oatmeal before, you know that sometimes they don't blend all the way when you use a normal blender or single-serve. I think it's because the blades just aren't sharp enough...and I wanted to fix the consistency problem. 

So one day, I decided that instead of buying the oat flour at the store, I would make my own! I saw on pinterest that it could be done very simply by taking your normal oats and blending them by themselves.

I got a Ninja for Xmas/my birthday from my awesome mom-in-law and absolutely love it! We got this one at Sams Club because it came with the large blender pitcher, 2 smaller chopper cups (not one like the link) like these, and one medium size blender cup, plus the top-attaching part that controls the blades. To me this one works better than a normal blender because it can pretty much puree, chop, or blend anything (and juicing) depending on how many "presses" you give it. 

So to make the oat flour, I took about 1.5 cups of oats and put them in my smaller cup. Then you just blend them until you don't see any big chunks anymore. Done and Done! That's simple. So now you don't have to go buy expensive packages of oat flour anymore :)

It is all perfectly flour-style, but it does stick together sometimes. Still better than buying!
So there you have it! How to make oat flour and the perfect pancakes! A win-win in my book! Now I'm going to eat real quick-like and be off to the store to re-stock my pathetically empty fridge for the week ahead. Maybe even get some meal prep in before hanging out with a friend later. Oh and if anyone has good baking protein powders please let me know! Leave a comment below! (Hey that rhymed :) ) Don't forget what you use it for.

Have a great Saturday friends!!