Back to Basics

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of really broad topic style blogs recently. I really like doing those types of things. Or general updates about goals and plans etc. But it’s been ages and ages since I just posted about food and workouts. So that’s what I’m going to do today!

I’m just shy of 11 weeks out from my next competition and I am not losing weight… I blame my addiction to chocolate PB2 and the Lindt Dark Sea Salt chocolate. I only have max 100 calories worth of either a day… but I’m convinced that’s the reason, mostly because it’s always the things we love that we are forced to give up. Ugh… stupid body. Just be skinny naturally ok?! Deal. Moving on.  🙂

But all in all I have been keeping carbs higher which I actually find hard to do since I can’t eat gluten. So I’ve been eating oats relatively frequently. My normal go to oatmeal recipes is my pumpkin pie oats (yes I know it’s almost April, no I don’t care). But I figured I should try to branch out flavour wise a bit more. My issue is that I like the volume that pumpkin adds to the oats without too many calories.

Cue Zoats.

While perusing instagram I came across a recipe for Zoats or Zucchini Oats and decided to give it a try. My personal favourite flavour at the moment is ginger molasses. Here’s the recipe:

Ginger Molasses Zoats


  • ½ c. Large flake oats

    Some very yummy Zoats

  • ½ c. Egg whites
  • ¾ c. Water
  • ½ large zucchini (about ½ c.) shredded
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger powder)
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste


  1. Combine oats, water and egg whites in a saucepan a bring to a boil on med-high high, stirring frequently with a fork so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan
  2. Reduce heat a simmer until desired consistency is reached (about 8 minutes for me) then stir in remaining ingredients and return to a simmer.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

Nutritional Info

Calories – 295      Carbs – 48 g     Fat – 3 g    Protein – 20 g

It’s definitely been a go to breakfast in the past week or so. The ingredients will be scaled down to 1/3 c. Oats and egg whites and Stevia instead of molasses as I cut calories more. It’s a very versatile recipe.

As for workouts. I’ve been doing minimal cardio and lifting really heavy as I love to do. My favourite workouts right now are Back and Bi’s so I’ll give you the layout I’ve been doing for that here. I’ve really taken it back to basics for this. Really just focusing on form and moving as much weight as possible. As always, please keep in mind that I have been working out for many years now. Please do not assume the weights I post are what you should be lifting… it’s just for frame of reference as I am always curious how much other people lift, so I figure someone might find it interesting too.

Back to basics – Back and Bi’s

looking wide 🙂

Warmup – 5 mins either running or rowing (preferably rowing as it actually warms up the back muscles)

  Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Lat pull downs 100 x 12 105 x 10 110 x 8
One arm DB rows 60 x 10 65 x 8 70 x 6
Supp. bent over BB rows 90 x 10 90 x 10 90 x 10
Rear delt flyes (w. DBs) 15 x 12 15 x 12 15 x 12
Back extensions BW x 12 BW x 12 BW x 12
Dumbbell bicep curls 20 x 10 20 x 10 20 x 10
Concentration curls 12.5 x 10 12.5 x 10 12.5 x 10


Cool down – lots of stretching!

So there we go… a more normal, less rant-y post.

Love and health


Goals are just dreams with deadlines

One of the fit chicks I follow on twitter – @StephPaplinskie posted this photo from pinterest today and I loved it! It’s so true!Dreams

Every single goal I have (that I am not forced to make through work or something) starts out as a far flung dream. I dreamed one day that I would compete in a figure competition – check. I dreamed of writing a blog about fitness – check. I dreamed about making delicious fudge – check… does that last one count as a goal?

What differentiates a dream from a goal is the plan. You have to have a time line and an action plan if you ever want to achieve you goals. Last year I set my goals for the fitness competition up and I saw myself slowly but surely move in the right direction. This year is no different. With christmas coming up I am cutting myself some (probably too much) slack with my diet, but my exercise it still mostly on track. Nonetheless, New Year’s resolutions will come shortly after the Christmas feasting and I will partake in these declarations of resolve.

I normally don’t put much stock into New Year’s resolutions because I firmly believe that if you want something you should start now, not 3 weeks from now. BUT it coincides nicely with post christmas weight gain AND it works with the timeline for my goals this year!

Wait… what goals are these?

Oh haven’t I told you? I have decided what I’m doing for my fitness goals this year and they are (dun dun dun)

  1. Compete in The GNC Stephanie Worsfold Natural in London Ontario on May 25, 2013
  2. a) if I qualify at the London event – compete in The GNC Toronto Pro SuperShow on June 1, 2013 (the provincial show) or b) if I don’t qualify at the London event – compete in the Oxygen Model Search at the Toronto Pro SuperShow on June 1, 2013
  3. Rune a 5km race in July 2013 – specific race TBD
  4. Race in the Toronto Super Spartan (8 miles, 20+ obstacles) in July 2013 with my boyfriend

My favourite part about this plan is that regardless of whether I place at the regional OPA event in London, I will compete in a competition the following week in Toronto. I will also be making a dream board about the journey and some milestones that I have. To give you guys (especially those of you who are thinking about competing yourselves) a rough idea of what my plan is to get ready for the figure competition… here you go.

My overall goal in the ‘off-season” is to stay about 8 – 12 pounds away from my contest weight which will change as I try to ass muscle.

January – February

Weight goal – stay in the 8-12 pounds from contest weight range, while trading some fat for muscle.

Training – Workout legs (specifically the posterior chain of hamstrings, glutes, lower back) at least 2 times per week, upper body 1-2 times per week and use running as my main source of cardio in order to train for the races 3-4 times per week.

Nutrition – Eat 5-6 meals per day, completely eliminate gluten and maintain balance of moderate carbs, moderate fat and high protein. Use BCAAs and carnitine before and during workouts, glutamine and protein powder with a simple carb (like fruit) directly after all workouts. 1-2 cheat meals per week and limit sugar intake.


Weight goal – Lose between 1-2 pounds per week depending on how far I am from my contest weight at the beginning of the month

Training – Continue training legs heavy 2 times per week, increase upper body to 2 times per week split between push and pull muscles, train cardio 4-5 times per week 30-45 minutes per session with at least 2 sessions running and use HIITs for at least 2 sessions.

Nutrition – Continue with the same nutrition plan as before but limit cheat meals to 1 per week start tracking macronutrients and calories. Modify calories and macros based on whether I am hitting my weight targets. Continue same supplementation as above.

April (AKA 8 weeks out)

Weight goal – Lose between 1-2 pounds per week depending on how far I am from my contest weight at the beginning of the month, same as above.

Training – Train legs 2-3 times per week but increase the volume of work and incorporate circuits alternating 1 heavy leg day and 1 high volume leg day. Train upper body body to 2 times per week split between push and pull muscles as above but train in a circuit to increase cardio. Train cardio 5 times per week 3o minutes on circuit days, 60 minutes on non-circuit or rest days.

Nutrition – Continue to eat 5-6 meals per day. Evaluate nutrition based on weight loss progress at this point and restrict calories as needed, maintain high protein. Eliminate use of BCAAs during upper body and cardio workouts (only use for leg workouts).

May (AKA final month)

Weight goal – Lose 1 pound per week up to peak week

Training – Same as above, but modify cardio as needed depending on weight loss (i.e. increase to 6 times per week, longer sessions etc.).

Nutrition – Continue with the same nutrition plan as in April, but evaluate whether carb cycling or carb restriction is necessary, start to reduce carbs as peak week approaches. No use of BCAAs during workouts.

Hopefully I can look like this by about 2 weeks out and surpass it by the time I compete.


I will post what my monthly plans are each month in more detail as I tend to change things as I see how my body reacts. If you have any questions or want to chat you can reach me by commenting, or through facebook


1 day left!

I have less than 24 hours left before I get on stage in a very small bikini and a ridiculous tan and try to impress a bunch of people I don’t know. I am so very VERY nervous but so excited too. I am sitting on my couch, having just eaten my first meal – oatmeal and egg whites and trying to get my nerves under wrap. I still have to pack, but I have made my food for tomorrow which consists of the following:

–          4 oz of sweet potato mashed with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp maple syrup

–          Baked oatmeal muffins which I made by combining 1/3 c. Oats, water and egg whites with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp maple syrup and dividing into muffin tins and baking for 30 minutes at 350F (I made 2 servings of these)

–          Rice cakes with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter and 1 tbsp pure honey (lots of these for snacking on)

There will also be some wine and mini eggs while pumping up back stage to help relax me and bring up my muscles that little bit more.

My diet today is staying pretty much the same as it has been except that I will also have sweet potato at every meal, the same as yesterday and as little water today as possible to help dry me out and get rid of water weight. Then, depending on how I look I eat steak and potatoes tonight… which sounds great, only I can’t drink water with it.

I feel much more energized with carbs in me, though my throat is a little sore so I’m worried about being sick, but who cares?! I have worked so long and hard for this that 24 hours is nothing. I can put up with anything for that length of time.

Just a short update today because my nerves are getting the better of me so I’m going to go pack!

Peak Week

Yesterday was my grandma’s 91st birthday celebration and my family went to a nice restaurant to celebrate. Even though I am 1 week away from my competition, some things are more important than dieting and I decided to go and just be the ridiculous person asking for a million modifications to my meal. I really wish I got a picture of my meal but I didn’t feel it was appropriate. I had asked for the pickerel meal which came with a rice pilaf and chorizo sausage. I asked them to instead bring me just vegetables instead of the rice and sausage and cook everything in as little oil as possible. They kindly agreed and were really good about it. So I am thinking, great, that was easier than I thought it would be. Then the food came out. My uncle had ordered the same dish and his was brought out first, sans modifications and looked delicious. Then mine came out… I had MAYBE 3 oz of pickerel along with:

  • 1 tbsp of spaghetti squash
  • 1.5 tbsp sauteed red cabbage (which was delicious, but I’m pretty sure had sugar in it)
  • 3 green beans
  • 1.5 small carrots

I kid you not, I actually laughed at the portion. It was ridiculous. I asked the waitress if I could maybe have more food and she had the manager come over and he pretended like it wasn’t a laughable portion of food (especially at the price of $26) but did agree to bring me out more vegetables, which ended up being exactly what I described above, with 2 additional green beans. So in total I got about double that amount of vegetables and a very small serving of pickerel. Delicious, but I was definitely not full. Oh well, better than going over board I guess.

The point of the night however was not the food, but instead to celebrate with my grandma and she had a great night, so that is what is important! But always keep in mind that it is so important to have balance. A lot of people would not have gone to a restaurant this close to the competition where you don’t have control over the food you are eating, but you have to decide what is more important. I don’t know how many more birthdays my grandma has left so I think that is more important that sticking to my diet 100%.

With that said, my diet for this week SUCKS. There will be no recipes this week, sorry. The list of food I will be eating is extremely short. I have been talking to a trainer who has a lot of experience with training both himself and others for competitions and he designed a peak week program for me. He is still working on the final product but the list of foods I will be eating is as follows:

  • sweet potato
  • chicken breast
  • lean fish (tilapia, red snapper or basa)
  • protein powder
  • egg whites are allowed only in the morning
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • 1 tbsp of fat per day (either nut butter or olive or fish oil)

That’s it. I will be having 40 g of carbs starting today (from sweet potato, the veggies don’t count) and I am not to add any fat to anything during the week. I am supposed to have all my carbs before I workout, spread over 2 meals and then no carbs after that. I dislike this, but it’s for 6 days. I can hate my diet for 6 days.

The sweet potato you see above the plate is the total serving for the day. 😦

My breakfast this morning consisted of 4 oz. sweet potato, 5 egg whites and half a green pepper (because I haven’t purchased my other veggies yet). Pretty sad 😦

If you have read my blog up until now you know that I do not follow the typical bodybuilder’s diet of broccoli, chicken and brown rice. I like variety and I like enjoying my food so I am not happy with this plan, but I will do it because I want to look the best I can on stage.

The trainer (Norvic) didn’t have all bad news though! I was anticipating just carbing up the day of the competition with a combo of good simple and complex sugars and getting in some good fats from nut butters, egg yolks and oils. Apparently I missed the memo on one of bodybuilding secrets. I am supposed to have a glass of red wine accompanied with chocolate (not dark chocolate, the normal kind) 30 minutes before stepping on stage while I pump up for the show! Why didn’t I know about this?! This is the best plan ever! I already went and bought a nice bottle of Folonari Ripasso (one of my favourites) and I will be buying some mini eggs for the chocolate portion because the are my absolute favourite.

If you are wondering why this would be done I will tell you! \Wine (or any alcohol) increases blood flow to your muscles which helps to deliver the sugar to the muscles. Additionally, alcohol sugars do not need to be digested, they are absorbed into the blood directly through the lining of your digestive tract and can go straight to you muscles as well. The chocolate needs to be cheap so it has enough sugar and fat content. Fat helps make you more vascular and the sugars make you muscles look bigger. So it’s not just random, there is some science behind it. Plus the alcohol will hopefully help calm my nerves. So that is how I will be getting through this week.

Another plus side and some motivation is the fact that my abs are looking pretty awesome. Look!

1 week out

Karma and getting sick

I have previously written a post about working out while you are sick and my stance is basically that if you are really sick then you should rest, if you are just using it as an excuse, then go to the gym! But I am 11 days away from my first ever competition and I am feeling oh so terrible. I don’t know if I’m actually sick or if my body has just had enough of the crazy workout regime and not enough food. I think it might be a bit of both: i.e. I am getting sick because my body does not have enough resources to fight off the infections I am exposed to… the joys of working in an office.

Mostly what I am feeling is extreme fatigue and nausea, particularly during cardio which is not fun. I would normally take nausea as a sign that I am too sick to work out. Things like sore throat, sinus issues and head colds don’t stop me, but stomach or lung issues I usually rest.

Yesterday I managed to do 1 hour on the stair mill feeling nauseous the whole time and planning to eat a good meal after and hope that helped. It did… a little. But I still wasn’t feeling great. I planned to workout after work as well (legs and some more cardio) but at 5 I decided that my body could use the rest more than the workout. I went home. On the bus about 100 feet from my door I had the sinking realization that I had forgotten my keys in the gym when I went in the tanning bed! Karma you sneaky devil! If I had gone to the gym after work I would have needed my keys to get into the gym, but nooooo I skipped it, so now I was stuck. I ended up having to scale the garage at the back of my building and crawl in through a window that had an AC unit in it (which has since been removed and the window is locked if anyone has thievery on their mind). But seriously, the universe has a way of telling you what it wants you to do, I swear, I have even talked about that before here. So I am taking the hint universe! No slacking!

This morning I woke up bright (it was actually dark) and early to work out with the uber-intense Max Shona who is training me a couple times leading up to the show at the Yonge & Eglinton Goodlife. He likes working with “athletes” because he can push them a lot harder, and oh boy does he push.

This morning he had me do 8 rounds of this workout:

Full body plyo workout

20 kettlebell swings with a 16 kg kettlebell

15 full burpees (i.e. actually jumping of the floor, not just standing up)

15 “knee-to-chin” crunches (balance on your butt and bring your upper body and knees up at the same time then extend.

That is a total of 160 kettlebell swings, 120 burpees and 120 knee/chins.

After every round I would just stop after the last extension and lay there panting until I could get up, take a few swigs on water and set up for the next round. I only broke 3 times during the burpees (broke the set into 10 then 5) and the rest of the sets were all straight, with some breathing time between the kb swings and the burpees.

As far as nutrition goes, I have been noticing my body is craving carbs…. like, a lot. So I have upped my carb intake to between 80-120 grams every day and feel much better. I try to time most of my carbs around workouts to use them most efficiently and to supply the much needed fuel to my muscles when I am asking so much of them.

In general, for muscular gains and well being you should consume some carbs before and after a workout and the type of carb (simple or complex) depends on the type of exercise… steady and long – opt for complex carbs like sweet potato; short and intense – opt for simple carbs (not straight sugar, think fruit). The ratio I like to follow is how ever many carbs you will need for your workout (30 grams is usually more than enough for the average woman and 40-50 grams for men) consume 2/3rds of the carbs before the workout to give your body energy (so 20 grams for women and 30 grams for men) and the rest after the workout to aid recovery.

Fat loss (note that I don’t say weight loss because that is NEVER the goal) is a little different and I usually stick to carbs and protein before only if I am really going to go hard and nothing if it’s a slower workout and straight protein with potentially some healthy fat after the workout. This morning I knew I would need the carbs so I whipped up a wicked protein shake that did the trick.



  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • ½ c. Frozen raspberries
  • 1 c. Pure coconut water (like coco samba)

Directions: Blend and drink while running around getting ready for the gym!

Nutritional Info:  Cals – 215    Carbs – 20 g   Fats – 3 g   Protein – 27 g (my protein powder is higher protein than most, so adjust if yours is different)

Then after the workout I had 1 oz of almonds and some more protein to refuel. This afternoon’s workout (yes today is a 2-a-day) I will have an apple before followed my protein sludge when I get home or just straight to dinner if I make it quick.

FYI there has been a baked goods cart coming desk to desk in my office for the last 2 days, it is pure torture. Stop the madness! I had few nibbles of a cookie and it tasted divine, I cannot wait to indulge a bit after the competition, but no gluten (or very little) because stomach aches are not fun!