I’m engaged!!!

Wow… ok, focus

My wonderful fiancee and I looking oh so happy.

Ok, so remember how I said I was starting prep for June 14th on Monday this week? Well that didn’t happen… mostly because I got engaged and have been having many many celebratory drinkies with friends and family and decided to take a week to just soak it all in instead.

So now it’s been 9 days since the proposal and I’m refocusing on day-to-day life… and contest prep. So I’m officially starting tomorrow, Saturday March 1st… 15 weeks out from the competition!

I will be blogging about once a week during this prep as my work life is pretty busy and now I have a wedding to plan! So sorry… but I have to be realistic!

Some things that I planning on doing a little differently this time around:

  • Keeping my food more consistent throughout the week (i.e. eating the same thing each day for 7 days (with changes for dinner and late night snack as an option) and then changing on a weekly basis. I’ve always been all over the map with what I eat as long as I hit my targets, and I believe that is the ultimate right way to diet, BUT I want to be able to see how certain foods affect my body and the easiest way to do that is consistency. We will see how long this lasts haha.
  • Taking fewer supplements… I took a boat load of vitamins and BCAA type supplements last prep and I’m just going to try to keep it simpler this time… largely in an effort to save money for my WEDDING!!! (can you tell you will be hearing lot’s about this?)

    I had to find a place for the ring while I worked out… necklaces work!

  • Be better with my HIIT cardio and use active rest – I lift really heavy even when I’m not meaning too and it makes active rest next to impossible because I need that time to.. you know… actually rest. I’m going to try to be better with periodization this time around and actually use active rest instead of resorting to LISS cardio.

Things I am keeping the same:

  • My calories will still be high and mighty! I’m starting this cut at about 2000-2100 cals/day. I worked really hard on my metabolism this offseason (read: I ate A LOT of EVERYTHING)I gained a lot more than I intended but I also put on way more muscle that I thought I could. So I’m not worried. I haven’t tracked my food in a while, but I’d guess that my daily average cals are over 3000. So I should be able to lose weight relatively easily!
  • Lifting heavy (most of the time) – this is what I love and what keeps me coming back… so I won’t be doing too much circuit training or lighter weight higher reps until the very end of prep.
  • I’ll still be flexible and have a life. Just like last prep, I firmly maintain that this should be an enjoyable experience and one where you can still go on a date, or have a dinner out with the girls.

So it begins…

15 weeks and counting!

Also – look at this amazing proposal video I got to watch before he popped the question!!!! Ok enough bragging… sorry. I promise to learn to be modest at some point.

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Intermittent Fasting

Yes I do <3 <3 Doctor Who.

Yes I do ❤ ❤ Doctor Who

So this post was promised quite a while ago. But then I have been suffering from a severe bout of laziness and basically haven’t been writing or doing anything much except watching the new episodes of Sherlock, Doctor Who and Merlin and basically flexing my anglophile muscles. Yes I am in fact a huge geek and very proud of it. I have proudly converted my sister and brother to Whovians. But that’s not why you are here (but do go explore BBC and become obsessed with these shows), you are here to find out more about fitness.

If you follow me on instagram you may have caught that a little while ago I did a N1 (self) experiment with intermittent fasting. I had a couple of reasons for this (1) I had been eating a lot at night and naturally was drifting away from eating as much in the morning (2) it seemed like a good cutting tool and I wanted to do a “dry run” before actual cutting season to see if it suited me.

Before I get in to how the week went, here are some resources if you are thinking about giving it a try yourself.

 IF’s impact on women

Bulletproof Coffee and how it improves hormone response (especially in women)

Mark Sisson’s take on IF

Precision Nutritions “How To” on IF

Based on the reading I had done, intermittent fasting (IF) seems to work better for men than it does for women for a few different reasons. But most of the problems seem to come from extended fasting windows. So I chose to only do 15-16 hour fasts.

There are different ways of structuring your days on IF. Ideally, I would have worked out toward the end of my fasting window and then ate the biggest meal right after that. But I work and stuff haha, so that was not really an option. Instead I tried to stop eating between 8-9 pm and then just had coffee in the morning  (more on that later) until 12ish. I would eat based on my macro and calorie goals during the 8 hour window. I worked out after work 3 of those days and in one case it was a late workout and I did not eat after… the horror!

Because I`m a huge nerd (as well as the aforementioned geek) I actually took notes on how I felt and what happened each day so I could take you through it.

Day 1

This was not too hard of a day. I had lots of distractions at work until 12 when I broke my fast with a large meal including a fair amount of carbs. I did limit my total calorie intake this day to about 1500 as I had over eaten the day before. I found that my brain was not quite as quick as it normally is, especially throughout the morning. I don’t think it got the signal to “wake up” and things were just a little harder to process than normal. After work I went to the gym and had a good workout, not my best, but I definitely didn’t feel that I had less energy or anything. I had a meal after I worked out and stopped eating around 8 PM.

Overall this was a good day and I felt good for the majority of it.

Day 2

I woke up and was not particularly hungry but was feeling very fuzzy headed. I tried to make do with a cup or 2 of coffee with some 10% cream (which should not affect your fasted state), but I was still really struggling to think straight. Again, I broke my fast around 12, a little after 12 as I was in a meeting and had a large meal with some carbs. I had about 1800 cals today, but even with the increase food my brain felt a little lethargic. My boyfriend and I planned to go to Muay Thai this evening which is from 8 – 9:30 so I decided to not eat afterwards to keep my eating window consistent. I was surprised that I did not feel particularly hungry afterwards and went to bed no problem on an empty stomach. This is NOT ideal and I would recommend trying to avoid this if you want to retain as much muscle as possible.

This day was significantly harder.

Day 3

Enjoying my Bulletproof Coffee before work

Enjoying my Bulletproof Coffee before work

In order to combat the “fuzzy brain” feeling of the past 2 days I had a bulletproof coffee (really just coconut oil and coffee and noticed an immediate improvement. I also noticed that I was even less hungry through the morning. I would HIGHLY recommend using this if you plan on trying IF. I did not work out today, but instead saw my family. I was able to eat a bigger meal as you are fitting all of your calories into a smaller time frame. So it was nice to be able to eat a sizable portion with family.

This was the easiest day so far, but as there was no workout, it was hard to tell what my energy levels would have been.

Day 4

I again had a bulletproof coffee and felt amazing all day. I had about 2000 calories as I had lost about 1.5 pounds at this point and did not want to continue losing… it is the building season after all! I did a leg workout after work and wasn’t really feeling it, but more likely from lack of sleep that a disruption in my normal eating habits. I did find today a little hard to fast until 12 and because I got home later my eating didn’t end until around 9. I still consider that a successful day.

This day was about on part with Wednesday, thought the morning was a bit harder.

Day 5

The final day of my little experiment. My boyfriend and I had to drive to Ottawa that night which made the evening a little difficult, but nothing too bad. I just made sure to pack food for the road and stop eating at 8. I also made sure not to eat anything once I got to our destination which is a bad habit of mine. The morning of this day was the easiest by far. I had another bulletproof coffee and loved it, and had lots of energy. I think my body had started to adapt at this point and expect that food was coming, just not yet.

In total I think it was a very successful experiment. I feel that with more consistency, my body would get used to that eating schedule and it would not be a mental struggle. But the first 2-3 days were quite difficult. It would definitely be a good cutting strategy as it’s a lot easier to avoid overeating with a shortened eating period. I have not decided if it’s a tool I will be using, but it’s nice to have in the arsenal.

An added perk was that I could sleep in because I didn’t have to worry about breakfast in the morning… which is very appealing to me!

Overall, it’s NOT something I would recommend to someone who just wants to lose a few pounds or shift to a healthier lifestyle. This is really something I would recommend to a person who wants increased control and is already well educated about diet and exercise and how those things affect their own body. I think you need to have an awareness of your own needs first so that you can evaluate whether this is helping you reach your goals WHILE having a happy life. No one wants to say “Oh I can’t eat right now, it’s not my eating window”.

So much contest prepping!

I forgot how much fun it can be to try to make really (like really REALLY) good food while in contest prep mode and carb cycling and working out like a fiend. I have been slacking on the posts, but making up for it with amazing kitchen creations… which I will share over the next few days. Here is a little teaser of the recipe’s I will be sharing.

Super Fluffy Protein Pancakes

Super Fluffy Protein Pancakes

Low Carb Taco Salad

Low Carb Taco Salad

But today… today I will share with you my new favourite low carb recipe. It’s so good I was making embarrassing noises while I ate and my boyfriend kept giving me weird looks.

Salmon with Cauliflower Asian Fried Rice

I have tried cauliflower rice before and I was kind of disappointed in it to be honest. It just tasted like rice shaped bits of cauliflower to me. But now I have found the secret, and it is frying 🙂 It’s a little time-consuming, but makes a large portion and is so worth it!

Cauliflower Asian Fried “Rice”

Makes 4 servings (1 cup each)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium or half a huge (which is what I had) head of cauliflower
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 thumb sized knob of ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

  1. Wash the cauliflower and chop it up into 1 inch pieces making sure to dry them off.

    Everything in the wok.

    Everything in the wok.

  2. Pulse the pieces in a food processor about 20 times until you get uniform rice-sized pieces. I had to do 3 batches because I have a small processor, but make sure not to over process it.
  3. Put processed cauliflower in a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb excess moisture and set aside.
  4. Dice onions and snap peas and add them to the cauliflower.
  5. Grate ginger and garlic on a microplane and set aside.
  6. Heat the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large wok or frying pan and sautee the ginger and garlic until fragrant and slightly browned (about 3 minutes).
  7. Add the cauliflower, onions and snap peas  to the pan and mix well to incorporate the ginger, garlic and oil; continue mixing for 5 minutes until onions start to become translucent and everything starts to brown slightly.
  8. Make a well in the centre to expose the pan and crack the eggs into it, scramble these with a spatula until the are almost cooked and then fold everything back together so the egg gets distributed through the whole dish.
  9. Drizzle the fish sauce and soy sauce over the mixture and toss in the pan for another 1-2 minutes until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Serve as a side dish or add some leftover chopped up chicken or shrimp and make this the main course.

Nutritional Info (for 1 cup):  Cals – 170   Carbs – 15 g   Fat – 10 g   Protein – 8g

I think cauliflower might be a new go to thing for me. I will be trying out cauliflower mashed “potatoes” tonight as another low carb option and I’m hoping it goes well. I think the key is to season it really well so you don’t have an overpowering “cauliflower” taste.

And just to give you an update for contest prep, I am 4 weeks out from UFE Halloween Mayhem and finally losing some weight. The progress came a little late in the game, so I won’t be as lean as I was hoping for, but I will certainly be lean enough to not look out of place and I hope I will still do well. Here is a progress pic from yesterday morning, which is exactly 4 weeks out from the competition.

image[1]

Healthy Protein Treats

Ok, so I have discovered Protein Pow in the last few week and I’m seriously wondering how I have gone this long without discovering this website!? Her stuff is amaze-balls. It’s so tasty and very healthy, AND lot’s of the stuff actually is low carb and high protein… and then there are high carb options with the protein too for the high carb days. But it’s pretty hard to find legitimately “low carb cakes that are tasty, so finding ones that are calls for some serious celebration.

So I tried out this recipe for low carb chocolate cake and topped it with a vanilla and greek yogurt protein ice cream. And it came out beautifully.. as you can see 🙂

This turned out sort of soufflee-ish and was awesome warm or cold.

This turned out sort of soufflee-ish and was awesome warm or cold.

What’s nice about this recipe is that the cake is actually healthy, not just “healthified” or “healthier” but actively helping you on your way to achieve greater health. Woohoo!

So then I wanted something pumpkin-y, but it was a low carb day… so my go to pumpkin oats were not an option 😦 So inspired by Protein Pow, I decided to try to make a protein mug cake that was not bone dry and rubbery (like most are). I took the idea of using a “moisturizer” ingredient in order to counteracts the drying effect of whey and also incorporated coconut flour which seems to help with the cakey consistency. It was awesome! Here is the recipe.

Pumpkin Protein Mug Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

    The slightly raw in the centre microwave pumpkin protein mug cake

    The slightly raw in the centre microwave pumpkin protein mug cake

  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (just plain pumpkin)
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used 1% goat’s milk, but any milk will work)
  • Stevia or other sweetener to taste (if needed)

Directions:

  1. Mix the first 4 ingredients (dry ingredients) together in a bowl until well incorporated
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients into the dry mix until all lumps are gone and batter is smooth
  3. Grab a mug or bowl that will hold about 2 times as much batter as you have (it expands a lot!) and grease the inside with pam or coconut oil or whatever tickles your fancy and transfer the batter into the greased container
  4. stick the mug in the microwave and microwave on high for 90 seconds, then check for doneness, continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until set through. Mine was a little undercooked in the centre on the bottom, but I didn’t mind, it was yummy 🙂
  5. Flip the cake out onto a plate and top with whatever you like, I didn’t use any toppings because it didn’t fit my macros for the day and it was delicious and moist and cakey all on its own!

*** If you want to change the flavour of the cake just swap out the pumpkin puree for some non-fat greek yogurt and you have a neutral base to work with, you can then change the flavour either with different protein powders, or different additives, like peanut butter, cocoa powder, mint extract, coconut flakes etc. You can also change the pumpkin for banana, sweet potato, or even apple sauce, but those would all change the nutritional info and make it higher carb. The possibilities are endless! ***

Nutritional Info:  Cals – 270   Carbs – 16 g    Fat – 4g (2 g from the pam)   Protein – 40 g!!!!!

Now on that note, since I have had 4 of these delicious protein cakes of some sort over the last 8 days, I seem to have reawakened my sweet tooth. That’s no beuno this close to the competition.

Side note: Oh my god…. realization just hit me… My competition is EXACTLY 1 month from today… EEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!

Ok, so I have decided not to make any more of these and to try to limit my artificial sweeteners (even stevia) to my protein shakes and coffee or tea. I will definitely be back to making these after contest prep though 🙂

SiS: Adventures in Competing – Week 6: Nutrition

WEEK 6: Nutrition

This week Stephanie, Erica and I talk about nutrition and compeition diets. At just over 6 weeks out we are reaching the half way point in the 12 week prep and the diet has to tighten up. For me this means carb cycling and dropping calories (just a little). I explain what carb cycling is, how it works, and most importantly how to do it!

If you want to know more about carb cycling here are some useful resources:

Jamie Eason’s Phase 3 of Live Fit Trainer incorporates a similar protocol to the one I use.

Bodybuilding.com has lots of great articles on carb cycling

Bella Falconi does a good job of explaining carb cycling for fitness enthusiasts

Rose Blackman – Young Professional – Eat Clean, Train Dirty, Think Nerdy

Stephanie Laurendeau – Stay at home Mom – Decide, Commit, Succeed

Erica Willick – Finance Exec & Mother – Strong Body-Mind-Life

COMING SOON