Toronto Pro Supershow

Wow it’s been a long time since I posted. So quick update, I have been running more and lifting less with the warm weather and training for the Spartan race. I have also been eating some ice cream because it’s summer and I love ice cream. But I have maintained my weight and am still looking muscular, so I feel good about things right now.

This weekend was ribfest in Ajax, where I grew up and the Toronto Pro Supershow in Toronto. So essentially I went to ribfest and ate lots of bbq and then felt huge at the show… hah!

Let’s get to the pro show though. In a nutshell, it was awesome. Sunday, which was the only day I went, was the finals for the muscle mag, Reps, and Oxygen model searches. The people who won looked phenomenal! I was really pleased to see that the girls who won were rockin’ a full behind! Maybe it’s just because I’m part of that camp, but I always feel a little nervous about how large my legs and rear end are. So seeing both the bikini and fitness winners having booties that clearly are familiar with some squats was fabulous! Don’t get me wrong, these girls were lean as anything, but there was nothing flat about them.

Erica Willick and Brianna Mogg

Erica Willick and Brianna Mogg

I also met up with a bunch of girls I have met online, know through work or through shows. Many of the girls I met up with were through Sister’s in Shape. If you aren’t familiar with Sister’s in Shape go check it out either on their website here or facebook here (and yes that is me flexing on the cover pic in one of the Sister’s in Shape tanks). It is a phenomenal resource for any girls looking to get into competing. It’s run by a sister team (of course) and one of the sisters is Erica Willick who you may have seen in the pages of Oxygen magazine. She is also a personal idol of mine since we have a lot of commonalities. We went to the same business school (Richard Ivey School of Business), both became chartered accountants and are both huge promoters of fitness and healthy lifestyles while maintaining a career and family life. Essentially this woman rocks.

One of the other girls I met up with is a girl I work with, apparently the accounting world abounds with fitness competitors!  Her first ever competition is coming up and she was a little nervous today, but after seeing the show I think she realized that she is in a good position to compete and will do really well (if you are reading this, know that I think you will rock that stage!). I really want to point out for anyone who is on the fence about competing, you are probably in better shape than you think. The girls who win, no doubt are in unbelievable shape, and if you aren’t sure about your physique, then maybe you won’t be placing among these top girls, but maybe you will. But there are always girls with weak spots, or who needed a couple more weeks to lean out, or who aren’t as muscular as they thought. And this is not to say that those girls are not beautiful and in amazing shape. My point is that people usually only see pictures of the winners or the top 3-5. But that is not the whole line up and many of the girls are up there to get experience and improve for next time. So give it a go!

Lastly, I of course spend too much money on fitness goodies, though I held out and did not buy a 6 pack bag, which I secretly covet! I bought some Whey concentrate in Chocolate Banana and “Kick” from Revolution Nutrition, 2 different whey proteins from Progressive nutrition, a water alkalizer and PrOATein bars. I’ll let your guys know how they all taste and perform in the next couple of weeks. The one I’m most interested in is Kick. It’s a stimulant for pre workout (or whenever really) and I’ll be starting morning workouts again this week, so I have a feeling I’ll need a little kick…. pun intended 😉

 

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Roasted Chicken and a Run

I am not a runner.

I am not built for running.

I have remnants of childhood asthma.

I have more muscle than the average bear which means I have to lug around more weight than most runners.

Also, I do not believe that “runner’s high” is a thing, you’re all liars, because 99% of the time I am running I am thinking about the fact that it feels like I’m going to die.

At least when I run outside…

Sooooooo I went for a 6 km run outside with my boyfriend this weekend and did hill sprints and proceeded to realize all these things.

BUT I am going to run until I like it! Or at least until I don’t hate it. 🙂

Starting a hill sprint string and upright

Starting a hill sprint string and upright

finishing it in a bear crawl because it was muddy and I was slipping... it was also crazy steep!

Finishing it in a bear crawl because it was muddy and I was slipping… it was also crazy steep!

We did hill sprints up a smaller (but still big) paved hill 2 times in the middle of the run (i.e. after running 3 kms) and then started running back and noticed a ridiculously steep, brambly “hill” (aka sheer cliff) that I thought would be a good idea. Which it was, until we started running back. I had to walk frequently but managed to keep up an ok pace. I am going to try to run outside (weather permitting) 3 times a week.

Some times I wonder how I can love sprinting so much, love lifting so much and generally love all activities SO MUCH, and just not like running. But there is no way that is stopping me!

Also this weekend I stopped off at my local organic/natural butcher…. Marlon’s at 2636 Yonge Street and grabbed a whole organic chicken to cook up with the fresh herbs and heirloom carrots I picked up on my Saturday morning trip to the St. Lawrence… oh yes, I do love Toronto and all the options we have here for food!

Cooking a whole chicken is such a great way to get multiple meals in one shot, and if you guys have been reading for a while, you know I’m all about cooking multiple meals at a time. Obviously it’s not all only white meat like cooking just chicken breast is, but since I’m not in competition prep at the moment, that’s A-OK by me. Yummy crispy skin and the delicious dark meat bits from under the chicken are a serious weakness of mine.

I have posted my method for roasting chicken before but in case you’ve forgotten, here it is:

Whole Roasted Chicken (using Jamie Oliver’s method)

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken (5 pounds)DSC_0059
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • olive oil to coat the bird
  • Salt and pepper to season

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F DSC_0066
  2. Remove chicken from fridge and let sit at room temp for 30 minutes
  3. Wash and roughly chop the carrots, onions, and garlic and line the bottom of a shallow roasting pan and drizzle with some olive oil. No need to peel the veg  at they are just being used as a trivet for the chicken.
  4. Drizzle the chicken all over with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the herbs and salt and pepper all over including inside the bird
  5. Place the chicken on top of the veggie trivet and stick it in the centre rack of the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400 F
  6. Cook for 1.5 hours, basting once in the middle or until the internal temp is 185F.

I absolutely love whole roasted chicken, and when I know it’s organic and raised right that make it that much better… not to mention the taste is always so much more flavourful!

 

 

Some budget friendly foodstuffs

I had a comment the other day asking for some paleo/clean eating budget friendly foods.

Budget

Budget (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

I’m going to be honest here and tell you that I make the choice to spend a large part of my monthly income on food. I buy organic, natural and local whenever possible and these things aren’t cheap. I also don’t buy the cheap filler foods like grains very often, so the food I am eating is on average more expensive per calorie than most.

However, I do look for less expensive alternatives!

Well first let’s start with the wallet killer than is meat… and I mean the good quality stuff. Organic, grass-fed and lean cuts of meat are pricey in the extreme; running anywhere from $5-$20 per pound. I eat probably 4-6 oz of meat 3-4 times per day. So how can you trim that cost? There are a couple of options:

  1. Eat other, less expensive protein options like eggs, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, tempeh, or protein powders. I usually have one of these protein options for the other 2-3 meals I eat per day.
  2. Buy less expensive cuts of meat like lean ground meat, stewing cuts, tougher cuts etc. I make a lot of stew this time of year and the meat that goes in there is pretty good quality, just not the “pretty” cuts.
  3. Buy direct from the farmer. Did you know you can get frozen meat delivered right to your door? Well you can… just run some searches for organic or naturally raised meats in your area and something will pop up… in Toronto Brooker’s Meats, is a great option.
  4. Eat less red meat. Let’s face it… chicken just costs less.
  5. Eat non-organic/non-natural. I don’t recommend this because I think that the quality of the food you put into your body is paramount, but sometimes (especially with chicken for some reason) organic costs like 4 times the price and it’s just not reasonable.

Ok, so what about veggies? Well if you pop over to Mark’s Daily Apple here he tells you which veggies and produce are the least likely to have pesticides and chemicals and therefore are the ones you can save money on and not buy organic. Some tips I use:

  • Use canned tomatoes and chopped up onions (both VERY cheap ingredients) to add bulk to recipes.
  • Go to farmers markets. I frequently find that farmers markets are actually cheaper than grocery stores for fruit and veg because you cut out the middle man.
  • Buy frozen and in bulk. Costco is your friend if you aren’t worried about organic. You can buy huge bags of berries, fruits, asparagus and mixed veg at extremely low prices.

Grains, beans and dairy are pretty low price items, but I don’t typically consume a lot of these. I consider these foods that add a lot of carbs and calories to meals without a lot of nutritional benefit. So I would spend my money elsewhere if I were you… but I’m not, so those might be some good options. Just choose things like sprouted grains, soak your beans and try to find organic milk. Those options are more expensive so I basically just failed utterly on that recommendation.

Then it’s just a matter of throwing things together. Check out this post of my standard formula for meals. Once you know what ingredients cost a little less it’s just a matter of using them in interesting ways.

Busy, busy, busy!

Wow, it’s been a busy few weeks. I had my boyfriend’s birthday last weekend which basically left no time for anything else; I have been trying to squeeze in seeing as many friend as possible because I kind of ignored people during my contest prep; I am on a couple of jobs for work that are requiring some overtime (I am starting to see a ramp up towards busy season – for the non-auditors out there, usually January to end of March is INSANELY busy… like 14 hour days 5-6 days per week type busy); and I have a thousand chores to do around the house that also got neglected during contest prep. FYI this is my long winded way of apologizing for not posting for a couple of days and pre-emptively apologizing for not posting this weekend because… It’s the Toronto Gourmet Food & Wine Show!

English: Sauvignon blanc wine grape. Location:...

English: Sauvignon blanc wine grape. Location: Vlasotince vineyards, southeast Serbia. Français : Grappe de raisin du cépage Sauvignon Blanc. Photo prise dans le vignoble de Vlasotince, dans le sud-est de la Serbie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to the Ottawa Food and Wine show last year and let me just say that it should be called the wine and food show because there was WAY more wine than food. It was so much fun though. I discovered quite a few wines in all price ranges that were awesome and definitely got my drink on. In order to keep track of which wine’s we liked (really me, because at that time my boyfriend was just starting to like wine) we took a quick picture with our phone. Then when we were like “what was that one from NZ for like $13 that was awesome?” we could go through the photo’s and remember “It was Kato”. True story, it’s $13 at the LCBO (for non-ontario peeps, that’s a really good price since the LCBO over charges for everything), go try it if you like Sauvignon Blanc.

This year we are in Toronto so we are giving the Toronto show a go and have heard good things. I am hoping to find some wines to add to my repertoire of “go to” bottles. In addition, some friends are coming down and joining us which will make it even more fun 🙂

Ok, but on to the actual point of this post, which is time management.

Have you ever heard the saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it”? It’s true! Sort of. In my experience by busy or not busy doesn’t have a whole lot to do with your ability to get things done. The main factor is structure. Last busy season, I had a client that ran about 7 weeks from start of January to almost end of February. At the beginning we were working until 7pm most nights and that slowly worked its way up to leaving between 9 pm and 11pm during the last few weeks of the job. During that time I did the following:

  • I went to the gym in the morning usually 3 times per week, but at least 2 times every week without fail
  • I ate 5 – 6 meals per day every day and 90% of these were homemade by me
  • I lost about 8 pounds in that time, just over a pound per week.

This is NOT the typical busy season experience because you are sitting in a desk all day, you get your dinner purchased and you are exhausted all the time. Most of my colleagues gained about the same amount of weight, ate take out food almost every night and maybe went to the gym on the weekend but definitely not consistency. So what did I do differently that allowed me to succeed?

I planned.

Oh yes, planning is key. Everyone thinks that having a healthy lifestyle take so much more time than having an unhealthy one. Well I’m telling you it doesn’t. (I’m not talking about competition training because that’s a whole different ball of yarn).

This was what I did:

  1. I worked out in the morning when I can’t make excuses! I’ve written about that before, and while I hate waking up at whatever hour is required, I feel way better the whole day.
  2. I got my boyfriend to hold me accountable. Most mornings I went to the gym, he would come with me. This actually worked out great because on the nights before a scheduled workout, he would come over just before I got home and sometimes would start making dinner 🙂 then we would eat, sleep and wake up early to go to the gym. Since I was working such long hours, this was the most important “us” time and was really helpful in maintaining good communication and really benefitted our relationship in a time that most accountants can tell you is very stressful on relationships.
  3. I made LOTS of food for dinner and then had leftovers for lunch. When I’m less busy I will just make a double batch of something and have one dinner and one lunch. During busy season I will make enough for 5-6 meals because I am typically having dinner at the client or won’t have time to make dinner when I get home.
  4. I had snack that could be kept at work. I would store a bag of almonds and dried fruit, some yogurt and a couple servings of protein powder at the client site so if I didn’t have time to pull together some snacks that day, I knew I would have things available to me at the client without resorting to take out food.
  5. I had a goal! I had planned to compete in a fitness competition in May and oh boy was that some serious motivation to stick with the plan during busy season. When I don’t have a goal, I make excuses, when I have a goal I will go out of my way to make it work.

Now I know a lot of you are guilty of saying, “I don’t have time to make dinner… let’s just go grab take out”. But how long does that take you? You have to get in your car and drive to get the food, bring it back and eat somewhat cold, unhealthy food that you probably don’t even enjoy that much and the whole process probably took 2-30 minutes depending on how far you drove. You now don’t have leftovers and will have to buy lunch tomorrow or make something fresh instead of grabbing Tupperware. AND you could have made an awesome meal in those 30 minutes.

Like I said, it doesn’t take more time to live healthy, what it does take is planning. You need to have good healthy food in your house so when you want to go grab take out, you can instead whip up a quick stirfry because you have everything you need on hand.

Some really fast meal ideas:

–          Stirfry of any sort over rice or quinoa that you cooked a huge batch of so that you will have leftovers

–          Steamed veggies, pan fried chicken or fish and the aforementioned rice or quinoa

–          Egg drop soup in homemade broth

–          Omelettes or frittatas (which you can made in large portions)

–          Oatmeal (even the slow cooking kind take only 15 minutes

Or better yet, made a huge pot of something on Sunday and eat it for dinner for the next 3 days. Think stews, soups, curries, roasts or any other large meal.

So this is what my plan is for this busy season too 🙂 I have roped in a new motivator in the form of my best friend who has agreed to start doing morning workouts 2 times per week with me. I will start increasing the leftovers from the food I make. I will start packing snack that can keep for a few days in my work bag. Plus, I have that goal for motivation because the next competition I want to do is also in May… but more on that to come!

What are your thoughts… do you think it takes more time to be healthy?