It’s Growing Season

Growing can be fun.

 

It can also be scary.

Want it more than fear it

 

Some days I feel powerful.  I go to the gym, lift heavy stuff… decide to be a ninja…. 

Read More »

Competition Blues

When a big event ends it’s a little sad.

 

What do I DO if I’m not planning and prepping?!

Rest is a good thing, but it can be a hard thing to swallow.  I’ve heard people talk about feeling down after races, weddings, babies… and competitions.  This time around I’m feeling it more than I did before.  I think it’s because I know it’s going to be a long time before I compete again (more on that below).

sprint2table-workitout

Today’s Work It Out is my attempt to get over it by focusing on lessons learned at Kentucky Muscle and The Rocky, and getting excited to make improvements.

 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Season 2 Lessons Learned

1.  Support is Invaluable

Having my trainer and 2 very good friends around throughout the process made it 100x easier.  Surround yourself with positive people, even better if they can empathize.  Heather and Lisa are versatile friends – they were the perfect partners-in-crime in Napa for my 30th and for competing!

Check out the transformation from July to November (photo-editing courtesy Heather):

From Napa to the stage

From Napa to the stage

 

2. Big Shows are Tough

I’m not talking just the level of competition (though it is harder).  I’m talking mentally.  They are long, long days.  The Rocky show was the most disorganized situation I’ve ever seen.  They let too many people enter, causing the show to run so far behind that my group was just getting on stage for pre-judging when the evening show was supposed to begin.  That show began 2 hours late… by the time we went to stage again I no longer cared even a little bit.

Rock out

It was an exercise in patience, rolling with the punches.  Thank you for the lesson… but never will I ever do a Colorado show again.  In near-ish the future I plan to stick to smaller shows.  If you chose them right, they are still competitive but you don’t end up wasting so much time.  I get that they want to make money, but there needs to be a cut off for entries.  It’s not fair to the athletes or the people who buy tickets.

 

3. Celebrate Small Victories

Not placing Top 5 doesn’t mean you can celebrate the small victories.  It’s no secret that I hate posing.  It’s as far out of my comfort zone as you can get.  Lisa, who has seen me almost since day 1, watched me in Colorado and said it’s the best I’ve never done.

Now I need to work on GROWING… Open comparisons side

 

4. Growth Takes Time 

I’ve gained a lot over the past 2 years, but I’m still too small.  I feel like I look big in the gym lifting, but then you put me next to the other women and I look tiny.  My trainer, Steve, has been telling me I need to take a year off to really grow.  Competing every 6 months or so means I cut too often and lose some of the gains I make.

Steve and me

So I’ve decided to listen to Steve’s advice.  I’m taking a year off to grow.  This is contributing to the “blues” because I love having a goal line.

(I’m not always the best listener ← understatement of the year.)

 

5. Food is Good

My nutrition plan leading up to competition wasn’t so restrictive that I was miserable.  You CAN compete in a healthy way.  It doesn’t have to be tilapia and asparagus (click here for the “why” on asparagus) for months.  You never need to be hungry (I stayed full!).

Towards the end you do need to keep with super clean and avoid anything that could bloat.  For me, that meant a couple of weeks that were heavy on the white fish and asparagus.  I cooked 2 pans of it for Heather and me the day before our competition!

Photo courtesy of Heather

Photo courtesy of Heather, whose spice drawer I could move into.

 

The happy part about a bulk year is that I get to have alllll the foods!

Heather’s husband, Kirk, help me kick it off right when he made smoked salmon and eggs benedict for us the morning after the competition.  I am still dreaming of this:

#yolkporn

“I can’t wait to find out what happens on page number two.” ~Jennifer Nettles, Page #2

***

Check out Heather’s Rocky recap here.   I’m excited she’s already planning her return to the stage!

Have you ever experience the post-event blues?  What do you do to cheer up?

Who is on your support team?  Tell them how thankful you are this week!

 

The One Where Food Became Fuel

Food, in the simplest of definitions, is fuel.

 

I missed that memo.

Food, for me, has always been entertainment.  It’s art.  It’s an experiment.  It’s what I do when I’m sad, happy, grumpy, tired, bored… I love food.  End scene.

You might imagine that a limited diet is my worst nightmare.  I’ve been trying to prove you can still be creative on a competition diet.  You can… but the last week of cutting is HARD.  You’ll notice from last week’s WIAW at 4 days out, I still had a lot of variety.  This time around I decided to try something new.  Being more boring traditional.

I cut fat and am sticking to lean proteins (mostly tilapia).  My main veggie is asparagus.  My carbs are oatmeal in the morning and sweet potato after that.  I’m not hungry at all… but my palette is bored out of its mind.  Food has become fuel.

4 days out

 

Why am I doing this?  Quite simply, to see if it’s necessary.  I want to compare last weekend to this weekend.  Will it make a difference if I eat more like everyone else the week before a competition?  Only my abs time will tell!

The fascination with experimentation is what’s keeping me on track this week!

________________________________________________________________________________________

I almost feel like I should apologize for the repetitive nature of this WIAW.  I am 4 days from my 4th figure competition.  It’s the last one for a long while… I promise next week will be more interesting.

WIAWbutton

Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else delicious creations!

________________________________________________________________________________________

Breakfast:

I still start the day with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

Breakfast was oatmeal with a ton of cinnamon, honey, and pomegranate atop a homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties.  I really do love the turkey “sausage.”  It’s something I would make in the off-season too – they’re a great clean, low-sodium alternative to the store-bought stuff.

As usual, I ate it in the car on the way to work.  Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait!

Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait

 

Mid-Morning Snack:

Surprise, surprise.  Tilapia.  I did add some variety with cucumbers, red bell pepper, and purple sweet potato chips (with cinnamon).

tilapia and purple sweet potato

 

Lunch:

Fish variety at lunch – I had Perch with my asparagus.  The asparagus I pre-sauteed during food prep with shallots, garlic, lime juice, and herb.  I’m really loving the perch – it’s super mild.

perch and asparagus

 

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

Tilapia.  Again.  Added some variety in two ways: I used purple asparagus and I made it into ribbons!  Purple asparagus is thicker, so it makes it a bit easier to shred into ribbons.  Fuel can be fun.  Ish.

asparagus ribbons

 

Dinner:

Dinner was is my favorite treat – Sea Bass.  It even makes asparagus taste better.  Purple sweet potato is like dessert.  I topped it with some nutritional yeast for a nutty accent.

sea bass and purple sweet potato

 

Dessert:

It’s not really dessert anymore.  Tilapia topped with a blend of Mexican spices and cucumber with salt-free mustard.  Nom.

***

I prepped all my food to take to Denver today for this weekend’s competition.  Tilapia and curry-roasted asparagus are on tap for the plane.  Others on the flight are going to love me. #sorryimnotsorry

Do you view food simply as fuel?  Fun?  Something else?

How do you keep it interesting in the kitchen?

 

Kentucky Muscle Weekend

Body building has no finish line.

 

This is both inspiring and frustrating.

You work every day – like all goals in life – to be better than you were the day before.  This past weekend’s competition, Kentucky Muscle, was the biggest one I’ve ever done.  I didn’t place in the Top 5 (I came in 6th)… and while I knew I probably wouldn’t it was still a little disappointing.

Not going to lie… the “trophy” was a sword, and that just made me want to place more.  Who doesn’t want a sword to display at home?!

Kentucky Muscle pre-show

 

What I am proud of is how I’ve progressed since my last show.  This time around I had made gains and, more importantly, I felt better than I ever had before.  This morning of the show I felt centered, confident, and ready to get one stage with my best package yet.

On stage, I wasn’t as uncomfortable as I’d been in the past.  My posing still isn’t the best, but it’s better.  I am confident enough to walk out with a smile, know I’m not going to fall over in my stripper heels, and look directly at each and every judge while I move through each pose (that part is maybe the hardest!).

Kentucky Muscle

 

Back stage was also fun.  I met some new friends and had time to hang out with my House of Payne teammates.  It’s a crowded space, but everyone made the best of it; I’m continually amazed by how kind other competitors are.  I bummed rice cakes (which I’d forgotten) and goofed off with the girls in my class as we lined up to get on stage.  I almost had them convinced to enter the stage doing the “walk like an egyptian” dance. ;)

You may recognize my partner-in-crime, Lisa, from my last show and birthday trip to Napa.  Hannah, the blonde in the picture below, won overall Physique!

Backstage at Kentucky Muscle

 

The best part is always the meal afterwards.  We didn’t finish until almost midnight, but that didn’t stop our group from heading to a local late-night pizza spot.  See the pizza on the top right below?  I ate the entire thing.  With a Kentucky bourbon barrel beer.  And a peanut butter Oreo (which are fantastic, btw).

My trainer and I stopped at a local brunch sport, Toast, on the way out of town for one final indulgence before I got back on the wagon foe next weekend’s show.  We split some #yolkporn served on toasted brioche with harissa hot sauce and bacon, and a fantastically decadent bread pudding pancake served with a blend of warm rum raisin syrup and Irish crème sauce.  Sugar coma heaven.

pizza and brunch

 

Last, but certainly not least, I was especially excited to see Brittany!  She lives nearby and came to hang out between after pre-judging and for the night show.  Seeing one of my favorite Blends made the waiting game so much easier.  She is hilarious and kept my trainer and I laughing the entire time.

Thank you, Brittany!!!  I can’t tell you how much seeing a familiar face helps!

Me and Brittany

 

I’ll do a longer recap after next week’s Colorado show.  I spent the few hours after I got home grocery shopping and meal prepping to make it through a crazy week of work, workouts, and travel.  Lisa and I are headed to compete with the lovely Heather in her bikini debut at the end of the week!

I hope you all have a marvelous start to the week!

MMIM

***

That’s the short and sweet recap… I’m about to fall asleep.  Thank you all so much for the tweets, texts, comments on last week’s posts (I swear I’ll catch up one day), Facebook, and Instagram.  It meant the world!

Do you view your goals as a progression, or is there a finish line?

What would be your “treat” food of choice after something like this?  Heather just texted me with an amazing food idea for next weekend… woo hoo!

 

A Day of Food at 4 Days Out

Change is often slow.

 

The bane of my impatient existence.

Change does come to those who stay the course.  When I started training for competitions I had some muscle tone, but was underweight and had literally run my ass off.  I posted about my journey here so I won’t rehash.  What I will say (again) is that there is NOTHING you can’t accomplish with hard work and the unwavering belief that you can do anything you want to if you want to badly enough.

Yes, I’m still small for Figure; I know I have a long way to go.  This weekend’s show is the most competitive one I’ve ever done and I know I won’t place.  That doesn’t lessen my excitement to have the experience, and to be around so many inspiring competitors.  AND – regardless of the outcome – I’m pretty damn proud of this progress in about a year and a half.

Progress pic 2013

Competing isn’t easy.  Some days I don’t want to get up and do cardio or eat healthy food or hear snarky comments from people… but it is worth it.  The good days and the personal satisfaction outweigh the bad.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: find something you’re passionate about and go do it to the fullest extent.  It could be running, lifting, painting, writing code… whatever!  You will be more fulfilled and SO MUCH happier – it has made all the difference for me.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Enough inspirational mush!  This WIAW I am 4 days from my 3rd figure competition!  Bring on the lean protein, complex carbs, and yes… the asparagus

WIAWbutton

Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else delicious creations!

________________________________________________________________________________________

Breakfast:

As usual, I started the day I with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

Breakfast was pancakes.  Not as good as my usual.  These were just oat flour, an egg white, baking powder, and cinnamon.  BUT… I got to have pancakes!  The sauce was the best part.  I mashed up raspberries, added a dash of maple extract, and microwaved them for ~10 secs to create a syrup.  I’d eat that outside of competition prep!

With a side of Cinnamon-Flax Baked Chicken.

oat cakes and raspberry sauce

 

Mid-Morning Snack:

Leftover Parrot Fish with asparagus and sugar peas.  Nom.

The fish looked prettier on Instagram 2 nights ago.  For those that were curious on Monday, the fish was tasty but nothing out of the ordinary. It was a mild white fish, on the meaty side and slightly buttery.

parrot fish

 

Lunch:

I froze last week’s leftover lean beef burgers for lunches this week.  It was just as good warmed up and eaten with sweet potato rounds, asparagus, and red peppers.

Some have asked why I eat the majority of my asparagus raw.  The reason is VERY important: I like it better raw.  It has a sweet crunchiness.

burger

 

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

I gave in to a cliché and went back to an old recipe this week… Tequila Lime Tilapia.  Tilapia is “the” source of protein for many in the bodybuilding community.  Variety is a better choice for me; if I had to eat the same thing every meal I’d never make it.  Tilapia is fine in moderation though!  Especially with tequila.

The fish and calabaza squash were cooked during my Sunday meal prep.  I reheated them ate at it with a quick raw salad of yellow cherry tomatoes and white asparagus tossed in a mix of nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and a homemade Mexican spice blend.

Tequila-Lime Tilapia

 

Dinner:

Dinner was a roasted veggie fest – part of this week’s food prep was a giant pan of white and green asparagus, red bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, green onion, and fresh herbs in Meyer lemon juice.  I also tossed pieces of the actual lemon in the pan too.  It’s completely edible and not too sour after a good roast.

Eaten with my favorite protein: Sea Bass.

sea bass and roasted veggies

 

Dessert:

No more diary and no more protein powder in my diet… it’s Cinnamon-Flax Baked Chicken and carrots for dessert.  Admittedly, this is NOT my favorite part about competing.

chicken dessert

***

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” ~Diane Ackerman

What are you passionate about?

Do you prefer veggies raw or cooked?  I generally like ‘em raw… though I do love a good char roast.

 

Work It Out: 15 Minutes Is All It Takes

Who doesn’t love a quickie?

 

Cardio!  What are you thinking?!

In my last couple of weeks of competition prep I’ve added cardio.  15 minutes per day, high intensity.  Normally I run sprints but – of course – I pulled my hamstring.  No more sprints.

In effort to get my cardio in, I’ve had to adjust.  This week’s Work It Out is dedicated to my back up plan.

sprint2table-workitout

_______________________________________________________________________________________

I dislike forced cardio.  Some days when I’m antsy or when the weather is nice I love a good run, but when it’s prescribed I’m less enthusiastic.

Mindset is important.  I get up in the morning and get it done.  15 minutes of fasted cardio.  15 minutes is all it takes is my mantra.  

You can do anything for 15 minutes!

15 Minutes Is All It Takes

 

You are probably familiar with most of these moves.  When you do the jumping jack and running portions, do them quickly to ensure you keep the intensity up.

Wacky Jacks may be the one you haven’t tried.  I “borrowed” it from my P90X days.  What I like about them is that they work your core too.  You start like a regular jumping jack with your hands behind head.  Then drive your elbow to the hip or knee, jumping to alternating sides.  Click here for a quick video demo.

Pop Squats I’ve talked about before here in the Save Your Knees Work It Out.  I love these for the burst of energy.  They are great for the buns!

Note: You can modify these movement to accommodate your specific needs or limitations.  For instance, do the push ups from your knees, or replace pop squats with regular squats.  Listen to your body.  If it hurts, stop.  NO need to be a super hero and risk injury!

***

With a few days left till my competition, I’m doing these or getting on the elliptical doing intervals, forward and backward, every day!

What is your favorite “quickie” exercise?

Do you prefer cardio or lifting?  Neither?  Both?

 

Weekend Warrior

Who said weekends are for rest?

 

Thought let’s be honest – I appreciated the extra hour.

Weekend warrior-ing has been my M.O. in the past, but in recent years my warrior-style has changed.  These days it’s all about productivity.  Rest is a good thing… and I did rest from job-related activities.  The work I did was fun to me!

I spent fun time in the kitchen making 72 of my Sweet Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins to take to a men’s shelter for a chili dinner.  It was fun to do – I love baking for others!

Sweet Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

 

Saturday my cousin (the one I did the adventure race with) treated me to a pre-game sideline tour of the Georgia Tech field and seats to the Homecoming game.  We are all huge Tech fans in my family; I grew up going to games with my dad.  It was a big treat to watch the team warm up on the field.

Those guys are HUGE!

GT Homecoming 2013

Can you tell we’re related?

 

We were gone all evening, so I had to smuggle in food in my purse.  Turkey roll-ups, anyone?

My 20-year-old self is making fun of me for sneaking in heath food rather than whiskey. ;)

 

Saturday and Sunday both included workouts.  I love when you get to the week before competition – it’s added motivation knowing it’s your last workout for each muscle group.  This time next week I’ll be done with my 3rd figure competition and less than a week out from my 4th in Denver with Heather!

The Breakfast Club got me through my cardio – I even stayed an extra 5 mins to hear the closing monologue.  Then I had to take of pic of the Famous Amos bag on the locker room floor… I resisted the urge to check and see if there were any cookies left and went for a photo shoot instead.

You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions…

 

Sunday Funday concluded with a trip to my favorite international farmers market!  It’s always a crowded on a weekend afternoon, but I put on my ninja socks and kicked it.

Of course I bought plenty of lean protein and asparagus for my final week of prep, but I also scored with super cheap pomegranate!  I refrained from the avocado drink mix, but had to get a pic as proof that my favorite #strangebutgood protein shake add isn’t THAT weird.

Other highlights included the kabocha squash Thai curry they were sampling… let’s pretend I didn’t take a bite... and a new-to-me fish. The Parrot Fish was too pretty not to try!  I had them fillet it for me before taking it home.  Can’t wait to make dinner with it tonight!

Buford Highway finds

 

Sunday night I realized I hadn’t sat down all day long.  I get it honest – my mom is the same way.  Some might prefer a more laid back weekend, but I am not happy unless my hair is on fire.  It’s pretty marvelous.

MMIM

***

There are, of course, exceptions.  I’m going to have a full, restful weekend to recover from back-to-back shows.  Anyone want to come over for chocolate cake and red wine? ;)

Have you ever heard of Parrot Fish?  Any preparation suggestions?

Do you prefer a super-active weekend or a restful one?  What are your to-dos on your days off?

 

Mocha Mint Protein Muffins + Giveaway

M is for Monday.

 

I swear I didn’t plan this.

This weekend had an M theme, which happens to work really well for Katie’s Marvelous Monday link up.  See what I did there? ;)

 

1. Meringues

My company is a cloud-based technology. Rather than handing out boring collateral like pens at the executive meeting, I ordered cloud-like meringue cookies!  Dyed blue and stuffed in pumpkins for Halloween.

Essential Pumpkin

Thanks to Henri’s Bakery for doing a great job on this custom order – I’ve been going there since I was a kid!

NO, I didn’t eat one… 2 weeks to go!

 

2. Muscles

Speaking of 2 weeks to go, I had my second to last posting practice with my trainer before my competitions!  I have never loved posing, but I’m learning to look forward these Saturday sessions – I get to spend the day posing and training with some of the most inspiring competitors around.

This Saturday’s session made me more excited than ever for these next competitions, and for the next year where I’m 100% committed to hardcore BUILDING.  I love lifting.

 

3. Mom

This weekend was my mom’s birthday.  She’s turning 29, once again. ;)

I was really excited to have her over for brunch.  She opened presents  and I made her my jicama nachos with shrimp, pico, yellow tomato, and #yolkporn.  She save this #strangebutgood creation two thumbs up, which means the world since she is the one I have to thank for my love of food and creating in the kitchen.

Mom

 

4. Muffins

Not just any muffins.  I accidentally made Mocha Mint Protein Muffins.

These were going to be a version of my coffee pancakes.  I accidentally added too much egg, so I decided to bake them instead. This is what a Thin Mint would taste like as a muffin.  Talk about an awesome mistake!

I used Dunkin Donuts’ seasonal Mocha Mint coffee, but you could use any flavor and add extracts.  I added peppermint extract because the DD coffee isn’t actually very mint-y.

Mocha Mint Protein Muffins

Mocha Mint Muffins

  • 2 T oats
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 1 T (10g) chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp no-salt baking powder
  • 1/4 C egg whites
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee (I used mocha mint)
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 6-8 drops vanilla liquid stevia
  • Optional: chocolate chips, cocoa powder, nuts

 

In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Pour into prepared muffin tins and bake ~25 mins.

Makes 2 muffins (or 3 squares in my slightly smaller silicone mold).

Note: I learned that this recipe can be doubled when I made more to have for breakfast this coming week.

This mistake was even sweeter because it gave me a recipe to link up to Heather’s MMAZ.  She told me seeds could count as nuts.

BWV-Round2-October1

5. Munchies

It’s Halloween.  You have candy coming out the you-know-what.

Just in case you want to give your blood sugar a break, I have a giveaway for one of my favorite bars.  One of you will win a whole box of thinkThin High Protein Bars.

thinkThin

 

Normally a “thin” bar wouldn’t appeal to me; however, my dad actually got me into these.  When he was getting chemo, all he wanted where the chocolate fudge bars.  Random craving, right?

I came to love them.  The 20g protein is perfect for a quick fix post-workout or on the run.  It keeps you full, gives you a pop of energy, and has 0g of sugar.  They’re also gluten-free!

My favorites right now are the Cookies ‘n Cream and the Chocolate Toffee Nut, but you can choose your own!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***

I am literally back-to-back in meetings all week.  Between that and gym time, blogging may be sporadic.  Does anyone else think of Clueless when they use the word sporadic? 

What is your favorite protein-filled snack to-go?

What was the last happy kitchen accident you had?

 

Work it Out: My Fitness Journey

Life is a jungle gym.

 

And I like monkeying around.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned lately is life isn’t linear.  This sounds obvious even as I write it, but over and over I’ve been surprised when my carefully laid plains deviate from the path I’ve plotted.  Things change – you grow up.  You learn new skills.  You have setbacks.  Life happens.

Plan changes have happened in all aspects of my life – career, relationships, fitness, etc. – and I’m sure you’ve experienced the same.  I gt a lot of questions about how I began competing, so today’s Work It Out is my fitness journey.  My jungle gym.

sprint2table-workitout

Before I get into it, I want to be very clear that this is my path.  I’ve done things that were right and that were wrong.  Some are tender subjects; they were part of my journey.  I know you all have your own stories.  I simply submit that I hope no matter where you are in your journey, that you stay true to yourself and have FUN.  No regrets. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

I love a competition.  Sports, spelling bees,  pie eating… you name it, I’m up for the challenge.  It’s how I’m wired.  This has taken me on many a fun ride in my life.

Related to fitness, I have tried just about any sport you can think of.  I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to sign up for all sorts of things – from ice skating to horseback riding to softball.  Softball stuck – I still play every season!

softball

Years later I still morn the day that bat broke.

 

In my college years, I wasn’t very active unless you count partying and working.  I was a bartender.  I smoked, drank too much, and ate crap.  Not surprisingly, I gained the “freshman 15″ (and the sophomore 15) and was always tired.  When my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer something clicked in my head.  His disease wasn’t related to unhealthy living; he had actually lost a ton of weight through diet and exercise a few years prior and never smoked a day in his life.

The message that life is short came loud and clear to me.  While my dad was getting treatments he continued light exercise to keep strength that allowed him to turn 6 months into 4.5 years with the disease.  Through his example, I was inspired to clean up my act a bit and started workout out casually.  It wasn’t a total turnaround… but it was a start.

no one wins

Which beer shall I drink first…

 

Fast forward a few years and I discovered a new passion – roller derby.  I only wish my dad had been around to see that!  I had a blast, met some really cool people, and skated about 12 hours a week.  It was thrilling.  I’d found a sport I loved again!

It also proved to myself that it is impossible to out exercise a bad diet.  I was doing intense workouts nearly daily but gaining weight.  I am not saying I was “fat,” but I wasn’t healthy and, more importantly, I didn’t feel good.

derby

 

Looking at my unhealthy habits, I decided it was time for a cleanse.  It was the derby off-season and I took the opportunity to give my body a break from getting beat up (literally and figuratively).  21 days of clean eating was amazing for me.  I reset some habits, had boundless energy again, and I learned to love running.

That Thanksgiving I ran a 10K with my baby sister and my mom!

Gobble Jog

 

Then came a new season of derby.  I was still doing really well with healthy living and had come back for the next season with more energy and passion and ever.  Whatever was in stow, I was ready to jump on it.  Life had other plans.  

I broke my jaw during an expo bout (bout = a roller derby game).  It was miserable.  I looked like Jay Leno and it cost me a pretty important trip in my new job.

 

6 weeks later my jaw was as good as new but I decided it was time to find something a little safer.  Plus, I’d lost a TON of weight from not being able to eat solids, which was not good for playing a contact sport.  I looked unhealthy, and I’d basically forgotten how to eat.  All I’d been able to have was soup, pureed oatmeal, and smoothies!

I struggled with the aftermath of that injury for a while.  Rather than derby, I ran all the time.  I was faster and going longer than ever, but – even though I was eating – my new teeny body couldn’t keep up.  When you are at a deficit and continue to workout at the level you were before… well, you are just going to get skinnier (read: my mom was worried sick).

I almost didn’t post this pic. It pains me to look at it… but it’s what happened.

 

Unrelated to that, my knee decided to give out.  I got half a mile into a run and was in so much pain I had to stop.  The doctor told me my ACL was hanging on by a thread and if I wanted to run distance again I’d need to have surgery.  That may have been the best thing that could have happened to me.

 

Time for a new hobby!  Instead of going under the knife, I decided to go the route of building.  Body building.  If I could build up my quads, my knee wouldn’t bother me in daily activity and running short distances.  I’d always loved lifting weights and had done a round or two of P90X, so it seemed to be the perfect next bar to grab.

Two and a half years ago I met with my trainer the first time and started down the path of something that would forever change my life.  Lifting feels like it did when I fell in love with softball – I look forward to going to the gym, I want to talk strategy with anyone who will listen… it’s my passion!

Lisa and me at Palmetto – both Top 5!

Since then, I’ve gained 10 solid pounds of muscle, 2 pounds of  boob, and competed in 2 figure competitions.  Much to my surprise I placed in both!  Rounds 3 and 4 are in 3 and 4 weeks… they are on very competitive stages, but I’m excited just to have the experience.  I’ve been watching the success of others around me and am stoked (do people still say that?) for the off season and a sold year of building.

I feel great: inspired, focused, and having fun.

 

Fitness looks like a million different things.  What you do isn’t important, as long as it’s something you love and something that contributes to your health.  Don’t be afraid to change your course as you evolve.  Yoga, walking, lifting, cross-fitting… whatever.  Find something you are passionate about and embrace it.

Having been both active and inactive to my detriment, I can promise you that finding balance and the thing that turns you on will make all the difference.  That high, that endorphin rush, is sheer joy.  It’s worth it to make time for it.

YOU are worth it.

***

Need some inspiration?  Check out this post full of inspiring athletes from all walks of life.

Have you always been “healthy,” or was there a turning point for you?

What brings you joy?

 

Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter

The closer I get to my competition, the more fun I have.

 

Ask me again in 2 weeks and I may tell you different.

Right now life revolves around the gym, food, and work.  I love all three of these, so why wouldn’t I be ecstatic?  Here’s how my typical Saturday goes down:

1. Wake Up, Eat, Get Dressed

I started my day with a delicious combo of oats, TVP, egg whites, cinnamon, ginger… and cheesecake.

The cheesecake part was thank to a Loranne Cheesecake Flavoring.  I topped with frozen cherries and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Cheesecake TVP Oatmeal

 

2. Go to Competition Suit Fitting

No pic till competition day… but I LOVE it!

My suit

 

3. Posing practice and Back/Tri Workout

I did this at my trainer’s gym, which I love because it’s an actually a training gym vs. a fitness club.  The icing on the cake was that I was the only one there for the last half of the workout, which was amazing.

Clearly this called for a photoshoot.

 

4. Meet with 1st Personal Training Client

I am SO excited to be working with a former roller derby teammate.  She is going to kick ass int he gym too!

 

5. Grocery Shop

I hit out massive Buford Highway Farmer’s Market and bought a TON of food for less than $70.  Including this new to me fish – Sheepshead:

sheepshead fish

 

6. Cook Dinner

I couldn’t wait to try my Sheepshead, so that’s what I had.  It’s delicious – a mild, meaty white fish that’s low in fat and high in protein.

Seafood is one thing I prefer to prepare simply.  I baked this fish with lime and a dusting of Indian spices.  Eaten with bok choy sautéed with garlic, green onion, and coconut oil, and roasted portobello with a runny egg, and a slice of Ezekial.

 

7. Clean Out/Organize Work Emails

This was a productive activity while watching FSU beat the yu-know-what out of Clemson.  Goooo ‘Noles!!!

 

8. Eat dessert

The following is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Designer Whey and Smari.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Dessert is my favorite par of the day.  Even better was the fact that I got to try 2 new things: Designer Whey Vanilla Almond Protein Powder and Smari Icelandic yogurt.  I normally make my protein bowls with Greek yogurt, but I am loving this Icelandic too!  It’s very similar to Greek in that its super thick, high in protein (higher than Greek, actually!), and the plain is low in sugar.

I decided to create a pumpkin protein bowl using the ingredients.   What resulted was a Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter that made me a little sad when I was over.  It tasted like cake batter.

Overall, it was a marvelous weekend!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter

Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter

  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Almond Protein Powder( 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 5-6 drops stevia
  • 1 T unsweetened almond milk (or other liquid)
  • Optional toppings: cocoa powder sauce (cocoa powder + liquid + stevia), cherries, cacao nibs, popcorn

 

Combine everything in a small bowl and mix until smooth.  You may need to add more liquid to achieve desired consistency.

Top with your favorites and enjoy!

*You can sub any vanilla protein and add 1/4 tsp almond extract

***

Did you notice anything in that pic of me?  I went dark for the winter… every time I look in the mirror I double take at the dark haired girl.

Have you ever tried Icelandic yogurt?

What does a typical Saturday look like for you?