Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Madness + Meal Prep

"Yup, still fabulous!" - My thoughts after being sick for a week and spending zero time in the gym. I was so worried about being behind in my meals and training, but my time away from the gym makes me more motivated to make these next 10 weeks count!

On Saturday after work I hit the gym for my shoulder workout, then took my cardio to the trail once I was home. I found this fortune while I was en route home:

Perfect timing! I kept this as a reminder to continue being positive on this journey. It's easy to get kind of lost in your head and pay attention to what other people are doing, but at the end of the day it all comes down to me. The mind is a powerful tool, and I refuse to be nothing but positive! Whether or not I place in this show isn't a huge priority for me. Of course, it would be nice, but what's more important is that I learn from these six months of training and enjoy the ride (as hard as it is - I miss having carbs four days in a row).

Every Wednesday I check in with my trainer via email, which consists of me sending progress photos and updated weight. I am not about to post these photos on here (not now, anyway), but one thing I will share is that my carb cycling has changed as of Wednesday. I was three days no carbs, one day refuel, but now it is four days no carbs, one day refuel. Thankfully my body is getting used to running on basically veggies and protein only (aside from protein shakes, but those are pretty much a different food group on their own in the world of prep), but the first week of carb cycling I felt so hungry! My morning snack usually had some kind of carb in there (vegetables are not counted as carbs), but now that is gone unless it is a refuel day. I must say, I wake up feeling lean on those days after carb cycling. Either way, I am looking forward to a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and sweet potatoes with my lunch on Wednesday!

Monday = leg day!

Here is kind of a run down of my day. I have Sundays and Mondays off, but I still woke up at a decent hour in the morning because I had a busy day!

7:00AM: Wake up, drink water, make breakfast (egg white omelette with mushrooms, onion, and spinach), drink coffee with almond milk and stevia.
8:00AM: Get ready for the gym, pack gym pack and grab reusable bags for grocery shopping after.
8:25AM: Start workout
9:30AM: Check in with personal trainer (down another 2.5(ish)% body fat, inches stayed mostly the same, weight is about the same too).

9:50AM: Pick up snacks for Brownie meeting on Tuesday and buy a ton of fish, including tilapia, salmon, tuna & shrimp.
10:30AM: Get home, shower, get dressed.
11:00AM: Make a quick lunch/bite to eat: tuna salad with broccoli slaw
11:40AM: Leave for a Brownie meeting with other leaders to plan an upcoming camp
12:00PM: Arrive at cafe where we are meeting, ordered a coffee and tossed salad.
2:45PM: Get home after running a few more errands. Make a protein shake.
3:15PM: Get on elliptical for cardio
And basically from 3:30PM onwards I relaxed, painted my toe nails, prepped lunches for the week, and Ryan BBQ'd us dinner (veggies and dijon salmon). Now we are just hanging out while I type up this post for you!

Some shots from meal prep this evening:

Tilapia and veggies. I also cooked up some salmon.

Lunches for the week! Since Wednesday is my refuel day, my lunch has some sweet potatoes in there rather than the usual fish + veggies. I switched things up a little bit and made a few salmon salads to take to work. Since store bought dressings are not in my meal plan, I like to use dijon mustard in my salads because you get a lot of flavor without having to load it on.

Time to get ready for bed! I hope you all had an excellent weekend. See ya soon!

(For more pictures throughout my prep, be sure to follow me on Instagram!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Playing Catch Up & New Motivation

Hello, friends!

Long time no chat. I was watching YouTube videos today and realized I hadn't posted on the blog in FOREVER. Since March 9th actually, which feels like an eternity. I wanted to stop in and catch you guys up on what has been happening this past week. Spoiler alert: not a whole lot!

Since March I have been puttering away through my prep. I have to remind myself that I am not doing the show in May, although most of the girls in my group are. This means they are leaning down more than I am at this point, and I have to constantly tell myself to be patient and just trust the process. I am about ten weeks out from my first bikini competition, and luckily I still have some time because last week I came down with a gross cold/flu bug kind of thing that wiped me right out.

The photo above was taken on Thursday after my chest and cardio workout. I was feeling a bit off, but figured it was because my body was tired and just ready to go home. Generally my workouts take place in the evening and while I do find I have energy to complete them, last Thursday I just felt "meh" about it all. After doing my cardio workout, I hopped on the treadmill and ran 5km. YES, I RAN! Some of you who have followed my journey (as sporadic and random as my posts are) know that I started off my fitness "career" running. However, since starting this competition prep, I haven't ran much at all. Thursday's 5km run was a small victory in my book.

I woke up Friday feeling like a dump truck ran over me. My head felt as if there were a helmet strapped on and constantly squeezing my brain, and my throat was swollen and ears were crackling. I left work early on Friday, stayed in bed all day Saturday, Sunday, Monday, AND today. Holy cow, was I never knocked on my butt from this bug. It is Tuesday evening and I am finally starting to feel like an actual human again.

I did have some company on Saturday, though. A big thank you to my parents for stopping by with this awesome care package!

Ginger tea, blackberries, an acai berry smoothie, my favourite roasted red pepper soup by Pacific, my favourite fruit gummies, an energy nut bar that I have been slowly picking away at (as my throat permits), plus soup, lemon, lime, ginger & Emergen C. Ryan has also been bringing me home things like soup, Powerade, lozenges - so I am pretty well stocked!

Maybe it was the cardio that knocked me off my feet on Thursday. I may slowly be convincing myself that cardio is the enemy. Muahaha.

If only, if only.

Throwback to a couple Sundays ago at the gym. Posing practice followed by cardio followed by a veggie and egg white fritata with steamed broccoli on the side. So good.

I have been researching competitions more and more the closer I get to June 28th. Of course, most of the things I have read about revolve around American body building federations such as NPC, but the people I have been watching have a whole different approach to the food part of competing. Some follow a meal plan as set out by their trainer (which is what I am doing), and some do this process called if it fits your macros (or IIFYM), I personally enjoy my meal plan (for the most part - too bad red wine isn't part of it!), but there are some parts of IIFYM that I am curious about too. The only downside I see is that with IIFYM, you may not be getting as much protein as you would in a structured meal plan. For instance, if your macros say you should only have 90g of protein in a day, then I am way over that! I personally have 113g of protein alone in my lunch, alongside a butt-load of veggies, so it would be interesting to see how it compares. Neverless, I have found almost a new burst of motivation to complete these next ten weeks to the very best of my ability. I know I can lift heavier and be more consistent with my meals, so I am ready to grind out the next ten weeks and bring a fantastic package to the stage!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up & The Ultimate Tea

"Oh, hello! I didn't see you there," Simba says as he looks up from his book. When his favourite parent, Holly, wants to take time to sit and read a book, this is when Simba feels it is the perfect time to crash the party.

I know, I know. Dropped the ball last week on the Monday posting. Just when I was doing so well, too! Let's kick off the week with a recap of what's been happening lately.

Spoiler alert: nothing too exciting, since we can't celebrate my birthday any longer. Ho hum. At least my half birthday is coming up in August! Just kidding. I don't celebrate my half birthday, although maybe I should start.

So, the usual work and gym has been going on as per usual. Right now I have fish and rice cookin' away, doing some meal prep before I head off to the gym for glute day. I have a love hate relationship with glute day. Hate how many lunges I have to do, but love feeling accomplished after.

Let's all take a moment to look at the baby abs I have going on. Note: this is before morning cardio, minus 4 litres of water in my body. Once I start drinking water, abs are pooched. Belly becomes a pooch. You get the picture.

Forever posing in the bathroom at the gym. Hey, gotta get it right on stage!

Yesterday was one of my favourite days of the week. Sunday fun day! Usually on Sundays I have posing practice followed by cardio and breakfast with Ryan, but yesterday since my trainer is on vacation, we didn't have posing practice. My Sunday routine was a little backwards, but great nonetheless. The morning consisted of sleeping in until 9AM (ah, glory, glory) and drinking coffee while watching tv & eating my morning oats. It's always nice to get a slower start to the morning, and there's something about the vibe on Sunday that makes me feel less inclined to rush around. That's what the week days are for.

After puttering around the house doing things like dishes and laundry, I got my cardio for the day in on the elliptical and then headed to the gym for my workout. On the schedule today: back & biceps! 

I am loving this top! Ryan and I went to Victoria on Saturday, and fortunately I had a Lululemon gift card from his family to spend. Ah, they know me so well. The back detailing on this tank top immediately caught my eye, and the built in sports bra is an added bonus. I wore it with a pair of Lululemon Wunder Unders (which I turned inside out and am wearing to the gym again today... Hey, don't judge. They are reversible). Once my workout was done, I did some grocery shopping and came home to relax!

My all time favourite tea of the moment: chocolate super berry burst.

Not overly sweet, and I just drink it plain! So tasty.

In the evening my lovely sister came to hang out. Of course, Simba being the giant suck that he is was all over her. We drank coffee lots of coffee and watched The Voice. Is anyone else into that show right now? It always makes me so nervous for the singers, waiting for someone to turn their chair.

And with that, we are back to Monday again! Mondays are my Sundays, so it'll be another Sunday Fun Day! I am going to finish my meal prep and then head off to the gym. Then, pedicure time. Woohoo! Enjoy the week ahead.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Birthday Fun: Commence Food Coma

Good evening, friends!

I hope you all had a great week. Mine was fantastic, mainly because I was counting down until my BIRTHDAY! More on that to come.

My days have been filled with working and going to the gym, as per usual, but I am extra excited to see the flowers in the garden start to bloom! They are so pretty and remind me that spring is around the corner.

So, let's get onto the birthday talk, shall we?

Sunday mornings start with posing practice at the gym. After I came home, I took a shower and relaxed with a cup of coffee & Ryan made me pancakes! I haven't had good, doughy pancakes in a long time. Way, way, too long. Rather than using wheat flour he substituted with oat flour, which happens to be friendly to my competition diet. I topped my pancakes with natural peanut butter, chia seeds, banana, and syrup. And yes, I did eat my weight in pancakes, and yes, they were amazing!

After breakfast, we got ready for the day. I requested we go shopping in Victoria, so that was the adventure of the day.

Outfit of the day: Sweater by Mink Pink (plain white tank top underneath from Forever 21), jeans by Guess?, necklace from Old Navy, light pink bead bracelet from Archer & Arrow (local boutique), and gold watch by Michael Kors.

My parents were also en route to Victoria, so we met up with them along the way as we were shopping. After visiting all of our favourite shopping destinations and spending way too much money at Lululemon, it was time for dinner. Maybe next week I will do a little haul/favourites post!

Hello, cheat meal! I tend to be fairly conservative with my reward meals. I'll either eat more carbs or I won't measure my serving of salmon, if that's what I'm having for dinner. OR I will eat dark chocolate, because I miss having chocolate. However, now I feel so much better without all that extra sugar in my system, so I suppose it's all about balance. 

Anyway, we went out to a restaurant called Bin 4 in Victoria. If you haven't been, I strongly urge you to go! It was delicious, decently priced, and I had the best company around me which made for a great birthday dinner. My burger of choice is called the Mr. Bean burger and is a hand-made bean and vegetable patty on a soft, squishy bun with lettuce, tomato, and red onion. And the FRIES. Oh, the fries were to die for. And ketchup! And garlic aoli! Oh my lanta. I kid you not. I unbuttoned my pants on the way home because I was so damn full. Food coma, commence.

A big thank you to my amazing family & loving boyfriend for such a special birthday. I am so thankful! Safe to say my belly and heart were full yesterday.

I hope you all have a nice evening! I am off to make some food. Girl's gotta eat.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Who Wants a Cat? Weekend Recap

Hey, hey, hey! It's Monday again, and I have you guys booked in my planner.

I'm not kidding. In order to remind myself to blog once a week I wrote down "BLOG POST" every Monday for the next couple months (at least). It is keeping me accountable, and it forces me to set time aside in the day to reflect and check in with you guys, which I don't mind, even if only my family members are reading this little blog of mine.

To recap the week, nothing too interesting happened. The usual working, going to the gym, and hanging out with Ryan and Simba when I get home. We did, however, go to my parents' house on Thursday night and picked up the ELLIPTICAL machine! I am so excited. So now there is a treadmill and elliptical in the garage, so a few more choices when I actually make it out of bed for morning cardio. I admit, it is currently my go-to choice in the morning when I am half asleep. Something about the thought of jumping on a treadmill for HIIT at 6AM does not sound appealing, but gently waking up on the elliptical does. All in the mind, I suppose. All in the mind.

This weekend was also the day of loooove. That's right. It was Valentine's Day, and now we can all enjoy discount chocolate! Well, those of us who have chocolate in the meal plan (which generally does not include bikini competitors). Although I can't have chocolate right now, I did have some on Valentine's Day, but I made sure to keep my workouts and other meals in check as to not over do it!

After work on Saturday I came home, hopped on the elliptical and got my cardio in. Then, Ryan surprised me by coming home early and made a beautiful and delicious salmon dinner with roasted veggies. Yes, and roses to boot! I am lucky.

Simba could smell the fish cookin' and was trying to dig in with us, but sorry, no cats allowed there pal. It was seasoned with cracked black pepper, dill, and lots of lemon. I swear I could eat lemon on any and everything! I am drinking lemon water as we speak.

Valentine's Day gifts included a dozen red roses, a book I have been eyeing up (back story: I was going to buy this book at Chapters one day, but put it back on the shelf to browse around some more. Much to my dismay, when I came back the book had been scooped up by someone and of course it was the last one. Cue disappointed Holly here). I am excited to dig into this book with a nice cup of tea this week!

Side note: I say that all the time, but have yet to finish the last two books I've started. All in due time.

Fast forward to today. I woke up early, got my cardio in, then headed off to the gym for a check-in with my personal trainer. So far, so good, and no changes to my plan as of right now. Everything is humming along, and I am losing inches consistently. I still have a few months left until my show date, June 28th, so there will be more changes ahead. Following my check-in, I got in my glute workout, picked out fabric for my second suit (for the fitness model category), and then Ryan and I went off to Nanaimo. We were on the hunt for side tables for the bedroom, but came home with some fancy decorative boxes for the bathroom (I figure my ratty black make up bag isn't too appealing to the eye), two sets of new towels, and a rug that Simba has already pulled some yarn out of.

Anybody want a cat?

I kid, I kid. 

It ended up being a productive day, and we came home to a beautiful sunset while we were on our way home. We are still going, though! Dinner is sizzling away, I have meal prep to do, and then it's bed time. Phewf.

I hope you all have had a wonderful week!

Let me know in the comments what your favourite weekend moment was this weekend :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Big News: What the Heck I've Been Up To

Hey, hey!

Happy Monday!
I hope your week is off to a good start.

My day started slowly. That's the beauty of long weekends. You can sleep in, take your time rolling out of bed, and enjoy coffee on the couch while you eat your oatmeal and watch Cityline. Anyone else? That's exactly what I did this morning, and I was so happy to be able to take some extra time and relax. Sometimes I feel like life is pretty go, go, go (only because I make it that way by choice), so being able to unwind first thing in the morning without anywhere to rush to is so nice.

Flashback to Saturday afternoon in an almost-empty gym, workin' on my shoulders. PS, don't mind my eyebrows. Those are getting fixed tomorrow, thank goodness! Today I did a metabolic workout at home, which was kind of like a bootcamp style workout in that I had various stations set up and completed exercises such as push ups, lunges, and jump squats (to name a few). I repeated my circuit 5x through and after those 40 minutes, I was feeling equal parts happy and sore!

So, what have I been up to lately? I guess I should just tell you guys now before I get to the end of the post and forget to let you know. Well, I have been spending a lot of time in the gym and in my kitchen meal prepping for my very first BIKINI AND FITNESS COMPETITION!

Holy. Crap.

I know.

The thought has always been in the back of my mind, and after looking into the prep that goes into the whole process and meeting with a group at my gym about the topic, I decided to just jump in. I mean, why the heck not, right? What do I have to lose? Besides weight and inches, of course. Ha ha, so funny. I was looking for a new challenge in 2015. To be honest, running was getting a little dull and boring for me. Yeah, 5km, 10km, and half marathons are fantastic, don't get me wrong. However, I was feeling a little been there, done that when I began to think of running goals I wanted to accomplish. Why not the marathon, you ask? I'm just not THERE right now, especially since I am craving something new and different. We will see about where I'm at in the fall. Maybe a marathon will be on the horizon, maybe not. To be honest, I am less focused on putting on the miles and more focused on my show in June. It is scary, exciting, and just the challenge I need! I hope you will come along on this ride with me as I will be posting here on the blog about once a week with updates!

 Simba is enjoying a tall glass of fresh beet and apple juice. So sophisticated.

So, yeah! There's the big update for you. I have officially picked out the fabric and accessories for my bikini which is being custom made by a woman who specializes in competition and dance outfits. I can't wait to see the finished result!

Have a great evening everyone!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Andalou Naturals: First Impression

Good afternoon, beautiful people of the internet.

Long time no see! As you know, I tend to fall in and out with this ol' blog of mine. Well, I am hoping to be more in than out (this month at least). I have missed this little space on the interwebs, so I am going to bring it back. Hopefully you guys will join me as I get back into the swing of things!

I am not going to go into a big long song and dance about how life gets busy, blogging falls by the wayside, etc, etc, because you all know that. Hey, life happens! On that note, however, there's a lot of fantastic things going on in my life, including a new fitness goal I am undertaking, and I would like to give you a glimpse into what's happening.

To kick things off, I wanted to do a first impression of a new skincare line I recently discovered. Andalou Naturals uses fruit stem cells in their products, which are free of sulphates, parabens, dyes, etc. They are non-GMO as well, so of course I was super into this right off the bat. Additionally, the sensitive line uses rose stem cells, so it is gentle, nourishing, and full of true fragrance as opposed to artificial scents which can be irritating for my skin.

I am currently using their body lotion, eye revive contour cream (which is more like a gel - cooling on the skin, but not sticky and does not burn), cleansing foam, and as a special treat for my skin, the rosewater mask. The mask has an almost fluffy gel texture. You simply spread an even layer on your skin (it goes on clear too, so you won't look crazy hanging out with green goop on your face), and simply wash it off with cool water after 10-15 minutes. I plan on purchasing the night and day moisturizers once the current products I'm using run out.

Andalou Naturals also has various other lines for different skin types. I highly suggest checking them out if you want a more organic approach to skincare!

What is your current favourite skincare product? Let me know your recommendations!