Sunday, May 25, 2014

Time to Reflect and Reset

Soooooo, Roatan is awesome! I had such a great trip and can’t wait to go back (tentative plans are already set for early next year).

The trip started with us fitness gals getting into the cab at the airport and the cabby asking us, “Are you here for Spring Break??” “Uh, no.” Apparently, the week before Easter is a holiday in Honduras so the beaches were packed (packed!) with people and parties. Such a cool scene, but not the most conducive for photo and video shoots. Also a challenge? The sun. It was hot!! But, it was awesome! We all definitely got some great shots in, were able to get done what we needed to do, and then spent the rest of the time resting and relaxing.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we got up to:

I also got to shoot a beach workout spread for STRONG magazine. It took some good timing and a little patience (we had to wait out a couple boats and a few tour groups), but Paul scoped out an awesome location for the shots. From the quick preview I saw, the pictures turned out amazing! It was such a surreal experience- a vision I pinned on my board last year coming true. I can’t wait to see it all in print.

And, while the first half of the trip was all photo and video shoots (which meant early mornings, no drinking and limited buffet options), after everyone done and everything was wrapped up, it was game on! Pina coladas and banana donuts all around!! It was great to be able to relax a little, have a few (read: many) treats, and really have the opportunity to get to know my teammates and coach a little better.
Getting our smile ready for the shoot...
and getting caught taking a selfie.

Honduras at 6:30 am

Paradise at sunset :)

Stormy skies and some pretty awesome ladies

Some of the ladies

Leaving Honduras... but I will be back.

Sleep deprived and happy to be home.

Up next?? It’s show time! And not just any show, but the WBFF Vancouver!! I have wanted to compete in a WBFF show since watching the Worlds show in Las Vegas last year. It was over-the-top spectacular! So much glitz and glamour (there’s even an evening gown round). While that’s not the spotlight I usually seek, sitting in the audience made me want to be a part of it, and here’s my chance! This is something that will really push me out of my comfort zone J
The WBFF means business!! Look at all those fabulous ladies!
The best of the best!

As of today, I am 62 days out (not that I am counting). That means 372 more meals and 54 more workouts to give it my all - day in and day out. With competing, there is no off time. You have to be on. All. Of. The. Time. This is when every meal, every workout, and every day really does count. And, if I don't do it, nobody will do it for me.

While I thought it would be easy to flip from photoshoot prep mode to competition prep mode after Honduras, I have struggled a bit. Too many treats (all very yummy and worth it of course!), too many distractions and just too much going on in general. It has taken a few weeks to really ‘reset’ and get ready to devote my all to this prep, but I’m on board now. I’ve got a new meal plan, an awesome training plan for the month, and finally a clear and focused mindset. Nine weeks out! Let’s see what we can do!

Monday, March 24, 2014

On Season and On the Road… to Roatan!!

Even though I haven’t been blogging on here as much lately, I have been posting somewhat frequently on Instagram (@jencordeiro if you wanna follow me). And in those posts I had been hinting that I was prepping for something big and exciting… and something that I wasn’t allowed to share until recently.

Here’s the official announcement!

Soooo crazy, right?!? If anyone had told me a year ago I would be prepping for something like this today, I would have never have believed it. I started training because I wanted to compete. I wanted to compete to challenge myself… and once I started, I didn’t want to stop. I do what I do because I love it. Being rewarded with an opportunity like this seems too good to be true. All of it. Too good to be true.
This pic was shared on the Team Blessed Bodies Facebook page and Lori Harder (one of my idols and on the current cover of STRONG) commented on it! How cool is that?!?
So, how does one prep for a magazine spread and shoot? I dunno! Lemme know. For me, my food plan and training have pretty much stayed the same. I am so, so, so lucky to have a coach and training program that properly paces me so there are no crazy/ stressful/ desperate measures in the final few weeks. Consistency pays off. Minor, minor tweaks have been made to my food plan. My focus this week is to really balance all my meals and time them evenly throughout the day. Training wise, I just need to keep up with my 5 days weights/ 4 days per week cardio plan. Easy peasy. I have even been scheduling it to make Saturdays my rest days- how delightful!

On top of that, there is a lot to prep for the trip. As I have shared in past posts I always plan out my meals and pack what I can to help stay on track while away. This trip poses significant challenges. Long flights. International borders. Unknown hotel room. I won’t be able to bring any fresh fruits or proteins. And I am pretty sure that Roatan doesn’t have a Whole Foods just around the corner like there was in Vegas. A little more thought will need to go into this…

The other daunting task at hand is wardrobe! Tell me to only eat 147 flakes of oats 10 times a day, I could do it. Tell me to do 500 hours of cardio a day, I would do it. Tell me to go shop and pick out outfits for the shoot- no way!! I’m not a shopper. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good deal, but I do not like shopping for specific items of clothes. I don’t know what goes together. I don’t know how to make an “outfit”. And I really don’t know how to accessorize. I foresee some agonizing shopping trips in my immediate future. I spent the shopping trip before the TBB Vegas trip repeatedly calling my sister in a panic (Leanne, prepare yourself for another round).

Anyway, 3 weeks out tomorrow! Can’t wait for that sun and sand!!
Planking it out to build up those abs!!


Monday, February 17, 2014

New Year, New Post (Finally!)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?? Right? Right? Ha ha ha. I hope so. While consistency has found a place in my daily fitness and food routine (yay for 365!), it certainly hasn’t found a place here yet. Yikes!

It’s now the middle of February (!!) and I find myself back ON SEASON! Whoo hoo! Not that I was taking it easy during my “off season.” Over the past few months, since my last post, I have moved (I absolutely loooooathe packing and unpacking- but love where I am living!), kept up with all my training, did a photo shoot with Mark Bradfield (love him and Sarah!), created an athlete Facebook page (come join!), and filmed a fitness DVD (fun!). My birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve also happened somewhere in there too. And, while I kept up with my program for the most part, there were definitely a lot of treats, rest and relaxation as well. I pretty much just hibernated during the Christmas holidays and it was fabulous.
The past few months in pictures :)
The new hood!

The new hood!
Me with Sarah Shea Smith and Mark Bradfield after a long and fun shoot!
My new Facebook page :) Check in out for meal plans, recipes, music and motivation!
On set of the filming the fitness DVD to be released this Spring!
Oh, and I also appeared in a fitness magazine for the first time too! 

My mini-profile in the Feb/ Mar 2014 issue of Inside Fitness.

And on a poster!

Happy to promote such a great organization!

So that pretty much brings me to today. As of February 16 (yes, conveniently selected to be just after Valentine’s Day and all the chocolate!) I am back on-season and training for an upcoming shoot and show. So, what does that mean? On season? For me, that means sticking to my food plan 100% (that is keeping it clean, keeping it within my macros (that is making sure I meet and don’t exceed all my calories, fats, proteins and carbs each day) and balancing each meal to keep my metabolism revved), getting all my training in exactly as my coach lays out (no short cuts- every rep counts!), drinking all my water, and NO alcohol and NO “treats.” Sounds tough, but I am so EXCITED! So excited! Excited to do it and excited for what’s to come. The countdown starts now! Eight weeks out!! #beastmodeon

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Early Thursday Morning Motivation

While sometimes just the thought of coffee and food can get me out of bed in the mornings, other times I need a little bit more to keep me going, especially while I am banging out 30 deep walking lunges with 25 dumbbells across the gym floor at 6:00 am in the morning. Enter Britney Spears :) I pretty much have her new song Work B**ch! on loop for my entire workout... and I thought I'd spread the love this morning. If you haven't already, add this song to your playlist. Truer words have never never been spoken (yes, I did just say that). 

P.S. I did have to look up what a Bugatti is... you learn something everyday.

Beautiful fall mornings make it
much easier to get out of bed and go.
Loving this sunshine :)

Work B**ch!

You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati? You better work bitch
You want a Lamborghini? Sip martinis?
Look hot in a bikini? You better work bitch
You wanna live fancy? Live in a big mansion?
Party in France?
You better work bitch, you better work bitch
You better work bitch, you better work bitch
Now get to work bitch!
Now get to work bitch!

Bring it on, ring the alarm
Don't stop now, just be the champion
Work it hard, like it's your profession
Watch out now
Cause here it comes
Here comes the smasher
Here comes the master
Here comes the big beat
Big beat to blast ya
No time to quit now
Just time to get it now
Pick up what I'm layin down
Pick up what I'm puttin down

Hold your head high, fingers to the sky
They gon' try and try ya', but they can't deny ya'
Keep it moving higher, and higher
Keep it moving higher, and higher
So hold your head high, fingers to the sky
Now they don't believe ya', but they gonna need ya'
Keep it moving higher and higher
Keep it moving higher and higher and higher

Work, work, work, work
Work, work, work, work
Work, work, work, work
Work, work, work, work
Work it out, work it out, work it out, work it out
Work it out, work it out, work it out, work it out
Work it out, work it out, work it out, work it out
Work it out, work it out
You better work bitch
You better work bitch

You're welcome :)


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes and Greek Quinoa Recipes :)

It’s the weekend! And it’s fall! That means two things:
  1. It is menu planning and meal prep time, and
  2. Pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere... including my pancakes J
In terms of weekend food prep, I’ve got a pretty good Saturday routine down. Sleep in, eat, gym with my mom, eat, grocery shop, eat, food prep, and then, obviously, eat again. This weekend, however, I switched it up a bit and included a couple new recipes in my menu, so it required a little extra shopping time. I also had to prep all my food around a kitchen window renovation, so things were a little slower than usual. I had to leave a couple things until today, but finally have got it all prepped and packed, and done! Whoot whoot! All ready for the week.

This weekend I also made two different kinds of post-workout pumpkin pancakes. And both were yummy! Pumpkin puree just has a way of making baking rich, lush and delicious. And, even though it's available all year, it just seems to fit the best with fall.
The first was based on my basic Cinnamon Zucchini Protein Pancake with Vanilla Icing, but with a ¼ cup of canned pumpkin puree added to the batter, and a tablespoon of pumpkin added to the icing. The second creation was adding a ¼ cup of canned pumpkin puree to my Chocolate Zucchini Protein Pancake with Chocolate Icing. Mmmmm, the additional moisture added from the pumpkin made the pancake very dense, and in the absence of cinnamon, the pumpkin flavor really came out, and paired well with the peanut butter and bananas on top. What a delicious way to get in those post-workout carbs and protein!

After opening up a big can of pumpkin and only using ¼ cup at a time, it lasts awhile, so I have been trying it out in different things. Pumpkin works really well in yogurt with some oats, walnuts, bananas, cinnamon and maple syrup. Pretty much autumn in a bowl J This has been my new bedtime snack for the past week. I also tried it out in an oatmeal cookie. While the execution of baking the cookie went a little awry (I tried frying it like a pancake because I didn’t want to wait for it to bake in the oven), it still tasted really good- especially with some chunky peanut butter on top! I based this creation on this recipe from the Powercakes website, but I used a chopped up Brownie Questbar as chocolate chips instead. It all came together quite nicely.

I am always looking for new ways to use pumpkin in baking or recipes, so let me know if you have other ideas J
I have also been using the fall weekends to build and experiment with other recipes as well. One of my new go-tos for a weekday meal has been a spanakopita/ Greek inspired quinoa bake. I based this recipe off of a side dish my girlfriend Leanna used to make, but made a couple changes to make sure that it included the right amount of carbs and protein I needed for a mid-morning snack. I also started baking it as a casserole so I could easily slice and package up individual servings to heat and eat at work. It’s a pretty simple recipe with only a few ingredients, but is full of flavor and can be adapted to suit any macros or particular tastes. Enjoy!

Spanakopita Quinoa Bake

Ingredients (for 6 servings):

·         240g uncooked quinoa

·         1 bunch (about 6) green onions

·         3-4 cloves of raw garlic (or to taste- I like a little bit more)

·         300g raw spinach (about one of the big boxes)

·         ½ bunch of fresh dill

·         ½-1 lemon, juiced

·         1 ½ cups egg whites

·         To taste- black pepper and garlic powder

·         1 ½ cup dry cottage cheese

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Dice up green onions and garlic. Sautee in a pan sprayed with Pam.
  3. Once onions and green onions are soft, add in spinach to wilt. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir fresh dill and lemon juice into onion, garlic and spinach mixture. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix egg whites, pepper, and garlic powder together.
  6. Add cooked quinoa to egg mixture. Mix well.
  7. Add spinach mixture to quinoa and egg mixture.
  8. Pour into sprayed baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle cottage cheese on top.
  10. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes or until egg is set and cottage cheese is melted.
  11. Remove from oven. Let cool. Slice and serve or slice and store for an easy, re-heatable meal later.

This dish turned out really good! The combo of the garlic, onions, fresh dill and lemon really gives it that Greek-inspired flavor, while the quinoa and cottage cheese provide the carbs and protein to make it a satisfying meal. Options to switch it up a bit include using feta with (or instead of) the cottage cheese, swapping the quinoa with another grain for variety (I’m sure rice would work well!), add different vegetables (like peppers or sundried tomatoes) or change the herb (maybe some oregano?). Endless clean possibilities. Try it out and lemme know what you come up with!



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why Am I Doing This?? Good Question! I Ask Myself That Sometimes

In my last post, I mentioned that I currently don’t have any concrete fitness goals set. Yes, there are things that I want to do and achieve, but nothing specific that has a deadline. This has put me in a bit of a precarious and unfamiliar territory. Since signing up with Fitness Print in July 2012, I have always had something, some goal, some deadline, to focus on. At first it was my bikini competition in November 2012. As soon as I said it out loud (and paid the sign up fees), the countdown to November 10 was on. Then after that it was to make it through Christmas without undoing 4 months of hard work. Then it was a trip to Mexico in January 2013. Then it was my first show of the season this year in May, quickly followed by my second show in June. And then, the biggest one of all, it was my Vegas photo shoot with Paul Buceta in August. There has always been something set or something coming up that has pushed me to keep at it day in and day out. I respond well to dates and deadlines J

And now, without anything coming up, and nothing set, I still find myself keeping at it day in and day out. Part of it is definitely routine. Over the past year I have slowly started to rearrange my life to make fitness a part of it. It just fits now. It’s just what I do. But, every once in a while, I do (mentally) step back (usually when I’m on the stepmill- that’s where I do most of my thinking, write blog posts in my head and generally solve the world’s problems) and ask myself, why am I doing this? What’s driving me to keep it up?

Yes, yes. This may or may not be partially true.

On the surface, there’s the investment. If I am paying a coach (a fabulous coach, by the way) to give me workout and food plans, why wouldn’t I be putting my best in to be getting the best out? Or there’s the ‘look and feel’ aspect of it. I like the way eating well and working out makes me look and feel. Pretty simple there. And there’s also the curiosity part of it. How far can I actually push this? How much can I change my body? What am I mentally and physically capable of doing? All of these reasons are some of the mini-motivations that I use daily to help me keep focus. But, then there’s the big one that dawned on me the other day: Because what if I couldn’t?? What if someone or something wouldn’t let me do what I am doing?? Then what? The thought of that terrifies me.

This came to me after three recent incidents gently reminded me that all of this could change in an instant. That what I choose to do might not be my choice anymore. The first, and by far the closest call, happened a week ago when the car I was in was hit by someone driving through a red light. By all accounts, the accident was minor considering how serious it could have been, but it was a definitely a reminder of how quickly things could change in an instant.
The second, a few days later, was a minor injury I sustained while out running. I rolled my ankle, not once, but twice, in one run. At first, it was fine, I ran it off, and was able to walk around after no problem. However, by the time I went to bed that night, it was sore and swollen. I woke up in the middle of the night in more pain than I can remember experiencing in recent history. Immediately, my thoughts went to visions of crutches and casts, bed rest and no running or gym for months. I began to make contingency plans in my head- well, if I couldn’t work out my lower body, I could still do my upper body. I could keep my food plan super tight. I could find other things to do to get my cardio in. Fortunately, after taking two extra strength Advils, I woke up the next morning, and aside from it being a little stiff, my ankle was fine (and has been since).
Finally, two days after that I was told that I need surgery… in my mouth. After shuddering at the thought of that (like seriously, ewwww), again, obviously, the first things that pop into my mind were, “What will I be able to eat? How will I get all my protein and carbs in?” and then “How long will I not be able to work out for?? What if this is scheduled for when I am training for a show?” Luckily, while I had thoughts of (and yummy recipe ideas forming for) weeks of protein shakes, I was assured that I could eat fairly normally and even work out the day after the surgery. Phew. Crisis diverted.
In any case, all of these small, little reminders have lit something bigger in me. Reignited a drive, a passion and a determination to keep on going. They have reaffirmed MY CHOICE to choose to do what I am doing. To do what I can do, while I can do it. Because I can.
And for that, I am grateful J
My happy places- out for a run or in the gym :)



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's WIAW! It's Also What I've Been Up To

Waaaaahooo! It’s Wednesday. I’ve been eating. This is what I ate today (and Monday and Tuesday, and will again Thursday and Friday- I’m a creature of habit. I also prep and portion all of my meals at the beginning of the week and it’s sooooo much easier to keep them the same).

All my meals (pre-workout muffin not shown)

Meal 1: Steel cut oats and eggs with coconut oil melted over top. This will never not be tasty.
Meal 2: Spanakopita quinoa bake. OMG so good! Recipe coming!

Meal 3: Pre-workout chocolate protein muffin. This one gets a lot of comments in the office. Smells (and tastes) like chocolate cake.

Meal 4: Post-workout tuna and barley salad with broccoli slaw and avocado… and a whole lotta sriacha sauce. This too will never get old. I’ve been eating it for lunch for months now.
Meal 5: Egg whites, cottage cheese and oats baked with green beans and coconut oil. A whole lotta cheesy goodness. Mmmmm.

Meal 6: Veg and shrimp or chicken stir fry with quinoa and bulgar. A little different each time I make it.
Meal 7: Yogurt and vanilla casein (usually eaten with either a piece of a Quest bar or banana) and a blob of peanut butter. Oh peanut butter, how I looooooove you.

As you can see, I am slowly starting to vary the foods that I am eating. I get stuck in (and enjoy!) such a routine, that sometimes it is hard to try something different or new.
Speaking of routines, that’s all I have really been about since getting back from Vegas. I have finally had a chance stay settled in one spot for more than two weeks, and it has been glorious. And, even without a specific fitness goal or deadline set (no fall shows or photo shoots planned… yet), I have actually been able to stick with my training and food plan! Training wise, I am in such a routine (weights during my lunch break and 30 minutes of cardio after work), that it’s a struggle to actually break that routine to take a rest day. It’s a weird feeling. It’s like I don’t want to lose momentum. I am also, as evidenced by the repetitiveness of my meal plans and comments above, a creature of habit. I don’t like when things change. 

I have also gotten into a great little Sunday morning routine. The day starts off with a run through the watershed with my dad, then the gym with my mom for a weights workout, and finally home for a big ol' protein pancake (some things never change).


Food plan wise, even though I am still trying to build on and maintain where I have gotten so far, I do now have a little bit more latitude and can even incorporate a few “off-plan” meals into my diet. I loathe using the word “treat” or “cheat” to describe these off-plan indulgences, because I truly believe I am already treating my body by fueling it right all of the time. And, it’s not a cheat, because I am not doing anything wrong or bad. I am just occasionally, and with purpose, choosing to indulge in foods that would normally be off-plan. For me, this has pretty much consisted of red wine, cheese and crackers, and some Menchies. I love me some Menchies. Haha.
And, I usually choose to consume them when I have the time to relax and enjoy the moment. I have also, on occasion, used my off-plan treat to just eat more of my regular clean food- like a larger serving of banana with peanut butter with a melted Quest bar on top. Or an extra scoop of peanut butter on my yogurt. Or (dare I even go here!), a large, unmeasured spoonful of peanut butter- hahaha. See a theme forming? In any case, I am certainly enjoying trying out different foods and appreciate the flexibility I have in my training and food plan to incorporate changes like this while still making progress.
One of the best treats I have had recently was an Indian buffet dinner and my friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and the food was so delicious. It was nice to be able to relax and just be a part of the day and enjoy (and not have to whip out my Tupperware of food at the dinner table because I was training for a show and on a feeding schedule).


The funny thing was, after stuffing my face with butter chicken and naan, drinking a few glasses of wine and scarfing down a cupcake and cookies, when I ran into a pub at the end of the night to use the ATM, a man actually approached me to say I had awesome arms and asked if I did “those fitness competition shows.” And, while it was 12:30am on a Friday night in the back of a bar in the middle of Pitt Meadows, and while I am sure it was some drunken pick up attempt, I was, in fact, quite flattered. Aside from comments at the gym, or from people who know I am training, I have never been approached by randoms who notice my development. It was a milestone of sorts for me. So, thank you, drunk, stumbling man at the back of the bar- you made me feel better about myself after eating my body weight in Indian food.