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.  


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Plums, Pancakes and Pizza Recipes (No, Not All Together)

If you have been following my (currently non-existent) WIAW posts over the past few months, you would have noticed that I have been keeping it pretty basic with minimal changes week to week. While I usually love mixing it up, because the summer was so busy, I just didn’t have time to think about it and kept it simple by doing what I already knew. From week to week I knew what I needed to buy, how to prep it and what all the macro (fats, carbs and protein) counts would be. It didn’t require much thinking which is how I needed it to be.

But finally (finally!!) things are slowing down a bit and I was inspired to try something new in the kitchen. This week it resulted in two really yummy recipes J Both provide a good balance between protein and carbs, and both can be modified to fit different macros, tastes and preferences. One is sweet and one is more savoury. Enjoy!

Plum and Zucchini Protein Pancake with Vanilla Icing

This recipe is a small twist in my basic Cinnamon Zucchini Protein Pancake. My parents have a plum tree in their backyard. It grows those delicious sweet and sour prune plums. At this time of year, my mom often makes a plum cake, which I love, so I wanted to find a way to recreate those flavours in a cleaner cake. The answer was a plum pancake J

Ingredients (for 1 large pancake):
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 20g vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • 40g (about ¼ cup) shredded zucchini
  • 60g (about 2) soft prune plums
  • 5g walnut pieces
  • 2 TBSP fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBSP vanilla protein powder

  1. Pit and chop up plums. Pre-heat and spray small frying pan. Add plums and sauté on low heat until soft and slightly caramelized.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the oats, protein powder and cinnamon together.
  3. Add in egg whites. Mix well. Add in zucchini, plum and walnuts.
  4. Pour into the pre-heated, (re)sprayed frying pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, flip, and cook other side for 2 minutes (or until done).
  5. To make the icing, stir together yogurt and protein powder.
  6. Ice the protein pancake with the icing and serve warm.

I also topped mine with some chia prune jam. It turned out exactly as I expected. The pieces of plum in the cake really tart it up, which goes well with the sweet yogurt icing. I’m thinking of tripling this recipe and trying it out in a loaf pan to see how it slices up. A perfect portable, pre-portioned and prepped high protein and carb snack! It could even be used as a pre- or quick post-gym meal.


Quinoa Pizza Bites/ Casserole

This recipe started out as a way to satisfy a pizza craving (while meeting my carb and protein counts for the day). While sometimes nothing but a slice will do, other times, it’s really just the flavors I want. This recipe was a way to combine those flavors (tomato sauce, cheese, garlic and oregano) in an easy to prepare and package way for one of my meals during the week.

Ingredients (for 6 servings):
  • 180g (1 cup) uncooked quinoa
  • 300g spinach
  • 6 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cup egg whites
  • 125g (about ½ cup) dry cottage cheese curds
  • garlic powder, oregano and black pepper (to taste)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions. When in doubt, I follow these instructions for quinoa.
  3. Wilt spinach in a pan and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix the egg whites, tomato paste and seasoning together.
  5. Add in cottage cheese, cooked quinoa and spinach. Mix well.
  6. Drop mixture into sprayed muffin tins or pour into sprayed 9X9 pan.
  7. If making muffins, bake for 20-25. If baking in a pan, bake, covered, for about 20-25, then remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Let cool and individually portion and package for an easy grab-and-go protein and carb filled meal.

This recipe turned out great! My first batch, made into muffins, were a little under seasoned, so I made sure to add more into my second batch, which I baked in a pan. This was delicious and very satisfying as a morning snack throughout the week. Depending on macros and personal tastes and preferences, parmesan cheese can be added to the mixture or melted on top for more flavor. Other “toppings” (like peppers and onions) can also be added into the mixture for different flavors and textures. The variations are endless! I might try a “Greek” inspired mix next time with feta and fresh dill!

And finally, even though I didn’t create this recipe, I had to share! I recently tried this protein and chocolate chip cookie dough brownie and almost died. It was amazing!! It uses a Quest bar, which I have heard a lot about, but haven’t tried out that much. This was a delicious way to eat it though! Mmmm.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

TBB Does Vegas!!

Last week I went on a trip of a lifetime! Yes, I’ve been to Vegas many times before (for my stagette, with the hubby, with my sister, etc), but this time was different. This I went with my coach and over 20 other beautiful TBB ladies! We came from everywhere! BC, Alberta, Ontario, Rhode Island, and Florida! Some came to compete at the WBFF Worlds show, some came for photo shoots and we all came to support each other. What an amazing team J I may have come home with one less pair of pants (I lost them somewhere out in the desert), one less curling iron, and a couple more pounds, but what a fun/ exciting/ nerve-wracking/ tiring/ once-in-a-lifetime trip! Here’s the breakdown...


Tuesday: Travel day


A week in Vegas requires a lot of prep. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I spent quite a bit of time not only planning out all my outfits (a couple for going out, some for photo shoots, something to wear (and sleep in) post-spray tan, workout gear, bathing suits, etc), but also putting together a meal plan that I could easily prep, execute and transport around Vegas. This meant figuring out what I could (and couldn’t pack) and what I would need to buy there. This also meant figuring out how to get everything into one suitcase. The verdict? Two suitcases. In any case, after paying more ridiculous “extra fees” on top of my “cheap” Allegiant flight, we were off!! I travelled down with two of my lovely teammate, Brandi and Ami J Once we got to Vegas and settled into the hotel room, we took a cab over to Whole Foods, which, conveniently, is just past the end of the strip, and picked up some fresh produce and protein for the week. Back in the room, we all did some food prep, went to the gym to get our cardio in, and then all passed out by 10. I know, crazy night in Vegas.

Tuesday: Travel day! Food is always the top priority!

Wednesday: Settling in

I pretty much had Wednesday to myself since, unlike many of the other ladies, I wasn’t doing any shoots that day. It was nice to sleep in a bit, hit the gym for some weights and cardio, prep more food, and then spend some time down at the pool. It gave me a chance just to slow down, rest up and prepare for a busy Thursday.

Wednesday- Settling in. Gym, food and sun-- everything I need in life :)


Thursday: What this has all been about

This was it! This is what I had been working toward. This was the ultimate goal! A shoot with Paul Buceta. Paul. Buceta. Open any issue of Oxygen magazine and you’ll see his name and pictures on every page. He is, without a doubt, one of the best fitness photographers in the world… and I got to shoot with him J

Thursday was a crazy day though! First, it was over to the Aria to get hair and makeup done by the fabulous ladies of 2 Chicks and Some Lipstick. Lori and Valeria were so much fun! It was such a pleasure just to meet them both, let alone get my hair and makeup done by them.

Then, it was out to the desert for a group shoot. Despite being to Vegas countless times, I realized I had never even been too far off the strip before. This was such a great opportunity to really get out there and see the desert. It was stunning. And, with storm clouds and lightening in the background (luckily we didn’t get rained on), the landscape was breath taking. After getting in a few different shots, it was time to load up and get back to the hotel for the shoot with Paul.

I didn’t know what to expect, but it all unfolded nicely J First off, he’s awesome. It was really easy to feel comfortable in front of the camera with him behind it. The time went by fast and I got some really great shots. I also definitely had the, Is this seriously my life right now?? Never in my wildest dream would I have thought I would have had this opportunity to shoot with Paul. It has inspired and motivated me to keep pushing, to keep at it, and to keep dreaming. I will shoot with him again, and next time I will come back bigger and better. I told him so.

Thursday: Photo shoot shots!

After the shoot, Ami and I celebrated by going out for a couple delectable little treats- champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and chocolate covered pretzels. Damn you, Jean Philippe Patisserie, you will be the end of me. I also celebrated with a protein pancake covered in an unmeasured amount of Nuttzo and bananas. Cray cray!!

Then, that night, all the ladies (who weren’t competing the next day) went out for a night out on the town! Whoo hoo hoo!


Thursday: Post-photo shoot treats :)


Friday:  Rest and recovery

With all the scheduled shoots out of the way, Friday was a bit of a rest and recovery day for me. Again, I spent it sleeping in, hitting the gym and then laying by the pool. In essence, the perfect vacation day for me.

Friday: Rest and recovery

Friday was also awesome because the hubby was coming down to join me J J Yay! I was so happy to see him. He support me so much and we have both been so crazy and busy with just everything that has been going on this summer that it was nice to have a little time out and spend some time together. Obviously this time together involved a couple of treats. Upon his arrival we had crab cakes, pizza, wine and, for be, a nice big bowl of frozen yogurt and candy J Hahaha, some things never change.


Saturday: Show day!

One of the original reasons behind the trip in the first place was the WBFF Worlds show. This is one of the biggest shows of its kind with competitors from all around the world! I was excited to not only cheer on my teammates competing, but also to see all of the other fitness models that I have been following in the magazines and online over the years. I watched the show in amazement. The guys (omg, the guys!) and the girls!! Wow. Just the dedication and hard work represented on that stage was inspiring. And this isn’t just any old show, this is one of the biggest and the best. There’s the glitziest of the glitzy bikinis, sparkly evening gowns and even theme wear. Wow! Everything over the top and spectacular. Watching the show made me start thinking about my own competition plans… Hmmm…

Saturday: Show day! Pics from the WBFF Worlds

I also got to meet Andreia Brazier. She has been one of my biggest fit-spirations over the year. And, there she was. She also placed first :)

Sunday: Pool party!

Sunday was spent poolside (and in the pool) at Wet Republic. After months of prepping, and food plans and training, it was time party it up VIP style! The afternoon was filled with a little drinking, some dancing and a lot of fun. I love these ladies!!

Sunday: Funday!! Me with the hubby, my coach, a big bottle of vodka and some teammates
More Sunday Funday! Me with Paul Buceta, and teammates Heather and Ami. I heart these ladies!!

After a nap and cleaning ourselves up a little, the hubby and I went out for a very nice dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Steakhouse. That Gordon Ramsay, I’ll tell ya, he knows a thing or two about running a nice restaurant. He should think about getting his own show (or four). Seriously, I cannot say enough great things about the amazing experience we had at the restaurant. Every detail, every morsel of food, everything, was just divine! I even ordered off menu (I’m not a meat person), and had a “vegetarian wellington.” It was superb!

Sunday Dinner: Sooooo good!


Monday: Leaving Las Vegas

After stocking up on a couple more off-plan treats (in the form of candy) for the plane ride, Monday was spent traveling home. We ended the vacation with one more dinner out, sushi, and then got right back at it.


Up next!

Tuesday I fell right back into my routine, prepped all my meals and got back to the gym. Vegas was fun, but I am happy to be back at it.

Competition wise, I am still figuring it out. I’m probably, probably, done for this year. When I compete again, I was to come with something different. I want to come back with something bigger and better. I’m learning that this takes time. Time I’ve got. I am committed to keep at it and see where I end up.

Training and diet wise, I’m keeping up with that too. Some people have asked me if I’m “taking a break” or “easing up a bit.” Breaking from what? I love what I am doing and how it makes me feel. Yep, it can be a lot of work planning and preparing and sometimes it’s nice to have a break from all of that, but a break from training and eating clean?? No way! My body and my mind are craving it. Putting in this time and effort to properly fuel and condition my body is treating it. I want to keep at it. I need to keep at it.

Other plans? This summer has just been so busy. From moving, to Napa, to Chicago and then Vegas, the past couple of months have been a whirlwind! Moving into the fall things should start to calm down a bit more and I really want to focus on building a bigger and better me. What does that mean? Well, a couple different things, but nothing that I am ready to reveal yet. Something has started, and this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see what’s up next! If anyone had told me what this past year was going to be like 12 months ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. That makes me excited to see what will happen next!!