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 :)