Personal Health Intiative Training

Archive for September, 2011

“Pain is weakness leaving your body.”

I am pretty tired today from having to stay late at work. I took a rest day yesterday. This morning, I got up at my usual time. I’ll tell you something funny…part of my workout included assisted tricep pressdowns. I put the weight where I would usually place it (I hadn’t done them in a while) and once I started, I thought the machine was broken. The reason I thought it was broken was because it seemed too easy! Lol! Then it dawned on me that I have actually gotten stronger, go figure. It felt really good to know that this stuff actually does work! If you just keep increasing your weight, you get stronger! It makes sense but I will be honest with you… in the past, I was scared.

I did not think I could get stronger. I was scared of the pain, the burn, and even the results. Deep down inside, I wanted to get stronger but shyed away from it. Now I embrace it, and even look for it. If I don’t feel the burn, then I know I am not working hard enough. I can’t progress if I am not challenging myself.  As the saying goes, “Pain is weakness leaving your body.” And, I will add to that, not just your body, but your mind as well.

Today’s Workout


  • Incline Bench Press followed by Dumbell Flys
  • Incline Alternate Dumbell Press followed by Dumbell Bent Over Wide Grip Rows
  • Dumbell Alternate Bicep Curls followed by Tricep Kickbacks
  • Tricep Pressdown
  • Hyperextensions

Elliptical: 20 minutes of intervals



  • homemade no-bake protein bar








  • Shakeology
  • Oat Fit Cinnamon Oatmeal

Snack 1

  • Greek Total 0% Yogurt
  • 1/2 scoop of chocolate casein protein
  • half of a banana








  • 4.5 oz of Tilapia
  • 2 cups of normandy blend mixed vegetables
  • 1 serving of chocolate protein pudding (yummy!)







Snack 2

  • homemade protein banana muffin
  • half of a banana


  • 5 oz of chicken salad made with eggless, vegan mayo
  • tomato slices
  • one whole cucumber

Snack 3

  • 1 scoop of casein protein
  • 1 tablespoon of kettle cashew nut butter (soooo gooood)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Tasty Clean Recipes

If you are like me, you get bored when eating the same thing day in and day out. I must say that I have become very creative in preparing my meals lately. It is the only way to make it fun and keep myself motivated. All of these recipes are clean, low-fat, and low-calorie.

Extra Lean Ground Turkey and Green Beans:

1. Steam one bag of fresh green beans for 20-25 minutes.

2. Brown 1 lb of extra lean ground turkey in a skillet. No need to drain because there is hardly any fat in extra lean meat.

3. Mix 4 ounces of meat with 2 cups of green beans.

4. Sprinkle a scant handful of pumpkin seeds over the dish. You can also add organic salsa. (Salsa is a great condiment that has very little sodium and only 10 calories!)

5. Top with reduced fat parmesan cheese.

Egg Whites and Oatmeal:

This meal is VERY filling and quick to make.

1. Take 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1/4-1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk and heat in a saucepan.

2. Mix 4 egg whites together in a separate bowl. Add the egg whites slowly into the oatmeal and stir the entire time. Do not stop stirring until the egg whites are cooked all the way. (Consuming uncooked egg can put you at risk of getting salmonella.)

3. Place the mixture in a bowl and top with fruit or nut of your choice. (I used 1 cup of chopped apple and cinnamon). You can also sprinkle with a little protein powder for more flavor.       

Chicken Salad and Brown Rice Cakes

This is a great on-the-go lunch. As you can see from the picture, I ate it in my car.

1. Take 4 ounces of cooked chicken and mix 1-2 tablespoons of eggless, vegan, canola mayonnaise (Spectrum) into the chicken. You can also use Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt. 1-2 tablespoons as well.

2. Add celery for flavor. I also used garlic and onion powder. You can also use cilantro, pepper, cumin…basically whatever flavor you like. Just stay away from the salt.

3. OPTIONAL: Add a few almonds or walnuts.

4. Mix all ingredients together and top two organic brown rice cakes with the chicken salad.

Plain Ole Yogurt and Apple:

If you don’t have time at work to eat a full course meal, this will keep you satisfied.

1. Mix a little natural granola into a container of non-fat greek yogurt. (I used Bear Naked Banana Granola).

2. Eat with apple separately OR chop apple and add the apple to the yogurt and granola in a separate bowl.

Extra Lean Turkey Links, Eggs, and Sweet Potato Slices:

1. Brown two Jennie-O Extra Lean Turkey links. (Only 90 calories….that is why I add the eggs.)

2. Scramble 5-6 egg whites and add any seasoning you like. (You can eat more egg whites than whole eggs because they are VERY LOW CALORIE AND VIRTUALLY NON FAT).

3. Sweet potatoes were prepared on a separate day and eaten with this breakfast to add carbs. They were sliced with skin-on and placed in the oven for 20-25 minutes, topped with cinnamon and ginger.

You know you’re a figure competitor when…

I am starting to do some crazy things…Lol! And this is only the beginning. I found this list on someone else’s blog and it is definitely true. About 80% now but in a few months I will be checking this list off each day. 🙂

1. For a few days each year your toilet seat is brown and this time it isn’t your husbands fault. (Tans do smear!)

2. You can honestly say you have spent more time in a bathing suit than your wedding dress.

3. Five inch clear stripper heels are your footwear of choice in your own home. (and not just in the bedroom)

4. Someone asks about the man in your life and you tell them that gym is fine!

5. You have two sections in your wardrobe. Competition & Off-season. And they aren’t mixed and matched.

6. Your top three priorities on any given day: a. Workout b. Eat Clean c. Check other competitors blogs (not necessarily in that order)

7. You can name any pro figure competitor by seeing her butt alone.

8. When someone wants to take your picture, you immediately spread your lats, tighten every muscle in your body, point your fingers and SMILE!

9. You take more pills daily than your 80 year old grandmother.

10. Your idea of dressing up is taking your hair out of the ponytail its been in for a week.

11. If you have had someone close to you, hide food from you in your own house.  (It’s already happening! Rephel had to hide a pack of cookies from me last week)

12. An easy day is lifting and only one cardio session.

13. Instead of carrying a Louis Vuitton pursue you accessorize with a Coleman Cooler. (Everyday…)

14. Waking up so sore you can barely move puts a smile on your face. (Love it)

15. You can’t do any work because you are to busy counting down the seconds until your next meal!!!!!!!!! (AMEN)

16.The faint smell of Dream Tan  gets your heart pumping faster than your man’s cologne.

17. You leave a little trail of splenda packets, tupperware and empty water bottles everywhere you go.

18. Your hubby makes you pee in the guest bathroom because every meal includes asparagus. (It does stink!)

19. You consider beano an essential part of your supplement regimen.

20. Your jaws are sore because you can’t stop chewing sugar free gum! (I chew the mess out of some gum!)

21. You spend at least five minutes grilling your server at a restaurant, and another five minutes re-writing the menu until you’ve got a meal that meets your diet’s specifications…and then you devour it in less than 60 seconds flat!!

22. You consider a day when you only have to make one trip to the gym a luxury!

23. You think about having “relaxed hands” and sticking your butt out while standing in line at the grocery store. (hey a girl’s gotta practice her posing!!)

24. You consider condiments and coke zero taboo!!!

25. Your neighbours start gossiping that you’ve had lipo because there is no way a girl could get that fit in twelve weeks!

(With many of our fellow bloggers prepping for figure competitions I could help myself but to post this up again, it still makes me laugh even now reading it. LOL!!)

Taken from:

Kick Your Own Butt

If you have ever had a good trainer, then you know that after you leave the training session you should feel like you got your butt kicked. You should feel as if you’ve given it your all and pushed past the point where you thought you could ever go. That is why we pay for them right? However, sometimes you have to kick YOURSELF in the butt. Why continue to do your same routine day in and day out without a challenge? Just think about everything else in life. When you went to school, each class was new and challenging, and when you enrolled in college, some of your classes were a struggle…but you managed to get through it and as a result you learned something. You developed your mind and improved your skills. When you first learn how to ride a bike, you fall a few times, lose your balance, but eventually you ride! Why should it be different with your exercise and nutrition? The reason you are not making the progress you want to see is because you are not kicking yourself in the butt hard enough!

I realized this after I got off the stairclimber this morning. I absolutely HATE the stair climber. I avoid it like the plague but today, I got so bored on the elliptical and did not want to run on the treadmill….so, I got on the stairclimber. If you are not used to the stairclimber, it can really start to burn after about 10 minutes and I had 30 minutes ahead of me. I just told myself to get it over with. Every time I wanted to slow down, I increased the level of difficulty. I had my magazine on the machine to distract me from my thoughts and feeling of the burn. (Looking at pictures of someone else’s amazing abs really is great for motivation. Even though I can’t read the article because I am barely surviving through the cardio workout….I can stare at pictures. 🙂 ). Something just made me push a little bit harder today.  I have finally found a strategy that works for me during my dreadful cardio sessions (just being honest). I turn my music up, think about walking across that stage and all the girls who are training to be on that stage, how I want to work harder than them, and how much work it takes to get there. I select a photo or quote to stare at, and I push through the session. Whenever I feel like quitting, I just push a little bit harder. I tell you, it will do something for your confidence if you just kick your own a$@ every once in a while.

You need to be honest with yourself. Are you really doing everything that you can to get to where you say you want to be? In order to do this, you have to critique yourself and it is not always pretty. However, once you do, you can have a place to start and you only go up from there! Speaking of critques….I finally have the courage to post my progress pics. When I look at the first set, I cringe a little. They are not bad but man my mid-section looked horredous…anyway here they are. They were taken 3 weeks apart. Hopefully with the next set, I will have my competition suit or shoes at least. The suit in these pictures is just a regular bikini. Here we go…

( I see some progress and I credit clean eating, harder lifting, and extra cardio to the changes. I am also doing more ab work). I am about 21 weeks away from the competition. My areas of improvement are my abs, back, butt and obliques.

 “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”-Zig Ziglar

Taken September 4th

Taken September 25th


Taken September 4th


Taken September 25th


Taken September 4th


Taken September 25th


Strike a Pose...Lol 🙂

Prognosis… Great

We had a health fair at work yesterday which I thought was an excellent idea. I was excited because I have not had a physical in a little while, and it was a great opportunity to see how my training has affected my overall health. Prognosis….excellent! My BMI and BF (Bodyfat %) is in the fitness range. I am not too far from the athletic range! Yay! The nurse noted that the machine did not take lean muscle mass into account when calculating body fat. I got a nice complement from her. She gave me props on my muscles! My work is paying off! My arms have become more toned and I am so proud of myself. I love showing my guns off! Lol! 🙂 (I will post progress pics sometime next week). I also dropped a couple of pounds! I know I am within 5-7 pounds of the weight I want to be for competition. (Although in figure that is not such a big deal as it is in bodybuilding).

My respiration, pulse, cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose are all on point. I am one healthy woman! This makes me prouder than anything else. Yes, I want to have a banging body but I know that the positive result of getting in shape is being very healthy. That is worth more than anything in the world to me and it should be to you too! The competition is just a means to keep me motivated and challenge me to do something that most people will never do.

The physical has really given me the motivation to continue with this journey. I am going to put my results somewhere in the house where I can see them…maybe beside the photographs of figure competitors that I have taped on the pantry! (You need visual motivation sometimes to remind yourself of the  goal).

Free Lunch

It’s always nice when someone offers to feed you for free. Sometimes this is not a good thing when you are trying to follow a clean diet. We had a meeting at work today and lunch was provided. I was thinking about it all week. I told myself, “I am going to eat before the meeting because I don’t know if they will have any healthy options.” I ended up eating a snack before the meeting and had my lunch on standby just in case. My plan was to eat it after the meeting if there was nothing there I could eat. To my surprise, they had not 1 but 2 healthy options! Baked chicken and tilapia were the choices for meat. I got the tilapia and a side of mixed vegetables which were really good! They also had yellow rice, bread, peach cobbler, sweet tea and lemonade. I did not indulge in any of these tasty sides…boy was it hard to resist but I did it! I did not stray from my plan. Because it is so early in my preparation, my diet is not extremely strict just yet. In  a few months, I will have to eat only what I cook because there is no way to know exactly what other people are putting in their food.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get uncomfortable in social situations where food is offered because people don’t always provide healthy options. I have really improved in my ability to say “no” because I have learned that I am responsible for what I put in my body. No one can make me eat anything. They might look at me like I have 2 heads or tell me I don’t enjoy life because I am not eating their cakes and fried foods, but in the end I control my diet.

My advice to anyone trying to lose weight, is to first prepare yourself mentally for social situations. Otherwise, your plan will be sabotaged by people who mean well, but just don’t understand your lifestyle. Don’t let this happen to you!! Don’t let people make decisions for you. Only you can do that….

That was my major accomplishment for the day. I did not work out yesterday. I rested, and the rest was needed! This morning I did the following workout:


  • Incline Barbell Bench Press
  • Dumbell Fly
  • Incline Dumbell Bench Press (Alternating Arms)
  • Dumbell Bent Over Row with Wide Grip
  • Standing Bicep Curls (Dumbell)
  • Standing Tricep Kickbacks (Dumbell)

Cardio: 30 second sprints/30 second rest, 10 times on the treadmill followed by walking at an incline of 15 and jog at 6mph. (Total of 35 minutes).

Clean Eats:

Breakfast: protein shake, whole grain oatmeal with 5 large strawberries

Snack 1: brown rice cakes (2) with 1 tbs of fat-free cream cheese, orange

Lunch: tilapia and mixed vegetables

Snack 2: homemade protein cookies, sugar-free jello, and peppermint tea

Dinner: lean ground turkey, green beans, scant handful of pumpkin seeds (all mixed together)

Preworkout: high protein bar (chocolate)

Bedtime Snack: protein ice-cream and almonds (I can’t wait!)


When you exercise, you have a goal. Your goal might be to lose weight or build muscle, or just maintain what you have. In a sense you are the architect building your body and pushing it in the direction you want it to go. When you’re training hard, you must have the right tools in place to supplement your diet. It’s virtually impossible to get all your vitamins and minerals from food. If you did, you would probably go way over your caloric requirements for the day! Supplements can include protein bars, protein shakes, multi-vitamins and minerals, and powders.

My protein came in the mail today! I am trying a new flavor of casein protein and a new brand of protein powder…Optimum Nutrition. I will have to tell you how it goes…normally I use Cytogainer or IDS which are both great and taste awesome. When it comes to selecting a protein powder, just think, the less artificial ingredients it contains, the better! Some powders have essential amino acids added to them (all of the ones I mentioned above). That is something you might want to consider because BCAAs are important in keeping you healthy and strong during training. Please do not buy the cheap protein that you can pick up at your local dollar store. These protein powders are not as high in quality as the ones you order online or purchase at GNC. By the way, I prefer ordering all my supplements online because it is much cheaper!

I am also trying Fitness Fiber powder which came free with the protein. It contains several different forms of fiber. We need both soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber is a biggie in your diet! You must be regular in your bowel movements. (I know, gross!). But, you should be eliminating 2-3 times a day. Maybe even 4! If not, you are not eating enough foods that contain fiber in them. This powder can be added to make up for the food you are not eating. However; it should not be the sole form of fiber! Food is always best. Fiber helps get rid of all that bad junk in your body.

Another product I use is called Xtend.

This is a powder that you add to your water and drink before and during your workout. They have a number of different flavors and it is natural so don’t worry about that. No it is not a steroid or a sugary energy drink that you get from the store! You order this online. The powder is composed of BCAAs that help you endure your workout and recover effectively. (Lemonade is the best flavor).

Last but not least, you need to take some type of vitamin.






I take Complete Balance Multivitamin/Multimineral supplements and Omega Essentials both by Applied Nutriceuticals. Taking all these things into consideration and supplementing your diet properly will prevent injury and keep you from getting sick as well.

Burn, Baby Burn

Okay, so I know that I have to work into the burn. This is something that I have always struggled with. You see, I am not a big fan of pain but in this case it is not so much pain but a burn that you feel when you are really lifting and working hard. I have improved in this area so much over the past few months but I know I still have work to do. If you don’t feel the burn, you aren’t working hard enough! I feel it! The problem is sometimes I stop! Lol. But this is one of the things I will work on in my training sessions. I think I have done a good job so far, so I can only imagine how I will look in a few months! Whoa! LOL!

During my lunch today, I watched my weekly figure e-course that is sent to my email. (Okay, see that proves I am addicted…:)

The lesson was on body symmetry. In figure competitions, symmetry is very important. The main difference between body building and figure is that the judges are not looking for bulky muscles and striations. They want to see a well-rounded body that is still feminine. It is a step up from the bikini class because you need to be in athletic shape and have muscle tone. Figure competitor bodies should be athletic and look similar to that of a fitness competitor. You have to maintain your femininity and one of the first places this will be evaluated is in the face. If your face is too thin, then you are considered to lean for the figure class. The focus is on a total package, not individual muscle development. Learned something today!

The workout this morning was great and I tried my best to work into the burn! My abs are screaming. I have Zumba class tonight. Here are my eats:


Protein pancakes topped with organic unsweetened applesauce and chocolate PB2






Snack 1:

Chocolate Shakeology and organic oatmeal


5 oz of  chicken breast

3 cups of spinach (raw)

2 tbs of organic mild salsa

1 slice of Food for Life Wheat and Gluten-Free Brown Rice Bread






Snack 2

Fage 0% Total Greek Yogurt

5 strawberries


High Protein Bar


Egg whites

2 cups of green beans

Bedtime Snack

1 scoop of Casein protein with water

Good Monday

Today was a pretty good day for a Monday. I was a little tired waking up this morning but once I got up I was good. My cat didn’t even want to wake up this morning. He just looked at me like, “I’m not gettin up off this couch,” and closed his eyes! Guess he is still recovering from his weekend of bird watching. 🙂 This morning’s workout went well. This is what I did:

Chest and Back

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Dumbell Alternate Bench Press
  • Chest Fly (Cables)
  • Wide Grip Lat Pull Down
  • Pull Downs with the Band
  • Lat Rows with the Band
  • Dumbell Bicep Curls
  • Barbell Bicep Curls
  • Elliptical (30 minutes)

Clean Eats

Pre-Workout Snack

  • Pure Protein Bar (Chocolate Deluxe)…I wake up thinking about this bar….it tastes sooooo goooood! Low sugar and low-fat!







  • Chocolate Shakeology and oatmeal with half a banana






Snack 1


  • Jennie-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey (5 oz)
  • 3 cups of raw spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of Nature’s Place Organic Mild Salsa
  • 1 serving of quinoa

    Lunch and 2 Snacks







Snack 2

  • canned tuna (1 can)
  • 1 cup of cucumber/tomato/onion salad
  • 1 cup of sliced sweet potatoes

Dinner (Not Pictured)

  • 4 oz of Extra Lean Ground Turkey
  • 2 cups of steamed green beans
  • scant handful of pumpkin seeds

Bedtime Snack (Not Pictured)

  • Chocolate casein protein with unsweetened almond milk

I also met with a trainer who is a figure competitor and had a great conversation. She gave me some insight into the different classes and we discussed how she can help me. I will give her my food diary from the last couple of weeks and a detailed description of my workouts…amount of weight lifted, amount of cardio, how many reps and the specific exercises. She will also help with posing, walking and other competition activities. Can’t wait!

Next on my list…buy my competition shoes. 🙂

It’s official

It’s official. I have committed to competing in a show in March. No, I have not signed any papers, paid any money or anything of that nature. I am committed mentally. Anyone who is willing to stand on stage in front of a crowd of strangers in 5 inch heels basically half-naked must be committed right…Lol! No one wants to get up on that stage and embarrass themselves. So, in order to be ready it takes A LOT of dedication. Your body does not get tight and buff from eating ice cream and chips. The diet must be extra clean and the workouts have to be consistent and on point.

5 inch heels it will take 5 months to learn to walk in!

This week I turned down a slice of birthday cake, movie theatre popcorn, bread sticks at Olive Garden, spinach dip and bread, chocolate candy and I can’t even remember what else. Just thinking about it is annoying. While everyone else is chomping down on their favorite treats I will be envisioning myself up on that stage in March. I have been to a bodybuilding and figure show in the past and seen some people who should not have gotten up on that stage!I refuse to be one of those people. I’m not going to be the girl who gets up there and thinks, “Man I only gave 95% to this…I should have done more.” I am not going to have any regrets or should’ve would’ve, could’ve moments.

I have called a trainer and will meet with her tomorrow after work. Together we will assess my current state and within the next 5 months get my mind and body to its peak condition. My motto at work will be “If I did not pack it in my cooler, I will not eat it.” All those free lunches and snacks at work will just have to wait until after March before I can indulge in them. I will have to get used to telling people, “no, thank you.” I also have to prepare for a little criticism as that tends to happen when you are focused on a goal that most people don’t understand. I will live vicariously through the Food Network and dream about all those sweet treats I used to be able to eat! LoL!

Bling, Bling Suit

I have already started cleaning up my diet and buying and keeping a few staple foods in stock for easy access. I prepare my foods on Sunday and pack my lunch and snacks the night before. Here are some of the foods I will be eating.

  • Eggs/Egg Whites
  • Fat-Free Yogurt
  • Wheat and Gluten-Free Brown Rice Bread (Food For Life)
  • Coconut Flour (For baking without white or wheat flour)
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Almond Milk
  • Extra Lean Turkey Links (Jennie-O)
  • Shakeology
  • Cytogainer/Optimum Nutrition/IDS protein powder
  • Extra Lean Ground Turkey (Jennie-O)
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Lean Beef
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Brown Rice
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • All Green Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cashews
  • PB2 peanut butter
  • Tea
  • Sugar-Free Gum (Life saver when you are hungry. I chew gum like nobody’s business!)

I am excited and nervous about this journey. I have always wanted to do it for myself and to inspire others. There are a few blogs that I read on a daily basis and other sources of information that I go to for advice and to share with others who are figure competitors. I will list them here below. I will also start posting my daily eats and workouts and the joyful as well as the painful moments in this journey. Alright…here we go!!!

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