Personal Health Intiative Training

My boyfriend’s birthday is Wednesday, and I wanted to get a cake of course! I decided to get a co-worker to make a mini-cake and cupcakes for him. I also put in a request for a healthier dessert option for myself (because I thought I was competing in June…more on that later). She made the most wonderful carrot cupcakes and red velvet cake and my special request for a pan of mini-dark chocolate cheesecakes made from tofu.

Since I run a library inside of a school that has a culinary program, I get to explore the wonderful cookbooks and cooking magazines that we have in our collection. I always try to find healthier options for desserts because I LOVE sweets. I came across a book entitled “1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes” by Carol Fenster and found some pretty awesome dishes. I wanted something, low carb, low fat, and low sugar. It took me a while, but I spotted a very simple recipe that fit the requirements. Mini-Chocolate Cheesecakes! They were delightful and still had plenty of flavor. (I also ate some red velvet cake too!)

So you are probably wondering why I am eating red velvet cake if I am preparing for a show…well I am not doing the show. I decided that right now, financially I am not in a position to compete and I want to make some more improvements before the next competition. I am also a tad bit burned out from dieting for 5 months. My body and mind need a break, and I am focusing on getting two other people ready for their competitions which is very exciting! I am still training and might do a one mile race in a month, just to have a goal to shoot for. When I am not prepping for a show, my approach to dieting it FLEXIBLE. I eat what fits in my macronutrient goals for the day. I don’t restrict certain foods but I strive to eat a well-balanced range of healthy foods, and yes, I do eat some “junk.” I just fit everything into my macros for the day. This is the only thing that works for ME long term. I don’t do well with bland restrictive diets. (A sure fire way to binge is to deprive yourself of certain foods unnecessarily.)

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Now, if you want to make a healthier dessert, and you love cheesecake, this recipe is a great option. Note*: You don’t have to use the Tofutti, you can use low fat cream cheese if you want.

CRUST:

1 package of Pamela’s Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Chunk Cookies

FILLING:

2 tablespoons of boiling water

6 ounces of 72% or higher Dark Chocolate

2 8 oz packages of Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese cut into cubes

¾ cup of sugar OR the SPLENDA Baking combo equivalent which is what I used

2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon of salt

2 large eggs

  1. Place a rack in the middle oven and preheat to 325. Grease a nonstick mini cheesecake pan or mini meatloaf tin, or mini brownie tin.
  2. Place the cookies in a food processor/blender and make fine crumbs.
  3.  Melt the chocolate in the boiling water and set aside (you may need to use more water…use as much as you need to).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and beat 1 minute, scraping the side of the bowl. Beat in the chocolate mixture and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Pour the filling into the molds, dividing evenly.
  5. Bake at 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are firm. Cool the cheesecakes in the pan for 15 minutes. Release the cheesecakes by pushing up from the bottom. Refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

Take from 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes

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The great thing about creating your own training program is that you can try new techniques to see how your body responds. One thing about our bodies that is really great is its ability to adapt to the environment. In the training realm, this can be positive or negative. In an effort to gain more muscle, or shock the system, sometimes we have to try something new. Since December, I have been doing the typical 5-6 day training split and usually sticking to one or two body parts during each session. My rep ranges are anywhere from 6 up to 15. This is 5 months of the same type of training. Lately, I have started to feel like I needed a change. Not just for physical stimulation but for my mental sanity as well! Even though I am training for another show, weight lifting is something I plan to do for life. If I want to keep going, I have to try new approaches. Bodybuilders tend to get stuck in their ways and don’t try new ways of training. But, when you think about athletes of various sports and the way they train, you can clearly see that there are many ways to elicit muscle growth. Athletes may do some bodybuilding work or they may do full body splits. Crossfit Athletes do a lot of power work and Olympic lifts and they have amazing bodies. The same applies for track and field athletes.

 So…change is good. This morning I tried my first training session of German Volume Training. After thorough research, I figured out how to implement this into my regimen for the next 5 weeks. I even read an article about a figure competitor who trained this way during the first part of her prep. Several bodybuilders have used this technique as well. The plan is to lift only 3-4 days per week but that is all you need because it is so intense. In my plan, I pick 2 body parts to train in one session only using 4 exercises. BUT, I perform 2 of the exercises using 10 reps for 10 sets. That is 100 reps! It seems easy at first but once you get to the 4th or 5th set it is extremely challenging. You cannot use heavy weight…maybe use about 65% of your max. I add in a couple of auxiliary exercises with fewer sets to finish.

 I am writing this post at 10 am…I worked out five hours ago at 5am…and as the time goes on, I am getting sorer! I have not been this sore in a while. I see why you can only do 3 or 4 days a week. Your body couldn’t handle more. I have also changed up my cardio routine. I can’t do a lot of drawn out cardio with this type of training. I am sticking with short, high intensity circuits, sprints, and spin class a few times a week. After these five weeks, I will be off of the GV training and will add a bit more cardio to tighten up in the last month before the show.

 I am looking forward to trying more training styles in the future and learning how my body responds to each one. 9 weeks to go until show time!

 “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri Bergson

In Between

I heard a message this morning that really made me think. We get so caught up in our daily lives and trying to get the dream job, dream house, dream car, and even the dream body, that we don’t enjoy the process. I have thought about this in regards to my prep for this next show and also my career. Of course, I have big goals and positions that I would like to see myself in.  Ultimately, I want to make a career of teaching others how to make healthy lifestyle changes, not just temporary changes for a show or an event. But, I realized that I am getting so caught up in reaching the end or dreading the beginning, that I am not truly enjoying the journey.

For the next 10 weeks until my next competition, I have a plan to enjoy the journey more. Here it is outlined step-by-step.

  • Share my experience in more details by writing in this blog
  • Record training sessions of myself and my clients
  • Implement a new training style for the first six weeks (German Volume Training…more on this in a separate post)
  • Read more literature on nutrition and competition training
  • Take my cardio outside on nice days, walking outside, or running at the lake
  • Include yoga back into my routine once a week
  • Include meditation
  • Pray for more patience and strength to enjoy each day

 

Don’t ever get so consumed with the FINAL result that you forget to enjoy what it takes to get there. If you enjoy the process, the task will be less arduous and stressful in your everyday life. If you want to lose 20 lbs in 3 months, don’t just think about that last day of the 3rd month, think about what you are doing to get there. What will your workout plan involve? What new and creative exercises can you add to your regimen, and what types of creative meals can you plan. How will you be a positive influence to those around you while you are pursuing your goal? Yes, it will be hard and yes, you may slip and fall….but just keep going and please enjoy the ride!!!

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”-Greg Anderson

 

 

 

The Night Before

Its the day before the competition and I am pretty pleased with my accomplishments over the last 16 weeks. No I was not perfect, but I was consistent and I didn’t give up. I am going for gold tommorow but no matter what happens I plan to celebrate! I’ve come a long way and this show is not just about me…it’s about inspiring others who want to compete. You can do it if you have faith in yourself.

I will keep you posted!

Bread Anyone?

I have been very skeptical of trying this “low carb” bread by Julian Bakery. It just sounded too good to be true. However; when you look at the ingredients, you can see that the macronutrients are in exact alignment with what is needed for a cutting diet. 6 grams of carbs total with 5 grams of insoluble fiber, so the bread contains only 1 gram of net carbs. The coconut bread by Julian Bakery only has 1 gram of fat and is just 35 calories per slice. When I saw this in Whole Foods today, I just had to try it. Part of the fun of doing my own diet is that I can be creative! I need to experiment on myself first before I make recommendations to other people.

Well the verdict is….I love it! It tastes good, makes me feel full, and helps me psychologically get through a VERY strict diet. This bread is very expensive but to me it is worth it. If you cannot eat bread because of a gluten allergy or are on a cutting diet, you should give this a shot. You will continue to lean out while eating it. There are many different versions of their bread but this is the one I tried.

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You have to keep it in the freezer, but you can thaw it out in the oven and make a wonderful slice of toast for breakfast. I ate this with my bison burger and zero carb noodles for lunch today. It was delightful.

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6 Weeks

I am feeling less anxious now that I am getting closer to the competition. I guess I am over the “what ifs “buts” and “not good enough” feelings. I have come too far to let anything or anyone get in my way. Quitting is not an option. I don’t really even dwell on the lack of strength in the gym or the extra cardio. The diet is also just something that must be done. I am much stronger mentally this time around and that is the difference. I really don’t care what other people think about what I am doing and I am not compromising my training plan for anyone. I have done this diet and training by myself for 10 weeks now but with the knowledge I have learned from others. This is MY time. 2014 is about me and this competition is only the beginning. I am doing my best and the competition is not with others, it is with myself.

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Better Than Ice Cream!

Today after my leg workout, I went to Whole Foods grocery. Whole Foods is not a store where I do my weekly shopping but if there is a special item that I want, they will usually have it. For example, they have those lovely machines that will grind up nuts for you to make your own nut butter without the added sugar. They also have some meat and really fresh, local seafood that you will not find at other chains. Today I picked up some salsa and other seasonings and found a different type of almond milk that I wanted to try. The milk is made by the “So Delicious” company and has 5 grams of protein in one cup. One cup is only 40 calories, contains 2 grams of fat, and 0 grams of sugar, and only 1 carb. It also only has 95 mg of sodium….some meat products contain more sodium than that! I will be using this up until the last week of competition prep because it is DELICIOUS in my protein shake. It is better than ice cream!

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Here is my recipe for a delicious vanilla protein shake that will have you licking the cup when you are finished. (That might just be me because just about everything tastes good at this point). 

  • 1 scoop of Gaspari Intrapro Vanilla flavored Whey Isolate
  • 1 cup of So Delicious Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 and 1 1/2 cups of ice

Blend for about 60-90 seconds. If you have a blender that has different settings, use the “milkshake” setting or one that mixes at a medium speed.

Enjoy! You will definitely be sad when the shake is gone!

195 calories, 5 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat (Depends on the protein powder that you use).

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