Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Anniversary- To Me!

Today, July 15, marks my one year anniversary with FitnessPrint and Team Blessed Bodies. It has been a year of change, of dedication and self-discovery. Reflecting on from where I started – too scared/ embarrassed/ nervous/ unsure to even say “I want to do a fitness competition” out loud (seriously, even writing it in an email made me feel sick and ridiculous) – to competing in 3 shows, I know I have grown in more ways than I can even recognize. I’ve found and followed a passion for food and fitness, trained hard and heavy, pushed my mind and body beyond its limits, learned to support and encourage without feeling threatened, discovered a disturbing affinity to Enrique Iglesias and Justin Bieber lyrics, and became hungry for more!  
And, when I think of all the things that I have done and achieved, I know I couldn’t have done it alone. I have been surrounded by the most supportive and encouraging people. First and foremost, my hubby Bryan. I cannot even count all the ways in which he has been there for me. From spending Friday nights grocery shopping, to calling friends hosting dinner parties ahead of time to let them know of “my situation” (i.e. I’ll be bringing and eating out of my own Tupperware), to driving me to tanning appointments (I stress while driving and cannot be sweating when sprayed), to not complaining when I say “5 more minutes” when it’s actually 20 (okay 30) more minutes, to being neglected for 12 hours straight when I hit the gym right after work. He has been nothing but encouraging and supportive. I could not ask for anything more.

Bryan supporting me at the NPAA show in May :)

I have also been blessed beyond belief to have found such an amazing coach, Fatima Leite Kusch and the team she has created. I haven’t written about them much here, but seriously, the all the Blessed Bodies ladies are so amazing and each of them in their own way have inspired and motivated me to keep on going. When I am struggling to get out that last rep, or talking myself out of doing cardio, I think of all the other girls on the team getting it done with whatever they have going on in their lives. There are moms (one with 5 kids!!), college students (even a girl in med school!), older women, younger women, some women with weight to gain and others with weight to lose, women who are training for their first competition, for their pro card or their first pro show and women who just do to do it. It’s truly awe inspiring. Every day I am so thankful and honoured to be a part of this team. They have strengthened me in more ways than one.
If the past year is any indication of what’s to come, then the sky truly is the limit. Never could I have imagined a year with so much strength, so much growth, and so many opportunities. It has truly changed the way I see the world (ugh, see?? This is the cheesy inspirational quote/ cliché thing I was talking about).  
Team Blessed Bodies at the Bust a Move fundraiser. Big muscles and big hearts.
Here’s to wishing for many, many more!



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WIAWA: What I Ate… While Away :)

Whoa, life has been busy lately. Since moving two weeks ago, I have been to 7 different gyms (I felt like Goldilocks- needed to find one just right); to Napa and back, to Thetis Island and back; planning, preparing and prepping all my meals; working fulltime; and, in the middle of all of this, I have started taking an online course with the University of California on nutrition and disease (which is super interesting). I also have a couple of other things up my sleeve, but can’t reveal anything quite yet. So much is going on, but the sun is out which makes everything just that much easier :)

It’s Wednesday. Usually I would do a quick check in to post what I ate, but there really hasn’t been too much of a change since my last WIAW post mainly because I have just been keeping the menu the same to make planning and prepping easier. I know what I am making, what I have to buy and how it all totals up. Not too much thinking is involved, which is exactly what I need right now.

So, instead, this Wednesday, I thought that I would share what I have been eating while away. One of hardest things to do when away from home (for either business or pleasure) is to stay on track with the food plan. First, there’s the mentality of “I am on vacation, I should eat whatever I want,” which can be troublesome. Of course, vacations do usually mean a time for some indulgences and treats, but why hurt your body and undo all your progress just because you’re away? That doesn’t seem like a vacation. Taking the time to properly feed your body is a treat and what your body wants- and makes you feel good J Secondly, food is not always immediately available on vacation. Depending on where you are, where you are staying, and the time of day, grabbing a snack (healthy or not) may be difficult, if not impossible. And, eating out all the time gets expensive! Finally, going in with a plan and being prepared makes is so much easier to stay on track and avoid temptations. If you have put the time and effort into bringing your own food, it’s just that much easier to stay committed. #noexcuses.

Since May, I have been to Vegas with my sister, Napa Valley with girlfriends for a stagette, and Thetis Island with the hubby for a wedding. For each of these trips, I planned a menu ahead, prepped meals and packed snacks. Even when faced with various restrictions, such as crossing international boarders, flying, or not having refrigeration, it is possible. You can do it- I did! Below are the details from each trip with examples of what I ate while away.

Vegas: Keeping it Clean in Sin City
When planning any meal plan, I always start with the same questions. First, what do I need? I need proteins, carbs and healthy fats. Next, what am I working with? What are my constraints?
Well, this trip included crossing the US border (so no fresh fruits or vegetables) and flying (so no liquids- which, to note, apparently includes yogurt L I learned that the hard way while in the security line up). Also, once arriving at the hotel, I may or may not have access to a fridge and I definitely won’t have a stove.
So, what am I left with?
Well, for carb sources, oats is an easy one. Delicious, nutritious and portable. I can even pre-portion out bags, and mix with some protein powder for an on-the-go meal (as long as I have access to hot water, which, you’d think be easy enough). I can also bake a batch of my protein muffins to pack as well. You can also buy these handy dandy pre-portioned and packed bags that even come with a measuring pouch so you know how much water to add. Someone was thinking.
For proteins, the obvious is protein powder. Again, delicious, nutrition and versatile. I can pre-portion out servings or even just bring a tub to scoop out of. I can mix it with water (or coffee!), stir into my oats or mix it with yogurt. Enough said. Beyond that, however, proteins get a little trickier. My usual choices, chicken, fish, and eggs don’t travel well (for obvious reasons) and probably won’t make it through the boarder, or on a plane. This one requires a little more creativity…
Healthy fats are easy to pack, with lots of options. There are nuts (almonds, walnuts, mixed nuts), flax seeds and chia seeds. All can also be mixed with oats (and protein powder!) to make a balanced, travel friendly meal.
Once figuring out the basics, I realized I probably wouldn’t want to live on oatmeal, protein shakes and nuts for four days, so started to look into grocery store options in Vegas. Guess what!? There’s a Whole Foods a couple miles from the airport. Easy peasy. That opens up a whole new host of options- like fresh fruits and vegetables, egg whites and yogurt. After confirming there would be a microwave in the room (which seems fairly standard nowadays), I started planning my meals. Here is what I came up with:
  • Meal 1 (pre-workout): Protein muffins (packed in my luggage frozen)
  • Meal 2 (post-workout): Oatmeal with protein powder and flax seeds with a side of egg whites
  • Meal 3: Salad with avocado and tuna
  • Meal 4: Yogurt and berries
  • Meal 5: Apple and almonds
Prep-wise, I brought the oatmeal, flax seeds, nuts and protein powder from home and bought a carton of egg whites, salad mix, avocados, tuna, yogurt and fruit at Whole Foods on the way to the hotel from the airport. Sure that added a little bit of time and expense onto the taxi ride, but the extra $20 was well worth it and would have easily been spent of food if I was buying my breakfast, lunches and snacks poolside at the hotel. I did also have to plan ahead and brought a couple containers and plastic utensils to make sure I had something to eat with in the room, although, it is easy enough to find around the hotel too. Forget the minibar, here’s what our well stocked room looked like:

I also left room in the menu to enjoy a few dinners out (with a couple glasses of wine) which was nice :)

And, it was all worth it. Not only did I have an enjoyable, relaxing and memorable vacation, I was also able to keep up with my training and stay on track which was very important as I was only 4 weeks out from my second competition of the season. 


Yay for eating clean and training mean in Vegas!


Napa Valley: Oatmeal and rice cakes with a side of wine?

A couple of weekend ago, I got to visit Napa Valley on a stagette with my beautiful friend Katherine :)
Obviously, Napa Valley = wine. And I may be known to love a glass, or two, of red, so I was stoked for this trip. I’m not currently “on season” and training for a show, but I want to keep up with my training and food plan because (a) I am working on Operation Bigger, Better, Stronger; (b) I am prepping for some MAJOR opportunities coming up (more of the stuff I can’t reveal quite yet) and I want to bring my best, and (c) for all the other reasons listed above. I demand a lot from my body and it feels better when I treat it right.
The tricky aspect of this trip, in addition to crossing international borders and airport security, was the lack of control. I didn’t plan this trip, it wasn’t my stagette, and there were 10 other ladies. Who knows what we’d get up to (and we got up to a lot :P) or where we would end up (over the four nights away we stayed in 3 different hotels). The good news is that I could control what I ate by bringing my food with me. So, I packed up a little bag of goodies:
In addition to the protein powder and oatmeal I took to Vegas, I also brought whole grain crackers and rice cakes for carbs, flax seeds and nut butters for fats, and some Vega and veggie-based bars to help round out the nutrition since I couldn’t bring fresh fruit with me (although, I was able to find apples and bananas along the way- either in airports, at Starbucks, or in the hotel). Having all of this on hand was awesome, as I was able to eat something immediately after my morning workouts and have things in my purse to eat throughout the day when we were out and about. 
Of course, when in Rome… I did also allow some room in my food plan for wine and some tasty meals out, one of the best being at this Italian place Ca'Momi Enoteca.  It was soooo delicious that I had two appys (to myself) and a whole pizza. Hahaha. I’m still dreaming about all of this:
Mmmmm. All, so good. And yes, while a little (okay, a lot) indulgent, overall, I was able to keep it on track most of the time, but still fit in a few treats- the best of both worlds :)

Thetis Island: Back to the Basics
This was a trip I was really looking forward to (although, I was really looking forward to all of them). But this trip was more like a little retreat. We were going for a wedding, but made a weekend out of it. Thetis Island is one of the southern gulf islands just off the west coast of B.C. and it. Was. Beautiful! Luckily, we had found a nice little cottage to rent that had a full kitchen, and we weren’t crossing any borders, or taking a plane (just two ferries and a bit of a drive), which meant I could take anything I wanted to eat!! Yay! This made things much easier. I created a menu and packed up a whole box and cooler with fresh veggies and fruit, nut butters, eggs, and yogurt.

I also had prepped some of the meals at home the night before to have them grab and go so I could eat them anywhere.
On the ferry:

In the car:

At the picnic table:


Anywhere. This made it so easy. #noexcuses and lots of time to enjoy the scenery.

And, even though I had planned and prepped all of that, I still couldn’t resist the fresh berries at the produce stand and bought some blueberries, cherries and peppers.

Again, I also allowed for some treats at the wedding. No alcohol, but a little bit of cheese and crackers, and a chocolate covered strawberry… or 5 of them. I couldn’t help it. They’re my favs :)


Anyway, the point of this WIAWA post is to share some ideas for keeping on track while travelling. It’s funny, even though I have now been through this a few times, it is still a little daunting and takes a little figuring when a new trip comes up. Next week I’ll be heading to Chicago (yay! I looooove Chicago) for a few nights. So, again, I’ll be faced with crossing international borders and airport security and I am already stressing about what to bring. BUT, I know it can be done, and I will do it. Sure, it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.