Thursday, February 28, 2013

gender reversal in the gym


i have never, ever, been like the women in this video.  okay, maybe i have.  at least i wipe my sweat off the seat.

have you gotten your workout in for the day?  get to it, beasts!

eat clean. live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

the fit beast feasts: pumpkin protein bars

my life changed the day that i discovered this recipe and brought my first pan out of the oven.  the chubby baker that lived deep down inside this new body of mine was finally happy again!  the need to bake was satisfied, even if it wasn't homemade croissants, browned butter peach struesel bars, or french coconut pie.

bake up a batch, keep them on hand, and let yourself indulge in something that actually tastes good while being good for you!

ingredients
1/2 cup xylitol brown sugar blend
1/2 cup no sugar added apple sauce
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
4 egg whites
1-15 oz can raw pumpkin puree (do not get pumpkin pie mix)
2 c. oat flour
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder (i use musclepharm combat)
1/2 c. almond milk (unsweetened and unflavored)
optional: 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. spray a 9 x 13 glass baking pan with non-stick spray
3. combine the first 11 ingredients and mix well
4. add the final ingredients and mix until incorporated.  spread batter into baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until, when tested with a toothpick, the toothpick comes out clean

nutrition (without walnuts): 1 square = 47 calories, .7 g fat, 8 g carbs, 3.7 g protein 

nutrition (with walnuts): 1 square = 63 calories, 2.3 g fat, 8 g carbs, 4 g protein 

*if you can't find a xylitol brown sugar blend, try to find something else besides straight up brown sugar.
*i refuse to buy oat flour at the grocery store as it's rather expensive and you can make it at home in no time at all.  using either steel cut or whole oats, you can make your own oat flour in a blender or food processor!    
*since there are no preservatives in this recipe, keep the bars in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. i wrap two bars together in plastic wrap and store them that way.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

what if wild animals ate fast food


just a little motivation to eat clean.  happy tuesday, beasts!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Monday, February 25, 2013

excuses are like armpits--everyone has them and they stink

it happens more often than we care to admit:  you're strong out of the gate, hitting the gym every day, you're eating clean, going for a run instead of lounging on the couch, in an effort to both look and feel your best.  enter dinner with friends.  family vacations.  a night in with ben & jerry.  more ben & jerry.  suddenly, you've fallen off the wagon, or at least hanging dangerously over the side.

you shouldn't have to choose between having fun and staying fit.  just don't make excuses.  i've heard them all before, and even used to use some of them, but i'm putting a stop to them right freaking now!

the excuse:  "i never have time to work out."
the solution:  if you penciled in your workouts the way you do work meetings and dinners with friends, you'd poke a hole in your own excuse.  still, you can make up for missed sweat sessions by tracking your steps.  a study found that people who wore a pedometer clocked 1,000 more steps (about half a mile) per day than those who didn't tally their footfalls.  taking the stairs or going for a walk on your lunch break doesn't take the place of hitting the gym, but it can pinch-hit on the days when you have to break an exercise date with yourself.  what's more, tracking your daily totals will motivate you to move at least that much the next day.  strap on a pedometer or download the itreadmill app for your iphone.

the excuse:  "i can't get motivated in the morning."
the solution:  morning workouts are a necessary evil for those who work late or want any kind of social life.  it's also the best way to guarantee you'll get your exercise in before life's daily chaos zaps your willpower.  the trick is to mentally commit to just one set of your weight circuit or 15 minutes of your run.  once you're out the door and moving, you'll almost always bang out the whole thing!

the excuse:  "i'm too hungry and tired to exercise after a long day at work."
the solution: sustain your energy all day by eating a lunch that is rich in lean protein and complex carbohydrates.  these nutrients keep glucose levels steady and energy up.  try drinking caffeine about 45 minutes before you plan to workout.  caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, which can make you feel drowsy, and research shows it also ups your exercise endurance.  that's why so many "pre" workout supplements contain caffeine.  without fail, i'm downing 8-10 ounces of water, mixed with a pre-workout to help keep my energy levels up while training.

social situations as adults still leave us prey to peer pressure.  don't give in when people try to guilt you into sloughing it at the gym in order to still have a social life.  the work environment and social scenes we partake in will be full of people saying, "you work so hard that you can afford to eat _____."  know what i say?  "if i believed those excuses, i'd be back to an unhealthy body fat percentage and wearing size 14/16 pants again."  just as i don't want you making excuses for why you can't get healthy, i also don't want you to make excuses as to why you can't make unhealthy choices.

be honest with your peers.  when offered something that you know you really shouldn't be eating, tell them that you don't eat that.  i used to say "i can't" until someone said that i had a choice and that this healthy eating isn't being forced on me.  you know what, she was right.  it is a choice.  that's why i "don't" eat foods like that.

you'll never regret making the healthier choice or giving an honest answer about your lifestyle.  you'll probably regret, however, eating something, drinking something, or ditching the gym.  don't retrogress.  keep moving forward.  no excuses!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

flat-belly food

while there might be snow on the ground here in utah, the sun is shining and beginning to melt the chilly blanket covering my roof and future spring-time garden.  i was raised in sunny arizona and spent most of my time pretending to be a mermaid in the back yard pool, so these bones are aching for the weather to warm up.  but even with all of that excitement, there's the dreaded anxiety that surrounds swimsuit season.

though it started out as a joke, i've now begun to tell myself that swimsuit season will dread me this year as a means to change my attitude towards my body and the years of unpleasant shopping trips to find a suit that would flatter my good areas yet hide and suck-in the not so pretty jiggly bits.  i still wish my body looked better, that it matched up to the image in my head, but i'm happy with my body how it is.  so swimsuit season won't be too bad this year!

if you're looking for a jump-start to getting your body pool-ready, start incorporating some of these abs diet power foods into your daily routine.  don't throw out everything in your pantry, shelves, and refrigerator and eat only what's on this list.  shoot for adding in six items a day.  it's easier than you think.

want proof?  i'll give you one of my go-to breakfasts that is almost 100% abs diet power based!

let's start with whole grains.  i had an absolute loathe/hate relationship with them until a few years ago.  when your mom bakes whole wheat bread at home, serves it up in 10" slices with loads of peanut butter and no jelly, you begin to hate it when you see friends with cloud-like wonder bread sandwiches.  nobody wants to trade with you.  it sucked.  now, i love it.  my favorite source is orowheat double fiber english muffins.  with 8g of fiber, 0g trans fat, and 23 g of whole grains per serving, i don't even dare ruin these by smothering on butter.  they're great as they are.  but i like to improve them a bit by making my own breakfast sandwiches, using them as the base.

my favorite thing to top them with are scrambled egg whites with a little chopped up baby spinach mixed in, along with a big thick slice of juicy tomato.  forget a drive through breakfast sandwich with processed sausage and who knows what.  try this!  you'll be full  and ready to face your day with at least 30% of your daily fiber and loads of protein from the eggs.  i'll often follow this with a handfull of berries and a protein shake on my drive in to work.  that's 5 ingredients from the list and it's not even 7:30 in the morning!

i'm often asked about ways to incorporate more protein into a diet and my answer is always the same: protein shakes and eggs.

eggs are a great option as they're a portable protein source, as well as a source of vitamin a and b 12.  try them hardboiled as an energizing snack.  don't like the plain taste?  spring some old bay seasoning or just a pinch of salt!  chop them up and add them to a salad, or stir with a squirt of mustard and plain nonfat greek yogurt to make a low-fat egg salad you can stuff into a pita or a wrap.  top whole-wheat toast with a scrambled egg and 1 tablespoon salsa for a low-cal twist on huevos rancheros.

don't forget your weights and cardio to help tone that tummy so you, too, can make swimsuit season dread you this year, but make sure you're filling that soon to be toned tummy with lean proteins to maximize the number of calories you burn during digestion and to help you feel satisfied longer.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

mind over matter

 the phrase "mind over matter" was popularized during the 1960s and 1970s and used in reference to paranormal phenomena, especially psychokinesis.  it has also been used in reference to mind-centric spritual and philosophic doctrines such as responsibility assumption...something i am a big fan of.

the doctrine of responsibility assumption centers around the concept that an individual has substantial or total responsibility for the events and circumstances that befall them in their personal life.  greater than the concept of taking responsibility for something, i like to think that it suggests a greater ability to affect our futures.

no, i'm not some new age weirdo.  i don't believe in the fates, karma, kismet, and all of that stuff.  okay, maybe i do to some degree.  more than anything i like to think about how my agency plays into actions, thoughts, and ultimately how my life turns out because of that agency.  before i realized that i and i alone am responsible for how my life turns out, i made all sorts of excuses and placed blame.  little did i realize that when i pointed the finger at someone else, four more were pointing right back at me.  yes, i'm counting my thumbs as a finger.  it feels left out if i don't do that.

in this day and age more and more people are blaming external forces and looking for plausible excuses for the way things are and they're not internalizing their role and contributions.  i'm not hypothesizing.  i see the proof every single day.

that 9-5 job i do is in a diabetes clinic.  i audit patient documentation and billing compliance.  that means i read about patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and all of the associate complications.  there isn't a day that goes by where i don't read about someone blaming their circumstances on their disease.  "i'm obese because of my type 2 diabetes."  well, when i look over their food log and i can see that a half gallon of ice cream is their nightly snack, they eat only processed food mostly in the form of deep-fried fast food, and there is hardly ever a piece of fresh produce on the plate, i start to question their rationalization.  when they say that they can't afford fresh produce yet smoke 2 packs a day and spend as much as they do on this horrible food, i wish that individual could be honest with themselves.

we are where we are in life because of the choices we make, both good and bad.  you have a choice to keep working out, to keep eating healthy, and to keep seeing those results.  you have a choice to do some hard work, to humble yourself, and take that first step in to the gym, into nutrition counseling, or even out on the curb to take a walk around the neighborhood.  regardless, stop thinking about it and act on the thought about improving.  you will get results!!

you'll get them, either way.  you can start losing body fat, building muscle, building confidence, self-worth, and educating yourself.  those are results!  you can keep sitting there, thinking about it, telling yourself that some day you'll do it, and procrastinating.  those are results!

remind yourself of your own responsibility assumption...the ability to change your future by implementing cause and result changing behavior.  don't keep thinking about when you're going to make the changes and see the results.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Friday, February 22, 2013

it's friday, i'm in love: optimum nutrition 100% whey gold standard cinnamon graham cracker

*****every friday i'll be featuring a product review.  i'm blessed to receive lots of samples from various companies and am going to feature them in a weekly product review i'm calling: it's friday, i'm in love.*****

when i was a little girl, i had two favorite snacks: a piece of cheddar cheese melted on a plate and a tumbler full of broken pieces of graham crackers topped with milk.  as a child, i thought i'd created this graham cracker goodness and half expected it to be consumed at dinner tables country-wide.  my invention followed me through the years and even as an adult i crave it.  so you can imagine my excitement when the amazing folks at optimum nutrition sent me some love in the form of new samples to try and among them was their 100% whey gold standard cinnamon graham cracker.

i will admit that i was remotely hesitant to try the sample out of fear of disappointment, but i've also branched out to try different flavored protein powders from other companies and have been severely disappointed at the flavor.  can you blame me, though?  i had invented this awesome flavor combination in my youth and i couldn't have my dreams shattered!

when that big blue plastic tumbler would begin to empty of graham crackers, i'd feverishly fish around for any remnants in the bottom and then happily guzzle down the sweetened milk.  guess what?  i did the same thing with this protein shake when i tried it.  i kept swishing the blender ball around to make sure everything was well mixed and virtually licked the shaker cup clean.

nutritionally, i don't have a negative thing to say about the product.  the balance meets all of my needs and it sure beats the nutritional information of the unhealthy and sugary alternative!  this protein powder packs 24 grams of good for you whey protein (learn more about whey here), 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of sugar, and only 4 grams of carbs.

seriously, i'm in love!  again, can you blame me?

big thanks to optimum nutrition for sending me down memory lane with that care package.  check out their products and info on their site and check back for more reviews of more products!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.
3.3 Lbs.Cinnamon Graham Cracker
Serving Size1Rounded Scoop(31.5g)
Servings Per Container48
Amount Per Serving
Calories120
Calories From Fat10
% Daily Value*
Total Fat1g2%
Saturated Fat0.5g3%
Trans Fat0g
Cholesterol50mg17%
Sodium95mg4%
Total Carbohydrate4g1%
Sugars1g
Protein24g48%
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
Calcium8%
Iron0%
Not a Significant Source of Dietary Fiber
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
Protein Blend(Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Peptides), Natural And Artificial Flavors, Lecithin, Ground Cinnamon, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Salt, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Aminogen®, Lactase.
ALLERGEN INFORMATION:
Contains Milk And Soy (Lecithin) Ingredients.
available for purchase at the following: optimum nutrition, bodybuilding.com, amazon.com (you can purchase sample sizes on amazon!!)
grade for flavor: a
grade for nutrition: a

Thursday, February 21, 2013

the fit beast feasts: casein protein sludge

i know what you're thinking.  it's written all over your face.  sludge.  hardly sounds appetizing, right?  well, when you're a clean eater who consumes as little sugar as possible, you sometimes miss having a tub of ice cream in the freezer for a late-night spoon full of naughtiness.  my remedy is sludge.

for those of you who are clean eating fitness junkies, you probably have all of the ingredients handy.  if you don't, i'll give you some great tips on where/how to acquire them.

but first things first.  recipe!

1 scoop chocolate casein (i use musclepharm casein)
2 tablespoons pb2 (i buy mine at my local grocery store but you can get it here)
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
stevia to taste
sugar free chocolate chips (optional)

combine all ingredients in a freezer safe tupperware container.  mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula (do not use a whisk) and gradually add water a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture forms a cookie dough-like consistency.  one mixed, place the covered container in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken.

i love to eat mine with chopped up fresh strawberries and it 100% pacifies my sweet tooth cravings.

besides the "sweet tooth" factor, the other reason that i love making this recipe is that it's so good for me!  that one scoop of casein has 25 grams of slow digesting protein.  okay, you don't know much about protein and this doesn't make much sense to you.  let me try to explain protein in a nutshell:

the variety of protein sources is truly a big one.  whether it's soy, egg, whey, casein, whey isolate, hydrolyzed whey, etc., you have loads to choose from.  casein, the protein used in this recipe, is slow digesting and a rich protein source that continues to feed your muscles long after other protein sources have dropped off, even up to 8 hours.  casein is the natural, undenatured form of casein found in milk, and it is separated from milk by means of ultrafiltration (without the use of chemicals) which increases the amount of bioactive milk peptides that support immune function as well as enhance muscle growth.

for those of us who are building our bodies, we know the importance of nutrition frequency.  we also know that the majority of muscle repair and rebuild takes place during sleep.  to optimize that, the body needs a constant supply of nutrients, most importantly, protein.  casein is ideal for night time consumption as it will provide the body with protein for up to 8 hours.  whey, on the other hand, will be absorbed within about 45 minutes.

so i guess you and i don't have to feel guilty about those late night sludge runs to the freezer, do we?

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

accountability

a hot, deep, burning, inspiring passion. 
there, i've already gotten your attention, right?  don't worry, i'm not talking about romantic relationships, a topic i'm hardly qualified to talk about.  i'm talking about creating passion, as in a boundless, fondness and commitment to results, training, transforming body composition, and living a healthy life.  
in every organization, one of the major roles of "management" is to be a passion maker, someone responsible for developing and inspiring enthusiasm within the entire chain of command.  one way that happens is through a system of accountability by measuring performance and following-up with appropriate action.
this same model is applied in corporate settings as well as the gym.  you see, understanding the role accountability plays in the gym drives us towards success and inspires passion, deep within us.  simply put, a lack of accountability is one of the biggest reasons why gym-goers fail to see the results they desire and ultimately stop going.
i've heard multiple statistics, over the years, about seeing better results if you have a workout partner or hire a personal trainer.  whether you're 80% more likely, 60% more likely, or 10% more likely to see better results in reaching your goals by having a workout partner or hiring a trainer, i can't help but think that it's better than going alone.  having someone to work with, to push you, and to hold you accountable makes giving up harder, but having someone who is educated, knowledgeable, and qualified can make an even bigger difference.
want proof?  here i am.  i spent years yo-yoing with my weight and fitness routines.  i tried crash diets, bought into fitness fads and infomercial purchases and i tried working out with a friend.  nothing clicked for me.  results didn't stick.  i retrogressed to bad habits.  i became miserable, depressed, unhealthy, and more of a fan of slipping into spanx and other slimming garments than one person ever should be.  in one moment of brilliance that i will forever thank myself for listening to, i had an idea.  how about you get your life back on track, fix your issues, get healthy, and hire someone to help you make that happen?!?  how about you take that tax refund you're getting and, instead of buying a bunch of random crap, make an investment in your future and hire a personal trainer?
i went into my initial fitness assessment with taylor knowing that i was already committed to training.  i was committed, both physically and financially, and i was ready to be humbled in front of other gym goers with measurements, sweaty workouts, and wimpy moments.  in all honesty, i was there at that fitness assessment to assess taylor.  i wanted to see what he could offer me in terms of the obvious fitness routines and education about diet and nutrition, but i also wanted to see how hard he'd push me and how comfortable i'd be around him.  after all, he'd have to see those insecure moments and parts of my body and psyche that make me insecure.
this coming weekend will be a year that i hired my personal trainer.  not only has he helped me change my body, eating habits, and self-deprecating attitude, but he's become a friend and mentor.  he's been that passion driving force in my life and results by holding me accountable.
whether a workout buddy or a personal trainer is right for you, i can't say.  what i can say is that you won't regret either decision once you start seeing the results when your body transforms, when your confidence builds, when the smile gets bigger on your face, and when the passion burns in your belly...all from the accountability factor.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Friday, February 15, 2013

shout it from the rooftops

because of the wonder that is social media, we're lucky enough to share tips, recipes, lifestyle changes, progress updates, etc., on an overwhelming amount of outlets, but, because i want people to want to read about them, i wanted to pursue a media outlet that would share the information with those seeking it out...not by numbing the senses of facebook friends and pinterest followers who might not really care.

it's no secret to anyone who knows me that i have fallen madly in love with physical fitness and the transformation that's happened since i started to get in shape.  join me on this blog for inspiration, motivation, news, recipes, ideas, and whatever comes up in this new fitness centered world i've created.  trust me, you're in for a ride...so am i.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.