Thursday, 29 May 2014

Bikini Contest Prep- 6 Weeks Out Progress Update

I went for my bikini consult to order my suit and I'll share that with you next, just off to the gym now and wanted to post my latest progress update. Although things are coming together, and if I hadn't committed to this contest, I'd be very satisfied with where I am now, but I still have lots more work to  do to get "competition ready."  

My body fat is 19% right now, but it only came down from 19.75 in the last two weeks.  We are looking for it to come down at least one point a week, so my trainer was saying he needed to adjust my diet. I had to confess the Cheerios I was eating at night.  He explained that ideally I would lose another 8 pounds before the contest, so every calorie counts and eating carbs right before bed is not a good idea. In fact, he prohibited any carbs after 6 PM from now on. I promised no more Cheerios, and I would instead be drinking my protein shake like I was supposed to.  I've been doing that the last couple days and I am hungry at night, so I've been going to bed earlier. This is actually a good thing because then I wake up more energized in the morning. Eating my meals consistently throughout the day prevents me from getting any midday slump.   

I also admitted to my trainer that I have not been able to give up my coffee creamer. He tried to persuade me against using it but said I could keep using it as long as I only used 1 tablespoon. It's a deal!

I really don't know if I can lose 8 pounds in six weeks,  but I am uping the intensity of my cardio now. I'm making sure to get in five, 45 minute sessions at a more intense rate.  I'm typically on the treadmill and do 15 incline at 2.5-3.0 intervals. This should help me burn more calories. I also measure everything I eat so I know I'm getting precisely the exact amount. I realized one fish filet per meal is not enough, it needs to be one and a half to equal 5 ounces cooked. 

I share all these details with you to let you know exactly what it takes to do something like this and also to chronicle my journey. I really appreciate you following along and your supportive comments. Thank you. 

One of the things I like most about having a trainer to help get me ready for this contest is that I don't have to stress about whether what I'm doing is working.  I can be confident that, if I just follow his directions, I will see changes and results.  When I used to workout before, I was never quite sure if what I was doing was going to get me the best results.  (Should I be doing more cardio?  How much?  Should I lift heavy weights or lighter?  What exactly should I be eating?) It's not easier with the trainer- I still work my tail off, but the mental part is better.  I don't feel like I'm spinning my wheels. 

On another note, Victoria's Secret has the cutest swimsuits lately.  I ordered the one above and 2 other mix and match styles.  Love them!

Have a great Thursday!  It's almost the weekend again!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Bikini Contest Prep (6 Weeks Out) My Daily Meals

I'm FINALLY in a really good groove with my meals.  Now that I've learned that I can actually season my food, I'm so much happier with the taste!  I (sorta) joked with my trainer/nutritionist that he could have mentioned that about 7 weeks ago!!  I eat the same thing over and over, but since I like it, I don't mind.  I still struggle with my last meal of the day (a protein shake or egg whites with side salad) because at that time of night (about 8pm) I just want a bowl of cereal.  I have caved and had cheerios several times. 

Protein Pancake:  My breakfast is a protein pancake that I eat around 7:30 a.m.  I top it with Molly McButter (butter flakes, also known as manna from Heaven after you haven't tasted butter for so long) and all natural fruit spread (both trainer approved).  My pancake is kind of like dense bread with butter and jelly.  I actually love it now.  I eat it like pizza.

I make my protein pancake with 1/2 cup of ground oats (I buy whole old fashioned oats and grind them in the food processor) with 3/4 cup of All Whites and a splash of water- less than 1/4 cup.  I used to make it with cinnamon and flax seed, but lately, have just been doing the 3 ingredients above.  I make one big pancake in a small skillet.  You flip it when it's just about solid on top.

After the pancake is cooked (I'll touch it to feel that it is firm), I cut it into 4 pieces let it cool on the stove top (or a wire rack) because I found that if I put it directly onto the plate, it was still steaming and got soggy.  

Meals 2, 3, and 4 are 5 oz of fish (mahi mahi), 4 oz of potato, and 1 cup of veggies (green beans or broccoli).  I eat this at about 11:30 a.m.; 3:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m.

FISH:  I buy individually wrapped fish fillets and defrost them in the fridge or in a bowl of hot water.  In the bowl of water, they only take about 5 minutes to defrost.  Then, I pat dry, sprinkle with Mrs. Dash and garlic powder and cook on the stove top on medium high heat for about 7 minutes.  I'm careful not to overcook it, and take it off the heat when it's just about cooked through so it's still moist and juicy inside.  This fish is really good and has a mild flavor.  

POTATOES:  I wash and prick with a knife, then microwave for 4-5 minutes.  Then I chop them up and toast them up in a skillet.  After they are browned, I season with Molly McButter.

VEGGIES:  I buy big bags of frozen veggies, measure 1 cup onto a plate and microwave for 3 minutes.  Then, season with Molly McButter.

SALAD:  I can also have salad (no iceberg lettuce) so I use romaine and spinach, with fat free dressing.

PROTEIN SHAKE:  My last meal (around 8:00 p.m.) is usually a protein shake with one scoop of protein and 6 oz of water. 

Until my trainer/nutritionist modifies my meal plan, this is what I'm eating.  Every day, all day.  My husband said he'll do this last month with me (but he'll do chicken and lean red meat instead of fish).  He's seen me lean up and wants to lose some weight too.  

I go for my bikini consult (where I choose my competition suit on Tuesday evening, so I'll be sure to report back about that experience).  Have a great week!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Before & After Success Story (Valerie)

Hearing from readers on similar fitness journeys makes me so happy.  It makes me feel like we're all in this together.  I would love to celebrate you and feature your success story here.  Send me an email at:

Valerie wrote in explaining how she has lost nearly 100 pounds!  Can we take a minute and just let that soak in?? Wow! Talk about a journey that you truly have to take one day at at time.  I am so proud of her and couldn't wait to share her story with you.  I hope this gives encouragement to anyone who wants to lose a significant amount of weight.  I can tell from her face that she is so much happier now that she's a more fit person.  And it wasn't easy for her- she works and has kids with sports activities, so she wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to get her workouts in.  Valerie, big hugs to you girl!  You can visit her blog too- Fabulous Chick Gets Fit and follow her on Instagram IG: @fabchickgetsfit

Age, height, and weight ("before" and "after").  I am 31, 5’4” and my highest weight was 280lbs. Right now I am 189lbs.

Family status- married/single/kids/work?  Other background you wish to share. I am married with two kids {Sydney is 4 and Bryce is 8} I work as an event planner.

"Light bulb moment"- What made you decide to make a change? When I turned 30, I celebrated my birthday in Miami and saw a picture of myself and new I had to change. I was 280lbs and a size 22! I had put myself on the backburner and tried so many fad diets before like so many others. But this time was different. I was going to blog about my journey of losing 100lbs and inspire others and let them help hold me accountable. After losing 50lbs I decided I wanted to push myself further and compete.

What did you do to accomplish your goal? (Food/meal plan and exercise specifics) I did lots of research and completely changed my eating habits. I followed a completely clean eating lifestyle, cut out fast food, soda and sugar. I started walking a mile a day and finding kettle bell videos. Now I have hired a competitor coach and I am lifting heavy and do HIIT 6x a week. She also has me on a strict meal plan.

How did you make time for fitness? Because of my schedule, my husband’s schedule and the kids school/sports, it was best for me to get up at 5:30am and work out.

How long did it take you to reach your goal? It took me a little over a year to get to where I am now. I started my journey January 2013. I will compete on November 2, 2014.

Was there a specific person, website, blog that inspired/motivated you and provided you good information for losing weight/getting fit? I followed a few blogs when I first started. But the clean eating guide by Jamie Eason from was very helpful and Marianne from is where I got all of my kettle bell workouts. 

Any other information that you think would be beneficial and inspiring to other women. I always stress on my blog that with dedication and consistency anything is possible. I am going from obese to the competition stage and though difficult, it can and will be done. 

You are one hot mama Valerie!  Please feel free to leave her a sweet note in the comments- she deserves some love! 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Bikini Contest Prep (8 Weeks Out Recap)

This Saturday will be 7 weeks until my bikini contest.  Seven weeks sounds so much shorter than 8 weeks, less than 2 months away.  I'm getting a little freaked out because, up to now, I'm mostly just thinking day to day with my food and the training, not really focusing on having to get on stage at the end of this all and be judged.  The scariest part of this is the posing that's required at these bikini shows.  It's not traditional flexing, showing of biceps, but there is a certain way of standing and doing some turns to show off your body from every angle.  In the photo below, the girl in the middle is holding the best pose the way she is twisting her torso.

This is a good example of the pose I'm learning.   This woman, Candice Conroy, placed 1st in the Pro Bikini Division at a 2013contest.  She's 5'2- short like me! :)

I have a posing coach and we've worked together twice, 30 minutes each time.  I have two more sessions with her, unless I need more, which I probably will. The first time was basically awful, she said "I couldn't stand properly, couldn't twist, my middle was too thick, I needed to loosen up and get a massage, I should start tanning right away so I didn't look muddy with the fake tanning paint, my shoes were wrong, I wasn't wearing the right booty shorts, blah blah blah."  I was really discouraged and, due to schedule issues, I didn't go back for 3 weeks.  In her defense, she is very passionate about her sport and takes her career very seriously.  She wants the women she works with to be at the top of their game and to feel very confident when they get on stage.  

The second time (last Friday) was much better.  I had my clear 5-inch heels, the proper booty shorts, my waist had decreased, I put on self-tanner and I was able to hold a pose- albeit sweating my arse off and shaking a little.  It's actually really hard to contort your body this way when you're not used to it and just learning.  My coach snapped a pic when she thought I was holding the poses pretty well- you can see by the look on my face I'm just trying not to tip over.  These are just iPhone pics and I tried to spare you an up-close butt shot. ;)  These photos were taken on Friday, May 9, 2014.  Seeing myself from the back really surprised me (obviously, I never see that view) so I'm happy with the progress on my hamstrings and calves (but she pointed out my left hamstring is more developed than my right).  I had almost no leg muscle definition when I started.  Lunges, lunges, and more lunges.  I do them probably 5 days a week.  Walking lunges, in-place lunges, jumping lunges, lunges with weights, lunges without weights, side to side lunges . . . you get the idea. 

And, for comparison, here's where I started in February- the pic on the left below is me after my first week working out and eating better.  This is almost exactly 3 months' difference.  I hope this encourages you with what you can accomplish in a (relatively) short amount of time. 
I'm trying REALLY hard to be perfect with my food, but it's not the way I love to eat.  I want to eat chocolate everyday, just a small piece at least, but I don't.  I fight this daily, especially in the evening.  My protein shake is chocolate, so it'll have to do.  We are down to the nitty gritty, so everything counts.  And I want to finish strong.  I don't know that I'll ever do this again, so I want to do it well the first time!  

My meal plan is the same, except, I'm down from 1/2 cup of rice to 1/3 cup or from 5oz potato to 4oz.  

I can add seasonings like Mrs. Dash and I learned I could put all natural fruit spread on my pancakes (thank God because I pretty much hate them without peanut butter).  My big fail is my coffee creamer.  I admit to still using it a few times a week!  :(  I know I shouldn't, but damn.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Bikini Contest Prep // 8 Weeks Out // Sample LEG Workout

Hi friends! Thank you so much for following along on this fitness journey of mine.  This Saturday marks 8 weeks out from the bikini competition.  I guess this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak because I have more tweaks to my training and diet.  I weighed in today (May 8, 2014) at 108 pounds and 19% body fat.  We will be measuring every 2 weeks. 

Back on April 1, he measured me at 25.5%, so I've lost about 6% body fat in 6 weeks.  I was also 113 pounds, so I'm down 5, but I've gained muscle I'm sure.  I'm aiming to get to about 10% body fat, so my trainer said he wants to modify my diet.  Well, it's already so strict, I didn't want him to cut anything, so I had to fess up that I'm still adding a small amount of peanut butter to my pancakes (and sometimes I eat those twice a day) and I sometimes only get 4 of my 5 meals in.  He was very stern about "peanut butter is not on the meal plan" and explained that everything I put in my body counts and makes a difference. Also, getting in those 5 meals is crucial because eating so often is revving up my metabolism and skipping a meal (for me it's usually the last one) causes my body to store more fat instead of burning it. 

Here's a reminder of the MEAL PLAN I'm on.

For me, I've been eating:

7:30 - 8:00 a.m.  1/2 cup ground oats, dash of cinnamon, 3/4 cup All Whites, 1 real egg white, splash of water (less than 1/4 cup) and make it into a pancake.  I spray the pan with spray coconut oil.

11:00 a.m.  5 oz. chicken (I buy frozen chicken breast and microwave them on the defrost setting- this makes them juicy and not overcooked), 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup broccoli or green beans

3:00 p.m.  5 oz. chicken, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup broccoli or green beans

6:00 p.m.  5 oz. fish (I buy frozen Mahi Mahi and cook it in the skillet), 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup broccoli or green beans

9:00 p.m.  protein shake

It's this last shake that I need to get in.  I have had cheerios (oops!) a few times or my pancake with peanut butter, but no more.  Eating this way honestly hasn't been that bad (or as bad as I thought it would be).  Once I figured out how to cook my chicken so it wasn't bone dry, I enjoyed it more. Also, I know I COULD eat whatever I want really- I'm CHOOSING to do this because I want to see the results.  I LOVE the impact this eating/exercise plan is having on my body.  I'm almost 40 and getting into the best shape ever.  


We are upping my cardio to 45 minutes 5 days a week.  He actually recommended 5-6 days, but dang!  AND finally, we are training together about 4-5 days a week- up from 3.  I'm doing the cardio right before or after our workouts just to get it over with for the day.  

This has me pooped people!  I definitely need my sleep or I'm so out of steam in the mooring for the workouts.  These exercises we do are killer.  My heart rate is up the whole time, with maybe a minute rest after 3 sets.  

To give you an example, we worked LEGS today.  I did:

Inner leg machine (20 reps x 3- 40 pounds?)
Outer leg machine (20 reps x 3- 40 pounds?)  Not too bad, weight isn't that heavy.  Maybe I should up it next time?

Walking lunges (probably 200- I lunge up and down the gym 4 times.  No weight.)
Tire Tipping (outside- down a long row- up and back- 3x) That tire is f*&king heavy.  And dirty.  My hands were gross. 

Sled Pushes (outside- down a long row- 3x pushing, then pulling it backwards 3x- not sure the weight, definitely not as much as pictured below- maybe 25 pounds??) Feeling like a sweaty beast.  A strong sweaty beast.


Step-up on high step (15 on each leg x3)
Step-up on even higher step (12 on each leg x 3)  OMG- I'm short remember??!! 
Bike for one minute (x3)  Never has one minute felt longer.

Kettle Bell Plie Squats (30lb) my feet were each on a step, and I had to touch the kettle bell to the ground (15 reps, 3x) Dang these hurt, I have to stop mid-way through for a quick second.  Legs on fire.
Bike for one minute (x3) Are we done yet?!?! 

Then off to 45 minutes on the treadmill.  I alternated walking briskly at 3.8 no incline and incline at 15% at 2.5. 15% is as high as their treadmills go. Sweaty.  Sweaty.  Sweaty.  And hungry.  The end.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Do What You've Never Done

Now that I've been on this stricter bikini body meal plan for 3 weeks (along with my training), I can really see a difference in my physique.  My last post (10 weeks out from competition date) gives you a recent before/after photo.  I weighed myself today (which I do first thing in the morning for consistency) and it said 106.6.  I started at 110.? five weeks ago- so I've lost 4 pounds.  But keep in mind, I'm losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time.  Down 4% body fat according to my trainer's calipers. I'm a couple pounds heavier on my trainer's scale (probably because we weigh later in the day and I'm wearing shoes- but it's still a consistent 3-4 pounds lost. 

I have NEVER trained this hard so consistently or eaten this way so consistently.  And I'm reaping the results.  It makes eating the same thing over and over not so bad.  I never realized how LONG it takes to get in this kind of shape and the EFFORT you have to put in.  I see now that it's a process, one day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time.  I used to think that my flabby stomach was just here to stay after I had my son because it was never as tight as it was pre-pregnancy.  But now I can see that it was that way because I'm wasn't doing what I'm doing now.  Basically, working my ass off.  No other way to say it.  Makes me think of the statement below:

Although I am certain that YOU CAN do this, I will say that having a GOOD trainer makes a huge difference.  I can do my eating (with his guidance on what to eat- but now I've told you too:) and cardio on my own, but those workouts we do- I don't think I could do on my own.  He pushes me to keep my heart rate up the whole time and go, go, go.  I do get to rest for a short time when I'm winded and after a set of 3 exercises back to back (like 30 seconds), but then it's back at it.  Lunges, squat jumps, skaters, burpees, step ups, and a bunch of other exercises I don't know the name of. We really aren't lifting heavy weight, but it's the combination that makes it so challenging. I will find something that I can share with you so that you have a better idea of the kind of workouts we are doing.  

I hope you keep going too and are seeing the results you've never seen!