Archive for November, 2013

Hey Guys and Girls!  First and foremost, I want to wish all of you and your families a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m not going to write about “How to Survive the Holidays and Keep your Diet on Track”…if you’ve been following me or my posts for sometime now, you know that I’m all about balance and moderation.  For goodness sake, please don’t bring your Tupperware of chicken and broccoli to Grandma’s house tomorrow (or turkey and broccoli ;-)).  Unless you are days away from some sort of competition or photo shoot, do me a favor and ENJOY yourself!  Eat the turkey, have some mashed potatoes, and….eeek, even a slice of pie.  Thanksgiving comes once a year, right?  That means you have 364 other days to eat out of your Tupperware and track your macros.  So, here is my advice for Thanksgiving Dinner:


  • Eat a little bit of WHATEVER you want but don’t overstuff yourself on purpose; there’s a difference between enjoying an off-plan meal and binge eating
  • If you’re going to have some wine or other alcoholic beverage, make sure you also drink plenty of water
  • Enjoy your family (or tolerate them if that’s the case – JK! :-P); don’t think about your diet or workout plan – there will be plenty of time for that after tomorrow
  • Squeeze an early morning workout in if you want or take the day to rest and recover
  • Don’t feel guilty – this last one can be difficult.  Even if you do overeat (as many will), it’s a done deal.  Get over it!

So, Happy Thanksgiving (and Happy Hanukkah to those that are also celebrating that tomorrow!) and I’ll meet you back here next week for another fitness-related blog!

Competition season is winding down for most organizations (who the heck wants to diet through the holidays anyway?!) so I thought I would write my next post about “bulking” and heavy weight training during the fall and winter months.  This time of year, a lot of people go into a bulking (aka – screw the diet 😉 – just kidding!) phase to try to gain some lean mass, set some new PRs, and get even stronger in the gym.  Yes, this includes me!

After each competition season comes to an end, I like to re-evaluate my physique and see what needs improving.  I also like to try to get better at some of the bigger lifts; improving my squat, deadlift, military press, bench, and so on.  But before I dive in and start piling on the weight plates, I’m taking a step back to remember my form.  FORM is KING.  Just like you won’t get the physique you want without quality nutrition, you will not get the results you want without quality training.  Poor technique also puts you at a greater risk for injury.

There are a few key points to remember when performing your lifts;  you need to select the correct weight to enable you to:

  • Perform the lift through a full range of motion (no quarter squats here!)
  • Be able to adequately control the weight through that range of motion
  • Perform the target number of reps without losing your form (it’s ok to struggle a bit on the last rep or two!)
  • Use the mind-muscle connection – if the weight is so heavy that you cannot even focus on the muscle group you’re trying to target, you won’t get the full benefit
  • Avoid having other muscle groups take over the movement (like those barbell curls that are working the lower back)
  • Avoid using momentum to assist the lift

I know that none of this is really new information, but sometimes we get so caught up in progressing in the gym that we forget some of the basics.  So, I am going to work on re-evaluating my own technique for the next couple of weeks.  This includes lightening the load and making sure that my form is perfect before I start aiming for those PRs.

The period of time from about 3-4 weeks after your competition to when you finally settle in at your “normal” weight can be such a tough time for some (and this definitely includes me).  Think about it:  you’ve just stepped on stage a few short weeks ago at your physical peak, tanned, and all glammed up.  The first week or 2 includes re-living that experience with friends, family, and anyone else who will let you show them your pictures. ;-).

Then, the tan starts to fade (and you look more like you have some awful skin condition since that competition color doesn’t fade nicely!), you start gaining back some weight (because this is absolutely necessary to maintain your health and the health of your metabolism long-term), and you start feeling a bit crappy about how you look.  I don’t care how many times you’ve competed, it’s tough to watch yourself gain weight.  In your head you know its a normal part of the post-competition period, but you just can’t seem to get past that. But guess what? Those are perfectly normal feelings and you’re not alone!

So, whether you’ve competed before or have simply thought about doing a show, just know this and remember it! Maintenance phases and building phases aren’t necessarily “glamorous”.  You don’t notice the changes like during a cut. Don’t get me wrong;  I love to be able to eat more food, feel stronger in the gym, and have more energy from the extra carbs. 

Going through a competition diet can definitely set you up for an unhealthy relationship with food and your body image IF YOU LET IT.  You cannot and certainly should not remain at significantly low levels (and by this I mean competition-day levels) of body fat all the time.  Your body (and your mind) need a break from dieting.  It’s necessary for the hormones that control your hunger and satiety, your reproductive hormones, and a whole host of other body functions.  Besides, in order to add muscle, you need to be in a caloric surplus at times.  So, ignore any negative comments you may get (and some people are dumb enough to make them!) and remember that even at your higher weight/body fat you are still in better shape than most.  Just be sure to pull out those baggy sweaters and hide under them for the winter!  (I’m totally kidding!  ;-))

So, expect to gain SOME weight back but don’t go crazy. Gaining too much weight is just as unhealthy as not gaining enough. This will be different for everyone, but personally, I like to stay in a range where I feel fairly comfortable…usually 8-10 pounds. No matter what phase you’re in, always be proud of your hard work!

Got 30 minutes?  If so, you can have a batch of delicious, healthy, and low calorie muffins that are great for breakfast, a snack, or pre- or post-workout.  There are only a few ingredients that are needed:

  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 3/4 cup Liquid Egg Whites
  • 1/2 cup 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 cup Oats
  • 2 scoops Top Secret Nutrition 100% Whey Protein – Vanilla
  • 1/8 cup Stevia
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together.  Spray a muffin tin with Pam baking spray and divide batter evenly.  Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Nutrition Facts per muffin: (serves 12)

Calories: 65 (yup, you read that right!)

Carbs:  7 grams (2 grams sugar)

Protein:  7 grams

Fat:  1 gram


I had one for dessert last night and decided to drizzle 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter on top (adds another 100 calories) and it was simply amazing!