Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I think it’s about time I got back to posting recipes.  I was in the mood for a little something with an Asian flair (again…lol) but I needed it to be lower in carbs (I’m currently cycling my carbs – see my previous post ) so that meant no rice for tonight.  I remembered a favorite appetizer when dining out and figured I’d put my healthier spin on it.  So, for tonight’s dinner, I made chicken lettuce wraps with peanut sauce.


I cooked in bulk so I’m guessing I made about 3 pounds of chicken altogether so you can certainly cut this recipe in half if you’re making a much smaller batch:


3 lb. Chicken Tenderloins cut into small pieces


1/8 cup Liquid Aminos or Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

1/8 cup Roasted Garlic Flavored Rice Vinegar

1/8 cup Honey

1/8 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (I was out of Coconut Milk but you can use that too)


1 TBSP Natural Peanut Butter (Creamy)

Truvia or Stevia to taste (I used approx 2 tsp) – just to take a little bit of the bitterness away from the rice vinegar.  Since this is a no-cook sauce, you can certainly taste and alter it prior to adding it to the chicken.


In a pan over medium heat, add 1 TBSP of Toasted Sesame Oil, chicken, black pepper, garlic, and ginger (I almost never measure these ingredients – I tend to sprinkle them on to taste).  Cook the chicken until it is done.

While the chicken is cooking, add the sauce ingredients to a measuring cup and mix thoroughly.  After mixing, add enough water to fill the measuring cup to the 1 cup mark.

When the chicken is done cooking, add the sauce and simmer until it reduces a bit (about 5-10 minutes).

Wash several large pieces of Romaine Lettuce and pat dry.  Place the chicken on top of the lettuce, wrap up, and enjoy!  Just make sure to have plenty of napkins ready – I don’t know about you, but I’m a total slob when I eat these!


Hey guys and girls…I know I’ve been quiet the last few weeks but I’m doing my best to try and catch up.  If you’re in the mood for a ramble, read on…if not, I encourage you to hit the back button.

They say “things happen for a reason” right?  I am often baffled by what that reason ends up being.  In a nutshell, the last few months of my life have been a sure test of my real “strength”.  Some of you may know that I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stuff since the end of last December:  I quit a job, my mom passed away suddenly, my father was in the hospital, I started a new job, I’m in the process of starting my own business, I had a wrist injury, and just last week my grandmother passed away (deep breath and sigh…).  I feel like I’ve spent more time in funeral homes and hospitals than doing what I love…training.  All while trying to keep a smile on my face for the sake of my children.

I can’t believe that it is already May.  A few blogs back I was ramping up to lean out a bit for Spring.  Well, it just hasn’t really happened yet.  I’ve done the best I could, but I’ll admit, I’ve struggled.  Early workouts, late workouts, home workouts, and really short/interrupted/distracted workouts…all of these are absolutely better than nothing but I lacked the focus and intensity that I am used to.  The same deal with nutrition…instead of being 95+% on point, I’ll give myself a score of around 88%…

A lot of people ask me when my next contest is and the truth is, I don’t know…I am certainly not at the point where I feel that I can add the stress of a contest diet and deadline to my already full plate.  But for whatever reason, this week I feel like I’m starting to crawl out of my hole a bit.  So, let’s call my Spring Cut a do-over and I’ll check in with you soon!

Well, I’m tired of 2 things:  I’m tired of winter and all this snow and I’m tired of my winter “fluff”!  Although I don’t have any specific competition plans yet, I’m at that point where it is time to shift gears.  I love being able to eat a ton of food and I love feeling super strong in the gym.  What I DON’T love is not fitting into my clothes…now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider myself “fat” by any means but it’s time to drop a bit of fluff in preparation for the warmer months (I think they’re coming, I hope they’re coming).

I’m going to document my journey for several reasons:  To keep me accountable, to fill you guys in on what my personal fat loss plans look like and how they can change from week to week/month to month, and to remind myself on tough days why I “do what I do”.

So, here goes.  I will call today my official start:  Day 1.  So, what do I do on Day 1?  Nothing too different than I do any other day except build a small calorie deficit into my plan and work a bit of cardio in.  So, today, I am being a bit more conscious of certain food choices, I won’t always “eat when I’m hungry”, and I will drop about 200-300 calories from my daily plan.  That’s about it; nothing too exciting and nothing too drastic.  Although it isn’t necessary to eat a certain number of meals, I like to eat more frequent meals when I’m trying to lose fat.  I won’t cut any food groups, I won’t drastically drop my carbs, and I won’t do more than 20-30 minutes of cardio at a time.  I’ll follow a plan for about 2 weeks before making any major changes…my rule of thumb, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I’m starting this journey at 130 pounds.  I don’t generally weigh myself or do body-fat measurements during my “building season”.  I just concentrate on my strength, how I look in the mirror, and how I am feeling overall.  I will take more measurements this week so that I have some starting numbers.

My supplement stack will also change at this point.  For now, I have recently added Top Secret Nutrition’s Probiotic Weight Loss product twice a day.  2 things I’ve noticed right off the bat with taking this product:  a moderate suppression of my appetite and overall less bloating.  I will keep you updated on all my supplements, training, and diet changes as I progress.

Ready, set, go!

“I’m going to go warm-up first”…  So I hop on the treadmill or bike for 5 minutes before my workout right?  Well, sort of…I’m certainly guilty of improperly warming up myself.  Our precious gym time can be short and who wants to waste time warming up…I want to get to the good stuff!

What is a proper warm-up, what will it do for me, and how should I do it?  A proper warm-up will serve several purposes.  It will increase your body temperature, improve circulation and therefore oxygen delivery, improve elasticity and control of muscles, and prevent injury.  I also find a mental benefit.  It gives me those extra minutes to get focused on my workout.

Below I’m going to give an example of a series of activities that can get you ready for your workout:  you can take as little as 5 minutes if you like.  (Don’t forget your Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter or Pump Igniter first! ;-))

  1. Go ahead and get on the cardio equipment for a few minutes if you like.  I would limit this to 5 minutes maximum.
  2. Foam Rolling:  doing a little self myofascial release can be great before or after your workout.  See my previous blog on Foam Rolling for more specifics  This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you have the time and the equipment, I definitely recommend it.  Personally, I do most of my foam rolling after my workout at home.
  3. Here’s the bread and butter part.  Dynamic stretching – this is essentially stretching with movement.  Gone are the days of stretching each muscle with a 30 second hold before engaging in activity (save this for after).  There are no static holds involved (each movement is held for no more than a few seconds).  You can pick and choose any activity that will suit your workout or you can do a full body circuit of dynamic stretches.  Some examples include:  jumping jacks, arm circles, lunges with a twist, knee-to-chest (alternately pulling the knee in toward the chest while walking/standing in place), straight-leg high kicks, or any other variety of bodyweight activities (push-ups, lunges, squats).  You just have to be creative and make sure that you are working at improving your overall range of motion and flexibility for the muscles involved.
  4. Rehearsal Lift:  Don’t just load up the weights and go.  Perform one to two sets of your target exercise with a significantly lighter weight before you hit your working sets.  DO NOT overdo the reps here.  Just because you can easily bang out 20 reps doesn’t mean you should; limit it to 10 reps or less.  Save your energy for the big weights!

So, steps 1 and 2 are not entirely necessary but go ahead and do them if you have time or want to.  Definitely stick to steps 3 and 4 if you want to improve your lifts and prevent injury.  Overall, it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.  Now get going!

The end of 2013 was one hell of a roller-coaster for me and my family.  The rush of the holidays on top of  everyday life can certainly wear one down.  But that is small beans compared to what was to come.  On Christmas night, in one sudden moment, I lost my mom.  She had been ill for awhile but this was completely unexpected.  Several days after the funeral, my dad landed in the hospital for almost a week.  The last couple of weeks have been one blurred nightmare.

This has certainly been a serious wake-up call.  In an instant, it can all be changed forever.

Health – something we certainly don’t think too much about until we don’t have it.  I don’t care who you are or how much money you make, if you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing.  If you follow my blogs or my facebook page regularly, you’re most likely into some facet of fitness.  So, good for you!  We all need to take good care of ourselves to the best of our abilities.  There are many things that are under our control and some that aren’t.  Exercise, food choices, sleep, smoking, alcohol use, etc. – we can all make conscious choices regarding these.  We can’t change our genes or family history of certain diseases but we can choose to live our lives to minimize the effects.

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  I know it’s the start of a new year, but why do we have to wait until January 1st to make a positive change in our lives?  That aside, I am going to work to make goals for 2014 regarding health not just physique goals or competition goals.  Being a mom, I am often putting my own needs on the back burner to take care of my kids.  But, what good would I be if I wasn’t healthy?  I plan to catch up on any medical stuff I may have set aside to make sure I’m as good on the inside as I am on the outside!

So, I challenge you to do the same.  Keep on top of your health as much as you keep on top of your workouts or meal prep.  Try to quit a nagging bad habit if you have one, drop the weight that’s been plaguing you, get more sleep, get off the computer and go workout (but finish reading this first! ;-)), or whatever else will positively influence your health.  Let’s make 2014 one hell of a healthy year!