Archive for the ‘Supplements’ Category

I cannot believe that it’s August already!  I’ll admit, I’m a bit happy about it too.  It’s been a long summer so far and my girls and I have been spending MUCH too much time together. With that aside, there’s also less than a month left until my vacation 😀

My sponsor, Top Secret Nutrition, has been really upping the ante with some of their newest products that have recently hit the market.  I have tried just about every one of them and have yet to be disappointed.  In this blog, I’m going to discuss what my current supplement stack looks like for the remainder of my fat loss phase before I hit the beach…and maybe, just maybe, a competition in the fall…

My standard supps that I take pretty much year-round include the Whey Protein, Active Extreme Multivitamin, Fish Oil & CLA with Lipase, Advanced Joint Support, and Red Palm Oil.  These are my “must-have” health essentials.

My workout stack includes Pump Igniter and Creavar pre-workout for resistance training or Cardio Igniter prior to cardio/conditioning.  I sip BCAA Hyperblend during my training.  Post-workout is usually a Whey Protein shake unless I have a whole-food meal instead.

For fat loss, Top Secret Nutrition has added a ton of new products to their line.  My current fat loss stack includes Ab Igniter once or twice a day with the newest Garcinia Cambogia chews as needed a couple times throughout the day to help with cravings and appetite (I have a big one!).  I’ll also cycle between some of the other products as well: the Garcinia Boost and Raz-Lean Energy shots are my other favorites!

Be sure to check out all their amazing products at or if you already use some of them, tell me your favorites and why.  Happy August everyone!

In this week’s blog, I want to discuss one of the newest fat loss supplements from Top Secret Nutrition.  I have had the opportunity to use the new stimulant-based thermogenic Ab Igniter.  I am certainly no stranger to fat burners having sampled many in the last few years during competition prep.  I have used both stimulant-based and non-stimulant-based and they both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Anyway, back to Ab Igniter…


First off, all the ingredients and amounts are clearly laid out on the label – I love it when I know exactly what I’m getting and how much.  This formula includes many of the most popular and researched fat loss ingredients on the market today including Garcinia Cambogia, Green Coffee Extract, Green Tea Extract, Caffeine, Raspberry Ketones, and Yohimbe to name a few.

Ok, so what did these ingredients do in “real life”?  Anyone who knows me, knows I have an appetite…if it looks good, smells good, and ain’t moving too fast, I’ll eat it…well, maybe.  But, this product really did curb my crazy appetite.  I’m usually starving by mid-morning, but after taking this product, that certainly wasn’t the case.  The energy from this product was also good.  I felt a pretty clean energy without any jitters and it lasted for a good part of the morning.  I usually took a second dose in the early afternoon to carry me through the rest of my day.  For those of you that are sensitive to caffeine, I would certainly recommend starting with only one capsule.  My end dose was 2 capsules twice a day and that was perfect for me.  Ok, confession time – my diet was not always the best while using this product and I still managed to lose some fat: win-win!  The Garcinia is supposed to slow fat accumulation so maybe that was it?!

I have seen some good results but will take a little time off before starting a second bottle 🙂  In a nutshell, if you’re looking for some clean energy and appetite suppression while trying to reach your fat loss goals, I definitely recommend Ab Igniter!

If you know me fairly well, you know that I dread cardio…but for many, including myself, it is an essential part of a fat-loss program.  As I’ve said before, the order of importance for a proper fat-loss program is 1.  NUTRITION, 2.  Resistance Training, and (a distant 3rd…) 3.  Cardio.  While doing some form of steady state cardio can and often should be included in a program, in my opinion, it should NOT be the primary method you use for fat loss (unless of course recommended by your healthcare provider).

I prefer many other methods including HIIT, CardioAcceleration (you’ll be familiar with this if you’ve read any of Jim Stoppani’s work), and complexes and other “finishers”.  I’ve previously written a blog on Barbell Complexes for fat loss and you can read it here: .  There is a huge variety of other “finishers” that you can tack onto the end of a resistance workout to aid in fat loss without ever setting foot near a treadmill.  These forms of cardio can be included 3-4 times per week depending on your overall intensity and need for rest (the other days you can add in a little bit of steady state cardio if you want to).  Don’t forget your Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter!

So, here is what I’m planning to do to finish off my next workout (or in place of it if I’m unable to get to the gym)…who’s with me?  It should only add about 10-15 minutes to your total workout time (you’ll need 1 heavy Kettlebell and 2 moderate weight Kettlebells):

  • 2-arm KB swings (using the heaviest KB you can handle) x 20 reps
  • KB Thrusters (using the 2 moderate weight KBs) x 20 reps
  • Sumo KB High Pull (using 1 or 2 moderate weight KB(s)) x 20 reps
  • KB Renegade Row x 20 reps

Perform these 4 exercises in a row with no rest.  Rest for 60-90 seconds.  Repeat for 2-4 cycles (depending on how intense your weight-training routine was).  This can also be performed as a stand-alone routine on days you are short on time but want to do something (ahem…that will be me this week because my kids are on Spring Break)…have fun!

It’s still dark outside but it’s time to wake up and get my butt out of bed.  I wobble downstairs (because yesterday was leg day of course) and start to make lunches, prepare breakfast, pack backpacks, and pack my own bag.  I then remind my girls for the 4th time that it’s time to get dressed and ready for school and eat breakfast.  Another morning rush and we’re all out the door.

After dropping off the girls, I get back in the car and give my shaker bottle a few good shakes, and start my morning ritual.  I’m on my way to the gym and it’s time to start getting myself ready for the work ahead.  Inside my shaker, one of the best pre-workouts I’ve ever used – Top Secret Nutrition’s Pump Igniter.  I like all the flavors but will admit that my favorite is the Cherry Limeade.  I mix in a scoop of TSN’s Creavar to up the ante.  Within minutes (and I do mean minutes!) of finishing, I start to feel that all-familiar tingle.  It spreads across my face and hits my ears.  I turn onto the main road and I’m starting to drive a little bit faster (I often wonder if the excuse of taking a pre-workout will get you out of a speeding ticket?).  I’m now completely focused and ready to hit the weights!


Needless to say, I absolutely love Pump Igniter.  I’ve been using it since it came out last year and have never needed more than 1 scoop.  It’s still working just as great as the first time I tried it.  I don’t hit the wall, I don’t crash afterwards.  A solid product I will continue to use and recommend.

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!

Before we get started, I’m going to poke a little fun at myself (and maybe some of you too! :-))

You might be a gym rat if…

  • You own more workout clothes than regular clothes
  • Your sink is full of dirty shaker cups
  • You think the 5 food groups are chicken, egg whites, brown rice, protein powder, and broccoli
  • You have a special pair of shoes for leg day
  • You think your job is seriously cutting into your gym time
  • You can easily count by 45’s
  • You get more excited when your supplement package arrives than on Christmas or your birthday
  • Your taglines are “beastmode on” “killed it” “nailed it” or “grrr”
  • You can’t pass by a mirror without at least one flex or pose
  • You’ve perfected the mirror selfie
  • You eat most of your meals cold and out of Tupperware
  • The saddest day of the week is “Rest Day”
  • You just finished a killer workout but all you can think about is your NEXT workout

Feel free to add any more that you can think of in the comments section!

Ok, but seriously, I want to talk about one of my favorite products that I’ve been using on a consistent basis from Top Secret Nutrition:  BCAA Hyperblend Energy.  Now, let me tell you why I love this stuff.  First of all, it has caffeine in it (and if you’re like me, you can never get enough caffeine ;-)).  There’s 150mg in each scoop to be exact – about 1 1/2 cups of coffee.  But that’s just the start:  There is a 3:1:1 ratio of leucine:isoleucine:valine.  Leucine has been the star player out of all the BCAAs for its role in protein synthesis, providing energy to muscles, and overall muscle recovery.  It is also an essential amino acid meaning you need to either get it from your diet or supplement (because your body cannot make it).  There are also other ingredients included in this supplement to aid in absorption.  All of this for about 5 calories….winner!

So, how do I use it?  Well, I could literally drink this stuff all day long!  My favorite ways to use it:

  • during a longer workout when I will need the extra fuel for my muscles and the additional energy from the caffeine
  • for an afternoon pick-me-up when I am between meals and want a little something to get me past that 2 pm slump.  It’s great to add to my big jug of water so it makes drinking all of my fluids much easier.  There are 3 great flavors to choose from:  watermelon, pink lemonade, and blue raspberry.  Don’t want the caffeine?  Not to worry, TSN also has regular BCAA Hyperblend WITHOUT the added caffeine.

Eggnog Protein Shake

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Nutrition, Supplements
Tags: , ,

Hey Guys and Girls!  It’s going to be a crazy week with all of the holiday festivities so I’m going to keep this one simple.  If you’re like me, you’re scrambling to get all of the last minute details finished.  I’m hosting Christmas Eve dinner, I have to finish wrapping the tons of hidden presents for my girls (who are now off from school for two weeks….aaaahhhh!), and I have to make sure that they don’t make a complete mess of the house or kill each other before the guests arrive.  Not only that, my oldest daughter’s birthday is 4 days AFTER Christmas so I’ll be hosting another party then….

So, in honor of the holidays, I decided to make an Eggnog Protein Shake for breakfast today.  Here goes:


  • 1 cup Liquid Egg Whites (please be sure to use pasteurized egg whites!)
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup 0% Greek Yogurt (my favorite is Fage)
  • 1 scoop Top Secret Nutrition 100% Whey in Vanilla
  • The amounts of the following ingredients I’ll leave up to you (some like things a bit more “spicy” than others).  I prefer a healthy dose of the following:  cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, Butter Buds (or a pinch of another butter substitute of your choice).
  • Add several ice cubes and all the above ingredients to a blender and serve sprinkled with additional spices and cinnamon stick (if you want it pretty).

The recipe as stated is approx 300 calories, 8 grams carbs, 4 grams fat, and 52 grams protein.  You can either drink the whole thing or split it into 2 servings of 150 calories each.  As an aside, I’m not going to tell you NOT to add anything else to this (hint, hint :-)) so that option is completely up to you!

Hope you enjoy it!  Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

What a week!  So I  finally had my contest this past weekend and it was a blast!  I ended with a 2nd place finish in the Pro FitBody division.  Of course I would have loved to take 1st, but I am very happy with my placement and I’m now onto the next phases of recovery and building.


It’s pretty amazing the things you go through the final week of preparing for a contest.  There are the last minute workouts, keeping close tabs on water intake, small tweaks in the diet, hair appointments, tanning appointments, meetings, final suit adjustments, posing practice, and the list goes on.

What I was NOT prepared for this time around, was catching a nasty cold!  About a week and a half out, my youngest daughter came home from school sick.  Well, since mommy usually becomes the cuddle blanket and the “human tissue”  (and my immune system was clearly a bit compromised from the heavy training and diet)…voila!  I got really sick just about 1 week out.  I rested for a day or 2 and felt a bit better, but when my training resumed, things went downhill AND fast!  I had no energy, had trouble breathing and started coughing anytime I tried to do cardio, and felt like I had no strength whatsoever.  BUT, I did the best I could, rested when I could, and just powered through the last few days.

Things definitely didn’t go as planned that final week but thankfully, I was stage-ready early and just had to hang on to my conditioning.

Now what?


Well, I am definitely enjoying some (I think well-deserved :-)) treats this week and doing a few low-intensity recovery workouts.  I will also be taking my Top Secret Nutrition Cleanse & Detox supplement this week to help push the “reset” button before starting my building phase next week.  I have the judges’ feedback fresh in hand and my new plan for the remainder of the fall and winter.  So, I will continue to post some of my workouts here on the blog so look for some fun, new, and super-intense training plans coming your way!

Cliché?  Sure…True?  Definitely yes!  Anything worth doing well will require proper planning.  A vacation, a project at work or school, and of course proper nutrition and training.

I am currently less than 2 weeks out from my next competition and while I’ve been planning all along, this is the time when I need to step it up a notch and make sure that I have everything set.  Hair, tan, suit, bag packed, and everything else in between.  But, what happens when the show is over?  Well, I plan for that too.


Dieting and training for a show for many weeks or months can be very difficult.  But for most people, having a set meal plan and training schedule keeps them accountable and on track.  But if there’s no upcoming show or photo shoot, I don’t need to worry about a meal plan, right?  Sure!  Go ahead!  Eat whatever you want, rebound, gain 30 pounds in 3 weeks and look like a completely different person than those amazing photos from show day.  Nah, just kidding.  You definitely don’t need the same strict boundaries like when preparing for a show, BUT, you still need to monitor the quality and quantity of food you eat.  Competitions aren’t won and lost during contest prep, they’re won in the “off-season”.  The weeks directly after a show are when the body is primed and ready to make some amazing muscle gains (or fat gains if you don’t plan properly).  The months of training and eating at a “proper surplus” BEFORE you start your next contest prep is when you can gain lean mass, work on any lagging body parts, and even out asymmetries.

So, what’s my plan?  Well, I’m human so of course after the show, I will have my treats (pizza anyone? :-D).  I will also take a few days off from training to give my body and mind a rest.  After that time, I will go right back to a healthy eating plan (notice I said healthy eating plan and not DIET!).  I will “reverse-diet” as it has been called.  This will include SLOWLY increasing my calories over the weeks and SLOWLY decreasing the amount of cardio I will do.  If I eat at a major surplus and halt all cardio, that is a recipe for rapid weight gain.  Don’t get me wrong, I will include some treat meals (usually one and occasionally two per week – after all, the holidays are fast approaching).  I will also make sure that I continue to take my daily supplements.  Thank you Top Secret Nutrition! 🙂  When I’m not leaning out for a contest, my daily staples include ActiveXtreme Multivitamin, Fish Oil/CLA, 100% Whey, and Advanced Joint Support.  For training, Cardio Igniter, Pump Igniter, and BCAA Hyperblend Energy are always in my gym bag!

Just remember, health and fitness should be your lifestyle; not an on/off button that you push when you’re in contest mode or “off-season” (I don’t really like that phrase anyway).  Find the right balance for you!  For me, no foods are off-limits; I will enjoy the holidays, have a piece of cake on my birthday, but make sure that I fit these treats into my daily PLAN.

As I sit here writing this, I am just under 5 weeks out from my next competition, so I thought I’d share with you how things are progressing with me.  From this point on, it becomes even more of a mental and physical game.  Workouts tend to be a bit longer, calories have dropped, and the diet is continuously changing depending on progress.  So far, I’ve managed pretty well through this prep:  I have certainly had points of hunger, but nothing I couldn’t handle; I’ve been able to push through my workouts and have remained pretty strong despite the lowered fuel; and my motivation has been relatively high throughout.

So, what does my diet, training, and supplementation look like right now?  I have always done all of my own prep work when it comes to diet and training and I tend to adjust things as needed.  I have discovered a few things about myself over the last few years of competing including that I “don’t do low carb very well” and there is such a thing as “too much cardio”.  So, in terms of my diet, I will have at MINIMUM, one carb meal per day (usually my beloved oatmeal in the morning will stay until the end).  Most days, though, I will have at least 2 carb meals with an additional small serving of carbs post-workout (here I leave a little wiggle-room for the occasional treat including pretzels, low-fat ice-cream, and even a little bit of candy if needed).  Not only does it help me in terms of recovery, but it is a big help in the sanity department when you’re restricting yourself.  I have also learned that restricting foods to “good” and “bad” can lead to a poor relationship with food.  So instead of good vs. bad foods, I look at it as “the most appropriate time to incorporate this food”.  I also tend to do more carb “re-feeds” at this point vs. cheat meals (these can get pretty dangerous towards the end if you know what I mean ;-))

My training has changed a bit at this point as well.  I am still trying to lift fairly heavy on most of my exercises, but I have incorporated more supersets to not only speed up my workouts, but increase the overall calorie burn.  I will also adjust my workouts on the fly (if I’m feeling energetic and strong, I will try to lift to my max; if not, I listen to my body, lower the weight and just do additional sets/reps – remember, it’s not always the amount of weight you lift, but how you lift it, time under tension, and avoiding injury!).  For cardio, I do HIIT 3 days per week (20 minutes) and fill in the other days with steady-state (usually 30 minutes but not more than 45).  Pose, pose, pose!  This is a huge part at this point as practice makes perfect (especially in those heels!) and it does wonders for you looking and feeling comfortable on stage.  If done correctly, posing can be counted toward your cardio!

Top Secret Nutrition ( continues to be an amazing sponsor and supporter!  I’m still using the 100% Whey post-workout and just incorporated the new Pump Igniter Pre-Workout.  This has been a great addition to my stack as it has gotten me through some grueling workouts!  Cardio Igniter is a must-have for my HIIT and longer-duration cardio workouts.  I have just added in the XAT-7 fat-burner for that extra edge and I continue to use the BCAA Hyperblend Energy (either during my workouts or I just sip it throughout the day if I need a pick-me-up before it’s time to eat again).  Everyday essentials include the ActiveXtreme Multi, Advanced Joint Support, Fish Oil & CLA, and Concentrated Red Palm Oil.  I tend to keep my supplementation fairly stable until close to the end so this list won’t change too much until about a week or so out.

That’s about it!  At least until it’s GO TIME!