WIAW – Sensible Snacks

Good morning, lovelies!  Time for another WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday), courtesy of Peas and Crayons.  This week’s theme is “sensible snacking.” I love to snack throughout the day but usually try to make sure the snack contains at least one fruit or vegetable to make sure the snack stays low-cal and full of fiber!

Breakfast:  My favorite Special K Protein Plus cereal and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  I can’t deal with a hot breakfast in the summer – blech!

On the road to work:  Trader Joe’s Crimson Blossom Tea (iced of course) mixed with a scoop of Isagenix Want More Energy.  And yes, I do “want more energy!!”  This nasty summer cold is knocking the energy right outta me 😦

Sensible Snack:  2 hard-boiled  eggs and a big bunch of the most delicious organic green grapes

Lunch:  (unpictured) A tuna sandwich on Arnold thin bread and a cup of the gazpacho I made over the weekend

Sensible Snack:  Some sliced up peppers and the rest of my Trader Joe’s spicy hummus

Dinner:  Shredded chicken that I cooked all day in the crock pot with some salsa, over a bed of romaine lettuce, black beans, and hot sauce, and topped with a dollop of greek yogurt

And there ya have it!  Not the most exciting or pretty day of eats – to be honest, my appetite is a bit lackluster due to my cold, but I’m just trying to stay hydrated and eat as cleanly as possible.

What’s on your menu today?

Thinking of competing??

I was recently asked what advice I would give to someone who is interested in competing in a fitness, figure, or bikini contest.  Since I’ve only been in one competition, I am no expert by any means, but I’m always happy to share my opinion! 😉

1.  Pick your coach: 

Whether you decide to use an online service or an in-person coach, it will be EXTREMELY helpful to have someone guide you through this journey!  For me, I was so glad to be part of Cathy Savage Fitness when I competed for the first time.  My coach was able to help calm my nerves, motivate me to continue, and give me some insider advice that I never would have found on my own.  Make sure your coach is familiar with helping to build the physique you are seeking for your competition, whether that’s a figure physique or a bikini physique.  They will know what to tweak with your diet and exercise to give you the look you are going after!

Here are some resources you might want to look into:

Cathy Savage Fitness
Jill Fit Physiques
Bombshell Fitness
Bodybuilding.com
Your local gym (just make sure the trainer is familiar with competition training)

2.  Decide on your goal:

Once you have a coach, he or she will assess your current physique and will be able to give you an idea of how long you’ll need to train to be ready for a show.  If your coach thinks you can be ready in 12 weeks, then find a show happening in 12 weeks and register for it, baby!!  Once you’ve paid your registration dues, there’s no turning back 😉

Maybe your long-term goal is to compete, but your short-term goal is to improve your leg strength, or to be able to do unassisted pull-ups, or to run a 5k.  That’s great!  Plan out those mini goals and work towards them, while keeping your long-term goal of competing in mind.  It’s OK if it takes a year to be ready for your show; you gotta start somewhere!

3.      Pick your federation:

Again, this is something your coach can help you with.  You don’t have to be “married” to one federation, but you’ll want to pick the federation that seems right for you.  I chose the Fitness New England show for my first competition (part of the Fitness Universe federation) because I felt it wasn’t overly sexy and it seemed like it would be a fun experience for a first-timer.  And I was right!  Choose a federation and show that you feel will be the right fit for your personality and experience level.

Here are a couple of federations you can look into to get you started:

Fitness Universe
IFBB
NPC
WBFF

4.      Buy your suit!

OK, so you’ve registered for the competition and you’ve started your training – now BUY YOUR SUIT ASAP!!!  And I’m serious, as SOON as possible!  I ordered my suit at the beginning of February and received it the week before my show at the end of April – talk about nerve wracking!!

The category you are competing in will have specifics as far as what kind of suit you should wear.  I competed in the bikini category, so my suit was a typical bikini style.  I “blinged” it out myself to save some money.  Suits can range in price from the hundreds to thousands of dollars, so you’ll want to find a quality suit that’s within your budget.

If you have some weight to lose, you can tell the suit designer how much you are planning to lose, and they should be able to design with your end physique in mind.

Also, there are resources where you can rent or buy used suits.  I know that may seem weird, but they are so darn pricey that it’s a really good idea.  And in my next life, I’m coming back as a figure suit designer so I can make some serious $$!  😉

5.      Get a support system:

Don’t go in on this alone!  Whether it’s a family member, a spouse, a friend, or a workout buddy, find someone who you can talk to about your fitness journey.  I’m telling you, it’s ALL you will want to talk about once you’re involved in your training.  I tend to be a pretty laid back person, but I was eating, sleeping, and breathing my competition prep for weeks!  Fortunately my husband is da bomb dot com and didn’t get too annoyed with hearing me endlessly drone on about my training regimen, my diet, my food prep, etc. etc.

…..OR, start a blog!!  Document your journey – it will be so fun to look back on all you accomplished along the way!  Plus you’ll connect with blog friends, who are the best kind of support ❤

6.      Check-in regularly:

I checked in with my coach Brooke every week for the 12 week s leading up to my competition.  It kept me honest and it was great to look back and see the changes week to week in my physique from my check in photos.

7.      Don’t beat yourself up:

Don’t let yourself get too wrapped up in this whole experience.  I know, easier said than done.  But there will be times when you slip up.  You might miss a workout or eat half a jar of almond butter (ha!) or not put 100% into your cardio.  It’s.OK.I.promise.  Just get back on that horse and keep progressing towards the finish line.

I remember when I first started training, I was really doubting the whole process.  I felt flabby and weak and just bleh and truthfully didn’t think I was going to be ready in time.  That’s when Melissa from Curly Girl Fit Life said, “I don’t know how the magic happens, but it does.  Somehow everything comes together at the last minute.”  And she was totally right!  And that leads me to my last tip:

8.      Smile and have fun!

OK, here’s the only reason I can possibly fathom that I ended up placing in the top 10 at my first competition…because about 2 seconds before I walked out on that stage, I had a realization:  “I’m here to have fun!!  I put the work in, I’m here, and now it’s time to enjoy the ride!”  I stepped out on the stage in those clear heels and had a fabulous time, and I guess maybe the judges saw how much fun I was having, too.

After all the hard work and sweat and tears you’ve poured into your training, smile and be proud of your transformation.  Those judges and that audience will read it on your face and will see the confidence behind your smile.  You earned that time on stage so work it, baby!!

I hope this post is a help to anyone thinking of competing.  If you are, let me know what your plans are…I’d love to cheer you on!!

Yummy weekend eats

Hey friends!  My sweetheart and I have been doing a lot of relaxing and eating this weekend 🙂

On Friday night, I was in the mood to do some cooking, so I whipped up a few of my favorites for dinner:

Crab cakes topped with garlic aioli, roasted asparagus, and corn salad.

I love making crab cakes!  I like them the REAL way, with very little filler and lots of good crabmeat 🙂  I vary the recipe each time, and I never measure anything, but here’s my best approximation of Friday night’s recipe for you:

Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 8oz. containers of lump crab meat (1 lb. total)
  • 2 TB reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper
  • olive oil

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, mix the beaten egg, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and scallions
  • Gently fold in the crab meat and breadcrumbs
  • Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper
  • Mold into 5 patties (you may have to add a little more breadcrumbs to help hold it together)
  • Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours to the crab cakes set
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil
  • Add the crab cakes and brown for about 3 minutes on each side
  • Enjoy! 🙂

Makes 5 – 6 servings
Calories per serving:  138
Protein:  18 grams
Carbs:  5 grams
Fat:  4 grams

p.s. The corn salad pictured above is TO DIE for!  Get the recipe here!  (I added one chopped up jalepeno for a little extra heat, which was delicious).

I also made a big batch of gazpacho to enjoy for my lunch next week:

Again, this is another recipe that I’ve made a few times over the years, so the ingredients change each time I make it.  But here’s what’s in this batch:

Spicy Gazpacho

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1/2 a bottle of Spicy V8 juice (I use the low sodium version)
  • 1/2 of a large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed (again, I use the low sodium version)
  • 1 can of petite-diced tomatoes with jalepenos
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  •  1/2 a bag of frozen corn
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • drizzle of good olive oil (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • drizzle of red wine vinegar (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Dump everything in a big bowl
  • Refrigerate overnight so the flavors have a chance to develop
  • Devour 🙂

Makes 6 servings
Calories per serving:  162
Protein:  7 grams
Carbs:  27 grams
Fat:  5 grams

Let me know if you try either of these recipes!  What did you cook this weekend?

June faves

Aaah, summer is finally officially here!  Hope you’re enjoying a lovely weekend.  Unfortunately, I’ve caught a little summer cold and am feeling a bit under the weather today 😦  I still made it to the gym this morning but I’m feeling pretty wiped out.

However, one of my current faves is being put to good use right now to ease my sore throat:

1.  Hot and cold teas:

Throat Coat tea is a lifesaver when you’re dealing with a scratchy, sore throat!  It’s naturally sweet and very soothing.  It contains licorice root and slippery elm bark,  which is a homeopathic remedy for sore throats.  I also read that a lot of singers use Throat Coat tea to help them sing for longer periods of time without problems.  I’m drinking a lot of this tea right now to help with this cold!

However, since it’s summer, and I’m orignally a Southern girl, you know I love my iced tea too!  Growing up, we always drank “sweet tea,” which was basically strong-brewed black tea with a TON of sugar in it.  Up here in PA, you really can’t find sweet tea anywhere, which is probably a good thing because it’s really not good for you!  However, I like to make my own “sweet tea,” using my Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker:

(I’ve had my iced tea maker for so many years that I guess it’s an outdated model now…the pic above must be the newer version of it)

My current favorite morning drink (in lieu of hot coffee) is a big cup of plain iced green tea, shaken up with a scoop or two of my Isagenix Want More Energy Mix.  So yummy and refreshing!

2.  Digestive supplements:

Ever since my competition, I don’t know what’s been up with my stomach.  I’ve been battling some pretty annoying digestive issues!  I was having heartburn to the point that I was on Web MD looking for symptoms of a heart attack, and have been bloated and just generally uncomfortable after eating.  I also used to have a stress-related ulcer, and don’t want to start having issues with that again.

I recently read Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution book, and she recommends using a probiotic and a digestive enzyme supplement to help ease some of these issues.  So, here’s what I’m using (so far with good results!):

PB 8 Probiotic Supplement (vegetarian):

Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System:

 3.  Summery skin:

This might possibly be your new cult favorite lotion for the summer – you can thank me later 🙂

Mario Badescu Summer Shine Body Lotion is so delicious.  It smells like coconut and summertime, and has such a beautiful sparkle (but not too glittery!).  It’s not greasy at all and I just love using this on my legs when I’m wearing a short skirt or shorts.  Love this!

4.  Summer reading:

Well, I think I’ve already explained why I’m not reading 50 Shades of Grey like everyone else is this summer 😉  Instead, I picked up a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while by one of my favorite authors, Rebecca Wells:

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is such a lovely summer read.   I’ve laughed outloud and shed quite a few tears reading this book, and I haven’t even finished it yet.  I won’t give too much away if you care to read it for yourself, but it’s the story of a sweet girl named Calla Lily Ponder who was born and raised in a small town in Louisiana and and who goes on a journey to find herself in the Big Easy.  (Hint:  I got the hardback book for $5.98 on sale at Barnes & Noble!)

5.  An awesome new app:

Songza is my new favorite music app!  How cool is this:

You tell Songza what you’re doing and what you’re in the mood to hear, and it creates the perfect playlist of music for you. So, so smart!!  If you have an iPhone or iPad, download this app asap!

So these are my faves for the month of June…hope you enjoyed! What are you loving right now?