Bikini Competition Prep, What I Have Learned So Far.

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So as a lot of you may know at this point, I have decided to compete in a bodybuilding show.  No, I am not trying to transform myself into Hulk Hogan.  I am competing in the bikini division.  Give “bikini competitor” a Google if you don’t know what that means.  I have always been focused on being healthy and took the next step to change my lifestyle about a year ago.  As I started to really change my diet and pick up those heavy weights, I noticed a big difference in how I looked and felt.  I decided I really wanted a challenge and to see just how far I could push myself.  I made the decision last summer that I wanted to compete.  And after several months of building muscle, here I am, half way through my contest prep diet.  So, here are a few things I have learned throughout this whole process:

1. It is a lot easier said than done to have a balanced social life while on contest prep.

It just is.  I can’t drink and it is really difficult to go out to dinner if the restaurant does not provide nutritional information.  Even if the restaurant does provide nutritional information, there is a good chance that the information is not 100% accurate.  I am sorry but if I am spending thousands of dollars (yes thousands) to bring my best package to the stage there is a good chance that I am going to do everything that I can to make sure my diet is on point.  Yes, there is the possibility of me taking my tupperware container to the restaurant but I have to admit I feel slightly rude doing that.  And let’s backtrack to the part when I said I can’t drink.  This is probably the most difficult part of prep for me.  And I say that in full confidence that I am not an alcoholic.  I am however, a 25 year old woman who enjoys a night out with her friends in the city every once and a while, or a wine night here and there.  But can’t I still have fun going out to the bar and not drinking? Yes, sometimes, but when you workout at 5am everyday it’s hard to put on your “turnt up” face on a Saturday night as you wait for last call.  I will say, if I ever decide to compete again, this is an area that I certainly need to work on.

2.  Not everyone will understand what you’re doing, or why you are doing it, and that is perfectly okay.

I try to avoid explaining why I am not drinking or why I am avoiding the cookies in the office as much as I can but I am truly bad at lying.  So I have had to explain to a lot of people that I am on a contest prep blah blah blah and there are two common reactions I have received. First, “wow that’s awesome good luck”.  Second , “so, you can’t just have one cookie? one drink?”.  I used to get super frustrated with response number two.  I quickly realized that they aren’t trying to bring me down and that they probably just realize that I do in fact want that glass of wine and they just really wish I could have one with them.  I am still learning all the ins and out of prepping for a bikini competition, so why should I expect that others understand what I am even doing?  I have received a ton of positive feedback throughout this entire journey from family and friends and I know they want nothing but the best for me.  I’ve concluded that my lower carb intake bitch is just taking over from time to time and it will eventually pass. 🙂

3.  It is important to engage with other competitors or people within the industry.

A lot of competitors will work with a local coach, be a part of a local team and have teammates by their side throughout their entire prep journey.  I on the other hand am working with an online coach who is located out of the state.  Now, I wouldn’t change my coach for anything but I realized quickly that this meant I would really have to go the extra mile to do a little extra research in finding out what the right show was for me and getting additional in person posing help.  More importantly, I feel like having people that you can connect with about the process is really important.  This really goes back to my first and second points listed above.  Not everyone is going to fully understand what you are going through, and that is okay.  In fact, even your fellow competitors will most likely have a totally different prep journey than you.  However, despite the slight differences in your diet and exercise leading up to the show, you’re all reaching for similar goals and will most likely all be spending more Saturday nights in chugging BCAAs and protein shakes.  At least if you choose to spend most of your weekends in you’re going to want someone to bond with over your mutual grandma-ness.  It is also important to point out that this prep feels like a second full time job (a very expensive second job), so I can’t help but talk about it more than I would like.  I am sure people are sick of hearing me talk about food and the gym which is why having others in the same boat to vent to that can directly relate makes things a little easier.  This is actually part of the reason that I started to blog, so that I had a platform where I could share all of my thoughts throughout my fitness journey and whoever wanted to read it can and those who don’t care don’t have to read it!  My last point here is that you may actually learn something from speaking to someone else.  There are A LOT of opinions out there when it comes to bodybuilding, dieting, what to eat, what not to eat, and you may not agree with everyone but you can gain some valuable knowledge by talking to people that have either competed in the past or are involved with the industry somehow.

Now, if you’re still reading this then I am thoroughly impressed.  I’ll be sure to follow up after my show in 5 weeks to give a full reflection of the experience.  My opinions that I stated above may even completely change by the end of this week 🙂  That’s just what this prep has done to my brain!

5 “Healthified” Superbowl Sunday Appetizers

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Will you be attending a Superbowl party February 1st?  If so, you are most likely going to encounter a lot of yummy snacks and drinks.  Wings, chips, nachos, pizza, beer, you name it.  I bet these foods aren’t a part of your New Year’s resolution diet.  With that said, if you are feeling like you are finally getting on track after the holidays and don’t want to destroy your progress in one day, don’t panic.  There are many ways to create healthier versions of your favorite football snacks to avoid “inflating” that waistline.  Below I have shared 5 healthy recipes for my favorite football appetizers.

1. Baked Buffalo Tenders

Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken breast(1-2 breasts cut into tenders)

Whole wheat bread crumbs

4 Egg whites

Franks buffalo sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven at 350F

Cut chicken into thin slices

Dip tenders into egg whites and then coat in breadcrumbs

Place tenders in nonstick baking pan/sheet

Coat tenders with Franks Buffalo Sauce

Bake tenders for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through

I like to enjoy with a side of Bolthouse Blue Cheese Yogurt dressing!

2. Zucchini Nachos

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini

2/3 cup fat free shredded mozzarella

1/ cup black beans

2 tbs salsa

1/2 avocadoFullSizeRender (1)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400

Cut zucchini into very thin wheels

Spray cooking sheet with non stick and spread zucchini evenly

Bake zucchini in over for 10 minutes

Remove tray, flip zucchini, add cheese, and place back in over for 10 minutes, add cheese for the last few minutes

Add beans, salsa, and avocado

3. Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use shredded chicken)

8 oz low fat cream cheese

1/2 cup Bolthouse ranch dressing

1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot buffalo sauce (or Texas Pete hot sauce)

1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese

BuffChickDip

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix all of the ingredients into medium baking dish

Bake for 20 minutes

I like to serve with celery or Blue Corn Chips!

 4. Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Ingredients:

1 medium sweet potato

1 tbs olive oil

Garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 415F

Peel and slice potato into 1/2 inch strips

Toss potato in salad bowl with olive oil and garlic powder (add salt and pepper if wanted)

Spread potato evenly onto baking sheet

Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping fries 1/2 way through.

5. Turkey Chili

Ingredients:FullSizeRender

Extra lean ground turkey (1lb)

Red Kidney Beans (1 can)

Chili Mix (I use Old El Paso or McCormicks)

Diced tomatoes (I use 1 can Del Monte with zesty green chiles)

Dash of chopped onion and jalapenos

Tomato paste (1/2 small can)

Directions:

Cook ground turkey in large skillet

Once cooked, drain skillet and add 1/2 cup water

Add chili mix and stir

Add beans, diced tomatoes, chopped onion and jalapenos, and tomato paste

Mix and let sit on low for 5-10 minutes

This makes about 5-6 servings!

Wishing you all a happy Superbowl Sunday and let’s go Patriots!

Stuffed Eggplant Boats

Stuffed eggplant boats= life changing.  Personally, you could probably put cheese and tomatoes on anything and I would love it.  These were super delicious and extremely filling (like most of my meals).  One boat is a meal on its own.  This also did not take long to prep.  Admittedly, I thought it would take forever which is why I have avoided trying to make these for so long.  It probably took me about 10-15 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to cook!

Stuffed Eggplant

 

Ingredients:

1 eggplant

1/2 bell pepper

1 cup mushrooms

4 oz chicken (raw)

1 cup diced tomato

1/2 cup fat free mozzarella

1 tbs garlic

 

Directions:

Half and hallow eggplant

Preheat oven 400F

Cut chicken into 1 or 1/2 inch cubes

Place skillet on medium-high and toss chicken so that it partially cooks

Spread garlic on insides of eggplant

Dice peppers

Place chicken, peppers, mushrooms, tomato, and cheese inside halves

Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until eggplant is soft

 

Other options are to use the extra eggplant with the veggies.  I just decided to mix things up and save the eggplant for a side the next day!

 

Total calories for entire eggplant= 345 calories

2g Fat

36 Carbohydrates

51 Protein

 

Enjoy!

 

Birthday Cake Protein Pancakes

Birthday Cake Protein Pancakes

Birthday cake pancakes, because you probably don’t want to see another pumpkin spice pancake recipe.

My food does not always look perfect but I just had to share.  This was actually taken over the summer.  I did a lot of experimenting over the summer with protein pancakes and this recipe was one of my favorites. These take no time to prepare and have become a go to post- workout meal for me!  If you want to have a birthday party in your mouth every morning then you should definitely give these a try 🙂  This recipe makes 3 medium pancakes or 2 large pancakes.

 

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese

1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 ripe banana

3/4 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 packet Stevia

Sprinkles

 

Directions:

Mix or blend everything except for the sprinkles and 1/4 scoop protein powder

Spray and heat pan to medium heat and cook cakes 1-2 minutes each side

Add a little bit of water to your leftover protein powder so that it makes an icing consistency

Top pancakes with icing and sprinkles

 

The entire batch is only 412 calories with 4g Fat, 51g Carbohydrates, and 43g Protein.

 

Healthy Shrimp and Vegetable Lo Mein

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I am a big pasta lover and one of my favorite meals is lo mein. I woke up Sunday morning craving something salty, specifically lo mein. Unfortunately your standard lo mein meal from a Chinese or Japanese restaurant is often really high in sodium and loaded with fat. I did not want to suffer that post Chinese take out sluggish feeling that I often do. This homemade meal completely satisfied my craving without the negative aftermath! The entire batch is 565 calories and makes enough for three people, or two really hungry people 🙂 Below are the ingredients, recipe, and nutritional information!

Ingredients:
3 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti
22 small-medium shrimp ( I used cooked frozen medium shrimp)
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup broccoli
Diced onion (about 1/5 medium onion)
2 tbs Minced garlic
3 tbs Kikkoman low sodium teriyaki marinade
1 tbs Kikkoman low sodium soy sauce

Directions:
Boil water in pot and place spaghetti in to cook.
Spray pan with cooking spray and add garlic, onion, mushroom and broccoli, cook on medium for 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes or until all veggies and shrimp is cooked through. If you are using raw shrimp instead of pre cooked this may be a little longer.
Once spaghetti is cooked, drain and add to pan.
Add teriyaki and soy sauce and mix together and let flavors blend on low for 2-3 minutes.

Nutrition per serving: (3 servings in entire batch)

188 Calories, 1g Fat, 26g Carbohydrates, 17g Protein

 

This all took under 30 minutes to prep and cook!  I am all about quick and easy when it comes to my food so this was the perfect healthy alternative to satisfy my lo mein craving and not to mention it was delicious!

Cinnamon Oatmeal Lava Cake

OatMeal Lava Cake

Sometimes messing up your recipe is for the better!  I was attempting to make a simple mug cake here but I did not cook it for long enough so I ended up with a cake like crust and a warm oatmeal center.  Instead of continuing to cook the mug cake I just ate it as is and it was quite delicious!  Yes I am sometimes that lazy.  I used 2 egg whites, 1/2 cup oats, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 1 packet stevia, a splash of water, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon.  I mixed everything together in a microwave safe mug and placed in the microwave for about 1 minute.  I topped with 1 tbs of Walden Farms syrup before eating! The cake is just under 300 calories 3g Fat/ 29g Carbohydrates/ 34g Protein.  Makes for a great post-workout meal!

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

Since the nights are starting to get cooler I decided that it was time to dust off the old Crock pot.  Thanks to my wonderful mother for sharing this recipe!  These are not only extremely tasty and filling but also super easy to make!  Below are the ingredients and recipe:

Ingredients:

5 peppers

1.25 pounds extra lean (99%) ground turkey (allow 1/4lb per pepper)

1 1/2c instant brown rice

Diced quarter of an onion

Dash of Salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 can tomato soup

Couple squirts of ketchup(optional)

Recipe:

Mix ground turkey with diced onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder and one third can of tomato soup.

Cut off tops of peppers and clean out insides.

Stuff each pepper with turkey mixture.

Put another third of the can of soup into the bottom of Crock pot with 1/4 cup water.

Place peppers into Crock pot and add remaining soup on top.  I like to squirt ketchup on top also.

Cover and cook til peppers are soft (on low for 7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours).

You can use same recipe and cook in 350 oven covered for an hour-hour and half.

Another side note, if you own a slow cooker but do not own slow cooker liners(pictured above), go purchase them now!  Makes the clean up 10x faster.

Nutrition per pepper include:

227 Calories, 2.4g Fat, 26g Carbohydrates, 24g Protein

…Did I forget to mention this is super low in fat? 😉

Now go dig out your Crock pot and enjoy yourself these delicious peppers!