PROGRESS UPDATE NO. 2 – “You can have results or excuses – not both.”

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I just had my third body composition testing to see how far I’ve come in the last 4 weeks. This test marks the end of week 10. I’m starting to get tests closer together now so that if something isn’t working, we can change it. Going into this test I was feeling pretty deflated. I’ve been on the second phase of training for 4 weeks now and didn’t feel like I had changed. The only real changes I had noticed were a bit more size in my upper body and legs. If I had to guess, I would have thought my body fat percentage had gone up.

However the results of the test surprised me! The most exciting part is that I gained 2kg of lean muscle mass in the space of 4 weeks! The goal of this phase of training is moreso about building muscle than it is about losing fat. The weights are heavier and the reps lower. Being naturally small it is a fight for me to build muscle, so I couldn’t be happier that the training is working.  I also dropped 0.2% body fat during this phase. Although this isn’t huge, it’s good if I can still maintain my body fat level or lose a bit of fat as I build muscle, so losing 0.2% to bring me to 16% overall is a good result.  My coach was happy with this too. He is confident he will be able to get me lean easily and the most important thing is holding on to muscle mass.

I honestly thought my coach was going to ask me what the hell I’d been doing and why I hadn’t got any results this time around! I just didn’t feel different. This goes to show I need to have faith in the process – my body was responding the way it was supposed to, I just couldn’t see it. I know if I follow my coach’s instructions to a tee, I should get the results I’m after.

Dealing with setbacks 

The major set back I had this last week was coming down with a cold, losing my appetite and only really being able to stomach fresh fruit and veggies. I rarely get sick but I ran myself down after functioning on little sleep, working full time and maintaining my intensity of training. Having a cold made me crave sweet foods for a pick me up – mainly fresh fruits and soothing cold drinks for my sore throat. I prefer to rely on natural medicines when I get sick – like eating more vitamin c through oranges, carrots and berries, and taking manuka honey and green tea in order to remedy a cold. But unfortunately these things all contain sugar, which is not technically part of my comp prep diet. However I chose to put my health first and include more fresh fruit and manuka honey to try and kick the cold so I can get back into my training fast. I do believe in listening to my body, and wanted to give it the best chance to recover quickly. I’m feeling better for it and only had to take one extra rest day this week as a result.

Where to now… 

I’ve worked out that I’m sitting 18 weeks out from comp, and I’ve already been dieting for 10 weeks. I’ve still got so far to go, and it’s difficult to maintain motivation when your goal is not really in sight. I had a chat to my coach and he thinks I’ll need 12 weeks for my strict comp prep. So instead of dieting for 26 weeks in a row without a break (which would be the longest comp prep ever and not sustainable!), I’m going to get a week of ‘flexible dieting’ starting on November 30th. Essentially this is a week off from my diet so I can enjoy meals out a bit more. I won’t go completely nuts, but it will be nice to enjoy health foods like fruit smoothies, raw treats and protein bars that are not really part of my comp prep diet. I will still stick to my training regime during this time. I don’t find adhering to the training difficult, but dieting is very time consuming and can get a bit boring. It will be nice to have more variety in my foods for a week before knuckling down. Now that I have a date set for this in the foreseeable future, it should be easier to maintain discipline with something to look forward to in just 3 weeks time. 🙂

I’m looking forward to the last week on this phase of training. The goal is to keep gaining muscle mass while maintaining a low level of body fat! Bring on the gains! 😛

With love,
B. xx

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6 Every-Day Habits that may be Compromising your Health and Weight Loss!

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Many people don’t realize the consequences little things have on their health. But when you do these little things every day, it starts to add up and can compromise your health and weight loss efforts. Check out these 6 every-day habits that may be acting to your detriment.

1. Your coffee

Coffee is one of the crops most highly sprayed with pesticides. This means that your coffee beans, although seemingly innocent, may be leeching chemicals into your body.

How do you avoid this? Buy organic! Find a local coffee shop that has an organic blend. If you buy instant coffee, also switch this for an organic one. I use ‘Republica’ organic coffee (available from Coles), which tastes better than most instant coffees I’ve tried and it’s better for you.

How you drink your coffee could also be taking its toll. Do you enjoy a latte or a cappuccino? Everyone is mildly sensitive to lactose, and drinking a full cup of dairy won’t do you any favours. Dairy also causes inflammation within the body, so it can stop you getting that lean and ripped effect. Drink your coffee black. You get used to it.

2. Your ‘healthy’ breakfast

Do you sit down over morning with your bowl of natural muesli, banana, yoghurt and honey and applaud yourself for being so healthy? Unfortunately there is more than one reason why this isn’t a good way to start your day. Here they are:

  • If you buy your muesli, it is probably full of preservatives, sugar, sulphites in the dried fruit, and other nasties.
  • Even if you make your own muesli or have found a packet one which you believe to be free of artificial additives, starting your day with a big bowl of carbs is only going to cause a big spike in your blood sugar levels, which when they plummet, will lead to sugar cravings later in the day and potentially an afternoon crash.
  • Banana, honey and yogurt may sound healthy but they too are full of sugar and will cause the same spike in blood sugar/ sugar cravings/ afternoon slump.
  • There is little protein in the meal. Even if you are using a high protein Greek Yoghurt, it’s not the same as eating meat or eggs for breakfast.

The best way to start your day is with a high protein, low carb meal instead – like a vegetable omelette. A savoury meal as opposed to a sweet meal will stop you craving sugars later in the day by avoiding that initial spike of your blood sugar. Meat and veg is a great breakfast too, if you can stomach it at that time of day. I know I can’t, but if you can I would definitely recommend eating meat for breakfast.

3. Your job/ Your study

Do you have a high-pressure job or study load? Stress is a huge factor in body fat, due to the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released when you stress, and leads to the storage of body fat. Unfortunately we all have stress in our lives, but the way you cope with it will play a role in your body fat storage. This is particularly the case with fat around the stomach. I am a massive stresshead, and tend to fill my days to the absolute brim, causing myself more stress. I’ve managed to decrease this slightly by supplementing with Magnesium, practicing meditation, and just generally taking ‘me’ time. Your body will benefit from cutting the stresses out of your life, or at least learning to manage them.

4. Your vegetables

Vegetables are healthy, right? Well unfortunately in this day and age where farmers are more concerned with the yield of their crop than the quality of it, we are being sold vegetables laden with chemical pesticides. The best way to avoid this is to buy organic vegetables. There are some vegetables where this is more important than others – you can find lists online of the vegetables that are most highly treated with pesticides and thus should always be bought organic.

5. Your beauty routine

Toxins make their way into your body not only through your food but through your skin. I tend to harp on about this a lot, so if you follow my blog you probably already know that! Toxins cause the storage of body fat because they slow the detoxification process of the liver (basically because it has more work to do), so it can’t adequately remove all the toxins from the body. This causes the toxins to be stored in the body (in the form of fat and/or inflammation). The best way to limit this is either trying to wear less make up, or wear it less often, and switch to certified organic products. One of my favourite beauty products is coconut oil. You can use it as a moisturizer, and even as an eye make-up remover!

6. Your cooking methods

Many people still cook with olive oil or vegetable oil. Cooking with olive oil is a bad idea because when you heat it beyond a certain point, it loses all its nutritional value. Even worse – heating it actually releases harmful, carcinogenic compounds. Vegetable oils shouldn’t be used as an alternative because they are full of trans fat. Instead, it is best to cook with extra virgin coconut oil – it’s good fat, it tastes delicious, and it doesn’t become carcinogenic once heated.

Changing these few things can make a big difference to your health. I hope you learnt something by reading this 🙂

With love,
B. xx

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”

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A few people have asked me how I organize myself to ‘meal prep’.

Meal prep is tough work – it takes a lot of organization and a lot of time. I’ve figured out a few ways to make the process more efficient, so I waste less time cooking and more time… well, eating!

Here is the step-by-step process I use to prep my meals for the week:

1. Write a weekly meal plan.

I plan out exactly what I’m going to eat for all six meals of the day, for seven days of the week. I do this by breaking it into protein, fats, greens and carbs, so I know I’m meeting my nutrient requirements for each meal.

Note: I eat the same six meals every day for a week. You don’t have to do it this way, but I find it easier to plan for when every day is the same.

2. Grocery shopping

I calculate how much of each type of meat I’ll need to get me through that whole week. For instance if I eat 150g raw meat 5 times a day, then:
150g x 5 = 750g per day. 750g x 7 days = 5.25kg.

Note: I do this separately for each type of meat, this is just an example of how I calculate it.

I then go and buy all the meats (I get a variety of chicken breast, turkey, and salmon depending on what meals I’ve planned). The butcher looks at me like I’m crazy, but that’s ok. He doesn’t ask questions.

I follow the same process with my fats and veggies. I usually buy veggies for half the week and do another veggie shop mid-week so they stay fresh.

3. Label your bags

I buy plenty of little snap lock bags which I label with the day and the meal number e.g. ‘Monday 2’.

4. Prepare the meat

I cut all the meat up into 150g portions, weighing it as I go and putting it into the corresponding snap lock bag. I then freeze all of the meat except what I need for the next two days.

5. Cook for two to three days at a time

I do a big cook up usually every second day. Some people cook for 3 days, but I’m just cautious of leaving food in the fridge for too long so prefer to cook for 2. It’s important to cook a few days in advance, or you will end up cooking all the time and won’t have the meals ready if you’re going to be out all day.

Note: The only meal I don’t prepare is meal 1, which I cook in the morning each day.

6. Invest in a good carry bag (e.g. six pack bag)

Having a refrigerated carry bag is important so you can take your meals with you and be prepared wherever you go. If you aren’t prepared, and you get hungry when you’re out, you are likely to make bad choices.

Here is an example of how I plan out my meals to determine how much of everything I need. This is one day. I times the quantities by seven and there you have it – everything I need for the week!

PROTEIN GREENS FATS CARBS
M1 3 Eggs 1tbsp Butter
M2 150g Chicken Zucchini, Carrot 1tbsp Coconut Oil
M3 150g Turkey Mixed Salad ¼ Avocado
M4 125g Salmon Spinach 1tbsp Coconut Oil 150g pumpkin
M5 150g Chicken Tomatoes, Capsicum, Kale 1tbsp Coconut Oil
M6 150g Chicken 1tbsp Coconut Oil

The most important things are to keep it simple, quick and easy for yourself. I buy herbs and spices, lemon and limes so I can chuck these on as I’m cooking to add flavour without much fussing around. The harder you make it, the less likely you will be able to maintain it.

Happy eating!

With love,
B.xx

CLEAN AND COMP-PREP FRIENDLY TURKEY RISSOLES

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I can’t eat plain chicken and steamed broccoli six times a day. I just can’t. It takes all of the enjoyment out of eating, and leaves my taste buds craving something to stimulate them! I make sure I pump plenty of flavour into my meals with natural herbs and spices so I can enjoy my food without compromising my diet. It takes me a little more time in the kitchen, but I think it’s worth it.

I was playing around with making comp-prep friendly recipes that are still jam packed with flavour when I made up these super quick and delicious turkey rissoles!
I love turkey because it’s such a lean meat and it’s high in protein! I’m actually looking forward to eating this every day for the next week.

This recipe makes 2 meals for me.

Ingredients:

300g turkey breast mince

Dried oregano

Rosemary

Dried thyme leaves

Garlic

Spring Onion

Pink sea salt

Cracked pepper

Method:

  1. Chop up the spring onion and garlic into small pieces.
  2. Put turkey mince in a bowl and add all the dried herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and spring onion. I put a lot of herbs in to give them heaps of flavour.
  3. Knead it all together.
  4. Split turkey into 10 even pieces and roll them into balls. Really knead them together so that they stick and don’t break when you cook them.
  5. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil over low to medium heat.
  6. Put each ball on the pan and flatten them as you go.
  7. Cook until you can see they are cooked through to about halfway then flip them.
  8. Once cooked through, remove and serve

These rissoles are delicious served with salad and avocado.

Enjoy!

With love,
B. xx