Archive for May 2017

Spring Competition Recap + A Simple & Sweet Meal Prep Idea

If I entered in a bikini competition this weekend, I certainly wouldn’t win any trophies. I’ve been referring to this week as my “week of gluttony” to my husband who has seen me plow though some serious food over the past 7 days. (I hope my coach isn’t reading this).

**I may or may not have eaten an enormous tray of sushi this week from Ziki, including the Volcano and infamous Da BOMB rolls.

**I may or may not have eaten a chicken cheesesteak and fries from Heroes Pub. Oh and their steamed shrimp are amazing (not that I would know).

**I may or may not have picked up a piece of carrot cake from Stoney River, which may or may not have the best carrot cake within 100 miles.

**I may or may not have eaten several Levain Bakery cookies, shipped to my house from NYC two weeks ago.

**I may or may not have had the nuts ‘n more birthday cake nut butter everyday.

Luckily the week ran out before I could get to the Iron Rooster for the pop tart or to Chad’s for the famous wings and burger. Hmm. I wonder what time they close…

Sure I could pretend that I have been a perfect reverse dieter over the past week, but I think you know me well enough by know to know that I don’t pretend. Tomorrow kicks off my 2-week macro group with twenty new women, so I will get back to my healthy lifestyle then. For now, I’m finishing off the weekend strong.

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I wrapped up my competition season with 2, 1st place trophies from the OCB, and 3 trophies from the NPC: 2nd Place in Masters 35+, 4th place in True Novice (never competed in the NPC before), and 5th place in Novice (never placed 1st in the NPC before. I trained for a total of 18 weeks for these shows. So am I mad at myself for my “week of gluttony?” Nope, I’m not.

My “off season” will continue through the summer, and I will begin training for my 3 fall shows in mid-August. An off season for me includes a little more flexibility in my diet (however not like the past week!) and a few less hours in the gym. I will still weight train for 3 hours a week and do about 3 hours of cardio, but I’ll incorporate 2 full rest days and more yoga. I will also plan to only track my macros during the week and leave the weekends off to enjoy more of a social life and meals out.

Despite my food fest, I did manage to do a few healthy things this weekend, including preparing a simple dish for lunches this week. The recipe is below. I hope to share more easy recipes with you over the summer on a weekly basis to help keep us all accountable in the warmer weather.

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Sweet and Simple Honey Mustard & Goat Cheese Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

adapted from Skinnytaste

Macros for 1 muffin:  72 calories, 9P/1F/6C

Ingredients:

3/4 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with paper towel

2T. onion, minced

2T. red pepper, diced

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, recommend Ian’s

1 large egg

3T. honey mustard sauce, recommend Tessemae’s (non-GMO, no added sugar, dairy free)

1T. Flavor God Honey BBQ seasoning, or similar

salt + pepper

1 ounce goat cheese crumbles

1 package (about 16 ounces) ground turkey meat (used 95% lean)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Divide evenly into 10-12 greased muffin tins. My mixture made 11 muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Enjoy!

I ended up cutting up all of the extra onion, red pepper and zucchini and sauteed it as a salad topper for this week. I love it when 1 meal prep idea performs double duty!

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Bikini Prep – Peak Week (Again) – A New Normal

I was driving home from the gym this morning after my last heavy glute and hamstring day and a quick 30-minute HIIT spin class; seated next to me was a small brown bag breakfast that I picked up at Whole Foods for my family. Bacon, feta and veggie omelette, everything bagel, cinnamon raisin muffin and some seasoned white potatoes. Even though that cinnamon muffin did look enticing (and from the way my daughter devoured it, apparently it tasted as good as it looked), I was looking forward to a hot shower and my 1 cup of egg whites and 1/3 cup of oatmeal. This had been my breakfast everyday for the past 6 weeks, and with only 7 days from my last show this spring, I didn’t dare stray from the norm.

I started thinking about all of the other things in my life that had become my new normal after time. You know when you start to do something that is uncomfortable, and one day you realize that it’s not uncomfortable anymore and you’ve actually gotten good at it? I started to make a list of those things in my head, starting from way back in high school. I started to see a big picture view of the many ways that I have grown as an adult and the challenges and fears I’ve faced that have produced the person that I am today. After looking at this big picture, I hardly recognized the person that I once was – a timid, insecure teenager once very focused on gaining approval from others.

Here are some of the memories and thoughts I recalled from the past and the mental shifts that have since taken place:

  • Feeling like an outsider in my high school group of friends who were all-star athletes. I was cut from field hockey (twice) in high school and from lacrosse. I joined the cross-country team to keep active and busy after school. Today, as a 36-year old mom, I am an athlete.
  • Feeling like I didn’t fit in during my college years with my friends who always had the best clothes or latest new handbags. Today, material things mean less than ever to me. I don’t even know who the “Joneses” are, nor do I care.
  • Feeling like I would “stand out” if I stopped drinking and partying in my twenties. What would people think if I drank a club soda at a social event instead of a vodka soda? Guess what, 95% of the people who don’t notice, or care. I have no issues being around alcohol, but I have no desire to drink it. I am more self-assured than ever before.

Gianna

  • Feeling scared about the idea of having a baby. How would it affect my marriage? Would it change everything? How would I be able to still find time for myself? How would my body change? Having a baby was one of the scariest and best things ever. Yes, it changed everything, for the better. Now my heart is 100 times bigger. Scheduling time for me and the hubs is a priority which is why we still have almost weekly date nights.
  • Being concerned with others opinions of me. I would say this is the area in which I have grown the most, actually tipping to the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I really don’t give a crap what you think of me. I am living in my own truth each day, and that is an extremely freeing feeling.
  • Feeling uncertain about adding a weight training program to my exercise routine. Would it make me look unfeminine or bulky? After years of practice and experimenting with exercises, I am so comfortable in the weight room, not only performing the exercises, but asking for help or suggestions if I have a question. And as for it making me bulky. I have learned from experience that muscle growth depends on the food you eat and the intensity of the lifts that you perform, and no I will not get bulky.
Summer 2016 after 2 months of lifting heavier than ever.

Summer 2016 after 2 months of lifting heavier than ever.

  • Feeling nervous about training for a bikini competition. But what if I fall ON MY FACE on stage?! I really like eating whatever I want. Training is a new passion of mine and during the 4 months that I train, I can easily stay on track most of the time with occasional treats. Posing used to be my weakest link, but now it’s quickly becoming a skill that I am very confident in.
  • Apprehensive about the BIGGER goals that I now have, including earning my Pro Card. I’ll let you know AFTER that happens, how I feel.

You see, the things that were once a concern are not even a second thought today. Everyday I just wake up and put one foot in front of the other. At night when I go to bed I ask myself if I’ve been a good wife, a good mom, a good employee, a good friend, a good coach, and if I’ve taken good care of me that day. I am not perfect at all of these things each day, but I try really hard to do my best. If I see a weakness in one area, I make an adjustment.

So often when we measure progress, we look at how we did yesterday or last week or last month even. We do not look at the years, sometimes decades of work that we have put in to become the person that we are today. We do not give ourselves enough credit for the growth that we have experienced over THAT amount of time. This growth extends way beyond the physical into the mental, emotional and most importantly, spiritual.

I share this message today as a push for you to jot down some of these simple thoughts or milestones in your life. Write them all down. Any small shred of progress that you have seen and made. After you are finished, I want you to look at everything you’ve written. I want you to take a moment to be really proud, because I’m sure you’ve overcome some little stuff and some really big shit, like me. Life is not a race. It is a journey through peaks and valleys. I cannot wait to see what is around the corner, but for today, I am on this path and my feet are on the ground below. I am present in the now. You can read more about the show I’m competing in on Sunday, May 14th here. As always, thank you for your continued support.

2017 OCB Catonsville Conquer Recap

1 down. 1 to go.

OCB042917MD_1735That’s how I felt when I stepped off stage for the last time at 3pm in the afternoon on Saturday. Feet swollen, physically drained from a few too many mini Justin’s peanut butter chocolate cups and rice cakes with jelly, with two trophies and a crown in my hand. I had done it. 1st Place in Open Class B. 1st Place in Novice Class B. Top 3 overall out of over 20 beautiful ladies. It was an awesome day. I was so proud of the strides I had made in 6 months since my first show in October, most notably my posing. I felt much more comfortable and confident on stage, and I think it showed overall.

My backstage persona is very business-like. I really like to tune out and focus. You won’t find me making much small talk before pre-judging. I compete to win, and I tend to keep to myself which helps me to stay in the zone. You’ll definitely find me with my headphones on (not the BIG ones for fear of flattening out my stage hair) and my backstage playlist ringing in my ears. You’ll find Eminem, Nelly, Rihanna, and Major Lazer cued up for sure. My T-walk song was to Sia’s, Move Your Body, which has been on repeat in our home for the past three months. Even Gianna knows the chorus.

When it was my turn to meet the judges, I did my best to stay in the moment. To remember all of the days and the hours leading up to THIS. THIS was the chance to show off all of my hard work. I was not nervous. I was confident. I had worked so hard, and this was the best me I could be after about 4 months of hard core training. When I got moved to the center of the stage in both Open and Novice, I knew that I had placed well. Relief. Gratitude. Affirmation. I was so proud. My husband was too. I was included on the group texts as he sent my coach the play-by-plays for the day. He is my biggest fan. I could not do this without his support.

When the time came to compete against the other 2 winners of Classes A and C, we had to pose again and then have a “pose off” to determine the winner. This was comical to us, since neither of us were exactly sure what a “pose off” was, but we did our best to show off our best angles while having fun. I did not win my Pro Card that day, but I was proud to place top 3 overall.

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Top 3 Overall Bikini

As much as I love the sport, I am looking very forward to the summer. Slower times. More flexibility. More time with family and a social life. Competing is so much fun, but it’s also extremely taxing on me mentally. I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in weeks. I’m up every few hours either hungry or my mind racing with thoughts about things that I cannot control. The summer sun and some trips to the beach are just what I need come June.

For now though it’s back to reality. I have 12 days left before I compete on Mother’s Day in the NPC Natural Capital Classic in Laurel, MD. This next show will be much larger and more competitive, so there’s not time to sit back and relax. My goal is to come in two pounds leaner in the next show and hopefully place well in the Masters 35+ grouping. I expect no less than 50 overall competitors with at least 10 in the 35+ category. I am registered for True Novice (First NPC show), Novice (Never Placed 1st Overall), Open (All ages and levels) and Masters. 4 chances to win, and a lot of 20-somethings. In retrospect, I would not have chosen a show on Mother’s Day. I would much prefer to be home being a mother, but when I registered for the show, I didn’t realize the Sunday it fell on. Regardless, I believe it’s a sign and a symbol that I am many things besides a mother, and it is okay for moms everywhere to have goals and aspirations of their own besides raising a child. This show is dedicated to my little girl.

I’m off to train my heart out for the next 12 days. 9 workouts remain. 72 meals left that all need to be perfect and boring and consist of greens and whole foods. All leading up to showtime. Then the carbs. All the carbs. Wish me luck.

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