What One Year Can Do

How long is too long to see results? One month, three months, one week? When we evaluate our expectations of how long it takes us to achieve certain goals (especially fitness related), I find we become really impatient. Most other things we are forced to be patient in like college, pregnancy, baking a cake perhaps. We’re forced to wait with all of it. Sure it can be tiresome, but I’m pretty certain there’s not one doctor out there that would say “Wow, that class on prescription drugs was a complete waste of time.” What if I pulled a cake out of the oven too early because I just decided I’d had enough? Ridiculous.

So why is it when it comes to fitness goals, we’re all whining a month in, frustrated about our progress? Then we quit and wonder why we continually have to start over.  Just think if you didn’t quit in the first place! It just takes time!! Some peoples bodies take longer to respond than others. It really does require a certain amount of patience and determination. All good things come to those who wait AND work their ass off! (literally)

My fitness journey over the last year has been tremendous. I look back and think if I’d never started this new adventure. I would NOT be where I am today. I would NOT have started this blog. I would not have seen the potential my body has. It’s been very empowering. If I had stopped when the going got tough, it would’ve been, well, a month in.  It would mean not getting the booty I wanted. Not getting the shoulders I dreamed of. Would’ve been me and my baby biceps running all around town. That clearly was never gonna happen.

How did I do it? I didn’t give up. That’s how. Oh…and I work at it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

So there’s that.

This is my years journey following Jessie Hilgenberg’s e-book programs. First picture is beginning of February 2015. Second photo is after completing the Muscle Building e-book in May of 2015. The third picture is after completing the Bikini Body program in June of 2015. The last picture was taken just a couple of days ago, 4 weeks into the Muscle Building 2 program. By the way, in all of these pictures I never gained or lost one pound. Not a single one!! Pretty awesome.

This progression of pictures is me working every single day. Not just lifting weights, but working at making progress in some way. Tracking my food. Weighing my food. Being mindful of my choices. Working through illness. Working through injury and pain. Working through exhaustion. Waking up at 4am to get the workout done. Overcoming fear and failure. Not letting those railroad me into quitting. Spending an obscene amount of time figuring out my macros. How to get food to fit and fit my lifestyle. I need wine. So I have to make it work!

This is a progression of being consistent. Not quitting. Never giving up. Not getting caught up in the time it was taking me to achieve certain goals. Time will pass regardless of what I chose to do with it. So, I may as well just keep working. ANY progress is movement in the right direction. So just do something. Anything! Every day.

So, where do I stand today? Well, I’m still sitting at around 130lbs. Since going into phase two of the Muscle Building 2 program I have dropped the amount of carbs I’m eating. This helps in the leaning out process. I’ll be gaining lean muscle, while losing some body fat. So my calculations are as follows: 185g of carbs, 58 g of fat, 164g of protein, for a total of approximately 1925 calories.  Cardio will increase slightly and our weight lifting pattern has changed as well in a way that will speed up the leaning out process. Really looking forward to some big changes in the weeks to come!

 

We’ll get to cake later on this week!

Don’t let time dictate what changes you see. Let progress be the predictor of your success. Never lose sight of the small victories. It could be as simple as making a better food choice, when in the past you would’ve had all the pizza. Or perhaps last month you could only lift 10lbs now you can do 15lbs. Its all progress and with those small victories, the transformation will begin. Keep going!!

~V

 

 

Too Busy? Think Again. 

This has been one heck of a busy week. Painting. Kids. A Dog (a puppy to be exact), carpool, baking, working out, life. It’s just life. But we all give certain things in our life priority. For me, kids come first. Lately, the puppy comes in at a close second. Food. Then exercise. You’ve all heard the “there’s 24 hrs. in a day, you can find one hour to exercise” shtick. Although that statement is true, it’s actually more about what we are giving priority to. You say you want to lose weight or perhaps build a stronger physique. However you’re giving priority to other things. What do your TV viewing habits include? Perhaps there’s opportunity there. What does your lunch hour look like? Can you squeeze in 30 minutes of some weights? The dreaded 5am wake up call is daunting, I know that. I’ve done that. But if you want to make fitness a priority and your day is filled full of all the other responsibilities of life, perhaps that is your best option. Point is, you’re filling your day with something. What is it? Evaluate and adjust.

I make exercise a priority. Everyday I have to evaluate my day. What are the kids schedules? What school priorities are there? What needs to be done at home? What work needs to be accomplished? THEN I decide…..ok, what time will I go workout today? Is it that 5am alarm clock or is it a 7pm workout? I prefer to keep it regular times everyday, but that is not nearly as important as just getting it done. Maybe I have to break my workouts up. Weights in the morning and cardio at night, or at home. So, it’s just part of my everyday scheduling I do. We all schedule appointments every day. This is no different. Life gets busy and we need a way to be flexible, yet, not give way to our priorities.


 

I’ve reached week 4 in the Jessie’s Girls 3k Challenge!! I’m seeing progress. Although it may be small, it is progress. It’s in the little things you may not see, but can feel. My strength is increasing. My endurance is holding up longer. People come up to you at the gym and tell you that they didn’t recognize you because your arms are getting so big. Funny, but true. We tend to not see our changes quite as quick as others do.  So there’s that.

Week over week, here’s the difference. Last week I was around 131ish (I don’t weigh myself ever), I stepped on the scale this morning just for this and it read 130.4lbs. I’m currently eating roughly 2000 Calories a day. What’s more important is the macro breakdown of those calories. I consume 164g of protein per day, 59g of fat, and 203g of carbs. I also try to keep my sodium at 2000mg or less and sugar 30g or less. It’s funny because I’ve been feeling like a busted can of biscuits lately, which can be from any number of things. Sodium, carbs, water intake…you name it. I’m a woman, so you never know from one day to the next what’s going to happen. Which is why consistency has been the key for me. Every damn day. Gotta work at it.

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I have been changing things up a bit lately with my meals. I have a tendency to get stuck in a rut. I like routine, which has me eating pretty much the same thing every day. Which is ok, but after a while, that same bowl of Cream of Wheat and protein powder starts to taste like gross warmed up baby food.


I recently made some great purchases at Trader Joes. First off was their Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions. I cooked up one pound of lean ground turkey with the entire bag of roasted veggies. I divided it up into 4 equal servings and would eat each serving in a flour tortilla. It literally took me 10 minutes to make up four meals! So fast and good!

The other finds were the Frozen Shredded Hash Browns and the Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausages. I’ve been using the Hash Browns as part of my pre-workout meal. Mixed with some egg whites, they are a low fat, high carb, high protein meal. Exactly what I need.

One of my favorites recently was a combo of the hash browns, chicken sausage and some whole eggs. This was higher in fats (not ideal for a pre-workout) but still a good mix, macro wise.

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I also purchased the riced cauliflower, which is good, but really low on carbs. This will be fine as I near the end of my challenge. Right now I need foods high in carbs……I’m eating a bowl full of oatmeal every night before bed for Pete’s sake!! Cauliflower isn’t working for me now. However, talk to me at the end of the Biking Body Program and I’ll be gobbling that stuff down!

I also had a fellow Jessie’s Girl post a recipe using the Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits baked with the Trader Joe’s Brie Bites in the center and topped with the Trader Joes reduced sugar strawberry jam. That was so delicious and one of the easiest things to make!

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Overall, it was a good week. Although it was busy I made the time to get my workouts in and plan my food accordingly. Having a well stocked kitchen is key for that. Making a daily plan was key for that. Making it a priority for my life was key to getting it done.

V~

For the Macro Counters

Ok. I’m the first to admit, not much on here has been “macro friendly.” But what makes something “macro friendly?” In reality if you really, really want something you can make that shit fit. End of story.

I was talking with a friend about this whole notion of macros, sugars, negative calorie foods etc. We both came to the solid conclusion that food is all about balance. You must find the right balance for you. In fact, I remember having a conversation with my mother about this very thing. If you eat too much of any one thing, no matter how “good” for you it is, it will eventually throw you out of balance. Kale is an example of this. Cruciferous vegetables are an example of this. When eaten in high amounts, it may affect your thyroid. Oh, you’re eating Kale at the rate of 100g a day cause you thought it was good for you? Let me offer you a brownie instead.

Put. The. Kale. Down.

So in comes the Macro crowd (yep, me included). A macronutrient based diet consists of calculating the correct amount of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) to fit your body’s needs. So for example, my goal is to build muscle. Currently it’s to pack it on!! So, that not only requires protein, but larger amounts of carbohydrates. You can look up how to calculate your macros very easily on the web. It’s not magic. It’s science. You can calculate your nutritional needs based on what you want to do; build muscle, lean out while building muscle, maintain, loose weight, gain weight. It’s all about what you eat and the balance of it. What’s really great is you can adjust it as time goes on. If you feel you’re not seeing results, adjust the balance. If your body is having a hard time with the amount of protein, change it. Nothing is set in stone and every body is different, so it’s always important to listen to your body.

All foods have macronutrients and micronutrients (sugars, sodium). ALL FOODS.  So although a food may metabolize in your body in such a way that it burns more calories than what’s in the food, it still has macronutrients in it! There’s still fats, proteins, carbs, sugars and sodium. So in some way that food will affect how your body functions. Where are you getting energy from if it takes more effort to digest the food then the food has??!! The MACROS!!! All food has energy to provide. If all you did was eat food all day every day that required more energy to digest it than the food actually offered, well you’d quickly waste away. So clearly you can’t do that. You have to balance your diet to offer your body actual fuel for living. Again, science people.

We are all searching for that easy way out. That magic diet where miracles happen.  The other thing my friend said to me (in another conversation about another subject, yet it still applies) “it’s never gonna happen. Ever. So just move forward” She was right, unfortunately.

So forget the notion that there’s some super spectacular diet that’s going to change your life. Nope, YOU will change your life by eating only one brownie and not the entire pan. So there’s that.

Today, I’m going to talk about some healthy snacks!! I know. Crazy. But don’t fear, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled baking soon. As in this weekend soon. So be ready.

I don’t often bake savory type snacks. It just doesn’t occur to me. However, the same friend had recommended I make Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Potato Muffins.  So happy she did! These were really good. Very dense. Very filling and really good for you! IMG_4578

One glance at these ingredients and you know they will be really satisfying and healthy. The sweet potato’s are the star of the muffin providing much of the bulk. Which then helps reduce the amount of flour you need in the muffin. The eggs provide the protein and fats. There aren’t any added oils or butters, making this heart healthy. The cheeses provide some added protein and flavor.

The process of making this muffin requires grating 600g of sweet potato. Say What?? That’s not going to work after arm day. Oh no! You’re going to break out the food processor with the grater attachment.  Other than that bit of work, the rest is really simple.

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I whisked the eggs a bit in a separate bowl, then added that to the sweet potato mixture. Added in the cheeses and flour and mixed all together. The original recipe calls for self rising whole grain flour. *If you can’t find the self rising flour, just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder per 1 cup of whole wheat flour and sift well.

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These little muffin tins were packed full!! Also, another little helpful hint is to use regular baking cups, but spray them with a nonstick spray. I used my coconut oil spray. He calls for parchment paper cut into squares and put into the muffin tin. No. No one has time for that. Especially after shoulder day. Just use the baking cups, you’ll never get that time back cutting all those little squares out!

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On top is a sprinkle of sunflower seeds and poppy seeds. Adds some crunch which is nice. Overall they are a really great little snack. Or if you’re like me and have to eat all day everyday, these are part of a larger meal, not just a snack.

I’ve also found some great buys at the store recently that are super macro friendly and are very tasty. First is a wheat berry, quinoa, Farro and Barley dish. Really hearty, low in sugars and high in carbs, with a good balance of protein and fats.

I like to add a little shredded chicken to this or as a side dish to salmon. I found this at my local Costco the other day. So far this is a keeper! The other find is a granola from Kind. It is also low in fats and sugars, yet has a decent amount of carbs, great for a pre or post workout meal. I’ve been adding it to my Greek yogurt for a mid afternoon snack.

It’s really crunchy with bits of raspberries. I found it at my local grocery story in the cereal isle with the rest of the granolas. Granolas are usually really high in sugars and fats (super tasty, but don’t necessarily fit my daily plan), so when I came upon this I was excite to give it a try. It was really good. Satisfying that granola craving without all the sugars!

Sweet Potato Muffins

  • Non stick spray
  • 600g sweet potatoes
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons cottage cheese
  • 250g whole wheat self-raising flour (*see note above)
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350º

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with baking cups. Spray each baking cup with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Peel sweet potatoes and coarsely grate by hand or with a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl. Trim and thinly slice the spring onions and add to the sweet potatoes. Finely slice the chilies add half to the bowl and reserve the other half and set aside.

Whisk eggs in separate bowl, then add parmesan and cottage cheese. Add egg mixture to sweet potato mixture then add flour, stir until combined. Divide the mixture evenly in the muffin tin then sprinkle with sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and dot with the chilies.

Bake in the middle rack for 35 minutes or until golden and set. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Macros for One Muffin:

169 Calories ·23g carbs· 5g fat ·8g protein· 3g sugar· 150mg sodium

Enjoy the food you eat! Make healthy balanced choices and you will always come out ahead. It’s not magic…..its science. 🙂

V~

It Starts With One Step

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I had the pleasure to hang out with a dear friend of mine over the holidays. We drank, we talked, we laughed and inevitably we talked about exercise. But it wasn’t what you may think. It wasn’t the typical treadmill, stairclimber, deadlift conversation. She only told me a simple story of how she had to walk to her car, up a hill in the cold, for quite a distance. She was surprised at how well she did! I said “Heck ya!!! Now do that every day and when that gets easy make it more challenging!”

It got me thinking…..does starting an exercise routine really need to be that complicated? I believe it does not!

So let me ask you?

Have you walked today? Walked up stairs? Up a hill recently? Lifted a milk jug? Picked up your child perhaps. All of these things are forms of movement. There’s really no need to complicate it. The ONLY thing that needs to happen is you actually doing it! Everyday. Anything. Something. Move. Bend. Shape. It’s what your body was designed to do!!

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When I was in my early 20’s the only thing I knew to do for exercise was to walk. So I walked! When I wanted to start running, I just ran. Wait……that sounds really Forrest Gumpish. Anyway, I went slow, I mean really slow, but I ran. I did it until it was easy. I did it until I could run up, down and all around anywhere I wanted. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t need a gym. I needed shoes, weather appropriate gear, and my own determination. Easy. Right?

Yes. And no.

Yes because it’s not complicated. Like at all. No, because at first it’s hard. Really hard. For some of us, the fact that it’s hard and uncomfortable is hard and uncomfortable to get past. It hurts. It feels like you’re gonna die sometimes. You’re not sure if you’re doing it right. It’s exhausting. Blah, blah,blah. Having kids has the same affect come to think of it.  But they’re SO worth it, right? Well, so is exercise.

Anytime we learn something new,  it’s hard. It’s painful, like algebra for example. I SUCK at math. It was painful, but necessary, so I learned how to do it. Same thing with working out. It’s a learned skill that then becomes habit. Once learned and used everyday, it becomes something you don’t have to even think about, you just get up and do it.

Let’s talk about the basic skill of walking, which clearly we are built to do. How far can you walk? How fast can you walk? Get that heart rate up and steady for a good 30 minutes and you’re making a change. Do that until it’s easy. Then add in a hill climb. Or walking lunges. Or a small jog for one minute. You just build on it. Keep adding to it as it gets easier. One day, what was once your workout, will be your warm up. Don’t over think it. Keep it simple and just add on to what you’re doing.

Take my friend for example. She walked that distance up a hill to her car, right? Now,  she can take that same walk, (in her neighborhood or recreate it on a treadmill) and keep doing that exact thing for a week. Then add in another hill climb (or up and down the same hill twice). Increase her speed perhaps.  Just think,  if you kept building on that, how quickly you would build up your endurance!

Start finding new ways to get your body moving. Maybe a yoga class. Pilates is an awesome way to get started strengthening your muscles. Especially those with injury.  So good for the body! Get online and research ways to build muscle. That’s all I did. I was a total Pinterest stalker. I found all kinds of info there. Go to Bodybuilding.com…..great amount of info. Next thing you know you’re deadlifting 250lbs! (hey, don’t knock it till you try it).

You just have to do it. That’s all it takes. That is truly THE only difference between those that succeed at reaching their fitness goals and those who don’t. There is no in between.  Nike didn’t come up with the multimillion dollar “Just Do It” campaign for nothing. Simple and affective. Just Do It. So there’s that.

The other thing that I’ve found (especially over this last year) is to surround yourself with like minded people. If not to work out with, just for support. A little camaraderie. Those “atta girl’s” and “atta boy’s” go a long way. Someone to vent, voice, and brag about your success to is so helpful. It can really aid in your success. It’s amazing when you can talk to someone about that awesome sholder pump or that you hit your macros spot on all week. They not only understand exactly what you mean, but they know exactly how you feel because they’ve been there too!

Hearing an “Atta Girl!” is music to my ears!!

And let’s not forget about fear. It’s a huge stumbling block. Fear of failure. Fear of succes. Fear of what people think. Fear of pain. Fear of the alarm clock having to wake us at 4:30am. I’ve felt all those fears. Still feel all those on some level. Especially the 4:30am wake up call. What stops the fear is my desire. My desire to change regardless of any of those things. Failure is only in the eye of the beholder. So is success. Some may say, “but I didn’t finish the program all the way through. I was a failure.” Other’s may look at that and say “but you started. That’s half the battle” So make it about the journey. Make it about starting a new lifestyle, rather than a beginning that has an end. If you start and can’t finish a program, find something you can do. It’s not a failure, so much as it may not be a good fit for your life at the moment. If you make fitness a part of your life, there will always be a style of fitness that works for you.

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Also, self love. Speaking from a woman’s perspective, we have a really hard time with this. We find ourselves on a fitness journey because we are not happy with ourselves. We aren’t happy with the way we look, feel, move. We judge ourselves and others. Lets shift that way of thinking. Instead, start to make a change out of self acceptance. Do it because you care about your body. Do it because you love yourself, but know you can make a change. When you look at other women, don’t compare. All of our journeys are very unique. You may see the fittest, strongest woman out there, but until you know the struggles she’s been through to get there, don’t judge. Also don’t compare your beginning to someone’s years long journey. Often times the people we see on fitness magazines have been living this lifestyle for years. And it could take you years. I know its taken me a long time trying all kinds of things!!

So, I’m embarking on a new challenge myself! As some of you may know, I have followed Jessie Hilgenberg over the last year. I have followed both her Muscle Building 1 and Bikini Body programs. Loved them. They changed me both physically and mentally. It was a very empowering experience. She has started the Jessie’s Girls 3K challenge, which starts today! We had to pick a program (I’m doing her Muscle Building 2 program)  and do it all the way through it’s 12 week course.  The three winners get a visit from Jessie herself, $1000, Jessie’s Girl swag and have the opportunity to become an ambassador to all the Jessie’s Girls out there!

I had to think twice about that. Not about doing the program. Or even finishing the program. I know I can do that! What scares me is, what if I succeed? What then? Will I be good enough? What if I fail at it? All those silly little worries that creep into your head. Well at some point you gotta just kick that noise to the curb and follow your own advice! Take it a day at a time. One rep at a time. One step at a time. And just see where it takes you.

In the wise words of Dave Matthews (because I love the hell outta that man): “To change the world, start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all”.

And my friend? Well she’s taken that first step and still going!

Take your first step. You never know how it could change your world!

V~

 

 If you want to follow my progress through this 12 week program you can follow me on Instagram @fit_to_bake_    fair warning…..there’s a lot of pictures of cakes!!