Quick Nutrition Tips

Happy Monday! 🙂 I love Monday, do you love Monday? New day. New week. New goals. New attitude. Happiness all around.

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I thought I’d share a few of my nutrition tips that have worked for me over my health/fitness journey! People always ask how to eat and it’s honestly so difficult to answer. I feel like sometimes people expect a secret answer, but in all honesty – eating healthy for me means eating balanced and a variety of foods. I eat foods I enjoy, that fuel and give me energy and make me happy. I’m not going to tell people what to eat and what not to eat because I believe all food can and should be enjoyed (in moderation)

1. Water for days!

Water water water. Drink it up. Flavor it with fresh fruits and vegetables. Lemons, limes, mint leaves, cucumbers, berries – the options are endless! Water is so good for you – it keeps you hydrated, it keeps you full, it flushes out your system. A lot of people are dehydrated and they don’t even know it. Also, people tend to mix up hunger with thirst. Keeping a bottle of water with you at all times is a great technique to make sure you are drinking lots throughout the day. Replace the sugary juices, sodas and highly carbonated caffeine drinks with water and not only will your digestive systems thank you, but so will your skin!

2. Say goodbye to microwave meals

When I was in university it was so easy to buy 2-minute microwaveable meals. Heck, they were advertised as “healthy”, low-calorie, cheap, quick and easy to make! Sounded great to me. But, when I actually took the time to look at the Nutrition Label and evaluate the ingredients, this option was not so good. These meals are small portions, so yeah they are maybe 200 calories – but they didn’t keep me full. Also, the sodium content was out-of-the-roof. Now, I cannot recall the last time I had a microwaveable meal. You can still prepare meals that are cheap, quick and easy without resorting to highly processed meals that basically taste like plastic.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new foods

Almonds, sweet potatoes, fish, oatmeal, yogurt, apples. Just to name a few of the foods that I only started eating in the last couple of years. Before, I would say no to sweet potatoes just because they were orange (LOL). I didn’t try certain foods for no reason. Since then, I realized there are some absolutely delicious foods out there that are healthy! Imagine that. Seriously, just try things. You might find a new favourite food! Also, this makes it easier to say goodbye to some of the not-so-good foods you eat on a regular basis. I used to eat ice cream after school every day. Now, I hardly crave ice cream because I can satisfy my sweet tooth using various healthier options (take a look at my recipes :))

4. Don’t deprive yourself

This is probably the worst thing you can do. Makes sense, if I eat breakfast and then don’t eat all day then I’ll lose weight. Wrong. You’ll get home and you’ll be so starving that you will eat your entire kitchen plus half of Africa. Seriously though, if you eat healthy snacks throughout the day then you won’t come home and binge (on probably junk food) at night. Bring snacks with you to work, to school, out shopping to ensure you always have something to eat when you get hungry. You’re less likely to indulge in something you really don’t need.

These are just a few tips/tricks that have worked for me. Making small changes will result into bigger changes in the future. I promise. I’m a living example.

Thoughts? What other issues do you guys find difficult to change?

🙂 ❤

 

Thoughts About Eating Out

Eating at a restaurant is one of my favourite things to do – and nope, it’s not because of the food, it’s because when I’m going out for dinner I’m usually going with my family and/or friends. It’s fun, it’s a ways of socializing, a way of enjoying each others company, it’s relaxed, you get to dress up, you get to enjoy the environment, you get to be served and catered to. Dining is an experience.

Years before I started my new lifestyle, I would hit up McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Burger King, etc. on a regular basis. I would order a Big Mac and fries and a diet pop (LOL). I did this 2, 3 maybe even 4 times a week. During the process of eating I was like “Omg this is so good”. 5 minutes later – all regrets. But yet I kept going back. WHY?

Because it was what everyone else was doing. Almost like I would let people down if I said “No, I don’t want to go to McDonalds” or I felt like I was being judged if I said no. Complete subtle peer pressure. Even at a restaurant where I could eat healthier options – everyone else was getting the huge entrees and in my mind I wanted a chicken breast salad, or the salmon with fresh vegetables. I was struggling to find the confidence to actually order it. WHY?

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Because again, no one else was eating it, so I felt like I couldn’t.

Looking back, I laugh. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I know what is good for me, what makes me feel healthy and I know what I want. So, I no longer get frustrated or dread going to eat out with friends or family. I love it because I get to spend time with people I love, but I also love it because I can be picky and I can order what I want.

This means if I want the dressing on the side, I’m going to ask for it on the side. This means if I want a cheesecake dessert, then damn right I’m going to get cheesecake.

Eating keeps you alive, yes. But it is a lot more than that. It is about feeding your soul with happiness and healthiness. It’s about trusting yourself and fueling your body with what it wants mentally and physiologically.

This goes for anything in life. Be strong and confident enough to do what makes YOU happy. Don’t ever do anything for someone else. Be your own person. Make your own decisions. Soon enough you might even positively influence others to do the same.

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Back Workout + Easter Weekend

Monday: Back + Biceps + HIIT/Core

My main focus for my workout yesterday was back, but I also ended it with some tricep work and a short HIIT/core routine. Listed below is my exact workout with links on how to do the exercises. Ps. I’m all about the cut-out back shirts lately. This shirt is from Blogilates clothing line.

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Here are some snapshots from my Easter Weekend. OMG made the best protein pancakes and topped them with Mini Eggs. SO GOOD.

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Recipe:

  • 1 Scoop Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder
  • 3tbsp Soy Milk (I used Chocolate – you can use any kind of milk)
  • 1tbsp Oat Flour
  • 2tbs Egg Whites

FINALLY there was some spring weather in good old Canada, so I got to bust out some spring attire that I’ve been dying to wear 🙂 Sunshine makes me happy.

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Today my workout was over an hour of HIIT paired with my favourite ab/core exercises. I’ll post the exact workout next time! I can’t just name the exercises cause half the time I make up names for them (haha) and you won’t know what they are. So, I’ll list my workout and link you to the exercises 🙂 Post-workout snack was a Questbar. And it took me a good 15 minutes to decide which one I wanted! (LOL) I ended up broiling the Double Chocolate Chunk. SO GOOD. You can buy Questbars here. And get a free one!!

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Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

Happy Good Friday! OMG woke up so sore. My legs are killing me! It actually hurt to sleep last night! Giving myself a rest day.

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I like to train most days because I enjoy it and I want to, but giving myself rest days are just as important.  I usually rest when I literally cannot fit training into my schedule because of other priorities (aka work, school, vacation, etc.). Life isn’t revolved around working out, well kind of 😉 I also listen to my body, I know a lot of people say “half a workout is better than no workout”, but sometimes if I’m sore, and I know my body is physically not into it, I know I won’t get a good session in. So, I rest up and recover and know that tomorrow I’ll have even more energy to make progress. Also, it gives me more time to think up recipes and experiment in the kitchen because I am devoted to eating well and proving to you that you can eat healthy and balanced, while still having delicious meals!! Today I was in the mood for a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar so I created another version of a delicious mug cake.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used Chocolate Soy Milk)
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 2 tbsp oat flour (take regular oats and grind them in a Magic Bullet)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Directions

  • Cut up Quest Bar into little pieces (half go in mug cake, half go on top)
  • Spray mug with cooking spray
  • Combine all ingredients in mug (remember to keep half of the Quest pieces for topping)
  • Microwave for 1 minute and the continue for 10 second intervals making sure it doesn’t overcook
  • Add toppings!
  • I topped mine with 1tbsp of peanut butter, rest of Quest Bar & cinnamon.
  • Enjoy!photo-23

Macros (without peanut butter topping)

Calories: 245

Carbs: 29g

Fat: 7g

Protein: 26g

You can buy Quest Bars by clicking on this link.

You also get a free bar with your purchase!

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Blogilates

I always say that I brag about my best friends. Yes, I actually have some of the best friends in the world. So, when I have something so amazing, I will be happy, proud and blessed to have that greatness in my life. That being said, it only makes sense for me to brag about Blogilates because that too is something I am so thankful for. I am an avid member of the Blogilates community and it’s a huge part of my life.

I actually have to do a double take when people say they haven’t heard of Blogilates. How have you not heard of Blogilates? Let me introduce you to Cassey Ho, the face behind the social media health/fitness Blogilates community.

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Blogilates

Cassey has used the power of social media to create an amazing community of POPsters around that world.  She is one of the best and most successful online influences for making a difference in the world of health and fitness. You can read more about Cassey on her blog here. She creates Pilates videos every week and posts them on Youtube, so they are absolutely free and easy for anyone to access.

Okay, cool. So what’s the big deal? WELL, Blogilates is literally the most adaptable, functional, fun, uplifting, and empowering fitness journey to be on. Workouts are created for any fitness level, videos range from specific muscle groups, to full-body-workouts, to killer burpee and ab challenges to working out in high heels. (Yes, high heels) Do not let that innocent face fool you, these videos are intense and take a lot of focus, stamina and full body control. I literally feel the burn in EVERY video. You can pair a bunch of videos to form your own workout, or you can follow the calendar that she posts every month.

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Cassey herself is an amazing role model for women. She shares her personal life to reinforce the importance of creating a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. She shares her strengths, her weaknesses and her progress with us to help us remember that a healthy life is a continual process. It has it’s ups and downs, but that’s the reality of it. She shares what she eats, including “YOLO” meals to emphasize the importance of balance and treating yourself every once and a while. She is honest about her likes, dislikes and experiences. This is what makes Blogilates what it is. She works hard and stays humble through all of her success. Cassey is like a friend and this community is a large support system. I have gained so many great relationships throughout this community and am in constant contact with a few girls from all over the world. It’s amazing how social media can bring people together who share similar journeys and goals.

My Experience

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When I started my fitness journey, Blogilates was one of the first things I discovered. The positivity of not only Cassey, but also the entire community is infectious. The workouts are intense and you see results if you are consistent. I have been practicing Pilates through Blogilates for over 2 years, and I owe all my flexibility and core strength from doing these videos. Not only has this contributed to my physical ability and strength, but I owe a large part of my mental strength, confidence, happiness and motivation to Blogilates.

Never in my life was I the “athletic type”. I am horrible at sports. I hated gym class. I put limits on myself because I simply didn’t think I could do it. When I started practicing Pilates I found a hidden love and passion for something I had never imagined. I changed not only physically, but mentally. I learned from my past and from my mistakes to turn my journey into something positive. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.

“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never knew you had”

I learned a lot about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, my goals, my present and my future. I made a career/educational change to devote my time to learning about health and fitness and I am now an aspiring Dietitian and am on my way to be certified to teach Pilates. I no longer put limits on myself.

photo-18Cassey has been amazing and given me so much love and support since I have been such an avid and enthusiastic Popster. She is a huge motivation for me. She inspires me to inspire others.

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If you are new to the whole “fitness” thing and don’t know where to start, or if you’re looking for something new to add into your workout routine and want to be part of something amazing, then follow Blogilates. Join the community. I am so blessed that I discovered it and so happy it had such a positive impact on my life.

Thank you, Cassey! ❤ 🙂

Oh … one last thing. She designs clothes that I’m kind of obsessed with. As you can probably tell.

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Great quality, great prices and cutest designs. I love every product I have ever bought. I need to get my hands on one of her Yoga mats ASAP! You can online shop here!

xoxo

Abdominals

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“How do I get abs like this? What kind of exercises do you do for abs?”

Most common question I get. I’m not a professional, I’m not a personal trainer, but through A LOT of experimentation with exercises, and food/nutrition I found what works best for me. Abs are like any other muscle, you need to train them to build them.

PicMonkey Collage56756575The first picture was when I was mainly doing cardio and little to no weight or strength training. I would do straight cardio and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. You need to train and BUILD your muscle. The second picture is from this year doing no steady rate cardio, more strength training and HIIT.

HIIT + Ab/Core Exercises = Results:

I found a huge difference when I base my HIIT circuits around abs/core. For example, doing 1 minute of a high intensity cardio exercise and then 1 minute of an ab building exercise (I do this over and over with different exercises to make an entire workout anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes) gets my heart rate up like crazy, while also building those abdominal muscles. Abs muscles become visible when you burn the belly fat on top of them. It’s not easy. A lot of people hold their weight in their belly, and that’s normal! Also, it’s usually the last and most difficult spot for people to lose weight. BUT consistency, determination, pushing yourself, eating well and drinking lots of water will give you results!!!

Favourite High Intensity Exercises:

Burpees – these are my absolute favourite. I would rather do burpees all day every day than run a mile. Burpees are a full body exercise that burns fat and builds strength. They are hard. They suck. Sometimes I want to hurl, but I do them. They speed up your metabolism, which means you burn more calories throughout the day even when you aren’t training.

Kettle Bell Swings – 1 handed, 2 handed, they hit your hamstrings, glutes, core, back, while scorching calories.

Plank Jacks – These kill me so bad. So so so bad. I find them worse than burpees. You get in plank position and start jumping your legs in and out. I can hardly get through a minute of these, but they work! (Google them if you don’t know what they are) You’re working your core because you’re in plank position and you’re burning fat by getting your heart rate up.

Sprints – I hate running. More than 5 minutes, I get bored and don’t like it. But sprints, I love sprints. I’ll do 30 seconds to 1 minutes of sprints at a really fast pace (I usually do these on the treadmill anywhere from 8, 9mph +). I take a 15 second break between each sprint by jumping on the side of the treadmill. This might sound scary (lol), but it does take practice. Anyways, I’ll do anywhere from 3-10 sprints in a row depending on my workout

Favourite Ab/Core Exercises:

Bicycle Crunches – These are NOT effective unless you do them properly. This means doing them slow and controlled, keeping your elbows wide, holding your core tight and breathing. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but if you don’t perform them properly they are a waste of time. I do this in high repetition and vary the speeds. It takes practice and experimentation to figure out what gives you the best burn.

Knee Tucks with Stability Ball – Google or Youtube what these are to see how they are performed. Again you are in plank position so they strengthen your core already, but while using your abs to bring the ball in and back out KILLLLLS your muscles, in a good way of course.

Weighted Crunches – Getting in crunch position, bent knees, feet on the floor and holding a weight while you crunch up. Again, slow and controlled. Don’t use momentum. I find they give me really good definition in the center and upper abs. I use 15lbs + dumbbell or kettle bell.

Hip Twist-Butt-Ups – Or as Cassey aka Blogilates calls them “Waist Whittlers”. This is when you get in elbow plank position and twist to side to side and then do a butt-up, and back to plank position. Do these as many as you can until failure. They hit your muffin tops, oblique’s, upper, middle and lower abs. This is an absolute favourite.

 Blogilates does a 100 rep Waist Whittler challenge in this video:

Nutrition

Limiting processed, high sodium, trans fatty foods and drinking LOTS of water. That means cutting out fast-food and frozen meals and eating more fruits/vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole grains. You know what foods are good for you and what foods are bad for you. Limiting the crap will help you see results. Sticking with nutrient-dense foods and a combination of carbs, protein and fats to keep you feeling satisfied and full of energy. Drinking lots of water helps flush out your system and helps you from retaining water weight. I have a water bottle by my side all day to make sure I keep drinking even if I’m not thirsty.

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I cannot preach enough how important it is to stay consistent. Train hard, and push yourself. That’s what it takes. It’s not easy, and there are no quick fixes. Experiment with exercises, keep your body guessing, eat well and stay happy and I promise you will see the results you want to see.

Inside Out Quest Bar Peanut Butter Cups

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As you can tell, I love chocolate and I love peanut butter and there is nothing better than chocolate and peanut butter combined.  And what’s even better is chocolate + peanut butter + Quest Bars. Below are a few recipes of these combinations 🙂

For this recipe get your Quest Bars here

Inside-Out Quest Bar Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
  • 1/2 Cookies & Cream Quest Bar (or any kind you like)

Directions

Mix PB2 in a bowl while adding little bits of water as you stir until it gets to a spreadable constancy.

Cut 1/2 of your Quest Bar into 4 little pieces (technically each piece will be 1/8th of a full bar)

Fill half of a muffin mold with PB2 mixture, put Quest Bar piece in center, and then cover the rest of it with Pb2.

Fill up all your cups and put it in the freezer.

*Tip adding more water when mixing PB2 makes more of a mixture and allows amount of PB2 to be used further 🙂

They turn out looking like these babies 🙂

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Macros (1 serving = 2 cups

Calories: 90

Carbs: 11g

Fat: 4g

Protein: 11g

…… And another chocolate cup idea:

Cookie Dough Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1/8th Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bar

Directions

Melt dark chocolate in the microwave and stir

Fill up bottom half of muffin mold with chocolate.

Put Quest Bar piece in center and then fill the rest of the muffin mold with leftover dark chocolate.

Freeze. Devour

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Macros

Calories: 164

Carbs: 21g

Fat: 11g

Protein 5g

Don’t forget you can order Quest Bars here! And you get a free bar with your order 🙂