Tag Archives: abs

The Negative Side to Achieving Female Abs

With all this talk about summer and needing to be sexy in a bathing suit, I felt the need to share a little bit about my own experience with working towards those gotta-have abs. If you’re looking for the secret to abs, please stop reading immediately and continue to search through the Oxygen Magazine sitting on the coffee table nearby for the answer- because I promise you, what I’m going to tell you will either disappoint you or bring you relief and peace. I’m hoping it’s the second option.

I’m going to share a little bit about my story on the quest for perfect abs. But before we go into that, I am going to be blunt and tell you that I am still on that quest. Everything I am about to tell you is for both your benefit and mine, because I too forget the truth behind what it takes to get a six pack for females. I often look at photographs of my favourite fitness models and competitors and drool over those tight tummies, and then get a little infatuated with reaching that level of chiseled..ness.

As you all probably know, I was 100% dedicated for my fitness competition last year. No fruit. No sugar. No almond milk. No gluten. No dairy. No cheese. Honestly, the only foods I had for 20 weeks were egg whites, chicken, brown rice, oats, protein powder, broccoli, green beans and asparagus. Oh and one tablespoon of peanut butter per day. Every once in awhile I switched out oats for a little sweet potato. But there was NOTHING ELSE. If you think I’m kidding…well, I’m not kidding so just believe me.

At first, this post may seem like I’m dissing myself or aggravated at my fitness prep but that’s definitely not the case. There is more to this, I promise. I have a point and a message I want to send but first I want to recap last year’s quest for the perfect shredded physique.

This was my grocery cart for 20 weeks.

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photo-9This cooler was with me every where I went, whether it was to a party, to a meeting, to a study group or what have you.

I mean, the water bottle still goes everywhere with me but that’s still a downgrade from what I usually carried.
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4774220004f811e290351231381b5983_7 I spent my Friday nights in the fitness room of my gym wearing my heels, walking up and down checking out my smile, turns and making sure my booty was “poking out” enough. This was indeed a little fun for me, but at the same time, I do remember turning down a few really fun parties to do this instead. Oh, and I had to retake this picture several times before I posted it on Instagram because I thought I looked fat in some of them.
photo-25I was eating calorie free chocolate dip, dressings and pancake syrup. Calorie/carb/everything free dips….do you know how many chemicals were in this thing to make it taste so good but be so guilt free? My body HATED me for this. I was not “healthy” I was skinny..and this was my secret. Deathly, disgusting fake products.

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This became the only thing I read because it was the only thing that I was really interested in any more.

Now PLEASE do not get me wrong. I LOVE FITNESS MAGAZINES with my life. It’s actually been a dream of mine since I was little to work for a fitness magazine. It’s a huge passion for me. But it definitely shouldn’t be my only passion, right? I was become information-overloaded and it was all I was starting to think about.

Until I started to look like this.

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Now, you may not know my face very well but I’ll just tell you, I have a very round face. I have always kind of had that child-like face and even my body tends to want to be a little on the softer side. This picture here scares me. You probably can’t tell, but this is not what I look like. My legs look like twigs here and I have absolutely NO muscle development. All gone! Thankfully, this was mid prep and I ended up filling out a little better right before my show and developed a little more muscle definition.

So dieting+no social life+ eating out of Tupperware religiously+ no freedom in food choices+cardio every day+fake food= MY abs. I’m not saying this is how you got your abs, but I’m saying, in 2012, this is how I achieved my abs because I did what I was told by my coach and followed the fitness competition norms.

There are different ways to achieve abs I’m sure. Some people have awesome genetics. Some people take fat burners. Some people diet and don’t need to do much cardio to get abs. We are all different. But this is my story, so I’m sharing how I got them. I would love to think that eventually I could learn how to have them again by doing it differently but for the mean time, I’m not stressing. I enjoy being lean just from choosing whole, clean foods and that’s good enough for me. I absolutely LOVE getting stronger and seeing muscle growth. As a matter of fact, my face is getting fuller. My arms are getting bigger and stronger. My abs actually FEEL stronger, even though they are less noticeable. I get to cook fun meals and post them on my blog! I could never do that before because I was too scared to eat outside of my normal diet.

If you are about to follow or thinking about following a similar approach to getting abs you need to simply ask yourself…is it worth it? Are abs worth giving up 90% of everything else? That’s the question I have to ask myself from time to time. I need to channel my energy elsewhere, like developing stronger relationships, getting lost in music, calling my family to tell them I love them, help others learn how to be more than just LEAN but how to LIVE.

My dream is to help females STOP fantasizing and drooling over fitness models and their perfect abs and thinking “Oh if only I looked like that.” or “I’ll never be that skinny.” Because I promise you, those ladies had to make some serious sacrifices to get there and that’s because to them, it’s worth it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. They had to give up some things and work really freaking hard. I know this because I had to do the same. And after my competition, I remember telling my mom exactly this, “Mah, I had the perfect body for a few weeks. The one I’ve always wanted. In return, I lost social skills, missed out on relationships and had nowhere to go with this ‘perfect’ body because i was so terrified of messing it up. I will never again sacrifice my life for a lean set of abs.”  I do not have a 6 pack naturally and I never will. I was not born with those genetics. It’s easier for some than others and if you’re one of the “others” you need to decide what you really, truly want in the one life you have. Laughter and stress free dinners with family and friends? Or sweat-inducing nervous breakdowns because you’re scared of what that banana might do to your body fat levels. Maybe you can have a little bit of both. And if you can, that’s amazing. That’s called balance. It’s a point I have finally reached. I am conscious of my food choices but I allow myself to live in the moment.

These days when I find myself fantasizing, I just remember what it took for me to get to that “dream” level of leanness. It’s not what I want for my one and only life. I want to be happy. That’s where my heart truly lies these days.

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Chocolate Protein Pancakes

I realized something today…I will look at just about ANY recipe as long as the word “protein” is somewhere in the title. Protein cookies, protein waffles, protein pizza, protein wraps, etc.

Well out of all those recipes, I’m probably going to have to say that my favourite will always be the good ole traditional protein pancake. Some protein pancake recipes call for flour, oils, and lots of ingredients but I like this recipe because it only consists of two main ingredients: oats and egg whites. No blender needed!

Simple.

Easy.

Delicious.

So today after my workout I decided I wanted a second round of these babies but I wanted some more protein then just the egg whites. So I came up with this super quick recipe.

Ingredients:

4 egg whites

1/2 scoop Dymatize Elite Chocolate Whey

1/2 cup oats

Directions:

Mix it up in a small bowl and cook on the skillet as if it were a pancake:)

You can also add 1/2 banana in the batter for extra carbs. It’s up to you, have fun with it!

Top with  chocolate PB2 (if you’re eating this post workout, avoid regular peanut butter. The only time you should avoid fats is PWO. Opt for PB2 instead!)

My workout was chest, tricep abs and extra bicep work. I curled 60 lbs for the first time (without any help from a spotter) and I was so ridiculously happy. I had a little bit of a rough start to the morning but it’s crazy what a good workout session will do for the attitude. Oh and that fact that some handsome gentleman arrived at my door holding these didn’t hurt either:)

So, so so sweet. I’m such a lucky girl. It’s also  amazing what a beautiful bouquet of flowers will do to the heart:)

Hope you enjoy the recipe, happy Friday!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Last Chance Survey

Hello Weekend.

I’ve missed you so.

I had a very hectic week, jam packed with papers, tests, workouts and emails….I sure do email a lot for a person that doesn’t even have a full time job yet. I still have a ton to do for school next week but currently, I’m just kicking back in my apartment watching some Kate Hudson flick and prepping my week’s worth of chicken. This chicken prep was MUCH smaller than the normal amount of chicken I cook. I’m sure I’ll be stocking up again soon but I plan to incorporate more fish and other foods into my diet, so I though I’d go easy on the chicken purchases.

Anyways, I’ve seen this survey making its rounds in the blogging community and I decided to give it a go:) I first saw this on Laura‘s blog.

Last food you ate?

Just a simple bowl of oatmeal (plus cinnamon, stevia and a drop of vanilla extract) and a chocolate whey, spinach and kale protein shake.

Last beverage you drank?

Well the protein shake. Before that it was water mixed with Scivation Xtend intra workout. GRAPE flavored of course!

Last workout?

I just finished my Saturday legs & calves workout. TONS of squats, leg presses, sumo squats, calf raises, step ups and all sorts of shenanigans. And yes…today I even decided to do the dreadful hip abductor (but avoided all eye contact in the gym).

Last thing you pinned?

When I was reading this survey on Laura’s blog, I saw this recipe she created and pinned it. Chili Nutty Tofu. Sounds uhhhmazing.

Last text message you sent?

“Yuh. Fun stuff.”….not all that interesting

Last blog you visited?

I was looking online for a poetry book analysis and it took me to some book critic’s page.

Last tweet you sent?

I was confirming somebody’s question about whether or not the Nuts n More pumpkin spice peanut butter I bought was really all that great…..OF COURSE IT IS.

(*Running to take the chicken out of the oven*)

Last place you visited?

24 Hour Fitness

Last time you did ab work?

I consider squats to be excellent ab work…but last time I spent a good 15 minutes on abs alone was on Thursday when I did chest.

Last show you watched?

Good Morning America. #typical

Last thing you baked?

Sweet potato fries, yesterday.

What’s the last thing you Instagramed?

That PWO meal of oats and my protein shake

Last item on your to-do list today?

A long, long, long awaited sushi date:) EEL, BABY!!!

Do you like sprints, or steady state better?

That’s tough. I like sprints because I get sweater, it’s shorter and seems to pass by quickly. I like steady state on the stepmill though because I love working my booty.

Do you need coffee to get going in the morning?

Yeah, pretty much. That first taste puts me in an excellent mood. Plus, I’ve been drinking a lot of pumpkin flavored coffee lately and there’s no way I’m going to pass that up.

Time to do some work on those papers. Enjoy your Saturday:)

Say Goodbye to Stubborn Belly Fat With These 5 Tips!

When it comes to tummy troubles and shedding belly fat, the most important key is to stay consistent with your diet. A few months ago, before I had decided to compete, I had a much higher body fat percentage, but yet I ate clean for the most part, worked out regularly and constantly set goals for myself. Now, 12 weeks into my competition prep, I’ve finally figured out a few key ingredients to fat loss and how to tighten up that one devilish area we all put so much focus on. What it all comes down to is the food you put into your stomach. You can do 100 sit-ups a day, but as long as you feed yourself poorly, you will never uncover those tight abdominals. We all have a six-pack… it just depends on how far back in the fridge it is!

1. Cut Out Alcohol

Yeah, you’ve probably heard this one before. “But alcohol is a social norm,” right? No, the truth is you do not need poison to have a good time. You can sip on a water with lime and still enjoy the company you’re with and enjoy a nice evening. Alcohol is loaded with empty calories and sugar. Generally speaking, the consumption of alcohol usually leads to snacking and since your body is already working on breaking down those calories, the food you eat will turn straight into fat. If you want a tight and toned tummy, you cannot realistically lose any weight in that area if you’re drinking, even if it only happens a few times a month. Cut it out altogether!

2. Limit Sugar

Sugar is hiding everywhere. It’s in ketchup, drinks, fruit, bread, jelly, coffee creamer, you name it and it’s in there! One thing I’ve had to do is cut sugar out almost completely. If you’re going to consume fruit, try to have it immediately after a workout because that’s when it’s broken down the easiest. Otherwise, watch your sugar intake significantly- even when it seems harmless like coffee creamer or yogurt. Start buying the sugar-free Greek yogurt and try to sweeten your coffee with only Stevia. You’ll save tons of calories by making small changes like that.

3. H.I.I.T.

High Intensity Interval Training is one of the best cardio methods because not only is it much more exciting than running on a treadmill for 45 minutes at a time but it burns fat at a much quicker rate. Three times a week I walk on the step mill for 30 minutes and then two times a week I will perform HIIT on the treadmill for 20 minutes. This is where you alternate between sprinting and walking for a minute each. You’re heart rate will by flying and the fat will be melting!

4. Limit Cheat Meals

Food is a great thing and the last thing I want you to think I’m saying is that you can’t enjoy it. But what I am saying is that if you really and truly want to flatten your stomach, you need to cut back on the cheat meals. I suggest saving them for special occasions and if possible, still chose healthier options and be portion conscience. Even one cheat meal a week can discourage progress. Try to go a month without any cheats and keep pushing yourself afterwards! Instead of cheating, try to spice up already clean foods by seasoning them differently or making new “clean” combinations. Also, reward yourself by buying a new piece of athletic clothing or some new music to put on your workout playlist. That will keep you motivated for the week ahead!

5. Carb Cycle

This is the final step that can turn a B body into an A plus. It’s definitely not the only way to get a toned stomach but it can make a big difference if you reach a plateau in your fat loss journey. Carb cycling is where you alternate between low carb days and high carb days. Heavy lifting days, such as leg days, would be where you consume more carbs than light lifting days or rest days. These carbs are healthy carbs of course, such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats and whole grains. The change in carb intake shocks your body and keeps your metabolism kickin’! It’s a great strategy to lose body fat while still being able to fuel your body properly and maintain energy levels.

Remember that your stomach is not a wastebasket; it’s extremely important that you fill it with nutrient-rich foods that will be put to good use! Some of these things might be a little more difficult to master than others but only you can determine what your body looks like. Personally, I’ve always thought that nothing tastes as good as being fit feels.

This article can also be found on the amazing and educational fitness website Trimmed And Toned by clicking here. Check out all of there awesome interviews and articles about weight loss, building muscle and nutrition!