Tag Archives: summer

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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A Recipe to Kickstart Your Spring Tastebuds- Broccoli Slaw Salad!

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In case you didn’t already know- I’m secretly obsessed with dried fruit and nuts. I want them in EVERYTHING. Salads, oatmeal, trailmix (duh), protein bars, protein pancakes, etc. I love dried fruit but unfortunately I never really treat myself to much dried fruit these days. I had bought some craisins (dried cranberries) in a moment of weakness a week ago and was wondering what kind of recipe I could use it in so that I could eat it a little bit of a time instead of 4 handfuls at once (it can easily be done!). During this initial period of brainstorming, I was having an odd craving for broccoli slaw and then boom. I realized this would be a perfect combination. I had some almond slivers in the pantry too that I needed to use so I quickly got to work making this scrumptious summery dish.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sliced raw almonds
1 12-oz package broccoli slaw
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp Greek yogurt (I omitted this because I’m not eating dairy but this would give it a creamier texture)
1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 packets Stevia
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:On a nonstick skillet (or in a toaster over), toast the almond slivers on medium heat. Remove the almonds and place them in a small bowl with the dried cranberries.
Next, mix the rest of your ingredients in a bowl (except for the broccoli slaw) and whisk together until everything is completely mixed. Add your cranberries and almonds into the bowl.
Place your broccoli slaw in a dish and pour over/stir in the dressing. Place the salad into the fridge to chill for a couple hours and then enjoy!

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Doesn’t that just look so fresh and delicious?! I love broccoli slaw made this way. Some other things you could add into this would be golden raisins, onions, balsamic vinegar, orange slices, cucumber or any other ingredients you like in your salad!

Anyways, there’s some other stuff I wanted to share with you today. I’ve kinda kept this on the DL because I don’t want to appear fickle jumping back and forth on diets but for the past week I’ve been doing paleo once more. I did it for several days a month ago and then quickly jumped back on the grain train because I thought I wouldn’t be able to gain any muscle without stuffing my face with brown rice and oats. After 3 weeks of doing just that I felt sick, tired, sleepy, puffy and worst of all- I was counting calories and macros every single day and it was driving me….CRAZY. I can honestly say, after 2 years of counting calories, I need a big break. I’m supposed to be bulking, hello?! This is the fun part where I get to eat CLEAN and train MEAN without having to count every ounce of food and measure all my portions. For bulking, I’m still eating very healthy of course and I have a good idea of portion sizes just by eyeballing it, but now that I haven’t had grains for a few days I’m starting to feel a little hungrier than normal. I think my body is starting to realize carbs aren’t going to be my main source of energy now, but fats as well. I’m planning on eating 1 piece of fruit in the morning and then a little over 1 cup of sweet potatoes after my workout. The rest of my carbs will come from veggies and maybe a few other startchy veggie carbs here and there like yams, if I get particularly hungry.

One of the main reasons why I am doing this is to 1. feel better on the inside and 2. take a new approach to building muscle. I’ve done the average 40-30-30 zone diet and it hasn’t given me all that much improvement so maybe with my body type more fats will do me some good. This may not work out perfectly, but it’s worth a shot. I at least FEEL better. From what I’ve read, the paleo diet is GREAT for maintaining muscle and getting lean and if done right- putting on size as well. Most likely, I’m not going to be a “paleo purist” though. I’m going to continue to use Stevia and occasionally honey in my recipes (like this one), I’m not going to eat ALL grassfed/organic foods because I can’t afford it (college life…ahh) and the closest I’m going to get to bacon will probably be turkey bacon. I just don’t think I can mentally wrap my mind around bacon being okay, not for now at least! I AM going to start eating a lot more beef though. Animal fats are indeed great, especially when all other processed foods have been exiled. If you’re a caveman who’s building muscle give me a shout out and let me know what your experience has been like:)

Birthday Weekend & My Competition Suit

So it’s been one crazy week. Sorry about not posting for awhile! I’ve had to move into my new apartment, celebrate my 21st birthday and still keep up with my crazy diet and workout schedule! Being 21 is great, I’m glad that I finally have the freedom to go into places that only “21 and up” can enter. Even though I don’t drink, I can still have fun…I feel like that may be a hard concept for some people to grasp at this day and age but alcohol is not exactly a friend to your body. It stores fat, damages your liver and leads to mysterious, sometimes regrettable nights. I can honestly say one of the BEST decisions I have made was to do this competition because it has given me the willpower to say no to going out to the bars and drinking. Plus, many of the  changes my body has made I owe to the lack of alcohol:) If you want to tighten up your tummy area, let me tell you right now, nixing the alcohol will do WONDERS! Everybody has the willpower to do it, but it’s up to you to actually make the commitment. One time I asked a friend of mine how she her 6 pack…She said she cut out the alcohol, discovered a 6 pack, and right when she started adding in her nightly glasses of wine again, the 6 pack went away. I believe having wine occasionally is no big deal and good for the heart but just don’t go wine crazy! You can achieve the body you want by making small sacrifices such as that.

These are a few pictures from my birthday night!

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Anyways, I found my competition suit on Sunday! I’m sooo excited! Oddly enough, it’s the one colour I really thought I was not going to get. It’s lime green! But there is also a touch of turquoise, which I think looks great on blonde competitors. I’m glad I tried on suits now because it gave me that little bit of extra motivation I was needing. Since I wasn’t able to celebrate my 21st with my family or in the traditional way most people celebrate their 21st birthday, I decided what’s a better way for an NPC competitor to celebrate than by buying their competition suit?!

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If you’re in the ATX area and need to find a suit, I know exactly where you should go to try them on and find the perfect fit. My friend Abby- the “bikini genie”- sells Sweet Revenge suits and can hook you up with an amazing suit. Feel free to message me for more information and I can direct you to her!

I also got my shoes, so it’s time I start practicing walking in those babies.

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My senior year of school starts in 8 days so I’m just going to try to enjoy these last few days of summer (my LAST summer ever!!) and focus on my routine. What’s been happening with you guys lately?!