Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wedding/Honeymoon Plan of Attack

If you don’t know by now, Friday is my wedding day!!! While I am EXTREMELY excited to be getting married to a man who has been my supportive rock for nearly the past 5.5 years, I am also a little apprehensive about the next week and a half.

This will be the first time in 6 months that I have not counted macros for more than a day or had a relatively set workout schedule. I know a lot of you will probably be thinking “go head giiiirl – you work hard, you deserve this time off, enjoy it!” I know because I tell myself the exact same thing!! It should be easy for me to be like “this is your WEDDING and HONEYMOON. It is time to let your hair down and simply enjoy yourself.” And I wish it could be that simple…

But the truth is, I am worried about gaining weight, increasing body fat and/or becoming somewhat de-conditioned. It is a BIG deal to me that I won’t know exactly how my food is cooked or what macro ratios I will be eating. It is a BIG deal that I won’t be hitting my exercise regiment as strictly as I do now. And it is a BIG deal that I don’t know what I will be coming back to in regards to competition prep directly following my honeymoon. Put simply - It scares me.

So here is my plan…..

Food – try to eat as clean as possible (after all, we are going up the coast so seafood should be the freshest!). I will enjoy some adult beverages, unclean food, and really try to relax a bit. I know my fiancĂ© deserves it as I am crazy about 99.9% of the time LOL. He really does put up with my weird dinner combinations and crazy planning for nights out. For the most part though, I will try to keep my options mostly clean because I really don’t want to ruin all of my hard work from these past couple of months. Plus, I just FEEL BETTER eating a cleaner diet and it makes me happy.

Exercise – I am using this time as a sort of “de-load” week. I can feel my body is tired (probably from the build up of cortisol in my system as well..) and needs to rest from the heavy lifting. I had planned on lifting today (Tuesday) with my last day being on Wednesday but I have come down with severe allergies or a cold, BOO! So today I am resting and tomorrow I will be too. I definitely do not want to be sick on my wedding day!!

We leave for our honeymoon on Sunday and all of our hotel rooms have fitness facilities that I will go to for some cardio sessions and maybe light weights and/or bodyweight exercises. We also have activities planned like bike riding, hiking, and walking everywhere we go. I want to stay active this trip, not just bum around the whole time =) Staying active also makes me happy!

I guess overall, I am going to work really hard to not focus on my diet, exercise or social media and instead put all of that energy into having a blast with my new husband!! (OMG that sounds soooo weird LOL) - I hope you all have an amazing week and a half and I will see you when I come back as Mrs. Valdez <3

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fat Loss before Lean Mass Gain

I bet you want to lose fat and gain muscle all at once, right? I actually think everyone has this same goal! Unfortunately, I am here to break the bad news to you… it is nearly impossible to lose weight AND gain a significant amount of muscle.

Now I know, “hold up wait a minute…. I can lose fat and gain muscle!” And yes, you are correct… to a certain extent. What I am describing here is someone who has more than 5-10 pounds of vanity weight who wants to really tone up while still losing.

In a way, I blame social media and what we see in the movies and on TV. Everyone wants to go from 50+lbs overweight to a fit and toned individual. Celebrities make it look like one day they were fat and the next they had guns that could take down the next paparazzi. Even Beach Body sells you programs stating you can go from overweight to fitter than an Olympian. I got sold into the Insanity madness too, thinking I would be one hell of athlete by the end of it – but all I got was a bum knee and some inches lost... in fact, my weight stayed almost exactly the same. I know programs like these do work for some people, mostly people already in decent shape to begin with, but these companies target the individuals who want incredible instant results.
The truth is, you have to take your journey one step at a time. First, focus on weight loss. Get your eating under control and become consistent with your exercise. You will gain some muscle during this phase, but really just focus on losing the extra pounds. This journey is a process, don’t make it overly complicated. Once you lose the weight by eating healthy (maybe counting calories? It helps!), doing cardio and incorporating body weight exercises into the mix, THEN switch your focus to building muscle.

(((Let me be clear here - I am NOT saying to ditch the weights and only do cardio! You need a good mix of cardio, body weight and resistant training.)))

I see a ton of women in the gym with weight to lose slaving over weight machines. While I do recommend working in body weight exercises and maybe some 5-10lb weights to increase resistance, I don’t feel like an hour on the weight machines is time well spent. To burn calories you need to keep your heart rate up. Body weight exercises allow you to do just this! Some typical exercises include squats, lunges, pushups, box steps/jumps, jump rope, etc. And truth be told, when you are overweight, your own body weight is usually enough!

Once you reach your goal weight (or pretty close to it) THEN this is the time to change your body composition! You do this by swapping cardio with heavy weights. Lifting heavy decreases body fat while building muscle. During this phase you want to increase your calories in order to build muscle. Notice how in the weight loss phase, you needed a calorie deficit (or lower calorie allotment) in order lose. Here you need a surplus (or at least slightly over maintenance calories) to really build. This is one of the main reasons why losing a lot of weight and building a ton muscle does not go hand in hand. You can’t eat in a deficit and expect your body to grow. It just doesn’t work like that.

So, if you are at your goal weight and want to increase lean muscle mass – lift heavy my friends. Lift with your heart and may the meathead guide your way. Until then, stay in cardio bunny heaven for a bit and keep losing those pounds.

And remember, in both weight loss and muscle gain phases, diet is key. Without proper nutrition both phases aren’t worth the time it takes to eat a cheeseburger. So keep your diet mostly healthy and you’ll be a winner.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Macros... the exciting reveal!

After many MANY requests to know what my macros are…. I have finally decided to share them!

First before I share, please remember that macros are INCREDIBLY personal and individualistic. What I eat won’t necessarily get you to where you want to be. Depending on your goals (fat loss and/or muscle gain, changing body composition, etc) your macros will differ … most likely quite a bit too! So take my macros with a grain of salt per say…

Just as my caloric intake and macro count will yield different results for you based on your goals, the ratio in which I consume my macros will have an effect on you as well. For example, some people can tolerate carbohydrates much better than another person who might tolerate a higher fat diet better.

Because of this, you need to understand a couple things first: What is your body type? Does your body tolerate and utilize a certain macro better (fat vs carbs)? What are your goals (fat loss vs lean mass gain)?

Counting macros is really like a science experiment. You start off with an initial ratio of carbs/protein/fat and work your way up from there. Really listen to your body. When you eat a certain food are you bloated, energized, lethargic, etc? These will all clue you in to if you can tolerate certain foods and what helps to keep your body working on a max level. Overall, you want to ingest foods that help you to perform optimally every day. If you start to gain fat or feel tired, you might want to take a look at your ratios and switch things up!

Why did I start counting macros instead of just sticking to counting calories (like I did when I was losing weight)? I dream of hitting the stage in a figure competition suit and bringing the best package I can. For this, I need to change my body composition to have a lower body fat %. Counting macros helps me to do this. I tried to figure out my own macros, and it worked for a few weeks, but then I started to increase body fat again. After a lot of research, I found a nutrition coach (Coach Brian Melancon at C620 Nutrition) who helps me reach my nutrition goals and look/feel the best I can. I would highly recommend looking into hiring a professional to help you if you have the resources. Trust me, it pays off! Even if you just have someone to set you up at first and then adjust on your own after that =)

Ok, on to what you really want to know! I have two higher carb days a week. I schedule these on days where I work back and legs. Since you are working your larger muscle groups within the body, the carbs will be utilized in a more efficient manner (google why this is the case – there is a ton of information on it!) When I have my higher carb days, I consume lower amounts of fat and protein (it is a give and take sort of equation).

My higher carb days look like this – 300g Carbs / 150g Protein / 60g Fat (approx 2,252 calories)
My lower carb days look like this – 210g Carbs / 170g Protein / 65g Fat (approx 2,000 calories)

I actually prefer my lower carb days because I absolutely LOVE fat =) I also consume between 30-40g of fiber per day. I don't worry about sodium intake at the moment because of my exertion in the gym. 

It is also kind of important to note that I did not start out with eating this much!! I had to consistently build up my intake (which Coach B helped me with). I continue to increase my calories and macro ratios each week. My main goal as of right now is to eat as much as I possibly can without gaining weight. I want to gain lean mass and in order to do this, I need to EAT. Which I am A-OK with!!

Lay out the app as you eat!
How do I log my macros?
I use MyFitnessPal on my phone to log all of my food (you can also use their website if you are computer/laptop based). I weigh everything on my food scale (yes EVERYTHING) and make sure to hit my macros within 3g every day. 

Some of my go-to macros are.....
Carbs - white rice, berries, high fiber tortillas, sweet potato, veggies, banana, Ezekiel bread, beans and rice cakes
Protein - chicken, lean ground turkey, eggs, egg whites, Greek yogurt, whey protein powders, casein (slow digesting protein), cheese and peanut butter
Fat - egg yolks, pepper-jack cheese, nuts, nut butters

Some good resources to figure out your macros are:
IfItFitsYourMacros.com (I used this as starting point to calculate mine)
MyFitnessPal.com  (I use this to input and keep track of my food every day.. yes, EVERY day)

Figure out your body type: Take the Quiz!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mancakes Product Review

Mancakes... pancakes.... womancakes? 

Whatever you want to term this healthy foodie packet of gold, it doesn't change the fact that these were delicious!

When I first saw Mancakes on Instagram, I knew I wanted to try these bad boys! And I sure wasn't wrong!

What is easier than mixing a pre-made packet with water or milk? NOTHING that's what! I didn't even measure my water... I just went balls to the wall and eyeballed it lol. Perfect, fluffy pancake goodness that tasted just like a buttermilk naughtycake.

Like most people, I couldn't help but lick the bowl.... which tasted very "earthy". Not really recommended... and lucky for me, the final product didn't taste grassy at all!

What I love about Mancakes : 21-23g of Protein, 9-10g Fiber, No Gluten, No Soy, No GMOs and No added sugars. BOOM.

I topped mine with bacon and agave - because who doesn't love baconcakes?! Next time, I might just pull out my waffle iron and treat myself to a continental breakfast - thanks Mancakes!

To order your Mancakes, check out www.eatmancakes.com today!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pushing Past Hard

I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday and I wanted to expand a bit more on the topic of pushing past your comfort zone and those pesky sabotaging thoughts of insecurity and doubt…

“I hate how hard it is at first.” I hear this ALL the time from my clients – and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I said it myself. The truth is, just making the decision to commit (and I mean really commit) to changing your life around is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. You will have to choose between what you know (and what is comfortable) and completely change your mindset to do what you think is impossible – what you never dreamed of doing…. living the life you have always wanted to live. This can be applied to anything - achieving your dream body, finding love or even switching careers.
“Hard” just doesn’t refer to the exercise aspect of this whole journey. In fact, “hard” is more commonly associated with the mental aspect of weight loss (or anything else really!). Sure, the workouts will be brutal and you might even puke, but dealing with what goes on inside your own head is usually much harder. Surpassing thoughts of self-doubt, impossibility, judgment, etc. are all extremely difficult.
Some of the thoughts that would run through my head included things like:
“You’ve tried to many times before, how will this time be different?”
“You’re just meant to be fat, you’ve been like this your whole life.”
“People will see you in the gym and judge you for being fat.”
“You just can’t do it.”
“Its such a big goal, how can you ever achieve that?”
I can recall times when I would go to the gym and the parking lot would look incredibly full. I would get such bad anxiety that a ton of beautiful fit people were going to see me and watch me work out that I would just go home. I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car and go inside! I wouldn’t even run on a treadmill (even though I desperately wanted to) because I thought the loud thumps of my feet hitting the belt would annoy everyone and draw unwanted attention to myself. These thoughts really took up a lot of my energy in the beginning. And I am not going to lie to you, sometimes I still feel like this. For example, when I moved to a new community back in August and had to go to a new gym, I had such bad anxiety about stepping into the weight room that I actually stuck to cardio for a good week (and you all know how much I hate cardio!). It was completely ridiculous - my head was full of those same old insecurities even though I am a completely different person now….
 “People are going to watch you wander around the gym looking lost”
“What if you don’t know how to set up a machine?” 
“What if you can’t find weights to use?”….
So just remember - you aren’t alone. And really, no one is looking at you or judging you. And if they are, screw them. I give so much kudos to the men and women I see in the gym who are working towards a healthier life. And I see other people thinking the same – some even go up to encourage them! (which is so amazing!)
I guess what I am getting at is that we have to overcome ourselves in most cases in order to become successful.
Here’s something that I do – whenever I am feeling self conscious or uncomfortable/anxious with a certain situation, I just pretend I’m okay. I act as if nothing is bothering me and I face my fears head on. How I look at is like this, I can either be afraid and not do something I want to do or I can act like its okay and usually it ends up being okay. 
Why choose to be afraid when situations usually end up not being as bad as we originally think they are going to be? Isn’t it better to be optimistic (even if we do fail) than living a life of pessimism? I know I would rather try to change my life and be happy than stay miserable and comfortable (or rather uncomfortable). 
It took me a long time to build up to this way of thinking. Pushing past hard takes courage, strength, and the overwhelming need to change. Yes, it is going to be hard at first - it will be hard to find motivation, it will be hard to get up early to work out, it will be hard to say no to the cheeseburger and get chicken instead. Choose YOUR hard. For me, staying fat and unhealthy was harder than changing my lifestyle.

It’s up to you. What hard will you choose to push past?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Meal Prepping - My Strategy

There are a ton of ways to meal prep.... cook a weeks worth of food on Sunday, maybe prep a couple days of food or just prep tomorrow's food to have it ready to go. I take the second strategy. My work schedule allows me to only have to prep a few days in advance. However, some staples I prep for the week. So this is basically how I roll....

Food I prep for the week - cook white rice (usually 2 cups - measured uncooked), chop up 2 bell peppers and 1 red onion for breakfast, and if I make a casserole or main dish, I cook that up and portion it out as well.

I also prep chicken in the crockpot (Tapatio, bag of frozen chicken and some Mrs. Dash - cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours).... I make my peanut butter and banana sandwiches for my pre-workout meals for the week and freeze them (2 slices of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread with 1 tablespoon Laura Scudders chunky all natural PB and 70-90g of banana depending on if it is a high or low carb day).

That is ALL the food I prep for the entire week.

Food I prep for a couple days - Steel cut oats for my 2 higher carb days mixed with protein powder (usually BSN's Cinnamon Bun)

Food I prep the night before - Since I usually have clients to work out at 5 am, I prep my post-workout meal (breakfast) that I eat when I get to my office the night before. This usually consists of 2 eggs, 1/2 cup egg whites, bell pepper & onion, 2 slices of ultra thin pepper jack cheese, 2 slices of turkey bacon, and 1.5oz of power greens (from Costco).

I also throw together my lunch from food I have already cooked earlier (like the rice and chicken). Dinners are always made the day of.

Planning out my meals!

How do I know what to eat or how to plan it all out? 

What portions to eat - I have a nutrition coach that I absolutely LOVE working with. I have seen great results like lower bodyfat %, increased lean muscle, and overall more food and a happier Kelly. His name is Brian Melancon and you can find him on Facebook and Instagram (C620 Nutrition) or email him at c620nutrition@gmail.com if you are really interested in stepping up your game. I would highly recommend it! So coach B gives me my macros that I eat everyday. I plan WHAT I eat, but he plans HOW MUCH I eat. 

Planning it all out - I usually take Sunday to plan out half my week. I have everything logged up until Wednesday (my day off from the office) which is when I plan the rest of the week. I use MyFitnessPal to log EVERYTHING. 

Yes, it does take some time to plan it all out and log it, but for me, it works and I love it. I also weigh and measure everything! If I wasn't really focusing on building muscle and making my way to the figure stage, I would probably just stick to eating healthy whole foods instead of being so OCD.. =)

This is my food scale that I use and love... It measures grams and ounces and I seriously would be lost without it! I measure everything from my BCAA's to my casein protein to my chicken. I would suggest getting a scale to better help you know how much you are eating if you want to get geeky like me!!

If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know I never eat boring food.... while I commend the people that can eat Tilapia, brown rice and broccoli day in and day out... eating flexible works better FOR ME. 

I enjoy eating what I want. Now this doesn't mean I fill my macro allotment with shitty food. That's definitely NOT what I am all about. I try to eat natural whole foods as much as possible. But flexible dieting does allow me to have chocolate chips at night and my fair share of peanut butter =) Just to reiterate, I have a nutrition coach who gives me my macros. I tried to figure it out on my own using IIFYM.com but I didn't understand it enough to make any progress (I actually gained body fat)... so get yourself a coach if you really want solid advice!! 

Where I get my meal ideas - A lot of the time, I just think of what I want to eat for the week. Whatever sounds good to me is what I figure into MyFitnessPal for the week. I also use Pinterest (my profile) as a way to get meal ideas. There are a TON of great blogs all linked in one place with crockpot meals and casseroles. 

That is how I meal plan/prep for the week =) If you have any other questions feel free to leave them below and I will try my best to get to them all!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Current Workout Schedule =)

I have updated my workout schedule for you all to see! I am in the process of really trying to build up a better V taper for my back (which is why I do 2-3 days of back) =) I am also hitting legs pretty good too!!

Monday :::: Quads & Back + HIIT

  • Quads - Leg Press, Wide leg squats with heel on weights, regular squats, leg extensions 
  • Back - Pull downs, assisted pull ups and rows
  • HIIT - Bike at 8 resistance... 5 minute warm up -> 0:20 seconds peddle as fast as you can then 1:40 peddle at constant speed (active rest) - do this for 7 rounds

Tuesday :::: Hammies, Glutes & Abs

  • Hammies - Hamstring Extensions, smith machine sumo squats, leg press, lunges
  • Glutes - Reverse hip abductors, cable kick backs, weighted bridges
  • Abs - planks and leg raises

Wednesday :::: Triceps, Back & Abs + HIIT

  • Triceps - Skull crushers, straight arm rope pull downs, seated overhead extensions, dips
  • Back - Lat pull downs, heavy dumbbell rows, wide grip pull ups
  • Abs - Captains chair, in & outs, side jack knives
  • Sprints on the treadmill - 5 minute warm up -> 0:20 seconds at 11 then 1:40 at 6 x 7 rounds

Thursday :::: REST DAY

Friday :::: Biceps, Shoulders & Chest
  • Biceps - Preacher curls, EZ bar curls, reverse curls, smith machine curls
  • Shoulders - Medial delt raises, post delt cable reverse, shoulder press, arnold press
  • Chest - pec deck, dumbbell flies

Saturday :::: Personal Training (with mom and sister) - lots of full body exercises!

Sunday :::: REST DAY or more back (rows, military presses, etc.)

A lot of my exercises are done with slower contractions (positives) and negatives. I do this because it allows me to have FULL control of whatever I am using (cables, dumbbells, barbell, etc.) while connecting my mind to my body. I mentally squeeze the muscle I am working and have seen better results with this method. Some exercises I still do with constant speed though, it just depends =) 

Hope this helps to give you an idea of what I do each week!