Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Adopt, don't shop.

This morning we brought home our newest addition, a pitbull puppy named Bella!

Bella came from our area Animal Control - she had been there in hopes that her owner would claim her - when they didn't after the 6 day holding period, we decided to make her a part of our family.

Most Animal Control facilities have a maximum holding period, and if a dog is not claimed in that period they are at risk of being euthanized... Bella was the sweetest dog we have ever met and wants nothing more than to be loved - the thought of her being put down was unbearable, so we decided to rescue her.

I urge you to check your local Animal Control, Humane Society, and Rescue groups next time you are looking for a new pet - these dogs are always at risk of being euthanized - especially breeds like pitbulls.

I would like to introduce you all to Bella, you will be seeing a lot of her from now on :-)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend on the Coast

We spent a long weekend with John's parents this weekend - and it was such a much-needed vacation!  I slacked a lot on the picture taking, but here are a few I managed to get while we were down there.

We ate some incredible food, hung out by the pool, ventured down to the pier, went to a really wonderful church service Sunday, and just had a great time being around loved ones.

I didn't step foot in a gym, didn't track any of my food, and ate to my hearts content.  Years ago I would've majorly stressed about all of the above, but I am finally at a good point in my life where a few days away from the daily grind doesn't bother me the way it used to - I am able to enjoy the time off without the old anxiety that it would have brought with it.  That being said, 4 days away from the gym means I am ready to kill it tonight!

The view from the back deck - absolutely beautiful.

How cool is this?! A newspaper article from 2005 featuring my baby!
My future mother in law - love her to pieces!

This was hands down the BEST Tiramasu I have ever had - the restaurant was called Del Sur.
Obligatory roadtrip snapchat selfie with Lily.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bi-Weekly Check-in (4/21/15) and Thoughts on The Pill (hormonal birth control and fitness).

If you remember from my last check in, I made some diet/training changes in hopes of stopping this trend of dropping weight that I seem to have found myself on... The verdict is in, and I am down another pound.  Not what I was hoping to see, to be honest, BUT when I took my measurements I was pleasantly surprised.

Calf: 15 inches
Quad: 22.25 inches
Hips: 35.5 inches
Waist: 26 inches
Forearm: 11 inches
Bicep: 13.5 inches
Weight: 129.8
Previous check in (4/7):
Unfortunately, I lost another quarter inch around my quad.  BUT I was actually able to put a quarter inch on my bicep and half an inch on my calves!  The growth in my calves is huge for me - I have been battling sesamoiditis in my left foot for over 6 months, and have not been able to do any typical "calf-isolating" exercises.  Luckily, this is just proof that you don't necessarily have to isolate calves in order to see improvement - my heavy squats seem to be taking care of that for me!  Now, some people (especially if your calves are a lagging bodypart) will find that isolating them specifically during training will be a huge help, luckily my calves have always been a genetic strength of mine, so I can get by without isolating them.

I also lost half an inch around my waist, which you will not hear me complain about!  This is the smallest my waist has been in 2 years (since my last show) - and I have to say I'm shocked.  Overall this is the leanest I have ever been without being in active show prep - and to be honest I haven't really been trying very hard.  I watch what I eat (for the most part), do minimal cardio, and lift heavy...  

Really, the only thing I can credit this to, besides 6 years of training, is finally getting off "the Pill".  Since I got off the Pill in January of last year, I have noticed incredible changes not only to my body, but to my hair (I had previously been losing a LOT of hair on a daily basis, which some people attribute to the hormones in birth control), and my mental health (the excess estrogen from the Pill was literally making me bat shit crazy).  I am not a doctor (obviously), but I can tell you from personal experience that coming off hormonal birth control and switching to an IUD was the best decision I have ever made.  If you are having issues that can be attributed to the Pill, it may be worth having a talk with your doctor about other options.

I'm sure there are many women in the situation I was in last year when I made the switch - if this is something you'd be interested in, I could absolutely dedicate a post to my experiences, and the changes I have noticed since switching to an IUD.

Anyway, now that I have gone off on a tangent, back to the subject at hand...
I do not plan on making any changes to my diet just yet - we will be taking a long weekend trip to see John's parents this weekend so I'm sure I will make up for some of my weight loss while we're there - but after that I am going to really take a look at my meal plan and training schedule to narrow down where I need to make some changes to meet my goals.  

I have been tossing around the idea of competing in just under 12 weeks - so I need to make a decision on that as well, because if that's the case it will obviously effect what changes I make to my diet and training schedule.  I am seriously considering doing the NPC GA in July - it's been a very long 2 years since the last time I got on stage, and I am really itching to get back up there.

My leanest 'off-season' ever!
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Five Things Friday (4/17)

It’s been quite awhile since I've linked up with Clare for a Five Things Friday Post, but this week there is just too much I am loving not to share some of them!

First of all, I am LOVING warm weather!  Summer comes early in Georgia (MUCH earlier than I’m used to, being from Pennsylvania) and I couldn't be happier!  I think a trip to my favorite flip-flop wall is definitely in order.
Secondly, I am super excited for the upcoming travel plans we have!  This time next week, we will be with John’s parents, taking in my favorite view, with my favorite people!

AND we just booked our flights to PA to see my parents at the end of May!  I cannot wait to see them – since I moved we only get to see them about twice a year and I am so looking forward to getting back up there!
Third, CELLUCOR!  I am lucky enough to be working with this amazing company now, and as a result of that I get to offer all of YOU 25% off your entire order at cellucor.com by using code NBLYFIT at checkout – you will also get FREE SHIPPING if you sign up for their email list.  I absolutely love their products and have been using them for years – they are a great company and have some really incredible products, and I am so excited to be working with them.

Their preworkout, C4, is fantastic – and they have some of the best tasting protein (and fun flavors)!  My favorites are Peanut Butter Marshmallow, COR-fetti, SMORES, and Molten Chocolate – they have some other great flavors (Red Velvet?!) that I am looking forward to trying in the future.
They have also just recently launched a whole new line of products, I haven’t gotten to try any of them YET, but I have heard only good things – and based on my experiences with Cellucor’s products I don’t doubt that they will be great!
If you are looking for high-quality, cheap (hello 25% off) supplements to aid in your fitness journey, check them out!  And if you have any questions about any of their products, let me know :-)

Fourth – Counting Crows is touring again! They are easily my all-time favorite band, and I have seen them live more times than I can count.  I missed them last year, and was bummed, but am already looking at tickets for this year.  And an added bonus? They are touring with Citizen Cope, one of John’s (and my) favorites – they always tour with some amazing people, and this is no exception.  I can’t wait to see them!

And last, but absolutely not least, is this guy.  
Tomorrow marks 18 months with John, and I just have to take a second to get a little mushy.  I love this man with every ounce of my being – he is my very best friend and my other half.  He is so good to me, and makes me happier than I have ever been – I am so blessed to have him in my life.

I love you so much John, thank you for everything you do for me – for always loving me even when I don’t deserve it – for showing me that there is still hope for love when I thought there wasn’t – for making me a better person – for taking care of me and for always being there, no matter what.  You have made the past 18 months the very best 18 months of my life, I can’t wait to see what the next 18 months, years, and lifetimes have in store for us.

Ok, that’s all I have for today – I hope you all have a great weeked!
What are some of your favorites lately?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What I ate... (Tuesday, 4/14)

Since my WIAW posts are usually WIAS(Saturday or Sunday), I figured I’d do one today showing my meals on a weekday instead – typically my weekday eats are the same all week – the only thing that will change is the post workout meal (depending if it is a day off or not) and my dinner.  I like keeping my weeks structured because it makes my life easier (less thought = easier in my world) and by keeping my meals a little “cleaner” during the week, I can afford to slide a little more on weekends without suffering too many consequences.

I wanted to make this kind of a “day in the life” post too – I love reading other about other people’s days so maybe someone out there wants to read about mine? Maybe? Well, here it is anyway:

5:30 AM wake-up call!  I actually set 2 alarms prior to this (5 and 5:15) but 5:30 is usually the winner – sometimes 5:45 if I’m feeling really risky.  I get up and get ready for my day – wash my face, get dressed, straighten my hair, grab my meals from the fridge (thank God for Sunday meal prep – I could never prep my meals everyday – kudos if you do though!), and wake the Princess up to go out before I leave for the day.
If she had a choice, she would not move from this bed for 23 hours out of the day...
 6:30 AM out the door.  It takes me about an hour to get to work, so I have to be out the door no later than 6:30…

7:30 AM arrive at work - turn on my computer, dread opening my emails, and get on with my day.

8:30 AM breakfast!  During the week I don’t eat breakfast first thing in the morning, I usually don’t have an appetite at 5:30 or the patience to make food – 8:30 is a good time for me, gives me a chance to fully wake up and actually get hungry before I force down a meal.  Breakfast during the week is not typical: tuna, brown rice, and peas – with Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing.
Noon  lunch!  My second meal of the day is broccoli, more brown rice, chicken, and Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing (I love that stuff).
2 PM  we usually try to take a walk sometime around 2 – we walk for half an hour or so around the site – it is a great break after having been in the office for 6 ½ hours already, and from spending most of that time sitting in front of a computer.

3:30 PM my third meal of the day is my pre-workout meal, eaten about 2 hours before I will start lifting.  Chicken, sweet potatoes, parmesan cheese, topped with Sriracha sauce – this is my absolute favorite meal of the day.
4 PM leave work, head to the gym.  I have another hour drive ahead of me, so I won’t get to the gym until right about 5.  I drink my pre-workout on the way, usually around 4:45.
5 PM arrive at the gym – change into my workout clothes, and lift!  Yesterday was shoulders and some ab work – my workout lasted about an hour and a half and immediately after I was done I drank my post-workout shake: Cellucor Corperformance Whey & pure Dextrose Powder.
Dextrose (aka glucose) is a simple sugar that is easily and quickly absorbed by the body, making it a great post workout choice – it helps to replenish glucose lost during exercise so that your muscles can recover and GROW.

7 PM I am finally home!  I hang out with John and Lily for a few minutes before I run upstairs to shower – then I either spend the next couple hours doing chores, or lounging around with my man and the princess.  Last night in particular I spent most of my time making sure John was OK – he came down with the flu and it hit him pretty hard, poor guy :(

Around 9:30 PM I eat my final meal of the day – eggs!  I love having breakfast foods for dinner, and dinner foods for breakfast – is that weird?  My last meal of the day varies during the week and will usually be something I make for John and I, but anytime he isn’t hungry (like last night, since he was sick) or if he is working, I make myself eggs for dinner.  I love this meal so much!  6 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, cheddar cheese, sugar free ketchup, toast, spray butter, and jelly.
And that’s a “day in the life” and WIAW - for yesterday.  I really enjoy doing reading these from other people, and I think they’re fun to do myself, so look forward to seeing them a couple times a month!  Thanks again for hosting, Jenn!

Oh, and before I go (if you follow me on IG or Twitter you probably already saw this), this happened a few days ago... And MAY lead to more things happening, in 12ish weeks...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thoughts on Alcohol

Black & Blue Margarita - Longhorn Steakhouse
That pretty little thing above was my dinner last night - well, scratch that - 2 of them were my dinner last night.  And coming in at a whopping 410 calories EACH (820 total), they just barely 'fit my macros'.  Actually, I take that back, they didn't fit my macros at all, because my macros don't account for alcohol.  And that's what I'd like to discuss today...

People want to lose weight, and get in really great shape - they know they need to watch what they eat and exercise more, but what many of them fail to realize is they also have to watch what they drink.  And I'm not just talking about alcohol here - but sugary soft drinks, fancy flavored coffees, even things you would typically consider healthy like juices.  The problem with liquid calories is more often than not you drink them, but they do not leave you feeling satiated - so you end up getting a bunch of extra calories from your beverage choices, that really aren't doing you any good.

Today, however, I just want to briefly touch on alcohol and not all the rest, because alcohol seems to be a pretty hot topic especially for all the 20-somethings (and 30, 40, 50-somethings).  So, do you have to stop drinking to get healthy?

And no.

I drink very rarely - those 2 margaritas were unplanned (and absolutely incredible) - before that the last time I drank alcohol was on my birthday - and I only had 4 beers over the course of the entire day.  Prior to my birthday? Well, I honestly don't remember - maybe New Years? Or Thanksgiving? Whenever it was, my point is I don't drink often.  And when I'm prepping for a show - I don't drink at all.  I know people that do, but personally if I am limiting my calories I would prefer to get the few I'm allowed to have as FOOD than liquid.  I like food, a lot.  Offseason I allow myself some drinks here and there - and I don't see anything wrong with it.  So I do allow my clients to do the same - I think it should be limited though - alcohol is dangerous for a whole slew of reasons I won't go into on here and therefore should not be treated lightly.

In the world of flexible dieting, macro-nutrients are key - and knowing your specific macro breakdowns is necessary.  So for those macro-counters (and those who are just curious) a little summary:
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories.
As you can see, each gram of alcohol has nearly twice the calories of a gram of fat or protein - the problem is all of these calories are empty, alcohol has NO nutritional value.  To make matters worse, alcohol actually slows your metabolism - when you drink alcohol, your body makes it the top priority, working to process it before any other macro-nutrient.  When you drink alcohol, your liver process the alcohol first which can lead to a build up of fatty acids (leftover from whatever other calories you may have consumed) which can lead to weight gain.  Not only that, but drinking is proven to lower inhibitions, which can lead to diet sabotage when, after that second or third drink, unhealthy food becomes much more difficult to turn down.

If you enjoy drinking, that is completely fine and a choice that is for you to make personally, but if you are really serious about not only losing weight, but getting healthy - you may want to think those drinks through.  If you are interested in reading more on the topic, this is a fantastic article that I would highly recommend: http://www.builtlean.com/2012/11/26/alcohol-weight-loss/

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bi-Weekly Check-in 4/8/15

Time for another bi-weekly check-in!

I have actually lost weight, again... My overall calories haven't changed in the past 2 weeks, which most likely means my metabolism is still speeding up (something I have been actively working on for a few years now).  That is GREAT news, but also means that I need to adjust and compensate if I want to continue to add size.  I lost 1/4 inch on my quads, and 1/2 an inch around my ass - not cool. Those are 2 areas I have been working REALLY hard to gain some size on.

My strategy for the next 2 weeks is going to be more food - I am adding straight dextrose (a form of sugar) to my post workout shake - and I'm going to try to add more carbs in to other meals as well.  My protein and fat intake is already high, so I don't think I really need to add anything there.  But carbs are muscles best friends!  Carbs will keep them full and growing!

Also, I am going to cut back on cardio (again).. I don't do much as it is, only 8 minutes a few days a week, but I do tend to lift at a fairly quick pace which keeps my heart rate elevated and leads to burning more calories than lifting at a generally slower pace.  So, I need to start taking a little more rest between sets and possibly cutting back the supersets a little.

With those changes, we'll see where I'm at in 2 weeks and go from there.  This is why I think check-ins are so important, no matter what your goal is, they give you a chance to see how you are progressing and change your approach if necessary.  I think 2 weeks is a fair amount of time to use as a check point - weighing and measuring yourself more often than that can be counter productive (depending on your goals - once a week is good for those in contest prep or those looking to drop significant amounts of fat).  I have to note that I DO weigh myself, but I don't really use that number to determine my progress - I use the pictures and the measurements for that because weight only tells part of the story.
Measurements from yesterday (4-7):
Calf:  14.5 inches
Quad: 22.5 inches
Hips: 35.5 inches
Waist: 26.5 inches
Forearm:  11 inches
Bicep: 13.25 inches
Weight: 131

Previous check-in: