part II: core exercises for preggo patties and newbies

CYMERA_20140110_162501         well i didn’t think produce coupons existed, but HEB made that dream a reality! 3 dollars off 8 or more in produce. nice.  i couldn’t wait until this weekend to go grocery shopping because our pantry and fridge was crazy bare, so i went last night and got it done.  i checked online for some coupons before leaving and i’m glad i did.

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we also stopped by Walmart where i spotted these all natural Weber seasonings.  gluten-free, low sodium, and 100% sea salt used.  i caught wind of them via Instagram and chose the Gourmet Burger and Boston Bay seasonings first.  everyone is raving about the Kickin’ Chicken so i’ll be trying that one next. these big 5.75 oz bottles cost just as much as the Mc Cormick and Mrs. Dash 2.5 oz bottles! what a bargain.

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 this evening’s pre-workout meal before taking a Barbell Strength class at the gym: a big bowl of sautéed kale, avocado, green onion, and some Sweet & Spicy Tangerine Shrimp from last night’s taco dinner.  i’m still perfecting the shrimp recipe and will post it here soon,  you know it.

more core videos for ya as promised!

using dumbbells:

for floor oblique twists: sit up straight, chest up, and lean back 45 degrees before executing. complete the opposite the side the same way.

12 R & 12 L;  3 X 24

standing ab exercises:

for standing oblique crunches: pull your elbow down to your knee and squeeze your glute when your knee is at its highest point.

slow tempo for 8, fast tempo for 16  then repeat 2 more times straight.  switch sides and do the same thing.

the side bends keep my lower back loose, limber, and flexible.  if you’re preggo, don’t worry about using super heavy dumbbells here at all.  10′s work great. stand up straight, chest lifted, and don’t slouch or round your back!

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i can do that one!!!! please let me do that one :shock: .

speaking of shows though i have something in the works i am super excited to share.  a vision that has never been more clear to me, finally!  in due time though.

HAPPY FRIDAY AND HAPPY WEEKEND!

le

part I: core exercises for preggo patties & newbies

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hiiiii! #throwbacktuesday cause with my brother leaving back to Afghanistan and all yesterday i screwed up my blogging streak. no worries though, i’m back!  so after a two-week break/vaca from my Lifetime classes cause of the holidays, i woke up at the crack of dark and hit the road on prolly one of THE coldest days this Winter so far.  had a couple new members attend along with most of my veterans.  ready to rock 2014 with those guys!

Q: did you join a new gym for the new year? trying different classes? doing something different period?

ok this post is all about preggo and new beginner core exercises that can be done anywhere. i actually got crazy and did like 42 thousand vids but i didn’t want to cram them all into one post and overwhelm you. i stopped doing core almost completely with my first pregnancy and i’m keeping it going this round.  i honestly had no energy to push in the delivery and ended up getting an episiotomy after just 20 minutes. maybe things will be different this time!  anyway,  pain-free back, easier labor, and faster recovery? SIGN ME UP. mom’s-to-be, start a belly and back building regimen NOW.  the further along you get, the bigger you get, and the more exercises you will have to eventually cut out. so, get going and build up that strength for the delivery room and recovery while you can.  don’t wait! let’s start here with these two exercises i did a few days ago at home:

  1. center planks w/ variations
  2. side planks w/variations

#1. center plank variations:

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it’s all about BUILDING core strength.  you’re not born with it!  and once i pop baby #2 out, i’ll have to start all over again myself.  my newbies might not be able to start out on their and toes and that’s ok. same for preggo ladies- the bigger my tummy gets, the shorter my hold time becomes for regular planks on my toes (and it’s also kinda uncomfy). so i modify the exercise to my knees while keeping proper form.

keep your:

body flat

 hips towards the floor

 booty down

chest lifted

shoulders down and square

then try this low-high plank transition move:

start on your toes  though and when you can’t hold it anymore, drop to your knees and keep going.

more hi/low center plank variations to try:

(*my knees are going outside my body in the high planks video (top right corner), not towards my chest*)

#2. side plank variations:

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 you can stagger (L) or stack (R) your feet for side planks.  plant your elbow firmly into the mat making sure your shoulder is directly above it.  try your feet both ways and do whichever feels most comfy.

then,  if you’re up for this advanced move, take your top leg and arm up in the air and hold it. the modification is to come down on your bottom knee. once you got that down, turn it into a side oblique crunch!  i’m not doing center abdominal crunches anymore but my obliques are not off-limits ;)

next batch of core exercise vids coming really soon. like tomorrow cause i have the patience of a child.  our fridge and pantry is in need of a ton of love so grocery shopping is happening today. which also means more recipes are headed your way! have a blessed Thursday.

le

fit eggplant parm

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same concept when you apply it to your body, aka, your temple. put great stuff in, get great results right on out!

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yesterday i had vanilla oat bran with banana slices, Walden Farms syrup, and Trader Joes cinnamon sugar,

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and this morning it was rolled oats cooked in unsweetened vanilla almond milk, pure vanilla extract, and some cinnamon and granulated stevia stirred in.  some days i flip a coin! they are both great starts to the day.  this bowl was sooooo creamy.  i topped it with one strawberry cause that’s all i needed since they are so dang GIANT this season.  and a small tsp of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter. so, so good.

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today’s eggs weren’t pretty at ALL so i didn’t take a pic.  these were from yesterday and were topped with some alfalfa sprouts and pineapple salsa from Sprouts.  i love getting a little bit of charr mixed in with my eggs from the skillet- gives them extra flavor.

who’s got some core exercises for you? I DO!  did’em this morning after teaching my total conditioning class!

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i’m sure you’re familiar with the basic high plank on your palms and toes. right? yeah you can do that one in your sleep.

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but when you mount up on a medicine ball (any solid ball will work really) then you really put that core to work.  this is one of those exercises that looks uuuuber easy until you do it yourself.  so, grab yoself a medicine ball and do these semi-advanced core exercises that promote core strength and stability!

 ★1st things 1st- engage your core by sucking your belly button to your spine, but DON’T hold your breath!★

  • high plank (top pic) – start on your knees. grip the ball on either side and press your palms into it as you elevate your body up into a straight high plank balancing on your toes.  maintain a neutral spine while keeping your head and chest lifted.  even if you don’t add the variations, you are still working to balance yourself without even moving! you’ll see!  hold for 30-60 secs or for as long as you can take it. ***you can also go down a level and perform this on your knees keeping your body flat and pushing your hips and glutes towards the floor***

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  • high plank + leg lift (bottom pic) - keep your hips square, squeeze the heck outta your glute, and lift that leg up off the ground and hold it for 30-60 secs. repeat on the opp side.

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  • high plank + pendulum leg lifts - while that one leg is in the air, take it out to the side from right to left in a controlled swinging motion going no wider than shoulder width. repeat on either side for 30-60 seconds or until burnout.

what a :shock: BURN :shock: !

 this exercise works glutes, core, and your shoulders & back definitely feel the wrath of supporting your bodyweight the entire time. try’em at the gym or at home during commercial breaks.

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well hello there, fit eggplant parm.  i whipped up a crazy good fit chicken parm that will be going into the you-know-what!  for now, enjoy this healthier classic, fit foodie le style.

fit egg plant parm

the stuff:

  • 1 large raw eggplant, sliced into 1/2 in rounds (you can peel them if you’d like- i kept the skin on)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos
  • 2 tbsp  unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 cup Lissanati almond cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 – 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs*
  • 28 oz Sprouts all natural low sodium crushed tomatoes with basil & garlic
  • 1 tsp basil, dried
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp parsely
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 5 baby portabella mushrooms (optional!)
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish

*homemade breadcrumbs: toast 4 slices of Sara Lee 45 Calories & Delightful Whole Wheat with Honey bread until crispy, and toss them in your food processor.  pulse until breadcrumb-like consistency.*

do this: * important S/N* this can totally be dairy-free if you use only almond cheese, (or rice cheese, or your fave vegan cheese) throughout the recipe. but then you’d have to call it fit eggplant almond.  or whatever. you know me- i needed some nutty, creamy parmesan in my dish cause cheese is my thing, so i added it.  just a little.  and you can too. if you want. also if you don’t have the same brands i’m using and naming, no big deal!

1. lay the eggplant slices flat in a shallow baking dish and pour the liquid aminos all over them. let it soak in real good, about 10-15 minutes or so.

2.  in a shallow dish, combine the egg whites and unsweetened almond milk; mix.

3.  grab another shallow dish and pour in your breadcrumbs.  add: the finely grated parmesan cheese, pepper, basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley;  mix.

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4. dip each eggplant slice into your egg mixture with one hand, then immediately drop it into your breadcrumb mixture. i only coated one side with breadcrumbs cause i was lazy and didn’t want to have to flip them halfway through. lol. spray a flat baking pan with the olive oil spray and bake your slices for about 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

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5. when the eggplant is almost done, go ahead and start the first layer of the dish by spooning some of the crushed tomatoes in the bottom of your olive oil coated baking pan. eyeball it.

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6. when the eggplant is ready and cool enough to handle (surprise, i didn’t wait), create the second layer. i know mushrooms are untraditional in this recipe, but so am i!  and come on- melted cheese and mushrooms just go together. so i added a few sliced baby bellas for the 3rd layer,

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7.  top with 1/4 of the almond cheese. or more. way more.  

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8. and finally, top that with more sauce and repeat until you run outta ingredients.  the last layer should be CHEESE! and lots of it.  now don’t put those fresh basil leaves on there yet cause you will torch them in the oven. i put them there cause it looked pretty.

IMG_20130416_1949359.  back into the oven on 400 degrees for about 20 more minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty and brown and stuff.

this made about 6 servings; stats are for 1:

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we killed the pan but there are certainly a couple things i’ll be doing differently from here on: take note!

  • NOT burning the breadcrumbs in the toaster smh – it made the eggplant darker and harder on the eyes. i didn’t want to waste it and used it anyway
  • using the small side of the grater for the parmesan cheese cause the large shreds don’t stick to the eggplant as easily
  • pan frying the egg plant instead of baking (however i’m not sure the cheese in the breadcrumb mixture would hold up in the hot skillet…i’ll just have to see)
  • OR, roast the eggplant solo first,  assemble the dish, and save the breadcrumb mixture for the topping only. <——i really like that idea!!!!! if you try it this way, upload a pic to the Fan Page or tag me on IG (#fitfoodiele #fitclean2013).  i’d LOVE to see your creations.

cooking is ALL about having fun and trial & error for me. get in there and make your own masterpiece!

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i’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Bragg for sending me a few samples of their seasonings recently!  i’ll be testing the nutritional yeast, the sea kelp delight seasoning, and the 24 herbs and spices seasoning this week. 
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ooooh the joys, blessings, and lessons of good ol’ parenthood :lol: it was just one of those days.

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thank God for electronic devices!!!!!

le

p.s., if you haven’t entered to win some FREE FOOD, then click there and go see what’s up! contest ends this saturday.

kb lunges & crunches + Athleta product review

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last night’s meal 5…. ain’t she fine? i took a roasted baked potato, topped it with crumbled 99% lean ground turkey (seasoned with Mrs. Dash no-salt fiesta lime seasoning, fresh parsley, garlic, and liquid aminos) chopped green onion, fresh tomatoes, and a dollop of 0% greek yogurt. finished it off with a sprinkle of more Mrs. Dash and dried parsley.

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 flavor EXPLOSION in ya mouth!

i cooked the potato like i always do- 450 deg for 45 minutes or until oozy.  if you poke holes in it beforehand it won’t ooze, but there’s no fun in that.

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after 42 pics from every angle possible, i gobbled it UP.   yall know i love the versatility of sweet potatoes- try them with your family and see what they think! you can customize your toppings for sure, just like you would on a normal russet potato.  don’t let the sweetness throw you off- it will work out, i promise.

so i’m gonna post LEG exercises all this week, and i’ll start with these two:

1. side lunge w/ squat

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1. start position stand with feet shoulder width or closer apart

2.(lunge) keeping your left leg straight, step out to the side with your right leg, and bend at your right knee.

3. (squat) push your heel firmly into the floor while pushing your glutes back and keeping knees behind your toes.

push-off the right leg through your heel to return to the start position.

repeat; 3 x 12, each leg.

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above is just a collage of what the lowest point of your lunge/squat should look like^

  • knees behind your toes
  • straight opposite leg
  • back flat
  • chest up
  • head up
  • weight planted firmly into your heels
  • lift your toes in your shoes
  • push back up to starting position through your heel, not your toes

Q: can’t you do these with a dumbbell? A: this particular exercise, DEFINITELY.  however, the two main differences (ok really the only two in my book) btw kettle bells and dumbbells are the grip/handle and the center of gravity of the weight.

‘once the bell is thrown with force, it must be controlled and stopped with an equal amount of force. you are now working twice as hard to move and stop the bell. these actions and reactions require tremendous efforts to stabilize the body. most of these efforts start with your legs and hips and are controlled with your shoulders and trunk or core.’

kinda hard to do that with a dumbbell… and some will argue that you just can’t get a GREAT, EFFECTIVE full body workout with a dumbbell alone vs. a kettle bell.

 well, what do you think?

2. knee to elbow standing crunches
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these are fun and all about obliques!  they also contribute to balance and core stability.  the kettle bell handle is very useful on this one.

1. engage your core while standing with your feet shoulder width apart.

2. drive your right knee up,  and simultaneously bring your right elbow down to meet it, crunching your right oblique in the process.  same rules apply:

chest up

back straight

core engaged

you can speed it up or take it slower, depending on the weight of your bell.  really engage the obliques though by keeping your movements controlled and with a full range of motion.  keep it even and hit both sides of course til it burns!

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being an instructor has its perks- this outfit is a testament to that!  an Athleta (by Gap ) store opened up close to my gym, and they kindly gave the instructors tops and bottoms to model and show off to our members.

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 sweet deal.

*warning* i took these  pics after working out and put this fit to the ultimate test!  excuse the sweat stains! among other things ;)

Athleta – Inside Track Knicker 69.00$

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  • great for running, gym training
  • wide waistband streamlines hips
  • NeverEnd drawstring means no hunting for ends

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  • lightweight, sleek, stretchy, comfortable, moveable
  • made of recycled polyester/lyrca spandex
  • performance fitted, mid-rise, and tight leg

not shorts and not pants- i have always dug the cropped length.

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Athleta - Run On Tank 39.00$

  • running, gym training
  • ultra flattering style lines
  • lightweight, silky, breathable, stretchy
  • polygiene (ployester/spandex)
  • rear zipper pocket (cards, keys, small items, etc.)
  • semi-fitted (more ‘flowy’ than skin tight)
  • reflective detail keeps you visible in low light conditions (for my evening runners!)

if you haven’t checked out Athleta yet, go for it!

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i told ya i don’t discriminate- i found the biggest beets i’ve ever seen at wally world (Walmart) and threw them in my basket without hesitation. @ 1.98 for 3 huge bulbs, they are as big as grapefruits!

however i was looking for eggplant, which i did NOT find and had to go elsewhere to get it.

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i found some for a great price at Fiesta! i also copped some papaya since it was on sale. lunch was a plate of grilled chicken breasts seasoned with Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning, grilled egg-plant, roasted sweet potatoes, and papaya salsa!

fresh & fit papaya-lime salsa

  • 1/2 diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced papaya
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp green onion, chopped
  • juice of half a fresh lime

slice and dice that all up, squeeze the lime over it, refrigerate, top on whatever you like, devour.

WHEW! it’s a lot goin’ on in this post lol! until breakfast, goodnite fit foodies.

le

updated oats & flashbacks

i am all over the place today and don’t even know where to friggin’ start! ok how about with….breakfast:

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i’ve been saying i’m gonna post my updated morning bowl of oats recipe and i need to do it already. less talking and more action is what i’m putting into 2013.  i mean really.

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this particular bowl was made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, real vanilla, vanilla creme stevia, and topped with bananas, chopped almonds, and a sprinkle of cinnamon <3

fitfoodiele’s BBO (basic bowl of oats) 

the stuff:

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

do this:

bring the almond milk to a boil, add the vanilla, then add the oats. stir them around until every oat is wet lol, then turn your burner on low.  after 3 minutes it’s pretty much done!  i like mine not too lose, and not too tight.. so if a little liquid left is left that’s cool wit me.

**this is THE most basic way to make the oats…like ever.   when i post recipes in the future, this will almost always be the very base of the recipe…before i go crazy and start adding stuff all willy nilly.   sometimes i like to use 1 cup of almond milk + 1 cup of water which makes for one big huuuuuge bowl of oatmeal.  you know oats expand  in volume and soak up alotta the liquid it’s cooked in, so it’s like you’re eating more but really, you’re not.  i usually add a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon in there too- i like A LOT.  now, the toppings are endless i tell you, ENDLESS.  i usually do bananas (as if you didn’t know lol) but apple chunks and raisins, and blueberries work well as far as fruit goes, and all kinds of nuts pair well too.  my fave are almond, pecans, and pistachios.  a lot of people throw in a big scoop of nut butter (PB2, the real thang, almond butter, etc.) which adds incredible flavor. add what ya like!!!**

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here’s the break down on the types of oats so you won’t be in the bulk aisle lookin’ clueless:

old fashioned – not that great for smooth pancakes UNLESS you grind them first.  even when making a bowl of regular oatmeal, they don’t soak up much liquid, and take the longest to cook.

quick cooking / rolled oats  (1-3 minute cooking time) – these are pressed old-fashioned oats into thinner flakes which makes for a quicker cooking time, hence the name.  they work best for pancakes IMO. makes a huge difference in the texture of your cake.  buuut again, if you grind them up first, it doesn’t really matter now does it!

steel-cut – chopped up oat groats. (oat groats are the real whole oat, hulled and unprocessed). they produce a rougher, chewier bowl of regular oatmeal and take as long as old-fashioned oats to cook…maybe longer.

instant – i don’t do instant and you shouldn’t either :shock:

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after breakfast, i hit the gym and worked on my core, glutes, and ended with a little cardio.  you remember that ab machine that looks like a little tire wheel with two handles on either side? we had one of those growing up lol! the thought of my parents attempting to use that thing back then is HILARIOUS to me now.  matter fact, i don’t even remember anybody using it correctly, ever.  i like the cooler looking one above- i saw somebody else with one and grabbed one too.   i did 5 reps of 10 of these and was feelin’ it by the 2nd set, MY GOODNESS.

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then, grocery shopping! yeah i had a pretty awesome day! got lots of fresh produce and restocked Produce Island (e.g. my kitchen island, even though you prolly figured that out).  i have a lot of work to do in my test kitchen this month:)

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aaaand of course i restocked my snack corner too. all good stuff, i promise.

sooo, yesterday i made nachos for lunch. not just any nachos though, 

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grilled, JUMBO shrimp nachos!!!!

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i marinated the shrimp in liquid aminos, smokehouse maple seasoning, fresh chopped cilantro, and black pepper for a few minutes first,

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then went to work with my grill pan.  before i started that, i sliced up  some of my low carb La Tortilla Factory soft wraps, put them on a baking sheet, and cooked them until they were crispy.

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then…the magic happened.

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semi-homemade chips, shredded kale, chopped roma tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, shredded almond cheese, and SCRIMPS! i only had one small corner of almond cheese left and nachos MUST HAVE CHEESE! i scrounged up what i could, but they were still so good!  next time, way more cheese. way more.
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i also made some homemade guacamole:  avocado, tomato, cilantro, liquid aminos, pepper, and lemon juice.

KILLED IT!

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so i taught my very first class of 2013 this past Wed- i subbed a weight’s class for another instructor and got my burn ON baby! 

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i also realized that this is the beginning of my 5th year as an instructor. MY how time has flown. i have super-duper BIG news for my Houston area readers and gymers- just you wait!!

all these progress and throwback pics on IG have me going back looking through my own photo archives these days!  i came across this one from Sonny’s frat brother’s wedding in 2011.  

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fluffaaaaay!  and look at my posture:( however, my boobs were so heavy from breastfeeding.  i was darn  near hiding behind Sonny!!   i felt and definitely looked self-conscious and unconfident. i said on IG that Chiso was less than a year when we took this, but i later realized that he was 4 months old at the time.

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now, it didn’t take me an entire year to trim down to this size, but it’s something very gratifying about being able to look back to see where you WERE.  one bikini comp down and a current, consistent exercise/nutrition off-season regiment and i’m grabbing a fist full of that dress behind me cause it won’t stay up on its own these days!  i can finally say i’m content with my body; i’m staying right here. HEY Chiso, dang!!!!!!!

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never, ever limit exercise to physical benefits only; i tell people this over and over again!  exercise reduces stress… it’s an escape.. it’s a form of therapy.  along with looking fitter, it makes you FEEL better emotionally too.  i even sleep better!  this is why i was ITCHING to get back into the gym after having to sit down and recover from my dental surgery.  all of  those reasons above!

so, other than the physical benefits, WHY do you exercise?  (2013 gym newbies AND veterans!)

le

winner winner chicken dinner


glory to God, Sonny won 1st place in his division at the Ft. Worth MuscleMania bodybuilding show this past weekend!! here’s Chiso congratulating him and apologizing for sleeping through the entire evening show in mommy’s arms.  630-930…what a nap :shock:

i’m pretty proud of this guy.

i was screaming as loud as i could!!  great show and amazing jobs done by all.

here are Sonny and some of the other competitors soaking in their win.  cloud 9 status!

Chiso clearly just wanted to play with that ball, but we got a good family shot outside the venue during intermission break.  immediately following the show, Sonny’s team went to dinner at Blue Mesa  to celebrate their accomplishments, weeks of hard work, dieting, and training.  both of our phones were almost dead after our long day, so my camera flash was toast.  horrible lighting for these next few pics, ugh.

along with Sonny’s show day meals, i prepped all of mine for the trip as well.  and this meal was not apart of the plan lol! neither was the pizza Sonny brought me from backstage earlier.  nevertheless,  i started with a  dinner salad of field greens topped with tomatoes and red onion.  balsamic vinaigrette was on the side.

Sonny got the Perfect Tortilla Soup which had chicken, tomatoes, jack cheese, smoked chiles, and fresh lime in chicken broth.

CHIPS. sweet potato, tortilla (blue and flour).  and honestly they were nothing to write home about.  it’s just that they were in front of me and i was hungry!!! snacking ensued. excessive snacking.

having no flash totally took away from the dish, but it was way tastier than it looked.  i got the Spa Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas with asparagus and grilled sweet potatoes.  the Spa section on their menu was detailed with nutritional stats and lighter options.  i totally appreciated that.  why don’t restaurants just do this for the entire menu?  we’re prolly better off not knowing in some cases!

Sonny asked the server for the dish with the most food and variety like he always does and ended up getting a sampler platter.  like he always does. lol.  the Mesa Sampler came with a carmelized onion quesadilla, mixed nachos, and chicken taquitos.

so on the way back to our hotel WE wanted something sweet and went through a Mc Donalds drive through in hopes to get some ice cream.   the machine was already closed down for cleaning for the night.  that has happened to us SEVERAL times… we should know the darn schedule by now.  so we ended up at the next best thing… actually it’s prolly the best thing lol.

we split a whatasized vanilla shake and i’m pretty sure i slurped down 70% of it!  i hadn’t had one in YEARS.  it was…. incredible.  Sonny mentioned going to In-N-Out burger too (hey we don’t have one in Houston) but i had to put my foot down and call it quits.

we got some rest and headed home the next morning, but not before grabbing breakfast.  i took a selfie of my abs before we left though and i wasn’t surprised that they were still flat.  after i eat crap, it pops back up to say hello on me 3-4 days later.  for a while i had myself fooled!  the symptoms may be delayed  (bloating, gas, bubble guts, pimples, fatigue, flat muscles, heaviness) but they ALWAYS come.  always.

Sonny wanted to start breakfast with a BANG but Ihop was the  best option that popped up on our GPS.  i was somewhat relieved and i’m also glad there were no Shipley’s around :shock:

now THIS is a breakfast of champions.  ^^^ there’s one right there, tee hee.  Ihop always did have crazy portion sizes.

Sonny smashed a steak omelette topped with cheese and tomatoes,

and a stack of what Ihop is famous for…. mmmmmm.

we got Chi a kiddie sampler of baby cakes, scrambled eggs, and turkey bacon which he did NOT like and took off his plate immediately.  i’m not a fan of the texture of turkey bacon either…i don’t blame him.

 

time to get back on track.

after examining this pic closer, that totally looks like a bug in my oatmeal!!!!! LOL. i remember seeing it after stirring my bananas in though and it was definitely an oat.  i think.  i hope.

i also got a spinach, mushroom, and tomato egg white omelette that was pretty amazing.  i’m am in complete love with their Simple and Fit menu. look at all those options!!! the website is super user-friendly. seriously, GO IHOP! 4 thumbs up from fitfoodiele.

the oatmeal came with butter, brown sugar, and milk on the side, but i didn’t use them.  you know what i used!  packet of stevia from the stash in my purse.

didn’t bring any Walden Farms syrup with me, but they did provide sugar-free syrup.  again, GO IHOP!  HEB sells Cary’s syrup as well, FYI.

we hit the road and made it home safely, thank God.  THEN i hit the gym solo to get a head start on that vanilla shake before it did too much damage lol.  Saturday was a full rest day and i did absolutely nothing for the first time in a while, so i was ready to go and pump some iron.

one of the bodybuilders gave this advice to the crowd at the show:  ‘it’s not about who can squat the most.  it’s not about who can bench press the most.  eat right, squeeze the muscle with each rep, and train hard.’  it was short, sweet, and really hit home.  during that workout, i did my best to squeeze my glutes, hams, quads, and calves with each rep. i felt and saw a difference immediately.  oooh it burns. STILL feeling it.

i did legs and cardio and got up outta there.  will be switching up my routine next week though-  time for something new.  next i hit up the store cause my Sunday just ain’t right without some grocery shopping.

CONGRATULATIONS SONNY!!!!! XOXO

le

stick to the plan

green tea! my ‘coffee’.

i sipped some on the way to the gym eeeeearly this morning. i drink more throughout the day with some of my meals as well.  be sure to switch to decaf in the evenings though so you can go to sleep at night.

it’s always so peaceful at the gym in the early mornings.

i did some cardio, abs, and some much-needed stretching.  working out super early means more family time after work. wouldn’t have it any other way.

Chi’s breakfast this morning- raisin Ezekiel bread, eggs, and strawberries.  what, no pancakes!?  trying not to burn him out on them lol. i still had mine though! anyway, Ezekiel products have become a staple in our home. we all love them.

i got my meals for the day going starting with some grilled zucchini.

i cut them long ways and seasoned them with lemon pepper, curry, garlic powder, onion powder, and liquid aminos.  then, garnished them with fresh cilantro!  ‘what can i do to season my food and not add calories’? fresh herbs work wonders.  also, mrs. dash also has a great low/no sodium line.  special seasoning post coming, so i’ll stop there!

i open some canned salmon and added a few ounces to each of my containers.  for fat, i used fresh avocado and pistachio nuts.  for carbs, i threw a bag full of La Tortilla Factory whole white-wheat soft wrap tortillas in my lunch kit. i take my condiments with me too- spicy mustard and my TJ fig butters.  i shredded a sweet potato, added garlic powder, onion powder, 1 egg white and pan (burned) fried the cakes on both sides.

for my protein, i mixed the canned salmon, avocado, a little goat cheese, and some spicy mustard together in a bowl, sprinkled some Mc Cormick BBQ seasoning on it and it was SO simple and good!!!!! no cooking required there.  i put some reduced sugar ketchup in my little dipping thingy for my sweet potato cakes.  no i didn’t steal it from a restaurant like someone assumed…  came from Ikea :roll:

after i assemble my lunch together at work, it usually looks like this:

or this,

or i’ll use Ezekiel’s sprouted grain sesame or cinnamon raisin bread and make a sandwich.

just some super quick ideas.

  i am currently in a maintenance phase after my competition last month and loooooving it!!!  a little too much.  i’m totally enjoying my food freedom, can you tell?  however, i’m still keep up with my workouts and staying active.  that’ll never change.

 Q: what is your current  
workout schedule?

A: goes a lil somethin like this:

less cardio, more weights.  only about 4 hours of cardio a week actually.  a couple weeks before my first show, my cardio capped out around 9-10 hrs a week.  i laugh in the face of four measly hours now, HA!

for my active rest days, i’ll either take Chiso out in the jogging stroller for a walk, or i’ll take a class at my gym for fun.  i love taking classes from other instructors!!  i get to experience their teaching style and i am always inspired to create different moves for my own classes.

other than growing these baby biceps, i’m content with my current size and body fat.  i have NOT been able to say that, well, ever.  every few weeks, i’ll sit down and come up with a new plan to switch things up to keep my body from plateauing.

welp, you know what this means.

empty jars make me smile. back to TJ’s.

happy weekend!!

le

2012 Space City Muslcemania Championships Show / 5th wedding anniversary

*****September 15th, 2012*****

GLORY TO GOD for allowing us to participate in this journey from start to finish. 

my first bodybuilding competition has come and gone! what a weekend/week to remember.  i’ve been trying to collect as many pics as possible from my friends, family, and even some of the professional photos but i am so backed up with pictures and posts i need to just POST something already!!!

THANK YOU to my posing coach, Christine Anderson of CAC and Food 4 Thought.  She is an amazing woman, exceptional teacher, and most important, a true pleasure to work with.   she is always on time, pleasant, positive, full of energy, and so very passionate about sharing her knowledge and expertise with her clients.  i highly recommend working with Christine whether it’s your first or 50th show.  she is as professional as they come!  i definitely learned from the best.

Christine and i together at the dress rehearsal 1 week before i hit the stage.

i can’t speak for the other girls, but i was waaaay more nervous for dress rehearsal than the actual show!   i enjoyed meeting and making friends with the other competitors along the way.  i loved hearing about their ‘story’ and why they chose to compete.  that’s definitely what i get asked the most too.  as crazy as this sounds, it didn’t dawn on me that these girls were my competition until that day lol!  we all worked so hard for the changes we made to our bodies- it was an awesome thing to not only watch my own body transform, but to witness their progress too.

that following friday evening, Sonny and i attended the mandatory check-in meeting for all the competitors.  the administrators gave us the run down on how things would go on show day and other important info we needed to know.

we also got our spray tans done that night as well as our numbers, 21 and 23.  we had to wear dark, loose fitted clothing so that we wouldn’t mess up the tan job. it looks like our clothes are swallowing us.

i also met up with and chatted with some of the funniest and coolest girls i’ve ever met, seriously.  i expected show day to be SUPER long, but hanging out and laughing with these girls backstage all day made it fly by!  the entire experience was that much more enjoyable because of them.

Sonny passing his drug test with flying colors. too bad they don’t check for traces of popeyes chicken grease :shock:

show day!

 i know, i know. looks disgusting but it’s my big bowl of banana oats with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla creme stevia.  i ate it on the way to get my makeup done and hair curled.

it’s a miracle!  after 3 months of looking straight rough, i appreciated this makeover very, very much.  THANK YOU to Tinnell Sloan  for working every single ounce of her magic on me that day. i needed it.

ducklips = feelin myself.

headed to the venue, bright and early.

 but still late :roll:

we all got dressed and ready for the big group photo outside the venue…Sonny missed it by mere minutes!!

however he made it for the guys only pic. this picture SCREAMS hard work, doesn’t it!?  among other things, LOL

after that, we took individual portraits outside as well.

Sonny and his washboard abs waiting his turn for his solo shot.

Dani and i waiting to take our individuals! i met this fabulous woman at our first posing camp about 2 months prior.  we exchanged numbers and kept in touch and checked on each other throughout those crazy weeks of training.

after pics, we head back to the dressing rooms to change into our theme wear.  the order of events was posted right outside the door - Sonny started the show and i ended it, literally.  and this was only the morning show order of events, not the whole day like i thought!

in the dressing room joking, taking pics, primping, eating, and just waiting.

 i was an Olympic sprinter and Dani was a pin-up girl. my baton was around there somewhere!

i went out to take a quick peek and was able to catch Sonny heading out to start the show!  this was his club wear. super sharp;)

  when they finally called our class to come line up my heart skipped several beats.

as i watched the girl in front of me take a deep breath and walk out on stage into the lights, i said to myself in my head, ‘this is it, Leah, DO IT.’

the stage guy interrupted my thoughts and said ‘alright, go, go, go’.  i said a prayer and just went.

  

aaaaaaaaaand 1 minute later, it was over!!!

 

here are a few shots of my Nigerian soccer player doing his thing for the theme wear round.

way to sell it, Mr. E!

my gorgeous buddy Kaleigh (1st time competitor) and i after finishing up the theme wear -tall round. we did it, girl!!  we survived on Walden Farms products (sugar-free, fat-free, carb-free, gluten-free, EVERTHANG-free) to spice up our meal plans lol.

**intermission break **

 we were able to come out and visit with the friends and family that came to support us!  we are so grateful for all the cheers, encouraging words, pictures, videos, well wishes, presence, and love.  THANK YOU sincerely, family and friends!!!

being cheesy for a pic in my runner stance.  my cheeks were so sore by that point.

my bro, Chiso, and i!  during the break, i went home to spend more time with my little guy as i missed his butt so bad and we hadn’t even left for Jamaica yet.

@ home taking more pictures.

halfway done-  we then headed back to the venue for the evening show and swimwear/bikini rounds.

and we’re back!  all changed and ready to go….to wait some more.

the nerves were all gone at this point- i was just ready to get it over with more than anything.

 no vid for this round, but i do think it went WAY better than my theme wear round. i was comfortable and nerve-free by then.

there’s my front pose for the judges,

the back,

and the front again!  how’d i do?

2nd place – bikini tall class!!

this was certainly an added blessing.  my ultimate goal was to just get through this darn training journey and hit the stage for the first time and do my best.  i am so grateful and humbled.

that leads me to my next THANK YOU which goes to my extremely patient trainer, Travis!!!!  thank you for answering my bajillion questions, texts, emails, calls, and emails :lol: .  even when i was dog tired on the way to our sessions, i would always be pumped and re-energized after our workouts.  physically and mentally.  he encouraged and reassured me along the way and promised to have my body ready for this show.  he did just that!  i share this win with him in my heart as he contributed to making my first competition a very special one to remember.  he has plenty of clients but gave me his undivided attention and made my goals, his goals.  he’s an awesome, highly recommended trainer to work with!  good luck on YOUR upcoming show, Travis!

Sonny also brought home some hardware too- that’s my hubby!!! 2nd from the right in the striped bottoms. i am so proud of him.

ok back in the dressing room, i HAD to snap this of Dani savoring a snickers bar immediately after we were totally done.  she is going to kill me but her face is PRICELESS. but those abs though!!!

 ‘why wait?’

DON’T.

hahahahahaahaha

few more pics with the ladies before we parted ways for the evening. two bikini girls, two figure girls.

then i went to find Sonny so we could rep for anniversary #5! all natural, baby!

this girl here… my angel.  THANK YOU, Ogechi, for inspiring me to even start blogging in the first place.  you have been with me from the jump!  you have prayed with me, over me, and for me and i’m so grateful to God for blessing me with your friendship.  i was under the impression that Ogechi was all the way in Atlanta that day, but she surprised the heck outta me and was sitting in the audience for the evening show the entire time!!! her support means the WORLD to me and i love her (and her recipes i will be posting more of! ) so, so much. i appreciate you my dear sister and friend.

 what an awesome 1st experience, period.  so grateful to have done this with Sonny by my side and also celebrate 5 years of marriage and counting.

thank you for reading!

le

blogging from de plane

that post title is false advertisement.  i was so excited to blog from our plane headed to Jamaica to celebrate our 5th anni that i started the post early, from home!  however…….. after all the hustle and bustle of the previous night (we had a FANTASTIC time and did well at our first bodybuilding show!!!!! details in my next post) that we naturally *sigh* overslept and missed our WI-FI enabled first flight. UGH. the second flight, which only left 1 hr later, was not wi-fi enabled because well, that’s just how things go.  SO, Sonny and i actually spoke to one another (cause people still do that :shock: ) about the weekend’s events, the highs and lows of training under one roof, our bodies then and now, how we felt on stage, how each other looked on stage, future shows, etc… yeah we had lots of time to catch up as life has finally slowed down a little.

i can’t shake this ‘i need to be prepared for anything’ feeling, which is a good thing though.
i knew i wouldn’t go completely HAM on sweets so soon after the show, so i packed some healthy stuff for our trip a few days beforehand to make this a gradual thing:

 strawberry flavored magic pop, some shelled pistachios, light tuna packed in water, apples, chocolate PB2, canned salmon, and a stack of Food Network magazines i never found time to sit down and crack open.

not gonna lie- even though we woke up super late and rushed out to miss our flight, i still had my oats and bananas lol!   i really WANTED them though and didn’t have time to get creative and make something else anyway.  we had a quick layover in Charlotte, NC, and it was there where i was reunited with the dairy food group again after over 3 months. i had an unused Starbucks gift card from Christmas, so i whipped it out and ordered a fruit cup and one of my fav drinks- a skinny vanilla latte.   

so, even on vaca, and i said i was gonna try and stick to 5-6 balanced meals a day, but also indulge and live a little! with everything being all-inclusive (unlimited food and drinks EVERYWHERE) this is hard.  not doing TOO bad so far though- there are different menus everyday, so i’m grateful for the variety.  for breakfast, there’s a live omelette bar- was so excited to see that!! can you guess what i’ve been ordering? haha

 they only have *GASP* instant oatmeal which is disgusting and tastes and looks like wall paper paste. maybe even worse. i see why some people might be turned off by oatmeal if they ever have this stuff when eating oatmeal for the first time, my goodness. i mean it was BAD.  there aren’t enough toppings in the world to mask a bowl of that stuff :shock:

my lunches and dinners have been looking a little like this: salad,

fruit / veggie plate – raw celery, tomatoes, artichokes, watermelon, cantaloupe.

and yes that’s a slice of cheese pizza lol- i said on IG that i’ve had a slice with every meal so far except breakfast and that is still in effect!

random lunch plate – curried tilapia, roasted yellow potatoes, sautéed green beans/onions, jerk chicken.

random dinner – grilled jerk chicken, beet salad, raw tomatoes, zucchini, and chicken/tomato pizza;)

have we been indulging? DARN RIGHT. they don’t just put out one dessert as you can see.  i made us a sample plate and well, we got our sample on.

rum cake, chocolate chip cookies, strawberry cheesecake, vanilla mousse cake, and chocolate cake.

there is a poolside grille that is open til 1 am (they shouldn’t have told us that) and we took advantage right away.  fried fish and french fries – we split this though!

the buffet people see us coming a mile away LOL. we are always right on time for every meal!

 having a really good time so far and i can’t wait to post about our show.

 for now, back to Jamaica!

le

6 weeks out – update

no morning run today.  i slept in and do NOT feel bad about it!  i was up late last night prepping meals for the week and needed the extra sleep.

  i worked out with my trainer saturday,

shoulders, legs, and stairmaster = sweaty mess.

i actually don’t mind the cardio at all- even when i don’t have my ipod.  i’m up to 7 hours of it a week, which is just an hour a day. (weight training and ab work is not included in that though).  after i get nice and warm (at least 10 min into it) i don’t feel a thing.  i do try to keep it exciting and use several machines.  20 min here, 20 there, 20 somewhere else, and i only start counting again when my heart rate reaches my fat burning zone.  no cheating on my diet OR workouts!!

*update*

after 3 successful rounds of carb cycling and two more weeks out the window:

146lbs  (lost 4.7)

2.7 % body fat lost, which brings me down to 13%.

i always kept a light sweater with me at all times cause i get cold easily.  however, 68 degrees for our home temp is now unbearable.  Sonny is convinced that the house must be this cold in order for him to sleep. *side-eye*  i’ve been going to bed in thermals recently- long sleeve tops AND bottoms in the middle of a Houston Summer!!! however it makes sense- less body fat and weight, less insulation.

i missed Chiso’s stank butt so much this weekend! i surprised Sonny with a short and sweet getaway for his birthday (post coming), and Chi spent some good times with his grandparents :)

what can i say.. this has been the toughest week yet and it’s only gonna get tougher.  after 3 rounds of carb cycling, i’m in the middle of my fourth.  per my trainer, no changes to my meal plan this week since my body is responding so great to the carb cycling.  i just keep thinking over and over again how little time i have left. i’m 100% dedicated to reaching my goal, i can do this, and it will all be over soon.  in that order. lol.  at this point i’m craving things i don’t even normally eat- frito pie, doritos… churros…   and my obsession with food network is about to ruin my life.  if i’m not watching it on TV, i’m on food blogs all day long.  food is SUCH a huge part of my life. i’m a FOODIE.  makes me wonder if i’ll do another show after this one to be completely honest. the urge to binge only comes around full force when i’m watching Paula Deen put 42 sticks of butter into her upside down apple cake.  outta sight outta mind really works best for me at this point.

anyway, i have these guys (thick cut sirloin steaks) marinating in some Braggs liquid aminos, green onion, cilantro, and montreal steak seasoning, and will throw them on the grill tonight when i get home.

on a lighter note, i must express how much i LOOOOOVE the Instagram community, WOW!!! if you aren’t following some of these crazy inspirational, motivational,  health and fitness role models, then just looking through their pics is still worth every second of your time.  they are REAL, hard-working moms and dads doing the healthy thing, sharing recipes, fitness tips,  and reaching their goals one day at a time.  after this show i cannot wait to get crackin’ on some of these recipes!! look’em up:

fitfoodiele :lol:

fitfoods

livefiteatclean

powercakes

onefitfoodie

c_fitnessjourney

eatclean_behappy

fit4aprincess

MyFitnessLife24

kristfitj1210

fitandsexy_fe

healthygirll

instagramfitness

mattyb2126

myhealthydish_

there are waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many more, but take a peek at these guys and girls.

enjoy the rest of this blessed day!

le