6 Weeks Out: Lacking a Little Gym-Spiration

All of a sudden, it seems that the stage is just around the corner! I have my NPC card and registered for the competition and have my hotel booked too! I have to say I am feeling there is a long way to go before I am stage ready and definitely feeling a bit less ‘inspired’ by the gym.
Weight loss: 0.3lbs gain. Sigh! I don’t know what to comment on this. I am not majorly stressing about it, but it is irritating. My waist has decreased 1cm though and I am definitely more ‘veiny’ than before. Gradual progression is so hard to see and I also don’t think it helps that I am currently really pale – everyone looks leaner with a tan!

Cardio: 2 x 9 HIIT intervals. I used the rower and have developed a sort of like for it?! It is actually quite satisfying to see progression and I never realised how technique driven this was!

Calories: 2 x refeed days a week (carbohydrates increase to 220g, fats and protein remain the same). Regular days my carbohydrates have been reduced and are at 155g.

Dieting approach: flexible dieting. Check out my Instagram to see what I have been eating.

Training: 6 workouts a week.

How I am feeling: Feeling good. I had one severely hungry day on Wednesday, but that is it. I have plenty of energy and sleeping well too. I do feel like I have hit a plateau in the gym, but I can’t attribute that to being in a calorie deficit – I more feel like it is just a natural plateau in my training!

My nutrition and workouts are programmed by New York Muscle Radio go check these guys out and search for their Podcast on iTunes or YouTube.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x

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7 Weeks Out: Apple Cider Vinegar Shots and Very Bad DOMS

More than halfway through now. Been really enjoying the journey and am not remotely stressed about anything. In all honesty, work and life outside of it has been so hectic and full on, I have not had time to stress!
Weight loss: 0.9lbs. Seems to be a bit of a trend with this! I have been weighing myself the morning that I have a high carb day so I can measure my weight the day after too. I don’t feel bloated or sluggish from high carb days, but I have been intruiged as to how my body has been responding to them. I have been dropping weight after high carb days, so really pleased with that!

Cardio: 2 x 9 HIIT intervals. I used the rower and have managed to knock my average pace down by 3 seconds! One of my HIIT sessions, I did deadmill sprints on the treadmill as all the rowers were occupied. That is incredibly hard, if anyone likes their legs feeling dead, I recommend it!

Calories: 2 x refeed days a week (carbohydrates increase to 220g, fats and protein remain the same). Regular days my carbohydrates have been reduced and are at 155g.

Dieting approach: flexible dieting. Check out my Instagram to see what I have been eating.

Training: 6 workouts a week.

How I am feeling: Feeling great! I am incredibly sore! This week more than any other week, I have noticed how sore I am. Not sure if it just because I am eating less so it is making it harder for my body to recover, or if it is just one of those things! I have started supplementing with apple cider vinegar ‘with mother’ to help promote insulin sensitivity (who doesn’t like carbs?!)

My nutrition and workouts are programmed by New York Muscle Radio go check these guys out and search for their Podcast on iTunes or YouTube.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x

Pulled Spicy Chicken Burrito Bowl

I love Mexican food; the spices and the texture combinations make it one of my favorite cuisines. Mexican food is very attainable to eat out, but it is also really easy to make at home! This recipe is packed with flavor, protein and volume, but easy on the carbohydrates and fat. It makes for a perfect Tupperware lunch and can also easily be served for a family meal where everyone can help themselves!

burrito-bowl
Macros per portion (serves 5): 240kcal; 39g protein, 19g carbs, 3g fat

Ingredients:

1.5lbs raw chicken breast

1 can (approximately 450g) black beans, drained and rinsed.

1 tbsp barbecue seasoning

2 tbsp chipotle Cholula sauce

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 small onion, very finely chopped

1/2 can chopped tomatoes

1/2 tbsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tbsp cumin

8 cups romaine lettuce

5 cups shredded cabbage

2oz fat free cheddar

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 350f. Line a baking tray with foil and cut your chicken into strips. Season generously with the barbecue seasoning and cover with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.

2. Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer the chicken and juices to a large bowl. Don’t discard the juices as they will help to add flavor to the sauce. With two forks, ‘pull’ the chicken apart until all the chicken breasts are shredded. Add the black beans to the chicken and combine well.

3. In a Nutribullet or blender, add the chipotle sauce, garlic, onion, chopped tomatoes, paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin and blitz until a smooth sauce has formed.

4. Add the sauce to the chicken and black beans – the heat from the chicken will help absorb some of the sauce and also soften the black beans.

5. Serve on top of a romaine lettuce and shredded cabbage base and sprinkle on some fat free cheddar. You could also add a dollop of salsa, Greek yoghurt/sour cream and guacamole. To add more carbohydrates to the meal, you could add rice or a wrap, or could even make your own nachos by slicing wraps and grilling until crispy! This recipe is so versatile and adaptable!

-Benchpressingbaubles,  x

Crustless Quiche Lorraine 

Quiche reminds me of a British summer’s day. My mum is a great cook and, as a child, as soon as the sun reared its head, she would make quiches and salad and my Dad would barbecue chicken and ribs. The weather in Florida at the moment is like a perfect British summer’s day, so it inspired me to re-create nostalgic memories. This recipe has a fraction of the carbohydrates and fats of a regular quiche and can be eaten freshly prepared or made ahead of time and then reheated. 

Macros per portion: (Serves 5): 148kcal; 24g protein, 9g carbs, 1.5g fat

Ingredients:
12 egg whites
1 punnet (approximately 6oz) plum/cherry tomatoes
8 mini peppers or 1 large bell pepper
1 bag (approximately 9 cups) spinach
5 slices turkey bacon
2.5tbsp Italian herbs (or any mixed dried herbs)

Black pepper (to taste)

2oz fat free mozzarella, shredded

Method:

1. Heat a large non-stick pan with a metal handle and cook the turkey bacon until it is just cooked all the way through (no need for oil as the fat in the bacon will help lubricate the pan). Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan (no need to clean the pan, the fat from the bacon will help flavor the rest of the dish), add the bag of spinach. Reduce the heat to low to allow the spinach to wilt. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes in half and slice the pepper(s) lengthways. Add the tomatoes, dried herbs and peppers to the pan and stir to prevent the spinach from sticking.

3. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites with a fork to make them light and fluffy. Season with black pepper and pour in the egg whites, stirring the mixture to ensure the vegetables are evenly distributed. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the egg mixture turns white and is predominantly set.

4. Turn on the oven to the ‘broil’ or ‘grill’ setting. Add the turkey bacon to the top of the mixture (can cut into pieces if you would prefer). Grill for approximately 3-5 minutes, until the crustless quiche is cooked on the top too.

5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the mozzarella on top (the heat from the quiche will melt the cheese).

6. Serve immediately or portion out for the week. This works really well on its own with a salad, or can be added to wraps for a flavorful burrito!
-Benchpressingbaubles, x

8 weeks out: Lesson learnt, measure progress consistently

Another week, another adventure! This week I moved into my sister’s apartment to look after her two cats whilst she goes back to the U.K. Staying on track with nutrition and training was no problem as my sister only lives 10 minutes away, but I did learn a valuable lesson…not to use someone else’s scales when measuring progress! Just like everything else, consistency is key. This week, I am living in her apartment still, but have my own scales packed!
Weight loss: 0.9lbs. About time! Some people’s approach to prep is to cut calories really low at the start and make minimal changes to their nutrition as they progress. My calories on my last prep changed twice in the whole prep! This time, my calories change up to bi-weekly! With gradual changes, weight loss is more gradual. I didn’t quite anticipate how gradual this may be and because I have not remotely ‘suffered’ yet, it feels a bit surreal!

Cardio: 2 x 9 HIIT intervals. I used the rower this week and this is by far the hardest part of my day! 9 HIIT intervals is exhausting and not remotely pretty to watch!!

Calories: 2 x refeed days a week (carbohydrates increase to 225g, fats and protein remain the same). Regular days my carbohydrates have been reduced and are at 160g.

Dieting approach: flexible dieting. Check out my Instagram to see what I have been eating.

Training: 6 workouts a week.

How I am feeling: Feeling good. As I shared with my coaches earlier, 8 weeks out in my last prep I bruised my finger so badly as I bit it so hard because it had approximately 2g of almond butter on it!! I equaled my squat 1 rep max this week! I am definitely mentally tougher than last time and I don’t go into my sessions thinking ‘I’m on prep so I don’t have to lift as heavy’. I go in thinking ‘I lifted x last week, so I need to do 1 more rep this week or add weight to the bar’.

My nutrition and workouts are programmed by New York Muscle Radio go check these guys out and search for their Podcast on iTunes or YouTube.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x

9 weeks out: Business trip and prep- check!

So this week I have been travelling with work to the complete other side of the country! Being on a business trip, with long conference days and work/networking to do in the evenings isn’t easy, nevermind adding the fact I had to be meticulous on my nutrition and training too, but I got there!

Weight loss: 0.6lbs gained. Sob. It is hard to see the scale go up when your macros get cut and it isn’t down to the fact I skimped on either my training or cardio. Nor did I exceed my macros. I definitely haven’t been as active as spent a lot of the time sitting in conference rooms. I also have been living off predominantly ready packaged foods and flown a fair amount. Flying and eating from packets always makes my stomach feel a bit strange and I tend to hold onto water a bit too. It can be disheartening, but hoping with a macro cut again, and cardio increase, along with my normal routine, the weight will reflect my hard work! On the plus side, my glutes have gained another 0.5cm…maybe this is where the 0.6lbs has gone!

Cardio: 2 x 7 HIIT intervals. I used the rower this week due to availability in the gym that I trained at. I might mix it up this week, depends on how busy the gym is!

Calories: 2 x refeed days a week (carbohydrates increase to 245g, fats and protein remain the same). Regular days my carbohydrates have been reduced, but are still 180g.

Dieting approach: flexible dieting. Check out my Instagram to see what I have been eating.

Training: 6 workouts a week.

How I am feeling: Feeling good. A little disheartened, but I know these things happen. Feel strong, both physically and mentally. Looking forward to catching up on some sleep and getting my monthly massage later today. Regardless of the fact I have gained weight this week, I feel pretty proud of myself that I managed to balance the business trip and prep.

My nutrition and workouts are programmed by New York Muscle Radio go check these guys out and search for their Podcast on iTunes or YouTube.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x