Sunday, September 23, 2012

What is carb cycling?

So, you've heard everyone talk about it. You've been wondering what the hell it is or what it means. What is it? Carb cycling is basically the process of simultaneously building muscle while keeping fat levels low by cycling carbohydrate intake from low days moderate days to high days. Carbohydrates are used as energy by our bodies. They fuel our workouts, replenish our glucose and glycogen levels after our workouts, and of course give us energy to get us through the day. So how does cycling the carbs help achieve fat loss? Cycling helps use fat for burning as fuel in our bodies, instead of burning muscle tissue and carbs for fuel! So, back to the three phases. Essentially, you cycle between 3 different carb phases. Low carb, moderate carb, and high carb. How do you choose what kind of rotation cycle is best for you? It all depends on how your training routine is. Normally, one would have there high carb days when bigger muscle groups are trained, such as back and legs. Moderate days would be more like biceps and shoulders. Low carb days are normally cardio only days or rest days. High carb days would mean calories are higher obviously, where as your low carb days will contain much fewer calories. In order to compensate for the low carb intake on low days, fats are normally upped in order to sustain energy levels and help keep your body satisfied. Healthy fats, of course. I too am still learning a lot about this subject but have decided to give it a try. I went a few months with sticking to a calorie surplus and keeping my carbs high. My macro breakdown that I aimed for daily was 50c/30p/20f. This allowed me to gain muscle, and the weight and size that I was looking to gain. Now remember, everyone's bodies react differently so what I do personally may not work for you. I do not share my calorie intake with you all simply because what my body requires is most likely not exactly what yours does. I know many people don't understand that concept and would still do exactly what I do in hopes of achieving a similar physique. I will however, share how my macro breakdown will look like on each day and how my cycle will look like. I'm hoping to see some progress through this and I'm excited to experiment with my body since I've always wondered about this. What I am looking to achieve by doing this is more muscle gains/maintaining what I have now, shredding some of this extra fat that came along with the calorie surplus, and maintaining and gaining more strength of course! I don't mind staying somewhat soft since its easier to maintain. I will of course have updates on progress and my thoughts on this program. I also will be adding one cardio day back into my routine withinin the next few weeks, but nothing longer than 30 minutes. This is what my cycle will look like:

Tuesday- high

Low days: 50p/30f/20c
Moderate 40p/25f/35c

Remember what I do may not work for you. Please figure out what works for YOU and YOUR body and dont dwell so much on what me or others do. WAY too many people ask about my diet and how calories and carbs and proteins etc look like and IT DOESNT MATTER! It's all about trial and error. This is a trial for me since I've never done this, so I may have to tweak some things depending on how my body reacts.

Again, I will stress that you need to educate yourselves about fitness. There are so many great websites out there that can help expand your knowledge in certain areas. I promise no one was born with a brain full of facts about how to be fit and what our bodies need. I will post some websites that all of you should become familiar with. Google is such a great way to answer questions you may have. Knowledge is power, teach yourselves!

These sites have more articles about carb cycling if you want to go more in depth on the subject.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Banana Coconut Protein Bread!

goodness!! :o

Those were my exact thoughts as I took the first bite of this delicious cakey bread. I felt like experimenting today and boy am I glad I did! You'll be happy as well ;-) This bread is surprisingly moist considering how low in fat it is which is a plus!! This is PERFECT to have pre OR post workout! The best part about it, ITS CLEAN!! I'm sure you're all ready for the recipe, right? 

1 cooked sweet potato
1/2 cup protein powder
1 cup liquid egg whites
2 banana's (1 for batter, 1 for topping)
1/2 cup Gluten Free brown rice flour (substitute coconut flour)
3/8 cup oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 packet stevia
a dash of vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened organic coconut flakes (for topping; optional, but I recommend it!)

Throw all ingredients besides 1 of the banana's and the coconut flakes into a food processor and pulse until combined. Pour the batter into a pan ( I didn't have a loaf pan so I used a circular pan). Stick the other banana right in the middle and let it sink into the batter(it wont sink all the way in). Sprinkle with coconut flakes and bake at 320 degrees for 40 minutes. Stick a tooth pick in the cake to make sure it's done (it will come out clean.)
I topped this baby with some chocolate pb2 and I'm pretty sure this is comparable to heaven.. maybe.
I know a lot of you like nutrition facts so I calculated all of that as well!

1 slice of cake (1/8 of cake)
Fat-1.5 g
Carbs-22 g
Sugar-6.4 g
Protein-11.1 g

Like I said, PERFECT for pre and post workout, or just to snack on! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gluten free Crispy Chicken!

Just tried this new recipe out and it was delicious! And the best part about it, it's gluten free! No, I do not have a gluten allergy but I know a lot of my followers do or choose to eat gluten free. I'm trying to incorporate more gluten free items into my diet to help avoid that "bloat" that most of us experience when eating gluten rich foods!

  • 1/4 cup GF brown rice flour
  • 3 tbsp egg whites
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • lemon pepper
  • mrs. dash chipotle seasoning
  • rosemary
  • boneless skinless chicken breast
Clean chicken breast off, rinse off, and cut off any excess fat. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl (as much seasoning as you like). Dip chicken breast in egg whites, and coat the breast with the flour mixture. Make sure you coat it evenly and pat it down on your chicken breast! Spray with PAM cooking spray or a drizzle of olive oil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Raise to the top rack and broil until the top is brown and crunchy. (be careful not to burn!) I topped mine with spicy brown mustard and sriracha (the usual condiments I use). Delicious quick and easy! You can even use smaller chickens to make "chicken strips" to get your kids to eat healthier! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The importance of meal prep-Plan ahead to succeed.

So here's a little insight about me. I'm a BIG planner, with EVERYTHING in my life. I have to know details about everything all the time (not because I'm a nosy person). Leave it to me to plan a girls night out, where we will be going, what I'll be eating, what time I'll be leaving my house, etc. It might be a little sick haha. ANYWAYS, back to the point. In order to live a healthy lifestyle, you MUST learn how to plan ahead. Why do most people fail at "eating clean"? Because as normal working human beings, we are put into situations where we might not be able to "grab something healthy" all the time. The result? Grabbing a McDonald's burger because its quick and convenient. With a little planning ahead, this can ALL be avoided. I plan everything that I'm going to eat the night before, and plug it into the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. I make sure my macro's will be on point, and this also helps me pack the exact food I'll need for the next day! I'm a hair dresser, and trust me when I say it is difficult to "find time" in between clients to scarf your food down BUT it's possible! I do it all the time! Sure, I'll have to maybe schedule clients around my lunch time, but when I say that I mean maybe a 10 minute off period! While clients are processing, I'll eat my other meals as well. There is no reason or excuse to NOT eat clean. It would probably be a lot more "convenient" for me to eat all the pastries that are put out for clients everyday and more "convenient" to pick something up to eat instead of packing it the night before. But I refuse to do that. And if you want it bad enough, you'll refuse as well. Here are my tips to healthy clean eating on the go, and planning ahead!:

  • Set aside about 2-3 hours on a Sunday afternoon, or a day off from work. Replenish groceries if needed (check my grocery list post for a list of examples!). Have a "game plan" when you get home. For instance, "Cook brown rice. While that's cooking, clean all proteins, season, and bake in the oven. Cut veggies and roast in oven as well.", something along those lines! (meal prep can get a little overwhelming if you don't have a plan!) Put all foods in Tupperware's and label "meal 2, 3,4" etc. (PS: Proteins will last in your fridge for about 3 days. Cook enough to last for 3 days, and replenish when those are finished!)
  • Plan your meals the night before. A few hours before bed, usually after dinner, I get on my handy dandy MyFitnessPal app and plan the next day's meals. I make sure everything is in check (calories, macros, etc) and then pack the necessary things to take with me! 
  • Always keep a bottle of water on hand(a gallon would be even better :p). Leave some in your trunk if necessary. Not only do you not want to resort to grabbing a hamburger, you want to stay away from those soda's and coke icee's as well! Staying hydrated throughout the day is SO important.
  • For all you ladies out there, I KNOW there's room in those purses for an apple. I always keep a few things on me besides my meals incase of an emergency. Things like almonds or other nuts, quest bars, apples, and tuna packets won't go bad if they aren't in a fridge, and are so easy to carry around! You never know when you'll get stuck in traffic, stuck at work, etc.
  • Set goals and stick to them! Don't let temptations get in your way. I am always surrounded by temptations at work, but when I have my mind set, there's no changing it (I'm very stubborn haha). Learn how to be stubborn when it comes to your diet. If someone offers you a cookie for example, don't show weakness so they can "talk you into it". The mind is so much more powerful then we think it is. If you set in your mind that you are sticking to your packed meals, then nothing should change it. Sure, cheats are okay once a week and it's okay to treat yourself, but if it isn't a planned cheat, it can get out of hand. I always like to keep my cheats at the end of the week, usually Saturday. Why? Because I know if I can hold off all week and eat clean, I'll have a treat waiting for me at the end. I know if I have a cheat on Tuesday for example, I'm going to end up wanting one again during the weekend. That is why I plan my cheats. I also recommend doing this if you plan to incorporate cheat meals. That's 1 MEAL, not day! 
So there you have it. A little guide on how to prep and plan ahead, and set yourself up for success. Remember, clean food doesn't have to be bland and boring! Incorporate different spices and find out what you like! It will make it all more enjoyable. I LOVE what I eat, otherwise I wouldn't be able to do this. I love food and if I don't enjoy eating what's on my plate, there's no way in hell I'll eat it again let alone every single day. Find out what works for you and stick with it! Remember, proper nutrition is key to living a healthy and fit lifestyle. The gym is only about 20 percent of it. All that hard work you put into working out won't mean anything with a poor diet!