The Quickest and Most Effective Way To Get A Six Pack

If you clicked on this article its because you’re looking for a quick fix right? An easy way to lose weight and get the six pack you’ve always wanted…. or maybe used to have back when you were younger and in shape. Well Im here to tell you first off that a six pack will not make you a happier person once you get there. You’ll actually find that its quite difficult to maintain a physique that requires a six pack, the hours of strength training and cardio as well as a strict diet that has limited calories.

Just to give you an idea of the amount of time and work that it takes to get six pack abs. Here is a comparison photo of myself!  In the left photo I was 20 weeks into contest prep for a National level show in the bikini divison.  I am 20 lbs lighter on the left (130 lbs), my calories are about 900 calories lower (1,300 cal/ day), 45 minutes of cardio/week, missing my cycle, and strength was significantly decreased.. And then you have my current physique on the right 20 lbs heavier (150lbs), maintaining at 2,200-2,300 calories/day, full body functional training 4-5 days/week which includes a mix of strength training and cardio. My cycle is normal, and strength is increasing!

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To me its overrated, UNLESS your goals require you to reach that level of training (LIKE A BODYBUILDING SHOW) which is way I always push my clients to first achieve a healthy balanced lifestyle before they make it a goal to even attempt to get washboard abs. 90% of the general population first needs to focus on how they can make healthier choices in their every day lives before they try to find their “quick fix”,( which by the way also wont get you a six pack).  In order to live a healthy lifestyle we first need to instill healthy habits that will help increase longevity!

 

 

1. Make it A Habit!

Before you make a goal to get six pack abs we need to focus on the basics and necessities that will help you live a healthier/ more balanced lifestyle first. This includes at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise per week, on top of a diet that focuses on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Its better to start off with goals you know you can hit. So start off with 1-2 days per week of 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise and work your way up to 150 minutes per week. This should include exercise modalities that fit your current fitness level and focus on the goals you want to achieve.

For example if you’d like to improve cardiovascular endurance and get stronger, then include exercise modalities that will help you achieve this goal.

2. Nutrition

A lot of people think there is some secret ingredient that fit people eat that make their physiques look attainable. I’ve heard the MOST ridiculous stories of people eating certain foods to burn more fat, 1,200 calorie diets, meal replacement shakes, detoxes…you name it! The ONE thing that “fit”people have in common when it comes to nutrition is consistency, dedication, and simply taking the time to make their training and nutrition a priority. For the most part they may meal prep and fuel their bodies with lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They meal prep, plan ahead, and make sure they are fueling their bodies correctly because they have goals that they need to hit. But they aren’t robots they don’t eat healthy ALL the time. They go out to dinner, eat ice, and pizza, BUT its not an everyday habit, their everyday habits support the goals that they want to hit and that requires them again to plan ahead and stay consistent!

3. Training

As with nutrition consistency wins the day the more consistent you are with training and nutrition, the more it becomes a habit and the quicker you will see results. I think its absolutely absurd when people aren’t satisfied when they haven’t lost 10+ pounds in 2 weeks and they haven’t changed their eating habits and train 1-2 times per week. NEWS FLASH progress doesn’t happen over night, and it’s definitely not going to happen if you don’t change what you’ve been doing and sprinkle in some exercise every now and then. It takes TIME…. hours, weeks, and years of hard work.

 

Overall when it comes to health and fitness reaching your goals should never be easy OR quick. The journey and process is what its all about! I hope this brings light to a very misunderstood topic in health and fitness!

I am very passionate about what I do, I love to educate and inspire individuals to become the best version they can be! If you would like to work together you can check out my Online Coaching page and fill out a form and I will be in contact with you ASAP!

Stay fit!

Protein Cheesecake!

Alright fam we are getting right to it! What I love about this recipe is that it is so versatile, you can make mix it up with different ingredients and toppings depending on what you’re craving for a healthy dessert. I decided to make a raspberry chocolate chip cheesecake, but I’ve also changed this recipe up and have done peanut butter chocolate chip, s’mores, chocolate cupcake.. you name it! It is definitely one of THE best macro friendly dessert recipes I’ve made, and with that here it is! If you’re more of a breakfast person you can also check out my Dark Chocolate Blueberry Protein Pancake Recipe!

IMG_9479 2.jpgIngredients

  • 2 scoops PEScience Snickerdoodle Select Protein
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Dark chocolate chips
  • 2  8 oz low fat cream cheese or fat free
  • 12 oz Plain greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup stevia or Splenda
  • Parchment paper
  • Zero calorie cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven 325. Get cheesecake mixture ready while the oven is preheating
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients together (Protein powder, chocolate chips,  and stevia) and whisk together.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine all wet ingredients (Cream cheese, greek yogurt, vanilla, eggs) Use a hand mixer at a high speed and mix all the wet ingredients together. Slowly pour the dry ingredients in while using the hand  mixer. Blend together until the mixture becomes a thick batter like consistency.
  4. Line the pan with parchment paper. If you are using a rounded pan cut out three layers. Lay the first two in an ‘X’ shape in the pan and the last layer across the X shape.
  5. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and pour the cheesecake batter in the pan. Place in the oven at 325 for  30 minutes. Take it out and bake it again at a lower temp of 200 for 50 min.
  6. Let the cheesecake cool down and refrigerate overnight.

Optional toppings:

  • Raspberries w/ raspberry compote
  • Peanut butter or PB2 (For less calories) with Halo Top  (this is my favorite combo!)

Servings: 1 square (I only had 13×9 pan 18 square slices)

Macros: 5 C/18 P/ 2F

How To Break Through Weight Loss Plateaus

If there’s one thing that’s the most frustrating part about dieting, it’s hitting plateaus. I think everyone can relate to this whether you’ve tried to gain or lose weight. You start a new diet and its been going well for the first couple of weeks or months to where you are losing/gaining the amount of weight that you want, and then BOOM you hit a plateau, and it drives you nuts! You may be  gaining or maintaining at your current weight, all the while still adhering to your diet and workout plan. Its frustrating especially if you are sticking to your plan, I get it. I’ve been there multiple times! When you hit a plateau you have two options

  1. Give up and go back to your previous habits
  2. Keep pushing and working hard to get to where you want to be

 

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Here is an example of a current situation of mine. I’ve been dieting for a bodybuilding show for 20 weeks now which is pretty long term. Overall there is a downward trend, which is what we want! But loss was apparent up until about the middle of March (I believe this was around week 12-14) where I hit a plateau. Although it was frustrating to see that my weight wasn’t going anywhere with the effort that I was putting in, my coach and I made adjustments by lowering calories a bit (~50 calories) and increasing my step count. THAT’S all I needed to do to get loss moving again. Simple adjustments can go a long way!

More than half choose number 1 because they believe they’ve put in too much effort for not seeing the results they want, and so they go back to their old habits because its easier to go back to eating more and moving less. OR they don’t know the next steps to take to push through the plateau. Yes, it is easier, to choose number 1, but you can’t stop doing something just because it gets hard! Thats why I’m here to help! So, what happened and where do you go from here?

 

What Happened?

In the case that you are trying to lose weight and you’ve hit a plateau…..Think of our bodies as an energy efficient machine. When you first enter into a caloric deficit (you’re burning more calories than you are consuming) this comes as a “shock” to the body and you will initially lose weight, your body has a higher demand to burn energy (fat and glycogen stores) than it does to store it. But, after a couple of weeks of continued dieting your body will assume that this new calorie deficit is the new “norm” and it puts up a defense mechanism which will slow down your metabolic rate so that you don’t burn as many calories in order to save as much energy as possible….. and insert *plateau*.

 

How do you break through a plateau?

There are a couple of options you can do in this type of situation:

1. Make sure you are tracking accurately

This includes EVERYTHING you consume throughout the day.  Meals, beverages, condiments, gums, supplements, sweeteners, cooking oils, etc. After doing multiple research projects using food logs I’ve found that about 85-90% of people will under report on their calories, either intentionally or unintentionally. Also measuring out your food portions correctly and accurately instead of guessing may help with realizing you’ve been tracking inaccurately.  If you’ve every measured out 1 serving of cereal then you know what Im talking about…its depressing how little one serving is. Using a food scale is going to be the most accurate way to track. Is it a pain in the ass? YES. But if you haven’t been measuring accurately it could be the reason you’ve seen a halt in progress. If you’ve never measured your food you can start by just incorporating it in your prepped meals and then one weekend day. Once you start doing it more often it will become much easier and less of a task.

2. Cut out more calories

If you are tracking accurately and still stuck in a weight loss black hole then this is likely your next option. THIS DOESNT HAVE TO BE A DRASTIC CUT. It can be as little as a 50-100 calorie decrease in order to get loss moving again. Start by cutting 50-100 calories and see how your weight responds after a couple of days on the new caloric intake. Take your weights over the past week and average that weeks loss and compare it to the pervious week to see if you are down compared to where you were before. The WORST thing you can do is get stuck on the day to day numbers of the scale. This is why averaging your weigh over the week is important. Look at average loss over the week not day to day numbers.

3. Adding in cardio and increasing NEAT

On top of slightly decreasing calories adding in a little cardio will increase your caloric expenditure throughout the day as well as increasing NEAT (Non exercise activity thermogenesis) which would be your step count throughout the day. Start by adding 1-2 sessions of 10 to 15 minutes of cardio and increasing your steps by 500-1,000 steps/day than you are currently completing. I say 10-15 minutes because you don’t want to start by doing an hour of cardio (since this will be the norm for your body) and then have to keep increasing the amount to overcome loss to the point where it isn’t doable. Thats usually how people burn out quickly.  There are different types of cardio that you can do, the key is to do something that you enjoy so it doesn’t become a chore! Anything from walking, biking, jogging, swimming, soccer, and boot camp classes. All of these modalities include high intensity (with intervals) and low intensity (steady state cardio).

4. Dont STRESS!

Stressing about the number on the scale is only going to delay progress and make things more frustrating yourself. Added stress will increase cortisol levels ,which effects sleep, water retention in the body, and we know that this will not help with weight loss. Make simple adjustments and you will see things start to trend downward again!

 

While these steps may not work initially, the key to long term progress is time and consistency.  As many times as you’ve probably heard from your coach or trainer, “Trust in the process”, they are telling the truth! Weight loss isn’t a quick fix and it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Stick to your goals, make them sustainable, work hard, and you will get there!

 

I am very passionate about what I do! If you would like to work together you can check out my Online Coaching page and fill out a form and I will be in contact with you ASAP!

Stay fit!

How to Choose Supplements That ACTUALLY Work

Unless you are a professional in the industry of dietary supplementation, or have experience with using supplements it can be hard to determine which supplements you should get. There are about a million and HALF different brands when it comes to dietary supplements!

At some point we’ve all walked down the supplement isle and picked up a tub of protein and wondered how to pronounce the twenty different ingredients listed on the label. You aren’t sure what the ingredients are and if they will actually help you reach your goals. I’ve asked myself these questions when I first started getting into taking supplements.

“What is the best brand to use”,

“Will this even work?”,

“Do I even need to take this?”,

“What ingredients do I need to look out for?”,

Well, you are not alone because we’ve all been there at some point! I’m here to help! Here are some tips and tricks I use to figure out if a supplement product is legit! Let’s dive in!

1. Look at the Ingredients list

The first and MOST obvious tip you should do before buying a product is look at the ingredients list. The problem with supplements is that they aren’t regulated by the FDA. Which means they don’t go through the normal screening process like medications, vaccinations, and food. Since they aren’t certified any supplement company can make claims about their product that aren’t valid or true. However, supplement companies do have to provide an ingredients list, this is a good way to figure out what potentially is in the product.

Ingredients lists in all food/supplements products are listed from most prevalent to least prevalent in the product. For example, the first ingredient listed is the one that is mostly “made up of” in the product. So, if you are looking for a whey protein powder the first ingredient that should be listed is “100% Whey protein Isolate” or something along those lines.

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For example, the protein powder above looks like a good option because the first ingredient is Whey Protein, but the second ingredient is Maltodextrin (a carbohydrate filler), followed by BCAA’S So, this product does contains mostly protein, but it also contains a decent amount of carbohydrate filler which makes it seem like there is more protein in the product.

2. Don’t fall for the “Too Good To be True” Products

Then there is the “to good to be true products”. Most of the time it’s a “magic” diet pill, fat burner, waist wrap, or tea detox that MELTS YOUR FAT CELLS AWAY IN JUST 1 DAY! Any product that promises you results in a week or less is full of BULLSHIT. These products are normally sold online or through sponsors that are trying to make a quick buck and scam you. The rule is simple, if it sounds too good to be true then it most likely isn’t effective.

3. Research the products ingredients list

So how do consumers combat the false claims made by supplement companies and products? My go to tool for researching products is on examine.com, you simply type in the first 5 ingredients in the search bar and it provides a summary of the ingredients and if they are effective or not.

4. Look for Certified brands

Another way to tell if the product is legit it is to look for certified labels on supplement products. Usually if a product is certified by a third party quality control organization the supplements listed on the label are actually what is in the product. The organizations test random batches of the companies products (not all batches) to comply with consumers that the product is safe to take and the labeling is accurate. Here are some organizations to look for on supplement labels

  • USP ( I see this label the most)
  • NSF International
  • Informed Choice

USP-label

5. Cost Vs. Value

With many things in life… you get what you pay for.

If a protein powder costs $17.99 for 40 servings while the other costs $40.00 for 40 servings its probably best to go with the more expensive brand because they most likely have higher quality ingredients. BUT of course, always look at the label first before you buy something.

This isn’t always the case, unfortunately shitty supplement companies may have a huge marketing budget, which means they have to increase their product pricing to make a profit. So, the products may still be expensive but they can actually suck. A good way to tell if the product is high quality an effective is to look for companies that pay for research/ clinical trials to be done on their products.

6. Do You Know and Trust the Brand?

A lot of times people search the web for a supplement product and the first recommended product that pops up is the one they buy. This is a NO NO! I would encourage you to research a product first, look to see if clinical trials have been done on the product and that they ARE EFFECTIVE. Next step would be to try the brand out and see if you like them! If one of their products brings you results then it is likely that most of their products are legit and will also give you good results!

Overall, the take home message here is to get a little nerdy, and research the products that you are considering using. It’s so important to know what you are consuming and putting into your body, and how it can affect it! Be SMART and don’t buy products just for marketing purposes to try and save money. It’s your body and your health so make conscious decisions that will only help you, not hurt you!

My personal preference, as you can tell is PEScience! I know and trust this brand and have been using their products for years. I’ve seen amazing results using a combination of their products but mostly their Select Protein line. They have the best tasting protein on the market, and it includes all the quality amino acid profiles you need in order to build muscle! I order mine from Amazon! It’s cheaper, and it receive it the next day ☺️ Try it out and let me know what you think!

Does Late Night Eating Make You Fat?

Don’t eat dinner OR snacks after 8pm or you will gain weight! Sound familiar?

You’ve probably come across someone at some point that was trying to lose weight tell you that they stopped eating after dinner time of and they suddenly lost weight 10 pounds after implementing this for a couple of months.

 

Well they didn’t DIRECTLY lose weight from not eating after 8pm, they were probably the type of person that over consumed on snacks, high calorie dinners, or binge drank alcohol late at night.

So, if you cut these factors out of course you are going to lose weight! So many people believe that eating after 8pm will automatically cause your body to store those calories as fat, no matter what the food source is, and that is not the case!

 

So will eating a late dinner or a midnight snack directly make you gain weight? 

NO it will not.

However, OVER consuming calories late at night and throughout the day will lead to weight gain, which is a majority of where the problem lies.

Energy balance leads to weight gain or weight loss

BalCalories2

Weight gain is caused by consuming more calories than you are expending, A.K.A being in a caloric surplus.  Weight loss occurs as long as I am burning more calories than I am intaking, which will put me in a caloric deficit.

For example,  meet Susie!

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Susie is trying to lose weight and her current caloric intake is 1,700 calories/day. She has steadily been losing weight at this intake so we know she is in a caloric deficit. Each example shows different caloric amounts per meal throughout the day but the overall intake is still the same between situations

                      No Intake after 8pm                          Most calories consumed after 8pm

Caloric Deficit                                    STILL  a Caloric Deficit

     Breakfast: 400cal                                 Breakfast:250 cal 

Snack:200 cal                                       Snack: 200 cal

Lunch: 500 cal                                      Lunch: 400cal

Snack: 200  cal                                     Dinner: 400cal

             Dinner: 400  cal                               Late Night snack: 550cal

=1,700 calories                                 = 1,700 calories

Each of these examples still puts Susie in a caloric deficit. The example on the right doesn’t make her incapable of losing weight just because she consumed most of her calories at night! As long as she expended more than 1,700 calories throughout the day between:

1. Exercise/ NEAT

2. Resting Metabolic Rate

and 

3. Thermal Effect of Food 

……..she is still going to lose weight!

Why people tend to associate late night eating with weight gain is because they over consume on snacks and alcohol or binge eat late at night. Someone can end up consuming 500-1,000+ calories in one sitting and obviously this leads to……..you guessed it WEIGHT GAIN!

So, it’s just a matter of preference and being conscious of the amount of calories you consume throughout the day! Using a caloric counting app like MyFitnessPal is a great place to start if you are curious about your caloric intake!

 

I am very passionate about what I do! If you would like to work together you can check out my Online Coaching page and fill out a form and I will be in contact with you ASAP!

Stay fit!

4 Ways to Maximize Your Metabolism

A couple of weeks a go I attended a “How to maximize your metabolism: Reverse Dieting” seminar at the Arnold Sports Festival. At this seminar there were credible individuals that I personally look up to in the fitness industry, each of them has a Master’s or is obtaining their Masters’ in dietetics or exercise physiology. Laurin Conlin, Paul Revelia, Dylan Bair, and Lacey Dunn all did a great job and brought up very good points. They presented case studies of clients/ situations they’ve been in when it comes to reverse dieting a client or essentially reversing metabolic damage in clients as well. So here are some things that I learned  on this topic at the seminar and what I’ve learned from my education and personal experience!

 

So let’s dive in!

 

To understand metabolism we first need to define it! Metabolism is the chemical process that occur in an organism in order to maintain life. Humans have what is called a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR can be measured in a dark room after waking up from  8-12 hours of sleep and RMR is through the gases we inhale/exhale through direct or indirect calorimetry, in a fasted state. Our RMR is made up of  the  amount of calories our body expends in a resting state in order to maintain life.

 

Each of us has a different RMR which is mainly based off our genetics. Some people have a high or “fast” metabolism meaning that their body expends more calories at rest in order to function, and some people have a low or “slow” RMR which means your body doesn’t expend as much energy at rest in order to function. There a small factors that can increase or decrease metabolism such as physical activity, diet, age, and body composition, but like I said these factors play a small role in metabolism.

 

Caloric expenditure

There are three main factors that contribute to how we burn calories. The first and most contributing factor is our RMR metabolism which expends 60-80% percent of total calories. Physical activity (PA) and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)contributes to 15-30% of calories expended, and the last 10% goes to TEF (Thermal Effect of Food) which is digestion.
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So, as you can see RMR plays the biggest role in calories used to expend energy. So, how can we maximize and increase metabolism if we genetically do have a slower metabolism.? Or may slowed over time due to age, chronic disease, and prolonged metabolic damage from long term dieting..etc.?

 

  1. Add more muscle

At rest muscle cells are more metabolically active than fat cells. Increased muscle mass requires a higher energy demand on the body resulting in a higher caloric expediture. So, if one were to increase their muscle mass, their metabolism would increase as well.

 

  1. Increase calories

Our bodies adapt to certain factors in order to stay alive. For example when you’re cold your body has a feedback mechanism that says “hey, my core temperature is dropping below normal levels!” So, you get the “goose bumps” and this is your bodies way of trying to reserve heat and stay warm in order to survive. The same thing applies with metabolism. If you have been dieting long term or frequently diet this can slow metabolism or cause metabolic damage. Your body is very energy efficient, so when you diet you are in a caloric deficit, which means you’re expending more calories than you are consuming. Your body adapts to the lower calorie intake and then tells your metabolism to also slow down so it can protect itself from starvation.  If your metabolism is slow due to long term dieting the best option is to INCREASE calories at a slow and healthy rate.  This is also called reverse dieting. Although you will initially gain weight to start off, this will help with getting your metabolism back to maintenance levels or even increasing it, because again the body adapts to dietary changes and it will start using your food intake more efficiently. Slowly introducing calories up by 2-5% each week is a good starting point!

 

  1. Increase Protein intake

As I mentioned earlier TEF takes up about 10% of calories expended. Protein has the highest thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fat. Increasing protein intake will also increase TEF which will directly increase metabolism and also keep you satiated (A.K.A FULL for longer amount of time). But its important to know that you can’t increase protein intake while still eating the same amount of carbs and fat. This will lead to a caloric surplus and overall weight gain. So protein calories can increase but carbohydrate and fat calories should be lowered in order to match the total amount of calories you previously were consuming.

 

 

  1. Increase NEAT

Get your steps in! Instead of increasing cardio substantially to increase your overall caloric expenditure, increasing NEAT is a better option! NEAT is activity that is not planned as physical activity. For example walking to and from your car, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cleaning your house, walking the dog.. etc. are all forms of NEAT which increases metabolic activity and caloric expenditure. NEAT is a better option because your body doesn’t have to recover from very low intensity activity, like walking, but your body does have to recover from a stressor like exercise  (running, biking, HITT, weight training) because these types of activities deplete glycogen levels quicker and at a greater rate.

 

These are small voluntary interventions that can help with increasing metabolism!

DISCLAIMER: These changes may not likely increase metabolism a significant amount, because metabolism largely contributes to factors that we cannot control like, genetics and aging.  But research has shown that some of these methods can be effective!

I am very passionate about what I do! If you would like to work together you can check out my Online Coaching page and fill out a form and I will be in contact with you ASAP!

Stay fit!

 

Things to Consider Before You Decide to Compete

Show Day.

It’s alluring in all aspects. Your tan, make-up, hair, your physique, and the constant gratification of people telling you that you look amazing. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype of show day. Its ONE day and about 10-20 minutes of total stage time if you’re lucky. ONE day you’ve worked your ass off to get to get to. One day that adds up to hours of training and cardio, hundreds of prepped meals, measuring food down to the gram for every meal, and pushing your mind and your body to the limit. From an outsider looking in show day and competing in a bodybuilding show can seem intriguing, fun, and exciting. But what you probably don’t know is what it takes to get to show day. Here are some thing you should know before you decide to compete!

 

IMG_2124

 

What is your “Why”

I don’t mean when your friends, co-workers, or family ask you why you compete, or why you cant eat ‘X” food, or why  you have to bring your food scale to a family dinner. I mean, on a Thursday at 6pm you have to get back to the gym for another training session, miss out on hanging out with friends to get in another posing session in, measure out your food for the rest of the night and the next day. This is where your “why” should come in.

There are some competitors that started because their training got boring and they wanted to feel apart of something again. Let me tell you training is the easy part of prep its the constant mind games and mental fortitude and constantly being food focused that makes prep hard. And then there are some that compete for the fame, for followers, likes, money, and sponsorships. While this may be full filling at first, your love for the sport will slowly dwindle because you wont always win, people wont always approve of your physique, and you’ll spend more money in the sport then you will make. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to improve your training or wanting to be apart of a sport, or for wanting to win, but just make sure its for the right reasons!

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Get ready to spend a SHIT TON of Money

If there was one thing that was a wake call for myself, it was how much competing actually cost in its totality. Let’s use the bikini division for example.

  1. Coaching: $500-$1500

If you want to be successful in the sport you need to hire a coach that knows what the hell they’re doing. And I don’t mean this “one girl” you know that did a show and did well. I mean an EXPERT in the industry, someone thats worked with a multitude of competitors, that has years or even decades of experience in bodybuilding, and a plus would be having some type of nutrition/ kinesiology degree. Coaches can cost anywhere from $500-$1500 per season depending on how long you work with and how much they charge per month.

2. Federation card: $50-$100

Depending on what and how many federations you compete in, you have to pay for a membership for that federation. Amateurs/Novice usually average about $50-$70 per card and pro cards are about 100. Which you have to renew in order to keep your pro status, so although you may not be competing every year you still have to keep your membership updated.

3. Show Registration:$30-$150

This can vary widely depending on how the federation, many classes/ divisions you are competing in, and depending on how big the show is and the level you compete at. Local shows typically are cheaper than national level shows and pro classes are more expensive than novice divisions.

4. Suit: $300-$1,000

Ladies, this will blow your mind if you haven’t competed before. SUITS. ARE. SO. FU*KIN. EXPENSIVE. Companies have a lot of options now, where they even provide rental suits but even those are expensive. If its your first show and its local I wouldn’t go all out and spend 600-1000 dollars on a blinged out suit. But if you’re competing at a national or regional show you need to stand out against 100-500 other girls so you want a blinged out  suit thats going to sparkle on stage!

5. Jewelry & Shoes: $50-$300

Again depending on the companies you use this can vary widely. But you do need to invest a big sparkly bracelet, pair of earrings, and a ring or two! Don’t forget those posing heels girls!

6. Tan, Make-up, Hair: $100-3$00

Show day essentials! Venue tans usually are around 100-150 these are nice because you don’t have to worry about the color of the tan, application, and touch ups becuase a company will come in and do that for you. If you want to save money on this you can buy tanning products like Pro Tan and Jantana, but you have to apply these yourself, and have someone help you in the places that you cant reach ( if ya know what I mean),make sure the color looks good, and touch-ups through-out the day.

7. Show day Travel: $100-$400

Whether you’re flying or driving thats going to cost money and then hotel as well. Usually the show promotor will have a discount code for a certain hotel which is nice, but that by no means makes it “cheap”. I try to find shows that are close to me or where other family members live that way you can save money on a hotel!

 

Competing isn’t for the light-hearted

Most likely than not, you’re going to lose. Especially if its your first time competing. Not to say there isn’t a chance of winning because that has definitely happened. But just like any sport it takes years of training to build up a foundation that makes your physique competitive at the pro level. If you just started training I would wait about 2-3 years to build a solid foundation before you decide to go into prep mode. I had been lifting for about 3-4 years before I even considered competing and it was one of the best decisions to wait until I built a physique that was competitive in my division.

You are going to be hungry. Its inevitable especially the closer you get to show day. Food focus is the game and I mean like you’re always worrying about how much carb you should have for X meal or if you should save it for later because you might be hungry. Social events give you a little bit of anxiety because they typically are revolved around food. You just  have to push through the fact that its going to suck. As a lot of people in  the bodybuilding world say “You gotta embrace the suck!”.

The Pros Outweigh the Cons

At least for me. Yes I just gave you a bazillion reasons why competing can suck at times, but if its something you love to do and you’re passionate about then it all makes it worth it. You get to meet so many amazing positive people, make new friends, and you learn sooo much about yourself in the process. Competing has defiantly changed my life for the better, its made me more confident, hard working, and its also made me realize how much potential I have!

 

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Creatine: Does it Enhance Performance and Increase Muscle Mass?

By far, creatine has been one of the most sought out and researched supplements to date. With hundreds of studies performed on its effects, the results of these studies prove it to be one of the safest and most effective supplements on the market. Creatine wasn’t used as a performance enhancing supplement until the 1990’s, although the first study dates all the way back to 1926. As athletes started seeing an increase in performance such as strength, speed, agility, and muscle mass, the use of creatine became more popular amongst fitness enthusiast and athletes.

 

What is Creatine and how does it work?

Our body and muscles produce energy using a molecule called ATP (Adensonsine Triphospate). When there is a need for energy for example walking, lifting weights, running, jumping…etc our bodies use ATP in order to perform that specific movement. Once we use ATP for energy it is broken down into  ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate)  and instead of having three phosphate groups it now only has two phosphate groups.

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 9.46.46 AMUnfortunately, we can’t use ADP to produce energy, which makes ADP no longer useful to us. The goal is to try and replenish the ADP molecule by adding another phosphate group and converting it back in to ATP, which we CAN use for energy. So, to replenish that energy our bodies have a natural occurring Creatine Phosphate (CP) pool. For quick energy we then take a CP molecule from that pool and break it down into a separate creatine molecule and a separate phosphate molecule.Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 9.42.50 AMThat phosphate molecule is then donated to the ADP molecule now converting it to ATP to regenerate more energy. 
Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 9.52.59 AM

The cycle continues until the CP pool is depleted and cellular metabolism takes over depending on the energy systems being used. So, supplementing with creatine increases the amount of CP that is stored in the pool. If more CP is readily available then we are able to produce energy at a faster rate and more efficiently because the process only requires 1 step in order to produce ATP. Whereas other energy systems like aerobic and anaerobic metabolism have multiple steps until ATP is produced. Disclaimer: Creatine doe not directly increase muscle mass, speed, agility…etc. It allows for our body to increase the amount of energy produced which results in increased amount of repetitions, training harder and longer and this results in an increased stimulus to the muscle which results in muscle growth.

 

What does the research say?

Amongst hundreds of research studies, literature reviews, and meta analysis the common consensus is that creatine is a safe and effective supplement that effectively results in an increase in strength, speed/agility, and muscle mass. The latter being there were no negative effects (no decrease in performance) but some studies resulted in co change in performance. A met-analysis by Ross et al. 2003 in  80% of the studies performed found that individuals ingesting creatine (at least 5 days per week) in combination with resistance training, obtained an  8% -14% increase in their 1 rep max performance as well as muscle endurance. While the other 20% showed no effect or increase in performance. A recent 2012 analysis by Cooper et al., concluded that creatine has a positive effect on increasing the effects of resistance training by increasing strength and hypertrophy. It also aids in improving  the quality and benefits of high intensity intermittent speed training.  Lastly,  it seems to improve and have a positive effect on  power, fat free mass, daily living performance and neurological function in young and older people.

 

How much should I take, and when?

If you do decide to use creatine as a supplement, research studies suggest that about 3-5g (5,000mg) results in increased performance. Taking more than this amount has no increased effects because our bodies will not store more than that amount which means it won’t be used and is eventually secreted out as urine. As always you know the brand I know and trust is PEScience, ( I order through Amazon, its more affordable and you get it within 1-2 days) I take 3 capsules a day in the morning and do this consistently! You can also use the powder form I just don’t like the gritty texture of it in my protein shake, so I prefer the capsules!

Overall there are no harmful effects of supplementing creatine into your diet, if anything there are either no changes or significant increases in performance and body composition. You can add creatine to your post workout protein shake, gainer shakes, etc.

 

 

How to Count Net Carbs

Simple answer: YOU DON’T
Here’s why.
You’ve probably walked through the grocery store and noticed a loaf of bread claim that is has 5 Net Carbs on the front label. You think to yourself “Wow only 5 carbs for a serving of bread!? Sign me up!”

FALSE this is simply a sales marketing ploy to get consumers to think they are eating less carbs than they think. Which obviously results in increased profit for the company while still legally advertising these claims. So what are net carbs and how do they work?

Net carbs became a “thing” when the Atkins low carb diet started to become popular around the 90’s. Unless you are diabetic you shouldn’t pay attention to the advertising of net carbs. Net carbs basically give an indicator of how the amount of fiber and sugar or sugar alcohols in that food will effect your blood sugar levels. Which, unless you are diabetic and you actually check your blood sugar levels, you will have zero idea of how certain types of carbohydrate effect your blood sugar levels. So how does fiber and sugar alcohols effect your blood sugar?
Fiber
So, what does  fiber and sugar alcohols have to do with net carbs? These two compounds effect your blood sugar in certain ways. There are two types of fiber: Insouble and soluble. Soluble dissolves in water, which produces a gel like substance making it harder for the small intestine to absorb the nutrients. So, eating soluble fiber wont spike or increase your blood sugar levels as much as a simple sugar would. Insoluble fiber adds water to stool making bowel movements more regulated and easier to pass. Fiber is found in whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, nuts, beans, etc.
Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols are basically a zero or low calorie sweetener, like Splenda, Stevia, and Equal. Sugar alcohols are used to sweeten low calorie products to try and make them taste better. This will cause a spike or large increase in your blood sugar levels, which isn’t a huge deal unless you are diabetic……. or you eat a shit ton of Splenda packets for fun. The more grams of sugar alcohols that are in a product results in a greater increase in blood sugar levels. This can effect people differently, some individuals might experience an upset stomach or headache, and there might be no effect in other people.
How do they calculate Net Carbs?
Net carbs are calculated based off the amount of fiber and sugar alcohols per serving in a food product.
*NET CARBS= TOTAL CARBS- FIBER- SUGAR ALCOHOLS*
If you look at the nutrition label from our example of the Healthy Life Bread (Pictured Above and nutrition label is below).
NET CARBS= 16G (Total Carb)- 5g(Fiber) – 2g (Sugars) = 9g / 2(Serving)= 4.5G ~ 5g Net Carb  (divide by 2 for per slice of bread b/c there are 2 slices in one serving)
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And THAT is how Net carbs are calculated and marketed on food products. Like I stated earlier the average person REALLY does not have to worry about net carbs. To get accurate information just look at the ingredients list and total calories, which will tell you the correct amount of macronutrients and ingredients used to make the product!

The Best Type of Cardio for Fat Loss

For  those of you that don’t already know, this past May I graduated with my Master’s Degree in exercise physiology from Illinois State ( Go Redbirds!) and also completed my undergraduate degree in exercise science. My thesis topic was spent looking at how dietary intake/composition effects fuel metabolism during increasing intensity aerobic exercise. In layman’s terms I was studying how the percent of macronutrient breakdown effected what fuel (carb, fat, sometimes protein) individuals were burning during increasing intensity exercise. So after reading a sh** ton of research this is the consensus that I came to!

 

What is the best type of cardio for fat loss?

This is a very common question and topic that I, and I’m sure every trainer has been asked from clients and individuals that are trying to lose weight. So, what is the secret? Which type of cardio is best for someone trying to burn fat? As always, there is no clear cut answers for questions like these. Especially when it comes to weight loss. There is no black and white answer for an entire population, and a lot of gray areas but there are a variety of factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to best answer this question.

 

Is cardio your best option?

Typically, the goal when someone is trying to lose weight, is to lose as much weight as possible in the quickest amount of time. While this ideal, it’s not optimal for your body composition or health. Participating in any type of exercise program will result in an energy expenditure (calories burned) and weight loss will follow when the energy expended is greater than the energy consumed (total calories consumed). So,  what type of exercise results in the greatest caloric burn? Again, there is a lot of research that shows cardio is best, and then there is a lot of research that shows weight training is better.

After completing a literature review on the effects of resistance training programs vs. aerobic (cardio) training programs on body composition in women. I found that more studies showed greater body composition changes, (meaning their muscle mass increased while fat mass decreased) in women that were first in a caloric deficit and that consistently participated ( anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months) in a resistance training program 4-6 days per week that incorporated strength rep ranges of 4-6 reps, hypertrophy rep ranges of 8-12 reps, and endurance rep ranges of 15-20 reps. Compared to women that JUST did cardio 4-5 days per week. Not to say that cardio isn’t an option as tool for weight loss. These findings merely suggest that greater body composition changes are seen when a resistance training program is implemented using a variety of rep ranges. Cardio can also be used as a tool to increase an individuals energy expenditure.

 

…….But Taylor you’ve typed a whole entire paragraph and you STILL haven’t answered my question! Here it is….. are you ready?

What is the best type of cardio for fat loss you asked?

IT DEPENDS ….and were back to that gray area again

 

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

When the goal is to try, and maintain as much muscle as possible research shows that HIIT is best. HIIT training includes short burst of high intensity exercise that increases your heart rate (80-90% of heart rate max) and is followed by a short period of rest and then is repeated for however many intervals. Although, during high intensity activity the body burns mainly carbohydrate as fuel, the overall caloric burn ends up being greater than if you did a low intensity workout. Meaning, if the two were performed for an equal amount of time you end up burning more calories during a HIIT workout because your intensity level is much higher. Then, there is also EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) that plays a role in caloric expenditure, also known as the after burn. Not going to go into much detail because this is a topic for another article in itself.  During any type of high intensity exercise, there is a greater EPOC compared to low intensity exercise thus resulting in a greater caloric burn.

 

Metabolic-Efficency-Crossover

On this graph, GREEN represents fat and BLUE represents carbohydrate. As you can see as exercise intensity increases grams of carbohydrate burned increase and grams of fat decrease. Vise versa. Grams of fat burned increases when intensity is lower and grams of carbohydrate decrease. (Exercise Physiology

 

Steady State or LISS (Low Intensity Steady State)

During low intensity steady state exercise and during rest, the body mainly uses fat as fuel source. Yay I answered your question! But keep reading…….

Steady state exercise includes activities such as endurance running, biking, swimming, walking, hiking, rowing…etc. Usually heart rate is anywhere between (40%-60%) of HR max). This type of cardio is great for individuals that already have endurance built up and enjoy participating in endurance activities. It is also a low impact activity so its great for all ages. As I stated in the HIIT section, in order to burn as much calories you do during high intensity activities, you would need to do LISS activities for a longer period of time to equate to the same overall calorie burn.

 

So what is the overall consensus?

As always it depends on the goals of the individuals and their personal preference. Incorporating resistance training rather than just cardio alone for fat loss will result in greater body composition changes. But including cardio is a great tool for weight loss and increasing caloric burn especially if the scale isn’t moving down much. HIIT cardio is more beneficial you are looking for the best “bang for your buck”, the workout is shorter and results in greater energy expenditure. But steady state is great in that the main fuel burned is fat. This type of cardio just needs to be performed for a longer amount of time to create a higher energy expenditure. Including both into your training program can be beneficial for your fat loss goals!

 

I am very passionate about what I do! If you would like to work together you can check out my Online Coaching page and fill out a form and I will be in contact with you ASAP!

Stay fit!

 

Sources:

Romijn JA, Coyle EF, Sidossis LS, et al. Regulation of endogenous fat and carbohydrate metabolism in relation to exercise intensity and duration. Am J Physiol. 1993;265(3 Pt 1):E380-391.

Coyle EF. Substrate utilization during exercise in active people. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61(4 Suppl):968S-979S.

Jeukendrup AE. High-carbohydrate versus high-fat diets in endurance sports. In. Vol 51: Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur; 2003:17-23.

Mcardle, W. D. (2014). Exercise physiology: nutrition energy and human performance. Lippincott Williams And W.