Friday, January 31, 2014

Most Asked Health & Fitness Questions

It's Friday friends! I thought I would take today to run through the questions or topics I get asked about the most. Remember, my answers are not the end all be all, I'm not the fitness god, but I am happy to share what works for me so that you can give a try. 

Whey vs. Casein- when do I use them?
Whey protein is best used immediately after a workout, as/in a snack or in baking. Whey is a pre-digested protein meaning your body doesn't have to work to break it down allowing it to get to your muscles quicker. When you pair whey protein with a carbohydrate the carb shuttles the protein to the muscles quickly. Whey is also great for baking homemade protein bars which can be a great grab and go snack or breakfast option. 

Casein protein is a slow digesting protein and it takes a while (about 7 hours) for your body to completely break it down. Because of this, casein is best to eat before bed and avoided after workouts. 

What should I eat pre and post workout?
Your nutrition pre and post workout is really important if you are looking for results, especially if you're trying to build muscle. Both pre and post workout you want equal amounts of protein and carbs. Some good examples are: protein shake and banana, greek yogurt with berries, egg whites and oatmeal, chicken and sweet potato, protein pancakes etc. Make sure you get your post workout shake or meal in within about 30 minutes of your workout! 

How many calories should I eat a day? Or What should my macros be?
This is probably what I'm asked most about. A while ago I made this video which is great place to start. Figure out what calorie and macro range would work best for you and start there for 2 weeks. After about 2 weeks, check your weight, measurements and photos and see if those numbers are working for you. If you're trying to lose weight and your weight is the same after 2 weeks then you likely need to drop your calories a bit, I would recommend about 100 calories at a time. 

What protein powder do you use? 
There are SO many protein powders out there I know it's easy to get lost in them all! I try to avoid the ones with a lot of artificial ingredients or fillers while still having a decent taste. My two favorites are Dymatize Iso 100 and MRM. Both taste really great in shakes, and even more importantly (to me anyway) they work really well for baking. 

IIFYM vs. Clean Eating- which is better? 
Clean eaters tend to only eat whole, natural, "clean" foods, and eat for health reasons. IIFYM followers often eat the same types of foods while also including processed foods in their diets as long as those processed foods fit within their macro goals for the day. Which is better? I can't say! Personally, I like to eat for health which means pop tarts and candy bars are not very frequent. However, if your only goal is to meet your macros and in turn meet your physique goals and you don't care about putting lots of crazy chemicals in your body every day, then IIFYM may work for you. It's really just one of those things you have to try out for yourself. 

Can you create a customized workout or meal plan? 
For so long I had to answer this question with a no, but nowadays ABSOLUTELY! Shoot me an email at brittany (at) and we'll get you started! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

Hello there! Sorry I didn't make an appearance around here yesterday, I had a date with the doctor and then training and online training all afternoon. Doc says I have terrible allergies causing chronic post nasal drip, which is in turn causing my terrible headaches. I'm on a prescription nasal spray now that is supposed to fix everything… we shall see I suppose! 

I did make it to the gym yesterday for back and bi's but first had my favorite breakfast- rosemary red potatoes, eggs, and chicken sausage. I also had my protein shake post workout but didn't have a chance to take a photo. Actually, my new favorite way to make protein shakes is using a store bought green juice (no added sugar) and mixing that with almond milk and protein powder. Ah it tastes like a little slice of heaven. 

For lunch I grabbed some leftovers, not sure what I'm calling this but it's just quinoa noodles, spinach, tomato, and chicken. 

I made a HUGE batch of chicken fried rice that I snacked on during the afternoon. 

And then a couple homemade chicken strips with brown rice/quinoa and a side salad for dinner. I made these by putting a piece of Ezekiel bread in my food processor and then dipping the chicken in egg and then the bread crumbs. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and then added some Franks red hot sauce on top too. Yum! 

Before bed I had some casein and at some point I had a piece of green apple when I had a sweet tooth. Green apples are my new jam. So sweet & sour, love it! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Our Wedding Video!

No weekend recap this week, but I do have something equally as exciting to share :) 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Leg Day Workout & FORM

Lately I've been so much more aware of people's form in the gym and my gosh it can be horrendous! I still haven't decided if saying nothing and minding my own business is best or if I should quietly whisper to people "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" 

I've also noticed others looking at me funny when I use a piece of equipment a little differently that it is "supposed" to be used. For those of you that think you have to use machines only in the way the picture on the machine shows, you're definitely missing out. There are usually at a least a few variations of exercise that will help hit different muscles or hit the muscles from different angles, so don't be afraid to mix it up- just make sure your form is correct ;) 

Here's my leg workout from yesterday, with a slight variation on the lying leg curl. Instead of lying all the way down, prop yourself up on your elbows. This shifts your weight back into your hips and makes the hamstrings work a little bit harder. 

Squats- 4 x 10, heavy! 
Leg press with legs up high on platform 3 x 10, drop set on last set
Romanian deadlifts 4 x 10, heavy 
Lying leg curls performed as pictured above- 3 x 10 
Hamstring curl with stability ball 3 x 12 

Do you notice people with terrible form in your gym? Do you say anything or just mind your own beeswax? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday!

This What I Ate Wednesday looks quite a bit different than last week, dontcha think!? Thank goodness! I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I realized I was not eating as much as I thought I was, so I've been (a little) more diligent about tracking calories lately. Yesterday's eats turned out to be a little over 1950 calories with 187 of them being from carbohydrates. Hooray! 

Breakfast was the new usual- rosemary red potatoes, scrambled eggs, and a piece of Applegate Chicken Sausage. 
Post Workout I had a waffle made in my waffle maker that I finally broke out earlier this week. Topped it off with some blueberries and greek yogurt. 
For snack I grabbed a Power Crunch bar (If you haven't tried these, you need to!) 1/2 a green apple, and greek yogurt (not pictured) 
Lunch was 2 leftover tacos from dinner on Monday night. 
Dinner was Southwestern Turkey Meatballs from the December issue of Oxygen Magazine. (Another must try.) 
And a tasty little casein pudding with extra stevia before bed. 

And before you ask for my waffle recipe… 

I'm still working on it  ;) 

Monday, January 20, 2014

You Win Some You Lose Some

Happy Monday! Hopefully many of you are relaxing today and enjoying a day off in honor of Mr. MLK! I'll be plugging away getting some new online clients set up this week, but I do get to work from home today which means I may or may not still be in my gym clothes from this morning. Gross! 

I'm liking this new Monday post I have going on, it helps keep me accountable over the weekend because lord knows I can't always have a post like last week! This weekend I tried a few new things, one of my favorites being the pasta dish we had on Friday night. This was actually a pinterest recipe that I tweaked just a little and I even added the parmesan cheese (gasp!). For those of you that are lactose intolerant or sensitive, parmesan actually doesn't have that much lactose in it so you might give it a try! 

And here is my hodgepodge of random meals throughout the weekend. On the left is our new favorite thing- an egg scramble with rosemary red potatoes. We just can't seem to get enough. Top right is just a random quick meal I threw together when we decided to stick to our plan of not eating out this weekend. It's just ground turkey, onion, and bell pepper and I added some chipotle spices. I also threw in some brown rice/quinoa and a side salad and the flavors actually went together really well. Lastly bottom left is dinner from last night and my first time trying (or even hearing of) langastino. Anyone? I guess they are a mix between a shrimp and a lobster-- all I know is they were quite tasty sautéed with mushroom and onion! 

And here was our weekend fail. We've been wanting to make our own bloody mary mix with our juicer for a long time so this weekend we decided to give it a go in hopes of having a nice homemade bloody mary while watching the Seahawks lose. Well, they tasted terrible! We followed a recipe I found to a T but they just tasted like straight up tomatoes. Not what we were going for. And the Seahawks won. Double fail! 

Have a great day!! 

Has anyone made bloody mary mix at home and had it turn out? Recipe please! ;) 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Chicken Taco Bowl

Great news to report, the bug has finally left my body! Feeling normal for the first time all week and boyyyy am I thankful. When I finally got my appetite back last night I realized we had a fridge full of food because we have hardly eaten all week. I decided to make a well rounded meal chalk full of carbs, protein, and healthy fats and came up with these taco bowls. 

This is a great recipe if you find yourself short on time during the week because as you can see above, it makes a ton of food that you can use in a lot of ways-- salads, burritos/wraps, scrambled in with egg whites, or just on its own. Plus, it's really easy to make! 

Here's what I did: 
1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker with about a cup of chicken broth, a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook on low for about 5 hours and then shred once cooked. 
2. When the chicken was almost done I made a batch of brown rice on my stovetop. 1 cup brown rice and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth-- bring to a boil and then simmer until the liquid is gone. 
3. Lastly I rinsed a can of low sodium black beans and then added everything together. Also mix in 1/2 a packet of taco seasoning and then you're done! 

Hopefully this recipe helps all you busy moms and dads! Happy Friday! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

I decided to participate in Thursday Thoughts today since well, I love to ramble! ;) 

1. Stomach is probably 90% today, still a little weird and oddly bloated and still getting random nausea. It makes me wonder what it is, and when we will feel completely  normal again. 

2. Jamie Eason posted this photo of herself yesterday and you would not believe some of the horrible comments people made! I understand that with almost 600k people following her there are going to be some turds, but gosh, people can be just downright cruel. Many of the comments had to do with her looking skinny which she addressed by saying she has indeed lost quite a bit of muscle which she hopes to put back on. But when you think about it, can you imagine if that person posted a photo of themselves on Facebook and she went and commented and said "You look too fat"? Not acceptable, right? So why people think it's okay to do the opposite is beyond me. 

3. We are OBSESSED with the series Homeland. I bought seasons 1 & 2 for B for Christmas and we are so addicted. We are trying to limit ourselves to one episode a day because we are getting to the end and season 3 isn't out yet. If you're looking for a new show, this is the one! 

4. After going back and forth all day yesterday I finally got out the door and to the gym. I was a little light headed from not eating much the past couple days so I just took it easy and made sure to take rests when I needed them. Truthfully my arms feel like string beans right now so I'm excited to be back on my regular eating schedule very soon. 

5. It's going to be 76 degrees today. Isn't that just crazy!? 

6. And lastly, this. I come home from the gym to find Charley sunbathing on the guest bed. Oh Charley. 

Happy Thursday! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday… or What I Didn't Eat

This is it. The most boring WIAW you have ever seen. 

Stomach bugs are no joke! 

We are both feeling a little better today but still not 100%. We woke up thinking everything was A-OK and then we ate breakfast… 

Needless to say there hasn't been any gym action around here lately. I wanted to go today but I'm not sure if that's in the cards so the plan for now is to just play it by ear and listen to my body. 

Oh, and for those of you that were curious the charcoal pills, ya they didn't do anything to help. {thumbs down} 

Hope to be back to regularly scheduled posts soon! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm Getting Old

Happy Monday as if there is such a thing! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are feeling better than me today. (More on that in a minute) 

Friday was great, I got to grab lunch with friends and meet the cutest 3 week old munchkin you've ever seen. I got chicken tacos on corn tortillas with no sauce- tacos are always one of my go-to's when we eat out. Then Friday night we went over to my mother-in-laws for some steaks and we were back home and in bed nice and early, just how I like it. 

I trained on Saturday morning and then had a relaxing afternoon which consisted of catching up on my DVR, peanut butter and jelly Greek Yogurt, and a little leisurely reading. 

I also finally got to wear my Threads! If you guys haven't heard of The Shine Project definitely check it out when you get a chance. It's an amazing program that helps at-risk youth and you get some really awesome jewelry in return. Can't beat that!  

Saturday night is when some not so good choices were made. By not so good I mean too many drinks and up too late. We definitely had a great time celebrating a friends birthday but GOSH I am too old for this! I still don't feel normal today… talk about not worth it! 

Yesterday's couch day also turned into I need a cheat meal day. We ordered pizza, wings and I got a nice big salad because believe it or not that actually sounded really good. I definitely didn't beat myself up over eating a million super greasy wings, I just made sure to round out the day with a nice healthy dinner :) 

I wanted to post about this because I get asked a lot how to handle the social aspect when you are trying to make health and fitness a priority. I think it's completely fine to go all out ^^ see above^^ as long as it's not something that happens on a regular basis. Now, when I have a goal in mind would a night out like this happen? No, it wouldn't. But that's why it's good to take breaks, allow yourself to breathe a little and then get on to the next goal! 

How do you balance going out with friends and living a healthy lifestyle? 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Back, Bi's, and Breakfast

Have I mentioned I'm trying to build muscle? It's been quite the process but after yesterday's back workout I think I'm finally making progress, at least with strength. 

I started the morning out with a little creation made by chef B. Leftover rosemary red potatoes with sausage and eggs. It was great to switch it up a little and throw in those red potatoes instead of sweet potato. They also gave me lots of energy when I went to lift… I hit 2 PR's yesterday! 90 lbs on both pull downs and seated rows, 6-8 reps on each. Woo hoo! I think the true test of muscle growth will be once I lean up a bit and take my next round of photos with James Patrick. Comparing myself to the year before is so fun and even more rewarding. 

I have a few more months until my goal sneaks up on me, but until then I'm going to keep lifting my butt off! 

Here's what the workout looked like: 

6 to 8 reps of each
Bent over row
Pull downs 
Seated row
T-bar row 
Standing barbell curls 
Preacher curls
Cable curls 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Trying New Things

I am all about trying new things especially when it comes to workouts, so yesterday morning I headed to Samya's new boxing gym! This woman has accomplished so much in the past year it blows my mind. She is so strong, creative, and just plain awesome-- she really makes you want to be a better person, and who doesn't want to be around someone like that. 

Back to the workout… I've never been to a boxing gym before yet alone put on gloves, but as soon as I walked in I did a jump rope warm up (mind you I was breathing really hard after this alone) and then the wraps and gloves were on! I learned how to punch and then in between we would do drills. You guys, it was so hard!! I attribute a lot of it to 1. not doing any cardio since October and 2. I've been hitting the gym SO hard that literally my entire body was sore. Anyway I'm really excited to keep doing this and hopefully this can be my cardio once I start incorporating it back into my routine because it was WAY more fun than the treadmill. 

After working all day on programs for my online clients, I took a break to grab some dinner with B. We headed to Sauce where I haven't been in a long time. I was so happy to see that they had a gluten free friendly menu! Each item that is gluten free was marked, and they offer gluten free crusts on their pizza's too. 

As tempting as the pizza was, I went with their roasted veggie salad and added chicken. It had squash, brussles, cranberries, cauliflower, and walnuts. It was so so good and I would definitely go back and order this again. B had the chicken pesto pizza and he said that was great too :) 

I'll be in program writing mode again today and then off to AZ Pro tonight to train- don't forget I'm taking new clients so if you're in the East Valley don't hesitate to reach out! 

Do like to experiment with workouts or stick with the tried and true? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I realized once we got back from vacation last week that my building season is coming to a close. I would like to schedule another photo shoot in April sometime because it gives me a big goal and something to get excited about! I like to switch into photo shoot mode about 10-12 weeks prior so eat as much as I want/can season is just about over. (Sad face). I haven't counted calories or done cardio in months and it's been a great break, but I was while writing up this blog I decided to plug in my food to see what I was eating. I'm not overly thrilled with the number I came up with, 1720. I was hoping to be closer to 2000 which means I need to start counting again. For the next 4 weeks I'll start using again to keep track and make sure I'm eating enough. Oh well, the break was nice! 

I switched up breakfast a little yesterday, 3 whites and 1 whole with one chicken sausage link and this awesome cereal I found in the bulk section at my grocery store. I can't remember for the life of me what is in it, I just remember it was gluten free and the ingredients looked great. I'll try to find it again this weekend. 

I grabbed a Quest bar before heading out to my workout. Not what I usually do, but I needed to get there and back and needed something quick. 

Post workout I had a protein shake and a green apple, nothing too fancy. 

Lunch was lasagna and a side salad- leftovers from last nights dinner. 

I followed a recipe in a newlywed cookbook for Jamaican Jerk chicken and I have to say I was not impressed. One of the spices was just too much and totally overpowered the taste of the chicken. At least the sides were good! Rosemary red potatoes and garlic green beans. 

I was a little hungry by the time I got home from training so I went with something easy, 3 whites and 1 whole. I don't typically eat 2 yolks in a day, but eh! Sounded good :)

Are you counting calories? If no, I challenge you to 'spot check' yourself to see what you're really eating, you may be surprised! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Clean Eating Grocery Guide

The biggest struggle with many people that are trying to lose weight or just trying to be healthier is the nutrition aspect. My biggest tip to those starting out is always: PLAN AHEAD. Slips ups typically come when there is simply nothing to eat in your home, so you end up either grabbing something quick (think chips, crackers etc.) or you pick up some fast food. If you can stock up with heathy foods and do a little bulk cooking you will be setting yourself up for success. 

What I do before heading to the grocery store is figure out what dinners I'm going to make that week. Then, I make sure I have the ingredients for those recipes and then also shop for breakfast and snack items. This week I decided these would be our dinners: 

- Turkey Tacos
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken
-Salsa Chicken 

From there I needed the following for each meal: 
Tacos: Turkey, corn tortillas, taco seasoning, lettuce, tomato and black beans 
Chicken Stir Fry: Chicken breasts, stir fry veggies (I just get the pre-cut ones, saves a ton of time), brown rice, cashews 
Lasagna: Brown rice lasagna noodles, turkey, marinara sauce, cottage cheese 
Jamaican Jerk: Chicken, cloves, green beans, quinoa 
Salsa Chicken: Chicken, Salsa, black beans 

Then additionally I usually get: 
Condiments: ketchup, cholula, sugar free syrup 
Breakfast items: eggs, chicken sausage, whole wheat english muffins (For B), 7 grain Ezekiel bread, Vans waffles, oats 
Other: Sweet potato chips, sugar free jelly, almond milk, lettuce mix, nitrate free turkey, cheese (for B), Greek Yogurt
Juicing/produce: Cucumbers, lemon, lime, pears, apples, bananas, spinach, ginger 

I also have my grocery list tab if you would like to see the items that I typically keep in the house! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekend Eats

Finally, I Monday I didn't dread! Today is my first Monday not having to rush out the door to be to my desk by 8am! I still got up pretty early to hit the gym and get moving because honestly my workouts jump-start my day, and when I don't do them I drag. 

We hit legs this morning and I'm planning on hitting legs every 3rd day for the next few weeks. I feel like my lower half is still so far behind so hopefully increasing frequency and intensity will help that out before I switch to lean out mode. We'll see! 

The rest of today will be spent writing online programs and responding to emails and then headed to train this evening. Weee!! (my sound of happiness!) 

I snapped a few photos this weekend of some random meals because I'm often asked for tips on keeping it healthy on the weekends. We typically eat out once on the weekends but since we were just on vacation we did a whole lot of eating out so we decided to make it a relaxing one. Usually my problem on the weekends isn't that I want to eat poorly, it's that most of the prepped food from the week has run out which leaves me with random foods to eat until we go grocery shopping. We like to grocery shop Saturday morning so we don't feel the need to eat out more often or grab fast food. 

Anyway, above we have my new go-to breakfast, 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg with 2 pieces of 7 Grain Ezekiel bread. One piece has Xylitol sweetened jelly and one has coconut oil, cinnamon and stevia. Why? Because I can't for the life of me decide which I like better, so I do one of each! On the right is my favorite new protein shake, MRM Vanilla Whey, 1/2 banana, cinnamon, stevia, and cocoa. Definitely loving the chocolate flavor with out using chocolate protein powder (which always tastes like chalk to me). Bottom right is just some nitrate free turkey with mustard and hot sauce and then a green apple and peanut butter. And lastly we went to my parents house for one of our favorite meals- chicken, carne asada, and roasted Pasilla peppers. Everyone else gets theirs stuffed with cheese, but… well you know! 

Hope you all had a great weekend! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Starting Off 2014 With a BIG Bang!

I made a big decision yesterday. 

A really big decision. 

I quit my job. 

It took a lot of contemplation, and a lot of big, serious conversations with B but I took the plunge and decided to just believe in myself. 

I've wondered my whole life what I would end up doing as far as my career goes. I learned pretty quickly that sitting behind a desk working a regimented 8-5 job wasn't quite my jam, but it's what I've been doing since I graduated in 2009. 

A couple years ago when I started this blog I had no idea it would bring me to this place I am today. In fact, I didn't think a single soul would read it. Thankfully for me, all you lovely people come visit me every day which has opened so many doors I can't even count them all. My blog led me to pursue my NASM certification and the second I passed that test I knew that I was headed down the right path. 

I LOVE blogging and I love being able to interact with all my readers, and now that I've been doing it for a couple months I also love being a personal trainer. Over the past few months I've struggled with balancing my blog and social media with training and working 40 hours a week. I felt like I wasn't giving anything 100% and that has honestly been driving me crazy. It's so frustrating to spend a majority of your life doing something you're not passionate about while the things that make you happy fall to the wayside. I have found myself consumed with trying to be a better blogger and just not being able to because there are only 24 hours in a day. Once I started training the urge to submerge myself in the fitness world only grew and I immediately knew something had to give. I waited a while for the right time, until I realized there may never be a "right" time. I couldn't stand the thought of letting this opportunity slip by and I decided the right time is now. 

So, what's my plan? I'm going to be training full time at AZ Pro Physiques and finally pouring my heart, soul, and time into a career that I am infinitely passionate about. I'll be able to focus a lot more on my blog and that makes me so happy I could scream! I'm going to continue taking online clients which has been super fun and successful so far and also hopefully pick up some freelance writing opportunities for health and fitness publications. 

I have so many thoughts and emotions running through my head right now but I'm mostly excited and anxious to see what 2014 will bring! 

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