Do I eat the same on rest days that I do on "work" days (strength training and maybe cardio)
YES! I do. Not only that but I sometimes even eat more on my recovery days because I am hungrier. Currently I am in show prep mode so my diet is pretty set each day with serving of carbs, proteins, fruits, veggies etc. Some days I have carb cycling and some days I don't. On those 'carb cycling days" I make sure to eat my carbs around my workouts where I want and need the most energy. On my rest days it varies because I am not exercising. I still stick to my show prep diet but just may be a bit more lax. It is also on these days that I tend to enjoy a 'reward meal'
The biggest misconception that I want to clear up is that you shouldn't eat 'as much' as you do on days that you workout on your rest days. I get asked all of the time (and also people try to convince me) that because they are not working out that this food will be stored as fat. That is the biggest load of bologna I have ever heard! If you are strength training, and I mean really kicking butt in the gym...the calories that you burn last way longer than the time you spend inside of the gym. One of the benefits to strength training is that it raises your basal metabolic rate translating to increasing the number of calories you burn ALL DAY. Yes, all day. Your body is WORKING its butt off when you are outside of the gym, as a matter of fact. Your body needs protein, carbs, fat, veggies and fruit on those off days to repair the muscle tissue and continue to support your lean muscle. If you want to have your hard earned muscle disappear...go ahead and cut that diet in half but keep in mind you will not see the changes in your physique that you may be looking for. Trying to lose fat and not gain muscle? It doesn't matter...eating half of the amount of calories will not do your body good. Keep it steady day by day!
Do I eat "show prep" way year round"
Absolutely NOT! I can't even imagine what my life would be like if I ate like this year round. Well, to be honest, I probably wouldn't have much of a life at all! As much as I love competing...the diet aspect when it comes close to a show completely consumes you. It takes a lot of focus and willpower to stack on track. I pre-plan off of my meals, no booze, no 'excess' (besides my reward meals) It gets draining, guys trust me. There is no way this is a sustainable way to live. I train and diet this way for a short period of time. For me, I tend to stay about 6-7lbs away from me show 'weight' so it is not so rigid for me and easier to stick to my plan. It does get strict about 3 weeks out from a show. Some will say that a competition diet is pretty healthy and you are 100% correct--it is! It contains Lots of veggies, fruit, protein, complex carbs, healthy fats etc. BUT when you are only eating this way with no wiggle room, having all of your meals pre portioned and planned for an extended period of time--it is simpy not sustainable. Trust me, you don't want to be that girl who whips out cold chicken and asparagus from a baggie at a restaurant 'off season' when you could certainly find something to order off of the menu. HAVE A LIFE!
When I am in this 'show mode' as I call it, I always remind myself that this is not real life. Competing and dieting and training this way is something that I do-it's a part of my life; a hobby, but it is not certainly not real life. When I was training for my first show, I remember it was right during the Jewish Holiday, Passover and I had to travel (a WEEK BEFORE SHOW!) to Canada to spend the holidays with my extended family. I was excited about the trip, but not so excited that I had anxiety about having a fridge in the room, pre planning and cooking all of my meals beforehand and then at the actual feast, I had to bring all of my own food. My family was extremely supportive, but part of me wishes I could have taken part in the festivities, the sweet wine, the delicious desserts that my cousins made. It was a sacrifice I made and it was my choice so I never made anyone else feel bad, but I will always remember that experience. I made this choice and I was damn happy when I did get on that stage for my first show, but after the show? Life goes on. I go back to my balanced, healthy eating. Indulging when I want and continually stay on a moderation mindset!
How do I 'keep it healthy' while dining out?
This is a question I get asked all of the time! First of all I do want to say that sometimes I go out to a restaurant and really don't care to alter items on the menu or even care for the 'healthiest' thing there. If I see something that catches my eye and I am in the mood for it, I order it. When I DO want to stay more health conscious at a restaurant or out and about there are some tips I want to share! First thing I do is browse the menu-the whole menu and see the types of protein, veggies, breads, sides (carbs) that the restaurant has to offer. I do this because most of the time I alter what i order to fit my dietary needs. If I want to order a salad I look to see what the menu has to offer that I could add to it. Why ask for avocado if I don't see it anywhere on the menu! I peruse to use :)
I also browse the side dish options and see what veggies they have on hand-this way I know I can always sub the 'fries' or chips for steamed side of vegetables.
If I choose a salad as my entree I will pick a choose a couple 'fun options' instead of loading them all on. For instance say there was a salad that sounds like this "baby spinach with goat cheese, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, avocado, granny smith apples and roasted red peppers" (wow that salad sounds good!) I will pick and choose only a few of those toppings, ask for grilled chicken or other lean protein source, ask for oil and vinegar and also see what other vegetables there are available to throw on the salad!
I ALWAYS specify and say it a few times exactly what I want. Steamed veggies-and specify no oil or butter. In many cases it is SO easy to stay on track given that these days people have all sorts of food allergies and restaurants have so many options-it is up to YOU to know what to order.
Chinese/Asian: Most of the time, brown rice is an option. You can switch out the white in favor of brown rice. Get steamed veggies and a protein source (chicken, tofu, fish or steak) and all sauces on the side
Italian: Sometimes those chain restaurants can be tough because it seems as though everything is covered in oil or butter BUT i have found delicious HUGE salads at these places as well as grilled chicken and even a small veggie packed pizza with half the cheese and whole wheat crust! Check to see if whole wheat pasta is available and again, make it work for you! Never be scared of asking questions about the menu!
Mexican: Fajitas!! This is one of my all time favorite things to order at a Mexican restaurant (and I ask for no excess oil or butter in the skillet) because it comes loaded with vegetables and all of the 'insides' to the fajitas are served on the side. Mexican is one of the easiest types of cuisines, I think, that it is easy to stick to. Fresh salsa, fresh guacamole, lean meat choices and loads of veggies. Ask for no sour cream or cheese and even extra side of salsa for dressing!
American: Every typical American 'sports bar' type restaurant menu is filled with all sorts of options, and I guarantee you will find something on there. I usually look at the entrees (grilled salmon or chicken with veggies and sweet potato for the sides) or the entree sized salads (ask for grilled protein and double check the ingredients in the salad) sauces on the side!
Diner: This one is a no brainer--eggs! Eggs are a perfect source of healthy fats and protein. If you are watching your fat intake, ask for egg whites, if not...go for the eggs! (that's what I do!) Load up the omelet with a ton of vegetables and ask for whole grain bread and fruit as your sides. Some diners are heavy on the butter and oil when cooking the eggs, so again--simply specify! If you are not an 'eggs' type person, check out the sides and more often than not there is a oatmeal option. You can ask for fresh fruit and maybe get 1 egg over easy on the side for some protein and healthy fats!
Sub/Pizza shop: First check for whole wheat or whole grain rolls, tortillas or pizzas. A big misconception is that a wheat tortilla is a better option than a wheat roll. This is indeed a myth. Sometimes, sure it can be true if you buy the specific type of tortilla at the grocery store, but more often than not a tortilla actually can have more calories because it covers a much larger surface area so it is a bigger portion than the bread option. Avoid "chicken salad or tuna salad" as they are usually made with a ton of mayo. Ask for grilled chicken or steak, no cheese, dressings on the side and add those veggies!
How do you stick so closely to your training regimen year round?
Its simple...I don't! The goal of exercise for me is to fully enjoy it so that it becomes a part of my life rather than have it become my life. I always make sure that my exercise regimen (off season) is something that I can sustain year round. If day after day, you feel exhausted, fatigued, tired and sore, its simple-you are overtraining and moreover, can run the risk of sinking into a plateau where you may lose all motivation to workout. I never let myself get to this point. I strive to HAVE FUN and WORK HARD. If you find yourself having anxiety from a missed workout or because you didn't have time to hit the number of calories you wanted to burn on the elliptical, this is a sign to take a step back and re-evaluate your routine. If you are beginning to turn down family and friends or find that you are focusing your energy more on food and exercise than you normally would...I suggest speaking to someone close to you whom you know you can trust and will provide you with all of the help and support you need! Remember your health and wellbeing should always be #1
I go through phases of focus and motivation just like anyone else! I would never 'stop' exercising my mind or body for an extended period of time, but there are times where I take a step back, rest and focus on other aspects of my life which in turn helps me regain focus with my workouts. When I am not so strict with my training, like I am now for my show, I love to experiment with different workouts, exercises, trends and classes. I never like to stop learning about what the health and fitness field has to offer. There are days where I am just tired-I don't want to workout. You know what I do? I don't. Technically I could force myself to workout on a day I didn't want to-and who knows maybe it would be a good workout BUT the fact is that I want to take a day off. The day after I will be right back with a new focus and ready to have a phenomenal workout!
Why did you start competing?
Competing has always been something that I wanted to do since I was about 20 years old. While in school, studying Exercise Science, everything about fitness and health was always on the forefront of my brain. Between my Anatomy classes, labs, workouts and social life, I always was reading about something regarding my field of study. You could say I was (and still am) obsessed with learning. The idea of changing the human body into a work of art, the hard work that one must go through to get on stage, the dedication and focus that takes place; I always wanted to see if I could do it. I took it as a challenge. From then on-I got my hands on every Oxygen Magazine and Muscle and Fitness HERS. I wanted to do what those incredible women were doing. Whereas Singers look up to musical icons, I guess you could say that I look up to Fitness Icons. August 2010 is when I took the leap to join Cathy Savage Fitness with the goal of getting on stage for the Mohegan Sun Show in April 2011. I was finally doing it and living my dream. When I dedicate my life and time to something, there is no half assing going on. I went all out for my first show. Not only did I finally accomplish my goal of competing in April (and later that year in September) but I gained an incredible group of friends, confidence and self esteem I had never in my life had before, the courage to walk about from a relationship that was detrimental to my health, and a new found hobby where I had truly found 'my niche'
Does competing take over my life? No WAY. It is a hobby. It does becomes more of a focus in my life around show time, but the rest of the year, there is a bit more balance. I will admit it was hard to find this balance when I first started because you will feel as though the show consumes you; but you always have to think about what matters most. Your health. Your life. Your friends. Your family. Your relationships. You wouldn't want to ruin any of these important aspects of your life just to compete in a show. Trust me.
Is it bad that I "eat this" ?
Guys, if you keep up with me on twitter or Facebook, you know that using that sentence (when talking about food) is one of my biggest pet peeves. The amount of questions and emails I get asking if "eating this apple with peanut butter is bad" (not this specific food combination necessarily) but questions of this sort is really astounding to me. First if all I don't even understand the question...Do you like the food? The answer more likely than not is 'yes' so then why would it be 'bad'? If you are trying to reach certain goals; weight loss or fat loss or muscle gain, then yes maybe you should be working with a nutrition coach to help you achieve your goals and they will tell you what the best options are for your body type and goals. To ask a general question about food and attach the "is that bad" at the end of the sentence leaves me so at a loss for words. Food is food. If you like something and it gives you energy, you feel good after eating it and it works with your body--then why are you worrying about whether its 'bad' Like I mentioned before, if you have some more serious fat loss/weight loss or muscle growth goals, then it is best to speak with a professional before guessing what is best for your body based on what others say or eat themselves.
What are some of your staple foods:
I love this question and I always try to share some of my favorites with you guys when I can! I mentioned some of my fat burning food staples in this post but I will go over even more of my staple items
- Chicken breast (cooked all sorts of ways!)
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens etc)
- Frozen asparagus (the grilled, frozen asparagus from Trader Joes is my favorite!)
- Dijon mustard
- Apples/frozen berries/grapefruit (3 of my favorites that I ALWAYS get!)
- Almond milk
- Coconut oil
- Stevia (nunaturals is my favorite)
- Cans of tuna (I always have these on hand for a quick protein source. I also really like the white tuna in the baggies for easy traveling!)
- Raw almonds
- Almond butter
- Flavored Flax oil (this is my favorite)
- Sweet potatoes or frozen pre-cut butternut squash
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Half and Half (for coffee! yes a staple!)
- Greek Yogurt or cottage cheese
What is your favorite body part to work?
Thats easy...the glutes! I absolutely love leg day with a glute focus. I have gained so much strength recently in my lower body and incorporating exercises that I had really made a part of my workout routine until a few months ago.
Barbell glute bridge, the single leg hip thrust, deadlifts, front squats, KB swings and sprints are some of my FAVORITES. I reacently talked about a few of these exercises on a post from a couple of weeks ago "exercises I want to improve on" No matter how many weeks, months and years go by, I will always want to improve!
Who is your celeb crush?
thats an easy one
What should my next purchase be?
Thats another easy one!
(just kidding...kind of...) If you DO want one...click here! (there are two different designs) The one I am wearing is a size small and says "Sweat. Everyday" on the front and "onefitfoodie.com" on the back
Are there any burning questions you want to ask OR can you relate to any of the above?