The Blog

Double Chocolate-Chocolate Love ‘Pronuts”

Growing up in my youth before I was of junior high age, I played community league basketball on Saturdays. At least one if not both of my parents would be in attendance. My father and I had this tradition of a post-game Tim Horton’s donut after each game: win or lose. My Dad would get his coffee (large, 2 sugars) and I would select my favourite treat: either the Boston Creme Supreme (filled with REAL whipped cream) or the double chocolate-dipped cake donut. It’s funny the small things in life you never forget.

Fast-forward to today, and I’m bound and determined to (once again) recreate a traditional treat into something creatively nutritious! I acquired a pumpkin protein donut recipe via Pinterest several months ago, but just the other evening I thought to take it a couple steps further and turn it into something spectacular. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Double Chocolate-Chocolate Love ‘Pronut’: made with the high quality Magnum Quattro Chocolate Love protein! These are high in protein, low in carbs, and reasonably low fat. The topping is definitely optional, but I highly recommend you go all-out with this one πŸ˜‰ Enjoy!!

 

Recipe

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*yields approx 10 servings

  • 1 cup pumpking puree at room temperature*
  • 1/3 cup liquid egg whites at room temperature*
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 4 scoops Magnum Quattro Protein in Chocolate Love
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash of salt
  • donut tin

*it is essential to have these ingredients at room temperature so the coconut oil doesn’t coagulate

Icing

  • 1 scoop Magnum Quattro Protein Powder in Chocolate Love
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 4 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped or chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Ready for the cooling rack, pre-iced

Ready for the cooling rack, pre-iced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease donut tin with non-stick spray
  3. Combine pumpkin puree, egg whites, and coconut oil in a separate bowl
  4. Combine 4 scoops protein powder, baking powder, 2 tbsp cocoa powder and salt in a separate bowl
  5. Mix contents of both bowls until well blended and smooth
  6. Place batter in fridge for 5-10 minutes
  7. Add batter to donut tin: be sure to not ‘overfill’ each tin
  8. Bake for 8-9 min or until batter is cooked through (test with knife/toothpick)

Do not over-bake the pronuts! (From experience) this will give you a very dry product.

Allow to cool before topping each with icing and chocolate chips.

These keep best when stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.

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Chocolatey-goodness sized to scale πŸ˜‰

Macros (includes topping) per pronut: 129 calories; 4.3 g F; 8.7 g C; 15.4 g P; 1.9 g fibre

 

Triathlon Training: My Journey… So Far!

When I started this blog site, I intended to have a ‘fitness’ category to share with you some of my favorite training exercises/moves. Should the demand present itself, I still may do that- but my training has DRASTICALLY changed since this site’s start date! For the past 2.5 months my training has been solely catered towards preparing for my very first triathlon race, May 29th. Since I’m just over the half way mark of my 16 week training, I thought I’d share with you how it’s all going so far!

 

Weight Training

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Although I have been weight training for years, this area has had to change the most and was the hardest for me to wrap my head around. I’m used to weight training about 5x/week, and high-volume sessions at that. I am now weight training twice a week, and all movements are strictly for strength and mobility purposes. The exercises I perform were recommended to me by My Champ (functional trainer extraordinaire and kinesiologist πŸ˜‰ ) and are designed to make me more efficient in my swim, bike and run. My routines currently looks like this:

Routine #1

Plyo Rudiments (Jumping forward/backwards/lateral; recruiting leg muscles from only below the knee)- 3 sets of 6, each direction

Front Squats: 3:2:1 second tempo; 4 sets of 5 reps

Conventional deadlifts: 3 sets of 6 reps

T-Y-I raises (laying on a bench, 5 lb dumbbells in each hand: Ts- rear flyes; Ys- extending arms out and forward; Is- extending arms forward at eye-level, fluttering weights as quick as possible for 10 seconds total): 10 reps; 10 reps; 10 seconds

Nordic Curls: kneeling on a foam roller with heels secured, lowering your upper body towards the floor, and back up again (like an eccentric leg curl); 3 sets of 6 reps

Routine #2

Plyo Rudiments (same as above, plus A-skips)- 3 sets of 6, each direction

Front Squats: 4 sets of 5 reps, max weight

Bent Over Barbell Rows: 2 second iso-hold- 4 sets of 8 reps

Pull-ups (bodyweight): 4 set of 8, or until failure

Strict Press (Standing barbell press): 4 sets of 8 reps

 

Swimming

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This has been a major focus of mine since the very beginning. For those of you that don’t know, a triathlon consists of the three disciplines: swimming, biking, and running- in that exact order. In my opinion swimming is the most physically taxing out of all 3. I’m willing to bet this is also why it’s the shortest distance component of the race πŸ˜‰ For this race in particular, I’m to complete a 1000 meter swim (a standard distance is 1500 m). At least once a week I attend swim practice at the Kinsmen (a fitness facility here in Edmonton), and then at least once, if not twice more I swim train on my own time. The swim practice is where I have a coach that offers me suggestions on my technique as well as whatΒ  distances I should be hitting at a certain point in my training. Even if I only gain 1-2 pointers from this man each week, he has been very helpful in guiding me thus far. Every time I go to practice I am reminded of just how hard I have to PUSH IT. At this point in my training my goal is to swim well over my required 1000 m, and hit at least 2000 m if not 2500 m so the my endurance is up to snuff. So far I can complete 800 m non-stop without issue. 2 months ago I could only complete 400 m non-stop and would be completely gassed at the end!

 

Biking

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This is the discipline that is TERRIFYING to me! Ok, look- I CAN bike. The thing is, prior to accepting this challenge of a triathlon I had only ever ridden a mountain bike. A road bike fits and feels very different. Road bikes are extremely light in weight, with very skinny, narrow tires- and the seat sits incredibly high. They are 100% built for speed, NOT comfort. While I practiced several times on my road bike through the winter in my house on the trainer (a device that holds the bike stationary so you can ‘ride’ it), but getting on top a moving, high-seated bike is something else! 2 weeks ago my girlfriend and I took our bikes out for their first ride of the pavement. It took me about 10 minutes just to leave the parking lot!! It was extremely difficult and awkward for me to get on top of the seat, with the bike moving, and pedal. The seat felt a little too high for my short legs (although I’m 5’8″, I’m all torso) and I was feeling unsafe. I went back to the shop and got them to lower the seat a bit for me. I am going to give it a few weeks of getting used to, then go back when I feel I can confidently raise it again. Until then, I am only riding flat routes at the moment- I can’t quite imagine heading down a steep hill in such a top-heavy position! I plan on concentrating more and more on this as it’s currently an obvious weakness. The bike component of a triathlon is a very important discipline as it’s the longest distance of the race, and the area you can make up for the most amount of time.

 

Running

This is the area I have been most confident in all along, and that remains so. I’ve considered myself a runner for almost half my life. Even though I feel running is my best asset, I am still diligently preparing for this component at least twice a week. I am concentrating on building my distances, and purposely training tired. “Brick Training” is a method triathletes use to prepare for their multi-discipline sport. A brick either involves a run, bike, then a run again; in my case I will perform a bike, then a run directly following. I will do this once a week. It is a great way to give yourself a sense of performing the race if you will. Now that spring is here to stay, I plan on doing more conditioning drills outside such as running hills to bring up my strength even more for race day. The longest distance I’ve hit thus far was 10.5 km; I don’t require practicing much farther in distance as the running component of my race is 8 km.

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In summary, I am thoroughly enjoy my training and all the variety that is involved. As my distances increase each week, the rest of my life gets a little busier as more time is required to train. Although I am seeing great improvements each week, there a still parts that really scare me! The transition from the swim to the bike worries me some: the equilibrium change of swimming then getting out the pool onto a high-seated bike is very daunting to me. I’ve heard stories of people crashing in to one another, spilling their bikes… but hey, I guess they all lived to tell about it, right?! 6 more weeks until go-time… time to stifle that fear πŸ˜‰

 

Event: Coronation Triathlon, May 29th, 2016; Edmonton AB

Swim: 800 m; Bike: 26 km; Run: 8 km

Goal time: 2 hrs, 15 min

 

 

Protein ‘Blondies’

Baking was one of my very favourite pastimes growing up. Truthfully, to this day I’m not sure if it was the actual act of baking I loved or the tasting of the goods- especially the batter!! Peanut butter cookies were my absolute favourite to make. Fresh out the oven, my Dad and brother would pop them in their mouths like tic tacs!

Fast forward to today and I still have that very same love for baking. I still have the same sweet tooth, though my fitness goals require me to make smarter choices as to how I satisfy it. This is one of my very favourite go-tos to curb those hankerings for something sinful: the Protein Blondie. It has a chickpea base with natural peanut butter as a binder, so you get that rich, almost-doesn’t-taste-healthy satisfaction. I simply adore peanut butter, and if you try these you’ll see why I love this recipe so much πŸ˜‰ It is super easy and quick to make; a balance snack to have on the go or pre/post workout. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Fresh out the oven

Fresh out the oven

Recipe

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 heaping scoop Magnum Quattro Protein in Vanilla Soft Serve flavour

1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup sugar-free syrup

1 whole egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

Sea salt, dash (optional)

Splenda/stevia, to taste

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips/peanut butter chips (optional)

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The batter will be quite thick: pictured here is my trusty Vitamix

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Place all ingredients (except for chocolate/peanut butter chips) in a blender/food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour batter into a sprayed 8 x 8 inch pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle chips on top, if desired.
  4. Bake 15-20 mins: until edges are golden, and knife comes out clean from the centre. Cut into 16 squares once cooled. These can be enjoyed immediately, though I really enjoy them cold. These are best kept stored in the fridge.

Macronutrients (per square, with chips): 82 calories; 4 g F; 7 g C; 4.8 g P; 1.2 g fibre

Diets Shouldn’t Have Finish Lines

This past week I got asked by a coworker if I had heard of a certain nutrition plan (I won’t name names of programs here). I genuinely hadn’t, and then proceeded to ask her what was entailed. She mentioned something about so many shakes, and a meal service. She said it was an 8 week plan, and she just really wanted to get her weight down quickly- even though she admitted she understood losing weight slower was better in the long term. I could tell by the look on her face she knew I wasn’t going to be on board with her plan. I simply responded: “Could you maintain this ‘program’ for the next 20 years?” Her answer: “Well, no…”

People ask me questions about fad diets/quick fix nutrition plans almost as often as they ask me how they can spot-reduce fat (how do I get rid of my underarm fat; how do I tone my legs; I just want a six-pack, etc.). The only painful part for me is that I know they know the answer. It’s like they’re hoping their bogus weight loss plan might be ‘it’- the one diet program that will actually work! But here’s the ugly truth: there ARE NO quick fixes. Sorry, but you know it, I sure as hell know it, and unless you can maintain whatever program realistically FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE that weight is only going to come back and then some. I have not met one single person who lost a ton of weight at a quick rate (without surgery) and didn’t gain it all back.

Competition diets are very similar. Most people lose a significant amount of weight (most of it being body fat) at a fairly acute rate. Many many competitors, usually female, then strive to achieve that same leanness year-round. First of all, we as women are not meant function with body fat so low we have striations in our shoulders and veins in our lower abs. I mean, you could try- but I will say long term it’s not possible ‘naturally.’ Many of these competitors forget all that they gave up nutrition-wise to get in that condition. This is a huge part of the problem. Any diet that restricts entire food groups (unless you’re celiac/lactose intolerant) WILL NOT WORK in the long term. Our bodies need macro and micronutrients from various sources of food to achieve optimal health- but that is a whole other lengthy blog πŸ˜‰

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A quick selfie before shooting with BodyRock TV last spring. I did a series of shoots over the course of 3 months which I was able to maintain shoot-shape for.

It’s taken me a long time to come to this. By ‘this’ I mean coming off 6 years of competing in fitness- all of which involved yo-yoing between 20-30 lbs (which is better than most), going from a super-restrictive competition diet to free-for-all ‘off-seasons’, I feel I have FINALLY arrived at knowing very well what my body needs to maintain itself. And herein lies my point: all of this takes time. I’m sorry, but I really wish I could say I had the magic ticket to get everyone lean, right away, and maintain it forever. It’s just not like that. If you truly are passionate about a fit lifestyle, about bettering yourself, living your BEST possible life then you have to be willing to put in the effort. I’m not talking effort for 8, 12, or 16 weeks- I’m talking for ALWAYS. If I sound preachy, it’s because I live and breath this. It is a huge compliment to be told by someone they want a body like mine, but make no mistake- I work for it EVERY single day. I am not lucky, and it’s not genetics. It is a testament of my passion and willingness to live this lifestyle, and my work ethic. If you want it bad enough, you’ll get there πŸ™‚