The Blog

Quattro Smoothie Bowls

I thought about sharing this meal idea of mine over the past week; as I curled up on my couch to enjoy my post-run meal the television talk-show The Social was featuring what I was eating: SMOOTHIE BOWLS!! Coincidence? I think not!

As stated on the program, the popularity of the ‘smoothie bowl’ is likely the combination of 2 great things: a delicious smoothie, and scrumptious cereal. What I love most about making these tasty, nutrient-dense concoctions is that you really don’t need a recipe at all. I often tend to use what I have on hand, and whichever flavours tickle my fancy for the moment. 2 mainstay ingredients in my bowls: 1/2 a ripe avocado, and a scoop of Magnum Nutraceuticals Quattro Protein!! Rich in healthy fats and essential vitamins, avocados have a mild flavour that blend well with pretty much everything. They add a wonderful creamy texture to the smoothie, and makes for a much more satisfying meal. Magnum’s Quattro protein contains 4 types of isolated protein, one of them being micellar casein. This also aids in the creamy texture, as well as satisfying that hunger. I adore all the flavours Quattro comes in 🙂

Listed below are the 3 different smoothie-bases I use for my ‘bowls’. Because I will use a different cereal depending on what’s on hand, I did not include cereal in the nutrition info. And you can top as your heart desires! These are great to have as a quick breakfast, or as a pre or post workout meal. Have fun and get creative and make them your own!

*Note: each recipe yields one serving.

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Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl, topped with country berry granola

Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl

1 scoop Magnum Quattro Protein in Vanilla Ice Cream/Half Baked Cookies and Cream

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your preferred choice)

1/2-1 cup ice cubes (more ice=thicker smoothie)

1/2 ripe avocado

1/2 medium ripe banana

1/2 cup frozen blueberries/dark berries

1 scoop Magnum Performance Greens (optional)

1/2 cup your cereal of choice

*Blend until smooth and creamy. Top as desired.

Macros: 381 calories, 37 g C; 13 g F; 34 g P

 

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Bananas n Cream Smoothie Bowl, topped with Minion’s Cereal, of course 😉

Banana’s and Cream Smoothie Bowl

1 scoop Magnum Quattro Protein in Vanilla Ice Cream/Half Baked Cookies n Cream

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2-1 cup ice cubes

1/2 ripe avocado

1/2 ripe banana

1/2 cup cereal of choice (optional)

Macros: 302 calories; 22 g C; 11 g F; 33 g P
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Decadent tasting with none of the guilt: Double Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Double Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

1 scoop Magnum Quattro Protein in Chocolate Love/Chocolate Peanut Butter Addiction

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2-1 cup ice cubes

1/2 ripe avocado

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1-2 packets Splenda/stevia (optional)

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

*Blend and top with chocolate chips.

Macros (incl. chocolate chips): 298 calories; 15 g C; 14 g F; 33 g P

It’s Time for a ‘Time-Out’

*Photos courtesy of Taylor Oakes for BodyRock.tv

I am human. For every 5 or 6 good days, there has to be a bad one in there somewhere within the week. I am positive, yes, but sometimes life can really get to me. I tend to say ‘yes’ a lot: yes to my job, yes to my training, yes to coffee dates, social events and family functions. Once in a while I recognize the opportunity to say ‘no’. But sometimes, especially this past week- I ignore those signs and commit to everything that everyone (and myself) has asked/expected of me… until I snap.

Sometimes when I’m in public at the grocery store, let’s say, and I see a child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the produce aisle with flailing arms, loud cries, making the most obscene spectacle imaginable I think (first) “oh that poor mother”; then second “I really wish it was socially acceptable for adults to do the same.” Can you imagine how good it would feel to just explode and express all your feelings the SECOND you felt them?? The reality is, we can’t as we are to be civilized, mature, capable adults. We acknowledge that there is a time and place to express emotions, and that yelling and screaming in public doesn’t actually solve anything. In fact, we may have a whole new problem on our hands and face spending the night in a padded room somewhere!

Fortunately I am of sound mind to have an adult meltdown in the privacy of my home. Hey, I am not afraid to admit sometimes it feels amazing just to let it all out. Once the tears are dried, face is washed (ice cold water, it feels great) I buckle down to figure out the root of the problem. More often than not, I realize I am simply overwhelmed. Although I like my life busy, sometimes the mental pot just boils over. From the outside looking in it can all look like an amazing, full life- but sometimes a person can feel like they’re drowning. I am no stranger to anxiety/depression. Although I still have dips in my mood and anxious moments, I am getting better at evaluating what ails me.

This past weekend I experienced what can only be described as BURNOUT. I know this, because I have suffered from it (several times) before. Unfortunately this time I failed to see the signs leading up to my adult-meltdown.  Once I had cooled-off, I took the time to acknowledge the following:

  • My work schedule is ever-changing: I work casual in 3 different departments and my schedule is different every week, and my whole week can change within a day depending on the needs of staff at the hospital; I am constantly having to adjust my life day by day, week by week.
  • I have recently taken on a completely different training regime that is extremely physically taxing on my body.
  • I have also been making fairly drastic changes to my diet over the past month to accommodate my new training.
  • I have been sleeping similar amounts, though because of work/other schedule obligations my guess is that my average 6 hours a night just isn’t cutting it.

All the above listed are a recipe for a good ol’ burnout. Whether I am aware of it or not, my body is under STRESS.

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If you yourself have ever felt supremely overwhelmed, or unexplained changes in your mood/personality ask yourself:

  1. What am I REALLY upset about?
  2. Is this something I can fix (if the problem is identified)?
  3. What are the external stressors in my life (if the problem is unidentified)?
  4. Who is the most reliable person I can talk to?
  5. What are the issues that effect me the most? Will they impact me in the long term?

I am no psychological expert, but all of these really do help. Not everyone likes to talk and share, but sometimes it helps to vent to someone impartial to your situation to help you get through/validate all that you’re dealing with. It can be your spouse/partner, best friend, parent, even a therapist. I have found help from all the above- on various occasions.

Relating back to this past weekend’s situation, I realized the number one thing for me to do was REST. I needed to slow down, to decompress. It is difficult to pencil ourselves in from time to time. We make time for everyone, everything else in our busy lives that we forget about us! It’s impossible to give 100% all of the time. The world won’t stop if we remove ourselves from the next social gathering if we just need to take a break. Sometimes adults need a time-out too. In order to give our best, we must care for ourselves first.

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Shapely Shoulders Workout

*Photos courtesy of Taylor Oakes for BodyRock.tv

Although I was born with a wide frame, the round, solid and shapely shoulders you see in pictures were earned. When I began competing I hardly had any shoulder ‘caps’ to speak of. With each competition season I made it my mission to add size to this area. Through hard work and relentless high volume training, my delts (deltoid muscles) became a strength!

I know many women are scared to put on muscle, for fear that they will appear ‘bulky’. Here are the main benefits (in my opinion) of adding some size and shape to your shoulders:

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  1. Looks great in a tank top/spaghetti straps/strapless dresses. Sure, it’s not tank top season (yet), but summer bodies are made in the winter! Now is the time to build and improve your physique so you can confidently rock those cute summer outfits and dresses in a few months time 😉
  2. Creates the illusion of a smaller waist. Instead of stuffing your organs into a waist trainer (right?!), why not control what you can make bigger? The wider your shoulders, the narrower your waist will appear. Again, a v-taper shape looks great in tank top/dress!
  3. You will appear (and actually be) stronger. Whenever I see someone (male/female) with round, solid shoulders I think ‘athlete’!! It helps bring up your posture- especially if you balance out the rear area of your delts. An aesthetically strong-looking appearance screams confidence. And with an improved appearance I’m willing to bet you WILL be more confident!

 

Listed below is one of my favorite shoulder workouts for hypertrophy (putting on size). Remember with high volume training, it’s better to have shorter rest periods (no more than 1 minute). This is an intermediate-style workout: feel free to comment below if you have any questions!

 

The Workout

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

*2 warm-up sets

4 sets of 15/12/10/10 reps

 

Upright Row on Smith

3 sets of 10/10/10

Superset with

Plate front raises

3 sets of 10/10/10

*maintain upright posture for both exercises; do not ‘bounce’ or rock while raising plate/weight to eye-level

 

Side laterals: Triple Dropset

3 sets of 10/10/10; 10/10/10; 10/10/10

*You will start with your MAX weight at 10 reps, then drop the weight to 5-7.5 lbs lighter than your max, and so on. Ex: 25 lbs (10 reps), then 20 lbs (10 reps), then 15 lbs (10 reps). Rest 1 min between each set.

 

Bent over cable side-laterals (rear delts)

4 sets of 15/12/10/10 (each arm)

*no resting after each arm: this will help increase the intensity, and each arm technically gets a rest as the other arm works

 

Reverse Pec/Dec Flye (FST-7)

7 sets of 10/10/10/10/10/10/10

*30 sec rest between each set; weight must either remain the same or increase for entire exercise; this is a great finishing-move to really hit those rears (posterior delts) 😉

 

Lindsay-Feb2015 (16 of 69)

 

Purposeful Training: A Wake-Up Call on ‘Body Image’

*Images courtesy of Taylor Oakes for BodyRock.tv

As previously mentioned in last week’s blog (‘Know When It’s Time to Walk Away’) I have began training for my first-ever, full triathlon. How might a former figure competitor, gym rat, circuit-training queen come to will this upon herself?? A good girlfriend of mine messaged me and asked if I’d be up for the challenge: and like the yes-girl I am, I said ‘hell yes!!’ I actually even one-upped myself (because I’m such an arrogant brat; please note the sarcasm) and thought that a sprint distance would be too ‘easy’, and decided to go for the full distance. I am admittedly a strong runner, and since I have 16 weeks total to prepare I would just train harder at the swimming and biking. Right?!?

For those of you that don’t know, a sprint-distance triathlon is as follows: a 500 m swim; 13 km bike; 4 km run. A standard distance is double that. I am in the midst of preparing for a 1 km swim; 26 km bike; 8 km run. And it is humbling as hell.

I will share with you all my experience the first day I went for swim practice. I met with up with a friend (different friend from the one who challenged me, but also does triathlons) at the Sports Centre she trains out of, as she wanted to introduce me to her coach. She had mentioned something about having second thoughts meeting up with me, the former fitness competitor, and wearing our swimsuits: barefaced in front of each other. I laughed it off and assured her I was by no means in ‘shredded’ condition to make her feel in such a way. Come to think of it, the old-Lindsay would be far more self-conscious being in a bathing suit anything less than shoot shape herself. Weird. That didn’t happen this time.

In the women’s change room I made quick glances at noting the varied ages in the women getting ready for practice. I was most likely the youngest, if not second-youngest there. Some women were old enough to be my mother, but most were within 5-15 years my senior. Not once did I catch a glimpse of their bodies- again, weird. Women- we check each other out. It’s biological. Not in a sexual kind of way, but it’s in our nature to sort of size each other up. It’s not meant to be negative. We’re just scoping out the healthy competition!

As I walked out on to the pool deck I saw some of the others already starting their swim. They were all very well seasoned I’d say: everyone doing turnover turns (a fast way of turning around underwater while lane swimming) and swimming at rather brisk paces. The lanes were set up for 25 m-length lanes. I got in that pool water and went for it. There and back, not so bad… except I was gasping for air! The coach had noticed my efforts and stopped to chat with me. He asked me how my breathing felt; I said “it’s pretty hard.” He said it would take me approximately 6 weeks of going at least 2-3 times/week to normalize my breathing. He also said that since I have more muscle mass than average, I would have a harder time getting adequate oxygen to my tissues. Man-this is going to be MUCH more challenging than I thought! I admitted to him that I hadn’t swam like this in 20 years- a whole lifetime ago. It was very apparent I had my work cut out for me. All the other men and women in the pool were blowing me away. It was incredible watch: individuals of all ages exploding with raw athleticism. I felt a fire light inside.

 

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Exiting the pool, it was only then that I became aware of the varied body types we all had. I was by far the tallest and most muscular- and I was also one of the slowest. I felt a pit in my stomach: my aesthetics did not serve me here. They mean nothing now. It doesn’t matter how ‘jacked’ my shoulders are: women that are half my size/stature are LAPPING me! As I showered, I thought “how am I going to adjust to this new training? Swim, 2-3 TIMES a week?? Plus biking… plus running..” I then realized that I am no longer in the business to volume-train or train for hypertrophy (muscle growth). I am strictly to prepare for the task at hand: the Coronation Triathlon, May 29th. If there is any sort of strength I am bringing to the table, it is my work ethic.

It has now been about 2.5 weeks since I fully committed to this new conquest, and so much has had to change: my training, my nutrition (I’ll get to those topics in future blogs) and most importantly my outlook. Training with a purpose gives me such a greater respect for the human body- and MY body in particular. Sure, I am a little ‘softer’ now than I would normally like. But I am the strongest I’ve been in years. I want to nourish my body as best I can. It’s about performing to my full capacity, and improving upon that. I can tell the other women in the swim group aren’t scoffing at their flaws: they’re complimenting one another on their swim, when is there next meet, oh and the new banana bread recipe they tried last night- without guilt. It’s a new culture, a positive one.

It has been said many times that it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, and I can tell you I have done just that. I have already said to myself a couple times: “what have I gotten myself into?” But I also know that’s exactly why I should be doing it. Being uncomfortable gets you to grow as person, I have found. I have a new focus, a new purpose, and a much healthier view of my own body, just the way it is. Stay tuned 🙂

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Baked Banana Protein Oatmeal

Half the reason I wanted to start up a blog site was to showcase my take on clean eating. I have put such emphasis over the years on making sure I’m loving the meals I’m eating: and loving what I see in the mirror even more. It really does pain me to hear people say “I would eat good like you, but I love food too much.” Ummm?!?? I ADORE food!! I’m all about ways to create better ways to eat more of what I already love.

My most favourite meal of the day is breakfast. It’s the one meal I never miss!! As a shift worker, I have to be up at 5 bells to make it in by 7 am report (maybe 6:58 on most days)- I am a slow-mover in the morning. To ensure I get a decent meal in before my shift starts, I have been making night-before recipes that are as easy as zap-and-go: zap, optional 😉

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I bring you one of my favourite night-before recipes: Baked Banana Protein Oatmeal, by southerninlaw.com!! It is a super-simple, easy, clean, balanced recipe that is DELISH!! My Champ loves it too (he’s not a morning person neither). It has a rich, banana bread taste and texture, and really satisfies. I top mine with natural peanut butter, and even some fat-free whipped topping if it’s around! Banana-cake for breakfast, or as a snack! Give it a try 🙂

Recipe

*Serves 4-6

1 cup quick oats

2 scoops of Quattro Protein powder in Vanilla Ice Cream

2 medium bananas, mashed

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup liquid egg whites

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)

Cinnamon, nutmeg to taste (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease/line 9″ square pan and set aside.
  2. Mash your bananas first in a large mixing bowl; add in all other ingredients, mixing until well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into baking pan and bake for 35-45 mins: baking time will vary depending on your oven, and type of protein used. Test by pricking centre with either a knife or toothpick; top should be golden-brown.
  4. Allow to cool before cutting and serving. Since I make mine the night before, I allow to cool before I store the slices in separate containers in the fridge. This way each portion is ready to go first thing!
  5. This can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge- but it won’t last that long 😉 As mentioned, I like to top mine with some natural pb and also a drizzle of sugar-free syrup! Sweet tooth 100% satisfied with 0% guilt.

Macros (if divided into 4 servings): 236 calories; 2.4 g F; 31 g C; 21.6 g P; 4.2 g fibre

 

Know When It’s Time to Walk Away

“…after a while you learn that even the sunshine burns if you get too much.” – Veronica A. Shoffstall, After a while

July 5th, 2014: my last figure competition. My hometown of Edmonton, Alberta was the host city of the CBBF Figure Nationals (an IFBB pro card qualifier) and I could not be more pumped to be on stage in front of so many familiar faces. This would be my 9th show in 5 years, and my 5th national-level competition. With all the excitement and expectations leading up to it, I had no idea it would be my last.

It had been a difficult prep, as I had developed bronchitis about 7 weeks out forcing me to put everything to a halt for several days. Nevertheless I pulled through, and was coming in my best condition to date. I had never been so lean; I had never felt so calm; I never felt more confident in all my life. Even with hiccups like my suit being denied at height-ins, I was totally unfazed. I didn’t care if they wanted me in a garbage bag: I knew my physique was 100% my very best.

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My girlfriend and fellow competitor Paije and I on our way to prejudging

The day of the competition I was as calm as pond water. The entire day I was so chill. I knew it was going to be a very long day, with 400+ competitors registered, it was the largest national show the CBBF had ever seen (at that point). I laid up backstage for 8 some- odd hours before going on stage for prejudging, still totally unfazed. My coach said I had done well- the one critique was to get another layer of spray tan before the night show as I looked a lot lighter next to the other girls. Because I don’t tan my skin with sun/sun beds (for health reasons) I have a trickier time achieving that desired competition-dark look. I took my coach’s advice, and was ready to rock the night show.

2014 CBBF

Showcasing my front post at the night show

The night show is where they announce how the judges placed the athletes from prejudging: the awards ceremony, if you will. I felt the expectations on me were pretty high: I had placed 3rd in 2011; 2nd in 2012; and 2nd in 2013. So naturally, one would feel since they are coming in as their best ever, first place would be the next step. I did not feel this was a cocky or arrogant way to be- I EARNED this belief. I worked myself (literally) to the bone for this. They had me up on stage in the night show as one of the top 5. Then they called the top 3. My name wasn’t called. You know how on sitcoms when unexpected moments occur, they play that record-scratch sound?? Well that’s what I’d heard in my head. I actually felt like I heard dead silence after that. I heard nothing. I kept smiling (though in hindsight it was probably the fakest smile ever) and walked off stage. Some of my close friends who were also competing then saw me, shocked. I said nothing. I knew, as hot-tempered as I can be, I needed to say absolutely nothing until I saw my family. And actually, that’s all I do remember saying- over and over: “I just need to find my family.”

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My brother, my Mom, Me, and my Dad- the dinner the day after my last show: July 6th, 2014

I have competed all over Canada, and my family has been there for each and every show. Toronto, Saskatoon, Vancouver (twice)- they were there. This is rare in the bodybuilding world. I am aware I had tremendous support as a fitness competitor- in a sport where many family and friends do not understand (or want to). My heart instantly went to them. It was 12:50 am when I got off stage. I know, because I remember looking at my phone. Once I finally found all of them, seeing their tired, weary, forced smiles on their faces- I said ENOUGH. I sank inside. My coach was there too- and gave me the advice to just take a break, to “reset” I believe he said, and just enjoy life for a little bit.

And so I did. I vowed I would take at least a whole year off from competing and then see how I feel. In that time I did some deep soul-searching. Was competing actually making me happy, or was it just about having a goal? It was becoming apparent after the last few shows I had always had this ’empty’ feeling post-show. I was actually my happiest just training, preparing for something. The sport of figure was also beginning to change. The girls were getting bigger, harder, almost (forgive me) harsher looking- the ones that were placing high. To each their own, I did not want to have to resort to this type of look just to win a trophy. After much introspection, I knew this was no long my path.

About mid-way through my fitness career I often got asked: “how long do you plan on doing this for?” I would always answer “until I stop enjoying it.” And that’s exactly what happened. Each season I was becoming more and more consumed with how I would place, and I was no longer enjoying the process. If I didn’t get the placing/outcome I wanted, I would go through a period of private bitterness and self-pity before picking myself up and thinking about the next show. It was a perpetual cycle. And although I’m flattered that others see me as this fitness competitor, I wanted to show so badly that I am so much more.

Fast-forward to present day 2016 and I am now at peace with my transition. My boyfriend is a top-ranked Muay Thai fighter, and I love that the spotlight gets to be on him. We bought a house last May, and I am so proud to be a homeowner. I am now preparing for a full Olympic-distance Triathlon May 29th, and the new training I have to implement is new, exciting, and challenging! It truly brings out my inner athlete.

Don’t ever let something define you. I say this because I believe each and every person should be so much more than one thing. If you’re following your passion and your dream, and it fulfills your life and your soul- hell yes, keep going! But consider the ‘why’- why are you doing it. If you can’t think of the answer, and you’re just plugging away and going through the motions- that is NOT joy.  So what IS your why? Give it some thought. Learn, grow, and know when it’s time to move on.

 

Protein Pumpkin Pancakes

Hi, my name is Lindsay, and I’m a ‘basic’ white girl that loves all things pumpkin 😉

Although we are well into February, I love to eat pumpkin everything year-round: it’s not just for fall! Even though Starbucks disagrees… but that’s another topic. I say since you can buy pumpkin puree year-round, then it shall be served year round!

Besides the wonderful flavour and color, pumpkin can add many nutrients to recipes. Rich in fibre and betacarotene and relatively low in calories, there are many reasons to add pumpkin into your nutrition plan. I especially love the moist-density it gives to baked goods 🙂

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I came up with this clean-eating (protein powder-free) pumpkin pancake recipe on my own a couple years back- mainly by trial and error. These are hearty and full of flavour (and fibre!), and sure to keep you humming all morning. They are also great as waffles!! I like to top mine with either almond butter or Greek yogurt, depending on my caloric requirements that day. Enjoy… I know you will 😉

Recipe

175 ml liquid egg whites

1/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1/4 cup quick oats (dry measure)

2 tbsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

2 tbsp almond milk (for consistency)

Splenda/stevia- to taste (optional)

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Ready to flip

Directions

  1. Preheat stovetop griddle/saucepan on medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray if necessary.
  2. Place all measured ingredients into blender/food processor. Add almond milk last to help the batter along. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour batter on to griddle. Since the batter is so dense, it won’t ‘bubble’ when ready: check the underside of pancake at approx 4-5 mins. Flip when browned.
  4. Once pancakes are firm in the centre, serve and enjoy!

Macros: 349 calories; 8.5 g F; 36.1 g C; 28.3 g P; 15.4 g fibre

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Ready to serve

 

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Waffle mode

My Top 3 Treadmill Workouts

When I say I love to run, that love is mostly reserved for outdoor running. However, based on gym workout schedules and the turbulent weather changes of living in Edmonton, AB (with a 5+ month winter season) I am often limited to running on the treadmill. Not quite as stimulating and scenic as the great outdoors.

My solution: interval training. I NEVER run steady state on the treadmill: talk about boring!! If I am to do steady state (meaning- the same consistent, low-intensity pace for the entire duration of the exercise) I will do an incline walk. Interval training on the treadmill has several benefits: 1) cures boredom; 2) burns more calories (especially post-training); and 3) will make you a stronger runner for your future outdoor runs!

These are my top 3 favorite treadmill workouts that I use in rotation. I like to change things up constantly in order to keep my body guessing, and I invite you to do the same! You can tweak the speeds/inclines based on your current fitness level, but do CHALLENGE yourself 😉

Enjoy!!

 

Interval Pyramid

Run time: approx 40-45 mins

*warm up 4-5 mins at 4.0 mph (no incline)

Increase incline to 1.0%

1 min at 4.0 mph

1 min at 7.0 mph

1 min at 9.0 mph

x 10 rounds each

Cool down 4 mins at 4.0 mph (no incline)

Incline Conditioning

Run time: approx 35-40 mins

*warm up 4 mins at 4.0 mph (no incline)

30 sec at 8.0% incline at 9.0 mph

30 sec at 15.0% incline at 4.0 mph

1 min at 0% incline at 6.0 mph

x 10 rounds each

Cool down 4 mins at 4.0 mph (no incline)

 

Build and Burn

Run time: approx 35-40 mins

*warm up 4 mins at 4.0 mph

2 mins at 6.0 mph

1 min at 8.0 mph

2 mins at 6.0 mph

1 min at 9.0 mph

2 mins at 6.0 mph

1 min at 10.0 mph

2 mins at 6.0 mph

*repeat sequence x2

TABATA SPRINTS

8 rounds of:

20 sec at 9.0 mph

10 sec off (hop off treadmill)

Cool down 4 mins at 4.0 mph

 

Quattro “Champ Bars”

I am not the only athlete in my little family… My boyfriend, whom I affectionately refer to as ‘My Champ’ is an elite Muay Thai fighter, one of the best in the country for his weight class. His training is intense, his sport is brutal, and if there’s anyone that ‘gets it’ and the process- it’s me.

Since I am sponsored by the terrific Canadian supplement company Magnum Nutraceuticals, I am fortunate to have access to some of the very best products and protein. I am constantly looking for new, tasty ways to use their protein (known as ‘Quattro’- since it has a 4-tiered timed stage-release composed of 4 types of isolate) into regular foods and recipes. I have accumulated over a dozen protein pancake recipes, but creating snacks that are easy to grab-and-go have been a recent conquest of mine.

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With My Champ @timlo8 aka “Lo Life” after his win

In the spring of last year I accompanied My Champ and his training partner to Calgary as they were both fighting on the same card. With the road trip ahead and knowing we would be holed up in the hotel for the majority leading up to the fight, I thought to make snacks!! I know how much bodybuilders eat, but they have NOTHING on what fighters can eat!! Small background: fighters do whatever it takes to make weight the day before they fight. They will fast, dehydrate, do sauna/hot baths, sleep in plastic suits/garbage bags- anything to ensure they are on point for their weigh-in. Once they’ve officially weighed in, they go and eat A LOT!

I came up with these ‘Champ Bars’ after modifying much of the homemade protein bar recipes I saw online. I made some swaps and additions, and voila! I made two batches to bring down with me (full knowing how much these boys can put away) and they were a HUGE hit!! My Champ says they remind him of healthy ‘Eat More’ bars (thank you Hershey 😉 ); he and his training partner ask me to make these constantly to this day. I sometimes have to decline, depending on how stocked I am with Quattro. I have made these for product demos at supplement stores, given some to friends and family- and they are widely popular across the board! They are an arm workout in themselves to make, but they are worth it TRUST ME. Enjoy! 🙂

Recipe

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You will need:

4 scoops Magnum Nutraceuticals Quattro Protein in ‘Chocolate Love’

1/4 cup ground flax seed

2 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup agave syrup (or honey, if preferred)

1/4 cup natural peanut butter (almond butter works too)

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped unsalted cashews (or peanuts, pecans, walnuts)

4-5 tsp water, for consistency

Directions:
  1. Set aside measured chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl with a sturdy spoon.
  2. Create a well and add agave syrup and peanut butter. Mix from the inside out, until mixture is blended and appears ‘fluffy’.
  3. Slowly add small amounts of water at a time. If you mix in too much too soon, mixture will be far too sticky. Go slow, until mixture binds together and appears formed.
  4. Add in chocolate chips and nuts. Put your back into it!! Blend well- as best you can 😉
  5.  Place mixture on a lined cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put cling wrap on top of mixture; roll out flat with a rolling pin. Leaving cling wrap on, place sheet in the fridge to store overnight.
  6. Cut into 6-8 bars. Wrap individually, and store in a cool, dry place. I keep mine in the fridge; My Champ will store his in the freezer, then take them to work/training so then they are thawed but still have their shape and consistency.

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These are calorie dense, sweet-tooth satisfying, gluten free (depending on type of chocolate chips you use)- and sure to provide you with the fuel you need for some intense training or a hectic day ahead! Enjoy 🙂

Macros (if cut into 6 portions): 349 calories; 12.5 g F; 36.8 g C; 25 g P; 4.1 g fibre

What Inspires Me

I don’t aspire to be like anyone else. I am motivated and inspired to be a better version of myself each and every day. In my career I am a witness to just how resilient and adaptable the human body is. I experience this first hand with my training. The greatest disservice you could ever do is to not even try. Surprising myself with physical challenges is my greatest addiction.

Out of all the questions I get asked, the most frequent one has to be “how do you stay so motivated?” This is of course referring to my motivation for fitness.

For those of you just getting to know me, I work as a pediatric registered nurse in 3 different departments: a floor nurse on a pediatric surgical unit where 12-hour shifts are required; a clinic nurse in pediatric outpatients, providing IV therapy to children with chronic conditions; and as a bed manager, working as a liaison placing patients triaged from emergency, as well as ensuring patients from the operating room, and out of region are placed to the appropriate units of care within the hospital. All 3 hats I wear in my nursing career keep me busy, and all 3 are a lot of responsibility. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

For the 5 years I competed in fitness, I maintained a position on the pediatric surgical unit. I worked 12-hour day and night shifts, and managed to fit in all my weight training and cardio sessions while following my diet immaculately. It was very challenging to say the least, but I was so incredibly passionate about both that it was a labor of love. As each season came and went, regardless of how I placed I had a great deal of pride in that I was able to pull off my absolute best each and every show.

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Putting in some hours Christmas Eve 2015

So when people ask “how do you stay so motivated”- I almost always relate it to my line of work. Working in pediatrics is the single most rewarding thing I have done with my life. I have seen children and families face great hardships, and yet still find several reasons to smile within their day. I have seen some horrific incidences turn into miraculous recoveries. I have spent Christmases, birthdays, witnessed first words, held hands, laughed, and cried with these brave little soldiers. I don’t think people give children enough credit: they are strong, resilient, powerful beings that we can all learn from. I have performed painful procedures on patients that would ruin the average adults’ day; but instead the child (patient) then proceeds to play Xbox with their sibling. That’s TOUGH. Each and every shift, no matter how difficult- I always leave work feeling both amazed and inspired.

These stories, these experiences not only inspire me to push each and every day- they remind me just how grateful I am for my health. I have an able, fully functioning, working body and mind. Many of these kids don’t get to have both. I have some of my best workouts following a 12-hour shift because I know if any one of those patients I had that day could, they would kill it too. There’s the odd time I will think driving to the gym “I don’t know if I’ve got it in me today” and then I snap out of it saying “you have today. You don’t know about tomorrow. You only know for certain you have today.” Sounds hokey- but it works every time. Just move: because you can.