The Blog

Muscle Confusion Workout: Back and Hamstrings

Ever since I hung up my figure competition heels, I have put a ton of emphasis on variety in my training. I added circuit/body-weight workouts into my regime about once a week, and every so often I will participate in something different like a Muay Thai class to shock my system. I still aim to strength train at least 4 times a week in the gym because well, I love it.

Here’s a little insight as to what it’s like to train with me in the weight room: first, clear your schedule. It’s going to be a while. Unless it’s some sort of cardio circuit (which I will be sharing many of on this site), I actually don’t know how to train ‘quickly’. I’m addicted to volume. I like knowing that I am going to be completely spent at the end of my workout; that I’ve pushed myself to the absolute brink.

I have had many people offer to train with me and no offense, I know most of you would hate it. I brush off many of the “oh we should totally train together sometime!” I am 90% business, 10% girl-next-door. I am somewhat chatty-jokey in between sets as I like to keep the mood light. I reserve all the intensity for the set at hand. I often train with higher reps than most, but that’s because my intent is to go to failure- with as many repetitions I can possibly execute with proper form intact. I have been told many times that I have ‘resting-bitch-face’ at the gym, and I’m at peace with that. I’d rather be known as the intense, hard-working chick than the flaky, 10 lbs of makeup, texting-on-her-phone the whole time, walking on the treadmill slower than I walk to the fridge kinda girl. Oh and I do take gym selfies, but only pre or post workout… timing is everything 😉

This is an example of what I call a ‘muscle confusion’ workout: super-setting two muscle groups that have nothing to do with each other. For those of you that don’t know: a ‘superset’ is performing 2 different exercises back to back as one set. It’s a super efficient way to cover two major muscle groups and burn a ton more calories than a typical workout. You could also categorize this as a ‘pull’ workout since although you are training upper/lower body simultaneously, both muscle groups involve a pulling motion. It is lengthy, but the less you rest in between supersets the quicker it will be, and the more you will get out of it.

And here it is… Give it a try 😉

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Back and Hamstrings

superset (x 5 sets including warm-up)

  1. Straight-legged deadlifts x 15 reps
  2. Straight bar pull-ups (bodyweight- to failure)

superset (x 3 sets)

  1. Reverse lunges on Smith Machine x 15/leg
  2. Reverse grip bent over rows (on Smith) x 15

superset (x 3 sets)

  1. Sumo squat (Using T-bar: stand facing T-bar, holding bar between legs) x 15
  2.  T-bar rows x 15

superset (x 3 sets)

  1. Cable side lunges x 15/leg
  2. Cable straight arm pull-downs x 15

superset (x 3 sets)

  1. Single leg lying curls on balance ball x 15
  2. Reverse hyperextensions on balance ball x15
*Cardio= 35-40 mins

Clean Tuna Salad

I remember eating a lot of tuna sandwiches as a kid. A lot. I also remember my Mom jokingly referring to them as ‘gray sandwiches’- which did not help their likability. Tuna tends to have a fairly neutral-not-so-fishy taste, kind of bland. Mixing this pantry-staple of canned meat with dollops of white mayonnaise time after time- is it any wonder why tuna gets such a ‘boring’ rap??

I can’t remember where/when I learned the valuable advice of swapping out mayonnaise for avocados to mix with my tuna, but I have been doing it ever since! Avocados also have a very neutral taste, but have far greater health benefits than white mayo. Rich in healthy fats, avocados are (I find) a lot more satiating than the white stuff. And the colour!! The vibrant green-yellow flesh of the fruit makes for a lot more visually-appealing meal.

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A picture-perfect, beautifully ripened avocado 🙂

I give you my easy, no measure clean tuna salad recipe! You may eat this on it’s own, with veggies, in a whole wheat wrap- sometimes I eat it on rice cakes or unsalted crackers (Premium Plus, all the way!).

Recipe:

1 can tuna, packed in water (my fave is Ocean’s flaked/chunk white tuna)

1/2 ripe avocado

1 tsp lemon juice

2 springs cilantro (optional)

Dash garlic powder, cayenne pepper, sea salt, pepper, paprika (all to taste)

1/4 cup chopped greens (ie. celery, kale, green pepper- whatever you have on hand)

Macros: 212 calories; 10 g F; 7 g C; 24 g P; 5 g fibre

Directions:

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  1. Start by taking half your avocado, sliced into cubes, and place into small mixing bowl. Add can of tuna; mash the two together until well incorporated.
  2. Add lemon juice and seasonings. Stir until well incorporated.
  3. Add your greens (of choice) into the mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with additional seasonings (if desired) and serve!

 

 

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All mashed, and ready to eat!

Chocolate Banana Pancakes

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As previously mentioned in my bio, I used to compete in figure competitions. For those of you that aren’t aware- figure falls under the umbrella of competitive bodybuilding, a category that requires not quite the same amount of leanness as a bodybuilder but large emphasis is placed on balance, symmetry, and conditioning of the female physique. As you can imagine, a competitor’s diet has to be quite strict and calculated to achieve that sort of elusive perfection.

As each season came and went in my competitive career, I became more and more creative and ambitious with my cooking. I understood that in order to have some sort of ‘staying power’ in the fitness world, I was going have to learn pretty quick how to enjoy my food without feeling like I was on a diet year round. After all: fitness is supposed to be a lifestyle, isn’t it?

I came up with this recipe on my own following the 2013 CBBF Figure Nationals. I was craving something dense, almost cake-like type pancakes for breakfast before an early morning workout. I remember thinking how good it would be to have banana blended in my pancake… and then adding cocoa… oh man, that would be so good with peanut butter on top! Bodybuilders/fitness competitors LOVE their nut butters 😉

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Naked…

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‘Dressed’ 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.5 years later, I am still enjoying the heck out of this recipe. These ‘cakes are dense, carb and fibre rich, high in protein WITHOUT any added protein powder- all whole ingredients. It is the perfect meal before any type of high-volume training or endurance workout. It’s also great if you’re having a hectic morning and have a long stretch before your next meal; OR why not have it for dinner? There are no rules here 😉

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Recipe

200 mls liquid egg whites

1/2 medium, ripe banana

2 tbsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup quick oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Dash cinnamon, Splenda/stevia-to taste (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat griddle/large saucepan on medium heat
  2. Place all measured ingredients into blender/food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour mix onto griddle/pan. Flip cakes when bubbles form at the top (approx 4-5 mins). Remove from griddle when center feels firm.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite sugar-free syrup and/or nut butter 🙂 Have a super, energized morning!!

Macros (without toppings): 377 cals; 10.3 g F; 45 g C; 34.4 P; 11.8 g fibre

 

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