Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"

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Spot Me Bro…Fitness Friday 31

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So I was listening to a vlog the other day (by Ellyssa Brooks for those YT watchers) and she was discussing the types of spotters in the gym. As I listened, I thought this would be a great topic to share my thoughts on for a Fitness Friday because there comes a time in a serious lifter’s career where they’re gunna need a spot and I want you all to be able to avoid those who really can’t get the job done.

Plus I have seen and experienced my fair share of bad and horrific spotting in my 10 years of training..

The OVER spotter

Out of this one and the next one I don’t know which is worse. I guess the next because it’s risking your life and all….  In this case, your spotter doesn’t take his/her hands off the weight during your entire lift making you feel as if you did nothing.

OR in some cases where appearances are what matter, you may spout off saying you got a new PR when really it was a team effort.

The first case is really bad for female lifters. From my experience, I can tell some people until I’m blue in the face to NOT TOUCH THE WEIGHT unless it’s going the wrong way but they will still grab it the entire time.

Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do the job alone. I asked for assistance for the last 1-2 reps or just to watch to make sure I was good, not for you to help me through the whole lift.

Thanks but no thanks. 

For the second issue, this is a problem because you may have just given them a false perception of their strength. When they go to lift again, they may try to do that weight on their own and ultimately struggle, or worse, fail and get hurt.

The UNDER spotter

Either they forget they are spotting you or are really determined to see if you can pop a vein trying to lift that weight up themselves when they are failing. This also includes a kickup help. I don’t know how many times I have asked someone to help me with the initial kickup and they than just stand there…

Thanks for watching me struggle, nod at you like I’m asking for help, and you still stand there. -_-

If someone asks you to spot them, they are assuming that if the weight is coming down on them you will help them out. Don’t be the hard ass or the distracted/clueless spotter who just stands there and lets them fail. PAY ATTENTION!

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The UNEDUCATED spotter 

The one who agrees to spot you but has no idea what they are doing.

Example: When someone tried to killed me when spotting my decline dumbbell chest press. When helping a person kick up the weights, DO NOT grab the dumbbell portion of the DBs. This type of spot led to the DB falling inward and putting too much force on my tiny wrists and they fell…on me…ON A DECLINE!

Hello 40lb weights to face.

Thanks to the fact that I know to tuck my chin and turn away or my face may have been a bit more colourful leaving than it was coming in.

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The SNEAK ATTACK spotter

You know when you don’t ask for a spot but magically someone appears anyways? Yeah, they just slide themselves behind you and will say “just helping ya out.”This may be more of a girl problem but for me personally, I apparently freak people out when I lift a weight up so they feel the need to jump in a save me…when I don’t need saving.

Thanks for ruining my set brraaaahh

If they don’t ask, don’t jump in. That is all. Unless they are clearly failing, than it’s more of an act and talk later…

The BUDDY spotter

You know when you ask your ‘bro’ to spot you and he decides to do everything but pay attention to you. Text. Snapchat. Stare at the wall. Whatever, and lets you do your own thing and than maybe, just maybe help you out when you fail.

This is mostly directed at guys…

Guys, if you’re with a buddy in the gym, make sure if you ask them for a spot that they are actually into lifting and are not just there for the social hour. Your life will thank you later. OR, don’t and you and your crushed face will end up on their snapchat.

So some final tips…

For the person doing the spotting

~Say no if you know you can’t lift the weight in a case of an emergency

~Ask how they want to be spotted

~Say no if you’re not sure how to spot properly or if you never have spot someone

For the person being spotted:

~Tell them specifically what you want and how you want them to do it. Wrists vs. elbows. Help up? Etc

~Come into the lift knowing how many you can approximately do. They are there to help IF NEEDED, again this is not a team effort. If the arms of your spotter are flexing or straining, they are doing too much work.

Also a few things to keep in mind..

Squats. This is a tricky topic. Some say never to spot a squat because it’s too dangerous. Some say you can. I say, yes, but with a few important things to note.

~DO NOT SPOT FROM THE BAR or do that stupid “I’m giving you a hug” spot. Most of the time a squat fail that can cause the most harm comes from the core failing. In this case, they may come back at you with the bar and all. You want to spot from the ribs to support the core.

~With that in mind, you should be large and/or strong enough to be able to support the person squatting and their squat weight

~Do not even attempt to spot a squat if you feel uneasy about it at all. I have heard of people being crushed trying to spot a squat, so don’t make yourself part of that group.

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Just no.

I hope the next time you ask for a spot, you are now more prepared to make a good choice. Just because a guy is big doesn’t mean he’s a good spotter. Be aware of how people lift and act in a gym as that will be a good indicator as to who will do it right.

-Chelsea

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Clam and Turkey Kielbasa Paella

Friends, a new recipe a new recipe!

Okay so as I typically do when I have downtime and my housemates are busy is I do some meal prepping for them…. You may think that’s lame but I enjoy the creative time spent in the kitchen. This is especially true in situations like now when no one has come back to Guelph yet, it’s freezing outside and I have lil stressed birdies to feed. Rita has been trekkin through the first week of her co-op in TO and unfortunately is stuck commuting for a short while before figuring out better arrangements. That means 5am wake-up calls and 7:30 arrivals at home. So, as you can imagine, if left to her own ways, food would be bought every day…

Of course, Mama can not let that happen, so here we are.

Before you call me out on being judgey, she doesn’t feel good when she eats out too much but she just doesn’t want to cook…

My challenge (yes I even make challenges to myself to make it more exciting…) was to make sure that everything she got was high in iron as she suffers with chronic anemia. I have succeeded thus far with making each of her 3 square meals per day contain at least 15% or more of her daily iron. Also a positive, she loved every meal and because I’m making them, they are not loaded with crap.

Win win if I do say so myself.

So I do have a recipe to show you BUT first I figured I would give a bit of insight into her meals to show you how I got her iron intake up in tasty meals that took no more than 30-40 minutes to make.

Breakfast.

Oats, wheat bran and maybe some cream of rice thrown in too.

Okay, so I did the whole oat’s thing thang because I can stuff them in a glass jar and she can heat them and eat them on the train. I also used oats because 1 serving contains 8% of your daily iron! I also did a blend of oats and wheat bran because the bran contains a wee bit more iron per serving.

Okay so that’s only 8% iron…

Wait a minute, you know my oats ain’t no plain jane oats. Let me continue.

She loves savoury oats, so I threw this lil number together and she adored it. So much so that I had to make it again the next day..

Awful picture I’m sorry. I swear it tastes good. Rita vouches for it!

Sundried Tomato and Mushroom OIAJ

~Serving of sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (8% iron)

~Cremini mushrooms 

~ about 1-1.5 ounces of a homemade sausage of sorts that she picked up during Xmas when all the farmers came into the mall (iron..I have no idea..)

~1 large egg that was roughly scrambled (6% iron)

~1 green onion

~Pepper to taste 

Directions: Sauté all of the vegetables and sausage (or other meat) together in a saucepan that has a lid. Once they are caramelized, add your oats and recommended water. Top with the lid and bring to a boil. Once most of the water has been absorbed, crack the egg in there and let it cook mostly before breaking it up. Put in a jar and voila, donzo.

Something else to consider when thinking about plant based iron sources is that they have primarily non-heme iron and are therefore the iron is not as well absorbed as animal products that contain heme iron. Never fear, if your food also has a good dose of vitamin C, you are better able to absorb iron. So in the case of oats, the sundried tomatoes help the body absorb more of the iron in the meal.

You know what else is high in vitamin C?

unknown-pineapple

And so I rotated sweet and savoury oats by making her a pineapple and coconut oats in a jar one morning as well. The cooking is the same BUT obviously you’re using fruit and not vegetables (although if you want to grate some zucchini in there I wouldn’t oppose…and you can’t taste it) AND the egg is whipped in there such that it dissolves completely.

So even forgetting the iron amount in the sausage, I racked in about 18% iron to start off her day.

Lunches/Dinners

So here was where I got to be more creative. I’m going to apologize in advance that I have no pictures…

The first dish was an Italian/Mediterranean style penne dish but it has a twist!

It used these noodles..

Do you see that iron friends! Oh and check how short the ingredient list is! Score one for Mama and her foodie finds.

Beans, legumes and lentils are a vegetarian staple for more than just protein needs. Iron is huge in these guys so now the are coming up with interesting ways to incorporate beans/lentils into more dishes.

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pasta with Basil Pesto.

For one serving:

~1 serving bean pasta (15% iron)

~1 serving sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (8% iron + vitamin C)

~a few cremini mushrooms 

~onion

~2 tbsp goat cheese (2% iron)

~2 tbsp basil pesto

~Black pepper and chili flakes to taste 

***I chose not to add garlic here because her goat cheese was a garlic infused one

Directions: Cook up your pasta to the doneness you prefer, rinse and drain. Salute your vegetables until caramelized. Add your pasta and your pesto and stir around to coat all of the ingredients with the pesto. Let it cool for a few minutes before adding the goat cheese in small chunks.

Iron count: 25% DV

***Vegetarian friendly with tons of good protein. Also gluten free. ***

Finally, I made a Cajun seasoned dish of sorts with a turkey kielbasa I picked up from GoodnessMe!

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Cajun Turkey Kielbasa and Pepper Quinoa

For one serving:

~1 serving Kielbasa (6% iron)

~ serving quinoa (cooked from package directions. I used low sodium beef broth for more flavour) (8% iron) 

~1/4 each green and red pepper (Vitamin C!)

~serving of corn (I used salt free, canned) (little bit of Vitamin C)

~1/8 cup onion, chopped

~1/2 tsp (or more) minced garlic

~1 tsp salt-free Cajun seasoning (or to taste)

Directions: Cook Quinoa, fluff and set aside. Saute vegetables with kielbasa until caramelized. Add your garlic and cook for a minute or two more. Add your quinoa and cajun and combine well. Done.

Total iron: 14%

So her total for those three meals alone (approximately as absorption differs, blah blah blah…) was around 57%!

I say I didn’t do too bad eh?

Oh and all of that (plus the recipe to come) was maybe 40 bucks. Cha-ching! or rather, lack of cha-ching…#StudentBudgetWin.

Okay okay, now that I have sufficiently babbled on and on, here’s the actual recipe for the post.

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Clam and Turkey Kielbasa Paella

Serves 3-4

~2 servings Kielbasa (12% iron)

~2lbs clams in shell or about 6-8 ounces of meat (~130% iron in one serving!!)

~1 cup rice (I used white jasmine) (8% iron)

~1/2 each green and red pepper

~1/2 a small-medium zucchini

~1/2 can of corn (no salt)

~1/2 can tomato paste (no salt) (4% iron)

~1-2 tsp spanish paprika

~1 tsp oregano

~2 bay leaves

~ pinch of saffron threads (I happen to have this on hand, I don’t know an alternative to this for taste, but you can just make it ‘spicy tomato rice’ without it)

~chili flakes or cayenne pepper AND black pepper to taste

Directions: Saute your vegetables with the kielbasa in a large pan with a lid for a few minutes until they are browned. Add your tomato paste, spices, rice and liquid (as required for your rice to cook) and stir. Place the bay leaves in the rice and pop a lid on dish and bring it up to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn it down to a simmer and allow the rice to cook with the lid on. Once the rice has absorbed most of the water, wash and scrub your clams and add them to the pan and put the lid back on. The dish is done when the shells open up. You can than remove the shells and any clams that didn’t open up. Also make sure to remove the bay leaves. Than enjoy!

Iron Count per serving (4): just under 40% DV iron 🙂

What have we learned?

If you’re iron deficient, eat your mussels, clams and/or oysters friends.

That is all. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps add a lil iron in your diet. Good for them energy gainz ya feel me?

-Chelsea

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Goals Are NOT Resolutions.

My Friends!

Happy New Year and I hope you had a great Christmas! My Christmas and New Years were all about family. My Mom’s birthday happens to land on New Years Eve, so most years I tend to stay home and celebrate with her and my Dad. Below are some snaps from the past week or so…

Top Left: Nana and Papa

Top Middle: The Fam shot for Xmas 2016

Top Right: The Cheese face with my new Pandora locket necklace. I had been eyeing this for a while but I’m too broke to even think about buying something like that…Thanks Mom and Dad. They even put the three charms in the locket too. A sparkly heart, LOVE and a double heart with a crown. All hearts, they know me too well. 

Bottom Left: Maggie in her Xmas collar with bells

Bottom Right: My very impressed parents that I made them take a picture right out of bed 😉

And if you’re wondering…

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…yes I did sport my Bear Paws onesie (it has a butt flap and everything friends!) all day even with my extended family, who arrived later for the dinner part of the day.

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Insert selfie because I’m actually kind of obsessed with this picture. #NoEgo I just think it’s a good shot. Nice lighting. Nice background and no cheese smile.

….

So yes, the week and a half at home was nice and relaxing. I handed in my first application last night (for the MAN program at UofGuelph) as I settled back into my house in Guelph with Rita, got to see all my famjam back at my gym this morning and trained Karl.

Twas a good day.

This week will be nice and slow for me as I still have a week off until I start back with classes. Rita started her internship today, so she will unfortunately only be here to sleep basically and Em is still in Montreal, so I will be keeping myself busy prepping Rita’s food (hehe I enjoy it mmmkay), catching up with some friends from school, doing some of my volunteer stuff (my first contribution was posted on Nicole’s Facebook page today! Check it out here. It’s an article on picking an appropriate protein powder), applications and just keeping my zen going.

….

So onto those goals…

I emphasized the fact that these are goals and not resolutions because I don’t really believe in resolutions.

Check out my FB post below for my thoughts on resolutions…

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Basically I believe that if you have a GOAL you do it now. When you have resolution…well we all know how those go. I feel like resolutions are something we put off because:

1. We don’t really want to do it

2. It’s going to be a huge change

See the problem here? Either reason will most definitely 95% of the time lead to not keeping it.

As I see it, if something will benefit you in any way, you don’t need to put a start date on it that is sometime in the future.

Why wait to grow?

Why hold back on something that is positive?

It makes no sense to me.

A goal on the other hand is something I see slightly differently because it doesn’t have this ‘starting in the new year’ piece attached to it. I think we can all fall victim to the two issues above with goals too, but I think that goals are more often set with greater intent and thought and are simply things we are wishing to accomplish starting right than and there.

For example, I have a goal to grow my glutes in the new year. Now I should have said CONTINUE to grow my glutes because I didn’t just plan this for Jan 1. No, I had this goal a few months ago and just want to keep it going.

Before you say that is not a goal because it’s too general, I realize this and need to set more specific parameters, but at the time, I simply had it in my mind to really focus on two things:

  1. More glute accessory work rather than focusing solely on squats and lunges. These are great exercises BUT are great for the entire lower body rather than more glute focused. So instead, once I told myself that I was gunna take the time to focus on glutes, the next hamstring focused leg day, I added in barbell hip thrusts and started experimenting with sumo deadlifts. I also put a greater focus on kickbacks and getting more reps with those and learning the lovely (…awkward looking) cable pull through.

2. MORE CONTRACTION! An ugly butt in the gym, is a nicer butt outside the gym. Always remember this. Thanks Marie Wold for coining this saying. 

So yes, I failed to set a time limit or specific measurement for this goal… In my defence I don’t own a tape measure…I should get on that. But I wanted to make a change and so I did it THE NEXT DAY! Not on Monday. Not in the New Year.

THE NEXT DAY. 

That is a goal friends (well that an something using the SMART principles..)

So, what are some other goals for the new year? 

I haven’t really put much thought into it, because as I said, when I want to change something I just do it and that can happen at any time. I will say that I have a few things I want to accomplish this year though:

~Accept an offer for my post graduate studies. I haven’t determined whether I want the Masters/internship combined or the internship as of yet (provided I even get an offer…) because I keep flip flopping now. 

~A consistant goal is to hit a mid to high 80 GPA (also meaning Deans Honour Roll). This is realistic for me as I have attained that every year and is not stressing me like crazy to achieve while still having my life. School is not life friends. 

~Fitness..? I haven’t actually decided that yet aside from glute development. I hit my big goal of my 4×8 135b back squat right before Christmas as I intended and almost cried I was so happy. So I don’t know if I want to put in another squat goal or go for a different focus.

~Health..? Be patient with my body. I haven’t really thought about HOW I’m going to do this but I know it’s necessary. I need to heal and every day is not going to be flowers and daisies just because the parasites are gone. I have NO GUT BACTERIA and so my tummy needs to be babied for a bit. I also need to be nicer to myself and know that my body is in a transition phase. It just got attacked and it may not be as tight as I want it right now and I have to accept that point in my journey. Self love is an ongoing process and something everyone needs to focus on, but I do think I have come a long way and will continue to challenge my bad habits and poor self talk to be even more positive about myself. 

Well thats about all I have for the moment. Yes I want to continue my volunteering stuff, reaching for new opportunities that make me happy, be more social, relax more and obviously continue to work with and hopefully gain more clients, but those are always in my head and are not necessarily something I would formulate a goal from at the moment.

So, I don’t want to say that having a goal starting in January is bad or totally doomed. If you have one, do you and make a plan to stick with it. Don’t think of it as something to dread and don’t try to aim too high or they will not stay. This is a change to your lifestyle that is good and something you should want to do, so make it positive and be confident in yourself when you are ready to go for it.

Speaking of positivity, lets end off with someone who always brings the happy…

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-Chelsea

 

 

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Friday Fitness Fives…Fitness Friday 30

Before we begin, let me just link you to my excitement of the day. I literally almost cried. I was so proud of myself. That was a big EF you to all my body and health struggles this year.

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Anywho, onto the main topic..

Fitness Friday! 

Wow number 30 friends! I hope you enjoy this random survey I decided to do for todays topic.

5 Fitness Myths That are not the obvious…lifting makes you bulky…

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  1. You don’t need to pile on massive amounts of weight to put on muscle mass. This is really not beneficial as that makes your cut harder/longer and probably your muscle losses greater.
  2. Not all squats look the same. Don’t look at someones squat and tell them they are doing it wrong if they are more forward than you are. Bodies are different and that means that lifts are going to look different.
  3. More is not better. Doing squats on a boss ball to hit your legs and your core and your balance, etc, etc is not better. You are not able to give your all to any one of those components and probably not really doing much as a result.
  4. Heavier is not always better. Yes, lifting heavy is great and progressing forward is part of getting stronger, but if you start doing half the lift as a result of upping the weight than you are not benefiting optimally from it. Form than weight ALWAYS
  5. Not everyone is made for the stage. Just because you’re into fitness doesn’t mean you have to compete. Competing is a special thing that not everyone is good for. Dieting, genetics, dealing with body image issues and having a goal at the end for yourself not for a win are all parts that torture people during prep. Really think about it before you go into it.

5 Body Parts We Tend Forget About But Shouldn’t…

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  1. Rear Delts –> Required for a fully defined and balanced shoulder.
  2. Core –> Not really forgotten, more like purposely ignored because most hate core work. This will help you with all your compounds friends because all lifts start with a strong core.
  3. Glutes –> Guys this is looking at you because you know that girls don’t have an issue with this part. Strong glutes help with a ton of lower body movements. Do them.
  4. Chest –> Turning those looks back on you ladies. Benching is so empowering and if you train one body part, don’t neglect others. You won’t loose your boobs from benching (that is overall fat loss) and you won’t randomly sprout pecs…
  5. Heart/Lungs –> Yes, these are muscles you aren’t supposed to forget about. Again, females tend to overdo this, but many guys go into bulk season and completely stop any form of cardio. It’s not just about aesthetics friends.

5 Workout Gift Ideas

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  1. Hip Circle–> do it for them glutes!
  2. Bands –> also great for glute activation and low impact stimulation. You can use bands and recover quickly and not really interfere with weight training while they still activate and get some blood flowing into the glutes.
  3. Foam Roller –> They may hate you while they are rollin, but they will come around when they see the benefits of adding daily rolling into their routine.
  4. Massage Gift Certificate–> What I would give for a massage…
  5. For the Guys–> A solid pair of straps. This could totally be a for a girl as well, but was trying to come up with something appealing for a guy..

5 Cool Fitness Circuits

5 Favourite New Exercises

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  1. Rack Pulls. Back day has never been so exciting. These are so satisfying and a core killer as well.
  2. Squats. It’s a love-hate thing. I’m so driven to get my numbers up that I really want to squat, but do I truly love squatting when I’m doing it…
  3. Sumo Deadlifts. I have mentioned before that deadlifts are one of my weakest lifts. Damn hammies. I began to do sumos a few months back for my glutes but than stopped for a bit to switch over traditional as I thought that felt more comfortable (sumos were hurting my knees). BUT I came back because I’m stubborn and hate to say I don’t do something. Tweaked my foot position (I can’t have my feet pointed on an angle, they have to be straight) and voila, much better.
  4. Barbell Hip Thrusters. I was doing these on the leg extension machine for a while because I felt like I got a better feel that way and I was annoyed whenever I had to set it all up. Guys, these are worth the set up and practice if you want to build them glutes and the first time I went back to barbell I got up to 125lbs. #Shocker
  5. Plank Side-To-Sides. These are just fun. Even my housemates like them.

5 Favourite Foods That Are Stereotypical GymRat

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  1. Rice Cakes. These are my love. Recently, all main-chain grocery stores in Guelph were not receiving ANY of my rice cakes and I didn’t know what I was gunna do. Dramatic eh? But because of my dietary restrictions right now, these are a major carb staple for me. I eat pretty much half a bag every day… #GimmeAllTheCarbs
  2. Peanut Butter. Duh! Natural obviously and #TeamCrunchy
  3. Cream of Rice. This used to be oats, but after my parasite treatment my oats tried to kill me (too much fiber for my poor tummy) so COR it was. I missed the texture of oats at first, but now I really like it.
  4. Whey. Diesel all the way. Lactose and all things chemical and sugar free. Plus amazing flavours! Favourite flavour is the peanut butter chocolate OR the salted caramel
  5. Egg Whites. We all love our fat free egg whites. So versatile and you can than add whatever you want to them. Sorry I just can’t get on the sweet egg train. Yuck.

5 Favourite Fitness Juuu-Tubers

These are always changing, with some exceptions, but here’s my list of top tuber’s

  1. Amanda Bucci –> Just entertaining to watch. She offers lots of advice, is straight up about everything and is consistent with her quality and material.
  2. Taylor Chamberlain–> Lots of tips and tricks and I love her positive and happy personality.
  3. Emily Duncan–> Love her perspectives and thoughts on life. She gives great fitness tips and her videos offer great variety.
  4. Valentina Esteban–> Cannucks say Hhhheeey. I love her perspective on just about everything. Think positive, follow your dreams and work towards your goals even if they are hard at times. Stay objective.
  5. Jeff Nippard –> hello science backed training advice and his video quality is amazing! It’s interesting how he’s serious but so entertaining at the same time.

I hope you enjoyed these 5 fitness lists. What is a fitness related 5 list for you? 5 songs? 5 Foods?

Christmas Eve is tomorrow.. are you ready?

-Chelsea

 

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Home Sweet Home

Home is where this lil fluffball rests her pretty lil head…

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Friends! The countdown is on. T-Minus 3 days until the big day

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3 DAYS! Weeooo

So what does that mean? Busy busy busy!

~Today is cookie making with my Mom PLUS yearly dinner date with my Nana and Papa Sadface, Nana’s feet were too sore to walk so we have to have her rest up for Xmas. Will happen!

~Tomorrow is Christmas nails with my Mama and probably more baking (we have all our cookies to make) AND probably decorating the last tree. My Mom left one tree for us to do together. Sweeetnesss.

~Christmas Eve day is all the cooking prep. We cook the bird and proteins in advance and any leftover baking will need to be done.

~The day. Christmassss. My fav holiday (minus the cold..)

Oh and I’m supposed to be doing applications…Pfft. Guelph’s program is due Jan 1st. Way to ruin my holidays school!

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Any who aside from running my lil tushie all over the place now and in the days to come, what has been going on lately? Lets jump into …

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…to share the deeeets

Thanks Amanda for the platform!

So I’m back and home and was welcomed over dramatically with my furbaby

She has the cutest lil bows..er bow! She had just got beautified before my Dad came to pick me up yesterday so she’s a ball of super soft fluff. I adore her.

It it sad that I get really excited to come home to an ice maker? (yes, I actually get excited for this…) I did however get reminded that Acton and Georgetown water tastes like absolute crap while gagging sipping on my nightly tea. Damn, glad to be not on water from gross lakes and such, but well water tastes grimmyyyyy!

Something that does taste good though that I snagged recently was this amazingness…

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REAL CINNAMON! This stuff is good guys! So much flavour and a sweetness you don’t get with the normal ‘cinnamon’ which is actually Cassia

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There are actually a few varieties of cinnamon, but ceylon is the TRUE cinnamon. One of the major benefits is that is is low in coumarin which is actually a substance that can cause liver damage in high amounts. Unfortunately, the other varieties have quite high amounts of this compound in them.

Other benefits can be found here if you’re interested, but trust me when I say that the taste is worth the greater dolla dollas spent on this stuff.

I got another new client!

Guys, although my client circle is small still, I am loving the ability to train and do nutrition consults with others. Helping people reach their goals is what I feel I have been made to do.

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Karl, you’re awesome. I hope you see this.

Speaking of nutrition help…

I’m now the proud volunteer blogger and social media organizer for an AMAZING dietician, Nicole Osinga. I have been working with her for a little under a month now (exams made starting a bit delayed) but I’m loving it. I do blog posts, recipe creating and manage her Pinterest account. It’s a blast and I’m hoping to be able to reach more people with useful information that they can incorporate into their fit and healthy lives!

Pssssttt….You should follow her on Instagram and see what she’s up to 😉

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She had come into one my my class lectures in November to speak of her journey and beginning in her practice and I was very much interested to listen because she has a lot of similar nutrition related views as me. At the end of her lecture she had mentioned that she was looking for volunteers and I couldn’t get down to her fast enough.

I truly appreciate the opportunity that she has given me to work alongside her! It will offer me a great experience and I hope I will help her as well.

I just posted a video on IG

It was about trusting the process and the hardship that comes with gaining any form of tissue, muscle or fat. This is especially true for those individuals, like myself, with an ED past.

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That morning face and those Jammers are real folks. I never hid anything from ya 😛

I’m growing, but my abs are therefore not as shredded. I feel so much stronger, but my body image is weak at them moment because of my attachment to being so lean for so long.

No I don’t like to admit that my physical appearance can affect me like that, but it’s reality.

I love the strength, which is why I kinda might have went over board in the heavy lifting side of training as opposed to striking a balance between power and hypertrophy. All slow twitch activation doesn’t really help with the striations and definition as much y’all. AND SO I’m excited for the changes that will happen [hopefully] soon as my coach and I tweaked my training to activate some of those fast twitch fibres to bring back some of my hard definition that I truly love.

I just have to wade through this tougher transition period first. I have to tell myself that it’s not that I have gotten fat and that is why my abs are not very sliced and diced, its simply that I was working towards other goals. Goals that made my core stronger (and my whole body stronger!) but was not really aimed at pure aesthetics.

Trust the process. Trust the process.

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I have to tell myself this daily.

Baking Happened tonight while I was working on this blog…

One of the favourites of the famjam is the chocolate mint truffle cookies. Super easy to make and they go like hotcakes. My Dad sneaks them right from the freezer and he’s not even a huge mint fan.

Also photoshoots happened with my baking assistant…

More so she was just mad that I wasn’t throwing her toys while I was covered in chocolate…

Something funny happened at the gym today..

So I helped out someone (father and son duo, son trying to show father how to do an exercise) with form and technique, because I’m nosey and the trainer in me cannot help myself if they seem receptive.

So I helped them out. Than the father kept appearing at my side during my workout and did a couple of exercises I was doing. He seemed intrigued. Super nice guy!

Funny part was that on his way out, he asked me how old I was..then said:

Oh, that’s my son’s age..he just got back from travelling and he wants to go again. I’m trying to get him to stay…

Maybe you can help me out with that…

He laughed.

Next time I see them I probably won’t be able to help but smirk.

#DadToTheRescue

My nails to be done tomorrow…

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OMG so nice.

I really liked these…

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But I have come to terms that I’m not there to torture my nail stylist.

#SadFace.

My Mom is starting to roll out some sugar cookie dough that we are painting apparently so for the sake of getting those done at a half decent time, I will end it off here. But I must include this lil finisher because I thought it was funny.

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#Word.

Have yourself a wonderful evening Friends!

Favourite Christmas food?

1 Christmas tradition?

-Chelsea

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Powers Of Vitamin C…Fitness Friday 29

My friends! I’m so sorry about last week, but I was in the middle of studying for my hardest exam (clinical) and I just couldn’t get up anything for Friday. Many apologies. I will say that I still, and always, get my fitness on and I hope that for all of you doing exams that you don’t skimp out on the gym. Time is limited yes, but instead of scrolling through social media, take that hour and sweat out some endorphins. Your body and mind will thank you.

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Perhaps it may have to be shorter, or you may miss one of your normal sessions, but trust me when I say that often when someone says they don’t have time, they are wasting some of it with media… #TrueSpeak

Cold and Flu Season Is Upon Us.

And so what better time than to highlight ….

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An important vitamin, as they all are, but this guy ain’t just for cold and flus.

Yes, this water soluble vitamin does wonders for your immune system, but we are talking about fitness here, so what can it do for your athletic self to help with performance?

….okay we will start with immune function because obviously that can affect training…

Exercise Puts You At Risk For Infection?

It appears so. This article spoke of an altered immune system following intense exercise. Specifically, the body appears to release many inflammatory cytokines similar to a trauma or sepsis response for a short time following strenuous training. This response than sets you up to be more immunocompromised and open to getting sick. Although much of this was referring to research in endurance athletes, I don’t believe it would be crazy to say the same for strength based athletes, as you’re also causing trauma to the body and placing it under enough stress to cause cortisol release.

So where does Vitamin C fall into this equation? One study looking at ultra marathon runners found that high doses of Vitamin C (1500mg, but not 500mg) daily for a week prior to their race (and the day of their race) reduced their levels of circulating cytokines. So for athletes who cannot drop their training intensity, extra Vitamin C may be able to aid in decreasing their risk of potential illness.

The immune benefits of extra supplementation for athletes still needs further research but some of the early studies have shown promising findings towards a YAY for a protective benefit of a lil boost.

Role in Synthesis of Important Players for Physical Performance

This article presents a large list of the roles of vitamin C that definitely play a role in allowing your body to perform. Some of interest include:

~Synthesis of carnitine –> required to move fatty acids into the mitochondria. They can then be oxidized and used for energy.

~Synthesis of catecholamines  –> These include epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are released during times of stress to create the ‘fight or flight’ response. This includes the mobilizing of glucose and an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and vessel dilation to get the nutrients to the muscle to allow them to keep performing.

Their role in synthesis is through being a reducing agent in their biosynthesis reactions

Preventing Oxidative Stress

Exercise is a stress. As a result, it is actually an oxidant and can lead to damage to your cells. Vitamin C has been studied for its role as a powerful antioxidant. In a review looking at oxidative stress in the formation of atherosclerosis, it was discussed that vitamin C reduced many oxidative mechanisms that contributed to atherosclerosis. These included:

~LDL oxidation –> via interacting with the free radicals that would oxidize LDL 

~Reduction of the pro-oxidant, radical (oxidized) form of Vitamin E to a safe (reduced) and anti-oxidant version (α-tocopherol).

~Inhibiting leukocytes (immune factors) from binding to epithelial tissues. Adhesion is found to be related to athersclerosis. 

Reducing DOMS?

This one is up in the air right now. This study presented both sides of the argument, but than did their own study to see if DOMS was reduced following eccentric exercises (which have been shown to cause trauma to the fibres and stress). They found that high doses (3g/d) of vitamin C taken 2 weeks prior and 4 days following the exercises decreased their levels of DOM and oxidized glutathione levels in the plasma, which is an indicator of oxidative stress.

So, from all of the research addressed here, there is some support for the use of higher doses of Vitamin C to protect from the negative effects of exercise and thus allow for continued intensity. This is all fine and dandy, but of course there are always going to be studies that show the opposite. This study, for example, presented an argument against taking supplements of vitamin C as it apparently was found to decrease training efficiency due to to allowing for training-stimulated biological adaptations.

So take this with your usual suspicion, but I personally do take it for the proposed antioxidant effects, as I train very intensely and there has been research showing that athletes become depleted due to Vitamin C being used up more quickly.

It is also used up in times of other stress as well, mental and physical. 

Do you take Vitamin C supplements?

Fun Fact. Yes the Orange is often the ‘vitamin C mascot’ but did you know that peppers are actually the highest in this vitamin? Others higher than your oranges are dark greens, broccoli, berries (strawberries) and kiwi. So maybe throw some orange segments in your next spinach salad for a double boost. 

-Chelsea

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Back To Basics…Fitness Friday 28

Hello my friends, short and sweet today as I’m in the midst of finishing up final assignments, studying for exams and attempting to squeeze in writing maayyybbee something I can call a coverletter of sorts for my masters/internship applications.

But the fitness-ing must go on!

And by go on I mean, read this post then drop the floor and try these lil numbers out.

I dare ya 😉

So we all know the many benefits of the good ol’ plank, but did you know of it’s children? Oh yes, the plank is now longer alone, its got some newer versions and they are quite the upgrade if you are ready for them.

Lets take a peek shall we.

You have the basic plank

Cues:

~Squeeze EVERYTHING. Glutes, quads and core should be all nice and tight.

~Focus on pulling that navel back towards the spine 

~Roll the shoulders back. Even in this picture, the ‘model’ has hers coming a bit past her elbows. Avoid this, they should be in line with the elbows

~Your back should be straight, enough so that you can put something on it and it won’t fall off.

~Do not crane your neck up, keep it looking at the floor to keep your spine neutral

~Hips should not be sagging and your butt should not be pointed in the air. Again, keep hips parallel with the floor. 

Now you can be a lil fancier even with this basic movement by having one foot off the ground and hovering the leg (did your position change? if the hips dropped, you’re not ready for this yet.) More? Throw your opposite arm out in front of you, parallel with the floor as well. Again, only if proper form is maintained.

Now what about the plank upgrades?

How about the Body Saw?

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Link to Video

This one is said to be an ‘anti-extension’ core movement where the dynamic movement (shifting your body forward and backward) places greater tension on your core to maintain your proper position. You don’t need the sliders as shown in the video, even the small rocking you can do with your elbows and toes is enough for a great burn!

Or what about the RKC plank?

This lil number comes from the Russian Kettlebell Challenge and is simply a few lil shifts in your positioning BUT those few little shifts do a lot of damage!

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I feel like Brett Contreras (glute masstta!) really spoke about it well so here is his thoughts and description:

Basically, he had me get into my normal plank position and then made adjustments. First, he had me place my elbows slightly further out in front of me and closer together to increase the lever arm length and reduce the width of the base of support. He then had me forcefully lock out my knees by contracting my quads.

Finally, he had me contract my glutes as hard as possible to the point where my pelvis posteriorly rotated [rotated backwards]. These adjustments left me quivering like a school girl. I highly recommend experimenting with this new variation as it blows away the core activation of a normal plank. (In fact, I suggest you stop reading right now, drop down to the floor, and try it for yourself.) Chalk up another one for the kettlebellers!

So there you have it! Go right now and try one of these babies out if you have ever said planks are a cake walk. I promise, you will be eating your words.

What’s your favourite type of plank variation?

-Chelsea