Category archive: Diet
Here goes Part II of my Competition Supplement Stack, focusing on the elements that add fat-burning fuel to my workouts!
MAGNUM ACID: Combined with HEAT, Acid is my fat-burning secret weapon! Acid is a Pharmaceutical grade Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a natural fatty acid that increases muscle tissue and metabolizes body fat – particularly in the abdominal and glute region. What sets Acid apart from other CLA supplements, however, is that Magnum only invests in the two isomers of CLA (of three) that are proven to burn body fat, leaving you with no 30% filler! This increases the potency of every serving! As a competitor, I focus on keeping my abs and butt tight, so this product is a godsend. This is also the first product I would recommend to someone looking to try a fat-burning supplement if they have not had experience with fat-burners before.
MAGNUM HEAT: Combined with ACID, Heat is my fat-burning secret weapon! Now, just like most pre-workouts, I find that most fat-burners do very undesirable things to my body, especially with my heart and sleep patterns. Heat, however, is a STIMULANT FREE thermogenic fat incinerator which stimulates energy without the jitters! The key to Heat is its natural ingredient thermogenesis. The blend of raspberry ketones, ginger root, green tea leaf, black pepper extract, capsaicin, and others, will increase your basal metabolic rate, and make you SWEAT when you work! No joke, I have taken thermogenics before, but I have never actually sweat as much as I have with Heat! Whats more, not only are you not facing the jitters, Heat also has adaptogens, to help balance your hormones, so drastic fat burning results are done without overhauling how you feel — this means there will be no yo-yo effect or crash when cycling off, and you will not gain the weight back (if maintaining a healthy diet and consistent exercise.) Note: For those who like their fat-burner stimulants, HEAT ACCELERATED is the option for you!
L-Carntine: L-Carntine is a staple and a standard of the competitor supplement stack. Magnum does not produce an L-Carnitine supplement, therefore I am not discerning over brand preference. Synthesized from amino acids, L-carnitine is essential in the transport and breakdown of lipids (fat) in the body’s metabolic reactions, which then helps to produce metabolic energy. When paired with Acid (CLA) and a natural based fat burner such as Heat, L-Carnitine is a great addition to any stack focused on reducing body fat and promoting leanness.
Green Tea Extract: Also known as Green Tea Catechins and Polyphenols, are found in any brewed tea, but are stronger when extracted directly from the source. Though green tea extract is included in the HEAT formula, this added green tea extract supplement is a great addition to my stack for a touch more thermogenesis and an antioxidant boost in the last few weeks of preparation, particularly when we are no longer able to drink tea due to water cutting or distilled water conumption. This green tea extract pill mixes well with the L-Carnitine, as well as Heat and Acid.
Not Pictured: Just wanted to include a quick blurb about two supplements that didn’t get included in the photo, but will be included in a later ‘every day supplements’ post.
MAGNUM G: G is a Pharmaceutical grade beet-sourced glutamine, perfect for enhancing recovery, diminishing soreness, and preventing muscle catabolism. This, along with its ability to boost immune function and remove lactic acid for better blood and nutrient flows, this is a must in every protein shake.
MAGNUM LOADED: A multi-vitamin loaded with minerals, greens, antioxidants, metabolic boosters, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, and anti-aging components: this is not your grandmother’s multi-vitamin!
To prevent TL;DR, I’ve broken this up into 2 posts.Details
It has been quite a while since I’ve written a new blog post, and since we’re so close to competition time (4 weeks out) I thought the best way to jump back in would be to write a post about something I am often asked about: my supplements! First, a few words about my sponsors in general. MAGNUM is one of the only supplement companies than can attest to having 100% pharmaceutical grade ingredients in all their supplement blends, and their dedication to quality and high-end performance is admirable. Their supplement line is extensive, yet not over-extended, to make sure you receive the best. I am very blessed to be a part of the Magnum family!
MAGNUM Quattro: Anyone doing anything in the fitness world needs a great source of protein to promote muscle growth as well as to refuel and recover after intense physical endurance. Quattro is a time-release 4 isolate blend with 30g per scoop that also includes CLA and Flaxseed — which makes Quattro an ideal protein source for any time during the day, particularly in the mornings, post-workout or before bed. Additionally, because Quattro is lactose and gluten-free, it is easy even on the most sensitive of digestive systems. A bonus for me, being slightly lactose intolerant. I use the Chocolate Love flavor for every day use, and Vanilla Ice Cream for recipes.
MAGNUM OPUS: Before Opus came into my life, I missed it so bad. That is to say that I -never- used pre-workout supplements. Being extremely sensitive to caffeine and NO, among other things, taking a pre-workout only made me feel dangerously out of control of my body, particularly my heart and my ability to sleep. Opus changed all that by being a STIMULANT-FREE (Yes, you read that right) beta-alanine based pre-workout, dedicated to anabolic fuel, longevity and endurance, as opposed to jacking you up on a jitter-ride. Opus works to balance your body’s pH and enhance your cellular performance, which ultimately results in an explosive workout (that will bring out your mini-gladiator), without the downsides of traditional preworkouts. And because its stimulant free, Opus is a pre-workout that is safe to take for every workout, even when you train late at night, as well as combined with other supplements. Also, the Blue Yazberry flavor is to die for.
MAGNUM Performance Greens: Many people underestimate the benefits of a good greens powder, and with Magnum’s performance greens, I’ve certainly learned this lesson personally. With its organic green and phytonutrient blend, this greens powder detoxifies and cleanses my system every morning, leaving me with a balanced pH, natural clean energy, and no drawbacks from anything that I might have eaten before. I mix this with ice and Quattro for a smoothie that tastes exactly like a tootsie roll! This is my morning kick-in-the-pants.
MAGNUM DNA: DNA is hands down, by far, my favourite supplement I have ever taken. Without a doubt, I have never -felt- the results of a single supplement as strongly as I have with DNA. Branch-Chain-Amino-Acids (BCAAs) are fundamental to muscle and strength gains, and yet normally, they are a pain to take – instantized powders that mix with nothing and taste horrible, or pills where you feel no results… this is not the case with DNA. Because it is a pharmaceutical grade BCAA mix with L-Leucine Alpha KIC, and an ammonia scavenger to remove ammonia from muscles and prevent fatigue, the guarantee on DNA that you will see strength gains in 3 days is 100% absolutely legitimate. With DNA, I went up a minimum of 5 lbs on all my major exercises within 3 days, most upwards of 10-20 lb increases in a matter of a week. I am lifting heavier, and capable of performing more reps than ever before, and it truly is thanks to DNA. I couldn’t say enough about it!
To prevent TL;DR, I’ve broken this up into 2 posts.Details
There is one thing you must know about my eating habits: I love spicy food. No, I really love spicy food. My fridge is famous for being the home of a myriad of hot sauces and hot peppers, and I am literally that person who will put hot sauce on everything. I’m even known around town for it – all the restaurants I go to do my food custom to make it hot enough!
However, now that I am in competition prep, I am cutting down on my consumption of condiments, salt, and sugar, and I don’t know if you’ve read hot sauce labels, but it is nearly impossible to find hot sauce without salt as a main ingredient! Knowing full well that I wouldn’t survive without spice in my life, I had to do something.
I present to you, my first clean eating EMBRACEFIRE hot sauce!
*Please note this recipe is made according to my spice preferences – I find it to be the hotter side of mild, but please adjust the ingredients to your own spice levels.
- 1 to 1 and a half cups of white vinegar
- Mrs. Dash or other salt-free seasoning mix in Roasted Garlic/Garlic and Herb
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 large slices of lime
- 1 tbsp crushed and dried cayenne chilies WITH seeds
- 2 handfuls sliced yellow banana peppers
- Slice your chilies and peel your garlic.
(Pro-tip: smashing garlic cloves with the flat edge of a knife makes them easier to peel)
- Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups white vinegar to your Magic Bullet or blender
- Add dried ingredients (cayenne and Mrs. Dash) and blend. Pieces of the spice do not have to disappear, but the goal is to make them smaller.
- Add garlic, lime and banana peppers, and blend again until desired consistency. Mixture will blend pale orange, but as the cayenne blends down further, it will darken slightly. Because the sauce is fairly thin, I left mine with some pulp and garlic pieces still within the mixture.
- Store, and enjoy! The vinegar as a base will continue to cure the cayenne, making it stronger as time goes on.
This hot sauce is perfect for any dish! Chicken, rice, beans, as an addition to a salsa dip, or, because its made with limes, as a base for ceviche! (I don’t eat seafood, someone will have to let me how that tastes.) Heck, I would even put this in my oatmeal, or if I was not eating clean, on my ice cream! Yummm! It can also be doubled, tripled or modified at will – I know as soon as I tasted it, I made another batch right away!
Check back for more hot sauce recipes in the future!Details
- Peri-Peri pepper sauce or crushed peri-peri peppers
- Cinnamon, sliced cold over salad
- marinated in organic salsa. (Great for the slowcooker)
- Jerk Chicken! Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle, Cayenne, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Cloves, Allspice, Cinnamon and Mustard
- Citrus! Lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit all make amazing marinades, and help increase flavor when baked.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Though it might not smell wonderful while cooking, ACV adds a real zest and moistness to chicken, and increases your fat burning potential!
- Lemon-Pepper chicken. marinated in lemon juice, baked with a dry rub of crushed peppercorns
- Pineapple, need I say more?
- Curry powder. Chicken curry is delicious, but often no where near clean, so adding curry powder gives you that excellent taste, without the extra calories.
- Garlic! Whether marinated, dress rubbed as powder, stuffed with diced cloves or used as a garnish, you cannot go wrong with garlic as an ingredient!
- Tandoori Chicken – cayenne, red chili, turmeric, ginger root, garlic, vinegar, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cloves and greek yogurt (0% plain). Must marinate well before being cooked!
- Sautéed with julienne bell peppers and balsamic vinegar, yum!
- Honey with Dijon and Spicy Mustards. Perfect on its own, or in a wrap!
- Baked in a coating of crushed almonds or pecans – healthier chicken fingers!
- Shredded with brown rice and beans – healthy burrito, without the tortilla! Top with pico de gallo
- Grilled, topped with Bruschetta (Chopped tomatoes with garlic, basil, olive oil and vinegar) – a healthy way to indulge in an Italian favourite while maintaining portion control
- Peanut and Tahini make a wonderful Thai chicken!
- Dry rubbed and BBQ’d with Tarragon and onion powder – and a little citrus to keep it moist!
- Roasted Sesame seeds with onion and garlic powder
- Clean Eating Chicken Chili!
- Stuffed with zucchini and baked
- Spiced Maple Ginger Chicken: pure maple syrup, lemon, garlic, ginger, pepper, cloves and cayenne
- Chicken and Quinoa veggie soup: onion, garlic, celery, whole kernel corn, black beans, carrots, quinoa, vinegar, onion powder, chili powder, Mrs. Dash Extra spicy and more! [Recipe coming soon]
- Lime & cilantro with cumin and Spanish paprika
- In a slow cooker with apricot, peaches or nectarines
Bonus: Baked with Turmeric, coriander, pepper, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and topped with sliced red onionsDetails
A New Year is upon us, and its time to make changes to make us happier, healthier, and better people! Here are a few of my New Years Resolutions:
- Media exposure: be in at least three fitness magazines this year (features or articles written by me), and try to end up on the cover of one, or at least be in negotiation.
- Shoot with at least one of the photographers on my ‘must shoot’ list.
- Obtain a Sponsorship! This is the year I get sponsored – look out companies! I’m coming for you!
- Build up my shoulders – to create a visible, round shape
- Shoulder Press 35 lbs consistently, perhaps 40.
- Tighten my glutes, reduce cellulite.
- Increase cardio capacity/endurance
- Eliminate bread and wheat from my diet, in favor of brown rice and quinoa.
- Wean myself from ketchup!
- Be more creative in the kitchen, to post new exciting recipes on my website.
- Become versed in Italian
- Take dancing lessons, or bellydancing, increase my talent with pole fitness, and train in aerial silks.
- Learn to crochet (Already in the works!)
- Pay it forward more – participate in more random acts of kindness, at least once a week.
What are you resolving to do this year? Leave a comment and let me know – and tell me how you plan to do it!
When people start working out, they almost invariably go straight for their abs. And perhaps it is reasonable – the abdominal area is where people are most acutely aware of carrying extra weight, bloat, or softness, and it is the spot almost all people want to see direct improvement.
What’s more, having a great set of abs is the primary marker of ‘fitness’ in the general world. And when the abs don’t seem to be improving any more drastically than the rest of the body despite receiving the most attention, people get discouraged and begin to think that perhaps they are just not genetically capable of building a tight, lean six pack.
However, as we should all know, there is no effective way to spot-fix a body part. Regardless of how manycrunches you may do, an isolated focus is an ineffective way to change your body, especially when it comes to your midsection.
In order to train your abs for the best results, a full-body approach is necessary. In fact, if you are carrying extra weight in your abdominal area, chances are it is not the only culprit. Bearing this in mind, there are two key concepts that are crucial to building a strong foundation for ripped abs: Engage, and Diet.
Rather than going straight for the crunches, consider that the most effective way to see improvement in your abdominal areas is to hold off on direct and exclusive ab exercises until you have begun to reduce your overall body fat percentage. Why? Like all other forms of resistance work, ab exercise increases the growth of muscle, and muscle under fat has a tendency to look like more bulk.
This is why some people get discouraged with their middle thickness despite heavy ab workouts – they have the muscle, but the fat overtop is hiding their achievement. This is not to say ‘neglect your abs entirely until later on’, as this would be a serious detriment to your fitness goals. Strong core muscles (Abs, obliques, back, glutes, etc) are vital to all other types of workouts — without them, you could seriously injure yourself, especially while lifting.
So what do you do? You engage. Engage your core muscles in everything you do. Squeeze your core tight when you jog, when you squat, when you do jumping jacks, when you do push ups, when you lift weights, when you do pull ups, when you do ALL types of workouts. If you are doing squats and not even thinking about your abs, you are missing out on the full potential of what that move can do for your body! Is it not better to work more at once?
Abdominal engagement can be done anywhere – in the office, at home while cooking dinner, or even while enjoying your favourite evening TV show. By doing so, the strength in all your core muscles, especially your abs, will start to improve, while you are working on melting the fat from all areas of your body, and building a nice frame of lean muscle. You will be surprised, when they softness burns away, that you have a nicer, flatter stomach to work with, and finally give that extra attention to.
Here, the old adage of “abs are made in the kitchen” truly needs to be stressed! What you eat and how you eat are fundamental to the aesthetic results of your midsection; if your diet is not en pointe, shredded abs are not going to develop. Even the fittest of people will noticeably bloat and soften when they consume something full of sugar, fat or sodium – and this shows most in the midsection.
It must be emphasized that a diet full of processed, sugary foods will be a serious detriment to the fat burning process that will uncover your strong, toned abs. If you want to have a great six-pack, your focus needs to be on eating clean, eating at proper intervals, and most importantly, eating enough! If you’re not getting enough calories to support your caloric burn and exercise activity, your body will begin to cling to fat as a survival instinct.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals that comprise of lean proteins, whole wheat or whole grain complex carbohydrates and bountiful portions of veggies are the best way to ensure that you are left feeling satisfied and energized with every meal, while still shedding fat from your midsection to reveal your abdominal foundation. So never forget to think about what you are eating, and how that one thing will reflect on your body, especially when you want to see firm, taut abs.
Overall, these two key concepts are crucial for building the best, strongest and most aesthetic foundation for your midsection. Utilizing these tricks will help you to sculpt your abs into the six pack of your dreams!Details
I love sweet potatoes. Before I started eating clean, I had no interest in them, but they have become one of my favourite carbs to enjoy with my meals. And as a result, they have made their way not only into my every day diet, but to my holiday meals!
This recipe is one of the most delicious, indulgent-tasting holiday foods I have made to date, and I serve them as often as possible, to incredible rave reviews!
Spicy Sweet Potatoes
- 1-3 Sweet Potatoes, depending on the size.
- 1/2 tbsp Ginger
- 1 tbsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp Cayenne, depending on your spice tolerance.
- 1 handful crushed walnuts (if desired)
- Peel and slice the sweet potato into discs approximately one half inch to one inch thick
- Boil for approximately 20 minutes, until they are soft enough to be pierced through with a fork, without force.
- Drain and mash, add your spices. If needed, add a small amount of water to help the mashing process.
- Add crushed walnuts for presentation.
Protein bars are a part of my every day diet, so making sure I have an option that is high in protein, moderate in carbs and LOW in sugar is crucial to keeping my eating plan on track — and these home made treats are rewarding and satisfying, without being a ‘glorified candy bar’ like store bought protein bars Believing that credit should always be given where it is due, this recipe was inspired by Jamie Eason’s protein bar recipes, which I highly recommend. She has some wonderful flavors!
Ginger-Cinnamon Protein Bars
- 1 cup oat flour (Blended oats)
- 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 4 egg whites
- 6 oz baby food applesauce
- 4 oz water
- ~2 tbsp each of cinnamon and ginger (to taste, I like lots)
- Optional: crushed walnuts or almonds
Optional: 1/2 cup of preferred no sugar sweetener
These can be baked in a cake tin, but I prefer to do mine in a muffin/cupcake pan. I find they cook more evenly this way, and are perfectly portion sized!
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
- Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, mix thoroughly
- Combine ingredients, add optional nuts if desired.
- If using a muffin tin, line with cupcake holders or a very thin coating of olive oil to prevent stick.
- Place thoroughly mixed ingredients in the cake pan or muffin tin
- Let bake for 20 minutes, then perform a quick check to ensure they are cooking through. Cook for another 5-10 minutes as needed.
- Let cool before removing from pan or cutting.
**Stick these in the fridge! They CAN, and WILL go bad otherwise. Remember, there are no preservatives!Details
When I get sick, I don’t crave sweets, ice cream or chicken noodle soup, what I crave is Chili. Chili also happens to be one of my favourite foods of all time, so having a healthy clean eating chili recipe is an absolute must! Over time I have developed, altered and improved this recipe, and since it has been requested of me on several occasions, I have decided to inaugurate the recipe listings on my new website with it! I hope you give it a whirl, and enjoy!
Note: To say I like my food hot would be an enormous understatement, so I have provided this recipe sans my level of spice so that it can be altered to suit any palate or tolerance level. See below for my spice additions.
Clean Eating Chili (Makes a Pot)
- 2 diced chicken breasts
- 1 can of Kidney beans
- 1 can of Black beans
- 1 small white onion, chopped large
- 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large can, organic diced tomatoes (with juice)
- 2 stalks green onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp (or a splash) White vinegar
- 1 handful dried chilies
- 1 handful pickled chilies
- Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy
- At least 1 tbsp cayenne powder, 2 tbsp chili powder
- Defrost, cook, and dice your chicken breasts – I opt to pre-dice and pan-cook my chicken, while I prepare the remainder of my ingredients
- Slice your vegetables and pickled chilies, strain and rinse your beans.
- Add the 1 can of organic diced tomatoes to the pot, juice included. This will be your base.
- Add your beans and vegetables, white vinegar, and dried chilies.
- Set the pot to boil, and as it heats up, add your chicken, Mrs. Dash seasoning, and any other desired spicy ingredients (see below)
- Bring to a boil, let simmer about 10 minutes, and you’re ready to eat!
Bry’s Fire Factor:
To this base mixture, I double the inclusion of chili and cayenne powder and amount of chilies, and add Dave’s Insanity Sauce (use carefully!) and Sriracha sauce (also known as rooster sauce).Details
This article was written for Muscle and Strength
The advent of Thanksgiving commences the holiday season; a time for togetherness, giving, and of course, lots of delicious dinners and desserts. What is a health oriented individual to do when it seems everyone else is indulging?
The holiday season is a difficult time to stick to health goals as we all know — certainly contributing to the upcoming New Years’ Resolutions surrounding wellness. But this does not mean we should throw our carefully crafted discipline to the wind! So in light of the approaching holiday challenges, I present to you my survival tips for making it through the holidays with a clear conscience, no guilt or regrets, and less worries for your waistline.
Don’t go hungry. Temptation is much easier to resist if your stomach is not growling at you. Save overindulging later by eating breakfast and lunch on holiday dinner days. This way, you will not feel ravenous while selecting what you put on your plate.
Watch portion sizes. Follow the Plate Proportion Rule:Protein and carbs should make up 1/4 of your plate, whereas veggies should take up half. By setting a visual guideline for yourself, you will prevent overindulging on filler such as mashed potatoes and gravy, and ensure you get a serving of vegetables that you may have otherwise passed on. Fill your plate reasonably, and avoid seconds. The second helping will not taste better than the first!
Be condiment conscious. Have your vegetables without the cheese sauce and your meat without the skin or fat. The slimmer alternatives are just as delicious, and you will save an enormous amount of calories. Do not add extra salt, and you will avoid bloat. NO Gravy! Gravy is as empty in nutritional value as a soda, and just as potent in calorie content. Avoid!
Eat slowly. Allow your mind the time it requires to communicate appetite satiety to the rest of your body. Holidays are often culprits of overeating, given the tendency to enjoy as much as we can, as quickly as we can. Everyone has had the experience afterwards of “I ate too much!” Avoid this by savoring your food, and reap the rewards.
Do not consume empty calories. Liquids, such as wine, beer, juice and soda, contain no nutritional value. Each is filled with sugar and calories that we often not even considered when we eat. Save these calories for the food; stick with water. Not only will you be able to enjoy more, but water consumption will help you feel more full.
Stick to your guns. Aunt Mabel shouldn’t guilt you into having her famous cheesy potatoes if they are not part of what you have allotted for your planned plate. Remember that these are your goals, and what someone else does, or says, does not affect you. Only you have the power to improve yourself. Do not give that up!
Have some. Just be wise. Remember that indulging every now and then is perfectly acceptable! In fact, it has been shown that those who ‘cheat’ occasionally, are more likely to stick to their diets in the long run. This is a result of satisfaction; it is easy to resent your healthy choices if you receive no enjoyment.
Like a child who knows good behavior will earn him periodic privileges, we can accept our parameters, if the payoff is worth it. In the end, if you choose this option, just be wise about your choices. The piece of pie may not turf your results, but a whole pie and whipped cream might. Be reasonable.
To conclude, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to any comments or tips you might have about how you make it through the holidays in a healthy way!Details