Category archive: Health
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
- 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
It happens before every summer, and every new year: people will make resolutions to lose weight, eat right, and get healthy. Unfortunately, up to 88% of people fall through on their goals in record time. So how can we make our personal goals stick, and avoid the usual pitfalls? Here are a few tips to help with making effective goals on the way to any achievement:
Set Your Horizon:
Your journey cannot begin without a destination. A goal always starts with the driving factor which is the long term outcome you want to achieve. Whether its ”I want to change my eating habits,” ”I want to lose 50 lbs” or, “I want to quit smoking”, you must decide on the end point.
Make a Plan:
To create an outcome is the first step, but it is completely hollow unless it is followed with “I will achieve this by…” This is also the best time to do research. Research may include collecting healthy diet recipes, finding a workout plan that best suits your lifestyle and interests, or browsing the local gyms for one you would feel comfortable working out in. It may also include looking into the success stories of others, and asking questions: some of the best advice you can receive is from someone who has reached a similar goal. The planning stage is the best time to set a realistic deadline for when you want to be successful by. Not only does this keep you on track, it helps you evaluate your progress over time, to better understand how far you can go. (Research is also very useful for understanding what a reasonable timeline is for your specified goal).
Be realistic, and start with small goals:
Once you have determined an end point and a plan to follow, its time to plan a few pit stops. Progress does not happen over night, and small goals help gratify our successes while keeping us focused on the end outcome. If your overall goal is to lose 100 lbs, start with 15, and celebrate your achievement. Start with dropping a pant size, lifting 5 lbs more than you can at the moment, or switching to whole grains. The success of these small goals replenish our drive to reach our final destination, and encourage us through those long phases in between, where it may feel as if we are not getting very far.
Find a support group:
Share your goal with your friends and family, and ask someone to join you on your journey. Exercise partners are a great way to keep yourself accountable, and motivated! Support groups can help facilitate the research portion of your planning, share their own experiences, and help you when you are struggling. In many cases, people find that their immediate friends may not be the most supportive to their plans, but do not be discouraged by this! There are people everywhere who will support you, and you may gain new friends in the process.
Be accountable and honest:
One of the largest pitfalls associated with exercise, health and diet goals is denial, so do not be afraid to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Everyone is capable of making an excuse for why they didn’t make their workout, and we all know they’re usually tenuous at best. But the excuse game is in no way is beneficial towards reaching your goal. If you don’t have an excuse, don’t try and make one. Acknowledge your slip up, take responsibility, and move on. It is only through acknowledging our faults, weaknesses, failures and slip ups, that we are able to meet them head on and achieve better in the future.
Do not succumb to guilt:
Regret over an indulgence or a missed workout often leads to an entire guilt trip, causing the person to fall further and further behind on their goals, or starting all over, which we know can be so discouraging. Many people also consider their exercise to be, “all or nothing.” Slipping up once, means its just not going to happen for them. This is ridiculous! So you skipped the gym, so you had that cupcake, is it worth throwing everything away? Mistakes happen, and so do missed workouts. You may not feel good about it, but it is not the end of the world. Pick up where you left off, because lamenting gets you no closer to your goals. Those who wallow in guilt rather than face their problems head on are more likely to repeat the guilty action, or fall out of the habits entirely. Do not be a victim of your guilt!
Write everything down. Your weight, what you eat, what weight you were using for your reps, everything. By having the information handy, not only can you see where you are progressing and have a better understanding of how to increase your intensity at a reasonable rate, but you can also see where your weaknesses are. Does your weight shoot up after a lazy weekend? Are you not eating as healthily as you should when you’re out of the house? Tracking your progress on a regular basis helps you evaluate your patterns, and improve upon them.
Reward yourself in the proper ways that promote your new, healthier lifestyle:
A reward for your hard work should motivate you to move further, not act as a setback. There is something so counterproductive about treating yourself to sweats for succeeding in healthy eating, or taking a week off at the gym to celebrate six months of consistency. Try little treats that will excite you about your health and fitness – a new workout outfit or a new piece of equipment you’ve been eying, new supportive shoes, a day at the beach, a new supplement, or something that reminds you of what it took to achieve. Also, ensure that the reward match the accomplishment; losing that first ten 10lbs is a huge step in the right direction, but not quite worth that trip to Africa. Save that for your last ten lbs when you can show off your beach body with pride.
Most importantly, never stagnate!
Continue to make regular, active goals, even once you have achieved your milestone. The ceaseless drive to improve and the endless pursuit of success will always enrich your life. Once you have achieved your endpoint, strive for personal bests, better diet, harder muscles, anything that will keep you chasing happiness and health! The fulfillment of your triumphs will inspire others, and leave many memories for you to be proud of.
What do you want to achieve? What are you waiting for? You can do anything, as long as you make those first few steps.Details
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!
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.
Because this topic garners a lot of questions and curiosity, here is a brief explanation of my lung condition:
As a child (~7), I contracted severe Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough [I was unable to be vaccinated due to an allergy to the vaccine]. Unfortunately, the violent coughing left me with structural damage – which then led to the formation of scar tissue, which limits my air capacity, and slows down the rate at which I can metabolize oxygen. In short, I can’t breathe as fast, or hold as much air as the average person. And when this is strained, it can really hurt.
As a result of this condition, cardio has been extremely difficult for me. Through my school years I struggled through gym class, and was the last person to finish any laps, or timed runs. Hell, even a large flight of stairs or a moderate incline would leave me winded. (This is why people from high school would never suspect I would be a fitness model now!)
It took a long time to be able to perform cardio in any capacity. It was a very long, very slow process. Even now, tread mills and running are not my friends. But I know how to work around it. I know how to push myself effectively, without putting myself in danger. And every day, I’m getting stronger!
Just to be clear, my lung condition is just a part of who I am, and overcoming it is not what makes me a great fitness model or anything of the sort. I’m not going to push my story to win sympathy, or attention. I am proud of myself, yes, but I am a firm believer that the cards we are dealt are not what define us. But this is my story, and I’m happy to be frank and open about it because we all have challenges!Details
Sleep is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives, and a key factor in our overall health. A good night’s sleep can be crucial to our successes in our fitness and health goals, our careers, our family, romantic and social lives, and so much more. And consequently, a night without a good sleep can derail everything.
As a habitual insomniac, I know firsthand how crucial good sleep can be, and throughout the years, I have learned the best tips to ensure a night of superior rest that will leave you refreshed and ready to take on the day:
Tips for better Sleep:
Use an eye pillow: The best way to ensure your body can register it is time to sleep is to create absolute darkness. Blackout curtains and unplugging anything that might glow is a start point, but it will not prevent the invasion of the early morning sun which may remind you another sleepless night has come to its conclusion. An eye pillow, however, keeps everything dark for the whole night! Not only does this make it easier to slip into sleep, it will help keep you there.
Toss the clock: To have glowing numbers glaring at you telling you just how much sleep you have missed out on is not about to help you sleep any better. In fact, the constant awareness of the time will further prevent falling asleep. If you absolutely must have the time, then it is better to wear a wristwatch with a light. It will not be staring you in the face, and you will not have to actively rise and look for it.
Give up the Caffeine: This is something that most people should be kicking, especially soda. But coffee can be just as agitating to the insomniac as anything else. Caffeine addiction not only keeps you from the sleep you need, but will inhibit the production of the alertness chemicals of the brain. This sluggish production then leads to lethargy, which requires more coffee. It is a vicious cycle, one that insomniacs in particular need to avoid, but if you are having even the slightest bit of trouble sleeping, consider passing on the latte. This is hugely important if you drink energy drinks; the amount of stimulating chemicals in an energy drink can do extremely detrimental things to your sleep patterns. Set your body right – skip excess caffeine and reap the benefits.
Set the Stage: The mind is a powerful tool. Therefore, if you have trouble sleeping, your bed needs to become a place of sleep. To read or watch TV in bed prevents you from entering sleep mentality when you get there, so to form the proper mental constructs, do these things elsewhere!
White Noise: Though sound machines with ocean or frog noises have become a cliché, white noise can be extremely helpful in aiding sleep. By existing in a space with a constant calming sound, you are less susceptible to the alertness arbitrary sound might cause. I know this is a huge problem for me as a light sleeper – anything can wake me up! Having any sort of constant white noise in the background makes that less likely.
Make Routine: Go to bed, and wake up at the same time every night despite how tired, or lack thereof you may be. Setting a schedule helps regulate your body and how it reacts at different points of the day, and will eventually lead to easier sleep. Regardless of what time I actually did (or did not) fall asleep, I get out of bed the same time every morning, as well as go to bed at the same time as often as possible. In doing this, my body is more likely to respond to the idea of sleep.
Exercise!!! A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and a healthy sleep schedule! Rigorous, consistent exercise helps to promote the production of serotonin and adrenaline, chemicals that simultaneously help us feel more alert during the daytime, and promote a natural, restful sleep in the evening. Our bodies are designed to be used, and to be active, therefore by providing the exertion and engagement of our muscle groups that nature intended, our body will reward us with better sleep.
***Note: I have been an insomniac for 17 years – in that time I have tried everything to combat this condition. Herbal remedies, perscription and non perscription medication, physical and mental therapies, everything. Please do not insult my intelligence by assuming I haven’t heard of an obvious solution. Thank you!
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