Fit Fridays: Navigating the Weights Area

Hey you guys- I meant to post this last Friday but things got a little crazy.  They still are little crazy but I see the light at the end of the tunnel- woo hoo!

Anyway,  I wanted to discuss a topic that I find is often an issue and- while I hate to say it- a problem I notice many women have.  That is the weights section of the gym.  It can be an intimidating area- so many different machines and things to do (and do wrong!).  I remember my freshman year in college when I went to the gym for the first time.  Let's just say I walked in, looked around all the machines, free-weights and open mats, and walked back to do some cardio before quickly leaving.  I never went back- I've always been self conscious and worried about doing something wrong and making a fool of myself and didn't want to do so then.

Entering Enemy Territory: Navigating the Weights Area

Even though I basically live in the weights section now, I'm still always learning and always looking to improve my form and work on new techniques.  Here are some things I've learned over the years:

  1. Do Some Research: If you're just starting out, do some research!  The internet is an endless area of information and you can find some really great starter workouts.  Bodybuilding.com is a great resource and has a lot of information about different routines and techniques.
  2. Schedule a Session: Most gyms offer a free training sessions when joining.  Even if you aren't planning on hiring a trainer down the line, take advantage of the complimentary session to ask to be given a basic breakdown on how to use the different machines.  If you don't get a complimentary session I would still recommend scheduling a single session with a trainer to help.
  3. Read the Machines: Machines typically have instructions for standard ways of using them- don't feel shy about taking time to look it over before trying.
  4. Avoid Peak Hours: If you're just starting, try going during the slower hours if you can.  I find afternoons are a good time during the week as well as the weekends.
  5. Slow and Steady: When in doubt, whether it's free weights of machines, keep it slow and steady.  If you're trying something new, don't go for quick, jerky movements and always keep your core tight!  When starting out, you can't go wrong with keeping your body controlled and stable.
  6. Ask Questions: Now I'm not saying every person is going to be a good option to ask, but if you aren't sure about something, ask someone!  Trainers or gym staff are usually happy to help (but don't bother them if they're training a client!).  They would much rather help you out than have you do something wrong and injure yourself!  

Gym Etiquette:

Now I have to just add this in as a side note because the weights section has certain rules of etiquette to follow:

  1. Don't Hog: Use the machine or weights, do what you need to do and move on.  Don't spend excess time using an area (especially during peak hours!).  This isn't a time for texting or calling people!
  2. "How many sets do you have left?": You want to use a machine someone is using?  Don't be afraid to ask them this question.  It let's them know you're interested in using the machine too, which might motivate them to work faster or they may just offer to let you work in with them.  Either way, it's polite.
  3. Don't Stare: This is just a general rule of etiquette but is sometimes forgotten at the gym.  Don't stare- it's rude.
  4. Conversation to a Minimum: You're there to work and other people are there to work.  Keep your chatting to a minimum and if you have to make a phone call, please step away from machines or free weights so you aren't in the way.

Lazy Gal's Protein Pancakes

I feel like I'm wimping out on you guys.  Like I'm cheating or something but right now I am in a painful world called "low carb".  Seriously- my carbs are cut down to 50g per day (I get a "high carb day" every 4th day) for the next two weeks until we start adding them back in the week of the show.  My fats are higher which helps, but yeah, I'm basically dying.  I want bread and pancakes so badly. CARBSSSSSSS

Consequently, recipe testing truly is not happening.

So this post comes out of one of desperation (desperation to share something with you all) but it's something I've been making a lot recently.  Well kinda- I was doing more of a "crepe" version without the oats and then just cooking plain oats (belch) separately for my carbs.  Then, like the brilliant (Read: Why didn't I think of this sooner it's so obvious??) gal I am, thought, why not just add the oats in to make pancakes instead of crepes and have all my morning macros in one beautiful, delicious meal?

Lazy Gal's Protein Pancakes

Anyway, I made it, it was delicious, I took pictures in the lovely morning sun with my phone and ate it up.  And then I made it on Sunday too.

And now I find myself with a desperate desire to share recipes with you all (oh my gosh you guys I have SO MANY IDEAS- in 3 weeks things are gonna get real serious on this blog) and no ability to cook or test (I mean, technically I could but in past attempts...well I end up eating all of it).  So I shall be sharing this recipe from before my super low-carb diet adjustment and I hope you can forgive me for using cell phone pictures rather than some higher quality "official pictures".

Anyway, why am I calling these "Lazy Gal's" Protein Pancakes?  Because it involves tossing all the ingredients into a blender, blending away and then just pouring the batter right into a pan.  Simple, right?

Right.

Lazy Gal's Protein Pancakes

Lazy Gal's Protein Pancakes

Serves 1

1/4 Cup Egg Whites

1/2 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Rolled Oats

1 Scoop Protein Powder (I used chocolate but use your flavor of choice)

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Cinnamon (optional)

1/4 tsp Nutmeg (optional)

Nonstick spray or butter, to coat pan

Toss all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth (you may need to add a little more milk if it's too thick).  Heat a pan on medium and spray with nonstick spray or a little butter.  Reduce heat and add half of batter.  Cook for several minutes until sides firm up.  Flip and cook for several minutes more.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Top with butter, syrup or jam (or, as my diet-dictated preferences go, sweetened yogurt and some peanut butter).

Enjoy your carbs.

#100Happy Days : An Update

I am a woman of extremes.  An "all or nothing" kinda gal.

And it's a problem.

#100HappyDays Update

A little over 2 weeks ago I posted about wanting to make changes in my life to be happier.  One of those changes was to start the #100HappyDays project.  Since then I've continued forward with posting something positive each day.  Now I can't say I've felt like a happy positive person everyday, but in working on this project I've noticed that even on days when I'm feeling down or frustrated, I find myself thinking "Ok, well what did I enjoy today?  What made me happy today?" to have something to post.  It's gotten me to start focusing less on the negative, and to acknowledge the positive aspects of each day.  Life isn't perfect nor is it full of sunshine and rainbows but I've realized, that, while it's impossible to ignore that fact, it is also possible to make an effort to focus on the positive, which is what I've been doing.

It's caused me to start thinking more about what makes me happy and unhappy on a daily and continuous basis.  What I've realized is that my life has been unbalanced.

I think I sometimes take pride in being an "all or nothing" girl.  I like being driven and focusing on a goal and letting nothing stop me.  But I'm also someone who likes to do a lot of things and next thing I know, I'm trying to do "all or nothing" with everything and it's just not possible!  It stresses me out, frustrates me and makes me feel like a failure when I don't succeed in some aspect.  It's this same mentality that makes me find it a "challenge" to eat more than everyone else.  It's also the reason why I push myself so hard at the gym.  I take pride in being the girl with a massive appetite who can clean everyone's plate and the one who doesn't let anything stop her.  All or nothing, baby!

Why do I do that?  Yes, sometimes I really am hungry and sometimes I just have no filter- no way to say, "OK Kelsey, you've had enough- it's time to stop.  It's time to rest."  

All or nothing.

If we are being completely honest here, I've known this was a problem for a while.  It wasn't until starting this project though, that I realized how much of a problem it is and how it really is the root of many other issues for me.

I am in the final couple weeks of prep for my competition and for a while now I've known that I don't really want to do it.  I don't have the same push, the same "drive" and mentality that I had last year.  I don't want to be "all or nothing" and I don't care so much about wanting to achieve "the perfect body" based on judges' standards.  I want to be happy, healthy and balanced in my life- for me.

Seeing as I am so close to the show and I have several obligations towards other people with relation to it, I am continuing forward and planning on seeing it through, but at this point, I'm thinking it will be the end of my competing.

Maybe it means I'm not tough.

Maybe it means I'm not driven.

Maybe it means I'm not disciplined.

And maybe I don't care what it means.

I want to focus on what is right for me.  

With the last few weeks I've done a lot of introspective thinking- on myself, my goals, my happiness and how it relates to this blog.  I am frustrated that I truly can't recipe test at this point (which is why I've been posting infrequently lately) and have discussed it with Mr. C.  While I will still be writing the posts, he has agreed to help me with making recipes to contribute until the show is done and I can eat "normal foods" again.  After that, we have plans to make some serious changes to the blog over the next few months and focus on this full-time over the summer. 

So for now, I hope you will be patient with me and I hope you will enjoy what is to come in the future!

Fit Fridays: Getting Inspired to Work Out

People often tell me that they want to get in shape but they just don't like working out.  There are so many reasons why.  People have aspirations and dreams of being healthier and in shape- some people want to lose weight or become "toned" or get "bigger" or maybe they just want to be able to move around better or get less winded when they walk up the stairs.  All of these are wonderful intentions and yet, so often, they fail.

Why is that?

Why is it that so often, after a few weeks or months, people give up and go back to their old habits?  Today I'd like to address some of these issues and discuss how to make changes to be more successful in your goals.

Getting Inspired to Work Out
  1. Identify Your True Goals (and be realistic!): With so many "Fitspiration" and "Fitspo" accounts out there showing men and women with amazing and "perfect" physiques, it's easy to want to use that as a goal to motivate yourself.  As someone who competes, let me break it down simply: those people don't look like that all the time.  Sure, there is a very very small percentage of people who look like the picture all the time but it's rare.  Most people prepare for photo shoots and shows to be at their absolute best and then quickly go back to being relatively "normal" looking (at least until the next shoot or show).  It takes an incredible amount of time and effort- the equivalent of a full-time job, honestly. What I'm trying to get at here is to be realistic with your goals and set your priorities where they lie for your life.  When I prep for competition my social life, school life, blog life- any life really, other than "prep-life", becomes practically obsolete.  It becomes a priority and and everything else takes a backseat and it's hard- really hard.  Sit down and identify your goals for yourself and why you really want to do it.  Then sit down and organize what sacrifices you are willing to make or not make to get there.  You may realize that other things (such as school or family time) take priority over working out which is absolutely fine.  Take that into consideration when you organize your workout schedule and plans until you find something that works for you.
  2. Start with Something Manageable: If you've never really worked out much, don't plan on suddenly going to the gym to work out 5-6 days a week.  You might be motivated the first few days or weeks, but eventually that motivation wears off and before you know it, you're back to forgetting that you even have a gym membership in the first place.  Give your body and your mind time to adjust.  Changing habits and routines takes time.  Maybe plan on just going to work out 3 times a week or plan on going for a jog twice a week and going to the gym once a week something that seems reasonable for you.  The key is to plan for the long run.  You can always add to your schedule later but start with something you can reasonably see yourself doing 6 months from now.
  3. Try Things Out: Don't like the gym?  Try something else!  To be honest, I recommend trying something for a few months before giving up on it but going to the gym isn't the only way to get in shape!  Try working out at home, jogging, hiking, rock climbing, yoga, spinning, biking, judo- there are so many ways to get in shape and so many ways to keep active!  Try different things out and find something that works for you!
  4. Give It Time: Be patient!  As I said before, give it some time before you give up.  Try things out for a few months to see if it's for you but also, give it a few months before you expect to start seeing results.  It takes time to make changes in your body and even more time for it to start showing so just be patient and stick to it for a few months before you write if off and give up.
  5. Get a Workout Partner: This one is a biggie and helps so much.  Find someone else with similar goals and motivations.  Ideally if you can find someone that can work out with you that's the best but obviously isn't realistic all the time (I rarely have someone to work out with but when I do it's so much more fun!).  Even someone that you can text to motive yourself and each other helps.  I have lots of friends that I talk to regularly about working out and prep and everything else.  It helps keep me focused and allows me to keep my goals in the forefront of my mind.