Category Archives: Fuel

Chicken Large

This week I have eaten so much chicken, I expect Loblaws to turn me away like a poacher walking into the zoo. Or I will have to buy my next armfuls of chicken among the whispers and rude stares of other chicken- less grocery goers. I have reached the realm of pre- 9am chicken, and on some days I even continued to put it down for every other meal.

Dedicated to the diet, some might say.

When actually, chicken was on sale and I bought excessive amounts apparently forgetting that I am cooking for one. And forgetting that I’m really not a big fan of chicken. I have always been a sucker for a sale, but that is often much more shoe related and much less chicken related.

Luckily my workouts this week have been heavy and I have been working hard so the repetitive force feeding should be going to good use. Also, I am two runs closer to however many runs I’ll get in before I race. I have no game plan for my race prep which is not my style, but since I finished my school year less than a week ago, I have hit my stride at this ‘relaxation’ thing and gathering my thoughts is like herding cats.

Back to chicken.

Today was a slow day at work and I had a long break early in the day. Chicken time. A gym member walked by and stopped to comment on how early it was to eat meat. “You must have been up real early”, she said. I had only been up for three hours, but I accepted the justification and ate on.

Eating a lot is essential to gaining strength and size, but timing truly is everything. I can verify this with my personal experience of eating chicken breast, green beans, and broccoli this morning, (followed by an apple, a muffin, and a coffee) then attempting a 45 minute weight session followed by a 30 minute run.

It was the unhappiest little chicken.

After throwing around some heavy weights for an hour, despite the revolt of 2015 going down in my stomach, I got a solid 30 minute run in on the treadmill. After I finished, I sat down to refuel (turkey this time!) and I had a member tell me he never wanted to work out at the same time as me so he didn’t have to be so embarrassed about his own workouts.

And just that like, it is all worth it.

Where’s my chicken.

Squawk on.

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Lattés and Timbits

Last week during a training session I asked my client what he had eaten that day. Specifically, I wanted to know what he had for protein. He immediately responds with “I had a Starbucks latté…” then seems to shrug off everything else as incomparable.

Honestly, I tell myself that these responses are attempts to delay the impending workout because they require me to rant about food. That also helps to convince me I am not terrible at my job.

I actually laughed off the conversation a little because that client is a huge success story of mine. Yes there is milk in a latté, and yes there is protein in milk. I will acknowledge that and move on.

However, I may have to rethink my self- consolation now, because it seems another one of my clients follows the same dietary plan.

My client, M, comes strolling in almost 10 minutes late for a session with a big smile on his face and one hand rubbing his Buddha belly. I asked him why he was late and he said “Oh sorry, the line at Tim Hortons was really long”.

Not another one.

M is still wiping his face as he starts warming up and of course I have to ask him what he ate. With a big smile he tells me he “crushed” a chicken sandwich, a ten pack of Timbits (for all you non-Canadians, these are heavenly little bite sized cakes) followed by TWO extra large coffees with two creams and four sugars each. Let me put my disgusted facial expression into facts. These two extra large coffees alone contain 48 oz of coffee which is about 480 mg of caffeine. Health Canada recommends no more than 400 mg in one day and any more than this can result in insomnia, nervousness, elevated heart rate, muscle tremors, and irritability. He pretty much maxed out how much his liquid bladder can hold and how much stress his heart can take then came to workout.

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I spent the whole hour expecting to see this whole meal again. I would have been happier if it had come up, really. I am a good Tim Horton- loving Canadian and I have also been guilty of overindulging, except my version doesn’t make a dent in this “light, pre- workout meal”.

The first exercise we did, M says “watch this” and with each rep he would yell “one Timbit, two Timbits, three Timbits” until he had “burned off” all ten. He followed up with “this set brought to you by Tim Hortons”. As we go on to the next exercise, he informs me that we will be burning off the chicken sandwich next. This was all scientifically based on the order the food was eaten, of course.

I spent the rest of our workout trying to convince him that he hadn’t burned off that meal, while he tried to convince me that he effectively covered all the food groups. Let me add the disclaimer that M has lost about 60 pounds so far and has about 60 to go.

A few hours later I receive this text: “I just saw a fitness ad that says would have to do 20,000 sit-ups to lose 1 pound of belly fat. Thanks a lot Tim Hortons”.

Lessons to be learned: There is indeed too much of a good thing. Size matters. Listen to your trainer. In the end, you can’t out train a bad diet.

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Glutton for Protein

Yesterday was leg day, today was cardio strength day, and tomorrow will likely be forced rest due to poor planning. This sounds like a terrible remix to Rebecca Black’s song Friday.

On the topic of punishment… (it is a bad song, get it?!) my sky high levels of enthusiasm have brought me to the lows of accumulated pain and suffering. Some may call it delayed onset muscle soreness. I rode the subway home from work and it got me thinking why there is no “leg day” preferred seating. Instead I just hung on like everyone else who I assume had NOT just done legs. It’s cool, though- I understand Rob Ford has bigger issues.

What was most painful was leaving the subway station and climbing up 6 flights of stairs. It felt like I was trying to climb the rope in gym class all over again. Except this time I had no legs. And everyone else in the class was Indiana Jones.

If my weight is down tomorrow morning then I have to take the day off… my body fat is getting so low that when I tuck my iPod into my shorts, it just falls through to the ground. Or! I could buy new shorts and workout!

When I embarked on this haphazard quest of rehabilitation turned bodybuilding (apparently), I really never thought that eating would be the hardest part. Don’t get me wrong, none of this is too easy, but the next time someone complains how hard it is to lose weight I will absolutely throw the most scientifically educated hissy fit.

Gaining muscle is no walk in the park. You can lose weight by literally walking in the park.

What I have learned is to build size you need to eat. Put on those special pants you save for Thanksgiving and power down some protein and some carbs and then knock back some water. Repeat until exhaustion of your body, lack of food, or loss of hand-eye coordination. Hello meat sweats, my old friend.

Embrace your inner glutton- in a preferably protein specific way. I am playing a little loose with the word glutton.

Lately, my workouts have all been feeling like they are forearm specific since I can’t grip the weight that my other body parts can move. I tried using foam grips which were too big for my hands and that really worked against me. Lesson learned. So I have been warning all the guys that I am planning to try gloves and then I make them promise they won’t make fun of me. They all say they won’t, but I know they are taking this advanced notice to prepare their heckling.

I will be too busy eating to pay attention to them anyways.

Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy protein and that is almost the same thing. Back to eating!

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The Boxing Day Sweats

Yesterday was leg day. Even though it was a terrible workout it still counts as a workout I can cross off as completed! I didn’t consider that I was completely fueled by chocolate, turkey, and alcohol (or that is how it felt, anyways). Normally I really do eat healthy- it is just that every rum and coke is just celebrated on this blog if it sounds like they come often.

It really feels as if the accumulation of consecutive nights of casual drinking is stored in your sweat glands. There it patiently waits until leg day.

I headed for the gym with a belly still full from Christmas dinner, and with the excitement that comes from going too long without a workout!… about 2 days. This was the first day that my brother didn’t join me since I have been home. He said he was sick but I think he was scared.

I could make a lot of excuses for my rough workout- I didn’t do my usual pre workout ritual  of waking up before the sun and standing all day, and I was using equipment I wasn’t used to. But really, I think I have to blame the fact that I was full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and chocolate. This really goes to show how important the fuel is that we put into our bodies. It didn’t take more than a few days for me to feel sluggish and slow. On the other hand, I would rather sweat it out than miss Christmas dinner! ‘Tis the season for meat sweats!

By the last exercise of my workout- single leg seated leg press- I had to drop the weight by 20lbs.

And I still struggled.

More meat sweats.

I really appreciated being in a gym in a different city where no one knew I was a trainer, as I whimpered and shook my way through my last set.

The holiday season is a time of year for food, drink and packed schedules, but I have somehow fit almost all of my workouts in. And they all feel just as great when they are over! I hope everyone has been getting their workouts in!! Happy Holidays!! Now go sweat!! 🙂

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Hunger Gains

I think a good way to gauge how your workouts are going is by how hungry you are. If you are putting in the workouts, it is really surprising just how much you need to eat. Just to clarify- if you are not working out and always hungry then this does not mean you are exercising more than enough… but that is off topic.

Lately it seems like I just can’t eat enough. Work is getting in the way of my eating, and unbelievably so is my sleeping (only on weekends when I actually sleep). One meal just wants to avalanche into the next. On the plus side, my cooking is actually starting to get really good out of necessity. I can only handle so much of one thing.

I remember my brother telling me how he would make pre-meals to eat while he was cooking his actual meal. Look out big brother, I think this Christmas will be a showdown for turkey and potato servings. Tis the season to celebrate competition?

My visits home increasingly turn into some form of fitness competition or display of strength. We earn our rum and cokes.

On Friday, I made the most amazing herb crusted pork tenderloins. I am no chef, but they were perfect. I am also no food critic, but they were perfect. I have to admit I watched them cook with my face and hands pressed up against the oven window like a kid looking in a toy store window for the first time. Maybe I should clarify that my ventures into “real” cooking are still in the early stages and each time I make something delicious, nutritious, and edible, I do a slow motion victory jump in the air. I high five my spatula and then apparently I blog about it.

I just bought a new steamer/ rice cooker that looks like R2D2 and is equally as confusing. The box advertises it as simple but the 35 page manual disagrees. After some light reading (looking at the pictures), I am excited about having it in my kitchen to keep things interesting, if nothing else. My last steamer survived a year- overuse may have been an issue- so hopefully this appliance will be able to handle my version of cooking. Maybe I should have gotten the extended warranty?

On that note, I leave you with a picture of pork tenderloins. Yes, seriously.

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Milk Duds

Yesterday I had my first experience celebrating milk.

One of my clients has created a line of organic almond milks and I attended the launch party to help celebrate. Why is it that attending a party in the daytime is much more difficult?!

I had no idea if the start time was the actual start time; we all know that if you show up at an evening party when the invitation says to, no one will be expecting you yet. But what does 3pm mean? Does the earlier start time shorten the fashionably late standard?

What about taking a gift? Maybe some Oreos to dip in the milk?

What sort of outfit says “I’m an almond milk enthusiast!”?

These were all very serious concerns on Saturday morning. Somehow I made it there (dressed and empty handed) ready to get my almond milk mustache on.

We sampled unlabeled bottles of almond milk and we were given cards to write our feedback on them individually. The more you try, the easier it is to make comparisons, so I was in a constant state of crossing out and rewriting (and confusing) all my cards. On top of that, I was trying to somehow alter my distinctive handwriting as if my client would stop training with me if I gave her poor reviews.

It is hard to give feedback when you are not sure which one you are actually supposed to give feedback on. In my opinion, there was only one I liked, and the rest either tasted too much like grass or too much like almonds (which might be the point). Other guests seemed much better at describing their opinions than my responses which ended up being many lines of writing all scribbled out, then “This tastes too flowery”. I will cross food critic off my list of potential job opportunities.

I’m not a big milk drinker but I do like almond milk. Usually I will just add it to my tea or to a protein shake.

What kind of milk do you drink?

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“I Think We’re Winning!”

I had my first experience going to Supperworks this week. K and I went and we (I) could barely carry everything we left with. After ditching some ice cube trays and defrosting some food unexpectedly, I fit everything in my freezer. Now I will be eating like a Queen for the next 30-36 meals.

It was a lot of fun and much easier than I thought, especially after all the intricate instructions I was given ahead of time. We were referred by a friend who didn’t want us to embarrass him. Who us?!

We arrived (late) to a place that looked like a really big kitchen with about ten big workstations. The space was filled with nicely dressed women in pearls, sipping wine, and packing up their meals to most likely tell their families later, “I have been slaving over this meal for hours!!!”. K and I ran in wearing our work clothes and he had a 3L jug of water in tow. I took the wine I was offered, but this did not help me blend in any better. Fact: Running shoes and wine don’t blend in any situation.

Between K’s frequent bathroom breaks, our uproars of obnoxious laughter, and our blatant lack of knowledge on where to find things in a kitchen, it was pretty clear we both have a long way to go until graduating Supperworks. On the plus side, we did both learn a lot about food preparation.

We are both competitive people, and it became established that we were on a team racing everyone else, logically. Somehow we forgot we were there to learn, and our focus became being the fastest food preparers in the history of Supperworks. When K yelled across the kitchen “I think we’re winning!” the other cooking- challenged people seemed to start drifting out.

It was a lot of fun for us, and we left with some amazing dishes. Whoever created this place is a genius and I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs some help with cooking or is low on time. I am looking forward to dusting off my crockpot, greasing some pans, and warming up the oven. I will have to read my notes to see what happens after that though.

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What’s For Dinner?!

The always popular question with an ever elusive answer: What is for dinner?! Every day you ask yourself this, kids ask you, or maybe your other half is asking. Food is a part of our lives that will always be present and always be significant. So we should know what we are doing, right.

I am not ashamed to admit I have my weaknesses. Popcorn- I’m a big fan. Marshmallows- I can eat these by the handful. I have already written about rum and cokes more than once. The key is balance and to limit items full of sugar and empty calories. Self control is essential to success, but if you can’t treat yourself occasionally then it will end with a binge and you will regain consciousness with chocolate all over your face and hands. Or so I have heard. Try to plan meals in advance so save yourself the “what is for dinner” question when it is 6pm on a weeknight, and you are staring at the back of your fridge.

A great article was sent to me by a friend about misconceptions of foods and diets that are very prevalent in our world right now. If anything, my style may be a little too free-spirited with the opinion that everything in moderation is the best way to be. My issue in coaching is probably recognizing that a client with a differing definition of moderation might as well be told to keep doing exactly what they are doing. To be honest, I don’t think I can even define moderation. If my pants get tight then I adjust my diet and workouts. That is hard to explain as an an objective plan. The article I’ve attached is definitely more informative than my method of “let’s see what happens when I do this”. For the record, I tend to experiment with myself and not my clients. 🙂

Check out this article from Business Insider on “Nutrition Lies That Made The World Sick and Fat” and see how many of these had you fooled. If it is too much information, just read the bolded summaries at the end of each point. From eggs, to whole wheat, to the carb and protein ratio, this article does a fantastic job targeting all of the biggest myths in my opinion. Aside from the idea that it eating celery is a negative calorie activity… I don’t know who started that but stop spreading it, people.

Consider that different goals require a different diet but I think everyone can take some value from this piece. The second point is my favourite!

Here is the link: http://www.businessinsider.com/13-nutrition-lies-that-made-the-world-sick-and-fat-2013-10?op=1

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To Diet For

I found an article I really liked that I wanted to share. It is really a collection of photos that emphasize how crazy some fad diets can be.

A photographer took some great photos of diets that are not only visually stunning but mind blowing when you really think some people attempt this.

My eating habits used to be terrible, primarily because of a lack of knowledge, but I never came close to these attempted ideas of dietary intake. Now that I am more educated in nutrition, and I have a Cooking Basics for Dummies cookbook, I have come to appreciate that we need variety and we need a lot of food to function optimally (especially with exercise)! After many years of misguided unnecessary carb loading I have a strong love for protein and I will tell anyone who will listen!

I can’t believe people can impose these strict and nonsensical guidelines on themselves… haven’t we proven that a well rounded diet and exercise are the only true ways to achieve health? Maybe these pictures can help. If not, I have a link to a great article on poop for a different perspective….

If your diet cuts more things out than it allows or if it only consists of orange items… you might need an adjustment.

Check out all the photos at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/08/23/214912007/fad-diets-will-seem-even-crazier-after-you-see-this?ft=1&f=1128

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