Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sailing Away

Happy Wednesday and Hump day for most of you!! Happy last day of shift and start of vacation for me!!!! I am so excited!

We will be sailing away in only a couple of days and flying on Friday.

It has been one of the longest shifts..ugggg…and I have been so tired. The only time I feel energetic is when I am training and right after. Other than that I am dragging myself around and I am still not quite sure why. Stress, work or just tired??? Whatever it is, I am hoping this much needed and well-deserved vacation will help.

When I come back I will be 11 weeks out from the first fitness competition that I want to do this year. The NPAA Canada Classic on May 19, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta; in the fitness model category. Exciting…I just hope once again that my body cooperates and gets into tip top shape within the 11 weeks.

At least I am not as far away as I was when we started competition prep last time; meaning I am leaner now than I was then and they say that your body gets leaner each time as it learns what you are doing to it…lol

Work outs and eating plan have been on track and really good so far this week:

Sunday: 100 chin-ups superset with 100 burpee push-ups
Monday: Biceps, Triceps and cardio plus 300 bodyweight squats at home
Tuesday: Legs (personal best on the leg press with 10 x 45lb plates for 5 reps) and cardio
Tonight: Shoulders, abs and cardio
Thursday: Back and cardio
Friday: flying

I am planning to skip out of work today by 3 and head directly to the gym because I still have packing and organizing to do later. I have appointments for my hair and some pampering tomorrow. Every girl needs these things from time to time. However, I will get my workout in first thing in the morning and as I said before; the cruise ship has a fitness facility and running track so I should be able to stay on schedule workout wise while away.

I had a moment last night where I was on the verge of breakdown again with worry about my body not being ready for this show in May. My husband said “you are being too pessimistic, if you don’t believe you can then you won’t” and he is right…I can do this, I have done it before and I’ll do it again. Positive thinking is the key and if anyone should know that it’s me. I learnt a lot about that as I trained the last time.

Oh yes before I forget I have been using coconut oil in my morning protein shake and it tastes delicious. Yummy!

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup water or coconut milk
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Blend together and

My blog posts may be limited in the next week while I am away but I’ll be sure to make up for it when I get back.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spagetti Squash Recipe

Last night I finally used the spaghetti squash I bought and made homemade spaghetti with it. What a fabulous substitute for pasta and so easy to make.

I used the microwave to heat the squash for a minute and a half. However, you can also back it in the over. Then, simply cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place both cut ends in 1/2 cup warm water until soft and easier to scrape out with a fork.

My Sauce:
Simmer together
lean ground chicken (brown first)
Sprinkle of parsley, basil, salt and pepper
Clove garlic
1 onion
Add tomatoes and any other veggies ( mushrooms, zucchini, peppers,etc)

Serve over the spaghetti squash you already created. It is delicious and tastes just like homemade spaghetti but is so much healthier than regular pasta.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Grateful for life

Everyday I am grateful for something, however in this fast paced life we lead; we don't often take the time to reflect on those things. It's sad that sometimes the routine and stress of daily life takes a hold of us so much that we forget how lucky we are just to live, to breathe and to be healthy.

So in this weeks grateful post, I want to start by saying how truly grateful I am to be alive, to breathe, to experience, to LOVE and just to LIVE!

And what would those things listed above be if I wasn't healthy enough to live them. Health is so important. I am grateful that I changed my lifestyle, got truly healthy and took control of what I do with and put into my body. The pain of things that I suffered through before, such as, IBS, migraines, painful PMS, etc have been either diminished or are at least much less painful than they used to be.

Grateful for me comes in the form of many things (some even material items) however the most important things in my life; that which make me happiest are of course my wonderful family, my husband, my friends and myself.

I truly believe that in order to be truly happy and to be able to make anyone else happy; you have to first be happy, comfortable and positive about yourself. Your own happiness comes first. Some people think this to be selfish but think about it; how can you make others happy if you are not happy yourself??

Today is the family day holiday in Canada. Happy family day to all you fellow Canadians! On a lighter note, I am grateful for the day off. It is not a scheduled day off for me within my shift but I took it off anyway. It's given me time to clean, to cook and to start organizing and packing for our upcoming cruise. Yes...leaving in 4 more sleeps!! So grateful for the opportunities we have to travel.

Other things I am truly grateful for this week are warmer weather, sunshine, valentine's day with the love of my life, time with friends, training hard and laughter.

Remember no matter how bad life may seem; it could always be worse. Be thankful for the little things and don't take your life for granted.

Until next time,

Healthy= Happy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Recap of Another Week

Good Morning Everyone and Happy Sunday!

I thought I’d do a recap of my week and a run down on how I have been feeling. It has been a tough one actually.

I am not sure what is causing it but I have been feeling really drained and tired. Workouts weren’t overly great; I mean when I made it to the gym they were awesome but I didn’t do anywhere near enough this week.

Monday: Plyometric Circuit (before driving back home)

Tuesday: sled pulls x 10 sets (personal best of 5 with 5x45lb plates) superset with 10 burpees after each set.

Wednesday: Zumba
I wasn’t a fan of this class however I have not completely written it off, I am going to give it another shot. This class was not upbeat enough for me, I didn’t sweat and it wasn’t what I had anticipated.

Thursday: Valentine’s Day—Active rest day (outdoor skating)

Friday: Rest day; over to a friend’s place for dinner

Saturday: Back, abs and cardio
-15 sets of 5 flights of stairs (2 at a time) carrying 25lb plates each hand
-3 sets of 10 straight arm pull downs (45lbs) and a drop set of 12 reps with 30lbs
-3 sets of high lateral rows x 10
-3 sets of low lateral rows x 10 superset with walking lunges with 25lb plate overhead
-50 crunches with ab crunch machine
-50 high bench jumps
-3 sets of 20 decline leg raises superset with decline crunches

Ok so I guess it wasn’t too bad of a week but it didn’t feel like I did much. Not to mention that I did have chocolate on Valentine’s Day and 2 glasses of wine at dinner on Friday. I guess overall it just wasn’t as hardcore training wise as most weeks; I wonder if that’s why I feel less energetic and more tired than usual.

The personal issues causing that added stress are still hanging around as well so again it could have something to do with that. On a lighter note; we are leaving in 5 more sleeps for our cruise and we are super excited! I think we both just feel like we need the break, need to relax and just get away.

I am hoping for a brighter, better week this week and plan on training really hard for the next few days before we go. 3 more days left of shift; packing to do, cleaning, laundry and some more cooking for the remainder of the shift and we’ll be all ready.

We’ve been looking at the ship and from the pictures it looks like they have an awesome fitness center on board as well as a running track and a rock climbing wall. We are planning to complete our workouts on board in the morning before breakfast so we can use the rest of the day to relax, hang out and explore.

Anyway tonight’s plans are to finish up laundry, do some cooking and cleaning as well as a workout. I am thinking about trying for 100 chin-ups superset with 100 burpees. I’ll do them in reps of 10 of each for 10 sets. I can do that at home because we have our own chin-up bar. Monday to Thursday, will be all gym workouts plus a couple of good runs would be awesome as well and Friday we fly out.

How was your weekend and your week overall? How is your training going?

Until next time,

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day Activities

Happy Friday Everyone and Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

My husband and I enjoyed a fabulous outdoor evening of love last night. We left work a little early and headed out for a coffee. It was nice to sit and relax and just enjoy each other’s company.

We also ordered Chinese and tried to keep it somewhat healthy and clean. Not that Chinese is healthy but we stuck to the basics of just chicken, beef and veggies; no chicken balls, egg rolls or rice. I did however indulge in some chocolates (everyone has to live once in a while) and I will admit I enjoyed them.

Later in the evening we headed downtown for the start of the Winter Play Festival here in Fort McMurray  and being that it started on Valentine’s Day; the events were kicked off with the Lover’s Fireworks opening ceremony.

*Fireworks Show*

The Events included:
Performances by figure skaters and fire dancers
Hot chocolate
Great Music
Outdoor Public Skating
Choreographed Fireworks display

We participated in all of the above and although it was chilly; it was not overly cold and it was a beautiful night for it. We both enjoy skating so that was nice and the fireworks display was incredible and very well done.

*My husband Kevin and I at the festivities and skating*

Overall we had a very enjoyable, fun-filled evening and it was awesome to spend time together still doing something active but in the fresh air.


How was your Valentine's Day? Did you have any chocolate? Did you do something active?

Until next time,

Guest Post: The Advantages of Exercising During Cancer Treatment by Melanie Bowen

I was approached by Melanie Bowen a few days ago with an email that read :
"I ran across your blog and noticed the great content on your site. I am wondering if you allow guest posts because I recently have been researching and writing about how staying physically fit can be extremely beneficial to people going through cancer treatments. Exercise can be a conduit for healing of many different diseases (including cancer) by giving back energy levels, reducing stress, creating better blood flow, etc. I truly believe an article on fitness while going through cancer will benefit your readers tremendously. This is an important message to get out there so please let me know if you would be interested in seeing it and sharing it with your readers"

Being that Cancer is a huge part of all of our lives and affects us all in one way or another, I thought it was a great idea to discuss the benefits that health and fitness can have on those going through the treatments. 

"Each different cancer has its limitations, but if one can keep a healthy body, they can have a better chance to overcome this awful disease"- Melanie Bowen

Here is Melanie's article:

Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatments, and often one of the main reasons why cancer patients cannot go about their daily routines. However, regardless of the treatment, patients can take steps to feel better both mentally and physically. Exercise in general helps people to maintain overall good health. Likewise, exercise helps cancer patients who need to maintain their strength as they undergo intense chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The advantages of exercise during cancer treatment are both physical and mental. It is easy for the muscles to lose strength and endurance, especially during aggressive chemotherapy or radiation. Therefore, it is important to incorporate some sort of strength training into your workout routine. Aerobic exercise can improve endurance without putting too much strain on the body. It can also improve cardiovascular health and circulation.

Exercising during a chemical treatment also provides numerous emotional and psychological benefits. Cancer patients are more likely to become depressed and emotionally drained than those who have not been diagnosed. Exercising for any reason is a way to control their lives and boost their mood again. Exerting yourself releases endorphins, which allow you to sleep better, decrease stress levels, and boost your mood so patients will have a more positive outlook on their situation.

When people go through rigorous treatment regimens, they may feel like they can barely walk across the room. However, their restraints should not prevent them from becoming active in some way. Patients should work with medical professionals who can determine the right exercise plan for their situation. It is important to determine the frequency of the exercises, along with the length and intensity of the sessions. An average training program only takes half an hour out of the day. It is ideal to start with small exercises and over time increase the intensity of a routine according to doctor recommendations.

Obviously, cancer patients should not start any routine without checking with their doctors first. Once an exercise routine has been established, patients should not change anything without consultation. Along with exercise, nutrition is another important component of a long-term treatment plan. There are all types of cancers, from breast cancer to mesothelioma, which cause all kinds of problems. Whether patients are going through diagnoses, treatments or remissions, they will benefit from good health and exercise.

Melanie Bowen

Lady Lifter Spotlight

Good Morning!

I just found out this morning that I have been choosen as the next 'Lady Lifter' for the Wine to Weightlifting Spotlight.

Super Excited!

check out the link:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scale Increase= Muscle Gain?

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I guess it’s hump day for most of you, not me thoughL; I still have another 7 days of work to go from today but after that we’ll be sailing away, relaxing and pampering ourselves J

In recent weeks, I have noticed a slight increase in weight; nothing too much but still some none the less. I hadn’t mentioned it before because due to the women issues last week, I thought it could just be from that. However, that is not the case and it leaves me and my trainer a little stumped. That being said we have pinned the gain down to a few scenarios:

1)      Stress – there is a lot of it going on in my life right now; I have work issues and some personal issues as well. However none of this has caused me to stray from my clean eating lifestyle nor has it stopped me from training HARD.

2)      Muscle gain- my clothes do not fit any tighter and I still have my veins so I am still maintaining a lean appearance. Muscle weighs more than fat so it could just be that.

It’s confusing sometimes how the body works and I have been trying not to dwell on the increase because really the scale should not mean that much to me. I work hard…very hard and I eat clean so as long as my clothes are fitting well then I am not overly concerned at this point. I am still maintaining my size 0-2 frame so I am happy.

My husband and I had a fabulous workout last night. We did sled pulls superset with 10 burpee push-ups for 10 sets total. I completed 5 sets with 5x45lb plates (personal best) and then the other 5 sets with 4x45lb plates. By the end, I was exhausted and felt like puking….crazy but it felt so good. Even my husband enjoyed it and he hates burpees.
Check out my video.

Tonight a friend and I are going to be trying out Zumba for the first time. I have heard its great and so I am looking forward to trying something new. Exciting! I love trying out new fitness things.

So what about you? Are you constantly checking the scale or do you rely on other means to track progress? Have any of you tried Zumba; what did you think?

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Life Updates

Good Morning! Happy Valentine’s Day week <3

I haven’t written since Saturday and I apologize. So sorry, but as I said in my last blog post there is a lot going on in my personal life. The stress is giving me more headaches than usual and it is also giving me gray hair…lol; seriously I am going gray…ahhhhh!

Back to work today and the weather is much warmer which is nice. We had some good workouts over the weekend, got some things done around the house and then drove the 6 hour drive on Sunday for an appointment on Monday and returned again last night. Too much driving! But I did get some shopping done and thankfully we are off on our cruise in 9 MORE SLEEPS.  We really need the break.

Workouts over the weekend went well and as usual the eating is really clean. To be honest this is a no brainer for me now. I just do it and it doesn’t seem to be abnormal or difficult. Don't get me wrong, I have cravings but this is a lifestyle so I don’t think of it as dieting. Funny, just this morning, I got asked if I find the eating part hard and honestly; although I do have my moments, generally I don’t find it hard because I feel so good eating this way.

*Friday: Jerks and Swingers
Conquered the 95lb barbell clean and press (personal best)
*Saturday: Tabata Workout
*Sunday: Rest
*Monday: Plyometric Workout

On Mondays, I usually do my grateful post but I honestly just didn’t have the opportunity to write it yesterday so I’ll take a moment to reflect on those things now, the things that have made my life more fulfilling this week.

*My workouts, especially this week, for stress relief and they were all completed with my husband. It is so great to work out together and share the experience.

*My niece and family and talking to them on the phone; I miss them every day but it’s so nice to hear their voices and my niece, who is 2, is cute as a button.

*My husband for our communication and support for one another.

It’s a new day, a new week and the plan is to push hard with my workouts and eat well. If the weather stays nice we are planning an outside skate for Valentine’s Day with a nice supper and just enjoying each other’s company, Friday night we have plans for dinner at a friend’s house plus there is packing and all the pre-trip preparation as well.

Hope you all have a fabulous day.

How was your weekend? Did you work out?

Friday, February 8, 2013

A week in review

Hi Everyone!

Well it's Friday and this week has been a difficult one for me (us) so far. I haven't been feeling the greatest (women issues...sorry and we have had some personal stuff going on that has taken some dealing with (ex-wife; is all I'm going to say about that...grrrrr)

Anyway, I am finally starting to feel better, getting my energy back and so I am getting back to my workouts. No better way to vent frustration than in the gym. Through all your worries into lifting.....relieves stress and clears the mind.

Admittedly, Training has been lacking this week and I feel guilty about that but I have also learned the importance of listening to my body, getting rest and sleep when I need it.

My clean eating has been going well though and I am happy to be feeling well enough to get back to the gym.

Workouts this week so far were as follows:

Monday- the 500 workout

Tuesday and Wednesday- nothing
Thursday- chest, biceps, triceps, abs and cardio

Today is another new day, we are off shift (hooray!) and we have errands to run and then training to do. It's finally started to warm up here a little and it's a beautiful winters day. Tomorrow we are planning a ski day at the local hill which should be fun.

Only one more work shift until we are leaving for our cruise. So excited about that and we also just booked ourselves a ski trip to Kelowna, BC for a 4 day weekend at the end of March. <3

Andrew is now away on vacation so I won't see him again until March 5th, however I have learned how to push myself and so that's what I intend to do, and my hubby as well of course. Competition training will be the top priority once Andrew returns.

My husband, by the way, has lost almost 10lbs and is getting leaner and gaining more muscle. He feels great! I am so proud of him.

That's all for this morning. Enjoy your Friday and remember eat clean, train hard and results will come.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How Do You Do It?

There are 2 questions that I get asked A LOT since I started my fitness journey.

1) How do you do it? In other words, how do you get your ass to the gym everyday and eat so clean?
2) How do I get abs?

If only I had a dollar for the times I have heard; 'how do you do it; how do you stay motivated?' Then they say; 'I couldn't eat that way or workout that much'. 

Well, Why not? Why couldn’t you?

Is it hard? Of course it's hard. Do I always want to go to the gym and train? No, not always. Are there times when I would prefer to order pizza over chicken and veggies? Definitely but what do I do? I stick to my plan, I train and train hard, I push. Why? Because although it’s friggin’ hard; it’s so damn worth it to feel this good, this healthy and this strong.  

You want to know how I do it? It's not rocket science. I just get up each day and decide that I want this, that I want to be healthy and fit. I put the effort in.

I work hard, I sweat A LOT, I lift heavy but more importantly I have the will, the drive, and the determination to keep moving and eat healthy; that’s it!

Excuses are, just that, excuses! Anyone can do it. I am no different you. Bottom line, if you want something bad enough you will work your ass off to get it!

The answer to question 2 is NOT, as some might expect, thousands of crunches. The answer is- you can't just do a specific set of exercises to achieve abs. #1 thing to remember; abs are made in the kitchen so if you want abs, eat clean.

You can't just spot reduce one or two specific areas of your body. You can't just zone in on abs or thighs, etc. Bringing out muscle definition is achieved through a decrease in body fat and therefore, until your body fat drops you will not see significant muscle definition anywhere. 

The key-you want abs? Eat healthy food.

The answers to both of these are achievable for all of you. But, as mentioned, nothing worth having comes easily; put in the work, be patient and you WILL see results.

You can do it!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Breakfast Casserole

Another recipe I tried last night and will use for breakfast all week:

Breakfast Casserole

6 whole eggs
4 egg whites
Ham, Italian sausage or bacon (optional)
Green onion
Skim mozzarella cheese

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
Italian Seasoning

*NOTE* you can add any veggies or spices that you like

Use the olive oil to grease a casserole dish. Sprinkle in a light layer of cheese.
Beat together eggs, egg whites and spices. Add all remaining ingredients and stir together.  Pour into casserole dish and add another light layer of cheese on top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 (test with a knife to ensure eggs are cooked) .

Let me know what you think.

Reflections of the Week and Grateful Mondays

Well another week has past us by.

Did you satisfy and fulfill all your goals for the week? What were your victories?

I achieved a lot in terms of increasing my fitness endurance and even some personal bests. If you have been following my weekly workouts, you know they were extremely intense and it is really only today that I am not feeling sore. I ate very clean all week and other than the bite of my husband’s birthday cake on Friday night, I would say I stuck to my intended program and am pleased with the way things have progressed. 

Reflecting on my blessing this past week makes me smile.

I am grateful for my wonderful husband and celebrating his birthday on February 1st; grateful for that little bite of cheese cake as well.

I tried some great new recipes again and they were delicious. (Dark chocolate coconut bites, turkey chili, tex mex chicken and those protein blueberry cookies).

I had plenty of great, intense workouts, with my trainer and husband, which are helping me to increase my endurance, feel and look leaner and improve on my 2013 goals.

I am getting a great following on my facebook page: and I just made it past 500 likes. I made a commitment that if I reached 500 likes; I would complete the 500 workout this evening.

What is the 500 workout?
It is a combination of 50 deadlifts, 50 push-ups, 50 goblet or barbell squats, 50 chin-ups, 100 high bench step-ups each leg and 100 leg raises. Woot, woot….come on 500!!!!

Other things on my mind that I am grateful for are our cruise which is coming up really soon as well as the upcoming end to this long 9 day shift.

What about you? What are you grateful for this week?

This week my goals are similar to those of last week. Eat clean, train hard and makes small changes in lifting where ever possible. Push past my comfort zone and give it all I've got!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blueberry Protein Cookies

Today is carb re-feed day so I made these high protein blueberry cookies as a treat.

4 egg whites
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup oats (gluten free)
1 cup blueberries

Mix together eggs, protein, cinnamon and oats. Fold in berries. Spoon on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. (makes 10 cookies)

Paleo Slow Cooker Lean Ground Turkey Breast Chilli

I tried this recipe yesterday--it's so easy and tastes great!

Basically you can use any veggies you want but being that it's Paleo, there are no legumes (beans, etc).

2pkgs lean ground turkey breast (brown on stove first)
chilli powder
1 onion
4 whole tomatoes
3 carrots
2 peppers (i used red and orange)
1 zucchini

Brown ground beef, add to slow cooker. Toss in remaining ingredients and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finding Balance

Happy Saturday everybody! I hope your weekend is going great!

Today I feel like I have been run over by a; every muscle from calves to shoulders hurts in a really good way but in a way where there is no way I could complete a workout. 

I have decided to take the weekend off and get back at it on Monday. I'll obviously be sticking to clean eating for the next few days but my body is going to get some well deserved rest.

It was my husbands birthday yesterday and last night I cooked a nice steak dinner (steak, asparagus and mushrooms) and he allowed himself a little piece of store bought cheese cake, of which I had a bite, of course. We went to a movie as well which was a nice night out.

So It seems that as of late, I am once again struggling to find my balance. Balancing work, home, life and gym time was the hardest part of my competition prep and I tend to have difficulty with everything if I am not organized and prepared.

So how did this start for me this time round?

Well as you all know I work 11 hour days for 9 days straight. A typical day has my alarm going off at 4:30am; I am at work by 6ish (dependent on traffic) and leaving work by 5pm. From there, I am heading straight to the gym for my hour (hour and a half sometimes) workout (usually arriving at 6pm) and then home for a quick bite to eat before doing it all over again.

These days from the moment I place my feet on the floor at 4:30am, I am non-stop and I feel like I haven't a chance to catch my breath, leaving me feeling exhausted.

I think I have started to feel like this again because with going out of town last weekend and not getting home until late, I had no time to complete meal prep before going back to work. therefore, before you know it, your week is in full swing and you are prepping things every night. No good, no good at all because it left nights where I wasn't getting to bed before 11pm. 

11pm when you get up at 4:30am is not enough sleep especially with the intense workouts I have been doing. Cooking isn't the only struggle this week; there is also laundry to do and cleaning house and uggggg so much.

Needless to say I know what has worked for me and I have to continue to do it the way I have always done. Sunday's are always meal prep days as well as training rest day, and on my working weekend, I sometimes leave work early to get home and get the meals started. I will get myself back on track tomorrow. 

We are going out of town again next weekend but as long as we get home early enough, I shouldn't be stuck in this rut again next shift. Fingers crossed. 

So how to do you find your balance and do you prepare all your food for the week ahead of time?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Grilled Tex Mex Chicken

Another great meal recipe with Chicken

Grilled Tex Mex Chicken

4 chicken breast
1 cup salsa
1/3 cup low fat cheddar cheese (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, chili powder, basil and oregano
1 diced green and red pepper
1 tsp lime juice
salt and pepper

1. mix salsa, olive oil, spices and lime juice together
2. Cut up chicken and peppers; place in salsa mixture
3. Cover and marinate overnight
4. Place in foil, create a foil pocket, add some marinate and cook for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. sprinkle with cheese (optional) and serve