Be You, Not Them

So you’ve decided to make healthier lifestyle choices, but you’ve come across lots of comments like this from family, friends, partners, coworkers, and/or total strangers:

“You need to live life more!”
“One bite/sip won’t hurt you.”
“Aren’t you allowed to cheat a little?”
“You have to workout again?”
“When is this dieting and exercising thing going to end?”
“Are you seriously bringing your Tupperware everywhere you go?”
“You’re eating the same food again?”
“You should treat yourself with (insert any non diet food).”
“How much bigger are you trying to get?”
“How much leaner are you planning on getting?”

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My personal favorites:
“Who is going to marry you with all these diet restrictions that you have?!”
“Why are you spending so much time on your body when it is going to turn into ashes the second you die?”

Yes, these are all comments and questions I have run across THOUSANDS of times and probably so have you. If not, brace yourself. It’s coming.

But how can we make others realize that…

-To us, dieting and exercising is actually ADDING to our life, not taking away from it.

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-Maybe measuring our food and taking our muscles to their extreme limits challenges us in a way that not many even dare to try.

-Maybe we chose to no longer drink alcohol in excess, because we know that alcohol affects our liver and fat burning turns off. Plus, how can we perform optimally on leg day after a crazy night out? Legs are our priority!

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-Maybe getting on stage and presenting our work of art (a.k.a. our body) give us a rush like nothing we’ve ever experienced before.

-Maybe while transforming our outer-self we tremendously transform our inner-self.

-Maybe we would rather spend more on more gym clothes than anything else.

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-Maybe we view our body as our masterpiece and love working on it by manipulating food and exercise.

-Maybe instead of going shot for shot we now go squat for squat with the guys.

-Maybe treating ourselves well doesn’t mean rewarding ourselves with food and drink.

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-Maybe our favorite sound went from being the uncorking of a wine bottle to now two 45-pound plates smacking each other as we load the barbell.

-Maybe the high that we get after a really hard workout lasts way longer than any sort of drug.

-Maybe our version of Sunday Funday is prepping all our meals for the upcoming week.

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-Maybe we go into a meditative state every time we feel the burn of lactic acid building in our muscles.

-Maybe our “different” lifestyle is all about discipline, self-love, motivation, and persistence.

Now, just because we eat clean and like working out, that doesn’t make us better than anyone else. This is really important to remember.

Maybe we are being misunderstood. So, what is necessary is to share with others how we feel about our new (or old) healthy lifestyle in order for them to properly support us. People cannot read our minds, and having different priorities requires open communication. But…

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I have found that the more I am myself, the more I share, and the more I educate, the more support I receive, because others know HOW to support.

“Be you, do you. Can’t nobody judge you, but you.” –Kevin Hart

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Breakfast Egg Muffins

I absolutely love breakfast food, but always hit snooze one too many times to actually put together an appetizing breakfast. I recently got some large muffin cups and explored 2 different muffin ideas.

This way I can make them the night before, store them in the refrigerator, quickly re-heat them in a microwave the next morning, and eat on the go.

I basically opened up my fridge and threw in whatever I had. Feel free to add and/or subtract any of the following ingredients. Make sure to share your recipes with me in the comments section. Enjoy!

Muffin 1

1) 1 slice uncured turkey bacon
2) 1 whole egg sunny side up
3) 1/4 cup egg whites
4) 1/4 tomato
5) Mixed greens
6) Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Spray the inside of the muffin cup with Coconut oil (or any oil of choice)
3) Line the muffin cup with the turkey bacon
4) Add greens to the cup
5) Add 1/4 cup egg whites
6) Crack the egg in the middle
7) Dice and add the tomato (make sure you don’t crack the yolk)
8) Sprinkle salt and pepper on top
9) Bake for 25 mins and let it cool for 10 mins before serving or packing for later

20g protein, 4g carbs, 7 g fat

Muffin 2

1) 2 oz shredded chicken breast (on the outside of the muffin)
2) 1/4 cup egg whites
3) 1 scrambled egg
4) 1 large crimini mushroom
5) 1/2 cup broccoli
6) Salt and pepper to taste
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Instructions
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Spray the inside of the muffin cup with Coconut oil (or any oil of choice)
3) Line the inside of the cup with shredded chicken
4) Whisk the 1/4 cup egg whites and 1 whole egg together
5) Add eggs in the center
6) Slice and add broccoli and crimini mushroom in the middle
7) Sprinkle salt and pepper on top
8) Bake for 30 mins and let it cool for 10 mins before serving or packing for later

27g protein, 5g carbs, 7g fat

muffin cup 3

47g protein, 9g carbs, 14g fat

The (almost) No Cooking Required Meal Plan

“I don’t know WHAT to buy when I go grocery shopping!”

“I always RUN OUT of food before I can get to the store again!”

“I don’t know how to COOK!”

“Planning, shopping, and cooking is too COMPLICATED!”

“I don’t even know WHERE to shop at!”

“I just don’t have TIME!”

Some of the many excuses I’ve heard one too many times. I wanted to share how easy and simple it can all be. I made a trip to Trader Joes (find one near you) this past weekend and put together a sample meal plan that requires, wait for it… minimal to NO COOKING!!! Yes, I’m dead serious. Down below you’ll find the meal plan plus a grocery shopping list for a week.

Step 1) Schedule your grocery shopping day and time ahead. I literally make clients open up their schedules and add it in. This works wonders.

Step 2) Buy the things on your list. Nothing more, nothing less. This should take you no more than 20 minutes.

Step 3) Eat according to your meal plan.

Step 4) Fight the urge to walk around naked because you look so damn good!!!

Disclaimer: I am not including serving sizes, because it’s going to vary drastically from person to person. There was such a huge variety of food at TJs, that I couldn’t even come close to including everything that I found. I’m not advocating to eat processed or frozen food, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

Meal 1: Whole Eggs + Egg Whites + Oatmeal

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Wow, already made and peeled whole eggs! For the egg whites, just throw away the yolk and eat the whites.

Sorry guys, some assembly required for this. Must add hot water to oats. Life is hard, deal with it.

Prep time: 2-4 minutes

Meal 2: Cottage Cheese

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Such a great snack while at work. It’s easy, filling, and packed with protein.

Prep time: 30 seconds.

Meal 3: Chicken Breast + Avocado + Brown Rice Tortilla

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In this one that I made, I added chipotle hot sauce and mustard to it. Both are great condiments to add without adding any additional macros!
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Prep Time: 2-4 minutes

Meal 4: Tuna + Lentils

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These cans are so easy to transport! Plus you can stock up on them and not need to worry about them going bad. Make sure that you get the tuna in WATER.

Prep Time: 1 minute

Meal 5: Beef Sirloin + Roasted Potatoes + Green Veggies

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This is a great dinner. Hopefully you’ll be having this at home so you can bake the potatoes and cook the greens, but you can easily cook and pack this meal ahead of time. It’s delicious!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Meal 6: Greek Yogurt + Berries + Almonds + Splenda

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I love, love, LOVE this meal. It is such an amazing dessert. I’m not going to lie, I can put down a pint of ice cream in minutes (Häagen Dazs Caramel Cone if you must know!), but this little treat always kills my late night sweet tooth!

TIP: It’s easy to over eat nuts since they are so tasty. Get the almonds that are already portioned out into 1 serving.

TIP: Get the brand FAGE! It has way more protein than any other brand I found at Trader Joe’s. Yes, this matters. Also, get the pre-portioned out cups.

Prep time: 1 minute

I left out the berries last night. Check out the video!

Grocery Shopping List:
-Bag of Eggs
– Packets of Oatmeal
– Cottage Cheese
– Cooked and Sliced Chicken Breast
– Avocados
– Brown Rice Tortillas
– Cans of Tuna in Water
– Cooked Lentils
– Beef Sirloin
– Frozen Potatoes
– Frozen Greens (Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, etc)
– Fage Greek Yogurt
– Frozen Berries
– Packets of Almonds

Now that you know WHAT to buy, WHERE to buy it, don’t have to COOK, know it’s SIMPLE, and have scheduled WHEN to buy groceries, what’s your excuse?

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Glute and Leg Strength Training Videos!

Since I’ve been working out my legs so frequently for the past 4 weeks, I thought I’d post a video of some different leg and glute exercises I’ve been incorporating into my workouts. Yes, I usually always include heavy barbell squats, legs press, hamstring curls, quad extensions, deadlifts, and other typical bodybuilder leg exercises weekly, but adding in a variety of exercises spices up your workout and hits the legs and booty and different angles!

1) Smith Machine Alternating Deficit Lunge

2) Step up into Curtsy Lunge

3) Super Deep Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

4) Glute Kickback on the Lying Hamstring Curl

5) Cable Glute Kickback with Knee on Bench

6) Abduction- 2 variations (leaning forward and leaning back)

Follow me on Instagram for more photos and videos: SKSAHNI

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Things To Consider When Trying to Lose Fat and/or Gain Muscle

Fat loss and/or muscle gain requires quite a bit of organization and thought. Everything counts.

-What’re you eating and/or not eating?

-How often are you eating and what’re your portion sizes?

-How much alcohol are you in taking a week?

– Are you sticking to your diet Monday-Friday until 5pm then have no structure for the weekend?

-How many grams of protein, carbs, and fat are needed to get to your specific goal(s)?

– How much water are you drinking?

– How much are you sleeping?

– What’re you doing or not doing in the gym?

– How often are you lifting weights and how are your workouts organized? Are they even organized?

-Are you just throwing around weights or actually stretching, squeezing, and activating muscles?

– How much tension are you really creating within muscles?

– Are you doing cardio? What’s the frequency, intensity, and time?

– What’re your stress levels? And how do you manage stress?

-Are your fitness and health goals really a priority?

– Are you consistent, persistent, and patient?

Time To Get Back On Track!

I’m about 11 weeks into my offseason and had really been feeling lost. There were a few things contributing to this and since I was tired of not taking action, last week I made some help changes. I thought I’d openly discuss the issues and how I went about fixing them in hopes that this can help other competitors and/or individuals trying to make healthier life choices.

ISSUE 1: I am eating way too many cheat meals! Yes, I said it. No, I can’t stay lean if I’m eating bowls of granola and chocolate chips every single night. More than anything, I just feel gross afterwards and it isn’t worth it.

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HOW TO FIX: I am going to allow myself 2 weekly cheat meals. Wednesdays and Sundays.

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ISSUE 2: My workouts are so scattered and unplanned!

HOW TO FIX: I have set a brand new workout schedule based on what body parts need improvement. Here it is:

Monday: Shoulders/Triceps/Calves
Tuesday: Glutes (rep range 6-10)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Back/Biceps/Calves
Friday: Legs (rep range 15-20)
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Glutes and Hamstrings (rep range 10-15)

ISSUE 3: I basically only do cardio when I feel like it. I’m getting way too lazy.

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HOW TO FIX: I promised myself that I have to do 2 sessions of HIIT and 2 sessions of steady state cardio. I can decide which days to do them on, but 4 sessions need to happen each week until my coach tells me to reduce it.

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ISSUE 4: I’ve been eating the same foods over and over. I’m bored, and because of this I sometimes skip meals or eat off my diet.

HOW TO FIX: I have revamped my diet! I have switched up my protein, carb, and fat sources. I am eating a variety of vegetables and have also found new ways to cook my food. A little bit of imagination will go a long way.

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These few changes within the past week have helped me tremendously! I actually feel like I have a solid plan in place to stay on track during the offseason in order to make gains and stay in shape.

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Workout Videos!

You Are More Than Your Placing

This past competition season, I’ve placed the best and worst ever. After coming off my win in my first competition in October (18 competitors), I felt amazing! It was so good to know that my hard work and vision for what a bikini competitor should look like was in line with the judges.
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I went on to compete in November and came in 4th in Novice Bikini (30+ competitors) and 9th place in Open Bikini (35+ competitors).
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Woah, wtf happened?! Then crept in the negativity. Maybe I don’t have the right look. Maybe I need to compete as a figure competitor. Do I even want to continue competing then? Did I not do enough cardio? I’ll be honest, after prejudging, I didn’t even want to go to the night show! Yes, I’m dead serious.

I knew that I would be able to find the positive in this situation, but in the moment I was so unhappy and couldn’t get myself to be ok with the uncontrollable. I felt stuck in my negative self-talk. All I wanted to do was eat a cheeseburger and hide forever.

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Here’s the thing, after exactly 1 month since my second show, I’ve realized that competing is so subjective. There are professional bikini competitors that are on the more muscular side and pros that are more on the thin side. Competitors that got their pro card in their 2nd show, and competitors that after competing for years won their pro card. Natalie Melo went from Ms. Bikini Olympia to 4th place! Judges are always changing and what they are looking for is probably also changing too. Through the ups and downs of competing one thing HAS to stay constant. You better absolutely love the way you look and the package you bring to the stage every show.

I was way more positive during the prep for the first show. I was focused, determined, and happy! I’m not sure what exactly happened for the second show, but I started feeling run down, exhausted, and negative. Also, my coach and I decided to present a different look to the stage. I came in a little softer and really didn’t like the physique I was bringing to the second show. Now, I don’t know if I’d place better, the same, or worst if I came in drier and tighter, but I know I would’ve liked the way I looked onstage better, which would in turn show during my presentation.

At the end of the day, when you are alone with your thoughts and falling asleep, if you are not happy with yourself, what good is first place? And what if you came in last but loved the way you looked, learned so much, are in love with the sport, and can’t wait to compete again? I’d call the latter the true winner.

I learned that I am more than my placing. I can’t let the placing written on a trophy define me as a person. 1st or 9th. Instead, I focus on the things I can control (working hard everyday, helping others better themselves, sharing my journey, and finding the positive in every situation, even if it means digging really, really deep within). Crazy things start to happen when you’re positive. Goals become clearer, sticking to a diet gets easier, you look better, and you attract more positivity. At that point, winning just becomes the icing on the cake!
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4 Week Weight Training Plan!

Here is a typical week’s worth of my workouts. I always have 2 leg days, lift 5 days a week (2 days on, 1 rest day, 3 days on, 1 rest day), and try to add a variety of exercises.

I also sent this workout to my sister, who is a mom of 2, and she loved it. I suggested that she follow this workout for 4 weeks and focus on getting stronger and lifting more without compromising her form. If you are a bikini competitor, looking to spice up your normal routine, new to lifting, or anything in between I recommend the same to you!

If some exercises are unfamiliar to you, I would watch YouTube videos of others performing and explaining them.

Enjoy!

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Note:
-Supersets are exercises performed back to back with no rest in between.
-3×15 would translate to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
– Keep track of your rest periods! No more than 30-45 seconds
– Workout should take anywhere from 45-60 mins
– Abs and calves are worked out 2-3 times a week

Leg Day #1

1) Superset
– lying leg curls- 4×15
– quad extensions- 4×15

2) Leg press- 5×25, 20,15,12,10 (add more weight every set) this should be really hard by the set of 10

3) Box squats with weighted bar- 3×15

4) High Step ups holding weights- 3x 15 on each leg

5) Glute bridge (start with no weight then add a weighted bar)- 4×20 with a 2 second pause at the top flexed position

6) Abduction- 4×25

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Shoulders & Back

1) Superset
– Dumbbell shoulder press- 4×12
– Standing lateral raises- 4×12

2) Superset
– cheerleader press- 4×12
– rear delt bent over raise -4×12

3) Pull ups (on assisted machine if need be)- 5×12

4) Seated narrow grip row- 4×15

5) Lat pull down- 3×15

Biceps and Triceps

1) Superset
– Standing EZ bar curls- 4×15
– Tricep bench dips (feet elevated, locked out knees) 4xmax

2) Superset
– Tricep rope push down- 3×20
– Seated dumbbell curls- 3×15

3) Superset
– Preacher curls – 4x 15
– Tricep bent over kickbacks- 4×15

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Back & Chest

1) Push ups- 3×15

2) Incline dumbbell chest press- 3×20

3) Dumbbell single arm rows- 3×15

4) Reverse grip, close grip lat pull down- 3×20

5) Supinated seated row- 3×15

6) Narrow pull downs- 3×15

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Leg day #2

1) Superset
– Heavy walking lunges- 3x 10 on each leg, so 20 total
– Lunge switch jumps- 3x 10 on each leg, so 20 total

2) Superset
– Stiff legged deadlifts- 3×20
– Pop squat jumps- 3×20

3) Superset
– High and wide leg press- 3×15
– High and wide squat jumps- 3×15

4) Superset
– Quad extensions- 3×20
– Narrow stance high squat jumps- 3×15

Abs & Calves

1) V ups- 3×15
2) Plank- 3×30 seconds
3) Swiss ball crunches- 3×30

1) Seated Calf raises- 3×30
2) Standing Calf raises- 3×20

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Don’t forget to add in cardio and a clean diet for the ultimate physique!

Why Stress If Stress Makes You Fat?!

As we get closer to out next competition (7.5 weeks out!!!) it’s really important to make sure that everything is dialed in, including stress. It’s so easy to get overwhelemed by thoughts like, “I’m not lean enough! Competitors on Instagram look better than me!” “Am I where I should be at this time?” “Am I doing everything I can be doing?” “I need to make time to practice posing. Oh wait, I don’t really know how to pose!” “Is there a better way to do this?” “Costs of everything are adding up!” You get the idea. Stress is high and food is low.

Even if you aren’t a competitor, you still deal with multiple stressors throughout the day. Work, money, relationships, kids, family, deadlines, goals. EVERYTHING.

Stress triggers the hormone, Cortisol, to be released which causes us to get hungry and crave quick digesting carbs (sugar). Elevated levels of cortisol, as you can imagine, will cause weight gain and/or hinder you from losing fat.

So, take a deep breath and remember to relax. It’s not worth getting fat over!

Sumeet
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