How to Stay Sane Amongst Change and Chaos

In a mere 2 weeks, lots of change has happened. I quit my job and started a new one, I am currently packing and moving into a brand new home, I decided to compete at my first National show in 8 weeks, and I just put a down payment for a puppy! All VERY exciting, but all very overwhelming.

During this time of chaos and excitement, it would be so easy to say, “screw it” to the gym and food prepping and spend more time adjusting and organizing my new…life!

Well, I did. Last week I took a few days completely off from the gym. No cardio, no lifting. I thought that I would free up more time in my schedule to concentrate on the “important” things. Quickly, I became anxious. I started craving the burning in my muscles and sweat dripping down my face. That’s when I realized. I’m hooked. I’m a full blown junkie. The gym is officially a habit and I feel incomplete without it. Lifting has become my form of meditation. My “me” time. I am a better version of myself when I exercise.

My meals were totally off too! I wasn’t eating as often and I was eating food that wasn’t exactly on my diet. Oops. Guess what happened? My focus was terrible. I felt so scatter brained and my memory was off. Not only that, but I was lethargic and grumpy.

Don’t I sound like a bundle of joy? Haha, yeah, no.

Yes, going to the gym and food prepping take time, effort, and quite a bit of organization, but it’s so worth it. During this time of change, it’s very important for me to stay sane and the gym and my diet give me sanity. I am able to focus, stay energetic, and I know that if I can food prep AND make it to the gym during this time, I can survive!!!

What may seem as work to an outsider, is actually necessary in order to overcome the chaos during change. There will be plenty of overwhelming times, but it’s important to fuel your brain and body to perform optimally for every singly task. When surrounded by change, find order and serenity in the things that you can control and become a survivor!!!

-Sumeet

Currently 8 weeks out from North Americans!!!
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It’s Not What You Do In The Gym, But How You Do It

Why is it that almost everyone in the gym is doing similar exercises to one another, yet only a few progress?

After working at the same gym for over 3 years, I can’t help but wonder. Why do the majority of the people in here look EXACTLY the same?

Why is it that one girl doing squats achieves an amazing set of legs yet another girl is left with a really sore lower back and knee pain?

Ah ha! It’s not WHAT exercise people are doing, it’s HOW they are executing it.

Proper form, focus, and intensity is everything.

1) Squeeze the working muscle to move weight

Ex: When doing bicep curls, it’s easy to initiate the movement with the hand/wrist then the shoulder and back help to throw the weight up in hopes that somewhere along the way the bicep contracts. Instead, stand up straight with arms by your side, palm up, and ONLY squeeze your bicep. Contract the bicep slow and hard until the muscle can’t get any shorter.

2) Slow down the tempo

Take out momentum. Momentum isn’t going to make you stronger or your muscles any bigger. Challenge muscles by slowing down the negative.

3) Hold the contraction

Squeeze the crap out of the working muscle when they it is at the shortest length. Ex: The top of a bicep curl. If the muscle is unable to hold the contraction, weight needs to be reduced.

4) Work the muscle in the full range

The muscle is the weakest at the most lengthened and shortened position. WORK THESE AREAS! Plus, this is 100% proven to build more muscle.

5) Keep constant tension during the entire set

The muscle is either being lengthened to the max or shortened to the max. Tension is never taken off the working muscle the entire set. Focus on creating tension and maintaining control. Muscles respond to tension.

6) Master basic lifts before adding in fancy variations
Go back to the basic lifts and keep your mind on the working muscle.

7) If you are fiddling with your phone, watching tv, having a conversation, or paying attention to the hot chick walking by you during your set, you aren’t working the muscle. Mind-muscle connection is everything. Focus on building that when in the gym.

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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

How To Get and Stay Motivated To Exercise & Eat Healthy

How is it that in the past 3 years I’ve never taken more than 5 days off (due to injury) from being active?20140307-092406.jpg

3 years ago I remember waking up in South Korea at 2 pm with the worst hangover, an empty box of fried chicken to the right of my head, and almost nothing left in the Nutella jar to my left. This was a typical Sunday.

I felt disgusting, weak, and was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Then I realized that I had a choice. Did I want to continue feeling and acting like this? Only I had all the power to control the way I felt and looked. Ah ha! It dawned on me. The act of exercising and eating healthy was actually self respect, self love. I was clearly choosing to not respect and love myself!

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After this realization did exercising become easy? F*uck no. The hardest part about it was my mind. I had to make a commitment to myself that I’d stop listening to the voice inside my head that always had so many excuses why to not workout or choose healthier options. I made a commitment to say YES when my mind said no.

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I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had to commit to myself FOR myself.

I tried to make it so easy for that it was hard to fail. I no longer bought Nutella and fried chicken. I no longer turned to partying as a release of stress. I looked for a gym to join. I told myself that I only needed to do 15 minutes of activity a day. I made a commitment to transform myself inside and out.

Slowly, I committed more and more to myself. It’s become less about the physical and more about the mental and emotional. The process is easier if you look at it as self respect and recognize that your mind will try holding you back. The challenge is making the choice that will lead to bettering yourself.

I encourage and challenge you to commit to loving yourself. Side affects include: happiness, self love, self control, and bountiful health.

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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)

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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?

The Importance of Progress Photos

If you’re anything like me, you want immediate results. Your thought process is something like this, “I’ve been hitting my glutes harder for the past 2 weeks, my butt MUST be huge by now…” or “I’ve increased my cardio this past week. Do I have abs now?”

The body takes quite a bit of time to change and here is where progress photos come in. Honestly, I hardly ever track my body fat and only check my weight once a week to report it to my coach. Other than that, I go off of my photos. Why? Because we all want to look good naked and photos show way more than the scale or your body fat!

I have been taking weekly photos for the past 3 solid years and the change is incredible. My weight has ranged from 103 lbs-130 lbs and my body fat has ranged from 12% to something around 28%.

Left: When I decided to start losing weight 3 years ago. 125 lbs.
Center: 6 months after left photo. I was doing a ton of cardio and not eating a whole lot. I had no idea what I was doing with my diet or the way my workouts were structured. I clearly burned through a good amount of fat and muscle. So sad. 103 lbs.
Right: Right when I started my prep for the second show. 2 years after the center photo. 128 lbs.

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Left: A few days before my competition. 120 lbs.
Right: 10 weeks into my off season. 125 lbs.
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Left: The thinnest I’ve been at 103 lbs
Right: A few days before my show: 120 lbs
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Left: The thinnest I’ve been.
Right: Me on stage in November 2013
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Left: A year ago
Right: Last week
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There is so much progress that the scale and numbers won’t show! I highly recommend taking weekly photos. They are such a great reference for how far you’ve come. Whenever I feel discouraged or unmotivated, I look through my photos. And the best part about it… I can’t wait to look back in a year from now and see even more change!!!!

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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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