Happy Place


While talking to my mom this morning, we both were talking about how crazy it is that my competition was only a little over a month ago.  It feels sooo much longer.  Then the question came that would’ve bothered me 2 years ago- “How much weight have put on since then?”  She didn’t mean it in a bad way, she was just curious.  So I told her I’ve put on 20 lbs (165lbs) since my stage weight but 10 lbs since the majority of my cut.  The last 3-4 weeks of prep you lose 5-10lbs of just water and some fat from all the cardio and water you’re drinking so I wouldn’t even count that as a weight I could healthfully hold onto.  I was between 143-145 and felt miserable as previous blog posts talk about.  Before that “super cut” was the normal cut where I was comfortable around 155, but I wasnt eating what I wanted, I wasn’t socializing the way I wanted to and I knew I had a mission so none of that bothered me at the time.   Now I am a happy and healthy 165.  I don’t even care what the scale says.  I care how my work pants fit.  My mom said that’s good that I’m happy as long as that number doesn’t go up.  I don’t care if that number goes up, as long as my pants still fit.  I’m a weightlifter.  Putting on muscle is what I want to do and muscle weighs a lot. Soooo let the scale go up! Just not my pants size  🙂


Cottage Cheese


My new favorite high protein food is cottage cheese.  I read that its great for a post workout meal or a snack before bed.  I used to think I hated the stuff because I tried it as a kid and the texture grossed me out.  I tried it again because I really wanted something different.  So I bought it, 2% fat, and added 1/2 a scoop of chocolate protein powder to bring the protein count up to 30g and added starwberries.  😍 this is now my all time favorite.  So much better than just  a plain old protein shake fruit and peanut butter.   
Today I changed up the Dynamize Iso-100 chocolate whey protein powder for True Nutritions Cinnamon Bun isolate whey protein.  And instead of strawberries I used apples 🍎 yum!!!! Tasted amazing. Will definately do this again!

Supplements- What I Take


There’s so many on the market and so many websites that tell you whats good, what’s pointless, what this does, how much do you take…. so much information!

Personally, I started the supplements my coach had me take: multi vitamin, fish oil, glucosamine, protein powder, and pre workout.  Supplements I decided to take based on personal research: CLA tonalin, BCAA, pump formula and vitamin D.  Recently, I just started taking glutamine and creatine.

Why am I taking all of these?  Well multi vitamins are just an essential item to get nutritients I may not get from my food.  Fish oil is good for heart health. Glucosamine helps with the joints from all the heavy lifting.  Protein powder is supplemented for real food so I can get a good amount of protein to help build my muscle. And Pre- workout is so I have more energy for my workouts.

Now why did I add supplements?  I like to do my own research.  I like to know why things are done and how they work.  So when I started this weight lifting journey I wanted to know what would make me look the best I could.   So from everything I’ve read I’ve added CLA tonalin which is a form of safflower oil which helps with fat loss.  It’s not a miracle pill but supplemented with a good diet and exercise, it helps keep the fat off.  BCAA, branch chain amino acids, are another supplement to help with muscle recovery and building.  I drink that with creatine now during my workouts.  Creatine helps fill the muscle.  It sends water to the muscle to help them grow.  I take a pump formula (by runeverythinglabs.com) with my pre workout and it sends more blood to the muscle during my workout. I love the effect it gives during upper body training.  One thing I’ve learned is that I can’t handle a full scoop for leg day.  I already have a lot of blood going to my legs that using the pump formula makes me nausea on leg day.   Vitamin D was a big one I started taking during my last prep to help my immune system while I was on a calorie defecit.  I continued it because it’s just good immune support and I take the train everyday where there’s a ton of germs.   The most recent supplement that my husband and I started taking is glutamine.   I’ve read good things about it such as help with recovery, immune support and fat loss.   Since I’m so new to taking it, I don’t have an opinion on if it works or not.  

I’m not a scientist, nutritionist or trainer.   This is what works for me and what I’ve been doing and will continue to do.  Happy lifting 🙂

South Branch


So last Friday, I ventured across the street from work to South Branch.  

My meal: Blackened Salmon Salad

O.. M….G this salad was delicious.  Very similar to a Salmon Caesar salad but the dressing was a Rosemary Garlic Vinigrette. The salad also had the best deviled eggs I’ve ever eaten.  It had capers and onions and tomatoes.  A very simple combo but makes the salad delicious.  Unfortunately for me, I’ve learned since my show I can no longer eat food items that have been blackened. My ankles swell up 😦 but it tastes so good.  Well now I know and now I will avoid it.  Oh well it happens.

Grilled Cheese and Chinese


As mentioned in my previous blog, All the Lunches, I went to Gayles Best Ever Grilled Cheese on Wednesday and to an off the path Chinese lunch spot called Silk Road on Thursday.

Gayles: I got their special, The Blue Buffalo.  Chicken, blue cheese and buffalo sauce. All items are locally bought.😃

I wanted to make sure I still got my protein in and I know my stomach can handle blue cheese, whereas it cannot handle too much cheddar.  All their items looked spectacular.  It was definitely hard picking just one.   The store front is newer for this place, typically you can see them at farmers markets and festivals around Chicago. 

Silk Road: I got the Spicy Chicken and Orange Chicken combo with white rice (no option) and 2 crab rangoons 😃

Wow, I’m not the biggest Chinese food fan, but this food was delicious.  I found out about via a lunch database website I found when I first started working in the city and it pulled this place up at random.  The spicy chicken was the perfect hotness if you can handle a little heat and the orange chicken was sweet and tangy.   All was very good.

One more lunch today to close out the week at South Branch in the Loop.  

Cardio…the saga continues


I cannot believe I am still doing cardio after my weight lifting sessions!  And holy cow have I noticed the awesomeness of doing it.  I’m still getting about 45-60 min of weight training and then after I do anywhere from 10 min of HIIT to 30 min of interval training.   I’ve noticed my legs are still in the best shape they’ve ever been and I’ve dropped leg day to only once a week instead of twice and I’ve noticed that I don’t feel as guilty when I eat.  Now I’m not going to say ” I’ll just go run off that donut later ” but I feel like I’m mentally more aware of whats going in my mouth now so I won’t go over board.  🙂 

Good feelings all around.

All the Lunches


Working downtown Chicago, there are a million and one restaurants to go to for lunch.  They range from McDonalds to fancy steak places to mom and pop ‘fast’ food to gourmet food trucks (that’s a thing now..).   It’s so mind blowing to figure out where to go to eat.  I have 3 lunch dates with friends and co workers planned for the next few days.  I know one of them is going to be outright not the healthiest, so I need to keep the rest of my eating on par. Today we’re going to a place specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches!  There are so many options!

I will update again on how it was and what I got and continue to post where I’m going the rest of this week.