Thrive Across America in Canada

So my work is participating in this challenge called Thrive Across America. You make teams with your coworkers and then log exercise minutes; the minutes translate into miles across a virtual path that goes from coast-to-coast and everywhere in between. Needless to say, my team is in the top place and I’m second overall. It’s kind of annoying that the only person who is beating me is my boss and I’m the one who logs his progress–we’re now having a friendly competition of our own.

I’m not really sure if I find the contest more motivating than usual. I don’t like that it only focuses on active minutes, rather than intensity and I don’t like that there are no points deducted for days missed or junk food consumed. I’d probably give people points for making healthy food choices, too. 

Here’s to being in the top spot and perhaps overthrowing my boss sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Thursday Inspiration: Ashley Horner

Yes, originally I was biased toward posting about Ashley Horner because obviously her name is awesome (my last name is Horner, I haven’t met very many Horners), but she does the name proud! She is amazingly fit, inspirational, and a totally dedicated hardbody. I follow her Instagram feed, but you can check out her website here.

Not only does Ashley contribute to MMA Uncaged and Fit & FIrm, but she is busy building a brand that is as stellar as her body; she has training programs, nutrition programs, life coaching services, and cookbooks. What is even more impressive is that Ashley is a single mother of two boys. 

Every moment has a purpose. We are given 1,440 minutes in a day, these minutes can not be put in a savings account and they don’t roll over to the next day, once that moment has passed we cant take it back.

                           –Ashley Horner

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I found this image online doing a Google search, it’s not mine, I didn’t take it and I will gladly give credit to the person who took it. I have not altered it in any way–she just looks that good! 🙂

Start Your Day With [Fasted] Cardio

My trainer recommended I do 30 – 45 minutes of fasted cardio every morning to help burn fat. The idea behind doing a moderate cardio exercise before you’ve eaten anything is that you won’t be using the new food energy you’ve consumed, you will be using stored energy (i.e., fat). I’m going to give it a whirl–I did a 35 minute walk downtown; the sun is shining and I was up early anyhow. I really wish I was someone who could spring out of bed at 5:30 am, but for me 7:30 was early enough.

The Problem With Training Together

I really like going to the gym with my partner. It motivates me to have him with me; I like being able to make faces at him in the mirrors or have him give my bum a pinch when he walks by. I also like that if I forget a water bottle, I can use his, or if I’m feeling ready to leave and he’s not, I have to stay…

But there’s the problem. At the moment, I feel like that isn’t reciprocated. If he’s ready to leave and I’m not, I tend to give up my last set or last few reps to cater to his needs. This isn’t his fault, it’s mine for not being firm and using it as an excuse to get out of the hardest part of the workout.

I can and do workout alone, perhaps I need to make a point of it during contest prep, so I don’t feel any outside pressures that may diminish my workouts. 

Does anyone else out there have any strategies for working out as a twosome? Or maybe you’ve put the kibosh on bringing that special someone along to the gym? 

Meal Preparation

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Today I prepared my meals (and my partner’s) for the next 4 – 5 days. 

Meal 2: Chicken breast (seasoned with cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder) and [barely] steamed broccoli (Calories = 174; Carbs = 12g; Protein = 28g)

Meal 3: Salad (strawberries, walnuts, spinach, yellow peppers, 2 tsp homemade balsamic vinaigrette) (Calories = 300; Carbs = 23g; Protein = 6g)

Meal 4: Greek yogurt with chocolate whey powder (Calories = 250; Carbs = 24g; Protein = 41g)

Meal 5: Protein shake (Calories = 160; Carbs = 5g; Protein = 30g)

Meal 6: Tuna salad, using only 1/2 the amount of light mayo, celery, onions, pickles, dijon (Calories = 145; Carbs = 3g; Protein = 21g)

My first meal of the day is not prepared; the plan is an egg white (1/2 cup) omelette with avocado, spinach, and salsa and 1/3 cup steel cut oats (Calories = 416; Carbs = 53g; Protein = 27g)

Totals: Calories = 1441; Carbs = 120g; Protein = 153

I’m also taking a good multivitamin; zinc; calcium-magnesium; fish oils; creatine; and L-carnatine at various intervals throughout the day; BCAAs during my workouts.

I will be aiming to get my carbs down below 100g for next week.

Reality Bites

I’m a little bummed out today; I vowed after the last competition that I wouldn’t let myself go and that I’d keep working hard…I didn’t. Now, I’m paying for it. That is not to diminish the strides I’m making toward my goal of competing and placing on June 15, but the fact is that I’m further away from my goal than I was at this point before my last competition. This is just motivation to be more dedicated and work as hard as I can. I guess I’m just disappointed in myself for doing the things I said I wouldn’t. 

I’ve beaten me up enough about it, time to move forward.

Legs & Back Day

Today I feel great!

I ditched my old gym in favour of a community gym with a track and a pool–thinking I might be able to add some much needed variety to my workouts.

To warm-up I did 1 walk around the track and 2 running laps and then a set of weighted squats (10 reps).

My workout today:

A1: 3 sets of 90lb wide-leg squats (10 – 12 reps, 30 seconds of rest between sets)
A2: 3 sets of 90lb bent-leg deadlifts (10 – 12 reps, 30 seconds of rest between sets)
A3: 3 sets of wide push-ups (10 – 12 reps, 30 seconds of rest between sets; I was supposed to do chin-ups, but the machine was in use, so I did a push-up, which I know is not the same thing, but I had about 15 seconds to think of something to do.)

B1: 3 sets of medium-grip 60lb lat pull-downs (12 – 15 reps, 30 seconds of rest before next exercise)
B2a: 3 sets of split-squat, with 15lb dumbbells (10 reps each side, no rest after or between)
B2b: 3 sets of body-weight sumo squats (12 – 15 reps, 30 seconds of rest afterward)

Next week I will actually do the chin-ups and I’ll add another set to my workout, but this is workout #3 this week and I’m feeling pretty darn good about it. Tomorrow is yoga and intervals.

Track and Field

I ran at the track today; I did sprints, jogging, walking, squats, lunges, and some yoga. While I was there, I was thinking about Georges St. Pierre (see photo below, for those of you living under a rock; photo courtesy of: http://visualogs.com/georges-st-pierre/)

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Why was I thinking about a UFC fighter? What does it have to do with a bikini competition?

Georges St. Pierre trains with the Canadian Track & Field team. He does gymnastics. While these activities are obviously good for his fitness, shouldn’t he be focusing on fighting? What I got thinking about was how the variety in his workouts not only challenges his muscles, endurance, and coordination, but they provide him with an advantage over his competition by providing him with a deeper knowledge of his body’s potential…maybe that’s a bit flighty, but I think it’s a psychological tool, too..”I can do anything.”

I got thinking about what sorts of activities would challenge my mind and body in preparation for the next competition. What would be new? What would excite me? I don’t have answers yet, but I’ll be looking for them over the next 10 weeks.

The Day of The Competition Checklist

Things to remember the week of the competition:

1. Get dark. Really dark.
2. Confirm any hair/makeup/tanning appointments.

Things to remember the night before:

1. Pack shoes, suit, and accessories 
2. Pack dumbbells and exercise bands
3. Pack make-up, hair styling tools, and hair products
4. Pack a robe/track suit and flip flops for backstage
5. Pack Bikini Bite, double-sided tape, oil, etc.
6. Manicure/Pedicure
7. Shave/tweeze any remaining unsightly hair
8. Pack a few small snacks for in-between the morning and evening programmes
9. Get to registration and the athlete’s meeting
10. Make sure to get your coach/partner a backstage pass

The morning of:

1. Don’t eat or drink. Seriously.
2. Pop a caffeine pill.
3. If you do your own hair: choose a style that you can successfully achieve on the fly.
4. Give yourself lots of time to do your make-up and hair.
5. Double-check that you have followed the night-before to-do list.

Backstage:

1. Make your skin sparkle. Attend any tanning/oiling sessions you have booked or DIY.
2. Bikini Bite your suit to your body.
3. Do your pre-stage pump: use your dumbbells and exercise bands to get that post-workout glow before you strut your stuff.
4. Make friends. 🙂 You’ve all come a long way and done a lot of work.