Fit Fam, happy monday! I wanted to share an exciting experience with you all from this past weekend, the 2018 Mr. Olympia!

I received a message a couple of months back from one of my girlfriends that I competed with in Korea; she is head of sales for Gorilla Wear in the United States and asked if I would like to come help out with their booth for the Mr. Olympia 2018. If you have been around the bodybuilding scene for a descent amount of time, then you are familiar with the brand, Gorilla Wear. GW is based out of the Netherlands and has been a staple apparel brand in the bodybuilding industry since 1982. GW is sold in 48 countries and house some of the most notorious athletes in the bodybuilding community: Dennis “big bad” Wolf, William Bonac, “Big Ramy,” Dennis James, Kevin Osazee, Patricia Alamo, Catharina Wahl, and Valeria Ammirato, just to name a few.

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When my girlfriend approached me with this opportunity, I was beyond ecstatic to say the least. Little did I know, not only would I be in the same venue with the biggest names in the fitness industry, I would have the chance to talk with these individuals and hug the people that I have admired and followed for so long!

It all began bright and early on Wednesday morning. I was up at 4 am to get in a quick bout of cardio before heading to the Las Vegas Convention Center to begin set up for the “O.” I met my team there at 8:00 am, scooped up my all access, fast-pass badge and we went to work. To see the convention center on day 1, and then again on day 4 is like day and night. I can say that I now fully understand all of the work that goes into such an extravagant event.

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Wednesday and Thursday were long and tiring, but the build up to the weekend kept us eager and excited. Friday morning I was up at 5am and getting ready for the day! I arrived at the venue at 8am, and while walking to the front entrance I see a familiar face, Michelle MacDonald. I have admired this woman for years, and if you check out her Instagram you will see why. Any woman that can hold a physique such as hers at any age is an incredible feat, but even more impressive, Michelle is 47 years old! I was in a bit of a hurry because of traffic on the way in, so I didn’t get to stop and fangirl. However, once arriving at our booth, another member of my Korean team was there as well, and I told her who I just passed on my way in; she grabbed my hand, walked me three booths over and introduced me to her old coaches wife, Michelle! The expo still had about 30 minutes before the doors opened to the public, so both being die hard foodies, we gabbed about recipes and nutrition. Can you all imagine?!  It was truly a surreal moment for me, and exhibited promise for an amazing weekend ahead.

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Friday afternoon, I had the chance to walk around for a bit while scarfing down a protein bar. I got about three booths down and realized I didn’t have my phone, which meant no camera. I turned around to go back to get it, and thought to myself, “you will have more of these moments, just enjoy this moment.” And that’s what I did. I walked around and was able to see what I had only seen on social media and just enjoyed being part of such a spectacular event.

Friday evening when wrapping up, I walked over to the booth directly behind us and said hello to the beautiful Cass Martin. I have followed Cass for a long time, and it was such a pleasure to say hello and to see that she was just as sweet in person as she always appears to be.

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Friday night the Gorilla team went for sushi. After a good 10 platters or so (have you seen bodybuilders eat), we called it a night. Saturday morning I was up once again at 5am to get the final day of the Olympia rolling. Saturday was just as busy and exciting as Friday. I got the chance to meet the rest of the GW athletes, as well as many other Olympia competitors.

Overall, this weekend was so incredible! To be a part of something within a community that I am so passionate about was extremely cool, to say the least. Most of all, this weekend allowed me to spend time with my old teammates who became family so many years ago. Almost five years later, and we are all still grinding and chasing our dreams and following our passions in this incredible industry.

Thank you Gorilla Wear for having me and allowing me to be part of this amazing Olympia weekend!!

Good morning fit fam 🧡
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On my way to the salon today, I detoured across the street into Orange Theory Fitness. As I have mentioned a few times over the last couple of weeks, my motivation for summer shredding has been lacking a bit. I credit this to the fact, this is the first summer in 5 years that I don’t plan on stepping on stage. You guys know that this is my lifestyle. Whether it be bikini season, or I am bundled up in a down jacket, I am still in the gym 5 to 6 days a week, still incorporating cardio, but….I need a change. After doing some research about Orange Theory Fitness, I was intrigued.  The “theory” behind Orange Theory seems to be scientifically based, and this science nerd is all about the whys, hows and facts behind everything. All of us fitness enthusiasts know that interval training in comparison to steady state cardio burns more calories post workout, and that is why HIIT training is so incredible!!

So, after two weeks and two workouts at two different locations, I can share my thoughts on the “theory.”

My first OT experience was shared with two of my girlfriends, Kaitlyn and Kelly. We all three headed in to OT last week with a water bottle and no expectations. We arrived about 15 minutes early to fill out any needed waivers or paperwork. The first initial impression was, welcoming. The girl working the front desk was friendly, energetic and eager to offer assistance (but not in an overpowering, annoying way). People continued to trickle in, but with only 5 minutes to spare before class starting, we had no idea what we were going to be doing. The instructor was nowhere in sight. The front desk girl apologized for the instructor’s tardiness and took us into the gym area. We were instructed to take our pick of either a rower or a treadmill (not really knowing why). I never felt uncomfortable (but only) because I am familiar with the unfamiliar when it comes to training (thanks to many years of coaching and CrossFit). I tried my best to guide Kaitlyn and Kelly (who were a bit unfamiliar), through rowing techniques during the warmup. After a hundred meters or so, the instructor arrived. She apologized and jumped in. I will say that the guidance started off a little rocky. She was using the microphone to call out commands to the class, but not being familiar with any of their terms or “lingo,” I just rowed with intensity and assumed if I was screwing up royally I would be called out. We continued to row with uncertainty and when we heard “switch” yelled out, we just went with the flow of the others. After the warm up, we were instructed to partner up. I told Kelly and Kaitlyn that I would fly solo and try to find a regular member and they could pair together. I paired up with another female and the workout consisted of rounds for time of treadmill sprints, rowing sprints, and dumbbell work. After 60 minutes I was a sweaty, red-faced mess. Class ended and the instructor approached us with apologies for being late, and poor presentation of the class introduction. We assured her that our workout was great, and her tardiness was not the determining factor of our impression. After class, we were back up front to talk memberships. I chose the basic package of one session a week. This would allow me to get in 60:00 of HIIT training a week. This means all of my HIIT training for the week is taken care of in 1 class!!! This is worth $59 alone, but when I told the girl behind the desk that I would sign up if she threw in the heart rate monitor ($69) for free, and she said “OK”, I was sold!!!


*Class pricing varies by region, so it’s worth giving your local studio a call to find out the exact cost of a membership or class. Your first class at any OTF is free; after that, the studio’s packages start at $59 and can go up to about $200 for an unlimited plan. The average price for a drop-in class for nonmembers is $28, with a few select locations costing slightly higher than this.

Now, fast-forward another week and I came back for round 2, except this time at a new location. Last week I visited an OT next to the salon, but because I flew solo this week, I decided to go first thing in the morning to a location 10 minutes from home.

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Yesterday’s class was endurance based, meaning that we ran…a lot. We began on the treadmill with a base pace for 5 minutes, followed with a 10 minute push pace and 1-minute recovery- then, a 5 minute push pace, a 2 minute all out pace, 1-minute recovery and ending with a 1-minute all out, give it everything you got race to the end 💦.

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After running, we hopped on the rowers for intervals mixed with dumbbell work. After 60 minutes, my body was spent and my lungs were on fire (I loved it).

What I find to be most successful about the OT approach is the use of the heart rate monitor. I began wearing a heart rate monitor years ago when I began training for my first triathlon, and have worn one ever since when it comes to aerobic and endurance training. Keeping a monitor on your heart rate allows you to you see when you’re crushing your cardio, as well as when you’re not actually working as hard as you think you are (this is usually the case). Your heart rate shows you exactly where you are, and where you need to be, and this method of training allows continual improvements.

A big screen hanging above the cardio equipment continuously displays your name, heart rate, percentage of max exertion, calories burned and “splat points” (how often your heart rate is in the “orange zone”).

Below is an analyzation of each color:

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  1. Grey Zone (50-60% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is the safest, most comfortable zone, consisting of very light activity.
  2. Blue Zone (61-70% Maximum Heart Rate) – This zone is specifically geared for warm up and cool down exercises. You are merely preparing your body and mind for high intensity interval training, but you haven’t unleashed the burn just yet.
  3. Green Zone (71-83% Maximum Heart Rate) – In this zone, you have reached a challenging but doable pace. This is what Orangetheory categorizes as “Base Pace,” a pace that you can maintain for 20-30 total minutes. Your body starts to burn fat and carbohydrates evenly.
  4. Orange Zone (84-91% Maximum Heart Rate) – This is where the magic happens and where you achieve “EPOC” (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) – what we call the “Orange Effect / Afterburn.” The goal is to accumulate 12 minutes or more in this zone within a 60-minute period to achieve the maximum caloric burn up to 36 hours AFTER your workout is completed.
  5. Red Zone (92-100% Maximum Heart Rate) – This zone happens organically and may be achieved during ‘All Out’ efforts when you’re emptying the tank and using every ounce of energy left in your body. You don’t need to set an All Out pace for more than 1 minute at a time to experience maximum results.

This “zone” approach definitely gives you continuous motivation. I know personally, each time I looked up, if I wasn’t in the correct zone, I would fight until I reached it (this meant digging deep a few times).

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Once the hour was over I felt, accomplished. I took a quick snip of the board to log my totals on the way out the door, but I was informed by an OT staff member that my stats would be emailed to me within minutes (which was pretty great!)

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Within minutes I received an inbox with my heart rate and zone summary 🧡.

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My overall opinion of OT summed up in one word, effective. I personally will not use OT as my only form of exercise- I am first and foremost a weightlifter. Olympic weightlifting and compound lifts are my jam, but when it comes to shredding, cardio is a must, and this approach, I feel personally is the best for optimal results. Interval training is hands down the best method of cardio when it comes to getting the most “bang for your buck.” What I mean by this is…you can spend an hour on the eliptical and burn 500 calories doing steady state cardio, or you can spend an hour doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), burning 500 calories, plus causing excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also known as the “afterburn.” This causes a stimulated metabolism and increased energy for hours post-workout.

 

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Continue to follow along as I share my experiences while exploring the  versatility of fitness. By expanding and diversifying my routine, I hope to find new elements that will continue to target any weaknesses within my training.

Good Morning 💜 Happy Wednesday y’all!!

 

I slept in again today until 6:30. I love waking up without an alarm clock, it just starts the morning off a little better in my opinion.

I began the morning with some steady cardio on the eliptical followed with breakfast: egg whites, oatmeal and avocado.

 
I had to head into the salon today, and being that it was my Friday, I decided to skip on the shampoo and do a messy side bun (dry shampoo is life).

Work was great. Once again, I am so happy and blessed to go into a place that I enjoy every single day ❤️.

I forgot to pack my food for work, so when I got home I was beyond hungry!!! I snacked on some pistachios and had a BPI protein shake while I cooked dinner.

 

Dinner: eggs and corn tortillas with kale chips🌱

 
I had emails to read and check-ins to send, so I spent a good part of the evening on the computer. In between, I fixed myself a bowl of mixed legumes. Today was an off day, so calories were a bit lower, but because I forgot my food for work, I was extremely behind on carbs and protein. I had two cups of mixed beans with low-fat cheese for an evening snack, and had a bowl of protein ice-cream for my final meal of the day.

 
Now after an episode of the Ranch, it’s time for bed. Happy Wednesday! ❤️

Another day of blessings.

Sunshine calls for breakfast on the patio: An egg omelette stuffed with peppers and onions, fat free refried beans and a side of asparagus.

I went to the gym not long after breakfast, so my pre-workout snack was minimal: A green drink of coconut water and spinach and a scoop of peanut butter.

It is always so disappointing when you measure out an actual serving size of peanut butter 😦

Todays workout was shoulder and bicep isolation, followed with rowing intervals.
To be honest (because I think its important to share the good, the bad, and the ugly), today was one of the worst days thus far in my prep. I felt not only physically drained, but mentally as well. I tried to pep talk myself during my warm up for motivation, but I just couldn’t get my head in it. I did complete my workout; however, not my greatest performance.

The highlight of my day was my PYRKIA bands came in 🙂 I shopped around for the best silicone rings for lifting and when I stumbled across this brand I LOVED their color selections and awesome wrap bracelets!

After consuming almost my entire days worth of calories, I took it back to the gym this evening for my HIIT training.
I began with box step ups, KB swings and air squat circuits- followed with the stepper. I still felt sluggish and lacked motivation but I pushed through, knowing that once completed, I could lay in bed reassured that I gave my all today in spite of wanting to quit. 

Everyday will not be perfect, but everyday is one step closer to the goal.  Todays lack of motivation- is tomorrows encouragement.

Happy Hump-day 🙂

A fresh week! Here we go…

This morning began at 8 am with coffee and weekly client check-ins. 

An hour later I was on the eliptical doing cardio which I mixed with body weight only leg exercises. This cycle was a quick 30-35 minute session.

I took about and hour to do some food prep to begin the week with-

I felt extremely tired after eating lunch today. I ended up eating over half of my carbs for the day in hopes to feel better, but I ended up falling asleep on the couch for about 4 hours. For me to sleep that long mid day, I must have been exhausted. After waking, I had some coffee and made my way to the gym for leg day.

I begin every leg workout with a warm up of air squats and lunges. Todays lower body exercises were:
Back rack box squats
Traditional back rack squats
Smith machine wide stance squats
Weighted box step ups
Leg extensions
Toe Raises

My post workout meal: oatmeal, sweet potatoes and egg whites

 

Now I am going to mix up my casein pro-yo and call it a day.
Happy Monday!!

Its Friday, which means that finals are over!! It has been a bit of a stressful week, but thankfully I made it through with A’s and B’s and I’m satisfied with that. I still have one class and a Lab, which is by far my toughest to date, but once I make it through this I am off for summer break!

I haven’t got in a workout yet today and I am trying to decide on a home session or head to the gym, which I know will be empty this late on a Friday.
My workouts all week have been tough. My body has been exhausted since my race this last weekend. I have had a problem getting my electrolytes balanced. My muscles have been cramping, extremely sore and fatigued. I knew there was trouble when I was in the 9th mile and my sweating was mild and my thirst level was almost non-existent. The entire drive home that night I kept having to rub my eyes and take extra precaution with focussing the lines of the road due to a blurry haze with my vision. I have always had a problem with taking in enough sodium (opposite from most of the population), but being that it was a distance race I should have taken more precautions. Lesson learned! If you have ever had extreme electrolyte imbalances; it is serious. I have to be aware of mine at all times. A lot of athletes and competitors that constantly watch their diet can fall into this category quite quickly and not realize the seriousness. Sodium depletion for athletes that train above average is just a disaster waiting to happen- Now, after a few days of gatorade and sea salt, I am feeling back to myself and ready to train.
Speaking of…here are some pictures from the weekend…

Here are some of my meals from this week…

Well I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! Mine will consist of prepping for my Chemistry mid-term next week and thats about it 🙂

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Monday was as usual, my busiest day of the week. I have check-ins with my online clients, food prep for the week, two training sessions, a weekly quiz in math and a Chemistry Lab. Its always a hectic day, but I enjoy jumping feet first and getting the week started right. 

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Tuesday was a little more low key. I had an extremely long lifting session that included Olympic Lifting, full body isolation work, abs and ended with HIIT training, 

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Wednesday was a tough, but exciting morning. After almost three years of coaching CrossFit at Aviano AB Italy, today was my last day. I have spent the last two months preparing and working with new coaches that are hungry and excited about stepping up and making certain that our program continues to grow. I am able to leave knowing that my athletes are in good hands and will continue to advance in the hands of qualified, enthusiastic coaches.
This being my last year in Italy, I have many goals that need full attention in order to be acheieved and I am beyond excited for the next six months and whats in store.

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Thursday began with a morning training session of Deadlifts and Power Cleans  followed with all day Chemistry Labs. 

Friday was a complete off day to rest up for Saturday’s Super Spartan. My first race for the 2017 season.

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Race Day Essentials: Coffee. Medium Chain Triglycerides. Protein. Bananas. Trail Runners. Go Pro Camera.

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This was my 2nd race in Italy. Last years Super was held in Milano, and while it was beautiful, this race was by far the most breathtaking scenery of any race to date! The course began in the town of Orte, which reminded me of a miniature Venice, and then led us up through the mountains where we tracked through  Vineyards and farms filled with Lama and goats and chickens. It was amazing. I have to admit that I was subject to one set of burpees this race due to the fact that my spear throw was Shit!  I was excited to see rope climbs within the first few obstacles, ensuring energy was in tact (seeing that it has been raining 3 days straight and everything was coated with mud…3 folds!) There were a few new obstacles this race that were definitely testing, and I LOVED it! I’m pretty sure that I am losing a couple of toenails after this one, but other than that just your typical  bumps and scrapes 🙂

 

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Sunday (today) is spent catching up with Netflix 🙂

I hope you all had a wonderful week!
Now that I am in the final week of one class and my hour from 0530-0630 is freed up, I will be more diligent at making daily posts. So i would love to hear any topics of interest 🙂
Have a wonderful Sunday-Funday!! 

Another week down and another step closer to that stage!
This week’s prep once again was right on track.

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I need to bring up my rear delts, so workouts consist of a lot of behind the neck presses, rear delt flies on the pec dec machine, and isolation work on the cable machine.

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Trunk loaded with the essentials for an outdoor workout…
I changed up my HIIT training/MetCon sessions this week. Rather than completing my sessions directly after my workouts, I split the workouts into two sessions. This allowed me to up the intensity and get the most out of each session.

 

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This week the sun was shinning and it was a good week to add in some outdoor running in the mix 🙂 I take two off days a week- one being an active-rest day (usually cardio).

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Macros and meals are on point..Nutrition is everything!!!


                Click on my VLOG below for a complete Bi-Weekly Overview 🙂

 

 

Well it looks as if today will be a double upload day. With school and finals going on, I somehow failed to upload my bi-weekly competition progression at 18 weeks…..

While my mentality may (and at times will) change as prep continues, thus far, this prep is the easiest by far. I went into this prep with a different approach compared to those of the past. I basically prepped for this prep. I reverse dieted for months which allowed me to get my metabolism back to where it needed to be in order to start cutting with a relatively high macro-nutrient count.

So let’s catch up…..

My training and nutrition remain the same as my last check-in. Training focuses on Olympic Lifting and compound lifts 4 days a week, with 2 of those workouts followed with 10:00 of HIIT training. I do 2 to 3 solid ab workouts a week that are generally 10-15 minutes long (unbroken). At this point my cardio consists of moderate intensity on the treadmill or eliptical prior to my workout for 10-12 minutes. I have one day a week that I focus solely on accessory work (full body) and this leaves me with 2 rest days. One of these days I typically take a complete off day and the other is used for active rest (an outdoor run or hike).

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My nutrition usually consists of 5-6 meals a day. My post workout meal is the largest, along with breakfast, lunch, dinner and 1-2 snacks. I choose whole foods and my grains consist of oatmeal and rice. I avoid gluten and my sugar intake is from natural sources, fruit and the occasional tsp of honey.

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I am already one week down!!
My first week of competition prep for the 2017 season was a success 🙂
My workouts for the week were on point- In each lifting session I felt strong and my MetCons were super intense.

Eating from tupperware and finding time between classes to fit my workouts in with the intensity they deserve can get tough. School can make the days long and a bit stressful, but I plow through knowing that the struggles will all be worth it!!!

I immediately saw results this week with my measurements and on the scale due to the intensity of MetCon training. I could care less about the number behind my weight; however, measurements and progress photos are great for tracking progression.

Measurements:
WEIGHT: 137.5 
 
CHEST: 33         
WAIST: 28.25      
HIPS: 32    

Meals for the Weekend
This early in the game my macros are high and lack of satisfaction is not a factor. If anything, I am still struggling to get it all in. I reverse dieted for quite a while preparing for this prep, and it will without a doubt make all the difference when it comes to cutting. 

Cheers to a successful week!!