Monday, December 19, 2016

Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

After months of eating my pumpkin pie crockpot oats, I decided to switch it up. Partially burnout, but also FINALS ARE OVER, so now I have a bit more time to spend on switching up my meals! When I'm short on time, I just revert to what I know is easy and quick to make, so be ready for lots more creative recipes! I do love cooking, but being able to throw everything in a tupperware container and then let the fridge do all the rest of the magic is even better! I just made them tonight so I haven't tried them all thickened and ready yet, but I used to LOVE overnight oats and would make creative recipes all the time, which I'm sure means they'll be tasty!

I put all the ingredients in MyFitnessPal to calculate the macros and to be able to log it quickly tomorrow when I try them out on my way to work! I saved them as "Marshelle's Apple Pie Overnight Oats" if you want to find it and log it! This whole batch makes 5 servings and the macros per serving are: Calories: 187, Fat: 3g, Carbs: 32g, Protein: 9g



Ingredients:

-2c whole grain old fashioned oats
-1c unsweetened applesauce
-1c plain or vanilla non-fat greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
-2c unsweetened almond cashew milk blend
-1tbs apple pie spice (or cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg)
-Stevia to taste

Directions:
-Put it all in a container
-Mix well
-Put in fridge overnight!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Training for the Northern

I swore I would never go back to the dark side, yet here I am again training for another bodybuilding show. Powerlifting is still my passion, but I tried to compete figure at my last show and ended up falling short and doing bikini again--not this time! This time, if I'm not ready for figure then I just won't compete at all. I have already bought my suit and all the rhinestones I need to deck it out, so I'm in it to win it! Yeah...no one completes a rigorous contest prep without the hope of winning, so hopefully I can make my dream come true!

I'm only just beginning, but can already feel the rigors of the training. My whole body is sore pretty much all the time, and with increasing my training durations and intensity, I get really bad cramps and fatiguing feelings in my forearms and hands. I'm really bad at selling this whole bodybuilding thing, huh? Haha It is an unmatchable feeling to be up on that stage in the best shape of your life surrounding my other incredible athletes who have gone through the same thing though.

I know once January hits, it'll feel more real since I'll be closer to my show and will really start honing in on the prep to get me stage-ready. Figure prep is a bit beyond my knowledge, so with this one I will definitely need some resources for both the training and the diet. Posing is also going to be a ton different from bikini, which will be nice! And less subjective!

I have stepped up my workouts by creating more of a split routine rather than working a few muscle groups on my accessory days and then only doing my big lifts with lots of rest on the other days. That was my powerlifting routine in a nutshell. Right now, I am doing a split where I try to hit every muscle group two times per week and I usually work out for about an hour and a half to two hours every day. At this point, I am not doing any regimented cardio, but do love to go hiking or skiing on Saturdays, so I will definitely make that part of my workout routine! My diet still has me in the "bulking" stage, and once I hit January I plan to maintain for about 2 months and then start cutting in February for my April 8 show!

It really is getting so close, and I can't wait to see how much my physique is doing to change over these next several months! This is where I am right now, nearing the end of my bulk. BF 18% Weight 122.5lbs



Saturday, November 5, 2016

Optimal Training for Fat Loss

I'm currently working on a research paper proving the benefits of interval circuit training including both cardio and strength aspects to maximize weight loss. We all know that exercising on a cardio machine becomes mundane and unenjoyable after about the first 5 minutes, so my philosophy as a gym-goer and a training is to find a training style that is enjoyable, maintainable and effective. Circuit style training is conducive to achieving a variety of goals: mass gains, strength improvements, weight loss, cardiovascular endurance, power, flexibility etc. Even for long-endurance athletes, increasing power and stamina is essential. My favorite article I found was on PTonthenet.com, because it focused on the training frequency needed to achieve fat loss.

Many objections I hear often are related to time, but "The Best Training Frequency for Fat Loss" points out that benefits can be seen from exercising 3 days per week for 45 minutes each if the workouts are programmed correctly. The first study of this article had subjects between the ages of 40 and 75 perform 60 minutes of aerobic exercise 6 days per week for a year and each person lost an average of 6 pounds over the course of the entire year...not too great.

In contrast, another study produced in Australia a few years ago had 2 groups of women perform 3 days per week of exercise for 15 weeks total. One group did 20 minutes of high intensity interval training and the other group did 40 minutes of steady state cardio for that time. Only the HIIT group showed significant fat reduction when tested at the end of the 15 weeks.

I'm definitely not saying hitting the gym for 4-6 days per week wouldn't be even better (because it would), but if you're pressed for time there are effective ways to still get that workout in to see the results you've deemed impossible. Intervals fluctuate the heart rate and burn more calories while making your workout as efficient as possible. This type of training also increases the EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) which contributes to the "after burn" of calories being burned long after your workout is finished because of your body trying to recover from the intense bout of exercise.

 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Off to a Good Start

I've been in Denver for 3 weeks now and have already overcome all my fears I had about moving. I'll never regret those amazing years in Boston because of the wonderful people I met and the great experience I had, but there hasn't been a day go by since I've been here where I haven't stared at the mountains in awe. The weather has also been unbelievably gorgeous, so I took advantage of the time off and my beautiful surroundings and went to climb my first 14'er last Wednesday! It was a treacherous climb, but so rewarding once I made it to the top! I am hoping to be able to get in one more epic hike before the weather takes a turn toward skiing season.

 I also started my first day of work at my new gym today and already love it! There is some amazing potential for me here and I am happy to be a part of the 24 hour fitness team! The location is great too--it's the luxury "super sport" location, so it should also provide for some great networking opportunities with people around this community! My ultimate goal and the reason I moved out here now, is to open my own women-only gym. That will take some major preparation, but I am well on my way toward making a name for myself out here!

Another ambitious goal of mine that I have my sights set on is a figure show in April. I have been competing in bikini, but I would love to finally step it up to compete in the category I have always aspired to be in. Bring on the gainz!!!

Here are some pictures of the start of my epic adventurous life here in Colorful Colorado!










 This is me at the top of massive Mt. Bierstadt!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Metabolic Resistance Training vs Traditional Cardio









This is a pretty hot topic right now to determine which really is the optimal way to train to achieve the best results. Which one is ideal totally depends on the athlete's goals. Metabolic resistance training will be the most efficient way to achieve an overall "fit" physique with building muscle while shedding fat. The traditional steady-state cardio will aid in weight-loss, but there is no muscle overload to initiate muscle-building, which is what leads to an increase in lean muscle mass and metabolism. Plus, the MRT takes less time as the athlete is using the time more efficiently. The steady-state cardio will be necessary for any endurance-based goal, but for general fitness or more strength, power and better aesthetics, MRT is the way to go.

MRT would be lifting weights that can be done for many reps to where you are using your anaerobic system to power through the exercises. This means your body is working for shorter duration bursts to where the body is not using oxygen to fuel your body. The goal is to fit more exercises in in less time. Most of the MRT programs are recognized as high-intensity training of any kind with little rest or structured rest between sets of high intensity work. One of the benefits of metabolic training is the “after burn” or excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).  Excess post exercise oxygen consumption is when the body is attempting to recovery from the muscle-damage (which is a good thing) from the strength training bout. This takes place for the following 42 hours after the workout. Cardio only burns the calories in the setting of the exercise being performed, but strength training continues to work long after you've left the gym.

http://www.ptonthenet.com/articles/metabolic-training-do-we-really-need-cardio-4002

http://www.orafitnessinstitute.com.au/traditional-cardio-vs-metabolic-resistance-training/

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Last Week as a Bostonian

This week is surprisingly harder than I could have every imagined. I both look forward to and dread every day knowing I am heading into work to say goodbye to one more client who has become one of my closest friends. I've made it through most of the week without bursting into a hysterical frenzy, but tomorrow is my last day at Healthworks and that really is going to be hard... I have the most amazing friends here, and each of them has gone out of his/her way to reassure me this really isn't a goodbye and that we have many more adventures ahead of us!

My going-away party was last Saturday and even though I had created the Facebook event and knew who all would be coming, it brought me to tears to see all my best friends there together to see me off! I've never been good at goodbyes, so I'm happy this isn't that. This week has been full of so many froyo, coffee, lunch, dinner and workout dates that I'll have pictures to look through and keep me sane for quite awhile! I already can't wait to get to Denver and get started on my photo collage wall in the new place!

As of now, I'm almost all packed up and have already loaded some of my necessities into my car! If it didn't feel real before, it certainly does now... Now if I could just mentally prepare myself for that 32 hour road trip ahead of me!

Today, I even got to have one last gym date with two of my closest trainer friends, and I must say, my butt (and arms for that matter) is thoroughly kicked! There's never a dull moment when I hit the gym with Pat and Josh! #studstatus

Just another "bodyweight" training day... #nevergrowup

I couldn't ask for a better pair of motivators! Pat, Josh and I crushed our last killer workout together this morning!


 My going-away party couldn't have been better. Having all my best friends in one place definitely made me realize how amazing of a group I've found here in Boston. Good thing they've all agreed to come visit me in my "Rocky" paradise!

 My last dinner date with these two! Started out as my clients and grew into being my best friends and biggest supporters!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gluten Free All Natural Fruit & Nut Bars

Often times figuring out healthy, convenient and satisfying snacks is hard, especially if you have a dietary restriction or allergy. I wanted to create a gluten free, guilt free and naturally sweetened grab-n-go snack that I could recommend to my clients. These fruit and nut bars provide a heatlthy balance of proteins, fats and carbs and are yummy too! They're super easy to make and don't require any baking or cooking (except to warm the liquid mixture), so definitely worth giving a try! Each batch will make 10 bars. Macros (per bar): 173 cals, 8g fat, 22g carbs, 7g protein. 










Ingredients: 

-1 1/2c gluten free oats (I used this nut/oat blend, but you can just do GF oats and + 2tbs of pumpkin seeds)
-1c packed pitted prunes
-1/4c unsalted smooth natural peanut butter
-1/4c pure maple syrup
-1tbs vanilla extract
-1/2c whole almonds

Directions: 

-In food processor blend prunes until ball forms (about 45 sec)
-Dump prunes into large mixing bowl and add oats/seeds
-Put almonds in food processor until roughly chopped (about 10-15 sec)
-Dump almonds into oat/prune mixture
-In a small saucepan stir together maple syrup, peanut butter and vanilla over low heat until mixed 
-Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture and stir until well blended and evenly distributed
-Line 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper
-Spread mixture in pan evenly
-Chill for 15-20 minutes in refrigerator 
-Cut into 10 symmetrical bars



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Off Season Training

I wish I could say I have a more structured and consistent training program for my off-seasons, but my excuse is that I spend so much time programming for my lovely clients that I neglect my own pro able to pay attention to if I need a day off or if I just need to adjust what I had planned to do that day based on how I am feeling. 

It is my off-season, but I am in limbo right now not sure of what my next competition will actually be. I adore powerlifting and find it to be extremely gratifying and fun to train for, but I also want the satisfaction of competing in and gaining the more muscular figure competitor status. I know I have a lot of work ahead of me either way, but at this point I am thinking of training more toward my next bodybuilding show. This time though, I won't accept falling short and competing bikini again. If I commit to something I want to be able to give it 100 percent, so after I get settled in Colorado next month I think I am going to take a look at the list of shows in various natural federations for next year and set a Spring time date.

I have been consistent with my regular working out though, but the focus has been a little all over the place. Usually my week consists of a deadlift and squat day where I do go heavier, which is more powerlifting oriented and then the others are accessory/volume days where I focus more on hypertrophy for a potential bodybuilding show. I can't really reach my full potential in either if I continue to try and do both, so that's where setting a date to hold myself accountable will come into play.

Here are some of my recent shenanigans (not all on the same day...)!






























Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another Client Rave

I can't brag enough about the amazing, strong, fearless women I get to work with! My "job" really is so rewarding and everyday I am thankful that I found my calling so early in life. I will be graduating in May and know that I want to start my own gym, and after working with only women for over a year am really considering making my future business a women's-only facility as well. I am making a big bittersweet transition soon, but know it won't be the end to any of these relationships! Explaining a little more about that will have to be a later post...

 One of my favorite times during my week is during my Monday night TeamTRAIN class! Love these ladies! 
 Rachael crushing some pause squats. These are always a huge hit...especially on day 2! 

 This partner team makes for a badass duo! I paired them because they both had the goal of perfecting their form and lifting heavy. Music to my ears! 

 Steph being her usual awesome self. This was taken upon completion of by far our hardest workout yet! 
 Had to do a back-to-back with Gail to prove that we do sometimes do things other than deadlifts...like accessory work to improve said deadlift of course! Hehe


 Who needs an assisted pull-up machine when we can look way cooler with some banded pull-ups out of the squat rack?!
 Love these ladies! They both work for Healthworks as well and can never seem to escape me! They certainly do keep me entertained throughout our entire workout! 

 Probably the one time I got Julianna to actually stop and take a drink break...talk about loving HIIT--she's the queen. 
 I hope someday I'm as much of a badass and as cool as Sheri! Great minds think alike--we hate unnecessary cardio! #bringontheweights

 A little more TeamTRAIN fun during my 6am Friday morning class! 

 Deadlifts for errybody! 

 Proof that I didn't actually kill Sarah Mae this time! So worth all the torture...once it's over that is! 

 Because if you don't look absolutely adorable while planking with a giant plate on your back you're not Steph! #stud

 Miss Alexa getting in some heavy leg work to jump start her week! #happymonday

 If only we could see her face; Sheri really loves wall walks! 

 Monday night TeamTRAIN working on that anti-extension training! 



TeamTRAIN from this past Tuesday! Such a die-hard 6am crew! 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Misconceptions about Weight

That number on the scale has always been and will always be the major mark of physical change people pay the most attention to. It really does not at all determine how fit or in shape a person is, and that weight can (and should) change if you are incorporating strength training. After all, muscle weighs more than fat and to achieve that great beach body we all want there needs to be some muscle and tone there.

Not obsessing over weight is something I still struggle with, and these past two weeks in Europe have been great and very indulgent, so of course when I weighed myself for the first time in over a month today I freaked out that I had gained 3 pounds. But then I thought about it and recalled how great my workouts had been during the trip (if I was able to make it into a gym), how amazing of a time I had trying all those foods and how great of self control I have to be able to return to my normal life after that I really should not worry. Plus, with not allowing my body to gain weight, I am sure I was holding myself back from gains I have been working so hard for! 

I really liked this article and also loved the documented pictures throughout the process. I compiled some of my progress pictures throughout my journey, and the middle one still makes me cringe. The far left was 2013 when I was in college back home in Missouri (127lbs), middle was autumn of 2014 when my eating disorder was at it's worst (89lbs) and right was during my bodybuilding show this April 2016 (115lbs). I can honestly say I'm still not where I want to be, but I am a lot healthier now than in both of those previous pictures. My current goal is to enjoy this transitional period in my life while working to gain weight in preparation for a figure show next spring. Listen to your body, learn to love your body and find a lifestyle routine that works for you, but that also pushes you to achieve your best self.

Before & After Weight Journey

                     2013 (127lbs)          2014 (89lbs)               2016 (115lbs)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

That Post-Competition Life

It was such a relief to finish up my meet in June, and now I am working on finding more of a work/life/fitness balance. That won't be too hard considering how I'll be leaving for my Europe trip this coming Monday July 25th! I have found myself at a plateau and am excited to see what I can accomplish with switching up my training and focusing more on how I feel and giving myself more rest than I do when I am preparing for a show or a meet. I have been feeling pretty good in these last few weeks with training this way and can already see an improvement in my performance and motivation in the gym. This trip will also be a great reprieve that will also do my body good! 

Here are some videos I've compiled over the last couple of months of some of my favorite exercises...and some repeats that show my REAL favorites! Hehe



Some pause squat action to work on increasing power at the bottom of my squat
Some wall walks to add a little conditioning into the mix
245 deads going up on a Tuesday
225 deads on speed training day
Because pushups aren't awful enough as is 
And a little more conditioning work

Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Connecticut States Powerlifting Meet

I signed up for this meet the day after my bodybuilding show in March. I was so burnt out after my show that I thought switching back to powerlifting is exactly what I needed to re-motivate myself, but the training and preparation leading up to this meet wasn't as fun and enjoyable as it had been for my last two. I am happy I stuck with it and ended up competing, but I lost motivation and could feel myself merely going through the motions in the last few weeks. It helped immensely that my bestie from home came to stay with me for the week and watch my meet! I couldn't ask for a better or more supportive friend! I also had one of my best friends from Boston drive up the morning of to spend the day with me--again, I'm so privileged to be surrounded by such amazing people!

The week before my last meet I ended up popping my shoulder partially out of place, so it would only be expected that this time something else tragic would happen....of course I woke up with a respiratory infection on Wednesday and it was at it's peak for the weekend during my meet. I took all the congestion and chest cold remedies, but still felt terrible. I GUESS that might be why I didn't perform my best by hitting the PRs I knew I had leading up to that week. I was hoping for back squat 190 (hit 165 at my last meet), bench 110 (same as at last meet), and deadlift of 255 (hit 235 at my last meet). Overall, I didn't do too awful and am happy that I did manage to set some new meet PRs. I hit 185 back squat, 100 bench (let's not talk about that one) and 245 deadlift. Regardless of how I felt I did, I had an amazing singlet custom designed by my AMAZING sponsor Derby Skinz and won 2 insanely gigantic and badass trophies. Setting new records for deadlift and squat for the junior class in New England isn't so awful, but I will never be satisfied being that I see my meets as a competition against myself.

I did post about my first meal prep after my powerlifting meet and I was extremely excited to get back into my normal routine after all the pasta, crab rangoon, cookies, pie, candy bars, pancakes, chocolate milk, ice cream, sausage and bacon I had consumed from the time weigh-ins were over until after I was finished lifting (and then some more ice cream after of course)! I had been cutting carbs and sodium the week of my meet to make sure I would slip into my weight class, and it worked perfectly! I was in the 114 weight class and managed to weigh in Friday night at 112.4. And a huge shoutout to my badass friend Alex who kept me sane and helped me with multiple random things throughout the day (including sharing his yummy breakfast food). I probably would have ran right out the door after my bench press fail if it weren't for him!