High Carb Day and PlantPOWER

I have one more day till I am on the ferry to New Hampshire to get ready to leave for Austin. I will be touching down at approximately 12:30 on Tuesday. Can we talk about how excited I am?! Austin, from what I have heard, is an amazing city full of people who are super outdoors and health oriented. Sounds right up my alley!

So yesterday was high carb day on my carb cycling plan. I canโ€™t believe I only have a week and a half left. These three weeks are flying by and are not nearly as painful as I thought they would be when I first read about how to carb cycle. I woke up craving a bowl of oatmeal to refeed those carb stores, which were seriously depleted. You should have seen me at the gym the night before. I was so tired that I busted out a leg workout looking like a zombie. All the boys were like whereโ€™s all your usual energy. Complete. Carb. Depletion. But it was all worth it when I had the best bowl of fall deliciousness in the morning. Tasted like maple pumpkin bread pudding. Keep in mind I havenโ€™t had any added sugar in weeks and squash tastes sweet to me right now. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It even made my veins pop right out of my skin when the carbs finally hit my system! Insane to watch.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Oats
Serves 1

Ingredients
ยผ cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (Not instant)
ยผ cup Oat Bran
1.25 cups of water
1 tsp Maple Extract
ยผ cup Organic Canned Pumpkin
5 drops liquid Vanilla Crรจme Stevia
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I used Sunwarrior Vanilla)
Pumpkin Pie Spice (to taste)
Cinnamon (to taste)
Sliced banana (optional)
Peanut butter protein frosting (optional)

Directions
Cook the oats, oat bran, and water until they are thick and creamy. Turn off the heat. Add in the maple, pumpkin, stevia, and protein powder stirring until combined. Scoop into a bowl, top with sliced banana, peanut butter protein frosting, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy!

This is a perfect segway into the next part of this post. Powercakes.net and theloveofkale.com are doing an October Challenge called plantPower. This is basically a challenge to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet. Since I love veggies and I am all over challenges I figured I could most definitely add this in over the next month. The only tricky part is that I will be travelling for the first 10 days of the challenge. Have no fear! I have a plan. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Fail to plan, plan to fail. There are no excuses in my book for breaking this prep and training that I have been hard at work on these past couple of weeks. So here is my plan!

I have a low carb day planned for the day I will be on a plane/in airports for 10 hours. This sounded tricky at first but I came up with a solution. I am going to bring 2 cucumbers, some protein powder, an empty blender bottle, an apple, some almonds, and a protein pancake. This should hold me over till my roommate and I arrive in Austin and can make it to a Whole Foods for some serious good eats for lunch. It may not be the most delicious eats in the world, but itโ€™s better than the alternative in my book. Austin is an awesome place to be during this challenge, even while traveling, due to the insane amount of healthy restaurants and farmers markets all over. So I am actually not even remotely concerned about being able to eat clean while there. I chose this place for a reasonโ€ฆ Or so I like to tell myself. Sounds better than I basically just said hey why not and picked up my life. Youโ€™re only young once, right? Yes, that picture is the real life drive I will have to do in less than a month.

Austin, Texas has one of the biggest Whole Foods in the country and I am so excited to see it! I know thatโ€™s a weird attraction for some, but if I could be a personal food shopper my life would be complete. I love food shopping and grocery stores way more than the average human being.

Be prepared for lots of pictures heading your way over the next week. I plan on being very active on the ole blog, instagram, and twitter. Itโ€™s been far too long and I want yโ€™all to basically be with me this trip! I hope everyone has a relaxing Sunday. Mine will be spent packing and moving some furniture around before my trip. Oh yeah and go Patriots! We are playing the Bills at 1 pm. Get psyched! Even if you arenโ€™t a Patriots fan, who doesnโ€™t love football Sundays?!

Carb Cycling and my First Week Experience

I figured I would explain carb cycling in case anyone is interested in why I am doing it and what it’s all about. Feel free to skip this post if you couldn’t care less. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Basically carb cycling takes the macronutrients which consist of protein, fat, and carbs in each meal and uses them to reduce body fat to lower levels without getting rid of all of the hard earned muscle you work for at the gym. A lot of bodybuilders use this style of dieting during competition prep to really get into the cutting phase to show their muscle separation better.

It works because carbs are the main macronutrient that your body uses for energy during the day and in your workouts. By cycling those carbs, having both low carb and high carb days, your body becomes confused on what it should use as a main energy source. This is because carbs are no longer dependable every single day. On lower carb days you replace the calories lost from them by increasing your intake of healthy fats and protein to maintain your muscle mass as you continue to push yourself and excel in your performance at the gym.

It’s not super easy to just start doing if you are used to being a carboholic. But due to the fact that I was paleo for a good portion of the summer and do not tend to eat a lot of grains due to digestive issues, it actually hasn’t been that hard for me. I’ve actually come to love it. You just need to be creative with the food you want to eat and make sure that you track your macros each day. I use MyFitnessPal to do so. I plugged in my own custom numbers versus what they generate for you to make it more customized to what I need in a day.

I figured this out by using the 40/40/20 method that most bodybuilders use. 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat on nutrient timing days. I will be going back to nutrient timing when I am done cycling and will explain what that is all about in a different post. On low carb days those percentages change and I only intake 20% of my daily calories in carbohydrate form. On high carb days that changes again to carbs making up 50% of my daily calories. In order to figure out my daily calories I took the weight I wished to weigh for now (I guessed 135 taking into account muscle mass as an arbitrary starting point) and added 200 calories to it for low carb days or days that I am not using major muscles (arms, shoulders, and abs) at the gym. You would add 500 on major muscle days such as legs, back, and chest during nutrient timing. But for cycling, you stick with the lowest number and keep that for the entire three weeks every single day. So 135 (the weight I guessed I wanted to weigh) x 10 = 1,350 calories. Take those calories and add 200 and I have a daily caloric intake of 1,550. This is what I am using to track the 40/40/20 and will pay attention to my daily macros to make sure I am nailing my cycling every day. MyFitnessPal makes it super easy to track all of these things and takes the guess work out of it once you customize your own numbers.

This carb cycle will last only 3 weeks since it is said that any longer will start to affect your muscle mass as your body will use that for fuel. In three weeks I will explain my change over to nutrient timing and what the heck that is all about.

I hope this post was helpful and made sense! I know I have been getting a lot of questions about what it is, how hard it is, and if I am seeing results.

As for results, I only have a week to go off of, but I can tell you what I noticed this past week. I was never bloated, my clothes started to be a little looser due to loss of bloat weight, and my muscles are looking more separated and defined than usual. These aren’t huge noticeable changes to anyone else other than me. My roommate sees the definition in both herself and me, but it’s only been a week so no crazy changes yet. But I can tell a difference in my body. I can tell a difference in my performance at the gym most definitely. I am fueling my body properly and basically beasting all of my workouts at the gym. I’m going longer and much heavier on my weights and I have increased all my reps to 4 sets of 15-20 reps to up the cardiovascular work in the strength training. I also have started to incorporate supersets and trisets into my workouts, which has also kept my heart rate up and aided in fatiguing my muscles.

This was a back picture before I started cycling my carbs.

This is during week 1 of cycling. I can see a huge difference personally! It’s super motivating to me to see that definition in my upper back and shoulders. Sorry about the split mirror making me look super wide, it’s all I had! Also, sorry if this picture offends someone I tried to keep it as PG as possible while still showing you guys the muscle separation I was talking about.

I don’t recommend people just wanting to lose weight to carb cycle. It’s not super easy nor is it sustainable. Keep in mind I am doing this because I want to do a bodybuilding bikini competition in July! So this is totally just a personal thing. But I do think that eating clean is important no matter who you are and watching your carb intake so you aren’t storing too many as body fat is also important.

If you have any questions I’ll answer all the comments, tweets, or anything I get! Happy Saturday everyone! I’ll be posting my updated workouts in the next week if you are curious what I have been doing at the gym lately.

Here are some fun shirts I found to brighten your day! And make you forget about the one I wasn’t wearing in an earlier picture. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some other fun fashions I have been rocking… Or lack there of since I am awful with fashion… Are fun shirts and plaid! Lots of plaid…

I’m so inappropriate with the things I find funny. I also bought another shirt that says “Don’t Sweat my Swag.” Oh Nike, how I love you. Yup, I’m THAT girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

Photos of Carb Cycling

I wanted to do a complete picture post showing you guys what I have been eating while cycling my carbs for the past week. I will be carb cycling for 3 weeks then moving on to nutrient timing for 1 month then back to carb cycling for another 3 weeks.

Normally I add beans to my chili recipe, but because I am doing mostly low carb days I decided to leave it out to fit in with my macros. It tastes just as amazing and I replaced lost calories from beans with healthy fats and calories from avocados. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is on high carb days. I use 2 oz of brown rice pasta with a homemade meat sauce. I used 1 lb of 99% fat free ground turkey, 1 jar of Rao’s Arrabiata sauce (THE BEST SAUCE EVER), and an onion with tons of spices. Also, the best brown rice pasta I have ever had is by the company jovial. Best texture out there and tastes like the real thing.

I have been eating so much kabocha, acorn, and buttercup squash. I am obsessed… Especially when it’s cold. It’s like dessert to me… Don’t ask me why!

I love sweet potatoes on higher carb days with peanut butter. Also, I have had a love affair with salmon this past week. I love fish. Especially fresh caught fish. There’s a fishing derby going on around the island right now and the fish is to die for here.

Seared tuna steak… My protein crack. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been using Fitmixer Vanilla Protein after my gym sessions with 8 oz of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Tastes like a milkshake… I love it.

Egg whites, an egg, half an avocado, sliced tomato, and sriracha sauce. Heaven for breakfast.

My night time snack before bed. A little plain greek yogurt with some almond butter. I like having the slow digesting protein before bed, especially after my tough workouts. Plus, almond butter has been shown to help you sleep! And I love it… So I combine them for the most amazing night time dessert ever.

On higher carb days I have been 1/4 cup oatmeal, 1/4 oat bran cooked in 1.25 cups of water. Then I add a tbsp of cocoa powder, scoop of vanilla protein, some almond milk and top it with protein frosting (protein powder mixed with almond milk till the right consistency), pb2, and sliced banana. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next weeks high carb days will be a little different. More fruit instead of grains!

I’ve been drinking a ton of tea. I ordered Pumpkin Chai and Creme Brulee tea from David’s Tea. It’s amazing! I highly recommend their teas. They are so insanely good. I bought the steeper to make the loose leaf teas and let me tell you there is a huge difference between this stuff and the stuff that comes in the little baggies at the store. It’s so much better.

This picture is proof that you can go out to eat and order something completely clean and healthy! We went to a restaurant called Slice of Life on the island and asked for the summer salad. It had mixed greens, cucumber, and pistachios. We asked them to hold the lemon poppyseed dressing and asked for lemon wedges and added salmon on top. We asked them to cook the salmon in water instead of oil to keep it healthy!

This gallon jug of water has been my new best friend. I drink one every day. It’s creepy how much time we spend together. Almost as much time as my roommate and I! Literally that girl is my best friend and is doing this journey with me. I can’t express enough how proud I am of her with all of her progress and dedication.

This is us on my birthday after we celebrated with the champagne my boss gave me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Literally we are twins. I can’t wait for her to do a guest post about her journey with you guys!

Have a great day guys!

 

 

Lots of Recipe Requests

Happy Thursday everyone! I am leaving for Austin, Texas on Tuesday and I am so excited! I can’t even stand it. My roommate and I will be heading down to look at apartments, try to find jobs, and rent a storage unit for all of our stuff. I have applied to so many jobs right now online that I cannot wait to hear back from. I started off applying to a ton of jobs at Lifetime Fitness for Member Services in hopes that when I get certified in a couple months I can move to their personal training department. ๐Ÿ™‚

I will be updating this baby while I am there to let you all see what’s going on with us while we are there. If any of you have any recommendations let us know in the comments! I am all over fun finds. We are going in absolutely blind and I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am that I met Laura. Between her and her friends they have helped my roommate and I so much! But I will leave a different post for Texas.

On to what this post is really about. A lot of people have been asking me on instagram and twitter for recipes to the new delicious foods I have been making and posting. I am currently carb cycling in preparation for a bodybuilding competition in July! Yay! It’s completely terrifying to think that I am going to be judged while wearing a bikini, but it’s a goal that I wanted to set for myself to really push me and elevate my performance in the gym. This entire challenge and goal is all about fueling my body properly and really making sure that it gets what it needs after a summer of poor eating choices… oh yeah and the whole going out every weekend. But I’m back on it now! I have a goal in sight and I can’t wait to share my progress with you guys! I will explain carb cycling in a different post so that this one isn’t clogged with information that not everyone cares about.

Onto the food! A lot of the food I have been making has been low carb due to the macro nutrient requirement that I have for cycling currently. So if that sounds right up your alley awesome! I promise all this food has been insanely delicious and curbs my sweet tooth with the snap of a finger. We all know that I have two major obsessions. Chocolate and nut butter. Combine those two and I never feel the need to binge eat or go crazy with ice cream. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is where homemade chocolate protein bars, apple cinnamon protein bars, low carb chocolate protein pancakes, peanut butter protein frosting, and Justin’s Nut Butter comes into the scene.

Ask and you shall receive people! Any time you ever want a recipe that isn’t posted on here, just ask! I love sharing. I haven’t been able to update this blog very much lately, but that is all going to change when I move. I really want to put more time into this passion of mine and share with all of you my journey.

I changed up my protein bar recipes a bit to cut out grains, since they tend to upset my stomach and bloat me every time I eat them. Also, I’ve done a lot of research lately about the benefits of cutting out wheat in a strength training regimen, so that’s what I have decided to do personally. Feel free to sub the almond and coconut flour for all oat flour. I’ve tried it before and it works beautifully!

Chocolate Protein Bars
Serves 6 (2 bars per serving) or 12 if you want 1


Ingredients
1/2 cup Almond Meal/Flour
1/2 cup Coconut Flour
4 egg whites
3 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
6 packets of Truvia (or sweetener of choice, can change the macros of this recipe)
1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cup Water
Splash of unsweetened almond milk (to make the consistency more like brownie batter due to the high fiber of coconut flour it absorbs a lot of liquid)
2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix until smooth and all incorporated. Add the almond milk only till you get the right consistency of not too thick or too liquidy. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes depending on the oven!

Don’t those look amazing?! I put chocolate pb2 combined with almond milk till frosting consistency on top of them fresh out of the oven. I died a little of chocolate nirvana. I do want to caution everyone, though this shouldn’t be a problem, they don’t keep well for very long, so eat them quickly!

Nutrient Breakdown (per serving of 2 bars)
Calories: 155.5
Total Carbs: 15.5g
Fiber: 6.2g
Sugars: 4.9g
Protein: 12.2g

The net carbs for these only end up being around 9, which is awesome for those on low carb days for carb cycling.

Apple Cinnamon Protein Bars
Serves 6 (2 bars per serving)

Ingredients
4 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3 egg whites
6 packets of Truvia (or any other sweetener, can change macros)
1/2 cup 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium apple grated through large holes

Combine all ingredients except apple into a bowl, then fold in the apple shreds. Bake at 350 degrees in an 8×8 Pyrex pan for 20-30 minutes.

These are a little taste of fall! ๐Ÿ™‚ They are super moist and lower in carbs than the chocolate protein bars.

Nutrient Breakdown (per 2 bar serving)
Calories: 116
Total Carbs: 8.4g
Fiber: 2.4g
Sugars: 4.2g
Protein: 12.9g

Low Carb Chocolate Protein Pancake
Serves 1

Ingredients
1/4 cup liquid egg whites
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Cinnamon
Vanilla Extract
2 drops of Liquid Stevia (optional) I’ve tried both Toffee and Vanilla… Epic!

Combine all ingredients and cook like pancakes. Yes, they will look really liquidy. Yes, they will still turn out all right. Yes, they cook really fast so you may burn them the first time! But I warned you, so maybe you won’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Nutrient Breakdown (per serving, just the pancake)
Calories: 120
Total Carbs: 6g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 26g

These were made into tiny pancakes and layered with my next recipe. Peanut butter protein frosting. It tasted like a Reese’s Cake. Granted not like a full fat Reese’s Cake, but for someone who’s on a no added sugar diet and can’t have a lot of carbs it tasted almost as good!

Peanut Butter Protein Frosting
Serves 1

Ingredients
2 tbsp PB2
1 tbsp Vanilla Protein Powder
Unsweetened Almond Milk till desired consistency is achieved

Easy as pie.

I hope those were all the ones you guys have been asking for! If I missed one let me know and I can put it up this week. Keep an eye out I am trying to post every single day this week like I used to do! ๐Ÿ™‚

Birthday Week

I am in Pennsylvania, everyone! I have finally made it off the island I have been trapped on all summer! Even if it’s just for a weekend to celebrate my birthday; I am so excited. I am planning a vlog recapping my 21st year and everything that happened so stay tuned for that this weekend if you are curious.

But let’s talk about food. What else is new? I have literally had two of the best meals of my life this week. One I took pictures of… The other I forgot because I was too busy inhaling the best burger of my life that I didn’t stop and think about the fact that I wanted to show you. It was amazing. Picture a giant burger topped with goat cheese, prosciutto, balsamic reduction, and these pickled hot peppers that were to die for. Then picture that with the best arugula salad you can think of and think about eating that all at once… All while having a margarita in a bowl because it’s so delicious and big. Yes please. Sign me up again! Head to Atria on Martha’s Vineyard if you are ever there. I promise you, you are in for the best treat ever.

I didn’t take this picture, but here is an idea of the awesomeness of which you can experience. That doesn’t even do it justice. My burger was like twice the size of that haha.

The burger menu is only served downstairs. So go there! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyways, back to what I did remember to take a picture of this week. We went to the Atlantic on my birthday on a whim because we have heard so many amazing things about it, but it’s super pricey so we never ended up going this summer. They have an amazing view where you can sit outside and look at the Edgartown harbor. You can see Chappy off in the distance, it’s really pretty. The weather was also beautiful on the day we went so we sat outside. Since I turned 22 we figured we might as well go all out and just splurge. We ended up having quite the price tag come along with this meal, but it was worth every single penny.

We started off with a blueberry lemonade made with Stoli Blueberry, lemonade, and soda water. It was pretty good! There were fresh blueberries floating in it too, which I managed to eat with the straw. Vodka soaked blueberries are a new favorite of mine. Healthy?! Of course… Not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After we had a couple minutes to slam this drink like frat boys enjoy this tasty drink like classy ladies our appetizer came out. We decided on the lobster and charred tomato salsa with homemade chips. Guys, there was so much lobster in that salsa it was insane! You definitely get your moneys worth. The chips were also insane in the membrane. I’m not sure what they seasoned them with other than crack but they were delicious!

Why yes, that is a giant claw sitting in the middle of it as a garnish. You bet your booties that went into my mouth ASAP. I forgot to take a picture of the next dish we had, which is really sad because it was hands down the best I had that day, but I will do my best to explain it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was a lobster salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, arugula, and a strawberry vinaigrette. It was insane the amount of lobster on that salad. It wasn’t even an entree salad! It was just supposed to be a starter. But the plate was massive. Of course, like the sumo wrestler I am, I ate the entire thing… But that’s besides the point. ๐Ÿ˜‰ YOLO? I actually hate that saying and only use it when I am being sarcastic, but I thought it was fitting. Anyways, for my actual meal… Yeah we still haven’t gotten there yet haha… I got a seared tuna steak burger. Since the last time I tried to make seared tuna steak I burned my leg so bad I still have the scar I try to get it out whenever I can since I am too scared to make it again haha. This one was alright, it wasn’t the best seared tuna I have ever had, but it was still really good. I ended up taking it out of the bun to eat it since I don’t really like buns. I think it gets in the way of the meat. Yup, I’m that kid. I also don’t really like french fries so sadly those just sat there. They were really good for french fries though! Nothing like the Boathouse truffle fries on the island, however. Those are life changing.

I remembered to take the picture after I demolished the first half. I tell you people I am not lying to you when I say I can eat. As if I stopped here haha. I totally had dessert… And ate the entire thing. Yes, this healthy living blog is full of not so healthy food sometimes. I hope you all enjoy the fact that I am human and cannot just survive on salad beasts and fruit 365 days of the year.

If you are happy to see this post feast your eyes on a french riviera cake layered with vanilla custard, dusted with sugar, and fresh berries. It was amazingly light and fluffy. I really loved it! Happy birthday to me!

As you can tell all of these pictures are from Instagram. Seriously follow me if you want to see what I eat on the daily. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Or if you are curious on the occasional random progress pictures, workouts, or Martha’s Vineyard sunsets. I also have some fashion posts as well. mroy90!

For my birthday my boss, who is one of my favorite people ever, bought me a bottle of champagne and told my roommate and I to enjoy. We aren’t really drinkers of anything other than vodka and tequila, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. Well it was really good quality champagne, but I am apparently not very classy and wasn’t really a fan. But my roommate and I didn’t want to waste it so we spent the rest of the evening downing an entire bottle of champagne and passing out after. Yes people, that’s how one celebrates turning 22 with their best friend haha. Jealous? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s a recap of what went down.

Yeah we are gems. This is the reason we are both single. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The sweetest way to end my day! Another three to add to my Alex & Ani arm candy collection.

The longhorns I bought to represent something super exciting that is happening in my life. My roommate and I are moving to Austin, Texas! I am so freaking excited I can barely form words to describe it. We are heading there in a month to check it out, find a place to live, and land some jobs. Wish me luck!