Alright…time for my bikini shots.

 

Eat clean and train dirty – that’s how body transformations happen. But what if you are training hard and eating clean and nothing is changing? What then?

This is something I know about all too well. The before pictures you see are from June, 2011 last year and I had been recently diagnosed as having hypothyroidism. I wasn’t feeling well, felt tired all the time, and I knew something wasn’t right with my body.  After analyzing my nutrition and training program, things weren’t adding up (well they were…but not the way I wanted them too!). I had much debate with my doctor at the time who said I was just ‘working out too much’ and despite my lack of energy and plethora of other symptoms, he told me my body was ‘just fine’ (he is no longer my doctor of course…). I had grown out of my clothes but was working out 6 days a week, eating a traditional body building style diet (oatmeal, egg whites, chicken, brown rice…etc), and was feeling frustrated. I was getting amazing results for my clients, but I couldn’t figure out why my body fat was increasing despite my commitment to eating clean and training hard.

whit before and after

 

whit before and after back

As a fitness professional I felt like I wasn’t representing everything that I was coaching. I also felt the pressure of wanting to look like a fit fitness professional, something that I feel strongly about.  Although I don’t think all coaches need to always look like they are ready for a physique competition at any given moment, I do feel we need to be committed to a high standard of training and nutrition. Not only did I not feel I looked my best, I was also losing strength and felt very weak in comparison to the weights I was previously lifting.

The past year was quite the journey and I am fortunate to have worked with some incredible nutrition and training coaches to get me where I am today. Marianne, my nutrition coach and Taylor my strength coach (husband and best friend) were instrumental in helping me work towards my fitness goals. I really can’t thank them enough for all the help and their patience (emphasis on the patience).

Looking back a year ago, I remember meeting with one specialist in Toronto who told me that I just had to get use to eating 1000 calories a day and do 2+ hours of cardio in order to ‘lose weight’ with my condition.  I remember leaving that appointment thinking, no wonder people are pushed into extreme diet and exercise programs with all the horrible advice and information from so called experts.  I left that appointment after initially thinking I had wasted my time and a lot of money, but as I sat on the train ride home I decided to turn a negative experience into a positive one.  I made the decision to commit to finding out everything I needed to know about my thyroid condition and become my own expert and build a team of coaches to help me find my way back to looking and feeling better.

I had to relearn what training and nutrition worked best while I was in transition to regulate my hormones (not an easy and quick process…trust me!). I became committed to new changes with my own eating to better support my hormone health and in the process I became certified as a fitness nutrition coach.

I would be lying if I said this process wasn’t frustrating or at times or I didn’t feel sorry for myself, because I did! We’ve all been there, but on a positive front I now have a much better appreciation for what it feels like when we start to change the way new members workout and eat.  It’s not easy, but it is worth it. And having support is very key in the process.  I remember thinking to myself that perhaps my situation was karma getting back at me for making so many people do countless burpees…lol

I’m fortunate to now have a healthy body and I have made a commitment that I will never take my health and how I feel for granted after such hard work. I have learned an extraordinary amount of information about nutrition, training, life and happiness along the way and I feel that I’m a better coach for it.

You might be wondering if my results are merely based on medication to regulate my hormones and that is fair enough to ask.  The answer is NO (trust me…) and it is just a small piece in the puzzle actually.  I still train 5 days a week, I have revamped my diet which has been one of the biggest factors contributing to my physique changes and I still take time for recovery with rest days, physiotherapy and massage treatment at our studio. To be honest I’m now training and eating smarter than I ever have before and I’m happy with my progress.

As I always tell our members, the key to being successful with your health and fitness is truly about respecting your body and what it needs.  There are so many people out there on the same journey, trying to feel their best but going about it the wrong way.  I meet women thinking running will make them lose weight, weights will make their legs and arms look bigger, using the scale will show them their progress, and eating carbohydrates will immediately add a donut size piece of fat onto their ass – all not true! It’s not about being extreme, it’s about training SMART and working with the right coaches to help you hit your goal.  You can read countless workouts and diets in fitness magazines, but none of them are designed with you in mind.  There are millions of readers of those magazines of all different ages, shapes and sizes but there is only one you.Your health and happiness is depended on what you choose to make of your opportunity to live your best life.  So get out and make it happen!

 

 

 

 

 

The TRX – a great train dirty tool!

I love the TRX and I have from the first time I used it.  We bring our TRX wherever we travel and have used it in hotel rooms, hotel gyms, in our backyard and at playgrounds (great for anchoring the TRX and for doing pull-ups!).

One of my goals last year was to complete the TRX 40/40 challenge at the IDEA world Conference we attended in Los Angeles CA last August.  Here is what I did!

-Goal: TRX 40/40 challenge winning myself a new TRX!

-Program: I made myself a 4 week training program that I followed to allow me to build strength and work on the endurance needed to complete 40 TRX atomic pushups and 40 TRX low rows

-Goal Date: TRX had a booth at the IDEA tradeshow, and on the second day of the conference I signed up for the challenge!

-Outcome: SUCCESS! I completed the 40/40 which was a great feeling! (the TRX was just the ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak).

Pick a goal, make a plan, make it happen! You won’t regret it.

Here I am:)

Whitney’s TRX 40/40

Chicken Skewers with a peanut sauce

chicken skewers
Ingredients:

-1 red pepper

-skewer sticks

– thin stripes of Chicken breast (400 g in total for 6)

*Make the 6 skewers with 3 long chicken stripes per skewer, weaving them onto the skewer (this is way easier than you think!). Add the red pepper pieces at the end of each and grill or bake. For more flavour you can soak them in hot sauce or spray them with flavoured olive oil.

Ingredients for the satay sauce:
-Juice of two oranges

-3/4 cup of natural peanut butter

-Cayenne pepper

-Sea Salt
*If it’s too thick make it lighter with water

Serve the chicken squewers with this Satay sauce on the side.

Don’t let “The Wagon” run you over!

Don’t let “THE WAGON” run you over!

 

A common phrase when people derail from a nutrition plan goes a little like this, “Well, I fell off the wagon…and I didn’t get back on track so I gave up”.

 

OK, here’s the secret:

When you fall off the proverbial wagon you GET BACK ON or else the wagon will run you over (and it will hurt!).

That one bad choice can lead to a day, a couple days or a week of putting garbage into your body and slow down your progress, and really, who wants that?!

Depending on your goal, here are a few strategies to help you stay focused and keep your eye on the prize (your ultimate goal!).

  1. Give yourself a “free” meal or snack once a week so you can enjoy something you really love.  Have it, enjoy it, then go right back to your plan.
  2. Intermittent fasting is becoming increasing popular, and for good reason. Strategies such as including a high calorie day following by a fasting day give you more options to plan out and include food choices that wouldn’t be considered ‘eating clean’.  If you are interested in trying intermittent fasting work with a nutrition coach to help you create a plan.
  3. Speaking of nutrition coaches…hire a coach to help you on stay focused and be accountable for your food intake.  A coach might have you send them your daily intake or track your food selections in a journal. This is a great way to stay focused and keep track of your progress.  It is also a great way to stay motivated.
  4. ENJOY FOOD! There are SO many amazing clean eating recipes on the net (and on this page).  Experiment with food, try new things and you will be amazed at how eating clean can taste!

Grain and Gluten Free Pizza

This is a recipe that one of our Taylored Training Members shared with me – thanks Shannon!

Cauliflower Pizza!
1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)or other spices that you have handy 
To “Rice” the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray or use olive oil with aluminum foil.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

For the tex mex pizza I used salsa as the base sauce, then spicy chicken, then red onions, red peppers, a couple tbsps of shredded cheddar, a tbsp of crumbled goat cheese. Place back in oven on broil for 5-6 min. then enjoy 

Pull-ups

Today I rocked some Pull-ups. Learn how you can too!

Using a resistance band is an awesome way to train for bodyweight pulls and chins!
Using a resistance band is an awesome way to train for bodyweight pulls and chins!

Pull-ups are an awesome goal. I love when one of my clients tells me – ‘Hey I want to do pull-ups’.  My response – AWESOME.

One of my clients Pauline recently did her first unassisted pull-up and 1/2 (in the land of pull-ups..trust me…the 1/2 rep is Definitely worth counting!).

Today in my workout (which is crazy by the way…thanks Taylor), I did a superset of BB Clean and Press with pull-ups on our TRX rack.  My PB in the 4 sets today was 5 pull-ups the set went like this – 5/4/4/3.5 . I need to get in 8 reps…it WILL happen!

There is a point to telling you about my pull-ups. And just a quick note about my new site…Some female trainers like to post their workouts and diet EVERYDAY, followed up by multiple pictures of them working out or on photo shoots, that’s great… but you won’t find that here. My goal is to educate you and tell you how you can hit every single fitness goal out of the park! I think there is a lack of fitness education for females.  I can post multiple pics of hot fitness models and trainers, but common, you want to know how to change your life, not live someone else’s!

Back to pulls and chins – shall we?

Pull-ups are an awesome upper body goal. Here is how I accomplished both pull-ups and chin-ups with my training:

1) I first started by perfecting my ‘inverted row’ (lying under a bar or TRX and pulling yourself up). Both pushups and inverted rows are 2 awesome exercises to start when you are a beginner.  Our TT programming always includes these exercises from the get go and then when they get too easy we toss a plate on your back or stomach!

2) As I got stronger I then progressed to using bands to help me get my chin ‘up and over’ the bar (in my past training years ago, I had used the pull-up machine…not a good idea, as it didn’t give me any idea of the proper form I needed to do a REAL one!). You want to drop you head back, look up (where you want to go!), and focus on using your back to pull and initiate the movement. *Using back activation techniques are also a great way to warm-up those muscles so you know how to contract them through the pull movement.

3) I then started using a spotter & no bands (usually I persuaded Vanessa, one of our trainers, to lend me a hand, which towards the end of my sets sometimes turned into more of a workout for her!)

4) Then came the day when I went ‘band-less’, ‘Vanessa-less’ and started the journey towards bodyweight chins and pulls!

Note: All the time I was training on a strength program that worked on improving my overall strength.

A well designed program, proper nutrition and 4-5x a week training is essential to accomplishing the goal of performing body weight pulls and chin-ups.  We have a few members at Taylored Training who are working on their pull-up badge on an amazing program designed by Taylor – I will keep you posted on their progress.

In the meantime, summer is coming and don’t you want to be able to do some chins and pull-ups to show off to your family and friends?! Picture hanging  out with your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews or siblings at the park and rocking’ out some pull-ups on the monkey bars- trust me, it will feel pretty awesome!

Gluten & Grain Free Pancakes!

pancakes

Ingredients:

-4 eggs

-1 cup unsweet. almond milk

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-1/2 cup coconut flour

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp sea salt

-cinnamon (as much as you like)

 

Instructions:

-preheat pan over med-low heat

-beat eggs in a mixer until frothy and mix in almond milk and vanilla

-in another bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt with the cinnamon and whisk

-combine both dry and wet mixes until coconut flour is mixed in (add in a little more coconut flour if you prefer your pancakes thicker)

-cook 2- 3minutes flip and cook another 2-3minutes

Throw Out Your Scale

Throw out your scale. Yes, I’m serious.  Here me out.

I have the “scale talk” with at least one female client, member, facebook follower or friend almost everyday.

Here’s are some of the most frequent questions I get:

  • What if the scale goes up when I lift weights?
  • My  clothes feel great, I feel better, but the scale has gone up – I’m scared and I’m freaking out?
  • I will lose my 10 pounds when I start working out, right?
  • Can I lose ___ lbs by ____date?
  • I don’t want to gain weight when I lift weights, that won’t happen, right?

These are all great questions and part of being a good coach is providing answers that educate my clients. I will always be happy to answer these questions everyday (twice a day if need be), but here’s the deal; ladies you need to free yourself from your scale, and more importantly how that scale makes you feel.

Check out these pictures:

  

Myth Alert! Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat (this is one of the urban legends of the fitness world up there with vodka doesn’t have any calories…sad, I know).

So muscle and fat weigh the same BUT as you can see in the pictures above they take up a different amount of space. While both 5lbs of muscle and 5lbs of fat weigh the same on the scale, you can see the huge difference in the way they look. You will see a difference in the way you look and more importantly the way you feel, when you replace 5lbs of fat with 5 lbs of lean muscle.

When you’re training hard and following a program it is important to track changes in your physique to keep you on track, motivated and excited to hit your goal. The best ways to track changes to your physique are:

-weekly or monthly pictures in a bathing suit

-having a ‘thermometer’ pair of jeans or pants

-tracking measurements

 

Here is the best way to explain it.  If you see someone at the gym (male or female) with a killer body (nice arms, lean stomach, cute butt) do you really care how much they weigh? If you found out they weighed 10lbs more than what you thought – would you care? When you look at pictures of fitness models on the cover of Oxygen magazine, would you think the models weren’t attractive if I told you they weighed 140lbs instead of 125lbs?  When you feel amazing after a great workout how much to you value that feeling over that number on the scale?  Did you know that physique competitors aren’t judged on their weight, but on their physique and presentation of that physique?

Hopefully you get my point. The most important numbers to focus on when you are training for a fit physique are measured in pounds – the ones you are lifting not the ones you see on the scale!

Work hard, challenging your body, eat clean and you will hit your fitness goals.

Single serving (grain-free) microwavable brownie (does it get any better?)

*original recipe idea is from the ‘Girls Gone Strong’ FB Fanpage, I made a couple tweaks!

  • 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
  • 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBSP dark cocoa powder from Costco (my fav brand)
  • 2 packs of splenda OR stevia
  • Optional: chocolate chips (don’t need a lot…maybe 5-10)

I used a ramekin dish and microwaved from 2-3minutes (depends on how vicious your microwave is).

The best part:

135calories/15g carbs/2.5g fat/10.5g protein/7g fiber

Optional:Top with nut butter!

single brownie

 

Scallops!

Scallops
2 large sea scallops: 26 calories, 02.g fat, 0.7g carbs, 5g protein

Cooking Option #1:Place 12 scallops in a muffin tin with lemon juice, garlic and your favourite spices. You can also try wrapping them in bacon or turkey bacon. Bake at 300.

Cooking Option #2: Pan fry in a non stick pan with your choice of olive or coconut oil. Cook until slightly crispy and serve with a side of your favourite veggies.