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Your Questions Answered, Part 2

31 Jan

I’ve just launched myself into comp prep.  This is day two.   My friend asked me earlier, “How is the chickening coming along?” to which I responded, “So far, so chicken.  I mean so far, so good”.   Mmm chicken, vegetables and rice.  My new best mates.  They will be with me throughout this whole journey and they are with me right now as I type this post.

I wonder when I am going to get sick of eating this?  One week?  Two?  Will I be able to switch off that part of my brain entirely and just man up and eat it every day without complaint?  Time will tell, my pretties, time will tell.

So, onto the next instalment of Your Questions Answered.  I am still so surprised at all the questions that cropped up!  You know, it is so incredibly humbling to have so many people behind me throughout all of this.  The continued support I get from my online followers is nothing short of astounding.  I feel as if I know many of you personally now and have formed great bonds and friendships!  You guys rock!  And I won’t let you down.  🙂

12 weeks out from first comp!

@monstar1984 asked:

Any insights you can share on the positives will help my motivation!

The positives I have found from losing weight are endless.  It’s really not just about physicality – sure I get a kick out of looking better, wearing nice clothes, feeling more comfortable in a bikini and so on and so forth but it’s the absolute mental clarity that I have experienced that has been the biggest positive for me.

I think once you push yourself to succeed in anything in life you get an enormous sense of self-worth.  You begin to realise that you are actually worth something, that you can do anything you put your mind to.   And from that you gain a lot of respect for yourself and your inner-strength begins to shine through.

I now feel more positive, more focused and more at peace with myself.  There’s no more internal battles in my mind about feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  Yes, I do have my moments with self-doubt but they are not hanging over me every waking moment of the day like they used to.

It has taken the better part of 2 years for me to get this far, but it has been worth it.  I am beginning to love who I am, which is not something that I have ever felt before.  It’s  a good thing.  🙂

@IndianaHolley asked:

Would love to know whether you struggled with PMT/hormones during this time and how you over came that?

I think pretty much the whole time I was losing weight I struggled with hormones due to my PCOS.  The weight loss was PAINFULLY slow and it was hard to envision the slender light at the end of the fat tunnel!

There was not much I could really do about that.  I could take the pills the Dr gave me that made me feel nauseous, I could whinge, cry and complain and insist that I’ll be fat forever OR I could basically put some belief into myself and tell myself that I can and WILL do it.  Which option do you think I went with?  😉

It was hard work (still is) and at times I felt like I had to work harder than anyone else to lose weight.  But I never gave up.  I visualised the end result – the healthier, fitter, smaller version of me and I never lost sight of that image.  It’s quite easy to re-route your thinking once you get in the habit of it!  Even if you don’t believe yourself at first, you eventually will.   The mind is a very tricky and powerful thing!

@jadegrrrl asked:

Was there a turning point diet wise when you started eating clean or was it gradual?  Did you have slip ups?  I’m struggling.

If you go back over my blog and through the recipes and meal plans, you can see my eating habits gradually change to be cleaner and cleaner.  I first started with just counting calories and not paying too much mind to being “clean” exactly, but rather just trying to be as healthy as possible.  Every time I would plateau, maybe every 4 – 6 weeks, I would change up the diet and make adjustments.

Eventually I found the most success with just being as clean as possible – no additives, no sugar, no artificial flavours or colourings – just fresh, whole, natural produce.  I actually LOVE eating this way.  It tastes so much better!

Yep, I’ve had slip ups – definitely!  I’m no saint, I guarantee you!  There have been times where I have found myself shovelling junk food into my face with careless abandon and I would fall into a deep depression after that, scolding myself for letting my resolve drop for those few moments.  But afterwards I would always simply dust myself off and start again.

Those moments then became few and far between as I noticed more and more changes within myself and the respect for myself grew.  I didn’t want to disappoint myself!  If I failed, I only had myself to blame.  And there was no way I was going to fail!  That’s how I feel to this day, especially as comp time draws near – failure is not an option!

I’m not saying that people need to eat like a body builder to get results.  But I do advocate eating a healthy, clean and balanced diet at least 90% of the time.  Don’t deprive yourself of a treat now and then!  You really appreciate them when you don’t have them so often.  Keep up your exercise, fuel your body with nutritious and whole foods, switch it up when results lag and just give it TIME.  It WILL happen if you work hard at it.

As they always say, “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it”.

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Winners – Blackmore Personal Health System Giveaway!

12 Dec

Congratulations to Karam Lee and Jenna Kaz!

You have both won a 0ne month pass to Blackmore’s Personal Health System.  WOO HOO!

I will be in contact with you both shortly via email with instructions on how to claim your prize.

This competition was drawn using Random.org.

Giveaway: Balancing Health and Wellbeing with Blackmores!

2 Dec

I was recently contacted by Blackmore’s to do a review of their new “Personal Health System”.  At first, I was a bit wary.  I get asked to do a lot of product reviews and I like to align myself only with things that I truly believe in and things that I think are relevant to mine and my reader’s interests.  So I had a quick squiz (yes, squiz, I’m standing by that word!) at the site and I was actually pleasantly surprised by what I saw!

Developed specifically for time-poor Australians, The Blackmores Personal Health System (PHS) takes Blackmores’ expert understanding of nature and science a step further, providing an individually tailored online health program which combines the latest interactive technology with personal support from Blackmores’ team of naturopaths.

Basically, it is a 360 degree holistic approach to health including menu plans, nutrition advice, fitness suggestions, and a community of support as well as a lot more. It gives time-poor people the opportunity to stay fit and healthy wherever they are, whenever they want, with the support they need.  Blackmores has also welcomed Asher Keddie (Australian actress and star of TV show OffSpring) as their inaugural PHS member and ambassador.

I decided to trial the Sport & Fitness Program as it was most relevant to my goals.   The first thing I did was get stuck into the Health Assessment which was VERY thorough!  I may have giggled at how many questions about pooh it asks but hey, a healthy pooh is very important!  😉  My overall score was 82/100 which is 14 points above the average of all females.   It went on to show the areas that are letting me down – vitality and digestive health being the main culprits.  But after having a chat to one of their wonderful naturopaths and being sent some awesome supplements to try, I’m pleased to report that these issues are no longer such a problem for me!  I’ll provide a review on these products in another post!

Once I had completed the assessment I started browsing the other areas of the program.  There was really nothing that it didn’t cover – it has everything!  It provides you with a menu plan, a workout plan, a food and workout diary, a My Body tracking system (where you can record PBs, your weight and measurements – SO motivating!), access to email your assigned naturopath whenever you see fit (my FAVOURITE feature) as well as an awesome resource library that has great articles on nutrition, exercise and healthy living.   There is also a great forum with over 308,000 members and growing!  I personally think that being a part of a community is highly beneficial to reaching your goals as it provides an invaluable amount of support and motivation.

I honestly can not speak highly enough about this system!  I have only covered the basics of it too, it offers so much more!  And lucky for you guys I have TWO FREE one-month passes to giveaway (valued at $49.95 each)!

To win just leave a comment below on why you think you are deserving to win this prize!  A winner will be drawn at random on Monday the 12th of December at approximately 9:00am EST.

Get in quick guys!  This is a great way to help you start your new year (and new you!) with a bang!

An Interview With ANOTHER Inspiration!

1 Nov

Just as I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Charlotte via the glorious interwebs (I love you interwebs, yes, I’m a closet dweeb), I also have met the amazing Amber.  Well, not in real life, just internetz chatz, you know?  But I have no doubt that we will eventually meet on the comp circuit next year!

Amber’s story was particularly inspirational to me as she has come from where I was and is currently at where I want to be.   Her approach to health and fitness is very similar to mine, I almost felt like I had wrote the interview myself (and she said she often thinks the same of my blog posts!).   Also, her amazing dedication and commitment is something you don’t often come across and what’s more wonderful is she has done it all with her loving partner by her side, literally, every step of the way.

Here is her story.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

You weren’t always in the top-notch shape you are in today, what were you at your heaviest and what made you decide to change your shape?

I was never small – in fact I always considered myself to be heavy set and big boned – and at my heaviest I would have weighed in at around 80kgs (possibly a few more). I was never into sport (or very good at it) – I’m a professional musician, so during my younger years I was always practicing, rehearsing, having lessons. Physical activity was limited to PE at school, and stints at swimming clubs and ballet classes.

For years I had been trying/wanting/wishing to do something about my weight. Different diets and forms of exercise – you name it and I probably tried it! I’d usually lose a little bit of weight, or see some change in my body shape but never anything really significant. I’d often get discouraged by the lack of results, give up for a while and find myself back to where I started if not even heavier. As well as physically detrimental, it was also quite a negative emotional experience. While I ate quite well most of the time, I’d easily turn to food and comfort eating and my portion sizes were more than likely way too big!

After getting engaged in 2009, with our wedding booked for April 2011, I somehow got the drive and determination to get professional help to achieve my goals. I signed up for a 12 week “Get fit from within” program with Michelle Nazaroff and I had some sort of ‘light globe’ moment where sticking to my nutrition and training plans was easy. I was extremely dedicated and began to see results almost immediately – I’d grow in confidence every month as I saw my body change (as well as the number on the scales drop) and it would keep me motivated. Having to be accountable to Michelle every week also helped as I wasn’t only cheating myself if I swayed off the plan, but her as well!

Progress photos - from Aug 10 to Dec 10

Progress Photos - from Aug 10 to Dec 10

Why did you decide to compete in bodybuilding/sports model?

After seeing great results over my 12 week program, I still wasn’t at my goal – the program and lifestyle changes we’d made however meant we could still stick to it, and I continued to see results every month. I was losing fat, and was noticing massive changes in my muscular definition. I must admit, it’s slightly addictive to see such positive changes in your body!! By the time the wedding came around I had lost about 24kgs and was loving my new, lean look!

I had never intended to compete, but seeing how my body had reacted to the change in diet and training, and being someone who likes a challenge, I started to consider it. I did speak to lots of people about the positive/negative experiences they had had whilst preparing for competitions to work out if it was something I could do mentally as well as physically. Many people seem to go up and down like yoyos, emotionally during comp prep, and physically as well (especially afterwards) and that was something I didn’t think I could cope with. Michelle’s approach to nutrition and training means this isn’t likely to happen, and I was reassured that my experience would be a positive one.

We decided that initially I’d compete in the sports model category – I wasn’t quite big enough to compete in figure, and it would also allow me to gain some experience on stage. I did two competitions this year – NABBA/WFF and IFBB. While I didn’t place anywhere in either competition, I had a great time and really enjoyed it. It has motivated me even more, and made me excited about training harder, working on my physique and competing in novice figure this year.

On Stage - Courtesy FTL Photography

Lady in Red! Courtesy FTL Photography

How do you stay motivated and do you have a good support network?

Our diet and training is more just a way of life now and I enjoy the time spent in the gym – while I’m not 100% in to it every day, I know it’s just something I have to do! While I admit there are days I might not feel like it, ill put as much as I can in to training and will leave the gym happy that I actually did it! I think I’d feel worse if I didn’t.

I’m motivated when I see the changes in my body – more muscle definition etc, and having a 6 pack! I’d never have thought that possible! To have other bodybuilders compliment your physique is a huge buzz – especially considering where I came from.

In terms of food, there are times when I wish I could just eat mountains of junk… I don’t let myself though. I’d rather know I was maintaining what I’ve worked so hard for than filling myself up on rubbish – most of which ends up being completely unsatisfying! I’ve become really good at saying no when people offer me food. Unless I know it’s going to be absolutely amazing, I usually won’t touch it…

I have an amazing support network too – my husband, Gary, has stuck to the program with me since we started, eating the same kind of diet and doing the training with me. Without his support, it would have been a whole lot more difficult – especially in terms of food! He has been training at a gym for many years, and surfs and played cricket until recently, so was always in good shape – he’s in the best shape of his life now though and loves his 6 pack! We’ll both be competing next year.

The support I’ve received from Michelle has also been amazing – her and her husband David are so committed to their sport and lifestyle, and ensuring their clients are looked after. Their encouragement makes you want to do well and be dedicated to the food and training programs they’ve written for you.

Amber with her equally buff hubby Gary!

What’s your typical days food like at the moment?

We eat lots of fresh, unprocessed foods – fruit, vegies (especially green ones!), lean protein, good fats (nuts, chia oil etc) and some starchy carbs from oats, brown rice and sweet potato. We also have a protein powder to use for shakes.

My comp prep diet was fantastic -while I ate the same food every day, it was been incredibly tasty and I didn’t get bored of it. I was never hungry! We liked the food so much that we went back to it pretty much straight after the competitions. It is completely sustainable – it isn’t calorie restrictive, or lacking in certain food groups. I like knowing that I’ll be able to continue to see results while eating this way – it was designed to help me build muscle while keeping fat off, which it did! I need to continue to work on my muscle development if I’m going to compete in Figure next year so we may tweak my diet a little to ensure this happens. It’ll probably involve adding more food – it’ll be very clean food, incorporating lots of “RAW” food and “green” smoothies.

We stick to a clean eating plan 6 days a week and have a cheat day for one day a week. This is really beneficial – it makes the clean eating easier, and also gives your metabolism a boost with the extra calories. During my comp prep I was restricted to a cheat meal, but we still enjoyed great food – it would usually involve 3 courses at a nice restaurant!

What’s your training regime currently like?

My comp prep training wasn’t hugely different to what I was doing before. We started with a four day split, and changed to a five day split after a month. We had different workouts every week. This was different to how I’d trained previously – we usually stuck to a program for a month which allowed to see an increase in strength. By doing different workouts every week we were constantly giving our bodies a shock! I found I’d push myself as I knew I wouldn’t be doing the same workout again, so couldn’t “do it better” next time.

We’ve stuck to a five day split since finishing competitions, but will do each weeks program for a month so we can see our strength increase.

I was already quite lean when I started comp prep, so my cardio was quite limited – thank goodness! I did 30 minutes of cardio before breakfast every day, keeping my heart rate between 140-150bpm. We bought a spin bike to make this easier. I want to try and stay around this condition, so will keep doing cardio a few mornings a week.  I’d rather put the effort in continuously than have to work my arse off (literally) when I start preparing for next years comp!!

What advice would you give to women who want to get into shape?

Getting in to shape involves a couple of factors – diet is important. REALLY important! I found that knowing exactly what I was eating, when I was eating it, and having it pre prepared made sticking to my plan so much easier. I didn’t have to think about what to eat, and didn’t have the opportunity to eat off the plan as my food was ready to go. Our freezer is full of portion controlled meat, rice, meals – we prepare as much this way as possible. We also have a fridge full of the fruit and vegies we need so there’s no excuses for not having them! While it may seem hard initially, cutting out the sugar and processed food is so beneficial. It does get easier, and the cravings do go away – I promise! Learn to say “NO!” – you may want that piece of birthday cake in the office staff room, but do you really need it? No one will be offended if you don’t eat it…

Embrace the weights! Resistance work is really the best way to get in to shape, and change your body. Don’t be afraid of lifting heavy weights, your body will thank you for it 🙂 If you get to the end of a set and you could still do a few more repetitions, you need to go heavier – push yourself to your limits, you may surprise yourself!

Stop making excuses! I used to do it, and I’ve heard so many people give me reasons why they couldn’t do what I’ve done. You have to really want something, and be motivated to do it, but you CAN do it if you put your mind (and body) to it. You can make changes immediately – no matter how small – you don’t need to wait til Monday, or next year, or til you’re 30. The time is now!

Courtesy FTL Photography

Working to the BEAT!

18 Oct

Before I head to the gym, I go through the following list:

  • Towel & gym pass – check
  • Dri-fit or moisture-wicking workout gear – check
  • Nike frees 2 – check
  • BCAAs – check
  • Post-workout protein shake – check
  • Shaker bottle – check
  • Earphones and iPhone with all my music stored on it and sorted into playlists – check!

The last one for me is the MOST important thing.  There is nothing that will get me amped up for a workout more than good tunes.  I often get asked, “Don’t you get bored doing long sessions of cardio?”.  NOPE.  As long as I have my tunes I am good to go!  I seriously get so very peed off if I forget my iPhone or even WORSE when I forget just the earphones.  YOU ARE USELESS TO ME NOW, IPHONE!  USELESS!!!

So, when I was contacted by Chris at RunHundred.com to do a blog post on the most popular workout songs for September 2011 I thought, why yes, I would love to do that!  This is a great chance for my readers to understand the benefits of training with music!

The best type of songs to listen to when doing moderate cardio activities like jogging or working out on an elliptical trainer are songs that are 120 – 140 beats per minute.  This tempo is similar to the average person’s heart rate when working out.   For a higher intensity session, go for songs with about 150 beats per minute.  Work out in time to the music and feel the minutes just pass you by!

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at RunHundred.com.  I have highlighted in bold my personal favourites.  😉

Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer – Give Me Everything (Sidney Samson Remix) – 129 BPM

Nicki Minaj – Super Bass – 128 BPM

Switchfoot – Dark Horses – 83 BPM

Gym Class Heroes & Adam Levine – Stereo Hearts – 90 BPM

Lady GaGa – Edge Of Glory (Bare Noize Remix) – 140 BPM

Pitbull & Marc Anthony – Rain Over Me – 128 BPM

Nadia Ali, Alex Kenji & Starkillers – Pressure (Alesso Radio Edit) – 129 BPM

T.I. & B.o.B. – We Don’t Get Down Like Y’all – 92 BPM

LMFAO, GoonRock & Lauren Bennett – Party Rock Anthem (Russ Chimes Remix) – 129 BPM

Alexandra Stan – Mr. Saxobeat – 129 BPM

Now here is the cool part!  To find more workout songs – and hear next month’s contenders— folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

If this sounds like it might be up your alley, here are six reasons to subscribe:

  • It’s free
  • You’ll get the weekly updates and the monthly top 10 list
  • The songs come from Top 40 radio, college radio, and the clubs
  • Each song’s BPM (beats per minute) is listed, so you can sort them by tempo
  • If you like any of the songs, there are links to buy them on Amazon.com and itunes
  • Lastly, your email address will be kept private – they don’t share or sell your info

This is an awesome resource that I know I find really useful and I hope you guys do too!

What’s your favourite workout tracks at the moment?

This is Why You Fail in the Gym, Part 5 (Final)

11 Oct

Yep.  This is the final part in this 5 part series.

Don’t cry guys.

No, please don’t, cause if you cry, I’ll cry.

Oh no, wait, that only works with me and vomit…

Anyway, yes, this is the last part of the series but the blog will live on of course!  And this final piece of the puzzle is to me the MOST important piece.  If you do not have this, you have nothing.  You will 100% fail if you do not have this.  Trust me.

Motivation.  It’s all about DESIRE.  How badly you want something.  What lengths you will go to to get it.  How hard you will push yourself and what sacrifices you will make.

I was having a chat to a work friend the other day who has, over the past year, lost a whopping 5okg.  That is no easy feat!   She was saying how her friends keep asking her what her “secret” was.   And she said to me that there is no “secret”, it’s just a sudden realisation that this is more important to you than anything.  We agreed that it’s something within you that if other people don’t have it then it’s hard to explain to explain to them how to get it.

But I’m going to attempt to do just that.  Let’s go on a journey of self-discovery…

Look, you can set goals until the cows come home but if you do not have the motivation to make those goals reality they are nothing but words.  They have no importance to you because there is no consequence if you don’t achieve them – you simply just don’t meet your goal.  The end.  Let’s have another piece of cake.

So, how do we get the motivation to achieve the goal?  How do we make it a priority above all else?  How do we KEEP motivation from slipping when our goals could take weeks, months, or years to achieve?

For me, it was easy.  Lose weight or get diabetes.  Simple.   However, before I knew that I was close to having diabetes I had always wanted to lose weight.  I felt such self-loathing towards myself which I projected outwards onto others.  I was miserable in my own skin (not to mention just a plain old misery to be around) and I couldn’t believe I had let myself get that way.   I did what most people do though, I let life get in the way and never made my goal important enough to take action towards achieving it.

So, why do YOU want to lose weight?  That’s the first and foremost question you need to ask yourself.  WHY.  It might be because you feel uncomfortable and depressed at your current size, it might be because you’re not fit enough to keep up with the kids or maybe it’s because you feel lethargic and tired all the time and want that zest for life back.  Whatever the reason is you need to own up to it.  You need to recognise it and understand it.  Do not brush it off as a passing thought – it is reality and you need to face it.

After you have had a think about “why” then you need to have a think about what is the consequence if you don’t reach your goal?  Again, my consequence was that I would wind up having diabetes but even if that wasn’t the case the consequences were pretty dire.  If I continued on my pattern of self-loathing and body hate I was going to end up alienating myself from friends and family and  living a life of “make-believe”, where I acted like I was happy but I was really far from it.  I would have just existed in this world rather than lived life to it’s fullest because I didn’t think that I was worthy of happiness.  Yeah.  Deep right?  If you look within yourself and starting asking yourself these things you will go deep too.  And it’s hard.  It’s REALLY hard to face up to these feelings, but well worth it.  Because you will start to recognise the motivation within you to do something about it.  Write down your reasons and consequences and keep them somewhere close.

Right, so now that we’ve all had a look into our souls and hopefully had that “lightbulb” moment we can start to spur ourselves into action.

The first few weeks are the hardest and it is when you are most likely to make a few slip ups or even just dump the plan all together.  If you feel like that is about to happen, go back and read your reasons and consequences.  You’re making a promise to yourself here to build a better and healthier life.  Why would you want to let yourself down like that?  It’s so exhausting trying and failing and trying and failing over and over again.  It’s time to just do it and get it over and done with!  Once and for all!

The most important things to keep you on track are planning and organisation.  If I didn’t do these things I would be a complete failure.  Every week I enter into my diary what exercise I am going to do and what time I am going to do it.  I schedule it in and I make no excuses.  I get it done because it is my priority.  I am too important to myself to let myself down. I know that if I don’t do my planned exercise it will just mean my goal is further away from me achieving it.   Nuh uh.  Not happening.

I also  plan all my meals and snacks and have everything on hand, ready to go.  This means I have no excuses to eat something that is not on the plan.

In the beginning I of course made this blog to keep me accountable and I recall some of my earlier posts were about what I was eating that day or what exercise I was doing.  This helped IMMENSELY.  Even if you just create a private blog or keep a diary, it will help keep you accountable.

For me, once I had done the soul-searching and organised and put some structure into my life, it provided me with the motivation to continue, day in and day out, to make myself a better, healthier, happier version of me that I could ever dream possible.

And once you start getting results, oooooo weeee, now THAT’S motivation.  You won’t want to stop because you can feel and see the changes that are taking place in your body week after week.  That spurs you on like nothing else.  Plus, you get fitter, less tired and exercise becomes easier.  You get used to your new healthy way of eating and all of a sudden it all falls into place and it just becomes life, second-nature to you.

There you have it – that’s my take on motivation and what it takes to keep going.  Now do you dare share your reasons and consequences in the comments below?  I think you should!  Go on… do it!  🙂

 

What I’m Eating Now

15 Aug

I get a lot of questions about what my meal plan is like and requests to share more recipes on the blog.   I wish I HAD more interesting recipes to share but I think I have come to the point where I am just eating the same types of foods, day in and day out, that I don’t think that I don’t think it is interesting enough to be blog worthy! I mean who wants to read that I had grilled chicken and steamed veg AGAIN for dinner?!

I am also conscious that people may feel they should mirror what I eat and this concerns me as diets need to be tailored to individual bodies and goals.  In other words, whilst I am giving you an idea of what my diet is like, I am not suggesting that you should follow it too (let’s face it, I’m not a nutritionist!).  But I will make more of an effort to post up any new recipes that I try and will also post up when my diet changes.  Which just so happens to be NOW.

As per my last couple of posts, I’m now eating what is termed a ‘re-comp’ style diet.  It’s working out well so far and the added carbohydrates are definitely giving my muscles a bit more ‘pump’ (don’t you just love body-building terms? ;)).   The only major changes that I have made to my diet is that I have added more healthy fats and more carbs to get to the macronutrients outlined by Jarrod when I got my Dexa scan done.

So, now my diet looks a bit like this:

Meal 1 (8.30am / 9am)

1/2 cup warm quinoa, skim milk, tsp of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon + 1 whole egg and 3 whites, scrambled

(I was having oats instead but they seem to make me really bloated and uncomfortable so I have taken them out)

Meal 2 (10.30am – pre-cardio)

Orange + 14 almonds + green tea

Meal 3 (12.30pm)

3/4 cup of brown rice (I am trialling brown rice again as I’m not sure if it is also brown rice that causes the bloated issue or if it was just the oats – if it’s brown rice I’ll switch to quinoa), garden salad, 180g tin of tuna in springwater, 1/4 avocado, drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Meal 4 (4.30pm / 5pm pre-workout)

1 scoop of whey protein isolate and 2 tsp of cacao powder (low carb, low cal, no sugar = win!) with skim milk + handful of pepitas

Meal 5 (7.00pm / 7.30pm)

Palm size lean protein (about 150g) and steamed greens (always using herbs, spices, garlic, lemon, chilli etc…)

Meal 6 (8.30pm / 9pm)

1/2 a cup of mashed sweet potato with 1/4 of low-fat cottage cheese sprinkled with nutmeg, cinnamon and a small drizzle of honey (this is DELICIOUS)

It was quite hard making the jump from about 1300 cals to 1900 cals.  I never thought eating MORE would be a problem but my god, it takes me about an hour to finish eating my lunch!  Which is a good thing as the slower you eat the easier it is for your body to digest the food thus keeping you fuller for longer.  I’m also starting to feel stronger and more energetic which is a HUGELY welcome feeling.

I’m going to give some time for my body to adjust to the new meal plan and training regime so I won’t be posting updated pics for another few weeks.  Here’s hoping this all goes to plan and I start to gain some sexy lean muscle!

I’m just going to leave this here, this is my dream body and my current screensaver on my phone.  It reminds me of what I am working towards and to never give up.

Amanda Latona - IFBB PRO

How do you remind yourself of your goals?