Saturday, May 28, 2011

Get Your Head Out of Your Ass and Enjoy Your Weekend

Summertime.  That word is synonymous with ice cold beer, burgers and dogs on the grill, the beach, and good times with friends.  For those of us who are not quite in prep mode yet, I hope you're living a little this Memorial Day weekend.  If you're not, I may have to slap you around a little bit.

Part of the reason for my unplanned extended off season was my fear of eating "off plan" in an off season.  I'm a VERY rational and logical thinker, and the more I started thinking about this, the more I started questioning if competing was for me.  WHY was I so afraid to not have my 120g of chicken and 120g of sweet potatoes for dinner instead of going out for sushi on a whim with friends?  Why was I terrified to go away for a weekend and not pack any food?  I should NOT have those fears and I should NOT live my life like that, IMO.  Life is just that - life.  It's meant to be enjoyed, shared, and lived to its fullest.  The meals I've been cooking for myself are perfectly healthy, they're just not technically "on plan," and that's OK.  I've discovered that you can maintain your physique by eating "normally" as a competitor.  And, truthfully, I'm so happy to have made that discovery.  Because now, my chicken and sweet potatoes are saved STRICTLY for when I'm prepping.  I will see them soon enough!

So, this weekend I am going to Topsail with Jim, and this will be the first summer in 2 years where I haven't brought all my food and my food scale to the beach.  I'll go grocery shopping when I get there and get some fresh fruit, maybe some Greek yogurt, veggies for salads, whole wheat pasta, and a whole mess of fish and meat to grill with the boys!!  I will weigh nothing, measure nothing, and cook to my heart's content, and I will feel zero guilt over it.  I may even have a Sweet 16 doughnut or 2 (or 10 - seriously, Hostess, you need to sponsor my ass).  I will have a fantastic time enjoying my weekend with my wonderful boyfriend, dog, and friends, and I will not feel guilty for my food choices.  Because I shouldn't.  Because I'm living my life.  I define myself as a daughter, sister, girlfriend, mother to sweet Trotter: NOT as a figure competitor.

So, for those of you not prepping, go on and enjoy your weekends, eat at that BBQ you're going to, drink some adult beverages, and act like my good friend the Honey Badger: don't give a shit!!  For those of you who are 8 weeks out or for you. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Mom's Granola is the S*#t!

My FB friend, Clarissa, posted a really delicious-looking granola recipe late last week, and it got me thinking about one of my FAVORITE foods as a little lady.  My mother, a nutritionist, used to cook for us all the time - breakfast, lunch dinner - everything was homemade.  One of my most beloved meals was her homemade granola.  I very distinctly remember the smell of the kitchen when she'd cook it, and I can remember the taste like it was yesterday.  To me, this is what food is all about: it's a complete sensory experience that elicits memories.  In case you can't tell, I'm all about enjoying my food in the off season.

Inspired by Clarissa's post, I emailed my mom and said, "Yo, woman!!  I need your granola recipe!" (yes, I really talk to my mom like that).  She sent it to me the next day and I could NOT wait to make a batch.  It turned out amazing, and I have been eating it with blueberries and dried cherries for breakfast, or in greek yogurt for a healthy snack.  It has lots of seeds in it, and would classify more as a fat than a carb, so I use it accordingly.  It's heaven.  From my mom's kitchen to yours,  I hope you enjoy it!

Mama P's Homemade Granola
3c          Oats (I used quick oats)
1 1/2c     Wheat Germ...unsweetened
1/2c        Dry Milk Powder...skim..(I used Carnation - I had to really dig for this in the grocery store)
1c           Raw slivered almonds
1c           Unsweetened Coconut
1c           Unsalted Sunflower Seeds...raw
1/2c        Sesame Seeds
Mix together in a bowl. Heat 1/2c vegetable oil with 1/2c honey just until blended. Combine with the oat mixture. Spread onto a sheet pan Toast for 15 minutes at 300 degrees. Stir a few times during toasting so that the mixture does not clump or you will have a BIG granola bar (which isn't a bad thing - you can easily make granola bars out of this recipe)
All the ingredients in a bowl


Breakfast.....had this with a protein shake

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lifting Makes Women Bulky (insert loud farting noise here)

Alright, females, you know I love you, but you be drivin' me loca lately with your questions.  Consequently, I need to write about it so that I don't punch the next woman who walks by my office in the face. 

Where do I begin?  Maybe I'll take you back to college, since that was such an amazing, yet simple time in my life.  I played sports in college, and lifting was part of my weekly practice.  I had a very good friend who always struggled with her weight.  She used to plop herself on the elliptical (along with the rest of the Tufts undergrad female population) with the latest copy of People; she would plod away for about 60-90 mins.  "OMG, I burned 1200 calories on the elliptical today!!  Can you BELIEVE that, BP??"  At the time I didn't really know much about the benefits of lifting (and, alternatively, the downside of too much cardio), so I couldn't really respond appropriately to her loaded question.  A couple of years passed and my friend's body NEVER changed - ever.  She wore the same size clothes and always had the same physical appearance: no real shape, just soft layers of sub-cu fat, which gave her a rather amorphous shape.  She was what I today call "skinny fat."  So, our senior year, I asked my SF friend, "Why don't you try lifting?  You'd lose fat."  The response?  Pretty much the SAME response I get from almost EVERY woman I speak with about this: "Nooooo, that makes me bulky.  And I don't want to look like a man."  A man - really? And please, help me out here - Id love for a SFG to actually define "bulky" for me.  I picture someone who looks like a potato sack, or the Michelin Man.  Is that REALLY what you all think you're going to look like if you lift weights?  If so, the problem is worse than I thought.

I guess my first question is, have you really ever TRIED to lift weights, for more than a week, via a program given to you and designed FOR you by a personal trainer?  If not, you simply have no credibility and cannot say that lifting "makes me bulky."  I'm going to attach some pictures here, because I think they really do speak 1000 words.  The first is of my figure idol, Erin Stern.  Erin, IMO, 100% represents the "figure ideal" in this sport today, and her figure looked its best at the 2010 Olympia.  Nice shoulders, strong back that tapers into a teeny tiny waist, and athletic, yet lean legs, and a tight tush.  The 2nd is of Mischa Barton, who epitomizes what skinny fat girls look like.  I'd say the VAST majority of Hollywood, with the exception of maybe 1 person (Jessica Biel) is skinny fat.  I think this is where the problem is, to be honest.  I think women are looking in magazines and seeing waif-like people and thinking that this is "fit."  Ummmmm, no.........couldn't be farther from the truth.  And not only is it not fit, but it's largely unhealthy.  Do you really think that Nicole Kidman is fit and athletic?  If so, please de-friend me on Facebook.  If you can't see muscle definition of any kind, you're skinny fat.  If it looks like your skin is hanging onto your bones for dear life, you're skinny fat.


      Erin Stern                                               Mischa "skinny fat" Barton

Erin does minimal to no cardio in a off season and lifts HEAVY and hard; she eats almost as much as one of her horses.  Mischa probably does 35 overhead triceps extensions with a 6lb DB and fuels her muscles with cocaine and vodka, with a side of nicotine.  She probably also eats Nerds and Skittles for her breakfast.  My point???  Your diet also needs to be on point so that you don't perpetuate the cycle of skinny fatness.  Pick up some meat, girls!!  And yes, that's what she said. 

I'm also going to attach pictures of me.  The first is from me before lifting properly (poor quality, I know, but I'm very soft - I was going high rep, low weight lifting and a moderate amt of cardio at the time) and the 2nd is of me after over a year of lifting heavy and eating right and not doing any cardio.  The differences in my physique are MEASURABLE.  And I do NO CARDIO.  My stats are next to each picture - those #s don't lie ladies.......they simply don't.  I am not bulky, I am not manly; I lift heavy, and I don't see a treadmill until it's time for me to hit the stage. 

BP before weights
                                    5'6'', 133 lb, 25% bf, Size 6                                   

     BP after the weights
                                  5'6'', 148 lb, 15% bf, Size 2-4                                    

I'm here to tell you that you will NOT get bulky if you lift.  And you need to lift HEAVY in order to change your physique.  So many women are SO afraid of doing fewer than 20 reps of ANYTHING.  I get frustrated when I see women grabbing the 5lb DBs and doing 20 bicep curls and calling it a day.  There IS something to be said for endurance lifting as part of your program, but your entire program should not consist of just endurance lifting.  "12 lateral raises with a 25lb DB?  No way, I'll look like a football player!"  Not..........muscle burns fat, gang; the more of it you have, the LEANER you'll appear.  Don't worry about the # on the scale.  In fact, throw that shit away.  The scale is a "random number generator" as my old coach, Erik Ledin, likes to say.  And he's right.  All it tells you is how much you weigh at the time you weigh yourself.  It says nothing about body composition, which is WAY more important than weight.  Women are so focused on the # on the random # generator.  How are your CLOTHES fitting?  How do you look naked?  These are the questions you need to be asking yourself.  Erik also says, "Train for a look, not a number."  So.  Freaking.  True.

There is so much science and so much evidence to support me, ladies, and I know what's holding you back is your fear.  But I PROMISE you that you will not get bulky, and you will certainly not look like a man.  And I'm not saying that you have to walk around looking like Erin Stern; if you want to walk around looking like Jessica Biel, you gotta lift.

And that reminds me.  Jess WENT to Tufts, and I used to watch her train in the gym.  She was preparing for Blade III her Soph year, and she did nothing but eat a lot of chicken and lift heavy as SHIT.  I'll attach a pic of Jess so you can see how fly you can look if you actually pick up some substantial weight and do more than just look at it.  Because, you know, Jess is sooooooooooo manly. 


Here's a little late-night reading for you SFGs - read it tonight, lift weights tomorrow:

And here's another one for those who are afraid to lift anything heavier than a 2lb DB:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some new recipe successes

I recently created 2 meals, sans recipe.  Sometimes, the best ideas come to me by standing in front of my fridge and/or pantry.  This is why I love the off season: I can play and experiment, and I'm not afraid to fail.  Some things I create are blog-worthy; the rest are trash-worthy (ie, Jim's "breakfast cookie" idea - FAIL).  But, today I'm sharing with you 2 bangin' meals created by yours truly!  Enjoy!

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin (you can halve this recipe if you only have 1 tenderloin) - off season or in season (skip the evoo and use some PAM spray instead.  Honey will eventually have to come out, though, depending on your prep).
2 T honey
2 T dijon mustard (or yellow mustard is fine, too)
2 t olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t dried oregano (I thought about using tarragon here, and I think it would be even better than oregano - tarragon has such an amazing flavor, so if you try it here, let me know!  I'll be making it next time)
2 pork tenderloins (about 3/4 - 1lb each)

Heat oven to 425 and line a baking dish with tin foil (I have greater success w/pork when I cook it at a higher heat for less time.  I find that it stays moist and is always perfectly done).

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except the pork - mix well.  Place the tenderloins in the lined dish and brush on the marinade.  Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes. 

I served this with a big salad and some veggies that I steamed in a balsamic butter sauce.  I threw in some small pearl onions, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, peppers, etc and sauteed them in a little smart balance butter.  I poured in about 1/4 - 1/2 c balsamic and turned the heat up to high and reduced it down until the sauce had thickened.  Delicious combo!

tenderloin with veggies and salad

tenderloin right out of the oven

veggies in a balsamic butter sauce

Simple Seared Scallops  - on or off season
3 T flour (I eyeballed this)
1/2 t salt (again, eyeball)
1/2 t dried marjoram (this was in the back of my spice cabinet, so I decided to use the last of it to get rid of it)
1.5-2lb sea scallops (the BIG ones; bay scallops = the small ones)
2 t olive oil
1/2 c white wine
1 T balsamic vinegar

Combine 1st 3 ingredients in a large ziplock bag and add scallops.  Seal bag and shake to combine.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet (I used my cast iron skillet for this) over med-high heat.  Add scallops and sear for 3-4 mins on each side (scallops cook FAST - do not overcook these, or they'll be tough).  Remove from pan and keep warm.  Add wine and vinegar to pan and cook until it thickens, stirring with a whisk.  Stir the scallops back in and remove the pan from heat.  I added some fresh chopped parsley on top. 

I served this with whole wheat penne tossed with chopped tomatoes, feta, basil and a little salt and pepper.  Next time, I'm going to use orzo instead of penne. 

Never be afraid to experiment, y'all!  Some of my best recipes have come from trying to empty out my fridge and just throwing random crap into a pan :)

scallops topped w/fresh parsley and pasta

whole wheat penne w/tomatoes, feta, and basil

scallops cookin'!

making the magic