The Pity of Tight Shorts

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the culprits

This past Monday, as some of you might know, the weather here in Portland was just amazing. There were clear blue skies, the sun was shining up high and bright, and there was amazing crisp breeze flowing through the air. Pure bliss!

I had decided that day at work, that it would be a true shame if we spent that amazing afternoon indoors in a gym. So instead, we decided to take the pup for a neighborhood hike. Sounds amazing right? It was, that was until I put on my favorite pair of jean shorts. Well what do you know, those darn leg holes fit tight. Really tight.

It had been little less than a year since I had slipped into them, and now they were tight on me. What a bummer! My high spirits quickly dissipated, and for the rest of the hike all I can think about (and feel) was my tight shorts-which I kept on anyways, hoping they’d loosen up lol

As I was wallowing in self-pity thinking, “I’m NEVER going to eat again for the rest of my life” and “I shouldn’t have eaten those crackers yesterday,” then it finally dawned on me that those shorts fit tight because I am healthy.

Well of course those darn shorts are going to be tight when I dedicate a 1x week leg-day, do 2-3 sessions of HIITs/conditioning work a week, and do plyo work in between weight training sets!! I instantly felt better.

But that also made me realize that I let something so insignificant affect my mood on that beautiful day. Right until I slipped on those stupid pair of shorts, I was feeling great. I didn’t think anything different about my body, I wasn’t self-conscious about myself at all, and I certainly would have never of thought I was going to ‘quit’ eating “forever” (ha!), yet those jean shorts had such an impact on me.
What I’m getting at is that the most important indicator of your happiness shouldn’t be dictated by an inanimate object such as a scale or a pair of smaller jeans (or shorts in my case), but on trying your very best on anything you want. Be satisfied that you have put in your work and trust yourself along the way.

Repeat to yourself what you know about yourself every day. It’s so easy for us to forget all of the positive things we already do, so do yourself a favor and remind yourself every day!

Here’s my example:

I know that I work out hard in every one of my sessions, I know that I eat healthy, I know that I lead a balanced life, I know that body weight is insignificant, I know that cheat meals are ok, I know that I am healthy, I know that I have amazing friends and family, I know that I am loved, I know that I try to be my best every day, I know that I am my own person, I know I try to enjoy the little things in life.

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Abs

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Let’s talk abs. Everyone wants them, but not everyone gets them….

The first thing most women tell me is that they only want to lose the fat in their midsection. That they don’t care about the rest of the body, it’s all good, as long as they have a flat stomach.

Everywhere you go, there’s great emphasis on sporting six-pack abs.  It’s like abs are a synonym to fitness. From magazines to infomercials, I can assure you there’s a good looking couple with rock hard abs promoting “30 minutes for chiseled abs” or “the magical electric ab belt” or some type of baloney of that sort.

It’s no wonder that when one thinks of  being in ‘shape’ or ‘fit,’ we automatically think of a statuesque person with a six-pack bulging from their midsection. But is that reality? Certainly not, at least not mine.

You might be asking yourselves how can someone who has a blog called “Confessions of a Fit Girl” possibly make such statement. Well I’m realist. That’s how.

I can tell you from personal experience, and from experience of many fitness competitors, that having abs is usually not an everyday thing. Although, most men are ‘blessed’ in that department, we women have a much harder time keeping that midsection trimmed and tight. But before I go on, let me break it to you, there is no such thing as “spot-reduction.” Meaning, you won’t lose the belly fat by doing ab crunches. Sorry!

Hang on for a moment; let’s think about this a little more. Do you really want abs? Is that something you personally desire? I’ve been told, by both men and women, that they think a full set of abs on a woman looks way too masculine. Others have said women with six-pack abs are very sexy (e.g. the woman from above). And some have shared their preference for a defined midsection-kind of an in-between….Seems like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no?

Abs are the product of strict clean eating, and for those freaks of nature, pure genetics. They are usually the last show up when dieting and the first to go away after a eating a heavy meal. Temperamental little things.

But, if having a six pack is something you really, really, want, I can only suggest clean eating for weeks on end. That means you won’t be eating cheat meals anymore. The reality is, the leaner you are the more prominent those abs are going to be. I wish I could say there was some magic pill or formula to get you that six pack abs, but there isn’t.

  1. Now to give those abs more definition, you have to work them. If you do a simple google search for ab workout, you’ll encounter a myriad of options. They’re all great. Just remember proper form-no excess extension of the neck when doing crunches/curl-ups! Research shows that because the abdominal fibers are mostly fast-twitch, you should try to overload them and do lower repetitions.
  2. Those abs won’t show up if you can’t manage your stress. “Oh shoot! Here’s another thing to stress about!” Reality is we live in a high-pressure world and the hormone, cortisol, thrives in this environment. Cortisol is released when you go through physical and mental stress, and it, unfortunately, shifts your body into “fat storing mode” right onto your belly area.
  3. You need fiber. I cannot stress enough the importance of this!  You need to eat at least 25-30 grams of fiber a day to reduce intestinal inflammation and visceral fat. And by the way, visceral fat is the worst type of fat anyone can possibly have. Basically it’s the fat that wraps around your organs and heightens the risk of diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Really nasty stuff!
  4. Train your whole body. “What? What they heck, I just want abs!” Let’s think about this, when perform squats, Olympic lifts, deadlifts, and chin-ups, you use your abs…and you use them hardcore! You need your abs to stabilize your body when doing these types of exercises. In fact, you can do heavier loads if you consciously tighten your abs when you perform, for example, a squat.

So now that you have some prominent abs…

Make sure to condition them with some sprints. My favorite is 6-8 sets of 400m all out with a 4 minute rest or you can do 6-8 sets of 200m with a 2 minute rest.

Now, here’s my opinion in all this…

I appreciate abs. I think they look amazing on both men and women alike. Do I have a set of six pack abs? No, not always. Is that something I strive for? No, not really.

To tell you the truth, I hardly ever work out my abs- I simply don’t have time for it. I have to rationalize my time effectively between my family, working, lifting, conditioning/cardio, cooking, packing meals, socializing etc.

Ab work=

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I consider sprinting the best ab workout ever. Basically you get more bang for your buck! I know I sound like a broken record, but I’m a firm believer of this.  I also do a lot of compound lifts. I love deadlifting and squatting and I eat clean 80-90% of the time. That itself is enough to keep my tummy flat and tight, and in the morning I have indentions on the sides of my abs. I’m happy with that, I need no more.

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Reliving the ab days…

Pea Protein Pasta

The Pea Pasta Story-

Once upon a time, in the land of, Lake Oswego, lived a young and highly, highly attractive, woman, names Mirla. For you see, little Mirla was cursed with the worst spell of all, she was PASTA-intolerant! Tun, tun tuunnnnn!

The poor Mirla, would get sick to her tummy when she ate these tempting noodles or raviolis or angel hair or linguini or fettuccine whatever they cleverly disguised themselves as. She suffered as she watched her sexy Italian boyfriend make and cook pasta and eat every single morsel of it without shame. That is until; Mirla came across a very interesting protein blog (this one and this one) that featured pea protein powder as pasta. She early jumped onto her favorite protein online store (TrueNutrition.com) and ordered her very own pea protein (non-gmo, duh). Once the protein arrived, she quickly whipped up the recipe she had once had given her hope. To her surprise…making PASTA is hard work, just kidding, it’s time consuming, yes, but very simple to make.

She carefully measured out the powder, grabbed two organic eggs and her organic olive oil. She mixed them all together, meading it for 3 minutes until she formed a small ball of dough. She quickly wrapped it up in that Cling Wrap, the one that clings to itself and hardly to anything else, for about 30 minutes. After that Mirla grabbed her old wooden board and lightly sprinkled some pea protein powder onto it and with rolling pin in hand she rolled out the dough into a thin layer of goodness.  Once rolled out thinly, she started to cut out little squares using a ravioli cutter. She then carefully placed the cutout pasta onto paper towels to dry out. She then let it sit there for a good hour to dry up and be ready for some cooking. Mirla then filled up a large pot with salted water and patiently stared at it until it started to boil.  Once the water was hot hot hot, she carefully dropped each pasta piece into the pot. She let it cook for about 20 minutes. Weary, her boyfriend, Jeremy, asked, “Are you sure it says to cook for 20 minutes?” Mirla doubted herself and thought, “Could it be?” For the answer was yes, 20 minutes, is what it took to get that pasta looking material ready for consumption.

In the meantime, after seeing all of her hard work, Mirla’s hot, sexy Italian boyfriend (love you Jeremy 😉 started to make a cream sauce to go with her faux-pasta. He chopped up some chantrelles (for Mirla’s love for mushrooms goes beyond words), shallots, red onion, and salami and threw it in with some hot olive oil. He then quickly dropped an egg yolk onto the pan and sprinkled some good parmesan (not the Kraft kind..eww! But real parm) and stirred it until a creamy white sauce formed. It was MAGICAL.

By that time, Mirla’s pea protein pasta was cooked to perfection. “Sure it was a bit rubbery than traditional pasta,” she thought. She then asked herself, “does traditional pasta give you so much protein in one sitting?…and with extremely low carbs?” Naa! Once the chanterelle sauce was mixed with the pasta, well what do you know, Mirla was in heaven. She ate the whole plate of pea pasta with cream sauce and lived happily ever after. The End.

To make your very own happily ever after all you need is:

75g Pea Protein Isolate

2 large eggs

5ml Olive Oil

Approximate Nutritional Value of the Pea Protein Pasta:

Calories 496kcal

Fat 22g

Carbs 4g

Protein 67g

Sugars 2g

Hope you enjoyed my lame storytelling! 🙂 I would, however, like to give credit to the wonderful protein blog and FB page that featured this recipe. This goes to show that food substitutions are endless!

I have to say that I don’t recommend eating such high quantity of protein in one sitting. Keep it at around 1.5-2g/km of body weight. That means that I need a slap on the wrist for have eaten what would have been two portions for me (I’m at 30-33g of protein/serving). Since the pasta is so high in protein make sure to add veggies to it as the ‘meat’ of the meal. Mushrooms are great for that, they are meaty and tasty. But if mushrooms are not your thing, try zucchini or eggplant. If fat loss is your goal, skip the cream sauce and opt for an organic, low sugar, tomato sauce. Either way, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your protein pasta!

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Mirla’s past was, What?.. covered in chocolate, potatoe chips and diet coke??

Let me tell you why I decided to start this new  blogging project…

I started working out not too long ago. Waaaa? Really?? Yes, really, it’s true, this year marked my two year anniversary of ever lifting a dumbbell in my life. My best friend from high school can testify that I WAS the laziest person ever. I was so lazy that we would hang out in the living room instead of her room because she was on the 2nd floor and that meant climbing stairs… I know, I know, pathetic! I will confess that now that I look back on that memory, I can’t seem match those past images with who I am now. In my mind, I feel like I’ve always been the way I am now. Well, anyhow, what I am getting at is we all have it in us to be fit. No matter what stage you are in life.
We all need that ‘fire’ to spark up our reasons to workout. I know this too well. Two years ago, I was going through a really rough patch in life. I was, among other things that I won’t bore you with, was overweight for my size–I’m tiny 5’1”, in a new state, knowing no one, job-less and away from my family. I was so depressed.  I ate a lot of junk food. Loved chips, drank Diet Coke, ate candy like no one’s business and refused to eat normal food. I felt like shit. I tried to eat salads or whatever ‘healthy’ foods I saw in the store, but it tasted all too bland for my palate. I would eat 1 meal and just couldn’t make myself to eat more of the same type of foods. It’s a hole that you just can’t seem to get out of. I would look up information on diets and workouts in magazines and on TV, but honestly it didn’t matter because even though I had a gym membership, I was too self-conscious to get myself there. I knew I had to do something asap!
That’s when I started to do some yoga. I started with a Monday class. Keep in mind I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect, I set my mat toward the very back of the studio and just copied what everyone else was doing. And guess what?? I loved it. So I went back the next day, and the next, and the next. I followed that pattern for about 6 months, unfortunately, I didn’t lose much weight (~2 pounds), I just got more flexible, started to sleep  better, but most importantly I started to feel more comfortable in he gym setting. After yoga, I would head over to the dumbbell racks and grab a 10 pounder and do some bicep curls. When I felt someone looking at me, I would turn bright red and put the dumbbells away and leave. I then decided to hire a trainer. Money well invested! I learned all about healthy eating habits, vitamins/supplementation and proper form when exercising.
After about two months of eating clean, weight lifting 3x/week and doing HIIT’s (high intensity interval training) 2x/week. I made huge improvements in body composition. I fell in love with the idea of having the ability to make such changes in my body.
Having had said that, I know the challenges that people who are trying to lose weight face everyday, It’s hard work, but you’ve got to search deep in you to find your reasons to make the necessary changes. Maybe it’s just for you? for health? for boyfriend/husband? for family? for _____________?
What ever it may be, I promise it’s all worth it. A month from today, you’ll be glad you ever started.
Until then, train smart y’all!