Carbs and abs? Now that I’ve got your attention..

Often many gym goers and clients complain that despite the amount of cardio they do or how much they diet they just can’t lose weight. Continuing on with yesterday’s momentum regarding dieting and how to go about it in a systemic, controlled and sane way, I want to talk a little about strategies that I personally utilize and why they work. It’s true ladies, you’re not entirely crazy, it is possible to continuously gain weight while still not eating a ton of food. The reason this is because most people struggle with consistency. So, while you might be well behaved all week, binge eating, and we’re not taking one refuel meal, or day even, can throw your body a huge curve ball. While many people have not real idea how much they put into their body daily, or how much their body really needs for that matter. So by just aimlessly eating “healthy” or “clean” food you can actually trigger fat storage. One day your body thinks it’s starving, the next it’s overwhelmed with calories. Again, I want to emphasize this is not the same as a refuel, which is beneficial to leptin if you’ve been following among, this is a roller coaster of up and down inconsistent eating. I’m aware with our busy lives, jobs, commuting, deadlines, children, boyfriends it’s easy to “forget” to eat some days, or just grab a handful of this here, a handful of that there, or even skip meals all day and try to make it up at night. But your body is no different than you really. When overstimulated with stimuli or with an absence followed by a huge flux, we become confused and overwhelmed. By aiming for consistence your body can adjust to a comfortable “set point”. Once you’ve established a set point you can them slowly add or reduce calories to suit your body composition goals, such as building more muscle. This is how reverse dieting is established. Which is the best way to maximize your metabolism for lean mass, while still tolerating a considerable amount of calories, and who doesn’t want to eat carbs and have abs?

Your fitbetch,
JP xoxo

The hunger games

So as of yesterday I am officially in prep! I’m 14 weeks out from the Ontario Provincial championships and could not be more ready, yet so scared at the same time. When it comes to competing offseason is the fun time. More carbs, less cardio, heavier weights. Bulking is freedom. prep however, while it does not have to be stressful if you’ve put in the work, and heave great support, which I do,  is still a huge mental game. It can be frustrating cause change can be slow, and we aren’t always objective. You’ll look amazing but be constantly tired. You often feel flat and depleted. Weights feel heavier, cardio sucks, you drink all the water, and your life becomes a countdown, to your next meal, your next nap, your next workout, your show date. So why do we do it? People often look at people who are state ready as being in peak physical condition. And yes, you’re  “dialled in”, but the average woman can not sit at 6% body fat all year round, it’s highly stressful for your body. I do it for the challenge. Nothing in life has ever given me the same sense of accomplishment that bodybuilding has. Unlike school, other sports, career changes, this is sometime that is 100% me. Only you can put in the work, dedicate yourself to the diet, the cardio protocol, swallow a seas worth of water. Only you can stand up there with courage and conviction to say, “this is it, this is my masterpiece”. It’s also the only challenge I’ve ever come across that gives you immediately and direct feedback. You learn about your body in the most intimate of ways. You change one little thing and within days, weeks, and over months you see your body response. Weather it’s watching the weights go up, or the scale you appreciate your body so much more. It’s also changed my relationship with food. Once upon a time I looked at food as a punishment or reward. If I was on a “diet” I was sad because I wasn’t “allowed food”. If I ate a forbidden food I felt as if I should be punished, I hated myself. It made me moody, sad, and recluse. Now I look at food in a whole new manner. How does it serve my goals? It’s not purely unemotional. I still through ally enjoy eating. But instead of thinking “I can’t have ice cream, I’m dieting” I think what will this do for my body? Do I need it? How am I going to feel after?  How will this impact my insulin? What will this do to my glycogen stores? I also no longer have negative feelings after a refuel, because I know that if I stick to my plan this will only have positive effects on my metabolism, and not “destroy” my diet. Because it’s not a diet it’s a plan with a specific goal. When you think in terms of goals you’re focusing on positives instead of negatives. Hopefully this helps some of you who struggles with some of my previous issues. Im sure over the 14 Weeks I’ll be re reading this very post to remind myself, when I’d sell my soul for a salted caramel donut. I promise to keep my hangry rants to a minimum, if you can bare with my carb deprived haze. Let the games begin!

Your fitbetch,
JP xoxo

Cake life

So it’s been a little while since my last post. With a whirlwind of change going on, January and February have been transitionary months for me. My beautiful sister was supposed to visit as of yesterday for my birthday, but due to typical east coast weather I’ve been left on my own with too many plans and no partner in crime. I personally tend to find birthdays a little depressing, being a woman in her 20s we live in a slightly ageist society. They also tend to be a reminder of the year that has past, which can both be pleasant or slightly overwhelming. But, waking up this morning to a slew of texts from people past and present in my life is also a huge reminded of how loved I am. Sometimes it’s the people you expect the least that remind you how special you truly are. Without divulging too much information I do plan on spending my alternate birthday with someone new in my life, and perhaps this is an indicator of the year to come. In the meantime I’m getting my hair reblonded by the lovely Candi at Aveda, following by my favourite pump, shoulders! On the theme of birthdays what better topic to discuss than cake. Glorious, delicious cake. I’ve covered many different diet topics before, but this isn’t just concerning calories, or macros, it’s about quakity. I’m not for or against if it fits your macros dieting (IIFYM). I’m sure many of you have seem the hordes of Internet and Instagram celebrities getting shredded on pop tarts and ice cream. And it’s true, when it comes to macros, a carb is a carb. But what about micros? Food sensitivities? Allergies? Once you get to know your body you start to realize that while brown rice might trigger the same repose as a brownie, but how your body handles that is a whole different story. I personally noticed in my early twenties (bye bye youth), that every time I ate ice cream I’d break out within a day, almost guaranteed. As I got older this become even more of a sure thing. Same goes for wheat and alcohol. Why must all the best foods be so bad for me? Turns out I’m incredibly sensitive to what and dairy. This is not to be confused with intolerant. I won’t get and upset stomach or sick per say, but my face will hurt the next day (fat face), my eyes will burn, my face will break out, none of which makes me feel very attractive. So when it comes to fuelling my body, I’ve learned to very selective with the quality of foods I chose. So while I could still maintain my physique with careful calculations on donuts and pizza I’d feel miserable. I’m not saying I don’t have the occasional treat, trust me I do plan on eating cake today, but avoiding inflammation is going to make me feel better in the long run. Most respect states that grasses, such as cereal grains, evolved in concert with grazing mammals. Grasses, unlike other plants, grow their leaves from the base rather than the tip so they are less likely to be damaged by grazing. Grasses evolved two innovations in order to reproduce successfully despite being regularly eaten. The first of which is that they generate tens of thousands seeds per plant annually, so that many seeds can be eaten, as long as a few scatter and take root. The second innovation was a set of toxic compounds specifically designed to sabotage the digestive tract of mammals. Most plant seeds travel intact through the digestive tract of grazing animals so that they emerge (with fertilizer) to take root in a new location. Grazing mammals, such as cow, have evolved defenses for these toxins, such as digestive organs like rumens that allow for the brunt of toxins to be transformed by bacteria via fermentation. We ladies are not cows, and therefor do not have such capabilities. Fermentation naturally results in gas, also not an attractive quality, and this results in the bloaty distended feeling you get after eating such foods. So while I, not anti wheat, and some people have much tougher digestive systems than me, I highly recommend getting to know they self and not just worrying about carbs, proteins and fats as a whole, but the quality of nutrition you put into your beautiful bodies.

Your fitbetch,
JP xo

The perks of being a fit betch, and it’s not what you think..

Often there is so much going on in life I can get overwhelmed with my choices of blogging topic I’ve been trying to make an attempt to keep both educational and relevant, while still drawing from my own life and experience. I’ve spent most of the past three years single up until this past summer. Then I was involved in a semi committed long distance adventure, which recently ended as most of you are aware. While my new found singledom, not a real word but I’m using it, I’ve become overwhelmed with the task of dating again. As I become more of a staple in my new gym the flood gates have begun to open as I seem to meet a new member almost every day of the week. For someone who doesn’t drink socially, or really go out at all, the gym is one of the few ways I can meet someone, but it also poses a few problems. Being not a born Trontonian, that is a word, through friends isn’t much of an option. So why me? Why am I suddenly the hot commodity at the gym? With a rise in the fitness trend is dating a fit chick really the new thing to do? So here’s a little something on why men love fit betches. First and foremost, dedication, to fitness or anything else for that matter. weather it shows in your physique or you’re still working towards something great, it says a lot about the type of person you are. This is a woman who works hard, and respects herself. She’s not a quitter! And you can count on her bringing that to your relationship. Someone who will put in work even when it isn’t easy and will respect your effort. Your gym is also patient and understanding. We all know life is busy and complicated, especially in your twenties when you’re trying to establish yourself, your career, and your independence. As a lifter, you known how to put your head down, focus and put in the work. For me it’s taken almost three years to transform my body from a skinny little 102 lb waif into the 144 lbs figure competitor I am now. Any gym rat knows all too well that quality takes time. They have the foresight and patience to stick to the plan, the intuition to understand their body, and the dedication to keep at it when things get tough. It’s easy to do something when you’re motivated, the mental part comes when you hit a plateau, or you’re tired , or change is slow. These gym girls are not gone freak when you’re out working on yourself. Weather it’s long hours at the office or the gym they understand your hustle, respect the drive and will be right there by your side, even during the tough times.  This woman has her own goals, she’ll be proud you’re doing you, while she works on herself. And don’t forget passion! Who doesn’t love a passionate woman? The fitness lifestyle is not the easiest to comprehend, I constantly get asked why I do what I do. It dictates your sleep, your food, your free time, and when you find someone who appreciates that, you hold on tight. Fit betches are in love with what they do, that’s why they’re willing to give up clubbing, and Sunday brunches, heels for sneakers, purses for gym bags, chocolate for quest bars, and the list goes on. This is the type of girl that puts her whole heart into anything she’s does, including you. Not to mention the food, feeding her muscles is #2 to working them, so this girl will be more than happy to feed you, and she’ll always have food on hand. My friends constantly make fun of my man sized appetitive, but to me food is love. If I date you count on being fed copious amount of protein inspired teats and all the chicken, steak and veggies your heart desires. So there your have it, it’s about more than just the booty, though that’s not a bad perk 😉

Your fitbetch,
JP xo

A diet with burgers and pizza, oh my!

Since the weekend is coming to an end I thought I might discuss the importance of the infamous “cheat meal”. Other people prefer to less negative terms, such as a treat meal, or a refuel refuel. Whatever you prefer call it we’ve all seen the Internet memes, and anyone with experience with dieting or a meal plan has spent countless nights dreaming of that glorious meal. Some people need it for the mental reprise, others prefer look at it in terms of physical need. When counselling clients with regard to nutrition and weight loss I always encourage 1 cheat meal. Not only does it help you keep some semblance of a social life, but it actually has a huge benefit to a body in a calorie deficit. Why’s is that? leptin. leptin is the “satiety hormone”, made by fat cells that helps to regulate energy by inhibiting hunger. Leptin is opposed by the actions of the hormone ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”. Both hormones act to regulate appetite in order to achieve adequate energy levels within the body. In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs, resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high energy stores. Therefore we always feel ravenously hungry. When you’re in a caloric deficit your leptin levels start to decrease, so you feel less and less hungry over time, but it also makes it harder to burn calories to achieve that energy balance, so a deliciously greasy, fatty, sugary cheat meal give your body a huge spike in leptin levels, resulting in a kickstart to your metabolism “yayyyy, you’re not starving”, ramping your body’s ability to continue to burn fat. So don’t feel guilty about that weekend burger, orFriday night pizza. The only catch is when dieting you still want to be on a calorie deficit for the week, so a cheat meal should follow simple perimeters, like no more than you can eat in a sitting, which for me is a lot, but you don’t want to blow your calories for the whole week. Cheat, but don’t cheat yourself 😉

Your fitbetch
JP xo

Don’t put me down for that

In relation to cardio and dieting a topic Id like to discuss is fasting. Between intermittent fasting, fasted cardio, fasted training, juice fasts, what’s the deal? There’s a lot of debate out there on all these different methods. I was once told fasting was important for detoxing? But does the body even hold toxins? I want to emphasize, your number one priority when attempting to lose fat should be to keep the muscle you have, it’s hard to earn but too much cardio makes it fast to go. Losing muscle will make it harder to look good when losing the fat, but it’ll also make it harder to lose fat since more muscle means a higher metabolic capacity. Ten pounds of muscle burns 50 calories per day even at rest, so if you lose 10 pounds of muscle, you will burn 50 fewer calories per day, or 350 fewer calories per week. You may also remember when I discussed insulin sensitivity a few weeks ago if you’ve been attentively following my rants. If you have more muscle, your insulin sensitivity will be inclined towards building all that sexy muscle mass. A larger muscle has more insulin receptors, which makes the muscles more insulin sensitive. That means you’ll tend to store more of what you eat in the muscles instead of as body fat. So, back to fasting. In the bodybuilding world a lot of coaches recommend Fasted cardio, usually upon waking, pre breakfast, you know, before your body knows what’s up. This should never be done without bcaas, and while it works it’s still not muscle sparing. The biggest downside to start Is that cortisol, the belly fat hormone for you attentive readers, is at its highest in the morning, without eating it will stay elevated and even increase. Furthermore, if you do cardio this will further spike cortisol output. See where this is going? In addition, if it gets high enough it will actually remain super duper, yes that’s a scientific term, throughout the day. In my experience I personally found that the most effective cardio is done immodestly post lift, but no kore than 15 minutes, as your cortisol will be elevated from your workout, or in the post-absorptive state.This is type of cardio is performed when the body has fully absorbed nutrients prior to activity. It’s almost impossible to know how fast solid food is digested. So I usuallyThe choose to do it once it’s nearing my next meal time and then eat immodestly after. These same principle cam all be applied to lifting or any other activity that you choose to perform on an empty stomach. As previously mentioned I get nauseas quite easily, not attractive,  and carbs make me lethargic. I prefer to have a protein and fat shake in the morning to give my body fuel without weighting me down digestively and train about 2 hours later, nearing my post absorptive period. I’m less likely to feel sick or bloated but have the energy to focus. With this method I’ve  managed to make gains while remaining lean, as it creates a glycogen deficit within the body. I sip bcaas intra workout and Immodestly post workout I consume protein and maltodexrose, a simple high glycemic sugar which can be shuttled quickly into my muscles and lower my cortisol levels to stave off muscle wastage. Bonus, sugar is fucking delicious 👌

Your fitbetch,
JP xo

Cardio, Conditioning and Coitus (just kidding!)

Today I decided a fitting topic would be cardio. I woke up to a text this morning from one of my online clients asking how much cardio should she be doing and what kind. The previous night my sister was saying she needed to focus more on her cardio, and my dear client LB and I had a chat tonight over appropriate amount, types and the pros and cons of cardio. I in fact get asked all the time how much cardio I do. This is because people equate leanness and cardio. Let’s be honest, no ones ever seen a fat person win a marathon, therefore cardio must make you skinny right? Wrong. In some cases it can be the opposite. Cardio is catabolic. That means it causes breakdown, of fat and muscle. It’s also perceived as trauma to the body, long term trauma raises your cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and guess what cortisol does? It causes you to store belly fat. Yes, I do some forms of cardio when necessary, but never steady state.  Conditioning work is also a great way to lean out without hours on the treadmill. Metabolic conditioning simply refers to structured patterns of work and rest periods to elicit a desired response from the body. In this case fat loss, improved body composition and improved cardiovascular health. The body has several different methods of getting energy. Different ratios of work to rest periods call upon different energy systems and cause specific adaptations. These styles of workouts are also far more efficient as they not only obliterate calories in far less time than steady state cardio, but they also tax the muscular system more heavily, therefore increasing your basal metabolic rate and EPOC, so your body continues to use calories long after you’re finished lying on the floor in a pool of your own sweat. Some great and time efficient methods of conditioning are high intensity interval training (HIIT). I personally like to run 30 seconds all out on max incline or the stepper, only for the less clumsy and brave of heart, then walk/jog for 30 just long enough to catch your breath, and repeat for about 20 minutes. I promise this will destroy your butt and your lungs. Another favourite is prowler sprints, weighted, supersetted with kettle bell swings. These are an amazing combination of both strength and conditioning of your gym is equipped with the proper equipment. Lastly, I’ve been invited this week to try out a new compound circuit of farmers walks/deadlifts by a male friend of mine who happens to also be an incredibly attractive nationally ranked physique competitor and a well known coach. I promise to let you ladies know how embarrassingly pathetic I am at trying to remain cute while simultaneously trying not to die or pop a blood vessel. Glistening sweat and red cheeks (partially from exertion, partially from bashfulness) are attractive right!? Oh, and how effective it is all well, all in the name of fitness!

Your fitbetch,
JP xo