Pump up your Protein

 

I know in a previous post I talked about macronutrients, and how following a specific macronutrient plan  is very beneficial when it comes to your fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to losing weight or building muscle and getting stronger, protein plays a key role in this. Protein is essential for a number of processes within the body, including the building and repairing of muscle. Many people overlook the importance of protein in their diet because they think that it’s going to make them “bulky” and it’s only for guys that want to get huge. I often hear, “Christine, I don’t want to eat more protein and look like a man!” The reality of it is, as a woman, it’s very hard to “get bulky” because of our hormones and you’ll only get bigger if you’re over eating.

It’s important to understand that protein is an important source of energy for our bodies to be able function properly. I personally prefer to eat real, whole foods as my sources from protein, but will sometimes add in protein powders when baking or need something on the run.

Some of my personal preferences are:

Eggs

IMG_1469Eggs are a great high protein food, especially because they are so easy to incorporate into a variety of meals. I love cooking an egg and throwing it on top of pretty much any meal. I often have them at breakfast with some Ezekiel bread or throwing it on top of a turkey burger for dinner. They keep me full through the morning so I don’t experience the 10am crash and are a sneaky way to add more protein into a meal without a lot of bulk. I always eat the whole egg because it’s full of important vitamins that keep blood sugar levels at bay, which means keeping your craving for sugar down as well.

Chicken Breast

Surprise, surprise right?! I love having other healthy fats such as nut butters and avocado so it’s the perfect low fat protein so that I can add plenty of other yummy fats and stay within my macros for the day! Plus, there are so many ways to prepare chicken that it doesn’t have to get boring, forget plain baked chicken breast spice it up a little with different seasonings and healthy marinades!

Greek YogurtIMG_1291

I have a hard time getting in enough protein everyday and fat free greek
yogurt has really helped me get my intake up. I usually get plain, fat free and then add my own granola, berries or nuts to make it more fun. The kind with fruit already mixed in tends to be higher in sugar and that way you can dress it up however you want!

Protein Powder

As I said before, I prefer to eat whole foods rather than supplements for my protein but sometimes it’s just impossible to get enough. I don’t endorse a certain brand of protein powder, but I always look for ones that are a Whey Concentrate protein because it’s absorbed at a moderate pace and I tend to have it in between meals and not just post work out. I also look for good quality ingredients. Most places use marketing to build up a lot of hype about their product when it, in fact is not very good.

 

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Boston Marathon 2016!!!

If you follow my facebook page or instagram, you probably know that in 2016 I will be running the Boston Marathon and I couldn’t be more excited. The Boston Marathon has been running since 1897 and ever since watching my first one in 2011, I have wanted to become part of this tradition. It is one of the most prestigious races, you either have to qualify with amazing speed, or run with a charity. While I have no quite worked up to qualifying for Boston (this is actually my first FULL marathon!) I am honored to be running with The Play Brigade Charity team. 

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The Play Brigade is an amazing charity that was founded by Dawn Oates whose third child, Harper, suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury at birth, leaving her with substantial mobility limitations. Dawn founded The Play Brigade after she realized the challenges of finding opportunities for her entire family to engage in the community in fun and meaningful ways. Despite her children’s differences in ability, they all had a shared desire to have fun. The Play Brigade is dedicated to creating opportunities for play, recreation, and sports, where everyone participates and belongs, regardless of age or ability. They create universal opportunities for fun that are inclusive, rather than “specialized,” raising the bar beyond ADA compliant. They create awareness of inclusion as a social problem, illustrating how individuals and entire communities benefit when every person has the opportunity to participate and belong.
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I became involved with this charity through my work at my current job with Joint Ventures Physical Therapy. About 10 years ago, Dawn dialed the wrong number, realized that she did need some physical therapy as a long distance runner and since then has become part of the Joint Ventures family. This cause also hits home for me because growing up I had friends, much like Dawn’s daughter that excluded from activities because of inaccessibility. There are many places that claim to be handicap accessible, which means that you can get inside with a wheelchair but getting around once inside is another story. The Play Brigade helps eliminates exclusion and helps everyone regardless of age or ability live their life how they see fit. 
 
If you’d like to help build this brigade please donate to my page- every little bit helps! 
 
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It’s OKAY to not be OKAY

I tried to stay away from this topic, because it seems a bit over done and I seem like a hypocrite talking about how social media is fake while being fairly active on social media. However, Essena’s recent realization about how fake social media is, is not one that is new to me and has really started to get to me lately.
When I first started using instagram I stumbled upon a few bikini competitors and that’s when I started to also revolve my account around fitness and my upcoming bikini competition. I was so excited, I was learning so much from these girls and copying everything. This is what happens. And in my experience it started me on a downward spiral.
These girls appear to be perfect and happy and loving like and going hard and #teamnodaysoff. So that’s what I started to do and that’s what my mind set was. If you look back on my account I appear to have it together and I appear to be so put together and know it all.
But it was all a lie.
I was starving, working out too much and spending more time taking selfies in the morning than dedicating myself to my job and my health. I know we’ve heard this before. You only see someone’s highlight reel on social media. You don’t see that the daily problems that they deal with, you don’t know what’s going on in their head. The person that’s shredded is probably foggy brained from being carb depleted, the perfect mom may be stressed to the max trying to get dinner together, the girl surrounded by friends every weekend may feel more alone than ever etc.
Just because someone appears to be okay doesn’t mean they’re not. I know this because I see it all the time in my clients. They come to me and they talk and I find out behind these happy exteriors that they put out into the world, they aren’t okay. Even though they’re the most successful person in their field or they have picture perfect children, they struggle too everyday.  AND IT’S FINE. But it  can make you feel bad for not having that life instagram perfect life if yours isn’t the same.
Sometimes I wish I had the perfect pictures from the weekend and from work outs and running. Maybe that would make me more successful or social media popular. But more times than not, I’m so busy living my life that I forgot to stop and take a selfie. There are many times I’m like shoot I didn’t post a picture today or I didn’t find a clever quote. But it’s because I’m out in thereal world, not always absorbed by my phone. I’m okay with not being perfect or as successful. I don’t want to spend a half hour in the morning taking selfies when I could be sleeping. I don’t want to do shout out for shout to gain more followers. I want to be real with you, I want to inspire people but I also want to show you that you can be successful without being perfect and it’s OKAY.

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Took me a couple tries to get the cute picture that I posted a couple weeks ago!

Staying Motivated

Let’s talk motivation. I get this questioned a lot on staying motivated, especially, right after Halloween. The end of the year is coming and we all have parties and holidays and celebrations are coming. But that doesn’t mean that you just stop working towards your goals, if this is all about living a healthy LIFESTYLE then you should fit eating healthy and working out into the schedule. But in order to stay motivated you have to remind yourself WHY.

WHY did you start this in the first place? What is the big picture? Holiday season is only two months. What about all the hard work you just put in for the past 10?

Keep this in mind to keep going. But I know you’re thinking, there’s so many cookies and so much candy laying around this time of year. MAKE it work for you. Treat yourself to a little candy (keyword here is little) so that you won’t be tempted to over indulge in one sitting. This is why I’m a huge fan of IIFYM. You can have some candy, just cut back on the rest of the day. Want a cookie midday? Go ahead but skip carbs at dinner, and watch how many grams of fat you’re eating. In short, make your other meals as healthy as possible.images

Check your portion sizes too. I have the bad habit of standing at the treats table and just mindlessly stuffing my face. WALK AWAY. Fill a plate and find another spot in the room to chat.

Maybe you won’t get as many work outs in as you usually do, maybe you don’t have as much time. But make the most out of the time you DO have. You can get a killer work out in, in just 30 minutes. You can even get a killer work out in in just 30 minutes while you’re at home! You pigeon hole yourself to just the gym. It’s about getting creative and making time in your day. May be you have to switch your night work outs to morning ones, maybe you have to combine two in one day.

One of the things that I’ve found to keep me motivated in my off season from races, is planning my next year. I’ve already picked out what races I want to do next year (full marathon here I come!), I’ve set goals for my off season (cutting a minute off my mile time, and building up my power on the bike). Remember, try to pick goals that are not so scale and body image oriented. I feel like that’s really important this time of the year especially. If you’re like me and you started this lifestyle in order to feel good, don’t bash yourself for over doing it, or skipping a work out. Just make every attempt to do better next time and try not to use food and work outs as punishment. Fitness should be FUN.

This is my fun face.

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Hemp Hearts: A Super Food Review!

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I get a chance to review fun products. This post is sponsored by Manitoba Harvest and I received a sample free of charge to facilitate my honest review. The post may also contain affiliate links.
They sent me a 56g  bag of Hemp Hearts to sample and review, and will give another to a reader from Canada or the U.S. who enters my giveaway contest.

Simply comment on this post to win a bag! 

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So what are these little guys that claim to be so super? Well, hemp hearts are derived from seeds from the Cannabis plant. Besides making weed and health food supplements, hemp is also refined into hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, and fuel. Why should I eat this stuff in the first place? According to the package, 30 grams of hemp hearts has 10 grams of protein. That’s kind of a lot. Nonetheless, if I’m just sprinkling this stuff into my yogurt, hemp isn’t exactly an abundant protein source. What hemp does have are substantive amounts of minerals, namely phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Also notable are low saturated fat content, high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids, lack of cholesterol and sodium, and high dietary fiber.
How do you eat them? Well, they have slightly nutty taste so they’re good on their own. But you can also use them on salads, in yogurt, over pancakes, waffles or even in smoothies! Manitoba Harvest has a ton of different ways to use hemp hearts in every day foods and recipes.
image2I decided to try mine out in their hemp tahini bars that I found on the site. They were super easy to make and were a hit with everyone that taste tested them! Here’s the recipe for you:

Hemp Tahini Bars

Ingredients

  • 12 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup tahiniimage1
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup Hemp Hearts
  • 1 pinch of fine sea salt
  • 100 g bar of dark chocolate (70% or higher)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions

In a medium bowl, mash the dates with a fork. If your dates are too dry you can soak them in hot water for around 15 minutes. If they still won’t mash easily, you can blend them in a blender with a tiny bit of water.

Next, add the tahini, almond butter and coconut oil and mix until it is well combined. Then add in the chia seeds, macadamia nuts and Hemp Hearts and mix until it forms a soft dough.

Press the dough into a parchment paper lined 8×8 pan. Put the pan in the freezer to let the bars set. Next, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in either a double boiler or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water.

Once the chocolate is melted, remove the bars from the freezer and pour the chocolate over the top making sure it is spread out evenly. Put the bars back in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the chocolate is set.

To serve, cut the bars into squares (of whichever size you like) and let them thaw for around 5 minutes. Store the bars in an airtight container in the freezer until you’re ready to eat.

Yield: 12 to 16 bars

Don’t forget to leave a comment to win your own bag of Hemp Hearts! 

If you are a Sweat Pink Ambassador who is also involved in this campaign you are not eligible to win but you may help promote by tweeting the following:

#hemphearts #hemplove @ManitobaHarvest Win some from @ChristineMince and #SweatPink @FitApproach https://christinemince.com/2015/11/02/hemp-hearts-a-super-food-review/