Monday, October 31, 2016

Booty Gains

Abs may come and go, but booty gains are forever. Well, not really, but it is more attainable and sustainable than a six pack of abs and it seems to be a big obsession in the fitness community right now. When I weighed less, I had a concave butt. It wasn't cute. I don't think people should strive to meet anyone's standards of beauty and fitness, but I personally wanted to make some gains! Also, strong legs and Glutes help with many activities in life in general.


Most people tend to be quad dominant so it's very easy to allow them to take over. My tips (note: I am not a professional anything, but these are tips I found helpful)
  • Mind muscle connection - focus on the squeezing the Glutes as you perform your exercises 
  • Proper form - proper form ensures you're recruiting the Glutes and prevents injury 
  • Do Glutes focused exercises regularly 
  • Eat to grow! 
Some of my personal favorite exercises:
  • Deadlifts! I feel the Glutes squeeze even more in deadlifts than I do win regular stance squats 
  • Squats, obviously 
  • Glute kickbacks - you can use Dumbbells in your leg crease, a machine at the gym, a cable machine, or ankle weights 
  • Bulgarian split squats - I either do these with added weight or make them plyo 
  • Glutes bridges - squeeze, baby, squeeze! 
  • Hip thrusters - awkward but effective, use weight and hold at the top for maximum burn 
Are you trying to build a booty or nah? What are some of your favorite exercises? Let me know!
Bulgarian Split Squats

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What's a Macro?

Do you track your macros?

What's a macro?

I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but I do loosely track my macros, or macronutrients. Macronutrients include Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. The IIFYM approach to eating basically means that you should eat micronutrient* dense foods for the most part, but you can enjoy other foods If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM). 

There is a common misconception that IIFYM promotes eating a lot of junk as long as it fits your macros, but from what I've read, that is not true. There is a balance needed as with everything. For example, I eat salad for lunch most days, vegetables at dinner, and snack on a lot of fruit, however, I usually have something "unclean" for dessert. Some days it might be two oreos, or some candy. Some days I have more "unclean" foods than others, but I am trying to gain weight right now, so it's easy for me to get plenty of micronutrients and still enjoy these treats. 

Many people who restrict themselves completely may end up binging or feeling guilty when they do indulge. I've found the IIFYM style of eating to be beneficial to me personally. That being said, I think Intuitive Eating is a great goal for me. It focuses on eating based on what you feel you need, listening to your body. That doesn't mean giving in to every craving for sugar but satisfying your body based on it's needs. The benefit of that is that you don't have to calculate, measure, and possibly obsess as much as IIFYM. 

Whatever style of eating you choose, it's important to be moderate and balanced, in my opinion. If you want to find out what your personal macronutrient requirements are, IIFYM.com has a calculator that you can use. 

Don't let eating become a chore! Treat your body right and get the necessary nutrients!

Do you follow a specific type of eating? Keto? IIFYM? Intuitive? Have you tried different types? Let me know what you think!

*Micronutrient here refers to vitamins and minerals, etc. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Product Review: Bliss Nut Butters

Nut Butter Addict here.

The first step is acknowledging it, right?

But, I don't really think I'm going to be kicking the habit any time soon. I love trying all different kinds of nut butters and most recently, I tried out the Bliss Nut Butters brand.

Cashew Nut Butter


The cashew nut butter is made simply of cashews, sunflower oil, organic raw honey and sea salt. It tastes amazing! I love cashews so I love this flavor. It's a great balance of salty and sweet. It tastes very similar to the Flyjoy Cashew Cookie Dough energy bar! My only downside to this nut butter is that it doesn't melt but it is very obviously fresh and delicious!





Texture shot of Cashew Nut Butter





















Hazelnut Butter with Cranberries

Hazelnut with Cranberries texture 





















The next flavor I tried was the Hazelnut butter with cranberries. The first thing I noticed is that there was some oil on top, which is not unusual with freshly ground nut butters, however, I stirred and stirred and it really didn't combine well. The end result was still pretty dry and crumbly. The flavor, however, was very good. It was sweet, but not too sweet and I thought the dried cranberries were a nice texture experience but I'm not sure it's my favorite based on what I use nut butters for.

Hazelnut with Cranberries on a sweet potato 
Overall, it wasn't bad, but I wouldn't purchase it again. 

I will update this post when I try the next flavor! Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mini Pumpkin Spice Glazed Protein Muffins

I don't know how it happened, but it's mid October and you know what that means.


Pumpkin.
Spice.
Everything.

I had been wanting to try a macro friendly pumpkin spice muffin for a while but I've been so busy! Thankfully, these are the EASIEST muffins ever! I used protein pancake mix as a shortcut but if you want to try from scratch, I would suggest subbing 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 scoop protein powder and 1/2 tsp baking powder - but I make no promises because I haven't tried that!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup protein pancake mix (I used Kodiak Cakes brand) 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée 
  • 1/4 cup liquid sweetener (I used Walden Farms maple walnut syrup) 
  • 1 egg white 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice 
  • Pumpkin gbutter for glaze 
Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or line a mini muffin pan. 
  2. Combine all ingredients except the gbutter, and mix with a mixer until thoroughly combined. If you used a different sweetener, you may need to add liquid. The consistency should be thinner than cookie dough but slightly thicker than cake batter. 
  3. Spoon the batter into the mini muffin pan. 
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 
  5. While still warm, drizzle pumpkin spice gbutter on top and enjoy! 
Makes 12 mini muffins. Macros without glaze per muffin: 22 cal .2f/3.5c/1.6p
Macros with 1 tsp of gbutter per muffin: 38 cal 1f/4.2c/3.3p

Use code "gbuttermeg" to try out the new pumpkin spice gbutter! It's so good and macros are great! For my review on gbutter, go here: GButter Review

Let me know if you try this easy recipe! What's your favorite pumpkin spice food? I'm thinking protein pumpkin pie is my next experiment! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Product Review: Nitrotech Crunch Bar Birthday Cake Flavor

Everyone loves the idea of birthday cake flavored things but sometimes, the product falls a little flat or doesn't hit the nail on the head with flavor. You can't just add some rainbow sprinkles and call it birthday cake, people!

Texture Shot - Baked Center

The new kid on the block, Nitrotech Crunch bars, tackled this controversial flavor. The employee at GNC told me it was the best protein bar she's ever had, so obviously I had to give it a try. The calorie count is slightly higher than your average (i.e. Quest) protein bar.

Macros: 240 cal 24c/7f/22p and the bar is 65g so I didn't think it was too bad!

 The description says no added sugar, yet there's sugar and sucralose in the ingredients list so that's a bit confusing. It uses a blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and milk protein concentrate for the protein source. It has a "baked" center with sweet white coating and pink drizzle. It sounds and looks a lot like the FitCrunch Birthday Cake bar which I have yet to try but it has a more reasonable calorie count.

Really bad lighting - oops!

The texture is similar to a FitCrunch bar or Combat Crunch bar and I really think they did a good job with the flavor. It was sweet with buttery notes of flavor and of course, rainbow sprinkles. Those are vital.

I cut up part of it and topped my Slappy Birthday protein fluff with it along with You Fresh Naturals Birthday Cake muscle butter and more rainbow sprinkles.

Birthday Cake Masterpiece

I would recommend this bar if you're not bothered by the sugar and sucralose! It has good texture and flavor and is satiating. 

Have you tried any of the Nitrotech Crunch bars or FitCrunch birthday? How does it compare?


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bis and Tris Workout

You know how there's certain muscle groups you don't like working?

For me, it's triceps so I had been neglecting them! I've decided to start focusing on them to improve.
My workout split is Back/Shoulders/Abs, Glutes/Hamstrings, Triceps/Biceps/Abs, and Overall Legs. It's been working out pretty well so far! Here's what I did for tricep/bicep workout last week:

Band assisted pull ups, neutral grip 4x12
Band assisted pull ups, narrow grip 4x12
Band assisted pull ups, wide grip 4x12
Band assisted chin ups 4x12

Push ups 4x15 (narrow, wide, regular, diamond)

Tricep kickbacks 4x10 superset with
Bicep curls 4x10

Tricep Dips 4x10 superset with
Hammer curls 4x10

Skull crushers 4x10 superset with
Bicep curl burnout 4x20 lightweight

Tricep Dips amrap

Those tricep dips at the end were killer!

If you have any tips on working triceps or favorite exercises for them, let me know!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Product Review: Perfect Bar

Perfect Bar
That's quite a name to live up to. Is it perfect?



The perfect bar brags non GMO, kosher, gluten free, good source of protein, refined sugar free and packed with 20 superfoods for vitamins and minerals. Where can you find it? The refrigerated section! That's how they stay fresh without junky preservatives. 

So far, I've only been able to try Almond Butter, Carob Chip, and Almond Coconut. My favorite of the three was probably Carob Chip! It had a strong peanut butter flavor with a chocolate overlay. It was an interesting texture similar to the G2G bars and thankfully, I didn't taste the dried kelp. 


Texture shot of Almond Butter flavor

I also really liked the almond butter and it had a strong almond butter flavor, obviously, with a similar texture to the G2G bar again. It's chewy, dense and slightly crumbly. 

The Almond Coconut was my least favorite of the three but still good. I think the texture was a bit dryer. It's been a while! 

Overall, I really liked these bars and would say they're mighty similar to G2G bars but they are more accessible as I can get them at the grocery store. I also love the superfoods addition that doesn't cause any bad taste or texture. I look forward to trying the peanut butter flavor because peanut butter is king! 

Have you tried these bars, G2G, or both? How do you think they compare?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Nobody's Perfect

Hannah Montana might have known what she was talking about when she sang: "nobody's perfect".

Sure, we all know that no one is perfect, yet still, many people are "perfectionists", many people don't feel good enough. I know I've dealt with these feelings myself.

I'm not good enough, strong enough, nice enough, fast enough, kind enough, generous enough, friendly enough, healthy enough, etc.

Good enough for who? Why do I set these unattainable standards for myself? They only cause negative feelings. I sincerely try so hard to be "good" at everything I do. All you can do is your best. Nobody's perfect and if you spread yourself too thin, nothing will seem to be good enough. You could get burnt out.

I think it's very important to have a good balance of taking care of responsibilities and being the best person you can be while not expecting yourself to be superwoman. Take time to relax and enjoy yourself, too. Balance and realistic expectations are vital for happiness.


Plan and prioritize, take each day one at a time, do your best and know that you are good enough.

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.”
― John SteinbeckEast of Eden

Monday, October 3, 2016

Product Review: FlyJoy Bars

On the fly? Aren't we all? I know that I feel like I'm constantly going, going, going. So I need snacks to keep me going. Flyjoy bars are called 'quinoa energy bars'. Energy. I like the sound of that. Plus quinoa = healthy, right?

While they also happen to be vegan (dairy free), gluten free, and non-GMO. The ingredients list is comprised of quinoa, chia, oats, flaxseed. Other ingredients vary by flavor but they utilize organic brown rice syrup and organic evaporated cane juice as sweeteners, so you will get that sugar kick but balanced out with the whole grains lasting energy.

I first tried out Cherry Coconut Macaroon on top of a pint of Halo Top ice cream! The bar was delicious, sweet and chewy and is a perfect energy bar! I thought they would be great for hiking and pre-run snacks.
Cherry Coconut Macaroon
 The next flavor I tried was the Cashew Cookie Dough.

Oh my goodness, the cashew cookie dough is so good! The perfect balance of salty and sweet! 



Peanut Butter Texture Shot

The peanut butter tasted like peanut butter so that's good but cashew cookie dough rates higher in my book! The peanut butter and jelly I liked a lot because of the more complex flavor profile. It tasted like it had little pieces of dried fruit as well as the blueberry flavor.  I ate them on the fly so I didn't get a picture! 

I have a few flavors left to try but I'd say these are a win! They have great ingredients to fuel my body and they taste good too. If you see these bars, I recommend you grab one to try out!