Spring Orange Salad

Ingredients for orange salad. Most of my ingredients are from Trader Joes.

Spring orange salad is packed with flavor, vitamin C, fiber, and good fats!  A great way to change up your routine salad.

Ingredients

– 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

-1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

-1 tsp orange muscat champagne vinegar

– 1/4 cup sliced almonds

-1/2 orange

-1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

-1/2 cup chopped sweet onions

-2 cups mixed greens

Directions

Saute mushrooms, onions, almonds on stove over medium heat.  Add orange vinegar and soy sauce.  Cook until onions are see through.

Over mixed greens add sliced orange half and sesame oil.  Let stove cooked veggies and almonds cool and add to salad.

Mix together and serve.

Add chicken for some protein if desired.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Zipped up Zucchini & Cherry Tomatoes

When it comes to vegetables I tend to get bored a lot.  I started to experiment more with my vegetables, and really liked this zipped up zucchini and cherry tomato mix.  Its a perfect salad topper or side for your protein. Plus it’s easy, low calorie, and filling.

Ingredients

-3 sliced zucchinis

-1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

-1 cup chopped sweet onion

-1 cup chopped mushrooms

-2 tsp olive oil

-2 tsp balsamic

-1 tsp white wine vinegar

-2 tsp minced garlic

-1/2 tsp rosemary

-1 tsp Italian seasoning

-dash of salt & pepper

Mix together. Put in the oven for 15 min on 350.

Add baked veggies on salad for amazing taste!

Overcoming Injuries & Set Backs

Six weeks ago I pulled my hamstring, ugh!  There goes my goals for the next couple months, my fitness competition and auditioning for performing gigs in Vegas (something I specifically came to Vegas to do). I always get a little down and depressed when a set back occurs because of all the things I will be missing out on in the near future.  Over the years I’ve had many physical injuries: broken fingers, broken wrists and pulled muscles. Every time my goals crumble and I have to become a spectator instead of athlete.  Injuries, like pulling my hamstring, forced me to take a step back make new goals, try new things, and find the positives of the situation.  Moving forward with new goals while staying positive has helped me stay happy through injuries. Looking back some of my greatest triumphs have come from finding ways around my obstacles, making new goals, and opening myself up to new things.  “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. Alexander Graham Bell

Leah supporting her circus partner Erin who was performing that summer.

Making new goals is an important part of moving forward and striving towards success.  Without goals we feel a little lost.  Give yourself some time to really evaluate and come up with a new goal after a set back.  Maybe it is something very similar to your original goal or in the opposite direction.  After I pulled my hamstring I had trouble walking for weeks.  So most of my exercise came from walking or hiking.  During that time I decided that my new goal was to hike a mountain.  I want to take advantage of the mountains by Vegas and love the idea of doing something that seems so far out of my reach.

Leah hiking around red rock. Being careful on her hurt hamstring.

Set backs can be a great time to explore and find new hobbies and experiences.   Push yourself out of your bubble and try new things.  When I broke my wrist last year my friend invited me to make/paint pottery.  Normally I’m such an active person, who has trouble sitting still, so I probably would have passed.  But being I could not do a lot of my normal exercises I decided to give it a go, I found out I really loved it! It was very relaxing and it was great getting in touch with my artistic side.  When I broke my finger I made a list of all the activities I wanted to try but never had time for.  I went to many new dance and aerobics classes that didn’t use my upper body. I found some that I enjoyed and now incorporate them into my normal exercise routine.

Breaking my finger playing football.

You never know what you can achieve with a positive attitude.  I broke my wrist a couple years ago right before Cuervo Games (something that I had worked for over a month to get my team into).  Cuervo Games was an obstacle course type competition, where 5 teams competed against each other.  When I broke my wrist I was crushed that I could not do the competition.  After a couple days of being devastated I decided to get over it.  My wrist was broken and that was not going to change, the only thing I could change at that point was my attitude.  I decided I was going to do the games, I would give 100%. I wanted it to seem like the cast wasn’t even there. I did not want people to pity me during the games, I wanted people to cheer because I was rocking it.  I did the games full cast and all, I even rock climbed with one arm while water was pouring down on me.  My team won the games and won a trip to Vegas, we did the impossible.  I could not believe what I had accomplished because of my positive attitude and belief in myself.

Leah rock climbing at Cuervo Games despite her broken wrist.

Bad things happen sometimes, but its the choices we make with our goals, trying new things, and most importantly attitude that will create happiness in tough situations.

Uber Heathly Peaches & Cream

Peaches & Cream Post Workout Snack

This snack really fits the bill when you want something sweet.  Also makes a great post workout snack!
1/4 cup basmati brown rice
1 cup non fat Greek yogurt
1 sliced up peach (mine were canned because of convenience)
2 tbs dried cranberries
2 tbs slivered almonds
a pinch of cinnamon

Partying at the Playboy Mansion

I love new experiences and adventures, so when had the chance to go to the Playboy Mansion I jumped at the chance. I’ve seen it on TV in “The Girls Next Door” and in magazines and always wondered what it would be like to go.  It was so exciting to even get an invite and fun to at least experience the glamorous life style you always see or read about. Since I moved to Vegas I have had two chances to go, New Years Eve and the Grammy Party hosted by P. Diddy.  Both were great experiences, in great part to the friends I went with and the healthy choices I made.

I think its important not to let your health and fitness goals take away from life experiences.  Many girls in the fitness industry get a little weird about going out or having new experiences because they don’t want anything messing with their goals. When your focused on health and fitness going out and partying with friends is one experience that is difficult to manage. It’s hard to go out with and not drink or overindulge when everyone else is.  Finding the balance is important to staying on track with your goals while not feeling left out.  I love being around people, always have liked to be a social butterfly, and love new adventures.  I let my health and fitness goals guide my experience, without taking anything away.  Here are some ways that I’ve been able to let myself enjoy my new adventures without anxiety or regret the next day about the food I ate, what I drank, or what I did.

  1. Go with a friend to keep you in check. This person should know your health and fitness goals and support your goals.
  2. Eat before going.  Eating at least eat a little something to help you fill up even if you know you will be having dinner. That way you’re not tempted to over indulge.  Usually when I’m eating out with people it takes longer to get my food then I think, and if I don’t eat before hand I’m a hunger monster by the time the food arrives.
  3. Know if your drinking before going and what your limits are.  Don’t let people persuade you into drinking more. I usually go in with the mind set that I’m not drinking at all or having one drink/ a glass of wine.  People tend to forget how many calories are in the drinks they consume when they go out, so if you are drinking be mindful of what you are putting in your body.
  4. I like to keep a glass of water in my hand.  Especially out in LA or Vegas everyone wants you to be drinking with them.  With a glass of water (or soda water with lemon and lime, yum) people assume I don’t need a beverage and stop trying to convince me to drink.
  5. Indulge a little if you have a massive craving to stay sane.  If you don’t have a competition right around the corner, it’s OK to have one drink or a piece of chocolate.  Just make sure you don’t eat an entire cake yourself.  Exercise a little harder the next day.
  6. You don’t need to drink to have fun.  You can dance and be social without drinking.  What a concept I know!

You create your own experiences, make them good ones! So to all my guys and gals who are working hard in the gym, remember to also live life and go have experiences. I keep a strong focus on my health and fitness goals so that I can look great and go out with out feeling guilty the next day.

Bluberry Pecan Protein Muffins

Blueberry Pecan Protein Muffins

Ingredients:

-6-8 egg whites

-1 cup quaker oats

-1/2 cup whole wheat flour

-1/2 cup cottage cheese

-1 scoop whey protein powder

-1 cup blueberries

-2 tbs vanilla extract

-2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 cup chopped pecans

-8 packets of Truvia (depending on how you feel on artificial sweetener, you can use real sugar or no sugar at all).

Directions:

1. Beat egg whites

2. Add vanilla extract and applesauce together

3.  Add the baking powder, whey protein, oats, and flour to the mix (Blend until smooth).

4. Add cottage cheese.

5. Add pecans and blueberries and stir with spoon.

6. Bake at 350 for approx. 20 min

Makes 12 servings

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Prep Time: About 40min

Cook Time: 15 min

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium size sweet potatoes (peeled & mashed without the skin)
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (can use gluten free flour)
  • 4 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Organic butter or cooking spray for skillet

Directions:

In a large bowl combine all ingredients until smooth. Cook batches in skillet (measure batter with ½ cup) with butter or cooking spray.  Cook on medium high temperature until bubbles form on surface then flip over until golden brown.

Top with fruit, powder sugar, peanut butter, or organic maple syrup.

Life is not a fitness competition…How do you look fabulous & fit in real life?

I have loved doing fitness, figure, and bikini competitions.  It’s a great way to challenge yourself and find out new things about your body. I have especially loved learning about the diet and how to cook (something I knew nothing about before I started competing).

My challenge has always been the “off season”.  How do I keep up a diet like that with no competition goal? This last year I started to get closer to this answer.  These are a few things that have helped me.

Leah & Dana at One Oak at the Mirage in Las Vegas

  1. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a diet. I try not to think of how I eat as a “diet”.  I try not to focus on the restriction i.e.: “I can’t eat chocolate, cookies, and cake”.  I focus on the foods I can eat that make me happy (cheese, whole grains, salad, fruit, peanut butter), how they make me feel, and creative ways to prep them in the kitchen.
  2. Goals.  Even though I may not plan on doing a fitness competition for another 6 months I come up with some attainable goals. Some goals I have had in the past are half marathons, triatholons, photoshoots, a specific event I want to look good for, or a trick I want to learn in circus class. Either these goals keep me stay active and pushing towards a fitter body or these goals keep my mind in a good place when I’m choosing what to eat.
  3. Thinking positive! This one has been big for me.  No girl likes gaining weight, and it can be very discouraging when you do.  But you need to tell yourself to stay focused on your goals, stop focusing on your weight, and as long as you are plugged into your diet & exercise routine don’t worry about it.  The stress that women cause themselves thinking about the number on the scale alone will cause them to gain weight haha.  Having a bad day and gaining weight will happen, but you can also have a good day a lose weight – Don’t beat yourself up, you will do more damage than good.
  4. Be prepared! Always have clean food in the house and try to eliminate things that are tempting for you (or at least out of your everyday sight). One thing I did not do before competing is prep food, but I have found that is essential to my success.  When I’m hungry I want to eat right away, if I don’t have food prep I end up eating whatever is in my sight. I also bring food with me.

The pressure to lose weight living in Vegas

Vegas is a very harsh place.  Most of the work here is based around how you look, most managers are looking for thin girls with big boobs, therefore there is a ton of pressure for women’s bodies to look a certain way.  To find happiness and success in Vegas it is important to find self confidence, healthy practices to get your body competitive, and realistic expectations.

Tess and Leah with go-go dancer at Hyde in the Bellagio

From what I have seen so far a lot of women here struggle with this pressure to be thin. Many women resort to quick fixes and unhealthy practices to get their body in “ideal” shape.  I think it is even harder in Vegas to keep your body at a healthy weight with all the partying, drinking, smoking, late nights, and unrealistic expectations of how thin one can get. It is really hard in Vegas not to compare your body to all the half naked women everywhere on the strip. To be competitive here you need to be in awesome shape.  Pool auditions just started popping up everywhere, I’ve went to a couple.  These jobs require you to audition in a swimsuit.  When I was waiting in line I could hear women negatively criticizing their bodies, one women even left before the audition because she did not feel thin enough.  When girls don’t hear back from these auditions it can lead them to take it personal, “Why is my body not good enough?” There negative thoughts lead then to self doubt and sometimes self loathing.

Wet Republic Pool Auditions

Last week I was told by my employer that I needed to lose weight, he didn’t want to be mean about it, but told me he wanted a certain look and that I would get more work.  Now, a few years ago when I wasn’t as confident in myself this comment would have broke me.  I would have set myself up for failure by trying to eat way too little and then binge eating because I would be starving. The truth was I had gained some weight since to Vegas, moving is stressful and when I’m under stress I tend to gain weight.  Looking objectively at the situation, and knowing the type of work I got myself into, I told him I could lose some weight.  But I also made it clear I would not be losing 5 pounds in a week, I would probably lose a pound a week. I never wanted moving to Vegas to compromise my health and fitness goals.  If I ever start negative talk or feel like I need to go to unhealthy measures to change who I am, I know it will be time to leave.  I’m confident enough in myself that I know I look good already, but could tone a bit more without going overboard.

It’s important to lose weight responsibly for your sanity and health. I don’t do anything drastic, when I make big changes to my diet or exercise it creates too much stress in my life and I will end up feeling defeated.  I make small changes.  With my diet I make sure I’m not snacking in between meals, not eating to the point where I’m stuffed, removing some of the fat in my meal like a piece of cheese (I love eating too much fat – nuts, peanut butter, olives, cheese, and oils; so I may take one or two serving out of the entire day), and drinking more water. I may add an extra 10 maybe 15 minutes to my exercise routine or just remember to be more active during the day (do an extra flight of stairs or walk more). And lastly I focus on getting enough sleep, it’s amazing the difference this makes!

I’ve only been in Vegas a month so my views on the pressure to lose weight may change as I get to know the city and myself better. Be realistic about your goals.  Naturally I’m more muscular, even if I lean out I’m not going to look “thin”, my thighs will always touch (I always wanted thighs that didn’t touch when I was younger), and my legs will never look that long.  Make your goals realistic and achievable – most likely you will never look like a super model.  The best you is good enough, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. In the end it’s all about making yourself happy; if your not happy something needs to change.