Advertisements

Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Tag Archives: bikini competitor

Let’s talk sweet tooth.

I think most of us can agree that there are some things you hate passing up on, but at the same time you wish there was an alternative. I feel this way about doughnuts and cupcakes, but I won’t lie those are sacred and I will never try to find a replacement.

When I started flexible dieting the idea of protein cheesecake was one of the most glorious concepts ever. I’ve tried different recipes,  one or two maybe posted on this blog, but as I’ve evolved in my knowledge of flexible dieting and exhausted myself in the kitchen, I realized some things can’t be completely left out just to make something healthy taste like the real thing.

Right now I’m talking about fat.

Last week, I played with a new protein powder I bought on sale – mocha cappuccino from Optimum Nutrition. It’s a whey isolate, which is different than a blend. It’s thinner for one, but it also doesn’t add fluffy or thickness like a casein blend does when mixed with other things.

To make cheesecake no- bake I couldn’t use whole eggs, but I knew I needed to keep fat somewhere otherwise the texture would be spongey and while I can tolerate that, I don’t want to if I don’t have to. This is something I’ve dealt with when making other recipes, but I’m over that nonsense. Either it needs to have some fat to be smooth or I don’t want it.

My fat source was light cream cheese, enough fat to have flavor and texture, but less than normal so that my macros wouldn’t be blown out of the water.

What happened in the kitchen was magical and I felt kind of silly for not trying to find a no-bake recipe sooner. So here it is. Play with it and let me know your thoughts!

What You’ll Need

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese – I used the store brand’s light cream cheese
  • Vanilla extract to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda – or any sweetener
  • 46g of egg whites/3 tablespoons of egg whites
  • 2 scoops of protein powder – I used whey isolate
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt – I used 0% to bring the overall fat content down
  • Keebler graham cracker crust pieces

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese. Put in the microwave to soften. Heat for 20-30 seconds at a time. I needed about a minute and 20 seconds.
  2. With a hand blender, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Add yogurt and blend. You don’t need to use 0%, but if you’re trying to keep the total fat content down then it’s highly suggested.
  3. When thoroughly mixed add vanilla extract. I used 2 teaspoons, but this is completely on preference. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add in egg whites and 1 tablespoon of Splenda. At this point it should taste like cheesecake, this is the basic form.
  5. Pick your protein and add it slowly while blending with the hand mixer and scraping the sides as needed. I used a whey isolate, using a casein blend may make it thicker – if that’s the case a little almond milk or water may help with consistency.
  6. Since I track my macros very closely I weighed the total batter and then divided by the amount of servings I wanted. For this I wanted 4. These macros are slightly rough, but it’s really the best way to be as accurate as possible.
  7. I divided the filling into 4 mason jars for easy storage and travel. I let them sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before consuming.
  8. I topped the cheesecake filling with 1 tablespoon of crushed graham cracker from Keebler. You could also use the mini pie shells Keebler makes or Goldfish grahams.

Macros for just the filling: 9.6F/5.8C/15.5P – nutrition may vary depending on protein and cream cheese used.

Try it out and let me know how it goes! What protein do you think you would want to try using for your filling?

❤ Cristina

Save

Advertisements

This week my manager and I were talking about my weightloss journey. He’s bulking and I’m cutting again. There’s also another employee who’s cutting for figure. We work at a supplement store so I assumed it would be common practice for the employees to be this way.

I showed him a transformation photo. Actually, I showed him this one.

He looked at it and then looked away. Then he asked to look at it again. He said it didn’t look like me, and I agree. I think there’s features that you can see of my current face in my old face. But it’s not me anymore. I’ve talked a lot about the mental growth that you can’t see in the photos that we all share. I’ve talked about the struggles that you can’t see either.

For me, this whole journey was about re-gaining confidence and pushing myself to new limits. Not only telling myself I can accomplish great things, but then actually following through. It was about proving myself wrong because more importantly this is for me and no one else. Taking risks and  learning a lot of new things along the way. I’ve told you this before. This isn’t anything new. This is what the journey is about.

But I guess something that we’ve never really talked about is happiness. We’ve talked about how goals evolve and how methods need to be flexible to support new and evolving goals, but what about happiness. What does happiness look like at different stages?

My manager kind of asked about this. He said you’re smiling in the photo, didn’t you know you were that big. Had this been someone online, I would’ve been pissed because that’s such an odd thing to say. But since there was some context to our conversation, I just explained – it was the Senior Ball during Senior Week in college and it was a lot of fun, I was still happy as a heavier person. As a fat person I was still happy. Size doesn’t dictate true happiness.

This I believe wholeheartedly.

Today I pull happiness from a latte or a homemade cookie from the farmer’s market. I pull happiness from a cup of tea waiting for me at the end of a long day. I find enjoyment from hearing that a client believes their week was successful even if there were a few bumps in the road – they are learning to not be so hard on themselves.

Before, I remember being excited for a nice day to be outside with friends on campus drinking a beer. Not wanting to miss a moment and being pissed when I was stuck in biology lab on a Tuesday night because night class sounded like a good idea at the time. I didn’t want to be left out. I found happiness in all experience – good and those to never be re-visited.

When people tell us that we’re fat or were fat or are getting fat, they’re not telling us something we don’t already know. I knew I was getting heavy, but I chose to not care. As my waist grew so did my defensive humor, and now as a more fit person my comebacks are fast and I’m considered witty. Go figure that was used to deflect before. When I started losing weight, I started for find happiness in places I never thought I would like the gym or trying a new recipe modification.

Clearly, I have always loved food and I am a self proclaimed foodie, but I had never been this creative in the kitchen before. Now, I’ve set boundaries. Not everything should be healthy, some things are best when the stick of butter stays or you sneak in extra peanut butter. Happiness is when JP will try some random creation and actually enjoys it.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be sad sometimes. Go ahead and cry if that’s going to help. Scream if you need to, but try to not break your cell phone – nothing is worth a cracked screen.

We all experience sadness differently. Don’t think just because someone shows you highlights online that they are never sad. Some are just better at hiding it. I think frustration can fall into that as well. I still get sad or angry or frustrated when I don’t do something well that I know I’m capable of doing. Again, I don’t think size dictates how you feel about anything – you don’t lose your emotions when you lose weight. You may gain some perspective, but I don’t think you completely change your emotional thought process.

I look back on photos and try remembering what was happening when it was captured. Some smiles are genuine and others are cheesy, some have terrible angles because that’s how I thought I could make myself look thinner. No, Cristina, that’s not how that works at all. You just look like you have a broken neck – oh well, lesson learned. Also, duck face, not cute. Try again. I never thought about if I was unhappy. Of course I had times of sadness and times I didn’t like my size, but I don’t think I would’ve ever allowed that to consume everything I had. I had a lot of sadness and anger and frustration this fall and that was exhausting. Kitchen floor and all, but comparing my old life to this one including the fall – nothing can compare. I am the fittest I’ve ever been and something still triggered me.

I believe I’m the happiness I have been in a while and that’s exciting and scary because I love this feeling and I don’t want it to go away. I also know that means I’m going to have to work at keeping it. Finding happiness in the perfect cup of coffee and reminding myself that a 5-hour class on a Monday night is going to be worth it when I hold that degree. Look forward to each day at work because I truly love what I’m doing. It’s not just a job, it’s the hallway to greater opportunity.

I’m lucky that while some shitty things have happened, I have also had some opportunities line right up.

Today, look for happiness in places you don’t always seek it from. Maybe it’s five minutes of quiet until you realize the kids trashed the living room. Or maybe it’s not cooking the yolk all the way through – I hate when that happens. I hope you can wear a smile on your face because happiness looks great on everyone, at every size.

❤ Cristina

Save


No matter the task you’re taking on, there will be challenges of varying levels. This is a given, nothing is easy. When I started my weightloss journey, I didn’t have a support system or any one person who had verbalized that they believed in me. It was clear to me that to be successful, this had to be about me, for me, and I had to believe that I could accomplish the goals I was creating for myself.

Let me say, that this journey should be about you anyway. It shouldn’t be about getting someone to notice you. It should be about your health, how you feel about yourself and you should be slightly selfish in your goals. No one will make you successful, but they can help support you and give you tools that will lead to success when combined with hard work.

The simple definition of a support system from Merriam-Webster is:

 A group of people who someone help, encouragement, etc.

A more complex definition is:

A network of people that provide an individual with practical and emotional support.

As my journey has evolved and my goals have become more complex, I’ve learned that I can’t do this on my own. It took a lot for me to admit it, but while I had been flexible dieting and macro counting for over a year, I knew I need more guidance when it came to determining when and how to adjust my nutrition. I also had hit a wall in my lifting. I felt great about my lifts, but as far as configuring optimal workouts, I didn’t feel confident that I would have much success.

It’s okay to ask for help

I’ve talked about working with a trainer on my instagram page. We started working together in October and not only has my body changed, but mentally I feel like I’m in a really great place. Working with her has been a partnership. She listens when I say there’s something wrong, like the time I had a tendon rolling over in my wrist and it hurt to curl or the time I had lactic acid build up in my shoulder and it was preventing maximum mobility. She adjusted my workouts while I worked with my chiropractor to fix the physical issues.

When it comes to eating, as long as it fits it gets eaten. This creates balance because ice cream doesn’t always fit, but it also means I don’t need to overload on the veggies either – I learned this hard way. This means that she lets me experiment in the kitchen as long as I’m hitting my macro nutrient goals. Bring on yogurt bowls and vegan stuffed brownies!

*side note – according to the latest nutritional report from the CDC the average American only need 14g of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed – I was consuming way too much for the amount of food I was eating and it was causing some digestive issues.

She does more than just design my workouts and adjust my macros based on my progress. She’s there when I have questions or concerns about my progress. She’s reminded me to trust the process and to not freak out – or at least minimize the freaking out during prep. She is the professional that I hired to keep me on track, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try to turn to my friends too.

You learn who supports you at your craziest

Throughout this journey I’ve learned who is here for me and who isn’t. Those who are here for me have been willing to listen and learn about why I’m competing or why I’ve lost as much weight as I have. Those who weren’t truly supportive, well, they’re no longer in the picture and it’s not my loss.

My friends have been extremely important in this process. Educating them can be fun and it can be a pain in the ass. The fun part is when they’re willing to experiment with food with you – thanks Jessica for enduring my burrito bowls, protein pancakes and scale portioned meals. The pain in the ass part is when they forget that you’re in dry prep – yeah JP, no bourbon. Or when they don’t realize that brunching in town may kill all your food for the day – looking at you again babe. But the fun part again, is when they tell you that they don’t get it, but they’re proud of you because they know it’s important to you – oh those college friends of mine.

It’s also ok if you don’t have friends physically close to you that don’t understand what you’re doing and why. This isn’t just about my journey, but all journey’s. Because of the stereotypes out there about weightlifting, some of your friends may try to tell you to not try hitting the weight room. Because of other myths about nutrition, some may tell you that you can only clean eat or only calorie count to lose weight. The truth is we are all different and we need to try different methods. For some it’s seeing or doing it that confirms if it’s the right step for them.

I tried macro counting with a clean eating focus during my last prep – by the end I wanted all the limited edition Oreos, that’s when I decided to just macro count and try to make good decisions. I’m down almost 36 pounds from macro counting: the first 24 from clean eating, then I gained 10 pounds back post-show when I wasn’t clean eating or tracking as carefully, then lost 22 with 100% flexibility. I had to learn that it’s ok to stare at the Oreo’s and eat them in moderation. But I wouldn’t have tried being 100% flexible if it hadn’t been for some of the lovely friends I had made on social media.

My friends mostly live in my phone

While I agree, there are aspects of social media that are damaging the new and even some of the older generations, I also believe there’s a lot of good coming from it. For me, it has been about connecting to like-minded people with similar goals and dreams, but maybe different methods. I met Sarah, you probably know her as @fit_badger15, in September 2014, but we started texting and sending each other care packages in December 2014. It’s been over a year since that started. Every month we send the craziest things from protein bars and hot cocoa to t-shirts and mugs. We’ve exchanged Christmas gifts and she sent me goodies from her trip in Ecuador. I also send her postcards while I travel for work. It was Sarah who introduced me to the Bikini Body Guide, or BBG. It’s circuit style training and at the time I needed something new – it was pre-Alaina and post-1st bikini competition. I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted and with her assistance, I dove into BBG and got to my lightest weight at the time 149 in June 2015.

I met Tresa or @not_a_runner in the summer of 2015 and I met her as she was determined to be a powerlifter. Now she’s not so sure, but she knows she loves lifting and that her health is equally as important as her strength. Similar to Sarah, Tresa and I send each other care packages and text more often than I do with friends I’ve known longer. She’s helped me get comfortable with lifting, but also push myself to lift heavier and be confident that I can finish a set. Because of her my squat max increased 25 pounds throughout the fall before I started prep.

The other day on instagram I had posted about the army of people behind me, most of which I have never actually met in person. Maybe I log on too much, but sometimes I need a little reassurance – I believe we all need reassurance sometimes. We need someone there who will believe in us when we don’t. People, who will equally tell you to act like an adult, put on your big girl pants and get your shit together, while in the same breathe tell you it’s okay to feel like crap every now and then.

The support system, whether made up of people you see every day or people you can only “pen pal” with, is important for success. The journey needs to be about you, but it needs to somehow encompass people who can help push you when you want to stand still and help give you the confidence you need when all you want to do is sit on the floor and eat peanut butter. My hard work has gotten me this far, but it’s been paired with someone else’s guidance the past few months and support that I have found in the most unlikely of places.

❤ Cristina

 


Seriously? Has anyone else had to ask themselves this question today? Living in New England, many of us were able to celebrate Patriot’s Day or Marathon Monday by not having to work. For me that meant getting to the gym early, heading home to get laundry and meal prep underway. I closed out the Monday by working the closing shift too. I had a work breakfast meeting on Tuesday, which made the morning zoom. It was followed by work lunches on Wednesday and Thursday… Friday I had a workshop in Connecticut and then boom, Hello Saturday! You can see the dilemma? No, neither can I, except I sadly feel like this means that the weekend is going to zoom by as well.

Motivation Monday comparison

 

Let’s back up a minute. I had three food work-related meetings this week. This is part of my day job, but sometimes it can leave me stressed out. With hopes to prevent a melt down at the table, I always look at the menu before hand and try make a game plan. I then figure out my macros for the rest of the day based on what I’m consuming at this meal. I’m really excited about the decisions I made this week and I was able to maintain about a 400 calorie deficient while hitting my macros accordingly.

My weigh-in on Wednesday shocked me with a 1.75 pound loss bringing me to 151.25 pounds – I’m only 1.25 pounds heavier than I was at my November show. Holy crap! I had to step on the scale 4 times to make sure it wasn’t lying! I have lost almost 4 pounds by “doing Kayla” as all the cool kids say. I attribute a lot of this to my food consumption and water intake as well the workouts, which were strong all week.

I had to take a picture because I barely believed it!

Comparison since starting BBG. The middle of my stomach is starting to shrink and lift.

 

This also includes a lifting session I had on Thursday to replace low intensive steady cardio… Sorry Kayla, I needed some deadlifts in my life. Happily enough, I can report that my deadlifts were solid and I hit a new PR of 110 pounds for 3 sets of 10. The first set was a little rough, but the second and third sets were solid were form and execution.

The one downfall this week happened on Thursday night I had a good time getting sick. It really hit me out of no where. I was bloated and I like to say it appeared as though I had a bowling ball in my stomach. Regardless of how it happened or how sick I was, I managed to get in bed by 915 and fast asleep. I was up at 530 – all the bloat was gone and it was like it never happened! Ugh.

Not a transformation: Left- my lift at 6 am on Thursday, Middle- post sick, Right- Friday morning

 

I was in Connecticut by 8 and I maintained my normal eating and even made it to the gym, but stomach was off for most of the day. I definitely thought I was going to get sick during my circuits, but thanks to a ton of water and some slowed breathing I was able to control the nausea and not lose it on the gym floor. I had a cup of peppermint tea with dinner and this morning everything was back to normal. No bloating, no nausea and I even felt super lean.

Saturday morning (this morning) lean city!

 

I don’t know why, but I’m still surprised by what your body can do to you when it’s not happy, but again what it does when it loves they way you’re treating it!

Moving on…

To finish out Week 3 of Bikini Body Guide, I went hiking today for the first time this season with my friend Jules – we met on Instagram and learned that we only live 20 minutes from each other! How freakin’ cool is that?! We went up to Mt. Wachusett and rocked an hour and 20 minute hike for a total 395 calories burned!

Getting ready!

 

Me and Jules at the summit on Mt. Wachusett!

Pine Hill Trail

 

Our view at the summit

 

This brought my workout caloric burn to 2,015 for the week. This combined with my eating deficit allowed for a little over 4,000 calories output. While I’ve written about how it’s a little more than calorie input/output to lose weight, this is definitely a start. I’m excited to be 1.75 pounds away from my first goal weight of 149.5. I’m also excited to be able to quantify my progress and see how hard I’m pushing myself by having timed circuits and using a new HRM.

I’ve written my circuits for Week 4 in my notebook already and I’m looking forward to my rest day tomorrow. Shocking i know, but I’m going to the VegFest, which is a free festival that celebrates vegetarians and vegans. While I’m neither of those, I do appreciate veggies and fruits and supporting local. I also hear there’s samples too!? Who could give up local grown samples? Not me!

Well, I’m heading to bed. I hope everyone else had a great Saturday and has an even better Sunday Funday. I know I will!

 

❤ Cristina


Yesterday I finished Week 2 of Bikini Body Guide and as of Wednesday I was down another half pound, for a total of 1 pound lost since starting the program two Monday’s ago. That’s pretty steady progress if you ask me and I honestly don’t mind it being slow like that. I’m back to 153 and I’m pretty happy. My goal at the moment is 149.5 pounds, this will be the first time since my sophomore year (2008/2009) that I will have been under 150 pounds.

That’s crazy to me. I never thought I would have come this far, but now that I have I know I don’t want to stop. I’ve been pretty motivated my whole journey. I’ve acknowledged when I needed to change it up or refocus, but these past two week feel different. I don’t know what it is, but I feel good right now, mentally and physically.

This week’s workouts were pretty solid, except I learned that my body just can’t handle pushups. I can do them in moderation, but Wednesday’s arms and abs day not only had a few different styles of pushups, but had a high quantity once you had completed the circuits. I ended up with a slipped rib and some terrible shoulder pain. Luckily, I went to the chiropractor Wednesday afternoon and was put together. I’m now finding alternatives when necessary so I don’t cause injuries that could prevent me from continuing my progress.

I’m still getting in my own lifting twice a week and when these 12 weeks are complete, I’m going to be getting back into full prep-mode for the fall. It’ll be another interesting summer, that’s for sure.

I also decided to start using my heart rate monitor again to track my output more accurately. While I follow flexible dieting, knowing your output against your input will truly help you with weight and fat loss. So I dug out my HRM that I purchased two years ago and the battery was dead. I wasn’t surprised at all, but I was surprised that it took five different stores to find the size batteries I needed to use it. Once I got it taken apart and reassembled, I was disappointed again when I realized the chest strap was broken and since Polar doesn’t sell just the transmitter strap, it meant a trip to Best Buy. I now am the proud owner of a pink HRM.

I’m not sure what my caloric burn goal will be, burning enough calories to lose a pound isn’t as easy as just burning 3,500 calories. A post from December explains how caloric burn can affect different kinds of bodies. When I first started losing weight, it fell off. As my weight was more manageable for someone my size I noticed I was hitting plateaus often and cutting fat was harder. It was discouraging, but after more research my frustrations started to dissolve and I learned that changing it up wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. I would always be on my toes.

This is one of the reasons why I thought giving BBG a try wouldn’t be so bad after all.

I was looking at photos from the fall right before my show and I can tell that even thought I’m 2 pounds heavier now, I’m leaner – definitely in the love handle region. My stomach is flattening too and the lose skin isn’t even that bad.

I can’t wait to pass my November show weight and really start leaning out for the fall. I’m glad I recognized last year when I first decided to compete that I would need longer than the average competitor to get where I want to be. I’m using the same philosophy this time around – 12 weeks of Bikini Body Guide, which will put me at the end of June when the program is complete. I’ll then start prep for competition in November.

Now don’t get me wrong. The progress right now is awesome. I’m glad I’m back on track after a crazy March. In fact, this morning when I was getting ready for the day, I was going through my closet to find a tank top. I found instead what used to be a tank top…

I love that I get to play the game “is it a shirt or is it a dress”. This tank top is from before I started my journey, so exactly 87 pounds ago. It’s a size large and it’s from PacSun – sometimes their sizing is funny, but HOLY CRAP. I wasn’t expecting this at all!

This really got me pumped and I’m so ready for Week 3. My workouts are written in my little notebook. My meals are planned out for the week and today was a solid day too. Cheers to another good fit week! I hope everyone has a great Monday.

❤ Cristina

 

 


The blizzard hit last night and has been going strong ever since. This has not only caused me to be stuck inside, but I’m starting to go through my movie collection. So far I have watched Valentine’s day, Frost Nixon and now onto James Bond Casino Royale. Really there is no method to the selection today. I also had the perfect snow-day breakfast: Flap Jacked banana hazelnut protein pancakes with Cellucor’s Cor-fetti cake batter whey and eggs. Well rounded macros and super tasty.

After glancing out the window, I realize there is definitely 2 feet of snow out there, and the drift of snow by my kitchen window is about 3 feet tall. There’s a high chance I made a slushy with some of the snow and an ounce of Parrot Bay Pineapple Rum. It’s a snow day and it fit my macros, but holy moly I never realized how much sugar is truly in flavored rum like Parrot Bay. I am so glad that I have cut out pretty much all alcohol during this prep.

Today the only things I have accomplished is making rice to ration out for the rest of this weeks meals, watch movies and send a few work related emails. I mean I could still be in bed, so I definitely think sitting on my living room floor is a step up. Also, it brings me to the purpose of my post.

There are some days when I can decide what I really want to eat and other days when I know what I want, but I’m unwilling to give up certain macros for it, so I pass. Today was the latter. With my rice and chicken already prepped all I needed was something saucy.

IMG_4771

new bottle!

 

I love Srirach and that’s pretty much what this post is about. Last month I discovered Sriracha mayo at the grocery store and while it’s great on sandwiches in moderation, it’s all fat and high in it too. I’m not willing to give up 15g of fat macros for 1 tablespoon.

I was determined to find an alternative that would give me the creaminess of Srirach mayo without all the fat. I wanted the kick, but I didn’t want to burn my lips off either. I use plain Greek yogurt for a million things. It’s a great substitution for sour cream, it’s a great ingredient for protein pudding, it makes shakes thicker and it also makes for a great sauce.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 tsp of Sriracha Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) or plain Greek yogurt

Just mix the two thoroughly so you don’t get a spot that is heavily spicy.

IMG_4769

ignore my fiber gummy bottle

I added the mixture to my chicken and rice and it was perfect. I had already seasoned the chicken during the cooking process, but the Sriracha yogurt added something to it that made it a little more fun than just some steak seasoning.

IMG_4770

I think the snow day is getting to me a little bit because I have plans to make a mini sweet potato casserole with dinner.

I hope you all stay warm and don’t go stir crazy!

 

❤ Cristina

 


I’ve written about this before, but today I’m a little fired up.

This afternoon I got an email from Human Resources saying there was a health benefit reward available for everyone who has insurance through the company. It’s a free hoodie if you complete the checklist within the calendar year. I figured I’ll take a peek and see what it entails. Listed as a mandatory item to accomplish is the health assessment through our insurance company. Easy enough.

I logged in and started working on it. Some questions were repetitive and others I didn’t know the answer too, like blood pressure. I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s always good when I visit my doctor.

Before I continue, I want to remind you that I had gained 10 pounds post show/holiday fun eating consumption. In the first 26 days of prep I have lost 6 of those 10 pounds, and I’m hanging out at 154. Weigh insz are only on Wednesdays and I’m pretty damn proud. 86 more days until the first show. Below is the difference between the first day of prep and yesterday when I weighed in.

Hello booty growth and goodbye holiday fluff!

Moving on…

I got to the end of the assessment and my score was 89 out of 100, which is really good. However, what struck a chord with me were the bullets that highlighted what I could do differently about my weight.

 

First let’s begin by talking about the sliding weight scale provided for my height. I’m 5’4″, I’m not giant, but that’s a huge range of weight. Secondly, I’m 154 pounds, but I wear a size 6 and have no muffin top… I’m almost scared to know what I would look like or what size I would wear if I was 111 pounds… I’m pretty sure my doctor would be concerned, I know I would be.

Now looking at the bulleted list. I’m going to skip over the first bullet because well being in prep I’m already doing that and before getting involved in bikini competitions I had be consistently losing weight. Bullet two can be ignored because my doctor at one point thought playing soccer would be too much for me and that I should just do yoga… Ha, no. Bulets three through seven all kind of go hand in hand. I follow IIFYM and eat flexibly, within macro tracking I eat pretty damn clean too. Minimal sugar, usually well under 50g a day, to put it in perspective a 12 ounce bottle of regular Coke has 40g of sugar. At least 3 servings of greens a day and other fiber rich foods. My goal is 35g of fiber a day, sometimes I go over by a few and sometimes I’m under by a few, but I try to come as close as possible.

In the assessment, I said that I work out 6 days a week because it’s true. Some days I do two-a-days, cardio in the morning and lifting during the day sometime. I also checked off that I have lost weight and will continue to lose weight. I’m sure a health assessment with a live person would be a little different, but what I don’t like about this standardized form is that similar to the BMI, it only takes weight and height into consideration. In fact, it only take the BMI into consideration.

We know muscle is more dense than fat and therefore you have the ability to weigh more than you look. People always get surprised when I say I weigh in the 150s. In fact, in 5 pounds I will be at my lowest weight in years and according to BMI, I will still be overweight. Thank you standardization!

How someone who is a size 6 is overweight boggles me, but I also know that this needs to be brushed off. My point is, so many people depend on the scale and what they weigh. I heavily relied on it in the beginning and during prep I check in to make sure I’m where I want to be. Muscular development has given me piece of mind that my body is getting where it needs to and that the scale should really shut up. Your clothes say more about your health than a piece of plastic on the floor ever can.

My advice and what I like to do is use the scale in moderation. Once a week or once every two weeks, I’ll weigh in. You fluctuate so much on a daily basis from many factors that you will drive yourself nuts checking it too often. If you’re clothes are getting big, but the scale doesn’t move, you are still making progress, don’t get discouraged. Take progress photos every few weeks so you can compare and see the differences. It can take weeks for progress, don’t give up.

 

❤ Cristina


I eat breakfast every morning and when my boyfriend visits, I try to make breakfast a little interesting. While I’m prepping breakfasts can be boring, but we manage to spice them up from time to time. Over Christmas, I was surfing Pinterest looking for ideas when I decided to see if there were any recipes that were lower carb and higher protein. I came across a pin for Flourless Peanut Butter Mini Blender Muffins.

The recipe was pretty easy and was made in a blender! You can’t go wrong when a recipe is that easy. I did change up the recipe a little bit, but not too much.

First, since I’m in prep I weigh everything, that includes the banana in this recipe. I also used Nuts ‘N More Toffee Crunch protein peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter. Lastly, I counted out the chocolate chips used in each muffin.  Everything else was exactly the same as the recipe I found. I got 6 perfect muffins out of this batch.

Each muffin was 1/4 cup of  batter and the macros were:

Calories: 217

Fat: 10.8g

Carbs: 20.2g

Fiber: 4.3g

Protein: 10.9g

What I learned from this recipe is that it’s ok to use a hand mixer. A lot of my peanut butter fell to the bottom of the blender and I had to hand mix it in. That was a pain. These were super tasty and great to have with my egg whites. They make a good snack during the day too.

These made the boy pretty darn happy and anything that he also likes makes it easier for me to get through prep without extra cooking :]

Do you have a muffin recipe that you “go to” or like to change up sometimes?

 

❤ Cristina


When I decided I wanted to start lifting and prepping for a bikini competition I had no idea where to start. There’s so much information out there about what to eat and how to train; everyone had a different opinion. I think we all can agree that different opinions are good because it shows us many perspectives, but it also reminds us that what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another.

I had been told to get a coach, so I looked into it. It was not something I could afford and it wasn’t something I was willing to stretch myself for. So I started researching.

My biggest research tools for exercises was bodybuilding.com. This helped me discover new exercises that I never would’ve thought of; it also helped me learn correct form so I wouldn’t hurt myself. I researched HIIT and Tabata and found some pre-made workouts- these were great and over time I was able to change them up with exercises I thought would be effective for my goals.

When I started looking into a diet to follow it was clear that I had to go all in, I couldn’t just do something for the summer, this was going to be a lifestyle change. Throughout my journey I had been adjusting my workouts and my food to meet new goals so another adjustment was just part of the plan. I had been clean eating before I started prepping so when I learned about IIFYM, I figured I macro counting would be a breeze and I could be more flexible with my food.

I have fallen in love with IIFYM and while my relationship with food isn’t perfect, I have a much better relationship now. I know that you need fat to burn fat. Protein will help rebuild your muscles that your smashed in the gym and carbohydrates are an important sources of fuel. The body is like a machine, without fuel the machine shuts down. With IIFYM, I learned to focus on nutrition versus calories. While weightoss is all about calories out verses calories in, all macronutrients have calories; as long as I hit my nutritional needs, I will have enough energy for the day. Eating in a deficit still provides me enough food to meet my nutritional goals and have energy.

I learned what water could actually do for me and what hydration means for the body’s development.

Even though I didn’t have a coach, I had a few people who helped me along the way that I believe played a huge role in my success. My friend Monolina, @monolina12 on IG, worked out with me a few times a week. Together we figured out workouts, corrected each others form and pushed each other to lift heavier than we ever thought we could. This gave us both something to look forward to at the end of the work day, and hitting new PRs together helped us bond. We get the funniest looks in the gym!

Laurie, @tinygymrat on IG, helped me figure out how to adjust my macros for cutting throughout the process, she also introduced me to drop sets and super-setting. Both of those things helped me discover how much physical strength I had and push myself harder than I had been.

Brittany, @brittbaine on IG, and I met when I decided to give Beachbody a try… yeah, that didn’t go so well for me, but we’ve maintained our friendship. She has definitely helped me stay on track and stay realistic in my goals and what I can accomplish. When I have doubted myself, she has been blunt and told me to stop thinking that way. She has never once told me that I can’t do something or that my dreams can’t become reality. This is what a friend is.

When I got closer to the competition, I started meeting other women I would be competing with in the New England Championships. Sam, @baconbarbellsbikinis on IG, helped me figure out how to find my flair for posing. I had mostly gotten over the idea of not being the smallest girl in a bikini, but I was fearful of eating the stage. This girl helped with that a ton, probably more than she realizes.

By not having a coach, I had to do the research, I had to ask others questions. I discovered what worked for me, what didn’t work and how hard I was willing to push myself. I found out how strong I was, both mentally and physically. I was doing this for myself, which is how it should be, but I was doing it because I wanted to meet my goals; not because someone was telling me how to meet them.

I’m not saying that coaches aren’t good, there are a lot of things I would’ve loved having a coach for like posing or peak week; but having to do the research myself made me even more invested in this part of my journey. I don’t think I would have changed anything, maybe what I brought for footwear post-show 😉

I got my official stage shots and I’m pretty excited them. I also have some shots of my journey for this first competition because there will be more. Check them out below. And know that if you work hard anything can happen.

 

❤ Cristina

Day 5 out of show

 

NEC 1

NEC 2

NEC 3