The Top Three Not So Obvious Affects That Alcohol Has On Our Bodies

Hey Guys! So the holidays are over, and it is the beginning of a New Year! Most of us are looking forward to exciting plans and new beginnings for the year 2016. In addition, I’m sure that a lot of us are happy to get back into our regular eating and workout routines now that the celebrations are over. I know I am!! Which brings me to my first topic of the New Year. I’m sure a lot of us have fitness goals planned for ourselves this year, but I’m not sure if many of you know the affect alcohol can have on your fitness goals… other than the obvious. So, I made a list of the top three! Now don’t let the titles of each point fool you! There’s bits of information in there that I’m sure many of you didn’t know alcohol could do!

  1. When you’re drunk or while you’re drinking you tend to eat more!

I’m sure we’re all quite aware of this, especially if you’re drinking on a regular basis. However, I’m sure that most of you are not aware that it is because alcohol has no nutritional value, it stimulates our appetites. So not only are you drinking empty calories, it stimulates your appetite for foods that are high in fat and sugar. In addition, because alcohol loosens our inhibitions, we stop thinking about the negative affects that alcohol has, and we also stop worrying about our diets. Basically alcohol torpedoes your diet to put it lightly. Drinking alcohol is a social event, this means that it is usually accompanied by food, and party food is mostly unhealthy food. So you’re drinking empty calories, you become hungry, you loose your inhibitions, and there just happens to be plenty of party food around, so basically set yourself up for failure. But that’s not all! And this is where the not so obvious affects of alcohol come in. Certain types of alcohol like wine, and beer have sugars in them aka carbs. Or if you’re mixing your alcohol with juice, pop (soda), or any other sugary drink, you’re increasing your blood sugar levels, as well as your blood alcohol levels. As you keep mixing, or drinking your wine, your blood sugar levels keep rising. Even if you didn’t eat any drunk food that night, (pizza, burgers, fries, the list goes on) your insulin levels will still stay pretty high because of all the sugars you drank from a night of binge drinking. That means the next day, because your insulin levels are still above normal, you will crave hangover foods the next day. Hangover foods are the same as drunk food, high carb and high fat meals. So even if you don’t eat party food the night you’re drinking, you are very likely to eat comfort foods the next day. This is one of the many reasons why drinking and dieting do not mix!

2. Alcohol Lowers Testosterone Levels

A lot of women reading this article might be thinking, what does this have to do with me? Ladies, even though we have lower testosterone than males, doesn’t mean we don’t need it! Testosterone has a strong fat burning effect, however, this is reduced once you consume alcohol. In addition, testosterone is much needed in growing lean body tissue. If alcohol reduces your testosterone, it will decrease your potential for lean gains, and if you have less muscle, that will mean it will slow down your metabolic rate aka your metabolism. Lower testosterone will slow down your metabolism, decrease your ability to burn fat, and it will decrease your ability to make gains in the gym… basically alcohol makes you fatter in more ways than one. Also boys? If you’re afraid of getting man boobs, then you may want to think of reducing how often and how much alcohol you drink! Over a period of time if you keep up your heavy drinking, you will quicken the aromatization of androgens into estrogen in the body, giving you many boobies. and nobody wants that!

3. Dehydration

Again, this may seem pretty obvious to you, but dehydration along with lower testosterone levels, decrease your body’s ability to synthesize proteins. Alcohol dehydrates your muscle tissue, making it more difficult for it to absorb protein and grow. Along with lower testosterone levels, this further weakens your body’s ability to increase lean muscle tissue, and therefore further decreases your body’s ability to burn fat. In addition, because your muscles are dehydrated it is much more difficult for them to contract. This makes your workouts that much more difficult the day after a night of drinking. Alcohol weakens your gym performance, your body’s ability to absorb protein, and grow muscle. This will only take you further away from reaching your fitness goals, not to mention all the calories in alcohol, as well as the drunk/hangover food too! Lastly, when your body is dehydrated it blocks essential nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation, and growth. These nutrients include minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. Dehydration makes you feel tired and weak. This is why hangovers suck so much!

So, it’s a new year, and if you have any fitness plans this year, I would consider putting down that glass of wine! Drinking is fun, but it is not necessary. I can say that, because the vast majority of the year I’m not drinking, and somehow I still have friends believe it or not! They enjoy drinking, and that’s fine, but for me, my fitness is far more important to me. I love being social, so I will still find ways to have fun with my friends without a drink in my hand. That is a personal choice of mine. Not many people can do that, and that is OK too! But if our fitness goals are important to you, then maybe you should consider going out less? It is your body and if you want to feel good living in it, then sometimes it’s not worth another Friday night at the bar.

This is a photo of when my friends and I ended up at the bar after my annual ugly sweater Christmas party! Like I said, I rarely drink, but when I do, it’s with the best people ❤

Day 12 of the Twelve Days of Fitmas: How do I change my Mentality? How do I get into Fitness?

It’s Boxing Day! And today is the last day of the 12 Days of Fitmas! New Years Eve is coming up soon, and I know that this is the time of year where we reflect on the year past, and plan for the year ahead. A lot of us make New Years Resolutions, or set goals for ourselves. And some of us say they don’t bother making resolutions because they never stick to them anyway… Well who’s fault is that? It is your responsibility to hold yourself accountable to achieving your goals, whatever they may be! There are people out there who can help hold you accountable, and guide you to achieving your goals, but at the end of the day, it needs to come from you.

This leads me to today’s post. Last weekend, I was at a Christmas party for one of the gyms that I train at, and I was asked by one of the members, “how do I change my mentality? How do I get into fitness?” She was genuinely interested in knowing my “why” behind my motivation to stay fit. This is a question that I get many times over. Most people hate working out, they simply don’t enjoy it, or they would love to try it, but are completely intimidated by it. Fitness is hard work, and I am completely aware that I am one of the very few people that will put themselves through a beating in the gym on a daily basis and enjoy it!

However, absolutely no one can change your mentality towards fitness, they can only influence your way of thinking, but they cannot convince you completely. You need to find a reason, your “why,” and it has to mean something to you in order for you to be motivated to do something about it. It needs to matter to you, it needs to matter to you so much that fitness becomes a non-negotiable. It becomes something that is so much a part of your life, that it becomes a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.

You would never think twice about whether or not you need to brush your teeth, and most people don’t feel the need the question why they brush their teeth (unless they’re under 6 years old). We know that brushing our teeth is important to our hygiene, and our overall physical health. I would argue that fitness is just as important to your physical health as brushing your teeth. Not to mention the mental health benefits as well! I think the main reason why most people give up so easily, is because it “feels like a lot of work, with not a lot of immediate results.” I think most people want the pounds to just melt away the second they touch a dumbbell! In addition, fitness hurts. I’ve had clients that would freak out the second they felt “the burn” and thought that they need to stop the exercise because they suddenly felt pain! A lot of people (believe it or not) don’t realize that they need to push past the burn in order to create real change in their body. This is hard to do if you’ve never done it before, it is really hard to put yourself through physical pain on a daily basis.

So why do I do it everyday? Maybe I’m crazy? I probably am… but either way I will share with you my “why,” and it has definitely changed over the years. I’ve changed fitness goals as I’ve evolved within the industry, but the core of why I love fitness so much has never changed. Fitness is so important to me because I love the way it makes me feel. Fitness, weight training, bodybuilding, makes me feel more capable. It empowers me and makes me feel as if I am capable of doing anything! I appreciate the challenge, the discipline of it. Fitness makes me a better person in all aspects of my life. Fitness elevates me as a person, the discipline, and mental toughness that it takes to push yourself through a tough workout, and the confidence you get from achieving your goals can be applied to the rest of your life. Bodybuilding gives me focus. I am more focused, organized, and driven than I have ever been in my life and that is because I have devoted my life to fitness. Your whole mindset is more positive and productive after a workout, and that is why I workout everyday.

It is never a question for me. Just like brushing my teeth, I have chosen to make my fitness a non-negotiable. After I brush my teeth I feel better, just like after I do my workout I feel better. You never regret a workout after you’ve done it, unless you’ve injured yourself. I don’t feel like myself if I’m not active, I lose a bit of my identity, motivation, and self-confidence. And that is why I love fitness, and that is why I workout. It is more for me than just improving my health, or looking good. Fitness is so important to me because it has given more gifts than I can count, being healthy and looking good are just some of the benefits! So, when planning your New Years Resolutions, and if you’re serious about them, think of why you want them so much? Why is it so important to you to achieve these goals? How would it impact or improve your life? It needs to be important and it needs to matter to you so much for you to want to do anything about it. If it’s something that you think “can wait,” or you think maybe that “it would be nice,” but you’re not really sure why, then you’ve already decided that you’re not going to stick to your resolutions, and no one can help you with that.

Me and some of my favorite people hitting our favorite pose of the day at my show this past October 10th 2015. So excited for my upcoming shows in 2016! Can’t wait to share in the celebrations of hard work with these people again ❤10456008_10156177728015285_6696787296310393759_n


Merry Fitmas Day 7: I worked out hard in the gym, I can eat whatever I want right?

No, just because you’re working out in the gym, does not mean you can now reward yourself by eating whatever you want. Even if you’re trying to grow and make gains, does not mean you can hit up McDonald’s post workout all the time.

There are so many myths and there is so much confusion about nutrition and eating! When it comes to fitness, I think nutrition is the biggest hurdle for most people. It is the most confusing part of trying to reach your fitness goals, and to be honest, I don’t blame you! We’re always being told different things when it comes to nutrition. My goal is to try and clear up as much of the bogus that is out there, in a way that is plain and simple.

So, when it comes to eating and working out, you should always eat within your macro-nutrients. As a general fitness enthusiast, meaning you’re not a high performance athlete, or competing in a show, you can generally eat whatever foods you like, as long as they fit within your daily macro-nutrient allowance. However, that being said, a lot of the “treats” that are out there will max out your macro-nutrients for the day fairly quickly. Generally speaking, the more processed foods you eat, the quicker your calories/macro-nutrients get eaten up, and the less amount of food you get to eat through out the day. Eating this way, and trying to stay on a diet is very ineffective. “Flexible dieting” is great in the sense that you can have a treat once in a while, but if you’re eating processed meals all the time, you will not perform as well as you could be if you’re eating whole foods.

So, even though you are working out, you MUST stay within your macro-nutrient/calorie limits each day. If you’re working out consistently, you must eat consistently as well in order to reach your fitness goals, whether it be to lose weight, or to gain size. The more “cheat meals” you have where you eat whatever you want and you don’t count it in your macros, the further away you get from achieving your goals. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t indulge and treat yourself, but it is no longer a treat when it becomes a weekly thing. If you’re treating yourself every week, it is a part of your regular diet. It is a habit that you have created. Even binge drinking every weekend, is an indulgence that you do every week, and it is considered part of your lifestyle. Cheat meals or indulgences are a once in a month thing MAYBE! That is the only way you can really call it a “cheat meal” LOL is if it is a treat that you don’t have often. Something that you will enjoy, because you only really have it once in a while. That is when a cheat meal can truly be enjoyed without any guilt, because you eat and workout consistently, and your cheat meal is something that you earned.

My sister and I posing with Santa at my Ugly Sweater Christmas Party this past Saturday 🙂 So excited for Santa to pay us a visit this Friday!!!



Merry Fitmas! Day 6: Is it possible to save/or make up calories?

Merry Fitmas boys and girls! The question of the day is, can I save or make up calories? There is a myth out there that has people believing that if they binged the day before, that they can somehow make up for all those extra calories the next day by eating less. People also believe this about sleep. There is the myth that if you partied, or stayed up super late one night, that you can catch up on your sleep later on. The truth of the matter is, you cannot make up your sleep, just like eating less the next day after binge eating is NOT the answer to making up for those excess calories!

No matter how much you may have drifted from your diet and your macro-nutrient count the one day, does not change the amount of calories that you need to function properly the next day. The amount of daily calories you need doesn’t change because you made the mistake of overeating, just like the amount of sleep your body requires a day doesn’t change because you under-slept. Overeating and under sleeping are setbacks, and the only thing you can do is leave it in the past, and move on. If you overate yesterday, then it is your mission today to stick to your daily calorie/macro-nutrient allowance, and leave the past in the past. Accept that you made a mistake and MOVE ON! Do not punish yourself the next day by eating less. This will only increase the chances of your binge eating again. I’ve written an article about this before, this cycle of under eating and binge eating will only keep your body looking the same, and feeling like sh!t. So don’t do it! You will still lose weight, if that is your goal, only if you leave your mistakes in the past, continue to eat consistently with your diet (sticking to your macro-nutrients to a tee), and workout.

The best thing that you can do if you overate the day before, is to workout, and like I said before, stick to your macro-nutrient goals for the day! Eat a lot of veggies, and make sure to have some fiber (or a fiber supplement) to help bind to the sugar left in your stomach so that you can rid of it more quickly. If you don’t know how much you should be eating a day, or what your macro-nutrients are, then ask me LOL Or any other professional who knows how to help you figure these things out. Happy Holidays guys! This post is NOT AN EXCUSE TO OVEREAT!! It’s just to bust the myth that you can somehow make up for it by under eating the next day 🙂

On the left, backstage for my first Figure Show on October 10th 2015, and on the left was Friday December 11th 2015. Two months apart! My posing isn’t the best on the right… BUT I’ve put on some size and stayed lean! WOO HOO! That’s from sticking to my macros and working out consistently 🙂 Stay focused guys no matter what hurdles may come your way!


Day 5 of the 12 Days of Fitmas: Sleep and Stress Management During the Holidays

I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited for Christmas! It’s about 11 days away, and I’m ready to go! Gifts are bought and wrapped under the tree, all I have to do is get things ready for my Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party this coming Saturday 😀

For this blog post, I got inspired by watching one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, Home Alone Two, Lost in New York. The holidays can be a very stressful time. Probably not as stressful as losing your son for the second time LOL Especially in New York City haha but either way, the holidays can feel quite overwhelming. Even though you may have a million things to take care of in the last two weeks before Christmas, shopping, baking, wrapping, cooking, holiday parties, school exams, end of the year work projects, whatever it may be, please remember that Christmas happens every year, and some how you seem to make it through 😛 So don’t stress!

LOL This is a scary photo right? hahahaha

I know this is easier said than done, and sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that may make this holiday season a little more stressful than usual. This is why I am writing this blog post. No matter how out of hand your life may be, you must take care of yourself first. So many of us get ourselves sick with the cold or flu at this time of year because we have not been sleeping properly, or managing our stress, and eventually our immune system breaks down, making us susceptible to the common cold.

In addition, if we don’t manage our stress properly, or get enough sleep, we tend to over eat. Emotional eating is a real thing! Many of you may think that you don’t change your eating habits when you’re stressed out but you do. I didn’t realize how much stress affected me and my eating habits until I was on prep for my first show. When I had a rough day at work, and then I came home, ate my last meal, I thought, “that’s it?!” I was so disappointed. I ate my fish and asparagus and thought, “that’s really not what I wanted.” 😦 I wanted chocolate in that moment so bad LOL and there was nothing I could do about it except for going to bed, because I was prepping for a show. That’s when I realized how comforting food can really be. When you’re really upset, tired, stressed out, or all the above, you tend to crave “comfort foods.” That’s why they’re called “comfort food,” they make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now I can get all scientific on you and explain to you how these foods release certain chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy, and warm inside but I really don’t want to get into that. Basically the foods we eat can have a major effect on how we feel.

The Christmas holidays happen in the middle of winter for this reason actually. Usually the cold dark winters bring people down, and because we do not know the exact date of Jesus’ birth (if you celebrate this part of the holiday), Christmas is celebrated in December. Celebrations like Christmas bring people together, they lift our spirits, and help us cope with a lot of the doom and gloom that comes with the winter season. Along with all the celebrations, come all of the fantastic comfort foods. I think Thanksgiving is like the trailer for Christmas LOL Thanksgiving really feels as though it is just preparing you for the crazy feasts, and parties that are soon to come your way! However, high stress, lack of sleep and the holidays are a lethal combination! If you’re tired, and upset, you will be craving high calorie foods, and because of the holidays season, there will be plenty of these sorts of foods at your disposal.

Please don’t let this be you! LOL You WILL eventually regret it! Even if it’s not at first…

I already wrote a piece earlier about nutrient timing, and how long hours of not eating will cause your blood sugar levels to drop, as well as your energy levels, which causes you to crave high calorie foods. Well so does lack of sleep. Lack of sleep causes low energy, and because you feel sluggish, you reach for the coffee, energy drinks, and carbohydrates to give you a boost. In addition, if you’re having the Christmas blues, you will eat your feelings. It’s so easy to reach for a shortbread cookie at this time of year when things are getting rough. Plus if you’re stressed out, running around trying to get everything done, a lot of us forget to eat properly. Most people are not like me, they do not prep their meals ahead of time, weigh and measure them so that they hit all their macro-nutrients properly. Especially at this time of year, it seems as though nutrition flies out the window, and  it’s a free for all, where people grab whatever they feel like eating, or what ever happens to be available. And 9 times out of 10 it is high calorie comfort food, from either a fast food restaurant, company Christmas party, staff potluck, or any holiday party you go to.

So please guys, no matter how busy you are at this time of year, make sure you don’t forget to eat, and you let yourself get enough proper rest!! You will eat less junk and you will feel so much better! There are better ways to deal with your stress, and lack of energy, and that is proper nutrition and regular exercise. It may not be the “easy” thing to do, but it is the option that is most worthwhile. Comfort foods are a quick fix, but at the end of the day they will have you feeling worse than when you started. Enjoy the holidays! But don’t let it become an excuse to derail your fitness completely! You will regret it trust me!

Day 4 of The Twelve Days of Fitmas: Never Skip Meals!

I’m sure we’ve all been told many times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I’m sure that we are all aware that we should never skip breakfast. However, I still encounter clients that never eat breakfast! This makes me really sad actually, because I LOVE breakfast! Breakfast food is the best food! Pretty sure this is why we have brunch… An excuse to eat breakfast foods later on in the day so we can have it when it’s more appropriate to drink alcohol LOL

Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make is, is that skipping meals, especially breakfast is very damaging to your overall health, your daily performance, and your metabolism. The other day I posted an article about the importance of nutrient timing, this post is very much related to that. Nutrient timing is an effective tool to help you perform better during your workouts, and to help you get the most out of the foods you eat. It is important to not only strategically eat your macro-nutrients through out the day, but it is important to keep your body properly fueled through out the day. I eat my meals about 2 1/2 to 3 hours apart. I eat 6 “meals” a day. Why? Well here are the main reasons as to why you want don’t want to let your body go on too long without food, and it’s more than just getting hangry, which can sometimes get the best of us 😛

Eating breakfast is super important, and I know you already know that. So then why aren’t you doing it?! BAAAAAH This drives me a bit crazy actually. I hope this article convinces you to at least eat something in the morning! Why do we need breakfast? Several reasons, first of all you need breakfast to help get the “engine started” so to speak. You need it to fuel your body for the day, but also to get your metabolism going. If you don’t eat breakfast, you will have less energy in the morning, and you will therefore not be able to perform at your fullest capacity. Secondly, you will most likely end up eating more through out the day or at lunch to make up for the lack of breakfast. Because you have been without food for such a long period of time, your blood sugar levels will be quite low. This will cause your body to crave carbohydrates.

Again, even if you do eat something in the morning but there are large gaps between your meals, this will cause your blood sugar levels to drop, and you will crave carbohydrates. So, at lunch, or whenever you get the chance, you will get yourself a high carb, maybe even high fat meal which will help spike your insulin (blood sugar levels) back up. However, whatever goes up, must come down, and you will crash. And the more simple sugars you end up eating for lunch, the higher your insulin will climb, and the harder you will eventually fall. Basically, when your insulin levels drop like this, your energy levels drop as well, and you will hit this wall around 3/4 pm, where all you want to do is sleep. So, instead you go and get a coffee and treat from your local coffee shop, or you hit up the office vending machine. Either way, you are causing a yo-yo effect with your insulin levels, as well as your energy levels.

Why do you think you’re so freaking tired after dinner? Why do you think you’re eating late night snacks while watching your fave television series on Netflix? It’s because you didn’t eat breakfast, or enough through out the day to keep your body properly fueled. Instead, your body experiences high calorie meals at random intervals through out the day, and long droughts of no food. This causes the temporary spikes in energy, and the 3 o’clock wall that we sometimes hit. This also causes your body to get used to long periods of time of no food. Because of this, when you do feed your body, your body will hold on to as much of that meal as possible and store it as fat. Why? Well, your body has now gone into starvation mode aka “survival mode,” and has no idea when and where the next meal will come, so it is storing fat to help keep you going. This also slows down your metabolism. You are not only storing more fat than normal because or your erratic eating habits, but because your body has gone into starvation, it is also using your precious muscle as a fuel source. Therefore, further weakening your body, and making you fattier. Maybe not bigger, but definitely softer…

Still think you don’t need to eat breakfast? 😛 Also, when most people skip breakfast, or if there are major gaps between their meals during the day, they end up feeling super hungry late at night. This causes you to binge eat on high calorie foods, when you should be getting ready for bed. I know this is true, because when I was dieting for my shows, after dinner, and I was trying to relax, that is when the hunger pains of dieting bothered me the most! When you eat late night snacks on the couch with Bae, especially foods high in carbs, it will not only make it more difficult for your to sleep properly, it will stop you from eating breakfast in the morning like you’re supposed to! The foods that you eat late at night will just sit there in your stomach, because you’re not doing much to help burn them off as a fuel source. This will keep the vicious cycle of no breakfast, late night snacking, 3 pm crashing going, and it will only slow your body down. You will get weaker, your performance will suffer, and your metabolism will slow down. This will make you fatter, and it will age you.

So please, eat breakfast, space your meals out evenly through out the day. Help keep your body properly fueled so that you have constant energy, you have the energy for your workouts, and your body will be at it’s highest efficiency! When your body is performing at it’s fullest capacity, that is when you will feel and look your best! That is not possible if you’re not properly fueling your body.

A photo I took one morning of my lovely breakfast 🙂 Egg whites, and chocolate oatmeal pancakes with crushed walnuts on top with a giant mug of coffee. Pretty sure I ate this and then crushed legs that day… it was a good day haha12122392_10156138322540285_257068958596529832_n


Day 3 of the Twelve Days of Fitmas: Is Meal or Nutrient Timing Important?

Merry Fitmas Boys and Girls! So the question of the day is, is meal timing important? And the answer is yes! Nutrient timing is very important, however, it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not hitting your macro-nutrients properly. You need to make sure that you’re eating the right amount of calories, and the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats first before you start worrying about when you should be eating what. BUT for the sake of this post I will give you some general guidelines for meal timing/nutrient timing that I follow 🙂

Last week, I wrote a post on what you should be eating post workout, in this post, I will basically be covering general meal timing for the entire day. First of all, I generally spread my protein out evenly between all my meals. Right now, I’m eating about 140 grams of protein a day, so that’s about 24g of protein in each of my meals (I eat 6 “meals” a day, 3 snacks lol). As for my carbohydrates, I reserve 30-40% of my total carbs for the day for my pre-workout meal, and the same amount for my post workout meal. Then with whatever carbohydrates I have left, I spread them out through out the rest of my meals. As for my fats, I like to eat a good amount of my fat for breakfast or “meal 1.” A lot of breakfast foods tend to be high in fat, like eggs, nut butters, bacon, the list goes on. Plus it’s always good to eat fats after you haven’t eaten in a while (like in the morning), or when you know you won’t be eating in a while, so dinner is a good time to incorporate fats. I don’t eat a lot of fat pre-workout, or any fat at all really. Like I said, I eat fats for breakfast and in my meals post workout.

Now that we’re in the Holidays season, there are so many tempting treats around us all the time! Today in my spin class, someone asked me if I “indulge” at all… And to be honest that’s kind of a tricky question LOL I mean I just finished reverse dieting and now I can eat up to 220g of carbs! Which is pretty exciting stuff haha Especially when not too long ago I was eating no carbs at all before my show! So, the answer to that question is yes, and no. I fit treats into my diet if I want them, and I typically eat these treats around my workouts. So for example, Christmas Rice Krispie treats, I’ve made two batches of these so far, and sometimes I will fit a square or two into my macros pre-workout or post workout. These simple carbs go straight to my muscles. They give me a wicked pump if I eat them pre-workout, and I get super vascular which is always fun 😉 Or I eat them post-workout, and they are absorbed quickly by my very depleted muscles. Treats are best consumed around your workout. Like I mentioned earlier, the majority of your carbohydrates should be eaten around your workout. So, if you want to eat some simple carbohydrates like cookies, or rice krispies, it’s best to fit them in then.

As for “cheat meals” I have not had one yet. I just got this boost in carbs last Friday, and so far I’ve been able to fit everything in pretty nicely. However, if I do eat something like a burger or pizza and I’m not counting the macros of that meal. I would eat it post workout, or as my very last meal. This is because I would want that high calorie meal to re-feed my muscles so that they can grow, instead of my waistline! Cheat meals are one meal, and maybe desert. CHEAT MEALS ARE NOT CHEATING DAYS!! It is not an excuse to go insane, and eat everything in site. Cheat meals are a reward and they do have a purpose. They can help you lose more weight by raising your leptin levels during a diet, and they can help with muscle growth in the off-season. Cheat meals are earned. You don’t just have one cause you feel like it. There’s a science behind using it to increase your leptin levels, and for helping with muscle growth. Either way, you need to earn the meal in the gym with some hard work first before crushing some pizza.

However, cheat meals are not really necessary during the off-season. Like I mentioned above, so far I’ve been able to fit in all the foods I want to eat on a daily basis within my macros. Flexible dieting has been awesome this off-season! I don’t feel deprived at all! This is because, I can eat whatever I want within my macros for the day. As for Christmas day and MAYBE Christmas eve, those will probably be my “cheat meal” days… Every day leading up to that, I will be counting all my macros and fitting all the holiday parties into myfitnesspal.


A bad picture of my first ever “cheat meal” for my first bodybuilding show LOL As you can see from my face, it was literally like Christmas haha Deep Dish Pizza, an amazing, and well deserved meal! Oh and my friends got me this awesome shirt for the occasion! It says “slice of heaven” on it and trust me it really was!!10647030_10154573418250285_7859368366089892288_n


Merry Fitmas! Day 2:Holiday Eating

Merry Fitmas Everyone! So today I’m addressing the question of what do I do during the holidays? How do I keep myself from completely derailing from my goals? Well, here are some of my tips for staying on track with your diet and goals during the holidays, but before I start, I am completely aware that dieting at all during this time of year is extremely difficult, and I know that the majority of people will not be able to avoid all the Christmas fare for the entire month of December. So, that being said, these tips are tips on how to keep the damage as low as possible. It is not IMPOSSIBLE to diet during Christmas but for most people it’s close enough LOL


Just because there are 50 dessert options doesn’t mean you need to try every single one! Same with appetizers!! If you know there’s going to be a large meal, then skip the apps, and just eat the main course. Choose your battles guys! You don’t need to eat, anything, and everything that is available at any of your Christmas functions. Pick your favorites, enjoy them, and that’s it. Pick one dessert, if you’re having apps, don’t go nuts! It’s so easy to get carried away with the appetizers, that by the time the meal happens, you’re full. Avoid the cheese platter, or any cheese apps. Why? Cheese is high in fat, and therefore, high in calories. You can rack up your calories pretty high with the cheese platter alone before you even start with Christmas dinner! So again, one dessert, be modest with the apps, and for dinner? Have the protein, have the veggies, and be careful with the starchy carbs and the gravy! Starchy carbs will put you to bed, and the gravy is high in fat, and high in calories!


Most people have very strong traditions that they keep during the Christmas holidays, and because of this, most people know generally what they’re eating and when. If this is the case, and you know what Christmas parties, dinners, and other social gatherings that you have planned, then you can plan your meals around them. Just because it’s the holiday season, does not mean that everything goes out the window, and you lose complete track of how much you’re eating. If you know you’re going to a party, or a Christmas dinner, and you want to enjoy some alcohol, or have dessert, then save calories for it. Plan your whole day of meals around this function so that you can enjoy yourself, with less worry about how the pie you want to eat will make you fat! The Holidays are meant to be enjoyed, yes, 100%! But if you want to stay on track with your goals, you need to plan ahead to be successful. MyFitnessPal is a great tool! Use it! Record all your meals in it including your holiday dinners, keep track of your macro-nutrients. This will help you stay on track with your goals, and it will help you plan your meals ahead of time so that you can fit your Christmas meal into your diet, or at the very least it will hold you accountable. It should keep you from veering too far off track.

Tip Number 3: WORKOUT!!!!

Most of us have some extra free time during the holidays. We take some time off, shorter hours at the office, whatever. Yes, take some time to relax and unwind, but there is no better stress relief, energy booster, calorie burner, mood booster… I can go on LOL than EXERCISE!!! So do it! Take advantage of the time you have and workout! I always plan my workouts around major holiday meals haha. I’m so used to getting up early, that, this past Thanksgiving holiday I did fasted cardio while everyone was asleep, and when I came home I enjoyed the traditional family breakfast. I mean, what else was I going to do? Wait for everyone to get up so I could eat? Then, once the turkey for Thanksgiving was in the oven, I went and did my back workout. By the time I got home, dinner was ready, and Thanksgiving dinner turned into post-workout gains! Everybody wins! The holidays can be a great opportunity for off-season muscle growth if done properly…What I mean is, don’t think that because you want to grow, it’s an excuse to eat everything in site LOL Plan your workouts around your holiday meals, so that the meals you do eat, feed your depleted muscles, which will help them repair, and grow. Also, if you’re worried about your waistline growing this holiday season, then keep up your workouts!! It will lower the possible collateral damage so to speak!

And that’s it folks! These are my top 3 tips for Holiday eating: don’r eat everything you see, plan your meals ahead or time, and save calories for big parties and dinners, and workout! This will help keep you from completely falling off course . Merry Fitmas guys! And stay tuned for more posts!!

Me, my sister Maryanne and all our Giunta cousins that came to Sabrina’s Confirmation Brunch this past Sunday December 6th 2015

Will drinking Protein Powder help with weight loss?

I didn’t realize how many people were under the assumption that drinking protein powder would help them lose weight until one of my clients asked me about protein powder last week…


So here it is, protein powder is a protein supplement. Meaning, it will help you reach your protein macro-nutrient goals. It is an economical way to consume protein without eating a bunch of meat products all the time. The only way that protein powders will help you lose weight is by helping you hit your macros everyday. By hitting your macro-nutrient goals everyday, you will get closer and closer to the physique you’re looking for. That is honestly the only way that protein powder would help with weight loss. It is important to eat enough protein during the day to help grow and maintain muscle tissue.

Protein powder is a very economical food source, because of it’s volume and long shelf life. In addition, if you don’t like eating a lot of meat, or if you’re a vegetarian for example, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan protein powder supplements to choose from to help make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet. Just make sure that when you’re buying protein, that you’re buying a quality protein that has no additives or preservatives. Also, if you’re looking at your standard whey protein powders, make sure you are buying a whey protein isolate. These are generally lactose free, and have a higher protein content. Also, if weight loss is your goal, make sure that your protein has no added sugars, and is low carb. Again, a whey protein isolate that is of high quality will be low carb. I typically look for whey protein powders that are sweetened with Stevia. Stevia is a zero calorie plant extract that is used as a sweetning agent.

Less is not always more, especially when it comes to weightloss!

Most people assume that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less. However, perpetual under-eating is not the answer! Weight loss is not always that simple. Actually, keeping yourself on a caloric deficit for too long is not only unhealthy, you will eventually plateau and stop seeing results. In addition, starving yourself by under eating will also have you binge eating on the weekends or late at night. You’re probably already doing this! And binge drinking counts!  Alcohol is a bunch of empty calories that spike your insulin levels just like binge eating on ice cream would!

This constant cycle of “trying” to eat well and diet, then binge eating, followed by food guilt and regret, then back to calorie restriction will keep you at the same weight if not fatter. You will never see the results you want, and you will constantly feel like garbage because you think you’re “dieting” and “trying your best,”  but really you’re just keeping yourself in this vicious psychological drama of food punishment, then reward, followed by guilt/regret, and then more self-punishment. WHY?!?!?!? PLEASE STOP! RIGHT NOW! It is not positive, and it’s definitely not productive! This type of behavior is very detrimental not only to your physical health, but your mental health as well. You are cultivating a negative relationship with food, with this punishment/reward drama. Suddenly healthy food becomes a chore, something unpleasant that you don’t want to eat, and all the food that you reward yourself with like cake, or burgers, become the foods that you only want to eat. But, even though you want to eat these foods, you know you shouldn’t, or that you “can’t” because you’re fat…That is a whole pile of psychological warfare that you just unleashed on yourself, will only keep you fat, and miserable. Why do that to yourself?! When there’s literally so many people out there willing to do that for you? LOL You really need to be your biggest advocate, not your worst enemy! Especially when you’re trying to change your life in a positive way! You need to start believing that you deserve to be happy, and that you can have the body you want. Once you start believing that you can have better, you will start to change your behavior and the way you treat yourself. This will ultimately have a positive impact on your relationship with food.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you that you may be going about weight loss completely wrong, then let me drop some more knowledge on you! Severe calorie restriction, depletion diets, and Ketosis are very effective for quick, short-term weight loss. For example, these were some of the tactics that I used to prepare me for my last Bodybuilding show. I lost 40 lbs in 4 months. However, I would not recommend this to the average person. First of all, it is very difficult! It is both mentally and physically challenging, and most people do no have the will power, and the discipline to stick to the diet without cheating. Again, if you calorie restrict like I did for my show, but you cheat and binge eat, then this sort of diet will not work, and you will not see the results you’re looking for. Secondly, you will not be able to maintain this way of eating for a long time. This is why most bodybuilders who prep for shows only diet strictly for 3-4 months maximum to get stage ready. And when a bodybuilder has a cheat meal, or re-feed meal, it is planned, and controlled to a single meal. This meal will help the athlete continue to loose weight by shocking the body and raising leptin levels. Again, this is a planned meal to help further the athlete’s weight loss. In addition, these athletes are doing depletion workouts, and they are training the entire time they are prepping for a show. This is because a bodybuilder, while dieting, is trying to preserve as much muscle as possible.

This is also a short-term weight loss goal! I REPEAT SHORT TERM WEIGHT LOSS! And, if you do end up doing this sort of show prep or strict diet, then you need to reverse diet! It is so important to slowly incorporate all the carbs and fats that you severely restricted in the first place. There are several reasons why it is so important, first of all you don’t want to gain back all the weight you lost and then some! Second, your body will be so sensitive to carbs and fats that your digestion system will have a hard time processing all the excess carbs and fats that it wasn’t used to eating for a while. Basically, you can make yourself sick if you just revert back to your old habits so soon after dieting so hard. Plus yo-yo dieting like this will only weaken your metabolism, making it more difficult for you to lose weight in the future. I can go on and on about the damaging effects of yo-yo dieting, but basically every time you do a crazy diet, hit your goal, fall back into your old ways, then go back on a crazy diet, you are not only damaging your health, but making it more and more difficult for you to lose weight in the future.


One of the comparison photos my coach made showcasing my 40 lb weight loss for my show

Moreover, under-eating will only weaken your body slowly over time. Keeping yourself in a constant calorie deficit will force your body to rid itself of muscle and store more body fat. This is because your body is adapting to being starved on a regular basis, and because muscles burn more calories than fat, muscle tissue becomes a liability and therefore your body will literally eat itself, as gross as that sounds. LOL So, as you continue to starve yourself, your body loses muscle, becomes weaker, and therefore “fattier.” You may not grow in size right away, but your body’s metabolism, strength, and endurance, all get depleted. Now that you are weaker, slower, and fattier, when you eventually binge eat, or cheat on your diet, those excess calories stick to your body as fat more easily. Your body’s metabolism is slower, and weaker so it is not able to burn through all the cake and ice cream you decided to “reward” yourself with.

If you’re looking for long-term results, and long-term weight loss that will actually last, then your diet must be both moderate and consistent. Stop punishing yourself and your body with crash diets, and severe long-term calorie restriction and binge eating. Eat foods you actually like to eat! Don’t force yourself to eat foods that you hate just because you think they’re healthy! Making manageable, positive changes to your diet will be more effective in the long-term. Healthy eating, and eating within your macro-nutrients needs to become a part of your lifestyle. Meaning that the VAST majority of the time you are eating well, and within your caloric and macro-nutrient limits for the day.You need to understand that eating well should not be a chore, it should be something that you and your body deserve! Candy, cheesecake, whatever you like eating the most, only tastes good while you’re eating it… What I mean to say is, is that the feeling of happiness you get from eating these foods only lasts as long as you eat them! However, the endorphins you get from working out last way beyond the workout itself. The feeling of pride, and accomplishment from reaching your fitness goals, last forever! When you know you’re eating well, sticking to your macro-nutrients, working out, and basically taking care of yourself LOL You take pride in that. You’re not ashamed of what you’re eating, or embarrassed because you’re not doing the things you know you should do. If anything, when people are taking care of themselves, especially nowadays, they are literally broadcasting it everywhere! Taking photos of their healthy food, and gym selfies galore! LOL When you finally feel good in your own skin, no one can take that away from you! The happiness, confidence, and pride you feel never goes away (unless you find some way to take it away from yourself). Your peers will recognize and admire this pride, and self-respect. Positivity breeds positivity!

Gym selfie Saturday November 7th 2015. A month post show and still holding a pretty tight physique :)
Gym selfie Saturday November 7th 2015. A month post show and still holding a pretty tight physique 🙂

In conclusion, if you really want to make a change in your life for the better. If you want to lose weight, for whatever reason, stop punishing yourself! Stop talking negatively about yourself, stop starving yourself, and start to treat yourself and your body with respect. As I have quoted in this blog before “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live in,” Jim Rohn. If you need help figuring out how much you should be eating a day, or even what foods to eat in general, then talk to a nutritionist, dietician, or accomplished fitness professional who can help you get on the right track. There are so many resources that exist that there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to do your own learning when it comes to nutrition and food. Take an interest in your health! It is the most valuable thing you can own! There are tools like MyFitnessPal that are extremely helpful, and Google LOL And well there is me haha you can always ask me. I always do my best to help spread the wealth! There’s plenty of knowledge out there, it is your job to seek it out!