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IT’S MOVING DAY

I have officially put on my big girl panties and have moved to http://www.moniquesfitness.com

You will still get your updates with recipes, research, etc.

moniquesfitness.com is under construction but I hope to see you there soon.

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hmmm so today is Tuesday….

Alarm goes off at 5:45am. I got up and took a shower, got dressed, and packed my backpack. Grabbed my lunch/snack out of the fridge.

My lunch/snack: a can of tuna drained, apple, Almond butter and jelly sandwich on multigrain bread and my gallon of water.

By 7:15 I’m at the gym. Today was shoulders so I did about 20 minutes of cardio on the spin bike (even though the seats aren’t big enough and hurt like hell). I did smith machine shoulder presses, one arm machine shoulder press, lateral raises, and rear raises today. Today wasn’t so bad and I really like working my shoulders.

8:45 crack open my Better Oats Oatmeal and eat that as my post workout meal. Class doesn’t start til 11 so I sit in the strength lab and study for a while.

It’s finally 11am so my class is Weight Training and all I did in class was demonstrate the power clean and ended up cleaning 135 lbs. That’s my personal best..After class I went and ate my snack even though the sandwich and apple were gone already 😦

So I hung out in the strength lab for a while and wrote pieces of songs (yes, I write songs sometimes). Then I left school and headed home.

Got home changed clothes and went for a run. I ran to Disneyland which is about 3 miles from my house and walked back home.

Now I’m back home and showered. Haven’t made dinner yet which will be Tilapia and veggies with the rest of the gallon of water that I have left.

Tomorrow morning up at 5:45 to do it all over again this time I’ll be in class from 10-2 and then have to film the Snatch (olympic lift) and overhead squat for a class project so that video will be up soon.

I currently work 2 jobs and go to school full time. In between all of that I have to workout (West Coast Classic on June 25), stick to my diet, study, train people, and find time to sleep.

I’m taking 17 units when 12 units is considered full time.

People don’t realize that when you compete and go to school full time it’s hard to find time to do much of anything else. My days either start early or end the next day. Lately I’ve been having 21-22 hour days. I don’t know where I find the energy to make it through school and running back and forth between 2 jobs.

Competing isn’t for the weak at heart or the ones who get easily discouraged. Everything in life that is worth having never comes easy. And my NPC Pro Card won’t be handed to me. I’m working my ass off for it. Yes, there is criticism that comes with competing and there are some haters who wish they could gain muscle or drop weight as fast as you or someone else. But it’s ok it’s motivation. My motivation is someone telling me that I can’t do something or that I’m this or that.

I push myself because I know that there is someone out there who is working harder than I am and I refuse to let someone else out do me.

Just know this when competing: Pain is TEMPORARY, the results are EVIDENT AND PERMANENT!

4 Things Women Should Be Doing in Their Fitness Training—But Aren’t.

If your workouts consist of doing light weights and steady-state cardio, you might be in for some bad news: These things alone won’t likely get you the results you’re after, say experts. To increase your fitness level, burn fat, and improve muscle tone, you’ve got to step up your game.

Here are four things women tend to skip that can deliver serious results.

1. High-intensity training.

All that time coasting on the elliptical at a comfortable pace probably hasn’t done much for your body, says Panama-based trainer Belinda Benn, creator of the Breakthrough Physique home fitness system. In fact, the biggest mistake women make in their training is not exercising with enough intensity, she says.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is typically a 10- to 20-minute workout that alternates short, intense bursts of activity with moderate-exertion recovery periods. “High-intensity interval training  is the best way to improve your overall fitness, burn fat, and stimulate your hormones for a stronger body,” says Benn.

How to tell if you’re training hard enough? Look to your body for clues, Benn says. Good indicators are sweating, increased heart rate, and lactic acid production (i.e., feeling the “burn”) during exercise. Moderate muscle soreness for up to a few days post-workout is also a good sign. “If you feel nothing,” Benn says, “you probably didn’t work out hard enough.”

2. Heavier lifting.

For most women, a typical weight-training session equals light dumbbell exercises, says Toronto-based strength and conditioning specialist Craig Ballantyne, creator of the Turbulence Training Program. But doing fewer reps with more weight—say, 8 reps per set with a 15-pound dumbbell, instead of 15 reps with an 8-pound one—will burn more fat, he says. Lifting heavier will also increase your strength and muscle definition.

Start by swapping out your normal weights for slightly heavier ones, and gradually work your way up.

3. Upper body workouts.

Women tend to store body fat around the waist, hips, and thighs, so that’s where they typically focus their exercise efforts—neglecting their upper bodies, Benn says.

But you can’t spot-reduce fat, and sticking with what’s easy can stunt your progress, says Benn. Because you may feel weak while attempting pull-ups for the first time, Benn suggests doing the hard stuff at the start of your workout, “when you’re freshest and feeling mentally strong.”

“Focusing on underdeveloped muscles will improve the contours of your body,” Benn says.

4. Training with a barbell.

Think barbells are synonymous with back-breaking chest presses? Not so. “You can do a tremendous workout just with a barbell,” Benn says. “If you’re holding a bar rather than using two separate weights, it forces you to get your body  in sync.”

Barbells are great for both upper- and lower-body exercises. Balancing one across your shoulders while doing squats, lunges, or walking lunges helps develop posture and balance, Benn says.

If you’re flirting with a barbell for the first time, go as light as you need to. Even 10 pounds is a good start.

Bonus tip:

If you’re worried you’ll bulk up with any of these exercises, consider your body type. Benn says women generally fall into two categories: those who build muscle easily, and those who don’t. If you build muscle easily, she suggests emphasizing high-intensity exercises. If you develop muscle slowly, you’ll benefit from spending more time on heavy lifting.

Chelsea Bush writes for AskFitnessCoach, a site that promotes a down-to-earth approach to fitness and weight loss

Product Review: Better Oats

Ok so I know you’re all like what’s Better Oats…WELL it’s the best tasting oatmeal on the market. I love oatmeal and I have never tasted anything this good. They have: Oat Revolution, Abundance, Good n Hearty, Lavish (Chocolate), Muffins, Oat Fit, Oat Heads, RAW: Pure and Simple, and Naturals Instant Oatmeal.

The ones I have tried are Abundance and Muffins.

Abundance I buy Maple and Brown Sugar and Muffins I get Maple Streusel

You’re wondering what is SSSOOO GREAT about Oatmeal I will tell you.

Abundance has:

  • 6 whole grains, 30g per serving
  • Real fruit pieces
  • Omega-3 from flaxseed
  • Good source of protein and fiber

As you can tell Abundance has: Whole grain oats, flaxseed, barley, quinoa, etc. NOTHING BUT FIBER!! YUMMY!!

Now when it comes to Muffins

  • Thick and hearty texture
  • 30 grams of whole grains per serving
  • 220 mg of ALA Omega-3 per serving
  • Excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A & E
  • Good source of Fiber

mmm….Muffins has whole grain rolled oats and flaxseed.

THIS OATMEAL IS AMAZING!!! What makes it so cool is that they come in little packets that allow you to measure your water into the packet and pour it into the oatmeal and stick it in the microwave. Honestly this is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Go to betteroats.com or your nearest grocery store and try it out for yourself.

  • WATER
  • BROWN RICE
  • TUNA IN WATER
  • BEANS (BLACK, PINTO, KIDNEY, ETC.)
  • WHOLE WHEAT PASTA
  • VEGGIES
  • FRUIT
  • EGG WHITES
  • OATS
  • ALMOND MILK/SOY MILK
  • CHICKEN
  • SALMON
  • TILAPIA
  • TURKEY
  • GREEK YOGURT
  • GRANOLA
  • ALMONDS/ WALNUTS
  • AVOCADO
  • ALMOND BUTTER/ PEANUT BUTTER
  • POTATOES/ SWEET POTATOE

I know I’m probably missing out on stuff but this is mainly what’s in my diet. I’ve been clean eating for about 3 months and I recently ate a burger and my stomach wasn’t happy with me at all. Back to clean eating.

Are Supplements a True Substitute for Real Food?
While some may have predicted that the day would come when we no longer needed to eat food and could derive the nutrients our bodies needed from taking a pill, that day is not yet here. And the more we learn about food and nutrients, their roles and interactions, the more scientists realize that this day may never come. Through decades of research, we have learned that foods provide far more than just calories, vitamins and minerals. Food provides other important nutrients like antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber which reduce the risk of a number of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes
and age-related macular degeneration (1,6). Supplements have yet to offer these “ingredients” or even this
same protection (3).

In light of the possible limitations of supplements, does anyone really need to take one? While it is hard to make
a blanket statement such as “all children” or “all pregnant women” require a supplement, there are certain categories and instances where we can make certain generalizations.

Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry with people under the false impression that taking supplements is improving their health and/or performance (4). Can we rely on supplements to provide us with additional vitamins and minerals not found in a well balanced diet? Perhaps. But supplements are not regulated as drugs; they are regulated as food, in accordance with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) passed by Congress in 1994. The result is that the FDA has very little regulation over the supplements sold in this country— they do not analyze the content of dietary supplements nor do they approve the labels on the bottle. Additionally, the FDA can only remove a product from the market after it has been proven unsafe. Usually a supplement is proven unsafe and removed from the market after people taking it get sick or even die.

So what can athletes and individuals who are interested in taking a supplement do to protect themselves? Fortunately, there are two tools available to help consumers choose a safe supplement. One is to look for the U.S. Pharmacopeia or “USP” seal. The “USP” seal means that the product has been independently tested and reviewed by USP to verify ingredient and product integrity, purity, and potency for the manufacturers who choose to participate (7). However, it does not mean that this supplement has been tested for safety or effectiveness. Another option is to search the supplement reviews available on ConsumerLab.com, which is an independent, non-profit testing agency. This organization selects products and tests for accuracy of content (e.g., a supplement that says it contains 400 IU of vitamin D actually contains that amount) and also for contaminants in the supplement. For example, supplements may be found to contain unacceptable amounts of lead, which is a health hazard, especially to children.

Bottom Line

Choose food first and, supplement, only as needed.

References
1. Kawasaki B, Hurt E, Mistree T, Farrar W.
Targeting cancer stem cells with phytochemicals.
Mol Interv. 8(4):174 – 184, 2008.
2. Kreider R, Rasmussen C, Melton C, et al.
Long-term creatine supplementation does not
adversely affect clinical markers of health.
Proceedings of the American College of Sports
Medicine 2000 Annual Scientific Meeting; 2000
May 31 – June 3: Indianapolis (IN).
3. Lin J, Cook N, Albert C, Zaharris E, Gaziano
M, Buring J, Manson J. Vitamins C and E and
Beta Carotene Supplementation and Cancer
Risk: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Natl
Cancer Inst. 101:14 – 23, 2009.
4. Market Research Web site (Internet). North
Adams (MA): Market Research; (Retrieved
2009, May 1). Available from: http://www.
marketresearch.com.
5. Nishino H, Murakoshi M, Mou X, Wada S,
Masuda M, Ohsaka Y, Satomi Y,
6. Jinno K. Cancer prevention by
phytochemicals. Oncology. 1:38 – 40, 2005.
7. Parry GJ, Bredesen DE. Sensory neuropathy
with low-dose pyridoxine. Neurology. 35:1466 –
1468, 1985.
8. U.S. Pharmacopeia Web site (Internet).
Rockville (MD): U.S. Pharmacopeia; (Retrieved
2009, May 1). Available from: http://www.usp.
org.

February is Here!!

February is National Heart Month. Not because it’s Valentines day but because we need to become more aware of Heart Disease.

Here are some facts:

  • About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event
  • Most common heart disease is coronary heart disease
  • In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack
  • These conditions put your health at risk of death or disability: arrhythmia, heart failure, peripheral artery disease (PAD), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and secondhand smoke

It’s time you start helping the people you care about make healthier choices and try to start putting them on a path to a healthier lifestyle. Diet and exercise play a major part.

If you want more information regarding Heart Disease and more about National Heart Month check out: cdc.gov/features/heartmonth

Comp Pics from Bodybuilding.com

I’m not happy with my posing but it will only get better with time. I’m embarrassed about my back posing!!! 5 months til the West Coast Classic!!!

My Competition Story

Getting ready for the Iron Man Magazine Naturally Championship and competing in the competition was such an amazing experience. I can’t believe that I actually did it. There are so many amazing people that have encouraged me and helped me along with this journey that I am going to list EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!! Without them I don’t think I would’ve still done it.

I have my Twitter Fitness family: @babytatten, @lilfitprincess, @FIT4LIFE2020 @beccasgym, @tracykirby55, @DonaldDDiva, @Sharde2focused, @4amaven, @CommittedTrain, @Bionic_Black, @mrgeecue, @obarmuscle, @Bodybldrmarcus, @SamuelFrauens, @OBARmuscle, @mercedesfitness, @CarrieNyden, @iamkendra86, @elleboogiee, @bikiniorbust, etc (this list can go on forever lol)…

The Rest of the crew: Romalice Reed, Godfrey Cortes, Ryan Liming, Kashka Clay, Donna Spinola, My big cousin Earnest, The VSP Crew: Dan, Joy, Jason, Juan, Hayley, etc., Kemi E, and MY FAMILY…

A BIG THANK YOU TO DRE!!! You stuck it out and sat with me all day!! Thanks for all your love and support! You’re awesome.
I know I’m forgetting so many other people I hope they can forgive me….

Ok so here it is:

Mid October is when I entered the competition and I was really hesitant about doing it but I thought why not. So I started to diet and took my first progress pic in November and I looked like this:

As you can tell I had a lot of work to do 🙂

So for the next few months I ate CLEAN and worked out to the point where I couldn’t even move. I would wake up at 6am to be at the gym by 7 and workout til about 8:30 and then go to class from 10-2:15 and then go home lol….I did that everyday about 5-6 days a week for about the first month just to get my body into a routine. So for the next 8 weeks I did Metabolic Conditioning classes @ Velocity Sports Performance, lifted weights, ate right, and here is the finished product:

So the last few weeks up until the competition sucked major donkey balls (YES! Donkey balls). It sucked because at this point I wanted “real” food. I wanted chips, cupcakes, candy, burgers, etc. I wanted to eat everything I could get my hands on. The week of the competition wasn’t as bad as I thought until Thursday rolled around. On Thursday I had started drinking Metamucil to start pulling the water out of muscles and drop water weight. I was so dehydrated that the more water I drank the more my head hurt. I could feel the water being pulled out of my quads and my arms. Friday I couldn’t drink any water at all especially if I wanted to dry out. So I started eating 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal and 2 oz of chicken breast every 2 hours. Trying to eat 1/2 cup of oatmeal dry was HARD! I didn’t really sleep Friday night because I had to dry out and my alarm would go off every 2 hours just to make sure I was up to eat another 1/2 cup.

When I did try and catch a few zzz’s I was in pain because I could feel the water being pulled out of my muscles. TRUST ME it was bearable it just hurt. So I had packed my bag and was just ready to get to:

So all competitors had to be there at 8am for the meeting and 8:30 am check in..Pre-judging was at 10 am. So I checked in and found the nearest bathroom to do my hair since the expensive ass hair people took up all the plugs in our dressing area 😦 Hair was done make-up was done the only thing left to do was get ready for pre-judging. So we were lined up in our Class A,B,C,D (for my people that don’t know what classes are: it’s just based on your height). So the expediters backstage sent out Class A and B together so the judges were a little frustrated because we (class B) had to leave the stage and come back out. We did our model turns and then all lined up and did quarter turns. Filed off stage and were told to be back at 3:15.

So I walked around the expo with my BFF Dre and we walked around FOREVER!!! He did this max rep competition where you had to bench press your weight as many times as you can in 30 seconds. We laughed because one guy who weighed 121 pounds did his weight about 41 times so everybody after him was like pretty much forget it. I really wanted to take pics with Alicia Marie, Ava Cowan, and Jamie Eason but the line for Bodybuilding.com was longer than the line to get into the Expo so I was a little disappointed. I wanted to take a pic with Lou Ferrigno but he was charging $20 a pic. I said KICK ROCKS LOU!!! We watched the powerlifting competition and some of the other competitions that were there. It was a really fun expo.

So 3:15 came and it was time to get ready again. Jay Cutler (NOT FOOTBALL LOL) got on stage and spoke for an hour then it was time for finals. So they started with the Men and each competitor had 60 secs of posing…I was so cold backstage and just ready to get everything over with cause by this point I was HUNGRY and getting frustrated because Bikini Bite was causing me to stick to the seat I was sitting in lol…So the Pro Tan crew got me all greased up and I just waited back stage until the guys were over since Figure was last.

While the men were doing their posing the crowd was HUGE!!! By the time I came out the crowd was NON-EXISTENT!!! We were supposed to be done at 6 but we didn’t get done until almost 7. Here is the VERDICT: So here were my stats on competition day: 34-26-38 3/4 weighed in at 129 with 13% body fat… When I started I was: 34-28-39 1/2 136 with 21% body fat. So I am now about 117 pounds of muscle!!

This experience was priceless! It was worth every bit of sweat, tears, frustration, and hunger. I had the 3 D’s: Determination, Dedication, and Discipline. It helped me get through it all.

I got on that stage without paying for a trainer, a posing coach, an expensive suit, or Pro Tan. I did it all on my own. You have to learn from your mistakes and find out what works best for you. Just because it worked for someone else doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

Now it’s time to BULK UP and lean out again for my next competition in June. I’m going to compete in the West Coast Classic. Competing is really expensive. So time to save up and shoot for the stars!!

I AM OFFICIALLY AN NPC FIGURE COMPETITOR AND WINNER!! NOBODY CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!!

P.S. I can still feel the water being pulled out of my muscles 😉

P.P.S. MAKE SURE TO PICK UP THE MARCH IRON MAN MAGAZINE AS ALL THE COMPETITION PHOTOS ARE IN IT

Today hasn’t been a good day….

This morning around 9:50 my mom called me to tell me that my Great Grandmother had passed. I am completely heartbroken because I wasn’t able to tell her goodbye. I haven’t been able to eat much, let alone stop from crying. I miss her so much already. She had a long fulfilled 94 years of life. She will forever be in my heart.

Fitness guru Jack LaLanne died today as well. He was the founder of the Modern Fitness Movement.

Here is the article:

LOS ANGELES — Jack LaLanne, the fitness guru who inspired television viewers to trim down, eat well and pump iron for decades before diet and exercise became a national obsession, died Sunday. He was 96.

LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay on California’s central coast, his longtime agent Rick Hersh said.

LaLanne ate healthy and exercised every day of his life up until the end, Hersh said.

“I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for,” Elaine LaLanne, LaLanne’s wife of 51 years and a frequent partner in his television appearances, said in a written statement.

He maintained a youthful physique and joked in 2006 that “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”

Former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker credited LaLanne’s encouragement with helping him to start exercising often.

“He never lost enthusiasm for life and physical fitness,” the 87-year-old Barker told The Associated Press on Sunday. “I saw him in about 2007 and he still looked remarkably good. He still looked like the same enthusiastic guy that he always was.”

Television staple
LaLanne (pronounced lah-LAYN’) credited a sudden interest in fitness with transforming his life as a teen, and he worked tirelessly over the next eight decades to transform others’ lives, too.

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” LaLanne said. “Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

His workout show was a television staple from the 1950s to the ’70s. LaLanne and his dog Happy encouraged kids to wake their mothers and drag them in front of the television set. He developed exercises that used no special equipment, just a chair and a towel.

He also founded a chain of fitness studios that bore his name and in recent years touted the value of raw fruit and vegetables as he helped market a machine called Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer.

When he turned 43 in 1957, he performed more than 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on the “You Asked For It” television show. At 60, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco — handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat. Ten years later, he performed a similar feat in Long Beach harbor.

“I never think of my age, never,” LaLanne said in 1990. “I could be 20 or 100. I never think about it, I’m just me. Look at Bob Hope, George Burns. They’re more productive than they’ve ever been in their whole lives right now.”

Praised by Schwarzenegger
Fellow bodybuilder and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger credited LaLanne with taking exercise out of the gymnasium and into living rooms.

“He laid the groundwork for others to have exercise programs, and now it has bloomed from that black and white program into a very colorful enterprise,” Schwarzenegger said in 1990.

In 1936 in his native Oakland, LaLanne opened a health studio that included weight-training for women and athletes. Those were revolutionary notions at the time, because of the theory that weight training made an athlete slow and “muscle bound” and made a woman look masculine.

“You have to understand that it was absolutely forbidden in those days for athletes to use weights,” he once said. “It just wasn’t done. We had athletes who used to sneak into the studio to work out.

“It was the same with women. Back then, women weren’t supposed to use weights. I guess I was a pioneer,” LaLanne said.

The son of poor French immigrants, he was born in 1914 and grew up to become a sugar addict, he said.

The turning point occurred one night when he heard a lecture by pioneering nutritionist Paul Bragg, who advocated the benefits of brown rice, whole wheat and a vegetarian diet.

“He got me so enthused,” LaLanne said. “After the lecture I went to his dressing room and spent an hour and a half with him. He said, ‘Jack, you’re a walking garbage can.'”

Soon after, LaLanne constructed a makeshift gym in his back yard. “I had all these firemen and police working out there and I kind of used them as guinea pigs,” he said.

He said his own daily routine usually consisted of two hours of weightlifting and an hour in the swimming pool.

“It’s a lifestyle, it’s something you do the rest of your life,” LaLanne said. “How long are you going to keep breathing? How long do you keep eating? You just do it.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Dan and Jon, and a daughter, Yvonne.

May they rest in peace.