Let's Talk About Food.

Um now I know why diets don't work. The amount of food I ate after my show is unreal. It has taken me the past two weeks to finally level out. For about a week I ate anything and everything I could just because I hadn't had it for at least 3 months. It was pathetic. And ironic considering the entire point of my prep was to demonstrate self discipline and then as soon as it was over I had NONE! But I loved all of it.

Let's take it back a night, Ryan and I had to prepare for the big feast ahead (Ryan got a head start as I raided the candy isle)...

The night of the show we went out to Precinct (Jen also brought us post-show donuts) and I had an Alagash which is what I had been CRAVING like crazy. Plus I had sliders including pork belly, lobster and crab cakes. YUM! Then Ryan had stock up on all my favorite things including carrot cake, coffee cake, half baked ice cream, guac, wine and beer. It was heavenly.

The next morning I had my Dad's famous cookies for breakfast because ya know...why not :) Then I took Ryan to the Four Season buffet brunch to thank him for being so supportive throughout the whole journey. We ate the place clean. Blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, oats, poached eggs, waffles, caramelized bananas, omelettes, meat and cheese plates, then desserts GALORE!!

That afternoon we recuperated from stuffing our faces... then went to dinner at the Salty Pig and had garlic knots, meatballs, and PIZZA!

The next day we walked around Boston and ended up stopping by Anna's Taqueria which is Ryan's all time favorite meal. It was my first time there so we split a MASSIVE quesadilla...

Then hung around all afternoon drinking Rosé until we headed to Barcelona for white wine and tapas. (I also finished the carrot cake and a second pint of half baked this night...it wasn't pretty).

Coach Johnny sent me a reverse diet plan on Monday which I loosely followed. It's basically used to help rebuild your metabolism so you don't eat everything in sight like I did and gain 6 pounds immediately.

I don't even feel bad about it though. It has been really nice not feeling guilty about ordering Indian food when I don't want to cook, or be able to say YES to unlimited sushi night with friends and always order a glass of white wine with dinner. 

I'm back tracking my food, just good to be slightly aware of what I'm eating but I'm enjoying my ice cream nights all the same! I've even started to throw in a little morning cardio a few times a week just because I actually like starting my day like that now. It's amazing what you find out you like doing when it's not something you have to do...or eat. Like egg whites, I still start my days with egg whites and salsa. Just because I like them.

It does feel weird not to have my next goal set up. So any ideas please let me know!

8 Days.

Happy Friday world! I woke up jumping out of bed this morning. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and I had energy to get after my fasted cardio. This week (2 weeks out) has been a really important week of my prep, it's the last big push before the show. In addition to my normal five workouts, I have three days of cardio and four mornings of fasted cardio.

Fasted cardio = my personal hell.

I've mentioned before that I don't like morning workouts, and morning workouts where I have to keep my heart rate high for 30 minutes when my body is sore all over from yesterday's workout and on no food...the worst. However, fasted cardio is really effective for me. Jump starts my metabolism in the morning and I feel it burning all day. And today it wasn't so bad! I've been feeling minor shin splints this week so instead of my usual run I did some HIIT in Copley Square instead. Then ya know what happened? These babies were poppin!

For a good reason. In addition to the extra workouts I've had this week, my diet has also changed. All week I'm slowly depleting carbs (as Johnny tells me to), every two days the diet changes. I'm hovering around 1200 calories, with my protein intake remaining high and as my carbs are cut my fat intake raises (YAY peanut butter!). 

I had to go two days this week without peanut butter and I honestly think it was the first time in YEARS I hadn't had it. Thank goodness that's over.

Basically I'm tricking my body to burn all of the existing fat to use for energy opposed to the carbs I'd be feeding it. Then early next week (peak week!) I'll get a MAJOR re-feed day where I eat a ton of carbs (clean carbs) for my muscles to fill out again. They're working in overdrive this week so we gotta keep them happy before the big day.

So I'll leave ya with highs and lows for the week:

Highs:

  • ABS!
  • I have a whole new love for food since I've been so hungry this week.
  • Matcha. My afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Everything Hoodie Allen.
  • Low energy but high spirits!

Lows:

  • Fasted cardio. Ew.
  • I skipped fasted cardio yesterday. I was a little disappointed in myself but my body was telling me no.
  • No posing practice yet. I need to learn how to walk on stage now. Crunch time people!
  • My hands are torn up from my arms/back days. Ouch!
  • Low energy levels, but big spirits!

Huge final shout out to my boyfriend who has saved me this week. I forgot my lunches at home one day (grabbed the wrong tupperware) and he drove them to me at work. LIFE SAVER!!! Second shout out to my parents who have given me some great pep talks supporting from afar! Then finally my coworkers...sorry you have to sit with HANGRY Erin all day, but keeping me away from the unlimited kid cereal and M&M's is crucial. Couldn't do this without you guys. 

A final BIG THANK YOU to all the social media love. This is honestly one of the toughest things I've done and the messages, texts, Instagram likes and comments truly mean the world to me. When I need extra motivation, that's what keeps me going. Thank you.

"People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do something difficult." - John Porter.


Stepping OFF the Scale.

Some weeks are better than others, and some weeks are better than you think. I stopped stepping on my scale about ten days ago because the number kept going up. At first little by little, and then I was three pounds higher than where I wanted to be. That messes with you head.

When you're dedicating months of your life, to achieve a goal, you make benchmarks you want to hit. Your daily schedule is dictated by this one goal, and when you stop hitting those benchmarks....it messes with your head. 

I've been trying to lean out and I have been feeling leaner and my "abs" make small appearances here and there, but that damn number on the scale is going up!? So I walked into last nights workout/checkin with my coach feeling just kinda womp. Ya know?

So we took body fat measurements, the true test. And let me tell you, that womp feeling was turned right around!! I haven't tested body fat in six weeks, so at eight weeks out I was at 14.6% body fat which was honestly an awesome starting point. I was worried about getting that down, I'm naturally lean, would my body lean out that much more?

I am so proud to say at 15 days out I am at 11% body fat. 11%! I've never been 11%. 11% feels good on me.

Right before we started the caliber measurements I asked Johnny what we were hoping for. He said 11.5% would be great and that was his guess to what I was at. Well take that 11.5%! I'm 11%.

So let's talk numbers. I'm really glad I stopped weighing myself daily, it's good to check in every few days but you cannot dictate your success based on a number on a scale. In the six weeks since my last body fat check in, I had GAINED 1.5 pounds of muscle (which is kinda rare and really exciting because that's when I've  been "cutting" and normally when people lose muscle mass) and LOST 5 pounds of fat! Whoop!

I was frustrated that the scale wasn't changing the way I wanted it to but I was getting leaner which now all makes sense! While I was losing fat (good thing) I was gaining muscle (GREAT thing). So see?? The scale is not all it's cracked up to be.

New goals: Lose 1 pound of fat, and sit at 10% body fat when I walk on stage.

Other really exciting developments...

I did my first pull-up last night!

Do you know how hard it is to do a pull-up? Really hard. It was one of my resolutions. Nailed it.

So ya see, sometimes a womp kind of week just really turns around.

Also I had some really yummy meals this week.

15 Days. Get. At. Me.

Instagram(Inspirations).

I love Instagram. I'm on it all the time. Whether I'm shamelessly uploading gym selfies or browsing through posts at lunch, I love it all. What I love most about Instagram is the health and fitness community I've found. I often need an extra push to go to the gym, or a small reminder to stay on diet. That's what Instagram has been for me, an added tool to connect with like-minded people and stay on track!

I wanted to share a few of my favorite people/pages that I follow and you should follow too!


@katefit_

Meet Kate! She's wonderful. We connected back in the fall as we both went through the NASM training to be personal trainers simultaneously. Since then she has launched her own training business and website you can check out here! I really like her page because she posts quick workouts you can do at home, beginner yoga challenges and her adorable husky. 


@rawfigure

Meet Cathee! We actually met randomly at the gym (Equinox), I had seen her around for a few weeks and she absolutely crushes it. She's wonderful, extremely determined and traveled international to compete in figure competitions. It's great seeing her lovely, familiar face in the gym. I love her Instagram because her abs are insane (amazing motivation) and she often posts simple clean recipes that I love to help switch up my normal diet. She also introduced me to #BuffButter so God bless her for that! Check out her website here.


@emmakate_92

Meet Emma! I randomly found her but I really like her page because of her authenticity. She's currently in college studying accounting and training/prepping for NPC competitions. Knowing how hard it is to stay on track with a career, I can' imagine how much will power it must take to do it in college! She's so cute and not afraid to tell you about her crazy cravings and fights through them!! Plus I love all her Nike gear, duh. Her next show is in one week so good luck to you lady!!


@fitmissdani

Meet Dani! She's a college student at my alma mater, UNCW! She teaches several classes at the college gym (which I always thought was a cool job and wish I had done!). I love her page because like Emma, she does a great job of balancing the healthy life with the college life. My favorite though is she posts amazing and simple recipes that are so yum. Her sesame tofu recipe is bomb!


Then I of course wanted to share the pages of the girls on my Anthrofit Team! They are a constant source of support and inspiration!

@lorenpete1991 @ashley_hatcher @jcfitness4u @nicole_kulma @johnny_loreti


And don't forget to follow my page! @ebailey_fitness

"Cheat" Meals

I've had a lot of people reach out and ask me about "cheat" meals.

When do I get a "cheat" meal?

How much do I get to eat?

Is it just one meal or do I get a whole day?

I'm going to start and squash the entire term of a "cheat" meal. The term is quite commonly used and works for many, but I hate it. It makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, something I should feel guilty about. But when I eat egg whites, Ezekiel bread, protein powder, plain chicken, brown rice, broccoli, and sweet potatoes for dayssssssss I sure don't feel guilty about chowing down on huevos rancheros at brunch, or dipping extra bread in my mussels sauce, or splitting a whole bottle of wine!

I earned it!! I've worked hard. I feel strong and healthy. And I'm feeding my body and my soul a little extra ice cream this week. I don't go crazy because I'm still on a strict diet plan and my coach would kill me, but I'm not going to feel guilty about treating myself.

I'm not cheating, I'm just living.

My treat meals have become extra special now that I'm on my strict diet and can't eat a cookie whenever I want (I really miss those days). So I've been quite selective about what I'm going to splurge on. Last Friday was the night before I was 12 weeks out, so the girls and I had a night out!

Coach told me I needed to eat more carbs....this is what he meant right?!

Coach told me I needed to eat more carbs....this is what he meant right?!

We started with pizza and beer at Regina's. No better way to do it!! Then went out and met the rest of the ladies for champagne and finally ended at a local bar with a live band and some Sam Adams. A wonderful night of celebration and treating before the real grind begins. 

Plus Friday was a leg day for me, so really I needed the extra carbs.

My point is regardless of this journey I'm on, I'm not depriving myself of things i love.

Donuts. Wine. Ice Cream. 

So I'm including a few of my other favorite treat moments as well. I have a weak spot for donuts, so these gourmet donuts from The Kitchen were heaven paired with the last of our red wine (just glad Ryan shares that same love too!).

It came with this raspberry (I think?) jelly that was  insane!

It came with this raspberry (I think?) jelly that was insane!

And finally...I live in the North End of Boston. It's also known as "little Italy" and is all too continent for a quick dinner out.

So back to the questions. It depends. It will always depend. So eat healthy, eat clean, and stop feeling guilty treating yourself. You aren't cheating, just treating. Think of it as food for the soul. 

"Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul." - Dorthy Day.

Part 1: The Diet.

When I was first thinking about doing a competition I kept looking for articles or blogs written by people who were going through the process. I wanted an inside look at what it was really like, not just pictures of the end result. That's what I want this to be, a window into the journey. My goal is for this blog to be that resource for you and hopefully help as some framework, discussing various components I'm juggling and how I'm handling (or struggling) with them. So to start the competition prep is comprised of two main parts, diet and exercise, and diet was the biggest question mark for me.

Part 1: Diet.

This is often the scariest part for people, which I completely understand (and it's honestly still scary to me). It takes time, thought, and some serious self control. But it's very doable, trust me. My diet plan started the beginning of January (convenient timing to be able to enjoy the holidays fully!) and has since slightly changed week by week. My trainer Johnny, helps with both my diet and workouts which makes life much easier. He creates a targeted meal plan for me each week and that's what I follow and can then plan my meals accordingly. As a whole the plan consists of five meals ranging from 250-400 calories each, hitting different macros (carbs, proteins, fats) at each meal.

I honestly really struggled with this the first couple weeks. Like I mentioned before, I've always eaten pretty healthy but never had to think about how many carbs I was having at breakfast, and wondering if I had fit in enough protein by dinner or make sure I planned my meals at convenient intervals so I was full all day. It's a lot to think about! MyFitnessPal definitely helped, it allowed me to enter my meals and track my numbers throughout the day. It's really just developing a plan, setting aside an afternoon to meal prep (my Sunday's), and then you're set for the week! I cook my breakfasts, lunches and most dinners for the week and can just heat them up when I'm hungry and it's impossible not to eat well (OK not totally impossible, but definitely helps!). Don't give yourself excuses!!

This week I'm at 2100 calories** which means extra carbs for me! I'm currently looking to intake 243 grams of carbs, 151 grams of protein, and 58 grams of fat each day for this week. That is one thing I really like about this diet plan, there's no crash dieting, or crazy supplements suggested. The point is just to "eat clean" which includes lean meats, unlimited amounts of greens, and whole grains. No one is limiting my coffee intake so I'm happy. I'm also a solid 16 weeks out so I still can drink wine and can incorporate "cheat meals" (which I will definitely be sharing...I take those seriously and I'm talking to you Regina's Pizzeria!).

I wanted to share just a few examples of some of my meals, they aren't super exciting and I'm almost already sick of chicken but a good base to start with!

A standard day for me looks kinda like this:

Breakfast 8AM

  • 3-4 egg whites (with salsa!)
  • 2 pieces of Ezekiel toast (I'm currently really into the cinnamon raisin)
  • LARGE coffee with almond milk

Snack 1, 10:30AM

  • Banana
  • or Ezekiel toast (again, it's really yum)
  • ...usually a second coffee

Lunch 1PM

  • 4 oz. grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup steamed broccoli (or any other veg) 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice

Snack 2, 4PM (pre-workout)

  • Quest bar
  • or Ezekiel bread (with peanut butter)

Dinner 7:30PM (post-workout)

  • Broiled salmon (Whole foods has awesome fillets that are already seasoned!)
  • LOTS of veg (peppers, onions, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, you name it, I eat it!)

Dessert 9PM (my favorite part)

  • Casein protein shake (with almond milk, PB2, cinnamon and ice)...honestly it's a milkshake and I love it
  • or cottage cheese with blueberries (this usually feels more filling so if I'm still hungry or have already had a protein shake I usually opt for this)
  • *For dessert it's great to have a slow acting protein incorporated like casein so that it can fuel you all night and won't break down your muscles while you sleep...or so you don't wake up STARVING!

This is just what a typical week day looks for me, I get more adventurous on the weekend because I have more time to cook and try different recipes. Not as scary as you thought right?! This plan works for me, and helps me feel full, satisfied and energetic, ready to get after a workout at the gym!

I'd love to hear your thoughts or if you have any other recipes or ideas for me! 

 

**This is a targeted meal plan created specifically for me and my individual needs. This plan may not be right for you so please consult a professional before beginning any new diet plan.