Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Week 3: motivation vs consistency

Week three is hard.  The novelty wears off, life intervenes, motivation and commitment tend to wane.  And for me.. that nagging sore throat shifts to full blown excuse.

Workouts Completed:

Week One: Thursday, Friday

Week Two: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Week Three: none so far

That is right, I excused Saturdays SSS session just because, then Monday, Tuesday and today became about feeling a bit off colour, having a meeting to prep for and wanting to get to the shops early for a haircut I haven’t got yet!

Tomorrow I will go to the gym. I need to accept my chosen time slot and work with it.  I do have a minor throat infection, enough to slow me down a bit but not a reason to take a week off!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mums Big Momma!

This is a variation of a traditional body builders recipe, also known as the Big Momma in 12wbt Pirate Circles!  I’ve worked out the calories based on my own protein powder (Nature’s Way Figure) so will have to adjust that when I get a new tub of protein powder!  I’ve made it as a ‘serves 2’ although you could use it as a single high protein meal on a day where you have totally stuffed up nutritionally and need a good filling hit of protein!

Serves 2

Per serve (approx from Calorie King)

Calories: 185

Protein: 20g

Carbs: 14g

Fat: 5g


  • Oats (Homebrand, rolled), 30g or 1/3 cup
  • Protein Powder (Nature’s Way Figure), 1tbsp
  • Baking Powder, 1 tsp
  • Egg White (Frozen), 100mL
  • Milk (Skinny), 50mL or 1/4cup
  • LSA (Macro), 1 tsp
  • Spray Olive Oil


Using a food processor, blend the oats into a flour adding the Protein Powder and Baking powder and LSA to ensure it is well combined.  Change attachment to the beater (or tip in to a bowl to mix) and add the egg whites and milk beating until light and fluffy. If you use fresh egg whites, you could whip these up and then fold in other ingredients to make an extra light and fluffy pancake! 

Pour half of the mixture into a slightly oiled (spray) pan on about half heat.  Cover and cook for about 5mins (bubbles should form) and then flip carefully. Cook the other and save for later!

Serving Ideas:

As this is a complete protein meal, serve with some fresh fruit for your carbohydrates!  I am thinking of trying a berry sauce.. 100g of mixed berries (frozen), a tbsp of fresh orange juice, a tsp of cornflour.. mixed together and nuked for a couple of minutes, stir, nuke for 2 more minutes.  That would probably be about 100 calories (~20g carbs) bringing it up to a full 300cal meal.   And of course, you could halve that and add a dollop of yogurt as well!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cujan Chicken CousCous

dinnerThis is one of my favourite recipes.  Simple and easy to do, a grill and some boiling water is all that is required!  High in protein and fibre, and low in fat! I make one serve to eat and pack one away for the next day for Lunch!

Serves Two

Per serve:

Calories: 300

Protein: 32g

Carbs: 32g

Fat: 3.2g


  • Chicken breast (~200g) sliced into four
  • Cujan spice mix
  • 1 small sweet potato (~100g)
  • frozen peas (or other greens)
  • 1/3 cup of dry CousCous


On a lightly oiled grill, place chicken strips and sweet potato and sprinkle with a little cujan spice seasoning before closing the grill lid and cooking ~10mins.  Turn the sweet potato half way through, 

Place dry CousCous in a bowl and add an equal amount of hot water.  Cover and let sit for 5mins.  Steam some greens or if using frozen peas, cover in hot water and microwave for 2mins or until warmed through.

When everything is cooked, dice the chicken and sweet pototo, divide between bowls and stir it in with the peas and couscous.

Protein: to feed the muscle!

proteinI now have my macronutrient ratio worked out but I’m still struggling.  My plan is not complete.  I still need to convert those macronutrient goals into real food.  I need a meal plan, recipes, shopping list.. something practical that I can manage everyday  and turn into habits and then.. a lifestyle!

I will begin with protein.  I’ve worked out a goal of 20% protein, out of 1500 calories which converts to 110g of protein a day.  That is a lot of protein!  Preferably nutrients should be spread across the day, to stop hunger and ensure a steady stream of the required nutrients to where they are required! 

How do I implement this in a daily plan?  To be honest.. I have NO IDEA!  Hence my writing this blog post.  I need to write down my ideas, visualise my goals and create my plan! 

I’m going to start with things I am familiar with, it is easier to work from a starting point then to create a whole new life!  So here are some foods I already have in the house and how much they contribute to my protein budget!  Any ideas on what may constitute a ‘high protein’ food which I could add to my list would be greatly appreciated!


I want to be eating five times a day at least, so I need to aim for about 20g of protein at each meal, picking and choosing from the above list.  I am a firm believer in the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), especially when it comes to creating new habits so I need to convert this into some easy recipes/meals which I can prepare and throw together as a meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and 2x Snacks.

The plan is to organise basic meals for this plan over the next week and see how it pans out.. lots of work today and tomorrow to get sorted for the week (especially as my oven is not working!).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Green Burgers

food 002So the picture isn’t hugely appetising I know!  But, these are a great hit of protein with lots of room for spicing it up to your own taste!  Change it up with whatever vegies you have on hand for grating up, and whatever spice combinations you are fond of!

Ingredients (makes 12 burgers):

  • 500g Chicken Mince
  • 1.5 cups of Oats
  • half a bag of Spinach leaves
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1 cup of frozen onions
  • 1/3 cup of egg whites (2-3 large egg whites)
  • Spice for flavouring: 2 tsps red Thai curry paste and1tbs Coriander leaves


Use your food processor and chop the spinach leaves and onion, grate in the carrot and throw in your spices here too.  In a large bowl, mix together the chicken mince, oats, egg whites, and vegetable mix.  Use a spatula to dollop and shape in frypan/grill which has a light spray of oil on it. Cook through and serve as a snack by itself or with salad on half a bun or in a wrap!!

Nutritional Info from calorie king..

Serves 12

Calories: 115
Fat: 3.6g
Sat. Fat: 0.9g
Protein: 10.8g
Carbohydrates: 8.0g
Fibre: 2.3g

I am assuming these will be fine in the fridge for a day or two, and freezer-able for month but please use your own common sense here!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Macronutrient Ratios

macroSo the other week I dutifully determined my goal calorie allowance based on my lean body mass and activity level.  I’ve decided on 1500 calories for when I am exercising, 1300 when not.  But where are those calories coming from?  Should I be scoffing down chocolates, eggs, bananas, lettuce, or pasta and bread?  To work that out, I am calculating a base macronutrient ratio to start out from, with the intent to adjust it based on my results!

So I guess the first thing to ask is “What are the macronutrients and what do they do?”.  I went off to do a bit of research and this is what I have come up with..

1. Protein:  Protein is what we normally associate with animal products, but we can also get protein from vegetable sources such as grains, nuts, and legumes.  We need protein for the amino acids (proteins are all made up from different combinations of any of 22 amino acids) some of which are essential as our own bodies cannot make them, and some non-essential.  These amino acids are then used to make the proteins that we need for bodies.. from DNA through to enzymes and of course.. our muscles.  When our glycogen stores are low, protein is also utilized in the gluconeogenesis cycle.  This is especially relevant to those on low calorie diets – if our glycogen stores are low our body will utilise our protein (read: muscle) to make the glycogen/glucose that we NEED.  Then with less muscle, we need less energy so a balance is eventually restored (i.e. our BMR drops even lower).  Protein that we eat and don’t use is not stored so will be excreted meaning we need a steady intake of protein if we want to grow our muscles!

2. Carbohydrates: Nearly every eating plan/diet that is currently available is telling us just how evil carbohydrates are.  The only way to lose weight is to reduce your energy intake and carbs equals energy.. ergo – cut the carbs.  Now, while I am will happily admit that most people eat way too many carbs (put down that packet of chips!), carbs are hardly the enemy.  We need carbs, and lots of them.  They should make up most of our diet – at least 50% even in people who are carb sensitive!  There are two major types of carbs:  the sugars, which are the immediately useable form of energy (like glucose), and the complex carbs, which are the stored form of energy (including glycogen).  When we eat carbs they are first digested into simple sugars like glucose and then released into the blood stream.  At its most basic.. our metabolism is based on the oxidation of glucose releasing ATP (glycolysis) which drives cellular reactions in our bodies so it is important that our glucose levels are maintained – and that is what insulin does. Homeostasis is maintained as glucose is converted to glycogen and then back then again as needed to maintain that blood sugar level.  It is notable though, that glycogen stores in muscles do not get released back into the blood stream, but rather only used for fuelling our muscles!  Our dietary goal should be to assist that glucose homeostasis making it as easy to maintain as possible.  A steady intake of carbs throughout the day, released slowly, and taking into account any major use of our glucose stores such as exercise.

3. Fat: We have learnt a lot about fats in recent years and low fat diets are not so popular even though low fat products are!  We are more aware of the existence of ‘good’ fats and ‘bad’ fats and are encouraged to get our fats from good sources such as oily fish, legumes and nuts.  Animal fats are considered bad as they are generally the ‘trans’ fats, and most people are aware of the ‘hydrogenated vegetable oil’ as the hidden trans fat (nutella people!).  So human logic, being what it is, decides that reducing our fat intake should reduce our own fat.. right?   Wrong.. like everything else, fat is broken down through our digestive process into its base form – fatty acids. These are a lot more efficient at providing ATP and the ultimate in energy storage so provided we only consume enough fat so that it is utilized instead of stored it is a very efficient way to get energy. We need our fat, we need to have energy stored to maintain a healthy hormone balance (especially women), we need to have energy stored in case of illness, or if we are planning on running a marathon!  We need fats to digest certain nutrients, to make hormones and at its most basic, to build the very walls of our cells!  By consuming ‘healthy’ fats we are also helping our body to ‘clean-up’ the stuff that clogs our arteries!


So what are our goals with our nutrition?  We want to, in some small way, use our intake to manipulate our metabolism into using our fat stores AND still provide enough glucose to support our daily activity so as to not resort to using our muscles as an energy source.  For some people however, the goal is to maintain a low body fat percent while still providing the energy and protein requirements for muscle growth. With both these goals, the first step is the look at your total calorie intake, which I have already done.  A goal of weight-loss means that I need to reduce my calories by about 10-20% of my daily requirements giving me a goal of 1500 calories.  But all calories are not equal – I need to look at maximising the benefits of those calories to ensure my nutrition supports my goals!

There is no magic macronutrient ratio that is going to work for everybody and every goal so the first thing we need to look at is just simply getting a good balanced ratio which we can then work on based on how our own body reacts to it.  I’ve done some reading and it seems that a good starting point is a basic 50-55% carbohydrates; 30% protein; and 15-20% fat.

ARgh.. but what does that mean?  I hear you all shout.  That’s right.. it is time for the math!

To make simple, I will work with 50:30:20 and use my 50% as my minimum carbs, and 20% as my max fat.

My calories = 1500, divide by a hundred = 15

  • Carbs = 50 x 15 = 750 calories (55% would be 825 cals)
  • Protein = 30 x 15 = 450 calories
  • Fat = 20 x 15 = 300 calories (15% would be 225 cals)

Again I hear “argh.. what does THAT mean?’ so to put it into useful terms we need to know how many grams of each macronutrient we need each day to meet our calorie requirement.  The general conversion is that

  • 1g of Carbs = 4 calories
  • 1g of Protein = 4 calories
  • 1g of Fat = 9 calories

Therefore, for my 1500 calories I should be able to get (rounded):

  • 210-190g of carbs
  • 110g of protein
  • 25-30g of fat

I’ve entered these nutrient targets into calorie king and will see how I go adjust my diet to fit!  My other nutrient related goals are:

  • to include fibrous carb sources at each meal, particularly later meals
  • to have 5 meals of around 250-300 calories throughout the day
  • to always have both protein and carb together!

I will start looking at recipes that fit those goals as well, 250-300 calories with 42g of carbs, 22g of protein, and 5g of fat!  It feels so good to have a number target!



Thursday, February 16, 2012

and we are off and racing!

Stall-numbers-007Lean and Strong has began and this little chicky was left sitting in the stalls munching on some hey!  Oh dear!  That's right.. I got off to a right royal bummer of a start!  A bit of family drama, emotional eating, and in hindsight.. a bad case of PMS!  Result:  my first weigh-in was worse then my start weight due to a 3500cal intake the day before with no exercise for 2 days.

But all is not lost!  I did my measurements and fitness test on Wednesday evening, and then back to the gym this morning for Thursday' session!  It felt so good to be back!  I need to work on my squat form - I am still feeling it in my shoulders so I might lower the weight a bit. Everything else I was pretty happy with though!

Back on track food wise as well.. just need to get off my lazy ass and do some cooking and food prep - not so easy minus a working oven (at least the stove top works) but I will make do! 

I do need to get in and do my pre-season tasks - even though I am pretty special, I still need to do them! lol