Monthly Archives: March 2014

Day 1 of SHOW PREP – 3/31/2014

Today marked DAY 1 of my 2014 Show PREP!!  I am really excited to get into my ZONE and get SHREDDED.  I’ve worked really hard and am eager to see the results. I think I must have done 1,200 squats (at least) since November so these legs better show it.  I am thinking back to the sets of 20 reps at 185#, 10 reps on the minute for 10 minutes of back squats, then front squats, heavy singles, heavy doubles, etc.  Lots of squats! Plus lots of pressing, pulling and deadlifts.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, my training does not change.  We try to maintain strength and volume.  What does change is my nutrition.  So I thought I would share how my first day of food looked. For now my macros are as follows:

6 days of:  150g protein  150g carbs  30g fat

1 refeed day: 150g protein  250g carbs  30g fat

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Meal 1:   2 egg whites, 2 oz low sodium turkey breast, 1 cup veggies, 1 slice cabot 50% reduced fat cheese, 130g Japanese sweet potatoes, 1 toasted Josephs Pita

Meal 2:   Chocolate protein shake

Meal 3:   4 oz of broiled chicken made into a panini with a Joseph’s flatbread & 125g of apple dipped in Walden Farms chocolate sauce

Meal 4:   2 spelt cakes with 1 tbsp of low sodium Better’n Peanut Butter on each

Meal 5:    4 oz of broiled chicken breast with 1 cup of mushrooms, zuchinni, 5 asparagus spears and 1/2 cup of red pepper

Meal 6:   40 grams of my custom made oatmeal; peanut butter, coconut, banana bread flavor

Egg & Veggie Muffins – LOW Carb


(like mini omelets to go)


Calories               100

Protein                   12

Carbs                        6

Fat                             3

Ingredients & Directions:

Using my Cuisinart Smart Stick I chop up the following and mix together in bowl:

*1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

*2 cups finely chopped spinach

*1 whole red bell pepper finely chopped

NEXT using the Cuisinart Smart Stick  mix the following in a separate bowl:

*2 cups egg whites

*2 whole eggs

*2 TBSP coconut flour

*1 TBSP chia seeds

*SPICES you like such as garlic, oregano, etc.

NEXT – using a spoon combine the veggies with the egg mixture

NOTE: THESE SEEM TO STICK SO SPRAY 6 Muffin Tray Pan very well or use 6 LARGE SILLICONE MUFFIN CUPS  – they work GREAT!!!! No sticking and forms nice looking muffins.

Divide the combined mixture into 6 muffins

Bake at 385 for about 45 minutes or until cooked through

These are great for on the go – they travel and heat up GREAT


Cardio Chat


BPM                                               Heart beats per minute. Normal range is 60-100 BPM

Resting Heart Rate                Your heart rate taken at complete rest – taken as soon as you wake up BEFORE getting up out of bed.  An indication of improved fitness is a lowered resting heart rate         

Maximum Heart Rate          Is the highest heart rate an individual can achieve without severe problems through exercise stress. Can be calculated by using the formula 220-age = MHR

Heart Rate Zones                  To make tracking your exercise intensity easier to manage, groups of heart zones are commonly used.  There are numerous ways to calculate zones but below are the NASM’S guidelines:

ZONE 1 – 65%-75% of Max. Heart Rate (220-age)  – Purpose is to build aerobic base and aid in recovery

ZONE 2 – 80%-85% Max. Heart Rate (220-age) – Purpose is to increase endurance and trains the anaerobic threshold

ZONE 3 – 86%-90% Max. Heart Rate (220-age) – Purpose is to build high-end work capacity – when done properly you cannot stay in this zone for more then 30 – 90 seconds at a time. I have clients start with 5 minute warm up – then get into Zone 3 for as long as possible then 2-5 minute recovery, repeat and complete cycle with 5 minute cool down.  Number of cycles depends on level of fitness

MISS                         Cardio session where you maintain – Moderate Intensity Steady State (Zone 1 & 2)

HIIT                            High Intensity Interval Training (Zone 3)

Intensity                    The level of demand placed on the body by a given activity

Aerobic                     Oxygen is necessary for sustaining many bodily functions when activity is longer than 30 seconds.  These activities are said to be aerobic; meaning WITH oxygen in the muscles. Example – long steady run

Anaerobic                 Activities that last for seconds and are not dependent on oxygen for proper execution are said to be anaerobic; meaning WITHOUT oxygen in the muscles. NOTE – the body still does generate sufficient oxygen in this state. Example – 20 second sprint OR BODYBUILDING – heavy lifts at low rep range – or jumping – any high intensity movement

Anaerobic Threshold        The exercise intensity at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the bloodstream.  This happens when it is produced faster than it can be removed or metabolized.  This is described as the BURN and GASPING for air


PB & Banana Panini


This combination is SO GOOD – like a dessert!  The outside was warm and crispy and the inside was gooey good.  The macros are higher then I would usually  have for a ‘snack’ like meal but it is worth the treat to make the macros work.  You can reduce the macros by replacing the P28 spread with Powdered Peanut Butter and using a different wrap – like a Joseph’s.

Calories                477

Protein                   21

Carbs                       60

Fat                            17

Ingredients & Directions:

Warm up Panini Press or if you don’t have one – warm up skillet –works just as well!

*1 Organic Sprouted Grain Ezekiel Tortilla

*spread 2 TSBP of P28 Signature Blend peanut butter (OMG GOOD) on one side of tortilla

*slice 100g banana in long thin slices and place on top of spread

*fold over and put in panini press until the tortilla is warm and crispy



Training Update 3/14/14

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My off-season is quickly coming to an end as my official show prep begins April 1st, 2014.

What does this mean in regards to my training?  NOTHING – I still lift as heavy as possible during each workout session.  I mentally and physically work towards improving strength and increasing muscle mass.  My trainer, Anthony Vorachak, has taught me to be more mentally aggressive going into lifts.  I cannot start a lift thinking OH MY GOD THIS IS HEAVY ARE YOU SURE I CAN DO THIS.  Physically the work does become harder as my calories and body fat decreases but Anthony helps push me through it.  I’ve become a lot stronger during this off-season and am working on becoming a better overall athlete.  Anthony has incorporated some Olympic lifting into my program and CrossFit.  I train at the River Valley Club and they post a RVC Record Board.  During this off-season I’ve taken the records for bench press, back squats, deadlifts, cleans and bench press for reps (75# x 33 reps).  I am most proud of my deadlift record.  I wanted to get 300# for so long and finally got 305!!

What does this mean for my nutrition? EVERYTHING – I track my macros and am 100% SPOT on with nutrition.  EVERYTHING that enters my mouth is weighed, measured and accounted for. The goal here is strip away the fat that I put on my body which was needed to build muscle.  I am feeling eager to peel away the layer and see what has been created.  I know I worked harder and lifted heavier this off-season so I am very excited to see the results.

What lesson did I learn this off-season?  SEVERAL  – I learned the off-season  transition is the hardest part of bodybuilding for me.  YES – that sounds a bit backwards – but it is true!  I love the training/lifting, during  show prep I am in the zone,  focused and determined.  I would never think to waiver from my given macros.  During the off-season I remain that driven with my training but my nutrition is not always perfect. My coach, Eric Helms, and I are already strategizing for a better off-season transition in November 2014.  Let me share what Eric has taught me in hopes of helping newer competitors.  Tracking your macros and sticking to them is just as important in the off-season.  This lets your body (metabolism) heal and ensures you don’t put on too much body fat.  Reverse dieting is absolutely necessary, slowing increasing your calories back up (check out the link below, it’s another great article by Cliff Wilson). However, you can enjoy a more relaxed approach allowing yourself a little extra here and there as long as you track it.  I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be so black and white and I can enjoy  treats and have a drink or two with my family and friends.   Bodybuilding is a lifestyle, year round,  regardless of what training stage you are in or what season.  I think I’ve finally found the happy balance but hope the next transition is easier.    As Eric stated “Competitions are won in the off-season”.




Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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Calories               407

Protein                   36

Carbs                      41

Fat                           11

Step One

Finely chop up cauliflower until you have 2.5 cups – I use my Cuisinart Smart Stick – LOVE IT!

Step Two

Put chopped cauliflower in bowl and mix in 3 TBSP Coconut Flour, 4 egg whites and any spices you like – I use garlic, onion powder and oregano

Mix well with hands – almost feels doughy

Step Three

Lay parchment paper on stone or baking pan – spread cauliflower mixture into pizza shape on parchment paper and then cover it with another piece of parchment paper (like photo above).  Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes  or until bottom is lightly browned.

NEXT – cut the top piece of parchment paper off and BROIL for several minutes until browned.  Makes for a firmer crust!!

While crust is browning I sauté 1 cup of mushrooms and 1 large green bell pepper – then put aside.

Step Four

Remove from oven – top with ¼ cup spaghetti sauce, sautéed veggies, banana peppers and ¼ cup of shredded sharp cheese

Step Five

Put back in oven until cheese melts – then remove from oven and ENJOY!

I eat the entire thing myself – I do NOT share!!



All of my clients  plank- WHY?   Because planks strengthen your core from the inside out.  They also help to strengthen your lower back, they help  to develop your core muscles – which include the abs, back, hips and the butt.  Planks also help to  avoid injuries and encourage good posture.  A great benefit to planking is that they can be done anywhere at anytime, like while on vacation.  I usually have my clients plank during their warm up to activate their core.

As a personal trainer I see so many people ‘butchering’ the plank.  The most common problems I see in planks is a sinking low back, arched back with the hips in the air. This is the type of plank usually favored by people who say a plank is “too easy.” A few other problems are heads down and lack of proper breathing.  So to make sure you are properly planking below is a brief HOW TO along with proper progressions.

Start off by getting into a plank position: propped on your forearms, elbows in line with your shoulders, hands straight out from your elbows, neck straight so your nose is pointing straight down to the ground and your toes planted firmly. The most important element of a good plank is a neutral spine.  If a stick was placed on you while you were planking the stick would touch the back of your head, your shoulder blade area and your butt.    While holding the plank you need to breath and make your stomach move like a balloon.  This technique recruits all the core muscles, so you shouldn’t be talking to your workout buddy or just hanging out.  Start by taking a deep breath in from your nose to inflate the stomach (make it big) and then blow hard out of your mouth (I like to picture that I am blowing away feathers) to make your stomach small.

Below are proper progressions:

Hold for 30 seconds with no low back pain

Hold for 60 seconds with no low back pain

Add arm drivers in all 3 planes of motion (sagittal, frontal & transervse)

Add leg drivers in all 3 planes of motion (sagittal, frontal & transverse)

More difficulty:

Moving Plank

High Plank with arm and leg drivers

Plank on Stability Ball

Plank on Stability Ball with arm drivers (circles, back & forth)

Plank with added weight put on your back

Plank with cable pulls

Happy Planking!


Spice Up Your Oatmeal


I love oatmeal! It tastes good, it is filling on the stomach (especially when dieting) and it makes a good pre-workout snack/meal.

A huge part of being a professional bodybuilder is the DIET.  I hate when people think that my diet is bland or boring.  I try to be creative and enjoy what I eat.  Recently I tried and enjoyed it so much I thought I should share the information. is a design factory, where you design your own, perfect blend of healthy oatmeal.  Yes – customized oatmeal – what a GREAT idea – right!?! They offer several different kinds of oats, including gluten free options and many flavors and mix-ins. This is the perfect way of making healthy oatmeal fun.

I created a 5 grain, banana bread, coconut, and peanut butter mixture.  There are so many options I felt like a kid in a candy store.

I used the oat mixture to make my Easy Egg White Oatmeal Pancake and it tasted amazing. I also roasted some on parchment paper and it toasted up great for a crunchy snack.

I was also impressed with their customer service.  My first order was lost by UPS. I contacted the owner and he responded to me on the same day and sent me a new batch immediately.

I am thinking my family would like this for Christmas gifts!

Check it out.




Calories           178

Protein               33

Carbs                   7

Fat                        2

Ingredients & Directions:

Mix the following together in a bowl

*1 can (4oz) of very low sodium bumblebee tuna in water

*2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

*2 TBSP boar’s head deli style mustard

*1 TBSP crushed red peppers

Cut a red pepper in half and fill with tuna mixture

Crunchy with a bit of spice – who needs bread?