Monthly Archives: February 2013

What should I eat before my workout?

Desire and drive (and an awesome personal trainer) will get you far in the gym, but nutrition is the key to training success. While we pay a lot of attention to the post workout meal, (for me right now it’s a 1.5 scoops protein shake mixed with water and 10g of glutamine) what you put into your body an hour before you hit the gym is just as critical. Research shows that having the right amount and types of protein and carbs before your workouts will not only help you go longer and be stronger but will help you recover and prepare for your next session as well. Whether you’re just hitting the weights, heading out for a run or both, today I am going to give you some snacks to help fuel your workout right. Remember to aim for 1-1.5 g of protein per lb of body weight and not just before your workouts, this is how much protein you should be eating everyday! Yep, I know, it’s a lot of protein but trust me you need it in order to build muscle, increase your recovery and boost your metabolism.

Pre Workout Meal Ideas….

2-4 large scrambled egg whites (1/4-1/2 cup) with 1 cup cooked oatmeal

1 scoop of whey protein powder mixed with water with 1 banana

2 hard boiled eggs with 1 slice of P28 bread of Ezekiel bread

1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt/1% cottage cheese with 1/2 cup of sliced fruit

1-2 tbsp. of all natural peanut butter with 1-2 rice cakes (plain or butter popcorn) or slice of Ezekiel or P28 bread

3-4 oz of chopped chicken breast with 3-4 oz of sweet potato

(Keep in mind that these portions may be different for you depending on your body type and the amount you exercise per day!)

Any other meals or snacks that you enjoy before a workout?

Please share your ideas below!

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I recently had a friend share with me a great idea for my blog. She suggested I should start a weekly or monthly “Ask Leslie” post or section on my blog or Facebook page….what are your thoughts on this?? Do you have any questions that you are dying to have answered by me?? I’d love to hear from you so please, post your comments/ideas/feedback below 🙂

Thanks again to everyone who has been consistently following my blog!  I am getting some great feedback and am doing my best to keep posting at least once per week! Competition prep is really time consuming (and I am loving every minute of it!) but in less than 9 weeks I will have much more free time to keep the blog posts coming!

Les 🙂

My Top 5 Favourite Food Myths You Need to Stop Believing!

There are so many mixed messages in the media related to diet and exercise, what works, what doesn’t work, try this for best results, or eat this, not this, etc.  It can get confusing even for someone who is a professional (like myself) in the field!  I don’t want to overwhelm you with TOO much information today so I thought I would stick with 5 of my most favourite (and most common) food myths….

1. Low-fat foods are good for you. ARGH, this is the one I hear about the most but disagree with the most!  About 20 years ago, low-fat foods took over the grocery stores.  Low fat equalled weight loss.  But no one looked at the fact that weight didn’t rely on fat alone.  Excess calories and sugar could still be present in excess when fat was reduced to make up for the taste.  In desserts that are low fat, there is usually is an increase in sugar, which equals more calories.  The type of fat matters as well.  Healthy fats such as olive, coconut and grape seed oil are mono and unsaturated, which are the healthiest. Low-fat foods often contain saturated or hydrogenated fats found in fried foods, baked goods, cookies, icings, crackers, packaged snack foods, microwave popcorn, and some stick margarines. This makes the food taste better and prolongs shelf life, but making it a part of your diet plan can increase your risk of heart disease and Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol.  Read the label and don’t fall for all foods that are “low fat.” Choose instead to ensure you have healthy fats (nuts, avocado, fish oil, coconut/olive oil, nut butters etc) in your diet (at least 20% of your daily intake). Here’s a blog I wrote on the importance of fat in your diet…

2. Granola is healthy. Granola is made from whole rolled oats, which alone is healthy for you.  If you stopped there you’d be fine!  The problem is that those natural oats are now covered in sugar with added nuts, dried fruits and excess oil which increases the calories, fat and sugar.  Maybe a handful for a quick snack is fine, but not as a daily breakfast.  Your best bet is to have 100 per cent oatmeal cooked in water, adding 1/2 cup of blueberries with almond milk or little cinnamon and even pure maple syrup (1 tbsp.) for taste.  This has way less calories, fat and sugar than traditional granola. Or ask some of my clients what their favourite breakfast is…PROTEIN PANCAKES!!

3. Eggs are bad for you. There’s one thing that nutrition professionals have had remarkable success with…and that is making super healthy foods seem incredibly unhealthy.

The worst example of that is eggs, which happen to contain a large amount of cholesterol and were therefore believed to increase the risk of heart disease.

The Worst Lies That Mainstream Nutrition Has Told You But recently it has been proven that the cholesterol in your diet doesn’t really raise the cholesterol in blood. In fact, eggs primarily raise the “good” cholesterol and are NOT associated with increased risk of heart disease.

What we’re left with is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They’re high in all sorts of nutrients along with unique antioxidants that protect our eyes.

To top it all of, despite being a “high fat” food, eggs are proven to cause significant weight loss, compared to bagels (or my least favourite, CEREAL), as a breakfast food.

Bottom Line: Eggs do not cause heart disease and are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. Eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight. Egg whites are even better 🙂

4. Whole grains should be a necessity in everyone’s diet.

The idea that humans should be basing their diets on grains has never made sense.

The agricultural revolution happened fairly recently in human evolutionary history and our genes haven’t changed that much. Grains are fairly low in nutrients compared to other real foods, like vegetables. They are also rich in a substance called phytic acid which binds essential minerals in the intestine and prevents them from being absorbed.

The most common grain in the western diet, by far, is wheat… and wheat can cause a host of health problems, both minor and serious.

Modern wheat contains a large amount of a protein called gluten, but there is evidence that a significant portion of the population may be sensitive to it.

Eating gluten can damage the intestinal lining, cause pain, bloating, stool inconsistency and tiredness. Gluten consumption has also been associated with schizophrenia and cerebellar ataxia, both serious disorders of the brain (I didn’t know this!).

Bottom Line: Grains are relatively low in nutrients compared to other real foods like vegetables. The gluten grains in particular may lead to a variety of health problems. They are also full of sugar which when eaten will spike your insulin levels and causes cravings.  Ever wonder why you want more bread after eating bread? It’s because you digest it so quickly it leaves you hungry and craving more! STOP EATING BREADS AND CEREALS!

5. Eating a lot of protein is bad for your kidneys and bones. This is my most favourite myth! High protein diets are far from bad for you, eating lots of protein is the best (and in my opinion the only way) to lose weight!

A high protein diet has been claimed to cause both osteoporosis and kidney disease. It is true that eating protein increases calcium excretion from the bones in the short term, but the long term studies actually show the opposite effect. In the long term, protein has a strong association with improved bone health and a lower risk of fracture. Additionally, studies don’t show any association of high protein with kidney disease in otherwise healthy people.

In fact, two of the main risk factors for kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating a high protein diet improves both.

If anything, a high protein diet should be protective against osteoporosis and kidney failure!

Bottom Line: Eating a high protein diet is associated with improved bone health and a lower risk of fracture. High protein also lowers blood pressure and improves diabetes symptoms, which should lower the risk of kidney failure. And what’s best about eating lots of protein is that it helps to increase your metabolism as it takes so much energy for your body to break it down.  It also prevents you from overeating as eating protein helps keep you feeling fuller longer. Are you hungry all the time?? It’s most likely because you’re not eating enough protein (or fat).

So there you have it…5 of my favourite food myths! There are A LOT more but I will save them for a post in the future….

What are some other food and nutrition myths you have seen/heard or are unsure about?

Les 🙂

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Why am I training for a fitness competition??

Because I love being in amazing shape and well, because I want to! Simple enough!

Success Trains Failure Complains Quote

Seriously though, I get asked this question all the time and I actually ask myself this same question quite often, especially at this point in the training when I am up at 4:30 am most mornings to do 40 minutes of fasted cardio!

I have been an athlete my whole life (played club basketball from a young age, then switched to playing for an elite level club (winning Nationals my first year) volleyball team from Grade 10- 13/OAC and worked my butt off to earn myself a full volleyball scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi).  I have always had the desire to work hard and see how far I could push myself.  That inner athlete and competitiveness will never go away! So for all of you who think I am crazy for training for a competition and pushing my body past where it wants to be perhaps this helps explains my love of training and pushing myself. I AM AN ATHLETE!

So why am I training for a competition?? Here are a few of the reasons why…

1. I LOVE WORKING OUT! And honestly if you don’t, you are missing out! If you need help finding motivation, I’d love to help you out with that 😉  I find that the best feeling is the way I feel after kicking my own butt and breaking a good sweat!

2. I always need to have a goal-Whether it’s a marathon, a photo shoot, a vacation where I want to look good in a bikini I MUST be training for something, otherwise what is the point?! April 27 is the date of my show in Montreal…and after that I will be setting a new goal!

3. I want to look the part-I am a personal trainer and who wants to train with someone who doesn’t look the part?? I have to stay in better shape than my clients otherwise I might lose them 😉 And how would I attract new clients if I wasn’t in great shape and wasn’t practicing what I preached?

4. I love challenges- What’s the biggest challenge when training for a competition? THE DIET! Bring it on, I am doing whatever it takes to get my body in the best shape possible, no cheating, no excuses, JUST DOING IT! And to those of you who think that it is an unhealthy diet, think again! I am eating clean and often and no junk food AT ALL! Yep no cheating for 3 months, try it! Sounds pretty healthy to me and my body LOVES me for it!

5. I like staying lean and seeing my body change- Training and dieting for a competition, my body changes on a weekly, and sometimes, daily basis.  Being a personal trainer, I know the effects a good weight training program and healthy eating can have on the body. But training for a competition is vastly different from general training due to the nature of the diet and intensity of training required of you daily regardless of how tired and run down you feel.  To see my body transform is not only fascinating, but motivating as well.  Seeing definition in my arms, abs and legs is very exciting and not something I see all the time, but it’s something that I am going to work very hard to try and maintain after the show.  It is seeing results that keeps me motivated and is going help me make it to the stage!

6. My clients are competing in their first fitness competition! I want to be there with them through the whole process and what better way to be there for them than to join them and compete as well! It’s going to be hard to hold back the tears on the day of the competition, I am already proud of how far they have come and can’t wait to see them in the best shape of their lives on stage (in a teeny tiny bikini and clear heels haha)!

7. The feeling of success at the end- My success is always relative to where I started.  The last time I did a figure competition I was just a girl wanting to check another item off of my bucket list and to learn what it takes to take my body to the next level, looking awesome in a skimpy two-piece bikini on stage infront of hundreds of people (scary to think about, I know).  Even though I did not place top 5, I successfully reached my goal and that felt AWESOME!  My progress was relative given where I started, however, not relative when I was on stage against women who had been competing in figure competitions for years.  I definitely fit in as a “figure competitor” and certainly belonged on stage with the others who also worked so hard.  Now, because of an awesome team of trainers I work with (Lucas and Honore specifically) and my clients deciding to compete I am training for my second figure competition.  But this time I will look even better than the last show I did 🙂 I can’t wait to step on stage again, and to be able to say I DID IT! I REACHED MY GOAL! I love that sense of accomplishment! It’s like crossing the finish line of a race, best feeling ever! Oh and I also can’t wait for my first cheat meal afterwards too!! 😉

So there you have it, all the reasons why I compete in fitness competitions!  To those of you who have competed or are currently training for a show, what motivates you to do it? I’m interested to hear from you because everyone has a story and reasons as to why they train for these things…

10.5 weeks to go!  Keep checking my Get Fit with Les Facebook page for progress pics!  Can’t wait for my abs to show 😉

Les

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Had to re-post this 🙂 Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves when we are working out, trying to eat healthier etc, instead of just focusing on taking it one day at a time. Live in the moment, and trust the process 🙂 You can achieve anything you put your mind too if you are willing to put in the effort and time!

Get Fit With Les

“One day at a time – this is enough.  Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone: and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come.  Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”  Ida Scott Taylor

I really like this quote because it reminds me how simple yet important it is to live in the present moment and to take one day at a time.

Very often we become overwhelmed with life’s challenges-trying to lose weight, planning a wedding, organizing a trip, training for a race or any other event, going through a tough break up or divorce, losing a loved one, etc.  It is very common to get stuck worrying about what has happened in the past, what should have happened and what we could have done differently.  Then we…

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Persistence pays off!

It is hard to explain this to people sometimes and I feel as though I am repeating myself all the time but I feel like I have to remind people over and over again….NEVER GIVE UP!

Persistence is extremely important in weight loss just as it is in any area of your life. When you first decide to lose weight , you are excited about making a change in your life, improving your health and the shape of your body, etc, especially at the beginning.

And then after about a month of doing your best to stick to a clean eating regime and working out everyday, sometime the motivation starts to become less and less.  And then workouts are missed, grocery shopping doesn’t happen as often and old habits start to creep back in (sound familiar?)

Losing weight (as we all know) is NOT easy and does not happen as quickly as we would all like it to.  Even though you follow a healthy diet and regular workout routine sometimes you will hit a plateau, and that’s where it gets tough, and is usually where most people would give up.  (Having a trainer can really help with this!)

So have you ever gotten to the point where you weight loss stalls (or maybe you gain weight)?! ARGH SO FRUSTRATING!  You are probably telling yourself “oh well, no one cares anyway” or “what’s the point, this is as good as I’m going to look” or “there isn’t anything more I can do” but the truth is no one cares and no one will know whether you’ve plateaued or given up…ONLY YOU (the most important person) will know!  So why not KEEP GOING!

When you persist and continue to stick to your weight loss goals and workout plan then you will reach your goal physique/body fat/body weight/pant/dress size. You will not only need to persist once but maybe even 2 or 3 or 100 times before you reach your goal.  Ask my clients how many times we have had to have a “sit down” conversation to re-evaluate training plans, meal plans, goals and progress…I do the same thing with myself every month! If something isn’t working then try something else but NEVER STOP MOVING FORWARD!

Weight loss isn’t always easy (trust me, I know personally and because it is my job to help people lose weight) however if you do persist and KEEP GOING especially when you are feeling lazy, unmotivated, full of excuses, bored etc and your persistence will pay off and YOU WILL REACH YOUR GOAL!  It is more of a mental struggle then anything else…once you get your mind right your body will follow 🙂 Believe you can and you will!

Les 🙂

I do my leg workouts on Saturday, how about you?!

Yep, that’s right, still talking about training LEGS!  In case you missed my last post here is a link so you can check it out and learn why training your legs is so important and the muscle group that needs to not be avoided in the gym (especially for the guys!)

Tonight I have decided to post my current leg workout that I do every Saturday with my wonderful training partner/friend/client Amy (who is also preparing for the WBFF fitness competition in April).  ENJOY! And before you try any of these exercises, make sure you check with a personal trainer to make sure you are doing the exercises properly to prevent injury…

Barbell Squats 15, 12, 10, 10 (weight starts at 155 then we finish with 185 or higher if we’re feeling strong!)

Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat (my favourite) superset with 30lbsx12,12,12

Single Leg Ball Hamstring Curl 10, 10, 10

Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts 15, 12, 10, 10 (weight starts at 135 and we add weight (at least 10 lbs) with each set.  If you have a weak grip, I find straps really help take the pressure off your hands.  Btw most people do this exercise completely wrong (and it is unsafe and you could injury your back if done improperly) so before you start loading up the bar with weight make sure you have a personal trainer (or someone who knows how to do this exercise properly) before trying it!

Leg Extension Machine (HEAVY) 120 lbs or higher 12, 12, 12, superset with

Body weight walking lunges 20, 20, 20 (Amy and I usually hold 20-25 lb dumbbells, body weight lunges have gotten way to easy!)

Standing Calf Raise Machine 15, 15, 15, 15 (can’t remember the weight but usually just under our body weight)

Then we finish with 10 minutes on the step mill and that feels GREAT after an insane leg workout like this one (note the sarcasm!) A great way to help tighten up your legs though, FEEL THE BURN!

Workouts change every four weeks and the first week of every new program is always the toughest!  The best way to see improvements or progress in your workouts is to track your weights/rep for each workout every single workout!  It’s awesome to look back and see what you were lifting a few months ago!

What are you favourite leg exercises or workouts?  I’d love to hear from you!

Looking forward to the final leg workout of this program…switching things up next week!

Can’t believe there are 12 weeks until SHOW TIME!

Les 🙂