Sunday, December 30, 2012

Not a Creature Was Stirring, Not Even a Mouse...

It's been a wonderful holiday for our family... full of family time, (clean eats - shhhhhh!), and special memories. Last night was the engagement party for our daughter Shiloh and her fiance, Jared. Thanks to the genius's at @partypeoplerentals we were all warm and cozy, cocooned in our own special world, despite the cold snap (hey, to us here in Scottsdale, 35 degrees is COLD!).

Party People Rentals really came through for us - we were a relatively last minute reservation - started out just being tables and chairs, but when the weather turned, they hooked me up with a tent and blow-heater. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was perfect. Now, being me... I have to share the absolute craziness that went into this....

The delivery guys were scheduled to arrive at my father in law's house at 10:30 am on Friday. I was up bright and early, as usual, hit the gym for my leg workout (increased my weights again!), showered, worked, and headed over with Shiloh to be there when the guys arrived. Well, by 11:30, we learned that they were running behind (holiday, to be expected), so Shi and I headed to WalMart to finish up some last minute shopping, then back home where I kept plugging away at work. At 1pm I got the call, and we rushed back over... Let me preface this with I was harried and harrassed, and trying to not be stresssed.

We got there, the guys got to work (amazing to watch them get it all done!), and eventually, Gramma (she's 92) came out to chat...

"Did they find the body?" she asked.
"Body?" I responded.
"Yeah, did they find it? Was it a boy or a girl? Do they know how long it's been there?" she queried.
Shiloh and I were lost.
"What?" I asked.
"Yes, those men came to the door and told me they had to set up a tent for the body. Did they find it yet? Are you here to watch them dig it up?"

Now... remember, I was a tad stressed... I looked down at this sweet little woman and thought, "Really??? This is a very inconvenient time for you to lose your mind."  (yes, I know, admitting this makes me look bad, but ya'll know I'm about transparency here, lol).

Shiloh's eyes are bugging out of her head, I'm about to lose MY mind, and then it hit me... body. party.. English not a first language. body / party. Yep, he told her they were there to set up the tent for the party. OMG. As Shi and I realized, we just started laughing, then had to explain to Gramma why we were laughing, then she started laughing. Eventually, we all regained our composure, the guys finished setting up, and as we waited for the barrels to fill (due to underground cables, we couldn't stake the tent, so they filled barrels with water to stabilize it), we enjoyed the relief of knowing it was nearly done. Gramma said she was going back inside where it was warmer, and "You know, I'm glad it was a tent for a party. That's much nicer than digging up a body in the back yard." I about peed myself! Love that lady! LOL! Gramma went inside. Shi and I relaxed, then we heard a funny noise.

The guys all looked at me. I looked at them. We all looked around, and then.... Poof! On came the sprinklers! AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!! Are you kidding me????? You should have seen us scrambling around trying to figure out how to turn them off! Oh my! It was certainly an adventure! But Party People came to the rescue again, and found the valve - got the sprinklers turned off. Whew!

The day of the party, the girls started with a bridesmaid breakfast, then we all met at the bridal salon. The gals had a blast trying on gowns. Once it was narrowed down to a couple choices, Shiloh put on her wedding gown to see how they looked together.

It was fun, and frivolous, and girly. The Mother of the Groom joined us for the occasion, and we all enjoyed every moment.

So many styles to choose from!
Aren't they gorgeous?

It's an exhausting process ;-)
(I can show this because no details of her dress are visible - but I can tell you... It's GORGEOUS!!
She looks like a princess in it!)
From there, most of us headed back to my father in law's home, where we finished the food prep, then the party began! Oh - and yes, I used many, many of my crockpots! ;-)  And my family and I have agreed to not discuss (and I mean EVER) my experience with the little buffet thingy's and their gel fuel burners. Freagin' frackin' NOT user friendly. Thank goodness for Emu oil! Stupid little burns! Bah!
Here's a shot of the wedding party - Can you pick out the Marine's in the group? LOL! FYI, one of the girls is a Marine, too! We finally got the website up, and we'll be adding info as it becomes available. 

Tonight, the clean up is done. The kids are all tucked into their various beds, and Bill and I are catching up on Dexter while relaxing in the quiet of the evening. I gotta say - it's kinda nice ;-) It's peaceful, and I'm content. I'm grateful. 

Thanks for sharing the joy with me! ;-)  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Whomp!! That's the sound of...

That's the sound of Chelle kickin' arse!  Guess who did cable flyes today???? ME!!!! WHOMP, WHOMP, WHOMP!!!

I test my limits each day. Can I increase the weight, can I do more reps (if I can do more reps, I increase the weight, lol), can I do _____? There are so many exercises that I can't do anymore because of the AC joint (or the bursitis, the tendonitis, or the arthritis - depending on the day, take 'yer pick!).  But, just because I can't do them today, doesn't mean a day isn't coming when I can. So, I test. Usually at the end of my workout, so that if it's a no-go in a big way, I haven't jeopardized my workout.  My workouts lean heavily on modifications - I still work all the muscles, just in a slightly different way from everyone else. I've learned to be ok with that. When I finish, I'll try a couple exercises just to see if I can do them.

I have a list of exercises that I love (LOVE) that I really would like to reincorporate into my routines... pushups, normal planks (I have to do them on a medicine ball with bent elbows to eliminate pressure on my shoulder), dips, normal grip chest press (I have to do narrow grip or use the cables), and cable flyes. Of them all, flyes are my favorite. I always called them Sampson's, lol. I miss my flyes.

As I've rehabbed the shoulder, rebuilt muscle and stabilization, I'm discovering, a little at a time, that I can do more. Today, I discovered I can do my flyes again! WHOMP! I was a sweaty mess, I'd just completed a 50 minute chest/triceps/shoulder workout, and had tried to do a couple of those experimental exercises (no go), then tried a flye. I ended up doing 3 sets of 10! Low weight, of course (only managed 40 lbs), but WOOOOHOOOO! I must have looked like a lunatic, with my expression bouncing from pain-grimace to grin to pain to grin, but I didn't care! I was so darn excited!

So what's with the pain? Well, I'm learning my body. There's a difference between injury pain and rehab pain. If you've ever gone through physical therapy, you know - it freakin' hurts. Your brain screams, STOP, but the therapist just keeps going. That's a necessary pain - that's the kind of pain you have to work through to see recovery. When you've been at it long enough, you notice that by the 2nd set, the joint has warmed up enough that the pain lessens or goes away.

Injury pain - now that'll stop you in your tracks. It's not your mind telling you to halt, it's your body - and if you don't listen, it'll stop you cold. Not fun. For me, for my shoulder, the rehab  pain is generally constant, deep and achy. Injury pain is sudden and sharp. As I'm working, if I feel that sharp hurt, I stop what I'm doing and either modify or move on. If it's the deep aching hurt, I push through - slowly, gently - but I push through. I imagine that each rep or stretch is rebuilding the joint - making it stronger, better. It's hard work - there may be a few times when that's not sweat running down my face (tears), but I know with everything in me that this pain is worth enduring. I AM going to reach my goals.

Now, many hours later, I can already feel the results of my workout - perhaps those extra 3 sets were a bit much, hmmm? lol. Overachiever? Me? Nah! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with an ice pack and a bottle of Wobenzyme.

I'M SO EXCITED!!!! Yay for progress!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Day After Christmas... and other randomness.

How was your holiday? Ours was great! Christmas Eve we held our annual family poker tournament. Bethany won this year! Everyone had to wear crazy hats ;-) It was a fun night, that lasted well into morning, lol.
Hmmm, everyone's eyes glow? How'd I manage that?
Guess it's just my unique skill-set, lol!

Christmas morning, we had our traditional (and clean, woot!) breakfast burrito's and opened gifts. Unfortunately, Ariel had to work on Christmas, so she headed out, then Bill's dad, his wife, and Grandma came over for dinner. Did you see my picture of the apple pie on facebook? hehehe. This is Bill's 2nd favorite dessert (first place goes to my white chocolate raspberry fudge cheesecake, lol).

It's a Caramel Apple Pie, and let me tell you - it's definitely in the Treat category. ;-) This year, I added my own special (read: geek) touch to it. Take a look... one of these leaves is not like the other. (click on it to view larger)

I'm in the middle on this one... borrowed Ariel's crazy hat ;-)
Anyway, it was a nice, fun, family oriented holiday. Just the way I like it ;-)  Nakki has made it longer than we expected, and it was a special blessing to have her with us, though bittersweet since we know this was her last Christmas. She got a giant bone ;-) (Winnie got one, too). She spent the day snuggling up to each of us and chompin' on her treat. She's still so playful and loving that it's hard to believe that she's near the end.

And now we're frantically gearing up for the Engagement party. I've got to hit Costco either today or tomorrow (I vote for tomorrow) to get all the food, then it gets crazy. The girls all head the bridal salon Saturday morning for sizing & fittings - Shi will try on her dress for all the girls and Monica (Jared's mom), and I'll probably cry. Again.

After the salon, we'll book it over to my father in law's house to finish setting up for the party, then it's fun time! ;-)

After my weigh in earlier this week, the weight gain kept bugging me - it seemed like a big jump for just 4 weeks. Sure enough - I weighed in again the next day and it was lower. I think I'll split the difference and call it 4 lbs, lol. Probably a water thing, that it read so high. I know I'm supposed to be gaining (build phase), but it's still got to be controlled. I can see more definition, so that's a nice side benefit.

So to cap my random thought-based post today (haha), here's my latest ink: I'm a firm believer that tattoos should mean something - I mean, seriously, that stuff's permanent! If you're gonna have to have it forever, then it should have meaning, IMHO. ;-)  This has significance for a couple reasons... first, it's a set with my daughter, Shiloh - her infinity reads "faith" (Bethany will get one when she turns 18, and Ariel hasn't decided if she's getting one or not, lol). I waited to get mine until I was set on the word I wanted. This last week, I finally did it - I chose "believe". That one little word tells my story. Where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going. I've learned to believe, and I love having this permanent reminder that no matter what obstacle faces me, I can and will keep going.

Here's to moving forward! ;-) And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go ice my shoulder.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Sausage Bowl

Happy Holiday!

Though this recipe isn't on tap for today, it might come in handy for some of us as we return to our regularly scheduled competition diets after today's festivities, lol ;-)

I love quick and simple recipes - ones that are packed with nutrition to fit my needs, as well as easily portable.  Let's face it, all too often, convenience trumps nutrition, but when you're on Competition Diet, or you're eating toward a goal, nutrition isn't negotiable.

Enter the Sausage Bowl ;-)  Totally clean, incredibly quick and easy, and portable. This training friendly recipe is my favorite go-to recipe for meals away from home. An example is league bowling night - sure, "outside food" isn't allowed in the bowling alley, but I've told the management that I'm on a special diet, and as soon as they sell food I can eat, I'll buy it - until then... the cooler is with me. ;-)

Quick & Easy Sausage Bowl
Training Friendly, Portable Recipe

by Chelle Stafford
Makes 1 servings


1 link Chicken Sausage (Aidele's, Applegate Farms, and Open Nature are all good choices), sliced
1 cup chopped raw peppers (I use multi-color)
1/2 cup sliced raw mushrooms
1 cup shredded raw cabbage
1 Tbsp reduced fat feta
1/2 cup cooked brown rice


In a microwave safe glass bowl, layer: brown rice, sliced chicken sausage (and any other meat), chopped peppers, sliced mushrooms.
Cover and microwave on High 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave.
Carefully remove lid. Sprinkle on Feta, then top with cabbage. Replace lid.
Shake before eating to mix up the layers.

TIP: *Add Bragg's Amino's for even more flavor! Need more protein? Add cooked chicken breast or ground lean beef. Need fewer carbs? Eliminate the brown rice.
TIME SAVERS: Crunched for time? Use pre-cooked rice (you can find it in the frozen aisle or use the Minute Rice cups). Purchase bags of Cole-Slaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage.

NUTRITION  391 calories, 26 g protein, 42* g carbs, 12 g fat, 8 g fiber.  * 34 g net carbs.

You can find this and many other clean eating recipes on my website at 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Project Stage - An Update...

I'm nearly done with my holiday prep. I'm finishing up the menu, planning my grocery trip, and thankful that all my children will be home with me this Christmas. I've spent more time in the malls and shopping centers than I want, lol, and even managed to lose my car this week. Twice. In one day. Yes, I was the crazy lady walking up and down the aisles beeping her key fob to find her car. Yessiree, that was me.

I've managed to get everything wrapped, even Bill's presents - right in front of him. He had no idea. Why? Because my beloved husband has this belief that if he does not make eye contact while I am wrapping, I will not rope him into helping. So I wrap, he watches TV, and he remains clueless of his gifts ;-) Hahahaha.

We also had the opportunity to spend some time with Lauren and her amazing parents. We visited Zoo Lights, and enjoyed catching up and chatting, and of course, cuddling little Lauren. It's hard to believe she's 7 months old now. She is a doll, and they are such a beautiful family. Truly beautiful. We are so very blessed.

PROJECT STAGE (lol) is going well. I started several weeks back with a focus on improving my cardio/endurance. Check. Next was an emphasis on light lifting - basically general rehab (shoulder, back, knee are all weak from what's gone on). Check. Then I entered my current build phase. I increased my weight lifting to a 5 day split (was at 3 days), and began to taper off my cardio. I just completed my 2nd week on this, and was able to increase all my weights! Woot!

I weighed in today for the first time in 4 weeks. I'm up almost 6 lbs, and down nearly 2% body fat. Even though I know it's on purpose, it's still hard to see the pounds go up. My clothes all fit the same - well, my everyday clothes - jeans, t's, etc. I dressed tonight for dinner out, and discovered that while I can still button my dress slacks, I cannot sit comfortably in them. lol. Sigh.

This initial build phase will last 4 more weeks (total of 6 weeks), then I'll begin to add cardio back in, change my food, and enter the lean-out process (total of 6 weeks). I am attending the Arnold in Ohio, and don't want to look like I'm bulking, haha, so that's why my first build phase is a bit shorter than normal. Leaning out for March, though, will also help me fine-tune my plan moving forward. I'll build up, then strip it down and see what I've got to work with, then plan accordingly.

My strength has improved (yay!), and best of all, my shoulder is cooperating. By that I mean that though I have constant pain, I am able to exercise and have even increased my range of motion. My upper body workouts depend heavily on cables - and I'm pleased to be seeing consistent progress. I'm training shoulders and legs twice a week, as those are my weak areas. Monday is leg day, Tuesday is back/biceps, Wednesday is chest/triceps/shoulders, Thursday is legs, Friday is shoulders. Abs are worked to varying degrees in every workout.

My diet is still high protein, with moderate carbs and fats. So far so good. I'll be making some changes in the next couple weeks.  I'll be increasing my calories - I know I need to but I hate the thought of deliberately gaining weight. I'm such a girl, lol. While it might seem easy to 'bulk' during the holidays when food is so plentiful, that's not the case. Bulking weight can't be dessert weight, lol. Every bite and sip still count. Each one has the power to either help me or hinder me. Therefore, my food (per usual) is clean, with a weekly treat meal to provide balance and metabolic confusion.

I still don't know which show I'll be competing in. With the wedding date not set, I can't choose one yet. My original plan was to hit the OCB show in August, then the NPC show two weeks later in September, but Shiloh and Jared are thinking Aug/Sept might be the best for the wedding... Show prep and wedding planning do NOT blend, lol. So I might end up waiting until the Spring shows (2014). I'm ok with however it works out. The longer I have to build, the better. (Though you can be darn sure that I'll be leaning out for the wedding, haha!)

So that's news here in my little corner of the world. I hope the holiday season is bringing you joy and blessings.

Happy Weekend!

Take a deep breath...

It's been a tough week. Last week saw the horrific school shooting in Newtown [and on the same day in China, a knife attack wounded 22 children (story)]. As a nation, we were shocked and grieved. Monday, we sent our children back to school (many of us feeling insecure about it), then here on Wednesday one of our middle schools was on lockdown while Police searched for an armed intruder on campus. That same afternoon a tragic accident occurred just a half mile from my home. Two teens were struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. One died. The other was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Both were friends of my daughter, one was a close friend.

It's particularly poignant because this isn't the first friend my daughter has lost. Last year saw three suicides and one accidental death within the student body at her school. One of the suicides was a very close friend of hers. It was horrible watching her hurt, bewildered, and angry. It was difficult to move through the experience.

My kids have been the recipients of a few extra hugs this week. I worry more, sleep less, while fighting a feeling of impotence. You all know that I don't speak politically - here, on facebook, or anywhere else. But I make a single exception here, right now, and then I'll say nothing more.

Though we are enraged by the depraved acts of twisted minds, and we grieve the violence and loss of innocence (and innocents), using these events to force new laws and restrictions on the American People will not restore control or life, and is a cruel method of the media to sway the public against specific political parties or their members. Where there is evil intent, a path to action will be found. Whether the weapon is a gun, a knife, or a barrel of fertilizer, violence finds victims. We do not live in a Utopian society, and the idea that we can legislate ourselves into one, is a fool's notion.

Now, I'm taking a deep breath and moving on to other things - life continues, despite sadness and loss.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How Goes The Holiday Eating?


So here we are... just a few days from Christmas. Are you surrounded by holiday treats? Got a house full of candies, cookies, and other yummies? For many of us, this season fills our kitchens with homemade or store-bought goodies that were gifts to us, or in turn, are our gifts to others. How are you handling it? Are you enjoying the flavors of the season in moderation, mindfully, or are you feeling out of control... like the season has ganged up on you to derail your weight loss/maintenance goals?

Each holiday season, the internet is flooded with well meaning blog posts, web articles, facebook comments, tweets and more - all with the aim of helping us control holiday bingeing. While there are a lot of great resources available (yay for the internet!), they don't really solve the problem, do they? And lets be honest - those resources are fantastic until we find ourselves sucked into Pinterest and fighting the urge to lick the screen! Lol!

What's the solution to the Season of Temptation? YOU. Yep. Li'l ol' you. You have it within you to reach your goals - if you want to. You have the strength and willpower to turn from the plethora of "treats" and stay on track. If you want to. You have the ability to stop at just one cookie or candy. If you want to.

It all narrows done to one fine point... We are in 100% control of what goes in our mouths. Are you exercising your control?

You have a goal to reach, yes? Then every bite, sip and step you take is either moving you closer to that goal, or farther away. EVERY bite, sip and step. If you let go of your control and gnaw your way through the holiday, it's going to be so much harder to get and stay on track when the season is done.  You know those New Year Resolutions that peter out mid January? You wanna be one of those? NO! Then exercise your control NOW. It's not like you're depriving yourself by not diving face first into the dessert table - c'mon. This is about a lifestyle of balance.

Yes, you can have a treat. In my meal plans, I encourage a treat-meal - that's one meal, once a week. Every other meal is on track, packed with nutrition, and designed to move you closer to goal. The reason for the treat-meal is simple - balance. While there is science behind the principle, the nitty gritty of it is that utilizing a treat meal is a tool we can use to build a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy and savor it. It's not about gluttony - so don't stuff yourself - use that control.
But Chelle, you just said every bite, sip and step count... doesn't that mean a treat or treat meal is BAD??? This is where the science comes in, and I won't bore you with it except to say that a treat or treat meal can have a beneficial metabolic effect in the presence of consistent clean eating and exercise. 'Nuff said. ;-)
If you're already well on the way to a mid-January meltdown, stop and think. What do you really want? How bad do you want it? Don't give in to the mindset that you can finish out the holiday eating whatever you want, whenever you want and just start fresh in the New Year; that it won't hurt you - you're already off track, right? Wrong! It will hurt you to keep eating mindlessly - it will set you back, it will leave you with that much more weight and bad habits to strip away. Don't disrespect yourself this way! You have 100% control over everything that enters your mouth. You want to lose the weight? Start by putting down the cookie tray. Seriously.

If I sound harsh, well, I am. But it's because I've been there, bingeing my way through the holidays, telling myself I'll eat healthier and lose weight in the New Year. How did that work out? Not so well. Years of not so well. My breaking point, ironically, came during the holiday season several years ago - and I did bust out of my self-destructive cycle. I sweated, cried, learned, cooked, and fought my way through. And let me tell you - during that process, I regretted each and every binge because it's a hell of a lot harder to take it off than it is to put it on. But I did it, and built a fit and clean eating lifestyle. You can too.

I encourage you to view the season a bit differently this year - as you make your preparations for the Big Day, and whatever traditions you and yours follow, think about how they fit into your healthy lifestyle. Are you exercising your control, while appreciating the season? Are you respecting your body, your health? Don't wait for the New Year to make a change. Give yourself the gift of discipline. You don't have to, sure... but... you CAN. You have the power. Own it.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Stuffed Portabello Mushroom

Fast and flavorful, this is an easy dish to serve alongside a healthy entree or even by itself!  Portabello Mushrooms are a tasty Super Food. Packed full of phytonutrients that boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and are a significant source of CLA (conjugated linolenic acid). These 'shrooms should be pictured wearing a cape!

Additionally... for those of us on competition diet, there is a category of food we tend to worship. Free Foods. ;-) Depending on the diet you're on, Mushrooms are typically considered a free food. As such, this recipe is a great way to stave off the vicious hunger that often marks certain phases of competition.

Stuffed Portabello Mushroom
Makes 1 serving

1 large portabello mushroom cap
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves, raw
2 Tbsp pico de gallo (diced tomato, onion, jalepeno)
1 Tbsp reduced fat feta
1 Ziploc Steamer Bag

Remove stem from mushroom cap. With a spoon, scrape out the black gills.
Stuff the spinach into the mushroom. Top with pico-de-gallo, then feta.
Place stuffed mushroom in steamer bag, and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Allow to rest for 1 minute, then slide out onto a plate and serve.

Nutrition: 67 calories, 6 grams protein, 8 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, 1 grams fiber. 7 grams net carbs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Screw Assumptions and the People Who Make Them.

A judgement made without all relevant information.
This is one of the days when I have to consciously, forcefully, and repeatedly remind myself that I am on a journey; that I will reach my goals; that I am stronger and more fierce than critics can understand. I'll be honest. Some days it's hard enough to convince myself.

I'm really struggling with my shoulder. No matter what I'm doing in the gym, my shoulder joint is involved - whether I'm actually working it or not - when I set the weight on a machine, my joint is involved, when I reach for a weight plate or mat or ball - my shoulder is involved. When I reach for my toes in a stretch - yep, there's that shoulder. We don't realize how intertwined our body parts are until one is hurt.

I don't know if it's the cold snap (yeah, scoff all you want, but us thin-bloods think 40 degrees in the morning is downright nippy), or if it's the progressive work I'm doing, but my AC joint (and biceps bursitis and tendonitis) are raging. You ever drive down the road and put your left elbow up to rest on the window of the door? I can't. Trying to remove my workout top and sports bra would be comical if it didn't make me swear in three languages.

It feels like someone has driven a nail from the top of my shoulder straight down into the joint, then laid a hot brand across the top of the shoulder. Fun, right? lol. So as I'm struggling to deal with my own limitations while striving toward my goal (stage again), I often fight myself. Can I do one more rep (without landing in the hospital)? Yes? Do it. No? Let go and move on. Not easy for someone with slight controlling tendencies ;-)  Each gym session brings both success in finishing, and frustration in not being able to do more. I have weight envy. Lol. I watch others work and hurt that I can't do what I once did, that I can't move as easily and unconsciously as my fellow gym-rats. But I push on. I do what I can. Then I usually do a bit more, cuz I'm crazy like that.

Well.... this morning, dark and early, I'm fighting my inner battle. I've completed my super-sets of modified cable press/fly's, cable triceps push-backs, and cable shoulder rotations with pectoral emphasis - and moved over to the bench to do more triceps push-backs and skull-crushers. My shoulder is screaming. My triceps are fairly wasted. I'm frustrated but determined. With my ear-buds in and tunes pushing me on (thank you, Shinedown), I am bent over, doing my push-backs with a twist at the top (back?) using an 8 lb dumbbell. Would I like to be using a larger weight? Yes. Yes, I would. But I can't, so I use the weight I can while still working the muscle.

I see movement out of the corner of my eye, and look up to find an older gentleman standing in front of me. Thinking fleetingly that it's rude to interrupt someone's workout, I pull out one ear-bud to give him my attention, and he shoves two 12 lb pink dumbbells toward me and says (get this)...

"I thought I'd give you these. I want you to get in the best shape you can."


I must have stared blankly at him because he pushed them toward me again. I leaned my weight onto my thigh and said, "Thanks, but my shoulder can't handle that weight."  I put my ear-bud in and got back to work. He smirked at another guy, shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

I was pissed! And hurt. The voice of my former-fat-girl spoke up, saying that I must look really out of shape, I'm such a wussy. I squashed her pretty quick because I do have a mirror, and I've (for the most part) beat the body dysmorphia that haunted me for years after reaching goal weight (even after competing). But still. I hurt.

Screw this guy and his assumptions. He knew nothing about me, what I was doing, where I was going, what was going on inside me. But dammit if he didn't get to me. Frack! Over the years, I've developed a relatively thick skin when it comes to people in the gym. Mostly, we all just mind our own business, but every so often you get your know-it-all's with their smug criticisms. One thing I've learned is to not judge. Period. Unless someone is just being stupid (and wow, there've been some doozies!), I can't pass judgement on someone unless I know the whole story - maybe there's a reason that woman is only ever on the bike - like she's rehabbing something, or just starting out, or whatever. It's not up to me to criticize. And hello - maybe the reason this woman is using an 8 lb dumbbell instead of a 12 or 20 is because she's working with what she's got. Maybe instead of making an assumption, that guy could have simply appreciated that 8lb-dumbbell-woman was in the gym at all.

Ok, I guess I'm still wound up. I did finish my workout, then did my time on the stair-monster, stretched, came home, ate my breakfast... but dagnabbit, I'm still mad. And honestly, still hurt. So...

Screw Assumptions, and the People Who Make Them.

I'm going to go build an angry-workout playlist. And cuddle my dog. Nobody accepts you like a dog. ;-)

PS - I'd like to take that 12 lb pink dumbbell and whack him with it - no, wait... I'll use my 8 lb and really do some damage! Ha!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Egg Nog Protein Ice Cream

Remember what I said last week about there being no reason for us, as athletes, to miss out on the fun of holiday treats? Well here's another recipe that proves my point ;-)  Ya'll know I love my protein ice cream - I mean, LOVE. I also love egg-nog. It's just one of those holiday flavor/texture things that reminds me of childhood, reindeer, and twinkling lights. Since the real deal isn't on the plan for this holiday season, I found a way to still indulge in the flavor, without packing in the calories.

Protein Egg Nog Ice Cream
by Chelle Stafford
Serves 1


  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1.5 scoop Champion Nutrition Pure Whey, Vanilla
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground nutmeg (you can use less if you prefer)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.
If using an ice-cream maker, add mixture to bowl, and let it run about 20 minutes or until it reaches desired consistency.
If you don't have an ice-cream maker - no worries! Go old-school with these Ziploc Bag directions:

  1. Fill a gallon size ziploc bag about 2/3 full of ice.
  2. Add 1/2 cup table salt (don't waste good sea-salt on this, use the cheap iodized stuff, it's only to make the ice colder).
  3. Pour your ice cream mix into a sandwich size ziploc bag & seal it. 
  4. Place the ice-cream bag into the larger bag. Seal. 
  5. Shake for about 5 minutes or until ice-cream reaches the consistency you prefer. 
  6. Remove the inner bag and quickly rinse it off (so you don't get salt in your ice cream when you open the bag). 
  7. Dump ice-cream into a bowl and enjoy!

253 calories; 36 grams protein, 8 grams carbs, 9 grams fat, 3 grams fiber. 5 grams net carbs.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Coming up Briefly for Air...

Oh my goodness! Where did the week go? Wasn't yesterday Monday??? Oh no! Today is Monday - Again! Yikes!!!

This last week I was so sore. Let me rephrase: SO SORE!!! Not the usual DOMS kind of sore - that's normal stuff, this is the pray I don't have to pee cuz I can't squat kind of sore - or the if you're going to hand me something you better come closer cuz I can't straighten my arms to reach, kind of sore. Drat! I really thought I'd taken it easy (for the purpose of avoiding this pain) so I would gradually increase the work I'm doing. Evidently, I do not do easy. Or gradual. Ouch. Double ouch.

Other than my gym adventures, the week was full. When I'm not working, I'm doing tons of wedding research, and now the kicker - it turns out all the kids will be home on leave for the holiday, so they want to do an engagement party. In 2 weeks. During the holiday season. My head is spinning.

In other news, we got our tree up. Kind of. It leans. Why is it that we can never have a normal christmas tree? And, for the first time ever, one of the dogs messed with the tree! Seriously, we've never had an issue with it (and we've got some gag ornaments the family insists on hanging that I WISH the dogs would eat! Oy!). I came in last night and the floor was littered with the remnants of a silver globe. Grrr. I know the culprit was Winnie (the 1/2 pit) since Nakki is only interested in real food. I swear she looks like a Nakki-sausage, she's gained so much weight with the prednisone. It's crazy.

She's hanging in there, she spends a lot of time sleeping, but still is happy and cuddly (it's hard to cuddle with an 80 lb boxer, but we find a way). We're really hoping she'll make it to Christmas. Sigh.

I know I've slacked off on posting my daily coolers, I'm sorry!!! I'm eating the same way, I'm just forgetting to take pics then so swamped with work and everything that I'm just straight up slacking. I plan to kick my own arse this week and get back on track with updating that page.

I've also got some new meal plans to hit the store after the holiday - they'll  be available in January.

Shiloh dragged me out this weekend for engagement party outfit shopping - I have to say, I don't know where she got it, but Girl Can Shop. She walks in, finds what she wants and walks out. ??? Seriously! It's crazy. I search and search, store to store. Shi - she just goes straight to it and is done. Wow.  The serious time-consuming event was when we had to hammer out all the party details. Yeesh. She also spent time painting a ping-pong table for the party - and my dog. Really. She painted Nakki's foot. No idea how, but Nakki got splattered with navy blue paint. Oy!

Sunday was my usual Food Prep - Because of all the chaos, I'm going simple & easy - buying rotisserie chickens (clean), and breaking them down (the dogs love that part because they get all the skin and some of the dark meat), chopping my veggies, and using my crockpots like there's no tomorrow.

Proteins this week are roast beef (made it myself - woot!), chicken breast, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs and chicken sausage & meatballs. Starches are potatoes, jasmine rice, brown rice, and my low-carb wraps. Veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and my usual salad greens & shredded cabbage. Fruit is apples, strawberries, blackberries and bananas.

Today, I've got a conference call in the morning, then a gazillion things to do for work. I've also got to get cracking on Shiloh & Jared's wedding website, plus tomorrow's Recipe of the Week for Champion Nutrition. Oh, and christmas stuff and engagement party stuff. Lol. Wasn't working from home supposed to free up my time? HA!

I've done my gym time (weights and cardio) for the day - ouch. Quads, hamstrings and glutes are all yelling at me. I tried to go easy on the hammies since last week is still haunting me. We'll see how well I did with that, lol.

Happy Monday, folks!!! :-D

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#BeGenerous Post on Tosca Reno's blog!

Back in March of 2011, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in The Arnold Sports Festival as an Eat Clean Diet Ambassador. It was an incredible experience, and I was honored to not only meet, but also spend a significant amount of time with one of my personal heroes, Tosca Reno (by the way, she's as real as it gets and sincere in her passion - she's an even bigger hero of mine now that I've met her!). I was able to meet so many wonderful people, including the amazing Tracey Weaver! We roomed together, adventured together, and had such a fun time. I am thrilled to count Tracey as my friend and was so excited when the Eat Clean Diet Team contacted us and asked us to write a guest-blog post for Tosca's blog! Whoot! ABSOLUTELY!

Tracey and I put our heads together and our theme became Time in a Bottle - the Gift of Time.
Our post is up today, Day 4 of Giving in the December series #BeGenerous. Give it a read and share your own ideas! The post can be found at Tosca Reno: Day 4 of Giving: Time in a Bottle

Read Tracey & Chelle's post on Tosca Reno's blog: Tosca Reno: Day 4 of Giving: Time in a Bottle

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - (protein) Apricot Thumbprint Cookies

Welcome to the Holiday Season - where treats and cheats abound. Everywhere we turn, there are cookies, cakes, pies, and all those other seasonal goodies. Not exactly athlete-diet-friendly, right? But does that mean we get left out of the goodies? Nope. Check out these (protein) Apricot Thumbprint Cookies - Perfect for a snack any time, but especially post-workout! They're pretty, tasty, and hit the spot nutritionally, too! Whip up a batch for your next get-together and don't tell anyone they're healthy ;-)

(protein) Apricot Thumbprint Cookies
by Chelle Stafford
makes 12 cookies


  • 3 scoop Champion Nutrition Pure Whey Protein Powder (equal in measurement to 1 heaping cup)
  • 1 cup Oat Flour (if you don't have oat flour, just toss oatmeal in a coffee grinder!)
  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
  • 3 packets Stevia
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk, Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Butter
  • 3 tsp Just Fruit Apricot Preserves
  • 3 tbsp Shredded Coconut, Unsweetened


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line baking sheet with foil and coat with spray oil.
  • In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  • Add almond milk, coconut butter and vanilla. Mix well, until coconut butter is fully incorporated.
  • Spray hands with oil, and roll dough into 12 equal balls, placing them on the baking sheet.
  • Using your thumb (or I used the top of the Vanilla bottle), make an indentation in each cookie.
  • Place 1/4 tsp apricot preserves into each indentation.
  • Sprinkle cookies with coconut.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • Remove to wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with your favorite tea or milk.

per cookie: 100 calories, 8 grams protein, 10 grams carbs, 3.5 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar. 8 net carbs.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Food, Wedding, and Playlists... it's Random Day! Woot!

What a day! Whew! Ok, back up.

Last night... Wednesday is our bowling league night... not a good night for me. I suggested halfway through the 2nd game that we switch sports ;-) Lol. My clean eats went with me, and since we're there so long, I also packed snacky foods... I made a batch of my protein popcorn - YUM! Everyone loved it, thought it tasted like kettle corn - of course, I didn't tell anyone what it was until after they devoured it. Mwahahaha!  Told ya healthy could be tasty! Ha! ;-)

Back home, we chatted with Shiloh about wedding stuff. Namely that we can't set a date yet. Jared doesn't get his orders until somewhere between March and May, so we have to work around that little "date" detail. Oy! Anyway, Shi and I agreed to meet up today at Home Depot after she got off work to peruse the paint chips to start planning her color scheme (great idea! Hers!). So....

Today, after Bill left for work, I hit the gym for my hour of pain, lol - which was made unusually cruel because my amazing December playlist got jumbled when I sync'd the iPod last night. I very specifically order my tunes for the grueling work I'm doing... having stuff out of order was NOT ok. Yes, it messed with my CDO (that's OCD, but alphabetical like it should be). I made it through the workout, then spent some much needed time stretching, then headed home to ice the shoulder and knees and eat my breakfast. At which point, I emphatically fixed my iPod. Lol. So then I worked away the morning (yes, I did take a shower, haha), then headed out to meet Shiloh.

I parked my car in the Home Depot parking lot. Locked it. Walked toward the entrance and called her.

"Marco" I said
"Polo", she replied.
"Where are you?"
"I'm in the paint, where are you?"
"Parking lot, I'm heading in."
"I'm walking to the door to meet you..... where are you?"
"Are you at the Home Depot on Hayden? The one behind your work?"
"Where are you?"
"The Home Depot by Fry's."
"Cuz I didn't know there was a Home Depot by my work...?"

UGH. I hopped back in the car and drove to the OTHER Home Depot. The root of this little irritation? I ASSUMED. Lol.  Oops!

After she chose her color scheme, we hit the bookstore and this was our haul... of course, this is AFTER we got her organizer (The Anti-Bride Wedding Planner - it's pretty cool!, The Everything Father of the Bride book, The Everything Mother of the Bride book, The Knot Bridesmaid Handbook, and several other wedding books... yeesh! My Barnes and Noble membership totally paid for itself and then some!)

The Color Scheme...

I'm still a bit shocked that we're planning our daughter's wedding. ???? Sigh. She's downstairs right now clipping photos and creating her organizational Binder. Nakki is helping her, lol.

Ok, I'm getting emotional. Back to the Workout / Cardio Playlists... lol.

 The December lists are up! Woot! The first one is the playlist that has kept me seriously fired up all week! I don't want to stop because the beats are pushing me! I LOVE this list!! I have a second December list, but haven't even used it yet, lol, because I've only been listening to this one. I'm tellin' ya... start it off with LL Cool J, throw in some Manafest, Linkin Park, Def Leppard, Pitbull... this is a kickin' playlist! FUN!

What are you listening too? What tunes drive you?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Crockpot Chili

Here in AZ, we don't really get what you'd call "weather". At least not here in Scottsdale/Phoenix. BUT... the temperature is dropping and I have officially dubbed this Chili Season. It's cool enough that I can justify using my car-heater (ok, only at 6am, but still!), and therefore it's time to bring back chili!

This is my absolute favorite recipe for chili! High in protein, packed full of energy giving complex carbs, and sooo versatile! Around our house, chili goes a long way... Bowls of chili, chili topped nachos, chili topped salads, chili topped potatoes, chili topped hot dogs (uncured!), chili quesadillas, chili burritos, chili burgers, pasta, spaghetti squash... Yum!

I love to use Bison for my chili, as it's lean but still high in CLA, but you can also use ground beef, ground chicken breast, ground turkey breast, ground lean pork, or whatever!

Chelle's Chili
Makes 11 cups.


  • 2 lb's ground beef (or other meat) - tip: I often use 1 lb of beef or bison, and 1 lb of chicken breast to reduce the fat
  • 3 15-oz cans various beans, low sodium or no salt added - drain & rinse well. (I use pinto, black, kidney, & cannelini beans)
  • 2 large(28 oz) cans Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes (Fire Roasted) - Do not drain
  • 1 Can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted with Chipotle, diced tomatoes - Do not drain
  • 2 tsp dehydrated onion or finely chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbsp Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle
  • 2 Tbsp Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime (and if you want it hotter, you can use Mrs Dash Spicy)


  • Brown the meat with the seasoning, drain (if there's a lot of grease, run hot water over the meat in a sieve/colander to really reduce the fat). 
  • Drain all the beans & rinse well (this will drastically reduce the sodium)
  • Put beans & meat in crockpot, add the canned tomatoes (don't drain), onion/shallot, spices and stir. 
  • Cook on Low for 4-6 hours, or High for 2 hours.

Pico de gallo
Plain greek yogurt (in place of sour cream)
Sharp shredded cheddar (a little goes a long way)
Reduced Fat Feta
Diced Onion
Sliced Green Onion
Diced fresh jalapeno


Recipe makes 11 cups of chili.  1 cup serving = 332 calories; 33.8 g carbs; 9.4 g fiber; 35 g protein; 643 mg sodium; 8.3 g sugar; 5.1 g fat. 26 grams net carbs.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday! 25% Coupon Code for our Meal Plans!!
In honor of Small Business Saturday, we're offering you additional incentive to support small business ;-) DISCOUNT! Woot!

Today and tomorrow only, enjoy 25% off any meal plan (one week or one month!). Each plan includes a comprehensive Getting Started and FAQ Guide, along with the plan, shopping list, recipes and  more!

Take control of your diet and reach your goals! Nutrition is 80% of reaching and maintaining your goal weight - we make that 80% easy! Tasty food, lifestyle tips and resources, and support. Every meal plan comes with email support. You have questions? We have answers. You can absolutely change your life! We're here to help.

Check out our plans, and don't forget that discount! :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Official!

It's an especially beautiful holiday! My beloved Shiloh is now engaged! Back in September when we visited San Diego for her boyfriend's Marine boot-camp graduation, (and I had my close encounter with a duck), he (Jared) had "the talk" with my husband... ask for Shiloh's hand in marriage. Awww! 

Bill was disappointed that he couldn't have one of his nice swords to "clean" while the talk took place, but transporting weapons across state lines is frowned upon ;-) Haha! I'm sure he'll pull that out for at least one of our other girls when the time comes.

Be warned Ariel and Bethany!

Jared is currently stationed in Florida, and Shiloh and his Mom flew out to spend the holiday with him. He surprised her on the beach today with his Grandmother's ring, and she's now officially on Cloud 9. ;-)

Wasn't it just yesterday, my little girl was, well, a little girl?  Time truly does fly. We are so proud of the woman she's become and she continues to bring us joy.

We approve whole-heartedly of Jared - he's a wonderful young man and we're proud to welcome him into our family. May the gods have mercy on him, lol.

He and Shiloh bring out the best in each other, and we look forward to seeing what life has in store for them.