Monday, June 30, 2014

Rest, Relaxation and Training Updates...

I had a GREAT weekend! It started with an amazing massage on Friday, and I seriously can't remember ever feeling that relaxed! Woot! After that, I packed up my 6-pack cooler and my overnight bag and off we went to check into the hotel. I got to enjoy my dinner with this amazing view...

In case you're wondering, that's turkey breast, avocado, jicama, celery, carrots and cucumber with oil/vinegar for dipping. ;-)

After eating and relaxing, we headed downstairs to the concert. I have wanted to see Collective Soul in concert for years (like 15 years!), and they did NOT disappoint! It was fantastic!!! :-)
I loved every moment. Thanks, Bill!!!!! :-)  
Saturday we returned home and since it was a full rest day, I did NOTHING. Hahaha. I rested and recharged, then once the sun set, we moved a tv out to the pool, threw in the floaty chairs and watched movies. FUN!!!

Sunday was again a full rest day, and boy did I! I slept in, then snoozed off and on all day. Basically, all I did was eat and sleep. I even missed my last shake of the day because I fell asleep snuggling with Sadie. The rest did me good, and my knee wasn't too bad today during my leg workout.

And It Begins...  My workouts are transitioning this week... instead of the moderate reps with heavy weight, we're moving to lower weight and higher reps. That was more of a challenge than I anticipated, and even with being "carbed up" I was sucking wind and sweating like crazy. Also, there are absolutely no more double lifting days. Nope, them are done. ;-) Kayla is very pleased with my progress photos (yay!), and we'll do weigh in and measurements sometime next week. Just for kicks I looked up my last prep stats and I am a solid 10 lbs heavier (muscle) than last time at 8 weeks. Crazy! It's amazing to me how much the body can change! I'm pretty excited to see where it goes from here.

Tonight I'll head back for cardio and dry sauna, then the rest of the week I'll be running my own workouts as Kayla is on a much deserved vacation. Other than the style of my workouts, the other change this week is my diet... rather than 2 carb days each week, I'm going down to one. I'm not gonna lie... I'm a little afraid to tell Bill, lol. Thankfully I've got my Generation UCAN so I'll be utilizing that for sure.

So... there's my Monday update. If you want the video version, lol, that's coming up...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Progress Photos, 8 weeks from Show

Have I mentioned that I hate posting these photos? Cuz I do. Lol. Oh well. So, here I am 8 weeks from show. We'll do measurements and weigh in this week and I'll share that info when I get it :-)  sorry for the weird lighting and shadows. Gotta figure out a new spot to take pics, lol.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

First Video Post!

So I finally figured out how to do video! Hahaha! Please forgive all the "um's"... and the gradually rotating view toward the end, lol, I guess my hand got as tired as my brain. Without further ado, here's a little video sharing how it's going...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rebooting the brain... aka Carb Day, and mental update

So, as you saw by my earlier post, I managed to come up with a very, VERY tasty carb treat to munch on throughout the day to help me reach my carb goal without losing my mind. And it's awesome! Now that I've got some brain cells functioning again, and I've found a bit of zen, I thought it was time to give ya'll an update on my journey back to the stage.

After my rough weekend, and my chat with Coach Kayla, I'm feeling better. Still sore, tired, and worn out, but better mentally and emotionally. The bit more fat in my diet made a difference, too, and then of course, having tasty carbs today helps my mindset quite a bit. Instead of having to figure out how to force down 2 bananas, 6 cups of broccoli and so on, I can nibble on cookies. ;-) It's funny though, how I feel guilty when I'm eating them. Like I'm cheating somehow.

Today I was on my own in the gym, so I packed up my bag before I left to have my follow up (wrist) with my bone doc. I'm officially at 85% in the use of that wrist! Yay!!! I started at or below 25%, so it's really come a long way. I'm still in the brace for workouts - I even had to replace the brace since I wore out the last one. And we're switching out the Voltaren gel for a new product. I should have it in a few days, then I can tell you more about it.

Funny note on the braces...  So with the right knee throwing tantrums, I'm back to wearing a brace. I thought I'd start with the sleeve and if I need more support, I'll pull out one of the others. Well, when I dug into my brace box (doesn't every over 40 athlete have one? lol!), I found the sleeve, then another with a top support band... hmmmm, that might be handy. I threw them both in my bag and figured whichever felt right I'd wear. So, off to the doc, then the gym, changed, pulled out the braces and went to put the banded support one on and realized very quickly... this is NOT a knee sleeve! LOL! It was an elbow support! Whoops! Back to the regular sleeve and off I went. Seriously... who has so many braces and sleeves that they can mistake an elbow sleeve for a knee sleeve? Yeah, that would be me. Sigh.

My task today was to knock out biceps and triceps and some low core. I managed to score a bench, and got set up. Here was my series, repeated 4x:
Bicep Curls
Tricep kickbacks
Concentration Curls
Tricep Overhead Extensions (head and shoulders on the bench, body stretched out perpendicular to bench, dumbbell overhead then extended back with straight arms and returned to overhead).
Ab bench tap and press (laying on bench, butt at end, holding on to the bench you move legs to 90 degrees then slowly lower to tap the ground then raise them back up and lift your butt up off the bench)
Back Extensions

Whew! Got 'er done! Then finished up with 10 minutes on stairs then 20 on the elliptical. I was a sweaty mess, but felt good. I stopped to log in my HR monitor info and another Coach came up and let me know what a huge difference he's seeing in me! Woot!

I don't interact much with folks at the gym, mostly just the other trainers and coaches because they know I'm Kayla's and that I'm headed to stage. I'm not social, so when I'm there, my earbuds are in and I'm in the zone. Which leaves me with (as I stated earlier, lol) little interaction with the general population. But the trainers and coaches at LifeTime are amazing! So incredibly supportive! There's one who always makes a point of stopping and asking how I'm doing, and wishes me luck. Another gives me two thumbs up everytime we pass in the gym. And the one I mentioned above, he's a figure and bodybuilding coach, and so it is very validating to have his support and encouragement. I know Kayla appreciates it, too... it's always awesome to have your peers acknowledge and praise your "work". And let me tell you... Kayla does damn good work! :-)

I know there are changes. Kayla sees them and loves it. My family sees them. I see them, most of the time. But today I had an aha moment. I caught sight of myself in the gym mirror. And I liked it! ;-) Many of you know how I've battled body dysmorphia. It never really goes away. I wouldn't say I've been struggling with it lately, just that I might not be seeing everything that's actually there, if that makes sense. So today felt like a bright ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds. My arms look really good. My shoulders are broader. My waist is narrower (had to pull in another notch on the belt today!). My legs are bigger than they've EVER been! And... I have a butt!

All these are victories for me. You all know how fearful I was going into this prep. My asthma hasn't disappeared, my arthritis hasn't lessened, I haven't gotten any younger, and my injuries just keep on keeping on. But so have I. I found a box today in the back of my closet labeled "Chelle - lean out clothes". You know why it was in the back of my closet? Because I was afraid I wouldn't need it. Well I'm defeating that defeatism (lol) and ripping open that box tonight! Because I'm leaning out. I'm 8 1/2 weeks from show. And I'm going to show.

Kari Keenan
As hard as the journey is, as dark as the tunnel can be, there's still joy in the process and I had lost sight of that. I (right now) have a firm grasp on my joy again. One of the things that helped me with that was a video post from a competitor I follow... she's amazing and has just entered "peak week". Watching the video, I got to see her smile, giggle, laugh, as well as hear about the struggles. There's joy in the journey, and she reminded me of that. She and her coach/boyfriend said a couple things, too, that really stuck with me, the biggest was about sprinting past the finish line.

In prep, there's a fairly definitive timeline... you build, then you cut, then you peak-week, then you're on stage. Typically, there's a tapering down of heavy lifting, coordinating with an increase in cardio and a decrease in food. It can lead to a mindset of expecting an 'ease' in the difficulty, in the effort. That's not always the case, and J stated that it's better to expect that you'll have to sprint past the finish line, rather than to see it and ease off in anticipation of crossing it.

My years running track should have fixed that in my head... as a sprinter, when I saw the finish line I didn't ease off, I cranked it up! I gave it all I had, every last bit, all the way across that line. But somehow, I think the "slow down" is where my head's been... looking forward to an easing of the effort... but where I need to be is expecting to go full out, all the way, right up to walking on the stage. That's a little hard to face, lol, when it's already so hard, and there are moments when I wonder if it's really worth it. I know it is, and that's where my lost-joy was/is affecting me, but the moments happen. Add in injury, arthritic flares, and so on... it's a challenge.

But... I'm going to sprint past that line. And while, as J said, there's no crying in baseball... there IS in the gym (thank you, Kari), lol, but that's ok because the wind can dry my tears while I'm sprinting. ;-) And pull my skin back, make my hair crazy, you know...
Sexy, right? ;-)

The Amazing Carb-Load Cookie Recipe!

If you caught me over on facebook, you know that I put out a call for help yesterday. Today is my carb load day, and while yes, I can just plug in carbs (apples, berries, veggies, more veggies) into my various meals and snacks, but it's not a whole lot of fun. I wanted something sweet... to be honest, I wanted a cookie. Lol. BUT... with all my food sensitivities, it was challenging!

No dairy (milk products), no gluten, no corn, then it had to be low fat to fit the rest of my competition diet, but needed to be higher fiber... Well, with everyone shooting ideas at me, I had a couple brain-cells spark back to life and here's the result! And let me tell you... these are awesome!!! It's like Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread in a cookie! Just enough crispy edge to balance the cakey moist center. OMG! I am officially a happy competitor today! LOL!

Banana-Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 15 cookies
Chelle Stafford
gluten, dairy, corn, soy free.

2 small bananas, peeled.
5 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 egg whites
4 Tbsp coconut flour
4 Tbsp King Arthur Flour Multipurpose Flour, Gluten Free
1 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
2 Tbsp spice mix (I used Penzey's Cake spice, you can use a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, or just use pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl, mash banana.
In blender, blend almond milk and pitted dates until smooth (will be pasty).
Add date/milk paste to banana, add egg whites. Mix well.
In smaller bowl, combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips).
Add dry to wet and mix well.
Add chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonfulls onto cookie sheet and slightly flatten balls.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (undersides will be golden).
Allow to cool slightly then dig in!

per cookie: 70 calories, 1g protein, 15g carb, 1g fat, 2g fiber, 8g sugars (all natural), 58 mg sodium.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Add some light to this tunnel! STAT!!!

I hadn't forgotten how dark some of the journey is to the stage, I had just forgotten HOW DARK, lol. ROUGH weekend. Rough and dark. And so very hard. 9 weeks out and it felt like 9 months.

Friday was my carb-up day... I had an overabundance of carbs to get in, but lacked the creativity to do anything with it. I ended up just plugging them in... sweet potato, check; broccoli, check; apple, check; gluten/dairy/soy/corn-free bread, check, check, and double check. I hit my mark, but didn't much enjoy any of it.

Friday was also the day Bethany (finally) got her tonsils out. She came through like the champ she is, and is recovering well. I had packed up my 6-pack, and ate my snack and then my salad and apple in the hall, lol.

Saturday arrived, and I was a bit lethargic (probably the glut of carbs, lol), but finally drug my butt to the gym. And sat in the truck for 15 minutes trying to force myself to walk inside. At last, I got in, got started, but couldn't finish. I completed the workout (legs), but by the time I hit the stairmaster for 45 minutes of interval & steady cardio, my knees were screaming. Toast. Forget toast. More like the burned out crud on the bottom of the oven after you've spilled egg in there and not cleaned it up, and continued to bake... for a year. Lol. I crawled off the machine at 25 minutes and drove home, where I promptly burst into tears the moment I walked in.

My poor, sweet, patient husband just held me while I cried. And cried. Finally, I ate, and calmed down a bit. I knew I had to go back to the gym... I had to finish. I just couldn't face it. So you know what my amazing hubby did? He took me out and got me a recumbent bike for home. Then he set it up. I didn't have to go back to the gym.

And... we all watched a movie while I did my cardio. Awwwww!!!!! How amazing is my family????

Sunday was more relaxed. We got to visit with my parents before they headed back to Sacramento, then I went and did my chest/shoulders workout, then just recovered. Oh, and did laundry. ;-) This morning, I printed out all my food logs, then went to my final physical therapy session (yay!!!), and then on to workout with Kayla.

We talked through my whole weekend emotional whamo-whackadoodle, then made a few tweaks... a couple to my diet, but more changes physically. We've adjusted a few things, and moved a few things. I'll have two rest-days in a row this week, and I'll start wearing my knee brace again. Well, one of them. If you remember, I have several, lol. I'll start with one of my sleeves, and we'll go from there. We're also hoping to get me in for a deep tissue sports massage on Friday to help break up some of the fascia and relieve some of my pain. I will begin foam-rolling in earnest today, too.

For the most part, I feel fine, it's just those moments... and, well, all day Saturday. Lol. Now that I'm out of the dark, I'm having a hard time expressing just how difficult this weekend was, with the training and focus, and eating the food (no appetite). Now that I feel ok (other than painful joints), it's hard to remember why I felt so overwhelmed and defeated. But... it will return - it's part of the journey, part of the process - so I'm focusing on doing what I can to control the things I can control... and relax and trust the process on the things I can't control. Therefore... right now I'm off to ice my knees. And hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel stays on. ;-)

Happy Monday!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Updates and Upgrades...

Hope everyone had a great Father's Day Weekend! Ours was marked with a long awaited Upgrade! We FINALLY got our living room wall unit! Wooohoo! Saturday afternoon we headed to IKEA to pick it up... well, to pick up the eight-gazillion boxes that made up the unit, lol. ;-) Back home, Bill and Shiloh got to work putting the pieces together (I was banned, hmph!). The fun continued throughout the night (yes, that's tongue in cheek), then all through Sunday. They finished it up late last night. Well, it's not done-done. We still have (by we, I mean they) to run the wiring and install the lighting, then add the crown molding to match the kitchen (see pic). But... what an improvement! So excited! It's like a real room now! LOL!
crown molding in kitchen...
we'll be adding this to the living room wall unit.
They even moved the fireplace into the library for me! Eventually, this room will be floor to ceiling bookcases, but until then... it's still very clearly a library, hahaha! Got books? ;-)

So while Bill spent his whole weekend cursing IKEA, lol, he's thrilled with the result.  Sunday was a full rest day for me, then today was back at it. I met with Kayla for Leg Day Part 1... OUCH!!! ;-) I finally sucked it up and bought a pair of 'real' shorts for leg-day... and probably spent the whole time tugging and pulling on them, hahaha. I just don't do sport shorts. BUT... it did make it clear that there is major growth in my legs! Wooot!

I'll be heading back to the gym soon to finish off, doing Leg Day Part 2 plus cardio. My calories have had their first reduction. I'm now at 1600/day. It was an easy change to implement... simply went from 3 scoops of protein in each of my 2 shakes down to 2 scoops. Easy peasy. And... now I'll be getting two carb days! Woot! In the interest of  protecting my muscle, twice a week I'll be reloading. I'm pretty darn excited. Carbs! LOL!

The heat has been pretty taxing, to be honest... hard to stay "motivated" when it's just too hot to leave the house (or the air-conditioned car). Even Sadie is starting to melt...

In other news, I'm nearly done with Physical Therapy for the wrist! Yay! Still have to wear the brace when I workout (or lift things like, say, IKEA boxes... oops!), but that's just fine with me. I have three more sessions, and that's it! woot!

I finally had enough energy to try on my shoes, lol... both pair fit perfect. I'll be spending some time now breaking them in, plus of course, posing practice ;-) Here they are... and yes, there are two pair... my last pair disappeared, and I'm not comfortable without having a back up pair. What if I break a heel just before show? This way, I'm covered. Silly? Maybe, but I'm ok with that. ;-)
One really great thing happened today... and yes, I'm aware my thoughts are all over the place - I blame the low carbs ;-)   While we were finishing up today's workout, Kayla said to me, "When the shows are all over, and you're back to normal, this is where we need to bring you back to... this body... because this body ROCKS!"

How cool is that to hear from your coach???? :-) Made my day! And since it's double leg day with cardio, that means it meant a LOT! ;-)

Happy Monday, Friends!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Progress Report: Weigh In and Measurements

My last weigh in was 3 weeks ago. Today was the day for a progress report, and I was very nervous! I've been bloaty all week (we're increasing fiber and probiotics to, ahem, flush out the problem, lol), so I was concerned that my water weight and measurements would be funkified. What I did not expect was DRASTIC progress.  Guess what I got? WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!

In three weeks, my weight stayed exactly - to the ounce - the same. BUT... I gained 2 lbs of lean muscle mass and dropped 2 lbs of body fat. OMG! Major happy dance!!! And it gets better!!!! My flexed bicep measurement was up by 1.5 inches! My quad and hip/butt measurements were also up! Yay!!!!

And, boo, my waist was up, too, but again - bloat, and it'll go away.

Yes, I am doing my happy dance ;-)  After we did the weigh in and measurements, it was time to pound legs. And pound them, we did. Oh my. Toward the end, I told Kayla I could hear the last of last night's carbs taunting me as they ran away.... "neener, neener, neener!" Bastards! But, I pushed through and got it done. She's beyond thrilled with my progress and is so excited at the changes. Next week on our back day she wants me to wear a spaghetti strap top so she can video my back to show me "the party going on back there". :-)  COOL!!!!

After the workout, we set the plan for the next few days. Starting with... are you ready? Because this one threw me....

NO PART 2 LEG DAY today. NO CARDIO today. NO DRY SAUNA today. I'm done. WHAT???? What is this language you speak? No double???? And.... tomorrow is cardio and abs only. Did the world reverse it's rotation? Have the carbs left me truly maddened?  Nope. Seriously, I get the rest of the day off and mostly tomorrow. And.... Saturday I hit legs again (hard), but only once, then Sunday is another rest day! A full rest day. What does this all mean?


Hahahaha!!!! That's right, folks... I made it through to the other side... cutting. Oh, wait... that's hard, too! LOL! But for reals, this is it!!!! I'll do that cardio and abs tomorrow, then kill legs again on Saturday, rest fully Sunday, then Monday we begin adjusting down my calories. My macros will stay the same, leaving me with 50 grams of carbs/day, but the day before leg day will be my carb reload. We're heading toward 1600 calories, and we'll stay there the majority of the remaining time. The workouts will adjust as we go, for now it'll stay heavy and hard. MORE MUSCLE! ;-)

I seriously feel like that picture. Lol! Whew!!!!

There was one small error I have been making in my diet... ummm, oops. I forgot to take my fish oil - for several weeks. I'll be rectifying that situation as of today, haha. It'll go a long way toward relieving my brain-drain. Hey, maybe it'll help me remember where I put my..... wait, what was I looking for?  ;-)

Hmmmm. Yeah, still nothin'.

Oh, and just cuz I'm me and snark is my first language... all those haters who said you can't build muscle while carb depleting? Booooyah, Beetches!!!!!!    ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life as we know it... is now fully carb-deprived.

Well, my family will tell you that I have officially lost my Mom and Wife card. Lol. The low-carb has dropped me cold. While I've done prep before, in a variety of methods (from show to event), I have never been this low carb - and it ain't easy. I'm a bit fuggy brained. I'm tired, pretty much all the time. I'm fed up with food. I would be thrilled if I never saw a piece of turkey again - in my life.

This week, I finished leg day part 1 with Kayla, ran a couple errands, came home and ate, then sat on the couch for just a minute to regroup. Woke up an hour later. Sadie apparently decided that I needed company, lol. Man, I was beat!

But, I got up, got back to work, then at 5:45 headed back out for Leg day part 2 plus cardio and dry sauna. 8:30 that night, I returned home. I had my dinner. Relaxed a bit with Bill and Shi (who I had earlier sent out to a restaurant as there was no way I was going to be able to do them justice), and eventually it was time to make my last shake of the day.

I walked around the counter to check my phone, and saw (for the first time) the vase of flowers. Right next to where I'd placed my phone when I got home. The big flowers in the bright blue vase with the giant white card on it. Talk about being out of it! They actually had been running bets on when I'd notice it. Lol!

While I am not liking the brain drain, I am still seeing changes, and there's only a short time left on this phase. Kayla let me know that when we move to cutting, my single carb meal will turn into a carb day - Oh thank the sweet baby Jesus! Lol! Most low-carb plans count net carbs... meaning you take the total carb grams and subtract the fiber grams, this leaves your net. Which is pretty much how my last prep diet was... I could have all the high-water veggies I wanted - no limits. It was really the starchy carbs we counted.

However... my current plan is total. I have to carefully consider every single item I eat... almonds - yep, they've got carbs, so do I eat the almonds or have a tsp of coconut oil? Zucchini? More carbs than Romaine lettuce - if I'm ok on carb count, I have the zucchini, if not, I have the romaine. And don't get me started on beef and/or turkey jerky! Explain to me why it's necessary to add wheat and carbs to dried meat? Yeesh! Anyway... all that to say that it's really, really challenging. And again, I'm tired of turkey ;-)

And before I get any emails about nutrients...   ;-)   I supplement. I'm on a solid multi vitamin, I take Glutamine, BCAA's, a Greens Powder, a carb powder for workouts (there goes 21 grams! lol), extra vitamin C, an abundance of probiotics, antioxidants, and so forth. I'm really, really healthy.

What's my food looking like? Last night I grilled up a bunch of steak, so that's handy. I also prepped my modified egg salad (2 whole hard boiled eggs, 2 hb egg whites, 2 Tbsp chopped red onion, 1 Tbsp real mayo and 1 tsp hot sauce, all chopped up and eaten with celery sticks), and that's easy to reach in and grab when I need it. I also hit up Costco and discovered fully cooked (low sodium) turkey breasts (ahhhhhgggg, more turkey!) and a big bag of unprocessed cooked sliced beef. Veggies that cycle in and out are zucchini, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumber, onion, mushroom, and occasionally red/orange peppers.

With the exception of the romaine, they're all nutritional powerhouses. On my carb meal, I can have a bowl of berries - but that's all the fruit I get. My starchy carb on that night is typically sweet potato. My emergency food supply is the GF Perky Jerky (turkey) original, with raw almonds. Which means that if I have to break into that, I have to re-figure all my carbs for the day to determine the changes necessary for my next meals so I can stay at 60 grams. It's pretty high maintenance.

My favorite (moderately unclean) treat at this point is diet ginger ale. Yes, I know all about diet sodas. This keeps me sane. You all want me sane, yes? ;-)  As a matter of fact, ginger is a key factor in my diet. For whatever reason, I'm craving it, so I've got fresh ginger, dried ginger, ginger tea, ginger "candies", and of course, ginger-ale. Whatever works, lol.

My workouts are super tough. I'm definitely feeling the low-carb aspect there. Kayla has me taking the UCAN (superstarch supplement) 20 minutes before my workouts with her, to help keep me from bonking; and on the evening before my big leg day I have my carb meal. We do two leg days each week... one is slightly more intense than the other. Both are brutal. However, as a result, I have a butt now, so I will suck it up, buttercup and do the work. ;-)

We weigh in tomorrow, and do measurements. Cross your fingers!
And now... it's time for carb meal :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Glutamine Jello, Lemon!

If you've been around awhile, you know that I'm a big sucker for jello. Soft jello, firm jello, medium jello... I just love it! With the summer heat in full swing (112 today), and strict competition diet, cool-me-down-treats are few and far between... except for my Glutamine Jello. That, my friends, I can have whenever I want! In any flavor I want! And so can you! Today's version is Lemon... maybe it's the heat, but I crave lemon (and ginger, weird) so I whipped up this and have been digging out spoonfuls pretty much every time I walk by the fridge ;-) If you've got room in your diet, you can add a sweetener and/or top it with whipped cream. Not gonna lie... this is good stuff ;-)

Lemon Glutamine Jello
Chelle Stafford
makes 4 servings

4 packets Knox Gelatin, Unflavored
1 cup cold water
juice of 1 lemon
3 cups water, boiling
4 scoops Champion Performance Power Glutamine (it's unflavored)
1/2 to 1 tsp lemon extract (to taste)

Juice 1 lemon and add to measuring cup. Add water to fill up to 1-cup line.
Add lemon extract.
Mix in glutamine and stir well, then chill. (I put mine in the freezer for 5-10 minutes).
Once chilled, place in medium bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Allow to sit 1 minute.
Bring 3 cups water to boil, then add to chilled mixture, stirring constantly until all gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes).
Pour into glass loaf pan or individual ramekins.
Refrigerate until solidified, about 3 hours.

TIP: eliminate the lemon juice and replace the lemon extract with any flavor of choice.
Yep, that's my big bowl of jello sitting on my lap. ;-)

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Friday, June 6, 2014

11 Weeks Out...

Wow, that seems so far away. Our original goal of hitting the August 2nd show is a maybe... which means the show on the 23rd is "target"... and 11 weeks away. Today. Part of me is excited; it's the look how far I've come already thing. Another part of me wants to curl up and cry. 11 more weeks??? Really??? And it's only going to get harder. I've said it before and I'll say it again... Competition prep is not easy. For the most part, it's just a lot of hard, painful work, and a growing list of foods/drinks I "can't" have. It's starting the day in the gym, and ending it there (or curled up on the shower floor because my legs can't hold me up anymore). It's measuring food, tracking water intake, climbing unending stairs, and lifting a whole lot of iron.

Here's a quick peek at the differences this time around. In the blue suit, I'm 12 days from the show, in full cutting mode. You can see that my butt was a weakness.  In the purple suit, I'm 11 WEEKS from show, and if you look in the mirror you can see that my butt is much better... and we're still in building phase for another 2-3 weeks; haven't begun cutting yet. There's actually a separation between butt and thigh now.

It's stuff like that, photos, measurements, etc, that excite me. So much progress! The pain, the work, the denied cravings... it's all worth it because it's working. That's the high... then comes the low... I'm tired, so tired - and there's still 11 weeks to go. You know, most days, I'm just fine. I get up, get it all done, and move on. But once or twice a week (usually, ahem, on double leg workout plus cardio day, lol), I just kind of sink. Thankfully, my carb-up meal is the night before Legs, but it's still not an easy thing.

Today is my rest day. I'm so very grateful for rest days, haha. I've done nothing but work, eat my meals, drink my water, and organize & plan. Sadie has a check-up later today, but right now she's roaming the backyard while I type. She actually let me spray her down with the hose! Girl does not like water, except to drink, lol. The other two dogs have been in and out of the pool. I wish I had time to join them. Maybe after Sadie's appointment, Bill and I can hop in and cool down. It's been so hot! 111 yesterday, and right now at noon, it's 103. Stepping outside feels like opening the oven door.

So... I'm fighting the mental battle. And I'm learning to be ok with wearing shorts in the gym. That's silly, right? I've never done it - hate showing off my pasty white legs. But Kayla needs to see them when we do legs, so I'm adjusting. Know what else I've never really done before? Squats in the squat rack. Real ones. My shoulder has never allowed me to hold the bar across them - but with all the rehab work/building Kayla's been doing, I can handle it just fine! Wooohoo! With a separated AC joint, I'll never be one of the 'big boys' squatting major weight, but I'm doing it and I'm doing it well. Yay for any victory! :-)

Speaking of victories... my arthritis and damage and my asthma are fully in check. Still working around the wrist injury, but as long as I wear the brace I'm fine. Sure, I get a twinge here and there, now and then, but it's not limiting or controlling me. This is such an amazing thing, that if I think about it too long, I cry. I'm so incredibly thankful for Kayla and the plan she's put in place for me.

In other news.... we're waiting to get scheduled for Bethany's tonsillectomy (finally!!). The docs decided that 6 cases of tonsilitis/strep throat each year, with two of them landing in the ER (again - each year) is too much. Ya think??? So that's in the works. Shi just started working for Bill at FlexGround today, along with keeping up with her photography work. Her hubby is doing well, and we're all anxious to get him back home. Deployment is tough on everyone. Ariel is busy, busy, and Joey is too. Bill's insanely busy, so we really cherish our down time together.

That's my news.  Hope ya'll have an amazing weekend!!!
It's Friday!!!  Here's to Us!!  ;-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - "Not" Lasagna

With food sensitivity limitations, I've been eating a lot of turkey. Recently, my family enjoyed a lovely lasagna for dinner, while I suffered, drawing in the glorious scents of it... I thought, huh... wonder if... and voila! Yummy "Not" Lasagna ready in a jiff! Packed full of amazing, creamy and cheesy texture, spicy tomato sauce, downright "comfort" style, this recipe is a new favorite (and figure competition prep friendly!).

Here you go... this recipe is fabulous! Lots of flavor, decadent textures, and Clean Eating to boot! No one will ever know! It's as lovely on the plate as it is on the palate! Plus, it whips up FAST!!

"Not" Lasagna 
Chelle Stafford
makes 1 serving


  • 6 oz cooked Turkey Breast, diced into cubes (I roast a couple turkey breasts in my one-day food prep to have on hand throughout the week)
  • 5 sliced brown mushrooms
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (I like red)
  • 1/4 tsp Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb or Italian Blend
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup Marinara sauce (I used Newman's Own)
  • 1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella shreds

DIRECTIONS (see step by step photos below)
  • Wash and chop mushrooms and onion. 
  • Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil cooking spray.
  • Add mushrooms, onions and Mrs Dash. Cook until softened.
  • Add spinach and cooked turkey breast, spray with oil again if needed.
  • Stir, cooking until spinach is wilted and turkey is warmed. 
  • Remove from heat.
  • Immediately add marinara and "cheese", stirring to combine. 
  • Allow to rest 1 minute for "cheese" to melt.
  • Serve.

per serving: 355 calories, 45 grams protein, 22 grams carbs, 9 grams fat, 3 gram fiber.

TIPS... this recipe is gluten free, dairy free, corn free, and chicken free.
You may replace the turkey with cooked chicken breast.
If you can tolerate dairy, replace the Daiya cheese with mozzarella, but be aware the nutritional information will change.

I encourage you to try this recipe as it is written. It's super creamy, melty-cheesy, and full of "lasagna" flavor! My husband had no idea there was no "real" cheese in it! He loved it! ;-)

prep the veggies and gather ingredients
saute the onion, mushroom and seasoning until veggies are softened

add spinach and turkey

cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted and turkey is heated through

remove from heat and add marinara and "cheese". Stir until melty and blended

serve and enjoy!

Daiya products are gluten free, dairy free, and soy free. You can learn more about them here:

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