Monday, September 29, 2014

What's UP??? 6 Weeks From Show...

Ok, when you last heard from me, I was living in a fog. Yeesh. I was so conflicted over this prep - should I, shouldn't I, what's important, what's too much... a gazillion questions running through my head, none of which helped me focus. Added to that, my weigh in was... not what we expected.

I spent the last week trying to narrow down my "issues" and figure out what was going on in my head. I had long heart-to-heart's with Bill, and with Kayla. I did the work, ate the food, but I struggled. Finally, enough was enough. Either I'm in this or I'm not. I decided I wanted to be in. ;-) SO... I pounded my workouts, my doubles, my cardio; I built a killer new playlist for my iPod; I prepped food and packed up for... another weekend away. But before we left, I had another weigh in and... BOOM! Right where I'm supposed to be. Whew!

We left Saturday, returned Sunday - whirlwind! And of course, the 2nd big storm of the season hit while we were gone (drat, hadn't fixed that front window yet) - Bethy rode out the storm with Sadie, keeping an eye on the water levels in the backyard. And of course, texting a worried Mom. ;-) while we drove to San Diego.

Shiloh and Jared are now fully moved in and settling into their new apartment, and I have an "office" that I have to clear out and fill up this week. Oh, and we're traveling again. Crazy, right? We're leaving Thursday, returning Sunday. Ermergerd! Hahahha! BUT...

I'm in it. I'm fired up, excited, and ready to rock this journey to the stage. My head's back on my shoulders and my eye is on the prize. I feel good. Solid. Steady. My weight is at 130 lbs, and my bf is 16.9%.  We've got 6 weeks and this time I'm going to "show up".

We started cutting phase yesterday - so I'm down from 2000 cal/day to 1600. In a couple days, I'll make another cut. I'm adding in morning fasted cardio tomorrow, and my pm cardio goes up to 60 min on steady-state days, 50 min on interval days (20 min HIIT + 30 min steady). My macros are shifting and my food choices are narrowing. Tilapia burgers are back on the menu, lol!

Let's DO THIS!

We've got a million things going on here - besides work, family, and the normal stuff, we're embroiled in a matter that, while the attorney's are handling, is still heartbreaking, we've just resettled two of our kids in San Diego, we've got social and business events coming up (including Bill attending the Inc.500 Gala - woot!), and Bill and I are on the cusp of taking one of the biggest steps in our lives.

PLUS... I'm competing. YIKES!

I spent the weekend pinning like a madwoman trying to get ahead on plans for our annual Halloween Party and Thanksgiving (which is just 2 weeks after my first show, 1 week after the second). Which reminds me, I've got to schedule in a run to the storage unit for the holiday decorations & costumes. Oy!
But, fun oy! ;-)

And Dex keeps putting in appearances in strange places. Lol.

He's seriously wigging out Sadie.

What my exercise looks like this week...
This morning I did legs with Kayla (ouch), and tonight I'm back in the gym for cardio and dry sauna. iPod's are fully charged, lol.  Tuesday is Chest/Shoulders, plus 2 cardio sessions. Wednesday is Pilates, plus 2 cardio sessions. Thursday is Back/Biceps, plus 1 cardio - then we'll leave here that afternoon, arrive back in Durango, CO sometime that night (late), sleep. Friday begins with fasted cardio, then busy busy busy, and in the PM I have legs and cardio. Saturday is rest day (ahhhh!) but busy busy busy. Sunday I'll do fasted cardio, then we head home; once home I'll do Chest/Shoulders and more cardio. And yes, I'll be packing up my cooler for the trip. ;-)

So, there's my update. I'll share my new playlist with you in a couple days :-) It kinda rocks, not gonna lie. ;-) I'm off to the grocery store for ground turkey and tilapia. Lol. Here we go!

Happy National Coffee Day! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Power Shake

No matter how tight competition diet gets, there are two things that remain constant for me... caffeine (aka Black Coffee) and the ubiquitous protein shake. The shake is a staple in my diet, the caffeine, quite simply, just keeps me going. With Starbucks now selling their Unsweetened Iced Coffee in grocery stores... well, it's like a glass of heaven for me. My late afternoon pre-workout shake is now my favorite meal of the day. ;-) Here's how I make it...

Power Shake
serves 1

1 cup Starbucks Unsweetened Iced Coffee
1/4 cup Almond Milk, Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 cup ice
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (try Champion Performance Pure Whey Plus, Chocolate Brownie )
*1 scoop Champion Nutrition Creatine optional
*1 scoop greens powder, espresso optional
*1/2 cup diced fruit (ie strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)

Pour, Blend, Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Week Back Complete... Here's to being Transparent...

I shared with you how wonderful my time away was. I didn't share the parts that weren't - the parts that made me sad, lost, angry. I actually debated quite a bit over whether or not to open this up... would my experience and subsequent decisions inspire or impede someone reading this? I still don't know the answer, but finally decided to stay true to myself - to the promises I made when I first began sharing my journey all those years ago - to stay honest and transparent. So here goes...

As you know, I'm prepping for a figure competition November 14/15. The week I spent away was not a week off. You saw the photos of all the clean eats I packed up to take with us, I had an entire duffel filled with nothing but workout clothes, shoes, and resistance bands. The plan was to eat according to my diet, with only one treat meal, and to workout - once in the morning, and again in the evening with the addition of cardio. I was prepared. I was ready. Bill was ready. We both knew it wouldn't be easy, but he accepted that this is how it is. I'd checked and the first hotel had a fitness center, the second had one but charged extra (weird), so I paid it. Again - I was ready.

We began the trip, as I mentioned, a little rough, lol. We arrived in Durango just in time to grab our tickets for the train the next morning, then went and checked in at the hotel. We took a quick tour of the fitness center (tiny, but enough to get it done), then headed out for dinner. By the time we got back to our room, it was 10pm. I changed, kissed the hubby, and was out. I did my workout, did my cardio, and looked up at the clock to see that it was now 11:30pm - and we had to be up early the next day (I had to be up 1 hour earlier than early so I could workout again) ... and I asked myself, "what the hell are you doing??"

This was our first vacation alone... ever. Ever. And instead of being together, my husband was upstairs alone watching tv while I was downstairs in the gym. I decided that I'd skip the morning workout, just makeup for it in my evening one, and that'd give me some extra time with the hubby.

The next day, we had fun... long day, for sure, and again got back in town around 6:30pm. Walking around until we found a place for dinner where we could both eat, then finally back at the hotel. As I reached into my gym bag, I asked myself again, "what the hell are you doing???"  Here I am, first vacation with the hubby, and I'm about to leave him alone - again.

After a violent internal debate, I chose to skip the gym and cuddle with my husband.

The next morning, we packed up, and headed from Durango to Pagosa Springs. Food wasn't an issue during travel since I was so well prepared, so he had his kind of munchies, lol, and I had my greek yogurt, seed bars, nuts, perky jerky, etc. Travel food was the easiest part of the trip, just fyi. We explored town, then went to check in. Unpacking in our room, I realized I didn't know where the fitness center was, and really, really needed to spend some time there.

Back to the registration we went, where I was told that there is NOT a fitness center ON the property. They have an arrangement with a gym in town. All my plans of sneaking off to workout while Bill slept went poof! Are you kidding me? "Calm down," Bill said, "Maybe it's not far, we'll check". So we walked. And walked. Across a footbridge, down a street, across a street, up a back alley, then down a dark street. Bill took my arm and said, "No way you're coming here alone. I'll bring you and pick you up."

And that's when I broke.

My goals are mine. The sacrifices made for my goals should be mine. I understand the wear and tear on the family of a competitor, but there are limits! Or should be. This was completely out of balance. And my sweet, loving, supportive husband was paying a price he shouldn't have to. So I put a stop to it. I chose to stop. I chose to remove my focus from my competition prep and place it on my husband and our brief and rare time alone together. I decided to give my time and energy to the long term - to what matters most - my husband.

I still ate my foods, but I also chose to relax there, too... I had fresh beef and elk, I enjoyed the amazing ginger chocolate cookies from Pagosa Bakery, I had amazing shrimp, lots of veggies, and even an ice cream cone. Yep. And I savored each and every bite. I owned each bite. I knew that there would be consequences for taking the week "off" from prep, but for me the right decision was the one I made. I was so far out of balance that it hurt. It's ok for it to hurt me, but not for it to hurt my husband - who fyi, never once complained, but wow, the relief on his face when I told him I was taking the rest of the time off was humbling - and a bit heartbreaking.

And so the consequences... Tuesday was my first workout back - and we did my stats. Ouch. So we're back to hitting it hard and long, and we'll see what happens. I've got about another week or so of building, then cutting time. I don't know if I'll make it to the November show. Normally, that'd be ok, and I'd just do the Spring shows, but Kayla will be on maternity leave during that time, and I'm not finishing this journey without her. By this point, it's ours, not just mine.

Therefore... I'm pushing. Hard. I'm sore, pulled a hamstring (lol - of course I did!), and struggling to get it all done. But I will, and I'll willingly do what it takes, knowing that this is the cost of the time I took. And it's ok. I know in my heart I made the right decision at the time, and though it results in more work now, I accept that. I own it.

So... there you have it. The transparent view of my time away and the results.

Monday, September 15, 2014


We had such a wonderful vacation! Did I finally unwind and relax? Let's just use this little visual to answer that... See that bottle in my hand? It's Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee... 48 oz. That's 1.5 qt. of full throttle coffee goodness. In normal life, I drink 3/4 of a bottle. Every day. Yep.

That one I'm holding? Same bottle I brought with us - and as we packed up to leave for home, it was still half full.

So - yes, I slowed down and relaxed. LOL! It was wonderful! ;-) We had a really, really good vacation.  If you're on Facebook, you probably saw several shots along the way, so forgive me for reposting them here.

Our trip started out with a bit of a... detour. The day before we left was the infamous 100 Year Flood here AZ. Our backyard became an extension of the pool, lol. We were lucky. The photos on the news were at times seriously amusing (kids actually got out jetskis and rode them in the parks!) and at others, incredibly sad as there were a few people who lost their lives. Our highways flooded - some with more than 5 feet of water. But things dried out pretty quick, and by Tuesday morning we were loaded and ready to go.

Packing up the clean eats!
Well, this isn't what we had in mind. 
We'll just follow this car, it doesn't look too bad.
Still following...
Guess that wasn't such a great idea. Lol. FYI, this was NOT Officer Friendly.

Bill didn't want to go out through Flagstaff, so we went the other way. For awhile. After we received our ticket, we backtracked and eventually made it out of the wilderness we'd wandered into. And guess what? We went out through Flagstaff. Lol. We managed to add 2 extra hours to our trip. Oy!

The trip up was wonderful (other than the aforementioned) and we enjoyed watching the scenery change along the way. We arrived that evening in Durango at 6:25 pm - we had to pick up our train tickets for the next morning, and they close at 6:30. Whew! From there, it was officially vacation. We rode the Durango - Silverton train, had lunch at Grumpy's (fabulous), and I ended up napping on the ride back down the canyon, lol. The next day we headed into Pagosa Springs where we enjoyed the hot springs, shopping, trying out the restaurants, sitting by the fire, driving around, horseback riding, more walking than I've done in my life (lol)... it was a blast!

Usually by the end of a trip, I'm ready to go home - to get back to routine. This time? I'm ready to go back ;-) Here are some more pics of the trip's highlights...

Adventure time!

Checking in at our Durango Hotel

Gorgeous hotel lobby

View of the Animas River off our balcony

Bill and I both are well stocked ;-)

Packing up our snacks for the train ride

Absolutely beautiful trip! 

The car we rode in is the Silver Vista, it's got a glass roof
so you can see EVERYTHING! Awesome!!

All checked in at Pagosa Springs!

Stunning interior of our part of the hotel


Heading out to the hot springs!

Exploring! That's Treasure Falls behind us.

Yep! We crossed the Great Divide!

And stopped in Wolf Creek Pass for another selfie ;-)

And again in Durango (went back our last day).

As you can see, there was a lot of smiles on this trip. It was so good to relax and unwind. So good to have the time alone, together. And seriously, we're ready to go back. ;-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Baking Mode... Cookies for you, Treats for your pup!

I don't know why, but today found me in a baking mode. The last two days I've also been bit by the organization bug... I gutted my closet ("what was I thinking??" went through my head A LOT!), then gutted my accessories. I didn't finish until midnight. This morning, the dogs wanted to pee, eat, and play (in that order) bright and early - ugh. Anyway... once we got into the morning swing, things settled down. I had Pilates at 10 (OUCH), then stopped at Whole Foods for a couple things for our trip next week... and when does anyone ever stop at just a couple things in Whole Foods. YIKES! I could wander that store for hours!!

Safely back home, I started playing with a new recipe. I have a cookie recipe I've adapted from a family one (Thank you, Gramma Anne!) that I make each year - friends and family all LOVE it! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. They're pretty bomb, I gotta say. Now that I'm watching gluten & dairy (among other things), I wanted to update this favorite, without losing any of the flavor or texture.

I wish I'd gotten a pic of my 3, but they
were pretty much doing this. Lol!
I tossed, I stirred, I perused my pantry and picking and rejecting, then adding ingredients almost willy-nilly! When I got a sniff of the batter, I was fairly confident I'd achieved my goal, but still had to go through the baking, cooling, and taste-testing portion of my routine ;-) Thankfully, Bethy was home with a few friends (rubbing hands together in glee... Come here, my pretties, have a cookie... Yeah, I'm a little twisted, it's ok).

The cookies were a success beyond my hopes! And... I had leftover pumpkin. What to do? I wondered as three dogs crowded at my feet. Three pairs of pitiful brown eyes stared up at me, then Sadie gently laid her size 20 paw on my foot and whined. FINE! I get it! I'll make you guys treats! Lol!

And... those, too, were a hit! In fact, Shiloh called them Doggie Crack, because once they each got a taste they were hooked. Following me around then walking back to where the pan sat on the counter, looking at me like, "C'mon! I know there's more!"

So... today, at the whim of the baking urge, you get two recipes. ;-) Enjoy!

Chelle's GF, DF 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 24

1 cup canned 100% pumpkin (not pie mix)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract or Vanilla Paste
1/2 tsp sea salt
1.5 cup oat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup coconut flour
2.5 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup Truvia Baking Blend
1 cup Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, applesauce, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir well.
In a large bowl, combine oat flour, oats, coconut flour, sea-salt, spice, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and truvia.
Add wet ingredients to dry, stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips, and stir until well incorporated.
If needed... add water, 2 Tbsp at a time, if mix becomes too dry, but be careful to incorporate it fully each time or your batter will be too wet.
Drop by rounded spoonful's onto cookie sheet, flattening tops slightly.
Bake 12 minutes, then begin checking undersides. The tops will still look slightly undone, but the bottoms will be golden brown. Continue baking as needed.
Remove  to cool on hot pads or wire rack.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract or Vanilla Paste
1 Tsp - 1 Tbsp pure White Gold Honey
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
milk (or other liquid) as needed

Mix together in small bowl until desired glaze consistency is reached.
Pour glaze into a ziploc sandwich bag and seal.
To glaze, snip small corner off bag, then squeeze. Drizzle over cookies.
NOTE: I had some leftover, so I drizzled it over the dog treats ;-)

NUTRITION per cookie: 148 calories, 3g protein, 21g carbs, 3g fiber, 6g fat.

And now... the doggie treats! 

Here's the recipe!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - EASY Stir Fry!

This is one of those super versatile recipes that you can change up to suit your tastes, and nutritional needs. It reheats like a champ, and even tastes great cold! The secret to tender and flavorful chicken (or turkey breast) is the buttermilk marinade. Seriously, don't skip that! You'll love the results, and they don't add fat to the recipe!

EASY Chicken Stir Fry
makes 4 servings (each with 4 oz chicken, increase recipe as needed)
by Chelle Stafford

8 cups veggies, chopped
  • (I used: 1 zucchini, spiralized; 1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts; 1/2 cup snow peas, 1 cup chopped green beans; 1 cup chopped broccoli; 1 cup sliced brown mushrooms; 1 cup shredded cabbage. I also added 2 Tbsp minced dehydrated onion, since my hubby can't hack "real" onion)
Bragg's Liquid Aminos OR Coconut Aminos
Sesame Oil OR Coconut Oil (about 2 Tbsp)
Sea Salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp ginger paste (or fresh minced)
4 garlic cloves, minced
*optional: slivered almonds
2 green onions, sliced for garnish

For the chicken...
1 lb chicken breast (can sub turkey breast)
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 lemon
*optional: rosemary & thyme (fresh) for marinade

  • Prep your veggies. I did this during my one day food prep, then tossed them all in a large ziploc until I needed them.
  • Marinate chicken: Trim off any visible fat, then dice raw chicken. Place in gallon size ziploc, add buttermilk, sliced lemon (you can zest the lemon first if you want and add the zest to the bag), and rosemary & thyme (if using). Seal bag and shake to coat all the pieces. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
  • Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, then chicken (just the chicken, not the marinade - dump out the marinade), cooking until almost done (much  more white than pink).
  • Add veggies, 1/2 cup water, and about 2 Tbsp Aminos. Cook 1 minute, then add the garlic & ginger, and slivered onions (if using). Cover and cook about 6 minutes, or until veggies have softened to your preference. 
  • Remove from heat.
  • To Serve: Sprinkle with sea-salt (I like Maldon's smoked sea-salt flakes) and green onion. 
  • Store leftovers in ziploc bag in the fridge. 
If your diet allows, serve over brown rice or quinoa.

per serving: 177 calories, 28 grams protein, 9 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams fat.