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By, Mallory Haldeman November and December tend to be the toughest part of the year for our bodies. There are too many delicious holidays and celebrations crammed into such a small period of time. The temperatures are cooler and the days are shorter which makes comfort food more appealing and gym trips seem much less appealing. This time of year I am usually moving from a building phase into my prep phase. Once I started competing, I found out pretty quickly that the holidays are no time to forget about healthy eating. Since its only the beginning of stricter eating for me, I have a few tips that always help me guide myself healthfully through the holidays while still being able to enjoy myself. I know many people that force themselves to tug along Tupperware to their family gatherings but there is nothing enjoyable in that. Clean eating and the fitness life should never be a drag. It should never keep you from spending time with your family and friends and it should definitely never make you feel like you have to "pass" on everything that you haven't prepped for yourself in your 6x6 inch gladware :) Nothing bothers me more this time of year than listening to people tell me how they "passed" on everything. I am a REAL person. I like chocolate and anything with cheese in it, and I have NEVER had stuffing that I did not LOVE! During December, I keep my meals fairly simple but never as strict. I focus on hitting 3 main meals a day and will have 2-3 snacks. I typically keep low carb year round but the biggest change is in my fat intake. Carbs only increase slightly. (usually based around training) Here is an example of what my day might look like: Breakfast : 3 whole eggs + 2-3oz of chicken prepped with a handful of green veggies Lunch: Bison patty with 1/2 avocado and a small salad Post training :2 scoops whey + 2 rice cakes with almond butter Dinner: 4-5 oz lean turkey + small yam Bedtime: egg white omelet made with 4-5 egg whites and spinach Keeping my meals clean and simple, and continuing to keep up with my 5-6 cardio sessions a week helps me stay lean while never really having to "pass" on anything that I really want to enjoy. If i have to go to my Grandmother's house on Christmas eve and not get to enjoy a serving of her famous stuffing and one of her lemon bars, I will be thoroughly upset. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. I don't over eat, and I don't opt for a cookie every time I am faced with one, but if you never give your body a rest and you can't relax enough to enjoy a nice meal with your family, then what is really that enjoyable about your "fitness" lifestyle? Don't pass on that delicious stuffing this holiday, and enjoy the gatherings with your friends and family.
By, Mallory Haldeman Cruising to mexico ! As you all know, I began my prep two weeks ago now for my firs show in may. This Sunday, we are taking off on a five day cruise to mexico. Into past, this may have had me in quite the panic mode by now but not this year. I've kept my body in check during my off season and while I may have only 8-9 pounds to drop I still need need to be conscientious of my food choices and training while aboard! I won't be bringing any of my own food, but skipping out on the alcohol will really allow me to make the best food choices, food is available to you 24 hours a day on these ships but use it to your advantage. three big meals a day just won't work for me at this point in my prep. I'm hungry all day long... But no worries I can always find some chicken, fish, and salad. The sitdown dinners can provide a clean source of carbs in the form of rice or potato along with usually a plain broiled fish option. Aside from that I stick to what I know, salad veggies and eggs and anything that obviously hasn't had much work done to it lol. To help with the extra sodium that I'll be taking in I'll be packing my "shrink wrap" diuretic from muscle foods to help keep down any water retention . Training. On the cruise is always a fun experience. The ships always have a full gym, and although it may not be like the one at home , there is plenty to do. I'll be keeping up with my cardio and turning up the intensity with my "ab-fx" and "tone-fx". I never do much running but one or two sessions is OK and switches up my regular routine. So I'll be doing a few laps on the outdoor track! Don't forget to take advantage of the free yoga and multiple steam rooms and hot tubs. We also signed up for a meditation class! I may be passing on the free ice cream and booze but I'm sure to come home feeling refreshed.
By, Brett Bauer There are so many Ab exercises to tighten and tone your mid section. One of my favorite exercises for abs are planks. What is great about planks is that you can do them anywhere since they require no weights or machines. You use your body weight and can do several variations depending on your level. A traditional plank is with your elbows and forearms to the ground keeping your back and legs in a straight line. Make sure you keep your abs tight. At first you may only be able to hold for a few seconds. Slowly work your way up gradually to hold for longer time increments. A second variation is planking with extended arms. This will give a different angle and resistance on your core. A third variation are side lateral planks. You can do short or extended arms with a side lateral plank. You want to create a "triangle" in the empty space keeping your hip from dropping. Try adding any variation of planks into your workouts. In conjunction with a healthy diet, planks are a great exercise to tone your abs and strengthen your core.