The FitStyle Blog

a place of wellness, mindfulness, and love

It doesn’t seem like it’s been four years since I underwent my personal health journey which included preparing for and competing in a bodybuilding competition.

Once I lost most of my weight, I wanted to do something that would push and challenge me even further. I honestly can’t remember the moment a competition is what would fit that bill, but once I decided, I was 100% in.

For several months, I would work out 2-3 times a day. I would do strength training and almost two hours of cardio a day. I would get up at 4am everyday, throw back a protein shake, and hit the gym by 5am. I’d go to my 8-5pm job and workout on my lunch break. When I left my main job at 5pm, I’d go to my second job and work til 10:30 or 11pm, then go back to the gym for a second cardio session.

I was absolutely committed. I was single, I didn’t have any major commitments other than my jobs, and I had a great support group. But, it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I was weighing every ounce of food, counting macros, and practicing posing. Aside from the physical challenges, the mental part of prep was the most difficult. There are so many days where you are absolutely exhausted, hungry, dehydrated, and wondering why you decided to do this. Towards the end, I was pep talking myself every day just to get my workout in. Tilapia and broccoli was looking pretty yucky, and all I wanted to eat was pizza (which I had shipped in from Chicago to enjoy after the competition was over ha!)

Finally, all those months of hard work came to fruition. I drove with some friends to Memphis and things got real... starting with two heavy spray tans (mind you - in a room full of other competitors. You’re naked, cold, and have someone spraying your private areas - NOT glamorous!) I had to bring my own black sheets so I wouldn’t ruin the ones at the hotel.

The next morning was a blur - we had to get to the arena super early. Guess why? Another spray tan! We got glammed up and waited. And, waited. Aaaand waited. Bikini is last so it was after lunch before we finally came out on stage. You get about 15 seconds to hit your poses and get off the stage. All that hard work boils down to 15 seconds!! I remember shaking so hard I could barely get myself to smile.

We spent the next several hours waiting until the evening presentation when awards would be presented. I placed 4th in my division, but honestly the experience alone was the reward. I had proven to myself what hard work and grit could accomplish.

My support team and I went out for dinner afterwards where I proceeded to eat about five rolls and drink two pitchers of water. Ha! What a time to be alive. It was over and time to celebrate.

That season of life taught me many things. Some of them were hard lessons - the preparation of the competition really messed with my head. Once I gained some weight, it was hard not being as lean as I had before. I struggled with weighing food, not weighing food. Did I still need to count macros? What about the three hours of working out I had done? It was a hard transition and it took me almost 3 years to settle into a pattern where that strict, stringent mindset didn’t rule my choices or cause me to feel guilty.

I still have that sparkly, hot pink bikini, heels, and jewelry in a box but it’s seen it’s last moment in the spotlight. I’m in a completely difference season of life, but I will cherish and appreciate the ways I grew and challenged myself during that time.

I can still give a killer bikini pose - some things will never change!

xoxo,

patty lauren

A phrase that can make you feel excited or want to throw up your hands and give up. Meal preparation can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. One of the main reasons people give up on meal prepping is because they think it's too time consuming, when in reality you can prepare your meals for a full week in as little as one hour. If you have time to surf social media, watch a reality TV show, or get a manicure - you have time to meal prep.

I'm sharing my favorite ways to take the scary out of meal prep and replace it with success!

1) Keep it Simple - Write it Out

If you are just starting out with meal prepping, keep your ingredients simple. Protein, fat, fiber, and greens. From those, flesh out your meals. If you're like me and can eat the same thing for several days, even better. But, if not, you can get creative with a basic list. Here's some suggestions...

Protein: Salmon, Shrimp, Tilapia, Lean Beef, Bison, Turkey, Lentils

Fat: Avocado, Grass Fed Butter, Cashews/Almond

Fiber: Cauliflower Rice, Quinoa

Greens: Kale, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts

An assorted of spices, black pepper, and pink sea salt

Pick one or two proteins for the week and one or two of the others from the list.

From there, you can create meals like:

Salmon patties + Kale Salad

Cashew Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Grilled Salmon + Brussels Sprouts

Spicy Shrimp Kabobs + Cauliflower Rice

Salmon Tacos + Guac

It doesn't have to be boring!

2) Plan Your Portions

You don't have to measure your food to the exact science, but you should know the basics of portion sizes. This great guide shows you how to use your hand to gauge portion sizes.

* Remember, this is just a guide - if you are intensely working out, trying to gain muscle mass, pregnant, etc. your dietary may be different and call for a more dense amount of food.

I LOVE these glass meal prep containers. I try to stay away from too much plastics and I love that these can be remicrowaved or put in the oven.

3) Don't Forget Breakfast

While you use this guide to plan for lunch/dinners, don't forget breakfast. A few examples of prepping breakfasts for the week:

Overnight Oats

Egg Bites (made in a muffin tin)

A Fab Four Smoothie

3) Prep - Time to Do the Work!

Once you have your meals listed out and have purchased your groceries, it's time to prep. This should take you less than 1 hour - yes, to meal prep for the entire week. While your meat is cooking, you have the opportunity to set out your meal prep containers, sautés or roast your veggies, and prepare your breakfast items.

Once your main components are finished, it's time to assemble. Once this is done, you can refrigerate (or even freeze if you made more than 1 week's worth) and you're done.

Meal prep is a commitment like any other - you must prepare and execute to see the success and the fruit of your labor. Remember to keep it simple and don't be scared to be creative!

xoxo,

patty lauren

Hydration! It is one of the most vital things we can do for ourselves. When we are hydrated, our body and mind perform better. However, when we are dehydrated we can feel the effects in almost every facet of our life - from our body to our mood and how we concentrate.

But, let's face it - drinking the daily recommended amount of water (1/2 our bodyweight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 200lbs, you need to be drinking 100oz in water) can be a task. It takes mindfulness and dedication, but once you get into the habit of drinking more water, it becomes a part of your daily routine.

I'm sharing my top 3 favorite tried and true water bottles to help you succeed and stay hydrated all day long!

For the Newbie: QuiFit

If you are trying to get on the hydration game and need a little motivation, this BPA free water jug is a great first choice. Broken down by time increments, you can gauge how well you are doing on your water intake as the day progresses. In two sizes, you can fit it up once and have your daily water goal at your fingertips. Ranging from a little over $15 to $20 and coming in a variety of colors, it's a no brainer to help you get started.

For Home & the Gym: Hydrojug

Most days, this is the water bottle I have on hand. I purchased the handy carrying sleeve to help make transport even easier and keep it cold. For $19, I love that it holds all of my water I need to drink for the day and it comes in a ton of amazing colors so not only is it functional, but stylish, too!

For Fitness Classes: ThermoTank

Very similar to the S'well brand, the ThermoTank comes in with the same efficiency and design for a lower price point at less than $25 for the 17oz model. This is my go-to for a hot yoga sash or a group fitness class. My water stays SO COLD and it's easy to toss in my bag and go.

Regardless if you go for function or style, the main thing is you are consistently hydrating your body to the amount it needs. I promise once you get into the habit, you will be able to tell how much hydration effects your whole body and mind.

xoxo,

patty lauren