Favorite Things: Smoothie Recipes!

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I have had several requests for some of my favorite pre and post workout smoothies, and some things in between! So today I decided to share some of my most popular ones, their purpose and how darn good they taste.

My preferred supplements are:

In the interest of transparency, if there are promo codes or links I will explain the commissions/etc and affiliations I have with any of the products.

  • True Nutrition custom blend 50% Soy, 35% Pea, 15% Rice in flavors Toasted Coconut or Vanilla Cake Batter (You are going to get the most bang for your buck if you buy in bulk. True Nutrition is one of the best companies I’ve seen for protein powders that are custom to your needs- the only downside is that if you’re not well versed in nutrition and rely heavily on protein powders for your protein you won’t create a sufficient micronutrient blend, but if you follow these recipes you’ll get a good dose of optimal health. My friend Cory has a brand rep code that I use for 5% off, VEGNUT100, he does not get paid for the use of his code but he does get additional discounts when it is used.
  • Vega Preworkout (I rarely take preworkouts, but when I do this is my go-to. I love Vega as a company, I have known the founder for many years. Many of their products are good! I am not affiliated with Vega in any way.)
  • Hempforce (Delicious, amazing, I use them primarily for their BCAAs. This stuff is crack. I spend way too much money on supplements, haha. I am not affiliated with ONNIT.)

Pre Workout Smoothies:

My pre work out smoothies and blends center around three simple rules 1. Lower on the calorie spectrum, 2. Simple to make (no difficult to find ingredients) and the most important, 3. Taste. You want to select blends or foods that are easy to digest, that provide quick bursts of energy.

Lemon Lime Sublime (Preworkout Supp):

  • 1 scoop Vega Sport Pre Workout Lemon Lime
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Ice & Blend

Green Smoothie (Natural/No Preworkout Supp)

For those days I run out of preworkout or don’t feel like feeling jittery. This smoothie is absolutely delicious and fills me with tons of energy, the trade off is that it is higher in calories and sugars than my Lemon Lime Sublime. I save this for intense cardio days.

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 large apple, cored, any variety
  • 1 banana
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats (Optional, if not soaked the smoothie can be grainy in texture)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Post Workout Smoothies

The Snoopy

  • 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • Truenutrition Toasted Coconut (low carb day) protein powder
  • 1 cup vanilla Soymilk (Or almond milk of your choice)
  • Water & Ice

The Jacked Snoopy (Extra Protein)

  • 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • Protein Powder of choice
  • 1 cup Soymilk (Or almond milk of your choice)
  • ¼ block of silken tofu
  • Banana
  • ½ cup Berry Cherry blend
  • Water & Ice

Cinderella

  • Protein Powder
  • ¼ cup rolled oats (pre soaked, I usually throw it in some water before I go to the gym)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Agave (Or Honey)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon (fresh is best!)

This will kick your sweet tooth right in the &$#!

Fruit Bat

  • ½ Cup mangoes
  • LS Vibe Vanilla
  • ½ Cup Blueberries
  • 1 scoop Vanilla or Chocolate Protein
  • 1 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk

Recovery Smoothie

Chocolate Bliss

  • One scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp BCAAs
  • 1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tsbp Cacao Nibs (optional)
  • ½ Banana
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter or PB2 (get the chocolate…just do it. Powdered peanut butter to taste, it is lower in calories than regular peanut butter)

Ice & Blend

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Thoughts and Things: Life after 120#

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I hear it all of the time when I’m out and the conversation starts up, “You’re young with a great metabolism,” “You’re blessed with good genes,” “You’re so skinny/fit/etc,” “A person like me can never get a body like that.” If none of those fit the particular variety, insert some form of you don’t understand what it’s like to be overweight/out of shape.

Most of the time my past and my weight isn’t relevant to the conversation, and despite the slight pang of insult I feel I have a tendency to smile and say thank you. Despite the way the comment generally comes out, the person means it as a compliment. Compliments are still hard to accept. That’s something you don’t hear very often, and something nobody tells you. These conversations are usually in passing, or someone sees me out doing something active and will say something as a passerby. If I have the opportunity, I will always say with a warm smile, “Yes, yes you can. It wasn’t long ago that I was 120 pounds heavier.”

I wanted this blog post to be about things nobody tells you or prepares you for when you’re losing weight and after you lose the weight. Just a few things for now…

Losing The Weight

You will change…and people close to you will resent you…

Weight loss isn’t just about the physical change. Once you truly commit to losing the weight you start to go through a profound spiritual awakening. The first part of the process is when you start eliminating the shit from your diet. Eliminating processed, Chemical shit storm, barely constitutes as food junk garbage is essential to your success. Once you’ve kicked it for a while…surprise, surprise you start to feel better.

You’re not a sick mess anymore. You have more energy, so you start feeling better. When you start feeling better you start becoming happier. If you’ve added fitness or a gym to your routine and you make it past that first 32 days and form a habit, you start getting into the groove of your routine. You get better, stronger, faster, fitter, healthier, happier and you’re on a roll- and people will hate it.

Back when you were eating shit and feeling like shit you shared a common interest with others who eat shit and feel like shit. They may not have gotten themselves to the same point you did weight or health wise, but now that you’ve made a lifestyle change, they’ve lost their common interest with you. They start to resent you and you face remarks like “You’re going to the gym? Again??” or “You can have just ONE slice of pizza.” or “You’re losing too much weight, you should eat a burger.” My best advice to you is to just GET RID of all of these people. Stay busy, stay focused and don’t lose sight of your goal. We all know the old adage, “Misery loves company.” Refuse to be a part of misery. You’ll start attracting like people.

When I lost my first 80lbs I was still dating the guy I gained all of my weight with. He started fights with me all of the time over my food choices. He eventually broke up with me saying “I’d changed.” And he was absolutely right. I had changed, I wasn’t even sad, didn’t even cry, told him goodbye and was on my way to a better, healthier life.

However…

I don’t want this part of the process to scare you. Because even though you’ll find people that are a giant rain cloud of negativity in your life, you’ll also find your rainbows. People that jump on board and are ready to take charge and help you on your journey. For me this person was my mom. She was behind me 100% when I made a change in diet, and she and my dad were the first to keep me motivated when I finally decided to commit to the gym. They were and remain an amazing support system for me. Even better, the friends I had to abandon in the beginning, many of them have made their way back into my life. I serve as a point of inspiration for them and I’m incredibly honored to do so. They come to me with questions and ask for advice and I’m happy to help them on their way to a healthier life. The going out to eat gets easier, the gym schedule is just another part of life, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower (hopefully you do those things daily…)

You constantly underestimate yourself

Coming from a life of being overweight, you will constantly underestimate yourself. For me it’s estimating how long and far I can run, or how fast I can run it. I guestimated I’d be able to run a 10 minute mile the other day, I ran it in 8:13. Another way I underestimate myself is when I go clothes shopping. Back from my days of being 280 and size 18 pants I absolute dread shopping for clothes. I maybe do it once a year. When I do though, for some reason I always grab a 10/12 pants size. I was in that range for so long of my weight loss journey that I constantly forget I’m in between a 7-8 and an 8-9 depending on the brand. It’s always a pleasant surprise.

However…

The thing that really becomes an eye opener for you is when you do underestimate yourself..and you completely smash whatever goal you’re going for. It’s a reminder of where you were and where you are now. It also serves as a reminder of where you never want to be again. For some, they can lose a significant amount of weight and gain it right back. I can never be one of those people. The first time I gained my weight, I couldn’t even fathom that I was that overweight. I always thought I was still “okay” and “skinny from the side” (…lol) I didn’t take a lot of pictures and when I look back at pictures my mom saved for me I’m blown away and think “did I really look like that?” It serves as a safe guard. I SEE when I’m starting to gain weight, and the second I do, I know exactly what to do to take it right back off again.

Can’t take a f#$*ing compliment.

I hear this critique all of the time, “Just take the f&^$ing compliment Tai.” It still shocks, surprises and puts me on guard when I’m given a compliment. Particularly ones about beauty. I’ve never truly felt like I was a beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I tell myself I’m beautiful all of the time. A beautiful person, a beautiful soul, a beautiful human being, but as far as being one of those girls that gets approached in a bar or at a coffee shop, that’s never been me, and it still takes getting used to. I always heard “she’s got a cute face, if only she lost some weight.” So when someone approaches me and uses words like “Stunning, Gorgeous, Beautiful, Hot,” or what have you I always raise an incredulous eye brow and wonder when the last time they had an eye exam was.

Not being able to take a compliment has left me with a bit of social awkwardness. Blogging and facebook is difficult for me. I don’t want to post pictures of myself. I always see places for improvement. Where my muscles could use more definition or separation, or if I ate too much salt or splurged on junk food and my abs start to disappear. Whenever I do get a compliment on social media I try my hardest to say thank you and move on from it.

However,

The people that have reached out to me, believed in me, complimented me have given me an incredible boost of self esteem. Changing my life from shit to healthful has taken me from being an extreme introvert who barely left the house to being someone people want to be around, and it’s been difficult to adjust to that. But I am trying and getting better at it every day. All the aforementioned issues were so much worse in the beginning than they are now. It gets easier.

Stay the course…

-Tai Rae

Product Review: Fit Four

FitfourI would like to start off by saying, I am in no way being paid by fit four for this review, nor am I receiving any kind of discount. I just happened to find a product I LOVED and wanted to share.

I’ve been through a lot of lifting gloves. I’ve paid anywhere from $10-$50 dollars for a pair and most of the time, the cheaper gloves lasted me longer than the boasted about “state of the art, backed by science and top fitness researcher” types. (haha)

Being plant based, I wont wear leather, which can be somewhat problematic for me when it comes to finding a good pair of gloves. I end up with either cloth, or a cheap unidentifiable material that may or may not be rubber based that ends up disintegrating during my lifts.

For Christmas this year, my swolemate bought me a pair of Fit Fours, and boy did I fall in love. The model she purchased was the The Gripper. When I first opened them I thought they were going to be horrible because of their design. They gloves actually form to fit your hands and because of their design they don’t tug in between your fingers, they surprisingly don’t slip, and they provide a callous guard without making your hands hotter than Mount Doom in Mordor on a sunny day. I regrettably lost one of my fit fours, and had to order another pair, but these by far are my favorite lifting glove I’ve ever come across and they’re reasonably cheap.

Better yet, no animal was harmed in their making 🙂

Food Prepping!

Foodprep

I wanted to blog about a huge factor that determines your success in the gym.

Nutrition: How you eat can account for up to 70% of your results. If you work your tail off in the gym, then go home and eat processed, sugary, salt-filled junk and wash it down with soda you’re going to negate the hard work you put in that day.

One simple, effective way to stay on track is to meal prep.

The concept behind meal prepping is that you cook your meals for the entire week (or a couple days if you’re like me and prefer your food a bit fresher) and either store them in the fridge or freeze them.

The benefits of meal preparation are countless.

1. Accountability: You are in absolute control of everything that goes into your body. This assists in keeping you accountable,. You will know if you are eating too much or too little because all of your meals have been predetermined for the week,

2. Control: The concept of controlling what goes into your body is empowering. You measure all of your meals so you know exactly how many calories and what the macros are in each meal. No surprises.

3. Convenient: You’ll never find yourself in a situation where your hunger dictates your food choices. Everything has be prepared, all you have to do is grab, reheat and go!

You can cook massive amounts for the week or you can cook about 3 days worth (that’s how I prep). Whichever is most convenient for you!

5 WAYS TO JUMP-START YOUR MOTIVATION!

5310If you’re anything like me…and a good portion of humanity, Motivation is a hard thing to master. There are some things in life that I’m highly motivated to do, others not so much. So for those hard to do things in life, I’ve come up with five strategies to jump-start your motivation for fitness.

 

Step One: Have a plan

Winging it almost never works. What type of person you are determines your approach for this step but it’s safe to say that a vast majority of people can’t visualize something unless they see it written down or typed out. First identify what some things are you can do today that lead to a healthier lifestyle.

An example would be opting for water in place of sodas or juices.

Developing a plan has a couple different steps. Firstly, you want to identify your Long term Goal. We’ll use the example of “I want to have abs.” Now you must implement REALISTIC (this is important) short term goals to get to that long term goal. A good rule of thumb is to have S.M.A.R.T goals.

P E C I F I C

E A S U R A B L E

T T A I N A B L E

E A L I S T I C

I M E L Y

It may look something like this

 

Long Term Goal: I want to have abs (Not very specific)

How do I reach this goal: (We’ve specified and now have made it measurable, it is attainable and realistic) I need to get my body fat percentage down to 14% or lose 27lbs

Short Term Goal 1: Research Nutrition and exercise programs

Short Term Goal 2: (We have made the goal timely) Lose 2.25 pounds each week for

Long Term Goal: 12 weeks.

 

For my particular goals, I don’t need extreme detail but if you’d like a longer list and that helps you visualize better then by all means do so! Just don’t let your list become overwhelming. Now the key to the success of the plan is to have it posted somewhere you see it every day. I like to tape mine to my mirror or save it as a phone background.

The important thing here is to set specific dates, mark these dates on your calendar, make a big deal out of them.

Step Two: Develop a reward system.

Your rewards are going to be different from everyone else’s. Let’s say in order to reach your goal you have given up your daily trip for coffee. As an alternative, you can place that money in a jar and at the end of each week, buy yourself something. Whenever I reach a short term goal, (let’s say I lose 3lbs in my first week) I will treat myself to a new pair of workout leggings or a pair of gloves. Your reward system can be in the form of a cheat meal, however I urge caution when it comes to this tactic, too many indulgences can be counterproductive. But if you have accomplished something amazing, feel free to treat yourself as long as it doesn’t hinder your goals!

 

Step Three: Track your progress

I mentioned in step one it was important to set dates. This is an effective way of tracking your progress. If you’re not hitting your short term goals you need to go over your regimen and be HONEST with yourself on where you are going wrong.

If you’re unsure, perhaps speak with a trainer. Most trainers are willing to sit down and talk with someone and offer them a little bit of advice. Or if you have a trainer and you’re not seeing results, you need to be honest with them about what you’re doing outside of training so they can help you.

Pictures are a good way to track progress. I say good (and not great) because a transformation can be very impactful but our bodies go through different looks at different times of the day. In the mornings my stomach tends to be flat and my abs show, by 5pm I’m fuller and depending on what I ate, either retaining water or slightly bloated from the food.

Measurements are great because you can see where you’re growing and shrinking and have something measurable to record for your progress!

 

Step Four: Holding yourself accountable.

Before you get started, write down any potential excuse you may have for not working out or not eating healthy. Make a giant list and come up with anything you can think of. Here are some top ten excuses, some of them I have used myself.

 

  1. I don’t have time today
  2. I’ll workout extra hard tomorrow
  3. It’s okay to take a day off
  4. I don’t feel like going
  5. (Women) I’m on my period
  6. I can’t find a babysitter
  7. One cookie won’t hurt
  8. I’ll only eat this today to make up for the extra calories or I’ll eat healthy the rest of the day
  9. Everyone else is eating [Insert food item here] at work today
  10. I’ll start again on Monday

 

For the next step, your job is to come up with your realistic answer as to why that excuse is just that…an excuse. Answer them in first person so that way when you find yourself thinking of that excuse you can shut your bargaining brain down with some tough love.

  • I don’t have time today. Everyone has 24 hours in a day, I’m no different. I will give up my hour of tv tonight in order to make time for my workout. Next time I know I’m going to have a busy day I will rearrange my workout schedule accordingly or wake up earlier in order to get my workout done.
  • I’ll work extra hard tomorrow. This is just a bargaining tactic. I should be giving my full effort for every workout I do. I am going to go and do my workout today because an extra hard workout never comes into fruition.
  • It’s okay to take a day off. It’s absolutely okay to take a rest day, but today is not my rest day. Why do I want to take this day off? Is it because I genuinely need to recover or just because I don’t feel like going?
  • I don’t feel like going. I may not feel like going, but I know I’m going to feel worse if I do not go. If I fall off of my program before I develop a habit, I am more likely to fall off of my program entirely. I feel great after I workout and have never regretted going to the gym
  • Women: I’m on my period. I’m going to hop out of first person for a moment with this one: For women how have a heavy cycle it is fine to take that first day off, but do not let your cycle be an excuse to take off the whole week (there are of course, exceptions to this for those with medical conditions). For the rest of us, let’s suck it up, find our blackest pair of pants, wear a panty liner and a tampon, throw a sweater around our waist while we irrationally fear a leak that probably won’t happen.
  • I can’t find a baby sitter. I am more than capable of working out at home with my kids. I have a back up at home workout (everyone should at least have 1-2 in their arsenal for those days everything just goes wrong, they happen) and I will take the time to do it. I will set my kids up with an activity while I do my workout, or wait until I put them down to bed. No matter what I’m going to sweat today.
  • One cookie wont hurt. Do I have the self control to just eat one? No? Then I’m not going to. I spent 45 minutes of my life today working out at the jump for the body and health that I want, I don’t want to unravel it all for the sake of a cookie. Also, if I eat this, my meal later will suffer as a result.
  • I’ll only eat this today to make up for the extra calories or I’ll eat healthy the rest of the day.How honest am I being with myself right now? High fat or unhealthy foods tend not to be very satisfying. Am I still going to overeat today? Is that healthy for me to binge at one meal? No.
  • Everyone else is eating [Insert food item here] at work today. I do not have to eat food to fit in. My friends, family and coworkers love me and enjoy my company regardless. I want to accomplish my goals and one day of not eating pizza isn’t going to kill me. There will be time for pizza on my cheat day.
  • I’ll start again on Monday. I saved this excuse for last because this has been the detriment to many-a-gym goer who is trying to change his or her life. I’m also slipping out of first person to explain to you why this mindset is a horrible one to have. Monday does not exist. This magical world of monday is nothing more than a bargaining tool to be used as an excuse after you’ve missed a day or two…or three and this gives you the green light to just say “fuck it” and give up for the rest of the week. Stop breaking up your workouts by specific days of the week and break them up by your specific workouts. Here is how I break up my workouts: A, B, Cardio, Rest Day, A, C, Cardio, Rest Day

 

3 days on, 1 day off. If I have something coming up, I start to shift my workouts around to accommodate and I never have to worry about a monday again. If I do happen to miss two days in a row, no big deal I just pick up where I left off. Do yourself a favor and never fall into the monday trap. There’s nothing magical or special about Monday. Start today.

 

Step Five: 12 Weeks

12weeks

I’ve read research that claims it takes 21 days to create a habit, 32 days to create a habit, and what have you. While various research may either validate or negate those claims, I do know one thing for certain.

12 weeks is where the magic happens. This image is more accurate than most think. During 12 weeks you are developing new, healthier habits. Most people get discouraged when they look in the mirror and search aimlessly for changes day to day that we may not even notice. But after 12 weeks of staying consistent you will notice the difference.

The most important thing about staying motivated is to always remember why you started and where you’d like to be. Nobody can do the work for you. There’s no magic pill you can take, it takes hard work and dedication and you have to prepare yourself for that. Don’t rush in blind, find what works for you and do it.

 

Good Luck (: