Moving My Company in the Right Direction!

So I mentioned in my recent DVD review for the Extreme Burn DVD that I was hoping to start some sort of fitness revolution in the workplace. At the time I was kidding around and figured that it was a long shot…but guess what?! I did! Today began our new (and first) wellness program. I had once heard that our office had put on weight loss programs before, but only could muster a dozen people at a time. So of course I had defy the impossible and I rallied 41 people in our company to take on my fitness challenge–that is close to 50% of our O’ahu office and 31% of the whole company *brushin’ my shoulder off* Who knew I had so much influence! bwahahahah. Most importantly, I am so excited to help these 41 people on their personal journeys towards living a healthier life. Take a sneak peek at the video I made to get people pumped :

This 10-week fit challenge does have a pot of gold at the end with the big reveal happening at our company holiday party, but the goal is to get everyone in the office thinking more about their health than the Leonard’s Malasadas, which are evenly dispersed amongst the desks–ugh. With 41 people comes 41 different goals and body types, so to conquer all the fitness and health confusion I’ve made myself accessible to each person hoping to help target all their specific goals. It’s definitely going to be a busy 10 weeks, but so rewarding. I’ll keep you updated on our company’s progress!

On the note of progress…I am 3.5 weeks out from my competition! I’m feeling great and still in a good mood; the carbs haven’t gotten the best of me yet! I am still having fun in the kitchen and came up with a pumpkin cheesecake ice cream! It was so delicious and filling I made seconds and thirds…well, I did eat them at my designated times. And when I’m not eating ice cream I am practicing my posing and “night walk”.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

(I don’t have a picture…because I ate it that quickly!)
Damages:
150 Calories  22 Carbs  0 Fat  16 Protein 6g Fiber

Ingredients:

.5 Cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese
.5 Cup of Water
3/8 Cup of Pure Pumpkin
1.3 TBSP of Cheesecake Jello Fat Free/Sugar Free mix
1 TSP Guar Gum
5 Ice Cubes
1.5 TSP No Calorie Sweetener
Pumpkin Pie Spice to Taste
Directions:
1. Blend Cottage Cheese and Water together (this helps break down the cottage cheese)
2. Add in Pumpkin, Cheesecake Jello, Guar Gum, sweetener, ice cubes, Pumpkin Pie Spice
3. Blend and freeze
4. If you have an Ice Cream Maker you can let it churn for 20 minutes, or you can put it in the freezer and stir it on occasion to get the consistency that you’d like
So once you’ve made your Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream you have to get your Push Ups in! I’m on Day 14 and wanted to share a video of two of Brendan’s friends who did their push ups!
Keep sending your videos! I love them 😀 You can take them anywhere…my next place will probably be Sam’s Club!
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Pumpkin Cheesecake and Push Ups

It’s been 8 days since Brendan left for Ranger School and I have been keeping up with my push-ups–We all have! Quickly, I just want to say a quick thank you to all my close family and friends who have been sending me their push up videos. It means so much to me, and I know when he sees all the support he has he’ll be blown away! And for those of you who are waiting until the push ups are at more strenuous numbers, I can’t wait to see the videos.

Aside from all that hard work, I’ve been happily slaving away in my kitchenette testing out a few different concoctions. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the screw ups, but I couldn’t help but get into the spirit of Fall by putting a bit of pumpkin into every recipe I made. From pancakes to pumpkin cheesecake, and then a pumpkin milkshake–I have definitely been enjoying myself!

Now I’ve been asked my some how I continue to stay on track when there is all this fabulous food around. To be honest, at one point I couldn’t. Well I did, but I was miserable. My first competition diet was strict and I only ate 1200 calories–you don’t have to tell me, I know, that is so little. (FYI, I didn’t count my veggies.) Nevertheless this time around I have made my diet a lifestyle. I have kept in gluten, dairy, and whenever I want something I make a healthier version calculating my macro nutrients carefully so that everything is accounted for. It isn’t easy, but I’ve had such a great time coming up with recipes that my whole family can enjoy. Making my diet enjoyable (and eating quite a bit more) has left mind at ease and keeps me constant…and most importantly (to me) I’m keeping that hard earned muscle on me! Although my diet is stricter than most, I do have some rules I live by in the off-season:

1) Every meal should contain protein: turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, steak (only twice a week), 2 protein powder scoops

2) Eat fibrous carbs whenever you like!: Carrots, squash, spinach, green, yellow and red peppers, kale, broccoli, green beans, and mushrooms

3) Eat healthy fats 3x a day: 1 tsp of flaxseed oil, .5 avocado, nuts, edamame

4) Eat Starchy carbs with every meal (if you’d like–you don’t have to) except after 6/7pm: Sweet potato, brown rice, oatmeal, Ezekiel Bread

5) Eat fruit only in the morning, before and/or after workout.

6) Avoid processed foods, sugar, and sweets…and make your own variations of whatever “junk” food you crave

7) Drain fat from meat when cooked

8) Drink a gallon of water each day!

There are many more basic rules that I try to live by, but these are a few to get started in the right direction. It’s amazing when you just make a few changes to your diet how much more your body can grow. I recently gave these rules to a friend of mine and in a matter for a few weeks he had dropped 6lbs! Very proud of him!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 lb of fat free cream cheese

2 Egg Whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 TBSP Cinnamon

1/4 Cup of Almond Milk

1/2 Cup of Truvia

1 Cup of Pumpkin

Optional: 2 Scoops of Vanilla Protein Powder

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Spray pie pan with non-stick cooking spray

4. Pour ingredients and cook for 45 minutes

5. Let Cheesecake cool in fridge for 4 hours

6. Cut into 6 slices. Enjoy!

Damages for 1/6 of pie:

Without Protein:

93 Calories  8g Carbs  0g Fat  12g Protein

With Protein:

135 Calories  9g Carbs  1g Fat  20g Protein

Get going on those push ups!

Pumping Iron with a Dash of Cinnamon

Good Evening Fit Junkies (and people I love, oh so much!)

It has been a hectic few weeks and I was surprised to see that I was already 7.5 weeks out! (If someone could figure out how to make time stand still, please let me know!) It’s been a month of change and all sorts of excitement for the Guss Family, and with everyone dispersing at the end of the summer I am saddened that our time together is coming to an end. My mom, who decided to finally pursue her dream of getting a degree, went back for her third year at Windward Community College, Madison has declared a major in Graphic Design while she continues her jewelry and design business (if you need a gift for a friend or yourself, she has beautiful work—I’m her walking mannequin), Zachary has just moved to Japan for his fall semester in Tokyo, and my dad lucked out having me as his right wing (wo)man at his company. It’s like bring your child to work day…but EVERY day! It’s been great to spend one-on-one time together, and nothing beats morning car rides talking about life.

With everyone getting down to business, I have been keeping up with my 4:30AM lifting regimen and lunchtime cardio. Last week, I had quite the scare as every time I stood up I would start to black out. This wasn’t while I was lifting, but once I started to get into my day I couldn’t stand up without holding on to a piece of furniture. Trying to figure out what I was missing in my diet, I came to trace it back to an iron deficiency. During my last competition prep I ate red meat at least once a week, and since moving home (where I cook whatever everyone else will eat) I completely cut out any sort of red meat from my diet. Since I do eat very clean and get all my vitamins and minerals in daily, I was surprised to have such a drastic change in my body. I put my iron hypothesis to the test and went out to have a steak…my mouth still waters at the thought. Ever since then I haven’t had any blackouts and my energy level is back up to normal. Thank goodness!

Over the weekend I finally started baking again (which is very hard to do while your house in under construction) and came up with my scrumptious Cinnamon Protein Bread. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, and also since receiving my NEW dehydrator in the mail, I’ll be in our semi-functional kitchen making cinnamon jerky and cinnamon bread at all hours of the day.

I’d give up sleep to be hanging out with my dehydrator—that is how excited I am! Anywhoooo, the recipe for the Cinnamon Protein Bread:

Cinnamon Protein Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

3/4C of Oat Flour (Can be made by grinding up oats)

4 scoops of Vanilla Protein Powder

1/2 Cup of Truvia

1 TSP of Baking Powder

1 TBSP of Cinnamon- I love cinnamon in everything I eat!

1/2 Cup of Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt

3 Egg Whites

You’ll need Non-stick spray and 8×8 pan.

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. Mix dry ingredients (Oat Flour, Protein Powder, Truvia, Baking Powder, Cinnamon) in a large bowl. Stir!

3. Slowly add in Greek Yogurt then Egg Whites. Mix well.

4. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mixture into pan, then put into oven for 12 minutes.

5. When cooled, split the pan of Cinnamon Bread into 8 pieces. (Yes, you’re portion is going to be huge!)

The Damages:

Calories per Square: 125 Calories  Fat: 2g  Carbs: 10g  Protein: 18g  Sodium: 62mg

Aside from the cooking and cutting (diet), I am heading back to Georgia to say good-bye to Brendan one last time before he heads to Ranger School. He will be graduating from IBOLC (training) next Thursday, and has been working hard to physically and mentally prepare for the next 61 days of his life (xx crossing my fingers xx).

Brendan is on the right!

Since I know some of you don’t know what Ranger School entails, it is an intense 61-day combat leadership course, which has been called the “toughest combat course in the world.” There are three phases (of hell), which include food and sleep deprivation and an average of 20-30lbs lost. If you’ve ever met Brendan, you’d know that he doesn’t have even 5 lbs to lose! The graduation rate is about 50%, including the cadets which recycle and go through each or one of the phases again. To make matters worse (for me!), we won’t be talking except for the 8 hour break he gets between phases. AHHHHH, I couldn’t hate the situation more, but I’ve been staying positive and strong for the both of us. Due to all his hard work and perseverance through school, I have decided to commit myself to 61 days of push ups. For each day he is in the field I will match him with push ups. For example, on day 44 I’ll do 44 push ups (on top of all my training). I am not sure if I will take a break during my reps, but I will do my best to complete each daily set without stopping. By the end of the 61 days, we will both be stronger physically and mentally, and ready to take on our next adventure. If you’d like to join me for my 61-days of push ups or even commit to another exercise that challenges you, we start on September 10th!

Here was this morning’s LEG workout:

5 minute warm-up on Rowing Machine

Superset:

Seated Leg Curl

Leg Extention

Superset:

Adductor

Walking Dumbbell lunges

Superset:

Lying Leg Curl

Abductor

Stiff Legged Dead Lift

Superset:

Leg Press

Calve Raises

 

8 Weeks! Bring it On!

A Numbers Game

At the end of the day part of this journey is solely a numbers game. How many calories I took in, how many calories I burned, how many were delicious fats, starchy carbs, muscle-building protein, and how many I’d like to pretend I never had. Yes, I have those days too! To help keep on track I use a food tracking app on my smartphone called MyFitnessPal. There are many calorie counting apps out there, but what I like about this app in particular is that it brings together calorie tracking with your own personal support group. You can add friends and cheer them on as you both reach your own health and fitness goals. Now, obviously being a supportive friend is important, but lets just take a second and talk about accountability! Hey, hey, we all need to stay accountable and when you know your best friend is taking a look at what you put in your mouth each day, you may want to take a step away from that extra cookie. (And if you’re in the middle of eating that cookie right now…just put it down…yes, PUT THE COOKIE DOWN–I promise, you’ll thank me later!) Accountability is the key to success, but more important is the accountability to yourself. We all want to succeed and apps like these make it easier to stay on track and stay motivated. Although I am a big promoter of the smartphone food trackers, you don’t need an iPhone, Blackberry, or Droid to help you reach your goals. You can actually access these same sites on the internet…and “old” case scenario, you can take a pen and paper and jot it all down like we did in the 1980s (obviously, I asked my mom).

To help me stay accountable and to make my journey as transparent as possible you can follow my diet at:http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/diary/raquelguss. I know with a support group that includes each one of you, I’ll work extra hard to set a good example and not have many (or hopefully any) slip ups. To start, I won’t even buy the cookies!

Please feel free to follow me, or even join me at http://www.myfitnesspal.com. We can motivate each other while we reach both of our goals!

If you have any healthy recipes that you’d like to share please pass them along. I love trying new things, and I’m sure everyone would like a healthy recipe to add to their repertoire! If I can’t incorporate the recipe into my current diet, be sure that I’ll be diving into it as soon as my competition is over.

103 days and counting…

Here we go AGAIN!

Here are some pictures from my last competition. This journey is all about learning from your past and making better choices for the future. I can’t wait for you to see my transformation from my last competition to this one!

XO,

RG

Final Week…Just Keep Swimming…

Let’s just start with this: I didn’t think it was going to be this hard! I mean HARD! People warned me, but maybe I figured I was invincible. I kept thinking that it couldn’t be that bad. Sunday started my low/no-carb days, and I continued to feel strong. I had just finished my first photo shoot the day before with Coach A., and then Sunday brought more fun with Pro-Bodybuilders coming to critique all the work that I’d done–my physique! I was high on life heading into this final week, but it wasn’t until today (my third no-carb day) that I want to crawl under a table and start crying. I haven’t decided whether it’s my hectic schedule with work and two final exams, or if it’s just the food–but man do I feel weak and overwhelmed. I keep hearing people cheer me on, telling me that it’ll all be worth it, but it wasn’t until my close friend Missy told me a story about swimming 100 100s.

While she was in high school, her coach made her do 100 100m sprints nonstop. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and she had to do each 100 in 1:20. Now 1:20 is a pretty fast pace to do 100 100s in so it was very difficult. At first, it was okay and she began to get into the groove, but when she started to get into the 30s she was falling fast. She had only ate three crackers that morning before practice because she could only swim on an empty stomach. Feeling like complete sh!t, she kept going. All she had to do to quit was touch the wall at 1:21–the feat wasn’t going to win her a prize or make her a BIG DEAL, but it was a personal goal for her! So admidst all of the pain, tears, hard work, she kept pushing through, repeating “this is only temporary.” Today she still remembers the moment she finished the 100th 100.

With that…just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…