AuthorBrennan Jenkins

Project Tighten Up: Update 3 & Macular Degeneration Week

Can you believe that we are at the start of week 4 of Project Tighten Up?  I know I can’t!  Who’s been going strong still?  Don’t forget to share your progress at the bottom of this post!

My trainer is on leave for two weeks (woe is me!) but I have a trick up my sleeve.  My local Crossfit gym, Crossfit Kensignton, has a fantastic trial offer where you can try 3 weeks of crossfit for only $50!  I have always wanted to try it so this is the perfect time.  Not sure what crossfit is?  Check this out:

Hardcore yeah?  That’s why I think I’ll LOVE it.  I’m really excited and a little bit nervous!  I do similar stuff with my trainer so it shouldn’t be too hard.  Right?  Right??  Eep. I have my introductory session tonight so I will do a review post later in the week.

I am also focusing on being kind to my eyes as well as my thighs (boom tish) this week (22 – 28 May) as it is Macular Degeneration Week.  I’m extremely interested in eye health as, not many of you may know this, but I wear glasses all day every day at work!  Yup – I’m a regular four eyes!

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss and severe vision loss in Australia, affecting an estimated one in seven people.  Although the condition may not make itself apparent until later in life, preventative measures can be started much earlier.

Grant Fisher, Budget Eyewear National Eyecare Director says: “AMD already affects a large number of people in Australia, and as the population ages, more and more people will suffer. There are a number of steps everyone can take right now to limit the onset of the condition, some of which are as simple as stopping smoking and wearing sunglasses in bright light. It’s also important to have regular eye tests. Medicare covers a visit to the optometrist every two years, so even if you are on a budget, there’s no excuse!”

Grant suggests focusing on nutritious food to help prevent the disease. A poor diet with a high level of fats and low-level of vitamins can make AMD worse, so give junk food a break, and make sure you are eating the right vitamins and minerals.

Research suggests that diets rich in carotenoids found in leafy green vegetables, such as raw carrot, broccoli and raw spinach can reduce the risk of AMD. A high-level boost of nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein may slow progression of the condition. Lutein is found in egg yolk, while zeaxanthin is found in small amounts in most fruits and vegetables. I also wrote a post last year about eye health – check it out here.

All of these foods are featured on my Project Tighten Up Meal Plan so whilst we are working on tightening up our bods we can also rest assured that we are doing good by our eyes too (all the better to SEE our progress with my dears!).

Eye tests are painless and can easily diagnose MD, and best of all they are free with the cost covered by Medicare. When was the last time you had your eyes tested?

How has your progress been over the last few weeks?  Also, has anyone tried Crossfit?

Project Tighten Up: Update 4 – Progress Photos

It’s been a crazy four weeks full of training and eating clean and it is now time to see what progress I have made! A lot of you have commented that I am brave for doing this but I read something interesting recently about motivation – if you do not put your goals out for others to see then you will most likely fail.  Letting others know that you are serious about your goals makes you want harder, because let’s face it, nobody wants to fail in front of an audience. I’m just doing it on a larger scale partly to spur myself on but also to show others that it can be done.  Yes, it’s hard, but it can be done.  :)

I wasn’t expecting spectacular results in the first four weeks as I am still getting into the swing of the new training regime and diet plan but I am quite happy with the progress.

I can see new definition in certain areas, particularly my back (hello line down my back – you weren’t there before!) and my abs, but my legs are still letting team awesome down.  But that’s okay – I realise I may never have the toned and perfect legs of my dreams, I just need to keep working hard and see where they end up!

One thing on the diet plan I am thinking of changing is my morning oats – I do love them and they are a great source of energy but they may be what is causing me bloating and discomfort…  For instance, I had an egg white omelette today instead of oats and have had no discomfort.  Win.  So, I will probably go back to quinoa porridge this week and see how that goes.

Apologies about the photo quality – I have been taking them on my phone and then used Paint to put them side-by-side.  Next time I’ll use photoshop for better quality! (Oh and I still don’t know how to ‘pose’ so you will have to put up with my awkwardness!)

 

Before – 4 weeks in

 

Before – 4 weeks in

 

Before – 4 weeks in

 

Before – 4 weeks in

Who’s still with me on Project Tighten Up?  Share your stories below in the comments! 

Clean Eats: Turkeyballs

I’ve been pretty slack on the recipe posts front.  I guess because I am eating so clean these days I think nobody wants to see the different ways I eat chicken breast – chicken breast with lemon, garlic & herbs, chicken breast with Moroccan seasoning, chicken breast with Portuguese seasoning… It’s really exciting stuff for you guys, I can’t imagine how you are containing yourselves right now!

But I thought I would do something a little more exciting this week for lunches.  I felt like living on the edge.  I felt experimental.  I felt dangerous.  I felt like gobbling down TURKEYBALLS.

Not literally  turkey testicles.  That’s just gross.  Do turkeys even have testicles?  BRB finding out…  Ew oh my goodness, they do!  And people EAT them!  And oh my god, there’s a Turkey Testicle Festival in the US!  I’m serious!  Google it!  After you read this, of course!

Ahem.  Sorry about that.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, turkeyballs.  I was really impressed with how these turned out!  I had 5 for lunch with brown rice and broccoli but I think that was way too much as I was extremely full afterwards so 3 or 4 balls per serving should be enough.

With the rice and broccoli the whole dish is about 450 calories but would be less if you went with less balls.

Ingredients (makes 3 – 4 servings)

500g lean turkey mince

1/2 cup of almond meal (you can use breadcrumbs if you like)

1 -2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (or one whisked egg)

1 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs

1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes (or chilli flakes to taste)

 

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients.

(Official apologies for poor quality photos… I used my iPhone)

Line a baking tray with baking paper and use a 30ml measuring cup to scoop out the mince and place the scoops on the baking tray.  Wet your hands and then roll and form each scoop of mince into a ball.

Place in the oven and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Mmmmmmm! They look appetising, don’t they?  ;-)

Okay how about now:

Slightly better, yeah?  Slightly blurry too but I apologised about the lack of photo quality earlier, k?!

What’s your favourite type of meatball – turkey, beef, pork, chicken or other?

 

Project Tighten Up: Update 5

It’s been a little while since my last Project TU update. I’ve still been following the plan but life has gotten in the way of updating this blog as often as I would like!

Two of the things that have gotten in the way lately are I’ve started studying to become a personal trainer and I’m also apart of a joint-venture in starting a weight loss directory called Weight Loss Pages (don’t forget to ‘like’ our Facebook page!).

I’m overjoyed to be following my passion and making steps to change my career. I think something that will set me apart from the rest as a trainer is that I have been in my clients shoes – I’ve lost weight and done the hard yards so will be able to give solid advice to them based on things that have worked for me. Would you let me train you? ;)

There was a small speed-bump in my Project TU journey though – I got sick on Monday and had to take additional rest days. So, I haven’t trained since last Saturday. That’s 4 days! Woe is me! But thank god, my awesomeness is almost at 100% capacity again and I’m smashing out a session with my trainer today (yay! She’s back! She’s back!).

I feel like my body is really changing now. There’s new definition and shape appearing every week and it’s so exciting! The best thing about this plan is that I get to eat a lot. I’m a hungry, hungry beast most of the time so this appeals to my interests greatly.

I’ve changed the meal plan slightly (as I do every 3-4 weeks anyway) as oats have turned on me. I had a hunch they would. I became very bloated and uncomfortable. I do miss them because I love porridge but I don’t miss that awful feeling.

I’ve also substituted the brown rice with quinoa as I’m concerned about the GI value of the brown rice. Some reports say it is high GI other say low. Personally, I don’t want to risk it.

Meal 1:

Gluten Free Muesli

 

I love this muesli! One thing though, the puffed rice and rice bran in it is not low GI but it is paired with other low GI items so that brings the overall GI of the meal down.

AND two scrambled egg whites with light cheese and chilli flakes (thanks Cooper – this is now my favourite part of the day!)

Meal 2:

Green apple and natural peanut butter

Meal 3:

Lean protein, quinoa and steamed broccoli

Turkey Larb – recipe coming soon!

Meal 4:

Double Barrel Nutrition WPI with skim milk, teaspoon of instant decaf coffee and a few drops of vanilla extract

Meal 5:

Lean protein, steamed vegetables and sweet potato

So, how is everyone else doing?  Still going hard?  I sure hope so! :)

Project Tighten Up: Update 6 – Fess Up Time

Bikini pics are coming on Saturday.  I can’t believe how quickly those 4 weeks just went by.  I really don’t feel ready for this…

I have only lost 1kg on the scales since last month but again, I really shouldn’t care what the scales think… I was saying to Nat the other day that it’s the only measure I can use (and abuse…) to judge my success as it’s not really feasible to wrap a tape measure around me once a week.  Nat is taking my measurements on Thursday so the ‘real’ results will be in then.

It’s time to fess up though – I had four days rest in a row this month as I was sick and I kind of went off my diet a little bit during that time.  I have also consumed alcohol on more occasions than usual.  My rule is only drink on special occasions like birthdays, weddings, hens nights etc but unfortunately I have broken my own rule and have drank on occasions outside of this.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t drink to EXCESS but nevertheless I broke my own rules.  Bad Amanda, BAD! ;)

I’m not perfect, even I sometimes don’t stick to my own program.  But in all honesty, when you are so strict on yourself for so long, sometimes your head is going to trip you up.  When you fall out of the ‘zone’ bad decisions are made.  Don’t think that it’s all about diet and exercise!  It’s far from it.  It’s an intense mental battle and you need to keep the upper-hand on yourself at all times!

Luckily, I’m back in the zone.  I have now re-focused and set my eyes on the prize.  I’ve been training very hard over the last 10 days or so after my break and my body is in a world of pain.  I actually don’t remember the last time I had DOMS this bad.  I wept like a baby when I had my massage yesterday.  Every part of me was sore.

When I get very sore like this I get magnesium into me straight away.  I also take glutamine to assist with energy and immune support (also has good effect on muscle recovery) but nothing helps those muscles like magnesium supplements.  They really make a difference, but er, a word of advice, they kind of block you up a bit if you take too much!

I’ve reduced my portion sizes too to give myself a bit of a kick up the butt.  My body doesn’t seem to be agreeing with the 1600 – 1700 cals plan so I’m dropping it back by a couple of hundred calories again.  As you know, I always switch things up when something stops working.  Don’t let yourself become stagnant!

The final thing that I am doing to get me over this hurdle is I have started taking CLA (check out Nat’s post here for more info).  It’s only been over the last week or so that that kilo has dropped so it could be the CLA but I won’t get a clearer picture of it’s success for another few weeks.  What I do know is that since I have been taking it my appetite has decreased.  A good thing!

So I’m a force to be reckoned with right now!  Let’s hope I’ve done enough to see a noticeable improvement on my progress pics from last month.

Project Tighten Up: Update 7 – Progress Photos

Guess what! I didn’t die. Isn’t that amazing? I had 3 solid days lying horizontally this week and there was one point there where I thought, my god, this is it, isn’t it? I don’t want to go on like this! Okay, I’m being melodramatic but I REALLY don’t cope well with being sick. ;)

So, finally, here are my progress pics 9 weeks into Project Tighten Up.

At the beginning of this journey I thought that I would have an entirely different result to what I have achieved so far. I thought that I would probably have abs by now, a sleak, long set of toned pins and a derrier so perky you could bounce a quarter off it.

But realistically, that was never going to happen. My body likes to do things real slow. That doesn’t mean that changes don’t happen but I am never going to be one of those 12 week transformation success stories that you see on bodybuilding.com. I’ve come to terms with that. So, it might take me 22 weeks instead. ;)

I think I did make some sort of progress this month. I did actually lose 11cm off my body all over so that has to account for something, right? The bulk of it was off my hips, navel and waist. Also, some off my arms. I have to upload my new measurements graph. I’ll do that next week. Promise!

Also, one more thing and then I’ll post the pics, I bought a pair of size ten stretchy jeans from Lonsdale today. SIZE 10. Can you believe that shit?? Either Lonsdale make a generous size 10 or I’m getting closer to my goals than I’ve realised, I’m not sure, but either way, I am happy as a kid in a candy store. Or as happy as a dieter in an organic fruit and veg shop.

Start – 2 mths in – 3 mths in

 

Start – 2 mths in – 3 mths in

 

Start – 2 mths in – 3 mths in

Start – 2 mths in – 3 mths in

Note: This post is dedicated to my masseuse Gary, who told me that my bikini was too big and unflattering and I should change it for the next shots. I did, Gary, are you happy NOW?

Project Tighten Up: Update 8 – Measurement Results & Testing 1RMs

Here’s a look at my measurement results this month:

(click image to enlarge)

I’m quite pleased with these results and even had a reasonable weight loss as well!  I definitely think this has something to do with the CLA as the weight only came off in the last week or so, but more on that in a later post.

Nat asked me to put my weight loss results in a graph to see if there was a pattern as I seem to lose a good amount some months and then other months I lose next to nothing.

I thought it was pretty interesting that my weight loss has a very clear zig zag pattern – just goes to show that some people (ie me) can’t expect a clear-cut loss of “x” amount month in month out. It can be very varied. And you have to be okay with that and acknowledge your success in any case to maintain motivation.

At first I used to get really down about how I wasn’t losing weight at a quick enough rate or I wasn’t hitting a set number of kilos that I had in my head month after month. But now the weight loss is really no longer that important to me. Whilst I have lost 17kg since Feb 10, the number I love more is the 66.5cm that I have shaved off from my entire body. We’re making new shapes here people! In a healthy and controlled way. :)

On another note: Lately, I’ve been more and more interested in strength training and powerlifting.  I think this has stemmed from doing CrossFit!   So I decided to have a go at testing my one repitition maximums (1RM) today. 1RM means the maximal weight that can be lifted once with good form in a given exercise.

I tested my squats and deadlifts. I used a smith machine as that is all I have available to me at the moment but I will also give this a go using a proper squat rack or free weights soon.

Squat

Warmed up with 24kg x 10;
44kg x 5;
54kg x 3

Then:

64kg x 1

Then decided I could probably do 69kg:

I need to work on a few things – flexibility, range of motion, depth… a whole range of things really but at least I know now what I’m working with. I will start a basic strength training program from scratch and work on technique, technique, technique!

Deadlift

Had to perform these in the smith machine but will also give these a go with free weights!

Warmed up with 34kg x 10;
54kg x 5;
74kg x 3

Then:

84kg x 1 (serious issues with my grip! Haha – “I’ll do it this way. No this way. No, wait, uh… this way.  Yeah.”)

Then decided I would give 89kg a go but I had poor form (came up on my toes):

Overall, I hit better numbers that expected but this means nothing when it comes to form, which needs a lot of work.  Can’t wait til I’m strong enough to lift more with excellent form!

 

Have you ever tested your 1RMs? What were your results?

To Compete or Not to Compete

… that is the question.

The 12 week challenge that I set myself is almost up.  I could continue on with that challenge, as I am still not at the desired body fat that I would like to be at, or I could set a new challenge for myself – compete in my first Sports Model Competition.

A Sports Model Comp or a “Bikini” comp is different to a body building or figure comp (what Charlotte is doing).  To quote the IFBB rules:

Judges will be looking for the girl who displays the best shape, symmetry and tone as well as being the best groomed in terms of hair, make up, tan, nails etc to complete the look.

This category will suit the girl who trains for perhaps aerobics/dance/boxing etc and trains for toned body but without the extra muscle required for our Figure competitions. Girls who are “curvy” or “slim” will all be competitive as judges will assess which girl whose shape and tone is best presented. This category would suit girls who are training to compete in Figure in the future.

I think this is something that really appeals to me.  I’m not looking to compete in figure or body building and the shape that I am after is very similar to that of a sports or bikini comp model.  So why not get the physique and then have a little fun with it, maybe even win some prizes, whilst I can?  :)

Now, there is a comp coming up in September but I doubt I will be ready by then so I think realistically I need to aim for March 2012.

I will be going to get a dexa scan in the next couple of weeks to find out my exact body fat and then that will help me determine how much body fat I will need to lose.  I’m guessing at the moment I would need to lose about 6 – 7%.  I hope the dexa scan doesn’t say it’s too much more than that!

Here’s some examples of what Sports Comp models look like:

Source: www.sculptlife.com.au

Source: flexr6.com/

Source: www.hardbody.com

New progress pics will be taken this weekend so I’ll be able to get some better judgement on how much work needs to be done!

What do you guys think, should I go for it? :D

Project Tighten Up: Update 9 – Progress Photos

I’m going to get REALLY embarrassed later on in this post.  REALLY embarrassed.  But more on that later…

So, it’s been 12 weeks since I embarked on the Project Tighten Up journey.  It’s been an exciting time and I’ve seen my body go through many changes.  I have really enjoyed keeping the photo log especially as when you can actually SEE the changes (as opposed to just a number on the scale or a measurement) you can really judge your success.  I encourage everyone to do it!

Publishing the photos on the blog though has been another story!  Every single time I get a nervous, sick feeling in my tummy.  It’s really not an enjoyable thing, putting half-naked photos of yourself out there on the internet!  I think to myself, “Oh god, FRIENDS are going to see this, FAMILY will see this… GASP, people from WORK are going to see this!”.  But it’s really something that I try to put out of my head as one of my main motivators for putting myself out there the way that I do is so that I can encourage you (yes, YOU!) to lead a healthier lifestyle.  It’s the old “If I can do it, you can do it too” story.   And I know that it is working from all your wonderful comments and emails.  I’m so proud of you guys!  :D

Okay, here we go!  Lights, camera, ACTION!

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[click image to enlarge

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(Thank you Alexis for the hand-me-down bikini!)

Can see some good changes in my legs and butt this month!  Back is getting leaner too, the line down my back is getting more defined.   And yes, I’m wearing fake tan.  I couldn’t face another ghostly white bikini pic!

Sigh.  Okay here is the embarrassing part.  I decided that I should see what I look like in the dreaded bikini and heels combination.  I’m going to have to learn how to rock this look when I compete as well as feel confident too so I thought I’d give it a crack.  My oh my, it’s so fricken awkward.  Haha

Oh hey there, no I don’t feel awkward AT ALL.

This my sexy look… haaaaaaay!

Can you say BOOTAY?

Well then.  Now that I am significantly flushed with embarrassment I will bid you adieu!

Coming soon… my new muscle and strength building body recomposition diet! 

Project Tighten Up: Update 10 – Measurement Results

Reallllllllllllly quick one guys!  :D

Here is my measurement results for the month:

[click image to enlarge]I had pretty good results again this month with some good loses from the mid section and chest (sigh) and a surprisingly yet very WELCOME loss from the upper thigh!  BOOM!  It’s about time!

It’s also worthy to note that I am now officially a size 10 up top (according to eBay Australian Sizing charts) and only 3.5cm away from being a size 10 around the hips!  OH HAPPY DAYS!

Okay – that’s it from me.

Told you it was a quick one.  ;)