Muscle Chef 400 Calorie Series


Another quick breakfast option for those on the run.  I’ve never been a huge fan of cottage cheese until I had a recommendation from a fellow fitness enthusiast to try mixing the cottage cheese with a flavourful protein powder.  I chose my cookies and cream powder, mixed it with the cottage cheese, and created something I actually thoroughly enjoy.

At 370 calories, you have a bit of room to perhaps add a little bit of jam or sprinkle some almond slivers on top, or perhaps add some berries.  Toasting the English Muffin will also give you some texture.

You may even forego the English Muffin, opting for a slice of toast.  By doing so, you cut back on the calories, allowing you to have  thin spread of almond butter on top of the toast before adding your cottage cheese.

Ingredients:  3/4 Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese, 1 English Muffin, 3/4 Scoop Protein Powder, sprinkle of cinnamon.

Calories: 370  Protein: 41g  Carbs: 38g  Fat:  6g

Week 6 Shape Up Challenge


UP YOUR NEATstand-up-desk-NEAT-burn

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for activities we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. This would include activity from the energy expended walking around, performing yard work and other household chores, taking stairs, playing with the kid or a pet and grocery shopping. Even seemingly small physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of these many actions that culminate in an individual’s daily NEAT.

This may seem so trivial, yet a friend of mine keeps track of his movements through his iphone. What he noticed was that, throughout the day, through yard work, walking the dog, hanging with the kids, and taking the stairs versus the elevator at work, he logs approximately 10-15km of activity every day.

This accumulated energy expenditure has a dramatic effect on your metabolism, helping you get leaner without setting aside time to “exercise”.

Your task this week? Burn more calories by adding some productively busy chores, tasks, and leisure activities throughout the day.


The Sport of Bodybuilding: Is this the Answer?

Bodybuilding as a sport, where the athletic component is measured and factored into your score (8 lifts, accounting for all major muscle groups, with a 12 rep range), and symmetry is gauged objectively by a 3D scan? 

No crazy tanning costs or suits expenses. Membership fees are kept low. You are not at the mercy of judges nor is an artistic posing routine required?  

Typical bodybuilding contests don’t measure the work required year round. You show up to the event in a less than optimal state of true performance having obtained that “shredded” look. Then you step on a stage and get compared by who???? Are some judges truly qualified to judge the diverse classes now at contests? 

At some shows, you are just a number, waiting the entire day and night for your subjective placement at the end of the evening. 

Is this sport? 

Understand that I love bodybuilding and appreciate the art of posing and presenting your body. However the state of bodybuilding is in disarray, with bodies morphing to unsightly levels, testing even in many natural organizations thrown to the wayside, and new categories to evaluate the physique popping up left right and centre. There’s at least 8 different organizations that I can compete in and at least 4 different categories. 

Is the Super League of bodybuilding, with Dorian Yates as its President and Nike and behind it worth a look? The end of July will be a showcase of the first Super League event. Perhaps they are on to something. 

Muscle Chef 400 Calorie Series


Breakfast made fun and quick.  The ingredients are simple and this meal tastes great while giving you some healthy nutrients to keep your hunger in check throughout the morning. Something as simple as this, is a breakfast you can adopt daily as part of a two option routine on weekdays.

Ingredients:  1.25 Cup Low Fat Greek Yogurt, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 2 tbsp granola, 1/4 cup berries.

Calories: 387  Protein: 38g  Carbs: 41g  Fat:  1g


Week 5 Shape Up Challenge

We are a Scoreboard driven society. Winning matters and getting an edge makes a difference.

This week’s challenge:

Create a set of numbers in your fitness quest that help you keep score; keep you accountable.

What should those numbers be?

  1. Daily allotment of calories
  2. Your daily macros (protein, carbs, fat)
  3. Your scale weight
  4. Fitness Performance Metrics

The first two numbers will keep you accountable to your daily quotient, allowing you to stay true to your allotted macronutrients.  The scale weight will help you determine a pattern from week to week of whether or not you are on the right track with your food and/or exercise.

The last number also tells a story.  Perhaps this may be a log of km’s walked or a weight training log showing your progression in various key exercises.

By “Keeping score”, and using these key metrics in conjunction with each other, you will be able to pinpoint where things are going well as well as where there may be deficiencies.

Just as a team refers to a scoreboard to get back into a game, or ease up on the contact to avoid fouls, etc, your scoreboard helps you move towards your goal.

“But I don’t want to keep track of these numbers” you say? Then you are not in the game. You can’t efficiently play to win.  Are there people who are winning without regard to the scoreboard? (Staying fit and healthy) Yes, of course, but those people are the exception rather than the norm.

Take the Challenge….Play the game with the score in mind and watch your progress soar.

Visualization, Belief and Success

“If you can see it in here (in your head) and you have courage enough to speak it, it will happen”. – Conor McGregor

More wisdom in this video from a young Irish fighter than you will get in a full year of university. 

I highly recommend that you watch the entire video, take one thing, and actually apply it with full conviction. 

Muscle Chef 400 Calorie Series


I like pizza.  I also know that I need to get my protein in, and avoid the negative digestive effects of having pizza that myself and so many others experience.  The “Meatzza” offers a unique twist on pizza while meeting my carnvivorous needs.

Extra Lean Ground Beef (125g), Low Fat Mozarella (40g), Pizza Sauce (1/4 Cup), Low Fat Turkey Pepperoni (7 slices), Onion (1/4 medium), Bell Pepper (1/4 medium)

Calories: 401 Protein: 41g  Carbs: 10g  Fat:  21g

When cooking this pizza, you will have to make sure of a few things; that the ground beef crust is bound by the cheese.  Secondly, you will need to make sure the meat does not stick to the pan when baking.  I will use a spray of olive oil for this.  As for toppings, you can get pretty liberal with the veggies.  Another way to make the dish a little leaner is to sub extra lean turkey or chicken for the beef.  This substitution may allow for more meat or cheese, depending on what your interests are for the dish.

Obviously this is not a true pizza, so you will have to eat with a knife and fork. I will tell you however, that the dish is very tasty and offers a fun alternative for the entire family.

Thank you Laura for passing along this great recipe.





Week 4 Shape Up Challenge



This week’s challenge?




This means going to bed at a reasonable time every night, regardless of day of the week, making sure that the sleep that you have is restful, and waking up at a consistent time regardless of the day.

One of the biggest reasons why people go to sleep later than they should is that they try to salvage something out of a less than emotionally satisfactory day, seeking escapism like snacking and/or tv to make up for the lack of satisfaction.

Part of this sleep process is making each day meaningful in some way.  That’s a topic for another day, but regardless, something that I want you to be mindful of.

As for benefits:

Listing the benefits is almost pointless.  You know how you feel during the day when you have had adequate sleep.  You also know how you struggle when you don’t have a good sleep.

Nonethessless, here are some key benefits and an article link that should be read to better understand the value of sleep:

  1.  Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-being.

We mess up with our food and exercise when we are in a state where our emotions get the better of us.  Proper sleep at least helps with our judgement calls.

2. Physical Health.

Sleep stimulates healthy repair, growth and development.  Our immune system gets repaired in our sleep.  It helps us keep our hormones in check.  The list goes on, but you get the point. (Well, you do if you see the benefits after regular restful sleep)

3. Performance

I always function better with adequate sleep.  I have more energy, I’m nicer to people and I am more alert than when I’m dragging, waiting to get to the next coffee break before being “re-energized”

I don’t write these articles to kill time or say something just because I need to meet my weekly quota.  Everything is selected with a goal in mind; that being to help you significantly change your life.  If anything, this week’s challenge might be the big answer to so many of your current problems.

Call to action:  Create the habit tonight.  Wake up at the set time and make the best of your day.  Then repeat.


Muscle Chef 400 Calorie Series


The Lazy Chicken Salad is on here for only one reason; It’s the easiest salad you will ever prepare.  The meal is dirt cheap, nutritious, ultra low in calories, and can be duplicated the very next day if need be. With a bit of preparedness, a meal like this eliminates excuses as to why someone cannot eat well in a hurry.

Costco Ready Made Chicken Breast (210g), Mixed Greens (5 Cups), Skinny Girl Balsamic Dressing (2 tbsp).

Calories: 240 Protein: 52g  Carbs: 3g  Fat:  2g

I had this meal two days ago.  I bought a whole chicken from Costco, used the breast, and saved the rest for later.  I bought a big tin of Ready Prepared Spring Salad Mix from Walmart and threw 5 cups of it on my plate. Finally, I’ve got the ultra low cal Skinny Girl Dressing (10 cals per 2tbsp) to top the salad.  The meal is actually quite filling due to its sheer volume.  Do I love the meal? Not really, but it’s decent. The chicken tastes good, the dressing is nice and I get plenty of nutrients from the meal.  I can also add something to this meal due to the low calorie nature of the meal, with an additional 160 cals to spare from the base formula. I could probably add some fruit or nuts, cheese, tortilla strips or croutons to the salad or even add some bbq sauce to the chicken.  The varieties for this meal are endless.

The added bonus, I can do this same meal again later in the evening or the next day for lunch.  Because the calories on this meal are so low, I can make a third chicken salad dish with the thigh meat and still not exceed 400 cals with the extra fat on a chicken thigh.  3 entire low cal meals from 1 chicken.

Additional Bonus:  On days where you know you are going out later in the evening on a non-refuel day, by banking some of the calories you saved from this meal, you can top up your dinner later on and get away with not shortchanging yourself at a restaurant.