Sore Muscles Guaranteed Circuit Workout

Welcome you marvelous mariposas! That’s Spanish for butterfly, in case you didn’t know. “Otra cosa, mariposa!” was my professor’s favorite phrase when I studied abroad in Spain.

Anywho, are you ready to sweat? This workout will have you dripping after you push through these 5 moves in multiples of 10. Looking for a different workout? See more options on my gym rat workouts page. Let’s go!circuit workout imageThis was me at the end of this workout!
princess tiana falls on bed exhausted


Back At (f)IT

I’ve been on a bit of a blogging break while getting into the routine of post college life (I miss you Oshkosh!) 😦

Apparently, life was kind enough to wait until I graduated from school before hitting hard with intense family issues (terminal diseases and sinking relationships), which are never easy to deal with, while also working two jobs. I have so much more sympathy and respect for people who have experienced these ordeals first hand.

On a lighter note, I’ve decided to train for my second bodybuilding bikini competition! It’s really exciting to see that bikini bodybuilding has  made some waves in the media, It’s essential to change society’s perception of skinny as being socially acceptable and beautiful. All bodies are beautiful, and from my experience, healthy bodies are happy bodies. Check out this clip about one reporter who took on a competition after getting in shape for her wedding. She achieved her goals for her big day and was looking to amp up her fitness game.

Do you think this story helps society get away from the idea of starvation diets and endless cardio that is unrealistically attached to the skinny stereotype? Share your opinion below!

I promise to keep this blog updated on my prep journey, so if any of you are considering taking on a competition you can get a general idea of what it’s like. Let me know if you want me to address certain topics to  tailor this opportunity to be the best learning experience for all of us!

On that note, carry on with your fabulous lives and remember…

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.”

― Diana Scharf

Eat More, Lose Weight! HACKED edition (Guest Blogger)

What would you say if your boyfriend told you that your low calorie, low carb diet is wack!? Well I’m that boyfriend, cata and I’m here to explain why your low calorie diet is hurting you more than it’s helping.

How often have you heard that you can lose weight by eating only 1000 to 1200 calories a day? Or that carbs are evil? No bread, no pasta, no oatmeal and no potatoes? Have you tried low carb or low calorie diets that transform you into a hangry (angry as a result of hunger) animal ready to pounce on the closest crumb you can find?  What if I told you, you could eat more food and lose weight? That’s right. You’ll no longer have to turn down Italian date night or sweat about that extra scoop of potatoes that somehow found it’s way onto your plate. What is this phenomenon that opposes everything you’ve ever read or seen in a fitness magazine? Metabolic Capacity.


Stuffing your face with this much cake is not recommended, but you get the point.

As explained by respected scientist, bodybuilder, and coach, Dr. Layne Norton, metabolic capacity is the amount of calories your body can handle before you gain weight. Your body is built to survive, and strives to maintain HOMEOSTASIS, so it’s very good at adjusting to the amount of calories you eat.

For example, say you normally eat around 2000 calories to maintain your current weight and you want to lose 10 lbs. To do this, you limit your calories to 1200 calories, and for six weeks you lose a total of 6 lbs! Yay go you! But in the following three weeks you don’t lose any more weight. This is because you’re a survivor, you’re going to make it, you’re going to survive and keep on surviving AND because your body has adjusted to live off those 1200 calories and adequately distributes the low energy source despite the amount of butt-busting cardio and training you do.

Typically, in order to lose more weight, you need to cut more calories and when you stop losing you cut more out.  As you can see, this is a very, very bad thing for your body as your overall caloric intake drops unhealthily low. Take a look at NPC bikini competitor,  Amy Von Rummelhoffs  experience when she was derailed from her competitions by metabolic damage. So how can you use metabolic capacity to your advantage?

  1. Regulate the number of carbs you eat daily by tracking your current eating habits on My Fitness Pal!
  2. Set an average daily carb intake based on your current intake and maintain that average for the next two or three weeks.
  3. Start adding in those carbs sloooowly! Start by increasing your carb intake 5-10 grams and maintain that new carb amount for the whole week, and add 5-10 grams more the following week, while maintaining that new amount for 7 more days, eat and repeat! (Experiment with adding in 1/8 cup more oatmeal or an extra handful of noodles and calculating the carb amount in My Fitness Pal) Paying attention o dietary measurements is key to success on this eating plan!
  4. It gets better! You simultaneously will add 1or 2 grams of fat a week, following the same instructions for carbs. That means add a bit more peanut butter or a little extra avocado or olive oil to your salad.

What foods should you be eating? These are some typical staples in Ben Noy’s fitness model diet.  A large part of successfully achieving fitness goals includes educating yourself so make sure you do your research.

Take your passion, and make it happen

So this isn’t entirely fitness related but, I’ll have a new blog post up soon regarding metabolic damage and repair shortly! I just need to pour my little heart out for a second here…

1! I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree back in May 🙂


Recent Grads! Me and my boyfriend photographed in June. This picture captures our relationship pretty perfectly.

2! It’s not easy to find a job as a journalist in a competitive industry with a limited job market 😦

3! I’m thrilled to have gotten a part-time position at Gold’s Gym in a much larger city than my university location 🙂

4! I am still looking for a position in the career field of my degree, but I’m really looking forward to spending a lot of time in the environment that motivates me to constantly improve and strive to better myself with physical and mental challenges that transfer to character building in the real world 🙂

5! I’ve been pretty discouraged by the rejection that comes along with hundreds, HUNDREDS (no exaggeration) of unanswered applications, but I’m not a quitter by any means and I’m still keeping at it. Just gotta keep banging until that door of opportunity opens up 😦

6! I’ve been surrounded by some super stressful and straining situations, like my boyfriend’s dad was just diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I was also really affected when I heard about the death of actor Cory Monteith,


photo credit (

because he was such a kind relatable character and I’m the biggest GLEEK that I know. Anyhow, these recent incidents have really woken me up to the blessings in my life and I hope to actively inspire others more directly. I’m hoping to get involved at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club to teach healthy habits and positive body love for all body types!

Where my Glee fans at? What do you guys like to do to give back to your community and make the world a better place?

I leave you with a few words from a humble young artist,  “I want to get married and have children and live happily ever after. That’s important to me.” -Cory Monteith

Chase your happily ever after.


These COOKIES are BANANAS! B-A-N-A-N-A-S, literally

‘Twas the night before Dad’s day and all through the house, I had not a single present, not even a new man blouse… I may not be the best at rhyming, but this tasty treat is too good to be true. I made it with love and a banana or two.

I’m super proud of these lines so don’t tell me they’re whack. Just make some of these easy cookies while you’re trying to get jacked!


COONANAS, noun (ko͝o-na-na) definition: a cookie that is made from bananas


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • cinnamon or brown sugar (amount depends on personal preference)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a medium/large bowl mash up two ripe bananas
  3. Add 1 cup of quick cook oats (you can add an egg white or a splash of milk if your mixture is too dry, or sprinkle in more oats if it’s too wet)
  4. Optional*** (you can add cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate chips etc. to boost your flavor depending on your sweetness and diet preferences)
  5. Drop and slightly flatten spoonfuls of banana dough onto a greased cookie sheet, Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown at the edges and voila! (makes about 12 cookies)
  6. Serve on a large plate in the shape of a smile face, for optimum enjoyment and cheer 🙂



Don’t forget to test out your COONANAS before gifting them to someone else. Nothing says “I care and respect your healthy lifestyle, and you deserve the happiness of this tasty and nutritious treat,” like a COONANA

How was everyone’s Father’s Day? Did you do anything special, or give your dad something that tops my healthy and delicious COONANAS?Image

Gym Rat Fishness

Fish stink. Literally. Personally, I don’t like them unless they have been fried or can be dipped in a cocktail sauce. However, we have to face the fishy facts.

  • Fish are super high in protein, low in carbs and are extremely soluble- meaning digestion friendly. They aid in lowering blood pressure, reducing risks of heart attacks and strokes, prevent joint inflammation, and give you a big sexy brain! I’m kind of kidding about the brain, but they do have beneficial brain functions and may decrease risk of Alzheimer’s, ADHD, dementia and depression!
  • What? Seafood can turn my fishy frown upside down? If you don’t believe me, take it from Big Mouth Billy Bass 

I decided that fish might be a more appealing entree if I had the pride of catching one myself (I have only ever caught one fish in my life and it was a baby bluegill about 7 years ago) So we dusted off the fishing rods, gathered up our gear and set off on a Gym Rat vs. THE WILD FISH adventure.

bait image-27 image-28 image-29

I did consider photoshopping a fish into one of the pictures, but needless to say our fishy friends were very elusive and not only did we not catch ANY fish, but we also managed to lose two little fake minnow fishing lures. Le sigh. I returned home and dug some frozen salmon out of the freezer and prepared a tasty (unfishy) dish by seasoning my salmon to perfection after marinating it in lemon juice and a touch of olive oil and some low sodium Mrs. Dash! Excellent. We threw in some extra herbs after it was cooked to additionally mask the fishy flavor while still reaping the health benefits. Voila!  image-30 image-32image-31

For more great tasting seafood recipes check out these ones by Cooking Light! Are you guys skilled fishermen or fisherwomen? What’s your favorite sassy seafood dish? Share some of your magical fish tricks with me in the comment section!

Keepin’ It Real With Real Life Role Model Andrea

Everyone knows that one person who has undergone an amazing physical transformation (through hard work and diet, not the plastic surgery kind) and there are a couple of ways we respond to these proactive people.

  • We admire them because we like them and it motivates us and makes us feel good to see someone we like succeed
  • We get jelly because we don’t particularly care for them but are motivated nonetheless because they are clearly in control of their lifestyle and we may feel inadequate in comparison

I had the pleasure of talking with my friend, Andrea, who is one of those people and a true inspiration to all the young girls who struggle with body image issues. She decided she couldn’t continue to struggle with her insecurities so she faced them and turned her lifestyle around. She talked with me about facing the stresses of college life, the pressure to accommodate a lifestyle that includes indulging in junk foods and unhealthy habits and the challenges and victories of her healthy lifestyle journey which led to losing 67 lbs in one year!

before after

GymRatDiaries: What was your reason for choosing to make this lifestyle change?

Andrea: I was unhappy with myself. I hated the feeling of doing simple things in life, such as hanging out with friends, and constantly be worrying about how I looked compared to everyone else.  I became overweight around my sophomore year of high school after I had quit doing studio dance, and also gained even more weight from things that I went through throughout high school – I found that eating was something I could control, but not in a healthy way.

GRD: How did you go about your new decision to change your lifestyle? Did you have a certain workout routine or diet plan?

Andrea: Portion control was something I had a hard time with and weight watchers helped me realize how much I was actually eating and what I was consuming. I did not do anything super sophisticated as far as working out, but I made sure I went six days a week, and my off day I made sure that I was eating extremely well.  I also changed up my workouts every few days so I was not just working on the same muscles day by day.

GRD: What motivated you to continue and stick with your decision to change your lifestye when many girls find it so easy to slip back into an unhealthy routine? What were some of the challenges you faced?

Andrea: There was always this thought in my mind “in a month from now, you will be so angry at yourself for all of the opportunities you chose to not work out, and now you are unhappy. I want to be happy” My motivation was thinking that this is only going to be one/two years of my life that I need to do some serious changing and if I keep up with this, I will live even longer  – so at the end of the day 2 years is nothing. Some challenges that I have faced, and the one I am currently at right now, is “the plateau”.  Where I have gone some time with the face on the scale not really moving or changing much and it leaves me a little unmotivated at the end of the day sometimes. When this happens, I just have to remember that I have gone through this multiple times within the past year and I have had results that I am extremely happy and proud of myself for so I just need to keep going or change some workouts up a little.

Another one was the darn scale.  I was at a point where I checked the scale, 3, 4 times a day.  This got me into a lot of emotional instability.  I would freak out and think that just because my weight fluctuated throughout the day that it meant I was gaining weight, but I know now that that is certainly NOT the case. I had to mark it on my calendar to one day a week of when I could check the scale, and that really helped.

 GRD: What are you most proud of accomplishing since your fitness journey began?

Andrea: How much confidence I have gained!! This time last year, I would dread going out with my friends, or even trying to talk to peers in class. I wish I had the confidence that I have now, back then. What took me a year to work on was the fact that I am going to be me no matter what, 67lbs heavier or not.  I have always been a social bug and it killed me to always feel like I couldn’t be myself.  I am soo much happier now.

 GRD: What advice would you offer to other girls who are struggling with body image issues?

Andrea: Do it for YOURSELF and do NOT give UP. It took me almost a month and a half for me to see (and by see, I mean the numbers on the scale, not physically be able to see) results.  You are going to go to phases where you are not noticing anything different with your body, but that doesn’t mean things are not changing.  Also, DO NOT check the scale more than once a week!

GRD: Thanks for answering my questions, Andrea! On that note, I have one more question for my vivacious viewers and radical readers: Do you have a particular person that inspires you to reach your fitness goals? What motivates you?! Go ahead and share in my comment section below! You know you want to 🙂