This post is based on excuses.
First, it’s an excuse to bake/eat more of these dang delicious cookies – except now in chocolate!
It’s also an excuse for me to tell you all more about how my bikini competition prep is going. You know, alongside pictures of yummy things and a recipe. The usual yin and yang of this blog.
First of all – yes, I do bake a lot of oatmeal cookies. I know. And yes, oatmeal is healthy and it makes it easy to make a cookie that is healthy, too. But if you didn’t already know, my love of oatmeal cookies goes back to babyhood. (My first cookie love was oatmeal-raisin!) I’ve been eating healthy - and quite unhealthy - versions of oatmeal cookies with gusto for the portion of my 25 years that has included solid foods. So now you know: I’m an oatmeal fiend for more than just the obvious reason that it’s healthy!
These chocolate versions are just as ridiculously tasty, fluffy, moist, (and yes, healthy!) as my vanilla - aka birthday cake – cookies. Although the argument could be made that the chocolate ones are even healthier because of the antioxidants in cocoa!
Now. To catch you up on this bikini business. I am in the midst of training for my first ever bikini competition and I’m already beginning week 7, with 10 weeks to go before the big day.
The time has just been flying by. In the last short six weeks, I have had all manner of successes and shortcomings, making me just nuts trying to figure out whether I’m at the point I should be in my preparation.
Let’s back up. I went into this initially thinking I would do the plan without actually competing. My goals are for me, not for other people, so why bother? Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that without the extra pressure of a competition, and a set date – and, okay, a little bit of invested cash! – I would never push myself to really do my best.
Alright, so I picked a competition date that seemed reasonably far out. About 16 weeks out from the day I decided to do it. The first two weeks I spent researching all kinds of meal plans, workout plans, and every little thing involved in fitness competitions. I went to a competition just to see it in person. I watched videos on stage posing, working out, eating.
And I became very confused.
There are SO many ways to do everything it just blows my mind. So I decided to spend a couple weeks finding a diet and routine that worked best for me. Oh yeah, and I decided not to hire a trainer. That was another part of the challenge.
Part of the reason for no trainer was the expense, and part was the fact that I feel I know myself better than someone else, (and how to do the workouts safely + effectively,) that made me feel I didn’t need to hire someone. Still, I know a trainer could really help… but then again, this challenge was for me, not for the trophy.
I've been keeping track with photos - this week and last week I totally neglected to take any, but here are some of my week 1 and 5 photos...
To give you some perspective, I’m 5’ 0”, about 102-3 pounds. I’m definitely feeling stronger, and perhaps a bit leaner, but I still have to wonder… how do I know if I’m on track? How much do I stick with what I’m doing and how much do I need to tweak?
I have been keeping superstrict record of my food, my workouts, my weight, and my body fat percentage. Still, one thing I’m really not entirely sure of is that body fat percentage. I bought some calipers and taught the hubby to use them, which, if we’re correct, say I have gone from 20% to 17% fat. But the handheld Omron body fat analyzers at LA Fitness tell me something wildly different depending on the set I pick up (like 3% body fat difference.) I’m not sure if I can trust them.
At any rate, I am certain that I have a body fat percentage of somewhere between 16-18%.
What am I aiming for? The goal for bikini competitors, because they have a much higher proportion of muscle by the end of their training, is around 10-13%, more or less. And no, that’s not really a reasonable goal to have in general unless it’s for a short period of time and involving an increased muscle mass percentage. But that level supposed to be fairly hard to get to, since the (especially female) body tries to hang on to a little extra padding at all times. We females like to be prepared for all kinds of weather. Which means harder work, stricter dieting. Or, at least, that’s what it seems like for me.
I’ve also lost a net of about 2.5 pounds since week one… which doesn’t mean a whole lot either. Muscle gain? Fat loss?
I’m going to make myself feel better by saying I think it’s been a bit of both. Which means slower weight loss overall. And I really do think it’s both, because guess what… I’ve seen a hint of a six-pack lurking underneath a thin layer of belly fat! That’s definitely new. I have to really flex and lean back and move some fat out of the way… and basically become a contortionist… but I can actually see the separations in the muscle when I do that! Like the mythical Loch Ness monster, I’ve caught me a glimpse, and now I’ve got to find a way to show the rest of the world it’s REAL!
Other than that, I feel majorly successful with my increases in the weight room. Doing several pull-ups – GOOD pull-ups – in a row, benching about 70% of my bodyweight with free weights, and my squats and leg presses and dead lifts continue to get heavier.
So I’d say I’m feeling more successful at this point than anything, and can definitely say that I am the most fit I have ever been! As for being on track for a bikini competition? Still a work in progress obviously, but I think with a little diet tweak here and there, I will see more changes in body competition shortly.
And if you were wondering, yes, I do still eat the scrum-diddly-umptious cookies I’m showing you… I just don’t eat a ton at once! If it’s a more active day, I go for 2-3 little cookies or one big ol’ cookie after a hard workout, calculating my day’s calories and carbs around it. On less active days, I can usually still fit one or two small cookies in as part of my breakfast!
Question: What’s YOUR favorite workout/eating plan to stay fit? Comments, please and thank you.
Chocolate Post-Workout Powerballs
1 ½ c. and 2 c. rolled oats, separated
6 Medjool dates, pitted
6 dried apricots
½ c. liquid egg whites or 2 eggs
3 oz pureed avocado
14 drops chocolate or regular stevia
1 heaping scoop or about 39 g. chocolate protein powder (I used Cytosport 100% Whey Protein)
4 oz nonfat plain Greek yogurt
¼ c. or about 7 g. stevia powder
2 heaping T. unsweetened cocoa powder
Makes 13 (50 g) cookies – 141 calories, 3 g fat, 7 g protein, 24 g carbs
Or 29 (22 g) cookies – 63 calories, 11 g carbs, 1 g fat, 3 g protein
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Blend all ingredients in a food processor, reserving the extra 2 cups rolled oats for the end. Then scoop the batter into a large bowl and mix in the remaining 2 cups rolled oats. Use a small scoop to portion out rounded 1 ½ tablespoons across 3 cookie sheets sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on top and soft but cooked in the middle. Cool and enjoy ASAP!