Friday, October 16, 2015

this one's for the mom's :)

I've created a few meal plan ideas in the past, but as my knowledge has grown within the fitness industry I've learned more tips and tricks, as well as some great recipes that I absolutely love, so I figured why not share? 

Below is a daily meal plan for individuals looking to lose some weight and really get going with a change in their diet. I always suggest speaking with a doctor before you begin any new plan, for your own safety, and also using your own weight/height/activity requirements to decipher how many ounces of protein and grams of carbohydrates you should have in a day. I highly recommend you find out your suggested daily macro count and really sitting down to figure out exactly what you should be eating to get the body/lifestyle that you want to obtain.

With all of that said this should be a great guide for a moderately active person of average height :)

"Nicole Markovic" "Nicole Markovic Online" "Fit moms" "The mom diet" "Be a fit mom!" "IFBB Bikini Pro" "Daily Meal Plan" "Healthy Meal Plan" "Women's Meal Plan" "Nutrition for Women" "Bikini Competitor" "NPC Bikini" "Diet"

[Meal 1]

3 Egg Whites
1 Handful of spinach
1 Slice of 100% Whole Wheat Bread (no more than 70 calories per slice)
1/2 Cup Berries of choice (try heating the berries up to make a syrup/jam for the bread!)

[Meal 2]

1 Scoop of ISO Whey Protein Powder
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon of Natural Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon and/or Nutmeg 
1 - 1 1/2 Cups Coffee of choice

(Blend to make a frothy coffee drink)

[Meal 3]

2 Cups of Baby Kale 
1/2 Cup Arugula
1/4 Cup Mushrooms  (try sauteed!)
1/4 Cup Onions (try sauteed!)
3oz 96/4 Ground Beef 
2 Tablespoons of Salsa of Choice
1oz Avocado OR 1/2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

[Meal 4]

4oz Light Tuna
10-12 Thin Asparagus Spears
1/3 Cup Wild Rice
2 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Basil
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

(cook rice and asparagus, then add cold tuna in, along with spices and oils at the end, mix)

[Meal 5]

3oz Chicken Breast
1/3 Cup Quinoa
1 Tablespoon Fat Free Feta Cheese
3/4 Cup of Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Bell Peppers (mix)
1/2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt and pepper to taste

(mix all ingredients for a cold salad, best if it sits overnight)

[Meal 6]

1 Scoop ISO Protein Powder (I like Chocolate!)
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
1 Packet of Stevia Natural Sweetener (optional)
1oz Avocado or 1/2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1/2 Tablespoon of Crunchy Peanut Butter

(blend all ingredients, cool before eating - makes a pudding)

Give this a whirl and let me know how you like it! I'd love to hear how it goes for you :) For maximum results try and exercise at least 4x a week. I ALWAYS suggest weight lifting vs just cardio. Try to do a mix. For those just getting started try weight lifting for at least 30 minutes, with 15 minutes of cardio. Happy healthy living!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

2 days til I walk that stage again .. SHOW BOUND!

It's that time again - I'm officially two days out from my 4th IFBB Pro show this year and the final one of 2015! I have to say, this year was an eye opener. I haven't been in the fitness industry THAT long, only about 2 1/2 years so far, but my I've learned A LOT. Sure, I worked out periodically before I began competing, but my competition career has been short, although, packed full of fun and pure knowledge gain.

This past summer I decided to join a new team, hire a new coach, and join an established organization that had a reputation of producing top athletes. It's something I always swore to myself I would never do - "sell out" in a way. I wanted to do things with a local coach, someone small, and be the "underdog", but what I've learned is that you have to go with what you think will be best in the long run and who can help you jump to the next level and are experienced in that next level. As tough as that was to swallow, and to potentially ruin relationships I had formed with local coaches, some that became very good friends of mine, I knew it needed to be done. I sincerely treasure the guidance I received from those individuals and I will never forget the experiences they gave me, what they taught me, and how good they were to me! Ever. However, I knew it was time to move on and that to me isn't "selling out".

With that said - I joined another team. My coach, has been so helpful pushing me with her guidance and faith in my potential for a spot within this Pro league. Now don't get me wrong, it's not all roses. There have been times I've received an email back from her and I've cried. She wasn't mean. Not in the slightest. She was real with me, was a coach - she was constructive. Telling me things I needed to work on and adding in additional exercises to grow particular parts of my body, is not a bad thing, it's a great thing. She has been so involved in adjusting things for me each and every week and really truly critiquing my body based on what the judges want vs what they like personally or see in other NPC competitors (when I'm IFBB now). It's my body, I can't be compared to other girls, I have to be compared to what MY potential can be and what the judges ideally are looking for out of ME. THAT is what she has done this entire 12 week process. My crying fits, were simply me feeling as if I were already pushing my body to the max and not being sure if I could push further. Well, guess what? I did. I've found a new side of me that I really wasn't aware of. I am an extreme fighter. I won't stand to be told I cannot do something or something can be better without me trying my absolute best to achieve these things. With that mind set - my body has changed drastically!

What's changed? Well, first off my strength. I am lifting anywhere from 10-20lbs heavier than I've ever lifted previously in a prep and even here on peak week I am still beating my lifts that I produced in my last "off season" and I'm on a low calorie diet! THAT is an amazing feat in itself, wouldn't you say so? Because of this - my shoulders have grown, taken shape and capped, my upper back has widened slightly and my glutes have grown. All three areas were areas that the judges have mentioned to me each and every time that need to change/grow in their critiques on my stage package. Well, guess what? They have and they are going to just continue to do so!

Now, I'm not saying I am coming in flawlessly to this show (because DUH! I'm not), because let's all be honest, we ALL can do more and things can ALWAYS be better, BUT what I am saying is that I am beating my last self on stage and THAT is exactly what this is all about! I am not here for anyone but myself. This venture is my escape from the outside world. When I'm stressed, hurt, sad, lonely, mad, you name it - lifting weights and working on MYSELF enthralls me like no other. I feel that I have become a better mother, a better friend and an overall better person since I've developed this lifestyle, and there's really nothing that can take it away from me and that's incredible to me. Do I want to win? Absolutely! Who the heck doesn't?! But it's not about that, it's about the journey. Along with self-satisfaction this sport has brought so many amazing individuals into my life and opened a door to so many new ventures for me in the future. I really cannot say enough about it.

So in short here I am 2 days out from the Fort Lauderdale Cup. My first show with my new team/coach and I'm so ready, ecstatic and pumped to step foot on that stage this Saturday. The glam, the hard work being shown, the adrenaline rush of walking across that stage, the excitement of making new friends and meeting awesome new people. Let's do this!

"Nicole Markovic" "IFBB Pro Bikini" "Bikini Competitor" "Atlanta IFBB Pro Bikini Competitor" "Team Bombshell" "Bombshell Fitness" "Nicole Markovic IFBB Pro" "NPC Bikini" "Waterbabies Bikini" "Fit chick" "Fit Moms"
Taken 5 days out
"Nicole Markovic" "IFBB Pro Bikini" "Bikini Competitor" "Atlanta IFBB Pro Bikini Competitor" "Team Bombshell" "Bombshell Fitness" "Nicole Markovic IFBB Pro" "NPC Bikini" "Waterbabies Bikini" "Fit chick" "Fit Moms
Taken 3 days out

Monday, June 22, 2015

an easy, yummy snack on the go!

Weekends tend to be a bit crazy in our house. Aren't they for everyone? Ha! Well, for us we seem to spend a good bit of time traveling in the car, running errands and then of course some fun activities in between, along with summer roadtrips and more. However, those times we are traveling in the car I always make sure I'm packing snacks for the road.

With my diet I have to eat every 2-3 hours, plus let's face it's I'm just hangry if I don't. But with that said, I try to keep my little one eating on the same schedule as me to keep her metabolism going and energy high. With that said, I also realize she's a child and ya know what? Kids needs a great snack that tastes good and is fun every once in awhile. I'm a firm believer of this. All within moderation! With that said we've found the PERFECT fun treat, that applies that exact rule - moderation, to it - the OREO 2 pack cookies. They are absolutely the perfect serving size for a snack on the go.
This past May OREO launched a NEW 2-pack, a convenient grab-and-go snack designed for packed schedules. Whether it’s slipped into your purse or tucked away in the glove compartment, the OREO 2-pack is perfect for a quick treat at work, running errands, carpooling to family activities or family day trips. They even offer them in Nutter Butter's :)

I'm also going to admit - I love these snack packs for myself too! With my crazy diet restrictions for my competitions I do allow myself treats here and there and I have a total soft spot for OREO's, maybe more than a soft spot actually, HA! But for me I have to try to keep things at a minimum and there really is no better way than a pack of just 2 cookies. It's the perfect way to get that sweet tooth craving under control without eating an entire pack of cookies :P
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

dating 101 - never losing sight of yourself

There comes a time in everyone's life, except for those exceptionally fortunate few that never have to endure the wonderful "game" of dating, that you must ask yourself what exactly it is about yourself that's brought you to the point you are at today within your dating life.
I dated when I was younger all throughout highschool of course, had 2 pretty serious boyfriends, then had a serious boyfriend directly out of highschool and even lived with a guy for a brief stint when I was 19. After that I met my now ex husband, married him about 4 years after we met, was married for a little over 3 years and now have been divorced for almost 3 years. Phew - that's a lot, huh?
Well, since my divorce I must say dating is just different. First things first, I'm about to be 30 and let's face it, most everyone my age is now married. I totally flip flopped with everyone because no one was married when I got married .. jumped the gun. Ha! Now, on top of the age factor, throw in the fact that I met a man just a few months after my divorce and fell head over heels in love with him. I'm talking straight out of the movies love. I've mentioned it before. Several times. Sigh. To my dismay things just have been a downright roller-coaster ride with that love story. I won't lie. He's called me his "girlfriend" for a total of 3 weeks in the total time we've known each other and the rest I've been the "best friend". Mind you - we were best friends, 100%, and quite frankly I miss that portion the most when I think of him and myself, but we also were a whole lot more than best friends. Take the long passionate kisses, the embraces, the "i love you's", the looks of "this person means everything to me", the talks of marriage in the future, even flat out discussing quirky details of a wedding, you name it - we were a couple, just without the title. It's as simple as that.
Throughout our time together we had our spats where I literally became exhausted with the lack of commitment. It was hurtful to me. I took it as a direct dig that I just never was "good enough" and that's where I was wrong. I was and am. At times we so very often forget to see ourselves as we truly are because we get lost in these "relationships" not realizing that we are losing sight of our very own selves. Now don't get me wrong, I was 100% myself the entire time and I spoke some incredibly harsh words throughout this relationship out of frustration, but I lost sight of the fact that I AM good enough and DO deserve a man that will treat me and love me as though I am his world by simply committing to me. I should never expect anything less, regardless of the love story that I am engulfed in in that very moment.
Commitment isn't necessarily a need of marriage off the bat or anything of the sort, it's simply letting someone know that they are so special to you that the thought of losing them, not having them within your life and not sharing them with anyone else would make you feel absolutely deprived and rock your world. On top of that let's just face it, it feels so good to know that someone wants you within their life in all of it's entirety. A true relationship, commitment and exclusivity.
So through my ups and downs the last few years I truly must say I have learned more than ever who I am, what I want and what I deserve. Settling for less, regardless of the mass amount of love I have for a person or how amazing it feels to be by that person, in the long run it will only cause heartache. I also imagine I've built up a pretty large wall to outside dating now and I'm not sure what exactly it will take for me to truly open back up to another man or what man will make the cut, but I will say that when I do, and I do say WHEN, I will make sure to stand by my views and never put them on the back burner for the fear of losing someone I've fallen in love with.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

a little stroke of aloe.

So I mentioned long long ago how I bought a house, right? Ha! Well, since owning the home I really haven't done much to it, like I originally planned, think I also mentioned this. Anyhow - yes, I replaced the carpets, yes, I re-painted most of the home but aside from those two factors and moving my things in, buying a few furniture pieces and some art that's about it.
I have a mega list of things I want to change or work on within the house, but it's all come down to time and quite frankly money. Sigh. It's pretty dang expensive to own a home, re-furnish it AND do some projects within the house. So what I've decided to do meanwhile is to pick little things that I can do and already have most of the supplies for. My first project .. dun, dun, dun .. now I don't know if I'm going to regret this one one day when I want to move or rent the house out, but for now I'm loving the idea of it, such a pop of color that I needed. I decided to paint my pantry doors within my kitchen, from there I have some other ideas but for now I'm sticking with the painting.
nasty doors.

My pantry doors were, well, gross. The previous homeowner apparently never used the door knobs on the doors and grabbed the actual door with their hands because the doors were worn on both sides, right in the same spot as if they were grabbed quite frequently, and they looked pretty rank to be honest. Not to mention there really isn't a whole lot of color in my kitchen or house for that matter other than my kitchen mat by my sink, which is what gave me the inspiration.

The project alone was super easy and made the biggest difference within my kitchen. Blake was even able to help me with it and loved every moment of it! I'm really quite proud of our first DIY home project work and it has me itching to do some more. Before I do though I want to do one more thing with this project. I want to tackle the inside of the pantry. The inside is pretty rough from the previous owner as well. You can tell where cans were up against the walls, etc. It's just very scuffed and makes it appear "dirty" to an extent. Soooo .. what I am going to do? Well, I'm going to wallpaper it. Yes, wallpaper. Just wait, I will share soon enough :)

Meanwhile here are the before, during and after shots:
how cute is my little painter? :)
my "inspiration" rug
ignore my disaster of a kitchen. i should've cleaned up before taking it. ha!

Paint color: "Aloe" by Sherwin Williams

Friday, June 5, 2015

vacation in a bottle

Truth be told, I'm not a big drinker. You'll find a drink in my hand, once in a blue moon, and that moon has to be PRETTY blue :) However, with that said, when I do decide to have a drink my favorite time is in the summer. I don't know what it is exactly but thinking of the beach, a cold mixed drink and warm weather just sounds pretty dang appealing to me. Ha!
With all that said, I'm super picky about what I will drink, because I don't really like the way alcohol tastes typically, to be honest, but when I find a drink I love I stick with it. Recently I found Palm Breeze Sparkling Spritz and yeah .. let's just say AHHHMAZZZINNGGG. First off, I love anything sparkling - flavored water, the sun, diamonds .. hahaha .. okay, but really - I do! I don't drink soda, so anything with a bit of carbonation to me gets me excited. Then top that with a flavor that screams summer like my personal favorite, the Pineapple Mandarin Orange and it's a win in my book! It also comes in Ruby Red Citrus, which is quite delicious as well! My favorite flavor also only has 130 calories, 0g fat and 0g carbs for all my fitness friends that might ask.
Palm Breeze is a flavored malt beverage (FMB). Which basically means it’s an alcoholic drink made with a malt base, kind of like beer. And the cool part is that it’s the first drink that is unabashedly targeting women. They even are hosting several events this summer specifically for us women! All my Dallas girls check it out!
So when it boils down to my upcoming beach trip this summer for the BIG 3-0 for myself, guess what this girl is going to be drinking?! Palm Breeze. Serious.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

first-time home buying can be stressful, but it's worth it!

I'll never forget what it felt like at the closing of my house, receiving the keys to my very first home. It was such a surreal moment that I truly will never forget. All I kept saying in my head was "I'm a homeowner, OMG, I own a home, by MYSELF!". I giggle now about it, but truthfully I'm still pretty dang proud of myself.
The road to home ownership wasn't exactly the easiest task for me, well, let me rephrase that, it was a little stressful. When I say that it really was my very own fault. I've always been a spender, I'll admit it. I like to shop, what can I say? :) Anyhow - it took me paying off and down quite a bit on everything - my credit cards, paying off loans, debt I accumulated during my divorce and establishing low revolving balances on my credit cards for a handful of months. Along with that - my shopping habits had to come to a hault. End of the world? Of course not. Tough for me, yes? Worth it? Every second of it. I now own my own home! I'm able to do little projects throughout the house at will with Blake - such as painting our pantry doors! Ha! It's the little things I tell ya :)
Homebuying doesn't have to be stressful though, it really can be super easy if you keep the bigger picture in mind! I promise. Also making sure that you are completely informed throughout the entire buying process so things go flawlessly is key. I found during my process that CapitalOne's goal was to help first-time homebuyers understand how the home loan process works, which I found extremely helpful! Buying a home is an important process, but it's certainly not a simple one either – Capital One’s new online resource lays the groundwork with a glossary of terms you should know, an overview of the loans available and more and I found these incredibly useful in the process of buying my home! Honestly, the more things you read and the more familiar you are with the terms and process of purchasing a home the easier it will be, I promise.
Here are a few tips for First-Time Homebuyers that I suggest:
  • One of the first steps is figuring out how much home you can afford. Start by sticking to the right price range. A rule of thumb is to look at houses that are 2.5 times your annual salary.
  • Ideally, your monthly housing payment shouldn’t be more than 28 percent of your gross household monthly income.
  • Use an online mortgage calculator to help figure out what you can afford.
  • Your financial history is important too. Lenders look at income, assets, job history, credit score, total debt and how much you’re willing to put down as a down payment.
  • The traditional estimate for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of the house, which can lower your monthly payments and avoid mortgage insurance better than a lower down payment.
  • Remember that closing costs can add to the amount you need to close your loan and take possession of your new home. Look them over carefully, because they can vary from one lender to another.
  • Mortgages come in all shapes and sizes, and which one you choose depends on a lot of variables, including your budget, the amount you can afford to put down, the interest you’ll pay and the term length. All mortgages have pros and cons, but starting with at least a top-line understanding of what’s available is important as you save for this major purchase.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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