A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 7

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 7

The other night picky-loving husband and I were reading a blog about what to do as a couple in Vancouver. You see in the colder and wetter months we tend to go into hibernation and I suggested we get out and do something.

So, we did what any intelligent individual would do. We Googled it.

And here’s what we got:

  • Read
    • We both said no to this one as we agreed reading is really a solo activity and not one to be shared together on a Friday night. And, really, how pathetic is that? I can hear the conversation already “Hey PJ, what did you and loving husband do Friday night?”. Me, “Oh, it was so romantic. We both curled up on the couch, fire going while he read Craig’s List (he loves Craig’s List and reads it almost every day – true story), and I finished “Eating Animals” (which FYI I cannot finish because if I did I think it will to turn me into a vegan, which would be the end of my marriage).” Yeah, there is not a hope in hell I am playing that story out on a Friday night.
  • Give each other a massage
    • Um, no. He is a sh*tty massager and my philosophy is that life is way too short for crappy coffee, cookies and massages.
  • Play a card game
    • This one really came up with a Google search of things to do in our town – no wonder Vancouver is considered the no-fun town.
  • Cook together
    • A big no, unless – loving husband’s direct quote – “phoning Pango for a large pepperoni is considered cooking”. While I did laugh, cause it was funny, I shook my head no.
  • Menu plan together
    • This one had me astounded. Really? Menu planning your week ahead is a suggested thing to do as a couple, in Vancouver, on the weekend? I was both impressed (you know how I love me a good menu plan) and horrified. What if picky-loving husband wanted to help menu plan with me? Sh*t. He cannot be responsible for the food that we eat on a regular basis. We will die. But then a spectacular thing happened. He simply said “We don’t have to do that, you got that covered”. Whew, bullet dodged.

So, what did we end up doing together? Curling up on the couch with baby Bella and watching a movie. I know, way less pathetic than reading (haha).

Loving husband and Bella

Notes about last week’s meals

  • The Superfood Porridge from Oh She Glows is freaking amazing. You have to make it. I loved it! I got four servings out of her recipe and ended up, mid-week, making another batch. I have never done that before, that’s how much I loved it!
  • Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing  was also a keeper. However, I used less oil and maple syrup than she recommended and next time I will try it without the dried cranberries – I’m trying to cut back on my sugar intake (the natural sugar and chocolate chip cookie kind).
  • The Crockpot Black Bean Soup made me almost stab picky-loving husband’s eyes out. The recipe makes a huge pot and he had two bites and threw the rest of his bowl out. Sigh. I really am not sure what I am going to do with this man to get him to eat less meat. I thought it was pretty good, however it could have used a bit more spice. Nonetheless this recipe is NOT a keeper at my house.
  • The Chocolate Chip Cookies, well I don’t think I need to say more except bake them. They are amazing.

Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus



  • Lately my skin has been acting up. I am breaking out, then the next day it is dry as hell and nothing is making it look or feel better. My energy levels are a little low too and I feel like a funk has settled over me. I know a lot of this has to do with hormones (thank you menopause, you b*tch), as well as the weather (I always get a little squirrelly when the weather turns to the worse). Then accompany that with the fact that I haven’t been hiking in a while (my favourite place to be is on a trail) will lead to me not feeling like me. But, I want to see if changes to my diet will help.
  • The first change I am going to make is to start having apple cider vinegar every morning. My recipe is: 1Tbsp apple cider vinegar (make sure it is “from the mother”), 1 cup hot water, 1tsp raw honey, cinnamon and a half a lemon squeezed in it. It is not that bad, I’m sipping it right now. Next week I will try a raw food diet for two weeks to see if that helps with everything too (loving husband is bracing for that).
  • Breakfast for the following week is going to alternate between these two recipes:
    • 2 hard boiled eggs chopped up in a bowl with a half of an avocado, cubed
    • Or, chia pudding: 1/2 cup chia seeds, 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 10-12 drops of stevia and a cup of blueberries. Mix it all up and put in the fridge overnight. This makes 2 servings.
  • PREP: I will hard boil all the eggs on Sunday and make two servings of the chia pudding (since it gets thicker and better as it sits in the fridge).


big ass salad - Fitness with PJ blog

  • BAS (big as salad) with spinach, grape tomatoes, snap peas, peppers, cucumber and then when I plate it I will add sesame seeds and roasted chickpeas for my protein. I will use the leftover dressing I have from last week’s Kale Apple Salad recipe (it’s really good!).
  • PREP: I will roast the chickpeas and make the salad on Sunday and store it in this awesome HUGE bowl I have that I got as a wedding gift from my amazing big sis Cindy. She used to be a Tupperware sales rep and got the bowl there. It is over 21 years old and is used almost every week and keeps on on going. Great bowl!



  • The weekend did not really go according to plan so the BBQ turkey burgers we were going to have last night we will have tonight. I won’t eat a bun, and instead of Tatar Tots (yes, this is what I am seriously making loving husband) I am going to roast me some brussel sprouts.
  • I absolutely love roasted brussel sprouts! All I do is toss them in some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle some s&p and roast them for 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees.
  • Loving husband will also be made to eat some of BAS above (without the chickpeas or tomatoes), so I know I at least got one serving of veggies into his body this weekend (because sweet and sour pork and sweet and sour chicken balls do not count).


Stuffed-Sweet-Potato-Fitness with PJ blog

  • It’s Meatless Monday what could be the undoing of a very happy 21 year marriage. If you are new to my blog then here’s a quick synopsis of my life in the kitchen with my loving husband: I love fruit and veggies, loving husband does not. He has the tastebuds of an 8-year old boy and because I love him, and I want him to stay above ground for as long as possible, I try my hardest, each and every week, to find healthy recipes and foods that he will eat. And let me tell you these past few Meatless Mondays have been a bust.
  • Loaded Sweet Potatoe – by SkinnyTaste. I have made this before and it is really good, especially the yogurt sauce. Loved it!
  • Now loving husband doesn’t really like sweet potatoes so I will make him a regular potaote and we will also some of the BAS as a side dish.
  • PREP: I will bake both of the potaotes on Sunday, as well as make the rest of the recipe so we can just re-heat when I get home from work on Monday.


  • Wild Salmon Vegetable Salad with Lemon Miso Dressing – by Skinny Ms.
  • However, I will not be adding any nori. If a mushroom can send picky-loving husband over the edge I can only image what dried seaweed could do to the poor guy’s psyche. Read here about how a mushroom almost killed him, and if that didn’t I would.

WORKOUT TIP: Check out this HIIT workout. It is only 30-minutes and will burn a ton of calories, as well as work the core and legs and create a healthier more efficient heart.



Tilapia Tostadas - Fitness with PJ blog

  • Tilapia Tostadas – Whole Foods
  • As you can see by the last two recipes I like the Whole Foods website. They have some great recipes – and they are free! Unlike shopping there which will cost you first and last month’s mortgage.



  • I have a meeting at 4:30 that day and I have no idea what time I will be home, so we will either eat out, take out or just do our own thing.

WORKOUT TIP: If weight loss is your goal, do shorter, more intense weight training workouts. This type of training will get the pounds off way faster than aerobic exercise. Click here for an example.



  • I am not sure about Saturday. I would really love to get a on a trail (weather permitting), so I am crossing my fingers and doing a tribal “don’t rain dance” that this will happen.
  • If we do hit a trail I will throw together a slow cooker meal before we leave so that when we come home dinner is ready for us (I love that!).
  • Or, if we didn’t eat out last night we will do take out after the hike (we only eat one meal out once a week).
  • If we don’t hike, then I will use the day to get ready for my two-week raw food diet I will starting on Sunday.




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PJ ox

Never Eat This For Breakfast

Never Eat This For Breakfast

And 50 Things You Should Eat Instead

While on this journey to better health and fitness (because this is a journey and not a destination), there are some things that can help with your journey and some that will just side-track it to hell.

Today I am going reveal one of the biggest impersonators in the weight loss and healthy food world.

This one food pretends to be healthy, all fortified and full of nutrients. It has also been known to toot its’ own horn because it is a “delicious, wholesome beginning that fills bellies and fuels bodies and minds”.

However, once the fanfare has stopped and you delve a little deeper you will soon see that this breakfast favourite will instead:

  • Stall weight loss
  • Increase our appetite for more food (and the wrong kind)
  • Raise our blood sugar levels
  • Leave us feeling tired, sluggish and brain-dead by mid-morning

Cereal and Kim Kardashian

That innocent box of cereal in your cupboard, impersonating as a healthy start to your day, is about as innocent as Kim Kardashian is at being camera-shy.

While I understand the draw to cereal (it’s quick, it’s easy), and I am not against all packaged food par sae (you will notice below in my recipes I use protein powder). What I am against, though, are unhealthy choices that we think are healthy choices because that’s what food manufacturers have duped us into believing.

I am also against starting our day with a product that is high in refined carbohydrates and high in sugar. Both of these are bad news, and even worse for us over 40-year olds.

You see, at this age we need now more than ever to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day and foods high in refined carbs and sugar do the exact opposite.

A steady-eddy blood sugar level through the day will help us feel fuller for longer and teach us to only eat when we are really hungry. Two powerful allies to weight management in our middle years.

How Cereal Is Born

First, the process of how cereal is made is very unhealthy for the body – no matter what organic, expensive crap from the health food store you buy.

All cold breakfast cereals are made by a process called extrusion (Weston-Price). And, the extrusion process is roughly 5 steps of hell for an innocent piece of grain.

In the first part of the extrusion process the grains are mixed with water in a slurry and then processed in a machine called an “extruder” (sounds like a character in the “Terminator” movie, doesn’t it?).

Once the grains and water have fought with the extruder/Terminator (“I’ll be back” – they say… haha, couldn’t resist. Sorry.), the grains/sludge are then pumped out of tiny holes using high temperatures and pressure. These holes are what create the shapes of cereal that we find in our cereal box.

Eat all of the junk food you want. So long as you cook it yourself. - Michael Pollan Click To Tweet

Certain grains from the above process will then be passed through the extruder again to produce puffed wheat, oats and rice. Afterwards all of these shapes are then sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal the deal.

This sealing process is actually the most crucial part to a cereal’s success. You see the cereal must stay crunchy while floating in a bowl full of milk for it to be successful.

Unfortunately they don’t stop the processing there.

Due to the high heat and pressure used (during the processing) this pretty much destroys most of the grains’ nutrients (Fighting the Food Giants Paul Stitt), and since the manufacturers have to sell Mom and the rest of us that this particular box is breakfast-gold, the food manufacturers take the cereal through one more process.

This time adding back the vitamins and minerals synthetically that their processing stripped of the grain that it had naturally in the first place.

To put it simply, they suck all the goodness out of the grain, then pump artificial “goodness” back into it.

Grain: I was just minding my own business when all of sudden I was sucked into this vortex and stripped of everything that makes me – me! “.

Funny Don't Eat Cereal Photo

How Sweet It Is

Most of us know that cereals like “Lucky Charms” and “Frosted Flakes” have a ton of sugar in them. That’s a no-brainer.

But, what if I were to tell you that even the most “healthiest” cereals have an unnecessary amount of sugar in them?

  • Sugar that will raise our blood sugar levels too quickly
  • Sugar that does not satisfy the body, instead leaving it craving more, and more often
  • Sugar, that will add girth to our waistlines
  • Sugar that increases inflammation in our bodies – leading to such diseases as cancer and metabolic syndrome
  • And sugar, that the World Health Organization (WHO) is advising us to half our daily consumption of

In addition, some cereals are high in sodium, that same sodium that Health Canada is telling us to watch out for.

Serving Size Disillusion

Another problem with cereal is that most people free pour it. Who has the time, or even wants to, pull out a measuring cup?

However, we all know what happens when we are left to our own devices to judge how much we are eating. We all over do it.

Sugar. It ain’t a great way to start your day.

Let’s take a look at some the “healthiest” cereals on the market today and see how they measure up for sugar grams.

Kashi GoLean (1 C) 9 grams sugar (just over 2 tsp)

Kashi GoLean – Crunch (3/4 C) 13 grams  (3 tsp)

Barbara’s Original Puffins (3/4 C) 5 grams (just over 1 tsp)

Bob’s Red Mill Granola (1/4 C) 8 grams (2 tsp)

Cheerios (1 C) 1 gram – while this is a low amount of sugar, don’t allow that to lull you in a false sense of security that you are eating healthy. Not only are the ingredients full of GMOs, the FDA even agreed  that Cheerios did not live up to the hype that General Mills was pumping out, and issued the company to change their marketing and box wording.

Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (1 C) 13 grams (3 tsp)

Koola Crisp – Nature’s Path (1 cup) 11 grams (almost 3 tsp)

Fibre One (half a cup) 14 grams (just over 3 tsp)

Smart Start Healthy Heart – Kellogg’s (1.25 cup) 17 grams (just over 4 tsp)

Corn Pops (1 cup) 14 grams (4 tsp)

Raisin Bran (1 C) 19 grams (over 4 tsp)

General Mills Granola (half of a cup) 18 grams (over 4 tsp)

Raisin Bran Crunch (1 cup) 20 grams (5 tsp)

Grape Nuts (1 C) 10 grams (over 2 tsp)

Kellogg’s Just Right Fruit & Nuts (1 C) 15 grams (4 tsp)

Quaker Natural Granola with Raisins (1 C) 30 grams (almost 7 tsp)

sad-cheerios Fitness with PJ blog

What You Should Eat For Breakfast Instead

Most nutritionists and trainers would love for you to eat a balanced breakfast. One that has a ratio of complex carbs, protein and good fats – and one that you prepped all by yourself.

If cereal is your thing than try large-flake or steel-cut oats. (Try this awesome oatmeal recipe.)

50 Breakfasts That Are Better For You

  1. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
  2. “Wasa” Crisp bread with almond butter and sliced apple
  3. Scrambled eggs with salsa and avocado
  4. Egg-scramble with veggies
  5. Nut butter, whole grain tortilla shell & a banana (wrap & go)
  6. Avocado spread on toast with a poached egg
  7. 2 hard boiled eggs chopped in a bowl with a half an avocado
  8. Last night’s leftovers (my fave is cold salmon)
  9. Greek yogurt, berries & mixed nuts
  10. Carrot Cake Overnight Oats
  11. Baked Banana Oatmeal
  12. Baked Quinoa with Apples
  13. Baked Breakfast Peppers
  14. Avocado and Baked Egg
  15. Zucchini Noodle Breakfast Bowl
  16. Baby Kale, Mozza, Egg Bake
  17. Protein Pancakes
  18. Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
  19. Breakfast Salmon Egg Bake
  20. Paleo Breakfast Casserole
  21. Raw Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Chia Bowl
  22. Energizing Green Smoothie Bowl
  23. Overnight Oats Banana Split
  24. Banana Chia Pudding
  25. Raw Buckwheat Porridge
  26. Easy Breakfast Salad
  27. Vanilla Chia Pudding
  28. Veggie Quiche Cups To Go
  29. Grain-Free Applesauce Pancakes
  30. Healthy Bran Muffins 
  31. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
  32. Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake
  33. Tofu Scramble
  34. Coconut Protein Chia Pancakes
  35. Breakfast Kabobs
  36. Superfood Porridge
  37. 5-Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl
  38. Black Bean Breakfast Burrito
  39. Ricotta Tomatoe Toast
  40. Creamy Berry Quinoa Parfait
  41. Mushroom Tomatoe Omelette 
  42. Mediterranean Morning Scramble
  43. Slow Cooker Red Pepper Asparagus Frittata
  44. Banana Oatmeal Protein Pancakes
  45. Coconut Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
  46. Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Breakfast Cookies
  47. Savory Pesto Breakfast Pesto Bowl
  48. Hot Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie
  49. Baked Apple Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal
  50. Loaded Veggie Avocado Quinoa Frittatas



Grab your personalized 21 day fitness program.
Let me help you get FIT!

PJ ox

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 6

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 6

Not sure what to cook this week? Check out what I prepping and making for myself and picky loving husband for some inspiration and ideas.

Notes about last week’s meals

  • The protein pancakes were awesome. I also bought some raspberries and sprinkled them on top. It was so convenient to have these already made and in the freezer. I just pulled one out the night before and popped it in my toaster oven each morning.
  • The Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Noodle Soup was also a keeper! I added a red pepper and an onion to the slow cooker too. But, super easy, sure filling and super healthy.
  • WHAT I WILL NEVER MAKE AGAIN?? The Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole. I threw the whole damn thing out. It was gross and I was pissed because I bought $10 worth of ground bison, not to mention all the other ingredients. I knew it sucked before I even served it. While the sauce was simmering I tasted it and hated it – and knew that picky loving husband would hate it even more. So, I threw it right then and there. I think it’s the stevia she has you add in the recipe. I really don’t think you need it. But, nonetheless, I will never make it again.

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here.<<<

Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus



  • Superfood Porridge from the amazing Oh She Glows website.
  • Angela, of Oh She Glows, also has the most wonderful cookbook out too. If you are looking for a gift for Christmas (for a healthy eater in your life), you have to go and pick up her book!
  • Hers is also one the BEST food blogs on the internet.

Superfood Porridge - Oh She Glows

Superfood Porridge – Oh She Glows


  • As always, I will prep enough lunch for Monday – Thursday leaving my Friday open to eat out with a friend or colleague, or have my fave PB and a banana on Wasa bread, shot back with a chocolate protein shake (read here: why you need protein with every meal).
  • This week’s lunch: Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing – this seriously looks like a winner and I can’t wait to try it!



  • Slow Cooker Pot Roast with mashed carrots & parsnips
  • I already have this in my freezer and made my own taco seasoning mix and added parsnips to it as well. We have had this before and my carrots never really made it out of the slow cooker whole like hers show in the picture on her website. So, I just mashed them up with the parsnips and all was right again with world.
  • Kale salad as a side


  • Meatless Monday, otherwise known as loving husband’s least favourite day of the week. Read here about how a mushroom traumatized him close to death.
  • Crockpot Black Bean Soup, from Joyful Healthy Eats – finger’s crossed picky loving husband eats this.

Crockpot Black Bean Soup - Joyful Healthy Eats
Crockpot Black Bean Soup – Joyful Healthy Eats


  • I hate throwing away food, so since I still have some asparagus leftover from last week’s slow cooker frittata I am going to make another frittata.
  • This time, however, I will sauté the asparagus with some olive oil, along with a yellow pepper and a half of an onion with 1 tbsp of Italian Seasoning.
  • From there I will pour all the veggies into an 8×8 casserole dish and add 6 eggs and a cup of egg whites, whisked well.
  • On top I will sprinkle some goat’s cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes
  • TIP: to make your asparagus last store the whole bunch upright in a mug, with about an inch of water. I can get my asparagus to last up to a week like this.

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here.<<<


  • It’s “On Our Own Night”. My group classes start up again this week, so that means that I won’t get home until 7:30pm and I will be too exhausted from kicking people’s asses for two classes, back-to-back (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it) to cook.
  • So, since it’s late, and I’ll be tired, we will just do our own thing. What is my “own thing”, as of right this moment I have no idea what my own thing will be. Picky loving husband, on the other hand, I will bet the house that he will prepare himself a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup (his fave soup), with half a sleeve of Premium Plus crackers smushed up in the soup, accompanied with two PB and grape jelly sandwiches. I bet ya…


  • Baked salmon with some lemon juice and dill, with a baked potatoe for picky loving husband and baked Brussel sprouts for me.
  • Sautéed green beans with garlic and olive oil for both of us as a side


  • Eat out or take out – cause I ain’t cooking tonight.


  • Turkey Burgers with sweet potatoe fries for me and Tator Tots for picky loving husband
  • The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World



Grab your personalized 21 day fitness program.
Let me help you get FIT!

PJ ox

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 5

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 5

I need to ask a question to those of you with a significant other.

Is it bad to have the urge/want/desire, every so often, to punch your loved one in the throat?

Don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my husband. Since the day I meet him he has made me want to be a better person. But, every so often I would really love to punch loving husband in the trachea.

Having this urge once in a while is normal behaviour, right?

Why I wanted to kill loving husband

Case in point early last week. For Meatless Monday we had some of the leftover vegan chili from the previous week (very yummy, click here for the recipe). This particular recipe asked for mushrooms, and while I usually do not add them to a recipe because of picky-loving-husband (click here for the list of what he won’t eat), I felt like eating mushrooms because I miss them.

So, I added them to the recipe, but I did not cut them. Instead I left them big and whole, so that picky-loving-husband could easily pick them out of his bowl if one found its way there.

Little did I know, however, that he would shovel the stuff into his mouth without looking at the contents on his spoon first. Yeah, you know where I am going with this.

All of a sudden there were choking and retching sounds to my right as he dramatically pulled a whole mushroom out of his mouth. Normally I would have just rolled my eyes, ignored him and continued on eating.

But, he wasn’t done yet. He had to also go on a tirade about how he almost choked on a mushroom and what would people say if they found out I killed him with a mushroom?!?!

He continued on, wondering out loud, how I would write his eulogy (death by mushroom?), what would I think of the irony of him dying from eating healthy food, how his gravestone would be the laughing stock of the graveyard with death by mushroom written on it, and what if, God forbid, he actually swallowed the damn thing.

He could have had a mushroom sitting in his stomach right this second. Apparently at that point there was no more trust with the chili and he spent the next 5 minutes carefully dissecting his entire bowl.

It was at that moment, as I was envisioning places to hide the body, that I wanted to choke him and punch him in throat.

I did not. Instead I ate my mushrooms with great slurping and mmmmmm’s sounds until my dinner was finished. Yes, we act like a couple of 10-year olds in our house sometimes.

Notes about last week’s meal

  • Not much to report, it was all good and the oatmeal recipe is amazing. HAHA, yes that’s my recipe. But, trust me, it is really good!
  • Actually, I do want to give a shout out to my (other) favourite from last week, the Creamy Avocado Spinach Pesto Zoodles (click here for the recipe). It was AWESOME!
  • I did have a serious brain fart when shopping for this recipe, though. The recipe clearly states “3 cups of spinach” and I clearly bought a crap of baby kale. So, I made do with the baby kale and it tasted great (however, having never made it before I have absolutely no baseline to judge taste on).
  • I also did use 2 tbsp of olive oil. I found I only needed one.
  • In addition, I roasted my baby tomatoes with some olive oil and garlic and also added fresh basil when I plated it. This was super good and I will definitely keep this as a regular meal – when loving husband is not home.
  • Loving husband’s favourite meal from last week…. the double, double burger from White Spot we ordered on our “take-out night” with the two servings of fries he ordered with it and the extra coleslaw he ate (I don’t like restaurant coleslaw, so he always eats mine). When I pressed him to tell me what fave meal from the recipes we used, he said the Split Pea & Ham Soup.
  • Check Out Week 1
  • Check Out Week 2
  • Check Out Week 3
  • Check Out Week 4

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here. <<<

TRAINER TIP: if you need a workout for when you are traveling, or need a low maintenance, little equipment workout, you are gonna LOVE the Total Body Tubing Workout I released on Tough Love Tuesday. It’s the perfect travel workout, or the I don’t wanna spend any money on exercise equipment workout.

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu


Protein pancake recipe - Fitness with PJ

  • This is an “off” week for me, meaning that my classes are on a week break so my mornings are not as rushed as they normally are.
  • Because of this I am going to make some of those protein pancakes (click here for the recipe) I wrote about on Friday, each morning. BUT, if I have time today I will prep them in advance.
  • TIP: to prep protein pancakes I make them for the week and then wrap and freeze them individually. The night before I pull one from the freezer and in the morning toast it, or re-heat in the microwave.
  • For toppings I will slather some almond butter on it, or heat some strawberry jam and pour on top of it.



>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here.<<<



  • This afternoon we are meeting friends for brunch at a restaurant that does not serve brunch (WTF? Who does not serve a breakfast menu? Especially on a Sunday? Apparently the Cactus Club does not.). After that we are headed for a late matinee of the new James Bond movie (hello sexy Daniel Craig).
  • At the theatre I may have popcorn – GASP! Yes, trainer’s eat crap once in a while too. I am a trainer, not a goddamn saint.
  • So, because of this late brunch that’s not really brunch, and the potential crap that might be eaten at the theatre, dinner will be non-existent. Maybe a protein shake, but I doubt it because we probably won’t be very hungry.


  • Oh joy, another Meatless Monday! Or, as loving husband likes to call it “his worst day of the week”.
  • Tonight I will go easy on the guy (since he is still recovering from the above mushroom incident), and make a slow cooker egg frittata. (Recipe to be released on Friday… so hang tight.)


salmon-tacos-with-avocado-salsa - Fitness with PJ Blog Salmon Tacos with Avocado Salsa – Cooking Classy

  • Taco Tuesday! Yum!
  • Grilled Salmon Tacos with Avocado Salsa – by Cooking Classy
  • This recipe looks amazing! However, I won’t lie. I probably won’t make the avocado salsa. But, it does look amazing…. so maybe I will. Let’s see how ambitious I feel Tuesday night.

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here.<<<


  • Sweet Chili Lime BBQ Chicken with Cucumber Salad 
    – from Muscle & Fitness (of all places!)
  • TIP: if you are going to do this recipe I suggest pounding your chicken breasts out a bit to flatten them before bbq-ing. This is a trick I picked up from some food blog (sorry I can’t give you a source. I literally read 4-6 a day). You see all chicken breasts have a thicker area, and since eating raw chicken is not cool you have to keep the chicken on the BBQ for as long as it takes to cook this “thicker” area. Unfortunately the rest of the chicken dries out when you do this. By making the breast one thickness you eliminate that, decrease your BBQ time and have juicy, yummy chicken every time. Try it.


Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole – Eat Yourself Skinny

  • Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole – from Eat Yourself Skinny
  • I am hoping if I also make garlic bread loving husband will ignore the fact that he’s eating squash. Finger’s crossed.


  • Leftovers! There are bound to be some leftovers from this past week which we will dish out, heat up and nosh on.


  • Take out or go out. But I ain’t cooking!

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here.<<<

Blab: Fitness with PJ Over 40 Fitness

I am so excited to share with you my newest venture. Every Monday at 11am (PST) I will be broadcasting an online social chat room on Blab.im called “Over 40 Fitness: Motivation Monday“.

To listen all you have to do is log onto www.blab.im and use your Twitter account to sign in. That’s it.


Not familiar with Blab? Well, it’s like a podcast, webinar, Google Hangout all rolled into one. It’s super cool. Lots of great info and tips from pros around world and YOU have the opportunity to sit in and ask them any questions that you want.

Check it out >>> every Monday at 11am.

My guest this Monday is Mary Roncarelli, health coach and author of 12 Weeks to Wellness:

3 Best Strategies to Weight Loss – and That Have Nothing To Do With Dieting   Click here to register.


Looking for some tough love training? I’ve got small group classes, one-on-one appointments, and online personal training. In other words – everything you need to get started! Check out my website here.

For more healthy living tips, recipes and workouts please subscribe above to this blog

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

If you are really interested in getting started on your own weight loss and fitness journey, shoot me an email!

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly blog by clicking on the box above. I’ve got lots of awesome workouts, exclusive content, and exciting offers available to subscribers only!

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PJ ox

Protein and Protein Powder

Protein and Protein Powder

Let’s talk protein.

Any weight loss program, as well as all exercise programs, rely on a protein-rich diet. Why you wonder?

Well, first off I think that I need to start at the beginning and explain the basics about protein and then build from there.

Importance of protein
Protein is found in every cell, muscle, tissue and organ in our body. The body needs protein for:

  • Growth (as in muscles)
  • Maintenance and repair of our cells
  • Metabolism (as in an increased one)
  • Digestion
  • To help transport nutrients and oxygen within the blood
  • Fight against infection
  • And, on a more aesthetic level it is the main nutrient that keeps our hair shiny and healthy, our nails strong, our skin looking fresh and glowing and our bones strong and healthy. (www.cdc.gov/nutrtition.com)

What is protein?

Protein itself is actually chains of other molecules called amino acids. There are 22 amino acids in total in the body.  Thirteen of them non-essential, meaning our bodies are capable of making these little guys on their own, and nine which are deemed essential because we need to ingest these aminos through the foods that we eat.

When we eat the right foods, these nine amino acids will get reassembled to form the different types of protein that our body needs.  (www.about.com/what-is-protein)



What foods contain these nine essential amino acids?

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • And, soybeans provide all nine amino acids and are therefore called “complete proteins”.

Plant sources, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, grain products and many vegetables have some, but not all, of the nine amino acids, and are so termed “incomplete proteins.” When combined, though, it is possible to get all nine without having to eat any animal products (great news for all you vegetarians out there).

A diet high in protein is a very successful weight loss technique, and a tried and true method for fitness-enthusiasts looking to maintain a lean body weight and a high muscle mass.

In a study published in Nutrition Metabolism, dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their daily diet ate nearly 450 fewer calories a day and lost about 11 pounds over the 12-week study – and that was without employing any other dietary measures! (www.msnbc.msn.com)

Worried about what all that extra protein in your body might do to your heart and vessels, though?

No need to. In another study, this time at John Hopkins University, they found that a diet in which roughly a quarter of the calories came from lean protein sources actually reduced blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides better than a traditional higher-carb diet.  (www.active.com)

However, if you have any kidney or liver problems it’s best to seek the advice of a nutritionist before increasing your daily protein.

Calories from protein affect your appetite control center so you are more satiated and satisfied. Click To Tweet

How much protein should you be taking?
To get the number of grams of protein per day that you should be eating use the following formula:

For women:

  • If you’re not very active: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 0.8
  • If you’re active or pregnant: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.3
  • If you’re extremely active & in training: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.8

For men:

  • If you’re not very active: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.0
  • If you’re active: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.5
  • If you’re extremely active & in training: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 2.0

(Tip: To find your body weight in kg divide your weight in pounds by 2.2)

Easiest way to get protein
Protein powder is the easiest way to introduce 20-30 grams  of pure protein into your system. A quality protein powder will have all the essential and nonessential amino acids that your body needs.

Wondering why we would need those nonessential amino acids, when our bodies are already capable of making them on its own?

Well, let me remind you that when we exercise, we place a great deal of stress on the body and need to supplement to offset this stress. The body can’t do it all on it’s own when outside it’s normal parameters – you need to give it some help. This is also true if you lead a high stress lifestyle, or are ill, or do not practice proper nutrition. In fact, the unhealthier you are, the more you need protein.

Protein powder is also convenient and has a very high bioavailability (BV). Foods, especially protein sources, are rated by their “bioavailability” – how useful that food is to the body. The theoretical highest BV of any food source is 100%, an egg being the standard measurement that all protein sources are held to. BV refers to how well and how quickly your body can actually use the protein that you just consumed.

funny protein shake photo


Eggs (whole) 100%
Eggs (white) 88%
Chicken/Turkey 79%
Fish 70%
Lean Beef 69%
Cow’s Milk 60%
Unpolished rice 59%
Brown rice 57%
White rice 56%
Peanuts 55%
Peas 55%
Whole Wheat 49%
Soy beans 47%
Whole-grain wheat 44%
Corn 36%
Dry beans 34%
White potatoe 34%


Whey Protein Isolate 100+%
Whey Protein Concentrate 90%
Casein 80%
Soy 74%
Rice Protein 59%

Let’s talk protein powder.

Whey Protein Powders

Whey protein is a dairy derived product. It is the ‘leftovers’ after milk coagulates and is the byproduct of the process of cheese making. It is, by far, the most popular of all of the protein powders.

It has the highest BV rating of any of the other powders
– Easiest powder to find at the grocery store and health food store
-bMixes well with water, juice, milk and milk substitutes
– Is fat-free

There are 3 types of whey powders on the market: concentrate, isolate & hydrolyzed:

Concentrate forms are low in fat & cholesterol, but your body only absorbs 55-60% of it (concentrate has the lowest BV of the whey protein powders). This is also the cheapest powder that you can buy.

Isolate forms
are a purer form of protein and have been processed less than concentrate forms. Isolate also has a very high BV rating (100%) and it won’t bloat you or give you gas like the lower quality concentrate will. However, you will pay for these benefits.

protein powder is isolate, but with a facelift. The whey protein is cut into smaller chunks called “peptides”. These peptides absorb into your body fast, offering a quick jump-start to repairing those muscles and a very high BV. But this is also the most expensive protein powder. Think of hydrolyzed as your porterhouse steak, isolate as your sirloin and the concentrate as your flank. I love isolate powders personally. But, if you find you get bloated, or feel “too full” after a shake then hydrolyzed is your powder.


  • High amounts of protein should not be taken by people with pre-existing kidney problems
  • If you have an allergy to diary, consult with a dietician, or your doctor, before taking whey protein
  • If you are increasing the amount of protein in your diet, be sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day – protein uses a lot of water within the body to metabolize.


Casein Protein Powder

  • Milk consists of three main components – water, fats and proteins. The proteins are whey and casein.  Casein, however, is structurally different than the whey protein and it is responsible for the white, opaque appearance of milk.


  • Casein is extremely slow at digesting
  • This makes it the best protein powder for right before bed, or anytime when you are not going to be eating for seven or more hours. A drink with 20-30 grams of casein powder will help prevent muscle catabolism and keep you satisfied.


  • Same as the pro – it is slow-acting, so not the best choice for right after a workout, or as a morning meal.

Soy Protein Powder

  • Soy protein comes from, surprise, soybeans


  • Great alternative for people who cannot, or will not, eat whey protein
  • The vegan choice for powders


  • If you can, I would recommend staying away from soy protein powder. It has a low BV rating and is high in allergens.
  • It has also been researched that more soy we eat, the more likely we can develop allergies to it.
  • Soy was once considered a waste product in the soy oil industry and fed to cows.
  • If you need to, or want to, eat a vegetarian-based protein supplement, then I recommend chlorella, hemp seed, or spirulina. These three are considered “super foods” because they contain the proper ratios of the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. I, personally, take 3 grams of spirulina a day and 4-6 grams of chlorella (more during the flu season to up my immunity), in addition to an isolated whey protein shake.

Rice Protein Powder

  • Standard cooked rice has a protein content of only 5%-7%. To make concentrated rice protein, whole brown rice is ground into flour and then mixed with water. Natural enzymes are then added to break down and separate out the carbohydrates and fibers from the protein portion of the slurry.


  • Rice protein is high in the amino acids cysteine and methionine
  • Great for vegans


  • Other than cysteine and methionine, rice protein is low in the other 6 essential amino acids


When is the best time for a protein shake?

I prefer mine right after my workouts. When you workout you are actually creating tiny microscope tears to the muscle tissue. Because solid food takes time to digest, and I want those amino acids found in protein to build the muscle tissue ASAP that I just broke down, so a protein shake is my answer.

Protein, in particular the branched chained amino acids (BCAA) leucine, isoleucine and valine, are key at re-building the muscle tissue.

Recent research also suggests that there is a 30-60 minute window of opportunity to get the greatest benefit, and since it only takes about 30 minutes for my body to break down the protein chains in a powdered form, this leaves me assured that my shake is delivering the nutrients that I need, at a time that my body needs them most.(www.sportsmedicine.about.com)

What brands do I use?

  • Quest – this one contains sucralose, but tastes great with just water. I have also mixed the Strawberry in mny plain Greek yogurt to liven it up.
  • Vega – this one is vegan and needs milk, milk sub like almond milk to make it taste good. I also find it needs to be put in the blender with some ice too. This is the cleanest protein powder on the market, however not the tastiest.
  • Cellucor – this one contains sucralose and acesulfame potassium. So, not a “clean” powder, but tastes great mixed just with water. All the others need almond milk – or whatever milk sub you drink – to make the shake taste good.
  • North Coast Naturals – they carry a whey as well as a vegan formula and it does not taste great in water alone either. Mixed with a milk or milk sub, though, it’s really good.
  • Promisal – this is the powder II have used in the past! It tastes amazing in just water. I recommend the soft-serve vanilla, dutch chocolate and the cookies and cream. You can buy this online, or at GNC.
  • Devotion – hands down this is the BEST powder I have had in the 20 years of purchasing protein powder. It mixes amazing-balls with water alone. It is creamy, mixes well and tastes amazing.
  • One tip though, purchase the one sweetened with stevia. The other, sweetened with sucralose, is super sweet. I much prefer stevia.




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PJ ox

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 4

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 4

Meal planning is a must if you are busy, like to eat healthier, want to avoid the “what am/we going to eat tonight” and keep the inches off.

For over 20 years I have used Sunday as my planning and prep day (however I have now moved it to Saturday for this blog), and I credit this one weekly act to me being able to fit in the same size pants as I did when I was 30, at 45.

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here. <<<

Notes about last week’s meals

  • Read Week 3 blog here.
  • The Blueberry Lemon Quinoa cereal was AMAZING!! This is now going to be a regular part of my breakfast rotation. It made 4 servings, so next time I will add a 1/4 cup more quinoa and 1/2 cup almond milk to give me the full 5 days of prep.
  • Vegan Chili in the slow cooker was also a hit. However, loving husband had to douse his in ketchup, and add a half a sleeve of crackers to eat it. I told him to suck it up, though, cause it made enough for another night’s meal and to expect it again in the near future. He was thrilled.
  • I also loved my lunch choice for the week, Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoe Chicken & Quinoa Soup. It was so easy to make. One thing, though, mine was more like a stew than a soup. I didn’t measure out the 5 cups of broth like the recipe stated. I just poured a 1L tetra box in, but apparently this is not even close to 5 cups. But, I still ate it and I will definitely make it again – but not anytime soon. It made a TON and I froze about another week’s worth for the future.

TRAINER TIP: People are loving this sandbag workout I released last week. Click here to check it out.




  • What to prep for this week’s breakfast was a no-brainer. I am going to make my Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal that I released on Friday.
  • I think I may add a couple of scoops of vanilla protein powder too.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal - Fitness with PJ


  • I am going to prep one of my favourite kale salad recipes (next to this one from week 1), Asian Kale Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod (I adore this blog).
  • Instead of Newman’s Own Dressing (like the recipe states) I use Tamari Sesame Dressing by Tan-J, and I will use baby kale as I find it is not as “rough” as regular kale.
  • As for the edamame, you can buy them already shelled and cooked in the freezer aisle – brilliant – so I just pull, thaw and add to the salad right away.
  • In addition, I will bake some tofu and add to the salad when I plate it each day.
  • I am addicted to baked tofu! To make it it is quite easy:
    • Drain a block of firm or extra firm tofu. To drain the tofu (and therefore ensure that you have crispy, baked crouton-like tofu pieces), I place the block of tofu in a towel and wrap the towel around it, then I place a large book on the top, with a five pound dumbbell on top of that. I let it sit for 15-minutes to an hour and viola! Drained tofu.
    • Cube tofu and place in a ziplock baggie.
    • In baggie add: Bragg’s Soy Seasoning, sesame oil (just a little bit), grated ginger and garlic and let it marinate for as long as you can in the fridge (sorry, I do not measure any of this. I freehand it all, baby.)
    • When ready to bake, place on a non-stick cookie sheet, preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
    • One block will last me for 4 lunch meals.

Asian Kale Salad – Two Peas and their Pod





  • We did take-out last night (it was PIZZA night!!), so tonight will be low key and light and easy. You see, I am all about checks and balances. If I eat a little poorly one meal I eat fairly clean the next. I love me a good cheat night and they are not there to reward me for eating well the rest of the week. I love eating well all week too. I want people to think of food as a pleasurable act, not a reward system for working out, or eating kale salad all week. Eat well and your body will only crave good food. You will not crave salt, sugar or crap. That’s how I roll and after SO many years on a diet I am loving my new philosophy and have not been more fit or healthy because of it.
  • I am going to make some Garlic Avocado Toasts for me (another recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod) and use 2 slices of Squirrelly Bread from Silver Hills Bakery (the only bread I eat, when I eat bread), and add a poached egg on top. Click here for the easiest way to poach an egg in the microwave.
  • For loving husband I will make him two fried egg sandwiches (he does not like his yolk runny, nor will he eat Squirrelly bread or touch an avocado, let alone eat one smashed all over his crappy brown bread.).
  • Don’t freak out cause I wrote the word fried, either. I simply spray my frying pan with some EVOO and fry the eggs. That’s it.


  • Meatless Monday has arrived, or as loving husband likes to think of it, “his worst day of the week”.
  • Once again Mr. Meat Eater and picky-as-hell loving husband will have to suffer with veggies and in tonight’s case the leftover Vegan Chili from last week.
  • However, he did tell that he is still recovering from the fact that he almost ate a mushroom last week, when we had the chili. I did what any loving wife would do and rolled my eyes and walked out of the room before I could throw something at him.

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here. <<<



  • I work late Wednesdays so I always need fast and easy for our Wednesday night dinners.
  • Salmon burgers are on the menu using my favourite rub that I bought at Coastal Olive Oil.
  • Loving husband will get a bun and I will use use a bib lettuce leaf instead. I try to avoid bread, pastas and rice. I find this is the quickest way to stomach bloat, a general feeling of yuck and inches added around the waistline. All of which does not make me feel good.
  • On Sunday I will bake some baby potatoes in rosemary to re-heat as a side dish. And, I will also add a scoop of a kale salad to our meal so that loving husband at least gets one vegetable serving today.

TRAINER TIP: looking to add some more cardio into your life, but hate running? Try this workout. You can do it in your living room and it will get you just as sweaty as a 40-minute run. Trainer’s promise.

Your body is a result of the choices you make. #healthylife Click To Tweet



  • I have one serving of spaghetti sauce in the freezer, so I will make loving husband his favourite meal (I may even buy him some meatballs from the local butcher at Thrifty Foods. If I do, I surely will win Wife of the Year this time. Never won it yet though in 21 years.).
  • This will keep him happy while I try this recipe, Creamy Avocado-Spinach Pesto Zoodles, from The Iron You. This is one of the few food blogs out there written by a guy, and he’s cute as a button too. I’ve been reading his blog for a while and it is one of the best out there. I, also, love his avatar. You don’t see younger guys in a suit tie much anymore.
  • Anyways, this recipe looks really good and I love me a good spiralizer recipe.
  • Of course, my whole meal is going to gross loving husband out. In fact, he claims he can’t even watch me eat tomatoes and says he is still traumatized from the time I used real Roma tomatoes to make a spaghetti sauce. Sigh.

Creamy Avocado-Spinach Pesto Zoodles – The Iron You

Read more:


Looking for some tough love training? I’ve got small group classes, one-on-one appointments, and online personal training. In other words – everything you need to get started! Check out my website here.

For more healthy living tips, recipes and workouts please subscribe above to this blog

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

If you are really interested in getting started on your own weight loss and fitness journey, shoot me an email!

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly blog by clicking on the box above. I’ve got lots of awesome workouts, exclusive content, and exciting offers available to subscribers only!

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