Interview with IFBB Physique Pro Rose Brunner!


Name: Rose Brunner
Age: 48
Occupation/Affiliations: Personal Trainer, IFBB Physique Pro
Family/Relationship Status: Mom of 2 amazing kids (18 & 20)

When and where did your love for fitness begin?
My love and passion comes from my mother and brother and started when I was 13 years old. My mother taught aerobics/body pump classes, before they were “popular” (women didn’t lift weights back then, that was for the boys) and my brother dove heavily into bodybuilding, I soon followed in his path.

What is your proudest fitness accomplishment?
Many would think I would say getting my pro card, while It was a great moment it is not my proudest moment. My proudest moment was after a show in 2012, I was competing in figure at the time. I came in 2nd to last. It was crushing to me. I got a call from my brother and he said, “You’re placing means nothing, it does not define your hard work, dedication and what is in your heart. This sport pumps through your veins and breathes life into you. You touch and inspire many so no matter what, hold your head high and know that I am very proud of you and I know mom is looking down and is also very proud of all you have accomplished”.  For me, that is more to me than any trophy or placing.

What is your fitness philosophy?
Find what works for you, listen to your how your body responds.  We are all built differently and respond to different workouts, food and cardio programs. It is a lot of trial an error. Also don’t get comfortable in doing the same workouts and eating the same food day after day. Add variety, mix it up. And enjoy it!!! You are taking care of your biggest most prized possession, YOU!

What does your fitness routine look like?
I went back to my old school split, 3 days on 1 day off

Day 1 Quads, Calves
Day 2 Back, Glutes Abs
Day 3 Delts, with a very light chest workout
Day 4 OFF
Day 5 Hamstrings Calves Abs
Day 6 Arms, Glutes and 8 sets of wide grip lat pull downs
Day 7 Delts, Abs
Day 8 OFF

I do cardio 4-5 times a week 30-40 minutes.

What song(s) gets you beast mode ready?
Wow, I have a lot, right now  Down with the Sickness by Disturbed, Face the Pain by Stemm, A Warriors Call by Volbeat, We Own It by 2 Chainz and anything from In This Moment.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in competing (ANY type of fitness competition)?
Find a GOOD coach, there are so many trainers out there that say they can get your ready for a competition so do your research, ask around and ask questions like you are interviewing them for a job. It is vital in your success and health to find a well experienced, knowledgable trainer.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I love to write, I’m not sure if it is a talent but I know it flows naturally out of me. I feel it, I write it. I wouldn’t call them poems more like verses or what I like to call them “Little pieces of me, put on paper in words”

Whats next for you so we can cheer you on?
I am unsure of what 2015 will hold for me. I have a lot of life changes going on right now, but God willing I will walk on stage again next year. I am still training and focused on that being my goal.

How do we learn more about you?
You can join me at or on Instagram and Twitter @ ifbbpro_roseb7

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps
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What you need
  1. 1 20oz package of extra lean ground turkey
  2. 1/2 a large red bell pepper, chopped
  3. 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  4. 1/4 a red onion, chopped
  5. 1/5c low sodium, organic, free range chicken broth (my fav two choices are: pacific brand, and organics brand)
  6. 1 can low sodium white beans, organic if possible, BPA-free lining (Eden, if you can find it)
  7. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  8. 1 head of bibb or boston lettuce
  9. broccoli slaw
  10. shredded red cabbage
  11. HOMEMADE taco seasoning!
Here is my taco seasoning recipe
  1. 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  2. 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  3. 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  4. 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  5. 1 (heaping) teaspoon chili powder
  6. 1 (heaping) teaspoon smoked paprika
  7. 1 (heaping) teaspoon cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. mixxxxxxie mixie mixie... look, now you have taco seasoning that isn't full of sodium, chemicals, preservatives, or MSG.
What to do
  1. Chop up your red pepper, red onion, and slice your tomatoes. Open the can of beans, drain, and rinse. Make your taco seasoning. Put all of this aside.
  2. Put olive oil into a large skillet. Break up and begin to cook your turkey. Dump all of the taco seasoning onto the turkey, as well as just a few grinds from a fresh salt shaker.
  3. Once turkey is near cooked (maybe 3-4 minutes), add your onion, and pepper. Allow to cook another 2-3 minutes before adding your tomatoes and beans.
  4. Then add your chicken broth so that the mix becomes a little saucy. Allow to cook another maybe 2-3 minutes, just until the beans are hot.
  5. Evenly divide into four containers (or five?). If you make four equal servings, it will have 5oz turkey per container. If you make five equal servings, you'll have 4oz turkey per container.
  6. Put three containers in the fridge.
  7. Assemble your lettuce wraps: place four large leaves of bibb lettuce (washed, of course) down on a plate. Place a pinch of shredded cabbage onto each one. Then place a pinch of broccoli slaw on each one. I allowed my taco meat to cool slightly before equally dividing the contents of a container onto the lettuce tacos. I didn't let the taco meat become COLD, I just didn't want really super hot food right on top of my lettuce. You will need an extra napkin, I promise. But yummy :)
  8. If you don't care for turkey, you can easily use ground chicken, lean beef, sliced steak, or even shrimp tacos instead.
Nutrition (when using 1/4th the meat mixture, includes all veggies for the "tacos")
  1. 363 calories, 13.6g fat, 2.4g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 81mg cholesterol, 208mg sodium, 28.3g carb, 9.5g fiber, 8.5g sugar, 36g protein, over 100% RDA Vitamin A, over 100% RDA Vitamin C, 13% RDA Calcium, 38% RDA Iron
  1. Note: Remaining containers of food were super delicious with some brown rice and a side salad the next day
Ripped Goddess

Being the best version of you transformation: Rae Cole


Name: Rae Cole
Age: 29
Starting point: 159 lbs
Current point: 125 lbs

What made you begin your fitness transformation?
Two years ago, I wasn’t feeling happy or confident. Then it really hit me when I saw a pic of me at my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding.

What does your fitness and nutrition plan look like?
I enjoy running and circuit training with weights. In the last year I’ve completed 2 half marathons. When I first started training I couldn’t even run half a mile without stopping.

How do you stay motivated?
I remember how low my confidence was and I tell myself I’ll never go back to that.

What’s your favorite power song?
Anything by Eminem!

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Completing my first half marathon up and over the Fred Hartman bridge in baytown, TX.

What else do you have planned for yourself?
I would like to get more muscle definition and I’m getting there!


Ground Chicken and Veggie Stirfry with Korean Chili Paste!

Ground Chicken and Veggie Stir fry with Korean Chili Paste!
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  1. What you need
  2. 2 lbs ground chicken, lean -- I used an all natural brand that is made local to where I live, called Isernio. They also make chicken sausage, yum.
  3. 1 small package snow peas, mine was 6oz
  4. 10 mushrooms
  5. 3 cups broccolini, chopped
  6. 3.5 cups green beans, chopped
  7. 1 palmful thai basil, available in any Asian market and perhaps some specialty grocery stores
  8. 1 tbsp. garlic puree or 4 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  10. 4 tbsp. sambal oelek, or other form of chili paste
  11. 1.25 cups of black rice, mine came from Lotus Foods. They offer other varieties of interesting rice that are nutritional and delicious.
  12. 1 pot of boiling water
  13. 1 wok
  14. 1 slotted spoon
  15. 6 Tupperware containers
What to do
  1. Measure out your black rice and the appropriate amount of water to cook it. You may use more or less rice depending on your nutritional needs. Start the rice immediately. It will take roughly 35 minutes, 30 minutes to cook, and another few minutes to just steam before you fluff it and serve. This is longer than anything else here, so it is important to begin it right away. Everything is waiting on this rice!
  2. Cut your mushrooms into quarters
  3. Chop the stems off the green beans, and then roughly chop them, size doesn't matter. Chop off the very end of the broccolini and discard, then chop the rest of it. I chopped what was left of my jumbo package, and then measured what it was. I can tell you, if you don't already have some hanging out in your fridge... that this recipe calls for more than the small package at the grocery, but less than the big package. Same for the green beans, I measured what I used, which does not reflect what was in my fridge to begin with. Run your knife over the pile of snow peas a few times. Put all veggies aside.
  4. Set another pot to boil. It should be big enough to hold the veggies.
  5. Next, in a wok, heat 2 tbsp. sesame oil. Put in your ground chicken and begin to cook it, breaking the meat up thoroughly.
  6. As soon as your veggie water is boiling, toss in all of the vegetables. Allow to cook only for 1-2 minutes. Then use a slotted spoon to transfer all of the vegetables into the wok.
  7. Toss in a palmful of thai basil, 4 tbsp. of the chili paste, and the tbsp. of garlic puree. Mix thoroughly and allow to cook another 1-2 minutes. I do enjoy spicy food. And as a spicy food advocate, I did not find this to be at the high end of my spice spectrum. If you are particularly sensitive to spice, I expect that just one tablespoon of the chili paste (spread out over this many servings) would be just fine. If you aren't sensitive, but don't particularly enjoy chili, then maybe use 2-3 tablespoons instead of 4. I easily could have added more spice to this and been just fine.
  8. Measure the rice and the food evenly into 6 containers, or depending on your needs, 8 containers (you would probably need more rice to make it stretch to 8 meals).
  9. eat and smile :) <3 Jax
  1. Prep time: between 5-10 minutes, depending on your chopping skills.
  2. Cook time: 35 minutes (rice time)
Nutrition for 6 servings
  1. 394 calories, 11.8g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 127mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 38.1g carbs, 6.2g fiber, 3.5g sugar, 37.5g protein, 26% Vitamin A RDA, 87% Vitamin C RDA, 6% Calcium RDA, 19% Iron RDA
If you were to increase the rice to 1 and 2/3 cups, and divide by 8
  1. 327 calories, 9.1g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 95mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 35.3g carbs, 5.1g fiber, 2.8g sugar, 29.1g protein, 20% Vitamin A RDA, 65% Vitamin C RDA, 5% Calcium RDA, 15% Iron RDA
  2. Fun nutritional facts: Black rice is said to help prevent cancer, diabetes, hard disease, heart attacks, and Alzheimer's disease.According to a study presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), "one spoonful of black rice bran contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries and better yet, black rice offers more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants, but less sugar." Other studies show that black rice can help with the treatment of and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation. Even other studies are looking in to the possibility of medicinal properties in black rice. I say eat it. :)
Ripped Goddess

Korean-Inspired Marinade

Korean-Inspired Marinade
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  1. Korean Inspired Marinade
What you need
  1. 2 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  2. 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar (not pictured)
  3. 1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  4. 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  5. 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard (hot Chinese mustard if possible, but I couldn't find mine)
  6. 1 tbsp. lemongrass puree
  7. 1 tbsp. garlic puree
  8. 1 tbsp. ginger puree
  9. 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  10. 1 lemon, juiced
  11. 1/3c water
  12. 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped roughly (not pictured)
What to do
  1. mix up all ingredients with a whisk.
What I used it for
  1. I put a 2 lb London broil in a ziplock bag, and dumped all of the marinade on top. I took the London broil out, and grilled it. My intention was to serve this at a dinner party. I used the remaining marinade (same ziplock) to marinate a 3lb package of chicken. Which I also grilled, and reserved for meal prep. Even after the chicken came out of the bag, there was still extra marinade which went down the drain.
  2. I am not calculating how much marinade goes into each serving, because really... I'm just not. I do hope, before anyone comments on the 900mg of sodium in the entire marinade, that you realize that this marinade was stretched over 2 pounds of beef, 3 pounds of chicken, and that even still, some marinade went down the drain. I know many people are bored of the same ole chicken every day. I hope this recipe inspires people to realize that there are super delicious, easy, and healthy marinades that can change up your every day meal prep.
  3. One of the pictures depicts some of this steak sliced and served on top of a mix of: spring mix, arugula, romaine, sliced cucumber, heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, julienned fennel, julienned kohlrabi, broccoli slaw, julienned carrot, sliced red cabbage, scallions, and snap peas. Dressing is Bolthouse Miso Ginger (as discussed in a previous post), diluted and thinned with rice vinegar. All the ingredients in the salad were organic. A mandoline is a fun, fast, easy, and inexpensive way to slice your veggies into fun shapes :)
nutrition for the ENTIRE batch
  1. 217 calories, 14.2g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 946mg sodium, 15.1g carbs, 1.7g fiber, 4.1g sugar, 3.1g protein, 23% Vitamin A RDA, 164% Vitamin C RDA, 6% Calcium RDA, 4% Iron RDA
  2. Prep time: 5 minutes
  3. Marinate time: as long you like :) I didn't marinate mine for very long
  4. Happy eating :)
Ripped Goddess

Transformation of the Week: ~RG Jolene Houser

Jolene House

Age: 29
Starting weight: 134
Current weight: 125

What made you begin your fitness transformation?
I am 5’2″ so 134 lbs of fat doesn’t look pretty. I was eating out for at least 2 meals a day and miserable. I am a comic book artist so I sit on my butt for hours on end. My family members told me that they were concerned for my health and well being. I finally came to that point to where I hated what I looked like in the mirror and my Large and size 7 jeans clothes said about me. So I decided to start hiking and watching what I ate. A long the way I found a few barbells and found a passion for lifting.

What does your fitness plan look like?
I lift heavy 5-6 days a week and am just now adding some much needed cardio. (Thanks to Fitocracy and Zombie Run apps for making my sticking to fitness easier and fun) I also eat when I am hungry and try to keep it healthy as possible.

How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by following IFF Pros and sites like Ripped Goddess for inspiration to keep going.

What’s your power song?
Bodies by Drowning Pool (Oldie but a goodie)

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
For me it has been to just keep this journey going for 2+ years and not quitting. Normally I would of quit by now. You have to find what gives you passion.

What else do you have planned for yourself?
I plan on keep improving my strength and fitness level. One day I would like to compete in a bikini contest.

Miso Ginger Veggies!

Miso Ginger Veggies!
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What you need
  1. 1 small package of sugar snap peas (mine was 6oz)
  2. 2/3c baby carrots
  3. 8 stalks of broccolini (can't find it? Use broccoli! or broccoli rabe!)
  4. 2 tbsp. Bolthouse Farms Miso Ginger dressing* note about this below
  5. an iced tea pitcher
  6. a pot of boiling water
  7. a slotted spoon
What to do
  1. Set a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil
  2. Chop up your broccolini, the same as you would asparagus-- discard the very end, and then chop the rest into pieces. Some will be just stem, and some will have the "flower" on the top.
  3. In an iced tea pitcher (see picture), put 2 tbsp. of miso ginger dressing into the bottom.
  4. Get a large slotted spoon.
  5. Once water is boiling, throw in the carrots. Allow the carrots to boil for 3 minutes (they take longer to cook)
  6. Then add the sugar snap peas, allow them to cook for 1 minute (with the carrots)
  7. Now add your broccolini, allow to cook for 1 more minute.
  8. Remove all veggies with your slotted spoon, and toss into the iced tea pitcher that has the sauce. Allow a little water into the container, as it will help thin the dressing and help it spread evenly over your veggies.
  9. Put the lid on, and make sure at least one of your fingers is holding the lid on while you shake the container. If you do not hold the lid on, chances are, steam will force the lid off of the container, and you'll be very bummed out.
  10. Now, I served this as the only side dish to go along with the Lemongrass Basil Chicken... so I divided this evenly onto two plates, and skipped a starch. Nutrition will be for HALF of the above listed ingredients. Does your diet require more carbs? Add a side of rice, or double your carrots. Does your diet require less carbs? Skip the carrots, double the broccolini.
  1. 1-- Here's my thoughts on this Bolthouse Farms Miso Ginger dressing. You will very rarely see me use premade or store bought dressings or sauces. I typically find they have sugar and chemicals in them. They also often use soybean oil or canola oil-- things I avoid. I actually found something that has: no added sugar, no soybean oil, no canola oil, no preservatives, no carrageenan, and is perishable. I believe in perishable foods. If it CAN go bad, it is good for you. If it can be on a shelf for a lifetime and never go bad, it cannot be good for you. The fact that this requires refrigeration and has a limited shelf life was exciting to me. Now, when you look at the ingredients, it does have soy as an ingredient. Why? because miso is made from soy. But miso is FERMENTED soy. The kind that is good for you. I didn't post this recipe to get into a debate about soy... but if you do your research, you'll find that studies are tending to show that UNFERMENTED soy might be less than awesome for you.. but the fermented stuff is the good stuff. (Miso, Natto, Tempeh). So for what it's worth, I give this dressing a big thumbs up. I also enjoyed it on a salad. And no, they are not paying me so say this. Free will!
  2. 2-- The picture of the bowl with just the veggies does appear to have some nuts in it. That is because I enjoyed this veggie side dish SO much last night, that I made it again today. But instead of using just the miso ginger dressing, I used half miso ginger dressing, and half leftover homemade peanut dressing from the shrimp lettuce wraps (also posted on the site). A delicious way to use some leftover sauce, and to keep things interesting. Yummmm! (nutrition is just for the ingredients listed above)
Nutrition for 1/2 of this recipe
  1. 120 calories, 1.2g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 201mg sodium, 19.6g carb, 5.3g fiber, 7.6g sugar, 5.2g protein, 90% RDA Vitamin A, over 100% RDA Vitamin C, 12% RDA Calcium, 21% RDA Iron
Nutrition for 1/2 this recipe PLUS 2 Lemongrass Basil chicken thighs
  1. 301 calories, 7.7g fat, 1.6g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 114mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 20.4g carbs, 5.4g fiber, 7.8g sugar, 32.6g protein, 96% RDA Vitamin A, over 100% RDA Vitamin C, 14% RDA Calcium, 29% RDA Iron
  2. Prep time: (includes waiting for water to boil) 5 minutes
  3. Cook time: 5 minutes
Ripped Goddess

Transformation of the Week: ~RG Rachel


Age: 26
Starting weight: 140
Current weight: 125

What made you begin your fitness transformation?
I started to get serious with fitness after I got engaged in April of 2013. I want to feel my best, mentally and physically, on my wedding day.

What does your fitness plan look like?
I’ve been doing work out videos every morning in my living room – P90X, Body Beast, and Focus T25 I stay motivated by constantly reading other peoples’ transformation stories and seeing before and after photos. My passion in fitness has grown so much in the past year that I’m now considering training for a bikini competition, which is something I never thought possible. The results I’ve been seeing from weight lifting help me stay motivated as well.

How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by constantly reading other peoples’ transformation stories and seeing before and after photos. My passion in fitness has grown so much in the past year that I’m now considering training for a bikini competition, which is something I never thought possible. The results I’ve been seeing from weight lifting help me stay motivated as well.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment has been following through with my fitness goals. Finishing a work out program to the end takes an incredible amount of mental discipline and I’ve proven to myself that I can follow through with anything I start.

What else do you have planned for yourself?
Becoming more fit and learning more about health has led me to a more vegetarian diet. I plan to grow in my cooking skills so I can provide healthy plant-based meals for my new husband and I.

Use up that meal prep!

Use up that meal prep!
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Every make a recipe and wonder what you're going to do with the leftovers? Ever buy some veggies for the house, use most of it deliberately, and feel stuck on what to do with the remainder? I throw a bunch of stuff in a pot ALL the time! You can use ANY veggies you have in the house... but here's what I did
What I used in this recipe
  1. 2 tbsp. leftover homemade peanut sauce (was made for the shrimp lettuce wraps, recipe on website!)
  2. 3 cups of raw chopped kale
  3. 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
  4. 2 chicken breasts, pregrilled, and marinated in the Lemon, Garlic and Herb marinade (recipe on website!)
  5. 1 bag of Minute brand multigrain rice
What I did
  1. Put a cup of water, plus a splash of water in a small pot and turn on the heat.
  2. Dump a bag of the rice into the water. One super cool thing about this minute rice that I use all the time, is that it comes in little baggies of two portions. So if you are cooking for two people, you know you have exactly two servings and cannot eat more carbs than you should. Also, if you are cooking just for yourself, you have one serving for now, and one serving for later (this is what I did).
  3. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, dump them in the pot. Pile in all the kale, and some leftover peanut sauce. Cook according to the directions on the rice package. Takes roughly ten minutes.
  4. When rice is finished, scoop half of the mixture onto a plate and put the other half in a Tupperware container.
  5. Chop up two chicken breasts. Put one on your plate for now, put the other in the Tupperware. VOILA! Easy!
  6. As long as your chicken is precooked, the entire process takes less than 15 minutes.
  1. Nutrition (assuming you use chicken marinated exactly as I did, and leftover peanut sauce)
  2. 550 calories, 14.3g fat, 2.8g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 120mg cholesterol, 307mg sodium, 51.3g carbs, 5.7g fiber, 4g sugar, 54.8g protein, over 100% vitamin A, over 100% vitamin C, 18% calcium, 27% iron
  3. Let's assume you didn't make the shrimp lettuce wraps... so you don't have the sauce. But you still have marinated chicken and would otherwise like to make this dish.
  1. 500 calories, 9.4g fat, 1.8g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 120mg cholesterol, 251mg sodium, 49.4g carbs, 5.1g fiber, 3.1g sugar, 52.7g protein, over 100% vitamin A, over 100% vitamin C, 17% Calcium, and 26% Iron
  2. Provided you are prepped and using leftovers, lunch or dinner is on the table in 15 minutes.
  3. Happy eating :)
Ripped Goddess

Transformation of the week: ~RG Cherie Fields

Cherie Fields

Age: 43
Starting weight: 150
Current weight: 115

What made you begin your fitness transformation?
“Cherie Fields Fitness Journey

I’ve never done a “”Before & After”” pic…..until now. Admittedly, I’ve always been hesitant to put myself out there in this way, but in an effort to be completely transparent about my fitness journey, it’s important for me to share this. Hopefully, this will give you some perspective on how far I’ve come. But, most importantly, I pray that this will inspire others to keep pushing towards your goals to live a healthier life. If I can do this, you can. This is why I got into fitness.

My full story is below

I have struggled with my weight off and on since childhood. I was the kid whose baby fat never went away. As I grew up, I fell into the never-ending spiral of weight fluctuation. Lost weight, gained it back. Lost weight, gained it back. I tried every single diet known to man. My health, metabolism and confidence were shot.

While I’ve been on a fitness journey all my life, this particular Before & After pic represents a span of six years to present. The first three years of the pic, I lost weight then gained it back. The last three years was when I said enough is enough!

I took a spinning class and fell in love with that form of exercise! Shortly thereafter I decided to take control of my health and fitness by becoming a certified spinning instructor. This is when my life-long fitness journey reached a climax.

Once I started teaching spinning, I began losing (and maintaining consistency with my) weight and experiencing increased stamina. Plus, I was having a blast with the awesome people who attended my classes. Suddenly I was given a platform to inspire others to get healthy and fit on a regular basis. That platform, in itself, gave me so much energy and life!

After teaching spinning a couple of years, I developed a thirst for an additional exercise that would make me more athletic and strong. I wanted something more intense. Something more demanding.

I joined Iron Tribe, a gym that specializes in functional fitness & weightlifting and it changed my life! It pushed me and energized me like no other fitness program I had ever done. I also learned the value of a clean diet, proper nutrition, and recovery.

I was getting stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. My new fitness regimen fueled my desire to make physical fitness a more significant part of my daily lifestyle. So, when I wasn’t working out at the gym, I found myself doing yoga or going for a jog, anything to keep moving!

I’ve lost weight and kept it off. And, even though I wasn’t a former athlete in college, or an active person in general, I’ve now accomplished numerous fitness feats that I never dreamed were possible.

Over time, I developed a burning desire to make a career transition. After much prayer, God revealed to me that my purpose in life is to inspire and motivate others to take charge of their health, and to put my passion and business experience to work in a full-time career in fitness.

Shortly thereafter I was blessed with the opportunity to evolve from a client of Iron Tribe to the Operating Partner & Manager of my own Iron Tribe in Charlotte, NC. Now I’m in a position to inspire others and change lives and I love it!

My fitness journey continues and it’s still a fight every day, but I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life right now.”

What does your fitness plan look like?
Iron Tribe workouts 5 x week (functional fitness + weightlifting combined) / yoga 1 x week / 1 day of rest!

How do you stay motivated?
I’m surrounded by an awesome community of people who are all working hard on our fitness everyday. My fitness family keeps me motivated and inspired.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Aside from keeping the weight off, it’s finally becoming at peace with my body and all of its many changes. I now make “self-love” a priority no matter how I look. This attitude and mentality is not easy for me but I work at it every day.

What else do you have planned for yourself?
To one day compete as a master in my first bodybuilding competition!

A Chicken Marinade — Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

A Chicken Marinade-- Lemon, Garlic, and Herbs
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What you need
  1. 1/2c dry white wine (I used trebbiano, an Italian cooking wine)
  2. 1 large lemon, juiced
  3. 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  4. 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  5. 1 tbsp. garlic puree or two cloves of garlic, minced
  6. 0.5 tsp. dry thyme
  7. 0.25 tsp. dry rosemary
  8. 0.25 tsp. dry sage
  9. 0.5 tbsp. orange zest (not pictured) -- I purchase this in the spice aisle, dehydrated. I never zest real oranges.
  10. 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  1. Whisk all ingredients together
  2. Place ten chicken breasts in a giant ziplock bag, and pour marinade on top.
  3. Smoosh the bag around
  4. I allowed my chicken to marinate overnight. This is not necessary.
  5. Grill, roast, or bake chicken until done.
  6. Serve with something delicious.
  1. *Note-- Once I took the chicken breasts out of the bag, there was marinade left over. You can choose to discard this, or you can use it to baste your chicken as it cooks. If you discard the remaining marinade, you won't be consuming all of the calories in the marinade. Even if you do baste your chicken with the marinade, the calories are negligible.
  2. Nutrition
  3. (just for the marinade)
  4. (also assumes you used ten chicken breasts, so each breast got 1/10th of the total product, and that you used ALL of the marinade)
  5. 33 calories, 2.1g fat, 0.3g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 73mg sodium, 1.3g carbs, 0.1g fiber, 0.2g sugar, 0.1g protein, 8% RDA Vitamin C
Ripped Goddess

Transformation of the week: ~RG Laura Carson

Laura Carson

Age: 45
Starting weight: 160
Current weight: 126

What made you begin your fitness transformation?
I was tired of not liking my body and inspired by others around me. I desperately wanted to be a lean machine. I decided in July 2013 I was going to get fit. I joined up with a local trainer/nutrition coach. That first day picture brought me to tears. I started drinking shakes as part of my diet transformation along with eating clean. I lost 12 lbs. However I did not connect with the trainer. I also went and say my 3 friends compete in a fitness competition – inspired. With guidance and support of my best friend I decided I wanted to compete. Both of us joined up with a coach (Janelle from BodyAmbition Fiitness. I began a macro based plan based on clean eating and real food. 6 days a wee workout. Fast forward 9 months – 34 lbs gone. Size 10 to 0 and I feel ( and look) like a new woman! What a journey! And I am just getting started. My first show is in less than 4 weeks. I cannot wait to see how far I can go.

What does your fitness plan look like?
5 days of weights based on a routine from my trainer. 1 day full body high rep workout. Cardio 20 min 4-5 days a week.

How do you stay motivated?
Being part of a team has made all the difference – over 100 women that support and motivate each other. I also maintained a visual diary – each week a comparison to Day 1 and the week before.

What’s your power song?
I Feel Free by Bliss n Esso

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Learning to love myself Compete in FAP May 17th show and then Nov in Vegas. Build, build, build.

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps and Peanut Ginger Sauce!

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps and Peanut Ginger Sauce!
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What you need
For the dressing
  1. 1c chunky natural peanut butter (no hydrogenated oils)
  2. 2 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  3. 1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  4. 1/2 tsp chili flake (or more if you like)
  5. 1.5 tbsp. garlic puree
  6. 1.5 tbsp. ginger puree
  7. 1 dash dehydrated orange peel (love this stuff)
  8. between 1/3c and 1/2c water (or coconut water, depends on your diet, depends on how thick you want the sauce)
For the Lettuce wraps
What you need
  1. 2 tbsp. Peanut sauce (above)
  2. 8 shrimp
  3. 4 leaves of Bibb or Boston lettuce
  4. 2/3c shredded carrot
  5. 2/3c shredded purple cabbage
  6. 1 stalk of green onions
  7. 2/3c bean sprouts
  8. 8 sprigs cilantro
What to do for the sauce
  1. combine all ingredients, except for the water.
  2. begin to mix together
  3. add 1/3c water, and whisk until smooth
  4. if sauce is thicker than you want, add more water
  5. note: a thinner sauce means less calories, which means you can use it a little more liberally.
  6. you can see in one of my pictures, after I whisked it all together, I put the final product into a measuring cup to calculate the total yield. I then used a small funnel and a spatula to scrape all of it into a squeeze bottle so I can drizzle it all prettylike onto some food. Provided that you like yours to be the same thickness as I do mine, your yield will be roughly 28 tbsp.
  7. Sauce takes less than 10 minutes to make
  8. Nutrition (PER TBSP) 53 calories, 4.9g fat, 1g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 56mg sodium, 1.9g carb, 0.6g fiber, 0.9g sugar, 2.1g protein, negligible vitamin A, C, and Calcium, 1% RDA Iron
What else to do
  1. Peel and devein shrimp. Shrimp sizes: you'll often find numbers on your package of shrimp. It will say something like 41/50 or 21/25 or 26/30 or otherwise. This is how shrimp are classified... you know, into things like medium, large, jumbo, etc. This means that there will be an average of 41-50 per pound. Or 21-25 per pound. or 26-30 per pound. I purchased 21/25 count shrimp and used 8 of them in this recipe. You can purchase precooked shrimp, or you can purchase shrimp that have already been cleaned and prepped. I don't mind doing this myself, as it saves money.
  2. Set up a pot of boiling water.
  3. Set up a bowl of ice water.
  4. Once boiling, drop shrimp into water and allow to cook for only a few minutes. You should be able to tell when the shrimp are done.. the color should become peachy/pink. They should begin to curl, but not completely shrivel. If you take one out with a slotted spoon, it should be firm but not hard. Once shrimp are done, remove all of them with the slotted spoon and put them in the ice water. This stops the cooking process so your shrimp do not become gummy and overcooked.
  5. Measure your veggies, and chop up your green onions.
How to put this together
  1. Put your bibb lettuce on a large plate.
  2. Equally divide all of your vegetables onto the lettuce leaves.
  3. Put two shrimp on top of each pile of vegetables.
  4. Use a tablespoon or frugally use a squeeze bottle to "dress" your shrimp
  5. Place two sprigs of cilantro onto each lettuce wrap.
  6. Take pictures of your masterpiece.
  7. EAT! :D
  1. If you buy shrimp that are already cleaned, this meal can be on the table in less than 10 minutes after the time it takes for the water to boil.
  2. Nutrition (for 8 shrimp, 2 tbsp. sauce, all the veggies *I* used): 226 calories, 10.8g fat, 2.2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 92mg cholesterol, 274 mg sodium, 20.3g carbs, 6.3g fiber, 10.4g sugar, 18.8g protein, over 100% RDA Vitamin A, 86% RDA Vitamin C, 12% RDA Calcium, 17% RDA Iron
Ripped Goddess

Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Toast

Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Toast
You won't believe this isn't dessert!
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What you need
  1. Dave's Killer bread (or other 100% real whole grain, thin sliced, no chemical, clean bread)
  2. Justin's brand chocolate hazelnut spread (has 67% less sugar than nutella, but just as delish)
  3. Raspberries, roughly a half cup, or 9 berries as pictured
What to do
  1. Toast the slice of bread
  2. Measure 1 tablespoon of Justin's nut butter
  3. Spread onto toast
  4. Top with raspberries
  5. enjoy!
  6. This is something that really could be eaten as a substitute for dessert, or can also be a midday snack. Justin's bread is full of protein and fiber-- and if you get the seeded variety, it also has plenty of healthy fats. The bread is thin sliced, so not too carby, but still satisfying and delicious. Their motto is "Just say no to bread on drugs!" and all of the ingredients are 100% natural, recognizable, and pronounceable. I love that Justin's brand nut butters have way less sugar than other brands, no hydrogenated oils, and this particular variety has chocolate! Seems sinful, but isn't!
  1. Calories: 192, fat:9.9g (the good kind), sat fat: 1.5g, cholesterol: 0mg, sodium: 134 mg, carbs: 26g, fiber: 8.5g, sugar: 8.2g, protein: 6.7g, vitamin A: 1%, vitamin C: 24%, calcium: 5%, iron: 10%
  2. Wow! That is a TON of fiber for such a small snack!
Ripped Goddess

Interview with Alicia Marie

Alicia Marie
Alicia Marie

Age: 117 years old
Occupation/Affiliations: Author/Fitness Model/Producer
Family/Relationship Status: engaged

When and where did your love for fitness begin?
I was … maybe 7 or 8 years old, fourth grade. My mother used to take an exercise class at the local ‘Y’ and I begged her to tag along. I watched the class and immediately knew what I wanted to do. Later that same year I became obsessed with the comic book version of Wonder Woman and the X-Men’s STORM and how fit, beautiful and athletic they looked. I wanted to look like that. I was teaching aerobics and fitness by age 14 at a local gym and was personal training at 18. The rest is “herstory.” ;)

What is your proudest fitness accomplishment?
Becoming a published author. The Booty Bible™ is one of the things I am most proud of having accomplished. I have a ton of NPC/IFBB trophies, I have many acknowledgements and fitness community and recognition awards…but having my first book done and be able to share even a little of what I know about getting in shape with others is what truly gives me purpose.
Right now, I am in the middle of completing my second and third books and working on a few other things that I cant discuss just YET

What is your fitness philosophy?
Do what feels right and stop making excuses for not doing something. Stick with it – consistency pays off. I love that saying, “You will either find a WAY or an EXCUSE.” Certainly applies to getting yourself in shape.

What does your fitness routine look like?
Right now it is fairly simple. I do not compete – so I don’t have the rigorous training schedule nor the super tight diet that I had back in the day when I was fiercely chasing that pro-card (I went IFBB Pro in Figure in 2008 at the Team Universe Figure Championships in NY, NY). I eat well – clean (I do not eat red meat only because I haven’t since I was a teenager, long story…) and I keep dairy to a minimum (think a splash in my coffee) but I indulge. I do not drink alcohol. I do not smoke. I try my best to keep sugar to a minimum in my diet but every now and again, my sweet tooth over powers my will…and the jelly beans are consumed. LOL! Cheats don’t do much to my body because I keep them to just that: “cheats.” I am CONSISTENT. I do not go hard one week and then take 2 weeks off expecting my body to make changes. I like to keep my body moving and WORKING like the machine that it is. I schedule my workouts and I go in and get them done. I switch up my program if I can sense my body getting bored.
This is the kind of stuff you can only learn about your body by CHOOSING TO DO THAT.

Having said that, I am not a crazy person or a “fitness nazi” – the term that I have heard some fitness “Fanatics” referred to as. I actually LOVE being healthy, I have found a good balance for myself and my life and body right now.

What song(s) gets you beast mode ready?
Too many to list!!!!! I have 12,465 songs on my ipod!!! It can range from old school hip hop to metal hair bands from the 80s to current R&B to folk to new wave and electronica – all in one workout!
To be honest with you….music is not the thing that gets me “beastmode”….my clothes though?? Oh, HELLO.
No to mention the fact that I cosplay. For those of you that don’t know what that is – like I said above, I am a huge super hero and comic book FAN – I take it a few steps BEYOND just liking comic book characters…I attend comic book and sci fi conventions with my friends AS our favorite characters from comic books, video games, sci fi movies and TV – or anything really in the nerd genre. To be a badass superhero means looking the part. You can’t walk into a room saying you are Wonder Woman unless you are willing to physically take that on. I’m naturally a chamleon…I love changing things up, keeping people guessing. They don’t call me the “Fitness Unicorn” for nothing LOL!

What advice would you give to anyone interested in competing (ANY type of fitness competition)?
The same advice I would give anyone who was thinking about doing well in ANYTHING really – RESEARCH: know everything you can about what it is you want to do. Make your decisions. Make it happen step by step, brick by brick. Be patient. You get better with time. Stick with it and go hard once you’ve made the decision to do so. Don’t stop until you have reached your goal. Failure only comes when you’ve given up.
As far as competing goes specifically – a lot of that depends on why you are competing … it’s a very personal thing. Some want that “thing” that forces them to get back into really tight shape, while others are hoping to become fitness models, still others just want the glory of the stage and love the camaraderie that comes from being part of a contest group. My favorite part was the whole “getting ready for something.” I don’t miss competing now – I did so much of it. I am a “pageant girl” – the fitness contests took prep to a whole other level!

Do you have any hidden talents?
I can read lips eerily well (so I have been told) – I have been able to adapt as a direct result of being partially deaf. ;)
I am not one to toot my own horn ha! But I can DANCE MY ASSETS OFF!
I can also walk on my hands and read minds. Oh, and that last one was a lie.

Being the BEST version of YOU Transformation: Shanta Maxey

Shanta Maxey
Shanta Maxey

Name: Shanta Maxey
Age: 34
Height: 5’1
Starting point: 276
Current point: 168

What made you begin your fitness transformation?
My journey started in the spring of 2012, when I became fed up with being overweight and unhealthy. It all started with a visit to my doctor that really heightened my awareness. My weight had reached an all-time high at 276 lbs. After my doctor’s visit that day, I returned to my car with tears in my eyes. With the grace of God, through all those tears, I had an epiphany. I realized that I had to be better for myself and for my family.

What does your fitness and nutrition plan look like?
My fitness plans are working out 5 days a week. I do cardio 3 times a week. My cardio consist of doing, spin class, elliptical and the stair master. The other two days are my lift days. My nutrition is eating protein, and veggies and plenty of water. I don’t deprive my self of food I learned during this journey if I deprive myself from foods I want I will find myself overeating, so I allow myself a cheat meal.

How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated because I surround myself around positive and motivated people. One of my biggest supports I have is my husband. From the start he told me I could do this and that he believes in me. I have a group of workout partners that are always in beast mode. We are each other accountability partners to help push each other to reach our goals.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
One of my biggest accomplishments has to be my first 5k race. It was at the beginning of my weight loss journey. I just wanted to finish the race and not come in last. I finish that race in 56 min slow yes, but I did it and I was so proud of myself for not giving up. I do that race every year now trying to beat my time from the year before. Last year I did it in 40 min. This year I’m going to beat that time.

What else do you have planned for yourself?
I have a lot of things planned for myself. I started a business with my partner Tina Banks called Designed To Be Strong. Our hope for this movement is to help people live a healthy and more balanced life style. I’m also working on becoming a boot camp instructor and a personal trainer.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Your journey is your journey nobody else’s.

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Green Bean Almondine Couscous Pilaf!

Green Bean Almondine Couscous Pilaf!
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What you need
  1. 1 box Lundberg brown rice couscous (gluten free, organic)
  2. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1/3c sliced almonds, toasted (mine were toasted when I bought them)
  4. 6c green beans, chopped (a LARGE bag)
What to do
  1. Measure out the water for your couscous, and bring to a boil. Dump the entire box of couscous into the water, along with the olive oil, and just a few grinds of salt. Stir, reduce to simmer, cover, and allow to cook. This takes roughly 15 minutes.
  2. During the 15 minutes, chop up your green beans. Bring another pot of water to boil. When the couscous is nearly done, dump the green beans into the second pot of boiling water. Allow to boil for 3 minutes, before using a slotted spoon to transfer the green beans into the pot with the couscous.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Serve with some lean protein, and a leafy green salad.
I included a picture of a new seasoning I found at my supermarket. It was tasty. How I cooked my chicken, below
How I cooked the chicken pictured with my couscous pilaf
  1. Liberally season with your seasoning of choice
  2. Squeeze the juice of one lemon onto chicken, and a small amount of olive oil.
  3. Use hands to mix up your pile of chicken
  4. Wash hands very well
  5. Grill chicken
  1. Some notes: One thing I really enjoy about couscous, is that I find it to be delicious when eaten cold. I really don't like reheating cooked veggies, because then they become mushy and brown. I ate some of this couscous pilaf hot, but I plan on eating the rest of it cold. This way, my green beans will remain crisp, vibrant green, and fresh. Yum :) Another suggestion: add a tablespoon of almond butter to the couscous cooking water. Whisk it into the water, so it isn't clumpy. THEN heat it, and add the couscous. This will add an even more nutty dimension to your pilaf. I've done this before, but did not do it for this recipe.
  2. This pilaf recipe makes 7 servings
Nutrition (for 1/7th of the pilaf, PLUS 5oz grilled chicken)
  1. 450 calories, 11.4g fat, 1.9g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 121mg cholesterol, 107 mg sodium, 39.5g carbs, 6.6g fiber, 2.7g sugar, 50.2g protein, 26% RDA Vitamin A, 14% RDA Vitamin C, 8% RDA Calcium, 14% RDA Iron
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Open Faced Deconstructed Guacamole & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Open Faced Deconstructed Guacamole & Egg Breakfast Sandwich
"deconstructed" is a culinary term used to describe a plate that has all of the ingredients of something traditional, but that are not put together. So instead of MAKING guacamole, I just assembled avocado, onion, and tomato onto my toast. (I didn't have fresh cilantro or jalapeno on hand, do you?)
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What you need
  1. olive oil spray
  2. avocado
  3. eggs
  4. tomato
  5. red onion
  6. Dave's Killer Bread, 21 grain, light (which means it is sliced thin, it doesn't have any "diet" ingredients in it)
  7. How much of these you will need will vary, and we will get into that. I am going to try and show you how you can tweak a recipe to suit your diet and your needs. Some people need to eat more than others. Some people need to eat less. So, I'll begin by describing how to put together the plate, and then we will move on to discuss how tweaking the individual ingredients will change the overall nutrition for the dish.
For now
  1. Crack up some eggs, and scramble them. This could be whole eggs, egg whites, or a combination of both-- you choose.
  2. Toast your bread-- one slice? two slices? All up to you
  3. Slice part of a tomato-- I had cherry tomatoes on hand, so I just sliced them in half. I would have preferred to slice a larger tomato, but hey, sometimes you must improvise.
  4. Slice one or two slices off your red onion, discard the outer skin.
  5. Spray olive oil into a skillet, and cook your eggs.
  6. Mash some avocado (half? a quarter? a third?) onto your toast
  7. Evenly distribute a little red onion onto your toast
  8. Top with tomato
  9. Put just a tiny bit of fresh cracked pepper and a touch of salt on top
  10. Top with scrambled eggs
  11. Enjoy :) (Don't forget the coffee!)
  12. Okay, now let's begin to discuss fats
  13. 1. Fat is not the enemy. Dietary fat is not the same thing as stored body fat. Eating things like nuts, avocados, olives, fatty fish, and eggs will not make you gain body fat. Body fat is gained through consuming more than your body needs.
  14. 2. Dietary fat is GOOD. It makes you feel satisfied and full, meaning, you won't go back and eat a second plate. Also healthy fats tend to help keep your blood's lipid profile healthy (that balance of triglycerides, good cholesterol, and bad cholesterol).
  15. 3. Dietary fat has more calories than protein or carbohydrates. One gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories, one gram of protein has 4 calories, but 1 gram of fat has 9 calories. So, while you DO need fats, they pack a more caloric buck than other macronutrients. Yes, eat your fats, but DO realize how much you are eating overall.
  16. A person prepping for a strongman competition is probably going to eat more calories than someone prepping for a bikini competition. Someone who is taller and just generally bigger than someone smaller, is probably going to eat more calories. (No arguments here, these are generalizations). So to put this recipe together, you need to figure out how much YOU can eat to accomplish YOUR goals. Gender, current weight, goals, activity level, dieting history, age-- all of these things will factor into what you can eat and still meet your goals.
Here are some nutritional breakdowns for various combinations of the foods listed above
2 slices toast, 1 egg, 3 egg whites, 1 roma tomato, 1/4th avocado, 1 slice red onion
  1. 324 calories, 12.6g fat, 2.2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 437mg sodium, 33.6g carb, 8.8g fiber, 7.8g sugar, 24.1g protein, 28% RDA Vitamin A, 20% RDA Vitamin C, 6% RDA Calcium, 14% RDA Iron
2 slices toast, 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 1 roma tomato, 1/4th avocado, 1 slice red onion
  1. 377 calories, 17.5g fat, 3.7g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 447mg sodium, 33.9g carb, 8.8g fiber, 7.6g sugar, 26.5g protein, 38% RDA Vitamin A, 20% RDA Vitamin C, 8% Calcium, 18% Iron
1 slice toast, 5 egg whites, 1/2 roma tomato, 1/4th avocado, 1/2 slice red onion
  1. 215 calories, 6.6g fat, 0.7g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 381mg sodium, 18.9g carb, 5.5g fiber, 4.8g sugar, 22.1g protein, 10% RDA Vitamin A 12% RDA Vitamin C, 3% RDA Calcium, 6% RDA Iron
  2. The combinations are endless. Maybe add even more avocado? Or another egg or egg white or two? Don't be afraid of "too much fat". Ashley Kaltwasser, the current Ms. Olympia Bikini (to name just one of the pros) is always posting pictures of herself eating loads of avocado. Lots and lots of avocado.
  3. Prep time: 5 minutes
  4. Cook time: 5 minutes
  5. Jax :)
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