Staying fit on the fly, or lean on the go, doesn’t have to be challenging, nor does enjoying social meals with friends. When I used to travel a lot with my former career, Panera Bread was always one of my go-to places to eat while on the road traveling from city to city every few months because of their generally “healthy” menu choices. However, as a fitness professional and competitive aesthetic athlete, over the years I have learned that you never have to settle for just what’s on the menu, especially when you have precise health and fitness goals to meet. Always customize if and when you can, something I like call lean couture.

Ms. Natural Alabama State Figure Champion
Ms. Natural Alabama State Figure Champion

Below you will see how I reduced the fat and turned a normally greater than 262 calorie fattening menu item into an under 500 calorie nutritionally dense and deliciously filling meal that can be enjoyed solo or socially through restaurant menu customization.

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The Panera Bread menu item: Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT. Half a sandwich ordered off the menu as is: a whopping 255 calories before side items or beverages.

SO what exactly did I do to not only reduce the calories of this hefty half of a sandwich, and be able to enjoy a fun side item?

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Home screen of the myPanera app

I customized my order through the myPanera app that can be accessed through Google Play or iTunes App Store, or simply visiting the Panera Bread website.

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I am allergic to tomatoes, hate pork so I hate bacon, but love turkey and the health benefits of avocados, mayo is a very unhealthy fat whereas mustard has metabolism boosting properties, and don’t need added salt, also I prefer the nutrients in spinach over lettuce, and the bloat and inflammation reducing benefits of cucumbers and onions, plus whole grain bread is simply a healthier complex carbohydrate bread of choice

If you are a myPanera member, or simply have a smartphone or access to a computer, simply go online and set up an online ordering account. From there, you can pre-order a customized entre’ for rapid pick-up at any Panera Bread location and quite possibly if you decide to dine-in, you can pre-select your customizations, and see the complete nutritional totals before leaving home, and read your list of custom changes for your order at the restaurant counter.

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Get the Facts: Nutrition facts that fit my macros and my fitness goals. NOTE: be sure to calculate the macro exchange ratios. Panera math is not the most accurate: Totals: 366 calories (Fat 2.5 g x 9) + (Complex Carbs 63g x 4) + (Protein 23 g x 4)

So my customized Panera Bread menu item was ready for pick-up during the busy Saturday afternoon lunch hours after leaving the gym, made exactly how I wanted it, fit and filling, for a busy afternoon of writing, creating and blogging.

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My Customized Panera Bread Roasted Turkey and Avocado NO BLT half sandwich on whole grain bread just 366 calories, plus a serving of baked chips and black coffee: Total meal: 496 calories

Until Next Time…Train Smart, Eat Smart

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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Preparing for my 8 hour Savasana

Just sharing a quick note about my new evening ritual.  Cardio, yoga, and ab work before bed.

How I plan to fall asleep and wake up every day with tight and toned abs and a lean and fit body!

Cardio of choice – 90 minutes max inclined walk on the treadmill.

Yoga practice of choice,  inversions based. Inversions are yoga secret fat burners. They boost metabolism by helping the heart shunt more blood flow to your endocrine glands that control your hunger and satiety response as well as metabolism and stress relief hormones causing them to produce more of their designated hormones to be available to work throughout the rest of the body.

Ab work can vary. Tonight I chose basic crunches, reverse crunch over head leg raises or half plow pose, and side lying leg raises.

I am not claiming this bedtime ritual to work for everybody,  but it is truly a blissful journey should you choose to embark on it.  If you don’t know yoga, take a few classes,  watch some videos or research a few simple postures before you begin this journey. Find some calming music to listen to and allow your body to dictate each movement and just go with the flow!

Also,  there are no guarantees you’ll wake up after night one with flat abs or a 6 pack, but you will sleep better,  and over time as you eat better and sleep better and increase your practice,  your body will change.

Until next time…Practice Strong,  Practice Often. ..Namaste

~ I AM CANDICE MARIA ~

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