Friday, April 29, 2011

"As part of a balanced diet..."

How often have you heard the phrase "... As part of a balanced diet." Perhaps from a commercial?

There does happen to be a reason for this saying. Seriously!


We all talk about balancing all of our activities in our lives but do we actually talk about balance in other areas of our lives. And even more, when do we actually live them?

We have reasons for eating the way we do. If you know your diet isn't good (i.e. too much sugar or alcohol or carbs), then perhaps your reason is shame or comfort or pain or because it is easier to not eat well. If your diet is good and your diet is clean, and if you don't under stand what that means please email me :), then maybe your reason is because you are training or are attempting to better your life.

I began to feel my life come into balance tonight. As part of a wise mind and heart, I eat the way I do to bring my body to its perfect balance. I eat to keep my body in balance. To function well and gain strength. To operate in peace. For the ability to move my body the way I ask it to, rigorous or not. And why not?! Why not make a logical choice about nutrition instead of attaching emotions to food?

Such as balance goes, I need to balance my mind and body equally. I often feel that I need to continually work on my mind as I continue into competitions. Constantly think about balance and invite it into my life.

Perfect peace and perfect balance.

Now, my boss is taking us out to lunch. Let's see if I can hold my balance in the face of temptation. :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 3 Yoga Challenge & My New Loves

I have two new loves in my life:

Philly Cooking Creme!
You can buy this stuff at any grocery store. The macros speak for this product in a major way...
The suggested serving size is 1/4 c:
Cals: 110, Protein: 4g, Carbs: 3g, Fat: 9g
But since we all know that when dieting, you can't always give away 110 calories on something if it doesn't fit in with your meal plan. SO! What happens since there are days where I'm really needing my dinner chicken breast to be tasty, check it out if you break it down a little:
For 1 tbsp: Cals: 27.5, Protein: 1g, Carb: 0.75g, Fat: 2.25g (Seriously, 1 tablespoon can satisfy so much)
For 1 tsp:  Cals: 9.16, Protein: 0g, Carb: 0g, Fat: 0.75g

They come in 4 flavors: Savory Garlic, Original, Santa Fe Blend, and Italian Herb & Cheese.

My Other Love:

Coconut Oil!
You can buy this stuff at any health food store, and you can even find it in Wal-Mart in the supplements section. The macros are about the same as Olive Oil:
1 tbsp  Cals: 120, Prot: 0g, Carb: 0g, Fat: 14g     BUT! The flavor of it is incredible! It isn't sweet whatsoever and the flavor is subtle but makes a huge difference in the overall flavor.
It looks like this when you try to scoop it out, so don't let that phase you...
Its kinda chunky, but don't be scared off! It will melt, and since it is so dense you won't be tempted to use too much of it. And give you this incredible flavor you may have been missing! Again, it isn't sweet at all, but you can't miss how much it tastes like coconut.

I will go into the nutrition aspect of this stuff in my next blog because honestly, its too much to list in this post! :)

Stay Tuned In Next Week for... Fat Doesn't Always Make You Fat!

Side Note: I'm on Day 4 of my Yoga Challenge... The last couple days have been a roller coaster! I keep getting little muscle twinges in my high stress muscles (right side back) but I think they'll work themselves out as I continue. Stress has become less, so I'm certain they will. :) But its fun seeing the changes my body makes, it is definitely a ton of core work and lower ab activation. My quads are very sore from certain postures and surprisingly, my triceps are sore from activation.
Last night in class I got into a conversation with myself regarding missing lifting this week. But the more I went along, the more I realized why this is so necessary. Maybe others in the figure arena do not feel this way (totally fine!) but I realize that with a pre-existing injury (like my broken back) that doing everything to take care of my muscles is essential. The static stretching, compression, and extension is so important to make sure I do not exacerbate any existing issues in my body and more importantly, do not create any new ones. Yoga is essential to my weight lifting.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Eating Disorders: Are They For Real?

This has GOT to be a joke.

I'm sorry but if chosing an apple over a muffin-thingy (it looks like a hamburger donut... I can't really tell what that chick is holding) is wrong... Mark me as dead wrong.
WTF? If you haven't read this yet, well, friends... Almost all of you that I know, directly involved in the fitness or yoga or even those of you I know that are committed to leading a healthy life, are going to be surprised. This article goes into new eating disorders and one particularly scratched my buzzer.

See below taken directly from the article listed above "New Eating Disorders: Are They For Real?" By Lisa Collier Cool

  • What is orthorexia? Identified in 1997 by Colorado physician Steven Bratman, MD, orthorexia is Latin for “correct eating.” Here, too, the focus isn’t on losing weight. Instead, sufferers increasingly restrict their diets to foods they consider pure, natural and healthful. Some researchers say that orthorexia may combine a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder with anxiety and warn that severely limited “healthy” diets may be a stepping stone to anorexia nervosa, the most severe - and potentially life-threatening - eating disorder.
Really. I find it only slightly humorous (sarcasm) that because 3/4 of our population is overweight or obese that suddenly doctors are basically saying that Clean Eaters are now the odd-ball's out. And because that is true, the Clean Eaters have something wrong with them.

  • Orthorexics: Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.
Again, really. Is elminiating foods really that bad? No. It's just diet preference.

  • Treating Orthorexia: Cognitive behavior therapy designed to change obsessive thought patterns regarding food is usually recommended.
I'm sure we've gathered enough in this article from just these 3 paragraphs; I feel like I'm a moving target now. Good thing I'm a fast moving target.
Side Note: 30 Day Yoga Challenge is going awesome. I can feel the metabolic shift into Ketosis happening and my brain suddenly feels clear, I have energy even when I didn't sleep much and even on Day 3 I feel like I could do this forever. I feel like I look tighter already but my muscles are smaller (to be expected when your muscles lack glycogen) and will be excited to start lifting again next week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yoga Challenge Day 1

Yep, I started early. Admittedly, I'm selectively OCD and like to start all things on Mondays.

I will have this dude's quads.
Today is my first day doing 2 things. And I have a reason for both. So, I started my 30 day yesterday. My yoga bff, Mona, had mentioned she would start yesterday and well... I like having a buddy and support system so I figured, "Hey! Why not?!" in addition to my selective OCD.

Secondly, I'm starting a trial run of a competition diet. During my first trial run of carb cycling, I knew that wasn't for me. First of all, I can't handle only tuna & lettuce on some days and have lots of brown rice on another. I can't cycle. Period.

What am I good at? Doing the same thing over and over. Yes, insanity. Hence my repetitive diet plans and my love for a yoga that repeats the same class everytime. Same postures, different experience. :)

I'm trying a version of a Ketogenic diet that will hopefully help me from losing muscle during my 30 Day Yoga Challenge whilst burning fat. Again, I'm also continuing my lifting and training in the AM starting next week- I'm leaving this week to yoga only to let my body adjust. And yesterday, I was actually really excited about this! Until today when the brain fog set in. I keep wondering when that and the headache will go away. On the other side of it, I'm positive that if I can put in 30 days of it while doing the Yoga Challenge then it will be the correct diet for prep in a couple months. I'm also positive that if I can get through 30 days of yoga while on this diet I will have no problem completing 100 classes during Teacher Training.

Ahhhh for the love of goals. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Your Fitness Speaks

Just a thought. And I will refrain from specifics as it does include and/or is about an indirect boss of mine.

I happened to be doing some stairmill work last week for FMC and as sweat was pouring down my face I glanced to my left and who should be working with a trainer but this indirect boss. Now, he is a physician and someone I have great respect for. His thought processes are always thorough and he handles a workload beyond what any above-average person does.

That being said, he was all Dr. Complainy Pants. Seeing at him around the hospital I would have thought he was an active man (normal active, not competitor active). And since he is such a hard worker around there, I would have expected the same in all areas of his life.

Not so. Dr. Complainy Pants happened to whine the whole time about balance, pains, how hard it is, and truly only put in minimal work. Now, we do not all go to the gym to impress others or watch someones workout. But lets be honest, you can tell a lot by a person in how they workout. Truly Dr. Complainy Pants is also Dr. Smarty Pants. But I will give him credit that he was there at 5am and doing kettlebell work.

Trainers don't need to hear our excuses and complaints. Seriously! I tell my trainer "I'm easy on myself all the time, I don't need you to be easy on me. In fact, I pay you not to be." Is it any wonder that those competitors on The Biggest Loser lose so much weight when they have Jillian Michaels yelling at them all day? Our commitment to fitness or the betterment of our own bodies speaks to others. We do try not to judge each other and I hold no judgement against people who are overweight, as I have been there and know it is NOT easy to pull yourself out of it... But does a person with a toned physique not tell others that they are a hard worker or dedicated?

Beyond Dr. Complainy Pants, I saw our CEO at the gym a few months ago. SHE is 5'2" and is probably in her late 50s (I'm guessing, she could be older and look awesome).... DEADLIFTING 215 lbs.

Can you guess what I think about her now? :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

30 Day Yoga Challenge

If anyone can recall, one of my goals in 2011 was to complete a 30 day yoga challenge. And I'm doing the Bikram style yoga so it is always the same: 90 minutes of the same sequence of 26 yoga postures in a room at 105 degrees & 40% humidity. If you've never experienced a session of Bikram...

It freaking rocks.

What The???

I recommend it to anyone (which is why I'm going to be a teacher full-time [someday]). In May, I will complete 30 days straight of yoga. And actually, I'm starting a week from today, April 27th, so I end May 26th. It occurred to me that Memorial Day is coming and we'll probably head out of town; I think Handsome will appreciate that I decided to plan my fitness goals around our personal life for once, instead of the other way around. :)

Why Am I Doing This?!
  • I want to levitate. Not literally, emotionally. I'd like to balance myself and work out my insecurities before going into contest prep mid-July (see below). Yoga got me through a divorce, I'm positive it can strengthen my heart during this season of my life.
  • I plan on becoming a yoga teacher in the fall, and one must complete at least a 30 day challenge beforehand. PS-Teacher training includes 60 days of straight yoga and most days are 2 classes a day. :)
  • May is the only time I can fit it in before competing in October and beginning teacher training around the same time.
What is my plan of action regarding competing?????
  • Yes, I did make the decision to compete! :) I have decided on an October show as my first.
  • I plan to continue lifting in the mornings (M-F yoga classes will always be at 4, and Sat-Sun will always be at 930am), I plan to continue on creatine on my lifting days, and I plan on adjusting my diet slightly to intake some more protein so as to pro-actively ensure I do not lose any muscle mass during this time.
Am I afraid of anything regarding this???
  • Although I have been afraid in the past, I am making the decision to not be afraid and just do it.
  • I will, however, admit that I am afraid concerned on how this will affect my muscles. I've been working really hard for my muscle size and am concerned this may bring a stringy-lengthy look to my muscles. (If any figure competitor out there has any suggestions on what I can do to prevent this, please PLEASE tell me! :)
Where am I doing this at?
PS: I'd love friends to join me during this 30 days! If you've ever wanted to try it, please let me know so we can make plans to hot yoga it up during May!

Here's to strength, vitality, and beauty! Bring it on, yoga.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blonde vs. Brunette

So, this blog is absolutely not about trends. This blog is not about hair styles. And this blog is certainly not about celebrities. With that being said, this post IS about hair color... If any of you know me, you know I'm an absolute wuss in changing my appearance because I'm one of those "stick with what works" sort of girls.

So, here's to those girls who can just change... And my votes. :)
Ashley Tisdale: Brunette

Jessica Alba: Brunette

Britney Spears: Blonde

Brittany Snow: Blonde

Cameron Diaz: Blonde

Denise Richards: Blonde

Isla Fisher: ? Um, they kinda look the same... but I like the lighter one..

Jessica Biel: BRUNETTE! Blonde is not your look sweetie!

Katherine Heigl: Blonde.

Scarlett Johannson: Blonde

Victoria Beckham: BRUNETTE! You look like Malibu Barbie, but in a bad way.
And lastly....

Me. :) Needed something new... Thoughts?
PS-For those who are curious about the results of my body fat test... Last time I was 125 lbs with 23.2% bf. Today I am 123 with 21.8% bf... AND I gained 2 lbs of muscle. :) The more I stay in the 120's, the more I am noticing that my body is becoming increasingly efficient at turning fat into muscle. Which is what I like to see!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Always And Never

This is a vulnerable post. FYI.

As I have said before, I am working on my mind. Part of what will get me to the stage is working on my own confidence and peace, not just working on my lats and quads. If I cannot heal the hurt and fear in my heart, I cannot set my clear heels forward to walk out with a smile.

Although this process is healing, it hurts. Plain and simple. Because when we work on the mind, it is not a simple 3 sets, 10 reps. It is complex and contemplative.
I remind myself.
You do not know when you're done, and the process isn't cut and dry. And most of the time, I just want to run away.

And in this process, I have given myself permission to dream. (this really makes me tear up..) As life has gone on, I honestly never felt I was worth enough to let myself have dreams. Never felt like I'd ever be good enough to try to achieve them. I have walked in isolation, shame, and grief. And mostly isolation. I'm shy and can be quite the loner which is not what I prefer, however. The shame and grief and fear were all bi-products of continual isolation.

Most fears are unrealistic. What are my fears?
  • I will never make friends. I'm likeable, and although I do try to make friends... I rarely receive any reciprocity (See! Again, I'm working on this).
  • I will always be alone in my continual quest for fitness. Not true, Handsome works out and I'm slowly making friends who also have this common goal.
  • I will never win a competition (...and never go pro). I'm working on this one. I don't have anything positive to say on this one. Yet.
  • I will always be smaller than everyone else.. and small girls never get anywhere. Not true. Ava Cowan, Heather Mae French, Melissa Cunningham... Lots of Class A girls are pro... or there wouldn't be a Class A. :)
  • I will never get past this plateau and get my body fat down. Also difficult to battle, body fat test tonight will tell the tale. I don't have anything positive to say to this one yet.
  • Personal: I will never get married. I realize this seems silly, but in my isolation all I have ever wanted was the ever-lasting relationship: Someone who sees past all of this and loves me anyway.
  • Personal: I will always be in debt. Again, not true. I've made very large steps in the last few months and continue to work on it.
I realize these are all very personal. And most of the time I work through them just fine. I live, I work, I train, and I continue. I tend to go through life like these do not exist in me, and it is a battle I need to face head on. But most importantly, I have allowed myself to dream and own those dreams. They are mine.

Using any of these, and continuing to repeat them in your mind will almost always create a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only way you can keep that from happening, is to remove the words that cause you to speak negatively about yourself.

Remove Always and Never from your life. Always and never will only designate your limits and  box in your dreams.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Less Is NOT More

Current battle: Less Is More Mentality.

This afternoon, I spread out my lunch on my desk as I began to prepare it: 1 cup of brown rice, 2 oz grilled chicken & 1 c of carrots. I throw my rice & chicken in the microwave, begin to munch on a carrot, and as I pull out my fish oil and gluatmine I hear from behind me...

Overweight Co-Worker to me: I cannot believe how much you eat. You eat what seems like every hour and its a full meal.

Me: I need all of this to fuel me throughout the day and my workouts. I seriously can't even function without it.

OCW: Food is fuel, huh? Interesting.

Me: Yep, that is generally how any animal tends to use it. I'm pretty sarcastic. :) They know this.

Isn't it odd how we are constantly battling old mentalities? As a woman who battled weight, somewhere along the way I picked up "Less is more."

Well, I am here to tell you: Less is NOT more.

Nutritionally, our bodies can only be put through so much based on what we put into it and still function like we want it to. I'm not a nutritionist and do not pretend to be a trainer, I am just an observer. And what I have observed is amazing to me.

I spent approximately the last 4 months on 1200-1400 calories a day with low carbs, doing cardio 3-5x a week in the am with weight lifting and conditioning in the evenings. I am now currently on 1600 calories a day with high carbs, doing cardio 3-5x a week in the am with weight lifting 3 nights a week, conditioning 2 days a week, and yoga 3 days a week and my body has begun to burn fat again.

Eating more allows you do to more and therefore burn more!

It is true. Although, it is understandable that this has to be moderated. I recommend to almost no one to follow a workout schedule like my own. High calories can only follow high activity. If your body feels shaky and like you're not getting enough nutrition, you probably aren't.
I love the shorties. Heather Mae French.

I'm channelling the power of Heather Mae French today. I just love her. She's 5'0" and 105 lbs during contest season. She is seriously a woman I idolize. She's gorgeous and tiny and has her body worked out to a science! I mean seriously. Seriously! ;) And really?! She's only 100 lbs and look at those shoulders! Half of her lean mass is in those things. -Please oh please, can I will myself shoulders like those??-

Tying back into theme: Do we honestly think she built shoulders like that on low carbs and a stomach like that on low cals?

Unrealistic expectations of our bodies only lead to unrealistic goals. Give your body what it needs to attain what you want! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Weight of Expectation

Just how I feel today.

That is all.

Oh wait!

Quick List of Reasons to Be Alive!
  1. I get to go home and snuggle my best friend, who never judges or belittles me.
  2. I get to go home and snuggle my furry babies, who also never judges or belittles me.
  3. Protein crepes with pb... and maybe a tsp of Nutella if I train hard!
  4. I get to train and take out my all frustrations and hurts.
  5. I get to stretch out my muscles in the steam room if I train hard.
  6. I only have 2 hours left at work.
The weight of expectations can be so great that even dragging yourself through a workout (which should be is my "me" time!) can be a chore. I am one of those people that happens to be very sensitive, I work on it. Handsome tells me I need to build a thicker shell, and with all the things I've experienced you'd think I would have by now. But the reality is that I have a very soft heart; I bruise as easily as I love. The reality is also that we all hurt each other, and forgiveness is a quality I continually learn.
I'm expecting to see waterworks during my training today, but as long as I get through it... I'm alright with letting the other regulars see me as a woman. lol!

April Workout Playlist

About every month or so I get really sick of almost all of my workout music and I have an iTunes binge... Here is the current damage:

1. Raining Men by Rihanna & Nicki Minaj - No explanation necessary. This song rocks.

2. Blow by Ke$ha - This song just makes you want to PUSH that much harder into the workout.

3. Time is Running Out  by Muse - Reminds you that every workout is THE time to put in your work!

4. I Just Had Sex by The Lonely Island ft. Akon - Because it will lighten up your workout and make you laugh when you're too serious.

5. Awake and Alive by Skillet - This is a Christian band but man does it ever make you feel awake and alive while pushing yourself to the limit.

6. Massive Attack by Nicki Minaj - Attack those shoulders, girrrrrl! :)

7. Inside Out by Britney Spears - because its hot. :)

8. Feeling Good by Muse - This is a cover of a Nina Simone song, which I also love, but this song really makes you thankful for one more rep or one more step and one last push. Because this is what we do! :) Starts out slow, but moves into some awesome guitar... give it a chance!

9. Can't Touch This by MC Hammer - Why not?! :) I dare you to try and NOT dance to this!

10. Uprising by Muse - Puts you in warrior mode.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Half is Mental, So is the Other Half

I'm working on re-training my mind. I think part of my over training, was mentally overtraining. I've spent months over analyzing my situation instead of just trusting the plan that works.

At one point, I was eating truthfully by the food pyramid on appropriate calories and it was absolutely working for me. I was losing a steady 1-2 lbs of fat per week and for some unknown cause... I changed my diet. Well, I know why... I was trying to narrow down certain macros to help me continue to lose. Which did not work as planned. But, I do not regret it, as taking in tons of protein really helped me gain a bunch of muscle. But now, I need to go back to basics. Very basic food principles.

Basic principles seem to help your body go the farthest, no?

I'm in this strange place with my fitness. Where it takes my body quite a bit more effort to get any the same results. And rightfully so: when I was 50 lbs overweight 60 mins of low intensity on the elliptical would make me sweat viciously! Now, it would take me 60 mins of serious conditioning to cultivate those same feelings in my muscles... So this is what I'm doing. I feel the best when I am training 2x a day (am cardio & pm lift/conditioning), so I am allowing myself to do this BUT only if I am taking in at least 1500 cals.

I have been considering upcoming competitions. I would be am 16 weeks out from the Washington State Natural or 25 weeks out from the Night of Champions (classic). My sane mental status is telling me to wait and do the Night of Champions... But the competitor in me keeps saying to go for the WS Natural. Or both? I'm not concerned about being weeks out, just more about whether or not I will be truly ready to compete on a state level or even for a pro-card. I'm concerned about getting my delts to peak, body fat to continue dropping, lats fill out, and quads peaking.

I've noticed a pattern in my thought processes as I consider competitions, it will be a long elated feeling of exact confidence, perfection, strength, pride, power, desirous, triumphant, and self-love. Which is almost immediately followed by the exact opposite of previous feelings: mis-trust, inferiority, weakness, shame, incapability, defeat, and self-hate. Somewhere along the way in the path of my life, someone or something told me I wasn't ever good enough. I've always struggled with all of those emotions and honestly, I am doing all of this because I want to give MYSELF something to be proud of.

In the last couple of weeks, I have felt conflicted in my yoga practice versus my lifting/conditioning schedule. I had planned on a 30 Day Challenge in May... but the more I convince myself I need to compete - the more the idea of a 30 day challenge gets pushed back. However, this is a conversation I have with others. There is always the possibility of the 30 day in May with morning lifting. I worry about it causing my muscles to appear deflated after May as June and July will be back to hypertrophy. Much to plan for, and much to act on.

If half of this is mental, so is the other half.

I'm looking to Ava for inspiration today. Ava is a Class A competitor, and while I not only admire her because she's a shorty... I admire her because she is currently in her rookie year as a pro and took 3rd at the Arnold... I had a feeling she wouldn't win... but 3rd place in the Figure International is a huge feat for a rook.
Ava Cowan

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Pinnacle

I doubt if anyone (besides my sister) can recall, when I first began my weight loss "project" I had one reward in mind and I was dying to own them.

I would look at them all day online, even add some to my online cart... And yet could never buy. You see, my calves were and are large. I gain weight first in my calves and lose it last in my calves, which are also just very naturally muscular. So I would try on pair after pair and the zippers would just never go all the way up.... That is, until today.
Thanks to my sister, who gave me a DSW gift card for my birthday, she is WANTED for aiding and abetting a known boot lover and could serve a term of up to ENDLESS HUGS.

I feel like a pirate in these... However! The flap also goes over the knee for a HOT knee high look...
And what's a little pirate without a little BOOTAY?! -Gosh, thanks plyos! ;) -

Happy weekend friends & yogis. I'm going to the casino in these tonight. ;)