Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Next Phase, Part 2: The Workout Schedule

Sooo... First of all... It's a GIRL! :)
Mr. Bang and I are overwhelmingly excited! We're naming her Chloe and feel relieved that we came to agree upon a name so easily! I thought we would fight and fight over the names we liked. We are 19 weeks away from meeting our little one, but let me tell you... She makes her presence KNOWN. Wakes up kicking me every day at 7:30 and she constantly turns and kicks; she certainly got her papa's energy! Seeing her move her little fingers and head in the ultrasound was absolutely surreal.
Would you look at those lips? 
Always On Track.
I've always been a firm follower of schedules and plans, they tend to make my life easier. I've read that with a baby it really can make your life so much easier when sticking to a schedule, and I really plan on continuing with that specifically so I don't neglect myself in this changing period of my life.

In working out lately, I've been on a schedule that allows me the flexibility to be knocked up. I mean, literally, my energy levels are not the same and if my body says "I'm too tired," I take a flipping day off without worrying about it or asking myself what my real excuse is. I am growing a human,so I'm giving myself the slack I never give. :)

Speaking of the slack I never give, I'm happy to report that I've been VERY kind to myself about my progress photos as well. I focus ONLY on looking at the positive about my body...
Really liking the ab dimples at the top of my baby belly.. And also REALLY proud that I'm only up 15 lbs... I feel like with how much I've been sick, and how much I know I've put in my mouth to compensate, it could have been more. Thankful for a healthy metabolism!

Back to Basics.
I love a chance to go back to basics. Of course as someone who likes to be athletic, I have a healthy competition with myself but this is a time to revel in doing everything very basic. Spend that time REALLY focusing on my core and rehabilitating my hips. So, I'm doing a 5 day split weight cycle with 2 days of yoga mixed in. This does mean that my schedule overflows into the next week, but I enjoy this cycle for now. A low stress schedule. Every weight day, except legs & back, includes a core workout, because that is ultimately what I really need to work on.

Of course, with any new workout regimen, I have to take my own body into consideration:
1. My core needs work, yes, but given that my core needs work means I shouldn't go too heavy on core during other big body part days like back or legs.
2. Also feeling like as my belly is stretching out, I need to be mindful of the core movements I choose.
3. What injuries do I still keep in mind? My back/hip injury is still nagging a bit. So, not too heavy or hip dominant movements on leg days.

But the amazing and incredible side of working out while pregnant - excess hormones. Specifically, human growth hormone. I mean, the crazy hormones really do not help my relationships AT ALL, but it does help me while working out. In fact, resistance training increases your body's production of HGH. And while it is at an all time high during pregnancy, why not put those to use? Could it be possible to continue building muscle or at the very least maintain it during pregnancy?

And let's be real here, fatigue is real.. but it's also not real. Although there are many causes for true fatigue (thyroid issues, little water, too many carbs in the diet) pregnancy fatigue seems like a facade. I've fought through intense fatigue before (hello, prep), and fighting through this fatigue has been rewarding.

I promise: if you spend the energy in your workout, you'll get more energy back from getting the endorphins you produce, the excess oxygen pumping through your system from increased heart rate as well as the excess nutrients/water you're taking in. Plus it will help ensure a sound night's sleep!

Day 1 - Core & Chest
10 min stairmill or treadmill warm up
Super Set: Barbell Bench Press - 1 Warm Up set (about 50% of what I would normally use) + 4 (sets) x 12 (reps)
w/ Incline Bench Pushup - 5x12
Super Set: Incline Dumbell Fly - 4x12
w/ 30 Sec Side Planks
Super Set:  Dumbell Floor Press - 4x12
w/ 30 Sec Planks
Super Set: Cable Fly - 4x12
w/10 Two Point Bridges
Knee pushups to Failure
30 mins cardio (elliptical or treadmill)

Day 2 - Legs
10 min stairmill warm up
Super Set: Machine Press - Neutral Stance-  1 Warm Up set + 4 (sets) x 12 (reps)
w/ Close & High Stance (Basically Partial Reps as the belly continues to grow) - 1 Warm Up set - 4x12
Super Set: Machine Leg Extension - 4x12
w/ Body Weight Lunge - 4x10
Super Set: Seated Machine Leg Curl - 4x12
w/ Ball Wall Squat with Dumbells - 4x12
Barbell Romanian (or Stiff Legged) Dead Lift - 4x12
Prisoner Squat (can put your hands in front of you for balance) - 4x12
Band Knee Abductions & Adductions - 4x12
Followed by 30 min cardio

Day 3 - Core & Arms
10 min elliptical or treadmill warm up
Super Set: Cable Biceps Curl - 1 Warm Up Set + 4 (sets) x 12 (reps)
w/ Cable triceps Pushdown - 1 WU Set + 4x12 
Super Set:  Barbell Drag Curl - 4x12
w/ Barbell Triceps Overhead Extension - 4x12
Super Set: Reverse Bench Press - 4x12
w/ 30 Sec Planks
Super Set: Incline Hammer Curl - 4x12
w/ Bent Knee Sit Downs - 4x12
Mini Crunches - 4x12
Followed by 30 min cardio

Day 4 - Core & Back
10 min stairmill warm up
Super Set: Cable Straight Arm Pulldown  - 1 Warm Up Set + 4 (sets) x 12 (reps)
w/ Cable Seated Close Row - 1 WU Set + 4x12
Super Set: Barbell Bent-Over Row - 4x12
w/Lying BB Pullover - 4x12
Super Set: Lat Pulldown - 4x12
w/Seated Reverse Fly - 4x12
Super Set: Swiss-Ball Pullover - 4x12
w/DB Bent Over Row - 4x12
Followed by 30 min cardio

Day 5 - Core & Shoulders
10 min treadmill or elliptical warm up
Super Set: Swiss Ball DB Arnold Press   - 1 Warm Up Set + 4 (sets) x 12 (reps)
w/30 sec Side Plank
Super Set: Barbell Military Press
w/Barbell Front Raise
Super Set: Rear Lateral Raise
w/Seated Incline Front Raise
Super Set: DB Lateral Raise
w/30 sec Planks
30 Mins cardio

Again, I'll skip a day whenever I want and then just fall right back into my next day rotation, mixing hot yoga in between. It's probably my favorite split in a LONG time! :)

My primary goals, again, are to maintain a healthy and strong body in order to get myself and Baby Chloe through a healthy and natural delivery. I'll be honest here, putting my body through a natural delivery freaks me right the frank out. But we, as fitness enthusiasts and competitors, know that we always feel better about tackling something huge if we do something about it. Preparation. Doing something whether it be stretching, lifting, kegels every day... Doing anything makes me feel less fearful and more excited about D-Day.

What are you doing to prepare for the next phase of your life? What is your next phase?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Next Phase, Part 1: Meal Plan & Preggie Update

Well, I've finished out my 1st trimester and this is when I hear life gets a little easier.. I say that I hear that because I still got the pregnant barfies. In most women this is gone by now, but I guess I've never been one to be "normal."

Week: 15 - Beginning of the 2nd trimester! In the life of a fitness competitor, wouldn't it seem more fitting to count DOWN the weeks? ;) I'm now 25 weeks out! WOOT! Still feels like forever.  

Weight:  132 lbs (7 lb gain.)

Sleep: I have been feeling somewhat better, so I've been working out more... So, I've been sleeping a little better at night. Although, HOLY HELL, DREAMS! My dreams are sooo vivid (hormones).. Ahem, sex dreams are theeeee best. 

Symptoms: Better, sort of... Nausea and sickness are still around frequently... Please don't feel that you need to fix this because my doctor has stated that I just might be one of those women that gets sick all the way through, and I have tried EVERYTHING aside from taking medication, which I refuse to do.

The fatigue has pretty much hung around.. I walk around like I'm on a sleeping pill all day trying to fight off its effects... But its really just hormones.

Just imagine having PMS always. ALWAYS. I'm trying to be good about telling people when I just feel plain old grumpy for no reason. All the ladies seem to get it, and the husband appreciates it. ;)

Miss Anything? Competing. Training hard. Ordering new bikinis. Wearing bikinis. Having abs. The Olympia just happened and it sucks to not really be able to focus on that right now... Or anytime soon. Maybe late next year? Its kind of far fetched considering you're not *supposed* to workout for 6 weeks past giving birth (this will be a WHOLE other post, I don't totally agree with this logic).

But the best way to beat the crummy attitude about that, is to continue working on my diet and exercise! Am I right?! Makes me feel less insecure about my changing body & body composition.

Mood: BETTER ALSO. Well, mostly. Trying to be better about recognizing when my crazy pregnancy hormones are just making me angry. :) I'm calling that... Pregangry.

Cravings: Pickles and apples. Not together. But a LOT of apples.

Also, everything.

Diet: Towards the end of week 13, I really noticed my tummy was queasy less often, and I was shakey less often.. So I took it upon myself to get back to making good solid lunches with a variety of foods... fruits, veggies, mostly gluten free carbs like rice cakes and rice noodles, and some high protein bagels. Unfortunately for me, I've been sick SO much that I can only hold down carbs first thing in the morning. I tried making spinach & fruit shakes, but they almost made me sicker. For weeks on end all I could hold down in the mornings were bagels, so the P28 bagels REALLY came in handy!

So, I've actually had to mess around with this a LOT. I've worked on a different meal plan almost every week simply because nothing was working with the nausea like I had hoped. Here's what my meal plan looks like for the next few weeks:
7am - Coffee and a P28 bagel with cream cheese
10am - Yogurt & Fruit
12pm - Some kind of salad loaded with veggies, a lean meat and any dressing of my choosing, trying to avoid choices like cheese or olives. 
2pm - a protein candy bar. ;) Okay, its usually a cliff bar or a promax bar, but they taste like candy.
5pm - Yoga days: an apple & coconut water; Lift days: apple & protein shake
630ish - Anything, but something well rounded... A veggie, a lean meat and a whole grain of some sort... This has often ended up in the form of a good pasta or burrito. :) And sometimes breakfast for dinner.
9ish - Protein crepes with fruit, or a FiberOne Bar... Although I should make more crepes. They are fabulous and really fill me up overnight.

We got our back room cleaned out and even got the office organized! It was giant dump run and Goodwill run, but soooo worth it. Now we can officially start moving the furniture out of the office but we also have a few walls to get knocked out... We have a little house, only 2 bedrooms in 1200 sq feet, so the plan is to knock out a wall between our living room & dining room so we can make room for our gigantor desk in the living room. Its a lot to handle but Baby Bang has given us a reason to be motivated. :)

Well, new stuff happening! We get to find out the gender in another couple of weeks, which has felt like an ETERNITY! And I've been fighting the urge to feel annoyed with my doctor who likes to wait to find out the gender until 19-20 weeks. Ugh... We do have names picked out for either sex, but will wait until we find out to share them. :) We tried sharing our boy name with some family and got a whole lot of "WHAT??" So, we're just waiting.

Pregnancy in general is pretty weird. You just have to be okay with it. And I've not ever been one to just concede and be fine with miscellaneous stressors, or a body I'm uncomfortable in, so this has been a challenge. I'm usually one to change whatever I don't like about myself or my situation so this is quite the new experience. It challenges my self-esteem to make a choice to love my body right now, when it doesn't reflect what I'd like it to, among other things.

My goals right now are:
1. Keep up on my water intake & pre-established meal plan
2. Eat only what's on my pre-established meal plan. (This is for a couple of reasons: First, of course, I want to gain weight at a healthy pace, not blow up. And also, high blood pressure runs in my family and any weight gain sets this in for me, so monitoring my food helps me monitor my sodium intake to keep my blood pressure low.)
3. Gym workouts 3-4x times a week and trying for hot yoga 2x a week. This is too much for many, and I wouldn't recommend this unless you were doing it pre-pregnancy, which I was. (Obviously this is me balancing creating strength and working on flexibility. Gotta take advantage of all the excess human growth hormone!)

Exercise Routine: Also towards the end of week 12 since I was feeling less sick, I started to get back to, at the VERY least, cardio. And on days I was feeling okay for it, I did some strengthening exercises... Body weight squats, pushups, hip thrusts, etc. Basically back to 3-4 times a week by week 15. And these last two weeks its been 3 days a week, with body parts split up and elliptical, at the gym... with 2 days of yoga. Yeah! Feels great to sweat hard again. Maybe in another week I'll have the coveted GLOW?!

Next week I will post my workout plan, which I feel very good about. More on that next week.

Question: Would registering for new VersaGrips be acceptable on my baby registry? I mean, that's ultimately what I'm going to NEED post-partum. ;)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Yoga Love and the Miracle of Hot Yoga while Pregnant (or not pregnant)

I absolutely love the studio I've gone to for years. They treat me like family every time I'm there and I am constantly learning more and more about my practice. Being knocked up has given me the opportunity to learn even more about the practice, and how continuing can be very beneficial for baby and for pregnancy symptoms. Skip to the below post if you'd rather read this than read my Knocked Up Updates. ;)

Week: 10!    Official due date: April 29th! I was a bit farther along than we initially thought. 

Weight Gain: 2 lbs (At 125lbs, my goal weight gain is 20 lbs.. So, around 140-145.)

Minka, making sure her presence is known ;)
Sleep: Getting harder. I was an 80's kid before SIDS was linked to tummy sleeping, so not being able to sleep on my tum tum is pretty lame, and some nights I wake up still sleeping on my belly. And I'm a really light sleeper so I suspect my days of sound sleep are basically gone. Although, we have resolved the dog issue.

Miss Anything?  HOT BATHS. I take a much hotter bath than most, practically scathing, much like a hot tub.. So I really miss just soaking in a hot bath (to my standards). I just like being warm... Hot baths, hot yoga, steam rooms... Yeah, you guys know.

Symptoms: More mood swings, brain fog, constant fatigue, and my belly hurts a lot... Sometimes its the round ligament at the bottom of my belly and sometimes its higher, which I've read is probably my organs & internal tissues getting soft... not a lot of places for a baby to go in a woman my size. :) Sometimes the pains are worrisome, but I've been told not to.

My smells are on overdrive lately too! I smelled gasoline in our home and threw up everywhere! Funny thing was I could never figure out where the smell was coming from! Bad breath has made me throw up, the smell of the parking garage being cleaned at work... grease anywhere (like fast food type grease). 

Mostly it's a lot of barfing. For all the women who never had this, you have NO CLUE how lucky you are. It's impossible to predict when it will come for me. The other day it was in a meeting. On Saturday, it was DURING breakfast. Surprisingly, the prenatal vitamins don't seem to affect the nausea.

Women have suggested to me everything under the sun, and I've tried absolutely everything... Unisom, crackers at night, crackers during the night, crackers as soon as I wake up, ginger root supplements, ginger chews, ginger ale, ginger tea, tons of water, many small meals (which I do anyway), pregnancy teas, Preggie Pops (which do seem to help if I'm far from food, and am feeling the nausea come... although, I can't seem to find WHY these help. The ingredients are all sugars and essential oils. Tasty tho!), extra B6 during the day.. And still throwing up 6-7 times a day. I have no desire to be on any medication for this (Hello! Thalidomide was a disaster!), and am hoping I'm just hitting my peak of nausea & sickness.

Mood: Depends on my hunger or level of tiredness. :) Mamas, you know what I mean. The mood swings are CRAZY! I feel pretty bad for the hubs.. I really REALLY need to do something nice for him. He really is amazing.

Cravings: Fruit.. Except Bananas.. I am ENDLESSLY hungry. I have to deny myself a lot, but not like prep. I'm just denying things that sound instantly good but we know are completely empty - soda, ice cream... I've tried to turn to some FiberOne Bars just to keep my fiber up and avoid the dreaded pregnancy constipation yet still satisfy some sweet craving. Have been craving home food as the weather has gotten colder as well.. I made the BEST chicken pot pie last night!

Diet: Not that I'm complaining or anything, but this is so counter-intuitive for a bikini athlete/bodybuilder. Craving and eating loads of fruits lately. I binged on an entire carton of strawberries the other night. Mmmm! :) But honestly most of my diet is dictated by how I'm feeling... If the nausea is high, I'm tempted to only eat carbs, my breakfasts have pretty much only been bagels or cereal... Eggs, sausage, bacon.. all sound awful! But then also have to be careful about indigestion. I learned that on Cheez-It's a week or two ago. So, fruits have been my best option.

The saddest thing happened though this week, my taste buds changed... and coffee tastes awful. :( WAHHHHHH!!! Everyday my brain tells me I want coffee, but I have dumped an entire coffee every day this week. So, will probably just be making a switch to tea. (WOAH. Pregnancy really IS comparable to prep! haha)

Still working out: Baby and I have been doing hot yoga and cardio a couple times a week depending on where my nausea is at, but will discuss my love for hot yoga at the end of this post. My sickness has also dictated this, if I feel really sick... I don't work out.

Also, this isn't saying that I have loads of energy, it's mostly the opposite. I've been good about packing fruits and things to raise my blood sugar when I get too sleepy. But this is also a challenge when trying to keep up on my workouts. The fatigue is truly physical, but the battle is mental. It's easiest to compare this feeling to prep-depletion: Just get to the gym. I always feel better once I'm done!

The Sacred Pregnancy Obedience Rules: Okay, I quit Seafood.. And as far as the catbox, I just started wearing  a mask. Probably will eat clam chowder at some point. ;) I'm an excellent pill taker though, so the vitamins aren't an issue.

Goals for the next week or two:
We finally started our nesting projects! We did clean out and paint our master bedroom this weekend, so the next project is still one of my original goals:
1. Clean out the effing back room! It is a cluttery mess.

Onto My Real Post.... The Miracle of Hot Yoga (while or while not pregnant): 
With pregnancy comes loads of unsolicited advice. If you're a patient person, this might not bug you... but I, however, am not. I also used to be a GIANT people pleaser, so I now take any advice with a large grain of salt. A rock of salt, if you will. When I'm cranky and uncomfortable, I really want to tell some people to shove it.

"Do you really think you should be doing that given your condition?!" (Yeah, I heard that for real, last week)

I smiled as pleasantly as I could, although I'm sure she could see the irritation behind the smile, and informed her that I felt good and was perfectly healthy to keep up my exercise routine. I love how people think when you're pregnant, that you WANT to be squatting a large barbell or doing an hour of cardio (Okay, I do want to be squatting a large barbell, just not right now). On the contrary, in this first trimester, I don't feel awesome. But I ALWAYS feel awesome when I'm done!

My primary concern is growing a healthy baby. My secondary concern is keeping myself healthy and strong for a natural delivery. I've read from different sources that yoga is very helpful in keeping your abs & legs strong for delivery, and had even followed blogs in years past where women kept up their hot yoga practice throughout their pregnancies. All of them delivered completely natural, and had perfectly healthy babies. The power and grace these women exuded convinced me long ago of my intention to continue my hot yoga practice throughout any pregnancy I would have in the future.

And I have already been getting dirty looks of distress regarding continuing hot yoga into my pregnancy. However, you can find the Pregnancy Modifications to Bikram Yoga here, developed by Bikram's "wife". (I put wife in quotations because everyone knows Bikram is a giant man whore. He has two major rape lawsuits going on currently, which is why I don't necessarily feel the need to go to a designated "Bikram Yoga" studio. Did you know he charges studios $15K a YEAR to use his name?! Ludicrous. - Side note: I had to look up how to properly spell Ludicrous... Damn you Ludacris. LOL!)  I also found a posture by posture look at the alterations on This site is fabulous, it tells you at what stage in your pregnancy to begin altering what posture, and is way more comprehensive than Rajashree's guide.

Courtesy of Bikram Yoga Richardson - This woman looks so powerful in her postures!
Anyway, I was seriously doing yoga from weeks 1-6, obviously not aware I was knocked up, and felt perfectly fine! So, here I am, 10 weeks along and going to hot yoga fully aware I am with child... and suddenly I'm just supposed to quit??  If you're already accustomed to the heat, it actually feels amazing (and I suspect it really will as we head into the cold months). I walked into the hot room really just wanting to take a nap in there it felt so so good! As the first breathing exercise starts, Pranayama breathing, it is a challenge but once the second set has been completed, my energy level has picked up. Deep breathing and flushing my body with freshly oxygenated blood... Ahhh.

Yes, saunas & hot tubs are contraindicated for pregnancy. However, if you look into the science of hot yoga, if you are consistently practicing in the hot room, your body becomes accustomed to not raising its internal temperature in order to make it through an entire class. Which is why you see yoginis never getting sick throughout a class. But some women bring a thermometer and test themselves just to be sure (which I'll probably do). Bonus: The studio I go to has a class called "Beats" which is the same Bikram style series, but to low lights, music and minimal words. Perfect for a yogini to just do yoga and meditate into the practice. I love to talk to my baby during this and invite growth and love into our body.

Since I've had the soreness in my belly, which I guess is the stretching of the round ligament in your lower belly, and totally normal for a first pregnancy, I focus on the postures that stretch the belly. Half Moon feels wonderful, especially the backbend which I've been able to do at about 75%, once I feel the stretch, I don't push it further.

The only postures that are uncomfortable at this point are the backbends that push your belly into the floor like Floor Bow or Full Locust, but I got the chance to learn most of the alterations for when I get too big to do do the tight forward bends, which I suspect will be soon. I intend to give up the spine strengthening series in the next couple of weeks, and add in some Vinyasa/Flow postures. However, CAMEL... Give me this! I feel like the most powerful woman in the universe coming out of this backbend, and once I get to the ground, my body feels like it's melting into the earth. Camel is meant to flush and pump your cerebrospinal fluid (which is why many newcomers get dizzy and sick in camel, it can have those effects if you're not used to it), and I can only imagine that baby is reaping those benefits too.

My approach to practice has had to change, however.. I typically went into yoga as an athlete ready for the long haul, deep into every posture, pushing 100%, but now, slow and steady wins the race. I listen to my body, when I feel sick or dizzy I sit down until my heart rate has lowered completely. I leave yoga on cloud 9, my body feels good and surging with energy. And in fact, my pregnancy symptoms are not as intense the next day. I don't feel AS fatigued, or AS sick, nor as crazy with mood swings! It also relieves my body of any edema (holding water)!

After yoga (and my gym workouts), I give myself plenty - I snack on strawberries and chug coconut water on my way home. And sometimes a protein shake, depending on where I'm at nausea-wise. Sometimes the protein exacerbates it.

I just want to say this, that getting knocked up has really reinforced my desire to be who I am, and not  change my preferences and routines just because others wouldn't do it themselves, or because their pregnancy experience was bad. It is very easy to absorb the stresses and worries that others have, but my stress and worry is eased with the passing days. But I feel that their worries, are really none of my business. Just like my body, is none of theirs. Absorbing their stress, will not help me or baby. So, thanks... but no thanks. :)

How is everyone else doing these days??? Say Hi when you can!! Love you all!! :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Baby Bang on the Way!

Turns out that the next stage I will be stepping on won't be a bikini stage, it will be the parenting stage!!

I am due probably somewhere around the end of April/beginning of May. Okay, admittedly, last time I had my cycle, it started on a random day that wasn't planned, and I forgot to chart it. :) This baby was a surprise, clearly, but a completely welcome and wanted and wonderful one!

In my last blog I posted:
{It's not about how many times you get knocked down, it's about how many times you get knocked down and continue to get up.}
Turns out I just got knocked up instead. Hahahahaha! Sorry, married and pregnant humor. Might not be totally appropriate, but I think the term knocked up is hilarious. Way better than preggo.

Luckily, I have so many sisters that they have collectively been through this 6 times, and by the time I give birth, 7 times. I get to inherit tons of books, maternity clothes, bits of wisdom, and the experience of being pregnant as the same time as my older sister! 

And as with any of life's surprises, the plan must change. We learn to be flexible to fit in our goals, but my goals also have to change! My health is no longer about me, it's about growing a healthy baby! Mr. Bang, of course, wants a son... I just want healthy.

My mother-in-law's reaction. ;) I should have gotten MY mom's! I can't believe I didn't!
So... Of course my next project is going to be documenting my goal of staying healthy and active during my ENTIRE pregnancy. I am elated to be pregnant, and in love, and ready to focus on being a healthy mom.

In monitoring my last couple of weeks, here's what I've got going on: :)

Squishy and growing.
Week: 6-7. For most, this would seem like too early to share the news.. But I know I am perfectly healthy and have a very strong sense that I will carry my little one to term.

Weight Gain: None yet, feel squishy though.

Sleep: Not bad, aside from my dogs who are going crazy about the howling coyotes at night. They whine outside our bedroom, but we are trying to be diligent about not giving in! If they go out one night, they'll want to go out every night. I've also been good about doing some yoga before bed, which helps me get some good, deep sleep.

Miss Anything? Wine. A bit. I will admit that it was the FIRST thing I wanted when I read the results of the test! It was like, "Oh man. I can't even process this without a nice red right now." Haha, I had NO idea what to do with myself!

Symptoms: I am feeling it, definitely. I want to be really honest about this, and you all know that I am pretty honest about my experiences... It feels like intensified PMS right now. Pressure on my uterus (Bye, male followers... Sorry...), my boobs are crazy tender. I have suddenly been crying at baby ANYTHING. Holy crap, and hello maternal instinct. Nice to meet you. Also some nausea, but not bad some days.

Mood: Elated. I can only compare my mood to the moment when my husband proposed, or when he made me his wife. It's incredible. 90% of my worry was that my husband would be scared, and he hasn't been for a moment. I also had a meltdown about not being sure I was ready. For a very long time, we were unsure and undecided about children. We were both concerned with our goals, and I didn't want to have one until I was sure. Turns out, when it was a surprise, it was perfect. After I got over my initial fears, which lasted a whole 10 minutes, I was over the moon. A lot of women have difficulties with fertility, and I'm thankful that I wasn't one of them. Should it have turned out that I wanted a baby on my own terms, and it was hard to get there, I don't know that I would have had the emotional fortitude to bear through it.

Cravings: Spicy food... Pepperoncicis have been my favorite snack. Definitely chocolate, but also a lot of fruit & cottage cheese. Mineral & sparkling waters have also become a regular habit.. sooo good with some coconut pineapple Dasani drops. But I will tell you, the hunger is insatiable. It's like prep amplified by 10.

Diet: Have mostly kept my diet the same, but have allowed myself to become a little bit more liberal with fruits, healthy fats.. avocado, fruit, cottage cheese, and yogurts where those weren't really in my regular diet. Allowing myself coconut water everyday, a healthy carb at night every night. I still keep with our protein crepes every night. :) They taste even more amazing right now!

Still working out! I didn't workout at all last week, I was battling some nausea but it's subsided the last few days so I plan to still do yoga a few times a week, and cardio with light weight workouts a few times a week. I feel good right now, and feel like working out will help me get through some of the pregnancy symptoms.. My logic is, if I can sweat some of the water weight out I won't feel so squishy? Perhaps.

Pregnancy Obedience: Okay, there is a LOT of information out there that tells you what and what not to eat. Mostly what not to eat... And it genuinely feels like everything right now. Seafood, deli meats, eggs, pineapple, milk, unpasteurized cheese like feta and goat cheese, medicines, ibuprofen... So, I'm taking it in stride and using my best judgement. I had seafood buffet on Friday, which was amazing, but I listened to myself and stopped when it didn't taste right. The clams had some residual shell.. not ideal if you have some texture issues. I also had some canned tuna the other night. Whatevs. It was delicious and got some good nutrition from it. Isn't seafood high in iron? Baby does need more of that! I am on the prenatal vitamins, so that's one point for me!

Personal Goals this Week (or two): 
1. Continue concentrating on my meal plan. I seriously get hungry an hour after I eat an entire plate of pasta or burger & fries. Being as small as I am, my RMR as a pregnant woman is only 1600 calories, so I'm giving myself more around 2000 calories being active. And what I really want to do is give myself plenty of nutrition, instead of reaching for any random craving. We all know that we can control what we give ourselves.
2. Focus on lots of water. Again, the hunger is nutso, trying to get in more water to make sure its not just dehydration before I reach for my next meal 2 hours too early.. :)
3. Start cleaning out the office. Our home is two bedrooms right now, in which we currently use it as an office. Aaaand storage. We also have a utility room, which is packed full of stuff. I really need to organize, go to the dump, and take some stuff to the GoodWill in the back room... Specifically so II can really get some stuff out of the office, and organized into the backroom before I'm too uncomfortable to do stuff like that. We do have some plans to remodel the house this winter, so that will help once that is done.

We won't find out the sex of the baby until probably Thanksgiving or Christmas, but we definitely want to know. Our first sonogram is on Thursday, September 19th, so that should be enlightening.

Welcome to my fit-pregnancy journal! I completely understand if the subject matter isn't for everyone, but eventually I hope for this to become my journal back to fitbody post-baby! :) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Turns out that my posts are just getting short... I have so much to say and so much in my heart, but it seems as though I can never concentrate my thoughts long enough to make a beautiful succinct piece of writing anymore. :)

Once upon a time, I used this blog as a way to motivate myself and others to continue to progress in their health and fitness. While I totally back girls who are working out to better themselves simply for aesthetic reasons, because I believe in loving your body...  This is also to support peeps who really want to better themselves, progress their physical fitness, and work on long-term health. I guess its safe to say that I semi-fell away from that, mostly because I was in preparation for my first competition.

Yes, there will be competitions for me in the future - the fire in my heart never died. I desperately want to hit the stage again... But just like anything, there is a process. And while working through an injury, the process is slow.. but any progression is good.

SO! I'm happy to report that I am progressing. My diet has been tight, which has been the only thing I've been able to control with my hip injury. I'm up to doing hot yoga 3x a week, and doing cardio 3x a week with a light lift (OMG YAY!). I basically can only do upper body at this point and core, no lower back strenuous movements, but that is WAY better than I was doing last month. I'm not walking around like a hunchback, my transitions from sitting to standing are fluid (finally!) and I'm definitely not having major muscle spasms anymore - which means, I'm completely off medication again! WOOT!

My goal throughout the healing process, was to be able to get to regular lifting by September, and I think I'm on track with that. By all intents and purposes, I am lifting regularly, so I suppose I should clarify that I mean regular lifting WITH LEGS by Sept.

{It's not about how many times you get knocked down, it's about how many times you get knocked down and continue to get up.}

So, here is my beginning of August progress pic. For myself, I am going to start posting my progress... and once I feel comfortable with it... A whole segment on my legs & backside... because this is going to be a serious project. ;)

Oy, this is hard... My legs have far to go... I do always love my shoulder roundness!
What's everyone working on now?? What body part are you working hard on or what goals are you crushing?? Because I KNOW you are!!! :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Cardio Bunny Woes (Alternate Title: Another Post About Why All People Benefit From Lifting)

How is it possible that although I'm working out, and my weight is declining by scale standards, that my body physically looks worse? No weightlifting, that's how.

Reason enough for me!

I weigh myself once a week, not really because I care, but sometimes it really can become a guide! In this instance, I'd rather have my weight be UP and look the same or tighter. Not exaggerating, my weight has declined, and my bo

Big Weight Loss Misconceptions.
All I have to say here is that cardio is not the cure-all in fat loss. Just like you can't eat whatever you want and expect to lose weight, and just like weight lifting won't make you bulky.

See example above, if you're eating right and doing your squats & lunges... you won't get big and bulky like male body builders... women do not produce enough testosterone for that. What you're left with are beautiful, toned, tight, round muscles... And do NOT tell me you don't want round glutes!

I miss the ass burn.
I miss doing legs at all. This being injured stuff is some bullshit. I am still on top of my diet, still doing cardio 3x a week with hot yoga the other 3 days a week... but man, do I ever miss lifting weights. Still working toward being able to lift in September, and hoping to the iron gods that I will be well enough to do so.

You know the whole saying "while you're sleeping, your competition is training" or any saying of the like? Yeah, its pretty much all that goes through my head.
               "I bet my competition just PR'd."
               "I bet the girls I will be standing next to are coming up on cardio 2 about now..."

Mostly this is theoretical contrition based on guilt from my injury. It was making me seriously depressed. Although I feel past the depressed stage, it definitely brings an anxiousness. Doing only cardio [which is only elliptical, there is no way I can do stairs or run, and I refuse to ever stationary bike again (vag pain + Hip inury = never EVER again!), so basically I feel like a sally] and hot yoga and walking only makes me feel complacent. Trying to enact the words of wisdom that every newbie competitor hears from their coach: Trust the Process.

Let's talk about this injury. It awesome!
And by awesome, I mean awful, but by saying awesome, it makes me feel a tad better about it. :) Gives me something to laugh about!

As mentioned above, I feel a remorseful over this injury. In hindsight, I should have been doing MORE yoga and MORE stretching if I was going to be lifting as heavy and doing as heavy of a workout-workload. Working legs 3x a week, requires more restorative work. And I wasn't prepared for that.

I have been seeing my doctor about it, and for a long time, we thought it was my SI (sacroiliac joint - remember, I do love anatomy & physiology!), but after working with my doctor and my chiropractor, it turns out to be my Piriformus (connects your sacrum to the greater trochanter of your femur). As you can see from the image, the sciatic nerve foramen - the holes your sciatic nerve goes through - are right all in there. Which explains the constant pains & numbness going down the outsides of my legs.

We still aren't quite sure what exactly it is, could be a miniscule tear or strain (same thing), either way, this has been a long healing period. If the pain doesn't go down after my rounds with chiropractic, the only thing to do is a round of steroid injections.

All of this to say...
You're lucky to have leg days, and be able to lift weights at all!

What is everyone doing for leg day these days?? PLEASE, let me live vicariously through all of you - Tell me what your current leg day looks like (can be as detailed as you like)!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Short Lesson in Credentialing

I may or may not have ever mentioned this, but my chosen profession is physician credentialing. I got into it completely by accident, as I was simply looking for a hospital job. I had started out taking some nursing courses before figuring out that others' bodily fluids wasn't my game. But I loved learning about anatomy & physiology (hence my love of bodybuilding)! 

Given that I've been beyond swamped in my jobs, I figured what better time than to share how incredibly crazy and important positions like this are in the world. This is exactly how I feel that I fit in to the health care setting, and provide an invaluable service to patients: By not allowing questionable physicians even into our hospital or touch patients until they have proven their competence.

Although I technically just push a bunch of paper, it can be much more. There are days where I feel like a psychologist, myself, learning all about the psyche of a doctor. 

And then there are days where I feel like a detective, sorting through bullshit with logic to find questionable health care providers. 

Question of the Day: What do you call a doctor who graduated last in his class from medical school?
Answer: An M.D. Sad, but true. 

While I'm not here to train you on how to do my job, I am here to give you a small lesson in sorting through bullshit.  

There has been a physician who recently entered the ranks of the IFBB, who shall remain nameless for now, that I happen to know he/she is claiming to be a board certified physician who is IN FACT, not. I'm not here to tear this person down, or ruin their career (not like my little blog really could), but I do want to warn those out there willing to listen in how to sort through the information themselves. - An excellent resource on doctors and hospitals. 
Google - believe it or not, a pretty good resource in finding just about anything on a doctor. And when it comes to their profession, rumors can be true.

RED FLAGS. Meaning, these are immediate flags to me to look deeper into this person's background... Not necessarily that these are poor practitioners.
-Solo Doctors: While you might think seeing a solo practitioner would be great, because it means they have an entrepreneurial spirit and are an expert - not always so. In my world, that usually means they do not work well with others, and do not want to be subject to evidence based peer review. Meaning, they don't want anyone reviewing their work and finding problems. Also, if you are having anything done by a solo provider, and something goes wrong, they usually cannot provide any kind of service to you in a hospital setting, as all providers must have 24 hour hospital coverage to their patients. If they don't have partners, they can't do that!

-Doctors claiming to be board or not board certified at all: Okay, first I should clarify my highlighted point.... All doctors are going to claim to be board certified, and mostly, they will be. If you ask about your doctor's board it should be something like American Board of XX (Orthopedic Surgery or Internal Medicine). Sometimes doctors will tell you they are board certified and they are truly falsifying (which you may not ever know, because it takes someone like me or your state's medical board to find out), or a doctor can become boarded in a less than reputable board... So like I said, it should be something like the above... If its like North American Board of Orthopedic Surgery  - QUESTION THAT! These boards are usually easy to pass, and are for the lesser trained/skilled/competent physician or surgeon. Unfortunately, sometimes when a doctor is practicing solo, they aren't held to any specific standards - because they have no partners checking holding them accountable. 

If a doctor is not board certified within, say, 8 years of graduating their residency or fellowship... I'd ask why. Don't be afraid to ask your doctors office if your doctor is board certified or not. The only exception I would make in this case, is if a doctor is within 5 years of retiring and they let it lapse - That's pretty reasonable.But other than that, this IS important. The American Boards are all governed by the American Medical Association and provide reasonable proof that your physician or surgeon is keeping up on their education, and new skills and practices among physicians in their area of study. 

-Providers doing something they are not trained in: My biggest fear on an airplane, is to hear a frantic attendant call overhead, "Is there a doctor on the plane???" Doctors are not one-size fits all. Yes, they all went to medical school and have basic training... but when a practitioner has been studying only 1 field for the last 30 years, they shouldn't be doing something else. A cardiologist cannot deliver babies, or should not anyway. 

My point here, is that it should concern you if you're seeing a family medicine doctor claim they also do cosmetic surgery. Doctors do not both go the medicine route and the surgery route. They are one or the other.

-Providers who are hesitant to answer questions about their background: I have a lot of patients call asking questions about their doctor. Unfortunately, being who I am, I can almost never release information on doctors other than the most basic info. However, their offices can release whatever they want. They should be able to tell if you if your doc is board certified, and in what. A lot of doctors take a personal interest in certain topics, like if you're an endocrinologist (the study of the endocrine system - hormones & glands) you might take a special interest in post-menopausal hypothyroidism, but many times only their offices will know this information. If they don't want to answer about his board (or other certifications), I would be very hesitant...

-STATE LICENSE: This is a little piece of information that you might want to hold onto, a LOT of state medical board queries, are FREE. Just Google "(Insert State) State Medical board" or "(insert state) state department of health". You may have to search and navigate a bit to find it, but you can usually find your doctor by name, and see the following:
- Name
- License Status
- License Expiration Date
-Actions (Sometimes. This is true in the state of Washington. We can view at any time any action the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, as its called here, has taken against the physician, what the case was, and what the outcome was. Seriously great knowledge to be able to find out on your practitioner.)
I basically protect people from guys like this ^ - I would flat out fire him as my doc.

Getting to the Point.
There are a lot of people out there, offering a lot of services... And we, as consumers, are left to trust businesses when they claim they are something or can do something. But the reality is, if someone is offering a service - they are there to make money. Most people do not ask to see credentials, but what if you had paid your trainer a heap of money... only to find out he/she wasn't really certified?? 

Have you asked your trainer HOW they are qualified to prep a competitor for a body building competition?? Before you fork over all your hard earned cash, and start choking down only boiled tilapia, make sure you know who your trainer is and what they are asking of you. You're not going to put a donut in your mouth just because a trainer told you it was calorie free, so make sure you know what they are about before you go taking their advice and wrecking your body just to do what you're told.

If anyone has a lot of time and money, I have a great business idea for this (And you guys know how often I get business ideas, which I offered to the NPC, btw... If they take this idea, I at least want the credit. They could call it the Bang System. HA!):
There is an online verification system for doctor credentials, in which I can verify their dates of residency and where, or that they even earned their medical degree - Its though the AMA - American Medical Association. It does cost money, but let's be honest... I'd be willing to pay $10 (or some nominal fee) in order to see my trainer was truly certified by a professional certifying board (In theory, Jacques, I've already tested your services and know you rock).  And the system could go further, trainers could pay to be listed on this query system showing what their specialties are, etc. I can just see it now...

You could query, simply by name and city of business and  perhaps get a little report that could say something like:

Trainer:  Lacey M. Bang, CPT
Place of Business: Spokane, Washington (licensed to see clients in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Cheney, WA)
Trained by: Online - Eastern Washington University - March 2013
Special Interests/Training: Trained to work with Diabetic patients, Certified Contest Prep Coach. Personal interest in NPC Bikini Posing/Coaching.
*Trainer is up to date with on-going education as of 7/2013

Contact Information:
Banging Bodies Consulting (TEE HEE!)
12345 W. 5th St. Ste. 300, Spokane,WA 99204
Phone: 509-555-5555 Email:

Verified by the National Physique Committee 7/22/2013.

JUST SAYING! Obviously, it could be TONS more robust, or even more simple. But I think its a stellar idea. The NPC never responded to my inquiries, but my credentialing skills are up for hire! I'd rather my skills be used toward an industry I am passionate about. :) Plus, there is huge potential revenue in this... Possibly in the millions.

DEAR NPC  - CONTACT ME! or I might just patent this idea!!!
(Plus, NPC, this could potentially bring a large number of new competitors to the NPC... If people are only logging on to "verify" their trainer, they may navigate to other portions of the page and become interested in competing. Just a little nugget for thought).
PS - You could take this a couple of different routes too. The public could query a person individually, or by city to find all truly certified trainers in the area that do contest prep etc... This could help competitors who are looking for a new trainer find who is around them.

Don't be afraid to hurt my feelings, I've got plenty more things on my plate to worry about. I know that as an overweight person, I would have used this in a heartbeat back in the day when I first started training. So let's take a poll, would you use a service like this?!