Sunday, May 31, 2015

Flexible Dieting, Daily Undulating Periodization and Life

The morning of my competition, October 11, 2014

It’s been over a year since I have written, a lot has happened in that time.  I feel like I came to the end of a very long journey, only to sit down for a rest, open the door to look outside and find a long and winding, but beautiful road ahead of me yet again.

When I started with my coach, Dr. Layne Norton, I had never heard of “reverse dieting” and it was a fairly new concept to everyone. I went through many ups and downs, mostly the fear of gaining weight and getting fat. I still have bouts with it on occasion, but those moments are few and far between.

I competed in October of 2014, only once this past year. I came in second place in Women’s Physique in an NPC show, there was only height categories, not age, so to be second place, especially being as old as all the other competitors mothers is thrilling, absolutely thrilling! 

I looked better than I ever have; I had a smooth and fairly easy prep. Layne certainly dropped my food at a few points, and cardio was increased, some days HIIT with 13 intervals…exhausting! But I never, ever did cardio every day, nor did I slip back into the popular yet inaccurate belief that “tilapia thins the skin” and “you gotta eat clean to get lean”.

Last check in, 3 weeks ago (May 10, 2015)

Layne also does not believe in dehydration, so I had lots of water, even on competition day. I did learn that sodium manipulation is very important though, and that goes hand in hand with water intake. “Peak week” is actually two weeks not one, and this is where you can really dial things in with very small tweaks.

Top five, I am 2nd place

In the last year I have changed the way I lift, eat and my general outlook on “life”.  I have become quite talented with my flexible dieting approach to cooking, I am back to cooking like a professional chef,  no longer does David send me an email about a new restaurant asking if there is anything I can eat there- he sends me a text and just says “let’s go here tonight!”. He knows I no longer have food restrictions of any sort. Sure, I have caloric restrictions, but everyone should if they are intent on maintaining a certain physique or weight.

The freedom to eat like a normal person, and honestly believe that there is no such thing as a bad food has been one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my adult life.

Last check in, 3 weeks ago (May 10, 2015)

I am following more of a power lifting style of training- it's actually called Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP), I concentrate on squats, dead-lifts and standing military press, with two days of “accessory” (or fluff) work such as biceps, shoulders, back, calves. The stuff most people concentrate on in the gym.  I only do two days of cardio a week- 8 intervals of HIIT. Layne writes a new block for me every four weeks, I am progressing slowly and safely.

Here is an interesting link to an article about DUP, by Dr. Mike Zourdos, he taught me to squat at a Layne Norton V.I.P camp in Florida! 

My calories got quite high at one point,  before I started my competition prep I was at 2644 calories a day, and I am still reverse dieting seven months later and not yet up there again.  As of today I am at 2442 calories a day, but I am only 4.5 pounds over stage weight!  Having calories this high means I can go wine tasting, or just knock back 6 ounces at dinner if I want. I have dessert nightly (although it is super low calorie), and eat what pleases me.

Last check in, 3 weeks ago (May 10, 2015)

I still look lean and muscular; I am happy, very, very happy. I never blew up after my competition as most competitors do.

I had a wonderful time at my competition, probably because I felt fed, hydrated, safe, supported, and confident. But, I don’t know if I will do another again. I know, I have said that before, but this time I can feel it.

Last check in, 3 weeks ago (May 10, 2015)

You see, I don’t have anything to prove any longer, I’ve done that. I am living proof of my successes.  I never had aspirations to be a fitness model, or be a “pro” (shit I started competing at the age of 47)….I wanted to prove to myself that age is not a barrier, that you don’t have to be 25 and half naked to be considered sexy.  I look better today than I ever did at 25 and better than most 25 year olds I pass on the street. I am not willing to take anabolic steroids, growth hormone or fat burners; so many people do and don’t consider the health consequences (or financial for that matter).  

I talk to so many friends who are doing a great deal of cardio, everyday, months out from a show, they don't seem to understand that they can only increase the cardio, they cannot back off as they get closer to a show. They live off tasteless food for months and months (if you call that living) and dread going in to the gym for the twice a day sessions. I am getting better at holding my tongue, I hate seeing their social media posts about their horrible diet food, like cold tilapia and broccoli in a Tupperware container- at a wedding.......and I want to shout to the world that it's not necessary, but I haven't earned many brownie points for doing that, so I sit back and wait until they come to me, and a lot of people do. They ask how I do it, what is the secret. 

I am excited to see the change in attitude about women wanting to be stronger, healthy and happy as opposed to skinny, helpless and dieting.  The movement to better understand nutrition, such as IIFYM also called Flexible Dieting (counting macro nutrients) is also a good one, how could I have been so naive to believe that certain foods were magical? That to diet successfully one must ingest only specific foods?  It does work, I am not saying it doesn’t, but it works because calories are being severely limited, that’s the only reason why “clean eating” works.  Just as the “paleo” and “gluten free” fads are waning, I foresee “clean eating” losing its popularity once people take the time to educate themselves and spend time figuring out their own caloric needs. 

I just signed with Layne for another year- that’s how important this is to me, even if I may not compete, my training, nutrition and health are one of the most important aspects of my life. 

I will be writing again, but not every day as I did a couple years ago, I don’t have the time. Follow me on Instagram, I’m there every day usually posting my epic food creations! @readyin5weeks

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Confessions of a Recovering Clean Eater

Yes, I used to be a “clean eater” and am proud to say I no longer am. I used to smoke too, and when I realized I was slowly killing myself, I stopped.

The clean eating change was almost the same for me. Obviously “clean eating” wasn’t killing me, but it was killing my relationships with people and my passion for life.

What is “clean eating”? If you are reading this you have certainly heard the term before, but exactly how would you explain it to people? How would you define clean eating? I would like to hear your definition and why you feel that way.

My definition (back when I was a CE’er) was whole foods, nothing from a box, low fat and low carb. Six meals a day (gotta eat every 2.5 hours to keep the metabolism burning)! I ate the same old thing each time and “always carried my food”.

Most competitors I know define it as broccoli, asparagus, sweet potatoes, chicken breast,  tilapia, rice, (usually brown), and maybe 10 almonds. Six  or seven times a day, every day for weeks or even months on end. And not much food either.  Many people think that it is the only way to get lean. Of course most of the same people spend hours and hours a week doing cardio, and even worse “fasted cardio”. Yup, starve themselves then try to exercise, often to the point of exhaustion.

Of course you can get lean like that! You are severely restricting calories, controlling the food like a Nazi guard and eating the same stuff over and over so you get sick of it and would not even consider over eating.

You start chewing with your front teeth only because all you want to do is chew and swallow, you are sick of the stuff you are putting in your mouth and don’t want to really even taste it! I remember each competition when I got to that stage it was mind over matter, I wanted real food and had to choke down the same old dry crap meal after meal!

We all want to look good. And for competitors that desire is even more ingrained in our day to day lives. We NEED to look good all the time, when we go off our competition diets and look like a “normal” person, we feel fat so we start eating like we are prepping again for a competition, even though we aren’t. It’s a sick and viscous circle that we put ourselves through.

At some point I took a long look at my life and those around me, whom I love very much. My family, my friends. I no longer ate many meals with my family, or if I did, it was cold chicken out of a plastic bag. I didn’t go to many social functions as it was too much eating and drinking, I really didn’t want to be around it.

I knew there was a better way, there had to be. Life is not meant to be lived in purgatory, it’s meant to be enjoyed.

If you have read my last few posts you know I started working with Dr. Layne Norton for my nutrition and now he is doing my training programming also (only because Roy closed his gym, and that’s a whole other story!).

The change was scary at first. We all see the “IIFYM” (If It Fits Your Macros) people, they love to show all the ridiculously unhealthy looking recipes they concoct with fat free this and low cal that. It’s frightening when you come from the belief that there are many “bad” foods out there!

Unlike what most traditional bodybuilder/competitors believe, those of us who follow “flexible dieting” do not all eat crap, at least not all the time.  I rarely eat packaged foods, although I eat a lot more than I used to.

It took me a long time to actually believe that “a carb is a carb”. Seriously! I did as I was instructed, and at every weekly check in would ask things like “Is sourdough bread ok?” “May I eat mangoes?” Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?! He would laugh and say “Of course!”

As of this writing, I have had exactly 6 pop tarts! (in a six month span of working with Layne). And…. I LIKE pop tarts now! You see, a carb is a carb and if you tell me that my body knows the difference between a piece of whole wheat toast and a pop tart and will build muscle accordingly (or gain fat), I will tell you to show me proof. Show me a study. I am not going to rely on a steroid taking old school bodybuilder who insists that is true “just because it’s always been done that way”.

One large slice of whole wheat toast has the same (actually a bit more) carbohydrate than one pop tart. I am eating 310 grams of carbohydrate a day, which means I eat 108.5 grams pre training! Sometimes I don’t want three pieces of toast, so I have two pieces and a pop tart (along with yams, raspberry & dark chocolate Greek yogurt and whey protein).

I tend to eat whey to fill in missing protein now. I like whole food best and as much as I can get.

No foods are off limits, but I have learned that there are some that are much more calorie dense than others, and I have also learned that if I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it means on very low carb bread and not pre or post training, the meal timing is crucial as I am working to maintain a very low bodyfat while adding muscle.

I don’t eat “cheat meals”, there is no need as I can eat anything I want, as long as I stick to my macro nutrient ratios, meal timing and calories. If I want a glass of wine, I have one, but it means less food that day (the food wins 99% of the time).

I also eat fewer meals. I eat five meals Monday through Thursday and only four on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It allows me to have larger portions when I have fewer meals, I sometimes go 5 hours between a meal, I have not lost a leg, all my muscle or died, I look good. And I have muscle, believe me.

My favorite dinner is a cheddar cheese omelet (real, full fat cheese and egg whites) with mushrooms and broccoli raab, all cooked in a small amount of raw butter and garlic sourdough toast. I frequently eat 2 pound salads made of mixed cooked vegetables, hard cooked eggs and chicken breast, all tossed with fresh lemon and tahini sauce, followed by a crisp apple and almond butter

I tend to eat meals that are very filling, so lots of vegetables and leaner meats then I add tahini sauce or almond butter or avocado for fat. I can eat the fattier meats but then I cannot have the almond butter! Decisions, decisions!

People are willing to try everything it seems. Many eat “gluten free” even though they do not have celiac disease; thousands follow a Paleo diet when there is no reason to believe we should eat like cavemen ; there are vegetarians, vegans, dairy free, fish free, you name it there is a diet! They all work for one reason- calorie restriction. BOOM! You cut a major food group out of your diet, or decide you can only eat a few things and you are controlling portion right there.

If people want to be “clean eaters” I support them for attempting to live a healthy life and take control of their nutrition, but I do want to express that there are other ways and other diets that work just as well. People become very passionate about what they strongly believe in, often to the point that they lash out at others who disagree. There is no need for “diet wars”, we should all be free to choose our own method to our madness; however, I hate seeing poor misguided young women (and it’s usually women), fall into the belief that the unhealthy starvation and excess cardio routine is the way to go. These same women are the ones who live “cheat meal” to “cheat meal” and often binge.

Do I think you are less a person for following a clean eating diet? No, not at all. Nor do I think I am superior, I too followed it for many years and swore it was the only way. But in life, we learn as we progress. Change is never easy, and if you don’t want to change, it is even more difficult. When you are ready for a change, when you are no longer happy with the way your life is, you may take a peek and see how the other side lives, the side I am on. Yes, the grass is greener over here!

It’s been almost six months now; I actually just entered into an agreement with Layne for training and nutritional coaching for another year and a half. I was planning a May 10 competition, but I have gotten so lean, that he is encouraging me to do a competition a month earlier, he said I won’t need to diet long and it shouldn’t be difficult.

Did I mention I have lost 10 pounds doing this? Yes, I went from eating 1550 calories a day and weighed 131 pounds in August, to eating 2510 calories a day and I weigh 121 pounds. I am lean and ripped, and I am doing cardio two times a week, for a total of 24 minutes each time (that is including the 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down).

Eating this way, reverse dieting (adding calories slowly, the opposite of dieting where you subtract calories) and following a flexible diet have been one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but one of the most rewarding. It’s been six months of daily calculations of every single thing I eat and drink, preparing way ahead, and reviewing restaurant menus before stepping foot into the restaurant. But my body has responded well. I am muscular, very lean, strong, physically and, more importantly, emotionally healthy. I do not feel deprived at all, I feel liberated actually. I am not worried about how I look constantly, or worried that I will “blow up” from eating a certain food. I am no longer bound by the self imposed chains that held me so long.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Interview with Strength Addicts

"If you get on this train in the beginning you have to stay till the end."

It's a saying that has stuck in my head for a long time. It's sort of my outlook on life. If you start something, you had better finish, see it through till the end.

And I'm not done yet, I am not finished, I am not at the end!

It's been a while since I have written, and as I mentioned on my last post, I have been so active on other social media sites that there just isn't enough time in the day! I have a feeling when I finally retire, that my days will be even more hectic than they are now!

I post many pictures on Instagram, its a fun site that is pictures, 15 second videos and short messages, usually viewed on a mobile device. I think of it like Facebook without all the drama!

A while ago I was contacted by the editor of a website called Strength Addicts ( Christian liked my "look" and asked if I would consent to an interview. I had fun answering his questions, he doesn't  ask everyone the same thing, its tailored to the person and their look and division in Bodybuilding.

If you follow me on other sites (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube), you may have seen this interview already, but I know some of you don't so I am sharing it here too!

Please take a few moments to read it and catch up on what I am doing, and how I look these days (along with the pictures here), I think you will be pleasantly surprised! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flexible Dieting After 3 Months

It's now been three months that I have "eschewed" the traditional bodybuilders diet, and I could not be happier! I look......good.....don't you think? 

The photo above was taken Monday evening, after training hamstrings with Roy at BodyComp Gym, it is always a brutal workout these days, I don't  mean "brutal" as in bad, I mean, I am pushing myself as hard as I possibly can. I know I am improving and getting stronger, not only can I tell by how I feel, but the weights go up, every time. 

Roy and I stick to 2 or 3 exercises at the most, heavy weight and long rest periods (for the most part, some are shorter for smaller muscle groups). On Monday nights we target the hamstrings (which of course hits my glutes too); we do the laying leg curl and then a single leg back extension (with heavy weight) on the Glute Ham Raise. Roy remarked that I had improved, he tracks every single rep and time from every workout, I increased my reps! As with most of my other training, I will repeat my workout on my own, and I will increase the weight. Hamstrings have a slight modification though as we need to hit all the areas so on Thursdays I will do standing leg curl on my own, then the single leg back extensions on the Glute Ham Raise.

The picture above was last Friday as we trained shoulders, my chest is looking ripped and my deltoids are getting rounder, I am pleased with the progress.

So what have I changed besides the eating? I am taking a couple new supplements, Alpha Lipoic Acid pre and post training, and glucosamine, that's all that is new in the arsenal.

I actually discontinued several things I was taking, after I read about their lack of effectiveness on the website it's a great site to learn about supplements from an independent third party! I purchased the $29.00 membership and feel it was well worth it considering how much mis- information is out there regarding supplements.

Below is a little .gif of my pictures that I sent to my nutrition coach, Layne Norton today. It's funny, I am eating over 2000 calories a day (up over 500 a day from late July) and I have...ahem....lost weight! In these pictures, which were taken in the middle of the day, I am 125 pounds, but in the morning lately upon waking, I am 124!

In my last few posts I believe I discussed how hard it was to "believe", to "let go" and to "trust" this process, for so many years I was following the crowd of "chicken breast/broccoli/brown rice" more!

I still love brown rice and eat it almost everyday, but I also eat bread, English muffins, yams, quinoa, fruit, lots of fruit, yogurt (oh you didn't know those last two were carbs huh?) In my diet, there is no such thing as "starch" or non starch, it's all carbs! Some meals when I want a lot of food I will eat a huge plate of vegetables to make my carb numbers, but other times when I don't want a lot (like right before lifting) I will have some warmed mashed yams and cinnamon and a yogurt with my whey protein drink.

My new favorite yogurt! I love all of their "bite" flavors, but this is by far the best! This is mint with dark chocolate chips. 100 calories.

Below is Friday again, the legs have certainly filled out haven't they? The secret? Food. Good food, sufficient food, more food, real food. David and I go out regularly now, and I eat right off the menu. Sure, I have to sometimes choose very carefully, but I still eat at restaurants. I am a normal person (as normal as I can get). 

Lifting these days has been very satisfying, the extra calories give me the physical and mental energy required to keep up the rigorous training (I still train once a day four days a week and twice a day three days a week). The "diet" is allowing me to very slowly add muscle and drop fat, the magic trick everyone is seeking! I really could just stay right here where I am, but alas, Layne has increased calories again this week....

And the glutes again, getting rounder and more prominent, but not from the sides! 

Ah, and an update on the feet- You may (or may not) recall that I was being treated for Plantar Fasciitis, a very painful inflammation of the foot, I had it in both feet. I wore night splints for 25 nights (I chucked them the last 3, I couldn't stand it any longer); I iced and rolled them on lacrosse balls daily; and I took powerful anti-inflammatories. I went back to the Podiatrist, my right foot is great- but the left is not 100% healed. He said a cortisone shot would probably be more painful than the relief it would give me, especially since I was 95% healed, so he has sent me off to Physical Therapy for 6 weeks! I haven't started yet, but hope to next week. 

For those of you who may have an unhealthy relationship with food, I highly suggest you start to consider "Flexible Dieting" or "IIFYM" (If It Fits Your Macro's). Find a reputable coach who can help you establish your macro's or go to a great site called that is full of useful information for the do-it-yourselfers! 

Feel free to email me if you have questions about it, and join me on Google+, I have been having a lot of fun posting there these days!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Relationship with Food and Training

My life seems to now revolve solely around weight training and eating, seriously. I go to work and then all my time after (and before) is devoted to calculating my marco nutrients, training and sleeping.

I love it, I am spending all of my free time doing exactly what I love. It's been almost 11 weeks that I have been working with Layne Norton for my nutrition and cardio; I never knew how much food can make or break a physique.

All of these pictures were taken in the last two weeks weeks. I am at 125.5 pounds, lean and eating a great deal of food.

I have eaten "healthy" for years, but the timing of the foods and selecting the proper macro nutrients for the specific activity or time of day is essential and I have learned just how important this is. Not only to try to add lean mass, but to maintain a low bodyfat percentage.

I used to eat the same old thing at every meal: for example  4 ounces lean protein, some starch early or vegetables later, a very small amount of fat with each meal, but it was a very little amount. I  got lean, I got ripped, I got bored.

I have been eating so many foods now that I never thought I could, and I am still very lean, I actually still weigh less than when I started with Layne and I am eating approximately 500 calories a day more. Above is a French Toast breakfast I made, sourdough toast dipped in egg whites, cinnamon and vanilla; the remaining egg whites, scrambled; one whole egg; fresh kiwi and mango and some calorie free syrup and jam (use VERY sparingly, they can cause bloating and gas due to the artificial sweeteners).

As you can see in the picture below, my glutes have really grown, and the hamstrings and quads are getting bigger. 

 My delts and arms look amazing, although I still try to grow them bigger every week.

Food, it seems, is always a battle for competitors, and most of them tend to under eat - they are afraid of getting fat. Once you see yourself lean and ripped, it's very difficult (mentally), to allow yourself to get back to a "normal" weight, even then, what most competitors consider "normal" is still much leaner than the average woman considers normal. Yes, the rest of the world thinks we are crazy.

My obsession now seems to be the fact that I am eating so much, I am constantly verifying that it is correct.  I am responsible for my diet- Layne does not tell me what to eat, that is entirely my decision. He tells me the macros- how much carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber to have each day. 

Sometimes it is so good, I cannot believe I calculated it correctly, and by the way I look, it appears I have been doing an excellent job at it. It's interesting,  I seem to see "flexible dieting" and "IIFYM" everywhere these days, but I'm not sure if it's because I am paying attention to those things, or there is an increased number of people changing to a more civilized way of dieting. 

So far, three people from my gym and two friends have contacted Layne about working with him, based completely on seeing what I eat, how happy I am, and what my physique looks like. Unfortunately he has not been able to take on more clients at this time, but things can change any day so if you are interested, I would check out his website and contact him.

Pasta, I eat pasta and I am not fat!

What am I planning now? I finally, finally feel that I can go out and eat at a restaurant and do a good job of calculating my macros; I am eating dinner with David every night that I am not training with Roy at BodyComp Gym (those nights I get home late so I just have a shake, banana and toast usually), and while we eat the same foods, I will eat a different ratio of the foods than he will;  I am lifting and getting bigger! Lately shirts I have been wearing are tight, uncomfortable tight,  and when I look at myself, I do a double take, I see the changes, I like the changes. 

I don't have any plans right now, and that is very, very unusual for me. I am happy, very content in what I am doing and where I am in life right now. I love waking up early everyday, I hop on my scale to check my weight (I never had one before, and it's one of the things I took from my father's house after he passed away, so I say hi to Dad everyday!). I go to the gym and lift heavy and enthusiastically.

I train with Roy at BodyComp Gym three days a week after work, those are the highlight of my week. We don't do the silly little things I see so many women with their trainers do, like stand on a bosu ball while flapping my arms about, or lift teeny tiny weights to "tone", or do hundreds of bodyweight exercises.  In the pursuit of "bootie, brawn and awesome deltoids", I know two more women who have started training with Roy, he's the man who is responsible for my physique and I wouldn't trade him for anyone! He has some openings, give him a call!

We lift heavy, and hard, and long. Sometimes I sweat and my feet are not even moving! 

I do have a plan in that I am staying the course, eating on target, changing my body composition very slowly but very dramatically and spending all my free time doing what I love - training.

Off season just might be my best season!

I have been using other social media a lot more than blogging these days, so if you want to keep up, connect on my other sites.

Google+ Kristy Wilce