Friday, April 30, 2010

Lemon-ginger chicken soup

I love soups that are broth based, they seem fresh and clean. I also love all of the ingredients in here. This is simple, delicious and not a thing in it is bad for you!

You can have it with a big salad, or a plate of steamed vegetables.

2 ½ pounds (approximately) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
12 cups chicken stock (two 49-ounce cans)

2 stalks lemongrass, about 4 inches of the bottom succulent part, cut into 2-inch pieces, split in half and smashed with a heavy object

¼ cup lemon or lime juice

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red chile paste or equal amount red chile pepper flakes, to taste

1 heaping tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon peeled, mashed fresh ginger, or more to taste

3 small carrots cut into thin rounds (optional)

2 ½ cups cooked rice

Chopped fresh cilantro and mint for garnish, optional (cilantro is best, but any fresh herb will work).

In a pot large enough to hold chicken cubes, poach chicken in water until just starting to lose pinkness, 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. (pre-cook so scum does not ruin clearness of broth).

In another large pot (or clean out the previous pot) place all remaining ingredients to except chicken, cooked rice and garnishes. Simmer 15 minutes.

Add chicken, simmer additional 5 minutes or until cooked through.

Just before serving, add rice. If you don't intend to serve the soup right away, don't put the rice in, as it will soak up the liquid as it sits. Remove lemongrass before serving, if you like. Serve very hot, sprinkled with chopped cilantro and mint, if desired.

Serves 8

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SC got his groove back

SC told me that he is going to start competing again, and I think that is wonderful! He is going to do it "raw" and no that does not mean naked...(he had to explain it to me, it means without one of these really tight compression suits). He is an Olympic Lifter. I think he said he might then try Power Lifting too.

No this is not him, and I forgot to ask just WHAT he will wear...I will have to ask Friday, I mean, it's all about what you get to wear right? I am thinking that whatever he wears, it won't have rhinestones like my suit does though.

Anyway, he wants to qualify for the Nationals, he did it before and he can do it again!

It's funny, he and I do not see eye to eye on what we do. He supports me a 100%, but will look me in the eye and say "I hate bodybuilders!"... but for some reason I am not quite a "bodybuilder", so he continues to train me in the areas I tell him I need to focus on, and I am OK by him, for now that is.

I think it is because I understand there is a huge difference in training for bodybuilding or training for strength, there are differences in the hypertrophy.

Of course the only reason why I understand this is he had me read a text book, called The Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and William J Kraemer, which I had to read two times and I think I shall read it yet again....and then he expected me to explain what I got out of it to him....

Bodybuilding is smoke and screens, it's all about looks. Just because you look like a bodybuilder with big, huge muscles does not mean you have corresponding strength.

A person training for strength will train much differently than a person training for bodybuilding. And you can be incredibly strong and not have a huge puffed out chest and arms like a bodybuilder.

I think the reason why he is accepting of what I do, is that I am truly interested in strength, and that is my main focus when not prepping for a competition. I am really, really strong! It just so happens that my muscles got really nice looking while I was training to get stronger...

I am glad he now has a goal to work towards, it makes every step of the way a step forward in the right direction. Goals add meaning and spark to your life.

I think he was lost for a while, but he looked excited when he told me about it, I could see got his groove back.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


We all have abs, but few of us have abs we are proud of. All of us, myself included seem to want the infamous "six pack", well men do, I know many women who only want "flat" abs, but I want those bumpy, lumpy, muscles that I see on some men, and it is a very difficult look to achieve.

This is me, the night before my last competition when I have already been spray tanned. I have worked for months, dieting, exercising, mentally preparing and still, I am not happy with this, but I should be because they look pretty darn good.

It's hard, really hard to get a six pack, in fact, the only way that you really can is by eliminating all of the excess fat you carry.

Your abs are there, they are probably just covered with a layer of fat (sorry, but that's the truth).

It is like the saying in real estate "location, location, location"; however for abs the saying is "genetics, genetics, genetics", you either have the right ones or you don't.

FP tells me to do lot's of ab exercises, SC tells me I can do them all day long and it won't make a difference if I have body fat covering them, so I choose to follow both of their advise, I lose the body fat and do all the ab exercises, it certainly cannot hurt if I have the time right? I do agree though, you have to lose the body fat.

Let's see how my abs look in 4 weeks, I will take another picture the night before my competition and post it, maybe I will post them side by side to compare, I think they look better this time around!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shout out to "R"

"R" knows who she is, she is a regular at my gym, and I want to say how fantastically proud I am of her!

Up until a few months ago, "R" would stick to cardio, she is quite diligent, doesn't miss a day and always varies it using different machines, so if you gotta do cardio, she would be doing it right (you know how I feel about cardio, but that's only my opinion).

"R" hired a personal trainer, a very patient and well qualified one I might add, she has helped me a few times too. Guess what they have been doing twice a week? LIFTING!

None of this silly jumping around stuff, but real weights, cables and machines. Last week "R" decided on her own that she needed to start lifting three times a week, so she asked PT for a worksheet of exercises to tackle on her own, and she made that first scary step of venturing out into the unknown, all alone...and she lived to tell the tale!

Yesterday she sent me an email, checking in on how my arm was (thanks for checking in!), and I don't know if she realized what she was saying, but she wrote "Cardio day for me as well tomorrow. Sigh... Lifting is SO MUCH MORE FUN!"

I think "R" is on her way to a personal transformation! How exciting! You go girl!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

More injuries

This one isn't very serious (I hope), I was at the gym this morning and using the squat rack doing my front squats. I bent down to replace a 45 pound weight plate onto a lower post and someone had over stacked the top posts, so a 10 pound weight fell off, about three feet and smacked right onto my flexed forearm, it is rather painful at the moment.

I am really not sure what people think when they do that kind of thing, or when they walk away leaving three 45 pound plates on each side of the bar so the next person has to pull them off.

I have an ice wrap around it, feels good. I just cannot afford to have a big bruise with my competition only 27 days away...

Sunday, April 25, 2010


We will all be injured at some point in our lives, and for athletes it can be particularly difficult. Last year I injured my shoulder and my physician told me that there was a possibility that I could never lift weights again.

The thoughts that went through my mind were not making any sense, how could it happen to me?! I followed all of his instructions though, not lifting for several weeks, then started range of motion exercises, and eventually back to where I was.

He is still amazed, looking at my x-rays he doesn't understand how I can be pain free.

My son plays lacrosse and hopes to play in college, he injured his ankle yesterday at a game, and tore some ligaments. He is devastated, the playoffs are in three weeks and it is highly likely he will still be unable to play. He has an indoor series on Memorial Day weekend, and is on a traveling team to Canada this summer, both of which are now hanging in mid air as we will need to wait to hear what the orthopedist says.

Injuries stink.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

You can't out train a bad diet

I am not sure if you have come to this conclusion yet, but your diet is probably the most important factor when attempting to stay healthy and look good (naked or in clothes).

You can lift, exercise, crunch, run, you name it, you can do it and unless you are providing your body with the proper nutrients, timed correctly, you will never reach full potential.

Sure, a young male with testosterone surging through his body can probably eat almost anything he wants, but that can only last so long before his health is compromised and he starts getting visceral fat.

Eat to live, don't live to eat.

This does not mean you cannot enjoy special treats, have junk food once in a while, or snatch that bit of turkey skin on Thanksgiving day, what it means is you need to completely understand and make a commitment that your body needs to be treated with respect. If you cannot do it for yourself, do it for the people who love you.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Most of my posts are fairly light hearted, have little fun facts and humor. This one is very serious though. I was writing out a recipe for a friend and I mentioned that she must avoid a certain brand of cocoa due to the high concentrations of acrylamide and realized I really should write here about it.

Acrylamide occurs as odorless, white crystals. It is soluble in water and evaporates slowly at room temperature. As an industrial chemical, acrylamide is used in waste-water treatment, paper and pulp processing, mineral processing, and other industrial work. All acrylamide in the environment is man-made.

Acrylamide is readily absorbed by ingestion, inhalation, and absorption through the skin. It is a neurotoxin and is classified as a probable carcinogen to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The US National Institutes of Health also lists the substance as a probable human carcinogen and neurotoxin. Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment additionally suggests the risk of DNA damage from acrylamide exposure.

Acrylamide is quite toxic. The US EPA's "safe" level for acrylamide—the concentration at which exposure presents a cancer risk to one in one million people— is set at a low value of 0.00077. Compare that to the much higher allowed safe levels for several better known toxins:
• Benzene – 0.12
• Carbon tetrachloride – 0.067
• Chloroform – 0.043
• Lead – 0.013

Researchers in Europe and the United States have found acrylamide in certain foods that were heated to a temperature 248 degrees Fahrenheit, but not in foods prepared below this temperature.

Potato chips and French fries were found to contain higher levels of acrylamide compared with other foods. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated that the levels of acrylamide in foods pose a “major concern” and that more research is needed to determine the risk of dietary acrylamide exposure.

There is still much scientific work to be done to determine the levels of acrylamide in specific foods. But a broad trend has emerged: Foods with high levels of carbohydrates that are cooked at high temperature appear to be the main sources of acrylamide in food.

The level of acrylamide in food can vary considerably, apparently due to the particular processing or cooking conditions used. The levels of acrylamide increase with the time span of heating. Acrylamide formation has not been observed at temperatures below 120 degrees C (248 degrees F).
The main offending food groups are below, listed roughly in descending order of acrylamide content:
• Potato Chips
• French Fries
• Crackers, Toast, Bread Crisps, Cookies
• Boxed Breakfast Cereal
• Corn Chips
• Bakery Products
• Coffee
• Cocoa
• Bread
Research is just beginning on how acrylamide forms in cooked food, but potato chips and french fries appear to be particularly susceptible to acrylamide formation because of their high levels of certain types of carbohydrates.

Bread actually contains fairly low levels of acrylamide compared to high-level sources like potato chips, but the large amount of bread consumed by the average person makes it a noteworthy source.

Coffee and cocoa are surprise sources of acrylamide. In fact, some studies have found coffee to be the highest source of dietary acrylamide for some people. The problem lies not in the brewing of the coffee but in the roasting of the beans. As with bread, the per-unit content of acrylamide in coffee or cocoa is not especially high, but the quantity of these foods that one consumes can raise the total acrylamide level ingested to troublesome levels.

Research it for yourself, and take a look at this site to check levels in certain brands of foods you may purchase, including baby food!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ah Beef!

I trained with FP last night, I am coming along fine and although I have cut lifting back to only three days a week (I usually lift 6 days a week) and am doing 20 minutes on the StairMaster the other three, I appear to have come down in weight a bit.

I weigh myself on Fridays, so I was not sure. I still look a little lean and need to fill out and hold that for the next three weeks, then the last week deal with anything that might need to go!

As I have mentioned previously, in "figure" the judges do not want you too lean, that look is reserved more for bodybuilding. Unfortunately, to look right in most other places, I do need to get really lean, in the 4-5% body fat range. Right now I am pushing it.

At 6:30 she said "you can have steak" and I asked her three times, "are you sure? steak?!"

Yes, it has slightly more calories, more fat and can help to keep me looking full and make me very happy, I have had beef only once since February.

Steak is naturally high in creatine, if you will be eating steak be sure to stick to the very leanest cuts, flank or top sirloin, filet is OK too. I like flank and ask the butcher to run it through the tenderizer once, it punches hundreds of little holes in it and makes it very tender, so when I cook it rare, it is not chewy.

If only eating steak a few nights a week, eat it the evenings prior to your heavy lifting, or prior to the days when you train the parts you are trying to add size to. The added creatine, calories and fat will help you out here. Be sure to control portion size, my diet allows 4 to 5 ounces, that's it. Unless you look like Jay Cutler, stay away from those 16 ounce porterhouses!

By the way, I did step on the scale and she was right, I have lost another pound.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kelp, Carrot and Halibut Stew

It sounds horrible but it is so amazing, I absolutely love it. It has everything you want and need and can be changed to suit your tastes.

Main Ingredients:

red onion, garlic, vegetable broth, quinoa, carrot, cashews, dried kelp, halibut

This is on any diet, so nutritious and tasty. It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks called:

Gourmet Nutrition
The cookbook for the fit food lover
Dr. John M. Berardi, Michael Williams & Kristina Andrew

The book has recipes for all types of meals and provides the nutritional breakdown on each, along with different proportions and tells you if it is a meal you can eat anytime or if it is best suited for a post workout meal. You know exactly how many grams of protein, carbs, fats, sugars and calories you are getting. There are even dessert recipes. I highly recommend it.

I added kale to it today because I love the texture of kale, I use different fish depending on what looks good that day. I typically make a whole recipe (without the fish), divide it into servings, place into ziplock bags and freeze it until I want stew. Then I take one bag out, warm the stew, saute the fish, add it in and I am ready to sit down to a huge bowl of great stew.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It is very important to plan and be prepared with your food, all of the time. I usually spend a few hours every Sunday getting foods prepared for my lunches the following week. Remember I eat several times a day, my husband refers to them as "feeding times" and I pretty much eat two lunches.

Here I have already prepared several foods and I am packaging them up in serving sizes that will go in the refrigerator or freezer, allowing me to quickly assemble my lunches the evening before.

I will take my waffles (pre made Sunday) and two meals to work with me. None of them are small snacks, they are all ranging in the 300 to 350 calorie meal. Each "lunch" includes carbohydrate, protein, vegetable.

There are ziplock baggies with 4 ounces of cooked, cubed chicken breast in each, I place those into one large freezer bag and pop the whole thing in the freezer. I eat one with each lunch.

Then in the back are several small storage containers of 4 ounces each of cooked brown rice. In the same type of containers are vegetables.

Today I roasted cauliflower with pimenton agridulce which is a bittersweet smokey paprika from Spain, it is nothing like Hungarian paprika. I get it at Cosentino's grocery, but you can purchase it online at the Spanish Table and a few other Spanish Specialty shops.

There is grilled asparagus. I oven roasted button mushrooms and mixed them with several shitake mushrooms that I grilled to get a smokey flavor, then added to the button mushrooms at the last few minutes of roasting. I guess I was in a smokey mood....

Roasted broccoli and beets round it all out.

All the containers go in the refrigerator, I pull out two vegetables, two rice (or beans) and two frozen chicken bags and put one of each into a glass container and warm it in the microwave at work. You should always use glass, never microwave those plastic containers due to the release of BPA's, the substance used in making plastics that leaches from the containers into our foods.

With the exception of vegetables, you should weigh or measure all of your food, it is way too easy to guess incorrectly and a slight miscalculation for only a few days can make a huge difference.

Monday, April 19, 2010

You are what you eat

To maintain a lean body, you need to avoid certain foods. I already talked about alcohol, it does nothing good for your physique. The same goes for other simple sugars, saturated fats, processed foods.

If you cannot pronounce it, you shouldn't be putting it in your mouth. Eat what nature intended.

Yes we can all say "donut" but what is in the donut? What is it cooked in?

Processing foods strips away all of the nutrients, that is why you read that all the cereals and breads have been "vitamin fortified", they took it all out so now they need to add something of value back in.

When competing I just don't eat any of this, ever. When not competing I avoid it and rarely eat it, for now I am talking about what a non competing person should avoid. Remember the word is avoid, that means yes you can indulge once in a while, but you will look like whatever you put into that mouth of yours.

The foods I am speaking of include, but are not limited to:

Simple sugars (alcohol, wine, beer, sugars)
Processed foods (chips, refined flours, breads, crackers, cookies, boxed cereals)
Saturated fats (animal fat such as chicken skin, pork, lamb, fatty cuts of beef)
Lunch meats, including turkey! No lunch meat is good for you, cook your own
Most oils (stay away from any oil that has been hydrogenated, that means it has been chemically processed up to remain stable at room temperature, it will kill you) Hydrogenated oils convert to trans fats, so our foods have been processed for a longer shelf life, but ingesting those shortens our life, sounds like a bad exchange to me. You will find this in almost every single packaged food that has any type of carbohydrate unfortnately

I might as well remind you that you shouldn't smoke while I am at it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to get there

Sometimes, even I get tired of dieting. Some people may get tired of training, but you do need to power on.

I took my mother here to get one ear pierced, she was a little frightened at first, after all, it is a body piercing studio and she was a little curious how I seemed to be so familiar with the place.

We had a fun day together there.

My mother died of lung cancer in February 2009. She had a poem by Michael Leunig that helped her through the four year battle with chemotherapy. I keep it posted on my office wall and it helps me with many struggles.

It is also very fitting when you feel you don't have the strength to keep up with your workouts or diet too, sometimes it can all be so overwhelming.

How To Get There

Go to the end of the path until you get to the gate.
Go through the gate and head straight out towards the horizon.
Keep going towards the horizon.
Sit down and have a rest every now and again, but keep on going, just keep on with it.
Keep on going as far as you can.
That's how you get there.

I love you and miss you mom

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fish Oil

Fish oil, you gotta love it! You gotta take it!

I take a lot of different supplements, and if there is only one you can take, it should be fish oil (Omega 3 Fatty Acids)

The fish that are most oily and have the highest natural concentrations of omega-3s are anchovies, sardines, herring and mackerel.

Another reason these species of fish are best for quality fish oil products is that they are smaller, have shorter life spans and are lower on the food chain. This means that they do not accumulate as many toxins as larger species of fish that live longer and eat lots of smaller fish.

Check the label for the fish mentioned above, and if it just mentions something generic like “fish oil concentrate” or “marine lipids,” it’s a good idea to pass.

About Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are vital for our health.

Fish oil supplementation reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiac arrest and inflammation in the body. It may also lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Omega-3s are highly concentrated in the brain, so it’s no surprise that fish oil also helps the brain to develop and function effectively.

When dieting, you will want to ensure that you count your calories and fat from your fish oil, I take 4 triple strength a day, two in the morning, two in the evening, for a total of 3.6 grams of Omega 3s.

Start slowly, you may develop some gastrointestinal problems if you start off taking too much, you may want to try one a day, then after a couple weeks move to two a day (morning and night) and then increase it again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How long have I been lifting?

I have been going to a gym for a long time, in fact, my son who will be 16 at the end of the month tells me he remembers me dumping him at the gym daycare "for hours" when he was a little baby. I don't remember what I did last weekend, so how he can remember what happened over 15 years ago is a mystery to me. And we all know that most gym daycares have an hour, or at maximum, a two hour limit.

Although I have been going to the gym for years, I didn't really lift weights, I was a "wanderer". I would wander around and use this or use that, and never really put any effort into anything, I don't recall breaking a sweat unless the air conditioning was out that day.

The turning point came when I went to visit my younger brother in Spain one summer. The women were fit, slim and beautiful. I was fat and almost 40, I came home unhappy with myself and made a decision to change.

I decided I would run a marathon. You may have already figured out I am a bit OCD, It's pretty much all or nothing with me, I am difficult to live with (sorry sweetie). I joined San Jose Fit, a marathon and half marathon training group that met in Los Gatos. I had a blast, made lot's of friends and ultimately ran my marathon. 4 hours, 1 minute, 7 seconds, pretty fast for a 40 year old who just started running 6 months earlier. This is a picture of me crossing the finish line, I think this proves that running is not the best way to look good, although I had lost weight, this was still not the body I wanted.

I also developed plantar fasciitis in both feet, a very common injury in runners, so I had to stop running. I immediately joined a boot camp at my gym, we met twice a week and I started looking better. I then started weight lifting with the help of the instructor, he and I became good friends, often having bar-b-ques together, swimming with our kids and partners, it was great. Then my gym closed, I no longer had my weight lifting pal and I was on my own once again.

I joined a new gym and decided I wanted to try kettlebells. There was a trainer there I hired specifically for that. I found that her knowledge was not much better than mine on the subject, but powered on.

I caught the kettlebell bug.....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Exactly what do I do at the gym?

I lift weights, that's about it. I mean I go the "the room" where all the big weights are, and all the men, and I lift weights right along side them, often lifting more than they do. If you are a woman, don't be intimidated by the guys, they are all very nice, more than willing to spot you and sometimes they even ask YOU to spot THEM!

My workouts change depending on the time of year. When I am not competing, or preparing for a competition, I am eating more, deliberately putting on more weight, and lifting really, really heavy to gain as much muscle as possible. I avoid cardio....

When I am preparing for a competition, I eat less, lose weight and I do more cardio (still never very much).

It's a cycle that you just have to get used to, it can be a little hard psychologically to make yourself gain weight, but then you have to because it is not healthy to have extremely low body fat for any extended length of time, and it can really mess up your head and prevent you from enjoying the normal lifestyle of social eating with friends and family.

In addition, for most of us who exercise as a hobby and not for a living, you need to be in a certain "phase" of adding lean mass, maintaining your current mass, or losing. If you go through any extreme body fat loss, such as that involved for bodybuilding or figure competitions, you need to go back to a gaining phase afterward because you inevitably lose some lean body mass along with that body fat and you need to re-build it.

Unless you are make your living as a model, and get paid to be extremely lean all year round, you shouldn't be trying to put yourself through the torture of looking this way all the time, it just isn't realistic. You may read in magazines that some women are "ripped" year round, remember, that's their job and if they weren't ripped year round, they would be out of work. To be honest, if they are able to be ripped year round, and still hold onto a lot of muscle, they have some good genetics to thank too.

No matter what time of year, I ALWAYS lift weights and they are always heavy weights.

I don't use many machines, I use the squat racks, Olympic bar, fixed weight barbells, cables, dumbbells (and never those teeny tiny colored ones.)

When no one is looking on those really early days, I even sneak my chalk into the gym!

The best way to develop a beautiful body is to incorporate weight lifting into your daily activity. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CSA Delivery (more vegetables)

I participate in a CSA at work, it is a Community Supported Agriculture program where the farmer delivers fresh organic vegetables to a drop off site and we all get a "box". There are many different programs in my area, some deliver to your home, others keep costs down by utilizing a central drop off location such as our university.

The vegetables I made the other day will all be gone be tonight, but I get my box on Tuesdays so it works out perfectly. Yesterday I received:

2 artichokes, strawberries, oranges, rainbow chard, lettuce, carrots, celery, avocados, beets and green onions.

Since I have a competition in 5 1/2 weeks I am not eating fruit (sugar), but my husband and son will. Unless you are also competing, there is no reason to cut fruit out of your diet, it is extremely good for you. In fact, the very first thing I eat after a competition is a banana (of course it is slathered in peanut butter).

I trimmed the artichokes and cut them in half, scraped out the chokes and they will marinate overnight in white wine and peppercorns. Then tonight I will steam them then grill them over a hot fire on the bar-b-que. This is fantastic, the Chef at the Wine Cellar in Los Gatos told me how to do this (of course, they use fancy chardonney and charge $9.00 for one artichoke!) My husband and son will eat these, not that I cannot, but they love them cooked this way and there are only two....

I washed the lettuce and the beet greens and after work will cook the chard, beets and beet greens for lunches, I will use the other items in salads.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday's Dinner

I changed dinner a little bit, I opened the refrigerator and saw all those wonderful brussels sprouts and decided I had to have those instead of the asparagus.

The great thing is that the vegetables were all cooked and ready, I only needed to warm them up.

Lemon squeezed all over the brussels sprouts and the sweet potatoes is great. Try to get used to lemons, Meyer lemons (actually a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange), limes, or oranges as dressings or flavorings for your food. It is good for you, no fat or calories, and if you are lucky, you can pick them off your tree.

Tuesday's Calves, Cardio and menu

Today is not a typical day for me, but since I am so close to competition time, my routine is changing for the next few weeks, it’s a lot more cardio.

The theory is, that the slow cardio will “tighten” you up, I am not sure if this is true or not, I haven’t had enough experience with it, but it is a common practice in the bodybuilding/figure industry.

Warm up walking on treadmill 5 minutes


Super set

Leg press 405 pounds 4 sets of 25 to 30 calve raises till it burns (feet in different positions)

Ankle hops (jumping up and down powered by calves) 4 sets of 30

Seated calve raise 70 pounds 4 sets 20 to 25 raises till it burns (feet in different positions)


Super set

Crunches, lying down, legs on bench 3 sets of 20

Incline reverse crunch 3 sets of 20

Hanging knee raises 3 sets of 20


Stair stepper, level 5, 20 minutes

Today’s menu:

4:00am Lean 1 protein drink, supplements

6:30am Isopure protein drink supplements

8:00am Banana waffles (picture above), coffee

11:30am 4 ounces chicken tenders (cut in chunks), 4 ounces black beans, roasted mushrooms, roasted asparagus, balsamic vinaigrette, supplements

3:00pm 4 ounces chicken tenders (cut in chunks), roasted broccoli, cauliflower, 4 ounces brown rice, warm, squeeze lemon all over

5:30pm 5 ounce turkey burger (no bun, so I guess a patty) ground turkey breast, onions, celery, horseradish, Worcestershire, made into a patty, frozen till day I need it, mustard as a condiment; 3 ounces sweet potato puree with lemon, 2 cups roasted asparagus with lemon, supplements

8:30pm 1 cup spinach, 4 egg whites, more supplements

Sweet sleep…….

If I am writing this in the morning, how do I know when and what I shall eat? Because I plan it ahead. You will not be successful if you walk out the door and do not know what you will eat and when you will eat it. Failure to prepare will be your downfall every single time. Take the time to plan.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Morning Hams

It’s Monday morning, alarm goes off at 3:45am, and I have to meet FP at her gym at 4:30am. I love to train early, driving the few miles to her place with the top down on the car is invigorating.

I train at three different facilities, one when I am with FP, one when I am with SC and my gym when I train alone.

Today is hammies (hamstrings); I have to bring them up because my glutes are so prominent. From the side you want to see a nice bulge at the mid hamstring the “belly” or “bicep” needs to be full and round. The last thing you want is a great set of glutes popping out there and a straight drop down without any curve.

Today is high sets and high reps:

prone leg curls
Kneeling leg curls
One leg squats on the smith

FP said I looked good after my cheat day, I will have to stop in and see her Friday or Saturday, if I am still losing weight and body fat, I get another meal. My family likes these cheat meals more than me I think because I eat the same food as they do, and we all eat’s nice to be missed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Don't forget to have dessert once in a while

Of course, milking it for all it's worth, I had informed the restaurant that it was my birthday and received the royal treatment (it's a nice place). The server brought me a beautiful molten chocolate cake, with mint ice says Happy Birthday in chocolate....

With my husband driving home in the rain, music playing, I was feeling good. My phone had been a musical concert all day, text messages, phone calls, tweets, everyone reminding me how important relationships are. The food, the wine, the people all made me thankful for everything I have.

I cannot ever replace anyone, you are all special to me, thank you.

Birthday Cheating

Today is my birthday, I am 49. I am very proud of being 49, I look and feel better than I have in ages.

Since I have gotten so lean so quickly again, FP said go out and enjoy the day, don't worry about the diet.

I had a meeting for my son's lacrosse league at 7:00 am (yes, that's right, 7:00 am on a Sunday) so ate my usual waffles and coffee, skipped the first meal since I didn't get up till 5:30.

10:30 had a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne and then off to lunch at Village Pub for a glass of Paul Bara Grand Rose champagne, followed by a fantastic rare cheeseburger, fries, remoulade, with a glass of J.L. Chave Mon Coeur 2007 Cotes du Rhone.

I guess I enjoyed it, when the waitstaff came to take away my napkin, I looked at it and told them I would take it home and wash it, then return it soon. He took a long look and said "you know, I might just take you up on that offer!"

Oh, I ate the whole thing......

Monday's Salad

I have to be in an all day meeting tomorrow in another office so I plan my food ahead of time, bringing things I don't need to heat or prepare. I have made salad for lunch and afternoon meals.

I combined some of yesterdays roasted vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, beets, with raw carrots, celery, a little romaine, cucumber and a small sprinkle of slivered almonds. Mix it all together.

In your salad/storage/serving bowl add 4 ounces of cooked, cubed chicken and 4 ounces of beans then add the salad, dress when ready to eat, just pour on dressing, snap on lid and shake like crazy.

Above is a saute pan full of chicken tenders, I think they are great in salad, I saute them in a non-stick pan in a very tiny bit of coconut oil, salt and pepper. You can use a little marinade if you are not competing, and/or in the off season. After they are cooked just through, let cool and then cube into the size pieces you like.

Weigh out the correct portion, do not guess!

You absolutely must have a starch (beans, oats, rice, quinoa, potato) with your meals along with protein and your vegetables. I will talk more about protein and starches (carbs) separately.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My trainers

As I mentioned before, I have two trainers, each very different than the other. I will start with the trainer I have worked longest with.

Strength Coach (SC) first entered my life in October of 2007, or I guess I entered his. I was looking for an RKC, a trainer certified in kettlebells. I found SC, walked into his facility and told him I only wanted to learn kettlebells, I didn't need anything else, didn't need someone to "motivate" me, I had one thing in mind and that was it. He shook his head and said "OK".

We agreed to meet the next week to see how we worked together and as you can see, he is still training me. He taught me all about kettlebells, swings, snatches, cleans, get-ups, presses, you name it, he taught me.

I ended up buying my own because the club I belong to didn't have any, but they have a lot of tennis courts (too bad I don't play). I had to keep my own bells at the club and they finally ended up getting two sets, I now keep mine at work where I use them to train other people.

SC has gone on to teach me quite a bit, he is the one who taught me to deadlift (over 200 pounds) and squat, and do lot's and lot's of pull ups. I even get to push the Prowler around when it's blazing hot outside as he sits and watches, with a sadistic grin on his face.

SC has taught me to read real books about weight training, text books that have actual scientific data in them. SC is very knowledgeable yet loves to try new techniques yet admits to me when he wants me to be his guinea pig, he knows I am willing to try anything, at least once.

SC is young, not yet 30, buff and extremely good looking, he makes training something to look forward to. I mean what woman wouldn't be willing to squat 200 pounds with SC spotting her? Sometimes that room has so much testosterone in it, I wonder if I smell different when I walk out.

I have a lot of fun with SC, I feel strong, young, invincible, that is until a few days later when it's painful to walk.

Figure Pro (FP) entered my life in March of 2009, oh I guess just like SC, I entered hers. It was time to take it up a notch, I needed a goal, I needed something to strive for, I needed the brass ring. I had been training with SC, I was getting big and buff. I had recently started working with my nutritionist and the bodyfat was low, 8%. I searched for a pro to teach me how to compete in Figure.

I emailed her and she called right away, we chatted and I arranged to meet her at her facility a few days later. On the phone I had told her I was at 8% bodyfat, and unknown to me at the time, she thought to herself "I am sure she WISHES she was at 8% bodyfat" and she brought her device to check me when we met, as soon as she saw me she stashed it in her bag, there was no need for that machine, I was telling the truth.

FP has an electrifying, magnetic personality, she is quite alluring. She too is not yet 30, obviously physically stunning, you have seen her in magazines, the Arnold, the Olympia, she get's paid to do this!

FP takes the raw product that SC creates, then molds it to achieve the look that judges want on stage. I can walk into her gym and FP will take one look at me and ask "What did you eat yesterday, you are up a pound", and lo and behold, I step on a scale, and she is right!

FP pushed me hard to compete - I had it all planned out, I would train with her for 5 months then compete in July, she had other things on her mind, she had me on stage in May, and I won 2nd place.

I have fun with FP, she laughs and seems to know exactly what my body will look like in the next few days, she delights in the days when she tells me I NEED to go eat a burger because I am too stringy and I cannot drive home fast enough to do just that.

Who on earth eats 5 cups of vegetables a day?!

I do and you should too! Vegetables should be the main part of your diet, they are full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fiber. They make you feel full. If you can buy organic, do so, or know that you are eating a lot of pesticides and poison too.

The first picture is my raw vegetables that I bought for the next few days meals. I have cauliflower, broccoli, beets, asparagus, portabello mushrooms and brussels sprouts. I will also use the beet greens, they are soaking in water right now.

The second picture is all of the above cooked and ready to go.

It takes a while to prep it all, but by doing it ahead of time, I am sure to have a variety of healthy choices ready at a moments notice.

If it's nice weather I will grill most of them, but it's early and cold out so I will roast them in the oven today. I have set it at 400 degrees (I believe that is a medium high mark in Europe)

Beets: Buy them when the greens are crisp and vibrant, soak the greens and roughly chop then saute in a tiny bit of coconut oil. I choose coconut oil (organic only) because it has a high smoke point. The beets will be scrubbed, put in a small pan with a splash of water, covered with foil and roasted until tender, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the beet- poke a knife into them to test. When done, the skins peel off easily, cut into bite sized pieces, splash with red wine vinegar, pepper and a tiny bit of salt.

Asparagus: break off tough ends, roast till tender and slightly charred.

Mushrooms: Slice thickly, roast till water is released and they are brown, toss some pepper and balsamic vinegar on after removing from the oven.

Broccoli and cauliflower: Cut into small florettes, roast in separate pans till tender and charred.

Brussels sprouts: quarter or halve, then roast till charred.

Any of these can be eaten alone or mixed, room temperature or warmed.

I will use many of these in salads, my salads rarely if ever have lettuce. I might include some romaine for crunch, or spinach. I love whole cilantro leaves for a burst of flavor. Salads are big, sometimes 2 cups of vegetables, then 4 ounces of chunked chicken, tuna or turkey. Don't forget the all important starches (carbohydrate) add beans, these are really good for you, I will use 3/4 cup. The darker the bean the more anti-oxidants it has. If you are watching sodium intake you should make your own beans from dried beans and not use canned, even the "low sodium" variety (the only ones I buy) have a great deal of sodium. My favorite bean for salad? Black or kidney.

I use a great dressing that my nutritionist Kim Porterfield gave me- mix in a small container balsamic vinegar, grainy mustard and a sweetener such as splenda or truvia. You can use as much of this as you like, no oil is ever added or needed. The proportions I use are approximately 1/3 cup balsamic, 1 Tablespoon mustard and 1 teaspoon splenda, make it to your taste.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I am lean too early

I got little too lean too soon again. Seems that I go on my diet, and I don't cheat and I lose weight and bodyfat. Strange how that works huh?

Figure Pro (FP) said to cut weight training down to three days a week, cardio the other three. I think I shall go nuts, I have 6 weeks left until my competition!

So what is this miracle diet? Basically:

4:00am Protein meal replacement drink, supplements


6:30am Protein meal replacement drink, supplements

8:00am Waffles (Yup) made with 1/2 cup uncooked oats, 4 egg whites, flavorings

11:30am 4 ounces chicken breast, 3/4 cup brown rice, 1 cup vegetables, supplements

3:00pm 4 ounces chicken breast, 3/4 cup brown rice, 1 cup vegetables

6:00pm 5 ounces fish, 3 ounces sweet potato, 2 cups vegetables, supplements

8:30pm 1 cup vegetables, 4 egg whites, supplements

Now it may sound boring, but I eat lot's of different vegetables, I usually roast them, get a bit of char on them and even the broccoli tastes great. You can always have turkey or fish instead of chicken. Tonight I had some fantastic wild salmon, never buy farmed salmon. Farmed salmon has more PCB's and a higher fat content, plus it doesn't taste good!

Do I need a Trainer?

I am not sure if you need a trainer, I certainly do! As a matter of fact, I have two. Sounds a bit excessive, but I bet have as many excuses for two trainers as most people have excuses for not exercising at all.

You don't have to be interested in competing to need a trainer, you only need the desire to be in the best physical shape you possibly can. If you feel that you have enough knowledge to get yourself in shape, then don't hire a trainer. If you cut your own hair, fix your own car, fill your own cavities, you are a super woman(man) and can probably train yourself!

If you don't know how to target a specific muscle, or for that matter, don't know what muscles you have and where they are, you might want to consider hiring a trainer.

I mentioned I have two, they are completely different in their philosophies and backgrounds, yet each fulfills a need of mine. I enjoy being with both of them, and have a great time each session we meet.

I train with one, my strength coach (SC) every week year round, and train with another, an IFBB (International Federation of Body Builders) Figure Pro (FP) weekly when I am prepping for a competition, starting 12 weeks prior to each competition. 12 weeks is 3 months, if I enter 3 competitions, that's almost year round too.

I usually train 6 days a week, at times of the year I will train 7 days a week.

Are you insane?

Most of us who work outside of the home probably get to work the same way, following the same route everyday. Give or take a few minutes, it probably takes us the same amount of time each day.

Do you get up in the morning, plan to drive to work the exact same way as the day before and guess you can shave about 10 minutes off your time? That sounds a little insane doesn't it? Unless you take a different route, it just doesn't seem possible to shorten the commute.

Albert Einstein's definition of insanity was: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result"

Are you one of those people who goes to the gym every day and does the same exact workout that you did the day before, week before, maybe for the last few months or even years? Then you step on the scale hoping that you have lost weight, or that your arms will now look shapely, or that you suddenly have a 6 pack?

Sounds like Einstein was on to something huh?

You need to change your training on a regular basis, not only to avoid boredom, but to keep your body from adapting. The human body is a master at adapting to it's environment, and it will make sure to do whatever it needs to keep chugging along, holding on to the same weight, fat and heat that it is accustomed to, in other words, it will fight you all the way to stay the same so unless you keep changing your training, you will never see results.

Changing doesn't mean a complete overhaul, it can be subtle, small changes, the grip of the dumbbells, increased repetitions with smaller weights, less repetitions with heavier weights, just mix it up.

I find that I personally adapt to a lifting routine by the second or third week, so I change my training every four weeks.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bodybuilders can be beautiful

Bodybuilding is just not what it used to be, take a look at this beautiful bodybuilder, Cory Everson

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Can I drink Alcohol?

Sure, drink all you want!

Perhaps a more appropriate question is "Can I drink and have a rockin hard body?" and to that I would say, no, not really.

Seriously, I did ask my nutritionist this very same question. You see, my husband is a home winemaker (and a VERY good one at that!) We tend to go in opposite directions at times.

You need to ask yourself that tough question - What exactly is my goal and how important is it that I reach it? Alcohol is sugar plain and simple, there is nothing good for you in it, so it isn't the healthiest beverage to choose. When changing your eating habits, elimination of excess sugars and saturated fats will be something you want to seriously consider, as they will not help you make any positive changes.

Look around at the population in fast food restaurants, bars, big chain restaurants, they are not the healthiest looking group are they?

Making a change will only work if you can live with it, we all put effort into what we feel is important to us. Most things worth striving for are not easy, relationships, a challenging job, child rearing, even getting your hair right some mornings can be difficult. But we all choose to put effort into what is important to us.

If you want a lean, hard, healthy body then alcohol will not be a part of your daily life.

A trainer once told me something that I have never forgotten: "As long as you drink alcohol, you will always have a cozy around that 6 pack"

Sure have a drink occasionally, just not every day. By the way, weekends don't come occassionally, they come regularly.

Where do you start? Hire a Nutritionist

I think that depends on where you are now physically, emotionally and financially. My hobby for years has been cooking, I can go to any restaurant, try any dish and re-create it at home and get pretty darn close. Ask SC (Strength Coach), I re-created a green salsa for him, he seemed to think it was pretty amazing, it was a cinch.

I love food and I love to eat. I love textures, runny eggs, raw fish, rare meat, you name it, I will eat it. Here I am making cassoulet, you can't get much fattier and high calorie than this.

You need to assess where you are, what your lifestyle is and what your goals are. I certainly don't starve myself, but I don't eat cassoulet more than once a year either.

I decided that I had been lifting weights for a long time, I looked good, but there was something missing, and I had to learn to successfully maintain this amazing thing called the human body.

The best thing I ever did for myself was to work with a nutritionist, and one who had been a Figure Competitor herself. She knew what I was trying to achieve and helped me figure out how to get where I wanted to be.

Kim and I have never met in person, we did all of our consultations over the phone and that worked fine for me. If you are a person who needs more hand holding through a new process, this may not work for you.

Kim taught me how to eat to fuel my body. She provided me with encouragement, she made me ask myself tough questions, she gave me honest answers. I have a book full of recipes that I still use to this day, over a year later that I still enjoy. What did it cost me to do this? About the price of a nice pair of designer jeans, the choice is yours.

If I were to do it all over again, this is where I would start.

Decide what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight, lose body fat, increase weight (she taught me how to do that too, and I do that intentionally part of the year).

If you will be working over the phone or Internet, make sure you have all of the information he or she will need. Accurate pictures of yourself (be sure your body is visible, even if you are not happy with it), current body fat, current weight, a log of everything you have eaten and at what times for the last week. This is not a time to try to fool anyone, be honest.

Give Kim Porterfield a call at The Institue of Eating Management and Relapse Prevention Center

Glute Day (slightly off topic already)

Oh my favorite day! I train glutes for over an hour. I highly suggest that you learn the actual names of your body parts, it's much more appropriate when talking with others.

Imagine this: You are walking a bit stiffly into work and the receptionist says "What's wrong?" You say "My butt hurts"...not a very good conversation, all sorts of things are going through his head.

Now try this: "What's wrong?" You say "My glutes are killing me", sounds impressive huh? And it is probably a lot more accurate.

Glutes refers to your gluteal muscles, otherwise known as your butt. I happen to consider myself somewhat of a butt expert. I love butts. That's what everyone looks at as you walk away.

This past winter I told my Strength Coach (SC) that I wanted to get a really big butt, I needed to build up those glutes because when I diet down for a competition, everything gets smaller, so if I made sure I had a nice big butt ahead of time, it would still look good when I was ready to walk on stage again. I called it my "Bring me a butt like Beyonce for Christmas" program, and it worked.

Barbell Glute Bridge
Single Leg Thrusters
Iso Reverse Hypers
X-Band Walks
Seated Good Mornings

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Only the tuff can stick to a diet

As a joke one of my trainers told me I should write a book called "How to prep for a competition in 5 weeks". Why? Because she is always dumbfounded how I can start a diet, lose so much body fat and look fabulous in give or take a month.

I didn't give it another thought, until another client of hers asked me when my book was going to be done.

I began to think, what exactly does it take to "get ready in 5 weeks" and ready for what? We all have goals, my goals may be silly to you, but extremely important to me, and who am I to determine what "ready" may be? You may think you are "ready" while I may think you are not.

I will start by outlining what I am "getting ready for", my goals, my reasoning, what drives me, what holds me back, what makes me successful. All of the crazy things that go through my mind as I "get ready".

What sort of competition am I even talking about? Figure. That's not a command, it's a sport, a division of Bodybuilding, and this needs a bit of an explanation.

Bodybuilding is familiar to most people, it's those big men and women with huge muscles who stand on stage, pose and flex right? It's actually a lot more complicated and involved than that, but this is a fairly good description of the sport.

Women who liked to lift weights and become muscular, yet not as muscular as bodybuilders started a branch called "Fitness". In this sport, the women have to have the muscles (just not to the same degree as Bodybuilders), pose on stage in those skimpy little suits, and perform a gymnastics type of routine.

Then came along "Figure". This branch was developed for the women who liked everything the "Fitness" gals could do, but just didn't have the gymnastics or cheer-leading background, in other words, they were best at just standing around, well, looking good!

We have now added "Bikini" but that's another day.

What's the hardest part?