Tuesday, August 31, 2010


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I love fish. Even before I started competing I loved fish but never ate it very often, for some reason I was "afraid" of it. I don't mean that fish scared me, but the preparation did. I was always sure I would over cook it, dry it out, burn it, something. It just seemed daunting and I am an accomplished cook.

Now I eat fish up to 5 times a week, and I make it so many different ways, I sometimes forget what I did.

Friday night I came home, and made (for 1), halibut with paprika and chives, roasted butternut squash and par boiled green beans. It was great!

The green beans are par boiled in salted boiling water for one minute, then drained. I like them hot, room temperature, cold, it makes no difference.   The boys were going to have green beans too so I made a big batch.

The butternut squash was already cooked. A few days prior, David had cut it up into large chunks, I then sprinkled salt, pepper, chili powder and a dash cinnamon on it and roasted it in a 400 degree oven until it  was soft and tender. All I needed to do tonight was warm it in the microwave.

Then the halibut.  I heated a small cast iron skillet very hot, then sprayed it with olive oil cooking spray. I coated the halibut with salt, pepper and smokey paprika and seared it quickly on both sides, then reduced the heat and cooked it a few minutes longer on each side until just cooked through.

This formed a nice crust on the outside and moist, tender fish inside.  I poured on a bit of mustard vinaigrette (fat free, homemade), sprinkled fresh chopped chives from the garden all over, and I was set.

 I enjoyed every bit of it.

And David and Cooper? I made them pork chops with shallot-blue cheese, steamed new potatoes with chives and green beans.

Here is their dinner

It was a happy household.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

How far ahead are you thinking?

I am prepping for another competition, and when I get home and I am starved! Time for meal number 5 and it cannot be fast enough. I had my red snapper, brown rice, asparagus and mushrooms.
David and Cooper are feeling a little slighted about now, as they usually do when it gets this close to competition time and my diet is really rigid, so I made a very tasty pasta sauce for them with Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano. Topped with pecorino cheese, they enjoyed it.

I sit with them while they eat.

Talk got around to school and how we, as parents need to help Cooper make the right decisions and keep him on track, so he will grow into a responsible, successful, happy adult.

He didn't think we had to do that, he said "If I cannot figure it out right now myself, then I never can!", but I beg to differ.
I told him that he really shouldn't be able to right now, he is only 16. I said "You are probably thinking about as far ahead as tonight, and what you and your friends will be doing after dinner". He smiled, then laughed and nodded his head.

He looked at David and asked how far ahead he was thinking. I said "I bet you are thinking about as far ahead as the weekend, when you can relax a little".

  Again, I got a smile and agreement.
They both looked at me and were a bit afraid to ask, but they asked me how far ahead I was thinking. I was fast to answer because it's really been on my mind quite a bit.

6 months.
I am thinking about 6 months from now. I am planning how I will have changed in 6 months and wondering what I will look like and how I will feel.
I have been planning to take a break from competing for a while, at least 6 months. But that doesn't mean stopping the weight training, oh not at all. In fact, I am attending an Olympic weight lifting class Saturday at Catalyst Athletics in Sunnyvale. They have a weightlifting team, I am thinking of joining them.
I have already spoken with them, my skill level will need to be evaluated. I have done some Olympic lifting with SC, he  competes himself, but I haven't done enough to excel. I just may though, with a bit of private one on one coaching. I want to take time off from the rigid diet and see how much muscle I can add in 6 to 8 months, that means serious weights and serious food. I will have to get past the mental block of gaining weight, that's the hard part, but I think I can do it.

That means, I will be able to actually eat some of that pasta I make for them next time!

The only thing that may hold me back is a little problem called work. Training starts every night at 4:00, I may have a difficult time adjusting my schedule. 

The class was great- here is my new shirt. No one will know what this means unless they are familiar with Olympic lifts, I think it's pretty funny.
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Sunday, August 29, 2010


Posted by PicasaNike Free Run +
I just bought these shoes and I love them!  I usually wear Chuck Taylor's because SC told me that when you are lifting heavy, you don't want the typical running shoes that everyone wears to the gym, the kind with the big cushy heel. This will not provide a stable base.

So when I would lift with SC, the rules were barefoot or Chuck Taylor's and nothing else. Well, I am not lifting with SC any longer, which means I am not squatting more than 185 because I am on my own. Deadlifts- I am at 195. None of that is so heavy I need to worry about my shoes so much.
These puppies are amazing! They feel like wearing slippers. They are a slip in model, with laces to tighten, but very few seams, and they weigh a whopping 7 ounces each!
Here is a bit from Nike's website about these:

Barefoot running. Everyone's talking about how great it is, but is it truly beneficial? We think so. And here's why.

Barefoot running frees up your foot's range of motion, allowing you to strengthen muscles you don't normally use in a typical running shoe. But we understand that you aren't crazy about squishing your toes in mud or dodging broken glass with bare feet.

Enter the Nike Free Run+. Its flexible design closely mimics the natural movement of your foot. And unlike a lot of regular running shoes, its flexibility provides a world of comfort on the run or while walking around.

Other features:

-More flex grooves promote an even more natural, barefoot-like stride

-Increased support under the arch for improved stability

-More cushioning for an exceptional ride

-A completely new midsole design for a better fit

-A precisely engineered upper for targeted support

-Asymmetrical lacing for added comfort

-Nike+ ready

Are you ready to free your feet?
Are you curious what the Elites have to say about the new Nike Free Run+? We were too. Here's what Asafa Powell, Kara Goucher, Paula Radcliffe and Ariane Friedrich shared with us.

Sprinter Asafa Powell called the Nike Free Run+ "light as a feather." He finds the shoe great for his training for several reasons. "I like the flexibility of the sole because it really allows me to push off the ground properly, but it's also very comfortable and still as supportive as I need it to be."

Distance standout Kara Goucher said that she wears the Nike Free Run+ during her cool down runs because it makes her feet stronger. She noted, "The stronger my feet are, the more stable my entire body becomes and the less likely I am to become injured."

Paula Radcliffe considers the Nike Free Run+ to be "an integral part" of her strengthening program. She commented: "They are more flexible than a regular training shoe so they allow my foot to behave close to its natural movement." Radcliffe added: "I also find they really allow my feet to recover well after long workouts and runs."

But don't think that the Nike Free Run+ shoes are just for runners. High jumper Ariane Friedrich is a fan. "I train with the Nike Free Run+ to strengthen my feet and lower leg muscles; this gets them ready for competitions at the highest level."

Three women in the locker room this morning said they were getting some! They come in many other colors and I may just have to find some of the purple or turquoise ones.
My feet are happy. My feet are free
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hard work or Excuses?

Posted by Picasa Hard Work. Excuses.

My husband will tell you I see one or the other, there is no in between with me.
It's either black or white, there is no gray.

So how do I maintain this year round?

It takes a lot of hard work to train every single day, to wake at 4:00 am in the dark cold; to pull on your shorts and lace up your shoes, still wishing you were asleep in the soft, comfortable bed. Standing at the counter, drinking a protein carb replacement meal, attempting to wake up enough to hoist a huge barbell countless times.

It takes a lot of dedication to eat a strict diet when you would rather enjoy almost anything else. Wishing you could sit and eat ice cream from a carton (I have never done that but I have read that many people, especially women do it often); to eat a small bag of chips; to have a couple cocktails and snack on nuts!
To come home from a long day at work, only to put some shorts and training shoes on yet again, and then push yourself out the door for a session of running stadium stairs, track intervals, plyometrics, kettlebells.
Hard work pays off though. I see it in myself everyday. When my muscles grow rounder and fuller with the weights, when my strength increases from the constant pounding.
My skin grows tighter against the muscles as I continue to diet, forming a smooth canvas against the hard roundness of lean muscle mass. I can feel the skin becoming thin, I can feel my body transform into a machine that is almost running on auto pilot.
I do not make excuses, I work hard, everyday.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Which Wolf are you Feeding?

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How do we keep our young people on track? How do we keep them off drugs and out of trouble? 

I think sports are an incredibly valuable tool, not only to keep them physically fit, but team sports build a lot of camaraderie and support groups and teach  self esteem.

This is my son (front, center red head with the mouth guard that makes it appear as though his front teeth are missing) and his lacrosse team this summer. He was invited to join this team, he only knew one player but after the weekend, he had made several great friends. We had spent the weekend at Treasure Island, I have not seen such a large outdoor lacrosse tournament ever!

My son pays lacrosse year round, and lives for the sport. We find ourselves shuttling all over the state, writing checks for equipment and tournaments all the time. He went to Canada this summer and he and David are heading to Huntington Beach on the Labor Day weekend for yet another tournament.

We spend a lot of time in the lacrosse world, but that's OK. 

I am very happy my son has found a passion, something he is willing to work hard for. A day doesn't go by that he is not out in the backyard shooting at the net, or out with friends playing lacrosse. You see, if we were not so supportive, he might be doing other things. He might be laying around watching TV all afternoon; he may be cruising around in cars, bored and finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time; he may be disenchanted with life in general, and have nothing to work for at all. 

I have heard from some parents that they cannot believe how much time and effort we put into this lacrosse business, but I can, because I can think of all the time and effort I might have to put into other, less pleasant things he could be involved in.

I think lacrosse is teaching him the difference between right and wrong, how you can succeed if you put your heart and soul into something, how you need to stay focused and set your sights high. 

He is planning on going to a Division III lacrosse school, he says they don't have football, so they really support their lacrosse players. He has it all figured out, he is focused.

There is an old Indian folktale about how a Chief of a small village was giving a talk to all the adolescent boys.  The Chief said, "Every one of us has two wolves in our lives.  One wolf lives on your left shoulder and this is the black wolf.  The black wolf is constantly telling us to procrastinate, put off the hard work until later and go out and have fun now.  The wolf that lives on our right shoulder is the white wolf.  This is the one that is always telling us to work tirelessly towards our goals.  The white wolf tells us to make time for visualizing and goal mapping.  The white wolf is the one that keeps us up late at night and wakes us up even earlier when all others are sleeping.  Others call the people that listen to the white wolf crazy, obsessed and fanatical.  The strange thing is that people call the people that listen to the black wolf normal." Some of the boys asked which one wins out, which one will we ultimately listen to?  The Chief replied, "The one that we feed the most."
Which wolf are you feeding?
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pick your personality

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Another fun motivating story from the book "Winning Ways: How to succeed in the gym and out"
This is how to build a winning personality.

Go in a gym and you'll see people who you just know are going to make great progress: they attack their workouts; they don't coast through the tough exercises; they make each set count. And they have an air about themselves- it's as if they expect to succeed and you can almost feel it. They talk about how these people are winners, attributing all manner of good things to them and summing it up by saying they have terrific personalities.

You know the other half of this story: the people who seem destined to lose at everything they try; the people for whom failure seems to be a required result no matter what they are doing. Building biceps, taking a test, handling a job: it's always the same and it isn't good. Once again, others mark them as perennial bottom feeders.

The truth is that what we often take for permanent personality characteristics are extremely malleable; these are usually things that can change with the social situation we're in; things that we can help control. This means that what your are isn't what you have to be. You can change who you are and become what you want.......

The first step in your transformation is to pick the the type of personality you want to have. In our example, you would want to be someone who isn't just enthusiastic about training when he's lying on a couch watching his favorite muscle video. You would want to be the type of person whose deep-rooted enthusiasm motivates and sustains each workout. You look forward to training and can't wait to get started when it's time to do your first set.

You can't wait to get to your heavy sets and you welcome the chance to set a new PR, no matter how hard the required effort or how small the step forward. After training it's an automatic, natural reaction to get the nutrition and rest required for optimum recovery and progress. You're brimming with energy and it seems as if the harder you train, the harder still you want to train. It's great- you've become a self-sustaining automatic training machine.

To reach this state you need to cultivate the right thoughts and behaviors. Gone are the people who liked to tell you that lifting weights was a waste of time. Gone are the people who tell you that you're genetically suited to be a wimp. Gone are the people who say that they never built more than a 16" arm so why should you expect any more. Gone are the people who always say "no," "can't," "never." Gone are the thoughts of everything that could possibly go wrong along the way. Gone are the late night binges that cripple the next day's training. Gone are the junk food diets that can undo the best efforts in the gym.

In the places of all these downers are the elements you need to build the successful you. What are some of the pieces you'll find helpful? Here are the people who have always believed that you can do what you dream about. Here are the people who are in charge of their own lives. Here are the people who like to challenge themselves and never settle for yesterday's best. Here are the people who do the things that others said were impossible. Here are the thoughts of how to make the next step forward, to make the next round of progress. Here is the discipline to eat, sleep, and think in a way that almost guarantees success.

As you can see, building a winning personality isn't just a bunch of emotional cheer leading or fanciful visualization- it's serious work. Along the way, you have to keep your eyes and ears open, trying to learn things that will help you reach your goal, many of them hard facts, and you have to keep your sleeves rolled up to do the work that will get you there. It's a challenge, but look at what you stand to gain.

It's your choice, winner or loser; pick your personality.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life long learning

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I got this book when I stopped training with SC, although I feel I know a great deal about weight training, there is always more to learn. SC used to ask me "what do you want to work on?" and I would decide if I needed do grow my quads, or my shoulders, or trim something down, and then he would write up a program for me that targeted exactly what my goals were.  I no longer have SC to do this for me. I also miss him, but still talk to him.

My real passion is not "Figure" it is strength, in fact, I starting competing in Figure much later, after I had been lifting for several years. I am actually not a real fan of the "figure look" and prefer to be more muscular, hard and generally ripped than the judges want. I think I like a look that leans a bit more towards bodybuilding.
I started because people would constantly say to me "Do you compete?!" and I decided that  maybe I should check it out, so I did.

When I am not prepping for competition, I like to train for strength, I get a kick out of lifting really heavy weights, of blowing people away in the weight room.
I have been writing up my own workouts now since May and have done a fairly good job of it. I must admit I have "stolen" quite a bit of it from the previous workouts SC developed for me over the years, but things still need to be changed up.

I have found this book interesting, because it focuses in on developing training for the individual athlete and understanding what will make them successful. It explains the differences in response to exercise commonly observed between athletes at novice, intermediate, and advanced levels, explains these differences in the context of the relevant science and presents new training models that work for athletes at all levels of experience.

It also discusses quite a bit about "periodization" and what exactly does it mean anyway?  It teaches about adaptation and why we need to change our workouts. It explains all of the science behind the weight rooms myths.  Here is a little taste of this book:

Communist-bloc countries had (and still have) large-scale sports performance selection processes intended to direct young athletes into the most appropriate sport, based on specific criteria. Once there, athletes achieve and stay in the program or fail to achieve and are sent home. The result is a pyramidal selection structure that eliminates the less competent athletes, leaving only those who have the best chance for international success. 

In the United States and most Western countries, some sports have a developmental pipeline. Football does. Basketball does. In fact, most nationally recognized high school sports that have a counterpart at the collegiate and professional  levels have selection pipelines comparable in scale to those seen at the zenith of the Soviet bloc's sporting success. High school sport in the United States is the base of our selection pyramid. However, high school students in the United States represent a different population than the students of the same age in the old Soviet Union. U.S. kids play sports to get in shape, while kids on the Soviet-type systems get in shape to play sports.

In the former bloc countries, sport was one of the few ways to rise above the constraints of the economic system, and this was a very powerful motivator. This difference is fundamental and significant, creating two distinct levels of athletes that reflect two distinct cultures generating two different levels of motivation for success. Soviet models of periodization were developed for and apply best to only one of these groups.

The U.S. high school student of today does not have the level of general physical preparation (GPP) and movement skills developed by the programs inherent in communist systems, programs in which children learned hot to move effectively and began developing base fitness at age 6, long before they entered sport-specific training.

Elementary school PE programs in the United States are underemphasized and understaffed and ignore GPPncept, the actual norm is one instructor, sixty students, and 45 minutes of class time...... as a formal part of what abbreviated curriculum might exist. Effective physical education is best done in small groups with adequate time. While the educational literature supports this concept, the actual norm is one instructor, sixty students, and 45 minutes of class time.

"Roll out the ball" physical education is the mode in which the teacher (whose own training may not be in physical education at all) operates in the context of overcrowded classrooms, poor administrative support, and inadequate equipment. 
Now this book is not bashing teachers or our society, it is setting the story so a coach can understand where the athlete is coming from, what their skill set may be, how little they may have been able to perfect their talents.
Practical Programming has helped me to understand what more I may be able to achieve, by changing my training and understanding the science behind it.  It is not a text book and while has some concepts and terminology the layperson may not know, it makes complex ideas simple and easy to understand.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


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Breakfast is very important, you should never skip it! I know you hear that all the time, but there is a good reason. Study after study has been done on subjects who ate breakfast and those who did not, and the "eaters" come out ahead every time.

When you wake up, you have been "fasting" for many hours, your body needs fuel so you have energy, fuel so your brain can function.  It is a myth that you burn more fat on an empty stomach, it is absolutely not true. 

Believe me, if the only magic trick to burning fat was to exercise on an empty stomach, we would not be a country of obese people!   And, if your body turned to burning fat every time you had an "empty stomach", then again, society would be awfully slim because most people go way too long in between meals anyway!

So just what does your body burn when you are exercising on an empty stomach? Hard earned lean muscle mass.... 

And what happens when you finish exercising and you don't consume a carbohydrate rich meal? Same thing, anything you thought you were building up is being thrown right out the window and you still have that layer of fat hanging about.

So many people are afraid of eating a healthy, balanced diet for fear of gaining weight, but by incorporating this one meal, you could actually start losing weight!

I love steel cut oats (above) and I sprinkle flax seed on them. How much do you eat? Well, they just so happen to tell you what a "serving size" is right on the box, and they are correct. Yes it has lots of carbohydrates!

I make a batch of several servings and put them into the refrigerator, so I can just pull one out and heat it up as soon as I get home from the gym. Don't microwave those plastic containers! Transfer the contents to a glass dish first. By making batches you ensure you have breakfast ready and made so you won't be tempted to stop at Starbucks or a fast food restaurant.
I will top my oats with splenda, and sometimes some peanut butter if I am not prepping for a competition. Serve with a bowl of scrambled or microwaved egg whites and I am set for the morning.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

People Watching

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I love to sit outside and eat, watching people walk by. Everywhere in in Spain and France they will cram as many teeny tiny tables together as they can possibly fit onto a small sidewalk space, right up to the street edge, with cars and motorbikes zooming past, fumes everywhere, the tables as so close you sometimes have to crawl over other people to get there.
The funny thing is, these are considered the most desirable spots!
Not here though. At least no where that I have been in the United States. We are not generally a very social society. Yes, we do all have friends and we socialize with them, but we are very much into our private spaces, our own, plush surroundings, where no one can come close or bother us.
On the other hand, in Europe, you can sit and have a drink, water if you like, order some food if you want and continue sitting, and watching. The people watching is amazing.
I like to sit outside and look at everyone. I can tell who feels confident about themselves, and who is dressed up but feels uneasy because their clothes just don't fit right.
If you are comfortable in your own skin, you should feel right at home in just about anything. If you are not, it is time to look at your diet and your exercise (or lack of).
Take the stairs not the elevator; park in the outer most space at the grocery store (keeps those pesky carts from dinging your car too); go for a walk around the block after dinner instead of watching TV; walk your dog; walk your partner; walk your neighbor! It's a great way to catch up on things.
And food, well that is a subject I can go on about for ages. Let me just say here: avoid packaged foods. Don't eat at fast food restaurants. Limit any restaurant or pre-made foods. Be beware of "low fat" or "fat free", they often have just as many calories as the full fat versions. Learn to love vegetables. Drink more water than you can imagine. Limit alcohol to special occasions.
Feel good about yourself.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

13.5 Meals

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I frequently talk about how important it is to set yourself up to be successful, you just cannot leave things to chance.  I am working a lot right now, August is a very busy time for my entire family, David is an elementary school principal, I work in on-campus housing at a university and my son, Cooper starts back at school.
Because I am working weekends too, I need to do a bit more prep ahead of time, more than I usually might.

Above you see 6.75 pounds of cooked chicken breast, that is 108 ounces. I got home from work and had to start, there was no time to do this on the weekend as usual. I flavored two cookies sheets full of boneless, skinless chicken breast with smokey paprika, red pepper flakes and black pepper and baked them until just cooked through.

I then started cubing...and cubing.

I then got out all my little zip lock baggies and started weighing them out, 4 ounces in each bag, and into the pile the full bags went. 27 of them. I then put the small bags into bigger freezer bags and into the freezer it all went.

I eat 6 times a day, two of those meals (meals #3 and 4) are cubed chicken, vegetable and starch. The chicken here will make 13.5 meals, so 6.75 pounds (cooked weight mind you) will only feed me 2 of my 6 daily meals, for just under 2 weeks.

It takes a lot of food to create a magnificent body. And if I didn't prepare ahead, who knows what I might end up eating?
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Protein Powder

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There is a great deal of talk about protein, and if you walk into a supplement store, you may see three walls full of big tubs of the stuff, which one do you choose?!

The VERY first step is to decide if you are looking for a meal replacement powder (MRP) which will be both protein and carbohydrates, or strictly a protein powder which may have zero carbs, or very little (say 3 grams per serving).

How do you decide this? Well, what will you be using it for? I have both here, and they are used for different purposes.

I use a MRP prior to training, and then depending on where I am in my training cycle, the one I use will vary.  When I am leaning out I use my "Lean One", it has 18 grams carbs and 20 grams protein,  and the taste of the chocolate is phenomenal.  This is a product from Bill Romanowski's company Nutrition 53.

When I am adding  muscle and deliberately trying to get bigger, I use the Isopure . It has more calories, 25 grams carbs and 50 grams protein. In fact, the tub even has a statement on it "Not to be used as a weight loss product". Someone looking to bulk up would do well by incorporating a couple of these into their diet between meals.

The zero carb Isopure is rarely used. It would only be used if I was eating something that totally lacked protein, or I needed some more in my diet and just cannot possibly eat another thing. I have had that one tub for ages.
Micro filtered whey protein is the highest quality, it means the way it was produced was  in such a manner  that it has the most protein that the body can actually utilize, so these tend to be more expensive. I would be very leery of purchasing cheap, unknown brands, they may have purchased their whey in bulk form China, where food production is not regulated, and lead is known to be in many products.

In all cases, it is better to eat whole food if you are able, but for those who train as soon as they wake, eating isn''t always an option (like for me), or some people cannot eat immediately post training so this is a very good option. I prefer to get home and get some carbs and protein into my body immediately, say within 15 minutes but if I know that is not possible, then I have a shake.

A little know fact is that plain old 2% milk is just about as good as these expensive supplements! 8 ounces of 2% has 130 calories, 13 grams carbohydrates and 10 grams protein, so two glasses will give you the same macro nutrients as one of the protein powders above and is far less expensive, and buy the organic brand and be assured there are no banned substances, lead or other unwanted ingredients. So if you are on a budget, in a pinch or looking for healthy alternatives, here you go!
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Grilled Vegetables

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I eat a great deal of vegetables, more than anyone I know. I am always looking for new ways of doing things, after all, "variety is the spice of life" right?

So, I grilled carrots. They turned out really good! David suggested par boiling them ahead of time the next time I do it, and I may or may not. I actually like the somewhat crunchy texture these had. When  you are dieting for a competition, things can get rather boring and texture is always a pleasant surprise.

You really don't have to use oil to grill all of this, and I know most people will use it, it is up to you, and depends on what your goal is. If you just want to be healthy, then go ahead and brush a bit of olive oil on everything before you grill it. Me? I never do, any time of year and I am used to it that way.

I have a couple big heads of radicchio, cut into thick wedges, big green onions, a couple different squash and pimientos de padron (from my garden) which are small peppers meant to be fried in olive oil, salted and eaten as an appetizer, they are a Spanish dish.

And my carrots.

I suppose it's almost like my "clean your fridge out salad" except this is all from my CSA delivery.
I then cut the carrots into chunks, chopped the green onions, roughly chopped the radicchio and left the squash sliced in thick slices.

I put some into small zipper bags and froze it, for those busy days when I will not have time to cook my lunches. The rest I put into the refrigerator, I will eat it all within a couple days.
Th grilling does add a nice flavor, boiled or steamed vegetables can get boring. Give it a try!
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lobster Rolls

Yesterday David and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. We decided to go out to dinner and have lobster rolls.

I find it interesting that some people restrict their diet year long, depriving themselves of every pleasure, every wonderful taste treat, yet most of them really don't look as though they do, honestly.

It makes me wonder if they are really sticking to their diet, or they just think they are eating the right things.

I eat a well balanced, healthy diet year round, but I certainly don't suffer and deny myself when there is not reason to.

When I am preparing for a competition, as I am right now, I start buckling down and I don't have those little tastes here and there, no spoon fulls of peanut butter at night, no sips of wine, and that, really, honestly does the trick. I mean, if you maintain a well balanced diet anyway, it isn't that hard to tighten it up.

Last night I went all out, and didn't even think about the food, and this is what most of the population does on a nightly basis when making food choices.

Here I am at the Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City, California enjoying a Maine lobster roll. They import live Maine lobster daily, have a bakery that makes the special rolls and they fry an awful lot of their food and I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I won't feel guilty. After all, as I always say "Life is not a dress rehearsal!"

Cooper, David and I ordered appetizers (called shaketizers) of cheesy garlic fries (for Cooper really), beer battered onion rings (for Cooper again) and beer battered coconut shrimp (for me). I was at a party at a friends house a couple weeks prior to my last competition, and she made platter after platter of coconut shrimp, which I was forced to decline....so this was perfect!

David had a cup of great clam chowder that even the 16 year old liked.

Then came the lobster rolls. These things are packed and overflowing with huge hunks of sweet lobster meat. We ordered the Maine rolls that come mixed with Hellman's mayo (it's Best Foods west of the Rockies), green onion and salt and pepper. Stupendous! Not too much mayo at all, in fact it was a very light mixture.
David couldn't eat all of his so I was obligated to finish it, it would be a crime to let that go to waste. He turned to me and commented "You are an amazing eating machine!"

So I went home, very full, but feeling like we celebrated and enjoyed life together once again.

Tomorrow, it's back to the same ol, same ol. I had lost three pounds in the last week anyway, so I will be up a bit, then back down, I have time, no worries.

It will probably be a couple years before I go back again, although Cooper did ask if we could return to try the fish and chips.....

The point I want to make is, be good to yourself, eat right and respect your body. Understand it's limitations when you don't provide it with the proper nutrients. Don't be so rigid with yourself and your diet that you cannot enjoy a meal out with those who care about you and want to be with you. Don't obsess!  Remember, you are hearing this from a person who competes and restricts her diet for months on end. If I wasn't going to stand half naked on stage, I wouldn't be so manic about it, believe me. Put it into perspective.

Enjoy life, enjoy the people around you, remember that everything you do affects those who love you.  Don't ever have regrets. That's one thing my mother taught me early in life.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


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I love glutes. And I particularly like my butt when I am not at my lightest, because it looks round, full and healthy. If you have followed my blog, you know that back in December of 2009 I went on the "bring me a butt like Beyonce" workout, it was quite successful! SC developed it for me. He loves glutes and quads, so asking him to give me a set of exercises to make either bigger was no problem.

I make sure that I always include lots of glute training, in fact I devote an entire hour to glutes once a week, and many of my other days hit the glutes as a secondary muscle group.

There is nothing wrong with a nice, round full rear end, as long as it's not wide or heading south!  In fact, SC told me the other day he saw a very attractive woman, then she stood up and she had no butt to speak of, the back of her jeans hung flat and straight. He was sorely disappointed.

What can you do?

Reverse hypers
Hip thrusters
Glute Bridge
Reverse leg press
Sumo squats
Iso reverse hypers
Cable 45 degree abduction
Seated good mornings
X band walks
Triangle of terror

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fish for Dinner?

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If you want to be successful in your quest for a healthy body weight, meals take planning. I suggest finding a day or two during the week that you will always set aside to prep your foods.

In this picture I have marinated tilapia that I am wrapping in plastic wrap to place in the freezer. I realize that it only takes minute to take some fish out of the freezer then cook it, but I am just like the rest of the world, and the thought of coming home to a plain piece of tasteless white fish is not attractive. Plain, boring fish also makes it much easier to come up with a fairly lame excuse for going out, ordering take out, snacking on junk or just eating something that I really shouldn't.

I buy a large amount of fish, then marinade it all at once, in a couple different marinades, overnight. The next day I weigh it out in my portions (I weigh out  5 to 6 ounces uncooked), then wrap each portion in plastic and put them all into a freezer bag.

If I remember to take a portion out before I head off to work, that's great. If I forget, it will defrost in a very short period of time, usually as I prepare the vegetables, set the table, warm the rice, it's fast.

Tilapia, and most mild fish can easily and successfully be microwaved. Purchase a domed lid or use a plate to cover the cooking dish, never microwave plastic wrap.

I will place the fish and some water or broth in a shallow bowl and microwave it a few minutes, then place the fish on the rice and vegetables and pour the cooking liquid over as a sauce.

A lean, muscular body doesn't happen by chance, you need to make  great efforts to get it to a state it would rather not be in! Be prepared at all times.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What keeps Me Going

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It's Sunday morning and something just woke me up. I look at the clock, it is 5:13 am. The alarm was going to sound at 5:15 anyway, so I roll out of bed to get ready for the gym. I have an hour of glutes, then an hour of "bootcamp" with  "R" in the gymnasium.

Turns out what woke me was a text message from my friend, who was sitting in the airport and wanted to chat. I don't mind and she knows I was up (or just about to be) anyway.

We are talking about the competition on October 2, are we ready and willing? Unless you have competed, you have no idea what you give up to achieve the look. Most people will have started about 6 weeks ago, but I have maintained my leanness and only need to lose 7 pounds, so that is left to the last couple weeks really.

What it means though is no more occasional glasses of wine, sparkling wine, burgers, snacks, basically the real food everyone else enjoys.

I am up for it, if my shoulders come around. They lost their mass when I was sick, but I think I will be ready. I guess that means I start the diet officially now...
At the gym I tell "R" that I will be competing in October, she is very supportive, I actually start  to get excited, even though I don''t look forward to the strict diet. I see another friend as I am leaving the gym, he shouts "how did the competition go?!" and I tell him "2nd place!", he is excited and tells me what an awesome job I did...things like that get me pumped up again.

I realise it's time to sit down and finish all the drafts on my blog that I start. I come up with ideas, and start a bit then they sit until I can think some more, I do give them a great deal of consideration.

It's time to motivate myself now, time to get my head in the right frame of mind. Here are some quotes that have helped to keep me going and doing what I do lately.

"How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?"
                    Doctor Pinero in "Life-Line"
                    by Robert A Heinlein (1939) 
"The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them."
                    Mark Twain

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul."
                    -Mark Twain

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
                    Douglas Adams

"It has become almost a cliche to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast of ignorance of science."
                    Richard Dawkins

"And above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning."
                   Isaac Asimov

"Hard, intense work of the body...Is the most conclusive evidence of our own being that we could possibly have."
                  James Dickey

"It matters if you just don't give up."
                   Stephen Hawking

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nice Lats!

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A woman I had never met came up to me in the locker room today and  said "Excuse me, but you look super fit, can you help me?",  I said I would try. She apologized for bothering me but said I looked so good she was sure I could tell her what to do.

She turned around and tried to point to her lower lat area and asked how she could make " that" look better, how she could "get rid of this". I explained that it was body fat so she immediately said "oh I need to do more cardio".

No! I told her I have very low body fat, and I compete yet I don't do a lot of cardio, only close to competition time. You need to lift weights!

Now this woman was no slouch, in fact, I was having a very difficult time even seeing what she wanted to get rid of, she looked better than anyone else there at the moment. But we talked and I explained a couple of things she could do for her lower lats, and the proper technique.
I suggested she do some low rows on the seated row, with the triangle handle, and perform them slowly and squeeze her "wing bones" together, hold at the contraction.

Then try some wide grip lat pull downs. I see many people (mostly men) who load up the weight then thrust their bodies backward in an effort to perform this, totally incorrectly and not doing a bit of good. I said keep yourself upright, pull with your "wing bones" again, squeezing them. Keep your hands wide.

Then some back extensions for your spinal erectors, The bench in the back weight room, did she know it?

Try 4 sets of 15 to 18 of each, not really heavy weights but enough to feel it.

She thanked me and we went off our separate ways. Later I saw her peeking into the big weight room in the back where I was, this is where the back extension is located. I stopped lifting and asked her if she wanted me to show her what to do. She smiled and said "oh yes please" so off we went.

She asked my name, and introduced herself "P". I demonstrated then had her adjust it and she tired it, more adjustments then she said she felt it just where I told her she should.

I went back to my weights and later she came walking by, a big smile on her face and gave me a thumbs up.
I am hoping she will lift more weights now, avoid the cardio rut.

The reason I am telling you this? If you see someone you admire in the gym, take a moment and talk to them. As long as they are not in the middle of a lift, they will probably be more than happy to offer some help or advise. Weight lifters are a pretty nice group of individuals, they love to share tips and ideas on training and are usually thrilled to talk endlessly about the subject.

Take a chance, talk with someone new, friendships  are so difficult to nurture as we become older, we are so caught up in our own "stuff", it's great to be able to meet someone new, get a fresh perspective and start a new adventure!
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