Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Makes Me Go

Posted by PicasaSometimes I think, and I just think a little too much. It all makes me wonder why I do what I do all the time. Then I have to justify it in my mind.

I mean, it would be a heck of a lot easier on my family (and me too) if I didn't wake up so early to get to the gym. First, I have to let the cat in, and even though I am quiet, David can hear me "shake, shake, shake" my drink (he says), then the cat is meowing, and my car rumbles down the drive making the blinds in the bedroom rattle (honestly!)

Then because I get up so early, I have to go to sleep early too and most kids are not yet in bed!

I have to eat as soon as it is time or I get very grumpy, and there had better be the food I need (I am almost always prepared though).

I also eat at different times then the rest of the family and there always seems to be fish on the menu!

I am forever on some sort of diet, whether it is a real competition diet, or just my regular diet where things are still weighed and measured, its is strictly scrutinized.

I need to work everything around my training schedule.

The list is endless.

Then people ask "When will you stop?" "Why are you doing this?" "When will you 'reach the stopping point'?"

They say "Why don't you relax a little, lighten up", "Don't you get tired of working out?" I think "Don't you get tired of breathing?".....

I don't think there is a "stopping point", nor do I think I will ever find a time to quit, you see, it's not about getting someplace, it's about doing something. It's about feeling vibrant and alive and waking up with a head bursting with energy and joy, about wanting to attack the day, instead of the day attacking me.

It's about taking life by the horns and wrestling it to the ground, over and over again, laughing each time I hit the dirt, only to get up and do it again.

It's about feeling successful and accomplished every single day. About not wasting the little time I have on earth to enjoy this physical body.

It's...living, at least that's what it is for me.

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
Don Williams, Jr.

“Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.”
Alex Noble

“Risk is essential. There is not growth of inspiration in staying within what is safe and comfortable. Once you find out what you do best, why not try something else?”
Alex Noble

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping”
Chinese Proverb

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.”

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”
Mary Anne Radmacher

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
John Rohn

"I have come to the conclusion that my subjective account of my motivation is largely mythical on almost all occasions. I don't know why I do things.”

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Pole Dancing

Posted by Picasa Pole Dancing...yup, sounds like fun huh? There  is a pole dancing studio a few miles away from my house, called Sedusa Studios

I wanted to take lessons, and contacted them and inquired. They have free introductory classes, and even lend you the shoes, but after talking with them I decided to take the "Pussycat dance" class because many women get bruises from pole dancing, and I was too close to a competition to risk it.

I had a great time! Just a few of us, I was the oldest as usual. We all had on tight fitting clothing that allowed us to move, and the place is full of disco lighting, flashing and pulsating, and loud music coming from every corner.

You cannot find the address of Sedusa Studios online, too many oddballs might show up trying to watch. They tell you the address after you make an appointment over the phone. Oh...it was feeling a bit naughty and nice!

Several gleaming, shining poles are situated throughout the room, just waiting for you to take a spin.

We wouldn't be able to use the poles though, we were there to learn to dance. Have you seen the movie "Pussycat Dolls"?

Here is a video of the Pussycat Dolls performing to the song "Bottle Pop" which is the song we learned to dance to.

I guess it's becomeing competitive now so I may just have to look into those lessons yet again, and risk a few bruises.

This is an article Excerpt
Byline: Meredith May; Chronicle Staff Writer

Although there was no award for best stage entrance at the U.S. Pole Dance Federation West Coast Regional Competition, Melissa Hein would have been a shoo-in.

Kneeling before two brass poles in a nun's habit and veil, she looked to the heavens until the Madonna song "Like a Prayer" kicked in. She tore off her tunic, Chippendales-style, to reveal a white bikini and 6-inch heels, then swung herself upside down onto the pole, did the splits and propellered down to the floor.

The audience in the Fox Theatre in Redwood City went nuts.

Eleven women with serious abs and bone-crushing quadriceps competed Saturday for the title of West Coast regional pole dance champion, in a contest devised by the U.S. Pole Dance Federation, which formed in 2008 to steer pole dancing from the strip clubs to the sports arenas.

In the past few years, pole dancing has emerged as a popular fitness class, and fans are already studying the YouTube videos of the genre's first pole stars such as the first national champion, Jenyne Butterfly, and Miss Pole Dance Australia Felix Cane.

"These competitions open people's eyes to what it is pole dancers do," said judge Kira Lamb, a professional dancer and aerialist who has toured with P. Diddy and Gloria Estefan.

"A lot of people understand and accept aerial fabric for dancing, and it's pretty much a similar art form but with a pole," she said.

Because pole dancing is still somewhere between cabaret and athleticism, judges came up with some rules of decorum:

No nudity. No G-strings. No vulgar music or language. No talking to the crowd. And it wasn't even listed because no one felt the need to say it: Absolutely no passing money to the dancers.

But officials aren't blind to the fact that pole dancing's strength is its sultry style. That could be the reason behind the rule that all dancers must wear at least 6-inch heels in the compulsory round.

"That's what's so great about the pole community, it embraces both being sexy and strong," said Christina Kish, co-owner of Poletential studio in Redwood City.

The competition consisted of two 10-point rounds. The first compulsory round was scored much like ice skating. All performers had 90 seconds to perform a minimum number of tricks: two spins, an inversion,...
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Big Enough?

I have been on a "Get Big" plan since October 10, that's six weeks now. I am wondering if I should stop or keep going?
I have to gain weight to gain lean mass, and I have been doing a good job keeping the fat at bay, but when you gain, it's not 100% muscle, there is always some fat in the mix.

Don't get me wrong, no one would say I am fat in any way, shape or form, but I am not the mean, lean machine I used to be and it's hard to get used to it.

My stomach certainly isn't tight and flat any longer, in fact it looks similar to many mid sections I see on bikini competitors- and that's not a look I particularly care for, soft and smooth.

I was grocery shopping on Wednesday and the clerk said "your arms are really getting big!"....hmm, that's the plan but when do I stop?

My back is looking fairly wide too, and with a good taper.

I guess I am a bit afraid that I will just get so big, that it will be hard to drop down again when I want to, although I have actually plateaued at 127 pounds, which is only 7 pounds over competition weight, so I really could gain a bit more and be OK.

I am eating more, incorporating fruit, beef, some low fat cheese and bread on occasion, even some pasta now and again.

You see,  to gain weight, you must have a caloric surplus (eat more calories than you expend in a day), and to lose weight, you must have a caloric deficit (eat less calories than you expend in a day).

It's not as simple as either eating more or eating less though, that is where the novice fails. When gaining, most people don't want to gain fat, they want to gain lean mass. This means that you increase calories a slight amount, it can be as little as 300 calories more a day, or in the case of a very large male, it could be a couple thousand. Those calories cannot be any calories, if you ingest a bunch of saturated fats and alcohol and empty calories (junk), it will be fat you gain and not lean muscle mass.

So I have been eating more of the same foods I regularly eat, but I have also been enjoying life and eating some regular foods, foods I will probably have to start cutting back soon.

To make sure I am gaining, I have increased  my carbohydrate immediately after lifting, and the two meals following. I have incorporated more healthy fats, and then relaxed on the proteins (meaning I am eating more beef and not so much fish).

I am lifting really heavy, and sticking to the basics like squats, lunges, pull ups, chin ups, t-bar rows and some kettlebells. I am still running those 300 stairs everyday at work too, rain or shine.

I guess a few more weeks won't hurt, then I can pull back a bit and see how things are looking.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roasted Turkey Stock


Posted by Picasa

My favorite part of Thanksgiving turkey is the roasted stock I make the next day! It is sublime if I do say so myself.

I got up at 4:15 a.m., feeling a little slow and the 30 degree weather didn't help matters at all. In fact, my birdbath in the backyard turned into an ice skating rink!

I had a 2 hour workout, back and bicep day and 30 minutes cardio, walking on the treadmill at 15% watching a silly show called Sweet 16 on VH1.

Then home to hack up the carcass! I am in the backyard, with my antique Briddell solid steel cleaver, it was a gift from my dad. He said it was from a restaurant in San Francisco that burned to the ground, this and another large knife were a few of the salvage items. I love things that come with a story!

The carcass needs to be hacked up to cut into the bones so all the gelatin can come out. I do it outside because turkey meat goes flying everywhere (I learned that the hard way).

Into the roasting pan goes all the hacked up bones and fat and any frozen chicken necks and pieces from my freezer.

I then add a couple big onions, cut in quarters, no need to peel them. Several stalks of celery, roughly cut up and lots of carrots, peeled and cut into big hunks.

I then roast it all in a 400 degree oven, stirring every once in a while, everything should get dark brown, with some crispy pieces.

Then all of this gets placed into a large stockpot and covered with cold water. I throw a few whole black peppercorns in, then bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer several hours, the end result will be a dark, rich, flavorful stock. Strain it and cool in the refrigerator until the fat forms a solid mass on the top, then remove and discard.

I will freeze the stock to use as a base for soup, just add some pasta or rice, a grating of Parmesan and it is the most delicious, simple meal. It can also be used for anything that calls for chicken or meat stock.

Your turkey carcass is probably gone by now, but if it's not, don't by pass this amazing treat. It really isn't that much work and there is nothing more satisfying than a homemade rich broth.
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Friday, November 26, 2010


Posted by PicasaThis was my lunch, a cold can of tuna.....!

I like tuna, it is good stuff. I also wanted to enjoy a great meal with my family, so I decided to eat light, skip the carbs and try to offset it all a bit.

I made everything except the appetizer and dessert, so I know what's in it all. I do not make my family "eat clean" on Thanksgiving, after all, this healthy eating stuff is my deal, not theirs.

We had a great meal, family and friends, lots of food and drink.

My brother, who is in India for a few months skyped and we "passed" him around the table on the laptop and had a good chat.

As usual, I packaged up everything for the guests to take except a little turkey and the carcass, I will make stock. My son very quietly asked me if I had saved anything, and I had not. Seems he wanted it all over again and I had given it all away! 

Guess I will reproduce the same menu next year. What did we have? Here is the menu:
Wilce Family Winery
Thanksgiving 2010


Brined “Good Shepherd” Heritage Turkey with Pan Gravy

Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Herbed Candied Walnuts

Sweet Potato Pudding with Pecan and Gingersnap Topping

Buttermilk Chive Mashed Potatoes

Brussels Sprouts Hash with Caramelized Shallots

Harvard Beets

Rolls with Butter

Pumpkin Pie
Whipped Cream

Sparkling Water

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Mind

Posted by PicasaWe all face many challenges in our lives every single day. Some challenges are small and some are huge.  Some may seem bigger than they really are, because of how we view them.

I have noticed that many individuals involved in bodybuilding or Figure are very religious, I couldn't really figure out why, it always puzzled me, I mean I didn't all of a sudden become "born again" after I started competing....

Eventually I was able to piece it all together, it's really the power of the mind.

Huge sacrifices must be taken when competing in anything. Although Figure and Bodybuilding are sports based on physique and not athletic ability, the sacrifices are just as great.

The athlete must be willing to train at the expense of everything else, they need to view their training as essential to life as breathing, you just don't stop doing it.

They must adhere to the proper diet when they don't want to, there are times I come home and am nauseous as I try to eat, but I have to eat, eating immediately after training is a must, and it is very difficult if you have trained hard.

They must forgo late evenings out partying, when friends and family are all celebrating, it's not something they can always do with everyone else, just because Christmas comes once a year, if there is a completion soon, too bad, no celebration. 

The athlete must believe that they are successful, that they will win, that there is no other obvious choice, they are the one. They must believe in themselves to push themselves every single day.

Some need to believe in something higher than themselves to keep them going.

Do you think an Olympic athlete says to herself "I hope I win this gold medal"?, no, she says "I will win this gold medal!"

Everyday we talk ourselves out of our successes because we don't believe in our own abilities.

I wake up everyday, I tell myself I will have a great session at the gym, I look forward to it. I walk through the gym as though it exists only for me (and funny, some people there even tell me that! ha ha)

I set myself up to be successful.

Being a Figure competitor has not altered my beliefs, I am not religious. I think Arnold Swarzenegger was also one of the best bodybuilders in modern history, but I am not a Republican either.

Below is a video of Arnold talking about the power of the mind. It is long, 9 minutes, but it is worth watching.

If you are an email subscriber you will need to navigate to the blog to view the embedded video.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Posted by PicasaSo what is the big deal with organic produce? Seems you pay a lot more, the vegetables have bugs and don't look as good, and the fruit is small.

Well that may be partially true, but you have to consider the benefits of organic products.

Why are there holes in the lettuces, and the vegetables are smaller, and sometimes there are bugs in them? That would be because the vegetables are not treated with pesticide or genetically modified.

If a pesticide kills bugs, what do you think it does to your infant? Your elderly relative? Your child, you?

There are a lot of good reasons to choose locally-grown, organic produce when possible. However, organic food is admittedly more expensive. If you want to maximize the good you do to your body while minimizing the cost, you could choose to purchase organic produce for the fruits and vegetables which tend to have the most pesticides in the United States
It is estimated that if a consumer avoids eating non-organically grown produce in the top 12 ("Dirty Dozen") on this list, pesticide exposure can be reduced by up to 80%. This list was compiled by the Environmental Working Group from approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA of the 49 fruits and vegetables listed between 2000 and 2008. There are many fruits and vegetables that are not on this list -- these were chosen because they are most commonly eaten.

The scores given are simply a ranking of the different items, from the most problematic in terms of pesticides, to least likely to have pesticide residue. (Unlike other years, there is no attempt to make the numbers reflect the amount of pesticide residue found, only the ranking.)
The fruits and vegetables were washed or peeled as most people use the produce – for example, apples were washed, bananas and oranges peeled.

Pesticides on Popular Produce

   1. (worst) Celery
   2. Peaches
   3. Strawberries
   4. Apples
   5. Blueberries - U.S. Grown
   6. Nectarines
   7. Sweet Bell Peppers
   8. Spinach
   9. Kale and Collard Greens
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes – Imported from outside U.S.
  13. Lettuce
  14. Blueberries - Imported
  15. Carrots
  16. Green Beans – U.S. grown
  17. Pears
  18. Plums - Imported
  19. Summer Squash
  20. Cucumbers - Imported
  21. Green Beans - Imported
  22. Hot Peppers
  23. Red Raspberries
  24. Oranges
  25. Grapes – U.S. grown
  26. Cantaloupe
  27. Cucumbers - U.S. Grown
  28. Cauliflower
  29. Tomatoes
  30. Bananas
  31. Broccoli
  32. Winter Squash
  33. Cranberries
  34. Plums - U.S. Grown
  35. Honeydew Melon
  36. Sweet Potato
  37. Grapefruit
  38. Watermelon
  39. Cantaloupe - U.S. Grown
  40. Cabbage
  41. Eggplant
  42. Kiwi
  43. Asparagus
  44. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  45. Mango
  46. Pineapple
  47. Sweet Corn (frozen)
  48. Avocado
  49. Onions (least)
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

Posted by PicasaThis is great! Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? It's not the same as most winter squash.

What is the difference between winter and summer squash anyway?

Winter squash is a summer-growing annual vegetable,representing several species within the genus Cucurbita. It differs from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in the mature fruit stage, when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. At this stage, most varieties of this fruit can be stored for use during the winter. It is generally cooked before eating.

Winter squash is a good source of complex carbohydrates such as starch, and also Dietary fiber.

It is an excellent source of vitamin A, a great source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese, and a good source of folate, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B1 (thiamin), copper, tryptophan, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).[4]

It is also a source of niacin, iron and beta carotene. Usually, the darker the skin is, the higher the beta carotene content.

Summer squash are a subset of squashes that are harvested when immature (while the rind is still tender and edible). All summer squashes are the fruits of the species Cucurbita pepo (although not all squashes of this species are considered summer squashes), but they are considered vegetables in terms of culinary use. The name "summer squash" refers to the short storage life of these squashes, unlike that of winter squashes.

Summer squash count as your vegetable, and winter squash count as your starchy carb....so you can have winter squash or potatoes, not both...except for spaghetti squash! It is so low in carbs that it is like a vegetable with a starchy taste and texture, you will only think you are eating a bunch of carbs!

Spaghetti squash should be poked all over with a sharp knife (see above) then placed in a pan and baked at 375 for about 1 hour until tender when a knife is slipped in the flesh.

Let it cool a bit, then split it lengthwise, run a fork through the flesh lengthwise, separating the flesh into strands, just like spaghetti.

Add salt and pepper and you can top with with any meat or vegetable sauce, or substitute it in place of mashed potatoes.

1 cup of baked squash has the following nutritional breakdown:

42 calories
0 fat
10 grams carbs
2 grams fiber
4 grams sugar
1 gram protein

Spaghetti squash contains many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene. It's a wonder food and it tastes great!
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Monday, November 22, 2010


Posted by Picasa I have wanted to learn to kickbox for many, many years. I don't mean "cardio kickboxing", I am sure that it is a fun class, but I don't enjoy group exercise, I like to train one on one or alone. I mean the real deal, fighting.

My son has been training at AKA, American Kickboxing Academy,  which is considered the best training facility in the United States, for a couple years. He trains one on one with an instructor who trades for our wine, it's a good deal for all. AKA is home of many champions, Cain Velasquez, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Josh Thomson, Herschel Walker, Cung Le, and many more. It's also two miles from my home (but rumor has that it will be moving soon).

I used to go into AKA for years, sit and just watch the lithe bodies, I really get a thrill watching them in action. I finally talked Cooper into joining, and now he won't leave.

I cannot start training where he trains, I mean who wants their mother showing up  when they are training? No one, unless mom is there to wipe away the sweat and blood and give them a hug and take them home for a nice dinner....

So, I have noticed a new trainer at my gym, she has been there a couple months I guess. My gym is interesting, it's a "club" but I call it a gym because I only utilize the gym...It is Courtside Club in Los Gatos, it has 16 tennis courts, three pools, a childcare center, cafe (with alcohol), pro shop (with jewelry, clothes, underwear, accessories), a complete day spa, valet parking at peak times and was named Best Tennis Facility 2010 by the United States Tennis Association....it's a club in other words.. a fancy club.

I go there because it's nice, it's close and it has what I need and want.

So back to the trainer.

You have to be pretty good to work here, they hire only the elite. When you are new, you have to put in "floor time", in other words, you spend time hanging around meeting people and getting paid minimum wage.

This new trainer is fit, she is tight and compact, she looks like an athlete, not just a fit gal who thinks it would be glamorous to be a trainer. We have chatted a few times.

But Saturday morning I saw her in action, and it was impressive. Seems this little fireplug is a kickboxer! She was training a big guy, she had the pads on her hands, he was kicking and he wasn't making much of an impact on her at all, I was shocked how she held her ground. She was a certified beast.

This was a woman I had to talk to.

I went up to her when she was free and asked her about the kickboxing. You see, they just don't do that sort of thing at my gym, it's messy. It's sweaty, it's not a thing you can do and wear all your fine jewelry.....I say this with a bit of sarcasm, but also with a tone of reality, my club is comprised of a lot of rich posers....I honestly believe that most of the young women are members to find a rich mate....and it's the right place to be, I can assure you of that.

We started talking and she explained that she is a kickboxer and not only trains at Courtside, but she trains people at their homes, and due to the economy, she started taking in clients at Courtside, business has been off.

I said "If you ever want to trade kickboxing lessons for wine, let me know"

She thrust her hand in mine, said "deal" and we arranged it then and there. I reached into my training binder, gave her my card and sealed the deal.

We spent a quite some time talking while I was on the stair mill. She wanted to know what I train for. I said I was a figure competitor, and she said, oh you have been at it a while huh?  "NO" I explained I have only been doing it two years, but then realized that is actually a long time for such a demanding sport.  A sport I am really re-considering.

I told her I really would like to work with a trainer, but I just don't have the funds to spare right now, there are other more pressing matters in my life currently. She looked me up and down and quickly said, with all seriousness, "you obviously do fine without a trainer, you don't need one".

We shared a few laughs, talked about training, people, routines, weightlifting, made our commitment and started to bond, this should turn out to be a synergistic relationship, just the kind I like.

I told her I would drop a few varietals by the club for her so she could taste and decide which ones she liked, we would then start training. I am thinking all I need to do is back the BMW out of the garage, shut the door and lay my yoga mat on the ground in case I need to do some work on the floor.

I can learn to  kickbox, I have kettlebells, small free weights, it will be a sweet deal. I am so excited, I cannot wait to start!

Soon, I can reinforce the joists for my new heavy bag....  ha ha ha

By the way, I took this picture a week ago, the legs are looking pretty good huh? Notice the bulge of the hams? RDL's.....start doing them, they work wonders, take a look at yesterday's blog if you haven't.

Of course, you need to do squats to get the bulge in the quads too....ah legs...aren't they beautiful!?
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Sunday, November 21, 2010


Posted by Picasa RDL's or Romanian Deadlifts are one of the most effective ways to train hamstrings.

They also look pretty impressive from behind.....

The exercise isn't really from Romania, the story is that the Romanian Olympic Lifter Nicu Vlad (who is credited with doing ~300kg, yes that’s 660 lbs., in the exercise) was seen doing them in the Olympic training hall at some point prior to either winning a medal, setting a world record, or possibly both.

Since he was Romanian, the movement got dubbed the Romanian deadlift.

Many people think they are the same as straight legged deadlifts, but they are not, not at all.

Both the RDL and SLDL target the same primary muscles which are the glutes, hamstrings and low back (additional work is done by the upper back and gripping muscles). One of the primary differences between the RDL and SLDL is that the RDL only works the spinal erector muscles statically, as there is no movement in the spine itself.

Set the racks in a power (squat) rack to just about knee level (there is no need for safety's- if you lose control during a lift, just drop the weight), and set an  Olympic bar on the rack. Walk up, squat down slightly while maintaining a small curve in the lower back, grasp the bar, and stand back up. You want your hands to be shoulder width apart, perhaps slightly wider if you find it to be more comfortable. Take a few steps back, and set yourself for the exercise. Being set includes making sure your feet are shoulder width apart, your chest is up, your lower back has a slight curve in it, and your knees are slightly bent (not locked).
I like to use my own lifting straps, it's easier to grasp the bar and I am not fond of the big ones they have at the gym..

Start by tightening your core to ensure a secure spine. Keeping the bar close in to your body (it should maintain slight contact with the body at all times) start to bend at the hips, taking care that the lower back does not move. I run the bar down my thighs actually, you can see the redness that it creates.

Your lower back should not loose its natural curvature at any time during the movement. Loosing this curve and bending or even straitening the lower back will put your lower back in a potentially injurious position. Practice with a light weight until you can bend over at the hips without bending the lower back as well.

As you descend, your butt should move back ever so slightly and you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

At the point right before you reach the limit of your hamstring range of motion you should stop and then reverse the movement, taking care to keep the bar in close and maintaining a safe (slightly curved) lower back position. Towards the top of the movement really force the hips through by squeezing the glutes. Repeat for the number of repetitions you want, walk the bar in over the racks, squat down slightly and return the bar to the rack.

The biggest mistake most people will make in the execution of this exercise is not maintaining the position of their lower back. Some will even go so far as to bend all the way over till the weight touches the ground. This is a huge no-no and is a reflection of the misunderstanding of this exercise and its purposes by most instructors.

In order to properly stress the hip extensor muscle groups, you must use intensity levels that are much too high for the lower back to handle in a prime mover or synergistic role. In order to derive maximum benefits from the RDL, you must keep the lower back from moving and let it play a much safer role as a stabilizer.

In fact, if done properly, you can safely handle extremely large weights on this movement with little to no danger to your lower back.

Me? I am doing 185 right now, 5 sets of 10. My hams look pretty good too...
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Counter

Posted by PicasaThe Counter is a restaurant, they serve one of my all time favorite dishes- BURGERS.

Friends always think it's funny that I am such a gourmet yet I love burgers with a passion.

The Counter is located in the Santana Row shopping center, I had it on my "list of good eats" back from my July competition and from my October competition, in fact, I have been wanting to go there for about a year now (that shows how often I really do this)....I only just made it there for the first time on Thursday evening.
It was good. 

It was really good. 

The picture is an interesting sepia tone because I was attempting to soften the devil look in my eyes that the red eye deleter wouldn't take care of, you see, David, bless his pointy little head, is a lousy photographer!

I had to have this picture though, because there are a few disbelievers out there, who doubt I can (or more accurately WILL) power on a cheeseburger...


Yes, it had cheese, Tillamook Cheddar...yum! 

So, if you have never been to the counter, here's the deal-

They have a menu and they have this cool checklist, it's actually a small paper checklist that walks you through the entire burger building process, you are presented with choices at several levels, you check off your choices on the sheet and it makes it easy to get a burger exactly as you like it. EXACTLY!

First- meat choices  (and this is from memory)

Beef, chicken, veggie, turkey, crab

Then bun or bowl?

If a bun what kind?

White, honey wheat, ciabatta, English muffin,  onion...


Too many to list...


mushrooms, onions, sprouts, carrots, hard cooked eggs (???), pineapple, jalapenos, cucumber..it goes on quite a bit


Besides the regular mayo, mustard, ketchup you have BBQ, horseradish, red relish, ranch, on and on.

None of the sauces come actually on the burger, they are on the side which is great.

The burgers come "medium rare, still pink , but we can make then more cooked or less cooked, how do you want it?"

Oh my goodness, I want it bloody rare..... with a glass of red wine (after all, Friday is back and bicep day, I can handle one glass of wine, this back is impressive).

The fries? Stupendous!

The onion strings? The same!

Honestly, I didn't try the sweet potato fries, I am a bit sweet potatoed out right now....

And what makes it even better is that my 16 year old son wants to hang out with me at this place, we all have a great time, the sharks game is on (and they are fighting up a storm), all of the young beautiful hotties are out (what happened to me? I used to be one of those!!) 

Oh, I am not crying over my age, I look great, I feel great, I have a great life....maybe just not as hot as I used to be :) But hotter than most are now!

Ah, isn't life wonderful?

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Artichoke Chicken Shiritaki Pasta

Posted by PicasaI came up with this on Sunday evening and I loved it! I was in need of some greatly reduced carbs due to the massive amounts that I ate the previous evening at a party. There were enough in my stores, I needed a hearty dinner but not a lot of carbs.

I have written many times about shiritaki pasta, it is a tofu and yam flour pasta. It takes some getting used to, but it is wheat free and has almost no carbohydrates.

This was easy to prepare, I assembled or pre-cooked most of it then microwaved it when I was ready to eat.

This serves one person and the ingredients are:

1 package shiritaki pasta
4 ounces cooked, cubed chicken breast
1/2 cup roughly chopped canned artichoke hearts
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
black pepper

Rinse the shiritaki well, then boil 2 minutes and rinse and drain again, set aside until ready to use.

Combine all remaining ingredients except the cheese and pepper with the pasta, stir to mix. Warm in the microwave about 2 minutes. Top with cheese and pepper.

Nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Calories 224
Protein 33 grams
Fat 2.5 grams
Carbs 12.5 grams
Sodium 636 mg.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010


Posted by Picasa

What is a champion?

What makes someone a champion?

Here are some definitions of the word champion:

1.a person who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions, so as to hold first place: the heavyweight boxing champion. 
2.a person who fights for or defends any person or cause: a champion of the oppressed. 
3.a fighter or warrior. 
It's number 3 that I focus in on because that proves that each of us is a champion . Although we may have different goals and dreams, we are all champions.

We all  live for something different yet no one has a more important reason than anyone else. We are all champions in our own endeavors.

I am a champion because I keep pushing myself harder and harder to achieve a level of physical health that is better every year.  My physician will tell you I am doing this quite well, in fact, he says I am "an interesting and unusual subject".

My son (above), is a champion because he plays lacrosse 24/7, is on three different teams at once and even traveled to Canada this summer to play the Canadians! (Yes that is blood on his chin).

There are some people who are finally able to walk without the aid of a cane or a walker who are champions.

An Olympic athlete winning a medal is a champion.

My husband is a champion for the award winning wines he makes.
A child winning a spelling bee is a champion.

My father, who just underwent his first chemotherapy infusion on Monday is a champion. He is fighting hard for something many of us will never be able to even imagine, and it is far more difficult than anything I have ever done.

You are a champion. Don't let others tell you any differently. Whatever you are fighting for, believe in yourself, believe in your ability, believe in your right to achieve success, remember that YOU ARE A CHAMPION and never give up.

Below is an inspirational video that brings tears to my eyes each time I hear the speech. I have posted  this same speech before, but it was to a group of high school football players, it was a much different setting.

If you are an email subscriber you will need to navigate directly to the blog to view the video.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Posted by PicasaA friend gave me this the other day, out of the blue. Now you cannot see the entire thing, but it is a gift of a massage, from Just B Massage.

She gave it to me ...just because...

But it's not just because, it's because I have made a difference in her life, and she wanted to show how important I have been to her.

We met at the gym, and have become very good friends, we talk every single day! We offer each other encouragement and  help each other stick to our common goals, and if we fall off the wagon, the other one is there to pick up the fallen one and brush them off to start over again.

I think we all make a difference in someones life, and there is someone or maybe many people who make a difference to you, but how often do we express that?  It's easy to just keep doing our thing and forget about those around us, I am just as guilty.

It doesn't have to be a big gesture, it can be an email, a text, a card, a couple words, we just need to take the time to express to them how important they are. 

So, taking a tip from my friend, let someone know how important and appreciated they are......

just because.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

K. Lo

Posted by PicasaSurely you have heard of Jennifer Lopez and her infamous rear end?! She is lovingly known as J. Lo. You may like large rear ends you may not, we all have our preference. 

Me? I think you can work on your entire body, have perky breasts, smooth face, golden tan and the most fantastic drop dead jewelry and clothes, but if you have a flat butt you have nothing.

Really? Really!

Women would kill for a nice rear end, a nice high, round, tight set of glutes, ones that protrudes out toward the back, not the sides (in other words, no dreaded saddlebags!)

I have always devoted a great deal of time to my glutes, they respond quickly and that means just as quickly they can fade away...

One day of weight training is devoted to glutes but they are trained with legs too, and nothing is better for your butt than squats, which I do religiously.

Since I am deliberately trying to add some weight, and hopefully it is mostly lean mass, I have increased food and need to take advantage of those extra calories by training smart. 

For the last two weeks I have been running stairs at work during my lunch time instead of at home afterward, as often I was too tired or busy to fit it in. I figured I had already been at the gym for an hour and a half in the morning, so skipping the evening training session would be ok....wrong!

I change into my clothes and jog through campus, weaving my way through all the students until I get the the Event Center. It's a fairly large building, it holds 4,600 people for basketball and 6,000 for concerts, it's sizable!

I get to the Arena Entrance that you see above and I run up the stairs, there are 25 of them. I then jog across the top of the building and back down those same 25 stairs.
I do this 12 times. That's 300 stairs up, and 300 stairs down, not to mention the 12 jogs across the rooftop!
This is no steady state cardio, this is intervals and it gets your heart rate racing! I don't think there is much better for your butt than running up and down stairs.

Which brings me back to my butt. I went over my friends' house on Friday, he sent a text and asked if we wanted to have margarita's after work. Well, I hadn't had a margarita since February when I was in Mexico on vacation, and it sounded great on a sunny warm Friday.

As I sipped my (one) margarita, I was telling them about my glute training and how successful it has been, and that my butt has gotten so round and hard, that if you stuck a pin in it, it would pop like a big balloon!

We all laughed and I had to demo the look, and that's when I got the nickname K. Lo!

Here are a few stair running tips I have found that seem to work:

Step on every other step. I’ve found that it’s best to run stairs by skipping every other step. This manner of running ensures proper stride frequency and speed of running.

Use your whole body. running and climbing are whole-body movements. Engage all your muscles – not just the legs.

Use the quads. Climb stairs by pushing with your thighs. Make sure not to completely extend your legs – this puts too much strain on your knees. Instead, run by keeping your legs semi-flexed throughout.

The role of the posterior chain. The muscles of the back of your legs – calves, hamstrings (back of your thighs) and glutes (your butt) are responsible for most of the movement that occurs in running and jumping. Don’t make the mistake to push through your knees only. Instead, try to use your posterior chain and extend your hips.

Run on your toes. Just a quick note here – when running try to step on your toes or more specifically the place between your toes and your mid foot. That’s how all animals run – they step on their paws and on NOT their heels.

Use your arms. Make sure to use your arms to help you with the movement. Keep your elbows in, shoulders down (not shrugged) and your arms semi-flexed (like a sprinter).

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