Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kristy and The Closer

Who is The Closer? Brian Wilson from the San Francisco Giants. And just what do we have in common? We both have an oblique strain.
His trainers have placed him on injured reserve, I have placed myself there. It happened Tuesday at the gym in the morning, I knew it as soon as I did it, I could feel the “ping”.
Does it hurt? Only when I breathe, drive or sleep (rather lay down I should say). I never sleep through the night, due to the amount of water I drink throughout the day, so I am up and moving about quite a bit. I found that if I take a breath and stabilize like I was going to perform a deadlift, I can shift in bed without too much discomfort.
I woke up Wednesday and went to get dressed. It was shoulder day so I stood naked in front of the bathroom mirror, tried to do a military press with no weight and went back to bed, no way I could  do it without hurting myself further. As soon as my head hit the pillow I fell right back to sleep, obviously needed it.
Some people say “work through the pain”, well I think they are fools. If you have pain it means you have injured yourself! Anyone who participates in a sport regularly is bound to be injured at some point; it just goes with the territory.
I am sure I will be fine in a day or two; Brian Wilson is supposed to be back by April 6 so I should be back before him!
I am thinking maybe I could give Brian a call; we could meet and chat about rehabilitation, maybe “The Machine” would drop by too! You do know who “The Machine” is don’t you? Here is a short video of Brian at home and you will see “The Machine” walk by in the background, apparently it’s his neighbor who drops by all the time.
Remember that injuries go with the territory, it's bound to happen and getting upset won't do you or the injury any good. Take care of it, rest when needed and allow your body to heal.

As I write this, on Wednesday evening, I am already feeling much better, not sure what I can or will do on Thursday, maybe sleep? I won't be running stairs or jump rope, I can tell you that!

Email readers will need to navigate directly to the blog to view this video.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Physique Changes

I am going to the gym after work three days a week now, to fit in the dreaded cardio. I don't have time in the morning, and while I still run my 300 stairs and jump rope 300 times at lunch, that is not quite enough to drop all the fat, it only take about 15 minutes so three days a week I am training three times a day, and the other days it's just twice.

I am only there 20 minutes, not hours like many others are. Darn it is crowded at night though and what a scene! People are there to socialize, check each other out, cruise, it's is a mad house and every machine is taken.

About a week ago I was feeling a little blue about everything, I go through that a few times as I get closer to a competition. Wondering why on earth I put myself through all this; why I make my family go through it all; why don't I just enjoy the gym, eat some good food and relax?

I talked to a friend, one who isn't competing this year and ask her what made her decide and tried to get a little advice. She asked me the same questions I ask myself, and she was straight up about it all. I was 7 weeks out, I have come this far just do it and then think about it.

She asked why I haven't ever gone to the Nationals or the USA's, I have qualified two years in a row, but I just don't think I am ready. I don't think I can compete with the other women I see in the NPC magazine. I deserve to according to the judges, but how would I do? My mind needs to be convinced before I would do that.

She is right of course. 7 weeks is nothing, it will be gone before I realize it. Then I can enjoy the time off for a short while or a long while, it's my decision.

So I changed into my running shorts, grabbed my jump rope and headed out in the cold, blustery wind, it was really, really cold (for California) and I didn't feel like going out in skimpy little Nike compression shorts, but I did.

I then had my lunch, finished work and drove to the gym for session three of the day, wanting to just go home and eat my soup.

The gym was packed, a nut house. I changed and climbed up on a stairmill, and started listening to a podcast that I had not yet finished from Sunday's cardio.

I then started looking around. I thought about myself and realized I do look quite good, better than most everyone I see there, with the exception of the woman in the pink tank but she was definitely not original parts if you know what I mean, refurbished from tip to toe. Nice looking but, just that look that isn't quite right, anywhere.

I looked over at the woman on the stairmill next to me and  she thought I had heard what she and her friend (standing on the ground in front of her had said), she looked a little alarmed. I pulled out my ear buds and told her I couldn't hear a thing, I had my sound up too loud, she laughed and was pleased.

Her friend said she liked my shirt, I thanked her and said I was about to take it off (I get really hot) so off it went. I get some disturbed looks at the gym when I do that with the afternoon/evening crowd, the morning folks are used to it. I do have a bra top on.

I finished up, went down to the locker room and that same woman was in there doing her hair and we have a conversation like this:

Woman: "I love that shirt, where did you get it?"
Me: turning around and showing her the back of my black t-shirt that says:

Good Girls Tone
Bad Girls Lift

"Thanks, I do too. I got it here, (company name is on the back) but they are out of business. I had a coach who told me I had to have it"
Woman: "You getting ready for a show?"
Me: "Yes, I have 7 weeks" (interesting she knew, most people have no clue about competing)
Woman: "Bodybuilding or Fitness?"
Me: "Figure"
Woman: "Well you look good."
Me: "Thanks, I am thinking this one, I will be 50 and then this will be the last. But who knows, I may end up doing July, then October, then next thing you know I am on a diet for a year again"
Woman: "50" You look good!"

Then as I left I started thinking "Bodybuilding or Fitness" ??? Have I gotten too muscular? I can't tell. She didn't think I was in Figure, she thought I was either big and bulky (bodybuilder) or tight and boxy (Fitness). I don't have a trainer to tell me, I only have myself and I see myself every single day, over and over.

Will the judges say I am too big? Wondering, I walked out, feeling good, I am glad I came. But still thinking, "am I too big now?"

What do you think?

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

6 weeks to go

Six weeks left and I still feel great! There is actually no reason not to, I allow myself plenty of calories, and I happen to love vegetables so that makes it much easier.

I can see there is very little body fat left in my upper body, and the skin on my stomach is starting to feel "thin", that's really the best way to describe it when you are trying to lose the fat.

Pinch the skin that is right above your waistband, feel the thickness? Now pinch the skin on the back of your hand. That's more like what I will feel like in the abdomen area in 6 more weeks.

Back is looking good, check out the baggy little pants! Ha Ha! These are smalls, time to move into the extra smalls (they are actually swim suit bottoms but don't tell anyone!)

Starting to be able to see the serratus muscles along my side, (I would really need to remove my top for you to see, so trust me on this one), and the nice deep "V" running down the side from the suprailiac (the part that is oh so attractive on some shirtless males).

Shoulders are still round and full and the arms continue to amaze me!

Fitting in the daily hospital visits with twice a day training will prove to be a rather challenging task, but what the heck, I am up to the challenge!
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Morning Motivation

Bring it on! I feel good, on track, happy, comfortable and confident! You?

Remember you write your own ticket every single day, each action and interaction can go one way or the other, and you determine that.

“To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.”

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
`Malcom S. Forbes 

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
`Arthur Ashe

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
`Golda Meir

 “If you don't believe in yourself, then who will believe in you? The next man's way of getting there might not necessarily work for me, so I have to create my own ways of getting there. 
`Michael Korda

“Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”
`Mark Victor Hansen

Here is a fun, uplifting video that really put me in a good frame of mind. Email subscribers will need to navigate directly to the blog to view the video.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hospitals and Gyms

My father was scheduled to have surgery at Stanford Hospital on Friday, and the surgery was supposed to last 6 to 6 1/2 hours, so I made sure to bring a good long book. This is a textbook, I enjoy reading textbooks on training because I know I will be reading about scientifically proven methodology, not something that once worked for some fitness model and is now "the best method" as stated in a woman's magazine.

William J. Kraemer and Steven J Fleck are two of the world's leading experts on strength training. Although at times some of the parts of the book are rather dry (it is required reading after all), the parts are important to understand training as a whole.

Thursday prior to the surgery we were meeting with many of the surgeons (we met 4 of the 6 anesthesiologists!) and I was having a conversation with one about ...steroids. We were sitting around waiting for technicians to perform tests for my father and this fellow hung around to chat.

I was telling him how great my cholesterol levels were and how high my HDL is, he countered saying that women have the benefit of estrogen to keep their HDL levels high. I told him how my physician insisted on checking my levels all the time, to be sure my supplements weren't "tainted". Steroids will screw up your cholesterol. He agreed and he said this: "male bodybuilders have horrible HDL levels".

Now he didn't say "some" so in his mind all bodybuilders take steroids. Just a little tid bit of information as to the world's perceptions of bodybuilders.

But that was Thursday, as we pre-registered (sort of like a race) and met all the physicians, it would be a fairly involved procedure, actually, two of them.

So, on Friday as I sat in the surgery waiting area, I couldn't read or think, they had a live band playing blues! Here is the flyer for the band:

Now I thought that was very nice to have live music, but it seemed rather odd to me to have a loud band blasting music as people waited for their loved ones to come out of surgery. Rather over the top wouldn't you say? My brother called me from Barcelona and I had to walk all the way to the end of the corridor just to get out of range of this howling band.

Stepping back to the morning.....I had arrived there at 5:00 am and stayed with my father until they took him away at 7:15 so I thought I would zip back home and go to the gym, shower then go back to the hospital.

I arrived at the gym at 8:00 and had never seen it so crowded, I don't typically come at that hour and on a week day to boot. I noticed an awful lot of finely coiffed and dressed ladies, a gal I see in the early mornings calls them the LTL (Ladies That Lunch) and I was dumbfounded by the amount of plastic surgery I could see.

Hmm, I didn't seem to fit in very well, especially with the bulging biceps and skimpy workout clothes, I got more than my share of looks. But, several waves later and lots of" Hey your late!" "What are you doing here at this hour?" and I felt better, I just got into my training, it was back and biceps day.

I finished my training and walked out to go home to shower and get back to the hospital and what do I see in the parking lot? This and I started laughing out loud:

My gym has hot coffee in the rain and free valet parking! What a riot!  I asked the attendants if I could take this and they scrambled out of the way.

As I got in my car, still laughing about the valet parking, I realized it's not just my gym, it's my community, it's my world.

Even though I make fun of my world, I realize I am very lucky to be able to do the things I want, I live in a great community and am surrounded by wonderful people and I have a multitude of opportunities.

The world, no matter how silly or frivolous, is my oyster.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Leaning Out

You don't see me with my clothes on often do you? Ha Ha!

I always get a little extra boost when I start getting to this point, I like to wear form fitting clothes, but I also like the "form" to be "fit"....

Here I am Tuesday after work, these are one of my Lucky brand jeans, soft and worn and they shall now be relegated to the "larger" end of the closet, they are size 2.

I have clothes arranged by size since it fluctuates so much throughout the year. I have 0's to 4's. I think I may have a couple 5's in there somewhere, but they must be "skinny" 5's if you know what I mean.

I can see how people go on a diet and get discouraged, it takes time! When I get to this point things continue rapidly so I have to be careful, and being careful means beef more often (it has more calories and slightly higher fat), and peanut butter! Yum!

Recently I wrote about the changes I made to my diet, but unless you follow me and have for a while, you have no idea what it was to start out! So, let me give you a run down of a typical day for me (now).

Keep in mind I am giving estimates and I am including the calories, carbs and proteins for the vegetables. Many people don't even count them.

4:15 am Supplements & Lean 1 meal replacement drink
       200 calories; 20 grams protein; 18 grams carbs

6:30 am Supplements & Endurox R4 Recovery drink (1 scoop only)
       135 calories; 6.5 grams protein; 26 grams carbs

7:45 am Homemade Waffles (egg whites, oats, flavorings)
       300 calories; 31 grams protein; 39 grams carbs (if you are counting only starchy carbs it would be 27 grams)

11:30 am Lunch #1 Supplements & 4 ounces chicken breast; 3 ounces lentils; 2 cups vegetables
       320 calories; 37 grams protein; 29 grams carbs (if you were counting only starchy carbs it would be 17 grams)

3:00 pm Lunch #2 4 ounces chicken breast; 3 ounces black beans; 2 cups vegetables
       320 calories; 37 grams protein; 29 grams carbs;  (if you are counting only starchy carbs it would be 17 grams)

Here is a picture of Lunch #1 and 2 the day before, I have a lot of it pre-measured and frozen, I assemble it the evening before.

5:45 pm Dinner Supplements & Homemade Curried Chicken and Cauliflower soup (I make a bunch and freeze it in bags)
      186 calories; 24 grams protein; 15 grams carbs  (if counting only starchy carbs zero)

8:30 pm Bedtime meal Supplements & 1 cup egg whites with 1 cup spinach
      160 calories; 29 grams protein; 14 grams carbs,  (if you are counting only starchy carbs, zero)

Add to this the nuts I eat, about 1/8 cup total (3 before each starch meal), using cashews as an example:

80 calories, 2.5 grams protein and 4 grams carbs (6 grams fat) Nuts add up!

9:00 pm Sleepy time tea.....

So grand totals:

Calories 1701; Protein 187; carbs 174 (but only 61 starchy).

The starches are very low but I make up for it in vegetables! The vegetables keep me full, provide fiber and energy and my muscles are super full despite the low starches. In this (rough) calculation I added the calories from any splenda too.

There are days when my starches will be much higher, and my calories might be also. For instance I occasionally have starch at dinner, the key is keeping it different so your body adapts to the variances.

Do not get in the rut of eating the same thing day in and day out, just like weight training, your body will make sure it adjusts to that and it will maintain it's weight, that's what it is designed to do. Your body was designed to survive quite well on what it gets, and survive with a layer of fat!

The Endurox R4 is a specially formulated recovery drink that is high in carbs. It is the preferred ratio of 4 to 1 (carbs to protein), studies show this is the best ratio of nutrients to ingest immediately after weight training. When not dieting to lose fat I will use 2 scoops of this.

I take a lot of BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and Amino Acids throughout the day. I will write more on my supplements at another time, because that's not where you start. That is why they are called "supplements", they are meant to be added to an existing good diet!

Add to this very low caloric intake my exercise today:

1 1/4 hours heavy weight training (it was leg day again!)
Stairs/jump rope at lunch, run up 300 stairs, run down 300 stairs, jump rope 300 times.

Tuesday is not a day I go to the gym after work.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Roll with Me

My quads were tight and sore on Sunday, as I have mentioned this is unusual, so I needed to take care of them.

Saturday is leg day- I train legs twice a week and I may need to move to one, as I am not recovering fast enough. There are some who will say that if you are training right, meaning as hard as possible, you should not be able to train more than once a week.

I train hard, even in my own eyes I am a certified beast and have been told that by many men who are qualified to know a beast when they see one.

This workout could easily benefit a man or woman, just change the weights a bit. I would like to hear how you do like it and how you feel afterward.

Here was Saturday's training:

Reverse Crunch on an incline 3x10 bodyweight
/ superset with
Hanging Leg Raise from a power rack, tilting pelvis back 3x10 bodyweight
Deadlifts 5x10 155 pounds
Front Squats 3x10 125 pounds
Back Squats 3x10 135 pounds
Glute Ham Raise 4x10 10 pound weight
Reverse Hyper 4x10 with 2 pound ankle weights
(I am pretty tired now)
Seated Leg Curl 3x10 70 pounds
Standing Calve Raise 3x10 135 pounds / superset with
Seated Calve Raise 3x25 70 pounds

Then a short break and 30 minutes on the stairmill.

If you can train twice a day I would recommend doing the cardio in the afternoon or evening instead.  Studies have shown that sessions lasting longer than 1 & 1/4 hour really are more detrimental to muscle building, so try to keep it right about there. I will talk more on that at another time, but for now you may notice that those who seem most successful are not necessarily those who train the longest!

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I will do my cardio after work. 20 minutes..that's it.

The deads and squats alone are enough to work over many people.

I don't usually do many machines such as the leg curl and extensions until I get close to a competition, as these are not considered "mass building" and are associated more with cuts and definition. I will do extensions and RDL's along with lunges on Tuesday.

Soon I will take the deadlifts out as these are  not really a "Figure" type of exercise...but they do your entire body good!

Rolling is important, it can help you stay healthy and recover faster. This picture was taken Sunday evening and rolling was so painful I felt nauseous doing it, I had to stop and come back several times. SC taught me to roll through the pain, until the pain stopped, then roll 30 more times. I couldn't, it hurt too much.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Diet

I have mentioned several times how I have changed my diet. I thought I would explain a bit of what I have done.

I weigh my food year round, at least the protein and the starches. I don't weigh vegetables as you can eat as many of those as you like, provided you don't mistake one of the starchy vegetables which for diet purposes are considered "starches" for a "vegetable" (that would be things such as peas, corn, winter squashes).

So, I am always adhering to some "diet" although I relax it quite a bit when I am not in the cutting phase. I believe that this makes me more successful when I do need to drop the body fat as I never let myself get overweight, and I don't pig out for months at a time.

I have been reading some books that have inspired me to make a few changes, very slight ones and that is all I need as my diet is fairly dialed in year round anyway. I don't pack on 20 extra pounds in the winter just to have to lose it in the spring, I don't believe in that, and not many people do any longer, research has proven it is not necessary to gain a great deal of excess fat just to gain lean mass. If you eat properly, you will gain properly.

Here is an example of my lunch (meal #3) on Sunday:  3 ounces black beans, 1 cup mushrooms, one cup oven roasted cauliflower (with paprika), 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts and 4 ounces thin chicken breast with Mrs. Dash and some lemon. Very satisfying and filling! I eat a lot!

So what I have done is simple, following my past successes I have reduced my starches on meal 3 and 4 each by one ounce, and on meal 5 all together. 

I have replaced the starches in meal 5 with kabocha squash, or one extra cup of vegetables. I like kabocha squash as it is satisfying like a yam or potato, but without the carbs!

1 cup has 30 calories and 7 grams carbs, whereas if you had butternut squash you would be eating 82 calories and 22 grams of carbs!

I have also increased my overall vegetable intake by about 1/2 to 1 cup more at each meal, which means I am eating 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of vegetables at a time. So - decreased starchy carbs, increased fiberous carbs.

I am not so hungry, I am getting carbs through vegetables but not the starchy variety that tends to be stored as fat.

I have also stopped eating brown rice, replacing it with beans or lentils. I have eaten rice on occasion, but not everyday as in the past.

In addition, I am eating 3 to 5 raw nuts (almond, cashew or macadamia) or 2 tsp oil (olive, flax, Udo's, CLA) prior to or with each each meal containing starch.

I am eating the nuts/oil just prior to each meal to reduce the insulin response for the meal. Eating the nuts or oils will help control the rate of entry of glucose into the bloodstream. So slower entry, less insulin is produced.

The reason why you do not want a rapid rise of insulin is it will cause too much glucose to be taken up by the cells, which results in low blood sugar, which in turn stimulates the appetite for more food!

I have also continued having a post training carb and protein drink, although it isn't a huge one like I might have when not cutting fat. I think this has helped me to hold onto the muscle and still look full and round, while losing the overall bodyfat. I don't have much more to lose, maybe 3 or 4 pounds at the most. It's hard to tell until I see it, but I will stick to the diet, and I won't be doing an insane amount of cardio, as I don't need to, I don't have a lot of fat to try to lose.

My post training drink has 26 grams carbs in it, I will probably stop that about 4 weeks out, and right there I should start to lose and tighten up more.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do Fit People Receive Better Treatment?

I was grocery shopping, the independent store I used to shop at for 31 years has closed, I am kind of lost right now, food is a huge part of my life. I knew all of the employees at this store, they treated me well, I enjoyed shopping there.

I headed to Whole Foods several miles from my home. There are two closer, but I like this one.

I am looking for dinner for both me and the boys, that means two completely different meals. Mine is easy, I will have fish or buffalo, and I think I shall make Veal Saltimbocca for the boys . It's a great dish and I have a wonderful small cookbook from Little Joe's Italian restaurant in North Beach in San Francisco, their motto is "Rain or shine, there's always a line!"

I am standing at the meat counter and the meat cutter says "may I help you miss?" (That's why I like it here - the butchers call me miss!)

I ask if he has any veal scallopini, I don't see any, just veal at $21.99 a pound. He says they do not and I look at it for a moment and then at him. He says "I will just turn it into scallopini for you!"

Off he goes, pounding gently so I don't have to, and then charges me the same price.

I then ask for a small buffalo steak, about 8 ounces, that's for me! He finds one and I ask if he can cut it in half, as I can only eat half at a time. He laughs and says "sure, and I will wrap them separately for you too!"

Off to the fish side, where the fish mongers are talking about the beautiful Halibut they just received. I ask for one piece, about 8 to 10 ounces if possible and one is located. I ask if he can cut it in half, and explain I am only allowed half on my diet. "Of course and I will wrap them separately for you too!"

I then got a pound of beautiful South American tilapia (don't eat the Chinese!) and listened to the various ways of cooking both fish, as offered by the fish guys. I then went on my way as several clerks said "hello", "do you need help?", "how are you today?"

I really didn't see too many other people having this type of interaction in the store.

I left feeling as good as I did when I came in, although my wallet was almost $100.00 lighter...

I think that fit people may get attention first, but what makes the interactions more personal and pleasant, is the attitudes. Fit people feel better about themselves, they like their bodies, they feel comfortable in their skin and it shows. I exude confidence, I feel good and people can see that, they want some of that "feel good" too, so the interactions become more intimate, more personal. People want a piece of the "magic" for themselves.

Dinner? My son and husband came home from a lacrosse game in San Francisco and my husband was getting sick, so off to bed he went and my son wanted his food. So I switched gears and made him veal parmesana, so David could have the veal saltimbocca the next day, I had enough for one veal dish tonight and two tomorrow.

Veal, mashed potatoes, and a mixture of cauliflower and broccoli. Cooper loved it, it was the first big meal he has had in a week since having the flu. That's my homemade "Joe's" tomato sauce on top, with white wine and chicken broth.

My dinner?

I was so excited I started eating before I could get take a picture. Buffalo top sirloin, 3 ounces white potato, big fat asparagus spears (it was a high calorie day for me). It was great, I actually ate the first piece of fish for meal #4 earlier and would have the other piece of fish the following day.

Back to attitudes though. Think about how you are presenting yourself when you interact with others, if you smile, you feel good, you are happy, it will show. They will feel good about interacting with you and both of you treat each other with kindness. It rubs off, like when you drive and someone lets you change lanes, you tend to let the next person change too, it's a circle, it can be a pleasant one or a vicious one, you choose.

You can capture that magic for yourself, start out in the gym, every single day and eat healthy. Treat yourself like the special, magical being that you are!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

7 Weeks

I love the arms!

I guess I need to slow down on the size here, last night David looked at me more than once and said "Your arms are huge!" It was back and biceps day Friday and they were still pumped and rather tight on Saturday, which is odd for me, I just don't get sore much any longer!

Things continue to be smooth and easy, although I have been craving a few things that I cannot have. That's to be expected, I will try my best not to whine about it where anyone can hear me though.

I am losing the fat slowly and my skin seems to be remaining fairly tight, I did go out to dinner on Saturday evening though, which is fairly unheard of this close but I was visiting my father in law and it was dinner with the family or be a pain in the butt. As it was, as soon as we arrived at his house I whipped out my food and gobbled it down, then we all went to another restaurant and I had water while they had lunch, I didn't mind. Two restaurants in one day!

At dinner I was good, we were at a Thai restaurant and I ate grilled top sirloin, steamed broccoli and a few bites of David's meat and mushroom dish. I am sure there was sodium in it that caused me to retain a bit of water, but that will leave me soon.


The back is looking good, and this pose it much better than last week- see how the shoulders are straight across at the top, not sloped down as much? I still need to practice though as this is the most important pose. It's all about the back, and I have the back, there is no question about it.

I only need to drop some more fat to lose the "smiley's " on my butt, some people never have those, but then some have saddlebags and I would much rather have a smiley...

Anne stooped by and gave a thumbs up, I have felt rather fatigued all weekend, probably stress as my father has his surgery scheduled for Friday at Stanford, so it will be a long week for us.

It's Sunday afternoon as I write, my quads are also sore, again very unusual for me. I will get the ol' foam roller out and try to work out the tightness.

And just what have I been craving? A Greek salad, can you believe it? It's been two weeks and the urge hasn't gone away. I almost salivate as I imagine the tangyness of the feta and the tartness of the tomato combined with the salty brine of the olives and the fruity olive oil...mmmm

The funny thing is most people think it's a diet dish! Ha, they are sure fooling themselves. But, it will be off to Opa Restaurant in Los Gatos for one in May, the week after my competition, the family will go out to dinner, I will have the flaming cheese (ouzo is poured on top and set fire), Greek salad and prawn skewers. Washed down with a glass of red wine. Opa!
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Good Morning Mr. Bonds

Barry Lamar Bonds that is. Yes, Mr.home run himself.

We are forgoing the usual Monday Morning Motivation because today is the first day of the Barry Bonds trial, and I have to write about it!

I am fascinated by steroids and athletes. I am also fascinated by the Mafia and religious sects, but that doesn't mean I am going to take steroids, marry a mobster or join a cult!

My interest lies mainly in the fact that we hold these people in such high regard, yet they are frauds and cheats. These are our "hero's" yet they have done nothing heroic.

If someone wants to take drugs then fine, I don't care if they mess up their minds and their bodies, but don't do it and pretend you are a super hero and  lessen the accomplishments of others who are talented and worked hard to get where they are.

I don't understand why a talented athlete would take drugs, well, I do, it's money and power. But, truly, most get into the sport for the love of it I would guess. I connect athleticism with health and happiness. I connect drugs with pain and illness. I just shake my head in wonder at the whole mess!

I was listening to a podcast today in the gym while I was on the stairmill, it's called "Big Nation Radio" and says it is male oriented talk...hmmm oh well, I find it interesting.

This episode was "Who's on steroid's?" and they said it is a given that all professional bodybuilders and wrestlers are without a doubt. I agree, but oh so many more are. Baseball, Football, Hockey.

So what is the big deal anyway? It all started in 2001 when they raided BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative) after receiving tips that Victor Conte, the founder had been supplying  professional athletes with undetectable designer drugs. It all snowballed after that. They searched the home of Bond's trainer, Greg Anderson. An investigation begins and several athletes are implicated and linked to the lab.

Conte, among others is indicted by a grand jury charged with running a steroid distribution ring. Conte and Anderson plead guilty to felony charges of distributing steroids and money laundering.

Bonds is on trial for three counts of lying under oath in 2003 about using steroids  and one count of obstructing justice through the same testimony.

In 2006, Anderson, among others, is subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating whether Bonds committed perjury by lying under oath in 2003.

Anderson is found in contempt of court and imprisoned for refusing to testify.

In the mean time, Bonds continued to break records, his face got rounder, his entire body changed, just look at the pictures.

In 2009 a U.S. District Judge bared the government from using evidence against Bonds including 2 positive steroid tests taken between 2000 and 2001. Although there is rumored to be one additional positive test that will be allowed as evidence, and this was administered by Major League Baseball in 2003

March 17, 2011, prospective jurors show up to fill out the Barry Bonds Juror Questionnaire

So, I shall be following the trial and reading it everyday in the paper, but for a start, I thought you may be interested in looking at the 22 page questionnaire above that all of the jurors had to complete!

I used to buy ZMA from BALCO and it drove David nuts. He said "They make steroids!" and I told him "Yes, but Conte also makes the best ZMA!"

I use a meal replacement made by Bill Romanowski, he was also rumored to have been a steroid user, but that doesn't mean his products are all tainted. I have been tested, and am tested annually, so I have the utmost confidence in my supplements.

I will be busy reading, but you will still never find me in the gym reading like so many others are while they "work out".

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Football and Kids


I LOVE this picture! Why? It is 6 teenage guys sleeping on the ground, they look like puppies don't they? You can only count how many there are after I told you!  

These are not football players, they are lacrosse players, but the picture is the closest I have to football! These guys were attending a weekend jamboree, and were just plain exhausted and tried to sleep in between games (I headed to to the one and only pub open on Treasure Island).

I read the sports page everyday, and today I read an article about the health issues former NFL football players are encountering. No, it's not new, but it is so absolutely sad.

The article I read is called "The impact of hard knocks" by Ron Kroichick, and it was in the San Francisco  Chronicle (I get two newspapers at home, San Jose and San Francisco).

It hits home because I have  a 16 year old (17 next month) and he plays lacrosse. Lacrosse isn't the contact sport like football though.

He has never been allowed to play football, it was never open for discussion in our home, it was a non-negotiable from day one.

We live across the street from his high school. At every single football game, without fail a player is injured and needs to be transported via ambulance. Why would a parent allow their child to be placed in a position such as that?

Think about it. You love your child more than anything or anyone in the world, yet you are allowing them to participate in a sport that is known for head injuries and lack of enforcement and knowledge to prevent and treat them properly.

Here are the players in their glory afterward (more than 6)

Mine is front, center with white t-shirt and mouth guard that has blackened front teeth...

I would never send him out on a football field to play the game. What will you do with your child? I suggest you get them involved in another sport, anything except football, before it's too late.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chin Ups and Pull Ups

My 16 year old son wants to get big and ripped- so who does he turn to?


First step? I bought this and I love it!  The very first "as seen on TV" product I have ever purchased, although I do not watch TV so I have never seen it, I only saw it in the stores.

It's called an Iron Gym and the website has them two for one! buy two and split the cost with a friend. I just bought this at Bed, Bath and Beyond for more...rats!

Pull ups and chin ups are one of the best exercises you can do for the entire body! For muscle growth (Hypertrophy), don't "kip" them (AKA Crossfitters), but concentrate on a slow eccentric move, that's the lowering portion. The eccentric move is what counts, the concentric (pulling up) really doesn't mean much to you.

Pull ups are more difficult, they work the back more; chin ups are easier, they work the biceps more. Whats the difference? Chin ups are done with a supinated hand. That means your hand (the open part) is facing up at you, like if you were to try to eat soup with your hand!

I have a hard time doing many pull ups, but I am very good at chin ups, I do them quite a bit, with body weight and with weight around my waist.

If you are just starting, and cannot do one yet, don't fret!  I had to learn, when I first started training with SC I couldn't do any (I may be slightly exaggerating to make you feel better- I think I could do 2 or 3), and he would help me up (hands around waist) and then I had to lower myself as slowly as possible, about the count of 10. 

You can use a resistance band, I have a short video here where I demonstrate one. (Email readers will need to navigate to the blog to view the video).

If you don't have an SC, or a resistance band, use a chair to stand on -It won't be as buff or good looking as SC, but it will do what is needed. Stand on the chair, then pull your knees up kind of hop up and off the chair and the slowly lower. Do this as many times as possible.

Once you no longer need a chair, or band the goal is to bring your chin up and past the bar, then lower yourself all the way down. straight arms, those half way down arms are not complete reps!

Maintain a tight core, feel your back and lats pulling you up and controlling the movement down. Some find it best to bend at the knees, bringing the heels up towards the glutes, keep those abs tight, tight, tight!
Soon, you can strap a kettlebell around your waist and pull yourself up, then lower yourself.

Pull ups will develop your back, your lats, biceps, triceps, abs (yes, keep the core tight and it will). This is one of the basics, everyone should have these in their repertoire!

The 16 year old - got his driver license today...eeek! At least I am still needed to cook and train him! We are doing chin ups every night before bed now too.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Glutes and Kettlebells

My training has been really interesting to me lately, and the switch has made a dramatic change in my physique.

This picture was taken on Thursday morning at 6:30 am right after I returned from the gym. I am pretty pumped up, but the thing is, that is how I am looking all the time! It was GLUTE day for god sakes!

I know that the dietary change is helping a lot for me too, I am eating more fats and I can see that the lean mass is definitely increasing and the body fat is getting lower, I can easily see it in the abdominal area.

I seem to have found the perfect diet for my body, it has taken me two years.

Glute day involves the use of my Gymboss more than any other day. This is an interval timer that is indispensable for those who do not have a trainer.

I was performing what SC called a bench reverse iso hyper, a mainstay of my glute training. You lay face down on a flat bench, with the crease of the hips at the very edge, you will be raising your straight legs up so they are parallel with your prone body, and this will be held for a period of time. You are basically straight, or with your legs slightly higher than your body (ideal but difficult), contracting the glutes to keep it all in position and the only part of you on the bench is your body from the hips up.

An added dimension is I do this with a 25 pound free weight clamped between my ankles and I hold it for 30 seconds, timed by the Gymboss. 30 second hold, 30 second rest, three times. It's pretty difficult.

I finished and collapsed to my knees on the floor, and one of the regulars, an attorney, nice but not a serious lifter starts this conversation:

Attorney: "ha another one of your oddball made up moves!"
Me: "What? This is not made up, this is a serious lift!"

Then a trainer walking by says "Old school buddy, she is old school, everyone knows that move"

Me: "Yeah, look at my butt and look at yours then tell me if the move is that oddball!"
Trainer "Yeah, and she isn't here to exercise her mandible like you"

Attorney: "Do you have a competition coming up or something?"
Me: "Yup, can't you tell by the way I look!?"
Attorney: "No, I just notice when your intensity level is kicked up a few notches!"

Laughter all around and I go back to my odd ball, but highly effective moves and he goes back to his little plastic ab rolly thingy.

Next is swings, I have started back with my kettlebells, I love them so much and had all but abandoned them. There is so much to do, it's easy to leave something behind, but in the quest for low body fat, I completely forgot that this is what really melts it away for me. As you know, I am not a real fan of lots of cardio, I have not seen many physiques that I feel benefit from a lot, unless it is one that has copious amounts of bodyfat to lose, or one on drugs. Steroid users can do a lot more cardio without looking haggard than a natural athlete can.

I find tabata interval style training or kettlebells work best for me, so high intensity intervals basically.

Monday was 5 sets of 20 with a 20 kilo kettlebell, today I switched it up to be 7 sets of 15. I perform a two handed swing, set the bell down, walk around the gym to lower my heart rate and get right back into the next set.

That's the end of the training day, and a good end. As I put the bell away, a woman who was training with the guy I consider to be the most knowledgeable trainer in the place (the only trainer there who is RKC - Russian Kettlebell Certified by Pavel), and the only one I have seen actually swing bells in the gym correctly says "Your back looks really good. I have been wanting to see you do those for a long time"

I thanked her and pointed to her trainer and said "He's the expert right there" and she said "Yes I know, that's why I hired him"

I showed her my white hands and told her about the great Liquid Grip I started using, it really helps when swinging kettlebells. I am not a fan of gloves, I think for three reasons, I like to feel the weights in my hands; I think you can actually get a better, more functional grip without them; and SC used to tell me I wouldn't be allowed in the weight room if I even attempted to walk in wearing wimpy gloves. "No real man wears gloves" he would tell me, and the hell if I wanted to be treated like a woman!
The trainer walked up, looked at my white messy hands and said he loves the stuff too, he uses it with his high school football team he coaches at a private school.

The fact that she had been wanting to see me perform swings is a great moral booster, and I can never see my back so I do rely on my pictures and comments from others. Funny how people watch and I never realize it. I think I am in a zone.

David? One look at me this morning and he said I needed a cheeseburger. That's what happens when I start losing fat too quickly, and I need to "arrest" the fat loss, I have a real cheeseburger, white bun and all and it halts the process for a while. I told him I think he may be a week premature, check with me next Friday!

Right now I am thinking I might be able to sport a Dana Linn Bailey shirt soon, and look like I belong in it!
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Thursday, March 17, 2011


So how tough is your training? How hard is the diet? Let's keep everything into perspective.

I realize that "perception is reality" and your reality and mine are most likely world's apart.

Maintaining a solid good schedule for your training can be a challenge, especially if you have a job or small children (sorry- non-working folks, particularly those with no kids get absolutely no sympathy from me).

It is really easy to get caught up in the mind game "how do you do it?!" "I am so tired after work, I couldn't possibly get to the gym!", "I just cannot get up that early, I need sleep."

I could probably list an entire book of excuses, there is one there for everyone. 

Excuses don't build a six pack, nor do they develop the glutes or biceps, hard work, dedication and drive do that.

You know, it is so easy to make up an excuse and fool yourself, but who are you hurting when you do that?  

It's like when an extremely overweight person in the gym tells me how hard they train, all the time. And how strict the are with their diet. I don't laugh in their face, I want to encourage them, to be all they can be; but, do I believe them? 

Absolutely not! Just look at them! Actions speak louder than words, and people can tell when you eat right or train hard, all you have to do is stand there and you look good.

Find what inspires you, what it takes to keep you going, no matter what it is, just do it!

Believe in yourself, there is nothing holding you back, except yourself.

Here is a great short video of a fellow who is doing 30 different sports in 30 days in 30 different cities! It inspires me to do something new. I LOVE it!

Do you think this guy has excuses? He may but he certainly cannot finish if he listens to them.

It gets me so excited to watch people like this, I want to do it!

Oh, by the way, when I need a ready to drink I also use EAS Myoplex (but the lite version for s smaller body).

Email subscribers will need to click on the Ready in 5 Weeks link to navagate to the blog to view this.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fleur de Cocoa

This may not look very special, but it is. I don't eat sweets often, I mean, it's hard to find one that is really worth the calories and the guilt. But I fell in love with Pain Aux Raisins when I was in Paris!

They may look like this or they may look just like a regular croissant, but they have sweet, caramelized raisins inside, if you always lean towards the chocolate or almond give these a try.

Even my brother didn't think it would be good, and after one bite, he started buying one every morning just like me. Or, as we walked through the city we would stop at all the beautiful pastry shops so we often had more than one a day, and always, always came home with one in our backpack.

As I was reading my local town paper today, the Los Gatos Weekly, I found an article about a small shop called Fleur de Cocoa. It is located in the heart of Los Gatos, on North Santa Cruz Avenue. I live right on the border of San Jose and Los Gatos, so this shop is only 4 miles from my front door! I haven't been in there in ages, but after reading this, I shall make a trip soon.

Fleur de Cocoa, sells the most amazingly beautiful, artistic chocolates and pastries. They also have a small selection of breakfast and lunch items, and of course coffee and hot cocoa.

Chef Pascal Janvier has just recently received the title "Chocolate Ambassador" from the Zurich based Barry Callebaut, the world's largest manufacturer of high-quality chocolate products.

Only 15 chefs in the United States were extended membership and now this exclusive club has only about 100 worldwide!

So, my brain started clicking and thinking about treats in May, after my competition! Forget the Doritos's and Snickers bar! I will have my husband go to Fleur de Cocoa on the day of the competition, before he comes up for the night show and he will bring me goodies!

I am thinking one pain aux raisin, then some caramels covered with dark chocolate.

Followed by dark chocolates with salt

Or maybe a whole box of chocolates!

Actually, I couldn't eat them all and a one pound box will run approximately $52.00, so I will stick with a few. I can actually walk in, pick out two beautiful chocolates and leave, quite happy.

I will go the day before my competition, look at the selection and give them the order, and then my husband can go pick it up in a beautiful box (along with that pain aux raisin), wrapped with a satin ribbon and bring it to me, of course, along with a nice bottle of champagne!

Read the entire article, I highly recommend paying him a visit, maybe have a croque madam for lunch! And if you are in town, stop by and say hi!

I now have a great incentive to stick to my diet!

Article on Fleur de Cocoa
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