Saturday, March 31, 2012

10:00 a.m. Meal

I eat this meal at 10:00 am, and I consider it my lunch. I suppose it is my favorite meal of the day!  That’s most likely because it is the biggest meal of the day and I love to eat!

10:00 a.m. is 4 ounces starch, 4 ounces lean protein, 1 cup vegetable. For my protein I usually have turkey breast (or tenderloin), or chicken breast, and on occasion I have beef. I really enjoy beef, very, very much! Yes, this is diet food.

The cut I have here is an eye of round roast, and I have the butcher slice it in ½ inch thick slices. I then sear them in a very hot cast iron pan for one to two minutes a side and then add salt and pepper and they are done. 

Eye of Round may not be the tastiest, or the most tender, but it is the leanest. Yes indeed, I don't care what you all think- it is! The Mayo Clinic discusses the leanest cuts here and Eye of Round is number !!

Actually it's not bad and David has been known to sneak my beef too. It cooks super fast and when you are hungry- that's important.

I like yams, sweet potatoes, brown rice, or Soo Foo for my starch. The rice I really like is a short grain brown rice I buy in bulk at Whole Foods called Brown Kashirkari Rice. 

Then one cup of green vegetable, usually it's broccoli but might be asparagus, green beans, zucchini, cauliflower, or Brussels Sprouts, but it's something steamed.

I like to pour fat free balsamic vinaigrette over it (homemade), it sounds odd but the mustard and balsamic are tasty on the rice. 

Today (Friday) was a state holiday so my schedule was a little off and I had this at 9:30 a.m, but I can eat this at any time of day!

I hit the gym at 5:00 a.m. (opening) and did calves, abs and stairmill. I also had time so I threw in some jump rope and plyo step ups, then off to the grocery store. I had to eat before training, I never miss a meal. I think the number one reason why most women don't develop the physique they dream of is underfeeding. They starve themselves, or try to get lean on lettuce and carrot sticks.

I ate at 9:30 instead of 10 because I was training with Roy at 11:00, I need to eat an hour before lifting and I had to get to a new Farmers Market first. Eating a half hour early isn't going to mess my body up, and I just adjust all meals afterward accordingly.

This is my second and last meal with starches, so I savor it. 

As I was lifting later, and talking with Roy in between sets, he is making notes on his clipboard (he always makes notes, I should look one day to see what he writes). I told him I finished my reps strong because I had beef again for lunch! He scribbles on his clipboard. I figured he wrote that down.

Nope. Later he told me he wrote down "after long rest talking for 5 minutes, Kristy was able to complete all reps in set."


Friday, March 30, 2012

Weeks 1 through 4 Comparison

This is me last weekend. 6 weeks out (Don't worry- I will do something with the hair before then!)

I have my first four weeks pictures for comparisons, to show what you can do with four weeks of dieting. The first one (below) is before I started anything, it's just regular ol' me walking around and getting ready to start a diet.

Then the next picture is after one week of dieting and of course slight changes in training and additional cardio. Then week two of the diet is next and week three and four.

So many people are fixated on the scale, and if it doesn't move they panic and think they are not making progress. In these pictures, I have only lost 3 pounds, actually just less than that! I see a huge difference from the first week to the fourth.

Week 10

Week 9

Week 8

Week 7

The changes are subtle, and they should be. If you drop any weight too fast, you will lose fat and lean muscle, not just fat. You will also get that haggard, "just lost weight" look, and the skin looks loose and you generally look unhealthy.

What you mainly see is the waist coming in, so the shoulders appear broader, and of course everything looks a bit more defined. 

My face looks different too.

Next I have the back pictures.

Week 10

Week 9

Week 8

Week 7

I have several more weeks to go after these, (6 weeks actually) and will, of course be posting more pictures and progress.

If you are trying to lose weight, lose fat, tighten up, or just get your diet in order and look better, give yourself time. Be patient, bodies don't change overnight. Take pictures! It helps me to actually see my own progress, I would be lost without them.

And, remember, any changes you make should be able to be incorporated into a lifetime of eating and practice. A quick fix is not a change its a temporary patch.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shrimp Salads

Not me, the things in the picture below! Prawns I suppose, what is the difference anyway?

There is a difference, did you know that? Let's start with what's the same (stolen from - Both are decapod crustaceans, meaning that they have exoskeletons and 10 legs. They can be found in salt and fresh water all over the world, typically swimming in search of food. Both shrimp and prawns tend to stay near the ocean floor. They also have similar flavors, and come in a wide range of sizes from minuscule to quite large.

Culinarily, many people distinguish between shrimp and prawns on the basis of size. “Prawns” are considered to be larger, while shrimp are smaller. In terms of biology, however, things get a bit more complex, since shrimp and prawns are in different suborders, indicating key biological differences between the two. Prawns are in the suborder Dendobranchiata, while shrimp are classified as Pleocyemata.

The primary difference is the gill structure. Shrimp have branching gills, while prawns have lameller gills with a platelike structure. There are a few other distinguishing features. The front pincers of shrimp are typically the largest, while prawns have bigger second pincers. Prawns also have longer legs than shrimp. These differences may seem subtle, but they indicate different steps along the evolutionary path of both creatures.

Numerous varieties of shrimp and prawns are harvested for consumption. Some common shrimp species include spot, pink, white, and brown shrimp, along with Northern shrimp. Prawns that you may find at the fishmonger include tiger, deep water, bay, and king prawns. 

Below, you can see my shrimp, they have been sprinkled with chili powder and red pepper flakes (I love spicy food) and then broiled just till firm. Yum!

I have been eating shrimp every single day now for four weeks. I LOVE shrimp! Tiny problem, I can only have 4 ounces (cooked), that's not a lot of shrimp.  But I have been making an awesome salad, I call it my Vietnamese Shrimp Salad. Check it out!

The salad above is at my desk, the dish is my travel salad container. I get 1 teaspoon of olive oil on it, since I eat a good fat at every single meal, I am using a fantastic Spanish olive oil that my brother-in law, Carlos Rafael Aguilar Gonzalez sent over here as a gift when my brother last visited. It's mixed greens (Super Greens) and spinach, a very small amount of cucumber and some endive. 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce and organic rice vinegar.

My friend Mark commented on my consumption of shrimp, he was concerned about cholesterol. I told him that ingesting foods high in cholesterol does not raise your blood cholesterol levels very much, eating saturated animal fats does! A lot of people avoid shrimp because they think it will wreak havoc on their cholesterol, well I have news for you- it won't. Here is an article on a study of how it really didn't raise cholesterol levels much at all. 

Back to my salad though, I eat a shrimp salad at my 4:00 meal everyday. I can have chicken, fish, beef or eggs, but I like shrimp! Shrimp is a fantastic protein source, and is high in tryptophan and iron. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that you cannot produce, you must ingest it and it is needed by the body to create serotonin- the feel good chemical produced in the brain.

Three ounces of shrimp contain 120 calories, 2 grams fat and 22 grams of protein. You cannot beat this great protein.

Sometimes I will broil them with my chili powder, and other times with smoky Spanish paprika, and most recently I purchased a wonderful spice blend called Shichimi Togarashi or Japanese 7 spice. I have a link here to a recipe from Chow so you can make your own!

I buy a bag of frozen raw shrimp, big as I can get, peeled (but most have the darn tail still on) and defrost them overnight. I have found the raw ones have less sodium in them. I then line a big cookie sheet with foil, cover them with my spice of choice, broil for a few minutes then turn and broil again on the other side for a few minutes. I then let them cool and rip off those pesky little tails and weigh them out into containers for my meals. 

This salad can be varied by the protein source and the spices or dressings you use. Do not use commercially prepared dressings, MEASURE your oil, don't try to eyeball it, and think outside of the box! My favorite greens are Super Greens , and I will add a very small amount of cucumber, Belgian endive, sugar snap peas or snow peas. I try to keep it to lettuces to reduce the carbs. If you visit their website, you can get a coupon for $1.00 off too!

Salads can be wonderfully healthy, but its the croutons, cheese, dressings, nuts, dried fruit and other non-greens that make them a disaster on a plate. And, if you use iceberg or romaine, it doesn't give you any nutrition to speak of, that is just slightly crunchy water, so stay away from those lettuces; in addition, they won't keep you as full as more fibrous ones! 

Notice I have no starch here, and little vegetable, so its really low in carbs, but I have some fats to give my body and brain the energy it requires (although it may desire more, it doesn't need it) - it doesn't take much, so 1 teaspoon of olive oil is enough!

Make a salad and do try the Japanese 7 spice- you can order it from Whole Spice Company, it's wonderful!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Massage at Roman Paradigm with Rachael

No, I don't plan to tell you about every massage I get, there will just be too darn many! But the last one left me hanging, so I assume it left you out there too...just wondering what would happen next. 

My appointment was two weeks after the first, read about it here. The last one was one hour and only my left glute and leg received treatment- I asked for it, really, but the rest of the body needed some work too. 

Friday I walked in and had 90 minutes scheduled with Rachael Hender at Roman Paradigm Massage and Therapy. I was looking forward to this all week.

I was led back to the waiting area by one of the co-owners, Doreen Jattan. She walked back and gave me some of their alkaline water and said "I am the partner of 'the striking man' as we walked back. I laughed and said "ah! The striking woman!" (it's in the last blog above.)

We talked a bit and I learned she is a holistic health practitioner, I find it all very intriguing. I would like to learn more, I do value the belief that as a whole we need to treat the mind and body connection, you really cannot ignore one and consider just the other. 

I told Doreen how I have always had issues with my dorsi flexion, it seems to be quite the root of my problems, darn feet. She asked if I sleep with my sheets tucked in, it pushes the feet down, I should un-tuck my sheets and I may feel a change. I planted a seed in my head to do that when I get home.

Rachael comes to greet me, she wants to know how I felt after my last massage, what were the benefits, were there any issues. I told her how I felt that I had more range of motion, I was able to squat to a better depth, but my right side needed some attention (along with the left again of course). 

She asked if I had my short shorts...hmm, well I was wearing what you see in the picture above underneath my sweats, but how did she know that? I was naked last time we met! Ah, she saw my blog, I am always in these "short shorts", yeah, I stripped down to this and laid face down on the table. I haven't had a massage clothed's gonna be something new! 

She started in on my calves, immediate pain! "What is this called?" I asked. "Structural alignment" she answered. How on earth can her hands on my calves create such tension? Such deep pain? She explained what she was doing and it seems that she was releasing the fascia and realigning my body, so it was moving in the direction(s) it was supposed to. But it had been moving in the wrong way for quite some time, so this hurt, this hurt a lot!

The calves, the glutes, the quads, ankles, feet, all of it was pulled and kneaded and put through some intense pain. I remember her talking about my "medial line" but cannot recall much, I think it's out of whack!

On my side, one leg up, other straight, I helped as she pulled and lengthened, but what I did most was breathe, deep breaths in then very slowly out, it's that same pain, when I release she just goes deeper. I think she was a little concerned at times, but I assured her I was OK, it was good pain, at least when she was done.

We talked most of the time, not like my other massages where I was relaxing and trying to zone out, this was definitely a interactive experience! I kept thinking about food, it is hard not to, I am hungry all the time and constantly dreaming about my meals after my competition. She was explaining about the tight fascia running up my calves, the muscles were encased in a sheath and couldn't break free and grow, the fascia must be released! 

It reminded me of pork tenderloin. I told Rachael and I think I could see her head shaking side to side...wondering how on earth my calves reminded me of pork tenderloins. It's the silver skin I explained, you see, my calve muscles have silver skin surrounding them, I need to get rid of it! Below is a short video of removing silver skin in case you have no idea about  what it is! One look and you will understand why my calves won't grow!

(Email readers will need to navigate to the blog to view the video below).

She worked on my Achilles, oh my, that hurt! I laughed and said "Who cares about the Vulcan Death Grip- just use this, it will kill your opponent every time!" 

She never got to the rest of my body, it was the hips down only for 90 minutes! And never was it restful, it was a very long period of tightening and releasing, stretching and pushing, pain and pleasure really, but it felt good. I cannot describe it really. There were times the pain was so strong that she would remind me to breathe. 

At some point she was working on my hamstrings I think, or it could have been those tight calves again and the pain was almost too much. She remarked "Dang, I can see the veins popping out of your calves!", I think I could FEEL the veins popping out of them.....

The amazing tension built up, the pain and then the release just went on an on.

She ended by releasing my psoas, and this too was intense, and I think we need to do it again! Here is a video so you have an idea of what this was:

 This video makes it appear so calm and easy, well let me tell you- maybe my psoas was (were?) super tight, but it was not so easy as this, it was pressure and tightness and tension.

That night as I lay in bed (with the sheets untucked so my feet were loose and not pressured ), my calves were hard and felt swollen, they throbbed. I made an effort not to let my feet get pushed down by the sheets, but I actually like to sleep on my stomach or side, so I ended up scooting all the way down and laying on my stomach, with my feet hanging over the edge of the mattress! ha ha fooled em! Then, because I have an old antique bed (David's grandparents), I pushed my feet against the curved wood foot board, and stretched my calves and finally fell asleep. I woke quite a bit and kept thinking how I must foam roll them in the morning. I did, but that did nothing, my foam roller was no match for Rachael.

Sunday, my Achilles were very tender, the insides of the ankles hurt as I walked on my treadmill, I could see slight bruising too and that is to be expected with this kind of massage. I tried rolling on a lacrosse ball, but I couldn't get enough pressure with that either.

Mondays I meet Roy at night to train hamstrings, so in the morning it's calves, abs and cardio. I hit the stairmill for 20 minutes and was fine, but the calves were not OK yet. I did my Donkey Calve Raise with 90 pounds strapped to my waist, 4 sets of 30 reps. My calves were burning at 15 reps, not typical and I didn't stop. They looked full, they felt hard.  

I have an appointment in a couple weeks, some day we shall get above the hips, but for now, I want to stick to what we are doing, I think it will improve my physique and my overall health. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Week 6 to Competition (week 4 of diet)

Not many changes this week, and that makes me a bit nervous as I am usually super ripped at 6 weeks. But the thing is, I gained muscle, I know I did, and I don't want to get as lean as I did in October. So this means that I certainly don't want to drop down to 118 pounds and less than 3% bodyfat like I did before, so I really don't have much left to lose do I?

I won 1st place in Masters 50+ and 3rd place in my height class (all ages), but if that is what it takes to win, I don't want to do it. I don't want to look emaciated and painfully lean, I want to look full and strong, and feel good.

So my thought process is this: If I am usually ripped at 6 weeks and I get too lean (in my opinion), then it's probably a good thing I am not so ripped yet. I think I want to look ripped and ready at say...4 weeks maybe. Otherwise, I just lose it too fast after that and cannot stop the loss.

My diet this time around has a lot more fats in it, the idea is that although I am on a very reduced calorie diet, the fats will stop me from losing my muscle, and I think it's working, I still look full and muscular, which is the whole point. 

The waist is still coming in and the quads look better each day! (Thanks to Roy, he is a stubborn guy!)

Back is looking good, and the glutes now are starting to develop a more cut look, not so soft on the outer part. the lower tie in (meets the hamstring) will need to tighten up, but that comes with more dieting. It's always the bane of women....

Delts are looking nice and round, and the stomach is flattening out. 

The roundness of the side of the glutes still shows, this is a good thing!

Skin looks tight, but I still need to  lose fat in the abdominal area so the abs show more clearly. Right now they are just kinda smooth and there, although nice looking, not suitable for a competition. 

I appear to be holding my shoulders straighter now, so I am pleased with that. The posing is always the most difficult part, no matter how many times you have done it, it always requires practice!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

"Experience has taught me that there is one chief reason why some people succeed and others fail. The difference is not one of knowing, but of doing. The successful man is not so superior in ability as in action. So far as success can be reduced to a formula, it consists of this: doing what you know you should do."
- Roger Babson

"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."
-Dale Carnegie

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that's where you will find success." 
- Thomas J. Watson

"Success doesn't come to you, you go to it."
- Marva Collins

"Success is a journey, not a destination." 
- Ben Sweetland 

"Every one of us, unconsciously, works out a personal philosophy of life, by which we are guided, inspired, and corrected, as time goes on. It is this philosophy by which we measure out our days, and by which we advertise to all about us the man, or woman, that we are. . . . It takes but a brief time to scent the life philosophy of anyone. It is defined in the conversation, in the look of the eye, and in the general mien of the person. It has no hiding place. It's like the perfume of the flower, unseen, but known almost instantly. It is the possession of the successful, and the happy. And it can be greatly embellished by the absorption of ideas and experiences of the useful of this earth." 
- George Matthew Adams

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I have never been a gum fan, I think people chewing gum look like cows chewing their cud, however, when I am dieting I need something tasty, something sweet, something to hold me over and I turn to gum. 

I tend to pop a piece in my mouth after eating and chew it for a short while then out it goes. I would never ever consider attending a meeting with a piece of gum in my mouth.

I like Dentyne Fire, spicy cinnamon and buy it by the big 10 pack at Smart and Final, but they were out last time I went so I bought a big box of this: Dentyne Pure.

What a miserable mistake that was! First, the texture was very soft and almost non-existent, like it was a marshmallow about to dissolve.

But the big problem? 

Holy cow! Here I am weighing and measuring all my food and enjoying my little machine of a body when along comes this disastrous excuse of a gum, I should have been more careful.

What's the big deal about Maltitol anyway? Gastrointestinal distress, at least for me.  

In countries such as Australia, Canada, Norway, Mexico and New Zealand, Maltitol carries a mandatory warning such as "Excessive consumption may have a laxative effect." In the United States, it is a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance, with a recommendation of a warning about its laxative potential when consumed at levels above 100 grams per day.

I spent the afternoon burping and dealing with a great deal of gas (do you really want the details?) When I got home, feeling pretty lousy, I thought it must be the gum because I was very sure of every other item that went into my mouth. 

Still, I popped one more piece in my mouth the next day just to see what one tiny piece would do, and I waited. It didn't take long, this is evil stuff! 

Here are the ingredients in case you cannot read the back of the box (one of 8 I have left).

*Neutralizes bad breath odors caused by bacteria and food.

The gum I used to eat also has maltitol in it, but it is not the first ingredient, Sorbitol is. I know sorbitol is also a sugar alcohol that can have laxative effects, but for some reason it doesn't affect me like the maltitol does.

I wanted to bring this up, as so often we suffer through things like this not knowing what caused it, many people wouldn't even think that a couple pieces of gum could do something like this, evil little things.

If you suffer through gastrointestinal distress out of the blue one day, check your gum!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Diet

Looking good huh? So this is after dieting for 4 weeks. Not bad really, now I realize I didn't start out chubby, but I had some fat to lose and I did, it hasn't been too hard, although I still have more to go.  This is "a day in the life of Kristy". I am going to give you a general time, food (macro-nutrients), some supplements and then discuss particular meals and strategies for making them tasty in separate postings.

My diet contains lean proteins, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, whey and supplements.

My diet doesn't contain alcohol, sugar, snacks, dessert, soda, packaged garbage.

You are what you eat. 

Garbage in- Garbage out!

If you think you can eat dessert several times a week and still look lean and ripped, I hate to be the one to break it you you, but you cannot. Sure you can look good, and maybe even great, but you cannot even consider stepping on stage if you don't do the time with the proper nutrition. It's easy to cover it all up with jeans, t-shirts or spandex, a little more difficult in Underamour boy shorts. 

So...if you wanna look good on.

I don't eat like this all year, this is a competition diet, but I know some of you want to LOOK like you compete, so this is what it takes. Keep in mind my age, gender, size and activity level as that all makes a difference. 

This is a day I train in the morning (and to me, cardio isn't really training, lifting is training to me). It varies when I train with Roy at night.

I am up at 4:00 a.m. and I have a meal replacement drink (20 grams protein and 19 grams carbs) not just plain whey protein. I also have a serving of cooked oatmeal (not shown), 1/3 cup dry measure. It's just plain old cooked oatmeal, nothing fancy. If you eat steel cut they have a different carb measure so be aware of that. Much more carbs in the same amount of steel cut oats. I take lots of supplements but the ones you should really be concerned with are these:

5 grams glutamine
BCAA's in gel tabs
500 mg L-Carnitine
Green tea extract
multi vitamin
800 mg fish oil

I then dump 20 mg BCAA's into my drink to be consumed while training. I go through a lot of BCAA's.

Post training, within 30 minutes, (about 7:00am), another shake but this is whey protein (as opposed to a meal replacement shake) so it's almost all protein, but a few grams carbs. I have 1 & 1/2 scoops of whey protein blended in a blender with 1 cup water, a two handed scoop of ice, 1 SMALL (6 inch) banana and 5 grams glutamine. I like chocolate or chocolate-peanut butter flavored whey.

500 grams L-Carnitine
BCAA's (gel tabs)
Green tea extract

This is the most important time for quick absorbing carbs (the banana) and then the whey which is more easily digested than whole food. It is also important to ingest it right away, as soon as possible after training. Your body needs the nutrients to build and repair, even if you don't think so.  This post training meal is probably the one single most important meal you will ingest in a day! Make it a good one.

10:00 a.m. is my largest meal and the one I most look forward too! It is my second and last serving of starch (the first was at 4:00 a.m.) I have 4 ounces chicken breast, 4 ounces brown rice, 1 cup broccoli.

5 grams glutamine
BCAA"s (gel tabs)
1 gram CLA
500 mg L-Carnitine
800 mg fish oil

1:00 p.m. is 4 to 5 ounces baked tilapia, 1 cup asparagus and 15 raw almonds.

4:00 p.m. is a big salad (3 cups) of greens- spinach or super greens, something with nutrition not iceberg or romaine; about 1/4 cup cucumber, 1/4 cup sliced endive and maybe a couple sugar snap peas; 4 ounces broiled shrimp, 1 teaspoon olive oil, rice vinegar and sriracha sauce (hot sauce).

5 grams glutamine

8:30 p.m. is a scramble made with 3/4 cup egg whites, 2 ounces lean meat (steak or chicken), 1/2 cup sautéed greens (chard, kale, spinach), and 1/2 cup sautéed vegetables (red onions, mushrooms, tomatoes).  Salsa.

5 grams glutamine
1 gram CLA
800 mg fish oil
500 mg L-Carnitine

Bed time is a cup of herb tea, ZMA, Inositol, Night Time Herbs. RIGHT after eating! Who says you shouldn't go to bed with a full stomach!? 

Over the next few days I will discuss what I change when I lift at night (because I still go to the gym at 5:00 a.m. those days), what variations I make on the food, how I cook it all and the reason for such silly things as 15 almonds or 1 teaspoon oil! 

Did you notice all my plates had green stuff on them?

I will try to delve into the supplements too, but this can be a very personal issue. Some people are for 'em and some are against 'em!

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Treadmill

I love my treadmill! I should have bought one ages ago! It has made life so much easier for me, at least while I have to get extra cardio in. If you saw my post about it you know that I got a used NordicTrack EXP 1000 for $50.00. I really wouldn't have been able to justify paying much more when I pay a lot to belong to the gym and could use one of theirs.

I found it on Craigslist, and I see them all the time for quite a bit more! 

I am not sure if I would recommend one for everyone, I can imagine that most people buy something like this and never use it. I think that if you cannot get yourself to the gym regularly, then you probably won't make it to your own treadmill either, no matter where it is located in your house.

They take up a lot of room, are usually very expensive and noisy (at least my $50.00 treadmill is). The guys always walk by and close the door when I am on it. At least they wave as they close the door on me.

I have found it indispensable now that I am in competition mode and must get more cardio in everyday to burn extra calories and tighten the skin. How does it tighten the skin? Well, treadmills don't really tighten skin but doing regular cardio, combined with the proper competition diet and lots of water ensures you rid the body of sub cutaneous fat, and then your skin LOOKS tighter!

It's that nasty fat under the skin that makes you look soft and pudgy (yuck). Two things I don't care for on a body - "soft" or "skinny".....In fact, now I have lost enough so as I lay in bed at night, I can run my hands over my stomach and it feels flat and firm, there isn't much under the skin except my muscle and bones and a small layer of fat. This is the stage when I marvel at how the changes occur, I can pinch the skin on my stomach and the thumb and index finger almost meet, not much fat left and in a few weeks there won't be any!

My stomach before cardio on Thursday night.

Combine that with  regime of heavy weights, the muscles pop and voila, killer body!

Back to the treadmill though, I have it set up in my guest room which is rarely used, and have now noticed that the walls really do need some paint. I hate to admit it, but we have owned this house since 1991 and have not yet painted the guest room, it just never seemed important.

As I spend more time on the treadmill I look around, thinking of colors that would be soothing yet bright, I need to spice up this room of mine. I think this summer will be a good time to overhaul my treadmill room. And since my son will be moving out and heading off to college, I have several other rooms to start thinking about too!

Mark said he will come help paint if David can get me out of the way, I am thinking kitchen, all four bedrooms, bathrooms, living room...maybe the whole house!

I think my $50.00 treadmill will eventually end up costing us several hundred more dollars! ha ha 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spiced Oatmeal

Some of the most wonderful things in the world are discovered by mistake. I made one the other day and loved the results, I have now made it a regular part of my morning.

When I lift in the morning I have a meal replacement shake and a small serving of cooked oatmeal (1/3 cup dry measure) before I go to the gym. That's a lot of carbs, some slow digesting (oatmeal) and some quick (the meal replacement drink). Combined with the protein it's what I need to fuel my body after a long night of fasting (sleeping).

I have my oatmeal cooked and weighed out already, so I just add a bit more water to loosen it up and then microwave it to warm it.

I get up at 4:00 a.m. though, so sometimes I am not quite awake as I do all this. I like to get my shake and oatmeal, and sit at the computer and check email, Facebook, make sure my blog fed properly, and eat and wake up.

Saturday I heated my oatmeal and started to sprinkle in the cinnamon (my sprinkles tend to be more like pours). As I looked at it I noticed that my cinnamon was a lot darker than usual. Damn! I used chili powder!

The containers look the same! I buy both spices in bulk because I use so much, but store them in small store bought spice containers for ease.

I took a spoon and managed to remove most of it, but didn't want to lose too much of the oatmeal so I figured once I added the real cinnamon and the sweetener it would be OK.

OK? It was fantastic! The sweetness and spiciness together are a match made in heaven! Have you ever had chocolate with chile? It's the same premise, the richness, spiciness and sweetness all combine to make a spectacular burst of flavors in your mouth.

Sunday, I am making the same thing! Give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Female Athlete Triad

The Female Athlete Triad is something that I need to be mindful of, as do all competitive athletes. (I won't be explaining the Triad so please refer to the link if you are not familiar with it).

Many competitors I know do have some sort of disordered eating. This isn't the same as an eating disorder though, such as bulimia or anorexia, but can be just as serious and can affect relationships and long term health.

The emphasis on the physique in my sport demands that food is weighed and measured, not one extra ounce allowed or enjoyed. Some live like this for a certain length of time (the 12 week prep period) while others may live like this all year long.

Binge eating is also an issue, after such a long period of deprivation many competitors cannot or will not stop eating when given the chance to have whatever they wish.

I have experienced some of the triad myself, and it does concern me so I am very conscious of it at all times. Luckily I have not experienced an eating disorder, although I do know a few women who have, most are not open about their eating disorders since they are more phycological issues than anything. No one wants to admit they have one, like a drinking problem, they think they can just ignore it then it doesn't exist. Add to this, the fact that for some odd reason, people are embarrassed to discuss menses. It is a normal and healthy process that women go through. 

You should be able to discuss all of this with your trainer- male or female. They need to know what is going on with your body. 

My own personal experience has been with "low energy availability" followed by amenorrhea. Basically I expended more energy than I took in on a daily basis for an extended length of time, and I stopped menstruating for several months. I didn't eat enough food to sustain myself in a healthy manner.

You can read about my hydro-static bodyfat testing here if you like. I was way too low. Mike, the fellow who tested me said he had never tested a woman that low and only one person ever - a male. I didn't try to get that low but it happens, you get your head into the diet and cannot really see what you look like, and then stopping the loss takes time, just like starting it.

After a couple months I saw my doctor and he too was concerned. I had blood tests, hormone levels tested, vaginal ultra sounds, bone density test, you name it!  In the end, after deciding I was ridiculously healthy and strong ( with amazing bone density - the same as the comparison used- that of a 27 year old female) it was decided my bodyfat was just too darn low and I needed to plump up!

All competitors have to restrict calories, but each body is different and all women are different. Some may be able to compete at 10% bodyfat and some need to get much, much lower. I am one that needs to get very low, in fact at my last competition I was sub 3%.

I do want to make sure that you understand you can go through this without an eating disorder, just reducing calories too low can cause this. 

So what's the big deal anyway? I mean who cares if you have really low bodyfat and you stop menstruating?  Women who suffer from this can develop osteoporosis due to low estrogen. And then as she ages, bone fractures are increasingly common. This is a very, very serious disease. If you enter into amenorrhea, be cautioned, it's a serious situation and needs to be rectified. 

Clinical symptoms include disordered eating, fatigue, hair loss, cold hands and feet, dry skin, noticeable weight loss, increased healing time from injuries, increased incidence of bone fracture and cessation of menses. Affected females may also struggle with low-self esteem and depression.

In all the years I have done this, my bodyfat always got down around 4% at competition time and I never had any health issues, last year when it was below 3% I did. I am being very careful now so that I do not get that low, since dropping bodyfat for me has never been a struggle, when I get my head into it, I do it. 

I am making sure that I go more slowly, I ingest more fats to sustain myself and I don't overdo the cardio. 

Watch yourself, or if you have a loved one you are concerned with, talk to them if you see something that is a red flag. 

The above picture was taken Saturday, March 17. I am down to 124 now, and bodyfat is dropping, you can see the difference since last week quite easily, but I am still not too low in bodyfat, so I am ok for now!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Week 7 to Competition (week 3 of diet)

It's all coming together! I have been on my diet for three weeks now and I am losing the fat at a good rate, keeping my skin tight and I have a lot of energy. I am, unfortunately, hungry all the time though! I am at 124 now, and am aiming for 120 pounds, but only time will tell. I won't know where I really need to be until I get there!

Quads look good don't they? Shoulders are starting to be rounder, the chest looks good too! It's funny, I personally think I look at my very, very best at 123 pounds, only 1 pound away from this! At 123 pounds I still look full but lean.

I love my back, when I was training with Roy the other day he remarked that my back was already widening and looking bigger, and I only started training it one extra day a week, three weeks ago! The body part that needs the most "tuning" is the glutes - but that is just one big fatty area for all of us, most women tend to hold fat in the butt and thigh area, and I do too, thank goodness I have no cellulite! My glutes are fine and as soon as I shed the extra pounds, the glutes will tighten right up and sit high as usual. I have been blessed with a great butt.

The lower belly is still there, but as I said, it's the last to go and also why I need to drop down so low in bodyfat. You can see the sculpted look starting though, all along the sides of the obliques.

Medial delts are looking better too, Roy has me doing something to engage my T-1 muscle which, in turn should help my entire back, allowing me to engage the delts more instead of the traps. He says I am T-3 dominant, and that is why I get huge traps and don't even try. Shrugs? Never do them and never will! My traps grow just walking into the gym (makes every male on earth seriously jealous)

A few people have asked me to post about the diet, and I have started to write a post, but I like to include pictures and the problem is, I get so hungry and start eating only to realize half way through, that I need to take a picture! Then it's too late.

The stomach is looking flatter, and I still have another 7 weeks! Today at my son's lacrosse game another parent and friend came up and said "well, how much longer?" "7 weeks!" I said. "What?! 7 weeks still?! Sheesh, that's forever!"....and I am the one on the diet! Too funny, she wants to go out eating and drinking, I told her we will for the Memorial Day Weekend long tournament, I am organizing the team again.