Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homemade Energy Bars

Energy bars, protein bars, granola bars, I have used the names interchangeably. I think we all grab one of these when we need some quick and convenient snacks that taste good.

I decided to make my own and oh my were they delicious! Thank goodness I can give them to Roy, I found myself eating little pieces here and there with some creamy organic peanut butter on top....

I would classify these as "energy bars" because they are mostly carbohydrate. But I made them and know exactly what's in them, so I feel better about eating them. You never know what's in the garbage you buy in a package.

For the most part, any bars you buy are calorie dense, full of carbs and not much protein, and if they have a lot of protein they typically have a lot of fat too.

These were easy and great- I am making them again but I will be experimenting to move them more in the direction of a "protein bar". I have learned after a great deal of research that making a protein bar will be a bit more difficult though.

Now, I did not calculate a nutritional breakdown, if you know anything about food and nutrition you will see these are calorie dense, they have complex and simple carbs and are a treat- not a meal and not low calorie. If you are in contest prep- forget it!

I set out to devise a recipe with uncooked whey protein. Many experts will tell you that once you heat whey, and especially cook it, you change the structure of the protein, and how the body absorbs it, you denature it. (Great little video on the link there). Many experts will tell you that it doesn't matter, yet many insist it does. 

Since so many producers of whey protein insist on touting their "cold process" I tend to think that maybe they are right, it shouldn't be heated.

So what's in these delicious bars? I started with a 'base" recipe from Jonny Bowden's book called "The Healthiest Meals on Earth" (great book by the way!) He refers to this as "your polymeal on the go"

Here is a link to a site that has the exact recipe, remember I changed it and will explain my recipe. 

Almonds, 1/4 cup
Oats, 1 1/2 cups 
Brown Rice, puffed cereal, 1 cup 
Apricots, dried, diced, 1 cup 
Raisins, 1 cup
Chocolate  protein powder, 1/2 cup
Wheat germ, 1 cup
Maple syrup, 3/4 cup
Peanut Butter, 1/2 cup
Vanilla Extract, 1/2 tsp 
Cinnamon, ground, 1/2 tsp
Bittersweet chocolate, 3 ounces, chopped in medium pieces

Chop Almonds, then toast almonds, cereal and oats in a 13 x 9 pan at 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally for about 15 min. (line it with parchment if you like)

Chop apricots (I used the Cuisinart), combine well with raisins, protein powder and wheat germ. Combine with oat mixture and chocolate in a large bowl.

Put the maple syrup in saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add peanut butter, vanilla and cinnamon.

Pour the syrup over the oatmeal mixture (this will slightly melt the chocolate too). Mix quickly and spread in a jelly roll pan (lined with parchment or foil). Press into a thin layer with parchment paper. Move fast! This is thick stuff.

Chill until firm (4 hours). Cut into 18 equal pieces. Wrap individually. Refrigerate until use. Can be frozen.

Number of Servings: 18

Here is the mixture after I manhandled it into the pan, it was stiff and crumbly. So what did I do differently? In a nutshell this:

I reduced the dried fruit, eliminated agave syrup, replaced rice syrup with maple syrup (and reduced it), doubled the whey protein (and used chocolate... hello!), added bittersweet chocolate.

I think the reduced fruits and syrups made it a bit dryer than the original. But I didn't want it that sweet nor did I want all the simple sugars of the fruit. Like I said, smeared with some good peanut butter on top, this is heaven to me!

Then I cut them up, and made everyone try them. And everyone loved them too! My next batch will be much less carbs and much more protein. I know the texture will change quite a bit, but I will keep experimenting and I will keep you posted. In the meantime, make these and use wholesome, organic ingredients. 

The crumbs were great in a bowl with a spoon too and if I drank milk, would have poured it over. I guess stirred in yogurt would be great!

But remember, even though they are homemade, they are still glorified candy bars. But candy bars I can feel good about eating!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Head Games and Hamstrings

Sunday I was exhausted, I literally felt like every ounce of energy had been sucked from my body. This is isn't like me, not at all. I hadn't stayed up late Saturday, it didn't make sense. I even attempted to take a nap in the afternoon, that's how fatigued I felt.

I was a little worried, I didn't feel sick, just like I couldn't move, it all required way too much energy. We stopped by Mark and Virginia's, I stuck to water and they had sparkling wine. Virginia though maybe it was due to the fact that I over indulged in the food area on Saturday.

That's nice she thinks that, but this temple has been violated many times before, it wasn't the food. We didn't stay long, I had dinner then I ended up going to bed at 7:15 p.m. it was still light out for hours.

I fell right asleep then tossed and turned, Cooper got home from work at about 8:45 and quietly opened my door to say hello. "Hi mummy! I'm home!" He may be 18 but he will always be my little boy. David made him dinner, I fell back asleep.

I woke at 4:50 a.m. and Gold's didn't open until 6:00 a.m. so I didn't get up yet. I was a little worried about my head, I mean if I am not sick why am I feeling this way? I was worried I may be over training, I feel like am just beating myself into the ground.

I got up at 5:10 a.m and resolved to go hard at the gym, Sunday had to have been a fluke.

It was hamstring day and Roy was taking the day off, normally I would train with him at night but I was on my own and would see him on Tuesday for shoulders instead.

I was to do deadlifts at 200 pounds, on Friday he reminded me to warm up with several sets. I need lots of warm up sets whenever I lift heavy.

I set two 45 pound plates as a platform and warmed up with 95 pounds, then 115 pounds, then 185 pounds and set up at 200.

I started in, I would do 4 or 5 sets of 5 reps. I felt good, I felt strong. I guess I just needed some rest. I see the guy next to me staring. I look over and he is about 6' 3", a fairly big guy.  I quickly add up the weights he is using for his RDL's, he has 175 pounds. He looks at me a bit shocked and I take my earbuds out. "You have more weight than I do!" he exclaims. "Yea, 200 pounds" I reply. "I guess it's good for your back" he says and I pat my hamstrings "I'm trying to get my legs bigger". He just sorta shakes his head and strips his bar and walks away. He had only done three sets of about 4 or 5, not very good but maybe he has some back issues. He shouldn't be doing RDL's if he does though.

I finish all of my sets, I am feeling my old self again. I strip the bar and then sit a while, I need to rest.

Over to the Glute Ham Raise, I have 5 sets to do on this, slow raises with a 5 pound plate held to my chest. It takes a long time.

I look at the clock, it has been almost one hour and I did only two exercises, just the way Roy and I would have done it!

I wander up to the locker room and stop at the stairmill. I want to walk. I know I shouldn't, the educated part of me knows that working out longer than an hour really is more detrimental than beneficial, but I haven't done any cardio in so long, I need to, for my head. I do honestly think that most cardio addicts do it for their head- they have stuff they are battling there and the cardio helps them. At least they think it does, it mostly makes them look emaciated and tired though. My head needs it now because I am bigger than ever, I know I need to add weight to add size but's it's still hard to deal with. It's a daily struggle for me.

I climb on and climb for 20 minutes, I zone out.

I leave the gym feeling more like myself, I will need to get a bit more rest, David is always telling me I never relax, I never rest enough, I don't get enough sleep, it's true.

Home for my shake and coffee, I have a party to attend. I will sit in the sun, I will eat the meat and my salad, no starches, no alcohol, It feels too good when I feel good.

I plan to keep it that way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Saturday morning- squat day.

Actually let's back up to Friday. I am at Roy's and we re training shoulders, I have no energy. I think it's a culmination of really hard training everyday, and three of those days it's twice a day and it's been a long week. 

I am supposed to be doing German Volume Training, barbell shoulder press with 70 pounds. I did it on my own Tuesday, there is no reason why I cannot do it here with Roy, I have him to spot me so that makes it even easier!

He lowers the weight. I feel sort of like a failure, but he is explaining that we really need to de-load soon, I have been training way too hard for too long.

I look at him between sets and tell him: "At some point, there will come a time when the weights cannot continue to go up every single week you know."

He laughs and says: "Yea, but that's not for a long, long time!"

After I finish my 100 presses, and then my leaning lat raises (4 sets of 12 on each side, and I am supposed to be hitting a count of about 70 seconds for each set), I ask him what I should do for Saturday. I know it's still GVT- squats, but what weight?

120 pounds

100 squats

10 sets of 10

all the way down to the ground

90 second rest in between

I know I say this a lot, but I really don't see many people squatting low. Did you know that performing squats "half assed" (ha ha) is easy? If you don't squat all the way down, you don't hit the glutes nor the quads where you need to and you are not performing them correctly, so it's easy to do them that way! 

I can do it, it's almost my body weight, but it's still doable, and he seems to think I will just keep increasing weight.

Saturday I arrive at Gold's Gym at opening, 6:00 a.m. One thing I like about GVT is that it is a fairly quick workout, you do the 100 reps and maybe one other exercise to exhaust the muscle and poof! Done!

I like doing GVT squats, I get into a zone, I think you have to actually. I know people stare, and I don't mind people staring, it actually helps me continue. They are thinking that I am an absolute crazy beast. I talk to myself, I have to, it's the only way I can continue after the fifth set. I shake my head, I tell myself it's light, I have to convince myself I can do it.

I make my hash marks on the paper after each set. When I make the seventh, I think "only three more sets left, easy!" and then I realize it's not easy, it's hard as hell, but I won't quit, ever.

The feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration when I have finished that last squat, the 100th squat of the day, the 200th squat of the week, is nothing I can really describe to you, but it keeps me coming back for more.

I finish with four sets of leg extensions, sweat dripping down my back, now so wired I really don't even need coffee.

I am ready to tackle the day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
 Winston Churchill

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak”
 Thomas Carlyle 

“If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told the nearest land was a thousand 
miles away, I'd still swim. And I'd despise the one who gave up.”
 Abraham Maslow

“I don't think about risks much. I just do what I want to do. If you gotta go, you gotta go.”
 Lillian Carter 

“The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. 
Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the 
work is half done already.”

“Happiness is an attitude of mind, born of the simple determination to be happy under 
all outward circumstances.”
 J. Donald Walters

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the 
person you believe you were meant to be”
 George Sheehan 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Celebrate Good Times!

There are a lot of people who think I live the life of a cloistered nun...or maybe I should say a starving musician..I don't, not all all. Life is not all pain and suffering for me....really. I do have fun, and I do enjoy the finer things in life on occasion.

And when I do this, I really  do this right!

True, I tend to stick to a fairly rigid and calculated diet most of the time, but I also love food and wine and I love to let loose and celebrate, for no other reason than I feel alive!

Saturday David and I went to the Ferry Plaza Market in San Francisco. It is usually an eating and shopping extravaganza when we go.  We always (always) start off with fish taco's and red wine at Mijita. We sit outside and people watch.

Then off to the bread shop (Acme) and to get some cheeses too.

Next is Hog Island Oyster Farm. David eats several different oysters before he decides to buy dozens of the usual Sweetwater's....

I get three dozen mussels so I can make steamed mussels for lunch on Sunday. 

We stop at the Wine Merchant's for a glass....I have something sparkling and David has something still. I think it's about 11:00 am so that means it is 8:00 pm in Spain- time for a drink!

We are hungry again so off to Zuni Cafe for lunch, they hold 1/3 of their tables from reservations to accommodate walk ins - they value the neighborhood people! (good to know huh?) So you can almost always get a table just by wandering in!

We always order the shoestring fries, they cannot be topped. I believe they make their own ketchup too.

I love Ceasar salad and theirs has a good anchovy taste.

David orders arugula and shaved purple asparagus with citrus.  I think he just wanted the goat cheese toasts.

Burger time! They have some killer burgers here....I am really looking forward to this.

Rare...just the way I order it! On homemade foccacia with housemade pickles and onions and aioli.

 Yup, just what I needed.

I almost ordered the sand dab but David did and I figured it wouldn't be enough protein for me. But it looked great huh?

Dessert. Gateau Victoire...I have written about this cake before...It is so good it has been on the menu every single day since the restaurant introduced it in 1982!!! I am beside myself. 

Don't even try to take any from me!! But David and I will share this one piece.

Home, I unpack my bag of two boxes of Recchiuti chocolates...the Fleur de Sel Caramels  and the Peanut Butter Pucks. 

Sunday I will train hard and not regret the fun and food I enjoyed on Saturday!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Julian Bakery Carb Zero Bread


I am forever looking for healthy and tasty foods, ones that allow me to enjoy the "normal" foods more often and still not feel guilty or worry about my calories and starches too much.

I read about the Julian Bakery breads several weeks ago and was interested in their new "carb zero" bread that was to be released soon. 

There is only one store within 10 miles of me that carries their products, the rest are over the hill in Santa Cruz or up the peninsula towards Palo Alto. I called New Leaf Market and asked if they could let me know when the carb zero bread arrived.

They called me on Thursday and said it arrived, they would hold one regular and one cinnamon for me, I would drive out there after my noontime training with Roy. I told him I would get a loaf for him, and when we finished I zoomed out there only to find that every single loaf they received had been sold (except my two and one last cinnamon)!!!

I bought a cinnamon for Roy and swung back by BodyComp and dropped it off fo him, he was training Stacy. I also got the name and cell phone number of the fellow I can call to make sure they hold more for me if I want it!

I love sandwiches. Love them!! Scrambled egg are my favorite, or tuna with sprouts. Maybe rare beef....or chicken salad, I love them all. I rarely eat them though as bread is a simple carb and full of starch that I don't need and basically a dieters nightmare. 

Until now

If you are anything like me, you feel so much guilt when you eat a sandwich that it taakes away most of the pleasure. It ruins it. You should be eating a "complex carb" right?

This bread allows me to have a sandwich and 
This is my egg white sandwich with a bit of low fat mayo, mustard, salt, pepper and romaine lettuce. 


I made this when I got home and immediately texted Roy. It was good. Really good!

Each slice has the following nutritional breakdown:

59 calories
2.5 grams fat
9 grams carbohydrate
9 grams fiber
(this means it nets out to zero carbohydrates!!!)
0 sugar
9 grams protein!!!

It's all organic, gluten free and well.....great!

So even without my egg inside I had 18 grams of protein! 

It's not like sliced sourdough, nor is it like fine wheat bread. BUT! The nutritional break down is great- it allows me to eat something I love and not feel guilty and get the macros I want.

I also bought some of their carb #1 (1 gram net carb) bread and will let you know later how that is!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Title IX

We have all heard of Title IX, heck I have written about it myself a few times. Above is Brandi Chastain, in one of the world's most famous shots ever captured on film at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, when, after scoring the fifth kick in the penalty shootout, the United States won the World Cup over China.  

Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, It states (in part) that

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...
—Title 20 U.S.C. Sections 1681-1688

Brandi Chastain was recently in Sacramento  to be honored by the California Assembly as it recognized the 40th anniversary of Title IX. 

Below is a picture of me, Brandi and some other folks at the annual Women of Sparta golf tournament to raise funds for Women's Athletics at San Jose State University. Later in the day, after she made us both a pina colada from the bar cart, we were seen doing crunches on the green! We had a great time for a great cause. We would play in this charity tournament every year, although Title IX exists, women's sports still do not receive the endowments and donations that the males receive. 

The first person to introduce Title IX in Congress was its author and chief Senate sponsor, Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana.

At the time, Bayh was working on numerous constitutional issues related to women's rights, including the Equal Rights Amendment, to build "a powerful constitutional base from which to move forward in abolishing discriminatory differential treatment based on sex."  As they were having some difficulty getting the ERA out of committee, the Higher Education Act of 1965 was on the floor for reauthorization, and on February 28, 1972, Senator Bayh introduced the ERA's equal education provision as an amendment.

In his remarks on the Senate floor, Bayh said, "We are all familiar with the stereotype of women as pretty things who go to college to find a husband, go on to graduate school because they want a more interesting husband, and finally marry, have children, and never work again. The desire of many schools not to waste a "man's place" on a woman stems from such stereotyped notions. But the facts absolutely contradict these myths about the "weaker sex" and it is time to change our operating assumptions."

"While the impact of this amendment would be far-reaching," Bayh concluded, "it is not a panacea. It is, however, an important first step in the effort to provide for the women of America something that is rightfully theirs—an equal chance to attend the schools of their choice, to develop the skills they want, and to apply those skills with the knowledge that they will have a fair chance to secure the jobs of their choice with equal pay for equal work."

Title IX became law on June 23, 1972. When President Nixon signed the bill, he spoke mostly about desegregation busing and not at all about educational access for women, which told Senator Bayh that this important moment in so many women's lives may have been lost upon the president.

The legislation covers all educational activities, and complaints under Title IX alleging sex discrimination in fields such as science or math education, or in other aspects of academic life such as access to health care and dormitory facilities, are not unheard of. It also applies to non-sport activities such as school band and clubs; however, social fraternities and sororities, sex-specific youth clubs such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and Girls State and Boys State are specifically exempt from Title IX requirements.

Title IX applies to an entire school or institution if any part of that school receives federal funds; hence, athletic programs are subject to Title IX, even though there is very little direct federal funding of school sports.

The regulations implementing Title IX require all universities receiving federal funds to perform self-evaluations of whether they offer equal opportunities based on sex[and to provide written assurances to the Dept. of Education that the institution is in compliance for the period that the federally funded equipment or facilities remain in use. With respect to athletic programs, the Dept. of Education evaluates the following factors in determining whether equal treatment exists:
  1. Whether the selection of sports and levels of competition effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes;
  2. The provision of equipment and supplies;
  3. Scheduling of games and practice time;
  4. Travel and per diem allowance;
  5. Opportunity to receive coaching and academic tutoring on mathematics only;
  6. Assignment and compensation of coaches and tutors;
  7. Provision of locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities;
  8. Provision of medical and training facilities and services;
  9. Provision of housing and dining facilities and services;
  10. Publicity.
Unequal aggregate expenditures for members of each sex or unequal expenditures for male and female teams if a recipient operates or sponsors separate teams will not constitute noncompliance with this section, but the Assistant Secretary [of Education for Civil Rights] may consider the failure to provide necessary funds for teams for one sex in assessing equality of opportunity for members of each sex.

Although the most well-known application of Title IX regards athletics, there are several protections the law specifically delineates. Section 106.40 protects pregnant and parenting students from discrimination based on pregnant status, marital status, or parenthood. Their condition must be treated as any other medical condition. Students may not be excluded from any activity based on their condition of pregnancy, parenthood, or marital status. If they attend a separate facility, they must elect to do so voluntarily, and the facility must provide comparable programs.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

10 Week Transformation

I have a "movie" of my weekly pictures below, so you can see what took place during my 10 weeks of dieting for my last competition. 

What I find so interesting is how a body can change so much week to week!

If you followed my blog you would know that every weekend, for 10 weeks leading up to my last competition I would haul out the hooker heels and competition suit and take progress pictures. These pictures really help me to see what I look like and how I am moving along. 

Some weeks I would look soft, some weeks I would look flat. Others I looked absolutely tight and full, and then the next week it was all gone.

The interesting thing is throughout all this I maintained a very regimented diet, eating the same thing over and over, everyday at the same time. But the sleep and rest may have been different, then the time the pictures were taken would vary, perhaps I had coffee before one and not the other.

I started at 127 pounds and ended at 119, so this is only an 8 pound difference, but I lost all fat, and no muscle! It was a great diet for me!

What I should have done, and I plan to do next competition- is take this in reverse! I am going to take pictures starting on competition day and then every week after so you can see how I add bodyfat back on, and get back to a normal, healthy weight.

Email subscribers will need to navigate directly to the blog to view this movie.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's all about the damn diet!

It’s all about the diet- seriously. Think about it. You bust your butt in the gym and you feel like you don’t get anywhere, or maybe you just don’t get the results as you expect.  You figure its your training so you add more cardio in, or maybe change the lifting a bit and add more cardio in yet again Pretty soon you are tired feeling and tired looking, and just as fat. So you meet your friends at the bar after work on Friday night and complain about your lack of progress. 

You order a couple beers, or maybe a few glasses of wine, share an appetizer and you all talk about how hard you work and just aren’t seeing results. It must be due to getting older and your metabolism is slowing down; or work is so stressful and busy that you cannot concentrate on your workout and sometimes cannot make it to the gym.

But it's about what you eat and drink- totally.

When you drink alcohol, your body must start and finish processing that before it can process anything else. People also tend to make poor food choices when they indulge in alcohol (myself included) so it's a double whammy.

Even if you don't drink alcohol, you really need to be conscious of your food and everything you put into your mouth if you are trying to lean out or gain muscle mass. 

I was at a party recently for 4 1/2 hours, I had one glass of white wine and then water the rest of the evening. I ate the food, and there was a catered taco bar and all sorts of side dishes. I ate one corn tortilla, a lot of chicken and beef and vegetables. I ate a quarter of a brownie.

It was the same old story, over and over I heard "Oh it's so nice to finally see you eating!" or "My goodness! I have never seen you eat!" "No diet tonight eh? Mu ha ha ha ha"

Really? I eat constantly, in fact 6 or 7 times a day, twice as often as other people do. But I make good choices most of the time.  That's why I look so fit and healthy, I eat the right foods.

Now, I am up in weight, you can see it in these pictures. I am eating more food and have expanded the choices to include some things I wouldn't typically eat. I prefer my lean body but  it's not practical to maintain year round.

I have people come up to me quite often and tell me they have been struggling to lose, and they want to ask me some questions, usually it is "What do you eat?" and I usually say:

"Chicken or turkey breast, fish, lean beef, egg whites, brown rice , sweet potatoes, yams, oatmeal, vegetables, lots and lots of vegetables."

"No bread? What about dairy? Do you eat fruit? Pasta? Have you heard of the <fill in the blank fad> diet?"

" I do eat fruit, after training. I am lactose intolerant so I don't eat much dairy. I rarely eat bread and then its usually Alvarado Bakery Essential Flax Seed bread, pasta is once in a blue moon and then it's a real serving- which is 2 ounces....not enough to fill you up so you need meat and vegetables too."

And I don't believe in fad diets. I also don't believe in hours of cardio. You should let the diet do the work. Bodies are designed to be lean, efficient machines, primed and ready to move and  function as the amazing works of art they are. Fuel your body so it can be what it was designed to be.

And drink water. Lots and lots of water.

When I diet to lose bodyfat, it is just a stricter version of what I currently eat year round. So I don't go on a fad diet but I do cut way back, it's easy really although not necessarily the most enjoyable thing in the world.

I have lots of people ask me questions and I am happy to answer them- Go ahead and ask away, but please remember, I am basing my answers on what has worked for me, I have years of experience and you gotta stick to the diet to see results, simple as that. You cannot expect to see results in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Training and Recovery

One of the biggest mistakes that athletes can make is not allowing their bodies time to recover. even get to the recovery period- you have to train hard enough to warrant it!

If you haven't paid attention to what every expert in the world has been shouting yet, it is a well known fact that growth takes place after you leave the gym, you need to eat properly (another post) and allow the body time to recover and build tissue. Back to back heavy sessions or multiple sessions may make you feel like a beast but you are doing more harm to your physique than good. That's one reason why Bodybuilders use the body split method- they can train everyday but move from one body part to the next and still make gains.

Roy and I started German Volume Training (GVT) two weeks ago- this is a method used for only a short time span where the trainee will perform 10 sets of 10 reps with a very short rest in between.

Typically this is done with one body part and there may be several days- even up to 5 days between sessions. We are hitting quads and shoulders, these are two focus areas of mine.

I recently experienced for the very first time in my lifting career, something new, I had not recovered enough from the previous workout- in fact, it was so dramatic that I couldn't lift nearly what I typically would lift. It was an odd experience for me.

In the past I have felt fatigued, or just plain tired, those are very different and you should be able to discern the difference. This time my body was not physically capable of performing what it was expected, and it actually performed sub-par of the typical weight.

On Wednesday we did GVT squats- the weight was increased from the previous session (its two sessions a week at the same weight for one week, then moved up the next two sessions). I was squatting at 115 which is pretty beastly considering I am at 126 pounds bodyweight and am doing 100 reps with little rest in between. I sweat, a lot!

This was on Wednesday evening and I finished at about 6:45- I had to push the sled afterward, I think the weight added to the sled was 115 pounds? So I would do four sets of three runs, each run about 20 feet maybe.

Then on Thursday morning I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to get to Gold's Gym by 5:00 a.m. to train hamstrings. Usually this would not be an issue, this week it was.

Roy wanted me to add some deadlifts in now, we started this last week on Mondays, so I wanted to first do my standing leg curls then go into the deads. The leg curls were hard but I just figured I was tired, the workout the night before was fairly brutal. But then I moved to deadlifts and I could only lift 185 pounds, 3 sets of 5. I could not do more. On Monday I lifted more than that and I did 5 sets of 10, this was a huge drop off.

I went to the prone leg curl and found I was lifting the same weight for less reps as the week prior. I moved to the Glute Ham Raise and literally fell apart. I did two sets of 5 reps. Last Thursday I did three sets of 10 reps.

I talked to Roy about it on Friday- I immediately figured that I was not fully recovered but I was a bit concerned, I need to get my legs bigger and the only way is to hit them twice a week. Quads twice and Hams twice. If I was so exhausted from the GVT I couldn't do this, there are not enough days in the week. 

Roy agreed that it was the fact that I had not recovered fully and he was pleased. 

Odd? No- let me explain.

GVT is designed to over load the Central Nervous System (CNS) and cause muscle hypertrophy, causing the athlete to gain lean muscle mass quickly. Here is an article about GVT from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, I found it quite interesting.

If you are really lifting at the recommended weight of about 60% to 70% of one rep max, for 100 reps, you should really take quite some time to recover. It should not be so easy that you bounce back in 24 or even 48 hours, I don't care how strong or young you are.

So the fact that I was explaining to Roy that I hadn't felt fatigued, I felt completely physically incapable of lifting my weights, showed that indeed I had overloaded my system, and my body was still trying to recover. Adaptation was occurring. My body was reacting to the overload and trying to adapt, I was gaining strength and mass (as long as I was eating enough too).

He said that if that occurred again, and I was not capable of increasing my weights or reps, then I should call it a day and go home, I was doing no good spending time in the gym. It would be like those people we all see who go in every single time, do the exact same workout with the exact same weight, and they look exactly the same forever, or fatter.

Friday as we trained shoulders, utilizing the GVT method again, I had recovered, and my weight went up as it should.

Saturday morning I went into Gold's Gym on my own, I had a very busy day and a very short time to lift, I did my GVT squats at 115 pounds, and it felt easy, I mean fairly easy. I was high as a kite, I was singing (as much as I could considering I was panting in between sets) and smiling, I knew I was getting stronger and adding mass, and on Wednesday my squats would go up yet again...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

The Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him most, he said: 

"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm Just a Poser!

Women's Physique- It is a whole new level, not like Figure at all! I am so excited, I cannot wait to get started. This is the Front Double Biceps pose (I have to watch the fingers so they don't look like I am flipping the bird like this though!)

You can see I am adding size- I guess it all happens fairly quickly on this little body of mine, I lose it fast, I gain it fast!

I had a busy day training, I always love Fridays since I get off work early. I was at Gold's Gym when they opened at 5:00 a.m. and did 25 minutes on the stair mill then calves...always trying to build up these damn calves! 

Then off to work for a few hours and then at 12:00 noon, shoulders - German Volume Training with Roy Ganju at BodyComp Personal Training Gym.

I went home, dropped off my stuff and then back to Gold's Gym at 2:00 p.m. to meet Steven Schaller, he is a trainer and a Bodybuilder- we would be working on posing for the first time!

We went into the studio and started right in, although I had watched some YouTube videos, I really needed someone to show me and help adjust my positions.

Steve was great - very patient and he did his homework, he had pictures of pro competitors on his laptop to show me and we discussed their posing and physiques, I appreciated that.  He was familiar with some of the pro competitors and commented on their most recent shows and their look, we both know that Dana Linn Bailey looks awesome, and probably too shredded again to win, but we both agreed she has a fantastic physique, and we both prefer ripped and shredded over soft any day!

Steve showed me the 5 mandatory poses, and we went through them, along with quarter turns (they are a bit different than Figure) and I practiced what I thought looked best for my physique.

I was stunned by how cramped up you can get so quickly! I commented that although the fact that this is all performed bare footed, and I thought it would make it easier, you need to flex and tighten your whole body for a long time, and it's more difficult than standing on stage for a few minutes in the damn heels! And I started sweating, from posing! Now I have a better understanding of why there exists a 'hierarchy" in the industry now, this is definitely going to be more difficult than Figure, and it will take a lot more practice. 

What thrilled me the most is that for the first time, I noticed how muscular I am! I never thought I was, but then I was never standing around posing like this! I had a great time, and I am so looking forward to practicing how I can show off my hard earned muscle on stage better now. 

I will be watching the New York Pro show this weekend, and with a new eye for the foot placement, the hands, how they tilt the pelvis, I have a new found respect for these women...

I plan to meet with Steve a few more times, I want to practice and then get his feedback. I have lots of time and thats what I need right now. 

Below is an instructional video of the mandatory poses for the new division. Email readers will need to navigate to the blog to view this video.

Oh and I asked Steve something that I have always wondered, and asked at all of my shows and none of the women ever know the answer to ! I know what "The Moon Pose" is and it is not what I had always thought it was! LOL! You will need to ask if you want to know...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Post Competition

Here I am in all my glory, it's about as big as I let myself get. I am trying to get bigger- more muscle that is, but not much fatter. And as long as I am diligent I should be able to maintain this level of bodyfat and still add some lean mass.

I am at 126 pounds, I was up to 128 a few days ago, and three weeks ago I was at 119. Now before you go all wonky on me, you must understand that pre-competition the body is depleted and dehydrated. When you eat carbohydrates, your body fills the muscles and liver with glycogen, and when you have glycogen in your body it holds onto water. 2.6 grams of water for every gram of glycogen....Instant weight gain!

Eliminate starches (or most of them) and water and zilch, you have nothing in the body to add weight.

After a competition, your body is primed for nutrients and fuel since it has been so depleted. Many people blow up from eating excessively and some do just getting back to normal foods, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself for the last few weeks and have eaten almost anything I wanted. Yes it shows, I an change that.

But, I have had my fill and am back to my clean eating (mostly) with a treat here and again. When I say treat this is typically savory foods for me. A pork chop, a lamb chop, cheeseburger, Caesar

My diet stays the same, I just allow myself more food. I eat at least one rice cake a day, with peanut or almond butter. I add a whole hard cooked  (well almost) egg to my salad. I allow myself to have my favorite thick spelt toast instead of oatmeal and I don't fret about tasting things here and there.

My lifting is heavy, I don't change it too much post competition. I am trying to add mass so I will lift heavy and focus on volume, I respond well to volume. That's where the German Volume Training comes in. It's hard to do it on a calorie restricted diet, so this is the time!

Wednesdays Roy and I do squats (10 sets of 10) and on Fridays we do barbell shoulder press (10 sets of 10). I repeat them both on my own, squats again on Saturday and shoulders on Tuesday. 

I did shoulders today on my own and was laughing to myself. I had to keep getting off the bench as I was sweating so much from the presses that the seat was wet and uncomfortable...As I always say - I know a good workout when I sweat and my feet aren't even moving.

I was talking to a woman in the locker room afterward and she made a comment about it, I said I was trying to add muscle and she got a look of surprise on her face. "Add more muscle?!" I forget that I am considered quite big and muscular to many other women.

I am back to running my stairs and jumping rope at lunch, so I get two workouts in almost everyday. I gave it up at the end as my competition got closer because I was too fatigued and I didn't want to lose too much more bodyweight. I am at the gym every single morning, and then running every lunch except Wednesday and Friday. Wednesdays I have GVT squats and I would be foolish to run and jump at lunch before that, and on Fridays I lift with Roy at noon so I really cannot fit it in. I do some form of cardio on weekends, either at the gym or on my treadmill.

So while I loved my svelte, lean competition body, It's not a good idea to try to maintain a level of bodyfat that makes an Olympic gymnast jealous, and I don't want to go through life like that anyway. I cannot stay so low all the time.

I will be starting to have more time for cooking and should be posting some great clean and healthy recipes soon.

I will be continuing to take photos, so you can see the changes in my physique and bodyfat, and let you know about dietary changes and my training.