Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My New Toy



It's a treadmill! And, it has a great story behind it! This is a NordicTrack EXP 1000, no it's not top of the line, nor is it new, but it was $50.00 and now it's mine!


You see, when you compete, you start doing 'two a days", meaning you are at the gym in the morning, then back again after work (those who are lucky enough to be able to get by without working- power to you and it is a bit more convenient for you isn't it?)


It gets very discouraging when you are hungry because you are dieting, tired because you are dieting and tired because you are training so hard; to have to go back to the gym after work, find a parking space, change and do it all over again.


Now, I can go into my guest room and do my cardio as soon as I get home! I park in the garage, no problems there! Is this going to replace my regular conditioning, sprints, stairs, and jump rope? No - It cannot, but I do need to add in additional cardio as I get closer to competition time, this will be my extra cardio.


I woke up early Saturday and looked at Craigslist and there it was. "Motivated seller", he said the price reflects the fact that he just wants to get rid of it fast. I emailed and told him I would be home by 8:30 am...he never contacted me until late in the afternoon, he had been at work. He said I was the first to respond (I do get up early) and asked if I had a truck- yes indeed I do!


I drove out there and got out of my convertible BMW, Tom had a bit of an annoyed look on his face, "I thought you said you had a truck?" I laughed and explained I do have a truck, but my friend Mark was remodeling (again) and I hadn't realized that he had taken it until I walked out to the front of my house to get in it and it was gone. It was full of bricks at the moment, if I bought the treadmill I would come right back with the truck and get it.


Tom looked me up and down and commented that I looked like I worked out a lot- He asked what sort of exercise do I do. I told him I lifted weights a lot and explained Figure, the competitions, and the reason for needing a treadmill, then he asked if I was a model too. Now that made my day, week, month and maybe even my year.  He asked when I started doing this and I said "when I was 47" and a shocked look came over his face and he said "47?! How old are you NOW?!" I told him I would be 51 in a couple months and he said "I thought you were in your 30's!" I am guessing Tom doesn't get out much....


I bought it and returned shortly with Moby (my big white truck). Tom helped me load it in and I drove home happy as a clam, wondering where on earth I would put it. David and Cooper were out of town until Sunday night, I had about 24 hours to figure it out, come up with a story and then make sure it all looked clean and tidy.





The treadmill sat in the truck in the driveway all night, I needed help and Mark was too tired after removing his brick chimney all day.



I spent the evening, until 10:30 moving everything around in the guest room and discovered a zillion things we didn't need, most of it under the bed, which got moved to every corner of the room as I attempted to fit everything in and still be able to walk around the bed. In the morning, after I returned from the gym, Mark came and we moved it to it's new home, right by a great window that I can open when it's hot.



The boys came home and David walked by the guest room and said "What the??" I explained that it was only $50.00 and he wanted to know why we needed a treadmill. I told him that I didn't have to go back to the gym at night now. He seemed a bit annoyed.


Cooper walked by and said "What the??" and asked what it was doing there. I explained and he wanted to know why we needed  a treadmill. When I told him why he seemed a bit annoyed. "I live here too!" he said. "Well", I explained. "You have two rooms, and the treadmill is in the guest room, not in one of yours, so I don't see how it inconveniences you at all." He replied that treadmills are noisy.


After they got settled we talked a bit, and I told David that he could actually use it every night too, it would be a great way to ease back into exercise! Luckily I had made them beef bourguiginon and buttered egg noodles for dinner, so by the time they finished, all was forgiven and the treadmill stays! 


Monday I had the day off, I met Roy at 10:00 am so I slept in and skipped my conditioning- there was no way I was going to run around the gym, expending all my energy and arrive at BodyComp too tired to train hard. We went longer, his 11:00 cancelled so he said we would keep going. I spent the afternoon prepping food and at 4:30 climbed on my new toy. I started up my Kindle Fire and a movie, 30 minutes went by so fast! I am going to have fun with this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Week 10 to Competition (start of diet)



Let the conditioning begin!


I am officially "on the diet" and counting down (or is it up?) to my next competition on May 5, 2012.


That's 10 weeks away. 


For those of you who have not followed me on the journey, I will explain the process. Each weekend I will take photos of all sides in my competition suit and I will post them on Tuesday. You will see me from start to finish.


This is much different than most people on the Internet. Most only show you pictures when they are at their best, when they have dieted down and are photo-shoot ready.


Not me! I take new pictures every week, so you see me as I look in the moment! I think it is very important for people to understand that we all have to work to get where we want, and if you can see me make changes every week then you can do it too!


In these pictures I am still holding onto vacation "bloat". I just spent a week in Mexico eating and drinking every single day, and when I say "eating and drinking", that means fried foods, chips, guacamole, alcohol, fatty meats, you name it.  I did not adhere to my usual clean diet and my body reflects that. And...I haven't been dieting!


Actually, my second night back I started to adjust, and the water just kept releasing, I was up all night long peeing- I think I must have gotten up at least 10 times (seriously). My body had been retaining water and as I got back to no alcohol and a clean diet, and very little starches, it started to release the water and toxins.


These pictures were taken Sunday, February 26, 2012. I am at 126.8 pounds.


I will discuss my new diet over the next few weeks, and although I am not making drastic changes I am making changes. Each competition and the months following I learn more about my body, what works and what doesn't.




Here you can see that the waist needs to come in, abs need to show, right now they look fine for "walking around" but not for standing on stage!


Again, you can see the stomach, it needs to be flat and concave, not convex! Ribs really should be more prominent, glute and hip area are holding on to a small layer of fat. 


I will have to start in on the back twice a week again, while I have some broadness, the V taper is not where it should be, although when the waist comes in that will appear more prominent. Some back fat will need to be shed also, I don't see any definition. The glute-ham tie in isn't as bad as the start of the diet from my last competition, once I drop the fat it will look smoother and tighter, I am pleased to see I don't have big "smileys" , I think I have Roy to thank for that- we have been working on my hamstrings quite a bit!
 The delts will need some more work to really pop (but don't forget I was off lifting for a week). 
And the smile is always hard, this get up isn't very comfortable! Besides the 5 inch Lucite heels that are mandatory, you have a custom made suit that is small. 


 Above is the front of the bottoms. High sides huh?


 Then the back (ha ha- its as small as the front!) with two plastic clips to hold the top back straps onto it, so everything gets cinched up together.




The top, well I suppose these are bigger for some gals.....


That's it, I am so excited to be launching into another adventure and to have you all following along! 


Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation




"The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world."
 -John Burroughs

"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point."
 -Harold B. Melchart

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault."
 -John Henry Newman

"Things do not change; we change." 
-Henry David Thoreau

"Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
-St. Francis of Assisi

"It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not."
 -James Gordon

"You have to get to the point where going for it is more important than winning or losing." 
-Arthur Ashe

Saturday, February 18, 2012

David

So I said I would see you in a week but here I am blogging from my phone.......David is sitting next to me, on alaska airlines in first class already relaxed....and when we get to Mexico (after the somewhat tense car drive north) and a big Margarita, he will be totally relaxed.

Me? I have been relaxed for hours!!!


Vacation Time!


It's almost "that" time. 


Diet Time

And the very, very odd thing is, I am looking forward to it! Can you believe it? Seriously! 


What I am looking forward to are the changes I will see in my body, this is the time when all of the hard work starts to show and become evident. I will start to lose the extra body fat that I have been carrying and the muscle will really start to pop! But of course, that won't be for several weeks will it?


I am in one of my favorite bikinis, that are made by Pin-Up Stars, an Italian company. I just tried it on today (Friday), before training with Roy to be sure I could still wear it on vacation, I think it looks fine don't you? I own 15. I know it's a bit overboard, but they make the most amazing suits. Each is unique, in limited editions every year;  covered in Swarovski crystals, sequins, feathers, beads, tufts, you name it. I have "Nemo" "rainbow", "hot pink", "targets"......This one has polka dots all over the string bottom, and then small cloth petals sewn all over the triangle top, they flutter in the wind.


They aren't cheap, but worth every penny in my mind. If you have been reading a while you know the story of one year during my annual trip to Mexico, many many years ago, my one Pin-Up Stars bikini was stolen during the night!  I was shocked and so upset. The hotel owner very kindly offered to give me one from the shop (I mean it certainly wasn't her fault was it?). As I waived my arms furiously in the air I was telling her that "it must be a very tiny, very small, very nice swimsuit because I don't bust my butt in the gym every single day to wear some old frumpy granny suit on vacation. 


It was plain brown, size large. hmph!

It has been an ongoing joke with the regulars, they all ask if I have locked my suits up in the safe deposit box every evening now. 


So when I returned home I started collecting them in every beautiful pattern and color I could find, hence the "15 Pin-Up Stars", and I am still collecting but only when I see a super hot one!


Here I am last year at this time, I like to compare my physique year to year. I think my shoulders are broader and my back wider now!




Every year at this time I go on vacation, I spend the week lounging on the beach in Troncones, Mexico at the same hotel, Hacienda Eden. Take a look at the link, yes it is right on the beach as the picture shows. I can see the ocean from my ground floor room, lounging in the hammock on the 14 foot patio (room #4).

I will lay on my chaise in the sand, (under a palapa, I am no fool!), drinking margaritas, wine or rum, eating whole red snapper, lobster, shrimp, taco's, and I will wander down the beach to The Inn at Manzanillo Bay for a couple pina coladas. 

I will try to eat healthy most of the time, but I will also enjoy myself, and not fret too much because I know as soon as I return home, the diet starts for the next 9 1/2 weeks.

When I return I will look a bit puffy since I don't typically drink alcohol everyday for a week, but getting right back on track will soon clear all that up.

One of the great things about Mexico is you really can make some good choices and still enjoy the food, but you can make some bad choices too. Like when we go to to Dona Nica's restaurant (no website, in fact, no floor, it's dirt), I will have her fantastic breaded and fried jumbo shrimp. And they are dipped in mayonnaise...and a beer or two. I sit with my feet in the dirt (hard packed), looking at the beach and just eat and sit. She makes great chile rellenos stuffed with mashed potatoes too.

I can also walk down to Marta's in La Majahua, a neighboring town and have fresh caught lobster- it takes a while because the divers go in search of the lobster after we order and start in on the beer!

I can drive to Cafe Sol to see Christain and have some fancy taco's (his are about $2.50 each whereas the stands sell 3 for $1.50). 


Mostly I will lay around and read though, I have a few good books and my new Kindle Fire loaded with all sorts of nutrition, diet, strength training and Milo journals


I have scheduled my massage with Anne, she lives in the U.S. half of the year and in La Majahua the other half, she sets up her table on my patio and I have a fantastic massage with the hot ocean breeze caressing my body. Did I say hot? Yes I did. The lows will be 71 degrees and the highs 88 degrees, perfect in my book!


My son is staying behind this time, it will be the first time in almost 18 years that he hasn't gone with us, but there really isn't anything to do so I can understand why he doesn't want to go. 


I will exercise, every single morning though. I wake up before everyone, well, not really, there is usually one or two surfers out at the point when I am there. I run along the beach and do plyometrics. I will actually be able to do my conditioning in the hard packed sand, it is low tide when I get up. After about an hour, coffee is ready, guests start to stir and I grab my spot and start reading until it's time to eat.


Then it is read, eat, rest, repeat. All day long.


I will see you all in a week!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Swinging




I am sure some of you are not thinking the same thing I am when I say "swinging", but that's just fine, think what you like!


Sunday was back day and I decided to sleep in, I have been enjoying my Sundays lately. So...I woke up at 5:55 a.m. oh well. I had my meal replacement drink and headed off to the gym.


I felt good, rested for a change and was ready to attack the day. I started with my favorite, chin ups and pull ups, superset with dips. Not sure how many sets, I think 7 sets of 6 to 8 chin ups, and 4 sets of dips (10 reps).


Lat pull down, I didn't increase weight but I did increase reps. I also cut my rest time down. Low Cable Row, again no increase in weight but more reps and less rest in between. I did 5 sets of each.

Single Arm bent Over Row, 5 sets.


E-Z Bar Curl, 5 sets.

Then, what would I do for conditioning? I decided to use the kettlebells. I haven't used bells in quite a while, I have done a bit of swinging and that was it.  Although I love training with Roy, kettlebells are what brought me to SC, that's all we did for almost a year. I love the down and dirty of kettlebells, there is nothing sweet and pretty about them. SC taught me everything anyone needs to know, and I am darn good too.


I get dirty, blistered, bloody, sore sweaty. I love them.


I started with Turkish Get Ups. This is a slow, steady move that targets the whole body, but particularly the core. You start laying on the ground and one hand has a KB, held straight up in the air. You sit up then stand, and go back down again, all under a great deal of control. It sounds easy and it's not. I did three sets of 4 on each side. I hadn't done them in over a year, I will need to start doing more and work up to 10 on each side.


Then snatches, I loves snatches. A couple years ago I spent the summer doing Kenneth Jay's Viking Warrior Conditioning. SC helped me come up with the correct tempo and weight. You start with a small bell and a fairly slow tempo, everything is timed including the rest periods. You work up to 45 minutes of continuous snatches. That's why the bell needs to be so light.


I wear cut up tube socks on my hands, I have permanent blisters but this stops them from tearing and bleeding. Once you start bleeding you pretty much need to stop. I have several sets in my bag, they get dirty and I toss them out. Below you can see a short demo of snatches in my backyard. February in California- nice huh?


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




At the gym I did 5 sets of 10 on each side, I walk in between to bring my heart rate down.


After the snatches I moved to swings. This is the classic kettlebell move and the one that most people don't perform correctly. I typically see people perform it in the "crossfit" method, which although may be useful for what crossfitters want it for, it is not what the move or exercise was intended for at all. This is not meant to offend anyone who loves Crossfit- I say do what you like. I am only trying to explain to those who do not know kettlebells, that if they see the 'crossfit" method they should not confuse this with the kettlebell swing. They are two completely different animals.


In crossfit it becomes more of an arm exercise, they swing it up with arm strength way up over the head; they may say that this is the "American Style".The swing is everything but that. It is designed as a  posterior exercise. It should hit the glutes, the hips, the hams, the quads, and the abs, and some of the back/shoulders too. Some crossfitters call this the "Russian Style".


The power should come from the hips, and the glutes. The arms are only an extension of the bell, they are attached and flowing with it, there is no effort coming from the arms.


(Again, if you want to do it crossfit style, that's fine, but I cannot offer advise, I am not into crossfit although I have plenty of friends who are.)


I did 10 sets of 10 with a 24 kilo kettlebell (that's 53 pounds). Again, I walk in between each set to bring my heart rate down. I knew I was doing them right, my breathing becomes very rhythmic and I could feel my glutes swelling after 5 sets! ha ha


I have my own bells, so can do these any evening in the backyard. I think I need to start this again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quads


Saturday I trained quads as usual. I also had a good day, I can tell when my physique is looking good by the comments folks make at the gym.


Roy told me to hit the Leg Extension first this time so I did. I always think this machine is useless, but I always use it the closer I get to a competition.


I suppose it has it's uses depending on what your goals are. As far as building big, meaty legs, this is not going to do it. But for cuts and definition, I think it is the way to go. 


I did several sets, as heavy as I could without arching my back and basically looking like I was writhing in pain. You really need to keep your eye on your form, so many people think that even though they are grimacing, twisting, writhing, and squeezing the handles with all their might, it's OK because they have a lot of weight on the machine. 


Nope- not really. The weight should be as heavy as you can lift with good form. So I concentrate on keeping a "pretty face" and my back square against the back rest, my hands lightly gripping the handles and I do not swing the weight.


Afterward I headed down to my favorite power rack. I warmed up and loaded up the weight, I was to do 4 sets of 10 back squats with 140 pounds. All the way down, no shimmy! 


I did it! ha ha ha! I think I still have a little shimmy though, but I am working on it.


Then on to the Leg Press, where I did 5 sets of 10 with 495 pounds. I need to work on adding yet more weight but I start to feel it in my knees and that's bad joo joo so I avoid anything that will cause potential pain.


I then need to do my walking lunges. I don't particularly care for lunges but they are a "must do". I am moving benches trying to make a wide open path and Ryan comes by with a client points at a piece of equipment and asks if I am using something. No, I am only trying to make a huge open space to walk with an Olympic bar and it just isn't happening today, so I will go to get dumbbells and walk down the hallway instead.


I tell him I am off to Mexico soon, going to fatten up before the diet. I ask if he has started his, he competes in bodybuilding and we will be in the same show in May. No, he hasn't started yet but he has been cutting back on calories. He said I  have maintained a fairly lean physique, my diet shouldn't be too hard. I agreed, I told him I have done a good job adding weight but not too much bodyfat. 


I start my lunges, and I have chosen 25 pound dumbbells although I am using heavier ones with Roy, but I have done more quad work today than he and I typically do at once. As I am resting in between sets I almost bump into Denise as we both pace about. We start laughing and talking about dreaded lunges. She shakes her head "You are still changing, your whole backside especially! It's working, you look good." "What do you see?" I ask.


"More muscle, but lean, really lean definitely more muscle, it really is working whatever you are doing."


We talk about diet and how I have been training hamstrings twice a week, and quads twice a week, I have really been working on my legs, my glutes are huge too.


I finish my lunges (3 sets of 15 on each leg) and head off to do some steady state cardio- I am going to get on the stairsteper because all the stairmills are full.


MJ, one of the female trainers waves me over. She is working with a client on a Nordic walker and wants to talk to me. "Do you have a competition coming up?" she asks. "No" I explain, "Not until May."


"You look god! really good, it shouldn't be a problem being ready by then." I then tell her I am going on vacation to Mexico soon, so I may look a bit softer after my return.


"Enjoy it!" she said. "You will have plenty of time to get hard and ripped".


And she's right.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Food


My diet changes throughout the year, when I am gearing up for a competition, I am super strict, I have to be. In fact, my diet will start on Tuesday, February 28. This is the day after my annual vacation to Mexico ends; I refuse to diet on vacation.


This is 9 ½ weeks until my competition (oh, I recall a steamy movie by that name!) I know, you are supposed to start your diet 12 weeks ahead of time but my vacation always falls here, so that’s life right? Vacation is more important than any competition where, at best I can only go home with a couple plastic trophies, and I have plenty!


So just what am I eating these days anyway? Here is an example of my food on Thursday.

4:15 a.m. Lean One shake from Nutrition 53, this has 20 grams protein, 19 grams carbs and is 220 calories. I have a bunch of supplements too.






5:00 a.m.  to 6:00 a.m. Intra workout I will have 20 grams BCAA’s. Yes I know that the package says 5 is enough, but according to Charles Poliquin (and Roy), I need 20 grams, as it is by bodyweight. I have noticed a great improvement in body composition since starting this, higher weight and less body fat.



6:15 a.m. Post training is a mixture of amino acids, glutamine, beta alanine, L-leucine and more supplements. Then coffee.



7:30 a.m. homemade waffles made with 1 cup egg whites, 1/3 cup oats and flavorings. I have 1 tablespoon peanut butter on them too….with cinnamon; I eat all the stuff I love at once. More supplements.



10:00 a.m. an orange from my CSA delivery and water.

11:30 a.m. is lunch. I have 4 ounces chicken breast, 2.5 ounces soo-foo and a mixture of radicchio and kale that I roasted with balsamic vinaigrette and mushrooms. I do not weigh or measure my vegetables. More supplements.




3:00 p.m. is afternoon lunch and I have a salad of 4 ounces chicken breast, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, endive, broccoli slaw and a ¼ of an avocado. I have a bottled dressing here that is great and super low cal- Lean on Me Naturally .


I used to buy this at Cosentino's but they closed and now I cannot find it. If anyone in my area knows where to get this, please tell me! My favorites are the Caesar and the Citrus Sesame.



6:00 I am so ready for dinner, I am starving. I am having soup, today I made tilapia soup with my favorite Thai Peanut Soup mix. I added 5 ounces tilapia that I cut into chunks and seared,  then a huge handful of chopped and par boiled kale (Kale is one of the best vegetables you can eat), and mushrooms. I topped it with Sriacha Sauce and some Greek yogurt. Umm... more supplements.


The fish is chunked then quickly seared in a bit of olive or coconut oil.


The Thai soup mix I love from Montebello Kitchens, I get this at Whole Foods. I use 1.3 ounces of the powder mixed with 2 cups water, whisk then add any ingredients I like. 


Here is the finished soup, looks great doesn't it? 











Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fat Gripz


Friday my new toy was Fat Gripz. Not sure if I like them, but I love new things, I love trying different things and I will use them for a while and then decide!


I met Roy for my usual shoulder training, darn shoulders just cannot get big enough if you ask me!


We are still working on behind the neck barbell presses, and the weight is still going up. I suppose as long as I am not at a plateau, then this is good!


Then seated dumbbell press and again, still moving up in the weight each week.


Front raises, and I am just a wet mess here. I suppose that my arms and shoulders are a bit fatigued by this point, and Roy wants me to perform the exercise very strictly. Honestly, I watch others in the gym do this and they almost have a little dance going, they bounce along, using momentum to swing the weights up, and then just drop them down, completely ignoring the fact that the eccentric movement (the lowering) is really important to be done in a controlled manner- this is where the strength and size is developed.


Times was up and his next client was there stretching, I was still trying to lift my sorry little dumbbells for my front raises. Although I make fun of myself, I am actually doing a good job, you can tell, my arms look great and look better and better everyday actually.


I finish and Roy starts working with his other client then comes over and tells me to do some pull ups with these. We talk a bit about them, they make the bar much, much thicker, so it is incredibly difficult to hold on. 


The theory behind these is simple and it makes sense. Your grip and your arm strength typically give out before the larger muscles that are being trained. This is why I use lifting straps for deadlifts, to hold my dumbbells with walking lunges, with barbell bent over rows, you have the idea right?


By using these large rubber grips, your are supposed to be able to develop the grip and arm strength which in turn allows you to continue on or with more weight with your main lifts.


Roy had them on the pull up bars in the middle of the dual cable machine, I tried some pull ups. Much more difficult! What I noticed is I had to strategically place the opening where the slit in the rubber was, as it tended to turn a bit in my hands. Once I found the right position it stayed though.


I love pull ups and chin ups (I told you recently right?) so I just hung out, doing a few sets, moving the Fat Gripz to other posts and trying those.


As usual, my gym doesn't have any of the fun toys, so I cannot use these there, I have to use them at Roy's place.


I will keep track of my progress and let you know how it goes!







Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation






"Aim for the top. There is plenty of room there. There are so few at the top it is almost lonely there." 
Samuel Insull

"You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures." 
Charles C. Noble

"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do." 
Epictetus

"The person with a fixed goal, a clear picture of his desire, or an ideal always before him, causes it, through repetition, to be buried deeply in his subconscious mind and is thus enabled, thanks to its generative and sustaining power, to realize his goal in a minimum of time and with a minimum of physical effort. Just pursue the thought unceasingly. Step by step you will achieve realization, for all your faculties and powers become directed to that end."
Claude M. Bristol 


"Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success." 
Stephen A. Brennan

"From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached." 
Franz Kafka

"I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacation with better care than they do their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change." 
Jim Rohn

Sunday, February 12, 2012

BCAA's




Back at the start of the year I wrote about BCAA's, and explained how vital they are to growing and maintaining the lean mass I want. I also wrote about the product I was taking called X-Tend and I have since discontinued it due to the dangerous dyes that are used in the product. It is a very popular product, it tastes great and has some good ingredients, but I am afraid the bad outweigh the good, so I stopped using it.

It took me some time but I found a great product I have been using for a couple months now, you can see it above and it is BCAA 5000 by Nutra-Bio. It has only what I want, BCAA's and nothing else!

I do like a little flavor though, it makes me drink more and I need to drink this during my training, not before and not after. Studies have shown this is important to ingest intra-workout.

I searched high and low and finally found an all natural flavoring that I like!

Below you can see my four containers of Reboost with Erythritol (a natural sweetener) from SeelecT. I do like the Cherry flavor quite a bit, the mango not as much and I will be trying some others soon, I think the lemon lime and the orange!



My flavorings do come with an interesting story as does most of my life, everything is better with  a story isn't it? I called the company and asked about the product, as I found the website a bit confusing and couldn't understand how a sugar free product could also have dextrose in it (sugar!).  After discussion I placed an order for two bottles of flavorings, one mango and one cherry, I was to get the ones sweetened with erythritol, not the one with dextrose. I received my order and was disappointed to see they had dextrose in them and quite a bit more calories than I wanted. They were an excellent post training drink, but that is not what I wanted.


I emailed them that evening and the very next day I got a call from Richard, a very patient fellow at SeelecT. I explained my dilemma and he apologized and said to keep the bottles he would send some new ones out right away, the ones I thought I was getting. He would send them for free due to the mix-up.


I soon received four containers of powder, the ones you see above.


Richard even called me back a short while later to ask what I thought, did I like the product? I do, I do! I told him I would call and let him know and I will after I post this, just so he can see it too.


The directions on the BCAA's say one serving is 5 grams, but Roy has advised that I have 20 grams per serving, this is based on my bodyweight per Charles Poliquin. Here is his  article if you would like to read a bit more about them. 


So I use 20 grams and my flavorings during my training. Often I train twice a day so on the days I am conditioning only (as opposed to weight training) I will use 5 grams only, then later during lifting I use the 20 grams.


I have seen great results in the last couple months, and there may be a few factors that have contributed to my results, but I believe this is one of them.  Exactly what results am I talking about anyway? My weight is fairly high, yet my bodyfat low, I look pretty darn lean for where I am. I believe that I have been able to add lean mass as opposed to just "mass", meaning fat mass. 


If you plan on ordering any flavorings, you may wish to call the good folks at SeelecT, as I still find their site a bit confusing and don't want to get the sweetened version again in error!



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stress


We all have times of stress, and stress can be very different for each of us. We each handle situations differently. Some people might get extremely stressed at the thought of having to present at a meeting, while others love the thought of it.

I tend to be a fairly stress free person, as each year goes by I learn that getting worked up about things I cannot change does me more harm than good, so I try not to sweat the small stuff. My husband says he needs to worry so much because I don’t worry about anything. I think he might be exaggerating a bit though.

I have been under a tremendous amount of stress now for the last month and a half; I am starting to feel the toll it is taking on my body, my emotions, my whole being. 

I have been caring for a friend who is dying, she is much younger than me and currently needs round the clock care. Although I have arranged to have a caregiver there 24 hours a day, I am still with her almost every day, and we spend a lot of time in the hospital. I am responsible for her day to day living, it isn't something I was prepared for and the challenges I face daily are astounding. I wasn't ready for the medical power of attorney, the durable power of attorney, paying bills, managing finances, divorce attorneys, wills, statement of assets, life insurance, prescriptions, transportation, grocery shopping, doctors calling, social workers calling, I am sure I can add more to the list. Just think of your life, then pretend you need to do everything the same for someone else.


Whew!

This is the type of trigger that sets many people into a tailspin, and these are the times when it is most important to stick to your plan.

Thursday we left for the hospital at noon, and I ended up driving home at about 6:30pm without her, she would be staying again. I last ate at about 10:30 am, as I had a meeting to attend prior to taking her to the hospital. I had food with me, I always do, but the afternoon progressed much differently than planned. I have an aversion to eating in a hospital exam room, or the Emergency Room, not sure why, but I do and since that is where I was for 5  1/2 hours, I had no food. I also only drank one liter of water in that time, although that is fairly good, it is not what I typically drink.

I drove home, emotionally and physically exhausted, it was a repeat of the prior weekend, so much time at the hospital. All I could think of was a big, rare, juicy cheeseburger on a white bun with mayo; French fries and a glass of red wine.

The drive was long though, as it was commute traffic so I sat on the freeway, looking at my speedometer going from 10 to 20 miles per hour, this would take forever. I called David and asked him to help. He cooked some asparagus, and some eggs. He took my turkey patty out of the fridge so it could finish defrosting.

When I am stressed I don’t crave carbohydrates, I crave fats. I like the textures and satisfaction I get from fat. Peanut Butter, rare beef, undercooked egg yolks, cheese.

So to help me stay on my diet I planned to eat my Spanish Turkey Patty and then supplement it with a semi-hard cooked egg. The yolk would still be soft and creamy to satisfy me. Having David cook the asparagus helped to make everything move along faster as soon as I got home, I can eat my vegetables at room temperature. 

I didn’t have the wine either.

My lesson is to always have food prepared, such as my turkey patty that was defrosting, and have some healthy vegetables ready for you. Add a little something to help make it better- like my whole egg, it changed my meal from healthy to sublime. Ask someone to help if you can. David would have made that cheeseburger for me had I asked, but I didn’t thank goodness. 

Don’t let the daily stresses side rail you, it’s not a valid excuse. Had I chosen an unhealthy meal, not only would I be tired the next day but I would feel angry at myself too. Now, I am only tired, but I have been for weeks, so it's OK.

It is very easy to rationalize in our minds that it is OK to deviate "just this one time, I have had a hell of a day". But how many days do you have like that? How often would you find yourself saying that?


Don't act on impulse, you have a plan, stick to it, you can do it if you want to.

Save it for a celebration, don't use "life" as an excuse.

We must be careful not to let our current appetites steal away any chance we might have for a future feast. 

Jim Rohn

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vegetables




This should be a huge part of every meal. Fresh, organic vegetables and fruits. I encourage you to join a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, either one that delivers to a central drop off point, or to your home.


By doing this, you will be assured of eating what is in season, so that means that the food will be at the height of freshness and full of vitamins and minerals and anti-oxidants. When you belong to a CSA, they only deliver what they grew, and that means it is the right time to eat it. It tastes better when it is in season too.


It also ensures that the food is healthier for you. It won't be grown in a hot house, or flown from all over the world. It is meant to be eaten now.


What would I do with this delivery?


Strawberries and oranges would be eaten as they are.


Artichokes would be steamed.


Avocados would go in salad.


Beets would be roasted in the oven (in a pan with a little water, covered with foil) until tender, about 30 minutes.


Beet greens would be sauteed in olive oil, and served as a side dish.


Chard would be sauteed in olive oil and red pepper flakes added.


Carrots would be eaten in salad, or on their own as a snack.


Celery would be cut up for crunch in a salad.


Green onions, cut into large pieces on the diagonal, added to salad.


Cilantro? In salad, I love whole cilantro leaves for a burst of flavor.


And, of course the lettuce, it forms the base of the salad.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sledgehammers





Yes you read it right. Sledgehammers.


Monday after we finished our hamstring training Roy wanted to do more. Time was up but that was OK with him, he knew I missed the boxing and the ropes last week so he suggested this to make up for it.


He looked at me and asked if I ever swung a sledgehammer.


"Yes, I did! I used to swing a sledgehammer, against a big tire, in the sand pit, in the hot sun, with the football team when I trained with SC."


I saw a look of disappointment come over his face, and I instantly knew I shouldn't have said it with quite so much excitement. I think he wanted to have me do something new, but it wasn't new to me, although I hadn't done it in about 2 years. 


He quickly recovered and started to roll the huge truck tire out into the parking lot. It was about 6:45 p.m. and it was warm out, I took off my shirt, I needed to be in shorts and a bra top for this. 

He said to go for 15 to 20 swings on each side. It sounded like a lot and I said so, he was starting to train another woman so he walked away and left me to my tire and hammer.


After the first couple swings I got it all back. I remember back when I did this with SC, some of the guys on the football team would be there with me, coaching me along. SC would just stand in the shade shouting out orders once in a while. I would be in the hot sun, sweat dripping in my eyes, wondering what the hell I was doing here as I would sometimes miss and sand would go flying up into my face.


The guys were great-- they were all young, anywhere between 18 and 22 and quite strapping young athletes I may add. They looked only better as their backs became wet with sweat along side me. 


They taught me how to start with my hands wide, one at the top of the shaft, one at the bottom, then let the top slide down to meet the bottom as I swung to hit the tire.  I started to develop a rhythm, I liked it. I liked it a lot.


I like things like this, it makes me feel alive. The sheer effort, the sweat, the feeling of the muscles in my entire body working and rippling.


Roy would come check on me every so often, and gave me encouragement, I would just keep swinging my sledge. 


Roy showed me how to hit the tire with the side if the sledge, to reduce the bounce back, it was effective. If you don't hit it with a good solid strike, the reverberation running up the shaft can start to wear on your arms.


20 on each side, four sets. All I needed was some loud music and a couple guys along side!


It's a great workout, it hits your entire body. I can feel it everywhere the next day, and its one of those great things that hits the abs, the obliques, the back, legs, glutes, arms and traps. 


Although my other gym doesn't have a tire and sledgehammers, Roy's does, and I am there three times a week! Now I can add this to the ropes, sled and boxing, all much better than any cardio machine man ever made!









Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back Training



Sunday, Back day! Love it! For some odd reason I am holding my shoulders crooked in this picture, But I think you can still see the wideness of my back, which is what I wanted to show.


I think it is imperative to have a written plan every single time you walk into the gym. Now, that doesn't mean you need to adhere to the plan, and Sunday I didn't.


I decided I wanted to do lots and lots of chin ups. So after stretching I wandered down to my favorite power rack, I wanted to use that instead of the dual cable in the main room. The dual cable has an area in the middle with several different hand positions for chin ups and pull ups, but I wanted to listen to some really good Latin reggae and hip hop and just crank out chin up after chin up, watching in the mirror. I actually watch my abs, it helps to see them in the mirror, to maintain a tight core, make sure I don't use any swinging or momentum, and concentrate on the eccentric move. 


I listened to Orishas, I love them! 


Want to hear one of the songs that let's me do chin up after chin up? Here ya go! (Email subscribers will need to navigate directly to the blog to see the video below)








I did set after set after set. Then I did some back extensions in between. And more chin ups, over and over. The music kept me going.


I then did 4 sets of bent over barbell rows, in the same power rack. The off to the T-Bar row, with lots of weight. I came back for more chin ups. 


Up to the Low Cable Row.


Then I did barbell curls with the e-z bar. A male, much bigger than me was doing the same thing, with the same weight. He should have been using more.


Then triceps extensions with the same e-z bar.


I was done, my back was toast.







Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Phenomenal





A friend sent me an email on Sunday, she was telling me about some new clothes she bought. The color? Black and she said "I know, not your thing. You like the bright colors, you like to stand out, to be noticed, to grab everyone's attention."

Yup!

I do love to be the center of attention, and I love to walk by and see heads turn, maybe that's why I am successful competing. You cannot be very shy and stand up on stage, especially with almost nothing covering your body.

You need to feel confident, comfortable in your own skin, and proud. I am very proud of myself, I like what I have created.

I think that's why I work so hard in the gym, why I devote so much time and energy on my physique.

A trainer came up to me on Sunday as I was on the Low Cable Row. She said she wanted to tell me about a friend of hers who was visiting from out of town, and she was in the Gym with her the other day. She was going "ga-ga" over my physique, she thought it was 
phenomenal (her words). She then said "I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of sharing your age, and when I told her you were 50, she refused to believe me."

Ha Ha Ha, I threw my head back and laughed a huge belly laugh, "Mind? Not at all I am very proud of my age"

She said she thought I might enjoy the unsolicited compliment, and I said yes, indeed, I loved it so much.

Then Sakura sent me an email after looking at Saturdays blog picture, saying "HOLY COW. Do you realize how phenomenal you look? Actually, quite a difference from when I first started reading your blog, Mama! But a good difference. :) 

Two "phenomenals" in one day! YES!

We all go through periods of self doubt, questioning if what we are doing is right, is it working? Am I eating correctly, training correctly? Am I devoting the time to the body parts that need it most? The list is endless. Although it may sound funny, my husband gets tired of me standing naked in front of him asking how things look (really, it gets old).

These two compliments will keep me motivated for weeks, I felt so good after hearing both of them.  Makes me want to wear hot pink and bust my butt in the gym even more than usual!

Thanks