Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation





“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion 
from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack, having the guts to go on 
and just say they'll go through the pain no matter what happens.”
 Arnold Schwarzenegger

“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.”
 Pat Riley


Most look up and admire the stars. A champion climbs a mountain and grabs one.
Unknown

"I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.”
 Billie Jean King

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can't.”
Jack Dempsey

“Inches make a champion.”
Vince Lombardi

“If you want to take your mission in life to the next level, if you're stuck and you don't know how 
to rise, don't look outside yourself. Look inside. Don't let your fears keep you mired in the crowd. 
Abolish your fears and raise your commitment level to the point of no return, and I guarantee you
that the Champion Within will burst forth to propel you toward victory.”
Bruce Jenner 


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Korean Bath House


I love the Korean Bath House. I first went there many years ago with my mother and have been going back, alone ever since. I go before a competition to have a body scrub. This is no regular scrub like you get in a spa, this is a down and dirty, scrub every inch of your body 30 minute torture.


Here I arrive at Lawrence Health Center in Santa Clara, it's a nondescript building located in a run down strip mall. It may not look fancy, but it has been featured in Sunset magazine as a "find".



I have no idea what any of the signs say! And how did I find this place? I read about it on the Internet. I love doing exciting, unfamiliar things so off I went one day!  You go to the counter and pay your fee and off into the spa.


A body scrub (exfoliation) is $30.00 and lasts for 30 minutes, a massage (body care) is $50.00 for 50 minutes. I get the two in a package, a scrub followed by a massage and hair washing.


I also schedule an appointment ahead of time and request Sue, a woman with the most powerful vice like grip I have ever, ever met. If she is married, her husband is either a very happy man or a very sore man.


The receptionist gives me three very small towels, a robe and a toothbrush. Shoes are left outside the door, this place is all about getting clean. Squeaky clean.



Women only through this door, men through another. 



Pink locker room and changing area with toiletries for afterward. I think that is an autoclave there on the right. A woman comes out and grabs my ticket to see what my services are and gives the ticket to Sue. They know #35 (my locker key) has "full body care" and is here. I have some time in the spa first though.


I weigh myself- they have a scale in pounds and one in kilos! I want to make sure I weigh the same going in and leaving, I don't want to lose water weight now.


All the clothes are left in the locker, I have my robe on and a couple towels, with $20.00 in my pocket for Sue. 


First I stand and walk on the acupressure mat in the hallway. I sure have a lot of fun doing weird things on my own. 


I make up my own stories about what these signs say. I will let you make up yours!


Toilets are through here, and in another room a huge heated marble slab to lay on after your treatment, hard, warm marble. Soothing music and the soft chatter of women talking as they lounge on the leather couches.


After I enter the baths. I first shower, wash my hair and brush my teeth. Clean, clean, clean. I walk to the steam room, I love the smell of the wormwood in there. Two women are there speaking in a language I don't understand. The older one spits on the floor. I guess I look shocked as the younger one says something and the older one quickly goes out and gets a small bucket of water and washes her mess down the drain.


I then go to the warm Jacuzzi and float a bit, the two women follow me and start talking. The young one tells me she is visiting her aunties who live here. She is from Washington where she goes to a Koren spa like this, and she told me her aunties (one of them is the spitter) wanted her to locate one in their area, so she found this and brought them.


They start telling me all about the wonderful baths they have "back home" and I ask where that is. Afghanistan. Oh, that's why I couldn't tell the language. We all talk a while about how wonderful it is to come here, only women, be free and naked and take care of our bodies. It's about time for my scrub so I use the toilet and come back, only to see Sue emerge with a smile. 


English is not her first language, so she speaks English the way I speak Spanish. Instead of "Wow, look at how fast that dog is running!" I say "Dog run fast". Sue's English is like that, so you can imagine our conversations.


She shouts "Where you been!? Wait few! Wait few!" and points to the jacuzzi. She wants me back in because she isn't ready for me. I obey. Everyone obeys Sue.


She comes to get me and shouts at me to tie up my hair. The splashing water is loud, so she has to shout to be heard I think.


I will add some links to previous visits at the bottom of this post so you can read about them, each has some different stories about the process. 


She wants to know about my competition and why I haven't been in to see her in so long. She tells me just because I don't have a competition, I still need to be clean...don't wait so long to come see me she admonishes. 


She dons scrubbing mitts that are rough and  scrubs and scrubs and bends over to whisper in my ear (a very loud whisper) that the last woman didn't do a good job then she makes me look at my stomach, which looks like smooth porcelain. 


She turns and tweaks my body into all positions and scrubs every inch, only avoiding the nipples as that would hurt.  I like it when she gets in between each toe and finger. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere is scrubbed. Everywhere is scrubbed, dark balled up rolls of dead skin cover me and the table. Once in a while she rinses me off with buckets of hot water, it stings as the skin is raw.


She flips me on my stomach and attacks the back, she is bent over the head of the table, wearing the traditional black lace bra and panties, she reaches way down and I laugh to myself as my head is nestled between her large breasts...ha ha only here would this happen. 


She shouts "How you like my power!?" I tell her she is strong, and she asks if she should go light. "NO!" I cry, wondering if that was a mistake, she is strong, really, really strong.


She tells me my skin is very bad, she has had to scrub much longer so my massage will be shortened. She stands me up and makes me rinse with the hand held shower head.


Back on the table and she coats my entire body with oil, I am slippery like a seal. She places a hot wet towel under my stomach to keep me from sliding off the vinyl. 


Hot towels all over, massage, pounding, smacking and she finishes by washing my hair. She asks what shampoo I use, my hair is silky. She then laughs and asks if I remember the very first time I saw her, my long hair was so tangled she couldn't even wash it. I wonder how she can remember me from that long ago.


I finish and stand, she turns me round and round admiring my sleek and smooth naked body. She is satisfied. A smack on the butt and a laugh. She always does that to me.


I go back to my car, it's a half hour past feeding time and I have to be very careful not to lose muscle, I must eat. My food is sitting in the trunk waiting for me. I will sit in the car with the door open, and eat my tilapia, asparagus and cashews. I cannot sit there with the top down, my skin is all new, I will burn like crazy.



Here is a short video of the interior, a cannot tell you how much I love this place. If you are uncomfortable being naked in front of strangers, this is not the place for you. No clothes are allowed behind the bath doors. (Email readers will need to navigate to the blog to watch this short video).




Links to previous visits

Korean Bath House May 2010

Korean Bath House July 2010


Korean Bath House September 2010


Korean Bath House September 2011



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Positive Energy





I have been waking up early, in fact, the last two weeks I have been waking earlier than my alarm (and that's pretty impressive when the alarm is set for 4:00 a.m.)


I feel good, most of the time. Physically I feel wonderful, it's the emotional and mental state that are a bit questionable every now and then. 


I am second guessing myself, and that is unfortunately part of the "competition" game. I did not want to get as lean as last competition, I think I started to lose lean mass, I didn't like the look, nor was it healthy for me, so I have deliberately maintained a higher weight. 


Every once in a while I wonder if I overdid it. I could have lost one more pound, and that would make a big difference on a small frame such as mine. But then again, according to both David and Roy, I am bigger, not fatter, but more muscular.


Wednesday I had my bodyfat checked and it came in low, 5.2% which is more than "respectable" it's phenomenal. It really helped me to wrap my head around what's going on and made me realize that I should be fine, who the hell should complain about bodyfat of 5.2%?! I was sure I would drop at least one more maybe two more pounds and hopefully it will all drop right off my butt! 


I stopped in at Courtside to meet with Monique, she took a half hour out of her day again to review my posing, talk to me about stage presence and gave me a great talk, she is quite the motivational stud muffin! 


She gave me some great tips and reinforced what we had previously discussed, made me promise to chant my "saying" in my head as I am standing on stage, looking directly at the line of judges all staring up at me. It's what ever I want to say to myself, but it needs to convince ME that THEY want me to win; it's designed to pull them into me. It's another head trip. I am not going to tell you what I am saying over and over in my head but anyone who cares to guess can send me an email or a reply to this post. It's a little risque...


I walked out feeling good, feeling strong, feeling capable. I needed her motivational talk, it really helped me. I think it is very important to surround yourself with the right people, people who are supportive and positive. People who make you feel GOOD! I know a lot of people like that, I tend to cut loose those who don't fit that criteria, my life is too short to keep an albatross around my neck. I don't try to "make them come around", I just... walk away.


The sport of Figure is as much a psychological sport as much as a physical sport, maybe even more. Your head will get in your way every time. I know my head stops me from heavy, heavy squats, just as it tells me I am too "fat" when I am close to competition time.


Friday I was training with Roy and not feeling a great deal of energy, this is not typical for me. I told him that I thought I was just "done" ready to be over with the preparation for the competition. He said he could tell, it wasn't like me to cut my set short (one rep! Geez!!)


I was also down one pound from Wednesday, just as I suspected, and I will probably drop another soon.


I tried to finish strong, we discussed the upcoming days training, it must be modified due to depletion, fatigue and the fact that I am doing mostly circuits now as I always do just prior to showtime. It throws his stats off, but oh well, we have plenty of time to make new ones.


After we finished, I started thinking about the new training we would embark on, my goal to gain even more muscle, at least another 2 pounds! I told Roy I would be back the Monday after the competition, I am not taking any time off. "None?" he asked. I said that I would probably skip the gym Monday morning, and just train one that day for a change. He kinda shook his head and smiled, I think he said something about German Volume Training....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nutrient Timing


I was corresponding with one of my blog readers and she asked about a book that discussed nutrient timing and I recommended this. I then dug it up and started reading it again, I often read books several times and always come away with something new each time.


This book is entitled Nutrient Timing by John Ivy, Ph.D., & Robert Portman, Ph.D. and has a foreword by William Kraemer, Ph.D. It is a great resource for anyone interested in bringing their training and nutrition to the next level.


As I have said many times, I trained for several years but never really made impressive changes in my physique until I started eating properly, and it's not just which foods but when you eat them that matters. 


It does take time to learn to eat properly, it's not something that just happens overnight.  They teach you what happens physiologically when you exercise, so you better understand why you need the specific nutrients they recommend. 


Discussions include how to avoid a catabolic state, how to elevate an anabolic state, and how to promote muscle growth. 


Supplementation, macronutrients and micronutrients are all covered Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.C.N, C.N.S has a chapter with tables to help you calculate your own food plan.


They discuss the science behind the now well accepted fact that post training recovery should be a ratio of 4:1 (carbs to protein) for maximum growth and replenishment of muscle glycogen. 


Insulin, cortisol and glucose uptake are explained in a manner that is easy to understand.


My book is dog eared- I think you can see the top right corner, and I will probably read it a few more times again. 


It's well worth the $10.00 you will spend on it, buy it now!


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hydrostatic Bodyfat Testing


I had hydrostatic bodyfat testing Wednesday at Courtside, they have Mike's mobile truck come every six months, so this was perfect since my membership officially ends at the end of April!


I had a good visit, saw a lot of the trainers I hadn't seen in a while, one wanted to know what I was competing in this time, Figure or Physique!


So, if you have been reading a while, you know I have been trying to gain muscle, and not get as lean as last competition when I was down to 2.5%, I didn't like the look and it wasn't healthy.


Although I am a little worried that I may not be just quite low enough, I am low, lower than most males ever get (and they get leaner than females). I am at 5.2%


To read all the details I will add links at the bottom here, I have done this three times so I don't want to go into all the details again. I will briefly explain it though. 


Mike has a big truck, like a huge taco truck, with no tacos. Inside is a changing room, scale, computer and a huge stainless steel tank half full of lukewarm water.


You need to get in the tank, weight belt on your hips and exhale all your air, then plunge underwater and keep pushing out all your air until you feel you shall die. No coming up for air until Mike bangs on the side of the tank.


Then you do it two more times. Ugh.


So my stats:


123 pounds (funny at Gold's at 5:00am I was 121)


Lean Body Mass:
Lean body mass percentage 94.75%
Weight of Lean body mass 116.55 pounds


Body Fat:
Body fat percentage 5.2%
Weight of body fat 6.45 pounds (it's all in my butt)


Mike remembered me, he had never tested a female as low as I was last time. When we were done, he said he thinks after the next week, and dropping water, I should look perfect. We had a good chat as I dried off and changed.


But the most significant detail is my increase in lean body mass. I have gained almost 2.5 POUNDS of lean mass in 7 months! Now that is significant for a natural (no steroids), trained female! Remember that you will see gains quickly in untrained athletes, just as a very sedentary person who starts an exercise regime will quickly lose weight the first few weeks.


I have been training a long time, in fact, you can see my bodyfat test done by Mike in June of 2010, almost two years ago and I weighed almost exactly the same, with 2 pounds less lean mass and 1 percent more bodyfat!


It takes a serious, rigorous weight training program, proper and adequate nutrition and supplementation and rest.


And, a good trainer. I owe all this to Roy Ganju, my trainer and owner of BodyComp Personal Training Gym. I have been training with him now for one year (I think we started April 29, but he knows, he has it written down on his charts). 


Roy took bodyfat measurements with his calipers in the afternoon, so we can compare them to the hydrostatic. As we discussed the results we were talking about my smileys that seem to have stayed longer than I want, and he mentioned that my glutes didn't shrink like they typically do when I lose so much fat, in fact, he said he thinks they got larger!  


Roy also wanted to know if any fellow competitors had seen me since October, I am much bigger, more muscular, he says I look completely different. I think he might be as excited as I am this time!


Below are the results you will get from Mike, and at the bottom is my history with him, all in his database. 

You can go to his website bodyfattest.com and check out his schedule to see when he might be in your area. If the schedule indicates Members Only, you need to be a member of that facility. If it doesn't, then anyone can do it! The fee is $49.00 for the first test and $39.00 thereafter. Courtside charged me $70.00!






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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Corn Resistant and Roundup




This is an email from SumOfUs.org.

SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy. You can follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook.


In only one day, the USDA will decide whether to allow Dow to introduce corn resistant to one half of the chemical mixture Agent Orange into our food supply. Widescale use of Roundup has led to a new generation of resistant weeds, and the next step in the pesticide arms race is 2,4-D -- a chemical linked to cancer, Parkinson's and reproductive problems. 

Farmers that sign up to use genetically-engineered 2,4-D-resistant corn will be required to spray down their fields with both 2,4-D and Roundup, double-dosing our food, our soil and our waterways with the toxins. Some experts estimate this will increase the use of 2,4-D 50-fold, even though the EPA says the chemical is already our seventh-largest source of dioxins -- nasty, highly toxic chemicals that bioaccumulate as they move up the food chain and cause cancer, developmental damage, and birth defects.

We can stop this. The use of 2,4-D is banned entirely in parts of Canada and Europe. Already, nearly 100,000 SumOfUs.org members have signed our comments to the US Department of Agriculture, demanding they not to approve Dow's new 2,4-D- resistant corn. If approved, it could lead to widespread industrial use of the toxic herbicide.


This is part of a growing problem, an escalating herbicide war going on across America’s heartland. From 1996 to 2008, herbicide usage increased by 383 million pounds. Nearly half of this took place between 2007 and 2008 after the introduction of another strain of herbicide-resistant plant pushed by Dow. Like Roundup before it, 2,4-D is only a temporary solution that will require more and more tons of toxins and more and more potent chemicals leaching into our food supply.

2,4-D is nasty stuff and has been linked to a number of health problems, such as tripling the rates of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Nebraska farmworkers exposed to it and causing reproductive problems -- birth defects and high rates of miscarriage -- in both mice and men exposed to it in the lab and field.


-Kaytee, Claiborne Taren and the rest of the team

Citations and further reading:


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2 Weeks to Competition (week 8 of diet)



I am so close I can taste it! My body is going through so much right now it is rather bi-polar I am afraid. One minute it looks tight and hard, the next, soft and flabby. I am a bit nervous as I am hell-bent on not getting as low in body fat as I did in October, but I keep looking at myself and wondering if I am losing enough fat. I really cannot lose much more and I have hydro-static bodyfat testing on Wednesday so I am really anxious to see how it compares to October, especially as I am up a few pounds. 



At lunch on Saturday I told Roy that David said I was bigger than he had ever seen me. He said my legs were 'huge" and my shoulders "massive". Well...I don't see this, none of it. It doesn't mean I don't believe him, but my head and my eyes don't. 

Roy looked at me and said "You really don't see that?" "No, I don't. I can't, I have been looking at it all way too long and too intensely, that's why I need someone else to tell me".

It's the screwy games that your head plays when you fixate on something like this for so long. 

I have smileys again, they weren't here last week! I am guessing it is due to the cheat meal I had at a restaurant, lots of sodium in there, so I am holding onto a lot of excess water. It will be gone in a couple days. 




I am much more comfortable with my side pose, I do prefer my arm hanging down lose instead of crooked back, as Monique said "Don't worry, they can still see your butt no matter where your hand is".


Stomach looks pretty flat here too. 




Roy and I are now working a bit more on rounding out the shoulders, the front seems a bit flat. 


I never seem to have issues with my rear delts, so many people do, but mine always seem nice and developed. 



Two weeks, I am ready, it feels like it went by way too fast. But, I am also ready for the after party. And I know how to party! 





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Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation






“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
 `Albert Einstein

“I'm glad I did it, partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have
to do it again”
`Mark Twain

“Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their
achievements with those of other people”
`Nido Qubein

“The way to be nothing is to do nothing.”
 `Nathaniel Howe

“If you want to reach a goal, you must 'see the reaching' in your own mind before you
 actually arrive at your goal.”
 `Zig Ziglar

“The freedom to move forward to new opportunities and to produce results comes from
living in the present not the past”
 `Brian Koslow

“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others
are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”
`William Arthur Ward

“People ask me if I could fly, I said, "yeah.... for a little while."”
`Michael Jordan


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

B-12, Adjustments and Burgers


Saturday, Squat day! My alarm was set for 5:00am and I woke up ready to go at 4:30, so out of bed I hopped. It would be a great day, I was looking forward to it. I am still at 121 pounds and I want to hold there just a bit longer, last competition I was at 118 and my bodyfat was way too low, I have gained lean mass, so I should not get down there again or I am losing muscle.

I will drop a pound the last week. 


Roy met me at Gold's Gym and I showed him all of the unfamiliar equipment and he told me what I should use and what I shouldn't. There is so much stuff there, it was very helpful to go thorough it and get his opinion.


After training Roy and I went to see Dr. Leahy who was having a client appreciation day. We each got a free adjustment, he did something else to Roy's back and A.R.T on my ankles again. Then Dr. Josh gave us free B-12 shots (in the butt, boy it's been a long time since I had that!) and I had LED treatment on my neck to boost my immune system.


I am anxious to see how I feel after the B-12. Dr Josh said I can come in and have one every week and it is amazingly inexpensive! 


Dr. Leahy asked me to take off my shoes. "You mean my very undercover wallflower shoes?" I asked. He chuckled and said "I think those socks were made just for those shoes too!"

I like pink and yellow together....



Then the highlight of the day, Roy and I went to The Counter in Santana Row for a burger! Some folks have a "cheat" meal every week throughout their competition prep. I don't, I had one on April 11 and then this one, I most likely will not have another. I had to as I was dropping weight too fast and getting too skinny is just as bad as being too soft, you have to come in at the perfect weight and bodyfat for your frame (much easier said than done folks!)


I told Roy he could not eat until I took some pictures, he was hungry, I could tell, but he smiled politely for the camera. It was 95 degrees out and the doors and windows were open, I think we were sweating on the food. 


I told Roy he would have to bear with me as I took pictures for my blog and he laughed and said "OK, I have never seen you in action." He waited patiently. 


My perfect burger. Red onion, dill pickles, chopped lettuce, sprouts and cheddar cheese, on a bun.


Did you read that?


ON A BUN



The waitress had them made nice and rare, Roy is showing me the blood soaking into the bun, lovely! 


Now he's so famished he is about to eat it with no hands, cause he is waiting for me to take my pictures and the fries weren't there yet.


 Fries. Sweet potato fries and garlic parmesan. Together, touching, amazing.  See Roy getting his napkin? He's had enough of the picture thing I think. 



 Happy, happy, happy. The food was good. 



We both ate our burgers, 2/3 pound ones! Fries were not touched much, we indulged a bit, just enough to eat all the crispy cheesy parts off the top. The sweet potato fries were stellar though. I will get those again for sure. 




Now I wait and watch to see how long it takes me to respond to this meal and fill out, to help me plan my pre competition meal in two weeks. My last 'cheat" I looked best between 20 and 30 hours later, I want to see if I do the same, then I know I have it all dialed. in.


Sunday morning, when you read this it's Back and Biceps. And 14 days to go!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Decisions



Decisions, decisions, we must face them everyday. Some are easier than others, like "the red shirt or the yellow shirt", or perhaps "toast or muffin"? Then there are the tough ones, the ones that cause internal stress.


Like "I want to be lean and ripped  or I want to drink wine and eat lasagna every night". These thoughts actually do run through my head, quite a bit. 


Now I am exaggerating (I tend to do that quite a bit), I really have no desire to drink wine every night as it interferes with my sleep and I just cannot attack the weights at 5:00 am if I do. And although I do enjoy lasagna quite a bit, every night is just too much, but I think you get my point.


My  body here is fairly closed to being "ripped", super low bodyfat, vascular, and all muscles, just the way I love it. But it isn't easy getting here, nor is it particularly "fun" and lord knows STAYING here is very difficult.


I made a decision to eat the correct foods, at the right time, and lifted the weights it required and put in the cardio time to burn extra calories. It took a lot of work. What I miss mostly is the wonderful food. 


Once my competition is over (in 16 days as I write this on Friday night), I am faced with another decision. Do I keep doing this, do I completely revert to sloth like eating habits (not that I ever had those), or do I enjoy a little and still strive for a fit body?


The choice is really easy for me actually, I am more interested in health than anything so I tend to eat very well; healthy choices are the norm, and I don't drink much because I love weight training more. But I will enjoy life and the fantastic foods that I have missed, and I will not look like this a few weeks later, simple as that. Don't get me wrong, I will still look great- but not "ripped".


I know that I cannot have both so I make the decision that will make me and my family happiest in the long run.


I talk with a lot of people who want to know how to achieve the "ripped" look, how to lower bodyfat, how to look amazing. And they want to drink and eat everything as usual too.


The answer is simple, but you alone need to make the decision. You cannot have both. Period. Ripped: You must eat properly and it needs to be consistant. Not Ripped: eat whatever you like with that beer.


I actually talk with people at parties or social gatherings and they are holding a cocktail in one hand, chips in the other and they tell me how healthy they eat, they don't understand why they cannot drop those last 10 pounds. And me, being the outspoken individual I am, point to their drink and food and tell them "that is why you canot lose the weight". Typically they say this is not "normal", this is a "special occasion" or "I had a super stressful day". 


We go back and forth about it, they typically offer more excuses, I sip on the liter bottle of water I brought with me. 


I am not being holier-than thou, and I do have wine on occasion, but I am trying to make a  point. Look at your typical weekend, what aren your typical meals?  Do you snack? Do you exercise regularly? Are you consistant?


I like the 90% rule. If you can choose to live "clean" 90% of the time, and that means proper food, no alcohol and regular, strenuous exercise), that leaves 10% to enjoy life's indulgences, and you can still look pretty darn good.


Ultimately, it's your decision though. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Post Training Meal




When you eat is as important as what you eat, really. Post training the muscles are primed for nutrients, and you want carbs that are fast digesting to go straight to the waiting cells in those muscles.


Studies have shown that a combination of protein and carbs are best when you want to build muscle and repair tissue. You should have this within 45 minutes of training, the sooner the better. The "window" of opportunity for your muscles gets smaller and smaller the longer you wait.


I love my post training drink!


Now don't fall into what a lot of people do and that is have a fairly high calorie post training drink, then immediately have a big meal, the drink is your meal! And if you make it correctly, you will be satisfied.


My simple carbs are a banana, a small banana, about 6 inches long. I make sure they are the ripeness I like then I peel them and wrap them individually in plastic and freeze them. My freezer is full of white dead soldiers.




Then I make my drink by combining in a blender 1 1/2 cups water, a handful of ice, one frozen banana (I break it in a few pieces with my hands first) and I blend it well until all frozen bits are blended.

The protein is a blend I create myself, (see the small white container in the top photo). I add 1 1/2 scoops chocolate or chocolate peanut butter whey protein, 5 grams glutamine, 2 1/2 grams creatine (I took the other 2 1/2 grams pre training) and BCAA's. I make a bunch of these and keep them in my supplement box in the garage.


Now the rest may vary depending on when I am training. If I lifted in the morning on my own, I make the smoothie as described above then add the powdered mixture at home and drink it in the car as I drive to work.


If I am training with Roy after work, I make the smoothie as described above but I do not add the powdered mixture. I store the smoothie in my freezer in my office, turning it a couple times during the day, and after I finish training with Roy, I add the powdered mixture and shake it all up, and drink it in the car going home!


 So what's the dark stuff? My secret! I love coffee, I love mocha's but cannot drink them (milk) so in the mornings I will add some cold strong coffee or a heaping tablespoon of instant coffee to my smoothie and it becomes a chocolate-banana-coffee protein smoothie.


I love it!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Peppered Cauliflower



Sometimes the simplest things are the best! I love spicy foods, I suppose that's because I eat so many "one dimensional" things, meaning since I am forever on some sort of calorie restricted diet, I don't eat a lot of stews and sauces and things like that,


I eat vegetables. I eat meat. I eat starch. I don't typically mix them either unless its one of my "bowls". So......

SPICE!

I was making my tilapia and it is covered in Vindaloo Curry, so I wanted something to compliment that, but not anything too complex as I already have the curry. I opted for pepper.

Plain, black, coarse ground pepper.

Delicious!

The oven is at 400 degrees, I line a baking sheet with foil (cause I am lazy and don't want to scrub and scrub), and I cut up the cauliflower into fairly large florets and wash them, then drain and place them on the foil lined sheet. They are still moist from the water clinging to them.

I have a big container of coarse ground black pepper, Virginia gets it at Costco for me. I use freshly ground as I eat, but for cooking I like this as it is really coarse.

I put a handful in one hand and generously sprinkle it all over the cauliflower, making sure it all gets a generous amount of pepper. Because the cauliflower is still slightly wet, the pepper sticks to it.

Into the hot oven it goes to roast to desired doneness, anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. Cook it the least amount as possible to preserve nutrients. A crispy or al dente vegetable is the best.

I like it when a few get a little brown on the edges.

Done, it is great served with anything!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sparkle



Saturday, I had to work all day long, and I had to get there by 7:30, so since Gold's doesn't open until 6:00, there was no way I could make it in time, I would have to go to the gym after work.


I left home at 7:00 a.m. and got back at 6:50 p.m., I had taken three 10 minute breaks to eat my meals, it was a long day. David and Cooper returned from "Choose Chico" day before I got home, and as soon as I walked in the door I was changing ready to head to the gym- "Do you have to go? Can't you skip one day?!"


No- It was Quad day, I have to go, no choice about it.


I walked in apprehensive, it's a new gym for me, and I am comfortable in the morning, and am getting to know the crowd, but what about at night? What would it be like? I remember the crowd at Courtside was vastly different depending on the time of day. The morning folks were there every single day, they may not be the fittest, but they were the most dedicated. The late afternoon and early evening crowd was like a pick up scene, make-up, hair done, perfume, and not because they came from work, this was their work! I hated going in there in the afternoons, and that was one big reason I loved having my own treadmill.


It wasn't very crowed, I suppose since it is a younger crowd they were all getting ready to go out and have fun for the evening. I was glad I came, the squats were good and low, I was concentrating on keeping my knees forward, my back straight "no stripper squats!" says Roy. I was crouched down by the cage, writing in my log when I notice a woman standing next to me, I quickly looked up and said "I'm done", I thought she wanted the rack, but I was wrong, she wanted to talk to me.


I pulled out my earbuds and stood up, and noticed the woman  was a young, petite, very eager girl, couldn't have been more than 25 or so. She was holding a gallon water jug, it seemed almost as big as her!


She apologized for bothering me and asked me how I got my abs so tight. I was kind of floored, I don't consider my abs tight at all, I guess for a 51 year old they look good, but in the grand scheme of things, mine certainly don't stand out. I thanked her and told her that they don't always look like this, I have a competition in three weeks, and soon they will look back to normal.


She was almost jumping up and down she was so excited. She is in her first competition in 13 weeks, and has no idea what she is doing, she was happy to meet me. She then asked "If I ask you something, will you give me your honest to god truth answer?" and I said yes I would. She then pulled up her shirt and asked me if she would be ready in 13 weeks for a competition, would her abs look good enough? She explained she had just had a baby, and felt like she would never get rid of the loose skin.


I told her the truth- she looked great and she has absolutely nothing to worry about, her abs actually looked fine to me, and she has a whole 13 weeks to go- she won't have any problem as long as she is dieting correctly.


Again, she started to almost hop with excitement, the smile broad across her face. I asked her what she was eating and she told me the  whole diet. She has a trainer, so I told her I didn't want to give advise against what he was saying, but she wanted to hear it. 


I commented that she was drinking three shakes a day, that's too much really and explained why it is better to get your protein from whole food sources if possible. I also suggested that she cut out wheat toast (it's not a complex carb) and replace it with a real starch, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal.


When I told her my age she was floored, "you look like you are in your 20's!" ha ha I guess she was only looking at the abs....


We exchanged names and talked competitions. Her name is Sparkle.


Just then a big guy lumbers over and she introduces him as her boyfriend. She said "honey , oh my god she competes! Look at her, guess how old she is?!" I told her not to put him on the spot like that and told him not to bother guessing. We talked for a bit and parted ways.


Later I see him on the neck machine, although I have no desire for a thick neck, I want to try it just for kicks. I am in the center of the gym, doing walking lunges and she walks up to me all smiles and bouncing. She wants to talk again. Sparkle explains how her boyfriend has his own gym, on Castro street in Mountain View, I could see that, he is a big guy, reminds me of SC, only bigger.


Sparkle wants to know where my show is, she wants to come see me. I tell her and she puts it into her phone.


She looks at me and thanks me and says "I hope I meet you again. I want to see you in a couple weeks" I smile, knowing we probably won't see each other again, at least not soon. I stand there watching them leave, he is lumbering slowly as big, muscle guys do, she is bouncing along beside him, hopping up and down and I can hear her repeating over and over to him: "She says I will be ready! She says I will be fine! She says my abs look great now! She knows- look at her- she knows!" Sparkle was on a high, and I put here there.


It made me feel great, and also made a Saturday night in the gym a fun place to be.


As Monique told me the other day- "you can have a rockin body, but if your personality doesn't shine through, you won't win", and I believe she is right. Sparkle will do well in her show, not only is she cute as a button, but eager and has a lovable personality. 


I hope we meet again too.