Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Apple Chips Giveaway

A couple weeks ago I had a contest to pick a song for my Women's Physique routine, and I said I would pick the winner this past weekend.

Well, life has become a bit more complicated and busy these days, it always does this time of year  since I work at a State University, so work goes into overdrive as we get ready to welcome all the students back for another action packed semester. I also feel like I have less and less free time and I am not sure why, but I need to take care of myself and get much needed rest and spend time with my family, especially my son who leaves for college in a couple weeks!

So I wanted to update you that I will have to announce the winner this next weekend, and I will probably draw one of the names randomly, there were so many great songs I just cannot decide yet. I have a lot of the music on my ipod and of course, I have my favorites, but a random drawing just seems more fair to me anyway!

I will also be posting less, for the last couple months I have been writing on my lunch break and during breaks at work a bit and now that I am no longer suffering from the contracted glute muscle, it's back to running stairs and jumping rope at lunch! So, if you don't subscribe now you may want to so you will know when I post next.

When I took a survey previously, many readers wanted more low calorie recipes, so we have a catch 22. If I cook a lot, I write less, if I write a lot, I cook less! My family prefers the former, I am happy as long as I don't miss any training!

I guess I need to take care of me a bit more, and get off the computer! Maybe my glutes won't get so knotted up either!

Look for the post the coming weekend announcing the winner of the Bare Fruit Apple Chips giveaway and I will email the winner directly too!

Here is link to the original post

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

Believe in your dreams and they may come true; believe in yourself and they will come true

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”
 `Benjamin Spock 

“Instead of thinking about what you're missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.”

“Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love 
yourself for feeling it.”
 `Thaddeus Golas 

“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief 
in yourself.”
`Robert Collier

“The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, 
it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.”
`Orison Swett Marden

“Go out in the world and work like money doesn't matter, Sing as if no one is 
listening, Love as if you have never been hurt, and Dance as if no one is watching”`

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Some Like It Hot

I am talking shorts! I get women asking me all the time where my shorts come from, and I laugh and tell them that they are not shorts, they are underwear! Underarmour Mesh Series Boyshorts to be precise. I have never found any shorts I like so I choose to wear underwear instead.

Until now!

These are called "Some Like It Hot" shorts by Lululemon, I love them! They are short and snug, just the way I like them. They have ruching up the center back, makes the butt look great!

I don't train as hard as I do to wear baggy ol sweatpants around, hell no! Flat chest I can deal with, but a flat butt? Oh goodness no!  It's all about the butt isn't it? I think that's one of the very first things I notice about someone, what does their butt look like?

Seriously though, a strong, well developed set of glutes is the defining criteria for a true athlete, have you ever seen a great athlete with a flat butt? Maybe in table tennis or something silly like that I suppose.

Big glutes are built with squats, deadlifts, lunges, sprints, kettlebells, stairs, all the down and dirty stuff. You can pretty much tell how hard someone trains by the shape of their glutes. 

These are great- they have these small strings hanging down in front to allow you to "scrunch" up the front to make them custom fitted. That's what Lululemon says, but I think it makes them look like an old fashioned garter belt!

What do you think?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Active Release Technique (A.R.T.)

I finally went into Chase Chiropractic and saw Dr. Joseph Leahy for the muscle pain I have been experiencing in my glute and hamstring. It was Tuesday and I would be there for a seminar afterward, so I spent a couple hours at his office, this actually gave me a great chance to assess how the Active Release Technique worked for this situation.
Dr. Leahy has worked on me before and I was happy with the results. The first time it was more for an athletic performance issue, now I was seeing him due to pain, not only was the pain becoming unbearable, but it was also hindering my athletic performance.
I was led to the exam room and I explained my situation to him.  I told him about the chiropractor at the expo, about the massage and how the therapist said I had a contracted muscle, I told him about my pain and how I am working on my knees at my desk because I cannot sit for long periods of time.

Although it has felt like a hamstring issue, it was discovered that it really was my glute, the muscle originates in the glute and attaches at the hamstring, so it all just feels like one big, tight mass; and since the muscle was contracted, I was fine as I stood, but sitting would cause a lot of pain in my hip, hamstring and glute, and then this of course caused me to favor one side when training quads and hams, not a good thing for someone who is trying to grow the size of their legs. 
 He had me lie on my side and pushed and probed until he found the tender spot. “Yes, it’s your gemellus and your piriformis, the massage therapist must have studied A.R.T or he never would have known about these very small but important muscles.”
A.R.T. is similar to massage, where the soft tissue is manipulated, but the body is moved around in conjunction with pressure on the muscle and the idea is break up adhesion's and offer relief.  Dr. Leahy gave me directions on what he wanted me to do, this is interactive. He would manipulate the glute muscle as I lay on my side on the table, and I would pull my knee up to my chin, with the help of my hand and arm, pulling as far as possible and it would hurt. It was a good pain though, I could feel relief afterward.
He explained that when the muscle gets overworked it can remain in a contracted state, and if it isn’t released it can cut off the blood supply and cause damage. This worried me as it has been going on for a couple months now. I told him after my massage it felt better, but as soon as I tried to run stadium stairs it started back in. “That’s exactly when you would feel it.” He replied. “That’s when those muscles are engaged.”
He said he would be doing the same treatment for 80 football players the following day, he is the team chiropractor for the San Francisco 49ers, training camp is opening and he said many of them have this same issue.
I left and went outside to hangout waiting for the seminar to begin. For entertainment, many people go out to bars or the movies; I go to things like this. I would be having my PH tested (urine sample) and my antioxidant levels tested via laser scan. Then we would listen to a discussion on DNA, aging, supplements, various treatments….boring to you, interesting to me.
At one point just as the seminar was starting I told him it was still tight, he said “Come on” and back we went to the room. Again he worked the muscle, a bit differently and we talked more about the pain. I then did lunges up and down his hallway as he watched, I was able to sink all the way down and not feel the pulling sensation I had been, it felt better!

He commented on my bright pink shoes. I told him he says the same thing every time I see him.
I was able to sit for an hour at the seminar before my quad, glute and hip started aching. I got up and stood. I then talked to Dr. Leahy again and he said it was most likely inflamed and that was causing the pain.  My injury does not require multiple sessions; he said the next step is A Perfect Light therapy, which takes one session and lasts 20 minutes. If the pain was not gone after that, he said I must have an MRI to see if I have nerve damage.
I scheduled the therapy for Thursday; I couldn’t do it Wednesday as I was meeting Roy after work to train quads (and you know I won’t miss training, ever!)
It’s unfortunate that my insurance will not cover this, they don’t cover chiropractic medicine.  A.R.T. is not even chiropractic, it is practiced by other health professionals, but is considered "alternative". I imagine that if I went to my physician I would be given a cortisone shot and then an MRI, and of course if I need to MRI I will go to him to see if I can get it covered by insurance, those are quite costly. I prefer to solve the problem though instead of treat the pain.
As I write this on Wednesday, I have been able to sit all day, but I have felt some slight discomfort. I am taking Aleve and will continue to for a few days. David says “Ice it!” but honestly, my glute muscle is so big, that I don’t see how I could sit on ice long enough to really help the inflammation, but I will in the evening for a bit anyway.
Getting in and out of the car was not difficult as usual, and walking up stairs seemed normal. My hamstrings are sore, but both are sore and equally sore, so I believe that is from the new hamstring workout Roy and I did on Monday evening.
I seem to be on the right track, but only time will tell for sure.
Previous posts on my sessions:

A.R.T. (2nd)

A.R.T. (1st)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


It’s easy to come up with them for just about anything. I mean, if you really don’t want to do something, there is always some excuse that you can come up with right?
Most people make up excuses for themselves, as a way to justify their actions. Such as “I don’t have time to work out after work.” Yet they have time to watch TV for a couple hours. The list is endless.
I like going to the gym, and I could probably say I love going there. I feel alive when I am driving there, when I am there and when I am finished, it makes me feel complete.
Sunday I almost skipped it, I had an excuse running through my head, thank goodness I won and not the excuse.
Saturday night, I was tossing and turning, my stomach hurt, I was hungry. This is odd as I don’t typically wake in the middle of the night hungry unless I am prepping for a competition, when I have cut calories way back. It became more than hunger, it became pain. I figured I would tough it out and try to sleep, then I heard a text message come in, the phone was in the living room.
I got up, figuring it was Cooper saying he arrived in Spain safe and sound, he is travelling with Adam for a couple weeks. I didn’t quite make it to the living room, I had to stop in the bathroom, seems I had food poisoning.
Hunched over the toilet, I  then laid on the floor a while my head spinning, if you have even been through this you know the feeling; do I dare leave the bathroom? Can I leave the bathroom?
I got up and checked the phone, yes my son made it safely to Spain and said “now go to sleep!” I headed back to the bathroom, I think I spent a couple hours on the floor wishing I would die (seems to be the general thought when this happens right?)
Back in bed finally and I woke again at 6:30 am, way past my usual waking time. I rolled over thinking there is no way I could get up let alone go to the gym and lift weights. I slept and I think I woke up about 9:00.
I sat a while wondering of I could make it. I didn’t want to miss my workout, it was Back day and I am only training Back once a week now, to miss Sunday would not be a good thing.
 I decided that I would be OK, worse case scenario I could just turn around and go home. I got there at 10:00, the day was half over!
On Friday Roy had almost admonished me when he found out I was doing my pull ups at bodyweight. “How long have you been doing that?” he asked. “A long time, too log I guess.” I vowed I would add some weight on Sunday and I wasn’t going to put it off. I found the dip belt and added a 10 pound weight, I know it’s not a lot, but if you have ever been overweight by 10 pounds, you know how it feels to have that extra weight on your body.  I did three sets of 5, a good start considering I had been sick and had the added weight.
I moved around the gym, recording my weights in my log, I didn’t go light on anything and felt surprisingly good. I finished with kettlebell snatches and was huffing ad puffing as I walked upstairs for my bag.
I went home and ate, and felt tired and even laid down a while later, and missed some meals. In fact, I ate lunch and a very late dinner, my stomach still felt churny and uneasy.
I was glad I went, glad I didn’t talk myself into coming up with an excuse.
Think about your excuses before you use them, what are you avoiding and why? Who loses when you come up with an excuse?

You do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Summertime means fresh tomatoes from the garden and wonders of what on earth to do with them all. It also means eating foods that are room temperature or even chilled, so to me that is gazpacho!
David came to me the other day and said “where’s your gazpacho recipe? I want to make some and nothing on the Internet looks very interesting.”
I am an organized person, except my recipes, I have bits of papers and copies in many boxes in three different rooms. This was a great opportunity to find it, type it, and save a soft copy. I have been doing that lately, and it makes it oh so much easier to find them later!
Gazpacho is like spaghetti sauce, everyone makes it different. In Spain, I recall every restaurant serves this as part of the “menu del dia” and theirs is a blended gazpacho, almost like tomato soup. While I enjoyed it, mine is the exact opposite; it is a clear broth (as opposed to tomato juice), and the vegetables are all chopped by hand and crunchy, you see the different vegetables and taste each one separately.
David made this, and as usual comes to me and has me taste it. “What’s missing?” he asks, he can tell but doesn’t know. I tell him to add a bit more pepper, some salt and did he put in the Tabasco? “Ah, Tabasco! I forgot.”
This was wonderful, we had it prior to our main dish, but it would be a great meal in itself if you grilled or broiled some shrimp and added them at the last minute.
The recipe is as follows or you can click here for a word document.
Happy, healthy summer eating!
Clear Gazpacho

4 cups chicken broth, chilled (homemade if possible)
4 medium tomatoes, chopped (retain juices with tomatoes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 teaspoons lime juice
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 bell peppers (red or a mix), finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 large English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
½ teaspoon fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
Several dashes Tabasco or cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; do not use a blender or food processor. Chill well.
Can be served alone or with cooked shrimp added just before serving. Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I buy a lot of supplements, especially whey protein and it's not cheap. Well, it can be cheap but you get what you pay for! If it's super cheap, cheaper than the rest there is probably a pretty good reason for that.

Recently I decided to try another brand, I am always searching for that rich, creamy, chocolaty goodness. I drink the stuff twice a day after all! 

I found one with a very well known name and it happened to be quite a bit less expensive than the one I was buying. They both had similar ingredients, so I decided to try it. I bought a big tub since I go through so much and it's cheaper that way right?

I ordered it through Bodybuilding.com, where I order the majority of my supplements.

The whey was so sweet I couldn't stomach it. I tried it time and time again, I tried it everyday for two weeks. I just couldn't do it any longer, it was ruining my day. My protein drink is actually one of the highlights of my day, I love it, this was changing that for me.

I emailed Bodybuilding.com and explained my predicament. There was nothing wrong with the product, it was me, I just don't like things that sweet.  Would they refund my money?

Yes indeed!

They said to ship it back and they would credit my account for 100% of the purchase price! Wow, and I had used it for two weeks (once a day, the other time I use a meal replacement protein).

It cost me just over $11.00 to send it back, I certainly used more than $11.00 worth.

I am a happy camper, I think that's great that they stand behind their products like that! Not only do their prices compare with other companies, but the customer service is out of this world!

Bodybuilding.com has a customer for life!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

"Only the weak attempts to accomplish what he knows he can already achieve." 
- Stella Juarez

"Success must be felt within before it can be seen on the outside."
 - Unknown

"There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don't allow yourself to become one of them." 
- Ralph Marston

"You have to do what others won't to achieve what others don't." 
- Unknown

"We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It's not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist." 
-Vince McConnell

"The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something. You can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent." 
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

"There are only two options regarding commitment, You're either in or your out. There's no such thing as life in between." 
- Anonymous

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hamstring Pain

Over a month now, I have been dealing with a nagging hamstring. I cannot really classify it as "pain" but I have a very high pain threshold, in fact my family jokes about it. They call me "asbestos mouth", "asbestos hands" and various other things that indicate I feel no pain when others would cry out loud.

I even had natural childbirth because I was afraid of the epidural causing me to become paralyzed. I lived through it. But I only did it once! LOL!

So if you recall, I was told by a chiropractor (at a fit-expo) that I was way out of alignment. I happened to have a massage scheduled a couple days later and he said I had a muscle that was contracted and wouldn't release, it was tensed up and wouldn't let go.

After my massage on Monday I trained with Roy (hamstrings) and hit them hard as usual. My hamstrings were sore for a few days then I trained quads on Wednesday and hamstrings again on Thursday. Walking lunges were difficult, the hamstring was not where it should be.

This morning (Saturday) was quad day, and typically I would be still sore from Thursdays hamstrings. I didn't have a lot of time, I had to get in and out and back home within 1 1/2 hours, I had to get my son to the airport. 

I warmed up and noticed that my left hamstring did not feel more sore than the right, this was a really good sign!

I did my front squats, 4 sets at 135 pounds, 6 reps each set.

On to walking lunges. I was supposed to use a 75 pound bar, but there are two that can have weight added, they were being used and I couldn't wait. I grabbed the 70 pound fixed weight bar.

I was able to do my lunges and didn't feel pain! It was the first time in several weeks. It's funny how when you have an injury, it sort of consumes your life, and it becomes part of your life. You don't notice what it's like to be pain free until all of a sudden you are! It was amazing, my training all of a sudden took on a whole new feeling.

I wanted to stay, I wanted to do more, I felt so good, but I couldn't, I had to go. I did a few sets of kettlebell snatches to get in more posterior work and cardio. I will talk more about the wonder of kettlebells later. 

At home I made a shake and drank it on the way to the airport. Some shopping at the farmers market and laundry, typical Saturday chores (for people who work during the week) and then at noon decided to see how I could so with sprints and stairs, my preferred form of cardio. 

I jogged across the street and hit the stadium stairs, the first set felt fine then the second brought back the same feeling, like the muscle tightened up again and wouldn't let go. I ended up running several sets of stairs but decided to forgo the sprints, I didn't think it would help heal this any faster.

I have an apportionment scheduled on Tuesday with Dr. Joseph Leahy for A.R.T. (Active Release Technique), it will surely fix the issue, I do not have a torn muscle or ligament, the massage definitely helped, I just have a wayward muscle with a mind of it's own, its needs to learn who's boss. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Growing the Back

I've been off all week so I was cleaning out one of my closets. I do this a couple times a year, and I will go through and try on the clothes and get rid of what doesn't fit. This week I looked at my formal dresses, the last time I did it was a year and a half ago.

My back has grown, the dresses will go.

I love this one, but I cannot zip it so out it goes to Goodwill.

I have been working on my back for a long time, so I am not sad, it actually makes me happy!

I like red, I have lots of red, blonds look good in red. I have read that if you want people to remember you, wear red. I have a red car in fact it's my second red car. This dress looks fine from the front.

The zipper is supposed to go all the way up to where the back ties are.

Ah, one of my favorites! A hot little number, in red of course!

Can't even zip it up halfway!

The dresses are gone, I dropped them off on Wednesday. Sunday I train back again, and am working to get it wider and wider. I will just have to buy new dresses as I need them!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Thinker

You've seen "The Thinker" haven't you?

Here is the "real" Thinker:

It is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, it depicts a man in sober meditation, battling with a powerful internal struggle.  I feel that struggle on occasion with my training and diet.

I was taking pictures and I did this, and the pose made me think of the sculpture. I love sculptures and I think it is because they depict the human body the way I like it.

Sculptures catch the human form in a way that no other media can. They show men with muscles that were grown with labor not drugs, women as athletes and life-giving beings and not morphed sex objects. If you have never seen life sized sculptures up close, I cannot urge you enough to go visit a museum to see what the human form is supposed to look like. 

If you live here in the Bay Area, you may not be aware that we are lucky to have one of the largest collections of works by Rodin (outside of Paris), right in our own backyard. It is the Cantor Arts Center located at Stanford University and it's open to the public and free to get in!

If you are in Paris, then museums are everywhere, the largest and most impressive being The Louvre, I would plan more than one day there and not in a row, you need time to absorb it all.

Back to the "internal struggle". I love it when I add more weight, but it comes with fat, there just really isn't a way to add more size without adding some fat. I'm not huge by any means, but this is my struggle, I want to have the added shape and muscle and not the fat.  I just need to get over it and convince myself I actually look healthier, but it is my "internal struggle". I wonder how many others go thorough this? If you do, I would enjoy hearing from you, how do you deal with it?

Tonight I trained with Roy, it was squat day. There is a Crossfit Gym in the same industrial complex as his gym, and we see the folks run past every now and again. Tonight they were doing farmer walks, they all peer in as they go by, they are curious about who could be making so much noise inside. It's just me and Roy.

As I left one of the guys stopped me. "I don't mean to be disrespectful" he started, "My girlfriend has no butt at all, how did you get that?!" as he pointed to my rear end. I threw my head back and laughed out loud. "I turned and pointed at BodyComp Gym and said "He gave it to me!". The guy read the name on the outside, "What is it" he asked. "A gym, we lift weights, that's all we do" I told him.

We talked a bit, he wanted to know what his girlfriend should do. I said she should come train with Roy, but it didn't sound like that was part of the plan. He asked if it always looked like this. I told him, it wasn't bad to start, but we have been working, and working hard at getting it bigger.

I ended by telling him to have her do squats, heavy squats. I just did 5 sets of front squats at 135 (7 to 8 each set), and walking lunges holding a bar (last set was 75 pounds), and I said to add in the Glute Ham Raise. He thanked me and trotted off to the Crossfit Gym.

I laughed again and told Roy, then drove home thinking, thinking, thinking.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

ESPN The Body Issue

It comes out every year, and I couldn't wait to get it this year! The ESPN "Body Issue" magazine, which features Olympic athletes nude.

It's not that I just want to see naked bodies, I want to see naked ATHLETE bodies. Bodies the way they should look: muscular, lean, strong, supple.

They have several covers, so you may not be lucky enough to get the pretty pink and purple one I got featuring MMA fighter Ronda Rousey on the cover (and it happened to match what I was wearing that day too!) It may have a football player, a basketball player, maybe even a whole team!

You can go online and watch videos of interviews as the athletes discuss what happened during the photo shoots, how they felt and why they posed. I especially enjoyed watching sprinter Carmelita Jeter, she has an amazing body.

An athlete's body is a work of art, the highest form one can ever dream to achieve. To see them in action is inspiring, but to see their bodies is absolutely amazing! Comparing the vast differences that each sport brings will really open your eyes to your own training.

It allows you to look at the bodies you admire and train accordingly. Now, I understand that none of us (or at least most of us) won't be able to train like an Olympic athlete, but  it is easy enough to consider their sport and what they do to get where they are. What type of conditioning and weight training is needed? They all incorporate both, believe me but it will be different for each. 

It's funny that I do not find male bodybuilders attractive, I am not a fan of the steroid, huge muscle look. I don't care for the fact that the look is achieved solely for that purpose: looks. They don't train for strength, or health or a sport, it's for show only.  Some may think that's what I do, but it's not. If I really wanted to train just for competitions, I wouldn't do half the work I do, or I would perform the work differently. First and foremost I want to look athletic, be strong, be physically fit. The Figure or Physique competitions are a by-product of that pursuit. 

I also enjoyed reading about what each considers their "best" body part or what they consider the best form of training for their sport; what they like to eat or how they eat. And motivation. They are all very highly motivated and it comes from within. These athletes are internally motivated, no one can push another person to be like this, no one but themselves.

Although I am an internally motivated person, I seek out positives that help me realize what I am searching for, and to help me as I become a bit complacent at times. Reading about successful athletes living their dream is the perfect motivation for me.

Pick up a copy soon before they are all gone.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Massage Gift

Massage, probably my favorite treat in the world, even more than peanut butter or chocolate!

A friend gave me a gift of a massage quite some time ago. I placed the certificate in a "safe place" and couldn't remember where that was. Until now!

"J" gave this to me before I left Courtside, it meant a lot to me. Not the gift necessarily, but the reason, the thought behind it. She knew I loved massage, I write about it all the time. She wanted to show me appreciation, and she knew that although I like chocolates, or other treats, this is what I would really, really love and it would fit right in with my goals of striving for a healthy and balanced mind body connection.

She thanked me for taking the time to do what I like to do. To write my blog, and explain what has worked for me and what hasn't, to share diet and exercise, and to answer all her questions over email. I enjoy doing it, and so to be recognized makes it even more special.

I scheduled my massage for Monday, I was off for the week. My left glute and hamstring are really causing me some issues, sitting at my desk or sitting in a car are painful. The only relief is when I am not sitting, so I end up kneeling at my desk half of the day. I cannot drive like this though.

I was hoping and praying that this massage therapist would work on my glutes, some will not. Those are therapists I never return to. I find it very odd as this is the largest muscle in the human body, it needs work! I have also encountered some who will not massage the stomach area....it's all just so puzzling to me.

At 12:30 I walked into Chuck Worley's office, just down the street from my house, I was looking forward to this. I had been to the gym in the morning, hit the stairmill for 30 minutes then some posing before the yoga folks descended upon the room, and off to hit the calves. My entire posterior chain was sore, I can only guess it is due to the kettlebells I have been using lately, whenever something new is thrown into the mix it causes soreness.

I explained my dilemma to Chuck, and yes, he would work on my glutes. He has quite a comfortable set up, he is very thoughtful in ensuring that the table and room is set up the way the clients want it. He gave me some tissues, my nose always gets stuffed when I have a massage, and I like having the tissues on hand.

He worked on my calves, I didn't realize how tight they were, it felt like the fascia was tightly encased all around the muscles and it wasn't gliding back and forth as it should, I will need more work here soon I can tell. 

Chuck asked if he could work on me longer than the 60 minutes, no charge, he wanted to make sure he addressed my complaint, included the rest of the body and that I left happy. Ah, I was thinking heaven, simply heaven.....

Chuck worked on the glute and it took a while but he found it! He said I have a contracted GOGO muscle! I laughed when he told me, I said "only I could hurt my GOGO muscle!!", who on earth has this much fun when they get a massage! 

GOGO muscles are the  Gemellus SuperiorObturator internusGemullus inferiorObturator externusChuck actually emailed me the following day to check on me and said that he did a bit more research and he thinks my problem is not the Gemellus pair but more likely the Obturator internus or Quadratus femoris. Both laterally rotate the leg. He said that he anticipated that DOMS would set in on Wednesday morning, two days after the massage. 

So, I didn't "strain" my butt as I thought, it's just a bit "tight" I suppose....

Chuck works on a lot of tri-athletes, and a lot of professional athletes. He said I was the most muscular woman he has ever worked on, I love hearing stuff like that. This just confirms that my training is going well, I am moving in the right direction to add more lean mass. We talked about my competitions a bit, he pointed out that my right erector spinae is bigger than my left. Well I didn't know that, but it doesn't surprise me, my right deltoid is bigger than my left, I am stronger on one side than the other, so I have been doing uni-lateral training to help alleviate that. He also remarked at what a great back I had; I do work on it quite a bit, and for the last two months have only been training it once a week, wait till I get back to the twice a week sessions!

Chuck was familiar with Dr. Leahy and said he was surprised I wasn't in there having A.R.T. done on the glute, but I explained I had scheduled the massage before I was told about the imbalance, so I was there ready to try the massage anyway.

Chuck finished the massage with a full body relaxation massage, so not only did he work on the glute but the rest of the body as well. It was great, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will definitely go back. 

Is this "cheating' on Rachael? No, I have room in my life for more than one massage therapist, just as I have room for different friends, wines and food. I can enjoy them all. 

He reminded me to ice the glute when I got home, that way blood would rush to the area to bring healing nutrients. I could easily go home and lay on some cold stuff!

Here I am on the bed reading, I have an ice gel pack on the offending glute. I am reading a great book, I love this! It shows illustrations of people performing exercises, but they have no skin, so you see the muscles! It explains which muscles you target and how to preform the exercise. It is Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier. I refer to it when I need to concentrate on a specific area, and when I need to change up training on my own a bit. Take a peek inside to get an ide of the wonderful anatomical illustrations. 

Chuck sent me away with what he called "homework", he loaned me a Thumbby and advised me to use it anywhere I needed, my glute, my tight rhomboid, any place! He said I could just drop it by when I was done, or I could buy it if I decided to keep it.

I went home to try it, it sticks to the wall! I was excited to try this instead of my lacrosse ball. I pushed it against the guest room door.

Got down and looked for those darn GOGO muscles. 

Got 'em! This thing is great! I can apply a lot of pressure and it stays against the wall. 

Like it, like it, like it!!! Fun all over again! I did this for a while longer. I worked on my rhomboid too.

Virginia stopped by, since we are off for the week there has been a whole lot of nothing going on, it's nice for a change. "Wow! This feels great!" she said. She said she was going to go get one herself! 

You know when you scratch a dog in the right place and their foot goes "thump, thump, thump, thump" really fast? That's what she was doing here, we all laughed hysterically! 

I was done, I had to go train with Roy and it was.......Hamstrings! Oh boy. A little update, as I write this on Tuesday afternoon, I feel a slight tightness, but have not experienced the pain as I had been. I sat in a  restaurant for lunch with the boys, I am at my computer (but I am sitting on my Thumbby) and I have been in and out of the car. This may have just done the trick! 

Give Chuck a call, tell him I sent you and that you want to try a Thumby too! It works for just about any bodypart, I think you will be pleased. 

And "J"- Thank you so much, I will never forget your thoughtfulness.

Be strong and train hard!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's First? The Egg or the Chicken?

I think I have mentioned several times that I have been having trouble with my left hamstring. I actually discovered it seems to be the glute, and it is causing pain in my glute and hamstring. Sitting exasperates it, a long car ride, like more than 20 minutes is out of the question (the drive to Chico- 4 hours was quite painful and I became a contortionist), and I kneel at my desk to type every single day at some point.

I have had a massage with Rachel and she can spend a good 45 minutes on the left glute alone, and the pain goes away and then when I train hamstrings again, the pain returns. Bugger, it's annoying.

Saturday was the San Jose NPC Bodybuilding show downtown, and the first ever Fit Expo, I wanted to go and cheer on friends and see the exhibits.

I met Sakura and her mother and we watched the show together. I missed Women's Physique, it was a super small show, mainly Men's Physique and Bikini. Ladies, if you are competing in Bikini, please take my advice and really think about your posing! Some of the competitor's looked like strippers, it's unfortunate that they work so hard, dieting and training, and then make themselves look foolish by posing and cavorting on stage in a manner that embarrasses all of us in the audience. A couple of the women were just over the top. I have no idea how they placed, I was at pre-judging, but I cannot imagine the judges awarded their behavior, at least I certainly hope not, it cheapens the entire event for all of us.

Anyway, Roy joined us mid way through Figure, we got to see Yvonne, Megan and Roxanne, they all looked great and they all placed! Congratulations! Afterward Roy and I walked around checking out the exhibits, we saw Jay Cutler, Cory Everson, Nate James (Stacy has been training with him for quite some time now), and countless other people all looking buff or wanting to look buff.

Roy and I stopped at a Chiropractor's exhibit, he wanted to see if we were in alignment. I said "I am fine, I don't need that!" so Roy stepped on the Spinal Analysis Machine and he was ever so slightly out of alignment.  I decided to get on the scales. There are two, each foot gets weighed independently and it is supposed to show your weight distribution and postural imbalances. 

Seems I am 10 pounds heavier on one side then the other!!! Whoa Boy! The doctor started talking about one side being weaker, pointing to my left (it is, quite a bit) and said I have a pelvic tilt (I do). So I knew he was going to try to sell me services. He asked if I had a chiropractor and asked his name. "Yes, Dr. Joseph Leahy" I replied and the chiropractor stopped dead in his tracks. He smiled, he knew him! He said he was the best in the area, in fact, when he came here to study he came specifically to study under Dr. Leahy, he was a student of his! He advised that I go see Dr. Leahy and gave me his own business card, asking if I might pass it on to him.

I felt that I may have gotten some good advice. 

The question in my mind though is this: Does the glute muscle hurt because of an imbalance that needs to be corrected, or am I out of balance because my glute muscle hurts? Is the muscle strain causing the imbalance or the other way around? It could be a vicious cycle that I need to end. 

If I can rest the muscle a while, the discomfort goes away, but since I train hamstrings twice a week, as soon as it starts to feel better, it gets hit hard all over again.

I found something that does relieve the discomfort though, it's one of my son's lacrosse balls. If you are not familiar with them, they are about the size of a baseball, but much harder. They are all over the place at my house so I have no problem finding one. I keep one in my gym bag to use at Gold's and Roy has a few at his gym too.

I have found that a foam roller just doesn't apply enough pressure, I need some really hard, deep pressure on the muscle. I can just rest my glute on the ball, it is quite painful at first, then the muscle starts to relax and I sink into it a bit more. I can roll around a bit until I find the sore spot then I just rest there until it feels better.

I have been trying to do this twice a day, and it helps, it really does, but I would like to eliminate it all together. I have a massage scheduled, hopefully that will work out the kinks. If not, then I guess I go see Dr. Leahy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
~ Albert Einstein

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
~ Samuel Ullman

Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.
~ Alex Tan

When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.
~ Catherine Pulsifer

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.
~ Mark Twain

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Watermelon, Cucumber & Yellow Tomato Salsa

This was from the Food and Wine section of the San Francisco Chronicle, a great healthy and wonderfully fresh dish. David made it too!

You can find the recipe on my Pinterest board. Just click on the link, it will take you to a lovely picture then click on that to be taken to the actual web page where it appeared. I love Pinterest, it is such a great way to keep track of anything on the Internet.

This dish serves 4-6 (I would say 4). I will explain what we did and then please go to the actual site for the detailed information. 

If using wood skewers you need to soak them for 20 minutes in water so they don't flame up on you. I just pop them in a tall glass and turn them once in a while.

Make a "salsa" with watermelon; yellow tomatoes (you can use red but the contrasting colors are nice); cucumber; white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. I thought it would be great with some diced up serranos but then I love spicy food. Make it ahead and let it sit a bit.

Thread raw, shelled large shrimp onto the skewers. I usually buy bags of Wild Blue Shrimp from Mexico at Trader Joe's. They are lower in sodium than other frozen shrimp and they are very sweet, I eat a lot of shrimp.

Rub the shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Grill them on a BBQ, just until cooked through. We did them 3 minutes a side, I don't like tough, dry shrimp!

Place a skewer on a plate, serve with a side of the wonderful salsa and a salad.

I cannot wait to have this again!

I ate the left over shrimp the following day, cold in a salad, it was stupendous.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Goals- it's all about your goals. If you just go to the gym without a specific goal in mind, you may not necessarily be "wasting" your time, but you certainly are not maximizing your efforts. 

What are you doing there? Killing time? Socializing? Reading? Watching TV? 

Why are you there? Meet people? Lose weight? Lose fat? Gain muscle? aha! These all require different things!

Please...please...please! Really think about what you want out of your time in the gym. Every goal is possible- no matter where you "are" in your current fitness state, but you have to put the time and effort into it. It won't be easy, it may not always be pleasant, kind of like pregnancy and childbirth, you will forget the pain and delight in the rewards for years to come.

I am finishing up my current program with Roy and in a week we move onto some new things, I get so excited when I know we will change my training. We are moving from heavy weights and long rest periods to lighter weights and shorter rest periods, all designed for greater hypertrophy. I'm all about hypertrophy!

Now this does not mean that to gain mass you should always train this way, on the contrary, you should never train the same way day in and day out. Just look around you at all those people doing the same thing ever single day. They look the same every single day don't they?  You need to change it up!

But back to goals. You should have specific goals and understand how to get there. What do you want to look like?  That is how you need to train then.

Do you want to have shape and full, strong looking muscles? Say...like me possibly? Then you have to lift, you have to lift heavy and frequently. Muscles only develop when forced to, they need to be challenged to grow.

Do you want to look thin, sort of like the models on the magazines? Personally I think it's a very unattractive look, but if you want to look like that, so you have very thin, shapeless arms, and you look emaciated, don't lift weights, just do endless cardio and starve yourself.

If you are not training for a specific sport, then the best idea is a combination of both. You need the weight training to develop shape and add strength, and the cardio is basically to burn some extra calories, it does not add any shape to your body. Of course everything has exceptions, and this is no different. There are certain types of "cardio" that will add shape, such as sprints. Those are explosive, high intensity exercises that will really develop the glutes, hamstrings and quads. No, your legs and glutes won't get huge!  No one's butt just "blows" up" from sprints or anything else for that matter. 

I talk to endless people at the gym who ask me what to do, how can they look like me? I tell them to lift weights yet I rarely see them doing that. What I don't understand is I tell them that I see them doing an hour of cardio, and that is not a good idea, they will remain thin and skinny looking forever if they do that, yet day after day that's what I see them doing. And they don't understand why they don't change.

Too many people, especially women believe cardio machines are the ticket to a beautiful body. And if you want to look like an anorexic movie star (and by the way- skinny is not attractive), then endless cardio is the ticket. But if you want to ride my train, it's heavy weights all the way!

If you have limited time in the gym and must choose- always choose the weights, always.