Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eating and Training to Add Muscle

I have absolutely no desire to look like a bodybuilder, yet many people think I do, they are just "uneducated" in the sport and think that all women with muscles are Bodybuilders. I am trying to add muscle, still. 

The last month has been a whirlwind for me, it's month two of adhering to my new diet, I am no longer eating chicken, broccoli and brown rice meal after meal.  Oh I still love those things and eat them every week, but I eat so much more than that! I think it would be easier to tell you what I do NOT eat.

Most packaged and pre made foods. I will eat Greek yogurt, breads and cheese, but no boxes of low fat chips, crackers, snack foods. I don't eat sausages, although I probably could and I am not a bacon eater by choice. I still refrain from drinking much alcohol, although Layne has taught me how to incorporate it if I want a glass or two on occasion; I prefer to save it for special events, I feel better without it.

Things I am enjoying that I really rarely ate for the last several years: Greek yogurt, fruit (lots of fruit - especially watermelon and apples), cheese, fatty meats (all cuts of beef, lamb, pork, chicken), breads, English muffins, toast and jam, olive oil on foods, pasta, french toast, you name it!

I just have to meticulously account for everything I eat and it must be timed correctly around my training. 

I have learned so much about how my body responds to certain foods and amounts, there is no need to be a martyr, you can live your life, compete or just look amazing! 

I shall never, ever, ever again be one of the competitors who starves herself and eats only the few staples: Tilapia, broccoli, asparagus, brown rice and yams. Never will I be a cardio queen! I never really was anyway, I always knew that a lot of cardio is bad for your body and makes you look drawn, tired and depleted, and I have always believed that someone who does hours of cardio just doesn't have their diet dialed in correctly.  

However,  I used to enjoy doing cardio more often than I get to now. I used to like hitting the stairs across the street from my house! I am currently only doing High Intensity Interval Training two times a week, and the duration is so short it leaves plenty of time to spend on abs, something I always skipped! 

The pictures above were taken 3 weeks apart. On the left (September 8) I was 126.5 pounds; on the right (September 28) I was 126 pounds. Almost exactly the same weight but in the right I look much more muscular and shapely. My shoulders are rounder and more prominent, and do I even need to say anything about the infamous glutes? 

It's a combination of the hard training and lifting I do everyday: my trainer, Roy Ganju, the owner of BodyComp Gym, is pushing me to lift heavier and heavier now that I am eating more; and the food, the variety and the timing of it all. I never realized just how important the timing was. 

I must say that I feel better and look better than ever. My weight fluctuates but is still lower than when I started working with Layne Norton, I believe I have lost bodyfat, but it's odd how much bigger, fuller and more muscular I look.

My emotional state is better, David is always telling me that (is he dropping hints???). I am happier, I feel much more freedom, although the daily meal calculations are still quite a job for me. I just have to plan ahead a couple days.

No longer do I have the massive food prep days, since I don't eat the same thing everyday it's not realistic or necessary. And, Layne changes my macro-nutrients every week, so I prepare my meals two days ahead, that's it.  I still cook a lot of chicken at once, or rice but not at all like I was doing in the past.

My squat has really improved, and this has no doubt helped my glute development, and that's in part due to an injury I sustained back in July. I developed plantar fasciitis again, I last had it about 10 years ago and it took two years to heal.

I am squatting lower, my back is better aligned and I am squatting heavier. I don't discuss "one rep maxes" I am talking reps here! I am squatting 170 pounds now!!

I have been taking some heavy duty anti-inflammatories, icing my feet 15 minutes daily with water frozen in coke bottles.

And I am rolling them for 15 minutes daily on lacrosse balls. Stretching, I am doing a lot of stretching too.

In addition to that, I have to sleep with night splints on. These are basically hard casts that go from my toes, along the bottom of my feet, up to my knee. I place my feet and legs in them and then wrap them with ace bandage. My foot is in a constant stretched position, all night long. The doctor had them made for me and he is confident this will "cure all my ails" 

For someone who sleeps naked, this is a very, very uncomfortable event, let me tell you!

But, one of my issues for years has been very tight calves and poor dorsi-flexion, these night splints seem to be solving the issue! I can now drop down to the ground, right into a squat, almost like a child! 

Below you can see the progression as I wrap my feet and legs up before bedtime, this is a nightly ritual now for four very long weeks! 

The end result below, nothing on but my casts on my legs! David and I laughed and laughed this first night, and I have since learned to wrap them up very quickly on my own. 

Sleeping as I said is difficult, and then of course there is the whole getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night issue too!

But I think about people who may not have a choice and have to live with something like this (or actually worse) every single day of their lives, for me it's a temporary setback, and I can wear regular shoes during the day. I will survive this event in my life.

 10 nights down, 18 to go! then watch me squat!


  1. Looking fabulous & most importantly the freedom you now have! Two very exciting elements!!! Hooray!

    1. Thank you! And yes, you are right. After all these years of struggling to find the balance of being lean, fit, feeling good in my body and being able to enjoy food and eating, I think I have finally found my balance. It's been a long road, and one that I am sure will have its ups and downs still, but I am on the right path!

  2. You look awesome! That's inspiring to hear you eating all those foods, and feeling more defined and strong!

    1. Kristina, thanks! I feel great (despite the foot issue, actually, I have no more pain but have 14 more nights I think). The new diet has been quite a learning experience, i have been competing since 2009 so I have been on a perpetual low calorie diet most of that time, and the freedom I have found is amazing. I am no longer convinced there is really "clean food". There certainly are better choices, better timing, better supplements, and I still stay away from crap, but all whole, real food is good!