The Honeymoon is Over – Saying Goodbye to the Bulk

15 Apr

I officially started my dieting phase on Monday and ended the building phase.  It’s been 26 weeks since the last time I had NO plan – No lifting and No meal plan.  And it’s been about 14 months since I’ve done any cardio (I don’t count the 3 cardio sessions I did the week of my competition).

Last week I was under orders from my coach to take off, no lifting and no planned meals for an entire week.  The result?  See here:

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I gained just 1lb, half an inch in my waist (BOO) half an inch in the hips (YAY!), half an inch in each leg, (YAY!), and of course, 1.5inches in my stomach. (BOO).

So you might think I’m upset about this but keep in mind, this was the result of being ON plan one week and being OFF one week.  It was such a much needed break for my body.  I did enjoy a few runs fast walks during the weekend while the weather was nice, a few alcoholic beverages, and celebrating Easter a week early with carbs galore.  If this is the result of that, then I’m really pleased.

So these are the STARTING numbers for my cutting phase.  I’m logging all of my food until I get a detailed plan from my coach which is due to arrive any minute now.  I took in about 1600 calories yesterday and am on track to do about the same today.  I worked legs yesterday and upper body today.  I’m holding off on cardio until I get my plan because, as I’ve learned, it’s all diet. :)  And the less cardio I have to do to shed this extra layer, the better and happier I’ll be.

I thought about ending my bulking phase with a little Ode to Food..but I’m not feeling the creative juices flowing on that one.  So here are some Lessons Learned instead:

  • The scale is my friend…the food scale that is.  I don’t care who you are, when you slap exactly 90ounces of tilapia or exactly 85grams of chicken on the scale, it’s like a little mini celebration.  As pathetic as it sounds, I can’t help but think “HELL YEAH I’M A ROCK STAR”  for being able to eye-ball what 85grams is and then to be right on the money?  Okay it’s silly but I feel pretty damn awesome for doing it.
  • You can never get tired of peanut butter.  Did you know there are people out there who don’t love peanut butter?  How dare they!  I learned to control my cravings by making my own in my VitaMix.  It’s amazing what you WON’T devour when you’ve made it yourself.  And when you’re super cheap frugal like me.
  • Good Food Attitude Required.  You cannot possibly enter a bulking phase with a bad relationship with food.  Of course, you can’t diet with one either.  But I would say you better have a positive attitude because when you consume a lot of it, you don’t want to HATE food.  You don’t want to HATE what it’s doing to your body.  You’re getting larger and larger and clothes aren’t fitting but don’t hate on the food.  It’s doing what it’s supposed to.  You’re training your body to grow and you have to keep in mind that a surplus of food is necessary to achieve this.
  • Body Image is Everything.  To go along with the food attitude, if you are miserable with how you look, you won’t last long.  It’s not easy to see my six pack go away, it’s not a cake walk to step on the scale and record the new number, and it’s damn annoying to try on clothes that fit 3 months ago that can’t get past your hips.  But it’s just the way things work.  It’s the way your body responds to added muscle (plus a little fat).
  • If eating an entire plate of asparagus is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.  There’s not really a lesson here.  I just love asparagus.  And I will never ever ever get tired of it. :)

Dieting progress posts will be forthcoming, as well as some much requested Workout posts.  I’ve been asked to blog a 20 minute Hotel Workout for those clients of mine who travel frequently.  So be on the lookout for that! 

 

As always, you can find my other posts on various training topics at Muscle is the New Sexy, new posts from me come out every Wednesday.  Don’t forget to like me on Facebook here and follow me on Twitter (mostly fitness related but sometimes sports and humor get mixed in) and Instagram (always just fitness related content).

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Happy Training!

 

 

 

My Top 10 Fitness and Nutrition Tips

1 Apr

I thought I’d put together a list (thanks to my client Heidi for the idea) of the best advice I’ve ever given as well as gotten as part of trying to be healthier, and live an active lifestyle.  Some of these I’ve stolen borrowed from my own coach or my first PT, others I’ve heard along the way, and some just from learning on my own.  Feel free to share with others who may need to hear this advice too!

In no particular order:

Be honest with yourself.  Write out what you’re going to eat the day before.  Even if you know you’re going to have a fast food breakfast, it’s better to be honest and have that reflection.  It works in reverse as well: Writing down that you plan to have a balanced, healthy dinner and then following through with it, gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.  It’s also a small level of accountability you can have with yourself at the end of the day – looking over what you wrote down what you WANTED to eat versus what you ACTUALLY ate.  Do they match?  Why not?

 

Workout when you are least motivated.  Sounds strange, but when you absolutely have zero desire to get on your running shoes or get in your car to head to the gym, THAT is the time you should.  Many people experience a huge sense of satisfaction when they are DONE working out.  “I really didn’t feel like it at all but by the time I was done, I felt BETTER!”  Sooner or later, you’ll get into the habit of going, even when your body might be saying, “Let’s just stay home.”

 

Sleep trumps exercise everyday of the week.  If I was ever approached by a client who suffered from insomnia and was trying to lose weight, I would turn them down for PT until they got into a habitual sleep pattern that included a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.  Why? Because chances are they are not losing weight because they can’t sleep.  Until that is corrected, I’d be stealing their money and they would show zero results.  If you have a choice between going to bed early or going to the gym late for a workout, always always always opt for sleep.

 

Mentality.  If you start to view your food as fuel, you are much less likely to hit the drive thru or eat out at the chain restaurants.  When you’re first thought of when you hear the word or think the word “food” is “FEAR” or “WEIGHT GAIN”, or “DEPRIVATION” then you have the wrong mentality.  When your first thought is “FUEL” and “NOURISHMENT” and “HEALTH” you will never be tempted to have crappy, greasy, and garbage food ever again.  It’s a relationship that might take years to get to a good place.  It takes time to learn how to cook good food too.  Learning to cook even something as basic as steaming vegetables and baking chicken gets you one step closer to feeling good and looking good.

 

Shop the perimeter. There is no reason to go down the middle aisles of a supermarket when the majority of what you should eat is on the perimeter.  Granted, there are exceptions:  Whole grains, oils, nuts, and some baking needs are in the aisles.  But 90% of what goes in your cart is available in the perimeter.  Load up on veggies, fruits, lean proteins and fats, and you are good go.  Plus, you’re cart will be so full of the good stuff, there won’t be much room for the junk.

Goals should be something you can control.  I stole this one from my coach although I had learned it many years ago.  Don’t focus on having a goal of losing X amount of pounds in X amount of time.  How can you control that?  If we knew exactly how to lose fat, we’d all look exactly the same because no one would have a weight problem.  You cannot control your metabolism to the degree that you tell it exactly how many pounds you want to lose. Your goals should be simpler yet a challenge.  Examples:

I will drink 4L of water today.

I will not have alcohol with dinner this week.

I will have protein with all my meals today.

I will get up 15 minutes early to make breakfast tomorrow.

You cannot spot reduce.  If we could choose where the fat on our body could disappear from, that would be like discovering the fountain of youth.  Alas, it doesn’t work that way.  And speaking from experience, you cannot choose where the fat COMES on your body either.  You think I want the fat to go directly to my stomach?!  Yeah it’s irritating but the difference is, I know the endgame:  More muscle.  I know it’s temporary to have this layer of fat on me right now.  Same goes for when I’ll diet down, I know I might lose it in places that are not ideal (ummm Chest?) but, this is the way the body works.  So enough with the “Can we just do exercises that get rid of the extra fat on my inner thighs?  And can we just do abs and crunches so I can get rid of this belly fat?”  Sure! Let me just get my magic wand…

Your behavior should match your goals. Stole this one from Precision Nutrition. This goes back to being honest with yourself.  If you have a goal of losing fat and weeks go by with little to no success in that area, you most likely give up, right?  But if you take a look at what your behavior was those weeks, what would you see?  Someone who worked out 5 days a week?  Someone who ate 5 balanced meals a day?  Someone who got 7 hours+ of sleep?   Someone who did everything you’re supposed to when you’re dieting?  If you only have yourself to hold you accountable, you have to be honest with yourself and evaluate where you went wrong. You might see that you only worked out twice a week and you ended a few sessions early because you weren’t feeling it.  Or you skipped lunch a few days because you got busy at work.  And you never did prep your food for the weekend so you binged on junk.  Adjust your behavior before you set your goals because that is a huge reason why many people fail.

Bloodwork tells a big story.  I think people hear “I have a thyroid problem” and automatically assume someone must be lying or using an excuse for their stagnant progress.  As much as I hate to hear “Ever since I hit menopause I just can’t lose this weight,” or “Ever since I had babies, I can’t lose this weight,” many times, it’s a contributing factor to someone’s progress.  Yes, specifically women but men as well if they have cortisol or testosterone imbalances.  I won’t use this blog as a shameless plug but if you are interested in learning more about how hormones affect your weight loss, email me at fromfittofigure@gmail.com and we can discuss.  In the meantime, ask your doc to run a panel of tests on your thyroid, cortisol, and hormone levels to see what’s going on.  Adrenal fatigue, stress, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism are all contributors to why SOME people cannot lose weight.

The scale doesn’t tell the story.  If you’re frustrated by the lack of movement in the direction the scale might be going, first, you need to read this story from my friend Leslie who contributed to my blog last year.  Secondly, you don’t have to throw it out, but consider weighing yourself once a week and then maybe once a month.  Lastly, stop thinking of that number and start measuring inches.  Yes, that’s yet another number but almost everyone who reaches a plateau (and it WILL happen) notice that although the scale didn’t budge, the measurements did.  That’s called Progress. :)  You went down a dress size yet the scale only moved 3 pounds?  Oh gee, I guess you gained something called muscle.  If you’re still disgruntled, check out the following visuals.

5-pounds-of-fat-5-pounds-of-musclefat-vs-muscleWeight-Loss-VS-Fat-Loss3

I hope these tips were helpful and informative for you.  If you liked what you just read, please share and comment!

 

 

 

 

Follow up Interview with Bikini Competitor Michelle Hogan

19 Mar

It’s been a pleasure to interview so many women on the subject of competing and getting to know them through my blog.  While the majority of the women I have interviewed have had positive experiences, some have not been so lucky post=competition.  You hear and read lots of things on the internet and see videos on YouTube of women who have had suffered metabolic damage, eating disorders, and rebounding by gaining back more weight than they may have originally lost.  Of course, not all women have these stories.  But I think it’s very important for every female to read these interviews so they can get the whole story of the life of a competitor.

I am in the process of doing follow-up interviews with some of the women who have been kind enough to tell me their story to see how they’ve been doing since their competitions.

This month, we catch up with Michelle Hogan.  You can find her original interview by clicking here.

FFTF:  How did you eat and train after your competition?

After my show I didn’t really know what to eat so I just kind of kept doing what I was doing. That was about 1,100 calories…terrible! My show diet, was starvation. I plugged my calories into a site to see what they were before a doctor appointment that I had scheduled…about 800/900 a day. Not including what I was burning working out for 2 hours. Where do you go from there?

FFTF:  What was your mood and behavior like in the months after your competition?

It was awful and I was missing some serious signs. In August I started very rapidly putting on weight, literally felt like it was over night. I was not and have never binged. The weight was coming on because my body was telling me it was starving. That was my main issue that promoted me to schedule a doctor appointment. I was feeling crappy in so many other ways but I just didn’t pick up on those signs; tiredness, short tempered, grouchy, joint pain, achy-ness, etc. In the beginning of October I had a doctor appointment that I was eagerly anticipating in hopes for some answers as to why my body seemed to be freaking out. I had gained about 15 pounds at that point. Yes, 15 pounds of fat, not water and most of that came on suddenly.

FFTF:  What medical treatment did you seek as soon as your realized something wasn’t right?

I saw a doctor that specialized in athletes, Dr. Eric Serrano. I had extensive blood work done and hormone testing. He tested my blood sugar that day which was 102…borderline diabetic! I found out I was pre-menopausal, pre-diabetic, insulin resistant (the main cause of the weight gain), I had no B12 in my system and my hormones were at negative levels. The cause he said: overtraining and dieting for too long. 

The insulin resistance has made my body turn anything that I ate into fat. I was still eating very clean and you’d be surprised that fish, vegetables etc would turn into body fat but it does when you are insulin resistant.

 FFTF:  What are you doing now to help get your body back on track?

I am now taking hormones and they are amazing! I have been on them since mid October. My period came back 2 weeks after I started treatment which had been gone since last January. My chiropractor has saved my life, literally brought me back from the dead as he puts it:) Lots of supplements including herbs for adrenal fatigue. I have stopped measuring my food and weighing myself. That was killing me. I’ve cut my training way back and I have learned how to enjoy myself and eat like a normal person again. I’m not sure what my calories are at because it was more important that I stop weighing and measuring my food. I was counting myself at 1600 Calories back in October but that was to make sure I was eating enough. I had to teach my body to eat again and I did gain more weight but a lot of that had to do with the hormones as well and side affects. I know 1600 sounds pitiful to most people but when you come off of something like this you have to start over. I was drinking Bragg’s Apple cider vinegar before each meal to keep my blood sugar down. That worked tremendously. After 1 week of apple cider vinegar my blood sugar went from 102 to 80. Now, February, I have weaned off of it because I did a purification program and have found I have been able to manage my sugar now that I have cleaned up, so to speak.

FFTF:  How are you doing emotionally and mentally with all of this?

It’s a very long process to get well and I have been very patient. I did what I was told to do, listened to my doctors and trusted that they would get me on the right path. I had such a hard time looking in the mirror for a while:( I had NEVER had so much body fat. But, now that the hormones are working and my body seems to be functioning normally again the weight is coming off. My friends at the gym, even some that I didn’t really know, have told me how much better I look now with some weight on. I think that I went as high as about 135-140….my show weight was 106!. I am down to about 120…naturally:) Eating clean, following the doctor’s orders and getting well.

It has been a nightmare but an eye opening experience.

FFTF:  Do you think you’ll ever compete again?

No. There would be too much at stake to have this happen again. People have invested a lot of time in helping me, I couldn’t disrespect what they have done for me by putting myself in the position again that got me here. I just want my muscle tone back, my leanness, but not starving. I want to be happy with how I look, be healthy and confident. I’m getting that back. My trainer asked me the other day what my goals are for this year and I looked at him in all honesty and said “I want to be healthy. That’s all I want and that is my goal right now.

Michelle is currently seeking a new coach to help her get back on track and recover from the damage that was done from her diet and training.
For anyone else out there that thinks they might be in need of some diagnosis or feedback from an experienced professional from your competition experience, you should seek out a medical professional, just like Michelle did.  Do not SELF DIAGNOSE yourself.  Do your research, get your hormone levels tested, and get your body back on track.

100 Push Ups a Week

11 Mar
Hi, can I have your body? Kthanksbye

Hi, can I have your body? Kthanksbye

I’ve come to the realization that I will probably accomplish a one-armed push up before I ever get to 7 days straight of no cheats on my diet. :)

For those keeping track, I made it 4.  Yes, just 4 days of 100% compliance before I cheated on the diet.  Oh well! Back to, hopefully, another good week of no cheats.  Maybe I’ll make it 5 days.

In other news, I wanted to share my workout today.  (SHOCKER!  A post about fitness!)

For the past three weeks, I’ve had a goal of accomplishing a one-armed push up.  At least 1, although more would be nice.

I’ve been trying to attempt this goal by incorporating push ups a couple days a week, usually on off days or right after my leg workout, for obvious reasons.

Today’s workout was a nice progression- Gonna keep working on it!

  • 1 set of regular (2 armed) push ups on elevated surface – today it was the ballet barre at the gym. 10 reps
  • 3 sets of 10 1 armed push ups on ballet barre. (10 each arm)
  • 1 set of 10 1 armed push ups on Smith machine on 4th rung from the bottom – this worked out to be about 6 inches (possibly more) lower than the ballet barre.  It was hard to tell and it’s not like I had a ruler. I just wanted to get to a lower elevation to challenge myself but still maintain good form.
  • 1 set of 10 push up to planks – Start all the way on the floor, push yourself up into a plank, slowly lower down all the way back to the floor
  • 1 set of 5 Seal Push ups – you know these, those crazy push ups where you start with hips in the air and drop the chest down and then come back up with your hips back up in the air.  Google it..it’s killer.
  • 1 set of 5 push ups on a Medicine Ball (just because).
  • 1 set of 10 (5 each side) 1 arm push ups from the floor – This is what I consider to be actually more difficult than a one armed push up because you’re starting at the bottom and coming up.  But, it’s a great way to build strength in the upper body and get used to that feeling of having your weight on just 3 points (2 feet, one hand).  After 5 on each side, I was toast.

If you’re just trying to get to do a push up off your knees, starting at an elevated surface is the way to go to progress.  A smith machine or even a kitchen counter top can work!  My girl over at Man Bicep also posted some push up variations you can try too!

Get pushin!

Mom Comes Home

10 Mar

Momandme1

My mom passed away one year ago today and ever since, I have been adding a little bit here and there to this blog post, knowing I’d want to publish something on the anniversary of her death.

At first I was going to write about her life.  And maybe someday I will.  But now right now.  Today I want tell you the journey she took to her final resting place.

She was diagnosed in August of 2009 with a rare type of T-cell lymphoma.  She had already been displaying strange symptoms since March of that year but it took months of tests to finally diagnose her.  After 6 rounds of chemotherapy, she was declared to be in remission by her oncologist.  We celebrated that Thanksgiving.  It seemed it was a miracle, although we were warned this type of cancer could come back in a few years and chemo might not work.

That news did not deter my Mom from living her life as “wild” as a 62year old could.  She spent as much time doing things she enjoyed and said YES a lot more than she said NO.  She would babysit my nephews more often.  She would attend my nephews baseball games and come with us to Cedar Point and went to every wedding and graduation party she was invited to.  Lots of lunches and dinners with friends and family as often as possible.

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In June of 2012, she started having symptoms again.  This time, all the tests came back negative for lymphoma.  But it was obvious to all of us, and her, that something wasn’t right.  This time instead of a cough and a rash, it was stomach pain.  And back pain.  And loss of her voice.  Although her voice never completely went away, it was probably one of the worst things to happen to her.  See, she was quite the gabber.  She talked to my sister every morning over the phone for years!  She’d chat with friends over lunch, she’d chat with her customers at the bridal store she worked at.  That was all gone once she lost her voice.  Not to mention the pain she was in was heartbreaking to witness.

Now, I’d come downstairs to see her in the recliner, sleeping, or trying to sleep, and in pain.  The worst was the feeling of hopelessness as you watch someone in pain and there’s nothing you can say or do to help.  Too sick to go to work.  Too tired to go anywhere.  Too weak to even move off the recliner.  This went on for most of the summer until August when removal of her lymph node confirmed that her cancer was back.  It had been a frustrating time since every other test did not show the cancer.  But her oncologist said it was the type that hides.  Well, it stayed hidden for months.

The chemo this time around was changed slightly to treat the cancer.  And after a few treatments it seemed to be working.  As anyone who knows someone or is on chemo will tell you, it’s like a rollercoaster.  She had her good weeks when she was able to have enough energy to shop and visit with friends and she had bad weeks when it took many days to recover from the chemo.

momsleigh

By the time Christmas came around, it seems as though she took a turn for the worse.  It became harder for her to breathe and she seemed weak.  She didn’t want to sleep for fear of not waking up.  She slept downstairs in the recliner and there was always someone with her at all times.  A few days before Christmas she went into the hospital and it didn’t look good.  We weren’t sure she would be home for Christmas at all.  But she was determined.  She knew the situation wasn’t good but she also knew she didn’t want to die in a hospital.  She insisted to her doctor that she was going to go home.  I believe his initial reaction was, “We’ll see.”  But my Mom was quite stubborn.  There was no way she was going to miss Christmas.

The situation was so grim, that she actually sat with me in the hospital and told me her final wishes.  It wasn’t really a conversation.  It was definitely one-sided as she spoke and I cried.  She told me the dreams she had for me, she told me how she knew everyone would be okay but that we should look after each other.  She did say something quite funny actually:  “Michelle, oh you don’t need any man in your life so you’ll be okay.”  :)  Thanks Mom, ha!

But she also said some sad things like “I don’t think Sean will remember me.”

“I don’t have any regrets in my life…but I do feel like I’m being cheated a little bit.   I really wanted to watch Matthew play baseball one more time.”

“I’ve never been afraid of dying and I’ve always been a faithful person…but I’m wondering where is my faith right now?”

“I know this last round of chemo won’t save me.  But if I could just have a few more months…”

Well, God heard her prayers, all of our prayers.  Because the next day she got the all clear to come home.

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The first thing she insisted on doing when we got her home was to finish wrapping the Christmas gifts.  She could barely lift the scissors and the tape but she insisted.  She was adamant about celebrating Christmas.  It was always her favorite holiday, especially to see the look on my nephews faces as they opened up their gifts.  And us too.

As we celebrated Christmas that year, it was clear this was going to be her last.  You didn’t want to think about it, you didn’t want to believe it.  But you knew.  And you knew that she knew.

January and February of 2013 were pretty good.  We actually had hope for a little bit.  The best was when her voice came back.  I came down the stairs to the sound of my Mom on the phone with my Aunt.  I said, “Your voice Mom!!! It’s back!”  She was glowing, she was so excited.  It was the first REAL evidence that there was some hope here.

But, most of the time, you could tell she didn’t want to get her hopes up too high.  None of us did.  I always prayed for her to be healed.  To be cured.  I couldn’t help but think, “Are my prayers just being ignored?  What gives?”

Mom had one more GREAT day.  She got to spend it with my aunt at the casino downtown and eating Paczki on Fat Tuesday.  She said to my Aunt,  “This was the best time I’ve had.”  She took this picture of her in the car, with her paczki of course.

Fat Tuesday with a Paczki!

Fat Tuesday with a Paczki!

It was literally a week or two later that she was fine one day and bad the next.  You always hear about how that happens and you always think, “Oh I’m sure they’re exaggerating.”  No really, she was really okay one day and the next day she couldn’t breathe.  She went in to get the fluid drained from around her lungs and her heart and while she was there she sent all of us a text that said: “Hospice worker coming at one. Can you come?”

Well that pretty much knocked the wind out of me.  It was one thing for one of US to think about hospice.  But when SHE is initiating it…that changes the ball game.

Ironically, when we all walked in around the same time, my Mom looked better than ever.  She looked like she never had cancer.  It was the strangest sight.  The hospice worker even looked at her like, “Ummm…are you sure you need hospice?”

But that was our Mom’s gift to us.  She knew none of us would ever recommend or even say the word hospice unless she said it first.  It had to be her decision.

It was clear from talking to hospice that Mom wasn’t quite there yet and she had options.

She came home the next day though and we thought, “Okay maybe she has more time than we thought.  Maybe this isn’t so bad.”

About a week later, she was back in the hospital again.  This time she couldn’t breathe again, and needed to be drained, again.  But as soon as they drained her, shortly thereafter, the fluid was back.  It was getting to be too much and they couldn’t keep up with the drainage.

She needed to be put into a wheelchair to get back into the car.  And when she came home we needed to help her into the house.  That’s when she changed right in front of my eyes.

Her voice became tiny and high pitched, and she said her legs felt “weird” and she said she was ashamed and embarrassed that she needed a wheelchair to get into her own house.  We told her not to worry about it but you could tell the life that was inside her was diminishing.  I looked at her for the first time and she looked like she aged 20 years in that minute.

Two days later she asked for hospice.  She sat there with me and told me “This is no way to live.  Call hospice, it’s time.”  I didn’t argue with her.  I don’t think I even cried.  I was more just in shock  that this was happening.

I stopped praying for healing or a cure.  I knew it wasn’t because God wasn’t answering my prayer, He was trying to tell me I was praying for the wrong thing.  This time, I prayed for her to go home.

3 days later, she took her last breath with my Dad at her side.  Those three days were quite possibly the most beautiful moments as well as the most awful three days of my life.  No one should have to see a loved one dying in front of them.  But there were moments from that weekend I will never forget and some day I will write a nice long post about it.

Until then, I take comfort in the memories I have of my beautiful mother.  The notes she left us that we found at Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The pictures of her around this huge empty house.  The sound of her voice and her laugh that I still have on saved voicemails and videos.  And of course, the look on people’s faces when they speak about her.  I have given up trying to tell people how amazing she was.  They simply will never know her and as much as it hurts and pains me to know that YOU will never know who she was, it’s okay now.  She lives on in me and my sister and my brother and my nephews.  So if you ever want to get to know her, just ask me.

I could talk about her forever.

zoofamily

One Perfect Week

3 Mar

So for those who follow me on my FB page, you know I had a goal last week of being absolutely on point with my diet for 7 days straight.

I made it 5 days before I caved and had a cheat meal.  But in this phase of my training, the building phase, it’s incredibly easy to just have a little extra with no detrimental effects on the physique.  At least none that I’ve noticed thus far.

According to my coach, I can save this “hardcore” goal for the dieting phase.  Right now, I’m trying to enjoy the fact that I get to be in a surplus and enjoy my food and continue to train heavy.

I’ve updated the Muscle Building Pics page with photos from the past month.  New pics will be added a week from today.  I don’t anticipate huge changes but in case you can’t tell from the photos, I’m growing quite the nice booty. I was always told in order to get a butt, I would either have to get pregnant (no thanks) or be blessed with good genetics.

Well, I got my Mom’s flat butt genes, and I still managed to grow one. :)
Looking back at my starting measurements – you can see I’m growing in all the right places.  It’s STILL scary to see that number on the scale go up every week but, just like a dieting phase, it’s not permanent.

photo(1)

With that said, I’m STILL going to shoot for 7 perfect days in a row.  It’s gonna be tough with tomorrow being Fat Tuesday – (What appropriate timing!)  I wanted to get a Paczki in honor of my Mom.  That was the last holiday she celebrated before she passed.  But, to be honest, I’m not such a huge fan of them that I MUST have one.  I can possibly try to fit them into my plan tomorrow but without knowing exactly what’s in one, I think I’ll pass.  Not quite worth the calories.

I might not make it 7 perfect days, but by saying it on here, I feel like I have a little bit more accountability from my readers who might be curious to see if I can do it.

What about you?  If you feel like you need a fire lit under your (growing) butt, give yourself a challenge!  It doesn’t have to be food or fitness related.  It can be anything.  Whatever it is, try and do it for 7 days straight.  Feel free to report back here next week to let us know how you did!

Thanks for reading and Happy Monday!

-Michelle

Gimme Your Food

6 Feb

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How appropriate is this picture?  I LOVE IT!  I love it so much I made it my new profile pic on Facebook.

This is exactly what I tell people when they see me stuffing my face eating delicious off-plan food.  In fact, I did engage is such behavior on Superbowl Sunday.  I ate some really good snacks that I don’t normally eat at all and they were all pretty much worth every calorie.

I’m 15 weeks into training with my coach at LBC and I gotta say this building phase is much harder to adhere to with regards to the diet than the fat loss phase I went through for the competition.  Like, 10 times harder.  Probably 90% of the reason is because there’s no competition to get ready for.  However, as I have mentioned in previous posts, the scale is not an indicator of how I feel and how I look.  I admit I get a little scared when I step on it and see the number up 20lbs from my stage weight.  I think to myself “Stop this train, I wanna get off!” But, you gotta take a breath and realize what your goals are.  This is what I wanted.  This is what I set out to do.

Clearly, if you want to put on some muscle, you’re going to gain some fat along with it until it’s time to lean out.  So I have accepted this fact and move on.  It’s hard, especially at night when it’s too early to go to bed and I’m already finished with my last meal of the day.  I’m definitely not hungry (I’m in a surplus, how can I be?) but it’s that behavior I have to change.  That mindset of “But I’m bulking, I can eat more!” pops into my head.  It’s pretty much SHOUTING at me at night and it’s really difficult to shut it off.  So the past few days have not exactly been 100%.  More like 90% compliance.

Not bad, you might say.  It could be worse, you might think.  But remember what I always preach:  “One “bad” meal won’t undo all the hard work you’ve done just as one “good” meal won’t undo all the damage you may have done.”  But, adding up one and then another and another “bad” meal WILL yield results that will be less than favorable. 

Something to keep in mind as I go along this building phase.  Some days I think “I wish I could be in a deficit.  That was so much easier.”  But to be honest, it wasn’t as much fun as it is now.  I was SAD when I finished my last meal of the day.  Sometimes I would be sad as soon as I finished my BREAKFAST!  Just knowing I couldn’t eat anything for another 3-4 hours was super depressing.

Now, since I’m in a surplus, I’m pretty full after I eat.  And I take my time to eat my food instead of scarfing it down.  I enjoy my food SO much more since doing this.  I found myself literally shoveling food in my mouth at every meal, especially lunch and dinner since I was at a different job at the time and I didn’t really get a real legit “break.”  Now, I take my time and eat super slowly.  Just doing this one little thing has helped me immensely.

In keeping with “Accepting” this new me, I wrote a blog post for Muscle is the New Sexy this week which focuses on Letting your Light Shine.  I discuss some positive ways we can silence that negative voice that gets stuck on repeat sometimes in our head.

Let Your Light Shine

I hope you guys like it and share it!  Look for my blogs to come out every Wednesday on that site.

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