Friday, April 29, 2011

A look back at Tubby Jenny...

Ok, so here I was in my former tubby glory, hanging out with my dad in New Orleans in August of 2009. Now, dad loves me and was clearly blind to my chubbiness b/c he told me I had never looked better! LOL. Thanks, Dad! I love you, too!

I was getting down on myself the other day b/c my belly fat just doesn't seem to want to unpark itself from my abs. It's pissing me off and I find it quite frustrating. Well, a friend of mine suggested that I look back on older photos - from 2010 and beyond, to see just how much I really have changed.

So I did. And guess what I learned? I have already completely transformed my body in many ways. I may not be sporting ripped abs - yet - but my face, chest and arms have leaned out tremendously! And, even though my belly is still there, it's nowhere near the proportion it was when this photo was taken.

Here I am as of yesterday, April 28, 2011...It's not as full of a shot to compare, but it really does say it all. Who still doubts Leangains and Intermittent Fasting?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A rant about food cues...

When I created the
Fierce. Fit. Fearless. FB group the other day, one of the rules I created was for members to please not post recipes or photos of food on the group's wall. Well, someone forgot about the rule and posted a picture of some kind of protein pudding or fluff attempt on the wall. I asked them to please refrain from doing so again and she was cool with that...but the incident got me thinking about WHY this rule is a good one.

The majority of us in this group for female IFers or those women interested in learning more about IF, fast at least 14 hours a day - no food or anything with caloric content. Every other page I troll on FB or online in general has food porn everywhere. Feed the Animal, Paleo-whatever, Kenneth Yim - and, possibly the worst offender through no fault of his own, Martin's own wall where Cheesecake Mastery is a common discussion thread.

We see food on FB, on TV, on billboards, hear about it on the radio - we can't escape food cues no matter where we go or what we do - and, what's worse, they make us want to eat more. I did a little sniffing around and found this research report:

Previous research has shown that exposure to food cues increases eating, especially in restrained eaters. The present study attempted to determine whether this elevated consumption reflects a general desire to eat in response to food cues, or specific desire/craving for the cued food. Restrained and unrestrained eaters were exposed to the smell of either pizza, cookies, or no smell for 10 minutes, were asked to write their thoughts (corresponding to the smell cue) about pizza, cookies or in general, and were then presented with either pizza or cookies to ‘taste and rate’. Results indicated that restrained eaters are more responsive than are unrestrained eaters to pre-eating exposure to smell and thought cues, eating significantly more after such cues. An interaction with food type, however, indicated that restrained eaters ate more only when the food presented to eat was the same as the prior food cues. Self-reported desire to eat, liking, and craving for a particular food increased somewhat for restrained eaters after exposure to the smell and thought of that food. Restrained eaters' intake of a food that differed from the pre-eating food cues did not differ from their intake following no prior exposure to food cues. Restrained eaters thus showed a highly specific response to exposure to food cues. (Ever hear or see a McDonald's ad then actually drive to one to get whatever it was they were advertising?)

In case you were wondering, restrained eaters are defined as people who chronically limit their eating behavior in order to prevent weight gain (Herman & Polivy, 1980). Anorexics are the extreme example of restrained eaters, but anyone who chronically controls what they eat to control their weight is included in this group. The danger is that restrained eaters often lose control and binge (Cheescake mastery anyone?).

If I'm interpreting this accurately, that means all IFers are restrained eaters and are therefore susceptible to negative effects and eating behaviors spurned by food cues. This makes perfect sense to me. Unless I'm busy doing something else, I'm planning my big meals and calories, etc., and looking forward to a once-monthly pigout/cheat day. And this explains why, when I read about Cheesecake or Cheeseburger mastery on Martin's FB page, I want to eat cheesecake and cheeseburgers. Which is partly why I've been avoiding Martin's page more and more...

Regardless of the propensity to binge, however, I don't see how IFing or restrained eating is really negative or unsustainable in the long-term. I mean, it's not like I have a cheesecake handy in my fridge at work and reading about Cheesecake mastery doesn't send me driving to the nearest Wendy's. Now, if there was a Cheesecake Factory nearby I'd be hosed...Anyway, I know plenty of people who don't watch what they eat or how much they eat who have serious binge days on top of not giving a shit about their diet.

Personally, I've used this method to successfully lose 14 lbs in three months while gaining a significant amount of muscle (from the training). Yes, I get cravings for sweets - lately it's been in the form of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. I look forward to coming back from a big training session and enjoying my cereal before dinner. But, #1 I'm on a severely restricted high-protein diet on my "rest days." I didn't have these cravings when I was eating closer to my maintenance calories; and #2, I don't drink non-diet beverages of any kind - even OJ anymore, and rarely do I imbibe in my favorite - red wine; and I skip the bread basket 95% of the time - So I let myself have a bowl of cereal or a few Oreos every other day. Big deal.

So, three days a week I am eating 110 fewer calories in a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with skim milk than I would get if I had one large plain bagel and a glass of OJ - And this is not every day. Think about that the next time you bite into that bagel or buttered roll at breakfast time.

Plain bagel: 210 calories, 45 g carbs, 8g protein, 0g fiber, 1g fat
8 oz Tropicana OJ: 110 calories, 26g carbs, 2 g protein
Total: 320 calories, 71g carbs, 10g protein, 0g fiber, 1g fat

3/4 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch:130 calories, 25g carbs, 1g protein, 1g fiber
1 cup skim milk: 80 calories, 12g carbs, 8g protein
Total: 210 calories; 37g carbs; 1g fiber, 9g protein

Anyway, I digress. In my case, I can pretty much guarantee that my cravings are primarily motivated physiologically by a body that wants more calories. I am, however, susceptible to the influence of food cues as are the rest of you most of the time.

The moral of the story? Go somewhere else to obsess about food. In the meantime, don't post photos of meals and snacks on my group's wall. :P

Monday, April 25, 2011

Calling all Female IFers...


At the urging of a Twitter follower, @Jess_knows_best, I started a FB group - Fierce. Fit. Fearless. - for all of the female IFers out there - ESE, Leangains, doesn't matter. Join us on the board and let's bounce our successes, failures and questions off of one another.

...Sorry, boys, this new FB group is for women only. if you have questions, take 'em to Martin's FB page/forum.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Killed it today!

Woot! Woot! Let's hear it for broken records!!! I mentioned in my last post, I would be introducing a new twist to my regimen. Call it an experiment of sorts, but I'm trying PSMF - Protein Sparing Modified Fasting.

I would not recommend this approach to anyone as it requires very low calories and high protein...but I'm only trying it EOD every other day (rest days only) for a couple of weeks. If you're that interested in it, you can Google it yourself.

I ended up doing two days in a row due to a misplaced rib head in my upper back probably due to my heavy standing military presses on Sunday... A quick trip to my chiropractor yesterday and I was better than ever and ready to hit the gym today.

All told, I was down from 115.5 to 113.6 in just a couple of days, however, I do expect that number to creep up after a day of eating maintenance +20% (today)...Anyway, the gym!

I found a lone bottle fo 5-hour energy and decided WTH and chugged it down on my way. A quick 5-minute warmup and I was racking my weights for my deadlifts.

After Martin suggested I add 5 lbs to my lift and do only two sets, I decided to take his advice. I started with 180 lbs and did the lift 5 x's fairly easily. Hmmmm. I rested about five minutes and then added another five lbs. 185. My highest yet. Hadn't done deads since last Tuesday so I was rested, caffeinated, and ready to rock... It was harder, esp. after the first set, but I managed four before my grip on my left hand just gave in. Still, a new Personal Record (PR)!

Rested another few minutes and headed to the chinup station where I managed two full top-to-bottom chins with a 25-lb plate hanging from my waist. Followed with 20lbs x 4, 15lbs x5, bodyweight x 7. By now my forearms were quite irritated at me, so I decided that was it for the day. Phew. Fantastic trip to the gym.

Major calorie deficit for two full days; nearly 2 lbs lighter and I killed it. Wow. I feel amazing. Time to eat!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More progress pics..better? worse? no change?

I stumbled upon this first pic when clearing out my BlackBerry. It was taken almost exactly a month ago - March 19th. So, naturally, I had to take another to compare (see below). No major changes, but I think I am starting to look a bit more firm in my troublesome belly area.

I have a long road ahead to uncover those amazing abs that I can FEEL but just can't see yet...Well, I think I'm making progress.

March 19, 2011

April 16, 2011

Stuck in the Mud

I tried my luck with breathing squats again. This time I cut waaay down to 75 lbs. These will take me some time to get accustomed to - and it's not even the legs that bothered me while I was doing them - it was my traps/shoulders. They just get sore and tired holding up the weight through 20 reps and all of the breathing in between. I'm still not exactly sure if I'm doing them correctly - am I supposed to be sucking air like I was just held under water for 3 minutes? 'Cause that's how I feel about 3/4 way through the 20.


Even if I'm doing them wrong, they're still doing something b/c today my legs feel like sandbags. When I walk up my stairs I feel like I'm walking through mud. Definitely going to hit the gym for what a friend recently called "Geriatric Cardio" - LISS - low intensity, steady-state. I'll also get bundled up and take my dog for a good long walk to the beach, but the wind is blowing onshore and it's FREEEEEEZING outside. I'm tired of being cold.

But, I digress...I'm taking the weekend off to eat, rest, and do LISS. Monday's the start of a new chapter in my IF/LG journey. Stay tuned to see what I'll be up to next.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quickie Workout Update

Great workout tonight.

175 x 5 (PR), 165 x 5, 155 x 5, 145 x 5. It was humid in the gym and I was having a helluva time holding the bar. Anyone have any gym-legal suggestions?

Leg Extensions
160 X 7, 150 x 5, 140 x 6 (I think this machine is off, I can't possibly do that much weight...will try the other one at the gym next week and compare, but some guy was hogging it up tonight...)

Weighted Chins
Bodyweight +20 lbs x 4 (PR), 17.5 x 4, 15 x 4, BW x 4- complete chins - near dead hang to chin above the bar. I even have a 12-year old and a bunch of strangers who witnessed it. lol. I'll do another video next week when I try to hit 6.

By the time I was done, I was DONE. My legs were trembling while I was doing abs were screaming when I was doing my chins...hell, they're still kind of irritated at me and I'm sitting on my butt in front of my computer right now. WOW. Feels so good. I really think now that I'm eating more protein and making better carb choices (i.e. no Oreos or wine) it's starting to pay off. I know, rocket science, right?

As an added bonus, I was in a really bad mood earlier and it's gone now. Even my daughter noticed. When we were leaving the gym she said, "Mom, you're in such a better mood when you workout." Perceptive kid. She deadlifted 40 lbs. She's learning form still. Don't want her to hurt herself. She also joined me in leg extensions, did 2 sets of 10 assisted chins with 10lb assist, and a ton of knee and leg raises. She's working hard and I'm proud of her. She'll be stronger than Mom soon enough!

Before I sign off for now, here's a little weightlifting humor for the old folks out there...Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saying Bye Bye to my Fat Clothes...

Here is just a sampling of what I am sure will be a towering pile of fat clothes I will never again need in my life.

Pictured here:

2 pair of jeans

1 pair cropped khakis

2 pair khaki sorts

1 pair camo cargo shorts

1 T-shirt

1 Columbia undershirt

1 pair gray slacks

If you want to know why they're in the donation pile, check out the photos below. I've never been so happy to do spring cleaning. Only problem is I'm pretty thin on clothes that fit and I don't want to buy much yet as I'm nowhere near as lean as I'm hoping to get...ah, the trials and tribulations of Leangains. Damn you, Martin! :)

I threw in the following T-shirt pics to show how much looser my old T's are now...the white one below fits pretty well...but, check the labels and you'll see why! I can't believe I was so frickin' big!


I just wanted to let anyone out there who thinks they need to be a rail to be healthy that this is not the case. I lift HEAVY weights and eat A TON of food - particularly protein - every single day. I did not get this lean by starving myself or killing myself on a treadmill. In fact, I rarely do any type of cardio at all. My goal is to get to a low, but healthy lean body weight for my frame. I just have a VERY small frame - 5'2".

If I was any taller, I would never be able to get this small. So, when you are making your own fitness goals, be smart. I don't have a weight or size in mind. I just want to find my abs and be as strong as Mighty Mouse!

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

We really are what we eat...

Wow! What a difference eating right makes regarding strength. I've been in and out of gyms for 20 years and never have I actually paid attention to the correlation between my performance in the gym and what I was shoving down my throat.

I've been writing lately about how I felt like I had stalled - even taken a step backward in strength (bench)...well, I took an honest look at my habits outside of the gym and had to admit I had gotten lazy. I had stopped counting calories, I was drinking wine every night and was unsuccessfully fighting severe cravings for Oreos. I was also eating a paltry amount of protein each day. I was feeling tired, sluggish and my performance in the gym was going backwards.

With all of these lapses, the one thing I have stuck with is the IF. In fact, not eating for 16 hours a day is quite easy for me now and probably the only reason I didn't gain all of my weight back in the past few weeks. Despite my crappy diet, my weight held pretty steady at around 116-117 lbs during this period of slothitude.

As they say, "You are what you eat." If I want to look like the chick in the sidebar to the right in a few months (which I will), I can't be swilling wine and stuffing my face with Oreo goodness every night...not even Leangains is THAT good. ;)

Well, after just a few days of absolutely stuffing myself with protein, eliminating almost all alcohol and cookies, and sticking to very, very low carb on rest days, I'm happy to say I have my strength back. With my work schedule, I've found it difficult to eat right at work, so I've enlisted the help of my friends ON Casein and unsweetened almond milk. They're doing the trick. They satiate me, give me a necessary protein boost and curb my cravings for something sweet after I eat a meal - the perfect trifecta! I also no longer wake up starving and have gone from about 116 lbs - 114.8 lbs in just a week.

And my strength is back. When I hit the gym this morning and I knew things would be better. I had topped out at 95 lbs for my bench a few weeks ago, but then had to drop to 85 lbs my last workout as it was just a struggle to manage the weight on my own. Today, with the help of my new workout partner and spotter (my 12-year old daughter), I am back at 95 lbs x 5, 85 x 6, 80 x 7, 75 x 8. I'm going for 100 lbs first set next week and have confidence that, with a continued focus on the proper diet and attitude, I'll knock it out of the park and never look back...

I also added in standing military press with 50 lbs x 6, 40 lbs x 6, 30 lbs x 6; & weighted dips +15 lbs x 5, +12.5 x 5, +1- x 5, +5 x 5.

I'll post new progress pics in about a week...trying to go with 30 days at a time to really see the difference. I honestly still have quite a ways to go. I thought I'd be leaner at this weight, but I guess I was a real fatty for someone so small. I'm now thinking I can be ripped at 105-110 lbs depending on how much lean mass I can pack on at the same time...I can't WAIT to see what I look like when I get there. So excited!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Breathing Squats Suck

Let me just put this out there: breathing squats suck ass - and I mean that in the best possible way. They. Are. Hard.

I tried them yesterday and loaded up the bar with what I thought I could do 10 reps of (110 lbs - HA!) and started my routine. Deep breath...hold...lower to at least parallel...release breath on way up...hold while taking 3-4 deep breaths...repeat.

Holy Mother of God - it is so much harder than it looks. I could barely get through 4 before I thought I was going to pass out.

Next set, I removed weight and tried again. Was met with similar result.

Final set, removed nearly all the weight (down to 65 lbs at this point) and squeaked out 8. I was supposed to be able to do 20 - TWENTY. WTF? By number 8 on my last set, I was lightheaded and thought I would fall over. Hmmmm...

Either I'm not doing something right, or I'm doing it exactly right with just way too much weight. Anyone out there have any experience with breathing squats? Am I supposed to feel like I'm going to die not even halfway through? LOL.

Will try again next week with the lighter weight on first set and see if I can get the breathing down.

The good news is that my thighs and quads are sore today, so I did get some type of workout from the experience. So, not a total loss.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's a sugar-laden jungle of fat and garbage out there...

Ok, so I went out today to forage for some food for my two pre-workout meals this afternoon (hitting the gym after work to try out some breathing squats for the first time) and this is what I found...


Definitely no - and this one was easy to pass up for obvious reasons...

Wow...sugar, fat and carbs as far as the eye can see...and there were a lot of snacks, too. ;)

Feeling better...more of what I was looking for. Something that will give me energy, fill me up and not send me napping in a half hour.

Finally! Victory is mine!

And the winner is...

Oh, and I had a protein shake, too. Chocolate Peanut Butter Trutein stolen from a colleague. Mixed it with unsweetened almond milk and YUMMO. Tastes like Peanut Butter pie - not lying.

Don't worry, won't be finishing this off. Haven't worked out yet today, so I'll snack on this now and again in a few hours before I head to the gym. I'm thinking whole-wheat pasta with my famous clam sauce for dinner when I'm finished...