Monday, December 31, 2012

A Toast to New Beginnings

The 950' vertical climb at Jamaica's Dunns River Falls was 
a piece of cake for this 40-something.
I have always considered myself an athlete. I was a three-sport child excelling in basketball, softball and soccer. I dabbled in track & field and spent many afternoons scrambling up trees or playing football with my big brother or my bff.

As an adult, distracted by marriage and motherhood, I floundered sport-less for nearly a decade until I discovered surfing at age 30. Still, despite traveling often in pursuit of perfect waves, I wasn't particularly strong or healthy. I was skinny fat, unable to complete a single unassisted pull-up or chin-up and had no idea what a deadlift even was. Almost exactly two years ago, I made a discovery that would change my life forever and start me on a new path of self-discovery that continues to teach me new lessons almost daily.

It was Martin Berkhan's Leangains website. I couldn't tell if it was a diet or a training regimen - or a little of both? Here was a way to lose fat, gain a tremendous amount of strength all while enjoying substantial meals consisting of many of the foods traditionally considered taboo in the fitness world. Was this the holy grail of fitness? The answer to that, for me anyway, was yes...and no.

While Martin outlines quite specifically the do's and don'ts of the Leangains way - required daily intermittent fasting, large meals, carb cycling, refeed days and heavy training - I've come to two realizations:

1. These are guidelines and the specifics will vary from individual to individual; and
2. Like all other training/diet protocols out there, Leangains is also subject to continued evolution as more information and science becomes available.

Though the specifics of weights and reps and permitted foods and fasting times may vary from person to person, what will not vary is the fact that Leangains is a mindset.

People are tired of dieting. We don't want to eat mini-meals all damned day. Most of us don't have three hours a day to spend working out. And when there's a special event, we want to enjoy our grandma's homemade pie or mom's famous sour-cream whipped potatoes without guilt.

We're also not aspiring Olympians or professional athletes. We're normal people, subject to the rampages of age and we want to be able to get out of a chair with ease when we're 80. We want to have the energy to play with our kids and grandkids. When we are able to take a vacation, we'd like to be able to walk, run and play when we reach our destination of choice. We want to be able to bend, stretch, lift, jump and get through our daily lives without physical limitations. I can honestly say, as I hit the 40th year of my life a couple of weeks ago, that I will always, in one way or another, follow the Leangains mindset because it will allow me to enjoy all of the above and so much more as I take on the next 40 years of my life.
Sometimes it's important to remember life is simply 
meant to be lived.
As 2013 quickly approaches I have to remind myself that I have only just started on the road to a lifetime of better health and fitness. While I do not yet have that coveted 6-pack, I have come to the realization that I am stronger than I was at 20. I am confident, healthy, energetic and I am ready to run, jump, leap, bound, swing and surf my way through this safari called life.

The term "Holy Grail" signifies the end-all-be-all of any desire, ambition or goal. In essence; the finish line. While Leangains has changed my life forever, I have come to realize that it was not the finish line at all - in fact, it was just the beginning.

Here's to a happy, healthy, blessed New Year of new beginnings for us all!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Benefits of Occasional Gluttony

I know I just posted yesterday, and don't get used to daily postings from me either, but

"<<<<<" This is how  this is how I felt today in the gym.

I think my 9-10 days off for vacation were just what I needed to recharge because I just couldn't get tired during my workout. I started with 10 1-minute sprint intervals /  2 min rest and followed with flat bench. I had recently been struggling with my bench because I stopped doing it regularly, but it still felt pretty light after 5 sets of 6-8 reps as I continued increasing the weight.

After bench, I did 12 bodyweight neutral-grip chin ups for the hell of it and they were easy - and I'm about 5 lbs heavier than I was pre-vacay. Go figure! Must have been all of that good food in New Orleans and on my cruise coupled with tons of R&R because I've been low carb since I got back five days ago and I feel amazing.

So I wanted to post to remind you all that rest and a bit of a refeed can be a GOOD thing. Don't be hard on yourself for your holiday indulgences. Think of them as a critical refueling to enable you to kick up your intensity as we head into 2013. As long as you're not a glutton often, you may find you're feeling stronger than ever when you get back on track.

Happy pre-New Year everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

One Habit at a Time

One of my FB friends posted this photo the other day and it got me thinking about daily habits. We all have dozens of habits that have been ingrained in us over the years; some good - rising early each day and making the bed, brushing our teeth, showering (optional but highly recommended), getting dressed (not optional), eating our veggies, etc. And there are the not so good habits: not getting enough sleep - which ultimately leads to bad habit #2, hitting snooze six times before getting out of bed, not returning phone calls or emails, arriving late to work, etc.

In addition to the daily habits related to our personal hygiene and grooming, what we put in our bodies every day and how much we move are also habits. Do you grab a muffin or donut on your way out the door in the morning or do you chug down a protein shake? Do you pack a healthy lunch or hit the drive thru at lunch? Do you opt for a cheap sugar rush from the vending machine when your energy wanes at 3 pm, or do you grab a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit to munch on?

Each of these things is a habit. Many, many, MANY of us currently have or have had in the past some terrible habits - including me. But I'm here to tell you that habits can be changed.

Make a list of what you would consider your bad habits. Here's my old list:

Never make the bed in the morning
Eat too many crunchy, salty snacks
Drink wine every night
Not focused in the gym and not consistent with exercise
Don't drink much water
Don't take fish oil
Watch WAY too much TV

I'm not sure when I started changing each individual habit, but I'm happy to say that I have changed every one of these habits for the better. Except for the making the bed one, I believe all the others changed when I started #1 Intermittent Fasting and #2 Lifting heavy weights on a consistent basis. I think it's amazing how many good habits trickle down from just one or two core habits. The more I focus on what I'm eating and when I'm eating it and how I'm training, the more I want the rest of my daily habits to support these efforts such as drinking more water, taking daily fish oil and natural supplements, watching less TV, and staying away from the snacks and the booze (for the most part).

If you have bad habits you'd like to work on, and let's be honest, you do; I suggest writing them down and choosing one or two core habits to focus on. As you get better and better at those, you may be surprised to find that other not-so-awesome habits start changing too.

One habit at a time, one day at a time, you can change.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Life, training, going carb-less and my love affair with Gummy Bears

It's been too long since my last post and, while I have a myriad of excuses, I'm not going to list them here. For all intensive purposes, I'm back.

What's going on in my life? Hmmmm. Lots actually. I'm still training, but have mixed things up to include some Kettelbell / bodyweight circuit type stuff as well as some heavy days with my old friends, The Big 3. As for diet, I still IF anywhere from 14-16 hours a day. It's just a habit now. I'm also taking a dip in the Carb Nite pool. For those of you not familiar with Carb Nite, it's a power diet protocol developed by a really smart dude - John Kiefer, known simply as "Kiefer." Seriously, the guy's a physicist and he's got a smokin' bod to boot. But his chiseled abs weren't handed to him. They've been sculpted by the years of trial-and-error that led to Carb Nite and his other gaining protocol, Carb Backloading.

For Carb Nite, you start with a 9.5 day ultra-low carb period where you eat literally as close to zero carbs as you can (not including fiber) along with protein and lots of fat. On the eve of the 10th day you indulge in high glycemic foods to cause a rapid insulin spike which causes all kinds of cool things to happen to your hormones and metabolism - not the least of which causes the annihilation of fat cells. After a 6-8 hour carb up period, you go back to ultra-low carb for anywhere from 5-7 days with at least one mandatory carb refeed weekly.

It's actually quite easy to eat this way. Once the brain fog and fatigue of Day 5 passed, I felt pretty good. I made it the entire prep period on basically no carbs and was rewarded with a fat free froyo sundae with banana and caramel syrup, a handful of Gummy Bears, three Rice Krispy treats, a half of a Domino's deep dish pizza and Oreos with a glass of milk before bed. Guess what, I woke up only 1 lb heavier and that's pretty much all water and whatever food was still in my system at the time. If you want to get the low down on Carb Nite, check out Kiefer's site,

I'm also job hunting, which sucks. But, on the flip side, my boyfriend and I are leaving for a much needed vacation in about a week. I. Can't. Wait.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Simple Question

I was recently going through some Precision Nutrition materials when I was struck by one of the most profound questions I have yet to consider. 

Do your behaviors match your goals? 

Such a simple idea, really. If you want to be strong, fit and healthy, then 90% of the decisions you make every day should in fact reinforce these goals. I know this isn't rocket science, but I think in the frenzy to calculate calories, the appropriate macro-composition of your diet, get to the gym on a regular basis all the while devouring pages and pages of fitness blogs and websites, we almost lose sight of this simple fact.

If you want to find your abs (I know I do), all you have to do is ask yourself, every day, "What am I going to do that will get me closer to my goal?"

For me this has meant less sitting on the couch and more walking my dog, riding my bike, surfing and training. It also means that, before I eat, I ask myself if what I am about to consume is going to fuel my progress, stall it or, even worse, set it back? 

Since life is meant to be lived, there is room for flexibility in this mindset for special occasions, diet breaks, and the ups and downs of life. I've found, however, that keeping this question in mind keeps me on the right track 90% of the time and I can live with that.

If you want to look like this....

Then by all means, carry on.

But if you want to look like this...

Or this...

Then what are you doing sitting in front of a computer? Get outside and get moving!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Early Summer Update

An innocent bystander in my search
for Tarpon in the Florida Keys!
I know, it's been forever since I updated. It's been a busy couple of months. As some of you already know, my boyfriend's colorectal cancer returned in April - I probably found out right after my last post, hence the hiatus. He had surgery to remove 20% of his liver in early June (will regenerate) and spent the rest of the month recovering. Just as he was feeling better from the surgery, he started chemo and an IV infusion of a protein-based medication. 

Naturally, as we were preparing for our vacation to Key West (planned pre-recurrence), he broke out in a horrible rash that only got worse and worse while we were away. Now we're home and he's healing. The trip is over and my fall from the training wagon has come to an end.

My IF lifestyle has been so good for me that my endocrinologist lowered my Synthroid dose twice last year. I had actually become clinically hyperactive b/c my body was using my meds so much more efficiently (or something like that). For anyone new reading this, I had a total thyroidectomy in 1999 due to papillary carcinoma. I require daily synthetic hormone replacement. For 13 years my dose did not waver. As I said above, since I started IF, the doc had to lower it twice to get me back on track. The good news? Less meds are always better if you ask me. The bad news? I went from 113 lbs at the height of my hot flashes and heart palpitations to 123 lbs post vacation. My metabolism must be in the dirt and I can't shake this tummy. It's making me crazy.

The Fierce Fit Fearless Facebook group is at 2,250 members and going strong and we just wrapped up our first group challenge - the 30-Day Consistency Counts challenge. 97 participants joined in and many learned to leave well enough alone and practice PATIENCE with their macros and training. Those who adhered lost inches, pants sizes and some weight - in just one month. We're announcing a new challenge this weekend so stay tuned!

I also started an FFF Fan page that is open to everyone. So if you're of the male persuasion and have been wondering what all the FFF hulabaloo is about, please 'Like' us and join in the conversation. We'd love to have you!

Well, that's all for now. Now that things are settling down, I'll be updating this more regularly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I may never eat ice cream again

What looks like ice cream and tastes like ice cream, but has 12g protein, 19g carbs, a paltry 2.5g fat and just 150 calories packed in a 1.5-cup serving? It's not frozen yogurt, it's not fat free ice cream and it's not sugar free ice cream.

What you see in the above photo is my newest creation and the clear front runner for my evening dessert choice for the foreseeable future. Meet Strawberry Cottage Delight. 

To whip up your own bowl of this delectable must-try, you will need the following:

  • 1/2 cup 2% lowfat cottage cheese
  • ~1cup or 5-6 large frozen strawberries - no syrup, chopped (could prolly sub other chunky frozen fruits)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Truvia or your favorite zero-calorie sweetener to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until it reaches your desired consistency. I personally enjoy some strawberry chunks in mine. I plan on experimenting with canned coconut milk, bananas and nut butters in my next attempts. 

In comparison, an identical portion of Haagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream will cost you 675 calories packed with 57.5g carbs, 40g fat, and 10 grams of protein.

If you try this, let me know how it turns out!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The F-Word

Fresh fruit will not make you fat.

I don't know about you, but my favorite part of any food store is the produce department. I love the rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes on display. The playful misting of the lettuces, the exotic vegetables I've never heard of from parts of the world I've only read about. I can't imagine anyone getting fat by eating a variety of any combination of the foods you find here. So why do people think fruit will make them fat?

It's the F-Word - Fructose

Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide and one of three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Unlike glucose which can be immediately available to the muscles, however, fructose must first be processed in the liver, giving it the lowest glycemic index of all sugars.

Naturally, fructose is found in fruit, many plants and some vegetables, but not in very high concentrations. Fructose is very sweet - perhaps the sweetest of all natural sugars. That's why an orange can taste amazing with just 2.25g fructose per 100g of fruit. To think you can get fat from eating fresh fruit is just absurd.

Beware of Dried Fruit

All fruit is not alike. While I LOVE the chewy bundles of natural sugar called dates, they top the list of sugary fruits weighing in at 73g of total sugar per 100g of fruit - about half of which is fructose. Raisins, Craisins and all other manner of dried fruit also pack a wallop in the sugar department, so tread lightly here.

Why the bad rap?
If getting fat from fresh fruit is impossible, then why has fructose been villainized?

In short, I like to blame modern chemistry. Commercially, fructose is usually derived from sugar cane, sugar beets and corn and can be found in high concentrations in all manner of food products from baked goods and condiments to juice boxes and soda. Fructose in its most natural form comes complete with tons of water, fiber and various micro nutrients making it hard as hell to overeat. When it's separated from the mother ship and processed into a syrup and poured into a can, the concentration that humans can consume quickly and easily shoots to the moon - and back!

You would have to eat 13 oranges to get the same amount of fructose found in ONE 20 oz. non-diet soda.

Which do you think will make you feel full?

 Are you beginning to see the problem? Now, add increased fructose consumption to the fact that this sweetest-of-sweet has been shown in studies to suppress Leptin - the hormone that tells our body that we're not hungry. High leptin = low appetite and vice-versa. At the same time, it raises levels of Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger. The result? Feeling hungrier; eating more.

Ever eat a brownie or drink a Coke and want another...and another...and another? Does the same thing happen when you eat apples? No, of course not.

Fruit is Berry Friendly
I'd like to introduce you to your friendly neighborhood strawberry. Weighing in at approximately 5.3g sugar/100g of fruit, this little gem is 91% water. Binge all you want on strawberries. Unless they're coated in a pound of chocolate, they will not make you fat.

So set your fear of fresh fruit aside and indulge. Grab a kiwi, a pile of berries, even a banana *gasp* and EAT. Not only will you satisfy your sweet tooth, you will be loading up your body with vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep your motor revving. 

Disclaimer: If you're eating like a pig and consuming more calories than you are using in a day, you will gain weight over time.

QUICK FRUIT LIST- Fructose per 100 grams
Eat from the bottom up on this list and you can't go wrong

1. Dates, 32 grams/32%
2. Raisins, 29.7 grams/27.9%
3. Figs, 22.9 grams/22.9%
4. Prunes, 12.5 grams/12.5%
5. Grapes, 8.13 grams/8.13%
6. Pears, 6.23 grams/6.23%
7. Cherries, 6 grams/6%
8. Apples, 5.9 grams/5.9%
9. Persimmon, 5.56 grams/5.56%
10. Blueberry, 4.97 grams/4.97%
11. Bananas, 4.85 grams/4.85%
12. Kiwi Fruit, 4.35 grams/4.35%
13. Watermelon, 3.36 grams/3.36%
14. Plums, 3.07 grams/3.07%
16. Honeydew Melon, 2.96 grams/2.96%
17. Grapefruit, 2.5 grams/2.5%
18. Strawberry, 2.5 grams/2.5%
19. Blackberry, 2.4 grams/2.4%
20. Raspberry, 2.35 grams/2.35%
21. Orange, 2.25 grams/2.25%
22. Pineapple, 2.05 grams/2.05%
23. Cantaloupe, 1.87 grams/1.87%
24. Peach, 1.53 grams/1.53%
25. Nectarine, 1.37 grams/1.37%
26. Apricot, 0.94 gram/0.94%


Friday, February 10, 2012

The Most Important 'Muscle'

Last night when I was finished my bench/pull-up/dip routine, I had some extra energy - and time. I hopped on the treadmill and just started walking. I like walking. Whether it's around the neighborhood with my dog or on a treadmill in the gym, I find that when I'm walking is pretty much the only time my mind is totally free to meander wherever it wants to. I started thinking...

Despite the fact that I'm fighting a cold and hadn't slept well in a day or two, I felt really, really great. I wanted to run or even maybe do some HIIT intervals to help ignite my fat burning furnace. But then the voice of my coach echoed in my head, "When on a cut, don't be stupid and do too much."

My coach, Andy.
Well, maybe those weren't his exact words, but the general idea is spot on. Regardless of how good I feel or how impatient I'm getting with the snail's pace of fat loss I'm experiencing, too much training volume or intensity will only be counterproductive as it will impair my recovery and put added stress on my central nervous system (CNS). Hell, that stupid bench pyramid routine I did on Sunday is probably the reason this cold was able to take hold of me in the first place. Simply put, I did too much. I compromised my immune system. Now I'm paying the price in sniffles and swollen sinuses. Lesson learned.

While none of you would disagree that the "no" muscle is the most important muscle to exercise when dieting, you may not realize its effect on your training as well. Rest = Recovery. It's a simple equation, really. Contrary to popular opinion, we don't actually build muscle in the gym. No; the gym is where we tear it down. We push, pull, lift, strain, and do all manner of cruel things to our muscles when we train - none of which leaves room for simultaneous growth. We grow when we rest because then, and only then, is our body able to repair the damage we have done and respond to the added requirements by building the new bonds that result in lean tissue growth.

This is the same reason nutrient timing is so critical for optimal muscle growth. If you pig out before you train when your muscles are heavy with glucose, nutrients and calories that would be used for recovery and repair had they been consumed post workout basically go to waste - or worse, to you're waistline.

Exercise your "no" muscle as often as you can. Saying no to over training is as critical to your success as saying no to that cookie or brownie. (Unless it's a special occasion, of course!)

And keep walking. I did.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

Ever hear the expression, "Too many cooks spoil the broth?"  Put simply it means, when trying to cook something - even something as simple as broth - too many conflicting ideas will ruin it. If you have too many people adding this and that, with no cohesive plan or recipe, your broth will taste more like dishwater than anything palatable when you're done.

Training and fitness are the same. I never really put it together until Andy commented on a crazy bench press pyramid routine I tried the other day that I posted on Fitocracy. It's not that he was against the routine, per se, but he did point out that I'm on a pretty strict cut and the volume was way too high and will likely affect recovery and progress at this point. He warned me not to fall prey to the "too many cooks" trap.

He's right, of course. But I was frustrated with my RPT bench routine which has stalled at 110 lbs. x 4 reps and was looking to do something different to break through my plateau. I'm looking to bench my body weight (119) for reps. A guy at my gym is a heavy-duty bench press competitor and he suggested I try the pyramid. In all honesty, the weight was pretty light until the middle couple of sets, but it was still overkill in my current state of dieting. My bench press 'kitchen' went from two cooks (me and Andy), who had agreed on a certain routine, to three cooks - and I started doubting myself.

This also applies to diet and nutrition. As more and more IF and Leangains-related Facebook groups pop-up, I'm finding myself straying from the very ideals that got me to where I am today. Like with the bench routine, I've started doubting my diet approach and foods I eat based on the posts of dozens of people I don't even know.

There's a lot about nutrition, training and life that I don't know. But I do know this: I know that what works for a 28-year old man will not likely be right for me. In a similar fashion, that which works for a woman who is 80 lbs. overweight will not be right for me. And I know that what works for me, may not be right for anyone else.

As for all of you other "cooks" out there:

I am not lactose, glucose, or gluten intolerant; I could care less about what sweetener is in my casein or BCAA powder; I will never give up chocolate - or settle for a substitute. I love Brussels Sprouts cooked in bacon fat; meat by the pound; eating like a barbarian - and training like one, too. I love the euphoria I feel in the gym before I KNOW I'm about to kill it. I love how my body is continually changing for the better. 

And I love to train low volume and lift heavy shit. Why? 


(Thanks, Andy, for stepping in and saving me from what could have turned into a full-on derailment of my program.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Big Words, a Simple Solution...

I've been getting dizzy. For the past few days, whenever I sit up too fast from lying down or if I move too quickly, I get that odd out-of-balance feeling and feel like I may fall over - just for a second or two. Curious as to whether this phenomenon was diet or life-threatening-malady related, I did what anyone would do: I Googled it. 

"dizzy, low carb diet" yielded the following diagnosis:

Orthostatic hypotension, also known as posutral hypotention, orthostasis, and colloquially as head rush or dizzy spell, is a form of hypotension in which a person's blood pressure suddenly falls when the person stands up or stretches. - Wikipedia.

I also found a number of forum discussions on various low-carb diet websites discussing this very problem. Some say it's sodium related. Some say it's calorie related. Some say it's fat related...and so on. But the idea that this has something to do with a lack of sodium makes the most sense to me - and it fits.

I have always had low blood pressure. I'm not on medication for it, but I usually come in around 90/50 when I'm at the doctor's office - and this is often after my morning coffee. I am on a very low calorie and low carb diet at the moment which, on its own will help the body rid itself of a lot of water. And, since I use salt very sparingly on my food, and drink two quarts of homemade iced green tea a day, I think that perhaps I do have a sodium deficiency. 

Think about it, people with high blood pressure are asked to reduce their sodium intake. This is because sodium causes the body to hold excess water intended to flush the excess salt from the body, thus thickening blood volume resulting in increased pressure within the circulatory system. If I'm flushing out all of my sodium and not consuming enough of it, my blood volume will actually decrease. 

So, I'm going to up my salt intake over the next few days and see if the spells decrease or disappear altogether. Stay tuned. I'll get you an update this weekend - oh, and will post my month 1 pics from the cut I'm on. Not sure there's a huge change, but we'll see when I take pics and measurements on Friday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

STFU and Squat

Yesterday I went to my new gym for my first Saturday workout with a group of men - and one woman - who meet each week to squat, deadlift and bench press. The most helpful of these folks was Jack (#1). Age 77, Jack #1 is a former team USA powerlifter who deadlifts around 440 lbs. Did i mention, he probably weigh 150 lbs soaking wet? He helped me rack and unrack the weights and set up for each person we were working with. He also followed me at the end of each set to ensure I got it racked correctly and safely.

Also in the mix was Jack #2 (nicknamed 'the old Russian'). Aged 60-something, in his day, Jack #2 held 14 powerlifting records. I'm not sure if they were state, National or International - I will find out and get back to you. Anyway, the two Jacks were quite helpful and I found it very motivating to work in with them.

Since the rack we were using was not adjustable, I had to step outside of it to get ATG in my squats. They all said my form was spot-on and, if anything, that I was going "lower than I needed to." These guys all think in terms of competitions, not necessarily full ROM or even functional strength, so they were giving me tips related to "the rules" of meets. Regardless, I performed all of my squats, except my heaviest set, outside of the rack and even heard some of the guys watching me say things like, "she's really going low," which motivated me to keep my form and continue going as deep as I could while focusing on the rebound off the bottom. I have found that it's true, if you hesitate at the bottom of your squat, you lose the energy that was stored in your glutes and hamstrings on the way down. You have to literally 'bounce' off the bottom of the movement and explode up through your hips to complete the movement.

I also love the fact they they put a sheet over the mirror where you squat so you can't watch yourself. All you can do is pick your spot on the wall and focus on the movement. While it was a bit intimidating to work out with so many critical eyes on me, I believe it will ultimately only help me to improve my form, increase my motivation and even make a few new friends.
As for the diet, I've taken it quite loosely over the weekend as I was feeling weak, a bit sick and not great late last week. I'm still eating mostly protein and veggies, but I gave the scales a break - no weighing food and no weighing me. My mood has since improved and the bit of extra carbs I ate on my rest days are helping. I'm still under 75g carbs and within my macros, so I think I'll be ok.

It's Sunday and time to get moving. I've got lots to do today and don't have time to sit here, chatting with you folks all day. Take care. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

A look back

Just a quick look back at, well, at my remind me that I am making progress. The cut diet is hard and I'm struggling, but I'm trying to stay positive and stick to it. Every now and again I like to look back to find the motivation I need to stay the course. The harsher flash in the second pic washes out what I believe are my improving back muscles...anyway, here's today's inspiration:
January 2011 - 129 lbs of 'skinny fat' 
January 2012 - 119 lbs; goodbye 'skinny fat'

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let the games begin!

This is me Jan 3 - before I started the cut.
Ok, I'm on day 7 of my 12-week cut with Andy Morgan and I'm feeling good. Days 1-3 were pretty brutal as I adjusted to the wakeup call of very low calories. My first workout, which fell on Day 3, was absolutely horrid - and it wasn't even fasted. My lack of energy and poor performance was probably related to a number of factors - diet, sleep, stress, etc - but I was weaker than I had been in months.

Then, just two days later I headed to the gym for what would end up being my best squat workout to date - this time fasted and on hour 17 with only BCAAs and 200mg caffeine on board. 

Those of you who have been following my journey know I only began squatting a couple of months ago due to a knee injury, so my weights aren't all that impressive. At about 119.6 lbs, my back squat on Sunday was 135 x 5 (top set) - still a new record for me. And I went below parallel for each - super low. I also added a third drop set to each movement that day - back squats, split squats and standing barbell OHP and hit new bests on top sets of each.

Now I'm about a week in and I feel great. I won't weigh myself until Friday, so I can't tell you what my initial weight loss was as of yet - but this is probably best as the first few days is all water anyhow. And boy can I hold water!

I'm still dialing in my macros - it's hard to eat exactly as instructed when I'm not always home - work, friend's/boyfriend's house, restaurants - but I think I'm staying very close and this should get easier. The hardest is when out with friends. Restaurants don't serve s#it for protein. I'm also hungry a lot - but not the "omg my stomach hurts" kind of hunger - though I did have that the first super low-cal night. I'm just always a bit grumbly and feel the hunger hormones at work on my brain. Then I'll have a training day meal and it will go away until the end of my rest day...and so the cycle continues.

Stay tuned for more updates as I chronicle my experience. I'll post photos and my week 1 weight sometime this weekend if I can. I'm traveling for business - another challenge to the diet - so it may not be until week 2.