Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Schlappy New Year!

2009 is finally here, and I have to say, 2008 was a great year for me in terms of my competing and training (despite hitting some major personal road blocks). It's crazy because I always think that it can't get any better, and each year I continue to reach the goals I set out to accomplish for the year and make consistent progress along the way. I can only hope that this year will bring even greater success for me as I take on this new bodybuilding venture.

No training for me today since it's Thursday, my regular day off. I worked a little OT for work this morning, which was suprisingly uneventful. This week, the Arnold split has come to a grinding halt. My body has finally said enough with hitting everything twice a week. In fact, I even took the initiative to go to the doctor to address my old nagging hamstring issue as well as a newly developed pinched nerve in my right shoulder, which leaves the first three fingers of my right hand painfully numb. Not surprisingly, he referred me to a chiropractor, and I had my first visit yesterday. She was great, and she listened to what my problems were and took a very understanding approach to the fact that I'm an athlete and I'm not going to stop training because of these minor injuries. So, she adjusted me, and I already have some relief from the pinched least, I didn't wake up in pain in the middle of the night and haven't had much numbness all day today.

As far as changing up the training now, my plan is to take to weeks and try to ease off a little bit and let my body repair itself a little bit. I will undoubtedly have to work at making a concious effort to not train balls to the wall, but I think by the second week, I will welcome it. Then I'll probably go back to some heavy lower volume stuff similar to the 5x5.

That's it for now. I'll post more next week when I change around my diet and start my "recovery" training. Now it's time for this girl to nap (I can't think of a better way to celebrate the new year).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Belated Christmas

I have always compared contest prep to the Christmas season. You spend weeks getting ready for it and looking forward to it, and it's over in the blink of an eye. Then when it's over, there's that "blah" feeling of not having anything specific to direct your attention to. And if you're unfortunate enough like me to live in a place where it's cold, the passing of Christmas means there's REALLY nothing to justify the cold, snowy weather. However, despite the two feet of snow on the ground, Christmas this year was pretty great. I was able to take some time off from work (Wedensday and Friday), which meant some good rest time. Christmas Eve morning I trained chest and back and did 30 minutes of cardio with just the Homeslice. While the workout was epic (took us damn near 3 hours), it was still good. Then it was off to my pseud0-parents' house for some good eats....and eat, I did! My diet was on point all day until dinner, which consisted of pork loin, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. And yes, I did indulge in the potatoes and stuffing, as well as a glass of red wine. The real downfall was the damn cookie trays....I definitely ate WAY more cookies than I needed to and paid for it later on with a nice little stomach ache. It was a good way to learn a lesson though.

Obviously, no gyms were open on Christmas Day, so there was no training for me....which worked out since Thursday is my off day anyway. In the morning, we went to the Homeslice's parents' house for brunch and then his brother's house for dinner. Again, the diet was ok until dinner, which was prime rib. I don't typically like prime rib, but I was hungry and didn't want to be rude. In between all the eating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there was a lot of napping going on, which I was LOVING!

Friday morning, I trained shoulders and did my 45 minutes of cardio and then went back at night to finish up with arms. Saturday weigh-in was a dreaded moment for me considering my poor eating over the days before but proved to be pretty suprising....150.6...not much change there. Saturday morning was quads and hams, and oddly enough, this has become one of my more enjoyable workouts lately. Since taking out deadlifts on back night, my left ham has had some rest time, and it's paid off in my leg workouts. I am consistently getting stronger in my squats each week, as I am determined to have a tight, high butt come November. I managed to get 205 for 6 (205 was my 5x5 big improvement there), and then thought I'd try 215. Not surprisingly, it was a little big for my britches, and I only got 2...but they were a solid, tight 2. So, I guess that's something-another step closer to that 225 goal.

And, this morning was chest and back again, which was rather uneventful but pretty draining nonetheless. Right now the plan is to continue with these supersets for another two weeks and then maybe switch back to the 5x5 (which still scares me). Though, I will certainly welcome the break from my aching joints and tendons....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pre-Christmas Update

I finally reached my weight goal....Saturday's weigh-in showed the magical 150. While I'm definitely harder now at 150 than I was at 140 or 145, I still would like to make it more of a quality 150 than it is. And I am proud to say that I have stayed on track with the diet despite cookies galore at work. However, my confession is this....I did have half a chocolate chip cookie today. But for me, that's pretty damn good considering that I looooooove cookies and cakes and dessert food. I'm more or less saving myself for Christmas Eve when my family does the big celebration. I don't intend to go crazy, but I will definitely eat a little more than just a half a cookie. In fact, the pastry/cookie tray is sitting in my fridge as I type this, and I can practically hear them calling my name.

Training has been going ok. It seems like every few weeks I get into a funk and feel like I'm just going through the motions during my workouts. That time seems to be now. So far, this week, my workouts have been mediocre at best. I also think I'm getting a Stomach bug on Thanksgiving, and maybe a cold on Christmas. NOT COOL! Sometimes I wonder if that's normal (the funks that seem to come so often). I mean, I take a full day away from the gym each week, so I certainly don't think I'm overtrained. I eat plenty of good food to fuel an efficient workout, and for the most part, I get a decent amout of sleep.

I also didn't take pictures this weekend. In fact, I was lucky to even get my workouts in. It more or less snowed the entire weekend. I'm already so over this weather and winter has barely even started. If I moved to a place where I never saw a flake of snow or a hint of cold weather ever again, I would NOT be upset. Screw all the people that say, "Oh, but what about having all four seasons?" F that. The only season I like is the one that's warm and sunny.

Hmm, looks like a lot of whining going on here today. Oh well, get over it, it's (almost) Christmas, bitches!

Friday, December 19, 2008

On A Roll

Yeah man, three weeks with no caffiene, and I'm still going pretty strong...well, somtimes. But for the most part, I feel so much better. My workouts aren't nearly as effected as I thought they would be. In fact, once I get going, they have been pretty damn good. It's been two weeks of the old school style Arnold superset split, and I'm still loving it. I am still making steady, consistent progress. The gains aren't drastic, but they're coming, and that's all I can ask for. One major drawback to this split is the aches and pains in my joints and tendons from hitting everything so heavy twice a week. I'm starting to get pains in my left elbow which really impairs my chest and tri workouts. But because I'm enjoying this split so much, I get over it during the workout. Unfortunately, I know that I'll pay for it later on....but for now, whatever.

One interesting thing is how my body has begun to change in the past two weeks. While my diet hasn't changed (except that I'm eating a little extra here and there because this new training program seems to have my metabolism through the roof), my shape certainly has. I seem to be carrying my near-150 pounds much better as of late. This morning when I was training shoulders, I had vascularity in them that I usually only ever have when I'm dieting. Considering that I am typically pretty disgusted with how I look, I will say that I am very happy with the way my upper body is developing. My lats finally seem to be gaining some width, something I have always struggled with. As far as upper back thickness goes, I'm hoping my pictures this weekend will show some progress there. That's right ladies and germs, it's picture time this weekend....put your blinders on or you just might go blind. I think I hate the pictures the most because I have to face the fat (I mean, fact) of my lower body. I just keep trying to tell myself that there is new muscle under there. I know there is....I'm SO much stronger than I ever have been.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Trying to Start a New Habit

See what happens, I no longer spend all day writing stupid investigations so I have more brain power to divert into blogging. Hopefully, this multi-post week will become a bit of a trend for me now that I'm officially doing only supervision...woohoo.

As I'm writing this post, I'm officially two weeks without caffiene. I know, it's tragic to some. But after my trip to Atlanta and downing probably fatal amounts of the stuff, I decided that it was time for me to detox. And quite the detox it was. The following weekend (of Thanksgiving) when I was sick, I didn't have any caffiene, so I figured I'd try to see how long I could go without it. But I felt like hell during the first three days without it (aside from feeling sick to my stomach). I couldn't seem to get enough sleep. I think I spent more time that weekend sleeping than I did awake. But I made it through my workouts ok. I also had a splitting headache the entire weekend that Advil just couldn't touch. Not to mention that I was just Captain Crankypants in general. There's a cliche that says it takes 21 days to start a habit and one day to break it, so I'm hoping that after next week, this will be easy breezy. I'll admit, there have been days (most of them) when I get really sleepy at points, but I still manage to pull it together and have good workouts at night. The good thing (?) is that my sleepy feeling isn't that strung out, bug-eyed exhausted feeling that I would get before.

As far as training goes, this was the first full week of the Arnold split, and so far I really like it. I have been significantly weaker during the second workouts of the week, but from what I've been told, that's to be expected at first. Like I mentioned before, I like the idea of hitting each body part twice a week. Of course, it's too early to say if I'm we shall see. On the weight front, I weighed myself this morning and was 149.4. Looks like slow, consistent weight gain the past two weeks, which I'm hoping to maintain. Right now the plan is to keep things the same for about another 5 weeks and then start a kind of mini diet to get rid of some of this extra fat I've put on, which I'm looking forward to for a variety of reasons. Not only because I just hate how I look now, but also because I'm not used to carrying around the extra 20 pounds, and it's hard! I get out of breath very easily during workouts, and the great flexibility that I used to pride myself on is more or less gone. Plus my joints hurt.....look out folks, here comes the Waaaaaaa-mbulance. I also want to see what kind of goods I have under this fat, too. It's kind of like an unveiling in a way. Which will make contest prep next year a little more exciting.

So there you have it. A little closing update for the week. Now it's off to the gym for a little shoulders and arms.

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Month of a Lot of Stuff

My goal for this post is to be as NON-epic as possible, but we'll see just how well that really works for me. I guess I'll start with my weight and work backwards from there. As of this past Saturday, I was 148.2...which, looking back, only equates to a gain of barely two pounds in the past three and a half weeks. Granted, I was sick with a stomach bug for three days over Thanksgiving. That was particularly disappointing this year because I had such good intentions of having a killer leg workout that morning and then throwing down some serious grub later in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I felt more like throwing up...gross.

So, my progress in the gym seems to be coming to a slow and grinding halt. I have more or less stopped hitting maxes on the 5x5's. The final 5RM's look like this:
Dead Lift: 285
Bench: 125
Squat: 205
Standing Military Press: 95

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the numbers. Now it's time for a change in training style. After spending a week or so getting frustrated with my workouts, the Homeslice and I decided to take it back to some of his old school training days and do Arnold Supersets. Our split now looks like this:
Sun: Chest/Back
Mon: Shoulders/Arms
Tues: Hams (and 6x10 squats at the end)
Wed: Chest/Back
Thurs: Off (at least, for me....the boys NEVER take days off)
Fri: Shoulders/Arms
Sat: Quads

Yesterday was the first day on the new split, and I love it. The workout took forever, but I liked the whole supersetting contrasting muscles concept. Plus, it definitely kicked my ass. I was a little leery at first about changing to this style of training. Mostly because I'm a nut job who is scared of change. I'm just hoping it will give me the boost I need.

On a rather non-training note, I did go to Atlanta the weekend before Thanksgiving to see Nationals. We flew out Thursday night and stayed through Sunday morning. The hotel screwed up our reservation and we wound up in this businessman/bachelor-type room with a weird frosted glass window between the bed and the bathroom (which also happened to have a huge, all-glass, stand up shower. Weird. So we found a gym away from the craziness of the contest and trained there Friday afternoon and then went to the night pre-judging for men's and women's bb. I have to say, I was so incredibly motivated to keep growing and training big when I saw those women on stage. I know that in order for me to even be remotely competitive at that level, I need to be a solid middleweight. Probably somewhere between 127 and 130. And being the impatient person that I am, I want to be there my first time out, but I know that's just completely unrealistic. I think at this point, I'd be lucky if I got on stage at 120. Anyway, Saturday morning was Figure pre-judging, which I'm not really interested in anymore, so we went and trained. Saturday night was finals, which was an absolute blast. I forgot to mention, too....because of the Homeslice working with Dave now, we had press passes and got to sit right behind the judges table. Now THAT's the way to watch one of these shows. Overall the trip was awesome, even though we both decided that we very strongly dislike the city of Atlanta and will most likely never go back there. Can't wait for Nationals next year in Miami....hopefully one or both of us will be competing there!

Oh yeah, and one more comment to add to the inappropriate weight gain comment list. The other day, I ran into someone who I used to supervise, and she asks me if I just had a baby. I mean seriously! I know I'm bigger and I have big boobies now, but c'mon people, have some tact. So cool that criminals and coworkers alike can make these tactless remarks.