Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trying to Pull My Head Out of My Ass

Three and a half days into my trial contest diet, and I'm still feeling fine. I've gotten rid of a lot of the water that my body clings to when I have carbs, and I'm surprisingly NOT starving....yet. I'm doing 60 minutes of cardio/day for now, which isn't bad at all. I actually had a pretty damn good leg workout last night, and my hamstring/lower back felt ok. Speaking of which, I finally took the steps towards addressing the issue and had my first meeting with a physical therapist yesterday. I'm not entirely buying what he had to say, but I'm trying to be open minded about this. He is certain that the problem originates with some asymmetry in my lower back that's causing the hamstring pain. I'm not so sure about that, but I'm willing to give it a shot. He said I should know if what he's doing is working within a couple of weeks. One thing he did tell me that put me at ease a bit was that the numbness that I'm feeling all the way down my leg and into the arch of my foot is my sciatic (sp?) nerve being compressed...something that is completely fixable. So, he worked on me and did some deep tissue massage stuff, and I go back again on Friday. If I don't have any pain relief in my hamstring in the next few weeks, I'm going to go back to my doctor and request an MRI...I just hope they have an MRI tube big enough to fit my ass into.

This past weekend, I worked the Species booth at a small show in NJ. It was pretty slow, but it's always interesting to people watch and see all the strange characters that show up for a bodybuiding show. Hopefully, I'll get to work the booth at the NY Pro in May and Atlantic States in June. I also got to train at Bev's again in Long Island this weekend. The workouts went ok, only because I tend to have a hard time focusing when I'm in a new gym, simply because I'm so self conscious. Of course, I'm just one of many vain bodybuilders training in that gym, so I'm sure we're all just too wrapped up in ourselves to pay attention to what anyone else is doing. Either way, it's nice to get a break from the sometimes lame atmosphere in my gym here. That's it for now...

Friday, April 24, 2009


And the rut continues....but tomorrow I'm starting another mini dieting phase. I finally reached a point where I can't stand how I look, and I can't justify how I look by the weights I'm moving in the gym because I don't feel like I'm moving anything. Starting tomorrow, I'm running a test contest diet for the next 4 or 5 weeks. We decided that it will be a little trial and error to see how my body responds to everything, with the ulterior motive of getting some of the fat off again. Unlike the last mini diet I did back in January, this one already involves more cardio (I'm starting at 60 minutes, 7 days/week) and will likely involve protein/veggie days by the last two weeks, at least. I think it will also determine if I will start my contest diet at 16 weeks out or if we'll make it 18 weeks. I can't help but get so frustrated with things. Here I am, I spend my entire offseason being meticulous about my eating (eating LOTS but making it the right foods), and I feel like I put on too much fat. And then, contest dieting time rolls around, and I can't seem to get the fat off of me. Maybe I'm average, and I just don't realize it. But I don't know many women who had to do 3 hours of cardio/day during a figure prep.

I had another "Unprepared" dream this week. That's what I've decided to call these dreams now. This time, it was November, and I was sitting in the auditorium of the Tribeca at Eastern USA's. Except, I still look like I do right now, and they were calling my name to be back stage for pump up. Now, I know it's rediculous to think that I wouldn't be prepared for a show....I'm a planning nazi. But I think it's reflective of the thought that crosses my mind every day.....that I've done all this work for over a year only to wind up stepping on stage looking exactly the same--a skinny, little runt. I swear, if that happens, I'm quitting the sport (or maybe I'll just switch to bikini). The bottom line is that I'm afraid my hard work won't pay off. I guess only time will tell...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Brittney B*tch

The past couple of weeks I've been in a pretty deep funk with my training and my overall attitude towards it. I would say I've had more crappy workouts than good ones. However, one of the best ones happened to be this past Wednesday. I went down to Long Island to meet up with Colette to work on my posing routine. I know, I know, my show isn't until November, but I'm a planner, what can I say? Plus, I'm a complete uptight spaz, so I need LOTS of time to practice. Before meeting Colette at her gym, I trained hamstrings at Bev's. I don't care what anyone says, the atmosphere and stigma of a gym make a huge difference to a true athlete. There weren't too many people in the gym, and I didn't see a single pro training there (except for Zeville, but she was just getting to the gym as I was leaving, so that doesn't count). But there was something about knowing who has trained in there and being able to feel a "hardcore" aura in there was so cool. I realize I sound like a complete cheeseball, but if you trained in my little hole-in-the-wall gym in the country of upstate NY, you'd understand. Even though it was the first time I'd trained there, I was still like a kid in Toys R Us for the first time. I was so excited about all the different machines, it was difficult to narrow them down for my workout. A friend of mine once said you could easily lose 5 minutes of your life trying to pick a leg press....which was exactly how I felt trying to decide which lying leg curl machine to start with.

After I finished training, I shot over to meet with Colette. We quickly ran through the mandatories, and she gave me some tips on the transitions into each pose. I have A LOT of work to do, particularly on my rear poses (I have such a hard time squeezing my glutes and hams). But I'm determined to look polished up there. The same friend also once said that, you don't diet or train on stage, you pose. So you need to practice that as hard and as much as you diet and train. Which was another reason why I wanted to start so early with my posing routine. I know it's going to take me a long time to make it look how I want it to. Despite my 15 year gymnastics background, I am very stiff and not smooth at all. My personality and my physical movements are very similar in that way. This was why I thought switching to bodybuilding would be a great challenge for me. I knew the diet and training changes would be easy (relatively speaking). The posing undoubtedly will be the most difficult part. Anyway, once the music was on, the moves started coming, and I was in a complete frenzy trying to remember them and not fall on my face. If I can drum up at least 1/2 of Colette's "swagger," I will be happy. I almost wish there were some drills or something I could do to loosen me up. Like, how does a pro football player look good ballroom dancing on Dancing With the Stars? Damn, if they can ballroom dance, I sure as hell should be able to figure out how to pose with a little flow.

Three hours later, we were finished, and I had a complete posing routine. I taped Colette doing the routine, and then she taped me so that I have something to refer to when I practice. I'm really happy with the routine, and plan to practice it at least once a week for now. I also need to start running through the mandatories myself. I just can't stand to look at myself now in anything other than a moomoo. Speaking of which, my weight update....152, up 1 lb. from last week.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In Need of a Change

Lately I’ve been feeling like my training progress is coming to a grinding halt. I seem to be stalling out on progress in my 5x5’s, and an overall plateau is definitely right around the corner if I don’t switch things up. Certain minor injuries seem to be flaring up with the emphasis on the heavy weights, and I’m afraid minor will turn into major if I don’t make a little change here. So, in an effort to prevent a complete halt in progress, I’ve decided to switching things back to the Arnold supersets. Take my head out of my training log and just move some weight. I can tell that I’m starting to get frustrated with the lack of new maxes each week, and I’m trying to avoid falling into the same bad place that I was in during the early winter. I have a distinct feeling that I’ll go 3 or 4 weeks with the supersets and then need to pull back altogether on my workouts to recover a bit and maybe try another “active recovery” period where my workout intensity and weights are a little lower than what I usually do. Then I can go for the final push before the diet starts. I'll finish this week out with the 5x5's and then start fresh on Sunday with the supersets.
I think that’s my problem now. I’m so used to being right smack dab in the middle of a contest diet during this time of year. I’ve competed every spring for the past 3 years. And this year, I’m no where near even starting my contest diet. I know I’m craving change….and contest prep certainly provides that change. I like that I can see my body transform on a weekly basis. Every week my diet and cardio changes. It’s hard to see anything but fat right now. Of course, I know that’s not entirely the case. But I’m getting antsy. And I’m ready to see what’s under this mess.

This morning I trained hams and had a pretty good workout. My lower back is still bothering me, and I know it's my left hamstring getting worse. So, I'm trying to be creative with my ham workouts to make sure that I still hit them well. What's starting to concern me is that I'm losing some feeling and range of motion down my left leg. I get a tingling feeling in the arch of my foot and can't feel anything down the outside of my left ham, and it makes it difficult to contract the muscle. I have two more sessions with the chiropractor and then I think I'll look into a physical therapist for this hamstring. Guess that's it for now...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rest of the Week

This week I decided to try to train hams Thursday morning before work and take Wednesday as my full day off from the gym, and I think I like how that works out. Unfortunately, this Wednesday wasn't a relaxing night off either. I had a new mattress delivered and spent several hours after work trying to attach the bed frame to my headboard, which included trips to Home Depot and lots of swearing. The first two nights, I didn't like the mattress at all (I got a knockoff Tempurpedic). But after the rest of this week, I'm slowly starting to really like it. I was initially disappointed because I thought it would be a little squishier like another memory-foam bed that I had slept in before.

Ok, enough about my boring bed (well, it's not boring to me, of course, since I love anything having to do with sleeping). I definitely like the idea of training hams Thursday before work. It does make for a long day, but it throws something a little different into the mix, which is good for me. Plus the extra rest from quads on Monday was certainly good. I took stiff leg dead lifts out of my ham workout, and that seemed to help my lower back a little bit. I was at least able to get some decent squats out at the end of the workout. But it was still sore and tight.

Friday, I went out to a different gym that's a little farther away but has a much livlier environment. I was training by myself, it was rainy and cold, and I needed a little something to boost my workout, especially since I have a hard time getting motivated to train chest. I got 135 for 5, but I'm not counting it. It was on a different angled incline bench, and the person I had there to spot, gave me a little help at the top of the last couple reps. But, based on how it went up the other week, I shouldn't have a problem next Friday. Unfortunately, it was kind of crowded in that gym, and the rest of my workout was a bit of a clusterfuck. I guess I got the job done, though, because my chest was sore as hell yesterday (and today).

Saturday morning was back, which I'm really growing to love again. I'm still stuck at 315/310 for dead lifts, but after two failed attempts at trying to jump up to 315, I realized yesterday that I need to try for 310 first. My workout yesterday went quick because I completely fried my back with a t-bar row/1-arm db row superset....mf'er I was shot after that! I didn't even bother with another row excercise. I went right over to pulldowns and finished with wide grip then close grip pulldowns. And now, my back is hurtin'!

A little story unrelated to training and probably the most amusing part of this post. One of my close girlfriend's is getting married next month and had her bachelorette party in NYC last night. It was actually my first bachelorette party ever, and it was quite an interesting experience to say the least. Naturally, there was a stripper there, who turned out to be not as bad as I thought. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still not down with that (I'm definitely just too uptight), but I was expecting much worse. This guy was at least somewhat in shape and not hairy, and he had a generically good-looking face. I made every attempt to stay in the background, but he went around and grabbed every girl in the room at one point and did his little thing with her. Little side note, he was rough! He was all about smacking asses and throwing everyone around. Needless to say, it was still funny. Unfortunately, that's kinda where the fun stopped. A couple of girls had a little too much to drink, which led to puke-fest '09 (something I'm NOT good with). I'm in no position to judge, as I've definitely been THAT girl in the past, but I felt bad for the bride. She's one of those natural caretakers and spent much of the night playing nurse to the sicker of the two girls. She still seemed to be having fun, though, which is all that matters. By the time the two pukey-pukertons were taken care of it was time to go out. That was when my friend and I said our good-byes. It was already pretty late, everyone else was pretty hammered, and we had a 2 hour drive home, so we jetted out of there. If I ever get to the point where I have a bachelorette party, it's probably going to be held in a gym, and everyone's going to train...hmmm, maybe I'm on to something here.