Saturday, September 26, 2009

Too Many Pairs of Black Pants

...And none of them are fitting me anymore. I'm getting to the stage in my diet (quite a bit earlier than I would have thought, actually) where even my small contest prep gym pants are getting big on me. I was considering going out to buy a couple of cheap pairs, perhaps from the Children's Place, until I did laundry the other day and realized that I own at least 10 pairs of black gym pants in a range of sizes and styles. How could I possibly justify buying MORE black gym pants? But I may not have a choice in the next few weeks...I was down three pounds this week, yeah, THREE. It seems that about every other week the weight just falls off, and then I have a week where I lose maybe only one pound. Either way, it's progress in the right direction, and I'm loving it. Workouts this week were mediocre, but that could also be due to my messed up work schedule and trying to jam in workouts wherever I could. I know it's been a screwy week when my Friday night chest workout is the best workout of the week. I'm also not too happy about the fact that I didn't get a chance to practice my posing at all this week until this morning. I made sure to get some good time in front of the mirror working on my mandatories and my routine. I'm down to 7 weeks left, and I don't want to look like a complete novice up there with my presentation, so I'm going to work on adding another day or two of posing into the mix.

Anyone who's even remotely interested in the sport of bodybuilding knows that this weekend is the big Olympia weekend, and I already resolved myself to the fact that I'm probably going to be glued to my computer for all the updates, videos, and play by plays. Last night I managed to be able to stay up long enough to see Iris Kyle edge out Heather Armbrust, which I was very disappointed about. I'm always a big fan of seeing an underdog (so to speak) take down the reigning champ. But it was a good fight among the top 6, and I enjoyed watching them all. I just couldn't hang for the men's pre-judging, though, and fell asleep sometime long before Cutler made it out on stage. I'm making sure I'm up for tonight's men's finals and the figure finals. There's nothing like watching a show like this (even if it is only on webcast) to keep the motivation going.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trying to Get Caught Up

So, I was really hoping to get back onto my regular schedule this week so I can try to pull myself back together, but that hasn't happened (at least not the way I'd like it to). I discovered on Monday that I would have to work late tonight, which would mean that I would have to figure out how I was going to fit today's shoulder workout in. So the plan was to train quads and hams together Monday night and take an extra hour for lunch today to train shoulders. I got all my cardio in before work in the morning. Even though I'm pretty tired, it all worked out and everything got done. In fact, Monday's leg workout went surprisingly well. We did supersets for everything, and the workout looked like this:

Squats ss with Seated Leg Curl (5 sets with a rest-pause on the 5th set of squats)
Lying Leg Curl ss with Hack Squats (4 sets with a drop set on the lying curls)
Extensions ss with Stiff-leg DL's (4 sets with a rest-pause and then a drop set on the extensions)
Walking DB Lunges (3 sets)***These totally put us over the edge

I wasn't too sore yesterday but today was an entirely other story. My legs were so sore that it was tough to train shoulders, if that's even possible. But my shoulder workout went surprisingly well considering how bad I am at adapting to changes in my routine (1. I trained during lunch, 2. It was rushed, 3. I trained at my shitty gym because it's closer to work)...In my world, I had all odds against me for a good workout. My strength was pretty crappy, but I was moving faster than I typically do, which left me with a great pump. I even had enough time to squeeze in calves, which I usually do with quads on Monday.

After today, I should be back on track. Tomorrow is cardio only, and I'm desperately looking forward to this weekend because I have NOTHING planned other than training and my cheat meal. A couple days relaxing on my couch and following the Olympia coverage online will be good for me in more ways than one. I was looking at my calendar last night and realized that I only have two weekends entirely to myself during the next 7 weeks of my prep. The others either involve people coming to visit or me working at shows, all of which will be lots of fun, don't get me wrong. But I'm getting to the point in my diet where it's a struggle for me to enjoy certain things because I'm just tired all the time and would rather sleep. But I've also made sure to plan ahead and take a few days off from work here and there to recover. Hopefully that helps a bit.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Well, surprisingly, I'm still alive after one long ass weekend working the Species Booth at Team U. I got to the city at 5:30 Friday night and worked until around 10:00 and then drove back up here. By the time I got home, packed my stuff for the following day and finally got into bed, it was almost 2am. I had to be back at the venue at 8 the next morning, so I was up at 5am and on the road by a little after 6...ugh. I rearranged my training split so that all I had to worry about on Saturday was getting my cardio in, which I literally dragged myself through after an epic morning of more prejudging. Unfortunately, I missed most of the female bodybuilding but I got to catch some of figure and was able to see some of my friends that were there competing. Now, it's a known fact that I don't function well on very little sleep, and 3 hours of sleep is really pushing it for me. By 2pm, I'd already taken a hyperdrive, drank a large DD coffee, and then two VPX Redlines...none of which was doing a good job of keeping me awake. So, I trudged across the street to a New York Sports Club and did my cardio.

I was lucky enough to get hooked up with Dan Ray for a little photo shoot after I was kind of coaxed into it by a third party. So, I showered and met up with Dan at 5:30, and did a quick shoot. I'm such a spaz and so uncomfortable in front of a camera. I've always hated taking pictures, and even with Dan's cool, nonthreatening personality, I still had a hard time relaxing. Proof that he really is a good photographer? He made my stiff, unnatural poses somehow look good, and there were actually a few shots in there that I really liked. It's funny because, I love being on stage, and you can take all the pictures you want of me when I'm up there, but beyond that, I HATE the camera.

Anyway, during my cardio, I wasn't feeling well at all...light-headed, foggy, and just really irritable. I was able to catch a 15 minute nap before meeting Dan and got some more coffee and was able to pull it together for the remainder of the night. I got to hand out trophies for the women's bodybuilding and saw some old friends who came down to watch the show. It was ultimately a fun day, but I still new something wasn't right with me physically. Fortunately, I was allowed to leave a little early and was home by 1am. I was starving and decided to have my cheat meal. After finally falling asleep around 2, I woke up an hour later to SEVERE cramping in both quads. It was so bad that I actually yelled out in pain because it woke me up. I could barely even get up to walk and started to panic. Because I was still half-asleep and not realzing what was happening, I called a friend and freaked out. He calmed me down, reminded me that it was probably from the lack of water all day and all the stimulants, and then told me to mix up some salt water and drink it, and it helped within minutes. Less than 45 minutes later, I'm back in bed and I can feel it the cramping coming on again, so I ultimately took some advil and made a mix of crystal light and salt and sipped on that until I could finally fall asleep around 4:30.

This morning, I rolled out of bed and somehow made it to the gym by 10 where I went through a horrible arm workout and some cardio. Still feeling sick from a combination of the lack of sleep, the cheat meal, and being horribly depleted, I came home and slept for the rest of the afternoon until I had to get up for more cardio tonight. It'll be an early night for me in hopes that I'll feel better tomorrow so I can pull out a better quad workout this week.

On a lighter note, I have officially become addicted to HGTV. It started as a fluke one night when I turned it on before going to bed. But it has since carried over into being my newest obsession when doing my cardio. I particularly enjoy House Hunters and Income Property, for those of you who are also closet HGTV fanatics. Now, I don't own a house, nor do I even plan to buy one in the near future, but there's something about these shows that just draws you in. It's like MTV Cribs for the 35-plus crowd (I know, I'm not quite part of that crowd just yet, chronologically speaking). Speaking of which, House Hunters is about to start...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cool News

I just got confirmation today that I will be guest posing at a local show here at the end of October. It's a small INBF Pro Qualifier, but it's got some sentimental value to it because I won the overall for figure and bodybuilding at this show in my first year competing. So, it'll be fun to get back on that stage (even though it's technically in a different venue). Plus, a lot of my friends around here will get to see how much I've progressed since I first started competing in 2005. At that point, I'll be 3 weeks out from Easterns, so I should (should being the operative word here) be comfortable enough with how I look to get up there for guest posing. Plus, I know it'll be a good way for me to shake the cobwebs after not being on stage for a year and a half.

Midweek Madness

Right off the bat, this week has started off crazy busy. Sometimes I feel like I can't keep up with everything, and the thing is, none of it is anything major. It's just a bunch of little things that keep piling up that I can't seem to get the time to take care of....trying to get my car fixed, get my car inspected and oil changes, get a new watch battery (the control freak in me HATES not having a watch), gotta cook food, do laundry, blah blah blah. This usually happens to me every few months, where all these stupid things get me stressed out. Plus, work is getting back to being a little unmanageable, and I feel like it's one crisis after another....why can't these people keep it together dammit?!?!

Anyway, things have also been a little tougher on the prep end of things, but it's nothing I wouldn't expect at 8 and a half weeks out. I had an awful leg workout on Monday night. I was by myself, and my left hamstring was acting up again, leaving me more exhausted from fighting the pain than the actual weight itself. But I muddled through what I thought was an unproductive workout, only to wake up sore as hell Tuesday morning for hams....that deep sore feeling is always a little vindication for a workout that I think sucked. Surprisingly, my ham workout went much better than my quad workout. I have been slowly re-incorporating (is that even a word?) stiff leg dead lifts with very light weight into my workouts, and it seems to be paying off.

My body appears to be readjusting ok after my f'ed up cheat meal (as Dave assured me it would). I finally feel like I got the crappy food out of me. The water retention's gone, and I'm starting to tighten back up again. At this point, I would be ok if my weight stayed the same this week, just as long as it doesn't go up.

So, it's looking like I'll be working at the Species booth on Friday night and Saturday this weekend for Team U. I always look forward to that stuff because it's such a welcome break from my job here (god knows I don't do a very good job of leaving my work stuff at the office). It's just a good distraction, and I love the energy at the shows (yeah, I know, I'm such a dork).

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Can you please tell me WHY people can't wait for you to bag your groceries before they start ringing theirs up and sending them down the belt? Don't get me wrong, I'm always in a rush to do something or get somewhere, but really people, can't you let me bag my 50 bottles of Clear Splash water and 8 bags of salad in peace. This morning at the store, I had barely even gotten to the bagging area when the woman in line behind me started ringing up her crap, and then got all huffy when the machine kept telling her to wait until the bagging area was clear. Serves you right, biatch.

Well, after getting good news from the scale yesterday, I received even better news from Dave...NO CHANGES this week! Love it! Unfortunately for me, I got a little too excited and went a little overboard with my cheat meal last night. Usually, I keep the foods clean and measure everything out (I know, I think I'm legitimately OCD and ED), but not last night. I had so much anxiety about how much I'd eaten that I was having a hard time sleeping and actually sent Dave a freak-out email at 4:00am. Good thing the man's used to dealing with crazed athletes. He laughed at me, told me I was fine, and to just stick to the plan. I'm trying not to worry about it so much, since I am still 9 weeks out, and I know damn well that all the worrying will do is release cortisol, and then I really won't progress. So, I popped in a movie and tried to go back to sleep, which didn't happen until sometime around 5:30 or 6:00.

When I finally pried my eyes open this morning (MUCH later than I usually get up), I felt like I'd been out drinking the night before, minus the good stories that used come with a night of partying. Even my training partner told me I looked like hell, and he rarely says stuff like that to me, even when it's the truth. This weekend seemed to fly by, and I'm not particularly looking forward to my week ahead at work. I guess the good thing is that I'm off on Friday and will be in NYC on Saturday working at the Species booth for Team U, which is always a fun time.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Moving Right Along

Holy crap, I can't believe I'm 9 weeks out already! Even though there are days when I wish that time would go by a little quicker (like when I'm starving 45 minutes after eating a meal), I also can't believe that I'm right in the thick of my contest diet. It's going to be over before I know it, which is kind of depressing. Anyway, my weight is down another two pounds this week. This was a pleasant surprise this morning because I honestly didn't think I'd lost anything. Even though I'm still having so much fine this time around, I'm starting to become immune to seeing the changes that my body is making. So it's times like this when having a coach is key. I'm also starting to feel like my body isn't recovering as well as it was early on in the diet, which is to be expected. It's not bad by any means, but I have that fatigued, sluggish feeling more frequently, and believe me, I get plenty of sleep. On the whole, I'd say my workouts are becoming more mediocre than anything. No more going in and setting the world on fire, but still getting a good pump and keeping the majority of my strength up.

I had a bit of an unfortunate week this week. Work has started to get rediculously busy again, so I can feel that overwhelming anxiety building. But I also discovered that some fucking asshole in my parking lot at work hit my car and didn't leave a note. I came out from work late Tuesday night to find my passenger side rear quarter panel scratched and dented in. I had almost the exact same thing happen to me this time last year, only the girl was nice enough to leave me a note. When I took my car to get the estimate, I discovered that the money I'd set aside to compete at Nationals would now have to be used to get my car fixed because it's going to cost me $1,000. I was crushed at first, but have finally accepted that it's probably for the best...the trip to Florida had the potential disaster written on it for a number of reasons. This way, I'll put my focus on Eastern's, see how I come in, and then assess my next step from there. I mean, really, who the F do I think I am trying to get on the Nationals stage for my second show as a bodybuilder? I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew, and I know damn well that this isn't a sport you can rush progress. So, for now, I've got a one-track mind for Eastern's. That being said, it's time for a little cardio.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Much Needed Heart to Heart

The cliche says, "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours." I think it's time for me to have a chat with my butt to help it better accept this concept. More specifically, my ass seems to be holding on to this fat for dear life. I think it's secretly afraid that if it lets it go, the fat won't come back. Well Ass, I can assure you that if you let this fat go for now, it will most definitely come back, I promise. Don't get me wrong, I'm continuing to make good progress, but I feel like my upper body is still quite a bit father along than my lower, and it's frustrating. But, in all honesty, I shouldn't complain because, here I am at 10 weeks out and I'm still only doing 75 minutes of cardio (those that work with Dave know that this isn't a lot, yet) compared to the 100 minutes I was doing at 10 weeks out last year. And my diet rotation has remained the same for the past 4 weeks. Overall, I continue to have a decent amount of energy and am still really enjoying this process.

The remainder of this week's workouts were decent, with chest on Friday, back yesterday, and then arm's this morning. Last week, I tweaked my back doing heavy T-Bar rows and was in a fair amount of pain for a couple of days (which was a big part of why I took heavy squats out of my quad workout). But by the end of the week, it was feeling fine, so I thought I would try to hammer some heavy T-Bars out again yesterday. Either I wasn't entirely healed or I simply re-injured the same thing, but the pain was back and I couldn't move the same amount of weight that I usually can. At this point, my plan is to keep heavy squats out again this week and also avoid T-Bars during my back workout next Saturday....hopefully this will help. This morning's arm workout went well, too. We cut back on the volume, but added in some drop sets and some rest-pause stuff. I have come to love my arm workouts lately, but mostly for asthetic reasons....they are always the morning after my cheat meal and I'm full and vascular, so I love looking at myself during the workout (and any bodybuilder that says they don't do this or enjoy doing this during prep is just downright lying).

Speaking of looking at myself in the mirror, I've stuck to the plan of posing 3x/week so far. And as I've been told several times before, it's definitely helping to make me harder. But I really need to learn how to squeeze my quads, hams, and glutes--especially since that area needs the most work on bringing out the small amount of separation that's there. I know, I know, I will get in touch with a posing coach...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Should Be Sponsored....

By Dunkin Donuts. It's a little sad when I go to get my coffee in the morning before work that the people that work there have my coffee ready within seconds of me walking through the door (not that a large black coffee takes long to pour). But what's even worse is that they have even begun to notice that I'm dieting and have begun to point out my weight loss on a regular basis. A couple have jokingly asked for diet tips (uuhhh, don't eat the doughnuts?), which I've told them I will gladly offer in exchange for free coffee. Now, I'm not usually a big coffee drinker in the offseason, but when I'm dieting, I loooooove the taste of it...probably because just about anything tastes good when you're starving on a contest diet. So, my little daily slice of heaven during prep is my morning cup of DD (and sometimes my afternoon and evening cups).

This week has brought the return of a more positive attitude for me, and it seems that my workouts follow suit. Monday night's leg workout was initially set up to be a disaster since I had no idea what I wanted to do other than avoid squatting for a change. Well, I avoided them for my quad workout, at least--I wound up sticking them in at the end of my ham workout Tuesday morning. I know, I'm so sneaky. Anyway, the quad workout was completely different than anything we've done in a while and looked like this:

Extensions: 10x10 with the same weight

Leg Press: 3x20 SS w/ Smith Lunges: 3x15

Hack Squats: 2 Rest-Pause sets followed by a high-rep set (Rest-Pause: Plate on each side for 10 reps, rest 20 seconds then attempt 8 reps, rest 20 seconds, then attempt 6 reps)

Now, don't get me wrong, when we were done, I was tired, but I didn't feel completely maxed out and actually considered throwing squats in there. But I opted to back off since I knew I had 30 minutes of cardio left to do still. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I was sore, but nothing horrible, so I proceeded on to my ham workout. I mixed things up a bit there, too, by adding in high rep stiff-leg dead lifts. That movement typically wreaks havoc on my left ham, but using very light weight and focusing on squeezing my hams and glutes made it VERY effective, as I found out when I fell out of bed Wednesday morning. Yesterday, I thought someone had taken a freaking sledgehammer to my legs while I was sleeping. I have not been that sore since before starting my diet, and I loved it!

Last night's shoulder workout also went really well. We've been starting with 5x5 standing military presses, but I think that after this week, I'm going to take them out. I just don't seem to have the strength to do them properly anymore, and I'm going to wind up hurting myself trying to push weight that I can't handle. Training shoulders has been one of the highlights of my week lately, as I continue to see increasing detail in them every time I train them. I have vascularity and separation that I've never had before.

I have to say, I am continuing to feel really positive (for the most part) through this prep. And I'm convinced that it has so much to do with resolving a lot of personal issues that I was struggling with in the months leading up to my prep. It's amazing how certain situations and relationships can have such a negative impact on every aspect of your life. I have always been good at compartmentalizing things and keeping my training separate from everything else in my life, or so I thought. But it's not until recently that I've realized that it has been affected indirectly by negative situations I've put myself in. I'm definitely a little gun-shy and nervous that this feeling is only temporary, and it's only a matter of time before I'm sucked back into being miserable and cranky. And that may be true, but for now, I'm trying hard not to worry about 15 steps ahead (like I usually do) and deal with what's in front of me at this moment. Of course, being that the end of the week is quickly approaching, it's entirely reasonable for me to worry about the cheat meal that lies ahead on Saturday.