Sunday, June 20, 2010

Post-Cheat Meal Food Coma

As I write this, I'm laying in bed half asleep after finishing my weekly cheat meal. That being said, I can't garauntee a coherent blog there's your disclaimer.

Well, I'm officially at the 16 weeks out mark (when I normally would start my diet), and I'm feeling pretty good. I lost 4 pounds this week, which was exactly what we were going for. Right now I'm at 142.8 and am very much looking forward to breaking the 140 barrier. My workouts this week were good, particularly Tuesday's back workout with Mike and Kevin. Let me just say, that workout went even better than I thought it would, and I got a nice ego boost out of it, too. First of all, the training chemistry that Mike and Kevin have is rare. They just flow through their workout with great intensity and focus and always seemed to be right on the same page with one another. Though, it's funny because Mike is like a little speed racer practially running from one exercise to the other while Kevin just strolls on over at his own turtle pace. I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to train with those guys, and while I thought they would mop the floor with me, I was surprisingly able to hang with them. In fact, they actually said they were impressed with my strength. And when Mr. 202 Olympia and his trainer tell you they think you're strong, well, it makes a meathead like me feel good about all the work I do. They also helped correct my form and execution on some exercises, which will hopefully help me improve my back even more.

This morning, we hit a pre-cheat meal leg workout, which left me quite humbled. I always struggle with the fact that I run out of gas much faster on a contest diet. My strength usually maintains very well, but I want it all....strength and endurance...AND fat loss. I know, I'm so greedy. Thank god for my training partner, who always puts things into perspective though and reminded me that it's not my strength that's dropping off this early in the diet. Rather, it's the lack of carbs that leads me to fizzle out in the later part of the workout. I'm sure, if I went back and looked at my entries from last year's prep that I would see I wrote some of the exact same stuff that I'm writing now, so this is really nothing new to me. I just need to adjust my workouts accordingly, that's all.

For now, things are rolling along well in pretty much every aspect of my life. There's minimal stress, and I'm embracing the quiet instead of considering how "bored" I am. This is huge for me, since it's common knowledge that I'm a stressed out head case, which inevitably makes it twice as hard for me to lose fat when I'm dieting. And speaking of embracing the quiet, I'm about to do just that, as I slip into that fantastic cheat meal coma. Good night :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

No-Carb Brick Wall

And I've hit it at 100mph. Yup, my torrid, offseason love affair with high volume training has been forced to a grinding halt as the keto diet kicks into gear. There's nothing like cranking out the first 5 or 6 reps, thinking you could easily get to 10, and then hiting reps 7 and 8 and realizing that the dumbbells are about to come crashing down on your chest. All I can do is laugh as my training partner has to bail me out of the set. When I proceed to whine about how the lack of carbs is putting a damper on things already, his response is, "If you love them, set them free." Oh, easy for you to say as you sip on your Carbolyze/Isolyze shake.

While this no-carb "wall" is nothing new to me on a contest diet (since I've been following a keto type diet for the past two contest preps), there are a lot of things that are different already. First of all, I'm not following Dave's typical precontest protocol for women. For now, I'm keeping my calories a little higher over the course of the week and including fats in three of my five meals every day (instead of the typical PV/PF rotation). While this will ideally allow me to hammer away at my workouts in this early part of the diet, it is unfortunately countered with more cardio to start. I'm trying to be open minded about this approach, but I'm so resistant to change. Dave's protocol has worked so well for me, especially last year, that I have a hard time trying something else....if it ain't broke, don't fix it, is my thinking. My first week on this new plan didn't yeild the weight loss results that I had hoped, having only lost about 1.5 pounds (Saturday's weight was 146.4). I've got a lot of weight to lose, which is a huge reason why I started two weeks early. A pound and a half isn't bad, but I was expecting a much larger drop in the first week, somewhere around 3 lbs or so. Anyway, I think mother nature contributed to hindering that loss, so hopefully I'll have better results at this week's weigh-in.

As I mentioned before, another thing that's hugely different for me is the mindframe that I seem to be going into this prep with. This offseason was about growth for me in more ways than just trying to bring up my back or fill out my frame. I have come to a lot of realizations over the past 8 months, some encouraging but many very disappointing. While I'm still working through some of these things, I have this strange sense of clarity going into this prep. I'm just as excited as I was last year, if not more so (didn't even think that could be possible), but it's not just a feeling of excitement. There's a lot to be said about having clarity of mind. I would not describe myself as a "spiritual" person at all, but having gotten rid of certain toxic or negative things/people in my life has really brought a lot into focus for me. I'm still working on trying to accept things for what they are and appreciate things as they happen instead of always trying to plan and control everything. In other words, I'm trying teach myself how to roll with the punches and even try to enjoy the moment rather than stress about what lies ahead and trying to figure out how I can prevent anything bad from if that's even realistic. What can I say? I'm a true control freak at heart.

Ok, enough with the serious, psychobabble. But speaking of planning things, I know it would be no surprise to people to find out that I've already registered for my NPC card, booked my hotel room for Nationals, and ordered my suit. I made out a little list of things I'd like to have taken care of by about 8 weeks out from Easterns, and right now, there are only two things left on that list....register for Easterns and Nationals. The less I have to worry about while dieting, the better off I am as well as those around me. So for now, things are definitely starting off on the right foot. And tomorrow will hopefully add to that. I'm headed down to Long Island to have Mike work on my hamstring again and then it's off to Powerhouse to train back with him and Kevin English. Ummm, yeah, I get to train with Mr. 202 Olympia and his cool is that? I know, I'm like a little kid going to see Sesame Street and hang out with Big Bird and Snuffalufagus, all giddy with excitement and all. Next post I'll be sure to write about that training session because I'm sure they are planning on murdering me. I say, bring it on, boys!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ready to Rock

It's funny how I can have a plan in my head sometimes that seems so solid, and then something out of nowhere just flips the switch, and I find myself on a different course. My entire offseason had been planned around me starting my prep on June 19th, yet here I am, two weeks early starting my prep. After losing a few pounds from the recent diet and cardio changes, I couldn't help but feel like, what the hell, might as well just jump into the contest diet full force. Pull out the carbs, add in the extra 2 days of cardio (I was doing 5 days/week) and just get this going. Hell, I have almost 30 pounds to lose....two extra weeks can only help.

Plus, it's amazing to me to think that just a few months ago, I was contemplating not competing at all this year. I had no desire, no motivation to get back on stage. I felt blah and wanted no part in anything bodybuilding-related. I was so nervous (and sad) that the spark and excitement were lost completely. But something, and I have no idea what, changed. And that spark is back with a force. In the past, I have had a bad habit of using my contest prep as a way of avoiding dealing with certain situations. I have used at least two preps as a way to not deal with a broken heart, and I've buried myself in prep as a way to not deal with family problems and several other things. This was always part of why I looked forward to prep...I saw it as a mental break from dealing with certain stuff. But this year is different. For the first time ever, I'm looking forward to this season for the sheer fact that I just LOVE to train, and diet, and compete. I want to see my progress and what my offseason work has done for me. Sure, I still have bullshit going on, but this prep is NOT my way of avoiding it. I have a much clearer mind going into this prep than I ever have before. Though, I will say, having certain pieces of bullshit out of my life for the first time makes for a much more stress-free prep.

My goal this year (outside of the physical aspect of the sport) is to improve on my ability to balance prep and my life. I get better at it every year, but I still suck at it. Also, I have a few select people who are behind me 100% unconditionally, and I need to do a better job of letting them know how much I appreciate their support, because there are also a few people who should support me but don't.

Anyway, enough serious stuff. If last night's sick ass leg workout was any indication of what's to come over the next 18 weeks, then I say it's go time!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Only Thing That Seems to be Going Right

Lately, I seem to be faced with one hurdle after another. At this point I feel like, if it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Fortunately, my training is the one bright spot in what otherwise feels like just bunch of shit. After finding the body of a man on my caseload after he committed suicide a couple weeks ago, I didn't think things could get much worse. Unfortunately, they kinda did. This past Friday, I was in a four-car accident, and my car had to be towed. Ok, not such a huge deal, that's why I have insurance, right? I got myself a rental car and was on my way. Literally 24 hours later, I find myself in another fucking accident. A drunk driver crossed over into my lane and struck my side view mirror (of the freaking rental car). Good thing I was paying attention because I was able to swerve out of the way and narrowly missed a head on collision, literally. The drunk bitch then proceeded to drive off. Fortunately, the police caught her just down the road. Another driver called in the vehicle just before my accident and informed the police of a potentially drunk driver, so they were already looking for her. Turns out the woman had a BAC of .23, nearly triple the legal limit. She told the police that she was coming from a graduation party in Plattekill (which is about an hour away from where the accident happened and on the other side of the Hudson River). She also told them that she'd drank a case of wine coolers...WTF?!?!

Somehow, in all this, I have actually managed to keep my head on straight and continue to get really good workouts in. With three weeks to go before prep starts, I'm getting more and more excited. Even though I have my down days where I question whether or not I've made any progress and how things will unfold this season, overall I'm confident that I am in a very good place to present a noticably improved look this year. While I know that I still need to fill out my frame a little more, I'm happy with the work I've done this year. I am slowly accepting that it's going to take time for me to fill out, but if there's one thing I am, it's persistent. Not very patient, but definitely persistent. And I know I'll get there, wherever "there" is.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Instead of spending my time whining on hear about how fat I am and how this hurts or whatever bs I can come up with, I've been hammering away in the gym trying to make progress, and it seems to be working. I've been in a really good place lately with my training, physically and mentally. Of course, I still have the usual nagging injuries of mine, but lately I've been able to be mentally strong enough to work through/past them. I've surprised myself with my strength increases over the past month and a half. As my coach has reminded me a million times, when I get in to a bad funk, everything follows suit, and my progress just stops. Once I get my head on track, everything seems to fall into place and things move in the right direction. And I have finally seemed to have gotten back to myself, for the most part, and it shows. Unfortunately, I do think I've reached a point of diminishing return and am now putting on more bodyfat than muscle. So we have changed some things up with my diet and added another day of cardio in, all in hopes of trying to keep the fat gain at bay for the next 5 weeks until the diet starts.

That's right bitches....the diet. I gotta say, I can't wait. That's right, I am finally completely excited about starting to diet. I was so scared a few weeks back that I wasn't going to be able to get my head into it this year and that it would be a (mentally) half-assed prep. But after taking another set of progress pictures yesterday, I'm ready to GO! Granted, I have quite a bit of extra fat hanging around, but I can still see where there's been some serious progress. According to my coach, I have some "freaky" bodyparts this of them being my quads. Holy hell have they grown like weeds. I think I'll have a little better sweep in them this year, but mostly I think the difference will be just have more lines and crazy separation. I don't seem to have the genetics to have massive, sweeping quads. And that's just fine by me...I like crazy striations. My back also seems to have made quite a bit of progress, both in width and especially in thickness. It's hard to tell just how much improvement there's been in my back width because I have quite the spare tire, so there's very little v-taper going on these days. As usual, my shoulders have made steady progress and are still probably my standout bodypart. Anyway, I'm ready to start dropping some of the fat and seeing what's underneath...will I reach my goal for the year of 120?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another Good Week Down

It's officially been a month of good workouts and feeling back to my normal self again. While I have my typical disgust with my offseason look, I have to say, that in the grand scheme of what my goals are for the year, I'm very happy with where I'm at overall. As of today, my weight's 148.8, and I've been putting on about a pound each week, give or take a couple tenths of a pound here or there. I'm pretty sure I got up to 152 last year, but that's not where I started my contest prep. I'd have to look back to make sure, but I think that somewhere around 6 or 9 weeks before my diet started, I cut my calories back to a decent maintenance level, and wound up starting prep around 145ish pounds. There's no doubt that today's 148 looks different (AKA better) than it did a year ago. But I was so effing stubborn last year about taking pictures because I hated what I looked like, so I don't have anything to make a comparison. I can say that I'm actually outgrowing my bras....I know, who'd have thought? But it's not because the girls are growing, it's actually because my back is finally growing. While I shudder at the thought of having to drop a ton of cash on some new Vickis, this certainly isn't a bad problem for a bodybuilder to have. I imagine that, at the pace I'm going, I'll probably wind up around 152 or so by the time my prep starts.

I'm finally getting excited at the thought of competing this genuinely excited. I get those little butterflies in my stomach thinking about prep and being able to find out on a weekly basis what kind of improvements were made over the last several months. I think that I'll be able to reach my goal of getting to 120 this year, which puts me right in the middle of the middleweight class (none of that sucking down to make weight, well at least for this year anyway). As I've said before, my "long" short-term goal is 125--the top end of middleweight.

One of the things that has helped me get back this spark is that I'm really working hard on accepting the fact that some people who I had hoped would be my biggest supporters have turned out to be my biggest critics, and in more ways than just this sport. Fortunately for me, it's opened my eyes to see and really appreciate the support I do get from the few close people in my life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

8 Weeks Out

Most people only count down the weeks in their contest prep. But when you're OCD like I am, you count down the weeks left in your offseason. It gives me a good idea of how much time I have left to accomplish my offseason goals. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and I know I only have a certain amount of time left to grow. I know it's very black and white to think this way, but the way I conceptualize my offseason vs. my prep is like this....I spend the offseason trying to pack on as much muscle as possible (without getting too fat and sloppy), and then flip the switch at 16 weeks out. At that point, my focus is on holding on to whatever precious muscle I've put on and getting rid of all the fat. I know some people say you can still build some muscle during early stages of prep when you still have a decent amount of calories, but as far as I'm concerned, my hard work and focus for building is done in the long, cold months before the cardio and tilapia start.

And speaking of starting the cardio and tilapia, I have finally decided, after weeks of constant back and forth, that I'm going to compete this year, and Easterns is going to be the target show. That means that my diet starts June 24th, and like I said, I have 8 weeks left of my offseason. I have had three great weeks in a row as far as training is concerned, so I think I'm pulling myself out of the deep funk I was in. I've already touched base with a friend of mine to work on a mix for my posing routine (I know, it's the OCD), and I'm looking at suit possibilities. Here's to hoping I stay on track...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting To a Good Place?

Well, I'm closing in on 8 weeks left of my offseason. I know, I know, who the hell counts down the rest of their offseason? Umm, I do. Because I'm crazy. As I'm writing this, I'm finally coming down from a great back workout tonight. So far, this has been another pretty good week in the books as far as training goes. Monday's delt and chest workout was a little rough, though. I've been having a ton of pain in my joints again, particularly my shoulders, elbows, and wrists. I'm pretty sure it's not tendonitis because the pain is equal on both sides, and it's more of an achy feeling rather than the sharper pain I get from tendonitis. I'm apt to think it's more from my recent surge in strength and my increasing weight, so I'm not too worried about it. But it did make training painful on Monday night; though, the workout was still good overall. Sunday's quad workout was done solo since my training partner was away racing. Despite my hamstring pain and struggling with squats, I've had a couple of really great leg workouts the past couple of weeks. I've been able to really dig deep and pull out some reps that I didn't think I had in me. It's such a great feeling to have that drive back again. There's nothing like waking up the day after a leg workout and having that deep down, bruised feeling in your quads.

One thing I think I need to start being a little mindful of is the drastic progress my quads seem to be making this offseason. I'm a little concerned that my hams and glutes aren't caught up...hell, I know for a fact they're not. Rather than pull back on my quad training, I know I need to step up my ham/glute workouts. Unfortunately, I inevitably run into the same problem week after week with this injured hamstring. It's not the pain that gets me (well, not always), it's the numbness and lack of connection during training. It's even affecting my quad growth. It's pretty clear that my right quad is more developed than my left, and I'm hoping that once I'm in contest shape, that discrepancy won't be as blatant. I try to focus on feeling my left quad and/or ham depending on what exercise I'm doing, but there's still a lack of connection (that I'm desperately hoping isn't nerve damage).

Anyway, I seem to still be heading back to a good place with regard to my training. I hesitate to even say anything about where I'm at for fear of jinxing myself. But I've been doing well with just taking each day and each workout for what it is and hopefully be able to just string a few good ones together that will eventually lead to a solid final 2 months of the offseason.

As a little side note, I had a kind of funny-haha moment tonight when I was food shopping after the gym. As is typical for me in the offseason, my shopping cart was packed with tons of ground beef, chicken, eggs, cashews know, the usual bodybuilder fare. I also happened to have thrown a copy of the latest MD in there. Well, the kid who was bagging my stuff stops to glance at the cover of the magazine, looks at all my food, then looks at me and goes, "Guess you're into that bodybuilding stuff, huh?" Uhhh, duh. He then asks me if I'm going to eat all that food myself, which, of course, I am. He finishes by saying, "Yeah, I can're pretty jacked. How much do you bench?" Aaah, yes, all roads lead to that inevitable million-dollar question. But I don't bench, like ever. Just once, I'd like someone to ask me how much I squat or deadlift.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Less Talk, More Action

Ok, I've purposely taken a bit of a break from posting here because I started to find myself getting pulled way off track from what I'm trying to do this year, as far as this sport is concerned. I keep talking about all the things I want to accomplish this year, and I'm doing everything as was originally planned out. But it's all just felt so empty lately, like I was going through the motions and running a lot of lip service. And that is NOT me. If there's one thing I pride myself on, it's that I do what I say I will. I follow through...sometimes, to a fault. I've been known to be so stubborn as to follow through with something simply because I said I would, regardless of whether everything else says I should do otherwise. And this is where I found myself a few weeks ago. My workouts, my eating, all of it was being done to a T but not because I was driven to reach the end goal. It was being done because I said I would do these things to reach a certain goal. There was no desire, no purpose behind what I was doing. Basically, I needed to figure out if I'm in this because I love it or because I said I was gonna do it.

While I'm still feeling a little disconnected from all the positive feelings and thoughts I usually have about training and competing, I think I'm heading back in the right direction. I've had two solid weeks of great workouts. I am starting to make major progress each workout, which always makes me want to go back for more. While it no longer surprises me, it will never cease to amaze me how other people can impact how you go about pursuing certain goals or dreams. Sometimes the people who you think will be your biggest motivators and supporters can turn out to be your biggest hurdles. For now, I'm just focusing on getting good workouts in and trying to find my way back to that love of the sport.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Some Whining and Rambling

So, it's been a hot minute since I posted, but there's a reason behind that. I often try to keep too much negativity out of this blog, but being a self-proclaimed pessimist, it inevitably finds it's way in, and sometimes in much larger doses than usual. I started this post last week when I was in a crappy place mentally, and I originally was going to just delete it. But then I figured, what the hell. This blog is about my bodybuilding journey, and that includes all the good and bad stuff.

After being sick two weeks ago, last week was meant to mark the beginning of an 8-week gaining phase for me. Had I'd blogged about this on Sunday or Monday, it would have been full of motivation and positivity. I was ready to do this and ready to grow. As the week has worn on, I was feeling neither motivated nor positive. In fact, I started to question whether or not I want to continue with this sport, or at least bodybuilding. I'm not so sure I'm cut out for this. I bust my ass in the offseason to keep a clean diet, train hard, and maintain my cardio all in an effort to make the maximum progress with minimum fat gain. Yet, here I am in my second offseason as a bodybuilder, and not only am I unhappy with this "offseason look", but I'm often fighting my injuries more than the weights themselves. I've been trying to finally address the injuries instead of ignore them as I've done in the past, yet I'm still unable to do the two major excercises that had, at one time, suckered me right in to a love of heavy lifting--squats and deadlifts. I just feel like, despite my efforts to heal these injuries, I'm getting nowhere. Can I build a decent bodybuider's physique without heavy squats or deadlifts? Of course. Will it take some of the enjoyment out of the journey to that physique? Absolutely.

As far as how I look in the offseason...let's just say I'm quickly growing out of clothes that I was wearing last offseason. While they are mostly dress shirts that I'm starting to bust out of, it's still a tough pill to swallow. I also seem to be carrying a lot more fat around my middle than I ever have, even last year. I dread putting my belt on each week at the gym. And my ass? I'm not even going there. I'm so tired of people seeing me in the offseason and having to look at their disbelieving faces when I tell them that I still eat clean and do cardio. As if it's impossible to do that and still get fat. Well, people, I can tell you that it is possible.

So that's where I left off at the end of the week last week. So far this week has been a bit better. I've gotten in three good workouts so far, which can often make or break my attitude toward, well, pretty much toward everything. Sunday, I was on my own for legs, so at the last minute, I decided to head up to a gym that's about 45 minutes from where I live after hearing from a friend that it's a great place to train. Turns out, it was pretty decent, but nothing to write home about. I still got a good quad workout in, though, and as far as I'm concerned, that's all that matters. I hit delts and chest last night and did a 5am back workout today (something I have been growing quite fond of lately). I seem to be gaining strength in both of these workouts over the past couple of weeks. Again, it's hard for me to wrap my head around strength gains for back when they don't include dead lifts, as if that's the ultimate and only way to gauge progress in my back development. Anyone have any ideas how to get past that???? I had to do the early morning thing today because tonight is our night shoot, which will no doubt be cold, wet, and muddy because it's a freakin' monsoon outside.

I'm still rattling things around in my head about whether or not I want to keep competing or maybe just take this whole year off. I'm sure plenty of people will say I'm being rediculous, and maybe I am, but I've got no response to that other than, I've still got some more thinking to do. This weekend is the NY Metropolitans in NYC, and I'll be working the Species booth again. I'm hoping that seeing other local competitors and some friends of mine getting on stage will help with this negative streak I've been on lately.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Irish Flu

Except, I'm Italian, and I really do have the flu. So, what I thought was just a little cold from overdoing things at the Arnold and the following week turned out to be some string of the flu, and not until today did I finally get out of bed. I thought I felt like crap on Sunday....well, when I woke up Monday morning, I had to check my apartment for tire tracks because I could have sworn I'd been run over by a tractor trailer during the night. My cough moved into my chest, I had a fever, sore throat, and it felt like someone was stabbing my head with an ice pick (I know, don't you just love my vivid comparisons). After calling in sick to work, I promptly made the call to my doctor. Over the course of three days, my trip to the doctor and then the pharmacy was the only time I left my apartment. I can't remember the last time I ever felt so horrible, and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy (and believe me, I've got a few lol).

I woke up feeling about 80% today and figured that was good enough to go back into work, considering I'd been on my antibiotic for just about 2 full days. But I actually made the decision to take off the rest of this week from the gym. I know this will sound rediculous, but it was a really difficult decision for me to make, and I rattled it around in my head for a long time before emailing my coach about it to let him know. I don't always listen to my body, and I really had to have some internal dialogue on this one to convince myself that going back to the gym feeling shitty was going to be more counterproductive in the long run. And the long run is exactly what I need to be thinking about. I just wish that I could stop stressing about being out of the gym for a week...this way I could have a physical AND mental break from it. Of course, my first thought is how I should cut back on my calories since I'm not training, but I'm still hungry (lemme tell you, this chick's got some appetite). But then if I don't cut back on my food, I'm going to wind up getting fat. Then I worry that the clock is ticking on the time I have to make progress (let's be serious, folks, I still have more than two months of an offseason). So, you can see, it's not much of a mental break. In trying to listen to my body more, I've also decided that if I feel good later this week, and I want to train, then I'll go train. It really can be that simple, jackass.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Arnold Aftermath

Ugh, I think I'm dying. And from what I understand, I don't think I'm the only person who was at the Arnold last weekend that is or has been sick since coming home. All week long, I could feel a cold brewing, and I made a valiant effort to fight it off. But today, it finally just told me to fuck off. In fact, I think it's safe to say that I've just been a mess all week. I've had pretty much no routine, and I'm all over the place with training, diet, and well, just about everything. I'm WAY far behind at work, and it's only going to get worse when I go for the first part of DT training for two weeks at the end of the month. Then on Thursday, I had to take the day off from work to go up to Albany to deal with a speeding ticket. And instead of just relaxing when the weekend came, I was up early yesterday morning to head down to LI to have Mike wreak some (good) havoc on my back and hamstring. Even though I was feeling like crap, I still went to Bev's and hit arms and did some cardio. Then I attempted to drive home in a monsoon, rear-ended someone in the bumper to bumper traffic on the Southern State, and to top it off, my phone got completely soaked when I was trying to deal with the yeah, it doesn't really work right now. I managed to get home early enough to run to the Verizon store only to find out that I'm 6 weeks shy of being eligible for a phone upgrade, and I sure as hell was not going to pay $500 for a new phone. After arguing with the tech guy for 20 minutes, I finally gave up and told them to just send me a replacement of my current phone (which at least will be free because my phone is still under full warranty)...problem is, I won't get it until Tuesday or Wednesday. At least I can still sort of text message on my phone, so I'm not completely incommunicado. Although, considering how I'm feeling today, it hasn't been such a bad thing.

This morning, I got up feeling a little rough, but I figured with some caffiene and some cold medicine, I'd be able to pull it together enough to crank through a leg workout, especially since there was no shortage of motivation to hit legs because I'd missed this workout last week. Well, I finally dragged myself to the gym at 9:30, did one warm up set of squats then packed up my belt and training log and got the F outta there. Between the coughing, sniffling, achiness, and feverish feeling, there was no way in hell I was moving any weights of any sort today. I came straight home and have been on the couch all day. This rarely ever happens to me, but when I get sick, it completely knocks me out. I'm just so frustrated because I was hoping to get back on a routine this week, and already that's been blown out of the water. I don't miss workouts. That's not how I roll. Being a barely average athelete with higher than average goals, I know I need to work twice as hard as my competitors in order to even come close to reaching those goals. And missing workouts isn't part of that repetoir. People say, "Oh, well it's the offseason, it's ok," but as far as I'm concerned, this is where my work needs to be done. Contest prep is simply the opportunity to uncover the work. I'm hoping that the fact that I listened to my body today and didn't train will leave me feeling a little more refreshed tomorrow when I plan to take another shot at training legs. I feel like I should do cardio in the morning before work, but I'm also thinking that it might be to my benefit to NOT do it. Guess I'll be calling an audible on that one. For now, it's back to watching the Millionaire Matchmaker and falling in and out of a consciousness on the couch curled up with my box of pathetic.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Arnold Recap

Let me just start by saying that this was an amazing freaking weekend! It was long as hell, but it was seriously non-stop fun. Thursday morning I was up early to train hams and do cardio, then it was home to shower and pack up some last minute stuff and head out to the airport. I got into Columbus around 7:30 that night, hitched a cab with some guy from BSN who was on my flight, and got checked in to my hotel. My roomie was already at the amateur pre-judging, so I shot over there to meet up with her and a couple other people to see one of our friends compete in figure (she looked awesome, too!). After she was done, we headed back to our hotel to meet up with some RX'ers in the hotel bar. By the time things wound down, it was nearly 2am, and we were finally off to bed. We had to be at the booth Friday morning by 9:30. We would have been on time, except for the fact that the shuttle from our hotel took us on a Tour de Columbus on it's way to the Expo, and we wound up being almost 30 minutes late.

I know this is going to sound so cheesy, but my first day at the Expo felt a little surreal. Since this was my first time ever at the Arnold, I was just soaking everything in. There is so much going on, and even the most focused person (me) couldn't concentrate on just one thing at a time. In fact, it was a little overwhelming for me when I was walking around the Expo during one of my breaks on Friday. Anyway, I worked until about 5pm on Friday, and then my roommate and I went to train at a MetroFitness a couple blocks from out hotel. It was pretty empty when we got there, but by the time we finished training, it was completely packed and overloaded with douchery. I trained arms and then did 30 minutes of cardio afterwards. I was actually able to get in a decent workout, considering that I always have a hard time training when I'm completely thrown out of my comfort zone or schedule. Since I knew Saturday would be a long day, I tried to get to bed a little early that night.

Saturday morning we were up and at the Expo by 9am, and the people were rolling in before we knew it. Things were a little busier on Saturday, but it wasn't nearly as bad as what I'd heard people tell me about from past Expos. My feet were soooooo sore by the end of the day, and I was just exhausted. After a little power nap, I was up and ready to go again, so I had dinner with a few other people and then it was back to the room to get ready for the afterparty. Let me tell you, I was dreading putting on 5 inch heels on my already sore and swollen feet, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. The afterparty was absolutely nuts. I really can't think of any other way to describe it. Maybe I'm not the best judge of these things, since I don't go out much, but as far as I'm concerned, it was crazy. I had a blast though and was surprised that, when the lights came on around 2:30am, I was still ready to keep partying. But knowing that I had to be up to work again on Sunday, I headed back to the hotel, and still didn't get to bed until nearly 4am.

Up four hours later to get ready to go back to the Expo to work until 3. Pretty much everyone at the booth looked and felt like something out of Night of the Living Dead. Despite dragging complete ass, the day went by pretty quickly, and when 3 o'clock rolled around, I was actually a little sad about leaving. Not only did I meet some great people and make some great new friends, but I also was lucky enough to have gotten a lot closer to some people who I spent quite a bit of time with over the weekend. So, off to the airport I went and finally walked in my door at 11pm last night.

As fun as this weekend was, it totally kicked my ass. I think it's going to take me a whole week to recover from it. And it's not like I have a quiet week this week either. On Thursday, I have to drive up to Albany to go to court for a stupid speeding ticket, and then on Saturday, I have to drive down to LI to go see Mike for my back. I'm starting to forget what the inside of my apartment looks like.

Quick note about my training/dieting...this week is going to be a bit of a transition week for me. Obviously, I'll keep up with my training, but I'm going to kinda wing things with my diet and cardio. I'm going to add some carbs back in (probably just oatmeal in the morning) and do no more than 45 minutes of cardio at a clip (not sure how many days, but probably on most days). I ate pretty well over the weekend at the Arnold. I would say that I strayed from eating clean 3 times...I had a burger/fries on Friday night, two drinks Satuday night at the afterparty, and then another burger/fries before leaving to come home. Otherwise, I was able to eat according to plan, which was good. This morning, I trained delts and chest and did 45 minutes of cardio. I was going to train legs, but my feet hurt so bad that there was no way in hell that I'd have been able to handle the weights.

Alright, looks like it's time for bed for this girl. It was a long, amazing weekend, and I couldn't have asked for a more amazing time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Next Stop...Columbus!

Final post before I head out for the big weekend. I am more than anxious to get the f outta here! I'm looking forward to a weekend of craziness and meeting new people. I'm pretty much packed and ready to roll, with the exception of a couple of last minute things. So, I pretty much need to just make it through the rest of this crapola day here at work, and then it's Arnold time! Since my flight doesn't leave until 3 tomorrow afternoon, I'll be able to train in the morning before I head out (so I'll theoretically only miss two workouts over the weekend). I land in C-bus around 7:30pm, and I know it's going to be non-stop from that point on. As much as I love my sleep (probably more than even the average sleep-lover), I am fully prepared to get virtually none of that this weekend. I have every intention of cramming as much as possible into this weekend, and then just die on the flight home on Sunday.

Alright, peeps....I'm outta here!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finally, Some Progress

While my weight yesterday didn't reflect any progress (I gained a little again, up to 141.6), my pictures told a different story. I have definitely tightened up a little bit, mostly in my upperbody though....I know damn well that it takes much more than a small cut in calories and an hour of cardio/day to get my lower body to tighten up, but hey, I'll take what I can get. By the time I leave for Columbus on Thursday, I think I'll be pretty happy with the results of this pseudo-diet. And hopefully my body will be primed and ready to grow again after the Arnold, because my muscle growth seems to have slowed way down in the past several weeks. I had a great anabolic surge coming off my contest diet and was able to really take advantage of that, but as one would expect, it has since plateaued. While I know it'll be completely exhausting, I'm hoping this trip to the Arnold will spark some motivation in me when I come home. It's pretty much a given that seeing all the amazing pros compete will be motivating, but even more so for me will be being around other top national level competitors. Living where I do and being pretty far removed from the sport can sometimes make it difficult to drum up that intensity that I need to keep improving. Being around some of the amazing female bb'ers that I could potentially be on stage with really sparks that desire in me to keep pushing through some of the shitty, down days that come with any sport. Keeps me on my toes and just reminds me how much work I still have to do.

So, in my typical OCD fashion, I have already starting putting stuff aside for next weekend. Ok, to be completely honest, I've already got my suitcases out and partially packed with some clothes. I know, I'm completely rediculous. But for whatever reason, travelling always causes anxiety for me. I just keep reminding myself that I managed to travel by myself to Florida last year for Nationals, and everything was fine. That was a huge deal for me, and I think it was ultimately a very good thing for me. Anyway, I'm also a little stressed about the food situation out there. I don't want to rely on eating protein bars and shit food all weekend. It's bad enough that I won't be sleeping much, so I at least want to be fueling myself with some good food and try to do as little damage as possible. I've already put some protein powder into ziploc bags, and I'm going to measure out some chicken portions and freeze them for the weekend. I'm also going to bring some PB and nuts. I've contemplated making some eggs (maybe hardboiling them?), but I'm still undecided about that. I'm not so sure that I'll really want to eat them anyway. Fortunately for me, my roommie is also planning on trying to keep her eating under control, so it'll make it much easier for me to stay on track. I'm also hoping to be able to train at least one day while I'm out there, but I have to accept that even that might not happen. And if I do get to train, I know that it's probably not even going to be a great workout. Then again, maybe this weekend is what I need to force me to take some time off from training (despite that it'll be a physically draining weekend in and of itself). The last time I took any more than a day off from the gym was when I had my surgery in 2008. Either way, I know it'll be a fun time, and I can't wait!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Time to Get Real

Well, to be completely honest, I've just about had it with this sport (I know, how many times have I said that before?). Here I am, in the middle of my offseason, on an f'ing diet. What am I doing wrong here? I follow a clean, offseason food plan, train my ass off, and keep up on my cardio, and I STILL get fat. When does a girl catch a break? In case you hadn't figured it out, I took pictures this past Sunday, which set this meltdown into motion. My weight on Saturday, after a week of the diet, was 141.2, which was an increase from the week before. Seriously, what the fuck? So, I figured I'd take pictures in hopes that I'd see some progress. But who the hell am I kidding? Despite cutting out my carbs, I still feel bloated and didn't tighten up in the least. My calories are right around 1600 now, and prior to that, they were about 2500...WHY are things going in the opposite direction than they should be? I still feel a little messed up physically from the contest diet, but I don't quite understand how that could be possible. But what gets me the most is that I'm busting my ass trying to keep my gains as clean as possible yet all I see is a fat ass and a slowly growing belly. My goal of being 120 on stage this year? Pfffft, I don't see that happening. I have been holding steady right around 140 for the past two months, but there has been little change to my shape/body compsition. I'll probably end up sucking down to be a lightweight again...another year as a tall, skinny-ass lightweight. Awesome.

I feel like this shouldn't be this difficult. I was eating much more food last offseason, and I don't feel like I looked like this...even at 10 lbs heavier. I'm sure I'm being melodramatic here (I know, shocking), but I'm starting to wonder why I do this anymore. I love competing, and I love training. I love having a goal to work towards and pushing myself to be better. But right now, I don't feel like I'm getting better, and I'm wondering what all this work is for. I trust my coach to keep me on track and not let me get behind or waste time, but I still can't understand where I'm going wrong. I'm contemplating taking pictures again this weekend and see if I've tightened up at least a little bit.

On a more positive note, my workouts this week have been pretty decent. I would say that there's been some increase in strength. My training split has been a little screwy though because of this rediculous snow storm that we've been having for the past 3 days. Twice this week, I've gotten up to do my morning cardio only to find out that the gym wasn't open. NOT a good way for me to start my day. Don't they know that people have fat to lose? My chunky butt doesn't care if there's a foot of snow needs to be working on the stepmill at 5am. Anyway, this storm will hopefully be out of here by late tonight, and then things can start to get back to normal. Let's just hope that this is it for awhile because I sure as hell don't want to be trying to travel in a snow storm next week for the Arnold.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First Time Training Back....Ever

Well, that's what it feels like after last night's back workout. At the time, I thought the workout was going to be a waste because I didn't even bother to try dead lifting. My lower back and hamstring were so f'ing sore from the work Mike did on Monday that I wasn't even going to attempt deads. I knew it would be a mind fuck for the rest of the workout. Instead, I had one of my classic "temper tantrums" and just annihilated my back with close to 30 sets of nothing but different row and pull-down exercises. I knew I'd probably be a little sore today but definitely not like this. It's deep down in the muscle sore over my ENTIRE back. And there's nothing like waking up with this feeling at 5am and knowing that a workout that pissed you off ultimately tore you up.

This definitely made tonight's ham workout a little bit of a rough go. My lower back was still just so sore, and I had a difficult time feeling a connection with my hams (not that I ever get a great mind-muscle connection anymore when training them). But, I think we got the job done. Earlier workouts this week, quads on Sunday and delts/chest on Monday were pretty good. I have to say, the skiing didn't seem to have an impact on my leg workout. In fact, my weights went up on just about everything for that workout. Hmmm, maybe I should have gone to Vancouver this year. I may not be tall like a lot of these female skiers, but I sure can pack some weight on my dimunitive frame to help get me down the mountain faster. Keep an eye out for my debut in the 2014 winter games.

Outside of the gym, things have been going really well. And, of course, that always seems to lend itself to helping me have better workouts and a better frame of mind towards training/dieting. I'm doing a little better of a job creating balance in my life this offseason. Hopefully, I can carry this over into my contest prep, but I have to admit, I'm not very optimistic about that. Then again, what, exactly am I ever optimistic about?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A New Lease on Winter

Well, sort of. So, I did it--I tried skiing for the first time ever today. And I have to say, I actually did pretty ok. In fact, I think I could count the total number of times I fell on only one hand, believe it or not. Initially, I figured that my default means of stopping would be to simply just fall down, but I finally was able get enough control to learn how to stop without taking a face plant. It was by no means graceful, but it was certainly much less embarassing. I also managed to get comfortable enough with it that I didn't have to spend all day on the beginner trails and was finally hobbling down the intermediate trails by the end of the day. I did take a nice digger coming around a turn on the second to last run we did. I didn't realize the curve was as sharp as it was, and I had some good speed going (probably more than I even realized at the time). Next thing I knew, I was having a yard sale....lost my skis and my poles. Good thing I'm able to laugh at myself and all my spazziness, because the 5 year old kids flying by me on their super-cool snowboards sure were. I was also a little leery about falling while getting on and off the lift, but fortunately, I managed to master that part right from the start. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of an incredibly patient (and pretty darn cute) coach.

As much fun as I had today, I will admit that I'm a little nervous how it's going to impact my leg workout tomorrow. I was pretty surprised that my lower back bothered me as much as it did today. By the end of the day, I was hurting pretty bad. I also have a feeling that my legs are going to be pretty fatigued tomorrow. Since I have virtually no ability to finesse anything, I simply muscled my way into staying on my feet when going down the mountain and trying to stop at the bottom, so I'm guessing my legs are gonna be pretty weak for tomorrow's workout. And it's times like these when I need to pull my head out of my ass and realize that I can't miss out on stuff like this just so that it doesn't interfere with my workouts. I mean, hell, I could have rested all day today and still have a shitty workout tomorrow. At least this way, I'll have had fun today, even if my workout tomorrow does suck.

Speaking of tomorrow, it also happens to mark the beginning of my mini diet. I'm going to try to drop a little bit of weight over the next two and a half weeks before the Arnold. Really, it's going to be mostly just getting rid of the water I'm holding, but at least I won't feel completely like a beached whale while I'm working the Species booth. I was 141 yesterday, and I still cannot seem to wrap my head around why I continue to look like I'm getting fatter but the scale isn't moving. I feel like I look like I did at 150 last year, which is probably completely rediculous and inaccurate. But I just don't understand why it's so difficult for me to make clean gains and not put on so much fat. I follow a clean diet, do all my cardio, and train my ass off...yet I still put on so much fat and look so gross. It's so damn frustrating.

Alright, enough whining. I'm tired and cold, so it's early to bed for this super skier.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All Over the Place

Lately I feel like I don't know if I'm coming or going, and it's not necessarily all in a bad way, either. My weight this past Saturday was 140.2, which wasn't even up a pound. So, I sucked it up and took pictures again on Sunday, and it wasn't a very pretty sight. It seems that, in a matter of two weeks, I have put on quite a bit of fat, and I don't know how. I haven't changed my diet or cardio, and cashews have been entirely out of the picture for weeks. I'm still very unhappy with how my midsection looks, since I feel like I'm putting more fat on there much quicker than I have in the past. Plus, my butt and hams are starting to get that mushy offseason look now...WTF? On a positive note, my back and quads continue to make pretty drastic improvements, which I'm excited about (especially my back). As frustrated as I get, and as much as I question the whole process, I do trust my coach...I may not like him sometimes, but I trust him 100% with my diet and training. And I know that he's got my best interest in mind all the time. I also know that he believes in me 100%, and that's huge for me.

I'm loving this new training program I'm following. There's a good amount of variety in it from week to week, which means I don't always have the stress of trying for a new max every week. And the higher rep/super-set workouts really give me a great pump and get me really sore.

As far as feeling all over the place, work has been insanely busy again, and I'm getting tired of yelling at people because they keep f'ing up. It's simple folks, don't drink, don't drive, and you'll stay out of trouble (and make my job a whole lot easier). One thing I've really been working on this year is trying not to be so narrow-minded when it comes to my goals in this sport and how that impacts other areas of my life. Sometimes, I become so wrapped up in training and my long-term goals for bodybuilding that I let other important things and people in my life go by the wayside, even when I'm not prepping. Basically I need to learn how to balance things better. I'm also trying to expand my horizons a bit since I tend to stay within the safe confines of my own little world. Like, this weekend, I think I'm going to finally try to learn how to ski, which is likely to be a rather amusing scene since I'm incredibly uncoordinated. But I have someone who claims to be a good teacher, so we'll just see what kind of miracle he can work. I've wanted to learn for years, probably since college, and just never got the balls to try it. I just hope I don't wind up hurting myself and not being able to train. I'm sure I'll have some interesting stories after this little adventure.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Need to Vent

As I type this, I'm fresh off a SHITTAY back workout. My lower back and left ham have been really bad lately. And I couldn't pull crap for dead lifts tonight. It was such an f'ing joke, and I felt bad for my training partner because after an hour of warming up and doing some crappy 5-rep sets, I was still having a temper tantrum in the back over my inability to get 305 for 1. I finally told the poor guy to just go on without me. Sometimes, that's just better for everyone because I wind up getting stuck in my own f'ed up head when stuff like this happens, and I'm better left to just wallow alone in my own misery. I was exhausted before I even stepped into the gym (hell, I thought I was gonna fall asleep when I was driving up to the gym), and I just couldn't get into a rhythm. For whatever reason, my lower back never seems to feel recovered and fresh lately, and I'm wondering if it has to do with the exercises that I've been doing that Mike gave me. Maybe it's too much between the exercises 3x/week plus squatting plus dead lifting. I also seem to be having increasing problems with my left shoulder. I'm quickly losing my range of motion, and it hurts to do presses and lateral movements. Some days are better than others with that, though. Plus, this cold weather is not helping my old, decrepit bones.

Anyway, my weight this past Saturday was 139.8, so I seem to be holding pretty consistently around the 140 mark, give or take some damn water retention. It's amazing how my weight shot right up after Nationals, but then things seemed to level out pretty quickly, and I probably have't put on more than 5-7 pounds in the past two months (yet, I was 130 within a few weeks of coming off the contest diet). I have noticed that that's pretty typical for me...gaining weight very quickly after the show but then leveling out quickly. I have been unable to figure out how to let my weight slowly increase after prep, but I also don't have a horrible, unmanageble rebound afterwards either. So, now that my offseason is in full swing, I desperately want to be seeing good numbers and cranking out great workouts, but I don't feel like that's happening. Maybe my perception is just skewed because of tonight's shitty workout. I am realizing lately that if I could just get out of my own way, there are a lot of things that could go much more smoothly for me in all areas of my life. Maybe one day this'll happen.

Pictures are in order this weekend, and again, I'm scared to do them, so I imagine that they'll wind up getting put off for another week (or two or three).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Soul mate

This is completely unrelated to training, but I really wanted to share it (you know, with the millions of readers I have here). I read this somewhere recently, and it really just hit home for me.

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so that you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can't let this one go. It's over, Groceries. David's purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of that marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life..."

Nuff said. I'll post tomorrow with the real training stuff, I promise.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guess I Been Growin' All Along

I finally did it last night. I swallowed my pride and took my first set of offseason pictures. I was shocked to see what I really looked like. I noticed the most dramatic improvements in my back width and my quad sweep, two areas that have always been in desperate need of improvement. As I've mentioned before, I'm not too happy with the fat that I seem to be holding in my midsection, but given what my diet consists of, the overall consensus is that it's not fat and is more likely water rentention. Plus, my dramatic weight fluctuations from week to week (despite a consistent diet) point to being bloated. Another indication that it's probably not fat is that my face hasn't blown into a watermelon like it did last year when I was about this weight--my chipmunk cheeks have not quite yet reached epic proportions. Now, the million dollar question is what is it from and how do we fix it? I'll leave that up to the expert to figure it out.

Out of curiosity, I decided to do comparison pics from 16 weeks out last year when I weighed about the same. DAAAAAAAMMMMMNNNNNN!!!! It was like looking at another person entirely (except for my awful, post-workout rat's nest hairdo). Making that comparison really highlighted exactly how much progress I've made in the past 8 weeks. There is absolutely truth in the fact that you're highly anabolic when you come off a contest diet, and I seem to have been able to capture that and take full advantage of it...and it feels f'ing great. The only thing I really did differently in my training was to experiment with FST-7 for my back and quads. I figured, what the hell? It's all the craze now. So what do I have to lose by trying it out? They're already my weak body parts, so it can't make 'em worse, right? I'm typically stick to traditional training and rarely experiment with "fads," but hey, who knows? Maybe this actually helped. Either way, I'm glad I sucked it up and took those pictures. It was a huge boost my mental state, something I REALLY needed as of late.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Time to Get Growin' Again

Well, it's that time finally! I'm making some changes in my offseason plan yet again that will hopefully bring good progress. My weight is all over the map, and I've seen virtually no consistency. Yesterday's weigh-in left me scratching my head after seeing 139.6 staring back at me...another WTF moment. I lost 2.2 lbs from the week before. I just don't get it. One minor change I did make (that shouldn't have made that much of a difference) was that I took all cashews out of my diet and substituted another 1/2 tbs of PB. While this was rather tragic for me, I think they've been causing me some tummy issues that have caused me to almost have to buy stock in air fresheners. Of course, the PB could also be a source of the problems. I'm thinking that once I run out of the PB I have, I'll try AB. And if that fails, I'll try mac nut oil in my shakes instead.

I've also switched up my workout plan and will be trying a version of Power/Rep Range/Shock, which is a staple in Muscle Mag. I've had workouts set up for each bodypart and for each segment of the program. This week is a power week, which means a focus on lower reps. So, I kicked things off with quads, and it'll take some getting used to because I'm only allowed a certain number of sets to get my work in. I have a bad habit of adding extra sets on when I feel I haven't done enough in the preceeding sets, which often leads to REALLY long workouts. I'm looking forward to see what happens over the next several weeks with this program since I've never tried anything like it. I'm still feeling a little unfocused in my offseason, but maybe these changes will help bring things together for me. Hmmm, I think I've said that a few times over the past three months...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's Snowing and I'm Stuck Inside

So, I figured I might as well update things here. I don't have too much to say at this point. But here's some stats. My weight was up a lot this week (way more than I would have liked, that's for sure), to I guess the good thing is that I have seen an increase in strength since adding the extra carbs. I got 205 for five on squats this morning and had a pretty good quad workout overall. I went to see Mike yesterday, and he really dug in on my back and hamstring, so I was feeling about as spry as an 80 year old this morning. He also worked on my left shoulder, which is also hurting quite a bit today. I just want to be better, injury free. I want to fight the weights, not the know, my usual mantra. This week the diet will stay the same, and then maybe we'll make some changes after this week. The next thing on tap, though, is to put my ego aside and take some f'ing pictures so I can make some comparisons. I HATE pictures. I hate taking them when I'm out. I hate taking them when I'm dieting. Yeah, I just don't do pictures if I can avoid them. But I know I need to do it. Ok, guess that's it for now. Back to practicing my fist pump and watching MTV's The Jersey Shore.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This week some changes were made to my diet to include less fats and more carbs in efforts to spur some progress in my training. And, while the changes weren't drastic, they seem to have been enough to move me in the right direction, at least as far as last night's back workout went. I was dreading dead lifting again this week for fear that I would be stuck at 245. Well, not only did I get 250 with no problems (and minimal hamstring pain), I decided to try for 255 for 5 after some ribbing from my training partner. 255 went up just as easily and smoothly as 250. As I've said 100 times, I'm trying to protect my hamstring without compromising my form like I was doing this time last year, and it seems to be working. While I'm not dead lifing 300 like I was this time last year, the reps are much better and I can actually FEEL them where I'm supposed to. I had an amazing amount of energy and strength through the rest of the workout....c'mon wide back!

Monday night was shoulders and chest, and while I've been struggling to hit 110 on the standing military presses, I realized that I didn't even have an official 5 reps logged at 105. So, I pulled back this week and got 105 for 5 (barely). So often, I get ahead of myself and wind up frustrated. Hopefully, I'll be on track to get to 110 in the next week or two.

On a non-training note, I recently found out that I'll be working for Species at the Arnold this year! I'm incredibly excited since I've never been to the Arnold. I know I won't be seeing much of the expo or the show (if any at all) because I'll be working the entire weekend, but just finally being a part of that weekend will be great. I've heard stories about all the debauchery that goes on during that weekend and am admittedly a little scared for my life lol. Hey, what can I say, I'm a hick from upstate NY....simple and quiet is how I roll.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Keeping Myself On Track

Quick update...yesterday's weight was 138.2. I have no idea how I gained 2 lbs this week. My body has shown very little consistency with my weight lately, but in the four weeks that I've been following this diet, I've gained 2.8 lbs total. So, I guess that's not too bad for the month. No new maxes to report for the week, so I feel like I'm making zero progress. I seem to have developed some tendonitis in my left shoulder, and I couldn't even get 105 for 5 on standing presses last Monday. Then for dead lifts, my hamstring was back to hurting again, and I only got 250 for 3. I tried it twice, but I was trying to listen to my body and not force the weight up. This morning was quads again, and I tanked it on squats...getting 205 for 3 on two separate attempts. But I put presses back into the workout, and we definitely killed it on those. The workout looked short when I wrote it down in my log, but it was MUCH more difficult than it looked.

For the first time since I started in this sport, I finally put a food log together to do a breakdown of my protien, carbs, fats, and overall calories. As I figured, my calories are around 2500 (2564 to be exact). But my protein was a lot higher than I thought and my fats a little lower, so I may do some adjusting there to lower the protein and increase the fats in order to keep things around 2500. Guess that it's for today. Quick and boring.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Time to Start Getting Real

Last offseason, I always made it a point to track my weight and maxes here, regardless of what the numbers were. Now, I'm sure that nobody's noticed that I haven't even touched any of that in the past 6 weeks (again, not that anybody's all that concerned about it), but I know damn well that I have been avoiding it, and I know why. I've been hiding from an awful lot lately, so I'm calling myself out now and will start tracking this here...afterall, me being real in this blog ultimately helped me reach my goals this past year.

That being said, here's the deal. As always, I'm weighing myself on Saturday mornings and logging that as my official weight. As of yesterday, I am 136.4...22 pounds more than I weighed six weeks ago at Nationals. I pretty much got up to that weight in the first month or so and have continued to maintain. I've been following a structured off season plan for the past four weeks that's probably a little over maintenance-level calories. I'm noticing that my weight is continuing to sit around my midsection more and less on my ass like it usually does. I can still see the top part of my abs, but I feel like I've got an inner tube around my lower abs and lower back that 3 year old would love to use in the deep end of the pool. Since I'm all about being real today, any girl knows that cellulite is a very real thing. And that's usually been a problem for me on my toosh. But this year, even though arse is growing into it's offseason size, I still don't have the cellulite back that I used to get when putting weight back on after a show. Like many other women who compete, I can't say I like the weight adjustment, but I think I'm ok with where I'm at right now as far as an offseason weight/look goes (granted, that could change any minute).

As far as my maxes go, I wouldn't say I'm making steady progress each week, but I am making slow progress. Right now, my 5RM for squats is 200, which I got during this morning's leg workout. My dead lift max is 245, and my military press max is 105 (I'm just 1 rep away from a new max of 110). One of the more difficult things for me to swallow now is having to drop way back in weight on dead lifts and squats. I feel like I have to start from scratch, which I almost really have to do. Before prep started, my squat max was 225 and dl's was 300 (maybe even 305, but I'd have to double check). One thing I keep having to remind myself of is that for the last several months of my offseason, I was fighting the pain and numbness in my hamstring, and my reps on those exercises were focused more on working around the injury just to move the heavier weight rather than using the proper muscles to move the weight and feel the movement.

For the first time in probably two years, I had what I felt like was a truly productive and solid quad workout this morning. I probably could have gotten 205 for 5 on squats because I felt like I had good strength and feeling in my left leg. Usually by the time I get to my 4th set, that weight is heavy enough to cause the shooting pain, but not today. Today, my fourth set was at 175, and it went up so easy and so powerful, I was shocked. Even the 5th set at 200 felt solid, and I could feel the power and strength in both my quads. The rest of the workout went great, and I was so excited to feel new strength in my legs. It really seemed to reignite my excitement for training a little bit. Earlier this year, I knew I wasn't as strong as I could be with that injury and thus wasn't hitting the muscle the way I should be or needed to. I felt like I was spinning my wheels during my quad and back workouts. Now that I've been getting my hamstring worked on every two weeks and it's starting to heal, I didn't realize just how much strength I was compromising. I'm looking forward to seeing how dead lifting goes when I train back on Wednesday. I hope that by addressing this injury, I can start to bring up my weak body quads and my back.

So there it is. Lot's of rambling, but it was REAL rambling.