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).