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!