Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's a lifestyle

Since my last post I've been thinking, maybe it's kind of strange that I'm posting about fat loss and burning calories when I'm currently not trying to do either. It's just hard to change a train of thought that I've had for SO many years.

I am what is called an ectomorph: meaning I'm skinny, have a pretty fast metabolism and burn through calories like crazy, and also (unfortunately) have a harder time building muscle. I guess, lucky for me, I can eat a lot and really not have to worry much about gaining. But when you want to build muscle, that sort of sucks. Of course, it's still possible, it will just take a lot of hard work and a lot of food.

I shouldn't do more than 30 minutes, 3 times per week of any type of cardio. Just enough for cardiovascular health. Because weight training alone will burn a lot of calories, I don't want to add to that. It has taken me a long time to realize how skinny I am, but I see it now. Granted I am probably happier being thin than I would be fat, I don't love it. I'd rather be bigger and more muscular. The last thing I want is to look emaciated. I don't get people who just want to waste away to skin and bones. Why is that? What makes that attractive? Maybe they love hearing people tell them how skinny they are. Like it's some great accomplishment. To me, that is one of the most annoying things to hear. Another is when people ask me what I weigh. I'll gladly tell you what I weigh, but why does it matter to you? I can squat and deadlift more than I weigh, does that matter?

People often talk about how they want to get down to a "size x", for whatever reason. I've had that exact same thought process most of my adult life. I was never happy with the size I was, even though I was not overweight by any means. But we think that if we can only get down to this magical size, we will finally be happy with ourselves. Truth is, it doesn't matter what size jeans we fit into. Because I'm pretty sure I could get down to a size zero and still find something about my body to be unhappy about.

I've had to kind of train myself into not thinking I need to lose fat. Even though there is fat on my body that I wish I could get rid of, I need to focus on gaining. It's hard, let me tell you! It's so dang hard to look in the mirror, still see areas of stored fat, yet know that the only thing that will do me any good at this point is to gain weight (muscle, that is). Because then, and only then, will those areas be dealt with. Losing more weight is NOT going to make it better. It would only get saggier and flatter. Ew!

Sometimes I get asked why I like weight lifting so much. Especially since there are a lot of times when I can hardly go from standing to sitting without wincing in pain. I don't know what it is exactly that I love about it. It's hard, it makes me sore, and yet I always go back for more. I first got into it to change my body. Obviously that is still a big part of why I do it. I wouldn't say it's an addiction or that I feel the need to do it. Mostly, it is just so much a part of my lifestyle now - part of my daily routine - much the same as brushing my teeth and taking a shower. My kids are old enough now that they don't cling to my leg, so I don't feel as though it's the only "me" time I get. It's not about keeping my sanity, or a place I go to think. I don't think about anything while I'm training. I am in an extreme mode of focus and concentration. It's probably the only time during the day where I can block everything else out.

And just what am I trying to prove by weight lifting? Nothing! I don't do it so people can flood me with compliments about my strength. I'm not going to tell facebook how much weight I squatted today, just so people can be in awe of me. I don't expect people to tell me how amazing I am or what an awesome person I am because I just spent an hour in the gym. I don't need my ability to be validated by others. I'm not needy for attention, in fact, I'm quite the opposite. I rarely (if ever) seek the approval of others for my accomplishments in the gym. Because I know that no one cares.

But you know what? One day, I'll be the fit granny that still goes to the gym to lift. It's a lifestyle, there is no finish line.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What am I doing this week?

The following by Christopher Mohr,

"Admit it, you too have spent countless hours at the gym doing "low intensity" cardio to burn more body fat. C'mon, it's ok, we've all wasted hours on a treadmill..."

"It is important to note that fat requires oxygen to be burned as fuel, which is where the misconception about low intensity aerobics burning more fat comes into play. The thought is that if you have more oxygen available (e.g., you're not gasping for air because your intensity is so low), you'll be able to burn more fat."

"It is true that a greater percentage of calories burned will come from fat if exercising at a low intensity. However, because you're exercising at a lower intensity, you will burn fewer total calories.
On the contrary, if you do a harder, higher intensity activity, like sprinting on a track, or a bike, you'll burn an overall greater amount of calories."

"So even though a lower percentage of these calories will come from fat, a lower percentage of a higher number is still greater than a higher percentage of a much lower number. Make sense?"

McMaster University Study

Maybe you're less concerned about fat loss, but think that sprinting will negatively affect your endurance capacity. Well, looks like this isn't true either.

A study conducted at McMaster University in Ontario and published in the highly-regarded Journal of Applied Physiology suggested that short sprint interval training increased muscle oxidative potential and doubled endurance capacity during intense aerobic cycling in recreationally active individuals.

Sixteen healthy individuals participated in this study. Out of the 16, 8 subjects were in the experimental (sprint) group and 8 were in the control group (no training intervention).

The sprinting sessions consisted of six sessions of sprint interval training spread over a 14-day period (not quite every other day).

The sessions each consisted of a 30-second "all out" effort on a cycle. Subjects then rested 4 minutes between sets and either completely rested or performed light cycling with little resistance.

In this short, 2-week intervention, it was demonstrated that brief repeated bouts dramatically improves endurance capacity during a fixed workload. Moreover, it was shown that intense exercise can rapidly stimulate improvements in muscle oxidative potential comparable to or greater than that of standard aerobic based training. This basically means the capacity to perform aerobic work over time.

Moral of the story:
Sprinting is more effective for fat loss sprinting vs. low intensity walking or cycling for hours on end. It also frees up a lot of time to get home and recover.

Information from

So what am I doing this week? In addition to weight training, I'll be sprinting.

In four minutes, the treadmill said I burned 140 calories (35 cals per minute) but that won't be accurate. The only way to track my calories burned is through a heart rate monitor, because the treadmill just gives an average output. So, since I'm under average weight, by quite a lot, I will burn way less calories.

But it also doesn't factor in what you are burning post exercise. The same is true with weight lifting, you have the "after burn effect", which will keep you in a state of increased fat burning long after the workout is over.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    Good morning everyone!
    Today, is a great day. I'm going to get my 4 minutes of all out sprints done, I'm going to work hard at the gym, I'm going to do some girly butt lifts tonight before bed, and I'm going to eat tons of veggies.

    I found some lean chicken breakfast sausage at the store that I'm having with my oats for breakfast this morning. Sometimes, I find it hard to choke down tons of egg whites in addition to the oats. I need something a little different. Whole eggs I can do, but just the whites is a bit more challenging for me.

    The sausages were good, but different. Obviously. They are lean. But they packed them with apple maple flavor so they are not bland by any means. You just have to learn to tolerate the variances in flavors when you are eating for a fit body.

    I am also making some chicken & veg meatballs for the week. My husband saw the ground chicken thawing in the sink and was horrified. "Don't worry," I told him, "it's for me." To which he was extremely relieved. No matter how many times I've tried making turkey meatballs, even if it's only half turkey, he never likes it. I have to admit, I would much rather eat beef meatballs too.

    But I've never really been a dainty salad eating girl. I'm a meat eater. Put a big juicy steak in front of me and you've won my heart. Speaking of that, my husband took me out to eat at one of the areas fine dining establishments over the weekend. It's our favorite place to eat. Expensive, but so worth it. I had Fillet Mignon. This place never ceases to amaze me. It's almost a crime to go there and not have one of their steaks. Perfectly and delectably medium from end to end. I swear, I don't know HOW they pull it off with a thick cut of beef like that. Mouth watering, juicy, perfect! I was in heaven. And I had the most exquisite potato ale soup. I told the waitress that I wanted the chef to move in with us. She laughed. I was serious.

    I could SO be a foodie. I mean, I am, it's just that it sort of interferes with my body goals. I can't have my cake and eat it too. But I would really love to be a food critic. Someone that has a column in a popular foodie magazine that gets to travel around, eating delicious food at top restaurants and then writing about it. Oh what a life that would be!

    Monday, May 28, 2012

    interesting findings

    Hope you all had a fabulous holiday weekend. I know I did!

    I read some interesting articles that I will share with you in a minute. But first...

    I stepped on the scale this morning, it's been a while. I've been pigging out literally for the past 4 weeks not and I have not gained an ounce! I haven't been working out like a crazy maniac, eating like there's no tomorrow, and I weigh exactly the same. I was so baffled by this that I mentioned it to my husband, to which he replied, "Maybe you've got enough muscle to sustain now...". Hmm, wouldn't that be fun?!

    Ok, so onto this article. My mom gets ELLE magazine, for reasons unknown to her (haha) and so she always gives it to me. I would never buy this magazine on my own because I'm not a hard core fashionista and it's 90% ads for things I can't afford. But since she gives it to me, I look at it.

    Much to my wondrous surprise, there was an article about whether or not cardio is really necessary. Naturally, I HAD to read it. Lucky for me, the author had the same mentality as me when it comes to the treadmill, "Mind-numbingly dull"...yep. Plus, she adds that a 45 minute workout ends up taking 2 hours when you factor in travel time, showering, etc. True dat! But it has to be done to stay fit, am I right?

    So, to answer the question, Yes, according to pretty much every study ever done, you need cardiovascular exercise. But the question lies in how much? Well, lucky for those of us who don't particularly enjoy jogging 10 miles a day, there is no need to in order to be super fit. YAY! Of course, I already knew this.

    Turns out, you can do more good just doing as little as 3 minutes a week than you can doing 30 minutes 5 times per week. Yeah, I didn't believe it either, but listen. We all know that HIIT training is a super efficient way of getting in cardio and reaping multiple benefits that range from conditioning your heart, to speed, to stamina, to fat loss. And you don't need to spend 7 hours a week doing it. Which appeals to a lot of us who'd rather be doing other things. Look, I like to exercise, but I'd much rather be photoshopping or playing with my kids or sitting in the shade with a good book.

    In a study done on cyclists, who were seperated into two groups, one group riding for 2 1/2 hours and the second group doing intervals of 30 second max-intensity sets followed by 4 minutes of rest, each group showed identical endurance-related molecular changes in their muscle tissue, even though one group only exercised a total of 15 minutes as opposed to the other's 10 1/2 hours. Shocking, isn't it?

    Not only that, but blood vessels get more elastic during interval training, the same as what is seen with much larger amounts of traditional cardio. "There seems to be lot of benefit in terms of increased fat burning when you go one step beyond aerobic exercise and get your anaerobic system working, which is the one that leaves you breathless and a little uncomfortable." Another bonus, HIIT may subdue appetite, thereby alleviating the urge to pig out that so many people experience after long runs.

    This sounds a little like the article in TIME magazine where they basically said you shouldn't exercise because it makes you hungrier. But that was stupid. Who tells the masses NOT to exercise? I do feel hungrier on days where I workout, but if you eat properly and at the right times, it's not going to adversely affect your weight versus pigging out on crap.

    So getting back to the 3 minutes per week thing. Here's the skinny: Ever heard of Tabata? This is something I've done before. It's 20 seconds if maximum effort exercise followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated 8 times. It's great. Apparently if you do all out sprints like this, you might puke...haha. This is said to deliver the same fat burning effect as an hour of 4 minutes! Nice! Who would EVER go back to conventional cardio after that finding?? It's not for everyone I guess. Not all of us can handle it or even like it. But I'm more of a - get in, work hard, get out - type of girl. Not a - I think I'll have a relaxing reading session while I'm on the stationary bike for an hour - type of girl.

    It's now generally agreed that long-duration cardio shouldn't be the main thrust of anyone's exercise regimen, anyway. "And when you do cardio, about a third of every pound you lose is going to come from muscle tissue." - Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, lecturer in Exercise Science at the City University of New York and author of the upcoming The MAX Muscle Plan. "And when you lose muscle, your metabolism becomes suppressed, so it makes it harder for you to lose weight and can ultimately cause you to gain." This is why the obvious choice (to me) for exercising is weight training. He recommends doing 25-minute resistance-training circuits which are a good way to sneak in cardio. "Your heart rate is elevated, and you're burning calories while adding lean muscle tissue." Win win. Oh, and it takes less time. Another win.

    Now, onto another article which debunks some fitness myths. It turns out, harder faster longer is not the path to a healthy brain and body, according to Gretchen Reynolds in her new book, The First 20 Minutes. (this also taken from ELLE)

    One thing that caught my eye was the myth that there is no such thing as too much exercise. Turns out, there IS. According to scans from a group of sedentary middle-aged people versus serious athletes, the athletes had scarring in their heart muscles, while the sedentary group had none! This reminds me of a post I did a while back. It also makes me think about elite athletes that drop dead, like that Norwegian swimmer who died a few weeks back, and he was in his early 20's. Heart related death I believe. Scary.

    There was an experiment done on mice where one group was made to run for more than 2 hours and the other jogged for 30 minutes. Both groups were then infected with the human influenza virus. 70% of the group that ran over 2 hours died compared to the group who jogged 30 minutes (almost all recovered!). In exercise, as in most things, moderation may be best.

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Got me some sore hammies today

    Oh, I knew it was going to be bad today. I busted my butt in the gym yesterday. I worked it all and worked it hard. EVERYTHING hurts. This is why I'm going to love getting back to a split routine. Going to start that Monday (since I didn't this week).

    My new diet went really well yesterday. And I almost drank an entire gallon of water! I keep a gallon jug in the fridge so I know how I'm doing. It's harder than you think!

    Today, I've got my 6 year old's birthday party. We invited the whole class but since it's a holiday weekend, not many are able to come. That's fine with me. 20 kindergartners would be too much for me to handle. Even her teacher told me I was brave!

    Tonight, my husband is taking me out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. One of the area's few "fine dining" spots. And since we love the show "Chopped" and like to try our hand at restaurant quality food with our own competitions at home, it will be fun to pretend to judge their food. I know, we're sort of dorky that way.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    p.s. I'm addicted to grilled chicken thighs. They are SO dang delicious!

    Friday, May 25, 2012

    My day yesterday

    My youngest daughter turned 6 yesterday. I was so busy while the kids were at school, running around getting supplies for the party, making decorations, baking and decorating a cake, etc, that I "forgot" to eat lunch! Why do I procrastinate like this EVERY TIME? Pretty much the only lunch (if you can call it that) I had was nibbling on cake as I was carving it to look like a lalaloopsy doll head.

    This white cake was SO incredibly fluffy and soft, it made frosting it pretty hellish. I didn't run into any real problems until I was almost done with the second pony tail. The bottom half just crumbled and fell apart because the frosting was so heavy. Luckily I had baked extra cake and just carved out a new one. But it only held up for about an hour or so before crumbling again. I was most impressed by the fact that I was able to mix up a color that resembled "skin color".

    Per Emma's request, I made a blue cake with pink frosting in the layers. It was supposed to have 3 tiers but one of my tiers completely crumbled when I took it out of the pan. Next time I carve a cake, it will not be this white cake again. Way too soft.

    The funny thing is, I was so calm and collected throughout the whole process. Even when the pony tail crumbled apart, I just scraped it off and made a new one. SO unlike me! Typically I'd be stressing and probably swearing. I guess my new pills are working for me...haha ;)

    So for dinner, we had sliders and chips. I didn't think I'd want any cake after all the frosting licking and cake nibbling I did. But I had cake for dessert too. My stomach hurt SO bad that it woke me up during the night! And I still had cramps this morning! THIS is why I just cannot eat like this anymore. It's not just about trying to keep my body looking good, it's because it literally makes me feel miserable!

    And with that, I give you my new and improved diet plan:

    Meal 1: 4-6 egg whites, oatmeal
    Meal 2: whey shake and banana (post workout)
    Meal 3: 4 oz grilled poultry or white fish w/ Mrs. Dash, 1 c. spinach, 1/2 c. brown rice topped with oil/vinegar/cracked pepper
    Meal 4: 3/4 c. cottage cheese (or chicken or fish), 2 tbsp raw almonds, 3/4 c. chopped broccoli topped with oil/vinegar/cracked pepper and onion
    Meal 5: same as 3
    Meal 6: same as 2

    And at least 2 liters, preferably 1 gallon of water per day

    I copied this from a website but I'll be damned if I can't find it now! I've been running the same search and still can't get it....weird. So I'm sorry, I can't give proper credit :( I'll keep trying though.

    She says "Yes, it's repetitive. But it works." She also says that the reason you aren't getting the results you want is because you're giving in to temptation. You HAVE to be strict and sacrifice. It's not about your preferences and taste. Simple as that.

    And I will leave you with this...........HOLY CRAP!

    I'm pretty sure my husband would divorce me if I got this muscular but I gotta admit...I sort of love it :)

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Good Morning

    I have a few minutes before I have to get going so I thought I'd type a quick post for y'all. I'm meeting my kindergartner and her class at the zoo this morning. Should be fun!

    I want to introduce you to someone; say hello to my swoop!

    Granted, it's not a very big one, and I still have to flex to see it, for the most part, but it's there! I've worked so hard for it! I'm still a bit lumpy, but I'm not stressing over it. Now I need to concentrate on the upper part, the glute/ham tie in, as it is commonly referred. THAT is the sexy part (if you can build it up)!

    My hammies were so sore yesterday. When I touched them they felt really inflated. Maybe they were swollen from training. Does that happen?

    I put my bikini on yesterday and felt......good! I really honestly did. I was happy with myself and what I saw in the mirror. I know I'm not perfect, who is? But I think that it's about time I stop picking apart every flaw and be proud of who I am. I can wear a bikini, what's not to love?!

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    Renewed Energy

    So yesterday was the first time back at the gym in two weeks. I had been working out at home during that time. My mom was sick (again), and I was in my rut so I wasn't excited about going to the gym. It's nice to have equipment at home for days when I just don't feel like going out. Yesterday I was back to my usual self though. Raring to go! It was a great feeling. I love when that renewed energy hits me after I've been in a slump.

    I am starting to do split training again. So I did lower body. I didn't split up the muscle groups, however. I worked it all, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. Afterwards, I was doing some leg raises when suddenly this wave of nausea hit me. It was so bad I had to quit because I thought I would get sick right there on the bench! I was a little disappointed because I had so much energy that I was planning on doing a little hill walking afterwards. I ended up feeling fine once I got to my car. I think it might have been too much protein powder. It's just a guess, but I had a casein drink for breakfast with my oatmeal and then my regular pre-workout whey drink not long after. Needless to say I just couldn't stomach anymore post-workout. I had pumpkin pancakes instead.

    I have to get over my issues with split training. I know it's necessary if I ever want to grow, but it just doesn't feel like I'm working hard enough. Maybe if I add more volume, it won't seem that way. I guess if I'm not panting and sweating and flying around like a maniac doing circuits with a lot of explosive movements, I don't feel like I'm "working out". But training at such a high intensity all the time isn't good. I know this. I know. It's one of those mental issues I just have to get over.

    Even though I'm not a fan of cardio exclusively for a training regimen, that doesn't mean that I don't still like to do some for the benefits it provides. I don't really think that a 20 minutes session after a weight training workout is going to strip away any muscle. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure you would only have to worry about that if you constantly did high intensity cardio or cardio lasting over an hour most days. I should be fine with 20 minutes 4 times a week. I can't believe I'm saying this but I actually miss climbing on the elliptical after weight training. Shhh.....don't tell anyone!

    Today is upper body, which always feels easier than legs. Even if my workout consists of the harder exercises: pull ups, dips, push ups, etc. there is still only so much you can do. I'm not sure I could do more than 4 sets of pull ups, for instance. So it would be a perfect day to get that 20 minute cardio in. I'll probably superset compound movements with isolation movements again. I like doing that. Maybe some pyramids. Whatever it is, I want to give it 110%.

    Sunday, May 20, 2012

    Fresh new start

    Well, it's time to get back into the groove tomorrow. I've had a good break from strict eating, now I'm ready to get back to my normal diet. I don't know how people can eat junk on a daily basis. It just makes me feel like crap. And feeling crappy most of the day isn't worth the few minutes of joy spent eating deliciously nasty food.

    I've had everything from hot dogs, to chips, to ice cream to name it, I've probably been eating it. My husband has been my cheerleader through it all. He really likes to see me eat. Especially chocolate. He is always trying to fatten me up like I'm the Christmas pig.

    I'm moving to a 5 day split weight training routine. I'm hoping this will help me grow. I'm going to really push myself to lift as heavy as I can and keep it increasing from week to week. There is NOTHING quite like the feeling you get when you lift at a weight that was once too difficult.

    Another thing I'm really going to strive for is at least 3 servings of vegetables per day. I've been really slacking off getting my veggies in. Although yesterday morning I had halibut, with spinach, onions, avocado and strawberries for breakfast. Yes, fish for breakfast. Not something I've ever done before, but it was leftover from the previous night so I thought, what the heck...

    Other than that, not much to report. I'm totally stunned that I'm still fitting into my pants after these past 2 weeks but I'm not complaining! I've only been working out 3 times per week (since cutting cardio) and that makes me feel like a bit of a slacker too. But even I can admit that it's nice to have a little slow down after you've been hitting it hard and intense for so long. I can tell when I'm over reaching because it starts to get harder and harder to motivate myself to workout.

    I'll fill you in on my "new" workout tomorrow.

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    just loving and enjoying life

    I've slowed down my training quite a bit in the last 2-3 weeks. This past week, I will have done only 3 weight training sessions and NO cardio (except for rebounding, but I'm not really sure that counts?).

    On Monday, the workout looked short on paper, but it was tough! 4 supersets x 3, each of the 8 exercises used were big compound movements.

    On Wednesday, I did 2 giant sets. Each set was completed twice through before getting to rest (total of 4 sets). By the end of the workout, I had completed 20 minutes walking on the treadmill at max incline 40 deadlifts, 40 jump squats, 40 db lunges (each leg), and 240 mountain climbers. Followed by 20 minutes of rebounding.

    Last night, I was doing some gymnastics out in the yard with my girls. Cartwheels, round offs and back walkovers (only helping with the back walkovers though). It's SOOOO nice to be nearly 40 and still able to play outside in the yard and outlast my kids most of the time! They are always so amazed by the things I can do, especially if they can't do it themselves. This fitness lifestyle of mine is not just about appearance!!

    I remember being at the park one time and doing a "penny drop" .... they were literally in awe and wanted me to do it over and over. If you are unfamiliar with what that is, you are sitting on top of a stable bar, fall forward and tuck under, swing your arms out on the backward swing, let your legs go off the bar and land on your feet. I know that isn't a good explanation of it, but it's the best I've got.

    Actually, they were impressed by the mere fact that I could pull myself up to a sitting position on the bar, let alone do a flip off of it and land on my feet. This is the stuff I used to do on the playground as an elementary school kid, and I can still do it after all these years. That is something to take pride in, I think.

    My diet has been much more relaxed. I eat what I want, when I want, and I actually feel less stressed and happier. But my stomach doesn't like it. I know I've said that before. But it's the truth. I haven't felt "normal" in weeks. My mom says, "Oh, you'll get used to it." HA! Oh no I won't! I'm not going to let my body get "used to it" ever again! I just want to enjoy myself, my family and my life - our time together - without feeling selfish, strained, stressed (anymore S-words?).

    I'll be back to more fit-n-friendly eating soon, but I'm in no hurry ;)

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012


    I've been doing a little back and forth chatting with an AMAZING woman. She is a figure competitor in her 50s and her physique is stunning. She would be amazing to have that body at 20 and to think she is 50 and looking that good is a just crazy awesome. There is a lot of hard work and dedication into looking like that. And she just recently took home a first place trophy at a figure competition! MUCH deserved.

    I feel like I have put in a lot of hard work and dedication too (obviously not as much as she has) but I still don't feel like I have the body to show for all my efforts. Something I'm doing is not helping, but hindering the progress I feel like I should be making. So I decided to go out on a limb and contact this woman, tell her a bit about myself and my "problem" and see if she could help me. Pinpoint what I was doing wrong with training and/or diet and give me a few suggestions.

    She graciously agreed to help me out, despite having a family, full time career and crazy training schedule herself. I felt guilty about asking so much of her. I hope that some day, I can return the favor somehow.

    Anyway, she wanted to take a look at what my training schedule was, the workouts I did and what I was eating. Lucky for me, I track all that stuff so I was able to fill her in. One thing she said really sticks out in my mind:

    "Cardio is not your friend."

    As you know, I am a staunch advocate for weight training OVER cardio as the way to get the body you desire. Unless you desire to be "skinny fat". That's a term for skinny people who look soft. If that's your desired outcome, do tons of cardio!

    She looked at my workouts and told me I was doing too much cardio. Which was shocking because I really didn't think I did all that much. I had recently ramped it up in the final stages of a timeline to goal, as prescribed by my latest road to fat loss guru. But that was only 20 minutes after weight training plus a couple of HIIT sessions on off days. Typically, the only cardio I would do in the past would be 3 sessions, 20 minutes each, of high intensity interval training (HIIT) per week in addition to weight training. That's only an hour a week. HIIT has never proven to be a super effective way to burn fat off my body either. I like to do it for the cardiovascular benefit more than anything.

    Also, she didn't think that I was eating enough calories. It always seemed strange to me that eating less calories and being in a deficit never produced fat loss. Sure, it did when I had lots of weight to lose, but the smaller I became, the more impossible it was to shed fat. I'm probably at a point where I need to just eat. And eat enough calories and do enough heavy weight training to gain as much muscle as I possibly can. That's the only way my shape will improve and look the way I want it to look.

    Right now, I'm skinny fat (although my family tries desperately to convince me it's just skinny....I know the reality). Because either I would be solely training with weights (yet eat like a dieter, trying to lose fat) or I would go through periods where I thought I needed more cardio because the weight training on it's own wasn't working. So I would start running daily. But all those years I spent weight training and dieting at the same time, I wasn't adding much muscle and the muscle I might have added got wasted away when I decided to add cardio to the picture. Of course I wasn't improving! I've been spinning my wheels and driving myself insane trying this, that and the other thing because I feel like nothing works for me. All this time, I just needed to eat and GAIN.

    For the past two weeks I've let a lot slide. I haven't been killing myself in the gym and I haven't been sticking to any sort of diet. My family seems to be a lot happier about it. But I am not. My stomach hates me. It tells me daily. But I'm just giving myself a break from it all. A break from the obsession. A break from the constant worrying if what I'm doing is right or wrong. I am trying to live like a "normal" person until I figure out what my next goal is and how I'm going to achieve it. With the help of one terrific lady. If you happen to read this, you know who you are. And you have NO IDEA how grateful I am to you for trying to help me out.

    So, while I will not have my perfect bikini body YET AGAIN for summer, I will not give up. I'm done with fat loss, I'm done with my timeline, I'm just going to switch it all off. Reset.

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    worth reading

    I don't have much to blog about lately. However, I did read something that I think is very worth reading. I follow Flavia DelMonte's blog "Flavilicious Fitness" and today's post is a good one. She talks about why it's important to lift weights. Why you will never achieve your perfect body by starving yourself and avoiding weights. How by just adding 5lbs of muscle, you can burn an extra 1,750 calories a week! And a plethora of healthful benefits (including longer life span). Check it out:

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    flying low-mo

    I have nothing inspiring for you today. My motivation is in the toilet at present. I've been pretty slow and tired all week, and I'm not really sure why. I've been working at my photos again. It's for a business venture that I am trying to get started. It's such a slow process and I always feel so tired and lazy when I'm at the computer most of the day. Today it was just too nice out to be fiddling with pictures. But still, motivation for working out is extremely and unusually low. Maybe I'm over reaching a bit. A slow down certainly isn't going to kill me.

    But I just wanted to let you know that I'll be back to normal posting soon.

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    New week, new macros

    After trying a round of carb/calorie cycling, and not seeing ANY result from it, I tried a solid calorie goal for each day - no cycling. Keeping my carb intake around 41%, protein at 26% and fat at 33%. That didn't seem to do a whole lot either, although I only gave it a 5 day run before the Nebraska trip. I don't expect to see phenomenal changes from week to week but I should see SOME form of improvement each week. The pisser of it is, I'm wasting away weeks here trying to figure out what will work at this point. I'm getting closer and closer to my goal date and don't feel like I'm going to make it.

    The deal with low/mod/high day cycling was that the moderate days weren't cutting it. Because they weren't high enough in calories to promote muscle growth and not low enough in calories to produce fat loss. So they were just a waste of time.

    Then, I tried bumping up the carbs while keeping my calorie range in a place that should allow for fat loss. I'm trying to believe that carbs are my friends. But it didn't feel like my carbs were all that high since I was eating most of them before and after my workouts, a lot of them in the form of a drink. I thought the fat content to be a little high along with higher carbs.

    So now what am I doing? Well, I'm trying to keep the same range of calories daily but now my macros are looking more like this: Protein 45%, Carb 31%, Fat 24%. That's 162g of protein for me! You know how incredibly hard it is to get that much protein and try to keep a calorie goal in check?? Yesterday I hit 141 grams, still 21 grams away. I guess I could have had another protein drink and that would have hit the target exactly. But I had 4 of them the way it was. I have to have one pre workout, one post workout, one 4 hours post workout and one before bed.

    Calories for me are 1438 per day (500 lower than maintenance for a fast metabolism). And I have two days a week where I bump up the carb intake. Monday and Friday. Oops, I was supposed to do that yesterday! Stupid! I will have to move it to tomorrow.

    But, I'm going to keep up with these macros because I am a Protein Type. Something new I learned about myself. Have you heard of metabolic typing? Each person has a metabolic type. This explains why one person can lose weight on a particular diet, while another person might gain weight on exactly the same diet. It makes sense really.

    I answered two different questionares from two totally different sources and both said that I was a protein type. What that means for me is that I metabolize food really quickly and can feel hungrier more often as a result. I do better on a high protein diet. Not only that, but the fattier proteins like chicken thighs over breasts, for instance. Carbs don't do my body well and I should never eat them alone. I may have trouble losing fat when cutting calories (BINGO!!). This is quite obvious since I've spent weeks working my tail feathers off at very low net calories with NO RESULT.

    This is even more interesting to me: juice in moderation. Even freshly juiced vegetables because this will strongly imbalance my metebolic type and lead to weight gain, food cravings, energy disruption and desire for sugar! That blew my mind. How could that be??? Juicing is so healthy! But here I am probably doing all the things I shouldn't be for my type. Even caffeine is bad for protein types. And to think that I was taking Prograde Metabolism for like 3 months and it didn't do a thing for me! Maybe because the main ingredient was a caffeine blend. I love coffee but I don't drink much of it anymore so I should be ok there. I'm starting to like my daily "tea times".

    I'm supposed to avoid foods high in oxalic acid. This includes healthy fare like green peppers, berries and tomatoes! All of which I love and eat often.

    Citrus fruits are the second worse offenders next to alcohol. And I religiously drink 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice every day and squeeze fresh lemon juice into my water throughout the day. Ugh! All these things that are supposed to be so healthy are possibly hindering my progress! Who knew?

    I just don't know how to feel about discovering all of this, but I am interested in finding out if there is really some truth to it. Only one way to find out! I seem to be running around in circles of insanity, doing the same things over and over because EVERY guru on the net says to, yet I don't seem to be progressing. Maybe metabolizing food quickly makes it harder to gain muscle?? I don't claim to understand it all, but I am dying to find out more.

    If you are interested in finding out your metabolic type and hence a diet that is ideal for YOU, you can take one of the online tests I did here.

    Friday, May 4, 2012


    This is my eldest daughter - Hanna.

    Isn't she beautiful?!

    I try to tell her that as often as I can, because I don't think she feels beautiful.

    Just the other day she broke down because she was feeling bad about herself. We had just gotten back from our Nebraska trip and she was getting ready for school and just broke down.
    She was reluctant to talk about it but eventually I was able to get it out of her.
    She feels bad about her body.

    Her jeans are all getting snug and her shirts have to be baggy or she won't wear them. I just took her shopping to get her new jeans (she picks skinny jeans, of course, 3 pair) and now she doesn't want to wear them. She feels insecure in them.

    I asked her why she always picks out skinny jeans when she never wants to wear them and she never really gave me an answer. But I think that she just wants to be like everyone else. She wants to wear what other kids wear. Which I can totally understand.

    When we were in Nebraska for the confirmation, there were a few girls her age there. And they were all skinny and wearing skinny jeans. We happened to pack a brand new pair of skinnies for Hanna to wear to church that Sunday but she refused. I mean, sat on the bed in her underwear REFUSING to wear them. I had no idea what the problem was since we just bought them and she loves them (they are a vibrant bright blue, really cute).

    I did finally put 2 and 2 together and realized it was because she didn't want to feel like the "fat" girl at the party. My heart just sank. I cry every time I think of the pain she feels because of her body and how she is always trying to hide it. That is my baby! How could I let this happen to her??

    She is short. She hates it. So it doesn't make things better to be overweight AND short. It's hard to find clothes that fit her. Pants are almost impossible to find. And she is super picky about shirts. Usually, she only wears sweatshirts so she can hide her belly but now that it's getting warmer, she is forced to wear something lighter. T-shirts have to have longer sleeves (no cap sleeves). No v-necks, in fact, it has to sit really close to her neck or she won't wear it. Nothing fancy or pretty. She tells me, "you just have to get over the fact that I'm not a girly girl.". But I'm sure it has a lot to do with body image.

    Being an avid exerciser and lover of nutrition, it seems odd to me that I would have let her weight issue slide for so long. But it's so hard just to motivate myself at times and it's even harder to get her to want to work out and not eat so much. She wants to lose weight, she wants me to help her, but when it comes down to it, she would rather just eat what she wants and not move.

    It's such a frustrating situation. I love her so much and want her to be happy with herself, yet I hate having to deprive her of foods the rest of the family eats. It just doesn't seem fair for a child to have to deal with being overweight. She should get to eat chips and ice cream and french fries without gaining an ounce, like I did growing up.

    Being an active person, you would think that would rub off on my children. But maybe I started too late in the game for Hanna. My other two children show an interest in health an fitness, but I've been a fitness nut as long as they can remember. During Hanna's early years, I wasn't big on health.

    I didn't want this to be a depressing post. But I am sort of bumming myself out. Like I said, my heart breaks for Hanna. I want her to be happy with the way she looks. I want her to be like other teenage girls who like to curl their hair and put make up on. I don't want her to feel like she has to cover up in baggy clothes, blend in and disappear.

    So I'm giving her a lot of positive reinforcement and I am hoping that I will start to motivate her to where she wants to exercise on her own instead of hating me for making her do it. I've told her that she WILL lose weight, but she is going to have to work a little bit for it. That means, sweating. That means a little sacrifice. And it means consistency. She would probably lose it fairly quickly, because she is used to just sitting around.

    Any ideas on how to motivate a teenager to lose weight?? I'm open to any and all suggestions.

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Protein powder - why use it

    There are TONS of protein powders out there and it can be a tad overwhelming when trying to choose one that best suits your needs.

    You have whey isolate, whey concentrate and casein. What are the differences?

    Whey protein isolate is generally more expensive because it's higher quality. And it has a higher biological value. It wasn't until probably this year that I even knew what that meant. Biological value is basically how much of the protein is absorbed and used by the body. There is more protein and less fat per serving. They are about 95% protein.

    Whey protein concentrates are cheaper. 70-80% protein. And they contain fat and lactose.

    Both are quick digesting proteins, which makes them great for pre, during and post workout fuel. As opposed to casein, which is released a lot slower. And this makes it a good pre bed drink, because it will sustain your body for all those hours you go without food. You don’t want your hard-earned muscle being broken down in your sleep.

    Most protein powders have a blend of isolate and concentrate. Which is what I have. I also have a casein powder that I take before bed. I'm hoping that in the future, this will help me gain and keep muscle more efficiently.

    I have tried a few different brands of protein powders. One of the last ones I ordered was called OnlyProtein, which was super clean and pure and organic, made with whey from grass fed cows. Hormone and antibiotic free. That really appealed to me but I didn't think it had much flavor. There weren't many calories or carbs - depending on your goal, that could be a good or bad thing.

    I guess I'm not so obsessed with everything I eat being organic or grass fed (although I know I should be). The main thing I look for is that it doesn't contain anything artificial or nasty. I was looking online for powders and one I clicked on had partially hydrogenated oil in it. Really?? You are going to sell a product to individuals who are looking to better their bodies and you're going to put that crap in it?? I was shocked. And now always read labels.

    Now I'm using Prograde's protein powder. It has a great flavor. Lots of protein grams. Sweetened naturally. But I'm having trouble getting my macros just right according to the Nutrient Timing book. So I found a bag of plain, natural whey protein concentrate at the grocery store (to my surprise) and I'm thinking of mixing up my own concoction so I can get my carb to protein ratios right. The powder I am using seems to have too much protein and not enough carbs for my needs.

    So, why do you need to consume protein drinks at all? Well, if you want to get the most out of your workouts you need it. A) to fuel your body properly - because if you don't have the energy to give it your all, you are missing out and B) it is quickly absorbed which is essential in that critical window after a workout where your muscles absolutely need to be fed or your are pretty much wasting your time.

    Not everybody wants to be a bodybuilder but I don't know many people who wouldn't want to at least decrease their body fat percentage and have firm muscle in it's place. But you aren't going to build muscle if you don't have a positive nitrogen balance. Protein powder is an easy and convenient way to help you achieve just that.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    want some cheese with that whine?

    I'm skinny [apparently] so it's an ongoing thing around here that my husband likes to crack jokes about it. For instance, when we drove home from Nebraska, at one of the rest areas there was a sign that said "no overweight parking" and he said, "Oh, we can't park here! Sorry, mom." or he'll make a comment about my "big butt" or something. Reverse psychology never worked on me ;)

    So this morning, after the alarm went off, we were talking a bit before getting up and I asked him, "Are you still attracted to me now that I'm all skinny and disgusting and have abs?" (if you remember from a previous post, he made it clear that he wasn't into visible abs). And he said, "Of course I am! You are skinny, yes, but you aren't disgusting because of it or because you have abs. You could just use a filler here and there."

    And so I said, "I agree. But I can't control where it comes off and gets put on." (fat that is)

    I wore my bikini at the pool in Nebraska and although I'm still not where I want to be yet, I am much more confident in my own skin. I can walk around without a cover up in front of him, which is something I almost never do. Sure, I still have some extra padding on my lower half, but I'm so tired of letting it interfere with my life. So I said "screw it!" and just let it all hang out.

    I know that I'm making improvements, I can feel it in the way my clothes fit, I just don't understand how that is possible when the tape measure never seems to move. Maybe I'm not accurately measuring in the same spot from week to week. I don't know....

    Some days I look in the mirror and think that I am POSITIVE it is getting better. Then others, it seems as though nothing is happening despite how incredibly hard I feel that I am working on it. My progress pictures from week to week look exactly the same.

    I get so tired of all the endless e-letters I get (which I signed up for) that tell me how I should be working out and eating to lose fat FAST. Because I do it. All of it. All the time. And it just doesn't seem to work for me. I must be a fluke. A scientific exception. I honestly don't know what more I can do. Be patient seems to be my only option, but even that is wearing thin. It's been 7 weeks since starting my timeline towards goal and I feel almost unchanged.

    If I knew what I had to do, I mean, REALLY knew what was going to work, I'd do it. No matter how difficult. The problem is, I seem to do what all the "gurus" suggest yet I feel that I go nowhere.

    If they told me, "Do more cardio!!" I'd freakin' do it! As much as I hate it, I'd do it. In fact, I've tried that. Cardio after weight training. I've got to burn off the fat after I mobilize it. Uh huh....

    If they told me I had to drink nothing but spinach juice for a month, I'd do that too.

    If they told me I had to lift weights twice a day, I'd do it.

    I'd literally do whatever it took....if I was SURE it would work.

    The problem is, I don't know what will work for me at this point. So I'm doing this program and basically blindly moving forward. Because I refuse to give up. I refuse to let it defeat me. And I am being patient (as told to be) with the hope that my golden ticket will arrive as promised.

    I guess I'm just feeling extra whiny today. Sorry. I never seem to have any good advice because I'm so focused on what doesn't seem to be working for me at the moment. I do know one thing though, and that is, after summer, I am going to weight train like a mf! I am going to eat like a mad cow and I'm going to pack on weight. Hopefully mostly muscle. I am just so sick of being skinny. I'm sick of dieting and working my ass off in the gym to stay the same. I don't freakin' care if I can fit into size 2 jeans. Who cares what size jeans you wear anyway!! If you don't LOOK like you train hard, what does it matter???