Category Archives: My Lifting Log

“Being weak is a choice… so is being strong…”

If you are just getting started or a year or two into your own health transformation, you might relate to the frustration I had on this day. I think most people get to this point in their journey – where other might discount your struggle because you’re actually engaged in it. It is a personal choice to live differently; to live less comfortably.

I wish I could tell you that it will get easier and stay that way. It won’t. Life still happens. And the longer you are living it, things will come up. Accept the changes and adjust.

Lifting My Spirits

Tough week.

I need to let off some steam.

I’m so tired of people thinking that THIS (the bodybuilding life) is easy for me because I’m “disciplined”.  It’s discounting to say to me “you’re so disciplined” as if I’m different from you.  I’m not so different.  It’s not easy.  I just don’t complain about it or fret about it.  I choose to do it and I make this choice repeatedly all day long.

Look at this woman.  If you knew her, you KNOW she was unhappy.  Do you seriously think it was easy for her to get up every morning to workout?  To make herself do it?  Do you think it was easy to start logging food – every meal, every day?  Do you think it was easy to ignore every insecurity that comes with letting yourself get this unhealthy – ignore all of those negative self messages and ask for…

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Transforming Into an Athlete in the Second Part of Life

This is one of the blogs I need to reread every so often.

Lifting My Spirits

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The first time I touched a barbell, I was 48 years old.  I’m now 54.

Some people say my age is an irrelevant point about me as an athlete, but they are wrong.  It’s extremely relevant.   I was a fully formed adult with scars and strengths from living life before I decided to live a completely different way.  And my decision impacted a lot of people who thought they knew who I was before I decided to be someone else.  I’m still working on making sense of all this.  Something yanked my chain this last week and I need to write to figure out what I think about things.  Sorry – I need to be a bit cryptic about it because it’s private.  But I believe humans have similar responses to things, even if details are different.

Please forgive me for veering into the past for a moment.   If what I’m…

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Boot Camp Day 3: Create a fitness tracker — Kodamax Photography

My husband, a professional photographer and (former, if there is such a thing as a former) Marine envisioned this personal challenge blending photography and fitness.   He’s doing an brilliant job customizing an organization strategy that works for him.  I suspect it’s something that would work for a lot of people who don’t feel like the gym is their thing.  He will blog each day about his adventures, so follow along!

I’m not big on going to the gym to work out. Sorry, but it’s freaking boring! It’s a numbers game — you pick stuff up and you put stuff down. Over and over again. My overactive brain gets really bored and I don’t enjoy it. Now, many other activities including bicycling, hiking, canoeing, backpacking, tennis, […]

via Boot Camp Day 3: Create a fitness tracker — Kodamax Photography

 

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July 21, 2018 · 2:22 pm

Guest Blogger Colin DeWaay: Nutrition for Training Recovery and Performance

A real live lifter drinking her actual protein shake.  DO try this at home!  Read on and as Colin explains what’s important (and what isn’t important) about nutrition for lifting recovery.

If you’re an active lifter, which I’m assuming you are just by clicking on this article, there’s no doubt you want to get the most out of your training. So often we talk about different styles of training, how often we should train, different splits, etc. but the problem is if you aren’t properly fueled for your workouts or recovering properly you aren’t getting the most out of your hard work. Which is why I want to talk about nutrition for training performance and recovery today.

First, I want to take you back, way back, 20-25 years ago when I was a teenager first getting into weights. I was really skinny back then, sitting around 5’10” 120-130 lbs I was often picked on for my size. As someone who became desperate to put on size, naturally I started lifting weights. Into the gym I would go, working hard, going to the gym every day. I LOVED lifting but there was a small problem, my muscles never got any bigger. What gives? Why am I working so hard and not seeing results for my efforts? Well as I look back on things it was pretty obvious. I knew NOTHING about the importance of nutrition for building muscle. So I didn’t change my eating habits at all. I was doing endless amounts of cardio for all the sports I played. I wasn’t recovering and I wasn’t fueling myself properly. Strangely tons of cardio coupled with a diet of nothing but pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers doesn’t get the job done (not that you can’t ever have those foods.)

With this became several years of on again off again lifting patterns. It wasn’t until I was 29 years old that I became serious. This time I started looking into how to build muscle more efficiently. I found out protein builds muscle, so I began eating a ton of protein (more than I need really.) I discovered you had to eat enough food to efficiently build. Wouldn’t you know it, I started seeing results! With this my love affair with weights finally stuck. Looking back I was still incredibly ignorant but at least I was getting somewhere. Anyway, here I am 9 years later, doing this stuff for a living, and I’ve gained some knowledge on the subject, or at least I sure hope! So I want to pass on some of that knowledge so you too can hopefully start achieving better results for your efforts in the gym.

Step number one to properly recovering from the gym is to not only make sure you’re getting sufficient calories but also sufficient protein. I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about macro breakdowns because I’ve gone over setting macros before. Keep in mind this article is NOT about losing weight, this is about optimizing nutrition for performance and recovery. But the moral of the story is if you want to recover and perform your best you have to be fueling your body properly. It needs enough protein to repair the damage you’re doing to your muscle and grow. It needs sufficient carbs to provide energy and fuel your workouts (that’s right, better get over that fear of carbs.) Fat also aids in digestion and plays a role in hormone support so we can’t just avoid fats either. Bottom line, you need enough calories.
How many calories should you be eating? I can’t say that without knowing a lot more information about you because every individual is unique and needs to be treated as such (again read the article about setting macros for more detail here.) But at the end of the day before we look at anything like meal timing/frequency, supplements, or anything else, your total macronutrient intake is going to be the most important thing for your results, by far. Regardless of when and how often you eat. Once you get that down, then we can start looking at some possible ways to take it to the next level.

One of those things? Meal timing. I’m sure at some point you’ve heard (probably by supplement companies) that you have to slam a protein shake right after your workout is done or you’re not going to recover and build muscle effectively. While this is wildly untrue, I do think it’s wise to get some decent nutrition in after (as well as before) your workout. I actually do recommend you get a good protein source within an hour or two both pre and post-workout and I also recommend getting around 25% of your total carbs for the day in both meals as well. The reason for pre-workout is to be properly fueled for your work so you can perform at your best and post-workout the body is primed to absorb and utilize nutrients better so it only makes sense to take advantage of that to me.

When it comes to protein I recommend around 1 gram per pound (or per pound of lean body mass if you’re more overweight) splitting it up fairly evenly 3-5 times per day every 4-6 hours to take advantage of the “leucine threshold” (the amount of leucine, the primary amino acid in protein responsible for muscle-protein synthesis, that can be used at one time for anabolism.) There also appears to be a possible “refractory” period with increasing protein synthesis, meaning we can’t elevate it too soon after taking in protein, which is why I recommend spacing out your protein rather than constantly feeding it. For what it’s worth, by the way, I don’t buy into your post-workout protein needs to be a shake. It’s an easy and convenient way to get it in, but if you just come home and eat a meal with a good protein source that’s every bit as effective.

For carbs outside of the pre/post workout window it doesn’t really matter when you eat the rest. It might be a good idea to get a decent amount, maybe around 15%, in your first meal just to get things going, but really whatever you like is fine. When it comes to fat it doesn’t really matter when you eat it, but I do recommend limiting fat (as well as fiber) pre-workout to avoid any potential gastrointestinal issues during training.

Now, I know I’ve already said this but it’s worth repeating. How and when you split up your nutrition is nowhere near as important as your totals for the day/week. So if trying to split everything up perfectly causes you stress/anxiety and knocks you off your plan then just eat in a way you enjoy that will help you reach your goals. Or start with working on hitting macro goals and slowly move towards timing as you get better. But it doesn’t matter how “optimal” something is if you aren’t going to follow it. That said if you don’t mind and want to get everything you can out of your nutrition, the above strategy would be my recommendation.

Besides that a couple of often overlooked factors with regards to nutrition for performance and recovery are sodium and water. Sodium is often looked at this horrible thing that should be avoided but the truth is sodium is not only necessary (you would literally die without salt) but it’s an electrolyte that aids in performance. If your sodium levels are low you will not be able to perform your best. Understand that your sodium input today is what you output the next day. Unless you are salt sensitive (about 5-10% of the population) or have a medical condition that requires you to keep sodium low there’s no need to limit it and you may even find you do better by adding in more. As far as water goes, well you probably know the importance already but dehydration is not going to help performance at all and without enough water your nutrient uptake will suffer as well. I think 80-120 of ounces per day is a good spot for most people, but it depends on many factors including how much you typically sweat (same with sodium.)

As far as supplements go there aren’t a lot that play a major role in performance or recovery. But if there was one I would pretty much universally recommend to any lifter it would be creatine monohydrate. Creatine has been shown time and time again to aid in muscle size, strength, and performance. Because creatine is a stored energy it doesn’t matter when you take it, only that you take it daily to saturate your muscle cells. If you’re going to take creatine aim for 3-5 grams daily. There is also whey protein but I don’t really even consider whey  a supplement, I consider it food. No matter what you want to call it though, it can be a great way to get your protein up if you struggle to eat enough, but it’s certainly not necessary.

Other than that there are a couple other things I want to briefly touch on here. If you want to perform your best and if muscle or strength are important to you there are a couple of pitfalls you’re going to want to avoid. You can’t be undereating or doing excessive amounts of cardio. Neither of these things are going to help you towards your goal. Yes, there are times when you’re going to decrease the amount you eat and/or increase your cardio to cut down on some of the fat, but it can’t be a perpetual thing. You should be spending MUCH more time working on building than you are dieting. Constant dieting patterns absolutely ruins people, not to mention what it does to your metabolism. That said I do think it’s good to keep some cardio in your routine as it does have benefits for things like heart health and even work capacity in the gym. But you can’t go out there training for marathons expecting to build muscle much less recover properly.

So these are some of my tips to use nutrition to your advantage to aid in recovery, perform your best in the gym, and get the most of your training. Keep in mind when it comes to recovery and performance there are more factors than JUST nutrition such as sleep, stress management, proper training protocols, etc. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

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For more information from Colin download this free guide to help give you some direction. This will also put you on an email newsletter where you’ll receive daily emails with helpful advice.

Colin DeWaay holds a personal training and fitness nutrition specialist certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He’s the owner of Colin DeWaay Training LLC, an online strength and nutrition consulting business that fully customizes training and nutrition programs for those interested in general fitness all the way up to advanced powerlifting programs. He specializes in helping people with a history of yoyo dieting create a more sustainable healthy lifestyle, improving metabolism through reverse dieting if necessary, and helping make binges a thing of the past by creating a healthy relationship with food utilizing flexible dieting. His goal is not to produce quick results, but to help produce realistic, sustainable results that last.

http://colindewaaytraining.com/

https://www.youtube.com/c/colindewaay

https://www.facebook.com/ColinDeWaayTraining/

Instagram – @colindewaay

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The Global Learner in Math Class

My other blog…
This blog is to provide information and resources to parents of teenagers. Please share if you know anyone who would be interested. Thank you!

Tammy White | Online Geometry Tutor

A global learner needs to understand the concepts and see how they fall fit together before they are able to understand the steps needed to solve a math problem.

It’s the global learner who is more likely to ask me “why do I need to learn this?”.

On the other end of the continuum, the sequential learner needs to approach a problem systematically and will want to see the list of steps needed to solve a problem before they can understand the “big idea”.

It is the sequential learner who will request that I “just show them the steps”.

A simple analogy – a sequential learner will be able to start working on a puzzle by playing with the pieces, probably putting the edges together first, then working inward.

A global learner won’t feel like they can start unless they can see the picture of the finished puzzle first.

As…

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How to Calculate Your Macros 2.0 – Guest Blogger Colin DeWaay

Hi!  I asked Colin to do another article for us about calculating macros.   Just in case you don’t already log food, I use an app called Cronometer.  (I’m not sponsored by them or anything like that. )  I used to use the BodyBugg app to track, so when that went away, I searched until I found one that had a simple interface and would show macros easily.  I also needed an app that allowed me to use my desktop as well as my mobile devices.

I hope you like Colin’s post!  Please leave your questions in the comments and he’ll answer them.  Or if you’d rather talk with him privately about your situation, his contact info is at the end of this article.

***

One of the more common questions I get from people looking to start tracking macros is, well, just how the heck do you know what your macros should be!? It’s a fantastic question really, just because you’re willing to track doesn’t mean you know what to do. There isn’t exactly a guide out there that shows you exactly how to do it. Sure there’s websites with macro calculators, there’s TDEE calculators and every kind of calculator you can think of. There’s only one problem though, they’re just calculators! They don’t know anything about YOU.

 

We can look at calculators all day long but they are just math equations. They don’t know anything about you, your genetics, your past habits, your current habits, most importantly your dieting history. As I’ve written about before this is arguably the biggest variable in how much some should be eating and why so many people find it so difficult to lose.  There’s just no way any online calculator could know your maintenance calories without know A LOT more about you. So what should you do? I’m glad you asked.

 

The very first step is simply to start tracking. DO NOT change the way you eat. Whatever you’ve been doing continue to do it. If you would have gone back for seconds, go back for seconds. If you would have skipped eating all day, skip eating all day. If you would have taken down an entire bag of Double Stufs do yo thang! Just track it. I know you’re anxious to start making a difference but this phase is critical. Take a week (two weeks would be even better,) don’t change your eating habits, but track it, track it ALL. It’s critical to be honest during this phase, because you’re getting a look into the REAL state of your metabolism. If you’ve been maintaining your weight eating a certain way and now you know how much that is, boom, you have a rough idea of your maintenance calories. NOW you have a better idea how you can proceed.

 

Not only does this experience help you see how much you’re actually eating (most people are surprised by how much or even how little they eat) but it also starts to show you what’s in the food you eat. How many carbs, how much fat, how much protein. You start to get a better picture. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they prefer carbs but when they actually track their intake find out they eat A LOT of fat. That’s honestly one of the best parts about tracking macros. It TEACHES you so much about food, nutrition, and your body. Everyone wants to be able to eat intuitively, but how can you be intuitive if you don’t know what’s in the food you eat? You must learn first.

 

Anyway, now that you have a rough estimation of how many calories you’re eating we have two things we need to do. First is determine if you’re even in a position to go into a fat loss phase. The second is to start calculating your macros. What do I mean IF you’re in a position to go into a fat loss phase? Well if you’re maintaining your weight on a very low amount of calories it wouldn’t make sense to try and lose weight. Think about it. If you’re maintaining weight on 1200 calories, what are you going to do to lose? Eat 900 calories? What about when your plateau on that? 800? 600? At what point can you not possibly do it anymore? If you’re not in a good position to lose? It’s time to start looking into reverse dieting to improve your metabolism and put you in a position to succeed.

 

Anyway as far as calculating your macros (you’ll want to do this no matter what phase you go into) I actually recommend you take a week eating about the same amount of calories you did before but with more structured macro targets. This way not only do you get a little practice with macros first but you’ll get an even better understand of where you’re at metabolically. Think of it as an opportunity to make your fat loss an even better success.

 

Now that you know your total calories, and keeping in mind 1 gram of protein has 4 calories, 1 gram of carbs have 4 calories and 1 gram of fat has 9 calories. I recommend you start with a protein target of anywhere between .8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you can use lean body mass to calculate this instead of total body weight. Protein is easily the most difficult macro for most people to hit, but also the most important because it’s A) responsible for building and maintaining muscle mass B) by far the most thermogenic macro (your body burns about 30% of protein just processing it vs about 6% for carbs and 2% for fat) and C) it’s also by far the most satiating macro meaning when calories get low more protein will help you feel less hungry. From there you want to set your fats. Choose somewhere between 20%-30% of your calories from fat, I usually suggest right around 25% (rarely will I want someone under 20% ever.) If you prefer more fat aim to the higher end, if you prefer more carbs aim for the lower end. From there the rest of your calories come from carbs.

 

To try and help this make more sense I’ll show you an example. Say you are 160 lbs and you’re going to eat 2000 calories daily (random number, easy math.)

  1. If you eat 1 gram per pound of body weight that would be 160 grams of protein. Since 1 gram of protein has 4 calories you’re getting 160 x 4 = 640 calories from protein.
  2. Say you choose 27% of your calories to come from fat. 27% of 2000 would be 540 calories. 540/9 = 60 grams of fat.
  3. Since you have 540 calories from fat and 640 coming from protein we know we have 820 calories left to get to 2000 and it’s all coming from carbs. 820/4 = 205 grams of carbs daily.
  4. So your daily macro target is 160 protein, 205 carb, 60 fat.

 

This doesn’t mean you have to hit those numbers exactly and you can have higher/lower days to get to a weekly average, but it’s a starting point. Understand that it DOES NOT require perfection, and I typically recommend you just try to stay within a certain range. In a more serious phase you may try to stay within 5 grams of everything, just starting out you may aim to stay within 10 or even 20 or interchange some carb and fat calories. The point is don’t get stuck trying to be perfect, just get in the ballpark and understand you can’t bank on success every day, use weekly averages to help balance life.

 

Now if you’ve kept your calories the same for a week or even if you decide to jump right into a fat loss phase, it’s time to reduce your calories so you can start burning fat. I usually recommend dropping calories from anywhere between about 300-700 calories from your maintenance calories depending on how much I know about someone. If you have a longer more extreme history of dieting? You probably need to be on the more aggressive side. Almost no history of dieting? The lower end will probably be a good starting point. The trick is you need to make a significant enough drop to elicit a response, but not so much that you have no room for adjustments down the road.

 

See your body WILL adapt to whatever you do so you don’t want to drop your calories too low too fast or you’ll have no room to adjust when this happens. But if you don’t make a significant enough of a change your body probably won’t respond and you won’t see much fat loss. No matter what you do at this point it’s all about monitoring and adjusting. Everything we do is based on a calculated guess but being consistent and tracking will always tell us if it’s working or not. If your body doesn’t respond you have to drop calories more (and/or increase expenditure.) If you start losing weight too fast you can add some calories back in. I usually don’t want to see much more of an average of about 1 – 1.5% of total bodyweight per week because beyond that you’re likely sacrificing muscle to see more weight loss. Remember, not all weight loss is created equal! Understand this is just an average and that weight loss is never linear and progress comes in many forms way beyond just scale weight. I’ve seen people lose 6 inches in their waist before ever losing a single pound. So take progress pics and measurements too! Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting, compliments from people you know, how you FEEL, etc.

 

Oh I almost forgot. One more thing regarding protein. If you haven’t been eating much protein jumping up to high protein will feel almost impossible and quite frankly you’ll probably feel pretty crumby even if you did so it can be a good idea to start lower and work your way up over time. If you’ve eating 50 grams a day and now you want to eat 150 grams a day, well, good luck. It would probably be a better idea to set a more realistic goal like maybe 80 grams and then look to increase 5-10 grams every week (substituting carbs for protein.) But please don’t get me wrong, prioritize protein! It’s extremely important.

 

So there you have it, my recommendations for starting with macros. It’s not an exact science and there’s no “best” way to do things, this is just a rough starting guide. Each individual is different and needs to be treated different based on preferences, genetics, history, etc. But if you want to learn and get better, there’s no better way. Just like anything it will take time to understand. You’ll get frustrated at first. You’ll have to put in work. But if you take the time to lay the foundation now you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of success.

 

 

For more information from Colin download this free guide to help give you some direction. This will also put you on an email newsletter where you’ll receive daily emails with helpful advice.

 

Colin DeWaay holds a personal training certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He’s the owner of Colin DeWaay Training LLC, an online strength and nutrition consulting business that fully customizes training and nutrition programs for those interested in general fitness all the way up to advanced powerlifting programs. He specializes in helping people with a history of yoyo dieting create a more sustainable healthy lifestyle, improving metabolism through reverse dieting if necessary, and helping make binges a thing of the past by creating a healthy relationship with food utilizing flexible dieting. His goal is not to produce quick results, but to help produce realistic, sustainable results that last.

http://colindewaaytraining.com/

https://www.youtube.com/c/colindewaay

https://www.facebook.com/ColinDeWaayTraining/

 

 

 

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2017 Prep Update: Day 350- the “Suckiest” Phase to Date is Almost Over

What started as “My 275 Day Project”, ended up becoming a year-long project and is ending with the most difficult phase I’ve ever had as a bodybuilder.  However, even though I’m going to describe the obstacles, please keep in mind that I’m working hard to keep it all framed as a big-fat-life-lesson.  At some point in the future, the objective of the lesson that I’m learning right now will be clearer in the review-view mirror.

After my July show, even though I was satisfied with my progress, I was just a little shy of the conditioning I had envisioned.  If I started my off-season at that point, it would be two years before I could make another run at that goal.  Looking ahead, there is a show scheduled for October 7th, which is the Saturday at the end of my school district’s week-long fall break.  So I decided to keep going with this prep and see how much I could improve between July and October.

I knew there would be new challenges because it was the first time I started a school year while still prep.  And I’ve never competed twice in one season, so I’m pushing my body-fat to a lower point than I’ve ever had.  For my July show, I did appear to be at my leanest body-composition to date.  Deciding to diet for another two and a half months meant that I would doing something I’ve never attempted in the past.  When this is finished, my prep will be 359 days long.  This is natural bodybuilding – it’s a marathon.

I have been apprehensive about sharing this part of my prep publicly because, even though I’m doing everything naturally using the same science the general population needs to use to loose fat, I’m pushing it much farther than is advised for the general population.  Please note that I have professional supervision and it ONLY for my sport.  I do not intend to maintain this level of leanness for very long.  I just wanted to see if I could do it.  My recovery coming out of this prep will also be supervised.

Add to that a career timing issue – this is my 22nd year of teaching and I’m 55 years old.  I have another career goal and not too much time left before I will want to retire, so I need to start working on setting things in motion.  When it’s ready, I’ll share more details, but hubby and I decided that I need to start working on setting up a side business that would grow while I was still teaching and be ready to replace my income when I do retire from teaching.  I’m really excited about it and made a plan to have someone hold me accountable each week for getting certain tasks done to keep things progressing.

After a couple of weeks into this last leg of the prep, with school starting, the work on the side-business starting,  life did what life does.  Boulder-sized obstacles started dropping from the sky.  Hubby needed to be hospitalized the weekend before school started for a sneaky and severe pneumonia.  He remained in the hospital for 6 days and I missed the first two days of school.  (He is fine now, even though he is still on the mend.)  If you’re a teacher, you know that the start of a school year is bumpy anyway, so pushing myself physically, changing my schedule around to deal with life, and having handle the first week of school took a toll.

The first month, I was just putting out fires and dealing with whatever needed to be handled that day.  The whole time, I never missed a lift, never missed a cardio, and followed the diet protocol.  But eventually, because of the caloric deficit and lack of sleep, I got run down a little and picked up a “little” bug from the kiddos.  Wasn’t really little.  Felt like it at first, but after about a week of no change, I started using some sick days and headed to Urgent Care.  A gnarly sinus-infection was making itself at home in my head.  Took a few days on antibiotics and a lot of rest before I could make it through a whole day at work.  Luckily, I had some energy in the mornings and could keep up with my training for all but two days.  But I needed a lot of rest and had to bring calories up for a few days.

So now, we are 9 days out from the competition and I’m getting back on track.  I’ve decided to finish this thing the best way I can and not be too concerned about hitting the original ‘leanness’ goal I set last July.  This week, I’m not trying to do anything epic in the gym.  I dropped my loads and increased my reps.   Coach sent me my peak week protocol that will start tomorrow.  That fall break I mentioned before starts tomorrow and I need it.  NEED.  IT.

Just when I thought I navigated around the last obstacle, they keep a’coming!  My workout logging app was not compatible with the new iPad IOS upgrade, so I’ve just lost 4 years of data.  OK, that’s a first-world-problem and not really a catastrophe, but it’s annoying.   I might be able to fix it, but I think the better approach is to accept it as a sign that I need a fresh start.  I’m going to get a new gym planner today and start tracking with paper/pencil again, with a backup on a spreadsheet.  It will be good. Old-school.

Yesterday, Facebook reminded me of a photo I posted with a student from 2011.  This Facebook memory was a blessing to me yesterday.  (The second picture is a progress picture sent to my coach recently.  Sorry, but I don’t do hair and makeup except on show days.  Most of the time I look like I just got up or just worked out.)  Reminded me of how far I’ve come.  I’m also a bit blown away by how human biology responds to simple, positive changes in nutrition and smart, safe lifting programming.  I know it’s science, but the results come from consistency.  And, for me, the consistency comes from a spiritual place.  The mental game is the hardest.  I use a lot of prayer and inspirational audio books  to keep me going.  I. AM. GRATEFUL.  Humbled a little, too.  It’s hard to look at this and not tear up.

Not sure if I’ll write again before the show on the 7th.  When I have pictures, I’ll share those here or on the Facebook page.  This time around, there is nothing in my mind about placings – this one is about just getting it done.  I suspect the next time I do a year-long prep, it will be easier because I will know what to expect.

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