Tag Archives: healthy-living

Protein: How Much and Why?

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Protein.

You need it.  And maybe more than you’re eating now.

If you’re having a strong reaction to reading that, I get it.  But this is an important thing to get right nutritionally.

Food is made up of 3 macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

All foods have some combination of the big 3.  If we purposely avoid one of the macronutrients, and it turns out that your body needs more of that particular macronutrient than you think, there will be problems.

Arguing with that is like saying gravity is a theory and you’re not convinced. 

And there you sit.  Not floating.  (Ok, I’m assuming you’re not floating.  You could be in a hot-air balloon. Gravity is still working, though.)

That said, there seems to be a fear of protein out there lately. Or at least some misconceptions.

I think that’s a backlash to the high protein diets that were popular a few years ago.

The medical profession started throwing up red flags – rightfully so.  I hope they would do that anytime a popular “named” diet is unbalanced.

I’m not getting into food preferences because I strongly believe food preferences need to be personal.  Sustainability is about flexibility.  What I am saying – what I’m not flexible about – is that the human body needs protein.  I’ll explain why.

Humans run on calories.  And we need them from proteins, carbs, and fats in some combination for optimal recovery, energy, hormone health, and mood regulation.

People need micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) from those foods for optimal functioning of – well – everything inside our bodies that has a function.

Protein and the Immune System

Speaking from experience, teachers are on the front lines of the cold and flu season every year.

sick teacher

After I started lifting, I noticed that I didn’t get sick as often as I used to.

Asked around at the gym and the guys said they didn’t catch many colds.

Why?

One reason may be dietary.  Lifters usually make sure they are getting enough protein.

Dietary protein bolsters the immune system.

Did a little research to find out why.

Can’t lie – I’m not a biochemistry major so most of what I found was written in academic language that was a little dense.

I did find several studies that started with a sentence that said something like…

 “We’ve known for a long time that protein malnutrition increases the likelihood of infectious diseases”.

 ~ Dietary protein intake and human health

But why??

Pulled out a nutrition textbook and the explanation there was about the immune response.  Antibodies are blood proteins.  They specifically described how antibodies attack a cold virus.

Protein malnutrition compromises the immune system.  Lifters tend to consume a lot of protein to help us recover from our lifts.  (There are lifters who live full-time in a caloric deficit and they tend to catch colds more often.  That just makes sense.  Fat-loss phases are meant to be temporary because they are hard on the body and the immune system cannot keep up.)

How Much Protein Do You Need?

If you are completely sedentary, the recommendation is 0.8 g per kg of body weight.  That’s about 0.4 g of protein per pound.   So, a 150-pound person who is completely sedentary will need about 60 grams of protein.  If that 150-pound person was maintaining their weight consuming 1800 calories a day, those 60 grams of protein would only be 13% of their total calories!

 

Most people who don’t try to eliminate protein sources from their food choices probably eat enough without trying. 

  • 2 large eggs = 12 grams of protein
  • The peanut butter on two slices of toast = 7 grams of protein
  • Fast food chicken sandwich = 36 grams of protein
  • One slice of pepperoni pizza = 16 grams of protein
  • Added up = 71 grams of protein.  And carbs and fats.  Most foods have all three.

(This isn’t a suggested food list, but just examples for a frame of reference.  These are estimates. The typical American diet, even in a high school cafeteria, probably has enough protein for the completely sedentary human.)

However, if you get up and go to work or school,  walk a bit, do chores around the house, go to the gym a couple times a week – you need more.

 

If you’re not exercising, but aren’t completely sedentary, I’d suggest 0.6 grams times your body weight. 

That same 150-pound person would want 90 grams, or only 20% of intake from protein. 

Some will argue, cite sources, get all upset with me – which is fine.  Really, it’s OK.  What you eat is your choice.  If I’m not your coach, your personal protein philosophy is none of my business. 

But…

  • if your appetite is out-of-control
  • if you get hurt frequently
  • have issues with recovery from your workouts
  • catch every bug that comes floating by

…I’d encourage you to reflect on whether your body-chemistry is actually on the same page as your opinions about how much protein you need.  Just sayin’.

 dumbells

If you lift or exercise regularly with a favorite activity, go for something in the range of 0.8 g to 1.2 g per pound of body weight.

If you’re an overweight lifter, that might be a lot.  In that case, estimate your lean body mass and then multiply that by 0.8 to 1.2 per pound of lean body mass.

For example, when my body fat was estimated to be 40%,  that meant my lean mass was 60%.  I would take my scale weight times 0.6 to estimate my lean body mass in pounds,  then take that number times 0.8 for a minimum protein intake.  Use 1.2 for a maximum protein intake.

Personally, I like 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of actual body weight because it’s easy.  I train hard, so I don’t feel it’s necessary to worry about whether I’m getting a little too much protein by not calculating my lean mass weight.

Regardless of math and philosophy, if you’re not giving your body the amount of protein it needs, the reality of that will present itself if you start to feel beat up by your workouts. 

If you’re not recovering, look at that protein intake.  That might not be the reason, but it’s a variable that needs to be considered.

A Tiny Bit on Protein and Fat-Loss

If you are in a fat-loss phase, those calories from protein are helpful. 

Protein helps regulate hunger.  After eating protein, you may feel fuller longer, which is nice when you’re living in a caloric deficit.

When you exercise, you want to burn fat, right?  

If there is sufficient protein in your diet, the body is more likely to use stored fat as an energy source. 

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “muscle-sparing”, that’s what they mean.  When protein intake is high, the body won’t metabolize muscle for energy instead of fat.

Balance First

I know there are different opinions on the issue of protein intake.  However, the majority of adults are busy, don’t have time to research it, and rely on trusted resources.  I hope I’m a trusted resource, and I take that responsibility seriously.

I’m all about balance and am prone to be suspicious of any source telling me to eliminate a macronutrient for an otherwise healthy human’s nutrition.

Coming soon!  

I’ll put together a post about alternative protein sources for people who do not want to eat meat.  There are a lot more options out there than there were just a few years ago. 

I need a little time to research because I’m mostly plant-based eater who gets most of my protein from poultry and animals with hooves.  The animals ate plants – but I’m pretty sure that’s not what you meant, right?  😉 

 

Need more?  You don’t have to figure it out on your own.
For more information…

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How to Not Need “Cheat Days”

vegetables italian pizza restaurant

I don’t have “cheat days”.

I’m not THAT dedicated.

Hahaha!  Probably not what you expected to hear from me.

Nutrition supports your fitness goals in two ways…

  • Calories determine whether you are gaining, losing, or maintaining.
  • Macro and micronutrients help your body work optimally and help you feel better.

Food preferences are individual.  (I really dislike strawberry ice cream.  Go ahead – judge. But I’m going for the chocolate.  Or my recent new favorite – orange cream sherbet.  Must a summer thing!)

person holding ice cream with cone

Once you get used to using food as fuel, it’s like seeing the matrix.  Sort of.  You’ll still drop into the illusion and enjoy your favorites.

But those favorites are part of the matrix – they are a combination of calories and nutrients.  In the matrix, pizza has no value judgement – it’s just calories, carbs, protein, and fat.

That said, when I’m in a fat-loss phase (which I’m not this year), what someone else might call a “cheat day”, I call a refeed day.

On a refeed day, I’ll bring my calories up to maintenance – which means my goal is to eat the same number of calories that I estimate I will burn in that 24 hours period.

Usually, I do that by increasing portion sizes of foods I’m already eating.  But if I’m psychologically needing something I haven’t had in a while, that will come in on a refeed day.

It’s all logged.  It’s not a “cheat” anything because I’m not cheating by choosing “forbidden foods”.  No foods are forbidden for this purpose. 

Food choices are individual.  Yes, there are plenty of medical, philosophical, and ethical reasons why people have certain food preferences.

 That’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about controlling the amount of food you choose to eat – whatever that is going to be.

Actually, I do the same thing when I’m NOT in a fat-loss phase.  The difference is that I’m either at maintenance or in a controlled surplus with calories.

matrix

Not everyone likes the matrix.  I do.  I like the flexibility of choosing foods I like instead of using food lists.  I like how it changed my relationship with food by adding some structure and science.

Now the questions are do you do a refeed day, a refeed meal, and when? 

That’s another post…


If you’d like me to teach you how to do this for yourself, or to figure it all out for you  – a customized nutrition plan with live, weekly, support to make it all work when life gets busy – learn more here.

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Filed under diet, Nutrition

My 10 Tips for Fat Loss

Any one of these tips could be another post, but I wanted to put together a list for how to start a program with a little bit of explanation.

1)      Collect current data about your food intake.  You need an honest appraisal of what is happening now.   Eat normally, but log it for a full week, at least. (I’ve been logging for most of the last 4 ½  years.)  You will need to measure and weigh some things.  Get a digital scale to make this chore easier.  I’ve used a digital scale every day since I started and I’ve never used an expensive one.  Use an online food log to have access to extensive data base. It takes a few weeks to get things set up, but if you eat the same foods over the week, it becomes a matter of clicking frequent foods instead of searching.

2)      Come up with a good estimate of how many calories you burn in a 24 hour period.  I remember that “ah-ha” moment when I realized that I’m burning calories all the time, not just when I exercise.  The cardio machines at a gym will give an estimated burn, but in my experience, they can overestimate quite a bit.  There are calculators online, too.    If you can make an investment, there are gadgets that you wear that will give better estimates based on your personal activity over the entire day.  I use a Bodybugg.  I have friends who use a Fitbit.  I rationalized the purchase by comparing it to the medical costs I had at the time for my high blood pressure meds and an ER visit to rule out a heart attack.

3)      Make a food plan based on what you do now.  For safe fat loss and a sustainable, lifestyle change, keep the calorie deficit between 300 and 1000 calories.  In other words, it is my recommendation that you burn no more than 1000 calories than you intake each day.  But there is a minimum number of calories you need to eat for a healthy metabolism.  The USDA’s recommendations for minimum calorie intake levels are 1600 calories for women and 2000 calories for men.  If your intake is already at a minimum and you still need to increase a deficit, do it with moderate exercise.  The metabolism is not a linear equation where the bigger the deficit, the more fat you lose.  To over simplify a complicated process, your body will adapt so when it is not getting enough calories, it will use as few calories as possible to maintain functions and store what little is left over as body fat.  It may even breakdown muscle for additional energy.   This is why people who don’t eat a lot can maintain their scale weight, or even gain scale weight. Over time, body composition changes so that there is more fat and less muscle at the same weight.  This is what is meant by “skinny fat”.  Metabolism is not designed for looks – it’s about staying alive.  Through repeated attempts at weight loss by calorie restriction, many people have trained their bodies to maintain their weight eating less.  It’s really important to get that baseline intake information I discussed in Tip #1 so you can determine if you have slowed your metabolism a little bit.  If you are a woman maintaining your weight at 1000 calories, jumping right up to the recommended minimum of 1600 would cause fat gain.

4)      Make food substitutions gradually.  It is not practical for most people to completely overhaul everything in the kitchen.  Food prep becomes a new routine that will change how you spend your time – and that means “life” will need to be adjusted.  That takes time.  It took me months to figure out a system that worked for me.  If there are other people in the house, their favorite foods may be trigger foods for you.  I’ve been there.  I practiced telling myself repeatedly that “I control what I eat.”  Self-discipline really is an emotional muscle that needs to be strengthened.  And it is hard.  That’s OK.  Hard doesn’t mean impossible.  Each time you don’t cave to a temptation, it gets easier.  Especially when you focus more on how you “feel” instead of how you “look”.

5)      Train with weights.  There are several reasons why resistance training needs to be part of the program for fat loss.  Resistance training preserves muscle and builds bone mass.   To change the appearance of the body, the muscles need to be developed.  One of the most common questions I get is about how I dealt with loose skin.  First, I lost my weight very slowly and that helped minimize it.  But I also filled spaces with muscle – especially in my arms.  A full body program done twice a week, that uses multi-joint exercises, like body weight squats, is a good way to start.

6)      Don’t overdo cardio.  There is an abundance of research out there about cardio.  Personally, long sessions of cardio elevate my cortisol levels.  Cortisol is a hormone similar to adrenaline.  I believe I’ve had a cortisol problem for a long time and it contributed to my weight gain and health decline that led up to that “before” picture.  When my cortisol levels are up, I feel very anxious without a reason and I have trouble falling asleep.  My body stores fat quickly during those times.  Cardio is one of those variables that will start a lot of discussion.  I know what the research says, what works for me, what doesn’t, and that is exactly what I believe everyone needs to know for themselves.  But when I started, I knew nothing.  I had no idea that the cardio I was doing contributed to the anxiety I felt about the process.

7)      Sleep.    The body needs to rest to recover from the stress of the day.  Add in exercise and a moderate calorie restriction and there is more stress on the body.  Lack of sleep will elevate cortisol levels, too. Drink water!  I instruct my clients to drink a gallon a day, knowing that’s a goal, not necessarily a reality.  The body uses water to process nutrients, lubricate joints, maintain healthy blood pressure – well, just about everything.

8)      Drink water.  I instruct my clients to drink a gallon a day, knowing that’s a goal, not necessarily a reality.  The body uses water to process nutrients, lubricate joints, maintain healthy blood pressure – well, just about everything.  I know some say it helps them feel full, but that’s not my experience.  When I’m hungry, I’m HUNGRY.  For food.

9)      Keep it simple.  Avoid the urge to over-plan and under-do, despite all the information I’ve just thrown at you.  Your program does not have to be perfect.  As you learn more, you’ll adjust things.  You have to have movement.  You need more food your body recognizes (whole foods) and less food designed to make you want to buy more of it (processed foods).  When asked, I tell people that most of my food is grown by God – a very simple description of vegetables, fruit, lean meats, fish, nuts, olive oil, and limited grains for personal digestive reasons.

10)   Be patient.  Permanent changes happen slowly.  You are changing your life one cell at a time.  A scale measures total body weight – that is mostly water, by the way.  It’s easy to feel impatient when looking at a transformation picture because the eye just goes back forth between the two versions of that person.  But note the dates.  Took me three years to get from “before” to the first “after”.  It helped me psychologically to accept that this was the LAST time I was going to lose most of these fat pounds and my life was going to be different from that point on.  I know I’m happier, excited to get up every day, and my life is likely to be longer because I decided to finally do this thing and not quit.

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References & Resources

http://www.theiflife.com/is-your-exercise-keeping-you-fat/

http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/Chapter2.pdf

© Tammy White and Lifting My Spirits, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tammy White and Lifting My Spirits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Filed under Cortisol, Life, Weight Loss

Thoughts After Strong Woman

there is no finish line

It’s Monday after the meet on Saturday. I am soooo sore! Except for legs, which means I didn’t use them enough, I guess. I’ve been reviewing the video and can see things I can improve. So I guess that means I’m open to doing this again.

It was a fun experience. The general atmosphere is very different from a bodybuilding competition.  A bodybuilding show is more stressful. The strong man meet felt more like play. I noticed that many of the people there actually train together and everyone was cheering for everyone.  You wanted the next person to do something amazing.

I was told to expect a different kind of camaraderie than at a bodybuilding competition.  I’ve made friends at my bb shows and have had about as much fun as a person can have without drinking water.  But the strong man meet was pretty wonderful, actually.  When I got home, I was browsing Facebook and came across one of the more popular pages I follow only to find another thread of women bickering about food – name calling even.  Ugh.  There is more to bodybuilding than food and cardio, but that’s all anyone wants to talk about.  There is the LIFTING.  How about we talk about that? LIFTING is the whole point!  If something isn’t helping you lift heavier, it sucks and should be avoided.  Sorry – I digress.  But it bears repeating…

“If something isn’t helping you lift heavier, it sucks and should be avoided.”

I didn’t feel like I did much that day, but the next day – WOWZA! I felt like that truck I couldn’t pull might have run me over. I also had that same cold-like congestion I’ve felt after each of my bodybuilding shows. I assume that is some inflammatory response to the physical stress. And I’m HUNGRY. SOOOO HUNGRY!! I didn’t really diet hard, so this was unexpected.

There was no workout on Sunday or today, Monday. I’m not planning to do one tomorrow, either. There is some back strain that is not serious, but it’s slightly more than just the regular sore.  I’ll get a massage tomorrow.  I’ll decide then if I can do anything on Wednesday.

My Thoughts About the Events…

If you haven’t seen the video, here it is again.

Log Press, 90 lbs: I got three reps at this weight. The last time I practiced, I could only do two. After watching Nicole do 10 reps (I think) before I went up, and watching the video, I have a clearer idea of what I need to do to improve. I was coached properly, but just didn’t have a visual or couldn’t imagine the correct form. What I needed was time – and I have that now. I will start practicing with a much lighter weight, maybe even just a PVC pipe.

Farmer’s Carry (230 lbs) and Keg Carry (135 lbs ?)/Placement Medley: I had the fastest time for women – I think it was 44 seconds. Still room to improve. I saw a couple of mistakes that, if avoided, would have shaved off a little time. I also don’t handle the keg well. I think the keg was lighter than 135 pounds, but I don’t remember. I didn’t pay that close of attention because it didn’t matter. I had to move the keg.

Tire Flip, 450 lbs: I wish I hadn’t paid attention when the weight of the tire was announced. I was annoyed. The tire was supposed to be 400 lbs and I had only trained with the 350 lb tire at the gym. I let myself down on this event. I let myself get psyched out. I don’t think I would have been able to move it as far as Nicole did, but I should have been able to do a couple more flips.

Fire Truck Pull, 9200 lbs: Very disappointed. The only reason I wanted to do this event was to pull this truck.

Overall, I’m very proud of what I accomplished in the two months I had to train for this thing. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest competitor out there. I don’t know for sure, but you look at the faces – do you see any other 50-somethings?

And, based on how my brain as been chewing on this since, I think I might do it again.

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Filed under Competing, Strong Woman Training, Videos

I Quit?!?

true strength

For the first time in recent memory, I quit a workout before it was finished and went home.

I didn’t get enough sleep. My head was not in the right place for the heavy strong woman workout I was supposed to do today. I got a late start. I ran errands first. I was procrastinating. I did a really long warm up and stretching session. My mind of full of fear today and I could not shake it.

I’ve written before that my main goals for this strong woman training are…

  1. gain mass
  2. lose fear of pressing over my head, and let’s add…
  3. don’t get hurt

Notice that “win a strong woman competition” is NOT a goal? Because it’s not. This is NOT my passion. I like some of the exercises, but in general, I don’t look forward to these workouts. They are really hard and scary. Which is exactly why I wanted to do them.

But today, I was miserable.

Something that I’m learning about myself, that I suppose my hubby and my coach both know – I don’t respond well to positive thinking. I’m just too… something. Pragmatic? I cannot logically accept that I can lift a weight that I know is too heavy, no matter how I feel about it. So when very wonderful people try to encourage me, it backfires. When I don’t believe it, it’s just wishful thinking and it never works. And you know what? I really don’t give a sh#t what I’m expected to lift on Sept 21.  I had at least three people tell me to “go for it” today and I was not ready.  Some days, I’m in “beast mode” coming out of the gate locker room. But not usually. Most of the time, I start at a weight I can easily handle and increase it gradually. It’s more about building my confidence than building my strength. The inner dialogue is always the same…

This is a warm up set… This is heavier, but still a warm up set… OK. Let’s try last week’s max… OK. Let’s add 5 pounds – you won’t even notice 5 pounds… OK., now let’s add 10 pounds.

At some point, I fail. If I fail too soon, I’m pissed. However, I do pretty well attempting and failing one week, then nailing it the next. This is a normal cycle.

Last week, I failed to complete a set of log presses at 70 pounds. So today, I didn’t try. I did two three rep sets to warm up and then I did 4 one-rep sets. I was able to handle 75 pounds – not easily, but I did it. Two attempts at 80 pounds could not be pressed higher than my eyeballs.

But that was all the ‘heavy’ I had in me today. TMI ALERT! I pushed so hard on those last two attempts I wet myself. I had no change of clothes with me. And honestly – that was the last straw. I was tired, angry, hot, and unfocused. Game over.

G A M E.   O V E R.

Sent this text to Coach as I was walking to the car. (Please excuse my language.)

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I cried in the car all the way home. So frustrated! I am serious about rethinking this decision, however, I believe a good night’s sleep will reset my brain and calm my fears. I’ve refused to try some exercises before and I’ve refused to do some ever again – like hand-stand pushups. All of this goes back to protecting my weak shoulder. It’s gotten a LOT stronger in the last year, but I still feel those little pings.

My mental game is lame.

Coach continued to text me today…

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I got home and showered and ate.  I spent the afternoon in my beautiful ‘new’ home office writing blog posts and listening to Vivaldi.  My brain is calmer now.

I don’t recall being this fearful about my program since I was a newb. Maybe that’s because I’m a newb again.  At risk of sounding a little self-obsessed (wink, wink, Martha), I catch people watching me do these exercises and that just makes me feel more insure.  I think my form is OK, but I have to be honest – I don’t know for sure I’m doing them right and it feels like I’m in a fish bowl.  That could be my insecure imagination or it could be legit because I’m doing something so different than what I used to do.

Tomorrow morning, I will decide to either finish the workout I started today or go back to a bodybuilding routine. I suspect I will continue, but I also expect that I will need to make that same decision every week before the “heavy” workout. Constant cycle of recommitting.

I have collected a ton of pictures over the years. For days like today.

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Am I a Strong Woman?

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I’ve decided to start my off season by training for a strong woman competition. For my 50th birthday last year, I pulled my husband’s 4-Runner. It was really fun. That’s when I first started thinking about strong woman competitions. Since I’m not going to compete in a bodybuilding show again until next summer at the earliest (considering a two year break to put some energy into neglected aspects of life and to try and catch my competition in size), I thought it might be fun to change the training up a little bit just to see what I can do.  I’m a little concerned that I have not done enough to improve my functional strength – just in case there is a zombie apocalypse, I can’t pose them to death.

Yesterday, Coach gave me a new training program using the events I’d most likely be doing if I do the competition I’m considering at the end of September. I’m not gonna lie. I’m intimidated. There are some things that don’t concern me too much, but there’s a couple that scare the crap out of me. Reflecting on it, in order to do this I’m going to have to deal with the mental barriers I have about lifting heavy stuff over my head. My right shoulder has never been strong. I have been rehabbing it for my entire lifting experience. It’s stronger now than it’s ever been, but I have learned to protect it this whole time. My legs have always been strong, so when I pulled my hip flexor last November, I lost strength, but I didn’t develop the same mental barrier about pushing it because I knew I had strength in my in my legs from before.  It just hurts when I push it.  I’m not as afraid to try.  But while I’m probably strong enough to handle heavier weight for chest or shoulder work, I don’t when I’m alone.  I always opt for more reps or more sets instead.  When Coach hands me heavier weight than I think I can handle, I put up a fight.  No confidence.

And starting a new training program, with brand new activities, taps into my insecurities about looking stupid and silly.  Especially at my gym where every third person is a badass lifter.

So the proper way to approach this would be to grow a pair (figuratively). My focus and mental attitude will need to be stronger. I will not get hurt. I will probably look stupid, but I don’t care. The more time I spend lifting “logs”and kegs, the better.

Coach is not sure I can be ready to compete in 10 weeks. We decided I would do this training for four weeks, then decide what to do. Bodybuilding is still my passion, but I am excited to see what happens to my physique as I push it in a different way.

My workouts on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays will be these exercises…

  • Log press
  • One arm press
  • Farmers carry
  • Tire flips
  • Sled pulls

This video shows a woman doing most of these, plus some others.

On three of the other days, I’ll do my bodybuilding, assistance exercises and cardio, but with less intensity.  Recovery is a priority.

The competition I’m considering has two weight classes for women – below 145 lbs and above 145 lbs. My weight seems to have stabilized at 140, and I have to eat to keep it from dropping. (Yeah, that’s a new development since the show). If I make it a goal to get stronger while staying in the smaller weight class, that seems like an interesting way to start my off season.  I won’t let myself overeat just because I’m doing “strong woman” stuff.  It’s not necessary for me to gain too much.  If I gain muscle, it will only be about 0.25 to 0.5 pounds a month at most.  No reason to do what some other people do and bulk.  My body does what it does.

Uh huh, I know what you might be thinking – muscle needs calorie surplus. But I’m not tracking calories or macros right now, so I have no idea if I’m in surplus or deficit.  I’m eating what I feel I need when I need it. Pretty much following the same pattern I’ve been on for a long time.  I have good energy and weight is stable.  I eat more when my brain knows I need it – like after 5 sets of dead lifts.  🙂

I will keep you posted – either here or on the Facebook page.   Any prayers for bravery you’d be willing to send would be much appreciated.

(Please excuse typos.  I’m tried to catch them all.  The “L” key on my laptop is being difficult, the show nails are still on my fingers and I kind of hate them now, and I think I need new glasses.  I have walked into our hanging birdcage at least once a day for the last week.)

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Filed under Competing, Life, Workouts

“You want me to do what???”

I replied when he told me what he wanted me to do for 30 days.

Coach took me out to dinner a a few days after the show to celebrate. Full-on cheat meal at an Italian place. It was glorious. I’ve been pretty vocal about my plans to do a reverse diet out of this show. So when the conversation topic switched to what to do next as we go into a long off-season, he told me he wanted me to deal with my food a lot differently. For 30 days, starting today, July 1, I’m not going to use macros, weigh, or measure my food. I’m going to eat what I feel like I need to eat and log it. Log it by hand. In a notebook. No computer programs. No amounts. Along with the simple food list, I’m supposed to make a note about my hydration levels and how I feel.

This is going to be weird. I’ve been doing everything with precision for 4 years. I welcome this challenge for a couple reasons…

1) After weighing, measuring, logging, and following macros for so long, I’ve gotten a little OCD about eating. And it’s a drag, honestly. The same reason people don’t want to start monitoring their food intake with precision is exactly the reason I need to take a break. Right now, the first month of a year long off season, is the perfect time to do it.

2) As a coach/trainer myself, it’s good to get knocked out of my comfort zone and do something new. Establishing the habit of logging is hard no matter how you do it.

I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve tried for a few days before today and failed. One meal got logged. I think I’ll have to switch to using an app on my phone with Siri taking dictation. I’m still doing the reverse diet – sort of. I’ve added back my favorite clean foods that were removed from the plan for show prep. Sure enough – something is bloating me. That’s why they were removed. I’ll eliminate each one for a day to see if I can narrow it down. Since I’m supposed to be logging how I feel, should be able to figure this out. My suspects are almonds or fruit. It doesn’t really matter right now, I’m going to keep these things in, but I just want to know.

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Post show weight shot up – as expected. My stage weight was 132 lbs. Four days later, it was 145 lbs. I was holding a TON of water. My face was a little swollen. I added the apple cider vinegar and asparagus back into my day to drop a little water. Weight has dropped to 140 and has maintained there for a couple of days. That’s where it should be right now – 132 lbs of me plus 8 lbs of water back inside me = 140 lbs. I don’t think Coach wants me to worry about the scale weight, but I’m going to keep an eye on it.  I expect that I might eat too little with this plan, so I’m just as concerned about weight drop as weight gain.  I want to gain weight in the off season, but my body will store fat. I’m retraining it. I need to try to stay as lean as possible as I gain. A bit of a tightrope walk, I know. But I know I gained muscle during the cut for this last show, so I’m fairly confident I can do this – even by instinct.

DISCLAIMER: What I’m doing probably won’t work for you. Every body is different. The variables are different. Everyone’s experience with food and exercise is different. I have a coach I’ve worked with for over a year, through two shows. I don’t follow a ‘plan’. We try things, observe the results, and adjust.

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