Monday, March 30, 2015

What I ate ... (Sunday 3-29)

I haven’t done one of these in a few weeks, so I thought I’d share my meals from yesterday (3-29).   I trained legs, so I proceeded to eat pretty much everything in sight – hey, you have to EAT to GROW!
For my first meal I had one of my favorite go-to breakfasts: egg whites, parmesan cheese, oatmeal, and peanut butter!  Nothing against whole eggs AT ALL, in fact, I eat them almost everyday, but I usually stick to just the whites when I’m putting peanut butter in my oatmeal to even out the fat a little :-)
Recycled picture, but you get the idea...
After breakfast I had some time to kill before I hit the gym, so I did my usual Sunday Meal Prep..
I also tried a new way to season my crockpot chicken – with Mrs. Dash Chicken seasoning!  I was actually out of the Italian Dressing seasoning I usually use and really didn’t want to go back to Kroger, so I improvised and it turned out great, I’ll definitely be doing this more often!

 After my breakfast digested a little, and my meal prep for the week was done – I headed to the gym for leg day!  Easily my favorite day of the week…

After my lift I had some Hot Fudge Sundae Pop Tarts (amazing) and a serving of whey protein – like I’ve mentioned before, I always follow a leg workout with Pop Tarts, they are my (not so) secret weapon!
I actually did eat both Pop Tarts - one obviously didn't make the picture because it was already being devoured...
I went home after the gym and did some cleaning/hanging out with this little diva while John was at work.. On a side note – Lily just weighed in at 75 pounds on Saturday – she has put on 6 pounds in roughly 2 months – looks like I found a new client…
Who's fat? Me? I'm not fat!
I tried a new-to-me Bertolli frozen dinner a couple hours after the gym, we like to have these occasionally for taste and convenience – the only problem is, they really don’t make enough to feed both of us.  I ate the whole thing!  Meals for 2? 2 what? Babies???  It was absolutely delicious though :-)

To finish out my day I had a PBJ and 2 servings of whey protein – simple and delicious.  Sometimes there is really nothing better than a classic PBJ!  I ate this while I watched the Season Finale of Walking Dead – OMG – does anyone else watch?!  I need to talk to people about it!! I am not going to make it until the next season starts!
It may not look all that pretty, but it definitely hit the spot!
**Linking up with the QUEEN of WIAW posts today (for my first time) - thanks Jenn for hosting!!**

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sample Shoulder (and Ab) Workout

I have decided to leave off the weights I use in my workouts from now on – I think it will do you all more good to just see the workouts and exercises for what they are, without the specific weights I used for each set.  I can always go back to including them if you prefer, but to me it feels more organic this way and easier to customize for all of you – I want you to focus on actually incorporating these exercises without worrying if you are using the same weights I did.  It doesn’t matter how much you are lifting, just that you ARE lifting and that you are using a weight that challenges you, while still being able to keep good form!

This was the workout I did Tuesday night for shoulders and abs – I usually train abs 1-2 times a week and focus mostly on strengthening my whole core – not just doing countless amounts of crunches.  All the crunches in the world won’t compensate for a poor diet and training routine – sorry!

I started with standing dumbbell lateral raises to warm-up: 4 sets of 12

Superset Seated Dumbbell Military Press & Toes to Bar:
Press: 1 warm-up set of 10, 4 working sets of 8
Toes to bar: 4 sets of 10

Superset Standing Cable Face Pulls & Standing Dumbbell Front Raises:
Face Pulls: 5 sets of 8
Front Raises: 4 sets of 8 (each side)

Superset Standing Barbell Military Press & Hanging Leg Raises:
Press: 1 warm-up set of 16, 4 working sets of 10 **When I do these, I alternate each rep in front of my head and behind my head – if you want to try this please make sure you use a significantly lower weight than you would for standard barbell military presses!
Raises: 4 sets of 15

Superset Peck Deck Rear Delt Flys & BW Dips:
Flys: 4 sets of 10, plus a drop set at the end from the heaviest weight I used to the lightest on the stack
Dips: 5 sets of 10

Superset Hammerstrength Shoulder Press & Front Plate Raises:
Press: 4 sets of 10
Raises: 4 sets of 10-12

Drop-set Dumbbell Lateral Raises:
“Run the rack” for these – I do 3 big drop sets (I will use the weights I use for this because it’s easier to explain): I started with 25’s for 10, then immediately dropped to 20’s for 8, then 15’s for 8, 10’s for 8, and 5’s for as many as possible.  I did that twice, and for my third set I skipped the 25’s and started with 20’s for 10, 15’s for 10, 10’s for 10, and 5’s until I thought my shoulders were going to fall off :-)

Superset Handstand Push-ups (against a wall) & Sprints:
I did 4 sets of 8 handstand push-ups (I am obsessed with handstand everything right now) and ran sprints in between each for some cardio.

And that’s it – I think this lasted about an hour and 15 minutes maybe an hour and a half – the sprints/handstand push-ups at the end took the longest – I needed a LOT of recovery time between sets – my cardio isn’t exactly the greatest…   I tend to do most of my workout at a pretty fast pace, but I do allow more rest time for the big moves (like my presses) so that I can use a heavier weight and still get the amount of reps I aim for.

If you ever have any questions about any of the workouts I post – please let me know!  I would be happy to clarify anything for you :-)

And a picture, because the idea of doing an entire blog post without a single picture kind of freaks me out…

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bi-Weekly Check-in 3/25/15

I think this is a really important check-in, because I took my measurements 2 days after my birthday – for my birthday I counted/logged NOTHING, ate/drank whatever I wanted, and didn’t work out.  I have also continued to have a slice of that amazing ice cream cake every night since my birthday  - and guess what? I didn’t gain a million pounds!  Actually, for my bi-weekly I LOST 2 pounds.  Just goes to show that if you work hard and focus on healthy eating and training hard a majority of the time, you can afford some treats here and there without losing all your progress!

I think I actually benefited from all the carbs Saturday – check out that post-birthday pump!

Measurements are as follows:
Calf:  14.5 inches
Quad: 22.75 inches
Hips: 36 inches
Waist: 26.5 inches
Forearm:  11 inches
Bicep: 13.5 inches
Weight: 132.6

I know some people think it’s a little overkill to take measurements every 2 weeks, especially when someone is offseason and not prepping for a show or actively trying to gain/lose substantial weight for any other number of reasons.. I like it though, even though I am not seeing much change it is a chance for me to critique my diet and training and see if maybe I need to rework something.  It helps me to (hopefully) avoid plateaus and to stay accountable.  I may not be actively in show prep, but that doesn’t mean much to me, I still strive to the best I can be.

I like to do this too because I want to let you all know that even if you aren’t seeing changes from one day to the next – over time you will.  And it’s espceially nice after a celebratory weekend like this one to be able to check-in and know that a day of no fitness didn’t kill me – in the past I would have had a panic attack about eating (and drinking BEER), and would have at least had to go do a crazy workout before hand, but this year I didn’t, and guess what?
I'm still here.
I'm still strong.
I'm still healthy.
And I still look pretty good :-)

Fitness is weird, it can take over your life in a good way or a bad way – it is up to you which way it goes.  It can drive you crazy if you let it, or in can improve your life substantially.  I know there was a time in my life where I let it drive me crazy, but since I have really began to learn more about myself and my body – and the fitness world in general – it has finally started to really improve my life.  Don’t let fitness control your life – let it compliment your life!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Birthday Recap!

I’m just stopping by real quick to say that Saturday was my BIRTHDAY and it was such an incredible day.  John planned everything and he did so good!  I had a permanent smile on my face all day and honestly, I still do.

I got to see my (future) in-laws who I love dearly and cherish like my own family – we ate amazing food (including a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Cake – yes, they exist) – had a few drinks on a rooftop bar - went to the Botanical Gardens – explored downtown Athens – and just had a great day in general.  I could not have asked for a better day.  I was too busy enjoying myself to take many pictures, but I got the important ones covered:
On birthdays we take selfies, and flex. Duh.
THE cake - no other ice cream cake will ever be sufficient after this bad boy..
My whole world, my best friend, and the love of my life - and my sweet sunburn :-)
Check back later for your regularly scheduled programming :-)

Friday, March 13, 2015

(Late) Bi-weekly check-in and a REVIEW!

I want to share a review with you today of my new absolute FAVORITE pre-workout: Megawatt HD by 1st Phorm!  (And no, I was not compensated for or even asked to do this review – I bought this product with my own hard earned cash and fell in love, so I wanted to share it with you!)
First and foremost – daylight savings time has officially kicked my ass this week – like, all week.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the longer days, but because I start my day at 5 AM and am on the road by 6:30 – my mornings all week have been spent in total darkness, which really messes with me for some reason.  By the time I get off work and finally make it to the gym, I am beat.  My workouts all week have really suffered – until I found Megawatt HD!  I got it in the mail yesterday and took it before I went to train back, and let me tell you – I was immediately impressed.  For the first time this week I had a really amazing workout – I had energy and focus and endurance – I swear I could’ve lifted for 2 hours!  I successfully destroyed my back day and even had the energy after my lift to do some cardio (who am I?!).

From their website:
MegaWatt HD™ has been specifically formulated to boost energy levels and dial in your mental focus during training. MegaWatt HD will take your workouts to the next level by enhancing muscle endurance and vasodilation! Our uncompromising and extremely powerful pre-workout is unlike anything that has ever touched your lips. We took our time with this formula because we weren’t looking to just make another pre-workout … we focused on creating the BEST pre-workout! Period.

MegaWatt HD isn’t just a flavored powder filled with a bunch of stimulants to get you all jacked up before you hit the gym. We wanted to deliver something that would improve muscular endurance as well as something so powerful, you’ll never want to stop training. We would Never Settle® for anything less… and neither should you!

We started MegaWatt HD with research-proven micronized creatine monohydrate to boost ATP production, strength, and overall endurance. Secondly, we added in a potent dose of beta alanine to reduce lactic acid build up and decrease muscle fatigue so you can train longer and harder in the gym. Then we stacked in the Intracellular VoluMax Blend™ to boost blood flow as well as maximize oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscle cells for powerful muscle contractions and skin-tearing pumps. This potent base takes your precious time in the gym to the next level and keeps your body from ever wanting to quit.

The mind is more powerful than the body when it comes to training intensity.  The final evolution was developing the Neurostatic Matrix™. This is the most potent and unheard of blend of powerful nootropics currently on the market today. MegaWatt HD is designed to keep your mind not just focused, but absolutely dialed-in and blasting through the pain while keeping energy levels at their peak. With MegaWatt HD’s dynamic mix of mental focus and ever lasting energy you will never want to give up.

The taste is phenomenal (I got Juicy Watermelon), and it doesn’t take long to kick in which is great for me because I hate to wait on a pre-workout that takes FOREVER to finally kick in.  I felt focused, strong, and ready to kick ass, without feeling overly jittery or weird at all.  And there was no crash at all – just a slow, easy come down without me really even noticing.  Not to mention, I was still able to fall asleep at a regular time after taking it – since I train so late in the day that is always a concern of mine, and a lot of pre-workouts on the market make it really hard for me to sleep even 5-6 hours after taking it – not this though, I slept like a baby!
My only complaint (let’s be real, not everything can be perfect) is the serving size – ¾ of a scoop.  As in, NOT a whole scoop.  I’ve seen this before in other products and have never really understood it – why not just make a smaller scoop to accommodate a serving size?  Either way – make sure to read labels, please – for reasons like this!  It states not to exceed 1 ½ scoops in a day, again, read labels – I know plenty of people (myself included) that takes 2 scoops of pre-workout occasionally – you really need to be careful with this one since 2 servings is NOT 2 scoops.  This is especially important to people that are caffeine sensitive as there is a pretty potent dose in Megawatt HD.  Seriously though, that is my only complaint – otherwise I am absolutely smitten, as I have been with every 1st Phorm product I have ever used.
And before I go, I just realized I missed my bi-weekly check-in post (see – I told you this week has kicked my ass!) – I won’t bore you with everything BUT I did take measurements and snapped some progress pics last night, so I wanted to share them real quick.  One of these days I will get my act together!
Calf:  15 inches
Quad: 23 inches
Hips: 36 inches
Waist: 27 inches
Forearm:  11 inches
Bicep: 13.5 inches
Weight: 134
Height (since some of you have been asking): 5’2

And some progress pictures:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Silent Saturday (that time I competed at the ARNOLD)

Yesterday's post was super wordy, I promised less words and more pictures today, so here you go!  In honor of Arnold weekend - a look back at the time I competed in the Arnold (2 years ago) - enjoy!

And an EXTRA old picture - from the 2011 Arnold! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Thirst...

This time of year, it hits me really hard – the desire to get back on stage.  I’m not sure if it stems from the fact that for the past 5 years, I have always done spring/summer shows (and therefore always been in prep this time of year) – or the fact that it’s Arnold season (stay tuned for a flashback post on this tomorrow!) – or from watching everyone else starting their preps for the upcoming season.  But whatever the cause, it’s here and it’s proven to be a little tough for me this time around.

You see, the last time I got on stage was 2 years ago (has it been THAT long) at the Arnold.  That same year I moved to GA and during my prep for Nationals, decided I needed a break.  At first, the break was welcome… my body and my mind needed it.  I had gone through a lot of change and some rough spots in my life and instead of facing them, I used my competitions as a way of ignoring them and focusing my energy on something else, and it worked (at the time), but it caused me to become pretty burnt out both physically and mentally.  So, in September of 2013 I decided not to compete at Nationals and give myself an indefinite break for the stage.  Since then, I have spent most of my time thankful to not be in prep, and not be competing, but every once in awhile the urge would hit me again.  Usually it didn’t last long, a minute, a day, a week tops – I would consider it, then consider the diet, and remember I like food to much to deal with that again.  Sometimes the urge was stronger than others, and sometimes not so much… But lately, it is back, with a vengeance.

Does this mean I’m jumping on stage anytime soon? Honestly, I’m not sure… Prep is hard, for me at least – and I enjoy my life when I’m not dieting.  But, strangely enough, I enjoy my life when I AM dieting too.  I like having a goal, and the work that goes into reaching that goal.  I like seeing the body I’ve worked so hard to build over the years.  I like getting on stage and for a few short moments being the center of attention (which, if you know me, is usually NOT the case at all).  I also like not having to do cardio, like, at all - and being able to eat copious amounts of ice cream without really worrying much about it.  I like having some extra body fat (well, JOHN likes when I have extra body fat – I like that he likes it LOL), and truth be told – I want to have children someday – I know plenty of competitors that have been able to have children, but I know enough women that aren’t able as well – and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that.

I have been avoiding social media a lot lately, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking…  I thought maybe writing all this out on here would help me figure some of this out, BUT I think I may have made it harder on myself.  Someone asked me how many weeks out I am the other day – I told her none, but I think the correct answer should have been TBA.

Sorry for all the words (and lack of pictures) – that’s a blogging no-no, isn’t it?

Oh well – come back tomorrow for less words, and more pictures.