33 Weeks Out – Pain, Progress, and Art

I miss being able to write each week.  It’s just not possible right now.  I’m working 10-12 hours a day, need another couple hours to workout and get ready for work.  By the time I get home, I eat, pack food and gym bag for the next day, and spend a couple hours watching Netflix  or reading to unwind enough to be able to fall asleep.

The Pain

Lack of sleep is still a problem.   I need to get up at 3 am to get my workout in before getting to school by 6 am.  I’ve been averaging about 5 hours a night.  By Thursday, I’m pretty loopy.  Even though I feel like I’m recovering from the lifts, I’m having issues with my left knee.  Pain keeps moving around it, so I suspect that it is a recovery problem.  I’m also cutting weight and that doesn’t work as well when I’m not getting enough sleep.  The solution is to go to bed at 6 pm.  That’s going to be tough to do, but I am going to try.   We have Thanksgiving break this week, so I’m looking forward to a lot of sleep.

The knee is annoying.  I didn’t hurt it at the gym, as you might expect.  The pain started about a month after I started teaching at this new school.  I’m on my feet most of the day and my room is on the second floor.  I got a knee sleeve to wear at the gym and a brace to wear at work.  A couple weeks ago, I brought a stool to my room so I can get weight off that leg sometimes while teaching.  I’ve had to adjust exercises to avoid making it worse.  It’s not serious – tendinitis, but it’s healing slowly.  This week, I didn’t wear the brace every day because it felt better.  And then yesterday afternoon the pain came back.  Awesome.  I thought I was going to have problems doing squats today, but once I had the sleeve on, it was fine.  Squats and dead lifts went fine.  But seated leg curl hurt, so that didn’t happen.

Another source of pain – occlusion training.  I’m using it to bring up a lagging left hamstring and right quad.  Four times a week, I wrap up and do single leg extensions and seated leg curls with blood flow restriction.  Well, seated leg curls until today – they aggrevated the knee.  Instead, I did laying leg curls with one leg wrapped.   Occlusion training hurts.  Each time I do it, I have to visualize why I’m doing it to finish those sets.  And then it’s done.  The wraps come off and I feel good.  I like the results but it is uncomfortable.


The stress has taken a toll, too.  My husband is worried.  He told me the other morning that the new job has changed me.  I know what he means.  I haven’t felt like this in many years.  I do believe that most of this stress is “first year in a new school” stress.  Since they changed my teaching schedule, things have been getting easier.  Slowly.  I’m trying to make my workflow efficient like it used to be.  I knew the learning curve would be steep.  Until I can get organized and efficient, I need to work on my attitude about it.   Teaching is an important job, and it’s important to me to be a good teacher, but it has been interfering with my peace of mind.   And it’s not important enough to cause my husband to worry.

The Progress

Since the beginning of September, I’ve lost almost 6 pounds.  It’s coming off slow because my daily deficit is only 200-400 calories.   Weight zig zags up and down, but trends downward over time.  A few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty low.  Weight loss stalled and my mood was blue.  One day I decided to raise my calories to match my burn (the Bodybugg makes that possible without guessing).  The next day, I dropped a couple pounds.  I wouldn’t call it a “refeed” exactly, but I’ve been able to keep things progressing by having a day or two a week without a deficit.   Carbs are still over 200 g most days.  Gets up around 300 g on those days I eat at maintenance.  It’s important to me to keep those carbs as high as possible.

I have been able to follow the program given to me, which was designed by my coach using daily undulating periodization (DUP).  That means I’ve been progressing as planned without loss of strength during the cut – I think.  I test max lifts again in a couple weeks.  That will be telling.  Some of the workouts can get a bit long, so I need to split them up into a morning and afternoon session, or over two days if I can’t get back to the gym in the afternoon.  There have been a couple of weeks when an exercise or two just doesn’t happen, but considering how busy I am, I consider it a win that I’m getting it done almost every week.

The Art

This school year has been challenging.  The training keeps me grounded.  It helps me deal with the stress.  But I can’t lie – some of those early mornings have caused me to question my resolve – especially now that it’s colder and I’m scraping the windshield at 3:15 am.  Last weekend there was a big natural bodybuilding show in Boston.  I was glued to FB looking for pictures to be posted of the pro female bodybuilders.  I was in awe.  To me, they are living sculptures.  Every workout, every meal, every hour I sleep – it’s all part of my art.  The discipline, the consistency, the science – it’s how I create my sculpture from the inside out.  I’m as passionate about this as an artist is about the art they create.  Lately, I’ve noticed that when I think about the “show”, I don’t think about competition.  I think about presenting my work.  I think about the routine as if it was a dance recital.  And then I get excited.  I love being strong.  I want to be stronger.  But what gets my heart racing is the art in bodybuilding.


Lost 3.2 pounds. Might be wishful thinking, but I think it looks like more than 3 pounds. That works.


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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Life, Teaching

37 Weeks Out: Starting to Wonder if I Can Pull This Off

The blog is supposed to document my journey – but I’ve been too busy to write.  Or too tired to write.  Or too negative to write.

It’s a Saturday morning and there are about a half dozen things I should be doing right now.  But I need to document what’s been going on for two reasons.  First, this is my accountability – if you’re reading this YOU are my accountability.  That’s why I started this blog.  I wanted to do this thing publicly so I wouldn’t quit when it got hard.  It’s hard right now.  It would be fair to compare the difficulty now to the difficulty I had when I first started.  In the beginning, it was hard to find the time to get to the gym, to do the food prep, and to organize my work life so that I could find that time.  That’s exactly what’s happening again with my new job.

Second, next summer, I want to revisit the posts from this time so I remember what I had to do to get back on stage.

It feels like all the routines I had established to make this work have been blown to hell.  Food prep had to be changed.  Work schedule is different.  Hubby and I are sharing a car, so I work around that.  I had to join a different gym because it was closer and has 24 hour access, but it has some different equipment, so that has changed my program a bit.

At work, I’m still struggling to be time-efficient in an inefficient system*.  I’ve observed that many people who work there put in 10-12 hour days regularly.  So much so that it is the unspoken norm.  Well, I can’t do that.  I’ve been working 9 hour days and not keeping up.  The admin offered and followed through on changing my schedule so I teach 3 different classes instead of 4 – that happened this week and I can see how that’s going to help.  I’m trying to find workarounds.  Someone suggested I set up my quizzes online using a program that will grade them for me.  However, even though our school has four computer labs, none of them have enough machines for my largest class.  But we do have iPads that will work.  I reserved them two weeks ago, spent an hour to learn the program and set up the quiz, and yesterday morning when I went to pick up the iPads, they were locked in a room and no one around had the key. (Lesson learned – break the rule that says the carts have to be locked up in that room and get them the night before.)

*Most of what’s draining teachers right now comes from mandates from educational leaders who have never been teachers.  Oh, but I digress…

The reason I’m documenting this work stuff is that it is effecting my training in a significantly negative way.  I didn’t realize just how much until I looked at my lifting log yesterday morning.  It took me 11 days to complete a 7-day cycle of lifts.  WTF???  I shouldn’t have looked at that before work yesterday.  I was not a happy person.  I tried to ignore the bubbly new intern in the workroom yesterday, but she really felt the need to introduce herself to me.  But seriously, she’s just way too perky and bubbly anyway. She’s like a big piece of bubble wrap and it’s going to be an effort for me to not burst her bubbles, even on a good day.

The problem is that I haven’t had time in the mornings to finish my lifts because I need to be at work by 6 am this year, when I used to be able to arrive an hour later.   I can’t rely on having a planning period every day.  This building has a LOT of staff meetings.  I really can’t get up much earlier – I am getting up at 3 am now.   When I don’t get it all done, I go back the next morning to finish.  It should have worked, because I’m only supposed to lift 4 days a week and I thought that giving up the rest day between to do assistance work would be OK.  But then there was at least one or two nights a week I didn’t sleep well, so I didn’t lift well, or I didn’t lift at all because it felt a little unsafe on 3 hours of sleep. (Two evenings of parent conferences this past week.)

So it looks like I need to pay closer attention to what’s getting done and isn’t getting done.  I may have to do 2-a-day workouts on some days instead of waiting until the next morning.  I’m not excited about that.  I’m pretty drained at the end of the day after being on my feet all day.  8th graders require more energy to teach than 12th graders.  I’m wearing a knee brace now because I’ve developed tendinitis in my left knee from standing most of the day.

So many variables.  I can’t lie – there are days I feel like giving up.  But it takes less than a half second to remember what happened to me when I let my “obligations” control my life.  No.  That’s not happening again.  My mood yesterday morning when I realized how much the job has screwed up my training is how I would feel all the time.  No.  Not going there.

Something practical…

I also have pain from a bit of bicep tendinitis in my left arm.   Developed it over the last couple months.  I only feel it while pressing. The angle from decline pressing isn’t as painful, so I benched using a decline bench the other day.  I adjusted it to be as close to flat as possible.  It worked OK because the weight was light.  I didn’t like not being able to use my feet to stabilize.



Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Life, Teaching

Tahoe – A Walk Among Trees

Lake Tahoe is less than an hour’s drive from our house.  Today, we headed up there hoping to see some fall colors.  I wanted to hike to Chickadee Ridge to feed the birds.  We’ve done it before during the winter.  It didn’t really work so well today – birds aren’t as hungry right now, I guess.

We didn’t hike far – just a couple miles.  Hubby had knee surgery last February.  I didn’t mention it, but my left knee has been hurting, too.  We took it easy and took a lot of pictures.  Hubby is a professional photographer, but I just snapped some with my phone to share with you.


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40 Weeks Out: It’s Fall Break!!!

I haven’t had time to write.  Our school district is on fall break now, so I have time to catch my breath, catch up on sleep, and document what’s been going on.  To be honest, I haven’t wanted to write, either.  I haven’t felt like sharing.  Most people are encouraging and supportive, and I’m grateful for that.  I could use it right now.  But sometimes, thoughtless and rude things are said.  I’m getting up at 3 am to get the lifts in, I don’t have weekend afternoons to do food prep anymore, and laundry is barely getting done.  So I just don’t have the time to even think about social media drama when undies get bunched about my life as a bodybuilder.

In my last post, “A Snapshot of My Day“, I described what a typical day looks like.  Hubby is worried – he knows what happens when I have too much stress for too long.  So I promised to make some changes and I did.  My days are still long, but I’ve done a pretty good job of not working past 3 pm during the week so I can be headed towards bed by 7 pm.   About two nights a week, I’m waking up too soon (between 1:30 -2 am) and not falling back to sleep.  That makes for a rough day, but I usually sleep very soundly the next night.  I spend one weekend day doing chores, working out, and food shopping.  The other day also has a lift, but then it’s all grading and lesson planning.    Cooking is happening every day, or every other day now, instead of on Sunday afternoons.  I’m trying to not worry about how this stress and sleep pattern is mucking up my hormones because worrying about it doesn’t help me control it at all.

Lifting has been going according to plan most of the time.   I skipped dead lifts one morning just because I didn’t have enough sleep, low back was already sore, and it seemed like a stupid idea to do deads that morning.  I intended to do them the next day, but something came up.  Hubby and I are sharing a car, so every day things need to be choreographed.  It’s working pretty well.  Getting the lifts done super early helps.

For Thursday’s dead lifts, I used a sumo stance again.  I haven’t used that stance for about six months because it felt very wobbly.  I felt stronger, but also noticed I wasn’t pulling evenly.  Looked at the video in slow motion and found the problem – I’m straightening my right leg sooner than my left.  Went back and looked at old video of my conventional dead lifts and saw it then, too.  I spent a few minutes researching it online and never saw anything referring to that form issue.  So I guess this is my next problem to fix.  Glad I found it.  Might explain the pain I get in my right low back and it might be a muscle imbalance from the pulled hip flexor a few years ago.  It could also be caused by the scoliosis – one leg is longer than the other.  A friend suggested I try a lift on the short leg.


Tried the sumo stance again yesterday.  You’ll see the near disaster as it occurred in this video:

I’ve been on a very slow cut for the last month.  Sleep determines how well that works.  It looked like progressed stalled, but I knew that wasn’t the case – I just needed sleep.  The last two nights I’ve gotten a decent amount of sleep (7.5 and 8 hours), so the scale responded.  I’ve lost about 2 pounds in a month with a small calorie deficit and about one additional cardio a week.  No, that’s not fast enough.  But considering the amount of stress I’ve been working under the last month, I’m grateful for it.

Did I mention that work has been unbelievably stressful?   The amount of energy on my part to teach 8th graders is crazy high.  I’m on my feet all day.  I have great kids, but there are thirty 13-year-olds in a room at a time, some with typical behaviors. (I’m completely fascinated boys and with their sociology regarding pencils.  They either don’t have one, someone took theirs and they are arguing about it, or they broke it.  So much pencil drama.  It’s fascinating.)  Lesson plans have to be tight.  There is no winging-it.  I teach 5 periods a day, but 4 different levels of math.  Trying to prepare 20 engaging, activity-based lessons a week for new classes in a new school, well, it’s been a challenge. (Most of my colleagues only have to prep 5, but not more than 10 lessons a week.  Not sure why anyone thought the new teacher would be able to handle this schedule.)  Every minute of my day has been about prepping the next class.  Then, toss in grading… lots of stress related to finding time to get this all done.

I’m not working too late, but if my lessons aren’t ready for the next day, I don’t sleep well.  I’ve been told that a change to my schedule will be made after break to reduce the number of different classes I teach from 4 to 3, but we’ll see.  This same change was proposed to me the first week of school, but it didn’t happen.  Principal said it’s a go.  I’ll wait and see.

Well, that’s where I’m at.  Pushing through.  I’m really looking forward to this week off when I can get some rest, time at home, some time in nature, and some lifting in daylight.



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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Cortisol, Life, My Lifting Log, Teaching, Videos

A Snapshot of My Day Everyday

I love being a teacher.  It’s a calling more than a job.   I like the people I’m working with.  I adore my students.  I don’t mean for this post to come off as a rant, but it might read that way in some spots.  This is an outline of my normal day everyday.  This is important because this schedule is having an significant impact on my bodybuilding program.  Training and food prep have had to change because of this schedule.

Our school has six class periods every day.  Most of us teach five periods, with one period free to plan, grade, have meetings, whatever needs to be done.  Out of those five periods I teach, only two are the same lesson, so  I need four different lessons ready for each day.  (Most teachers in my building only need two lessons ready each day.)  Because I’m new, I’m not able to work efficiently yet.  I’ve never taught these classes, so there are no previous lessons to use – everything is made from scratch.

Here is a rough sketch of what my day looks like on days there aren’t staff meetings…

3 am  First alarm goes off

3:15 am  Second alarm goes off and I get up.  Get dressed, feed the dogs, pack my lunch, grab a pre-workout snack (usually sweet potatoes), grab some coffee

3:35 am  Leave for gym

3:45 am  Start warm up and lift (yeah, new gym is very close to home)

5:15 am  Lift and cool down finished, hit the showers and get ready for work

5:45 am  Arrive at work

5:45 – 7:15am   Prepare for 1st, 3rd, and 4th periods.  This usually includes fighting with copy machines, finding someone to open the locked door where they keep the paper for the copy machines, stapling, hole punching, eating a little breakfast while moving

7:20-8:30am  Greet kids and teach the first class.  Teaching = never sitting.  Always moving. All of my classes need a lot of proximity management to stay on task.  I think that is age-appropriate.  They are 13 years old.  Can’t expect much frontal cortex activity at that age.  (Without cardio, my daily steps have increased by about 5000.  I haven’t even been riding my bike for a few weeks.  It’s too dark and takes too much time I don’t have.)

8:35-9:25am  2nd period is my planning period where I prepare for 5th period and 6th periods, if we aren’t having a meeting.  Try to plan ahead for tomorrow’s classes, too,  if I have time.  It seems like there is plenty of time, but the school doesn’t run efficiently so simple things take more time.  For example, many teachers don’t have printers in their rooms.  Things have to be sent to a network printer in the teachers’ workroom in the library.  I am lucky – my classroom is actually pretty close to the library.  So to print a piece of paper, I send it over the network, walk down to the workroom, pick up the paper off the printer, and then head back to my classroom. The entire trip from my desk to the printer and back to my desk is about 150 steps, through a total of six doors, two of which I need to unlock.  It’s nuts!  So inefficient!  They will look the other way if I bring in my own printer, but they won’t pay for the ink.  So goes the life of a teacher.  The more degrees and experience I have – well, that means nothing.

9:30-11:30am  Teach = walking

11:30am-12:00pm  Lunch, which is usually spent doing more lesson planning if I didn’t finish getting ready for the last two classes of the day.  I spend a lot of time trying to create activities while working around limitations.  Like how I have a class set of small white boards, but the school won’t provide dry erase markers.  Makes that useless to me until I buy my own.  Ugh.

12:00-2:00pm  Teach = MORE walking

2:00-2:15pm  Hall duty

2:15-3:00pm  Read email, clean up, gather up grading, and head home.  If there is a parent conference, departure is delayed.  I’m pretty slow moving by this point in the day.

3:15-6:00pm Grade papers, eat (a lot), watch Netflix to quiet down the brain.  I don’t eat much at work because I don’t haul a lot in.  I don’t haul a lot in because I’m not allowed to have a refrigerator in my room.  There is one in the building I can use, but t’s in the break room on the opposite side of the school.  I’ve seen it once before school started.  Never have time to go down there.

6:00-7:00pm  Try to relax and visit with hubby, but I’ve also got to prep food for the next day. Oh yeah – that includes making coffee. I have to bring a thermos of coffee each day. I was given permission to have a small microwave in my room. Didn’t ask for the coffee maker. I just heat a cup at a time.

7:00 pm  Begin bedtime routine…maybe.  It’s really hard for me to unwind and get sleepy this early.  The amount of sleep I’m getting every day isn’t consistent.  Varies between 4 to 6 hours.  Sometimes less, sometimes more.  Yes – I said less.  There have been a couple of 3-hour ‘naps’.  I know this isn’t good, but it happens.  I don’t let it happen for two nights in a row, though.   This is temporary, too.  I should be through the worst of this “new school” trauma by mid-October. <fingers crossed>

Some might consider postponing competition under these circumstances, but I won’t.  This is just my job.  My training and personal goals will help me survive it.  Over time, I’ll find ways to be efficient with my time as I learn how to exist in this new place.  I’ve been at this a long time.  The expectations teachers have of themselves and each other is that people will work as many hours as it takes to get the job done.  Administrators aren’t allowed to express it because of our contracts, but they have the same expectation.  And that’s how most teachers and administrators do the job.  I don’t have that expectation anymore because after almost killing myself to meet it, I finally realized this truth: THE JOB IS NEVER DONE.  It doesn’t matter how “caught up” you are, there is always more to do.  Being unhealthy, burning out, or dying sooner than you should won’t make you a better teacher.  Those I’ve worked with personally know I’m not exaggerating.  We’ve lost too many.

Setting boundaries is crucial.  I’m making sure I take one day off from the teaching gig a week.  A girl has to do laundry, food prep, and workout, right?  Once every few weeks, I get my nails done.  Maybe even get my hairs  colored. (It’s a salon day today and both will happen!) I gave up the massages, and I’m starting to think they need to come back.  I’m putting in about 60-70 hours a week with the teaching gig – which is what I used to do when I was unhealthy. But again – it’s temporary.  I’m allowing myself to work extra hours right now because I’m new.  If, at the end of this year, I determine that I cannot do the job more efficiently next year, I’ll get it fixed.

I’ve had to lower my expectations of myself during this crazy time.  I never did get a syllabus made and sent home.  I’m not giving up on it, might do it for second quarter, but probably won’t until second semester.  And that’s OK.  I’m learning everyday about how I want to do middle school.   There are some things about being a high school teacher I’m changing, but some things I’m not.

“No, you may not borrow a pencil.  I don’t do that.”

Pretty harsh for a 13 year old, but they will adapt.  Life is hard.  There are expectations. You need to bring your own pencil.


Filed under Life, Teaching

45 Weeks Out – 3 Day Weekend! And “When Do I Start My Cut, Coach?”

Labor Day!  One of the most loved holidays by American teachers who’s school year starts before Sept 1.  That’s the weekend you get the extra rest you need after most energy is drained managing the chaos that is called “back-to-school”.  I’ve heard teachers talk about opening a year and comparing it other years just like the elders back in my home state of Minnesota talk about the “great blizzard of 19-whatever”.  Opening a school year is always hard.  I expected it to be harder for me, personally, just because this time around many things are new to me,  and it has met, if not exceeded, my expectations for difficulty.

So I’m chillaxin at least a day this weekend and blogging.  If you look closely, you can see the “L” key on my laptop has broken off.  I use “L” a lot – Love, Lift, Live…  Luckily, it still works.  Just a little awkward.

Joining the gym closer to my house was a smart move.   I’m not in love with the equipment (a bar weighed 40lbs, not the standard 45 lbs – glad I checked), but the gym’s location and  24-hr access make my life work better.  I’m able to get started earlier in the morning so I can actually finish my planned workout and have time to warm up, cool down, and shower before I want to arrive at school at 6 am.  I need to workout uber-early anyway.  I’m deadlifting at least twice a week now (YAY!!!!!!!) and this is one of those gyms that has a posted rule about loud noises.  It’s all good.  The eccentric part of my deads is a little harder now that I’m trying to be as quiet as possible.

I started the week wrong.  The plan was to get a lift done first thing Monday morning.   Alarm was set for 3 am.  A second one for 3:15 am.  Slept through both.  I woke up with the sun at 6:15, so I still had enough time to throw on clothes, grab food, and get to work with enough time to prepare for first period at 7:30.  Didn’t throw off more than that one day.

Sleep is OK.  I’m averaging about 6 hours a night, which is normal.  Not great, but if I have to get up at 3 am to make this all work, I’m grateful for 6 hours.  That’s the minimum I can do and feel human.  My goal for this 3-day weekend is an accumulated 24+ hours of sleep.  I treat sleep like some people treat cardio.  I have to – it’s my main strategy for controlling cortisol.  When I get enough sleep, I will drop water weight, too.  Two days in and I’m on track.  Check out  THESE numbers, baby.  BOOM!  Type-A-Overachiever Status!!!  It was a little tough this morning when I woke up early, but I put my head down and grinded out another TWO HOURS!

At the gym, things are moving along as they are supposed to now that I’m feeling better.  The program I was given a the beginning of August is unlike anything I’ve done before.  Since I’m working with a coach, I can’t divulge details, but it’s a daily undulating periodization program.  The exercises don’t vary, but the number of sets, reps, and loads do change from workout to workout.  Some days I’m training for hypertrophy, other days for strength.  I haven’t done a traditional bodybuilder body part split for months.  I like it!  Yesterday was the first time I did “singles” – many sets of 1 rep.  That was weird and fun.  And I’m deadlifting and squatting 2-3 times a week.  Sweet!  But squats are that exercise I don’t do well technically – which is why I’ve been doing overhead squats as a warm up for months.  My squats are still not great and not heavy, but they feel more solid.  Let’s check video…

This video was from last November.  (Advance it to 1:08 to see a similar weight on the bar.)

This video was recorded yesterday…


As of yesterday, I am 45 weeks out from my next competition.  Could be 41 weeks if I decide to do another local show instead.  I think I have about 25 pounds to lose and I’m anxious to get started.  Probably more anxious than my coach. The directive from our last Skype session when we went over my latest DEXA results and this new program was “stay the course”.   I am anxious to do a mini-cut, though.  My clothes are getting tight and I’m uncomfortable.  I’ve gained about 7 pounds since last November – that’s pretty decent for an “off-season”, I guess.  And I’m burning more and eating more.  Carb intake is up from an average of 160 grams per day last November to 270 grams a day now.   Some days I’m up around 320 grams.  But I want to lose weight as  s    l    o    w   l   y   as possible.   Starting soon would be awesome.  I think I need to start my prep at 40 weeks and will need to be convinced otherwise.

Competing is what keeps me motivated, but it’s not the end-all-be-all.  Living this way is how I stay balanced.  I need this to keep from losing myself trying to meet expectations of others.  Especially now that I’m working in a building where I have observed that the unspoken expectation is that teachers will work 10-12 hours a day.  At each staff meeting, there is a “thank you” ceremony for someone who has “gone above and beyond”  (which is secret code for “volunteered to work more than the 7.5 hours a day we are paid” – most of us do, but I’ve managed to cut my hours down from 70 a week to 40-45 a week, until now).  The rewards have included candy.   It’s an unhealthy expectation/reward combo.  I’m a bit flexible with my diet, sure, but because I train how I train, I can be flexible right now.  Not sure if/when I’m going to point out that they are rewarding stress with sugar.  I can see the effects of long term stress in my new colleagues.  Long term elevated cortisol will change how the body stores fat.   I’m not judging – I’m worried for them.  So much younger than me and on the same path I was on.  So, do I say anything?  Maybe, but it usually doesn’t work.   Rather just do my thing and let people ask when they are ready to know.   But this is why I need to re-establish my boundaries and stick with the program.  I’m surrounded by new people who didn’t know me before.  A few have seen my pics, but they didn’t watch me do it.  They have no idea and aren’t going to be as supportive as my friends at my old school.

These boundaries ultimately have made me a better wife and teacher.  This recharges me.  This prepares me to handle the stress each day.  Always working toward a goal helps me keep the day in perspective.  It makes me happy.



Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Cortisol, Life, My Lifting Log, Teaching, Videos

46 Weeks Out: Surviving Middle School…Barely

Please excuse typos – I’m writing fast because I have no time to be writing at all.  

First two weeks of teaching done and they were rough.  I have five classes each day and four of them are different preps.  This is a harder teaching assignment than what I was told about last spring.  I’ve been putting in 10-11 hour days six days a week.  I’m taking a break from lesson planning on this Sunday morning to write this update.  I don’t want the blog to fall too far behind.  It’s my journal and it looks like this year is going to be a roller coaster.

I worked through a cold last week that took my voice on Thursday and Friday.  Luckily, our rooms have “audio enhancement” so I could whisper into this mic and still teach.  I’m frustrated.  I’ve cried a bit.  But I’m learning.  The kids are great and the staff is supportive.  I’m slowly adjusting to having all my daily routines changed.  This school has a LOT of staff meetings – so prep periods and after school time isn’t always an option, so I’ve been arriving at 6 am to have four different classes ready to go by 7:30.  Last year, I had first period planning period, so I could arrive at 7 am and be ready by my first class at 8:30.

The new job has made training a challenge.  I live about 20 minutes away from my gym, which wasn’t too much of an issue when I worked at my old high school because it was on the way.  But my new school is only 4 minutes from home by car.  The gym doesn’t open until 4 am, I now have an extra 40 minutes of travel time, and the workout with a longer warm-up, made it really hard to get to work by 6 am.  I’ve been able to lift on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Problem is that I’m on a 4-day split right now.  It has taken me almost three weeks to get through two week’s worth of lifts.  That’s no good.  There is an Anytime Fitness about 5 miles from home, so I joined my third gym a couple days ago.  Not only is it closer, I don’t have to work around gym hours.  Hubby and I are sharing a car and he needed it today, so this morning, I got my lift done and was home an hour before my regular gym opens on the weekend.  (I have one of those rare uber-cheap lifetime memberships to 24 Hour Fitness, too.  But because their clubs here are way across town, I don’t go there much.)

Good news is that I’m burning calories like crazy, so I’m not too stressed about eating more to keep up my energy.  Even on days I don’t workout or bike to work, if I’m teaching, my daily burn is around 2700.  That’s about 500 calories more a day than it was on a non-workout day at my old school.  I suppose my body will acclimate to middle schoolers and start to be more calorie efficient at some point. Hope not.  When it’s time to cut, it will be just that much easier.


I wear this mic around my neck and there are speakers in the ceiling of my room. I love it.


Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Life, Teaching