Improvement Season Update and a New Business Introduction!

Long time, no see!  Sorry I’ve been quiet here on this blog.  Life has a lot of things happening right now.  I’m busier than I was during my competition season last summer and fall.

Improvement Season Update

Physically, I’m doing great.  I’m back to a healthy body weight.  Actually gained more than I intended.  The plan was 15 pounds.  But I didn’t feel “normal” again until I was up by 25.  And then I gained another 5.  My scale weight is fluctuating around 155 pounds now.  I’m working to maintain it there.

This scale weight, for this improvement season,  feels drastically different than it did at this point after my 2015 season.

Upper body lifts in the gym have been productive.  Eight weeks ago I tested my bench press.  Eight weeks ago I was still recovering from a long contest prep, so I didn’t expect much, but the calculated 1RM was still about what it’s always been – around 125.

By “always” I mean exactly that.  I remember a time when it jumped up to 128 and I was impressed by how many YEARS it took to go up 3 lbs.

Tested it this week again.  After 8 weeks, my calculated 1RM was 146.  Up 20 lbs in 2 months????

Yup.  Something is different.

I’m not super thrilled with extra body fat, but that’s how my body works.  When I’m anabolic, I grow.  I grow everything – not just muscle.  All tissues needed to recover.   Joints feel good, too.

There is that social pressure though, right?  I’m not immune.  No matter what anyone thinks, my reality is that I’m a bodybuilder, not a fitness model.   And it feels like I’m back under construction in a big way!!!  Yay!!

 

But can we just pause for a second and reflect on that bench.  A 20-pound increase in bench press in 2 months??  Who does that?  Hahahaha!

 

The Birthday I’ve Waited For

This Wednesday, February 14th, will be my 56th birthday.  This is the weird one.  My mother died when she was 56.  It’s going to be difficult come November when her death anniversary gets closer.  I think I better plan to do something epic for the day after that.  When I turned 50, I pulled a truck.

What to do?  What’s an appropriate physical challenge for outliving some superstitious date on the calendar?

 

Private Practice

The main reason I’ve been slacking on my blogging duties is because I’ve been working every spare minute on my new business – private, online teaching/tutoring.

I am retiring early from teaching after this school year.  It’s time to go for a lot of reasons – none of which have anything to do with a loss of passion for teaching.  It still feels like that’s my calling.  I enjoy teaching math to teenagers and not many people do.

However, being a government employee was never my calling.  That was what I needed to be if I wanted to be a teacher.

Times have changed.  Technology has advanced.  I can now go into private practice.  The plan is to retire next summer and begin working with students privately online.

I can only work with a few online students now because I’m still working full time and training.  Next August, private practice will be my full time passion-project.  That’s exciting!

The current task has been to create an online presence that reflects my real life experience.  That’s what I’ve been working on these last few months.

<Shameless cross-promotional marketing in 3…2…1…>

I would appreciate it if you would take a look at what I’ve created and give me any feedback you have…

www.onlinegeometrytutor.com

My new blog is www.onlinegeometrytutor.wordpress.com

My YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages are all called Online Geometry Tutor, too.

File Nov 18, 5 48 39 PMPinterest screenshot

Oh my.  It seems like a lot when I list it all in one spot.

It’s been a feat to create content that I can use in all these places.  That’s why, if you’re following on the LMS page, you’ve seen some of the Online Geometry Tutor inspirational quotes popping up.  I’ve got to multi-task!

I do need your help if you’re willing.

If I was your math teacher, or the teacher of your child, I would appreciate it if you would drop by the Facebook page and review with a star rating.  If you would be willing to write a review of what it was like to work with me, that would be helpful to parents who visit the page looking to find out more about me as a teacher.

Following and sharing pages and/or posts would also help parents find me.

My latest video…

 

My business plan is to start with the online teaching first, then launch something with fitness.   I’m still not sure what that is going to be, but I want to offer something that supports people with their own health transformation, but isn’t exactly the same as what other online coaches offer.  As soon as I know what that’s going to be, you’ll know.

There is also that book I’ve been asked to write…that’s been on the back burner until I “retire”.  Ha!  Doesn’t sound like retirement, does it?

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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: “How Did You Do?”

It has been three weeks since the last show of this competition season.  The last show was on Saturday, October 15th, and I was back into teacher mode on Monday morning.

Another HUGE life change is in the works, so I’ve taken time to reflect before I wrote this post.  I also wanted to wait until I got the “official” show photographer’s pictures so I could do comparisons from stage to stage.

First…

THANK YOU Colin DeWaay Training !!!

Your sponsorship for this last show made it possible!!   As you read through this, you’ve got to know it was the most amazing experience I’ve had in bodybuilding to date.  I believe that it was blessed from the start because of your generosity.

THANK YOU!! Alberto Nunez, The Patient

You are a Scary-Smart Program Writer and Peak-Week-Whisperer.  We did good.  I’m excited for 2019.

 

“So how did you do?” is the logical question, right?  And then I see the look of disappointment in their eyes when I tell them my placing -third out of 3 in Class B, my string of last place finishes in my class continues, but this was my best presentation to date and it is ok because that’s a fair placing. And then a look of dubious agreement as I explained that this sport is about personal progression, yada, yada, yada…

Honestly, it’s better than OK.  Something finally clicked after the July show when I got last place for bodybuilding in a line created by the promoter with me and three figure pros.

I spent two years mustering the courage to get back on that stage to be judged even after I was told I would never be competitive.  2017 was all about proving to myself that I’m capable of standing back up and taking hits.  Period.  It’s not about bodybuilding or how I look – it’s bigger than that.

Hindsight is 20/20, right?  My physical transformation was a side effect of the real work I’ve been doing.  I’ve used bodybuilding – the training, the disciplined nutrition, the stage experiences – to slowly learn to face fears that crippled me before.

The mental game I needed to change myself physically has built a growth mindset about everything else, too.  2015 knocked me on my ass and gave my inner self-doubt plenty of material to use against me.

But now I know 2015 wasn’t supposed to be a disappointment – it was the next lesson.  Had that not happened, I would not have done the research, the crying, the soul-searching I needed to break through some old-thinking to become a better teacher, to be a more supportive and encouraging wife, and do to get ready for the next big, scary life change I’ll tell you about at the end of this post.

Every time we face a fear and act anyway, we get stronger.

What you see here is only the physical transformation.  Too many people get too hung-up on this part.  What  you can’t see is the most important part.  It’s the grit.  I thought I had grit before – I had no idea.  No.  Idea.

Every obstacle gets steeper.  Every obstacle navigated makes us stronger.

As I write this, I’m thinking about a young woman walking into the gym, knowing she has to loose hundreds of pounds, feeling that people are going to judge her, but she shows up anyway.  Or the grit it takes to finish those damn burpees!

I’m telling you that it isn’t our obstacles that stop us – it’s what we think about our obstacles that stops us.

So I’ve learned that if there is something that needs to be done, something inspired, something big and scary, don’t think.  Just act. Now I have the confidence to know that I can figure out the details as I go.  I CAN make it work.

I went into the July 2017 show in my best physical condition to date, was the only “bodybuilder” who registered for that show with the intention of competing as a bodybuilder, and I still came away with a last place finish.   But that’s just their record keeping.

My personal victory was getting back up there and putting the ribbon and bow on the big “Not-One-Fuck-Is-Given-Present” I needed to deliver to the nay-sayers.  This.  Is.  My.  Sport.  I will continue to get up, dust off, suit-up and show-up.

Anyone who feels compelled to clue me in on why I’ll never be competitive as a bodybuilder, needs to (appropriately) direct those comments to a mirror.  I’d rather keep placing last than quit. 

(If it’s negative me talking to real-life me – well, shut up and get in the back seat.  You’re not driving.)

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” ~ Winston Churchill

I went into the October 2017 expecting to not place well because I knew I’d be in a line with athletes with more muscle, so the plan was to have as much fun as possible.  That show turned out to be the most enjoyable one to date!  It was an amazing experience!

 

My friend and teammate, Denise, did this show together, which was a first for me and made it memorable.  Her daughter did my makeup and that made it special, too.

Denise was in Class A and I was in Class B, but when they lined us up, we were next to each other.  We weren’t competing directly, so we just got to go out and have fun!  So awesome!!

I’ve been told by other competitors that it’s the camaraderie that hooks them and what they enjoy most about competing, but it wasn’t until this 5th show when I got to experience that first hand.

I was so tired after this show, I asked Hubby if we could just go home.  I showered off the top layer of tan, made myself a lovely grilled cheese sammich, had an adult-beverage, and hit the hay.  The next morning – our first visit ever to the Cheesecake Factory!!  Oh yeah.  That was pretty damn special.

It’s been a blessed competition season!  My friend Michelle flew out to support me in July and  Denise was next to me on stage in this last show.  And then a fabulous meal with my guy!!  It was a perfect way to end my two-year intense self-reflective period – a total celebration!!

I made a point to meet and get to know the other two women in our division before pre-judging.  We were all friends on Facebook by the time the night show rolled around.  We cheered for each other off stage during our individual routines.  We celebrated back stage afterwards by sharing a bag of caramel M & Ms (Thanks Michelle for introducing THAT awesomeness into my life!  Paying it foward…)

The three women  to my right have inspiring stories about how they got to this place and it was humbling to hear them talk about their challenges and blessings.  So yeah, I had fun, met some amazing women, and I think we will be friends for a long time.  And I placed last.  But this medal was not a generic, plastic trophy.  This one is special.  This is now my favorite last place ever!!!

So How DID I Do?  Really?

Ok – now the nitty gritty.  I was a couple pounds heavier in the October show than in the July show.  My peak week was different this time, too.  My coach, Alberto Nunez (3DMuscleJourney) doesn’t change things up, but for the October peak, my body wasn’t filling out.  I’d send video each morning and then he would increase my carbs each day – by a lot.  Doubled, usually.  Highest day approached 300 grams.

As a result, we both think I looked sharper in October over July in the videos, but I don’t think I see that in the photos.  The extra scale weight could be accounted for by muscle fullness, which would make the definition appear sharper.

Once I got the pictures, I think the lower body in the back was the only part that truly improved.  Or it could be the difference in the poses between bodybuilding and physique.  I’m going to just drop a bunch of pictures in here and let them speak for themselves.

Pre-Judging Pictures: Women’s Physique, Class B

 

 

Shots From Routine at Night Show

 

July 2017 Stage vs. October 2017 Stage

Another Big, Scary Adventure

This is me after I dropped off the paperwork requesting an early retirement from teaching.  It included a letter of resignation effective at the end of this school year.

Not retiring from working – quite the opposite.  Because of bodybuilding, because of the 2015-2017 lesson, I’m brave enough now to believe I can teach on my own terms.  I want to teach math in a way I know is effective and helps kids.

When I’ve told a few people I’m ‘retiring’, they say “Congratulations“, which I know is the appropriate response, but honestly, I feel like I’m losing something.   I love teaching math and I’m good at it.  It’s been my calling more so than my job.

I feel like I’m doing my best work now and I honestly thought I had a few more years left in my tank.  But lately, it’s been obvious that changes made in education have hurt kids.  It’s been bothering me too much that I’m part of it.

I stayed because I also know teachers can stave off some of that damage.

But something happened that crossed a line for me, personally.  It’s not necessary to get into it.  It’s sufficient to say that it was the “push” I needed to at least research my options.

If  stepping into a gym to ask for help was scary, stepping onto a stage was scary – this tops everything!  After 22 years as a government employee, I’m leaving early, so the retirement benefit will only half of my monthly income now.  Health insurance isn’t paid for retirees in my state anymore, either. I’ve analyzed and over-thunk the crap out of this since last spring when the last straw fell onto my back.

And then the 2017 competition season happened.   

I didn’t die. 

So I stopped thinking and acted.  I will make this work.  When I get worried, I flip my script and stay focused on the  exciting opportunity ahead that is pulling me out.

I’m going to be an entrepreneur!!! $$$$

I’ve been working with a business mentor to start my own business as an online math coach/tutor specializing in closing learning gaps in that keep kids from being successful in geometry.

If the negative stuff was the “push”, this is the “pull”  I’m excited!

There will also be something similar happening with fitness online, but I’m still working out exactly what my niche will be in that world.

If you’re reading this now, you will be one of the first to know about that when I’m ready.  My LMS peeps have been with me for years, so it’s important to me to tell you about it first, and if turns out to be something helpful, you will get first dibs.

The plan is to have both sides of this online business ready for a “soft-opening” in January 2018.  Assuming the school board approves my request to leave, and assuming nothing else happens to change my plans, my last day as a public school teacher will be July 31, 2018.  Whatever the next thing is going to be, it needs to be fully functional by August.

Wish me luck!!  And as always – thank you for your encouragement and support!

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Contest Prep, Teaching

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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Guest Blogger Colin DeWaay: How to Use “Bad” Foods to (Finally) Reach Your Goals

Sure you can lose weight eating ice cream every day, but it’s not healthy.” This is probably the number one argument I hear from people who promote a strictly “clean eating” approach to dieting when I talk about flexible dieting or specifically my diet. I’m dead serious when I say there’s barely a day that goes by where I don’t eat ice cream (and before bed too, gasp.) So while physically it looks like I’m in pretty good shape, I guess I’m unhealthy (my health markers would say otherwise, for the record.)

Hey I get it, I used to be a clean eater too. I think the majority of people who start out do the same thing. After all we’re told all the time to avoid junk food and eat more veggies right? Besides, it’s certainly good and I encourage a large portion of anyone’s diet to by nutrient dense and whole foods. They’ll typically have more vitamins/minerals and be more satiating, not to mention have a higher thermic effect of food. But does that mean eating ice cream, pizza, cookies or a glass of wine in any amount is automatically unhealthy?

I’ll say this much… Foods like junk food, fast food, sugary snacks, etc. are void of micronutrients and aren’t very filling so they can be easy to overeat, but does that mean they’re unhealthy? Well I believe that requires some context. I truly believe no food, on it’s own, is unhealthy. Say for instance a person is literally starving to death. If they’re offered a pizza should they turn it down because it’s “not healthy?” Of course not, in fact those calories would be VERY healthy to them. Calories are a good thing, they give us energy and make us function. It’s when we go too far in one direction where it becomes a problem.

But what about someone who eats a balanced diet, is health conscious and exercises regularly? Is incorporating a little ice cream into their diet daily really unhealthy? Is any amount of “bad” food ALWAYS bad? After all the argument here is that eating certain foods is always unhealthy no matter what, right? Well research doesn’t exactly support that argument…

Let’s take a closer look at sugar. EVERYONE can agree sugar is bad right? In fact I’ve literally had people tell me sugar was “the devil” (not joking.) Well again, this requires context. Again, yes sugar is easy to over eat and void of nutrients. My precious ice cream certainly has sugar in it, so am I unhealthy? Well there was a study published in 1997 that looked at the effect of sugar in a diet when protein, carbs and fat were matched. (1) In one group sugar made up 4% of their calories and in the other group 43% of calories came from sugar. That was the difference of about 11 grams of sugar per day and 118! Guess what? At the end of the study both groups lost the same amount of weight, both showed decreases in depression, hunger, negative mood and increases in vigilance and positive mood. But remember, the argument is that you can lose weight, but it’s not healthy. Well both groups also saw the same improvements in blood pressure, blood glucose, thyroid hormones and markers of inflammation with the only difference between a slight advantage to the low sugar group (less than a 10% difference) in cholesterol and blood lips. Which I’d make the argument it was because fiber was not matched. There are also other studies that looked at the difference between complex and simple carbs (often looked at as “good” or “bad” carbs) where they found no difference in weight loss or blood lipids. (2,3,4)

Besides research showing positive results despite the actual types of foods eaten, there are number anecdotal subjects who went through extreme measures to prove no foods were bad so long as you ate below maintenance. Remember the documentary “Supersize Me?” The guy ate nothing but McDonald’s, didn’t control calories at all, stopped exercising and gained a bunch of weight. (Duh) The whole world screamed for McDonald’s to be shut down because it’s making the world fat. Well a guy by the name of John Cisna didn’t agree and set out to prove them wrong. He spent 6 months eating NOTHING but McDonald’s. Following a 2,000 calorie diet he ended up losing 56 lbs, saw his cholesterol drop from 249 to 190 and by the end of it all he had normal sodium and blood pressure levels.

Or how about Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition, who spent 2 months on what he called the “Twinkie Diet” eating two thirds of his food from things like Twinkies, Oreos, Little Debbie snacks and sugary cereals? He lost 27 lbs, his LDL (“bad cholesterol”) dropped by 20% and his HDL (“good cholesterol”) increased by 20% while seeing his triglycerides drop by 39%.

Then there is a man who runs a YouTube channel called “Abs & Ice Cream” who recently spent 100 days eating 2000 calories worth of ice cream… (Plus about 500 calories from whey protein.) Every. Single. Day. When I heard about this, you better believe I was paying attention. Guess what? He lost 32 lbs, his triglycerides dropped 25 points, HDL went up 17 points, LDL went down 6 points, and they rated his overall cardiac risk factors and it went from 2.3 to 1.6. Eating 2,000 calories of ice cream every day! But yeah my one bowl is unhealthy…

But I digress.

What does all this tell us? Well we should go out and eat whatever the hell we want and just control calories! Okay no, that’s not what I’m saying at all. But it does show that you CAN eat foods most deem as “unhealthy” and still be healthy. Furthermore I think it CLEARLY shows that how much bodyfat you store is a much bigger health factor than the actual foods you eat. Again, I still think a major portion of your diet should be from nutritious foods, but at that doesn’t mean you need to, or even should avoid certain foods because you think they’re bad. We always have to remember weight loss isn’t just a physical thing, the psychological side of things is not only just as important, but in my opinion MORE important.

It doesn’t matter how “optimal” a diet is if you can’t stick to it.

It doesn’t matter how “optimal” a diet is if you can’t stick to it. I’ve given you these stats before but it’s worth mentioning over and over. The evidence of weight loss success (meaning keeping it off) is BLEAK. Almost everyone who becomes obese loses a significant amount of weight in their life. But of those people less than 5% keep the weight off long-term. (5) FIVE PERCENT. That is a staggering number. I believe a big reason is because nobody thinks about sustainability when they diet. It’s always this mad dash to the finish line. Cutting out all their favorite foods, starving themselves, never thinking about how they’ll maintain the weight when (or more like if) it comes off. It doesn’t matter what you do to lose the weight if you can’t keep doing it when the weight is gone. THIS is why I find it so important include foods you enjoy into your diet and learn about moderation. If you’re controlling your intake, especially if you’re matching calories, protein and fiber, the actual foods you eat mean next to nothing. It’s time to stop looking for magic foods and start looking for something a little more realistic. No foods by themselves inherently make you fat or thin, everything requires CONTEXT.

 

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For more information from Colin you may download this free guide to help give you some direction. This will also put you on an email newsletter where you’ll get daily emails. Warning – I tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. So if you’re sensitive you may want to pass.

 

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: Reflections Before Moving Forward (Video Included)

“So how did you do?”

How do I explain how this was my favorite “last place” of all?  How does that make any sense when validation is supposed to be about a scorecard?  Four shows now and four last place finishes, but my truth now is…

IT. DOES. NOT. MATTER.

It’s been 11 days and when I think of my time on stage, I’m overwhelmed with JOY.   I felt a little like this after my first show in 2012 because that one was truly a celebration.  I didn’t feel much of anything except a little frustration after my 2013 show.  And, as many of you know, the 2015 show was a kick in the gut.  Every insecurity I had about participating in this sport was validated that day.  To come back from that, I spent two years doing intense introspection that led to some inspired changes in my teaching practice.  Had I not had that humiliating experience, I doubt I’d ever understand how a fixed mindset can poison everything we attempt to do.  That experience helped me understand how some of my students feel – hopeless to break through and change anything.  Lost track of the number of books I absorbed.  I even took an online class on mindset in mathematics and could relate everything I learned back to my personal experience as a new, 50-something, athlete.

So how did I do?

Wonderfully!  I did wonderfully.  Almost every goal I set for myself was achieved.  What I’m most proud of is how I improved with posing and how I choreographed my own routine, kept it private until stage – and it didn’t suck!  There is still much left to do.  That’s exciting because I’ve proven to myself that I CAN improve.  After that 2015 experience, I fought a hard battle against the “what’s the point” bullshit-on-a-stick I was handed.

I can’t imagine that winning something will ever feel better than this feels.  I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.  Don’t misunderstand – I’m not “making lemonade from lemons” here.  A couple weeks before the show, my mindset switched from thinking of this as a competition to thinking of it as a performance.  I met every performance goal I set for myself.  I worked hard on it and I saw it in the pictures and videos.  I didn’t lose my composure or crack under pressure.  It’s very possible that I will always be moved into the last position after the symmetry round because my symmetry sucks a little bit – so be it.  Judges do what judges are supposed to do.  But I really don’t care anymore.  I’m up there DOING BODYBUILDING!  So much joy in that!!  I will set my goals and I will give the people who paid to watch bodybuilders the best bodybuilding performance I can muster up on that day.

I understand that being an underdog and winning would make for a great story, but I don’t think that’s my part to play.  Because I put in the work and participate in this sport publicly, someone somewhere borrows courage from me (which I’ve borrowed from others) to deal with their own health issues.  I never set out to be a social media fitness person and I’ve actually become more of an introvert in real life since all of this attention has landed on me.  I go to the gym, I do my work.  I go to work, I do my work.  But every so often, I suit-up and step-up to a mark taped on a stage and do a bodybuilder performance.  I don’t know why it fills me with joy – it just does and I’m grateful!

I made this video to celebrate the experience.  It took a little time because I really don’t know what I’m doing with this sort of thing, but I am learning as I go along – as is true for most everything I am doing these days.  If you followed the events of the day on Facebook as Michelle and I were posting, you’ll recognize most of what’s in here.

Thank you!!!!!!!

 

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2017 Prep Update: Day 275 of 275 – Show Time!

First off – I apologize, but I don’t have many show pictures yet.  Just ordered them.  I have the shots my coach took with his phone during pre-judging, so I’ll include those in this post.  Plus any other little things I grabbed with my phone.  I didn’t take many pictures myself.  I usually would, but I guess I was a little preoccupied looking for a quiet corner in a busy, small area backstage.

When I checked in on Friday afternoon and got my competitor number, I was happily surprised to see that it was…

I was born in 1962.  I like little things like that.

When I asked how many competitors were in the women’s bodybuilding division, the promoter told me that up until the week before, only one – me.  I didn’t think there would be many, but that was a surprise.  This is usually a big show.  People fly in from all over the world to do this show.  And it was just me?  She said that she worked on it and was able to convince four other women who were already doing figure to cross-over and do bodybuilding as a second division.  She was happy about that because if there were five, it would become a pro-card qualifier.  She was more excited about that than I was and that showed on my face.  I think that surprised her.   You see, at least three of the women crossing over were already pros in the figure division.   I’ve made improvements, but I know where I’m at on the continuum.  I am not at the point where I can stand in a line with figure pros and hang with them from the perspective of the judges table.  Oh well.  I was glad that more women were interested in competing in bodybuilding and grateful that there would be a line of athletes instead of just one.  Just one competitor in a category called “women’s open bodybuilding” at a show this size would be really depressing.

The next morning, we found out one dropped out, so the division was down to four, which meant it was no longer a pro-qualifier.  The three that were left were the figure pros.  So it really was going to me, an amateur, in a line with three pros.  Technically, they were amateurs in the bodybuilding division, but still farther down the road with training and development.  Having already earned pro cards means they have done better with judging panels at some point in the past, while I haven’t earned anything in a judged competition.  I reminded myself that it’s a logical progression for an athlete to change divisions as her physique develops and that they were probably excited to compete as bodybuilders because who wouldn’t be?  Bodybuilding is an amazing division with plenty of opportunity for an athlete to show the results of her efforts. And I was grateful.  I want them in that line.  I want that competition – it’s fuel for me to push.    I reminded myself that I have my own list of personal goals and my time will come.  I put on my headphones, read literally hundreds of encouraging comments posted on my Facebook page, practiced my posing, and stayed focused on what I could accomplish on that day…

  1. Stay calm, remember cues, and hit my poses.   I’ve been practicing every day for a couple of months, so I could lean on that.  I also made a playlist on my phone with songs I listened do during my practices so that I could trigger muscle-memory for posing.  (“Proud” by Heather Small was the main one.)
  2. Focus on enjoying the experience so that I can put 2015 behind me for good.
  3. Turn “stage” into my personal performance for the people who have been supporting me all this time.   I wanted to honor them by keeping it together and making them proud.  My friend Michelle from GarageGym107 flew across the country to be there to help me. (How amazingly generous is that?)  She was doing live posts on the LMS page so people could watch in real time.  I kept my focus on her when I was up there for that reason.

My 2017 General Goals

2017 Goal: Come in with better conditioning and be leaner.  Check

2017 Goal: Bring up quads and delts. Check

2017 Goal: Improve posing, look more relaxed, and don’t have a dizzy spell. Check 

2017 Goal: Earn a placing.  To me, that means to not be in last place.  I am not particularly interested in “beating” anyone – it’s not about that.  It’s just that “last place” is a given even if you don’t train, don’t prep, don’t practice…anyone who pays to play and get on stage can be placed last.  To move forward from there feels like a validation of work – but that’s not really what it is.  We are all compared to an aesthetic “standard” for a bodybuilder.  The closer a competitor’s physique is to that standard, the higher they are placed.  If I were going to be placed last, I wanted to make it harder for the judges to make that decision.   I wanted to get more than four poses in before it happened.  Nope.  That did not happen.  I was moved after the symmetry round just like before.  Can’t lie.  I’m annoyed by that because my symmetry round poses looked better in 2017 than they did in 2015, but there was no way to compete in symmetry against three figure pros.  Those symmetry poses are practically the bread-and-butter of the figure division.  I wasn’t surprised when I was asked to switch places.

Pre-Judging Photos

This is the actual judging round. Nothing from the night show is judged for amateur divisions.  (I’m the one with a half-shaved head who’s suit does not sparkle.)


After pre-judging, I knew the one goal I could not control – earn a placing – was out of reach on this day.  My placement of 4th was appropriate. I’m used to having goals that are just beyond me, I’m also used to last place, so I just let it go and focused on things that were in my control – courage to face fear,  improve presentation, and enjoy the experience.

Enjoyment

I was blessed to have had some enriching backstage experiences this time around.   Met a women’s bodybuilding pro and a figure pro that I’ve admired for a couple years.  Found out both were teachers!  How cool is that??  The first was a retired special ed elementary teacher and the other is a current US government teacher in a high school a little similar to my school.  The bodybuilding pro shared a little wisdom learned from her long bodybuilding career.  That was encouraging and inspiring.

These ladies are retired bodybuilders who were there helping competitors backstage.   This picture was taken after a fairly aggressive Bikini-Bite (body glue) session for my posing suit top.  What little I have left up top wasn’t cooperating.  At one point, one person was holding something in place while the other was applying the glue, and I flexed a pec as a reflex.  She screamed “OMG!  That was like feeling a baby move!!”  Holy crap that was funny!!!!

My Bikini-Bite Crew!

Last, but most certainly not least, was the time I was blessed to spend with this woman.

My bud, Michelle @GarageGym107

We’ve been online friends for years, but I was surprised when she said she was going to fly out to watch and support me.  Had Michelle not come out, I would have had WAY too much time with my own thoughts and it would have been much harder to stay grounded and focused.  Plus, she clued me in on the power of caramel M&Ms.  Holy cow they are yummy!!!!

Presentation

When I watched the videos Michelle took of the pre-judging and the night show routine, I saw basically what I practiced, which meant that my preparation paid off.  I can tell you that while I was on stage for pre-judging, I was shaking a bit, but it was not noticeable.  When I saw how my performance changed after something made an authentic smile pop up, I realized that was exactly what I needed to make happen as much as possible during the night show.  Not a stage smile, but a real one from my heart. I needed to stay focused on WHY I was doing this – why I changed my life and trained for this – I LOVE BODYBUILDING!!!  I needed to remember who I was on that stage for – my tribe – my husband, my coach, my friends, and the thousands of people I have never met but who graciously and generously offer encouragement and prayers whenever I feel afraid to do this thing.  (I did meet one person- thanks for coming out Heather!!!  That meant a lot to me.  It was not a free event and I’m sure you had plenty to do on a Saturday.)  My tribe gives me courage.  I remind myself often that this stage thing doesn’t take as much courage as it did to walk into the gym and ask for help.  Because I do this now, someone else will start and not stop.  I know this happens because they tell me.  It’s not my style to pump up my ego about something like this – this is how I’m paying it forward.  It’s my honor to keep showing up now, no matter what happens.  Plus, I promised to bring everyone along using Facebook Live, so there would be no edits.  That’s how I wanted it.  Real.  I’m grateful I can even do this thing.  I’m grateful for the people who step up to help me do it.  I had to keep that feeling of gratitude right up front in my mind so it would show on my face.  My face always reflects my heart and my fears.  I hope the good stuff eventually comes through when you watch those videos over on the Facebook page, because that’s where I wanted to keep my head at on that day.

Courage

Not going to rehash it, but if you’ve followed along, you know 2015 rocked me.  Getting back up on that stage and just doing it “better” – whatever that means – needed to happen.  I needed to feel my passion for this sport again.  I needed to feel it grow stronger than my fear.  I knew if my physical goals were met and my presentation rose up to present that physique, I would see a glimpse of the bodybuilder I’m hoping to become.  If I were afraid, I would appear timid and unsure.  Once I realized I could not compete against these athletes, I accepted what was coming, but was surprised to see that they were being coached back stage on how to do the posing.  It was then that I realized that they really didn’t think about crossing over until asked.  They only had a couple of days to learn poses and come up with a routine.  Based on some other things they told me that I won’t share here, they may not have considered competing as bodybuilder until the opportunity to earn another pro card became an option.  I can only guess as to how they felt when the 5th person dropped out and that was off the table.  (I still hope they liked it and will continue in the division.)  So at that point, I found a mental hook to hang onto to pull up my own courage to do this thing – this was MY division.  I trained for it.  I might be going down in flames in last place, but this is MY DIVISION.  I look like a bodybuilder.  I pose like a bodybuilder.  I trained my mind for this by watching videos of Ed Corney, Frank Zane, and all those female bodybuilders from the 80’s.  MY.  DIVISION.  So yeah – that’s why, during the pose down, I saw an opportunity to make a statement and I took it.   I moved to be in front of the woman who ended up taking the overall.  (She got the pro-figure overall, too, by the way.)  Yup.  I stepped up, turned around, and stretched my arms out and displayed my best feature – my back.  The whole time, two words were repeating my head…

“MY DIVISION”

During my routine, people in the audience cheered at the right spots.  I designed it to be an homage to “old school” routines where those big poses landed at the most dramatic points in the music.  Mr. Zane used to just hit those poses, hold them, and grin.  So I did the same thing to the best of my current ability.  Not nearly as epic, but I wanted to remind people of what this sport used to be.   No dancing.  No bouncing.  No floor rolling.  No hair and make up.  No crystals.   Old school bodybuilding.  That’s what some people still buy tickets to see.  That’s the direction I want to go.  That’s how I want to play.  Got some great feedback from someone I respect in this sport, Jeff Alberts,  about how he could see my improvements, and the effort and practice I put into the presentation this time around.

My coach, Alberto Nunez, and Jeff Alberts. Alberto and Jeff are two of the five coaches from 3DMuscleJourney.

At the end of this day, I was grateful and proud.  Not a boastful proud, but a humble sort of proud, if that makes sense.  I’m proud of what Alberto and I have accomplished.  I could not have done it without his planning, intuition, and guidance, but his coaching would not have been effective without my commitment, discipline, precision, and passion.  We are doing good work.

My husband’s support is “mission critical”.  Knowing he supports what I’m doing empowers me to improve.  He is an amazingly generous man, my best friend, and I love him dearly.

I am so grateful for my tribe from this blog and the Facebook page.  When I describe you to others in real-life, I tell them to imagine a few thousand “momma-bears” who will have your back when you need it, but will turn on someone when necessary.  That’s why I try to get to those trolls before anyone else sees them – not because they bother me, but I don’t want you all to turn on them using all your intellectual weapons!  That’s just not a fair fight!  And I LOVE that about you guys!!!  Thank you for the enCOURAGEment!!!!

When I get the pictures from the show photographer, I will share them.  I’ll put together a new before/after, too.

Also, there is another show coming up in October that I am planning to do.  I didn’t save up for two shows, so it’s possible that I won’t be able to pull the funds together, but I’m going to try and I’m going to prep for it regardless.  That means we are just inside of 12 weeks out now.  It’s an NPC show so I will be doing women’s physique.  The poses are similar, but I will need to practice to make the adjustments for the few poses that are different than traditional bodybuilding poses.  I’ve done two NPC shows before, so this is not new stuff for me.   The routine I have will work just fine.  Just need to keep practicing it and fix some bumpy spots.

And no, I won’t glam up for NPC.  I’m “old school” all the way.  Keeping the racing stripes in my hair, though.  🙂

Hair Coach: Nicole Page @CurlEnvy

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Contest Prep