Tag Archives: women who lift

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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Filed under Competing

2017 Prep Update: Day 240 of 275

School is out for summer!  Yay!!  I’m teaching a morning session of summer school starting on June 19, so I only get a week off, but that’s OK.  The summer school session will help me stay busy and that might help a little with the nerves I’m going to feel as the show gets closer.  The negative voice in my head keeps reminding me of the last time I was on stage, when basically, my biggest fear that I would not be taken seriously as a bodybuilder was confirmed.  So I’m getting back up there to be judged again.

Have I done enough?  I don’t know.  Improvements have been made.  I have worked hard and continue to work hard.  It’s impossible to know what will happen in a bodybuilding competition because some factors, like genetics and age, are beyond my control.  But no one will out work me.  I’m consistent and methodical.  I can control that.

July 2015, 128.6 lbs

A couple weeks ago, I lightened the loads on my leg press.  I’m smaller now and the loads I wanted to use started to strain some old quad pulls.  Better to lighten things up a bit and keep working than to risk an injury.   Coach took direct shoulder work out of my program for 4 weeks to allow for a full recovery in those joints.  I got my lateral raises back last week – so happy!  I felt like a kid who got her favorite toy back after having it taken away.  My back movements are still progressing, but progress is slowing down.  Tricep work is stalled out now and I have to keep using the same loads.  After this many years of lifting, I’m at the point when progress can take months or longer.  It did take me about 3 years to add 5 pounds to my bench press.  That’s another lift where I needed to drop the loads.  It seems I lose my strength there right away when I’m in prep.

But lifting is still going well and lifting is the thing.  Competing sets a goal for the lifting – which is something I need.  I don’t enjoy competing that much that I look forward to it.  It’s just a finish line for a certain phase of training.  I love the look of bodybuilders on stage – the tan, the poses, the lighting – but I’m an introvert, so spending the day hanging out with all those people…well, it’s a bit stressful.  The first two times I competed, the stage part was fun.  I’m getting back up there with the intention of fighting off a bunch of negativity and finding that fun part again.

DISCLAIMER: In order to be competitive in the division called “women’s bodybuilding” ,  fat loss has to be pushed to the extreme leanness that the athlete is capable of achieving in that contest prep. When I talk about what I’m doing, please keep that in mind.(Bikini and figure divisions have a different criteria for leanness.)    Even though I’m losing fat by creating a caloric deficit, which is how anyone who wants to lose body fat has to do it, I’m doing it longer and trying to lose more weight than is appropriate for general fitness.  Most people should not compete.  Anyone who struggles with food-related issues should not compete.    I’m not jeopardizing my health and would stop if I was because competing isn’t what is important.  I don’t use fat-burners,  I don’t cut water,  I eat well, and it’s all monitored by an extremely smart and protective coach.  And we will carefully reverse the diet afterwards to keep my metabolism healthy – like we did in 2015.

Ok, that said – my scale weight is currently fluctuating between 1 and 2 pounds below my previous stage weight.  Which means, assuming I’ve gain a little muscle in the last two years, I’m leaner, lighter, but might have more muscle density.  I think the fat I’m working on right now has been there since the 70’s.  LOL!!  Even so, the meno-pot on my lower abs is hanging in there.  I’m seriously on a mission to lose it just to prove it can be done, damn it.  The loose skin in various places is a bit discouraging, but there isn’t much I can do about it.  Just looks like my skin-suit is getting a little too big, like my clothes.  The plan coming out of the 2015 show was to limit the amount of weight I gained in off-season so that the skin wouldn’t be stretched more.  I did that, but I do think it will take YEARS to tighten up, not months.  I’m not interested in using fancy lotions, wraps, or anything like that.  Solid nutrition and time will either take care of it, or it won’t.  I’m 55 and I’m grateful to be 55, so if I look like a 55 year old bodybuilder, so be it.  I’m just getting started, so I expect to look like a 70 year old bodybuilder when I’m 70, too.

Hair game took a dramatic turn in recent months.  First, I asked my hair coach to shave off half of it.  Then I asked her to start adjusting the color so that my natural gray would blend better.  The current color looks gray in some light, but usually looks more ash-blonde.  I like it.  Still want more silver highlights in there, though.  Especially for stage.  And speaking of stage – decided to use my velvet black suit for pre-judging and night show.  No sparkles.  Might wear simple stud earrings at the night show, but that’s going to be the extent of the sparkle.  I’m going to do this one “old school”.  I’ve been watching video from the 1980’s, which is when I first fell in love with this sport.  Those are my peers – even though they are retired now and I’m just starting.  Doesn’t matter.  I don’t care.  Everyone else can sparkle.  I’m here to do this thing the way I want to do it.

My “Yay I’m FREEEEE for summer vaca!!” post on Facebook from last Friday…

Taken with a flash.

 

As I said before, I expect my nerves and battle with my internal self-doubts to be more of a challenge this time around.  Which is why I’m so grateful that my friend Michelle will be flying in from across the country to be there for this show.  In the last few months, I developed a little game I play with myself called “I don’t have to actually go to the show if I decide not to”.  Knowing she is coming out stopped that destructive little train of thought at least 3 times this last week.  Just in case anyone else is in the Sacramento area, here is a link to the show information.  If you’re up for it, I’d love to have some screaming support at pre-judging.  I think I can battle back the self-doubt by telling myself that because I gather courage from others to do this scary thing, others will be able to gather courage to do something that scares them, too.  If I can meet you in person, wow.  That would change the dynamic of this day in a big way.

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Contest Prep, My Lifting Log

Menopause, Weight Loss, and Training

This is a useful, informative post.  Please share it and save it for reference later.

My friend, Colin DeWaay, loves to read research more than I do, so I asked him to look for the science being done on how menopause changes how our bodies respond to weight training.  We also know there is something different about how we store fat and how long it takes to lose it.  Too often, menopause is discussed as if it were a disease -as if aging were a disease – which neither are because continuing to be alive is actually NOT a disease… (Oops – off my soapbox now.)  One thing that did not come up in the research, but that I strongly believe is an issue for us, is cortisol.   I believe there is a link between increased cortisol and menopause.  And I also believe cortisol may be increased by life stress that comes with being a female of a certain age with all sorts of adult responsibilities to juggle – and then add sleep-deprivation to that mix.   I suggest you look around online for more information about cortisol.  There is research out there about it, but maybe it’s not been specifically studied in combination with menopause very often?  I have seen it studied as a result of sleep disturbances… Hello?  Night sweats? ~ Tammy

 

I have to be honest. I’ve been dragging my feet writing this article for a long time. After my last blog about getting the most out of an online coach I actually planned on writing about weight loss for women in their 50’s. Then Tammy reached out to me wondering if I’d write about weight loss, muscle growth, etc. in menopausal women. So it only made sense, only one problem. As a 37-year-old male without an extensive background in this subject, who am I to tell you what to do?

Well I guess because it’s my job (my certification and the text books I’ve read cover this but it’s SO small) and I do have a large number of clients who fit this demographic. But at the end of the day all I can do is empathize and teach what I’ve discovered. I can’t know what it’s like or how it feels on a personal level, however, I want to help people the best I can, so let’s do this. (Side note even if you’re a women not even close to menopause, you could likely get a lot out of this article.)

So with that I set out to scour through PubMed to gather as much relevant information I could. After searching and searching, reading and reading, putting together as much data as I could, wanna know what I found? Well for one I think there’s a severe lack of data on this demographic, which is actually something I’ve noticed on my own. Whenever I get a unique problem with a client the first thing I do is try to find data to help give me answers. Rarely is there much out there in the way of menopausal women, which even researchers seem to agree with. (1)

The other thing I’ve found? If you’re a menopausal/postmenopausal woman, this stuff’s probably going to be tough…. Really tough. Probably not what you wanted to hear I’m sure, but don’t stop reading now. Even though it’s likely going to be more difficult for you than many others, it’s also more important than ever you get a handle on things. Even if the odds are stacked against you. Let’s discuss.

Due to many hormonal changes that occur during menopause, the risk of raising body fat increases significantly. Sitting around being inactive and eating whatever you want is a recipe for things to get worse in a hurry. With that comes the increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, at least partially due to increases of fat within the abdominal cavity (AKA visceral adipose tissue or VAT.)(2)  In a nutshell, research shows that post-menopausal women are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases since VAT is considered a correlation and they are more prone to store fat in that area, even if total fat loss is the same during a weight reduction program. (3)

Another major player that hardly anyone ever talks about is the importance of minimizing loss of bone mineral density (BMD.) Likely due to significant drops in estrogen women in perimenopause might experience up to a 3% loss of BMD a year if they aren’t active or on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and can even carry on post menopause. This is why osteoporosis is such a problem in older females. Since the loss of BMD can be slowed with heavy resistance training, this is just one more reason to lift weights. For those who haven’t reached their upper 30’s yet (around the time women start experiencing a loss in BMD) it’s all the more reason to start heavy strength training NOW.

The good news? Aging does not appear to reduce the ability of our bodies to adapt to strength training. Improvements in BMD as well as strength, power, muscle mass and functional capabilities have been observed in older people participating in strength training programs. (4, 5, 6) Basically no matter where your starting point is or how old you are, you can make improvements. Just proof that it really never is too late to start.

Before I go on I’d like to say one quick thing about HRT, this gets thrown around a lot. This is NOT something I can suggest nor should anyone tell you whether you shouldn’t or shouldn’t go down that path. That is something for you and your doctor to discuss if it’s the right thing for you or not. I’ve heard of other trainers telling their clients they need to get HRT and that is NOT okay. I’m not, nor is any other trainer qualified to make that assessment.

Anyway, what do most experts recommend as an effective method to prevent obesity or reduce body fat during menopause? Well, diet and exercise of course. (7) One study took 439 overweight-obese postmenopausal sedentary women and assigned them into one of 4 groups. Basically there was a group that dieted only, exercised only, dieted and exercised and a control group. After 1 year not surprisingly the diet and exercise group did the best losing 10.8% of their body weight, followed by 8.5% for the diet group, and 2.4% for the exercise only group. (1)

As you can see fat loss is most definitely possible for postmenopausal women, it’s just likely results are going to be slower than you’d like. You MUST be okay with this, and focus on a plan you find to be sustainable. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, the time is going to pass anyway. The unfortunate truth is if you’re unhealthy now, it’s only going to get worse if you don’t do anything about it. This is why I said it’s more important than ever to get serious because the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle will pile up a lot faster when you become menopausal.

Again don’t get me wrong, I definitely empathize with you ladies. I really do. You were dealt a tough hand and I can’t pretend to know what it’s like. Set aside for a moment all the physiological reasons obtaining and maintaining a healthy body is likely more difficult, you have to add on all the factors that make training and staying mentally in the game tough. Things like hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, menstrual irregularity, lowered sex drive, mood swings/irritability, etc. Also dealing with the emotions that come with no longer being able to conceive and everything else that comes when your body changes on you. ALL of life’s stressors, mental and physical, add up and need to be factored in.

This stuff goes WAY beyond just physical change. You have every reason in the world to feel like it’s impossible. You have every right to feel like you should give up. But I’m telling you right now, DON’T.  You don’t have to be perfect, hell you shouldn’t even TRY to be perfect. I’d actually argue it’s more important to be more flexible at this stage. You have a lot of things to deal with and work around, so factor that all in. The worst thing you can do is go down the all or nothing path. Because all or nothing ALWAYS ends in nothing.

That said, now more than ever is it important to take care of yourself. Your body is fighting against you and you basically have two choices. Lay down and let it take you out, or fight back. Go ahead, feel your feelings, you can’t control how you feel and there is NOTHING wrong with the way you feel. But you CAN do something about what you do about it. I wouldn’t be doing you any good if I said “It’s okay, it’s going to be hard so go ahead and give up” and more importantly you don’t want to tell yourself that.

Time and time again people (much like Tammy herself) have shown that it absolutely can be done. Results may come slow, it may be difficult, but it’s literally life and death stuff here. Don’t take it lightly. Start slow, allow for sufficient recovery, make small changes, keep learning and getting better and if you need help by all means get help. Regardless, like Tammy always says, “Just keep showing up.” Remember, it may suck that it’s more difficult for you than others, but reality is reality and you can’t change it. The best thing you can do is deal with it from a place of acceptance. Otherwise you’ll just end up fighting yourself the whole way.

The last thing I’d like to say is if you are a woman who has yet to get to this stage of your life. Do yourself a favor and get started! As you can tell it’s only going to get more difficult and the sooner you can get ahead of things the easier and healthier you’ll be in the long-run. Nothing is more effective than prevention.

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If you ARE looking for a coach to help take the guess work out and hold you accountable I am accepting clients for training and/or nutrition help. Just head here and select the option you’d like.

If you’re looking for more information you can follow me on Facebook and you can also download this free guide to help give you some direction. This will also put you on my email newsletter where you’ll get daily emails for a little motivation, guidance and a kick in the rear from time to time. WARNING – I tell you what you NEED to hear and not what you WANT to hear. So if you’re sensitive and like to place blame instead of take action, you’ll definitely want to pass. But if you’re serious about taking responsibility and changing your life, you should love it.

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Filed under Cortisol, Guest Blog, Weight Loss

FAQs From Facebook

These are some common questions I’ve been asked by the people who follow the Lifting My Spirits page.  Thank you so much!!  There were some great questions that I don’t have the experience to answer.  For those, I’m going to line up some guest bloggers to share their expertise.  These are the questions I picked to answer here…

  • Is there one certain diet plan you have followed more than another one?
  • When you first started you journey what did you change first?
  • How do you know how any carbs you should have?
  • Have you had to deal with any hormone issues or messed up metabolism from the competition diet that hinder the building muscle or especially losing body fat around the abdomen/hip areas?
  • Everyone wants to see results fast. When you were not seeing the results you expected, what did you do and how did you stay motivated?

Is there one certain diet plan you have followed more than another one?

I have done a few plans.  Obviously none of them provided long-term results.  I had to quit thinking about “diet” as a thing I did to lose weight and instead start thinking about the need for me to learn how food interacts with my body, how it makes me feel, energy levels, etc.  I needed to learn how to feed and care for my body in a way that worked for this body, the one I’m in charge of keeping healthy.  I think it’s a mistake to assume we are all exactly the same and that “plans” or “programs” will deliver the same results for everyone.  “Individual result may vary” isn’t about varied levels of compliance – it’s about biology.  We have to become observant experts about our own body.  That led me to choose mostly whole foods over processed foods – but more on that in a minute.

I need to come “clean”, so to speak before I say much more. In the beginning, I was a religious “clean-eater”.  For me, that meant I was judgmental about how I ate and how other people ate.  I was excited about my new life.  I wanted everyone to know this secret.  But I was also not secure with my ability to stick to it and felt like I needed to be vocal about it to stay committed.   Still emotionally eating, but in a different way.  I played the role of a “beast-mode” martyr.  I was annoying.  I’m certain I offended people.  I’m ashamed of that now, but I understand the psychology of that phase now that I’m here.  I think some of us just need to go through that phase.

I had to step back and think about it objectively and work hard to remove emotions from how I fed myself.  I learned more about flexible dieting and eating to hit macro targets (protein, carbs, fats) from my current coach.  Food choices are mine.  No food lists.  The volume of food depends on whether my goal is cutting weight, gaining weight, or maintaining weight.  I learned that whole foods – lean meats, vegetables, fruit, some grains, Greek yogurt, eggs –are the foods that worked best for me.   In the beginning, I also wanted to heal my body from years of self-neglect.  It just made sense for me to eat foods I knew would provide the most amount nutrients for the calories.  I knew about cell-regeneration.  I believed that if I provided myself with food that my body was designed to use for fuel and recovery, I’d be putting myself in the best position to live the way I wanted to live, feel the way I wanted to feel for the rest of my life.  Nothing fancy.  No programs.  No gimmicks.  No short-cuts.

When you first started you journey what did you change first?

When I first started, I knew that I would be overwhelmed doing everything at the same time.  I started with nutrition.  I did work with a nutrition coach, but I don’t think that’s necessary for everyone.  I felt I needed to be told what to do and then do exactly what I was told.  I’m very busy and that helped me stick to it.  (See the question about my diet for more info what I did.)  While I was learning how to eat, food prep, log, track, etc., I walked for cardio.  I wish now that I would have started lifting sooner because I didn’t expect that I would love it so much.  I was intimidated by it.  I do think everyone needs to have some sort of resistance training in their program because of the health benefits – we have muscles and bones that need attention, too.  We get too focused on the fat we store and forget that the structural part.  (Fat doesn’t break when you fall.  Fat doesn’t get pulled and puts in you in bed until it heals.)

The best approach for someone just starting is to pick one thing and make that a new healthy habit.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s the nutrition, or cardio, or lifting.  Or something else like quitting smoking.  But just one thing.  Once the routines of life have been adjusted to the first thing and you feel you can handle a second component, add it.  Think of it as learning how to juggle.  Start with one ball, add a second, master that, and then add another.  Accept and embrace that you will screw up and be ready to handle that with yourself as if you were teaching a child a new skill.  It’s OK.  It’s more than OK – it’s necessary to screw up.  We learn from those mistakes.  We learn what works for us and what doesn’t’.  As you learn, you’ll adjust.  I’m not doing anything exactly the same way as I did it when I started.  My program had to change as I changed.  That’s what’s supposed to happen.

How do you know how any carbs you should have?

I don’t think carbs should be a set number.  Carbs are gas in the tank – some days we need more than others.   So when thinking about my nutrition,  carbs aren’t set in stone – protein is and it needs to be set first.  I like 1 gram of protein per pound of my body weight.  That’s not something that changes for me from day to day.  My fat grams will range up or down, as do my carbs, depending on my activity level that day or whether I’m in a contest prep phase or in an “improvement season” like I am now.   It’s been a goal of mine to increase the number of carbs I can consume and maintain my weight.  My metabolism is healthier now than it was before I competed.

Have you had to deal with any hormone issues or messed up metabolism from the competition diet that hinder the building muscle or especially losing body fat around the abdomen/hip areas?

No hormone issues that I’m aware of, but the fat on my abdomen and glutes is the last to leave me.  I did the typical competition diet for my first and second shows.  After the second show, I knew that I couldn’t go through that cycle again.  It would undo the health benefits I gained with my transformation.  That’s when I started working with my current coach.  I don’t have food lists.  I am free to eat what I like, just need to hit macro targets set depending on the current goals. And for my third show, I came in leaner and eating more than I had before.  I also didn’t do a water-cut.  I was drinking water all morning, eating back stage, and looked leaner and fuller than I did during my second show.  These results didn’t come from one thing – it was smart coaching for 18 months prior.  I’m excited to see what we are going to accomplish over the next couple of years, since I’m not planning on competing again until summer 2017 at the earliest.

Everyone wants to see results fast. When you were not seeing the results you expected, what did you do and how did you stay motivated?

I’ve been discouraged so many times.  When it happens, I remind myself that this is a process.  Change happens at the cellular level.  Changes in grams, either fat lost or muscle gained, won’t show up on the scale right away.  Just because I can’t see change, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  This is science.   I know that if I am consistent and patient, results come.  The goals I set are behavioral goals.  I can control my behavior.  I won’t miss a workout.  I will stick to my food plan.  The physical changes are side-effects of the things I do.

On a bad day, I’ll go back and look at pictures.  I didn’t take pictures all along, but have been doing that regularly for the last couple of years.  Those pictures help me see changes.  I also LOVE lifting.  I can’t deal with the stress of life without it.   It’s my “me” time.  I like the challenge of it.  I enjoy pushing myself to do things that used to intimidate me.

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Filed under FAQ

7 Weeks Out – Body Builder Brain

  • I’m too small.
  • I won’t get lean enough.
  • I’m too busy and can’t practice enough.
  • I don’t have a routine yet, so I haven’t been practicing that, either.
  • I don’t know where I put my posing suit.
  • Maybe I should just skip this year, too?
  • I lost my pecs.
  • My right calf is too small.
  • Tanning, makeup??  Where IS my suit???
  • I’m 53.  Guys in their 40’s are talking about being old – and I’m just starting??  What the hell am I thinking?  No one is going to take me seriously.  I’m a joke.
  • I am a wife.  I have a demanding job – people depend on me.  I don’t have time for this!  What the hell am I thinking?

IMG_4240

And all of this happened while I was on a diet break.  Five days this week of eating at maintenance – which means I increased my food intake just enough to maintain my weight.  Gave my body a break from the stress of dieting.  And it is stressful.  Body is basically chewing up it’s own reserves to keep functioning.  When in a caloric deficit over time, brain doesn’t have enough energy to handle stress well – which is why dieters can be so much fun to be around!

I think the diet break was stressful for me because I’m feeling the time crunch now.  7 weeks.  Less than 2 months.  It’s already a stressful time because I’m finishing up a school year in a new building.  I can’t bring work home.  Training, resting, food prep, and life just doesn’t allow for that anymore.  But there are piles of things to grade, final exams to write, study guides to write, lesson plans for kids who don’t want to work – classroom management is hard right now.  Most of my students are seniors. They are excited and stressed about graduating and making the transition to adulthood.  So I’m picking up on all the anxiety around me trying to not let it add to my own anxiety about getting everything done.

During this diet break, I maintained my scale weight better than I have on previous breaks.  I kept the calories under my burn because the BodyBugg I wear is probably over-reporting the burn right now.  I’m smaller so it takes less energy to move my mass through space.  Processes adapt over time to use fewer calories when in a deficit situation.  On the first day of the diet break, I noticed I wasn’t as tired at the end of the day.  That’s a big clue that I needed to take the break, huh?  I was ready for it, but I only wanted to do two days.  When Coach said to do five days, I was surprised.

I was also surprised at how emotionally tough it was to eat more for those five days.  I didn’t have this reaction to diet breaks before.  It’s just my Bodybuilder Brain.  I was happy to get back on the diet yesterday.  I missed Hungry.  Hungry = Progress.  It’s not comfortable, true.  It sucks some days, actually.  But it’s necessary and it means I’m moving forward instead of standing still in my prep.

Now, I’m hungry again.  So I’m happy.  Moving forward and excited to be back on the ‘growling tummy grind’.  Today.  Let’ revisit that “happy to be hungry” BS in a week, shall we?  Hahahaha!

Bodybuilder Brain also needs to be managed.  It’s normal, but it cannot be allowed to run amok because one of my goals for this prep was to enjoy it.  There are some things I can do to stay calm and centered.

1) Keep involvement with social media to a minimum.  I do better if I focus on what I need to do and avoid looking at what others are doing.  We’ve talked about that before over on the FB page.  My “teacher voice” starts screaming when I see some of the things I see.  (I’m going to refer those kids to the office for dress code violations.)

2) Go outside.  Often.

3) Read more.

4) Sleep more.

5) Get caught up at work and ride the year out with as little effort as possible.

6) Find my suit!

7) Just keep grinding.  Embrace the suck.  I like it.  I like the self-discipline.  I like delayed gratification.

 

8) Keep perspective – yeah, sure, I’m getting on stage to be judged.  Risking public humiliation, intorvert’s nightmare… yada, yada, yada.  But it’s actually easier than you would imagine.  It’s mostly just fun. The audiences at these shows are bodybuilding fans.  They either know what it’s like to do it, wish they could do it, are family and friends of competitors, etc.  I get more stressed thinking about the travel, the makeup, the tanning – all of that stuff.  Stage is fun.

 9) Blog more.  It takes time, but writing helps me process my thoughts and emotions.  I’ve been using it that way for the last five years.  This prep is different than the last two.  It’s been fun, for the most part.  Life has been nuts for the last year, so the structure of this prep and working with this coach have helped me stay sane.  However, these last 7 weeks could be…interesting.  

 

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