Competitor Blog: Finding Satisfaction

I was designed to eat. When people say “Oh, I forgot to eat!” I am immediately appalled. My whole life can be summed up by moments of being awake counting down the moments until I get to eat or sleep. I am essentially a sloth trapped in a human’s body!

This can make cutting macros a bit of a challenge. There are many times I find that I still desire to eat more. Please note that I am usually no longer “hungry” or feeling hunger. I just enjoy the eating process; chewing, tasting, and feeling the warm hug of carbs in my belly. Since eating my weight in food is not an option I have picked up a few tricks to help tide me over. 

Water never does the whole “fill up the space and feel full” trick. I like my water icey cold and I will drink a lot of it but all it does is make me and my belly cold. It is flavorless and does little to appease my demanding taste buds. Coffee however fills me up quite nicely. It’s warm and I can get it flavored without extra calories/macros. If I am feeling really generous I can doctor it up with some sugar free creamer (tracked of course) or some sugar free flavored syrup. The flavored syrup is my new thing for home. A little can really go a long way! I use ½ a tablespoon and it is plenty. Coffee works better than tea for the full feeling. I am not sure why but I try not to look a gift horse too hard in the mouth. I did not drink coffee before but now that I have started it is a nice routine. I even have decaf because sometimes I feel the need to “snack” at night time and this can help if I am feeling desperate. 

Keep busy. It is easier to do physical busy activities on the weekend. Often you won’t notice that you are feeling a little hungry if you are up trying to get a chore done. Even if you do think “hmmm I could eat” you are usually so into your project you can put it off until the next appropriate food time. The important thing is to make sure you stop and eat at regular intervals. Otherwise, you may find yourself ravenous and falling headlong into poor food choices.

I am a soda drinker. I like the fizzy bubbles and the sweetness. Try making your own Italian soda’s. Using the sugar free syrup and club soda I can make myself a sparkly beverage to help cut the sweet tooth. It’s different from the La Croix flavored waters which are OK but a little bland. It really can help shake up the monotony of water and it feels like you are having a treat.

So tell me, do you have any tricks that you use to help pacify your consumption cravings?

Competitor Blog: And then I got mad - living with a chronic condition

If you have been following me for a while you may have picked up on the fact that, sometimes, I am a train wreck. I struggle with migraines, tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) all of which likes to manifest with a whole lot of nausea. I have a list of triggers that I know and some that I am still figuring out. Sometimes I go days or weeks without any issues. Other times it seems like it feels like a competition inside my own body on what is going to break me first. Migraines and IBS flairs both tend to land me in the recliner strategically positioned as to not anger the beast that is within me.

For me, carb heavy things are comforting during a flair up and with nausea. This gets difficult sometimes when trying to keep track of macros. I am very fortunate as to have a fair amount of carbs but not so many as to eat mashed potatoes at every meal.

Sometimes, I get mad and defiant at my own stomach. If I am going to be painful and nauseous anyways why does it even matter what I eat? This is typically when I fall headlong into a crap food bender. I think part of the reason is because I am trying to find some small semblance of comfort, even if it’s emotional comfort or the brain chemical dump of eating sugar and shit.

I have done better this go around, so far, with my emotional eating. But it has happened. I always feel a little guilty after I am done. But honestly who suffers from these decisions? My spouse and family may suffer the backlash of my flair up (we only have one bathroom). Mike may suffer from the frustration of not getting anticipated results. But the person who is paying the real price is me. I am penalizing myself for having ailments that cannot be controlled and throwing a tantrum because of it. I *really* like to control the things in my life. I am putting a long term goal and objective in jeopardy so I can shove easy gratification in my face.

So what am I going to do about it? I am going to acknowledge that I have some unhealthy coping mechanisms like emotional and sometimes binge eating. I am going to try to be more aware of these tendencies. I am going to forgive myself for screwing up. I am going to try to do my best to stick within my macros when I don’t feel well but I am not going to make myself sick(er) over it. I won’t make excuses for eating like crap. Follow people who I find inspirational on IG. People who have a tougher hand dealt to them by life and handle it with way more grace than myself.

It isn’t an exhaustive list but it is a start. I am still going to have to deal with the demons in my brain and belly. I just need to make sure I don’t give them any more fuel.

Competitor Blog: 1. 2. 3. GO!

When you first start your workout journey you have the excitement of something new and novel. You are going to go and you are gonna kill it, you are going to feel energized, you are going to have the clean body lines of a Lamborghini and it’s gonna be great! Unfortunately, the day dreams and the novelty wear off pretty quickly. What do you mean I have to go every day (or damn near close)? Quickly, many become frustrated when they look in the mirror and don’t see changes after day one (I did the thing! Where is my reward).

The exercise journey really is a journey and a mental marathon. So how does one find the motivation to get it frequently? Here are some things that I have found that help me:

  • Put money down on your goal. For me I am a bikini competitor. I find a show I want to do and I sign up for it or put a deposit down on a suit. I could absolutely not do what I signed up for but then I am losing money.
Another reason I can't work out at home
  • Tour the gyms and sign up for one. It’s similar to putting down money for your goal. I recommend finding one that is close to your house or work. Find one that you can easily hit when you are commuting so you can incorporate it into the already existing daily routine. For me the gym holds some motivation because I go there specifically to work out. When I am trying to workout at home I can be easily distracted by what else I need to do or I just lay on the floor because no one is going to judge me for that at home. 
  • Set yourself up for success. Every night pack your gym bag and leave it right in the way. Or if you gym in the morning put your gym clothes right next to your bed. You want to limit the chance for finding excuses. 
  • Be honest with yourself. I can come up with 100 very convincing sounding reasons why I can’t work out. These are excuses. I am not saying every day will be at the gym or be the most bad ass workout ever. Sometimes your workout will be short and lack luster. But honestly you can get SOMETHING in almost anywhere. 
  • Be creative. Some days you aren’t going to make it into the gym but you can certainly knock out something at home. Spend some time this weekend researching the web for free resource videos (Mike’s site, the very one you are reading this blog on, has some). Then write yourself a few home workout plans.
  • Invest in a few home items. Various resistance bands are a great place to start and fairly inexpensive. Keep an eye out at Ross and TJ Maxx for items you might use. I got an awesome 36” foam roller for $14 there! If you are looking to pick up weight keep an eye on Craigslist and OfferUp. Occasionally peruse Amazon. 

  • Believe you can do it. Because you can even when don’t want to. 

It is going to be work. You are still going to have to make the effort to do it. It will take time. But it IS worth it. Some days will good and some bad. Do it anyways. Invest in yourself, you ARE worth it.

Competitor Blog: The Feedings - How I plan for food success at events

There are a lot of people who start the fitness journey and say “I am going to be bikini ready! Gym won’t know what hit it! Abs are mine by summer!”. They go to the gym and a lot of people really do try hard while they are there. But what is a million times more difficult than making yourself go to the gym every day and lift things up and down or get that dreaded cardio in, is food.

Food has ingrained itself into just about every nook and cranny of our social structure. Birthday parties, anniversaries, baby showers, meetings, reuniting friendships, just general snacks hanging around the office. Food. Is. EVERYWHERE! And people get weird about other people not eating the food. I still enjoy participating in celebrations and catching up with friends. It just takes a bit more planning now on my part.

Here are some tips that help me survive events.

  • Eat a nice full meal before you go. Not some tiny little snack, a bit of lunch meat, saying it will hold you over. It won’t. Leave your place feeling full and satisfied. 
  • Pack yourself snacks in the car. My go to is cottage cheese. It’s relatively low in fat and has a decent amount of protein and can be scarfed pretty quickly. Jerky is another compact snack which is even easier to pack. 
  • Carry around a drink. I usually will grab a water or iced tea to have around with me. Other people are uncomfortable with the concept of you not eating. I don’t know why but this is a thing. When they see a beverage in hand they are able to relax that you are partaking with them. They don’t have to know what is in the cup. 
  • If the event is going to be particularly long, pack a lunch too. This is less likely to help you seamlessly blend into a group but it will ensure you stay on task. Make up any story you like. I stick with the truth: I am an athlete and I am training for an upcoming competition. If they want to know more they will ask.

You will get razzed from time to time but most of the people who do this are trying to be funny and lighten the mood. They do not understand the sacrifice and dedication it takes not to fall headfirst into the fruit tray (which are tons of carbs and you know you shouldn’t “eyeball” the weight). You absolutely can have your social time AND stick to your meal goals. It just takes some strong will and dedication.

Competitor Blog: What if I don't eat on schedule?

I am an eater. I love to eat. All the food all the time is my preference. But sometimes I make really terrible and stupid decisions. Not just about what I eat (because chicken nuggets doused in sauce ARE life). But also about the frequency in which I eat.

My body requires a fairly steady state of consuming fuel. The work week for me is easy-peasy; breakfast at 7:00, snack at 10:15, protein shake after the gym 12:30ish, lunch after that 1:00, snack at about 3:30 and then dinner about 6:00. I have the blessing of food prep assistance from my husband during the week. But once the weekends come I am usually more on my own. I don’t have lunch prepped out for me and sometimes I am in charge of the meals. I hate being in charge of the meals but it’s fair, I digress. On the weekend I can get SUPER lazy. I don’t want to fiddle with snacks because I am bored of them, nevermind shakes. I am not that creative or good of a cook. So I find myself slipping into not eating on a schedule like I should.

I happened to do this recently where I ate within my macros but definitely not how I should be eating. I should be eating with mindfulness, thoroughness, and consistency. Instead I was hoovering in a half a chicken breast off a fork while trying to gather myself to leave the house. I left the house with no snacks and vowed it would be fine.

Decidedly it would be less than fine. My day stretched on and I was getting hungrier and hungrier. I managed to refrain from eating the smorgasbord of snacks and delicious treats that were strewn about the event I was attending. I carefully checked the nutrients and made sure I could fit the impulse buy of food that I picked up from the store on my way home. I consumed my newly acquired snack with scary speed which helped to dull the pain in my stomach. Once I got home I quickly made dinner and finally sat down to eat.

I did not feel well. Even after I ate I did not feel well. I felt shaky and ran down. My stomach hurt. I had a headache. My body was aching and I could NOT get warm. It felt as if I had a virus all because I didn’t eat with the frequency that I should have. I know my body. I should have known it would react poorly to such little food with such haphazard consistency. I have a stomach condition which complicates things. I get blood sugar dips that make me sick. I get headaches from lack of food (or just breathing sometimes it seems). I know better.

This was a kick in the pants to pay attention. Food is fuel for your body. If you don’t fuel your body well it’s going to make you pay the price. I vow to do a better job of planning my weekends. I can still be a lazy slug but even slugs are eating.

Ab Roller Progression

This is a pretty grueling exercise, but Harley was killing it. This is the third set of these I made him do. These are super challenging because of the directional change. Check these out if you're looking for a new core exercise!

Taylor Dead Bug Kettlebell Variation

Taylor and I always have fun in the gym together, and this video is a good example. We've been working her core a lot lately. This is one of her favorite new ways we've used recently. I borrowed this one from Tony Gentilcore.

Competitor Blog: Changing Protein

My favorite thing to hear at the doctor’s is the phrase “as we age”. Thanks jerk face for yet another reminder that I am getting older. The ever increasing collection of white hair that rivals a unicorn wasn’t enough or the fact that I feel 9:00 pm is going to bed late. But lately I experienced one of these conversations when I went to the doctor for my skin that was breaking out like a pubescent teenager. It seems, as we age, our hormones change and that could be the cause of my breakouts. The doctor prescribed some medicine which is supposed to help (and keep me from clawing my skin off my face) and also recommended that I switch from whey protein to a vegetable based protein. Of course because I just opened a brand new bag of whey protein open.

So I journeyed down to the supplement store to see if I could discover a vegetable protein that was: 
  • High in protein without requiring a million servings 
  • Didn’t taste like crusty tree bark 
  • Wouldn’t cost me my first born
Now as you can imagine the vegetable protein section of the supplement store is fairly small but there was about 7 or so different types of protein there. I chose to select mine based off protein amount, then fat amount, then carb amount. I wanted to get the most protein for my buck. I selected the Vega Sport in chocolate. One full scoop supplies you with 30 g of protein. 

So off I went, new protein in hand and a heart full of hope. I really didn’t know what to expect. The guy at the store had a sample of another brand and it didn’t leave me with a longing for more. But this is protein powder. I don’t think I will ever be sitting at home and think “Dang! You know what I could use? A refreshing protein shake.”

Here is my experience with it thus far. Do not let it sit around, you will regret it. I mixed up a shake and then my youngest wanted some snuggles before bed. I had drank about half of it and left it for maybe 10 minutes. When I came back and gave it a shake it felt weird but my brain was like “nah, girl you are good”. So I take a big ol’ swing. Mother of God! My “drink” has turned into a thick gelatinous mass. I choked it down because, well, it’s weighed and in my food tracker so I have to. But every time I have to try I gag and die a little inside.

Even though I bought it reading the 30 g of protein I usually only do half a scoop, which is also listed on the label. I feel like the listing of the 30g was a sneaky way to get suckers like me looking for a high protein point reeled in. This is 9 under my previous whey protein and leaves my a little more prone to needing a second protein shake. Which for weird reasons I never want to do.

The flavor is chocolate-esque. In my opinion it is a little sickly sweet. I imagine that is because they use stevia to sweeten it. I HATE stevia in most things but I digress. I usually will drink my protein with my fiber supplement. Believe it or not I like this protein way better with the fiber then I did my other shake. The fiber supplement mellows out the over sweet and the texture seems to improve.

My husband has remarked how big of a mess I seem to be making with this new powder. Be warned: vegetable based protein powder likes to go EVERYWHERE. It seems to clump in the scoop and even cling to a spoon. So you end up trying to dislodge a significant portion of the powder from the scoop and subsequently flinging it. Or not realizing there is more in the scoop that decides it will dislodge midway between shaker cup and container. It isn’t just this brand either. I purchased another brand without flavor to try baking with and it does the same thing.

All in all I will survive with my vegetable protein. I have figured out some tricks like: 
  • Use more water than I am used to 
  • Always drink it with my fiber 
  • Drink it quick, this isn’t a shake for savoring 
I hope my trials and tribulations in the protein kingdom has helped you should you decide you need to branch out to a different supplement type.

Competitor Blog: What was that sound (TMI report)

This is one of those posts that is going to dive into a topic that may be a little too honest about me. If you have modest sensibilities, I recommend you stop reading now. As for the rest of you twisted souls read on.

I often complain and whine at Mike that there are exercises I don’t want to do. Mostly because they are hard or I am tired but I typically try to give my all and do my best anyways. My squawking is a way to keep us (maybe me more than him) entertained during exercise transitions. We finally found an exercise that I refused to do: the dragon flag. The Dragon Flag requires crazy core control and can be seen illustrated by the amazing bad ass Bruce Lee. The start of this move is actually more straight up and down (than pictured) and you gradually, with control, lower yourself down while maintaining the straight position (as if your body is a flag in the wind). I watched as Mike demonstrated the move. I have my reservations. This move is an inversion which I avoid like the plaque. Why? Well, it creates a perfect storm for a humiliating moment in a public place.

Most of you are probably familiar with one of these terms; queef, vart, or fanny fart, if you are from across the pond. These are all slang terms for what Wikipedia bestows the term “vaginal flatulence”. If you own a vagina you have no doubt experienced this unfortunate phenomenon at some point in your life. Wikipedia defines it as “an emission or expulsion of air from the vagina”. In my experience, there is no way to “fluff” it and make it be quiet and it always sounds like a Harley motorcycle cruising through some back country (BWAPBAPBAP!). 

Unfortunately for me, inversions are one of those things that have a high likelihood of inducing a queef. I eyed Mike warily during his demonstration and let him know my reservations. Like a true gentleman he assures me he won’t make it weird should a noise be emanated from my body. I took it further saying if that happens he is to claim the sound as his own. So I try and he tells me I need to be more up and down, straighter. So I try again and make the adjustments. The other awful thing about queef’s (in an exercise setting) is that typically the queefer can tell it’s going to happen but no one else can tell. And just like that, I know. It’s going to happen. I am going to make a noise that sounds like a loud wet fart in front of Mike and in a full gym with both friends and strangers.

I said “Hard no! Safe word: Oklahoma. I will NOT do that” and then we laughed about it. Because let’s face it what can you do? It’s an involuntary noise that comes from a culturally taboo body part and sounds horrendous; it’s kind of funny. But Mike understood and didn’t not push me to continue. He suggests maybe this is a home private exercise because it does have its benefits but I know he won’t ask me to do it in public again.

Competitor Blog: The Day the Plague Came

I was finally starting! I was going to see Mike, getting to the gym fairly regular, and starting to get my fitness life in order. It wasn’t perfect yet but all the things were finally being set into motion. And then it happened; a slight discomfort in my throat. I tried to play it off that it was a fluke. There was no way I was getting sick! I take vitamin C, I get lots of rest, I wash my hands, surely I could NEVER get sick. I woke up and the irritation was still there but again I lived in denial and drug myself to the gym. My workout was, at best, half assed but I figured that was better than no assed. I went to work but now the discomfort had mutated to a cough, just a slight one. Now, I try to be thoughtful to my co-workers. Even though I was taking my carcass into work I decided I should wear a mask just in case. After all, it was one of those sickos that started this mess. 

I made it half the day and before I called it quits. I take off for home and optimistically say I will shoot to be in the next day and, at the latest, the day after that. My boss looks at me with a sad, pitying look and says “just keep me posted and take your time”. It’s like she had an oracle! 

The Virus (it deserves to be capitalized) continues its rampage through my system. It get’s worse and to add the cherry on the cake I am now getting a bloody nose every time I sneeze or cough too hard. It’s official, this beast has decided to take up residence of what was once my upper respitory system. I am afraid to blow my nose for fear of dislodging a clot but my nose is running. I am coughing so hard I am unable to catch my breath. I can’t even bother with the burden of changing my sweatpant ensemble let alone pick up heavy things.

After not being able to catch my breath I decide it is time to go see the doctor, grudgingly. They test for influenza, which in case you are wondering, is shoving a narrow q-tip up your nostril (must not sneeze out blood clot or directly in doctors face) and listen for pneumonia. Good news! I am not dying, I do not have pneumonia, I do not have influenza, I just have some OTHER virus that Satan has spawned and dispersed into my system. 

The Virus hung on happily for a full 10 days! Then it kept some residual congestion past that. Once I was starting to finally turn the corner to healed days and sunny skies a migraine struck. I was laid up in my chair with motion sickness, light, smell and noise sensitivity. If I had the strength I would of dramatically called “WHY ME?!” while shaking my fists at the sky. As it was, I was laying in a carefully propped position trying to choke down a cracker and migraine meds while clutching a puke bucket.

Two whole weeks I was incapacitated for one reason or another. Fortunately, a person does not magically lose all the gains they have received. Nor do you lose the knowledge of what you need to do (motivation is questionable on loss). For me I shifted my focus and energy into recovering. That is what my body needed. I am super glad it happened now instead of near show date so I had more flexibility in my “sick dieting” which is essentially me eating carbs or anything else that sounds good because if I died tomorrow from the damn cold I would want to be a little happy.

So if you are getting sick make sure you get plenty of rest and fluids. Also practice good hand washing (use soap and sing the ABC’s) as well as wear a face mask if you are out and about. It’s OK to look weird if you save me from getting the plague again. Stay healthy people!!

Paul, kettlebells, Crosscore pushups, stability ball exercises

Sometimes I give Paul some interesting core challenges. These exercises combined will really make you feel your abdominals and obliques!