Live Life

It sounds redundant to say but live life. You think of course I am living life. If I wasn’t alive how could I read this awesome blog post? Pssshhh, someone has lost their marbles, clearly. But when I say life your live I mean engage in life.

Prepping for this competition is going to into high gear now. With that, I start to pour more of myself into my workouts and thinking about competition things. I know I can’t be the only who’s time is a hot commodity. Trying to divide myself between all the things can be difficult on a good day. I realize these next few months are going to be more difficult for me to get out and meet my social aspect of life. But difficulty doesn’t mean impossibility.

I plan on living my life. I want to spend meaningful time with my family. Kids really just want your attention even in the little things. My littlest loves to work out with me. So sometimes I make a point to do a workout at home that may have a lot of pauses but she can join too. I need to slow down and play board games with them. Even if we are eating different food just being able to all sit down to eat dinner together is great. The family is relationship number one.

I do love being a social butterfly. I enjoy going out with friends, parties, dancing and other social gatherings. These can be a huge diet hurdle. Often at social gatherings there is a generous sprinkling of food and drink. Most of these the most delicious calorie, carb dense foods imaginable. One night of binging can set you WAY back, no matter how much you say you will work out, you won’t. I recently went to a party. I successfully avoided the food and drink. Was it easy, no. Was it worth it, absolutely. Eating a large dinner prior to going out to keep me full helped. Unfortunately, some parties have people who are exuberant and feel like you need to drink to have fun (this is a lie by the way). Carrying around a cup of water or doing DD duty will help keep you from being hassled. Or just tell them no. Although keep in mind saying a simple no is sometimes more work.
Must resist temptation!

Share your goals with your friends and family. Often times people want you to feel included and happy. Eating and drinking always seem to be entwined with perceived happiness. If you explain that you have a competition and eating a certain way loved ones do try to understand, even if they don’t fully understand.

It won’t be easy to balance it all. There will be very difficult days. It will take planning and balancing. Just remember life is MORE than weight lifting and protein shakes. It is friends, families and smiles as well.

Callouses! AH! My saving grace? Or the thorn of my existence? One thing that you will start to notice as your lifting progresses is that your soft lady hands start to resemble that of an 80 year old mechanic. I have never had tough hands, I work in an office I have natural finger nails and slender fingers. Developing callouses is a natural part of training. As your muscles grow so do your callouses. Almost everything involves your hands. Pull ups, curls, deadlifts, dips, even squats if weighted require you to grip that stinkin bar! Your hands pay the price. Callouses are a natural product, a means of protecting your body from constant use. You want big callouses --but not too big of callouses and finding the happy spot is a constant struggle. Caring for your hands needs an much attention as caring for your diet or your muscles.

One option is lifting gloves. I have a pair but I try not to wear them. It is important that your hands learn to manage the stress so that you are not completely dependent on them. Gloves are inexpensive and a great thing to have in a pinch but they are not something that you are going to want to be using on the regular. My personal favorite is chalk, I carry a ziplock bag of chalk in my car, hopefully the next time I get pulled over the police don't assume it is anything other than chalk and sick the drug dogs on me.

Chalk provides a great means of sweat absorption but it dries your hands out and cracked dry hands are no joke when you are trying to lift. It is super important if you are using chalk on the regular that you are washing and moisturizing your hands every time. It is good practice to wash your hands when you are finished at the gym regardless but especially with chalk. Even for you fellas! Wash and moisturize. When you are training intensively you want to make sure you are listening to your body. 

When I deadlift heavy I usually do set of 5 with a tiny brake, my hands turn pale white and start to throb so I give them a minute-but just a minute to recover. With less intense weight I opt for a bit of a less secure grip, but one that puts less pressure on the areas that tend to callous. In the event that I have not been practicing what I preach a start to develop large callouses, its time to file. Be it a pumice stone, an aggressive loofah or a file when your callouses get to big you run the risk of ripping them off. A sin no lifter wants to commit. An uncovered torn callous is the equivalent of a lifters bed rest. Well maybe not for everyone, but Im a baby. Red, raw, throbbing open wounds have no place in the gym (think MRSA, infection etc both for you and your gym-mates) 

In order to prevent tearing you cant let them get too big, but on the contrary you need adequate protection for regular hand use. In conjunction with callous care, fingernails can pose major problems also, I cant tell you how many times I have cut my fingers open with my own fingernails. Generally for me I slice my ring fingers with my pinky nails, or all of my nails slicing up my palms. Heavy lifting is easier with short well manicured nails. My most important tip for hand care is to not lift in any jewelry. I dont wear a lot of jewelry, but I am married so whenever I go to the gym, I take my ring off. The metal digs into my little baby hands and forces me to quit because my finger hurts well before my legs are about to give out. I love lifting barehanded, but I found as a lady at the gym a ring finger indent was a huge "COME TALK TO ME" flag for stray creepers. Id highly encourage both married and single women to invest a few dollars in a Qalo silicone ring.

This is not only a comfortable, sports based band, but a wonderful creeper repellent. Lifting promises beautiful results, but sometimes the path isint so pretty. For me I get to choose between nice hands or nice legs. What are your favorite hand care methods?

“Normal” People Don’t Care About Your Macros

I have never been “normal” so that isn’t new to me.  But I have never been into ‘dieting’ either.  Since I have started following IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) I have alienated myself even further.

When you first get your macros given to you there is a bit of an adjustment period.  There is a struggle of balancing the macro nutrients and figuring out the magic to getting them all to balance just right.  The first time you see all of the goals met across the board it’s like you are seeing a unicorn rearing in a colorful sunrise, it is breath takingly beautiful!  Surely, everyone you know and love wants to hear about your magical experience!  The truth is most people, normal people, non IIFYM people don’t give a rip about it.  A lot of people don’t even know what IIFYM is.  And even after explaining I still have people look at me perplexed. 

I have to remind myself that normal people are not experiencing what I am.  They haven’t put this set up magical hurdles in front of themselves.  For example: I really don’t care that you have been on an all kale diet for the last three days.  That sounds like hell, please excuse me while I eat this delicious cheeseburger.  And that’s when I realize it’s the same for those people when they hear me talking about my macros.  They don’t know what it is except that some sort of restraint that is required and ergo not fun.

There is light at the end of the tunnel however.  With the advances in technology you can find a support group on social media and the like.  As well as connect with friends from the gym in real life who are experiencing the same thing but not necessarily the same macros.  These friends will become invaluable.  When you feel like you have hit rock bottom and you can’t eat another morsel of protein they can cheer you on or suggest something that has worked well for them.  You can find and share recipes on the online forums and groups.  When you hit your numbers just right and all your goals are met you can screenshot it and send it to these friends and they will be genuinely excited.  They know the struggles, they know the dedication, and they know the pride that you feel.  Seems so silly but it feels good to share something that for being so little is enormously hard.

So it’s ok normal people.  I forgive you.  You aren’t trying to alienate me.  I realize you don’t understand why eating that fun sized candy bar would ruin everything.  Please try not to judge me as I weigh my food and don’t jump up and down for the chance at impromptu lunch out.  Today’s transgressions will reflect in next week’s body and next week’s body has some lofty goals.  I forgive you, please try to forgive me.


What is guilt?  Some people describe it as the conscious, the little angel on your shoulder telling you the right from wrong.  The definition of guilt, in this sense, is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. 

With the holidays and celebrations in full swing I have been consumed with guilt.  Diet guilt.  In the past I would careen of the macro wagon face first into a pile of deep fried sugar and bliss.  I would go dark and track nothing.  Tracking nothing made me feel like I didn’t have to look at my transgressions later.  I wouldn’t have to wake up in bed and face what I brought home.  Mike begged, pleaded, cajoled, demanded, and eventually coaxed me into not going dark.  That if I fell off the wagon to at least hold myself accountable.  If was going to hop in bed with bad dietary decision I better wake up and face them in the morning.  I was doing a really good job.  These bulking macros made my life awesome and I could get just about anything in my macros.  It was awesome.  And then, like a kick the face - HOLIDAYS. 
This was from Thanksgiving.  Christmas looked similar.

I always try to start with the best intentions.  At home it’s not so bad I can control what I eat.  The kids are used to me weighing my food and the sweets can be hidden from my sight relatively quickly. But go out to a large gathering and there is a dessert table that puts the main course to shame.  Anything you could dream of wanting is there.  When you bring your scale (because you already had a holiday fall out the day prior and you are trying really hard to be good) you feel like you are being stared at or judged.  And then because your mom loves you she packs all the outer edges from the rice crispy treats she cut into snowflakes just for you because they are your absolute favorite.  Once you break the seal on those rice crispy treats you might as well kiss all those
good intentions goodbye.  I would love to track how many servings I ate of those but I was shoving them in my face by the fistful and My Fitness Pal doesn’t have “fistful” or “ass ton” as a serving size option I am afraid.

The stress of life, holidays and the like, coupled with the opportunity to drink cider with my sister was too good to pass up.  And so not only do I have one Achilles heel struck (rice crispy treats) I had the other as well (2 Towns and girlie beers).  Of course the only recourse after all of that was drive through on the way home.  It’s ALWAYS a sound decision after beers….ALWAYS.   Try as my husband might to discourage me I was persistent about my never ending, undying love, and need for Carl’s Junior’s Western Bacon Cheeseburger (there are frickin’ onion rings on that thing people AND bacon!!).

I do feel guilty about it.  I should of tracked it.  All of it.  I should of looked back today and cried about all the carbs I murdered.  I do not regret the fun that I had with family.  The chance to cut loose a little bit.  But I must remember next time to track my binge and face my dirty secret in the morning. 

Being in a Funk

Usually I go to the gym and although not always excited to be there I typically don’t mind being there.   I still give 100% and joke around with Mike.

This last week I noticed in a lot of things, not just the gym, I just haven’t been feeling it.  I don’t know if it’s the clouds and rain, the surmounting stress of life, PMS or the rolling in of the holidays but I don’t feel like myself.  I haven’t been able to sleep well and I have not been satisfied with my gym trips.  It felt as if I was just going through the motions of what was wanted.  I got a good sweat and worked hard but I didn’t feel satisfied.

Let’s face it I have the “blues”.  Doesn’t really matter if it is seasonal depression or the regular kind, it sucks.  To complicate matters I am an emotional eater.  So even though I am not hungry my brain starts to send signals we should eat to attempt to illicit a satisfaction response.  Can I have snacks?  Absolutely.  Can I have the one my tongue is telling my brain it needs, yes but not in the quantity desired and not without planning.
These feelings or lack of satisfaction makes meeting goals difficult.  It makes keeping up on interesting blog topics difficult.  It makes killing it in the gym difficult.  It makes hitting macros consistently difficult.  It makes enjoying the little things in life difficult. 
At this point, it isn’t a very big concern but it is certainly something I will keep an eye on.  I want to be able to enjoy the gym, sleep and life again.  The holidays are over.  The days are now getting longer.  Hopefully, expensive items in my home will stop breaking.  I will be swearing and smiling in the gym soon, I just know it.

For an entertaining yet serious web comic about depression check out Hyperbole and a Half: Depression Part Two.  Please note I am NOT to this stage but I understand the picture she paints.  She also is the artist of the lovely image above!