Friday, September 21, 2012

IF and me

IF -aka intermittent fasting- has been gaining a lot of attention lately. It's not a new dieting/lifestyle concept but seems to have definitely been spreading like wildfire. I read somewhere someone compared it to the cult that is known as crossfitters (no offense to crossfitters I have many that are dear friends) and I can certainly see why they made the comparison.

I read about IF sometime ago from Sohee Lee, I knew it was something she followed but really didn't delve much into it. When I stumbled upon it again on another fitness page I decided to research it. What I found struck a chord so deep in me it was almost like the stars exploded and planets aligned.

Ok ok maybe it wasn't that dramatic! It did however just feel right. You see, I have never been a breakfast eater, I much prefer having a cup or two of coffee in the am and then beginning my eating phase after noon. It's how I operated, breakfast, or really any food before noon, would make me nauseous and lethargic. And then I entered the world of fitness and the clean eating lifestyle. Everything I read and was told was to eat 5-6 meals a day, breakfast is the most important meal, blah blah metabolism blah. So when I signed on with my first coach that is exactly the kind of meal plan I was given and followed.

I hated it. I remember complaining on many a biweeklies how hard it was to eat my breakfast, it was too much food, it made me feel icky. I never received a response to those complaints from my then coach. Eventually though my body did adjust to having those 5 meals per day and I started to feel as if I *needed* my breakfast. I would become Madame Crankypants without my eggs and oats first thing in the morning! I got results (not exactly the amazing results I was expecting, but results none the less) following this method so obviously it works right? Right. But is it the only way to "diet"? Is it the only way to have a healthy metabolism and live a healthy lifestyle?

In a word, no. And this was mind blowing to me! You mean to tell me I can go back to my normal daily fluxes and still maintain a healthy metabolism and lead a healthy lifestyle? Bananas! But that is exactly what this thing called IF claimed. It's not really about skipping breakfast, that's not what I want you to take from this. It's more about following your bodies own natural rhythms, or at least it is for me, and getting results and feeling fantastic!

Now, I really read a ton on the internet before I dove into this. There are after all several different styles of IFing and I wanted to follow the style that fit my personality and my lifestyle. I discovered and Martin's method of IF. This was the one that felt right. Fast for 14-16 hours, feed for 8-10 hours. After deciding on what would be my fasting and feeding times I set out to make up a meal plan guideline of sorts just so I knew how much I needed to eat at each meal. I have since found it's much easier for me to wing it and eyeball my food than to weigh and measure and plug in info into a food calculator.

When I began IF I was sitting at about 128lbs, some I had gained almost immediately after my last comp when I went a little fast and free with the crap food, some I gained following a typical 6 meal a day building plan, I was eating about 2300-2500c cal a day and struggling. Switching to IF I had bumped my cal intake to 2700 and in the first week dropped 4lbs. Oops, that was not what I meant to do! I was able to increase my calories to 3000 holy cow! I gained back what I lost and have been holding steady at 130. I am rather shocked at just how much food I can eat with IF and not gain weight, which of course means another calorie increase ;)

One of the things I enjoy most about IF is the flexibility, if I am hungry a little earlier than my normal feed window it's ok I can go ahead and eat, not hungry or busy running around town? I can prolong my fasting window and IT'S OK! I don't feel tied down to tupperware and the clock anymore, I don't feel obsessed with food. If I have a craving I can indulge it without guilt. I eat 95% clean with a little bit of not so clean in my post workout meal and it's working for me. I have more energy during the day, I don't feel so brain foggy, and I am not constantly starving or the other end of the spectrum of being constantly full, a feeling that I had been dealing with for sometime even when my meal frequency and calories dropped during contest prep. I am loving the IF lifestyle and while I don't discount the 5-6 meal a day way of thinking, it wasn't natural for me, IF is.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Post comp blues and all that shit

The first few days after my last comp I was still flying pretty high, up a few pounds from eating a bunch of food but still looking lean and tight. It didn't take long for all of those extra treats to really start catching up with me. I was definitely way too lax during my week off but at the same time things were in a upheaval, and while I am in no way an emotional eater I was very much on the "I don't give a shit" train.

You see on Tuesday I decided to not listen to my coaches advice to not train and kept my training appt (that had been scheduled and paid for a few weeks prior) with Tanji Johnson. Being the big mouth that I am of course I posted all about it on facebook, I swear I have no restraint when it comes to sharing ;p After my session I emailed my coach and she "fired" me. It sucked and I was hurt. I knew enough that I wanted to have a coach that had the same lbc/mmt philosophies on diet and training but I am not experienced enough to even know where to look for new coaches. I decided then instead to go ahead and hire Tanji as my trainer. I was already working with her once a month, she is the team owner and I see her several times a month for team events. I knew from the trainings we had done and the physiques of the others she trains that this would be a good move for me. That left needing someone to handle the nutrition side.

Queue myself! I do know how to create a meal plan (obvs since this is what I do for others!) and could easily create one for myself. The trouble of course would be looking at myself objectively. I still have to work on that one, but I am getting there ;)

So with all of that, the next week I was supposed to get right back on track, follow my plan. But I still allowed cheats every night. It was like I had lost any sense of self control. The more cheats I had, the fluffier I got, the more the scale moved upward and the lower my emotions got. Last weekend I had a long talk about it with Nate. We quickly discovered he was having the same feelings in regards to his weight gain (he is in a huge building phase right now) and was depressed over how quickly he too was gaining back the fat. That conversation really helped me out a lot!

I have been working to tighten up my diet (even in a surplus it is no reason to be sloppy!) and stop with the little cheats and BLT's. I am feeling much more comfortable with my fluffier self and the scale is not going to determine my level of happiness. I am taking back control and by doing so my mood has definitely improved. Now I am ready to move forward with my building phase and enjoy the extra food and major strength gains in the gym. I know when the time comes I will shed this layer of fat to reveal some amazing gorgeous new muscle and be ready to take the stage again better than ever!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Competition Thoughts- warning LONG

I have now competed in two NPC shows and I am processing the events still. One of my first thoughts on this experience is "amazing!" I'm not sure I can sum up in a few words the emotions and experiences from the past 2 weeks!

My first show was a disaster of epic proportions. My custom suit didn't fit correctly so I had to do a last minute sub out. While the color looked great on me pre-tan once I was spray tanned and on stage it fell a little flat on me. My hairstyle, while cute was too contrived you could say. It looked like I was trying too hard was the feedback I received, so while I love the pinup style and it's unique, it's not good for the stage.

This show really just seemed poorly organized, which ended up being a blessing because really once you've experienced the worst of everything then all other shows will be a breeze lol So from the get-go my tan went crazy and I had to be re-sprayed in the morning, then we found out they were having us walk in from stage right instead of stage left, and that instead of walking out in a lineup for the prejudging we were doing our presentation poses. Oy, presentation poses was the one thing we had not yet gone over in posing clinics and small posing practice. I was very thrown off by all of this and then I got up on stage and was blinded by the huge bright lights and OMG the stage was carpeted too! I pretty much lost my shit up there, I don't really remember much of what happened to be honest but I know it wasn't pretty. On the other hand I was kind of pretty ;)

After that show I was feeling very upset and disillusioned. I couldn't understand why anyone liked competing or wanted to do it. All I could think about was if I hadn't already sunk so much money in to this next comp I would back out. Except I'm not a quitter and dropping out of the show would be quitting. I knew I had a lot of friends competing in this show and the experience would be different so I plugged ahead. I brought a better attitude and even better physique to the stage.

The class I competed in was certainly a hard one, the girls were all young and gorgeous and definitely had more flirty stage presence than I. But I went out there with no expectations except to have fun and nail my routine. I definitely felt I did much better this time around, I was relaxed and did a good job remembering to smile, keep my hands flared and keep my ass out lol When I made first call outs I was shocked! I had hoped for a top 5 finish but honestly wasn't expecting it at all. There was so much excitement before stepping on stage I nearly forgot everything (and yes there was drama with my tan AGAIN!) when we got off stage the whirlwind of excitement did not end.

After getting back to my hotel room I had a few minutes to relax, eat some food and check in with everyone on facebook. Then I had to pack my bags freshen up and head out for a photoshoot. That was a lot of fun but holy hard work batman! Not sure I really want to do any actual modeling work haha. I had like no idea wtf I was doing and I'm sure that made it not so fun for the photographer.

Once the photoshoot was done it was back to my room where a few of us competitors hung out and chatted, ate a bit more food, fixed our hair and makeup and right back to the venue. I had to be re-sprayed AGAIN (omg!) which made me way too dark IMO and still looked like crap under the lights. By this point I was so exhausted I seriously lacked the energy I needed to have on stage and my smile? Could barely even force it even when they announced my placing! But you know what? I still looked damn good and I am so proud of the fact that not only did I get up on that stage and work it but I took home 4th place and qualified for Jr USA's which has been my impossible/possible goal.

Things I learned these 2 weeks? Small shows are a great way to practice your stage presence and posing, even if it does end up being a disaster. Competing is hella more fun when you are surrounded by friends and family! I am totally addicted to competing now and am sad that I won't be on stage again for another 9 months as I go into off season to build up more muscle. And finally, I am not meant to be a model lol

I have to say though none of this would have ever been possible without a few people.

1-my husband who has supported me through this and dealt with y crazy mood swings as I went through contest prep. He has helped keep me focused and not let me stray from my diet as much as he possibly could! There is no way I could have done any of this without him <3

2-my coach, Amy Perez at Metabolic Mayhem Training, for whom without I may not have reached my physique goals. Some days I wonder how she puts up with me but she does and always keeps me on track!

3-my buffy, Sarah. If it weren't for her I would have never found LBC which would have never lead me to the thought of bodybuilding or competing and would never have led me to my current coach at MMT. Sarah has been a huge source of support for me and listened to me bitch and moan and whine as well as helped push me when I felt I couldn't push any more

Here are pics from this past show :-)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Peak Week!

Before I delved into actually becoming a competitor I heard a lot of talk about peak week. I didn't really understand what it was or meant other than it being that week before a competition. The things I read some of these gals were doing (not just in peak week but their entire contest prep) scared me a little. Eating only asparagus, tilapia and boiled chicken? Ew! Loading up on distilled water and dropping all sodium, uh what? Double or triple cardios, are you insane? No fruit, little to no carbs, oh my!

That seemed to be the standard and I didn't want to do the standard, I didn't want to be another story of a metabolic damaged competitor. I knew I wouldn't compete if that was what I had to put my body through. Thankfully I had found LBC/MMT long before the thought of competing had ever crossed my mind and I knew this was not the way they prepped.

So here I am, finally at peak week and my prep hasn't felt like a prep at all! Carbs with most of my meals, fruit in 2 of my meals, no magic fish (aka tilapia), no boiled chicken or distilled water and if I don't want to eat asparagus I don't have to! Now don't get me wrong I love asparagus and I like tilapia as well, but I chose not to eat them simply as me being defiant to the "standard contest prep" diet. I know, soooo mature ;)

What did change for peak week? Oh well we changed up my cardio a little, and I am still doing less than 3 hours a week, yes a week! A slight loss in carbs (like a whole 10gr oh no lol) just to help tighten it up that last little bit, and the infamous water loading. 2.5 gallons of water per day and keeping my sodium intake consistent. Now I thought man I struggle most days to get in 4-5 liters how in the heck am I going to drink 10? Then I realized it really isn't that difficult at all. I watch the clock and try to guzzle a .5-1 liter per hour (depending on what time I wake up). Even with all of this water I AM STILL THIRSTY! I woke up this morning feeling dry in my mouth and had to chug a liter asap. I also woke up a pound down which is awesome! This was the day we would decide to remove dairy or not and since I am not bloating and already dropping weight I get to keep dairy and protein powder for a few more days. This made me unbelievably happy as I have been creating some amazing "milk"shakes with protein powder and cottage cheese. Now you would think with 2.5 gallons of water in my belly that 1) I wouldn't be hungry/have room for food and 2) want to find ways to add more volume to my food whilst staying on plan, but you'd be wrong. I am hungry like a hippo.

Today marks 6 days out from my first show and I get to pick up my custom designed suit from a fabulous local designer today. Super excited to get it! Actually I think I shall wait to post this until after I have it so I can post a pic of me in it :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Losing control, it happens

I have really prided myself on how well I have handled contest prep and it flowing well in my regular routine. Now I have always said I am not the routine type, I am a fly by the seat of my pants, what happens happens, kind of person. I discovered this week I am very very much the routine type. You see up until last week my routine was fairly boring and routine. Get up, drive the husband to the vanpool, come home and do dishes, make coffee, get kids up for school . . .and so the day progresses. Nothing really exciting you know? A little tv here, a lot of facebook there, go to the gym blah blah blah. Nice and comfy. And then I joined Team Save Fitness and holy balls did my routine fly right out of the window and my life went from boring and predictable to insanely busy! Trips to Renton to train with Tanji Johnson, posing clinics, field trips for the kids and kids with the chicken pox. I am still not done, I have more training this month, team camp, posing class, meeting with an image consultant and my suit designer, and I am sure more field trips and more kids with chicken pox, on top of running my business and I am supposed to be starting my PT job at the produce stand any day now. That leads us into the whole losing control thing. All of the past week+ activities started to catch up to me and I was losing sleep on top of it. Two days ago started a downward spiral into bingeville. I am not a binger, I am not an emotional or stress eater and generally I don't really eat sweets. I had a big bite of my sons birthday cake and it was so delicious, suddenly it was like a sugar trigger had been set off. I couldn't stop eating the frosting candy bits from the cake. Later that night I ate 2 cookies and made a fluffernutter sandwich (if you have never had one of these omg eat one!). I woke up yesterday with the resolve to stay on track, and figured being on another field trip it would be pretty simple to do right? Wrong. It started out innocently enough with a cookie, and then another cookie, then a huge ice cream cone, chocolate covered pretzel bites, some potato chips . . . I came home and said to myself I am going to bed and I don't plan to eat anymore. Yea that didn't really last long. Made a buffalo chicken wrap, had a grilled cheese with tomato soup, rice cakes, mini cookies, chocolate froyo popsicle, gummie bears. Yea it was bad. I finally fell asleep but then was woken up by my husband bringing up my last meal of the night. I woke up miserable, I felt like I needed to throw up, my stomach was so bloated it almost looked like I was having a food baby, and yet I ate that snack he brought up. I woke up this morning and while I felt better I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. My abs are gone and they feel bruised (wtf?) ad I am up 5lbs. Of course I know it's all glycogen and water and will go down in the next day or two but I feel even worse for what I put my body through. I talked to friends and that helped me work through what happened and how I lost control like I did. It happens, it's "normal" and I just need to pick up and move on. That is exactly what I plan to do. Along with that I need to set my schedule better and learn I simply cannot do it all. I may be super but I am also human and humans have limits and breaking points. I think I found mine! Today, fresh start, new day. Back on track focused on my goals. I will remember exactly how miserable I felt and feel with that major food binge so I don't have a repeat. I also can see that any plans I had to eat loosey goosey after my comp will not happen, my body just does not like it one single bit!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The insanity has begun!

Man what a week this has been! I made the decision to join Tanji Johnson's Team Save Fitness and things have been a whirlwind! We had our initial consult and posing practice on Thursday which was a lot of fun and I learned quite a bit. I adore this woman, she is so charismatic, bubbly, friendly, genuine! I nearly kissed her when she told me I had no visible cellulite and how nice it was I didn't have any back fat rolls as many competitors do still at this stage. Hmm I don't think I have ever had back fat rolls! Friday was a very long 12 hour day with Victoria's class for a field trip and then I was right off to the gym for training. Saturday was back up at Tanji's gym for our first team posing class. This is where I really felt the burn, posing for an hour is not easy. Hell bikini posing in general is very hard on the body. There is a lot of back arching, chest lifting, tummy sucking, hip twisting, shoulder rotating positions to contort your body into. Finding the right pose for your body in both the front and back pose stances can be tricky. Thank goodness for this team and all of the posing practices we have! Today was yet another busy but not as busy day, to Oly for hoop class, to the gym for training, posing and pictures, and then home to discover 2 more cases of kids with pox! So Pixie has recovered and has been back in school all week and now the other 4 will be out of school this week. I had been looking forward to my quiet Monday to make phone calls and catch up on clients meal plans. I'll still be doing those things but now I will have to do it with kids in the background. And then the rest of this week is more insanity with a field trip on Tuesday with Pixie, teaching a training to Nate's division on Wed, Thursday will be an image consultation and training with Tanji, Friday wow I think I have Friday free, Saturday is a fairwell party to some dear friends, and Sunday is hoop class and a wellness presentation. The week after that should be quieter with just having a suit fitting/consultation possibly. As far as I know at the moment nothing is planned for that week, I really really really hope it stays that way!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Food as fuel vs food as entertainment

This is something I see come up a lot, especially the more I read into this beast called bodybuilding competing. When it comes to food and contest prep there is a fine line between being overly obsessed and having a healthy relationship with food. I can see how easy it is to cross that line! As someone who has always enjoyed food, and growing up in the south spent many a weekend at social gatherings that were very foodcentric. No matter what food always seemed to be the center of all events! Now I am in prep mode and while I still enjoy a very large range of foods and certainly have learned how to create basic foods into amazing fun foods I do look at food a bit differently. It is the fuel for my body, my muscles. It is what powers my workouts and keeps me healthy on the inside. I eat to workout, not workout to eat. Oh well maybe I do workout to eat, I have some amazing postworkout foods ;) However, just because I do have this healthy relationship with food, seeing it as my fuel, does not mean I don't or can't see food as entertainment! This is where I think the line gets crossed from healthy to obsessive. In my opinion if you only view food as one or the other, there is a problem. You need a healthy balance of fuel and fun, when it becomes so strict it's only fuel or you just don't give a rat's hiney and food is all about enjoyment, it's time to take a look at what is going on deep inside. I read a comment snarking on girls that create post comp food binge menus. For some, the ones who prep the insane way, this can spell disaster. For others it can be a way of putting specific food wants down on paper and out of their heads. I've been on a fantastic nutrition plan since August of 2011, not a long time really but certainly no room in there for some of my favorite occasional treats. I'm not an emotional eater, I have no emotional attachment to any food. I have a post competition fun food list. Will I eat all the items on my list? Oh heck no! I know my body can't handle all of that crap LOL plus I have no plans of having a post comp rebound. Or maybe I will have every item on my list, 1 bite of each. All things in moderation I say! I do plan to let loose and just enjoy some good eats the week after my comp, I want to relax, chill out and not think about calories or weighing portions etc. So what are your thoughts? Can food be both fuel and entertainment? Do you balance out the fun with the necessary, or do stay pretty strict with your food all year round?