Chasing Rainbows

I haven’t blogged at all yet this year. In fact, I haven’t done much yet this year. Please don’t think that I am insinuating that I have been lazy or given up by any means. I simply have taken time to work on myself and reevaluate my dreams and goals in order to build a plan. Normal life (beyond work and the gym and raising children) took a backseat.

I took my nutrition and training back to the drawing board and overhauled everything. I’m keeping a close log of how every change affects my overall package. I have brought my posing back to basics in hopes of having a much better presentation when I finally do compete again. I have kept my focus on building muscle while keeping my body fat down. Now I am finally beginning to ‘cut’ and start to get into stage shape.

Meanwhile, I have also been working on designing a career path. I have spent ten years in my industry and gathered certifications and qualifications that should be worth quite a bit to the right employer. I have put a lot of thought into what the ‘right’ job would look like for me versus how I can be of the most value to an employer. I have made an effort to make my current position take the shape of my vision but have not been able to work with my current company to see it through. I’m in negotiations with another company and I hope that I’ll be able to make that announcement shortly. I pray it will be the last career change I have to make!

Lastly, I have been working on myself. I have been single for almost eight months now. That’s not exactly a long time but it has been enough to clearly see where I can make progress on a personal level. I’ve always treated happiness and success as destinations to be reached instead of transient events/feelings that occur in the moment. Instead of focusing on these things (which our society places so much value on), I have been working on building my values and morals. I’m not going to espouse that I’m some great theologian now but I’m doing some reading and lots of listening. I’ve visited churches and schools and talked to friends, family, and the ‘professionals’ about every topic I can think of. And, while this journey will never be complete, I’m happy to say that I think my current progress will lead to the ability to have a fundamentally happy life through living true to myself. And one day maybe I can share it with a partner that is taking the same journey of self-exploration and growth.

I have missed emptying the thoughts rattling around my head onto a blank screen. And I miss the feedback that my blog received. Most of all I long for the friendships it kindled with people who related to my ramblings. So I’m going to make an honest effort to begin blogging regularly again. I’m not exactly sure of how often or how much but I want to share my journey to the stage and beyond with everyone who encouraged me to take the first steps back in 2014. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you all.

Happy Leap Day friends! I’ll be back soon!

Calories In Vs. Calories Out? Not so fast!

December is here and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been thinking (or trying to avoid it) about all the goals you didn’t meet and what you want to do better in the new year. I’ve talked about the problems with New Year’s resolutions before and I’ve made the same mistakes as everyone else. So for 2016 I have been doing my homework and making a plan.
What kind of plan? Well, I kind of want to compete again if the stars align. I wasn’t lean or built enough in May. My placings were disappointing and I felt overall miserable about the whole experience. Since then I have dropped the coaches I was working with and started putting in the time and effort to learn enough to be my own coach. Obviously, being a certified personal trainer, I can put together an exercise plan but I knew I had to go deeper. I need to understand how my diet, my lifting, my cardio, and even my sleep patterns affect everything down to a hormonal and cellular level.

I read every study I could get my hands on. I talked to competitors I admired and those that I didn’t want to emulate. I took their advice back to the books and tried to figure out the why behind how it worked (or didn’t). After learning so much (and still having so much more to go) I decided to share some of what I’ve found to help my fellow athletes and those who just want to look or feel better in the new year. If you’re ready to throw out everything you’ve ever believed about losing weight then keep reading.

Every diet (I hate that word) starts with counting calories. As long as you eat less than you burn you’ll lose weight, right? WRONG! Studies show that people who restrict their energy (calorie) intake long term will basically adjust to the new ‘normal’. Hormones like leptin, insulin, testosterone, and T3 (a thyroid hormone) will all decrease. The ‘bad’ hormones, ghrelin and cortisol, which encourage fat storage, will increase. Over time you have to eat less and less to continue losing weight until your body is in a chronic state of starvation and you can no longer maintain your ‘diet’. You will inevitably overeat at some point and gain weight quickly because your metabolism is in the toilet.

This is where calorie cycling and refeeding come into play. Periodic refeeding (having that cheat meal or dessert) can increase the hormones that encourage fat loss temporarily. Taking this a step further, refeeds should happen on a day that you lift weights. Why? Because then your body uses those extra calories to preserve muscle (or even build a little bit more) instead of storing them as fat. Keeping your caloric intake on rest days lower than on training days will further balance out the refeeds and keep fat loss steady.

This still doesn’t mean you can starve yourself the rest of the time. A weekly loss of no more than 0.7% of your weight is ideal. So, at 140 pounds, this would be 1 pound a week. As you get smaller, the amount you can safely lose without sacrificing lean mass (muscle) will also shrink. This is why a long, slow ‘cut’ is much better than a crash diet. I made this mistake (well, my coaches did) during my competition prep. I lost 12.5 pounds in 25 days going into my show and I was tired, weak, and mean. It took months for me to regain the strength I lost and find my motivation again. And I still didn’t look as good as the other girls on that stage. So, overall, I gained nothing from the deprivation and misery.

Any bodybuilder or powerlifter will tell you that decreasing your weight will also decrease your performance. One way to fight back against this is to consume most of your carbs each day around your workout. Carbohydrates are turned into glycogen and used for energy during exercise. When your carbs run out so does your motivation, strength, and performance. Make sure your body is supplied with enough energy to get through each workout and don’t do cardio before weights. Studies have shown that cardio, especially HIIT (high intensity interval training), will leave your muscles too fatigued for resistance training.

The summary of all of my research basically comes down to what you likely already knew. Losing fat is a long, slow process. Eat enough, but not too much, and exercise often. If you were looking for the shortcut to your dream body I’m sorry to tell you that there is no legal method that will get you there any faster than good old-fashioned hard work and commitment. So get to planning ahead for your 2016 goals and, by 2017, you’ll probably be shopping for a new wardrobe.

>> By the way, let’s check blog of my friend, a single mom. The blog has many reviews about baby car seat and jogging stroller for workout

Bro-conomics

I have been on the fence deciding between returning to the gym or the roads. Marathon training through the winter sounded terrible, especially since I would have to run in the dark before or after work, as well as struggling to fit in long runs on weekends with the kids. I printed out a training schedule, ran the first two weeks, and then decided it wasn’t for me this season.

I started spending time with a fellow bodybuilder and began to miss lifting heavy (and having visible muscles). One week back in the gym and I’m reminded why training alone was so hard through my first prep. Just like the saying you are what you eat, you also are who you hang out with. Which brings me to the latest life lesson I must preach…

Bulking is evidence of trickle down economics. When one person bulks, everyone in their sphere of influence bulks. When you have dinner with a bodybuilder on a dirty bulk that dinner may consist of a pizza, two Primanti’s sandwiches, a giant frosted brownie, and a couple large beers. Everything they can’t have on a cut is on the menu and portion sizes are a laughable recommendation. Their food scale is getting less action than the average Comi-Con geek and their bathroom scales are hiding in terror. By the way, check best folding picnic table for outdoor dinner :p

This orgy of consumption slowly turns into them storing food in your fridge, insisting on making dinner (because chicken and broccoli again isn’t cutting it), and suggesting horrible dining options regularly. Next thing you know you’re eating right along with them. Then you’re shopping list starts to look like you’ve never heard of macros or IIFYM. And then you’re looking at the dog and thinking how he deserves some of these treats. He’s looking a little skinny. And maybe the fish too…

And inevitably, you wake up to the truth one day. You’re bulking by association. And it’s AWESOME!

You Can’t Match My Hustle

I’m not one to let the opinions of others change me. If I was I probably wouldn’t be rocking a hairstyle that’s been compared to the Misfits or have six tattoos. I wouldn’t have kept my pregnancy and baby at 19 and begun working in the ‘man’s field’ of industrial radiography at 21. I wouldn’t have bought my first home that same year or graduated college while working 80 hours per week on a power plant outage. I’ve never had things ‘easy’ and I never expected anything to be handed to me. I work for what I have and I work even harder for what I want to have in the future.

Tell me again how much you hate your job
As of writing this, I took control of my life 104 days ago. I walked into Anytime Fitness on November 10, 2014 and signed a contract that changed EVERYTHING. Over the last 15 weeks I have quit smoking and stopped drinking. That’s right… completely dropped those bad habits. I overhauled my nutrition and turned my lifestyle on its head. I’m too busy keeping track of how many ounces of water I’ve consumed to worry about petty things and I’m not just content with my life anymore. I’m on the verge of joy at almost any moment.
I am looking forward to goofing off with this man for the rest of my life
Of course, my happiness, lifestyle changes, and accomplishments have brought out the haters faster than a tween chasing Bieber. At first I was kind of hurt and figured there was a misunderstanding of what I was trying to accomplish. Hence my first vlog on why I chose bikini and how I wasn’t killing myself. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the people tearing me down aren’t just confused or worried about me. (If you’re not a fan of vulgarity, stop reading now.)
NOPE. They’re assholes. I’m succeeding in ways they’ve never believed possible. I’m taking what was once only dreams and turning them into reality. I’m chasing my future like a cheetah hunts down a gazelle. I’m hungry. I’m driven. I’m hustling. The haters can only project their failures onto me because they fear change. To change the course of their lives requires taking a risk. They are afraid of taking that first step. They fear failure, rejection, and the unknown. They fear ME.
In 104 days I have accomplished more than most people put on their New Year’s resolution list. I have:
1) Quit smoking
2) Quit drinking
3) PR’d my 5k
4) I am up 4 pounds from my marathon weight and it’s all muscle (proof here)
5) I changed careers. I lost my job December 23. I started as a Brand Specialist for DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon January 3. I passed my ACSM personal training exam January 29 and I start my job at Anytime Fitness this coming Monday.
6) I joined the Flawless Physique Competition Team. Yes, I will step on stage in a bikini and enjoy every minute of it.
7) I got engaged!
8) I reached my goal of being able to do a strict pull-up. I can do ONE, just one, but I can do it.
9) I can deadlift my previous 1 rep max for sets of 8 now
10) I can squat more than my own weight
How you actually support a woman
And the best part of all, no one can take these things away from me. The hatred, the comments, the jabs disguised as a joke…. none of them diminish what I’ve done. I’m still going to marry the kindest and strongest and funniest man I’ve ever known. I’m still going to have two beautiful daughters. My life is still going to be full of promise. And I’m still going to reach my dreams. The only thing that changes is that now I know who deserves to be a part of it.
So, my dear haters, this is the end of the time I have designated for you. This is the last of my energy that you will drain. From now on your comments will be deleted and you will be blocked. I have goals to reach and dreams to chase. I don’t have the time for your negativity and I won’t apologize for cutting you out of my life. If you can’t match my hustle then you’ll just have to sit your ass down.

My big news and small updates

I’m pretty sure EVERYONE knows by now but I wanted to share it here as well. After I took (and passed!) my personal training certification I made the drive to South Carolina to spend some time with Sean. It was our pretty typical week together. I played with the dogs and cleaned around the house while he was at work. And in the evenings we meal prepped and hit the gym together. Then, on Sunday, he changed everything.

Sean woke me up around 4am Sunday morning and hustled me into the car. He handed me his hoodie and told me to use the hood as a blindfold any time he asked. I was too groggy to argue and over the next two hours we chatted and laughed all while I kept getting a hood thrown over my eyes every time a road sign approached. The highlight of the trip may have been when we got pulled over! The cop asked Sean where we were headed and Sean just froze for a minute. Then he asked, “Can I write it down because I’m trying to surprise her?” The cop apparently figured out what was up and let us go on our way!

Blue lights!
We arrived in Myrtle Beach just as the sky was beginning to lighten. Sean directed me out to the pier and we watched the sun rise over the choppy waves. It was breezy out over the water so I was clinging pretty tightly when Sean pushed me back a little. He looked at me for a second and then said something along the lines of:
“Sara Altair, I want to ask you here beneath the sun and the moon (both were out) if you’ll marry me and share all the miles we have to go before we sleep.”
The pier where Sean proposed
Sean took this picture right after I said yes
I, of course, started to cry and said yes. We spent a little more time on the pier before we went back to the car to retrieve another coat for me. We decided to walk the beach looking for shells and just enjoying our moment before we returned to our usual, crazy lives.
 Sean on the beach
So many shells

 

Sean found me this perfect shell
 The ring

 

Sean also got me a QALO ring so I can work out with it!
Our challenge now is to get him back to Pittsburgh. Everyone keeps asking if we’ve set a date but we need to live in the same state first!
Lastly, I created another vlog. Just a rehashing of the engagement and some small updates on my competition training. Enjoy!

Let’s Do Work!

I passed! I passed! I’m an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer!
So who’s ready to get fitter, faster, and/or stronger?! I’ll be picking up a limited number of online training clients starting in February. I will also be making myself available for one on one consults and workouts at your gym (if you can bring a guest) as my schedule allows. Hopefully soon I will have a ‘home’ gym for the locals to come train with me too! If you are interested then email me at brazentraining@gmail.com and let’s get started!

Controversy in a Bikini

I’ve gotten some pretty hateful comments and some very wrong assumptions about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. So I thought I’d try a vlog and put some truth out there! I hope you enjoy. Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel, Brazen Training, if you like this.

Bits & Pieces

The past week has been CRAZY! But in a really, REALLY good way. I have so many things going on that I am excited about and that motivate me to keep moving forward.

Obviously the biggest change has been having a job that is FUN. I spent 4 evenings hanging out at different DICK’S Sporting Goods locations meeting runners and talking gear, training, nutrition, etc. Life really doesn’t get much better than that! You can find me January 17 & 18th at the McCandless DSG from 10-2 or so.

This week’s events included our replica bridge, catering from Bistro on the Go, the DICK’S Pittsburgh Marathon’s Registered Dietitian on site, 20% off your entire purchase at DSG, and a raffle for a free hotel the night before the marathon. I haven’t been clued in on what we’ll be offering at the next events but I’m sure you don’t want to miss it!

Our table and bridge replica
Bistro on the Go catering
The other major priority in my life has been training. I’m hitting the gym every day, snow or ice or sub-zero temperatures. I finally got into the BodPod again (last time was in September 2011) and got some great results. I’ve lost almost 3 pounds of fat and gained 5.5 pounds of muscle. I imagine I started this program pretty close to where I was in 2011 (22.8% body fat) because I was still neglecting resistance training and eating whatever I wanted. So for 8 weeks of actually watching my nutrition and exercise these results are fantastic!
I’ve been getting a ton of questions about my nutrition. I’ll admit that I’m being VERY restrictive to the average person. I honestly enjoy the challenge and the results speak for themselves. But here’s a peek at what some meals look like for me:
Tilapia, sweet potato, and asparagus
Chicken breast, sweet potato, and mixed veggies (and water, of course!)
I use a lot of different seasonings and try different recipes often to prevent boredom. But I still do not drink anything but water and protein shakes or Shakeology (I still have a coffee with Stevia in the morning). I don’t eat much red meat. I don’t eat white or processed carbs (no bread, no white rice, no white potatoes, etc). I only get a small amount of starchy carbs (like sweet potato and corn). I get 4-6 oz of lean protein per meal (chicken, fish, whey powder, etc) and unlimited veggies. It’s not always easy to pass up chocolate, cake or brownies, bread sticks, or pasta but the results are absolutely worth it and I feel amazing. Just for the energy and mental clarity I’ve gained I would recommend trying to eat 85-90% clean for a month. I bet you’ll stick with it.
Finally, the rest of my time is spent studying for my ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam. I love my gym and the employees there and I am hoping to be one of them come February. I was super excited to be at the top of the ‘Frequent Flyers’ board for the first week of the year and have now made it my goal to be #1 for the month. Going to a gym where the members and staff are all excited and happy every day makes a HUGE difference in my motivation.
Tied for #1!
I hope the first part of 2015 has been great for you. Please feel free to let me know if you have any specific questions about my plan or things you would like me to cover in future blogs. I’m hoping to start a few recurring items each week that will help everyone get on track (and stay there!) for the new year.

A Small Reveal

I alluded to a complete change of lifestyle in my last post. It drew a lot of interest and some questions so I contemplated doing a ‘halfway’ reveal. That would be next weekend but I still am not sure I’m ready to open myself up for input, criticism, or commentary from the general public yet. Sean and a couple of my closest friends have seen and supported me through the last 5 weeks. It’s not always easy to be patient and trust the process. I want instant results just like everybody else. So instead of completely unveiling my new plan and body I thought I’d share the overview and a sneak peek instead.

The easiest way to explain what I’ve been doing is to say it’s a balance between exercise, nutrition, and supplements. I’m hitting the gym 11 times per week. I run 5 days per week and lift 6 days. I combine easy runs and speed work and I hit every body part with weights at least once per week. I eat ‘clean’ 98% of the time. That’s no joke! I eat 6 times per day, 7 days a week. One of those meals on Sunday gets to be a ‘cheat’ meal where I go out to eat with friends or family and splurge on a burger or a milkshake. And every day I follow a routine of supporting my nutrition and workouts with a careful selection of supplements.

Today’s cheat meal at Rockhoppers
(Split with my mom!)
The results of this complete change have been astounding. I’m still waiting on an appointment to get my body fat percentage checked so I don’t know where I started or where I am now (yet). But I have seen huge changes and my clothes fit differently than ever before.  My performances are improving on both runs and weights. And my energy is through the roof.
And here’s the proof:
Completed 5k on the treadmill, the day after leg day and after going out dancing last night, in 24 minutes. My previous best was 24:27 and that was back in 2012. After only 5 weeks I have already met one of my 2015 goals (set a new 5k PR!).
AND
I’m stronger and happier with my body than ever before. Every week I go heavier, go harder, find another way to tweak my nutrition. And while I can’t wait to share the full transformation with everyone, right now I am enjoying the journey and focusing on learning and growing on my own.
Are you ready for 2015? Have you set your goals and outlined the steps to reach them yet?

LiveFit Trainer: Week 5

My second attempt at week 5 went much better than last week. I got in all but one workout (one leg day instead of two) and my nutrition was much better. I did have a pretzel at the mine 5k with Gem but really didn’t have too many cheats.

Baby bis and tris are coming out
My weight has stabilized in the mid-130’s but I can tell my clothes are fitting differently. My jeans are looser in the waist and tighter in the butt and thighs. Some of my fitted long sleeve shirts are starting to feel kind of snug around my biceps too. Overall, the changes are more subtle than the first few weeks but definitely there. I’m hopeful that, with three more weeks of adding cardio, I’ll really see some definition soon.
That’s really about all I have for week 5. So let’s hope some big things happen with week 6!

LiveFit Trainer: FAIL WEEK!

This past week was a complete failure. I only got in two workouts, a back day and a leg day. My diet was awful and my motivation was MIA. Paul and I both had minor but irritating colds. Paul’s son had a much worse version of our illness. My oldest had it too and then my youngest started throwing up. To top it off things at work were hectic which left me feeling mentally drained at the end of each day. I ended up gaining back a pound or so and I just feel fluffy and unfit. In the end it’s all just excuses but those added up to a lost week.

Sick baby fall asleep in her breakfast

So now it’s time to get back on track. I’m starting week 5 over again and getting my diet back on track. Paul and I are also racing running a 5k on Saturday so I have more reason to stick to eating healthy, hydrating, and getting back to my workouts. We won’t be racing hard but it should be enjoyable to stick together and run for fun for once. If you have been around for awhile then you probably remember the mine race that I have done the past several years. I really wish I had a GoPro so I could show you all the full experience of running a 5k underground!

One of only two workouts last week
Here’s to second chances and the ability to turn around a bad day or week. As the saying goes, it’s not about perfection. It’s about progress!

The DL on DOMS

Who hasn’t seen a marathoner walking backwards down the stairs? Or gingerly lowered themselves to the toilet after leg day? Maybe you pride yourself on your DOMS (aka Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) after a hard workout. You may even believe it’s a necessary evil for growth and progress. I’m here to tell you that’s absolutely untrue.

I’ve recently been having this argument with Paul. I’ve been doing leg days twice a week because I really want a squat booty for the pool this summer (and it might help my running, too). The thing is Paul is usually wrecked after leg day. He’s gently hoisting himself off the couch by arm power alone while I prance up the stairs and laugh at his pain. So this last leg day Paul appointed himself sadistic coach.

The ‘I am going to puke, pass out, or die’ face

I went up 20 pounds on leg extensions. I used him as a human squat rack (the Y doesn’t have them) so I could squat 40 pounds heavier than I had been without a rack. I doubled the weight I was using for lunges. I PR’ed my leg press and calf raises. All the while Paul pushed me to go harder, squat lower, add more weight. I was CERTAIN that I would be walking like a cowboy the next day. I was wrong.

This discovery caused me to dig deeper into the science behind DOMS and post-exercise soreness. I found an article in the Journal of Experimental Biology where I learned just how wrong ‘No Pain, No Gain’ is. According to the authors the study was designed to ‘test the hypothesis that symptomatic (i.e. detectable) damage is a necessary precursor for muscle remodeling’. In short, they wanted to see if muscle growth can happen without being sore.

PR!
Two groups of college students were tested. The first group was given three weeks of ‘training’ where they slowly ramped up their exercise. The second group was thrown in with the first on the fourth week with no ramp up. They just had to keep up as best they could. The second group showed higher levels of creatine kinase (an enzyme that is released when muscle is damaged through exercise, injury, etc.) and expressed more soreness and exertion than the first group. So, if more muscle damage means more growth, then the second group should have shown more gains right? Wrong.
Muscle gain and strength increases were equal across both groups. This study went as far as blood work and muscle biopsy to verify these findings! And it wasn’t the only study that had similar findings and results. So my takeaway from all of this is that, if you know you’re working hard and you’re still seeing gains, then a lack of soreness the day after exercise doesn’t mean you won’t progress. It just means you can get off the toilet and climb the stairs without calling Life Alert! And I call that a win!

Live Fit Trainer: Week 3

This week was the first week of the program that I lifted 5 days per week. I also went from 3 sets of 12 reps to 3 sets of 10 reps, which meant going heavier. My extra day consists of a second leg day and I think I’m starting to see some results. So needless to say I am a pretty happy girl this week!

Pretty sure that’s a bicep beginning to show
My weight still hasn’t changed and I don’t want to take new measurements until the end of Phase 1. But what has changed is the weight I’m lifting. Some examples:
Leg Curl:
Week 1 – 50 pounds
Week 3 – 80 pounds
Leg Press:
Week 1 – 112 pounds
Week 2 – 160 pounds
Bicep Curls:
Week 1 – 10 pounds
Week 3 – 20 pounds
So overall, I am thrilled. I know the first few months of a strict program I will see big gains because of neurological changes. Your brain begins to tell your muscles to recruit more fibers for each movement and you make more neuron connections. It really has nothing to do with actually getting stronger but it’s the precursor to building the body you want.
Shoulders are beginning to get some definition
I’m also experimenting more with ways to make lean protein and veggies exciting. Thankfully Paul is an amazing cook. Here’s one of his recent creations for us:
Spicy Baked Cauliflower (and Tilapia)
Ingredients:

1 Head cauliflower
4 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
5 Cloves garlic, diced or pressed
Chili powder to taste
Paprika to taste
McCormick Fiesta Lime seasoning to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375* F
2. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and spread in 9×11 baking dish
3. Cover with melted coconut oil, garlic, chili powder, paprika, and fiesta lime seasoning
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cauliflower is no longer crunchy

And there you have it. My week 3 progress and a recipe! How are you holding out on your 2014 goals?

Live Fit Trainer: Week 2

This week was absolutely crazy. I did really well sticking to my nutrition plan the first half of the week. However, my new job is fairly demanding at the moment and getting to know a new team of people means happy hours and lunches out. I had soda three times this week, Chinese food one day, and some birthday cake too. So it’s no wonder that I’m still sitting at the same weight as last week.

Nailed my leg workout in my INB butterfly top and Altra Delilahs.

The good news is I did get all my workouts in again and I went up in weight on my leg press and leg extension. I did substitute some moves again when I didn’t have the equipment but overall I nailed the workouts! I also got some bonus points for moving the rest of my stuff into my new place and then remodeling the dining room.

 Before
After

So since my week two update is pretty boring how about I share some awesome news?!

I’m returning as an Altra Zero Drop ambassador for 2014! AND Altra has dropped the new Olympus. It’s max cushioning in a zero drop shoe with the same foot shaped toe box you love. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair ASAP!

INKnBURN is debuting new designs for 2014. Check out these new additions to the lineup! I am so stoked for the Drifting Petals pullover! Don’t forget to use code ‘saratoldme’ for 15% off when you create an account. (There’s no spam!)

 

So there it is! My first week in a new job. Finished moving. Remodeled a room. Did all four of my workouts. Failed at my nutrition plan. Overall I will take it and refocus on doing better for week 3!

LiveFit Trainer Week 1

Today marks the end of my first week of the LiveFit trainer. Obviously there aren’t any huge changes to report but I thought a little update might help with motivation (mine and yours!) as we make our way further into the new year.

I made it through all of the workouts for week 1 with a few modifications. The gym was closed New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (isn’t that when they get all their new memberships?!) so I made due with home workouts using bands and body weight exercises for chest and triceps day. I was at Paul’s house on back and bicep day so we used his gym, which is fairly limited, and did our best. Leg day and shoulder/ab day both happened at my YMCA and the only thing I had to substitute for was seated calf raises because the Y doesn’t have the equipment. And yes, I have been sore from head to toe all week. I love it!

Using my toddler for squats

As for the nutrition, I have been doing really well in my own opinion. I cheated with some wine and champagne on New Year’s Eve but I saved the calories in my plan so the only damage was the shift in my macros. I had some popcorn and fruit snacks with the kids one day. And I have had Starbucks coffee twice this week but I stuck to a tall and made it a ‘skinny’ version of my usual order.

A ‘skinny’ treat

My typical day consists of lots of eggs, chicken, and fish. I get unlimited veggies so Birds Eye Steamfresh bags are my best friend right now. I only get a single serving of starch with each meal so rice cakes and sweet potatoes make up most of my carbs.

As Honest Toddler calls these, Sadness Patties!

I figured I’d be getting bored or sick of this by now but I really don’t mind it. I feel more alert and I’m sleeping better (my Fitbit says my sleep efficiency is at 99%). The only thing I really miss is cardio and that will be coming back soon. I may begin to add a few miles warm up pre-lifting in week two. I know I won’t get optimal muscle gain but I also have a 5k and 50k that I’m registered for!

I’ve also improved my overall habits. I upgraded to a 40 oz water bottle to aid with hydration. My Fitbit is motivating me to move more. (I still can’t get 5 full lights without cardio!) My grocery bill has actually gone down now that I buy produce, meat, and a small amount of other things and then do an entire week of food prep in a day. Eating out has also become a thing of the past for the most part. The one time I was out for a meal I had a salad with oil and vinegar and then ate my protein and starch when I got home.

40 ounces of awesome!
There’s really no physical changes to report yet other than being sore. I was up 0.5 pounds when I weighed in today which I expected. Inflammation, better hydration, and being stuffed full of fish and veggies will all add some weight. All in all, I’m excited to keep trying to improve as I go and see what happens over the next few weeks.
How are your goals coming so far this year? Do you have any tips for avoiding temptations?

Planning Ahead

It’s a new year and the resolutions are rolling in. We’re all either setting goals publicly or bragging about our lack thereof. I’ve seen it all. “I’m going to run more miles.” “I’m going to lose X pounds.” “I’m going to do everything everyone else says they’re going to do for two weeks then give up and get fat.” Blah, blah, blah…

Not me. Not this year. (credit: survivingcollege.com)

I really don’t care what you call it: Dreams, resolutions, goals, an action plan….  We all have things we want to accomplish. I’ve decided on my goals for the coming year and I want to share them here. For accountability, or for inspiration, or for me to laugh at later when life throws me a curve ball and everything I write today goes out the window (again).

Maybe you’ve heard of Jamie Eason and her LiveFit Trainer. Maybe you haven’t. It’s a popular (and free program) on Bodybuilding.com designed by one of the top fitness models in the world. It includes exercise plans and nutrition guidelines as well as supplementation advice. It’s supposed to be able to transform a normal or average person to fairly fantastic in just 12 weeks.

I’ve spent the last five years focused purely on running. If I did weights it was to improve my power. If I did plyo it was to improve my speed. If I changed my diet it was to try to reach a ‘racing weight’. Everything has been completely centered around running and racing for the last half decade and I’m a little burnt out. So I thought I would try something new and decided this was it.

It’s always about the run… and the clock

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving up running. I’m still going to try to stay in 5k to half marathon shape. And I’m still going to try to walk/jog my way through the 50k I’m signed up for. I’m just not going to make running the center of my world for at least the next 12 weeks.

So on to the embarrassing fun stuff. Where am I starting off on this grand journey?

 

Stats:
Neck – 13.5″
Chest – 33″
Waist – 28″
Hips – 38″
Bicep – 11″
Thigh – 20″
Calf – 13.5″
Weight – 137 lbs.

I’d love to get another BodPod reading done before I get too far into this journey but I’m just not sure it will happen. Hopefully the pictures and measurements along the way will show my progress (or lack thereof) just as well.

So I hope you’ll follow along and maybe even commit to your own life changing journey. And maybe, just maybe I won’t have spaghetti noodle arms by 2015….