I HAVE A COACH

Awesome exciting news πŸ™‚

I get to start working with a coach again to guide my preparations for the stage!

I am SO thrilled!

Physique competition prep is so challenging to accomplish solo.

This is happening by pure gift from people who love me and believe in me.

My coach is just as sweet as can be and I can tell she’ll have my back with the mental rigors of prep- and that’s a huge part of the battle!

Check back to watch me prepare and plan- I’m feeling ambitious, so expect something awesome πŸ˜‰

Have you ever competed, or thought about it? What was your experience?

What big hairy fitness goals do you have?

XOXO

IMG_1458.JPG
#onajourney

Advertisements

There’s Always Time :)

Pre-dinner HIIT cardio for the hubs.

IMG_1301.JPG

IMG_1302.JPG

Have you ever done HIIT?? It’s amazing. You burn some amazing fat while preserving that muscle. Win win.

Here are some awesome options from Around the Web:

fitness blender produces simple and effective workouts, tons of options for hiit workouts of varying lengths

jamcore produces some of the toughest hiit workouts I’ve ever done!

zwows by zuzka light are for the advanced exerciser, prepare to fall in love with this inspiring woman

And then lisa marie at dailyhiit who took zuzka’a place at bodyrock is also crush and love worthy- and oh so motivating

IMG_1304.JPG

IMG_1309-1.JPG

Are there pockets of time that you can squeeze in fitness?

Have you tried doing HIIT for your cardio in lieu of the traditional cardio exercises?

Happy sweating!

XOXO

Female Bodybuilding

I think a lot of people aren’t sure what to make of women who lift weights.

Seeing a lady load up a bar with a good amount of iron can still generate a lot of attention at your average gym. At least at the 4 gyms I’ve trained at in the past 6 months, I know my workouts were always watched.

More and more, fortunately, it’s becoming normative, at least it seems, for women to strength train, which is aaaaamazing.

I think really there isn’t a wrong way to workout- I mean, barring anything unsafe. If you want to run a bunch, run. Yogi? Yay!

But I’m really excited that more women, including myself, are dialing in on the awesomeness of heavy lifting.

What I love about it is the focus on building up the body- where so often female fitness is about tearing it down.

As I’ve dived into the world of bodybuilding, however, I see that the sport is trying to redefine itself to be more informed by women’s goals, fitness needs, and tastes. I mean, most people I’ve talked to about bodybuilding think 1) it’s about getting giant and manly and 2) I must be just doing jump squats and using weights under 15lbs because I don’t look big and manly.

Not true! Bodybuilding does for the body what salt does for food- it accentuates it’s natural flavor πŸ˜‰

Whether you want boulder sized muscles (after years and years of work…) or to be shapely fit and lean, lifting will help get you there.

I stumbled across this awesome manifesto regarding women and bodybuilding. Please go give it a read!

If you’re a bodybuilder, a fitness enthusiast or an insightful outsider, tell me, what do you think? What do you think about the emerging focus on strength training for women in the fitness industry?

Do you think you could embrace female bodybuilding?

XOXO

Intensity in Lifting

Today I was lifting all the things in order to find the weight that would challenge me the most in my incline bench db chest press and incline db flys. All the things.

IMG_0848.JPG
You ever feel like you’re just spinning your wheels in the gym? Getting no where? Going around and around and around…

IMG_0849.JPG
My coach always impressed upon me that if I wanted results, my goal was always to get the most intensity from my workouts- intensity is grandmas secret ingredient for results and progress.

Not time.
Not weights.
Not form.
Not speed.
Not blank blank or blank.

Okkkkk- but here’s where I’m mincing words. All those elements, time spent, weight used, rep schemes, form, sets, speed etc. together create intensity. Sounds like a super squad of some sort πŸ˜‰

For serious- no one technique lands you with shredded abs and bubbly glutes.

So how do you know? How can you tell? What can you do??? To be absolutely sure you’re working at the right intensity?

That’s where it’s all subjective. Really, how do you feel while lifting? Usually if you feel like you’ve got more in the tank, you probably need to be pressing harder.

Ask yourself: are you just moving heavy things around? Or are you looking for the work?

But is that it? It’s easy to feel like you’re working hard- it’s especially easy to not be working as hard as you can if you’re in a cut cycle and our just dragging anyway.

For starters, I do think many many women, and definitely men, lift too light, and miss out on a whole lot of muscle hypertrophy (growth), even though they achieve some kindof burn.

Read this article from Sparkpeople.com on gauging whether you might be guilty of going too light.

Chances are, you’re not lifting heavy enough, so that’s a great place to start in increasing intensity. This article from the Get Fit Guy , Ben Greenfield, has a great article and podcast that makes it super easy to know if you’re not grabbing enough metal.

Here’s the article. I love all his podcasts from quickanddirtytips.com. His quick and dirty gauge: if you can get 3 reps over your goal reps, up that resistance! Easy as pie.

But here’s the thing, if you just focus on moving more and more heavy weight, you’re missing out on other ways to challenge those muscles, and thereby make gains, burn fat, get pumped, and all those other lovely things. That’s where really feeling for intensity is important.

This article from greatist.com gives some great techniques, besides lifting heavier, to achieve intensity. Do super sets, pick up the time between sets, switch up set/rep schemes, introduce new exercises, slow the contraction down, add plyos, take out plyos. Basically: shock ya bod.

Ultimately, as I said from the get go, intensity is subjective, something you feel. This article from bodybuilding.com talks about how to check your mental game to get more intensity from your workouts. Basically you need to get focused in order to achieve intensity.

You need to be intentional with each workout about increasing the intensity. Keep track of what you did last time, review, and ask yourself, how can I challenge myself this time?

A few things I do:

*I always include one exercise I hate doing in my routine for the day. Ex: I loathe lunges, so you better believe I’m doing long lunges or split squats or lunge jumps 1x every week.
*If I find myself asking if I’m lifting enough, that’s generally my clue to lift more. My body will tell me it’s too heavy.
*When I find myself dreading a certain exercise, I flip my script, and tell myself I love that exercise and that I will rock it. My deadlift numbers blew up after I started switching up my pre-lift self talk.
*I move quickly through my routine- no chatting, be efficient, keep my heart rate up.
*I treat every single rep as important- I aim for full range of motion and a deep contraction on every single repetition. I imagine myself training alongside someone like Jaime Eason or Felicia Romero, and I want each rep to be clean.
*I try for every rep. Just one more rep. Just one more rep. Etc.
*I change something about each workout every single week. Keeps both my mind and body guessing!

And remember: intensity is NOT about being balls to the walls all the time. Nope. None of those ‘train insane’ tshirts.

Train smart, really smart. Sometimes that means going into grunting sweaty beast mode. I’ve made my share of ‘ugly faces’ and ‘huhhs!’ in order to eke out one more rep.

Sometimes it just means being one step ahead of your body- sending it a curve ball.

Sometimes it means being accurate, precise, and thorough with each move.

Be a detective. Feel out what you need that day, that moment, to achieve intensity. Surprise yourself, and your body will make changes to adapt. In other words, you’ll achieve results.

So stop spinning your wheels and enjoy that progress!

How do you achieve workout intensity? Have any tips or tricks to share with me?

XOXO

Happy sweating!!

Butterflies by the Lake

This past Saturday I was in sorry need of some butterfly therapy, and thankfully Munchie was game.

IMG_0504.JPG
rockin out in the car, or, at least I was

So we headed out to the local butterfly pavilion. I sincerely hope your town, city, province, region has one or will get one soon. Cheesy, maybe, but oh so right.

IMG_0508.JPG

IMG_0526.JPG

There’s just something so soothing about all those beautiful flowers and these whisp-like lovelies feathering around your head and ankles. My tot was smitten.

IMG_0512.JPG

IMG_0513.JPG

He kept running around after them…

IMG_0526-0.JPG

IMG_0518.JPG
…upsetting their nectar dinners as he tried to touch them…

IMG_0523.JPG

IMG_0520.JPG
We read about the little life-cycles of these magical creatures:

IMG_0519.JPG
Then we checked for stow-aways and said good bye to the butterflies.

IMG_0527.JPG

IMG_0529.JPG
Just past the red barns and around the bend we stumbled upon this little scene:

IMG_0531.JPG
In his usual fashion, Munch dove right in:

IMG_0541.JPG

IMG_0539.JPG

IMG_0537.JPG
And then we did a bit of climbing:

IMG_0544.JPG

IMG_0547.JPG

IMG_0549.JPG

IMG_0543.JPG
I love places like this that give little urbanites a chance to get closer to nature, to see what it’s all about.

After messing about on these for a bit,

IMG_0558.JPG
he was ready for the real stuff: ‘let’s go see nature’ he said.

And so we did.

IMG_0570.JPG

IMG_0559.JPG

IMG_0561.JPG

IMG_0565.JPG
He was thrilled to discover this little lake, all set up for a visit from a mama and son on Saturday afternoon jaunt.

IMG_0573.JPG

IMG_0574.JPG
It was hot, and approaching dinner time, so we took off.

But couldn’t help pulling off at the farmers stand on the way home. The late-summer bounty, rounded out nicely by the first fruits of Fall were a feast of senses.

IMG_0580.JPG

IMG_0581.JPG

IMG_0582.JPG

If you read my post about our typical breakfasts, you can imagine how pleased I was to find this ‘no-sugar’ added beauty:

IMG_0583.JPG
perfect on those eggy-oats, protein pancakes, greek yogurt or whatever an aspiring bodybuilder may need to spruce-up!

In the end we got the preserves, two Tango Apples for the road, and a beautiful box of juicy heirloom tomatoes.

Those tomatoes were lucky to make it home, they were as sweet and flavorful as candy. We weren’t even done paying and Munch and I were helping ourselves!

IMG_0584.JPG
And you know what, everything just seemed clearer after our little trip.

Sometimes you have to let go of things from yesterday to make room for something beautiful today.

IMG_0510.JPG
Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and if you’re in need of lightening up, needing to let go of something, find your way to a butterfly pavilion. Those little creatures are surprisingly good at helping you out with heavy loads πŸ™‚

XOXO

It’s Happening- becoming a PT

it’s gonna happen

I’ve got my Americano, my materials, and my smile on.IMG_0851.JPG

IMG_0852.JPG

I’m making a change, I studied something totally different in grad school.

Change is hard and scary.

And oh so satisfying.

You gotta follow your dreams as they come.

‘I like this place, and willingly could waste my time in it.’ -Shakespeare

Do what you love, right? And never work a day πŸ˜‰ Chew on that.

IMG_0854.JPG

Happy studies friends, guess I’m back to school with all the kiddies.

What are you working on? Is there something you’d like to change in your self, your life, your world?

You got this.

XOXO

What the French Kids Are Eating

I came across this article illustrating and explaining the typical French school lunch. The pictures are lovely- seriously, go take a look, I’ll wait!

And here’s the official site for the French School Lunch Project. The project catalogues the menus, habits and other relevant details of school lunches in varying regions of France. The project illustrates how the approach to school lunches in France contributes to a healthy and positive food attitude (generally speaking) in it’s little people.

As a new mom I’m highly motivated for my son to adopt eating habits now that will carry him forward towards health and a positive relationship with food and his body in the future, so I think a lot about the ‘food culture’ in which we swim and how it shapes our palettes and behaviors. This ‘French School Lunch Project’ was right up my alley!

At the same time, I’m very ok that his life will surely include the iconic staples of American food culture like burgers and fries, pizza nights, buckets of movie popcorn, and probably late night Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwich runs with his friends when he’s a teenager.

It’s the day-to-day, the routine, the final sum of the repeated, average decisions about food that I’m concerned with really.

I remember the play-dough like texture of the middle-school pizza lunch we were subjected to as unsuspecting 7th graders. Besides tasting awful, it said SO much about the value of a meal. Clearly, food was seen as a place to cut corners. It just didn’t seem to matter that we were eating food that was icky on multiple scores.

Kids spend a lot of time at school. They also learn a lot (duh!), but not just through the curriculum, but through the medium. They’re learning about themselves and their own value, about food and mealtimes, and imbibing messages about the value of health through school lunches. It’s a kindof ‘sensory play’ with a very lasting message.

What kindof message would you want kids to receive through their school lunch? What do your kids eat?

What was your school lunch like as a kid? How did it make you feel about food, yourself, and life in general (!)?

Here’s my meal #3 today:
IMG_0495-0.JPG
1 cup egg whites, 5oz snap peas, 1/2 oz sharp cheddar, 1/4 cup salsa

XOXO