Move-Meant: the importance of recovery and meaningful movement

Happy Monday Morning!!!!!!

In my neck of the woods, we woke up to much cooler temperatures….which meant a much stiffer hip during rehab this morning :) But it was completed none the less.

quads on fire

Anyways…..

Today marks the first post in a short series about recovery. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do NOT get recovery right every single time…but I DO know the importance of recovery and how many body systems are involved in true recovery. So, let’s dive right in.

funny robben-dive-meme-2

Let’s get the layout and ground rules for recovery set up first:

  1. RECOVERY refers to recovering from a certain aspect of your lifestyle, preferably an active one. In other words, if you’re still on the couch about working out, skip to a different post :)
  2. You can utilize many things in RECOVERY, including foam rollers, bands, balls, yoga (the right kind) and even diet (oh yes!).
  3. RECOVERY involves more than just lazing about….I know, I am as shocked as you on this one. Most of my “recovery days” have always involved Netlfix binges…who knew????

The act of recovery is utilizing meaningful movement to de-stress and decompress the joints and soft tissue of the body. That’s a pretty broad explanation of true recovery. I like to take it a step further and implement mindful movement AND anti-inflammatory diet practices to rid the body, mind, and gut of the excess stress that can keep us feeling tight and pent up in our own bodies. Today, I’ll be listing some great forms of recovery, giving a comprehensive recovery schedule, and making sure you leave with some good resources.

TYPES OF RECOVERY:

  • Foam Rolling. When done correctly, foam rolling helps to manipulate soft tissue (aka, muscles and fascia) and alleviate pain, plus it’s cheaper than a massage. If you’re new to the roll, I suggest purchasing a soft roller and working your way up to the big boys. Here are videos for foam rolling the Upper Body, Lower Body, and an all over foam roll for active individuals. Consider foam rolling before and after activities OR in the evening when you are watching your favorite show.
  • Stretching. Stretching can help to elongate the soft tissues, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joints. The key is to not overstretch. So, pay attention to your body and go for a stretch in the belly of the muscle. I have an easy full body stretch here.
  • Yoga. Yoga is more than stretching and is requires ZERO flexibility to get started. Yoga puts your joint through their full range of motion and helps the skeletal system to realign for more efficient movement. If you have NEVER done yoga, I recommend seeking a qualified teacher/class to get you started. If you have a little knowledge, Morgan Day Cecil is my fave yoga girl of the moment.
  • Massage Therapy. Manual manipulation of soft tissues helps to decrease tension AND helps to force stress induced toxin build up out of the body. In order to keep massage more budget friendly, I suggest seeking a massage school close to you. New therapist need  hours and are often very attentive to your needs.
  • Ice baths and Epsom salt baths. Both of these help ease soreness. If joints or inflammation are your main concern, go for an ice bath (exactly what it sounds like). If soreness is your gig, a 20 minute soak in some warm (not too hot) water with about 1/4 cup Epsom salts should do the trick.
  • Diet. If you suffer from chronic soreness or inflammation, I would suggest checking your diet. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, feel free to contact me in the form below and get started with a diet profile review. Often times, many issues in the soft tissue and joints can be a reflection of what if going on in the gut (more on this in week 3).
  • Active Rest. respect active rest days by scheduling out actual active rest. You can take a walk, go for a light swim, enjoy some time at the beach, attend a yoga class, etc. Even if you’re sore, move with a mindfulness and the soreness will dissipate over time. The human body CRAVES motion.

I know it can be a lot to soak in, but recovery can be the missing link to fast tracking your results ;)

Weekly Recovery Schedules:

  1. Foam roll 1-2x per day, around workout.
  2. Stretch post workout for 5- 10 minutes, more in the evening if you are sore.
  3. Schedule a massage once a month.
  4. Use Epsom salt and ice baths as needed.
  5. Implement an anti-inflammatory diet for at least 3 weeks.
  6. Schedule at least 1 active rest day into each week.

Happy Recovery Trails!!!! And keep me posted on how you do these next 3 weeks.

Workouts to get in TOP shape for summer

Hello there!

The warm breezes have already started and our air conditioner is getting zero breaks right now…..the countdown to SUMMER is here!

We have less than 6 weeks to summer and I am pumped!

I get excited at the prospect of a fun summer every year, but this summer will prove to be particularly memorable.

How about you? Are you entering into warmer weather ready to take on the season? OR do you perhaps feel as though you wish you had a few more weeks to prepare?

Have no fear!

Today I have some workouts for YOU to implement over the next 6 weeks that will help to tighten your muscle and shed excess fat. All you need is consistency and a bit of a tweaked nutrition plan (see more below).

ENJOY! Oh, and cut your body some slack……it’s been there for you all along. So learn to work WITH it, not against it.

mc-7005 WM

THE PLAN.

Here’s the deal; you HAVE to lift some weights in order to get that tight and “toned” look you say you want. So, that’s what you’ll be doing.

Three days a week, you’ll be hitting the iron. Monday and Friday will be lower body days, while Wednesday will etch in the upper body.

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will be cardio days, adapted to get the most results in the minimum effective dose.

The CARDIO.

Your cardio will be performed in a 2-1 ratio of work to rest. If you are not quite ready for this intensity, try a 1-1 ratio and build up. IF you stay consistent, you’ll feel better in no time.

The minimum effective dose is 20-40 minutes of this type of cardio. If you have a lot of fat to lose, opt for 40 minutes. If you’re just starting out, try 20 and move forward as you can.

Some examples are as follows:

  • Treadmill climb. Warm up for 5 minutes, then set the incline at a level 3 and speed between 3.5-4.5. Walk this for 1 minute. Lower the speed to 3.0-3.5 and take the incline between 12-15. Walk this for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration of your workout, finishing with a cool down walk for 5 minutes.
  • Step mill. Start with a 3-5 minute easy warm up at a level 3. Take it to a level 6-8 for 1 minute and then a level 8-10 for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration and end with a 5 minute cool down.
  • Tread Jog. Warm up 3-5 minutes. Take the speed to a fast paced walk for 1 minute, then jack it up to a jog for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration and end with a cool down walk.

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THE WORKOUTS

Lower body days you will focus on ALL the muscles of your lower body PLUS a little bit of abdominal work. Warm up for 5-7 minutes beforehand.

SQUATS. 1 set of 20 reps to warm up, then 3 sets of 10-15 as heavy as you can.

LEG PRESS. 3 sets of 10-15 reps

DEADLIFTS (bar OR dumbbells). 2 sets of 10-12 reps

LEG EXTENSIONS. 3 sets of 10-15 reps

LEG CURLS (seated or lying) 3 sets of 10-15 reps

CALF RAISES. 2 sets of 15 reps

BACK EXTENSIONS. 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps (no weight added)

PLANK 60-90 second hold, 2-3 sets

Make sure you foam roll, stretch, and cool down before you leave.

mc-7020 WM

Upper Body Day will give you a well rounded physique and bring balance to your entire body. With tank top season right around the corner, this workout will build muscle and confidence.

Warm up for 5-7 minutes. I recommend foam rolling beforehand.

BENCH PRESS (or dumbbell chest press) 1 set of 15 reps, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

SEATED DB OVERHEAD PRESS 3 sets of 8-10 reps

DB ROW 3 sets of 10 reps

LAT PULLDOWN 3 sets of 10 reps

DB CURLS 2 sets of 10 reps

TRICEP PUSHDOWN (or seated dip) 3 sets of 10 reps

CAPTAIN’S CHAIR (or hanging) LEG RAISES 3 sets of 10-30 reps

Make sure to foam roll, stretch and cool down.

mc-7059 Need help with the weight? Check out THIS POST on how heavy you should go.

NUTRITION

All the workouts in the world will not help if you aren’t fueling properly.

Instead of focusing on taking away, try to focus on upgrading your nutrition. Make pre and post workout meals your top priority for the first week. Your macros surrounding your workouts should have higher carbs and fewer fibers and fats. My go-to of the moment is cream of rice mixed with a scoop of whey protein. I eat it cold pre and post workout and it tastes like pudding :) Other options include whey protein shakes (some, Like LABRADA offer the perfect ratio of carbs, fats and proteins ready to drink), raisins, rice cakes, toast, lean lunch meat, etc. A pre-workout should be taken in 30-45 minutes prior to hitting the workout. Post workout protein uptake usually happens within 30 minutes, BUT research has shown that the body is susceptible to greater protein uptake up to 2 hours post workout. In other words, don’t let that be a stressor.

Protein intake does NOT need to exceed your need. In order to create a lean physique you do need an adequate amount of protein. Try eating protein at every meal to ensure an adequate intake. Vary your protein for maximum satiety. You can try chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meats, game, whey, casein, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. Take the time to explore and see what works best for you.

Drink PLENTY of water throughout your fat loss phase. I suggest aiming for a gallon a day for most (your tea and coffee intake can count towards this), but start where you are and add daily.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Remember, the body needs TIME to change. You can expect GREAT improvement with this workout plan in just 6 weeks, but ONLY If you are vigilant and consistent. If you have a lot of fat to lose, know that these 6 weeks will give you a large jumpstart, so don’t get discouraged. Be kind to your body and it will return the favor.

See you soon!

Michelle

 

 

Your Complete Guide to Rest Days….and a peek into the importance of rest

REST.

I think that proper rest is one of the most misunderstood facets of a great health and fitness program.

Why do I think that?

Well, I myself struggle with rest :) which is why I decided to dig into the importance of rest when trying to reach your goals.

rest-day-meme-200x225

Two of the most important things to know about rest deal with your metabolism. First, you repair and grow more lean muscle tissue during rest. Whenever you are working out, you are actually creating small tears in the muscle fiber which is translated as a trauma. During rest, your body springs into action and begins to repair those tears, preparing the body for another bout with the weights so as to make the muscles stronger and more efficient. The body truly is a wonderful creation!

Second, you utilize more stored fat during rest (the “fat burning zone” myth is for another day) than during workouts. This is because is it not metabolically efficient for your body to dig into stored fat for energy during exercise or stress. In fact, your body finds it far easier to burn through muscle once the carb fuel sources run out. So, rest becomes an important factor in fat loss.

restday

So, how much rest do you need AND what is the best way to go about rest?

If your NUTRITION is on point and your WORKOUTS are designed to expend maximum calories while building lean muscle, then you’re probably two-thirds of the way towards your goal. If you’ve noticed that your workouts are beginning to suffer and your cravings are beginning to conquer……you need to work in some scheduled rest. That may sound like a no-brainer, but simply taking 1 day a week to loaf around the house won’t bring you results…..it could actually be derailing your progress if it has become a habit. Here are a few quick tips about rest periods that help you reach your goals.

  1. Know your threshold. This applies to workouts as well as stress. When your body is under stress it really doesn’t differentiate between physical workouts and unattainable deadlines. Chemically, it’s all processed the same. So, make sure that the fitness you have chosen helps to lighten the stress load and not add to it.
  2. Know your limit with exercise. I made this mistake many months ago: after my last competition, I decided to build out my back a bit more. So, I added a second heavy back day and a heavy deadlift day. I still focused on HIGH volume workouts 6 days per week (side note: I would shriek if a client did this). My rest was minimal and over time I paid the price. My hormones were out of whack and I’m still struggling to get back to my previous state of fitness. The point? Too much is too much…..even of a good thing.
  3. Figure it out. Each type of workout needs a specific period of rest. Powerlifting usually requires more rest than bodybuilding, which requires more rest than circuit training or say yoga or Pilates. To make it easier; the heavier the lift, the more rest you need.
  4. Make your food work for you. I’m a fan of MACROS, but I always lean in more towards nutrients. Why on earth would I cause my body to work HARDER just to process some food? It can cause inflammation over time and even wreak havoc on the backside with cellulite. So, focus on 80% of your diet being whole foods (I’m not what I call a CLEAN eater because people get all confused with that) that either come straight from the ground or have a mamma. I make this happen by prepping ahead of time, knowing what I’m going eat, and keeping plenty of fruits and veggies on hand at all times.

Now, I’m working on healing my body with nutrition and rest. I still have off weeks (this being one of them) due mostly to non-workout related stress, but I’m finding my ground.

Keep in mind that this body is the only one you truly get, even if you have replacement parts. So treat it right, respect boundaries, rest up and workout to feel like the awesome rock star you are :)

Till next time,

Michelle

OH, and check out this GREAT post about NAPPING from my good friend Pamela.

The Road to Figure, becoming a bodybuilder, and why you should do what suits you best

Happy Monday people!!!!!

This particular conversation/post has been on my mind for months now (I have a very busy mind) and it will more than most likely make it to video…..for now, we’ll all read together :)

If you’re just looking to lose some pounds and have zero interest in lifting anything…..please read on! I promise you will get something out of it ;)

Bodybuilding and the Figure decision:

gym selfie 7jpg from fasted cardio, calorie restriction and circuits……

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose to competition.

I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over a dozen years now and I came from HATING sports and fitness of all kinds. I was never athletic and my start in fitness came in the form of yoga. So, after teaching yoga and a load of other aerobics classes, I began to develop an interest in weight. The weight training I did was not bodybuilding as it was mostly light weights with just enough reps to keep me small (there will be a WHOLE other post about our obsession with small-ness soon). It wasn’t until a year ago that I decided to get serious, start an actual bodybuilding program, stop trying different fads, and possibly even compete.

Years ago I thought I would compete in the bikini division and even began some prep. If you’re even thinking of playing around with competing, I encourage you to get to know the different levels of competition and the competitors within them. You see, bikini was going against everything I was…..I naturally love weight in all forms, meaning I can put on muscle and fat pretty easily…taking it off is a different struggle entirely. Training for the bikini division was making me physically ill because I was going against my natural body type. So, last year I decided on figure and started training the way my body responds best :hard and heavy.

In my quest for a figure physique I was able to make peace with foods I had long since left behind (because eating ENOUGH is paramount) and I embraced the discipline it took to put the muscle on and eventually strip the fat off. While contest prep was hard, it was far from brutal or undoable…..coaching is key here. In fact, after a lazy summer (spent with diagnosing some health problems that have been left to their own devices for far too long), I am gearing up to start a new competition season, hoping to bring my best to the stage each and every year.

In my quest for Figure, here are a few things I have learned about Bodybuilding:

  1. You have to be humble. True bodybuilders are not proud and they really do not belittle others. We all start somewhere in this sport and we all realize that in order to be our best self we must be accepting of flaws….in ourselves and others.
  2. It’s not about the HOW MUCH. I always thought it was simply about how much one could lift, but bodybuilding is about having a critical eye that can look for balance. When striving for a balanced physique we have to step back often and assess the situation. When in prep, my legs have to be run to balance out. They tend to hold more muscle than the rest of my body put together….so lifting lighter, added plyo and running are crucial to success.
  3. Embrace your whole body. You cannot HATE your body into submission. It just doesn’t work that way. I had to learn that my body really did work as one unit and if I wanted that unit to be successful I had to lead it as ONE….not belittling or ignoring the parts I felt weren’t up to par.

3 month front progress  3 month back progress Progress pics 3 months apart.

I also had to get comfortable with the changes in my body. That lean machine on the right is NOT the norm as that is the night before stage. The human body (some more than others) likes some body fat :)

So, embracing the changes during and after show prep can be challenging (and a whole other post), but mastering that part of the mind is empowering to say the least.

Now, it’s your turn…..

What if you have no desire to compete?

What can you possibly learn from a competitor?

The lifestyle of a competitor is not that far off from what ANYBODY needs to reach any goal. Check it out:

  1. Consistency. This is the #1 thing you need to reach any goal. Just like in the middle of prep I can’t decide to start eating ice cream for every meal or just do yoga for my workouts, the DAILY things you do can drive you towards or away from your goal. Develop consistent behaviors that propel you forward.
  2. Check in with your progress. No matter the goal, make sure you are checking your progress. I’m not a huge scale fan, but progress pics are the bomb! I could tell on a weekly basis what was changing and what was lagging behind. Develop a progressive system to see how close you are getting to your goals. Try monthly goal checks and to-do lists to start.
  3. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. I know you hear it a lot, but you really can’t change ANYTHING (weight, money earnings, level of respect, kids behavior, career, etc.) without getting uncomfortable. So stop lolly gagging around and step into the uncomfortable stuff so you can move through and move on!

Whether you’re looking to start your own business or step on stage, you can learn a lot from the perseverance and consistency of a competitor. A lifestyle of success is directly related to a lifestyle consistent with your convictions and goals. Step out of your own way, into the uncomfortable, and fight for what you are after in life.

Stay humble, but stay strong,

Michelle

 

Oh, that fluffy feeling……

I have issues…….I think you know that if you’ve read my stuff :) If this is your first visit, well then, I’m human and have issues. Welcome.

This has been an off week for me. It’s actually quite beautiful here in Southeast Texas, but I have been fighting with wicked allergies. I haven’t struggled with allergies like these since my childhood days! The severity of my cough which stemmed from a head full of snot (not the exact term the doc used), resulted in two allergy meds and an asthma med….with little relief as of yet. I was also told to rest…whatever that is ;) . I am perpetually not a rester. I like to DO things. Unless we’re watching a movie, then I just sit there like a stump on a log. Moving on…rest to me is yoga, Piyo (great program!), low impact circuits, etc. You know, rest :)

This forced rest and fuzzy head could be a great time to work on the devotional book I am writing, but I have been utilizing it to allow my head to enter into a dark space instead. My competition was a little over a month ago and I have put on about 7 pounds since then (give or take a pound). My coach is trying to reverse diet me to a lean, mean, lifting machine……I find myself in a panic. These days I feel much more mean than lean. I call it “fluffy.” You cannot feel fat. Well, you can if you stick your hand into a tub of Crisco, but that would be gross. Fat is a nutrient that we need, fluffy is when you just don’t feel as lean as a certain part of your brain thinks you should be.

During the competition itself I was excited for this time…..then I realized that this time is summer time and includes swimsuits (see previous post for a good laugh on that one). This past Sunday we spend time at my brother in laws pool for Father’s Day (thanks MIKE!) and I realized from the reflection in the window that my mind isn’t always right. Even at 7 pounds heavier, things are still healthy looking. I’m not sporting a six-pack (I’m also not a teenage boy….so there), but everything looks in shape. Body fat is there, but not nearly as noticeable as the muscle and I seem to be in good proportion. I promise I wasn’t standing in front of the mirror for hours checking myself out, this was just in passing.

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose First contest pic on the blog! Thanks to Alfonso Aguire :)

OK, so the above pic is not a realistic version of where my body can stay. That’s why we get pictures at competitions! Duh….. So, the logical part of my brain knows this, but the junior high girl who was made fun of for her weight (and yes, I remember all the comments and all the names…..issues) wants to stay there for special occasions. This part of post-comp is hardly ever talked about though.

So, why am I talking about it? Well, for the .01% of you who may compete, I like keeping it real. For the rest of you, there is something you keep comparing yourself to that holds you back from progress. Let that sink in.

See, my goal right now is NOT to look like I did during my comp (well, I wouldn’t mind that when I hang at the pool…). My goal right now is to add muscle, increase strength AND set aside quality time with my family. That means I can’t spend all day in the gym. Holding on to a past version of myself hinders any progress because my mind is not taking in the present and looking towards the future. I am allowing what was once a small thought to fester and become overwhelming.

Don’t get me started on the old videos and pics before I started to put on muscle.

This can happen to all of us. We get fixated on what we used to look like or what we think we should look like. I cannot tell you how many clients have said, “You should have seen me when…” Well, what’s so bad about now?

I don’t know about you, but right now I do not have any bikini photo shoots in the next 6 weeks. I do have a family vacation, but if your family can’t love you then who can? Most of the time we are harder on ourselves than anybody else. This drives us to a sort of obsession and can literally keep us from reaching our goals!

What can we do?

You know I love it when you ask that! I have a few action steps to get us ALL on the right track:

  1. Get real about your goals. For me personally, I had to realize that I could not want to add muscle and want the body of a svelte supermodel at the same time. That did not lead to consistency of any kind. Muscle is good for me cause let’s face it, I really like to eat.
  2. Enlist some help you trust. Pay for a coach (mine has been so helpful post comp) or join a challenge group. Having this accountability and knowledge is super helpful.
  3. Consistency above ALL. I have said it time and time again: consistency is king (small king, big King is God just to clarify). You must stay consistent to reach any goal you set. If your brain is all over the map, so will your goals follow.
  4. Get a power song! I have a lot of them and my playlist is full of NF, Lacrae, Andy Mineo, and even some AC/DC  :) I’ll share my song of the moment with you though.

There you have it. Four simple steps to a better you! Don’t let the world tell you who you should be or how you should look and don’t let past events dictate it either. Strive for a better you to give back each day and things will start to happen :)

mc-7159 I wanted to use this one for a while :) Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography (in the Baytown/Houston area)

NOW, let’s hear it! Leave your tips and suggestions for reaching goals and not heading into a negative mind space in the comments below :)

 

My FIT Time at Disney

Good Monday morning all!

I’ll try to make this quick as many of you may be playing catch up on this beautiful Monday :) and hopefully it is beautiful where you are.

Last week I had the privilege of escorting a whole bus of teens to Disney World for a band trip….well, we drove and skipped the bus thing. The majority of the trip rocked and I was able to stay on track nearly the whole time, yay me!

In this post I’ll answer 2 questions for you:

How did I come back with a concussion?

How did I stay on track?

Ready, set….wait, what?

Yeah, I brought the gift of a concussion back from good old Disney. It was from a ride at Epcot. While there are MANY warnings about motion sickness, Mickey does fail to mention possibly concussion and the 2 deaths which occurred on this very ride….well played Mouse, well played. I won’t bore you with all the moanings of a concussion while on vacation, especially not when this particular blog captured my feelings almost exactly. Click the link and check it out, you’ll be glad you did….

Anyways, I am back now and almost functioning normally. There is still a bit of healing to do and I plan on avoiding this ride at all costs in the future.

Now, how did I manage to stay on track?

This part was easier and cheaper than I expected.

FIRST, I had an awesome back pack provided by 6 Pack Bags.

6packbagDisney

 

This bag (which my hubs sported like a real trooper) has enough space to fit ALL my food for a 12 hour day at the most MAGICAL place on Earth. FYI, you can take food into Disney, so there goes that excuse.

My meals were bland to say the least, but they did the job well. I packed plenty of tuna and salmon packets for easy travel as well as cucumbers and snap peas. I also cooked some tilapia and packed some mixed veggies too. I did enjoy a few fries on occasion and I even splurged on dessert one night. The Disney brownies were awesome, but the ice cream was far too rich and one bite was all I needed.

Food1 Disney

MOST days I actually didn’t hit all of my macros, which proved detrimental……carbs were hard as I did not pack many besides veggies. So I was low-carb livin! Sorry kids at Disney…..

My FAVE morning treat before each workout was protein coffee. I used Beverly International (got questions or need to order? HIT ME UP!) chocolate UMP with about 6 ounces coffee from the good old hotel room. This gave me the energy I needed for my workout and my next meal was PROATS….1/3 or 1/2 cup oats mixed with a scoop of whey protein and some raisins cause I’m on vacation!!!!!!

Protein Coffee Disney

Now, if I’m honest I will let you in on the fact that I did let a few more “treats” come in after my near brush with death. Truth be told, when you have a concussion you go through a phase where you really just don’t care. Not all is lost though! I walked all day AND worked out each morning there. I had a limited but awesome hotel workout facility and made sure to get weights and cardio in each and every morning BEFORE the day of walking. Notice, walking is NOT your cardio nor is it your workout……another excuse bites the dust.

Disney Hotel Gym

I used Tabata or HIIT style workouts to save on time and hit all the major muscle groups…..plus the pretty ones too :) I’ll be putting these travel friendly workout into printable forms soon!

Since I was less than 10 weeks out (and ABS are a huge problem area) I took ab progress photos to ensure I wasn’t getting too crazy.

ABS checkin Disney

I know it’s lame, but I’m ok with being lame as needed :)

I totally get why so many of us fall off the healthy living monorail when in magical places. And I do believe Disney sucked the calories out of those brownies….it is the magic kingdom people. The point is that  a little preparation goes a LONG way and you can come through your vacation without feeling the need for booking a marathon to make up for nutritional sins. It’s all about the balance of things ;)

Oh…and the bag. Grab your 6 Pack Bags asap so you’re ready for your next vacation!

Next vacation destination?

A driving trip to California!!!!! Excited to keep a live blog on what and where we eat (cause I really love food) and how I stay fit for IdeaWorld.

 

Competition Update: 3 weeks in to prep

Happy Hump Day!

As promised, I am trying to keep peeps up to date on prepping for my “stage debut” as it is called :) It’s not because I think people are preoccupied with my lifestyle choices, but because there are probably some ladies thinking about competing (or even just taking part in prep) and may find this helpful. So here we go…

OK, so last week I took my official measurements (wowza! but I didn’t cry!) and entered into an online competition that coincides with the date of my upcoming stage comp. My hopes are that this will keep me FOCUSED! Yeah, that’s the plan. So, let me break down what’s been happening since last week:

  • First of all, can I be painfully honest? I wake up every morning thinking this is a HORRIBLE idea! :) True story. I say this because there are many of you reading who think once you have a “fit” lifestyle that it’s easy to maintain. NOT. I am sore every day and always on the verge of chucking it. Hey, I said I would be honest. So, what keeps me going? Well, once I get moving the soreness really isn’t all that bad. I strive to work smarter each day, not harder, and I’m trying more preventative techniques. It really does help to have a specialty in corrective exercise! The main thing that keeps me going is my family though. My husband supports me 110% and has even started joining me on track workouts (along with the new puppy). My kids tell me they believe in my and my daughter even made me an awesome sign to hang up in my home gym to keep me moving forward. Focus on the end goal, not the little things in between.
  • My nutrition has taken a hit as I have shown some oddities when it comes to certain foods. In short, I’m showing signs of intolerance to egg whites and dairy. I said EGG WHITES people! Egg whites and show prep go together like rice and beans. So, I’m adjusting and re-calculating. It’s times like these that I can fall back on protein powders (whey doesn’t seem to bother me) instead of real food. Protein powders are awesome and have their place, but real food needs make up the majority of the diet.
  • The new dog ate my glasses this weekend…doesn’t have much to do with prep except I’m feeling exceptionally old as I cannot see and must remember to make an eye appointment :)
  • My seasonal boot camp has started! I love this time of year as hopeful ladies come together in one room with the goal of improving not only their quality of life, but their outlook as well. Due to boot camp, my schedule if being played with until I find what works best for me. This morning I did yoga instead of cardio. Why? I taught kickboxing from 7-8 last night and though I felt like a true rockstar while teaching, my body felt like an aged rockstar this morning :) Again, the world was coming to an end UNTIL I got moving and worked the kinks out. Upper body and boxing are on deck for this afternoon in between clients.
  • I’m still trying to manage the inflammation my body seems to really dig. I woke up yesterday morning with a full body rash (lovely) and swollen face and limbs. Chalk it up to something ingested and since my diet is bland, I blame something along the lines of supps or environment. At any rate, Benadryl knocks me clean out!

So, as you can see, competition prep certainly has its ups and downs. I am attending a SUPER FUN Fitness Expo at my hometown prep gym Metroflex Houston this weekend. This will help keep my motivation up. Just remember, whether you’re competing on the stage or simply competing with yourself…always keep your eye on the goal because you’ll never know if you CAN until you actually DO.

Peace, love and lunges!

Michelle

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The glasses-eating dog after booty day :)

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Track workout! I even let him have my water

Re-igniting the Elite

Welcome to hump day! :) My favorite day…

As a general disclaimer: I am embarking on my first round of Figure Competitions this year and will be blogging about the journey once per week here. So, if competitions don’t intrigue you, feel free to check out some other blogs in the archives :)

One week into a light prep (being that my official PREP stage doesn’t hit full on until January 13th) and it’s been a roller coaster already. I have to be SUPER honest with you on this prep stuff because I believe it helps us all a lot more. Let’s start with the meal plan shall we? TUNA. That’s the majority of my meal plan. My hubby and I hit the grocery store ready to conquer prep like a couple of seasoned pros. We loaded the buggy with tuna cans, salmon fillets, chicken breasts and LOADS of veggies (that’s normal though). I got home and immediately wanted to rebel though…

It started innocently enough. I wanted to enjoy meals with my family since my training schedule would kick back in this week and I would be working during meal times. So, I started with “just a little” of what they were having. Mind you, we all eat healthy, but their meals were not on my plan. After that it was accepting the chocolate my kids would offer since refusing would be so rude. By the week’s end I can honestly say I stuck to my plan a good 2 days….SHEESH!

I have also grown very fond of movies over the holidays. Our family got all caught up on the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and Star Trek. We threw some cooler genres in there to even things out as well. Anyways, I really enjoyed being still and cuddling with my kids. I never skipped a workout, but then I would loaf around the rest of the day. This is the very behavior that I warn my clients about. So, when I went last week to get my check up AND hire my coach (unfortunately, not at the same place) I have to say I wasn’t totally shocked that I had gained about 15 pounds over several month. I wish I could ask my doctor if it was hormones, but I know it was me. So, I had a choice: I could feel sorry for myself and try to convince myself that my body was just acting out…OR I could get honest.

It has been my experience in the past that being TRULY honest with yourself is the ONLY way to make the necessary changes. SO, I started with the WHY…

I put on my tights and tank top (as opposed to sweats, which you can hide ANYTHING in!) and headed out to my gym so I could have an honest assessment. As I worked through a grueling conditioning routine for my legs (note: conditioning is a term we use for “WORK YOUR FAT OFF”), I was able to break through several mind and emotion issues that I was allowing to hold me back.

I had been looking through my progress photos over the past year and realized that I was MUCH leaner as the began. So I had to trace my steps backward to figure out what has happened. Wowza, did I discover some issues. So why do I share these faults? I think a lot of us hide behind them on a daily basis.

Let’s discuss where I live first. Baytown is far from the mecca of health and fitness. As a matter of fact, if people see somebody walking outside it is often assumed this person must be homeless or else they would be sitting in their car. The local gyms are used more as meet-ups and social gatherings, as evidenced by the people who go but never show a change in physique. Baytown has more places to eat than it needs and we still push for more establishments and faster service. When I am on my game, I stick out like a sore thumb. I’ll be honest in another respect: I don’t seek out company that challenges me. I don’t surround myself with those who seek to challenge my physical limits, therefore I always feel “good enough”.

Looking over the course of 2013, I was able to pinpoint when it started to get lazy for me. NOTE: where you live and the company you keep are not a viable excuse. They have no bearing on the outcome of your goals unless you allow them to. SO, around the time my son turned 14 I had already been to Moldova and was planning a trip to Ethiopia. The pictures that kept my resolve going slowly started coming off the walls and I slipped into “comfortable” gym workouts. Upon my return from Ethiopia I poured any extra energy into a new business and homeschooling my daughter. I detached myself from my goals and picked up a more socially acceptable laid back lifestyle. When my jeans started getting tight, I lied to myself and said it was muscle. This statement always takes my back to a famous Arnold quote, “If it jiggles, it’s not muscle…it’s fat”. Painfully true…

Now, is having some laid back time bad? Is family movie night bad? No, of course not. What had happened though was that I no longer held myself up to a higher standard. I was so worried about what others thought of my lifestyle that I started to alter it. This is craziness. For starters, we cannot control what others think or how the react to us. Second, why should we dim our light so others can operate on half batteries and still “feel” good? That’s me trying to anticipate others feelings again and that’s wrong on so many levels.

So what am I doing about it? I’m going to work work! I had a long face to face with myself and decided that there was once a time when I loved being part of the ELITE. Why? Because this particular lifestyle is available to everybody! You don’t have to be born special to get into this club and the endorphins are free :) . AND…everybody is in a good mood due to said endorphins. What do I identify as ELITE in my life?

  • I don’t skip workouts. I don’t take a month off for Christmas and then “get back in the game” . My health isn’t some game to be tampered with…it is my lifeline to seeing my kids get married and life full lives.
  • My kids don’t have their own food. We don’t have a “kids shelf” in the pantry. That’s plain stupid. If you don’t eat it, don’t feed it to your kids.
  • I live the example. I don’t expect my family or clients to do anything I haven’t already done.
  • I realize that self-discipline is the ONLY thing that will get me there. No pills, potions or motivational speeches will do it. Discipline…something this new generating lacks greatly.

So it is with this new resolve that I have changed the way I think about prep time. I take the hateful comments and use them as fuel. I set forth to create an example of discipline and perseverance. I try to be the very version of myself that God intended…not a copy of what I think people want to see. I will revel in the good and let the bad slip by. I will realize that I cannot and should not try to control how others perceive me. I will not dim my light to make others feel comfortable. AND…I will stay away from Facebook as it just upsets me :)

Until next week’s installment I encourage you to seek out YOUR very best self and burn bright!

Michelle

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Welcome 2014

 

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Hello Fit PEEPS! Welcome to 2014!

This is it right? This is the year that it will happen. What adventures have you planned? And are you ready for them? I’m going to take you on my very own adventure once a week. Each week you’ll be able to follow my journey to the big stage in Figure Competition and I’ll be giving you an unfiltered view of the prep work. So, let’s get started :)

Last night I met with my Figure Coach, the gorgeous Brandi from Metroflex in Houston (I recommend them if you’re in Houston or Plano!). Before I move on, I know the question of “Um, you’re a trainer why did you hire somebody?” might be on your mind. The answer is pretty simple: I wanted somebody with this particular specialty AND hiring somebody with the industry know-how to make some changes in my body. Sometimes, even the smallest of changes in your training and nutrition will yield BIG results.

OK, so I was thrilled to discover that my body type will work well for Figure :) with a few adjustments. I have about 18 weeks before my show in May and we laid out the game plan. I ordered my meal plan since we all know by now that the food is EVERYTHING! I’ll be eating 6-7 meals per day and ingesting 2 gallons of water as well. My meal plan will actually be tailored to my blood type (research shows this to be a great way to lean out safely), and it will be gluten-free. Why gluten-free? Again, it boils down to research. Gluten can promote inflammation and since I struggle with that already and I am a woman, it will be beneficial for me to give it up. I also plan to drop ALL sugar, even the healthy alternatives of Stevia and Xylitol. Why? RESEARCH! Do you see a trend here? By dropping all sugar my body will eventually stop craving it which will make prep a little easier.

Training wise I will be focusing on building my shoulders and back while conditioning the rest of my body (especially legs). This means my workout split will change as I will have 2 heavy shoulder days per week and 1 heavy back day (these can change as we progress) along with fasted cardio and conditioning for the whole body. May sound like a lot, BUT I am in a position to take the slow and steady route and make sure I stay safe and injury free :) .

So, prep has already begun! I woke up this morning and did some fasted cardio + conditioning in the form of kickboxing (MY FAVE: Turbo 55), have refueled and am planning a great family day. My journal is already inked with supplements, workout, and food intake. I plan on earning every step and coming home with some bling to display :) My first NPC seminar is THIS weekend in Plano, TX. We’re picking up a new dog, so it all works out. AND my Musclemania seminar is the 25th of this month at Metroflex (seriously, check them out!).

Wish me luck and stay healthy in 2014 y’all! Train hard!

Michelle