I’m engaged!!!

Wow… ok, focus

My wonderful fiancee and I looking oh so happy.

Ok, so remember how I said I was starting prep for June 14th on Monday this week? Well that didn’t happen… mostly because I got engaged and have been having many many celebratory drinkies with friends and family and decided to take a week to just soak it all in instead.

So now it’s been 9 days since the proposal and I’m refocusing on day-to-day life… and contest prep. So I’m officially starting tomorrow, Saturday March 1st… 15 weeks out from the competition!

I will be blogging about once a week during this prep as my work life is pretty busy and now I have a wedding to plan! So sorry… but I have to be realistic!

Some things that I planning on doing a little differently this time around:

  • Keeping my food more consistent throughout the week (i.e. eating the same thing each day for 7 days (with changes for dinner and late night snack as an option) and then changing on a weekly basis. I’ve always been all over the map with what I eat as long as I hit my targets, and I believe that is the ultimate right way to diet, BUT I want to be able to see how certain foods affect my body and the easiest way to do that is consistency. We will see how long this lasts haha.
  • Taking fewer supplements… I took a boat load of vitamins and BCAA type supplements last prep and I’m just going to try to keep it simpler this time… largely in an effort to save money for my WEDDING!!! (can you tell you will be hearing lot’s about this?)

    I had to find a place for the ring while I worked out… necklaces work!

  • Be better with my HIIT cardio and use active rest – I lift really heavy even when I’m not meaning too and it makes active rest next to impossible because I need that time to.. you know… actually rest. I’m going to try to be better with periodization this time around and actually use active rest instead of resorting to LISS cardio.

Things I am keeping the same:

  • My calories will still be high and mighty! I’m starting this cut at about 2000-2100 cals/day. I worked really hard on my metabolism this offseason (read: I ate A LOT of EVERYTHING)I gained a lot more than I intended but I also put on way more muscle that I thought I could. So I’m not worried. I haven’t tracked my food in a while, but I’d guess that my daily average cals are over 3000. So I should be able to lose weight relatively easily!
  • Lifting heavy (most of the time) – this is what I love and what keeps me coming back… so I won’t be doing too much circuit training or lighter weight higher reps until the very end of prep.
  • I’ll still be flexible and have a life. Just like last prep, I firmly maintain that this should be an enjoyable experience and one where you can still go on a date, or have a dinner out with the girls.

So it begins…

15 weeks and counting!

Also – look at this amazing proposal video I got to watch before he popped the question!!!! Ok enough bragging… sorry. I promise to learn to be modest at some point.

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1 month to go to UFE Halloween Mayhem!!!!

Ok so I’m a little excited. Firstly this morning started off fantastically with a 1 pound weight loss after carbing up (I am seeing a pattern that I actually drop weight the day after the carb up… weird) and secondly I added pumpkin pie spice to my morning coffee which is about 2 cups of coffee + 1/4 c. skim milk + 1 pkg splenda and now featuring a dash or 3 of pumpkin pie spice. Love it! Thirdly, I have one month left to my first ever fitness competition!

Coffee with pumpkin pie spice

This last month is so crucial to success and I have a big to do list/plan that I will share with you. Please take this in the context that this is my first competition, I am designing my own diet and training plan and everything I do is based on lots of research but little to no experience other than talking to helpful people. So with that in mind this is my plan:

  • Cardio 5 – 6 times per week, at least 3 sessions of 50 mins on the stair climber and 2-3 other sessions including sprints on high carb days
  • Weights 5 days per week
    • Legs – 4 rounds of super sets with a hamstring and glute focus, 1 minute rest between sets, keep the weights as heavy as possible
    • Push and abs – high reps (12-20) of push-ups and lighter weight exercises plus 2 heavier sets and 3-4 sets of ab exercises hitting all different areas
    • Pull – start with heavy weight in 8-12 rep range doing one set each for lats, rhomboid and combination, then 3 sets of 15-20 reps lighter weight, same grouping
    • Legs – circuit of 6-7 exercises at least 2 plyometric moves and only 30 seconds rest between exercises, 2 mins rest between circuits
    • Shoulders and abs – 5-6 exercises alternating high and low rep ranges depending on type of exercise hitting all three deltoid head then 3-4 sets of abs
  • Diet
    • Continue carb cycling with 2 days low carb, 1 day high carb, 3 days low, 1 day high
    • Focus more on timing the carbs on the high carb days around breakfast and pre- and post- workout with lower carbs the rest of the day
    • Currently eating 1600-1800 calories per day, drop range by 100 calories per day each week going no lower than 1300 calories on a low-end day
    • Absolutely no gluten
    • Cut out milk/dairy 2 weeks pre-contest
  • Tanning 3 times per week with a tanning accelerator
  • Use a pro tanning product day before the show (maybe Jan Tana?)
  • Make sure bikini fits and bling it out
  • Find/make a costume for the costume round – IDEAS PLEASE?! – I was thinking of being a flower fairy or a super hero… thoughts?
  • Buy clear plastic heels and practice walking in them toe to heel (yes I apparently have to re-learn house to walk
  • Decide on poses and practice them

If this looks like a daunting list that’s because it is! I feel a little overwhelmed, but I have come this far so there is no turning back.

I will post more progress pics tomorrow,  I think I will start posting them every friday so that you can see what the progression is leading up to the competition.Now, I promised you a recipe for the awesome Oatmeal that I had on my carb up day yesterday… so here it is:

Raspberries and Cream Oatmeal

Raspberries and Cream Oatmeal

The ingredients are:

  • 1/3 c. large flake oats
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. egg whites
  • 1/4 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 pkg. splenda (or sweetener of choice to taste)
  • 1 -2 tbsp. 2% plain greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Combine water, egg whites and oats in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat stirring frequently.
  2. When boiling, turn heat to low and simmer until very thick while stirring frequently.
  3. Add the splenda and raspberries and stir to combine and break up the raspberries throughout.
  4. Add the milk which will thin in considerably and bring back to a boil until desired thickness is reached.
  5. Serve in a bowl and top with the greek yogurt and a couple extra raspberries if you want to be fancy.

Nutritional Information:     Cals – 340     Carbs – 43 g      Fats – 5 g     Protein – 32 g

* if you use caloric sweetener remember to add that into the calories and macro count.

Counting calories; the good, the bad, and the ugly

Counting calories or nutritional information in one way or another is a pretty good way to get control over your diet if you know where to start. A lot of people prescribe a one size fits all approach that obviously doesn’t fit all. The 6 foot tall volleyball player does not need the same amount of food as the 5 foot tall accountant. The FDA uses 2000 calories for women and 2500 calories for men as the RDA (recommended daily allowance) which is just silly because every one is different. But I assume they did this in order to simplify things for the average joe. Well I like simply, but only when it works. When it comes to figuring out your calorie requirement there are LOTS of ways; some simple, some not, some good, some bad. Let’s address those later. First let’s talk about why you should or should not count nutritional info.

The good

  • It gives you more information to work with
  • You can actually make smart modifications to your diet because you know what you are putting in your mouth
  • It holds you accountable for what you eat
  • If you use an online tracker it will likely give you all sorts of other info like proteins, cards, fats, sodium etc. and possibly track your weight, fitness etc as well
  • If you are an organized person, it can be enjoyable and rewarding to look at your successes
  • It’s one of the single most effective weight loss tools because it prevents mindless eating (i.e. grabbing a handful of cereal out of the box) as you have to write it down
  • It can be a great planning tool if you are trying to meet certain targets and you can map it out in advance

The bad

  • It’s time consuming
  • It requires dedication to keep up to date with it
  • The information is only useful if you use it
  • Not all the systems are good: i.e. you might have to input your food manually or approximate things at restaurants etc.
  • If you are writing it by hand you can get lazy with it
  • In order to be accurate you have to measure your food which ca also be time consuming and not only feasible

The ugly

  • It can become an obsession
  • If you eat something bad, it can increase feelings of guilt because that number is staring you in the face
  • It can do crazy things with your emotions and psyche
  • Some people try to “beat” yesterday like it’s a game and can end up doing unhealthy things now that they have the information

So assuming I haven’t scared you away from giving it a go, here are some useful ways to figure out your requirements:

BMR calculator – not the most accurate, but will give you a good starting point. Then you have to add in calories burned from lifestyle and activity.

Multiply that number by the following factors to get your maintenance calories:

1.2 = Sedentary (Desk job, and Little Formal Exercise)
1.3-1.4 = Lightly Active (Light daily activity AND light exercise 1-3 days a week)
1.5-1.6 = Moderately Active (Moderately daily Activity & Moderate exercise 3-5 days a week)
1.7-1.8 = Very Active (Physically demanding lifestyle & Hard exercise 6-7 days a week)
1.9-2.2 = Extremely Active (Athlete in ENDURANCE training or VERY HARD physical job)

So now you know what your calorie requirements are for 1 day in order to stay at your current weight. Are you eating that much? More? Less?You probably don’t know! That’s where a food journal comes in. Don’t change the way you eat, just write down everything that goes in your mouth for 3 days. At the end of it go through and calculate the calories or use a site like SparkPeople which is the one I use. Now you will know when your normal eating habits look like compared to what the calculator tells you is “maintenance range”, if you have a stable weight then you are probably around that target.

5 pounds of fat or 17,500 calories burned!

So how do you lose weight? Well, you decrease calories… but by how much? A pound of a fat is equal to approx. 3,500 calories. A typical healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week so you need to cut or burn an additional 500-1,000 calories per day. I would recommend doing part of it through exercise and part ( a bit more than half) through cutting calories. So if I want to lose 2 pounds per week it looks like this:

BMR = 1500

Moderately active = 1.6

Maintenance calories = 2,400

Calorie deficit required per day = 1,000

Calories per day = 1,700 (700 cal deficit)

Calories burned through exercise = 300

In order to burn 300 calories through exercise I can either jog/bike/elliptical for about 30 mins, do 20 mins of intervals, 40 mins of circuit training, or an hour of weight lifting at a slow pace. There are lots of options, and it’s not exact, but I try to do at least one of those every day or some combination if I miss a day.

All of this should be done while keeping your macronutrients in a good range as I discussed here.