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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Five Months Later....

Still at it.  Hard to believe I've been consistently going to the gym three days a week for just over a year (excepting vacations and sick days, of course).    A little update:

So close to my first unassisted pull up, and then I strained a tendon and it has taken about four months to rehab.  Grrr.

Struggled with nutrition over and over again - and I've managed to pretty much stay the same weight for the past eight months.  This clearly is my biggest challenge.  Now I'm back on the cutting train with actual results, but I've already  made a deal with myself:  If I haven't lost what I need to lose by the beginning of April 2016, then no competition.  I'll just have to be content with being fit and healthy, and more muscular than I've ever been.  I've seen women (and men) on the competition stage when they had no business being up there, and that is not going to be me.  If I can't win, I won't get up there.

And there it is.  I'm so busy being retired and working out, I can't even keep my blog updated, LOL!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Progress, Not Perfection

It's been a while, so I'm going to go with a total update first:

Since November 1, the approximate day I started with Tom the Trainer, I have lost a whopping twelve inches overall, albeit "only" 15 pounds.  This includes SIX inches from my hips alone.

I have graduated to 70 pound lat pulldowns, increasing in weight to 100 pounds and decreasing in repetitions from 12 to 5.  As a result I think I'm getting a really amazing back, but then I can't really see it....  I'm seeing what I term "tremendous" definition in my calves and thighs (I actually have a thigh cut - who knew), and while my upper body gains may seem a little more modest, which I can't for the the life of me figure since we work it every single time, I have defined traps and delts, and when I flex, my biceps impress ME at least.

Here are some pics:

Honestly, I need to learn how to pose.  I looked a lot better in the mirror.

This is solid muscle - even underneath

I've also graduated to rows with 60 pound weights (working up from 2 sets of 10 with 30 pounds, to 40, to 50 and finishing with 60), which frankly amazes me because I can remember whimpering with the 30s.

My bicep curls now are 15 pounds in sets of 10, and I don't even know what my tricep push downs are because he keeps changing up the weights on the cables.  I've also done skull crushers with 15 pounds, which liked to kill me, and those danged curl-under-the-bar-and-push-yourself-up-using-only-your-triceps things.  Still hate those.

What with the planks, kicks, crunches, reverse crunches, push ups, punching bag, sit ups, assisted pull ups (I have not forgotten my goal of unassisted by Labor Day), squats, lunges, bench presses, shoulder work, and everything else we do in the gym, my progress is steady, albeit a little slow sometimes for my tastes.  AND I'm still doing an hour and a half of cardio every day.  I think my body is so used to it now, despite mixing it up with intervals and hills, I'm quite ho-hum about it.  Someone check my ID, because this can't be MY life.

As for nutrition, I have done a lot of research and decided that Marc was right - I needed to up my intake so I could build muscle, and hopefully lose fat with a higher number of calories when the time comes to cut before my competition.  For the past two weeks I've increased my calories by over 500 a day, and am focusing on hitting certain numbers for my macronutrients.  Amazingly, I haven't gained anything, and managed to lose two pounds after being stuck for over a month.

I have also found some great, high protein food stuffs

These are so good, I closed my eyes to savor every bite. If only my store
carried the peanut butter cup flavor.

Pretty good, and a nice change from eggs in the morning.

Okay, not so great but no carbs and a ton of protein.

It seems like I've been doing this forever.  Honestly, I got up the other day at 6:15 like I do most every weekday now, went directly to my room to put on workout clothes and shoes, went to my bathroom to wash my face, put on sunblock and put my hair in a pony tail, slapped on a cap and made my way to the breakfast nook to drink some water before heading out for my cardio.  All before I was truly awake.  I looked at Ted and said, "So this is my life now."  And it is.

What keeps me going are pictures like this:

This is Juliana Malacarne, the reigning Olympia physique champion.
I'm thinking steroids.

That and looking at posing suits online - yes, this is my life.

Granted, I may be too old and may lack the genetics to get THIS kind of definition (and again, there may be other factors at work there such as horse hormones), but I like to imagine walking into my local grocery store even only half as ripped as this.  I like to imagine going into a TESTED show and winning my age group.  Maybe even the overall....

And when I'm done imagining, I do the work.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Little Bit of Life

Have you ever wanted to kill someone?  No, really - lay your hands on their throat and squeeeeeeeze?    And I have some serious guns now, folks, both bis and tris.  But I digress.

Still training,  after a fantastic weekend in Portland where we watched the dragon boat races,

The Civil Serpents!  Hilarious!

I have never had so much fun as a SPECTATOR!  Truly, the park was full of energy with everyone cheering on their favorite teams - it was awesome!

Being sure to eat like a vegetarian (which was made easy by the first night at a brazilian steakhouse - ugh), I thought I had dialed in to my  nutrient heaven, even as we watched the rose parade in Portland, our first.

Poo Doo Donuts, baby.

Sure, you're with the band.

It was Fleet Week, and the Navy had some incredibly lame parade entries.  I mean those boys (and yes there were no women in their ranks) had no idea what a formation was or could be.

 I had some great pictures of the floats, and I have no idea where they are now.  Thanks, Cloud.

We've been in Oregon five years, and this was our first rose festival trip - and it was so, so worth it.  Yes, being back in a city was kind of disgusting, especially under the bridges  but the waterfront was so fantastic.  I miss a big town.

Training wise -  big rows with a 40 pounder, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks with less, and new shoulder work with even less.  I felt seriously lame.

You thought I was going to tie this in with the opening line, didn't you?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Smith Rock Summit Loop

Yesterday after training, my very fit friend Joanne led me up and then back down a mountain at Smith Rock State Park.  I'm pretty sure she said it was a 7  mile loop, at I'm going to say at least 4 of those miles were steeply up hill.  It was beautiful.

We ended up higher than Misery Ridge, and I really like this last shot of Joanne approaching Monkey Face, which is a famous climbing rock around here.

I had to stop and rest several times (including on the climb to the parking lot which was like at a freaking 90 degree angle), so I'm calling it 2 hours 30 minutes of hard cardio - which, after I ate 1400 calories yesterday, still resulted in a deficit of  about 1400 calories, woo hoo!  And this is not counting the 45 minutes of training earlier in the morning, so I'm pretty stoked.

Then of course, I had to get reacquainted with my old friend, Epsom Salts.  Love you, Ms. Salts.

I'm a little worried about today's training session....

Monday, May 25, 2015

NPC Cascadian Classic

I had a truly eye-opening experience at my first muscle show this weekend, in Bend.    I'll never stop being surprised by humanity, and in many ways that's a good thing.

Surprise number one - the line of competitors on registration afternoon (the same afternoon for non-competitors to pick up their tickets) was crazy long.  I mean, Bend is a small town and the show was at a high school.  We're not talking the MGM Grand Arena, folks.  Nonetheless, it was a gray and rainy day, and there were lots of people there.

Most of those people were in the very lightest clothing, including silk pajamas.  As I stood in line, the lady in front of me was talking to the lady behind me about carb ratios, etc., and how cold it was, and how long they were going to have to wait in line.  I interjected that I was only there to pick up tickets, which prompted Lady #1 to say, "Girl, you'll be here forever!  We have to be weighed and measured in there, so you just get in there and get your tickets.  I hold your place in line in case!"  So I did (pushing past some rather large people), and went back to her, tickets in hand, to give her a big high five and wish her luck.  If I had been wearing a jacket, I'd have given it to her.

So prejudging was Saturday morning.  This is where all the competitors take the stage, and where apparently the judges pretty much make up their minds as to who the winner is going to be.  There is some winnowing, though, so there's more than just awards handed out in the evening.

Here is the Masters Women's Physique category, the one I hope to enter next year:

That's my gym-mate on the left.  She didn't used to be blonde.

The woman in the center was awesome.

I watched the Men's Novice competition also, mainly because the Women's Masters Fitness category was after that - these guys are over 50:

Then came the Women's Masters Fitness category, which is supposed to be slightly less muscled than Physique, but there were some repeat performers, including my gym mate:

By the way - see that slightly balding man in the audience above?  That's Trainer Tom.

So here's another surprise from the prejudging:  The people in the audience, at least those around me, just talked and talked, and chatted on their phones, and generally paid little to no attention to anyone up there unless it was the one person they came to see.  I found this appalling.  Also, the coaches and/or trainers (I assumed - I suppose it could have been just some jerks) were shouting up to the contestants, things like "Spread those wings!" during the lat spreads, and other such "encouragements."  Weird.

Since there were no women bodybuilders entered (although the 66 year old lady I posted a photo of last blog was in the audience), and I'm not interested in the bikini category, I left.  

When I returned for the evening finals, there were even more surprises in store.  That place was PACKED to the rafters!  This was a high school auditorium - picture a large movie theater with a stage.  I figure it seated about five hundred, and they were selling standing room only tickets as well.  Every seat was full, and there were people standing along the side walls two and three deep.  I snagged a good seat and began to watch the people coming in.  Women were wearing dresses!   Men in nice shirts and some even ties!  Trainer Tom and his wife looked like they were going out to a nice dinner!

The lady next to me had never been to a muscle show before either, and she and I were just amazed.  Right along with the nicely dressed there were people in workout clothes, like they were just coming from the gym, but freshly showered - go figure.  The people with muscles were showing them (sun's out, guns out) so some men and women were rather skimpily dressed (I didn't dare take pictures of these folks).    People brought babies.  The competitors from categories not on stage (i.e., the bikini competitors) were walking around in flip flops and kimonos.  It was amazing.

Before the finals started, there was a fitness competitor visiting some people near me, and she and I started chatting.  This was her first show, and when she stared with longing at a beverage one guy had (another surprise - signs all over the auditorium saying "PLEASE NO FOOD OR DRINK" and people were eating and drinking to beat the band. They were SELLING food in the foyer.).  I asked her if she needed a drink of water, and she told me that her trainer wouldn't let her have anything to drink, NOT EVEN WATER, until after the show.  The only thing she had eaten that day was rice cakes with honey with nothing to drink.  Whoa - can you imagine eating a rice cake with nothing to wash that dry crap down?

So the finals start, and there's an emcee for Pete's sake!  A lady singing the national anthem!  This was a real sporting event, by gosh - surprise, surprise!  There was considerably less chatter in the audience for the finals, a pleasant surprise.

I didn't take a lot of pics at the final, because as you can see from the photos at the prejudging, the lighting on that stage was crap for pictures.  Suffice it to say, since there were only three entries for Masters Women's Physique, my gym mate got a trophy.  For some reason the winner of the Fitness category got a trophy and a sword.  I don't know what that's about.

There was also a guest "poser" (that's what they're called - hilarious!) at the finals - an IBCC professional in the Physique category and she was flat out amazing.  I didn't take any photos of her, but here's one from her website:

Overall, I was really inspired.  So much so that I've quit Nutrisystem (the carbs were messing me up and I wasn't reacting well to all the processed stuff - and the sugar!), and am going back to focusing on my protein, carbs and sometimes fat.   Those bodies were no joke - those people worked hard for them.  Harder than I have been doing.  Sure, I've got some great muscle but it's still hard to see.

I've got some hard work in front of me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sweet Baby Jesus, and I Need Some New Friends

Dead lifts yesterday, 100 at I don't know how much weight but Tom the Trainer put some plates on the 40 pound bar.  By the fourth round I was repeating the name of this blog post in my mind like a mantra.

We alternated those with step ups on a step that was not three inches, as I believed last blog, but SIX inches high.  

Next up were push ups on a lower bar, then pull ups thusly (you've seen this photo before)

except I had to tap my rear on the ground before hauling myself back up, and I can't remember what the third thing in this superset was.  Must be brain fog -  point me to the volcano.

A lot of crunches, tricep dips and then bicep curls with twelve pounders while stepping up on the step.

Did you know that when someone forces you to completely lower your arms at the bottom of a bicep curl, that it is that much harder then to curl the weights back up?  I know this now.

So - the show I will be entering next year is coming up.

I'm going not only to cheer on my gym-mate (who, incidentally, has become incredibly cranky lately - all that cardio and lack of carbs, no doubt), but to have a look at any competitors in my age range.  It looks as though they have a masters category (45 and up) which is a relief, unless everyone next year is 45 and one day.

This Oregon lady is 66 and still competing:

Which brings me to something that's been bothering me.  I was at a gathering recently, and someone asked me how my training was going.  I responded that it was going very well.  I was then asked what it entailed, and I responded that I did 45 minutes, three days a week with the trainer and one hour of cardio every day.  Well, a lot of these people looked at me as if I had grown a second head.  There then ensued a somewhat animated discussion with a male wherein, after some assertions by him,  I informed him that we don't have to lose muscle tone as we age - yes, our skin gets crepey and our hair thins out but there is no age-related reason to lose muscle tone if we keep working it.  The wave of negativity I experienced after I made this statement was almost like a blow; he might as well have just called me a liar out loud (except I think he knows I can take him).

It has stuck with me, despite my efforts to shrug it off, and it is dove-tailing with my general unhappiness about living in the only red part of a blue state.  It's as if I've lost my tribe and am wandering around alone and isolated, and now even more so because I choose to get and stay fit and strong where all around me most people are weak and unwell.  Even the ladies who walk regularly in my neighborhood wouldn't dream of adding more miles to their morning trek, despite walking the same route and distance every day for longer than the five years I've lived here.

So I've made up my mind to start seeking out other physically fit people, and making some new friends, maybe some with similar interests.  Maybe I'll meet some like-minded people at the bodybuilding show, or online, or at the gym.  There's one lady in my neighborhood who expressed an interest in running with me, so at least I have one other person around who's willing to push herself.

I don't understand it, but I guess I don't need to.  I just need to push forward alone and be satisfied with that.  So I will.