Friday, December 5, 2008

thought for the day

something i read today that caught my attention..."upheaval is a part of life, and if you're on a path of growth, you'll experience more of it than if you hide from growth. when you resist upheaval as it occurs, you suffer." for some reason this brought me such a sense of peace. i know that i always have this unrealistic expectation that i'll just do the work and then one day i'll "be there" and everything will be great from that day on. but life is more cyclical than that and right now mine just so happens to be in a state of upheaval and that's okay because it means that i am growing and good things are on the way. in the meantime, i'm feeling more and more on track every day with my fitness goals. yesterday was another solid day of eating...

meal 1: oatmeal, whole egg, bluberries, walnuts
meal 2: spinach hummus, celery, bite of banana bread, small nf latte
meal 3: brown rice, coconut milk, cabbage, onions, broccoli, carrots, shrimp, green curry paste

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

a quick update

today was a pretty good day. i worked my butt off in the gym. super short workout, but i'm up to 25 lbs on the one arm overhead press and we'll just have to see if i can lift my arms overhead tomorrow. went to a new yoga class this evening too. food was pretty good today. lots of good nutrition...did eat some sugar, mostly pre/post workout. finished my fast around 11:30 and i had:

meal 1: .5 chocolate muffin, macchiato
meal 2: .5 odwalla super protein shake
meal 3: fresh-cut spinach pasta, spinach, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese
meal 4: .5 odwalla super protein shake
meal 5: lf yogurt, whey protein, greens powder, blackberries
meal 6: kale, apples, onions, garlic, mixed greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, turkey meatloaf...yum!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

i was flipping through an old magazine today and found an article in which the author was discussing the different ways that we document our lives (photo albums, scrapbooks, videos, etc) and how we define ourselves by who we know, where we've been, what we've done. but she then went on to speculate that "the story of our lives is told as much by what we cook and eat as by anything else." she encouraged the reader to imagine making an autobiographical cookbook and then postulated that "along with the development of your eating habits, wouldn't it also track the progress of your soul?" and i think that, for me, there is a lot of truth in that statement. the times when my soul has felt a little more at peace or that i've felt more grounded in my life are generally the times when i am eating a nourishing diet easily and enjoying it. and the times when life seems to be falling apart or the going gets rough (ironically, the times when a nourishing diet is most critical) are the times when i fall into destructive eating patterns or eat things that don't support my body and its well-being. it made me sad to think that my autobiographical cookbook would seem to have multiple personalities, and would be one that i would be proud to share with others only some of the time. when i'm at my weakest i realize that i tend to always rationalize poor food choices by telling myself that i can always get on track tomorrow, or next week, or some undetermined time in the future. but the truth is is that the choices that i make today matter in the long run and it's okay to make a poor choice every once in a while (especially when made consciously), but justifying a string of poor choices because there's always time in the future to make good ones is a recipe for disaster...that's one recipe i'd like to exclude from my autobiographical cookbook.

with that said, today was another good day. my yum for eating food included:

meal 1: spinach, eggs, parmesan, roasted red pepper sauce
meal 2: nf latte, whey protein, baby carrots, string cheese, celery, peanut butter
meal 3: brown rice, coconut milk, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, onions, shrimp

today's an impromptu eat stop eat day. i have to say that i still love the flexibility that eat stop eat gives me. i haven't been planning my fasting days in anymore, but am just taking them when they seem necessary (ahem, day after thanksgiving anyone?) and it seems to be working well for me. yay :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

back again

okay, so today was a great day. first one in a while...haven't been posting and it shows in my sliding nutrition. gave in to thanksgiving and had a not so great week with my nutrition last week. but today was all clean food and reasonable portions and a really good ole turbulence training workout. i must say that i've been pushing myself quite hard in the gym lately and haven't missed a workout except one day last week when the gym was closed. been doing yoga and playing around on the rowing machines and getting my TT workouts in as planned. but i know that i'm never going to make any real, solid progress if i don't get my nutrition back in check. it's become really clear to me that my inability to control my eating comes from some very deep unresolved emotional issues from my past. i don't know if i'll ever be fully in control until i get to the root of what's eating at me emotionally, and in the meantime i'm back to square one of logging foods in fitday to create greater accountability. i'm not giving up, that's for sure. so, today looked like this...

meal 1: 2 eggs, lf cottage cheese, spinach, onions, tomato, butter, 1 slice toast, applesauce
meal 2: fresh-cut spinach pasta, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, broccoli
meal 3: homemade healthy pumpkin muffin
meal 4: whey powder, banana, berries, lf yogurt, lf cottage cheese, greens powder
meal 5: light coconut milk, green curry paste, cabbage, onions, carrots, broccoli, shrimp, brown rice

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

day 7

pretty good day today. food looked pretty good with the exception of a pre-workout scone. if i could just figure out how to make it through 7 hours of staring at pastries all day and not want to eat them...hmm. today was a non-workout day, so i just spent about 20 minutes on the rowing machines at the gym. i haven't really done too much rowing before and it's kind of fun unknown territory to explore. i can really feel it working the muscles in my back and i love that it's such a full body workout. looking forward to playing around with it a bit more. yay.

meal 1: 2 eggs, spinach, mushroom, onion, butter
meal 2: .5 grapefruit, .5 lf string cheese, 5 almonds
meal 3: chocolate chip hazelnut scone, 6oz nf latte, .5 lf string cheese, 6 almonds
meal 4: brown rice, cabbage, zucchini, onion, hamburger
meal 5: handful of granola, dark chocolate square, hummus and baby carrots
meal 6: spinach, cucumber, tomato, avocado, capers, mung bean sprouts, olive oil, vinegar

day 6

today was mostly eat stop eat.  a really easy fast and it made for a productive day as well.  i ate right before heading to the gym for an evening yoga class and turbulence training workout. felt really good at the gym and was able to push hard today. meals were in line today and were as follows:

meal 1: brown rice, purple cabbage, zucchini, onion, coconut oil, potatoes, 1 bija dark chocolate omega 3 truffle
meal 2: whey protein, yogurt, .5 banana, berries, greens powder


Sunday, November 16, 2008

day 5

meal 1: bacon/egg/tomato/onion croissant and small lf latte
meal 2: .5 burrito with spinach, brown rice, black beans, jack cheese, pico de gallo, fresh tomato salsa, tortilla
meal 3: superfood smoothie, peanut butter, handful granola
meal 4: turkey burger, ezekiel bun, spinach, mixed greens, steamed broccoli, 2 glasses red wine, small square dark chocolate

food choices improved progressively throughout the day today, but i certainly have not stuck to my original plan of no wheat, no sugar, whole foods only.  the one major improvement i've made so far this week is that i've had way less sugar than in recent weeks.  still feeling really motivated though and like i can continue to fine-tune things in the weeks to come.  next week my goal will be to increase vegetable consumption and eat less carbs.  tomorrow's an   eat stop eat day, so i get to take a break from thinking about it all...yay!

day 4

today's nutrition was once again something that i'm not so excited to went something like this:

meal 1: 2 eggs, spinach, onions, mushrooms, butter
meal 2: brown rice, zucchini, cabbage, onions, ground turkey, coconut oil
meal 4: small nf latte, 1/4 pumpkin bar
meal 5: .5 grapefruit, whole wheat bread, sunflower seed butter
meal 6: mussels, fennel & pomegranate salad

i way overate on the bread and sunflower seed butter.  i seem to have issues getting carbs under control lately and i know that it's partly because i'm not eating enough fruits and vegetables to keep me full enough to say no.  i need to be way stronger, but i have consumed significantly less sugar this week than in the past few weeks so i suppose it's a starting point.  next week there will definitely have to be more tightening of the diet if i'm going to succeed though.  baby steps...

Friday, November 14, 2008

day 3

came so close to missing yoga last boyfriend is a bad influence on me and i can't help wanting to curl up with him and snuggle instead of getting on my bike and riding in the cold to yoga.  but i stayed strong and in the end i was so glad i did.  i love the guy who teaches thursday nights, his approach is really simple but his classes are wonderful and i felt so good once i got there.  today i hit the gym for my second turbulence training workout of the week...i pushed hard today and had to get in and out quickly, which ramped up the intensity a bit.  although i still don't feel as disciplined as i would like to with my nutrition, i'm back to feeling really excited about my workouts and to pushing myself hard at the gym.  feels really good.  also, my gym has an assisted pull up machine which i love.  it makes it much easier to move seamlessly between exercises in a superset because i don't have to find someone to spot me.  i also feel like it is the key to eventually working up to unassisted pull-ups which has always been a skill that has eluded me in the past.  nutrition today was, once again, a bit off target.  i do know that it's much better this week than it was last week and if i continue to gradually improve, eventually i'll get back to where i was.  it's a different approach because i usually get gung-ho and cut everything out all at once until i feel deprived and try to make up for it all in one meal.  so today i've eaten:

meal 1: 2 eggs, nf milk, spinach, onion, mushroom
meal 2: 4 oz of mocha, .5 wheat-free scone, .5 grapefruit, 3 almonds
meal 3: .5 grapefruit, 10 almonds
meal 4: spinach, mixed greens, cucumber, shrimp, salmon, crabmeat, oil, vinegar, french bread, butter
meal 5: nf milk, whey powder, berries, granola (post workout)
meal 6: green salad, mussels in butter sauce, smoked salmon, 1.5 glass red wine
meal 7: sweet potato fries, sauteed bok choy
meal 8: granola, hemp protein powder, 2% milk, 1 bija omega 3 dark chocolate truffle

Thursday, November 13, 2008

day 2

okay, today hasn't gone completely according to plan.  had a bit of a stressful day this morning at work and ended up going off track a bit...but the good news is that it was only a bit and didn't turn into a total disaster.  let it suffice to say that i'm going to have to start over with my coffee-free week. i hate to admit that on day 2, but if i don't admit it then the whole idea of accountability goes out the window and i no longer feel the guilt.  today's nutrition has looked/will look like this:

meal 1: 2 eggs, nf milk, spinach, mushrooms, butter
meal 2: about 6oz of a mocha
meal 3: .5 apple, peanut butter
meal 4: sweet potato souffle (sweet potato, egg, pecans, butter, orange juice)
meal 5: .5 apple, peanut butter
meal 6: sip of pom wonderful, hummus, celery, baby carrots, 2 bija omega 3 dark chocolate truffles, handful of granola
meal 7: spinach, cucumber, purple cabbage, olives, mung bean sprouts, olive oil, chicken breast

today's nutrition has been weird.  it's one of those days where i feel like i haven't eaten very well, but when i look back at what i've eaten it's mostly healthy food.  i find that lately i'm having trouble prepping food and find myself eating a lot of thrown together meals that are more like snacks.  i think i end up eating too much when i do this because i just eat hummus out of the container instead of putting a specific amount on to a i find it harder to feel full when it doesn't feel like an actual meal.  so then i find myself reaching for dark chocolate, then my hand finds its way into the granola.  the makeshift meals are the ones that seem to have trouble ending.  funny, there's an easy solution here.  take the time to put the food on a plate and arrange it like a meal.  yes, it really is that easy.  i once again could have done with less carbs and more veggies, but most of todays carbs were at least complex.   i'll be hitting an 8 pm yoga class tonight.    

day 1

starting off steady-ish.  did relatively well today, but ended up having my cheat meal for the week on day one.  i'm re-visiting the orginal turbulence training workout and i had my first one today.  pushed hard and my arms are jello.  nutrition looked something like this:

meal 1:  2 eggs, nf milk, spinach, mushroom, onion, butter
meal 2: .5 apple, peanut butter
meal 3: red snapper in coconut sauce, black beans, brown rice
meal 4: .5 apple, peanut butter, lf string cheese, small piece baked butternut squash
meal 5 (post workout): feed granola, 1% milk, hemp protein powder
meal 6: indian!  chicken tiki masala and lamb saag, white rice + 1 glass red wine

today was a bit too carb heavy and not enough veggies.  however, i also managed to steer clear of sugar and have one coffee-free day down pat.  i wouldn't say it's an A+, but i'd rather have room for improvement after day one than jump in full force and burn out.  i like the idea of building up gradually and making real lifestyle change.  as long as i'm making progress! 

Monday, November 10, 2008

50 days

that's it.  this has been a crazy year of ups, downs, highs and lows.  crazy progress followed by not so impressive performance.  i have learned what it's like to have willpower and be inspired and moving towards where i want to be with my life.  and i have learned what it's like to feel as though i have no willpower, essentially a return to feeling trapped by my emotions, my sugar cravings, my negative patterns involving food.  through it all i still acknowledge that i am the only one who can make my choices.  i am the only one, ultimately, that puts food in my mouth or chooses whether or not to exercise.  although there is still a large degree of chaos in my life right now, i refuse to continue making choices that sacrifice my health and well-being and move me further away from where i want to be.  there are only 50 days left in this year and i'm determined to make them count.  today i got off the fence and officially joined a gym.  i also got back on the scale and got out the old measuring tape.  here's where i'm at...

135.8 lbs
28.2% bf (according to my scale) or 20.8% bf (according to my handheld omron)*
bicep: 11 (unflex)/12(flex)
thigh: 22.25
hip: 35.5
navel: 32
waist: 29.5
chest: 31.5
bust: 36

i want to enter the new year at 125 and see a general downward trend of measurements, meaning i need to lose a very reasonable 1.5 lbs a week.  i want to feel focused on my goal and determined to make every day count over the next 50 days, but i also want to achieve this without resorting to anything super extreme.  i so desperately need a maintainable lifestyle change that i can stay excited about and feel good about.  so, here's the plan to get me there:

1) accountability.  i will be blogging daily and boring you all with the details of what's going in my mouth simply because i know that i'm more compliant if i'm writing out what i'm eating.  my camera's still broken, but i'll find a way to get pictures up soon too.  pictures are key, pictures don't lie.

2) nutrition.  i'll be combining eat stop eat with what i want to call extremely sensible nutrition.  that, for me, is no sugar, no wheat, lots of fruits and veggies, light on the dairy (mainly non-fat yogurt, cottage cheese), meat, fish, eggs, beans, and whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats).  i'm feeling really torn on coffee.  i'm tempted to include black coffee in the a-ok list, but working at a coffee shop i'm always cracked out on caffeine and find that i always want to eat something sweet to go with my coffee.  i'm going to exclude it for the first 7 days since it's been a while since i've been off coffee and then i'll see how i'm feeling after that.  as far as fasting, i'm going to start out with one ese day a week and see how i progress.  i find that if i do two days a week i tend to get burnt out or feel deprived, but i like taking the occasional break from eating to give my digestive system a rest and i like creating one big caloric deficit for the week to not have to watch calories quite so closely on the other days.  i think that i'll look forward to my one day break a week.  and if i find that i need to step it up, i might try alternating one fast one week, two the next, etc.  

3) sanity.  being that i'm going for lifestyle change here, i'm going to include one cheat meal per week where i get to forget all about extremely sensible nutrition and just eat what i want.  i'm also including three glasses of red wine a week (spaced out or all in one sitting, but three's the limit).  since tomorrow is day 1, my weeks will be going wednesday to wednesday.  

4) exercise.  turbulence training all the way baby.  we all know it works.  still have to sit down and pick which tt workout i'll do next...but i'm planning on mon/wed/fri being tt days and then picking three additional classes at my gym every week (yoga, spinning, etc).  mix it up, keep it interesting, you know.  

so that's the plan.  i'm so excited to get started again, really get my rhythm down, and get back to making progress.  50 days, here we go.  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

don't drink your calories

this is one of the simplest and quickest ways to cut large amounts of calories from your diet, especially if you're used to drinking lots of soda, sugary juices, enormous lattes or large amounts of alcohol.  these can add huge amounts of calories into your diet and current research shows that although you're still consuming calories liquids don't trigger satiety mechanisms the way that eating solid food does.  so you get the calories without any of the fullness factor.  there isn't much room for any of the above drinks in a healthy diet, but there are lots of good alternatives to quench your thirst.  ones that i like:

1)  water.  your body needs it.  your body loves it.  if you don't yet, you should try it.  if you're not a big fan of plain water try to spice it up.  i love to squeeze lemon or lime juice into my water and add a few drops of stevia to sweeten.  you can do this with sparkling water as well and it's almost like a healthy soft drink.

2) tea.  black, green, herbal.  i drink and love them all.  green tea has gotten lots of press lately for it's high antioxidant content and ability to help boost metabolism.  once again i often sweeten with stevia because i like it, it's natural, and it's calorie free.  

3) coffee.  if you don't like it black, try swapping a latte for an americano with a few inches of steamed non-fat or 2% milk.  it obviously won't taste as rich at first but eventually your taste buds will adjust and you might find that you come to prefer it.

4) i try to stay away from juice, but sometimes i like to add a splash of pommegranate juice (an antioxidant super-power) or cranberry juice to sparkling water.  add stevia to sweeten if needed.  

anybody else got any other good drinks they'd like to share?

Monday, November 3, 2008

good lifestyle tips

i ran across an article the other day about lifestyle practices that can help to prevent cancer.  some of these are common sense, but they are in keeping with the theme of finding balance and achieving actual lifestyle change, so i thought i'd share.

an ounce of prevention...some do's and don'ts for helping to avoid and fight cancer (from david servan-schreiber's anticancer)

**your mental state:
  • be positive
  • resolve stress and past trauma
  • accept yourself and your emotions, including the negative ones
  • practice meditation, yoga, tai-chi or some other form of relaxation
**your diet:
  • these vegetables have great cancer-fighting characteristics: beets, brussel sprouts, cabbage, garlic, kale, leeks, and scallions
  • also good: onions, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, red wine, soy
  • increase your intake of omega 3's, typically found in fish (herring, trout, sardines, mackerel, halibut) and flax seeds and oil
  • avoid sugar, white flour, vegetable oils, white rice, and non-organic animal fat (meat, eggs, milk, cheese)
  • filter your tap water
**your activity:
  • spend 20-30 minutes a day on a physical activity that you enjoy (tennis, walking, swimming)
  • be out in the sun for 20 minutes every day
  • avoid being surrounded by people who smoke
  • use cosmetic products without estrogens or placental by-products 
  • use cleaning products without synthetic chemicals 
  • don't prepare food in a scratched teflon pan
  • reduce the influence of cell phones by using a headset consistently
although i was surprised to find no mention of strength training included under "your activity", these are still solid all-around suggestions for improving your health and achieving a balanced lifestyle.  

Thursday, October 30, 2008

the truth hurts

so as you can probably imagine, the fact that i've been MIA for so long hasn't been due to my stellar compliance. there hasn't been much progress to report with my diet and exercise exploits so i've remained unsurprisingly quiet on the issue. in fact, the harsh truth that i have been diligently attempting to ignore, is that my amazing progress from earlier this year has been slowly but steadily eroding in the months since my return from spain, along with all the passion, drive, and enthusiasm that went with it. however, with the holidays on the way and my weight steadily creeping up, i find myself finally ready to put my foot down (yes, once again). the past few months have been really rough for me and although i have made so much progress in terms of knowing what diet and exercise work for my body, compliance is still a huge uphill battle when other things in my life are challenging. in between feeling stuck in a job that i'm not all that fond of, struggling to make my relationship with my boyfriend work, and having a rough time with my transition home in general, emotional eating has returned. it doesn't help that the aforementioned job is in a coffee shop where i'm surrounded by pastries and coffee all willpower has failed me time and again and i have allowed my addiction to sugar to regain control over me. i have been relatively diligent with my exercise, but if there's one thing that i've learned lately it's the truth of the old fitness adage that "you can't out-exercise a bad diet." my biggest ongoing struggle appears to be finding balance. i can stick to any sort of program for long enough to see results. and everything that i find myself trying works (eat stop eat, anabolic diet, etc). but they only work as well as my ability to stick to them and i inevitably find myself getting bored or burnt out on a particular way of eating and then sliding back into my bad habits with a vengeance. i know that it's tied into my emotional state and that there's some part of me that feels deprived, which is why when i backslide it's a deluge instead of a sprinkle. it's as if i don't want it to be such hard work. when i accept that it's hard work and get excited about the rewards then i can stay on track and feel good about it. but often i forget about the longer term rewards and can only seem to focus on how my diet interferes with my social life or how other people don't have to work so hard or how i want to just make it through a day or two without spending so much time obsessing about what i'm eating. i know that balance is the key for me. i have experienced it before, when eating didn't rule my life but i was eating healthily and it's so liberating. i want to learn to simply eat and be nourished, be healthy. i understand that, for some reason, this is what i have been called upon to struggle with at this point in my life and i realize that it will be a while until i am fully in control of the problem, but knowledge is power and i know when i feel healthy and good about what i'm putting into my body and when i don't. having tasted balance and peace with this issue at certain moments in my life only makes me hungrier to get there for good and i'm absolutely certain that i will. that process begins and continues with the acknowledgement that i'm not fully there yet, but i've moved closer before and i'm moving closer again. here we go.

Friday, August 8, 2008

quick update

so it's been several days since my last post, but i've been a very good girl despite the continued craziness of my life. i've stuck to my diet and exercise 100% for the past three weeks and it feels so good to be back on track. granted, i'm only doing the bare minimum right now when it comes to three body weight workouts a week, four rounds of hill sprints and a ton of bike commuting, but that's the great thing about turbulence training is that you can do the bare minimum and still see great results. and i love the anabolic diet so far. it just feels so manageable to me. i'm pretty much just eating eggs and spinach for breakfast every morning then tons of meat with green veggies throughout the day. i'm still having a protein shake three times a week after i work out with berries, whey, and non-fat yogurt. and then on the weekends i literally eat what i want...from sweet potatoes, brown rice, and oatmeal to cookies, waffles, and chocolate. i'm generally pretty carbed out by the end of the weekend and am psyched to get back to my meat and veggies. and i'm definitely seeing results as well. was going to post updated pics but then my computer crashed so i'll have to take some more. i still haven't located my scale (yes, it's true, i've been home two months and still don't have a place to live), so i haven't weighed myself in ages, but i can see the beginnings of visible abs! it feels so good to be able to manage my diet and exercise when i'm still in the middle of all this transition because i know that it will only get easier once i get myself settled. here's to stickin to it...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

hill hater

one of the reasons it's been so hard for me to keep on track since i've been home is that i still haven't joined a gym. the housing search has been really difficult this time around and i don't want to choose a gym until i know what part of town i'll be living in, so i'm still hitting the bodyweight circuits. being gym-less has its advantages though...for instance, getting me more addicted than ever (in a masochistic sort of way) to the exercise that i love to hate: hill sprints. i've been doing lots of them lately and nothing seems to give me such a substantial kick in the butt. they are the perfect form of interval training for me right now because even if i had a gym, i'd struggle with the idea of getting on a bike indoors when we're in the midst of a glorious portland summer. but not only do i get to be outside while i get my exercise done. hill sprints are free, fast, and most of all effective. there are several great hills all over portland, so i just do a quick turbulence training bodyweight circuit and head out the door in search of the nearest hill. i tend to only be able to make it through 4 or 5. it usually takes me about 15 minutes to run up and walk down 5 times. not going to lie, i find hill sprints to be pretty painful. but the pain is short-lived and, in terms of getting the most workout in in the shortest amount of time, they pretty much can't be beat. if you've never given them a try, it might be time...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

bacon anyone?

Q: what diet will allow you to eat burgers, bacon, eggs and butter all week long and then sit down to a big plate of pancakes on the weekend with a clear conscience?

A: welcome to the anabolic diet.

today is day 7 and i'm really psyched that i finally decided to give this a try. the basic premise of the anabolic diet is that you eat lots of protein and fats during the week and keep carbs to a minimum (under 30g/day) to deplete your muscles' glycogen stores and then you eat whatever you want on the weekends focusing on eating higher carb foods. glycogen stores are sufficiently depleted by the weekend that the body sends the glycogen straight into the muscles to replenish glycogen stores instead of storing the carbs as body fat. the diet allows your body to switch from burning carbs for energy to burning fat since there are essentially no carbs available.

the anabolic diet is a great fit for me right now for so many reasons. like eat stop eat, no foods are off limits and you can pretty much eat as much as you want (as long as you are eating the right foods at the right times). in fact, on the anabolic diet, you are supposed to eat a lot. the recommendation runs somewhere around 15 to 18 calories per pound of bodyweight. for me that's somewhere around 1950 to 2340 daily calories. which is (for me) a lot of food. let's keep in mind that during my first month and a half of my last transformation, i was eating 6 small meals a day at a caloric deficit which was about 1600 calories a day. also fat and protein don't spike your insulin levels the way that carbs do and i've found in the past that higher fat tends to work well for my body. the other thing that i love is that the diet allows me to be social without having to put so much thought into what i'm eating. if i'm going out with friends, there's always something i can eat...during the week meat with green veggies (it's never hard to find a steak or burger) and on the weekends pasta, rice dishes, sushi, well some junk food if i so please.

i guess the other thing to mention is the results. i haven't taken measurements in a long time and my scale is still in storage, but i can absolutely see visible results after only a week on the diet. i have lost weight (some of it is water, i'm sure) and i'm already starting to see muscle definition in places that had become just a little too soft. i'm pretty excited to see where i am at this time next week. for now, i'll be enjoying the rest of my carb-fest.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

still alive.

okay, so to be perfectly honest the last month has been one of the most stressful and emotionally trying of my life. getting home and trying to redefine my place in the world has been more difficult than i ever could have imagined and i've been an emotional wreck. it's been so difficult for me to maintain everything that i created and worked towards over my last few months in spain, especially being someone who is hardwired to turn to food when i get emotionally overwhelmed. i have to admit that i've done my fair share of that over these past few weeks. what have i learned from it all? well, that eating to escape my emotions didn't work in the past and it still doesn't work. in fact, it sends me into a state of feeling so unbalanced that i literally can't think straight. last week i finally got fed up with feeling that way and decided that it's time to get serious about my training and nutrition again. with everything in my life feeling so uncertain (my career, my relationship, my faith), this is the one area that i know i can control and that taking control of it inevitably makes everything else make more sense. there is this strange correlation between those two and i notice such a difference between my mental state when i'm eating right and exercising that i sometimes wonder if i have a chemical imbalance that exercise corrects...i'm not sure why, but it makes it blindingly clear that i need to make this a # 1 priority in my life. so, at the beginning of this week, i re-committed to the bare minimum of 3 turbulence training workouts per week. i'm combining that with the anabolic diet (low carb/high protein/high fat) because i've wanted to try it for a while and it somehow is what feels most manageable at this point. i'll go into more details about the diet soon for those of you who are unfamiliar. at this point, suffice it to say that today is day 4 on the diet and i feel better than i have in weeks. will try to get pictures up again soon and get back to posting my progress. the bruises hurt a bit but i'm getting my butt back on the bandwagon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

home at last

i'm back. home. finally. i've been back in portland for just over a week and it's soooo good to be home. it's been a very surreal experience returning after so long and it's been overwhelming at times with all that i have to do to re-settle and re-establish myself here. i've been kind of a bad girl when it comes to my transformation goals. not terrible, i suppose i've been in maintenance mode, but i haven't really made any visible progress either. i've been much more slack with my eating than normal and i haven't really had too many structured workouts yet (although i've gotten in lots of modified bodyweight workouts, some yoga, and i've been reunited with my bike!). part of that is due to the fact that i sprained my ankle my last day in london and it's partially due to the fact that i don't have a gym yet. although i've really liked the bodyweight workouts, i really prefer working out a gym rather than at home. i tend to get too distracted or not focus on intensity when i'm working out at home. i think that if i had some dumbbells and a stability ball that would help, but when i go to the gym it feels like more of a commitment and i tend to workout harder. my brain's just weird that way. i've found it really difficult to keep my focus squared on where i eventually want to be in terms of my body composition when i'm going through so much transition. that, combined with all the dinners/drink/bbqs with friends that i haven't seen in two years and i don't quite feel like i've struck the balance i'm looking for. i manage pretty well when i have my eyes on the prize determination and when i don't, i tend to relax everything a bit too much but i still don't feel like i've quite mastered that somewhere in between. i know that i'm closer than i've ever been and i feel like the rewards of clean eating and exercise have been hardwired into my brain at some subconscious level because i do find that i now naturally tend towards better decisions most of the time. but there's still room for improvement...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

day ?...lost in the london abyss

so this trip has been crazy and i literally haven't stopped since i left madrid. traveling is always tough on my diet and exercise plans, but i've really rallied this time around and have managed to get in every tt workout so far. i even ran stairs for intervals at the hotel i was staying at. i've also made a good effort with my diet and have stuck to my planned eat stop eat days as well. but it definitely requires so much more effort to stay on track when i'm away from home. i leave london in a few days and when i get to vancouver i'm staying with a friend so at least there i'll have access to a kitchen and will be able to cook my own meals. i can't wait!

in other news, i read a very interesting article on the precision nutrition forum about alternative sweeteners...being a big user of stevia, i found this intriguing. you can check it out here: battle of the sweeteners.

also, don't forget that there are only a few days left to join the next turbulence training transformation contest. use the trial offer to get your copy of turbulence training and get your transformation started! the next twelve weeks are going to pass either way, so use the challenge as an accountability tool to help you make some great progress in the meantime.

Friday, May 23, 2008

day 12...into the abyss

today is my last day in spain. i can't believe that it's finally here. had an awesome, if not nostalgic, last workout at my gym today. tomorrow i'm off for two weeks of travel, homelessness, fridgelessness, and gymlessness. from here on out it will be bodyweight workouts in the space between hotel beds and, as always when i travel, lots and lots of walking. travel is always my ultimate downfall when it comes to compliance with exercise and eating well, but i'm determined to do well this time. probably wont be blogging daily, but will check in when i can. wish me luck!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

day 11...the loose ends

today was the end of another successful eat stop eat day. i find that if i go for a little while without fasting the first fast or two are always harder, but once i get into a rhythm with weekly fasting, they pretty much become a breeze. and today was definitely one of those days i was really happy not to have to stop and eat because i am running all over the place trying to tie up so many loose ends before my last day tomorrow. tomorrow i close my bank account and cancel my cell phone and it's weird how that makes me feel like i am withdrawing from civilization or something like that. strange how dependent we tend to become on all these aspects of the modern lifestyle.

also with all the craziness, i forgot to mention that craig is running a great promotion where you can try turbulence training for less than $5! just go sign up for the trial offer and you get 21 days to put turbulence training to the test. you still get all the regular bonuses, plus you get access to the awesome forum. if you've been on the fence, this is a great opportunity to see if turbulence training is right for you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

day 10...need a deep breath

my head feels like it's going to explode today with everything i'm trying to do to get ready to leave and all of the emotional ups and downs that comes with that. goodbyes are such strange and nebulous things and i've had my fair share of them over the past few days. i have this incredible sensation of incompleteness, of wait that can't be it, and it's so weird to me that i'll get on a plane on saturday and boom a two year chapter of my life will be closed just like that. all the people and the places that i've become so accustomed to will no longer be a part of my everyday life (and many of them i may not ever even see again). i've been reflecting on all this quite a bit in the past few days and i've decided that i just don't think we are wired for goodbyes as human beings. it never seems real until after the fact because people, experiences, and places leave their marks on us in such subtle and yet complex ways that it is impossible to draw all of that influence into a single moment and to end it just like that. feeling like i'm in for a bit of a roller coaster in the coming weeks and although i know it might be difficult to stay on track, in a way i'm glad that i started another challenge because i'm hoping that it will be something that will feel familiar or routine in the midst of all this change...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

day vez en cuando

okay, well moderation went out the window yesterday as ALL of my favorite spanish foods somehow magically managed to appear on my dinner table. yesterday was a feast featuring empanada, tortilla, queso manchego, queso gallego, queso de cabara, gambas al ajillo y, por supuesto, VINO. i actually feel really good about my one last indulgence before leaving though and it made me reflect today about how i think i really have made a shift into lifestyle change. because, as much fun as it is to go overboard every once in a while, in my everyday life i find myself really craving the simple foods that i know make my body feel good and i seem to have finally made the connection somewhere in my subconscious that going overboard on a regular basis definitely does not feel good. and the other thing is that i finally feel like i'm to a point where i can indulge every once in a while without all of the mental admonishment i used to put myself through. it's pretty nice for a change. and, as an added benefit, i felt unusually strong and well recovered in my yoga practice today...proof that large amounts of cheese and wine do a body good every once in a while :).

Monday, May 19, 2008

day 8...breakthrough challenge week 1 progress

this evening i'm hosting a little going away gathering, so it will be my first full on planned cheat of this challenge. usually i'm eat stop eat-ing today, but i moved it to yesterday instead and finished this morning before i went to the gym. i will definitely be having some wine and tortilla espanola (one of my mostest favoritest spanish dishes) and who knows what else, but i am going to be focusing on moderation. wish me luck!

in other news, today was weigh-in day. here are the results:

day 1 --> day 8
weight: 134 lbs --> 130.7 lbs (-3.3 lbs)
% body fat: 20.5 --> 20.1 (-.4)
bicep (unflexed/flexed): 11/12 --> 11/12.5 (nc/+.5)
thigh: 21.75 --> 21.5 (-.25)
waist: 29.5 --> 29 (-.5)
navel: 31.5 --> 31.5 (nc)
hip: 35 --> 35 (nc)
chest:30.5 --> 30.75 (+.25)
bust: 34.75 --> 34.5 (-.25)

very pleased with my first weeks results. as suspected, my body does good things when i give it clean food and exercise . i do think it's an ironic trick of nature though that many times my progress seems to be most visible from the back. moral of the story...take more pictures of your backside!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

day week down

another good day. good yoga practice, but what really caught my attention were the hill sprints. this is the one place where i still feel like, yeah, i definitely had pneumonia. my lungs just do not feel the same, and i'm way more winded and working way harder than i was before. i don't know if it's that my lung capacity decreased or that i still have stuff in them that's preventing oxygen from getting to my blood, but i was completely, utterly, and totally worked by hill sprints today.

the thought for the day is kekich's credo # 74: "patience is profitable. achievement comes from the sum of consistent small efforts, repeated daily." i love this quote as it is essentially the recipe for body transformation but is also applicable to pretty much anything you might be after to accomplish in your life. i had heard of dave kekich before but hadn't read all 100 of his credos until recently when i found them on fellow turbulence trainer darryl's blog. if you haven't seen them before, i'd say they are highly recommended reading. you can check them out for yourself here: kekich's credo. good stuff.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

day 6...losing my callouses

finished up my first week with the turbulence training bodyweight phase I today with workout c. i didn't find this one quite as challenging as workouts a and b, but it definitely did still get my heart pumping. the hardest part was at the end moving from the inverted rows to elevated push ups. i'm beginning to notice a marked improvement in my endurance when it comes to push ups. i haven't tried lately to see how many i can do without stopping (last time i tried it was 30), but the sets of 8 to 10 don't kick my butt nearly as much as they used to, and the variations are becoming somewhat easier. the bodyweight workouts have an incredibly different feel to me from the non-bodyweight tt workouts. when i'm working out with weights i feel the "turbulence" immediately. with the bodyweight exercises, as i mentioned before, it kind of creeps up on me...i don't sweat as much, it takes longer for my heart rate to get up, but the interesting thing is that after the workout, and especially the next day, i feel equally as worked. it's definitely been fun to mix it up a bit and to give the weights a rest. on a side note bodyweight workouts are good for my vanity as the weight lifting callouses on my hands are disappearing.

nutrition was on today as far as food quality (100% clean food!) but i feel like i ate a lot. it was just one of those days where i couldn't get full and i ate. my nutritional approach definitely feels different this time around. i think i am eating more right now than i was in my last challenge (of course i don't know for sure b/c i'm not counting anything) and i'll be interested to see where the numbers come in on monday. my nutrition probably also feels different right now because my meals are even more redundant than usual since i'm trying to use up what i have in the cupboard/freezer before i leave. can't believe that my two years in spain are so close to being over. adventures await me in london in only one week!

Friday, May 16, 2008

day 5...the social support shield

i had a really interesting exchange with one of my roommates the other day. she wanted to know why there was a newspaper taped up on the wall and when i told her that i was starting my second transformation contest she gave me a strange look and said in a defensive tone that she thought i might be going overboard. she voiced her concerns that people get too obsessed with losing weight and that i didn't know when to stop. being that i feel like i currently have the healthiest relationship with food and exercise that i've ever had in my life, i found her concerns to be somewhat ridiculous. i mean, honestly, by looking at my before and afters it's pretty obvious that i am improving my health. but if you decide to start making major changes in your life, even if they're for the better, don't be surprised if the people around you suddenly become resistant to or resentful of your improvement. sad but true, there is this strange phenomenon that seems to occur when you begin to make positive changes in your life...there you are feeling great about your progress and all of your hard work and then you get sideswiped by negative or less than supportive comments from people in your everyday life. this is where, once again, i really have to reiterate the importance of a strong social support network. my roommate's opinion on my decision to continue my transformation might have seriously discouraged me in the past. but, this time i had two major things working in my favor. number one, i got really clear in my mind about what it is i'm working towards and why before i ever began. having a clear reason why helps me to feel confident in my decisions despite any external resistance i might encounter. in addition, since i've read about so many other people on the forum having similar experiences, and i've got such a great group of people backing my up efforts there, it barely phased me. no matter what it is you're trying to achieve, you'll greatly improve your chances of success by connecting with people who are at the very least supportive of your efforts or ideally working towards a similar goal.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

day 4...why i love green beans

another good day so far except that i talked to brian on the phone this morning instead of doing yoga, so i've gotta practice tonight to keep a clean tt conscience. also had another unplanned run in with the museli and cashew butter (is cereal a serious trigger food for anyone else?), but i am definitely noticing progress and i refuse to freak out until i take first week numbers. i'm easing into the challenge this time around to avoid burnout and figure i can always tighten things up towards the end as that is also when i'll be working off that last bit of fat that loves to stick around. and although raisins and dried fruit have a lot of sugar, there are definitely less healthy things that i could be "cheating" with than museli and i get such an immense amount of pleasure out of a few handfuls. besides, if i can get to where i want to be without having to be so neurotic about my nutrition (isn't that the point of ese anyway?) then all the better. and i feel like i eat enough vegetables to feed a small country so i'm not worried about getting the proper nutrition. interestingly enough, i usually go grocery shopping with my roommate because he has a car and it's almost a little embarrassing the difference in the quantity of food that we buy. usually we end up with a 2:1 ratio of bags (keep in mind that he is 1. male and 2. bigger than me) and i often leave pondering how in the world i can consume so much food. then i always have this ah ha moment that more than half of what i'm bringing home is vegetables. sneaky, eh?

seriously though, increased veggie consumption is a pretty easy way to fat loss. i was reflecting on this the other day when i made a super low maintenance meal of green beans, chickpeas, and tahini (um, i was in a hurry). i was sitting down to an enormous plate of food, which is really psychological satisfying for me. but as most of it was green beans i was able to fill up on few calories. i know this is sort of common knowledge ( can eat more of foods with less calories...really!?!) but i kind of still forget sometimes. but when i'm making a really solid effort to eat clean i it always hits me that, hey, it's pretty cool to be able to put two more cups of food on my plate guilt free, even if it's all green :).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

day 3...the bodyweight slow burn

stealthy. that's how i would describe bodyweight workouts phase 1. today i tackled workout b and had a very similar experience to monday's workout. after the first circuit i was feeling like it was a pretty easy run but somehow those bodyweight exercises sneak up on you. by the end of the third circuit i was definitely feeling worked...i think i'll call it the bodyweight slow burn. plank on the stability ball was soooo much harder than it looks. it was my first run in with those coupled with a reunion with the stability ball rollouts which i love to hate. the offset push-ups were also new, and i actually really liked them. i am definitely starting to hit my stride. most of the soreness from the other day is gone and i even attempted my first assisted chin-ups with the help of my gym's owner today. he apparently had high expectations of me because it didn't feel like he was helping too much, and it took everything i had to make it to 5 reps (manual calls for 8 so we'll see if i can hit that before the end of four weeks). i even found myself smiling for no reason in the middle of my, i think i missed my turbulence training.

nutrition today was spot on. all clean food and i discovered that oatmeal, amaranth, egg whites, cinnamon, and cashew butter with a little stevia is a divine combination. or at least if you have my taste buds...of course i also love plain cottage cheese and canned tuna so i might just be weird.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

day 2...DOMS make me smile

so as i had predicted arms are officially jello. i'm definitely sore today, but i'm getting some satisfaction out of my pain after so much time taking it easy while recovering from pneumonia. i feel like i'm almost back to 100% (still have some tightness in my chest when i push hard) and it feels so good to be able to do intense workouts again. i was able to open things up a bit with yoga today but definitely took it easy during my practice to allow for recovery. even if i don't do a heavy-duty physical practice it always feels so good just to breathe and move my body and get some blood flowing to my muscles. my head is all over the place lately with everything i need to do before i leave and all the transition i have coming up. i was highly tempted to put off starting my transformation until the end of may so that i could get all the craziness out of the way at the beginning of my challenge, but i think it's good practice for me to learn how to keep up "the lifestyle" when there's so much going on. if i can stick to the plan over the next month, i can stick to it i'm just going to try to keep reminding myself that in the week and a half ahead of me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

day 1...the breakthrough begins

off to a good start, with my first bodyweight workout under my belt, but an important lesson learned today. never underestimate the power of craig's bodyweight circuits. i was going around in my head as to weather i should start with phase 1 or phase 2 and by the end of the first circuit i was thinking this is too easy. yeah, that was just me orienting myself and learning the sequence. i definitely began to feel the burn in the next two circuits as i moved through the exercises with no rest between them and finishing off with a solid minute of pushups just about killed me. my arms are pretty much jello so wondering if i'll be able to do any sun salutations with yoga tomorrow...might just have to make it a yin practice. nutrition was pretty much on target today, although i had a slightly unplanned run in with some museli. not too worried about it though, full speed ahead.

breakthrough challenge day 1 pics and stats

here are my starting stats and pics for the breakthrough challenge as of may 12th 2008. although i lost a wee bit of ground in the last month due to aforementioned challenges, i'm not bothered because despite having been off track a bit in the past month, i never felt like i had lost the lessons i learned in the last challenge and my motivation to continue my progress is as strong as ever. i'm back at 100% and it won't be long until i'm surpassing my final results from the last challenge. yay!

height: 5'5
weight: 134 lbs
% body fat: 20.5
bicep (unflexed/flexed): 11/12
thigh: 21.75
waist: 29.5
navel: 31.5
hip: 35
bust: 34.75

blast off

today is day 1 of my brand new shiny breakthrough challenge and i'm so excited to be getting started again. spent some time yesterday evening and this afternoon getting my goals in order and getting connected to my reasons for doing this and here's what i've come up with:

2nd transformation contest goals...

1) achieve 15% body fat. this was my main goal in the last challenge and i naively chose this number without knowing that it was a bit unrealistic from my starting point of 24.2%. this time around though i believe that it is a realistic goal and i expect to get there within the next 84 days.
2) don't miss a turbulence training workout in the next 84 days and successfully stick to my plan during travels to london and vancouver bc. this challenge will present some interesting hurdles for me as i will be moving out of my apartment in spain on may 24th and probably wont arrive in portland until june 8th or so (ie--two weeks of homelessness and traveling limbo). when i get home i have to find a place to live and get a job and basically re-start my life after a two year hiatus. so there will be lots going on and being a total creature of habit, i always do really well sticking to my plan when i can create a routine and i always crash and burn when anything interrupts that routine. i am determined to break that crash and burn habit during this challenge and be super diligent with my plan in the midst of all this craziness.
3) practice attentive eating at every meal. this is one of my biggest challenges as i always seem to be rushing off to the next thing and tend to rush through my meals in the same way. this is definitely something that needs to change and so will be a big focal point for me in this challenge.
4) shift towards more intuitive eating with less rules. in my last challenge i went from strict calorie counting to relaxing things a bit when i shifted to eat stop eat, but was still being incredibly strict with myself. i want to find a balance in this challenge between holding myself to high nutritional standards and making the majority of my food choices center on clean foods, while at the same time allowing myself the occasional cheat and simply learning to listen to my body and enjoy every bite of food that i put into my mouth guilt free. this will be a space that requires a bit of experimentation, but i feel as though if i can figure this out i will truly be where i want to be in terms of my relationship with food. i recently read that "the body is wise and the rewards for trusting it are great." this is a philosophy i want to learn to integrate into my get to a point where my trust in my body's wisdom allows me to treat it as an ally instead of a foe.
5) blog progress daily for increased accountability
6) visible abs by day 84...i have never seen my abs before and i think it's about time.
7) and, of course, make turbulence training history by being the grand prize winner two times in a row!

the daily action steps that i will take to get me there are as follows:

1) drink at least 4 liters of water
2) avoid processed sugar
3) eat mindfully
4) feel good about my food choices
5) get at least 8 hours of sleep every night
6) get the vast majority of my calories from clean foods
7) review my goals and visualize their achievement

and finally my tentative nutrition and exercise plans, subject to change as results dictate:

my nutrition plan: i will be sticking with eat stop eat incorporating two days of fasting per week combined with a clean foods diet and will probably incorporate carb tapering as well (less carbs at the evening meals). focus here will be on mindful eating and enjoyment of all food consumed.

my exercise plan: since i'm going to be traveling and transitioning so much during this challenge, i decided that bodyweight workouts are probably the way to go. however, i might change this up a bit depending on how quickly i find/join a gym when i get back to portland and how much i'm digging the bodyweight manual.

weeks 1-4: 6 month bodyweight manual phase I
weeks 5-8: 6 month bodyweight manual phase II
weeks 9-12: 6 month bodyweight manual phase III

monday, wednesday, saturday will be turbulence training workouts. tuesday, thursday, sunday will be yoga (with hill sprints on sunday just for fun). friday is my glorious rest day.

so that's the plan, now it's just a matter of following through and putting it into action. starting stats and pics will be up next...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

i'm back!

sorry that i've been MIA these past few weeks. didn't mean to disappear but i had a bit of an unexpected emergency. my boyfriend's mother suddenly became extremely ill and was in the hospital and i ended up catching a very last minute flight to california to be with him and his family. due to the somewhat intense and highly emotional aspect of the trip i didn't really have time to post. but i'm back in spain now and will officially begin my transformation challenge round 2 tomorrow. i have to admit that i have fallen off the wagon a bit between pneumonia and crazy last minute cross-continent trips and being in someone else's kitchen and dealing with some crazy emotional ups and downs. i know...excuses, excuses. but these setbacks have actually infused me with a huge dose of motivation and i'm really excited to get back into the groove and ramp things up for my second challenge...although i'm a bit nervous to see what the scale has to say tomorrow. it will be an interesting 12 weeks this time around as i only have two weeks left in spain and i have a crazy journey back to the states that will leave me in travel limbo for about two weeks (first stop london, 1 week; second stop vancouver bc, five days; third stop seattle, three days). sticking to my plan when traveling is always my downfall, but i am determined to do it this time around and to continue to progress through my travels. tomorrow i'll be back with day 1 stats and goals so stay tuned as my journey begins again!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

transform your body...and keep the change!

being that many of us are preparing ourselves for another 12 week journey (or maybe beginning our first), here's a great article from tom venuto of burn the fat, feed the muscle fame that puts the idea of a 12 week transformation challenge in perspective. i've already mentioned that there are so many benefits to a challenge in terms of motivation and accountability, but if you are not keeping a longer term perspective in mind then true lifestyle change will be impossible.

Health And Fitness Is Not A 12-Week Program
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

Not long ago, one of the members of my health club poked her head in my office for some advice. Linda was a 46 year old mother of two, and she had been a member for over a year. She had been working out sporadically, with (not surprisingly), sporadic results. On that particular day, she seemed to have enthusiasm and a twinkle in her eye that I hadn’t seen before.

"I want to enter a before and after fitness contest called the “12 week body transformation challenge." I could win money and prizes and even get my picture in a magazine."

“I want to lose THIS”, she continued, as she grabbed the body fat on her stomach. “Do you think it’s a good idea?”

Linda was not “obese,” she just had the typical “moderate roll” of abdominal body fat and a little bit of thigh/hip fat that many forty-something females struggle with.

“I think it’s a great idea,” I reassured her. “Competitions are great for motivation. When you have a deadline and you dangle a “carrot” like that prize money in front of you, it can keep you focused and more motivated than ever.”

Linda was eager and rarin’ to go. “Will you help me? I have this enrollment kit and I need my body fat measured.”

“No problem,” I said as I pulled out my Skyndex fat caliper, which is used to measure body fat percentage with a “pinch an inch” test.

When I finished, I read the results to her from the caliper display: “Twenty-seven percent. Room for improvement, but not bad; it’s about average for your age group.”

She wasn’t overjoyed at being ‘average’. “Yeah, but it's not good either. Look at THIS,” she complained as again she grabbed a handful of stomach fat. “I want to get my body fat down to 19%, I heard that was a good body fat level.”

I agreed that 19% was a great goal, but told her it would take a lot of work because average fat loss is usually about a half a percent a week, or six percent in twelve weeks. Her goal, to lose eight percent in twelve weeks was ambitious.

She smiled and insisted, “I’m a hard worker. I can do it”

Indeed she was and indeed she did. She was a machine! Not only did she never miss a day in the gym, she trained HARD. Whenever I left my office and took a stroll through the gym, she was up there pumping away with everything she had. She told me her diet was the strictest it had ever been in her life and she didn't cheat at all. I believed her, and it started to show, quickly.

Each week she popped into my office to have her body fat measured again, and each week it went down, down, down. Consistently she lost three quarters of a percent per week – well above the average rate of fat loss – and on two separate occasions, I recall her losing a full one percent body fat in just seven days.

Someone conservative might have said she was overtraining, but when we weighed her and calculated her lean body mass, we saw that she hadn’t lost ANY muscle – only fat. Her results were simply exceptional!

She was ecstatic, and needless to say, her success bred more success and she kept after it like a hungry tiger for the full twelve weeks.

On week twelve, day seven, she showed up in my office for her final weigh-in and body fat measurement. She was wearing a pair of formerly tight blue jeans and they were FALLING OFF her!

“Look, look, look,” she repeated giddily as she tugged at her waistband, which was now several inches too large.

As I took her body fat, I have to say, I was impressed. She hadn’t just lost a little fat, she was “RIPPED!”

During week twelve she dropped from 18% to 17% body fat, for a grand total of 10% body fat lost in three months. She surpassed her goal of 19% by two percent. I was now even more impressed, because not many people lose that much body fat in three months.

You should have seen her! She started jumping up and down for joy like she was on a pogo stick! She was beaming… grinning from ear to ear! She practically knocked me over as she jumped up and gave me a hug – “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Don’t thank me,” I said, “You did it, I just measured your body fat.”

She thanked me again anyway and then said she had to go have her “after” pictures taken.

Then something very, very strange happened. She stopped coming to the gym. Her "disappearance" was so abrupt, I was worried and I called her. She never picked up, so I just left messages.

No return phone call.

It was about four months later when I finally saw Linda again. The giddy smile was gone, replaced with a sullen face, a droopy posture and a big sigh when I said hello and asked where she’d been.

“I stopped working out after the contest... and I didn’t even win.”

“You looked like a winner to me, no matter what place you came in” I insisted, “but why did you stop, you were doing so well!”

“I don’t know, I blew my diet and then just completely lost my motivation. Now look at me, my weight is right back where I started and I don’t even want to know my body fat.”

“Well, I'm glad to see you back in here again. Write down some new goals for yourself and remember to think long term too. Twelve week goals are important, but fitness isn’t 12 week program you know, it’s a lifestyle - you have to do it every day, for the rest of your life.”

She nodded her head and finished her workout, still with a defeated look on her face. Unfortunately, she never again come anywhere near the condition she achieved for that competition, and for the rest of the time she was a member at our club, she slipped right back into the sporadic on and off workout pattern.

Linda was not an isolated case. I’ve seen the same thing happen with countless men and women of all ages and fitness levels from beginners to competitive bodybuilders. In fact, it happens to millions of people who “go on” diets, lose a lot of weight, then quickly “go off” the diet and gain the weight right back.

What causes people to burn so brightly with enthusiasm and motivation and then burn out just as quickly? Why do so many people succeed brilliantly in the short term but fail 95 out of 100 times in the long term? Why do so many people reach their fitness goals but struggle to maintain them?

The answer is simple: Health and fitness is for life, not for "12 weeks."

You can avoid the on and off, yo-yo cycle of fitness ups and downs. You can get in great shape and stay in great shape. You can even get in shape and keep getting in better and better shape year after year, but it's going to take a very different philosophy than most people subscribe to. The seven tips below will guide you.

These guidelines are quite contrary to the quick fix philosophies prevailing in the weight loss and fitness world today. Applying them will take patience, discipline and dedication and they will put you in the minority. Just remember, the only thing worse than getting no results is getting great results and losing them.

1) Don’t “go on” diets. When you “go on” a diet, the underlying assumption is that at some point you have to “go off” it. This isn’t just semantics, it’s one of the primary reasons most diets fail. By definition, a “diet” is a temporary and often drastic change in your eating behaviors and/or a severe restriction of calories or food, which is ultimately, not maintainable. If you reach your goal, the diet is officially “over” and then you "go off" (returning to the way you used to eat). Health and fitness is not temporary; it’s not a “diet.” It’s something you do every day of your life. Unless you approach nutrition from a “habits” and “lifestyle” perspective, you’re doomed from the start.

2) Eat the same healthy foods consistently, all year round. Permanent fat loss is best achieved by eating mostly the same types of foods all year round. Naturally, you should include a wide variety of healthy foods so you get the full spectrum of nutrients you need, but there should be consistency, month in, month out. When you want to lose body fat, there’s no dramatic change necessary - you don’t need to eat totally different foods - it’s a simple matter of eating less of those same healthy foods and exercising more.

3) Have a plan for easing into maintenance. Let’s face it – sometimes a nutrition program needs to be more strict than usual. For example, peaking for a bodybuilding, figure, fitness or transformation challenge contest requires an extremely strict regimen that’s different than the rest of the year. As a rule, the stricter your nutrition program, the more you must plan ahead and the more time you must allow for a slow, disciplined transition into maintenance. Failure to plan for a gradual transition will almost always result in a huge binge and a very rapid, hard fall "off the wagon."

4) Focus on changing daily behaviors and habits one or two at a time. Rather than making huge, multiple changes all at once, focus on changing one or two habits/behaviors at a time. Most psychologists agree that it takes about 21 days of consistent effort to replace an old bad habit with a new positive one. As you master each habit, and it becomes as ingrained into your daily life as brushing your teeth, then you simply move on to the next one. That would be at least 17 new habits per year. Can you imagine the impact that would have on your health and your life? This approach requires patience, but the results are a lot more permanent than if you try to change everything in one fell swoop. This is also the least intimidating way for a beginner to start making some health-improving changes to their lifestyle.

5) Make goal setting a lifelong habit. Goal setting is not a one-time event, it’s a process that never ends. For example, if you have a 12 week goal to lose 6% bodyfat, what are you going to do after you achieve it? Lose even more fat? Gain muscle? What's next? On week 13, day 1, if you have no direction and no long term goal to keep you going, you’ll have nothing to keep you from slipping back into old patterns. Every time you achieve a short term goal (daily, weekly and 12 week goals), you must set another one. Having short term goals means that you are literally setting goals continuously and never stopping.

6) Allow a reasonable time frame to reach your goal. It's important to set deadlines for your fitness and weight loss goals. It's also important to set big, ambitious goals, but you must allow a reasonable time frame for achieving them. Time pressure is often the motivating force that helps people get in the best shape of their lives. But when the deadline is unrealistic for a particular goal (like 30 pounds in 30 days), then crash dieting or other extreme measures are often taken to get there before the bell. The more rapidly you lose weight, the more likely you are to lose muscle and the faster the weight will come right back on afterwards. Start sooner. Don't wait until mid-May to think about looking good for summer.

7) Extend your time perspective. Successful people in every field always share one common character trait: Long term time perspective. Some of the most successful Japanese technology and manufacturing companies have 100 year and even 250-year business plans. If you want to be successful in maintaining high levels of fitness, you must set long term goals: One year, Ten years, Even fifty years! You also must consider what the long term consequences might be as a result of using any "radical" diet, training method or ergogenic aid. The people who had it but lost it are usually the ones who failed to think long term or acknowledge future consequences. It's easy for a 21 year old to live only for today, and it may even seem ridiculous to set 25 year goals, but consider this: I've never met a 40 or 60 year old who didn't care about his or her health and appearance, but I have met 40 or 60 year olds who regretted not caring 25 years ago.

Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) is a fat loss program which acknowledges the simple truth that going "on diets," entering "Fitness challenges" or competing in "Transformation contests" without having long term goals and a lifestyle attitude, is a recipe for failure. Don’t let yourself be part of the latest fitness dropout statistics: visit the Burn The Fat website for more details on how to change your lifestyle... and keep the change!

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle.” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's Fat Loss program, visit:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

transformation challenge rules

the second turbulence training transformation contest will be kicking off may 1st...just a few days away now. i can't wait to get started again as i find that working within the confines of the challenge really helps me to stay motivated. for more information, go here to check out contest rules and to join the contest: transformation contest rules. and if you have any questions leave me a comment and let me know!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

fasting for fat thoughts on eat stop eat

if you've been following along, you know that i decided to test drive brad pilon's eat stop eat during my transformation. i have to admit that i was a bit skeptical at first, but probably not for the typical reasons. having done several 7-14 day fasts in the past, i wasn't worried about whether i'd be able to manage not eating for a few hours. i do believe in the benefits of fasting when done properly, but all of my past fasting attempts were always subconsciously driven by a desperate attempt to lose weight. and since i was struggling with my relationship with food the fasts would inevitably set me up for binging sooner or later. i found myself in this destructive binge-fast-binge cycle and finally reached the point where i promised myself that i was not going to fast anymore and that i would find a healthy way to lose weight and get into shape. when i came across eat stop eat, i hadn't fasted for almost two years. but what brad said in eat stop eat made so much sense to me that i decided to give it a go. i think what really struck me was that brad presented eat stop eat as a solution to what he has coined "obsessive compulsive eating," which really hit home with me because i had been obsessing over food for as long as i could remember. and in my one month test drive i discovered so many reasons to love eat stop eat. let's see if i can narrow them down to my top 5:

1. it works. i switched over to eat stop eat from 6 meals a day in a caloric deficit. i continued to lose weight at the same, and sometimes even faster rate.
2. it's sooo simple. do your fasts, strength train, and eat sensibly the rest of the time. no calorie counting, no crazy foods, no complicated eating schedules.
3. it saves time. one of my favorite things about eat stop eat is all the time i save on my non-fasting days because i don't have to cook (and clean up after!) five or six meals.
4. it's flexible. if it doesn't work in your schedule to fast one day, you can do it the next. some weeks you can fast more, other weeks less. you can combine it with another healthy nutritional plan (highly recommended!) and only use it occasionally to help your results along. there are so many ways to work it into your lifestyle.
5. it's healthy. brad goes into great detail about all the different benefits that you'll get from adopting the eat stop eat lifestyle, and many of these are directly related to your health. you might be surprised to find how good it feels to give your body a break from eating.

to sum up, i've been really happy with the results of eat stop eat thus far and it seems to fit my lifestyle really well at the moment. in terms of having different tools in my fat loss arsenal, eat stop eat is a definite keeper.

Friday, April 25, 2008

breakthrough challenge!

please take note of the shiny new logo on my blog. i have joined forces with a group of other tt-ers who are also planning to join the next turbulence training transformation challenge. we plan on becoming an unstoppable fat loss force and our super mini-group will be providing added accountability and social support along the way in the form of back-patting or butt-kicking, depending on what's appropriate. there's already been a total buzz building among breakthrough challengers as we anxiously await the start date and we have been helping each other along in terms of getting prepared, deciding when to start and what programs to use, etc. i know that i will need all the support i can get as this time around i'm going to be attacking "that last bit of fat" which is infamously harder to shed than what i disposed of in the last challenge. i, like several other breakthrough challengers, am leaning towards giving the 6 month bodyweight program a go during this challenge. will be refining my plan of attack in the weeks ahead, so more details to come...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

isn't this a fitness blog?

so you might have noticed the total lack of updates about my workout and eats. somewhere around the end of my challenge i somehow managed to catch pneumonia and have been on an almost three week hiatus from the gym. for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of having pneumonia, it's not a pleasant experience. i'm one of those people who is really bad about tearing myself away from my routine once i get in my groove, so it's definitely been a test of patience to sit on my butt for so long, especially when i was making such fantastic progress. but, alas, when you've been as sick as i have the best thing you can do is sit on your butt and let your body heal. in the past week i managed a few yoga practices and yesterday was my first day to attempt a tt workout. i was finishing up on craig's 2K3 workout when i was so rudely interrupted, so i started back up with it but with only two sets and reduced weights. workout went well, but i'm definitely weaker than pre-illness. i traded in intervals for 15 minutes of steady state considering i still can't take a full deep breath. nutrition has been pretty much in line and i even got the go-ahead from mr. pilon himself to begin eat stop eating again when i finished my antibiotics. first fast was on monday and it's good to be back. i will be slowly building back up to my routine and hope to have my self in tip-top form by may 12th, my target day to start round 2 of the turbulence training transformation challenge. watch this space.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

why interval training is your friend.

here's a great article from craig that gives an overview of turbulence training and how he created this amazing system...

The Evolution of Cardio

By: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

I've been meaning to write this email for a long time. Today I'm
going to give you the story of how I solved the problem of getting an efficient and effective fat loss program finished in 45 minutes. Essentially, how I invented Turbulence Training.

And then I'll end with a sample TT workout for you...

But first, let's take a trip down memory lane to the winter of
98-99. I was but a lowly grad student, studying the effects of
androstenedione (the supplement taken by the might Mark McGwire during his record-breaking home run quest in '98).

In my study (which was published in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology for any science nerds like myself out there), we had guys use the supplement and go through a couple of weight training sessions. By February of '99 I was stuck in the lab, analyzing the blood samples using some fancy radio-active isotopes.

And when I say stuck in the lab, I mean STUCK. I'd get there at
7am, and record my last data point at 11pm. Sixteen hours of
mad science. And if I wasn't there, I was downstairs in the
medical library, studying papers on testosterone and training.

Now coming from a very athletic background, this sedentary
lifestyle didn't sit well with me. But there I was, studing for a
degree in Exercise Physiology and left with no time for exercise.
Or so I thought.

Fortunately, I actually had a 50 minute window once per day of
"down-time" while the lab's gamma-counter analyzed blood samples.

That left me 50 minutes to get to the gym (5 minutes across campus) and get a workout in the remaining 40 or so minutes. I knew that if I applied my studies to the workout, I could get maximum results in minimum time.

As a former athlete, I knew that I had to find a way to stay fit
and to avoid the fat gain that comes with working long hours in a
sedentary environment. And I also had to stay true to the
high-school bodybuilder I once was, so there was no way I was
willing to sacrifice my muscle to one of those long-cardio, low
protein fat-loss plans that were popular at the time.

Instead, I had to draw on my academic studies and my experiences working with athletes as the school's Strength & Conditioning Coach.

I knew that sprint intervals were associated with more fat loss
than slow cardio, and I knew that you could also increase aerobic fitness by doing sprints (but you can't increase sprint performance by doing aerobic training).

So clearly, intervals were (and ARE!) superior to long slow cardio.

I had seen first hand the incredible results of sprint intervals in
the summer and fall, as the athletes made huge fitness improvements and shed winter fat in a short time using my interval programs. I knew that intervals had to be the next step in the evolution of cardio.

The biggest benefit of intervals? A lot of results in a short
amount of time. I knew that I only had 40 minutes to train, and
therefore I could only spend 15-20 minutes doing intervals.

Now onto the strength training portion of the workouts. I knew that a high-volume bodybuilding program wasn't going to cut it - I just didn't have time. But in the past year I had read so many lifting studies, that I knew exactly what exercises I needed to do to maximize my lifting time in the gym.

Those exercises were standing, multi-muscle, movements such as squats, presses, rows, power cleans, and plenty of other standing single-leg exercises. I knew that those exercises would bring me far more results than those people sitting on machines would ever achieve.

And I also knew that I had to lift heavier than the average Joe or Jane Gym-goer lifts. I just knew that doing lighter weights and high-reps wasn't going to cut it. And a research study from 2001 later showed that I was right - when women did 8 reps per set, they had a significantly greater increase in post-workout metabolism than if they did 15 reps per set.

So I had my plan. Bust my tail over to the gym, through the cold, dreary Canadian winter afternoon, and do a quick but thorough warmup (specific to my lifts - none of that 5 minutes on the treadmill waste of time).

Once I got through the warm-up, I did as many sets as I could in the remainder of the 20 minutes for strength training.

At that point, I knew that supersets were the only way to go if I
wanted to maximize the number of sets I could the
non-competing superset of Turbulence Training was put in place.

By non-competing, I mean that the 2 exercises in the superset don't interfere with one another. So you can use upper and lower body exercises together, or pushing and pulling exercises. Just be careful not to use two grip-intensive exercises together in a superset - otherwise, one exercise will suffer, if not both.

And then I followed up the strength training with intervals, as I
knew these had to follow the lifting, otherwise it would not be the correct exercise order. Remember, intervals first leads to
premature fatigue. Lift first, cardio later. Forget that old wives
tale about doing cardio first to burn more fat. That's junk.

You know, I remember the exact day and exact workout that this all came together into the Turbulence Training program. It hit me as I was finishing my intervals. I knew I had found something that was like fat loss magic.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to put it in a pill. But I've
been able to put it down on paper in all of the TT manuals.

The exact workout I used that day went like this...

1 set of Bodyweight Squats
1 set of pushups
1 set of Squats with the empty bar
1 set of light dumbbell chest presses
1 set of moderate weight barbell squats
1 set of moderate weight dumbbell chest presses

Strength Training Superset #1
Barbell Squats paired with Dumbbell Chest Presses
3 supersets, aiming for 8 reps per side per set

Strength Training Superset #2
DB Rows paired with Barbell Forward Lunges
3 supersets, aiming for 8 reps per set

Stationary Bike Intervals
After a warmup, I did 6 intervals of 45 seconds work and 45 seconds rest, finishing with a cool-down.

And from that point in time, I've tried to share this and all the
other Turbulence Training workouts with as many men and women as possible. The same men and women that I would see day-in and day-out performing the same ineffective slow-cardio fat loss programs, and not making a darn change month after month. And every day they would see me, soaked in sweat, feeling great and looking lean, and finishing another TT workout.

Eventually I noticed these other men and women weren't around as consistently as before, and then soon enough they would drop out completely - after all, they weren't getting results with their slow cardio and aerobics classes (yep, those were still around in '99!).

And so here we are today...thousands of TT users later, with
national fitness magazines like Men's Health, Men's Fitness, and
Shape spreading the good word about Turbulence Training.

Thousands of TT users, dozens of personal trainers, and even
several national fitness magazines all agree with me, Turbulence
Training is the #1 way to fast fat loss.

Thanks for being a part of the TT Lifestyle Revolution, and for
sharing this new and improved fat loss training and cardio system with the world.

So when you see someone frustrated with their ineffective fat loss program, tell them there is a better way. It's research-based, efficient, and most of all, effective. And yes, it goes against the crowd. But it works.

And it's now better than ever,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

PS - Don't know where to start?

If you are a beginner, start by reading Dr. Mohr's nutrition
guidelines...eating properly will be the biggest factor in your
early success.

Beginners should also start with the Introductory TT workouts to prepare their muscles for the upcoming intense training.

For others, it's best to start with the Intermediate Level TT
workouts. If those aren't enough of a challenge, you can move onto the Original TT workout and follow the 16-week advanced program right through.

If at any time you need a break, try the TT Bodyweight 4-week plan.

And then finish off with the bonus programs to cap off a full 24 weeks of Advanced TT fat loss workouts.

About the Author

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

i can't believe it...

I WON!!!! this is the part where i gloat shamelessly :). seriously, though, today has been an extremely exciting day. by finally getting closer than ever to my dream body and, more importantly, finally feeling like i've instilled the habits that will keep me in that body, i had already come away from the contest feeling like a winner. but the extra $2000 doesn't hurt either. many thanks to all who voted for me and offered their support along the way. if you want a good dose of inspiration and haven't already, check out all the finalists' stories here: and i would highly encourage ANYONE who is looking to finally make some bodily/lifestyle changes to consider joining the next transformation contest, starting may 1st. go get your hands on a copy of turbulence training and start setting your goals and getting your action plan ready now! 12 weeks from now the new, fitter, healthier you will be glad you did!

random thoughts on the wild and wooly world of nutrition

okay i'm kind of a geek when it comes to nutrition. don't ask me why but reading about all sorts of different diet techniques and then trying them out on myself is kind of my thing. call it a sort of self-diagnosed diet ADD. what can i say? i get bored or am just too easily lured by the amazing health promises of the newest super-diet. let's just say i like to have lots of different tools in my nutritional arsenal so that when i feel myself getting a bit bored with my current dietary regimen, i can choose another **healthy** eating plan that will still keep me moving in the direction of my goals. my current dietary scheme is sort of a hodge-podge of different nutritional advice i've picked up from waaay too many hours of reading about this stuff (really i promise it doesn't have to be this complicated). my highly recommended sources for good nutritional advice would be burn the fat, feed the muscle, precision nutrition, and the nutrition guide that comes with turbulence training. eat stop eat also gets honorable mention as it is my most recent experiment and i have found it to be a really fun and different approach to nutrition and fat loss. these have all been fundamental in my dietary education and any one of them, when properly applied, will have you on your way to a fitter, healthier you. but, regardless of whose nutritional recommendations i happen to be following at the moment, there are some basic principles that i pretty much always try to incorporate no matter how i'm eating. call them the universal principles of dietary superiority...

1) it always comes down to calories (yes, this means portion control). you can play around with macronutrients and carb cycling and all the complex dietary tricks and techniques you want, but if you're eating more calories than you're expending, your weight is not going to budge (or it might budge in the wrong direction). period. a good way to begin to get a handle on this is to go to and log your food for a week. this will give you a good idea of how many calories are coming in and is a real eye opener for most people. a week of dietary semi-neuroticism in the name of self-education can be a good thing :)

2) know what your eating. fresh is better...think one ingredient foods (produce, meats, fish, eggs, whole grains, legumes). the more ingredients a food has the less likely it is to be good for you, so a good rule of thumb is that if it has more than 5 ingredients it shouldn't go in shopping cart (or in your mouth).

3) eat more veggies. okay, you might have thought that this was already covered in point #2, but veggies are amazing enough that they've earned themselves their very own point as well. veggies are low in calories, very filling due to high fiber content, and come loaded with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be happy. find more ways to incorporate veggies into your diet and you'll be well on your way to better body composition.

4) cut out (or cut way down on) refined sugars. okay, this is also related to point #2, because refined sugars are most commonly found in processed foods with a laundry list of ingredients but they easily work their way into our diet in other ways (adding sugar to coffee, for example). since things like sugar and honey are one ingredient foods, they are a bit of an exception to the above rule because they are calorie dense and nutritionally void. i have a huge sweet tooth and enjoy my sugar as much as the next gal, but if you are serious about improving your body composition (and your health!), you should be trying to seriously limit your intake of sugar.

finding the right diet for fat loss that works with your lifestyle can be a bit of a trial and error process...or if your like me an ongoing and constantly morphing one. the truth is that eating healthy is the way to get healthy and it does require some work and some planning, especially at the outset. any sort of quick fix diet plan that sounds too good to be true, definitely is. true lifestyle change takes a bit of time, but once you get into your dietary groove you'll find yourself feeling amazing and questioning why you ever ate any other way in the first place.

Monday, April 21, 2008

last day to vote!

all right guys and gals. it's officially the last day to vote in the turbulence training so if you haven't done so already, head on over to the link above and cast your vote (for me maybe!?!?). we'll find out tomorrow...wish me luck!