Sunday, November 23, 2008
Kim Emmons (3rd), Krista Schaus (1st), Sue Cornwell (2nd)
UFE MVP Quest Category Champions with UFE & MVP Nutrition Reps
What a great way to end the 2008 competition season! I was ultra impressed with what Sean Everingham and the UFE organization have done in such a short period of time. They have been in operation just over a year now and they have managed to bring professionalism, integrity and a great team of industry players to their contests to make it a contest that athletes, fans and industry participants should mark on their calendars for 2009. This organications and these events will only get bigger and more competitive. They also walk the walk regarding promoting natural, drug-free events. I competed in the UFE Spring Bash in April and was tested. They also tested a number of competitors last night based on a number of factors (from random to suspected) and they stated that two competitors failed the drug test from October's recently Halloween Mayhem event.
The caliper of competitors especially in figure, fitness model (both male and female) was stellar. The abs, legs and overall symmetry and poise from the female figure competitors were top notch - some of the best I have seen on stage and in magazines.
I am very excited about the one year MVP Nutrition sponsorship being the supplement junkie that I am. Plus I feel strongly that, as a natural competitor, supplements are absolutely essential. This will help my budget considerably and free up finances for free range, organic, grass fed meats for my next competition preparation phase. I feel there my physique benefits from eating free range (I know it does!) organic meats versus commercial meats but sometimes I have to pick my battles financially.
Many thanks to Sean, UFE, MVP Nutrition, my friends, clients, my husband and #1 fan Pete, my family, my training partner and "my person" Renee, the Precision Nutrition community and my physique coach Frances Mania for an unbelievable 2008 season.
Also special thanks to my sponsors:
Kvedaras Chiropractic & ART in Hamilton (905.527.6250) - Aras you are a miracle worker! If you have been going for ART or chiropractic treatments forever and have not been "fixed" you have not been to Aras yet obviously. Make an appointment - you will have wished you knew about him sooner. Well the secret is out now.
Salon Profilo located in Limeridge Mall salonprofiloandspa.com - Tony is a miracle worker himself. My hair and makeup did make the difference! You MUST check out this place if you have not yet. Ultra cool. Beautiful from the salon interior and products to the stylists and services. You are worth the investment.
Amy Marr of Natural Health Therapies (905.776.0999) from Selkirk - thank you for keeping my balanced and reminding me why I do what I do and that winning is just a side benefit not the objective. If you are not familiar with the benefits of Reiki and other amazing healing services Amy offers, book an appointment. I guarantee it has the potential to change your life.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Here is my competition from the HeavyWeight Level II division. She also came in 2nd in Masters (over 35) which I decide not to compete in even though I turned 35 earlier this year. In hindsight, I wish I would have as I would have liked to have gone head to head against the Masters Level II winner and the Level 1 Overall winner.
She was ultra lean and ripped and I am not sure if I would have come out on top against her higher level of conditioning AND this was her first show. She provided great motivation and served as an example of the level of leanness I need to strive for.
I took home the overall award at the London OPA Level II Championships with the assistance of a nearly perfect peaking plan. I went lower in my carbs and calories the week prior to the show and started carbing up Friday morning with 40 grams of carbs and 25 to 40 grams of protein each feeding. Plus Friday evening I loaded with 2 fat / carb / protein meals of steak, potato and some sort of dessert. I was happy with my "fullness" and vascularity upon waking Friday AM but the vascularity was short lived and my degree of lean / dry / tightness were much less impressive than what I saw Friday AM before my carb meals.
So I have one last opportunity this weekend coming at the UFE's Invitational to put all my experience of the last six contests this year together for, what I am hoping, will be my best physique yet.
This contest I came in my leanest and driest looking while having more size and symmetry overall.
Is it ever "perfect"? In this sport, that is the negative - we can always see the imperfections on one hand and on the other hand we are always given opportunities to take it to the next level and further improve.
Pictured is me with my competition from the Overall. She placed first in the lightweight Level II Open. She was ultra impressive as she reportedly (as she told me) lost over 100 lbs and started at 42% body fat. I told her what she has accomplished goes far beyond anything I ever have or will. She should be very proud. A true role model!
Just ONE MORE to go this year. Must stay focused! Hope to see some of you at the UFE MVP Invitational in Hamilton on the 22nd. Evening MVP prejudging is at 6 pm.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I have lost 10 pounds in 10 days to accomplish my goal of coming in at 124 lbs for the London OPA Level II bodybuilding contest. Today, I am 1 day out and at the end of my depletion phase and starting my carb / fat loading today.
When I first started preparing for shows in the early part of this year, my coach (www.physiquecoach.com) set out an objective for me to come in at 125 lbs / 5% body fat. I laughed and scratched that to 130 lbs. My lack of beleif in coming in just 5 lbs lighter was what was holding me back from bringing my best, most conditioned, ripped and lean physique to the stage. It has taken me 6 contests to get there mentally and physically - but that is what it takes - experience. You will not and cannot bring your best package forward in one or even two shows.
And the cool this is, if you prepare properly and get very intune with your body and its needs every day, every meal, every workout, every contest prep phase, you CAN compete many times in a year and not disrupt your health, happiness and hormones. You SHOULD improve each time and it should get easier, not harder, to get conditioned and contest ready each subsequent event.
Here are my pics from this morning at 124.6 lbs, 4.7% body fat (from BioSignature 12 point calipers taken by my coach on Wednesday). As you can see, I am quite flat, which is really the objective of the depletion phase. I will fill up and fill out the muscles today through properly timed, combined and chosen foods.
Back Double Bicep - 1 day out - end of depletion phase
The event is at Centennial Hall in London. Prejudging is at 11:00 am and the evening show starts at 6:30 pm. Look forward to seeing you there. My goal is to qualify for Provincials next year. This is not my lastshow of the year however - I will compete just 1 week later in Hamilton's UFE MVP Championships at Mohawk College. I will THEN be officially done. Can't think too far in advance however... staying focused on each day, each contest, each meal.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Defining Edge client brings home bronze from IPF Masters Worlds
What does it take to become a World medalist in powerlifting as a 50 kg (110 lb) pound female?
Answer: a 110 kg squat (232 lb), 62.5 kg bench press (138 lbs) and a 120 kg deadlift (264 lbs), an iron will and a powerful team around you. That’s what it took for Defining Edge client and Haldimand County OPP officer, Paula Wright, to secure a bronze medal finish at last week’s IPF World Masters Powerlifting Championships in Palm Springs, California.
This is an amazing feat considering Wright's petite stature of just 110 lbs at 5’3”. But makes it even more impressive is that she reached the highest level of competitive powerlifting in just over two years of training and four competitions.
Wright was prepared by a robust training team. In addition to Krista as her strength, Paula's preparation team for IPF World Masters included personal trainer Carrie Misener of Precision Fitness in Caledonia, Hagersville-based physiotherapist Daniel Agostinelli and natural health therapist Amy Marr near Selkirk. Herc’s Nutrition on Upper James in Hamilton also contributed with sponsorships towards her nutritional requirements such as amino acids, whey protein and vitamin and mineral supplementation. Wright admits, “I could not have done this without the backing of this incredible team, including the support of my family”.
“Powerlifting is a game of relative strength but there are tactics going on that many are not aware of”, commented Schaus. As an accomplished competitive powerlifter herself Schaus stated that, “working with Paula towards a World medal has been more rewarding and emotional than any of my own competitive accomplishments”.
As her head strength coach and competition handler, Krista Schaus, recounted “Paula had to put it all together to bring home the bronze – all her mental and physical preparation came down to the final deadlifts.” Wright weighted into the under 52 kg weight class a very light 50.5 kg. Schaus was concerned that the extra weight loss, due in part to the very dry and hot Palm Springs weather, would affect her strength. But in the end, the unexpected weight loss, helped secure a 3rd place overall finish.
Paula had to face opponents who were more experienced and with higher qualifying totals than her. But she ended up tying a slighter heavier lifter in the deadlift with a 120 kg pull. Being the lighter lifter, pound for pound, Wright was the stronger of the two.
Schaus admitted that “many tactics and manipulations were going on behind Paula’s back. Her job was to just lift the weight and stay mentally focused on bringing home a medal”. Lifters are allowed to change their final deadlifts attempts many times allowing Schaus to watch every attempt Wright’s closest competition in bronze medal position, South African Gill Smith, put in. Wright had to lift 7.5 kg more than the South African to ensure a bronze finish (and a bronze in the deadlift).
Wright’s 292.5 kg total exceeded her previous personal best total by 35 kg and will move her into a very respectable Top 100 Female Canadian lifter position. You can look for Paula on a lifting platform again in Ottawa on December 6th at the Ontario Master Championships towards qualifying for the CPU Nationals in Moose Jaw in the Spring of 2009.
For full results and photos on the IPF World Masters visit www.masterworlds.com.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Not only do I beleive strongly in this statement and am living proof of it, but my clients and readers agree.
Here is two separate emails I received today one from a woman in the Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Program for Women. The other is a young male client and protegue of mine.
Two very different styles of getting the same message across - EXPERIMENTATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS! Do not give up and enjoy the journey along the way. Enjoy!
Is Krista the coolest or what?
Just wanted to comment on last week's teleseminar assignment. I listened and relistened to the interview probably about 10 times. I didn't know who Krista was and have to be honest.... for some reason, i thought she was a man (past pro or semi-pro canadian football player... I obviously got her mixed up with someone else).
anyway... listening to her, I googled her... and saw some of her photos... then i went to her blog. I started scrolling down and saw her beginning photos (before a competition last year or earlier this spring (can't remember) then I kept reading and scrolling... to see how great she was looking. I didn't make it through all of the ba-zillion threads in the blog... but something that struck me was her comment about experimenting with high calories, or low calories... while she is getting cut for her next competition. I have never thought of food intake as a "big experiment". granted she is light years ahead of me in her nutrition and self discipline to keep to it... but the whole experimenting has kind of sort of come up here... where if something is not working, you have to make a small change to get it to start working again.
I've suffered from insanity for so long... (doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.) .. I have never looked at the experiment aspect. If something went wrong or quit working, I'd get frustrated and quit. Aslom I think "experimenting" also tends to imply the whole discussion about food not being inherently good or bad... ...
anyway... I really enjoyed the teleseminar. Thanks for the assignment.
Balancing Your Yin and Yang
The secret to improved health, body composition, and strength, Part I
by Kyle SOMMER - Biosignature Level I
Almonds increase cortisol.
Yep, it’s true. Given the right conditions, eating almonds can increase your cortisol and make you fat. Unfortunately, the same can be said about any food known to man. The good thing is that a food’s effect on your physique is conditional; it depends on your current state of balance with regards to Yin and Yang.
Yin and Yang – The Balance of all Things
The concepts of Yin and Yang come from ancient Chinese philosophy. Most of us should be at least relatively familiar with the terms. They represent the cosmic forces of the universe; yang represents more active, light, sun, and other qualities that could be thought of as “on,” while yin represents darkness, recovery, night time, and other similar ideas. So, for the spirit of this article, I want you to think of Yang as active, breaking down, and using up; for Yin, think of restoring, resting, and building.
Even though this is something you may not have even considered, you are currently engaged predominantly in one state or the other. If you are sipping a Starbucks at the office and reading this article to get your mind off of stress because you’re so behind in your work, then you are in a very Yang state. If you’re reading this after a big post-workout meal full of healthy carbs and a glass of red wine, you’re very Yin.
Your current state, or, as it pinpoints directly, is what I like to call your “relative” state of yin or yang. This is the state that can fluctuate on a day to day basis. Let me give you an example. If you currently follow the Anabolic Diet and today is a low-carb day with a Back and Chest workout scheduled, this day is quite Yang in its nature. It is focused predominantly on burning fats and causing damage to your body with little in the way of recovery. If we compared it to your carb-up day on the weekend, well, that is an entirely different story. You pretty much eat carbs all day and restore yourself and rest from the week of workouts – quite Yin indeed. If you look at an individual day in itself, mornings also tend to be Yang and nights Yin. Think about this, because you wake up in the morning and need energy (Yang), but at night you want to restore that energy for the next day (Yin).
In addition the relative state of Yin or Yang you are in, there is also an “absolute” state. This refers to the long-term balance of your life, and it is much more difficult to discern at first thought. An example I will give is the typical person who eats a diet very high in refined carbohydrates, is overweight, and is very sedentary. This person is out of balance towards the Yin state. They spend too much time building and restoring, but not enough using and acting. This conclusion seems obvious.
The Determinants of Yin and Yang
There are many things in life that can place you at different points on the Yin/Yang scale, both relatively and absolutely. The point of this article to help articulate some of those things, so you can determine where you lie on the continuum, and make adjustments to make yourself closer to balance.
As most of you know, food is probably the biggest tool we have in terms of changing our physique. There is a lot of discussion about macronutrient levels, calories, carbs, fats, and proteins, that any newbie trying to figure something out for himself might get information overload. The truth is that nutrition must be individualized – while this may seem easier said than done, I encourage you to look at it from a Yin and Yang perspective.
Your Somatotype and You
Everyone has heard the terms ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph; in general, we tend to think of them as having different nutritional requirements. Most of the time, it’s the fact that ectomorphs need to eat more carbohydrates, and endomorphs need to eat more fats and proteins, while mesomorphs lie somewhere in the middle. But why is this?
Without getting into arguments of genotype and agricultural history, I want to view this discussion in terms of Yin and Yang.
Consider your ectomorphic friend, Scrawny Sammy. He is thin, lean, and ripped, but has relatively no muscle mass. He always seems wired with too much energy, and eats crap food but can’t seem to put on a pound. I would argue that, by default, ectomorphic individuals are predisposed to states of Yang. Their dominant hormones seem to be adrenaline and cortisol. So, to balance this individual, he needs that high intake of carbohydrates, otherwise adrenaline and cortisol will be oversecreted. We know that insulin counteracts these hormones. Since Sammy’s body produces so much adrenaline and cortisol, any muscle he gains from training is destroyed by the release of these hormones. What can he do? Well, he must increase his intake of carbohydrates to increase insulin to counteract this problem – and he must eat enough of them to bring his body back into balance. As I will describe later, in most cases carbohydrates are a Yin food – recall the typical fat person example for a quick preview.
Turn next to the typical fat person. As I said before, he spends too much time in a Yin state. Most of the time, endomorphs or individuals of this nature are insulin dominant – relatively the opposite of Sammy’s example above. This person needs more Yang in their life – more activity, more protein and fat meals (to be explained later), and less carbohydrates to bring the Yin and Yang back into balance. We already know what happens if we increase the Yin in a person who has too much of it to begin with – insulin gets out of control and is released in far too large of quantities, causing the individual to gain fat at an alarming rate.
Everyone needs protein, of course. Protein stimulates both insulin and glucagon (insulin’s antagonist) secretion to some extent, but in general, it increases glucagon more, so I will argue here that protein provides a slightly Yang load. With that said, some proteins are more Yin than others, such as those high in the amino acids tryptophan and glycine as these can have inhibitory effects on the brain. Meat, in general, raises dopamine levels and boosts mood.
Everyone needs fats, too, particular essential fatty acids, like those found in fish oils. These fats don’t really have a yin or yang load – they are neutral, and we all require them to be healthy. Monounsaturated fats don’t seem to really have a load either, like those found in olive or macadamia nut oils. Saturated fats, such as animal fats and coconut oil, seem to be pro-inflammatory, and as such might be considered Yang. Nuts and eggs can raise acetylcholine levels for brain focus and heightened awareness, so they seem slightly Yang as well.
In most cases, carbohydrates are Yin foods. In almost all cases, they stimulate the release of insulin, which as we know is the building/storage hormone. Carbohydrate consumption increases serotonin release in the brain, helping one to feel more relaxed and at ease. Carbohydrates eaten at the right time contribute to glycogen re-synthesis in muscle tissue and enhanced recovery. Simple sugars, when consumed at the wrong time, will cause fluctuations in both hormones, so they can represent Yin or Yang depending on when and how they are consumed.
It has been written that there is no physiological need for carbohydrate – and technically, this is true. However, functionally, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. For someone like Scrawny Sammy, carbohydrates are damn near essential – without them, cortisol takes over, breaking down his tissues, costing him valuable sleep, and making him nervous and irritable. All of these things will consequently lead to drastically decreased health and quality of life because the Yang got out of control.
So what about those mesomorphs? Well, when we think of those guys, we generally think great genetics – they can eat like crap (relative to other genotypes) and still gain a lot of muscle and stay healthy. But, we know that with proper eating, ectomorphs and endomorphs can also achieve admirable physiques. I argue that mesomorphs are very centered in Yin and Yang by nature – so when they eat a mixed diet as is typical, they stay pretty well balanced – thus allowing their body to thrive and the gains to come quickly and the fat to stay off.
What about dieting?
When you want to get very very lean, it is almost always true that you will need to restrict yourself in some way. Usually, there is a drastic calorie cut, followed by a cut in macronutrients, usually carbohydrates or fat – the trend these days is carbohydrates. If you have been following the article thus far, you should recognize this as a very Yang state. You are correct, but don’t people get ripped doing this? What about that Yin/Yang balance I talked about earlier?
Well, depending on who you ask, there is almost ALWAYS a reefed implemented into these plans. A day of higher carbs, calories, whatever; it could be one day, two days, a week returning to baseline - it doesn’t really matter. While the act of dieting is very Yang on a relative (day to day) basis, adding in a reefed period while dieting can help keep you Yin on an absolute basis, helping your body to stay balanced and continue burning the fat. Authors often have conflicting opinions about what physiological mechanisms drive this – “it boosts the metabolism,” or “increases leptin sensitivity.” Too complicated – just do what works!
It will always take trial and error to find your break point – that is what is great about the sport of bodybuilding in and of itself. You are a constant experiment and you might have to try it several times to get it right. As my mentor Krista Schaus says, “The journey is important and paves the way to your goal,” and “Your body provides you with endless learning opportunities.”
In the next part of this article, I’ll show you some Yin and Yang meal combinations, and go over which activities and supplements are distinctly Yin and Yang, and how you can use them to help you reach your goals.
Kyle, I am really proud of this insight. It means you are quite into this journey and seizing those learning opporutities!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
1 week ago (for comparison)
Today Front Double Bicep
Today Ab and Thigh
Through experimenting with lower calories this week, I have been rewarded with a tighter physique.
My weight has not changed much, but my lean mass is up 1% and my body fat is down 1%. My abs are looking better than they have likely all year but still some tightening required i the glutes / thighs. However 3 weeks leave me plenty of time to take care of that.
I would really like to look into a new suit, but not sure if time permits for this contest. For November for sure.
I am intersted in seeing where my weight ends up for this contest. I am about 3 lbs above where I have been in past contest preps at this level of conditioning. I suspect I will lose another few pounds off my glutes/thighs over the next 3 weeks, but I may just come in leaner and more conditioned but a few pounds higher. We'll see... you just never know until the day of the show.
One thing I know I have to do is drink more water. I have only been getting 3-5 L daily when I need to be getting 5-7.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
There are a number of theories for why so many people are overweight, but when you start to have entire populations tipping the scales toward obesity, it does suggest that something is fundamentally wrong.
Among the theories that are, in my opinion, most plausible are the following:
1. The modern-day diet: It encourages eating big portions of high-fructose corn syrup, refined grains, processed foods and artificial sweeteners, a perfect recipe for weight gain.
2. Sedentary lifestyles: Generations ago people had no choice but to exercise; they did it for their very livelihoods or at least to get from one place to another. Today, many people sit behind a desk for most of the day, then get in their cars to drive home. Leisure time involves more sitting, either in front of the TV, computer or video game system.
3. Stress and negative emotions: It is very easy to get caught up in using food as a security blanket, a distraction from boredom, or a way to cope with stress -- and once you get used to using food to feel better, it’s hard to break the routine.
4. Exposure to environmental pollutants: Exposure to low levels of pesticides, dyes, flavorings, perfumes, plastics, resins, and solvents may make you put on weight.
5. The make-up of bacteria in your gut: This is related to your diet, but if you eat a lot of sugar and grains, it can negatively influence the bacteria in your gut and contribute to obesity.
6. Lack of sleep: This disrupts vital hormones and proteins in your body, which may also increase your risk of obesity.
I don’t believe that “bad” genes play a major role. Not only has science busted this myth, showing that good nutrition during childhood can cancel out genetic predispositions to obesity, but I’m also a firm proponent of epigenetic medicine and believe our emotions and thoughts have enormous influence over the expression of our genetic code.
Exercise: THE Most Important Factor for Optimal Health and Longevity
Study after study confirms that physical exercise is absolutely the key for disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. So, it’s not surprising to see that this latest study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, also found that fitness is a far better indicator of overall health and longevity than body mass index (BMI).
In conclusion the study reads:
In this study population, fitness was a significant mortality predictor in older adults, independent of overall or abdominal adiposity. Clinicians should consider the importance of preserving functional capacity by recommending regular physical activity for older individuals, normal-weight and overweight alike.
One of the main benefits of exercise is that it normalizes your insulin and leptin levels, with the secondary benefits of weight loss and normalization of blood sugars. These factors in turn cascade outward, creating a ripple effect of positive health benefits.
For more information about getting started, staying motivated, and reaping maximum results, please review the Exercise Guidelines included in my nutritional plan.
Achieving Your Optimal Weight
Making up your mind to lose weight is half the battle. From there, it’s just a matter of changing your lifestyle in the following ways:
1. Tailor your diet to your nutritional type. These are the foods that are right for your biochemistry, and these are the foods that will push your body toward its ideal weight. (By the way, these foods may be high in fat, high in carbs, heavy on protein or heavy on veggies, it all depends on YOU).
2. View exercise as a drug. When you’re trying to lose weight, a casual walk here and there is not going to cut it. Many studies find that exercising for one hour, five days a week is actually needed, and I tend to agree with that. There is also strong compelling evidence that strength training and high-intensity anaerobic interval training may be especially effective for weight loss.
3. Let go of your emotional blocks. Tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are your friend and ally when it comes to losing weight. For some, emotional eating is more complex, and an experienced EFT practitioner may be able to help unravel some of your deeper emotional issues.
If you’re already at a healthy weight, and want to stay that way, cutting out 100 calories per day, either by diet or exercise, is enough to prevent weight gain in most people.
Monday, September 8, 2008
John M Berardi - When Exercise Doesn't Work - in the Precision Nutrition Newsletters forum of Precision Nutrition.
This thread is located at:
Here's a great study presented by Gary Homan looking at a similar issue.* Homann, G. P., & Hoard, R. (2003, November). Fitter but fatter: Institutional diets counteract the benefits of exercise. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, San Francisco, CA. *
A 4-6 month wellness program for adjudicated teenage girls provided an opportunity to examine the effects of diet and exercise on fitness. Fitness levels of 56 girls (ages 14-17) were assessed monthly. Assessment measures included: a step test and timed mile for cardiovascular fitness; height, weight, body mass index (BMI), skinfolds (for % body fat), waist and hips circumference for body composition; shuttle run for agility; standing jump, sit-ups and bench press test for muscular strength and endurance; and sit-and-reach and straddle tests for flexibility. The program included two hours of daily exercise including varied activities like hiking, running, circuit training, step aerobics and basketball. Diet was designed to follow the Food Guide Pyramid (USDA) and adhere to institutional guidelines.
Between intake and final assessment (Med=133 days), significant improvements were attained in all measures of cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, agility, and flexibility. Median body composition measures worsened, however. Weight (+6 pounds), waist (+0.5 inches), hips (+0.75 inches), BMI (+1.0), and percent body fat (+0.6%) all increased.
Despite two hours of daily physical activity, body composition worsened. Diet is clearly implicated as the detrimental factor. This study demonstrates that following the Food Pyramid does not necessarily lead to healthy diet, and that the benefits of exercise can be undermined by a suboptimal diet. Exercise needs to be combined with improvements in diet to produce the desired improvements in fitness. Suggestions for modifications to the Food Pyramid and nutritional guidelines are discussed.
You may recall, Gary was the individual who we did the research with looking at the appropriate amount of exercise volume required to feel happy with your body and the use of social support in changing your bodies.
Here's that original research: http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/training/long_haul.htm
Krista Answers Your Questions:
Krista - "This may sound like a silly question... but why dates" (from Precision Nutrition - Krista's Team Blog)
Dates are real food sources of simple carbohydrates and thus, great for post workout or pre-workout for the carb tolerant or those aiming to do a very high intensity or long duration workout.
It is a rich source of minerals and A and B vitamins. It is also high in fibre. Fresh dates are a bit lower in sugar and calories than dried dates but much more expensive and harder to find.
I was fortunate to have found fresh dates at Zehrs about 20 minutes from where I live both in the bulk section (along with dried) and in a large container (a bit fresher).
I use fresh dates as I am approaching my contest as a carb source on higher carb days or post workout. I use dried dates as part of my carb up the days before or day of my bodybuilding contests.
I often recommend dates as energy food for endurance and other athletes. They are particularly great for young athletes or those avoiding too many supplements. They are a good source of magnesium (and again carbs), so my youth hockey players and martial arts or boxers often use them during and after training.
They are also high in non-heme iron from plant sources so it is wise to eat them with meat (that contains heme iron) and a source of Vitamin C which enhances absorption of iron. So dates, lean beef or bison and pineapple as a first meal post workout... perfect!
Avoid dates dried with sulphites as they can affect your mineral balance negatively and some people are sensitive to them.
For more info: http://www.asianonlinerecipes.com/ve...uide/dates.php
Saturday, August 30, 2008
August 30, 2008 BioSig: 6% BF, 129 lbs lean mass, 137 lbs
January 27, 2008 BioSig: 11.2% BF, 125 lbs lean mass, 141.2 lbs
This weekend marks the last weekend of my "off-season" (1st pic) and Tuesday will be the start of the Fall competition season as I aim for London OPA Open Contest November 15th to go through the qualification process in the IFBB regular stream. I am 11 weeks out.
It shows 6% body fat but the last place I hold on in the glutes/hips, this is not a true reflection of my actual BF%. Again, in this sport the Biosignature is a useful tracking and assessment tool but you must use it to see opportunities to get leaner, naturally rather than actually trying to see if you are lean enough to be on stage.
The best way to know if you are contest ready, is to pose in front of mirrors, friends, family and also take pictures / video often. Your judges and audience does not come up to you and do calipers on you... it is about how you look from their eyes.
I like the #'s and like tweaking with nutrition, supplement, training and recovery protocols to change my correlations, skinfolds and percentages. That is my "thing". I also look at the sum of skinfolds and compare to my last contest season. I would like to get down to about 35 mm sum of skinfolds. I also want my calves and quad readings even lower than last season (Spring 2008).
My measurments should come up as I often grow into my contests, rather than get smaller, but we'll see. Every contest phase is different.
I am aiming to weigh about 127-130 lbs but leaner than last season in the lower body. I am also going to imnprove my posing.
I have printed a picture of me pre-contest from April 2008 when I had my best contest physique (UFE Spring Bash) and posted it on the fridge to remind myself how crappy I need to look in order to know I am almost there. Crazy isn't it?!
I have included a picture of me 11 weeks out from my Spring 2008 season when I was new to the sport. My Biosig stats at that time were 141 lbs at 11.3% with 125 lbs lean mass. So it shows you how much fat I store on my legs / butt as to the average eye, they two pictures would look about the same BF%. This also shows that it is not always about the number but how you look.
So join me on the countdown to Level 1 OPA steam... just the beginning of course!
After eight weeks of training and mental endurance training, along with healthy doses of glutamine and glycine, I survived my first 50k biking event: Pedalfest, Wichita, KS. It wasn't without it's bumps and almost one big hiccup, however, especially when I became sick two days before the adventure.
There was a lesson to be learned here. I became sick on Friday--you know--it's that little tickle in the back of the throat and then a few sneezes. The few sneezes turned into a hacking cough by Saturday and by Saturday night, I had developed a low-grade fever of 99.7 degrees. What timing! Eight weeks of training and now this? Sunday morning, the day of Pedalfest, I went downstairs at around 6 a.m. to get some water and Dale the Husband comes down, too. Instead of doing anything else, I have to sit. Holding my head in my hands, I told him, "I don't think I can do this." Then things start going a little gray and fuzzy with the room suddenly turning slantways. I asked Dale if he could get me some ice water, and I head to the couch in the family room to lie down. I fainted before I had the ice water and he had to put some cold wash cloths on me. Later, I asked him what happened because my knee hurt. He fixed me some toast and half a bagel and some ice water and I felt better. That, and some Dayquil, too. I was up half an hour later, and he looked at me funny as I packed up my food to go to my bike ride.
"I can't let this go," I said. "I have to do this. I've worked so hard."
He thought I was crazy, but he really wasn't surprised. Afterall, my word for Dictionary Day at the school where I teach was "tenacious."
The second half of the bike trip and on one of the long stretches of Butler Road, which happens to be farm country of beautiful fields, streams and chestnut colored horses, I was riding alone. The road and I had a few discussions. My bike and I had a few words, and my legs and I were at battle. I wanted to see the Pedalfest truck so that I could wave him down. I had promised my husband that if I started to feel bad that I'd pull the support truck over to give me a ride back. On Butler Rd., the truck passed me twice. I thought about it; my legs burned so badly and the next stop wasn't for miles.
The truck came along again, and I looked him right in the eyes. A quiver shot up through my fatigued shoulders. I could have stopped him and said, "I can't do this anymore, please take me back."
How bad did I really feel to give it up?
There wouldn't have been shame in it; afterall, I had ridden over 20 miles which wasn't bad for a first timer. But I didn't. I waved and watched a bit as he drove on past. I don't think I'd really give up--"I can't" isn't in my vocabulary. But when my lungs were burning and my legs were cramping, I could understand why a person would want to give up when things became difficult. The thought is--how can we ease the pain when learning or doing something new? We don't give up. We don't make it easier, but we shake it out, we rest, we stretch, we carb-load, we sing funny songs on Butler Rd that make us laugh out loud; we pray that the fat tires suddenly turn into easy-to-turn skinny ones, and we do the things that we need to do to make us carry on for the rest of the way. But we don't give up. Anyone can do that. And I certainly wasn't just anyone anymore.
I did it--all 31.07 miles/50K of me, nature and the road--my time was horrible, but I don't care about that. I care about my legs, about what I had done and my transformation. I care about making it through when I could have given in when things got rough. I didn't. I pedaled through. I earned every carb I ate--which happened to be pizza. I hadn't had any bread for eight weeks.
Dealing with what we deal with on an individual level isn't any different than a first-timer on a bike. We still have to get from point A to point B. It can be a tough road, but we get there, and it's the journey that we endure that shapes us. It's what we do to get the "I can't" out of our vocabulary and get our ass on the bike that makes us who we are.
We are ultra proud of you. You have now joined an elite and somewhat small percentage of the population that pushes ahead regardless of what is going on physuically or mentally. You accomplished the goal and THAT is what matters. You know my motto "Aspire. Act. Acheive!"
Now you can move forward and take that experience with you. You have reached the next level on the personal betterment journey. Again, real proud!
I have been playing with the base "healthy pancake" recipe for years and I think I have found my best version to date!
Give it a go and see if YOU think it is Da Bomb too.
1 container egg whites (500 ml)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned ED Smith or Organic)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup organic yogurt (thick; not the runny stuff on top)
2 cups dry oats (quick cook)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Blend until pancake batter consistency; if it is too runny, add more oats; if it is too thick, add more egg whites.
Cook over preheated non-stick skillet until bubbles appear on top, flip.
I like to serve with a dollop of pumpkin puree, yogurt and maple syrup. Here I have a bit of ground beef and side baby Romaine lettuce.
If you are quite lean already or aiming to put on size, eat 3-5. If you are losing fat/weight, eat 2-3.
My kids even love these and they are great for left overs or as a replacement for bread with their peanut butter and jam.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
1) I will be there
2) John Berardi PhD of Precision Nutrition will be there
3) Both JB and I will both be there!
2008 VinkoFest Sept 27th
And I have SOOOO much to say. What else is new. I will do my very best to package it into an informative hour full of nuggets. It is ALL about the nuggets.
As an added bonus, JB will do a 1 hour QU & A at the end. One more reason!
Other great names in the industry - Christian Thibaudeau, Karsten Jansen and Dave Barr - will be there too. There's 3 more reasons!!
Price is $200 if you pre-register.
See you then!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The Power of 8 - LEGS
Order –Exercise SetsxReps Tempo Rest
A1 – Front Squat 8x3 Cluster 4010 0:10 / 2:00
A2 – Rack Good Morning 8x3 Cluster 4010 0:10 / 2:00
B1 – Leg Extension 3x8 2011 1:00
B2 – Hamstring Curl 3x8 3010 1:00
C1 – Front Squat 1x16 2010 0
C2 – Hamstring Curl 1x16 2010 0
C3 – Leg Extension 1x16 2010 0
C4 – DB Romanian DL 1x16 2010 0
If anyone cares to celebrate my birthday with me... or even if you don't and just want a kick ass workout... then give this a go anytime tomorrow.
It is my 35th birthday tomorrow and it is the 8th day of the 8th month, 2008. And hey, 3 + 5 = 8!
So rather than an 8 x 8 workout, which is kinda boring and repetitive, I decided that reps or sets must be 8, equal 8 or be a multiple of 8, but I would combine strength, hypertrophy and lactate into one workout.
Cluster - this means you do a single rep at around 90% of your 1RM (85% for less experienced trainees... up to 95% for you elite kinda crazy nuts) and do 1 rep, 8 times to equal your set of 8. Rerack the bar and rest 10 seconds between each rep.
Then let us eat cake! This workout is carb-worthy. I think Angel Food cake is appropriate PW ... it's low fat isn't it? How about angle food cake, blueberries or strawberries and a protein shake (I highly recommend Dymatize Elite vanilla).
An Ongoing Success Story from a Distance Client
I’ve always had this All-or-Nothing attitude from as far back as I can remember. It’s an ingrained part of my personality. Usually, I side with the “All” part, giving whatever task at hand everything I can give without giving up. Generally, however, once I’m done with something, I am DONE. And I was about to be done with someone very important: me.
Done as in tired of working very hard on fitness goals with no results. But I had no idea that once I clicked on my Send key with the email I had just written, that I was about to spark an engine, sending me on a journey that I never thought possible.
This time, I had pushed myself to exhaustion and probably adrenal fatigue—or pretty close to it—in pursuit of my goals. The problem came because I didn’t know I was doing it to myself. The articles I was reading told me if I wasn’t losing the fat, then I needed to increase the expenditure. Okay, good enough. It came to the point where I was double-booking myself: up early for weight training and cardio after work. Then after that, I was doing mom-duty, kitchen duty, wife duty, and then grading papers. There was one time (and one time only) that I worked out for eleven days in a row. I was certainly burning up the calories, but not the fat off my body.
I was doing all of this without putting anything back into my tank. Taking time off was not an option for me—another throwback from growing up. If I just lay around, then I was being lazy and not contributing … ahh, I can tell that that’s another entry for another time!
I sought my doctor’s opinion, and she said I was as healthy as a horse. I just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing the fat, for I had plenty to lose.
The doctor suggested I lower my calories and exercise more. I lowered calories to 1400 – 1600 a day, and I changed all of my workouts to first thing in the morning—45 minutes of weights and another 20 – 30 of cardio. Despite doing what my doctor told me to do, the weight hung on—I even started gaining. I’d read forums where women were working through a three week plateau. How jealous was I? I had been on a plateau for 18 months! This stuck-ness and the other unknown things going on in my body, mind and most definitely my down-trodden spirit made me face myself:
I could no longer face another day doing this on my own.
My resolve strengthened through my sleepless night, and honestly, I should have sent the email then. I sent the message to the Someone-who-needed-to-kick-my-butt and set me straight. My All-or-Nothing was getting one last chance. Could I make this happen, or was I destined for the “Nothing” part of my attitude?
I wish I had sent Krista Schaus the email a year ago. She has truly changed my life.
Paperwork filled out—my Biosignature came back, and the results showed that I had been in a state of yeast overgrowth. Add in a side of parasites, and we’ve got a party going on.
Symptoms of the Yeast Within include:
Depression or mood swings
Joint pain or swelling
Short attention span
Knee and hip pain
Shortness of breath
And those are just a few… and I had most of those on this list.
I had never heard of yeast overgrowth, but I knew that it was overtaking me and I needed to fight back. The more research I did on it, the more I learned that the “modern” medical community doesn’t seem to recognize candidiasis as a legitimate issue and that a lot more people than they realize may be suffering from a yeast overgrowth.
The best part is that I committed to a totally revamped nutrition plan the first day of my period and on a Friday. Girls know what I mean about that first part, but doing a new diet on a Friday before I could have had my bad ol’ comfortable carbs was something no clear-thinking person may have done. I had gotten into a habit of eating mostly clean on the weekends, but would have my 1-2 meals of what I call my dirty carbs. Sometimes I’d have a third meal of dirt. All of this unclean eating for a very long time kept the yeast growing and my worst symptoms were fatigue and brain fog. I had tried to combat both of those things with massive amounts of caffeine—which ironically, just made things worse. I was tired of what was happening to me and I needed to start now, so I did. I was the one in control, not the yeast and certainly not the calendar.
I told Krista that I’d do whatever she told me to do. And I have. I took scheduled time off—loads of it. I worked out twice a week and started training for a longer bike ride. No cheats and no free meals for six weeks so far. The first two weeks were absolute hell. I had every craving imaginable and I worked through them. HOW I worked through them was just balled up fists stubbornness that I was blessed with, and for the first time I could use that quirky disposition to my advantage. I’ve followed the nutrition plan, the workouts and the supplement timing, and I’m rewarded with a 2% body fat loss (from 21.7% to 19.7%) and I’ve gained three pounds of lean mass, plus I’m down a clothing size. I’m pretty proud of myself for this and am happy that I finally have an answer to what was going on inside of me that no one could see. I am; however, a work in progress. There is more to be done.
An Anti-Yeast Diet: Taming the Monster
- I could eat any meats
- Veggies with every meal
- Healthy fats, but butter in small quantities was okay, too
- Cinnamon throughout the day (yeast does not grow in a cinnamon-y environment)
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Nut butters (no peanuts or peanut butter)
- No dairy
- No condiments (which meant mayo, mustard, ketchup, nothing with vinegar, etc.)
- Replace table salt with sea salt
- 30+ of fiber each day to give the yeast something to bind to and escape
- 3 liters of water per day
- 3 meals w/meat and 2 snacks w/whey protein
After three weeks of this plan, all of my symptoms disappeared or diminished greatly. I had gained a lot of energy back—I still struggle with that, but I am sleeping better and have a lot of crazy dreams in the process thanks to the helpfulness of ZMA. My recovery methods are my favorite part of this journey, especially the Epsom salt baths and the ionized foot baths. Oh, and massage—definitely that. Must schedule another one.
Email to Krista: All of my life it's been the mantra of "calories in/calories out" and a "calorie is just a calorie." This journey has so disproven that! My daily calories have steadily increased from 1600 calories to now 2300 calories. The jump was gradual, and I am so amazed every time I see that number shining back at me. It has been at least twenty years (not kidding!) since I've had a steady diet that "high" in calories that weren't on a free-meal day. The great part is that I don't wake up bloated and icky anymore. I definitely don't believe in "calories in/out" anymore. It's more like nutrients in--and used.
My body is responding very well to it and to the nutrition. I'm sticking to it, although these past few days with PMS, I've had to dig in my nails and hang on for dear life! I made some homemade almond butter and that helps with those cravings.
What I Have Learned
• I will get there, but slow and steady will keep me there
• Less really is More. My body is loving me for backing off, giving it time to heal and has rewarded me with less of me to love.
• Pumpkin seeds rock! Slightly roasted in olive oil and salted with sea salt is my new popcorn. Okay, it’s better than popcorn.
• Cinnamon on beef is very, very good.
• When the diet is in place, that’s when supplements are truly worth the money.
• Recovery Methods RULE. Deep breathing, ionized foot baths, all of those—they have to be in place. Krista was/is working on my cortisol levels through this, as well. I don’t have to be in kick ass mode ALL of the time.
• I’m on a journey for life. This isn’t just about aesthetics or fitting into smaller clothes, but it’s about being glad that I’m waking up and looking forward to the day. I like having energy again, especially when everyone else is pooped out.
• Speaking of poop, one can tell a lot from those.
I’m not finished yet. I have more fat to lose and a 50K Pedalfest bike event www.pedalfest.org/Pedalfest/Ride-Information.html to finish (I will), and I have more healing to do. Thank God for Krista, or else I’d be at the tail end of my all-or-nothing by now. I trust her, and I know she’ll get me through to the end.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
QU - My biosignature report says I am 13.7% but I look and feel more like 18% in my opinion. Is it accurate?
Biosignature Modulation (BioSig) is a very useful tool in helping identify areas that can be manipulated in order to improve body composition quickly and effectively. I have found in my experience that it is most useful for indicating hormone imbalances, carb tolerance and sugar management along with some other interesting stuff such as yeast, organ health ect...
However if you are a lower body fat gal (I am ... used to be, before I came upon Biosignature anyways), then the actual BF% will not be as accurate as only 4 of the 12 skinfold sites are on the lower body and only two of those four are where women tend to store fat - glutes, hams, thighs, hips ect... That is why in the assessors world, the actual BF is not the most significant data to take into consideration. Biosignature assessors are interested in seeing a decrease in the sum of skinfolds and for correlations to improve..
Also, the less lean one is, the less accurate the body fat percentage will be. I have found the most accurate body fat compositions are with lean male athletes. However, the correlations remain accurate. Where the inaccuracies will be is body fat (lower than actual) and lean mass (higher than actual) in fatter subjects or those with proportionally a significant amount of lower body fat or body fat in atypical locations such as mid back or glute med area
I also stress caution when using bioelectrical impedance scales such as Tania – they appear very inaccurate in females and many males also. I have found them to be on average 10% too high for female and 5% too high for males. For women, I find a combination of the Tania and Biosignature body fat % divided in half is quite accurate. So if a Biosignature says I am 12% and Tania says I am 19%, then I am likely around 15-16%.
Also, keep in mind different people look different at the same body fat %. You may very well be 14% but it does not look great on you because you store alot in one or two areas and / or your muscular development is lacking or you do not have great symmetry or your posture is poor. Many variables.
I have seen women on stage in bodybuilding at 5% and 12% and they look almost the same from the audiences' eyes.
To conclude, one thing I do know for certain is that Biosignature Modulation works. I can show you countless case studies to support that statement. Charles Poliquin could show you thousands more. I have had incredible results with clients who have been to numerous specialists and industry professionals who could not take away the obstacles holding them back from achieving their body fat, health or performance goals. Biosignature has. They did not care about their body fat % - they did care about the results... how you look, feel, perform.
Thank you for the discussion. I hope this helps clarify things for you.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Defining Edge client, Renee Willis of Jarvis, competed in her first figure competition on July 12th in the IDFA Toronto Classic and placed 7th in the Novice and 6th in Masters just missing out on the Top 5. Below are her reflections submitted as part of an assignment for her university class that she missed in order to compete.
This weekend was truly an amazing weekend; it was a moment in my life that I will never forget.
It is hard to articulate this journey and the growth that has developed; my life is moving at such a rapid pace and each step is more exciting than the previous. There is much change happening within as I reflect and I open myself to view my life, and the future that is uniquely mine; some change bring forth sadness as it brings awareness of needed change.
The day in itself was truly culminating. The days of mental and physical preparation had its moment; I had my moment.
The day was everything…it was long…it was intense…it was fun….it was difficult…each moment was indeed everything.
The journey was not about that day, but that day carved out a journey that on the surface to many would be perceived as physique driven. The true process and the true journey is the transformation within; the means was the competition, but that process was merely the vehicle for something much bigger and more powerful.
Life is about opportunities and creating the most of every moment in your life; I have felt what that truly means and how that magnifies in every other aspect of my life. If I know what lights the fire within me, and what fills my cup, then I will present my best in every other avenue of my life, and to each relationship as my journey continually unfolds.
Thank you Renee for sharing your personal insights with us. I especially thank you for recognizing and teaching others that competing provides the opportunity for exponential growth.
Renee serves as a great role model for someone interested in competing in Fitness for the first time. She never has excuses as to why she can't. She is a wife, mother of 2 young boys, a student in Teacher's College in the US and can now add Figure Athlete to her list.
Renee is a model client - train immensely hard and follows nutrition and supplement protocols 100%. This has been evidenced by her lean mass gain of 8 pounds in only 8 weeks while losing 2.5% body fat during the same time frame. She was 5.9% body fat the week of her competition with NO fat burners, high calories, ample carbohydrates, nutrient dense foods and very little cardio (skipping only some mornings). However, that is not what makes her an ideal client in my books. More importantly, she looks for opportunities to be a better person throughout the process, mentally and physically and is as much a mentor for her me as her coach as I am for her. We learn from each other. I thank her for teaching me to have fun, laugh, be a little crazy time.
In Strength, Krista
Sunday, July 13, 2008
(This question is from a 13 year old high level female hockey player who only has about 5 weeks left in her off season training and has no access to traditional gym equipment and machines).
I would like to know how to build my stamina and strength but I don't have any machines to use.
At this stage, including simple yet effective strength and conditioning movements to your workouts will be a great addition.
Here are some examples that require no equipment but build strength and power that carry over well to hockey.
Step up - Pushup - Squat Combo
Step ups onto the 2nd step or your stairs. Hands behind head "prisoner style". Step up onto 2nd step with all 1 leg (ie Left) for 15 reps. Then do the right leg for 15 reps. REST 30 seconds. I recommend you purchase a 3 or 4 different pairs of dumbells from 5 to 15 pounds and each workout, add weights to the step ups. Hold them at the sides of your obdy or at your shoulders. Each week, hold heavier dumbbells.
Then perform as many pushups as you can with good form. REST 30 seconds. Go for quality of reps rather than quantity. If you cannot perform very many full pushups (less than 10), then use a modified style with your knees bent and touch the ground. Once you are able to perform 30 modified pushups, you should be able to do more than 10 full pushups. You can also do as many full pushups as you can then drop down to modified style and complete the set to safe failure (form does not break severely).
Lastly, do 15 to 30 jump squats (squat down, jump up as high as you can). Each workout aim to add 2 to 5 additional squats. REST 2 minutes. You can also use the dumbbells for the jump squats.
Perform these 3 exerices 3 to 5 more times, in that same sequence (with the rest outlined).
Then do bike or skipping intervals for 20 minutes. Bike or skip hard for 30 to 60 seconds, then at a slow pace and low intensity for 1:30 to 2:00. Repeat these high / low intervals 5 to 8 times, then cooldown. Follow this up with your required stretches (lying hamstring, "figure four" hip stretch ect...).
If you would like to book a session with me to go through your sample hockey conditioning program (if you attend a gym or have access to standard gym equipment), let me know and we will arrange an ideal time.
If you would like to purchase a pack of training sessions for August to help prepare you for the season with some one-on-one personal training, then you can also let me know and arrange a regular schedule.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Using a thick bar affects strength by about 12% but you get great gains. Meaning if you bench press 200 with a regular bar, 185 will feel as hard as 200 lbs with a thick bar.
At the PPC we used ALL thick bar DB's exclusively, thick bar EZ curl bars exclusively and had options for thick bar chinups (Poliquin Atltantis brand squat rack), thick bar attachments for cables and many thicknesses of thick barbells.
You do not want to use them for squats / front squats or leg movements at all except for thick bar deadlifts (which affect your strength by as much as 50%... for smaller hand people / women even more). For example, I pull about 275-300 in the deadlift and could barely get to 100 lbs with the tick bar... and my forearms were TRASHED for days. It was awesome.
You would also not use them for Olympic lifts such as cleans, snatches, and we did not use them for Snatch grip deadlifts but you certain could. Grip on the deadlifts are double overhand of course.
We used the thick bar EZ curl for "scull crushers", curls, overhand curls I had experience in my training programs (and my clients) using thick bar for bench press (also with chains or weight releasers added), close grip bench, overhead press, decline bench press (slight decline only... 10 to 20 degree).
Stick to rep ranges for strength (ie relative strength parameters) or hypertrophy (functional hypertrophy or hypertrophy parameters) but simply substitute thick bar implements. Be careful at first as the forearms, particularly extensors really take a hit. It can cause problems.
So for someone new, implement one or two thick implements at a time. Perhaps a thick bar bench press and maybe thick bar chins or pullups on another day (you can use Tyler Grips... google them if you do not have a thick chinup bar... ).
At the PPC we started with just having new clients get used to the thick DB's ... they are amazing. Or you may add TYler Grips to all your DB work for a phase. Then implement one or two other thick bar options in the training program Phase 2 and so on. You will get carry over to your lifts.
However, I do not do TOO much thick bar bench pressing with powerlifters. When I went back to a competition bar it initially affected me in negative ways. I felt like I was gripping a twig. It took me a good 3 workouts to feel "normal" again and it did affect my stability. However it was worth it as my raw bench press had increased by about 5 to 10%. So you must consider the transition time - including thick bar world duing a lengthly off season would be wise for powerlifters.
Don't change too many variables... Simple works best longest.
I would rather go from a regular bench press to a thick bar press, then an incline press with thick bar (10 degree) in 3 phases than take jump from regular bench press to a thick bar 10 degree incline press. Depends on the person too, but that is a general rule of thumb.
F D wrote:
Hello, Krista. I was having a discussion about thick bar training with a gentleman at my gym today and when I got home, my girlfriend, who is an avid reader of your articles on figureathlete.com
I'd appreciate your input on as few or as many of these questions as you see fit and have time to answer, but I definitely understand if you're too busy to reply to this message.
Do you have any "rules",guidelines, and/or do's and don'ts when it comes to deciding when to replace more traditional diameter bars, dumbbells, and cable attachments(1 and 1/16", 1 and 3/8", for example) with ones of 2" diameter or greater?
Would you recommend regular usage of thick bars for athletes more so than bodybuilders or would they potentially benefit both groups equally? Are there movement patterns from the following list(elbow flexion, elbow extension, horizontal pressing and pulling, vertical pressing and pulling, hip dominant movements such as conventional and snatch-grip deadlifts, humeral abduction, etc.) that you'd use them on for maximum benefits and others that you'd avoid using them for ?
I've been especially curious as to how the main goal of a given training phase, such as strength or hypertrophy, might affect the choice of bar diameter used. And lastly, do you consider bar diameter enough of a change when switching exercises after, say 3-4 weeks, or do you think another exercise variable such as grip positioning angle should be slightly altered as well.......i.e. a 10-degree incline press with a regular bar swapped out for a 2" diameter bar 10-degree incline press in a subsequent phase versus a 10-degree incline press with a regular bar swapped out for a 2"-diameter bar 30-degree incline press in a subsequent phase.
I would greatly appreciate any information that you would be kind enough to share on these topics and thank you for your time.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
One of the most common complaints I hear about and question I am asked is about energy, or more appropriately lack of energy.
"What do I do to get more energy?"
"You always seem to have so much energy - what do you do?"
"I want to exercise, but I never have any energy. I am always tired and dragging through my day."
Top 7 Tips to Increased Energy:
1) Clean up your Eating: Experts agree that 80% of your body's energy goes to digestion. By eating clean, nutrient-dense, properly combined meals and snacks, your energy levels will increase dramatically.
2) Drink less coffee and more green tea: Starting your day with a coffee in order to wake up is a bad habit. It starts you on the high / low energy roller coaster ride and promotes an addiction to caffeine. Yes coffee is high in antioxidants but so are rich, colourful fruits and veggies, organic dark chocolate and teas. Green tea is a much better option as it contains about 1/5 of the caffeine of coffee and has other energy boosting benefits. For example, green tea is high in a compound called theanine which increases your alpha brain wave activity or "feel good" brain waves. The caffeine is low-dose so your energy levels are mildly elevated throughout the day rather than a dramatic boost from coffee which will be followed by a low.
3) Take a CORE PACK of supplements: a "core pack" is a foundation of nutritional supplements aimed at correcting deficiencies and ensuring you are nutritionally supported. Some vitamins and minerals are essential to absorption and metabolism of all other nutrients - thus they are key to ENERGY. Nutrients work in synergy with each other so when one is deficient, others may not be able to do their job properly in the body.
The CORE PACK I recommend for 90% of my clients consists of four supplements that you can find in almost any health food store.
First on the list is a broad-based quality multivitamin from natural sources (not synthetic) such as Progressive brand. A multivitamin protects against nutritional deficiencies and also helps detoxify the body.
Next on the list is omega 3 from Fish Oils. Supplementing with fish oil liquid or capsules from small fish such as herring, mackerel, sardine or anchovy improve your body's metabolism and overall health and performance in almost every way at the cellular level. I recommend quality fish oils from brands such as Nordic Naturals, NutraSea, Genestra, Poliquin or Carlson's. I recommend at least 6 grams per day in divided doses such as 2 capsules per main meal or 1/2 a tps twice a day. If you are overweight, do not tolerate carbohydrates, have struggled with your weight much of your life or suffer from many health ailments, then you should take even more - up to 30 grams per day in divided doses.
In addition to a multi and fish oils, take a green food supplement. Very few people eat as many servings of vegetables as they should and the quality of our produce and soil has diminished to such an extent, we still greatly benefit from adding supplemental greens to our diet. I personally like and use Progressive brand (Blueberry Medley), Greens + (extra energy and detox are my favorites) and Nano Greens (which is all organic). I recommend starting with 1/2 a scoop daily at breakfast and increasing to a full scoop twice daily.
Lastly on the CORE PACK list is ZMA (zinc, magnesium and B6) which is a synergistic mineral supplement which will correct the 2 most common mineral deficiencies that 80% of the population suffers from and 90% of athletes. Magnesium in particular is an important key to proper absorption and metabolism of all micro and macro nutrients. Trust me - add these to your supplement strategy and you will feel and see the difference.
4) Exercise Regularly: Even if you do not have the energy, you will be more energized after your workout. I promise! Exercise increases neurotransmitter levels, balances hormones and increases your metabolism to give you an energy boost for hours after doing your 20 to 60 minute session. Start with 20 minutes 3 times a week and over time increase to 40 to 60 minutes 4 to 5 times a week. Ideally, you want to strength training for 20 to 40 minutes then conduct 10 to 20 minutes of steady state or interval "cardio" afterwards. Keep the movements simple but continually challenge yourself by lifting heavier weights, completing more repetitions or sets, or reducing your rest time between sets.
5) Don't Forget Energy Rebalancing: Give back to your body by doing yoga, medication, deep breathing, massages, spending quality time with friends and family and simply finding joy in your life. We often think of the things we should do that take energy away from us (working out) but sometimes forget to give back to our bodies (working within).
6) Live the Life of your Dreams: Sometimes we lack energy because we fill our day with things to simply pass the time. We are constantly scheduled and booked and are just going through the motions. We let life pass us by without really living it. Take that course you have always wanted to, reconnect with old friend, mend a fractured relationship, take risks, try new things, face your fears, change jobs... "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined" (Thoreau).
7) Drink More Water: Back to our first tip, the vast majority of your energy each day goes to digestion, so by drinking more water, digestion is improved. Hydration levels are also indirectly related to weight and fat loss. When we are closer to our ideal weight and optimal body fat levels, we are more energized - we feel better about how we look and we literally have more bounce to our step. Our bodies are made of about 65% water -your body does not work, at all, without water. You can live days, weeks, sometimes even months without food, but you can't live even a few days without water. So there is not further discussion required. I recommend a minimum of 3 Litres daily for my clients and some, at some times, up to 8 Litres daily. If you add lemon, lime, chlorophyll, green tea powders, fibre supplement, greens supplements, BCAA's and protein powder it is enjoyable and easy to get my minimum recommendations.
Implement just one or two of these energy boosting tips. In no time, YOU will be the energy expert.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
My mentor, Charles Poliquin, taught me that one of the keys to a quality MV is non-synthetic ingredients. The research recently and subsequent media coverage does not distinguish between the two.
Both Charles Poliquin and another expert, Dr. Mercola, (http://products.mercola.com/multivitamin-vital-minerals/) concur that a quality MV daily is ESSENTIAL for optimal health (and it must be broad based... meaning you have to take it throughout the day) on top of nutrient-dense, clean, balanced nutrition.
Please remember, there is negative research and media coverage on /everything/. The media loves to exploit and emphasize (and misinterpret!) the negative.
Listen to your body, eat well, stay active, enjoy life, be open to trying new modalities to improve your health and you can't go wrong. Read below for more information on quality multivitamins.
Not All Multivitamins Are Created Equal by Charles Poliquin
It is important to ask tough questions when looking for the best multivitamin for you.
First, consider the ingredients. Here’s a nightmare scenario.
What if you were a typical, large, unscrupulous supplement manufacturer and you decided to make a multivitamin/mineral (MVM) to be sold in a mass merchant like the local grocery store or major nutrition center? How would you decide what to use in your MVM? How would you compete in this market where the corporate buyers aren’t interested in health; they’re all about the bottom line?
You know that their consumers are relatively unsophisticated regarding supplement quality and nutrient absorption. They aren’t individuals trying to optimize their health and function. They aren’t athletes trying to maximize their performance and recovery. Instead, you know that their buying decision will be based on two things: taking one tablet a day and price.
You don’t want any risk of tablets breaking inside the bottle so you would use chemical fillers and make sure that the tablets are compressed extra hard, even if it means they aren’t broken down as well in the gastrointestinal tract (or at all).
You would buy the cheapest raw materials, regardless of bioavailability or health implications. You wouldn’t hesitate to use cheap synthetics like d/l/-alpha tocopherol and you definitely wouldn’t waste space on the more expensive gamma tocopherol (or beta or delta). You would choose cheap, small molecule minerals like magnesium oxide so you can fit it all into one tablet instead of using a large (well-absorbed) molecule like magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate. You wouldn’t raise the cost of production by assaying raw materials or finished products; you would just assume it’s good enough knowing that the "Average Joe " consumer will do the same. You would laugh at raw material suppliers that try to sell you a mixture of natural carotenoids and would instead use a little bit of synthetic beta-carotene (even if it may raise the risk of lung cancer), just so it can be on the label.^1
You would assume that all a consumer wants to see is the 100% mark next to the RDA if they even look at all. You would cut corners wherever you could in hopes that the unsuspecting consumer would see a cheap price and say “good enough.”
Quality comes first at the PPC
You can probably guess that we take the opposite approach at the PPC. Quality, functionality, and health come first here. As a result, our new Multi-Intense meets or exceeds all of our rigorous requirements.
For instance, many people are concerned (and rightfully so) that their supplement pills aren’t even getting broken down. Well, besides meeting the United States Pharmacopeia standards of 20 to 30 minute tablet breakdown tested in a GMP /certified/ facility, our Multi-Intense has actually been verified to break down even in the achlorhydric “stomach” of gastric bypass patients in less than 15 minutes. This was verified by using pill cams!
Quality goes way beyond pill dissolution, though. Quality also means nutrients your body can absorb and that your body truly needs. We use patented Albion amino acid chelates for our minerals. We use a patented blend of natural carotenoids. We use therapeutic levels of B vitamins, not the pathetic RDA. We use natural vitamin E with a 1:1 ratio of alpha to gamma tocopherols (as well as beta and delta) to resemble the profile of vitamin E rich plants. We use a patented blend of folic acid and folic acid metabolites that bypasses a genetic defect that may affect as much as 35% of the population.^2 We use calcium citrate and microcrystalline hydroxyapatite that the body can actually use to build bone.^3,4 If you want calcium carbonate, go eat a stalactite; you won’t find it in Multi-Intense.
What you will find are the key nutrients that you should be getting from your diet, but often don’t or can’t, so supplementation with a high-quality MVM is critical to optimal function. It’s a well-known fact that the nutrient density of today’s food pales in comparison to even 30 years ago. The nutrients in Multi-Intense are in highly absorbable, natural forms that result in much more bang for your buck. Multi-Intense is the “dead-lift of multivitamins”, while the store brands are like leg extensions.
The moral of the story is that "a little research can help you choose an effective multi." Try our product today
1 Omenn, Gilbert S. M.D. PhD, et al, “Effects of a Combination of Beta Carotene and Vitamin A on Lung Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease”, /New England Journal of Medicine/, May 2, 1996 Number 18, volume 334:1150-1155.
2 Födinger, Manuela, et al “Molecular Biology of 5,10 Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase”, /Journal of Nephrology,/ 2000, Volume 13:20-33.
3 Epstein O, et al. “Vitamin D, Hydroxyapatite, and Calcium Gluconate in Treatment of Cortical Bone Thinning in Postmenopausal Women with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis”, /AJCN/ 1982 Sep; 36(3): 426-430.
4 Heller HJ, Stewart A, Haynes S, and Pak CY “Pharmacokinetics of calcium absorption from two commercial calcium supplements”. /J Clin Pharmacol,/ 1999 39: 1151-1154.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Pics of my three shows (2006)... here Be gentle, I'm a NOOB! I still haven't got on the stage so that I would have been satisfied with my conditioning.
Maybe I should see what happens with very high dosing of BCAA&glutamine as well - I work for a supplement company so I can pretty much drag home as many supps as I need.
I am still learning of course, but I woulld say the secret to staying hormonally balanced and metabolicly healthy as a competitor is:
- carb and calorie cycling
- a variety of foods
- the freshest, best quality, nutrient dense foods possible
- a targetted supplement strategy that changes often
- a healthy mental perspective on the entire process
I have worked with quite a few in your situation where their hormones or metabolism (usually go hand in hand) have failed them post contest. You did what you were told or outlined in the plan, worked harded and what did you get for it? It's not your fault that's for sure, but use your previous experiences and learn from them. You can become a master at doing it the healthful way and get back on stage even better... not only looking better, which is your goal, but feeling better through the preparation, at the contest and more importantly much better afterwards.
This is supposed to be about displaying oneself as a representive of fitness and health. 90% do not represent that - they just aim to look the part. But it IS possible. You can compete and be healthier - hormonally, physically and emotionally - than 99% of the population. That is when you will WIN. And winning is not about the title, trophy or magazine cover. It's about when YOU know you have become your personal best. It is the best feeling.
The bigger purpose of competing is to act as a role model - to inspire and motivate others to become THEIR personal best. Competing is just the vehicle. Some do this through their own interests, passions and hobbies whether it be composing music like my father-in-law, teaching like my mother or teaching people how to squat or to be able to do a pullup, like myself. If you NEVER forgot that all of this is the path to human betterment (not just you, but the entire human race), then the pressure is off. It's about something bigger, much bigger.
If you let that sink in, your metabolism will be back in no time - glutamine or not.
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Jackie Robinson