Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Handy Hints for Figure Competitors

The whole comp prep thing has given me a few learnings I will share with you,

Here goes:
* Expect people to ask you if you eat a lot of tuna. I don't know why tuna, especially the canned stuff is associated with fitness loving types and bodybuilders. Except for my Paleo Tuna Patties, I have yet to crack open a can for the sake of it.

*Expect people to ask you why you're not massive when you say you are competing in a Bodybuilding competition, especially as a natural athlete (yes, this week I'm an athlete again, thanks Kek!)

*Expect your leanness to be scrutinized by all the other gym members. This week I've taken to wearing my CAnterbury compression garments from head to toe. I'm hoping to be mistaken for Libby Lenton instead

*Expect that your own perception of your body will change - all of a sudden you'll take a liking for flaring your lats in public bathrooms and secretly flexing your biceps in the lift. You'll be checking yourself out every 5 minutes, looking for changes. This is exhausting, so my take is to get on with it.

*Expect to question yourself about how much work and discipline you're putting in for fifteen minutes on stage in a skimpy bikini. This one runs through my head a bit. But I am keeping on keeping on.

*Expect a few bumps post comp, but have a plan - me - moving on to other things in my training and still very committed to eating well for the long term.

Training Update:
Yesterday: 50 minute run @ 11.2km/hr felt good, back/triceps
Today: Chest/biceps + easy pace elliptical 35 minutes. I have hard hard workload tomorrow so the cardio was kept to a minimal level.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Don't Open the Door and the Charter of Laws

"Slinky Malinki was blacker than black, a stalking and lurking mischievious cat" - Slinky is one of my favourite children's book characters - he's also a bit of a "Criminal Cat" which is a family nickname for me as I've had one too many speeding tickets in the past - pleased to say that I haven't leadfooted it for awhile...
Lynley Dodd also wrote a second Slinky book called "Open The Door" and my post today is about NOT opening the door in and letting the Food Beast or your Inner Gollum into your psyche to play games with you. The Food Beast is a sneaky creature and it is always waiting, whether you are in comp prep mode or not ..." you're tired, you deserve this", "here, eat this it will make you feel better". The Food Beast is elusive and will strike when you have let your guard down, let the door open and make you believe that you're suggesting negative eating behaviour which in turn leads you to beat up on yourself when you "fail" yet again.
The take home message is not to let your guard down, to stay awake and to understand that even "moderation" has its own set of rules. Moderation is not about going hell for leather in the kitchen because the Beast has masqueraded as your Higher Self and suggested that intuitively, you really need the sugar fix. Decide how you're going to live and stick with it - make a Charter of your own Laws! Today, I'm feeling particularly tired and when I get really tired, the door begins to swing open. In the spirit of keeping it firmly shut, I'm off to have my planned dinner and some fresh fruit for dessert.
With a competition so close, this Criminal Cat is staying on the right side of her own Charter of Laws....
So what's your Charter?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Circular Thinking

I remember having a chat with Jo Rogers ages ago about how when someone competes, usually something major is happening - for her I remember "something always died" and the first time I competed the house got flooded and we had to move into a hotel with very limited facilities the week prior - think my emotions were on a knife edge then and thinking about it is a good reminder of how important it is to stay level and keep a good perspective about everything.

At the beginning of the week I was having a circular argument with myself as to whether you could call bodybuilding a sport - after all it's not a test of power, strength, speed or endurance (though on this point I could beg to differ!) - you're simply judged on 'how you look' and unfortunately it doesn't seem to be uniform across all federations or even within the same federation which makes it all rather confusing. Part of my brain tells me that I shouldn't consider it a sport - but then I think of the hard training we put in and think that I would be doing bodybuilders and figure gals a huge disservice by suggesting that in doing this activity that they're not athletes. I think of the likes of some of the girls around me who have really dedicated them who have really dedicated themselves to whacking on the muscle and decide that how could they not be athletes given the intensity and focus of their training? So as you can see, prepping for a show has the ability to mess with your mind!

Kek wrote a great post about "Fit to Travel" and I have to say I agree with her. I started off by taking some pre prepped meals but eventually I ended up eating out with every meal - my strategy was to keep carbs low if fats were high (ie had salmon and vegetables a lot!) and vice versa. I walked everywhere and arrived home lighter than before I left. I had the choice whilst away of "stress out about your eating and send cortisol levels through the roof " or "take a chill pill, be moderate and level". Option B works better for this little black duck.

Today's training - got some chest and biceps in (yeah!) and a good hard run where I dug out a nice little niche just under anaerobic threshold and went for it for 20 minutes. Have added a 30 minute relaxed walk to most days as well which is helping to keep my mind clear (apart from when I'm engaging in planned gas release at airports and circular athletic arguments).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Everybody's Free (to feel good)

Today I was reminded of how the mind can influence the body - if you think positively, I think you move better!

I would be telling a complete and utter lie if I didn't say that getting into competition shape is occupying a lot of my thoughts right now - in fact I've never been this close to a competition and been so heavy before! I have to add the disclaimer that although I think I look like a skinny minny right now, the concept of being too fat right now is hysterical. I think Katie P lovingly refers to it as Stage 3 of a comp prep. Meanwhile I continue to paddle around in the illusion that I've added more muscle - one thing I do know is that I've added silicone since last time - hope that counts for something!

In fact this prep has been the weirdest one ever - I haven't had the luxury to give this one as much focus as the last three - in fact, the comp sometimes has had to go on the bottom of the priority list whilst I have tried to get other things done. I'm not even training like a competitor - taught RPM and Bodystep today (which was awesome) and my weights consisted of core work with a client and a few sets of push ups. I've been off the upper body work due to the cranky shoulder and every time I decide to hit my legs, I get asked to teach a class. There has been little, if any extra cardio apart from teaching classes. The end product sure is going to be interesting.....

So training wise was a big cardio load today - I had energy to burn today, felt fantastic. I'm still eating in the Paleo style but had a big chunk of cheese last night in my omelette - just felt I needed "more". I don't seem to react at all to dairy products.

Visited the physio today and am hoping to get some sort of training in tomorrow...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Correct Use of Frankenfoods

I had a great weekend in Sydney attending FILEX - here I am with
Miss Selina getting in some posing practice and being generally silly. It has been a long time since this little black duck went to FILEX and it was a really enjoyable experience. I chose a rather diverse series of lectures but enjoyed the exercise phys related ones the most - seeing the Krebs cycle again was like meeting an old friend.
I started early, catching the 6.30am Virgin flight down to Sydney with Shannon, had an awesome second breakfast with her and Kerryn and after the first lecture, kicked back at the bar and looked at the water and shared a Diet Coke - was a lot of fun.
Kerryn and I shared a room at a hotel near the Convention and after my first planned snack was devoured we ate out for the entire duration of the convention, the most hilarious part being the restaurant we went to on Saturday night - the meal I ordered of salmon and steamed veggies came presented like one of my everyday Paleo meals - so much for a planned indulgence. I made up for it last night though with some superb cookies and cream icecream..those Danish icecream makers know how to get it right!
The Expo was amazing - I came away with a pair of workout pants and a pink kettlebell!
There were lots of displays there, many many samples of protein bars, which to me are Franken foods (ie foods made of chemicals that masquerade as food) - I ended up having a rather large bar for afternoon tea yesterday which upset my tummy big time. Protein bars give me really horrible stinky gas.
My flight back home was late and the airport was full of obnoxious football players who were carrying on in the waiting lounge. As I walked past them, it was the opportune moment to relieve myself of some protein bar steam. I am childish enough to admit I had a bit of a chuckle when they all started arguing over "who farted". Flight home was uneventful and gas free :)
Taught RPM today, over and out!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Travelling Foolosophy

After my "trundling" post yesterday, I was thinking about how to keep the focus alive to see it through to the end and the thought occurred to me in the middle of teaching RPM - focus on discrete areas of performance and the rest will follow. Here I was at 7am sprouting some "foolosophy" on the class. It is not enough to want to come in and "look better", though "looking better" is an undeniable and valid reason for wanting to join a gym, but in the context of my RPM class, riding for "better legs" doesn't really give you a lot to grasp on in terms of performance. However, increasing resistance to improve your climbing, working on your cadence and your transitions are all concrete goals that actually lead you to naturally looking better anyway and you didn't have to *think* too much about it. It's the same with nutrition, focus on your meals with intent, rather than just say "I want to eat, so I lose body fat" - focusing on improving aspects of your eating eg more vegetables, less processed crap leads to the same effect as the concrete athletic goals - looking better.

Psychologically speaking, if you take the time to look after yourself - eg "I will go to sleep at 9pm" rather than "I'll try to get to bed earlier"...same result will happen.

This applies really well to comp prep - today I focused on teaching decent Bodystep and RPM classes , I made a semi paleo curry (semi because it has dried fruit in it), I ate my planned meals. I learned new Bodystep for tomorrow. I can rest easy knowing that my work is done for the day - and that I'll be improving never the less - you know, DO, not think.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


"Trundling" is the only word to describe where I'm at right now. I equate it to being at the 16-17km mark in a Half Marathon race..you're in No Man's Land - even though you've run 16km, you've still got another 5km to go - and when you've got tired legs, that can seem like a long way off.

I've done a fair chunk of the work, now it is time to see it through to the end. Focus, girl, focus! I'm faced with a few obstacles - one is my left shoulder, which is really cranky, accompanied for good measure by my fifth rib - I must have impressed Louise today when she was working on me by saying "what are you doing to my fifth rib?" - she counted and sure enough she was at the junction of 5th rib to one of my thoracic vertebrae (I'm not smart or lucky enough to remember which one - probably T5?). Therefore any training or posing practise..limited for a few days.

Time to keep on keeping on :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Anyone interested?

I have a "Chicken or Chocolate" T Shirt from Monica Brant's site for sale. It's a size M but a small make, fits an 8-10. I have worn this shirt all of once and paid $25.00 for it. I'm selling it for $12.00 so if anyone is interested please email me - postage is extra. I also have a tub of Ladybird Whey - Cookies and Cream 500g for sale that expires at the end of July for $19.00 (cost price) + post if anyone is interested in that as well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Se a vida e (That's the Way Life Is)

"Come outside and feel the morning sun,
Se a vida e` I love you,
Life is much more simple when you're young.
Come on essa vida e`
That's the way life is, that's the way life is...
Although we see the world through different eyes
We share the same idea of Paradise
So don't search in the stars for signs of love
Look around your life you'll find enough"
(Tennant/Lowe, Pet Shop Boys 1996)

Looks like I'm on an official Pet Shop Boys bender this weekend. They're quirky and I love their off beat lyrics. I like this little reminder to keep things simple and to focus on what is most important!

Today's been a bit of a topsy turvy one - I got on the scales and didn't have to do a Shelley - no "wrong way dickhead", weight was exactly the same. However my tummy was pretty grouchy about the onslaught of the wheat and has been letting me know about it for the last 12 hours or so. I was quite surprised that there was no spike, maybe tomorrow, hee hee. I prepped all my gear and CDs to take to RPM only to get to the gym and find my CD cases were empty - I'd organized the cases but not the CDs! Luckily I was able to adlib with another release that was lying at the bottom of my bag - though it was only seven tracks instead of nine, so I had to repeat two - I jokingly called them "mental toughness" tracks.

Then I went and trained my back and shoulders which went well, shoulders a bit grumpy (to match my belly) and went to shower - shock horror, had forgotten to pack my undies yet again - it was off to Lorna Jane to buy a new pair of undies - fittingly I got a pair that say "never say never!" on the front which gave me a bit of a giggle.

Finally it was off to the supermarket to buy things for breakfast tomorrow (my sister turns 30 and we're having a brunch) and lamb for a Massaman Sweet Potato and Lamb Curry which is going to sister in law's tomorrow night. Got the curry stuff sorted but forgot the orange juice!

Now the curry is made and festering I've had a chance to sit down and catch up on blogs. It is funny how your taste in blogs changes over time, with your goals and own growth. I remember when I started blogging in 2006, there was a 'core group' of us Aussie Figure Competitors - it's been fun to actually meet all of these people and add new bloggers to the list along the way - I highly recommend blogging as it's a great way of making new friends and meeting likeminded people. I would love to keep expanding my reading list so if anyone wants to share, please leave a comment!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kneading a Day Off

The whole week has caught up with me because I slept in until after 9am this morning! I spent the morning pottering around the house making hot cross buns - I have never made these from scratch and after assembling all the ingredients and mixing the initial lot together, I had to knead the dough for a good 15 minutes - what a workout! Then there was an hour and a half to let the dough rise, another 5 minutes of kneading, another 30 minutes for the second rise and then there was making the crosses out of a flour paste and cooking them. They turned out amazingly, even better than the store bought variety. I enjoyed one for lunch today - and then another 1/2 for arvo tea later on after Good Friday service - hot cross buns are one of my favourite things but they sent the old carb score skyrocketing to over 60% intake today - even though my calorie intake is pretty moderate (there wasn't much room for anything else after the buns), I am sitting here as full as a goog.

Given the wacko carb ratios, I can almost ascertain that there will be a "Wrong Way Dickhead" movement tomorrow on the scales - but I know that tomorrow's RPM class will be a real smacker!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Better behaviour...

Thought it might be fun to put a Pet Shop Boys cover up to signify better behaviour today - it's amazing what a good night's sleep will do for one's perspective. Got my training in today, taught a good step class this morning (though I left my brain at home in Track 6) with plenty of intensity and made sure I got my strength training in, so I'm a happy girl. As well as all the 80s rockers with long hair, I'm a bit of a diehard Pet Shop Boys fan - in fact their mix of "Go West" was our "going away song" at our wedding! You see we purchased the "Very" album and must have listened to it for 10 months straight during our Canadian sojourn.

I hope everyone has a very safe and blessed Easter. I'm sure I'll be blogging over the weekend - but not until I've done some training and honoured my intentions by eating well and getting plenty of sleep!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Taking a Chill Pill

Today has been one of those days where I have officially decided that I need to take a "chill pill" - tired, cranky, full of leg DOMS and feeling like I'm not going to be lean enough "on the day". However the wiser side of me knows not to buy too much into emotions, especially when one is tired. The wiser side says, "one meal, one workout at at time". The unwise side of me says, "is it time for Indian yet?" The wise side replies and says "you will get your Indian in due course, my young apprentice".
Got some training in, taught RPM this morning but felt a little lacklustre - more due to leg DOMS (bitch, moan, whine!) than anything else.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Loving the Loser

Before I get to the meat and potatoes of today's post: Training - done - yeah! Eating: great, but feeling a bit peckish today..this will pass.. one of the trials and tribulations of competing..you can get hungry but it passes with the next good meal.

Today's post is all about celebrating imperfections and failure. Because if we didn't have failure, what incentive would we have to achieve anything? Failing and being less than perfect is really important for long term personal growth.

I don't have enough fingers, nor toes to count the number of times I've failed at one thing or another. I don't have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times I've failed at ONE thing only. The greatest measure of success I have is that I failed enough times to finally do something about it (losing and keeping my weight off is a great personal example). Once I realized that nothing changes if nothing changes I was able to set myself to the task of losing 35 kilos. I am still a work in progress as I continually learn about living lean and loving life. The biggest difference between those who succeed and those who fail again and again is the response to failure.

Beating yourself up for making a mistake never works. I am guilty as charged when it comes to this - taking a step back and finding perspective...hard work but priceless. Recently my Inner Gollum and had a field day with me - I overate due to an underlying emotional driving factor - looking from the outside it appeared that not only had I "failed" my training regime, I also "failed" for a moment with my eating. Following on from that (and from what most people do) I should be now labelling myself as a fat disgusting pig...WRONG. Winning from this experience means looking at what I was thinking before I took the first bite and evaluating or disputing its' validity. And once I've worked out what went wrong and what steps I can take in the futre to diminish the likelihood of reoccurrence, I can then take a big step into the light, say "NEXT!" and get on with it.

And that's EXACTLY what I did. Dave calls it "failing forward".

The END.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

Got up and TRAINED today!!! Yes, that's right - you all read it here first....Liz actually trained!

I did an elliptical workout this morning and did some leg training - kept it really simple.

1) Romanian Deadlifts - 6 x 6
2) Barbell Back Squats - 6 x 6


I must say I was pleased with my squats this morning - some days are just gold in the gym where the load and the technique are good together. Am pleased to say that this morning was one of them.

Today I am remembering that "nothing changes if nothing changes" - so in the spirit of doing something different, I trained at Toowong today where all of the equipment is slightly different and I pushed myself a lot harder than I have - so it's all "different" today. I'm just hoping that the DOMS won't be too bad tomorrow morning.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Paleo Tuna Patties

By popular request:

1 big tin tuna in springwater, drained
2-3 egg whites
semi dried tomatoes, the fat free kind
coriander (if you want Thai flavours, a smidge of tomato paste and basil if you want Italian style)
chilli (if you like more kick)
diced capsicum
20 g flax seeds (linseed) ground
sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix the whole lot together and make patties - I make them in egg rings and get about 9-10 patties out of each lot. Obviously once I have em in the egg rings I cook them until browned on each side. One patty from memory is mainly protein and in the order of about 75 calories. I have been having two of these on top of a big green salad with lots of other vegetables added to said salad. If you want to keep the Italian theme going, add a splash of 4 star balsamic vinegar.

Hope that helps everyone out!

Focus on your thinking, change your results!

I was reading Carolyn's ramble and realized that it's been quite a long time since I've been the "fat chick". My journey started on Australia Day 2005, when I decided that I was going to not only change my body, that I was going to change the way that I thought about myself and finally step up to the plate and be the person I truly was, rather than hiding it it in shame behind a layer of fat or in my case, several layers of fat .

For me, being the person I truly am meant to be was firstly accepting where I was in the whole journey and then who I was. I've lived in the shadows of a fairly extroverted family - not that I wasn't loved or encouraged, but a lot of the time compared to all of the hilarity going on around me, I felt that what I had to offer was bland and boring - part of my transformation has been knowing that it is OK that I can be more on the serious side, introverted and reflective. I often have my best revelations in these moments of quietness. However I love people and love to share in the journey with them as well.

Over the past four years my world has been full of different thoughts and perspectives about all sorts of things that's finally led me to where I'm sitting today, six weeks away from another Figure Comp.yikes! I feel that transformation and personal growth for me occurs in layers and this time around has been yet another experience entirely.

For a start, I've had the swelling joints issue to deal with - the results say probably viral, but have noticed a strong correlation between ingestion of processed wheat products and swelling. So for the first time ever, I have eliminated a food group and embraced the Paleolithic way of eating. I've ditched most food and drinks with artificial sweetener (apart from the odd Diet Coke - I had my first can in about 3 months yesterday at the movies). I'm reading more labels and noticing the insane number of fillers and preservatives that go into so many commonly eaten products and believe that none of this stuff can be possibly good for you.

Secondly, I haven't used a formal training program - why? - because I've been focussed more on moving better and looking after my shoulders, SIJ and glutes. Then I've been trying to fit it in around clients - so often I'll have a look at myself and decide there and then what needs work. Better movement is still the number one priority for me, show or no show.. Cardio works out between 30 minutes and an hour depending what I've got on that day, 4-5 days a week. Usually there are 3 x 30 minutes and 2 x 1 hour.

Thirdly and most importantly, I have a different perspective on this one to previous efforts. I know realistically that I probably won't win or place, given that I just don't have the symmetry or the muscle to be a top figure athlete. My reason for doing this is to honour myself with the values that I hold dear and that I try to instil into my clients - discipline, focus, concentration, perspective, personal growth and seeing the job to completion. I'm looking forward to being up there with the biggest smile ever, to celebrate getting to the end and staying true to my values the whole way through.

Even though I didn't get a stitch of training in last week, I'm going to look very positively towards this week and have loosely planned out my training week - after all to hit a goal well you have to prioritize it. I did a bit of cooking today and am set to go there as well. I made these awesome Paleo tuna patties that I've been enjoying all weekend. I plan on losing 0.7kg this week to bring me to the 5 week out mark. That will happen by Saturday.

Yesterday was fantastic - really enjoyed teaching RPM and having Lia, Dori, Lindy and Tara in class to "enjoy" it with me. I am really loving the High Performance format at the moment even though there was a moment there I was thinking ,"oh no, still two tracks to go!" I chose a few favourites, "Silence" by Sarah McLachlan, "Human" by The Killers and "Blood is Pumpin'" by Serrano et al. It was great to catch up with Lindy O, Shelley, Katie and Shannon afterwards - uplifting to be around like minded people!

We all really enjoyed the movies last night - we've all been making a lot more effort as a family to do things together and this was a fun movie to see.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

RPM Catch Up

From Back (Lto R) - Me, Lindy W, Tara, Front: Lindy O, Lia, Dori
Hmm what a bunch of fresh faced fit looking chicks getting ready to have Vietnamese after RPM Hi Performance and no red faces anywhere. I'm beginning to wonder if I didn't work them hard enough!
Seriously, everyone is looking so good, so fit and sharp and it was wonderful to see the results of everyone's fit lifestyles. We were also joined later by Shelley, Katie and Shannon, so it was quite a rowdy table and really good fun.
I'll blog a bit more over the weekend but now it's back to Indro again to see "Monsters vs Aliens" with the hubster and the girls. I promised I would pack some healthy popcorn, so I'd best get to it!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Not feeling like a competitor this week!

I should title this post, "you make plans and God laughs", which is exactly what has happened to me this week. One of my daughters has been sick with the dreaded lurgy which has meant me taking the entire week off work and doing very limited training. This has left me, naturally feeling like "what the heck are you doing with only 6 weeks to go and not training?" Then I remember that most of it is nutrition side of things being the most important thing right now, with the training being an added bonus. My motivation is to see this thing through properly to the end, enough said. Right now, I am the biggest I have ever been at this stage of the game at this time out, so there is probably some major work to be done. My issue is not seeing myself as being too fat, mine is in seeing more leanness than there probably is - which means it must be time for a round of photos - camera never lies!

I'm looking forward to Saturday though - I get to dish out some RPM punishment to Lindy and Lia plus I get to catch up with Dori and Lisa and some other bloggers to name a few. We're going to head out and have Vietnamese afterwards. I can't wait - so if there's anyone else that would like to join in the party, please let me know.

Hmm , what else - heard a very interesting talk on Sunday about some themes that underpin Christianity and how they apply to the athlete. There were four key points that I found pretty interesting. They were a) dissatisfaction - everyone, no matter what their station in life suffers from varying degrees of dissatisfaction - whether you're rich, poor or somewhere in the middle. In the athletic sense you are always striving towards betterment and if your performance is not up to par, in creeps dissatisfication.
Then, b) discipline - this refers to the point that human beings love discipline in order to live a full life. I know I've mentioned this before - along the lines of why a society without rules doesn't work. Lack of discipline works against the athlete - "sucking it up" and getting on with the job, no matter what it entails seems to be important for success both in athletic endeavours and with life in general. Then there was c) "trust" - in the Christian sense, that is trust in God - and for the athlete, it is "trust" in the plan. I've experienced the benefits of both - call me superstitious, but my prayers do get answered, sometimes though the answer was not what I expected. Finally there was d) gratitude and connection with the poor - to help you to be grateful for what you have and what you can do. Gratitude about how your body works is important for it to work well. My physio said to me when I complained about my shoulder once - "but you're nearly 40 years old and you've never had anything go wrong before this!" It was a great reminder to be thankful for how well things do work.

We all have a tendency to focus on remembering the immediate past, so if injured you will focus on the injury, not how well the body has served you previously.

Wow, I don't know where all that came from! Therein lies my lesson - I just wrote about the week not being to plan - no it hasn't been but I've got other things out of it, so it isn't all for nothing.