Friday, December 29, 2017

Tru Dat!

You don’t realize it at first. You think this body-image obsession is going to give you everything – but you end up having to give everything to it, and so you lose. 

You look great but you require the constant validation from faceless others to reinforce to you that it’s all worth it – only you know on a deeper level that it just isn’t. 

At some point you realize you don’t want to give everything to this obsession anymore. And it is only then that you find your freedom.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Update: New Chemotherapy & Flu

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind.

Matt got his port put in a couple weeks back for a new chemotherapy he'll be starting on called Avastin, which is administered intravenously.
He was really nervous about the procedure, but I told him that if he can make it through two brain surgeries, he can make it through this!

He got his first infusion last Tuesday morning, and he'll be getting them every 2 weeks. Based on the next MRI in January, he may also be starting another chemo pill along with the Avastin called CCNU. 
Then last Thursday I flew out to Canada for a day of shooting with MuscleTech. It was a lot of fun(and hard work!), and I can't wait to see the finished product. 
I met a lot of cool people, and it was a great experience, but I hated leaving my hubby at home, even though he had his parents here with him. I just couldn't wait to get back home!

So then I get back home Friday and find out Matt is in the hospital with the flu! He had spiked a fever while I was gone, which they had told us to watch for after the infusion Tuesday. So Matt's mom called his doctor's office, and they told him to take him in. I did know that the day I left for the shoot, Matt was a lot weaker and tired than usual, so now it all makes sense. Chemo plus the flu just wiped him out!

So he was at the hospital for 5 days, and because he was so weak the first few days, the physical therapist recommended inpatient pt for him after he was released. But he got a little stronger as the days went on, so he was able to come home Monday night. We're now looking in to getting a physical therapist to come to the house and work with him. He still has a hard time with a lot of things, like getting up and down from a chair and taking his shirt on and off, and even walking is hard, but hopefully when he fully recovers from the flu, it'll get a little better. He uses a walker around the house now all the time just because his balance isn't very good right now. Matt was featured on a local new broadcast this week telling about his story.

Then yesterday while I was at work, Asher started bleeding and my in-laws had to rush him to the animal hospital. He's okay, but he has a perianal fistula and has to eat special food and take some meds. Poor thing! His knee had also been acting up again, but that seems to be doing better now. I hate seeing both my boys suffer! Thank goodness for my in-laws, though! I don't know how I'd be doing this without them. 

Now here's to hoping I don't catch the flu!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gym Mistakes That are Keeping you From Getting Results

Are you frustrated with your lack of results from your workouts? If so, make sure that you're not making one of these all too common mistakes:

1. Not having a plan
If you are going to the gym and wandering aimlessly from machine to machine or exercise to exercise with no purpose, no focus, and no structure, then you are most likely NOT getting the full benefits of weight training. If you go to the gym just to burn calories or to work up a good sweat, then you're most likely not getting the full benefits of weight training. 
For the best results, you need to be following a structured workout plan. Everything you do in the gym should have a purpose-just picking random exercises ain't gonna cut it. You want to think of your workouts in the gym as training, not just exercising. Training has a purpose and goals, exercise doesn't. Exercise is just moving your body around, training is moving your body with intention. Anyone who has an admirable physique has most likely spent years following a structured, well thought-out plan, not just "winging" it.

2. Resting too long between sets
If you've never tracked your rest periods in the gym, you're missing out on getting the full benefits of weight training. Resting too long or sometimes not long enough can hinder your results. I see too many people wasting precious time between sets talking or texting and letting the muscles rest much longer than what is necessary. For the big, heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts, yes, you need long rest periods, sometimes up to 5 minutes, so that you can be fully recovered for your next set. However, for the rest of your lifts, 60-90 seconds is all you need, especially if muscle building is your goal. So stop lolligagging and get focused.

3. Always staying in the same repetition range
People often get stuck in one repetition range and never veer from that. For women, it's often the 12-15 range. For some, it's 3 sets of 10. And then there are the people(mostly men) who go in to the gym and max out on everything all the time. Whatever it may be, if you stay in the same rep range for every single exercises ALL the time, you are limiting the results you could be getting. If you never train heavy for lower reps and are always just going for the "burn" or the "pump",  then you are missing out on getting the results you could be from lifting heavier for lower reps. Conversely, if you're always lifting crazy heavy or maxing out with low reps all the time, you're probably going to get injured, for one, and for another, you're not going to get the hypertrophy benefits you could be getting from training in higher rep ranges. The best thing is to go through phases or to incorporate a variety of rep ranges into your routine.

4. Trying to "shock" the muscles. 
The concept of having to shock the muscles is a myth and completely NOT required for getting results. Muscles respond to stress, not "confusion".The way to get the muscles to grow and get stronger is to provide them with a progressively more challenging stimulus over time(adding weight or reps as you get stronger). You can stick with the basic exercises and continue seeing results as long as you go into the gym and try to improve in some way each time. Focus on getting stronger, not trying to shock or confuse your muscles, and you'll get results.

5. Not keeping a workout log
Keeping a training log is crucial if you want to keep making long term gains in muscle and strength.  The key to transforming your physique is to always be striving to improve in some way and get stronger over time, and a workout log will help you do that. If you don't keep a log where you track your weights, repetitions, rest times, how you felt that day, etc., then it's going to be hard to remember what you did from week to week so that you can try beat it and set personal records. It's also fun to be able to look back and see how you've progressed and improved over the years. I can always spot a serious lifter when I see someone carrying around a notebook in the gym! Coincidentally, they are also usually the ones that I can see who's physique's are transforming as well.
6. Program hopping
Some people just can't be consistent on one program long enough to actually get results from it. Everyone expects instant results, so they try one program for a couple of weeks, get bored or think it's not "working", and then go to the next one. They're always in search for the "best" workout routine. Well, that is definitely one way NOT to get results. See, there is no BEST workout routine. You just need to be consistent, work hard, and stick it out with a program for longer than a few weeks. And be patient-it can sometimes take months to make progress!

7. Not utilizing the concept of progressive overload.
To continue growing and changing, the body needs to be constantly challenged or it will adapt to what you're doing. You can't expect to get results when you're always using the same weights over and over again. As I mentioned above, each time you go in to the gym, you should be striving to improve in some way, whether it's adding weight, doing an extra rep or set, taking less rest, slowing down the movement, or using better form. Push yourself a little more each week in some way!
8. Focusing on weight over form.
Although progressive overload is the key to getting results in the gym, you never want to sacrifice form for the sake of adding more weight. You will get MUCH better results with good form than with sloppy form. Plus, getting injured is definitely going to set you back and hinder you from making forward progress. So push hard and challenge yourself, but always think LONG term-you want to be able to still be in the gym when you're 80!

9. Going through the motions.
Many people make the mistake of not focusing when they're lifting, or not putting the "mind in the muscle". When you lift, you shouldn't be just going through the motions, or just moving the weights around. You should be thinking about the muscles you're working; you should be focusing-focusing on your form, on your breathing, on bracing the abs, and creating full body tension. You can make any exercise harder just by doing those small things.

10. Just trying to "tone" instead of build.
This is mostly a problem women have-many of them still have such a fear of growing muscle, not realizing that to "tone", you actually DO have to BUILD muscle. You can't tone what isn't there! Muscle tone is simply the result of having a low body fat percentage and muscle mass. Trying to just "tone" your muscles but not grow them is going to get you nowhere-it's not possible. Women would get much better results if they went into the gym with the intention of BUILDING...and building muscle ain't no walk in the park! It is hard work and takes years and years of training and lifting heavy.

11. Training like a bodybuilder.
Too many people in the gym, especially men, are doing workouts they find in magazines from gassed up bodybuilders. The average person does NOT need to be training like that. Most people will be better off training each muscle group more frequently with a full body or upper/lower split, than doing a 5 or 6 day body part split.

12. Trying to "kill" yourself with your workouts.
The point of working out is to make you better, NOT to run you down. The goal of your workouts should not be to kill yourself, or to train to the point of utter exhaustion and fatigue. Yes, you should work hard and push yourself, but going to the point of puking or collapsing on the floor in a pool of sweat is absolutely NOT necessary.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Workout + WIAW

It's been a while since I've done a "What I Ate" & Workout Wednesday, so today I thought I'd share a good little upper body and glute workout I did this past Monday. 

It was fun to change things up a bit with some density training. Basically for density training, you pick 2-3 exercises, choose a weight that is about your 10 rep max, and perform sets of 5-6 repetitions. Then you try to simply get as many sets as possible within a certain time frame, anywhere from 10-20 minutes. 

Here's what I did:

10 minutes, as many sets as possible of: 

Bar dips x 5-6 (with 15 lbs added)
Seated cable rows x 6-8
9 rounds

10 minutes, as many sets as possible of:

Underhand grip pulldowns x 6-8
1 arm push press x6
8 rounds

5 minutes: 

Cable pull-throughs x15
Banded clams x10/leg
4 rounds 

5 minutes: 

Back extensions x15(with 25lbs added)
Farmer's walks x distance
4 rounds

What I ate:

Meal 1 8:30
3/4 cup oats, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 spoon of pb , coffee with Stevia and half & half
Meal 2 1:00
2 pieces sprouted wheat toast with Greek yogurt cream cheese and jelly, 2 fried eggs, 1 Trader Joe's sweet Italian chicken sausage, 1/4 cup blueberries
Meal 3 4:30-
3.5 oz buffalo shredded chicken, 1 handful nuts, 1/2 cup corn
Meal 4 7:30-
4 oz ground turkey with 2 spoons of salsa, 1 cup rice, 1 cup salad w/romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower and Light Italian dressing
Meal 5 10:30-Protein pudding with 1 scoop whey protein, 2 tbsp pb, 1 caramel rice cake
I'm preparing for a photoshoot that I have coming up in a week for MuscleTech, so calories are slightly normal than usual for a workout day. Don't worry, no crazy restriction or anything! I literally JUST found out about the shoot last week, so I've changed nothing with my eating until this week, and the only thing that's different is that I'll be doing carb cycling this week until the shoot on Thursday. I'll have a few days of moderate to lower carb, and then I'll start carbing up a few days pre-shoot. 

Wish me luck! I'm always nervous about doing things like this! 

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