As of lately

Here is an update as to what I have been doing lately!

Training: I decided that I need to focus more attention on my legs... especially my hammies and buns'o'steel so I've committed to doing legs twice a week. I've also continued to keep a pretty low level chest training status. I lift heavy and have been doing either pyramids or 4 sets of about 8-10 reps per exercise, I usually do no less than 4 exercises per muscle (except chest). Abs and cardio get thrown in randomly. Plyos are done often between sets.

Sun: Off

Monday: Quads, Calves

Tues: Back

Wed: Bis, Tris

Thurs: Hams, Glutes 

Fri: Shoulders, Chest

Sat: Off 

Nutrition: If you have followed my blogs at all, you know that I view nutrition as #1. However, I am not one of those people who stick to a few food groups, I don't count calories and I most certainly am not infallible. I love chocolate, and while 90% of the time I resist it, I do give in to dark chocolate occasionally. (Hey, it has anti-oxidants and flavonoids- right?!) I also love whipped cream. Actually, I could compose an entire blog about the sinful sweets that I love- so I'll spare you all. So here instead is a VERY general idea of how I eat daily. I have been phasing out somethings- like my breakfast oatmeal/carb. I thought I "needed it," but I feel great on just my protein shake and then I save the oatmeal for after my workout. Also, unless my belly is really grumbly, I haven't been eating after dinner.

Breakfast: Protein mocha made with unsweetened almond milk, myofusion chocolate protein, ice cubes and starbuck's instant coffee blended in my magic bullet. (This meal pretty much never changes unless I eat something with it before leg day.)

Post-Workout/Lunch: Carb of my desire + lean protein and veggies. 

Snack: Egg white scrambled with ham and avocado + low carb wrap.

Dinner: Meat and veggies, nuts.

Supps: Whey, creatine, glutamine, bcaas and sometimes pre-workouts (I've noticed that most of them make me queasy.)

Final Essay: 12 wk Military Challenge 2011

Why did I start this challenge? Because I knew that I would succeed. I put in the work and I got the job done through dedication and discipline. These are key principles that I learned through the military. Another is leadership. I hope that I have been a leader, or at least a motivator for others involved with this challenge. I strive every day to help my friends and family better themselves, at least health wise. Not only am I a Marine and a Marine’s wife, but I am a mother of two. I work to be the best role model to them daily and I hope that others recognize that my youngest is under a year old and I haven’t “let myself go.” Children are not a reason to not be fit. I hope to be chosen as the military spokes model to show that women can be strong and fit without looking like men and without being “bulky.” I want people to realize also that women make great Marines. I want mothers to know that they are in charge of their bodies. Aside from running my home in my husband’s military absence and mothering two children, I have time to devote to myself, the gym and to being a spokes model.

Nutrition: The hardest easy part. I make sound healthy choices 90% of the time. I try to eat well all week long and then “cheat” on the weekends. I have learned what my body likes. It doesn’t like when I count calories. When I try to dip low, it holds on. When I eat healthy food whenever I’m hungry, it lets go of the body fat. When I eat a lot on the weekends, it lets go even more. I’m going to be the non-starving girl walking on to stage having eaten Ihop pancakes the night before the competition. I have also learned how much my body loves water. When I miss my 3+ liters a day I get bloated. You will see me backstage not water depleted but bottle in hand. I have listened to my body and have found what it likes. It likes oatmeal and protein shakes. It does not like broccoli but loves green beans.

Supps: Myofusion... is my heaven. And Muscle Pharm Protein gel packs, yum. I also take creatine, glutamine and have used pre-workout formulas such as Jack3d and SuperPump. In pill form I take CLA, ZMA, fish oil, prenatal multi, folic acid, niacin, acai, green tea and cayenne.

Training: My philosophy is always lift heavy. I don’t care if you are a girl. You WILL NOT get big and bulky! Am I? No? Thank you. Lift heavy, do work. I don’t like that high rep, low weight BS. I did start following Jamie Eason’s 12 week LiveFit program… It’s pretty awesome! I highly recommend it. I started in Phase 2 and went through part of Phase 3.

Cardio: Hate it. Don’t really think it’s necessary unless you are focused on cardiovascular improvement (but studies have shown you can achieve this through lifting as well.) So I rarely did cardio until about 4 weeks out from the end of this challenge and I only did intervals.

All in all, eat healthy, lift heavy and enjoy the challenge. Post pictures and blogs to keep yourself accountable. Make small weekly goals that support your big goal and meet them one-by-one.

FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful.

Why/how I got started:

When I was deployed in Iraq for my first go around, I took the pictures for the Body-for-Life challenge and started working out, but never really followed through with the challenge. My first deployment was rough for me. I was lifting, for the first time, with guys from my unit. They told me to eat all this protein and to do this and to do that, and well, it didn’t really work. They didn’t understand my girl body and I sure didn’t understand the complexities of the human body either.

The second time that I deployed was a little better. I had spent many of the months in between deployments doing normal Marine work-ups and I did a lot of cardio and beach running. When I got to Iraq one of the ladies who I was working with had done figure competitions. This sparked a whole new curiosity. She started instructing another female Marine and me on how to eat and workout and how to pose figure-style. We were hooked. She introduced us to Oxygen magazine and BodySpace (I have been a member ever since!) We planned on doing a figure show when we returned to the US but that fell through once we were back.

After my second deployment I went from active duty to reserves. I began going to college for a degree in exercise science. Human biology was an awesome class. I began to learn the proper terms for all of the muscles and learned about energy systems. As I advanced into kinesiology and physiology I was an A+ student hanging on every word out of my instructors mouths’. When I went through nutrition class I began to understand how essential nutrition is above all other aspects. Why workout and kill yourself in the gym if you are not going to properly refuel or worse, fill your body with crap?

I took all of this newfound knowledge and entered a figure show. Sadly, I was too muscular-immature and did not place whatsoever. But that’s okay, the fire was there! So I entered a bikini show the next year and placed 1st! I aspired to do two more bikini shows after that one but found out that I was a few months pregnant. After the baby was born I was determined to take my body back. I had been in the best shape ever before him, worked out during pregnancy and got right back into just 2 weeks after he was born. I felt great! That was 8 months ago. Now 12 weeks after the start of this challenge, my husband said: Do a bikini show. So I am. Thank you military challenge for giving me focus to do what was necessary to get to this point that I am ready to walk on stage again.

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Week 9 - Cardio

I am FINALLY getting serious about cardio. Look how far I have come without doing hardly a lick of it? So you see how important nutrition is?!!! NUTRITION IS KEY, and it's not just eating so few calories that your body whittles away... NO, it's eating sound, healthy choices several times a day to stimulate- NOT STARVE your body. The only reason that I am adding cardio at this point is to help make a caloric deficit without dipping my calories too low. I love to eat. Eating less would be tragic! The idea of "dieting" makes me want to eat more. I guess it's a psychological game that I would have to play with myself. I do not want that, so therefore, I am adding just 30 mins of cardio 4 days a week. This cardio will consist of interval runs on the treadmill, more plyometrics and "random setting" on the elliptical/cross trainers so that my heart rate stays around 165 or so... oh and some uphill speed walking.

It's not that I hate cardio... okay it is. There is no doubt that cardio is good for the heart and lungs (and mind), but I don't think it is a good weight loss tool because our bodies can become so efficient that we need more and more and more cardio to see weight changes. Some people end up doing 45-60 mins every day, sometimes twice a day. Ridiculous.

And, back to nutrition, why spin your wheels if you are still going to fill your tank with junk (food)?

So there you have it, I have committed myself, at least for the next month to cardio 4 days a week 30 mins a day. I WILL accomplish this "mini" goal. 

And please visit my new health/wellness facebook page AJ's: Fit n Beautiful 

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Week 7 - brave the heat.

Hello internet fitness world!

I've returned home from my three week visit to my parents' house. This morning I took all of my measurements and I have not gained one pound, nor one inch since having been at their home. This is great! I caved into a few treats here and there... who can resist mom's goodies?

Luckily, my goal for this military challenge is not necessarily weight loss. As always, I am on a quest for fat loss, however, I am also striving to fill out my muscles some. I'd like to do a show next May and I would like to put on a little muscle so when I lean out I have something to show! So I have found that this is a dilemma that most women, and certainly some men, often face.

"How do I put on muscle while simultaneously losing fat?"

Is it possible? I think not... well, at least not simultaneously. Fat loss requires caloric deficit right? and muscle gain requires caloric excess? so how do you do both, simultaneously? I say it cannot be done.

So I do the best with what I've got and eat an all around healthy diet with a free day on Saturday and I make sure to fuel up properly after workouts and I lift heavy... as heavy as I can. This way, I'm at least not losing muscle! Maintenance is key during caloric deficit. Then, for a few weeks I eat more than usual, maybe 200-400 cals more a day of healthy choices and continue to lift heavy and hope for the positive with my muscle fibers? This continues... I alternate. So lets just count my 3 week visit to mom's my muscle building phase... which means that for the next 5 weeks it will be back to maintenance of muscle and fat loss. Why 5 weeks and not 3 again? Cuz my challenge ends in 5 weeks and we all want to look our best for the end of a challenge!

But now, I'm having trouble figuring out what my weekly goal will be. It's been hot in my Southern California coastal home... and if you know anything about most CA coastal homes, they don't always have AC. It's hard to find motivation to go get hot and sweaty in a gym when you don't have an AC'ed house to come home and relax in. I guess my goal is to find that motivation! It's funny that it's not motivation for going to the gym (I rarely need motivation to go to my sanctuary) but rather this is motivation to know that I have to return to the sweltering heat of 87 degrees in my house, lol. Maybe it'll just be a "go to the beach after workout" kinda week.

Anyways! Do what you love! Keep on keeping on. 

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Week 6 - Don't forget to blog! and eat ur veggies!

GAAHHHHH!!!! I missed week 5! But just cuz I forgot to blog doesn't mean I let everything else go out the window! I've been training hard and lifting heavy at a gym near my parents' home. Hitting body parts separately lately with plyo moves in between lifts... I love love love plyos! They are such a great way to get your heart rate up and work on your legs. Of course you can do plyos for other body parts but I focus on legs doing pile squat and reg squat jumps, high knees, jumping jacks, box jumps, plyo lunges. mmmm hmmmm feeling the heart race and getting the sweat out! That's where it's at!!!

My goal this week is to remember to blog. Blogging is important. It keeps you accountable for your actions and helps remind you about what you SHOULD be doing. Like drinking water! I need to up my intake again. And standing up straight- this is always essential.  

I also need to start consuming more and more and more veggies! I love veggies. There are so many creative ways to use them... Plus they are so filling... keeps you from eating junk!!!!

So join me, blog your goals and your accomplishments... even your failures! Let people know what you are doing. If you don't want the world to know, journal it for yourself... even just a quick note about your workout and your food for the day. Then sit back and reflect upon what you wrote. Are there emotions involved in what you are doing? Are you making IT happen? (whatever "it" is for you.) What can you do this week to help you get there?

And just like your mama said, "Eat your vegetables!!!" 

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Week 1 Weekend

That's right, it's the weekend. Aside from constantly going to the bathroom, I am surviving. I think my body is finally getting used to the extra water. I feel more energized and less hungry too. Plus, I am in no way bloated. Actually, it's quite the opposite, I'm feeling much leaner today than a few days ago and I'm down a pound. MMM the benefits of cold tasty water.

On a training note, I did a beach run pushing my baby in the jogging stroller tonight. It was about 45 mins long... not sure on the mileage probably about 4. If you have access to a kid and a jogging stroller and some sand (not ridiculous amounts of sand cuz you'll just get stuck) I highly suggest doing this. It adds a whole new aspect to a boring steady state run. SS? nay says I.

Don't forget the TP.

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Week 1

Started the Military 12 week challenge today. Wish I had a newspaper cuz I gotta take my pics!

My goal during this first week is to drink more water. If I could get a gallon, great! but the goal is no less than half a gallon a day. 

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back stage eats

what do you eat before going on stage at a competition? I hear that some people eat candy bars, others honey and pb. One person said pb, chocolate protein and coffee mixed into a goo paste. Just wondering what others do. my third post today trying to keep myself occupied.

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Competition mind games

I'm totally stressing! This competition thing has consumed my every last thought and tomorrow is the day. I feel so NOT ready. My tan looks splotchy and I don't feel tight and lean at all. Ugh, I hate all this negativity. I pride myself on being optimistic and confident and positive but today I feel like crappola. I'm totally bummed... but I'm getting up there tomorrow. Weigh ins are tonight and I haven't had water since 1 pm yesterday. How do I turn this frown upside down? all i want to do is chow down on some sweets (isn't that horrible!!!!)

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PB Addict

Sometimes I worry that I'm addicted to peanut butter and almonds. If I don't have my boyfriend monitor my consumption... I worry that I could eat a whole jar or bag! I guess that's where self discipline comes in.... but the stuff is so darn good!!!! Does anyone else feel like this?

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With all this food, and fullness, I'm eating too few calories... without the shake this is about 1200 calories. 45p/20c/33f meal 1 1/2 c oat meal 3/4 c egg whites meal 2 1/2 packet tuna 1 wasa cracker 1 c green beans meal 3 4 oz steak 1 c broccoli meal 4 1/2 packet tuna 1 c asparagus meal 5 4 oz salmon/tilapia 1 c spinach meal 6 shake 1 Tbsp natural PB

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sweet egg pancake w/o the carbs

I made a pancake this morning using my required 1/3 cup oatmeal, and 4 egg whites. Well, it was so darn good that when I got home, for dinner I made that same pancake minus the oatmeal, since I'm not supposed to have a lot of carbs at night. I mixed 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into it. Oh and a TBSP of natural PB. I was amazed at how fluffy and full it came out... not to forget how delicious it is! i put strawberry preserves on it for my boys and they loved it too!

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Men like fitness classes too!

I was reading a man's contest preparation page when i stumbled across: "In my experience I found that group fitness provided the best results (classes like step aerobics, studio cycling, “kickboxing”, etc.) for losing bodyfat. " I love hearing a MAN say he prefers fitness classes... especially a competitor writing a guide to competition. (I love free advice even more). We have guys come into class but they are usually older men who seem comfortable in their skin. (Some) Young boys just don't know the beauty of choerographed exercise! Have a great Tuesday everyone.

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my family loves sushi. we can't leave a sushi restaurant without spending at least $70. My 3 and 5 year olds can even use their own chopsticks. well, i've been on the cutting diet for the past week. after a long afternoon on the beach, we went to a local place that always gives you a fancy roll on the house. I ordered edamame and sashimi to be safe. the rolls started... well, rolling out and they smelled so good. then the deliciously sweet chicken teriyaki. it was torture. and to end it all the kids got green tea icecream, my favorite! luckily, i stayed true to my diet. it sure was hard, especially when my three year old started stealing my salmon sashimi!

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I was feeling so lean! ... but then, I uped my water intake, drastically. Now I just feel bloated and fat. How many days does it take to push through a water log like this? I also started eating less carbs, more protein and veggies. I've been a good girl on the leaning out diet but like I said, I feel stuffed and fat! does everyone feel this way? And when will it go away! I don't think my belly is aching from the abs I did this morning but from going pee so darn much! How have other people felt during these dieting times? Competition is in 10 weeks, any advice given is welcome!!! PLEASE!!!!!

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