Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yes, Im alive!

So has it been an entire month since I've posted on my blog? Yeah. I've been in the mood to share a lot of thoughts and information about competing, dieting, and training, but have just been using other social media to do so. I don't know if I'll even continue writing this blog because I feel that blogging is sort of obsolete at this moment. Why write a blog when I could post an instagram and tag lots of things so that hundreds of people can see my tip/picture/thought INSTANTLY?
Also, I strive to share USEFUL and NEW information on this blog. At this point, there are so many well educated and dedicated people in the fitness industry publishing material on blogs or websites, that I feel like blogging is merely re-phrasing or translating into different terminology.
Competing takes a massive toll on the mind, and I was just really not able to wrap my head around giving any type of advice that wasn't competition related. To be honest, all I wanted to keep in my mind were semi dysfunctional thoughts to keep me on track with contest prep (ie: all veggies other than asparagus and green beans are evil, peanut butter will indeed kill me, must stay under x amount of calories and do x amount of cardio, etc.) Those are not thoughts that anyone who is NOT competing should ever think about. All vegetables deserve love and attention, peanut butter was indeed created to be eaten, most people should NOT worry about calories, and lifting and metabolic training trumps traditional cardio any day.
Since I am officially done competing for 2012, and don't have a specific date picked for my next show, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have no desire to binge on junk food like I wanted to after my last show (knowing I'd have to resume my competition death diet in a few days), I "snacked" last night and it was so WEIRD!! Fun, but I can see why I used to have such a hard time with my weight. I measured everything I snacked on (I'm still a nut job haha,) and wow, tablespoons of vegan chocolate chips, peanut butter, rice cakes, reduced fat banana chips, low sugar raspberry jam, and organic no salt pretzels add UP!!!! I strategically did snacking after a MAJOR back workout and sprint stepmill intervals AND an entirely clean day and post-workout meal...but wow major calories. I welcomed them :)
So I really am not positive if I will be blogging regularly now. I do get the itch to post, but not always the time or ability to collect my thoughts to do so.
Follow me on twitter @lizbrody and instagram @lizbrody for updates and tips, or just to stalk me like some people secretly like to :) I still have my passion for this fit lifestyle, and will continue busting my ass until I get where I want to be. Hows THAT for motivation ;)
-Liz

Here's pics from my second show. 









Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BEAST MODE IS BACK!

I don't think there's any need to say this but.....I ate a lot after my show. Well deserved. Ate whatever and didn't think about a calorie at all. Made myself SICK from eating so much LOL. But I did that with the full intent of juicing up and getting ready to have some solid training sessions.
Training with CARBS in my body has been AMAZING. Still doing cardio in the morning on an empty (but not THAT empty) stomach, and lifting later in the day. I'm tapering my carbs and calories each day, because I DO have a show in 3 weeks! My workouts have been INSANE, and I feel strong and energized in the gym. It's a feeling I didn't realize had been missing for so long! I trained legs today, it was my first leg day since my show. Last Tuesday, I almost cried trying to deadlift 95 pounds. I was so fatigued, had to take looong rests between sets , and my legs were shaking during squats and lunges.
Today, I warmed up by skipping steps on the stair monster for 5 minutes (level 8) to really activate that glute/ham area. Then, I was in all my squat rack glory!! Did Deads with everything from 45 to 135 pounds! In total, I did over 10 sets of deadlifts. Supersetted them with step-ups holding 20lb dumbbells and hanging leg raises. I was ON FIRE!! Felt SO good to feel the burn in my glutes with the energy to keep going. Did ALL of my favorite leg exercises, and didn't want to end my workout! 
KABOCHA, egg whites, cinnamon, nutmeg
Post-workout food: eggwhites and KABOCHA squash with cinnamon and nutemeg. lots of it. I'd been DYING to try kabocha for MONTHS, and finally got one yesterday, and ate it post-workout yesterday AND today. For those who are curious, it's a "Japanese Pumpkin" and is more or less just like any other winter squash variety. Higher in carbohydrates per serving than summer squash like zucchini. I am going to also make sure i do some running this week, since I haven't run in what feels like AGES because I had NO energy or patience for it towards the end of prep, and won't be in the mood to do it once I start depleting again for my next show.
Another essential boost for my workouts: LO CARB MONSTER. I swear the stuff is magic. This time around, I am NOT cutting it out until the week of my show. I see no need to live without it for so long when my diet and training is SO intensive and strict. I have been training like a beast, and am definitely not gaining much weight because of my intense training. I go back to crazy depletion monster next week, to make sure that I look fucking insane for my show on November 3rd. I know what it takes now, and what my body responds to, so I'm going EVEN harder than I did before, because I KNOW how to do it RIGHT! 
People who are NOT desperately trying to lean out or competing: CARBS are POWERFUL when utilized properly for your training. Strength and performance are greatly impacted by your nutrition, so please do not rob yourself of the benefits of carbs. Try some kabocha squash post-workout too :) 
It feels so good to be back!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I COMPETED !!!!

FINALLY, I GET TO WRITE ABOUT MY SHOW!!!! First of all, let me say that I am THRILLED that I fit into my suit, looked my best, and got on stage at a National Qualifier NPC show. I had SO much fun, and cannot wait to get back on stage on November 3rd. I put so much hard work into the show, so it was so rewarding to finally get on stage. I could NOT stop smiling during my posing and entire time standing on stage. There were only 2 classes at my show-Bikini A and Bikini B. I JUST made the shorty cutoff for the 5'3 and under. There were like 17 girls in my class---and only 5 PLACES?! When I got backstage, I was absolutely shocked and impressed by how amazing every competitor looked. Lean, gorgeous suits, hair, and tans all around. Very professional, tough competition. My goal was NEVER to compete for the purpose of winning a trophy worth $3. That is the WRONG mindset to have.I felt absolutely proud and content with the physique I presented to the judges, and I know what I want to work on to look better. For my next show, I want to come in HARDER, just a tad bit leaner. TIGHT. I felt a little bit flat because I barely ate the day before, and didnt drink or eat ANYTHING before pre-judging. No shocker that I felt a bit depleted. Through trial and error, I'll figure out what works best for me on show day. A few rice cakes might have been good for me. 
night show taken by VAL!!
We lined up for pre-judging, and one of the show directors instructed us how to do our model poses and transitions so that the photographer could get good photos of every competitor. I was FREEZING and SHAKING all morning---must have been nerves, because I was FINE the rest of the day! After I walked out for pre-judging, I waited for my number to be called. I didn't get first call outs. I was definitely expecting to be in the second callouts, but nope. I was in the last group, but I owned it, smiled at the judges, and did everything in my power to WORK IT!!! I didn't live on the elliptical and eat asparagus for the last 2 weeks to be upset with my CALLOUTS. From the beginning, I told myself to have NO expectations---not about first or last place. I did my best. I can TRULY say i hit my mark. I didnt' work with ANYONE. I am NOT part of a team (the team that SPONSORED the show.....no comment.) I am LIZ BRODY, trained by LIZ BRODY, diet monitored by LIZ BRODY, hair and makeup done by...LIZ BRODY. 

amazing mom after she did my final morning tan
But. I could NOT have gotten myself to the stage without SOME help. Support first and foremost comes from my mother. My mom is my biggest fan AND supporter. She puts up with my anal dieting and schedule, doesn't ask me to eat anything other than my veggies and protein, encourages me to do WHATEVER possible to be happy and accomplish my own goals. I couldn't do it without her.
TINA , my fit green goddess is like my fitness mom. She was a HUGE inspiration to me from the MOMENT i got hooked on working out, and is STILL a huge part of my fitness life. She has 2 children, works like a madwoman, and walks around in stage condition ALL YEAR--and doesn't compete! She truly walks the walk, and that is where I GOT IT FROM! You want to train people and tell them how to live healthily? You better do the same thing. She came over on a Friday night the night before the show, and tanned my naked body!! LMAO talk about love. AND she did a perfect job. On the morning of my show, she was texting me helpful tips to stay calm backstage, and dying for up to the minute info since she had to deal with CLIENTS and couldn't be there.
KELVIN: throughout my training, kelvin sent me all sorts of exercise tips to spice up my training and change my body. He sent me demo videos to show correct execution also. Not to mention, he is a good male cheerleader and motivator! Towards the end of my prep, I began training with him. He was responsible for getting my carb depleted body through my very LAST workout on thursday afternoon before show weekend. Major thanks to him for keeping the last and toughest weeks of prep intense and interesting.
TANNING TOUCH UPS!!! True friend there.
VAL: My girl val was my GO-TO for all things prep related. I texted her all the time since there are some things that NOBODY cares about, unless you've competed. Val did figure a while ago , and was totally with me in digital presence throughout my prep. We even trained with kelvin together! She also came ALL THE WAY to my show from manhattan. Like a 2hour commute on a Saturday--ONE WAY. She scheduled her entire weekend around being there to support me at my show. At night, she took my mom's backstage pass and helped to touch up my tan and hang out until I went on stage. She also took AWESOME pics when I was on stage. It felt great to hear her cheering my name when I was posing at finals. There is a bond that competitors share, regardless of how close friends you are, or how long you've known one another. There are just some things ONLY a competitor would understand or appreciate. So when Branch Warren came on to do guest posing at the evening show, Val and I were loving it! She also brought me the PERFECT post show snack AND gave me a shirt...like seriously?! Talk about amazing support and generosity. I WISH she'd compete again so that I could do the same for her.
All of my followers and online support: Your comments and tweets and likes keep me inspired and motivated to keep doing what I love. I know that regardless of if I place first or last,that you will all still follow me and encourage me to keep pushing towards my goals, and you guys give me the ability to remain 100% confident in the path I've chosen to follow. I know this lifestyle is for me. When I hear that my blog has helped anyone, or that my instagram photos motivate people to work out, I KNOW that my purpose is solidified.
After the show, I really wanted to stay to watch the men's bodybuilding routines, but being up since 5am...i was exhausted!!! And not to mention, ready to drink and eat.
Post-show food on the LONG ride home: fig bars that val brought me. They're like fig newtons but made from wheat bran.  SO GOOD. And I bought organic dark chocolate raisins. The bag was enough for 6 servings. Aka 1. Val took a very small handful. I came home to cupcakes made for me by my sister! And my dad spelled out my nickname "Goose" in M+Ms!!! I ate the gummy bears off the tops and had some m8ms too. All at like 11:30pm...not a good idea. Before I started dieting for my show, I never ever ate candy anyway, so my tummy didn't like all of the junk. Its noon on sunday, I'm laying on the couch NAUSEOUS and haven't eaten yet today. I didn't even think I ate that much, considering how starved I was.
Here are the photos I have so far. I will be updating more once muscular development and rx muscle update the gallery! Excited to do more competition recap and blogging!!! 







Saturday, October 6, 2012

1 week left.

Next Saturday, October 13th. I'll be stepping on stage for the FIRST time as an NPC Bikini competitor. My show is a National Qualifier, so I'm expecting to share the stage with some amazing physiques. Like I've said before, I don't want to compete to win. I haven't put myself through all of these grueling workouts and bowls of green beans to get a $3 trophy. I am incredibly self-competitive, and am constantly setting goals for myself, only to conquer and progress. I made the absolute decision to compete back in May, initially committing to the NPC Eastern USA's on November 3rd. In June, I started thinking about it, and also decided to do this show on October 13th to get my feet wet. From that point on, my shows were on my mind. For the past month or so, my mind has been entirely consumed with my training and diet, and my dedication to presenting the best physique I can on stage.

This morning, I did my usual self-examination, and got a bit emotional, honestly. I might not look like Nathalia Melo, but in my opinion, I look DAMN good. I don't care that I carry too much muscle for the bikini division, or that my glutes still have a long way to go. It takes years to sculpt perfection, or anything close to that. The most important thing to me is the way I've been able to make HUGE CHANGES to my physique in the past 2-3 months. Not to mention, I did it WITHOUT starving, WITHOUT hours of cardio, WITHOUT fat burners. I've done this on my own, training how I WANT TO, doing enough cardio to get results without driving me crazy--until the past week..lol.

So, what changed at the very end? At 14 days out, I started getting in 45-50 minutes of cardio every morning at 7am, switched out green beans in favor of asparagus, and cut my broccoli by 1/2. I went to the gym every afternoon for either a weight training/circuit workout OR more cardio. I cut all artificial sweeteners from my diet--no more flavored seltzer water or protein powders or diet sodas or LO-CARB MONSTER.. 
I started taking 1teaspoon each of fish oil, flax oil, and evening primrose oil to help my dry skin and eczema--it was a GOOD choice. Keep those healthy omega fats in your diet and DO NOT cut them. cut something else, if you're prepping for a show or just trying to lose weight. After my show I'll increase to 2 teaspoons of each. Maybe a TABLESPOON..who knows.
Now, it's my final week. I am NOT doing any crazy depletion/salt reduction/water depletion. My diet is going to remain the same, except I'll be eating only asparagus as a veggie source. And less of it. A few days before the show, I'll eat pure pumpkin instead of oat bran, and lower my veggie intake. I'm still thinking about what I'm going to eat the day before the show to make sure I don't bloat, but don't look entirely flat. I will NOT be carb-loading. I'm not lean enough for that to really make a difference, and could potentially work AGAINST me. I figure that if I look pretty good now, If I keep up my cardio and fairly low carb intake, I'll be right where I need to be in a week. Personally, I'd rather look skinny than fluffy on stage.

No pictures until stage day. 
Can anyone guess what color my suit is?! 
I can't wait to update after my show!!! Follow me on twitter @lizbrody or on instagram: Lizbrody , to get up to date info and commentary :-) 

It's peak week and I'm ready to KILL IT! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Prioritizing. Do You?

Do you ever feel like your mind is scattered in 124015 places, there are lots of things you want to accomplish, but just don't know where to start? It happens to everyone at some point--DEFINITELY to me. When trying to change something about your lifestyle, or when you HAVE to change something about your routine, you MIGHT have to do some soul searching and be uncomfortable for a while. The key is to not be LOST forever. When you allow yourself to become overwhelmed by lofty goals, a packed schedule, deadlines, etc--it is nearly impossible to excel in any part of your life without losing sleep and going moderately insane.

Hear me out: I see "prioritizing" as a self to-do list. THINK about what is most important to you, as well as what is most crucial for stability. For example: you want to train for a figure competition, but you have just been assigned more shifts at work, and are taking some type of classes/school. While your heart might want to drop the classes and extra shifts to fit in more training and time for yourself, that might not be the most realistic option. In this instance, don't forget about any "friends" and family you might have that are KINDA a priority as well. Personally, that's what I choose to put at the bottom of my list--not the family really, but the whole social thing. Going out late, being exhausted at work and during your workouts, getting backed up on academics. Family will always understand, and if you live with family...I'm sure they see enough of you anyhow. Good friends should understand your crazy schedule too, but based on personal experience--most people aren't worth it. There are always, ALWAYS exceptions. Anyway, back to the priorities: WRITE down a daily routine, from the hour you wake up to the hour you are ready to go to bed. Chances are, out of the 7 days of the week, there is time for everything--even those friends some people insist on keeping around.

Allow yourself to BREATHE, and be somewhat flexible with your schedule. Your time and sanity is MOST important. Be selfish, but not close minded. Write down tasks that are non-negotiable (work, school, sleeping enough) THEN write down what YOU believe is non-negotiable (for me, workouts and down time to cook and such would go here). After doing this, consider where time-relative deadlines fall in, and schedule your personal non-negotiables around these. If you have a test on a Friday, then have to work for 6 hours--it might be wise to schedule a rest day, instead of stressing about  squeezing in a workout. Sometimes its actually better to have a lot on your plate when desperately trying to change your physique, because you don't have time to mess up or obsess!

Now, this is MY blog. So I'll admit how I view my priorities, and what gets the most effort from me:
1. Training for my show (and my health, otherwise) 
*time sensitive: NASM personal trainer exam in a week that I have to study for. This comes before school work, for this week*
2. Working
3. School (this gets as LITTLE effort as I can manage)
4. Family (I live with them, see them all the time, am very close with them...doesn't really require any effort)

The only person I need to prove anything to or impress is myself. If kids in my classes think I'm stupid, or professors think I don't care about my education, I don't give a FUCK! Yeah, I know it's not typical for a "fitness blogger" to say fuck. Hence why I am your resident blogger dashboard badass. School is way tougher this semester, even though I only take 2 classes and one is advanced poetry, but that doesn't mean I'm stressing over it.

I live for myself. I'm fortunate enough to have parents that ALLOW me to do just that. They won't let me drop out of school, but they support everything else I do, and my choice to not attend college full time to let me do some LIVING and be SANE. 

Dont get it twisted. If you have bills to pay or pressure from parents, you can't quit your job. you can't drop out of school to pursue fitness modeling. as I mentioned earlier...these things are concretely non-negotiable. Just things that stand in the way of us REALLY living life to the fullest. If you have some BEST friends that you are obsessed with (I hope you're like incredibly young if you feel this way,) you might have to put off workouts to have movie night or club night with your friends.

Anyhow. These were my thoughts during my 7am cardio session this morning that have now become a blog. Training hams and glutes later. Here's a snapshot of me training at BODYSPACE fitness in NYC with Kelvin Gary 

Aaaand here's a pic I took yesterday. SHOW IS SO CLOSE 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

2 weeks out: AU NATURALE

The title of this post is a hint at what I'm changing about my diet for the last 2 weeks of prep before my first show! I've made the decision to cut out my beloved monster until i step off stage. Don't get me wrong, I will .. repeat WILL drink one AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after my show. I'm removing everything artificial from my diet to make sure there is NOTHING standing in the way of looking MY best on stage. Since I pretty much eat 100% natural otherwise, monster, flavored seltzer water, and sugarfree gum are the only vices I have. Oh, and my all-natural protein powder, but that has some shit in it. So I'm bidding good bye to it. I will chew gum to help hunger until a couple of days before the show. Sorry in advance for anything I might say/tweet/do in this process.....*mom*

I'm ALSO cutting out these artificial things in hopes that it will help my eczema to heal. Yes, I have a slight eczema problem, which I've done ENDLESS research about, seen dermos, been prescribed corticosteroid creams that i REFUSE to poison myself with. Lots of things contribute to flare-ups, but my issue is that it is on the right side of my FACE! It recently got SO bad because I cut my fish oil OUT of my diet because of the fat content. Okay, that wasn't smart, in hindsight. Removing omega 3 fatty acids from my diet caused everything to DRY out...making me realize that YES, it is true---fish oil works wonders. Not only did I reintroduce fish oil, I introduced flax oil, evening primrose oil, and biotin. Taking those EVERY DAY. only a teaspoon of each has definitely helped in just a couple of days! After my show, I will obviously increase the dosage without worrying about the fats I'm adding.
Here's a supplement plug: TAKE FISH OIL, PLEASE!!!! In the oil form if you can--I use Carlson's fish oil, in lemon or orange flavor. They actually taste good, and no "fish burp" after effect...yikes. Flax oil is another source of omegas. Evening primrose is specifically for help with skin repair! Biotin helps skin, hair, and nails, and is a capsule.

Anyway. 2 weeks, and my stage bikini is still digging in my hips, and I REFUSE to have a rhinestone muffin top on stage. So, I'm making a little alteration to my diet and cardio, just reducing my carbs by a little, eating asparagus and egg whites and chicken. Green beans after a workout. Also thinking about cutting oat bran and replacing it with canned pumpkin, for both carb reasons AND eczema. Grains might contribute to certain skin conditions, so going completely hypo-allergenic could definitely help! 

I will continue to do high intensity cardio, not chilling on the elliptical for 2 hours a day with no resistance. I do use the elliptical certain days, because it is no impact and enables me to get my sweat on and burn the extra calories. For the last 10 weeks, I've been focusing on making sure I get visibly LEANER, steadily. Now, I know I have to drop inches and pounds to look tight on stage in my suit. I'm ready, and I WILL be unstoppable for the next 2 weeks. I WILL go to sleep earlier to wake up early for cardio. I will not eat anything extra, besides what is ON my plan. 

No, I am NOT doing this for you. Not for NPC judges. This is for ME. I want to be PROUD the minute I wake up on show day with the package I am bringing. I am my own competition. There might be amazing, cut, lean, beautiful girls on stage competing against me. But after the show, I might not see them ever again. I don't CARE about them, or if they place better than me. It's about ME! My goal was not to be  115 pounds or 10% bodyfat or  to have 34 inch hips. My goal from the start was to look my best on stage. To be well conditioned and tight. Not to look starved and dieted and cardio-ed down. To look perfect in my suit. For the past months, I've been visualizing myself posing on stage, smiling, and confident with my physique. I know the feeling I need to have in order to get my abs looking flat and waist tiny on stage. I should feel depleted and emptied out, running on adrenaline from being on stage. I just lit a major fire under my own ass to hustle and kill it for the next 2 weeks so that I know I gave 100% effort. I want to be proud of the pictures that go up on the internet so that I can plaster them on every post and tweet I write. 

With all of this said, I'm off to do my Saturday workout. Tomorrow is my LAST rest day until the Friday before my show. Thats a LOT of gym time to make the most of. And believe me, i WILL make the most of every single gym session to look contest ready. 

OH, its national coffee day. DRINK UP!!!!! Enjoy some lo-carb monster for me too....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TURN UP TUESDAY:

Alright. This is nothing but a workout post. I had a SICKENING leg workout today, and SMASHED my deadlift goal: 155 pounds. Got 3 reps without straps, then 5 reps WITH straps. I was SO thrilled, and continued to deadlift as heavy as possible after hitting the mark.

Here you go: (Always foam roll/stretch/warm up!)

warm up: 5 minutes on the stair monster, level 70-- skip steps

Find a barbell and a box. I lift the barbell from the ground, using 25 pound plates for full range of motion. Plus, I'm only 5'3.

Warm-up for deads:
stiff legged deads 45lbs/15 reps
deads 95 pounds 12 reps x 2
deads 145 pounds 10 reps
GO TIME: deads 155 pounds 3 reps
add straps: deads 155 pounds 5 reps
reduce: 145lbs 8 reps
115 lbs 10 reps *ss* 15 narrow box squats
115 lbs 8 reps   *ss* 15 narrow box squats
115 lbs 6 reps  *ss 15 narrow box squats*
115 lbs 4 reps *ss* 15 wide box squats
115 lbs 2 reps *ss* 15 wide box squats
95 lbs 10 reps *ss* 15 wide box squats
95 lbs 8 reps *ss* 20 reverse lunges
95 lbs 6 reps *ss* 20 reverse lunges
95 lbs 4 reps *ss* 20 reverse lunges

De-load bar, finish with stiff deads 45lbs/15 reps

Good mornings SS ATG squats 30lb barbell 3x12

Stair monster 5 minutes level 70 skip steps

circuit: 3x15
reverse hyperextensions feet turned out (glute focus)
Wide plie kettlebell squat 40lb kbell
calf raises parallel/turned out

leg press circuit:
feet wide and high 4x10
feet narrow and high 4x10
calf raises 4x20

Final superset: 4x15
hyperextensions (no weight/10lbs/25lbs/10lbs)
elevated butt plank
hip bridges

SMOKED. walk on the treadmill 5 minutes 3.0mph 8%incline to finish

Talk about SICKENING leg workout. Took close to 90 minutes. Minimal resting, just time to deload and reload plates onto the barbell.

Amazing what a day of feasting on carbs can do for your workout the next day.
Try this out if you're brave!! For deadlifts, figure 155lbs is about 1.25x my current bodyweight. Multiply your weight by 1.25 to see what that would equal for you.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Closer and Closer.

I am SO close to my first show.  I've been reflecting a lot about how I've taken myself through this journey, with no help. No, not NO help.

I haven't paid anyone to help me. The internet is the world's most fucking amazing resource people. Blogs, scientific articles, fitness pro's facebook pages, twitter, etc--are all available to everyone at NO cost. It takes a certain person to read through the bullshit to find the gems--be that person. Read for pleasure, but with intention. Find bloggers or fitness professionals that are currently doing what you aspire to do. Follow them, subscribe to their updates. LEARN from them.

Wanna have the physique of a competitor? Well, don't you think it's a good idea to find out what the pros do to look that way on stage? It's not stalking, it's LEARNING. WATCH Erin Stern and Nicole Wilkins cheesy little Q+A videos, you might learn something new! You have to be 100% invested in yourself if you want to make any type of transformation, so soak up all of the information available to you, and APPLY some of it. Whether you want to drop 10 pounds, gain 10 pounds, get shredded and become an IFBB pro--you need to do the hard work. Paying someone for a plan isn't going to get you there. If you commit yourself to that plan 110% percent, then yes--YOU will get somewhere.

That is exactly the reason I chose to train and prep myself. I am NOT a team player, and I don't really like being told what to do. I have the self-control to plaster myself to the stairmaster if I slip off my diet. I cried in pain during my prep from pushing myself so hard. No coach was pressuring me, I have such a strong laser focus that I am able to push myself beyond my limits. Sometimes, that's not such a good thing (avoiding tears during prep is a good thing...not a bad thing.) By taking myself through this process, I've also learned a lot about what I WANT for myself after my shows are over. I don't want to gorge on food and go into a forever "off season." This is a new way of life for me. I've become incredibly disciplined during these past couple of months, and have come to understand the notable difference between a real tablespoon and a hungry tablespoon. I look forward to staying lean after my shows, and slowly taking off some muscle and overall size (yes, I've decided I'd like to be a little smaller) and continuing to sculpt my backside. Being smaller is more appealing to me--perhaps since I've been "big" for so LONG! Also, I do see myself competing in the bikini division for a while, so I will continue to bring my shape closer to the bikini "mold." 

I've also learned to appreciate the energy that calories give me for my workouts. After my shows are done, I will NOT bring my calorie intake up by 500 calories immediately and stop doing cardio. I want to slowly up my daily calories, while revving my metabolism by performing explosive cardio and hard weight workouts. I've learned that eating between 3-4,000 calories primarily from carbs on the same day as a full body scorcher does not put ANY weight on me if I stick to my diet ALL week, and only do that ONE day. I will continue to do that after my shows, and will definitely be enjoying lots of fall foods....AHEM, PUMPKIN.

I've learned that I can complete intense workouts WITHOUT insane amounts of "fuel" in my body. Um, bodyfat is a pretty good source of fuel, in case you weren't aware. By keeping a steady flow of carbohydrates, and staying really full by eating a veggie feast each night, I've stayed content on my contest diet. Cravings are unleashed on my one day a week to eat super carbs...but I do NOT crave real junk, simply because I didn't really grow up eating any real junk, and its never in my house! Except the occasional leftover birthday cake or home made cookies. I have a pretty clean palate--it craves oatmeal, and boring stuff like that.

I really do LOVE working out, pushing myself, and proving that it IS possible to do it on your own. I understand that many don't know where to start, and that's why I write this blog. Start here. Sort through my posts, understand what I've done to get myself here. Understand the long journey behind this physique that is currently less than 3 weeks away from a National Qualifier NPC bikini show.


So yes, I'm extremely proud of how far I've come. But I am not done. I never will be. Always strive to be the best version of yourself.

Love, 
Liz

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Get OUT of your GYM!

With 3 weeks left until my first NPC bikini show, its safe to say I've seen a lot of the gym. Oh, and it doesn't help that i WORK at the gym that i WORKOUT at. I absolutely love my gym, hold it very close to my heart. But sometimes, a change of scenery is REALLY what I need. Since school is back in session, I can't hit up the school track anymore because the kids use it during the week. I don't run on the streets, I'm not a roadrunner. So, I've been an absolute gym rat.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to train with Kelvin Gary at his brand new facility in Manhattan:
Bodyspace Fitness .

First, allow me to rave about the fact that my friend Val and I had the entire gym to ourselves! Kelvin trained us together, and there were no other clients in the gym. Talk about private training! The gym is outfitted with turf, (pretty sure the only turf spot on 14th street...) kettlebells, dumbbells, cables, racks, ropes, a SLED, stationary bikes, treadmills, and LOTS of fun toys.

Kelvin set up some circuits to challenge us involving pretty much every toy possible. Sandbags, kettlebells, sled, dynamax balls, TRX, ropes--you get the idea. I loved the set up, and I was able to use things I'd NEVER worked with before, but have always wanted to.

I know--Personal training can get expensive, but even if you're a seasoned athlete or think you know everything about fitness--you don't. Personal training is NOT only for beginners!! I believe that I am NEVER done learning. I will never know ENOUGH about fitness. Another set of eyes on you is a plus, because you might benefit from a little correction! I learned how to make my kettlebell swings more effective for the hips and glutes, rather than being a knee-driven motion like I had previously been favoring.
Another major benefit of working with Kelvin (or a GOOD trainer): he mindfully planned a workout for me and Val to complete, with timed intervals of rest and work, which kept the workout organized and effective. He also structured the circuits like I do for my own workouts, ensuring that you can keep moving from one exercise to the next without a certain group of muscles being too taxed. Example: first exercise shoulder/back dominant, next exercise leg dominate, next exercise arm/core dominant, next exercise speed/agility focus..etc. Keeps you moving without being to fatigued to complete a number of exercises back to back---maximizing effectivity and calorie burn. That, people...is what I like to call smart training.
Don't try doing a circuit of back squats, lunges, deadlifts, and box jumps. By the second round you might hurt yourself.
Another plus about working with a trainer: They make up the workout for you! Kelvin was creative, and was able to direct Val and I so we didn't really have to THINK at all. JUST WORK OUT.

Reasons BODYSPACE is worth a visit:
--Kelvin (and his trainers) are seriously awesome, and know their stuff. They care about fitness.
--You will leave your comfort zone. If not willingly, you will be pushed.
--Access to some seriously valuable training equipment that might not be available in your gym. Battle ropes and the sled are tools I'd KILL to have regular access to. Let me say---battle ropes are a bitch. Legs hurt but you wanna spike your heart rate? Back away from the elliptical, go find some ropes. Don't stop for 30 seconds.
--You don't have to fear the crazy gym goer or people dropping weights near your feet
--Even if you're a gym snob, it never hurts to have another set of eyes watching you while you perform exercises. Especially for less seasoned athletes, small corrections can change the way an exercise targets a certain bodypart, and save you from injury or unnecessary strains.
--SO. MANY. TOYS!!!!
One thing you can be sure of: I WILL be going back there to train, and maybe shoot some videos with my girl Val.

THANK YOU KELVIN!! MORE TO COME.

Dear New York boutique fitness connoisseurs: If you pay upwards of $30 to take a packed class, it might be a good idea for you to miss a class and head over to BODYSPACE for a different approach. They do offer small group classes, but some one on one attention might be just what you need to tap into your inner fitness fiend and wake up those muscles. Yes, I'm quietly insulting boutique-y clique-y pilates/barre/lululemon only studios (too many exist.) Pulsing your foot behind you for 43 minutes before hitting a plank or two and curling 3 pound weights will NOT sculpt the body you've always wanted. Nor burn the calories from your skinny vanilla latte. Go see Kelvin and say Liz sent you to build some muscle.

On that note....GO TRAIN!!! GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CARBS ARE ENERGY!!!

It makes me sick to think of the number of people out there who blame CARBS for their own inability to lose weight. I'm not in the mood to write an informative post about the difference between rice crispies and brown rice cakes, but I will take a moment to explain how helpful carbs can be for increases in strength and power.

When trying to lean out, drop body fat, lose weight--whatever you call it, a lot of people tend to lower their starchy carbs. By "starchy," I am referring to grains, high glycemic fruits, potatoes, etc. I follow this protocol for contest prep. I eat 1 serving of "starchy" carbs (oat bran) for breakfast, and only have another form (rice cakes) post-workout. On non-weight training days, I have oat bran for breakfast, and rely on broccoli and green beans for carbs for the rest of the day.

However, carbs ARE necessary for ME personally. Most people who train intensely benefit from the presence of carbohydrates in their diet. If you read my blog, you are familiar with my once a week carb up. Once a week (usually monday,) I double my carbohydrate consumption, and eat more starchy carbs as opposed to veggie carbs. This is NOT a "cheat day," because the sole purpose is to replenish glycogen stores, and to provide fuel for my muscles for the following week of workouts. Yesterday, I had over 300g carbs, and it was JUST what I needed.

Benefits of my carb load:

During my leg workout today, I deadlifted much heavier than I have been able to the past few weeks. Since I weigh less and less each week, my workouts and strength have been decreasing slowly as well. The heaviest I'd deadlifted in the past 3 weeks was 115 pounds, usually keeping the weight between 85 and 105 pounds. 

Today, after warming up, I killed 8 reps with 135! Did it again. I was feeling strong, so I added a 5 pounder to each side, a conservative load increase of 10 pounds. 145lbs for 8 reps, then 6. I know 145 pounds isn't very heavy, but considering its a lot more than I weigh, I feel pretty good! Also, 155 is my ultimate deadlift, so I wasn't far off today. I probably could have handled 155 with my lifting straps.

And I felt like I could keep going! I had a ton of power throughout the rest of my workout: my step ups, box squats, kettlebell swings, etc--were all explosive! And, I sweat like a monster (another side effect of the carb load.) 

I feel STRONG again, like I can take on each workout like a PRO this week.

If you have never played around with your carb intake, I do suggest it if you train hard. The extra carbohydrates in your body will give you the POWER to bust through strength plateaus, and likely result in some of the best workouts you've ever had.
And no, it won't make you fat.

Thank you carbs, for making my week 10 times better.
And thank you Allegra, for helping my allergies immensely.

Hope I inspired some of you to do some deadlifts ;-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Its a bumpy road.

You know those times where it seems like NOTHING is working in your favor?

Well, I got smacked with allergies, sinuses, and symptoms of calorie depletion AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. My head feels like it weighs 100 pounds, I'm stuffed up, and feel a bit weak--especially during my last few workouts. I'm giving myself a carb repletion today, which will hopefully give me a boost so that I can knock my training out of the park the rest of the week. 
Battling fatigue is not fun. I feel like all of my energy is put forth into one of my maniacal workouts, and then I'm DEAD the rest of the day. I never used to have this issue when I was eating "to build muscle."
So now that I'm getting WAY leaner than my body likes to be, it's even harder to push the weight and turn up the cardio. On Saturday, doing 12 reps of military presses with the 40 pound barbell was EXHAUSTING. A couple of months ago, I was throwing a 60 pound bar around NO problem! I was working on my dumbbell shoulder presses with 35's, now I stick to 20s. Oh baby will I have some stuff to work on once my shows are done!
Today was one of those days that I REALLY did not feel well enough to train. BUT I had no fever, just crazy sinuses and allergies. So I WENT, did upper body circuits and ended up lasting 25 minutes on the stair monster after my workout. I worked out for about 75 minutes total, and it DID feel a bit better to sweat it out.
I REALLY hope these carbs wake up my system--I have a show to train for, this is NOT the time to be a wimp.

I made a compromise today. I did not put myself through a typical MONSTROUS workout like I usually would on my carb day. Tomorrow, I want to feel better and have a solid Leg workout, and then I want to continue feeling better each day! I know how to keep my diet super clean, clean enough to make up for lack of caloric expenditure--and might have to make some compromises this week if I can't put forth enough energy for my workouts. 

I'll take some good allergy meds, force down tea (i HATE tea without sweetener,) and keep my thoughts positive. Sometimes, its all you can do. By keeping my outlook positive, hopefully my body will be HAPPY and lose some weight this week. I got a big show to be ready for!

I will continue to get EXTRA rest, being that I can barely walk straight since my head feels so gigantic and heavy. 
What can YOU take away from this blog? Well, understand the importance of compromise when it comes to training and dieting. When you ask your body to perform at such a high intensity, and don't feed it quite enough, it might retaliate. Environmental factors like bacteria and allergens DO exist, and there's not much to do about them, so you have to work with what you've got! Sickness and allergies are the WORST, but we have to treat them, rest our bodies, and overcome them. Going 70% instead of 110% IS the better decision sometimes, when your body is feeling down. And um, an extra day away from the gym won't kill you. It's about the long run for all of us! Treat your body with care, and remember that it takes a bit of time to HEAL, no matter how small the ailment or sickness. REST and RECOVERY are crucial, and a little bit of icky herbal tea never hurt anyone..

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Train like a bikini girl...PSYCHE!!!

I'm training for a bikini competition. 4 weeks left until my first show. 7weeks until the 2nd show.

Here's what I'm NOT DOING (nor have I been for the past 2 months of prep):
-regular fasted cardio 
-90-120 minutes of cardio each day, plus weight training
-pilates
-lifting light weights
-hitting the gym twice every day. in fact, i rarely go 2x  

Get the point? A lot of bikini competitors are notorious for spending HOURS on cardio equipment. (SO ARE THOSE FIGURE GIRLS...)

When I first started preparing for my shows, I knew the fasted cardio thing was OLD SCHOOL! That is NOT to say I HAVENT done fasted cardio during prep. I have! During the summer, I loved waking up early and going to the track before breakfast. But my goal there wasn't specifically to "burn more fat by doing fasted cardio." I don't like to eat before training, it feels amazing to run and do stairs without a bunch of food in your tummy.

A ton of articles I come across advocate HIIT cardio, and suggest that INTENSITY trumps DURATION when it comes to maximizing fat burn. Why shouldn't that apply to contest prep, when fat burn is a SERIOUS priority?

With that said, here's what I HAVE been doing:
-HARD cardio, like incline intervals on the treadmill, sprinting, and killing it on the stair monster.
The major change I made was to get in cardio 5 days a week, REGARDLESS. sometimes 6. Super sore legs are NOT good for sprinting or hauling ass, so THAT is the time that I'll get on the elliptical with an incline. Ellipticals are excellent for NO impact cardio. Perfect for "recovery"cardio. 
-No cardio session longer than an hour. 
-Either mixing segments of all-out cardio into my circuit workouts, or doing 20-30 minutes of HARD shit after my circuit workout.
-Adding plyometrics ... often. Burpees and squat jumps are my usual choice.
-Utilizing circuit style workouts, as opposed to the heavy heavy weight training I was using before. 
-Lifting in the 12-15 rep range (mostly) 3-4 sets of 3-4 exercises backtobacktoback
-full body exhaustion AND cardio every saturday, the day before my REST day. I EARN IT.

So I'm giving you a sample of what I MEAN when I say FULL BODY EXHAUSTION.

***PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK***

Here's today's workout:

Stairs 12 minutes:
start level 60, increase each minute until 10 minutes
**60/65/70/75/80/85/90/95/100/105**
Sprint min 10-11
SLOW DOWN min 11-12

circuit 1: 3 sets 12 reps
prone on incline bench bilateral db rows w/25s
stiff deadlift to overhead press w/40lb barbell

Stairs 13 minutes:
same pattern, start at level 65 this time

circuit 2: 4x15 reps
decline abs 
decline oblique twist 
kbell DEEP squat w/upright row 30lb kettlebell

back to the stairs 15 minutes:
legs started to feel REALLY weak at this point (thank you lower carbs..)
2 mins each level.
**60/70/80/90/repeat until 12min** 
sprint/recover until 15 mins

circuit 3: 3 sets 
deadlift w/100lbs 10 reps
tricep rope pulldown 15 reps
stiff lat pull down 15 reps

Circuit 4: 3x15, to failure last set
parallel reverse hyperextensions
turned out reverse hyperextensions
dumbbell lateral raises

ALL DONE!!! You should be TOASTED. Looking back at the workout, I realized there's no CHEST involved. I trained my chest super hard the other day, and had ZERO energy for pushups or chest presses or cable flyes today. Not an excuse, but I didn't NEED to train chest anyhow. Usually, I do include pushups in my full body workouts though.

This is a solid 90 minute workout, no questions asked. I was absolutely dead! And THAT is how I AM TRAINING for my bikini competition.

**bonus info: Saturdays I deplete my muscles by working out like this, taper my carbs slightly, then Sunday is day of rest and very low carbs, and MONDAY is CARB DAY, with another upper body circuit workout and cardio. Tuesday, regular carbs resume and I train legs HEAVY on glutes and hamstrings.**

Happy training!! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Understand Cravings

Surprisingly, I have virtually NO cravings on my contest diet. Do I get "hungry"..of course. However, after I eat my green beans and grilled chicken, and take my dose of fish oil or healthy fats, I am feeling great and satisfied again. One thing you should REALLY think about is WHY you crave a certain thing. Craving Something super fatty? A burger? Candy? Peanut butter? 
Let's say you're craving a burger:
think about the last time you ate. What was the meal? Have you consumed enough PROTEIN today? Lacking fats? Just had egg whites and spinach for breakfast, worked out for 2 hours, then had an apple?

Ummm hello, your body might be ready to eat the kitchen sink. Compose a balanced meal complete with PROTEIN, lots of fibrous veggies, and a serving of FAT. 
Squash the burger craving with this EXAMPLE: grilled chicken, 1/2 avocado, atop a huge bed of lettuce and chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, etc. Even have quinoa or brown rice or some flax crackers if you're jonesing for carbs. All of that food will STUFF you, AND stabilize your blood sugar for around 400 calories, maybe less-maybe more. But it is NOT about the calories. Let's take a look at the NUTRIENTS your body can utilize from whole foods in that example meal:
Avocado: contain vitamin E, potassium, B-vitamins, Folic Acid. "act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein" Avocado Facts
romaine lettuce: vitamin C, potassium
Bell peppers: Vitamin A (essential for eyesight), Folate, Vitamin K (assists in blood clotting), Antioxidants like lycopene which help to prevent CANCER, and Carotenoids which prevent HEART disease, potassium
cucumbers: Vitamins A, B, C, magnesium, silica, potassium, calcium, folate... and they contain 96% water...so EAT UP!!! 
chicken breast: contains niacin, selenium, vitamins A+B, **more important is that you add some form of PROTEIN to this meal to satisfy your body's need for it. If you don't already understand the importance of eating protein to promote stable blood sugar and aid in muscle preservation and repair....Google it! Again, you don't HAVE to eat 400 grams of protein a day. That will not give you muscles. But you should (in my opinion, based on what I've read and what has worked for me) aim to consume .75g-1.5g protein per POUND of bodyweight each day. With that being said, a simple way to break it down is to eat between 20-30g protein in each meal. More if you weigh over 150 pounds.

Let's compare that with eating a burger at a diner or chain restaurant. The most benefit you will find sandwiched between saturated fats and simple sugars is little reprieve from lycopene in the tomato, or some vitamins in the small amount of lettuce on the burger. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and WONT use McDonald's as a comparison:
I searched typical burger info on the web, Applebee's burger contains 770 cals, 15g saturated fats...yikes.
check out all the fun stuff that could be in the BUN alone:

INGREDIENTS: Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Barley Malt, Ferrous Sulfate  (Iron), B Vitamins (NiacinThiamin Mononitrate  (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin  (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid)], Water, Sweetener (High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar), Yeast, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or Less of Wheat Gluten, Salt, Calcium Sulfate, Dough Conditioners (May Contain Sodium Stearoyl LactylateTricalcium Phosphate,ethoxylated Mono And DiglyceridesDatemDicalcium Phosphate,Mono And DiglyceridesCalcium Dioxide, and/or Sorbic Acid), Vinegar, Soy Flour, Yeast Nutrients (May Contain Ammonium ChlorideAmmonium PhosphateDiammonium Phosphate,Ammonium SulfateMonocalcium Phosphate and/or Calcium Carbonate), Cornstarch, Wheat Starch, Enzymes, Calcium Propionate  (to Retain Freshness), Soy Lecithin. If Topped, Also Contains Sesame Seeds, or Corn Meal.

The point of this post is NOT to pick on hamburger lovers. In fact, if you make it a point to eat QUALITY meat (like making the burgers at home..) a burger CAN be a weekly indulgence, as long as you fit your own dietary needs. I used a hamburger because it's a classic "comfort" item to order at a restaurant or diner. 

I used to crave lots of CARBS. And if I picked up a jar of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons never happened. know why? Because I would eat eggwhites at breakfast, workout like a MANIAC, snack on cucumbers, celery, and peppers, maybe eat more eggwhites.. Notice lack of something? Um. NO complex carbohydrates either PRE or POST workout, and ZERO fats. Of course my body was craving something. So yes, I was giving my body minerals and vitamins and protein, but no omega-3 or omega-6 essential fatty acids, not enough soluble fiber ( found in oats,) so I would really be LACKING ESSENTIAL nutrients, and was not balancing meals properly. Hense, CRAVE central.

Carbs don't make you fat. Fat doesn't make you fat. Protein doesn't make you fat. The way you choose to combine these three macronutrients is up to you. Everyone is different, but everyone needs SOME food from each group. When you choose carbs, proteins, and fats from WHOLE food sources, it's very hard to go wrong. 

Sure, a banana might be high in sugar and carbs, but i will STAND BY my opinion that it won't hurt as much as skittles. Once in a while, skittles are OKAY if you MUST have some! But for everyday food choices, don't you think potassium-filled bananas are a little better for your working muscles?

Think peanut butter is your worst enemy? I beg to differ. Natural nut butters ARE a healthy source of mono and polyunsaturated fats--the kind of fats that have been proven to LOWER your triglyceride and  blood cholesterol levels. You're better off with too much pb, or too many macadamia nuts, than with trans fats hidden in pillsbury icing, or saturated fats leaking out of fast food items.

My ultimate goal for this post is to encourage readers to indulge SAFELY. The closer a food is to the ground, the better it is , and the SAFER it is for your body. Do not eat based on calories!! Eat based on what your body needs. Even if you eat a few too many blueberries, or too many almonds--let's get real. How bad could it really be? Not to mention, your body has to work harder to metabolize food in its natural state. Guess what that means? Your body is going to burn more calories digesting that grilled chicken meal example than if you were to eat a processed crap meal. You know how HARD it is to digest all the fiber in good food?! It puts your body to work, and keeps you full (and regular....lol.)

Anyway, next time you want an almond joy and pop tarts and pizza, maybe eat some almonds, strawberries, and fresh mozzarella cheese. 

Was that a long enough post?! Wowzers. I probably made you hungry. go eat!!! 

I'm about to eat eggwhites with 1/2tb peanut butter and some broccoli! 4 weeks out and YES peanut butter is in my diet for another week or so..4g of fat people. Tastes better than fish oil ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Progress thus far



With 1 month left before my first show.... here's a mini photo haul...
enjoy. got some WORK cut out for me this month! STAY TUNED


july 3rd

august 3rd

first week of sept

july 3rd

aug 3rd

mid august

early september. 5weeks from comp



Sunday, September 9, 2012

NASM workshop recap

So, if you aren't familiar with the NASM, its a well-respected and popular organization through which many people obtain fitness certifications to prove their expertise. NASM stands for National Academy of Sports Medicine. I'm earning my personal training cert through NASM, and attended a 8 hour live learning workshop today, as a precursor to taking the written exam. I won't lie, I have NOT been studying my textbook as I should be. I assumed that listening and taking notes at the workshop would pretty much set me up for the test, since I am ALWAYS reading about updates in the field of exercise.

WRONG.

After attending the learning workshop, I am re-inspired to crack the textbook and memorize the difference between the biceps femoris (nope, not in your arm people) and the TFL (tensor fasciae latae,) and many more. The workshop did teach me a lot of useful things. I learned a lot about functional anatomy, and need to get more comfortable with addressing concentric, eccentric, isometric, flexion, hip extension, muscular imbalances, etc. These are all things i KNOW, but couldn't necessarily explain to someone in an eloquent manner.
The workshop also taught me about program designing, and the importance of keeping your client's muscle imbalances in mind when deciding EVERY component of the program--from trigger point and warmup, to the resistance training. 

Okay. You guys know I have an opinion. Let me tell you what made my skin crawl by the end of the lecture. NASM training structure is like ANTI-LIZ BRODY. My workouts are probably the instructor's nightmare. The trainer stressed that NASM training programs are set by evidence, and their effectiveness is based on research--fair. What about all of the articles on VOLUME training that I've read from RESPECTED sources, that cite actual studies? I asked the instructor what he thought of German volume training: 10x10, and explained that I use it in deadlifts. Another BUFF dude said that he used Japanese method of 5x5 bench press, using 245lbs for each set. The instructor actually said that there is no evidence that those programs work. He finally backed down and agreed that such programs MIGHT lead to strength gains, but continued to insist that since NASM is backed by RESEARCH, that it would be more effective.

That's just one instance. The instructor also bashed split-training. Made fun of bodybuilders who devote a day to shoulders, chest, back, legs, etc. Umm, excuse me?! And also, according to him, a deadlift is not the same type of full body exercise as a squat to curl to overhead press. Little remarks like that over an 8 hour period drove me NUTS!!!! And this guy didn't exactly look like the world's fittest guy either. 6'3 (he only mentioned that like 8 times...), and not particularly buff, nor lean.

Bottom line is that NASM training is NOT about looking like a fitness model. Perfect textbook exercise form trumps true muscle pump in the NASM standards. Cheating a movement to crank out negative reps isn't kosher over there. Overloading the muscles to the point of cripple is not in the NASM book.  But, that is because most personal trainers do not have the luxury of working with athletes and competitors. The typical client is a couch potato looking to drop out of the overweight category. For these reasons, the NASM guidelines are appropriate: safe protocol for the average man or woman, with potential for results.

Don't get me wrong. I can learn a lot from the NASM textbook. But the more valuable lesson here: sometimes, you need to agree with principles you do NOT believe in, in order to get what you need. In this case, I will suck it up, memorize the facts, and pass the test. I can assure you that I would never expect a client to perform the same types of workouts that I do, but I certainly will not be stopping at 3 sets per body part, just because NASM says so. I will continue to overload and cripple, because it sure works for me, and the bodybuilders and competitors I've learned from.

My bitch comment of the post: The instructor stopped at BAJA FRESH for lunch...

Best part of the workshop: 3 notably attractive black men with very nice physiques. A little eye candy never hurt during an overhead squat assessment!!

You bet I'm crackin that textbook and cozying up with my study guide to make sure I PASS the exam when I take it--hopefully SOON!