Monday, July 30, 2012

Putting down the heavy weights..

I'm back from LA, and even though my sleep schedule was a little messy last night due to my awkward flight time, I managed to be on my feet today and get through a GRUELING workout. I've taken this slight injury as a SIGN to put my heavy lifting at bay. While I get a SICK adrenaline rush from pushing around man status iron, there is really no need for me to press 70% of my bodyweight over my head...especially given this new task I've taken on--to lean out a LOT. Not to mention, I got caught up watching Shaun T and his INSANITY infomercial, and was instantly reminded how HARD it is to do plyos and bodyweight exercises for extended periods of time. Time for some hardcore CONDITIONING to happen in my world.

People ALWAYS say that you need to keep your body guessing, change your routine frequently. ITS TRUE! I've been training heavy and hard , staying under 10 reps for a few solid months. My body is probably used to it, and wants something different. Today, I went back to my old training friend--circuit training. I used circuit-style and metabolic training throughout the winter, and it definitely worked for me, so I'm going back to that for the next 2-3 months. I will still use CHALLENGING weights, but I'm working in the 10-15 rep range, doing circuits that hit different body parts, and have some form of plyometric or HR-booster for timed intervals at the end.

I'm looking to shed fat, and I have put on SO much muscle, so I have some to spare without worry. Circuit training keeps my heart rate elevated in addition to the cardio i do, therefore--more total calories burned. This is what I want, since I'm trying to cut down!

I never thought I'd be happy to ditch my usual training split, but I'm excited for a new regimen! 
Here's a look into what my workout schedule will look like:

Day 1: AM cardio
PM upper body circuit, followed by cardio

Day 2:AM cardio
PM lower body circuit, followed by cardio

Day 3: AM cardio/PM cardio

Day 4: AM cardio
PM upper body circuit, followed by cardio

Day 5: AM cardio
PM lower body circuit, followed by cardio

Day 6/7: rest. These days can be factored in between workout days if i want. Intensity of cardio and duration depends on the condition of my body and feeling. If I'm absolutely SHOT from doing legs, I'll lessen the intensity of my cardio. I'll have this all figured out 100% by the end of this week after I complete the schedule. Yes, I'm doing cardio 2x a day. I'm on a mission! Oh, and no extra calories for my hard work :) I'll leave those up to my readers who are working hard to put ON some muscle, not take OFF! 

Note: There is no NEED to do so much cardio, or spend this much time in the gym to see results. This is a very intense regimen, and I am using it for a specific reason. This is only for a few months, and my training will taper down and resume to "normal" once I have reached my goal. I have NEVER worked out this intensely before, and have gotten results I never even dreamed of. When I was 18 I just wanted to be a size 6 and "look skinny" in pictures! I never thought that less than two years later, I'd be wearing a size 2 with visible muscle definition, deadlifting a bar heavier than I used to weigh. It's all about patience and dedication, never forget that. I do not suggest that you read this post and copy my workout schedule, unless you've been training for a while and want to take it to the next level. I know my body better than anyone, and through your own fitness journey, you will continue to understand your own. 

I look forward to updating you guys on the impact of my new regimen! 

Happy lifting, go kick your own assss!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Caution: Solitary Confinement

This is a post I've been wanting to tackle for a while. Now, while everyone is different, there is one thing you can be sure of when it comes to increasing the intensity and extremity of your "healthy lifestyle." This might not apply so much for those who are all about "balance" and will eat chocolate cake when out with friends, and resume with their treadmill and salad the following day. This post will likely reach those who are or have experienced dieting and training for competitions, photoshoots, extreme weight loss goals, etc. 

Before I delve in further--remember WHY you changed your habits, WHY is it an absolute necessity to stick to your written plans 100%. There is nothing wrong with your routine, so long as it is helping you accomplish whatever you set out to accomplish. People will turn their nose up, tell you that you dont "need" to diet, or that it "won't kill you" to miss a workout or eat a pasta dish. Don't give into them. 

The truth is, our society revolves around food. Family gatherings, birthdays, meetings, celebrations--all tend to involve food. A gathering of two or three or ten friends is seemingly incomplete if food isn't involved. It seems that every single time a friend wants to meet up just to talk, the request is "lets do lunch!" Here's your problem. You pre-make all of your meals, calculate your daily macronutrients. You don't just "do lunch," unless you have at least a week notice to plan for it. This obviously stresses you out. What to do? Do you tell your friend that you're busy? Go, and not eat? Eat your pre-made chicken and green beans in the bathroom? NO thats ridiculous. If you're like me, you don't go. Sad to not be able to enjoy someone's company, but there is no need to sacrifice being content with your eating schedule just to chat with someone. If your friend really wants to see you or just hang out, there are other options. Go for coffee, go for a walk, see a movie, ask if they'd like to join you for a cardio session.

The problem is, this sort of thing happens a lot. People start to take offense. It's not that you don't wish to hang out with friends and spend time with people you like, but it's really not fun to be the spectacle for eating healthy food every single time you go out. Even if you go to the restaurant and order a salad with lots of veggies, grilled chicken (specified no oil, absolutely plain) and no dressing -- people who are supposed to love and support you will likely make comments: "What a shocker." "You're really ordering that again?" Do you ever criticize people for ordering french fries and burgers and desserts bigger than their head?! Absolutely not, because it's their body, they can eat whatever the heck they want! But people don't see it that way when you try to peacefully eat chicken and cucumbers.

The solution I've settled for is one that many are faced with: lots of time alone. I have absolutely no problem being alone, and I urge that people don't confuse "alone" with "lonely." I am 100% happy with hanging out at my house, eating my little meals, watching TV, blogging, getting in my workouts, writing down my thoughts and meals, and going to sleep. I don't really "go out" at all. I don't "date." I barely have friends. I have a few girls that I adore and make sure to keep in contact with, and they are the ONLY people that even SEE me outside of the gym! But this is the way i LIKE to operate. Right now, my body is my number one priority, and the solitude helps me stay focused. People, so-called "friends" often work as a distraction, and can lead to you feeling BAD about the way you choose to live. 

Changing your physique, or dieting down for a show are not social sports. Sure, you could offer to bring lunch for your friend. They're not going to be interested in your "x ounces lean protein, x ounces green veggies, x teaspoon healthy fat." It is important to evaluate how important your physique is at this time in your life. If you are loving your workouts, enjoying experimenting with different healthy recipes, into drinking smoothies, that's fine for you. Enjoy sitting with your friends or family members at cafe's and just sitting back and relaxing. It is PARAMOUNT to conduct yourself in such a way that benefits YOU. It is YOUR life. Family upset that you don't eat the same food at dinner? Upset that you don't join them for a day at the beach because you can't miss your scheduled 2 workouts? It's okay. Ultimately, you need to do what makes you happy. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you cannot please everybody. You will only be happy when you are doing exactly what makes you happy. 

I smile at the end of the day when I reference my written meals, and compare them with what I did eat, and the two are a perfect match. When I complete both my 45 minutes of fasted cardio in the morning AND a grueling training session followed by plyometrics and cardio, I am happy. Did I miss out on an invite to go shopping and have lunch? Maybe, but I'm not upset. Many days, I don't talk to anyone other than a "hi" in the gym, or obviously at work. I talk to my family, because I live with them, and love them. Lots of days, my phone gets 0 text messages, and I don't find the need to send any, because I am in my world, and very happy there.

Social media , mainly twitter, has been an absolute savior for me personally. It is so difficult to connect with like-minded people (umm, probably because they're all hiding like me, eating their meals in the parking lot outside the gym or sacked out on their couch after an exhausting day of training.) Twitter has enabled me to talk to some brilliant, motivated, inspiring, and determined people (both young and old) in the field of fitness. Some people just "get it." I love to read blogs, watch interviews with competitors, read Pauline Nordin's updates on facebook (she's the official badass of my news feed, and at the pinnacle of my fitness motivation..) Fitness has become that thing that consumes every thought. Nearly every thought that runs through my mind has to do with looking better and getting stronger and leaner.

Don't get me wrong--I am SO THRILLED with the way I look now, and am PROUD of the hard work I've done. I can truly look back on the past 2 years and say I've busted my ass to get myself here. But lots of people get to a point where they thrive on challenge--the challenge of getting so lean that it's almost dangerous, the kind of lean that lands you on an advertisement for a fat-burner. And that is what is going to make me (or the theoretical "lots of people") content. When you set out to do something, DO IT, and don't stop because it makes other people uncomfortable. Fuck them.

People will say they want to be a part of your life. You want them to be there too, don't you? You just don't want to share their ice cream sundae. Evaluate who is of paramount importance to your life, and take the time to explain what you're going through. Explain that you love them, they mean the world to you, that they shouldn't take offense because you'd rather eat dinner at home. The people who are meant to stick around for the long run WILL understand. These people likely know how dedicated you are, and they will learn to stand by your side, despite your "crazy behavior" or "obsessive tendencies."

Training is a solitary sport. It only takes one body to lift a barbell. It only takes one body to move the green beans from the freezer to the stove. Most of your friends arent going to sit down next to you and oogle competition coverage on ITS OKAY! They don't have to. You don't need other people to approve of your interests. You like big muscles? GREAT! Go pump iron! Your best friend's boyfriend thinks your inspirations look like men with implants? Who cares, you're not dating him! And he probably has a small penis. Just saying.

So now, I will close this post with the immediate inspiration for writing it: I'm on "vacation" in LA and haven't sat in ONE restaurant, gone shopping, or done anything most people would consider "fun." i've eaten every meal out of tupperware, and worked out twice every single day. I practically own the hotel gym at this point. I haven't worn anything other than swimsuits and workout clothes. My sister and mom have gone shopping, gone on a trip to Catalina, gone to fancy celebrity-hangout restaurants. I'm having a great vacation, relatively stress-free trying to stay on my diet. I am HAPPY. I don't need big price tag shopping and decadent salads on Melrose to enjoy Los Angeles. Between Runyon Canyon EVERY morning (my knees are crying now) and having a private gym to use every afternoon, I couldn't ask for a better set up. Trader Joes right across the parking lot, and a microwave and fridge in my room. Sure, might sound like a boring vacation to some, but I'm 100% happy. At this juncture in my life and training, I cant afford to sit back and eat whatever and workout for fun. I'm all about intensity right now, and that's what I'm depending on. And that is what works for me.

Find what works for you. Understand it, be comfortable with it. Take the time to explain it to those who deserve the explanation. For the people that just pass judgement and make you feel bad about the choices you make--you can decide their fate. Kick them out of your happy place, or feel free to make it work if you so desire. Or just revisit them in 3 months.

And now it's time for me to eat my last meal of the day, which awaits me in a clear box with a blue lid.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quick trip to the ER...

Oops i did it again! Last time I had to be rushed to the ER, I was just about to start a workout at the gym. On Tuesday, I was getting ready for my second workout of the day, and was SO hyped because I was set for DEADLIFTS in a new gym since I'm in LA! I was putting my hair up (yes, the most mundane task in the world) and my neck snapped and I heard two cracking sounds. I choked up for a second, couldn't even say OUCH, and walked over to my bed to sit down. I reached for my phone, and thought maybe the pain would lessen after the initial shock. The pain got worse, and I had to call my mom to tell her to come back to the hotel. I was crying in pain, couldn't move my neck to the right side or look up. I turned to twitter for immediate help (crazy that its normal to tweet in emergency situations, but I KNEW some of my fitness people could help me out)
**BIG THANKS TO KELVIN GARY FROM BODYSPACE NYC..** kelvin, you were the first person to reach out and respond so promptly to my tweets!! 

Anyhow, needless to say my mom RUSHED back to the hotel and insisted on bringing me to the ER. The ER was a HOT MESS, but i was x-rayed and given pain meds and anti-inflammatory pills. I had major hopes for doing 2 hours of cardio on Wednesday, but the meds had me KNOCKED OUT and nauseous ALL DAY. So here I am on Thursday, did my cardio this morning .. but even using the elliptical handles pinched my neck a little bit. So needless to say I'm anxious to get back to my iron. VERY anxious. i have a bodyweight leg workout planned for later, I guess I'll just do single leg squats, squat jumps, lunges..I'm really trying to keep all pressure off my neck, and I think running downhill on the uneven terrain in Runyon Canyon might have had something to do with spurring my sudden injury. This blog post sounds like word vomit , I apologize...I'm seriously on vacation mode and I'm drinking my decaf iced coffee and talking to a new friend and my sister and well, I'm just kind of in the moment. Bare with me.

I'm going to Venice Beach today, and I don't know if I'll be able to climb the ropes like usual, and definitely won't be attempting pull-ups on the iron gym like I do every year. Okay I'm having serious ADD at the moment.

By the way, trying to have my regular meals on vacation has been slight of a nightmare...Eggwhites and broccoli via hotel microwave are stinky, plain grilled chicken is near impossible to get a hold of. I'm trying SO hard !! Doing the best I can. Yesterday I did have some peanut butter. Boy it was good. I'm starting to see the cut between the shoulder and triceps I guess I AM leaning out, despite the fact that I dont have solid abs coming in at the moment.

Expect a nice reflective post from me soon, when I'm thinking coherently. My brain is mush right now.


Monday, July 23, 2012

My LA love affair

I got to LA on Saturday. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it here, and DO plan on moving out here after I graduate college. NYC is my home, but I'm SO ready to try LA on for size, for real! The vibe here is just so different, people are SO fit and health-conscious, and superficial and HOT ! 

The most amazing thing is that the hotel gave me a microwave and mini-fridge! I'm not going to lie, prepping food in a hotel room is NOT fun, and I had to take advantage of an oh-so generous family friend and use their kitchen to make chicken and steam my green beans.

The hotel I stay in has an AMAZING well-equipped fitness center also, and nobody is ever in there! I've been doing morning cardio before breakfast, and going back in the afternoon for lifting and more cardio. Operation lean out is not stopping here!! I'm really enjoying the lifestyle here, and loving my time off from work and my usual gym at home..

This morning, my mom and I hit runyon canyon for an hour. Being done with an intense hour of trail climbing and running by 9:15 feels amazing, its such a liberating way to start the week! I am a self-proclaimed gym rat, but being out in the hot sun sprinting down the sandy hills of Runyon Canyon with an INSANE view of LA and the Hollywood Hills is unlike ANY OTHER WORKOUT. If you're ever in Los Angeles, the canyon is a MUST! Hope you find parking...LOL.

Now its 11am LA time and I'm about to get on my bikini and take my butt out in the sun. Here are some pics I snapped during after my shoulder/abs workout in the hotel gym. I love working out alone because i can take pics !

I'll keep you guys updated on my week here! I'm planning to have LOTS of fun, good workouts, and boring food...body by liz vacation right here!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Carbs dont like me

So as you all know, I'm trying to get super lean. I really don't feel like writing a post about the concept of carb-cycling, re-feeding, carb-loading, (these three things are not interchangeable, but frequently are clumped together in diet blogs..)

Needless to say, I decided that once every 7-14 days, I would up my carbs for ONE day, and replace the VEGGIES with GRAINS..

I'm never doing this again. My body does NOT like the grains like it used to! ICK ICK ICK !!! 
I started by doubling my morning measure of oat bran. THAT was heavenly!!! But from now on, I will stop there, and maybe add a rice cake or two post-workout on my "carb" days if I so desire. It's helpful for some people to break the calorie cycle during a diet-down in order to shock your body. I've been so so so perfectly disciplined for the past 8 days, and to prevent a break-down/cheat spree, I planned to do this carb thing. Oh lord I am not a fan!! This morning (even AFTER breakfast) I felt SO lean, and didn't even WANT to do the carbs. Truly, I should have listened to my gut and just continued with my regular day and eaten my broccoli, green beans, egg whites, chia, and fish oil. Yes, that's the majority of my diet. lol.

Anyway. I definitely made some visual progress since I officially updated the blog with my 
goal to lean out! Tonight I worked back and biceps in the gym, and holy crap! My delts are really starting to come through. 

Here are pics from yesterday morning and today:

I'm psyched to do some intense cardio tomorrow morning before breakfast...try to shake some more of these carbs out of my system. ick. I will definitely look back at this post every single time I am in the mood for a dangerous carb splurge. I have been relying on veggies as my primary source of carbs for a WHILE now, not just the past 9 my system is NOT used to the whole grain/wheat thing. My tummy is NOT happy. And I officially don't miss fruit. EW! Crazy how your taste buds can CHANGE! I'll be dreaming of obliques and green beans tonight, not oat bran! Maybe that's the best part of this carb day...haha.

Moral of the story? I don't know, my lesson learned is to NOT just do something because every other dieter swears by it. No matter how much I love my oat bran, once a day is plenty. Oh, here's a good lesson to learn from my mistake: LISTEN TO YOUR DAMN BODY!!! Can't I EVER learn to take my own freakin' advice?! Oh, the struggle!! Let's hope I'm looking lean tomorrow, and not like a mushy bowl of oats. 

Count down to Body By Liz in Los Angeles: 1 DAY!!!!!!!! Saturday I'm outta here!!! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ways to approach the treadmill

Well, you see..first you could simply walk over and introduce yourself. Linger by the side handles, but be careful not to oogle over the digital dashboard and conveyer belt just yet--you don't want to be TOO forward with the machine. Size it up, shift your weight around, walk around to the back. Once the energy exchange is mutual, maybe you step on--one foot at a time, you two have just met! Once you've established this bond, its safe to say its time to go. Well, not before you hang onto the handles and stretch out your spine, twist right and left, crack your back, loosen your hamstrings and maybe hold a quad stretch for 2 seconds. Yup, does the trick. Now you're ready.

Alright. Seriously, I think some people are afraid of the treadmill. If using the elliptical was my only means of cardio I would stab my own eye out. I'm not saying that you should get on the treadmill and throw the speed up to 9.0 and expect to fly, but everyone is capable of running. Now, I am NOT a runner. I do not consider myself one, at all. Even when I was logging 20-25 miles a WEEK around christmas...I did not think I was a runner. However, running can be pretty damn fun! Intervals, sprints, and distance running are all made a bit simpler for you by using a treadmill since well it moves FOR you, BUT it also makes sure you keep your pace until you frantically hit the down arrow to slow down.  Since time, distance, and speed are all displayed, its great for working on both your cardiovascular fitness AND your goals as a runner.

Of course I am slightly biased because I am a self-proclaimed gym rat. If it is below 70 degrees you will NOT find me running outside. Hell, you will only find me outside running if its an early morning at the track, or if I'm in Runyon canyon.

If you think you canNOT run, you might be wrong. Through my teenage years, I had  AWFUL knee pain, even went to physical therapy. I was always dancing, and was convinced that I could never be a runner because my knees hurt. Whenever I had to run a mile for gym class in middle school and high school, I had to bust my ASS to finish it in around 10 minutes. When I was 17, I got on a treadmill, with new sneakers on. I was inspired by my mom, who has always included 2-4 mile runs in her workout routines. All I wanted to do was to run a mile without stopping. I did it. Took me around 10 minutes, and I was out of breath. But my knees didn't hurt. From then on, I ran almost every day. Practiced running for longer durations of time. 10,12,15,20 minutes without stopping. Less than a year after I started, I LOVED to run, and was getting better and better, and faster.

Today, I completed 5.5 miles on the treadmill...and that was just a regular day of cardio! I'm not a fan of distance anymore, but I was dying to just run and sweat today, and my knees aren't ready for sprints quite yet...I'll give it another week or so.

So if you're one of those people who thinks they "can't run," or you just have no desire...maybe I can't change your mind, but maybe I can! 

If you're a hardcore workout fiend, try your hand at sprinting. If you've never sprinted on a treadmill before, I like to warm up, and sprint 3.0+ faster than your jog speed.
EX: you jog at 6.5 comfortably, sprint at 9.5
Also, try running backwards! Start at 1.5- your jog to get used to it.
Also, run on a 5.0+ incline. Yikes.

If you get bored with the stair master, elliptical, versa climber, and bike, and are hesitant to get on the treadmill...just do it!!! 

If you want to make a change, and SEE a change in your physique, you NEED to do things that will make you uncomfortable. Changing your typical cardio routine might not feel great, but it might be just what your system needs to shock it into high gear.

My favorite things to do on the treadmill:
--run backwards
--do incline intervals 
--see how much distance i can possibly cover in 10 minutes

Keep your body guessing!! Happy running!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Do your Deads.

Deads, meaning--Deadlifts. All types. Do them. I can't express important it is to to them... in fact, I've written an entire post called "Dear Deadlifts..." HERE:Deadlift post

Anyway. One thing I encourage is VOLUME when lifting weights. There is no better feeling than pushing yourself through 10 SETS of an exercise. Deadlifts are REALLY a full body workout when performed correctly, and will have your body working like a FURNACE when you're done. Your LEGS and BACK are majorly involved in deadlifting...therefore...more muscles taxed..higher calorie know.

SO, I included this lovely 10x10 deadlift plug into my leg routine today. Here's today's workout (I wouldn't recommend going super heavy because you have to lift the bar 10 times, for 10 sets. I like to build up with each set.)

One more note: It is SO important to focus on your FORM and muscles when you are lifting. Of COURSE I could squat 135lbs no problem, but I don't do that on a regular basis because I see BETTER results when I use lighter weight and get my ass as LOW as possible. I can deadlift far more than my bodyweight, but go too heavy and its tough to keep my form proper. For my goals, there is no reason to risk it. There is a definite difference between training smart and being lazy. Don't use weights you could throw around for 20 reps with no problem, but most people don't need to be pushing the 1 rep max every single workout.  The amount of plates at the end of your bar is NOT the defining factor of your workout, and does not DEFINE you as a person! Without correct performance, you might as well ask for injury...Anyway...
My leg workout:

Warm-up the hams and glutes (I do glute squeezes, and mimic stiff deads with no weight, arms over head, gets my hamstrings warmed up)

Plie Box Squats 5x12 (45/65/65/85/85)
SUPERSET with calf raises 5x12 (same weight as the squat)

Good Mornings 3x10 (45lbs)
SUPERSET with step ups no weight 3x10

STIFF LEGGED DEADS 10x10 (65/65/65/75/75//85/85/105/115/115)

Bulgarian Split squats w/20s 3x8
SUPERSET with 12 plie squats

Step ups w/20s 3x10

Cable lateral kicks 3x15

Hyperextensions w/10lbs 3x12 (squeeze the HELL out of your hams and glutes the whole time)

Hamstring curls w/stability ball 3x12
glute bridges w/stability ball 3x12

YIKES. The stability ball work at the end was PAINFUL..the curls particularly

Took this today. I've been doing almost ZERO cardio, but my diet is 100% and the workouts are BRUTAL. I can't wait until my REAL ABS start to show.. like the stuff in the middle, the 6 pack, whatever you wanna call it.  Time to get LEAN! Who's with me!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Smiling and sore!

I'm in SUCH a good mood, despite this whole hunger thing. One thing I'm learning is that the calorie restriction gets easier with time. The first few days of this new diet, I was STARVING, and luckily strong-willed enough to ignore the hunger, but still. It was HARD. Now, about 6 days into getting serious about getting lean, my body is adjusting better to the strict regiment, and smaller meals..with no snacks in between and no accessory meals. 

But I am so NOT miserable!! I absolutely LOVE the way I'm feeling. My workouts are HARDER, and I am SORE as hell...But i absolutely LOVE everything about it!! Sure, I might joke about the fact that Oat bran is the best part of my day...or the fact that I salivate for my post-workout plain rice cakes...but I'm LOVING this whole process. I iced cupcakes with my sister last night, and had Absolutely NO desire to eat them. Keep in mind, that was 2 hours after I'd eaten dinner, and I was in hunger mode. I drank some diet snapple green tea stuff (gross, for the record) to keep my hunger manageable. 

I love love love everything about my routine right now! And, it's not like I'm over here starving! 1850 cals a day (or 1730 if I skip my optional eggwhite +tsp fish oil "snack")...and pretty much zero cardio. I'm weight training 5x a week, and doing less than 90 mins of cardio per WEEK, since I'm trying to let my knees have some rest so that I can gradually add in more and more cardio to lean out and most importantly get my SPRINT on!! I miss it!! 

I'm even excited to stick to my diet in LA! My workouts are definitely taking a twist in LA--since i am obsessed with Runyon canyon...therefore will likely be running and climbing it every day! By the way...I go to LA on saturday! 

Well, this is my happy post! LOL...I'm hungry, but happy!
Let my happiness rub off on you and go do some WORK!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Inside the mind of Liz..

So this weekend i've been experiencing some hunger, and i'm proud to say i STAYED hungry until it was time to eat. stuck to my plan 100%. VERY happy with myself. Today i had a SICK shoulder and ab workout, despite the fact that my stomach had been growling since breakfast. eating my post-workout rice cakes was pretty heavenly. anyway, i've been doing lots of thinking and napping this here's a look inside my mind. what floats by minute by minute. enjoy!!

I literally wrote a poem about this once. In college.
My absolute DREAM. Give me 5 days here. No workouts. 

oh what color to choose...
Fuck Diamonds. These are THIS GIRLS best friend.
The best fucking part of my day. OAT BRAN
Hello, broccoli.
Comes on after fresh prince. I have to miss it for work sometimes :(
I watch this every morning on TBS at 8am
SVU marathons welcome ANYDAY
I seriously want a sponsorship from this company
Love me some pole dancing tricks!
IFBB bikini pro India Paulino...inspiration
Perfect. The outfit AND Rosa!! 
Self-explanatory. Lulu addiction.
I'd be lying if I said I never felt this way!

Yeah, I'm pretty shallow. No deep thoughts really go through my mind. Stress about certain things, yes. But otherwise, this is a really accurate depiction of what happens up there. Food, fitness, and some hot guys and good TV. I prefer caffeine to alcohol, and relaxation to partying :) So, this post shouldn't be TOOO much of a shocker. This is me on a typical day...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Leaning out: starting point

This morning, I took measurements and wrote them down. I will be taking these measurements every friday morning to track progress. I like to use the mirror and measurements to track my progress, since the scale gets WAY too far into my head. I don't step on a scale unless a doctor tells me to. And here's top secret info: when I was last weighed (in the hospital for my surgery) I was just over 132 pounds. I lost 4 pounds during my hospitalization, but definitely gained it back with the help of my um...recovery meal plan. Some girls might be like SHIT thats heavy (I'm 5'4'') ... but I was wearing size 4 and under! I do NOT have a small frame and I got lotssss of muscle on me. In fact, my weight has hovered around 135 for about a year, and you can see the progression with every photo i post. While it might take time, getting leaner is way more rewarding than just dropping pounds, in my opinion. Anyway, surgery was in January and i have not weighed myself since!  SO, i measure. 

Friday, July 13th, 2012:
Chest: (around fullest part of my boobs) 35 inches
waist: 26.5 inches
Hips: 37 inches
Thigh: 22.5 inches

I do not constrict myself when i measure. I used to do that. That, is LYING to yourself, I think. If I SQUEEZE the heck outta the measuring tape, then yes I could have a 25 inch waist! Lol, it would be lying to myself. I use a MYOTAPE measuring tape that snaps into place so you can let go and read the measurement, and make sure you aren't holding it too tight. 

I'll update again next Friday as far as the measurements go, and each day I'll be posting my usual workout/food/fitness thoughts, ideas, rants, and what not.

And, you'll be getting plenty of progress pictures! The ones I took this morning are not internet guys aren't allowed to see my butt ! Lol 
Pictures and observing in the mirror are my favorite way to track positive progress, but measurements are concrete, and will make my experience more objective, and will really let me know if my plan is working, or if i need to step it up.

Have a great weekend !!!! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The transition...SHED THE FAT!

Didn't blog yesterday. Was mom's birthday, and she's the most amazing person in the world and I couldn't possibly stray from bonding with her to write a blog. It would have been all about her anyway. You guys will get a post about her soon...she's so frickin busy I can never get her to be in the gym at the same time as me so I can get some hot pics of her lifting and doing her thing. Seriously, the most amazing mom I could ever wish for. Anyway...moving on to today's topic:

So there are those who just live the fit life every day..I consider myself one of those people. No yo-yo dieting, no juice fasts followed by date night at mcdonalds. I'm not one to think "If I do an extra 45 minutes on the elliptical this bagel is totally okay." 

Yes, I'm human, I dont eat perfectly 100% of the time...can you imagine how ripped I'd be?! Well, it's time for me to tighten up my diet a liiiiittle bit more. For the past few months, I've been REALLY focusing on gaining strength, and my body responds VERY well to strength training with heavy weights, so I've been eating enough to support muscle gain. NO, I WAS NOT "BULKING" ... you see the pictures I put up all the time, I don't have much excess fat covering my abs or anything. I really kept my training and diet consistent from september until now, not micro-managing calories, and always BUSTED MY ASS in the gym more or less every single workout, and managed to add a very decent amount of muscle to my frame. Another plus from all the weight training is that I became more well-proportioned. I built up my shoulders and my back, which balances out my newly developed GLUTES and developed legs. 

Now...its time for the next step. I'm ready to lose more or less all of the fat left covering the muscles I've been working so hard for. I'm happy with the amount of muscle I've gained, and I want to be leaner than I ever thought I could be. So, this is where I get excited, because it means a new chapter for me. This time, I'm on a real meal plan, not adding extra meals just because I'm hungry or because I had a hard lift or two workouts. Its crunch time. This dieting down process is what will finally get rid of my "problem areas" which cannot be erased simply by training hard. Dieting down is not necessarily fun, but I'm ready to do it--for more than a week this time. Call me a nerd, but I'm SO excited!! 

So here I am, On july 12th, publicly announcing my plans to GET LEAN. You know how I am with my stupid cellphone mirror pics, so get ready to see more of those so you can follow my progress...if you care, that is! I'll be keeping my blog readers updated with what I've been eating, how I'm feeling, and what it's really like to say NO to healthy cravings. I will be having small "refeeds" once every 7-14 days, depending on how tight my body is getting. By refeed, I mean higher carbs for the day, less protein, minimal fats. Some call this a carb-load. However, my body does NOT love carbs, so my carb-loading will have to be conservative at first, and I'll do it with oats, ezekiel bread, and starchy veggies like beets, carrots, and snap peas. Fast carbs will have to wait for when I am REALLY making some progress. 

The great thing about my diet is that I'm coming from eating between 2000-2500 cals/day, depending on training, so I cut to 1850 to begin with. Thats still a LOT of food, especially because my carbs are strictly oats, broccoli, green beans (and rice cakes only post-weight training).. Let's see how it goes! I've been REALLY good at sticking to my plan since Monday, and I feel amazing. 

Want to make a transition? What are you waiting for!! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No cardio, No cardio...and STRAPS

I'm DYING. Itching to sprint and run up the stairs. I feel so puffy and thick from doing NO CARDIO this week (except 10 minutes of the elliptical yesterday. doesn't really qualify)

While a lot of this is mental, I know I am carrying a little bit more on my frame due to my inability to calm down my food intake while cutting cardio. See, with my usual cardio/lifting routine, I burn 500-700 calories via exercise 5-6 days a week. With no cardio whatsoever, that number is closer to 300, sometimes lower , depending on the type of lifting i do. Also, when I do cardio...I mean business. I sweat my mind out, and of course that makes me feel lighter! 

Anyhow, Im feeling less knee pain each day, and am taking fish oil 2-3x a day to help lubricate my joints. I will use the elliptical (the octane, specifically) later in the week, and ramp up the resistance and do some intervals on there..I burned over 500 calories on that thing last week, maxing out the resistance and pedaling as HARD as I could, pushing and pulling the handles with all my force. Getting your heart rate up high enough to make an impact takes some serious determination on an ELLIPTICAL. Don't trust the machines either..I've said this before, but they tend to be very inaccurate when it comes to tracking calories burned. If the machine says you burned 600 calories, estimate that closer to 450-500. Womp, I know. 

Oh, the perks of using a heart rate monitor.

Anyhow, I really have nothing special to report today. I ate my oat bran, eggwhites, and chia seed breakfast this morning, went to work, drank my monster on my way to the gym after work, trained legs...oh wait. 

I used lifting straps for the first time today to deadlift. I bought them at modells, they were really cheap...I wanna say under $5. They are "Harbinger" and have extra padding for wrist comfort. 

For anyone who has never used straps before, or doesn't know the purpose...essentially, you wrap these fabric straps around a barbell, more or less strapping your wrist to the bar, ensuring a stronger grip. Straps are great for deadlifts, especially because for me, as I load the bar with more weight, my grip gets in the way of my sets--my long nails don't help either. Gloves never helped, I tried. SO I decided to give straps a try. BUT, I am going to be VERY careful to not use them as a crutch. I didn't wrap up until the bar got heavy, and I started experiencing grip difficulty. My favorite thing about using straps is that it allows me to deadlift to maximum potential, and I stop when my LEGS can't take anymore, not when my grip stops working. I worked from 95lbs up to 155lbs (4 reps at the heaviest). Did 10 sets total. The grips REALLY helped me deadlift with the bar loaded past 125lbs, which is where my grip usually falters. 

Okay...that's the excitement of this post. STRAPS! 

Do you use lifting straps? Like em, dislike em? Gloves? 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The ones who GET IT

paleo. vegan. no carb. all carb. vegetarian. meathead. contest prep.

if you're like me, and always find yourself reading about the types of diets/meal plans different athletes/people with amazing physiques are on, you know where I'm about to head with this blog. At the forefront of every diet trend, you will see ripped spokespeople and devout followers. These people have sick bodies, and swear by their own meal plan, whether its been adapted from a broader eating philosophy such as "veganism" or "paleo" or "bodybuilding." The reason these people are all ripped and able to maintain an amazing physique while also training intensely is because:


And if you're serious about getting in GREAT shape (this is not synonymous with "toning up"...i don't know what the fuck that means. go join weight watchers and buy a shake weight if you want some tone) you MUST live like an athlete. That means your meals and supplements and fluid intake should support your training and enable your body to make muscular and strength gains. Just because you have a 10 mile run planned does NOT mean you can eat McDonalds the night before to "carb up"!! Do you think a serious runner or olympic sprinter would eat that? 

Athletes put themselves through physically grueling workouts in search of progressing in their sport. And NO, you do not have to be on an athletic team of sorts to consider yourself an athlete. I consider myself an athlete...yet I don't play sports AT ALL! 

Anyone with an intense workout regimen that is physically taxing is eligible for this "athlete" title in my opinion. In case you didn't know, Bodybuilding is a sport people! Dancers, football players, sprinters, pole dancers, olympic lifters...these people all might endure different TYPES of training and physical activity--but it is all very methodical and physically challenging nonetheless. Therefore, all of these people must eat CLEAN and WHOLE foods that can be efficiently broken down by the body to FUEL their workouts/training. A sponsored cross-fit athlete might subscribe to that whole paleo lifestyle--but trust me, he/she isn't eating paleo brownies, jars full of almond butter, and coconut ice cream to stay paleo. That person is eating lots of lean meats, sensible portions of nuts and seeds, and maintaining enough carbohydrates to be successful as a strong athlete.

Same goes for veganism. Someone trying to make strength gains and muscle gains while adhering to a vegan lifestyle is not going to stay lean or energized if he or she is eating vegan ice creams, pastries, and other crap that was made sans animal products. A lean and muscular vegan is likely eating tons of veggies and fruits along with adequate protein from nuts, legumes, and natural plant-based protein powders.

Overall, no matter what meal plan you stick to, you need to treat food like a source of fuel. Your training is directly impacted by the type of fuel you put in your body. Example: my mom drives a range rover, and that baby needs premium gas. If you put regular gas in the tank over and over again, it will develop problems. Therefore, you don't want your body looking like a Honda. You want the range rover or maserati of bodies, you need to buy premium gas (groceries..)

And if i can conclude with a final remark...most lean and ripped people you see promoting a certain meal plan or diet are eating TONS of vegetables. Aaaaand there's my eat your greenbeans plug of the day. Remember--whatever plan you choose to follow, make sure to include the best sources of food possible, and watch your carbs. seriously, people overestimate how many carbs the body needs to function. A 3 mile jog does NOT require any extra carbs...come on people.

Finally...If you TRAIN like an athlete, its about time you EAT like one! Respect your hard work and do yourself the favor of having the diet to complement your workouts.

Anyway. Do you follow a strict diet? 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shoulder shoulder shoulders!

Today I worked Shoulders and Triceps.
Here to break some fun workout news and post an outline of my workout.

--5 min warmup with a stretching strap to loosen up my shoulders. also foam rolled my spine and just got ready.

---got the blood flowing with 5lb dumbbells doing laterals/presses/shrugs/shoulder circles for like 2 minutes

1st: Shoulder Press. FINALLY GOT THE 35s UP!! Squeezed out 5 ridiculously hard reps
Completed all sets seated after the 35s.

SO: Seated shoulder press w/30s 3x6-8reps. drop set following last set
Lateral raises w/15s 3x8 reps

unilateral lat raises w/15s 3x8 reps
Standing arnold press w/20s 3x10 reps, drop set following last set

Triceps kickback w/17.5s 3x10 reps, drop set following last set
Unilateral front raise w/15s 3x8 reps

Upright row w/40lb barbell 4x10 reps, drop set following last set
Skullcrushers w/40lb barbell 4x10 reps, drop set following last set

Bent over lateral raise w/12.5s 3x10 reps, drop set
Cable front raise w/rope attachment 3x12 reps, increasing weight

Cable face pull w/rope attachment 3x10 reps, increasing weight
Triceps pull down w/rope attachment, 3x12 reps, increasing weight

Last: "The finisher" An exercise i watched on the NPC website: called the "modified seated overhead press"
I used a 40lb barbell, then dropped to 30, then 20

YIKES it hurt!!! Definitely ended my workout on a sore note. Awesome.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I eat lots of chocolate.

The title speaks for itself. It has always been hard for me to find good sources of fat that don't bother my stomach. For a while, I thought avocados would fill that void forever. I stopped eating them. Sorry for the TMI, but lets just say my stomach felt bubbly after eating avocado. Had to stop. 

Next option: almonds, macadamia nuts! Nope, I'm a little allergic to pretty much every nut i try. unhappy tummy and sometimes redness on my cheeks and itchy mouth.

peanut butter! OH HOW I LOOOOVE PB. It doesn't love me. Any more than 1-2 teaspoons at a time and my belly retaliates. And who can really eat 1 teaspoon of peanut butter? exactly, nobody.

olive oil: never liked it, never will. the taste grosses me out. if there is EVER oil on "fresh veggies" i taste it without fail, and can't eat it. Ick.

coconut oil: meh, don't really love it enough to make it part of my every day life. 

So, here are my sources of fat: unsweetened coconut milk, fish oil, chia seeds, and most importantly...100% chocolate. That's right. Amazing source of anti-oxidants and fat. NO SUGAR. Depending on how much other fat i consume throughout the day, I eat 1 or 2 ounces of 100% chocolate each day. The first time I tried it, I thought I was eating chalk. Then, something clicked. My body LOVED it!! It doesn't SIT like a rock in my stomach, doesn't cause gas, and now i LOVE the taste! I could eat an entire bar if it were in front of me!
**I buy individually wrapped 1.5 ounce portions due to this**

Here's an AMAZING chocolate meal. No carbs. Just protein and healthy fat. Well, a marginal 2-5 carbs depending on the protein powder you use, and how much cocoa powder you add.

You need:
1 (or more) scoops protein powder. chocolate or vanilla. or another flavor to make it SUPER interesting
1-2tb unsweetened cocoa powder 
splenda/stevia/truvia (i use 1 packet)

100% chocolate unsweetened baking chocolate bar

how to put it together:
mix the protein, cocoa, sweetener, and water together in a bowl until you get a pudding consistency
using a fork or knife, finely chop/grate/shave the chocolate bar so that you get little dark chocolate shavings on top of your pudding.

results: YUM. use as little or as much chocolate on top as your diet/palate requires.

ways to add "oomph" to this: 
---use unsweetened coconut or almond milk instead of water
---add 1tb chia seeds for more healthy fats
---freeze the pudding for 20 mins. Hello ice cream!

For you calorie counters out there...
protein: (80-120cals per scoop. I use 1.5scoops sun warrior vegan protein with 80 cals a 120)
cocoa powder: 20cals/TB (30 cals for my version. 1.5TB)
chocolate: I use 1.5oz (140)

MY total: 310 calories. 28 g protein. 15g fat. 8g carbs.

PERFECT meal for a rest day, since I don't need many carbs since I'm not training! AND it really hits the chocolate craving spot.

If you like chocolate, this is a MUST try. If nothing else, please try 100% chocolate. Find it in pretty much any grocery store in the baking aisle. Unsweetened chocolate baking bars are pretty customary ... if you're unsure just check the label and most of the calories should come from fat. 0g sugars, 4g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein is pretty standard for a serving of real chocolate.

GO EAT SOME CHOCOLATE! Not the hershey kiss version.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Easy for you to say!

Okay. If there is one thing that drives me INSANE...(who are we kidding. nearly everything is capable of driving me insane. Feel me out here.)

It's when people say something like "Well,easy for you to say, look at you!" 
Or, "You're so young, you should look amazing."

Why do those type of comments drive me nuts? Because I have to work SO HARD to keep my physique in this type of condition.

My body was NEVER "lean" or "slender" growing up. In fact, I was pretty damn mushy. (Here I was in middle school, mid teenage weight-gain during the summer)  I always had a flat stomach and an hourglass shape, but there was plenty of meat on my bones. While my diet was not clean whatsoever, I ate WAY healthier than a lot of my bone thin friends. I almost  never ate fast foods, pizza, processed hostess-type products, etc. I ate lots of peanut butter, cheerios, lean cuisine meals, and low-fat ice cream. Okay, so that stuff is processed, but you get what I mean? No ding-dongs or lunchables or pop-tarts were in my belly. I wore a size 10 dress to a formal in 9th grade. In this headshot, I was about 16, wearing size 31 jeans. My jeans now are mostly 26's.
  I wear a size 2 now in dresses, etc. (sometimes a 4 is needed for the curves..) But don't think for a SECOND that it comes easily. 
I don't lie about my workouts. I always tweet and blog about the vast amount of vegetables I stuff myself with so that there won't be any room for cravings. I more or less live on egg whites. I wake up to aching muscles and continue to put myself through grueling workouts no matter what. So don't think I just wake up and go through the motions, hoping that I'll stay the same size and not get fat. I work too hard. 

What's my reward? Well, I wake up every morning to a flat stomach, usually with energy, and feel good about the condition of my body. Even if I' having a "fat" or "bloated" day, I know that if I stay hydrated and work out, it'll go away in a day or two. I know my insides are clean, my body receives endless nutrients from all of the whole foods I include in my diet. Do I absolutely LOVE every meal I sit down to eat? No. There's no reason to! Do you think people who are shamefully plowing through a bag of Lays at their desk are thinking "Wow, these chips are sooo amazing thank god for the company that produced these chips and allowed me to eat them" ????!!! 

I eat foods that will yield positive results for my body, inside and out. Sure, I like green beans. Would I rather be eating banana bread or coconut milk ice cream? Sometimes, hell yeah. But that's not what I'm about. There is a time and a place for everything. I take my goals very seriously, and it has worked very well for me. I used to think that looking at a donut would put pounds on me. Now, I know that isn't true, but I know the donut would do NOTHING to help me. While it might not immediately harm me, it wouldn't immediately help me either. Also, packing on way more muscle to my frame has given me the ability to eat lots of calories without gaining fat at least noticeable fat.

MY POINT IS...You want something? WORK FOR IT. I work for what I WANT (even if some people think I already have it) EVERY SINGLE DAY. I make time for workouts, no matter how inconvenient. I microwave broccoli no matter how many times my sister complains that it smells. I sprint and climb stairs the day after I squat and deadlift. I get excited to do it all over again when the week is over, and I take my much needed day of rest. 

It is NOT easy for me. I work really hard, battle some really ugly thoughts and feelings about food and exercise occasionally, struggle with borderline eating disordered thoughts. Fitness and physique transformation comes with mind games and obstacles, that you need mental strength along with physical strength to tackle. I deal with those things every single day. So please, if you read this not ever tell me to be "thankful" or that I'm just "blessed" with my body. I spend hours on end working to be the best human I can be, and will continue to spend hours on end trying to have the best physique I can possibly have. I live for it. But I've always lived for challenge. I do NOT take the easy way out.

There. I think I'm done! Next time you're doing cardio even though your legs could barely get you out of bed...just remember, you aren't the only one. I'm probably feeling the exact same way. So are the other hundreds of fitness die-hards that slave over their bodies every day.  Go hard or go HOME!

Ah, Grocery Shopping

People are always asking me: 
Liz, what do you buy at the grocery store?! What should I buy when I go food shopping?! 

Summer is a GREAT season for produce. Veggies (and fruits) are usually in season, and ripe, and delicious! So go shopping, stick mainly to the perimeter my friends.

words of advice:
Set yourself up for the next couple of days. If you buy clean food and LOTS of veggies (which go BAD so u gotta use them!) you will eat it, because it is the only thing in your kitchen. Here's a sample of what I bought at my last trip to the grocery store. When I went shopping, I had in mind that I wanted to stock up on veggies, since those were my carbs and main source of fuel for the week, in addition to the oat bran, chia seeds, almond milk, eggwhites, tofu, tuna, and avocados that I already had in the fridge and pantry.
This is a shelf that I put all my groceries on. What's here: 
-Egg whites
-Pea Shoots
-Snap peas
-Bell Peppers
That food lasts me a few days on my veggie-heavy meal plan, thats IT!! I eat ALL CARBS FROM VEGGIES except oats in the morning. You don't have to, that's just my preference. Lately, I've been buying more frozen vegetables since I've gotten into green beans and broccoli. Being able to go to the grocery store often is KEY. However, you can feel free to buy more frozen vegetables if you'd prefer, so that you can stock up and keep larger volume for more than  a few days. I ALWAYS have frozen green beans, frozen broc, and frozen peas in the freezer. So easy, I just microwave them. I AINT NO CHEF!

--Buy things you SHOULD eat, but WANT TO also. If the thought of cabbage or spinach grosses you out, buy vegetables you ENJOY. some people like brussels sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini..those just aren't my preferences!

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" .. how many times have we heard this!? It's so true. If you buy the right things at the store, you set yourself up for success! Having tupperware containers handy is another huge help, so you can bring your healthy eats with you everywhere, and not waste money trying to buy semi-healthy options when you're out and about or at work.

Some recommendations for your next grocery trip:
lean organic chicken breasts
99% fat free ground turkey
tons of fresh veggies
eggs and liquid eggwhites
non dairy milks such as almond milk, coconut milk, flax milk
plain greek yogurt
sweet potatoes
organic tofu *disclaimer: I DONT EAT TOFU. I used to, and did for QUITE a few months...and look where it got me! Did no noticeable harm. but you read about the controversial soy and hormonal impact of consuming soy products elsewhere, don't yell about it here. Some people (largely vegans and those with very sensitive stomachs) consume tofu as a source of protein and fat, it is especially helpful in a diet for those who do not eat any dairy, chicken, turkey, or fish*
chia seeds, flax seeds, ground flaxseed
----for the masses: fresh fruit. I don't eat it on a regular basis, but you can completely incorporate it into a solid diet and still meet your goals. Just remember to include it as a source of carbohydrates. Fruit is NOT calorie free just because its natural! It's like nature's candy.
no salt tuna
rolled oats
oat bran
raw nuts: almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashews
natural nut butters, if that is--you can avoid eating it straight from the jar out of boredom because it tastes so damn good. oops, not like i used to do that or anything..
coconut oil/olive oil/flax oil
non-stick cooking spray *a MUST for me!!*

I'm sure there are TONS of other things. But this is a good start. Happy shopping!!!