Cramped Style

Dear Uterus: thanks for nothing.

Today was a wash–my cramps are wrapping around my back and going up and down my legs. So instead of the awesome death circuit I had planned, I went for a mostly relaxed bike ride in the sun. I did some sprints and the ride was about an hour long, so I’m not too bummed out–it was great to be outside.

I hate taking painkillers and the like, but I gave in today and took some muscle relaxants. I’m feeling slightly more human than I was, but I feel mostly like a cramped up, beached whale.

 

Muscular Myths

“Oh, I only do cardio–I don’t want to bulk up.”

“Chicks who lift weights look manly.”

Ever hear either of these two quotes, or something similar? Let me tell you: people who say things like this really burn my biscuits.

Developing strong muscles has a lot of benefits, including a higher metabolic rate while at rest (you burn calories more easily), bone/joint support, better posture, and overall health. Not to mention, toning certain body parts (my favs are back, shoulders, glutes, and legs) can give you a shaplier body that looks banging in just about anything (seriously, my burlap sack has never looked better). Check out this link from Livestrong.com for some more information on muscular development in women.

Just because you are lifting heavy or lifting at all doesn’t mean you are going to get a square jaw and have muscles coming out the wazoo. Most people, first of all, don’t have the discipline to develop the muscles that come out of the wazoo; second of all, if you lay off the juice, O.J., your jaw will be fine. Extremely muscular women have been working to have that physique–it wasn’t some accident because they did some heavy deadlifts at the gym one day!

Let’s take a look at a few chicks who lift:

Crystal Cunard, Kazia Sitarz, and Leigh Brandt (top to bottom) None of these are my photos–they were found on Google and I will be pleased to credit whomever took them. My google search was IFM Hot & Fit 100.

Don’t lift weights, seriously. Why would anyone want to look like those three?

Stress Factor

So I’ve been under a lot of stress lately; I’ve noticed that I’m carrying more weight around my middle than usual, likely as a result of increased cortisol production. Getting r&r whenever I can, but things are moving along at an overwhelming speed and it’s really been hard to take everything with a grain of salt.

I’ve been busting my hump about 60 hours per week, at two jobs (at least one of which I feel is killing my soul), and I’m still not able to make ends meet. I’m also sabotaging myself by making stupid purchases I know I can’t afford; it’s a psychological thing though–I tell myself I work hard and I deserve to treat myself, but then I’m forever playing catch up because of that treat. Sigh. I’m also moving at the end of June and trying to get those details hammered out. Did I mention I’m also developing grad school applications/thesis? And apparently I’ve been a huge bitch lately, so my gentleman friend has been given a run for his money.

I’m will stay positive..these are all character-building experiences that I will surely laugh about or be pleased I overcame in future.

Long Weekend Interruption

Did I neglect my body for the past three days? Yes, yes I did. Did I get falling-down drunk Sunday night? Sure did. Do I have a crazy amount of guilt for my bad behaviour? You bet.

Today I get back to the gym and kick my own ass–because I deserve nothing less. I have to follow my own advice and just move on from the bad choices I made on the weekend.

Simple. Available. Clean.

I was thinking about my diet yesterday; I went through my food journal and I was surprised at the number of treats I allow myself to have. There is always a few nibbles of baked goods from work, a slice of pizza from the bar, or a drink on a Friday night. These empty calories are adding up, so it’s time to get serious about self discipline, motivation, and making the choices that will get me closer to my health and fitness goals.

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time reading the advice of bikini competitors and I definitely see a pattern: Keep It Simple; Keep It Available; Keep It Clean. If I’m going to get to the 12% body fat,I need to get tough on my cravings and indulgences.

Last night, in preparation for this week, I packed 3 days worth of food into individual lunch bags, each bag has my first 4 meals of the day, leaving me to have another meal or two on my own in the evenings.I need to devote more time into prepping meals in advance; because I’m lazy, I’ll be eating a lot of canned tuna, hardboiled eggs, nuts, Greek yogurt, and protein powder smoothies. My mantra has to be “Keep It Simple; Keep It Available; Keep It Clean.”

Friday Inspiration

In light of the fact that I neglected to post my usual Tuesday Inspiration post, today’s will be SUPER inspirational:

The INSIDE FITNESS HOT & FIT 100

My personal favourite ladies featured on this list are:

Miryah Scott and Allison Ethier

I picked these two from the line-up because not only do they have rockin’ bodies, but they do not have HUGE boobs. Hey–if you have them or you got yourself a pair, more power to you, but I happen to be the President of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, so I can better relate to women with a more athletic than bodacious frame.

 

App Review: My Fitness Pal

I have been using the My Fitness Pal app for almost a month now. The thing I really love about this app is the barcode feature: using your phone, you snap a pic of the barcode of whatever you are chowing down on and voila! the nutritional information is [usually] populated. So far, I’ve only had one barcode that didn’t have any associated information (it belonged to a salad I’d bought at a grocery store, so I wasn’t that bummed out). The other feature I like is you can populate your own foods and create saved meals, that you can use later. For instance, I broke down a casserole into it’s individual components, saved it as a meal and now I just have to find that meal and select a serving size, rather than having to deconstruct the ingredients every single time.Another great feature is the weekly summary, you can break it down by vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, or you can do an at-a-glance pie chart that tells you how much of your diet is devoted to carbs, proteins, and fats. The app will also give you an estimate, based on that week’s caloric intake, of what you can expect to weigh in a month’s time, should you make similar food choices. Also, if you’re not eating enough calories, it will give you a friendly nudge and tell you that it’s in your best interest to eat more.

The downfall of this app is much like the foibles of the SparkPeople app: it’s basically impossible to get an accurate caloric read if you’re doing a lot of weight training. Not only are basic weight training exercises absent from the database (yes, you can add them, but I’m a busy lady who is already being diligent about recording her food journal), but the app does not account for any calories burned during a weight training session, it only uses cardio. Having input my weight and some other details, there should be a rough estimate, shouldn’t there?

For a free app, I’d have to say I’m pretty impressed with how user-friendly My FItness Pal is and how effective it has been as a food journal. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

Steps Into Miles

It’s so cliche, but it’s absolutely true: every little bit counts.

I tend to get frustrated and I will make excuses as to why I ate THE worst food choice at a restaurant or why I couldn’t make it to the gym; my favourite excuse is “Well, it’s just one meal” or “It’s just one workout.” In a sense, I’m right–one cheat meal or one skipped workout isn’t going to turn me into a 500lb couch potato. I’m also wrong–the culmination of cheat meals or workouts is really what the results will look like. Conversely, if I am wise with my food choices and diligent about getting myself to a gym, those singular meals and those individual workouts will add up to my body being in top form. And yes, I’m sure these are common sense ideas, but I also find it encouraging that a healthy lifestyle is not rocket science–it’s getting back to basics.

In just three weeks, I can already tell that I’m trimmer, more toned, and my mood has improved drastically. I’m starting to see results.