Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Choosing Healthier Alternatives - T-minus 20

Date: Tuesday 30 December
Weight: 62.1kg (down 2.1kg) Water retention gone!
Relaxation and Recovery: 30min walk around lake with TJ and Rob then 30min yoga DVD to stretch out tight glutes from yesterday's front squats
Exercise: HIIT sprints (30s on, 90s off x 8)
Meal Compliance: 6/6

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Choosing Healthier Alternatives - T-minus 21

Date: Monday 29 December

Thought for today: Instead of worrying about eliminating bad habits, focus on adopting good ones

Weight: 64.2kg (water retention from carbs over the weekend)
I am trying to gain muscle at the moment so am eating above maintenance but expect scale weight to come down a bit as I clean up my act.

Incidental: walk to shops to get eggs for breakfast
Planned: weight training: incline bench press, front squats, DB row, Bulgarian split squats
One benefit of the water retention from the weekend is increased leverage in my lifts. Got a PB in incline bench press - woot!

Meal Compliance: 6/6
Rob had his 'chocolate biscuit night' - once a week he eats two packets of D'lush gluten-free chocolate biscuits. I usually 'help' him eat them - I think they taste better than Tim Tams! Hard to stop at one (or two or three) though. Luckily I was at the gym when he had his first packet, and then was starting on my evening oats when he opened his second packet, so wasn't tempted.

My organic fruit and vege box arrived this morning so here's what I've got to play with this week:
baby spinach
bok choy
corn on cob
oak leaf lettuce
salad mix
spring onion
sweet potato
yellow squash

honeydew melon

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Plan

For the next few weeks my menu will be as follows:

M1: egg whites, whole egg, beans, veggies, cheese, fruit, fish oil
M2: yoghurt, nuts, protein powder, Vital Greens
M3: lean protein, salad, nuts, oil dressing, fish oil
M4: lean protein, salad, nuts, oil dressing
Weights (protein and carb drink)
M5: lean protein, veggies, fruit, rice & sweet potato, fish oil
M6: egg whites, fruit, oats

Non-weight-training days will be the same for meals 1-4
If doing HIIT will have drink with BCAAs, glutamine and Vital Greens
M5: lean protein, veges, fruit, few nuts, sweet potato, fish oil
M6: egg whites, whole egg, fruit, cheese

This gives me plenty of variety, as I can subsitute whatever lean meat, fruit, and veges I like into the menu, and it allows me to create meals that I enjoy and look forward to eating. And I have 10 percent of the week (roughly 4 meals) to eat some foods not on the menu. Where possible, I want to try and make those '10 percent' meals healthy alternatives rather than sugar-laden processed crap that turns my 'moderate indulgence' into a 'free-for-all'.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Conscious Competence

I was reading The 4 Stages of Mental Mastery by Chris Shugart yesterday, and this part in particular really struck me:

'Most experienced Testosterone readers probably find themselves stuck in the stage of conscious competence. And that's not a bad thing really. They aren't failures at all, but the daily grind and struggle make it easy to slip back to stage two.

Time is often the cure. Avoid shitty foods long enough and you won't want them anymore. Sometimes this can be done in as little as 21 days: a time period most behavior experts agree it takes to kick a habit.

With diet goals, that means that cold turkey is best. Let's take that 21-day example literally (although there can obviously be differences among individuals and individual habits). Okay, so if you avoid fried food for at least 21 days, you'll begin to lose your taste for it. But what if you have a cheat meal of fried food once per week, you know, 'cause you "deserve it" and it "replenishes glycogen or somethin'"?

Well then, you never reach 21 days of cold turkey, do you? In fact, you reinforce the negative behavior by making it special – a reward for being good all week.

The alcoholic doesn't kick booze by rewarding himself with a 12-pack every Saturday. Food addictions work the same way, which is why I now disagree with the idea of all-out cheat meals.'

This part of the article struck me because I am like this with sugar. My eating during the week is good (protein, veges, fruit, good fats, and carbs around training) and I deliberately avoid sugar, but during the weekend I am more likely to eat chocolate, biscuits etc. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I have a problem being 'moderate' with these kinds of foods. I need to get back into the habit of choosing other alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth.

So I am going to try going without sugar for 21 days (with the exception of workout drinks). I figure if I can do it during comp prep, there's no reason why I can't do it any other time, right?

Because I found being accountable to my blog helpful to achieve my Christmas Day goal, I am going to do the same for this goal. Starting Tuesday morning I will briefly log how the previous day went, and what alternatives I've used when I wanted something sweet.

On the Flip Side

I could have spent all Boxing Day on the couch reading, but felt like having some carbs so headed off to the gym in the late afternoon. Had an awesome workout, including DB deadlifts and dips. My upper back felt so tight from holding the DBs that I put my Skins top on when I got home to get some relief. Then I pretty much cleaned out the rest of the sweet treats left over from Christmas Day. Back is looking pretty full this morning (not to mention the rest of me, LOL).

10 July

27 December

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Had a good workout on Christmas Eve and then had some Christmas mince pies for my post workout carbs. Also a little bit of fudge and some chocolate-covered macadamias. Our gym is open today but I am going to be spending the day at home with friends and family, so have planned a lower carb menu since I won't be training. I am hoping that by blogging pics of what I eat today I will be more mindful of the amount that I eat at each meal - because I have been known to go back for fifths of dessert, LOL. I will try to post pics throughout the day.

Breakfast, 9.30am

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on grilled eggplant

Snack, 1.30pm

Protein powder and yoghurt, almonds, Vital Greens

Lunch, 4.30pm

Barbecue garlic beef fillet, salad with avocado and fetta

Snack, 7pm

Ham, brie cheese, egg, cherries

Pre-Dinner Nibbles, 9pm


Dinner, 10pm

Pickled pork, pineapple, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, cheese sauce

Snack, 11.30pm

Chocolate-coated ginger

- 2 coffees
- 1 glass champagne
- 3 glasses sparkling shiraz
- 1 glass pinot gris
- 1.5L sparkling mineral water
- 2 glasses diet coke
- 1 decaf coffee

A successful day for me food-wise. By being accountable to my blog (and therefore mindful of what I was eating), I learnt that I can eat the same way on Christmas day that I do on any other day. My protein portions were probably a bit bigger than normal (especially breakfast) but at no stage did I feel stuffed, or that my eating was out of control. I also proved to myself that I can drink alcohol in moderation (roughly 1 glass with each meal) without it affecting my eating. The other thing that helped this year was that I didn't volunteer to do a dessert, so I didn't have one of my favourites to tempt me. Rob's cousin made a trifle, but it's not something that I would normally choose to eat, so it was easy to pass up. Plus I had Christmas mince pies last night, so that kept me pretty happy. Now to do it all again tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Food Photo Log

I'm thinking about keeping a photo 'log' of the food I eat over Christmas and posting it here. Although I have planned healthy meals, I think the thought of showing everything I eat here will help me reduce my grazing and overeating. Would anyone else like to join in? Might be fun to see blogs full of a day's worth of Christmas eating.

Get in Better Shape Over Christmas?

My Holiday Fitness Challenge to You
by Tom Venuto

Media reports say that most people gain between 5 and 10 pounds of body fat in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to research from the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount is much more modest - just over a pound. However, even modest holiday weight gain may be cause for concern: A study by the National Institutes of Health found that this seasonal weight gain - even just a pound - is usually not lost after the holidays; it simply adds to the “weight creep” that sneaks up on us as we get older.

Whether the weight gain is a pound or ten pounds, did you ever ask yourself why does holiday weight gain happen at all?

Here are some common answers I’ve heard:

“I’m too busy over the holidays to work out as often as usual.”

“I’m more stressed over the holidays, and the food is there, so I eat more.”

“I have at least three parties to attend and then there’s christmas and New Year’s, so it’s impossible to stay on a diet”

“No one can tell me not to enjoy myself over the holidays so I’m just going to eat whatever I want.”

These answers all have a few things in common.

First, they assume that it’s an either/or proposition: You can either get in better shape or enjoy yourself, but not both. Stated in reverse: You can either deprive yourself of holiday enjoyments or gain weight, but it has to be one or the other. The truth is, “either/or thinking” is a very limiting form of thought.

Second, these are all excuses or rationalizations. “I’m too busy” for example, is always an excuse, because I have never known someone who was too busy to make time for his or her highest life priorities. The problem then, is not lack of time, but that most people do not make exercise or eating healthy a priority. We all have the same amount of time - 24 hours a day - but the way people prioritize the use of time is the difference between success and mediocrity. And remember, words mean little. Actions reveal a person’s true priorities.

Third, none of these are the real reasons most people gain weight over the holidays to begin with. The real reason is because an intention was never set for the opposite: To get in BETTER shape over the holidays.

Most people set a “goal” to get in worse shape over the holidays!

It’s not consciously set, of course, as few people would intentionally set out to gain fat. They simply do it by default. In their minds, they accept that it must be just about impossible to stay in shape with everything going on over the holiday season, so why bother?

Once the decision has been made, then the rationalizing (“rationing lies”) continues:

“Why should I deprive myself?”
“Family is more important”
“Worrying about diet and exercise during the holidays is neurotic”
“I don’t care if I gain a few pounds, I’m going to enjoy myself anyway”
“It’s only these two or three weeks that I let myself go wild”
“I’ll start the first week in January and lose the weight then.”

As a result of this “negative goal-setting,” they expect to work out less, eat more and gain a few pounds, and they don’t seem to even consider alternatives.

But what would happen if you set an intention and a goal to get in better shape between now and New Years’s Day?

What would happen if you decided that it was not an all or nothing proposition and that you could enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and get in better shape at the same time?

And what if you decided that your health and your body were the highest priorities in your life, because you realized that can’t enjoy anything else in life, including family or holidays, if you don’t have your health?

Here’s what would happen: You would get in better shape!

I’m not all that different from you just because I’m a bodybuilder and fitness professional. I have many of the same problems, concerns and struggles as you do. Although today I always get in better shape between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, that’s a result of a conscious choice, a close examination of my old belief systems and a lot of action. For me, it all started about six years ago.

For most of my adult life, I wasn’t much of a traveller and I didn’t enjoy flying or staying in hotels. I had a belief that if I traveled, my workouts and nutrition would suffer. After all, “it would be hard to stick with my usual bodybuilding diet, and I wouldn’t have access to my usual gyms.” Because of these reasons (excuses), I never did much travel back in those days.

Then I was forced to take some trips for business reasons. Predictably enough, my nutrition and workouts suffered while I was spending time in airplanes and in hotels. With my experience having confirmed my beliefs, I re-affirmed to myself, “See, travelling is nothing but a pain. You just can’t stay on a diet and training program when you’re out of town.”

After several more trips, I noticed that something very negative happened: I surrendered. I had resigned myself to “not bother” while I was on the road. I let my expectations create my reality.

But I didn’t let it go on for long. As soon as I became aware of what was happening, I decided that I wouldn’t tolerate it, so I challenged myself and my previous limiting beliefs. I asked myself, “Why the heck not? Why let myself backslide? Why even settle for maintaining? Why not challenge myself to improve while I’m traveling?” The answer: There was no reason, there were only excuses.

From that day forward, I set a challenge for myself: To come back from every trip or vacation in better shape than when I left. Of course there were exceptions, as when I went on a vacation for total R & R. But I never let travel get in my way again…

I prepared food that I would eat on the planes so airline food was never an excuse…
I only chose hotels that had kitchens, so I could cook my own food…
I went food shopping immediately after check-in…
And I actually found myself training harder than usual!

No matter where I was training - it could even be some “dungeon” of a gym in the middle of nowhere - it didn’t matter because my mind was focused on improving and looking better when I came home than when I left. I had a goal!

What do you think happened? It’s not hard to guess: I always came home in better shape than when I left.

Since then, my “travel challenge” has become somewhat of a ritual in my life. When I’m away from my “home-base” it becomes a “fitness road trip.” I search the Internet or yellow pages or ask locals to help me find the most hard-core gym nearby wherever I will be staying. When I get there, I train every bit as hard as if I had a competition just weeks away. I look forward to it now.

In fact, this experience is what led me to my “holiday fitness challenge.”

Like many people, I travel over the holidays, so I’m automatically in “travel challenge” mode at thanksgiving, Christmastime and New Year’s. But with the additional temptations and busyness that the holidays bring on top of the usual travel stresses, I saw fit to declare a new challenge: “The Holiday Challenge.” The difference was that for my “holiday challenge,” I pledged to not only to return home in better shape than when I left, but to enjoy the holidays to the fullest at the same time.

People who think I “deprive” myself to look the way I do would be shocked: I eat some damn good food over the holidays including Pie at Thanksgiving and my mom’s famous red and green Jell-0 Christmas cake. Then on New Year’s I’m usually toasting champagne and having a blast with friends or family. The difference is, every other meal stays right on schedule and I work out hard and consistently over the holidays; I don’t let everything fall apart just because ‘tis the season.’ In fact, I work out HARDER over the holidays!

The idea that you can either enjoy the holidays or stay in shape - but not both - is damaging and limiting. It hurts your social life, your emotional life and your physical life. Life is not an either or proposition; it’s a matter of balance. Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself, re-evaluating your expectations and acting in accordance with all of the above.

Your expectations will become your reality.

What are you expecting this holiday season? Are you expecting to be in better shape after holiday parties, celebrations, banquets, dinners, and desserts? If not, then why not? What’s preventing you from enjoying all of the above and still getting in better shape? Do you have a limiting belief which dictates that it’s one or the other? Could it be that you never set a goal, intention or expectation to do it? Could it be that you’re rationalizing or making excuses? If so, then I challenge you to change it this year.


There’s less than a month until the end of the year. Why not see how much you can improve your physique over the holidays, without depriving yourself of any holiday enjoyments or festivities? Just step up your expectations. Step up your standards. Step up your nutrition. Step up your training. Step up your action. Step up to the “holiday fitness challenge” the minute you finish reading this, and then just see what happens!

Eat right, train hard and expect success

-Tom Venuto

Steering Clear of Sugar

by Maya Anderson

'With many of the latest health reports now focusing on carbohydrates and fats, it sometimes seems that sugar has been forgotten. So does sugar actually deserve the bad rap it has gotten in previous years? Natureco naturopath Samantha Warner said while sugar in itself is neither good nor bad, the issue is quality and quantity. “Sugar in the modern world has become evil purely due to its high availability and excess in processed foods,” she said. Most processed food does not contain many minerals and vitamins, which help the body to use the energy from sugar. “We must use our stored nutrients to help us digest and assimilate the sugars we are eating, leading to chronic deficiencies particularly magnesium, chromium, zinc and B vitamins,” Ms Warner said.

Too much sugar can also feed fungi and other pathogens in the blood, leading to candida and other bowel dysbiosis. “Sugar makes the blood sticky, potentially leading to clots, and blocks in small capillaries, leading to tissue and nerve damage,” Ms Warner said. Excess sugar can also cause free radical damage and oxidation in the vascular system, which can contribute to plaque formation in the arteries and cardiovascular disease.

Read more

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Managing Cravings

From 'Dreaming of a Light Christmas' by Paula Goodyer in today's Age newspaper.

'If you have a craving for cake - or a drink - trying to supress it can sometimes make the craving worse, [psychologist] Kavanagh explains.

"Not only are you trying not to focus on the craving, you're also mentally checking to make sure you're not thinking about it," he says.

That's where mindfulness comes in - the practice of allowing thoughts to float into your head, rather than fighting to keep them out.

"The idea is to try to see unwanted thoughts - like cravings - as paper boats floating past on a stream. You can grab them or you can let them drift past," he says, adding that, with practice, we can learn to let the thoughts go - and perhaps replace them with more positive images of how we want to be.'

Friday, December 12, 2008


I upped my food intake this week since I'm now doing more strenuous workouts but I'm hungry! I woke up early this morning and couldn't get back to sleep because I was hungry so got up to have something to eat. I took TJ for a walk straight afterwards and by the time I got home I was hungry again! Hopefully that means I am growing, yay! Fruit and veges have just arrived, so am off to unpack them and find something else to eat, LOL.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Program!

I've spent the last four weeks or so addressing some structural, flexibility and strength issues. I now have more of a curve in my lower back, my hamstring flexibility is much improved, and my instable shoulder is feeling much stronger. I was training legs consistently throughout this phase, but did little in the way of heavy upper body work, focusing instead on external rotations and scapular retraction to strengthen my shoulder. On Monday I started on a new program to gain muscle and am really enjoying getting back into the heavy lifting. Needless to say, my upper body was pretty sore on Tuesday, especially my back (and I only did two sets of rows for my back!). Trained again yesterday and slept really well last night. Rob said he was a bit tired this morning because he was up after the cat a couple of times during the night - I didn't hear a thing!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Start your day with water

(An excerpt from Water for Weight Loss by Jonny Bowden)

'In two separate studies, (both published in recent issues of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism) researchers found that within 10 minutes of drinking about a pint* of water, metabolic rates in both men and women begin to increase as much as 24-30 percent!

They don't completely know why, but it might have something to do with osmotic pressure changes. (If you're wondering, other drinks don't seem to have the same effect, so it's definitely the water that's doing it.)

You know, if you drank this much water every day upon rising you could actually burn an extra 17,400 calories a year- for a loss of five extra pounds. Just from drinking water!

Now granted, that's not an awful lot of weight. But added to all the other benefits of water, the little bit of extra weight loss is a nice bonus!

For best results consume it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

And then keep on drinking all day!'

* A pint is almost 500mL

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lonely Planet Christmas Party

Date: Saturday 6 December
Theme: Treasure Island
Dress: Pirates and Wenches

Thursday, December 4, 2008

BBQ last weekend

Last weekend we had the first of our Christmas functions - a barbecue for the staff of the Australian College of Sports Therapy, held at one of the lecturer's houses up near Hanging Rock. We got there a bit early, so ended up going to the cellar door at Paramoor Winery for some wine tasting.

The atmosphere was lovely, and after buying a few bottles, we decided to sit outside in the sunshine with a glass each and have a chat. Then we headed off to the BBQ. It was a nice afternoon, sunny but not too hot, and I enjoyed meeting Rob's workmates and their families and having some yummy pecan pie and baked cheesecake.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Figure Competitions

2006 – INBA, Auckland New Zealand
Charlotte Orr June 2006
2006 – NABBA, Auckland, New Zealand
2 days 9 November 2006 021
2007 – INBA, Melbourne, Australia
2008 – INBA, Melbourne, Australia
2008 – ANB, Melbourne, Australia

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ANB pic - 'relaxed'

IMG_9203, originally uploaded by ROSS BROWNSDON PHOTO.

Backstage pic, ANB show Sun 5 October

All photos by Ross Brownsdon

ANB pic - rear double bicep

IMG_9205, originally uploaded by ROSS BROWNSDON PHOTO.

Backstage pic from ANB show, Sun Oct 5

ANB pic - front double bicep

IMG_9204, originally uploaded by ROSS BROWNSDON PHOTO.

Backstage pic from ANB show, Sun Oct 5

Monday, November 24, 2008

Peaking and your Personality

One of the things I liked about competing this year was that I had the experience of previous comps behind me, which helped me to be better prepared. For example, I made sure I had my Dream Tan, hair and make-up done before arriving at the venue, so I didn't feel under pressure. And, because I didn't have to spend as long backstage getting ready, I could sit in the audience for a while and watch the show, so I felt more relaxed than I did last year. However, because I was trying a method I hadn't used before to carb up on the day (potassium, rice cakes and honey), I was referring to my timing instructions a bit, and trying to juggle water, tablets, sticky honey and crumbly rice cakes, so I probably wasn't as relaxed as I could be. I know that using potassium and carbs on the day works well for some people, but for me, it's something extra to think about, and with my busy mind, it's an extra hassle I don't need. As mentioned previously, I prefer to do most of my carbing up in the couple of days beforehand, then on the day have just a little at breakfast and before going on stage.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Religion of Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

By Will Brink

Pre- and post-workout nutrition is all the rage these days, and for good reason. For some, however, it’s become more than a science—it’s become their religion, or perhaps just a place to focus their OCD-like tendencies.

Regardless, people have taken the topic of pre- and post-workout nutrition to a level that is not justified by the research, or at least not confirmed by the research that currently exists.

read more


It's supposed to be the end of spring but it's freezing cold and wet this morning. I've just got back from taking my dog from a walk and I wore trackpants, a thermal top, fleecy, hooded sweatshirt, scarf and a raincoat. We walked for 45 minutes and while I wasn't cold, I didn't feel hot either. Could have done with some gloves. Rob is going to be working outside all day today at the Corporate Games and I reckon he is going to be like an icicle when he gets home. Then a couple of his friends are coming over to watch the league final. I was trying to think of what to make for dinner that would be warm and easy to cook, and then I remembered a recipe for Easy Thai Chicken in a slow cooker that I saw on Figure Athlete a couple of weeks ago. It looks like it could be a bit on the bland side, so will probably add some chilli, garlic and coriander to it. Will brave the cold and wet again shortly for a walk down to the butcher. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Athlete in Us

Regardless of ability, experience, or goals, adopting the identity of an athlete defines who you are and how you integrate nutrition and training into your life. It strengthens a commitment to the behaviours and strategies that are inherent in a healthy lifestyle. If you believe that you are a fit person, the choices you make will reflect your identity as such.

With this identity, you are the person who does not miss workouts. You are the person who chooses better food options. You are the person who continues to do these things whether you’re on vacation, have had a bad day, are not seeing progress, or just don’t feel like it some days. You are the person who gets right back in the game when you do slip and fall.

Regardless of whether you have achieved your goals, you do these things because your identity as a fit person won’t permit you to act any other way.

So get the gear. Build the environment and lifestyle of being fit. Surround yourself with fit friends and people who will cheer you on. If you make fitness and nutrition your identity, you will find every creative solution to get up off the ice and stay in the game.

Full article

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dry Me Out

Just wanted to post a little about final week prep. The method that has worked best for me so far is to "arrive" early (this means no stress about being ready in time) then dry out in the final week. I didn't completely cut water (had 1.25L on the Friday) but still managed to get pretty dry through manipulation of food. Here are some comparison pics from the Monday and the Saturday. Please note that this was in my first year of competing (2006), hence lack of size and goofy posing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flax Oil Salsa

This is yummy on fish , chicken or over veges. Tastes a bit like pesto.

1 bunch basil
1 bunch chives
1 bunch parsley
1/2 cup mint
3-6 garlic cloves
1 baby onion
50g capers
1 can drained anchovies
1 tsp seeded mustard
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 C flax oil

Blend all together, put in a container and refrigerate.

Thought for the Day

'Worrying is like saying little prayers for things you don't want' (Linda Miller)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feeling relaxed

I was going to post today about how relaxed I've been feeling the last few days, especially around food. Then I read Katie's post, What Flicks the Switch, which pretty much covers my reactions to 'S' foods as well. Since the start of the week my diet has been similar to hers, with protein, veges and good fats at all meals, and a little bit of starchy carb around training. It means I have no sugar cravings, no mindless eating of starchy carbs past the point of being full, no stress. I feel calm. This style of eating isn't for everyone, but I can count on one hand the times I have felt this relaxed this year, and each of those times has been when I've eaten like this, so I'm sticking with it.

Thought for the Day

"If you work really hard to achieve your goals but don’t enjoy the journey, you’re delaying the essence of life. Committing to your goals doesn’t mean you slave away at work you dislike, celebrating only the destination. A real abiding commitment means that you love what you do each day. You are at least as passionate about the path as you are about the results. If you love the path you’re on, your passion motivates you to keep taking the next step." (Steve Pavlina)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Simple Secrets to Health & Wellness

DNA and cells are crucial to the health of the human body. Human cells are susceptible to damage during the natural process of oxidation that occurs within our bodies. Oxidation releases free radicals which are harmful to our cells.

Stress, inadequate nutrition, poor digestion, toxin build-up or lack of exercise increases the oxygen-free radicals. The result is a weakened immune system, premature aging, anxiety, depression, decrease in mental capacity, illness, cancer, weight-gain, lack of libido or insufficient energy. ANTIOXIDANTS boost the body's immunity against oxidation, eat up the free-radicals and help to keep the body strong and youthful. Antioxidants are found in many natural foods - what we also often hear referred to as flavonoids from plant foods. Flavonoids actually are more than just antioxidants and help our cells communicate with each other..cell talk! Flavonoids can affect the way our cells respond to inflammation, allergens, free-radicals, bacteria, cancer and even viruses.

The body needs on an average 3000- 5000 UNITS OF ORAC ANTIOXIDANTS PER DAY. ORAC (oxidative radical absorbance capacity of antioxidants in food). Many RAW SUPERFOODS have a high ORAC value and powerful flavonoids. In vogue are pure cacao, goji berry, açai berry, Japanese green tea, curcuma, ginger and spirulina. Not as well known but quite powerful are coffee cherry, acerola cherry, lucuma, seabuckthorn berry and the sensual rose. Not all foods are easily digested by each body - not everyone can digest each food equally well. Genetics, illness and or inadequate digestive enzymes may prevent the assimilation of proper nutrients from food into the body. PREBIOTIC FOODS are typically more easily digested and thereby allow nutrients and probiotics to work more powerfully inside the body.

All calories are not created equally! The question should not be: 'How many calories?' BUT
'What type of calories?'

LOW-GLYCEMIC calories satisfy the appetite, stimulate fat loss, keep sugar levels stable and give the body lasting energy and better performance. The body also needs good fats like ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS and omegas to lubricate the cells, nourish the brain and nervous system, protect bones & muscles and enhance power. Remember, a clean body is a good body! REGULAR BOWEL MOVEMENTS get rid of waste and toxins and keep the rectum and colon healthy and clean. Pure water and natural food fiber are simple yet powerful cleaning agents. Of course, humans are built for movement. PHYSICAL EXERCISE generates new cells, burns fat, builds muscles, suppresses appetite & stimulates the release of endorphins in the cells. Endorphins keep us feeling good, strong, sexy and happy. Let's not forget that CLEAN AIR, LOW STRESS, RELAXATION & DEEP SLEEP repair and renew our cells, promote pro-aging and stimulate powerful health at any age. Most importantly, we are what we think - every thought affects our cells. POSITIVE THOUGHTS promote powerful energized cells.


Thought for the Day

"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it."
-William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thought for the Day

"The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent."~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

Monday, November 10, 2008

Barbecue Garlic Beef Fillet

Had coffee this morning with the lovely Fiona Sultana, and we got to talking about food (as you do). I mentioned this recipe for marinated beef fillet, which we will probably have on Christmas Day (yes, I've started thinking about Christmas food already), and thought I would post it here. I think it was originally out of a leaflet from Foodtown (NZ supermarket).

- 1 fillet of beef, about 1.25kg
- 4 cloves garlic, slivered

- 3/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 Tbsp olive oil

With the point of a sharp knife, make small slits in the beef, insert the slivered garlic. Place the beef in a plastic bag. Combine the wine, mustard and garlic then slowly whisk in the oil. Pour into the plastic bag and move the beef around so it is well coated in marinade.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Turn occasionally.

Remove the beef from the marinade. Place under or over medium heat and grill or barbecue for about 8 minutes each side depending on the thickness of the meat. Baste occasionally with a little of the marinade.

If cooked in a barbecue oven, roast for about 20 minutes at 190 degrees C (this is how we usually do it).

Cover loosely with foil and stand for 5 minutes in a warm place before carving. This 'sets' the juices and makes the meat easier to cut. The marinade can be strained, boiled and served with the beef.

Serves about 6.

Thought for the Day

'Live from the outcome. When you're working towards a goal, you're creating a feeling of not having it yet. So when you live from the outcome, you're living life as if you've already manifested that desire.' (James Ray)

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Does this sound familiar?

'Many have competed “wanting” that physique, they can’t possibly maintain. And what happens once they attain it. Usually that “want” is just replaced by another want. Many want that contest look till they have it, and once attained a set of “new wants” appears does it not?

All of a sudden the attained physique is not nearly as important as “now I want to eat normal food” “I want to be able to go out and have a few drinks with my friends, and not be so worried about my physique" “I don’t want to be a slave to my training any more” So what happens then? These people with the “wanting mentality” then go out and pursue these new wants till they lose entirely their physiques they previously “wanted” for so long. And then the process of “want” continues all over again. This is hardly a winning thought strategy.

People need to change if necessary their thoughts, actions, and behaviours to build a life that suits them, not a life burdened by endless “wants” and pursuing accomplishments as end results with no long term meaning.

If people are going to develop effective life strategies, even in something as seemingly simple as diet psychology then lessons must be learned or the process just keeps repeating itself.'

Scott Abel, New Year’s “Evolutions”: Negative Diet Strategies Reflective of Self-Image Issues, January 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Carbing up

Imagine this....

You can eat a 200g bag of jelly snakes in one sitting without blinking. One of your favourite spreads is honey, and you have been known to eat half a loaf of bread when it's toasted and spread with honey.

You know this, and don't like the fact that once you start eating sweet stuff you find it hard to stop. You gradually reduce your sugar consumption so you only have it around your workouts, when your body can best use it.

Then, in the four weeks before your comp, you cut out the sugary stuff around your workouts as well. After a couple of weeks things like sweet potatoes and blueberries start to taste sweet. Your body feels calm.

You receive your instructions before your show. Jelly snakes and honey are two of the ingredients for your carb up. You stand in the confectionary aisle, reluctantly looking at the jelly snakes. It's been months since you last had any. You throw a packet in your basket, along with a bottle of squeezy honey.

Think about this for a moment. You have had months of eating low- to no-sugar foods (by choice) and in the last four weeks your carbohydrates have mostly come from low-GI plant-based foods. How do you think your body is going to react when you do two shows over a weekend and have two days of back-to-back high GI carbs? Please sir, can I have some more?

More than anything, my experience with comp prep this year has taught me to stay true to my beliefs about how my body works. I would rather do a longer, slower carb up on sweet potatoes on the Thursday and Friday before a show than have sweet potato on the Friday and rice cakes, honey and jelly snakes on the Saturday. Give the body more of what it's used to, rather than shock it with something foreign.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vegetables and Their Anti-Cancer Effects

"Cancer is caused by a combination of many different behavioural, physical, environmental and genetic risk factors which include smoking, UV exposure, age, poor diet and lack of physical activity, as well as exposure to certain chemicals, viruses or bacteria. It is believed that the diet contributes to one third of all cancer deaths.

Various epidemiological data has demonstrated that high fruit and vegetable consumption, over 5 servings per day, decreases the overall risk of many different cancers by approximately one half. The beneficial effects of fruit and vegetable consumption have been linked to their anti-oxidant and anti-proliferative effects. Anti-proliferation targets the later progression stages of cancer and helps prevent the spread of the disease.

A recent study set out to find the anti-proliferative and anti-oxidant effects of 34 different vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes and green beans in eight different types of cancer cells kept alive outside the body. These included stomach, kidney, prostate, breast, brain, pancreatic and lung cancer cells.

Results revealed that prostate and stomach cancer cell lines were most sensitive to the extract treatments. The prostate cancer cells were reduced by 50% or more in 23 of the 34 vegetable extracts tested and stomach cancer cells were reduced by 50% or more in 19 of the 34 vegetable extracts tested.

In lung, pancreas and kidney cancer lines, this decrease only occurred in 14, 12 and 7 of the 34 vegetable extracts. This may indicate that prostate and stomach cancers are more sensitive to dietary influences. The vegetable extracts that demonstrated >50% inhibition in all cell lines were Brussel sprouts, cabbage, curly cabbage, garlic, green onion, kale, leek and spinach. Garlic extract diluted at 1/1000 demonstrated complete inhibition of the [brain] cell line. At this dose, it was the most potent inhibitor of proliferation.

In addition, the anti-oxidative capacity of each vegetable extract was quantified. Garlic, curly cabbage and Brussel sprouts had the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC)* values of 41.1, 40.5, and 32.9 µmol Trolox** equiv./ml respectively. Acorn squash and English cucumber, had the lowest values of 1.5 and 1.4 µmol Trolox equiv./ml.

In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the anti-carcinogenic properties of these vegetables produce anti-oxidative and anti-proliferative effects that help decrease cancer risk."

Full article and references here

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Phase 1

After having four weeks of relaxed eating and exercising, it's time to get back into a routine again.

Although I'm keen to get back into heavy training, I've decided to do a preparatory phase first. Today Rob and I did some postural, flexibility and muscular strength assessments. I have a posterior pelvic tilt (flat lower back), quite a few flexibility issues, and an instable shoulder (old skiing injury). So for the next four weeks I will be addressing these problems, training three days per week. I'll also do a couple of interval training sessions a week, so my week will look something like this:

Mon workout
Tues interval cardio
Wed workout
Thu interval cardio
Fri workout

plus I will be doing 'lifestyle' cardio (walking the dog) each day.

Planned meals for this week:
Weights days:
1 yoghurt, protein powder, almonds, Vital Greens, fish oil
walk dog
2 frittata, legumes
3 Rae's favourite salad plus oil and balsamic dressing
4 same as 3
train (Surge)
5 lean meat, veges, rice, fruit
6 egg whites, quinoa, fruit (made into pancake)

Nonweights days:
1 yoghurt, protein powder, almonds, Vital Greens, fish oil
walk dog
2 frittata, legumes
3 Rae's favourite salad plus oil and balsamic dressing
4 same as 3
interval cardio/rest
5 lean meat, veges, nuts, fruit
6 egg whites, whole egg, cheese, fruit

I will have four 'off plan' meals per week, probably Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night.

Oh, and I need to drink more water too.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Forward planning

Since comp I've been busy with work so cardio has been fairly nonexistant. But have been consistent with training - lots of compound exercises in the 6-8 rep range, and my appetite has been pretty 'healthy'. Have still been eating mostly what and when I want, mostly clean stuff during the week and a few treats in the weekends. Haven't weighed much (food or myself) in the last couple of weeks.

My parents are arriving at the end of the week and we are going away for a few days.

Am looking forward to seeing them, relaxing, and visiting a sheeps cheese factory and maybe a winery while we are away.

After we get back I am looking forward to getting back into my morning walks with the dog. Training intensity will be a bit lower as I will be focusing on some corrective exercises for structural imbalances for a couple of weeks, so will start to keep a closer eye on food intake/weight then.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008


First of all, congratulations to everyone who competed at the INBA nationals over the weekend.

I would also like to congratulate my husband Rob. Two weekends ago he won two silver medals at the Australian Jiu Jitsu Champions Cup, and this weekend he won his weight class at his club's tournament.

We have managed to manipulate his diet so that he weighs in at the very top of his weight class (giving him a strength advantage) without any depletion/dehydration the week beforehand. He has an eating plan that he uses in the comp season, which he adds treats to in the weekends. Depending on how he is tracking weight-wise a week or two out from comp, he just cuts out the treats and does a little more incidental exercise. This week he also stopped his grappling practice early in the week, giving him plenty of energy for today's fights.

Pics from today:

He has the Pan Pacific champs in two weeks, and after that he will be into his off season. He knows now that it is in his advantage not to put on too much bodyfat during this time as it takes a lot of work to get it off again to get to his ideal fighting weight. Now he knows what I go through, LOL.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

All Food is Good

Reading Katie's post about rules reminded me of an article I read recently about good food vs bad food:

All food is good
For a whole range of reasons we tend to classify foods as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Dietitian Glenn Cardwell suggests we change our way of thinking about food and drop the guilt trip. It’s about the ratio not the food he says in his new book, Getting Kids to Eat Well. Here’s an extract.

“How can all food be good for you? It doesn’t make sense and let’s face it, trustworthy friends, family and the media constantly remind us that there are bad foods that will harm us and our children. Ask yourself this, however: ‘If I eat potato chips or French fries once a month will it shorten my life or increase my chance of heart disease or getting fat?’ I suspect most of you will say ‘No’. What if you ate the same food five days a week? Your answer will probably be ‘Yes’.

We have been conditioned to think that food is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. If I ask you to name a few good foods you are likely to list: fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and bread, lean meat, legumes, reduced fat milk or soy drink, and with a little more thought you might include nuts (unsalted, of course), peanut butter, rice and pasta and some of your famous home-made custard or pesto.

If I ask you to name the bad foods, your list might seem to be endless: fast foods, deep fried foods, soft drinks, confectionery, anything with caffeine, crisps, snack foods, coloured bits in breakfast cereals, candy floss, chocolate biscuits, hundreds and thousands … Be honest with yourself – aren’t some of those ‘bad’ foods also your favourite foods? Think about hot pizza on a cold Sunday evening when you couldn’t be bothered cooking, or chocolate melting over your tongue, or a cappuccino and croissants from that great café down the road overlooking the park?

How do you feel when you eat these foods? Guilty? Worried that the food is going to laugh maniacally, bypass your digestive system and leap onto your bottom to remain forever? It is common to feel ‘bad’ after eating ‘bad’ food.

How do you feel when you eat ‘good’ food? Pleased with yourself? Happy you have control over your food and your life? A glow from nourishing your body well?

How you classify food will determine how you feel after eating that food. Classifying food as ‘bad’ just means you feel bad after eating it. Calling it ‘bad’ has given that food a huge amount of power, a power it hardly deserves. Nature is designed such that you should feel grateful and happy after every repast. Feeling guilty or uncomfortable after eating is neither natural nor healthy.

Try spinning it all around. Start labelling a ‘bad’ food as a ‘good’ food. Now, the ‘bad’ foods will lose their emotional power. It can no longer make you feel bad or guilty. When you call a food ‘good’ instead of ‘bad’, the power actually returns to you. Here’s the tricky bit: it is now up to you to eat all foods in amounts that are good for your health and well-being.

Like you, I enjoy eating good quality food and feel much better for it. Indeed, one reason I like to make 90% of my food very nutritious is so I have some flexibility with the other 10% to enjoy, without guilt, some pizza, black jelly beans or corn chips. They may be high in saturated fat, sugar or salt, but as they comprise only 10% of the diet they have little chance to cause harm. This 90:10 mix works for me. You can even eat a nutritious diet based on a 80:20 mix, which is the common blend that most people can enjoy. If you go to a 70:30 mix then you will likely be getting too much fat, sugar and salt in your diet.

As a counter-point, I don’t think there is much benefit in trying to get a 100:0 ratio as you are likely to become food obsessive, striving to reach something called the ‘perfect’ diet. Nothing in life is perfect. Enjoying a treat is absolutely normal and makes life interesting. There is not a scrap of evidence that the occasional chocolate, bowl of premium ice cream or croissant ever led to anyone’s early demise.”

For more information, check out

Friday, October 17, 2008


'Before you go psycho trying to figure out your post workout meal or order the latest supplements, realize that if you can just consistently exercise and eat clean then the rest of this stuff just does not matter. ' (Jodi Jones, Cathy Savage Fitness)

My off season this year is all about keeping it simple. I plan to do weights three or four times a week, with a little bit of cardio and/or some yoga on my off days. I have some meal plans to follow, which means I won't be stressing about what to eat when, and the only supplements I will be taking are fish oil, protein powder, creatine, greens powder, recovery drink/BCAAs.


The road to success... Is always under construction. Life in Motion

Thursday, October 16, 2008


"Focus your energies not on what you want to change but rather on what you want to create." John Rahn

Post comp food

Post comp I had some treats on Sunday, then tried to get back into clean eating on Mon. I planned to have the week off training. By Wed night I'd had enough of being hungry (my metabolism is always racing after competing) and decided to eat what I wanted and take advantage of the extra food and have a killer workout on Thurs. That went well so ended up doing that for the past week. My hunger has abated a bit now, so am starting to get back on track with my eating, although food has been a bit odd this week. Our fridge started warming up late last week. Had someone come out to look at it on Tues, but in the meantime we'd been eating all the perishables before they went off. Turns out they needed to take the fridge away and give us a replacement, and that didn't happen until Thurs, so I've been walking down to the shops each morning to get half the day's food, then popping into the shops again after training in the afternoon to get the remainder of the day's food. As a result I have been eating more tinned food and protein powder than usual, but it's been nice not to do as much cooking.

Today's eats:
Meal 1: 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, veges, cheese, baked beans
Meal 2: yoghurt, protein powder, almonds
Meal 3: tuna, large salad, olive/flax oil, cashews
Meal 4: tuna, large salad, olive/flax oil, walnuts
train (recovery drink)
Meal 5: lean meat, stir-fry veges, wild rice, fruit
Meal 6: buckwheat pancakes (made with egg whites), fruit

Am training shoulders with Rob soon so better get going. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Allium Family

Dr. Perricone's 10 Superfoods
No. 2: The Allium Family
Onions, Garlic, Chives, Leeks, Shallots and Scallions

If açaí is the most exotic food on this list, the Allium family of foods is perhaps the most humble. Garlic, onions, leeks and chives contain flavonoids that stimulate the production of glutathione (the tripeptide that is the liver's most potent antioxidant). Glutathione enhances elimination of toxins and carcinogens, putting the Allium family of vegetables at the top of the list for foods that can help prevent cancer. Here are just a few benefits from members of this family.

Lowers total cholesterol (but raises HDL—"good"—cholesterol)
Lessens the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces the risk of blood clots (cause of the majority of strokes and heart attacks)
Destroys infection-causing viruses and bacteria
Reduces the risk of certain cancers, in particular, stomach cancers
Produces more "natural killer" cells in the blood to fight tumors and infections
Helps fight against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's
Enhances detoxification by reducing toxins

For optimum effect, eat garlic raw. Cooking can destroy some of the allicin compound, which is the active constituent.

Inhibit the growth of cancerous cells
Increase in HDL cholesterol (especially when eaten raw)
Reduce total cholesterol levels
Increase blood-clot dissolving activity
Help prevent colds
Stimulate the immune system
Reduce the risks of diabetes
Have antibacterial and antifungal properties
Reduce the risk of certain cancers
Help relieve stomach upset and other gastrointestinal disorders

Onions contain two powerful antioxidants, sulphur and quercetin—both help neutralize the free radicals in the body, and protect the membranes of the body's cells from damage.

Leeks have all of the healthy properties of the Allium family as described above. However leeks also contain these nutrients:
Vitamin B6
Vitamin C

This particular combination of nutrients makes leeks particularly helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, since they not only slow the absorption of sugars from the intestinal tract, but help ensure that they are properly metabolized in the body. Spikes in blood sugar accelerate aging, wrinkles and a host of degenerative diseases.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

16 weeks

That's how much prep time I reckon I need.

I usually compete at around 51kg. My body likes to sit at around 58kg in the off season. It's not the '5kg ideal' but it's where my weight has ended up prior to every comp prep, so I'm not going to fight it. My comp preps have usually been 10-11 weeks and I don't think that's long enough. Only once have I been happy with my level of leanness, and that was doing it hard in 10 weeks and losing some muscle along the way. So I reckon 16 weeks would be a good amount of time to lose about 7kg. Assuming a 'linear' rate of weight loss (yeah right!) that would give me 14 weeks to get the weight off, plus a couple of weeks up my sleeve.

Also, I have only ever tracked my prep progress by how I'm looking (photos) or, most recently, with weight. I think I would like to do it with calipers next time, so I have something to guage my progress against for future preps.

Planning Ahead

Rob and I have been doing a bit of talking about my training the last couple of days. I am going to be keeping it pretty basic, training three to four times a week, sticking to mostly compound exercises. We will try and train together as much as our schedules allow. Because I like to know where I'm going, I have periodised my training, breaking it into four-week blocks for the next 12 months or so. I'm planning to do skinfolds, measurements, photos and a little strength test at the start of each four-week block, so I can track my progress. Hopefully I will be able to increase my calories every couple of weeks as my lean mass increases. Looking forward to kicking off at the start of November.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I spoke to Michael Buna, head Victorian INBA judge, at posing practice the weekend before my show. He said I have nice symmetry, I just need to work on adding more size. He has seen my husband and said I should be eating what he's eating as it's obviously working for him. I laughed, as I do his nutrition and cook his food.

So I am going to try and do my own nutrition from now on.

I am also enlisting my husband's help in the gym. He has been doing weights for 20 years and we have trained together off and on for 14 years. He knows how hard to push me in the gym, and his background as a personal trainer and myotherapist means he knows what my structural weaknesses are and how to address them. He also has great shoulder development, which is something I aspire to. He believes that my body type requires short intense workouts with compound exercises, plenty of rest before training the same bodypart again, and no more than two days of training in a row. I agree with him. Watch this space...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

INBA Evening Show

Thanks to Lia for this pic - I love it!

INBA prejudging pics

That's me on the left, in a call-out with the top three. There were eight in our class.

Quick Update

Have lots to say but will make this a quick update while I am collecting my thoughts.

I ended up doing INBA intermediate figure on Sat and ANB novice figure on Sun. Didn't place at either show (think I was 'undercooked' by a couple of weeks) but I learnt a lot I can apply to my next comp season.

I probably won't receive professional pics until next week, so if anybody took any pics of me over the weekend, I would love to see them.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday and Friday done, almost

Didn't post yesterday as I was feeling a bit uncertain about how things were going. My final week this week is different to what I've done in the past (which was carb deplete and water load, then carb load and water deplete). This time round I'm doing a sodium deplete, potassium load. This would usually involve eating normally up until Thursday, then lowering sodium and increasing potassium on the Friday (apparently if sodium is lowered and potassium increases, potassium draws water from under the skin and into the muscles). However, because my diet consists pretty much of unprocessed foods, it's quite low in sodium to start with. So for the sodium/potassium switch to work I have had to increase my sodium to 'normal' levels the last few days. Which, along with the training I've done this week, has made me retain water. Not the look I'm going for. Started taking potassium about lunchtime today, and still have some more to take tonight and tomorrow morning, so hopefully I will be looking a bit tighter in the morning.

Have enjoyed having my hair and eyelashes done today though. Still want to practise my routine, then do nails and redo my bikini straps, so will sign off now.

Thanks to my family for their support this week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday Done

Today went very quickly...

Bike workout done
Waxing done
Dog walked
Last heavy chest workout done
Elliptical workout done

Hi Dad!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Done

The good:
I slept in.
My bikini arrived today :-)
Last heavy back session done.

The bad:
I've done about 2.5 hours of walking today. Sixty mins on the treadmill this morning, 75 mins walking the dog this afternoon, and another 20 mins on the treadmill after training tonight. My lower legs are tired. Should have worn my Skins. Will be wearing them tomorrow methinks.

The ugly:
Had to go to the dentist today and get a filling replaced (have been putting it off for a few months now). Had a numb face for a few hours. Made eating and talking interesting!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Done

Last HIIT session done
Last heavy leg training done

Deadlines for work met and I now have the next four days to focus on comp prep.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Fun with Quinoa

I've been enjoying sweet potato for my starchy carbs lately, but this morning I felt like having quinoa. But since I'm not having protein powder at the moment, I didn't want to have a bowl of quinoa on its own (a bit bland). So then I started thinking about a quinoa pancake with egg whites (I'm not having dairy at the moment either). But I couldn't be bothered with the mess of flipping it in a pan. And then I remembered our omelette maker...

Quinoa and blueberry 'omcakes'

6 egg whites
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp xylitol
frozen blueberries

They almost look like blueberry muffins!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Weeks to Go

Last week was not fun. Rob came back from NZ. His dad's operation went well but Rob lost 4kg the week he was away (stress) and came back with the flu. I didn't get enough sleep as I was trying to do my work plus look after Rob, and nearly got sick myself. I woke up every morning with a sore throat but luckily nothing came of it. I managed to catch up on all my sleep over the weekend, and felt almost normal by yesterday. This morning I woke up before my alarm for the first time in ages, and actually feel positive and energetic today.

I feel a bit behind in terms of fat loss, but on the positive side, yesterday's pics show how much muscle I've gained over the last 12 months (and managed to retain while prepping).

These next two weeks are going to be a challenge, but I think I work best under pressure. Bring it on!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Barbeque precautions

By Dr Jonny Bowden

During grilling at high temperatures (or frying for that matter), compounds known as HCAs- heterocyclic amines- are formed, and most researchers believe that these are human carcinogens. Some research shows that eating more heterocyclic amines increase the risk for colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, breast and prostate cancer. The better done and more "burned to a crisp" the food is- and unfortunately this includes "blackened" varieties of fish- the worse it is from a heterocyclic amine point of view.

So besides grilling at lower temperatures, cooking slower and avoiding the splash back of fat onto the meat or fish and the formation of "blackened" crusts, what can we do?

Actually, quite a lot.

Researchers at Kansas State University and the Food Science Institute now believe that marinades may hold the key to healthier grilling.

These scientists marinated steaks for an hour in ordinary store-bought marinades. They coated the meat on all sides and turned it a few times before grilling at 400 degrees for five minutes per side. They then compared similar steaks that had been made without marinade.

The steaks made with marinade had between 57% and 88% less carcinogenic compounds (some marinades, like the "Caribbean" one, performed better than others, but all reduced HCAs by at least half!)

The common ingredients in all marinades were spices and herbs with high antioxidant properties. The best performing marinade was made with thyme, allspice, rosemary, chives, red and black pepper.

So if you're grilling this summer, consider using a marinade, be generous with the spices, and cook slowly at lower temperatures.

And consider washing it down with some red wine or other high antioxidant food or beverage (Pomegranate juice, red grapes, green vegetables).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Muesli Cravings

By about 4 weeks out from comp I'm usually down to no dairy and 1 serve of fruit per day, and I often start craving muesli and yoghurt. And that's usually one of the first things I eat afterwards...

That's me on the left, digging into my muesli and yoghurt after my first show

I know now that eating conventional muesli is not such a great idea for me, as the wheat and dried fruit mean that I find it hard to stop at one bowlful.

This comp prep, things are different. On Sunday for breakfast, at 3 weeks out, I had yoghurt, apple and berries, along with quinoa, protein powder, cinnamon and hazelnuts, made into a lovely gluten-free, bircher-style muesli.

I liked it so much I had it again yesterday. I'm eating it preparing for a comp, and I'll be eating it after comp. No more muesli cravings for me, and it doesn't send me 'off the planet'.

Quinoa Bircher Muesli

Mix together 1/3 cup quinoa flakes (35g), juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 cup water, and soak overnight.
In morning, mix in 100g plain low-fat yoghurt, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 1/2 grated green apple, cinnamon and 1 tsp xylitol.
Top with 25g defrosted berries and 5g chopped nuts (I used blueberries and hazelnuts).

This came out to 336cals: 5.4g fat, 21.5g protein, 46.5g carbs (of which 23g is starchy carbs).

If you're in a hurry, you can use boiling water instead of soaking overnight.

The traditional recipe uses 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup yoghurt (about 125g), no protein powder, honey instead of xylitol, and 1 Tbsp nuts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Turmeric: The Super Spice

My gene test indicates I lack the required detoxification mechanisms to remove free radicals formed by toxic waste (xenobiotics). Overaccumulation of xenobiotics can lead to a range of health problems. A diet high in cruciferous vegetables (eg broccoli and cauliflower), allium vegetable, citrus peel and the spice tumeric will aid in detoxification, which will improve exercise tolerance and reduce fatigue.

From an interview with Jonny Bowden at T-nation:

Q: You wrote in your 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth book that turmeric, the spice, deserved to have a whole book written on it. What's so great about this stuff, besides the fact that it makes Indian food taste good?

A: The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a member of a class of plant chemicals called curcuminoids. Curcumin has anti-cancer properties. Even the very conservative American Cancer Society says on its website that curcumin has "demonstrated some anti-cancer effects."

Several types of cancer cells are inhibited by curcumin in the lab, and it's slowed the spread of cancer in some animal studies. It's also a powerful antioxidant and highly anti-inflammatory as well, and since inflammation is a component of virtually every degenerative disease on the planet, that's a very powerful résumé.

And if that weren't enough, curcumin (or turmeric) is one of the most liver-friendly compounds on the planet, which is why you almost always see curcumin in liver-detox supplements.

Another Skins Convert

My gene shows I have negative variations in eNOS3 and MCT1, which means I have lower blood flow to the muscle combined with poor lactic acid transportation, resulting in faster muscle fatigue.

'Skins is body-moulded gradient compression performance equipment with built-in BioAcceleration Technology™ which will enhance your performance in training, competition and recovery.The future of technical wear is engineered gradient compression. When compression is engineered to apply a balanced and accurate surface pressure over specific body parts, it triggers an acceleration of blood flow. This increases oxygen delivery to working muscles to enhance their performance. The circulation improvements also help the body to eliminate lactic acid and other metabolic wastes. The combination of these effects allows you to work at a higher rate for longer.'

I started wearing mine yesterday and could feel a difference in how my legs felt straight away.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

3 Weeks to Go

After my weight not changing much (about half a kilo) in the last month or so, I've dropped 1.3kg since last Sat. Think it's a combination of a few things:

1. being more focused now that comp is closer

2. worrying about something other than comp prep (Rob and his dad)

3. eating less - even though we changed my intake to about 1500 cals at the end of last week, I probably haven't been eating that much. Have had more low cal days than high, mostly because I haven't been that hungry (see point 2).

4. eating more veges, and a slightly higher ratio of protein. At start of comp prep I did the 40/40/20 ratio but felt like I wasn't getting enough good fats. Tried doing high fat, low carb (with a high carb, low fat day every so often) for about four weeks, but started craving more veges (it's hard to squeeze in many veges when you're only doing 10-15% carbs and still want some postworkout starchy carbs!), and I knew that I didn't want to eat less protein once my cals dropped (I like my meat!).

Training has been OK. Knew I was starting to get depleted towards the end of the week as I didn't have much energy for training, and there was little to no improvement on the previous workouts. Friday night was probably the worst, where I felt like things were actually going in reverse in a couple of cases. So had some extra starchy carbs after training. Didn't top me off though as I felt a bit irritable before going to bed (couldn't relax in my bath) and this morning TJ got a big telling-off for pulling on the lead. So had some starchy carbs after my walk. Didn't used to worry too much about carbs after my walk, but now they are around the one-hour mark, I may start to need them. I haven't been walking on an empty stomach though - usually have something small beforehand as I get nauseous doing any kind of exercise on an empty stomach. And walking TJ is not always a stroll in the park.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Change of Routine

I admit it. I'm addicted to the internet. I spend far too much time surfing when I should be working, spending time with loved ones, or cleaning our pigsty of a house. But as much as I enjoy using the internet to discover new stuff, sometimes it's just information overload and it's hard for my brain to switch off, especially in the evenings.

The last two days I have finished work (I work from home), switched my computer off, gone to the gym, come home to shower and eat, watch TV for an hour and then gone to bed. I feel so much more relaxed doing this, as my head isn't buzzing with all the things from the computer. TV isn't really a great substitute, but it will do until I get some more books to read.

Am looking forward to training back tonight, coming home to eat, then having an Epsom salt bath and going to bed. Exciting Friday night, huh?!

Have a great weekend everyone (and Happy Birthday Liz!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Kale is a vegetable I only started eating this year. It was listed on the website of Greenline, where I get my organic fruit and veges from, so I thought I would try it.

Earlier in the year I was getting this kind of kale. The stalks are woody so I only ate the leaves.

Lately I have been getting this kind of kale, which is also known as lancinato kale, black cabbage or cavalo nero

I know I feel good after eating it, and now I know why...

From Jonny Bowden:

'Kale is the highest ranked vegetable on the ORAC scale, a measure of antioxidant power. (It's value is 1770; the next best vegetable is spinach with a rating of 1260.)

'It's a member of the brassica family of vegetable royalty and, like other members of this family (cabbage, for example), contains powerful phytochemicals like cancer-fighting indoles which have been found to have a protective effect against breast, cervical and colon cancer.

'It also contains sulforaphane which helps trigger detoxifying liver enzymes, helping the body to rid itself of chemicals and free radicals that may cause cellular and DNA damage.'

Bowden suggests a raw kale salad with dried cranberries and pine nuts, and says it's also great stir fried in some coconut oil.