Friday, May 30, 2008


Don't use a glass blender jug to make a smoothie with frozen berries (cold) then puree pea and ham soup (hot). The jug cracked and I sliced my hand open while trying to save the soup. Local anaesthetic, four stitches and a tetanus shot later... I am now a lefty for the next wee while. I have been going great guns with my upper body training lately and neglecting my legs a bit. Guess this will give me a chance to get stuck back into legs again, although I'll have to stick to machines as my right hand can't grasp anything at the moment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Competition Preparation

I enjoyed reading Katie's competition diary and it got me thinking about the different methods I've used to prepare for competitions (with a couple of different trainers). Since I will be getting into competition mode myself in a wee while, I thought I'd do a summary to help me reflect on what has and hasn't worked for me. (Please bear in mind that everyone is different, so what has and hasn't worked for me may not be the same for you.)

Competition date 24 June 2006
Dieting period 13 weeks
Start weight 58.3kg

Show weight 52.9kg

Cardio 30-60 minute walk before breakfast 6 days a week

Weights Bodypart splits throughout. Legs increased to three days a week from three weeks out after I watched another show and started worrying about having a wobbly bum (I still had a wobbly bum).

Supplements Protein powder, glutamine, creatine, BCAAs, ZMA, multivitamin, vitamin B, vitamin C

Diet 1800-2300 cals (2 day low cal, 1 day high cal for last 4 weeks), no fruit from 8 weeks out, no dairy/protein powder from 2 weeks out, 1 cheat meal about 10 weeks out

Contest week diet
Mon-Wed sodium deplete, water load
Thu & Fri water deplete, carb load (Thurs 500g cooked sweet potato, Fri 300g) and fat load (meat)
Dinner the night before: salmon & veges
Breakfast the morning of: steak & sweet potato
Before prejudging: large snake (made me feel sick), salted cashews
Before evening show: 1/2 large snake, salted cashews, few banana chips

Impressions Upper body looked full but lower body soft. I looked harder at the night show.

Feedback Need to work on getting legs down and increasing upper-body size

Competition date 6 October 2006
Dieting period 10 weeks
Start weight 57kg

Show weight 50kg

Cardio mixture of intervals and steady state cardio, starting at 30 minutes 4 days per week and finishing at 60 minutes 7 days per week.

Weights Full body workouts, splits, circuits.

Supplements protein powder, multivitamin, vitamin C

Diet 1500-1200 cals (rotating carbohydrate plan: 1, 2, 3, then 0, 1, 0, 2, then increased to 1, 1, 2 to stop me losing any more weight); fruit once per day from 6 weeks out; no processed food, dairy or cheat meals from 4 weeks out; no protein powder from 2 weeks out.

Contest week diet
Mon-Wed Protein & veges only (no starch or good fats), water load
Thurs & Fri Decrease water, carb load (Thurs = pp, cream of rice & berries for breakfast then 340g cooked sweet potato, Fri = 340g cooked sweet potato). Very lean protein on Thurs and Fri (white fish, venison), diuretic fruit and veges (grapefruit, asparagus)
Dinner the night before: venison, asparagus
Breakfast the morning of: protein powder in water, sweet potato
Before prejudging: chalky lollies, salted almonds
Before evening show: chalky lollies

Impressions Loved how my legs looked but lost muscle from upper body. Had to increase carbs two weeks out from show to hold my condition.

Feedback Condition was very good. Good separation and leaness without too much vascularity. Need to spend more time training and working on increasing muscle size.

Competition date 6 October 2007
Dieting period 10 weeks
Start weight 58kg

Show weight 51.3kg

Cardio mixture of intervals and steady state cardio, starting at 30 minutes 4 days per week and finishing at 60 minutes 7 days per week plus another 30 minutes 4 days per week.

Weights splits, circuits.

Supplements protein powder, gatorade (until 4 weeks out), multivitamin, vitamin C

Diet 1500-1200 cals (rotating carbohydrate plan: 1, 2, 3, then 2, 1, 0; fruit once per day from 6 weeks out; no processed food, dairy or cheat meals from 4 weeks out; no protein powder from 2 weeks out.

Contest week diet
Mon-Wed Protein and sodium only (no starch, veges or good fats), water load
Thurs & Fri Decrease water, carb load (Thurs = pp, cream of rice & berries for breakfast then 225g cooked sweet potato, Fri = 225g). Very lean protein on Thurs and Fri (white fish, kangaroo), diuretic veges (asparagus) and dandelion root
Dinner the night before: steak with steamed veges, glass red wine
Breakfast the morning of: chicken & veges, then steak and eggs
Before prejudging: chalky lollies, salted almonds
Before evening show: chalky lollies

Impressions Started heavier than previous preparation, but had more carbs to retain muscle mass, then had to increase the cardio a lot towards the end to get bodyfat down. Looked good on the Friday but smooth when I got up on Saturday (from the steak?). Lower body not as lean as I was for the previous comp, but upper body bigger.

Feedback need to work on glute-hamstring tie-ins and developing more size.

(2008 update)
Competition date 4 October 2008
Dieting period 11 weeks
Start weight 57.6 (pic below at 10 weeks, 56.5)

Comparison Pics

Low intensity cardio is not enough to get the fat off my butt.
Fatty meat (salmon, steak) when I'm carb loading smoothes me out.
Drop both cals and carbs too low and I drop muscle mass, even when protein is high (50% of daily macros).

Monday, May 26, 2008


Transformation can be a decision away or it can be a ongoing saga which ruins our life year after miserable year. Either way, we make it so. (Craig Harper)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Soaking up the winter sunshine

Our 'kids': Oscar (the cat) and his 'brother' TJ.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. (Mary Schmich)

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's My Life

We all have a desire to achieve greatness. Some people decide to do something about it. We are the minority. Every person reading this is striving for something; if we weren't, we wouldn't be coming back for more. We have an internal drive that pushes us to the edge of what other people think is crazy. To us, it's not crazy, it's just how we want to live our lives. Chris Bartl

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Plastics - A Heated Debate

from The Food Coach

Plastic is everywhere, there's no denying it. Water bottles, food storage, toys, takeaway containers, cling wrap, the list is endless. A useful invention, granted, but can too much of a good thing prove harmful? In the case of plastics, it seems so. Certain chemicals such as Bisphenol-A have been found to cause danger to humans, with a recent US Federal Report released acknowledging the potential health problems, in particular for children.

Bisphenol-A, known as BPA, is most commonly used in plastic water bottles, baby bottles, linings of food and drink containers and cans and also in dental amalgams. The problem is that BPA doesn't remain inside the plastic; rather it migrates into food, water and even the mouths of people who've recently had a dental cavity sealed. Microwaving or heating the plastic causes the chemical to further leach out of the plastic and into food or drink, and the softer the plastic is, the higher the transference of chemicals becomes.

According to some scientists, BPA imitates the body's naturally occurring oestrogen, with studies linking the chemical to breast and prostate cancer, behavioral changes and early sexual development in rats.

"There's no doubt (BPA) can behave as oestrogen mimics," said William Trogler, a UCSD chemistry professor. "The issue is the level of exposure, in particular what people actually experience. Is the level significant or not?"

A recent study by the University of Cincinnati highlighted this fact when researchers tested polycarbonate baby bottles by exposing them to boiling water (supposed to simulate repeated use and washing) and found they released 55 times more BPA than bottles exposed only to hot water.

The plastic industry disagrees, with the website stating that levels of BPA in plastics are only harmful if a person ingests more than 590 kilograms of canned and bottled food daily. If higher doses are safe, then lower doses must also be harmless, right? Wrong.

In the case of hormone disruption, different doses of BPA can stimulate or suppress various genes, explains Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., a developmental biologist at the University of Missouri. "The studies didn't look at the low doses that are now proving to cause a myriad of harmful effects in animals, including chromosomal damage in female egg cells and an increase in embryonic death in mice." A follow-up to this is a study that showed a relationship between BPA blood levels and miscarriages in Japanese women, with Japanese scientists also detecting BPA in the amniotic fluid and umbilical cords of unborn children. In 2004, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found levels of BPA in 95 per cent of urine samples tested.

Bisphenol-A isn't the only plastic ingredient under suspicion. Phthalates (pronounced "thay-lates") are a group of compounds used to make plastic soft and flexible, and can be found in toys, cosmetics and the capsules of some medicines. Research on animals has shown that phthalates can lead to hormone imbalance which is linked to organ damage, cancer and developmental abnormalities.

Major organisations and companies have taken action, which implies that the plastics debate has some weight behind it. Most recently, the Canadian government has classified BPA as toxic, and the European Union has banned the use of these chemicals in children's products, with the state of California following suit. Bottle manufacturer Nalgene declared they will no longer produce bottles containing Bisphenol-A, and major US retail chains Wal-Mart and Target announced plans to switch to selling only BPA-free baby products.

Despite the best efforts, it's difficult to avoid plastic entirely, but you can minimise risk and exposure:

Don't heat foods in plastic containers in the microwave, regardless of whether they state "microwaveable safe". Glass containers such as Pyrex dishes are a much safer alternative and will last longer, so are therefore cheaper in the long term.

Likewise, never cover foods with cling wrap and then place in the microwave, especially if the plastic is likely to come into contact with the food.

Store foods, liquids and perishables in glass or ceramic containers, especially foods that are hot or are likely to be heated.

Check any plastic containers or Tupperware in the cupboards, and dispose of those that are scratched or cracked.

Avoid reusing takeaway plastic containers - help the environment by recycling them instead. If you get a coffee every morning, take your own reusable thermos mug along to the café.

Buy products labelled BPA-free, and avoid those with the recycling numbers 3, 6 or 7 printed on the underside.

Somewhere on most plastic containers is a recycling symbol and a number in a triangle to indicate the type of plastic used. In general, only containers marked 1 or 2 are easily recycled. Consult the following chart to see if the plastic you're using is safe:

Plastic Number Where it's found and is it safe?
1. Polyethylene terephthalate ethylene (PET or PETE) is used in disposable water, juice and soda bottles. It presents no known health hazards, particularly if used only once.
2. High density polyethylene (HDPE) is used in opaque milk jugs, bleach and shampoo bottles, and some plastic bags. No known health hazards.
3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or V) is used in cling wrap, some squeeze bottles, peanut butter jars and window-cleaner bottles. Many chemicals are added to PVC to make it soft and flexible. Some of these compounds are suspected toxins or endocrine disrupters.
4. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is used in grocery bags, most plastic wraps and some bottles. No known health hazards.
5. Polypropylene (PP) is used in longer-lived plastics, straws and some baby bottles. No known health hazards.
6. Polystyrene (PS) is used in egg cartons, carryout containers, disposable cups and opaque plastic cutlery. It is made from styrene, a suspected carcinogen, and other chemicals believed to be endocrine disrupters.
7. All other plastic resins, including polycarbonates (PC), which are used in clear baby bottles, 5-gallon water bottles, food can linings and dental fillings. Polycarbonates contain BPA, which has been linked to a variety of maladies.

Reheating - the safe way

By Amy Pongrass, Nutritionist

Reheating foods doesn't always have to involve a microwave - use the oven on a low setting for meals, and the stovetop for leftover soups. If you need to reheat a grain, put it in a ceramic or porcelain bowl and place in a saucepan. Fill with enough water to come half way up the side of the bowl, cover and gently steam. Otherwise you can place the grain in a sieve and pour boiling water over it to refresh and quickly heat.

I am not on a diet

Tagged by Lisa

Silverbeet & mushroom squares

The rules

1. Post a photo of one of your favourite healthy meals.
2. Title the post "I'm not on a diet"
3. Link back to this post
4. Tag 3 other people

I tag anyone who hasn't been tagged yet.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What the...?

I made chicken paprika for our lunches this week. My husband took two to work with him today as he was in for a long day. Got a text from him as he was leaving work - someone ate one of his meals! How rude is that?! Never mind, I am making him Rogan Josh lamb shanks for our anniversary dinner, followed by gluten-free golden syrup pudding and organic vanilla ice cream *makes Homer Simpson drooling noises*

On another note, love this pic...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary Baby

Together for 14 years on Tuesday, married for four years on Thursday.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Paper Towel Theory

From Alwyn Cosgrove's blog

Let’s assume you go out and buy two rolls of paper towels, each with 112 paper towels on it. You put one aside, and keep it for future reference (your “before” picture). The other one represents you (I’ll call your paper towel “Ed”). The core represents the lean Ed. The towels represent the fat that is covering the lean Ed.

For sake of argument, let’s say that Ed wants to lose 28 pounds of fat, so (112/28) each sheet represents a quarter-pound of fat lost.

Let’s also assume that Ed loses his fat equally during each day of the program.

Each day during the first week, you tear a sheet off of Ed, representing the fat he has lost for the day. Next, you put Ed next to the full roll (“Big Ed”) for comparison.

No noticeable difference! Even at the end of the week!

"This can’t be working for me! This program sucks! "
But, you continue to follow your fat loss program. At the end of weeks two and three, you continue to compare Ed to Big Ed, and still notice very little difference.

But Ed is determined! He continues to work hard!

Three more weeks go by, the sheets peeling off day after day, before Ed gets up the courage to stand next to Big Ed again.

Now there’s a big difference!

By the end of the program (112 days), Ed is down to his lean dream, or somewhere near it. Big Ed is still - well, big.

The lesson to be learned is that fat, like paper towels, comes off in sheets. When you are heavy, you are big around. And when you are big around, that fat is spread over a MUCH larger area – just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to the lean you, the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area.

While the outside sheet may only cover one layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times. That last sheet looks like it gives you four times the results of the first sheet, but in reality, the results are the same – your perception is just different! And you’ll never see the inside, if you aren’t patient while the outside is coming off!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


As I was coming home tonight I was thinking about how I sometimes neglect some parts of my life (family, friends) for things that aren't so important (work, spending time on the computer). This poster in Cat's blog reinforced how I was feeling and is a prompt for me to remember my priorities