Saturday, August 30, 2008

5 weeks to go

Weight: 55.4kg. Still just creeping down slowly, though I have seen a big change in definition this week. Hubby commented that my hips are getting smaller.

Food: last week I tried to tighten things up by 50 cals a day (from 1700 to 1650 on average) but then had a very hungry weekend so cals blew out a bit (although eating was all clean). This week I've dropped down to around 1600 on average, and have also experimented with taking my Surge out after training to replace with a whole food meal.

Today's breakfast was a real winner for me. I love bircher muesli and decided to try making some with quinoa flakes instead of oats. It came out surprisingly well (and kept me full for ages) so will definitely be having it again.

I went to Queen Vic markets yesterday and picked up lots of fresh seafood (prawns, salmon, tuna and a couple of other kinds of fish), plus some kangaroo, venison and turkey, so that should keep us going for a while. I like getting my turkey from the market as they mince it for you right there. I can never understand why Safeway adds oil to their turkey mince. Puts me off buying it. Today for lunch I made turkey patties with grated apple, onion and sage in them - yum!

Training: OMG! New program is great but boy do I have DOMS. Trained legs today and they were still a bit sore from my previous workout on Tuesday.

Cardio: walking every day, plus cardio (intervals/incline walking) after training. Am enjoying this too - love my walking.

Sleep/recovery: not so much in the way of formal recovery for me this week, but have been trying to take little moments to chill out when I can: yoga stretches and a couple of minutes in the 'corpse' pose at the end of my workouts; taking the dog for a walk in the beautiful weather yesterday; finding a sunny spot to relax and eat my snack while shopping in town; having a coffee and reading the paper at a cafe. I have been in a weird mood most of the week, so taking these little moments has been helping me stay sane.

Supplements: am loving my acai. I've been taking it first thing in the morning and I'm sure it helps me wake up.

Insulin Resistance

A good explanation:

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “insulin resistance” many times by now. It’s been used in many commercials to sell diet books, videos, specialty (expensive) diet foods, and a whole lot of other garbage. But insulin resistance is very real. Here’s how it can happen in your body …

Your cells need energy to carry on the many vital, complex functions they have. They get energy in the form of glucose, a simple sugar your body gets from the food you eat. But for this glucose to be used, it has to get inside your cells.

Insulin—a natural hormone produced in your pancreas—bonds to receptors on the outside of cells. There it acts like a key to let glucose enter. When the doorway no longer recognizes the insulin key, glucose stays in the blood rather than entering the cells.

The pancreas responds by releasing large amounts of insulin to lower the glucose levels. Your pancreas can compensate for this flood of glucose for a number of years by secreting more and more insulin. But after awhile, your cells become overwhelmed by all the insulin, and they start to respond to the insulin much more sluggishly.

The amount of glucose in your blood gets higher. The pancreas keeps receiving signals that glucose levels are high, so it ratchets up insulin production. The more insulin that’s released, the less effective it becomes, and the more resistant to insulin your body’s cells become.

This is insulin resistance!

Too much insulin = uncontrollable weight gain


The key to controlling insulin resistance is to control blood sugar levels


Eating for success

1. Eat less more often
Eat every three hours. Set your watch by it. Of course, if you do this, you’ll want to eat less at each meal. By eating this way, without even trying you’ll reduce your total food intake throughout the day. And spreading out your food intake keeps your insulin from having to respond to sudden huge surges of carbohydrates.

2. Start every day with a scrumptious “breakfast” of … almonds
Unless you’re allergic to almonds, start your day soon after you get up by eating 10 dry-roasted or raw, unsalted almonds. They wake up your liver and kidneys and get them ready for the later influx of food they have to deal with.

3. Stay away from simple and highly processed carbohydrates
We all love spaghetti and mashed potatoes. But make those your special occasion meals. If you’re going to eat carbs, make them complex carbs like you get in regular (not instant) oatmeal.

4. Eat more protein … within reason
Replace the processed carbs you’re reducing with good protein. Cheese, almonds, tuna (in water, not oil) and the like are great for those meals you’re now eating every three hours.

5. Always sit down for your meals
Make your meals special. Make them about social interaction rather than just eating. Use smaller plates. Take smaller bites. Put your fork down between bites. Talk to your spouse or a friend during the meal. The longer you take to eat, the less food you’ll consume. And you’ll walk away satisfied.

And if you don’t have the time to do this—like at the office—take a few extra minutes, lay a napkin on the desk, set out your lunch, and take your time eating, even if it means working during the meal.

6. Swear off the “hard stuff”… sodas, diet sodas, and packaged fruit juices!
This will be hard because we’re all programmed to want sodas. But sodas just jack up your blood sugar without giving you any nutrition.

And as I mentioned earlier, diet sodas are as bad if not worse than regular sodas. It will take awhile to kick the soda habit. But once you do, you’ll discover a broad new world of flavors available to you.

But what about fruit juice? Aren’t they good for you? Look at almost any can or box of juice you pick up. Up near the top is the infamous high fructose corn syrup. It is far better to skip fruit juices and eat the fresh fruit instead.

What will you drink? Water. Tea. Coffee in moderation. A little red wine. Sparkling water.

7. Fast foods are the fast lane to Metabolic Syndrome
Make your own convenience food instead of stopping at the local burger joint. String cheese is tasty, filling, and comes in reduced fat variety if you want.

If you must choose one of the big name fast food restaurants, opt for one of their “healthier” options. And when they ask, “supersize that?” remember they’re not really supersizing the food or drink. They’re supersizing you.

Forget strenuous exercises. You just need to move!
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t exercise strenuously if that’s your thing. Keep it up! But it’s not for everyone and just because someone works out two hours everyday doesn’t mean they’re healthier than you.

The key, though, is to move. Regular movement gets your heart pumping faster. It uses glucose pumping through your blood vessels, ultimately reducing your blood sugar and your insulin resistance.

The easiest way to start moving is to walk. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week. Start with an easy walk on flat ground if you haven’t pushed yourself in awhile. Go with a friend or partner. Talk about things of mutual interest and the 20 minutes is over before you know it. Soon, you’re stretching it into 30 minutes … or more.

If walking doesn’t thrill you, find another activity that does. Dance. Swim. Yoga. Ping pong.

Where are you going to find the time to do this? Let’s say you’re going to walk 20 minutes. It takes you 10 minutes to get to and from the park (or wherever) and another 10 minutes for warm up and cool down. That’s 40 minutes.

Is there a 60-minute TV show you can give up to make room for personal movement time? I’m sure you can find one every evening. Eliminate or record that program and shift your schedule to accommodate your personal movement program.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting Bigger

Since my last comp Liz and I have been working on my glutes and hamstrings as that was an area judges said I needed to improve. The following pics are both taken 6 weeks out from comp:
Aug 25 2007

Aug 25 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

6 weeks to go

Weight: 55.7kg. Still not a lot of movement on the scales, but my bodyfat is decreasing and my strength keeps going up in the gym. I'm at that stage where some days I'm really happy with how I'm looking and other days I'm not. It really depends on the mirrors I look in (I like the ones at the gym much better than the ones at home - better lighting) and what I've eaten the day before. Rob mentioned that this is the best I've looked six weeks out from a comp and my mood is great too (not irritable like I have been in the past).

Food: am learning to manipulate my food intake to get what my body needs. Have been craving veges lately so on my lowest carb days I'm trying to have oils rather than nuts for fats, as they don't contain carbs and I can then eat more veges. Was happy with my high carb day this week as it was full of lots of low GI choices outside the workout period:

Meal 1: Pancakes (quinoa flakes, cottage cheese, egg whites), blueberries, goat yoghurt, agave syrup

Meal 2: Surge (during and after training)

Meal 3: Thai turkey patty, sweet potato, spinach

Meal 4: Morrocan chicken (sundried tomatoes, brown rice), apple

Meal 5: Green tacos (chicken, beans, veggies wrapped in lettuce leaves)

I do find I start to crave fat again by the end of a high carb, low fat day though.

Training: am getting a new program next week, so am looking forward to seeing what it contains.

Sleep/recovery: Have gotten some sort of recovery in most days this week, with a massage on Tuesday, sauna on Wednesday, and naps on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. My naps have gotten longer each day. Have been feeling pretty tired this weekend but think I am trying to fight off the cold that hubby nearly came down with midweek.

Supplements: have added acai (powder) to my diet. I've been meaning to try it for a while, but since my gene test recommends I get proper levels of antioxidants to help compensate for free radical build up (and a 5g serve of the powder is supposed to contain the same level of antioxidants as over 400 blueberries) I finally decided to give it a go.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I like Craig's attitude:

My Exercise Philosophy

My overall exercise philosophy is to be consistent over my life-time. And I am. Whether I'm lifting huge weights, moderate weights, high reps, low reps, three days or five days a week, doesn't really matter over the long term. What matters is that I don't spend my life starting various exercise programs that I never maintain. Over the last two months I have increased my gym sessions to lifting weights four or five days per week and for the moment, I'm seeing results and enjoying the ride. My cardio 'rule' is that I do something a minimum of three days per week for a minimum of thirty minutes each time. Every week of my life. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's more intense but I never do the same thing, the same way for too long; my body doesn't like it, either does my mind. Sometimes (often in summer) I go through phases where I will do less weights (2-3 per week) and more cardio (5-7 per week). As long as I'm relatively fit, strong and functional, it doesn't matter too much how I break it up. I could be in shape at 85 kgs (187 lbs) or 95 kgs (209 lbs); depending how much muscle I'm carrying, how I'm training and how I'm managing my diet. I could also be out of shape (fat) at 90 kgs (198 lbs). As I write this, I weigh 93 kgs (205 lbs) at about 15% body-fat (not amazing but not too bad for a middle-aged endomorph).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thoughts about my test - part 1

One of the main reasons I got the test done was because I wanted a better understanding of my insulin sensitivity.

Earlier in the year someone suggested that I may have insulin resistance and that I would do better by reducing the amount of carbohydrates in my diet. When I talked to Liz about this, she said I could look into GeneElite testing, as my genetic makeup can suggest whether I have a predisposition to insulin resistance and also look at how I process nutrition and how I recover. Training and intake should be tweaked according to what the genetic profile suggests.

The test shows I possess the 'normal' gene for insulin sensitivity (PPARy). However, possessing the normal variation (as opposed to the positive variation) means I am more likely to develop insulin resistance or Type II diabetes if I become overweight.

At a cardiovascular level, I have a negative variation in the ACE gene (present in 35% of the population), which can lead to narrowing of blood vessels, overgrowth of heart tissue (myocardial hypertrophy) and insulin resistance. The combination of these can result in high blood pressure, heart disease and Type II diabetes.

So it seems I am genetically predisposed to insulin resistance/Type II diabetes if I'm not careful with my diet and activity levels.

Liz gave this example: if I have a predisposition to insulin resistance and excellent recovery genes, I can use a high workload of exercise to control it. If recovery was poor, I would have to look at other modalities such as a lower carbohydrate intake etc.

My recovery genes are average, so that gives us a starting point to work from.

So the test has been worth it for me, just from two genes out of fifteen analysed. I get a clearer sense of direction and that gives me peace of mind.

More to come...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

7 weeks to go

Yes, a little late in posting, but I didn't have a lot to report for my comp progress on Sat as my weight only shifted about 100g last week. This week I am averaging 50-100 cals less and I can see it making a difference already.

Training has been going well. I'm constantly surprised that my weights are increasing in the gym while my calories are decreasing.

I am loving my food at the moment. Two of my favourite meals yesterday were turkey mince with garlic, ginger, chillies, red onion, tamari, coconut essence and coriander; and eye fillet with a salad of spinach, red capsicum, spring onions, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Our kitchen seems to be a constant mess at the moment with my husband and I both preparing different food for our competitions. He has a Brazillian jiu jitsu tournament this weekend and because he does such a high volume of training, he is eating high carb, low fat. I am eating low carb for the most part. I must say I am very proud of all the hard work he is putting into his sport, and it is really showing in his physique. Couldn't resist snapping a pic of him last night.

I am trying to convince him to do a bodybuilding show but not having much luck.

OK, off to have a massage. I will try and post more about my gene test soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I received the results from my Excelgene GeneElite test recently. Here’s what I’ve been able to glean from my report:

Body Fat Metabolism GOOD
Lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity are both normal. I benefit from cardiovascular training programs.

Lean Body Mass Development POOR
Variations in ACE and MTHFR mean I am at increased risk for insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. Increasing my intake of B vitamins, such as B6, B12 and folate, will help in reducing homocysteine levels, associated with coronary heart disease, pulmonary embolism, stroke and deep vein thrombosis. Allium vegetables (eg onions and garlic) contain antioxidants and have been shown to help prevent blood clotting.

Variations in eNOS3 and MCT1 both suggest I should monitor my weight training loads closely. My combination of lower blood flow to the muscle combined with poor lactic acid transportation may result in faster muscle fatigue. I need to improve anaerobic performance. My body may be slower to adapt to increased lactic acid levels, in which case training intensity should be increased slowly.

Recovery AVERAGE
I have variations in the MnSOD and CYP1A1 genes, which means my body is not very good at converting free radicals (formed by things such as high intensity exercise) to non-harmful molecules. In fact I have a gene that causes a 50% increase in free radical production. Free radicals can attack and chemically alter DNA, and free radical damage can potentially lead to cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation and accelerated ageing. I need to consume proper levels of antioxidants to help compensate for free radical build up. Folate is involved in the repair of DNA, so a diet rich in folate can help reduce the effects of free radical damage to DNA.

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

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More Food Ideas

Had to post this reply by Shelley to my previous post...

You're making me hungry!

Must be time to eat - hmmn what will I have?

Garlic & coriander chicken
Chilli beef
Green curry lamb
lemon & basil chicken
Thai turkey mince

and then the veges?

brussel sprouts
english spinch

and of course some nuts:


yum yum I LOVE food!

Thanks Shelley!

Enjoying my food

A yummy low carb day for me:

Meal 1: garlic, chilli, chicken strips and cabbage stir-fried in a little coconut oil, with some tamari and cashew butter added at the end to make a 'satay' sauce.

postworkout: Surge

Meal 2: 'bunless cheeseburger': kangaroo mince, onion and coriander made into a patty, grilled and topped with low fat feta cheese, mustard, gherkin, tomato slices, on mixed greens tossed with olive oil.

Meal 3: soft boiled eggs mashed with a little avocado, salt, pepper and tumeric, plus some carrot sticks

Meal 4: sardines, celery sticks filled with almond butter

Meal 5: grilled salmon with snowpeas/mixed salad

Saturday, August 9, 2008

8 weeks to go

Weight: 56kg (goal weight 51kg).

Food: Did three low carb days on Wed, Thu and Fri, and needed a high carb day by Sat. We went to a friend's place for a birthday meal on Saturday night. I took my own food but someone had made some beef stew (organic, gluten-free) and I couldn't resist a slice of lemon meringue pie, so I decided that would be my treat for the week.

Cardio: Still did six cardio sessions this week, but they were a bit more intense. On my two non-weight training days (Wednesday and Thursday) I had 'bootcamp boogie' and 'elliptical, upper and core', which involved jumping off the elliptical to do 'fun' things like burpees with push ups.

So between the food and the cardio (and doing low carb on the cardio-only days) I dropped about 800g this week.

Sleep/recovery: Went to the Australian College of Sports Therapy on Tuesday. Had work done on my left shoulder and traps, which felt great. Will be going back again next week. Sleep was good at the start of the week, but I noticed I didn't sleep as well on my low-carb days (took longer to get to sleep/woke up earlier). Will see if the same thing happens this week.

To do this week: start practising routine!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

9 weeks to go

Weight: 56.8kg (goal weight 51kg).

Food: am dropping carbs a little more to focus on fat loss, throwing in a high carb day when I feel I need one - a 'journey of discovery' as Liz calls it.

Training: split at the moment is legs; back and shoulders; chest and arms. Had a great leg workout this morning courtesy of the the treat I had last night (sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream - yum!). I was also on a time limit as I wanted to get to the butcher before it closed, so managed to keep the intensity high and rest periods short. I was happy with my Bulgarian split squats - did them with a 7.5kg db last time and wanted to go up to 9kg but couldn't find it today. Thought I would try the 10kg and managed to get through all 3 sets with it. I was pretty pooped by the end of the workout and struggled to get through my rolling ab planks. Was supposed to do a 45-minute walk outside today too but the weather was crap so ended up doing it on the treadmill instead.

Cardio: have been doing some after each workout (4 x per week), plus a couple of other sessions on days off from weights (one high intensity, one lower intensity).

protein and carb recovery drink (currently using Surge)
fish oil
pea protein
Vital Greens
vitamin E
multi/vitamin B
vitamin C (if I feel I need it)
dairy digest (if I feel I need it)

Sleep/recovery: sleeping really well at the moment. Am hoping to get a massage on Tuesday afternoon so am looking forward to that.

To do this week: start practising routine

Overcome Obstacles

"If all you see in the road ahead are obstacles,
you are on a path to hardship.
If however you view them as opportunities,
you are on the highway to success."
--Gary Gentilini