Saturday, February 28, 2009
Time to start prepping for next week!
Update: prep done for some of next week's meals
Kangaroo patties, sweet potato, cabbage salad
Energy booster (kale, parsley, pears, almond milk) plus pea protein
Organic chicken and zucchini bean mash
Now time to do some dishes!
Friday, February 27, 2009
The Menstrual Cycle and Athletic Performance by Elzi Volk
The Menstrual Cycle
Before we can address the topic, readers need to have a clear understanding of the major phases of the menstrual cycle. The typical menstrual cycle is 28 days long, with the first day of menses (shedding of the uterine lining) considered Day 1. Menstruation is usually completed by Day 5, and the mucosal lining (endometrium) of the uterus once again begins to proliferate in preparation for an egg. The phase from Day 1 to ovulation, which is normally Day 15, is called the follicular phase. The luteal phase is from ovulation until the day before menses, normally about Day 28. The terms follicular and luteal phases are used most frequently in the literature and will be used in this article.
Steroid hormones, most predominantly oestrogen and progesterone, regulate the various phases of the menstrual cycle. These hormones in turn are regulated in a complex feedback system by luteinising (LH) and follicular stimulating (FSH) hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. And so the cycle continues from the beginning of the first menses until menopause.
As most women know, symptoms that accompany menstrual cycles vary considerably. Some women do not experience any symptoms; others may suffer slight discomfort to severe pre- or initial-flow discomfort. Changes in exercise performance during the menstrual cycle are also variable. Many women report impaired performance and many do not. There are a number of women who have won Olympic medals while menstruating. Some women may experience some minor discomfort but merely push themselves forward during participation. Let’s take a look at what the research reports and at some of the observations by coaches and female athletes.
Most exercise physiology texts state that menstruation does not affect athletic performance. However, if you talk to female athletes, many report some differences, ranging from symptoms of low back pain to increased fatigue. Granted, there are few controlled studies on the topic and most of the information found is based on subjective reports. To add to the confusion, the published studies are often times conflicting. Some studies report that performance is enhanced during the follicular phase, while others report it is best during the flow phase. Poorer performance has been reported in more endurance-type activities during menses. Conversely, winning performances in swimming and track-and-field have occurred during menses.
Lebrun (1) published a comprehensive review of the literature examining the effect of menstrual cycle phase on athletic performance, citing the inconsistencies in the surveys, methodologies, and lack of substantiation of cycle phase. According to an analysis of the surveys, most female athletes (37-67% of those polled) did not report any detriments, while a minority (13-39%) reported improvements during menstruation. Some studies report differences during the cycle phases with best performances during the intermediate postmenstrual days and worse performances during premenstrual and initial-flow days.
Although study results vary, some show that metabolic and cardiovascular responses during submaximal and maximal exercise are not systemically affected during different phases of the menstrual cycle. One study reported no changes in fat and carbohydrate utilization during exercise performed throughout the menstrual cycle. Yet another study demonstrated that glycogen repletion after exercise was greater during the luteal phase than the follicular phase. The results of the second study suggest that muscle glycogen content may be enhanced during the luteal phase. A further study investigated the effects of a 24-hour low-carbohydrate diet on responses during prolonged exercise in both phases of the menstrual cycle. A significant decrease in blood glucose levels was observed after 70-90 minutes of medium intensity (63% VO2 max) exercise during the luteal phase. This study, as well as others, documents variations in plasma electrolyte concentrations during the menstrual phases, with sodium, potassium and chloride higher during the follicular phase and falling significantly during the luteal phase. Bicarbonate levels were also lower in the menstruation days and during ovulation. Whether these findings ultimately affect performance is not clear. However, it may account for consistent reports of increased fatigue during the menstrual phase.
Additionally, several studies demonstrate reduced reaction time, neuromuscular coordination and manual dexterity during the pre-menstruation and menstrual phases. Considering there is evidence that blood sugar levels, breathing rates and thermoregulation vary during the menstrual cycle, the slight decreases in aerobic capacity and strength reported by some women may indicate physiological bases for some women’s observations.
The most consistent reports are effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) on exercise performance. Nearly all women are familiar with symptoms of bloating, headaches, fatigue, and cramping during the late luteal phase. Many studies relate an increase in perceived exertion during premenstrual and early menstruation days. As well, several authors reported that effects of PMS could alter performance as the tasks increased in difficulty and complexity. Others note impairments in exercise performance arise from breast tenderness, abdominal constriction, and fatigue.
Also reported in some of the literature is an increase in musculoskeletal and joint injuries during this time of the menstrual cycle. However, there is little definitive research indicating the exact causes. One theory is a relationship of increased relaxin levels and increased flexibility and elasticity of connective tissue, such as in articular joints. Relaxin is a hormone that is thought to be responsible for softening and relaxation of the ligaments in various joints. Although still poorly understood in humans, relaxin levels highly correlate with relaxing of the pubic bones allowing for birth in females of several mammal species. Relaxin is thought to create joint laxity, which allows the pelvis to accommodate the enlarging uterus. This may also weaken the ability of supports in the lumbar spine to withstand shearing forces. In the pelvis, joint laxity is most prominent in the cartilage between the two pubic bones and the sacroiliac joints.
Relaxin secretion has been shown related to ovulation, with increased levels about 6 days after LH peak. Significantly high levels were detected in women using oral contraceptives, possibly due to induced changes in relaxin secretion. Several studies associate high levels of relaxin with low back pain in women during pregnancy, and similarly high levels in non-pregnant women with posterior pelvic pain. Although there is no investigation in the role of relaxin in sports injuries in wome, there may be a correlation.
While women secrete considerably less androgens than men, they may still play a role in women’s physiological status during training. Androgens are important for increased red cell production, bone density, increasing muscle synthesis, and alleviating fatigue. Plasma testosterone in women normally fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle with peak levels around ovulation. Some female athletes report increased strength during this time, but this has not been substantiated in studies.
As previously stated, there are many inconsistencies in the information available due to the numerous variables (nutritional status, fitness level, degree of exercise, mood state, etc), different methodology and small numbers of women studied. We know that physiological functions fluctuate, sometimes widely, throughout the menstrual cycle. Obviously, with some of the reported physiological changes during phases of the menstrual cycle, athletic performance could potentially be impaired or increased. Interestingly, none of the literature has associated any physiological fluctuations or athletic impairment in women who are on oral contraceptives. Of course, this aspect has not been investigated thoroughly, so conclusions should be made with caution.
Nowhere in the literature is there such a thorough presentation of female athlete’s testimonies on the influence of the menstrual cycle as in Judy Daly and Wendy Ey’s book "Hormones and Female Athletic Performance" (2). The authors have compiled testimonies by many female athletes, many whom are Olympic medal winners. Many women reported impairments in their training and performance, mostly due to premenstrual symptoms. As well, several women reported increased incidence of injury during the premenstrual week.
In my own informal survey (with limited numbers of women and coaches), I have found about an equal response of impairment and no interference of menstrual cycle on exercise performance. The most common observation is increased fatigue during premenstrual and initial-flow days. Another comment some women have made is general lack of energy during the early days of menstruation and PMS- associated low back pain. A few female endurance runners have noted decreased aerobic capacity as well.
A physical therapist I spoke with that works with many athletes related a high incidence of musculotendon and joint injuries amongst women athletes. He observed that many of his female athlete patients complained of low back tenderness or pain, mostly confined to the sacroiliac joint, during the premenstrual phase. A few coaches I have corresponded with also report complaints from their female athletes of periodic low back pain. Some coaches modify their female clients weight training during phases of their menstrual cycles.
We have thus far discussed the influence of the menstrual cycle on general performance of athletes and in exercise. Let us now examine how this relates to women and strength training in more detail.
There are few studies that specifically investigate the effects of the menstrual phase on strength training. One study reports no statistical significance in physiological and subjective responses to lifting during the various phases, except for a slight elevation in heart rate during the post-ovulatory phase. However, subjects were only required to lift a weighted box from knee to shoulder level at six repetitions for 10 minutes.
Another study measured maximum voluntary isometric force of the quadriceps and handgrip by electrical stimulation. There was an increase in quadriceps and handgrip strength at mid-cycle, but what relevance this has on real training is questionable. Additionally, no variation in strength due to menstrual status was found in a large survey of women aged 45-54 years by measuring isometric handgrip, quadriceps strength, and leg extensor power.
The effects of two different training programs for women were compared which altered the frequency of training sessions. Regular training consisted of a training session every third day over the entire menstrual cycle. The other approach, menstrual cycle triggered training (MCTT), incorporated training sessions every second day in the follicular phase and once per week during the luteal phase. Subjects performed three sets of 12 repetitions each to increase maximal strength. Measuring body temperature, LH peak, and analyzing plasma levels of hormones and sex hormone binding globulin determined cycle phases.
The MCTT resulted in an increase in maximal strength (32.6%) compared to the regular training (13.1%). Muscular strength was significantly increased during the second menstrual cycle, with all subjects showing high strength adaptations. There were significant correlations between force parameters and the accumulation of estradiol. The authors found that the MCTT was more efficient compared to the regular training program.
Charles Staley, sports strength and conditioning coach, reported to me that he noticed a similar pattern that was consistent in his female athletes. He modified his female strength athletes’ training to correspond with the volume fluctuations in the above study and observed an improvement that prompted him to continue with the modifications.
A coach who trains women for powerlifting related to me that he reduces intensity and volume during the week before and a few days into menstruation. He integrates low rep sets or decreases the weight load in order to compensate for increased fatigue and to preserve joint integrity.
From my own experience as a powerlifter, I suffered a connective tissue injury twice in the sacroiliac region while lifting heavy during dysmenorrhea (abnormally frequent menstrual flows). A sports orthopedist and two physical therapists that treated me commented that it was very likely connected to abnormal hormone levels and effects on the connective tissue. The historical observation that I normally experience low back pain during the premenstrual phase may lend evidence to the influence of hormone fluctuations on my athletic performance.
While many studies that measured physiological responses of the menstrual cycle in women during exercise found no performance changes, any changes most likely depend on the individual and her specific conditions. Some women suffer more from cramping, PMS, or heavy bleeding than others and thus may impact their performance.
Several coaches suggest their female athletes log their menstrual cycle and associated physical and emotional states. They can also chart their exercise and athletic performance to establish strongest and best training days and when they are impaired. This will facilitate modifying a training schedule by planning for strenuous sessions, peak training and when rest is needed. Factors that can be altered are volume (number and duration of repetitions), intensity (speed and load), and difficulty (skill level and injury risk). Nutritional considerations should also be factored to optimize recovery and fuel stores. Considering that testosterone peaks around ovulation, it may be beneficial to plan for peak strength training loads at this time.
It is important for athlete and coach to remember that all athletes are individuals and may respond differently. A master plan may not work for all. Careful record keeping and modifications in training if needed may increase performance and reduce risk of injuries. In today’s increasingly competitive sports field, this may become important to achieve athletic excellence.
1. Lebrun CM. Effect of the different phases of the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptives on athletic performance. Sports Med 1993, 16(6):400.
2. Daly J and W Ey. Hormones and Female Athletic Performance. Women’s Sport Foundation of Western Australia, Inc., 1996.
I don't have the time or energy to go shopping at the moment, so did all my shopping online today. From Coles online I got enough nonperishable stuff for the next two weeks, plus some kangaroo and organic chicken. Did a separate order for organic fruit and veges from Greenline. So everything should be here by the weekend so I can get stuff prepped for next week.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Funny thing is, I was thinking about taking a break last week when I was in a grumpy/depressed mood for a few days as that's sometimes be a sign that I'm overdoing things. But no, as usual, I kept going until my body told me 'enough'!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Plums are a great source of Vitamin C and also provide Vitamin K and fibre. Within their purple skin and lying just below it are antioxidants called anthocyanins which can help to maintain healthy blood vessels and reduce inflammation.
There are over 200 different varieties of plums grown in Australia, but you'll often see Japanese and European types in store as well. Japanese varieties are grown more extensively in Australia than European plums and usually have larger fruit with predominantly red skin. European plums, also grown in Australia tend to be smaller and their skin colour can range from yellowy green, to deep blue or purple. Most of them have a sweet yellow flesh, unlike the blood plums that introduce the season which are quite sour and are best suited in cooking. The d'Agen plum, known as the 'prune plum' is ideal for drying because of its high sugar content, and most prunes are made from this variety.
Some newer varieties have a pinky red flesh with red to purple and black skin. These have a sweet juicy flesh and low acid skin. What's particularly interesting about plums is that, just like human fingerprints, each stone is unique to a particular variety.
The sweetest eating plums are those with little white speckles over the skin as this indicates the presence of natural sugar.
Select fruit where the skin is intact with no signs of wrinkling. Brown patches are a sign of sunburn which can also affect the quality of the fruit.
Plums are picked when they are nearly ripe and will ripen at room temperature over a few days. You can test for ripeness when the fruit gives to gentle pressure. A ripe plum will also have a fragrant aroma. Generally the fruit will become dull once ready to eat. Once ripe they can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. Plums are in season from November to May.
Prunes are simply dried plums, and are favoured by nutritionists due to their high fibre content. Adding a few chopped prunes to your morning muesli benefits bowel health and aids digestion. Prunes are also a concentrated source of antioxidants.
Buy prunes that are plump and shiny, and store in a cool dark place where they will keep for several months. Alternatively store in the fridge to extend their shelf life, but make sure the container is sealed tightly to prevent drying out.
Prunes have a very high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) rating, a score that reflects the antioxidant power of foods and chemical substances per 100 grams. They rank high with a rating of 5770 for approximately 10 prunes, so with 4 prunes per day that's a score of 2308. This is in comparison to plums, at 949, strawberries at 1540 and apples at 218 per 100 grams.
Recipe for Stewed Fruit Compote
spend time researching health and fitness stuff on internet -> get behind with work -> stay up late trying to get work finished -> don't get enough sleep -> hinder health and fitness goals. So researching health and fitness stuff leads to my health and fitness goals suffering. *Bangs head on wall.* I'm my own worst enemy sometimes.
Sleep: 3 hours (see above)
Lifestyle cardio: none (Rob took TJ for his walk today)
Training: off (I've tried training on 4 hours sleep a couple of times and both times I crashed with low blood sugar afterwards, so wasn't game to try it today after only 3 hours sleep)
Food: 5/7 (started to feel a bit run down by end of day)
meal 4: large fruit salad - trying to up my Vitamin C
meal 5: lamb vindaloo (no rice) - wanted a spicy Thai basil beef (fav meal when I feel like I'm about to get sick) but neither of the Thai places would deliver so I settled for this
My desk arrived today - looking forward to putting it together once I get caught up with my work
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I ordered a new desk for my office today. I'm going to put my old one on the other side of my office for Rob, as he is currently working on the dining room table.
I also decided what to do with my training and nutrition for the next 12 weeks. Looking forward to starting next week.
Sleep: 12.30am-8am (7.5) Up late trying to get some work done.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ down the road to check out a new gym.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Weight average: 63.1
Lifestyle cardio: walk 7 days
Training: 4 x weights, 4 x 10min incline treadmill walking, 1 x 15min intervals
Recovery: three hot/cold showers
Water: 18/21 = 86%
Food: 3 extra on-plan meals (hungry), 1 off-plan meal, plus food at wedding reception
Thoughts: less training and more food this week. Scale weight up as a result. Will keep going as I am for one more week, then make a few changes.
Sleep: 12.30-9.00 (8.5)
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to supermarket and back, twice
Kirsten & Dwight walking each other down the aisle
Between ceremony and reception
Rob at reception
View from venue
Kirsten at reception
Us at reception
The happy couple talking to some guests
Sleep: 11.30-6.30 (7 hours)
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park
Food: ate to plan until leaving for the wedding (about 3.30). Made flax cookies (protein powder, flaxmeal, nut butter) to take in my handbag in case I got hungry and ended up eating most of them before the reception at 6pm. The food was FANTASTIC so I ate a bit of everything and really enjoyed it. A little bit full at the end of the night but not stuffed. Also had 1 glass rosé and three glasses champagne.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I've been in a great mood today. I slept well and woke up with no pain in my upper body. I think laying off the yoga has really helped with that. I'm gradually learning that 'less is more' when it comes to my upper body. I can't train more than two days in a row (even if one of those days is legs) or my upper back/shoulder area really starts to ache. I figured this out last year when I was mostly doing upper/lower splits then a couple of times I switched to 'bodybuilding style' workouts where I was training three days in a row and I started to fall apart. And now I know I can't do a lot of power yoga while weight training as it doesn't give my upper body enough rest. I'm still doing some of yoga stretches in the gym after training (especially for my glutes and hamstrings) but that's about it for now. It just means I will have to find some other recovery methods to replace it.
I think I also figured out why my weight has been a bit higher this week. While I've added in 10 minutes of incline treadmill walking at the end of each weights workout (4 x per week = 40mins), I've taken out about 3 sessions of yoga per week (3 x 30mins = 90mins), so overall am doing 50mins less exercise than I was previously.
I've been pretty hungry today (hope I'm growing after last night's workout!) and had eaten my afternoon tea by lunchtime. I ended up having an extra meal (repeat of meal 2), which wasn't such a great idea because it had yoghurt in it. I bought a different brand this week and it doesn't seem to be sitting as well in my stomach as the other stuff I eat. I've been thinking more and more about going dairy-free for a month or so as an experiment. I don't really eat a lot of it anyway as it makes me sleepy or bloated/windy, and Rob prefers not to eat dairy at all so he's keen.
I really looked forward to training tonight as I knew Rob would be going to the gym at the same time as me. We used to train together all the time and have such a laugh. Sometimes I'd get the giggles in the middle of a set and not be able to carry on. We didn't train the same things tonight (I did legs, he did upper body), but it was still nice to have him there.
I'm looking forward to the weekend. We have a wedding to go to on Saturday, then the couple are having lunch the next day at restaurant-bar. Might be a bit of a challenge food-wise but I have some off-plan meals up my sleeve and will try my best to be prepared.
Have a great weekend!
Sleep: 11-7 (8 hours)
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park
Training: lower body B, incline treadmill walk 10 mins
Off plan meal = kangaroo patties, McCain wedges (oven baked), salad
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Weight: don't know, don't care, sick of thinking about it.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park, and it was not a great start to the day. TJ got all excited when he saw two dogs coming our way, and I ended up getting jerked in a direction I wasn’t expecting, landing on the ground with a thump and impacting my shoulder as the heel of my hand hit the ground. Had a bit of a stiff neck afterwards, but it nothing bad enough to hamper my training.
Training: upper body B + 10 mins incline treadmill walk. Awesome workout. Had to press my feet really hard into the ground when doing incline DB press to stop my feet from shaking. Got spotted by two different people tonight and they both did a great job. I trained at 7pm and it was much nicer than the 5pm 'zoo' that I faced on Monday and Tuesday.
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training.
At Christmas time we held Rob's martial arts club's prizegiving here. A few people were interested in my competition experiences, and I got out the laptop to show them some pics. Since then I have been in the process of making up a little photo album so I have something that's easy to show people. I have kept all of my competitor numbers and most of the tickets from the shows I have entered, and they have gone in the album along with a favourite pic from each show. I was missing pics from the 2007 INBA Victorian Titles so I ordered them and they arrived today. What struck me (apart from how small and dorky I was) was how happy I looked. And that's important to me. It's a hobby and it should be enjoyable. Challenging but enjoyable.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Weight: 63.2kg. New high. Could be something to do with the extra meal I had before bed last night, since I slept well and shoulder pain is gone. If weight doesn’t start dropping again tomorrow I suspect one of two things: it’s coming round to that time of the month again, or I’m putting on muscle/fat. I’m hoping for the ‘muscle’ option. I’ve noticed that my tops are getting tighter under my arms and around the shoulders.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park. Did this before breakfast this morning. Wasn’t hungry when I got up this morning since I ate late last night.
Training: intervals (bike 30s on, 90s off x 8)
Recovery: none. Have been giving yoga a miss the last few mornings as I think doing stretches where I have to support a lot of my bodyweight through my shoulder joints isn’t giving my upper body much of a chance to recover.
Mood: much better today.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Sleep: 5 hours (bad sleep)
Weight: 62.9 Highest this year, thanks to bad sleep and inflamed shoulder. Whatever. Have ordered a short-sleeved Skins top to wear when training upper body.
I have a long-sleeve black one but I don't feel like wearing it at the moment because of the heat.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park
Training: lower body A + 10 mins incline treadmill walk
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training
Had an extra meal (repeat of Meal 2) before bed
Mood: tired, irritable and hungry for the most part. Better in the PM once I trained and got some carbs into me. Think I will be switching some fats for carbs (more veggies) next time I change my food plan.
For about 20 years, we've known that many phytonutrients work as antioxidants to disarm free radicals before they can damage DNA, cell membranes and fat-containing molecules such as cholesterol. Now, new research is revealing that phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, work at a much deeper level. These compounds actually signal our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds.
The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables initiate an intricate dance inside our cells in which gene response elements direct and balance the steps among dozens of detoxification enzyme partners, each performing its own protective role in perfect balance with the other dancers. The natural synergy that results optimizes our cells' ability to disarm and clear free radicals and toxins, including potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to lower our risk of cancer more effectively than any other vegetables or fruits.
Recent studies show that those eating the most cruciferous vegetables have a much lower risk of prostate, colorectal and lung cancer - even when compared to those who regularly eat other vegetables:
In a study of over 1,000 men conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, those eating 28 servings of vegetables a week had a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer, but those consuming just 3 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables each week had a 44% lower prostate cancer risk.
In the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer, in which data was collected on over 100,000 people for more than 6 years, those eating the most vegetables benefited with a 25% lower risk of colorectal cancers, but those eating the most cruciferous vegetables did almost twice as well with a 49% drop in their colorectal cancer risk.
A study of Chinese women in Singapore, a city in which air pollution levels are often high putting stress on the detoxification capacity of residents' lungs, found that in non-smokers, eating cruciferous vegetables lowered risk of lung cancer by 30%. In smokers, regular cruciferous vegetable consumption reduced lung cancer risk an amazing 69%!
How many weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables do you need to lower your risk of cancer? Just 3 to 5 servings - less than one serving a day! (1 serving = 1 cup)
To get the most benefit from your cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, be sure to choose organically grown varieties (their phytonutrient levels are higher than conventionally grown), and steam lightly (this method of cooking has been shown to not only retain the most phytonutrients but to maximize their availability).
For a brief overview of the process through which cruciferous vegetables boost our ability to detoxify or cleanse harmful compounds and examples of how specific phytonutrients in crucifers work together to protect us against cancer, see our FAQ: Optimizing Your Cells' Detoxification/Cleansing Ability by Eating Cruciferous Vegetables.
4pm - do dynamic warm-up in poky women's section of gym because you feel self-conscious about doing one of the exercises in the mixed gym. While doing said exercise realise that someone is waiting to get past you, so you move out of the way, rolling the ball of your humerus in its socket. Decide it's OK to keep doing rest of workout.
9.45pm finish using computer and decide to go to bed; brain still wired from using computer
10.30pm decide to get up and take panadol as shoulder is aching and you can't sleep
11pm hear husband come home
11.30pm shoulder still aching and you are starting to get hungry; decide to get up and drink a BCAA and glutamine mix; husband offers to treat shoulder
midnight: pain has reduced so you go back to bed and fall asleep
5am: hear house guest leave to catch early train; shortly afterwards cat decides to knock your glasses off the bedside table. Get up but he has food and access to outside. Go to toilet then back to bed.
5.15am: hear neighbour's car start
5.30am: people walk past outside, talking. Your dog jumps up on the bed, barking
5.45am: you hear the noisy rubbish trucks coming; decide to get up.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Weight: 62.7kg. Felt very heavy through the hips while walking this morning.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park
Training: upper body A + 10 minutes incline treadmill walk. Good workout today. Was doing my last set of incline bench press and was debating whether or not to do one more rep as I thought I'd struggle to press the weight back up. Looked around and saw the guy on the bench next to me was keeping an eye on me so I decided to go for it. He ended up giving me a hand to rack the bar but that was it. After I thanked him he said 'you take it pretty seriously - that's good!'. I think the guys are slowly getting used to seeing a girl training hard, LOL.
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training; myotherapy treatment (rolled shoulder slightly while doing dynamic warmup; OK during workout but made it hard for me to get to sleep)
Water: 3/3 - getting in more of my water earlier in the day is definitely easier. Hopefully it means I will sleep better too.
Figs are ripe - yum!
Am considering making one of my weekend days computer-free, since I spend most of my work and leisure time on it. Am thinking Sunday at the moment.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Strategy for the next two weeks: keep food intake the same and add a little bit of cardio
I don't want to eat any less than I am at the moment, but my cardio has been pretty low over the last few months (two 15-minute interval sessions per week plus walking the dog each day). So for the next two weeks I am going to try adding 10 minutes of steady state cardio to the end of each workout and see what that does. Time isn't an issue so I can do things slowly.
Weight average: 62
Lifestyle cardio: walk 7 days
Training: 4 x weights, 2 x 15min intervals
Recovery: four hot/cold showers, three 30-minute yoga sessions
Water: 16/21 = 76%
Food: 38/43 = 88%
- have been a bit slack with water intake this week. Am good at drinking it early, but not so good later in the day. So will try and drink more of my water in the mornings when it's easier for me to do so.
- not so motivated with eating this week. I didn't save an off-plan meal for Sunday night as planned but ended up having one anyway, meaning my compliance was slightly lower than 90% (and average weight for the week slightly higher). So now I know I need to leave one off-plan meal for Sunday night. I also enjoy having one off-plan breakfast on the weekend. That leaves me up to two other off-plan meals for the week, and I need to work with that.
Sleep: midnight-7.45am = 7¾ hours (interrupted at 2am by Rob coming home from his night out)
Weight: 62.4 (hello pizza!)
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park. Lots of smoke in the air from the fires.
Training: lower body B; intervals on bike (60s on, 180s off x4)
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training
muesli, yoghurt and fruit
lamb casserole with legumes, veges, one slice of bread, one glass red wine
Saturday, February 14, 2009
You see the difference between success and failure, in anything, comes down to one simple word.
You have the ability to *choose* the way your life is going to be.
Your situation right now is the sum of the *choices* you have made in the present moment.
And the choices you continue to make in the present moment will dictate your level of success.
Because nothing exists but THIS moment. There is no later. No future. No ‘when the economy gets better’. No ‘when I have more free time’. No ‘if I had better talent.’ No ‘if I had a bigger team’. No ‘if I was smarter’.
Success is a *choice*.
The only difference between you and the people you want to be like is simple:
They’re not afraid to die on a treadmill.
Because they made a *choice*. They decided who they wanted to be. What they wanted their life to be like and they made a *choice* to do it.
They didn’t make the choice in some undefined ‘later’. Or ‘tomorrow‘. Those things don’t exist.
They never will. They will never arrive. Ever.
Read the full article (and watch a video) here
There are many behaviors which lend themselves to successful training outcomes. For the purposes of this column however, I’ll focus on seven behaviors which I believe are tantamount for unprecedented levels of success:
1) Delayed Gratification
It has been said that the pain of self-discipline weighs ounces; while the pain of neglect weighs tons. Maturity is defined by the willingness to sacrifice now in order to experience a greater outcome in the future. This applies especially to nutrition and supplementation, since the positive outcomes of a sound nutritional program take weeks, if not months, to experience.
Training is a form of motor learning, and learning requires repetition. Training consistency can be dramatically enhanced through a variety of techniques, but one of the most powerful methods is also the simplest: scheduling.
There is a VAST difference between thinking "Tomorrow I’m going to work out." and "My workout is between 7-8am tomorrow morning."
In the first case, you might have a vague time-frame in mind, say 8:00am. However, by 7:30, you’re behind schedule, so you reason to yourself that you’ll train after work. Then, by the time you leave work, you realize that you didn’t bring your gym clothes with you, so you think "I’ll just train after dinner."
And of course, after dinner, you’re tired and distracted by the television, and guess what? You missed your workout! Now, you might rationalize that you’ll just do the workout tomorrow instead. This leads you to the incorrect assumption that you simply rescheduled your workout rather than skipping it, which is exactly what you did.
On the other hand, knowing that you have a workout (or a meal) scheduled at an exact time, you’ll be much more likely to prepare for and keep your appointment. If you DO fail to keep to the schedule, you’ll be much more likely to feel a sense of consequence for your decision.
The failure to develop goal-directed behavior accounts for more failure than all other causes combined. Most people understand that goals much be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-referenced (S.M.A.R.T.), however, many people fail to carefully weigh the benefits of achieving the goal versus what must be sacrificed.
If, upon careful inspection, you are deeply convinced that the benefits justify the sacrifices, you’ll create the psychic and emotional fuel necessary to sustain your motivation when the going gets rough (as it inevitably does!).
4) The Autotellic Mindset
Autotellic people do things primarily for their own intrinsic value, whereas exotellic people do things primarily for the secondary, external reward. In my experience, autotellic athletes are far better able to sustain their motivation. The take home lesson is this: people who just LOVE to train go much further than those who just want to look better.
Closed-mindedness is, in my opinion, a genetically-ingrained survival trait. Thousands of years ago, a Neanderthal man looked under a rock and found some grubs to eat. The technique obviously had value, and it made more sense to look under more rocks than it did to look up in the trees.
But for this Neanderthal to go beyond mere survival, he should in fact look up in the trees, for if he did, he might find better food choices. In many ways, athletes are the same way.
At some point in their athletic careers, they are convinced to train in a certain way, and because this way lead to a certain degree of success, they now pronounce this "way" as the "only way." So remain receptive to new ideas, because usually, the thing you’re looking for is where you aren’t looking!
6) Fatigue Management
We LOVE to feel fragged after a workout, so much so that subconsciously, we tend to actually modify the workout to produce more post-workout fatigue, rather than to permit a better training performance.
When you’re trying to do gradually more and more work from session to session, fatigue-management skills are essential. I’ll address several unique Q2 fatigue management strategies for an upcoming column.
Many athletes spend untold hours examining and re-examining their training, nutrition, and supplement schedule, while at the same time completely ignoring the fact that their life is antagonistic to their training efforts, rather than supportive of them.
Late night partying, exhausting job schedules (I know what you’re thinking here, but jobs CAN be changed if you have a good-enough reason), and general inefficiency can wreak havoc on the best laid plans.
Read the full article here
Friday, February 13, 2009
A: There are two ways I know of to help control appetite naturally. One is to be extra careful about blood sugar fluctuations. The other is to eat high-volume, low-calorie foods.
The enemy of dieting is cravings, and nothing fuels cravings like the blood sugar roller coaster. You know what it feels like: You eat something high in carbs, your blood sugar goes up to the roof, insulin comes along and shuffles all that sugar out of the bloodstream 'till it's lower than it was when you started, and now you'll kill someone if you don't get a bagel.
Interesting how you never get cravings when you eat steak and broccoli, isn't it?
So choosing really low-glycemic foods is important. I've had breakfasts based around beans, and I can tell you I haven't been hungry for hours. Anything low-glycemic — vegetables, eggs, beans, buffalo burgers — should do the trick.
And make sure there's enough fat in your meal. It keeps you full longer, a sure-fire way to control your appetite (who wants to eat when you're full?). Eating really low on the glycemic scale should go a long way towards helping control diet-busting cravings and turbo charged appetites.
High-volume foods are foods that fill up a lot of space for very little calories. These foods usually have a lot of water in them — honeydew melon, canteloupe melon, and, the dean of appetite busting foods — soup. For some reason not fully understood, the combination of the liquid and the food in the typical hearty soup is an appetite killer.
You can get the best of both worlds — low-glycemic and high-volume — by choosing soups made from stock and loaded with vegetables, meat, or beans. Other appetite-busting high-volume foods include pumpkin and guava, both of which are loaded with fiber and will fill you up like nobody's business.
Finally, there's no great science to back this up, but green tea sipped throughout the day may help as well. In addition to being thermogenic, there's some anecdotal evidence that about five cups a day really helps with weight loss.
It's amazing how a good workout can really improve your mood. I was feeling pretty out of sorts for most of the day(again!) but Rob said I'd probably feel better after a workout and I agreed. There were heaps of guys training tonight. I reckon they were all out to get a pump before going out for the night. There were probably 2 girls training (me and someone else) and about 20 guys. Anyway, I hogged the smith machine and a bench to do reverse pushups supersetted with incline DB press. I knew there was someone else waiting to use the smith machine so I felt under a bit of pressure and didn't do much in the way of a warm-up sets (I'd done a dynamic warm-up though so wasn't cold). Went straight from my first set of reverse pushups into incline DB press with 45lb DBs (about 20.5kg DBs). Struggled to get the weight up on my own but once it was up I managed OK for 6 reps. I was shaking when I stood up! Next set I got a hand up with the weights and kept going on my own. I got to the fourth rep and felt someone hovering over me, then heard 'need a hand?'. I started to lower the weights for the fifth rep and didn't think I would get them up on my own so said 'yes please'. The last few times I've asked for a spot in the gym I've been a bit frustrated as I get too much help, but this guy was great. I really had to work for it. So of course I asked him to spot me for my next set. Hopefully he'll be around next time I'm training chest. Rob is a great spotter but we aren't often in the gym at the same time. Also did a few shoulder exercises and got an awesome pump. Wish I had my camera or phone with me to take a pic.
Anyway, here's how the rest of the day panned out:
Sleep: midnight to 7am (7 hours). Rob got home late and we stayed up talking.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park. I really enjoy my morning walks.
Training: upper body B
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training
Dinner = 2 small slices of Morrocan beef pizza on gluten-free base, 2 small slices of Medierranean lamb pizza on gluten-free base, 1 glass of organic red wine
Evening snack = choc protein powder, cottage cheese and peanut butter, all mixed together
1. Weight training body part?
2. Cardio exercise?
Walking or swimming
3. Intervals or steady state?
If not walking or swimming, then intervals
4. Carbs – friend or foe?
Friend in the AM or around workouts
5. Cheat meal?
Organic beef burger with a nice glass of red
7. Protein Powder?
Life's Basics Plant Protein (Pea, Rice, Hemp with Chia)
8. Gym outfit?
Shorts and singlet
10. Clean or Dirty Diana? (clean healthy food or healthy with naughty extras)
90% compliance to my plan
I love Pauline but Bunklers (ChickenTuna) is more my size. Closer to home, Rae is an inspiration to me.
12. Fat Loss Philosophy?
Eat the same way as usual but with reduced calories and increased exercise. Starchy carbs around workouts for energy, growth and recovery.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park; walk to and from work from train station
Recovery: 30 min yoga after walking TJ
I used Calorie King today to log my eating since I've been feeling like I'm in 'maintenance land' lately. On days where I walk for 45 minutes (AM) and train for an hour with weights (PM) it turns out I'm eating about 2500 cals. Guess what my maintenance cals are? 2491. I'm really happy that I'm eating consistently, but I don't want to 'maintain'. So now I need decide what my next step is.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Weight: 61.6 (on the way back down)
Still a little bit of stiffness in lower back but walk and yoga helped with that.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to Rob's bus stop then back home along bike track.
Training: lower body A
Recovery: 30min yoga after walk; hot/cold shower after training
Mood: work is going well so am happy about that but I felt a bit discouraged while training today (Why does it take me so long to put on muscle? Why do I do this?). Must stop comparing myself to others!
Monday, February 9, 2009
A couple more thoughts about why my weight is up:
- I've had really bad DOMs in my lower back the last couple of days from a new exercise I tried on Saturday.
- I'm training more frequently so am having creatine more frequently.
- My weight seems to go up if I don't sleep well the night before.
And no, I'm not obsessed by my weight. Just like trying to figure out how my body works.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park
Training: upper body A. Nearly didn't go (felt a bit tired from lack of sleep and still felt lethargic after the weekend) but glad I did. Had lots of water while training and started to feel better and realised what had been wrong the last couple of days. Dehydrated.
Recovery: 30min yoga after walk; hot/cold shower after training
Water: 3/3 plus workout drinks
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Weight: average 61.6kg (same as last week)
Lifestyle cardio: walked daily
Training: weights x 4, 15min intervals x 2
Recovery: four hot/cold showers, three 30-min yoga sessions, one myotherapy treatment
Water: 19/21 = 90%
Food: 38/42 = 90%
- Sleep getting better but still need to keep working on it.
- Will be interested to see what measurements say next weekend. My average weight this week is the same as last week. I've exercised more (and therefore eaten more) - am I just maintaining?
- Need to make sure my only rest day (Sunday) involves as little exercise as possible (including walking) so I feel refreshed for Monday.
- I should save one off my off-plan meals for Sunday night as cooking is the last thing I feel like doing then.
Lifestyle cardio: walk to local cafe and back; walk to supermarket and back
Training: off - boy do I need it. Feeling tired today.
cafe breakfast: skinny hot chocolate; corn fritters with tomato, rocket and chive cream, side of bacon; skinny latte
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Weight: 61.7. Don't you love it when your weight jumps 800g overnight, NOT! Guess that's what happens when you have two low-carb days in a row then have heaps of carbs around training.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park.
Training: lower body B. Yes, I'm crazy - I trained on Melbourne's hottest day ever. Think my hammies are going to be sore tomorrow from glute-ham raises. We don't have a glute-ham machine at the gym and I didn't have someone to hold my ankles so I did them off the lat pull-down machine - kneeling on the seat and tucking my feet under the pads that would normally hold your knees if you were doing a pull down.
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training
- Had a really nice lunch with my friend: chicken salad with pumpkin, avocado, slow-roasted tomatoes, feta cheese and baby spinach, plus a finger-sized piece of lebanese pastry. Had a power nap when I got home, then went to the gym.
- Flax cookies (choc protein powder, flaxmeal, natural peanut butter, mixed with a little water and baked) when Rob was eating his chocolate biscuits tonight.
Weight: 60.9 Lowest so far this year - more incentive to keep things consistent over the weekend.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to supermarket
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training
Training: upper body B - great workout!
- organic beef burger in gluten-free wrap, salad, glass of pinot noir
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Sleep: 11pm-7am. Eight hours but woke a bit tired with stiff shoulder. Going to bed earlier tonight.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park
Recovery: 30 min yoga
Training: HIIT (step at home - 1 min fast, 3 min slow x4)
Recovery: myotherapy treatment
Have got a birthday BBQ to go to tomorrow night, then am meeting a friend for lunch on Saturday. Am enjoying seeing the scales slowly come down, so am keen to stay on track.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Suck it up princess T-shirt - ordered mine today.
Sleep: 11pm to 7am. Got eight hours, but had to get up twice after Oscar.
Weight: have been playing a game recently and guessing my weight before I get on the scales. Guessed right this morning - 61.5
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to park
Recovery: 30min yoga DVD. Nearly didn't do this but glad I did. Feel soooo good afterwards.
Training: HIIT (bike sprints, 30s on, 90s off x 8)
Been feeling a bit tired and hungry today (have upper- and lower-body DOMs). Other than that my body seems to be liking the change this week. Muscles are fuller and I think I'm looking a bit leaner too.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Got a tub of choc Metabolic Drive protein powder with my Biotest delivery yesterday. Haven't had it for ages and wanted to see if my tummy was OK with it. No problems with it this morning, but after having mostly pea protein for the last four weeks it was soooo sweet! Think I am slowly losing my sweet tooth by not having sweet stuff all the time. Had a full scoop today but will probably just go back to having mostly pea protein with a little bit of the MD mixed in for sweetness and flavour.
Had a couple of interesting comments today. As I was leaving for the gym, Rob said 'you're definitely getting leaner'. So that was nice to hear. The gym I go to has a lot of men training there, and some of them aren't used to seeing women training to get bigger. When I was having my shake, one young guy said to me 'you're taking protein -that's funny!' When I asked him why, he said 'I've never seen a girl take protein before!'. LOL. My 'protein' was actually Surge, and after having it and grabbing a few things from the supermarket then heading home it was close to an hour after finishing it. I know that's about my limit before I have a blood sugar crash but thought I could slip in a shower before dinner. WRONG! By the time I got out of the shower and into the kitchen I had the shakes. I had the grapes I was going to have after dinner, and snacked on some of the veges I was cutting up, and that helped. Felt normal again after my chicken fried rice for dinner.
Sleep: 11pm-6am (7 hours) Seem to be developing a bit of a pattern here. I am going to sleep easily and waking up well, but I'd like to get more than 7 hours if I can. Will aim to be in bed by 10pm tonight.
Lifestyle cardio: walk TJ to Rob's bus stop, then on to supermarket to get some chicken for lunch, then back home.
Recovery: yoga (30mins)
Exercise: lower body A. Might have to swap lower body to Monday and upper body to Tuesday, as the leg area was very busy today (had two groups of guys queued up to use the squat rack after me).
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training
Thought for the day: Slow progress is good progress (and usually lasts a lot longer than fast progress!)
Monday, February 2, 2009
Glad I decided not to train yesterday (in order to start my new program today). Shoulder has been a bit stiff the last few days but it was feeling better this morning.
Sleep: 11pm-6am. I don't need to wake until 7am but have been awake at 6am for the last few days.
Weight: 61.7. Up slightly, probably from the extra meal yesterday.
Lifestyle cardio: Walked TJ to park
Training: started new program (upper body A) - seemed so quick doing supersets after resting 3 minutes between sets in my last program.
Recovery: hot/cold shower after training
Water: 3/3 (not incl workout drinks)
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I will be going from doing heavy weights every third day (2-4 reps per set with 3-minute rests between sets) to doing medium weights four times a week (4-12 reps per set with most exercises paired into opposing muscle group supersets).
HIIT will stay the same at two sessions a week for now (though I will switch from sprints to stairs or cycling).
Food will stay the same for weights, HIIT and rest days, though I will be doing more weights days per week so will be getting more carbs/cals per week. This, along with my increased strength, should see me put that muscle back on and add some more.
Since I will be training more frequently, I am taking the fenugreek drink and banaba out (keeping r-ALA though). Am changing fish oil from Bioceuticals Ultraclean to Biotest Flameout (love these).
Hopefully fat mass will keep moving downwards with the increase in training frequency and decrease in rest between sets. But will measure again in two weeks and reassess from there.