As I type this post, I'm sitting here in a lot of really, really AWESOME pain. Why is muscular pain "awesome" to me? It means progress. It means my muscle fibers have been torn apart from a grueling workout, and are being rebuilt, thicker and stronger than before. It means my off-season muffin top is being replaced by a 6-pack (I hope). It means bitches at the OCB show on 10/29 betta watch OUT for my shoulders and my high, round glutes.
About 1.5-2 months ago I decided to take a hiatus from competitive dieting, hence the blog; this was NOT, however, a hiatus from competing. I just need some time to satisfy my tastebuds with some good, healthy eats, and to not feel like I'm married to my food scale every day. I think I've done a GREAT job at eating clean, non-prep foods. I've been snacking on things like apples and cheese, bananas and peanut butter, greek yogurt with berries and granola, veggies with dip/hummus, turkey sandwiches on whole wheat with loads of veggies.............I'm really enjoying myself, and I've even lost a few pounds. Sometimes, we competitors get caught up in our diets. We feel like if we deviate AT ALL from our plan, our physiques are going to hell and we won't be stage-ready in 8 months. C'mon - that's retarded. That's why I needed a break - I felt my mind going to places that, as a rational, educated woman, it shouldn't.
But, with all things, I get bored easily, and I really got the itch to get back up on the stage in my strippa heels within a matter of weeks. So I found myself wandering around the gym, trying to decide what to do. Should I lift heavy? Should I do MET work to get my sex-ay on for the summer? Should I hire a trainer again? What to do, what to do. And that's when I remembered why I got into this whole mess in the first place: I had a group of 3 awesome girls and 1 badass trainer, and we had FUN. We laughed, we joked, we cried, we bitched and complained when we got hungry. I competed for ME. I didn't compete for a trophy, or for a piece of paper that said I was a "Pro" in a really politically f**ked up federation, or for some BS endorsement deal with a sleazy supplement company who wanted to use me to push their ridiculous, non-scientifically approved products.
Re-enter Leigh Ann Yeager, my fearless friend and "pitbull in pigtails" trainer. Leigh Ann has known me now for about 2 years. For 1 of those years she trained me; for the other, she watched me go through hell. I coasted while under her guidance. I ate a lot (ya like whole bags of doughnuts for breakfast??), cardio wasn't a word that was even whispered until 3 weeks out, and I was never dehydrated. I never even looked at a diuretic or a fat burner, and I never injected any weird shit into my ass. If there is 1 person who knows my body better than I (aside from Jim, obviously), it is Ms. Yeager. She knows what it likes, what it "craves," what it needs in order to excel. And more importantly, she knows my BRAIN. She GETS me, and I cannot tell you how important it is to have a trainer who gets you, inside and out. I thrive with Leigh Ann. I decided to train with LA again for those reasons, and I think it also makes sense to have a trainer who can SEE you, every day, live and in the flesh. And I also really like LA - I consider her to be a very dear friend, and it's just nice to be able to work with a pal.
Also in the mix are about 7-8 other hoochies who have embarked upon the figure trail with me. Lauren Isgett, Ashley Farrar, Katy Hull, Nicole Mason, Amy Fisher, Jessica Brantley, and maaaaybe 1 other brave soul. These girls are straight up badass. There is no other word I can use to describe them. They work hard, they sweat, they grunt, they lift heavy. And they don't wear makeup to the gym - we ain't there to impress people, we're there to do work. I am SO happy to have these women by my side, and together, we are the YEAGER BOMBS!! We worked out for the 1st time yesterday, and man was that fun. To have all of them by my side, pushing me to go faster, was awesome. It reminded me of exactly WHY I got into this last year. Even though we're on stage by ourselves, I consider this to be a team sport. At the end of our hour, we were sweaty, totally breathless, and in a heap on the floor; I would not have it any other way. The future is bright for the Yeager Bombs, and I'm really looking forward to our journey together.
Now a clarification on cardio. I posted a few weeks ago why I think cardio is stupid, and that raised a few eyebrows. I feel the need to explain myself a little bit, because I think my message was taken a bit out of context. I am not 100% totally anti-cardio. What I AM 100% opposed to are people who do 7, 8, 9, 10+ hours of endurance cardio (ie long duration, sustained heart rate) a week, or people who hop on the elliptical with a book and plod away for 3hrs at a time. The spin classes that I teach are 60 minutes in duration, and only 30 minutes of that is actually spent cycling. For the other 30, we're lifting. And the 30 minutes that I teach on the bike include nothing but heavy hills and intervals: NO ENDURANCE. I do this for a reason: I don't want anyone in my classes getting skinny fat. The RIGHT kind of cardio is a great supplement to any healthy program. I'm not saying you shouldn't go out for a jog with your dog when the weather is gorgeous: I'm just saying that you shouldn't do that EVERY day and it shouldn't be the ONLY thing you do to keep your physique in check. It's the WRONG kind of cardio that I'm opposed to: steady-state, monotonous, long, endurance, fat-storing cardio. And there's tons of research to back me up on this, so suck it, cardio freaks. I hate to rain on your parade, but if you want to look better naked, pick up the weights.
Let's take an example, shall we?? Yesterday, with the Yeager Bombs, LA put us through this vomit-inducing cardio circuit (really, my french toast was in my throat), that involved 0 traditional cardio. What it did involve was a lot of plyo, a lot of moving, and weights. 1 circuit consisted of 20 split jumps (10/leg), 10 burpees (5 w/a pushup, 5 w/out), and 20 front lunge w/a palms in shoulder press (10/leg). Looks easy on paper, right?? Holy shitballs was that hard. I was out of breath after just 1 set. My heart rate was EASILY in the 170s for the entire 10 minutes that we worked. To get the same heart rate elevation and calorie burn with cardio, I'd have to work twice as hard and twice as long. I'd rather get my crap done in 10 minutes as opposed to 30. And some more numbers to really drive the nail in the cardio coffin: when I ran my half marathon I weighed 130lbs, was a size 4-6, and was sitting at about 25-27% body fat. After lifting for a year, I now weigh close to 150, am still wearing a size 4-6, but have reduced my body fat to around 15% in an off season. Those numbers don't lie, folks. 20lb weight gain, same size clothes, lower body fat. You do the math.
I hope this clears things up. If you're sitting at home reading this and saying "I take 7 spin classes a week, why can't I get rid of my muffin top??" or "I run 30 miles a week, why is my ass dumpy?" I hope I've answered your question. Cardio is a supplement to a workout program, but it should not be the ONLY part of your workout program.