Friday, June 24, 2011

Contest Prep.........And Heeeeeeeere We Go!!

Well, it's about that time.  Time for me to put on my stripper heels and don my custom-fitted glorified sparkly thong.  My next show will be the OCB Yorton Cup on 10/29/11 in Washington DC.  I'm very excited about getting back up on stage for a few reasons.  First, even though I placed 5th in my class at Jr. USAs, I felt I got lucky, especially considering my physique wasn't as bangin' as I wanted it to be or as I knew it could be.  I was personally disappointed in my own performance (although, I do blame my prep), and I feel the need to better myself.  Second, I have worked my ASS off to put on good, lean, quality muscle over the last 10 months.  I've hit the weights HARD, eaten lots of good, clean food, and have put on about 12-15lbs since last year.  My physique is going to look so different from what I brought to the stage last year, and I'm excited to see what is underneath.  Third, putting on that much muscle/weight has affected me a little bit, mentally, since it required that I get a bit bigger.  I look good, don't get me wrong.  I'm not fat, but I did have to buy some bigger clothes, which, as any woman will tell you, can be difficult.  My legs grew a bit, and so have my lats and shoulders, which has increased my overall size.  I've had days where this really affects me, and then other days I'm fine.  I know I can be overly critical of myself, and I am aware of this.  I am also aware that you cannot gain muscle without gaining some fat.  It is what it is. 

I start a new diet July 1 - I will still be off-season, calorie-wise, but I will be changing back to higher protein, moderate carb, lower fat.  My body usually responds very quickly, so we'll see how the first few weeks go.  I'll stick to that for 2 months or so before I start a true contest prep diet.  I'm lucky in that I need only about 8 weeks of more strict dieting to get ready for the stage.  People that prep for 20+ weeks  - you're in the wrong sport.  It should never be that hard or take that long; if it does, see my previous statement. 

Some people have asked me, "Why the switch from the NPC to the OCB?"  I have many, many reasons - probably too many to list; I won't bore you with all of them.  I've competed in the NPC for over a year, and I've seen and heard some things that simply to not appeal to me, do not sit well with me, and that I do not want to be a part of any longer.  That's not to say that I won't do an NPC local show in the future for shits and giggles, but I likely will never compete in the NPC at the national level again.  I'll leave it at that.  Additionally, the drug use really gets to me.  I had a long discussion with a good friend about this last week when I was up in Chicago for Jr. Nats.  I am an athlete and have been since I came out of the womb.  I play fair.  I believe that the person who is the best that day should always win.  And that person should be the best because they've played fair.  The drug use is just too much for me, and I just don't think it's fair for a natural girl like me to stand next to an amazon woman who has been using steroids for 3 years.  We prep for months for these shows and to be screwed on show day is a slap in the damn face.  If you cheat to get on stage, whether that be by taking drugs or doing something weird with a judge, YOU DON'T DESERVE TO WIN.  At the end of the day, you have to look at yourself in the mirror, and you know what you've done.  I am in no way willing to compromise my morals/standards/values or my body for this sport.  This is a hobby for me - something fun to do, a personal challenge to overcome.  I've seen way too many deserving girls get screwed and I'm really tired of it.  I could say a lot more, but I won't.  I will continue to support my friends who compete in the NPC, but I'm moving to a federation that I feel is more fair, and where the cheating is less.  I may piss a few people off with these statements, and that's fine.  These are my opinions, and I've had over a year of going to these shows and hearing weird stories and SEEING things backstage, and this is the conclusion to which I have come. 

So, gang, my recipes will move towards more prep-friendly food.  For those of you who don't compete, I still think you'll find some of the recipes good alternatives (ie protein pancakes - truly delicious).  And for my competitor friends, you'll get to see just how creative I can get when I start to get lean and mean :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gym Etiquette

This blog post is more for comedic entertainment than anything.  Small apologies if this offends you (yes, only small).  These are in no particular order, and I'm sure I'm leaving some out - these are just the ones that piss me off the most.  Feel free to add YOUR favorites in the comments section :)

1) Don't talk on your cell phone
I really hate to break it to you, but no one gives a shit about your conversation.  It's not important, and neither are you.  And you get double turd points if you talk on the cell phone while doing cardio (ahem, SFGs), OR while resting on a bench in between sets.  If you can carry on a conversation while doing cardio, guess what?  You're doing it wrong. 

2) Take a shower
I really don't care about your religion and whether or not it allows you to use deodorant.  I care about my nose and its happiness.  And if I'm trying to crunch out a set of heavy deadlifts, the LAST thing I want to smell is your unwashed undercarriage or your smelly, onion-y pits.  And certainly not a combination of both.  Have some decency.  Bring soap and a washcloth to the gym and scrub that shit before you hit the floor.  Scrub in between sets.  Just BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING!  I cannot stand people who have no regard for others.

3)  Save your boobie shirts for the club
Ladies, you know who you are.  And I'm not hatin'.  You look good with your boobs floppin' all around, and they're nice, but seriously??????  If you need THAT much attention, your problem is in your head and it can't be solved in the gym.  Go see a therapist and get your mind right.  I'm there to do work, not to pick up dudes. 

4)  You don't own the gym
If weights/machines are free, I'm going to take them.  If I don't see you on them, I'm taking them.  Don't come back over to me 10 minutes after I start my circuit and say, "I was using that."  I really, really don't care.  You can work in with me, but you're not taking things away from me while I'm using them.  That's like coming into the bathroom while I'm on the toilet and telling me you have to dookskie.  Go in the sink. 

5) It's called "working in"
If you're sitting on a weight bench, talking on your cell phone (please see Rule #1), talking to your friends, cleaning your nails, twirling your hair, adjusting your boobs (see Rule #3), or anything that is NOT considered working out, I'm likely going to ask you if I can work in with you.  Do not tell me, "No, I'm using this."  Because you're not - you're taking a break, completely NOT using the equipment.  It's one of the biggest rules of gym etiquette to let others work in with you.  I always allow others to work in with me - I play in the sandbox with others.  People who blow off this request think they're God's gift to meatheads, and I dislike them.  And, I usually tell them this and remind them of the rules. 

6) Please, meatheads, lift appropriately
Biggest offenders: lat pulldown machine and leg press.  If your body comes off the seat at the upper part of the movement on lat pulldowns, guess what?  You're using too much weight.  If you can only do partial reps of leg press with 8 plates on each side, guess what?  You're using too much weight.  Oh, and if you DO obnoxiously heavy stuff, re-rack your damn weights.  I see this ALL the time, and only with men.  Is it the extra testosterone?  Is is the machismo?  What is it?  Do you know how ridiculous you look?  And what makes it worse is when you slam the machines/weights down at the end of your 2 pathetic reps and grunt or yell really loudly, like you're a badass or something.  And then you look at all the hot chicks in the room and nod your head.  Really?  I bet you have a really tiny ding dong.

7) You have mirrors at home. 
Please don't strut, kiss your muscles, check out your ass/boobs, or flex in the mirrors at the gym.  No one cares and you look silly.

8) Please learn to count
Maybe this is just an issue at my gym, but I'm very Type A, and when I see the 50s where the 15s should be, I get upset.  What upsets me more is when I see someone pick up the 50s, do a few sets, and then come back to the rack, not even CLOSE to where they got their weights, and put them in the 15 spot.  I mean, do you not pay attention to ANY of your surroundings?  Do you not look at the 12s and 20s on either side of the now misplaced 50s and say, "Hmm, this doesn't look right"??????????  What's the deal, y'all??  Numbers are sequential, always.  So, Fitness World folks, it goes 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, etc.  Please go back to kindergarten. 

9) Don't stand in front of me in the mirror
If I'm doing an exercise that requires me to be VERY precise with my form, I stand in front of a mirror to make sure I'm doing it right (this is what the mirrors are REALLY for - please see Rule #7).  I cannot tell you how many times someone has stepped directly in front of me to do a set of their own.  This again goes back to being aware of yourself in space and in relation to others.  I have a hard time deciding whether people are just THAT oblivious/dumb, or if they're just really hateful people.

10)  Don't do a set DIRECTLY in front of the weight rack
How many times do you go up to the weight rack to pick up your weights, only to have someone standing a pubic-hair away from the rack, in the middle of a set.  If you're an offender in this area, why do you do this?  Are you the protector of the weights?  Do you get a special helmet and cape for such a title?  If not, I can make you one, but it will certainly have some sort of pejorative on it.  People can't get to the weights, moron.  I don't wait for you - I will move you aside gently and take my weights.  Or, if you don't move, I will stand right next to you, as close as you are to the rack, and make it OBVIOUS that you're in the way until you do move. 

End of list

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Papa Spuds Rocks My Socks

About a month ago I was eating dinner with my girlfriends, when one of them said, "I would not be able to LIVE without Papa Spuds!"  She then went on to describe this wonderful world where garden-fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy products are delivered right to her door.  This piqued my interest, so I asked, "What's Papa Spuds?"  My girlfriends looked at me like I had not been LIVING for the last 28 years, so I knew it was something good.  Turns out, they were right! 

Papa Spuds is a local produce delivery system.  You go online (, sign up in 3 easy minutes, and then select your preferences for veggies, fruits, and a myriad of other food items.  You pay weekly, per delivery, and each delivery is $23 for a party of 2, or $40 for a party of 4.  Each different-sized box comes with a pre-selected number of credits (the small boxes come with 20 credits), and you pick exactly what you want until you've reached all of your credits.  Then, every Tuesday, I come home to a box of delightful freshness on my doorstep!!  Oh, and did I mention that if you're going on vacation, you can put and order on hold and not get charged for the week?  It's really quite marvelous, and I'm more than mildly obsessed.  PS also sends recipes with each delivery, so you can order things that you've NEVER eaten before, and know what to do with it.  I ordered quail eggs my first time, and I made a quail egg quiche; it was da bomb!!  I am such a snob about the freshness of my fruits and veggies, and I hate how quickly grocery produce spoils.  It's wonderful to have fresh produce in my house now.  Tomatoes for my salads, bok choy, raspberries for my cereal or greek yogurt, squash, lettuce, mushrooms..........PS even has pork chops. 

One of my deliveries!

Here are some of my favorite creations with my recent PS loot.  As I draw closer and closer to contest prep, I might have to start getting the $40 box so I can stock up on sweet potatoes and asparagus.  And I think contest prep (ie more veggies for me) will be MUCH better with fresh stuff to eat.  Until then, I shall enjoy all the jams, breads, fruits, and cheese to my heart's content!!

And for those of you in the Triangle, if you sign up for Papa Spuds, put me down as your referral and I'll get extra credits on my next order. Thanks in advance for keeping me fat and happy.

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli (cut out the cheese and nuts and sub PAM for oil during prep)

4 cups broccoli florets
3 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 T toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1 T fresh basil leaves, chopped

Toss broccoli pieces on a large sheet pan with the sliced garlic and drizzle with 2 T evoo.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and toss with 1 T evoo, lemon zest and juice, pine nuts, cheese, and basil.  Serve immediately.

Honey Ginger Green Beans (make without the honey during prep, and skip the pecans; sub PAM for evoo)

4 T olive oil
1 lb fresh green beans
6 oz mushrooms (I used portobellas since that's what I got from PS)
1/4 c soy sauce
1 T minced garlic
1 shallot, chopped
1 T honey
2 t minced fresh ginger (I used powdered, tastes the same)
3 T chopped pecans (optional)

Heat oil in a skillet until hot.  Reduce to medium and add green beans and mushrooms.  Saute until crisp and tender, about 5 minutes.  Add soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger, and shallot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until sauce thickens slightly and coats the beans.  Sprinkly with chopped nuts and serve.

Oven Roasted Potatoes (I make these all during prep by subbing PAM for evoo)

6-8 red potatoes, cut into quarters
2-3 T olive oil
onion powder

Heat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients in an oven-safe pyrex dish and bake for 50-55 minutes.