Thursday, 9 December 2010

Now I have to!

I got the entry form for the Anglian Bodybuilding Championships, it'll go into the mail today.

Oh my goodness, I don't think it already has sunk in entirely. Although I had an inspired training session yesterday. Eventually! I can't believe that I was so down lately. I am just hoping the inspiration stays.

And here is the proof!
... and no! I am not giving you my address and telephone number...

Friday, 5 November 2010

Pics, pics, pics, ...

Eventually I have a few new pictures for you. I had a bit of a dreadful time. It's more than a week now since my last post about the back ache, and eventually it is getting better. I did a bit of light training just to see the extent of the damage, and I seem to have got lucky with something cold inflicted rather than a real injury. So tonight and tomorrow I will still be a bit careful but I hope to be able to pick it up again to the normal standards by next week.

At least I took my chances with my dear photographer friend Matt. This was our first shoot and it was a warm-up, so to say. Hence I couldn't go full power with the weights anyway. One has to find a rhythm and the light weights suited me just fine. A great pay-off for light training!

So those are not training photos, or real progress photos, but I think he captured ME quite well. It turned out that we are a really good team and that I am feeling quite at ease with him. This way the pictures which show me in exercise are not staged. This is how I truly look like when I am training on my own.

Neck Press

... prepare ...

... ready ...

... lift!

Cable Fly - one of my favourites!


Squats, ...
oh well... still need a lot of work!


... a bit of biceps for the fun of it ...

... and the whole package, still in need for posing practice!

I hope you enjoyed the update. I definitely will have more shoots with Matt in the nearer future, so stay tuned!

BTW: I have a whole series of blogs running now under the name of Incredible Ladies Project, still not a feminist thing, just everything seen from a female point of view as I am pretty much undeniably female... The ILP homepage has a twitter feed running now via which I am announcing new publications that happened on the blogs. If you would like to get a more selective notification there is still the option of subscribing to individual blogs via the RSS feed.

All I'm saying is: Incredible Ladies ... and Rika... are back!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

No news is bad news

Oh this is so annoying! I strained my back... in my sleep!

... and now I am feeling a bit like a zombie, because it wakes me at night. It is one of those pains one can't locate really well, or which can be soothed by adopting a certain posture. It comes and goes as it pleases. So I cautiosly skipped the last two training sessions and haven't been walking either, since I am really feeling under the weather.

But it's not all bad news:
Diet seems to be ok. I am feeling so much leaner now and when due to the colder weather I got one of my sleek turtlenecks out of the wardrobe yesterday, I was so happy to see that the muscles nicely show underneath.

Well, and now that I have all the blogs for ILP are in place and a writing routine is kicking in again I will be focussing on this one again, as well. My list of supporters is growing, so again: let me know if you would like to be on there!

And yes! With a bit of luck I will have pictures soon. Big Matt - the one from the supporters list - eventually as moved passed his autumnal fishing phase and has come back to photography and this Friday we want to meet in the gym to snap a few pictures. I think he may be using a bit smaller camera though...

So that is it for today, I will keep myself under the radar training wise until Friday hoping that the back will be fine by then, and cross fingers that I will be back with a few photos!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

It's been a while...

Eventually, I am back... almost a month has passed that I have been updating the blog. Well, I actually wanted to save you my constant moaning.

It is unbelievable: Since I decided to do this bodybuilding competition I have had more disruptions, invitations, and temptations than during the previous 5 years. I have been in restaurants almost every week, and once I start eating comfort food I am doomed. I have never felt more of a food addict like at the moment.

However, with a bit of luck I am back. I at least have trained well and I am getting stronger. A lot of the exercises feel more controlled, I could raise the number of repitions and in some even the weight. And the rear is definitely growing.

So yes, I will not give up! Even if I have periods during which I am not good with the food or the fat burning exercises like walking, I do not neglect the weight training and am feeling good there.

Will be back more often now and put on further videos. Those actually have been proven very helpful. I got a good comment on the shoulder exercises and will follow that advice.

Off I go into the stretch towards Christmas. No excuses!
See you around...
xx

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Oh, all this going out....

Going out again tomorrow!

This really is a big hiccup - sports project, being determined and wanting to keep your friends... or making new ones for that matter.

I am getting better in not even wanting the little things one grabs on the site when making a trip to somewhere. I can resist the ice cream man in the street, and the waffles. But the social meetings are something one has to practice, apparently.

At home I prepare portions about which I have a rough idea how much it will cost me, in a restaurant I have no clue; but not eating is not an option either people don't feel comfortable when being watched eating. I have a theory that a lot of food sharing from ones own plate happens not because one is full, but because one hates that the other one being finished and now watching.

However, I am starting to develop some rules now - as soon as I have rules to stick with things become easy, e.g:

A bit of cake - very very difficult! Which cake, how much, greed, timing, easily nibbled on the side... grrr

No cakes - easy! Don't think about it, if you think about it say a definite 'No' and the thought goes

So now the tasks are:
  • to make sure that I know in the mornings so that I can plan the food for the rest of the day,
  • to find good restaurants, and
  • do the suggesting and booking myself.
Well, first one has to determine what a 'good' restaurant is. It cooks with little salt, has different sizes in portion and allows ordering separate things rather then one dish on a platter.

In the close proximity where one lives one always will find one or two restaurants in which one can stick to a particular dish. I used to always eat the Ceasar salad at our favourite Italian. But what if one is someplace else. Then one needs a particular style of food or a chain.

Last week I found out that Nandos is great. Firstly it is very plain food, you pop the sauces from a bottle. It is mainly chicken and it comes in different sizes and one can add a selection of side orders in two sizes. Perfect!

Tapas is good as well. One orders little portions of things, usually 3-4 per person and then it is all shared. Usually I don't particularly like that because people keep ordering things I don't like and then eat what I ordered. But that is sort of the point now. And Tapas is very much in fashion and Moorish and Spanish places are on the 'Up'.

And then of course there are some rules:
No starter, I will not even go there a little bit, not even a salad, not even shared. Be honest: One usually is already full after the starters. And given that my usual dinner has something around 600 cals, an amount that makes me happy and feel good... a starter would do! But then the whole watching people eat thing is happening again. Not eating starter is more approved. They are all so hungry that they don't care.

No desert! Again, I will not even be thinking about it. And again it is the watching people eat thing. Apparently the fuller they get the less they like being watched. I noticed that once one declines having desert all the others do as well. So I have coffee! Luckily it doesn't affect me at night. Propblem solved!?!

Now I will have to fight off all the well meaning people asking me if I want to try; 'Really, it's really nice, you should try a bit, that bit won't hurt you, it's a lot I have here, you can try!' NO! I don't want to! If you feel guilty about stuffing your face with sweets, then deal with it, but don't blame it on me! If I wanted I would have ordered myself! I AM NOT HAVING IT!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Holiday's Over

The holidays are over, back to normal now. Well, it's only 6 hours 15 minutes in and I am not feeling entirely back. Got up at 5:40 and now waiting for the cappuccino to kick in.

This hols showed me that there is a need to consolidate lives: There is still my normal daily life with work, household, friends, going out and hobbies, and separate from that there is my bodybuilding life. The task of the next couple of month will be to bring those two together. The other things have to bend to the bodybuilding regime, otherwise I won't be successful.

It is a bit easier here in England because my friends support the bodybuilding stuff. Back in Germany I got so many raised fingers: "But not too much, girl!" I didn't even get to telling my family that I want to compete. That really brought the mood levels down. I had been quite excited to meet them and to collect my praise... silly! Still making myself dependent on the opinion of others and let them bring me down. But I guess a lot of you might know this feeling with family...

Then I had a lot of dust biting in bringing my house up to scratch. There is not a single shelf I didn't touch. Meaning the house is clean and I have the dust sniffles. There was a bit of cold at the beginning but now it definitely is allergies. In a nutshell: Holidays was not really relaxing, still feeling a bit under the weather, but it was very successful in a way that I have peace of mind with the house work now, and it was very unsuccessful in terms of training, indeed. Hence there is a lot to learn from this break!

At least I had a good session on Saturday and when going out with friends for dinner on Sunday, I did well with the food. So it seems that I am getting back on track, and am looking forward to having my routine back.

Today is shoulder, abs, arms day and we will see how that goes. I am thinking a lot about how to fine tune my training, still shifting the exercises a bit, but I'm almost there. I guess by end of September I will know if it is all working well and nailing it down in order to be prepared for the Christmas season with all its temptations.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Oh that’s not good, is it?

I am starting to believe that holidays are overrated; at least what certain projects are concerned.

Thing is that I am not doing my thing at the moment. Eventually I have been travelling for a long weekend, to which I have been looking forward, and brought me as a gift a lot of clothes and a cold. The clothes are really lovely the cold really goes on my nerves. Airplanes, air-cons, shopping malls, ... all things to catch such a bugger and it is dragging on since more than a week now.

Next thing is meeting people. During holidays one has to catch up with all the social meetings which have been neglected before. Not that I wouldn’t like to see all those people, it’s just that the only occupation while seeing them is eating – a lot! I guess I tripled the calorie intake during those three days making it a weeks worth of food.

Admittedly I could have cut short on what was on offer, but there were a few things which I had promised myself due to the fact that I was in Germany, like the cakes, and in restaurants the portions are just so big. I already have become better in leaving leftovers, but I am far from what is needed and for me that always will be a challenge in itself.

Additionally the people I have been meeting are not interested in my project, some even oppose to it. So the thing that I enjoy, that is on my mind continuously, and that I am proud of, I had to hide away or play down.

And you know what? After a short while one is starting to believe what one is telling those people. It really brings the motivation levels down. The first training after I came back went badly, so I had hoped to meet my friend in the gym on Saturday; this usually lifts me up. Although the cold showed first signs, a light training and a bit of motivation would have done me good. But due to holiday we went to London on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lovely day, any other day than Saturday however, would have been better. I didn’t feel like bringing the training forward and hence planned for catching up on Monday, but didn’t feel like it either, when the day came, and today – Tuesday – I went down with heavy sneezing entirely.

I have not been more demoralised in a long time and am now looking forward to my work routine. Please cross fingers for me that things will fall back into place from next Monday on!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Yay! This was a good week :o))

After all that moaning and groaning of the past weeks I eventually can report that the last week was a good one.

At first I was unsure because I just couldn't get some powerwalking in, but when I mounted on the scale this morning it was:

65 kg!

This is almost a kg down and that despite the ice cream binge last month. I am pleased!

Training went well, and today I deadlifted 85kg which is 20kg! more than I weigh and 5 kg more than last time... and it felt good, and safe and I could do 6 and 5 reps. Utterly pleased with that!

And I eventually am a bit creative as well and wrote another colum. This time on finding focus to eventually being able to not slip into those moody places again.

So now I am looking forward to a good time with holidays (at home and with a lot of training) ahead of me.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

... a quick quickie

... nothing but panic! Had a bad month, hormones all over the place, grumpy, greedy, lazy. Feeling awful!

At least the greed is gone and I can easily live without sweets, still a bit grumpy and tired, and now the date is out! Whenever I think of it I feel like getting the runs. Ordered the entry form yesterday, nevertheless.

... and I may have got an idea what sort of music I would like. The biggest challenge of all, to make an amusical person pose to music with precision.

Bloody hell...

Monday, 26 July 2010

Oh my goodness... we have a date!

Just googled the Anglian Bodybuilding Championships and found that the new poster is out!

We are on:
5th June 2011



Panic kicking in!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Hmm?!?

I didn't write anything for a while because I wasn't really sure what to tell you. Routine has kicked in now - as I had wished for - and hence nothing really has happened.

A good week ago on a Saturday I woke up and felt... successful. And as it was Saturday, the day when I usually do some measuring I enthusiastically threw myself into the full program: used my scale, used the device at the gym, used the measuring tape, gathered it all together, logged into the blog... and NOT A SINGLE THING HAD CHANGED. How can I feel stronger, leaner, my clothes fit differently and neither the sizes nor the percentages have changed?

Thus disillusioned I felt a cold cropping up on top of it all, still keeping it at bay but I am really rather tired. Fatigue makes me peckish, so apart from the fact that I now fell into a burger and ice-cream addiction there is not a lot to tell. At least I am not getting fatter again.

Well, and I definitely do get bigger. A top that I haven't worn for some time fits all of a sudden quite tightly around the chest, and trousers which used to slip now sit nicely on some growing glutes. It all just goes so slowly... patience is a virtue I do not have, I guess.

I am however proud of myself in regard to gym. I didn't skip a single session however tired I was, and I am working hard and enjoying it. The powerwalking on the treadmill is now incorporated into the Monday training and I am trying to fit in an additional session per week. Skipping the rowing marathon and gaining the time for other stuff was a very good decision.

And I am now starting to build some sort of a scene at my gym. Just asked a guy about his training and got really good info on calf training, resulting in me having to add another exercise. So I will now see to get the leg training on here next. It's summer break soon and the gym will empty, that always works well for shooting movies.

So that's it: Eating too much red meat and sugar, doing good training, and still having to crack the posing. We got a new iPad now and hubby put all the music on there. This is a decent device for playing music around the house and for me to hopefully find something I like.

Nothing much to report really... apparently we have reached the boring part of it all, now that the first excitement has settled.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Shoulder Cable Reverse Fly

... and the last exercise for the shoulders is for the rear head!





Some more information on shoulder training you can find in the Incredible Ladies Sport section.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

... and a change!

This very morning I decided to do the indoor rowing marathon AFTER the bodybuilding championship.

I had planned for the marathon well before the idea of the championship cropped into my mind, and initially I thought I would need the rowing training to help me get rid of the fat depods - hence I never questioned my decision wanting to do the rowing this October.

Now, 10 weeks into the bodybuilding training I am realising that it will not work this way round. In my mind the focus is on the championship, I just can't think of anything else. I do some rowing, but not enough to train for a marathon, and it is impossible to do this while keeping the focus on the weights at the same time.

My progress on the muscle front is so brilliant and I am feeling so good with it that I am not willing to interreupt it. Additionally my focus within this project has changed a bit. Whereas at the beginning it was all about 'going there and having some fun' and 'just wanting to have done it once in a life' I now am going there for the 'kill' - I want to win this!

I have seen the competition and I know that I can do it, or that I can get pretty close. If this lady is competing next year, then I want to give her a hard time - in the best possible way!

... and to get there I definitely will need these 11 month without any distractions.

So decided it is: I will swap the two events. I will do the competition first and then do the marathon next year. Life won't stop in it's tracks by next June and one will need a new focal point for 'after' anyway.

Since it is decided I feel relieved and free - hence the decision is a good one!

Just a quickie - Something 65...

Yippie, this morning I have seen a '5' coming after the '6' on my scale. It is 65.9 kg but still, it is showing. That makes a loss of 2.5 kg in two and a half month and given that I am aiming for a kilo loss per month that is bang on target.

Then I am going to have another photo shoot next week with a new photographer, weather permitting as it is an outdoor shoot, and I am just about to arrange for another one with ChrisW in three month time.

Weather is good, so I will be working a bit more on my tan, and training is fun and kicking in.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Shoulder Cable Fly, one arm - 2010

The 4th exercise is targeting the middle head of the shoulders as well.

Actually I think the official name is lateral lift. These names are really confusing and I never really know if it is lifting or flying that I do. However, I know how to execute the exercise so that it works for me!

This lateral lift comes in a two arm version as well, but that means that the cables have to cross in front of the body. That means that they either tend to tuck in the clothes when one is as upright as one would like to be for a good execution, or one has to bend forward a bit and then the movement feels awkward for me. So I rather invest twice the time and do the shoulders separately.

Again, the shoulders are kept down, there is no neck clenching.



Some more information on shoulder training you can find in the Incredible Ladies Sport section.

Shoulder Dumbbell Fly, seated - 2010

The 3rd shoulder exercise targets the middle head of the shoulders.

This exercise is usually executed while standing, I used to do it that way. Then a lot more weight can be used and it looks rather impressive, but it is all too tempting to use the momentum of the down movement to get the weight up again.

When I tried Oaks Gym - where all the big boys are training - I didn't find small enough weights and had to do the standing version. Result: Horrible muscle ache in the neck and none in the shoulders the next day. That means that with too much weight and using the momentum of the swinging weight there is no real focus on the target muscle. Additionally I am not keen to get a bigger neck than I already have, hence I am doing the not so impressive version which fully targets the middle head of the shoulder.



Additionally I would like to stress that in all shoulder exercises, the neck is actually never clenched, meaning that the shoulders are kept down even in the lift.

Some more information on shoulder training you can find in the Incredible Ladies Sport section.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Diary 19/06/10 - The new leg training...

... and it is a good one! After all the amendments I had made, today was the first time that I worked through the whole thing in the right order- or at least through what I thought the right order should be - and I could not run to my car despite rather heavy rain: That is what I call muscle exhaustion.

Squat, deadlift & Co
I had added deadlifts a while ago, but had put them at the end of the training, with the idea in mind that after the leg press, which was the main leg exercise and came first, I would be too exhausted to do deadlifts straight away. So doing all the other stuff inbetween would give the main muscle some rest before it gets involved in the next exercise. This allows it to survive longer and hence all the supportive muscles get the opportunity to be trained very well. Not a bad idea and it generally works for all exercises that involve muscle groups rather then isolated muscles, like bench press, deadlifts, squats.

Right now this theory has one flaw, though: My main muscle, the glutes, are weak. So my worry should not lie with the smaller supportive muscles but with the main one. And that means to kill it well and good!

So today I set out to do just that. Last week already I had decided to add squats to the program as well, as there is nothing better to build glutes than squats.

Squats as well as deadlifts are exercises which cannot be done to full exhaustion of the muscle, though; one needs to stay in control of the weight in order to not topple over or to get injured. The idea now was to do the exhausting and control demanding exercises at the beginning and use the machines to finish it off.

Thus squats came first... still only 30kg, but felt good and controlled... and then deadlifts. The efficiency of the squats showed instantly as I had to reduce the weight of the deadlifts from 80 to 70kg and if felt really, really heavy.

But good! That's what we want, we want those glutes to give in and not being able to move anymore. Given that, the weight of the deadlift doesn't matter as long as the target muscle is hit!

Next the leg press on my usual machine (cable). Had to reduce the weight by 1 1/2 plates and it was awfully heavy. That firstly shows that so far the leg press did a good job by hitting the right muscle, and that secondly it is a great tool to finish off what the squats and the deadlifts had started. I never felt wobblier on my legs when clambering from that thing.

After that all the other exercises followed: Leg extension were affacted and I needed to reduce weight; hamstring curl was amazingly good, pobably by then there was enough resting time between the deadlifts and those curls; then came calves and adductor and abductor muscles on the machine.

And now I am pretty happy that I can sit here and write, although I should be in the garden weeding... I just don't feel like bending over right now.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Just a quickie!

Just came back from a great chest/back session and feeling confident again! Needed that!

After all the video editing yesterday of last week's competition it slowly had trickled in what I have let myself into. I am too chunky for the fitness/toned competition already, but still far off the physique/trained competition. This woman is really good and ripped, she was in the competition at least twice and is experienced... Well, I know what I have to do, but still: This morning I woke up and felt rather nervous for no particular reason.

I have to start on the posing now. I don't want that dancy stuff, I have a melody in my mind and don't know what it is... and I can't sing, bummer!

So for now I am sorted. A good training did the trick. The week off did me good and I am definitely getting stronger. Did 50kg bench, 10 and 8 reps and it felt very controlled - good one! Saturday is legs - can't wait! Hope fat will go down soon. Haven't measured in two weeks due to too much of the wrong food for b-day treats. I am so happy that now routine is kicking in again. Spontaneity is overrated!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Anglian Boydbuilding Championship 2010

Great Yarmouth, 6th June 2010


There we were, at the typically English seaside town of Great Yarmouth on a typical English day in June, on the Britannia Peer waiting for the show to start. The trip from Ipswich was something like an hours drive, the show starting at 4PM and entry at 3PM - so nothing to worry about for next year when I want to be here not to watch, but to compete!

The event is sponsored by ASN, a local supplier of all sorts of protein powders and supplements which one can't get around if doing this sport seriously.

Especially protein is important and there is not enough chicken, cottage cheese and beans around to compliment the need; the more that there are amino acids as building blocks of natural proteins which are not good for the body in big amounts, and these powders don't have those.

Since IL is supporting local business I can live with taking part in an event that is organised by somebody selling that stuff, and Bob Lockwood, the owner, is a really nice chap and working hard to pull off this event year after year which shows an amazing quality of muscle athletes.


located in Bury St. Edmunds

Well, and Bodybuilding is not a mainstream sport, this is how all the events are sponsored all over the world to make it happen at all.

So by 4PM there were

quite a few people in their chairs

A nice young gentleman, selling ASN products,
the white chocolate bars are really yummy!

A stage

and trophies and medals.

And those are the ones I am after next year!

Unfortunately I cannot cover the whole show, but there are pictures of the various competitions on the ASN website, like 'people who never competed before', 'young people,' 'over 50s' - very impressive results and great inspiration, 'over 40s' and the 'big boys' as I like to call them.

So here I will focus on a fun part during which the audience is asked to show off best upper body, and the ladies competitions of course.


Best Upper Body Contest

The 'Best Upper' was rather special because two little boys were competing with some really big boys, and as they didn't have a clue what to do they followed the lead of the muscle man.

Bob Lockwood moderating the competition

of course this gentleman didn't stand a chance against the two!

Comparison line-up!

Guess who...

... will win?

It's a tie - Bless!


The Procedures

There is a two minute posing show to be performed, then usually a relaxed pose from each side, then the compulsory poses are requested, and when there are many competitors they have to show those in smaller groups for better comparison - there was one bloke who had to go through it 4 times, he was close to fainting.

This didn't happen to the ladies as there was only very little competition.


The Ladies!

Now! I have to explain that there are two different types of ladies competition. The general terms are 'Fitness Category' and 'Physique Category'.

Fitness was called 'Toned Figure' and Physique was called 'Trained Figure'. I guess I won't have to explain the difference a lot, the movies are talking for themselves.

A lot of eye candy, but not what I am up against next year!

THIS is the challenge I am facing!

She won by default as there were no other competitors.

I must be mad!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Diary 13/06/10 - A week off

I took a week off and I think it did me some good. Too much was going on, with the trip to Great Yarmouth last Sunday, my photoshoot on Wednesday, B-day and resulting trip for shopping on Saturday... So I thought: Well, instead of training half heartedly, give yourself a rest with prospect of training even better the week after and really enjoying the stuff that was on this week.

Great Yarmouth was fantastic and I will cover it in a separate blog post, and the photo shoot was... Wow! One of the pix is 'picture of the week' on IL this week, and a few B&W experiments came out quite nicely. Well I posted them here, you probably would want to make up your own mind, let me know what you think!

Those photo shoots are just great to help seeing instantly what is already in place and where work still needs to be done.

Obviously there is still fat to be lost, but there is no point of going too far straight away when there is still a year to go. The back is not too bad, but it becomes obvious that the rear head of the shoulders still needs some development, and it wouldn't hurt to get some development on the middle head as well.



Arms are still a bit chubby, so a bit of mass to compensate for the volume when the fat goes would be nice as well.

I quite like the proportions, though. Volume wise I think I am not too far off, I just need to replace the soft stuff with the hard one.

Having said that: I am now very inspired to go back into the gym. One week of holiday is long enough, the more that those occasions go along with all sorts of the wrong food as well. All I want now is to fall back into my routine, and being able to enjoy the gym.

Great Yarmouth was a wonderful inspiration for the posing training, so off I go into the next phase!

Yippie!

Pictures by Babul Bhatt

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Diary 05/06/10 - No way around squats



For starters: There are no measurements today! Reason being that nothing has changed, and things might even have gone depressingly worse. So I didn't even go on a scale.

Oh that darn second half!

This basically confirms parts of which I mentioned in the ‘It’s a female thing article’: Don’t be too hard on yourself in the second half of the cycle. Since I am eating below the calorie allowance for such a long time now, and observing myself like a lab rat, I can even see the subtle difference hormones make.

At a doctors check-up I was once asked whether or not I feel bloated during that time and I said ‘yes’. But to be honest: I felt bloated quite often back then, could have been caused by all sorts of things. Now my food is stripped down to the things I like and which I feel good with and I can instantly see the impact when something changes. The other day we had an old friend over from Germany, I had three days with proper meals at night including pizza and sweets and I felt like a blob - and I didn’t even go beyond my calorie allowance. It’s the salt and the sugar which are my enemies.

And now I can feel the changes in hormones more clearly than ever. I didn’t even know when I was due and all of a sudden I was much hungrier; not peckish, really really hungry. I could juuuust survive on my allowance and one day I had to go beyond. And it is carbos I am after, some egg or meat won't do, it has to be bread or pasta.

So what are the choices? I either don’t eat, am grumpy and perform badly in the gym, or I have my food and am fine. This week I opted for the latter. Additionally I can’t get myself to endurance training. It’s horrible! I find all sorts of excuses not to do it and if I eventually am on the rower I don't feel like sweating but 'breaking into sweat', which is a completely different matter and rather feels like hot flushing. The instant I am through with that crap I am fine again.

Hence no measurements this week and the decision not beat me up in the month to follow, but just to plan ahead and not to neglect the rowing during the first half.

It is amazing however, how well weight training goes. I had great workouts and the warm weather is supporting me wonderfully. I love weight training when it is hot.

Yesterday I have been laying carpet all day and couldn't make it to the gym, so I decided to do it all in one go this morning: Chest, back AND legs! And I did it! I even shot some videos of chest and back until the gym got too full, and then I concentrated on that silly buttocks of mine.

Picture is from 2007 as demonstration for IL site

In the Exercises file I already had mentioned that I might integrate squats again. Today I gave it a shot. I have a bit dodgy knees from heavy squats when I was younger and so I didn't do them in a long, long time. I however know that they are the best exercise ever to grow a nice round rear - what can I say: All those leg presses seem to have done some good. I already have some basic strength and 30kg felt rather good. It is a patheticly low weight, but it is a start. I however can already tell that they will do the trick, I found fibres I haven't used in a while and I am now looking forward to a nice muscle ache tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow: It is the day of this year's Anglian Bodybuilding Championship and we will go to Great Yarmouth. I am very excited about this and can't wait to get the vibe of the event. I am hoping to have some nice pix tomorrow and maybe even a movie!

Until then, keep it strong!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Shoulder Barbell Press, seated - 2010

The 2nd shoulder exercise, targeting the same muscle as the first. Enjoy!




Some more information on shoulder training you can find in the Incredible Ladies Sport section.


Monday, 31 May 2010

ABS Basic Crunch -2010

This video was created quite a while ago and I am doing the 'advanced' part of it (from minute 6). This fisishes off the upper abdominals after having done cable crunches and is to put a focus on the lower abdominals as well.

Shoulder Dumbell Press seated - 2010

The 1st of 5 shoulder exercises. This one is targeting the front head of the shoulders. Have fun!




Some more information on shoulder training you can find in the Incredible Ladies Sport section.


Saturday, 29 May 2010

Diary 29/05/10 - A Week Out Of Kilter

This was an almost surreal week. Nothing really dramatic or exhausting happened, just that little bit the brings things out of focus. First a young friend was moving house and I helped on Tuesday and at the same time an old friend from Germany came to visit for 3 nights. He did not even stay at our house, but it was nice to sit and chat and of course there was late night food for three days in a row. Although I tried to be as reasonable as possible with my food intake during the day, I guess I over ate by about 300 cal per day.

That basically rendered the efforts of the week before useless... as shown in the measurements

All that is not a problem when one just wants to stay fit and keep the balance, but given that I only have 52 more weeks to my challange, I shouldn't do that too often. People in my close proximity might want to prepare themselves to having an utter killjoy in their midst.

Additionally it didn't do me any good. By Thursday I was so tired that I skipped chest and back training, and throughout the week I didn't row a single time. I feel bloated and drab...

Grrr!

Well, trying to buy jeans yesterday didn't help either. I don't know what Gap&Co mean by 'curvy' but surely not the shape I am featuring.

So on the verge of sliding into depression I decided this morning to not let that happen, went to the gym, was tired like hell, hence didn't take the vido camera to avoid distraction (sorry, will do on Monday) and just pulled through!

Did the full training, didn't particularly like it, did the full reps and weights, still didn't feel great, but DID IT!

That's what I like about weights: I still can do it when I am not at my best. I was so short of breath that I could hardly get through my rowing warmup. No way I could have done endurance stuff. But especialy leg exercises seem to be always possible!

So now I am still tired, hence the not very inspired writing style (again I am sorry), but very proud of myself. Tomorrow is walking if it's not raining, rowing afterwards and Monday back to the gym for shoulders, ABS and arms; and I am hoping to be able to eventually shoot a few videos.

Until then, have a great long weekend!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Diary 22/05/10 - Now I know!

I just filled in the new measurements and only very little has changed there, but boy have things changed!

Firstly, it seems that already a small variation in measurable proportion can change the looks quite a bit, and it surely can change the way one feels. If you see a woman walking the street holding her hands on her rear, it might be me. Since a couple of days it is just very interesting to feel, and if I wouldn't know better, I would confidently say: This is not my bum!

Secondly, I am getting stronger. Today I cranked deadlifts up to 80kg in the second set and still could do 6 reps. I am very pleased with that. Especially since the last time the neck muscles were a bit twitchy. But this time all the smaller muscles held up nicely.

And this time I got my dear friend and Saturday training partner Imola to take some pix with the mobile - so please forgive the poor quality, but I was so proud of my first try with the 80, I just had to get that documented:


Can't wait for the next session on Monday now: Arms, ABS and Shoulders!

So given all that I now know that in a years time I will be 'THERE'.

A couple of weeks ago I was still a bit nervous about how the skin is reacting to weight loss, and how the training might go. I had counted weeks I had left until competition and 54 sounded such a small number. Then the previous week already went really good, and this week the trend continued. I am only 7 weeks in and I would estimate that I could already show myself in another 8 weeks time without being embarrassed if that trend continues. So all of a sudden 54 sounds pretty good to me!

YaY!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Amendments

Yesterday was the dreaded Monday session for which I had to dash into town right after work to train at the 'big boys' gym and then having ballet lessons after.

The training was not too bad, I however did the same training in my usual gym the week before and it was much more efficient. The more I looked around at oaks I have to say that although most of the equipment is very functional, it is outdated as well. They only rarely use cable machines and hence they are the old, not height adjustable ones. Additionally the dumbbells are all on the heavy side, hence I had to adjust some exercises. The weight labels are half scratched off or non existant, so one has to do a good guess what weight one is using.

Given that I have to pay £3 for the training and £4 for the parking, on top of the time I have to invest I decided to not go there regularly.

And! I felt darn confident!

During the first session two weeks ago I felt like having been shifted to the bottom of the class, but yesterday, with a bit of fat lost and muscles gained... yes, I will take photos soon! ... I found myself actually really rather gorgeous looking. I now feel that I can do this without a 'scene' close by. I eventually found a good posing site on the internet and just will take it from there. The guys at Oaks only knew about male posing anyway and I don't think there are more women in Ipswich preparing for competition.

So let's see what an independant gal can do!

Regarding ballet: It always was annoying that admission works on fist come first serve basis. Class is at 6 PM, booking opens at 5 PM and by 5:30 it may already be booked out. There is no point of driving to town and then not getting into the class. So when I went before I made sure to arrive bang 5, book myself in and then read. It's not even close enough to town centre to run some errands. So I am wasting an hour of my time waiting for class to start.

I know that ballet would be beneficial for the ol' bones, but it is a bit like eating seaweed - it's healthy but I hate it, hence I'm not eating it. So I decided to skip ballet for now and do the posing training instead.

That bit out of the way I am now looking forward to the rest of the week!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Diary 14/05/10 - It's kicking in!

Today for the first time I had measurements which showed a trend into the right direction. All still very subtle, but at least something. I did need some reassurance!

I desperately needed some trousers and went shopping yesterday. I was shocked to find that I need size 14 very stretchy ones to fit the legs in. I actually had thought that I had become quite a bit leaner, but thanks to the measures I can tell that I must have grown some muscles.

I am just so amazed. I am only doing this since 6 weeks, I didn't think that it would work so well. I am feeling stronger in most of the exercises, though. Raised the deadlifts to 75kg today and felt really good. That takes away a bit of the anger regarding the pant size, but raises the question where I will find something to wear in the future...

Another thrilling aspect is that I have to start being more careful with my food. Until today I just reduced my normal diet to amounts around 1800 cal per day in order to reduce fat. And usually I don't eat before I go to the morning gym sessions. Today however I was so hungry that I had a cheese bread and a banana and still was hungry throughout the session. Especially with leg exercises that takes a bit of the oomph away.

I will still try to stay on a bit less than 2000 cal per day but only as long as it doesn't affect the training. I am hoping anyway that I will burn off a bit of fat with my rowing sessions. Last week I rowed twice for 5k... that's not massive but it's a start.

Please cross fingers I will make it through a proper training week according to schedule next week. Last Monday a migraine killed my efforts. I am getting almost geeky about eating and drinking enough fluids now and even my sleeping routine is getting adjusted... hence me finishing this now as it is almost 10PM already and tomorrow at 8 AM it's walking and rowing on the agenda.

Sorry for this being a rather dry report. So far there wasn't anything yet to take photos of, and the gym is still too busy to film the exercises. This will have to wait to the summer break.
Night night now. This lady needs her beauty sleep!

Friday, 14 May 2010

67.6

What the h...,

Is 67.6 my lucky number? That was the weight I had two weeks ago. And yes! I have been training hard. And yes! I had a party inbetween! And yes! I know I am not supposed to believe what scales are telling me, but it would be just so nice to see improvement in measurements.

My shape is clearly showing me that I am getting leaner... But how much leaner? Is it good enough? Could I do more? When will be the moment of truth, telling me that I am running out of time and that I should have done more, earlier?

Ohoh,getting really impatient now, don't I?

Was it me who said that 'patience is key'? Hmmm.
The other thing is that all my clothes are breaking down. I don't have anything to wear. My mix and match wordrobe theory is not working anymore because key items have gone from my wardrobe and I can't buy new ones because I don't know where my shape will be taking me.

I know! Those are lovely problems to have. So I will enjoy them a bit more, and will do a bit of measuring tomorrow when I go to the gym where they have this hand held bodyfat thingy.

Tata for now...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

... and another quickie

Still not entirely on track, but getting there slowly.

After the big dinner party which went well and was great fun, I broke down a bit during the weekend and by Sunday a proper migrane had developed. I nevertheless did the Sunday walking and the rowing (5k), but had to skip the gym and ballet on Monday.

Those were the things I was so keen to do. It's always a bit tricky to get the hang of a new gym and I wanted to get it done and over with, the more that due to the new split I hadn't done arms and shoulders in a while.

So! Me, good girl, at least went to my usual gym yesterday (Tuesday) and caught up on the training. Turns out that the new split is a great idea. I came to re-arrange my training only because I wanted to go to the other gym for one session a week, and now it shows that it is very benefitial for the training as well.

I used to do arm after chest and back and it seems that those exercises tired the arms more than I thought. My arm training yesterday was much better. The same for shoulders. After having done legs I usually was too tired to put real effort into them. Yesterday I did more exercises to catch those little buggers from every angle and it feels really good.

So this is all very promising!

Additionally I keep losing fat. Yesterday hubby said that especially during the past two weeks my shape has shifted quite a bit. I was so concerned because my pants are still too tight, but it seems that the training is kicking in and my approach of 'slow motion training' is much more efficient than I thought.

Hence I am very hopeful for the future and am now starting to prepare for a photoshoot with a friend... hair and make-up need to be tackled!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Just a quickie!

I am starting to get the hang of my new schedule which includes the day job, the nitty gritty bits, the rowing and the gym work, but still didn't have an single week yet, during which I could stick to it entirely. There is always something else barging in and I am beginning to understand how life is changing if one really goes for for a challenge. Training definitely is kicking in! I am feeling stronger, and one can see little changes already. Apparently things are changing in the head as well: Yesterday night we went out with friends, I had starter and main dish, all reasonable stuff, and then I thought: 'C'mon, it's early days of the project still a lot of time to go, get a desert.'

I have to say: It didn't taste as good as I remembered it! This is confirming my ' sugar experiment' theorie and I will steer clear of sweets in the future. It's just not worth it. Since I have been working on my splits for the muscle groups I found a great website, explaining all the exercises and according muscles with little videos. From that I got a few good hints and I am going to add a few more exercises and might shove a few things around again.

So next week is the first week with no additional appointment, no bank holiday, no nothing - just plain days of the week. Oh please, dear muscle Gods… let it be happening and let me get into rhythm!

Monday, 3 May 2010

It’s A Female Thing

At least here in the West we women live in the most emancipated way ever; but there is a drawback: The phrase ‘Women can do the same things as men’ is often misunderstood as ‘Women should do things the same way as men’.

And there are weird contradictions: In the business world we are told that we should wear suits and use male strategies to get to the top - and we are buying into it, and in the gym we are told we should use flimsy weights and do a lot of balancing work, as opposed to men – and we are buying into it, too.

We should develop more self esteem and find our own ways of doing things. We should accept that men and women approach things differently and that this is a good thing, because it adds a different angle to an issue. We only will get the best out of life if girls and guys work together!

I am not a successful business woman, so I can’t speak for those, but I am pretty good in the gym and hence I feel obliged to set a few things straight:
  • For the girls to consider getting the one or the other muscle themselves, and
  • For my dear male readers to understand their female partners a bit better.

Why Muscles for Ladies?

I have been writing a lot already why muscles are a beneficial thing for women and here I only will give you the headlines, you can find the whole article on Incredible Ladies:
  • Body and Mind Benefits
    • Muscles Reduce Aches of All Sorts
    • Muscles Reduce Osteoporosis
    • Strong Muscles – Strong Mind
  • Fashion and Beauty Benefits - Muscles Give Shape
  • Lifestyle Benefits - Muscles Make Strong
  • Nutrition Benefits – Muscles Increase Metabolic Rate

Where we are different

Testosterone
The one thing that governs all our performances in any sport is that we have less Testosterone than men. All of the below are statistical statements, as one always can find individuals where the reality is the other way round. In average however we are not:
  • as intuitively aggressive in game sports as men, but we can beat the guys with determination, which actually is a more controlled way to achieve a goal.
  • we are not as strong, in some sports we are almost able to compete on an endurance level, though.
  • and with the ‘not as strong’ comes ‘our muscles are smaller and they don’t build up as easily’.

In regard to the latter: Can somebody please explain to me why women should train less, or any different from the guys, given the fact that they build muscles less easily? That is like telling an anorexic not to too eat too much in order to not get fat. Trainers in gyms are too keen to try giving women what they want, instead of giving them what they need. We actually have to train much HARDER in order to achieve similar results to men.

Oestrogen
Ahhh, see! That is the thing nobody is talking about, really. Oh well, on female beauty and health sites - sometimes - but not in the open and not in an environment where blokes are listening in. I am rather blunt in those things and addressed a few of the more harmless issues with one of the trainers in the gym. Sooo cute! One could tell he was interested, but he fell from one blush into the other, poor thing.

So guys, here is first hand female info for you to read in your den – no need to blush! It might however help you to understand your ladies a bit better.

The cycle
Everybody knows we have them and almost everybody knows that at times we become bitchy, and a lot of people think it’s just made up to get what we want.

Well, that all might be true in some cases... there however are more severe implications. Trouble is that hormone levels are a very individual thing, and hence it is hard to point the finger onto it and find a fix. What doctors are measuring are ranges, indicating normal or not normal. Within the normal range the effect on individual women can be devastatingly different. Same amounts of hormones can leave one completely unaffected while the other one is thrown into depression, which is barging into her life with a whole conglomerate of physical and psychological symptoms month after month. That’s why it is called a syndrome (accumulation of various symptoms):

PMS – Pre Menstrual Syndrome

I had times where I felt like two different people within those 4 weeks. The first two weeks are cheery and fine, during the second half a big cloud is following me wherever I go and even things I love doing are no real fun. And of course this has an impact on the quality of my training.

There is no one remedy, but there are things one can try, hoping that they will work. Here are my tips:
  • Observe yourself! Knowing allows for work-arounds. I got so good in detecting changes in hormone levels that I now can almost put my finger on a certain hour of a day. My brain feels mushy, I am losing focus and the thoughts are floating rather randomly without ever finding a way into real life and effecting my actions, short term memory is non-existent and I am horribly clumsy. The drive for doing things is changing, the feeling for hunger and appetite becomes inseparable and I am getting greedy, and I am feeling physically weaker.
  • Tell you closest people! Once you are starting to figure out what is happening give your closest environment a warning. In the meantime they are used to me lifting two fingers and grinning a ‘grrrrrr grin’. They firstly won’t be hard on you anymore and it is a relief to not be alone. And they can help shelter you against the outside world towards which one wouldn’t like to explain. For me it was just wonderful to have that pressure off my chest.

  • Condition yourself! I so often found myself ranting in the kitchen about why I ALWAYS have to do things myself, NOTHING is done right,... and it was all about things which at other times would not have bothered me at all. The target usually was dear hubby, the person closest and easiest to reach, but the only person who actually could help to find relief. One is very much in danger to get into a vicious cycle. In my early years I actually shouted at him, later I was just ranting to myself, and now that I know, I take it as a signal and my mantra has become: ’Shut up Rika, it’s just the hormones, another X days and it’s over’. And it always is!

  • Find workarounds! I have lists and notes everywhere during phase two. The important thing is to tidy those up during phase one otherwise it’s getting really messy.

  • Don't start something new induring phase two, if you can help it. Especially not losing weight!

  • Try a dairy (calcium) rich diet! The BBC series ‘The Truth about Food’ looked into a connection between Calcium and PMS, and for some of the test group it made significant changes. I am now taking Calcium+VitD supplement pills. Have a look at the video.
In the video they are frequently mentioning oily fish so ...
  • Try Omega 3! During the same series the connection between Omega 3 and stress was investigated. Have a look at the video. And of course I have the pills in my cupboard, now. I never felt that layed back in my life ever before.
There are many more very interesting articles and videos and some of them are real eye-openers.
  • Try Bodybuilding! An article in the German journal GEO (07/09) is depicting a newly discovered feedback mechanism between brain and muscles. So far it was thought that the brain gives a signal to the muscles via chemical transmitters and that then the addressed muscle moves. It now becomes apparent that on moving the muscle, certain chemicals are produced which go back to the brain and cause the initiation of all sorts of processes which influence every organ in the body. Scientists are now hoping that understanding those mechanisms will help to heal or at least stabilise conditions as severe as Alzheimer disease. This is research in very early stages, it however is established:
    • that there is a feedback loop back from the muscles to the rest of the body which has a bigger impact than ever thought, and
    • that endurance training doesn’t do it as much as resistance training

Even if one is not suffering from PMS, the changes in hormone levels are happening and do affect the body in more subtle or not so subtle ways.

Menstruation

Again it is a very individual thing. There is no point of fretting about why one girlfriend is a killjoy while the best mate’s girlfriend is as chirpy as a bird. Some women can hardly stand upright while others don’t have cramps at all and go straight into the good mood phase. And then there is the handling of those few days itself.

The props a women needs: Gym work – and basically every activity - becomes a nuisance whether one has cramps or not. It’s just awful to feel like wearing a nappy while moving about like a toddler. So press on towels are hardly an option. But not everybody is comfortable with using tampons.

I am pretty sure that especially in cultures where virginity is associated with an intact hymen, the use of a tampon is usually not an option. Although the rupture of the hymen can have many causes, and although usually the tampon should not do any harm if the size and technique is right – there nevertheless is a risk.

Women who have a bit of a lubrication problem and are on the dry side anyway will feel that tampons worsen the problem. The remedy there: Don’t remove it too early, and let it soak full. Works wonders!

And as for the guys: Accept the excuses your lady is having during those days and just be a bit patient. She might say that she can’t play tennis due to a twisted ankle and then shows up in heels for dinner. It’s not always easy to explain those things face to face, especially when the relationship is young. So we tend to make up all sorts of stuff that sounds less gooey. If you really like her and want to help, start counting weeks.

Whoops, someone is not watertight
This was such a taboo subject, even women only talk about it only to very good female friends. Only recently it is addressed more in the media, and it seems that only women who have a baby, or are really old are allowed to leak. They have a medical condition to offer (yes, age seems to be a medical condition these days), so they are excused. The rest of us will get told off by the GP for not taking care of our pelvis muscles and are basically accused of being slackers. Well and that is just not true.

I once got an instruction on testing how waterproof a person is: Drink a couple of glasses of water, wait for half and hour, stand in the bathtub with legs spread and cough as hard as you can!

Duh... I would not have stood that test in my early teens and I was very sportive back then, able to master all sorts of skipping games – not anymore.

Ladies: Don’t let anyone blame you. Sh... happens!

Guys and trainers: Be aware of the problem and help your lady/client to work around it. We cannot trampoline, we cannot skip, and lunges or rattle plate machines may pose a threat to our structural stability.

Again: The second half!

There is one thing, though: Remember that I mentioned before that I am feeling weaker during the second half? I found that not just the muscles involved in holding water, but any muscle tone is less intense during that period of time. So this problem DOES have to do with the darn hormone levels.

On the other hand it IS true that training the pelvis muscles can help to a degree. So knowing your cycle opens opportunities to find a remedy. All those core muscle exercises on a swiss balll are well and nice, but the idea I am following up on at the moment is a bit more drastic.

The theory is that the exercise that is likely to cause leakage is likely to be able to train exactly those muscles as apparently it is putting a lot of strain on it. So I am doing the exercise during the first half testing it to the very limits, hoping that after a while the muscles will be so trained enough to be able to do it in the second half as well – at least with less weight – and that should then be good enough for daily life situations.

My target exercise is deadlifts I found out, that I can do them in the first half of the cycle – given that I pay the bathroom a visit before – and now I am hoping that using that slot for rigorous training will strengthen the whole area, resolving the problem. Will keep you posted on that one!

All the above are the things I know about from my own experience, I however am sure that there are many more issues. If you would like me to address those I am very happy to do so. Just write me and email to rika @ incredible-ladies . com
I will keep your details completely confidential and will only write about the problem itself.

Have a great week!
Always yours,
Rika

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Just a quickie!

I am so proud of myself. This morning I had the first substancial weight loss. I am now on:

67.6 Kg

Yay!I weighed for the first time on 11th April with 69.3 kg (153 lb) and now two and a half weeks later it is a good 3 pound less - that is massive. Well, I have been saving about 300 cal per day and have been training most of the days, so I guess an average of 500 cals per day is realistic, let's round that to 3000 per week, that would make a kilo of fat in good two weeks and then there is always a bit of water coming and going, and today it definitely was going :o))

The other thing I am proud of is me deadlifting yesterday. On Incredible Ladies Claire is showing how to do it. I love deadlifts, but the question always is whether or not the pelvis muscles will keep tight. Having had problems in that department before I didn't do them anymore. But yesterday, despite being horribly tired initially, I got so hyped up by the training that I gave it a shot at the end of the session and did 3 sets!
2 x 60kg with 10 and 8 reps and the 1 set with 70! kg for 5 reps.
Yippie, Rika is back in business!
:o))

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Diary 24/04/10 - Building a Scene

This was a very interesting week. Training was good and I keep losing fat, although the scale is rather reluctant to show it. Even the bodyfat measuring devices which I have at my disposal deliver values which are all over the place.

The interesting bit was me checking out Oaks Fitness, a very old school gym in Ipswich. Nothing shiny just straight forward iron, and really nice blokes there. Had a great workout, the guys showed me around and spottet - wonderful! The best training I had in a long time. Well, and I think I manged to not embarrass myself.

I talked a bit to one of the big boys and got some really good tips on how to change the split for my training, checked it with hubby and I think I am on my way to develop a really good training plan which will allow for training with my dearest, training at Oaks and fitting in ballet and rowing as well. Will post as soon as I have sorted it completely.

Best of all: This was a brilliant reality check!

See, in the other gym I am the musclyest girl and people either hate me (well at least the muscles) or they love it and they think that I am basically top of the class and already ready to go into competition. I know that this is not true, but where AM I exactly standing. Today I all of a sudden felt a bit like the new kid at school, I was sort of OK but nothing special. The good thing was that this didn't feel depressing at all. It was more reassuring and defining the amount of work that lies ahead. It is always good to know the details of a task.

And hence I am a happy bunny :o))

So that was the real BB scene and then I found a virtual one as well and instantly built me a profile on Bodybuilding.com . Thus settled in all the worlds, I am now closing the day. The lady is a bit knackered now - yesterday legs and shoulders, today chest and back, I need my sleep.

So off we go into a new week tomorrow,
wishing you a fun and successful one!
Rika

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A quickie!

That was a rather sportless weekend and I feel the urge to train! I am so happy about this, as usually I tend to slag down even more after resting. So wanting to drag my sad body into the gym is such a big change to the positive.

Saturday was a very pleasant and planned day off, resulting in spending a lot of money on new China in Cambridge. Sunday morning I did a bit of powerwalking with my friend - wonderful weather and with dumbbells - warmed up nicely and we walked definitely faster than usual - and yesterday, Monday, again I didn't make it to ballet. I did get a lot of work done, though. So that is good for peace of mind, but still: The need for stretching and balancing sessions seems to not have hit home yet.

I however have planned and thought about articles and movies I want to do here. So there are some things in the pipeline, one of which depicting an issue that will crop up more than once. It's all those female things, which become even more obvious in a rather oldish female.

One area where hormones play a big role in, is weight loss and performance alltogether. So since I am in the first - good - half of the cycle now (Yippie!) I am looking forward to almost two weeks of weight loss bliss and great training.

Tomorrow is Incredible Ladies update day and then I will focus on this place again.

Ta ta

Friday, 16 April 2010

Diary 16/0410 - Another week gone by

Well, almost.

Feeling so much slimmer already, although the scale is all over the place. Didn't go to bed hungry last night, but was within the calory limit for the day and had 400g more than at the first assessment 5 days ago. I can only assume that this is water.

See, we have this terrific chicken soup recipe and I really do claim that since we are eating it on a regular basis we have less colds. It however has a bit more salt than the usual stuff I would eat for dinner - if I would have a dinner. Well, salt is part of the therapie, since neither bacteria, virus or fungus like salt. So this is one of the dishes I add salt in preparation - I for example don't salt the bread I bake.

My point is: Salt is attracting a lot of water, and water shows on the scale. The other day I found something in my patio to proof my point on how powerful this effect is. I had used little heaps of salt on the weeds, and in the morning I found wet patches around them. It had not been raining, only the humidiy of the night had been drawn to the salt, the rest of the patio was completely dry.

And to prove that this was not a weird flaw or the cat had weed there: here are some more of those patches.



So that is why I am not a particular friend of scales and I guess I better use them only every other week, hoping that by then the effect of wheight loss will override the effect of salt in the food and at least a trend becomes visible.

The other thing is that I didn't manage to get the rowing into the training this week. That makes me a bit cranky as this means the June date for the rowing marathon is definitely off. I will look for a date and location in October - any ideas for great venues to do such a thing?

I did a lot of gardening, though (4 hours yesterday) - that should count for something! And the garden is starting to look really nice now. Well the string is a bit weird, but that is needed to keep the heron away from the pond, no idea if it works, though.

What is good, though: Routine is kicking in. Probably it is not necessary to get everything in place straight away. I have my food regime in place and the weight training is going well and is fun since two weeks now. I will see to find a routine with the ballet and the rowing from next week on.

Tomorrow I am going to Cambridge, yay! So no update then. And after that I will have another hiccup to face: Before I started this challenge I had agreed to host a food tasting dinner. Great, I will have to try some recipes before to avoid disaster on the evening. Will have to see how that fits into my food regime. Well, I might discover some nice suitable recipes, and should that happen I will of course post them :o))

Have a lovely, sunny weekend!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Diary 14/04/10 - Getting there

Had a great chest training session yesterday night, although I was in the garden for three hours in the afternoon. Really getting the hang of the training now. So:

Training: Going really well, enjoying it, looking forward to gym even if I am tired and still have great sessions. Very happy!

Today is rowing day... ooof, will have to see haw that goes

Weight: Going well as well. Weight 68.3 yesterday, almost a kilo less... what actually can't be pure fat as one cannot save 7000 calories in two days. But whatever it is: It feels good and I certainly am starting to look better. Pants are slipping again :o))

Since it actually is rubbish to just use a scale when training and dieting at the same time I found me two different bodyfat measuring devices. These things are all rather inaccurate, my idea now is to create a spreadsheet with the measurment been taken by using both at the same time. It should at least show trends in each line of measurement and the truth may lie somewhere between the two. Will post the shpreadsheet soon and then update... not sure... probably weekly.

One of theses contraptions is a scale which I have at home. It takes into account whether or not somebody is trained or not, what is nice and I think makes it more accurate, but one has to be stipped. The other one is a handheld thing which the guys in the gym have. Which brings me to my:

Supporters: Yesterday I told the guys in the gym that I am definitely going for it and they got all excited and very supportive. It feels as if I am building a little fan club now. I never have done something like that, but I have supported others in their projects. I was never able to comprehend though, how by just telling them that I appreciate their efforts, I can make a big difference for them. I now understand. Just to see laughing faces, to get a thumbs up at Facebook or a post, is lifting the spirit so much. It feels like a safety net, a cosy and warm place to be - just wonderful! Thank you all!!

And I think the mood in the gym is changing around me. It is a little gym at work and people go there after office hours to get a quick session in. Usually there is not an iron shattering, huff & puff atmosphere. Now I am training harder and this is not always a silent thing. So am I getting more looks, but from the grin in people's faces I can see that the gym guys had started spreading the word. We will see, my little gym might become an iron den in the near future.

Still difficult: Time management.
Especially when to eat. Since I am a bit hungry all the time it is essential that I get the feeding in at the best time before training. I am getting better to get that timed on the weight exercises, but I have to experiment a bit more for the rowing.

And I have to plan ahead with the food so much. E.g. I cannot go to a restaurant short notice, I need to know the day before to be able to either put another light training session in, or to save up some calories throughout the day.

Some people say: Oh you can slip one day... you'll catch up the next. Well, thing is that I am very motivated at the moment and stepping back is not helping to keep the momentum going - I know myself all too well. I have been slipping for two month gaining almost a stone... It is so much easier to eat 500 cal on top in one single meal, than to lose them in one day... So I will be persistent until I have lost the fat I wanted to lose!

I still didn't get the ballet session in... this time it was the car that needed service... Hmmm, it doesn't have high priority but I really would like to get started. At least I managed to incorporate a bit of stretching, but not as much as I would like.

The same with the posing. I didn't get round yet to check out that other gym. Hoping to do that this weekend.
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Now I am getting really hungry and it's time for my protein shake :o))

Catch you later!

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Tasks And The Plan

The Tasks are clear:
  • Lose fat,
  • gain muscle,
  • learn how to pose.

The plan for losing fat
Doing an indoor rowing marathon this year in end June or October – need to explore those options – and using this for a lot of cardio/endurance work to lose the fat. This is in planning for a while already and I think it will nicely accommodate my needs for the championship.

For starters I would like to lose something like a stone (a good 6 kg) of fat. That should give me at least a rough idea what sort of muscles I actually have around my legs. Well, and the upper should look rather neat by then. I may risk losing a bit of muscle mass as well due to the forced endurance effort, but I have enough time to build up afterwards. For now it is important to actually be able to see the muscles, so that I then can make a plan on where to focus the weight work on.

Timing:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
morning rowing, and Sunday power walking
I still have to figure out the details of the rowing training. But those are the only days which make sense. Power walking is something I do with a friend who has rather short legs and basically is her training in which I join in. It is a light session which gives a bit of kick to the calves and is relaxed movement of the muscles in fresh air.


The plan for gaining/keeping muscle – before marathon
Doing BB as I did before. I am training on a 2-split, meaning each muscle is trained once per week. I usually start with a 5 minute indoor rower warm up, and need one and a half hours to get through a program.

Timing:
Tuesdays - Split 1

Chest/back/arms (bench, incline bench, pull over, cable fly, row, pull down neck, triceps cable, biceps machine)
Friday - Split 2
Leg/ABS/Shoulder (leg press, extension, curl, calves seated, ABS cable, leg raises, hyperextensions, dumbbell press, barbell neck press, cable lateral lift, reverse cable fly).

The plan for gaining muscle – after marathon
Cutting down on massive endurance work and cranking up the training intensity/frequency. I may skip rowing training entirely for a while, adding posing training. At a later stage the rowing may come back to help burn excess fat. I am plannig to go three times a week for weights instead of two, changing either the split (more likely) or the frequency.

In changing the split I may do:
  • legs/and arms in one session,
  • ABS and Shoulders in another, and
  • chest/back in a third,
adding more exercises to each muscle group.

In changing the frequency I will train 3 times a week with one week legs twice and chest once, and the other week the chest twice and legs once.

I used to train four times a week and I hit the overtraining barrier rather quickly. So I need to avoid that. I will pick up a lot of information as I go along, though. Hence I will just see how it goes and adapt accordingly.


The plan for learning how to pose
  • Taking up ballet classes again (once a week) for flexibility, balance and posture
  • Adding a proper stretching session
  • Checking out a gym in town where at least one of the trainers is competing and hence might be able to help with posing and other questions,
I have a half hour stretching routine which I want to integrate straight away. If I were only to do weights I actually wouldn’t need the stretching so much, as usually every exercise that flexes has a counter exercise that stretches. But with all the endurance work that contradicts the weight exercises I need to take care of flexibility. I hope it will pay off in the end when the posing training will start in ernest.

Timing:
Ballet on Monday, Stretch on Thursday

Well, and in this blog I will write it all down... the changes, the measurments, the assessments, the hiccups...