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!

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 . 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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

Sunday 11 April 2010

Meet My Wonderful Supporters

Now updated version in the tab bar at the top of the blog

I am the luckiest women in the world!

I had such a wonderful feedback when I announced my idea. First and foremost of course there is:

Dear Hubby - Detlef
Well I would have understood if he would have asked me if I'd gone nuts, but his response was: 'Brilliant, then let's go to Great Yarmouth this year and check it out, and then you have a year to prepare in ernest... and then you'll win it!'
Whoops! We'll see about that, but that probably is the attitude one should adopt and I am working on that.

After I had uploaded the assessment video I got the loveliest email from a subsciber:

He was the first to respond and to offer me support with the words ' I would be proud to be one of your supporters at your first contest.'
I am honoured to have Marvin as supporter, and it is people like him who will keep me pushing the envelope!

You know, they say you can't make real friends on sites like Facebook and Myspace. I found wonderful people there, every single one unique and able to cheer me up in their very own ways.

Mick O'brien - The Cosmic Gypsie
He already supported me with sales of his CDs when I did Race for Life and he is a wonderful artist and musician. He seems to know me rather well; when he heard about my new challenge he lovingly called me a nutter and then dedicated the following poem, which I just love:


Burn bright in free flight, firefly
as self belief's incandescent light
illuminates your way
float free, firefly
facilitate fantasies as yet unthought
let naught encumber you
as you prance and dance in
the flames of self belief

Mick O’Brien …

Thank you Mick I hope I will be throwing sparks in 60 weeks time!

And then there is the 'nice guy' who hates to be called like that ;o)) So I just call him:

Bijou Tucker
It is his stage name and I am using it because this is the one of his many skills which will be essential to help make this challenge a success. He has been writing for a Bodybuilding magazine on female Bodybuilding - so he knows the scene - and he is a theatre person. And his instant response to this blog was: '...I hope I can be a constant voice of encouragement as you go for this...'

Thank you Terry - you are wonderful!

My dear Italian friend. I will keep you in mind in documenting my journey. To have you on this list is a great pleasure!

Joey is a competing bodybuilder and personal trainer who unfortunately lives in the US. He wrote me a lovely message on YouTube and offered help and advice - well and gave me a lovely compliment :o)) Thank you Joey, your support is very much appreciated!

Fernando Vazquez Jr.
A dear MySpace and Facebook friend who always has a kind word and a lovely comment for me. It's good to have you on board Fernando!

Jason Brower
My Bohemian man from across the Atlantic. Luckily he is a night owl so when I am enjoying my morning coffee he usually is only just winding down from his days achievements and is always happy to have a little chat about music, bodybuilding, photography, the world, the sky and most of all: Dreams that need to be fulfilled. Hence is a great source of inspiration and a good friend. Hope you will get famous soon so I can see you play in London, dear friend!

Big Matt
Fisherman and photographer. Oh this man has so much energy and enthusiasm, I can't imagine him sitting there and patiently waiting for fish to pass by snapping for his rod. But then: He loves fly fishing, which as I understand is the more active variety of the sport. As for his photography: I love his photos and his approach of no use of photoshop. And since he lives in my neck of the woods he will be supplying the one or the other snap for this blog.

Thanks for being there whenever an uplift is needed, big boy!

So my dear friends: Want to become part of my official support team? Oh that would be so great to have you on here! Send me a comment or a post either here, on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, or send me a DM (safe bet) or @reply on Twitter and I'll add you here.

Love you all!

A First Assessment - Body Weight

Oh my goodness, I had forgotten to get on the scale for the first assessment and did it this morning. At a size of 1.64 m (5.4') I used to weigh around 65 kg (143 lb), I knew I had gained quite a bit over the past couple of month, but I didn't think that it was THAT bad. Although I already lost a bit during last week - part of it surely was water - I am weighed in at

69.3 kg (153 lb)

That must have been at least 70 kg last week. How this could happen?

Well, don't go on a scale often because it can become an unhealthy obsession. I definitely was suffering a lack of iron which made me all sluggish and peckish, then I had a few issues with living the lifestyle that actually suits me, and then there was a good thing backfiring: Thanks to the muscles I already have, I still looked really rather good despite having gained fat.

So now that I am back on track I am hoping to see progress quickly. Let's aim for 64 kg for the next video assessment.

Saturday 10 April 2010

Diary 10/04/10 - One Week In

So one week ago I took the decision to compete in a bodybuilding championship in 2011 and it is time to have a look what has happened so far.
  • The first assessment is done.
  • I sorted my diet for now, which is basically sticking with the food that I know the calories of, having my protein shakes regularly (once in the morning and on training days in the evening as well), and
  • I am training regularly and hard

I had picked up the training a week before already and I can tell that it is kicking in. The muscles feel denser and more in control when lifting. Additionally I am not getting muscle aches anymore. I had a great leg/ABS/shoulder workout yesterday and I feel a bit tender today, but no aches.

Well and the reduced calories show as well - I try to stick with 1800 per day. The tummy is not bulging anymore and the pants are not as tight. I know, that part of it is water that has gone and which might to a degree come back, but it feels great nevertheless.

The biggest change though, is the lack of hunger.

The first two days I had about half of my calories by 11AM already - well, I am getting up at six, but that is no real excuse, because today I only had a protein shake and a cappuccino (worth 300 cals) then went food shopping, had breakfast at 10:30 with another 400 cals (not even being that hungry) and now I don't expect to become hungry again before 1PM.

I have to say: That saves a lot of money as well.

So far: 1st week is a full success!

60 more to go...

More info on training: Shoulders, Legs

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Bloody Hell...

Bloody Hell, it seemed such a good idea yesterday. Today is the day after, every muscle is aching and I have another one and a half years of days like this ahead of me.

A quick recap on who I am - the more elaborate story you can read on my personal blog:
  • Me, Rika, born in June 1961 and thus age 48,
  • started training with weights when I met hubby to be in 1882,
  • had a phase some time around ’86 when things went bumpy at university and I thought that I should become a real bodybuilder/trainer instead of a computer scientist,
  • although at the moment I am neither, I dug my way through university, trained on and off, and settled into a comfortable life after the exam,
  • moved from Germany to England, got house, cats and garden, and became fat while training was more often ‘off’ than ‘on’,
  • got severe back pain and migraines and all of a sudden the comfortable life was a bad life,
  • went back to the gym regularly from early 2005, age 43, and
  • started the Incredible Ladies website as a record of this experience in June 2007 at age 46.

Apparently I am feeling too well now, because yesterday I decided to start a journey paved with pain and sweat: I am going to compete in a Bodybuilding contest in 2011.

Why now?

Well, do the math: firstly I am going to be 50 in 2011, and secondly this idea is bugging me since 35 years and if I don’t do it now, that might well mean ‘never’. I came across this competition for the first time shortly after having started training regularly again, and I have to admit: Even I thought that those competitions have a bit of a dodgy, door bouncer atmosphere about them. Bodybuilding is not a really mainstream sport, is it? And what we see on the telly, on how professional female bodybuilders have to make a living because there is almost no sponsorship in this sport, is not helping either. So hubby and I went to see the show armed with prejudice and mixed feelings: Does one really want to belong to this sort of scene?

But see, one should not judge without having seen it: when we got there we were amazed how professional and fantastically skilled these people were. Nothing dodgy, no door bouncer atmosphere whatsoever, and they put on a great show, it was entertaining and inspiring... and I felt that I could have competed with the lady who came least – well, there were only four ladies anyway. Isn’t it sad that a sport that has so many benefits, especially for women, is not kicking in? It did for the guys. These days almost every guy tries to put on a bit of muscle in the gym, or at least is flirting with the idea.

C’mon guys – don’t lie to mummy! While you are sweating on the treadmill you must be thinking of the one or the other muscle when a well trained guy is passing you by.

For women however, it is out of the question. Oh yes, I see them with 1 kg dumbbells doing a bit of triceps on a stabilizing ball – that is NOT bodybuilding. That is rubbish. Well it is a start... but I so rarely see it taken to the next level. These ladies just vanish from the gym because they never experience the full power this training could give them. Oh I have written piles of pamphlets about why muscles are a good thing. But honestly: Nobody wants to read or hear it!

OK, I am ranting again: So back to my plan. Back then in 2005 the competition bug bit me the second time in my life, but just briefly: I wasn’t confident enough and scared of thousands of things, mainly embarrassment.

And then only two weeks ago the bug bit me again – all good things come in three, apparently – at the whiteboard of my gym there was an advert for a bodybuilding championship - hanging there very innocently. Whoof... this time it hit right into the stomach: I want to do this!

While the stomach was recovering, my brain tried to understand: “No you don’t! You might want to visit it again, but you DO NOT WANT TO COMPETE! You are scared of competitions”.

‘No I’m not! Not anymore, and if I do it next year then I can do it for my 50th and hence I can’t actually lose. It will be fun, and I always wanted to be on a stage and bodybuilding is the only thing I am good at, and hence I am going to do it!’

I checked with the trainers if they would know somebody in the region who could teach me how to pose. I know how to train, but I don’t have a clue how to put on a show. When I got the address of a gym where the head trainer is competing I had to come out of the closet: I just had to tell hubby. And you know what: He loves this idea!

And then we made a deal. This will not be like any other of my projects during which I work, and do, and document, and then see how it goes, and THEN might decide whether or not I will take on the challenge.

This time I will not play it safe. It will be a commitment from the beginning. I herewith declare: If this show is on in 2011, and if I will be fit enough to crawl onto that stage, then I will compete. No matter how I look. I may not be able to get rid of lose skin, I may... oh don’t get me started:

I will look my best, promised!

And with this blog I am inviting you to join me in this journey. Ideas and comments welcome: I will need any help I can get! Oh well, and maybe I see you in mid 2011 in Great Yarmouth!