My Recomp.

I have experimented with all types of exercise and I have had all kinds of eating habits, both good and bad. I started with doing group classes like zumba, kickboxing, and yoga, then I started adding in some weights but mostly doing isolation workouts with lighter loads. I really enjoyed the group classes and it was a great way for me to be introduced to world of fitness. The deal I got on the classes came to an end and it ultimately was not a sustainable routine for me. It was too expensive and the class schedule eventually didn’t match my life’s schedule. I tried running. I hated it. But I thought that was what was needed to be fit, and what I “should” be doing. Again, not sustainable solely because I hated it yet…and yes, I stuck with it for many weeks, even months, because people told me I would learn to like it. Wrong.

Then I found heavy weightlifting, which evolved into powerlifting. The Artist and I do it together, so it is fun, supportive, and something we are able to share together. I couldn’t even lift the bar alone let alone add any weights to it. Now I am strong and have developed muscles that have explosive strength. We are able to do this at a “regular” gym that is very affordable, but we hope to join a powerlifting gym one day. During my experimenting days, missing a workout or spending the weekend visiting family stressed me out big time. I was so afraid of gaining weight or losing stamina or something. But now, I can be busy, sick, etc. and miss a whole week, and nothing changes. I change my routine as my goals change. Finally, I have found what I truly like, that fits my life, and that is sustainable for the long term.

I am currently trying to “recomp”. I want to change my body composition by losing fat and building muscle mass. I know many argue that you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat and a surplus to build muscle, so this goal of mine will not be possible without bulking and cutting cycles. But I beg to differ. I am not trying to enter a competition or anything of that nature, at least not at this point in my life. I just want to go to about life and add working out into the mix. I want to be able to treat myself, and have a semi-relaxed diet and workout regimen. I knew progress would be slow, but that’s ok. I am in it for the long haul. I am gluten-intolerant, which has led to me minimizing my overall grain intake, which I seem to respond well to. I focus on eating a diet that is high in protein, healthy fats, fibre, fruits, and vegetables, eating a bit more carbs on heavy lifting days and a bit less on the other days. I don’t count calories, I don’t weigh my food, it is all just best guess. I treat myself once in awhile. I workout as often as possible while commuting for full time grad school, working, completing a student placement, and having a life. Right now, I aim to lift heavy doing the main powerlifting lifts twice per week, and hopefully be able work in 2 days of medium-heavy accessory work. But again, I keep it semi-relaxed to allow for a good balance of a fun, life, school, work, and working out.

Here is my recomp progress after 1 year and 11 months. I really wanted to improve my upper body strength, and seeing these photos makes me so proud! My back rolls and love handles are shrinking, the cellulite on my legs (photo of me standing to the side) is smoothing out, and I am growing traps!

And I know I am making good recomp progress because my weight is the same throughout- floating around 180lbs 😀

  

 

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No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are 🙂

What if I don’t want razor abs or a “thigh gap”?

As a woman, I feel like we are expected to strive for flat stomachs, thigh gaps, and a sleek physique.  I have always hated my love handles and “muffin top”, something that I have struggled with my entire life.  I have always felt like I jiggled a little too much in too many places, and yearned for that flat stomach.  I thought that eating less food, and taking up jogging/running was the answer.  But my problem was, I thought that was the only answer.  And I thought that this was the only body that was “acceptable” and that this is what I should be striving for.  So when I would try running, and hated it, I felt doomed to ever feel good about myself, because no matter what routine, style, etc. that I tried, I hated it.  I didn’t realize that there are many types of people and many types of bodies.  I also have Hashimoto’s Disease.  I have been living with it for over a decade, and although it presents challenges, I don’t want to use it as a crutch.

I have been feeling displeased with my body, and one day, out of the blue, thought “well, what if I don’t want a six pack?!”.  And I got to thinking…….What if I don’t want a perfectly sculpted body?  What if I don’t mind if my thighs touch, or my stomach jiggles a little?  What if I don’t want to be a runner?!  Now, I am not suggesting unhealthy lifestyles, but rather, the expectations I had been carrying around for myself were unrealistic, and not very well thought out.  I didn’t ever truly think about what I ACTUALLY wanted for myself, I just thought about what I felt I SHOULD be wanting.  I just assumed that is what I should look like, and being a runner with razor abs is what I should be striving for.  It was like a switch flipped in my brain.  After some reflecting and long conversations with the Artist, my goals and aspirations became more clear….

I want to…

  • exercise regularly doing a variety of activities, and lift even heavier weights then I already do
  • improve my yoga practice
  • get a minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep every night, 9 is actually my preferred amount for me to feel well rested
  • eat a clean, whole foods diet

I DO NOT want to…

  • rely on meal replacements or other “diet” products
  • be a runner/jogger, because that is not me or where my interests are, nor do I not enjoy it…kudos to all you runners out there!  Doing what you love is the most important thing!
  • wake up at 4am every morning to work out
  • want to work out in my living room (I know this works well for others, and that is awesome, but this is not for me.  My living room is my special relaxing space, where I read, listen to music and spend time with my Artist, and I do not want it associated with working out.)

I want to aim to incorporate exercise and fitness into my life, and NOT the reverse- trying to fit some “life” into my exercise schedule.  But mainly, I want to feel healthy, energetic, and most importantly: STRONG.  As I said above, there are different types of people and different types of bodies- we are all different!  And if we are all different we should have a variety of goals, and I should not be comparing myself or my goals to others.  I consider myself as “thick” and “dense”, and for the first time, I am perfectly ok with that.

The Artist and I are 2 months into our new workout routine.  To simplify, our routine goes as follows: lift often (3 times a week for us), and left heavy.  That is all (with the occasional walk or bike ride thrown in there).  When I started dabbling in weight lifting about 3 years ago, I didn’t really know what I doing, and I was more experimenting to find what kinds of exercise I enjoyed.  I wasn’t really lifting anything heavy, I wast just trying to figure myself out.  I thought it would be pretty cool, if one day, I could put 25lb plates on the squat bar (95lbs total) and do all of my sets that way.  This was my “dream goal” that I 100% thought I might never actually achieve.

Here I am, 2 months into our “lift often, and lift heavy” regimen, squatting 25lb and 10lb weights on the bar, for a total of 115lbs, above and beyond what I thought I might never be able to do!

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And I also wanted to share a video of me doing deadlifts.  My “dream goal” on this was 45lb plates on the bar (135lbs total), and again, I 100% thought I would NEVER be able to do this.  I could barely do a 40lb barbell 2 months ago, so I am really proud of myself on this one 🙂

When watching these videos and viewing these photos of myself, I was kind of disappointed at first.  I don’t look nearly as strong or good as I feel, but then I realized that is the most important thing right?- how I FEEL!  So although I am still working on changes and improvements, and as I feel discouraged when things aren’t happening “fast enough”, I just remember that me going to the gym, or taking that bike ride, or going on that walk, is better then me sitting on the couch.  Everyone knows that famous quote, that every journey starts with a single step, and it is very true.  I am just trying to make healthy choices for myself, one day at a time.