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 ūüėÄ

  

 

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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 ūüôā

Lifting Weights and Mid-day Crashes

The Artist and I hit the weights together yesterday. ¬†He is naturally really muscular and strong, and can lift quite a bit, and in order to get a good workout, he has to lift pretty heavy. ¬†Me on the other hand, I consider myself reasonably strong, and enjoy a challenge. ¬†I love it when I can increase the weight on something. ¬†But I do have the muscle definition the Artist has. ¬†So we are lifting together, and nearing the end. ¬†We are sweaty, exhausted, tired, and struggling to get a fresh breathe of air in the sticky, hot weight room. ¬†The air in there is so heavy, its gross. ¬†And earlier, I had bicycled to the Athletic Complex, it is a good distance with large hills, to attend day 2 of a self-defence course I am taking. ¬†Day 2 was a little bit of “lecture”, but mostly learning moves and practicing them, and practicing them with the instructors holding pillowy cushions while you punch. ¬†I have done kickboxing before, group fitness, drop in style, punching and kicking the air to music. ¬†This class was 3 hours but it was a slow pace as we were learning technique, but actually punching hard and having your punch have contact with something is down right exhausting. ¬†I was dozing on the Artist’s shoulder before we went to the gym. ¬†I can’t believe I even made it there let alone lifted weights.

So we are nearing the end of our workout, doing biceps.  I am quite sweaty, but the Artist is clearly sweating and is very uncomfortable.  I am deliriously exhausted and tired, and I get the giggles.  And I am a giggly person even when I am not tired.

Artist: (As he finishes a set) Do we still have triceps after this?

Me: Yep.

Artist: F@#k.

Me: (laughing) Next time we should bring a water bottle with some gatorade in it to drink while working out.

Artist: Next time, lets bring the camping chairs, so we can sit down.

Me: (laughing)

Artist: And a beer.  And a hotdog.

Me: (laughing embarrassingly hard)

Artist: (as he finishes another set) And a puke bucket.

Me: (laughing so hard there are tears)

Artist: (gasping for air) And an oxygen mask.

Me: (laughter is not uncontrollable)

We finish up and head home.  And in good timing because my muscles had had enough.  Anything further and fainting would have been a possibility haha!  The Artist makes a delicious protein shake, and we always find ourselves coming back to life with every gulp.

A bit later, I made the Artist a big sandwich. ¬†Ham, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, black pepper, mayo, mustard, and “sub sauce” on a ciabatta. ¬†There is no sub sauce here in Subways. ¬†Crazy, right? ¬†I don’t order it, but the Artist loves it, and it is like the most popular sauce. ¬†So he tries to make it at home, or buys an oil/vinegar/herbs salad dressing. ¬† He loved it. ¬†He said it as better then Subway, his mouth was tingling for another one. ¬†Heck yes. ¬†I make good, hearty sandwiches. ¬†Probably because I love sandwiches myself. ¬†But, the key here is that my sandwiches are hot. ¬†I guess I should say I love hot sandwiches. ¬†And I don’t like deli meat, I like regular meat that I cooked ahead of time. ¬†And I don’t like a normal loaf of bread, unless it is grilled cheese, I like french bread, ciabatta, baguette, buns, and it can be whole wheat, grainy, white, anything. ¬†I like “fancy” sandwiches, most importantly, hot ones. ¬†Or sometimes grilled like a panini. ¬†Mmmmm. ¬†If there wasn’t leftovers in the fridge I would be grilling one right now.

I don’t have any photos for this post, because I don’t bring a camera to the gym, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to see photos of that anyways, haha. ¬†So use your imaginations.

Today shall bring: a community BBQ down the street, some baking maybe? suggestions?, and resting to recharge the batteries for next week. ¬†Yesterday was crazy, and I was so tired I was dozing on the couch by 6pm. ¬†I attributed it to the days events causing physical exhaustion. ¬†But today, I crashed in the late afternoon and have felt very lethargic. ¬†Like I have brain fog, and feel like a zombie. ¬†But for no particular reason. ¬†I got plenty of sleep, it felt good to sleep in this morning, I had enough to eat and it was good, healthy foods, so I don’t know. ¬†Maybe I am fighting a cold, or coming down with something? ¬†Maybe I didn’t get enough water? ¬†Maybe I have low vitamin B12? ¬†But of course, the first thing that comes to mind is that my thyroid medication isn’t doing it’s job. ¬†If you read a previous post of mine:¬†https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/under-active-thyroid/ you will see why I worry. ¬†I just started a higher dosage of medication, so I worry when I get that mid-day crash of intense fatigue. ¬†However, trying to stay positive, these crashes have been happening less and less often. ¬†Even if my crazy day yesterday wasn’t caused by physical exertion, but by my thyroid, 2 days out of the week is a lots better then 7. ¬†And at least I wake up refreshed instead of exhausted. ¬†Hopefully the next while will be better, and the mid-day crashes get even less frequent. ¬†I would love to go to the doctor in December and have nice looking blood test results ūüôā ¬†Cross your fingers and think positive thoughts for me!

Nice thing I have done for the Artist: Make him a glorious-better-then-Subway sandwich, tell him how much I love his crazy long hair and beard, and how much it suits his personality.

Nice thing the Artist has done for me: Make me a protein shake when I am too weak to do so myself even though he is just as tired, helped me with dinner telling me it is always more fun when we cook together (awww!), and then served me.

Happiness is contagious.

Almost a Year With my New Lifestyle.

It has been almost a year since I made a big change in my life. ¬†About a year ago, the Artist and I were talking and we decided we wanted to get gym memberships at his school. ¬†We had been doing “home workouts” here and there, and were really excited to start working out in an actual gym again. ¬†I had been been a little displeased with my body, and found myself wondering how to maximize these workouts. ¬†The Artist is an expert in all things fitness and food, so when we were talking he was able to explain to me how the body works with regards to eating and exercise- my mind was blown. ¬†This conversation changed my life. ¬†With the incredible knowledge the Artist had, I was able to re-evaluate my lifestyle and decide what I wanted to change. ¬†We are such a good, supportive, encouraging team. ¬†The Artist was supportive of me in my goals to change my lifestyle, and I couldn’t wait to get home to tell him about my workout or how I had improved on something, and he was so happy for me every time. ¬†And I was encouraging and supportive of his workout goals too, and on the weekends we would exercise together.

So not only am I proud of my body, but I am proud of how I changed it- with a healthy lifestyle. ¬†For me, it is not about how many calories I consume or how many hours I spend exercising each day, it is about where my calories are coming from and the type and efficiency of my exercise. ¬†I eat like 5-6 times a day LOL! ¬†I treat myself about once a week, and try to do a variety of exercises including strength, cardio, core, and yoga. ¬†I also like to do fun classes like kickboxing or zumba for cardio, I am not much of a runner. ¬†Another goal I had was wanting to ride my bicycle more, so I rode it to and from each workout. ¬†Even in the winter (in St. Louis…what winter? HAHA!). ¬†It has taken a long time, weight has come off slowly, but that means it will be off forever, because I have a whole new outlook on food, exercise and being healthy. ¬†Learning about foods and exercise and how they effect my body sort of “shocked” me into change.

So all in all, I have dropped about 20 lbs. ¬†My pant size before: 14, other clothes: S-XL, weight: 170-175lbs. ¬†My pant size now: 14 (maybe a 12 if they are stretchy), other clothes: S-XL, weight: 150-155lbs. ¬†Now much change right? ¬†Well actually, there is a huge change. ¬†I have much more muscle, less fat, I am stronger, I have a lot more endurance and stamina, I am more flexible, and I have tons more energy and am often in a happy mood. ¬†My body is very different, but based on the scale and my pant size, it doesn’t look like much. ¬†Which is why I don’t pay too much attention to those, but going by how I feel- and I feel great. ¬†Yes, some of my clothes are much too big to wear now, but mostly, my clothes fit nicer, my “muffin top” has shrunk, oh it is still there for sure, but definitely smaller. and I feel more comfortable and relaxed in my clothes because I am not constantly thinking my stomach is hanging out or having my pants dig in because they are too tight.

And just to make myself a little more proud, I continue to do all this while combating a pretty hefty thyroid condition and a little genetics, none of my female relatives have small frames, we are curvy ūüėČ

I love how good I feel. ¬†I love to exercise. ¬†And I really love food. ¬†That’s right, I ate/still eat pasta, pizza, etc. on a pretty regular basis, and I did not go running/jogging every day for hours, and I still lost weight. ¬†But most of all, I love my Artist. ¬†I am so lucky to have him as a coach, and to have shown me good fitness routines and eating habits.

I feel much healthier, and have more energy. ¬†And therefore, the energy to embark on lots more fun adventures with the Artist. ¬†‚̧

I don’t have any “before” photos really, but here are some recent photos of me, down 20lbs and feeling great ūüėÄ

New Jammies :D

New Jammies ūüėÄ

Heading to the gym.

Heading to the gym.

Sewing project complete

Sewing project complete

The Zoo

The Zoo

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park