Another month has passed by. The summer is knocking on the door. As I mentioned in my April newsletter, on Monday March 27, I started my diet for real. It's been almost five weeks of dieting. I am pleased how the things continue, even though I must tell that the first 18 days were frustrating. I was eating right, working out hard, doing all that cardio... and nothing visible happened. Even though I believed in what I was doing, and it's going to work just fine, when nothing was happening I almost started to wonder. But then, like a magic, on the day 19 the body transformed (almost like overnight) into a leaner body. So here we go again, I refocused, I am motivated and persistent. This was another example how the persistence pays off. So even though my body changes were not really visible, lots of things was going on and changing. After 4 weeks, I did my physique evaluation, body fat measurements and some calculations, and realized that I lost over 6 lbs of fat, with a slight muscle gain. Well, I shouldn't complain, it's going just fine. So now, I am on a mission, refocused, motivated and going on. I have another almost 4 months to go for my Ironman Naturally (or is it going to be Team Universe in New York? Same day. It depends how my physique and the proportions and the symmetry look. I need to shed off more body fat to see). Pleasantly surprised, I see much wider back, and shoulders and bigger arms. That's what I need. Unfortunately, the butt got bigger too (hey, guys, I know you disagree with the word "unfortunately" here :-) ). The shape is better, rounder and higher. All the lunges and stiff-legged deadlifts are showing the results.
My Training and Nutrition
Training and eating remains pretty much the same. It's working, so don't change it too much. I made some slight changes, in the amount of cardio, and ingested calories. No big things, though.
I still jog 25-30 minutes in the morning, with my doggie Peanut. I took away the little protein drink before the run. So it's on empty stomach, I just pop in a Diet Fuel pill (which is anti-catabolic and thermogenic) and we go for a kitty chase. Then I eat my protein meal. Another one before my weight training. Weight session is fairly short and intense, I do about 17-20 sets. 4 sets of warm-up lunges, and 4 sets of finishing stiff-legged deadlifts. And in between I do the particular muscle group for the day, about 9-12 sets. After the weight session I jump on the stairmaster and do 20 minutes. I live so close Gold's Gym in Venice, so it takes maybe just 5-10 minutes before I eat my after workout meal. Which is a load of oatmeal. 450 calories, hot, sticky, delicious oat meal... You see, when I don't eat that much carbs, even a plain oatmeal tastes like a cake. In the afternoon, I eat another 2-3 protein meals and vegetables, and around 8 PM in the evening, I move my butt back to the gym and do another 50 minutes of stairmaster. Monday through Thursday. Friday is my cheat afternoon, so I just lay in the sofa and eat ice cream, cookies, and more sugars... If it looks or smells like protein, it goes back to the fridge. I love Friday afternoons. I eat around 8000 calories that day. Isn't that something? I still try to control myself a little bit.
The weekend is in the "low carbs and lot of cardio" mode. I get up and do 60 minutes stairmaster. I have so much energy from all the carbs, that I could go on for hours. I do maybe another 30 minutes at noon and in the afternoon I go for my regular rollerdancing activities. Three hours of non-stop dancing, spinning, rolling and booty shaking. Saturday is mostly restricted calorie day (hey, who would feel like eating after such Friday?) and definitely low carbohydrates. I only eat the hidden ones, in protein powders, eggs, cheeses and so on. The similar schedule is on Sunday, too. I don't feel the same energized, so the calorie intake is closer the normal, but still low carbohydrates.
It is also interesting to see my weight changes during the weekend. I am about 6 lbs heavier on Saturday, compared to Friday, after my (ch)eating orgies. With my low carbs and high cardio, I get down 4 lbs until Sunday, and normally, on Monday, my weight is about the same as it was on Friday. Cool, isn't it? I love to experiment with my body.
My weight training split is still the same like last month: Monday - biceps, triceps, abs. Tuesday - shoulders and some Olympic lifting. Wednesday - back, lower back. Thursday - chest, Olympic lifting. Friday - legs, calves. I squeeze in my abs now and then when I have some extra time. I might even do another day of training, just abs and some more calves.
I decreased my calorie intake just a little tiny bit, maybe with 100 or so. Eating about 2400 calories, spread over 8 meals. If I need to start my day early (an early client is waiting, I start eating at 6 AM and it's going to be 9 meals that day) . My daily intake of macronutrients is about 330-370 g of protein, about 125-140 g of carbohydrates and 60-80 g fat. On the weekends, when I go low carbs, I eat about 40 g of carbs.
My new little favorite meal for this month is 3 servings of 2% cottage cheese, with just a tiny bit Stevia. It gives it slightly sweet taste. And 1/2 table spoon of flax seed oil in it. 335 calories (42 g protein, 12 g carbs, 12.5 g fat), fast to prepare and pretty yummy... I know, the sodium is high, but I drink a lot of water, so it gets flushed away.
One more recipe, a tuna burger... A can of tuna in the water, press away the water. Mix together with 6 egg whites and 1 whole egg. Put some pepper, garlic and spice in it, mix it and make an omelet. Serve with spinach, or other veggies. Fast to prepare and pretty yummy to be a tuna fish. 322 calories, 60 g protein, 2 g carbs, 6 g fat. Spinach carbs are not calculated in... remember, it's a "free" food.
A Real Summer Deal - Become Hydrophilic
(hydrophilic, loving water... hey, I needed to look up this word)
So now when the summer is definitely coming, the weather is getting hotter and we sweat more. How do you feel? Do you feel and/or look bloated, and kind of fluffy, and maybe even tired, low energy? Don't blame the sun! The reason is probably that you don't drink enough water. It's tough to get in a proper amount of water during colder winter times, so imagine how your body suffers now...
Be aware that you body is made up of water by more than 75%. Without drinking water, you can only last a few days, compared to going around without food, you could make it for weeks, probably... (I hate to even think that idea! I love to eat :-) )
Water is important to the digestion of food, your metabolism, and is needed for almost all biochemical processes in your body. Water is involved in the removal of urea and other toxic wastes from the bloodstream via the kidneys, and without sufficient water, the kidneys cannot work properly.
Drinking lots of water is even more important when you are trying to lean up. And I know that you want to do that, the bikini season is knocking on your door, too. Here in Venice it's been knocking on my door for a long while. Drinking lots of water can also help to please your appetite and you won't have these dangerous cravings for food. Also, remember, that when you are dieting, you break down many pounds of fat (well, I hope!!!) and with this breakdown there is a production of metabolic wastes that must be removed by the body. Water is essential for removing these wastes.
How about the common "But I don't feel thirsty at all...". If you do, it's already probably too late, I would believe that you body is already getting dehydrated. So don't wait for any "thirsty" signals, just learn to drink water regularly. Carry the bottle with you everywhere you go. Have full glasses ready on each table or desk in your place.
How about the bloating? It's often misunderstood, we feel bloated, so we think that we need to drink less water. Not good... This is a survival mechanism: when water is restricted, the body signals the kidneys to restrict the excretion of water, sodium is retained, and an accumulation of water in the body (edema) occurs. The similar bloating and "fluffiness" might happen during menstrual cycles in women, hormone imbalances, reactions to a hot environment, excess sodium in the diet, food allergies and so on. So instead of restricting water, increase your intake...
And remember these small tips:
1) Drink lots of water throughout the day, space out your
A glass or little bottle every hour or half an hour. Soon, it becomes
habit, that you don't even think when you are reaching for your bottle.
2) Minimize high sodium foods in the diet, eliminate excess salt from your diet. The more salt you eat, the more water you need to drink... The more you drink, the more you run to the bathroom. It's not always easily available... the choice is yours :-)
3) Supplement with a good multimineral tablet to ensure that your electrolytes remain balanced. Electrolytes include: sodium, calcium and chloride in the fluid outside cells; potassium, magnesium and phosphorus in the cellular fluid. Electrolytes regulate many of the life sustaining processes of each of the millions of cells in your body.
4) Perspiration and the intake of diuretic drinks such as coffee and tea cause the elimination of electrolytes from the body. And it means, again, the more coffee or tea you drink, the more water you need to drink. And of course, when you workout (weights or cardio) you sweat and you need to drink too. Imagine that I drink about one gallon of water only during my weight workout at the gym.
5) Keep the protein intake in your diet fairly high, at least 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight. Protein helps regulate the water balance in your body, as electrolytes do. Proteins are water loving or hydrophilic. Water molecules tend to follow proteins. Without sufficient protein in the body, water in the bloodstream and vascular spaces leaks into the spaces between cells and the result is "edema" or water retention.
6) Do not use diuretics to get rid of the bloat... It just makes you more dehydrated, and the rapid loss of water from the body can upset electrolyte balance, which can lead to serious health conditions and even death.
And last word: remember, "to lose water, drink water." Use water generously in your diet and training! "Puffy" and "Fluffy" is out. Lean is in.
Now on a sexy note... Women, make your men happy, exercise your PC muscle
(PC, short for pubococcygeus). I guess all men would love to say that it's very important to tone and strengthen the muscle that automatically contracts during orgasm. Am I right?
So, ladies, lets get busy and work your way gradually to doing about 100 contractions of the muscle twice a day. Don't know which muscle that is? It's the same one you squeeze in order to stop the flow of urine midstream. When you exercise the PC muscle, you bring blood to it, just like other muscles. When more blood than usual collects in the pelvic area, it creates the beginning physical sensation of sexual arousal. Contracting it more brings more blood (up to a point) and therefore more arousal. Also, some women find it easier to have orgasm during intercourse when their PC muscle is well toned. And men? They love the strong PC muscle!
How about sleep?
You want to grow, get lean, you need to eat right, train hard and sleep. Ack, so often neglected and forgotten. We're working more so we can spend more so we can collect more and play more. And from where do we get all the time for working and spending and collecting and playing? From our sleep. Not just that sleep deprivation increases irritability, decreases concentration and weakens the immune system, but also during the sleep, your body recovers and grows. You don't sleep, you don't improve your physique and/or health.
So, how do you get a good night rest?
Avoid the stress. Maybe not everybody is able to to entirely avoid stress, but you can try to work on it... De-stress by taking a walk by the ocean or in the forest, or do a cardio session with your favorite music in your head phones. I use my hours on the stair master almost like my own psychotherapy. I listen to my favorite music (which is rap, right now Rondo's "Success before Death") and let the thoughts flow through my head. Past, present and future thoughts. I think and solve my problems in my head. Eventually I get so tired on that machine, and even my brain shuts off. All my thoughts are worked through and when I get off the machine, I am sweaty and happy. This works for me, you need to find what works for you. But believe me, to live the life without unnecessary stress, it really feels good.
What else can you do for a good sleep?
1) Use your bed and bedroom primarily for sleep. Try to make
the room as quiet and restful as possible. (now, the interesting
rises: how about sex? Answer yourself...)
2) If you have trouble sleeping at night, don't take a nap during the day. Stay up and go to bed at your regular time.
3) Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. Exercise can help you get better sleep, but don't workout too close to your bedtime.
4) Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
5) If you are still awake 30 minutes after going to bed, don't lie there tossing and turning. Get up and do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to soothing music, until you feel sleepy. I normally turn on my favorite music and fall asleep in a couple of minutes... Believe it or not, as I mentioned before, my favorite music is rap, and yes, I fall asleep to listening to rap. Call me weird :-)
Still not having the right focus to get the lean summer physique?
I thought that we all are already on a mission to get lean for the summer. Many of us have started already. If not, here comes a repeat of the main tips how to change the winter body into a summer body. More about it is in my previous newsletters.
1) Eat rather 6 smaller meals than 3 bigger ones. If
get 7 or 8 meals, even better. Remember, to skip the meal is worse than
to eat one meal extra.
2) Keep the same amount of protein consumption spaced out over those meals.
3) Cut back on simple sugar calories, and "bad" fat calories. Include good fats though, flax seed oil, olive oil, fish.
4) Eliminate all junk foods and processed foods from your diet. Eat unprocessed natural foods as much as possible.
5) Increase the consumption of fibrous vegetables (remember, all these green veggies are "free" food, you can eat unlimited amount of them)
6) Increase water intake. (yeah, yeah, I know... water, again...)
7) Add 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity, three to four times per week to your training regimen. Eventually you can add a little bit more, you will see what's happening with your body.
8) Don't forget your weight training. You need muscle to increase your metabolism, burn more fat, and also reshape your body to your picture perfect.
9) Begin the diet sooner. (hey, if it's too late now, this is a meaningless point... but remember, it's never too late. Maybe you are not sharp in the beginning of the summer, but you will be sharp!) Normally, you will only be able to reduce body fat by two pounds per week at best (count on 1-1.5 lbs) without losing muscle tissue.
Fat loss aid
Are you taking ephedrine and caffeine, or the herbal equivalencies, MaHuang and Guarana? Maybe to help the fat loss, or to give you some extra energy for your workouts, or to help your dieting by making you to feel less hungry. It's also anti-catabolic, and helps you to preserve the muscle mass that you have while you restrict your calories a little bit, or increase your cardio.... Just remember, everybody is different and the effects on the body is different, too. Experiment first with lower dosages and see how you feel. Remember, that taking it on empty stomach, the effect is in general much stronger. If you fell jittery, decrease you dose. Also, with long term use, the effect of feeling "high" and "up" for your workout, diminishes a little bit, but the fat burning properties are still there, even in a long term use. Also be aware of the fact that caffeine is a diuretic, and thanks to ephedrine you will perspire much more, so you need to drink LOTS of water. There's many cases when people got dehydrated and overheated and needed to be hospitalized. Drink your water! Besides, it helps you to get rid of the toxins that enter your blood when the fat burning process is going on. And the last note on ephedrine, as any stimulant, when the effects of it fade, you might feel, mentally, a little bit out of balance. You might feel slightly "burned out", because of the greater rate of the consumption of blood glucose and neurotransmitters.
Personally, I don't feel any jitters or highs, so I use it strictly for the fat burning purpose and as an anti-catabolic agent. I love that stuff! I like me sweaty cardio sessions, with the rap music blasting in my head phones.
Ladies (and gentlemen too), get these glutes tight!
I mentioned lunges before. It's like a magic medicine for your upper thigh and your glutes. Standing on one spot, step back with one leg, and focus on squeezing your butt cheek on the standing leg when you push yourself up. You can alternate legs, or do all reps with one leg first, then switch. When I do lunges with a barbell on my shoulders (115 lbs), I alternate legs, 30 reps, 4 sets. If I do them in a Smith machine, I do 15 reps for the right leg, then 15 for the left one. 4 sets, again. This is the warm up for every weight training workout.
Now, I also finish every workout with stiff-legged deadlifts. Actually with Romanian deadlifts. The little difference is in the knee position. In the Romanian deadlift, your knees are slightly bent, maybe just 10-15 degrees. It makes your glutes and hamstrings to be used much more than in a stiff-legged deadlift (straight knees). Why is that? Your glutes (the anterior fibers) attach to the iliotibial band, and when you slightly bend your knees, the band will provide a solid anchor for the fibers of your glutes to pull on. Also hold the bar and keep it close to your legs, almost dragging it along your legs. Stick you butt out, and keep your back straight. The flexion (bending) comes from your hips. If you deadlift the Romanian style, you will feel a high activation of your glutes and hamstrings. And that's what we want, to get tight and round bubble butt, right?
Venice Beach Cult
You've heard that bodybuilders have a high sex drive, haven't you? Probably even more now, when the spring is here and all the hormones get crazy in pretty much everybody, bodybuilders, fitness competitors, other athletes or a couch potatos. Weird things happen. What you are going to read, is nothing that I wrote or have seen with my own eyes. I've heard of it, I read it in the testosterone magazine's web site, and pretty much anybody else has read it, too. Everybody is talking about it. If you missed the interview, here you can read it. If you find yourself easily offended by sexually open-minded people and the stuff they do, don't proceed the reading. Just finish here and stay happy. If you are curious, as I was, go on and click here.
The Last Words
Lets finish this newsletter on a positive side. Some nice thoughts and words, that might motivate you when you feel a little bit low, or that might make you realize, that we actually have a really nice life here in this world.
Words of Wisdom
Maybe we are supposed to meet a few wrong people before meeting
the right one so that when we finally meet the right person, we will know
how to be grateful for that gift.
When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we
so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.
The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing
never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best
conversation you've ever had.
It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but
that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.
Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they'll love
Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart
but if it doesn't, be content it grew in yours.
It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like
and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.
Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that
Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.
Find the one that makes your heart smile.
There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you
want to pick them from
your dreams and hug them for real!
Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you
because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to
enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.
Always put yourself in others' shoes.
If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of
they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have
and those who have tried,
for only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives.
Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past,
you can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was
Live your life so that when you die, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
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