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chickwholifts

Because strong is the new pretty.

Month

February 2016

26 Days!

Yup! That’s right! Exactly 26 days until I get to walk across that stage in Waxahachie! My suit came in last week, and no you don’t get to see what it looks like yet. I still have a lot of body fat to lose based on how I look in my suit currently; honestly, I’m terrified that I won’t make it to the size and body fat composition that I need to be before competition. My posing coach keeps reassuring me that the change is very sudden, just a few days out. So, for now, I’m staying strong with my diet and keeping faith.

I weighed myself this morning, and I’m down to 117.4 lbs. Definitely over what I would like to be at the moment; however, I’m blaming it on bloat since it’s that time of the month (and yes, that makes a HUGE difference). I’ve been seeing small changes in my hamstrings and upper abdominals, but until I’m done being bloated I won’t be able to see a whole lot. Fun fact! I worked with my posing coach recently, and she was very much impressed with my glute-ham tie-ins. “What are glute-ham tie-ins” you ask? Well, they are not muscles just in case that’s what you were thinking. The glute-ham tie-in is an area of definition between the most distal (lowest) end of the glutes and the most proximal (upper) portion of the hamstring muscles. How do you get the tie-in? Since the tie-in is not an actual muscle, you have to work the glutes and the hamstrings separately and get lean.

 

Another fun fact: Elevated cortisol doesn’t cause the body to store fat! Which is good news for me because I’m always stressed. Cortisol a stress hormone responsible for elevated blood glucose; it is released during emotionally, physically, chemically, and physiologically stressful situations from the pituitary gland. Your body consistently produces and releases cortisol for lipolysis; however, if this level reaches a “high dose” release state (impossible unless a pathology/illness is presented), then the body begins to deposit fat. Cortisol is often blamed for fat storage. I can’t tell you how many times my man has told me to relax otherwise my cortisol is bonn make me hold onto fat. So, technically, even though it does increase your blood sugar levels, it does NOT cause fat storage on its own! Just a little physiology for ya on this beautiful Monday.

cortisol_stress-diagram

I’ve been practicing my posing routine(s) 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes each time, if my schedule permits. I’m up to 48 minutes of cardio per day split up into two sessions. I’m still doing my trainer’s hamstring murdering leg routine every three days. I’m officially grounded form cheat meals for the remainder of my prep (*heart breaking*). I’m doing my best to eat my 7 meals per day, but since my hunger has been gradually increasing as of late it’s getting easier.

I have a lot to get done in the next 26 days before hitting the stage. Base tanning, re-dyeing my hair, pedicure, fake nails, etc. The list goes on and on, but a lot of it won’t get done until a week out or so (nails mainly).

Happy lifting!

 

What Equipment Do You REALLY Need?

I didn’t always have equipment. Shocker, right? By equipment, I mean gloves, wrist wraps, compression knee sleeves, powerlifting belt, and basically any device that should assist with lifting weights. I say “should” because sometimes these devices can actually be detrimental rather than helpful. I’ve been wearing gloves for the past few years as a personal choice; ripping one callous off during deadlift was enough to make me turn to gloves. Let’s face it, no one likes blood on the bar, okay? Gloves are relatively harmless, and I still have callouses even after all these years. So, let’s talk about the more “heavy duty” pieces of equipment.

Powerlifting Wraps

Powerlifting wraps come in a wide variety of lengths for specific uses. Generally,the longer the wrap, the larger the joint that it’s meant for. For example, knee wraps are usually 2-3 ft long; whereas, my wrist wraps are maybe a foot long. I only use my wrist wraps when I’m doing flat bench press at higher weight (100+ lbs) or trying for a new 1RM. Using these wraps at lower weights can be detrimental if used consistently for too long. How? Eventually, performing other exercises at similar or even lower weights will be too difficult on the joint you wrap. Personally, my wrists couldn’t handle bench pressing over 80 lbs for the longest time because I ALWAYS used wrist wraps. Not only that, but incline press, decline press, flys, etc. also put a lot of strain on my wrists and made lifting difficult without wraps. Only resort to using this sort of equipment when you begin hitting weights that you struggle with significantly or if you begin to feel strain (NOT PAIN!) in that joint while lifting. Wraps should not be used for low weight-high rep type work outs; you would be cheating your joints out of the strain necessary to keep them strong and healthy! The same idea goes for knee and elbow wraps, as well. My wraps are basic red-line Schiek wraps.

Weight Belts

Weight belts are usually thick, stiff, leather belts designed for squatting or deadlifts. They profide support to your lower back while driving with your legs. They are incredibly stiff for a reason- to provide support and stability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of people that can’t deadlift properly without a belt and throw out their backs but then start using a dang weight belt. If you can’t lift properly WITHOUT a belt, what the heck makes you think you can lift any better WITH a belt?! Aye aye aye! Let me step off my pedestal again. Function follows form in the case of lifting; you’re ability to lift heavy and safely is determined by your ability to lift correctly. Don’t bother investing in lifting equipment until you learn to do more complicated lifts without assistance and injury. I’ve used a weight belt before, and it’s incredibly helpful on occasion, such as when I’m doing heavy box squats (225+). I prefer not to use one for deadlift or regular back squats because I want to make my back stronger during those lifts. I suggest Rogue Fitness belts, Harbinger, or Schiek So, use weight belts with discretion.

Compression Knee Sleeves

I just got my first pair of knee sleeves this weekend as an early Valentine’s Day gift from my man. I had been wanting a pair for quite a while, but they are typically very pricey (about $30-40 per sleeve). Yes, they are sold individually, not in pairs. There was a night that I was doing some heavy leg work (heavy back squats followed by heavy box squats followed by heavy leg press, you get it) and during leg press I began to feel mild aching in my left knee. So, I stood for a while, stretched it, massaged it, worked out the pain, but as soon as I sat back down the pain fired back up to the point I couldn’t lift anymore. The pain didn’t last through the night, luckily, but it did make me consider alternative exercises and getting wraps, for those days I just want to lift heavy (or heavier). J got me the blue Rehband support wraps. I’ll keep you posted on this experience in the near future.

Grip Wraps

These are similar to wrist wraps, however they are particularly designed for pull-type exercises (deadlift especially). J has a pair that he uses pretty often. They latch around your wrist and have long straps that you slide around the bar repeatedly until your hand is in contact with the strap as it’s wrapped around the bar. This piece of equipment allows you to lift heavy regardless of your grip strength. Some days, I wish I had a pair for when I deadlift and can’t for the life of me hold onto the bar long enough to get it up. J’s wraps are by Schiek.

Gloves

I have had all sorts of gloves. I pretty much shred them within 6 months. I currently have a pair of Harbinger gloves that are falling apart, and I have a pair of Bear Komplex gloves designed for crossfit. The Bear Komplex gloves are taking a while to break in because they are made from stiff leather, and you will get callouses between your fingers breaking these suckers in.

Keep in mind a lot of people call these pieces of equipment different names. I have bought most of my equipment at Academy, honestly. Other buying options, other than straight from the manufacturer, include Amazon, secondary suppliers (WalMart, Academy, some gyms, etc), and secondary websites.

Happy Lifting!

Check Me Out On YouTube!

I now have a YouTube channel where you can watch my posing progress as I get closer to show! Since I couldn’t figure out how to get the videos on my blog, I managed to put them on YouTube! YAY! Go subscribe!

Happy Lifting!

 

One Step Closer

Holy cow! These past few weeks have been insanely crazy for me! I’m getting back into the swing of things with new classes this semester and a nearly full-time job on top of my competition prep.

So, I’ll just jump into the meat of things and get down to business on the more important and most recent changes. I met with my trainer this past Saturday so that he could do a full physical evaluation on me before I ordered my suit (more on that to come I promise!). His verdict? We changed my diet… A LOT. Now, I get my choice of lean protein (eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, fish) but I have to get 20 g for each meal, and I am up to 7 meals a day now. Also, I get 2-3 cups of greens (asparagus, broccoli, you get the picture). I get 1/2 an avocado with breakfast and meal #4, 1/2 cup of cream of rice (weird right?) before my AM work outs, and protein shakes on Saturday and Sunday only at breakfast before my workout. I pretty much get my choice of food for the next few weeks. Keep in mind, I’m 8 weeks out!

Also on Saturday, I got to work with my posing coach for the first time! She has competed in both bikini and figure, so she’s the best person to help me prepare! We made it through my entire posing routine, from stage entrance to sign off and exit. She seemed super impressed with how much I already knew (and my quads lol), and was very pleased with my ability to catch on and my confidence. We did not, against popular practice, work in front of a mirror. It is best to physically learn where your body needs to be without visual cues. This will make it easier to land the poses on stage when it really counts. I’ll have to try to set up a YouTube account so that I can share my videos with you! John was such a trooper helping me out with taking videos!

As far as my suit goes, I’m waiting another two weeks before ordering for money purposes. With Valentine’s Day and me and John’s anniversary coming up this month, money is a little on the tight side at the moment. BUT I FNALLY settled on a color, cut, connectors, and everything! I also purchased my jewelry! Next step, I have to start working on a base tan and talk to a potential make up artist up in Dallas. EEK! Everything is coming together!

I’m still doing my leg day every three days and my hamstrings have made incredible progress. I can actually see them now! I’m still nursing a shoulder injury in my left shoulder, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better so I may resort to having to make a visit to a sports physician if I don’t see improvement in the next few weeks. I’ve been trying to take it easy on chest work since that seems to be when it hurts the most. I’m starting some rotator cuff exercises and added regular icing to my shoulder throughout the week to see if it helps. I’ll keep you posted.

Tomorrow is cheat meal day, and I have selected funfetti pancakes and a caramel cappuccino from Starbucks for breakfast before work as my cheat meal! In case you were wondering, theres a pre-made funfetti pancake mix you can get at the grocery store. All you do is add water (because I’m a lazy cooker)!!!

How are your NY Resolutions coming along?

Happy lifting!

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