Christmas update : Preparing to prep

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My son gifted me this old-school hex bar for Christmas.  I love it!

Merry Christmas!
Yesterday was our family Christmas day. We had an amazing day together.
I hope your holiday is amazing!!

UPDATE:
This is a little prep update. I’m feeling pretty much like it’s two steps forward and 1 step back.
In the last several weeks, I’ve found some things have not been working.
I’m going to refer to this as a very good learning experience.

My stack:
 I made changes to my stack at the advice of my contacts at both SS2 and GNC.
I feel both of these men know their products but the disconnect is, they don’t know me.
This project is about ME figuring out what is the best stack for me.

Creatine/BA

I removed Alpha-Cre HD because I felt it was causing me quite a bit of bloat.
Alpha-Cre is a product that contains a mix of Creatine and Beta-Alanine (BA)
Pros of ALPHACre-HD
1. I felt great.
2. Noticeable strength gains
3.Noticeable increase in cardio fuction  during durations of 30-50 second blasts.  (Arch stairs, blown away)

Cons of ALPHACre-HD
1.Puffy.
Note: Creatine can cause you to hold water in the muscle. I understand that is part of it’s general function. Each rep tells me though that their product won’t bloat.

Switched to
Epiq Strength. 
I switched because this product was supposed to cause no bloating. It was to go straight into the muscle as opposed to being passed through or pooling around the kidneys causing belly fat.  There is less creatine in this product than is in Cellucore’s C4 pre-workout.
I felt like a wet noodle.  I got no BA tingle and noticed no vascularity, no creatine pump.
I’m sure all the super lifters will tell me that  I am probably misunderstanding the ins-and outs of creatine as there is so much research out there. I am still learning!

I saw great results with Krey-alkaline in my last prep. I still feel like the monohydrate  (Alpha-Cre) worked best of all.
Both products are about the same price: $45.

I’m sure I could rock some old school cheap pharm creatine and BA. Maybe next off season, we’ll test that out!

First Phorm Ignition.
Added that for one month. Pulled that back out.
I was taking less than half a scoop of Ignition pre and post workout.  It is straight up sugar. It tasted AWESOME! Whoo hoo. It’s straight up sugar! I felt great, but…apparently, even that amount of sugar is too much for me. I lost definition in my abs. I probably needed to adjust my calories and carbs elsewhere, but it was just a bust.  Here’s why I think it wasn’t right. I train at my studio for 3-5 hours
and am much better and leaner with ‘slow-carbs’.  I leaned out on lots of sweet potatoes.  Quickie sugar products like Ignition might be awesome for someone like The Rock. Apparently, despite the research on Ignition, it is not for me.

Pro-sculpt:  I was on GNC’s prosculpt for 2 months.  I love that product.
I switched out to my regular CLA caps and Epiq Shred fat burner. I used Shred last prep season with great results.
This time, I’m not totally sure. I have had terrific results on Prosculpt.
My GNC contact tells me that it’s crap. I needed to switch up anyway after using it for 2 months.  I really miss it.
I’m almost done with my month off so I will most likely start
back on it again until I have to pull my supplements. One man’s crappy product is a winner for me. My clients had great results with it too.  Go-figure.

Sleep:
What’s that? I am exhausted and fall asleep sometimes at 7pm.   I have a hard time staying asleep. My brain will not shut off. I take my ZMA before bed and have added  GNC Beyond RAW® RE-FEED – super anabolic night time recovery protein (casein). It has ingredients to help you stay asleep. So far I like it. I think if I had a solid 8 of uninterrupted sleep, I’d feel much better.  Sleep is always my challenge in this process.

De-load
 I have been training hard for the last 3 months.  The problems I am having now, may not wholly be supplement based. I really started to feel like I was over training. My gains slowed down and my energy was really low.  I did a de-load week 2 weeks ago and came back to lift heavy last week.  Still felt pretty weak.  pffft.

This last week of the year is a great time for me to listen to my body. I’ve added more pilates back into my workouts. I did some re-feeds as well.
I feel so much better.  I am still hitting the gym but taking my lifts down quite a bit.  I have 30 days before I start my actual 12 week prep. It’s a great time to reflect on  what I’ve learned in the past 3 months, and set goals going forward.

Merry Christmas!