WEIGHT LOSS HACK: STOP LABELING YOUR EATING STYLE

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The culture of diets is as hostile as the cult of fitness.  There is a mentality that says
“My way or the highway” .

“Keto is the only way to go. Low carb means you lose weight.”
“Eat clean to lose weight.”
“I only eat Paleo.”
“I don’t eat any sugar, ever. It will kill you.”

So may people go from one style to another style in search of the holy grail eating but they foil themselves because.. these things are NOT sustainable.

If you have fat to lose you will do so by being in a calorie deficit. That could be by
 burning calories, or in taking less calories.

The style of eating you do over all is not what makes you lose weight.

So listen,  I can understand wanting to  jump on a band wagon for lightning fast results.
I understand the desire to grasp at magic bullets, or extremes but let’s start here.

If these things (diets) were fool proof, we would not have an alarming obesity rate world wide.

But let’s get back to you.. I want to help you feel better about your food choices so let’s give up the labels.

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When you are thinking about all the food you ‘cannot’ have.

By nature, the restriction of food groups could trigger binges.
Have you ever told yourself, “No more sugar.” 
What is it you crave the most while on your new plan?  Sugar.
When we restrict ourselves from certain food groups, we are essentially, white knuckling our eating.  There’s no peace, there is militant, discipline and on the other side, failure if things don’t go as planned.

Keto: restricts carbs.
Paleo restricts Grains
Clean restricts “processed” food.
Competition Bro diet: No fruit, dairy, processed food.. good grief.

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By nature, restrictive diets limit food groups and therefore micro nutrition suffers.
When you are restricting veggies and fiber your body notices.  When you are restricting fruit, you miss out on the glorious nutrition of vibrant colors and sources of vitamins!
When you restrict all sugar, you have to remove pretty much everything fun because even frozen yogurt has lactose which is technically sugar.  Bummer.
Dairy can be a great source of protein!
Are you willing to let your overall nutrition suffer so you can  sit at the back of the bus with all the ‘bros?’

WHEN BRO DIETS MAKE YOU ILL

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By nature, labeling our eating style sets us up for failure and it’s not necessary.

This is the big one:   The eating disorder, Orthorexia comes to mind here. The clean eater, is terrified of eating anything ‘not clean’ or things that are processed.  What we typically see with the clean eater is frequent binges of ‘non clean things’ .  So basically, it’s not sustainable.

“I only eat clean, until I’m face down in a bucket of icing or doing late night at Denny’s after the bar.”

“I eat clean, gluten free.. but I love this craft beer and I drink Whey protein”
Both are clearly processed.  So it’s only clean because you made up that it is.

There is NO such thing as clean. Even blueberries are processed.

Why there is no such thing as clean
kid

We often see the ‘clean eater’ purchasing large amounts of “clean” food for binges.
“I can’t help it. At night I ate 5 RX bars. I feel so bad about myself”
“I can’t stop eating almonds from Trader Joes, they are clean but I can’t lose my belly fat”

IIFYM/FLEXIBLE DIETING/MACRO COUNTING
The problem with labels is.. what difference does it make?  You could stop labeling your eating style and follow IIFYM which could be done any way you like.

With IIFYM we are simply counting
Protein P
Fat F
Carbs C
and the micro nutrient Fiber.

All food has macros. All food.  You can find that information on the label or look up nutrition on sites like FatSecret.com
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We set your macros for physique goals .. whatever that is.  Then we eat them and stop when we are done.  We are not locked into to one style of food and each day we could enjoy variety as long as we are hitting our macros.  That mean..

The style of food that we like.. is how we should eat.

Your macros are not dependent on clean food, paleo or zero sugar, but you could eat them any way  YOU like.

If you find Dairy upsets your stomach but egg whites are ok.. that’s good!  You can choose your own adventure!
If you like a snack treat now and again and it keeps you from feeling deprived, you can certainly work that into your plan without it being detrimental to your physique goals.

If your doctor has asked you to limit gluten or keep your fats at a certain level.. that’s ok too. You can eat for your body, your health and your own likes!  You never have to eat food you don’t like.

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I like lower carb though.. I just do.

IIFYM doesnt’ mean you can’t eat toward your style.  Use your carbs for fueling your workouts and to get your fiber and veggie/fruit requirements.  You are not required to eat poptarts or high carb snacks. But you could.. if they fit your macros.

If you feel better on no grains, you can certainly make that work too.

If you don’t want sugar foods, or snack treats in your life because they trigger you. Maybe you feel better when you don’t eat food like that.. Maybe you just enjoy whole fresh fruits and veggies.. totally fine too.  It’s all about YOU.

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When you let go of labels, you have no fear of mistakes. You simply figure out how YOU enjoy eating and tweak to hit your macro/micro nutrient goals!!

There is much freedom in the ability to be consistent and live without the restrictions that diet labels give.  Being consistent is how you reach your physique goals.

Do you need help with macros or workouts?? Head over to my site LEARNIIFYM.COM

Roo Ferrigno eats her macros every day.
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How I stay motivated on my plan

MOTIVATION
Motivation! Do you ever start your fitness plan only to find yourself ‘lacking the motivation’ to continue?

Do you ever see the hard core motivation quotes that basically tell you
“Just Freaking DO IT”
“YOU NEED DISCIPLINE”.

What do you do when motivation fades?  Because it does!   Here’s what we do.. we go with what we know.  We do this, even when we know it doesn’t work.   We quit and tell ourselves.. We just can’t do it.

I have lots of tools to help you find your own path.  If you want to check out my other blog with lots of ideas.. you can go here. 

In this blog, I’m going to share how I stay motivated.


HERE’S WHAT  KNOW ABOUT MYSELF
I have an intense need for security and learning. Those are my top two ‘basic needs’. In my projects.. I use this to help me stay on track.

Do you know your basic needs? Game changer.. go here and figure it out!  

WORKOUT MOTIVATION

When I wake up each day, I scroll my IG feed for other fitness/pole friends. I am truly motivated by people who are already up and killing it. So don’t call narcissist on anyone who is doing gym selfies. I’m the person who gets hyped when I see happy people at the gym. I see new moves, new ideas and love to see if that’s something I can learn or follow leads to new information!!

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This girl is a huge motivator!

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Always, pay attention to the Rock!

 

CENTERING MYSELF AND MY DAY
 I spend a few minutes centering myself with the #spiritualawakening  . I need to focus each day on positives and healing and moving forward.  This is self care.

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WORKOUT GEAR

I like clothes. I choose my outfits and I go the the gym feeling good. I don’t schlep. It hurts my workout game.

SECURITY/RITUAL
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I have a ritual in the AM. I have my amazing prep pancakes because my hubs makes them for me. I smell them and we say “that smells like 1st place.. hahahahah”

I have 2 containers of oats under my prep table at all times. Those are security oats. We will NOT run out of oats.

HACKS
 My project/prep.. is only 18 hours. It only lasts for the hours I’m awake. I can do 18 hours easily. When I wake up the next day, I repeat what I did yesterday or tweak what I needed to change. I never get mad when I mess up because, I can readjust and go again tomorrow. There is not “fail” there is only learning/adjusting/tweaking.

One thing I do not do, EVER. Not allowed.

I do not make decisions about my day while I am lying in bed. If I want to skip the gym I only allow myself to make that decision after I get up and have a shower or coffee. Do I skip the gym? Yep.. Sometimes, my body needs recovery. Sometimes I can rearrange and do it later. My day is in my control but it’s NOT a knee jerk reaction to being “sleepy, crabby or unmotivated”.

One thing that happens to clients is they constantly throw the baby out with the bathwater. Oh.. I messed up well.. screw it.. I failed.. I’m out.. done.. I’ll find something new to do next week. I’ll try this and that.. but they dont’ NEEEEEEEED something new. They need to be consistent!!

Consistency is not for sale.


Everything we want is waiting for us.. but we have to discover how to motivate ourselves each day to check off the boxes we need to. Soon we have strung together many, many days of success and we are reaching our goals.

How do you stay motivated?

Here’s a picture of Mango and I. We know you can do it!
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IIFYM : Secrets to Staying on Plan While You Travel

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Guest Blogger today is Sleek Body Coach Tracy Collins.

When it comes to sticking to your macros while traveling—it doesn’t have to be a struggle… it is what you make it! Don’t let “ but..I travel” be an excuse!

Plan ahead
Before you leave, make the decision made about what foods you are not willing to bend on!

Think about how many meals you will need to pack per day. If you are traveling for business, chances are you know the name of the restaurant that you will be dining at. Pull the menu up online ahead and decide what you are going to have as your meal, or call ahead and explain you have special dietary needs. Don’t feel embarrassed, or ashamed! We have goals and we are sticking to them! Trust me, your guests will respect your decision.. heck they may thank you because now they don’t feel pressured to eat something that’s not on their typical menu!

You can stick closely to the types of food you are typically eating at home. Look for the hidden fats and ask them to be removed from your food.. example: filet, ask them to cook with no oil or butter, veggies ask them to be steamed, or no oil. Salads, really read the ingredients and review everything that it contains… think about your macros… if you don’t want it, ask them to remove it!
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Alcohol

Do you know how to accurately track alcohol?  

We all know the secret to this…and I have to admit, I’m not afraid to just stick with water and lemon, or a diet soda…However you know your macros. Go in with a plan! Remember, You don’t have to take your clothes off to have a good time!

You can stick closely to the types of food you are typically eating at home. Look for the hidden fats and ask them to be removed from your food.. example: filet, ask them to cook with no oil or butter, veggies ask them to be steamed, or no oil. Salads, really read the ingredients and review everything that it contains… think about your macros… if you don’t want it, ask them to remove it!

I most always bring a packets of oatmeal and make a protein shake as my pre-workout meal. If additional carbs are needed, I pack some dried blueberries or cranberries or other fruit. Most workout facilities have fresh apples available, (but don’t count on that).

My post workout meal is usually a shake and oatmeal again if a restaurant isn’t available. Starbucks has those turkey egg white sandwiches that are Divine! (There seems to always be one close to or in the hotel)

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Really, there are so many options and I’m always up for a challenge to myself. How can I make what’s available to me work! It’s like a game of survival… Could you do it?

The Hotel
Search for hotels that offer a mini-fridge and a microwave in the room. Most will bring one to your room at no additional charge or there is a community microwave is available. (However, the Kuerig in the room is easily manipulated to my oatmeal warmer). If I had to choose between the two, I would pick a fridge.

My co-workers know when we travel a gym is super important to me, so we always check it out online before we go or search for nearby full size gyms. Obviously, a hotel most times does not offer the same equipment.

If you need additional items or want something specific, plan to make a trip to a nearby grocery store.
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What to Bring?
All food is safe to bring on an airplane, it’s how you pack it that matters. TIP: if you have a suitcase that you are checking, pack your food in a insulated lunch box with an ice pack! It will be fine!

In you carry on bag, pack an empty shaker cup, use this as your water cup throughout the day… you will also get through TSA with it being empty. Once through security, fill it up at a water fountain, or most restaurants are happy to fill it for you with ice water. (I always go in showing a few bucks in my hand) 😉

Snacks: nuts, protein bars, carrots, hummus, rice cakes, almond butter (individual packets are available) lunch meat, protein powder, jerky, apples and other favorites of yours. (Yogurt is subject to the liquid TSA rules, but is available heavily throughout most airports)

In summary, don’t stress or worry, do your best.. and learn from each trip that you take!

Coach Tracy has openings for coaching!!  Check her out here

Mindset hacks to master your diet without punishment.

stopThe internet is filled with garbage like the above meme. It drives people to shame eat, to self punish and creates disordered eating.  I’m here to set this straight for you so you can rise above this nonsense like smart people should.

Sadly, many of us have been used to self punishing for transgressions related to eating.
Binge/Restrict:  over eating  or eating ‘bad’ food followed by starvation or food restriction. Bad food could be considered “not clean” and this falls into the eating disorder Orthorexia.   See this blog

“Oh no, I ate that bag of Cheetos,  tomorrow .That’s it… No  sugar, no caffeine!! I’ll work out two hours a day all week to burn it off.”

Paws up if you’ve been there.
holla

We are going to put this to rest right here. Today. You are going to read this, digest it and reflect on it with peace in your brain so you can stop with all the mental torture.

First of all.. This behavior gets us no where. You and I both know it. Say it out loud. It gets us no where!  NOTHING positive comes from this.  Repetitive negative self talk begat negative actions which begat more negative self talk and pretty soon.. WTF, you’re falling down a rabbit hole of despair over your inability to lose weight, control your eating . Worse yet.. you feel like a failure because of FOOD. BECAUSE of food!

OMG, I went out with my friends and had one drink. I couldn’t help myself we got  apps. Then I had more drinks and then we went to Denny’s. I said “screw it” and ate  a Grand Slam with hash browns and sausage. OMG I woke up today feeling horrible. Why did I do that?  I worked so hard this week. I was good until we went out.  I shouldn’t go out. I can’t believe I f*cked this up.  I can’t believe I’m like this.  I’m going to eat what I want to day because “f*ck it”  I’ll start my program tomorrow and if I’m GOOD all week then I’ll lose the weight I gained today. “

Monday morning:  “I feel disgusting. My pant’s don’t fit me. I look so puffy and disgusting. I don’t even feel like going to the gym.  Today I’m not eating until after  dinner and no coffee for me. No sugar. Sugar is the devil. I need to get it together. Why did I do this? I can’t believe how I cant’ get my life together.”

Let me help you now.  This is common dialog for many of us. I’m going to tell you once again that this behavior is an endless cycle of garbage talk and will never, ever help us reach any goal.  If your kiddo spoke to herself, this way or Gawd -forbid a teacher told your kiddo this exact thing, we’d put a stop to this immediately. It’s not healthy.

REALITY SPEAK
We do not assign morality to food.  There is no good or bad food. 
Listen up all you “sugar is evil” people. I see you. I’m calling you out. You post out how sugar is the devil and I see you eating cookies and candy on Facebook  and elsewhere.   There is NO morality assigned to food.

What if: instead of saying  “Decisions/food are “GOOD” or “BAD”

Let’s change our thinking to
“for me personally  decisions are  either ‘helpful’ or “not helpful to my life/goals”.

A decision I make could be “not helpful to my goal” even if for another person it would be helpful.

“I’m in my prep and very close to stage time. Eating this additional serving of strawberries  is not helpful to me today”. 

That doesn’t mean eating extra strawberries is wrong for everyone. Just today, my prep goals would not deem the additional food helpful. It’s not a moral issue.

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Decisions CAN create for us chaos or  harmony for each of us.  A decision might create chaos for you but may not  be chaotic for someone else.

Here’s two scenarios to consider:   
Mary works in an office and it’s the holidays. There is a lot of food and treats there every day.   Mary said to herself

“There are so many treats at work and it’s really hard to stay away from them so I’m going to have 1 cupcake on Tuesday and enjoy that.  I will have a little bit of  Joann’s dessert she ‘s bringing on Friday. I’m excited to try it, she talks about it all the time.” 

Same scenario: chaotic

Oh no, I went to the break room for coffee and I couldn’t help myself because someone handed me a cup cake. I’m just going to eat what I want now. I did so good for so many days but it’s just staring at me. I have to eat it now.  I just can’t lose weight. I’m addicted to sugar. I hate myself. I hate my belly. Why am I like this? “

In scenario 1.  Mary was accountable and made a decision based on what was helpful to her. She didn’t vilify the food. She didn’t’ blame anyone else for what she ate. She choose what she wanted and it made her happy to eat it. She had a positive experience with the choice and she didn’t’ feel chaotic or the need to punish herself.” #helpful

In scenario 2:  The decision she made was NOT helpful to her.  She acted impulsively and blamed it on someone handing her the treat.  She created a dialog that made her feel ashamed and degrade her ability to reach her goals . She degraded her  body.   #nothelpful

Punishment: Exercise is not punishment. We do not punish our children with exercise when they don’t pick up their toys.  If your kiddo has an ice cream cone, would you then tell her to do 283 burpees?  If a coach followed your kiddo from the lunch room to gym class and told them to ‘work off that meal with 680 burpees’ would you feel ok about that?   The punishment didn’t fit the crime because eating isn’t a crime.

When we think of this nasty cycle, we are again reminded.. it doesn’t help. It isn’t logical. It doesn’t get us further on our goals.  Thoughtful planning and mindfulness with logic will help us understand our decisions.

My guess that you are a decent person. You don’t lie to yourself and you trust yourself . You don’t deserve punishment.  We don’t need to do this any more and especially regarding food and exercise. We certainly are smart enough to realize that when things don’t work, we should stop doing them.  Can we take some self love and realize that mindset can go farther than 680 burpees?  I know we can!!

How to stay motivated on your fitness plan

 

I posted the Rock’s Instagram so you can click through, follow and get motivated.

When a client begins a new program, they are on fire. They head out and buy new gear and get all their ducks in a row. They immerse down in it ready to slay dragons on their way to  their new physique.

That works for a while until they loose their steam. Getting up early is a chore. They begin to fall into old habits and soon their motivation is gone.

What has also happened here is yet another time they have not been successful in their journey.  😦

I wanted to do a blog on motivation but I cannot offer the secrets to staying motivated until I tell you the actual truth.  If you are frequent reader of my blog, you’ll hear the same tone resonate.  Consistency wins over perfection. Starting and stopping is the opposite of consistency but we sure do find ourselves in that predicament way to often.

Here’s the hard fact: Motivation fades. Discipline is the way change happens.

If you find yourself dropping off a program after a certain amount of time,  then let’s explore some ways to help you push through that trouble spot.

If you ask the body builder sect, they will tell you to Just F’n do it. Yep. I totally hear that. I totally agree with that. I totally think that some people don’t really know how to do that!!
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Here are some of the reasons people start a program.

“My doctor told me to lose weight or I will be facing a health crisis.”
“I need to lose weight so I can have the surgery I need.”
“I need to lose weight or I will be put on medicine for my blood pressure”
“I am told to work out 3 days a week for my health issues.”

When I get this from a client, they already have the motivation to make a change. Wouldn’t you say?  You would be surprised how little health issues motivate people.
It’s shocking.

When we talk to them about why they drop off the plan, they use reasons (excuses) like “I just can’t get the food. I can’t find the time. It’s not a good time.”

Motivation for health isn’t enough.  This person needs discipline to make this happen.

I want to help my clients to reach their goals and no amount of barking about their health seems to matter. They need tools in their tool box to help create new habits.
goal
GOALS:
A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve”

Things I hear from clients
“I want to lose weight.”
“I want to get back in my smaller clothes”
“I want to eat better and be healthy.”

The most successful clients are ones that do not set arbitrary goals like these but more  specific/realistic ones.

“I’d like to be one size smaller by Christmas”
“I’d like to be wearing my favorite dress again by Easter.”
“I’d like to learn to manage my stress eating.”

We also see them do much better when we set long term goals and short term goals.

“Overall, I need to lose 100 pounds but in the next 90 days, my goal is to train
4x per week and lose two dress sizes. “

What has been so helpful for my program and clients is we set up 3 month plans.  We have a goal, a start day and end day.  We then assess, look over what we have learned and begin that process again. It’s not wrong to also set rewards for the end of the challenge. Make it non- food based !!

Challenges
I like to incorporate Challenges into their plan so they are working progressively each week on improvement!  You don’t need the 200 squats a day challenge. Progressive challenges are attainable and provide positive reinforcement!!

CAT-MEME
Plan of action:  
To achieve our goals, we are going to be very successful if we are accountable!
My clients use our app to track their progress, workouts and can see an actual spreadsheet of improvements.  They can check in their workouts and get achievements for their efforts.  Apps like My Fitness Pal or even your Fit Bit are there for the accountability factor!!  Tracking your food is simple on the apps so you always know you are on point.  No food is eaten without being tracked!!  Accountability !

Many clients say they loose steam because are too busy to workout or do their food. Everything seems to go to the back burner.  I ask them to book their classes /workouts like it is an important business meeting.   One of the things I love about the apps is that you can put your workouts on the calendar and it will signal you if you miss one.  Our app syncs with My Fitness Pal so I can see my clients daily food intake!!
Accountability is one of the things clients tell me they need the most.  Using tools to help with this is a fantastic way to move forward!

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Vision board:
This is fantastic.  Vision boards are great for any goals/projects you have set up.  I love this board from one of our athletes.  She hit the mark on positive text and images for her project!!  I recommend this for you too!!

A workout /program buddy or support group.
Having support on your journey is fantastic and actually will help you succeed more than going at it alone.  I have found that posting my goals in public or sharing my journey on my social media is very helpful for me.

Many people set up fitness journey accounts on Instagram so those who like to can follow it.  I find a lot of inspiration from others who are also on their journey.

Our dear client on her fitness journey!14183885-1363590546987638-9165857793060093686-n_1_orig

For me, posting progress, or selfies and telling of my successes and struggles may help someone feel motivated but it’s more for my personal growth. I’ve been able to see trends in my progress as well as just overall accountability to my goal.  Personally, I’m going to finish a project if I share it publically.

Facebook has lots of groups or challenges you can join. Our clients have access to our fitness group and  macros boards. We can talk about concerns or get new ideas. It’s fun to post personal records and Non scale victories when others are cheering for you.

What I have found is that clients who refuse to be a part of a group fall off faster than those who are part of a community.  There is a lot to be said for surrounding yourself with like minded people.
Embracing-technology-brings-you-closer

Don’t stand up your friend. If you need a workout buddy, you can set that up at your gym or in a group.  Seek this out!!   If your buddy is online only, you can share your accountability posts by sending gym selfies so they know you went.  The two of you could set your own parameters to help keep you motivated and on track!!

Instagram: I have found that I’m super motivated by my fitness friends and people like The Rock. I always set my alarm for 10 min before I’m going to get up and scroll through my fitness feed for inspiration.  I love seeing others training and doing well. It energizes me.  I love looking at cute workout clothes and thinking of what I want to wear that day. You may not feel motivated by those things but there is something you can explore to help you set the pace for the day.

If you set up a fitness account for Insta, only follow fitness accounts. Nothing annoys me more than baby pics on my fitness feed.  I can load my personal friends accounts on my main account. When I am looking for inspiration, I want to keep my feed focused

What do you do to to stay disciplined/motivated?
This is Bun. He is motivating you with his mind.
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Do you need help with your plan? Would you like to be a client and reach your goals!! I can help you! You can find me at http://www.sleekbodyfitness.com
Our coaches do online, in studio and competition training!!

The Brutal Truth About Your Competition and your Expectations

THIS BLOG IS ABOUT PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION! ❤


As a coach, I have lots and lots of brand new athletes who begin their journey on my team.

As their shows grow closer and closer ,it’s common for them to tell me..
“I thought I’d 
1. be showing more muscle
2. look  just like the Instagram competitors
3. be tighter
4. be more defined
5. have more muscle
or some variation of this.

The hard truth is
If you started your prep having not done a full off /grow/build  season, you did it backwards. Yep. I said it. As athletes.. we NEED a full grow season before we begin to prep for stage.
It is very common to see people who “workout” think they can cut down to what you see on the gram. It’s not the same as taking a strategic off season, eating, building, and then cut to unveil what you have built.

In 2012/2013, it was common to see coaches advertise “12 Weeks to Stage”  and starve a sister to stage lean.  It was a simpler time back then because the bikini physique was not pumped , super conditioned or showing striations. It was beachy.  BEACHY.

wonderwoman
This was 5 weeks out from my first show.

Fast forward to the ultra competitive nature of the stage of today. Conditioning needs to be on point. If a new athlete has begun her prep without mature muscle, she will come in lean and sexy but without the visible conditioning she is thinking she should see.

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In every cut.. we lose muscle. EVERY one.  That is real. We work so hard to keep what we have when we are on a cut.  If you are lifting heavy and training with high intensity and keeping your protein higher.. you are doing your best to keep that valuable muscle for stage.  You will not be building any muscle in a caloric deficit.  If you are on the normal path of losing body fat, and your calories are lower, you will be fighting to keep the muscle you have.

If you have very little muscle to start with.. you can certainly come in lean and gorgeous but with visible work to do.

WE ALL HAVE WORK TO DO.

Does that make you unworthy to compete? 
Not at all.
Does it mean you are going to lose?
Not necessarily.
Can you even win?
Of course you could!

Why bother? UGH.. well..

Because this sport is about improvements. When you compete, you must look at what you brought to the stage and work with your coach for improvements.
Do the work and come back with a better package.

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Build build build your physique but know you can get better every show!!

Your first show should be a baseline. It’s a BASELINE.

You gain experience, you gain, knowledge of your body. You gain reality checks and you lose the nerves associated with the competition process. You become less about the madness and all about strategy.

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In 2013 I needed much glute work. I still do! Middle pic is lots of food, lots of lifting  (2016) Final pic is 2017.  I’m a work in progress because I want to get better.

We all have to take the time to build mature muscle to get the IG look. Some of those women are NOT natural and it’s deceiving.  No offense to anyone who is not natty just be realistic!!
There is no fast track to mature muscle when you are natty.

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Ashley in 2015 and 2018. She is lighter on the right BTW.

It’s surplus of calories and progressive overload on your muscles. It’s diligence and time spent to create the physique you want. #science

No magic. Science.
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coach j
Julia Before and at the UFE World Championships in Toronto

Post Show:  Bad sportsmanship is never ok!!
I should have placed.
The judges hated me

I’m quitting my coach for another coach. I should have won.
I’m quitting the sport. I deserved to win, that other girl didn’t.
This show is rigged. The judges have their favorites. 

Boy, doesn’t this sound familiar.  First of all.. being an athlete isn’t’ when you are walking on stage in your sparkly bikini, it’s how you handle yourself. Being a real athlete is about sportsmanship as well as hard work.  Frankly, being pissy because you didn’t get what you wanted actually shows on stage. Yep.. you don’t think it does.. but it sure does.

It shows in your social media. It shows in how you treat others in your show. It shows.
Disparaging other athletes in public or social media reflects badly on YOU. Your friends will always  side with you.  Pro-tip: keep that conversation between you and your coach and be gracious in your placing. Your judges see your social.. just count on that. It looks bad.

Hey.. honestly…There is no guarantee.  Body building is a subjective sport and as athletes we never know who will show up. We don’t really have a solid handle as an industry on criteria.  Each federation seems to want something different or  perhaps the judging isn’t consistent. We already all know these things, yet we choose to step on stage.

No one is entitled to a pro card.  In your first year, not getting a pro card is a good thing. I said it.  I’ve seen many athletes win their pro card on their first show and were not ready to compete at pro level.  They did not do their time coming up and it basically put them out of the competition game.

Not getting a trophy when we thought we deserved one is normal because we all go there with the intention of winning. Sometimes things just don’t go our way.  Sometimes the numbers are tight and it’s literally a crap shoot on who placed higher.

Yeah, sometimes the judges have their favorites. Sometimes they don’t even see you.
Sometimes they don’t like YOU.  Sometimes it sucks.  It’s a subjective sport.

My point here is if you think that the grass is greener elsewhere then you didn’t do your show for the right reason.  Our goals should be to improve our physique and be competitive.  Winning is a cherry on top of the actual cupcake of the competition process.  We can get better and work hard for the next time!  We can try another federation that might be a better fit.  We can figure out where we can work smarter and keep pushing.  Or we can stomp our feet and be mad.  Trust me.. one is easier than the other.

So sorry… but I’m not writing  this to bring you down. I’m asking for you to understand your sport and realize your amazing potential. I’m asking you to focus on what you are accomplishing in a very short time and what knowledge you are gaining in this process.
I’m asking for all of us to stay away from comparisons when you are looking at your  pictures. It is not going to further your progress or goal to compare.

You do not know who will show up on stage next to you.
You do not have any control over the judges likes and feelings. You are in a sport that has literally no criteria and is  subjective.

FOCUS on YOU and your best package. Retool and learn how to apply what you are learning.
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Baby Iggy wants you to know that you are enough.. just work hard!!
Good luck with your show
Coach T

Moving from IIFYM into Intuitive Dieting part 1:

me
Progressions through my journey. I’m getting better every year.

It’s been a while since I posted an update on my training/dieting.   I finished my show season in June and have reversed dieted back up to over 2000 calories a day.  I will not have another bikini competition until I take the stage at UFE Mayhem 2019.

I am training for plenty of pole show cases, and two competitions in 2019.

So let me back track a bit.  I want to show you a progression of my flexible dieting journey. Part two will explain my current use of IIFYM for my competition.

Binge/Restrict 2012
I spent the bulk of my life in a binge restrict pattern.  I was knee deep in the Tosca Reno EAT CLEAN movement but  never measured servings. I refused to eat sugar because it was the devil (according to the Skinny Bitches movement). I was deep in orthorexia but still binged until I made myself sick.   Cookies, cakes, whole pies, then returned to a restricted plan with full intentions of redeeming myself. I know   I choose to compete in a competition partially because I knew I could lock myself down to get rid of these binges. This is the first time I admitted that.

When I began my competition journey in  late 2012, I was basically starving myself.  Nutrition was tough for me because of my patterns of binging. ;(
This is how I looked on my first day of bikini competition training.   Yes.. I was lifting, doing massive cardio but not getting enough nutrition to fuel the work I was doing.  My coach told me “you are starving”. I agree.

 

 

 


Bro plan: Restrict. 2013/2014
I started immediately on low carb bro plan but.. I also started eating more protein and I began to look better. My nutrition was improving too because I was consistently eating 12 cups of spinach each day. My vitamins were on point and I was fueling my workouts.
I was focused and did well until I binged out. I had terrible derails that lasted for days.
My coach told me 8 weeks out from my first show, that one more derail would keep me off stage. Well. I handled that just fine. Placed 2nd and ate an entire pound of birthday cake fudge in the car on the way to the restaurant.

I had no reverse diets either. It was a hot mess.  I did Bro hard core off and on.
I got very sick from the lack of nutrition my coaches gave me. I resorted back to my binges in the off season and then I would grab my old show diets and use those. It makes me so sad to say that. I never fixed one thing. I only proved to myself that I had an iron will until I fell apart and that was NOT going to be ok for me any longer.

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Jan 2013 and June 2014.  I began IIFYM post show Nanbf  in July 2014.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  I asked my coach during 2014 prep for swaps and was told I wouldn’t look right on stage if I swapped out my protein or carbs.  I don’t believe that is true.  I was going to make this happen and end this nightmare of binge/restrict.  I fired her and  began this part of my journey.

I want to say to you, if you are still with me.. all of the things I experienced above made me a better athlete and a better coach.  I’m not mad about this journey. I’m here to learn and grow.  I’m leaving behind those old ideas and people who won’t use science!!

IIFYM: The First year with IIFYM was interesting. I set a goal to learn to find out what triggered me and my binges. I found out!!! Then I fixed it. Sometimes it was baby steps but it was information.  I still believed in ‘clean’ food but I added in small sugar treats until I started to get mad when my veggies got in the way of my snacks. 😦  Read more about that here
I worked very hard my first year to decrease binges by eating foods that made me happy.
I still believed some food was “bad”. I made huge strides in my physique and my happiness. I would go 6 months without a binge.  This was great.  Here’s how that looked.  I had almost 18 months between shows and I prepped myself for UFE Halloween Mayhem 2015.  I did not binge in prep. I did however have 2 months post show that I lost my way. I’m just being honest.  I pulled it together and set new goals for 2016.
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IIFYM Flexible Prep: 2016
For my second full year of IIFYM I wanted to take my nutrition to the next level. I had done so well curtailing my binges and I was very confident in my ability to master flexible dieting.  I paid mind to eating food that made my body run great, I focused on my fruits and veggies and variety.  I began to let go of the “bad ” food concept and allowed myself to eat foods that were previously off limits.  Amazingly, I didn’t get fat, I didn’t lose my way. I began to understand that I could fuse lots of great food into my plan as long as I was eating my daily nutrition requirements!!  YESSS.

That journey was seriously incredible. I focused in on micro nutrition as well as my macros. I began to understand more about my body than I had ever dreamed. I wanted to know!!  Yes… old habits die hard. I still found myself wanting to have treats (albeit “clean”) to help me stay out of that binge territory. I know what works for me!!  I made it work. I want to show you this picture because this was all about fueling for my build from just doing a basic cookie cutter bro plan. Yes.. time had passed but let’s be honest.. I started this at 47 so three years isn’t’ that long.

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Eat lift slay for a booty. I ate more carbs than ever!

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Halloween Mayhem October 2016 I became a UFE Elite Athlete. I loved my package and I loved my prep. It was an amazing learning experience.  I ate so many amazing foods in my prep and came in with my favorite package!!

2017
I competed right away again in June of 2017 and I loved my package but this prep was harder on my body and I had to dig deeper to get lean enough.  I basically did 42 weeks of prep in 1 year.  I would never do that again!! That’s not what my body wants at all.
It was still a great prep and I ate beautifully as I got ready for stage.
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After Fury in June 2017 my next step was to reverse diet and then begin my training for the Pole Sport Organization Gateway competition in December.

Intuitive dieting: What is it?
The goal of our team with clients is to teach them the progression of flexible dieting so they can learn to be truly flexible.  That means they can begin to use their knowledge to eat for their goals without being tied to a scale and tracker. This comes with time and practice.

To be effective a client  would understand and manage your macros in their head.  I know I have to reach 150-180g P each day. I need 25g min of fiber and 500g veggies min. I know my minimum fat intake should be about 40g so I just eat and add this in my head. I’m using visuals and my scale as well as nutritional information on lables.

When would a person use this?  I started using intuitive dieting loosely post show 2017.  It was magical. I was spot on because, trust me.. I’ve seen 5 ounces of chicken breast more than I’d like to admit.  I often use it when I”m traveling or eating out. Most restaurants have nutrition on their websites.  It’s handy!

Who should use this?  Only people who have a clear understanding of their body, macros and feel committed to hitting all their micros/macros!!

Do you do it daily?  Maybe..  I might do it on a day then use my tracker.  I started gingerly and progressed.  I’m very tied to MYNETDIARY tracker.  It’s a safety blanket for me. However.. being able to start this process is a huge step for me.

Here I go!!  Part two is here.

Flexible dieting and prep: what I learned. Honest and brutal

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If you want to know the dang dirty truths, this is the blog to read. I’m going to tell you  everything and some of you won’t like it. Some of you will be haters and think you know more than me. You might.   This blog is my journey and if you get anything good out of it.. that’s a bonus.

I have done two preps in the last 52 weeks. Each prep was 24 weeks long.  I am 51 years old.  You think that doesn’t matter.. it does. My body is tired of prep.  That’s the honest truth. I’m tired of prep. I’m pretty much hit the wall on this and if you ask me to my face.. I’m probably going to spout off.

Personally, I would never do two preps back to back but the federation I compete in suddenly removed the pro qualifer in  October so there was only 1 chance to try for my pro card in 2017.  My husband and I discussed it and we  made the decision to do this show even though I had not yet recovered from my last show.   I went in fully understanding what had to be done and I did my best. We worked hard and I did a great job. I am  100 percent confident in the package I brought to the stage!

As it turns out..
I actually had a great prep. Our whole team started January 1 and we did an entirely flexible prep.   OMG OMG OMG

Basically what that means is each day I hit
my protein goals,
my fat minimums,
my fiber goals,
my fruits veggie goals,
my micro nutrition goals,
and I ate over 35 different foods weekly.

The flexible part came in the fact that I was able to be flexible with my carbs and additional fats to suit what I needed to fuel but also to accommodate what I wanted to eat.

My workouts never suffered. I never “did fasted cardio” unless I wanted to. I never did anything that wasn’t fueled properly to give me the most effective workout.

Actually…
Our whole team has found success prepping this way.  It is truly based on each of us .
We teach our new competitors to pay attention and learn this process so their preps will become more and more flexible the longer they compete with us.

FOOD
This prep we were able to perfect our food so I never felt deprived

Frankly, doing prep.. I can do this stuff with my eyes close. The diet is easy.  It’s easy for me because i am not suffering like I did on my bro preps! We had some gorgeous food!!

Things I liked about this prep:
Front loading my tracker with dinner early in the morning.  Hubs and I would decide on dinner and I would be excited!  I would fuel my workouts, then fill in the rest of the day so I had plenty of macros for dinner. Here’s a few of our dinners.

 

 

 

 

That Monte Cristo Sam had jelly on it.
Our team has Taco Tuesday and Waffle Wednesday each week!! Yummo.   We ate Shrimp and Grits a lot as well as Halo top ice cream! I had a cookie almost every day.  Near the end, I did not because it would not fit.. but that is the way the ‘cookie crumbles’.

What I did not do:
Binge:  
I had one day when a refeed went out of control. I was about 14 weeks out and my Cinnamon Toast cruch measurement turned into something crazy.  I modified my other macros for the rest of the day but I had to remove CTC from my food roster because I felt it was triggering me.   I’m not bragging. I’m stating progress. In 2013 and 2014 on my Bro preps I found myself having full on binges.  I began purging again after both shows.  Getting a handle on prep with IIFYM was a life saver because I don’t feel deprived.   There’s no ‘poor me” here. I need progress not perfection.  I planned my days so they felt fun and I did not have the urge to dip into food that was not on my plan.

Eat Out: .  I did not eat out at all in my prep.  I only ate what was prepared in our house.  Even early on in prep, I won’t do it. I just stayed out of restaurants or I brought my food. I’m fine with that.
Traditional training
I have had plenty of injuries this year.  A few of our team mates really suffered with some bad injuries.  We were all able to train in such a a way that we still got our work done and hit the stage having met our goals.

I cannot have a bar on my back anymore.  I cannot run stairs nor can I do plyo. I probably did 3 plyo sessions this whole year. I had to modify my training to keep my back pain free.   My pole workouts kept me strong and flexible and I added the chiropractor weekly.  I need longevity over PRs.    I will never try to beat my 185 pound dead lift PR because it took several chiropractor visits to get me out of pain.  I’m totally ok with this.

My workouts were focused on muscle activation and not based in ego or how much I was supposed to suffer for my sport.  I wanted to focus on form and creating balance in my physique. I incorporated Fascia Blasting and while I have so far to go there.. I saw amazing changes in my  abs and lower body.
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Blasting those abs!!  Holla

Results:  I took 3 trophies in my show. I loved my physique this year. I feel like this was my favorite package I brought to the stage.  My team took two pro cards.  We took a total of 7 trophies in this show.  Our current trophy count for 2017 is 31 and we are all IIFYM and using our own unique plans.

Part of this journey is to share what works and what didn’t.  I’m in no way saying my way is perfect or I couldn’t have come in better or whatever.  I’m saying that the bigger picture shows that
1. I have never been given a  trophy for suffering, nor has anyone else to my knowledge.
2. Everything has variables and  you have to work with what you have and are able to do.
3. Cookie cutter plans would have been the death of me for prep.
4. Being happy and making progress in my journey is paramount to someone handing me a plastic trophy.
5. I can always strive to improve and use what I learned to better serve my clients and my future preps.
6. Science is indeed a thing.

Here are some of my pics.
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We received 7 trophies for this show. IIFYM. Yes.. and two pro cards for our ladies.
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Bikini portion of the Glamour category as well as the themewear.

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I’m 51 and I’m fucking proud of this. Yeah I said it.
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This body was built on IIFYM, truly enjoying what I do. I have put the time in to slowly learn to trust my body. I will always work incredibly hard but never suffer for a sport that does not reward you for how much you suffer. It’s useless. Working smart is much better! Strategies!!
There is something powerful about learning how your body works and building on this concept.  As athletes to it seems beyond ridiculous for us to continually tear down our bodies and offer it poor nutrition yet ask for it to improve.

Believe me.. I have room to improve but my first priority is recovery. I will not take the stage again until I Worlds Championships in Nov 2018 so I can have a solid building season .

I am very proud of my athletes and their placings are important but what is most important to me is not what someone else thinks of them, it’s the improvements and knowledge they are gaining in their journey.   Having a team with ongoing dialog of our experiences has been a game changer as we navigate our competition endeavors.

If you like my blog.. be sure to follow Caitlin on her blog. She is very honest and truthful about her journey!!

IIFYM 101: HOW TO GET 35 DIFFERENT FOODS A WEEK.

Are you a creature of habit? Do you eat the exact same thing every day?  Did your coach give you a plan with a total of 6 items on it?  Are you struggling to incorporate variety into your meals because you “just don’t know what to eat?”

This blog will help you.

Sports nutrition 101 tells us that we need to eat 35 different foods a week.  Our team of athletes and lifestyle clients follows this goal.
This is important simply because, variety allows us to get micro nutrients from lots of different sources.

I have spoken openly about my Bro diet plan  and how it made me very sick. You can read more about that here.  I was eating a ‘totally clean’ competition diet of
turkey
chicken
fish.
egg whites
oats
ezekial bread
brown rice
sweet pot
spinach

I had 12 cups of spinach on my plan each day.
I hated my meal plan.  As I got closer to my show, my calories were very low and I had 6-7 meals a day of tilapia and spinach.

That is about 9 different foods and entire food groups are missing from this plan.
There is zero nutrition coming from beautiful fruits and other veggies.  I could have had other options and still reached my goal. I would have felt better and had more energy.  I certainly didn’t look better on this plan than I do on a variety of food.  That’s a fact.

If you are on a “bro plan” but want to learn how to get variety.. click here

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Nutrition should be a priority no matter what plan you are on.
It astounds me that intelligent people accept this style of eating when “dieting”. If you were told to give your kiddo this food 6x a day, you wouldn’t.  Kids need better nutrition. They need their calcium and fruits and veggies. How dare someone recommend this.
When did we lose our sensibilities!! Let’s eat some beautiful food! Stop removing total food groups! You don’t need to!!

How can I increase my variety to get to 35 different foods a week?

DON’T OVERTHINK IT.
Eat simply. If you are in the mood for black berries, eat them.  Have an apple on another day.  Eating the rainbow is a perfect way to increase your variety easily.


DON’T SHOP FOR 35 DIFFERENT FOODS
You don’t need to do that!!  Just start with what you like, and add to it.
We use challenges like “Taco Tuesday” and “Waffle Wednesday” to help our clients get creative and increase their variety.  Both of those meals can be created with lots of variety!  It’s easy to find yourself with 15-20 different foods a day on those days!!
Think of the toppings, the ingredients.  If you want fish tacos, great?  Do you want a taco salad?  Or waffles with Halo top and chocolate sauce.. Or perhaps you just want  Waffles with blueberries!


Hack: My Net Diary tracks your food amounts!!
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You can see the number of foods you have eaten each day!  Cool.  MyNetDiary Pro is bomb!

If you need a macro plan or want to learn more about IIFYM you can work with us at LEARNIIFYM.COM

IIFYM, Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Pancakes

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Congratulations to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for being chosen as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Note: This is also win for the ladies who like a little beefcake, that’s for sure. 🙂

The Rock is a fitness icon!  He is an athlete and  clearly he lifts!
Not only is he a super positive force in his career, he knows how to eat for his physique goals.

One thing we can all be sure of he has his food correct !!

Plus, he likes pancakes.

Pancakes!
After he finished filming “Hercules” The Rock held an epic cheat day! On this day he whipped up his famous pancakes and ate 12 of them!
I love this picture because in our world of IIFYM, we call this a ‘carb up’ or refeed.

When a person has dieted for a while, a few things happen.  
1. The person gets weary of the diet. Even on IIFYM the fact that we are on a hard cut means we are eating less.
2. Our bodies can become adapted to the lower calories/macros.

A simple carb up or re-feed or in this case.. cheat day will help in both those scenarios.
So while “The Rock” called this an epic cheat day, he still utilized the concepts of body building and IIFYM.  He is eating with purpose!

YOU CAN LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT RE-FEEDS HERE

In our program, carb ups or re-feeds are given to clients with specific instructions. It’s not a random cheat day or binge day, just so you know.

The Rock is a huge dude so 12 pancakes fits his macros. Most of us, ladies.. not so much. That’s why we tailor our carb ups for our clients so they have the best results.

If It Fits Your Macros is amazing because it’s all about the YOU.  You can carb up on things YOU like. I like Fro-yo and Cinnamon Toast Crunch!  Our clients have a lot of fun when it comes to their re-feed!

If you would like to know more about IIFYM and learn the secrets of success, please check us out on LEARNIIFYM.COM  We will teach you online!!  We will work with you to help you reach your physique goals!
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