Monday, January 30, 2012

Fitness Case Study - Week Ten Recap (PS I CHEATED!)

On Wednesday of Week 10, I got in trouble!  It was my day to Skype with Tab and Chelle. During our Skype sessions we go over work outs, how I'm doing with my meal plan and how I'm feeling about the case study.  I was told that I'm "failing".  Guess what I'm failing at????  Get ready for it: I'M FAILING AT CHEATING!!!  Imagine the relief I felt when they told me what I was failing at!  LOL!  However, they still wanted it delt with.  I was to fix it pronto and fix it good! My instructions were to cheat by the end of the weekend and to cheat a lot!

Really?  You can't possibly understand how excited I got that I was going to get to eat an entire meal of whatever I wanted without feeling the least bit guilty!  Oh the JOY! :D  I asked them what I should eat, I thought they'd die ROFL!  They said, "Just eat!  Eat whatever you want! CHEAT for goodness sake!"  Have I told you lately that I love Tab and Chelle????  I really do. They MADE me cheat!  YIPEEEEEEE!

I decided my cheat meal would happen Saturday night.  I thought about it and pondered it constantly for the next two and a half days.  I debated whether I'd eat ice cream (my absolute favorite naughty thing) or whether I'd eat something else that was carb-y and fatty but still healthy.  

After MUCH deliberation...... I chose to do both!  The hubby was sweet enough to prep it for me, he's a closet chef.  My menu for the main part of my meal included:  
French toast, fruit salad and grapefruit!  YUM!
  • French Toast made w/ Ezekiel Cinnamon bread.  I drizzled it with honey and sprinkled it with my protein powder.  (Yes - I asked him to keep the yolks in the batter!)  YUM!
  • 1/2 a grapefruit
  • Fruit Salad (homemade)
Then, so as not to disappoint my trainer and nutritionist, I HAD DESSERT!  I had:  
Ok, ok!  Yes, I did put protein powder on my cake and ice cream.  It was good!
And I didn't want to miss out on the muscle building protein!
  • A baby size Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream
  • a small slice of chocolate cream cake
Oh, the GRubBage!  You guys, it was soooo good!  And I felt great the next day!  I had soo much energy and was quite productive.  I may continue this "cheat thing".  I think I'd keep it a clean cheat though and just have the "meal" part of the cheat and nix the dessert.  No one needs that crap every week.  

In general, week ten was successful.  I increased some of my weights again and feel like I may have leaned out a little bit.  We adjusted my cardio some and it really feels great.

Here's to another successful week!

Happy Monday, dear reader!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


This is what it looks like outside my house right now!  
Gonna' be an empty free weight room at 4:30 am, friends!  

Happy Sunday, dear reader!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

H2O Overflow!

Who's drinking their water today???  My eyeballs are floatin'!

Upped my water intake to 1 gallon / day!  
H20, H2O - It's to the potty I go...

Happy Tuesday, dear reader!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fitness Case Study - Week Nine Recap

Circuits and cardio and a calorie drop, OH MY!  

The best way I can describe week nine is to say that I got my arse handed to me on a platter! I've started the "leaning out" phase and suffice it to say, "It ain't no joke!". I've been doing circuits thru the whole study, but these seem to be harder.  You see, Tab, aka the World's Greatest Trainer, knows just what order to put exercises in so that something that would ordinarily be easy as pie becomes nearly impossible.  Notice the "nearly" in that sentence? Everything required can always be done, you just have to have your head in the game.

I also got to start doing cardio this last week.  It felt great to do it again.  I hadn't realized how much I'd missed it.  Right now, I have two days of HIIT and three days of Steady State cardio.  I think I might even be seeing some results already!  I seem to be getting a waist where there was none before!  For a while now, I've been shaped like a brick!  Just straight up and down. It's really exciting to see a curve!

Calories, smalories...  uh, yeah, WHATEVER!!!  They're important little things, those calories! Remember in a previous post, when I said I'm running on racing fuel?  Well, I'm still running on racing fuel, it just feels more like fumes than actual fuel!  LOL!  Basically, I still eat mostly the same foods I was eating before but in a little bit smaller portions.  My caloric drop, on average, seems to be only about 200 calories per day but man, am I feelin' it!  So that teaches us something:  it is so important to know just how many calories you require in order to meet your fitness goal.  Otherwise, you won't be functioning at optimum levels.  Your training will suffer and you will not meet your goal!  It really is very scientific, there's not a lot of guess work.  Of course, everyone's body is different and tweaks will have to be made here and there for every individual.  But the basic mathematical formulas lay great ground work for figuring out just how many calories you need to consume in accordance with your training style to meet your goal. 

To wrap it up, I'm a little tired but SUPER MOTIVATED!  I feel like my body is responding to the training and meal plan.  I can't wait to see what changes are coming in the next few weeks!

Borrowed from

Happy Monday, dear reader!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ladies & Gents, We Have a Date!

OOOOOOOHHHHHH... I'm SO excited!!!!  The date for my very first Figure Competition has been announced!  On Saturday, July 14th 2012 I will be crossing the stage for the first time as a NPC Figure Competitor in the Nicole Wilkins Fitness, Figure & Bikini Classic!  

Believe it or not, I've already ordered fabric swatches so that I can start thinking about what color suit I'll wear!  Oh and there will be BLING, lots and lots of BLING!  I'm a girly girl so sparkle is all part of the fun for me.  I'm also a crafty critter so I'm really toying with the idea of adding the BLING myself!  I might even make my own jewelry.  I've made a couple pieces previously and I really enjoy it.  I have plenty of time if I start now!  My mind is just whirling!  The possibilities are endless....

But - before I get lost in dream land, I have some more sweating to do.  Did cardio this morning, have to do weights tonight.  Must earn that pretty posing suit and all that sparkle!  

Happy Thursday, dear reader!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fitness Case Study - Week Eight Recap

I am morphing.  Changing into something that I have never been before. When I enter the locker room at the gym, I feel like Clark Kent entering his phone booth!  My breath comes faster and my heart starts to pound as I think about the task at hand.  There is a cloud of mystery around me during each and every workout as I push harder and harder.  

In the back of my mind, a little voice repeats "Are you sure about this?  Can you really do this? What if you hurt yourself?".  But - in the forefront of my mind, there is another voice (oh boy, I wonder if I should be telling you all this.  I'll probably end up in a straight jacket!  LOL!  I hear voices...", a much louder voice that says, "Go girl!  Push it!  Is that all you're gonna' do?  Go hard or go home!".  

Whooo hoooo!  This is when you know you're alive!  When you get to do something that literally, without fail, pushes you closer to your goal every single time you do it!

During week eight, I stuck to my guns about NOT allowing perfectionism to come to the gym with me.  I left it behind and instead of quitting when my strength started to waiver, I pushed on, sometimes shaking, sometimes growling but all the time knowing that it was the right thing to do and the real way to train.  I welcomed the "new fatigue" that I experienced with this extra effort, knowing that it's how I'm supposed to feel.  

Week eight also marked the end of my "growing phase" for the case study.  That's not to say that I'm done growing my muscles!  I still have LOTS of work to do in that department.  The girls just want me to experience what it's like to sort of "lean out" for competition.   The biggest change to my program is that I get to do cardio again.  That's exciting to me, I've been missing it.  In addition, my calories are a little bit lower but still plenty high to maintain the muscle I've developed thus far.  When I finish the case study, my calories will probably go back up and I'll probably stop doing cardio for a while.  This is so that I can focus on muscle growth and development again.  Then later, closer to my show date, I'll drop the calories, reintroduce the cardio and do a real competition prep.  

There's a new journal entry, progress picture and measurements on the Recipe For Fitness website.  Just scroll to the bottom of the page to find the pic.  I'm fairly pleased with the progress I see, especially when I remind myself that I've only been at it for eight weeks!

Happy Tuesday, dear reader!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Iron - y of it All

In case you weren't aware, I live in Michigan.  On the east side of the state, where I live, we're experiencing our first snowfall of the year.  I am originally from the west side of the state which receives much more snow so the snow over here hasn't slowed me down yet.  It's like comparing an avalanche to a light dusting, really.

One of the things that I enjoy about living where I do now is that when it snows at all it actually slows a lot of people down and our road crews take really good care to clean off our roads well.  Love it!  

There is a point to all this, promise!  ;)  I got to the gym this morning and the freeweight room was E - M - P - T - Y!  Party time!  Oh, but wait.... my workout wasn't in the freeweight room today.  "WH WH WHAT????  Ok, oh well, everybody's just running late because of the snow.  It'll fill up soon, you're not missing anything, Carlene."  A hour later, I went back to the freeweight room to grab an attachment I needed for my next exercise.  "WHAT THE H - E - DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS???  There's still nobody in here!  Grrrrr!  Now I'm mad!"  I returned to the room I was using, finished my workout and went back to the freeweight room to return the attachment I'd borrowed.  One little, old man was in there by himself, doing therapeutic exercises for his rotator cuff.  Bless his heart.  I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have been in my way.  

How ironic!  A completely empty freeweight room on a day that I don't need it.  I'm sorry, lonely freeweight room, I promise to come back soon!      

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I's Gettin' Skooled!

So much to learn, soooo little time!  I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Recipe For Fitness Case Study.  I had no idea when I applied that I was going to grow so much emotionally as well as physically!  What an amazing process.  What a painful process, what a healthy process.  WHAT A NECESSARY PROCESS!  I's really gettin' skooled! 

Here's the deal:  being a former carbohydrate addict is not the only skeleton I have in my closet.  I am also a perfectionist and I'm not recovered from that... yet.    Perfectionism effects pretty much everything I do.  It also "slows down" (actually, I should say, I allow it to slow down) everything I do.  I discovered on Tuesday that I am allowing it to slow down my progress on the Case Study!  This is how I allowed perfectionism a foothold in my work: one of the things that the girls have stressed to us thru the program is how imperative it is to maintain good form on our exercises.  You know, to prevent injury, so that we work the area the exercise is supposed to work etc.  In a nutshell, what we were told was that if we could no longer complete a rep with good form, we were done with that set.  Guess what, folks!  There is a BIG difference between PERFECT form and what the last repetition of a set should look like!  The last rep is not supposed to look as good as the first!  It can be slow, it can be shaky, most times you probably won't be able to complete it.  I took their direction to mean that when my reps started to "look yucky" I was to stop.  DUH!!!  They were just trying to keep me from killing myself by telling me that if I was starting to cheat on the rep, swing the weight, use other muscle groups to help me, I was to be finished with that exercise!  See how I let that perfectionism creep in there?  I let myself think that because my last reps weren't as pretty as my first I should quit.  Ugh!  So while I was working hard and THOUGHT I was doing as much as I THOUGHT I could, I was slowing down my progress by not allowing myself to experience true, POSITIVE failure!  It just wasn't clicking in this "perfect" little brain of mine.  SO, Carlene one... Perfectionism zero!

Here's the second way I almost allowed perfectionism to have control over my life:  in a previous post I announced that I plan to do two figure competitions this year.  I also said that I was going into the first competition with the attitude that I would "just do it for the experience and to learn" but that I would "win" the second competition I did.  Talk about trying to protect myself from failure again!  I was so afraid that I would feel like a fool at my first show that I was just going to show up with the attitude that I was just "doing it for fun"!  But that isn't what's in my heart and if I continue to have that attitude I'm going to seriously cheat myself out of some of the best and worst nuances of competition.  Considering the fact that deep, deep inside I really would like to go PRO (I'm totally serious about this, its been a hidden dream of mine since high school.  I used to have posters of Mia Finnegan and Monica Brant all over my walls!), that's pretty damn stupid!  Why would I do that to myself?  BECAUSE I'M NOT GIVING MYSELF THE RESPECT I DESERVE!  I am limiting my opportunities and life experiences with my fear of failure!  NOT ANYMORE!  I'm all done with that now.  So, look out anybody doing those two shows here in Michigan, cause I might just win 'em both!

I may not know what my future holds,
but I'm jumping in with both feet!
I owe Tab and Chelle a great big "thank you" for their honesty and concern for me during our Skype session Tuesday night.  It was a major wake up call. Tab, your blog post today drove it home.  I took everything you said to heart and am a better, stronger person because of it.   

Happy Thursday, dear reader!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fitness Case Study - Week Seven Recap

What do chocolate and salted caramel ice cream with brownie, Kit Kat and graham cracker crust mix ins have to do with this post?  LOTS!  I ate them!

At Cold Stone Cream Creamery totally enjoying
 my first and last treat / cheat of the case study.
 In case you're wondering, I didn't break any rules by indulging in this magnificent deliciousness.  Tab and Chelle actually allow us one treat / cheat meal per week.  This was just the only time that I wanted (make that was WILLING) to cheat.  There have been lots of times I've WANTED to cheat, just a bite won't hurt me, right, but I have chosen not to.  I've actually been planning this little treat party for a while now and it happened this weekend for a reason.  The goal thru the program so far has been for me to build as much muscle as possible.  Trust me when I tell you that this happens at a much slower rate than fat loss and the body makes very specific demands regarding what type of nutrition it's willing to work with in order to build said muscle.  If I had been living it up, having a treat meal every week, that would have been seven meals of muscle building fuel that my body would have missed out on!  Seven whole meals!  That's a lot of fuel to give up!  Now for the second part of my formula: why I chose this particular week to have my treat.  Next week, if I understood  the bosses correctly, I begin my leaning out phase.  That's when the fat burning happens and my little baby muscles (I say baby muscles with a lot of affection, I'm excited about them) will start to show.  This is just my opinion, based on research I've done, take it or leave it - anytime you eat clean for a while and then have a treat, your metabolism gets "shocked".  It's kind of like waking up a sleeping dragon, give it a nudge and it starts to breath fire.  Now you might be asking, "Why didn't you wait until you're actual leaning out phase to do it then?"  Because I knew I was going to eat c-r-a-p!  I didn't want to give my body unnecessary, empty, useless calories to have to burn up when the point of my training will be to burn the fat I've already got right now. 

So, that's my soapbox speech on treats.  Now on to more important things, like the case study!  
I'm explaining to the Cold Stone gal that participating in
the case study and that this is the first treat I've had since the end of summer.  Can you tell how excited I am? 

Week seven was full of the usual: weights, food and love.  I'm loving going to the gym at 4:30 am and having the place almost to myself.  No one's in my way, I don't have to share equipment and I can grunt and groan as loud as I wanna!  Oh the joy!!!  I got to try a couple new exercises too: "cross over lunges" and the "iron cross".  Zowie!  They're both tough and I have a feeling they're also very effective.  

As my workouts get harder and I'm more tired toward the end I find myself thinking, "What if this is the last time I get to do this exercise?  What if Tab doesn't put it on a later program?  Have I given it everything I have?  Used it to it's full potential?"  I'm really trying to focus on the fact that every single rep counts.  The ones in the beginning when I feel the strongest, they count.  But the ones at the end that feel impossible, the ones I barely squeak out?  Those count the most!

This week, I wish you peace and success in all you do.  MAKE EVERY REP COUNT!

Happy Monday, dear reader!                

Friday, January 6, 2012


I didn't discover blogging until my fitness journey was well under way.  I realized a couple of days ago that none of you know where I'm really coming from, what I've been thru or what my story is.  So I've decided to share some personal history to enlighten you.  I won't bore those of who have read my transformation bio with the same story.  If you haven't read it, click on the link and check it out.  You might find a sense of comforting familiarity there.

I am a fully recovered carbohydrate addict.  I am genetically predisposed to addiction (my dad is an alcoholic) and I chose carbs as my crutch.  Suffice it to say, I would eat multiple bags of candy per day and could easily eat an entire loaf of freshly baked french bread.  Here are the results of that behavior:
This is me in July of 2010!  Nope, I wasn't pregnant!
By the time this pic was taken my youngest was already 14 months old.
I want everyone who is struggling with getting healthy to know that I HAVE BEEN THERE!  I understand the depression and difficulties that come with being overweight.  I understand wanting to break every mirror in your house so you don't have to look at the person in the reflection one more time.  I understand the self loathing that comes from letting yourself get like that.  I know what it feels like to get "the look" from your doctor.  I was there, I know.

Christmas 2010.  I look mad.
Someone had probably eaten my chocolate.

Christmas 2010.  Obviously, not my best angle.
It was actually these Christmas pictures that brought to my attention just how big I had gotten.  (I didn't find the picture from the family reunion until the other day.)  It still took another two months for me to commit to making a change.  I had to straighten out my brain before I could fix my body.  In March of 2011, I discovered a book called Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D.  This book started the pendulum swinging and it hasn't stopped since.  I applied what I learned from this book and recovered from my carbohydrate addiction.  Then I began to work on my body.  By May 2011, I had dropped my first 20 lbs and by July 2011, I had made goal weight.  Total, I lost approximately 40 lbs to hit my goal.  I wish I had pictures of me while I was dropping the weight to post but we didn't take that many and the ones we did take are of me in my undies.  Not gonna happen!  ;)  You can thank me later.  LOL!  

It wasn't all flowers and sunshine when I made goal weight, either.  I was floppy and baggy and skinny and icky all over!  Not at all how I wanted to look.  I began searching for my next goal.  BUT--- this is sooooo important --- I didn't stop doing what I had been doing while I tried to decide what I wanted to do next!  I kept going thru the plateau.  I didn't let the fact that I didn't look how I wanted to stop me and I didn't quit because I didn't know what to do next.  I just kept doing what I knew to do.  By this time, I had found Chelle's blog (I thank God often for Chelle) and soon after that she announced her Case Study for Recipe For Fitness.  I knew that this was my answer, that participating could  push me into the next level of fitness.  I applied and I waited and I waited and I waited to hear whether I had been accepted.  BUT --- while I waited I kept going!  I kept doing what I knew how to do.  Then FINALLY ;)  they made the announcement and guess what!  I wasn't selected.  So what did I do?  I kept going, kept doing what I knew how to do.  I read some more Oxygen and some more Fitness Rx and Muscle and Fitness Hers.  I learned more and decided on a routine to follow and I got started.  You have to move past the obstacles, people.  When you want something bad enough, that is what you do.  You just keep going, NO MATTER WHAT!  Just three days after I made the commitment to begin my own program, Tabitha and Chelle  (read their blog posts about the whole thing here) contacted me to let me know that due to unforeseen circumstances of one of the participants, they'd had to drop out and... wait for it... I WAS NEXT IN THE LINE UP!  I WAS IN!  I WAS SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE!  I do not care that I wasn't one of the original eight and I do not care that I got in by default!  I'm here now and I am giving this program everything I have day in and day out!  I will not bow, I will not break, I will shut the world away... (Breaking Benjamin song)!  

This is me three weeks ago.
New pic goes on the RFF website next week.
 I hope this give you a little insight into where I've come from.  I invite you to join me as I train for my first Figure Competition!  My goal is to do two shows this year, one in July and one in October.  My plan is to participate in the July show to learn and gain experience.  My plan for the October show is to WIN!!  Stay tuned.    

Happy Friday, dear reader!  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Traveling Blueprints

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I was really freaked out around the holidays because I had to travel and I couldn't imagine how I'd maintain the same level of training and uphold the integrity of my nutritional plan while away from home.

There are many things that go into being able to stay consistent while on the road.  I picked up tricks from some of you, did some research and also learned from experience during my trip.  I won't bore you with all of the details but I'll give you a few highlights.  Maybe there will be something that can help you the next time you have to be out and about!

  • TRIP ITINERARY:  study it!  You can plan your meals much more easily if you know when you'll be in the air and when you'll be on the ground.  
  • AIRLINE REQUIREMENTS:  go to your airline's website to find out what they'll allow (liquids & so forth) you to carry on the plane.  Also see for additional tips.
  • WORKOUT FACILITIES:  know where you're going to workout and what equipment they have.  The resort we stayed at advertised that they had a workout facility.  If I had just taken that at face value, I would have arrived and discovered that they had some cardio machines and a swiss ball!  Call workout facilities ahead of time and ask about their policy on guests, I had to call 4 gyms before I found one that would allow me to come in without a member escort!  Find out whether they have lockers available (will you need a lock?) and what their hours are.  Also, get directions before you ever leave home and there will be a lot less chaos to contend with.
  • NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:  plan every meal you are going to consume before you ever leave home.  Know where it will come from and how you will eat it (cold or hot, plastic fork or spoon, on a plane, in a car, standing on your head?)  You must be prepared for anything.
  • LISTS:  make your grocery list before you leave for your trip and know what store you will shop at and how to get there.  The more organized you are before you leave home, the easier the whole process will be. 
  • LOVED ONES:  let those you are visiting know in advance that you will be continuing your meal plan / training while on the road.  If they have time to mentally prepare for this it won't come as such a shock to them when you don't eat the meal they prepared or have to leave early to go workout.
Your personal minute by minute blueprint is the key to your success!

Once I got my brain wrapped around the idea of continuing my routine in a different location, it wasn't really such a big deal.  I was prepared and therefore, I succeeded!

I hope these ideas can help you be more prepared the next time you have to travel!

Happy Wednesday, dear reader!   

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fitness Case Study - Week Six Recap

Hi there!  I've now completed six weeks of the Recipe For Fitness case study.  That marks half way, folks.  I've packed on more muscle than I've ever had in my lifetime.  Although I was eating clean before I started the study, I defiantly wasn't eating correctly.  I want to write another happy, upbeat post but despite my progress, I'm a little bummed.

Reflecting on the process makes me realize just how soon it will be over.  Its like a dream to have someone plan your meals for you, especially according to your personal tastes and fitness goals!  Top that off with someone coordinating your workouts so perfectly, so purposefully, that your body starts changing almost immediately and its not something you ever want to lose.  I won't ever give up the lifestyle changes I've made, the knowledge I've gained or the discipline I've developed but the set up I have right now is perfect!  I am forever spoiled, educated and changed by the RFF Girls!  ;) 

On the lighter side, the Hubby & I have started training together and what a difference it makes!  I was able to push so much harder today because of him being there to spot me thru those last couple of reps!  
Just look at all the people!

I've made a realization that I'm not too fond of, however.  Apparently, the cozy little bubble I exist in while I'm working out in my basement does not encircle me everywhere I go!  I have discovered that I am not the only person on the planet when I'm working out.  When I first started the case study, I wasn't as strong as I am now and so the smaller free weights that I had in my basement were plenty to keep me going.  I've built a lot of strength in the last few weeks and I've outgrown my home gym so the hubby and I joined the Y-Center.  Luckily, he qualifies for a corporate membership and his company takes care of it so it worked out well.  Anyway, my first time at the Y-Center proved to be interesting.  There were people everywhere and they were using the equipment I needed!  I couldn't believe it!  I accidentally made an audible noise (ok, maybe more of a whine) when I finished one of my circuits and went to start it over again.  There was someone using the machine I needed! 
I'm waaaaaiiiting.........

"Wh-wh-what is going on here?", I thought to myself as I quickly went over my options in my head.  I could stand around and wait for him to do his set(s) or I could improvise.  I chose to improvise (while still working the same muscle group and maintaining the integrity of my workout) and in the end, I think it was the right choice as I still left the gym exhausted and proud of what I'd accomplished.

I wonder if Ava Cowan has to stand around and wait for equipment???
I'm guessing she probably doesn't have to stand around and wait for much of anything. 

Happy Tuesday, dear reader!!!