Personal Health Intiative Training

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When all else fails, go back to the basics

Back to the basics

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Body Lessons

It has been a while. I think I have not posted here for years. Maybe because I was discouraged from the last competition and maybe because I don’t feel that drive that I once did that kept me enthralled in a healthier lifestyle. But two weeks ago, I attended the Red Clay Writing Institute in Athens, Georgia and the workshop reminded me that I am a writer. I think that I forget! Not only do I want to write again, I am more willing to share some of the stories that have not been shared in the past. I have written a very short story about my first bodybuilding competition and those who have competed will relate. Here it is. My first post since October 2014.

Body Lessons

She stood behind the curtain backstage. As the MC called her name, she found herself shaking and thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” Her hand moved across the back of her suit as she made sure it was still in place. She looked down at her chest to see if anything was sticking out. The last thing she wanted to do was flash the audience. The MC ended his introduction and she stepped with one foot in front of the other until she was fully past the curtain. Good thing she had a little sip of wine because she was about two seconds away from passing out. The music was turned up loud and she looked out at the crowd but the only thing visible were the bright lights, the row of judges in the front of the auditorium and her boyfriend. Making her way across the stage in those five inch heels started to become easier with each step.
The first pose was one that she practiced over and over again with her coach. Left hand on her hip, right leg out to the side and a big grin with eyes on the judges. Her muscles flexed as she held the pose for a few seconds, but her face still looked relaxed. If only the audience knew how painful it was to hold those poses. She walked to the right of the stage and turned, showing her well-earned striations. Then she moved to the middle again with her eyes on the crowd. This was no time to be nervous. She had suffered through grueling workouts and walked a very fine line between fat loss and starvation for twelve long weeks. As she walked to the left, she thought about all of the food she was going to eat after the night was over. She turned around and showed off the v-taper on her lean back, and back around to display her six-pack abs. None of the women were as lean as her. After the T-walk on stage she went behind the curtain and her coach congratulated her. Never in a million years did she think that she would compete in such an event!
All the women went out together and followed the instructions of the judges. “Quarter turn to the right, quarter turn to the left, face the back, face the front.” They were up there for what seemed like forever. One by one, the award winners were called out on the stage and she heard her name. Fourth place! Not bad for a first timer. She was inspired beyond measure and she was inspiring others. Just a few years ago she was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. The next day she talked to the head judge and asked for feedback. “You were just too lean. That was extreme. Nobody wants to see that.” Did he not realize how hard she had worked for her body? His words cut her like a knife. In her mind, her muscles showed her hard work and dedication that none of the other women had. But in his opinion, she should have been softer. Forget that! If she was going to do this, she was going to go all out. She could be “soft” by just not working out, but this was bodybuilding for God’s sake. When she was obese no one told her to lose weight so she could be healthy, but here she was talking to a man who promoted a healthy lifestyle telling her that she went too far. A Black man who should have been supportive of his Black sisters.
It was in that moment that she realized no matter what you do to your body there will be people who don’t like it. Too muscular? You look like a man. Too soft? You are fat. Small ass? Get some butt injections. Breasts small? Get some implants? Hair nappy and too Black looking? Get a relaxer to look Whiter. Bodybuilding taught her discipline and pride and she learned to love herself for who she was no matter what the judges thought or anyone else who decided to judge her body.

German Body Composition: My Thoughts

It’s always a good idea to change up your training regimen every now and then because your body adjusts to a routine after a while and eventually it stops responding. Also, you just get bored of doing the same thing every day. If you plan to train for life, you have to find ways to make your workouts exciting. So in an effort to keep things exciting, I decided to try a new type of training called German Body Composition training for four weeks.

This training parameter originated in Germany of course but was made famous by Charles Poliquin, and is based on the German Volume training program. In German Volume training, the goal is to lift lighter weights, about 60% of your max, 10 reps for 10 sets. So ultimately, you are increasing the volume of your work. When you take a look at any GVT program, it is easy to be skeptical. It LOOKS too simple. Bodybuilders are used to doing a certain number of reps for 3-5 sets. But, let me tell you that it is tough! I was sore for days because of the workload. I also needed more recovery time during the week. I trained for 3 days in a 5 day period…so, 2 days on, 1 day on, 1 day off, etc…. My program was a little different because I added auxiliary work at the end of the workout and I still did cardio throughout the week. That is why the version I did is called German Body Composition training, because your main goal is still fat loss. With GVC training, the sole focus is muscle building.

If you are going to try GBC or GV training, stick to your basic lifts like squats, bench press, and dumbbell curls. You are only doing 3 or 4 exercises in one session. If you want, add auxiliary work such as ab exercises, or dumbbell rows for 3 sets of 10-12 reps. You will be so worn out by the end that you can’t do much more than that. Just think about it…you are doing 100 reps of an exercise in one session!! That is a lot. Here is an example of one of my workouts:

Leg Day

Squats: 10×10

Superset with

Lying Hamstring Curls: 10×10

Cable Leg Pull Ins (Abs) 3×10-12

Superset with

Seated Calf Raises 3×10-12

Needless to say my glutes were sore for a while.

Results

After my four weeks of high volume training, I feel stronger in the gym. I have more energy while still keeping my carbohydrate intake relatively moderate which keeps me lean. I also have more strength in my cardio training. I attend spin class regularly and have noticed that I have a little bit more endurance during the class. I also have more endurance on the treadmill and running outside.

So, if you want a change, or if you just want to challenge yourself, give GBC of GVT training a shot.

Encouraging Myself…And You!!!

I am 5 weeks into my prep and I am making very good progress. There have been moments that I get weary or a little worn out. Training alone can be difficult but you have to push through and keep going. You might not have anyone who motivates you and tells you to keep going. If you talk to a lot of competitors you will always hear them say that they had moments where they felt alone. One night I watched an interview with Kai Greene, one of the top bodybuilders in the country. He stated that people think his life is glamorous but don’t understand how lonely the path is. Yes, he does have training partners, sponsors, friends etc… But there are many times, he finds himself alone.

I say all this to encourage you if you  feel like you are alone. Don’t despair! You will be just fine if you don’t quit! Be a big girl or a big boy and just do it. Don’t wait for your friends or your spouse to push you because that may or may not happen.

Back to prep…I have lost 10 lbs, so I am at 138. The picture shows 139 because it was taken last week. My average is a 1.5 lb loss per week which is the healthy way to do it. I am meticulous about counting my macros and calories. I have something to prove here and though I may get tired, I am not quitting. I have about 10-12 more lbs to go depending on how I look.

11 weeks to go!
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Murphy’s Law

3rd day in and I’m hanging tough! I still have plenty of energy but cravings come every now and then. My strategies to combat the sugar cravings include drinking tea, chewing gum, and drinking water. After about 2 weeks, they get better and the body adjusts. The human body adapts very well to many environments and you can control much more than you think you can. I always get offered food when I can’t have it. Lol…it seems to be inevitable. I think the universe is testing me to make sure I am committed to my goal. Yesterday I came home to a sweet potato pie sitting on the stove, today I was offered a chocolate cupcake, and I even won Staff of the Month at work! Guess what the reward was? A free meal!!! Go figure! Just when I can’t have it, the goodies rear their ugly heads. Thankfully this is my 4th prep so I have A LOT of self-control.

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You know the old Murphy’s law rule. If anything can go wrong it will. Now I am not saying that anything is going wrong, but whenever you are faced with a challenge, you will have to withstand obstacles. These obstacles are not going to be ordinary. If you are reaching for an extraordinary goal, you will face extraordinary obstacles. I was asked today if I could just eat the frosting off of the cupcake…just a little! Of course I declined, and eating frosting is certainly such a simple thing to people who do not compete. However; for me, it makes a huge difference. Little things become big things and one taste of sweet can turn into a whole bunch of sweets! I will stick with my tea and gum for now. But I did request a whole cake to be made for me to eat on March 24th! And yes, I might eat the whole thing. 🙂

If being a natural bodybuilder was an easy task then I am sure more people would do it. But, it is not easy, it is a lifestyle that requires discipline and commitment for a specific amount of time. As with any goal, the good news is that if you just stick with it, fight through the obstacles and continue to find strategies to finish the task, you will be just fine. Being comfortable is not they way to live. You need to get uncomfortable sometimes if you ever want to accomplish great things!

December 1st

Today is the start of a new month but for me, this day represents so much more. I have decided to compete again and today is the start of my prep. This time is different because I am creating my own plan and the thought of taking control is scary and exhilarating. I’ve had a lot of help since I started competing. My coaches have taught me the best ways to train and diet and I know what works for me and what does not. I would love to have a personal coach but finances will not allow it this time and I have the strongest confidence that I can do it. I’ve been down this road before and I created my own plan when I went from 175 lbs to 135 lbs before I started competing. I have also earned my personal training certification that enables me to understand the science behind what I am doing. I also have my friend CJ who will check in on me and hold me accountable. So here we go! My training and diet plan are done and I am ready. 16 weeks to go!

I have been doing a lot of reading and listening to motivational books…on the way home from visiting my family yesterday,I heard this poem from Napoolean Hill’s Law of Success. I am going to commit this poem to memory because I think it describes all of the emotions that a competitor goes through:

If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!

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