Archive | June, 2013

Animal Products (Holy Guacamole!)

26 Jun

Well, I have to say I am extremely overwhelmed and honored to be given such an amazing opportunity to work more with Brandon as well as get hooked up with so many great products.

This just in:

580145_541348322567850_1517980427_nSpeechless.

I feel like a little girl on Christmas morning!

And it’s a great feeling to be honest. Not just because it’s free stuff. But because I know that they are QUALITY products. I have worked for several supplement companies in the past and none of them really suited my fancy. I never quite believed enough in the product I was representing, and it didn’t feel right to have their name beside me due to my lack of enthusiasm towards what we had to offer.

Not to mention, it was just unfair to the companies to have someone on board who didn’t truly feel the same way about the products as they obviously did. Enthusiasm sells.

And while I’m pretty decent at faking enthusiasm, I would have had a much easier and more enjoyable time doing my job if I was confident in the product I was representing. (This goes for pretty much everything in life.)

I really believe in Animal products though, as everything I have tried from them has been of top notch quality. Yes, they are on the pricier side. But you get what you pay for. Would you rather buy Wal-Mart protein, or a good quality isolate?

You wouldn’t get a portrait of your mom tattooed on your body for the rest of your life that cost $50, would you?

Aw shit, son.

Aw shit, son.

It really just all depends on how much you value what you are putting into your body.

That being said, I’m so excited to get started with Animal and Brandon Lilly for the next 10 weeks. I’m thrilled to be able to represent Animal products for this short period of time along with the other 4 contest winners, because I really believe that along with Brandon’s program, all of this is going to get me some serious gains.

So. Thank you, Animal. You’re all fucking badass. I love it.

I hope that one day I will be good enough at my sport to be able to be brought on board by a company as amazing as Animal/Universal Nutrition. One can dream. For now, I will ogle over my short period of “sponsorship” and gorge out on all the awesome products that were sent to me.

Still can’t believe the generosity of this company!!

Side-note regarding nutrition: I mentioned that I would be eating fish again, and that is primarily what I eat in the first place (no eggs at the moment). But I am willing to make exceptions in cases such as this, as I will not put product to waste, and part of this program is using all the products and logging everything.

That being said, the chocolate flavor is unbelievable.

 

FIVE. MORE. DAYS.

Excuse me while I go do my happy dance.

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Training: Lower (6/24/13)

25 Jun

WARM-UP:

X-band walks
bodyweight glute bridges (single leg)
5 mins. of hip mobility drills
5 mins. foam rolling.

Squats:

bar x bunch

95×5

135×3

155×1

170x4x10 (10 lbs. more than last week)

 

KB Swings:

30 lbs. x 25×3

 

Seated Box Jumps:

23″ x 4

25″ x 4

27″ x7x4

DB Bulgarian Split Squats:

15’s x15x2

 

NOTES:

Skipped my ab work and last 2 sets of split squats since the left side of my face felt weirdly tingly. Probably nerve-related. It went away, but I didn’t want to push it if I was pinching something unknowingly. Better safe than sorry!

Squats were relatively easy. No grinders. Felt more like cardio than anything!! Alyssa is trying to kill me, haha.

Starting to think of some ideas for training tutorials to do. The only problem I am facing at the moment is time. It is easier for me at the moment to just write things up, but I’ll do my best. It seems the weekends would be the most likely for this.

This week’s topic coming up: back building. This has been a frequent request. Stay tuned!!

943255_533734386662577_738461211_nBonus: here’s a picture of me NOT in training clothes…crazy, no? (Do I even lift?!)

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Training: 3/21/13

22 Jun

Just a light lower body sesh today.

Pause Squats (3 sec):

bar x bunch

95×5

135×6 (Lulz, forgot I wasn’t supposed to rep em out.)

135x10x2

Good-Mornings:

95×10

105×10

115x2x10

Seated Box Jumps:

23″ – 5×5

Plyo Split Squats:

4×12 (per leg)

Ab Wheel:

3×8 (on knees)

NOTES:

So I learned two things from today’s session…

  1. I need a higher box for jumps.
  2. My ab strength seriously sucks.

Like really.

I have been really neglecting core work over the past year. Bad. Definitely something I need to improve upon during my (very) extended off-season.

On another note, here’s a progress before-and-after I made today. Because sometimes I need a reminder of how far I have come. I look in the mirror and tell myself that I am small and need to improve, but fail to remember where I started…and then I can see that hard work has paid off!!

squatttttssss

The before picture (left) was taken after my first bulk, just one month before I decided to start prepping for my first figure competition. I weighed 127 lbs. when I started dieting. The after picture (right) was taken today. Only 5 lbs. heavier, but with MUCH more muscle AND leaner.

Lots of heavy squatting and not being afraid to EAT is what helped me put size on my lower body!! Prior to the picture on the left when I started exercising in general I had almost ZERO glutes (cause ya know, I thought big bums were gross!). I’ve built them up over the course of four years, but am definitely not stopping here. My legs have grown several inches as well. It’s all about food, heavy weights, and consistency. Fear none of those, and you WILL progress, I promise!! ❤

High Volume Week #1: Day 3

20 Jun

Missed logging my last two training sessions, so I’ll just start from today’s training. Actually the workout could have been better, but I had to cut it short because I was strapped for time.

So sore. Everywhere.

Deficit Speed Deadlifts (Off 2″; timed):

135×5

155×3

175x10x2

Total time for all working sets: 20 mins.

(NOTE: Definitely could have taken less time. But my lower back was just blegh today.)

SLDL (also off a 2″ deficit):

95×12

105x4x12

One-arm DB Rows:

35x4x12

Seated Rows:

50kg x3x12

NOTES:

This week was a bit brutal due to it being my first week back on high volume for awhile, so it’s more light weights and higher reps.

I start Brandon Lilly’s program on July 1st, so for now I am doing the beginning of Alyssa’s program. If nothing else, it’ll help prep me for the high volume that Brandon’s program will undoubtedly be made of.

Pic I took yesterday after my upper body workout. My arms were so pumped I could barely move them, haha.

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Now time to eat some moar. Gotta be at least semi-recovered for more squats tomorrow.

Brandon Lilly’s “Cube Method” Review

18 Jun

images

Okay, so before I get into the juicy details of this program, I need to share some good (related) news!!

Brandon Lilly and the Animal Pak crew teamed up in May to do a promo. Brandon was going to pick 5 people to act as a test group for a revised version of his program, and also get to log all of the Animal products as well for FREE!!

Anyway, I entered in not expecting much, but lo and behold, I was chosen to be a part of the test group.

SO EXCITED!!

That being said, I am still going to be working with Alyssa Smith once this 10-week program with Brandon is up. We still have big plans for my training, and hopefully I am going to get something big out of this run with The Cube as well.

And, I am also hoping Animal came out with smaller T-shirt sizes. If not I might have to go with the bro cut-off method so I don’t feel like I am wearing a dress.

So. THE CUBE.

What can I say about said cube? Well, before giving my personal take/opinion on the program, I will tell you a little bit of how it is set-up and what the basic idea is first.

The Cube Method is loosely based around Westside principles, or conjugate periodization. This quote is straight from Brandon Lilly’s blog:

My waves are 3 weeks for squat bench and deadlift and they are modeled like this.

Week 1-Max Effort
Week 2-Dynamic Effort
Week 3-Repetition Method

I call it “Cube Training” as when its mapped out it looks like a cube. I never lift heavy on two lifts in a week. If I dead heavy, my bench is dynamic, and my squat is for reps, and as the weeks rotate the effort is rotated also. In the form of a cube.
Here’s the setup:

WEEK                  1     2     3
Deads-                  1     2     3
Bench-                  2     3     1
Squats-                  3    1      2

Sundays are always a bodybuilding day. Just pick a few exercises to focus on weak points, and I always include Military Presses, and leg presses as I like keeping my quads, and shoulders strong.This method has worked extremely well for me, in preventing burnout, and building excitement for my heavy days. Any muscular deficiencies addressed on Sunday.

 

A lot of people find that doing less max effort work can help them recover better, rather than some people who still do two ME days per week.

I am still trying to find out whether doing ME work once a week or twice a week is better for me. Definitely need to experiment more with this before I can really tell.

Now, I will admit I have never read the book. I purchased individualized training with Brandon Lilly, so he wrote something up different for me and my personal goals. I haven’t gotten around to reading it, but if you are looking to get more in-depth about the program, I suggest purchasing it and reading through it.

All in all I had a whole lot of fun with this program. Since I love bodybuilding-style training as well, it stayed interesting since this program includes quite a bit of accessory work.

PHYSIQUE CHANGES:

As far as physique changes go, I definitely got leaner, but seemed to stay the same weight. Strange. Maybe a little bit of a recomp went on? I was definitely eating lots more than usual, and I owe that to the high volume. Definitely responded well to it.

FINAL NOTES:

This is something that you need to run more than just once, I think, to get the full benefits from. Which is why I am very excited to be working again with Brandon to see what kind of further improvements I can make.

I also can’t give a full run-down of my strength gains, seeing as there were quite a few things that went wrong (i.e. my diet) that was likely preventing me from improving as much as I could have. But that’s behind now, onto bigger things!

Cliffs:

  • This is a very high volume program.
  • You will get tired.
  • You might bleed.
  • You will weep at the sight of stairs.
  • You will profit.

 

Do it.

——————————

For more info on The Cube Method:

Juggernaut Strength Systems – Store

Brandon Lilly Official FB Page

 

 

2013 CPF Nationals: Meet Write-Up (Plus Some Dietary Changes)

10 Jun
Two fiddy.

Two fiddy. Lookit dem hamstrings!

So, before I get into the other parts of this post, let me tell you a little bit about my meet this weekend.

It sucked.

Balls.

Srs.

I got my squat opener which was actually really easy (250) but bombed 275 twice. A weight that normally I would have been able to get.

I got my bench opener and second attempt (126) but bombed on 137.

My deadlift opener got misunderstood. Was supposed to open at 265 lbs. and instead accidentally pulled 285. Bombed 303 since it didn’t even move off the ground. Gave up my third attempt since I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.

Well, at least I hit depth, haha!!

Well, at least I hit depth, haha!!

So that means I totaled at 659…which is over 50 lbs. LESS than what I totaled in December.

Uh…brutal?!?!

But, as I’ve said before, no meet is really a “bad” meet so long as you learned something. To be honest, I really learned a LOT this time around through trial and error. These things namely:

  1. The Cube Method, while an amazing program, might not have worked as well for me as I would have liked. I generally respond the best to frequent high intensity training (near 1RM’s), and having the ultra volume and lower percentages kind of threw me off a little. (I will be writing a full review of The Cube later this week)
  2. Nutrition is king. As is hydration.
  3. I need to sleep more.
  4. I need to stretch a little less.
  5. I need to think LESS when I lift.
  6. I need to not try and change things close to a meet because it throws me off big time.

The main things I want to touch on are: changing things up, nutrition, and thinking less.

IMG_4504

CHANGE:

I had the brilliant (or not so brilliant) idea of squatting differently at the meet than I have been at the gym all these months. I brought my stance out and took the bar a bit lower on my delts. Needless to say, this was a stupid idea.

NEVER change things up so close to a meet! I tell people this ALL the time but sometimes fail to follow my own advice. Stick with whatever you have been doing. The off-season is the time to make changes…not the platform.

THINKING LESS

I have a hard time shutting off my brain sometimes. It tends to just keep buzzing, and I focus too much on technicalities and stressing over lifts instead of just doing them the way I know how to.  Funny that I still have problems with this, but I guess it takes awhile to get over.

I find that I just end up gassing myself out from over-thinking, and by the time I’m lifting I’m thinking “Oh god, oh god, oh god…oh fuck..”

So uh…time to re-learn how to get into my zone. This is something I really need to work on this off-season.

Think. Think. Think. I am not Pooh Bear.

Think. Think. Think. I am not Pooh Bear.

NUTRITION

This is going to be a bit weird. And long.

I know that I started this blog as a vegan. And many of you know that I have been vegan since around the beginning of the year, so almost a solid 6 months.

Initially, I felt fantastic. But I have slowly but surely started to notice some issues arising. A few of them are:

  1. Drops in energy
  2. Poor digestion
  3. Drops in strength (illustrated at this meet)
  4. Drops in appetite
  5. Mood swings
  6. Foot tendonitis (what the actual fuck?)
  7. Reappearing elbow tendonitis, and knee pain

Now, before the vegan police start attacking me for thinking these things were caused from my switch to veganism, I encourage you to hear me out.

I am a strength athlete. To me, lifting is one of the most important things in my life. It is my passion, my hobby, and my sport. Given that, I need to make sure I am doing what is absolutely best for my health and performance.

Of course, I was a vegan for ethical reasons. So I obviously want to do my best to cause the least amount of harm I can, while still keeping an eye on my health and strength.

My energy was great the first few months. But It started to plummet about two months ago. I have a very bad appetite as is, but I find myself never wanting to eat at all as a vegan. Not to mention, the amount of food I have to eat in a day to reach my protein goals is atrociously high for me, given that I get extremely full off of a bowl of rice and beans. Buying vegan protein powder was also expensive as hell since I went through a tub in under 2 weeks.

My mood swings have been nuts. My hair is more dry, my nails are brittle, I have tendonitis in places I’ve never had before, and my joints feel worse and stiffer than they ever have. I attribute this to me possibly not being able to properly absorb the omega 3’s I was getting from flax oil.

I mean, when I used to consume fish oil, my joint issues disappeared almost completely. My body responded much better to it.

Not to mention – my digestion is TERRIBLE. After the first two months of being vegan, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t gassy/bloated/stomach-pained.

(Maybe TMI?)

And most importantly – my drop in strength at this meet was quite a big indicator to me that perhaps I needed a change.

…which is why I have made the decision to start re-introducing fish and eggs into my diet again.

Eep!

The eggs I used to get in the past were from a friend. Her parents own a farm and all the animals are extremely well-cared-for. I have absolutely no desire to consume dairy, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, or any other kind of mammal/bird. So long as my eggs are well-sourced from happy chickens, I am rather sure they won’t be missing them too much.

Call me a speciesist if you will. I try not to be. I honestly do try my very best to do what I can to cause the least amount of harm. I love animals. But I only have one life, and one opportunity to achieve my dreams. And if that means that I have to sacrifice some integrity for some extra protein, then so be it.

It wasn’t easy to make the decision, but again, my health comes first and foremost.

I can’t express enough thanks to those who have been by my side through my transition from omnivore to vegan, and then again to omnivore. I know that they are true friends since they have supported me no matter which path I decide to take.

Thank you for your support, beautiful. Bestest friend. <3

Thank you for coming out to see me, hunny bunny! ❤

To me, what’s important is that I am doing my best to still limit the amount of damage I am doing on the animals and the environment, and that I still accept and support 150% those who still follow a strict vegan diet. I salute them, actually. They have found ways to make it work in ways that I could not.

I also understand that this is a travesty to some people, and for that I apologize. In some ways I feel like I am a failure, but in other ways I feel like I am a winner for choosing what is best for my body and performance as an athlete.

I’m sorry if that makes me a bad person. But it’s just the way it has to be.

Please, if you have something negative to say, keep it to yourself. I don’t actually give a shit. 

All in all, this was a very positive learning experience, and a great experiment. Thank you everyone, once again, for your endless support! This off-season I am going to be working with a good friend and guru of mine, Alyssa Smith (ya know, the beast that squatted 425!). She’s gonna help me get strong again. 😉

And for your daily dose of cuteness: My favouritest kid in the whole world (5 years old; left) deadlifting 5 lbs. OVER her bodyweight for the first time!

Mommy teaching.

Mommy teaching.

Way to go, Samara!!

Way to go, Samara!!

Her and her new friend decided to team up.

Her and her new friend decided to team up.

IMG_4430

Too flippin cute.

Derp.

Getting Back On Track

5 Jun

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Hello world.

Initially I was a little disappointed that I fell off of writing on this blog for the past couple weeks, but I have honestly really needed the time away to recollect my thoughts and focus my attention on some different things.

Cause you know, sometimes you gotta attend to life!

This week is a rest week for myself, and a much needed one at that. I’m excited for my competition this Saturday, but even more excited for my off-season. I can’t wait to see what kind of improvements I can make. My next competition will likely be in December of this year – I have committed myself to two competitions maximum per year at this point to give me sufficient time to improve between meets.

On an only somewhat related note, I’m addressing a recent message I received on my Facebook page (and it has been a popular one especially when I have posted progress pictures):

“Hi Christine!! I was just curious what your stats are? How tall are you?”

This reminded me that I hadn’t checked my measurements in quite some time. To be honest, I really don’t care to much anymore. But, it is one of the best ways of finding out whether or not you are making improvements (special gym lighting doesn’t count!)…so I guess I probably should. This is where I am at currently:

 

  • Weight: 129 lbs.
  • Height: 5’2″
  • Hips: 39”
  • Waist: 26”
  • Mid-leg: 20.5”
  • Upper leg: 23”
  • Arms: 11.75”
  • Calves: 14”

Just a bunch of random numbers to me! But there you go.

Anyway, getting right to the main point, I’d just like to mention a couple of topics I have in the works at the moment. The most popular requests are for bulking articles, stretching/mobility videos, more training how-to’s, and suchness. While some of these have been a little less frequent than I would like due to having demands in my “other” life right now, they will be coming. I do try as much as possible to make sure the material I am publicizing is as thorough as possible.

A couple of different mobility/stretching videos that will be coming up after my meet on the 10th:

–    Hip flexor opening
–    Rotator cuff mobility
–    Hamstring stretching

If you have any other requests for instructional videos and/or articles, feel free to voice your requests in the comments below. I am officially taking suggestions, and starting after my meet will be posting one article per week (with the other days being filled with mostly training/nutrition logging).

Thank you to everyone for your support! Can’t wait to crush some big lifts this weekend. 🙂