Happy Hump Day!
Today’s Weekly Update is coming one day late because yesterday I arrived in Boston at 5 a.m. thanks to a red eye! I felt a little too sleepy to have my wits about me. But don’t worry, this update has a lot of great info!
To give you a brief overview, today’s update will cover my #bikiniprep update, my training on the road, my nutrition on the road, a Colorado Surprise!!! and some *stellar* client updates.
But first, I want to share a few fun pics from my recent excursion to Colorado…..
If you read last week’s Update you know that I was planning to go out west to work on #DTMthebook, see my friend and my brother. But it turned out to be MUCH more than that!. You see, my boyfriend isn’t the best at keeping secrets. The whole time I thought I was going out there alone, he was actually planning to fly out with me the whole time 😉
We spent Thursday-Monday hiking, snowboarding, lifting and eating! I was in heaven, to say the least. If you’ve never been spring skiing out west, it is QUITE interesting…. the weather is warm and sunny, but the snow is unpredictable. We lucked out with some brilliant fresh powder and sunshine on Friday, but on our second day of snowboarding (Sunday) it was icy, soupy in places, crusty another spots and rocky! The silver lining is that it’s always beautiful out there!
As for me this week, I’m pumped for a MoveWith photoshoot this Friday. I get to shoot with Lucie Wicker, who was the first Photog I worked with when I moved to Boston! After the shoot you can catch me sub for Embo at Barry’s Bootcamp! I’ll be teaching the 4:20 and possibly taking the 5:20 class! Book your spot here!
I have five spots left in the April 10th, 8 week #DTE group, let me know if you have any interest by shooting me an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
My back was still feeling weird, so I went easy here hitting 215 for 2×3, heavy and then 3 sets of 5 at 205. In-between my heavy deadlifts I did sets of 7 chin-ups. My goal was to get 4 sets of 7 but I ended up getting 5!!!
Progress in fat loss is not just a number on the scale. Three weeks ago I began doing sets of 7. Chin-ups (up from sets of 5). This week I got 5 sets of 7, up one set from last week. Little strides like this keep me motivated when the scale stalls out. Give yourself time and apply a strategy. You will never know what works and what doesn't until you follow a strategic plan, treat it like a science experiment and then come to a conclusion! Go get it Monday!!! #daretomove #npc #bikini #6weeksout
After chin-ups I managed to get some sumo-stance romanian deadlifts completed in spite of my back, (banded to feel glutes and adductors), for 3 sets of 5 at 135. I did them in this circuit:
a) RDL 5 reps
b) lateral band walk 15 steps per side
c) heavy hip thrust (215) for 12 reps
The intensity of this session sparked my appetite and I was conveniently eating dinner at my cousin’s house Monday night, so my calories were a rough estimate but were at 1528 that day.
Tuesday: KB move with conditioning
On Tuesday I taught two barry’s classes (was on my feet two hours) and I do take that into account with my nutrition. I wanted to try a *quick* workout to break up sitting at my desk from 6 a.m. til 4, so I gave the new MoveWith Kettlebell conditioning workout a try! It was MUCH more intense than I planned!!! My calories ended up being closer to 1700 because the workout made me sweat profusely and took over 40 minutes when I added in some weighted-vest walking. The weighted vest was not planned, it was simply a new addition to my apartment building’s gym so I curiously tried it!
If you do my MoveWith workouts, stay tuned for the kettlebell conditioning workout coming soon, It is a doozy!!
Also, if you follow me on Instagram you most likely saw my not-so-pretty bent press I did before the circuit. I grabbed a 20 kg bell to try it with (for the first time ever) which probably wasn’t my brightest idea but it was a humbling experience. See below.
This is the first attempt I've ever made at the bent press. I grabbed a 20 kg bell for my first attempt and just went for it without thinking or watching any videos of it yesterday. Boy do I have a lot of work to do! But here's the thing, nobody is ever "perfect" on their first, second of tenth try at anything! Im proud of the confidence I have in my own strength that I grabbed a 42 pound bell (20kg) to try it!! Isn't it cool that in an industry I eat sleep and breathe there are still so many exercises and things to try?! I want to do ALL the exercises! But for now I'll practice these with lighter bells and greater range of motion. This is my "Before" #daretomove
Wednesday: rest (travel day)
On travel days I keep my calories very low if I can. This is not always easy. Sometimes appetite can be spiked due to stress, lack of sleep, the prior day’s training or a combination of all the above. Last Wednesday specifically, I awoke at 3:38 a.m. (as usual) for Barry’s Bootcamp, feeling over-tired; my body compensated by feeling extra hungry. I basically went up to 1600 calories here (putting me at three high calorie days in a row) but was thankful that I had some very active days ahead of me in Snowmass. 1600 calories is just at/under maintenance for me, and despite being active, I need a bigger calorie deficit at this point in my prep– not a deficit solely created through activity. Read about the former here.
I wanted to explain this “low cal/rest day strategy” because this is a common question by my clients, “Should I do low calorie on a rest day?” and the short answer is, “it depends.” In most cases, it is natural and easy to eat less on days you move less; but sometimes you’re simply more hungry, or awake more hours, etc. and in that case, it’s OK to eat more! What matters for fat loss is how much you eat on the week as a whole, not if you eat higher calories one day without exercising, so don’t sweat it! More about weekly calories in the Nutrition section.
Thursday: mixed day (front squat and bench)
One of the things I love about Jeff is is commitment to exercise. He works out 5 days a week, and most often twice a day. Because he has a desk job he likes to get some light movement in before work, like light cardio or stretching. Then he lifts after work. On Thursday since we’d both been feeling sick all week, we weren’t sure if working out would be good or make us feel worse. However, after the long drive from Denver to Aspen had us feeling fatigued, we figured we’d feel good if we got in some exercise.
He did shoulders and abs, I did my front squat, push-press and upper body pull day (I pick one exercise that sounds FUN!) and since we had no time limit I decided to do 4×4 bench too, because I hadnt been able to bench with a barbell in weeks. If you want a FREE, tough total body workout, see below:
1a)bench press 4×4 (I did 105)
2a) push press 3×5 @ 85 pounds
2b) front squat 3×8 @ 85 pounds
2c) machine row, neutral grip
2d) hypers with a band for more tension 16 reps
3a) 1.5 chest press for 12 reps (neutral grip on dumbbells)
3b) lat pull down 3×8
3c) lateral band walks 16 steps each direction
Friday was way more intense than either of us could’ve imagined. We woke up and got on the hill by 9 a.m. We did a fun cruiser run down Sandy Park on Elk Camp side of the mountain. The conditions were great (see first two clips of video below), and so we decided to hike up higher than the top of the Elk Camp lift for a run called Longshot. It’s the longest run on the mountain, and typically has nice snow stashes longer than other runs because few people want to hike for it. Plus it was 10 a.m. so a lot of skiers were still making their way to the hill.
We did the hike in 12 minutes and then enjoyed some incredible snow! Snowmass just opened a new run off the same hike called Burnt Mountin Glades, which is a little more advanced, and Jeff’s thought was, “if we are already on this side of the mountain, why not go for it?!” Moments after Longshot we were back on the lift, and then hiking again. Twelve more minutes of huffing and puffing up a book packed trail and we were back in the glades, enjoying the nature and what felt like a private mountain.
The reason the day was so intense was because aside form hiking up for the two longest runs on the mountain, hello active minutes, is because I was determined to ride the Hanging Valley Wall. It also requires a hike up from the 11,500 ft height of the chair lift’s end, but knowing that it might not snow the rest of our trip (like it had Thursday night) we had to do it Friday. So after lunch, there we were, hiking about 15 minutes up to the wall which is the steepest run at Snowmass. It spits you into some steep, powdery, wondrous glades we got to play in, although I don’t think our quads had much fun.
Saturday: back squat and chin-ups
Despite the Friday shenanigans, I wasn’t going to miss squat day. I didn’t have my weight-lifting belt, so I knew I wouldn’t go super heavy, but truly wanted to get them in, as gluts are a crucial part of bikini competitions.
I did a simple 5×5 squat program sticking with 155 for all sets. I wrote my workout too, in case you want to try it! At the end of my squat day I did some tricep exercises with Jeff for fun, because, why not?!
5 weeks and a day away from my third bikini competition and I have no idea how it's going to go. However, I *do* know that fat loss is not as difficult as most of us believe. it takes 3 things: consistent effort over TIME, a calorie deficit, and an active lifestyle (some type of exercise). I've been to Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida, New York and now Colorado and still feel like I'll do well at the competition!! Im thankful that fitness became an ingrained part of my lifestyle years ago; now the only thing I have to focus on to stay on track (while traveling) is the *amount* of food I eat. And no, I'm not starving. – Above is a quick set of 5 chin-ups. I did 5 sets of these, one between each set of 6 backsquats. #daretoeat #science #datetomove #npcbikini
1a) back squat @155 5 reps 5×5
1b) 5 chin-ups
2a) constant tension goblet squat
2b) reverse lunge with 95 pounds 5 reps/leg
2c) hanging leg raises (toes to the bar) 3×10
3a) OH tricep extension with rope 12-10-10-8
4a) buddy push-downs, 12-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
5a) underhand grip pull down, single arm 10-10-8-8
We did a 35 minute uphill hike in the evening.
The first three days of last week were unintentionally high. My theory is that I was tired and had a much steeper deficit than I realized, thanks to extra Barry’s Bootcamp classes the week prior; I didn’t want to white knuckle my way through the beginning of the week, hunger-wise. My goal was to see 124-123 bodyweight sometime last week, and thankfully, despite a higher weekly total than I wanted, I DID see 124 last Saturday.
Typically the weight you see on a Friday is reflective of the week prior, but can be affected or influenced by a late night or salty meal the day prior, it all depends. Long story short, I saw what I wanted to see and truly hope that I’ll see 123.5 tomorrow morning. My Instagram #flexfriday post this week will reveal whether or not I hit it!
As for dieting while traveling, I think it is sometimes easier done than at home! If you are driving for 4 hours (which we were) you’re most likely eating convenience things that often the calorie counts (like Quest bars), and/or fruits. I managed my low calorie day on Thursday and didn’t go above 1600 on Friday, despite all the hiking.
If you’ve followed me for a while you know that I eat oatmeal every morning with egg whites or egg beaters OR protein powder. I typically have 1 protien shake (protein powder and spinach) and some type of fish when I’m on prep and at home. I get about 1,000 calories from items I can track by 2 p.m. daily.
Now that you know all of that, I’m going to list my dinners/meals out from last week so you can see how I navigate eating outside of my own kitchen and how I also include alcohol. Note: I will NOT be consuming alcohol until after my competition from this point forward.
Sunday: woke up in NYC had quest bar and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Dinner was oat meal and quest protein at home
Monday: Dinner was at my cousin’s; I had 1/2 glass of wine, 3 crackers pre-dinner and ate only 1/2 of my lemon chicken breast (Jeff had the other part). I loaded up my plate with lots of asparagus, cauliflower mashed with a little olive oil, and a fresh green salad with plain balsamic as the dressing. The salad was also topped with butternut squash and a tiny bit of goat cheese. I had 1/4 of a tiny gluten free carrot cake.
Tuesday: ate all meals at home
Wednesday: I ate an early dinner at home before the airport, brought a No Cow Bar for the plane
Thursday: Il Poggio restaurant for dinner. I had the halibut, shown below, with 1 dirty martini I didn’t finish, and 1 jumbo shrimp that had a light marinade on it before dinner with 1/2 piece of bread.
Friday: I ordered tilapia with extra salsa, had 10 tortilla chips, some spanish rice (skipped the beans) and had 3 tequila sodas at Woody Creek Tavern. The tequila fit because for lunch I had 3 ounces of baby shrimp on top of a lightly dressed kale salad and a mini rice crispy treat. Breakfast was quest protien powder and an apple. Basically, I had the calories to spare (3x 90 calories).
Saturday: lunch was grilled shrimp on a plain salad with dressing on the side. It had some fresh mozzarella on it. I ordered a vodka and St. Germain cocktail but didn’t finish it. Dinner was tilapia cooked at home with mushrooms and wilted spinach salad.
Sunday: lunch was left-over tilapia, an apple and protein powder, dinner was a HEFTY portion of pulled pork with yummy BBQ sauce on a PLAIN undressed bed of mixed greens. I had 1 vodka soda of which I took 3 sips, and three bites of a cup of green chili with pork.
If the details aforementioned bother you or seems odd, the point in all of this is that being able to wrap your arms around EVERYTHING you eat is tough and tedious and sometimes nearly impossible, and I get that.
Tracking everything to meticulously is not obligatory to stay lean all year round. However, IF you want to go from lean to leaner for a bikini stage, or you want to achieve any sort of fat loss, you must quantify what you are doing and track it as best possible.
During my first #bikiniprep, which you can read about here, I tracked MUCH mor meticulously because I could! I only traveled twice during the entire 16 weeks! I went out on dates and dinners with friends, so some of my dinners (maybe one or two a week) were like the above. It was easier, I’ll admit. But his go around I am determined to accomplish TWO things:
- accomplish a short prep to see what it’s like ~9 weeks
- Accomplish a less precise prep (ex: I’m not using a food scale
During this prep I’ve tracked calories daily, but understand that it won’t always be precise. This week and going forward there will be NO alcohol and fewer dinners out. But, how I do this is how ‘Ive always done it– I track a weekly total amount of calories. This way, if I go over budget one day, (or under) I know how to adjust other days of the week.
Speaking of my weekly total, last week I wanted a total of 9,400 but ended up with closer to 10,000. That is still significant deficit for someone my weight, (maintenance for 110 bodyweight) however, that’s the deficit I’d set if I was 12-weeks out. I wanted it lower as I attempt this short term prep. I cannot miss a beat. My way of coping? Doing a SUPER low week this week, 8,700 so the average of the 2 week sis 9300-9400 which is where I want to be for the next three weeks.
As mentioned, I will not be having any more alcohol moving forward. I had a few drinks friday, but could barely drink otherwise because I felt so sick in Colorado.
You saw my progress photos but what’s interesting to me is that since March 13th my chest is down 1/2 inch. My quads are both down 3/4 inch. My neck is down 1/2 inch. My glutes are down an inch each. My hips are barely 1/4 an inch down and my waist is the SAME. 27 inches!!!!
And you know what? I want to lose it in my waist the MOST! It always seems to come off last from the areas we want it to come off the most. And that’s the thing, spot reduction does NOT exist. I cannot do more crunches to help this. I cannot do hip exercise to change this. The fat will eventually come off, it just will leave my midsection last. Requirements? Getting uncomfortable. Eating less. Doing more.
I’ll admit I’m a little nervous because my waist is the thickest it’s ever been in my life but I’m going to trust that I GOT THIS. And trust Science.
What I’m Reading:
This section is becoming the “What I’m Watching” section this week, as it was last week!
Check out these two helpful videos by Lauren Conlin and let me know if you have any questions!
This first Spotlight goes out to my friend and client, Lauren Palm.
You may recognize her from #GarrettandFingersEatCheesecake, aka our bikini competition last year.
Well, guess what?! We are BOTH competing again! Except this year, Fingers (I call her “Fingers” because that is her former last name), is documenting her prep like I document mine and all of it will be up on her OWN NEW WEBSITE coming soon! She is already so much further ahead than she was last year and I couldn’t be more proud of her! Read more about her journey thus far and her exciting news below!
Hello! I’m Lauren Palm and I’ve always been obsessed with all things fitness and nutrition. Under Garrett’s guidance, I am FINALLY starting a blog and online coaching business. This is something I’ve been putting off for 5 years now; one excuse after another. My final excuse being that I had never felt as though I had been pushed entirely out of my comfort zone and I wanted to be before I became a coach and started asking others to do that. Thanks to Garrett, I stepped on stage and out of my comfort zone a year ago as I competed in my first ever body building competition. I was officially out of excuses not to take this leap! I plan to share educational pieces on the advantages of having the proper (flexible) diet, a solid fitness program, and a positive, healthy mindset. It is because of these three things that I am STOKED about this upcoming competition. I am constantly experimenting with my exercise and diet and can’t wait to show everyone how being flexible with myself and adopting a healthy self-image has helped me in this prep. My blog launches on Sunday, April 2nd and I’m so pumped! Stay tuned!”
Karyn’s Crab Cakes
You may remember Karyn’s #DTE travel pack from last week’s Update, but this week I have something even MORE exciting to share from Karyn… a crab cake recipe and party strategy!!! She took a yummy, comforting, high-cal treat and made a protein packed, lower calorie version! Read below to learn the recipe and Karyn’s strategy for dining with other adults at a party for adults and kids! I’m going to share her email check-in so you can see inside the dialogue between #DTE client and myself.
“We ordered pizza for the kids. For the adults, I made a healthy version of crab cakes – I used crabmeat, onion, diced red pepper– to bind it, I used egg, Dijon mustard opposed to mayo a little worcestershire, omitted breadcrumbs and used a bit of almond flour, then stuffed them in portabellas and baked – delish!
I also made a healthy French onion dip – instead of sour cream, I used 2% greek yogurt, a bit of skim milk, sautéed shallots with balsamic, added chives and served with veggies opposed to chips. I had shrimp cocktail and olive tapenade (which is higher in fat, but I went easy). I didn’t have any pizza or ice cream cake, really because I was fine with what I had eaten. I had 2 glasses of wine. Though I didn’t track, I felt good about my protein intake and veggies, I think I was probably a little higher on fat and calories, but hadn’t had a ‘high’ day yet.”
Way to go, Karyn!!!
Carlos’s Squat 230 pounds!!! 5 pound PR!
Sarah Bench PR 100 pounds!!!!!
Sarah Squat PR–160!!!! (10 pound increase from last time we tested!)
Side note: If you didn’t read last week’s posts (or several others) Carlos and Sarah are newlyweds who recently moved and put a home-gym in their garage! I warms my heart to see how dedicated they are to their new gym! They take full advantage of it and are becoming the strongest couple in Boston!! So freaking proud of them!!!!
Irene’s recap of Dare To Eat!
On the topic of Carlos and Sarah, I will share with you my client Irene’s experience with Dare to Eat. I met Irene at Carlos and Sarah’s Wedding. She lives in Sweden and has been diligently working her butt off to achieve fat loss goals. New job, new beau, new city?! Nothing stopped her from losing 7 kilograms!! She started at 76 kg (147.70) and finished her second cycle at 62 kgs, 136.7!!!!!!!! That is over 10 pounds!!!!!
Read more about her journey in her words below:
Rhythm has been the most important to me. Sustainable rhythm I should say: I now know that Monday to Friday night I am going to stick to low calorie and high protein. I drink no alcohol during the week and I train twice usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. I walk every day and the goal is to walk on average 10,000 steps. To the point that when I am a bit short on steps I take detours home to reach the goal. It is arbitrary but I know that this way I burn another 200 calories which helps with the deficit.
A the gym I focus on weight lifting, and if I go a third time sometimes I do something different like classes or cross trainer for 35 minutes. Sometimes that helps with calorie deficit on Sundays when I eat a bit more.
I have worked hard on finding food options that I like and give me pleasure. I always plan food ahead during the week, be it at work (I now know a whole array of high protein lower calorie options at restaurants around me) or at home. I rarely have to compromise and eat what I don’t feel like eating. I look at restaurant menus ahead to set my mind on something that I like and that fits the criteria. I try to stick to it.
I don’t get frustrated if I stray once. It happens. I try to find a learning and move on.
I have worked on making sure that what I record in terms of food is truthful. I try to always weight food at home which teaches me to assess portions when I am out (which is often).
My boyfriend is my ally. He does not buy what I can’t resist which is chips. He eats whatever I eat. He kicks me out and sends me to the gym when I am tired. He always tells me how great how look and what progress I made, without ever hinting that I could be better or am better now.
I try to never buy cheese. I can’t resist cheese and it’s got tons of calories (but it is very good).
I believe that ultimately I will reach results. I try to stay strong after I have “cheated”. I now see Saturday as a refuel and don’t feel guilty at all. I just make sure the rest of the week is good and that I put in the three gym sessions and the 10,000 steps a day even during weekends, which means I make my boyfriend walk places.
I record what I eat every day at night, sometimes during the day. I put everything in an excel spreadsheet once a week. I generally really enjoy recording stuff, so it’s not a big deal. I like seeing that my weekdays are low calorie. I want to see 4-5 days in a row that are at around 1,400 or less.
I make sure I don’t get hungry. I keep foods like low fat cottage cheese that are high protein or Quest bars. I can have half a Quest or 100grams of cottage cheese if I am hungry. That is 100 calories and high protein. If I find myself hungry at the end of dinner I wait for 5-7 minutes and see if I am still hungry afterwards, as sometimes it takes time to reach satiety.
I try to sleep at least 7 hours as when I don’t sleep I am hungry and pissed off and it’s harder to keep it going.
I could not be more proud of Irene!!!!!! Way to go!