Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A basic of health and beauty

Unless you have been living in vacuum over the past few years, there is no doubt that you would have witnessed the rise of fish oil.....and with good cause. There are so many reported health benefits with the consumption of fish oil, that literally everyone would gain a health benefit from daily intake. I am a HUGE fan of fish oil and it is the first supplement that I recommend, and in fact I actually don't think of it as a supplement but a basic food item.

If all you are interested in is looking better, the anti inflammatory properties will work wonders on your skin. As with most things you get what you pay for , so I use a high concentrate liquid fish oil with high levels of DHA and EPA per serve. You should buy your fish oil from a health food store, and liquid is always better than capsules. However I also use capsules for when I am travelling or during the day.

Depending on how I am feeling I usually consume about 20-30gm fish oil per day to keep me at my best. There is a mountain of research on the benefits of fish oil and some include;
  • Promotes healthy mental/emotional states

  • Supports brain/central nervous system conditions

  • Promotes glucose and insulin balance

  • Supports cardiovascular.. immune and gastrointestinal conditions, and
  • Anti-inflammatory


Sleep - anti aging, weight loss, stress reduction.....

One of the most important things we need to do for our mind and bodies is to sleep well. When we sleep our bodies rejuvenate, so if we don't sleep well we don't rejuvenate well: to put it simply. Sleep is something that I pay a great deal of attention to and my aim is to sleep 8 to 9 hours uninterrupted per night. However it hasn't always been like this, in fact until a few months ago I thought it was perfectly normal to wake several times per night for a "wee" stop then go back to bed. I put this down to drinking many litres of water each day, so I just expected to wake each night which then became self perpetuating. So for more years than I can remember I have been short changing myself on my sleep. I would also suffer from sleep issues due to stress and other things that run through the mind when I would wake in the early hours of the morning.

So about 4 months ago I decided to "work on my sleep", and I am now in the position that if I don't get my 8 hours there is something wrong. My goal is to wake refreshed and energised each day, and I have to say that this is happening each day. I still wake sometimes at about 4.30am to 5am, but I just roll over and go back to sleep for another hour. The rules I have around sleep area as follows;

  • finish eating 2 hours before going to bed,

  • sleep in a cool room,

  • wear an eye mask to "black out" the room,

  • keep the room as dark and quite as possible,

  • take magnesium before bed,

  • believe I am going to sleep well before I go to sleep,

  • think positive thoughts and write a "grateful log" before I sleep,

  • no stressful or stimulating activities before bed (like computer use)


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I often find myself talking about balance. To me balance is having a fit & healthy body, combined with a happy family life and professional career. There are times when one or the other of these 2 things may take more of your time, but they always come back into a state of balance in the end. Well.....that is the theory anyway.

So when I woke up today and sat down to write a post, I looked at my blog and realised that I am not really practising what I preach. Yes, I am a powerlifter and training, nutrition and supplementation is a large part of my life. However I am more than a power lifter and even if I wasn't I would still want to look and feel great, I would still be interested in anti aging foods, exercise to keep my muscles and firm and toned and supplements to keep me energised and to sleep well. Given that I am "off season", it seems like the right time to bring some balance back into my blog.....and hopefully a bit more fun.

This morning I woke up and didn't feel like training as my elbows are still a little sore, and I need to wash and dry my hair for a work meeting - so I didn't go. Liberation - or is this balance?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Making sure I get my rest and recovery.

2008 has been a long competitive season, coupled with some major personal and professional changes. When I returned home from the US I had a plan to follow a different Biosignature protocol, including changing my supps and training. I have implemented these changes and was rolling along quite well for the first week, then I noticed that my energy levels weren't quite what they have been in the past, and that I am holding some fat around my mid section. I had a couple of scratches on my elbows that took longer to heal and my elbow injury wasn't recovering in the way I would normally expect....all of this is my body showing me the signs of stress and fatigue. This is completely normal and exactly the reason that I need an off season. However you don't have to be an athlete to earn a period of rest and recovery. In fact rest and recovery is as important as exercise and work.

There are a few things that I am doing to my plan to overcome these symptoms of chronic stress. Firstly I am going keep my focus on my sleep to lower my cortisol; sleep is key if I want to shrink that tummy. Next I am going to bring in the "listen to my body rule", which is if I am feeling too tired to train I won't. I have also put the scales away, and will leave the callipers for client use only. I spend 9 months of the year focusing on a number on the scales, so it is time to leave that stressor for when I need to make weight next year. While party season is approaching I need to be careful to feed my body healthful foods. I will certainly have some treats but I need to remember that to be in prime condition for the beginning of next year it is about quality.

I will continue with my supplement and training protocols, but I am recognising that I am "off season", and that means not only allowing the body to recover, but allowing the mind a break from the pressure as well.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

What does success look like?

I am in Fitzroy and the picture above is some of the amazing street art found in the surrounding streets. I have been here since last night and have had 2 wonderful meals; you can always rely on Melbourne to provide great quality food anytime. I am still feeling a little dehydrated from my cheat meal and have a sneaking suspicion that it may well be due to high levels of salt. I have always "blown up" after eating anything with a reasonable amount of salt it in - oh well it could be worse.

Being back in Melbourne really takes me back to the beginning....the beginning of what you ask? The beginning of the journey of discovery. I have blogged about my story, and how at the age of 32 I woke one day to find that living the stressful corporate & party life wasn't going to give me Demi Moore's abs from "GI Jane" (the full story is on my website). l I was living in Melbourne at the time, and here I am am 10 years later feeling like I have achieved the balance I so desperately sought back then.

It has been an amazing 10 years, I achieved the professional success and respect I sought with such vigour, and I did get GI Jane's abs. However these 2 things seem so insignificant and frankly not that important when I consider them with all the other wonderful experiences I have collected in this time, and it just shows that it is often more about the journey than the destination.
As I walk down the streets of Fitzroy holding my husband's hand, I feel like a youthful and energetic person about to begin a great adventure; not someone who has battled hard for 10 years. I know I can use the things I learnt in those years to move forward, rather than feel exhausted from the journey. However when I look around I see other people in their 40's and I do see that look of fatigue - or should I say stress?
Maybe that is the what success looks like; the absence of stress.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not all Cheat Meals are made equal!

So the pic of Melbourne has nothing to do with cheat meals, however I have decided to be spontaneous and go to Melbourne for the weekend. I know I will be there in 2 weeks as well, but as my former home town and with the muggy heat of the Brisbane summer starting to settle in it seemed like a great idea. Besides, I am planning on being in Melbourne at least once a month from now and am looking to find a facility and build up a clientele there.

Back to the topic - I have re-introduced the weekly "cheat meal/free meal" process into my current lifestyle plan. Last week it was "healthy" hamburgers, chips and ice cream with my daughter, and within 2 days the process had delivered a 500gms weight drop for the week. This week I had a glass of wine and Indian food and today I feel like I have a hang over, thirsty and all together pretty crappy. I will need to see what difference it has had on body composition later in the week, but I am thinking that I need to be more selective with this meal. I am really keen to persist with the method as it makes life much more live able and social going to a restaurant, eating a meal and dessert once a week, however I do want to feel energised and well rested the next morning.

You know what .....this suddenly has a feeling a deja I am relearning lessons from the past ...........again.

Cheat meals should still be reasonably clean and healthful as well as fun!

Off to Melbourne.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

My husband is Melbourne right now and I am missing him a lot.

I will be there for a friends wedding in 2 weeks, and I am really looking forward to my trip....especially as I don't have to come back and prepare for a competition.

Can we really have it all?

It is a beautiful cool summer morning in Brisbane, and after a 20 min interval training session at the gym, I walked down to my favourite local cafe for an omelet and black coffee.

My step father sent me the latest Candace Bushnell book, One Fifth Avenue, for my birthday so it went with me and I spent a very relaxing hour eating and reading. It was quite interesting that one of the characters was blogging and wrote an article titled "The joys of not having it all", and this made me think.....can we really have it all?

I spend 18 hours per week working in a corporate job, and I am surrounded by people in the pursuit of financial and professional success. I spend the rest of my time in the fitness and health arena surrounded by people in pursuit of the physical and aesthetic success. By each other's measure they have achieved their goals, however rather than being able to objectively see this they seem to be chasing what the other has; the corporate high flyer wants to loose some fat of her butt, and the PT wants to put her butt in a BMW.

One of the great things about having turned 40 is that you get to rack up a bit of experience, and if you are fortunate enough to have experience in an area that the market is willing to pay for you are then provided with choices and ultimately freedom (some people don't work this out, and continue to be slaves to the system- but that is another blog for another time for sure).

The other great thing about being over 40 is that you realise that perfection is boring and imperfection inspires us to be creative.

Can we have it all? I don't know.......but if having it all means living a life of a boring slave I will take my imperfect freedom any day!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Current Supplement Protocol

I have designed a supplement protocol based on my current Biosignature profile to compliment my training program in addressing my hormonal imbalances.

The first change I made, although it has nothing to do with my profile was to swap my Fish Oil for GLA (borage oil). The reason for this is that I have been taking fish oil for many years, and with all foods and nutrients the body develops sensitivities and immunities to the effect of the nutrients. After 30 days I will bring the Fish Oil back in to my plan.

In line with keeping supplements working in the body I have changed my Multi to the Poliquin Multi Intense, and I will rotate to a different Multi when this bottle is finished.

Another "core supplement" is the Metallic Detox, designed to rid my body of environmental nasties making me less toxic. I also have my children on this product.

Now, down to the specific supplements I am taking to assist me in creating more growth hormone. Growth hormone is made at night so the first areas to address is sleep. I am taking Melatonin before bed, and a product called Alpha GPC to assist me to create more growth hormone while I am sleeping.

Biosignature requires a liver detox for growth hormone protocols, and while I am not a drinker nor do I have toxic liver my body does not detoxify as well as it could - which has been shown by my Gene Elite DNA report. Interestingly in the past the times when I have dropped larger amounts of body fat has been 2 weeks after I have completed a liver detox. I have chosen a product called Kudzu to give my liver some assistance in ridding my body of toxins. Kudzu is marketed as an anti-alcohol product, and I didn't think too much of this aspect as I was not taking it for that reason, however I went to lunch the second day I was taking the herb and had one glass of wine; it felt like 3 - makes you feel like you have had more to drink and a bit off colour. It certainly has stopped me wanting even the occasional red wine while I am on it.

Time to go and do a HIIT session.

If you are interested in any of these products, drop me an email as I am able to provide them to you here in Australia.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Check out my article in this month's Bare Essentials Magazine . I am on pages 54-55.

My new training protocol.
Now that I am back home and armed with my Biosignature and Poliquin Strength & Conditioning knowledge I have designed a training program specifically for my "hormonal issues". My current Biosignature profile has Growth Hormone as the no.1 issue that needs to be addressed, and this is seen by the fat that I carry around my calves and knees. I have been training for powerlifting for the last 3 years and have been doing 4 lifting sessions per week, med to low rep ranges, full rest between sets and HIIT 2 - 3 times per week (sometimes). While this is great for hypertrophy, strength and keeps my weight stable, it is not a suitable training system for me to effect body composition changes. I go back to training for next years competition in January, so I now have 11 weeks to strip some body fat, balance out some structural balance issues, and just have some fun with my training.
So what am I doing in the gym?....high lactate (creating lots of lactic acid), high reps, minimum rest training. There is a lot of super sets, doubles training and the killer 6-12-25 routine. My week has looked something like this;
Tues - German Body Composition (GBC) - full body
Wed - am GCB, pm 6-12-25 legs
Thur - rest
Fri - am HIIT, pm 6-12-25 arms
Sat - am GBC, pm 6-12-25 legs
Sun - am HIIT
Mon - am GBC, pm doubles (shoulders, quads)
I am carry an elbow injury so I have been limited with my arms training so my legs have been getting extra attention.
So my goal is to get my weight back to 60kgs, and body fat about 10% by the time I go back to hypertrophy training for next years competitions.
Tomorrow I will talk about the specific supplements I am taking to support my training efforts.
Have great day!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

photo by Dallas Olsen

Happy New Year!

OK, so you may think I am a few months early however it feels like I have entered a new year so I feel it is only appropriate that I reflect on the year on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning.

I won't bore you with my list of activities of the year, as they are well documented on my blog, however I do want to talk about the impact this year has had on me. I pretty much achieved the goals I set out for myself and I am so pleased with that, however the real experience and learnings and great memories have come from the amazing people I have met and been involved with. While I may have "ticked most things of my list"....Bisoignature Practitioner, PICP, compete at World level, start my own health and wellness business.....I am in a very different place to where I expected to be and am very happy about it. Confused?

I like to plan - as most of my family and friends will tell you - I always have a plan! However I am also a great believer in being flexible and going with the moment.

The way I saw my life playing out by the end of the year is not where I am. It has been a year of testing my values, experimenting with my career and finances, considering relationships and physically pushing myself. I have come full circle with some areas, choosing to bring some things back that I had rejected early on, and moving away from some things I had chased.

I am finishing off with some random thoughts in no particular order

The things that are important;

  • Family,
  • Sleep,
  • Clean living environment,
  • Stress free life,
  • Enjoying life

Things that I have learnt (and maybe I knew but need to remind myself);

  • Biosignature is amazing,
  • There are some truly gifted people in the world, and I am very fortunate to have some of them in my life.
  • People are successful for a reason - even if you can't see it.
  • Most times, the things that we all want in our lives take a lot of work.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The long over due update about Thanksgiving dinner...

We all drove to Krista's brothers cottage on the lake about 2 hours north of Toronto. On the way we stopped at "The Burger Pitt" to start the feasting off, and had a huge serve of burger and onion rings. We arrived at the cottage late afternoon and it was just as you would have imagined from a movie or story book - idyllic. The Thanksgiving feast began and we had turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potato, gravy etc etc. We then finished the meal off with pie - lots of pie - apple, rhubarb and pumpkin pie. I slept like a baby for 10 hours after that. Breakfast was a fabulous feast of pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, hash and fruit.

The next day we drove back to Toronto to start our 24 hour journey home. Fortunately, while it was long, it was very uneventful.

I managed to get through yesterday without falling asleep and had a reasonable night's sleep. I certainly wasn't up for hours at a time so I am hoping that I can continue to improve and get back to sleeping 9 hours straight very soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I am home.....very tired and jet lagged, so will update later....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today we are heading off with Krista and her family to visit with her extended family for Canadian Thanksgiving. We are going into the North and will be staying at her Bother's cottage for the traditional feast. All houses are decorated with pumpkins on their front door steps, and we assumed it was for Halloween in a few weeks. However it seems that Canadian Thanksgiving (for the successful harvest) is this weekend, and we have timed it perfecty to get an invite to the Schaus family celebrations. There have been quite a few discussions in the last days, both in person and over the phone, about who was making what - just like Xmas back home.
We are in line for 2 days of eating with pancakes, Canadian bacon, maple syrup, turkey, ham, and pumpkin pie being on the menu.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tim Horton' the Canadian Starbucks. Rod and I discovered it today in Krista's village just in time for Rod's cheat meal...and me being off season I am having lots of cheat meals. So we decided it would only be fair to try as many cookies and treats as possible. Now at the time 2 coffees, 3 cookies and 1 apple twist seemed like a lot of sugar however in hindsight it was a pretty pathetic effort. I was stuffed by the end, and my stomach reminded my of my sugar intolerance, but I was very satiated and I enjoyed every mouthful. Tonight we are going to Krista's parents for dinner and I am really hoping that they cook some famous Canadian meal with a yummy desert.
Rod and Krista are training now.....Krista will be canning him ( just hope his donuts don't come back up). I have an elbow injury so after training up until 2 days ago I realise that I need to rest to recover......hmmm....maybe some chocolate will help????

We finally made it to Haldimand county, Ontario Canada, Krista and Pete's place. We arrived 6 hours later than expected into Toronto via Chicago and decided that rather than drive 2 hours in the rain and dark we would overnight in Toronto and get an early start today. Turns out this was a great idea as the country side on our drive was amazing! It is getting cool here and the trees are all turning as Autumn approaches, and it calm, peaceful and the air is clean. It is a stark contrast to the heat of Arizona and Palm Springs and the fast pace of LA. This looks like a great place to spend the last few days and relax a little before we head home.

Krista has clients all day so we are just chilling and catching up on e-mail and other stuff. Tomorrow we are off to see some colleagues of Krista to chat and learn in some areas of interest; ART for Rod and female hormonal issues for me.

I am planning on having pancakes and maple syrup at some point in the next few days, and Sunday is Thanksgiving so I imagine that there will be more fabulous food on the menu as we celebrate the holiday with Krista's family.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Delay in LA
We have had a great trip and it has all run very smoothly until I can't complain that we have to wait for 4 hours to get on a plan via Chicago to Toronto. Krista lives in a small country community, so I will be able to sleep in tomorrow....that is my plan. However knowing Krista there is probably some puke inducing work out planned early AM.
Our 2 days in Laguna Beach and LA were relaxing and fun. We had amazing clean food, went to a 4 level fitness club, and walked along Venice beach. The Mexican food is sensational and not at all like we get in Australia. I would love to find a great Mexican restaurant at home.....suggestions anyone???
This is the last phase of the adventure......I wonder what time we will finally arrive in Canada?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Next Stop LA.....
Biosignature completed, World Masters completed, PICP completed........woo hoo! It has been a very fast moving 2 weeks and more successful than I had expected. We finished up our strength course today with a gruelling 6-12-25 work out of chest and back, and I then slept for 2 hours after I got back to the hotel. I am feeling tired, and a little stressed and and very excited about all the things I have learnt, however I am not sure were to start when I get back home. I will worry about that later as right now I need some down time.
Now it is time for a little fun. Tomorrow we stay with a close friend of mine in a beautiful beach town called Laguna Beach, and we are going to go up to LA and do the sights. I will have my camera fully charged and wallet open for clothes and gifts to take home.
Yes, tired now I need more sleep.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

What I have been missing.
I woke this morning after 9 hours sleep - excellent for growth hormone - in quite a bit of pain. DOMS! I am conditioned to powerlift; 4 big heavy lifting sessions a week that take 2-3 hours to complete due to the full rest intervals of up to 10 minutes between each set. So you can imagine my delight yesterday when I tried out some of Poliqiun's body composition methods , 6-12-25 with no rest, GBT supersetting upper and lower extremities with 30 secs rest. I had such a great time going over the 6 rep mark, and I even hit the leg press machine for the first time in 3 years - woo hoo!! This morning I woke with DOMS in my lower glutes - very foreign experience for me.
It was a long day of learning and prac yesterday and today will be just as long. We have structural balance assessment exam today, and PICP theory. I think I will be OK with these, although the rules and guidelines are very strict and I need to pay close attention to the details. I can be a "big picture" person too much on occasion - which is why I team well with detail oriented individuals.
Milos Sarvec came and introduced himself to the class yesterday and apparently he is taking us all through one of his "famous" workouts today. I am figuring that "famous" means "puke inducing", so it will be very interesting to see how I do. I expect that the power athletes might have some trouble.
While we were at the gym yesterday there was a photo shot for Flex magazine, with a very large and in shape male body builder. I didn't take my camera - damn! He was pretty big too!
The Poliquin Instructors are awesome and really well credentialed, with the head instructor being a former Olympian and coach of many professional sports teams and current Olympic teams. The knowledge Rod and I are both gaining is exceptional and the exposure to such high level people will only improve our business significantly. Just having these people in our network to call upon is a massive boost for us. We are coming back next year to further our knowledge - that is for sure.
I need to do some last minute review before class.
Good luck to Wendy today!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Today is the first day of my Poliquin International Certification Program (PICP) - strength coaching course. It is being held in Fullerton California at Koloseum Gymnasium. For all of you body building fans out there, Koloseum Gym is owned by IFBB champion Milos Sarcev. I am expecting to see quite a few very large IFBB guys and fitness girls over the next few days as I believe it is mid competition season.
We travelled from Palm Springs to Fullerton yesterday and encountered the freeways of California for the first time this trip. It was pretty uneventful and I had a low energy day coming down from the adrenalin rush and happiness from the day before. I had to check my bag when I woke up to make sure that I really did have a bronze medal in it........and I do!!!
Today we are off to a training session before class and I can do whatever I want - I am so excited! According to my Biosignature profile my top hormonal issue is my human growth hormone, so I will be implementing protocols to address this. This is shown by higher body fat on my calves and knees - which I have always had and this year since working with Krista have been aware of how to address it. Unfortunately as a Powerlifter my training has not been suitable to lean down this area - but now I am free to go ahead. So from today for a month at least it will be high reps (anything over 6 is high for me), and minimal rest with some tortuous 6-12-25 combinations.
I have also implemented other Biosignature recommendations like organic butter on my veges and red wine. Loved my dinner of salmon, green veges, butter and red wine last night - slept like a baby. This is a good thing as lack of sleep will directly effect calf fat.
So off the the gym, then breakfast and a day of learning ahead.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Team Australia
The Australian Team is having a great competition with all lifters achieving at least an individual medal to date. We have had 2 overall gold medalists and a few overall bronze medalists. This picture is taken in the warm up area before my session, and while you can only see about 5 of the team here, there was about 10 of the team to assist Robyn (fellow 60kg lifter) and I compete. I had 2 coaches (Rod and Andrew) in the right fore ground, and every lift there were at least another 3-4 on the side of the platform for support. With each lift as I came off the stage I was met with smiles, back slaps and congratulations. I can't explain the difference it made to be so well supported. Each time I went out to lift there was huge support in the audience from the rest of the team and their friends and family. I have enjoyed this competition so much that I am now thinking about next year's World's in Bulgaria .
I have to make special mention to Rod and Andrew who really pulled me through yesterday (and the past 3 months). I had a very bad squat warm up and although they didn't show it, I could tell they were very worried about what was going to happen. I was nervous and totally out of my groove, however before the first lift Andrew did a pretty good job of getting in my face to get the adrenalin flowing. I squatted 110kgs well, then they gace me 112.5kgs to further settle in and it was a great lift. They decided I should then attempt a 122.5kg PB, which I felt I could do and it was a good solid lift. It is exciting because there is still more in the tank for the next comp. My strength is good, and I need to focus on my techniques.
After the squat my nerves settled and I went into the bench with a solid 72.5kg opener. The only mistake I made in the day was the set up of my second attempt at 75kgs, when I didn't have my but on the bench properly so I was held int he start position for much longer than usual which drained my strength and I failed this attempt. I got really pissed at myself and came back with the most powerful 75kg bench I have ever done.
I was told at the end of the bench that I was in 3rd place which really shocked me, and I knew that I would have to deadlift extremely well to hold position. A lot of lifters have one lift that is much stronger than the others, however all my lifts are strong, but I am not crazy strong in one and weak in another. I knew that someone would likely have a deadlift that is 10-15 kgs better than mine and could close the gap quickly. My deadlift warm up felt heavy, but I decided that no one was going to take my medal from me. My 130kg opener was easy. Andrew and Rod then decided I should go to my PB of 137.5kgs which would pretty much confirm my 3rd placing. I was so reved up by the time I it the platform for my 3rd lift that I didn't know what I was attempting, I just focused in pulling and did a new PB of 140kgs, and was so excited I almost long jumped off the stage (pretty funny in my deadliftng gear).
Rod and I had Mexican for dinner to celebrate and I then slept like a baby!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A very quick update from a very tired powerlifter.
This is me on the right in the bronze medal position during the medal ceremony for the overall medal presentation for the M1 60kg women. Somehow I managed to do a new total PB and win the bronze. I also won an individual bronze for the bench press. I did a new PB in the squat 122.5kgs, equal Pb bench 75kgs, new PB deadlift 140kgs - new total PB 337.5kgs.

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