Every once in a while, my Grandmother will laugh and remind me that as a young girl I used to say, “One day, when I grow up and my bosoms get very very big, I will wear a bra.”
While I am still waiting for that big bosom day to come, I find it quite hilarious that I am excited by the idea that one day, as a grown up, when my muscles are very very big, I will wear a sparkly bikini and have an amazingly dark spray tan.
I have been eating like nobody’s business for the past 3 months. I have put on a considerable amount of weight and am now tipping the scales at 160 (previously 143).
My jeans are tight, I can’t fit into my favorite cocktail dress any more and leggings and black drapey dresses have become my new best friends.
I am not fat. I am just stronger.
I can’t say that I hate the way that I look, but after years of being “skinny,” I’m still getting used to the bigger, better me.
“How do you think you look?” my trainer asked me the other night as I rested between a set of cleans. We were both looking at me in the mirror.
I had had a long day at work. I was sweating and felt bloated.
“I think that this is a skinny mirror and that I look a lot different than what we’re seeing. I think my legs look really puffy and bloated and big and that my arms look skinny and small. “ He looked at me like I was crazy. “I mean, I think I’m making progress though…How do you think I look?”
“I can never tell with you, Berry,” he said. “Some days you come in here and are like, ‘I am a MONSTER’ and then other days you come in and are like, ‘Meh…I feel fat.’”
More often than not, though, I’m a monster.
“You look good.”
When I was warming up, one of the other trainers at the gym who I have been chatting with quite regularly walked out of the men’s locker room and did a double take. “Lookin’ good!” he said, “Coming along nicely.”
That made me happy. Looking at my body every day I see changes here and there, but having not seen this guy for 3 weeks and then him tell me he sees progress, too, is a great thing to hear.
I just have to keep on pushing.
My legs are coming along nicely as well as my glutes. My butt has morphed from two pancakes into two dinner rolls.
Disappointingly, my shoulders are the slowest part to develop and also the most important. I train them like no body’s business but they are slow to arrive.
I was told to add creatine to my diet last week and today rounds out the 7th day. Just about 3g on average. My workouts are more powerful and I’m hoping this will help push me into the next muscular development level. We shall see.
My six pack has vanished but I swear at times I can still see it. I know this weight will come off in about 3 months when I start prep and I’m excited for it. I have a strong base that is getting stronger by the day and I know I can make this work.
Sleeping was not easy last night. A lot of tossing and turning. I got back from the gym around 10PM (on Valentine’s Day, mind you) after an hour-long commute.
The gym where I train is in Midtown East and I live on the Upper West Side. After my workout, I throw on my sweats and hop on the bus with my bags full of clothes and empty Tupperware. It’s an easy (but long) commute with my book or my iPod and offers some nice decompression time and a chance for me to digest my post workout protein shake before my final meal for the day.
Last night was legs, but I was not feeling so hot and was kind of fearing my performance.
I received a Tetnus shot earlier in the day and had a pretty bad headache (which I never get) and I was feeling nauseous. I had only been able to eat 3 of my normal 5 meals before heading to the gym because work was insane and I was at the doctor all morning for my physical.
I anticipated a so-so workout, but was able to kick out an awesome one – what a great surprise! My trainer actually said that he was happy with how my body was changing – exciting!! – and I can see it, too.
We talked about getting me set up to go into pre-contest mode, but we want to see how much size I can get in the next couple of months first.
I feel like I’m getting somewhere and feel good about this partnership. Not because he’s telling me I’m doing well, but because I can see that this is working.
When I arrived home it was time for some food, so I prepped a scramble of 1 egg with 5 egg whites, arugula, cherry tomatoes and a little tiny bit of mozzarella cheese. On the side I had two Wasa Light Rye crackers with a little humus and some Beverly International UMP Protein pudding for desert.
After cleaning up the dishes from dinner and washing my Tupperware and shaker bottles from the day, I started to pack my meals for Wednesday only to realize that I had no brown rice or sweet potatoes prepared. Knowing that I had no choice, I decided to cook all the brown rice left in my apartment (I was not in the mood for sweet potato preparation, nor did I have sweet potato patience).
I jumped in the shower while my rice did its thing and by 11:30 my meals were complete and my rice, gone.
By 11:45 I was in bed with the lights out but my brain would not turn off. My eyes were wandering all over the insides of my eyelids and I just wouldn’t sleep.
I tossed and turned, I woke up around 2AM, I fell back asleep and then awoke at 6AM on the dot (my alarm was set for 7:45) and I was as awake as I would normally be at noon.
Why, when we have the luxury of sleeping in do our bodies not want to comply?
So I’m up. I took some Advil (still had the headache) and ate my protein pancake. I’ll get an early start today and hopefully hit the sack early. Today is my rest day and I’m hoping my body will take the rest.
How do you wind down after a PM workout?
For the past two weeks I have focused on eating more in order to gain muscle. I have been working out with more intensity and resolve, working through my reps and sets to push my muscles to failure and then pumping them full of nutrition to make them grow.
I eat a meal every 2 – 3 hours and target getting about 50% of my daily calories from carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal) and have increased my intake of saturated fats from animal and nut sources – these fats are healthy to eat and help your brain and hormones function normally (watch Fat Head).
As crazy as it seems, I can see my body changing by the day. My legs are getting more muscular, my arms and shoulders are growing and my back, when flexed, is looking good.
I am changing my body.
I can’t believe that I pushed for almost a year to gain mass following a high protein, low carb, low fat diet and a simple change in macronutrient ratios and calories has given me results in only 2 weeks.
Breakfast (Meal 1) is one of my favorites. After fasting all night it’s important to refuel your body with enough carbs and protein to stop catabolism (the breakdown of muscle for energy) and give you enough lift for the day.
– 8 – 12 oz. water
– 5 – 10g BCAA powder mixed with light fruit juice
– 1 Activia Light yogurt
– 1 protein pancake (recipe below)
– 1 – 2 cups 1/2 caff coffee with cream (1 Tbs)
Remember that I am targeting 50% of calories from carbs and 15% from fat.
1. Place 1/2 cup rolled oats, 10 raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 packet of sweeter (optional), 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice into a cup or dish.
– If desired, add 1/2 scoop protein powder.
– Add about 2 – 3 Tbs water depending on your desired pancake moistness.
2. Add 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites – you can put in as many eggs and whites as you like.
3. Mix it up until the eggs are fully blended and pour the contents into a non-stick frying pan. You may need to spread the mixture until it covers the pan.
4. Keeping the stove on medium heat monitor the pancake until the top begins to stiffen. Once it’s no longer runny you can flip the pancake!
After the top side is done cooking, I like to flip it again a few times so that the exterior of the pancake is crispy.
5. Remove the pancake from the pan and cut into triangles.
– You can eat it as is, but I like to spread some Laughing Cow cheese (.5 – 1 wedge) onto the top of the pancake and sprinkle it with some sweetener and cinnamon for a little more flavor.
A word of caution: If you don’t use enough water your pancake will be dry and stiff like the one I made the other morning (below). It was still tasty…but a little hard.
What do you eat for your Meal 1?