Friday, February 27, 2015

Empower Our Girls

When I was growing up I was a string bean, you know the super skinny legs with the knobby knees.  My siblings and I enjoyed playing outside together, playing basketball, racing, volleyball, swimming.  The girls I went to school with were kind in elementary school, life was GOOD.

I took an interest in sports, especially track and volleyball.  I ran 400's and at practices I did a lot of sprints.  My legs grew, and grew, and grew.  I would get teased by the guys about my "man" legs, I knew they were just jealous.  But I won't lie that there were times it kind of got to me, I didn't fit in with all the "skinny" girls.  I felt beautiful in my own way, I was proud I could leg press more than the football players but I was never really encouraged by anyone to be "strong".

My parents were extremely proud of me, they always attended all of my races and games.  I could always hear my dad cheering me on, especially at my track meets.  He would be standing right at the gate on the final stretch screaming at me to kick it in for the final 100 meters.  In one of those races my left hamstring tore and my track career was pretty much over.  I was devastated, I continued racing but I was never the same and I always feared I would injure myself again.  In some way I felt I had disappointed my dad, I know he never tried in any way to make me feel like that, but he was my world and I wanted to always be the best for him.  My parents are at all of my competitions cheering me on and so crazy proud of me.  Their support has helped me become who I am today and know that I can truly achieve anything I put my mind to.

As life went on I stayed active, always going to the gym and I never stopped playing volleyball.  Sand volleyball became my favorite sport, those are 5-6 months of my favorite time of the year :)  My husband and I began dating, he was a personal trainer and we worked out a lot together.  It is awesome to be with someone with the same interests.

After we had our daughter my whole world changed.  Everything became about HER.  I wanted to be her everything, give her everything, but most importantly I have wanted nothing more than to help her grow into a strong, empowered young woman.  No matter what her body type, if she grows muscular like me or is small and petite, it doesn't matter.  She can be whoever she wants to be, achieve anything and know always she has her parents backing her every step of the way.

Bella is eight years old and I'd like to give you a little history on her.  She was a normal sized baby when she was born but she was pretty fussy and not a good eater.  We had to take her to monthly appointments at the U of I Growth Clinic.  Now my husband and I knew she wasn't the best eater but she did eat and she was a happy baby, we believed she would just be petite.  The Growth Clinic was stressful and when Bella was one year old weighing 15 pounds we decided to end our time there.  They never truly diagnosed her with anything.

Bella is still petite, she is 4' 4" and weighs about 47 pounds.  Is she small and skinny?  Yes she is.  But in her mind she is just Bella, small but mighty.  She has watched her mommy follow her dreams of becoming a figure competitor.  She knows why I go to the gym at 4:30 in the morning, I want my evenings free to be with her but I also need my training time.  She is truly proud of my muscles and loves hearing about my new PR's in the gym.  Bella can't wait until she can play volleyball and go to the gym with mommy and daddy.

In our world our girls are so, so self conscious at an extremely young age and it just breaks my heart.  There is no reason 6, 7 and 8 year olds or even older girls should be concerned about how they look.  They shouldn't be worried because they are too "skinny", too "bulky", comparing themselves to who they see on tv and in magazines.  We all know the women in magazines are photoshopped, it is literally impossible to look like them.

As parents it is our job to raise our girls knowing that they are perfect just the way they are.  This morning I got an email from my sister-in-law in California, my brother-in-law coaches middle school basketball.  She told me that a girl on the team showed my brother-in-law her defined bicep and asked if that was ok for a girl.  My brother-in-law showed them photos of me, letting them know it is definitely ok to have defined biceps and apparently they were all impressed.  That made me feel so good!

Girl strong, that is what we are as women, teens, young girls, we need to teach them that from a very young age.  There is nothing wrong with being strong and knowing your strength.  Sure it can be intimidating to others, but you know what?  That is not our problem, that is their problem.

I want to see a world full of young girls, teens and women who are strong.  Not just physically but mentally as well.  Even more so I truly want them to know it is ok to be a girl and to be strong.  We need to empower one another, stop competing against each other just support each other.

So what if I can lift more than some guys at my gym, it doesn't bother me.  So what if I have defined muscles, I can't fit my legs into skinny jeans and I don't have a thigh gap.  At the age of 33 I am finally, FINALLY proud of my strong legs.  They help me jump higher on the volleyball court, run faster in races and do well in competitions.

So here's to us, here's to our girls, may we empower them and show them what it is to be girl strong!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hack Squats 21's

We are starting to do some videos, yay :)  Saturday was leg day and I really like that Kyle has added in hack squats.  We do 21 reps, in the video I did 7 lower, 7 upper and 7 full.  I definitely could have done more weight, but Kyle said no more since we hadn't done them in a couple of weeks.  I will be sure to add on more weight this Saturday!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

One Year Comparison - Of An Arm :)

It is not the same pose obviously but I can see definite growth in my shoulder and arm.  These photos are from the same day a year apart :)  I truly feel like I look smaller in the older photo.

Now this is just more evidence that lifting HEAVY will NOT make a woman bulky.  The current photo is of me at 153 pounds and for me my shoulder and arm are not large enough yet.  It is going to take a couple more years or even longer to get to where I truly want to be.

I am proud of my progress, happy with the changes to my program, thrilled my better outlook on nutrition and excited for the future!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lifting Heavy Will NOT Make You Bulky

I hear often that people are afraid to lift heavy because they fear they will get big "bulky" muscles.  Women are especially terrified of this side effect.  I was really angered to hear about a gym in my area that actually tells it's members that bold faced lie.  Spreading a fear through their members that the only way to get toned is by lifting using bands and if they use weights or kettle bells they will get big bulky muscles.  The members are also advised that eating too much protein will make their muscles get bulky.

GAHHHHH!!!!!  Are you f-ing serious????  First of all I feel horrible for anyone paying the insane amount they pay to work out at this place, then to know they are flat out lied to, it really irks me.  How can a "trainer" actually be telling people such lies?  How can they feel good about themselves by misinforming their members?  What's worse is they talk crap about any gyms who encourage lifting with actual weights, they are fearful of kettle bells (oh man swinging those things around will get you massive) please, oh please sense my sarcasm.

I am adding in some new fun things to help me continue to build my muscles and get leaner.  I will begin training with Kyle at Kosama along with maintaining our heavy weight training at Northland Fitness.  Kyle is beginning a new journey as the GM for Kosama, he is extremely excited for this opportunity and I am beyond thrilled for him.  He will maintain his good relationship with Complete Nutrition, they truly are a great supplement store and we are proud to continue working with them and encouraging people to use their awesome products.  I am pumped to continue working with them as a sponsored athlete!

Tomorrow morning we will be doing our first kick boxing class at Kosama, I am extremely excited to getting my butt kicked!  I can't wait to see how their classes work, doing group fitness with others and encouraging each other to do our best.

Now back to the main purpose of this post.  I have been lifting HEAVY for over two years now.  I know you've all seen the photos but in case any one new is checking out my blog here is what lifting heavy for just under two years can do to you.

Aren't we all just massive and bulky???  I am working my butt off to GAIN size, I will be thrilled this competition season to have more muscle size on me than I do in these two photos.  Now I know most people aren't working out for this purpose.  Most people are trying to simply be fit, maybe lose some weight and get toned up.

So please, please believe me when I say it is extremely DIFFICULT to get bulky.  You have got to be eating a LOT of food and lifting HEAVY weights.  Your muscles will not grow without properly lifting and proper nutrition.  Eating a lot of protein will not make your muscles get huge.  Protein helps to repair the muscles and yes it does help them to grow but again you would have to eat a LOT of protein every day in order for that to happen.  Now if you are working out but yet eating loads of crap then of course you will be bulky, what you eat is just as if not more important than what you do in the gym.

If you are working out at a place that tells you lifting heavy and eating protein will make you bulky, get the heck out of there!  First of all I guarantee you most of their trainers don't believe that themselves, secondly you deserve honesty and thirdly if you plateau and see no changes after your second or third go round you've got to change things up.

Do your research, talk to those you trust and having fun getting fit!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Push It, Push It Real Good!

The past few days have been a lot of fun.  On Saturday I got to play in the Iowa Games volleyball tournament with my brother Larry and some of his friends from Des Moines.  We had a blast!  The tournament was sadly poorly run, but we still enjoyed ourselves.  We played nine games, did well in pool play but not so well in the actual tournament.  Normally you play teams from the other pool but in this tournament we had to play the same teams from pool play due to their rule changes, so stupid.  There were a lot of good players and some seriously HARD hitters, my arms were crazy sore afterwards!

Sunday I played volleyball again, my arms hurt so badly but we played well.  Our Sunday six's team is just getting better and better!  Crazy to think that we will be playing sand volleyball in just over two months.

Yesterday we lifted shoulders and I was not feeling well.  I pushed through the workout but I felt weak.  I hate feeling that way for my favorite lifting day of the week :(

Today however was a different story.  I did not want to get up, I was so tired.  Kyle got me up though, we had just discussed last night that his full on "trainer" mode really needs to kick in.  Not that he hasn't been in that mode, but he is wanting to take more control over my cardio and the days I do it, checking on changes weekly like weight, body fat, all that fun stuff.

We lifted chest and back, it was the best chest and back workout I've ever had.  I was pushing 110 pounds on the leverage incline chest press, pulling 140 pounds on the leverage high row.  I felt AWESOME!  I lifted just over 23,000 pounds this morning :)

Kyle was really proud of me and impressed since I went up in weight on everything AND my calories have been cut.  The key to keeping that strength is keeping my carb level up, we lowered my protein intake a tad bit and increased the carbs.  With the small changes in nutrition and starting to get in consistent cardio I can see a difference, I am starting to lean out :)

My training for the Dam to Dam will also begin shortly.  Today I am going for a two mile run on my lunch hour.  It is a bit chilly, 26 degrees and feels like 16 degrees.  Maybe that will get me to run a faster two miles ;)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Serious Shoulder Pump

I had quite the shoulder workout this morning.  Kyle got a sample for us to try of Musclesport NeuroVol Revolution, he mixed it with our 3Plenish.  First of all the flavors blended really well, best of all I could feel such an awesome pump!  I felt like I had more energy and was able to push through some harder lifts better than usual.

For example instead of doing the shoulder press on the smith machine Kyle had us do a push press with a barbell.  I was a little worried at first but I did four sets of 10 with the 45 pound bar.  The workout was intense today as we kept the pace up and I actually asked for a good burn out at the end.

Kyle was pretty tired but I wasn't quite ready to be done.  So he had me end my workout with the good old 5x10's, 50 reps of shoulder exercises per set.  I got through two sets :)  He didn't let me rest long between sets and was right on me getting me started back up and pushing through.

I'm feeling really, really good at this time, just at a great place mentally with my prep.  I really am looking forward to cutting and seeing more muscle definition :)