Monday, October 28, 2013

Various 4 day split workouts--really I wanted to pin this, not blog it. lol

I found this online in my search to try some new things with my workouts and balance my family life.  I really don't like being away from my kids when I have them and 5 days a week workouts and full time employment and 50/50 custody with my ex makes things a little challenging--not impossible, but takes some juggling.  I think that a 4 day split will work for me, let me build the muscle I need and be with my family when they need me most.

My source for this workout:

routine 1: conventional split

This routine should be done either every other day, or as a Monday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday kind of split, if you have to fit it into a 7-day week. Don’t do more than 2 days in a row. I include lower back and ab work twice weekly. This helps a great deal in developing torso stability. Rest about 60-90 seconds between sets (you might want a little longer between squat sets).
Notation: Exercise sets x reps
For example: bench press 3 x 8 is 3 sets of 8 reps per set

day 1 – legs

  1. squat
    3 sets of 6-10 reps
  2. split squat or lunge
    3 x 6-10
  3. stiff-legged deadlift
    3 x 8-10
  4. calf raise
    3 x 6-10
  5. back hyperextensions
    3 x 8-10

day 2 – chest, triceps, abs

  1. bench or dumbbell press
    3 x 6-10
  2. dips or assisted dips (if you can)
    3 x 6-10
  3. incline bench or dumbbell press
    3 x 6-10
  4. close-grip pushups
    2 x 8-10
  5. ab crunches or swissball crunches
    3 x 8-10

day 3 – back, biceps

  1. deadlift
    3 x 6-10
  2. pullups OR lat pulldowns
    3 sets of as many as you can do for pullups (if you can do more than 6-8 pullups at once, put a 5-lb plate between your knees and do them), 3 sets of 6-8 reps for lat pulldowns
  3. row of choice
    3 x 8-10
  4. biceps curl
    2 x 6-10
  5. back hyperextension
    3 x 8-10

day 4 – shoulders, lower back

  1. standing shoulder press or one-hand side press
    3 x 6-10
  2. power shrugs
    3 x 6-10
  3. lateral raises
    2 x 8-10
  4. ab crunches or Swiss ball crunches
    3 x 8-10

routine 2: push/pull, light/heavy

This routine should be done either every other day, or as a Monday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday kind of split, if you have to fit it into a 7-day week. Don’t do more than 2 days in a row, and try to have a heavy day follow a rest day. Rest about 2 minutes between sets on heavy days (you might want a little longer between squat sets), and about 60-90 seconds between sets on light days.

day 1 – heavy push

  1. squat
    3 x 5
  2. dips or assisted dips (if you can) or standing shoulder press
    3 x 6-8
  3. calf raise
    3 x 6-8
  4. ab crunches or Swiss ball crunches
    3 x 8-10

day 2 – light pull

  1. power shrugs
    5 x 3, with light weight (i.e. don’t use the weight you’d use for a 3-rep max; use about 70-80% of that)
  2. one-arm dumbbell row
    3 x 12-15
  3. biceps curls
    2 x 8-10
  4. lower back extension
    3 x 12-15

day 3 – light push

  1. front squats
    5 x 3 with light weight (i.e. don’t use the weight you’d use for a 3-rep max; use about 70-80% of that)
  2. standing shoulder press or one-hand side press
    3 x 12-15
  3. pushups
    3 sets
  4. close-grip bench press 2 x 10-12
  5. ab crunches or Swiss ball crunches
    3 x 8-10

day 4 – heavy pull

  1. deadlift OR hang clean pull
    3 x 6
  2. pullups OR lat pulldowns3 sets of as many as you can do for pullups (if you can do more than 6-8 pullups at once, put a 5-lb plate between your knees and do them), 3 sets of 6-8 reps for lat pulldowns
  3. horizontal pullup OR wide-grip row Horizontal pullups: 3 x as many as you can; wide grip row: 3 x 6-8
- See more at:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Persistent and relentless

If any of you know me, you know tenacity is my middle name. Backing down is not something I do easily. But I have also had to move past some distractions and emotional and mental blocks. Not excuses, but things that have been in my sight instead of my goals. I have been back to focusing on diet and working out and I am already seeing changes. Thanks to a good friend Kevin, he has introduced me to iifym aka if it fits your macros. You can read more on if you would like some great calculators to get you started and some more of the philosophy behind it. In a nutshell it is no food is off limits or dirty (vs clean eating). If you want a cookie have a cookie but make it fit. The majority of your choices are going to be lean meats, quality complex carbs, and good fats. These are essential for your body to be the best it can. It also means you don't have to go through "never being allowed to even look at ice cream." It's not the only eat cabbage soup diet, juicing cleanses, Atkins, paleo, SAD, or any diet in particular. While I still make mostly paleo choices I do that because of how I feel when I eat paleo. Pasta and breads just don't make me feel good. I have no intolerance to them, but they make my gut bloat and ache. Why choose a food that makes you feel that way? You don't. 

I was gaining a little weight. I have put on about 15 pounds. Not unhealthy weight gain, but I know it's because I haven't been careful. I have overate and not made choices that make my body happy. I have also slacked in my efforts to go to the gym. Well I am happy to report, I have been consistently going to the gym and tracking my food choices. And I am seeing changes. My body is reshaping itself. I am feeling so much more in tune with what is hunger. No longer am I eating to that uncomfortable full make your belly hurt level. Being almost 24 weeks out from competition I feel more focused than ever to reach my goal and take the win.

I am so grateful for the support I have this go around. More of my friends are behind me. My kids are ever supportive and tolerant. My man is wonderful. Ever aware and careful to make sure I can stay on track. I have made connections online with fellow competitors  and watching them and seeing their dogged persistence has helped me remember why this is the goal. Why it's worthy of my time. 

So the next time you think about not choosing the food you need, or working out, or one more rep, or..., or..., or. The list can go on and on, you ambition will get you so far. It's your persistence that will pave the path and lead the way. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Motivation boards

I was searching on Pinterest (one of my addictions but I actually use a lot of what I pin) and found this motivational board. I had tried something like this with great success on my bathroom mirror. Me and my kids wrote wonderful positive statements on there and loved every minute of it. Mascara application was tricky but the words on the mirror were worth the acrobatic make up tricks. The mirror was cleaned for a house showing and we just didn't put them back up. I missed it being there so when I come across this pic I decided I needed to do it again but modify how we did it. I recently sold a large hutch and I now have this empty wall in my dining area that needed something on it but I didn't know what to put there. I will be moving shortly and didn't want to invest in decor that may or may not work in the new place. Then I found the perfect solution. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and dining room. That wall will be visible to everyone. It was the perfect place for these boards. I went to the dollar store and found little 8 1/2 x 11 boards and picked up some dry erase markers and came up with a plan. 
My kids have been craving family time. Not having a vehicle that will hold them all legally means we have to find things to do at home and that are inexpensive. This was perfect. 

I had made my board when they were at school but I left their boards on the table for them to see. As soon as they got home from school they caught sight of mine. Ohhs and ahhs and can we write on that were immediate questions asked by all five of them. I told them that was my board but I had one for them. Their excitement was palpable. They could hardly wait for dinner to be done. Every single one of them wanted to get ahold of that board and the markers. Ideas were forming in their minds all afternoon. 

I sat them down and talked to them about setting goals and what I intended to do with my board and what my goals are. I told them I wanted the boards to be out here where we could all see them so we could encourage each other. If Keneisha wrote she had a test and was working hard to study for it then we could wish her good luck or ask how she did. We could cheer Olivia on as she works to become a better dancer. I told them they were free reign...write what ever you want to on the board. There were no wrong goals or pics or sayings. They had complete control of it. They could change it daily if they wanted. It was whatever their heart desired would be perfect for their whiteboard. 

After my trip to Ogden this weekend I am more resolved than ever to get on stage in April. It's 27 weeks away. I know that sounds like a long time, but there is much prep that goes into training for a body building competition and being focused now is going to help me in the long run. I am a visual person. Seeing the words written out, the list made and ready for check off, the constant reminder are going to pave my road to success and winning. 

Olivia's board 

Brennady's board

Nataushia's board

Asche's board 

Keneisha's board

They are all individual and unique just like each of my children are. They took quite a bit of time to settle on their first goals and pictures. I will hang them up tomorrow and have them ready for them to see when they get home. I love it. They are going to do so well with each of their choices. Writing it down places it deeper in their brain. This will become their reality. And I get to be lucky enough to watch them make it happen. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Laying here in the dark (it's 6 a.m.) and reflecting and thinking about my day has made my need to write overwhelming. I have crept out of bed and want to put my thoughts here for you all to read and perhaps find an inspiration for your needs.  As I was watching my friend compete tonight my desire was made that much stronger to do this all again. I watched her take the stage, walk with pride, and win first place her first time out. To say I was proud seems almost condescending because I am not her mother but I am her friend and felt pride and happiness like I would for my child accomplishing something huge and great and wonderful. So congratulations to my beautiful best friend Heather. I think we should take your trophy and run around the neighborhood and yell at the top out lungs "SHE WON! SHE WON!"or "I WON!! I WON!" as would be the case for you. Celebrate and enjoy your win. You earned that trophy and deserve to stand there with it in your hand and that beautiful smile on your face.

Sorry, I know the photo is a little fuzzy and does not do this beautiful lady justice but she is amazing in my book. 

As I was watching her and sitting in that audience watching those people put themselves out there for scrutiny and judging I come to realize there is much that is left from my divorce that feeds my psyche and has stopped me from continuing my training like I need to do to get back on stage. I was talking of some of my experiences and heartache from that day that was supposed to be all about me and how it had been lessened by little things. The anger and hurt came back up and this wonderful man that I am dating said to me how sorry he was that those things happened. It wasn't for him to apologize. For goodness sakes, the man didn't even KNOW me then. But hearing him say how sorry he was that the parts that had lessened the experience had happened seemed to make it better. My heart lighter. My mind more at ease. My spirit healed. And my commitment more resolved. 

As I come to grips with what I was facing at this tulmutuous  time in my life and understand how far reaching it's effects were and are. I know it will simply take time to overcome them. These emotions and mental blocks are not going to continue to be my reality--I am stronger than them. I am the conquerer! The winner! The one who will do it! My mother had a coffee mug when I was growing up that she has passed to me that has a picture of a woman on it with her hands in the air celebrating a success and the caption on the cup says "If it's gonna be, it's up to me!" It's silly how little things like an insignificant coffee mug can have an effect on the view you take. She gave me this cup at a time when I needed it most, and I love it when I use it. I think of her and her drive and determination to be the best she could be and how she taught me to strive for the top, whatever that may be to me. 

So as my cup runneth over with gratitude and joy I want to tell those that have inspired me, held my hand while I cried, celebrated my happy moments, cheered me on, and held me up when I was weak--I thank you. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Adventure in fruit leather.

Fruit roll ups are a favorite with my kids.  They love eating them, but I hate the processed, added sugar, garbage food so I don't buy them for them. I have been trying to do different things with their lunches so they don't get bored and fruit leather was on several of the idea boards that I found for kid lunches. So, I decided to try out making homemade fruit leather.  Easy enough to do right?  Google search, find something simple with pretty pics and go for it.  I tried this recipe out.  I don't have accurate measurements--sorry folks, but it isn't really needed.  I used about half of the bag of mixed berries, squished the juice from half of a lemon, added about 1 tablespoon of honey to the mix and hit blend. 

It was a little thick when I blended it so I added a little water - maybe 1/4 cup or so.  I wanted it to pour and spread pretty easily.  My berries were mostly thawed so they were squishy when I added them in. This is a great way to use those strawberries or other fruit in your fridge that are overripe but still good. If you have picky eaters and don't want the seeds you will want to add more water and strain through a strainer.  My kids don't mind the seeds so I left them. Your drying time will just be a little longer. 

Spread the mixture out on a sheet pan covered in plastic wrap.  This will be a thin coating over the sheetpan. Set your oven on the lowest setting, 170 degrees is where my oven stopped, or use your dehydrator.  I know the whole plastic wrap in the oven thing and melting...this will not happen, you are only heating the air up so it won't melt.  If you feel better you can use a silpat pad to spread on.  I am going to try out parchment paper.  This takes several hours.  I turned my oven on for a couple of hours before bed, turned off the oven over night, turned it back on in the morning and just kept an eye on it.

The finished product.  I know it looks isn't.  It is just dark because it is dehydrated out and I used dark colored berries.  You want the fruit leather to be flexible and dry to the touch.  If you let it get too dry to the point its just brittle you can brush on some water and let it absorb into the fruit.  Now the site I visited showed cutting it with scissors and making the fun little rolls.  My cute little heathens just tore off pieces and enjoyed. You could also use little cutters and cut out shapes that match the holiday or event that is around the corner. The flavor is concentrated down so you might need to play with the amount of sweetener you need.  My kids like lemons (they eat them raw), so they don't mind the tartness.

I am going to try mango ones next.  I will keep the lemon in it and probably omit the honey.  Mangoes are sweet on their own and added sugar isn't really necessary in my opinion.  Peeling off the plastic wrap was interesting.  I was also thinking this would be great time to use the press and seal plastic so I could get the edges sealed away from the mixture.  I had a few "soft" spots where the edges were covered up by the plastic. In all it was successful.  If you try this out, let me know your successes and challenges.  I would love to share them with other followers.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Arise from the dead

I took a break for awhile. Personal life catches up to all of us. But, I am back, and working towards new goals. I started up a Facebook page called Feeding My Family and I am really looking forward to posting my obsessive amounts of food pics there. I love to work with traditional recipes and clean them up so they are healthier versions of foods my family loves. My five kids get to try the experiments and they are completely willing to give honest feedback if they like the new foods. It's been fun to introduce them to new foods and tweak recipes to fit my clean/paleo lifestyle. Some have been home runs like my beef teriyaki skewers from tonight. And some have been traumatic experiences like sweet potato ice cream. (They still haven't forgiven me for that one...for the record I liked it, they couldn't gag it down.) 

Keep coming back. I will be posting more. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Woot woot!

I did it!!!  I competed!!  I participated in the NGA Grand Teton Invitiational held in my local town.  I was placed in the bikini tall division.  There were 4 girls in my group.  I took the 4th spot.  I didn't care, my goal was to get out on stage and I did just that. 

This just proves that if you set your mind to something and then tirelessly work for it you can attain it.  There were lots of nay sayers, and people who thought I was preachy, obsessed, neglectful, and just down right in the wrong.  Many said I shouldn't do this.  I had to tune them out and just move forward. I kept lifting, I kept dieting, I kept practicing.  It all paid off. 

When I was all done with the show my daughters said to me that I was the real winner.  They were so proud of me.  My husband was excited that I had done it.  I could hear him cheering in the audience for me.  It made me smile from ear to ear.  I could hear my little son say Hi Mama! from the audience even though I couldn't see his cute face.  I had friends there supporting me and cheering me on.  It was thrilling! 

The judges gave me some great feedback.  I need to build my back and shoulers and arms.  I knew this to begin with.  I have a few ideas for diet tweaks and I am going to do some reasearch on what lifts will help me best build those muscles.  I plan to add the conditioning again and see if I can't tone and tighten everything up. 

My favorite story of the day is from my posing trainer, Kathy Everton.  She was sitting behind my husband and son when we were all on the stage for the prejudging.  My little guy turned to her and said "That's my mom up there.  She has a sexy bum, huh?"  Kathy said she just giggled.  I told her yes, he was a butt-man just like his daddy. 

Onward and upward now!  I am planning to compete again in figure in the fall.  The competition may be in September, but I may get until October.  I talked with the head judge of the competition and he hadn't decided yet.  I will just keep an eye on the NGA site for the final date so I can register and plan accordingly with diet and conditioning. Stay with me my friends.  I am gonna take that stage by storm and kick some trash this fall!