Thursday, 25 September 2014

Adrenal and Cortisol Support

"Lets go lets go lets go" we rush out the door off to Mekaella's school and myself to this point I have already been awake for 2hrs....did morning cardio, caught up on the never ending emails and paperwork....made Mekaella's lunch...let the dog out...usually put a load of laundry in (seriously where do all these dirty clothes come from) and tidied up the kitchen. 

This is my life....always on the go....high stress, also with a job in sales that is performance based and 100% commission I have to be on my game. Raising a 6 year old, rushing her to Soccer practice, games, french lessons and gymnastics there never seems to be "downtime", and even my weekends are spent catching up on paperwork and working shows or events.... 
 One of the reasons my coach Darren and I believe that this year my body would not let go of the extra weight was my stress and coritosl levels were so high. I just obtained my new Management Role and my desire to prove I can handle it, give my all, combined with all the training and life stress resulted in my body basically not responding.

Adrenals produce Cortisol which is the hormone responsible for how your body responds to stress. This hormone can effect sex drive, mood, metabolism, blood pressure, inflammation and many other things. So when you are stressed cortisol levels will rise and can react in these different various was. Mine was a slower metabolism, which in prepping for a show was not conducive for bringing in a tight lean package.  
 So after the Nationals I started supporting my adrenals twice a day with SD Pharmaceuticals Rhodiola Rosea. One of the principal effects of Rhodiola is to reduce the secretion of cortisol. It is also known to increase mood, libido and energy. In 2010 the Swedish Institute of Herbs in Sweden did a study and found that subjects taking Rhodiola Rosea experienced neuroproductive, cardioproductive and anti depressive effects as well as reduced fatigue and increased lifespan.  
 What I have noticed right away is I feel more relaxed, within 15 min I can feel Rhodiola taking effect, like the edge has been taken off and with no negative effects from the amazing herb I am going to continue to keep Rhodiola twice a day as part of my daily supplement routine. That combined with at least 10-15 min a day of meditation to calm my mind, be present and breathe is also another tool to reduce stress. 

There will always be stress in life, we all have things to do, places to be, unexpected events, combine that with taking fat burners, pre workouts and stimulants this can all be hard on your adrenals. However,  learning how to manage it and knowing what supplements can support you such as Rhodiola Rosea can help to reduce the negative impact on the body.

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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Week 3 Carb Back Loading...

Well...This is week 3 of my Carb Backloading....

To give a brief history:

At the World Qualifier (Aug 9th) I weighed 146...could not seem to get any lower, my body was fighting me every step of the way, I raised my cardio to 2 hrs a day, infrared sauna's, Turkey and Tilapia was the choice protein, low carb rotation days, quality high fats, but even after a water depletion and Ripped Freak Diuretic it was not budging.

First Monday (Aug 11th) after Nationals I bounced up to 156lbs...with the sodium and water and all the goodies Sat and Sunday night I actually did not even want to get on the scale but I made myself.
I started my Carb Backload experiment that day, consuming 150grms of protein a day spread out over 6 meals, with roughly 75grms of fats. I have coconut oil with every meal along with nuts and nut butters. Progressive Organic Coconut Oil is my first choice for a fat source as it gives me immediate energy,  I am clear headed, I have great workouts, and I overall feel much better, I also consume 4 litres of water a day and still enjoy my sugar free Monsters:)

Following Friday (Aug 15th) my birthday I was 150lbs, the water retention from the previous weekend had subsided.  I used my birthday night as my first carb backload day with candies, popcorn, cake, wine so not the best Carb Backload but still something.
That Sunday I left for my sales conference which throw's my training for a loop, as the gym is super prehistoric but I managed to get in there everyday. I kept to no carbs all week except a glass of red wine with dinner. I also allowed myself to have vodka/soda water for my drink of choice, aged cheddar for dessert, continued by having really high fats all week, raw coconut and nuts for snacks in the meetings and good quality protein and vegetables.
The surprise is I was getting tighter and tighter...and more vascular, I even commented to Scott that I felt tighter than I did at Nationals.
When I got home I weighed in on that Friday (Aug 22nd) and I was 145lbs!!! So.....I was able to have  goodies that week... wine, lots of nuts, cheese, coconut oil, protein, reduced my cardio, was not even able really to train that effectively and I lost weight????

Sunday (Aug 24th)was my first real Carb Backloading day, I ate my regular fats, protein and veg during the day then at 4pm we went to IHOP where I had pancakes, real syrup (to get the glucose pumping into my system) and 4 pieces of turkey bacon. It was very interesting to watch how my body responded as time went on, I became super vascular, full and tight.
At 9pm I made Organic popcorn with coconut oil with M&M's and Nibs. Now usually on a "cheat" night I go crazy but this is different now, I am watching my body and really taking count of how I feel...I stopped when I became full.

Monday I went right back to high fats and no carbs, I trained legs on Monday and had a killer workout, again I left that day and was on the road all week in the interior for work, however I stuck to my diet. On this past Sat I weighed myself and I was 146lbs, so I am up a pound, what that means to me is I need to cut back on my Carb Backload's, so this past Sunday I had 3 homemade pancakes (lower in carbs) at 2pm, then my regular fats and protein meal in between and at 8pm with homemade popcorn with M&M's and Nibs.

Now I must admit this past week I was not 100% perfect on my diet either we did go for a date night on the Friday,  I had no starchy carbs but I did have some wine and cheese (actually a little too much wine truth be told),  I also have not been able to goto my HIT classes either three times a week.
But overall I am loving this experiment and did I mention I quit 2hrs of cardio and I am only doing 45min?!?!

So far I have only have gained one pound from my contest weight, I have been eating, having some drinks, I feel energetic,  lifting heavier, and reduced my cardio by 1:15hr.
Pretty sweet if you ask me...
I am excited for the next couple weeks.... I will continue to experiment with lowering my carbs on my backload as I am preparing for a photo shoot in Vegas at the Olympia.

I am fascinated with really having an understanding about how my body works and responds,  I am excited how my body keeps responding, and the biggest thing is I am not looking at this as a "diet" which makes it much easier to do...this is my experiment....

So I will continue to tinker with this, but so far so good,  my end goal being slowly reducing my cardio, training harder, increasing my metabolism, eating more food....and loving my body...stay tuned...

                                               My Veins after round 1 of Carb Back Loading


                                                    Carb Back Load Round 2    

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Carb Backloading....My Experiment...

So....I have decided to experiment with Carb Backloading....after this last show my boyfriend Scott suggested I look into it. I have always generally been fearful of carbs as I believe most women tend to be, as the years have progressed, the carbs in my competition prep's have lowered and lowered. As I have said before in earlier blogs I do very well in ketosis, I can still train hard, have a clear mind and function with little carbs as long as I have fats. 
The Sunday after the show I began to look online into Carb Backloading and came across a whole host of video's regarding this topic from a guy known as Keifer. My goal is to be lean all year round, I am willing to put the work in, train hard, follow the diet but to achieve this, I need to find out what it takes to for body to get those results. After having months of show prep structure, to then have no diet structure will lead me back down the same path I have been before with food and my body issues. I now have defined goals with how I want to look year round, how I want to train and physically feel. I am tired of struggling with my body issues and I am looking to find something that works for me.
Carb Backloading seems to have the science behind it and makes logical sense to me.  High fats all day and in the evening you consume your carbs after a training session. Instead of using low glycemic carbs you intake high glycemic carbs, which is very different to what I have always done. 
The premise is when you wake you are in a fat metabolizing mode and once you ingest carbs you slow down that process. It is about using carbs for a purpose, after you train to create and refuel your muscles.
His book "Carb Night" suggests doing this every evening, however since I just finished a show I have decided to do this Carb Backloading once a week, with the hopes of eventually going every 5 days...3 days...2 days...then every night. I will consume good quality fats (nuts, coconut oil), lean protein's and vegetables 7 days a week, then on Sunday consume a high glycemic carb meal and then a little later some treats...(popcorn and nibs here I come). During the carb consumption I will judge how much I intake by how my body feels, as I feel my body start to become tighter and fuller I will slowly start restricting the carb intake, as that will be my indicator glycogen is absorbing onto my muscles.
 On the following day I will return to high fats and protein and also train legs with intensity using the extra glycogen I have consumed the night before. The premise also being, that the extra glycogen will carry me through the week until the following weekend when I will reload again.
I am also changing my training, I will still keep my 3 times a week classes that I love and instead of rapid training I am starting to train with my boyfriend, heavier, with more intensity, and more bodybuilding style. I tend to try to avoid pain and doing legs with him....well there is no avoiding. 
There also is no video's regarding carb back loading with girls and their experiences, so I am starting a weekly video log on my You Tube Channel to talk about my experience and if this is working for me and how I like it. 
I am on journey to find out what works for me....I want to figure my body do I achieve the look I want year round....I am willing to put the work in to get the results I want. I am also enjoying trying this experiment, how my body reacts and responds to what I am giving it.
So there might be tweaking to this, I might be adding ideas in from other diet and training philosophies but I am starting here....


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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Post Show Reflections...

Well I am done my two shows this year...I did BC's and The World Qualifier Natural Nationals in Winnipeg. Competing is tough as with bikini I find there is no "set" look they are going for and they change from show to show and sometimes the same show the winners looks vary from class to class. I'm not genetically a small girl, being 5"8 and usually sitting at 155 my body fights me to get below 140lbs. 
I have curves and in fact I really like having curves, when in prep my body leans out on top first and the bottom half will take it's sweet time with tightening up. The problem with my curves is that is not really the look of bikini. 
Last year I was told at Nationals I was too muscular and borderline figure. So this year we took the approach of creating a softer look, not as muscular. My training consisted of alot of fast paced training, I also incorporated a class 3 times a week that consists of plyo's, TRX, core exercise, and good butt kicking. I loved this class and will continue to do it going forward, as having a group energy and being able to try new exercises each week is challenging and fun.
My cardio towards the end went to to 1.5hrs, 45 morn and 45 night and my food was a higher fats lower carbs ratio. I do operate very well in ketosis and have discovered a new found love of coconut oil that I use with most meals now. However, even with all this my body was holding on. 
Now starting my new Management position right in the middle of my prep did not help much, I take my job very seriously and given this amazing opportunity is one I did not want to mess up. So combine the stress of that with the 100 retail partners I still work with plus a 5 year old, a relationship I want to nurture, and a house to run I was in a constant state of fight and flight....Go...Go...Go was an understatement...
So the week before BC's I questioned if I was even ready, I had a roughly 16 week prep but I was not as tight as I wanted to be. What's interesting is the scale was the same as I was at the Arnold's but my body composition was completely different. 
I ended up doing the BC's as my trial run and the feedback was I needed to be tighter, leaner, more conditioned. So with my month between BC's and WQ I upped my game, started running intervals, increased my cardio to 2hrs, did infrared sauna's (in the not fun) did the Grouse Grind once a week, and really paid attention to every detail of my diet. I did tighten up my legs went down as inch, my butt looked worlds different, however the scale went up and I stepped on stage at 146. 
I did feel great at the show but I still was not 100% the look I wanted, and the feedback was generally the same. I have amazing stage presence, I look beautiful, but I am curvy and just not as small as the other girls. On my own I look great but when in the line up compared with the other competitors it become obvious how much bigger I am them the rest of them. 
For years one of the reasons I have done shows is to have photo shoots for marketing, I had 3 amazing shoots this year. Every time I do a shoot I step away feeling amazing, I love the whole process, makeup, hair, posing, outfits, I have a blast. 
When reflecting on that I began to question why do I compete when photo shoots bring me such joy and although I LOVE being on stage, the comparison and list of things I need to change to fit the "mold" ends up leaving me feeling sub par.
So for now I have decided my next goal is a photo shoot in Vegas, I won't say I will never compete again, but for now I want to find a happy place for my body with a no "off season" mentality. To work towards strength, power and endurance in the gym, focus on my work with passion and excitement, be present with my daughter, spend date nights with my boyfriend working towards our future together, find the diet that gives me the results I want...and even though my state of constant fight or flight (old habits never die) probably won't change I will try to also remember to play along the way...

                                          BC's June 28th, 2014
                                                       World Qualifier Winnipeg Aug 9th 2014

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Friday, 8 August 2014

New Position..

So my last post was in March....which according to what I stated on my last blog that I would start writing once a week obviously did not pan out....
As it happens life took over and with good reason, one of my career goals of reaching Management has finally come to reality. I have written before about my belief in the power of goal setting and list writing,  well.....another huge goal was crossed off my list this spring.
Over 7 years ago when I first moved to Vancouver I came with the intention of reaching eventually reaching management. Last year I was passed over for a management position within my company, and although I was a little upset I knew and trusted that there was a bigger plan.
Now,  that has now come to reality....I am now Brand Manager for sales in Canada for 2 of the brands within the company I currently work for. 
I get the best of both worlds and I am so excited to help my amazing sales team and grow these two lines even more. I still get to work with my 100+ retail stores within BC and now I get additional goals that will enable my continued career growth. 
So that is my excuse for not writing each week...oh and also I had been prepping and competed in the Provincials, was traveling and working other competitions such as the Western Canadians, Toronto Pro show, and the Northern Classic.  
My new work load has increased substantially so finding balance within all that crazyness to still be a mom, run the house and give time to my relationship plus the added stress of prepping for the World Qualifier has been a learning experience.
So something had to give and Blogging and Social Media had to be put on the back least till I found my new groove
Now my new goal is to write when I get the chance, continue to try to find balance and be the best Aeryon I can...

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Monday, 31 March 2014

Thank You All my Trainers...

As I have start getting ready for my next show I began to reflect on all the wonderful trainers I have had the pleasure of working with throughout the years.
My first trainer was Ian Walling, I was a newbie then but with his love of core exercises I still to this day strongly dislike the plank. I can still hear him saying, “When you shake it is your muscle and fat fighting” since then I have had this image of a battle going on in my fat zones when doing this exercise.
For my first show my girlfriend/trainer Monica Cerbu actually moved I with me on weekends to keep me on track. Who knew that every condiment I owned at the time was high in sugar and sodium…Welcome to plain food land population “Aeryon”.
Then there was Jeanette Magnoli who taught me form is everything and it was not the actually amount of weight you lifted but the motion I must say she gave some killer workouts and I think Mekaella was can lift more than what I was working with then.
Next there was Raejha Douziech who was my first online training coach and even though she could not see me except bad fuzzy pics I emailed her (no selfies back then) she still dialed me in for 2 shows.
After a 10 year break I worked with the Toma’s, both Darren and Lara are a great team and put up with my panic about broccoli binging...amongst many other things..
Being a trainer for competitions is not easy; I never really understood the amount of patience and joy one gets from helping someone get up on stage.  This past fall I had the privilege of helping 2 girls reach their stage goals. I was so nervous and excited for them to be up there after all the hard work. I really grew a new found appreciation for all the trainer's who work in competition prep, it is hard work to bring someone to show condition. When I meet people who just "Train themselves" I don't know how they do it. I rely so much on my trainers expertise eye, words of wisdom, assuring voice and ability to know what is needed next.  
 So to all my trainers who have listened to me, encouraged me, and worked with me in the past I want to say Thank you….
To my new trainer for 2014 Darren Mehling I am so excited to see what all the hard work you put me through in this off season has done and what package I can bring to my upcoming shows. This training has been different that what I have ever experienced, I had to relax and trust the extra food, less cardio and less weights. Now as I dive full force into competition prep I'm excited to see the results. Each year is about growing and becoming better than the year before and this year will be an amazing year!

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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Do Nothing.....Yeah...As If!!!!

Somedays it is hard to balance everything, with a job as an Account Manager I work with 145+ stores and tend to work 7 days a week, I have an amazing 5 year old that is getting bigger and bigger by the second (where is my baby!!),  I have a wonderful boyfriend (with incredible patience), a house that needs constant cleaning (ok my OCD is speaking there), plus I am trying to train and diet for BC's, lets not forget the 4 books beside my night stand that I have been meaning to my tank top business, hosting Phat Camp in Vancouver, oh and just for fun...I started selling this really cool Charm and Locket Jewellery line...

I know I am not the only woman with a more than crazy schedule, I see you on Facebook, I read your blogs, and I have the pleasure of knowing some of you personally.....

So to be clear I'm not complaining...I guess I'm just trying to understand why??
Why can't I just I don't know......Do nothing??
In my daydreams I dream of doing nothing....but truth be told I don't think I can, I can't even do nothing on a holiday, if I get sick (which rarely happens as I do not have time to get sick) I figure out some way to do something...
My mom said when I was a kid I was always on the go....hum...Shocking...

So I guess this is just who I am...kinda like being blonde (ok...ok brunette?) or 5"8 (a smidge shorter but I always wear heels so who really is counting)...
Instead of feeling that I need to slow down...or guilty that I'm doing too much...I'm just going go for it...embrace every crazy second....enjoy the ride

So to all the Hard Working, Busy, Can't Stop, Goal Orientated, Crazy, Passionate....Women out there...
 I say Thank You for Motivating and Inspiring me to work towards every big and little dream I have!!!

Now I have to go....I have chicken in the oven, a book to read to my 5 year old, lunches to make for tomorrow, walk the dog, prepare for work, cuddle with my boyfriend and maybe just maybe pick up one of those books....LOL

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