"Change. Now it's time for change. Nothing stays the same" Motley Crue

I just finished watching The Dirt on Netflix about Motley Crue. One of my favorite 80s bands and I still blast Kickstart my Heart at the gym! However, I must say that I enjoyed the book way better, but its still a good flick. Then I remembered some of the lyrics to this song and thought it would be a good opener to my next blog post.

I mentioned on an earlier Instagram post that I would write a bit about change, and why I have embraced it in my journey. And as I start to write about it….I realize that it’s harder to tell you why than it was actually to do. And I’m not sure why that is. I guess I have always been like that, once I decide to do something, I just plow on ahead and do it. One person in another lifetime (so it seems) told me once that I was afraid of change. I think she was projecting her fear onto me now that I think about it. I’ve undergone a lot of change in my life: moving not only to different cities, but across the country, changing jobs, changing careers, changing schools. But change is all around us. And sometimes we can’t help but to accept it. And embrace it. But then again, sometimes it’s not for everyone.

So what is change? Apparently it’s both a verb and a noun. If it’s a verb it means make or become different. If it’s a noun it means the act or instance of making or becoming different. Well ok then…I guess I am doing both. I think the big question with change is why? Why do you or I seek change?

I did it as I needed a different mindset. I wasn’t happy with where I thought I wanted to be. I was struggling with my weight cut, I absolutely hated the beginning of 2019. I was burnt out from my programing and putting on weight. So I decided to embrace something different instead of stress about why something wasn’t working for me anymore. Since November I’ve been doing a ton of hypertrophy stuff. Actually longer than November, with only the odd 4 weeks of strength programed in. By the time March came, I was so burnt out on doing 40 some sets of, well everything. Now we know hypertrophy is great for when in a caloric deficit to help preserve your muscle mass, and great for in a caloric surplus to grow that muscle mass. I was maintaining with hopes of going into a caloric deficit. But also my goals changed. Ahhhhh here we go…goals…change…goals change. And that’s OK! You don’t have to be married to one set of goals. And giving yourself permission to accept that, and then to accept your fear of what may or may not happen, not know the effect of whatever you change, will make the transition easier. But it takes some soul searching, writing it out, and talking it out. Nice thing is, depending on what you change, you usually can go back. So here is what I thought about:

Goal 1) Aesthetics vs Strength. I mean common. Who doesn’t want to look good in a bikini? But I also had thoughts of competing in a figure competition. However once I examined my thinking, it just wasn’t making me happy whenever I thought about it. So I changed my goal to focus more on strength, and building power. Getting a 300 lbs deadlift. Just the thought of being functional at my fitness, having strength to lift heavy and maybe even go to a meet had me skipping to the gym. And we all know I am not a fan of cardio! So I changed from hypertrophy blocks to a 12 week powerlifting phase. I will do some accessory work within that, and after I will do a hypertrophy block, followed by another block of powerlifting and getting those PRs! Now I train 5x/week with powerlifting and one day a week with just fun stuff…strongman type of stuff. Sled pulls, tire flips, attempting rope climbs, kettlebells, battle ropes, atlas stones! So. Much. Fun!! And yes, the dreaded cardio needs to worked on too.

Goal 2) Back to that aesthetics and competition again. Now this is what I like to call a soft goal. Do I want it? Yup..just maybe not as much as my 300 lb deadlift. So my plan is to work on some more hypertrophy in fall, maybe go into a caloric surplus for a bit, then do a competition prep…for a physique competition in the Spring of 2020! Changing my focus from figure to physique and changing my time line. And that time line makes me happy. It’s a similar goal to what I have, I just changed it up a bit. And that’s all that was needed.

And change is scary. I still wake up at night wondering if I did the right decision. Am I going to lose my muscle mass (no I won’t), will I get smaller, what if I don’t like powerlifting?  Did I waste my time…blah blah blah. But then I re-read all the reasons why I thought of changing in the 1st place and it reaffirms my belief that I did the right thing. And I am happy. I think that’s a great indicator that change is good.

Now the next thing I changed was my eating. Wow that was a big thing for me. From one type of tracking macros, where I never counted my ancillary macros, to counting everything that goes into my mouth. Now at first I bulked at the idea, as in previous times I have failed at this attempt. But what you need to remember, and I need to remember, is that the moment is never the same twice. And what didn’t work in the past, may now work in the present. And yup..that’s exactly what happened. It’s a more flexible way of eating, I am happier (see a theme here?) and I get to apply what I learned to my own personal lifestyle. It’s like taking the training wheels off. I still rely on input from very knowledgeable people at Hybrid Performance Method and Renaissance Periodization, but I apply my macros now to my life! And I love it. I mean I won’t when I loose carbs…but you get the point.

I also changed gyms. Well I still go to my beloved Anytime Fitness, but I decided to go to one that is more dedicated to powerlifting and turning out some incredible bodybuilders as well. You want to talk about scary. All of a sudden you don’t feel so confident, and strut around listening to your music, and just want to hide behind the nearest squat rack. I keep thinking people are staring and rolling their eyes as they see me lift…like whos the new chick? She doesn’t belong here, she can’t pull the numbers we do. Which is all horseshit of course, they are all lovely, encouraging, and knowledgeable people. But sometimes the brain doesn’t know what the heart does. But just being in that environment, with people who have similar goals, journeys, experience has me grinning everytime I think about it.! I can’t wait to see where this takes me!

Now change doesn’t mean it’s always comfortable…in fact I don’t think it’s supposed to be at 1st. That’s how we adapt. And it can be scary, but fun too. I’m not a psychologist so I’m not going to write about how to accept change, how to do it, know it’s right for you ect ect. All I can tell you is why I did it, and what I did change. It’s my journey, and thank you for being part of my change!


Deloading ….. Do it!

It seems that winter just won’t let up here in Calgary. Yet another week of stupid cold is in the forecast and with snow last week, over the weekend…well spring just can’t come soon enough. And along with spring is driving season. Baby is getting restless…and so is her mistress! The open road is calling, the growl of the engine is haunting my dreams!

car (1).jpg

But as its still 2 months away….we need to focus on what we can change and participate in now right?

I’m restarting a cut as I was a bit too eager prior, with the holidays and associated stress. So right now my carbs and calories are high and squats are low! And boy do I feel good! Mentally I am more focused, have less cravings and am recovering way better. Which is natural when you increase your calories again. I think and hope that when they get lowered again, I will be more ready to deal with the dietary stress. For now I am enjoying the ride.

Its peak week for me. Which means all my volume is high. I am doing a lot of hypertrophy work now, with a plan that come summer I will move to a more powerlifting/strength training phase and work on that for a few months. To do this, I am moving from my beloved Anytime Fitness to a more serious powerlifting gym. I am super excited and completely petrified at the same time. What if I am the weakest one (which is very likely)? What if my form sucks and they laugh (possibly and unlikely anyone will laugh but rather help)? I just want to be friends and lift with the big kids! :)

So yea..peak week. Volume is around 40 working sets not including abs. Which means I eat for hard days, for anyone following the RP diet principals. It also means that next week is deload week. And I know some people are “what week”?  DELOAD week. It’s considered an active recovery week. I know some people understand what this is, yet some don’t. So bear with me here.

Deload week, in a normal universe, follows a peak week. This is when training and fatigue is the highest and if you keep going will impede recovery, ensuring you won’t train as hard later on. What’s fatigue? Fatigue is the term used to describe the inhibition of maximal performance that occurs as a result of stressors imposed on the trainee/athlete (https://www.jtsstrength.com/fatigue-explained). When fatigue is high, the activity of catabolic activity in muscles cells outpaces anabolic activity. Therefore your muscles won’t grow. Extremely simplified but you get the gist. During deload you should start to feel great, and ready to attack the next phase of training. During peak week you should be reaching your MRV (Max recoverable volume). If you exceed this, you are not going to recover well, continue to be fatigued during your next training mesocycle and possibly risk injury and impede muscle growth and strength. Think of a car, you wouldn’t rev it to the 6000s and leave it there. No, the rpms drop down because if they don’t….bye bye engine. Same concept.

Luckily we can manage our fatigue, which is inevitable when you train.  One of the management strategies is deload week. It’s one week where training volumes are brought down by about half.  However if you train almost normally during this week and “bring volume down only a little bit, you end up neither dropping fatigue nor getting the overload to make gains! Intensity can actually stay up in the usual range during this week, as it’s not a huge contributor to fatigue if volume is kept in check, and also helps conserve the gains” (https://www.jtsstrength.com/fatigue-explained). Now you don’t have to deload every 3-4 weeks, this is actually my 7th week in this particular mesocycle. Individual differences occur and fatigue accumulates differently for everyone. In general it’s around 4-6 weeks. But you will have to get to know your body and its cues to manage your fatigue. So play around a bit with it.

If you are training and feel fine and you don’t think you need a deload…well you probably are not training hard enough. Do 6 sets of 12 heavy deadlifts or squats, for a few days and let me know how not deloading works out for you. I will not be responsible for any hospital visits or carb binging that occurs. Remember it’s about dropping the volume not just weights.

 So that’s deload in a nutshell. There’s lots of other recovery methods you can use during deload as well and maybe in the next post I will touch on them. In the meantime…train hard…and deload!

Its been awhile, but here is what I learned in the mean time...

I know I haven’t posted in a long time. I guess life just got in front of me and well here I am. I hope everyone’s holidays went fabulously! For people who know me, the holidays have turned into a stressful event for me, especially with the 2018 season being the 1 yr anniversary of my mother’s death. But actually it turned out alright, thanks to some kids I met through my dad’s new girlfriend (yup read that right), and a close friend having drinks on hand for me. I was supposed to be cutting but that went down the tubes. And it brings me back to my previous post about being ready for a change, wither its weight loss, gain, performance or really anything in life. Sometimes, you need to listen to your own advice. I did not. So I stopped my cut, re grouped, and began again last week. In fact I ended up doing an inadvertent mass. Yup, gained weight. While normally I would be upset over this, for some reason this time around I am not. Why…well…I’ve never been stronger in my life. That’s right, I hit PRs all over the place. So as I slowly change my mind set about the number on a scale, performance and body composition, the journey became a bit easier. While most of that weight is fat, some of it will be muscle mass. Which is what I am eventually going for so I made peace with the number facing me this morning. But now it’s onto another cut, with a ready mind and willing body. And in a few weeks, I will also share some very exciting news as well!!

This installment of the blog will be a bit more technical as I found myself doing what not should be done in a gym last week, and is relevant to all those of you wanting to hit PRs. I am happy that I hit them in my lifts, but I don’t want to do that at the expense of poor technique. This lil expert was taking from a guy that is way smarter than me and has tons of science to back up what he says and it shows.

The other week, while feeling strong and hitting my PRs in my lifts I realized how jazzed up I was and just pushed through my reps without any thought to my 2/fail (meaning I stop when I have 2 left in the tank) and trying to eek out my last few reps and get the 5 sets of 13. Now…some ask “is this a bad thing”? Yes it is. If you want to be true to yourself and actually grow some muscles. If PRs are hit with good technique, then you can see some muscle growth. If not, then well, all you are doing is moving some weight around and risking injury. Not only that but if you are using poor technique, then how are you tracking your progress? Did you really do the 5 sets of 10, or would it have really been 10, 10, 8, 7, 5? The later shows progression and good design. While the former is really just a fallacy and you are doing your muscles a disservice. So if you want to maximize muscle growth, then don’t sacrifice technique. Keep your form, maximize muscle growth and stay injury free.

                                                                                …………………………. Paraphrased from Dr. Mike Israetel

Self-image in the age of Instagram models

I was thinking recently about how people post on social media, and what we get out of it. Specifically social media and body image. Which is why I did not post a picture for this blog, keep reading and you will see why.

 Social media can be difficult to navigate when we don’t have a great self-image. We can be tempted to just tune it out, and leave. But should you tune it out? Maybe for some, it’s not a bad idea. But there is a lot of valuable, inspiring information out there as well. Unfortunately there is also a lot of negativity. So how do we deal with all the #fitfab, #bodygoals, #fitfam #gymgoals? 

I think it’s important to realize that all those models, all those bodybuilders, weightlifters, powerlifters also have, at times, thought “should I reveal myself here”? Heck so did I, and I don’t have a totally fit body. It’s important to realize that there is a spectrum of body conscious people, from those who don’t care to those who are obsessed.

Images on Instagram are just that. You have to decide how to view them, is it awful, is it negative, or is it a positive image? How does that image affect you? It’s important to go into social media with a sense of how you, 1st and foremost, view your body.

Social media is mostly filled with amazing physiques. Filled with people that won the genetic lottery. And it’s not just one person, its 100,000s of people. And thanks to social media algorithms, those bodies are designed to constantly show up in your news feed if you hit that like button. Now that’s all you see, and if you keep looking it can be demoralizing AF. An example is this: I look good in clothes but I don’t look good naked. I’ve lost a lot of weight but I don’t have a 6 pack, I have loose skin. And people look at me and see some shoulder development and back and say I should have one. And I don’t, I have a strong core but I don’t have a 6 pack. And that realization is ok, if you can handle it and don’t stack yourself against all the gods and goddess on social media.

Another example is I was out with friends one Saturday, and we were talking about going snowboarding to Fernie BC in the New Year. I don’t snowboard but awesome I get learn, cool. The next sentence was “and after we all get to sit in a hot tub”. Don’t get me wrong I love hot tubs. So I smiled and laughed and said “that’s cool”. But what they didn’t realize is that inside, I was panicking. OMG I have to be in a bathing suit. And I’m around good friends, and it was pure panic. I couldn’t let that show, but it goes to show that even around people you admire, and love, you may still have body issues.

So is this a realistic outlook to have in the fitness world, much less is it good for your mental image of yourself? Is it a goal you want? Is it even a realistic goal? Something to keep in mind is that if you follow a certain type, a certain body image for inspiration, chances are it’s a body that is better than yours. So the body you see in the mirror is not on par with social media bodies. And that can be wearing down on your self-esteem, thinking that you don’t measure up. Believe that long enough and it can be detrimental to your mental health. Eventually if all you do is look on social media, you don’t see the average Joe on the street, all you see is that perfect internet body and become jaded in your own success.

What we mortals need to realize is that they are posting their best shot. If we are in a maintenance phase, and not super jacked, or super lean we, and they, may be less inclined to post as often. If you do post at that time then it’s a different post. So is posting super jacked, fit, athletic bodies bad? Is it wrong of them? No, all it is, is them putting their best foot forward. So yes, they can look like a god damn super hero. Which the only person that ever looked like that was Alistair Overeem in 2010. Sorry Wonder Woman lovers, if she ever picked up a dumbbell greater than 20 lbs I would be surprised. They are mortal. They are also putting forth effort that maybe you or I don’t want to do, don’t have time to do. We may enjoy that glass of wine, that extra helping of a good meal.  However, when they post a cheat meal, realize that’s the only cheat meal they ever had all year long and they post it from different angels. Their entire existence is about looks, and a crazy effort in order to look like that. They actually are not regular people, mortal yes, but not regular. They use stuff you and I don’t, and do stuff you and I don’t do. Their hobbies are more limited than ours. And you will never see things they suck at because they are putting their best foot forward.

So when you go onto Instagram, SnapChat, whatever platform you use, choose what you view wisely. This is your journey and you owe it to yourself to make it as inspiring, healthy and fun as you want.


Are you ready for this?

Welcome dear reader to the 2nd installation of my blog. I struggled a bit with how to introduce this segment, and just what to write. The 1st segment is always the easiest. Here I am, this is who I am blah blah. Considering this will be, so far at least, mostly about fitness, workouts, nutrition, I didn’t know if I should throw in a recipe or what. Then I thought well any journey has a beginning, so let’s obviously start from the beginning.

I started my weight loss journey summer of 2014. I was 60 lbs overweight. I was “slender” in high school, then during university I ballooned up with no checks on my eating and no interest in exercise. I drank and I ate. I had no idea how to eat for performance, no idea what performance even meant, much less what my goals were. For at least 10 yrs. I struggled with my weight and trying to lose it. I was fat. No ifs, buts, or ways around it. I wasn’t big boned, I didn’t and still don’t have a thyroid issue. My metabolism was fine then as it is now. The only reason I weighed as much as I did was because I simply obeyed the laws of thermodynamics and ate too much for the amount of movement I was doing. That’s right boys and girls…I was not in a caloric deficit. You name it, I tried it. Weight watchers, paleo, intermittent fasting. I would go to the local Good Life, attempt to go on the treadmill and hated every minute of it. I had no idea how to lift weights even after I spent a stupid amount of money on a trainer.

November 2006 Mexico. And much heavier

November 2006 Mexico. And much heavier

Then during that summer, I had one childhood friend who suffered from a massive stroke. I don’t know all the ins and outs of it, but there were definitely lots of contributors that stemmed from an unchecked, and unhealthy lifestyle. Another guy I knew since kindergarten passed away. I saw the vultures circling and I knew I needed to change. Yet I still struggled.

So Sept 15th 2014 I started weight watchers. I labeled everything in my pantry and fridge. I came up with weekly meal plans for an average of 4 meals a day. I had tried WW before and failed. But this time, it worked. I dropped almost 40 lbs in 4 ½ months. I stuck to it. I no longer follow that method, but it was right for me at that time. I was already at this point working out regularly at a local all-women’s boutique gym in downtown Calgary. I loved it, the girls were great, I never felt out of place, and I met some wonderful trainers that eventually got me into weight lifting. More on that later.

And that’s the start of weight loss or any fitness journey. You need to be ready. No matter if it’s weight loss, weight gain, or wanting to be stronger. You just need to be ready. If not, there is no use in beating yourself up over it. I could say well you know…your health, do it for your family, and do it for your friends, your kids. No, fuck that. I’m sorry, you may love all those people and things, but you won’t do it for them, or you wouldn’t be overweight now…if you are.  It will have to be for yourself. I was just ready, and I can’t even really tell you why. Was it the above mentioned health scares, maybe? But I know that’s not all of it.

My point really, is that you have to be ready for this. And you have to do it for yourself. No one is responsible for kicking your ass, and stopping you from stuffing your face with the nearest bag of cookies. Don’t you go and tell your spouse, partner, bff, fwb to stop you. That is unfair pressure you are putting on them, in my opinion. You alone are responsible for your failures and your success. Yes, you will have both and people will either support you or knock you down. And at first you will have motivation, as the scale dips down and the body changes happen. But after a while, those changes are harder to see. Again, more on that later. Now comes the hard part…now it’s not about motivation, it’s about discipline. And if you don’t have that…good luck to you. As I sit here and finish this blog in my pajamas at 7:30pm on a Saturday night, no there’s not a lot of motivation to go out and chase those popping delts. But guess what, I went and did a shit ton of burpees and kettlebells swings because I am disciplined now, ready now, to chase those dreams. Whatever they may be.


March 2015 Earth Ring Ceremony. And about 35 lbs lighter. The journey continues.

March 2015 Earth Ring Ceremony. And about 35 lbs lighter. The journey continues.

Why read this? My fitness journey: The life and times of an average woman in an average world

Who am I? I’m a 42 yr old woman, I love horses and my husband too (thanks Tom Petty). I am a nurse with 20 years of experience, with a background in ICU and transplant, and I currently work as a lung transplant coordinator. I have a second undergraduate degree in geology and am working on my masters. I’ve traveled somewhat. I love my car.

2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

  My heroes are Betty White (because if she’s not your hero you need to rethink your life priorities), Cookie Monster, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I have a sweet tooth of an 8 year old sprinkled with a bit of adulthood. I may have the Sesame Street theme as my ring tone on my phone. The only good cheese is one that smells like a hobo’s sock.

I grew up on a farm where my main transport was a fat lil pony named Penny. I had calves to feed, and chicken coops to clean. I was not popular nor pretty. I had a Swiss accent that got me in trouble in kindergarten and made fun of by my kiddie peers, which continued throughout high school even though the accent disappeared. But I still like small towns. I may have peed myself in third grade because I had to go to the bathroom so bad in the middle of a test and was too shy to ask. I was probably the shiest kid around.

My home life was not great, but I got to go hiking and camping. I was thrown into Air Cadets as my dad wanted to live vicariously through me and jump out of planes. So I did. I was taught how to come out of my shell, and in retrospect it was the best thing for me. I had the time of my life. In essence I was an unpopular nerd in my teens, the ugly duckling with immigrant parents. But I could kick the shit out you as my dad, who maybe foresaw this, thought to put me in Tae Kwon Do and I got my black belt. I have since forgotten everything and I’m sure my 14 year old nephew could beat me up. But I can deadlift almost 250 lbs for 1 rep!

I did the typical thing, and after high school went into nursing because my parents wanted this. I grew up, gained 60 lbs got a job, got married, moved across the country a few times, had some good jobs, lost 60 lbs and met some great people.


 I think I grew out of my shyness, my awkwardness (a little bit) and maybe even grew up to be a decent looking and successful human, in so far as my definition of this is. I’ve said a host of dumb ass shit in my life, but I think I did some good too.

So here I am, 42 years later living in Calgary, with a nice home, a cat and dog and husband, good friends, a job I enjoy, school that keeps me challenged, taking up space on a friends website he graciously offered to me. And pouring my heart out to you dear reader. Read as I talk and share some knowledge about weight gain, weight loss, my fitness journey, and generally trying to figure out the meaning of life on this tiny spinning blue planet, third one away from an unassuming burning ball of gas.


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