A simple plan.  I know how to do these things.

I know how to lift.  I’ve been trained very well and my form is pretty good most of the time.  I am learning to  sense when it’s not good.  I know my error is usually to lift too heavy and break form.  I’m learning to trust my instincts and listen to my body.  There are days when I’m feeling strong and I push.  There are days I’m feeling beat and I don’t worry about it.  This week, I am moving the lifting back to mornings. I like it there better. I feel stronger and more focused in the mornings. I’ve started doing 5 x 5 sets for my major exercises.  I’m still going to do the 12-10-8-6 rep sets for the other exercises.   I started the 5 x 5’s with quads yesterday.  Didn’t seem like much at first because I kept my weights lower – squatted only 135 pounds – and focused on form.  5 sets of 5 reps.  Was conservative on the hack squats, too.  I’m coming off three weeks of cutting, so I’m weaker than I was a month ago.  After the workout, I walked funny.  Quads were worked.  Hard.   I’m still walking funny today.  Very, very happy.  I know how to do this.  I can feel when it’s working and when I’m not working hard enough.
(the 5×5 plan for quads was excellent! I’m more sore today than I have been in a long time.)

Still eating clean.  (Well, I will be when I’m done with my little rebellion against my own program.  Halloween candy, pizza, ice cream.  I’ll be done soon.)  Still eating basically the same stuff.  Still timing meals.  Just eating more.  Smaller deficits or no deficits.  Plan to take that cheat meal every week.  No more deprivation because that’s been a source of stress.  Try some new recipes.

Getting to bed early is a priority.  What’s new is that I’m going to find time in the day to meditate.  Need to do that to reduce stress.  I have no down time – no days off.   Teaching is stressful.  Even though I love to lift, that activity puts the bod in stress.  Lots of stress.  And a post-menopausal adrenal system that doesn’t do well with stress.  Thinking about stress, causes stress.  A couple years ago, I bought medication CDs that are designed to balance brain waves.  I put them on my iPhone so I can use them at work when there is a break.  Sadly, there aren’t many breaks.  I think my best bet for meditation will be in the car in a parking lot – either at school or at the gym.

Right now, I don’t really care about fat.  I need to get my muscle back up.  I’m talking to everyone, I’m researching online, reading books…I’ll figure out why I stored fat under conditions when most people would have lost it.  I think the answer will have something to do with my hormones.  I was asked this morning if I knew what my blood type is.  I don’t.  I was told that different blood types metabolize the natural sources of creatine differently.  I will get my blood type checked next week when I meet with my doc.  Last spring, I grew.  I gained about 10 pounds between April and June.  Body fat % stayed about the same, a lot of that weight was water, but there was muscle growth too.  I’m going back and looking at the records from that time.  I should be able to figure out how to make that happen again and keep the fat storage to a minimum.  Or not.  If I get big while I get muscle, so what?  I disagree with the opinion that I should put fat loss ahead of muscle.  Muscle is what it’s all about.  I’m certainly not trying to “bulk up”, but until I figure out why my body has been storing fat when it should have burned it, I need to keep it simple – grow.

Lift, eat, rest, grow.

*  *  *
A great conversation this morning with a bodybuilder I admire.  She is just a few months older than me.  She offered a ton of encouragement and insight.  It’s not like I needed it to keep going.  It was 4:25 am when I walked in the door, ready for the awesome chest workout I had rehearsed in my mind on the drive to the gym.  But when she looked me in the eye and suggested that I consider setting the NPC show next August as my goal instead of the natural show, I thought, “Really?  The woman who won that show thinks I should go for it?  NPC??”  That’s an exciting thing to think about.  Turns out that was her first show, too.   I knew when I met her almost a year ago that if she ever decided to compete, she’d be hard to beat.  I was right.  She looked amazing.  Like a pro.  But she said people around her told her she couldn’t do it and she was determined to prove them wrong.  Really?  Are they blind??  Well she did it.  She said that kind of talk starts when a bodybuilder gets to a certain point and people feel compelled to say things that are not encouraging or positive.  Not sure what the psychology is about that, but I see it all the time.  Happened to me when I was doing National Board Certification and last year when I first lost the weight.  Made some folks very uncomfortable.  I really don’t think I’m any competition for anyone – yet – but she wasn’t the first person to say that to me.  I appreciate the kindness and support all the same.  I fully intend to be competitive and make some people uncomfortable.  Next summer.  But not as competitive as I will be the summer afterwards…

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