Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New You!

By Kris Pitcher

How will you focus on the things that are important to you this year? How will you begin to put the pieces together and align what's important to you? It's pretty simple, as I've said before. Let's look at a few things to ring in the new you!

New You!
What is important to you? Defining your values is the beginning to any journey in life. If you have plans to make it a healthier year, this is where you start. Get out a pen and paper and scribble some things down. There is no wrong answer...and there is no test.

If you are able to define your top five things, the next question is: Why is that important to you? If you told me it's important to you to be healthy and fit and I asked you why, what would you say? Is it important so you can play with your kids? Do your job? Enjoy your hobbies on the weekends?

Why is it important? Is it so you are taken seriously in the board room? Is it so you age more gracefully? Is it to balance out your hormones? No wrong answers.

Taking time to figure out what you value and why those things are important to you is critical to mapping out a plan you'll be successful at. For example, it's important for me to get adequate rest. That is important to me for recovery from exercise, for migraine management, and for my mental health.

Next, we think about what will we do to create good habits around that "value". For me, I will create and stick to a bed time that most 5th graders would thumb their nose at. I'll be in bed by 8:30 pm. Why on earth would I do this when prime time TV isn't even on air yet! Because I value it.

The alarm rings at 4:30 am and I've gotten my eight hours of sleep for adequate recovery from my workouts, enough to manage my migraines and enough that I'm not crying in the corner from feeling too tired.

So, once you know what's important to you, why it is important, and what you will do to create a situation where you can make that are already achieving your goals. You don't even have to work at it. You're just doing it. Because it's important to you.

This is how you create your happy new you this year. It works when you do the work by asking yourself the hard questions. It works because you gain clarity about what is important to you and why. Go ahead, have an "a ha!" moment. Happy New You!

Friday, December 28, 2012


by Kris Pitcher

I know you're thinking about those resolutions. It's no secret I'm not a fan. What did you resolve to do last year? I'm wondering how that went...

This past year, I didn't get more organized. I didn't read more books. I didn't spend more time doing artsy-craftsy things...I on the other hand, didn't resolve to do any of those things. But if you must, there are a few things which can set you up for success.

Swap it. If you plan to give something up, swap that habit out for something else. Just plain giving up a habit is really difficult. You need to replace it. If you resolve to give up diet sodas (for example) decide what you'll swap it out with. Maybe lemon water would be a good replacement, or herbal tea. You get the idea.

Start now. There is nothing magical about January 1st. You can begin to make changes now. Giving yourself a head start takes some of the social pressure off of the "New Year's Resolution".

Take your time. Incorporating change takes time. Establishing a new habit takes several weeks. Give yourself plenty of time to be committed to your new goal. If you plan to exercise, make a plan to stick with it for longer than a week...

Be specific. Setting goals for the new year need to be specific in order to be measurable and therefore successful. If you say you'll "lose weight" that's pretty vague. But if you say you will eat a specific plan and exercise 4 days a week...that's specific. You'll be successful, because you can measure your progress.

Small bites. Pick one thing to work on. It's not a good idea to go making several major life changes on resolution. Beginning an exercise program while quitting smoking, taking up French lessons and saving the world might be a little too much to handle all at once. Pick one thing to focus on.

You don't have to resolve in January. There's nothing special about January. If there's something you want to work on, work on it in February, or March. Making changes can happen at any time. Not just in January.

There's a lot of hype, and disappointment around resolutions. We set ourselves up to fail, and then we feel bad about that. Do amazing things this year, start now, make changes, focus on your awesome. You don't need a resolution for that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quit Skipping

by Kris Pitcher

Now is a good time to talk about skipping meals. You just had a BIG one...and I know what you're thinking. You'll skip eating until next week. Silly, but I know it went through your head.

You thought since you over did it so thoroughly with your holiday meal you might as well just skip breakfast. Guess what? Wrong! It's time to grow out of skipping meals.

Skipping meals is the last thing you want to do. In fact, my rule when I know I'm going to have extras is: Eat everything I am supposed to eat. That's right, every meal. The extras go on top of those. On top.

The big holiday meal? Yes indeed! We all indulged. But guess what? I ate right before and will keep on eating. Why? Because I need to eat everything I am supposed to eat. First. My body is used to it. I've trained it. Why on earth would I send it a different message?

And why on earth would I stop fueling it? Skipping meals tells our body, "Hey, we're not going to get consistent fuel, let's hold on to everything that does come in." "We're shutting down, systems on low...metabolism drop to the basement!"

No sir! We want to crank our metabolism up. Give ourselves some extra fuel. It'll do us some good. And keeping on track with our meals means we'll indulge in a little less than if we fasted leading up to the big dinner.

Get on track and eat your normal meals. Quit skipping out and sending the wrong messages. Give yourself the nutrition your body is counting on by eating to your plan. Get to it! No skipping!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spiced Nuts!

by Kris Pitcher

I'm always looking for something halfway nutritious to take to parties, as hostess gifts, or to the potluck at work. Spiced nuts fits the bill, and they are super easy to make.

  • 1 pound almonds & walnuts mixed
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 T coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl. Transfer nuts to large bowl, add oil mixing to coat completely. Add spice mixture and mix. Done! Serve warm or let cool.

You can eliminate the sugar if you want to, or experiment with different spices and herbs. There are no rules here. Go nuts!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Situation Winter Vacation

by Kris Pitcher

I had settled in to my winter ways when all of a sudden...I had a startle! It's common practice to pull on the tights, big woolly socks, and bundle right up when you live in a cold place.

Winter showers are quick when time spent in hot water dries your skin out that much more. You tend to make speedy work of the necessities while you're in there. There's no time for "extras". But when the sun comes out on those brisk doesn't just expose the dust in my house...

Was that a spider on my leg just now?! OMG! My mind began to race as I thought back. When was the last time I shaved my legs? Now, thank goodness I'm fair skinned, light haired and not too prickly. We've got a situation!

I've got a project on my hands. I'm going on VACATION!!! I need to get a handle on this! It's one thing to show up in a tropical place so pale your vascular system is showing, but to add this on top is just unacceptable. Even I know that.

How do we get to this place? That's the question. What happens that we don't have five minutes in the morning to keep up on this stuff? How do the weekends slip by with not an hour to have a little spa time?

Those are the big questions. And I'll have plenty of time to contemplate those questions (and others) as I work on my leg shaving project in preparation to go on winter vacation. These are the kinds of things resolutions are made of.

You might as well get a jump on them now. Get your projects going. Give yourself a little extra time and focus. Why wait until the new year? There's nothing special about that time. Then, ask yourself the big questions: How did I let this one go? How will I make time for what's important to me?

Figure out what "situations" in your life you need to get a handle on. What steps can you begin to take right now to get them in order? I'd like to stay and help you figure it out. But I've got wax heating, fresh blades waiting, the heater is going in the bathroom...and I swear a spider just ran down my knee!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Have What You Want

by Kris Pitcher

We've had a "No Gift" policy in our family for some time now. At first, I was hesitant to tell people about it. It seemed like people would think we didn't have any holiday spirit, and to be honest we get some strange reactions.

My husband and I don't exchange gifts. For any occasion. Never have. People think that's weird. But we've tried to make our lives about wanting what we have, not having what we want. As people talk about having all their holiday shopping done and ask us about ours...we smile and laugh and say we don't do any.

Blank. Stares. There's no stress, no debt, and no unwanted sweaters or ties. We don't have to spend hours at the packed shopping mall, or purchasing gift cards on line only to trade the same $50 back and forth each year.

The stuff doesn't matter. What matters is spending time with family. What matters are the small traditions we carry out each year. What matters is wanting what you have in your life. I look around our very modest home and see clutter. Stuff we've moved from place to place. Things we've collected.

Even the limited amount of "things" we do have seems like too much. Why add to it? It's the notion of wanting and chasing happiness by adding stuff to your life. Stuff which isn't going to make you happy.

What makes me happy is feeling grateful for the abundance in my life. For the future we're creating, and for the imprint we're making. I'm happy to receive a compliment when I wear something I've had for seven years...that I bought at a second hand store.

It's not about the stuff, it's about the content in your life and the happiness you project as a result. And while I'm glad we are a nation of consumers (it's great for my investments) I'm content in a "less is more" attitude and I am thankful for what I have.

As we enjoy the holiday season, slow down and do one less thing this year. Spend time with family instead of rushing around. Ask yourself if you're creating additional stress with the things you have to do. And ask yourself if you might already have what you want in your life. Begin by wanting what you have.

Monday, December 17, 2012

No Pain, No Gain...Really?

by Kris Pitcher

If you still subscribe to the "no pain, no gain" mentality you're either twenty-something, you've never been injured, or you just have no clue. Let's get one thing straight, pushing through the pain will get you one place fast - on the injured reserve.

Pain is a message. It is your body's way of telling you, "Hello! Something is wrong here!" We certainly have a warrior mentality where more is better, and it seems everyone is continually operating in "beast mode". Please poke me in the throat...

I get that we want to be tough. I get that we want to feel motivated. I understand some of us over do it on the weekends with recreation. But honestly, if you are a competitor, or a lifter of any kind, it's time to come back down to earth with the rest of us.

Joint or muscle pain is indicative of injury. I'm not referring to delayed onset muscle soreness caused by your workouts. That's a different issue. I'm talking about that lingering twinge in your shoulder when you bench. I'm referencing that knee pain after you leg press.

You get one set of joints and while they are replaceable...that's not a real good thing to be working toward. You are better off listening to your body, and dealing with issues when they come up. Often, you can rehab an overuse injury with some common sense.

That's actually the hard part. It requires lifting differently. It means you have to give up the big lifts for a while. You can't be chasing the numbers. And, it might mean leaving momentum and gravity behind for a while. (You don't need those anyway ;)

The point is, if you pay attention and catch that pain in time, you can rehab that shoulder, for instance, without going in for the cut. That should be your last resort. On the other hand if you just, "work through the pain" you'll be under the knife and out of the gym for a long time.

So, we can work ourselves into a frenzy with "beast" this, and "tough-guy" that...but in the end slow and steady wins most races. For all those super hard core lifters...more power to ya! I plan to keep myself under the weights, not the knife. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Off Season Bulking

by Kris Pitcher

I love it when I hear bikini competitors talk about their "bulking" phase. Go ahead, call me "the name". I am not for one minute suggesting they shouldn't have one, what I am suggesting is it's the most misunderstood period since menstruation began.

I'm bulking!
Off season certainly means something different for everyone you ask. For some, it means anything goes, no exercise, no "diet" until 16 weeks out from their show. When I hear these types utter the word "bulking" I know what they really mean is...I get to get fat.

That's not what bulking is about. Bulking is about putting on muscle, building shape, and making improvements.

It is about eating more of the right kinds of macro nutrients in the right amounts to fuel your workouts. It is not about getting fat, although naturally you will be gaining.

You are not going to gain 15 pounds bulking. You are lucky, ladies, if you put on 4 or 5 pounds of muscle doing everything right during your off season. All that fat. And the process takes time, that's why it's called a "season". It won't happen in 2 or 3 months.

And I don't mean to pick on any one division of competitors, bulking is misunderstood by many. In order to put on muscle, you need to be working hard (really hard), fueling properly, and resting adequately.

So, if you tell me you're "bulking" and in the next breath you say that you ran six miles...I'm on to you! There's a clear confusion of goals here. Bulking isn't just freedom to eat what ever you want either. That's called not dieting. Which is fine too. We all need occasions when we aren't dieting.

Mostly, off season bulking is about bringing your diet up to a level which will allow your body to grow. And I guess that's why I chuckle in the first place when I hear bikini girls say "bulk". If you're eating greek yogurt, fruit, or anything more than 75 gms of carbs a've got enough fuel coming in. You don't need to do anything different to build. Just work differently.

My advice is to choose your words carefully, because you might be causing unnecessary snickering. Maybe bulking isn't the best word choice when what you're doing is going into a building phase. It's gentler. Unless of are. Bulk up ladies! ;)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guilt Ridden, or Rid of Guilt

by Kris Pitcher

Guilt is really an interesting emotion. There are a few things at play which can get you all tied up in a big ball over this. I'm always honest with you, and in my opinion...this one's up to you.

I listen to people agonize over guilt. Not just about food, but about all aspects of their lives. They agonize over the way they parent, what they said to their spouse, how they left things with their dead relatives. You name it, people are guilt ridden.

When it comes to food, and I know you've all woken up with a carb hangover taking the walk of shame from your crumb filled bed to wash the frosting out of your hair, or was that just me? Anyway, I can guess we've all at one time or another felt "guilt" over our food choices.

Let me explain what this is all about. Guilt over food choices is like guilt over any other choice. And this is REALLY simple. It's so simple you're going to laugh. Guilt comes from an internal conflict when our actions are not in line with our goals and values.

Read that last sentence over...about 100 times. This isn't the first time I've shared this revelation with you. Yet, you might not have been successful keeping your choices in line. It's hard work.

Now, the nuances of it are where we have difficulties. Maybe the goals aren't ours. Or the values. When that is the case, it's very difficult to bring our choices in line. If you are constantly trying to meet some one's expectations, which are not will struggle. The values have to be yours.

External expectations are hard to live up to, especially when you don't buy into them. This is why the classic trophy wife has a hard time not eating chocolate out of her closet when her husband isn't telling her what level to do the treadmill at. Just an example out of thin pun intended.

The point is, the values around the goals must be yours. When they are it's easy to make choices in line with them. And when you make choices in line with are free of guilt. You are essentially rid of guilt.

Simple right? So, which are you? Are you guilt ridden, or rid of guilt? Your feelings around this emotion say a lot about how you're driving your choices, and whether your choices are in alignment with your goals and values. The solution is so simple, and the choice is all up to you.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rejoice in Decembeard

by Kris Pitcher

We have a traditional occurrence in our community during November centered around fundraising. I can really get behind that. But when I heard of this, I was confused. It's, "No Shave November".

Now, unfortunately my husband was not aware of this "opportunity". He missed it. His commitment however uncovered and even more exciting, holiday. Decembeard! He is in full spirits of the holiday and the beard is coming along very nice.

In fact, the following "Dear Diary" moment was recently posted by my husband in, "The Decembeard Chronicles":
The Decembeard Chronicles- Friday
Kris: after staring at my progressing beard and nearly bald head, "Are you some sort of hooligan?”
Me: “You could say that…”
Kris: “But like, one that does good?”
Me: “Well… one that gets into some bad stuff but you still root for me because you know that deep down I have a heart of gold.”
Kris: “Oh, okay.”
Me: “Plus I’m kinda a bad ass and I think you like that…”
Kris: “Sure do!”
Me: lol :)

The truth is, the beard is bringing us closer together. Many times, the holidays can be alienating times for people. They can be stressful and unpleasant. People tend to over-consume in every way possible to self-medicate from all the baggage they may be carrying along related to family and spending time together.

But not Decembeard. It's all about monitoring the beard, conditioning the beard, admiring the beard. It's about the wonder of not knowing exactly what the beard is going to look like. Wondering if it will get thick, grow curly, run down the neck...all questions of wonder.

He noted that after eating, there can be crumbs and such in the beard. I asked him if he needed a beard cleaning kit...with a comb for his pocket. He said he would just wash his face. I argued that he might be out and about and wouldn't he need some kind of, "Road Kit"?

He was certain this process would be simpler than I was envisioning it. I was thinking a little kit with a self closure, those wonderful little soap sheets, a comb, and a wicking washcloth...maybe even some essential oils to rub in there. You know, the beard cleaning kit!

Certain he didn't need any of that, he laughed and made gestures of stroking the beard as though he was thinking deep thoughts. Decembeard. There should be an advent calendar. Each window would show a new progression of the beard leading up to the end of the month.

And the chronicles continue at the Pitcher household. We are on beard-watch. And all across the land, people everywhere are rejoicing in...Decembeard!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Adrenal Fatigue, an Easier Way to Prep

by Kris Pitcher

Maybe I'm just feisty, but I've got an observation to share today. It's my own fault really for being addicted tuned in to social media sites like the faceplace. But I've noticed a correlation...

Many competitors who "share" constantly about being super hard core with their workouts, are the very same who after their show seem to have the elusive adrenal fatigue. I watch those same people post their party pictures of their massive consumption post competition and my wheels start turning.

Don't you think if you kept things a little tighter year round you wouldn't have to diet extremely, do seven hours of high intensity cardio on top of your plyo workout, your kickboxing class and your 3 hour lift sessions? I'll just take a breath here and let you recover from my marathon run on sentence there.

Bootcamp Blasters!
I'm really suggesting a few things here. First, more isn't better and you're not superior because your workout is super high intensity. In might be over training, doing the wrong type of training for your goal, and inhibiting your progress. I realize we're competitive, but we don't have to one up one another here.

Secondly, stop thinking your prep is a 12 week, or 16 week, program. Competing is a lifestyle. Your eating and exercise should be in line year round, not just for 12 weeks. Sure, it's going to look different. Your goals are going to be different and your plan will adjust for that. But if you are "free eating" for 40 weeks out of the're not serious about this.

Lastly, the above two points play into your chances of giving yourself adrenal fatigue. It's entirely up to you. If you start your prep with 30 pounds to lose and give yourself 16 weeks to do it. You better believe you're going to tax those systems.

There's lots of great information out there. But there is also a reason so many professionals make their living prepping competitors, this is a science. Figuring it out on your own is setting yourself up for failure if you just follow the threads.

I've said my piece. The way we prep shows. Think about the way you've planned to prep, and how you've spent your "off season"...what complaints do you have and what might be contributing to them? There is an easier way. I'll see you on stage!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Week on the Road

by Kris Pitcher

Last week, I spent a week on the road. I don't mean to say I was traveling...I mean I was on my yellow brick road. I was on track with my eating. Right. On. Track.

A Winning Team!
Great things happened. Amazing things happened. Predictable things happened. In. One. Week. My body responded like a well tuned machine. My metabolism kicked in and did exactly what it is supposed to do.

Day by day I watched the scale do it's thing. Magic? Not even close. I was eating to my plan. By the end of the week I had a net loss of 5 pounds. This is a great jump start and got me right back on track to where I want to keep myself moving through December.

Welcome to the holidays! Now, we'll slow things down. We'll take a close look at my macros and adjust things. It may be time to add some things in, or adjust things one way or the other. This is the way successful management happens.

It's exciting to be in the driver's seat. To be making the changes and controlling the speed at which things happen. And if this seems exciting to you, you need a week on the road!

You need someone to help you navigate the science, to create and manipulate your plan. To adjust along the way as you make changes. You need a coach! Hopefully you know where to find Team Pitcher. Help is just a click away!

Having your goals clearly in mind is the first step. Knowing your limitations and reaching out for help allows you to get there most efficiently. Get a jump on your January! Get on the road!

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Yellow Brick Road

by Kris Pitcher

If you think you're on track, you better take a look at your yellow brick road. With full disclosure, I was aware of my plan and in all fairness...I was doing my plan. But that wasn't all I was doing. And to throw a moment of Taoism in here, that was part of the plan.

I was forced to look closely at my yellow brick road however. You know? The road leading to your goal. The one with all of your success built right into it. The road you must stay on, and not stray, in order to reach your destination.

As it were I began to find malted milk balls on my yellow brick road. That's odd? Pastrami sandwiches. How'd those get there?

Along the way there was dried fruit, almond milk and even fudgesicles. There were servings of cream of rice and low carb days? Exactly what road was I on?

Turns out I was on the road to being 5 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. Turns out I was loosey-goosey's best friend. Turns out, my yellow brick road was paved with a few too many extras.

I wasn't traveling my road at all. I was going down some other road entirely. Sure, I was eating all of the meals packed with protein I was supposed to eat. The silver lining was that my brain did need a break. I did need to enjoy a few off season extras.

If I thought I could keep up with my husband's ability to enjoy his off season...I had another thing coming. Sure, I could keep up by enjoying the things he is enjoying...if I want to weigh 200 pounds.

As you can imagine, that is not my goal. That is his goal. It is back to my yellow brick road. My road is well traveled. It is laid out in front of me and leaves nothing to chance or question. It's one I can easily follow. And no, it is not paved with malted milk balls.

Friday, November 30, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention

by Kris Pitcher

Tis the season to raise your glass, right? It is also the season of choices. For many people, enjoying a libation here and there is part of the holiday cheer.

Consider a plan of prevention if you are going to indulge. A little pre-planning can go a long way toward helping you stay (somewhat) on track toward your goals over the holiday season.

Club soda is your friend. Add a lime twist and you are feeling refreshed. This is your "go to" drink between every alcoholic drink you enjoy. Pace yourself. You're not in college.

I had to actually laugh out loud as I looked up the calories in that cabenet you love. It's listed in a 4 ounce portion at 90 calories. So, let's multiply that by FOUR for the big girl glass...and the wine is 360 calories.

It's festive and the top shelf is being poured so maybe you have that pina colada that takes you back to your recent vacation memories. That will cost you 260 calories. Or maybe you go for the hot buttered rum in that tiny cup for 160 calories.

Champagne is always a lady's friend at about 130 calories (one glass to remain a lady). That whisky will cost you 220 calories, but it does go down smooth...

Now, you might want to consider the wine spritzer. A 2 oz wine topped with 6 oz of seltzer is just 40 calories. Lots of decisions to be made. Keep in mind an ounce of prevention goes a long way toward keeping you on track this season. Make wise choices as you raise that glass! Cheers!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Always Feeling Hungry?

by Kris Pitcher

Lots of people have trouble eating their calories. That is, eating all of the food their supposed to eat. As we are working toward our goals to increase muscle mass, and decrease fat we need the right nutrients in the right amounts.

It's not uncommon for people to struggle to get in the protein they require, yet they somehow find it easy to eat their carbs (that's another blog *smile). These folks tend to want to drink their calories. They'll drink five shakes a day. But there's a problem with that.

Those same people will complain that they feel hungry. Now, they are getting the right amount of calories, the same as they would if they were eating the solid food equivalent. So, what gives?

Ghrelin. Ghrelin is our hunger producing hormone. When we drink our calories, we don't signal the same drop in ghrelin as we do when we eat solid food. So, we still feel hungry. The challenge is people who drink their calories tend to overeat.

If you are one of those five shakes a day people, try reducing the number of shakes and increasing the number of whole food meals you're having. See if your hunger levels decrease along with that.

The solid food does require some preparation, planning and a cooler...but once you get a system down it's just as convenient as drinking a shake and having a dirty shaker bottle to contend with. Giving your body the right signals makes a huge difference in the chemical reactions that are happening.

If you struggle with hunger, send the right signals by eating solid food meals versus drinking your calories. Reduce that ghrelin and tell your body you aren't hungry. It's science people!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Holiday Force

by Kris Pitcher

With Black Friday behind us, we can without doubt say the holidays are upon us. There is no denying, we are knee deep in this. It's time to bring out the force if you're going to get through this season.

In good form I wanted to say, "May the force be with you." But honestly, the force must be within you. Making it through the holidays in one piece means you need to have the force within you to decide.

Making good decisions is all within you. There will be external road bumps, barriers and massive potholes every where you turn. When you are aware of the force within you, you're on a whole different playing field.

The thing about it is you go into the season with your choices already made. I'm going to stay on track with my eating plan. I'm going to continue to go to the gym and workout. I will do my cardio.

That is the "force", your plan. Knowing it and being committed to it is your decision. Period. December rolls around and suddenly everyone is too busy to workout? I don't get it. You're seriously THAT busy shopping and attending social functions that you can't give yourself one hour a day?

And the food! We know the food will be all around us. It will be in the break room at work, there will be pot luck lunches, and holiday gatherings. Specialty items will arrive at the door, they'll be on the shelves of the store, and of course you'll honor your family traditions.

The force will still be within you to make decisions about all that extra food. Do you really need to celebrate the season with a specialty cookie? Or can you enjoy a cup of peppermint tea instead? It's all up to you, your choices, your decisions.

How you make it through the next two months is entirely up to you. The choices you make are yours alone. The force is within you. Make it a good holiday!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday the Price is Yours!

by Kris Pitcher

The need for "one upping" has really come to an all time low. As a result, Black Friday has become an utter disappointment. Did you know you could have started your shopping last night at 8:00 PM?

You don't even have to camp out any more!? Retailers are on to you and they have the wool pulled so tight over our eyes we can't even see. Black Friday now begins Thursday afternoon. And why wait even that long...the sales started Wednesday.

The need for a week of endurance training and water depletion leading up to the big day is over. Sorry. You athletes out there have no thrills left this shopping season. Anyone can do it.

You don't have to be able to brave the cold, dark, stormy weather. You didn't have to pitch your tent or even run yelling, "Charge!" for the doors. This could waltz right in after your Thanksgiving meal and shop all night.

Frenzy? Not this year. Families are taking breakfast breaks after a successful night of shopping for deals. And maybe it's all for the best. This has never been a sport for the weak hearted.

Nope. This year everyone can shop at their leisure on "Black Friday" saving loads on over-priced items no one needs this holiday season. And as we do I have a suggestion, give yourself the most important gift of all this season.

Give yourself the gift of self-care now. Don't wait until after the next BIG meal. Don't wait until January 1st. Don't wait until all the company goes home. Don't wait until all the leftover pie is gone.

Get yourself off the couch. Drink your water. Put the "one glass of wine" which holds half the bottle, down. Take a walk, or get to the gym. Lay off the carbs and sugar. Eat what you are supposed to eat.

These are gifts only you can give. They aren't on sale today. They are yours every day and the price is your choice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Your Check In

by Kris Pitcher

I was just certain it would be more...the number on the scale. After a week of "unstructured" eating while traveling for Jacques' competition at Nationals I was sure I'd be up another five pounds.

Admittedly, I did some stress eating. I ate some garbage...I ate plenty of carbs. My workouts also took a turn for the worse as all focus went to getting him on stage. I did get two cardio sessions in and did full body workouts right along side him.

To say I was off schedule would be putting it nicely. So, when I stepped on the scale Monday morning upon our return, I was surprised. Pleasantly.

And my point is, I was beating myself up over nothing. I hadn't over consumed, I had remained pretty active, and my body probably needed a little rest. I was fine.

Here I am, nine weeks into my off season and I am still wearing my little jeans with the sparkly back pockets. The very same jeans I wore for approximately one week last year. One week!

Sometimes we work things up in our heads to be much more than they are. What we really need is a bit of a reality check. By checking in with my numbers I could see that indeed, I wasn't 140 pounds as I was certain I must be. But I was holding at 134.

There simply isn't any need to beat yourself up. Circumstances won't always be perfect, and neither will you. You work with what you have and you move on. You get back on track. And that Monday morning following our Sunday return...I was up at 4:30am on the stairmaster.

If you find you're beginning to get worked up as the holidays near, give yourself a break until you can work in your workout. It will be waiting for you. There's nothing to get worked up about if you are making good choices along the way. Check in, before you get worked up!

Monday, November 19, 2012


by Kris Pitcher

I am really excited about a tuber. As soon as I was done with my contest...I went right back to this tasty treat. I can't hold out on you any longer. I have to tell you how excited I am about jicama.

If you're not noshing on this crunchy're missing out. Like I said, it's a tuber. And, it's actually in the bean family. So, it's considered a sort of legume. It's popular in Mexico and it's referred to as the "bean-yam".

It's not bean-y, or yam-y. It's more water chestnut-y. I peel it and slice it and crunch it raw. It's mostly water and is a carbohydrate. But it's got a special characteristic.

It's full of dietary fiber and it gets its sweetness from a substance that stimulates the activity of bacteria in the digestive system. It's a prebiotic. The jicama is considered to be between a food and a medicine...

I have no idea if it's working any miracles in my gut, but it is refreshing and crunchy. It's also full of vitamins C, B, A and phosphorus and calcium. If you can find it, you should try it. It's tuberlicious!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Create Ready Set Go!

by Kris Pitcher

People get frustrated because they just never seem to be able to get going. They get the "ready", and they get the "set". But they have no "go!". The go really is the most important part.

The problem is, they don't really have the "ready" down. What I mean is they aren't ready for change. They might think they're ready, but the reality is change is very difficult.

Change means you actually have to do things differently. You have to change them. Pretty deep. You've heard the expression, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

It's true, if you keep doing the same things expecting a different outcome, you are not getting it. And you're not ready. You might even have the set and the go. But if you don't have the "ready"'re not going to get anywhere.

It's hard to describe but you know when you are ready to accept change. You know when you are willing to do things differently, to stop being defensive about your behaviors, to accept that what you've been doing might not be serving you well.

Those things take courage, humility and the ability to take direction. It's hard to come to the realization that you might not have been treating your body all that well. Seriously, no harm, no foul. You just make better decisions one by one. That's how you accept readiness.

If you've been wavering on readiness to change, think about making a small change today. Just a small one. You don't have to tell anyone about it, just do it for yourself. Small changes add up, leading to big changes. That's how you create "ready"!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fluff and Circumstance

by Kris Pitcher

Much of exercise is exactly as Nike says...just do it. But most of us put a lot of fluff and circumstance into the process making it really difficult to accomplish much, or be very successful at any of it.

What's fluff and circumstance? It's all the gear - the i-pod, the earphones, the arm band thingy, the newspaper/magazine/novel, e-reader, and the calorie burner/hr monitor. It's all the scheduling - when will I fit it in, what's the best time, what if so-and-so can't meet me?

The fluff is all the stuff and the circumstance are all the barriers we put up around why we can't seem to ever really make it happen. It's all the ceremony around making it into something bigger than it has to be.

Instead of spending all that energy on all of that...we could have already just done it. Ultimately, we're looking for excuses why it won't work instead of looking for ways to make it work. I'm not sure why our nature is to self sabotage in that way.

If you strip away all the fluff and circumstance you just have the actual work. So, my advice is just do the work. Quit looking for reasons why you can't do the work. You can do the work.

The work won't get done for you, no one but you can do, just get up and go. Put away your fluff and circumstance and get going. Strip away the can'ts and the won'ts for cans and wills. It's your choice to meet your goals. You create that. Don't let fluff and circumstance get in your way!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Anonymous Rubbish

by Kris Pitcher

The look in her eye told me this was something to share in a big way. I almost couldn't hear the words coming from her mouth because I was so struck by the sparkle...or the roar of the commercial clothes dryers.

No, it was the glint in her eyes as she recounted an experience she'd had 21 floors above. Now, there are chores no one likes to do. If you've ever had to ask someone in your household to take the trash out you know what I'm talking about.

It's almost as if you've just asked them to gather up all the trash in the house, strip naked, and go door to door selling it to the neighbors. In just want them to remove the almost overflowing bag from the kitchen and take it 50 feet outside to the trash can.

Taking the trash out is a chore no one likes. Everyone likes a fresh, empty trash can in the kitchen especially. But taking it out, no one likes to do the asking, or the taking.

When you're 21 floors up things are different. You urban dwellers might not know how good you have it. So, I'm going to tell you. Welcome to the rubbish chute!

The look in Susie's eyes, the sparkle, the joy in her voice told me without exception she'd just experienced one of the most exhilarating things in her life. And this is why I think that is.

As you open the chute and release your trash, you can hear the echo of it making it's way into darkness. Having only your imagination to determine it's final imagine it disappears into thin air. Almost. But the real joy, the pure joy, is the anonymity.

That's right. Anonymous rubbish. For me, this is THE most exciting part about the trash chute. You have all this high-rise trash coming from random places into one central location and no one knows what you threw away!

I love that. Maybe it was all the anthropology classes I took in college (which were very interesting but who's going to be an anthropologist?) but I don't want anyone analyzing who I am now or after I'm dead by going through my trash.

Having said that...I really should purge more of my stuff. Anyway, the point is it is a complete joy to release your trash in a chute rather than walk your trash outside. Period.

All you high rise dwellers can just pause for a moment and relish in your rubbish. My urbanites can take joy for a day in another way to look at your life. Because in the eyes of a rural living gal...having anonymous rubbish is pretty exhilarating.

Friday, November 9, 2012

On Strength of Character

by Kris Pitcher

Strength is an amazing thing. On Halloween, at work we had a Board meeting and we always try to do something fun to engage people. One of the members asked everyone to tell what they would dress up as if they could be anything.

I felt pressure. This could, after all, be a career limiting answer if I didn't select it carefully. I was thinking about super heroes with their strength and courage. But then sometimes...I already feel like one.

That might sound a little overly self confident, but as a competitor I hear a lot of, "I just don't know how you do it." And, "You have such strength to eat like that." Statements which make me feel like I have some super power.

Mine is nothing compared to that of my husband. I've watched him prepare for the NPC Nationals...and the time is finally here. He's eaten countless pounds of white fish and egg whites for weeks on end in preparation.

He's done hour upon hour of cardio often early in the morning and late into the night to accommodate his schedule with clients. He's maintained his ability to care for each of them along the way...even when it got difficult.

He's battled fatigue on the days when there just wasn't anything left to pull from. He's managed a smile for me even when he didn't feel the least bit happy inside. He pushed (and pulled) through his workouts until the very end.

Strength is an amazing thing. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. We can push ourselves beyond limits imaginable to reach goals unheard of.

It's due to strength of character. It's what's inside the heart and the soul. It's what's inside the mind. It's who we are at the core that drives us to dig this deep. I've never been more proud of my very own super hero. Hit that stage Jacques!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Forgive My Sins

by Kris Pitcher

This is the age old question. Everyone asks it. And while I'd like to grab you by the shoulders and shake you when the words leave your's not your fault because you've been programmed to repent.

It goes something like this. You go off plan. There are so many reasons why that might happen we'll just reach up in the air and pick one. You go off plan because you celebrate your wedding anniversary with a weekend get-away. (Sounds nice...)

The next thing that happens is you come back to your real life and you immediately stand on the scale (that's another blog all together). You don't like what the scale says. Even though you know you've gone off plan (you were there!) you are shocked, surprised, and saddened by what you see.

Then the question comes into your mind because you get this idea that you must repent. You ask yourself (or your trusted coach/trainer/professional), "What can I cut to get back where I started before my wonderful weekend?"

Seriously, don't feel sheepish, everyone does this. We are programmed to ask this question - which brings a question too big for even this blog, so I'll leave that one.

Here is the answer. Nothing. You do nothing. What you do is you get right back on plan. You eat exactly what you are supposed to eat, all of it. You do your exercise, all of it. You drink your water, all of it.

But you certainly don't cut any of the good stuff out. You cut the bad stuff out, which you will automatically do by not having brunch on Sunday morning in the resort. You're home now, back on plan. Do. Your. Plan.

That little celebratory break didn't set you back for weeks. You can get right back on track after enjoying the foundation of your life. No biggie. You don't need to repent for that. You haven't committed any sins. *Smile!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Point of Points

by Kris Pitcher

Being rewarded is nice. I'm a member in a million reward programs. Earning points for this and racking up rewards for that. You're familiar with these loyalty programs. You're earning miles, and points yourself.

Some people are really savvy at earning and using their points. These systems are perfect for the very frequent shopper or consumer. Which admittedly, I am not.

I think it's this "rack 'em up!" mentality which frustrates me about the points based diet programs. I'll preface my frustration by saying - these are great programs. It's really your behavior that I'm going to challenge.

Let's talk about the way you use your points, and the way the points might best serve you. I know you are saving your points like miles toward a big trip of a life time. When you want to drink with the girls or go out after save up all week.

What your "saving" means is you are going without meals. You are going without nutrition during the week so you can uncork your points later on. Now, if these were simply "reward" points for being a loyal customer...that would be fine.

But they are not reward points. They are points allocated for you to make food choices with. They are assigned in value form to various foods and combinations of foods so you can make educated choices regarding how you will spend your daily allotment of points.

They are a learning tool so you can make choices about how much things "cost". Your points help guide your decisions about food. It's currency to be spent on a daily basis. So, what's the big deal about saving them all up?

Well, calories are not created equal. What you will get nutritionally from an apple is much different than a 1 point 100 calorie snack treat. And certainly the calories from either of those are different than what you would get from 2 ounces of chicken breast.

The worst part of the save mentality, is by going without we are choosing to shut down our metabolism. Less is not more in the battle of the bulge. And the bottom line is if we save up all our points to use on empty calorie, zero nutrition, items...we're making a clear choice about our progress.

If you've gotten really savvy about ways to save up your're not cheating the system. You haven't pulled one over, or tricked anyone. You're just racking 'em up for the big one!

Think about your points in terms of currency you get to spend rather than rewards you are saving up. Make good choices about how you spend that currency and the value of the choices you make regarding the nutritional profile. The reward will be yours!     

Friday, November 2, 2012

Checking Your Cans & Shoulds - Cocoa Pebbles

by Kris Pitcher

Recently my husband, who is heavily dieting, said to me, "I don't know why you're not eating Cocoa Pebbles." He said this with a straight face, out of the the evening.

I thought to myself - yeah, why aren't I eating Cocoa Pebbles?! My initial reply was, "I didn't have enough money for Cocoa Pebbles." Which was another funny husband story about the cost of groceries.

In an attempt to use cash for purchases he gave me money for groceries which basically amounted to what they would have cost in 1979. It's OK, we each have our contributions and shopping the groceries is mine.

As I thought about it a little more, I realized there are a lot of foods I just don't know about. Foods I just wouldn't consider because I've forgotten they exist. Chocoliscious bowls of cereal fall into that category.

Dieting, or rather eating clean, for so long will do that to you. Now, as I go down the aisles of the grocery store it's overwhelming and I leave with nothing instead of one of the 700 types of cereal. I'm not really supposed to eat cereal anyway!

Now that I could have a few "goodies" such as cereal...I don't even want it. Not only is it overwhelming to pick one, but it doesn't fit into my plan...or my life any more.

So, the real answer to why I'm not eating Cocoa Pebbles is because: I forgot they existed; I couldn't find them if I was looking for them on the aisle; and I don't really want to eat that.

His question wasn't quite so literal. In the bigger context he wondered - now that I have free reign, how is it, or why is it that I'm keeping my diet so clean? The answer there is twofold. First, he's dieting. I'm working to be supportive and control our home environment.

Secondly, this serves me. It allows me to maintain control over how gradually my weight returns. It's my way of managing my rebound. By not keeping that kind of stuff in the house, I have to make a conscious decision to go out and get something off plan. Or in addition to my plan.

And like a lot of things, just because you "can" doesn't mean you "should". It's about making the right choice because of the goals you want to reach. My Cocoa Pebbles choice will help me get to my goals.

This is where I ask you to check your "cans" and your "shoulds" to determine if your choices are taking you on the right path. The path is yours, it leads to your goals. Is it paved with Cocoa Pebbles?  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Duh! Just Be You!

by Kris Pitcher

Flipping through a magazine, it recommended - don't be anyone but you. Duh! I thought. But it's not a duh moment for millions of women, and men alike.

Most people, most of the time are trying to be anyone but themselves. In fact, you is the last person you'd like to be!

Well, that's great advice. Just be you. Don't be anyone but you. We don't need to look for a new style every season. We should find a personal style which suits us, and keep it. Feel comfortable in it. Rock it!

Keeping up with everyone, or with what you think you need to be doing can be exhausting. And come to find out, no one really cares. No one is going to notice if you skip the seasonal table settings? Or, if you just carve the standard face into your pumpkin instead of making a masterful art piece out of it. It's. A. Pumpkin.

There's nothing wrong with doing all that if it's you. But it seems people get all caught up in the rush of being and doing what others are doing and being. Just be you. Seems simple.

When it comes to being you, stop apologizing. No apologies are needed. Ever. Take those compliments. Simply take them. Don't take them with the requisite apology about how you don't deserve them. When someone compliments say, "Thank you!" Period.

As we approach the holiday season, it seems like a good time to reflect inward and think about who we are. It's a great time to consider what's important to us and whether or not we are honoring that in our lives. Are we being ourselves?

I'm going to take that advice - Duh! Just be me. Being anyone else would just be silly?! How about you? Who will you be?  

Monday, October 29, 2012

On Shaping Change

by Kris Pitcher

Something really obvious occurred to me while I was watching Bath Crashers, walking up an incline on the treadmill focusing on my glute/hamstring tie in...

You have to shape your change, if you want to change your shape. Go ahead, read that line again. I'm not sure if another philosophical thought this big will come to me again soon.

What I mean is, it's not going to happen to you, or for you, you must shape the change in your life that is going to get you to your goals. I see a lot of people sitting around waiting for it to "happen". It's never going to happen.

How do you shape your change? You decide. You begin. You pick a place and get started. And then you keep going. It won't be perfect. It doesn't have to be 100% all the time, every time. You're human after all. You'll make mistakes.

But it's the change, the momentum, the movement - figuratively and literally - that you must shape. You do that. No one, no thing, no force does that for you. You shape your change. And your shape changes. Period.

And then someone got a new bathroom. But that only happens on TV. There's very little difference between those who succeed at weight management, at meeting their goals, at competing, and those who don't.

That little difference, whether or not they choose to shape their change. I wonder what you'll choose? I wonder if it seems as obvious to you? It makes me kind of excited to think you might find it simple enough to just begin, to shape your change.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Running Through My Head - Grunt!

by Kris Pitcher

There is no delicate way to lead in to this topic. No polite way to begin. So, here we go...What is with all the grunting in the gym?

I understand the physical exertion. I am myself a heavy lifter. But the grunting and groaning something else to me.

Maybe you're not aware of WHAT it does sound like. It doesn't sound like super human exertion doing arm curls with the 20's (I can do that). And here's the lack of delicacy. Ready?

It sounds like you're either trying to get a part in an adult movie - which will go straight to video. Or, like maybe you haven't had a bowel movement for several days. Either way, you shouldn't be making those sounds in the gym.

It's really the guys I'm concerned for. That sort of sound means thoracic pressure, and I'm concerned for your blood pressure. Besides, my CPR isn't completely current. I wish you would just breathe through the exercise. Exhale! (But without the noise?)

The second part of my concern is that the weight isn't that heavy. If a 40 something lady can lift don't need to make that sound while you're doing it. We can see you. We're proud of you. It's not necessary to draw that kind of attention to yourself.

Lastly, it makes me wonder what kind of noise you make in the bedroom. And I just can't erase those kinds of thoughts from my mind. I feel like it's not really my fault either. They are after all, your grunts. Yucky!

You don't want me wondering that sort of thing. And if you're wondering why I'm laughing audibly, now you know what's running through my head. Grunt!

My suggestion is we focus on the mind body connection of the lift. Focus on the breathing - exhaling as we exert. Quietly. I can't help but think this method would be better for most involved, most of the time. Happy lifting!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strange Gluten

by Kris Pitcher

I wasn't sure from their sideways stares if maybe they couldn't smell gluten in my lipstick? But the women in the Gluten Free Bake Shop made me feel like a visitor to a foreign land.

Or, maybe it was the dress I was wearing covered up by my suit jacket. In comparison to their jeans, smocks and bare tattooed arms, I did stick out like a sore thumb. They continued to scurry about casting sideways glances. A friendly voice caught my ear but I couldn't place where it was coming from.

Sitting at an out of place desk behind what should have been a customer counter was a pleasant man with very well groomed eyebrows. He chattered on about the items they had, the farms they buy from, and their box delivery program.

"Are you gluten intolerant?" He quizzed me with a smile. Caught off guard I told the truth. I confessed that I was not, but I eat a mostly gluten free diet. He was happy with that and went on to tell me about their organic ingredients.

The decor was a mix of cast away house plants, country grocery, with a children's sitting area. A mish-mash of "where am I supposed to go" and "what is this place" swirled in my head.

By that point I felt like I had to buy something from this strange place in order to leave without a voodoo spell cast on me. Settling on some southwest pepper crisps I took them to him to pay for my purchase.

"Oh, you pay over there." He said pointing to the back of the store where the ladies were bustling in their head scarves in the kitchen. He hurried around from his counter, where he revealed to also be wearing a dress. Turns out he is a she, well blossoming anyway.

He was the only nice lady in there. She helped me with my purchase and smiled while the others scowled, not looking directly at me. I couldn't figure out if it was my lipstick, or my dress, or my sisterhood with their tranny that bothered them.

The whole thing was a little strange and cult-like. I'm sure there's not a gluten free cult you have to join first. But if I ever go back there, I sure hope s/he's there. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my crisps!  

Monday, October 22, 2012

How Much Can You Bench?

by Kris Pitcher

I see posts about PRs or PBs...those refer to personal records or personal bests. (Not to be confused with PB & J. That's much different.)

This new trend stands to reason with the latest fad programs stressing how much and how many of certain things you can perform. Not to pick on anyone. Group programs come and they go throughout the life span of the industry.

I have to laugh when someone asks us in the gym, "Hey, how much can you bench?"  The thing is, we don't bench at all in the sense they mean. Flat barbell bench - nada. Don't do it. We just need to look like we do.

No PRs there! The PR is how long has my husband been able to rehab his torn shoulder without surgery followed by taking a year off for recovery. The PB is how long has he been pain free AND able to lift and continue competing.

My point is, what is the PURPOSE of your exercise? As you collect your personal bests for this and for that...what it the purpose of that. If you have one, great! Gaining strength in an exercise for a specific reason is great. Or just the purpose of "getting the lift" in that exercise is fine too.

Whatever your reason - fine by me - just have one. Which leads me back to the question, how much can you bench? What difference does it make? Incline, yes. Smith, yes. Dumbbell, yes. Cable, yes. Fly, yes. Every variation/combination/inclination/etc. in between...yes. But flat barbell bench, no.

The person asking that question will always have a story about how he used to lift more, but he got injured. This is the point in his story when he pats his belly and tells how things went to pot after that. It's the same every time, clockwork.

If you're happy with your PRs and PBs good for you. If you're not sure why you're collecting them, it might be time to reconsider your plan. What is the purpose? Me? I'm going to find a PB... & J.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Keep it Fun, Sized

by Kris Pitcher

They're popping up everywhere. The wear house stores have ensured we will not run out this year. And reportedly seven out of ten of us will spend on average $80 this Halloween. As a nation we will spend $8 billion on this holiday. Praise the retail gods. Wow.

Much of that is spent on costumes, scary decor and the requisite fake blood. But we spend a lot on fun sized (and full sized) candy. So, what will all that fun cost you this season? Let's look at some of our favorite fun sized bars:

  • Snickers 72 calories
  • Twix 80 calories
  • 3 Musketeers 65
  • Kit Kat 100 calories
  • Butterfinger 100
  • Milky Way 75 calories
  • Nestle Crunch 70
  • 20 pieces of Candy Corn 150 calories
A couple of things happen with these tiny treasures of fun. You want to try them all. I just listed a few. There are MANY more. And why not taste them all? You also lose track of how many pieces of fun you've had. So, your 75 calories quickly becomes 712 if you try ONE of each of the above.

You might as well main line me right up because once I've had one...I want to keep the fun coming. Lots of people just can't stop once they've started. And with a bite sized piece, you really don't feel like you're doing that much damage.

The damage adds up, and quickly. There are some things you can do to manage your own behavior at work and at home. At home my best advice is wait to buy the candy. The mega store is not going to run out.

If it is in the house, you're going to eat it. If you really live in a place where they will run out and all that will be left is Jolly it now and seriously PUT IT AWAY. It's not for you in so many ways. You are the only one who is going to control your home environment.

When you are away from home you need to make some decisions and have some tools. One good tool is sugar free gum. It's kind of gross to pull the gum out of your mouth and hold it while you eat a snickers bar. Your mouth is already busy. Chomp away. It's a good tool.

Drink lemon water, or lemon tea, and eat your regular meals on schedule. Keeping yourself on track helps your body know it's getting what it needs. It doesn't need a kit kat. When you are getting the protein, fat and carbs you are supposed to eat, you won't be craving sugar.

Decide. Make your decision ahead of time. If you'll be in an environment where you know those fun sized items will be tempting you...decide ahead of time how you will handle it. You are prepared, not caught off guard. Hello! There's gonna be stuff at the pot-luck! Plan ahead.

Not getting fat sized from fun sized is easy when you know what you're dealing with and when you make decisions about your choices. No one is forcing you to participate in Trick-or-Treating. Are they? Keep it fun!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Got Flashed!

by Kris Pitcher

I got flashed this summer. I didn't ask for it to happen. In fact, I wasn't even aware it happened until after. To be honest...I didn't even realize it was possible.

And I haven't been the same since! My husband had to explain what had happened. I was so clueless. Did you know there is a computer inside your car telling your engine to under perform? Lame! So, my husband had mine "flashed".

What? What did you think I was talking about?

Now, in my unassuming car I can race people off the line, jockey people into their lanes on the freeway and basically wreak havoc in my own 40-something kind of way. I'm high performance!

I guess what I'm wondering is what's telling you to under perform? What's holding you back? What "programming" will it take to get you to meet your high performance potential?

All valid questions as the days get darker, colder and shorter. We stack on the sweaters and hide for the duration of the winter. Heck I've pretty much stopped shaving my legs...

OK, I haven't, but things can turn ugly over the winter as the holidays are about to begin in pure domino fashion and the eating begins. Now is as good a time as any for you to get "flashed"! Why not kick up your performance when it matters?

The excuses are already building...Halloween is just around the corner. This candy is really for the kids. November starts on a Thursday - no one starts a plan on a Thursday. I'll wait until after Thanksgiving...pretty soon it's the New Year and you haven't shaved your legs!

Ugly. Turn up your performance now. No use in waiting. I'm certainly not waiting. I can't! Not with all this horsepower! Stay right except to pass, we've been flashed!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Public Service Acronym

by Kris Pitcher

Acronyms are great. The organization I am with has more acronyms than the military and sometimes I still need a translator. But recently I thought of a great acronym for every day use.

Now, they are great for learning. Any time you need to memorize something, or recall information, using them as a tool is super smart. This isn't for that purpose at all. It's for you to manage whether, or not, you should "comment".

Life is a great social experiment, but for those of us who have found our social platform on social media...OK, facebook, we are part of the greatest experiment of all. And as such, I have developed a new acronym.

It's creation was sparked as I would read people's comments on other people's posts. For instance, a post might read, "I got my flu shot today! Ready for a healthy winter!"

I'll be darned in socks if someone doesn't comment about how they don't "believe" in getting inoculated and how this person is perpetuating some Big Brother scam.

KITYS - When you are considering commenting on someone's post think about kitties. But not the fuzzy, meow-y kind. Think about KITYS - my new acronym.

Keep  It  To  Your  Self

Yes. Keep it to your self people. KITYS need to take over the social media platform and potentially the world. This person doesn't need a guilt trip about their flu shot. They aren't trying to create a political mud slinging throw down with you. They just want to get through the season without contracting the flu.

And I see this stupid "badgering" all the time. It's bullying for grown ups. It's being too emotional about your "positions". Who cares? Who cares if someone else has a different view point? Isn't that what makes this world work?

I know you want to be heard, to be right, and to have the last comment. But please for the sake of all think of KITYS every time you make a "comment". Thank you for taking time to read this public service acronym message. Now comment, and "share" it *smile!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Get Stacked! The Right Supplements!

by Kris Pitcher

You have done your research and you are in this thing deep! You bought the big stack designed especially for you. It's got your morning supplements, your pre workout complex, something to drink during your workout, the best post workout recovery and your night time repair complex. Your stack is even stacked!

And let me just tell you why all that isn't going to get you stacked like the "literature" in the magazine, or on the website, said it would. Because you won't eat your food.

That's right. You won't eat your food. You want to drink your meals, have a bar, and take a handful of pills. Supplements, however are designed to s-u-p-p-l-e-m-e-n-t your meals. Not replace them.

Your stack isn't going to get you stacked unless you are eating. Eating not only enough, but also enough of the right macros to fuel and recover. Eating is by far, the hardest part. It's hard mentally for most people. And it's just plain difficult to schedule it in.

Until it becomes a priority you won't make the gains you want. You won't see the progress and you won't get better. Nutrition and nutrient timing is the most complicated part of losing fat, gaining muscle and making transformations in the way our bodies look.

Whether you are a physique competitor or an average Joe/Jane trying to be healthy in the gym, you must get the nutrition right before your stack is going to make much difference. And by all means, if you are a competitor you have to get a handle on this piece.

Getting your food down, figuratively and literally, will change the game for you. You can't make up for poor eating habits by drinking your nutrition. It doesn't work. Take a look at what you're doing. How does it stack up?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Will Power!

by Kris Pitcher

People get confused about will power. We think it's some "thing" that certain people have, and enact, when it comes to staying on track. I hear it all the time...

"Oh, she's just got such great will power!" As if it were some magic potion or sparkle fairy dust you could sprinkle and shield yourself with. The problem is it isn't any of that.

It isn't a thing, or a shield, or a dust or potion. It's not even so much about your "will" as it is about your "won't".  The whole thought of will is rather passive. But won't, now there's something you can actually do.

What if we thought of it as won't power. The power really becomes yours instead of something you're waiting for to happen to you. Nothings going to happen to you when you're staring down a cupcake. You need won't power.

Won't power is about the choices you make in the those 20 seconds where you either turn the corner, or you don't. It's not about will at that point, it's about a conscious decision to - won't!

Won't is a choice you can make. I won't have that "fill in the blank" because it doesn't fit my plan. I won't stay up and watch this ridiculous show because it will set me off schedule and compromise my sleep.

I won't skip my workout and shop with the girls after work. Get the idea? It's about the decision you make in that moment. There is no will power in that split moment, there is only won't power.

The power is you making the decision vs. letting some elusive will overcome you and empower you to make the right choice. Don't give it up to will. Take it and decide what you, "won't". The power has always been yours. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This Kind of Sexy Stays at Home

by Kris Pitcher

If you think I'm must only know me on facebook. Are you from facebook? It's funny the notions people can get from a tiny profile picture.

Someone recently said to me, something to the effect that it's amazing that I'm always in shape. My husband laughed for me while I picked my jaw up off the floor.

Fat chance! He went on to say, "No, there's just no documentation of her off season body posted on facebook!"  So true! And why would I?!

But to really know me is to know me first thing in the morning. I don't wake like those people on TV...all pretty and made up. I wake up full of CRAZY! Only really special people know me this way.

It's. Not. Sexy. First I eject the ear plugs. They are custom and fit my ears like a glove. I have to kind of dig them out. Then comes the mouth guard...

I'm a grinder, what can I say? Molars, I've cracked 'em. Crowned 'em. Cracked the crowns, and chewed through bite guards. Be careful what you put between these jaws of steel. My husband recently eyed it in it's little container in the bathroom and said, "You can get a new one of those you know?"

It's is kind of ugly. I went on to explain that it was over $350 and I would wear that one until I chewed through it. Insurance doesn't cover it (at $350). They cover crowns (at $1,600). *smile.

Then you need to stand back and get a good look at my hair. Flock of seagulls? Kramer? Ringing any bells? Well, this hair has a life of it's own and you just never know what it's going to do through the night.

One thing is for sure, in the morning it looks like squirrels have made a home in there. Full of crazy. So, once you get passed all of that (yes, he's a good man to love me) and wipe the drool off my face I clean up pretty good.

If you think for one second I would document that, or most any "regular" day in the life...that would just be self deprecating. And why would I post that on social media?

You can keep my special, profile, moments and think I look like that all the time. Lipstick on and tanned and contest ready. But that's not me most of the time. Most of the time I'm the kind of sexy that stays at home!

Monday, October 8, 2012

On Merging

by Kris Pitcher

You know how frustrating it can be when you're trying to pull out into a congested area from a parking lot or alley. Drivers see you out of the corner of their eye, but look ahead. You have your signal on, you inch out, but they keep closing the gap on you. You try to make eye contact and send the message, "Would you let me in?". No one will let you in.

Now you're the one closing the gap. You have the right of way, why should you let that guy in? Sure you see him with his signal on, but you're trying to make that light and if you let him in you might miss it. Besides, no one let you merge. Don't make eye contact.

This is what it feels like to be different. To be the fat girl. The fat guy. It feels like no one will let you merge. It feels like people must see you but they won't make eye contact.

It feels like there's no room for you and people make a point of it. It feels like it's obvious you don't fit and some jerk has to make it apparent to everyone else around. It feels like you're just trapped there, waiting. It feels like it would be nice if someone would just let you merge.

Being nice in traffic is a lot like being nice in life. And my point is that everyone knows how it feels to be the one struggling, whether you know it or you know it.

So, stop being so mean. Start supporting one another, helping one another, and being nice. Start making people feel like they are important, like they fit in, let them merge.

Stop being so critical of yourself, and of other people. Quit picking away part by part until all that's left is one acceptable ear. Begin to see people for their character and potential rather than for what society perceives as their faults.

Stop closing the gap and start making eye contact. Be nice and let someone merge.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

You Weigh What!?

by Kris Pitcher

"If it's not too personal...what do you weigh?" he asked. We were at a work social function and I am always happy to talk about my hobby and if someone is interested - I'll tell all. His daughter had just competed in the bikini division at the show I was in and his interest was sparked.

Laughing I told him that I was probably about 125.5 on stage. His salt and pepper eyebrows went up in surprise. He asked about off season. I told him I work pretty hard to stay around 145. Shock!

"No offense, but you do not look like you could weight that much!" he said. None taken. I dispelled his statement that muscle weighs more than fat. Please know that 1 pound is 1 pound. Muscle is more dense though. I'll give you yes, I don't take up as much "space" as someone who weights the same, or less, and doesn't carry the mass I do.

He was fascinated. We carried on. He asked about my body fat percentage. Looking for a reference he asked what a typical "fit runner" might be. I laughed. No offense to any runners out there...but "typically" speaking they're the classic skinny fat.

I explained that my 11% would look very different from another person's based on the difference we might have in our lean body mass. So, there is no desired body fat percentage for a competitor to be when she, or he, is standing on stage. It's all about how you look.

All this to set the stage to get to my point. I have no idea what I weigh today. No clue. Thinking about this topic...I wanted to step on the scale. But here it is, so get ready...

IT DOESN'T MATTER. I know I was roughly 125.5 on stage (close to 4 pounds heavier than last year!) and I know that I'm heavier than that two weeks out. But the number itself does not matter.

My goal matters. My goal is to build. My goal is to take advantage of the rebound period to feed my muscles and grow. So I will gain weight. THAT is the goal. Why get on the scale?

I know my "number" will be going up. Why torture my psyche by giving it the slightest indication that the number matters when it doesn't. Two weeks post contest and I couldn't tell you if I'm 136, or 140? Don't know.

I know I'm not 125. And I don't need to be 125. That is not the goal. What is your goal? And how does your number fit into it? DOES it even fit in? Or could you just let the number go and focus on the work?

Allowing the scale to drive your focus is backward in my view. Focus on the work, on the goal and the rest will come. Trust me. Trust you! You'd be surprised how much you weigh...depends on how much weight you give it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Advice, Be Released!

by Kris Pitcher

What I have for you today is kind of special. A gift even. So, sit back and relax. Here's the advice you've been waiting to hear!

I know you've tried a lot of things. You have made some changes in your activity and in your eating over time. You ask a lot of questions and have learned a lot of new information. But you're still looking for that nugget of news that's going to really be game changing for you.

It seems you haven't liked the advice you've been getting. The blank stares, the justification to just do things the way you've been doing it. So, here's your big nugget - keep doing it your way.

And in the words of Dr. Phil, "How's that workin' for ya?" All you advice seekers have one thing in common - you just want to soak up the advice and keep on doing your old way. You don't want change.

You don't actually want to change your lifestyle? You wouldn't actually want to be uncomfortable? Give up the wine, the cupcakes, the late nights out with the girls? NO! That would be crazy!

You want to keep on doing all of that and still make progress losing weight. Garlic bread? Why not! Everyone else is doing it. Cocktail hour starting at noon? Dessert every night? The kids do...

Consider yourself released from advice seeking! Released! Be free! Stop asking us if you don't want to hear the answers we tell you. The answers aren't going to change.

We're going to keep telling you the SAME thing. Eat clean, do your cardio - yes every day, lift some weights to build your muscle mass, and change your mind set about how long you'll do this. We release you, get lost!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chewed Out - Evolution

by Kris Pitcher

A year ago, if you had told me I would of my own free will...give up sugar free gum. I would have slapped you across the face and marched off with my pack of Extra so fast your head would spin.

That was a girl with a pack a day habit. A girl with a mouth full of minty goodness, snappin' her way between meals without a care in the world. That is evolution.

After giving it up for this past prep, I don't think I need it any more. I've experienced the massive disappointment of their "dessert" flavors. Which, taste nothing like root beer float, or mint chocolate chip. Nothing.

Those pieces I did chew. Gas. The sugar alcohols along with the physical gulping down of air while chewing left my belly a bloated mess. No stank you.

And thus another evolutionary mark in my eating. With each contest prep I refine a little more, go back to fewer things, and become a little more discriminatory. Seriously, I would have slapped you.

It didn't start out that way. It's a process, it truly is evolutionary. You give up artificial sugars for a week and you might go right back to it. But give them up for months, and you feel their wrath if you take them in again. Headache, bloating...gas.

I probably won't go back to gluten in glutinous amounts either. I get instantly stuffed up in my sinuses when I eat it now. So, moderation - extreme moderation with the gluten is what I've decided is going to work for me. And alcohol? Still haven't had any since 21 weeks before my contest.

Some things just don't fit in any more. They don't meet the goals. They won't get me to my next level, and frankly I haven't missed them. If I don't feel good when I have them, that's a clue that I don't tolerate them well.

Evolution is my way of refining what my process is. It's my way of determining what works for my body and what I'll go back to following a prep cycle. So, you can keep your packs of gum, I think I'm all chewed out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stink Eye From the Weird Guy

by Kris Pitcher

There is a distinct dress code amongst women at the gym. It looks like this: hat pulled down over eyes, head phones in ears, eyes down, very busy look...or scowl even, across the face.

And guys, I'll give you a hint - the i-pod ran out hours ago, and I can't see anything from under this hat. But the reason I have to wear this get up is I'm getting stink eye from the weird guy.

That's right! And you guys get it too. What is with that guy anyway? Giving everyone the stink eye? Why is he staring? Why is he mad-doggin' everyone?

Now there are certain things in the weight room you just can't avert your eyes to. It's the "train wreck" effect. You can't NOT look. No matter how hard you try. But this guy seems to be following you with his eyes. Like he's trying to follow your workout or something.

I know this isn't paranoia. BECAUSE IT HAPPENS TO YOU TOO! So, I wonder if maybe we're just sensitive, or too sensitive, to why it's happening. Perhaps we think it's about us when it isn't.

Maybe they are interested in our program. Maybe weird guy wonders how it is we are lifting heavier than him. Maybe he's wondering how it is we are making so much progress while his beer belly just keeps getting "bear-y-er".

And maybe he's not just giving you the stink eye. Did it occur to you that he's giving everyone the stink eye?

I'm not saying let your guard down for "weird guy", by all means keep that repellent up. And DO NOT make polite conversation - that will turn into a dissertation you did not carve out time to hear.

Even stink eye guy has a story, and while it may not be one you're interested in...know that you are interesting, captivating and well worth watching. In fact, most people just can't turn away.