Friday, August 31, 2012

Secret Weapon

by Kris Pitcher

Training for a physique competition is not easy. It is not a short process. It's not something you "do on the weekends".

In my opinion, you're either all in...or you're not. People struggle with their goals. Getting from point A to point B during your contest prep can be challenging depending on how you've spent your off season. It can be a race depending on how short, or long, you've chosen to diet.

A 12 week prep would be a "quickie" for any one. And I don't care who you are, you better be in good shape when you start.

Me? I know it takes me longer. A lot longer. Which is where my secret weapon comes in handy.

Spending a full year eating clean and training hard might feel like a prison sentence to some. But for me, it's just part of getting back on stage having made some progress. After all, isn't that the point? Why just come in the same contest after contest? As a judge I see a lot of that and it confuses me to be honest.

Then once it's time to diet I flip the mental switch. It is on! And I'm grateful for my secret weapon. It's a savior really. It's ability to keep me on track, to comfort me when I'd rather stuff my face with foods in pictures posted on facebook. I couldn't do without it.

As the diet progresses and I begin to tire, I've got it in my back pocket to draw on. The final weeks ahead will test me in spirit and in body...and in mind. But I'll have my secret weapon right there with me.

What is it you're wondering? It's simple determination. Determination to bring my very best to the stage. Determination to not leave anything on the table. Determination not to wonder if I could have done just one more rep, or just 5 more minutes of cardio...or done anything more.

It's the strength of knowledge that I can and will eat what I am supposed to eat, when I am supposed to eat it, and nothing more, or less. It is knowing without a doubt that I trust my coaches, their knowledge and the process they've set forth for me.

It's determination to complete my journey. It's my secret weapon. It's nothing that any of you don't have within you.Yet somehow, it sets me apart. And that's the whole point, I will stand apart on a few short weeks. I'll see you there!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Random Thoughts of a Competitor

by Kris Pitcher

To be fair, many of my thoughts are quite focused. But then there are the complete random things that flow through my head. I thought I would share a peak into the mind of a competitor. Random thoughts:

  • Eye liner is hard: As I've been practicing my stage look, I have determined...eye liner is hard. One side is easy, but matching the other side to the first is very difficult.
  • I can grow a lot of hair in a week: I don't have/take time to shave my legs during the week. My mornings are precision timed and leg shaving doesn't fit. By Friday morning...I'm glad I'm light haired.
  • Things are gathering in a pile: My contest "stuff" is gathering itself in a pile on the bathroom counter. Nails, make-up, lashes...when you get all this stuff together - it takes a lot to look so pretty.
  • Squasholi does not exist: I had a dream that my sister put me in charge of taking a vegetable out of the oven. When it was done I stood in front of the oven and ate it. All of it. It was a long stalked broccoli where the stalk was filled with an orange squash. I woke in a panic.
  • Did I stop at that stop sign?
  • I LOVE pickles right now: When a pickle is a treat, you are a competitor.
  • I'm searching my belly for new veins each day: My belly button remains in it's proper position, but new parts of my vascular system become visible each day. I shouldn't do this in my office...
  • My mouth waters for sugar free gum: I'm going to try some of these fancy dessert flavors everyone loves after my contest. I have fish breath. Bad. Sorry everyone.
These are a few of my random thoughts. The ones I can public. The rest I'll just filter and we'll call it good. Three weeks to go and I'm working hard to stay focused, keep my sense of humor and perform on the job. So far, so good! *Smile!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Ate A Fatburger

by Kris Pitcher

I'm on a contest diet...and I should not be going around doing this. But, I ate a Fatburger. In exactly four weeks I will be on stage. So, what am I doing eating at Fatburger?

Well, I didn't exactly eat there. I drove by there. I didn't know it was there actually. I knew there was a Fatburger at the casino. And, I have eaten there. For real. Apparently we have another Fatburger.

When I drove by I had this amazingly real fantasy about eating there. I could smell the burger, the fries...I could feel the fizz of the bubbles of my diet soda. My mouth started to water and I could smell that hot, salty french fry smell.

I don't even think I like Fatburger? I've eaten there once. One time. Ever. But dieting for a contest will make you want things, fantasize about, things you never really even want. I noticed the price of Pop Tarts for instance.

Off season, I would never eat a Pop Tart (sorry Mary). It just wouldn't be my first choice of something yummy to pick. The guy who checked out my groceries asked me if I liked the fish I was buying.

Yes, in fact I do. And that's why I was buying 16 pounds of it. He went on to tell me all about how his 13 year old daughter did not like fish, or shrimp, or scallops. I was drooling on the keypad of the thing you swipe your credit card on.

His daughter does however like pickled herring. I'll be damned if I didn't have the strongest craving for pickled herring that I still can't kick! Now, that is something I would eat off season. Please don't hate me.

My fantasies will continue and I hope they'll seem as real as life. I hope I can smell and taste and reach out and almost touch them. Then I'll smile in the mirror and march through the next four weeks as I make my way to the stage.

I don't even know if I like Fatburger? Who knows, maybe I'll give it a's just four weeks away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baggy What?!

by Kris Pitcher

You know I'm up front with you. Well, up front...things are changing. When you're dieting it's not uncommon to think things aren't changing. You might feel like you're not making progress, or that your measurements aren't any different.

Then one day you put your bra on and...the girls could use some friends. There's room to have a party in there! Heck, invite some people over because there is PLENTY of room!

What is going on when you need a size run of bras? It's one thing to need a size run of pants, skirts or even purses (kidding). Actually, depending on how many meals you need to carry you might need a size run.

But seriously, if you've dieted you know what I'm talking about. Natural or not, things are going to change. You loose fat from all around your torso, including...well right up front.

So, the drawer is full and I am not. I have fewer items to wear in that department. It won't be until off season when those items come back out from the drawer. With it will come the extra weight no one wants.

You have to give and take in this fill your sports bra that is. Baggy it is, for now. Can I borrow those socks?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Let Us Fill Your Cup!

by Kris Pitcher

Remember what your mother told you? "Why buy the cow if they can have the milk for free?" Giving and receiving is an interesting thing. There is a delicate balance there. Sometimes you give...hoping to receive. And. Nothing.

It's a good reminder that we should give to give. This is why you never loan anyone money. You give them money without expecting it back in return. Should you get it back in return one day, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Advice is the same way. Knowledge is power they say. Well, maybe. But everyone seems to want it for nothing. "Can you just give me your diet?" They'll ask. Um, no? I paid for that and someone is making their mortgage payment because I did. Besides, it's my diet - meaning it was developed for me.

Applying that same information to just any old body doesn't work. It's the manipulation of the information that makes the science work. So, no - you cannot just have my diet, my macro break down, my calorie count, my workout plan, my peak week protocol.

All too often we want to cut corners. But cutting corners doesn't work in manipulating body composition, in building a body, or in creating an outcome with a physique. This is a science. General information is just that - it's general. You can drink that milk!

I'll pour you a big old cup of that milk any day. In fact, it's my pleasure to do so, to dispel bad information and to guide people toward great information. I just can't help myself from doing it.

And when you're looking for specifics, designed just for you...I hope you'll come this way too. Because your cup will over flow! Team Pitcher has you covered. *Smile!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fried Chicken of My Dreams

by Kris Pitcher

There are times during a contest prep diet when your head begins to fill with strange things. Exciting things. Forbidden things. Fried things...

Your senses are heightened to the fact that the world around you is filled with sights, smells and tastes that will not get you to your goal. Foods and choices surround you which will set you back if you have an ounce of weakness in your tiniest finger.

And I eat in my dreams. Last prep, I woke suddenly in a panic having dreamt I ate a banana. Big deal you're thinking. It was a big deal. This week I dreamt I ate fried chicken.

I wasn't worried about it...chicken is on my plan. But then I went back into the kitchen of the restaurant (don't ask me why) and I realized that they had fried it in a giant vat of hot oil. I was mortified. Fried chicken!

At 5 weeks out I cannot be eating fried chicken. I woke up feeling upset and disappointed in myself for letting that happen. Realizing it was just a dream I was comforted in the notion that there is indeed nothing fried in my life. Nothing. I was also comforted in the immense strength of my tiniest finger.

For the duration of this journey, this is where my eating will play my dreams. And in my dreams I'll be eating fried chicken.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Broccoli Belly

by Kris Pitcher

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that can give people trouble. Gassy trouble. It's considered part of the brassicaceae family , or cruciferous.

You can find cauliflower, cabbage, cress and bock choy in this family as well - Brussels sprouts too. But broccoli belly is an external condition.

Broccoli belly is brought on after an evening cardio session, when you are eating your meal in the reclining chair. I love broccoli and I eat a lot of it. I buy it frozen for ease of preparation and my cart is filled each week with it. Filled!

This condition happens when you are eating your meal in your sports bra (the joys of doing cardio at home) in the reclining chair and you have a mishap with your spoon. Broccoli tumbles onto your belly resulting in...broccoli belly.

Now, in itself the condition isn't so bad. The problem is broccoli is a wonderful transporter of condiments. I like chili sauce, curry powder and cinnamon lately. It's a tasty combination and makes a creamy, sweet yet spicy mix for my broccoli and chicken. It is however a dangerous combination for the belly.

Luckily when broccoli belly occurs you have much longer than the 5 second rule to retrieve and eat the broccoli since it has fallen on your own body. I just wanted you to be aware of this condition and the dangers of broccoli, reclining chairs, and evening cardio. Happy training!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Important Condition!

Look for an important post tomorrow about a condition you should all be aware of!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Looking For My Mojo

by Kris Pitcher

Each contest season is certainly different from the last. This one is for me...and I might have lost my mojo. My writing mojo. I'm not sure if it's you, or if it's me to be honest.

Let's say it's me. Keeping up with my life is getting increasingly difficult and I'm not gonna lie...well I guess that was it. I'm not gonna lie. There's simply a lack of time issue. How does that lady on the McDonald's commercial blog on her phone?

Then there's the you who are no longer reading...which isn't you I realize. It's the other you. So, if our audience is shrinking and I'm shrinking and my life is shrinking...well there you go. Maybe people just aren't interested in Bliss.

I have to say I am excited to be working on another writing project. A larger piece of work. So, there is that. And maybe it's the diet talking but I've determined the world doesn't need me quite every day. Perhaps with less frequency the world would be just fine with their Kris fix.

This isn't a "whoa is me" moment...just more of a worn out moment of sorts. Be patient as I make my way to the stage and my life shrinks, my focus heightens and I've got less to give. I'll still be here in sprinkles, so I hope you'll be patient and keep your eyes out.

And hopefully you won't be bored to tears with the trials and tribulations of my contest prep, my first attempt at women's physique, and figure for that matter...mean while I'll be looking for my mojo. Maybe it's with my carbs?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gluten Gone! Gluten Free

by Kris Pitcher

From skin rashes, arthritis, and depression to MS, ADHD and even Alzheimer's disease...gluten seems to be connected to many maladies. Some are slightly intolerant, while others are deathly allergic.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye including spelt, kamut and yes...malt. It's used as an additive in foods for flavoring, stabilizing and thickening and you'll find it on labels as "dextrin".

Many include oats in the gluten family, although the medical community is not in agreement. New research is finding the protein in oats has very similar structure to that of gluten. What they do generally agree on is that cross contamination of oats with wheat is very common. They are grown close together, and often processed in the same plants.

Interestingly, gluten can also be found in over the counter medications, vitamins and even cosmetics such as lipsticks, lip balms and lip glosses. It's a great stabilizing agent after all. Be sure to really check your labels carefully.

Speaking of labels, the FDA considers an item to be "Gluten Free" if it has less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten. I did have to laugh when I picked up a box of Cream of Rice and it said gluten free...yeah, that's because it's rice!

Aside from serious medical issues and syndromes associated with gluten and the need to have gluten free diets, many people are choosing to go gluten free and seeing amazing results. Once they take the gluten out, they begin to lose weight.

Going without is like not breathing air. Gluten is everywhere, and you really need to plan if you choose to eat gluten free. But it's no surprise when you take the wheat out of your diet you would begin to lose weight...even if you replace those carbs with things like brown rice and other items.

You'll certainly give up most any goodies you haven't made yourself in your kitchen with your own two hands, and that will help you drop a few right there. So, there isn't any magic here.

But I can tell you from removing the gluten from my diet, including the oats, I have actually seen a difference in my sharpness. I am not as inflamed overall. And it's noticeable. I don't have that same lower belly bloat that looks like I haven't gone to the bathroom in 3 days. Sorry, TMI.

Whether you choose to incorporate a little or a lot of this way of eating into your plan, it's interesting to know what is being linked to this protein. Sorry gluten, you're gone!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Things I've Quit

by Kris Pitcher

At the six week mark and counting down to contest day, I've made a lot of changes so far. As I think about it...there's a lot of things I've quit.

I've quit some extraneous vitamin C. I've also quit my calcium, but that's just because I'm lazy. It's best to take it away from your other vitamins and I just end up forgetting. Really I just need to put it in my cooler and take it during the day.

No more truvia. That's right. I've given up my sweet meat. Which might make you throw up a little upon reading, but breakfast is yummier when it's a little sweet. Gave that up. Done with it.

You know I gave up my beloved pizza some weeks ago. Done with that and all the other gluten in my life. Except for soy sauce. It's made a big difference. I must have a slight intolerance to it, because I sharpened up when I took it out. Bye-bye!

I've given up on the idea of not feeling hungry. I just expect to feel hungry. It's part of the game. If you're not hungry...well, I wonder if you're dieting hard enough. It's fine, I'm good.

You also know I've given up on having all of my clothes right side out. Doesn't matter. I mean, I'm not dragging to work in a disheveled's just what I'm sleeping in. My husband doesn't seem to care. I've even taken to one of Karly's tips - sleep in some of my workout clothes so things go faster getting to my cardio in the morning. Thanks Karly!

I've quit idle chit chat at the gym. I'm on an eating schedule and I've got to get my workout done, so I can get home and eat. Keeping my husband on track with this is another story. He's got a lot of stories to share.

As I get more focused, I'll give even more things up. My world will get a little smaller and a little more compact...and so will I. The countdown is on!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Right Side Next Time

by Kris Pitcher

Life can get a little busy, especially when you are training for competition. Your days get shorter as you have more food to prepare and more cardio to do. The good thing is your slightly deprived brain sees things a little differently.

I admit when things find themselves in the laundry basket...they are most always inside out. That's just what happens when you peel something off a sweaty body. They go into the washer that way. And alas, they come out of the dryer that way.

Normally, as I'm folding the laundry - which I do right away because I have a strict NO IRONING policy - I turn things right side out. Early one morning as I was rushing to get some clean clothes folded before running off to work, I held up a tank top I wear to sleep in...and it struck me!

It will be right side out next time! Ha! I've mastered the system! I folded it carefully into the pile and went along my way. Sure, I put the things that mattered right side out, but these items do not matter.

Contest prep will do that to you. It will show you just what matters. It doesn't matter if my tank top is inside out while I'm sleeping. What matters is it's clean, folded, and it will be right on the coffee table waiting for me when I need it (sort of kidding).

Are you doing the things that matter in your life, or are you spending time "turning things right side out"? I wonder sometimes how much time we spend on things that just don't make a difference. Things that just don't matter.

With a smile on my face and a load of laundry checked off the long list of things that have to get done to keep the household running, I felt pretty good about my revelation. And tonight when I go to bed in my inside out tank top...I might just be too happy with myself to stand it! Ha!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Use an Ounce of Protection

by Kris Pitcher

It's that wonderful time of year when we can finally catch some rays. Do people still actually sunbathe? I think they do. I've taken to covering up since I was about fifteen years old and I'm grateful for a good SPF. Are you using protection?

I still see and hear people using sunbeds to get a "base tan" so they don't burn. That's like having "practice sex" so you don't get pregnant.

Don't get me wrong, I love the sun. When I'm out in it, I cover up with a good UVA/UVB SPF 50 sunscreen. The rules to reapply are every 90 minutes. And you should be using about an ounce to cover yourself.

A broad brimmed hat is great to shade your face and neck as well. Who wants crepey skin? I always have a cover up in my bag for when I have just had enough. Being able to put on a loose long sleeved tunic is a relief in the heat.

But sunscreen isn't just for summer. I use it all year round. Protecting your skin is the best thing you can do for anti-aging. Forget the expensive anti-wrinkle creams, fillers and lifters and use an ounce of protection.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Feel Younger Now!

by Kris Pitcher

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." -George Bernard Shaw

People all around me seem really old. Everyone is on their phone, texting or doing whatever they do to disconnect and not make eye contact. While we are the most communicative, emoticon filled world right now...we're really boring.

It's happened in part because we don't know how to have fun. Together. We know how to have fun playing Words With Friends. But, does that really count? Is that really being present in your life? I'm not so sure.

What are you doing in your life for the pure enjoyment? This is play. This is fun. You might be thinking of a few things. But here's the requirement, your mind (or body) are wholly active. Remember the last movie you "watched" at home. were on face book on your phone the whole time. You weren't engaged in the movie. You weren't present.

The thing about becoming present in those moments is it makes us feel younger. The simple pleasure of enjoying those things and being wholly active in them, makes us feel younger. It actually reduces stress and helps us connect internally.

There's a thought! One of the things I love about lifting is I am fully present, in mind and body, in the moment. I'm also fully present with my partner. That's real nice too ;)

Allowing yourself to be immersed in what you are doing brings a heightened sense of awareness to that thing. In the case of lifting you are making the mind-body connection, mind-muscle connection, which will take you to another level.

While I'm doing this...I'm not shuffling songs on a play list and I'm not on my phone, I am fully immersed - wholly active in what I am doing. I love this time. It makes me feel younger. You may define your play as something completely different, and that's great.

Look for the same qualities of being wholly active, and you will have found your sweet spot. You'll be feeling younger in no time!