Friday, December 27, 2013

Giving it Up in 2014

by Kris Pitcher

There are a few things you should consider completely giving up in 2014. I want to run them by you while you are in the process of developing your resolutions. Please consider adding these...I mean, subtracting these this, coming year:

  1. Beast-Mode: All year everyone, I mean EVERYONE, has been in beast-mode about everything. It's time to admit, this is silly. Everyone can't be a total beast. Let this one go. Give your shirt away.
  2. Killing It!: This should be obvious. You can't be killing everything either. Killing your bis! Really? Just do your workout. We know you've killed it. Tough girl...
  3. MY Way: Stop getting mad if someone isn't doing it your way. There's more than one way. This isn't a cookie-cutter deal. Stop hating on the way someone else does cardio. Don't be mad.
  4. Gangsta: I know you are not in fact a gangster. Please let being "gangsta" go. Just take your hoodie down and grow up.
  5. Bad Ass: I know, this is hard for me too. I even have socks to declare my status as such. But do we really have to stomp around and act like one? Feeling like one on the inside is fine. This gig is over.
If we can just let go of some of these tough exterior, self-driven, labels...we might just have a kinder, gentler 2014. Check yourself and decide if these things are really "age appropriate". Are you really making friends projecting yourself this way?

Put down your attitude and you might just make some new friends. You might just begin to surround yourself with people who have similar interests, who are on the same path as you...who aren't laughing at you.

I'm not exactly sure what the new year will bring, but I'm pretty sure these things are tired. 2013 used them all up and it's time to seriously consider giving them up yourself. Expand who you are and how you define yourself. Give it up this year :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Season Unwrapped

by Kris Pitcher

Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas to all those around the world who celebrate those holidays this time of year. And a Happy Non-denominational Winter Season to those who celebrate in other ways! Regardless, it's a season full of tradition and reflection.

It's a good time to reflect on the year behind us, and to look forward to the season ahead. You know me, I'm not big on resolutions. But I am big on getting your head straight about what is important to you.

As you spend time today with family and friends, loved ones, get straight on what it is you value. What is important to you in this coming year? What will mark success? What will you work toward? And in the end, how will you measure it?

Will you measure it by the biggest pile of wrapping paper and ribbons? Will it be measured by who got the biggest, most expensive gift? Or by the most decadent meal? Will it be measured by how you spent an extravagant amount on surprising someone special? Will it be having all the latest electronics?

Maybe it will be some of those things. Part of feeling success is providing such that those in our lives don't "want" for things. But maybe success will be in health, in happiness, in moving your goals forward. Maybe it will be in traditions unspoken, whispers of who you are as a family, or as friends.

Maybe reflection will bring pride in accomplishments, or hunger for more. This is a good time to slow down and think about your success to goals in the year past, and how you'll meet your own expectations this year to come. What do you want for yourself? What will build on the year behind us?

Once you clear the piles, and piles, of wrapping paper from the living room floor, take note of your own season unwrapped. As you enjoy the festivities, whatever they may be, take joy in those quiet moments to wrap your head around what you want for the upcoming season.

'Tis the season, to make it all yours. Happy Holidays from Fitness Bliss!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Attraction, It's the Law

by Kris Pitcher

You know those positive people, always seeing their cup half full? They just have all the luck, right? I mean, everything just falls right into place for them.

Or does it? I believe very strongly you attract things into your life. The energy you put out into the universe, comes back to you. This is the law of attraction and it can work for, or against you. It's up to you.

What kind of energy are you putting out? What kind of messages are you sending, to yourself? Are you focused on what you can't do, or what you are capable of? Your perspective determines what comes into your life.

If you want success in life, any aspect of life, you must attract it to yourself. That begins with clarity on what it is you want, and what it is you don't want. What will you accept in your life, and what are you unwilling to tolerate?

Big questions. But attracting energy, success, into your life begins with you understanding what it is you want. Once you define exactly what that is, you begin to do the things necessary to achieve it. If you're the least bit unclear of your goals, you'll attract chaos.

So get clear. Write it out, cut out a picture, put up a calendar...what ever it takes to literally put it in front of yourself. Do it. I have a calendar on our refrigerator that has a contest picture of me from last season. It has contest dates, and I can SEE my path every single day.

Everything I choose begins to attract my goals into my life. I am manifesting them. I am surrounding myself with the right people, I'm centering my thoughts around them, I'm literally keeping them in front of me, and I'm making decisions which will draw me to them, and them to me.

It's a conscious process, a thoughtful and deliberate process. The law of attraction is not based on hope, or prayer. It's based on work, on focus, and on clarity. As the new year dawns, we have the perfect opportunity to find clarity about what it is we want to focus on.

We have the chance to make a fresh start, to turn the page on the new calendar, and to see our path forward. Put yours right in front of you. Look at it. Make choices around it. Draw it to you. Attraction, it's the law.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weight Loss Goals, Just Go!

by Kris Pitcher

Our town built an epic new round-about. Watching its engineering was both frustrating and exciting. Not quite sure how it was going to turn out, when the (slightly overdone) traffic revision was completed...I was excited.

Now, a round-about works when everyone just moves into it, yielding as directed, going with the flow. I'm still waiting for the snow to really fly so I can practice my drift turns around this beauty.

There's always the driver who stops, literally stops, and signals their direction of travel. When I was behind said person the other day it made me think of all the people who will soon take on challenges for the New Year.

Many of those will be weight loss goals, or goals around eating differently. Let me give you some advice. You don't need to stop and "signal" your direction of travel to everyone. Just start moving in the only direction there is to go.

See, I've found the most excited people, who shout the loudest (signal) often are the quickest to lose direction. You want to make changes? Great! Just begin to move into traffic and make them. You've tried lots of things before, and frankly, people expect you to fail.

Don't tell them. Keep your indicator off. You don't need to signal. Just move - they'll figure it out. My point is, it's unnecessary to indicate all the changes you want to make to people who only sort of care. It's really just important to you and maybe your closest confidant.

Telling the person behind you in line, or your co-workers, or everyone on your social media friends list isn't necessary. You don't need to signal. Just go.

Signaling just puts the pressure on you. You don't need that. You need support from your closest people and that's it. Signalling puts some huge end-all out there. Simply begin. Just go.

You'll be more successful with less pressure, less fanfare, and fewer people around you watching for you to fail. Don't hesitate as you move into the round-about of what you want to change. Simply go forward and do it without signalling. Just. Go!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Take it Back

by Kris Pitcher

Life gets busy. Even my life full of balance and blah, blah, blah. When it does, I don't always find time for writing. Heck, I don't always find time to move the folded laundry off the coffee table. But then, who has a problem with getting dressed in the living room?

The thing is, writing centers me. Sure, I do it for you...but mostly it's for me. It helps me find my balance, express my creativity, gives me a platform to share what I think, and keeps things going in my brain where I store my "stuff".

It also helps me create a community of like people who are all trying to do similar things...or are at least struggling in similar ways. Which we all are. And what I was thinking most recently, is - where has my time gone?

It's a busy season full of too many pot-lucks, too many social obligations, and far too many errands buying gifts for people. We were out on one such trip and I simply told my husband if the gift didn't work, the recipient could take it back.

"Giving a gift that someone has to take back is giving them the gift of work." he said. I laughed at the simple truth to that. No one wants to return a gift. In a time when most of us have too much stuff, what we don't seem to have too much of is time.

Managing our time is an important factor in determining our success. So, while I'm getting my meals prepped, waking to the alarm at 4:30 am to do my cardio, and conserving most of my precious evenings to get my lifts in...somehow on the weekends I'm not finding time to write.

And I'm missing it. So, get ready for (and this is by no means a resolution), get ready for thought provoking blogs. Be ready to feel slightly uncomfortable. Smile when I tell you we need to sit down for a chat. Know I will tell it like it is. And finally, let's not ever have to make time to take anything back in life.

Friday, December 13, 2013

She Bangs

by Kris Pitcher

I may not exactly have thought this out real well. In fact last year I missed it all together. As the year is drawing to a close I looked back on my calendar realizing it was time to schedule my mammogram.

When I called to make the appointment, the very efficient scheduler told me my last one was in 2011. How did I miss a year? Everyone with boobs, which is everyone...will eventually get her, or his, day under the "paddle" for their pictures.

"No deodorants, lotions, or powders." she reminded me on the phone. Dreading the morning of my appointment, not for being squished between plastic, and having pressure applied to my girls...I was dreading no deodorant.

This is not a good situation for me. But comply I did. Now, what I did not plan very well in conjunction with this very important annual exam, was it was also my first day with bangs.

Silence? Well, the last time I had bangs was approximately 1980, which was a long time ago. There wasn't a lot riding on them at that time. Today however...was different. Dripping with sweat from my morning cardio, there was no way I could salvage the darling bangs my stylist had so beautifully created the night before.

I had to wash my hair. Once I got my product in, I decided to dry the new bangs first. They seemed to have a life of their own, and images of 1980 came rushing into my head. No deodorant. I envisioned the bangs heading straight up toward the sky. Not a good combination. I could feel the perspiration begin to bead under my arms.

After diffusing the rest of my hair I dislodged that piece from the end of my dryer, turned the air on low and began to do my finish work. I might have said a prayer. Pulling and finger curling my new bangs they sort of began to look like they belonged.

Not enough. I needed more tools. From under my cabinet I pulled the worlds smallest flattening iron (thank you Shelly) and plugged it in. Thinking I would use the iron to both flatten and curl the bangs into the side of my hair - you could say I had a vision. A vision of how things should go.

There came a point where any more work might render the project a "do over". I stopped, put down my tools, and opened the other side of my cabinet. Finishing product. And my prayers were answered.

A glop of smoothing cream, some tugs here, and wax there, all followed by a spritz of hair spray...I think I did it! Patting my armpits dry, I looked in the mirror pretty happy with my result. Day one down. She bangs! I can't wait to do it tomorrow with my deodorant on. Now? Does that count as second cardio?... 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Athlete Sponsorships

by Kris Pitcher

It seems to be every one's dream to be a sponsored athlete. Sure, it's nice to have someone else pay the bills. But is there really money to be made?

In a multi-billion dollar industry it's pretty important to keep in mind the company has the most to gain. Recently, a company put out a call on social media for entries to be considered for their 2014 sponsorships. I couldn't help but look at their application.

Heck, who doesn't want free product? Well, the requirements actually were not only time consuming, but also costly for the athlete. Certainly the obligations to the athlete were more than the free product being offered as sponsorship.

Who wins here? Maybe the athlete if they need exposure, are looking for modeling, or expo opportunities. But be careful of the time commitment you may be signing up for with your "free" sponsorship.

How much selling of their product on your social media accounts will they expect from you? It's all in the fine print. You did read the fine print didn't you? How many in-store sampling sessions will they want you to do on Saturdays?

There are some great opportunities out there, don't get me wrong. Just don't sell your soul for a 5lb tub of protein. Keep in mind you are a reputable athlete who people follow, trust, and look to for advice. Do you want that to be bought by your sponsor? How valuable is YOUR time, your reputation, and what are you willing to put your name on?

Truly, it depends on what your goals in this industry are. If you are looking to get some competition expenses covered, there's that. Are you looking to increase your visibility as a model? Are you an elite level competitor truly a few steps away from becoming a pro? Or are you just looking to get your nails done for free for your next show?

Sponsorship can mean a lot of different things. You can look for it within the industry, or from businesses and companies outside the fitness industry. It's all about relationship building, sharing what you can do for them, what they can do for you, and making all of that work in your best interest.

Corporations have something to gain, and as an athlete you have something to gain. You shouldn't be signing up for a second job for some free product. Make sure you know what you're getting into as a sponsored athlete. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Managing the Holiday Frenzy

by Kris Pitcher

Tis the season for over commitment. It's a good time to reflect and remember you are in control of your calendar. As the holiday season gains momentum more of your time will be filled by mounting priorities.

It's important however to be clear in your own mind what you really need to do. What do you really need to spend, to buy, to do? How much decorating, baking, hosting is really necessary? What traditions are really crucial to you?

There are traditions we really want to maintain, and there are others no one seems to care about. Maybe those can go. The reality is we only have so much time, and maintaining our health and fitness goals over the holiday season is also important.

Controlling our stress levels is important, and that begins with managing our time. How many holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and office events do we need to go to. Some of them we have to be at, others not so much. There are only so many weekends in the month, and they are filling fast.

Looking at what is most important to you before the craze happens helps to control the frenzy of the season. Spend time with the people you really want to spend time with. Talk with people about spending money on gifts they don't need with money you don't have. Lots of times, that conversation is a relief to everyone.

But most importantly, take care of yourself over the holidays, don't let your own wellness slip by the wayside at the expense of everything you "have" to do this season. Make sure you get the nutrients you need, the sleep you require and are managing the stress in your life.

It's ok to do less, to say no, and to consume less. It's ok to continue to value your workouts, to eat your nutrition, and to drink less. No one will judge you (well, they might) at a holiday party if you're not drinking. Who cares if they do?! Take care of you this season.

Don't let it be a hectic one, let it be a peaceful one. Let it be a joyous one filled with the people you love and the things most important to you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turn the Corner, It's Time to Prep!

by Kris Pitcher

It's time to turn the corner. You've "sort of" been loosely doing your plan. Mostly you went off the rails after your contest even though you had a plan. Sometimes that just happens regardless of the best intentions. Regardless of the best laid plans. Now, we turn the corner.

Where do you start? You decide to decide. It's really that simple. You are one decision away from being right back on track. You must decide to decide. It's empowering really. And it's all within you. I can't do it for you. Your coach can't do it for you...

You have it within you. Decide. That's it. You don't need encouragement. You don't need anything long term. You need a plan, and a decision. Just one. One decision.

Decide to decide. Today, I'll decide to get up and do my cardio. I'll decide to pack my meals for the day. I'll decide to eat each of those meals on time. Look at me? I'm on track! It really is that simple.

Sure, you'll be letting go of some of the extra stuff you've been cramming down your pie hole. The sugar. It's gone. The gluten, probably gone too. Dairy. Might not fit either. The late night snacks. Not for you. But guess what?

You've got a plan. The plan is yours. You've chosen it. You have limited time to make gains, to better your physique. Do that now. There is no later. I'll guarantee your competition, she's doing it now. The guy who will stand next to you? He's dialing in his off season plan now. There is no time to wait.

Holidays? Why waste time? Get on your plan now. Decide. Turning the corner is all about making decisions. One at a time. You decide to prep your food. You decide to go to the gym. You decide to stay on plan. You decide. Turn the corner and put down the fork.

Turn the corner and work your plan. Get your actions back in alignment with your goals and values. Feeling stressed? Feeling down? Guess what? It's because you aren't acting in accordance with your values. The things you have said are important to you, you aren't doing. Do them.

No one will do this for you. Each week you put off your prep now, or your growth time, is a week lost to your competition. That too is a decision. Let's get our plan together. Let's turn the corner. Let's decide.

When you embrace your "cycle" of prep as more than dieting down for a show and that's the end, you'll "get it". Finally. Use your off season to grow in a lean state, plan your prep to get you to the stage in the shape you want. Then make your plans to make the progress you need to make to do better. There is no beginning and there is no end. You decide that.

So let's get our head in the right place and turn that corner. Get it together one good decision at a time. You've got your plan. Decide to do it. You're going to feel great! I'll see you around the corner!

Monday, November 25, 2013

NPC Nationals, Do You Have the Light?

by Kris Pitcher

Sitting at the end of the dock I stared into the dark water. The stars were bright, the breeze strong...and I took in the salt air. Able finally to take a breath, I took two, deep breaths and then I blinked my eyes, hard.

A bright light surfaced in the water. There it was again, and over there. Pinpoints of light bobbed up to the surface of the water amongst the lapping waves and I had to check myself. "Do you see that?!" "There?!" I asked Jacques. "And there, and there!" I almost squealed.

"Are those jellies?" I asked him. And I was completely in that moment. Completely. Feeling this joyous, childish, love of nature...wanting to touch it, feel it, wanting to just be it. The exhaustion of the four and a half days preceding made me grateful for that very moment.

We had just experienced competing in the NPC Nationals, over 900 competitors. "We" means my husband competed, and we took one of his clients. It was an amazing weekend. We traveled into Florida on Wednesday, landing in light rain.

By Thursday evening it was pouring. I mean the kind of torrential monsoon rain that could cause helicopter evacuations from rooftops. It. Rained. HARD. As I put coats of tanning color on Jacques' client Matt, I asked mother nature to make way for the competitors.

She did. By Friday there was a sun break in the morning and prejudging for the men's bodybuilding went well. More rain. Hoods, umbrellas, socks and Florida. But you come prepared for all kinds of weather.

Saturday morning gave way to clear skies also and we got Matt through prejudging without monsoon rains. He did fantastic. His physique class had 62 men in it. Sixty-two. There were ten call outs. Ten. It. Was. Huge.

But his stage presence was fantastic. He gained experience, got in front of the national judges, and had a great showing. Between prejudging, there were lots of meals, meal prep, cooking, more cooking, and even some resting for the athletes in our stead.

Finals wouldn't come until Saturday evening, a full day and a half following prejudging for Jacques. Holding conditioning, restricting fluids (I'm the fluid police), eating meals on time, taking photos to send to his trainer, constant communication and's a marathon.

Saturday evening would be a waiting game for him. Men's bodybuilding is always last. Did I mention there were over 900 competitors? Once they both had their moment of stage time, having their name called my the MC, presenting themselves, and then...that's it.

But that's not it. Then you wait. We knew Jacques was in the top 10, not top 5, but didn't know his placing. It's not like a local show where they hand you a score card when you walk off the stage. You wait. You see it on line, like everyone else. It's like waiting for a baby to be born.

Sunday I woke and saw light between the blinds. I needed to know. The microwave beeped as my day old coffee was warmed for me. I went on line to see his placing. He presented his best package to date. He dialed in his fullness, while coming in conditioned. Along with making improvements in his physique.

Ninth place. In. The. Nation. We were already talking about next steps on Saturday morning. That's just how we think. Those of you who know me, know my thoughts about the "cycle" of competing. The contest is just one stop along the way. It's not the end. It's truly the beginning.

It's the beginning of what your possibilities are. What will you be capable of changing? What can you improve? It's your opportune time to grow. Use it. Use all of it. The motivation, the energy, the enthusiasm. Let all of it be fuel, in a positive way.

And as I looked into the dark water, engrossed by the light of the jellies, being totally in that moment...I was pulled back as it dawned on me. This is what sets competitors at this level apart. There is something that shines within them in the dark. There is no darkness. It's all just light.

It's all just possibility, it's all what's next, what's possible. The competitor who can walk off the stage fueled by the light within, ready to move ahead through any darkness...can make it to the National stage. And this weekend I was blessed to be with two of ONLY 900 who could do that.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Before Texting (BT)

by Kris Pitcher

A friend in the industry recently wrote a pretty good rant (I love a good rant) about supporting people instead of hating on them. She suggested commending people for their efforts, the things they might be doing right, rather than bashing what they're doing wrong.

What a great concept. Social media has us bullying everyone around us on account of we don't really have to say anything to any one's face. Now I'm going to tell you about the "olden" days.

Remember back in the old days when you actually had to speak to someone to find out what they were doing? You had to confront someone if you thought they'd said something about you, or if you had a problem with them...or if you wanted to say something nice to them.

There were times, before texting (BT), when we actually spoke to people on the phone. True. We would dial their number, greet the person who answered, and ask to speak with the person we were calling. If they weren't available, or they were grounded, we would be asked if we would like to leave a message.

At that point, the person on the other end of the phone would take the message and relay it to our friend, and they would call us back. Huh? We might have to wait an hour. Or until the NEXT DAY. Crazy.

But that's not even my point. That was just to set the tone for how things used to be. But now we just text. And we expect our text to be returned, IMMEDIATELY. If not sooner.

We did have abbreviations, in the old days. And this recent rant made me think of one. Now, I'll admit, I have no idea what the kids are texting in code these days. I don't really care, because I don't have kids who might be hiding stuff from me.

That abbreviation (which is my point here) was MYOB. I'm sure you know that one? Mind Your Own Business. That's right. Mind your own. Not everything that everyone posts all the time requires your commentary. Shocked? I know, it's hard for me too.

Not every single thing needs your attention, your input, your critique, or your evaluation. Leave it alone. Be a bystander a little bit more if you are that person who just HAS to get a word in. It's not easy, we want to be helpful. We think we're being helpful.

You know what? It's not all that helpful. You might know more, have been down that road, made those same mistakes...let them figure it out. Commend them for what they're doing right and MYOB. That's my public service for the day. And a look back into time, BT.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pb & J Oatmeal

by Kris Pitcher

I'm not one for recipes, you know that. Unless I'm baking, I just kind of "wing" it. But here is a great recipe to fix your boring oatmeal. Now, ask your coach if this fits in your plan. It doesn't even fit in my offseason plan, but I can have it as a treat now and then.

PB & J Oatmeal
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c berries
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 schoop protein powder
  • 1 T powdered peanut butter
  • 1 T all-natural peanut butter
Microwave berries for 30 seconds, remove and smash with a fork. Add oats, water, protein powder and powdered peanut butter. Microwave the mixture for 2 1/2 minutes. Stir and top with peanut butter. Yum!

Serves 1; 317 calories; 12.7g fat; 29.4g carbs; 23.6g protein

This recipe comes from - there are lots there. You don't have to reinvent the wheel people. It's all out there. Make your breakfast a good one!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weekend Weight Warrior

by Kris Pitcher

Weekends are great right? We can relax, spend time with friends and family, and even go out and enjoy ourselves. Weekends are when we catch up on what we missed during the week...laundry, groceries, and errands.

The challenge with the weekend is the "warrior" in us. If you are one of the weekend warriors who goes out for dinner and drinks, meets up with friends for pizza, or takes the kids out for something special you might be a weekend weight warrior.

You were good all week so you deserve to let loose! Right? You followed your meal plan, did your exercise so the the weekend is for YOU! Well, this attitude puts you three steps back every week. One order of appetizers and that s'mores martini will set you back further than you think.

Waking up Monday you get on the scale and what do you see? Up three, maybe even five pounds. Even when you get right back on your plan it takes until Wednesday to make it back to your starting point.

By then you are staring down the next weekend complete with plans to meet up with the girls. So, how do you compete with the weekend warrior attitude? You stay on your plan. Read that again. You stay on your plan. Yes. Through the weekend.

You drink your water. You stay away from the alcohol. You do your cardio and get your lifts in. You get enough sleep. And, you eat what you are supposed to eat. In addition to that, plan one, or two, meals with friends or family.

During those meals you control what you do, what you eat. You don't go hog wild as if you'll never eat again. Select something moderately clean, and if you choose to drink - have one drink, not four.

The thing is, you're there to enjoy your friends and family. You DESERVE to remain consistent with your goals and plans. And wouldn't it be nice to actually make some progress instead of just working to get back to your starting point every week?

It would be nice. Knowing about the weekend weight warrior is the key. You can control your choices, you can remain consistent with what you've said is important to you. Of all the people in your life, I would hope your close friends and family would realize that's important to you.

Don't let the weekend weight warrior creep into your routine. Keep focused - especially now as we head into the holidays. Two steps forward and one step back every week is frustrating. Keep moving forward! I'll be right there with you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

When is Less More?

by Kris Pitcher

Sometimes less really is more. And for the athlete that can be a very scary thing. I was thinking about this the other day when I was less than pleased with my hair.

It seemed crunchy. I don't have the kind of hair that's soft. You can't put your fingers through it. My bathroom cupboard has lots and lots of hair products in it. LOTS! Yet, I can't seem to find the right one combination that leaves my curls soft. When I counted how many products I was using from wash to finish...six. So it dawned on me...

Maybe I need to use less? Now, this experiment is a tricky proposition. I mean, when do you try this? What do I do if it doesn't work out and I need to get to work? I don't have the kind of job I can wear a hat to. There is no time to start over.

I committed. The other morning I put the product primarily on the top, and back...but less of it. My goal was to use enough so I could rake my fingers through while it was wet, but not saturate all of it. Then, I got the hair dryer out.

This really is the frightening part. I KNOW what happens when I don't put any product in my hair and just let it dry...for instance a night time shower when I'm just going to bed. Why use product? I wake up looking like I've got a full head of cotton candy.

With the giant diffuser holding the curls toward my head, I worked my hair dry in the same pattern I do every single day. Once it's almost dry, I release the diffuser and turn the air on low to finish.

The whole point of this is it worked! My color was brighter and my hair softer. What's next? A little less? It got me to thinking, less can be more.

As an athlete it is hard to ever do less. Not making gains? Maybe you're over-training, or doing too much cardio? Would less work better? Just a consideration. I know it's a scary one. I think about supplements too.

People rely on a lot of stuff. Maybe it's helping. Maybe it's just making your pee really expensive. Just things to consider. Do you need all that? Maybe you do. What I found was, I had to try it to see. And, that's pretty much how people are. We have to try things for ourselves. But getting to that point is not easy.

I'm not sure where this gets us. It reminds me that it's ok to rest, that gains are made during recovery. It reminds me that eating my whole food is the foundation for my nutrition, and some supplements "supplement" that. And it reminds me that while I thought using more was better, I can actually use less hair product and my curls are going to be better off.

Friday, November 8, 2013

On Cross-Contamination

by Kris Pitcher

Boarding the plane I waited to pass a woman in first class who was frantically swabbing down her entire seat with handi-wipes. She had her tray table out and hit every surface on that thing. People around her scoffed, and she was crazy.

Having settled into my seat the row across from me housed a man and his toddler. His wife, infant and mother-in-law sat in the row behind him. He did a great job through the flight of managing a restless boy.

As the flight attendant came to gather trash, she asked him if she could take the half eaten apple he had placed on the empty seat next to him. He told her no, they weren't done with it, and he handed it back to his wife who put it in a plastic bag.

Gross, I thought, it had been sitting right on the seat. Then he began to sniff the toddlers pants. I knew what was coming next. Thinking back to the woman in first class I wondered if I had any handi-wipes.

Sure enough he changes the toddler right on the seat, didn't put anything down. Next, he puts the used pull-up right on the seat where the apple had moments before been. Nice.

And this is why we have to concern ourselves with cross-contamination and hand washing. This is why the lady in first class may not have been so crazy after all. This is why as competitors we need to be careful of our food sources, storage, and cleanliness of preparation etc.

I closed my eyes and was thankful I had not eaten off my own tray table, or really touched much of anything around me. Wash your hands, don't touch your face, keep your apple away from your poop.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Compliance, Success or Disaster

by Kris Pitcher

I sat for hours in a conference and at one point I plunged my hands into my giant purse for my tiny book where I write down my big ideas. I can't help but relate what's happening in life to health and fitness. It just all fits.

Listening to a presentation on disaster response, it's the business I'm in, I heard the term malicious compliance. Malicious compliance. This is what stands in the way of successful competitors and those who just simply make it to the stage.

Malicious compliance means you do something, but without belief in it. You do it but with resentment, you don't really want to do it. You ultimately comply, but because you were told to. It's with an ill intent.

A competitor who has this attitude may in fact make it to the stage, they do what their coach says (mostly), but only out of spite for the process. It's a glass half empty kind of outlook. Malicious compliance.

In a disaster people need to come together to get things done. There is often one incident commander who gives instructions. Another person may have experience and information and comply, but maliciously, because they must in that situation. Not because they believe in what the mission is.

Do you believe in what your mission is? Do you comply out of malice toward your coach? Or do you believe in the guiding principles of their leadership, their knowledge, their ability to guide you?

Part of it is who you want it for. I see competitors coming from a perspective of malice all the time because they are not doing it for themselves. They "can't" have, is their attitude when really they've chosen something else.

Where is your perspective coming from in your process? Think how much more productive and positive the process could be if you chose this path for yourself and trusted the person guiding you. Amazing. Right? Compliance out of a place of malice must feel awful. There is no empowerment in that place.

As I tried to bring myself back to focus on the speaker, I put my tiny book back in my giant purse. And I let my big idea go for a time. Now that I've shared it with you I hope you take a moment to meditate on where you approach your process from. It could be a great success, or a complete disaster.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Naked Stretching

by Kris Pitcher

There are two kinds of naked stretching, in my experience. There is unintentional naked stretching, and there is intentional naked stretching. My past experience is primarily with unintentional, at least I think it has been, unintentional.

Let me explain. I spent a lot of years managing fitness centers, running fitness programs, personal training and teaching group exercise. During that time I witnessed lots of what I hope was unintentional naked stretching.

A body part nudges out here, or drops out happens. I taught a lot of older adult water classes, and you'd be surprised how many ladies come out of the locker room with the top of their suit down.

In that same environment, I also witnessed intentional naked stretching, that which you cannot un-see. Why someone does this in a public locker room is a bit beyond me. Even the cruisy type, really? Stretching? Anyway.

You get the idea about unintentional naked stretching. Then there is intentional naked stretching. Intentional means to do it on purpose. Now, you would think this might be done at home, in the privacy and comfort of one's personal space.

You also might think this would be done alone. Or at best with a very intimate partner. The truth is, I have been stretching. Intentionally. And naked.

It's true. But I've not been doing this at home, in the privacy of my personal space. I do it with my massage therapist. Now, in my defense, I'm fully draped with sheets as I'm being pretzeled about. And to the best of my knowledge, there is no exposure of my junk.

Although I can't make any promises. What I can promise is my hips and hamstrings are becoming more flexible as he works me into all kinds of bendy positions. With each, the sheets conceal my's all on the professional up and up. It's fully intentional.

Last year, we were in Atlanta for Nationals and while my husband was sweating out ungodly amounts of water I walked on the treadmill and watched this trainer stretch his client. I thought, "Oh hell no!" He was practically doing it to her. He made it worse by accompanying it with some, "Oh yeah baby", and a few "right there...mmm a little deeper"! I laughed and told Jacques he better not stretch his clients like that.

So I guess stretching, partner stretching, and especially naked (intentional) stretching should all be done with professionalism in order and no, "Oh yeah baby!"'s. But on the serious note, as I work on the things I need help with, flexibility, I get excited by the progress being made...and not just, because I'm naked. *smile

Monday, October 21, 2013

Figure Posing Suits, Fuel in Fabric

by Kris Pitcher

It was a dark weekday morning and I was getting ready for work. My regular morning routine was moving along smoothly. Cardio, check. Shake, check. Coffee, CHECK! Shower, check.

Then I paused, got my posing suit...AND PUT. IT. ON. Now, you might ask yourself, "So what?" Well, the so what is, it's off season. And who would put herself through that. First of all, and this might be too much information, but I can't remember the last time I had time to shave my legs.

Second of all, there's the whole being 10 pounds over contest weight looking all pudgy. There's that. Then there's, and I've lost count, then there's being so white you can literally see my vascular system. So, there's all of that. Plus, I'm on a time crunch in the morning.

But with all of that, at 6:00 am I decided to put on my posing suit. Guess what? It didn't look half bad. It actually went on without any struggle. I actually filled the cups WITHOUT padding. That won't happen come contest time.

There I stood in my front pose. I did my quarter turn, not horrible. Hmm? Four months post contest and I'm holding my weight at ten over...and this doesn't look completely horrible. OK - I thought, I better get to work.

No, literally, I needed to get myself to work! But figuratively (oh, that's a good one!), figuratively I was re-energized to continue working hard on my off season. It was the fuel I needed mentally to eat clean, do my cardio and lift heavy.

Later that week my husband remarked about my strength in the gym. I'm at my strongest, and I want to put it to good use. There is only so much time to make gains, and I don't want to miss any of it. I'm motivated. Motivated by a tiny bit of fabric. If you struggle off season, find your fuel...and get to work!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Intuitive Dieting and Contest Prep, Listening to Your Body

by Kris Pitcher

I'm not quite sure how this is going to go. You might want to sit down. Or you might want to make sure you're not drinking anything that's going to feel really, really, bad coming out your nose. I just never know. But today's topic is...listening to your body.

Many people, no one's being called out here, use the method of "listening to my body" as they diet or prep for a show. Now, I'm no genius but the voice inside MY head will not get me stage ready.

The voice in my head, my intuition, never once said, "Hey! It's 4:25 am, let's get up and do cardio!" She never once said that. Thanks a lot intuition. She would say, "Shhh! Girl, you need your rest! It is cozy in here...stay in bed!"

What is this listening to your body? My body says I need more carbs. What!? My body said do less cardio. Really?! If this works for people they are a special breed. And I'm not doggin' on them. I am calling myself out on this one. Intuition.

My intuition would say, "Of course cinnamon Pop Tarts don't go with wine! They go with vodka-7!" If I listened to the voice in my head I would still be sitting on the couch eating bowls of cereal and never make it to the gym. Intuition. She's a fatty...

I need a plan. I need structure. Intuition is second guessing. I need a guide. I need someone with objective eyes. Intuition? What my body says? My body says I look fat 2 weeks out from a show. She's a liar.

So, if listening to your body is getting you the results you want, great for you. If you are beginning to wonder about that might want to start listening to someone else. Successful weight management, or contest prep, doesn't happen by accident or intuition. It happens by absolute plan. Stick to it!

Friday, October 11, 2013

I May Go Totally Nude

by Kris Pitcher

It started with a week of rebelling against my mascara. Now, my eyelashes are blond and you CANNOT see them without mascara. But I figured, what the heck.

I wondered if anyone would notice. "Do you feel alright?" "You must have a migraine?" "Should I turn out the lights on my way out?" Nothing. Nada. Zip. I don't think even my husband noticed. Although to his credit and my good fortune...he thinks I'm beautiful with my crazy hair and slobbery face first thing in the morning.

So, then I pushed the envelope. The next week I skipped my eyeliner. No comment. Nothing. This week, beginning Tuesday (and I did have a headache) all I did was put on my Oil of Olay, and my BB cream.

Wednesday I went all out...just the BB cream. GASP! Ok, I did dawn my favorite mac lipstick. But in my attempt to simplify my morning I skipped out on the blush, the eye shadow, liner, mascara? And so far, no one's asked if I'm having a crisis.

Frankly, I don't think anyone looks up from their phone long enough to even notice. My facebook profile picture is still the same, so who would ever know!

What could be the next step? Going totally nude?! I'll be ready for Paris in just my lipstick in no time flat! Seriously, I don't know what all the primping is about, no one seems to care? My little experiment with make up has been eye opening - or not if you really missed the liner...but you get the idea.

If my skin were in better shape, my pores smaller, I would go nude. That, or I may move to Paris!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Woke Up Fat

by Kris Pitcher

The most unfortunate thing happened Monday morning. It was a shock really. I won't exactly blame it on the peanut butter bars my colleague brought to work last Thursday. Although they were gooey and warm when she arrived with them...

I couldn't possibly blame the Quarter Pounder with bacon I ate on Saturday. Never blame bacon. So when it happened on Monday morning I truly shouldn't have been in such shock. But. I. Was.

Monday morning, I woke up fat. It was an unfortunate realization. I didn't like it. It felt bad. Pudgy, it felt pudgy. And that's how it happens.

An extra bite here, and some snacks there. Sure, I've got a plan - which I'm eating. But things got all loosey-goosey. Yes, that is a technical term. Stress eating? Sure, some of that too. Now what?

Now I do what I'm supposed to do. Eat my plan. Just my plan. And no, the Quarter Pounder BLT isn't on the plan. It's a shame...

But we've got a plan here and it doesn't include losing 25 pounds once it's time to diet down. So, it's time to get real, and reel it in. I don't get to be a "regular" person. I get to be an offseason dieter. Peanut butter bars? Not for me.

If you wake up one morning and it happens to you - you wake up fat...well chances are you know what to do. Chances are you've gone all loosey-goosey. The reality is you don't get to eat the way society eats unless you want to look like everyone else. I don't. My goals don't include that.

Back to the plan. Let's see what we can do! Maybe it's time you get back to it too? I'll see you on the plan!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Clean Cheats, Fall's Hearty Eats

by Kris Pitcher

Fall is a great season. Almost as great a season as offseason. Now, my work mates are wide-eyed and open mouthed because they are actually seeing me eat.

I ate before...but I guess my multiple meals of precisely weighed protein didn't count in their eyes. Ironically, I'm still eating those measured meals. Maybe they don't see me bring my cooler in with me, every day.

Anyway, I'm having fun participating with them in the occasional potluck. Non-profits do potlucks real well. And yesterday I made one awesome stew. While it won't fit into your contest diet, it would be a good bump up meal. And I know there are plenty of you out there not dieting strictly.

Niku Jaga - Japanese Stew
  • 2 pounds stew meat
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 c sake (you could substitute 1/4 c rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 c soy
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 6 red potatoes cut
  • 1 white onion diced
You put everything in the crockpot on low and go to bed! It's like wake up wondering, "What is that amazing smell?" Then you remember you made soup in the night like a Ninja (my husband's analogy).

A hearty soup is great as the weather turns cold, and there's nothing better than throwing everything in your crockpot and having it cook itself. Serve it with a little bit of sticky rice, or a savory corn bread muffin. Feed a crowd, or just enjoy it on the couch under a blanket. It's a great clean eats meal!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Your Placing and Your Coach

by Kris Pitcher

Most times I can just let things go. After a show, I actually heard someone say that if you're not happy with your placing, you should hire a different coach. I closed the page. I looked away. I diverted my attention. I let most of the day pass. But I can't let this one go.

A coach cannot get you a placing. The end. Period. You hire a coach to get you in the best shape of your life. Their job is to design a program to prepare you, to individualize your nutrition, make adjustments, to push you, to dial you in, to learn your body and to get you to peak at the very moment necessary to put you in front of the judges.

Your coach's job is to teach you to present yourself, to guide every detail, your posing, your hair, make-up, jewelry, tanning...the whole package. But to earn you a placing? Not even close.

Once you are up on stage it's all up to the judges. It's up to the athletes who showed up to stand next to you, it's up to the realities of your genetics, the work you did, your structure next to those around you. It's up to subjectivity of criteria seen through the individual and collective eyes of the judging panel. You can be the absolute best you there ever was...and you are guaranteed nothing.

You and your coach could have done everything exactly right, but someone else is simply better than you. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Placings? No guarantee. You have your head in the sand if you think your coach can get you that. Or if your understanding of why you hire a coach is to get you a placing, you've got it all wrong.

Your coach has lots of accountability's, responsibility's and liabilities...your placing is not one of them. And now, I'll let this one go.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Macros, What Are They?

by Kris Pitcher

Let's all take a deep breath...inhale, and exhale. Now, this is not about eating in your macros. I won't even apologize for that or begin to tell you why I don't subscribe to that. If you think beer and pizza are part of your solid nutritional plan to get lean and build all means, be my guest.

We're not talking about that. Which is why we started with a deep breath. Because what we need to do is take one GIANT LEAP back and revisit what macronutrients are. I get the feeling people talk around nutrition but have lost the basics.

Nutrients make up two main categories. Macronutrients and micronutrients. You didn't have to study Latin to glean "macro" means large, and "micro" means small. If we think about that, our macronutrients are going to make up the largest portion of our diet, while our micronutrients contribute in a small way.

Each of those categories break down further. Before we go there, or as we go there...let's look at exactly what our macronutrients are. There are four.

Protein. Protein is made up of amino acids. There are two types of protein, complete and incomplete. Complete proteins have all 22 essential amino acids. Essential means you need to get them from your diet. Incomplete proteins have some but not all. Your body can take incomplete proteins, combine amino acids and create complete proteins. Typically, complete proteins come from animal sources, and plant sources provide incomplete proteins. Cool.

Protein helps us build and repair tissues, cells, all our "parts". It's value is 4 calories per gram.

Fats. There are four types of fats: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and essential fatty acids (omega's). Fats come from both animal and plant sources. Typically, animal sources of fat are saturated, and plant sources are unsaturated. Although that's not always the case.

Fat helps to insulate our organs, store and transport fat-soluble vitamins, and make hormones. It's important. Fat has a higher value at 9 calories per gram.

Carbohydrates are the third macronutrient category. They are either complex or simple depending on the number of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen chains they have. Science is cool. Simple carbohydrates include: galactose (dairy & beet sugar), glucose (dextrose or grape sugar), lactose (milk), maltose (from malt - like in beer), and sucrose (table sugar). Your "ose's" are simple sugars, for you label readers.

Carbohydrates are used for fuel in our brain and are stored in our muscles as glycogen. Our liver also stores carbohydrate as glycogen. Carbohydrate has a value of 4 calories per gram.

WATER is the forgotten macronutrient. We are mostly composed of water. Every cell. Drink it.

The other nutrient category is micronutrients. These are our vitamins and minerals. Of these, we can further break the category down to macrominerals and trace minerals.

When I was thinking about hope was to remind us of the nutrients which make up the categories, and of their purpose - in a very general way. The goal was just to take a step back to the basics.

Regardless of what percentage you take them in, or how you combine them, or if or where you go to church...don't forget the basics of the basics. Now go eat!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Backstage at a Contest

by Kris Pitcher

It's your first competition and you are pretty excited! You've attended a show, you've heard about shows...but you're still not sure what exactly happens backstage at a contest?

There are certain things you can expect. And then there are just a lot of unknowns. It will either be hot, or it will be cold. There will either be ample room, or no room...or somewhere in between. Some shows allow coaches, and others do not. One thing is for sure, you'll see a lot!

But I'm like the big sister who just can't keep her mouth shut, so I'm going to tell you how it is. You'll either thank me, or you won't believe me. Or, you may not believe me - but you'll thank me later. Anyway, here's a look at what it's going to be like.

First tip. Be prepared and bring the things you'll need with you. But don't plan on getting completely ready back there. Don't be that girl. Come ready. Have your hair done, and your make-up on. There won't be space or outlets for you to be getting ready. Please don't plan on plugging in three curling irons, a flat iron, and having a mirror for yourself. You will get stink eye.

Once you're released from your competitor meeting there will be a mad dash for the backstage area. People will take claim on property. Don't move people's bags, or crowd in. If someone has kind of claimed a space, it's ok to ask if you can join them. But don't move a depleted competitor's stuff. More stink eye.

Notice who and where the expediters are, where the schedule is posted and be where you are supposed to be. You do not want to miss your line up after all this work. Some shows run slow, some run real fast. It's your job to pay attention. This means if you have your head phones in, keep your eyes open.

It's going to be crowded. Competitors, coaches, everyone has a bag, some have's a mess back there. There will be pump up equipment, flip flops and clothes strewn about. Keep your stuff contained. Don't make a mess.

You'll see people pumping up the MINUTE they get back there. At the USA's there was a girl in my class who literally pumped up for 4 hours. I got tired just watching her. There is a lot of nervous energy back there. Don't feel like you have to be doing something. Hopefully your coach has either given you instructions or they are there to guide you. Relax.

There won't be lots of room to sit. Bring a towel to sit or lay on. If you find a scrap of floor the size of your rear, you've done good. There may or may not be space to change. Come with your suit on under your warm ups.

You may have nice bathrooms, or you may have honey buckets. Either way you'll be glad to have a place to do your business. Bring hand sanitizing solution, or wipes. There is nothing like having a fresh wet wipe backstage.

You will see people eating garbage. Lots of garbage. Sugar. Most athletes, broad statement here, are not depleted enough to need to load. And sucrose and fructose are not efficient at filling our muscle cells. People just want to eat candy. The end.

Not the end. One more comment there. At the national level, competitors are not stuffing their pie holes with candy backstage. Just saying.

You'll also see people drinking alcohol. Now the last thing you ladies want to do is fall off your 5" heels. So why are people doing this? Alcohol is thought to be a vasodialator, it increases vascularity. The last time I checked, vascularity was not something the judges are looking for in bikini and figure competitors. The end.

Because people are eating a bunch of sugar, after having been on a will be real farty back there. I'm talking about the kind of gas that comes out of ugly people. And you'll be very surprised, because everyone back there looks fantastic, beautiful, amazing...but if they are eating handfuls of miniature candy bars, they will be flatulating up a storm. Hot farts. Get ready.

What else can you expect? If you are getting touch ups for your tan, pay attention to the schedule. If your class isn't up for half the night, allow the competitors in front of you to go ahead. When the tanner asks what class you are in and casts you aside, it's because you have 2 hours to wait and they need to get the people ahead of you done. This is a common courtesy situation, now you know. Same with glazing.

Usually the company tanning will do your glazing. You want to put your shoes on, get your suit glued, get your tan touched up, get glazed, then do your pump up. No more sitting, bending etc. That's the order you want to go in. Then you line up and get on stage to show the hard work you've done.

Some people are nice, others are not nice. It's like kindergarten. Be a good competitor. Help others out and others will help you. It's a fun sport when we are good to one another. If you have something that someone needs, help him/her out. If you need something, ask someone nicely if they will help you out. I have found that people are really willing to help out, and accept help. No one wants to go out with half a breast out, or with their tag it forward back there.

When your class is next up the expediter will be calling for your class, "Figure B!" "I need Figure B right now!" That is your cue to get where you are supposed to be. "I need numbers 67-86 right now!" Don't make them hunt you down. They won't. Get in line in numerical order. You'll be shaky, nervous, excited. If you didn't pump up, or get glazed...too late. Get in line.

This is the time to take a deep breath and remember all the posing you learned. Chest up, abs in, pelvis tilted, glide when you walk, smile, head up, tight...remember what you learned and walk out there like a champion.

Pre-judging will be the fastest thing that ever happened to you even if you are out there for a long time. It will feel like half a second. You'll wonder, "What happened!" Take your time, breathe, enjoy, embrace, feel the moments. It's over.

If you're in just one class, you're done. Collect your things and be back at the venue for the night show as instructed. If you have another class to present yourself in, it will feel slower the second time around.

Your experience backstage will make you question everything you've been instructed or told. Trust what you've been instructed. Trust your coach. Most of what you see is a lot of nervous energy and people who don't know the first thing about what they are doing.

But now you know some of what you'll see...oh, and there might be some naked (gluing suits, quick changes...). But you'll be ready to go backstage!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Peak Week

by Kris Pitcher

Welcome to your peak week! I'm super excited about this topic, because for this particular local show...IT'S NOT MY PEAK WEEK! But it is yours so let's get a few things straight, and make a few reminders.

This is where most people screw up. They've spent 16 weeks or more carefully dieting, working out and putting themselves through the rigors of contest prep. They've selected their favorite suit, done countless rounds of posing practice, maybe put together a routine...have every detail down. And it all comes down to this week.

The problem is nine out of ten people giving advice don't know what the heck they're telling you to do. The other one is getting their information off some thread on line (or a blog - gasp!).

Seriously though most people get all squirrly and mess up the very last week of their prep. They either drink too much water, or not enough. Or they load with fat, or carbs when they've never even tried that before. Or they use diuretics and end up in the emergency room because they followed very bad protocol.

They quit eating salt, or start eating salt...they decide to do a "detox cleanse", a body wrap, or even a coffee colonic. No stank you. Usually people don't know the first thing about timing any of it. Here's the thing about peak week. It's different for everyone.

Just as prep is different for everyone, so is the week leading up to your show. That's why you can't take general advice and apply it to yourself. When you work with a good coach, they try things out on you to see how you respond.

This isn't just for the fun of it. Although we do like science. It's to find out how your body responds. Re-feed meal? It's to see what you look like after you load with carbs, or fat, or whatever it is you were instructed to eat.

Carb cycling? It's not just to confuse you every day when you are packing your meals through the week. It's to train your body to deplete and then take in carbs. It's done at a specific timing, to mimic what will work for getting you in the right shape on show day.

Pretty smart? That's why you hire a coach. So, listen to your coach during your peak week also. If they tell you to do something, get with the program and do it. Drink a gallon of water a day. That doesn't mean half a gallon. It means one gallon. There's a reason for that. And if your coach isn't willing to teach you's either because they don't know, or they don't have time. Either way, you need a new coach.

No questions are stupid, especially during peak week. Can I have hot sauce? Can I make substitutions in my meal plan? Can I have a pre-workout? Can I have extra shakes? Do I really have to drink my water? Can I eat broccoli? Do I have to eat all my meals? All very important questions to ask your coach.

Peak week is all about precise timing. The goal is to create very specific reactions in your body by manipulating your macro, and micro nutrients so that you look a certain way...on Saturday morning for pre-judging. It's. All. Timing. We need to get it right.

We also shouldn't be doing anything drastic. If you're ready, you won't be doing drastic things the final week. If you're not ready...I don't care how much water you drop, you'll still be fat. Sorry.

Ideally, we are easing into the weekend of the show. Easing. That's right, your coach told you to rest. Rest. Your muscles actually need to rest, to reduce inflammation, to circulate blood and nutrients in order to get the right look. Still running? Sitting in the hot tub? In the tanning bed? Get a new coach.

A few friendly reminders. No more lotion on that big old skin of yours, except your face. You want your skin nice and dry to soak up the tanning product. Remove the hair. All of it. Everywhere. The lights are bright and the tanning product will make all those little tiny hairs light up like a tiny chick. No one wants to be that girl.

Guys, please shave your feet. Details. The judges are sitting eye level to your feet, or there about. We don't want to see any spiders down there. You men's physique guys are lucky, but bodybuilders...all hair, everywhere. Please stand on your head and make sure you get all of it. Please.

Control your schedule this week. When you can, take Thursday and Friday off. You will be depleted and maybe a little crabby. Keep that away from work. You should plan on resting, watching movies at home, packing and re-packing your contest bag.

Ladies, you'll have appointments, nails etc. clear your calendar and try to relax. Big tip: Being thirsty makes people crazy and crabby. If you're "dropping your water" plan on being real thirsty. The kind of thirst that will make you throat punch your favorite person. And no, you cannot chew gum.

Other stuff people might not have told you? It's hard to pee with tanning color on. You can pee through a paper cup, like a funnel. I've never had luck with this. Put a handful of paper in the bowl and it will reduce splashing. Sorry guys, but we got the short end of the stick on this one. Wait, that didn't come out right at all...

Anyway. It's not easy, and it can be frustrating. So, use seat covers or wrap the seat with plastic wrap so at least you can sit down. Another thing they might not have told will be so happy Saturday morning if you can poop.

Crickets? If you've competed before, you know what I'm talking about. You're going to tell me about it, you'll be so happy. I know. I've texted about it's going to be that exciting. Trust me.

You might not sleep very well Friday night. That's normal. You'll be anxious, excited, thirsty. Plan to have a very long, but fun, day on Saturday. And you might wake up Saturday, or show up at the venue and guess what! You get your period. Don't worry, I've got you covered on that one too.

Stress makes strange things happen and it wouldn't be the first time...I don't care what you did with your pills. No stress about any of it. You're ready! Besides, you got through your peak week! See you at the show!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Competition Wardrobe, Getting Dressed For Business

by Kris Pitcher

If you're like most competitors you are trying to figure out how to make your wardrobe work for you while you're prepping for your show. Most of us aren't lucky enough to make yoga pants a staple in the what do you do?

I used to have up to three sizes in my closet. Then I'd put the "little" clothes in a big bin and put them in storage during offseason. As I would trim down I would try things on. "Nope, not yet." Or, "Bingo!"

But now my offseason looks different than it used to. I actually just purged a bunch of clothes out of my closet. Holding up a pair of slacks in a size 10, I mumbled, "I'll never be a 10 again."

I have a few 8's in there, but frankly I'm still wearing my 6's that I wore all through my diet. Now, I never fit into a 4. My quads and butt just aren't shaped into that size, so I wear my 6's even as they begin to fall off me.

The question is still on the table, how do you make your wardrobe work? I find I like to wear dresses. Not any dress, jerseys and knits. A structured dress doesn't make it over my upper body, we're not shaped like that.

I like separates. Skirts and tops, sweaters and suit jackets with stretch in them. As things get baggier, I put a belt on. In fact I'm usually double holding up my pants, and one pulling in the waist of my blouse, dress, or top.

There are a few pieces that work really well for me. I wear them all the time. They are fairly neutral and I can throw on an accessory - necklace, scarf etc. I also keep a supply of safety pins handy, the big ones. Use the safety pins to take in the sides of your slacks a bit at the waist.

Consignment is a really great option. Find a nice consignment store and buy a pair of slacks or two and some skirts in a size that fit so you have a few pieces to rotate through the week. It's difficult to find suits that fit. The jackets never fit across my back if the pants fit...I need to mix and match sizes. So buying things second hand is a good option for those of us who are changing size.

The biggest change for me has been to maintain between 10-15 pounds of my contest weight offseason. That way I really don't need those 8's and certainly don't need those 10's any longer. I definitely love stretch fabrics and they work really well for those of us who don't fit the industry mold of sizing.

As I'm gaining, I'll move the little items out so they don't get in my my white jeans with the sparkle pockets that stop at my thighs now. No need to keep those in front of me. Besides, it is after Labor Day.

The other thing I remind myself is that fashion trends don't always work for my build, and that's fine. I can wear things that work well on my body and make me feel great. Think outside the structured suit to find things that look professional and fit your athletic frame. Separates and stretch are my two best friends in my competition wardrobe. Now get dressed!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Competition Coaches, Why You Need A Guide

by Kris Pitcher

Doing things yourself is admirable. My colleague at work is potty training her toddler. Each time the toddler potties in the big girl potty, she gets a sticker. Stickers are fantastic!. We learn to do things on our own, for ourselves early on. We're programmed that way.

When it comes to competing a little help, not with the potty, is a very good thing. Actually, I can't tell you how many questions are asked and answered about bathroom topics. So, I guess we still need a little guidance in that department too.

As a lover of the sport, an NPC judge and a national competitor...I want people to have a great experience competing. The way to do that is arming them with information. How do you do that? You do that by hiring someone smarter than you.

I don't cut and color my own hair. I have a professional for that. Taxes? Nope, hire a professional. Do I clean my own teeth? Perform my own medical exams? And waxing...a professional. You get the idea. There are certain things we just need the guidance of a professional with.We really should put competing in that realm.

There is just enough information, bad and good, available for you to be dangerous on your own. You can likely muddle through the process and you might just make it to the stage all on your own. But will your outcome be as good as it could have been with guidance? I doubt it.

It's not just the science behind nutrition and exercise, it's the details in your presentation. It's your posing, your suit, your make-up and hair, tanning, shoe selection, accessories. It's the whole package on stage.

I'm not picking on anyone, I've heard many first time competitors looking for information about very basic things REALLY close to their show. Things that they should have all lined up and all figured out. But without any guidance, you don't know what you don't know.

Having someone guide you through the process takes the stress of all those unknowns out of your hands and into the trusting hands of your coach. Ideally, your coach is a one stop shop and can lead you through nutrition, exercise, posing, and ALL of the fine details of competing.

Lots of competitors enlist a team of people to handle those things. One person does their diet, another teaches them to pose, another person makes sure their workouts are the right intensity. Having an actual expert in this niche field - who can teach you all of those important aspects - is a bonus.

Your coach should also be guiding you through the mental challenges of dieting and competing. Helping you through the dark moments when you think you're not going to make it. Coaching you through the week when you can't figure out why you're constipated, bloated, crabby...and he asks you, "Where are you in your cycle?" You need that kind of coach.

You need someone who has the knowledge and insight to anticipate what you will need before you need it. That's why you hire a professional. That's why you don't do this yourself.

Sure you can ask for advice and you'll get a zillion different answers. How will you weed through them all? How will you decide what applies to you? How will you adapt and apply the bro-science to yourself? How will you know what to modify? When to leave things the same and when to change? What are your credentials?

Embarking on a contest prep diet with a show date in mind is no small feat. As a beginner, finding out what you don't know by accident is setting yourself up to never want to do this again. Do it wrong a few times and you'll begin to see the value in professional guidance. Look to your peers who are competing at a level you'd like to see yourself at. They have coaches. A good coach, has a coach.

Think about who's styling your hair, doing your nails, your taxes...your waxing. Think about the list of professionals in your life and put a competition coach right up there with those most highly valued. This journey needs a guide, and you need a professional competition coach. See you on stage!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Weight Bearing Fat Burning Metabolism Cheating HIIT Cardio

by Kris Pitcher

By no means is this a "best of" edition. The best is yet to come! There have however been some very popular posts over the years I've been blogging. We've had some good chats over the years. Some are personal, some are private, some have been kind of mean...but you needed to hear that and who else is going to tell you?

Sometimes I'm funny, or at least I think so. Sometimes I drop a real life lesson on you when you least expect it. Didn't see that coming did you? Other times I just lay the science on you and let you decide for yourself. I'm never shy about my opinion, it's a good thing to have one. Here are a few of the all time most popular topics:

One popular topic is fat burning. It seems we're constantly on the look out for that - Magic Bullet. Those of you who know me, know I always come back to the basics because the basics work. This popular post looks at L-carnitine and caffeine and their sexy role in fat burning.

People get really confused about Weight Bearing vs Non Weight Bearing exercise. Find out which is better, and what types of cardiovascular exercise fall into which category in this blog.

My recent blog on how to Get Capped Shoulders was a hit. Every figure competitor is on the quest for bigger shoulders. What is the key? Hard work, good fuel, solid rest, and some great shoulder routines.

There is a lot of talk about Metabolism. In this industry, women are constantly talking about metabolic damage from their involvement in the sport. What you do during your competition diet, and frankly, offseason, can make or break your metabolism. This is an important topic, and a great read if I do say so myself.

When should you do your cardio? The question is, should you do your Cardio Before or Cardio After you lift? Take a look at the science and decide if this highly talked about question applies to you.

Do you ever feel like you just want to CHEAT? A Letter to My Diet might come across as a break up letter...but read between the lines of this great blog.

Oh boy I saved the BEST topic for last! HIIT Cardio, What's All the Hype? If this isn't a topic women will go to BLOWS over I don't know what is. You'll find I'm not all that worried about winning a popularity contest. This topic is no exception. We sure are intense about our...intensity.

I sure do appreciate all you loyal readers. Sometimes I wonder who's out there! Why are you reading?! Your fellow Bliss readers span the globe, covering every Continent. People read from near and far and I love that you do. Thank you!

Over the years we've covered some great topics. Spicy ones even! And there is much more Fitness Bliss to come. I hope you enjoy some of these popular posts a second time around. Thanks for reading and sharing Fitness Bliss!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You're Going to Get FAT

by Kris Pitcher

It's inevitable. You're going to get fat after your competition. You might even know this in the back of your head. In fact, we've even come up with a new term for it..."reverse dieting". Please poke my eyes out right now.

The truth is, we can't keep our contest body. It's not realistic. It's not going to help us make progress and get better. It's not going to be good for our metabolic systems, for our metal state...or for our friends and families. We simply cannot diet year round. It's not realistic.

Maintaining a constant state of caloric deprivation wears on us. A 16, 18, 20, or even 12 week contest prep cycle is a lot to ask of yourself. Now, once we get that contest body I know what happens. We like it. Of course we like it. It's awesome! It's attention getting. We may even take home some hardware.

The best case scenario is you and your coach have a solid plan for you to follow RIGHT AFTER your contest. This is essential. To think you can just go from complete structure to no plan is crazy. You can't handle it and you'll be up to your elbows in cupcakes before you can yell the safety word.

What you want is a nice slow gain. You will get fat. You need to. Your body needs fat to make hormones, transport fat soluble vitamins and a score of other functions. But there's a limit. We used to think fat didn't really do just was a storage place.

We know that fat is a very active "organism" and the scientific community is reclassifying it because of it's effect on our hormonal profile. We want to control our offseason gains. At six weeks post USA's, I'm up 9 pounds. Nine. Not 30 pounds.

I'm controlling what I eat. I'm doing my cardio. I'm in the gym lifting. I have goals of what I want to make progress with. People have actually greeted me with, "I thought you'd be all fat!" Now, they mean that in the nicest way, but rebounding is a choice.

You're going to get fat, and the rate and intensity at which you do that is entirely up to you. Entirely.  As I slowly put a little size back on, I can feel my body changing. Carrying an additional 9 pounds feels different when I walk.

It feels different in my clothes. But I'm also stronger, I sleep hard, and I'm on the upswing of offseason making good changes. Don't be surprised after your contest as your body begins to change. Make the mental shift to change your personal goals along with it. You can't get better if you are constantly dieting. I'm excited for the positive changes I'll make even as I get...a little fat. *smile

Monday, September 9, 2013

Get Capped Shoulders

by Kris Pitcher

Every now and then I put out a shout out for blog ideas...and I got request for favorite exercises. At first I laughed a little bit (sorry Angela) because the truth is, I'm continually looking of the perfect combination of exercises myself. I'm searching for the best exercise to make change...I'm just like you. Searching for the perfect "thing".

Here's the thing, there is no thing. But I can tell you some of my favorites. We'll start with shoulders because I'm on the quest for capped shoulders. Who isn't? When I check in on shoulder day I post things like "project shoulders!". The bigger I can make them the better. So what's the BEST exercise?

I'm not about to spill on my entire shoulder workout. Not that it's a giant secret, but that's why people pay a coach. Expertise, creativity, progression etc. One of the keys is you should be changing your routine. You need to assess whether you are over-training a muscle group. Especially a small group like shoulders.

One exercise I love is an incline lateral raise. You'll use an incline bench, and in a side lying position perform a lateral raise. It's great because it hits the medial without engaging the anterior deltoid. You do one side at a time, resting one shoulder on the bench, sort of kneeling on the bench with one knee, with the opposite foot out in front of you on the floor.

I'll share some of my other favorites as well. The biggest secret is, there is no secret. You have to put in the work, put in the time, eat your food, and rest in order to grow. It takes time to change your physique and it won't happen over night no matter what exercise you do. With the right mind-set you will make amazing gains. Adding different and creative exercises will challenge your muscle fibers in the right ways. Try adding an incline lateral raise to your shoulder routine...mix things up!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Egg Whites and Old Guys

by Kris Pitcher

With a busy morning ahead of me I packed a meal and we were out the door. It was once we'd gotten to the gym and I'd realized it would be too long before I saw my next meal and I was...unprepared. I went next door to the coffee shop. They didn't have anything I wanted to eat.

I had enough time to run out and get something. So, I decided to go to McDonald's. Yep. I've told you before, you can find something to eat on almost any menu. I tried the new egg white delight mcmuffin. At 250 calories, it's not too bad.

"Does that come with cheese?" I ask. Turns out it does. Hmm? Egg yolk bad. Cheese, good. "Hold the cheese please." I ordered. I was back in the car with my hot cross buns but not before I noticed the in restaurant diners.

It's an older set early in the morning. Well dressed couples, single men...nice crowd. I noticed Cadillacs pulling up surrounding my Volkswagen in the parking lot. Pressed shirts, big smiles, happy people. This is a gathering place.

I held the door for a man well in his 80's to which he quickly took it out of my hand and gestured me through. A stream of people were going through the next set of doors which were being held by another gentleman. He held out his hand as if to receive a tip.

Once the door opening and flirting was all done I was outta there and back on the road with my sandwich. I think it's smaller than the standard egg mcmuffin. Maybe not. It's been a while.

It was egg-whity, and had Canadian bacon...the bun was soft and sort of "whole wheat" or at least kind of brown-ish. I guess that makes it look like healthier carbs. Overall, it was yummy. I laughed, to myself, when she asked if I wanted to make my purchase into a meal. That means add a fried potato...that sort of defeats the purpose of getting the healthier sandwich.

I'll pay for eating the gluten with a bit of inflammation and maybe a bit of tummy hurt later. But in terms of needing some protein and a semi-decent choice it was not bad.

My experience with the clientele was the best part...and it made me kind of miss the old days when I taught senior fitness classes. It also reminded me to slow down, smile, and hold the door.   

Monday, September 2, 2013

Supplements You Need

by Kris Pitcher

This summer I've been enjoying a mineral base make up, but as my color fades it's not quite the right color. With a few airline miles under my belt I've had time to flip through some magazines. And, I think I need a BB cream.

Now, I'm not sure what a BB cream is. It will however (according to the before and after photos) make my skin flawless, less red and splotchy, after just one application. I must have this magic cream. Is it a foundation? I don't know. Is it a tinted moisturizer? Not sure.

It says it will basically make my life better. Having no idea what a BB cream was...I went out and bought myself one. I picked "light to fair"...

This is pretty much how we approach supplements too. We have no idea what they do, when we should use them, or if we need them, but we go out and buy them. We see adds in glossy magazines or online and they look like they're going to change our life forever.

Like my literal foundation, our diet is our "supplement" foundation. It's the base of solid nutrition our body needs to get everything done. A supplement is just that, something on top of great nutrition. A supplement can't take the place of good nutrition. It can't undo a bad diet, and it can't do the work of your workouts for you.

There's no magic in supplementation. You should always consult your physician, your registered dietitian, your nutrition specialist, your coach, as you assess your needs. It's not safe to assume you are deficient in any micronutrient or that you need or require any supplement.

What do people typically supplement their solid nutrition with? Protein powder is the number one supplement. There are times when we need quick delivery, and times when we need the convenience of protein in a supplement form.

Pre-workouts are another big one people like to take. Most are stimulant based, and some also promote circulation causing a better pump. If you are a morning exerciser that may make sense, but if you workout at might wonder why you're up all night. I workout in the evening, so these just don't fit for me and I don't need them.

Creatine is a popular supplement for both men and women. Creatine is an amino acid required for energy production. Supplementing theoretically supports workload capacity. It's often a component within protein products, so read labels to make sure you're not doubling up (or double spending).

Vitamins and minerals are popular supplements as well. Depending on the variety of your diet, you may find you want to supplement. Most people can benefit from a vitamin D supplement. Ensuring you're getting your omega 3's and 6's is important too with some fish oil.

Supplementation is a multi-billion dollar industry. Keeping it simple and focusing on the foundation of solid nutrition is key. A supplement is only a tool to refine a great diet. You really have to be doing everything right with your eating plan first. When you are, you may benefit from some additional supplements.

The most difficult part of competition, and just weight management in general, is eating what you are supposed to eat when you are supposed to eat it. Supplements can't help that, you still need to eat your food. It's a complex and confusing industry as well...and you may not need a BB cream.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ready Set Shoot! Fitness Photoshoots

by Kris Pitcher

You're in the best shape of your life and you'd like to capture it with some photos. How do you get ready for that? There are a few things to consider when planning for a shoot.

What will you use the pictures for? Will you have them for yourself and your family to capture a goal? Will you use them for social media promotion? Are you trying to market yourself in the fitness industry?

All important questions to ask. These kinds of considerations will help you decide what kinds of shots you'd like to capture, and what you'll wear. The first thing you'll want to do is find a photographer that will meet your needs. Do your research.

There are plenty of shady characters who will shoot scantily clad women. This isn't what you're looking for. Ask for referrals, then check them out. Look at portfolios to get a feel for someone's style. Are they familiar with shooting physique work? Sports photography?

Once you find someone you'd like to work with, determine the specifics. Will you have two or three outfit changes? Will you shoot exclusively indoors, or outdoors, or both? Work out the details and be direct with what you want. This is a business transaction and no one is going to read your mind.

You should always be welcome to have someone accompany you at a shoot. Meaning you and the photographer wouldn't necessarily be alone if you weren't comfortable with that. No reputable photographer would say no, you couldn't bring your friend/spouse/partner etc. Red flags should go up with anything like that.

Once the details are set and you have scheduled you have some choices to make. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO WEAR!!!???

Depending on how you're going to use the pictures you'll make some decisions. One suggestion is you want these to be classy and timeless. Nothing too "costumey". A cowgirl outfit is going to look silly in about three weeks.

An athletic look with shorts, a tank or sports bra is a great look. It's a look that you can be proud of and you can use to market yourself in the industry or just show off the great progress you've made.

A bikini with heels is another great look. Not crazy heels, but clear competition heels, or something that is going to create a head to toe look vs. a "wow those are some HEELS" look. You want the photos to highlight you, not a specific piece of clothing.

A dress can be another good look. This is really up to you. You want something you feel pretty or sexy in, but again think about creating a timeless look that highlights you, not the clothes.

When you are getting ready for your shoot, you want to remember that you'll need to apply make-up specific for photography. Matte colors work well to absorb light vs. reflect it making you look like you're glowing. You'll also want darker make-up, lashes etc. to accentuate your features for the camera. It's a bit like stage make-up.

I would recommend getting a spray tan. You'll have a nice healthy glow, and the tan helps to show the detail in your physique. No glitter, it reflects the light back at the camera. It's a lot like prep for the stage.

As you get ready to go to your shoot, put each of your outfits with shoes/accessories in a zipper bag so you're organized and can change quickly. Take your make-up or different lipsticks so you can quickly change a look. Starting with your athletic look, you can build on your make-up for a sexier or dressier look. You can add make-up quickly, but you can't take it off and have that work very well. Think these things through.

You may want to pump up for your athletic and/or bikini looks at your shoot. You'll want to put a band in your bag for that. Pump up your shoulders and back for a nice pop. Also think about any props you may want. Again, the idea is to focus on you, not stuff. But sometimes you may want to have your team jacket, or a trophy.

Photo shoots are a great way to capture the great accomplishments in your life. I would schedule a week before, or the day or so after your show. You'll need to stay on task with your diet after your show if you schedule after. So, deciding when to schedule is up to you and what you're comfortable with. I've had plenty of seasons when I wished I had scheduled shoots. So, don't let this opportunity pass. The window is SHORT.

Have fun with it and just remember you want to be classy and timeless in what ever you choose for location, and outfits. The first step is to decide what you'll use them for, and remember in this digital world...they'll be out there forever. Make good choices you'll be proud of.  Ready, set, shoot!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How To Survive Your Diet

by Kris Pitcher

Survival of the fittest is no joke when it comes to getting through contest prep. There are some key factors to surviving your diet and why not share them? Here we go...

  • Your Diet is Not a Diet. This is tip number one and the main way you're going to survive prep or any kind of "diet". Creating a long-term attitude around the way you eat is critical. Successful weight management works as long as you do it. This is not to say the components of your eating plan won't change along the way. But if you think this way of eating is going to "end" just quit now.
  • Get Organized. Having what you need when you need it, where you need it is the only way you'll eat what you're supposed to eat. Sounds like a no brainer. Shop in bulk, prepare your food in bulk, and find a travel system you like. We are constantly "monitoring" our food situation to make sure we have on hand, ready to eat, what we need.
  • Spice it Up. People tell me all the time they get bored eating the same thing. Guess what? Your entertainment does not come from your food. One way to change things up is to spice it up. Find different non-caloric spice blends to lend some flavor to your food.
  • Food is Fuel. It's not medication. It's not entertainment. It's not celebration. It's not love. It's fuel. Food provides the nutrients to get you to your goal. Period. The foods which do not meet your needs, do not fit in your plan. Period.
  • You're Not Missing Out. All the garbage other people are eating, and you see on TV, will be there later. You are not missing anything. Marketing is very strong. You don't need to be influenced by it. All that stuff will be there later. Do what you need to do now.
  • Your Competition Isn't Cheating. I've always adopted an "on", "off" switch with prep. It's either on, or it's off season. There's no cheating once it's on. I have a number of reasons why I take that attitude. But here's just one, your competition isn't cheating on his/her diet. You have a plan, stick to it. You are the only one accountable to your choices. Do you want to leave anything on the table when you stand on stage? Me either. :)
Whether you are prepping for competition, or changing the way you eat to make composition changes for a healthier lifestyle, you are making choices about how you choose to fuel yourself. Your choices are yours. No one is making you do this. Think about your goals. Reconnect to them.

When you do, survival will seem easy. They are after all, your goals. Go get them!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sports Injuries, Stop Being Mad About It

by Kris Pitcher

Dealing with the setbacks of an injury are frustrating at best. You're managing both the physiological and the psychological aspects of your limitations. These are both real, and managing through sports injuries is no time to put your head in the sand.

Whether you have experienced an acute injury, or an over-use injury, either way you may be down for the count. Most people begin with denial, "It's not that bad, I can work through the pain." In most cases, this is what got you where you are. Injured.

Let's assume you've taken care of your situation by consulting a professional, a physician of some specialty, and worked through your course of immediate care and recovery. Now what?

Foremost, you're not who you think you are. What I mean is, an injury changes you. Injuries to tissues and joints change the way you are able to carry out the things you "used" to do. You need to approach your workouts differently.

Knowing this is an important starting point. If you think you can go right back to the very things which caused your injury, without getting hurt...well, that's just crazy talk. For instance, if you've been nursing a shoulder injury and you continue to flat bench with poor form - you're never going to rehab that shoulder.

But if you go back into the gym and work some different movements, protecting the joint instead of chasing big numbers, you'll eventually get the joint in good health. There comes a time in our lives when we can't keep up with the Jones' in the weight room.

Just because everyone else is squatting, if we have a back injury, we need to consider our own situation rather than just do what everyone else is doing. The point is, we have to work out smarter, not harder.

When we are coming back from an injury we have to start slow. One of the frustrating things for people is we loose the gains we made. Well, that may be a reality. But guess what, we can control certain things.

Control your diet so you don't gain excess weight while you're out of commission. Maybe you can't run, but can you walk? Or swim? You may not be released to do EXACTLY what you want, but chances are, those are the things that led to your injury in the first place.

Do what you can. Take advantage of physical therapy, massage therapy, do the things your doctor has told you to do in order to recover. Don't come back too soon. More isn't better. Remember that recovery requires good nutrition.

Sitting home eating pints of ice cream because you are sad you're injured isn't going to help you recover. Eat the nutrients you need to repair your tissues, and control your weight gain while you aren't expending as many calories. Do yourself a favor here.

Knowing there are as many psychological hurdles to be overcome as physiological when coming back from an injury is half the battle. Give yourself a break. Know you need to do what YOU are capable of right now. Not what you could do a year ago, or what your friends at the gym are doing.

Also know that you might need to learn a few things. Your chosen activities might be a little hard on your body, your form might be less than great, and you might be neglecting good form for big lifts. You may be over training leading to over-use, and not recovering properly...leading to injury.

Be gentle with yourself as you are coming back from an injury. You are not who you used to be, and that's OK. You are going to have to change your mindset to meet yourself where you are. Stop being mad about that. It is what it is. In plenty of time, you'll heal.