Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Your Destiny, Your Focus

by Kris Pitcher

Controlling your destiny is within your hands. A lot of times it may not feel as though it is. I feel strongly about this topic and now is a good time to reconnect with the power you have to drive your destiny.

You attract things into your life with your thoughts. You can either focus on negative things and draw that to yourself, or you can focus on positive things and draw those into your life. The choice is yours.

We attract. This is why focusing on what we can control in our lives is really important, and smart. We can't control what other people do. We may influence someone else's destiny but ultimately they will make their life choices.

Focusing our energy, thought, or prayer on getting other people to do things is misplaced focus. If we turn that focus inward, internalize what we would like to attract to our lives...we begin to influence our own destiny.

We control very little, but the things we do control are very powerful in our lives. When we focus our energy on those our influence guides the right things. It's not easy. It takes constant correction, meditation, questioning, refocus.

Some people thrive on chaos. They create drama, clutter and confusion in their lives. We all have these kinds of people in our lives. And my question would be, are they really thriving?

Start with an intake of the things in your life you place importance on. Begin with your values, your goals...are you focusing on attracting the right energy in your life to make those things happen?

If saving for your retirement is important to you, a life value, yet you are over extended in debt to keep up with your circle of friends - I would say those things are not in alignment. You're not controlling your destiny. You are not attracting wealth by spending yourself into debt.

Same goes for your eating plan. If you have a certain goal, whether it's to compete in a physique event or not, and you have an eating plan to get you have everything within your abilities to control your destiny. Going out to restaurants, eating off plan, or thinking it won't matter if you cheat this once isn't attracting the right energy. Your focus is off.

Only you can bring the right focus and attraction to your life. Others can assist you, but ultimately you must do that work. You must make that connection. It's your destiny, find your focus.


Monday, January 28, 2013

GPS by Restaurant

by Kris Pitcher

I had a funny experience the other day. The kind which solidifies - I'm different. You probably have these too. Being different is my normal, and there are certain times when it's just more apparent than others.

On the phone with a scheduler, I was preparing to visit a new office. One I hadn't been to before. The nice gal at the other end of the line was helping me understand where they were located and the conversation went something like this:

Scheduler: You'll take the exit and head North, you know where the old Marie Calendar's was?
Me: No.

Scheduler: Right near the Jack in the Box? You know where that is?
Me: No, I'm not familiar with the Jack in the Box.
Scheduler: Oh, well the Longhorns is on the left and the Mc Donald's is just further North, but then you've gone too far.

Now I'm actually laughing on the phone to her.

Me: I'm not familiar with the restaurants in the're talking to the WRONG person (still laughing) but just give me a street indication and I'll find you.

We did go that route and finding the office was easy. Upon my arrival, meeting Ms. Scheduler I could see she was familiar with the restaurants in the area and GPS by restaurant was usually a successful way to help new clients find their office.

For me however, it was a reminder I am different. And that's just fine. It is OK to be different. It takes being different to reach the goals we have. It takes not knowing where the old Marie Calendar's was to have the physique we want to have.

We find our way just fine. We just use different markers than most. Instead of feeling like you stick out like a sore thumb...just know you are charting a different course, mapping your way by different checkpoints. You're using a different kind of GPS. Keep moving!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Training Specificity, Driving to an Island

by Kris Pitcher

When you're going somewhere it makes sense to take the direct route. For instance, you can't drive your car to an the middle of the ocean. I'm not talking about the kind of island connected to a landmass by a bridge. I mean the one WAY out there.

Sure, you could put your car on a freighter, but your crossing would take several weeks. What most people would recommend is you get on a plane and fly there. You would take that seriously, because you know your car won't make it. It's not designed for the voyage.

Yet, when you have a very specific goal and someone really smart recommends the direct route people sometimes want to meander all over the place "driving their car to an island".

No, no - I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about less rational people. People who want to dispute the science. And cardio intensity is my favorite example of this within the contest prep family.

Science tells us at what intensity we most efficiently burn fat for fuel. Period. Not my science. The field of science. It tells us at what intensity we shift from one energy system to another, becoming less efficient at burning fat and so on.

But me and about three other people (and all my husband's clients because he teaches them why) continue to do steady state cardio at the low end of the HR zone. My point is, there are still a lot of people driving, while some are flying to the island.

My point is, when we are training for a specific goal, there are going to be specific training protocols we'll need to do in order to reach that goal. That's called training specificity. If you want to improve your tri time, you swim/bike/ don't do yoga.

When you tell your coach you want to become a better runner they put you on a running protocol. Isn't it silly for you to then complain and tell your coach you'd rather do your training in the pool because your friends are swimming? Silly.

You need to run to become a better runner. Just like there are certain things you need to do to be a successful physique athlete. Not the least of which has to do with your diet. Specificity. We're trying to accomplish something in a direct route.

At a certain point in our training as we become serious, as our event comes closer and as we have more limited resources in terms of energy to expend it's even more important to be specific. This means giving up some of the extra curricular recreational things. Meandering things.

It may mean we teach fewer fitness classes for a short time. Maybe it means we give up hot yoga for the final six weeks of our prep. It might mean we can't enjoy spring skiing. We have to assess and prioritize what gets us to that stage. And we have to remember, we can't drive our car to an island...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Toxic Timeline!

by Kris Pitcher

We have what I would describe as an, "I need it NOW!" mentality in our society. I fall victim to this false urgency's not just you.

We get a plan and we want a new plan before we've even given the first plan a chance to work. We want change and we want it fast. We have a toxic timeline.

I look in the mirror and want to be ready for my contest now. My contest is in June. I can't be ready now...I need to be ready in June. And you can't be ready now either. You'll be ready in time.

I need it NOW!
If I were ready now I wouldn't be ready in June. And that would just be silly. It would be silly because there is no contest right now. I would be ready at the wrong time. So, I have to relax. RELAX!!!

My timeline is all set out for me, and so is yours. Mine is mapped out on the refrigerator to help me literally see it. Each day I can stand in front of my calendar and look at how many weeks until my contest.

Twenty-one weeks...WHEW! I don't have to be ready today. It's not time. I have time and I've allowed for time. That's what this process is all about. Now, I just need to keep my head straight about that fact.

If we stop needing "it" now, we can relax and do the work. We need to do the work each day, each day leads to a week, and a week into a month and so on. Pretty soon we've done the work to be ready and low and's time!

The energy invested in wanting it now is just nervous nothing. It creates stress and no one needs that. Let go of the toxic timeline and work on the here and now. Break things down into the daily tasks needed to get the big goal done.

What I see happen is we get paralyzed in this nervous energy wanting to get from point A to point Z, and we are unable to take the necessary steps in between. We need to be able to take the steps and do the work in between. This is what separates those who accomplish their goals and those who don't.

Get rid of the urgency. You don't need to be ready RIGHT NOW. You'll be ready in due time. You've timed it out just right so you will be ready at the right time. Trust that process. Put up your calendar so you can see how much time you have. Then allow yourself to do the work you need to do today.

There! Take a breath...doesn't that feel better? Allow yourself the time to become successful!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Living With Ants

by Kris Pitcher

A tropical place is a dream for a lot of people. The slowly swaying palm trees, the gently lapping waves...there's a lot of romance that goes along with it.

The way we spend time in a tropical climate might be a little different from the story book romance. We live there. I shop groceries there, cook there and clean there. And like any romance, when you live it, you see the real deal.

Dieting or contest prep is a little bit the same. The end result looks very romantic, easy even. But living it is the real deal.

In a tropical climate you can do everything right and have the best of extermination habits, and you are going to have ants. You do things differently than at home with food storage, food prep and clean up. Even when you, "leave no trace" those tiny ants are going to make their way into your kitchen.

They always do. The point is you have to learn to live with the distractions which are inevitable during dieting. They will come despite your best efforts. You can't exterminate them from your life.

The ants are going to cross your path and you need to be able to live with them, around them, without allowing them to make you completely crazy. You'll ask yourself, "What more can I do to make them go away?!"

The answer is nothing. You need to live with them. To be a successful dieter you need to live with constant distraction. You need to be able to think around the trail of ants. They were there long before you and will be there long after.

The distractions and challenges are the reality of living inside the storybook...where the romance is what we make it. It is entirely possible to be successful dieter if you can grasp the concept of living with ants.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Scale Won't Budge!

by Kris Pitcher

Against your better step on the scale. Hmmph! You step off and remove your socks. The read out on the scale still isn't "right". Stripping completely naked you take off your glasses and pee one more time. Why won't the scale budge!?

This is a scenario I know plays out in homes other than my own. I have to tell you, after a week of contest prep...the scale's a bit of a bitch.

But then I have to think about my expectations. I'm not going to pull big numbers in a week. I don't have big numbers to pull. This is a slow process. Starting twelve pounds up from contest weight...I'm not going to see a 3 pound drop in a week.

And my point is, stop being disappointed by the number on the scale. Reassess your expectations and settle in for the long haul. This is going to take as long as it takes. You're not going to get "biggest loser" numbers every week. Ain't gonna happen.

There are a few things at play that are important to consider when we let the number on the scale play games in our head. Foremost, it's measuring our total body weight. That is all.

The scale isn't measuring how much fat we've lost. It's not measuring how much lean body mass we've gained. And it doesn't know the first thing about our hydration.

Did you know a gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds. Eight! The scale doesn't know if you've gone to the bathroom, eaten a meal, or sweated more or less today. It's a relatively useless piece of information.

If I told you I weighed 125 pounds, you'd believe me. Or, if I said I was 145 you'd believe that too. See? It doesn't matter. It's only a number. The number doesn't indicate whether I've been spot on with my diet, or done every second of cardio I was supposed to do this week.

The scale doesn't measure my workouts or how hard I lifted this week. It doesn't take into account how many hours of sleep I got. So whether it moved a quarter of a pound, or a half this work remains the same.

When I check in with my coach and he looks at my body, or when he tests my body fat - these are indicators we can work with. I may have gained muscle and lost fat this week. I'd be beating myself up over that when I should be celebrating if all I did was pay attention to the scale.

So, from now on...think about skipping your morning trip to the scale. Think about what role it plays in your progress, in your success, or lack thereof. Your mind-set during this process is too important to be filling your head with useless information.

I won't be getting on the scale every morning before I get on my cardio machine. I've got my head in this game and I'm paying attention to the information that matters. What are you paying attention to?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Just Want to Tone...

by Kris Pitcher

I would classify t-o-n-e as a four letter word. Toning. "I just want to tone...I don't want to get big or anything." I realize I've just been on holiday...but I could poke my own eyes out over this one.

Would you like to just tone?
Put down your fifty gallon purse along with your little dog and GET IN THE GYM! Enough is enough. You've done a great job getting started with your exercise plan by adding cardio to your life now it's time to put your big girl panties on and hit the weights!

You won't get big. I PROMISE. And you girls who "naturally put on a ton of muscle"...this isn't for you. It's for the "I want to tone"ers. You make up the 1%, I'd like to address the other 99% of the ladies out there with their 3 pound weights.

Can you tell I'm passionate about this? I have to work really hard to put on muscle. Really. Hard. You're not going to get all muscle-y. Lifting weights is really important, and I know you know that...because you do want to tone. Smile and insert sigh.

Seriously, you can pick up those 12 pounders for some arm curls (really, I've seen your handbag). And that leg press isn't going to hurt you. Fat makes us look fat, or big, or bulky - not muscle. Lean body mass is compact, taking up about 2/3 the space of fat.

Toned, ripped, shredded, stacked, whatever you want to call it - the work is still the same. The difference in looking toned and looking completely "ripped" is how much fat you want to take off. So, if you start looking too shredded we can always get you a taco.

My point is not to share my complete distaste for the word tone, but to let you know you don't have to be affraid of the weights. You're not going to get all muscled up over night. It's time to get in the weight room and add to your lean body mass. Crank up your metabolism, increase your bone density, increase your insulin sensitivity, make those weekend ski trips easier, or just...get toned.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Opportunity Knocks

by Kris Pitcher

You've been on a roll for a week or two and you've probably noted...this is hard work! You made some changes this new year and guess what, it is hard. That's right, change is hard.

You also just might be one of the ones who will make it this year. Count yourself in! Depending on how you see things, you just might have a chance.

Do you see this change as opportunity? Or as oppression? Your perspective will be huge for your ongoing success. Huge! No one wants to be oppressed. Hello?! If you have an outlook of the changes you are making as oppressing're in trouble.

If, on the other hand, you choose to see your new life changes as ones of opportunity - you're as good as golden. (Whatever that means.) But really, don't you see the point here? When you see your choices as opportunity you open yourself up to an approach of empowerment and freedom.

When I hear people say, "This is hard!" It sounds defiant. As if they don't want to be making the changes. Well, guess what? Don't make them. Simple as that. No one is asking you to. It should be your choice entirely.

I am not denying change is difficult. However, when you choose your outlook you're in the driver's seat. If you feel oppressed, you feel like some one's doing something to you. That's no way to go about making lasting positive changes.

Your success hinges on your outlook. Look through eyes of opportunity. When you do, the choice really is all yours. Listen to that, I hear opportunity knocking!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Can It!

by Kris Pitcher

If temptation is lurking at every turn it's time to can it! Your home is your sanctuary and I am all about creating your environment. I realize we each have our own situation. Some have families who need to eat different things. But let's explore that.

Commitment to your success requires controlling your environment. As the provider and decision maker you get to determine what comes into the house. Now, depending on what has been in the house...there might be some challenges here.

It's not my role to suggest how anyone parent, but this is a barrier for a lot of people. So, to work around this very real barrier, I'm going to suggest how you parent. Take it or leave it.

You purchase the groceries. You decide. Kids eat what we teach them to eat. Kids will create a stand off. It will be ugly. There will be protest. Tears. Hunger strikes. Food on the floor. People will go to bed "hungry". You will feel like a terrible parent. You will question what you are doing.

This will go on for a few days. You won't cave. Your kid will get hungry. They will eat oatmeal instead of fruit loops. Parenting is tough, no doubt. And it is no fun to see your child having an absolute breakdown over not getting what they want. It's heart-wrenching.

We create our situations. Having to prepare several different meals is also no fun, and it chips away at your success. A bite of mac-n-cheese here, and a chicken nugget there...crusts of PB & J...I know how this thing plays out. It plays out on the scale, with your numbers. It's up to you.

If your situation is just having goodies in the house, it's time to just can it all. Throw it out. Clean house and get rid of it. It has no place in your plan, and no place in your current or future success. When you have a planned treat, go out and get it. Control your home environment. Create your success.

Any of those left over holiday treats, gift baskets, cookie platters from the neighbors...can those too! Just because someone made that for you doesn't mean you have to finish it off. Out with it! Create and control your environment for your success. Don't count on self-control.

This is such an important tool for your continued success. I realize it takes time to make changes within the family. Not every family member is going to eat like you are, nor should they. But they don't need bags of oreo cookies in the house. When they want a treat let them create a tradition of going out for a scoop  of ice cream.

Preparing additional items for the family is one thing. If you prepare dinner and have chicken and salad with additional sides for the family - you don't need to eat those sides. Have the base meal. But stop preparing a different meal for everyone. This is a change you need to begin to make.

Your success is up to you. Remember you are the decision maker and control the purchasing power in the household. Your home really is your sanctuary and creating an environment where you can be successful is key to your continued success. Now, fill that can!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Your Honeymoon Glow!

by Kris Pitcher

Welcome to your honeymoon! This is such an exciting time. You are motivated, on track, you've got a plan and you are making this thing happen! Finally! This is your year!

Things feel exciting and new. You feel the rush of power and control over your choices. You are driving this thing. Success will be yours! (Insert needle on record...)

What happens when that electric feeling begins to wear down? When the sparks don't ignite quite like they did at first? What happens when this thing actually begins to become WORK?

We need to think ahead a few weeks, and months, to when this honeymoon is OVER. I know you don't think it's going to end. But it's going to end. You're not going to feel all squishy inside over this forever. You're not gonna love me.

But there is good news. Shoot, there is GREAT news! You can make this last. You can make it last a lifetime. It starts by having some realistic expectations. Those of you who know me, know that I've been practicing successful weight management for over 20 years.

How long will I do it? As long as I want it to work. And that's how long you'll do it too. This is a life long journey. I didn't refine my entire way of eating, strip myself of body fat and get on stage to win first place in a few months.

This has been a progression over many, many years. Your journey will progress as well. And my point is, make small changes. Incorporate small changes to your eating and your exercise along the way for the greatest long-term success.

We need to be able to adapt changes we can live with, forever, if we want them to work. We can't expect to take items out of our diet, lose weight, put those same items back in...and maintain our loss. That just ain't right in the thinker!

Your honeymoon can last when you make realistic changes. Make changes you can live with and know they will take time. Know that you will make mistakes. You won't be perfect all the time.

You did know you're not perfect, right? Sorry if that's news to you. But we are human. Allow yourself the space to make mistakes and get back on track. When we just throw in the towel after one slip up...we'll NEVER make it. Make sense?

Keep that ooey-gooey, crushy feeling by being realistic. This love affair of mine has been going on for a long time, and it just gets steamier! Make some lasting changes this year and keep your honeymoon going. Everyone will wonder why you have that glow!

Monday, January 7, 2013

5 Things I Took On Vacation

by Kris Pitcher

If I were off on a holiday...which I AM! What five things would I be sure to pack? Here's a look into just what I must have on vacation.

First, I made sure to pack protein powder. Yes! The first meal of the day is as important on vacation as any day of the week. I don't want to miss out on the best time of the day to pack my body full of protein. I also know I'll want my post workout protein shake, just like at home. So, number one on the list is protein powder.

Second on my must have list is my tennis shoes. That's right, there's no easier way to stay on track on vacation than to go on a nice walk. Plus, I know I'll need them in the gym too. Number 2 on the must have list, tennis shoes.

Next up, protection! Yes, I'll be getting the sun! It's SPF 50 for me, a hat and a long sleeved shirt for when I need a break from the sun. This girl needs her cover up too. I make sure I have everything I need to keep my skin healthy on the beach. Protection is number 3 on my must have list.

Next on my essentials list is my workout gear. I brought my wrist wraps and versa grips with me to paradise. There's nothing like a good lift on vacation. Why take time off from your workouts when you are on vacation. I'm staying right on track with my workouts. Yes!

Finally, on my must have list for vacation actual book. Not a kindle, a book. I'm unplugged, mostly, and enjoying a good book.

Vacation is all about enjoying the things you love, slowing down, and recharging your energy. So there you have my must have list of the top 5 things to bring on vacation. Live it up!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Prep Is ON!

by Kris Pitcher

Making the transition from off-season eating to contest prep can be a difficult one. But with the right mind set this is a no brainer.

If you've had a successful, focused off-season you'll be at an advantage over someone who's been loosey-goosey head over heels in the cupcakes. Either way, you can be equally successful once you make the switch.

Jacques Pitcher & Todd Scott, a winning team!
Making the switch is a conscious decision to figuratively, "Flip the Switch". That day, that moment, when you declare...Prep is on! And it is. It is full on. There's no turning back. There is only progress forward.

My philosophy, and this is personal, is I am the only one accountable for what I look like on stage come contest day. Sure, I have coaches helping me. They are advising me, telling me exactly what to do along the way. Ultimately it is solely up to me to do it.

My coach isn't going to get up at 4:00 am and do my cardio for me. He isn't going to prep my food or pack my meals. He isn't going to make sure I keep walking past the constant buffet of goodies in the break room. That stuff is all on me.

When I am weak, I reach out and tell my coach. He can guide me, or tell me to suck it up, or remind me that this is my goal. When I feel unsure and don't trust my own eyes he can reassure me and tell me we're on track. That's the beauty of having a coach.

But that day when prep begins. There's no room for "kinda" starting. You're either pregnant, or you're not. You can't wiggle in a cheat here, or a binge there. It will show in your scores when the judge quarter turns you and your backside is showing for all to see. You either did the work or you didn't.

So why wouldn't you do it 100%, or more? Why would you for one millisecond allow yourself to stray from what you've chosen? No one is making you do a contest. It's your choice. You are either in, all in...or you're not.

So, when we talk about transitioning...there is no transition. It is a flip of a switch. It is on. It is all the way on. Everything you did the day before is done. You're on your plan, you need to do what your coach says and trust the process. Do the work. Period.

Get your head in the game and keep it there. It's not a short road. I put a calendar on the refrigerator along with photos of what I look like last year and of people I'd like to look like. I know exactly what my plan is and what my priorities are. Get your head in this game and be a champion each and every day. Prep is ON!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Excuse Me?

by Kris Pitcher

Remember the other day when the world was supposed to end? Everyone was having blowout parties and going out for one last celebration...and then we all woke up the next day and everything was fine.

If you're looking for an excuse to do certain things, you probably shouldn't be doing them. It's one thing to be festive or to capitalize on a marketing opportunity but to just get hammered because the calendar is supposed to end seems a little off to me.

I'm honest with you when something is my opinion, and this is certainly a case of that. I listen to people talk a lot about why they cannot do particular things. Why they can't control what they eat. Whey they can't find time to exercise. Why they drink in excess. Why. Why. Why.

All of it is excuses for wanting to do what you want to do. And this is why I don't recommend resolutions. If you don't want to make changes...don't. Change is difficult. Doing things differently than you've done them in the past is uncomfortable. It. Takes. Work.

But here's the thing. Stop saying you want one thing, then doing another. You don't have to say those things if you don't truly want them. No one wants them for you. We don't expect you to say them. It's perfectly fine for you to do what ever you like. No harm, no fowl.

The fowl comes when you verbalize you want one thing, and then you do another - followed by the diarrhea of excuses. Not necessary.

It's tiresome for you too. The facade is no fun. The truth is, you don't have to be like any one but you. You don't need to appologize or make excuses. Just be you. Be accountable. And accept who you are as a result. Excuse me? Not this year!