Friday, March 29, 2013

Peanut Butter Interrogation

by Kris Pitcher

He came at me with a butter knife, "Have you been eating peanut butter?!" I was shocked, startled, and caught completely off guard.

Then the laughter came. "NO!" I said emphatically. "Because I don't remember making those patterns on top of the peanut butter." said my husband shaking his butter knife at me.

Earlier that day on our way to see my parents I had to tell him to drive straight instead of turning the direction we turn 99% of the time...because we were going to visit my parents. I wasn't sure he could remember anything.

I never cheat on my diet. It just simply doesn't cross my mind. There are no weak moments, no fits of being overcome with an eating frenzy. He asked if maybe I was eating it in my sleep!

Certainly not! I told him when I get up in the middle of the night I go to the bathroom and that's it. Then it's straight back to bed. This interrogation was outrageous. Unfounded.

When I'm on stage, it's just me and my integrity. There's no room for cheating. There's just me and my hard work. Every bit of it. There aren't any extra days for me to mess around with cheating. There aren't any bites of peanut butter or fancy swirls and patterns.

There is just me. Who would give me the benefit of the doubt if I just "had a little swirl"...What judge would say, "Hmmm she's not very tight from behind, but that's no big was just a bit of extra peanut butter." Not one.

There is zero room for being off plan. You need every bit of time to get ready. You need every bit of cardio, every ounce of protein, every low or high carb day...all your water. You need to lift like you mean it. You need to tune into your body. You need your sleep.

No nibble or snack, or extra would be worth wondering if you could have done better. Would it? No snooze button or skipped workout, or missed meal...

When you're on stage it's just you. And that's why even though you have lots of help and support right now, it's ultimately just you. You have to want it pretty bad in order to do what you need to do. That's why very few of us do it. Just you.

So, no. No I didn't swirl patterns on the peanut butter. I don't get peanut butter. And if it's not on my sheet, hanging on the refrigerator...I'm not eating it. Promise you that. Come June 14th, it's just me up there.

So, come at me. Bring it on. I know exactly what I've been eating. And I will try to hold back the laughter while I get the peanut butter interrogation. Try

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quiet the Noise

by Kris Pitcher

There is a lot of information out there. A LOT. Some of it's good. Some not so much. Some based on science. Some based on scams.

Some information is twisted around someones personal philosophy (someone who might be wrong). Some information is straight forward. And every gym dork is a complete expert.

Poke my eyes out. Go ahead. Shove pencils in my ears. I can't take it any more...And I bet it's just as frustrating for you to wade through the sources of information too. So, I thought we should take a breath.

Inhale positive energy...and exhale ridiculousness. There. That's better. Here's the thing. Everything you read, you see on the internet, or someone says to you at the gym isn't necessarily true.

It isn't necessarily true, or true for you. Sure, they may have read their bro-science, or had an uncle who had fill-in-the-blank ailment, but whether that information applies to you is a whole other story.

Being able to take information, understand its relation to science, and apply it to the athlete, or the average exerciser, takes an expert. You need to have a comprehensive understanding of the body, of anatomy, physiology, exercise science and be able to apply the information to those and other systems.

If you don't have a full understanding of the chemistry happening with your nutrition, of the appropriate ways to elicit the desired response, of the ways to manipulate might want to leave that up to your coach.

My point is you need to trust the process, trust your advisers, and trust your coach has your best interest at hand. If they don't, you need a new coach. I'm constantly flabbergasted (yes, that's my grandmother's word) by the suggestions of competitors.

And it's not just you. I'm not speaking directly to you (even though you think I'm in your head). It's everyone. We could ask all of our colleagues and they would say the same thing, everyone is self diagnosing.

You hired an expert for a reason. Let the noise of all that incoming information quiet itself. Let it roll right over you. Don't give it a second thought. Smile and nod at that gym dork who thinks he's helping by telling you what you should eat.

He's not helping you. You need to keep your head together if you plan to get to the stage. This means quieting the noise. I'm not saying don't take an interest, I'm saying watch out for information overload and don't try to do your coaches job. Learn along the way absolutely. But don't go looking for disease and craziness.

Communicate with your coach. Let them know that you heard "X" and were wondering if that had anything to do with you. They need to know what's going on with you. But don't jump to conclusions, change what you're doing, or lose the faith. There is just too much information coming in. Simply, quiet the noise.

Monday, March 25, 2013

After Your Show, What's On Your Mental List

by Kris Pitcher

I know you're thinking about all the stuff you're going to eat after your contest. After the big day! You've got a list going and you've even started dreaming about it. Well, I've got a list too. Let's compare our mental lists.

After my contest I would like to eat egg yolks. Creamy, fatty...runny or cooked, I'll take them either way. That soft, smooth, fatty silkiness. What? You're still eating them? Hmm. Didn't know how good you had it, did you?

Also on my wish list are apples. Oh, I love apples! Crunchy, sour, sweet, tangy...a little of both. I like them cut up in thin slices. Green ones, red ones, fancy, delicious...I love apples. You get fruit? Hmm, enjoy it.

Let's see...OH, I WANT ALMONDS! Yes, crunchy, fatty, raw almonds. Yes. I would like a handful of those. Ooo, and some almond milk. That would be good on cream of rice (more than a tablespoon joker!).

What else is on my list? Egg yolks, apples, almonds...squash! I love squash. It won't be squash season but bake me up some squash and I'll feel like you've given me dessert! Yummy! Oh, and pumpkin. I love to put pumpkin puree in my morning shake. I miss that.

I hear a lot of people talk about the things they miss and I think - boy, you ARE missing it. They're talking about gorging on cake, cupcakes, ice cream, booze, pizza, fried everything, fast food from every single place, more booze, and booze.

They've already made their reservations at the Cheesecake Factory (I'll keep my comments to myself) and are planning the after party. But what I notice is my list is WAY different.

I've done this before. And my "wants" are a culmination of a progression, over years. They are the by product of learning about rebound, clean eating and what a successful off season can do. They are the result of a change in taste. Literally.

Mine aren't right, making yours wrong. They are just different. We'll talk more in the coming weeks about planning for after your show. But it all begins now with what is on your mental after list. Begin to think about what your setting yourself up for, hyping yourself up for.

You can fall off the cliff the day after your show, or you can become a better athlete. It all depends on what you're putting on your mental list. Yes, egg yolks.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Broken Pledge!

by Kris Pitcher

I pledge allegiance to my closet full of everything black,
and to the coordination for which you offer
to each item individually and in unison.
From bags to shoes to slacks and skirts,
and from dresses formal to casual.
Promise as I may, I continue to add
to your never ending possibilities.
When I do go shopping, which I don't like, I whisper a promise to myself...I will not buy anything black. Yet each trip, agonizing as it is, I return to add another black item to my wardrobe.
My whispers mean nothing. Black boots, three pairs. One patent leather, one heeled, one suede. We won't count how many, and what variety of black "shoes". There's simply too many.
Black slacks. Various sizes. Black sweaters, black jackets, black suits, black skirts, black dresses. Black, black, black, black. It's not that I don't have imagination, or that I fear color. Maybe I don't have a plan. Or a style? 
I am not alone in my pledge. This I know. My problem plagues women across the land. Women of all colors, shapes, and sizes. I am not facing this one by myself.
Part of the challenge is black never goes out of style. Green this season, pink the next...I can't be changing my wardrobe every year much less every season. Still, I know this to be an excuse for my sickness.
To my credit, I do have colorful accessories. I'm not convinced this is enough. And it doesn't feel like it slows the magnetic pull when I'm out in the store gravitating to that black item.
Seriously, who wears red slacks though? Last week I swore I would not buy a black item. I brought home a pair of black flats. Sick. But flats are in this spring...
You can see my issue, and you can likely relate. This is a new year, and as spring breaks through the winter's chill, I'll head my whisper LOUDER. I'm sensing good things for the coming season. I may just break my pledge!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meat Tooth

by Kris Pitcher

I have developed a meat tooth. You didn't misread that. Most people have a sweet tooth. You're probably familiar with that. Cravings. Hankerings. Salivations! You want it! You need it!

On food prep days there is a lot of cooking going on. Pounds and pounds of chicken, ground beef, ground chicken, and even steak. And I want to eat it ALL! All of it!

I've got a meat tooth! I really have to watch myself as I'm weighing and packing meals for myself, and for my husband...or before you know it I'm nibbling. We know what happens to nibblers.

Even when it's the good stuff, extra is extra. What isn't on your plan still is not on your plan. So, keeping the meat tooth at bay is necessary while I'm prepping and packing.

But man! It smells so good, and it's juicy and salty and yummy! My mouth is watering right now. Seriously. There have been times when I'm in the kitchen cutting chicken and I'll tell my husband I want to eat ALL of it. He just laughs at me.

"At least it's meat," he says. But even so, I can't chow down and eat it all. My palette has become pretty simple. The number of items on my list are small. But I can have meat.

People complain that they don't want to eat their protein. They say they can't choke down their chicken. If they see another egg white they'll vomit. What's all that about?

I. Love. It! I even had a dream I ate half a turkey. I was supposed to be putting it away after a family meal, and I stood in the kitchen and polished it off! Prep dreams.

If you don't seriously love what you're doing and what it takes to get there you better believe it's going to be tough to choke it down. All of it! Start loving it. Start seeing your fuel as your ticket to your goal.

People want to drink all their protein in shake form. Some shakes are fine, and there are times when you need them. They are designed to deliver the right nutrients in the right timing for a purpose. Use it! But you can't drink six meals a day. You need to eat food to progress.

Get your meat tooth developed and make some gains. Quit choking it down and start enjoying your food...what little you get! Maybe you need to learn how to cook it? LOL!

Meanwhile, I'll be in the kitchen looking side to side, making sure I'm on the level with my food scale...not sneaking extra meat to satisfy my meat tooth!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Actions Speak

by Kris Pitcher

I've been carrying around this piece of paper in my purse that says, "actions express priority". It's one of those simple sayings that says it simply.

There's no priority that's more right, or less wrong, than another yet people feel like they should be doing something else. Regardless of what it is they are doing, they sense they should be doing something differently.

The medical community tells us we should, media tells us we should, our mother tells us we should (not my mother). We have lots of sources telling us what our priorities should be...what our actions should be.

In my experience, people are pretty conflicted about this. If you've followed me for any amount of time you know how important it is to me to align actions with values, with priorities. This little piece of paper in my purse speaks to why.

But the under current here is when our actions aren't in alignment, aren't expressing our priorities, we feel conflicted. We feel stressed, and we feel like we should be doing something different. Our life doesn't feel right, our job, our marriage, our body...none of it.

What do your actions say about your priorities? Facebook is pretty important. Social media is critical to everyday function according to our actions. What about television...also VERY important. Who will win Survivor?

The things we pay attention to get done, the things we get done become our priorities. What are you getting done? Your life, your job, your relationship, your future, your body, your self...

Or none of that? Actions express priority. Turning it around is about focusing energy, actions, toward the things that are important to you. When you say your health is important to you and your actions don't express know it.

When you say your relationship is important to you and you chip away at its intimacy and trust, you're not expressing it. You're wanting to be right. Stop fighting over the garbage. Begin to express your priorities.

Slow down and start to question just how often you need to check your phone, your email, your text messages. How focused are you allowing yourself to be, and are you making time for the actions you'd like to take?

When actions express priority, what are yours saying?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Elimination Contest Diet

by Kris Pitcher

You have been following your diet to a "T", doing everything your trainer has set forth for you. Your workouts are on track. But, something isn't right. The numbers just aren't budging.

In fact, you've even done a little extra. Won't that help? The thing didn't exactly tell your coach that part. I mean, you're just trying to get to the end goal faster. What's not working here?

What you may not know, is your coach is consulting other coaches. They are in case study conversations. Subject X is a 40 year old woman, these are her issues, she's on these medications, this is her current protocol...she's not responding. What would you do?

They wouldn't have to have these meetings if you weren't on your own "elimination diet". What? That's right, your elimination diet. See, because you haven't exactly been following like you said you have.

You're not exactly eating all your food. Less is better right? And you did cut your cardio by 5 minutes those three days last week. But that was just 5 minutes. What's the big deal if you skip that post workout meal? You're trying to lose weight after all...

Your elimination diet has screwed up the whole plan. Your trainer is racking their brain trying to figure out why all the other clients (ALL OF THEM) are responding to their individual plans...but you. Nothin'.

Change in cardio intensity. Nothing. Change in carbs. Nothing. Change in cardio duration. Nada. Change in other macros...You get the picture. You are not responding BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT DOING YOUR DIET.

When you don't eat your food, when you don't work at the proper intensity, when you try to take short cuts...we can't fix that with a wave of the hand. It doesn't work that way. Less is not more. Eating less has shut your metabolism down.

You need to be eating all of your meals. You need to be doing everything set out for you in order to make the gains, the losses, to hit the goals. To stop the conferences.

Transparency with your trainer is critical in this process. Everything matters. What you do, and what you don't do (by elimination) matters, a lot. Open communication is the only method of communication in order to create success for you. Don't do your own plan, you're working with a professional because they are an expert.

The elimination contest diet does one thing...eliminates you from the contest because you won't be ready. Don't sabotage yourself by skipping out. Eat your food, do your work. Let's get you to the stage! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waxing for Competition

by Kris Pitcher

I was SO this may not remain PG13. So, tune out now if you don't want to hear about lady stuff. But in my world...everything is fodder for blog play. (Watch yourself.)

It's time to start the waxing process in preparation for my contest. And, frankly who doesn't want to be all soft and smooth. We've gone well past PG13. Sorry. But in contrast, having hair and skin ripped from your body by hot wax hurts like a m-f-er.

So, for any of you guys out there getting all geared up over this topic, think about having your nards slathered with hot wax and someone standing over you using all the leverage they can muster to rip that wax off with all their strength. I hope it makes you sweat and tear up a little.

Anyway, conscientious hair removal begins a few months out. My "regular" girl is difficult to get on the books, and I'd rather see her for a massage, so I'm trying someone new. Scary. But I lady-up and the day comes...excited!

Low and behold wouldn't you know it, I get my lady period. WTH? How does this happen? What's the protocol here? It literally happened the hour before my appointment. Bloody hell!

Now, I don't have a lot of free time. This is why I was so excited, I had waited a week! I call the salon and get the answering machine. Hmm?

I imagine myself leaving the following message, "Hi, this is Kris and I have a 1:15 brazillian appointment...aaaaannnd, I just got my PERIOD!" I wasn't going to leave that on the answering machine. In the car and to the salon I went.

Everyone gets their period, this happens, I just didn't know the protocol here. Explaining my situation I felt bad, like I was wasting the hour. She explained that we'd reschedule, which we did. I even asked if there was something else we could do to fill her hour.

Being the salon owner she said she was plenty busy and this was not a problem...she even said it wasn't my fault (thank you). Stupid period.

I'm off to wait another week to get my hair and skin ripped out. Here you just thought competition was about dieting and lifting weights...boy did you get waxed!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hard Things Are Hard

by Kris Pitcher

I'm going to just come out and tell you something you might not have realized, or you might have forgotten. Hard things are hard.

That's right. They are hard. If hard things were easy, we'd just call them...easy. But we don't, we call them hard. So, hard things are hard. Like contest prep. You might have gone into this thinking it might be difficult. It might be a challenge. It might be a push.

It's hard. If you were told otherwise, you got the big old bait and switch. If your trainer/coach/guru led you to believe it would be anything but hard they were a lier, con artist, magician, illusionist, idiot, crook, cheater, a shark, get the idea.

The truth is, prepping for competition is HARD. You need to get over the idea it will be anything but. You'll feel hungry at times. Hard. You'll feel tired. Hard. You'll feel like crawling under the covers. Hard.

It's not easy taking your body well beyond the limits of "normal". It's definitely not normal, or even (strike me with lightning) healthy, to put our bodies through this kind of stress when not done the right ways.

As you progress and your contest date comes gets harder. You're running on less energy, putting your body through increasing deprivation. It becomes more difficult to sleep thus you're not getting the required recovery. It's. Hard.

Not everyone makes it. This breaks the weak at mind. The ill prepared. The ill informed. Those who forget it's going to be hard. Those who whine and look for an easy way. There is no easy way. And that's why such a small percentage of people compete.

Your coach will remind you it's going to get difficult. They will guide you through the difficulties and hopefully have the fortitude to coach you mentally around the dark corners toward the stage. A great coach can help you.

Ultimately, you need to dig deep to find it within your soul to become a competitor. Keep your goals in front of you. Limit the affect of "what everyone else is doing", meaning pictures of other competitors on fb and comparing yourself to others on your mental process.

Focus, and keep yourself in this game. It's going to get much more difficult. And in case no one else told you, hard things are hard.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Slow Your Scroll

by Kris Pitcher

You know how you have certain fb friends you just scroll right past on your message feeds? Those people who constantly complain, post negative comments, say horrible things...about themselves...

You should maybe sit down. I have something to tell you that might be difficult for you to hear. YOU'RE THAT PERSON!!!

It's just I want to reach into cyber space and punch you in the throat for the things you say about yourself. Who brain washed you to think that stuff? My goodness take one look in the mirror and let all that baggage roll down a big old hill.

Damaged. Fine. Hurt. OK. Done bad things. What ever. If you're not going to stop torturing yourself, at least stop torturing everyone else "anonymously" on social media. Honestly!

Who ever taught you to be so self deprecating was a real a-hole. We've all been hurt, left, damaged, abandoned in some's time to live in the "right now". Let that a-hole go. Let go of your a-hole.

The fact is you decide to live in your own crap or plant flowers in it. You might not know it, but you need to run, run fast, and get some seeds and start a garden!

We haven't defriended you yet. We're still scrolling waiting for you to get your head above water. We know you can do it. Here's your pep talk. I'm the one elected to tell you.

PLANT YOUR GARDEN!!! My point is, you decide. You decide if you live by the errors of your past what ever they may be, or by the definition of your future. You decide. You define!

Stop loathing (and posting) in those stupid "inspirational" memes about succumbing to your weakness. Load. Of. Crap. You're focused on the wrong things. Focus on your strength. We'd like to slow the scroll.

What you focus on becomes your reality. Think about that over a nice cup of tea and you'll eventually stop cursing me, eventually. I will be reading your posts and comments because I KNOW you're ready to plant your garden. Go on...I'll slow my scroll.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Metabolism, Make It or Break It

by Kris Pitcher

The truth is your metabolism is a delicate thing. It's touchy. It's the rate at which you burn calories. Simply put, you can turn it up, turn it down, or turn it off. It's all in how you manage it.

When you're dieting, much of what you do manipulates your metabolism. Hopefully you're working with someone who has your best interest at heart and has enough knowledge not to put you in danger.

If we look at the typical "diet" it's a great example of what not to do to your metabolism. Very restricted calories and no exercise make up the silver bullet in most magical diet plans. We're highly restricting calories to create a deficit to lose weight. Great!

Except we're losing all kinds of weight. We're losing lean body weight, we're losing some fat weight, and we're losing some water weight too. Who cares as long as the scale is going down? Well, that muscle mass is metabolically burns calories all the time.

Decreasing that means we've lowered how many calories we're burning. Hm? Turning DOWN our metabolism. Now we've got a skinny fat person. But this skinny fat person decides they can't stay on their 500 calorie diet, so they go back to how they used to eat.

Only now their metabolism is damaged, it's lowered. They are eating more, but burning less, and gaining lots. Yo-yo is born. Each time we do this it puts a strain on our system and damages our metabolism.

Our bodies want homeostasis. They would prefer we make very minor adjustments to get a response. A little change in our eating plan along with some added activity and we've got a winning combination. We're losing fat, likely building lean body mass and our metabolism is in tact.

What about the competitor? Someone who's dieting and doing show after show is putting a tremendous amount of stress on their system over an extended period. You're down-regulating your metabolism. You need a break.

Someone who is super low on calories AND doing massive amounts of cardio (because they gained 30 pounds off season) is putting a huge stress on their metabolic systems. I hear a lot about it, I read a lot about it and I wish people would be smarter about it.

Dieting down for a show isn't just about calories in, calories out, cardio, and have chemistry going on in your body. You are effecting your endocrine system, your thyroid, your metabolism. Everything you do has lasting long-term effects.

In my sixth season of competing, after a successful - the most successful - off season of keeping things tight, I finally get it. Two successful off seasons in a row and my body looks completely different. My metabolism is also different, and in tact, safe...and I'm not doing 2 hours of cardio.

Are you? Metabolism is yours to make or break. There are only so many factors to manipulate to get a body to respond, and keep responding. We take them slow, one by one, safely...for a reason. Your health.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Unsightly Unmentionables

by Kris Pitcher

As I stuck my thumb through yet another pair of underwear, I decided it might be time to buy some new ones. I hate shopping. I hate trying things on. I want to purchase things in a package of at least three...let's be efficient here.

But when you decide you'd better not get into a car accident, you know you're on your last thread. So, I marched into Target with one thing on my mind. Unmentionables.

As I walked through the doors I saw this CUTE red party dress that would be perfect for an upcoming work event! I held it out on it's hanger..."that would never fit my back," I thought as I put it down and kept going. Focus!

Oh! A sale rack! 70% off? That's practically FREE! Except I wouldn't wear any of this...what was I here for again? Pink stretch, skinny this can't be a bad idea can it? I grabbed them in a size 6. In blue.

Workout wear? No, that wasn't it. Leg warmers? YES! Sure, spring is right around the corner, but these are on sale and I grew up watching FAME, I want these. Skinny pants, and leg warmers. This is going really well!

Checking the time, I whisked myself into the changing room thinking there was no way those pants would fit. Pants don't fit me. They fit me. I went back to the rack and put the blue pair back. Pink. Why not get them in pink?

I did finally "look" at the unmentionables. But I wasn't impressed and didn't find anything I wanted. Plus, I was running short on time. And can someone please explain why there are cartoon underpants in the women's department? I'm confused.

My shopping spree ended with pink skinny jeans, and leg warmers. I may end up on one of those "what not to wear" photos in the magazines...but at least I'll be living out my dreams. I just need to watch myself and be SURE not to get in a car accident. It would be unsightly...

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Load Of Crap

by Kris Pitcher

I wouldn't write about this if I didn't know for a FACT that you weight yourself, eliminate your bowels, and weigh yourself again.

Go ahead, deny it.

OK, we're over that. You've done it. I've done it...any one with any level of curiosity has done it. And if you're a good producer, you are moving that stuff through your bowels at least once per day. What?! Everyone wants to know this stuff!

If you're not going once a day, you might consider adding some phyllium husk and a pro biotic to your plan. We talked recently about being constipated around your period (sorry guys). So, let's get things working right.

You can also get over yourself on the scale with this issue. You didn't gain 4 pounds (just like I didn't during my very special lady week), that is just a load of crap. Which, actually a lot of it was. Sorry, again.

This is a weighty issue (really on a roll here), and I know you get on the scale and all you can think of is you've gained fat. The issue here is that is likely the LAST thing that's happened. But, you'll beat yourself up and sabotage. It's time to be smarter.

We fluctuate based on our waste, our water intake, our food intake, our hormones and other factors. When we are doing the right things with our diet and exercise we need to think about these factors before we assume we are bad, bad people. We're not bad. You are not bad. I promise. You might just be full of it.

Increase your water intake, increase your fiber intake, get your nutrients in order and keep your head straight about what matters. The number on the scale measures so little for us. In fact, it's kind of a load of crap. I'm done. You get the idea *smile.