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.