Sunday, August 31, 2014

Contest Prep, Where is Your Head At?

by Kris Pitcher

I actually had a hard time getting my head in the game this prep. It took me a couple of weeks not to resent peanut butter leaving my life. This was new for me. Usually, I just flip the contest prep switch and that's it. It is on!

Settling into the swing of things, I didn't have trouble in the sense that I cheated, or ate off my plan. It was just difficult for me to fully commit, for it to feel "real". June 1st began my prep and I felt like I was out there on an island all alone. It seemed no one else was prepping.

I have a news flash for you. This isn't the buddy system. Prepping for a contest is a personal commitment. Only you will be on stage. Sure, you have people in your corner. If you're smart - there's no way you go this alone. You hire a professional. Your coach.

Ultimately, what I mean is, you are accountable for your commitment, for your progress...for doing your plan. And in those first few weeks, I just had to put my head down and grind it out. Eat the plan. Lift the plan. Cardio the plan. Sleep the plan.

Eventually, WOW, 13 weeks into the prep now...I'm actually looking pretty freaking great. It is a slow process for me. We grow me into my show. We work hard to keep me full. And we take plenty of time to shed the fat revealing the gains made off season.

My point is, it's not easy. It's not easy the first time, and it's not easy the 10th time. Every time is different. It's different physiologically, it's different psychologically too. And, I'm human (not a news flash).

As fall is about to bring the line up of shows, how is your prep going? Who will help you succeed? And where is YOUR commitment level? It's all a head game. Where is your head at?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes, Which Supplement When?

by Kris Pitcher

My gut tells me there's a lot of confusion over two really helpful supplements. Probiotics, and digestive enzymes. Both of these are useful, in different ways...and different times. Let's clear things up.

Probiotics promote healthy bacteria in your intestines and can be taken daily. This healthy bacteria creates the right environment for you to get the most out of your nutrients (the food you take in), and helps your system work properly.

When we are dieting, or need to limit foods due to allergies, which naturally promote this healthy bacteria - like some yogurts - it can be a good idea to introduce those healthy bacteria by taking a supplement. Again, you incorporate this into your daily regimen.

The second supplement, digestive enzymes can be helpful in an "as needed" or acute situation. If we are limiting the sources of carbohydrate, take gluten for example, because of dietary needs our body stops producing the required enzymes to digest and break that down.

If we reintroduce that into our system...gas, bloating, and other distress begin in the intestines. This happens because we no longer are producing the required enzymes to digest those forms of sugars or proteins.

Taking a digestive enzyme can help in those situations. They can also speed up the digestive process when intestinal emptying seems to be taking forever. You're feeling full three hours after your last meal of 4 ounces chicken with 1 cup veggies and 1/4 cup of rice...still full and it's time to eat?

Digestive enzymes can assist in that scenario. If I haven't eaten dairy, or wheat, and I know I'm eating pizza...digestive enzymes. This isn't a tool you want to use all the time. If you aren't digesting your relatively small meal in 3 hours...we should talk alternatives, or other issues.

So, probiotics create a healthy bacterial environment and we want that daily. Digestive enzymes on the other hand are an "as needed" supplement we can introduce to help our system by reintroducing some of the enzymes we've stopped producing.

I hope that's helpful, and clears up some of the confusion about which of these you take when. Having a healthy gut is important.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Slow Contest Prep for BIG Change

by Kris Pitcher

"Have you noticed any changes yet?" Jacques asked. Now, this made me laugh because it was Tuesday evening. I started my prep on...Monday.

"It's only been TWO days! What changes would I see?" I laughed! And it got me thinking, it's going to be a LONG prep. It's would be especially long if I was looking for changes every day, or even every week.

That's the beauty of having his eyes, a coach's eyes, to look at me. He's going to see the changes in me I may not see. He holds the perspective, he holds the objectivity. The reality is, I don't have huge changes to make.

I won't be dropping 5 pounds a week...I don't have that much to lose. My changes will be small. They'll be in the curves of my arms, in the small of my back, and they'll be in the finer details. Changes will happen that I may not be able to see. I'll lose inter-muscular fat, I'll lose fat in places I didn't realize I had it.

The process will take weeks, months even. And this is why we start when we start. When you are in good condition as you begin your prep, you won't see sweeping changes. Those are the best kind of people to work with in terms of competitors, but often those same people have no idea where they are.

They can be looking for big changes, drops in numbers, and seeing changes on the scale. That hopefully won't happen. So it's the job of the coach to manage those expectations. We'll see very small changes on a weekly basis.

Fat loss will be slow. I may even continue to gain muscle into my contest. Will my weight fluctuate? Sure. Only being 14 pounds up from stage weight last year, I won't see big drops. If I'm losing a pound a week, that may be too fast.

It's OK if it's a slow process, that's the best scenario. Will my abs EVENTUALLY come in? Yes! Will my glute-hamstring tie in show up? Absolutely! But those won't be the first changes we'll see. Those will be closer to the end.

I gain, and lose, in a pretty balanced way. I expect to slowly get smaller, yes, smaller as the weeks pass. Things will get tighter. I'll lose everywhere! But it will be slow.

And we may even need to slow things down along the way. That's the BEST case scenario. My goal is to keep every bit of hard earned muscle I gained this past year as I slowly strip the fat off. So don't be looking for progress pictures, big losses, or massive changes.

Keep your perspective along the way as you make your journey to the stage. Huge drops and sweeping progress every week, are for people who have a long way to go. That just might not be you. For me, it's going to be a slow prep. But by the end, the change will be big! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Prepped to Start My Contest Prep

by Kris Pitcher

Clutching my abdomen, I released an impressive bout of flatulence. "What was that?!" Jacques asked. "A squirrel?" I replied, hoping he would not pinpoint me.

I was clearly in distress...and I was clearly ready to start my prep diet. I was searching my brain trying to think of what had given me such a problem. It wasn't even anything terrible. Diced garlic in a jar. A lot of it. I had sauteed kale in it. It was delicious.

Fortunately for me, there were often squirrels in our living room. It was also fortunate that I had closely enough monitored my eating that I could identify the gas inducing culprit. It's moments like these that ready you for your diet.

Success is all about being ready. I've spent the last couple of weeks "getting ready" to start my prep diet. I don't do a 12 week prep. No quick prepping for me. I take it slow. We like to be ready early, if that's the case.

Feed into the show, decrease cardio - that's the name of the game. With that, the diet begins June 1. But I haven't exactly been on a bender. A few pieces of fruit, a few extra pints of Arctic Zero, and I've REALLY been enjoying my evening rice cake with peanut butter and jelly.

I enjoyed my spam musubi at the airport. That was a celebrated "last", a conscious choice knowing the next times I travel it will be strict purse chicken for me. I might have had two squares of dark chocolate one night instead of just one.

That one square is going away. Just to be clear. Getting ready for me means getting my head straight. It means preparing my mind for what I am choosing to take on. It's not a huge shift. But I will flip the switch.

Once I do, there is no "kind of", no "part way", and certainly no bites, or cheats. It is all on. I'm a total of 14 pounds up from stage weight a year ago. Hopefully, I've gained a couple of pounds of muscle, and we'll just see where we go.

I might have 12 pounds to lose. We won't know. I am excited to uncover the progress, to see the shape we've refined, and to see the improvements. I've never been in this place before. I've never been starting my prep in this shape, or in this condition.

"There's not that much to change." Jacques said. I laughed because I know how the extras impact me. A little will make a lot of difference, and that is exciting. His point was I've stayed really clean 85% of the time.

It's that excitement driving me to start, motivating me to get going. I'll enjoy the freedom of this final weekend. But frankly, I'm prepped to start my contest prep!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Take Flight on Fairness in Life

by Kris Pitcher

It became clear as her husband boarded the plane and she did not, I would become the recipient of her conversation. The announcer had welcomed the fancy people, and those who would NOT be using the overhead bins for their carry on items.

She's standing close to me, as though we're traveling companions, and says, "I can't believe these people who board the plane with, like, five items and they're not using the overhead bins? Come on!" I could see this was a point of passion for her.

She went on to tell me her husband was surprised she was still mad about people she saw boarding in L.A. with way more than they should have. Noticing she had 3 items, I made a remark about the inconsistency in enforcing the two item limit.

And I'm thinking to myself, this woman has been mad for HOURS over something which really doesn't concern her. She had a seat on the plane, her items fit on the plane, and she made it to her destination without interruption.

They called my row and I smiled and said, "That's me, have a good flight." I took my two items and boarded the plane. The thing is, you control yourself. You choose how you respond to the input around you.

Will you harbor anger, disgust, resentment, and entitlement? You decide, it's your choice. Life isn't fair. The rules are different for different people, Not everyone follows the rules. And it's not your job to enforce the rules.

Mind your business. Take care of your corner of life and do what you need to do. Do the right things and that energy comes back to you. Karma is where "fairness" enters the equation, if you believe in it. But it's not up to you to deliver it.

I'm sure this lady was mad for the duration of that flight too...she's probably still mad today! That's all on her. There are consequences to those choices. The choice to harbor anger, bitterness, distaste for the world around you. Our reality is we control very little.

Take the reigns of the things in your life you do control. Make the difference in those critical areas. Then, take flight!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Potty Mouth

by Kris Pitcher

I went to the women's restroom at a restaurant last night and went into an open stall. Settled down on the seat and frankly...I was trying to decide if I needed to poop. Don't judge me.

Then from the neighboring stall I hear this woman talking. Was she talking to me?! In about 1 second I realized she was not talking to me...she was on her phone. Seriously. Why are we still talking on the phone on the toilet.

Isn't my potty private? I feel like it's private. I don't think I need to be talking to anyone while that's happening, and I'd rather you don't listen. Private. This lady yaps away as the stalls around her are busy. She flushes, and I can hear her out by the sinks. Yap. Yap. Yap.

Then she's in my way. I nudge in, smile, and wash my hands. See, she's having trouble because she's trying to talk on the phone AND wash her hands. I kind of want to punch her.

I dry my hands, she's still contorting her neck and working to get a paper towel. Honestly, is this conversation critical? Could she manage her time slightly better? And this is why your phone is full of bacteria.

If you're a potty mouth, think about getting the poop off your phone with a handi-wipe. And people wonder how their phone falls in the toilet? Maybe I'm a traditionalist? Maybe I'm a prude? Maybe I don't have a friend to phone?

At any rate, may I suggest you stop talking so much crap and just do your business. Separate your tasks. Do what you need to do and save your visiting for a hands free moment. Or at the very least, open your eyes and become the slightest bit aware of those around you. Put your phone down for just a moment, and stop being such a potty mouth. Just a thought.

Monday, May 12, 2014

What are NPC Judges Looking For - With Separation, and Not Excessively Lean

by Kris Pitcher

Scoring – Judges will be scoring competitors using the following criteria:
  • Small degree of muscularity with separation, no visible striations
  • Overall muscle tone with shapely lines, overall firmness and not excessively lean
  • Full general assessment
  • Healthy appearance
  • Make-up
  • Skin tone
The above criteria comes directly from the NPC website regarding the Figure division. This is what I'm working on this year. My feedback last season from the head judge was: too lean, too light

I also know the girls in the top 5 were fuller, bigger, and thicker than me...with way better butts. I've been working on all of that (insert smile). Staying in relatively good shape off season will help me to meet those goals and build the physique closer to what the judges are looking for.

Right now I'm sitting 13.5 pounds up from stage weight last year. And I hope to be carrying more muscle and I'll likely need to be a little fatter up there on stage. It's just that fat has to be in the right places.

My shape and fullness has to be right in order for me to have the right look. That means my backside has to be in shape. Glutes are a project in themselves. Glutes and shoulders...and back...and quads. OK, it's all a project!

The big goal is to be in shape, but not too lean. To put on muscle and look thicker and fuller by fueling without getting fat. We did a great job last season of growing into my contest, feeding me into my contest and being able to back off in the end.

That's the way you want to do it. Slow and gradual, then back off if you're ahead of the game. I trust the process fully to my coach, husband, and best friend, Jacques. This year, we'll both be prepping together. We do that well.

Small degree of muscularity with separation, no visible striations, overall muscle tone with shapely lines, overall firmness and not excessively lean...that is my mantra. Prep will begin soon! I'm so excited for the season to come. We've worked hard off season and I get excited to uncover what we have built. With separation, and not excessively lean...

Let's do this!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jock Straps for Women

by Kris Pitcher

It's true, there's a new revolution for women and everyone is getting one. It's the jock strap for women. What? Don't you have one yet?! I bet you do!

I learned about this product from an amazing group of women. They ALL have one, some even have two jock Ssraps. In fact, one of them showed me hers...right in a crowded restaurant!

"These are our Jock Straps." she said, pointing to the two un-bronzed people sitting with their group. "They're our athletic supporters." she smiled.

And it's true, none of us can do this sport without our jock strap, our athletic supporter. Some of us have a family of support, a spouse, a room mate, our co-workers. Others have a coach who leads, supports and guides us.

Hilarious! I immediately knew I needed to tell you about your jock straps...because I know you have them. Who are they in your life? Who supports you on your journey? Do your kids support you? Your husband, wife, girlfriend?

Who is your athletic support? Who helps you prep your food, do the dishes, pack your meals, get the laundry done and everything that goes into being able to get yourself ready for competition. It's not just the big things, it's the little things on a daily basis.

It's just being there to hold you...quiet support. It's telling you what you need to hear when you need to hear it. It's showing you what you need to see when you can't see it. Your supporter is the one by your side kicking you out of bed to do your cardio when you'd rather stay in and sleep.

Your jock strap helps you get from your job, to the gym, to pick up the kids, to make the grocery run, to remind you to put your pants on. Your jock strap is constantly there for support your goals. And if you've recently been through a prep, gotten yourself on stage, and are still in one piece...take a look around and figure out who supports you.

Having solid athletic support is critical in this sport, and really anything in life. Grab hold of your jock strap and keep it close to you. Thank those people in your life for supporting you. And laugh as you make your way through this process and join the revolution...after all, you've got a jock strap! 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Getting Judges Feedback

by Kris Pitcher

You trained hard, worked for a long time, dieted like no other...before you knew it you were on stage! Suddenly, your 12, 16, or 20 weeks of prep was over in a flash, your class was compared, you went through compulsory rounds and maybe were even moved around a little.

Judging was over in a few minutes. Now what? After finals you find out your placing. The top 5 are pretty obvious, but we don't all go home with a trophy. You will hopefully be given your score sheet, and you'll be able to see where each judge placed you.

Throw out the high and the low score, add up the rest and fall in line. There you go. Knowing your placing is one thing, but now you want to know how to improve. Getting feedback from the judges is a valuable thing.

Here's the best way to do it. You are welcome to go up to them after finals and ask them questions. But I honestly don't recommend that. They may or may not remember, recognize you, or have anything constructive to say at that moment.

You're dressed, they can't see your physique, and there's no one standing next to you. As a judge, I take notes on every competitor during the night show. So if you come up to me after a show, I will be able to make some comments. But there is an even better way.

Following the show, once the professional pictures are up on line, pull a front and back shot and email that along with your competitor number, class, placing, and full name to the promoter. Her or she will email that to the judging panel...then you wait. Patiently.

NPC judges have real jobs, busy lives, and families. And after spending 3 days at a show, need to get back to work, catch up on email, do their own food prep and laundry after traveling back home. Be patient for them to send you some feedback.

You might get feedback from one person, or 5 judges. Keep in mind it is subjective, some of us are good at choosing positive ways to say difficult things, and others less so. Have a thick skin. Take criticism in a constructive way.

If you are 5' 8" and in the middle weight class, you probably have room to fill out your frame. If you placed 7th in your bikini class you likely need to tighten your back side. If you are stuck in 1998 and are still using dream tan, I will tell you it's more difficult to see your conditioning through that paste. If the cut of your suit isn't right for your figure, I might tell you to consider a higher end suit...but make sure you have the right physique to show it off.

If your hair is crazy, I might suggest you polish your presentation as not to distract from your overall look. If you think you're're not smiling. You look scared. If you walk like the "keep on truckin" guy in your heels, I'm going to suggest you work with a posing coach to refine your presentation. I'm going to gently tell you the person who placed in front of you had more classic structure. I'm going to suggest you work on your shoulder caps, and stop doing oblique work.

I'm going to remind you to remove...all the hair from your body. I'll tell you if you need to be fuller, if you depleted too much water, or look flat. I might suggest a different division. I'm going to encourage you to keep training, take more time to prep, have a focused off season. There's lots of good feedback you'll get.

Ask for judges feedback. Now you know how to do it. Whether your placing is good, bad, or otherwise, constructive criticism will help you move forward in this sport. Always be respectful, take what you get and move forward. It's the only direction that makes sense for you to go.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Humble Beginnings, Where Will You Go?

by Kris Pitcher

Social media is a buzz with competitors in the final stages of preparation for spring shows. Some are in the throws of peak week. Others are a week or two out. Regardless, I have some wisdom do share and words of advice.

As I was driving from work to the gym last night I counted the years. I've been competing for 6 years. Many by some, few by others. Most of those years I competed in two shows, some three, there was even an epic year of 4 shows. Whether it's been 12, 18 or 20 thing is for certain.

Every time I step on stage, I lead with humble beginnings. The only guarantee I can provide myself is I've come in with a better package than I brought the time before. If I've done my work, that is all I have.

Without fail, when the promoter sends the competitor list it takes my breath away. For a split second, I am taken aback that there will actually be other people there. That moment passes as quickly as it comes. I walk with humility.

And when you take the step to compete at a higher level you will have absolutely no idea who is showing up, or how many people might be in your class. It doesn't matter. You control you.

Everyone begins somewhere. In any given show, there will be beginners, and there will be career recreational local competitors. Those athletes who show up every time at every show. If it's your first time, get out there. Then just keep showing up.

Find your place in your humble beginnings whether you're stepping on stage for your first time, your fifth or 20th. Your physique and conditioning speak for you. You shouldn't need to make a bunch of noise about showing up. Just show up.

Keep showing up. When I started competing I had no idea what was going to happen. There were times when I won. Times when I was the only one who showed up. Times when I lost to people who I'd rather not have lost to. And even times when I couldn't believe I beat someone who was fantastic. Humility, always.

Hold your head high. Be a good sport. Celebrate your fellow competitors. Without them, there is no contest. If you win that's great. Someone else might be better than you. They might have been doing this longer.

We all begin somewhere. Each time we step on stage it is not the end, it truly is the beginning. If you are in the best shape of your life, if you've done your work and brought your best...that is your humble beginning.

If you are about to step on stage I hope you are thinking about this point in your prep as a starting point rather than an ending point. I also hope you'll consider the perspective you take with you to the stage. It's a time to celebrate where you've come from, and where you see yourself going.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hair Removal For Stage

by Kris Pitcher

Ladies please! Let's just dispel an old wive's tale. Shaving the hair on your arms will not make it grow back black, double, thick or anything else. Shave, wax, use cream - what ever method you want it's not going to come back like a big black pelt of hair.

When you're on stage you are lit up like an angel. A tan, oiled angel. Every tiny hair on your body will also be lit a halo all around you making you glow like a fuzzy baby chick.

Hair removal is an important process in preparation for the stage. It is a detail critical to your tan looking good. We want the tan to stick to our skin, not our hair. All those little hairs, everywhere, must go.

This goes for guys too, but you are less conflicted by this old wive's tale of regrowth. Do everyone a favor and practice every yoga move you ever learned and get rid of all that hair. Phone a friend, enlist a helper, call in a favor. Get a leg up. Get. Rid. Of. All. That. Hair.

I hope that's a clear message. It's a detail which sets you apart from the novice. The girl with hairy arms, low back, hamstrings, etc. looks like she didn't get the memo. She'll glow like a baby chick up there. A halo of hair. Don't be that girl. Public service message here.

I'm glad we had this talk. I wouldn't steer you wrong, and you don't see me walking around with big black pelts of hair on my you? No, no you don't because that myth is not true. I promise. Now get in the shower and get started you're on your way to the stage!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Make Chicken Taste Good

by Kris Pitcher

Th age old question is, "How do you make chicken taste good?" People ask me all the time how I cook chicken and make it palatable. When you eat as much chicken as we all do, it's a fair question.

Those of you who know me, know I'm a utilitarian cook. And frankly, I've become a utilitarian eater. I don't have special recipes, methods, or secrets. My secret is - eat your chicken.

If it's dry, you're cooking it too long at too high a temperature. I bake our chicken without any seasoning. This works for me because I season each meal differently throughout the day. Ten o'clock, cinnamon, 12 pm curry powder, and 3 pm chili powder. What can I say, I'm easy.

Using the crock-pot is a good method, except my husband won't eat it that way. It keeps it nice and moist and you can cook it while you're sleeping. How smart is that? We cook in bulk every few days. It's a system that works in our household.

Some people cook fresh for every meal. Go for it. But I actually have a JOB and must work. Life is not like a bodybuilding lifestyle video, and I don't have people for that. I'm no Jay Cutler. Bulk cooking is smart.

However, I don't want 6 pounds of ground beef that is all flavored the same way. So, adding the spices after works for me. That is my recipe for success when it comes to variety. Depending on your plan, there are some really good low caloric ways to add life to your protein.

Salsa is a favorite, especially salsa verde. Hot sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce...but only if those things are in your plan. Salt is never a problem. If your coach has you limiting salt any time except for the week before your show, you need a new coach.

Look for spice blends, and just cruise the herbs and spices in the grocery store to see what you've been missing. I have my favorites. I am a creature of habit and don't mind eating the same thing day after day (utilitarian). Cinnamon, chili powder, curry powder, smoked paprika...are some of my favorites.

Ultimately, eat your food. Get your entertainment somewhere else. Food is about fuel. Fuel for your goals. Eat it. Eat it cold in the car. Eat it out of a baggie in a bathroom stall. Eat it out of your purse in the movie theater. Eat it. Eat it. Eat it. Eat your food. If you hate it, this sport isn't for you. Eat your food. *smile

Monday, April 7, 2014

Panic to the Stage

by Kris Pitcher

You're four weeks out and you're close enough to your show it's time to panic. It sets in without warning. Creeps in really. It's more of a wave rising over starts on the backs of your thighs and moves quickly to your butt.

Will I be ready?!!! Calm down. You won't be ready RIGHT NOW. You'll be ready in four weeks. And a lot can, and will, happen in that time frame. There may be the reality you didn't start your prep soon enough. Or, and don't get mad at me for this, but you may have gotten way too fat off season.

Sorry, but it happens when you're not focused. But let's say you started with ample time, and were in a good place when you started your prep, you'll be ready. This is the point when everyone begins the panic to the stage.

Relax. It's time to trust the process. If you're ready 4 weeks out, it's going to be really hard to hold you condition. Mental exhaustion will set in before your contest comes. You do your work week by week and in time, by'll be ready.

Worst case, if you are not ready to step on stage, you don't. Big deal. There is always another contest right around the corner. If you need another 2, or 4 weeks. Take them. Get ready and then step on stage. The pressure you feel is all created by you.

Don't let the panic set in is my point. There is no need for it. Trust your coach, your advisers, yourself. Trust the prep process. Take the pressure off. Let the process be fluid, not absolute. The wave won't overtake you as long as you are confident in the process. No need to panic here, you've got this!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

You Are Here

by Kris Pitcher

One of the challenges with getting where you want to go, or even thinking about being in a different place are here. What I mean by that is, you are right here right now. If thinking forward is a barrier for your progress it's unlikely you'll find success.

It's like the guy who wants to get fit before he meets with a trainer to set up a training program. Isn't he ahead of himself? He's envisioning himself way ahead of where he is. And frankly, he'll never get there.

You are here. You're not ten pounds lighter, right now. In your "right now" you need to make some choices to get you to your goal. Wishing and hoping, and even praying won't get you there. Smart choices will. Living in your "right now" will.

Living in your future won't really get you there. Often, living in your future makes us resentful we aren't there yet. How does that make sense? We see other people where we want to be. We ridicule ourselves for not being there. We wonder why we haven't gotten there yet?

Well, that's a lot of wasted energy. If we were to just be in our right now, we would be making the appropriate choices to get us to our future. Get exercise, start a program, eat healthy meals, cut out the sugar, stop the eating out or not being organized.

The thing about being "here" is you are focusing on right now. You are also valuing yourself, in the place where you are, making the choices you are making, to change and move ahead. It puts a stop to the thinking that "if, then". If I was 10 pounds lighter, then I would be happy...or lovable, or employable, or what ever the thing is.

You are here. Be right where you are. If you want to make changes, do the things right now you need to do in order to change. Don't wait, don't think if/then. Just be. Just do. And just ask for help.

The guy who waits to get fit...will never succeed. But the guy who asks for some help and gets started right now, will begin to make changes...right now. If the future seems overwhelming, be right here. After all, you are here!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I Don't Need Snacks

by Kris Pitcher

I don't snack. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a freak, I WANT snacks. I want salty, sweet, crunchy snacks. But snacks are not part of my eating plan. Snacks won't get me to the stage. Not during prep season, not during off season.

So, it's an interesting concept when people want to "snack". A comprehensive eating plan is going to cover your needs, nutritionally. Now, your social needs, your entertainment needs, your emotional needs...those are different. That's why you want to snack.

I'm bored, stressed, lonely, happy, sad, overwhelmed. You fill in the blank on that one. Snacking isn't about needing food, it's about filling the empty void in your life. I can't really help you with that unless you come see me and I get additional degrees. That's not going to happen today.

What can happen today is we can get our head straight about our eating plan. What is on our plan are 6 meals. SIX! That's quite a few. I'm eating every two to 3 hours. I'm pretty busy during the day eating those meals. Rarely am I actually hungry.

If I find myself hungry I make an assessment about my emotions, my stress, where I'm at. Usually I'm procrastinating something I need to get done. Now, when I'm dieting and I'm actually in a caloric deficit...I may truly be hungry.

Guess what? It's OK to be hungry. You will not die.

Having a solid eating plan, let's assume we all start in that place - we're eating our six meals through the day. Now what? What do we do when we get that urge? Here's what we do. I always begin with drinking water.

Usually, when we feel hunger we are actually thirsty. Now, in the throws of dieting when I'm in the depths of my deficit...(insert drama) I drink herbal tea. It's a yummy treat, it fills me up and I like it. I don't get to ADD snacks. Snacks are not part of the plan. I can add non-caloric beverages. Like, water or herbal tea.

That will do the trick. Another tip is to ditch the artificial sweeteners. Yes you heard me. Ditch those chemicals, even your "natural" artificial sweeteners will trigger hunger in your brain and send chemical messages into your body telling you you're hungry. You are not.

Not a good thing, especially when you can control that if you choose. It's up to you. But for me, that's a controllable component I am willing to take hold of, since it helps me. I cut those out.

Another thing to take note of is how much dietary fiber you are getting from your vegetables. If you ladies aren't getting at least 25gms a day of dietary fiber, you might consider a supplement. Find one without artificial sweeteners or fillers. No candy drinks, just fiber.

Fiber helps us feel fuller longer. Making sure I'm getting my veggies with each meal keeps the hunger at bay longer. So, if you're feeling like you need snacks in your's time to assess your plan.

Are you getting your meals in every 2-3 hours? Are you getting good fiber in each meal? Are you drinking enough water? Are you bored, stressed, etc? Go for a walk, paint your nails, take a bath, read a book...drink a cup of tea. You don't get to add things to your plan. Not even snacks.

In order for the plan to work, we need to do the plan. Exactly the plan. No extras. No nibbles, bites, or snacks in between those meals. The plan may need to be adjusted, timing, components of our macro nutrients can be changed to fit how things are going.

To make the changes we want to make, we need to be willing to change. Changing behavior is hard, and it begins with assessing why we do things, want things, or feel like we need things. I don't need snacks. And that feels pretty good.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Getting Fit, And Making Change

by Kris Pitcher

It can be a little intimidating to look at "fit" people and try to envision yourself in their shoes. Where do you start? How do you begin?

Here we all are saying, "Don't worry, you'll fit right in!" Honestly, I just talked to a guy this week who said he had to get in shape before calling my husband to set him up on a basic weight program. He said the last trainer nearly killed him!

Even though I explained that wasn't Jacques' style, he still insisted he needed a few weeks to get in better shape first. And it dawned on me, he was walking first. Change is hard. Where do you start?

Lots of us just spin in that cycle of questioning. Where do I start? We never find the right answer, and as such...never begin to make change. But I'm here to help you find that answer. Are you ready?

Here's where you start. You start by deciding it's important for you to start. Sounds simple. Making healthy steps toward change must begin internally. It has to be your choice. And how do you choose?

You choose by deciding it's important. We make time for the things which are important to us. We make choices around our values. Do you value your health? Make the choice. Ok? Now what?

Make small changes. If you were to look at me on stage you might think, "Wow! That could never be me!" But I don't lose 15 pounds in one week. I lose that fat slowly, over time. It happens by lots of SMALL changes. It doesn't happen by one big change.

It happens over 16, or 18, or 20 weeks! That's a long time. But it's a lot of very small change. Very. Small. So, you're change is the same. Small. What healthy choices will you make? Walk 3 times a week. Perfect. Small change.

Take your lunch every day. Great! Begin the day with breakfast. Excellent choice! Make sure you eat protein at every meal. Good idea! Drink water instead of caloric beverages. Perfect! All of those small steps add up. They add up to real change.

Change doesn't happen over night. It happens over time. And how LONG will it take? It takes as long as you want it to work. Want to be successful at managing your weight over a lifetime? Guess what? You will make smart choices and be active your entire life. That's just how it works.

You have to walk before you run. By that, I mean making small steps to add up to the big change. The perceived "big change" you see in others is really just a series of small steps. Now it's time for you to take yours. What will they be? They're all going to add change.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Am Not Normal

by Kris Pitcher

With my overnight bag packed I hit the road for another short work trip. A day of very dynamic interviews ahead of me, I packed a handful of servings of purse chicken, some protein powder, and threw in a Quest bar for good measure.

I would be hosting an interview candidate beginning with a Sunday evening dinner. Over the next day, I would engage in three meal meetings, and a reception. I would be...eating like the "normals". You know? Like normal people. Three square meals, no water, and few pit stops. And here's how it went.

5:30 am and I finish my cardio. The hotel clerk offers me an ice cold bottle of water. Yes please! I take a full cup of coffee back up to my room. I down half the water on the way. Once I'm there I jump in the shower trying not to be a complete pain to my poor room mate. She's not a morning person.

It's ten minutes to 6 and I drink my protein shake. The hotel breakfast bar opens at 7:00 am, but we have an 8:15 am breakfast meeting. I need to be checked out and on the road by 8:00 am. I decide I can wait to eat until breakfast. It will only be 2 hours.

8:00 am I receive a call from the candidate I'm hosting. She's feeling very sick and needs a few extra minutes. I ask if I can get her anything. Just needs a bit of time, dizzy and nausea. No bueno? I gas up the rig and go to the store for ginger ale, motion sickness pills and bananas.

8:20 am I'm starving and should have noshed down a few hard boiled eggs at the hotel. We're off schedule. But I get her in the car and she's doing much better. We race off to breakfast where the rest of our party is waiting. It's 8:26 am.

I've got to get us back on track and to the radio station by 9:15 am. "Would you like a bit more time?" the waitress asks. No! I tell her we need to get some food going. I order two eggs and a ham steak. Sides.

The plate comes and the ham steak is as big as my head. Good choice! I eat it fast, but not so fast the board members who'd joined us might think I'd never eaten before. Shoving my credit card in the waitresses hand I close the deal and whisk my candidate off.

We make it to the radio station by 9:15 am. That is followed by a visit to the newspaper editor at 10:00 am. I have to pee. No stopping. "Would you like to find a ladies room?" I ask my candidate. "No, I'm fine." she says...

Hoping I don't induce a UTI, we head to the next portion of the interview, a meeting with the executive director of the local United Way. I drop her off. Here's my chance! Restroom, and purse chicken! I guzzle down another 16 ounces of water in the vehicle and I greet her as she's coming out of her meeting.

Off to the chapter to hand her off and swap her out for the other candidate. I whisk him off to lunch. It's 11:00 am. Some of the same folks from breakfast join us, "I'm still stuffed from breakfast!" they say. Meanwhile, I am STARVING! Here's another chance for a restroom.

I take it! I excuse myself to the ladies room then rejoin my group to speed along the ordering. Salad with steak strips...about 1.5 ounces. Still starving. Off to another location where he'll make a presentation to the entire board. THERE'S SACK LUNCHES!

It's 12:30 pm. No one eats the lunches. They've all eaten. I want one so bad. All through his presentation, I'm wondering what's in there...I drink a water. Following a peppering of difficult, and some crazy, questions from the board I escort him back to the chapter where a reception awaits.

Volunteers have made mint chocolate chip brownies, cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries, fruit trays, and a variety of other yummies. I eat a brownie. It. Was. Delicious. As the volunteers were soaking up the candidate, I snuck off to the restroom.

This whole process was exhausting me. As we closed out the day, I handed off the candidate to our CEO and grabbed my poor not a morning room mate and we JUMPED in the rig to hit the road.

I handed her the keys at her offering to drive, and I dove for my little cooler. It's now 1:30 pm. Purse chicken and water. And I could not be happier to see them. Later in our only 3 hour drive I ate my candy bar, I mean Quest bar. Finally as I gabbed with my office mates back at home base I ate another baggie of chicken at about 5:00 pm.

Half starved, thirsty beyond belief and grateful for a chance to use the restroom, it had been a long day with the normals. I don't know how every one is not starving all day? I did the best that I could with the choices in front of me - except the brownie? But luckily in terms of my timing, I was able to be a normal and not have it impact my training.

I'm not dieting and there's no need for these candidates to be exposed to my purse chicken...yet. Whomever is chosen will have plenty of time to watch me eat chicken out of a baggie from my purse, during a meeting (every meeting we'll ever have most likely). They'll be able to see that my meeting or bladder limit is approximately 1 hour. And they will eventually find out, I am not normal.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Have You Hit the Panic Stage?

by Kris Pitcher

It's interesting to watch competitors hit the "panic stage". The point in their preparation where they want to be ready, they aren't ready, and it may not be possible to speed up the process enough to get them where they thought they could get.

It makes me think about where they started. When they started...and what they did during their off season. Were they the one racing to see how much "bad" food and drink they could get in after their last contest? Were they the one who pushed the envelope of how much they could gain?

Did they fool themselves into thinking they were gaining muscle when they were really just getting fat? Did they reach their coach's "weight limit" and then go a lot? Your starting point determines a lot about how your prep is going to go.

That very same person will want things fixed when they don't see the progress they want. They'll want you to work some magic, give them some pill. There is no pill, no magic. It takes as long as it takes. And it takes a lot longer if you've gone off the rails during your off season.

My point, is advocacy for a clean off season. A calculated off season. An off season with your prep in mind. If you find yourself all excited about progress, excessively, during your prep - you might have started in a less than ideal place. What can you do about it? Start in a better place next time.

Each prep is a cycle. We learn, it's a progression. We become better able to tolerate more, we want more. We're able to make the jump in our thinking. Off season isn't about digging in to the food we didn't get during prep. It's about preparing our bodies for the next prep.

For me, it's about a mind-set of opportunity, not oppression. It's not about getting what I couldn't have. It's about making myself better. I don't go into my off season ready to punish the world by eating a bunch of garbage. Uh? What would that do for me?

So, if you go into your off season mad, and raging for food...don't be surprised when your prep is harder than mine. Or when you're not ready in time. Or when all that weight you gained wasn't muscle after all. Don't hit the panic stage. Just do the work. Do it off season and do it during prep. The end.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

She Could Be Dangerous

by Kris Pitcher

"Let me see your front pose." Jacques said after my shoulder workout. I took my pose in front of the mirror and waited. "Ok." he dismissed and walked toward his protein shake.

He's a man of few words, and lots of words all at the same time. "I know my arms are fat, but is my shape ok?" I ask. "I'm fat too," he says. "but yes, your shape is ok."

We went on to talk about how we'd like my shoulders bigger, my everything bigger. See, I don't have amazing genetics. I don't even really have decent genetics for this sport. I have to fight and grovel for every bit of muscle, pose around weakness, and defy age.

Every now and then we just shake our heads at someone. Jacques will say, "She'd be dangerous if she could get in shape." And what he means is, she has amazing structure, and great genetics. But what she hasn't put together is the mental focus with the right program.

She hasn't invested in the right coach, or listened to the one she has.She's not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to really be amazing. She cheats and tries to do extra cardio. She thinks a few drinks on a special occasion won't kill her program. She doesn't really have any idea what she has. Lucky for me.

Lucky for me, because I will go the distance. I will be uncomfortable. I'll suffer. I'll do what it takes to fuel properly. I have to, because I don't have amazing structure. I'm fighting. And I want to be dangerous.

So, if he's talking about you...get your act together. Get your head straight around your prep. Go the extra mile to take all the garbage out of your diet. Suffer, just a little bit. If he's talking about you, rethink your approach this season.

If he's talking about you, you can bet I'll be breathing down your neck on stage, fighting. Don't just get there this season, with that dangerous!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Call Me Kim

by Kris Pitcher

For some reason when someone doesn't know my name, or can't remember it, they call me Kim. It's been happening for years. Regardless of the situation, context, social or professional...Kim it is.

"Thanks Kim!" or, "Kim, your tag is showing." I even get, "Kim, your sister sent us the nicest card." (No, not that one! Yet.) I must just look like a Kim.

Is there "name" energy? This week I was wearing my name tag at a board meeting..., "Great work Kim." Crap. Now, it would have been acceptable from one of the Veterans in the retirement home we were visiting. But it was from a board member.

Am I not making a strong impression? Sometimes people get it right away and apologize correcting themselves. Other times I simply smile and let them off the hook. Nothing wrong with Kim. Perfectly acceptable.

Kris and Kim are similar. Drop a letter, swap a consonant, same vowel and there you go. Maybe the year I was named, which shall remain nameless, there were just as many Kim's as Kris'. Oddly, I don't get variations on Kris.

Krista, Kristie, Kristyn, Karen or some other close proximity. It's always Kim. So, here's homage to all the Kim's. Cheers! And should we ever meet and you can't remember my name, just call me Kim.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prepping, Priority Number One

by Kris Pitcher

On a sunny Saturday last February, I was shredding downhill on my skis when I thought to myself, "This is dangerous!" If you're planning to compete, you have to make it to the stage.

I love a good Yogiism. It was that sunny day I decided my prep was the most important thing. On my way to compete at the national level for the first time...I made a choice. See, if you're hurt you won't make it.

Now, things happen. Injury isn't always like a blaring neon light flashing in front of our eyes. Prepping in a smart way is all about minimizing exposure. Exposure to excess, exposure to unintended injury, and exposure to energy expenditure you can't afford.

Aside from feeling a little exhausted, I was enjoying the scenery. Jacques and I looked at each other at about the same time on the chair lift back up and gave the nod. This would be the last time. It wouldn't be until June that I would hit the stage. June! But if I was going to make it, I needed to actually make it.

Lots of people do all kinds of extra-curricular things during prep. More power to you! For me, I'm all about minimizing loss. I'm all about focused effort. And I'll be darned if I'm doing any extra cardio. For some clients, my husband designs their entire program around their adventure sports. Hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, skiing, riding and what ever else they're into.

At a certain point you choose. Search my blog for muscle fiber type for a reminder about training type A and B fibers. There's a point at which you're competing against your own goals. So, I focus on one thing at a time. I'll have plenty of time to recreate off season.

So really there's two issues here. There's getting to the stage without getting hurt. Then there's training specificity. Sure, most of us can afford a day on the mountain this time of year and it's not going to make or break our prep.

Unless of course we're escorted down the hill...with a broken wrist, or arm, or leg. You get the idea. With all the hard work going into prepping for a contest, it just makes sense to protect your investment. And actually get to the stage.

Again, we can't go around in a bubble avoiding life. But, we can avoid the unnecessary by being smart about what we set out to do. When prepping is your number one priority, go all out and get to the stage. Minimize your risk and avoid the avoidable. I'll see you on stage!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Getting Lucky

by Kris Pitcher

An interesting question came across my path this week. Do you feel like you're lucky? As a panelist in an interview process, this question was a favorite of one of the other participants. I have a number of thoughts about this...

The first was, "What color are you?" Followed by, "Are you a square or a triangle?" Innovative corporations like to ask questions to which there are no real answers. But this one, I do have strong feelings about.

Do you feel like you're lucky? Do things happen to you, or do you make things happen? I have a lot of ideas about this. I believe strongly that you attract things to you. I believe in the self fulfilling prophecy. I believe you create opportunity.

I am also acutely aware of my fortune. I am fortunate to live in a place where I have certain freedoms and liberties. I am fortunate to have been born into the middle class family I was born into. Luck? Not really. Definitely fortune.

As for being lucky in life...that's a question of how you see things. Do you see opportunity in situations? Or do you fall to your knees in desperation when things go bad. When something is presented to you, do you take a new direction...or are you stuck where you are?

Can you will things, or attract things, to you? I believe you can. When you focus on certain things, your energies go toward those things bringing them to you. When you want something, putting it at the forefront of your thought allows you to create patterns, habits, choices, which draw it to you.

Is that luck? Or have you created that? So, I believe in fortune, but luck? Not so sure. I believe you create opportunity. I believe people who appear to have "luck" have worked very hard to attract certain things to their lives.

Luck, fortune and happiness are not to be confused. I know some people who have lots of fortune, but no happiness. Plenty of people who have what would be considered by many to be good luck certainly live their lives out in an unhappy, unfulfilled way. Again, it's all in how you see it.

So, do you feel like you're lucky? It's an interesting question. It's one I think about when I consider wanting what I have versus having what I want. It's one I think about as I make choices about who I spend time with, and how I prioritize.

Getting lucky is mostly about your perception of life. Your ideas about how you see yourself, what you do with opportunity, and what you will to yourself. What are you willing to work to create in your life? Go and get it!

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine, I Pick ME!

by Kris Pitcher

LOVE is in the air! But love shouldn't only come one day a big, red, commercial day! When I think about it, it's a good reminder to take care of those around you and also yourself.

I keep my ears perked around me and I hear a lot of dismissed compliments and even more personal cut downs. So today I'm reminding you to be your own valentine. Give yourself some love! Start by accepting a compliment.

"Thanks but..." and that's when you go into the laundry list of why you don't deserve the compliment. Just stop at, "Thanks." When you compliment someone, you don't want your compliment handed back to you. Neither do the people sending compliments your way. They want you to keep them.

You deserve them! It feels good to take them. Try it. The other thing I hear so much of is everyone cutting themselves apart, compartmentalizing, and outright talking negatively about themselves (and their body parts!).

Stop that! This is just a bad habit. It feeds your self-loathing and poor body image. Why would you continue to do that? Be your own valentine and show yourself some love here. If you start with something, well, you've got...something!

What DO you like about yourself, or your body? Recognize one thing, maybe there are more. It's perfectly fine not to be 100% satisfied with everything in your life. That's normal. But broadcasting it and reinforcing it verbally to yourself and the world isn't the way to improve it.

Want to work on it? Great! Work on it. Set some goals and go for it. This week I'm tired. I've caught myself loathing about it several times. Then I decided to stop being a big crybaby! It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sure, I had some travel, nights away from home...lost some sleep. Guess what? I'll be FINE. I adjusted my schedule so I could get enough sleep, I am making sure I get my water and my BCAAs in, and I'm eating all my clean meals. I'm getting right on track! No one wants to hear a complainer.

So stop complaining about all your parts. Begin to love yourself, just a little. Turn your perspective to the positive. It's all your choice whether you are your own valentine or not. I pick ME! And you should pick YOU!

Friday, January 31, 2014

HIIT or Steady State, Which Cult are You?

by Kris Pitcher

People are passionate, I'll give them that. The level of anger and taking sides over what kind of prep diet is "right" and what kind of cardio is "better" is verging on cultish.

Which camp am I in? I'm in the camp of least resistance. What I mean by that is, when I prep I want to begin with the least amount of work needed to elicit change. Period. It's pretty simple. Let's start with the cardio war.

HIIT or steady state? The answer, yes.There are studies to support both camps on this. But, I'm not camping, I'm prepping. Neither is in damnation here. It's about the path of least resistance. It's about having multiple "tools" in your tool box to create a progressive program.

If for instance I'm doing 30 minutes of steady state cardio and continue to get results from that, why would I change? It's when I hit a plateau that it's time to make a progression in my plan. There are numerous ways to do that. I could add more time, increasing the duration. The intensity could be increased. The modality could be changed.

Now, what if I simply did not have additional time in my schedule to add? So, my coach is now considering my "lifestyle". How considerate. I work a 10 hour day, commute an hour, need to lift, and there just isn't another 15 minutes in my day. No problem.

Maybe we start with increasing the intensity. Bingo! My body responds. This is the art of prepping. Progression. Down the road, I may hit another plateau. That might be the time to bring in some HIIT cardio and decrease my time. It's all about changing things up. It's not about damnation, or joining one cult or another.

The path of least resistance. The same goes with food. Oh my gosh. Clean eaters vs. flexible eaters. Really, there should be a reality show. Isn't it really the same thing? This whole thing confuses me to be honest.

I'm eating clean foods, whole foods, unprocessed foods. I have a list of "like" foods I can swap out. In fact, just yesterday, I didn't want to eat my rice...and I ate a corn tortilla instead! Isn't that both clean and flexible?

Do we really need to fight and get mad about this? There isn't one correct way. If a person has the interest in counting calories and is able to work with a group of like items, why not let them loose on swapping one lean protein for another?

On the other hand, if I'm just too busy, don't mind repetition and want to eat chicken and spinach for my meals away from home each day...why are you so mad? Isn't this about preference, lifestyle, and personal success?

If you hate eggs and your coach can't suggest an alternative, you might have someone feeding you a cookie cutter program without the ability to apply the science. You should have a list of items you can swap out. I don't expect you to know the nutritional science, that's why you hire someone, but you should have the tools provided so you can make the decisions.

So, I don't really get why every one's so mad. I don't understand why any coach would only have ONE way they feed or exercise EVERYONE. Doesn't that seem stupid? If every athlete is an individual, and responds differently wouldn't you want someone who had a whole box of tools...meaning a complete understanding of how to apply the science?

I sure would. All of the methods are OK. Everything works in certain ways for certain people depending on what they can tolerate, what they prefer, and what they respond to. And any great coach understands that. It's all about progression, and the path of least resistance.

My advice? Stop labeling, being so mad, or joining cults over these issues. Just do your work, get on stage, and support one another.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sisterhood of the Offseason Pants

by Kris Pitcher

While lots of competitors around me are trimming down, I'm still bulking. It's a strange thing to be on a different schedule. But like much of my life, I'm on my own path. My timeline is different.

So while people are posting about fitting into their size (insert little size), well I'm moving in the other direction. In the direction of the sisterhood of the offseason pants.

Now, I'm not ashamed of what size I am. I don't put any emotion into a number. If I'm an 8, I'm an 8. Fine. If by chance I'm a 10 so be it. Big deal. But the problem isn't even size related in this sisterhood.

When I went recently to try slacks on, I couldn't even get them over my thighs. At first I put my clothes back on and went back out to the rack for a larger size. That size didn't fit either. Nor the next one up. Hmm?

Coming to the realization I am simply not the same shape as the pants on the rack, I left with none. It wasn't necessarily a size problem, but a shape problem. My butt is in the wrong place, my thighs are too big for the pants...and they are all either too long, or way too short.

Most offseasons I come to this same conclusion (after this same exercise) I have to just put the pants away. It's time to move on to my dresses, my skirts, unstructured knits and anything with stretch fabric combinations.

I can't wear my suits, and I won't be able to get my upper body into any structured jacket. I've broken the mold. It doesn't fit me. Rather than being frustrated by it, I find what does work for my figure. Somehow, somewhere, approximately ten years ago I bought a pair of slacks I still wear.

They're grey, have some stretch to them, are boot cut, have a low waist and have room in them for my butt. Other than that I run toward my knits, and love my dresses. And for all of you in the sisterhood of offseason pants, I know you've stood in the dressing room in complete disbelief at what was happening.

Unite sisters! Grow! And I wish you luck as you find exactly what fits your amazing shape. It won't be until well into my prep that this body fits back into slacks. And that's just fine.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fitness Results, Make Things Count

by Kris Pitcher

It's not quite February and there are still a few resolutioner's in the gym. But many of you have already become frustrated with working out. And the reason is, you're not seeing the results you may have expected.

I have a secret for you. You cannot out exercise your poor diet. Period. You can't undo the blow-out weekend you had watching football. The wine with the girls Thursday night did some damage. You skipped breakfast, didn't pack your lunch and picked up dinner on the way home.

Now, I give you credit for making it to the gym. Your efforts are valiant. But seriously, you need to put these two pieces together. Continuing to take one step forward and two steps back every week will leave you quitting once again.

So what are you to do? Clean things up that's what. Eat your meals, plan ahead, shop good clean food. Start your day with breakfast. Eat frequently throughout the day every two to three hours. Make sure you're getting plenty of lean protein, complex carbohydrates in moderation, and good fats.

Skip the sugar, the refined flour, things that are processed and save the alcohol for special occasions. Sound tough? It's not. Besides, wasn't it you who wanted to see changes? This is how it's done. Oh, and drink some water too.

I don't care if you're a super hero, you can't out run a crappy diet. This is one of the top frustrations for people trying to make change. They think that if they get their 30 minutes of cardio, or their group exercise class in...they can eat whatever they want.

Sorry, there's no tooth fairy either. But you know me, I tell it to you straight. Now put down the giant latte with extra whip and whip yourself into shape. Start making things count.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Your Prep Diet

by Kris Pitcher

As we near the end of January, either you've entirely quit your resolutions, or you're still at it. Lots of you are deep in the throws of prep, or other eating plans for one goal or another. And I've started to notice something.

There are two kinds of "dieters", and I'll use that term very loosely. There are the ones who just go about their business, eat what they are supposed to eat, and don't draw a lot of attention. They don't worry about what every one else is doing, eating, or thinking. Then there's the rest.

I can see the look in your eye as you watch the "normals" eat around you. The disgust, distaste, and anger rises in you until you almost can't stand it. Pretty soon you're emptying out the candy dish on the receptionist's desk, or throwing out the cookies in the break room.

Sound familiar? Guess what? It's you who's on a diet. Not the entire world. Pay attention to your own self. Worry about your own plan. Eat what you are supposed to eat. Know that, the rest of the world will have lots of other items not on your plan.

It will be all around you, it will surround you all the time. That's life. Reaching your goals isn't about "fairness". You can't eat cupcakes every week in the break room at work AND stand on stage competing. So let's just get some perspective here.

Your goals are yours. What you want is different from what 99% of the population want, or could do. Stay focused, that's your job. Clear your head, stop thinking about what you can't have and think about what fuels you.

Be an athlete. BE. Don't just do the things an athlete does. BE ONE. That means you stay focused every meal, every bite, every choice that crosses your path. This is your choice. Stop being resentful about it because every one around you hasn't made the same choice. Stop throwing away their stuff.

You are stronger than that. And if you're not, meditate on that. Find your inner strength because this is a long haul and it's going to get more difficult. Change your perception. Choose your attitude. Make this easier on yourself. Own your decision to BE an athlete. Now, join the others and quit judging what they're eating.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Gym Etiquette

by Kris Pitcher

I always like to provide a few tips on gym etiquette this time of year. As lots of new people are hitting the gym, and folks who might have taken some significant time might be time to revisit the rules of the road.

As a general rule, think common courtesy when you are at the gym. You're sharing a space with others, sharing equipment, and sharing a community. It's a busy community this time of year so let's review some basics.

  1. Leave your perfume and cologne at home. While we understand you want to smell nice, perfumes can be offensive while exercising, people may have allergies, asthma or breathing difficulties, migraines etc.
  2. This is not your basement gym. You must share equipment with others. Monopolizing equipment is frowned upon. Allow others to "work in" meaning, let them have a turn between your sets. Do not sit on equipment between sets.
  3. Wipe down equipment after use. No one wants to experience your sweat. Thank you anyway.
  4. Re-rack your weights. This means put them back on the rack or weight tree, in ascending order. Never leave them on a machine, or bar. Never.
  5. Do not spit in the drinking fountain. No explanation required.
  6. Do not gather up all the dumbbells, steps, a bench and the medicine ball in and around the squat rack to do your P90XCrossfit workout. You will get massive stink-eye. Do that workout at home.
  7. Ask the staff for help using the equipment. Staff are there for your safety. If you haven't been in the gym in the last year, get an appointment for an equipment orientation.
  8. The time limits on the cardio equipment DO relate to you. As do all rules. Rules of the gym assist in maintaining a community where common courtesy is displayed. This means you.
  9. Fit in and get to know the locals. Be observant, watch for patterns, get to know people, assimilate and enjoy your workout.    
A little common courtesy can go a long way in the gym. We want you to stick around, not stick out like a sore thumb. If you need help, ask. If you look like you're in trouble, consider taking a suggestion if one is offered. We'd hate to see you get hurt...or taken out back. Pack your bag, it's time to hit the gym!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fitness Resolutions for the New Year

by Kris Pitcher

Happy New Year! Today's the day. Right? It's the day everyone is going to start getting healthy. It's the day we'll make better choices, start a plan, go to the gym. This is it, this will be the year! Who's excited?!!!

Good for you! Let's get going, why not? Well,'s Wednesday. No one starts on Wednesday. Besides, everything is closed. It's a holiday. Maybe you could start tomorrow?

But Thursday really begins the weekend, doesn't it? And you probably have plans to meet friends for a last ditch cocktail, or happy hour, or to watch the game. No, the weekend is not a good time to start. You'll start on Monday. Monday is good. It's a great time to get going. Monday it is!

And that's how people lose another entire year. Which is why I don't like resolutions. I don't "do" resolutions. If you want to do something, just do it. Sorry Nike. But really, just get to it. Get after it. Start right now.

Well, I mean finish this first, but then get started. There is no magic time to start. There won't be greater success if you begin on a Monday vs. a Wednesday. Go to the gym today. Guess what? They know you're coming.

Stock up on healthy foods so you can begin that eating plan. Get the junk out of the cupboards, and your trunk, so your goals will be supported by your environment. Plan ahead so you have meals at the ready and come Monday you are ready for a week of new habits.

Set yourself up for success by being organized and by putting plans into action now. Don't wait for the perfect time. Believe me, there is no perfect time to start. Start now. And guess what? Your new habits won't end.

What?! That's right, you only have to do weight management as long as you want it to work. So, get comfortable. You're in this for the long haul...not just until February. Start slow. There is no rush.

You've got plenty of time to incorporate your healthy new habits. You don't have to master all your fitness resolutions today. Take one at a time. Start moving. Begin drinking water. Take your meals to work or school.

All those things add up over time. Time. It takes time. So, like I said before, settle in. This is your new lifestyle. You're going to like it. As you begin to shed a few pounds, sleep better and have a clear'll see, you're going to like it. Join the masses but plan to make it through, beyond January this year.

Your fitness resolutions can begin now, no need to wait. Get started nice and easy, and before you know it, you'll be seeing changes that you like. What are you waiting for, get moving. This New Year is ON!