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!