Rutabaga!

This time of year is the most difficult time for me to stay on diet. In Norway, my home country, this time of year signifies gluttony, lots of eating, drinking, socializing, partying and basically giving up your daily routine for more fun times. Usually this involves food that are richer, heavier and fattier than other times of the year, due to the cold weather we experience in this period. Mashed potatoes, gravy, fatty meats.. well, that was all part of my previous life in Norway ūüôā There was one dish, however, that was particularly memory worthy, and now that I look back at it, the leanest and healthiest side dish of them all; the mashed rutabaga!¬† We would serve this with our Christmas meal (smoked/dried mutton, sausages and meat patties, yeah I know not exactly diet food!) and was one of the tastiest, flavorful sides we had.

Rutabaga, or as we like to call it “k√•lrabi” (“Kohlrabi” is also a word for it here), is a root vegetable and of the cruciferous family, thought to be a mix between a wild cabbage and the turnip.¬† Because it thrives well in cold climates such as Norway and the rest of Scandinavia, it was often referred to as the “Swede”, and sometimes still is today! Rutabagas can last for up to a month in the refrigerator and is available year round.¬† For each 3 1/2 oz (or 100 grams) of raw rutbaga, you will get 36 calories, 1.2 g protein,¬† 8g of carbs, 0.6g fat and 2.5g fiber. I enjoy it raw as well as a snack (Much like snacking on carrots), just peeled, chopped and put into small sandwich bags and stored in the fridge. Here is however the recipe for my famous mashed rutabaga!

 

2-3 medium sized rutabagas

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg or mace

salt, pepper to taste

splash of unsweetened almond milk (optional)

Peel and cut the rutabagas into uniform 2-inch cubes, add to pot with salted water, bring to boil and cook for about 20 minute or until soft. Drain, and mash, add nutmeg/mace, taste to with salt, pepper and optional almond milk.  I will serve with my favorite protein, usually chicken, turkey or lean ground

 

Here’s what the rutabaga will look like in the store:

And here’s the finished product/recipe: Mashed rutabaga! (You can garnish with some fresh herbs like parsley or chopped chives)

beef. Delicious!!

Continuing the journey

The year has almost come to an end, and I’ll readily admit 2012 wasn’t stellar for me. I had hoped to be able to compete at some point, but had to give up that goal as I have been battling not one, but multiple injuries this year. It started off with shoulder pain, then went into several knee injuries coupled by a pinched nerve in my neck that has been bothering me for the past couple of months.¬† While I’d like to be able to write that I am perfect with my diet, this has definitely not proven to be the case this year. Working in the food and wine industry is an additional temptation for me, being surrounded daily with friends, colleagues and events who indulge in delicacies not occasionally but daily.¬† I admit that I was tempted and gave in on several occasions, mostly because I was depressed that my training wasn’t going as smoothly as I’d like it.¬†¬† I also suffered from fatigue, from working out like crazy and not ever taking a break. Well, while I’m in no shape or form unfit, I am carrying some extra poundage that I’d like to get rid of, and have been trying to get motivated to get off, for the past few months. Finally, this week I lost all interest in snacking, drinking (alcohol) and being “bad”. Guess I hit my “bottom”.¬† I have a new date in mind for a show in 2013, which is April 13th – in NYC – and will be my first NPC show. I’ve been blessed to have met and gotten in touch with some amazing fitness professionals who are associated with this organization and will help me with both training, diet and posing.¬† I turn 40 next month, and I want the next year to be the best ever both physically, mentally, professional and personally for me – the new decade is going to be brilliant!!

As the saying goes; the mind is a powerful tool. Whatever you tell yourself, that is how your life will be shaped.¬† Wake up in the morning and tell yourself the day will suck, most likely it will. If you, on the other hand, tell yourself “I’m going to take three new steps to improve today from yesterday”, you will begin to take ACTION to better your life and change a situation. Baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day – your body is the same way.¬† It is a lifetime commitment to stay healthy, fit and continue your journey of improving your physique.¬† While goals, like dates and shows and “12 week challenges” serve a good purpose and will get you started, it won’t keep you motivated until you “get it”.¬†¬† Find a lifestyle you can live with, where you don’t “hold your breath until it’s over and then I can do whatever”.¬† Whatever you choose,¬† there will be a sacrifice one way or another; be ok with it and its consequences, and be at peace with your decision.

Hope you will stay with me as I am not giving up on staying Sunny and Fit – I will post some new pictures soon!

Good news!

After having been in limbo practically all year due to several issues, but most importantly my knee injury, I finally received good news this week! I was able to get my MRI done (I’ve got insurance back, yay!!) – and after going over the results with my orthopedic doctor, he cleared me to do anything I want weight wise with my lower body.¬† I don’t need surgery, and although I don’t have a “great looking knee” and may need knee replacement (!!) in 20 years, I’ve got nothing to really worry about a this moment. There was only a tiny splinter of a meniscus tear, and I’ve got some arthritis around the knee cap, and apparently my meniscus is protruding off the bone/side of my knee but nothing that needs a procedure.¬† The only thing I should absolutely not do, is run – which is a shame, because I do enjoy my runs outdoors, but then again, not a major loss since running is not really going to help me with my muscle gain anyway.¬† I guess I’ll have to become REALLY good friends with the stair mill at the gym.. sigh… My new favorite actually is to do cardio in the “cardio cinema” room at Gold’s –¬† I quite enjoy watching a movie while working out – and it’s also super cool in that room since it’s dark and it feels great to escape from the 100 degree weather we’ve been having lately.

So what does all of this mean? First of all, I’m getting a new program from my coach Dana, who will include 2 x a week legs in addition to the 4 x a week upper body workouts she currently has me on (and believe me they are GRUELING!!). I am starting to diet this week for real – but easing into it.¬† That means, for the next 2-3 weeks or so I’m allowing myself some fruit as well as alcohol (wine only) once or twice a week in moderation. After that, I take it out, and just continue eating normal otherwise.¬† I do have two potential show dates that I’m looking at (NPC)¬† here in NY – the first one is October 16th in Poughkeepsie but I doubt I will be ready for that, and the second one November 3rd in NYC.¬† They are all coming up a bit sooner than I’d like, and I wish I could have started to prep sooner, but such is life this year. Sometimes life throws you curve balls, and you’ve just got to make the best of it. I do want to shed about 10-12 lbs because I feel a bit heavier than I like to be, so definitely accumulated more fat than normal this year but nothing major.¬† I am incorporating cardio 5 times a week for now, just until I get down in weight, then I will continue with 3 x a week as I’ve done in the past.¬† I will have a look at myself in late August and determine whether or not I will compete this year or not.¬† Regardless – it’s game on and I’m getting a kick ass body for my 40th birthday on December 20th!! ūüôā

All around good news this week – and I’ve got some exciting prospects on the work front too, so life is starting to look a bit better the latter half of 2012! Hope you all are enjoying your summer and training hard!

Day 1 – Upper Body Focus

Since my recent knee injury, I’m beginning a new workout program, focusing on upper body for the next two months. Although hopefully I will be able to do light cardio such as biking, elliptical machine, etc. it won’t be any of the craziness I did before with hardcore plyo exercises, circuit training and running – I’ve got to stay relatively calm until I am able to get an MRI to see what is wrong and if surgery is needed. My new workout program will be designed by my coach, Dana Linn Bailey, and I can’t wait to get started. ¬†Today, I started with shoulders – my goal will be to focus on shoulders and back especially, my two favorite body parts to train. ¬†My workout consisted of DB shoulder presses, barbell presses on the smith machine, lateral DB raises, upright rows, ¬†45 lb plate raises finished with reverse cable flyes. I almost always do 4 sets, starting off a bit lighter and adding weight and going to failure. ¬†Tomorrow I attack the back and the day after chest, followed by bi’s and tri’s the fourth day (not necessarily all in a row but my plan is to make four days a week training upper body). For the other two days I will do abs and cardio, perhaps adding a third day of cardio if my knee can take it. The plan is to increase the activity gradually but not too sudden, I would hate to hurt myself again to then be on the couch once more – I can’t afford any more time off!!

Now that I am not able to be as active as I normally am and in the way I like to, it is even more imperative that I pay extra attention to my diet. This will be a good ‘test period’ to see how my body adjusts to minimal cardio, while eating “clean”. I personally don’t do cardio only to burn fat, I like the euphoric feeling you get after a good sweat sessions when all the endorphins are released and you just feel.. good! I will miss this for now, but I have to keep in mind it is only temporary and I will get back in the saddle soon!

I’m giving myself 12 weeks to get back to “normal” again – in the mean time I hope to develop one hell of a set of delts and a nice v-taper – in a month or so I hope to be posting some progress pics but for now; work hard to do some damage control! ¬†Wishing everyone a healthy, active, fit and fun week!

 

Knee Trouble

Well, this time I actually DO have a valid reason for not having blogged for a while.. About two weeks ago my knee finally gave in as I was just (boringly enough) bending down towards the floor attempting to pick something up and pop! there it went. After a painful trip to the ER (my poor husband driving me, after having returned home at midnight after a 14- hour shift at work) four days in serious pain on the couch and humping around on crutches for a week, I finally went to the doctor who told me most likely I have a lateral meniscus tear.¬† I say most likely, because I’m unlucky enough not to have insurance right now – my husband’s insurance (where I’m covered) does not kick in until July 1st, so I have to patiently wait until then to get an MRI done to see what’s really wrong, and if any procedures are necessary. Having had five knee surgeries in the past (the results of being a very active athlete as both a gymnast and volleyball player) I don’t have much positive experience with surgeries, they don’t seem to improve my status so I am going to try my best not to have anything done, rather try and rehabilitate myself.

What sucks is this just happened as I was in week one of contest prep for a show I had wanted to do in August. Now, most likely I will not compete this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit on the couch until next year. I will focus on upper body for now, and just do some light cardio for legs – I’m waiting for my new program from my coach, Dana Linn Bailey – who is aware of my situation and will help me get back on track. If nothing else, I will have a very well developed upper body by the time I decide to get back in the game!

So that was a little recap of how I’ve been doing. I feel like this year has been throwing me some really difficult tasks and life has been a bit harder than normal. Suppose that’s only to be expected sometimes, it only means I have to dig extra deep to find those positive thoughts and reasons to stay motivated. If it was supposed to be easy, where would the satisfaction come when you’re doing good?

On that note – I wish you all a lovely weekend and keep training hard – especially those legs – and I will live vicariously through you until I get back in the game! I’m fighting to be fit now!

 

Tasty, approved recipes!

It just dawned on me that as a chef, I should really be providing my readers with some more recipes, after all – cooking is what I do for a living! I am making tomatillo salsa today for my farmer markets this weekend and was inspired to post my recipe. Of course, we put it on fatty pulled pork tacos and breakfast tacos with cheese, eggs and white flour tortillas, which – as you all know, is not exactly in my approved registry of ingredients, BUT… of course you can apply this tasty (and semi spicy) tomatillo salsa on your egg whites, grilled chicken or fish and it’s equally delicious! I am constantly looking for ways to spice up my foods, being that we have only so much we can eat and so many ways to prepare our foods.¬† This is why I go to spices, herbs and low calorie/low fat/low sugar condiments to add, in moderation, to my diet. Here’s a picture of the beautiful tomatillos in water – I soak them briefly first before broiling them so I can more¬† easily remove the husk:

Tomatillos¬† should not be confused with, as the name might imply, a green tomato, although it is a relative of the tomato it is more closely related to the gooseberry, and has quite a different taste than a regular tomato. It’s a staple in Mexican and other Latin American cuisines. You can also use tomatillos in stews and soups and make into chutneys and jams.¬† One average/medium tomatillo is about 11 calories, has 0 gram fat, 1 g fiber and 1 g sugar.

This is what they should look like once you pull them out of the broiler – nice and charred:

Below is my recipe for tomatillo salsa (makes a lot – about 2 quarts!)

5 lbs tomatillos, husks removed

2 vidalia onions, sliced into thick circles

2-3 jalapenos (use more if you like more spice), whole

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1-2 limes

Place the tomatillos, onions and jalapenos on sheet trays and broil in the oven or roast at high temperature (450-500F)  for about 20 minutes or until completely charred.  Place in a blender, carefully start pureeing. Add one bunch of fresh cilantro and squeeze the juice from the limes, season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

Can be stored in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy a dollop with your favorite foods!

A second recipe I use at the farmer market is beet burgers! These are part of my introduction to Nordic foods, while also trying to keep it healthy. We use a lot of root vegetables in Norway, as the climate is colder and these grow naturally easier in that region.¬† While I won’t eat this during regular days, it’s a great item to eat either post workout or on your carb loading /re-feed days. One beet (about 82 grams) will have about 35 calories, 0g fat,¬† 8g carbs and 6g of sugar. 1 g protein and 2 g fiber.¬† I will shred the beets (quite messy, but worth it!) in a food processor while i mix in the other ingredients, saute them in a pan slightly (with Pam spray of course) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Enjoy them with fat free Greek yogurt and a nice big salad and you’ve got yourself a kick ass meal! Look how pretty the shredded beets are¬† – I use a mix of golden and red beets but you can do whichever you like:

NORDIC BEET BURGERS

(adapted from Trina Hahneman’s “The Nordic Diet”)

24 oz raw red and yellow beets, grated

1 cup oatmeal

1 egg, 3 egg whites

2 shallots or 1/2 sweet onion, minced and sauteed lightly in pan

fresh dill, thyme, parsley (about 3 tbsp each)

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the shredded beets with all the other ingredients above and let mixture sit for about 1 hour before forming into balls or patties¬† (about 2-3 oz each, I weigh them but you can shape them as big/small as you’d like). Saute briefly in hot pan coated with Pam Spray until they are crisp on both sides, place on a baking sheet and place in oven for about 20 minutes .

Here they are ready to be eaten!

Eat What You Want, Do What You Like

Did I give you (false) hope by my headline? Of course I don’t mean you can chow down on Doritos, open a can of beer and get comfortable on the couch while giving up on your daily gym visit. What I mean is identify the things you most enjoy doing and DO them.¬† In the fitness industry, I come across so many people who just ‘go through the motions’, eat bags of tilapia and frozen beans, do the same old routine on the step mill day in and day out, and are completely miserable.¬† Just because their coach has said “this is the only thing that will work”, or because ‘somebody else is doing it with great results’.¬† Or how about those people who grind up their chicken and add to their shake just so they can get some protein? Crazy!¬† I believe in eating the things you enjoy eating – living life should be pleasurable, and although broccoli can never replace an ice cream sundae or a big box of chocolate, it can be made into a delicious dish if you are a bit inventive.¬† Speaking of tilapia, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one of the things I detest eating, and spinach is a close second (probably from over eating it but tilapia tastes like donkey a%$) . Does that mean I can’t get in tip top shape for my show? Of course not, and I think I’ve proven it. I have replaced tilapia with cod, which is much tastier in my opinion. Sure, tilapia do have a few more grams of protein, but I make up for this in other ways. Instead of spinach, I enjoy broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and asparagus. The latter was actually my inspiration for this post, as it is now coming into spring, and that means asparagus will be in season! As a chef, I never really eat vegetables that are not in season (with the exception of asparagus perhaps), I would never eat tomatoes right now for instance. Watery, tasteless and mealy – what’s nice about that?¬† I’m a bit of a food snob and believe produce should be bought at the farmer market when they are in tip top condition.

What about training? I love all the different weight lifting exercises, because they are always challenging and it’s easier to mix things up than cardio. When it comes to cardio, one thing I LOATHE is the bike (sometimes spinning is ok, I’m talking about the stationary bikes in the cardio room) – and I must say the step mill is a close second. What’s fun about climbing endless amounts of stairs?¬† One must be a bit of a masochist to do this, in my opinion, although sometimes I do end up on it (and always wonder “why”, lol). Sure, it builds a nice behind, but I can think of other ways to achieve enviable glutes. I love running outdoors – unfortunately right now I have a knee and a back that are both striking when I try to do that, so I resort to the treadmill, running uphill and doing intervals. Running is also the only way I really lose weight if I need to – my body doesn’t seem to respond to any other exercise (read: elliptical machine for instance) although I do them every so often to change up my routine. When you like what you are doing, it goes without saying that it will be easier to stick with it.¬† Doing some sort of exercise is better than sitting on your behind. This is what I’m telling myself now, as I am going through the motions and not really excited about anything in the gym. I still go, but I’m longing for that “fire” I had a few months back. There is no way I’m going to throw water on that little flame that is still burning by torturing myself on the bike. Hell no – I’m going to run even if my knee tells me not to. Let’s see what happens!¬† I’m off to make myself some lunch now – with asparagus.

Curve Balls, Injuries and the Aftermath

Yeah, I know – I’m the most inconsistent blogger you know. Doesn’t mean I’m inconsistent with my goals – they remain the same, and my efforts are always 100% and I never take my eye off what I want to achieve.¬† This winter I have wondered if I would be able to pay my rent, momentarily ran out of hot water and gas and wondered if we were to become homeless, but still managed to keep my membership at the gym so I could keep going.¬† I put everything on the line, not matter what it is; work, relationships or fitness – I always go all out, all or nothing, believing it will all be ok in the end.¬† I was never a 9-5’er, playing it ‘safe’ so I could suffer through the day to be able to take that 2-week vacation somewhere to escape momentarily. I believe in something better, even though it is very risky and can be incredibly scary at times.¬† I believe in ME, and that I can have fun 24/7 and make a living out of it at the same time. This belief is what kept me going, although I must admit – even that was tough at times.¬† Things ARE becoming better; my husband got a kick-ass job in the city, and the jobs are lining up again for me, as a freelancer, after a dormant winter.¬† We are not homeless and I’m still breathing. Of course, another setback happened last week (don’t they say these things always come in “threes”? well add 10 x that and you’re where I’m at) – when I injured my left knee while doing leg curls. I’ve always bragged about how strong my hamstrings are (I can compete with the biggest meat heads at the gym, which doesn’t say much, as they are all pretty wimpy down there, hehehe) – but this time I must have not warmed up enough and bang- something happened. To this day, I don’t know if it is my ACL, meniscus or just a dislocation or bruise of the patella¬† that is causing the pain, but basically it hurts like hell while trying to squat/bend the knee with weight, while it’s not painful at all to stand on it or even run for a bit. So I’ve been doing light biking to get some motion /movement going and focusing on upper body this week. I got my diet back on track as I’m about 15 lbs above my ideal weight right now, and summer is coming… My body is still responding well to a strict diet, but lately I’ve become more aware of the metabolic damages one can do to the body while dieting for a show.¬† There is no doubt, no matter what you do and who your coach is, that these practices are taxing on the body and the effects afterwards can be devastating. I’ve spoken to several of my fellow female competitors who have been telling me lately of extreme backlashes of dieting – blowing up 15-20 lbs in just a week, feeling week, emaciated, left with no energy. This can’t be healthy, or even safe.¬†¬† My body has always responded well to whatever I do, but I’m also a novice and I want to go forth with more awareness and knowledge about what extreme dieting does to my system to avoid future repercussions.¬† I’m currently doing major research, aligning myself with people who are not so extreme, but still achieve great results in their clients.¬† As you all know, I’m a big fan of Dana Linn Bailey – she is by no means modest in anything she does and very extreme when it comes to training, but I have to say she gave me a very sound diet and nothing silly the last week before the show.¬† For my next show she will definitely be alongside me as my coach, and we’ve been in talks about a lengthier coach/client relationship, as I feel she is extremely motivating, supportive and inspirational¬† – all the things I need in a mentor!¬† On the diet side, I’ve really been attracted to Lean Bodies Consulting – a company that seem to have knowledge behind their theory. Something I dislike is when so called “experts” in the industry get defensive when I ask why they apply certain practices and regimens , claiming they have “x amount of years in the industry with x amount of wins to prove their success” and that should speak for itself. As a (relatively) intelligent person, this does not sit right with me. You live and you learn – you’ll meet tremendous amounts of personalities with a variety of theories, but you have to do your own research and decide what is, or seems right to you. Test out different programs, whether it be diet or training, and come up with the practice¬† your body responds best to. There is never going to be an “absolute” in fitness. As we’ve seen – fat was once (and still is?) bad, carbs have been named the devil, and it has been proven you can even OD on protein.. When is the best time for what supplement, do they even work, and so on. If you were to spend your entire life reading up on all these theories, you still wouldn’t become wiser or graduate. The best way is TRIAL… and error (or hopefully success!)

My point with this article is: I’ve tried and ERRED in many ways over the past three years, but a big positive that has come out of my new journey is that I’m gaining muscle, getting stronger, fitter and even more motivated than I was when I started that fatal day three years ago at 35 pounds overweight and out of breath after 10 minutes on the treadmill… Things are different now, and although I’ve had my difficulties financially and work wise and life gets in the way, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for me slacking, feeling ‘sorry’ for myself or jumping off the train… I’m right here, people – and gearing towards prepping for¬† a new competition in late summer/early fall- stay tuned!!

Work and training

Hey guys, so it’s been a while (again) – the new year suddenly threw some curve balls my way, but one thing has not changed: Still fighting to be fit! I am training as usual, and although I had to take a break¬† last month w/my coach because of financial issues, I am slowly working my way back up to normalcy.¬† My goal is to be 100% back on track my March 1st, and I’m now shooting for an early June show, as opposed to April – giving me a couple of extra months to gain the necessary muscle I’m looking for, as well as make as many positive changes as I can.¬† I’m really looking forward to seeing my progress since my last show! I’m stronger and more confident, something which I regard as really important when continuing to develop a good physique.

A positive thing that has happened work-wise,¬† is that my online training and diet services were launched, I’ve gained several clients and looking forward to working with all my clients this year in helping them achieve their dream body!¬† If any of you are interested in learning more, let me know and we can communicate more in detail!

This year, my focus will be on my job in the wine industry, teaching (about food and wine) as well as writing. I’m starting a new¬† project with a friend of mine as well:¬† I’m writing a cookbook about Norwegian food, and I’m really excited about this. I love being a freelancer, deciding how my day will look, and being able to almost schedule my work around my training, not the other way around. I’ve fought hard not to be a 9-5’er, something I was never quite that comfortable with (other than collecting that guaranteed check every 2 weeks –¬† I miss that!).¬† But my goal this year is also to continue to develop my health and fitness business, continuing to increase my online presence but also gaining more in-person clients. I’m re-certifying through NASM this year, and will take some continuing education courses, where my emphasis will be on sports nutrition and strength training.¬† I would love to help others in their contest prep as well, something I feel I could be good at.¬† I have developed a line of healthy foods through my catering company, Fork and Glass, which we are slowly starting to introduce around the various farmer’s markets we do weekly. Being your own boss requires to constantly find new ways to grow, which I find enormously satisfying, challenging and exhausting all at the same time.¬† Ultimately, I want to incorporate fitness, food and wine into ONE and I will be launching a new blog soon that will be talking about how I manage to combine these very different and opposing interests.

I’ve learned a very important lesson in the midst of my hardships so far this year: I may be struggling to find my “foothold” financially, but that does not mean I have to give up on training, eating right and being devoted to my health. After all, we’ve got nothing if not for a healthy body.¬† It remains my #1 priority no matter how tough things can be. Is it hard to stay focused sometimes? I won’t lie – it definitely is.¬† What is worse is feeling sluggish, tired, lazy and fat… on top of everything else!¬† So no matter how crazy your day gets: find a few minutes every day to go to the gym, take a bike ride or go for a run… get out and push yourself, sweat and feel like you are living… it feels so great afterwards!!

New Routine

As the new year is chugging along, I thought I would share my new routine with you guys.¬† This was developed by my new coach, which is quite different from the one I had before my show.¬† Not as intense, however I’m easing back into things and I also believe that your workout is as hard as you make it. I like to train heavy, hard and intense – and I certainly work up a good sweat from this!

Monday:   Shoulders and abs

Tuesday:  Arms (biceps and triceps) and calves

Wednesday:  Chest and abs

Thursday:  Back and calves

Friday:  Legs (both hamstrings and quads)

Saturday: off

Sunday: Off or cardio

I won’t do cardio on leg day or the day after – but I do 45 minutes of cardio on the other days. This is usually done in the morning but I do it whenever I have time and feel like it. Of course the best is when you can do it at the optimal time, but I always think it’s better to get it done than not!¬† Here’s an example of my back /calves workout from yesterday:

1.¬†¬†¬†¬† Shoulder width Pull downs to the front ‚Äď 4 sets 10-12 reps
2.     Under hand bent over barbell 4 sets 10-12 reps
3.     1 arm dumbbell rows Р4 sets 10-12 reps
4.¬†¬†¬†¬† Seated Cable Rows ‚Äď 4 sets 12 reps
5.¬†¬†¬†¬† Seated Calves ‚Äď- 4 sets 10-12 reps
6.¬†¬†¬†¬† Standing Calves ‚Äď 4 sets 10 ‚Äď 12 reps

The last set /reps I work until absolute failure, and I gradually add weight after each set.¬† If I can do all 12 reps, I will do a higher weight, so I perhaps fail at the 10th rep, etc. It’s about getting gradually stronger and I constantly will need to stimulate my muscles with more weight. It’s nice to feel strong again because I’m not dieting AS hard… but that said, I’m still on a very strict regimen with no dairy, no grains (only oatmeal in the morning) except 1/2 cup of sweet potato or brown rice (I always eat sweet potato, not a big rice eater) at lunch.

I love doing cardio these days (especially after it’s done) since I’ve got a few extra pounds from the holiday to get rid of and it works like magic!! It’s SO easy to take off weight if you just commit and do it! Today I did 25 minutes on the step mill (speed intervals) and 20 minutes on the cross trainer/eliptical machine, resistance and hill at highest level.¬†¬† Can I just tell everyone how boring I think the stepmill is?? Here it is… the dreaded machine:

I prefer running outside, but I’m barred from running – the only cardio I”m supposed to do is the step mill and/or walking on the treadmill at 15% incline… sigh… I do “cheat” by doing other cardio sometimes, sorry coach! ūüôā

Fight to be fit everyone – hope January is treating everyone well so far!!