BFL Journal C2W12D5

Thoughts: I got a huge box from UPS at work this morning. Because I work at a game development company, packages usually signify the arrival of shiny new electronics, computers, toys, or the latest video games.

I think the guys were pretty appalled when I told them that the box contained roughly 15 lbs of protein powder from Vitaglo.com. 😛

(What can I say? I was running low on chocolate, vanilla, AND strawberry.)

Now this is totally ridiculous, but I think I’m on some kind of self-destruction kick this week. I CANNOT seem to stop myself from padding my meal plan with extras and have been consistently eating at my maintenance level of 1700-1800 calories for the past few days. Check my logs if you don’t believe me. As a result, my weight has been very stable at 129-130 for most of the week, and I’m seriously considering giving up my free meal tomorrow. I normally take my pics on Saturdays, but I think I will be waiting until Sunday this time around to give myself an extra day to eat clean, cardio up, and de-bloat. 😉

Oh well…I’m getting my hair hacked off again this evening, and that always makes me feel better. My sister Carolyn is in town for Thanksgiving as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing her again. We chat daily online (she’s the source for all of the cheesecake recipes in my blog), but nothing beats face to face chitchat with a favorite relative, right? This will be the first time we’ve seen each other since both of us started BFL, so it should be pretty interesting.

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Nutrition (1200-1400 calorie low zigzag day)
1: 1/2 strawberry banana shake with Creastack, berry-glazed steak, broccoli and green beans in oyster sauce, and apple
2: Strawberry raisin bar
3: Oatmeal tuna salad with apple
4: Cottage cheese and strawberries
5: Oatmeal tuna salad with apple
6: Cottage cheese and strawberries

Supplements:
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil
1/2 t. GNC Creastack

Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1797 / -409 (target -700)
Water: 16 cups
Ratios: 39% carb / 39% protein / 22% fat

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Workout:
8:00 am LBWO + 60 push-ups
8:30 pm steady-state cardio – treadmill (6 mph / 20 mins)
8:50 pm steady-state cardio – recumbent bike (level 3 / 30 mins)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Sigh…got hungry again and ate an extra Stella bar.

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Brownie Points:
1. 100% workout attendance since May 31, 2004!
2. Raised my weight in squats again to 165 lb.
3. Switched to the very painful but effective 5-part twist crunches for abs today.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Get hair cut.
2. Finish all meals by 7:30 pm.

Body-for-Life Reality Check

I love BFL. I think it’s the best plan out there to get people started with truly healthy nutrition and fitness, but I don’t think it is without flaws. It is still much better and healthier than any of the diet-only weight loss approaches out there, but the one-plan-fits-all philosophy is not going to work for everyone.

For example, men seem to make much more dramatic BFL transformations in 12 weeks than women, generally speaking, because they have biology going for them. They can drop fat with much less cardio while eating much more food because their bodies produce muscle-building testosterone that boosts their lean body mass gains which in turn accelerates their metabolisms, burning more fat even when they are sitting on their asses playing Madden on the Playstation 2 or watching a game with their male buddies. Men are genetically-coded to build muscle and be lean.

Women, on the other hand, have to fight tooth and nail for every bit of muscle gain and fat loss because dang it, we were built to have babies, and we need sufficient body fat to do that–preferably 9 months worth just in case every grocery store in the country shuts down, and we are stuck in a famine right after coming up preggo.

So, after 12 weeks on haphazard BFL, men who have 25 lbs to lose tend to look very fit, quite lean, attractively thin-skinned and suddenly have muscles popping out everywhere even when facing the camera straight on.

Women trying to lose the same amount of weight (25 lbs) who have been nearly perfectly on plan for their entire 12 weeks look smaller and less fluffy, but most aren’t going to have muscles popping out ANYWHERE unless they flex very hard, twist their bodies slightly to make our legs look longer and leaner, and suck in their tummies until some semblance of abs show up. What muscles they have are blurred and softened by the squishy layer of fat that in all likelihood still pads their skin.

This so sucks.

The incredible 12 week transformations (from the earlier years–recent winners were not quite as impressive, IMHO) in the BFL book and site are the exception from what I have seen of before/after pictures of REAL people, not the norm. I’m not saying that some wonderful changes can’t/won’t occur, because they WILL, but for the majority of us genetically average mortals out here, it will take more than one challenge to achieve the extremely lean and chiseled physiques that the champions have just following the basic BFL program.

If you are aiming for a sleek and fit 18-23% body fat in one challenge and you have 10-30 lbs to lose, I think it’s totally attainable. If you are shooting for 12% body fat and the ripped abs and arms of a fitness model and aren’t already close to 20% body fat at the start…be prepared to go beyond the basic BFL program if you want to get there in just one or two challenges. The same applies if you have more than 30 lbs to go. I’ve listened to interviews at Bodychangers.com and read through the Hussman.org tweaks section, and it seems that most of the champs modified their programs with extra cardio if they had a lot of fat to lose, or different weight training routines and less cardio if they were already lean and trying to gain mass. Many had coaches or personal trainers as well.

This is just my opinion, of course, but I’ve seen photos of women on their 3rd or 4th challenges who of course look a lot slimmer than they did at the start of their BFL journey, but certainly aren’t anywhere near champion level despite plugging away at BFL for a year or more on their own. They eat relatively clean, they do their BFL workouts exactly as written in the book, and they still only look fit but not phenomenal. I know that a combination of factors can affect results including:

  • sloppy diet
  • health issues
  • poor portion control
  • weak workout intensity
  • age
  • uncontrolled free days
  • genetic predisposition
  • complacent, “good enough” attitude

But as for women starting off with only around 10-25 lbs or less to lose–why DON’T they look like a champion after a full year on the program? Assuming a woman drops down to her goal weight in just one challenge, shouldn’t each subsequent challenge bring her closer and closer to fitness model nirvana even if she is perfectly happy at 22% body fat? Why then does it appear that so many of us just stall out at the lower 20s in body fat and hang there forever on strict BFL? We do our workouts, eat our balanced BFL meals six times a day, and enjoy our free days to the fullest just like Bill says in the book, but somehow we still have a bit too much bump in our rump and flab over our abs. Our arms are no longer jiggly, but we certainly don’t have Madonna’s deltoids.

My theory is that given the biological predisposition of a woman’s body to retain fat, the majority of women without athletic backgrounds using BFL for fat loss will wind up at an acceptable scale weight for their height, a size between 2-10, and somewhere between 18-24% body fat. After that, even if they continue following the BFL program, significant muscle gains and continued fat loss will slow or even stop as their bodies adapt to the workout load and get smarter about hanging onto the remaining pockets of body fat.

I think that a female body reaches a setpoint or equilibrium with BFL after a certain amount of time and the program, though unchanged, becomes a maintenance routine vs. a continued fat loss routine. The average sedentary woman (most of us) has a maintenance calorie level of 1700-1900 calories per day. The woman hits a point where she can’t lose any more fat based on the built-in calorie restriction of the palm-fist method, and her daily calorie burn from BFL workouts no longer provides enough of a deficit given her now lower scale weight and basal metabolic rate to achieve further fat loss. She also can’t truly build more muscle either, because she is still eating at several hundred calories less than maintenance level in terms of calories six days out of seven and a caloric surplus is needed on more than one day a week for optimum muscle recovery and growth.

So that is the final end product of BFL if you are a female–a trim, healthy, toned body that looks fine in clothes that hide those last bits of cottage cheese on the thighs, the mini-pouch on your belly, and the lack of real definition in your arms. Yes, any or all of these things can still exist on a woman with only 20% body fat because body fat is distributed differently on everyone.

For women, BFL results seem to be more about muscle mass maintenance while sloughing off fat vs. raging muscle growth while simultaneously burning fat. You aren’t building huge amounts of muscle so much as you are peeling away the flab over and within the stuff you already have, like climbing out of a fat suit.

If this is true, and multiple BFL challenges are still leaving you with a 3/4″ thick fat suit over your entire body (with a few extra large pockets on your stomach, thighs, and backside), wouldn’t it make sense to take a look at your program and customize it a bit to achieve your goals?

Yes, right? And yet many of us insist on being true to the program that got us to 20%-22% in the first place even when it stops producing optimum results and is fit only for maintenance.

If you are happy at that point, then more power to you. You’ve achieved your goals and I give you full props for getting there on your own without counting a single calorie or logging a single day of meals and exercise.

However, if you are looking in the mirror and wondering why you DON’T look like a BFL champ despite how hard you’ve worked for the past 12+ weeks, it’s time to stop clinging to Fitness-for-Newbies and move onto something more detailed and modified for YOUR needs.

The most obvious choices here if you are a woman are:

  1. restrict calories even more and leave the workout program the sameWomen on BFL are already eating such low calories that cutting them even more puts them in danger of going below the 1200 calorie starvation line. Watch out if you go this route. If you DO elect to try this, doing #4 is pretty important. The most common method that BFL’ers use to reduce calories is to just cut out one meal a day. Well, if you are averaging 1300-1500 calories a day and 180-300 calories per meal…removing one of those meals will most likely take you below 1200.
  2. add more cardio to burn additional calories while keeping food intake the sameI know what you are thinking–“Everyone says I will lose my muscles if I do extra cardio!” Not if you are eating enough, aren’t going overboard with it, and maintaining your resistance training.
  3. control free daysI know…boohoo! This is what you LIVE for each week! Well, what if your 4000 calorie free days are completely eating up 2200 of the slender 3500 calorie deficit you’ve been working so hard to create during the week?
  4. track intake instead of guesstimating with an overgenerous palm and fistThis one is probably the hardest thing for a non-numbercruncher who has been palm-fisting for months and months to do, but it will give you the REAL skinny on why you aren’t losing fat.
  5. zigzag calories and have a planned higher calorie day every 3rd or 4th day instead of just one high day a week without restriction This is actually not much of a chore…you get a high day midweek to take the edge off of the hungries, and another on Sunday or Saturday to keep the metabolism up.
  6. any combination of the above

If you look at that list, you can pretty much see how both the Leanness Lifestyle and Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle books differ from BFL. More precision, more control, more DATA…so you will have the tools to adjust your program as necessary based on your personal results.

Leanness Lifestyle and Body for Life are pretty similar at the core: Both programs emphasize a 40/40/20 nutrient ratio, small, frequent meals, resistance training to retain/build muscle mass, and cardio to burn off fat.

BFL is the more laid-back and newbie-friendly of the two programs. It eases people who have never lifted a single weight in their lives into bodybuilding fitness and nutrition with the following tenets:

  • No calorie counting, just use your palm and fist as portion guidelines.
  • Only 60 minutes of cardio a week, no matter how much weight you have to lose or whether you are male or female.
  • One full free DAY a week without restrictions.

LL is BFL for more detail-oriented people or those who need more structure to succeed. The online coaching club site seems to help people who need more accountability to keep themselves from skipping workouts and cheating too badly on meals–you know…folks who suffer from the Incredible Expanding Fist when it comes to judging portion sizes!

  • Food logging (at least initially)
  • Calorie counting and measuring food quantities, not just eyeing a portion to provide accurate data about why you are getting (or not getting) results.
  • Significantly more than 60 minutes of cardio a week if you are female.
  • Two free MEALS a week, and you still have to account for those calories.

I’m not sure how many actual cases there have been of people who are aiming for fat loss actually gaining weight on BFL–that’s not something you can expect to find on the EAS site, thats for sure!–but I imagine that given a worst-case scenario where someone is in very poor shape with a somewhat overly liberal definition of what is palm/fist-sized, it’s possible.

It’s not out of the question to believe that some men and women might be unable or unwilling to perform the 20 minute cardio solution at high enough intensity to achieve more than a 100 calorie burn three times a week. If they have never exercised before, they might not be very good at gauging their limits and capabilities. They will slack off when they feel even slightly winded.

Then there is the matter of free day. People handle it in a variety of ways, but if our hypothetical BFL’er is overestimating portion sizes, choosing calorie dense carbs like potatoes, rice and pasta for EVERY meal (MY fist is worth about 3/4-1 c. of rice…NOT a good thing when it comes to losing fat), not even working up a sweat in cardio, and then stuffing herself with ice cream, cheese, fried foods, and alcohol from 12 am until 11:59 pm on free day for a total of 6000+ calories, well, guess what? She might gain weight.

The LL take on cardio for women is based on the rather unfair genetic card that we were dealt–women are predisposed to store enough fat to keep a growing fetus viable for 9 full months while men are geared toward muscle growth. This affects both the rate at which we can lose fat and gain muscle compared to men and the degree to which we can restrict our calories without sending our bodies into survival/starvation mode according to the author of LL. Men can get away with less cardio (like the 60 minutes espoused by BFL) and more dramatic calorie restriction and still lose fat and gain muscle without sending their bodies into panic mode. Most men seem to maintain their weight in the 2800-3000 per day calorie range and can safely drop down to 1700-1800 calories or so without any ill effects…a difference of 1100-1300 calories. Women, because of our lower muscle mass, usually have a maintenance level of 1800 calories or so, and can only safely drop down 600 calories to 1200 without going into starvation mode. So right there men have an advantage when it comes to creating a caloric deficit via diet alone. Let’s say that 60 minutes of HIIT burns off 600 calories a week. A man who maintains at 2800 but restricts his diet to 1800 a day will have a combined diet and cardio deficit of 6600 calories in 6 days. A woman who maintains at 1800 and restricts her calories to 1400 will only have a deficit of 3000 calories in the same amount of time. Add to that the male’s superior ability to pack on muscle, and you can see why your husband, brother, or boyfriend doing BFL is getting faster results than you are after one month even though you are eating the same types of foods (and he is having MORE of it), doing the same amount of exercise, and probably pigging out even more than you are on free day. His deficit is 3600 calories greater than yours…enough to account for an extra pound of fat EVERY WEEK!

Because women are limited in the amount of calorie restriction they can safely endure, the ONLY way to make up the difference is to burn more calories via exercise, hence the extra cardio.

This is a profile of a woman who couldn’t make BFL work for her, but succeeded with the LL plan. I don’t know how hard she pushed her workouts when she was doing BFL on her own, but it’s pretty obvious that she needed a more structured environment to be successful.

http://bodychangers.com/krainey_inter.shtml

As I’ve mentioned before, I did my entire first challenge only doing BFL workouts, no extras, and taking no supplements besides vitamins and whey protein powder. I did, however, track calories, log my meals, and use precise recipes with measured ingredients instead of using the palm-fist method. I did very well on this slightly tweaked system–sort of LL nutrition with BFL workouts. I ended challenge one nine pounds lighter, two sizes smaller, and by most standards, in very good shape.

My goals for my second challenge were a bit more ambitious. I was already at a good weight according to the scale, but I wanted to look really ripped and reduce my body fat further. So I added in creatine as a supplement and started to zigzag my calories for the first 4 weeks while sticking with the basic BFL workouts. After a month, I took more progress photos and measurements and didn’t really see much in the way of changes in my muscle definition or body fat. My calories averaged around 1500 a day even with my two high zigzag days figured in, and I was still increasing my speeds in my cardio runs and my weights on my strength training days, but nothing was happening! 🙁

So I read LL and Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and decided to give the extra cardio a try. In week 5 I started adding 30 minutes to my cardio days. I started to drop 1 lb/week. In week 8 I went full tilt into 60 minutes of cardio a day 6 days a week. My fat loss shifted to 1.5-2 lbs/ week and by week 10 my skin was thinner and my abs, deltoids, and quad muscles were showing actual definition in my photos, something that 60 minute of HIIT a week wasn’t going to get me anytime soon. Whether my body had simply adapted to the BFL exercise load (I really was pretty fit back in my Army days, so BFL workouts haven’t been too tough for me), or my progress had simply slowed because I was at my body’s setpoint, I can’t say, but it took a boost in my exercise minutes to get things going again.

There was no way that BFL in its pure form was going to get me to the degree of leanness that I wanted to have for my end of C2 photos. Six weeks into C2 (18 full weeks on Body for Life), I was at exactly the same scale weight that I recorded at the end of C2–134 lbs. Given that a female can only expect to gain 0.5-0.75 lbs of muscle in one month while in fat loss mode, I’m afraid that what I really was experiencing wasn’t a significant body composition shift while my scale weight remained the same, but a 6 week plateau resulting from my body’s adaptation to the BFL program. I have learned from several sources that those dramatic claims of losing 30 lbs of fat and gaining 10 lbs of muscle in 12 weeks are all pretty much bullshit–lean body mass does NOT equal actual skeletal muscle mass; it includes your organs, water, bodily fluids, and bones, too. A genetically-gifted woman might build up 3 lbs of skeletal muscle in three months, but it’s more likely that she will just be burning away the fat that was laced between her existing muscle fibers and feeling those areas firm up. The resistance training in BFL will prevent muscle loss, but there is a limit to how much muscle gain even a beginner can obtain when functioning at a caloric deficit for three months straight.

So my ultimate take on BFL and LL is this: If BFL is working for you and providing 1-2 lbs of fat loss a week as is, don’t tweak it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

However, if you are stalled, enjoy number-crunching, aren’t comfortable with or accurate at palm-fist, want to go beyond “normal and fit” to “lean and cut”, or want to accelerate your fat loss (if you are losing less than 1 lb per week), try out either the calorie tracking or extra cardio recommended by LL.

One plan may fit “most”, but just as with clothing, no single program out there will fit “all.” Try to complete a full challenge using just BFL and see how you do, but don’t be afraid to deviate from the book to get the results YOU want.

BFL Journal C2W12D4

Thoughts: I’m not hungry today…isn’t that amazing? I guess I needed the high calorie day yesterday after all. My system has apparently decided that my 1700-1800 calorie maintenance level zigzag day is the spiffiest thing since steamed white rice, and pokes and prods at me in the evenings if I try to get away with 1250-1400 measly calories instead on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

I am so looking forward to next week. I’m ready for a break from hardcore BFL. It will be nice to be able to try out new recipes, work on some flexibility with yoga classes, and have a Tootsie roll or two each day from the friggin’ candy bucket at work when I feel like it. I’m going to enjoy some lovely white rice with my BFL-authorized stir-fries and meals, too, so there! After a whole week of nothing but moderate cardio and low-impact classes, I should be ready to hop right back into the saddle on November 29 for my LL/Max-OT experiment.

In other news, my desktop computer at home had a meltdown last night while I was chatting up the Scout trainer in Everquest 2 with my extremely cute wood elf ranger, Sorrel. I rebooted the computer only to discover that my BIOS was no longer detecting either of my hard drives. Grrr.

It’s probably a sign of my advancing years (30 in January), but instead of breaking open the box and fiddling with my computer for the next 4 hours and essentially rearranging everything inside, I just unplugged the thing at around 11:30 pm and took my aching quads to bed so I could wake up early enough to work out. I’ll get around to swapping out cables and troubleshooting tomorrow night after my long overdue hair cut.

Hah…Okay, one last thing to share. I’ve been having the very tasty Sara Lake’s chocolate cake recipe this week as one of my mid meals at work. I modified the recipe to balance out the protein and carbs better (190 calories, 20 carb, 19 protein, 4 fat), and eat two fat chunks of it drizzled with a little sugar free maple and chocolate syrup. Anyhow, almost everyone has been eyeing my snack with jealousy and I’ve even had two guys flat out say things like, “Wow, that looks really good. That’s not part of that crazy diet of yours, is it?” to which I gleefully got to answer that yes, indeed, it was part of the diet.

It’s always nice to prove that healthy foods don’t necessarily have to look like celery sticks and chicken breasts.

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Nutrition (1200-1400 calorie low zigzag day)
1: 3×1 spinach omelette with apple
2: Oatmeal tuna spinach salad with apple
3: Sara Lake’s chocolate cake
4: Strawberry raisin bar
5: Cottage cheese and apple with SF maple syrup
6: Donato’s Tuscan chicken Caesar salad, no cheese, lite Italian dressing, and 1/2 serving chocolate cake

Supplements:
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil

Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1780 / -830 (target -700)
Water: 14 cups
Ratios: 41% carb / 38% protein / 21% fat

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Workout:
7:30 am tai chi class (75 minutes)
8:30 am HIIT – treadmill (4.5, 6, 7, 8 mph / 9.5 mph max / 0% incline / 20 minutes)
3:00 pm walk (4.0 mph / 15 minutes)
9:30 pm moderate steady state recumbent bike (Level 3 / 30 minutes)

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The Awful Truth:
1. I meant to do a regular low day yesterday, but went with my usual high zigzag instead. At least I ate clean!

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Brownie Points:
1. 100% workout attendance!
2. Looked pretty good in tai chi today…I tried to drop down as low as the instructor in most of the moves which killed my quads but made me feel more authentic. 😛
3. Finally cooked up a batch of berry-glazed steaks last night. Go me!

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Short-term Goals:
1. Scrub down the bathroom. Hard.
2. Cook broccoli, green beans, and mushrooms.

BFL Journal C2W12D3

Thoughts: I know this is week 12, but I’m really having a tough time being as gung-ho as I should be this week. I’ve skipped all or part of extra cardio two days in a row, and I honestly can’t seem to keep my paws out of the cereal and raisins. If I hadn’t just gone through it two weeks ago, I’d be blaming PMS. 😛

The carb tapering is really starting to get to me, especially since it coincided with the major ramp up in my cardio exercise two weeks ago. I feel like my body and brain are both clamoring for carbs constantly in the evenings. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t get cravings for protein or fats…just the carbs, LOL. I don’t know how the Atkins people can do it. I would probably murder my co-workers for their desk drawer candy stashes if I cut carbs out entirely. I’m also noticing that tapering on the nights before BFL interval cardio really pulls me down during the run both physically and mentally.

I’m going to nix the carb tapering in my next cycle because it just backfires on me anyhow. With all of the extra cardio I’m doing, I am fiending for energy all the time, and if I don’t plan for it in my evening meals, I wind up munching on carb-dense foods like raisins and cereal by 11 pm anyway. I will also increase my baseline calories from 1300 to 1500 because I’m still raging hungry after meal 6 these days. I’m expending so much energy and my metabolism is so revved up from the increase in exercise that I’m still losing fat weight even when I eat 1600-1800 calories a DAY. (I just have to wait a few days for the carb/water bloat to go away if too many of those extra calories came from cereal and raisins, hehe.)

If I’m going to make it through the holidays with my sanity intact, I’m just going to have to eat more food. 😛

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Nutrition (1500-1700 calorie sort of high zigzag day)
1: 3×1 omelette with apple (walnut crunch bar)
2: Turkey spinach wrap
3: Sara Lake’s chocolate cake w/ SF chocolate syrup
4: Cottage cheese and strawberries
5: Chocolate peanut butter banana shake with Creastack (Strawberry raisin bar)
6: Berry-glazed peppered steak and strawberries with cucumbers, broccoli, and green beans

Supplements:
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil
1/2 t. GNC Creastack

Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1509 / -653 (target -700)
Water: 15 cups
Ratios: 42% carb / 41% protein / 17% fat

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Workout:
8:00 am LBWO + 140 push-ups
9:30 pm steady-state cardio – treadmill (6 mph / 20 mins)
9:50 pm steady-state cardio – recumbent bike (level 3 / 30 mins)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Stayed up too late playing EQ2 and sorting half of my mail.
2. Finished off entire stupid box of Kashi Go Lean Crunch (about 1.25 cups).

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Brownie Points:
1. 100% workout attendance since May 31, 2004!
2. Got to the gym and ran this morning.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Go directly to the gym and finish UBWO and cardio tonight.
2. Sort rest of bills.
3. Try out new tai chi DVD!

BFL Journal C2W12D2

Thoughts: I can tell that my legs are going to be killing me tomorrow. I had a pretty intense LBWO yesterday, and I was in such a rush this morning to get to the gym, finish up HIIT, and get into tai chi class that I didn’t do my usual stretches. I also had a burst of energy thanks to the extra carbs I had last night and did my final max interval at 9.5 mph–not a good idea when one hasn’t stretched out. Tai chi lasted 75 minutes today instead of just 60 because Wei offered to stay later and keep working with the people who wanted to hang out. I really tried to focus on form in my legs today, which meant that I was dropping pretty darn low in all of the knees-bent stances (pretty much all of them) the entire time.

When I climbed up the stairs to my third floor apartment, let’s just say that both the fronts and the backs of my legs were calling for help and complaining bitterly about the torture I was subjecting them to, meanie that I am…

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Nutrition (1200-1400 calorie low zigzag day)
1: Sara Lake’s chocolate cake
2: Oatmeal tuna spinach salad with apple
3: Strawberry raisin bar
4: Sara Lake’s chocolate cake
5: Chili’s Guiltless grilled chicken platter
6: Cottage cheese, Kashi Go-Lean Crunch, and raisins

Supplements:
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil

Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1368 / -681 (target -700)
Water: 15 cups
Ratios: 38% carb / 39% protein / 23% fat

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Workout:
7:10 am HIIT – treadmill (4.5, 6, 7, 8 mph / 9.5 mph max / 0% incline / 20 minutes)
7:30 am tai chi class (75 minutes)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Dug into the Go Lean Crunch again last night. No more boxed cereal in the apartment for me. I have zero self-control around it. Obviously a trigger food for me.

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Brownie Points:
1. 100% workout attendance!
2. Ran my max at 9.5 mph.
3. Stayed late after tai chi to practice the 16 movement form a few extra times.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Sort through bills and mail.

BFL Journal C2W12D1

Thoughts: It’s week 12 already!

This challenge has really been ripping by at the speed of light. It’s hard to believe that I will have been on BFL (or some modified version of it) for six months as of next Sunday.

This week’s menu will be very boring because I am going to have pretty much the same foods all week long, including my usual mid-week high zigzag day, Wednesday. I want to regulate my caloric intake as much as possible this final week to keep the bloat away on picture day. Changing things around too much is not a good idea, I suspect. The scale is certainly showing evidence of my increased carb intake over the weekend…I’ve been bouncing between 129.6 and 131.6 for the past 3 days. Again, the official challenge doesn’t matter very much to me anymore, but I said I’d fill out the packet, so I am going to really buckle down this week and give it my best shot.

Can you will 6-pack abs into existence?

LOL.

I’m looking forward to my week off from rigid workout schedules. I can’t wait to plot out my next challenge–an unofficial Nov 28-Jan 18 block that will continue the extra cardio and until I am at goal body fat (12-13%), then ramp back up to maintenance level calories, scaled back cardio, and a different training split. Essentially, I am playing with the idea of doing Leanness Lifestyle with full cardio until I am adequately lean, then continuing with the LL nutrition raised up to maintenance level and using the Max-OT training program instead of the BFL pyramids in order to maximize strength gains.

This challenge has been very successful and fun, but I am ready to move onto a new set of experiments.

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Nutrition (1200-1400 calorie low zigzag day)
1: Chocolate peanut butter banana shake with Creastack
2: Oatmeal tuna salad with pear
3: Walnut crunch bar
4: Strawberry raisin bar
5: Healthy take-out option at work or second Oatmeal tuna salad with apple
6: Cottage cheese and strawberries

Supplements:
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil
1/2 t. GNC Creastack

Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1774 / +109 (target -700)
Water: 15 cups
Ratios: 48% carb / 35% protein / 20% fat

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Workout:
8:00 am LBWO + 140 push-ups
9:30 pm steady-state cardio – treadmill (6 mph / 20 mins)
9:50 pm steady-state cardio – recumbent bike (level 3 / 30 mins)

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The Awful Truth:
1. Dug into the new loaf of 7 grain bread while cooking last night.
2. Had about 1/4 c. raisins and 2/3 c. Go Lean Crunch.

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Brownie Points:
1. 100% workout attendance since May 31, 2004!
2. Raised my weight in squats again to 155 lb.
3. Got a decent amount of sleep last night.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Make sure to get my extra cardio done tonight.
2. Cook some steak with blackberry glaze.
2. Cook green beans and broccoli.

BFL Journal C2W11D7

Thoughts: I finally finished Tom Venuto’s Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle this past week and am now about halfway through Dave Greenwalt’s Leanness Lifestyle book. As part of the LL program in the book and on the associated, optional coaching site, Club Lifestyle, you are supposed to write down how you and the people around you will benefit from reaching your goal weight. Since the coaching club required a good 20 of these statements before giving me a check mark on my To Do list, I found myself stretching to fill up the slots.

Of course I started off with all of the hackneyed, goody-goody statements about wanting to improve my health, being sick and tired of feeling sick and tired (Just kidding! I would rather have the Flab Fairy come and zap 10 lbs back onto my thighs than be caught saying something so overused and trite.), wanting to set an example for my friends and family, etc…but what it all boiled down to for me was that:

  • I want to have arms like Angela Bassett.
  • I want to look awesome in any piece of clothing I decide to try on.
  • I want to be the fittest person in the room at least 95% of the time.

I couldn’t really think of anything that the people around me would get out of my becoming super-fit besides:

  • They will get more oxygen because as a smaller person I will be using less.
  • They will get a larger share of office candy, doughnuts, cookies, and pizza because I don’t eat that stuff during the weekdays anymore.
  • I’ll be more fun to look at in my new, cute size 4/6 clothes.
  • I’ll be a super-cheap date because I only eat grilled chicken breasts and steamed veggies when I go out to eat.

I’m not knocking the goal/reason setting exercise, but sheesh…it’s pretty humbling to realize how many of my motives are based on just looking really good. I’m beginning to feel as shallow as a plastic kiddie pool.

Anyone else have similar feelings?

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Nutrition (1200-1400 calorie low zigzag day)
1: Chocolate peanut butter banana shake
2: Strawberry protein muffin
3: Quiznos turkey lite sub with Sun Chips
4: Cottage cheese with raisins and Go Lean Crunch
5: Whey protein and 7-grain bread slice
6: Strawberry raisin bar

Supplements:
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil

Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1807 / -382 (target -700)
Water: 12 cups
Ratios: 40% carb / 30% protein / 30% fat

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Workout:
None (Rest day)

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The Awful Truth:
1. None…free day yesterday. 🙂

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Brownie Points:
1. 100% workout attendance since May 31, 2004!
2. Woke up at a normal hour and didn’t give in to the urge to play Everquest II.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Prepare lunch and snack meals for the coming week.
2. Review goals for this final week of the challenge to help keep myself on track.

BFL Journal C2W11D6

Thoughts: Everquest II is going to be the death of me. I am seriously considering not playing again until the end of this challenge next weekend because I am losing too much sleep to it. I played from 9:30 pm last night until 4 am this morning. Let me tell you, I was NOT chipper about getting up at 8 to do my cardio at the gym.

Luckily, my *seventh* meal last night (2 am strawberry raisin bar) gave me an energy boost this morning, and I managed to stick with my planned intervals despite my mighty yawns during every level 6 break.

So now I’m going to gripe a bit…. The reason I went to the gym on 4 hours of sleep instead of getting more rest and going later was that I had agreed to meet up with a co-worker who wanted to start BFL to gain muscle and show him around the facilities. All I was doing was writing down his maximum weights for each exercise in a notebook as he tried out each exercise on his plan, but the Gold’s sales manager actually came up to me and asked point blank if I was personal training! She said that one of her trainers had even seen me “working” with 3 or 4 OTHER clients repeatedly, and implied that I was totally guilty of some heinous crime!

Huh? WTF?!

I don’t even TALK to other members at the gym because I just want to get in, focus on MY workout, and LEAVE. I barely have time to get my own workouts done in the mornings. When would I have time to PT someone else even if I knew anything about it? I told her that the only people I’d ever worked with were three Gold’s Gym trainers on her payroll (I named them all, too, including Bob, the one that screwed up my upper back and neck for a whole freakin’ month with his German Volume Training squat routine), so whoever made those claims was a lying moron with faulty memory because I go to the gym nearly every day at the same time, and trust me, there are no other short-haired Asian females working out in the same time block as I do who could be mistaken for me.

Hrmph.

I’m so annoyed. I used to see the gym as a pretty positive place and was even considering hiring a personal trainer on staff for a month, but now I am PO’ed that one of them lied about me. I’m going to talk to the sales manager again this week and see if she’ll tell me who the guy/gal was (assuming she wasn’t just making that up herself and going on sheer bravado), because I definitely do NOT want that one PT’ing me at any time in the future.

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Nutrition (1800-2000 calorie free day)
1: 1/3 c. oatmeal (dry) and 1 scoop whey protein
2: Strawberry raisin bar
3: Vietnamese pho noodle soup and one summer roll
4: Snickers bar
5: Outback Steakhouse 8 oz. prime rib, sweet potato, brown bread, and salad with tangy tomato dressing
6: None

Supplements:
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil

Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1519 / -1074 (target -700)
Water: 15 cups
Ratios: 34% carb / 43% protein / 23% fat

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Workout:
8:30 am HIIT – treadmill (4.5, 6, 7, 8 mph / 9 mph max / 0% incline / 20 minutes)
9:30 am steady-state cardio – treadmill run (6 mph / 30 minutes)

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The Awful Truth:
1. I technically had SEVEN meals last night because I stayed up until 4 am playing Everquest II and my stomach refused to shut up around 2 am. I stuck with BFL food, though, and had a Stella bar.

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Brownie Points:
1. 100% workout attendance!
2. Got my cardio done today.
3. Helped a co-worker determine max BFL weight sets at the gym.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Take a nap.