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Just passing on a little info...

I've gotten several PM's over the last couple of years from people (women in particular) complaining about how they were eating low calorie diets (1200 or less) and doing all kinds of cardio and yet still were not meeting their weight-loss goals. My response to them has been this...

Either you have...

#1 failed to calculate your calories (and therefore deficit) correctly

-OR-

#2 damaged your metabolism with dieting/cardio  

Reason #1 is self explanitory. Some people are actually eating more than they think they are. If you need to be precise... get a food scale and measure everything!

Reason #2, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to comprehend. I have, however, found a video that I think does a good job in explaining this phenomenon. If you are having this issue then you need to see it! It's worth the watch!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHHzie6XRGk&feature=player_embedded

A shout out to my husband on our 12th anniversary...

You are so wonderful to me... truly a blessing from God. Thank you for putting up with me all these years. :)

Bulking update and bum comparison

Howdy folks! So the scale is still climbing. I'm up to 148lbs!!! And yet even with gaining 23lbs I still have some semblance of visible abs. That's crazy! I am a mutant like that I guess. :P

Obligatory picture (though it's a blurry IPhone shot)

As some of you know, I have a bit of an obsession with having well-defined glutes. "I like big butts and I cannot lie..." LOL Being married to a "butt man" has also influenced my motivation here. Well, I have made my lower body a large priority for the last couple of years and WOW... the progress I've made!! Here is a comparison picture. Note that the picture on the left was almost 2 years ago and I weighed about 140lbs. The picture on the right was a couple of weeks ago and I weighed 145lbs. Imagine that... I weigh MORE but I look better. Muscle mass folks. :)

 

While I'm doing this blog post, I'll add in a public service announcement. Last week I learned how important it is to STAY FOCUSED when in the gym. I was warming up with a couple of 5lb-plates, got distracted, then ended up smashing my ring finger on my right hand. It hurt so bad it brought tears to my eyes. I iced it for a bit but, of course, the show must go on so I went ahead and finished my training for the day. By the next day my finger was doubled in size with swelling, pain, tenderness, and throbbing. I decided that night to go ahead and drain it. After boring two holes through the nail with searing hot metal, drainage oozed out providing some relief. It feels much better but is still somewhat tender to touch. Here is what it looks like today:

 

Last but not least... a shout out to my baby girl. Today is her birthday and she is 6 years old!

 

 

Family Pictures & After-Thanksgiving Bloat!

Well I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday. By Friday evening I had eaten too much to wear pants... and when I say that I mean I literally retreated away from my family to another room and hung around pants-less. LOL I don't remember feeling so fat or full in a long time. By Sunday I was having to dig out my old "fat clothes" that I hadn't worn in 2 years just to find something to wear. Oy. I was back in the gym today and didn't DARE step on the scale. I will share the obligatory picture though...

 

 Yes I'm thick but I still feel ok about my bulk. There ARE some good muscle gains under the fat... there had better be! :D I started my new routine today. I'll give it a few weeks and share how it's going!

 So we took our yearly family pictures (for our Christmas cards) on Sunday and here are a few of them...

 

 

 



^^Yes, much photoshopping occurred here...  :D


Progress report...

So here I am... several months in to my bulk (started officially in August) and I'm up a whole 20lbs! As you can see I'm thickening up everywhere... it's part of the process! While outgrowing my clothes is a little disconcerting, the progress I'm making in the weighroom has been worth it! I'm currently 145lbs. Can you believe? I started this journey at a "fat" 140lbs and have now pushed past that on the scale... and look BETTER! Picture proof:

 

 

So, that brings me to another issue I want to touch on... overtraining. If you follow my blog you know I've been using the PHAT training template which is very high in volume. While I have made great gains on it, I've also struggled with recovery. The heavier I lift, the harder it is for me to keep up with so many exercises and days in the gym. While my muscles seem to be repairing fairly well, my CNS (central nervous system) is struggling to keep up. Upon the advice of my coach I've decided to switch over to something else that is intense but lower in volume. This new training template is based on the DoggCrapp (DC)  training principles. See here:

 http://www.thepumpingstation.com/doggcrapp.html

Starting next week I will run this new program for a at least 8 weeks and re-evalutate. I will be training 4 days per week and rotating through 3 different workouts diviided as push/pull/legs. I am excited to try something new and further challenge myself. I'll update here with my thoughts and progress.  

Now...  the holidays are here people... eat up!  :P

Pics-from-the-weight-room... part 2

So last time I introduced one of my besties Dominique... here is another... Renee! I LOVE these girls. They are awesome!!

First up... SQUATS!

Renee: regular free-weight barbell squats

Me: free-weight barbell box squats

 

 

 

Next up... DEAD LIFTS

Me: regular barbell deadlifts

Renee: SLDL (still-legged deadlifts)

 

 

Renee does pull-ups/lat pulls. This chick has an amazing back!

 

Me... showing off my bulking body :P

 

Goofballing...

 

In the weight room (pics)

My coach/friend Dominique (http://www.dominiquedurand.com) and I did some candid pics during our training session on Friday. It was back-and-shoulders day. We had a blast!!! Check us out. Yes, she is much stronger... but I am making progress. :) She inspires me and gives me something to work towards. 

 SHOULDER PRESS

 

PULL-UPS

 

STIFF-LEGGED DEADLIFTS (BB/DB)

 

ROWS

 

Break time :)

 

In response to the forum topic about me...

 

If you missed it... 

 

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/780124-best-example-of-fat-vs-muscle-i-ve-seen

 

^^It was locked but I still wanted to address it.

 

First of all, I would like to thank FlashBang for starting the topic. I know it didn't exactly unfold as you had intended but that is not your fault. I appreciate the gesture and the intent behind it. You are too kind. ;)

 

Now, there were some pretty unfavorable comments made about me, my body, and my goals. The aftermath that followed was a mix of both hearty agreement and absolute disgust. I sat back and watched some internet strangers pick me apart like vultures while others jumped in like superheros to aid in my defense. It was... incredible! WOW! LOL

 

The last comment I left on the thread was this:

"Thanks again for the encouraging comments, support, and friend adds! There are, indeed, some lovely people here on this site. Truth be told, I'm not all that offended (or surprised) by the negativity that was expressed. When I set out on this journey, it was not my intention to become society's definition of beauty. I march to a different drum... and that's ok. I did, however, hope to encourage, inspire, motivate, and, at the very least, get people talking about their own goals. If I've done that here... whether the opinions are favorable or not... then I am satisfied. :) 

You all keep rockin' it. You will get there. Remember it is a marathon... not a sprint. I have many miles still left to go myself..."
 
^^^And that is truly the way I feel. My "sport" is extreme and I EXPECT a strong reaction to the progress I have made. That's why I posted it!!! Love it or hate it... I couldn't care less. The fact that people were jumping in to talk about lil 'ole me at all was... well... humbling and exciting! I absolutely anticipate that there will be people that say "yuck" when they see my muscles or vascularity. I honestly hope they do. If they notice the muscle at all then my training has been effective. The negative opinion some people have regarding women with muscle is not nor will it ever be a deterrent for me. To put it simply... I don't care what they think. If you are utterly disgusted by the notion of wrapping your arms around a girl like me... I have some great news for you... you'll never have the privilege of enduring that kind of torture. :P
 
Seriously though, I don't get  why some people are so determined to safely straddle the status quo while sanctimoniously hurling insults at those who pursue a loftier (and perhaps unconventional) goal. Such commentary is both ridiculous and comical in my estimation, which is why I chose not to acknowledge it in the topic. I also don't understand why people allow society to define beauty for them. Being "normal" is overrated and beauty comes in so many different forms... the least of which is even based on physical appearance at all. Perhaps I'm just too stubborn to allow myself to be contorted into a pre-defined mold of female attractiveness. I have always been an overachiever. I often take my passions to the extreme. This pursuit is no different. I have never been satisfied with ordinary... I want to be exceptional.

So... to those who thought I looked "gross," you have a right to your opinion and I respect it. I have no desire to engage in a debate with you on the topic. That would be an exercise in futility. I will just take solace in the assumption that I am likely bigger and stronger and could probably take you in a fight. That is enough for me. :P
To those that replied in my defense and/or sent me sweet supportive messages and FR's... thank you so much. You made my night. There was twice as much support as there was negativity and for that I am grateful. (((((hugs)))))) to you all. 
To all my lovely friends and followers who have supported me along the way... you guys ROCK! You are the only reason I even continue to update this blog. You've been so wonderful to read along and comment and I appreciate it! xoxoxo
 

^^UPDATE: It looks like the topic I was referencing was deleted...  

Bulking... the nutrition side...


I got this commend on my last blog post so I figured I'd address it...

moxette wrote:
Hey there,
Congrats on all of your hard work!
I think the biggest issue with talking about bulking and cutting is what it takes to get there. I would love to see a post on what you eat (macros and calories) when you are in a bulk and cut stage. Everywhere I look there is emphasis on eating more. But what is more? One woman's low calorie day is another woman's feast day. There are tons of workouts out there for how to bulk and cut, yet even with the bodybuilders it sounds like when they are cutting they are down to 1400 per day and lots of cardio. What are your thoughts and experience on this?
 
Very good question. Before I craft a response I want to include a disclaimer. I am NOT a nutritionist and have no education or credentials where that is concerned. I will give you my perspective but it will only be an OPINION. Capiche?
 
So, to state the obvious, the amount of calories required to bulk/cut are completely relative to the individual and are based on each person's energy intake versus expenditure. A larger person is going to require more calories to maintain size than a smaller person. Factor's that influence caloric needs are a person's age, size, weight, body type, ratio of body fat to lean mass, and activity level. Given this fact... there isn't a magic number that will work for everyone. Each person has to tailor their own diet to their goals!
 
As for me... there are some general guidelines I like to follow regarding my macros and calories. I try to maintain my protein intake at a minimum of 1 gram per pound of body weight. This is whether bulking or cutting. Protein first and foremost. A certain amount of dietary fats is also important but I never seem to have an issue getting those. Peanut butter tends to take care of that for me. LOL. The rest of the calories I fill with carbs. I try to choose more complex carbs vs starches/simple sugars but when I'm bulking I'm not as strick with those choices. What I have done in the past and what I would suggest to others is to figure out what your maintenance calories are and start off 200-300 calories more for a bulk or less for a cut. Increase and decrease calories gradually.
 
Now, as an illustration, I will give you the actual numbers...

On my last bulk I started at 1800 (around maintenance for me) and gradually increased to 2500-2600/day by the end. I was still doing some cardio here and there so that expenditure should be factored in. When I started my cut I dropped back down to 1800 and stayed there for quite a while. I eventually found I plateaued on that intake so I dropped down to 1600. The losses picked back up again. Towards the end (right before the show) I did increase cardio to get that last little bit of thigh fat off (yes we all hate that stuff) but I never went below 1600 calories. As for my macros... percentage-wise I kept them around 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. I will go on record and say that I am NOT carb sensitive. Other friends/competitors I know have to cut their carb intake much lower to achieve a similar level of leanness. I cut carbs for 1 week and looked and felt horrible so I added them back in again. This is what I mean when I say that you have to tailor your diet to your own body chemistry. We are all different and finding out what works for you may require some experimentation of your own.

I hope that addresses the original question sufficiently.

As for my current intake... yes, I've been kinda lazy and not really tracking (sorry). I've been eating the same foods and meals for so very long that I don't even need to record it all to have a general idea of what my intake is. I have chicken and sweet potatoes for lunch most days. I eat at lot of ground turkey... both in the form of meat patties or ground meat on low-carb wraps. I eat brown rice and asparagus (or some other vegetable) as a side. I eat ground turkey chilli. I eat tilapia. I am eating the same foods as I ate while cutting... just adding a few little extra snacks in there daily and a couple of extra cheat meals per week. I eat ice cream every Sunday... because I like it. I did this even throughout my cut. My diet, with the exception of the cheat meals, is utterly borning. I will eventually get back to tracking when I reach a point where every calorie counts but I'm not ready to right now. For now I will just indulge in a little extra snacking here and there knowing come next spring I won't be able to do that! And on that note... I feel like a bowl of oatmeal.... 

Putting my "fat" into perspective... and other comparisons...

So in my efforts to encourage people to BULK (especially women) I thought I'd share some comparison photos. Lean muscle makes all the difference in the look of a person's body. More of it will allow you to eat more and look good while carrying more weight... even more FAT.

First up... an 18-month comparison from the "fat" me to the stage (the figure show I did in June).

FRONT:

 
BACK:
 
 
So back in my "fat" pictures I weighed about 140lbs. Well guess what... I'm bulking now and I'm about there again. Oy. Does it freak me out a little to once again see my "fat weight" on the scale???? ... uhm... yeah... just a little. But you know what, the scale doesn't really tell the whole truth. You can't get attached to a number. The lean mass I've gained has made HUGE improvements in my body. I haven't by any means met my goals for myself either, I've still got growing to do! If you want to grow... you've got to train and EAT! Otherwise you will spin your wheels and not see progress. The biggest obstacle when bulking is accepting the extra body fat that comes along with the gains. It sucks but you can't let it freak you out. Right now my thighs (my main problem area) are thickening up and the dimples I hate so much are now reappearing. :( Good thing the cooler weather is coming because I'm going to be opting for jeans (or at least burmuda shorts) from here on out. LOL
 
To put in perspective how different 140lbs looks on a body with less muscle/more fat (on the left) versus more muscle/less fat (on the right)... check this out:
 
 
^^Have I convinced you yet??? :D Winter is coming ladies. You'll be covered up anyway so why not make good use of your opportunity to add some muscle! Up your calories and train hard. Your strength will likely improve with the extra food... and if you are like me... you will be stoked to reach some of your own new personal records in the weight room. As for how to get in the extra calories... well, I've never had a problem doing that. I like to eat! For added fun, acquire a bulking buddy and splurge together! Then you can complain about your butt dimples over cookies! By the way, cookies give you super powers... true story!
 
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