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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!
 

My current leg workouts...

Hey y'all! I just wanted to share what I've been doing lately. As I have mentioned before, I have loosely been following the PHAT training template with the exception of my leg days. I've continued with the same basic leg routine that I started back a year ago (when I started my first bulk) but with modifications along the way to change it up.

 I do two leg days per week. It looks something like this: (the weight amounts are from my first set pyramiding up to my last... 3-4 sets... usually dropping the number of reps as I get heavier)

 

Day 1

Leg press (270lbs-510lbs)

Stiff-legged deadlifts- barbell (135lbs-155lbs)

Plate-load squat machine (180lbs-270lbs)

Good mornings (50lbs-65lbs) Extensions (120lbs)

Glute-ham raises (holding 10lb plate)

 

Day 2

Box squats -below parallel with free weights (100lbs-133lbs)

Regular deadlifts -free weights (133lbs-188lbs)

Walking lunges -kettlebells (30-35lbs)

Glute bridges (105lbs-125lbs)

Calves (110-120lbs)

 

I've had a few questions about the box squats so I figured I'd answer them here. The box I use is the one on the right (image below). The one on the left is about parallel so you can see the one I use is quite low... especially for me because I've got long legs (I'm 5'7")! Going lower is much harder and therefore I don't use as much weight. However I find the depth targets the glutes more which is what I wanted. (I like big butts and I cannot lie... LOL)

 

 

 So, I try to separate the leg days so that I have a few days recovery between them. I often do them on Tuesdays and Fridays but make adjustments based on my work schedule/kid's school schedule. I am hoping to see strength improvements all around throughout this bulk but my main focus is on squats and deadlifts. I'd like to get my box squat up to my body weight for 10 reps and my deads to 200lbs for 10 reps. We shall see how it goes... I'll post about it when/if I do!

So... that's my current leg routine. I'm open for questions if you have any! I will come back and post some on upper body stuff on another day. If you have a request for a blog post/topic let me know!

Yikes! The bulk is on!!!

So I got on the scale yesterday and oy.... 137.5!!! Holy crap! I ENDED my last bulk at 137lbs after 6 months of gaining. I've still got the rest of October through January to gain so I may end up 145-150lbs! It's all good though... because at 137lbs today I look better... leaner and more muscular than I did last time at this weight. It is progress! If you want to build muscle you can't be afraid to gain. It's part of the process. Getting "soft" (putting on some body fat) is also par for the course. You've got to mentally get passed that to make progress.

Here is a shot of me from this weekend... jeans shopping. 

 
Here is my end-bulk shot from the end of January ... same weight. 
 
 
So... if you have decided to take on a bulk, what will your friends and family say??? Unless they participate in this lifestyle themselves, they are likely to tell you you're crazy. Society has such a thin-is-in mindset that the average person cannot even comprehend the concept of gaining weight... even if that weight is muscle! It's all about burning calories, restricting your diet, and being as thin as possible. People that aren't a part of this lifestyle don't understand the value of lean muscle and the time, effort, and nutrition that is required to build it. They see "toned" women and think they got that way from running on the treadmill. The fitness industry has further propagated this myth by using fitness models (who obviously lift) to promote all manner of programs and exercise equipment thereby selling people this fantasy that they will actually look like that without eating up and pushing some real weight. You can't change that mindset. All you can do is pursue your own goals, work hard, build the muscle, and prove to the naysayers that you knew what you were doing all along. Once they see your results they will come along asking for advice... trust me!
 
So... if you were on the fence about bulking... JUST DO IT! I'm getting fluffy myself so you are in good company. Bring on the stretchy yoga pants!!!
 

Saucy Self-portraits ;)

Here are some to start... I'll be adding more as I edit them!
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hey yall...

Wow it's been so long since I've been active here on MFP! I know I'm not around here much but I've got this blog that I've chronicled so much of my journey on that I feel like it's a part of me... and I need to update it! So much has changed since the beginning! It's interesting to go back and read... even for me! Anyhoo... here is where I am right now...

Another year has gone by and I turned 36 on Tuesday (September 25). Here is the official birthday picture. 

 
Right now I am officially bulking with the intent to put on some more muscle mass during the winter months. I'm not tracking right now I'm just eating what I have been all along and adding in extra calories here and there. As for my training, I am still loosely following the PHAT template. Yes it is hard and it's high volume but I like it. I am of the mindset that with the body type I have (easy to lose fat, hard to gain muscle) I will see more progress in training each muscle group twice per week. That's my theory anyway and I will be testing it out over the course of this bulk. Last year's bulk was an overall success but I feel I made the most progress in my lower body... which I trained consistently biweekly. We'll see  how it goes. I am planning to take pictures and post progress along the way. 
 
So, since I've gotten more lax with my diet I've been indulging here and there in some tasty treats that I usually don't touch! For my birthday I had, of course, cake!  The week before that... cookies! While I usually wanna kick myself after cheats like this... they certainly are good for muscle fullness. Here is a shot of me 24 hours after the cookies... swole up! LOL
 
 
P.S. I've done another self-portait session and I have some fun pictures to post real soon! Stay tuned!
 

Fun photo session before embracing the fat!

Some of you might remember the pictures I did of myself last summer... well it's been almost a year so I felt like another self-portrait session was in order. I did one last week and I'm in the midst of planning another in the near future. These are more than just pretty pictures to me though... they are a form of self expression for me. This first set of images is sorta my representation of softness, innocence, and purity. I'm currently in to the monochromatic look (white-on-white) and I am a HUGE fan of all things vintage. I am wearing a slip in some of these that really is a vintage slip... it was one my mother had from way back when I was a child. There was also a vintage dress from a garage sale and also a few images where I experimented with just draping myself with a piece of sheer white fabric.

 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
^^there were tons more, that's all I've had to edit so far. The next session will be the complete opposite!
 
Btw... the hair extensions are from Luxy Hair. They are fabulous and I LOVE them. In case anyone is interested...
 
Also... for those of you who have made fabulous transformations... I highly recommended treating yourself to a photo shoot. It's a great reward and the pictures are something you will always have and never regret investing in. Just make sure you pick a photographer that knows what they are doing. You get what you pay for. 

Checking in...

Hey yall! It's been a while so I thought I'd update my progress! So I did the competition back in June and since then I gained about 5lbs (at least that's what stuck after the cruise) and have pretty much maintained around 130lbs. I'm just so over tracking every calorie at this point that I'm not doing it for now. I'm just eating intuitively but still following IF. I am still planning to bulk but I want to wait until it cools off a bit more. All of my shorts are size 4 and given the amount of lean mass I was able to add to my glutes during the last bulk... they are already fitting quite snug. If I gain much more I won't have anything to wear!

So, I am not sure how I'm going to manage my nutrition during the bulk but I am thinking I'll just add breakfast back in. I will only need a few hundred extra calories so a protein shake or some oats in the morning would do it. As for my training, I just started a new routine... Layne Norton's PHAT... with my own modifications. For those not familiar with it:

http://www.simplyshredded.com/mega-feature-layne-norton-training-series-full-powerhypertrophy-routine-updated-2011.html

I created these handy dandy reference tags with the complete training schedule to take with me to the gym. I love them! Yes I am a total gym nerd. 

 
So I'm still doing Zumba but have added some other activities here and there for cardio just for fun. I joined an gymnastics-for-grownups class. After 20 years I can still do flip-flops! Crazy huh! I've also been trying to bring the kids skating often. I love to skate... more like skate dance! LOL I get down on dem skates like nobody is watching... I love it! I even got some super cool skating attire... cuz I'm crazy like that! I wore my skate clothes to the gym the other day. The socks were a big hit! 
 
 
 
^^So that's what's going on with me! I hope everyone is doing well. I haven't been here much nor have I been tracking. I will pick back up when I'm ready. Everyone needs a break from the food obsession. Breaks are good...

Yikes... 1 week of sheer gluttony!

Haha... uhm yeah... I ate a LOT of food on my cruise. My new favorite dessert is called chocolate melting cake... and I ate it every single night after dinner with a side of cookies and brownies. I indulged myself for the entire week and ate everything my heart desired. The result...??? A 6.5lb gain on the scale!!! I'm not sure how much of that is fat/fluid/glycogen but it's all good. I got on the boat super lean and fairly flat-chested and now I'm filling up my bra's better. My bum looks plumper too... so I'm ok with the gain! LOL I'm going to go back to my cutting diet for 4 more weeks then start bulk #2 in August. I'm looking forward to making some strength/mass gains this coming fall. :)

Here are some pictures from today...

 

My first figure competition... pics and thoughts...

So Saturday was my first ever figure competition. I entered two different divisions --figure open (all ages) which was divided into two categories... tall and short (I was in the tall)... and master's figure which is for women over 35. I got 3rd place in figure tall and 3rd place in the master's. I took home TWO trophies! I was thrilled to have placed at all so this was an exciting night for me.

The competition has two parts... the pre-judging which was at 9:00am and the evening show at 6:00pm. The pre-judging is where they determine the winners and the evening show is where they award the trophies. These were taken in our motel room after the pre-judging and before the night show...

 



When I got there the evening before I had to register and get measured for height. I also paid to have my spray tan done there at the show. This was done the night before and you couldn't take a bath or get wet. My makeup appointment was for 4:00am the next morning. The makeup artist did an exceptional job! After that we went to eat pancakes at IHOP and then I came back and did my own hair. Then it was time for the stage!

I was TERRIFIED up there... shaking like a leaf when I was doing my turns and poses. I was told after that I looked really relaxed so I must be a pretty good actress! LOL. Over all the experience was fun and exhilarating! I met some other competitors there who were just lovely people and I enjoyed talking to them in our waiting room off stage. 

So, overall it was a wonderful experience and I am definitely considering doing it again! The women that placed higher than me definitely had more muscle mass. My goal for now is to do a few more bulk/cut cycles before competing again. I was planning to do that anyway regardless if I ever hit the stage again or not. I don't know if I will compete again next year or in 2-3 years... I suppose it will just be whenever I feel ready!

For now, I'm going to try and maintain this level of leanness for a few more weeks... probably till the end of the summer. I will start bulking again in August! When I figure out what I'm going to do for my bulking routine I will post it here just to share.

Thanks everyone for the well wishes! I'm very appreciative of your support! The journey continues...

... a new suit

We're going on a cruise this year for our family vacation... I got a new suit! Yes the print is kinda weird, but I liked the fit so I got it anyway. It was 50% off at Victoria Secret!

This was take the week of my show btw... 

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