13 Weeks

Holy moly, this is going fast. 

I had a really excellent week. Got a lot of things worked out in my personal life, made some new friends, and thank the Lord, I am finally feeling motivated to hunker down and work my butt off for this prep. I’m still far away from where I need to be for stage, but the optimism is flowing. 

Today I ran stadiums for the first time in a while, and although my cardio conditioning isn’t what it used to be, it was much better than I expected. I went into the gym later to do squats, but felt pretty tired and my form was terrible. I am trying to improve my high bar squat, but unfortunately I’m so used to doing low bar that I end up reverting back to low-bar form when I’m tired. One of my sets is below. 

The strength portion of my programming comes from Chad Wesley Smith’s Juggernaut Method, which I’ve had success with in the past. I love the high volume of this program and how it complements building conditioning and agility simultaneously. I might need to re-assess doing stadiums before squats though. That was rough. 

Just a side note: I get self-conscious sometimes about people knowing about my competitive life. There is a lot of stigma around bodybuilding, and I feel pretty weird telling people I compete in a sport that is all about looking good. I wish it wasn’t that way, and I really wish I was talented in something badass, like olympic weightlifting or gymnastics, but for some reason God decided I was going to be good at physique-building, so I’m gonna stick with it for now. I just wish people realized that not all people who compete in this are image-obsessed attention seekers. I just like working out, and this gives me a fun goal to work towards and a sense of accomplishment. Anyway, that’s my rambling for the week. Thanks for listening!

Sugar, Hormones & Addiction

I know there are a lot of people out there who think sugar is evil and blame all the western world’s nutrition problems on simple carbs, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. This video is pretty straightforward in explaining why sugar isn’t actually crack cocaine, even though they sort of resemble each other in appearance.

The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible “Fitspiration” Photos

This sums up basically all the reasons I rarely check instagram anymore.

Reembody

The Reembody blog, up to this point, has been a thoughtful exploration of human movement, a subject about which I am extremely passionate.

Today, however, I’m mad and I’m going to tell you why.

I have been planning a blog post for a while on fitness misinformation, and it was originally going to be the same kind of thoughtful deconstruction found in my other installments. But then I read this and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever found in my newsfeed: so beautiful, in fact, that the rest of the health and fitness propaganda floating around Facebook like turds in a pool started to really, really piss me off.

So thoughtful deconstruction has been postponed for another day. Instead, we’re going to take a good look at a few of those turds and get pissed off together because, when someone preys upon your insecurities in an effort…

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The Beast is Back

Hey Y’all. 

Last time I updated I was taking a week off to recover. Guess what? It totally paid off. When I returned to the gym I hit a 255 lb squat, then a few days later a 315 lb deadlift, which was a goal of mine for a LONG long time. 

In addition to getting stronger, I also managed to lean out a bit more. Although it’s been difficult recently to tell how much the scale really translates to aesthetics, I’m 138 in the progress pictures below, which were taken this past week:

Image

 

I’m really not sure how I am managing to do this whole leaning-out-while-getting-stronger thing, since I can assure you I don’t have the resources to either afford or locate illegal anabolics. I wonder if my body is just responding well to the increased attention to macros and rest. 

In any case, I feel like my physique is pretty decent for normal people, but not quite lean enough for stage. I don’t have much time left and my motivation to get super-duper lean is depleting rapidly, especially because it means more cardio and less food, which suuuuuuuuuuucks. My program is also getting really freaking boring, so my plan going forward is to add planned progressions to my squat and bench, and try to do some kind of compound movement at every training session. I’m also going to reduce the training frequency so that I can do more cardio (booo!)

I’m still not 100% on which shows I’m going to do. I’m terrified that I will look like a fat idiot on stage, so unless I lean out a lot the next few weeks, y’all might have to wait until August to see those stage pics. 

I’ve been working on my posing as much as possible recently, and might actually be starting to get a handle on it. Videos soon.

Anyway, already looking forward to competing in PL this fall! 

The Basics: Cooking Healthy Food That Isn’t Boring

I made a video this week because why the heck not. I’m not particularly eloquent, but I think I got my major points across. Take a look:

I am a big believer that you can make food that tastes delicious on a fat-loss diet. I do not believe you have to subsist on boiled chicken and broccoli to be a bodybuilder. Or plain sweet potato and watery tuna straight out of the can (wtf are you a cat?). If you are capable of paying attention to detail, weighing and measuring things, and actually taking time out of your busy life once a week to prepare your food with some creativity and care, there is no reason contest prep dieting should be as interesting to your palate as cardboard.

But Renee, what if I don’t know how to cook?

For those of you who have very little cooking experience, I highly recommend watching the Food Network series Good Eats with Alton Brown (full series available on YouTube here). This show is very entertaining and goes into the science of cooking and baking. The recipes involved are not health-minded, but if you want to learn some of the basics of cooking, it’s a pretty good place to start.

I also recommend finding a family member or friend who is a talented cook and asking them to teach you how to make their favorite dish. I learned to cook by helping my parents in the kitchen, and still learn things from people from different backgrounds all the time by cooking with them. If you live in the US, PBS also has a channel called Create TV that has tons of cooking shows (and is available for free on public access!). One of my favorite programs is America’s Test Kitchen. It’s a little hokey, but its great for learning how to avoid a lot of the common mistakes people make when following recipes for popular dishes. 

When you decide to put your apron on and get cooking, first check your local library or bookstore for basic cookbooks such as Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, The Joy of Cooking,  and the New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne. These books are particularly useful for the novice chef, since they walk your through techniques and typically stick to simpler, familiar American recipes. 

In terms of stocking your kitchen with the tools you need to get started, here are the items I have found to be essential to cooking a wide range of dishes:

Cookware

  • Stock Pot with lid (8-10 quarts)
  • Small saucepan with lid
  • Large (9″+) nonstick frying pan
  • Small nonstick frying pan
  • Mesh strainer or Colander
  • Large cast-iron skillet
  • Medium to large enameled cast-iron casserole dish (rectangular or oval, doesn’t matter)
  • Aluminum cookie sheets
  • Muffin tin
  • A set of mixing bowls
  • Set of small prep bowls 
  • Cutting boards (1 for meat, one for veg)

Utensils

  • Large wooden spoon
  • Plastic wide-headed spatula (for use on nonstick cooking surfaces)
  • Silicone mixing spatula
  • Whisk
  • Tongs
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Can Opener
  • 8″ Chef’s Knife
  • Paring knife
  • serrated knife

Extras

  • A set of oven mitts or potholders
  • Oven thermometer
  • meat thermometer
  • A good scrub brush for cleaning up
  • Kitchen towels
  • Food processor

Anyway, I hope this helps some of you out there who have the desire to eat good healthy food, but not the means or knowledge. If you have any more questions, hit me up on here or on facebook. If people like the video, I might try doing some more. 

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.