Before and after

Before and after
Before...eating junk, no exercise and feeling terrible. After...eating "clean", weight training, cardio and feeling amazing 19 years later.

30 years ago I was in the path of an unhealthy future due to my poor food choices and no exercise. Eating Clean cleansed the inside of my body and I sculpted the outside with weight training. Now 48 years old, I'm in the best shape of my life. It's never too late to change your body and your life!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Girls can play with big boy toys too!

As many of you know, until recently I worked out in the basement of my home in my “makeshift” gym.  I had Bowflex dumbbells, a treadmill, flat bench, roman chair, and a few other things.  I made it work with what I had.  I recently joined a gym because I felt that I needed to focus on certain areas with machines that I could only find in a “real” gym.  

Even though I’m more confident that I’ve ever been with my body, it was still very intimidating walking into the gym (especially the free weight area) in front of a bunch of men…men that are grunting, breathing heavy, sweating profusely, and standing around.  That might be over exaggerated, but you get my point.  It’s a strange feeling in the beginning.

Now, I feel at home with my new gym and it really doesn’t matter who is there, or not there, when I’m working out.  I focus on my workout and what I need to do in the time I have.  It’s become very therapeutic for me.  My only problem now is that my workout gets a little stalled because of those same “men” asking me questions about how I got so lean, do I compete, etc., but I take it as a compliment because I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today. 

If you happen to be a female newbie at the gym and feel a little overwhelmed from the machines and the men, you might consider checking it out when it’s the least crowded (Sat or Sun late afternoon) and map out your plan of attack.  This way you will know where everything is, how it works, and you’ll feel confident beginning your workout no matter who is around you.  Don’t let other people at the gym intimidate you…pretty soon they will be glancing at you because of how incredible you look!  It really is ok for girls to play with the “big boy toys”.   J

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's your maintenance plan?

As I sit here waiting for the oil to be changed in my car, it makes me notice how some people are conscious about the maintenance and care of their vehicle, but not their own bodies.  An oil change…they flush out the old gunky oil that’s black and thick so they can add fresh clean new oil that’s pumped through the engine and makes your car run more effectively and efficiently.  That can be compared to our blood.  We want our bodies to run the same way, right?

I never really understood why oatmeal has anything to do with our blood and lowering cholesterol, but after researching it (Google search, of course), here’s what I found:

Oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan, found to be especially effective in lowering cholesterol, and providing antioxidants that help protect blood vessels from the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol. Oats rarely have their bran and germ removed in processing. Steel-cut oats, sometimes called Scottish or Irish oats, have a nutty flavor, and consist of the entire oat kernel (similar in look to a grain of rice). The oats are sliced once or twice into smaller pieces to help water penetrate and cook the grain.

I have also been making a lot of barley.  Here’s another interesting tidbit about barley:

Barley may lower cholesterol even more effectively than oat fiber, according to some research. A 2009 analysis of studies from the University of Connecticut shows that people who eat barley regularly have reduced levels of LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides, but not high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or "good" cholesterol), compared to people who do not eat barley. Hulled barley, available at health food stores, is higher in whole-grain nutrients but is very slow-cooking. New varieties of hull-less barley are becoming available. Lightly pearled barley is partially refined, missing small amounts of the bran, but still rich in fiber.

I have to say that my favorite is quinoa.  I use it as a side and in salads. 

Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn.
Studies have shown that quinoa has documented health benefits too!
Quinoa, in its whole grain form, may be effective in preventing and treating artherosclerosis, breast cancer, diabetes, & insulin resistance
Researchers attribute the health benefits of quinoa to its complete nutritional makeup.

Since I started eating clean, I have cooked and eaten things that were once very foreign to me.  I since have adopted new ways to give bland grains more flavor with garlic, salt-free seasonings, salsa, low sodium chicken stock or broth, ground sun-dried tomatoes, etc.  I encourage you to look at grains in a whole new light. 
Keep your maintenance up and “change your oil” frequently so you can keep on running.  J

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Get Noticed!!

(Ava Cowan photo credit - Eva Simon Photography)
Disclaimer:  I'm in NO way saying that I look even close to Ava Cowan.  I've always admired her body and she has always inspired me.  This post is not meant to sound arrogant or egotistical, just my observation and experiences of living with a new lean and muscular body.  I want this to be motivation for everyone who was just like me that hasn’t crossed over “yet”.

Today, I have the body I’ve always wanted and dreamed of having because of my hard work and commitment to eating clean and working out every day for the past 26 months.  I sometimes don’t even recognize myself in a reflection.  I think, wow…I’m ripped!  In the past week, I’ve had at least a dozen people either stop me in a store, get out of their car and approach me, or flat out stop their workout and walk over to me to ask questions or comment on my body.  Now it’s not just me noticing a difference in myself, I’m starting to get stares from people everywhere.  I’m starting to think…ok, do I look like a freak?  Everyone that I talk to always asks, “How do you get like that…what do you eat…do you workout every day?”…etc.  I’m to the point now that I have pretty much a standard answer and guide them to The Eat Clean Diet and Body for Life if they want to get better educated on proper nutrition and weight training. 

I’ve never had reactions like this to my body or myself.  I have to say that it feels fantastic!  I know that I have done what so many people “wish” they could do, but never think it’s possible.  I thought the same thing only a few short years ago.  For those of you who do make it to the other side like I did, enjoy every second that you get noticed.  All of your hard work does pay off by making yourself healthy, fit, lean, and strong.  You will discover that you are in the minority.  People will stare at you, come up and feel your arms and ask to see your abs.  I actually do like the questions and comments because I sculpt my body to make it look this way every day.  Most people see pictures of great bodies, but hardly ever see anyone in person with one, so I understand the stares. 

All the reactions are 110 percent totally worth all the hard work and dedication that I have put into my body.  It’s definitely a good thing and makes my day every time I get approached.  Yes, the grass is greener on the other side of this fence and I’m stayin’ here!   

For those of you that either haven’t made the real commitment to change your life by taking charge of what you put into your mouth, or you’re not quite to your weight loss finish line yet…keep charging ahead.  You have no idea until you get here how good you will feel about yourself, your body, your mind, and your accomplishment of achieving the goal of having a fabulous new body.  It’s the best feeling in the world and it’s waiting for you.  You WILL stand out in a crowd and "get noticed"... (in a good way!) J