The numbers don’t lie… ‘cept when they do.

I have been fighting an INFURIATING fight with *the numbers* over the last 6-8 months. The scale just WILL. NOT. MOVE. And no, I have not forgotten that I recently preached all about “focus on performance, not the scale“. I do totally believe that on the day to day- the excitement of performing new feats is what will keep you getting up early and showing up more than any scale ever will. But all those platitudes aside, we all love to see measurable change- whether it is on the scale, in the tape measure, or even in the fitting room (you know I am right).

I want to stop right here and encourage you if you are in the same boat… Doing all the right things and seemingly not seeing any progress is a really REALLY crappy place to be. Many times a change in diet or work-out regimen is enough jiggle you out of that place. But listen to me on this: stay the course and ignore the little bastard voice that is telling you to jump ship, listen to your trainer- or continue on your training plan- but most importantly- finish what you started.

So my trainer- Beth Andrews, Sr. RKC– took my measurements a few days ago. And frankly- I was disappointed. I wasn’t destroyed. I didn’t go to Dunkin Donuts or anything. But damnit… the changes just weren’t as much as I thought they should be… a quarter inch here, a half inch there. It’s progress, sure… but so so so small. Why don’t I have more to show for all of my efforts? Here are the numbers… It starts with May 2013, when I started working out at MBT after a weight gain from a fractured ankle:
Tape Measurements

Sonofabitch.

Yes- from May 2013 to now is a decent amount of change… But the recent numbers are just barely moving. And the scale was even moredepressing- maybe 5-8lbs since JULY. Beth was firm that I looked different, and wanted to see where my body fat was at with the calipers. So we went thru the pinching, and the adding… and there it was… measurable change. Freaking finally:

19%!!!

19%!!!

Woohoo! Woohoo! Whoohoo!

YESSSS!!! I have been aiming for a body fat percentage under 20% since the very beginning… So I will be honest when I tell you that I may have done the Carlton when I saw that.

Yes, yes, yes… Numbers do not define you. But if you are measuring your change and progress- please let me be an example… take lots of different measurements. By *just* looking at my tape measures and the scale it would appear that I have not made much change at all in the last 6 months. However, my total body fat measures show a completely different story. Those pinches show that I have changed my body *composition*. My area and mass have not changed much- but the amount of toned muscle has increased by grannies, fat has actually been burned away and I do in fact look completely different.

Take pictures. Take tape measures. Record your weight, your fuel, and how you feel. Have your body fat measured. Record your jeans size. All of these things matter… you may not see progress on the scale or in the tape measure- but you may see it in how your jeans fit. And any progress is important and should be measured and celebrated!

Not only am I thrilled with my Body Fat progress- but I don’t feel like shit anymore. I have learned so much about how important food is, about what a balanced training plan looks like, and most importantly how to really listen to my body and decipher the signals it sends me. That said- I don’t have it all figured out- in the least! haha! I have recently started the Metabolic Effect eating plan- and made some realizations on errors in my eating up till now (mostly just not eating enough for all the new muscle, and I wasn’t paying enough attention to fiber). I have learned that as my body changes- I have to make adjustments too… In other words, the diet and exercise that worked for the obese me won’t be the same formula for the overweight me, or the leaner version of me.

On Sunday I will be running the Georgia Spartan Sprint with a good friend, and freshman to the OCR scene. It’s his day to celebrate! He has been rehabbing injury and knee surgeries and working hard for 2 years… AND TOMORROW I WILL WELCOME HIM TO SPARTA! I am so ridiculously giddy! I plan on taking some pictures to post up here for comparison of where I was last year at my own first Spartan race and now… I will blog about it all as soon as the bruises fade- AROO! AROO! AROO!

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Sports Bras for the “Blessed”!

Gotta wear em... support your girls.

I am almost a nazi about bras. The right bra can literally make you look dozens of pounds lighter. Please skip the mall lingerie stores and go ahead and go to a boutique like “Intimacy” or “Livi Rae Lingerie” (for the ATL market) for your everyday and special occasion bras… Especially if you think you are a D or larger. Trust me on this- just go and get fitted- and then thank me later. You gotta take care of the girls.

(Quick Ethics Disclaimer: I am a small time girl that is just rambling at the sky here on my blog- and as such- I am not a big enough deal to get free stuff to “review” on my blog. My bras were all bought and paid for by me- I do not receive any compensation for writing this- other than your comments  And just in case you were wondering- I wear a 32G… Returning to your regular programming…)

 

Champion Double Dry

Champion Double Dry

The double-dry from Champion. Old reliable.

That said- I have yet to find a sports bra at either of my favorite boutiques that worked for me. I like the girls to be lifted, supported, and most of all *separate*.  For years now I have been a huge supporter (all puns intended) of the Champion Double Dry Distance bra.  This bra has everything- it is a 3-hook-eye closure in the back, full coverage in the front, a decent amount of compression, and it has under-wire- which cures the uni-boob affect that most sports bras create for us “blessed” gals.  I have ran all of my Spartan Races, Warrior Dashes, hand-stand push ups, planks, burpees, road races, tire jumps, snatches… you name it- and this bra has kept the girls inline no matter what direction my body goes in.  No side boob vs. arm swing chaffing action. There are no “surprises” when you are upside down- like in a handstand or doing a burpee. The girls just. stay. put.  That said- the ONLY draw back is that I have a ton of tank tops (hello Spring?! Maybe? Yes?) that are in the racer-back style.  And while I will wear them- I hate the big-ole-grandma-straps showing. I have searched many many bra boutiques, online stores, and department shops trying to find the perfect racerback. Most commonly the problem I find with all others is that they create more back-fat than I already have, or they lack underwire- and my twins become a single. No Bueno. And that shit is uncomfortable.

UNTIL NOW. I have finally found a Racerback Style that actually works!!!

The No Show- by Champion

The No Show- by Champion

No “show-off” if you know what I mean. But tons of bragging points.

It passed the initial ” jump up and down in front of the mirror” test this morning…  So, I wore it to work out with a *super-cute-tank-because-no-straps were showing*- and it was a flying success! Champion was my wing-woman once again with “The Show-off Sports Bra“. I don’t know why they call it “the show-off”… there are plenty of padded petals to make sure the girls “high beams” aren’t obvious … and no cleavage is really possible?? I dunno. But I do know that I was able to wear a super cute tank- do my handstands, burpees, swings, runs, tire-jumps and all today. I did re-arrange a little bit here and there- I am figuring that is because I haven’t worn a racerback in so long- and I think that will likely get better as I break it in.

There are sooooo many pro’s to this bra… The first is the closure in the back. There is a double hook & eye closure- so you don’t have to dislocate your shoulder to get out of it once it is soaked in sweat. The next (depending on your preference) is that there is no underwire with this bra. For me- I usually stay away from any non-steel-reinforced-bra, as I have *never* got a decent amount of support from a soft cup. But again, I was happily surprised! I stayed lifted, supported, and *separated* during the entire workout! Finally, are the adjustable straps. The straps are wide enough to not cut into your Traps, but thin enough to have an length adjustment on them. This is such a big deal!  If I was forced to deal with the bra “as is”… I would have returned it- the cups were too loose for me. But by adjusting the straps by an inch or so- I got the “locked and loaded” feeling that I like from my sports bras.

So there you have it. Clearly Champion has someone in R&D that is female and has a blessed chest… and thank God for her. Otherwise, we would all be relegated to floppy uni-boobs.  If your are a smaller-endowed woman- Champion still has a TON for you too! Check out their site! My local Khols used to carry a bunch of Champion bras (they suddenly disappeared recently)- so check there too. Much love and support to you and your two best friends…

KEEPING IT REAL… BEFORE AND AFTER.

My ass is clenched so tight right now y’all. I have never typed and backspaced as much in my life, as I have in the last 4 days.

I promised to post up some before and after photos in my recent post about when the numbers lie to you.  I had planned on taking pictures at my Spartan Sprint this past weekend- and pose similarly to photos I took a year ago at my very first Spartan. But frankly, I forgot once I was there and got ridiculously giddy about running the damn race…  Blog Fail. Then, through a boring chain of stupid-iphone-update-is-making-me-homicidal events (Read: I had to back-up my phone) I re-discovered photos I took when I started training with Beth at Maximum Body Training.  So I decided to see if I could find that same bra, and shorts and compare the differences. I couldn’t find the bra- it was tossed early on for getting too big… And I could find the shorts- but not the black ones… I found the same ones in gray. So I took the pictures… pic-stitched them together and started comparing piece by piece.

Okay. No I didn’t. I zero’d in on my belly and stretch marks and loose skin in every. single. picture.  There, I said it, STRETCH MARKS and LOOSE SKIN. ugh.

Clearly I solved the stretch marks last year by applying an Instagram filter to camouflage them, lol. I showed the side-by-sides below to a few close friends and family members who remarked about the changes, how great certain muscles or whatever looked. I replied, “What about my belly? What about those stretch marks? The skin?” Most said they said that they just didn’t notice. So I am here to announce that all of my friends are pathological liars. The whole lot of them. I need new friends.

Then I remembered how impressed I was with Lauren Fleshman’s viral blog post that Runner’s World re-posted about a month ago.  Her before and after photos were taken within ONE WEEK… This woman was part of New York’s Fashion Week with muscles people! She and a handful of other women were part of Oiselle’s Spring Show – she should have been on top of the world! She looked amazing! She gave hope to the rest of us girls out in gyms across America- that the Fashion Industry may just start making room for developed quads and biceps!  But instead, she found fault with images from her practices taken later that week. In these images she was unaware of the camera, not sucking it all in, and not uber flexing everything she had.  She posted ALL of those photos- and the response was overwhelming.

So I’ve decided to woman-up and post mine too. Hell, mine are a before and after from 28% body fat to 19%! I should be proud of those changes- and not just focusing on the marks and the skin. I would love to say that I have turned a corner and can see my body objectively- I am *trying*, but not there yet… My mentality is a work in progress along with my fitness goals.

So here you go- my before and after photos. The before photos are from 5/28/13. There is only about 10 pounds difference between then and now… I will add that I am absolutely sucking it in as hard as I can in the “before” pictures. I remember getting a cramp in my side from “holding it in” so long! It’s embarrassingly true! The “after” pictures are completely un-altered. No filters, no airbrush, no nothing. I didn’t suck it in- but I did make damn sure to stand up straight, lol. Till next time…

Generally firmer throughout core, bingo wings are gone, love handles MIA. Shoulders are starting to appear.

overall progress

Update: 09/29/14… Unfortunately my blog (and the server that it sat on) suffered a SNAFU and the above picture is the only side-by-side that I was able to capture. I do have the original before pictures- and I will post them below, with a few afters from the same time period. But I can’t seem to salvage the original “after” images… Sorry!

Core and Glute

IMG_2455
And here’s an overall shot of how I looked at that time…

If I find my original afters- I will update again! I am so sorry!