Reverse Dieting: Month 1 Update

So it's been a while...

Reverse Diet - Month 1 Update | My Engineered Nutrition

4 weeks, to be exact, since I last gave you an update on what I've been up to! The excitement of my show has come and gone and now I'm living 'normal' life. I'm not prepping for a figure competition any time soon, nor am I cutting weight to fit into a weight class for a lifting meet. Instead, I'm following my nutrition plan simply to perform and feel my best. At the time of my show I spent 17 weeks straight slowly eating less and less, continually eating at a deficit, especially during those last 4 weeks. Right after my show, over course I wanted to go back to eating MORE food (hellooo, wouldn't you?) but that would have been the absolute WORST thing for me to do immediately following. Instead, I had decided many weeks ago that I would Reverse Diet out of my show. 

Reverse Dieting

If you've never heard of Reverse Dieting, I highly recommend reading this eBook written by Sohee Lee. She does a fantastic job explaining metabolic adaptation and how our bodies respond to caloric decreases and then increases. When we eat at a continuous calorie deficit, our bodies begin to adapt and become more efficient at burning those calories. This is great for weight loss, but when we reach our "goal weight" we can't simply go back to eating the amount of food we were at the beginning of the diet. Our bodies don't know what to do with all those excess calories! We must restore our metabolisms slowly, which is exactly what I've been doing these last 4 weeks since my show. 

My goal for the coming weeks and months is to increase my caloric intake around 5% every 1-2 weeks, with the goal of maintaining my weight and body measurements through out. It takes patience, but so far I've had fantastic results! The graph below shows my weight and abdomen measurement (around my belly button) on the left axis and my daily calories, for both high carb and low carb days, on the right axis.

Month 1 Reverse Diet | My Engineered Nutrition

You see my weight and abdomen measurements have stayed virtually unchanged...exactly what I'm looking for! Much different from my show prep, where I was always hoping for reduced weight and measurements. Now, I'm slowly eating more and striving for consistency.

Progress Photos

The graph shows that I've stayed consistent over the past 4 weeks...but photos show a different story. I can see so much progress in my legs. In fact, I think I look better now than at the time of my show, ha!

Reverse Diet - Front Month 1 | My Engineered Nutrition
Reverse Diet - Left Month 1 | My Engineered Nutrition
Reverse Diet - Back Month 1 | My Engineered Nutrition
Reverse Diet - Right Month 1 | My Engineered Nutrition

Training

My training has been so fun this last month. I've been diligent in sticking to my track workouts which include a mixture of agility drills, plyometrics and sprints. The proof is in the photos that this is definitely benefiting me. I've also been Olympic weightlifting 2-3 times per week. I may be competing at the end of March in a weightlifting meet and if I do, I don't want to disrupt my Reverse Dieting progress. Usually I'd try to compete in the 63 kg weight class (138.9 lb), but I've been sitting consistently around 143 lb (64.7 kg) which would kick me up to the 69 kg weight class. I'm OK with this. 

If you want to follow along with my training, I've been posting videos on my Instagram more frequently to give you a peak what I've been doing during my workouts!

Nutrition

It has been such a welcomed change to not be so precise about every little thing I eat. While I'll be the first to admit I haven't followed my macros exactly every single day, I try my best to not go over. I've been posting sooo many food photos over on my Instagram account, too many to share here on the page! Here are just a few of my favorites.

That's all for now! I'll be back in April for my next update. In the mean time stay tuned for all the exciting new recipes I'll be posting! 

Posted on March 14, 2016 and filed under Reverse Dieting.

The Big Finale: Show Day & Prep Recap

Show Day | My Engineered Prep

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning.But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." - Winston Churchill

Show Day | My Engineered Prep

It's hard to believe that after 17 weeks of hard work, Show Day finally came and went in the blink of an eye. I can honestly say this was one of the most fun days I've ever had, and it is easily the most fun I've ever had at a show. 

Now that the excitement of the show has died down, I'm finally getting around writing my final progress update for this prep...but not THE final update. Just because my show is over doesn't mean my progress is over! I didn't work this hard to get this far just to revert back to the point I was at 18 weeks ago. 

Over the past week, many people have asked me how my show went and congratulated me for my hard work. They then usually immediately followed up with the question "so are you excited to go back to eating how you use to?".

I struggle to understand what that even means (and have become annoyed with the question) as I still managed to eat all the foods that I love during my entire 17 week long prep. Sure in the past, that was my mindset. As soon as the show was over, I felt the need to reward myself, with food, for all my hard work. (Hi - I'm not a dog)

Not this time, however. 

I've made some great strides in finding my balance with nutrition and I would hate to throw that away now that I don't necessarily have a 'goal' I'm working towards. I'll admit that this first week post show was a bit of a struggle staying strict with my nutrition (it also didn't help that I am about to start my lady time of the month). I measured some of my food, but not all. I had a few extra treats when I maybe could have done without, but my overall, I'm happy with this first week. I'll get more into what my next steps are, but first let's look at my 17 Week Progress!

Progress

Over the last 17 weeks I've coached myself through nutrition and training, surprising myself with how much I was able to achieve. 

Front Comparison | My Engineered Prep
Right Comparison | My Engineered Prep
Back Comparison | My Engineered Prep
Left Comparison | My Engineered Prep
Measurements | My Engineered Prep

I made the most visible and measurable changes to my waist, abdomen and hips. 

It is my hope that I am able to show you that you don't need to follow an incredibly restrictive diet and spend hours in the gym on a weekly basis in order to achieve your goals. You simply need consistency, self-discipline and a desire to achieve - that's it! I was still able to enjoy the holidays over the this period and never once did I alienate myself from friends and family because of prep. Could I have been more lean and lost more weight during this time? Sure - but my primary goal through this all was to show you that you can still enjoy all the foods you love to eat while still losing weight, as long as you adopt healthy habits of balance and moderation.

Show Day

Now...Showtime! The actual day of the show is a loooong day. Competitor check-in was on Friday evening, along with my first coat of spray tan. I had to finish packing up everything I needed for Saturday that night as well. Needless to say, it was a long day. 

Saturday. I was up bright and early at 5am! I had to get down to Santa Clara by 7am for my second coat of spray tan, followed by doing my hair and makeup. Nothing says GOOD MORNING like a cold coat of spray tan. I needed to report to the Convention Center by 9:30am and was on stage by 10:30am for pre-judging. 

Pre-Judging Comparison | My Engineered Prep

The morning isn't nearly as exciting as the evening show. There is no music, a relatively tame audience and the presentation follows a strict format. Each competitor within a height class comes to the stage one at a time, presents a front and back pose to the panel of judges and then lines up to the side of stage. Once all competitors have come out, we all come back out onto stage in a line for quarter turns. We present to the front, [quarter turn to the right] to our right, [quarter turn to the right] the back, [quarter turn to the right] and finally to our left.

Left Comparison | My Engineered Prep

You want to be as close to center of the line as you can - this means highest placing. In my class, I started in the center and another competitor was moved to center to stand by me. The quarter turns were repeated and then we exited stage. The judges make their rankings at this point but we won't know how we did until the evening show.

Pre-Judging Comparison | My Engineered Prep

That's it! A quick 10-15 minutes on stage. At that point you are free to leave until the evening show, which meant I didn't have to be back until 5:30pm. 

I knew that regardless of placing I had already reached my goal. I wanted to beat the figure I had brought to stage my last show and I believe I did just that.  

Front Stage Comparison | My Engineered Prep
Back Stage Comparison | My Engineered Prep
Model Pose Stage Photo | My Engineered Prep
Model Pose Stage Comparison | My Engineered Nutrition

I see the most progress in my back, waist and shoulders. I still need to keep working away at my legs, but still there is an improvement from the last show. 

When the evening show came there was much more glitz and glam. There is music, an announcer on stage, a lively crowd and trophies are awarded. I was in Novice Class B and won 2nd Place! Very proud of this accomplishment. I think I just barely missed the 1st Place trophy by a margin, but it probably came down to needing leaner legs. Good to know for the next show!

Awards | My Engineered Prep

After the show I was ready to celebrate with the real trophy: this big ol' burger! It was incredibly satisfying to enjoy a burger (with the bun!) and a glass of wine. 

Show Day Recap | My Engineered Prep

Next Steps

I took Sunday off from training, but believe it or not I was back in the gym on Monday! I'd really like to compete in the weightlifting meet at the end of March, so my primary focus right now is working on Olympic lifts. 

Prep Recap | My Engineered Prep

I'm also thinking about what areas I can improve for my next show...ahem, my legs. I'll be making sure to keep plyos and sprints a priority in my training. I'd like to work on Olympic lifts 2-3 times per week, do track workouts with plyos, sprints and agility drills 2 times per week, and then round of the rest of the week with 2  full body lifting days. 

I'll still continue to track my measurements as I reverse diet out of this show. (see Nutrition below for details). I took my measurements this past Saturday, water retention and all. I'm happy to report that even this morning these measurements have gone down and I'm pretty much in line with what I was 2 weeks out from the show. 

Post Show Measurements | My Engineered Prep

I plan on switching to monthly updates, as opposed to weekly. It won't be quite as exciting week to week in the reverse dieting phase as the hope is for my measurements to stay exactly the same week after week while slowing increasing my macros. 

What about the next show? 

Well, I absolutely want to do another show. I've got a fire in me to keep competing. Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy being up on that stage in a bikini with the lights and hundreds of eyes on me. There are plenty of shows throughout the remainder of 2016, but locally and short distance travel. I'm going allow myself some more time to work on chiseling down my legs while not eating at an extreme deficit. I'm also traveling to Japan and Thailand (woo!) at the end of April for 3 weeks and I don't plan on carrying around a food scale with me everywhere I go while vacationing. Realistically, I can see myself doing a show in July or August, as well as one of the shows in September or October. That will be another series to keep you updated with my progress... !!

Nutrition

So now that I'm not training for a show (in the immediate future, at least), what exactly am I eating?? Honestly, pretty much exactly how I was in the weeks leading up to my show! If I were to have a sharp increase in my food intake at this moment my body wouldn't know what the heck to do with all those excess calories and would likely store them as fat. My goal is to s  l  o  w  l  y  ramp up my macros while maintaining as much body composition as I possibly can! This is commonly called 'reverse dieting'. 

I started off Monday with this incredibly fresh and delicious sashimi salad. Since Monday was a holiday, I took advantage of the extra time, lazy schedule and amazing weather. Yes, I ate this outside on my patio where it was sunny and 70F :)

Prep Recap | My Engineered Prep

During the work week, I kept my lunch identical to what they were before my show. I wanted simplicity and structure. It was somewhat of a struggle to stay on track given the fact that I was eating in deficit. I wanted to 'auto-pilot' as much as possible.

Prep Recap | My Engineered Prep

I was VERY happy to eat my gluten-free quesadillas again! I had opted not to eat them my last 2 weeks since they aren't very macro friendly. Now that I have slightly higher macros, I'm eating them again!

Prep Recap | My Engineered Prep
Prep Recap | My Engineered Prep

My macros for the first week post-show and continuing into this second week are the same as they were 3 weeks out from my show. My first week after the show I didn't stick strict with my macros at all. I used them as a guideline but I would be lying if I said I was perfect in tracking. 

Going into this second week I'm feeling a lot better than I did last week. I was retaining a lot of water post show, largely due to the fact that it was my lady-time of the month. I've shed a lot of that water and my cravings are virtually gone. Sticking to the macros this week shouldn't be a problem and it feels good to be back into a routine. 

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,540 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 145 g Carbohydrates
  • 40 g Fat

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,360 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 60 g Fat

 

Posted on February 23, 2016 and filed under Figure Prep.

1 Week Out - Peak Week!

Peak Week | My Engineered Prep

"It's the final countdown [da da da daa]" - Europe

(I dare you to try and not sing the song while reading that)

I'm am just 5 days (as of today, Monday February 8th) from stepping on stage. Instead of spending time recapping my week, which was not much different from last week's check in, I'll be explaining what this final week looks like in terms of workouts, nutrition, water intake and of course, the glitz and glam!

Progress

Well, this is it. This is what 16 weeks of hard work has gotten me. It's crazy that I began this prep all the way back on October 18, 2015. When I first started, 17 weeks seemed forever away...but somehow in the blink of an eye here I am, less than 1 week away.

1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep
1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep
1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep
1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep

Measurements 1 Week Out: 

  • Weight [lbs] - 142
  • Waist [in] - 26.25
  • Abdomen [in] - 28.25
  • Hips [in] - 37.75
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11
  • Bust [in] - 32

I'm pleased with my current progress, but being the perfectionist that I am, I can see areas for improvement. I already know the judges will say I need to lean my bottom half out more. I'm blessed with lots of strength and muscle in my legs and booty, which is great for competitive weightlifting, but not ideal for Figure competitions. I want both...and I believe I can achieve this, but it will take persistence and time.

The work is not over after my show - continuous improvement! 

Workouts

This week my workout structure is different. I'm treating this as a deload week. I'll be doing light lifting Monday, Tuesday and my final lift Wednesday. Monday will be legs, as I don't want those pumped up too much for my show, followed by a mix of upper body and back Tuesday and Wednesday. 

I'll be following my workouts with 20-30 min of steady-state cardio and continuing this to Thursday and Friday. Lastly, I'm nailing my posing this week and spending 30 minutes each night holding poses - it is much harder and tiring than you would think!

Nutrition

My nutrition isn't that too far off what I've been following all prep, however I'm shifting my low carb and high carb days for carb loading in anticipation of Saturday. Even though I'll be lifting Monday - Wednesday, I will be eating ultra-low carb these days. The plan is to deplete my body these days of all my glycogen stores and then load up the carbs Thursday & Friday for my muscles to POP come Saturday!

Sunday - Wednesday: Ultra-low carb (and low calorie)

Ultra Low Carb:

  • 1,250 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 45 g Carbohydrates
  • 48 g Fat

Thursday: add 1 c sweet potato with dinner

Friday: add 1/2 c sweet potato at lunch and 1 c with dinner

This week isn't set in stone and I'll be monitoring my progress all week. If I'm feeling too flat, I may increase the carbs, if I'm still feeling not tight enough, I'll eat less. This is very much an experiment for me so it will be a bit of trial and error leading up to stage. 

Saturday:  

Breakfast (3 hours before stage) - egg whites and yams

Snack (30 min before stage) - rice cakes with nut butter  

[Pre-Judging] 

Lunch - something light, lean protein and veggies

Snack (30 min before stage) - rice cakes with nut butter  

[Main Show] 

BURGER! 

 

I'll be manipulating my water intake a bit to help make my muscle pop. Of course I can lose any substantial amounts of fat this final week, but by manipulating my body I can create an illusion - sort of like shrink wrapping my body. By drinking an excess of water at the beginning of the week I trick my body into expecting to take on that much water. I slowly reduce my intake by half starting Wednesday. My body will have been tricked into accepting the higher amount so it won't hold onto the water come Thursday and Friday.

Again...this is a delicate balance. I don't want to deplete too much so that I look flat and dried out or even worse, cramp up on stage while holding my poses. The goal is NOT to dehydrate myself!

Water intake:

Monday - Tuesday: 2 gallons

Wednesday: 1 gallons 

Thursday: 2 liters

Friday: 1 liter by 6PM

Saturday: sip as needed

 

Just typing all this out has be so excited!! 

Here is a look at what I ate this past week, in case you were curious :) You can see that even with reduced caloric intake I am still finding a way to make my meals delicious!

1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep
1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep
1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep
1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep
1 Week Out | My Engineered Prep

Glitz and Glam!

This week I have to think about more than just nutrition and workouts.

Makeup: I bought all my makeup this past weekend and tested out my stage makeup. It needs to be dramatic so that the judges can see it from stage (but you would never see me out in public on a Friday night with this much makeup)

Tanning: I need to scrub my body every night this week so that I'm ready for my spray tan on Friday. I'll be getting my first round of spray tan Friday at 7PM and then touch ups the morning of. 

Nails: I'm opting to save money and do my nails myself. I plan on giving myself a mani and pedi on Thursday evening. 

 

Stay tuned for the BIG FINALE!

Posted on February 8, 2016 and filed under Figure Prep.

2 Weeks Out

2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lance

This was a really really good week.

I was satisfied with my meals, I never felt overly hungry or run down and I had great workouts. In fact, this week was so good that I'm hardly changing a thing for this coming week! This is a critical week for me - my last "normal" week of prep before the final week before my show, commonly referred to as 'Peak Week' among competitors. I don't want to risk having any set backs this close to my show, so I am basically sticking to the same meals and workout routine for this coming week. 

Progress

I'm so happy with where my body is at right now! My measurements are the lowest they've ever been (except for my weight...that just stays largely the same, ha!). A lot can happen in the next 14 days since these photos were taken, and I can't wait to see where I end up.

2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

I made some big reductions in my waist, abdomen and hip measurements this past week. Since the beginning of my prep I've lost 1-1/2" in my waist, 1-1/2" from around my hips and 2-3/4" around my abdomen!

Measurements 2 Weeks Out: 

  • Weight [lbs] - 144
  • Waist [in] - 26.5
  • Abdomen [in] - 28.25
  • Hips [in] - 37.75
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11
  • Bust [in] - 32.75

I'm hoping that I keep this progress up through the next week considering I'm not changing much from what I did this past week.

Workouts

I am prioritizing plyometrics and cardio over heavy lifting right now. I have plenty of muscle mass and with my daily macros so low, it doesn't make sense to push out heavy reps. I'm staying smart and maintaining my strength, but saving the heavy lifting and PR setting until after my show. 

I've surprised myself with the fact that I've come to enjoy plyometric drills - gasp! I've decided to begin my non-Olympic weightlifting days with a few rounds of plyos, then do my lifts, followed by lighter steady-state cardio for 15-20 minutes. I'm still keeping my HIIT training on my non-lifting days as-is.

Nutrition

Now that I'm down to the last 13 days of work for my show, I'm getting extremely strict on my macros. Its a big cut but it is only temporary.

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,475 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 135 g Carbohydrates
  • 35 g Fat

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,279 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 45 g Carbohydrates
  • 51 g Fat

You've probably noticed that I've become a bit of a creature of habit. I ate the same thing for lunches 6 days in a row this past week. This included turkey and cheese lettuce boats with pickles and also my go-to snack of celery and sunflower butter. 

2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Dinners were mainly comprised of my newest recipe for Greek Lemon Chicken and another upcoming recipe I'll be sharing, Twice Baked Sweet Potato Casserole.

2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
Greek Lemon Chicken | My Engineered Nutrition

I still managed to have a sweet tooth this week and was craving dessert. I got creative and made this AMAZING Chocolate Raspberry Protein Mousse. This is definitely one that I will be making again and sharing the recipe for!

2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

I took a break from the gym for my weekend workouts and headed up to the mountains for some snowboarding. It is a serious workout (especially with all of the powder up in Tahoe!) so a solid base was needed before a day of snowboarding. Here is a peek at my breakfasts for Saturday and Sunday!

2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
2 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Peak Week

Next week my post will be a bit and instead of discussing my progress, I'll be laying out what I'll be doing for the final days leading up to my show! There is a lot to be done in those last 7 days!

 

 

Posted on February 1, 2016 and filed under Figure Prep.

3 Weeks Out

3 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome." - Arthur Ashe

Well, ladies and gentleman. It's official. I sent in my registration for the Muscle Evolution Show on February 13, 2016. 

Muscle Evolution Flyer

I can't believe what once seemed to be so far off and distant is now less than 3 weeks away. If I'm being completely honest, I don't feel ready. I wish I was leaner in my legs, I wish I had more shape to my arms, I wish my posing was perfect. After all these weeks of hard work, it's only natural to want to win, or at least have a fighting chance at doing so.

I was sharing my doubts with a close friend over the weekend and they said something that was really encouraging to me.  

"Do the best you can and focus on the long haul. After this show you're going to keep figuring out how to get better. Think of this show as a check point or progress marker.  It's a tangible test of how far you've come but not the end game."

They were right.  

After this show I'm not going to throw my hands up and completely walk away from this lifestyle I've been living for the past 14 weeks. This contest prep has been (for the most part) really effortless and manageable. I haven't been in an insane calorie deficit the entire time, I haven't completely restricted anything from my diet and most importantly, I've finally found a balance between staying on track with my nutrition while also enjoying all the indulgences I love. I've learned so much in these past 14 weeks that no matter what happens on that stage in 3 weeks, I know I've still accomplished what I initially set out to do

Progress

Here I am, 21 days out from my competition.  

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Only time will tell what I can achieve in the next 3 weeks before my show. Measurements continue to go down - except for my actual body weight which is holding steady at 146 lbs for the 8th week in a row. I just don't get it. 

Measurements 3 Weeks Out: 

  • Weight [lbs] - 146
  • Waist [in] - 27
  • Abdomen [in] - 28.75
  • Hips [in] - 38
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11
  • Bust [in] - 32.75

Progress has still been made in the gym which is just as exciting, if not MORE exciting for me! I made a PR jerk of 85kg and just barely missed my attempt at 88kg!!

3 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Competition Checklist

Now that I'm so close to my show, there are so many things I need to plan for that aren't just diet and exercise. For my first show, I had no idea how many "extra" tasks you had to consider. I realize these may sound really ridiculous, but it's all part of the fun when competing! When showtime rolls around, it is just as much about stage presence as it is your physique. Your hard work means nothing if you can't showcase it properly onstage. 

  • Practice posing at least 3x per week, 15-30 min each session (immediate)
  • Schedule spray tanning (night before show)
  • Schedule nail appointment (week of show)
  • Schedule waxing appointment  (week of show)
  • Touch up posing suit for any missing rhinestones  (as soon as possible)

Posing is THE MOST critical thing on that list and I will be adamant on making sure I get my practice in.

Nutrition

I'm giving myself a pretty sizable cut in macros for this week. With just 3 weeks left until my show, it is my last chance to give it all I've got. Mind you, I won't be keeping up with these low macros for an extended period of time, only for the the next few weeks.

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,549 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 145 g Carbohydrates
  • 41 g Fat

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,324 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 56 g Fat

So what was I eating this past week? For lunches I made a quick and easy chicken and veggie stir-fry. It consisted of green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and chicken breast. 

3 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Lifting day dinners were quesadillas and mashed sweet potatoes. I've said it before: quesadillas are my theme meal.

3 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

So often during prep I've been asked by others "so what do you miss eating most?". Honestly, nothing since I'm not completely ruling a single food out of my diet! If I'm craving something I make trade offs with what I eat in that day. One day last week I was craving fro-yo. I decided instead of having my big ol' pile of mashed sweet potatoes for dinner, I would skip those and opted for a small cup of frozen yogurt instead!

3 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Over the weekend I had a great Saturday morning lift and cardio session, followed by posing practice. Once I finally got home I was starving so I may a pretty amazing omelette for myself. 

3 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

That's all for now! I can't believe I'm so close - next time I check back in it will be just 2 weeks out.

 

AH!

 

 

 

 

Posted on January 25, 2016 and filed under Figure Prep.

4 Weeks Out

"There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

I've hit a plateau.

Or at least, that is what the scale is telling me. I've been 145 lb (on average) the last SEVEN WEEKS. The scale isn't everything, blah blah blah, but let's be real - after 12 weeks of hard work I'd expect more than just 4 lbs of overall weight loss. 

Progress

With less than 4 weeks until my show, I can't help but look back at all of my training milestones. 

4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Overall I've had some pretty good progress. It is easy to focus on the short term (and rightfully so with my show less than 4 weeks away now) but I'm happy to see sustainable changes that I will be able to maintain long after my show. There is no denying that I've made both measurable and visual progress, regardless of what the scale has to say. 

[Left: 17 Weeks Out, Right: 4 Weeks Out]

4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Nutrition

The past 12 weeks I've been patient (well...patient for me) and have trusted myself and the process. Now, with 4 weeks left to give it all I've got, I'm getting more serious. Up to this point I've been pretty conservative with my macro reductions after each check-in. This week I'm giving myself a sizable reduction in attempts to jump start my body for some immediate fat loss. 

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,360 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 60 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,604 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 152 g Carbohydrates
  • 44 g Fat

While it is less than I'd of course like to eat, it is only for the short term. 

That being said, it won't keep me from eating foods I enjoy and I still plan on making some delicious meals. Here is a peek at what I was eating over the last week.

For my non-training days, I enjoyed eating my newest recipe creation - Egg Salad! I ate it atop of a salad for a few lunches. Because it has a pretty high fat to protein ratio, I paired it with an additional protein source of ham or pork.

4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

For dinners I made use of leftovers at the beginning of the week, eating the remainder of my Slow Cooker Carnitas in some pretty amazing burritos. I used Rudi's Gluten Free Tortillas, jasmine rice, pork, fat-free cheese, avocado and Greek yogurt mixed with lime juice. 

4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

For my other post-lift dinners during the week, as well as for some lunches, I ate Greek chicken. SO so good. Recipe coming soon! When I was eating the chicken as dinner, I paired it with a side of mashed sweet potatoes. If it was during lunch, I paired it with celery and a side of homemade tzatziki sauce.

4 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Training

I will be starting the 4th and final phase of Eric Cressey's High Performance Handbook this week. Prioritizing my cardio is crucial for the next 4 weeks. I've got a very strong and solid muscular base by this point and now I need to chisel away and show what I've built. 

Following this structure for the week:

Monday: Lower Body & Upper Body Lifts + 15 minutes HIIT/Plyo Circuits

Tuesday: Olympic weightlifting (Snatch focused)

Wednesday: Lower Body & Upper Body + 15 minutes HIIT/Plyo Circuits

Thursday: 40yd Side Shuffles to 60yd Sprints x 5/side, walk-back as rest between sets

Friday: Olympic weightlifting (Cleans, Jerks focused)

Saturday: Kettlebell Swings - Goblet Squats - Push-Ups, 4x12-12-12, 90s rest between sets

 

26 days and counting...

 

Posted on January 17, 2016 and filed under Figure Prep.

5 Weeks Out

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way" - Babe Ruth

If you've been following me on Instagram, then you know this was a tough week mentally. As time seems to be flying by, anxiety has set in. The 'what ifs' started flowing through my head.

What if I'm not ready in time?

What if I'm not as lean as the other competitors?

What if the others have greater muscle definition then me?

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

I looked back at my progress photos from my last show that I did 2 years ago in attempts to give myself a pep talk. Once I put each of the poses side by side for comparison, I was taken aback. In the photo you can see the visible improvement in my physique. What you can't see (and what is even a bigger achievement for me) is my understanding of my nutrition from 2014 to now. I'm not in this for a quick fix or crash diet. I'm in this for long, withstanding results and a maintainable healthy lifestyle. While it may have taken me some time to get here, I'm at such a great place. 

No matter what happens once I step on that stage, I know that I have given this my best effort. Even more important is that I will also know how to find balance after I step off that stage. 

Progress

This was a wacky week for my body. My previously mentioned anxiety was fueled by the fact that I was retaining more water than usual and the scale was sitting around 147 lbs most of the week. I'm not sure if it was a delayed result of all the travel I'd done or what, but it was making me uneasy. I knew it was temporary water weight gain, but it wasn't what I wanted to be seeing this close to my show. Thankfully, by the end of the week it started to dissipate and by Saturday for my check-in I was back to the same weight I had started the week at. Again...not exactly the result I was hoping for this close to my show. However, the scale is not everything and I was pleasantly surprised that my measurements went down in some areas!

5 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 145
  • Waist [in] - 27
  • Abdomen [in] - 29
  • Hips [in] - 38.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.25
  • Bust [in] - 33.25

Last week's measurements/ 6 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 145.2
  • Waist [in] - 27.25
  • Abdomen [in] - 29
  • Hips [in] - 38.5
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.25
  • Bust [in] - 33.25
5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Workouts

This was a really hard hitting week at the gym. By the time Friday rolled around, my body was completely fatigued (in a good way). This coming week is a deload week which is good timing. I'm on the final week of the 3rd Phase of my program. I've been really good about rolling out and mobilizing before and after workouts, so I'm hoping to keep that up. 

My goal for this week is to include a short cardio session (15 minutes) at the end of my 2 lifting days following Eric Cressey's High Performance Program. 

Monday: Lower Body & Upper Body + 15 minutes low impact cardio

Tuesday: Olympic weightlifting (Snatches)

Wednesday: Lower Body & Upper Body + 15 minutes low impact cardio

Thursday: 2 x 500m row + plyo circuits 

Friday: Olympic weightlifting (Cleans, Jerks)

Saturday: 3 x 400m sprints with 2 min rest between sets

Nutrition

This week was a lot of 'copy + paste' for my meals. It was the first week of the new year and I wanted it to be simple and somewhat basic for meals. 

Lunches this week were turkey or chicken deli meat, celery, broccoli and a Greek yogurt dressing. 

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

For my low carb nights I dug out some sirloin steak I had in my freezer. 

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

One night I had it with steamed spinach and another night with cabbage and shrimp!

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

My high carb dinners were made up of a simple cheese quesadilla, white rice and my Slow Cooker Carnitas.

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

To follow up high carb dinners was of course DESSERT! SO Delicious product were on sale at 2 for $6...how could I pass up a deal like that!?

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Over the weekend I made some tasty snacks as well! This is one of my go-to snacks, which I call a Deli Plate - ham, cheese and kosher pickles! The other is celery and sunflower seed butter. 

5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
5 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

I'm giving myself a reduction in macros this week. 

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,405 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 65 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,700 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 167 g Carbohydrates
  • 48 g Fat
Posted on January 10, 2016 and filed under Figure Prep.

6 Weeks Out

6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit" - Aristotle 

6 weeks. Shit is about to get real.

I'm back home after 2 weeks and man, does it feel good to be home. Don't get me wrong, I loved my time away and seeing my family, but I am a creature of habit. I LOVE my daily routine and with now less than 6 weeks until my show, everyday counts.

The past 6 weeks have been a delicate balance of enjoying life while also keeping my end goal in mind. I've had to navigate around Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas parties, travel, Christmas, dining out and New Year's. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I was confident I could still stay on track. This Saturday, January 2nd, marked the end of a true test. I must say that I even surprised myself a bit with the results! 

Progress  

The last check-in prior to the holiday madness was Saturday, November 21st (the weekend before Thanksgiving) and also marked 12 weeks out from my show. 

12 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 149
  • Waist [in] - 27.75
  • Abdomen [in] - 29.5
  • Hips [in] - 39
  • Thighs [in] - 22.5
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

Checking in on Saturday I was so pleased to find my measurements were the same as what they were before I left for Christmas vacation (8 Weeks Out). This may be the first time in my adult life that I've survived the holidays without gaining any weight - all while still enjoying the delicious food and drink!

6 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 145.2
  • Waist [in] - 27.25
  • Abdomen [in] - 29
  • Hips [in] - 38.5
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.25
  • Bust [in] - 33.25
6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

I had set a goal to stay consistent over the Christmas - New Year's time frame and I did just that. Could I have been better about my diet while I was home? Of course. I definitely "splurged" more times than I should have. In fact, the most surprising part about this is I believe I only had 1 or 2 days where I accurately tracked my macros! Most days I simply ate sensibly and kept in mind if it was a high carb or low carb day (depending on my workouts). It was a nice break in my prep to not obsess over food. I still made smart choices, but I wasn't refusing to eat something that hasn't been accurately weighed and measured. 

2016 will be a great year in terms of moderation and nutrition. I was reassured that I will be able to make smart choices after my show is done and I'm back living in "real life".  

Nutrition

This past week was definitely a good week of eating! On Monday I threw a Monday Night Football party in Cincinnati for the Bengals game. I made a whole slew of MEN original recipes including Guacamole, Bison Sliders, BBQ Chicken Nachos (simply swapped BBQ sauce for the Frank's Hot Sauce!) and my newest creation, Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Bison Sliders | My Engineered Nutrition
BBQ Chicken Nachos | My Engineered Nutrition
Spinach Artichoke Pizza | My Engineered Nutrition

Tuesday and Wednesday were my best days of eating while I was home, in terms of macros tracking. I made lunches of chicken, turkey pepperonis, fat-free cheese and celery and for dinner Tuesday night I made homemade pizza with my fam!

6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

To close out the week, I had the most amazing final meal of 2015 with my parents in Cincinnati! We started the night with THE BEST Oysters Rockefeller at a restaurant nearby, then went to Metropole and had their 4-course NYE dinner.

6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
6 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

After all this decadent eating, I am happy to be home and eating easy and simple meals. My macros for this week are as follows:

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,432 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 68 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,750 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 175 g Carbohydrates
  • 50 g Fat

Workouts

Are you still with me? 

Last but not least, my workouts over the past week were awesome. I made sure to get to the gym to lift Tuesday - Thursday, took an off day Friday for travel and then went snowboarding Saturday for a really great cardio workout. Looking back on the last 4 weeks, I've been a bit more relaxed with my cardio/plyo regimen. As much as I love lifting, I know I need to begin incorporating HIIT and plyos to achieve the results I want for my show.

Moving forward, I plan on doing 2 days of Olympic weightlifting, 2 days of 'performance' lifting (following the Cressey program and doing 2 days of lifting in one), and 2 days of HIIT and plyometrics. That leaves one day for recovery each week. Also making a point to be more diligent with my stretching and mobilizing. 

 

Ready to CRUSH these next 6 Weeks!!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on January 4, 2016 and filed under Figure Prep.

7 Weeks Out

7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" - Winston Churchill 

So I started off the week great.

I was traveling for work Sunday evening - Tuesday evening and I stuck exactly to my macros, even while eating meals out. Wednesday rolled around and I still did a pretty good job sticking to my macros, but since it was my first day at home I wasn't the strictest. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, however, I definitely ate all the goodies and drank my fair share of delicious wine. 

I woke up feeling like a water balloon on Saturday, the day after Christmas. To add insult to injury, it was also the start of my lady time of the month meaning it was inevitable to retain water. 

Does it set me back just a bit? Sure

Is this fatal to my entire prep? Absolutely not.

Was it worth it to enjoy these times with my family who I get to see only a handful of times each year? You bet. 

Workouts

The good news is I haven't blown off my workouts since I've been home. Quite the opposite, actually. Since I'm not truly "traveling" like for a vacation or business trip I've been able to find gyms in the area to go to. I found a Crossfit gym (Blue Ash Strength & Conditioning) that also has platforms for Olympic weightlifting. The owner is incredibly nice and has let me come in and use the space while Crossfit classes are going on. 

In addition to Olympic weightlifting, I'm also still keeping up with my main strength program from Eric Cressey's High Performance Handbook. I completed Week 1 of Phase 3. While I didn't workout on Christmas, I made it a point to lift Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of this past week. 

Nutrition

I'm not going to lie or sugar coat it - eating out or eating meals not prepared by me makes it HARD to stay on track. There hasn't been one day in this past week that I can confidently say I know my exact macros for. This week won't be any easier as I will still be at home all week. I will have a bit more control since we won't have holiday meals, but I still will be dining out - plus we have New Year's Eve. 

I have eaten some damn delicious food this week. Monday and Tuesday I was in Buena Vista, VA (aka the middle of nowhere) touring a manufacturing factory of air handling units. The food choices were...limited. I stuck to chicken and fish and of course had my protein bars with me for a snack.

Wednesday was my first full day at home and I did well staying on track (all things considered). I ate really great during the day and then that night my family went to Morton's Steakhouse for dinner - of course I was indulging in a juicy steak!

Christmas Eve we hosted a brunch at our house and my extended family came over. We featured so many My Engineered Nutrition original recipes! While not pictured below we served my Spinach Artichoke Frittata and Sweet Potato Stacks, both of which were a huge hit. Additionally, we had this awesome platter of HoneyBaked Ham.

7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

For dessert were my Double Chocolate Peppermint Protein Muffins, Mimi's Toffee Bars and these awesome 'healthy' raspberry chocolate truffles made by my mom. 

7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

For Christmas morning I re-purposed the leftover Double Chocolate Peppermint muffins we had into a triple chocolate bread pudding. Definitely not healthy and definitely the most sinfully decadent sweet treat. 

7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Progress

While I feel like a water balloon (and in my eyes I look like one) the damage actually is very minimal. I am holding 1.4 lb more weight and my measurements are the same as last week with the exception of my abdomen which is up 0.25" (likely because of water retention).


Measurements:

8 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 145,6
  • Waist [in] - 27.25
  • Abdomen [in] - 29
  • Hips [in] - 38.5
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.25
  • Bust [in] - 33.25

7 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 147
  • Waist [in] - 27.25
  • Abdomen [in] - 29.25
  • Hips [in] - 38.5
  • Thighs [in] - 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.25
  • Bust [in] - 33.25

7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
7 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Unchanged macros for this week and I will try and stay as close to hitting these as possible. 

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,432 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 68 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,713 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 168 g Carbohydrates
  • 49 g Fat

 

Posted on December 28, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

8 Weeks Out

"Woah, we're halfway there." - Bon Jovi

8 weeks down, 8 weeks to go!

This was an all around fantastic week. It was my last week in the office for 2015, we had our office holiday happy hour and gift exchange, I wrapped up Phase 2 of my training program AND to top things off, I competed in a weightlifting meet on Sunday (my first back since March/breaking my wrist) and somehow managed to make a competition PR (personal record) snatch of 60 kg. That, my friends, is what I call a great week. 

2 Month Progress

I'm switching up the order of things with this post and jumping straight into my progress. Why the heck not? 

The photos below, from left to right, are my initial, 1 month and 2 month progress.

8 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
8 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
8 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep
8 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

I can definitely see some slow and steady progress in all four poses. I'm really happy with where I am at 8 weeks out from my show. In terms of my measurements, they have changed as follows: 

17 weeks out ---> 8 weeks out

  • Weight [lbs] - 150 ---> 145.6
  • Waist [in] - 28 ---> 27.25
  • Abdomen [in] - 31 --->29
  • Hips [in] - 39.25 ---> 38.5
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75 ---> 22
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5 ---> 11.25
  • Bust [in] - 33.5 ---> 33.25

With some quick math, that is a total of 4.75" and 4.4 lbs lost! I'm a bit surprised my weight went unchanged from last week, but I'll still chalk it up as a win for progress. Don't forget, this also includes navigating around Thanksgiving and my Birthday, so that makes me even MORE happy with my progress. 

Training

My training definitely hit a high note this week. I'm feeling the strongest and healthiest that I've felt in a very long time - maybe even all year?? First off, I rounded out the 2nd Phase of my training program. I've been following Eric Cressey's High Performance Handbook programming and I absolutely love it. This is in no way a "figure prep" program, quite the opposite. It is programming for improving your athletic performance - not aesthetics. What I've found, however, is that with proper nutrition and training that you actually enjoy, you are able to achieve the physique and aesthetic you desire. 

8 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

In addition to my "bodybuilding" programming, I've been more regular with my Olympic weightlifting. It has felt so great (READ: pain-free) to lift again and actually have some weight on the bar. On Thursday of last week I decided I would compete in a meet this past Sunday. Yep, 3 days before the actual meet. I just wanted to have some fun and step on the platform one last time in 201`5 and for the first time since I broke my wrist in March. I really surprised myself with my lifts! Up until this point (post-injury) I had only hit a 55 kg snatch and a 75 kg clean and jerk. To my surprise I hit a 60 kg snatch and a 75 kg clean and jerk! I made a 78 kg clean but narrowly missed the jerk. To put that into perspective, my lifetime PR's are 63 kg and 81 kg. I'm so close to being back at that level. 

8 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Nutrition

This week was really easy cooking-wise. As of today, I'm gone from my apartment in San Francisco for TWO WEEKS. That meant I wanted to clean out my fridge and didn't want to have anything left behind. I ate pretty standard lunches of brussels sprouts, broccoli and chicken all week. Dinners included this bomb diggity Spinach Artichoke Frittata

8 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

I'm going to keep my nutrition unchanged for the week. As I head home to spend time with my family, I am focused on enjoying my time and rather than obsessing over my food. I'm going to make the best decisions that I can, but Christmas comes once a year and I'm not going to make myself miserable missing out on some amazing eats and treats. After these next two weeks are up I will be 6 weeks out and I'm going to hit it HARD for prep. Can't wait!

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,432 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 68 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,713 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 168 g Carbohydrates
  • 49 g Fat
Posted on December 20, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

9 Weeks Out

9 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." - Helen Keller

This week's check-in is different from all weeks leading up to it. Each week I've posted progress pictures and this week...I have none to share. I was, however, still able to take my measurements and weight - and have progress to share!

So why no progress photos? Remember those goals I wrote down last week for my birthday? One of which was to get outdoors more and another to live life less scripted? Well, when the forecast calls for FEET, not inches, of snow to fall in Tahoe and someone asks you if you'd like to go on an impromptu snowboarding trip that weekend - you say yes. And then when a huge storm hits on Sunday, the day you are driving home, and it takes you 8 hours to get home (instead of the normal 4 hours) you go with the flow and don't stress that your check-in is a day late.

9 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

In the past, when I was preparing for a competition or meet, I would turn down any invitations that would impact my training schedule or diet. I've already made it a point to make this competition prep fit MY lifestyle, so I didn't even hesitate to say YES. This, of course, came on an already hectic week. I had taken Monday off work for my birthday, had 2 events to attend after work during the week (which impacted both my workouts and diet) and then would be leaving Friday evening for Tahoe. 

Workouts

Monday was my birthday and for the past few years on my birthday I like to test my maxes. This year I tested my snatch and clean and jerk. I was pleasantly surprised with hitting a 55kg snatch and a 75kg clean and jerk! And this was my second lift of the day so I wasn't even starting fresh.

Yeah...my idea of a fun birthday is to workout twice since I had the time to do so. To put this in perspective, in March prior to my wrist break my max snatch was 63kg and my max clean and jerk was 81kg.   

9 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Tuesday was the only other day this week I was able to follow my normal lifting schedule. Wednesday I had to skip my workout all together because of a work event in the evening and Thursday and Friday I had to squeeze my lifts in early before my evening commitments. Regardless of the reason, I still found a way to make sure I followed my training schedule. 

Saturday was an entire day of snowboarding - a full body workout in itself. If you ask me, I can't think of a better option for "active recovery". Sunday we attempted to snowboard all day again but the huge winter storm caused the mountain to close (due to wind) after only 2 runs. 

9 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Nutrition

Like I said...this was a bit of a hectic week. Coming back from my Birthday Weekend caused the week to start a little off. Add to the fact that I had work events 3 days that impacted my meals, plus a trip out of town, my nutrition was anything but regimented. 

On my 4 lifting days this week my nutrition wasn't all that exciting. I had cheese and turkey quesadillas. Nothing too exciting but damn if these weren't delicious!

I also made my Double Chocolate Peppermint Protein Muffins and ate these for dessert all week. Seriously...these babies are GOOD.

Chocolate Peppermint Protein Muffins | My Engineered Nutrition

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I forgot my food scale for my trip to Tahoe for the weekend, meaning I was unable to measure my food Saturday or Sunday. I managed to still pack some Combat Crunch protein bars, but everything else was a meal eaten out. I'm happy to report I came back the same weight and managed to stay in line just by visual approximations or portions. I stuck to a high protein/high fat breakfast followed by a moderate lunch of protein and veggies. I snacked on the Combat Crunch bars and had roasted chicken for dinner each night. I may have also had some Irish coffees to warm up my bones post-snowboarding...

Progress

So, no progress pictures this week. When Saturday morning came around I didn't have time to take the photos when you are trying to be out the door by 8AM in full snow gear. I was able to get my weight before I left and took my measurements on Sunday morning. 


Measurements:

17 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 31
  • Hips [in] - 39.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

9 Weeks

  • Weight [lbs] - 145
  • Waist [in] - 27.25
  • Abdomen [in] - 29.5
  • Hips [in] - 38.5
  • Thighs [in] - 22.25
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.25

I'm back on a normal week with no unusual macros rearrangements. 

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,432 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 68 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,713 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 168 g Carbohydrates
  • 49 g Fat

This is my last week in San Francisco for 2015! Hard to believe we are so close to ending this year. The next 2 weeks will be spent on a short work trip to Virginia and then home to Ohio for 10 days. My main goal is to make it through the holidays at this steady progress point and then hit it hard at the start of 2016!

Posted on December 14, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

10 Weeks Out

"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things." - Albert Einstein

10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Today I turn 29 - the last year of my 20s. 

I'm always excited for my birthday, even with this year, the last year before I enter my 30s. Most people set their New Year goals for themselves starting in January (a fresh start to a new year). I chose to follow my biological year and set my goals in December.

As I enter into 29 I can confidently say this is be best I've ever felt on my birthday. This is the strongest I've ever been, I finally have figured out the best nutrition path for myself, my career is going better than I could have ever dreamed and to top it all off, I started My Engineered Nutrition! 28 was a great year.

Goals for 29

I always like to set a new goals for myself in my new year and anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE setting goals for myself. Sure, I could make a cliched list of '30 things to do before 30' but thinking up 30 things seemed overkill...and why would you want to read that exhausting list? So with that, here are just 10 goals I have for myself (in no particular order). 

1. Consistency and Balance.

I'm beginning this year with the best I've ever felt and I have a goal to keep this up all through 29. I'm not perfect and in the past I've been a victim of yo-yoing with my weight and fitness levels. Luckily, I think I've finally found the formula which works for me to live a balanced lifestyle. 

2. Compete in a Figure Competition.

This needs no explanation since I'm already 10 weeks out from achieving this goal. Excited to step on stage again!

3. Compete in an Olympic Weightlifting Meet.

Some of you know I broke my wrist back at the end of March of this year. That landed me in a cast for 6 weeks and the rehab process has been slow. I'm so happy that I'm finally working back up my strength and I know I'll back to my pre-break numbers before no time. 

4. Learn Photography.

For my birthday gift to myself this year, I splurged and bought a Canon Rebel T5i DSLR!! I've been teaching myself how to shoot manually and so far it is SO fun. Adding this to my ever growing list of hobbies and looking forward to bringing you high quality food images :)

5. Keep up My Engineered Nutrition.

I've been having a blast with my website and plan on keeping the party going into this next year. I'm not really sure if anyone is reading what I'm posting, but it makes me happy and that's all that matters...right?!

6. Write an eBook.

I've had some ideas floating around in this head of mine for quite some time. Hoping I can make this a reality...in all that spare time I have.

7. Travel Abroad.

I'm a Sagittarius so it isn't a surprise that I love to travel. I want to make sure I make it abroad this year and luckily my best friend is moving to Japan for work this year! Hoping to make a trip to Japan, Thailand and China. Bonus points if I do some traveling solo. 

8. Make my Bed - Every Morning. 

I know, this seems like a goal for someone turning 13. When I make my bed it brings order to my day and it is nice to come home to a room that is put together rather than a war zone. At the age of 29 perhaps I'll finally learn how to keep this habit (sorry Mom and Dad). 

9. Get OUTDOORS. 

Hiking, camping, snowboarding, swimming - you name it. I want/NEED to get outdoors more. I'm lucky enough to live in Northern California where I have mountains, beaches, and deserts all in my backyard. Plus I now have a car. Winning adventure combo for 2016. 

10. Live life less scripted. 

I'm guilty of planning out every aspect of my life. Sometimes, this is great. I'm incredibly organized and when I want to get things done - they get done. And sure, planning for trips is exciting and ensures all the highlights aren't missed. This year, however, I want to live a bit less scripted. The best things in life usually come when you aren't expecting them. I'm starting off strong with this goal as I took a weekend trip by myself to wine country for my birthday. I had no real plans all weekend (aside from my spa appointments - so necessary) and you know what? This has been one of the most relaxing and enjoyable weekends I've had in a very long time. 

Workouts

This week I hit a new PR! I snatched the most I have since breaking my wrist!!! I was able to work up to 50kg.

10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Small victories as I work back towards the numbers I was hitting pre-wrist break. I also was able to clean and jerk 65kg this week. Feeling strong, healthy and most importantly, pain free!

10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

Nutrition

This was a pretty normal week for me. It was post-Thanksgiving and pre-Birthday, so I kept things basic. 

Lunches this week were simple yet delicious. Salad of kale, brussels sprouts and parmesan with a lemon-olive oil dressing.

10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Dinners were either my Sweet Potato Stacks with whatever protein I had on hand or 'Breakfast for Dinner'. 

Sweet Potato Stack | My Engineered Nutrition
10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Saturday I celebrated my birthday (just a few days early since today, Monday, is my actual birthday) with wine tasting and a 5 course tasting menu for dinner. It was simply perfect. I haven't ever gone away by myself on trips but I've decided this is the way to celebrate a birthday!

Healdsburg | My Engineered Nutrition
Dry Creek Kitchen | My Engineered Nutrition

Progress

Alright, if anyone is actually still reading, I applaud you!

I weighed in at 145.8 lbs for my 29th Birthday. Back at Week 17, when I started my prep, I had made a loose goal for myself to hit 145 lb by my birthday. I wasn't attached to the number but thought it would be a good check point heading into the holidays at that weight. Well, I couldn't be happier that I actually made it to that weight! Let's keep the progress training moving!

10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
10 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

10 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 145.8
  • Waist [in] - 27.5
  • Abdomen [in] - 29.5
  • Hips [in] - 38.5
  • Thighs [in] - 22.5
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.25

For my nutrition this week I'm following the same sort of idea I did for Thanksgiving. I am happy to say I didn't worry about tracking my dinner/wine on Saturday after I tracked the first part of my day's macros. Sunday I ate intuitively for a low carb day. Today, Monday, I'm right back on track!

I'm eating slightly less this week than my normal macros to balance out the weekend. I also want to be a bit more restrictive going into the Christmas break so that I can enjoy the time home with my family a bit more (aka all the delicious food). 

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,360 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 60 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros (Monday, Tuesday, Saturday):

  • 1672 Calories
  • 150 g Protein
  • 160 g Carbohydrates
  • 48 g Fat

HERE'S TO 29!

Posted on December 7, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

11 Weeks Out

My Engineered Prep | My Engineered Nutrition

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Going through contest prep over the holiday season can be tackled one of two ways. First, you can keep your head down and choose not to take part in the holiday celebrations. You can carry all your food around in plastic containers and politely pass on the delicious treats your family and friends are sharing. 

OR...

You can find a balance and continue to enjoy the holiday season. This takes a bit more planning and a bit of "give and take", but in the end you are still able to enjoy these special times that only come once a year. 

I don't know about you...but I choose Door #2!

My Thanksgiving Experiment

Last week, I told you I was going to be doing things differently with my nutrition in preparation for Thanksgiving. I was a bit more restrictive in the days leading up to/following Thanksgiving, all so that I could enjoy the holiday with my family and friends and not miss out on this once-a-year celebration. 

(SPOILER ALERT: I STILL manage to make progress this week! Read ahead!)

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

To make the week even more of a challenge, my sister and her boyfriend were in town from Wednesday - Sunday. While I may have wanted to let my hair down during their entire visit, I kept my ultimate goal in mind and was determined to not lose progress. I was extremely diligent Sunday through Wednesday. I made sure I hit my macros perfectly and that I gave it 110% in the gym. 

Thursday came and I got up at 6:45AM to head to the gym before getting the day of cooking started. I had my 1st meal just like usual for the day, high protein + moderate fat. When it came time for dinner, because I had planned ahead, I knew approximately how much to eat of all the dishes. Here is what I'm most proud about: I didn't touch my food scale or measuring cups ONCE during dinner. I laughed, I drank wine, and I thoroughly enjoyed my Thanksgiving feast - rounding things out with TWO pieces of pie :)

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Something I did not want to do was to regret enjoying myself. Why dwell on the past? I've done this before and there is no benefit in doing so. One meal is not going to throw your entire diet off course. Plan ahead, enjoy yourself, and get right back on track the next day.

This is exactly what I did this year and you know what? I was able to still lose 2 lbs when I weighed in on Saturday, just 2 days after Thanksgiving!!

Staying Active

It would have been so easy to blow off my normal workouts this week with my sister in town. I put my prep first and foremost, however. Luckily I have an amazing family that supports me with my goals and my sister completely understood that I needed to squeeze in my normal workouts. 

I began a new phase of my training this week. It was perfect timing for an on-ramp week, learning the new programming while not going completely overboard with the weight I was lifting. Monday and Tuesday I was able to lift on my normal schedule. Wednesday and Thursday I woke up early and completed my workouts while she still slept so it wouldn't interfere with our day. Friday we chose to get OUTSIDE and work off all that Thanksgiving turkey!  

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Hiking outside at Point Reyes National Seashore is so much better than cardio inside the gym.

Nutrition

Even though I was more restrictive with my nutrition leading up to/following Thanksgiving, it didn't mean I wasn't going to be eating well! I modified what I made for my sister and her boyfriend to fit my diet. Wednesday afternoon we had a big brunch to celebrate their arrival. I had this egg white, sausage, spinach, mushroom and cheese frittata.

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Thanksgiving was incredible this year. My meal included a brined and butter basted turkey, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts with pancetta, Whipped Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions, Ham, Leek and Sourdough Dressing, and cranberry sauce.

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

I also couldn't resist a slice of my Apple Cranberry Pie and Pumpkin Pie

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

The day after Thanksgiving I was right back on track with my nutrition. I packed leftovers to eat during my hike (turkey and celery sticks) and then we finished out the day with fresh oysters. 

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Progress

I managed to drop 2 lbs this week, even after totally indulging on Thanksgiving. Ultimate win. 

I'm starting to get a bit nit-picky about my symmetry and posing - I know I need to work on my left shoulder. I like the way my right delt is shaping and I'd like to get the left side to match.  

11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
11 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Measurements:

11 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 147
  • Waist [in] - 27.5
  • Abdomen [in] - 29.5
  • Hips [in] - 39
  • Thighs [in] - 22.25
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

17 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 31
  • Hips [in] - 39.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

I'm back on a normal week with no unusual macros rearrangements. 

Non-Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,452 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 68 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros:

  • 1,733 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 168 g Carbohydrates
  • 49 g Fat

That's all for this week's check-in!

Posted on November 30, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

12 Weeks Out

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection." - Mark Twain

1 month down. 3 more to go. 

When you think about your progress day-to-day, it is easy to think you aren't making any forward movement. It is hard to recognize changes and you can easily lose sight of where you've come from. We strive for perfection, but it isn't until you step back and look at the bigger picture that you are able to recognize improvement. 

This is how I've felt this first month of prep. The scale hasn't changed all that much, my measurements have gone down in my waist and abdomen, but everywhere else has remained unchanged. I've been going about my prep in a very slow and calculated manor, but I have questioned if what I'm doing is the right decision. It is all too easy to focus on the negatives. 

This past Saturday marked 1 month into my prep and 12 weeks out from my show. Going by the scale and the scale alone, I have only lost ONE pound. After I took my progress pictures I decided to compare them with my very initial photos. The results thrilled me. 

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

I couldn't believe I had actually made this much visible progress. Sure I feel so much better than I did 4 weeks ago, but I didn't realize how I felt on the inside was slowly translating to how I looked on the outside.

Ladies, the scale does NOT tell the whole story! I can't stress enough - there is only a 1 lb different between these two photos. 

Just for kicks, I didn't stop there with the comparisons. I looked back at my progress photos from the last show I did, March 2014. The photos on the left were 9 days out from my show, while the photos on the right are 12 weeks out from my next show. 

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Continuous improvement. 

Am I ready to step on stage tomorrow? Is my physique where I'd ultimately like for it to be?

No. 

Have I improved in the last year? Since my last show? Will I be better this show than I was my last?

YES.

A Change in Training

My training calls for a new program every 4 weeks, meaning it is time to move onto the 2nd month! I'm really excited to start a new routine. 

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

My training thus far has been going greater than I could have anticipated. My 4-day a week lifting program is fun and has yet to become monotonous. I've actually been ENJOYING my plyo routine I wrote for myself, as well. HUGE STEP. I tend to be guilty of disliking things I'm not good at (I blame the perfectionist in me) but I was determined to keep a positive attitude about plyos/cardio this go-around. 

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Keeping with the theme of continuous improvement, I also hit a PR in my olympic weightlifting training this week! Since breaking my wrist back in March of this year, I haven't been able to get fully back into heavy lifting. Friday night I hit a power clean of 70 kg! To put that in perspective, just last year (December 2014) my max clean was only 70 kg. For those not familiar with olympic weightlifting, you are able to do more weight with a full clean (as you go down into a full squat with the lift) than a power clean (where you are able to get under the weight without going into a full squat because it is light enough to do so). So again...continuous improvement! 

Nutrition

This week I was really creative with my meals. I don't think I had the same exact meal twice in one week, which is almost unheard of for me. All the same building blocks, but many different combinations. My lunches were even different almost everyday this week. I kept it somewhat consistent with the fact I had my Whipped Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions almost everyday (recipe to be posted tomorrow!) and broccoli. A couple days I at the cauliflower at dinner and had a salad during lunch instead. My proteins changed daily between chicken, fish and turkey at our office Thanksgiving lunch. 

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

My dinners varied quite a bit. If I didn't have the cauliflower at lunch, I had it for dinner. One night I paired it with ham and sausage. 

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

For lifting day dinners, I had shrimp & scallops, rice and a cheese quesadilla one night. Another I had open-faced turkey sandwiches with cheese which were incredible!

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

I, of course, did not forget about dessert! I had my Apple Cranberry Pie all week. I had to test it out and make sure it was fit to eat for Thanksgiving...

12 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Progress

Great week and a great month of progress. On the scale, I've only lost 1 lb. With my measurements, however, I've lost 1.5" from around my belly!


Measurements:

12 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 149
  • Waist [in] - 27.75
  • Abdomen [in] - 29.5
  • Hips [in] - 39
  • Thighs [in] - 22.5
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

17 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 31
  • Hips [in] - 39.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

In preparation for Thanksgiving, I'm doing things a bit differently this week. Instead of keeping consistent lifting vs non-lifting macros, I'm looking at this from a total week perspective. I'm ensuring that I still achieve a weekly deficit from last (about 190 calories, which is on average what I've been reducing) but I'm dividing up my macros very differently. I don't want to completely restrict myself on Thanksgiving. For me, I don't mind sacrificing a bit leading up to Thanksgiving so that I can enjoy the holiday. 

For this week only:


Non-Lifting Day Macros (Sunday, Wednesday, Friday):

  • 1,380 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 50 g Carbohydrates
  • 60 g Fat

Lifting Day Macros (Monday, Tuesday, Saturday):

  • 1710 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 160 g Carbohydrates
  • 50 g Fat

THANKSGIVING DAY! (Thursday, also lifting on this day)

  • 2085 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 220 g Carbohydrates
  • 65 g Fat

I'm not really sure how my experiment with this macro shifting will go, but I'm excited to give it a try. This will be a great test prior to Christmas, where I will also want to enjoy the holiday and not completely restrict myself when I am home with my family. 

Everyone have a great short week of work and check back to My Engineered Nutrition for recipes to make at your Thanksgiving! :)

Posted on November 23, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

13 Weeks Out

My Engineered Prep

"Where there's a will, there's a way"  - English Proverb

This week, I was bound and determined to make forward progress. Because I was traveling for work in the middle of the week, I needed to be even more diligent about what I ate and when I fit my workouts into my week. I would be away from my kitchen and my normal gym for 2 days. 

Even with those hurdles, I'm happy to report that I managed to make progress! 

Importance of Planning (again)

I already stressed at Week 16 how important preparation was for success. When you throw traveling into the mix, you need to be even more prepared. What were my steps taken to make sure I succeeded? First, I prioritized my workouts. I normally lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with HIIT/plyos on Wednesday and Saturday. Because I was flying down to LA on Tuesday evening, I knew I wouldn't have time to lift before or after my flight. I shifted my lifts to Sunday and Monday, took a rest day on Tuesday, and did my workout at the hotel Wednesday. Thursday I was back home by 5:30 PM and was able to pick up with my normal gym/lifting routine. 

As for nutrition, I made sure I followed the KISS rule: Keep It Simple Stupid. This was not the week to get creative with my meals. I wanted to make sure when I could control my food preparation, I knew exactly what I was eating. When I was traveling and forced to eat food I didn't prepare myself, I made sure to stick to the same rule. 

Workouts on the Road

13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

When I travel, I like to bring a few basics. Regardless of what equipment may be available where I'm staying, I know I will still be able to get a quick and effective workout with just a few key items. 

1. Foam Roller - I love traveling with my foam roller, especially on trips where you spend a lot of time on airplanes/buses/cars/etc. it is great to be able to stretch and mobilize upon arrival to your destination!

2. Mini Resistance Bands - These are so versatile! I use these for glute activation drills, accessory work and banded lower body movements. If you don't have access to weights these bands are a great alternative. 

3. Sliders - I recently purchased these and I'm so glad I did. I haven't even gotten a chance to put them to their full potential. Currently, I've used these for reverse sliding lunges (legs) and bodysaw planks (core). Using the sliders adds an element of core stabilization to whatever exercises you preform, core-specific or not.

On Wednesday even at the hotel, I performed a series of plyo, core and glute activation circuits. I followed this with intervals on the elliptical machine (15 sec sprint, 45 sec recover) for 15 minutes followed by a 10 minute moderate steady-state pace. Quick and effective!

Nutrition While Traveling 

Like I previously stated, I followed a simple approach to nutrition this past week. In the days leading up to my travels I ate very basic. Lunches were a salad topped with grilled chicken and a light balsamic vinaigrette. 

13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Prep

On my travel days (Tuesday - Thursday) I made sure to have a protein bar on hand. While I normally don't eat these, it was good to have something to eat when there was nothing else alternatively. I had one saved for both plane rides so I wasn't tempted by soft drinks, peanuts and pretzels. 

For meals I had to eat out I tried to stick to basic dishes. Lunches on Wednesday and Thursday were provided through work (we had these catered) and it consisted of sandwiches and salads. Instead of eating the sandwiches, I made a salad and pulled the meat from a few of the sandwiches. For dinners on Tuesday I had a Cobb salad (dressing on the side) with turkey, grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, bacon and avocado. On Wednesday, I went to dinner with my sister so we shared a few small plates of brussels sprouts and meatballs, and I ordered a main dish of black cod.

13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

When I got back home it was right back to basics! Pork tenderloin, rice and sauerkraut (great for balancing your gut and your digestion!) for dinners and protein pudding with bananas for dessert. 

13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Progress

I'm happy to report that I made progress from last week! As little as it may be, I definitely am starting to see some more definition in my legs. Going into this prep, leaning out my legs was my #1 goal. While my weight and measurements haven't changed in great amounts, I am starting to see the results of body re-composition. 

I'm in my last week of my 1st month of my workout program so it is a bit of a ramp-down. I'm looking forward to beginning a new program next week!

  Left to right: 17 Weeks, 16 Weeks, 13 Weeks Out

Left to right: 17 Weeks, 16 Weeks, 13 Weeks Out

  Left to right: 17 Weeks, 16 Weeks, 13 Weeks Out

Left to right: 17 Weeks, 16 Weeks, 13 Weeks Out


Measurements - 13 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 30
  • Hips [in] - 39
  • Thighs [in] - 22.5
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

Measurements - 17 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 31
  • Hips [in] - 39.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
13 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Non-Training Day Macros: 

  • 1508 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 55 g Carbohydrates
  • 72 g Fat

Training Day Macros: 

  • 1780 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 175 g Carbohydrates
  • 51 g Fat

I am changing my macros slightly but over the next few weeks I'm hoping I won't have to decrease these too much. My plan is to go into the holidays (Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas) with manageable macros and get really serious after the 1st of the year. The day after Christmas will mark 7 weeks out from my show - I think will be the perfect amount of time needed to dial down nutrition and finish strong. 

Bring on Week 12!

Posted on November 16, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

14 Weeks Out

My Engineered Prep | My Engineered Nutrition

"It's a marathon, not a sprint" - Unknown

Alright, let's get real. I promised to be transparent with this process, so transparent I will be. 

I'm frustrated. 

This week (so I thought) went really well. I was hitting my nutrition goals, I was working hard in the gym, I was getting my sleep, taking my vitamins, drinking a lot of water - everything that should lead to progress. Saturday morning I was excited to see what changes I had made. When it came time to take my measurements you know how much progress I found?

Zero

My measurements and weight were the exact same as last week. You know, the same numbers that I wasn't pleased with because it was a step back from the week before that. Initially, I let these numbers get the best of me. I was upset with myself, thinking I should have done better, worked harder, been more focused. This, however, doesn't get me anywhere. I also immediately texted one of my best friends in a fluster, as she is my voice of reason. She calmly replied:

"It's a marathon, not a sprint. If you sprint through miles 1 and 2, you won't even make it to the finish. Your starting point is so much further than what you've had in the past preps!!"

(I knew she was my best friend for a reason)

Looking Back

She was completely right. I was being too hard on myself. There was no reason to panic this far out from my show.

The photo below shows my starting point at each of my preps in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. In 2013, I was 13 weeks out from my show for my starting point. In 2014, I was only 12 weeks out from my show. At this point in my prep, I am 14 weeks out from my show. 

  Starting at left: 2013 - 13 weeks out, 2014 - 12 weeks out, 2015 - 14 weeks out

Starting at left: 2013 - 13 weeks out, 2014 - 12 weeks out, 2015 - 14 weeks out

For even more comparison, here is how I finished for my shows in 2013 and 2014. I wasn't nearly as far along at the start of these preps as I am at this point. However, I am still very proud of what I was able to accomplish in a short window of time. This was a good reminder that progress takes time.  

  Left: 2013, Right: 2014

Left: 2013, Right: 2014

Moving Forward

As you can see, I've definitely transformed my body over the last few years. While I may have veered off course a time or two, overall it has been a result of consistency and hard work to get me where I am today. If I've learned anything from my past experiences, it is that progress and results are not immediate, nor are they a linear progression. 

Still - I'm bummed I don't have more to show for at this point. If I'm being completely honest with myself, I know where I can improve. Friday night, the night before my check in, I had dinner at my cousin's house. While I planned ahead and made sure I saved ample macros for the meal, I'm sure I underestimated what I really ate (no, I didn't whip out my food scale at the dinner party) - not to mention the 2 glasses of wine I had.

However, I can't beat myself up about the past. I'm reminding myself everyday that it is important that I keep looking forward and stay positive. Each day I work hard WILL pay off and the results WILL come. As tempting as it may seem, there is no need to jump to extremes at this point. As my best friend so wonderfully pointed out - I don't want to burn out after mile 3, I'm in this to cross that finish line.

But... when all else fails and you are still feeling like you need some sort of pick me up: invest in new training shoes :)

14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Nutrition

If you follow me on Instagram you already know what I was chowing down on this week (cough, cough - you should follow me if you aren't already). 

Lunches this week were a medley of roasted vegetables over a bed of kale and lemon juice, topped with Roasted Chicken and fat-free feta cheese. 

14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

For dinners, I was absolutely loving my Rosemary Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with roasted sweet potatoes. And for dessert on lifting days, I couldn't resist my Apple Cider Protein Donuts!

Rosemary Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
Apple Cider Protein Donuts | My Engineered Nutrition
14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Lastly, this weekend I made a super tasty brunch! Why go out when I get make something great at home?! I sauteed brussels sprouts, leeks and ham together and served that with an egg white omelette and breakfast sausages.   

 

Progress

My measurements stayed the same as last week. I still took photos for documentation. As a plus, I think my arms are already beginning to take shape, which really excites me! I also see a bit of progress in my thighs, woo!

14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
14 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

I'm reducing my macros ever so slightly again for this week. 

 

Non-Training Day Macros: 

  • 1535 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 55 g Carbohydrates
  • 75 g Fat

 

Training Day Macros: 

  • 1797 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 175 g Carbohydrates
  • 53 g Fat

That's all for this week! I've got a tough week ahead of me with travel for work, but I won't let that get in my way of progress! 

Posted on November 9, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

15 Weeks Out

My Engineered Prep | My Engineered Nutrition

"I've always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come." - Michael Jordan

Everyone wants quantifiable progress, even if just a little. We want to actually see results for the hard work we are putting in. All too often, however, we can get frustrated when we seem to stay constant, or worse, take a step back. 

Saturday marked 15 weeks out from my show. Now, I could have very easily focused on the negatives of my check in. I didn't lose any weight in comparison to last week. In fact, I gained 1 lb (gasp!) and my measurements didn't drop. Let this be a reminder for all of the ladies - don't get caught up in temporary weight gain. It was that time of the month when I was retaining water, feeling bloated and just overall not feeling lean and tight. 

Putting in the Work

Rather than get upset and frustrated with the fact that I didn't have any progress in my weight and measurements, I chose to look at the positives. I worked REALLY hard this week. Every day I gave it 100%. In fact, there were multiple times I could have gotten thrown off course, but instead I was focused and stayed on track.

Tuesday, I had a meeting after work for a professional organization I'm a member of. The meeting was from 6-8pm, the same time slot I normally go to the gym. Instead of skipping my workout, I planned ahead and went into work a bit earlier that day, shifted my workout from 4-6pm, and still made it in time for the meeting.

Friday, I had our Halloween Party at work that I helped organize. We had a really fun lunch catered for the occasion and I didn't want to totally exclude myself. I planned ahead and brought veggies and some lean protein with me to pair with some of the dishes served at lunch. I enjoyed smaller portions of the party food while also making sure I met my macros for the day with the food I supplemented. 

Results Will Come

I know that I put in the work and that results will come as long as I stay consistent. I had a great week of workouts. I pushed myself hard every day and enjoyed every minute of it. I lifted with my barbell team twice this week. It is such a fun environment to be in and that really makes training fun.

15 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Since I'm currently not training for a weightlifting meet, I'm able to have fun and focus on my technique with my Olympic lifts. This has been such a good compliment to my normal training and I know this will help me with achieving my ultimate goal with this prep. I worked up to 40 kg in my snatch drills this past week. 

Whether you are currently working towards a weight loss goal or training for a performance-based competition, don't get discouraged if you aren't seeing results each week. Just because the weight on the bar doesn't increase or the number on the scale doesn't decrease, that doesn't mean you aren't progressing. 

Nutrition

This week I loved my meals! Here is a recap of what I ate. 

For lunches this week I had Rosemary Balsamic Pork Roast and Faux-tato and Leek Soup. This was super tasty AND filling. 

Rosemary Balsamic Pork Roast | My Engineered Nutrition
Faux-tato and Leek Soup | My Engineered Nutrition

Dinners for lifting days were Mexican inspired with a low fat quesadilla, chili lime chicken and white rice. Dessert on my lifting days this week was my bomb-diggity Pumpkin Bread. Seriously, this stuff is the best. Do yourself a favor and and make a loaf, you will not regret it. 

15 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
Pumpkin Bread | My Engineered Nutrition

Progress

Alright, now for my progress. Like I said, I was retaining water but I'm pushing through this week and focusing on putting in the work. 


Measurements - 15 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 151.8
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 30.5
  • Hips [in] - 39
  • Thighs [in] - 22.5
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

Measurements - 17 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 31
  • Hips [in] - 39.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

15 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
15 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
15 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
15 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

Non-training Day Macros: 

  • 1562 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 55 g Carbohydrates
  • 78 g Fat

Training Day Macros:

  • 1845 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 178 g Carbohydrates
  • 57 g Fat

I am adjusting my macros slightly for this next week and decreasing my numbers for fat and carbs. I plan on taking this process nice and slow over the next 15 weeks. No sense in dropping my macros too low, too soon! That's all for this week - stay tuned for next!

 

Have you missed the previous posts within this series? No problem, read them here!



Posted on November 2, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

16 Weeks Out

My Engineered Prep | My Engineered Nutrition

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin

It was a very successful on-ramp week. This past Saturday marked 16 weeks out from my show and my 'official' start to this competition prep! 

The Importance of Preparation

I got back into planning and tracking my meals, ran through an entire week of my initial workout plan and made getting at least 8 hours of sleep a priority. It may seem redundant, but I believe while working towards any goal (fitness related, weight loss, competition, etc) it is incredibly important to understand what you need to accomplish in order to reach your goal. This doesn't mean looking weeks or months in advance, this is as simple as planning out your week. Easy actions like planning out what you will eat, when and where you will workout or packing your gym clothes the night before are things that can make succeeding a whole lot easier! 

Nutrition

Before explaining how I planned my meals, I should explain my approach to nutrition for this point in my prep phase. Currently, my pattern of eating is Carb Backloading mixed with Intermittent Fasting. Essentially, this means I eat my meals between 12pm and 8 pm each day (fasting for 16 hours) and eating carbohydrates only on days I am weightlifting, and only in the evenings after I've lifted.

In addition to these patterns of eating, I'm also tracking my food to make sure I keep within my macronutrient goals (aka macros) for each day. You may have heard of the acronym 'IIFYM' which stands for If It Fits Your Macros. The advantage of tracking macros is that I have no set meal plan saying "eat 5 oz of chicken and 2 cups vegetables". Instead, I can eat whatever I want within my macro allotment. Think of it like a game of tetris!

I use the app MyMacros+ to track all of my food throughout the day. This also means I weigh my food to ensure I'm eating the proper portions. So often we underestimate the amount of calories we are actually consuming. Tracking what you eat is by far the easiest way to achieve a weight loss goal. 

My Macros+
MyMacros+ | My Engineered Nutrition

Opting for Simplification

Planning out every meal daily can be a bit overwhelming, which is why I opt for simplification whenever possible. Personally, I don't have a problem eating the same thing for lunch everyday.  I can figure out the macros and serving sizes once and then I'm on autopilot for the rest of the week. This is a huge time saver. Each Sunday I prep the bulk of what I'm eating for lunch throughout the week so that I only spend time in the kitchen in the evenings each day making my dinner and assembling my lunch for the next day. 

This week for lunch I made my Crunchy Asian Slaw (with the addition of broccoli) and Roasted Chicken

Asian Slaw with Chicken | My Engineered Nutrition

For dinners, I take a slightly different approach. I buy certain base ingredients and then eat those in different ways throughout the week. Pretty much the same macros, but different combinations of flavors! This week I went for eggs, chicken breakfast sausage and sweet potatoes on my lifting days and for my non-lifting days I had ground bison with lots of veggies. For my 'breakfast for dinner' combinations I had:

  • Egg white omelet, sausage patties, sweet potato hash browns
  • Breakfast tacos on corn tortillas with sweet potato, scrambled eggs, crumbled sausage and avocado
  • Breakfast burrito in a gluten free tortilla with sweet potato fritters 
Breakfast for Dinner | My Engineered Nutrition
Breakfast for Dinner | My Engineered Nutrition

You didn't think I was going to forget dessert, did you? One of my unofficial goals of this prep is to have a treat every day; whether it be dessert, a glass of wine - anything outside of my necessary nourishment. I never want to feel overly restricted. This process isn't a punishment and I'd like to enjoy myself, all within moderation of course! Going back to IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), I planned ahead to fit dessert which meant holding back a bit of fat and carbs from dinner. For me, this pumpkin protein mug cake and chocolate coconut ice cream is worth it. (Grab the recipe from my Instagram post!)

Pumpkin Protein Mug Cake | My Engineered Nutrition

Progress

It has only been one week but I already feel (and see) changes! This first week was a great reminder that THE SCALE IS NOT THE FULL STORY. All too often we get hung up on the number on the scale (myself included). Yes, it is a perfectly good indicator for weightloss in the big picture sense, but weight can fluctuate very easily for women. I've been known to fluctuate 5 lbs in one week! There is no possible way anyone can actually lose or gain 5 lbs of fat in one week - it is highly influenced by water weight.

What are better indicators? Photos and body tape measurements. 

Measurements - 16 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 27.75
  • Abdomen [in] - 30
  • Hips [in] - 39
  • Thighs [in] - 22.5
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

Measurements - 17 Weeks:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 31
  • Hips [in] - 39.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5

As you can see, the scale stayed the same but I'm down inches already! Of course, this is just my body shedding some of the water it is holding. Regardless, I am feeling great and off to a good start!

For this week I am going to keep my macros the same and see how I progress. 

Non-Training Day Macros:

  • 1600 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 55 g Carbohydrates
  • 82 g Fat

Training Day Macros: 

  • 1890 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 182 g Carbohydrates
  • 60 g Fat

That's all for this week's update! Have anything you'd like for me to discuss? I'd love to know!



Posted on October 26, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.

My Engineered Prep

My Engineered Prep | My Engineered Nutrition

I'm about to embark upon a new and exciting experiment.

If you know me, or have read my story, you know that I love competition. I love working towards goals, especially when they are fitness related. Up to this point, I've competed in three different figure competitions. While I enjoyed them immensely, I thought that I'd hung up my bedazzled suit for good once I ventured into olympic weightlifting. It was a new thrill and a new way of competing - for athleticism, rather than aesthetics.

But why can't I have both?

My Experiment

I've been fortunate enough to have some amazing coaches, specifically Kellie Davis. She got me through all 3 of my first figure competitions. She had such a balanced approach to diet and exercise, something that is surprisingly hard to find within the sport. I learned SO much through her coaching and I am forever grateful. Since those shows, I have developed an even better understanding and appreciation of balanced nutrition. Now that I am equipped with my past experiences and knowledge of my own, why can't I coach myself through competition prep? 

Figure Prep | My Engineered Nutrition

Over the next 17 weeks, I'd like to take you along for the journey as I prep for my next Figure Competition! I'll be doing things the My Engineered Nutrition way.  No foods will necessarily be off limits as long as I find a balance with my nutrition. My training will be a mix of what I enjoy: strength training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics and HIIT. No cookie cutter diet plan, no endless hours of cardio, no short cuts - just dedication, hard work and some fun along the way!

The Misconception 

If you Google 'Figure Prep' you will find hundreds of results that tell you the "way to prep" is to eat 5-7 small meals a day, perform steady-state fasted cardio every morning upon waking and follow a very basic strength training program, consisting of body part splits (i.e.  Legs, Back, Chest, Bis and Tris). This is often the same cookie cutter program that most girls will follow when getting ready for a show. Why should there only be one 'right' way for every single person?

My Plan

I want to be completely transparent throughout this process. I will share my weekly progress, nutrition and macro amounts, workouts, recipes, struggles, successes - you name it, I'll be sharing it! It is definitely somewhat daunting to be going at this without an official coach, but I'm lucky enough to have a stellar support team with my family and close friends. Along the way I want to dive deeper into topics (i.e. supplements, nutrition, training regimen, posing, the day of, etc.) and give you my take on each of them. My hope is to show you that ANYONE can achieve their goal, whether it be a figure competition, weightlifting meet or just want to lose some extra weight, as long as they are dedicated and put their mind to it. 

Figure Prep | My Engineered Nutrition

The image on the right is a comparison of my current state today versus my last figure show in March 2014. Going with the theme of transparency, I'm showing you that sure, I'm not stage ready, BUT I'm happy with my body! I'm not doing this simply to lose weight or because I'm unhappy with my body. I know I've got a lot of beautiful muscle underneath to showcase and I can't wait to see what package I bring to stage this time around!

This is a competition of me vs. me.

I have selected an NPC show on February 13, 2016, here in the Bay Area. I certainly have my work cut out for me as during that 16 weeks I will also encounter Halloween, Thanksgiving, my Birthday, Christmas and New Years. I want to prove that you can still enjoy these special holiday times and stay on track towards reaching a fitness goal, it just may take a bit more planning and effort.

I'm up for the challenge. 

At this time, I am 17 weeks out from the show. Rather than JUMPING right into the full swing of prep mode, I'm giving myself an on-ramp week, with my "official" prep occurring over a 16 week time frame. During this week I will get back into the swing of things with tracking my nutrition, measuring proper portions, learning my new weight training routine and most importantly, ensuring I get ample sleep for recovery!

Now, let's get this party started!

Current Stats

Like I previously mentioned, I'll be diving into all of the nitty gritty in later posts. Instead of making this post longer than it already is, I will save the particulars about my nutrition for another day. For this on-ramp week, these numbers are more so just a starting point to see where I'm at. As the weeks progress, I will modify my nutrition based on my progress, measurements and photo check-ins.

Training Day Macros: 

  • 1890 Calories
  • 155 g Protein
  • 182 g Carbohydrates
  • 60 g Fat

Non-Training Day Macros:

  • 1600 Calories
  • 160 g Protein
  • 55 g Carbohydrates
  • 82 g Fat

Measurements:

  • Weight [lbs] - 150
  • Waist [in] - 28
  • Abdomen [in] - 31
  • Hips [in] - 39.25
  • Thighs [in] - 22.75
  • Upper Arm [in] - 11.5
  • Bust [in] - 33.5
17 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
17 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
17 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition
17 Weeks Out | My Engineered Nutrition

That's all for now! I'll be posting my progress every Monday for the next 16 weeks, along with intermittent articles on various aspects of my contest prep. Be sure to check back or let me know if you have any topic you'd specifically like me to discuss.

Posted on October 18, 2015 and filed under Figure Prep.