Where Geek Meets Physique

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Starting over

6 months ago I hit a brick wall. My body wasn't recovering my exhaustion was no longer manageable, and my moods were erratic. I've known for years something wasn't right. One ND said adrenal fatigue, one doctor laughed and said of course I was tired (ignoring all other symptoms) because I have 5 kids (who are all older and mostly self sufficient) and another doctor that said I should go see psych because I'm being emotional.

It was frustrating to know something was wrong but to not be taken seriously. I gave up and just tried to cope the best I could, but coping was no longer working.  I could no longer muster enough energy to go to the gym, eating well flew out the window, and forget even mundane normal tasks, just getting off the couch to pee was sometimes too much some days.

Then a few weeks ago I happened to be working my Jamberry booth at a vendor event when I met Ginger, trained in Chinese medicine and pulse diagnosis. Just for the novelty of it I let her check my pulse and she blew my mind. She ran down the list of almost every single symptom I've been suffering from, just by simply feeling my pulse. I made an appointment with her at the acupuncture clinic she works at for a full assessment. On my second visit the acupuncturist asked if a doctor had ever suggested fibromyalgia to me. I just kind of laughed and said no, they all assured me I was crazy and it's all in my head. She went over the symptoms and how she felt this was what was most definitely what was wrong. Now I could go through the horrible process of dealing with the military doctors to get an "official" diagnosis but I don't see the point as I won't take the pharma drugs that would be prescribed, the side effects simply aren't worth it, nor do I have any plans to file for disability.

I've now been on Chinese herbals for two weeks. As the fog of fatigue starts to clear, the symptoms I didn't notice before due to being overshadowed by the fatigue are starting to become clearly. Mostly the constant pain. I'm learning new coping techniques. It it's definitely a struggle. I still find many mundane activities to be a struggle but I at least have the energy to mostly push my way through and do things.

Yesterday I hit the gym. I was scared. My body ached so bad but I knew I needed to just walk through those doors and move my muscles. I started easy on the elliptical, which at first I thought might actually kill me. My quads were screaming but I shushed them by blaring some Backstreet Boys and pushing through. 15 minutes later I was feeling better and had a bit of endorphin kick, so I hit the weight room. My gosh it was magical! I seriously missed feeling that cold iron bar and squatting. I don't even care that I had to lower my weights, the fact I finished a workout was success enough for me!

And yes, today I am sore but I'm sore in the best way possible! I'm not sure what I will do today. Cleaning needs to happen but I'm feeling much more like curling up here on the couch with Supernatural and some knitting and maybe some hot tea. Maybe after my husband gets home we will do some yoga together just so I can stretch the muscles and be ready for weights again tomorrow :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

After a long break...

Sometimes life gets busy. I started a new business that I never actually intended to be a business. Kids wanted to do things like soccer and dance. Mom got overwhelmed and let the things she was passionate about fall to the wayside. Namely her eating and work outs. Losing out on the amazing home gym set up I was going to buy really hit me hard. I had quit my local gym to help save up for the down payment, everything was set in motion, and then I needed over $1200 of work to my truck. Bye bye down payment and first months payment :(

After that I just couldn't seem to get my ish together. I went back to really old habits, eating only 1 maybe 2 meals a day, at night, usually really crappy meals. My husband and I started to enjoy a weekly beer, that turned into a beer twice a week, that turned into a beer almost every night. This was extremely unusual for us as we rarely, if ever, drank. Looking back I realize we were both dealing with depression over him being back on a sub and is impending deployment, once he was gone I quit the self destructive drinking every night. I keep attempting to get back to a decent meal plan but I am a terrible planner and have been doing weekend long events that make it hard to stick to my plan. On top of that I began having a lot of anxiety attacks. Since the meal plan following felt to be too much I again let it go.

Now here I am. I've rejoined my local gym, I have a workout plan, I have a meal plan. And I have the next two weeks mostly event free. I'm aiming for two weeks of compliance but will take it day by day, meal by meal. Today I am resting after a busy weekend but tomorrow I will meal prep. I've even cheated a bit and ordered meals from premade paleo. I figure one meal a day already taken care of will be a big help, as well it's something I can grab and go for the days I do have something going on away from the house. Time to get some order and balance back into my life, and time to get rid of this gross beer guy I've acquired ;)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hooping hits the mainstream!

Hooping - my first love when it comes to fitness. I could wax on and on about how I first discovered hooping (a knitting friend put me on to it) but really it's kind of boring. Not hooping, hooping is not boring! It's fun, it's addicting, and the whole family can do it! Seriously a fitness thing that everyone can do together? Yeah, I was all over that! The first thing I did? I went to Home Depot and I bought all the things. Wait let me expand on that, I bought all the things needed to make my own hoops. Why? Because I am cheap, and crafty, and I knew I could make enough hoops for my entire family for the same price as a hoop bought offline. Now these first hoops they were nothing fancy at all, but they worked. We all fell in love with hooping but we were all struggling with learning to be well more coordinated and do some tricks. Hooping has tricks? Damn right!

You know what happens when you are like a skateboarder and you watch youtube videos to learn a new trick? First thing you do is grab your board, hit the skate park and try. And fall flat on your ass too I betchya. Same thing with hooping tricks, except instead of falling on my ass I whacked myself in the back of the head over, and over, and over and . . . well you get the drift. I wanted to learn more, do more and there were no local classes, no local teachers, nothing. What does a hoopy girl do then when she can't find what she is looking for? Simple, she goes and gets herself certified to be a teacher of course!

I logged on to Hoopnotica and searched for teacher trainings, lo and behold one was coming to Seattle. I signed up, paid my fees, and waited. My teacher was the ever amazing and beautiful Pamela Crawford. I got to learn not only how advance in my hoop skills but also how to help others find themselves in the hoop.

Since becoming a certified instructor I've taught several classes, and continued with my education. I am currently certified in HoopnoticaDance in all 4 levels and level 1 of HoopFit. Admittedly since last summer I really have not done much with my hooping venture. Mostly because I live in a small town and it's been very hard going to get the hoop craze started out here. I'll admit after 2 years of trying I really just became discouraged and so I let it fall to the wayside.

Monday, however, Hoopnotica was featured on GMA <-- click link to see the video (we have also been on Kathie Lee & Hooda and Ellen and various other daytime TV shows) which has really brought hooping and Hoopnotica in the limelight. I am hopeful that with this latest influx of interest that hooping will gain some attention here in my neck of the woods and I will be at the forefront helping others to find joy and happiness with exercise, to laugh like a kid, to enjoy fitness, to find themselves in the hoop!

PS if you live in or around Olympia, Tacoma, Bremerton, Silverdale, Lacey WA and you are interested in taking a class or you run/operate a dance studio, gym etc and would like to have me teach classes in your facility just drop me a line at jenncoulter at gmail dot com :-)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Geek + Physique

The boys spent the weekend geeking out for National Table Top Day. Wait, what you don't know what tabletop is? SHUN! No just kidding! Maybe. Tabletop was created by Felicia Day & Wil Wheaton as part of their youtube channel Geek & Sundry. Tabeltop features board (and sometimes card) games, generally of the geeky variety of course. They all sit around a table and play the game. It's hilarious but also insightful. We enjoy learning about games that would interest our family and we get to learn how the game works. So Saturday was a huge national event and gamers all over the globe gathered to play games in their homes, at bookstores, at comic book shops etc. The boys had a blast and my husband got to meet some local "celebrity" radio dudes that he likes, which was likely the highlight of his day. And then Sunday just rounded out the geekend with Doctor Who premiere and The Walking Dead finale.

I've recently been making some changes as far as my future plan for continuing to improve my physique and getting back on stage. Right now I am looking to compete in the fall and ditching the spring/summer circuit. I have even more exciting news to add to that but for now that news is being kept hush hush ;) I am however hoping to continue to raise funds through various avenues such as my new Jamberry Nails business, doing demos for Allmax nutrition, becoming a Team Physiq Athlete affiliate, and also through donations to my Go Fund Me website.

And hey if you do go check out the Team Physiq apparel be sure to use code TEAM10 to get 10% off anything you order!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Roller coaster weeeeeeeeee

Since March 7 I've gone back and forth on competing March 30. Here it is 10 days out and the final decision has been made, no I am not going to compete. I am stressed out, with the vehicle issues (I swear to Goddess we can't seem to get away from them), starting another certification training, finances in general, my body being an asshole . . . well I thought it wise to remove the stress I could remove and that was prepping for a show I wasn't feeling ready for.

The other stresser I am removing is my diet. I have loved following CNS, in fact it's been the easiest "diet" to follow and I certainly plan t return to it or rather CBL once competition season is over. For now though I am at a stage where the lower body stubborn fat is not budging, and the weight is not moving. I struggled with the idea of dropping my calories lower (if I based my macros on Kiefers rec of 1gr protein per lb of goal weight and .5 fat ratio I would be eating 1000) and being able to maintain my current training plan. I knew the combination of cardio, weights and low cals could set me up for metabolic damage and that is just not something I am willing to put myself through. So I am going back to a more typical 5 meal a day all macros included type plan, while still IFing of course because let's face it that is definitely my true love.

I am 44 days out from E-Cup and I am excited to see what is going to happen with my physique with the diet change and the updated workout plan. I am so close to being where I want to be and I know it's going to happen :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Speed Bumps and A Big Decision

Mentally I had a very rough week when I tried to implement a "peak" week plan to practice prior to a photoshoot. This happened in conjunction with PMS and my brain went nuckin futs, almost literally. And then I had the regular occurrence of dealing with my adrenal fatigue, which always happens during PMS week, although usually it's only 1-2 days, this time it was 3, maybe 4. The fatigue on top of trying to follow a strict plan just made me crazy. I ended up having a crappy carb nite that followed up with a second carb nite. I did feel better after the second one, and back to the gym I went.

Friday, back in the gym, and I was in a hurry. My coach, Tanji Johnson, was competing at the Arnold later that afternoon and I did not want to miss the broadcast. Skipping my usual back workout I picked compound moves to target a few key spots. I should mention that earlier in the week I had seen a MT to have my psoas muscles released, something that I need as mine are tight and were preventing me from being loose enough in the hip flexors to pose the way I need to. What I didn't know at the time was that she was only able to release my left side. This is important and will come in to play further on in this story.

Ok so during my workout I did push ups and pull ups for warm ups, some bent over rows, and single arm rows and then I went to the rack to do rack pulls. Rack pulls are probably one of my most favorite back exercises. I feel like Major Badass when doing them. I've been lowering my weights on most pulls just due to being in a deficit and thereby weaker, even though some lifts (or rather pushes) I have managed to increase weights on, the heavier lifts I have consistently decreased on. My normal rack pulls are usually in the 175-185 range, maybe more. Friday, I was pulling 155. 3 sets of 6-8 reps. I knew on the last set I was only getting 6 reps, mostly due to grip. I don't wear gloves and I won't use straps so that I can increase my grip, and the gym was out of chalk, again. On that very last pull, I am not sure if I didn't reset correctly, I twisted somehow or what, but as soon as I lifted up I felt the right lower back muscle pull and I nearly dropped the bar. In fact I would have dropped the bar had I been doing regular deadlifts or trusted that the pins would hold the weight if I just released the bar.

When I got home I immediately started icing and taking anti-inflammatorys. I had to be well enough at least to walk around Comic Con the next day! I wasn't really but I did it anyways, and the next day too. And both of these days were off plan eating. I did feel that imbibing in the carbs was fine since my body needed to heal and recover from my tweaked back. My coach won the Fitness Int'l at the Arnold, I walked around comic con and I took time off from the gym.

7 days later I've been to the gym once since I hurt my back. I've had a lot of time to ponder things and really hyper focus on myself. During this time I received an email that Precision Nutrition was opening up their certification course again. They only do this twice a year and only let in a limited number of people. ARG! I want to take this nutrition course SO bad. But $900 is a lot, and we just don't have it. Then, I got another email saying that for the first time ever they were taking payment plans, with a down payment of $399. The exact amount set aside to compete at the end of this month at the Vancouver.

Here is where the big decision comes in. Do I back out of a competition I have been prepping for to take a course I have been dying to get into for a year now, or wait until the next time they open up and still compete. I honestly haven't been feeling ready to compete this month. Maybe physique wise I am almost there but mentally I am not there yet. I was pushing myself regardless over a sense of obligation and feeling pressure, mostly from myself. I had to think hard about this decision. On the one hand I have been prepping for weeks for this show but I had not yet monetarily (or I guess really, mentally) committed to competing this month, on the other I have been getting myself ready, suits and jewelry and hair and posing and all that jazz. But competing, what does it offer me? It's a hobby, an accomplishment, but really it doesn't offer me much once I am off that stage. Taking this nutrition course offers me a lot. I am always in pursuit of more information to better serve my clients as well as myself. I know that this course is thorough, something my NASM course wasn't. Taking this course would give me more knowledge, more accreditation. Getting this certification will help my business, my business will help my family. These are things competing won't do, so in the end that big decision wasn't so big after all. It's really a no brainer.

Here I am then, no longer competing at the Vancouver Natural and I am now officially enrolled in the precision Nutrition course. And I was accepted into the ISSA CES program, which I won't be able to start until the summer quarter since I have all this GI Bill nonsense to go through.

Oh wait I said that the whole having my psoas released was important, I forgot to say WHY! I saw my regular MT today and she told me that she had spoken to the other MT and was told she was only able to release my left psoas so my right was still tight and I have been walking around out of balance, one released loose psoas and one unreleased tight psoas. It makes perfect sense why/how I tweaked my back and on the right side since that is the side that is still tight. I do wish the MT had told me she was only able to release one side as I would have avoiding doing any big compound moves such as squats, deads, and rack pulls. Now though I need to go back to see her so she can get the right side to release so I am not walking around with this muscle imbalance. FRAK! Next visit I will be sure to ask at the end of the session if both were released so I will know how to proceed with my training. Big lesson learned. Speed bumps man, they can really throw you off.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Boo to day 2!

Oh man day 2, you really sucked! I was so over the top fatigued, major brain fog, super cranky. I decided to do a small carb nite, a practice run of the carb nite plan for day before my photoshoot/comp. I am glad I did as I discovered a few things but on the flip side I am really ticked off!

My carb nite went like this -

  • non fat latte
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 bag marshmallows
  • homemade bacon cheeseburger
  • mashed sweet potatoes with butter & brown sugar
  • 7oz cheesecake
This totaled about 250gr of carbs, 400 less than I ate last carb nite. First thing I noticed was extreme bloating, painful even! I am not sure exactly what caused it but sweet potato is the only thing I haven't had in months, it just seems weird that would be the item to cause bloating. It went down after about 30-45 min thank goodness! I also found it hard to eat the cheesecake, I mean what?! I had planned on eating 4 mini cheesecakes but ended up only eating 2 and even sharing those 2 with Pixie.

Woke up this morning up 2lbs instead of my normal .5-1lb increase from a carb nite, and I was not lean and tight like normal after a carb nite. I feel like man that was a total waste! Up more weight, not lean and tight, and still no bump in energy. GRRRRRR! On the other hand now I know doing a small "cleaner" carb nite does not work for me, and it's better I found out now rather than waking up the morning of my photoshoot or competition and seeing what I saw in the mirror this morning. Maybe when I am a little leaner a CN like this would work but frankly I don't want to take any chances. I will stick to my 600gr carb dirty dirty carb nites from now on, those are what gets me results so that is what I am going to do. As they say don't fix what ain't broke.