Friday, April 7, 2017

There Must Be Something There

…That Wasn’t There Before. Da-daaaaa da-da daaaaa.

Happy weekend!! We tried a new restaurant today and went to see Beauty and the Beast so I figured I’d pop in to share like old times : )

First off I had a PB and banana with too much coffee before heading to ACAC for Afterburn. Such a rockin’ class taught by Claire today! Loved the choreographed dance moves at the end.

Sometimes I get worried about Mazen and feel guilty for dropping him off at Kids Zone, school or camp, but every time I go to pick him up he is having a blast! He’s such an extrovert. Here he is sandwiched between four (cropped out) friends with the biggest smile on his face. He did not want to leave until I told him we were going to the movies : )

After a quick shower we met our friend Jess at Mezeh at Stonefield for lunch. This was my first visit and my socks were blown off!

It was like a mix between Chipotle and Roots, a huge buffet of Mediterranean bowl toppings. You can choose between grains, greens or a mix, add proteins, toppings, sauces, the works.

I had kale and arugula with bulgur salad, chicken, carrots, pita chips, olives, spicy eggplant, dill-yogurt dip, and tzatziki and harissa dressings. I brought about half of this home – it was huge!

Also – look at the fun juice options!

After lunch we headed to the theater (aka the “feuter”) for the show. Traditional escalator selfie!

M loved posing with the Power Rangers and Batman. My little boy!

I LOVED the movie. Emma Watson was brilliant, and the whole show was magical. Loved hearing all of those great songs (I know every word and breath). The ending was definitely the best part! (I did think it was a little long overall, especially for Mazen). He wasn’t scared a bit. He isn’t easily scared though. When we got home I dusted off my old Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, and he is currently sleeping to the songs!

Dinner was a fun little meal that ended up being similar to my lunch – oops! Harissa chicken pitas with arugula salad and yogurt sauce with roasted carrot fries. (That’s cranberry juice, FYI!)

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am heading away for a night for a little girls trip. So pumped!!

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It’s about Being Fit, Happy, and Healthy!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in line Knowing where to start when telling your story is a difficult point to figure out. After all I don’t want to bore you all with a blow by blow account of my life, but I am going to take it right back to the start, when I was brought kicking and screaming into the world, complete with a dislocated hip. I know what you’re thinking, that’s probably not so much of a big deal, just pop it back in there why don’t you?! Well this wasn’t exactly the plan. Most of my childhood was spent in and out of hospital due to my dodgy hip.

My first major surgery was at 6 months old, then again at 7 years old, when at a routine check-up the doctor realised my hip was hanging on by a thread. A new hip was created from other bits of bone from my leg, but the healing process of this left me in a wheelchair for the best part of a year, having to relearn how to walk and missing out on things like learning to swim and being fully active like my peers. The reason I am telling you this is that it really gave me a perceived limitation, one I have recently realised I was approaching all the wrong way.

Really if I am honest, my dodgy hip was the least of my problems. I could move, walk, run if I wanted and even learned to swim at the tender age of 25. I wore my two large scars (11cm and 13cm) on my hip like a tiger that earned her stripes. They didn’t bother me, the dodgy hip that has never regained its feeling didn’t really bother me, what bothered me was something else altogether.

Cropped_Before_FeatureGrowing up, I was from a disadvantaged area, and I can’t say that I was educated in the ways of nutrition and exercise…we were raised on potatoes. Through my teenage years and even more so in my early 20’s, I started to really notice that I wasn’t comfortable in my own body. Every time I ate, I got uncomfortable cramps and looked and felt like I was pregnant. I often got bouts of terrible nausea which left me lying in bed wondering should I just make myself sick to feel better. Attractive picture I have painted for you eh? I wonder how I managed to nab myself a boyfriend, never mind getting him to agree to marry this picture of beauty.

So off to the doctor’s surgery I go, hoping for him to give me some answers. Well, guess what….I left more confused than I went in. I explained my symptoms, and with no examination and minimal questions, I left 5 minutes later with a prescription for tablets which decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach. But hey, I was going to gobble them up, because a doctor knows what he’s talking about, right? Wrong. Back to the doctors I go again.

second_beforeThis time, I get a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Great, right? Now I can actually make a plan of action. Wrong. I’ve left once more confused and with now two sets of tablets for different reasons….one pill to prevent spasms and one for when that failed to work. Fan-tas-tic. The problem is that quite frankly I don’t want to take 6 tablets a day and have to schedule eating times. I want to eat when I am hungry and not take anti-spasmodic pills when I have had a spontaneous meal.

Now, I work 40 hours a week, so another trip to the doctors really grinds my gears, because I just don’t have the time. But third time lucky (I was hoping). The locum doctor indeed confirmed my diagnosis of IBS, and this time offered some extra advice. To be fair, she was a little more informative but I still didn’t really understand what this meant for me. So I just continued on with how I always did and just sucked in my swollen belly in to appear thinner, took painkillers for when the cramps got too much and came home every day to get changed into my husband’s tracksuit bottoms that accommodated my circular disposition.

After_1Fast forward to June 2016 when I attended an awards ceremony and entered a charity raffle, and won, yay go me! What I won was a free session with a Personal Trainer (none other than Fionnbharr Toolan of Virtu Belfast– Irish, European and World Kettlebell Champion – pretty impressive wouldn’t you say). Chatting to my husband, he actively encouraged me to take on the session, knowing how unhappy I was at the time with my physical appearance.

So, off I go, nervous as hell about what this was going to entail. After all I had a limitation of a dodgy hip remember. Well guys, I cannot tell you how much my perception of exercise changed after leaving that first session with Fionn and the sessions since. It wasn’t all cardio, high intensity, sweat inducing workouts….instead it was mobility work, strengthening muscles that I didn’t know I had. I started lifting weights, a thing that I firmly believed was only for men who watched themselves in the mirror grunting and panting. I could see serious progress. I was, and continue to be hooked.

But for me, lifting heavy things and being able to move in ways I thought impossible due to my ‘limitations’ was secondary, compared to the amazing change that the paleo diet has had on my life. When I told Fionn about my IBS, he went off and did a little research and talked to me about why he felt I should turn to a paleo lifestyle, and he was the one that pointed me in the direction of The Primal Blueprint. This was the first time someone actually took the time and effort to explain how my body used food and nutrients, and how it was different for me as a sufferer of IBS.

After_2Fionn made me write a food diary, monitored it weekly (which was daunting but oh so necessary) because let me tell you something, I knew nothing about nutrition. All the stuff I knew – the stuff I believed to be healthy (the brown rice, the boiled potatoes, the low fat yogurts), was the very thing blowing little holes in my gut. I had to basically rewrite all my knowledge and educate myself in the ways of primal living. I cannot express how much it has changed my life, and I genuinely mean it. There is no bloating, no nausea, no cramping and I can spend the whole day in my own clothes (bonus).

My confidence has seriously grown and it’s forced me into discovering new and wonderful ingredients out there in the world. The exercising bit for me is easy (not literally, Fionbharr works me pretty hard), but the psychological change I had to make to my whole entire lifestyle was immense. But do I regret it? Absolutely not. I’ll accept the weird looks when I sit down to steak and nuts for breakfast, I will accept the comments about eating ‘rabbit food’ for lunch instead of the bowl of mashed potato, I will even accept the eye rolls when someone doesn’t understand why I do and advocate for the primal life.

For me, it’s not about a fad diet, or being skinny or thin, it’s about being fit, happy and healthy. For me – I don’t do the ‘Paleo Diet,’ I do the Paleo Life.

Deborah

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Marshmallows, Pizza, Chocolate, and Eggnog?

Dress For Spring

^^It’s almost time to bring out the outdoor furniture cushions! We have a deck off the master bedroom up on the top floor of the house, and I never go up there. Firstly, because it’s just a little out of the way (I don’t really want to carry coffee/wine/entertainment through my master to entertain when I have two other options), but also because it’s exposed to the street.

But since my friend Gina gave me a hammock stand she didn’t want anymore, I decided the upstairs deck would be the perfect spot to house it. Thomas has one of those “hang anywhere” kind of hammocks which you can loop around trees in the park, so that’s what I’m using now as a test to see if I should buy a bigger, more relaxing option or if the roof is still not a great place to hang out. We will see!

I read my book up there for a bit the other day and it was quite nice!

The warm weather has me so excited for bare arms and legs! It seems the main trends this spring are poufy arms, one-shoulder, off-the-shoulder, eyelet, lace, and denim.

I love this Renley dress for a spring wedding. Or this similar one with sleeves for when it’s still a bit cool out.

OK, J. Crew, if I wore this top I would get made fun of so much!! But this one is really pretty and in keeping with the eyelet and one-shoulder trends ; ) And I love this dress version, but I’m not sure that the style would look good on my frame.

For sporty events, I love anything Athleta or Title Nine because I can sweat in them and just throw them in the wash. Also, a lot of them have pockets! This Santorini dress is cute, and I love this ombre one too. Is ombre still in style?! And you can’t go wrong with a multipurpose black halter!

For the budget conscious, I love some of Old Navy’s spring items – this dress is casual and cute and I love the nautical stripes. I like the classic navy + linen combo in this one. And they have the one-shoulder trend too – for a lot less $!

I heard about Third Love on the Young House Love podcast, and I just ordered a bra to try! You only pay $2.99 in shipping and you get to wear and wash the bra for 30 days before you commit to the $68 purchase. It’s kind of like Stitch Fix but you can remove the tags and really live in the bra. I love the idea of getting to actually wear something around without tags before committing, especially something as personal to fit as a bra. I got the T-shirt bra (against Sherry’s advice!) because that’s what the bra finder told me to get, so I’ll let you know how it goes!! (I love that companies like Athleta and Title Nine will also take back worn and washed items that you don’t love – it makes me want to buy from them and trust them even more!)

On the little boy front, my Mini Boden catalog came the other day and I think I was more excited about these clothes for Mazen than my own! They are expensive but they are SO CUTE! Well made, too. M would just love these animal shirts (I think my mom is getting him one!).

But look at those gator shoes!! Perfect to wear on Bald Head, right?! They come in shark, too!

How are things warming up where you are?

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Constructing a Yearly Strength Plan

Written by: Kevin Cann

We live in a world of instant gratification, which can make seeing the bigger picture more difficult. Anyone taking up a strength sport wants to hit PRs and bigger numbers more quickly. However, if we want to be at the top of this sport, just like any other sport, we need to put in our time and peak at the correct times.

This is no different as it is for field sports. All teams want to be peaking just in time for a playoff push. This means that in the NFL, games in December are far more important than games in September. I have a talk with all of my strength athletes to determine their long term goals in the sport.

Some just want to compete a couple times a year and improve upon their total, some want to chase an elite total, and others want to compete on the national stage. Once we know the goals, we need to look at the competition schedule.

I have a couple athletes that qualified for the national championships before the start of this calendar year. Their goals are to put their best efforts forward at those national championships in October of this year. That is the meet that we want to peak for.

Both of these athletes compete frequently. One of these athletes competed in January and the other competed in February. These were the least important meets of their training year. Both of these athletes are very strong, but have some technique issues that they need to improve upon.

The way that we improve upon our technique is with appropriate variations and accessory work to strengthen weak positions and weak muscle groups. This is done during the off season of training. If we compete frequently, we can miss out on a long enough off-season to fix these weaknesses.

The period of time we work on these weaknesses is called a prep cycle. In this period of our training cycle we program roughly 60% of the lifts as competition lift variations, 20% competition lifts, and GPP work makes up the remaining 20%.

As a meet gets closer, these numbers change. 2 to 3 months out from competition, the competition lift variations decrease and the competition lifts themselves become the primary focus of the training block. GPP work will decrease some, but enough needs to be left in to maintain the newly developed muscle mass since the volume of the lifts will decrease as intensity increases.

If we took the 2 to 3 months before every meet and performed a peaking cycle, we would not get enough time to work on our weaknesses. We also could run the risk of failing to have enough variability in our program, which can lead to a staleness in improving technique as well as overuse injuries.

Before the meets in January and February, we performed a very short peaking cycle. Within these peaking cycles we still performed variations of the lifts. We tested 3 weeks out and tapered just like we would before any meet, but we truly did not peak.

This means that they will not have their best performance here. The goal of these meets was just to gain experience competing. This can be difficult within the current world of Instagram and Facebook when we want to tell everyone how much better we did. This can be difficult to see at the time. This is why communication between the coach and athlete is very important.

The next competition is in June. We will have a longer peaking cycle before this meet. This will let us see where we are currently at in both strength and weaknesses. This meet will hopefully allow us to establish new training maxes as well.

After this meet we will have 19 weeks to truly peak. This gives us enough time to work on some weaknesses and to have a full peaking cycle before we test and taper. This will allow us to hit our biggest numbers possible in October.

If we had performed a full peaking cycle before each meet, that literally would be almost the entire training year. 2-3 months peaking plus 4 weeks of competition cycle before each of the 3 meets. This would not be enough time to fix weaknesses and allow us to lift the most weight at the end of the year.

After completion of the national championships we will have a longer prep cycle to continue working on weaknesses and to continue getting stronger while taking a break from the continuous stretch we just had of performing competition lifts. From here, the cycle will continue. This lays the groundwork for continued success, as well as keeping the athlete healthy.

As a coach and an athlete, we need to look at the bigger picture. When determining our program for the year, we want to make sure that we are peaking at the correct times. Some competitions are going to be more important than others. We want to make sure that we prepare ourselves to compete at the highest level at those important competitions.

This may be difficult at times as we always want to do better and hit bigger numbers sooner than later. However, understanding that in order to hit the biggest numbers possible at the biggest competitions, there are sacrifices that must happen along the way. Enjoy the journey and embrace the process.



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