It’s bodybuilding competition time!

    Bodybuilding competition time!

As the bodybuilding competition time approaches, I thought it would be useful and somewhat relevant to write a little bit about my own experience of standing on stage. I started dieting 16 weeks out from my competition time, having lost around 2 stone already, from eating cleanly and exercising more.

As it was my first time competing, I had so many things in my mind that had to be taken into consideration – tan, bikini, shoes, walking, posing, routine… so here are a few pointers that I would give to anyone who is about to compete for the first time!

  1. Be confident

Confidence comes from practice- so practice, practice, practice! By that I mean practice your posing, get someone who is GOOD at posing to teach you; your stage presence is paramount and so is the ability to show off your physique. A lot of people let themselves down when it comes to standing on stage because they cannot show their physique properly.

I spent hours wearing heels, and practiced walking up and down stairs, twisting, bending and just walking in them. Nothing looks worse than someone who strolls onto stage teetering in heels (or stomping their feet for the guys), so make sure you know how to walk with poise, confidence and have a structure to what you are doing.

I also think it is really important to be comfortable in what you are wearing. Girls, get your bikini fitted properly and make sure you have someone to help you get into it on the day- and make sure it won’t slip out of place! I made the mistake of getting a “pro cut” on the bottom of mine, and my glutes just were not lean enough to pull it off – I was constantly worrying about my wedgie (sorry, but this is real life!!!) Make sure your hair is in place properly too. Guys, the same goes regarding the fit of what you are wearing- make sure it fits properly.

2.        Be prepared

Make sure that you can do your routine without your music. So many people get into the “monkey position” in the middle of the stage, only to discover their music won’t play. They then either throw a tantrum and leave or half-heartedly carry through a routine with a very sad look on their face. Your music should not matter – it will be fantastic if your music plays, but you need to be able to perform what you are doing to a counted beat so if it doesn’t, it is irrelevant.

Be prepared when it comes to your competition tan. Both guys and girls need to make sure you exfoliate and that your skin is smooth and hair free, ready to get the lashings of rather fruity smelling tan that you need for getting on stage. I don’t agree with the necessity to use sunbeds as a “base tan” because after all, once you are tanned up, you will really see that whatever shade you are underneath does not matter because trust me… it WILL be covered!

Make sure you know what brand of tan you are going to use and that that your federation allows it. It is worth doing a “test run” (probably somewhere like your foot is a good idea, rather than your arm or something that people are going to see!)

Also, be prepared to win but be prepared to come last too- even if you come last, as cliché as it sounds, you ARE a winner. Getting on stage in next to nothing, being criticised on the body that you have worked so hard for, is a HARD thing to do. Be prepared to take a knock, for the criticism if it comes at you, and for the feeling of either winning, or not winning!

3.     Remember What You Did it For

Why did you decide to step on stage? What are you doing this for? I think that it is invaluable to remember why you set out to do it in the first place. Imagine, for example, that your goal was optimum health. You compete in a natural bodybuilding competition, and you are the healthiest you have ever felt- and you win! You have a trophy in your hands, and you are ready for the next level. Fast forward and you are advised you need to use anabolic steroids to advance, and fat burners, and cut out food groups… now is it healthy? Is it still in line with your goal? NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR ORIGINAL GOAL! Be true to yourself, be head strong, and remember what you are in it for.

4.      Never Take Life Too Seriously

Overall, be proud of what you have achieved and enjoy the experience! All of your weeks of hard work and dieting boil down to a few minutes on stage- so shine, have fun and show the world what you are all about! My “rule number 6” is “never take life too seriously” (6 is my lucky number, I know this is random but I have said it for years!) Really, there are so many important things in life and there is a difference between dedication and commitment, and taking life too seriously.

Joining a bodybuilding forum can be a good idea too, it lets you find people in exactly the same position you are in and it may allow you to befriend someone entering the same contest you are which means you can help each other back stage with tan and pumping up.

Good luck to everyone planning on doing a bodybuilding competition this year, ciao for now!

~Elle Mac~

Bodybuilding Competition Picture

A picture from the 1994 Mr Olympia Bodybuilding Competition

New Diet, New Training Routine

The last few weeks have been a hard slog. Last week saw me miss a week of training through a viral infection, to then come back this week and still be fighting it off even though I have a new diet, new training routine and a new coach.

Dosed up on functional medicine, glutamine and Vit C and it seems to be shifting. (thank goodness). With 2 weeks off my full-time job it’s time to get my head back in the game and Fix up and look sharp, but also catch up with family and have a good time. I’m always working at 100mph.

Since my last blog lots of things have changed, I have a new diet, new training rputine, so it’s going to hard slog with less than 6 weeks to turn my shape around. I’ve got strength, volume and intensity all within my program training, working out 7 days per week – 1 day being active rest day 😉

I’m already seeing improvements in the 8-10 weeks I’ve been with my new coach, Mark of M10 Fitness, I have plenty more left in the tank too. My sessions are a killer and I don’t like to quit!! Check me working hard here 😉

Back squat&

Followed by glute ham raise

My main aim is to look better in my shape, I focused to much on trying to be a gymnast last season and I wasn’t happy with my overall look. This year it’s all about my shape and routine 2nd.

As mentioned before, I’ve been through a lot in the last few months and without the support of those around me I don’t think I would be able to carry on. Having support behind you helps so much, so if I don’t say thank you accept my apologies as it does really mean a lot.

I’ve also found out a lot about my body and it being very toxic, you’ll be able to read about my journey in my Toxic or Not Article coming soon!

Keep working hard and don’t lose sight of your own goals 😉

Cee Oliver

Caroline Oliver

Former Extreme Nutrition athlete, Cee Oliver

How I Lost as Much Weight Fast!

    How I Lost as Much Weight Fast

As promised, here is my blog on how I lost more than 4 stones in weight between October 2011 and April 2012.

    Diet

To begin with, I made gradual changes to my diet to allow myself to adapt to a healthy eating mindset. I didn’t want to get back into my usual mindset of being “on” or “off” a diet; this time, it was all about a lifestyle change. I began with drinking more water and removing all preserved junk foods, then removing sugary and creamy sauces, then observing my carbohydrate intake, and then educating myself regarding food groups and macro nutrients.

The key to all of it was teaching myself and not depending on anyone else to do that for me. If you learn what you need to, you don’t need to spend any money on “coaches” (please see my previous blog about how to choose a good coach), or expensive fad diets. Just be smart- eat clean, which means eating foods that are from natural sources and do not contain additives, preservatives and artificial colours/sweeteners.

CLA for fat management

Losing weight is hard, this articles losing

I ate 6 small meals a day, and worked out how many grams of carbohydrates, fats and protein I needed daily. I didn’t use any formulas, just a bit of trial and error and keeping my protein intake high, around 1.5-2 grams per pound of lean body mass). This was the key to How I Lost as Much Weight Fast.

I also continued to eat out but I chose smarter foods – tomato based sauces, lots of protein and vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

I started competition preparation January 2012 for 16 weeks. My diet changed again to a very strict structure, no fruit and no dairy. I had already lost around two and a half stone at the start of my prep.

It isn’t rocket science, and we are all SO unique that you’ll waste your time Googling diets or copying what other people do. With some trial and (hopefully less) error you’ll find what works for you.

    Training

I trained three days of weights a week right from the beginning to the day I competed. My split was chest/shoulders/triceps, back/biceps and legs. I didn’t do any cardio to begin with really, apart from the odd walk once or twice a week. I kept continually changing shape and dropping fat so I didn’t need to. I added in more cardio during my prep but again I didn’t overdo it. My main focus was training with weights and training smart, with the correct form and intensity.

    Mind Techniques

I’m a qualified life coach with masses of experience and a background in psychology (particularly Adlerian psychology) and NLP. I used a lot of techniques I had learned to help me work towards achieving my goals, in particular, visualisation and the “stop” technique.

So there we have it, clean and simple. That’s How I Lost So Much Weight Fast, with baby steps and dedication!

Thanks for reading and continuing to follow me on my never ending journey of self improvement 🙂

~Elle Mac~

How I Lost So Much Weight So Fast

How I Lost So Much Weight So Fast

Carbohydrates, Friend – Foe?

Carbohydrates- the new enemy of the modern world. The arch enemy of diets that litter hundreds of women’s magazines worldwide. But when did this hate for carbohydrates emerge? Why are people so afraid of carbs, and why do they think that the solution is to eat low fat AND low carb? Is there anything else left that we aren’t afraid to eat?

Through the test of time, different food stuffs, exercise regimes and techniques are all heavily criticised and get bad press. Now, even protein is getting bad press: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/19449377.

So, what’s the deal with carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are often described as an energy source, as your body can convert them more readily into glucose which provides you with fuel. Your body will either use glucose immediately, or store it in your liver or muscles for when it is needed. Your pancreas secretes insulin, which controls the uptake of glucose by your cells.

Excess glucose is converted to glycogen, which is stored in your liver, fat or muscles. Your body releases glucagon to convert glycogen back to glucose, which is then released into your bloodstream for your body to use.

Here comes the part that we all hear about all the time: the difference between good and “bad” carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are “good” carbohydrates- they ensure that this cycle of glucose, glycogen and glucagon is a slow one and that you have slower and more sustainable energy levels in your body. Refined carbohydrates cause peaks and drops of sugar levels and less stable energy levels in your body.

Carbohydrates aren’t “higher in calories” than protein- in fact, 1g of carbohydrates contains 4 calories and 1g of protein contains the same- 4 calories. What differs is how your body uses the different macronutrients and the metabolic effect they have.

Despite the popularity of cutting carbohydrates, they play an essential role in the body and are imperative for dietary health and should form part of a successful weight management regime. When consumed in the correct portions, they will only break down to provide the body with energy and excess calories will not be stored as fat.

Oh, and one more thing I must mention: you know those great “zero carb” diets you go on, and you lose around half a stone in week – do you realise why? It’s because you drop WATER weight. I get so mad when I see ridiculous advertisements for “lose 7lbs in 10 days” and on closer inspection they are always cutting out carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates cause your body to hoard salt/sodium rather than get rid of it- and in turn your body must increase it’s fluid level to remain balanced. When you cut carbohydrates, you let go of water and also salt that your body has been holding.

Carbohydrates often get bad press- we are told they cause diabetes, they stimulate our appetites and they make us fat. The reason they are called a “macro nutrient” is because they are one of three major nutrients required in our diets- carbohydrates, fats and protein.

I fear that this is a topic that could go on for hours, and I have no doubt will spark much debate; particularly from the ketogenic diet lovers out there. However, in summary, I will leave you with a link to an excellent article by Extreme Nutrition athlete and DFAC Natural Professional Bodybuilder, world champion Andrew Chappell, and tell you that carbohydrates are good when you make good choices!

Low carbohydrate, high protein diets- a poor fit for the natural bodybuilder: http://www.musclechat.co.uk/natural-bodybuilding-natural-olympia-no-2-andrew-chappell/35813-high-protein-low-carb-diets-poor-fit-natural-bodybuilder-part-1-a.html

DFAC Natural Pro Bodybuilder Andrew Chappell

DFAC Natural Pro Bodybuilder Andrew Chappell is not afraid of carbohydrates

http://www.musclechat.co.uk/natural-bodybuilding-natural-olympia-no-2-andrew-chappell/36361-high-protein-low-carb-diets-poor-fit-natural-bodybuilder-part-2-a.html

~Elle Mac~

Off Season bulking

    Off season bulking, what does it really mean?

Off season bulking is all about building muscle and making improvements, and I won’t pretend it’s easy changing shape so quickly. I think as a bodybuilder it’s all too easy to get hooked on being so lean and facing the concept of “bulk” and gaining muscle off season.

I personally hate the word “bulk”… it sounds like you are on a mission to gain weight in any way possible. I often hear people saying “I’m on a dirty bulk”, meaning they eat junk… and I think… great, way to go… you’re just getting fat then!!

Off Season Bulking isn’t about gaining weight in any way possible. Personally, I set myself an “allowance” of 14lbs over my stage weight. I realise I will probably be a lot less on stage the next time (depending on how heavy my lean mass is next time as I will have more muscle), as this time, I didn’t lean right down to the bone!! (I did that for a reason, by the way).

Remember, if you gain loads and loads of fat, you’ve got to strip it off again. If you have more to lose, you could ultimately end up dieting a lot harder… and losing the muscle you worked so hard to gain in the first place. What a waste of time that would be!

You also need to remember that muscle acts like a furnace. If you carry more muscle, you need more calories as your metabolic rate increases. So the more muscle you gain, the more you can eat. You don’t need to eat loads and loads though, if you don’t have a high muscle mass to begin with. You will just get fat. What’s the point?

So now, my aim is to build muscle… and I am intrigued to discover, the more I read, how your body doesn’t want to carry more muscle as it puts it under stress. And do you ever hear people say “I stopped training and lost muscle really fast”? That’s because your body will lose muscle unless it needs to keep it, which is why it’s important to put it under stress and lift progressively heavier weights!

I am all for the simple principle “calories in vs calories out”. I can’t see how there is logically one given formula for everybody to calculate their caloric requirements, it actually makes no sense. It all depends on how active a person is, how much muscle they have, how hard they train, how long their training sessions are…

The thing I got majorly confused with was how much fats, carbohydrates and protein do you need? Now, I have spent hours trying to work it out, and been given some fabulous advice, but I know ultimately, particularly as I have Crohns Disease, I need to listen to my body and NONE of us are the same so there has to be a little trial and error for all.

My main aims are getting sufficient protein to help protect my muscle and build more, and then I will work my other macros (fats and carbohydrates) around it. I know I will probably get criticised for that, but hey… I would rather eat what suits me, than force feed myself or end up with a sick bowel. I have spent the past 7 years of my life in and out of hospital. I would rather keep my tummy happy and healthy!!

What works best, for me personally, (remember, it might not work for you…) is to eat more carbohydrates on heavy training days (legs mainly) and less on lighter days. I want enough carbohydrates to fuel my training, and optimise muscle glycogen stores between workouts. Why have more when I don’t need it? It just works best for me. In terms of protein, I hit about 150g a day, sometimes more. I sort of go by that age old rule of 1g to 1lb of body weight. It works for me, and I don’t see the need to eat excess protein I won’t burn off. I aim for healthy fats- nuts, olive oil, egg yolks.

I did write myself a plan, so I have a loose structure, but I don’t let it take over my life. You need to ENJOY what you are doing. I’m not stupid, I know not to eat massive amounts of calories or get my calories from junk. I make sure I get enough protein, and fit my other macros in around it to suit how I feel that day health wise, or what I’m doing.

The main thing I am learning is, don’t stress. Don’t get TOO caught up with numbers. Enjoy the process. Yes, I am concerned about being the VERY best I can be. But I have a life. I have a job, a boyfriend, family and friends. I want those things to flourish as much as I want to be a successful bodybuilder. For me, it is all about striking a balance.

In conclusion, bulking isn’t about gaining weight, it’s about packing on muscle and you can do that while you are quite lean. Don’t put on what you’re going to need to burn off again! 😉

~~Elle Mac~~

Off Season Bulking article

Off Season Bulking

Alcohol, Detrimental or Advantageous?

Alcohol, Detrimental or Advantageous? When you think about alcohol, what immediately comes to mind?

For me, many things come to mind: partying, dancing, relaxation, having fun and laughter. When I trained as a life coach, my mentor turned to me and asked me one day asking “why do you drink?” I immediately got defensive and asked, “What do you mean, why do I drink? Because I want to!” I was missing the point of course.

What he was probing at was the reasons for me to drink alcohol. Was it relaxation? Confidence? Perhaps to be a little more flirtatious? If you can identify what it is, then congratulations! Now you have a starting point for setting a personal development goal. By aiming to achieve your “alcohol” goal without the alcohol, you’re going to develop as a person. There’s no denying that.

I am not here to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do, I am only here to express my experiences and inform you all on what alcohol does to your body. I am constantly deciding to stop alcohol completely, then having “just a few” drinks, then ending up feeling terrible… which is exactly why, coincidentally, I am writing this at the moment.

I know that by identifying why I drink, I can achieve the goal in a different way and diminish the distorted belief that only alcohol can help me do that. Sure, it’s probably much easier to have a few glasses of wine and strut my stuff as if I’m Beyonce, but the challenge excites me to do that sober. I think that anyone who has followed my journey so far can see I like a challenge!!

Anderson P. and Baumberg B. examine the motivations behind drinking alcohol in “Alcohol in Europe: a public health perspective”. Surprisingly enough, it is this same article that mentions the “positive” effects of alcohol, although the underlying tone is a negative one. A study in the UK demonstrated that drinking no “booze” results in a lower mortality risk, which to me and you, is a lower risk of death.

For older people aged over 65, this increases to less than half a drink a day (5g of alcohol) and even more surprisingly increases again to less than 10g a day (less than one drink) for people over 65 (White et al., 2002). The positive effects are namely a reduction in coronary heart disease, according to these statistics.

It is important to remember these studies only take account of alcohol consumption and do not consider diet, physical activity or underlying conditions. I am not a big lover of statistics! They seem to remove so many other factors. I also find it interesting how the positive effects are shown in older age groups, whereas there is a common misconception that we should all drink a glass of wine a day… or is it two? How many times have you convinced yourself by saying: “It’s good for me, THEY did some study some place that said it!” 

It is also important to point out here that many studies were conducted on those who contracted coronary heart disease- it was this group of people who were shown to live longer by consuming low levels of alcohol, not the general population. I’m not an expert, but I wonder if the effect on the heart is anything to do with the fact it thins your blood, which obviously prevents heart attacks?

Besides the positive physical effects, there are listed many psychological benefits. These are very vague, and outline “better mental health”. I take it that the fact that alcohol is a depressant is being removed from this study then. Again, the point I was making in the beginning is that if you feel alcohol helps you to destress or be more outgoing, maybe it’s better (and healthier) to strive to achieve that in a different way? Oh, and I can also safely assume that alcoholism is being excluded as well, and the psychological and physical turmoil that results.

It is fair to surmise that the negative effects of alcohol do outweigh the allegedly positive ones. Again, when researching this, I did notice that the “negative” effects were mainly associated with binge drinking only, so I have made it clear what the negative effects are and when they come about. The definition of binge drinking provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is defined as 5 drinks on one occasion for men, and 4 drinks for women. Do you “binge” more often than you thought?

  • Just one drink, which is not binge drinking, effects our basic functions, such as walking, talking, and control of our limbs
  • Research by the Department of Health shows that a man drinking 5 pints in a week consumes the same number of calories as someone who eats 221 doughnuts in a year. If you value your waistline, and you “binge drink” according to the above definition, this is something to think about.
  • “Heavy” drinking irritates your stomach and can result in nausea and diarrhoea
  • Alcohol has a dehydrating effect, whatever the quantity. Not only will you have a headache, but your skin will also dehydrate leading to wrinkles and premature aging.
  • Extreme levels of drinking, which is more than 30 “units” per week (10ml or 8g of pure alcohol per unit, i.e. one third of a pint of beer) can occasionally cause psychosis
  • After just two units of alcohol, memory loss can occur, lack of concentration and one becomes mentally slower
  • Consumption of alcohol, although it is not clear how much, is linked to anxiety and depression. I for one can say I always feel really down after a night out drinking alcohol!
  • Binge drinking can lead to impotence, make you infertile and reduce libido
  • Drinking enough alcohol to get intoxicated or drunk can lead to suffocation by choking on your own vomit. The amount it requires to get drunk obviously varies from person to person
  • Binge drinking causes abnormal and irregular heart rhythms which can lead to heart disease, strokes or your heart becoming enlarged
  • More than two drinks a day increases your risk of cancer of the bowel and throat
  • Binge drinking can make you aggressive or violent
  • Alcohol consumption depletes your electrolytes (potassium and sodium). This is important for athletes- as electrolytes are salts that are naturally a part of body fluids and help increase the absorption of fluid into the bloodstream.
  • Binge drinking can affect your brain and body for up to THREE days!
  • Alcohol effects sleep patterns, which again, are all important for athletes, as this results in fatigue, impaired ability to recover and increased risk of injury.
  • Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, which causes increased heat loss and your muscles will get cold, which means they will be slower and weaker during contractions
  • Alcohol and muscle building do not go hand in hand. This is the deciding point for me. What’s the point in slugging it out in the gym and pushing myself physically if alcohol is detrimental to it all? Alcohol reduces growth hormone by a whopping 70%, which affects muscular development. Also, because alcohol is a toxin, your body will work to remove this first and not work on your recovery, hence you will not recover properly before your next gym session. Alcohol also decreases the concentration of testosterone in the body, hence affecting muscle growth.

These outline just some of the negative and positive effects of drinking alcohol. Ultimately, we are all in control of what we put into our bodies. As a competitive athlete, I can safely summise that alcohol isn’t a necessary part of my lifestyle. I shall be seeing the new year in sober! Have a great new year everyone!

Six Pack of beer, good for you or bad for you?

An article discussing alcohol and its effects on people and exercise.

Give Your Body a Boost!

    Give Your Body a Boost this winter.

According to my car today, it’s minus 1.5 degrees which means that winter is well and truly setting in! Now, more than ever, it’s important to give your body a boost and to look after it and your health so that you survive the winter without getting run down or catching any infections like cold or flu.

Here are some tips to ensure you give your body a boost that it will keep you at your best this winter:

  1. 1. Get plenty of sleep

Try and stick with a regular bedtime and time that you wake up. Getting lots of sleep ensures that your body recovers properly (especially when you are training), and it encourages the production of those all important white blood cells, which are essential for fighting disease along with the highly anabolic, fat burning, natural human Growth Hormone which is secreted during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep..

2. Eat immune boosting foods
One of the best ways give your body a boost through the winter is to keep an eye on what you are eating. Your food is your fuel, and you have to think that you will “run” better on the best fuel that you can provide. Your immune system needs key vitamins and nutrients, including zinc, copper, iron and protein. You will find the vitamins and minerals you need in colourful foods, nuts and seeds. Buy these fresh, tinned/frozen/preserved versions have normally a fraction of the benefits of fresh produce.

Berries, broccoli and citrus fruits should all be a key part of your diet this winter. Pineapple is known for it’s anti inflammatory properties and could also help you to recover more quickly from your workouts.

3. Work Out
Exercise strengthens your immune cells which helps fight off infection. It doesn’t matter so much what exercise you do, just get do something. Exercise also causes a release of endorphins which have a euphoric effect, making you feel better within yourself, physically and mentally.

~Elle Mac~

Winter training

Incline bench pressing

Set Your Goals with No Excuses

This week, the topic I've chosen is on how to set your goals with no excuses. We all do it- and I believe that occasionally an excuse is a subconscious reaction as oppose to an intentional conscious decision.

So how do we learn to identify when we are making excuses when we "don't really mean it"? I've written out some common excuses below, with my own very brief breakdown on each.

1. I'm too tired.
Are you really too tired? If you sit for more than 10 minutes, are you falling asleep? Are you struggling to do basic everyday activities such as walking, carrying things or bending down? Sometimes our minds play tricks on us and tell us we are too tired, as an excuse to relax and do very little activity. If you do answer yes to any of the above, then REST! YOU'RE TIRED! It can be beneficial to take time off when you need it too.

2. My friend is on holiday and I always train with him/her.
I think a common and easy trap to fall into is to depend on someone else. This is acceptable when you're starting out, because sometimes you need a leaning post. After approximately 4-6 weeks, in my opinion it's imperative for you to become SELF motivated. External factors shouldn't matter, least of all whether you have a companion. If you feel self conscious about training alone, just remember that people notice two people more than they notice just one.

3. I want to lose a bit of weight first before I go to the gym.
Oh yes, I'm all too familiar with this little beauty of an excuse. Here is my little breakdown:- 
(A) weight doesn't matter. I gained 10lb in my first 3-4 weeks of training. 
(B) aren't you supposed to go to the gym to work at getting leaner, fitter and healthier? Why put that off? 
(C) Less people judge you than you might think- they will respect you for making an effort to change your body. 
(D) Exercise speeds up your metabolism, makes you feel stronger, and makes you feel healthy and full of energy... Why wait?

4. I've got an illness or medical condition.
I am NOT discrediting anyone or their ailments- not for one second. Some people genuinely cannot train or eat regularly, I totally 100% respect that. But don't use your ailments as an excuse. I have Crohns Disease- some days, I can genuinely only eat once a day, and some days I can't train. But I don't let it stand in the way of the days I CAN do something. 
Also, I think it's a fair assessment to say that sometimes your symptoms aren't a result of your illness or disease. Consider all your other lifestyle choices and how they might possibly affect the way you feel and your health before you assume it's a result of your illness.

5. I'll start Monday, that way it'll be starting afresh on a new week.
I encourage all of my clients to start straight away- as soon as we make contact. Most people who have the "I'll start Monday" syndrome fail. They also use it as an excuse to binge eat all week, then it repeats in a vicious cycle. There is NO SUCH THING as "being good"- you MUST adopt the attitude that you are making a lifestyle change. Having an "on/off a diet" mentality leads to failure. 

Start now! Your body has no idea what day it is. Your body will start working sooner, the sooner you work it! Good nutrition, a structured training program and the right attitude are all we need to reach our destination - maybe a bit more patience too. Remember, you may have 30 years of being skinny or fat under your belt, becoming a physique model won't happen overnight!

In closing, I would like to highlight that there are people in the world who genuinely don't want to train too. I see people point the finger all the time and say "they're making excuses", when in fact they're exercising their right to personal choice! 

For those of you who want to lose fat, keep fit and stay healthy it is essential you learn how to set your goals with no excuses; we know that excuses can be our biggest obstacle and are a way of setting ourselves up to fail. I hope that you now have some tips in how to overcome these negative thoughts and reasons to accept defeat. :-)

~ Elle Mac ~
Set your goals

Set Your Goals with No Excuses

Christmas Fun without Piling on the Pounds

As the end of the week approaches, I’m eyeing up my calendar and realising that we have no free weekends until next year, and the “social season” approaches. As most of us know, the Christmas Fun season involves lots of food and lots of drink, but it doesn’t always have to mean packing on the pounds! Here are my tips for Christmas Fun that won’t leave you looking (and feeling!) like a Christmas turkey:-

1.   Be the Designated Driver

Most parties involve alcohol, the attitude of “eat, drink and be merry”, and this can mean dangerous empty calories, hangovers leading to letting training and diet slip, and late nights. Having a couple of nights out isn’t the end of the world, but going out every weekend between now and January won’t do wonders for your health, or your waistline. Perhaps take it in turns with friends to be the designated driver for the night- that way, you can have your night out too. My previous article on alcohol and the ill effects might give you a few things to think about that might change your mind about drinking!

2.   Don’t Go Out Hungry

If you are going somewhere where you know there will be food, make sure you eat first if you don’t want to fall victim to the attractive spread of nibbles or the dessert on the menu when you go out or visit people. This includes going to do your shopping- people who go and do their food shopping hungry always buy more than they need, and be sure to bring a list with you!

3.   Bring Emergency Rations

If you know that you will be traveling or you will be out and about for a while, bring some prepared food with you or a protein shake (I love my new Extreme Nutrition Turbo shaker, I can bring more than one scoop around with me!) Never make the excuse in your mind that you are hungry, so “eating a little something that’s naughty is OK”, because you will probably regret it afterwards.

4.   Don’t be Afraid to Say NO!

One thing I cannot stand is when people try to pressure you into eating or drinking something that you do not want. I probably find it a little easier, because I have Crohns Disease and I can explain that certain foods just don’t agree with me. I have been known to tell clients in the past that a little white lie about a food allergy hurts nobody; it prevents the endless questions about your “diet”, and stops people sabotaging what you are doing, whether they mean to or not.

5.   Be Strong

Remember WHY you choose to eat clean- think of all the reasons you want to eat a healthy diet and just remind yourself when you are offered tempting treats and festive nibbles, whether you want to look great, you want to feel great, you want to wear your favourite little black dress this season, you want to make some decent gains through the winter, or otherwise!

~~Elle Mac~~

Christmas Fun without fat

Christmas Fun doesn’t mean you have to add weight.

My six week cutting diet plus quest for fun cardio!

    Six Week Cutting Diet plus quest for fun cardio.

My quest for an entertaining and fun cardio session began last week with cardio in the great outdoors. I was in Southern Ireland for a week, visiting friends and family and watching one of my best friends compete in the RIBBF show in Limerick (big congratulations to Matthew Kelly!).

I have always loved walking outside, however I fear I don’t return as sweaty and feeling like I have worked as hard as when I do other forms of cardio, hence my quest for fun cardio continues. I really enjoy the great outdoors, but perhaps too much. I love taking photographs, taking the time to spend time with nature and dawdling along, waving at the neighbours, more for leisure than beneficial cardiovascular exercise, I think!

The main topic of my blog this week is to talk about the 6 week cutting diet which I start tomorrow. I really haven’t been myself lately and couldn’t train my legs for 9 weeks due to myositis which is caused by my medication.

My eating patterns were erratic and sporadic, sometimes I could only physically manage to eat once or twice a day, and I battled with a flare up of my Crohns disease, leading to vomiting, painful joints and a badly stomach upset.

I feel I have my health under control now, and after my break I feel refreshed and ready to take on the world… In terms of bodybuilding, and also my personal life and my career!

A combination of being more sedentary, poor eating habits, being erratic with taking my nutritional supplements and medication means my off season shape is less “off season” and more relatively toned marshmallow, the cellulite is peeping at me! My clothes are a little too tight and I feel sluggish, heavy and my self esteem is lower than usual.

I had planned a six week cutting diet leading up to the Sportex festival, which saw UKBFF and IFBB athletes compete in Manchester, however it would have been more a hindrance than a help and I just was not physically ready to diet due to my health problems.

However, things are looking up for me, I feel mentally well, physically I’m almost 100% and I’m ready to get back to a lean off season shape.

I’m following my pre contest six week cutting diet, with a couple of minor changes and less cardio. I’m not dieting too “hard” so to speak, as I don’t want to do anything else that could slow down my progress. My cardio regime will begin with 40 minutes 5 days a week, and if I feel I want or need to add a little more then I will.

I also have a long standing fluid retention problem, which I am (finally) going to sort out tomorrow with a trip to the doctor. I am also going to take note of my energy levels and Crohns symptoms to see if they improve.

On that note, I hope to bring you tips for diet, training and in particular the mentality behind weight management. That is what I do as a qualified weight management coach and trainee NLP practitioner, if anyone has any questions through my six week cutting diet, feel free to contact me via www.facebook.com/ElleMacFigureCompetitor.

Elle Mac

What can be done on a 6 week cutting diet.

What can be done on a 6 week cutting diet.

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