The New Blood Pressure Trigger: It May Surprise You.

This article is so interesting.  I had read book, nearly twenty years ago, that discussed the harmful impact of chemicals in our environment.  It was called Our Stolen Future. I remember not wanting to believe it at the time.  It seems very far out and almost crazy thoughts about our modern life.  Truthfully, all that I read in that book has eventually been proven.  In spite of the fact that I didn’t want to believe it at the time, I had a nagging feeling I should heed the warnings. I am so glad I did.  Although, my family has not been completely all natural or organic over the years,  it was our major goal to live a natural life as much as possible.  Here is yet one more study to support why it is important to avoid exposure to chemicals as much as possible.  The nice thing is there are simply adjusts to make that can improve your health risks.

Finding Coupons for Gluten Free Items And So Much More


A good friend sent me a link to this site via Facebook today.  It is so worth visiting and sorting through all the printable coupons.  I have not had much luck finding coupons of gluten-free products in the past.  At this site, I found many.  I was able to print $15.00 worth for my next shopping trip.  I figured out if I cut $15.00 from every trip to the store, at the end of the year, I will have saved over $700.00.  To me, that is worth a little browsing and printing each week before I hit the grocery store.

Struggling to Lean Out: An Art Form?

believeI have been working on leaning out for quite some time. When I say quite some time, I mean years. The first battle was discovering and resolving my gluten intolerance. For me, and others, gluten intolerance can lead to not being able to shed fat. I did lost 15 lbs after going gluten-free. Now I am just trying to hit that 18% body fat mark. In the world of body building that is not even really that lean. So what gives? Why can’t I hit that target?

I have done my research. I am also blessed to have a friend that has been in the industry for over 20 years. I have the basics down. My eating is clean, super clean. My workouts are in place. The truth is everyone’s body is different. You will never get lean without knowing the basics of nutrition to reach the body you desire. However, there are some finer points that only you can discover on your own. My friend, who has been in the industry for decades, has a four-year degree in nutrition. She know her stuff. After all her years of experience, she maintains that her body is always changing and she has to continue to tweak her diet accordingly. Great, this is a moving target too!

I am gaining experience with trial and error. I have certain road blocks I face. My body holds water, lots of water. I track it and have found it centers around hormonal shifts during the month, sodium intake, and seasonal allergies. I have been using natural remedies to combat the issue. But, I did find another tool that has worked a miracle.

For years, I read how helpful food journals were. I was stubborn and refused to keep a diary of what I ate. This last bout of having a set back in progress left me despite. I did some research. Used a calorie calculator that took figured in my desired weight, active level and goals to lean out, I found my target range of calories for the day. I started mapping out my meals. I have found it to take the mystery out of what my diet looked like. The reason, why of course, I was experiencing a set back was my calories were too high. I know, I know, it is simple math. But when you don’t track how much peanut butter you are eating from the jar, that math sees complicated. With the food journal in place, I have dropped three pounds and one body fat percentage. Yet, I face one more challenge in not burning muscle while leaning out.

When I was at 19% body fat before, I looked flat and saggy. I dropped the fat, but also burned muscle. I am watching closely that my muscle mass doesn’t suffer. So far, I believe I am on target with that. My body looks different at 19% body fat this time. Some times, the best indicator of progress is the mirror, your own eyes and a series of photos.

Here is the burning question I ask myself all the time. Why am I doing this? It can be frustrating. It requires discipline and determination. Body building is an art form. It is weird to say that. Given the fact that I am an artist, first. A classically trained musician, with a Bachelor of Music, so I do understand art forms. I am sculpting, forming and creating the body I want. It is all about good health, of course, and a dose of aesthetics. You simply can not take the artist in me out of anything I do. My love for body building is a simple one. It is the process of creating, what every artist loves.

Progress Pictures: Good Things Are Happening

February 2012

February 2012

May 2013

May 2013

With it being the height of soccer season, having to daughters on traveling teams and my husband the coach of both teams, my blogging time has been no existent.  However, I continue to make it to the gym each day.  For two weeks, I have been keeping a food diary and keeping what I eat super clean.  I am starting to see the progress that I want.  Not there yet, but progress. It’s the process, doing, learning, and achieving. 

The Top Four Training Mistakes That Might Be Hindering Your Muscle Growth

This article was full of useful information on how to get the most out of your strength training sessions.  I am sure you are like me and want to make sure you are not wasting your time in the gym.  It was some great information.  Thankfully, I have had good advice and training so not much for me to change. But it was good to know that I am on the right track.  I do see plenty of people making these mistakes.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of it going on in training sessions with personal trainers.  I always wondered why these people would be working so hard for months at the gym and see no progress.  Sadly, this could be the answer.

Finding So Much More At the Gym Than Fitness


Today I was fortunate to spend some time with a friend, a gym friend.  We met when we worked out at the same gym.  We are very unlikely friends. For one thing he is a man, for another he is a lot younger than I am making our friendship unique.  It started like most gym friendship, with the words, “Hey, I see you here all the time.”  It got me to thinking about the other side of the gym scene, the side no one talks about, the social side of working out.  

I have read time and time again about  workouts geared for those that want to avoid the gym.  I find it puzzling since I love the gym.  I know, not everyone loves the gym.  But I think people make judgements regarding a gym membership centered around false information.

1. You need to be fit in go to the gym- False. The gym is the place to get fit! That’s why people are there.  When I first started working out at my current gym I was 20 lbs heavier and 28% body fat.  At my gym, there are people at all fitness levels and all age groups. 

2. The gym is filled with gym rats and meat heads- False: The gym is filled with people from all walks of life.  Teenagers to senior citizens are working out at the gym.

3. I don’t feel comfortable working out in front of other people: There is much to be gained working out with other,r even if don’t know each other.  You find great inspiration and motivation by working out along side other people.  You push yourself to the next level. You also have opportunities to inspire others.

The socialization part of the gym is overlooked.  I have greatly benefited from knowing my gym family.  Some of them, I only see at the gym.  Some of them, I have relationships with on Facebook and see socially outside of cardio time.  We are great supports of each others progress.  Because we are all in this together, we cheer for each other in our quest for a healthier life.  Many, many times I have had strangers approach me and tell me they have watched my success happening.  After that moment, we are no longer strangers.  Some of us, know about each others families or outside interests.  We are a group, a club, a family of fitness lovers. 

We care about each others well-being.  I have the privilege to work out with many senior citizens.  Frankly, if one of my older buddies hasn’t been around for a while I get concerned.  I worry about them.  One day, a fellow AM lifter approached me to tell me our older friend was having some health issue.  He had been hospitalized.  I was grateful to know.  Thankfully, our older friend made a full recovery and upon his return he had a greeting of well wishers. 

I can’t imagine my life without my gym friends.  I have girlfriends that have held my hand when I have cried.  I have guy friends that give me advice like big brothers.  Others, we simply exchange fitness, and diet information.  For me, my gym family is a great source of support.  They have all enriched my life in so many ways and it has nothing to do with fitness. 

The other day, I was talking to my older gym buddy, he is in his 80’s. Bless his heart, I just love him.  He said to me, “Everyone one here knows sweet Sue, and that’s not a bad thing.” It made me smile.  I walked away hoping that I enrich all of their lives like they do mine.  If you ever thought the gym is not the place for you, think again.  You will be surprised at what you find there.