May 11. 2016

Pushing Through that Stubborn Place

Today I'd like to venture into the depths of something that has been a constant struggle for me, and I'm sure it has been for a lot of people. That something is my personal limitations that I set up mentally. My roadblocks that I believe can stop me and convince myself that there's no way past them.

Yesterday I was feeling extremely down in the dumps. My diet has been getting to me, physically more than mentally, my energy is in the crapper and I am cranky. Yes, I am cranky. Very much so. Despite this I continued on the path and went to the gym after following my plan all day. While I was there, I just was not feeling it. I wanted to give up and just stop or skip out on my cardio. Believe it or not, the cardio is the worst for me. Hah. It's the most trying thing in my day in fact! Which is hilarious when it's put in perspective to what else I do on a daily basis. Anyway, while there, I talked to another competitor (and friend) and she basically told me to suck it up, but in a much nicer way (thank you Rose if you're are reading this). 

Sometimes I need motivation. As the sole person in my family who is a competitor or really into fitness like I am, I don't have a lot of places to draw motivation from. I have to look inward a lot and find it there, but sometimes, it's not there. My mind gets to that point where it's mush and I'm tired, pissed off and just don't care. So having her tell me "you can do it" actually pushed me. It made me think about it and I in fact could do it and I did! In fact, I did 3 extra minutes of cardio because I was motivated. It worked, I dropped weight this week, which I felt like I wasn't going to and now I'm happy.

We take for granted these small happenings in life. Those people that we surround ourselves with can be a tool and a very good one. But ultimately we need to rely on what's inward and strive to be better because that's what we want, not because someone else told us. That being said, a kick in the ass every once and awhile is great and it helps enormously! 

So with help, I was able to break through that mental road block and achieve what I wanted! My support system exists in more places than I know and sometimes am able to recognize. 

It's funny, the gym has become like a second home to me. I feel like I know most of the people there now and am comfortable with them and could call them great people. The old me would have never even dared had that thought. I didn't want anything to do with anyone. That alone shows me how far I've come as a person. Spiritually, mentally and physically. 

Today I have a renewed sense of faith, a renewed sense of drive and motivation. This competition I am doing is not the end all, be all of everything. It is simply a building block in my life. It's one more thing that I will achieve and find pride in doing. Challenging yourself and succeeding (which doesn't always mean winning), is one of most rewarding thing you can do. For the last several years, I've challenged myself in many ways and I have faced my demons and kicked them back over and over again. 

I am strong willed, and I am humble. My life is a gift and I do not take it for granted. There is so much to be grateful for and everyday I learn more of these blessings. 

If you can, challenge yourself. Set a goal and accomplish it. Be realistic and know that your effort is worth it. 

I am happy today and I am thankful. 

Have a great week everyone! I know I will!

Thank you so much,


Adam Hartley

Custom Fitness Consulting Co-Owner and Coach

email me at ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com for meal and exercise plans

Instagram Adam_Hartley_CFC
May 9. 2016

Peak Week Thoughts

Hello there! Hope everyone enjoyed their mother’s day, I know I did! I didn’t spend much time with my mom but I went to see the Mother’s day movie with her and my sister, along with two of my nieces. I talked on Friday about how some of my family doesn’t support me, well I wasn’t talking about my mom. She may not understand bodybuilding or any part of completing but she supports my passion and wants me to pursue anything that my heart may desire. Literally when I saw her after the small show, I walked up to her, hugged her, and started crying. That is family for you and what I want my other relatives to be more like, sure we all bicker but there is a difference between arguing with a loved one and being out right cruel.

So I saw the movie, and this is Sunday even though you guys will be reading this on Monday. It was a great movie but I am not going to lie I started to fall asleep. I am so tired all the time now that anything that requires me to put out any more than I want to give, I start to get irritated. The movie was a feel-good comedy and when my mom would laugh too loud I would snap but really who am I to try to tell her not to enjoy herself? And it was even Mother’s day! Come on Cassie you are not that mean… I hope. Anyways I told her how I was struggling with hunger and being weak, also apologizing for any attitude that may have hurt her feelings. Her response, which is why exactly why I love her dearly, was “its OK sweetie I know you are tired but you are almost there.” Instant relief fell over me and I was very grateful to have her in my life.

Ok home stretch! I am hitting another wall. I know peak week shouldn’t be that bad but honestly I just want 3 days to sleep and eat what I want and not care. Basically recharge myself. I wake up throughout the night to go to the restroom, cannot sleep, or my stomach painfully cramps. I don’t always make it, sometimes I accidently hit a wall because I am half asleep or I try to sit down and fall. Let me tell you, at this point in the game there isn’t much fat left anywhere and when you fall on something that is hard. Ouch! Maybe that’s TMI but hey at least you guys can laugh at my pain. I feel like every few hours I need a nap. Luckily my naps only last 15 minutes so it isn’t like I will be sleeping all day. I also have to make like 5 different lists of thing I have to remember because I am always forgetting, I constantly repeat myself and people will be like “I know Cassie, you already said that!” and I am like really? I could be saying the same thing over this blog but I wouldn’t know at this point! My brain is blah….

Even my steady state cardio is hard. Just walking on the treadmill makes me exhausted! Everyone is excited for the show but honestly I just want sleep and food at this point. I spend my extra time watch baking shows in bed drinking gallons of water, I know I am pathetic. This is also weird for me too because I am a very clean eater and have not had horrible cravings that often. Sure I wanted more food but not the bad foods. Now I am wanting it all. I went into Russel Stovers, BAD IDEA, and was talking to the lady in there. I told her about my competition and how long I have been preparing/eating clean and I wanted to get her opinion on what was good. Lets face it friends anything will taste good to me but I just cannot pick anything and I don’t want to waste all the money that I don’t really have… plus I have rebounded before and we still have another competition this year! Anyways she responds by saying “the healthier alternative….” I immediately stop her and say NO! non-healthy!

Yep I am hungry and tired, which kind of gives me a break from critiquing myself. I don’t have any more energy to waste! I still wanted to have some adjustments to my physique, which I tell you guys ALL THE TIME, but woe is me things will be fine. I will catch up on sleep. I will get more food again. I will also keep growing and changing!

Happy peak week! By the time I write Friday’s blog I hope it will be more happy tune, it should at least because Thursday I get some food! Another note that you been prepping for a long period of time is that when your coach tells you to eat all the carbs all day long and that doesn’t really phase you… Congratulations you have reached a new level of insanity.

Thanks for the support friends! Go kill it this week

-Cassie



May 6. 2016

Support System

Hey guys! Happy Friday, well today is actually my Thursday but it is your guys Friday!!! Anyway, I have had kind of a stressful week. By the way when you are 9 days out from a show stress is not good… After the show I had a lot of negative feedback. More importantly from family. Family is blood, I believe they should love you for who you are. So being attacked from my family after coming off a win was extremely hard. It was the first time I won a class I was happy and I just wanted them to be happy with me.

So this is the reason that you must surround yourself with positive people. Even if you are not a bodybuilder we can still be friends. You do not have to be into working out to understand that I am passionate about something. This last Saturday I was surrounded by people that loved me and wanted the best for me. I cannot tell you how relaxed I was after this show. Yes it was just a small show but I can only describe how I felt as peaceful.

Walk away from the negativity, we do not have time to waste on people or negative thinking. Just because someone does not see your vision or doesn’t understand your hopes and dreams doesn’t mean you should ever question yourself. By that I mean when my family verbally attacked me I was upset and I tried to find a compromise but there was no compromise it was their way or no way.

I am going to share my experience with all of you because I know there are others that have gone through this or can somehow relate.

After this last weekend’s show my family saw the pictures I uploaded and were very upset about how “skinny” I have gotten. PS I am lean not skinny. Never call a bodybuilder skinny. Being young and still new to the sport I do not have much muscle mass so I do look a little thin. I had to get this lean for my show and after, I can properly increase my calories and put on more muscle mass, great things take time and I am more determined than ever.

Anyways my family called and texted myself and my mother saying I needed to see a doctor that I was anorexic and starving myself. They even went to the point of saying I looked like I belonged in a concentration camp. It bothered me, this is my family. I love them, but damn that hurt! I tried to make a deal saying I would go to the doctor for a physical after my show. This still was not good enough. I was trying for them and they were not trying for me.

So sitting 9 days out from my show, I cannot say how excited I am. Not even for the stage but to be surrounded with the support and love of friends and family that have been there for it all. For you guys to hear that I enjoyed my time at the show and I accomplished something. I bested the emotions and doubts and made it to the stage. From my first showing, cheating on my diet, rebounding, finally committing; my team has always accepted me and I cannot ask anything else from them. This is what unconditional love is.

Have a great week everyone! Next time you hear from me I will be in full blown peak week!!! It’s here!

-Cassie

May 3. 2016

Motivated and Ready

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday! Today is a new day, so let's all start it off amazing and keep it that way if possible! 

The past two weeks, I've really been able to reflect and make some great strides in how I feel as a person and how I value myself in general. I was lucky enough to be apart of a small seminar called Vision Pursue (check it out, you can!) and it impacted me in a huge way. I've done many self help type readings and have always valued motivational speaking, but for whatever reason this one really has started to change the way I think.

Since being at this event, I've felt a sense of calm, awareness and personal happiness I didn't feel prior. I've had rough road this last week and half as well and I was able to step past it and continue on without hesitation. 

Lately I've been reflecting on what is important in life to me. Those things were always right before my eyes and I say I value them all the time, but I never really thought about what that meant. To value something or someone. For instance, lately instead of telling my wife "I love you", I've been saying "I'm in love with you". What's the difference? Well to me there's a huge difference. To say you are in love with someone is to say you are fully devoted, mind, body and soul to that person. You would do anything for them and die for them if you had to. Sounds silly I know. The difference I mean, but it makes a difference in my head.

The last week I've been on a even more restricted caloric intake because I'm getting closer and closer to my show in Omaha, Nebraska. To my surprise, I literally did not care about the change and actually welcomed it. I embraced it with open arms and look forward to the next challenge. There is a sense of gratefulness that even though I have to restrict what I am eating, I am able to eat. This fact by itself is very powerful. I have food and I will not starve. This makes me a fortunate human being. That I can afford to buy groceries and feed my family and myself. 

See sometimes what's important in life is the things we overlook or take for granted. I know that I have taken things for granted many times over and am glad that I can learn from these experiences. There is no point in being negative towards my past experiences of being ungrateful, I simply observe it and use it as a tool to improve my outlook. I am a blessed man and believe that 100% with all of my heart. Life is a gift and I will live it as such, and be thankful for that gift everyday of my life. 

I am ready, I am motivated, I am together and unstoppable because I chose to be. 

Today my goal is to enjoy my day with my daughter. She is three and will be going into pre-school soon. When she is there, I will have a sense of relief because I will be able to do things I couldn't prior. At the same time, I will miss her dearly. She is my little buddy and I have bonded with her in a way I never thought possible. I love my children with all of my heart and value them more than anything. 

My long term goal is to continue to be a better me. Make small strides and not overwhelm myself with enormous goals or unrealistic expectations. The upcoming show is a great challenge for me, and I'm sure I will be going against some great athletes. I want to win, but if I don't, I will take that as a learning experience and not as a negative outcome. To come and put your all into something like bodybuilding (or really anything), is not easy and that alone makes me a winner. I am a winner for trying. A winner for sticking to my guns and a winner for all that I've done and all that I have in this wonderful life. 

So, I'll say again. I am motivated and I am ready for whatever comes my way. Good or bad I'll take it all and embrace it and learn from it. 

Today will be a great day and I am on cloud 9. I'm the happiest I've been in a long, long time and that is truly awesome.

Try to find your personal happiness folks. Do what you can for others. Be selfless and give of yourself when you can. The rewards are deeper than you can imagine. 

Enjoy today and the rest of your week, but first and foremost love yourself today and love your neighbors. Have an attitude of gratitude and I promise you, you will thank me in the long run.


Thank you so much,


Adam Hartley

Co-Owner Custom Fitness Consulting

email ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com for customized exercise and nutrition plans

instagram adam_hartley_cfc


May 1. 2016

Surprise!

Hey guys I am back! Cassie here and I told you I had a surprise! Well last minute decision to do a small show here in town this last Saturday. Man was it fun! I can’t believe I will be back on stage in 12 more days!

The small show really helped me get some of my posing down and feedback from judges. So when I step on stage again I will have made adjustments that I could in that amount of time.

I took 1st in both my novice and open class, and competed for overall. Although I did not receive the overall it gave me a chance to see what the judges were looking for. They liked the fuller or curvier girls where I came in more conditioned and hard. Also have to keep in mind that this is a different organization than I will be competing in in 2 weeks. Different organizations want different looks in certain divisions.

Another thing to keep in mind is what type of competitors show up. If you are a lean hard person it will be hard to compare you to the full softer looking competitors. I was on the leaner side and most of the girls were on the softer fuller side. So in comparison you want to be the best of who shows up.

I am so happy I did this show because it was fun and gave me the opportunity to really enjoy everyone there, you don’t always get that at the bigger busier shows. I got a chance to relax that I haven’t gotten to in months and enjoy my time with teammates, creating memories. My favorite part of this weekend was surprise not the food, but battling on stage. I loved being compared. There is something about knowing your competition is right next to you to really makes you work it!

One of the main parts I loved about this weekend is that all my teammates had fun too! If they were cheering or competing everyone was enjoying their time. It is pretty cool to say that all my teammates, including myself took home a 1st place.

It was also humbling. I’m not going to lie I am starting to freak out about Wichita because I am competitive and want to be competitive. Noticed I didn’t say win…. Not that I don’t want to win but there is a huge different between being competing with the best and expecting to win. I go through phases of doubt that I will be too small or not lean enough but I will do my best with what I;ve got and then see what these judges say and work on that! Who knows, I could do bad or great. I may compete again this year or take time to grow. You never really know where your prep is going to be till the day of the show. If you saw me a few weeks ago you probably would not think I would be this petite. I say petite because I hate the word small or skinny. Which a lot of people have been calling me lately and someone may get punched!

So wrapping everything up, fun weekend with friends at a show and another show to kill and then work on some goals for whenever I decide to compete again. Thank you everyone for the support it truly means the world to me. Have a great week!

-Cassie

April 29. 2016

What’s Your Perspective?

Your mindset or “perspective” is crucial when it comes to how you live your life.

Hey guys, Cassandra here again and I wanted to talk about my biggest struggle throughout my adolescent and adult life. Today, I am going to talk about cause and effect, or an event and the reaction. How do you respond when you receive good or bad news? How can you respond to bad news in a good way or vice versa, a positive event in a negative way?

Growing up for me I was surrounded by negativity and being young that imprinted on me. I thought this was the way I was supposed to be. We do not need to get into details but when you are a child is when you are truly shaped into the person you will be. Don’t get me wrong, my childhood was not all bad. There were good times and bad, some more than others. I was very wishy washy when it came to anything I applied myself to, school, activities, friends, ect. I wasn’t very stable, but neither was my upbringing. So at the end of the day, a big goal of mine, is to try to find a balance to my life. If I can have a positive outlook then I would hope that it would cause others around me to learn from my mistakes and not have to experience them their selves. The reason I chose to talk about this subject today is because I personally forget how important this is and how much it can change your day to day habits.

I am a part-time waitress, which I love. I enjoy serving people and try to please others. One night this week I was working and I was experiencing some unhappy customers. I am not going to bitch and go into detail but the jist of it was that they could not be pleased, on top of that they wouldn’t leave. So I was in this negative atmosphere working to make them happy but it was just bringing me down. I let them affect my attitude and my other customers noticed. At the end of the night I felt drained and like I worked way too hard, then I noticed I hardly made any money that night. What could I do? Should I be pissed off and blame it on this table that my night was bad? Or could I say to myself hey at least you have a little bit more even though it could have been better.

If you guys have been following my prep, I have talked about my highs and lows and my ups and downs. For a period of time I was so down and unhappy, which made everyone around me unhappy. I couldn’t get out of that funk. I found myself comparing my progress to others. “I’m not lean enough!” or “I’m too small!” I was going crazy stressing about the things that, in my mind, were going wrong that I completely overlooked what was going right.

I WILL NOT BE WHERE I WANT TO BE FOR THIS SHOW, AND THAT IS A-OK!

We needn’t see things as “oh shit that’s not what I wanted, I am screwed” better as “what can I take away from this”. Because we are always growing. I don’t have the answers. You don’t have the answers.

This is why so many successful people preach about if you get knocked down to get back up because no one has in their life not made a mistake. If you by chance know someone that hasn’t failed, give me a call because I would love to meet him/her.

So enjoy your weekend friends and keep working at growing and being prosperous in your life. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and the continued support. I will be back Monday and I have a little bit of a surprise for you guys so stay tuned!

-Cassie


April 27. 2016

Educate Yourself

Hello friends.

Today I'd like to talk about something that's always on my mind. That something is the internet and it's vast amount of information. I enjoy reading scientific based articles and other fact based forms of literature, but I find almost daily that there are many other outlets that contradict these fact based articles and claim to know more than any other. It's kind of frustrating as a researcher to read a lot of conflicting ideas about the same exact subjects. 

For example. There are people out there that will tell you that you do not need a post workout shake or carb. They go further to say that you need it at a different time than has been historically documented and studied (which is around a 30-45 minute window). Where do they get their evidence? Well, usually they have a small study attached in articles such as these that are semi credible or the article will be written by a PHD (in what? Who knows). 

So what's my point? My point is that sometimes the old methods and sciences still hold true and do not need to be questioned, yet they constantly are. I'll continue to use the after workout example. After my workouts, I know that I need a shake and a form of sugar to replenish my stores. How do I know this? Well, not only from experience and reading several texts and mountains of articles, but from actually testing my own blood sugar levels and finding them to be below hypoglycemic after exercise. So my body NEEDS, I repeat NEEDS the sugar after a workout. Some folks may be different. Therein lies the issue with information as a whole. 

In order to find out what works for you the best, you may have to experiment, or you could could trust the tried and true methods of many before yourself and just have faith that you are doing the right thing. 

Clearly everyone in the world is a different person, so no one can make blanket statements and tell you one thing is better for you than the other because they don't know how that thing reacts to your genetic make up. It's an impossible thing to know. So you are left with two options. Read internet gurus who are well respected, well known, and have a ton of following or read the guys that also have a ton of followers but seem to be more on non scientific spectrum of thinking. 

Now, I'm not trying to single out anyone in particular obviously. There are pros and cons of almost all educational articles. Sometimes though you have to take what applies to you and forget the rest. 

Education in this industry and in general is key. As a society, we all need to keep up with our education. I don't mean just in school. Sometimes the old methods I spoke about trusting are debunked, and found to be a complete farce, which stinks, but it does happen. In that instance, you cannot ignore the facts. You have to take what you've learned and decide whether or not that is something that rings true to you.

There are many places to find great information. For me, I find that I trust scholarly articles written by scientist to be the most result driven and thus the most truthful. They come without any bias and only show the cause and effect. They are boring, I'll not lie, but they do give out great information. That's me though. You may find your information from other places. Youtube, Facebook, blogs, text books...etc. There's nothing wrong with that at all! You just have to be able to discern what's real and let's be honest, what's bs. It's hard! I'll admit that. 

If it seems too good to be true, it's most likely is. There's no easy way to approach anything but there are smart ways. 

So educate yourself the best you can folks! Don't just listen to that one guy in the gym who has been there forever and knows everything, research, research, research. At the same time, remember if you hire someone to help you, you are hiring them to trust their knowledge. So if you have questions about their methodology, perhaps ask them first before seeking out guidance elsewhere. Chances are they will have a great answer.

Sorry if this blog seems a bit vague today. I'm still in a prep and I'll admit my mind is not where it was two months ago. I just wanted to stress the importance of being educated. 


Thank you and have a wonderful day!


Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Customfitnessconsulting.com

Email me at ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com for diet and nutrition programs 


April 25. 2016

“Trust the Process?”

Hello welcome back to Crazy Cassandra daily splurge. I am doing good as I hope everyone else is too! So this week, 3 weeks out, I checked in at 128.5 by Saturday I weighed 126.1. Almost 2.5lbs! That blows my mind, it is so cool to see your body adjust to and see your hard work pay off. Friday was my higher cardio day, 45 minutes, god I know I get so bored, I now rent movies on VUDU and watch it to keep myself occupied. Also, my Friday I get more carbs, not much but my body is so use to the lack of carbs that when I do get the carbs I burn through them. All day long I was extremely hot, where as I am usually cold. With the carbs and the high cardio I did not get much rest, but my body liked it and my weight fell. Don’t get me wrong the loss of weight is cool but you do not want to lose too fast or you may lose muscle tissue. Being 5,7” 126lbs is very low, we have 2 more weeks to tighten as much as possible and then it’s Showtime!

So today is Saturday and I usually sit down to write Mondays blog, but I am so busy I have to fill you guys in with what’s going on and not just leave you guys hanging! Today I worked out, went to the store, cooked, cleaned, I work tonight and tomorrow, I also promised a friend I would see a movie with her. Been so busy and haven’t seen her much, miss her dearly. I can make it work! I will squeeze my cardio in there somewhere! Organization is key though especially when you start to forget things so easily as I do now. I packed most of my meals for this weekend and laid out my workout clothes for tomorrow. Tis life though, I have been anxious somewhat stressing about being overwhelmed being so busy. When your body is under stress, emotions become more pronounced. At this point though I am use to this feeling. The prep feeling. I honestly told coach this week that I thought prep would be harder. There has been end and flows but I have a great support system that never let me give up. So when you guys hear me talk about not being ready or nervous it is because I will not be my best, and we never are. Always room for improvement. That makes me so much more excited to start my next prep though and take what I learn this go around and apply it to the next, continuously learning, growing, and accomplishing our goals!

So why I labeled this blog “trust the process”. Let me start off and make this clear, everyone ones process is unique to that individual. We do not always get what we hoped for but that's where we have to stay the course and not give in to the doubt because we are different than others. If I had my way I would be stepping on stage at 125lb and have a fuller leaner appearance that is not going to happen… at least not this time. This is where I have been disappointed in myself and caused doubt. Even though I did not reach my goals this time I can still step on stage and rock what I've got, which is what we all should do. Elite athletes or the models we look up to, I had to work there to get there. Nothing great is ever going to be handed to you. You have to go out and earn it yourself. When you think you can do no more, something great could happen. Don’t give up.

Trust the process? Prepping for this show there was a period of time where my weight and physique was not doing much. About 4-6 weeks very little happened. I WAS FREAKING OUT! Like why me? I am eating less and doing my cardio, what’s the deal dude? I almost did not do the show on so many occasions. Even though I was discouraged I did what I was told and that has gotten me this far. If we give in to our doubts and maybe not give up, then that seals the fate of not accomplishing the task we set ourselves out to do. We all are suffering in some way. Take advantage of the gifts you have been given and use the weakness you have and work on them to make them your strengths.

Just a little bit of my ramblings today. Hope everyone has a great week and congratulations to all the athletes that competed at the Natural Southern States this past weekend!

Peace out fit fam

-Cassandra Dean

April 22. 2016

Dear Diary

23 days. 23 days till the day. The day I have spent months preparing for. Mental, physically, emotionally I have been pushed to the point of breaking, and I am still here. 23 days till I get to celebrate all the hard work put in. The tears I have shed. The gallons of sweat I have wiped off our brow. The sleepless nights, all the aches and pains. The day I have been waiting for is coming.

Diary, this last Tuesday I dreamt of eating a whole thing of red velvet Oreos. Upon awakening and finding this to be untrue, I was relieved and felt a small accomplishment. I have now gotten to the point of even packing my food for the day, I have to refrain from stealing another bite of chicken. I know one bite will lead to another and so on.

But my fire burns. The fire with me to push harder. I know I can do more. I want to grind harder.

I can no longer imagine what life is like not in prep. As my journey for this show comes to an end I find myself day dreaming about what I want to do next. I would like to do NPC All Stars at the end of the year. Imagining what goals I still want to accomplish and go after them! Be bigger and leaner, each time I learn something new about myself and can grind harder! I have already counted 23 weeks between Midway (my upcoming show) and All Stars (end of the season). Nothing is set in stone, but I am so passionate about this and know I can do more in the long run than just this one show. I won’t let anyone or anything keep me from my true love of this sport. During the day I find myself imagining the moment on stage, the steps, the smile, the poses, ect.

Today, Thursday, I was at Sam’s club early this morning buying my chicken and other groceries needed in bulk. The store is so large, I was having trouble walk through the whole place. I ending up buying an energy drink to try to keep me going. Since it was early in the day, the bakery had just put out all their fresh baked goods. I walked past them slowly, savoring the smell. When I finally exited the building, the man that was checking my receipt cracked a joke to me. I asked him to repeat what he said and still not understanding what he said just laughed and walked away. I find myself as of late looking at people trying to understand what exactly they are saying. Or typing this entry for example is taking me twice as long and I am crossing my fingers that it may make sense.

Hey guys, just thought I would give you another angle of things that run through my head. I am now 3 weeks out and I can hardly wait. So many emotions, as you can tell, or thoughts run through my head throughout the day. At this point, being this close, I cannot think of anything else. My goals I will have achieved, goals I still want to work for, and forming new goals. I hope you found this fun and fresh to my other entries but I foreworn you that these next few weeks I will just have my mind thinking about the show, everything else now is just a blur.

Enjoy your weekend friends and try to get some time to relax with loved ones.

-Cassie

April 20. 2016

A Calorie is a Calorie

Good morning friends! 

Today I wanted to talk about something that often strikes me as funny and interesting at the same time. It's the concept that all calories are the same no matter what food source they come from. 

Something that;s interesting to me is that for a certain demographic of people, who I would say are genetically gifted, this can actually be true. Some folks can get away with eating almost whatever they want and be in amazing shape, at least on the outside, and sometimes in fact on the inside too. It's quite strange. 

Over the years I've studied nutrition on various levels and learned quite a bit. One thing I've learned is that some foods are nutrient rich or dense in nutrients while other hold almost no nutrients. The most interesting thing about this though is that like I stated for some people, it makes no difference what they consume to a certain extent. 

When we fuel our bodies, we want to provide it with the optimal amount of nutrients. Now how the heck would you know what that is? Well, to be honest, each person is so vastly different, that you wouldn't. The only way you can get close to giving yourself the right amount of nutrients, which more than likely still isn't enough, is by making wise choices every meal and taking multivitamins and other supplements that replace what you're not getting through out the day. 

What brings this to mind for me is the trend of if "t fit into your macros". Which, I absolutely will not and cannot do, especially if I'm in a show prep. I have however seen guys and gals do it and they look phenomenal. For some people, the concept means, that you can literally eat whatever you want as long as it fits within the range of your carbs, fats, proteins and maybe calories, depending on how strict you are.  For others, they eat cleaner and still try to hit certain numbers. 

Is this the wrong approach? I'm not convinced, but for me it absolutely is. If left to our own devices, many of us will not make it. We need structure and discipline. Most people could not faithfully calculate their macros (fats, carbs and proteins) every day and hit those numbers. They will skew them and go over or under.

The most interesting thing about this type of dieting to me is the caloric intake. Now it's probably not a well known fact, but calorie counts on packages are not accurate. In fact they can but up to twenty five percent in a deficit or surplus. In order to find the true caloric intake of an item you are eating it would have to undergo testing in a lab. So calories as a whole are severely skewed. If that is the case, then what does that mean for fats, carbs and proteins? Well, I'd wager they are in the same board. Which sucks. There's no other way to put it, it just sucks. 

If that's the case, then what is the point in having a structured diet plan? Well, I'm glad you asked. The point is to be taught how to eat within a certain range and control your portions while intaking as much nutrient dense foods as possible. The best coaches and health gurus out there will be able to put you on the right path. Does that mean the calculated numbers are always correct? No of course not. They don't make the food obviously. So you have to have trust in who you work with or if you do it yourself, you have to make wise decisions.
 
After a workout, I find I need a quick carb to replenish my blood sugar. Now there is some debate about this subject, but I assure you, I need it. That being said, I try to make the best decision I can. I want to take in something that has some nutrient density and not just empty calories. A lot of people can get away with having a sugary snack after a workout, in fact it's a common thing among athletes. Poptarts, pixie sticks, gummy bears, chocolate milk...etc. Does this mean those foods are bad to take in? Not exactly. Each person reacts differently to different things. I for one, can't do it. I know from going through a process myself and trying it alone, that those types of carbs will not help me in the least. However I can take in 1st Phorm's Ignition, which has dextrose and a variety of vitamins and minerals and that works perfect for me. Nothing else has.

My point today is that a calorie is NOT a calorie. If you're going to do "if it fits in my macros" or flexible dieting, make wise choices. Don't eat donuts and expect to have the same results as you would eating almonds. It just doesn't work like that for most people. There are anomalies out there, but we want to eat as healthy as possible and leave treats for when it's time for treats. 

Be smart, eat healthy and try you hardest!!! Don't give up! 

Thanks so much and enjoy your day!

Adam Hartley

Co-Owner/Coach Custom Fitness Consulting

ahartley@customfitnessconsulting.com

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