NANCYANNE55   84,135
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My "Secret" Cutting Diet for the 12-week Challange

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Okay, here it is..... The way I ate to get my size to come down 9 pounds in 5 weeks. (Remember, the first 7 weeks no progress was made with help of a professional, so I "wung it" on my own after that.)

After a good, hard, panicked cry at being solo and a deadline to reach I started reading a lot on cutting diets. It was all pretty confusing and much of it was contradictory. Finally I had enough of the madness and just got out my book The Leanness Lifestyle by David Greenwalt. It's my fitness and nutrition bible! I turned to the section on the last few weeks before a competition and implemented his macro-nutrient suggestions along with a few things I'd learned about leaning in from my own experiences.

I will say this wasn't really a "cutting diet". It was more a weight-loss diet with moderatly low carbs.

Here's what I did:

1. I figured I wanted to eat about 1600 calories a day, This was what I thought would be enough to propel me through my workouts and still leave me at a level where I could lose fat. My BMR is about 1450, so this kept me well away from going into starvation mode, which my body had been on for the past 7 weeks.

2. I chose 150g of carbs because I had learned from my own experience AND from the studies of a good friend who is taking nutritional classes that below about 130 was putting one's body into ketosis. Since I had been below 130 for the entire 7 weeks prior (I had been misinformed by another source that ketosis didn't occur until you were down in the 20's for carbs- me thinks my source was off by about 100grams. Had I realized I was putting myself into ketosis I would never have agreed to be on low carbs for that long), I felt my internal organs needed a break and brought my carbs to 150. This would be 600 calories a day from carbs. (1g carbs=4 cals)

And for the record, I was having typical ketosis symptoms, the biggest of which was very blurry vision. This was so unusual for me that I remarked to my friend, who then had a little red light go off in her head when she read the level for ketosis along with symptoms in her textbook. I'm so glad this happened, or else I'd of kept myself on too-low carbs unwittingly.

2. I made 20% of my calories from fat (320 calories, or about 35g/day. 1g fat=9 calories.)

3. I took the remaining amount of calories (680) and divided them by four to determine my protein. (1g pro=4 cals) This came out to 170g protein, which is pretty much- on track, because cutting diets are typically higher in protein than other nutrients to preserve muscle and promote fat loss.

4. I made all of my foods clean (nothing processed) choices. Everything was as close to the way mother nature made it as possible, except for protein powders.

5. I was already off of dairy, so I kept that out of my diet for the most part. Although David says you don't have to be scared of dairy and doesn't recommend cutting it way back until the last week or so before final pics or competition.

6. I was already off of wheat products, so I kept it that way, also, although David also says that same thing about wheat that he does dairy. He says the idea of wheat increasing estrogens is false, but I didn't see any point in adding something back I was already accustomed to doing without.

7. I continued to drink, at minimum, 1 1/2 gallons (yes, that's 24 cups) of water a day. And yes, I pee a lot. Most people on a cutting diet drink anywhere from a gallon to two gallons a day.

8. I tapered my carbs down during the day. Breakfast was carb heavy- 3/4 C of dry oatmeal, cooked (that's a huuuuuuuge bowl of oatmeal, BTW), with a tablespoon of peanut butter in it, a piece of fruit, and a whole egg with 3/4 C egg whites. But trust me, I was so hungry that I was able to eat it (you'll see why when you got to what I had for dinner). This was my biggest meal of the day, and my body appreciated it after the carb depletion it had gone through for the 7 weeks prior. After my workout I had 1/2 C of natural unsweetened applesauce with a scoop of protein powder in it and two rice cakes. Lunch was typically 4 ounces chicken breast with quinoa, brown rice, beans, and queso fresco. Afternoon snack was tuna with egg white on a rice cake OR protein powder and a rice cake. Dinner was 5 ounces lean meat or fish with 1 C of steamed non-starchy veggies, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a tiny bit of grated Parmesan. And before bed I have 1 1/2 scoops casein powder. This was pretty much the food I ate, day in and day out, for four weeks. Why? I knew the macronurtients worked for me.

9. For the last week I followed David's suggestions to drop a bit more fat and reduced my calories to about 1450. I knew this was cutting it close to my BMR and I couldn't get away with it for long, but it was crunch time. Of this, I ate about 60% of calories from protein, 30% from carbs, and lowered my fats to about 10% of calories. This was the hardest part to transition, because it meant cutting out the peanut butter, egg yolk, queso with lunch, and oil. Breakfast wasn't as big because oatmeal went down to 1/2 C before cooking, and I lost the piece of fruit. No more rice cakes after workout. Lunch carbs amounts reduced slightly. Dinner couldn't change much more than it already was, except I no longer got the olive oil. I got an extra ounce of meat for both lunch and dinner. Casein powder never did change.

10. The last week I tried to get 2 gallons of water a day, except for the very last day before my final weigh-in, where I only had a single gallon, which was pretty much done by dinner. On the last day I just lightly salted my food. I didn't want to create unnecessary bloat, but I wouldn't say my sodium level was what anyone would call low that day.

The honest truth is that had I dehydrated and carb depleted the day before weigh in I probably could have come in at least 2 pounds lighter. But I was so over extreme measures after all I had been through that I just couldn't bear to do that to my body. The next morning I was thrilled to get on the scale and see a final number of 148.2.

Not bad for a gal who did it on her own, I'd say!

These are changes you can implement any/all of without destroying your health, although I would suggest that unless you are actually on a "cutting" diet or have an intolerance to dairy or wheat that you feel free to implement these foods into your macro nutrients.

I hope this benefits someone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAMOURA 5/17/2011 4:16PM

    AWESOME!! Thanks! emoticon

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MISSFITOKSANA 4/19/2011 5:17PM

    WOW!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!

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HEALTHYME47 4/10/2011 8:04PM

    I'm so impressed with your diligence and determination! Thanks for sharing how to do this the healthy way.

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TOTALFOCUS 4/8/2011 1:32PM

    You are wonderful!
This information is priceless!
Thank You! :-)

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MIRWYN 4/6/2011 2:05PM

    You look absolutely amazing! What an inspiration you have been to me over the past weeks! You're a rock star!

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DARACOX 4/4/2011 4:04PM

    This definitely benefited me, thanks for sharing! I've been doing carb cycling for the past 5 weeks and it's been working great, but I'm wanting to transition to something more balanced for a few weeks before my trip so I can gradually come into maintenance before we go, so I don't shock the body with the vacation eating and drinking. I like these numbers! And I'd wondered about dairy, because low fat cottage cheese and plain yogurt are such cheap, versatile, yummy sources of protein!

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SARAHNICOLE__17 4/4/2011 3:42PM

    The breakdown was really helpful. Thank you!

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EDWARDSC393 4/4/2011 2:59PM

    I remember reading about the cutting phases of a diet, but what happens when you eat normally? I drink lactose milk, and Grain products. Great blog and learning article! Way to go! Cherie

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_FITMAMA 4/2/2011 11:17AM

    Great job! Can't wait to see your photo shoot pics!

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SHAKENBAKE 4/2/2011 12:17AM

    SOOOO Proud of you girl. I am sorry I haven't been in touch. My beauiful, healthy mother has been sick with a cough for a couple months and we just learned she has lung cancer. :( Totally devistated. Can't wait to see you pictures. hugs, Wanda emoticon

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DVASQUEZ 3/30/2011 4:28PM

    Great job! Thanks for sharing your success secrets!

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MYLIDDLEDALLAS 3/30/2011 12:21PM

    Oooh, this is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your 'secrets'.

I have a question though, so would a low carb diet then be counter productive to losing fat if you lower your carb intake to less than 130g?? And is the 130 a general number or is it lower/higher based on your BMR. Also, if you do fall into ketosis is that causing the weight you do lose to come from muscle as oppose to fat? I'm confused. Can you tell??? LOL

(I'm doing phase 1 of the south beach right now and my carbs are coming in around 80-125. It's only for 2 weeks though.)

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FRANCO1230 3/30/2011 11:30AM

    Thank you for sharing your "secrets" look fabulous, so it obviously worked out for you. Way to go on trusting your instincts!!!

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TWALKER0475 3/30/2011 11:07AM

    Thanks so much, Nancy! I am happy to see how successful your cutting diet was with your carbs at a moderate level. When I have tried lower-carb plans in the past I feel incredibly tired in the afternoons...whereas I have found I function and feel just great if I shoot for around 150g carbs, so most days I try to hit in that ballpark. My fat tends to be higher, around 30%. The most comfortable macro breakdown for me seems to be around 30% protein/30% fat/40% carbs. I'm going to see what I can do to maybe tweak the fat down a bit without it being too painful!

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AMC120 3/30/2011 11:04AM

    Great advice NancyAnne!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! emoticon

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MINENA1 3/30/2011 10:38AM

    Great job!!! Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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MASONK 3/30/2011 10:27AM

    Thanks for sharing your successes with us!

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SHAYGETSFIT 3/30/2011 10:20AM


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PINKBEANBOO 3/30/2011 10:15AM

    Congratulations! You worked hard & the results show. Thanks for spellig out everything that you did. It's very insightful.

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ARMSPORTS 3/29/2011 9:02PM

    Great job NancyAnne! Your attention to detail and commitment are impressive!

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COCOAMARIA 3/29/2011 8:03PM

    If I could just figure out the math stuff. I have several degrees and I still on't get math. Thanks it is very encouraging. emoticon

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EXCUSELESS 3/29/2011 7:47PM

    Great blog! Congrats again, on the outcome.

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    You are just a wealth of information!!! Awesome blog, thanks.

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GRACEFULIFE 3/29/2011 7:39PM

    Thank you very much for posting this!

In your tracker it looked like toward the end you were doing 25-rep sets and 90-120 min of cardio every day. Did you do these the entire time, and was this a change from your normal workouts?

Comment edited on: 3/29/2011 7:39:50 PM

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BANKER-CHUCK 3/29/2011 7:26PM

    Thank you again for such an informative Blog. Well thought out and usable for most people on a diet. Glad you increased your carbs. I saw one time where your carbs looked dangerously low based on your workouts. I think you are becoming a cutting professional from your own experience.
A friend of mine is considering going on the Atkins diet but I am steering him in a less aggressive direction. The diet wants to cut to many carbs and increase to much fat. The plan just does not seem to be well balanced. I am sending him your Blogs to help educate himself further. I want him to hear it from others besides myself.

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THEHONESTME 3/29/2011 7:15PM

    You're amazing, Nancy Anne!! I wish you the absolute best with the competition. I really enjoyed reading how you did your cutting diet. It was very informative and, again, you look AWESOME!! emoticon

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MCMOM11 3/29/2011 6:33PM

    emoticon emoticonExactly what I was looking for!!!!! After looking at your meal plan this a.m., I had 1/2c of oatmeal instead of 1/4c, it was like a feast;) Have already applied a lot of this for today, LOVE IT!!!!! emoticonfor Sparkin me!!!!!

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PIP103 3/29/2011 6:20PM

    Thanks so much for sharing, it is so helpful to see how you break it down like that - and more importantly why! Fingers crossed for you in the competition!

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LORENVER 3/29/2011 5:59PM

    Wow, that is really good for someone that did it by herself. Way to go!


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The 12 Week Transformation is Complete!!!!! Final Progress Pics!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Today is the day my final pics and measurements in the 12-week challenge with my gym. While it will be a long time before I hear the results of the contest, I wanted to share my own progress pics with my Spark Friends.

When I did a 12-week cutting diet a year ago with a nutritionist, my final pictures were taken dehydrated, and sodium depleted. I felt weak and frail and like a good wind would knock me over. I am none of those in these final pictures. Yesterday I drank well over a gallon of water, got plenty of carbs (and fat and protein), and refused to compromise my health in any way for the end result.

I attempted to work the the nutritionist for the first 7 weeks of this challenge and it simply was not working- I was gaining both scale weight and size. So we parted ways and I managed the last 5 weeks on my own. So virtually all of the weight loss I showed was actually accomplished in 5 weeks, not 12. And I am really proud of what I managed to accomplish by myself!

My weight at the end of the cutting diet last year was 147.8. My weight this morning was 148.2. I have been lifting very heavy for the past year and feel I can safely make a modest assumption that I gained 4 pounds of muscle (In all reality it was probably twice that). At any rate, with four pounds extra muscle on me, it doesn't take a mathematician to be able to deduce that I am leaner this go-round than I was last. Last time I was 10.89% body fat by 7-site calliper test, and doing some quick math that would put me at about 8% body fat right now. This doesn't surprise me, since I came out at 9.93 by 7-site caliper not long ago. Of course, caliper tests can be off by as much as 3%, I think it is, so these numbers are simply a gauge, not a be-all end-all.

I took measurements this morning. My hips are down to about 39 3/4 inches, which is low for me, and my waist was 25 1/4 inches held normally, but I can suck it down to 24, which is both fascinating and weird at the same time! Especially on someone who is 5'9".

In one week I get professional photos taken with Doug Jantz. I won't be dehydrating or carb depleting for those, either. I never want to do that to my body again!

Start Front:

March 27 Front:

Start Right:

March 27 Right:

Start Rear:

March 27 Rear:

Start Left:

March 27 Left:

Start Close up:

March 27 Close-up Front (no hiding in this one!):

March 27 from a little farther away:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILBLESS 5/4/2011 7:16AM

    I know I'm super late on this blog, but just had to say WOW! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LORENVER 4/2/2011 8:47AM

    You are beautiful outside and inside! I'm glad you are on spark!


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MINIUM 3/30/2011 3:53PM

    You looked good before but you look even better now! CONGRATULATIONS! Thank you for setting such a nice example!

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AKA639 3/30/2011 9:13AM

    Awesome! You look great! Great job! Can't wait to see the pics!

I'm curious as to what you think the Nutritionist was doing wrong. You do know yourself better!

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LUVYA04 3/29/2011 11:24PM

    Wowee you look awsome!!

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FLOWER1967 3/29/2011 7:49PM

    Umm...if you're not using your old body.....can I have it ???

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81WREN 3/29/2011 7:47PM


Your hard work has produced incredible results!

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    WOWZERS!!!! Awesome job! And, you did it all on your own!!!!! WOOOOOFREAKINGHOOOOOO!!!!

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MEGSMILEY 3/29/2011 5:15PM

    Great job! YOu look fantastic. :)

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    WOW NancyAnne - you did an amazing job. You did all that in just 5 weeks? I'd say YOU are your own Nutritionist.

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MUSCLEADDICT32 3/29/2011 5:02PM

    You have such a beautiful physique!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/29/2011 5:03:37 PM

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MCMOM11 3/29/2011 4:54PM

    AWESOME, AWESOME!!!!! I'm ready for those kind of changes!!!!! I'm still going over your nutrition log, Love It!!!! emoticon

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TWOBOYS3503 3/29/2011 4:52PM

    You look outstanding!!!!! GREAT job and thanks for posting!!!

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DOWNTOWN02 3/29/2011 4:44PM

    greeeat transformation...! wow!

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SAPPHIRE983 3/29/2011 4:22PM

    Great transformation! You look amazing! Way to go! Such an inspiration =)

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    You look fantastic!!! Great job!

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DARACOX 3/29/2011 4:10PM

    Your abs look great! I love the last pic where you can really see your obliques!

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REDEMILY 3/29/2011 4:03PM

    You did awesome! Congrats!

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ANGEISBACK 3/29/2011 4:01PM

    all i can say is `wow!

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RACHEL_MAC 3/29/2011 3:54PM

    WOW!!!!!!!!! Amazing! Miss You-Need-A-Nutritionist-To-Prep-For
-Competition ... you are eating your words!

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TIAGAYEPFA 3/29/2011 3:54PM

    Incredible Nancy! I'll be starting my transformation on 4/11 and I'm excited about it! Have one more race to do, then muscle time! Great job!

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KLPEFFERS 3/29/2011 1:57PM

    Absolutely fantastic! You most likely have one of the sexiest backs I have seen ever! And red is definitely great on you!

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KJFITNESSDUDE 3/29/2011 1:50PM

    Great job NancyAnne! I think maybe it IS time for me to cut, too!!!! BTW, I really like your writting these days.

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APMAC_D 3/29/2011 11:09AM

    What a great transformation- AMAZING!!!

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 3/29/2011 2:21AM

    Wow, amazing results, Nancy Anne!


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KOOZIE1 3/28/2011 8:45PM

    WOW you look absolutely fabulous! I am SO proud of you for going with your gut and gettign the results you deserve. You are showing people that listening to your own voice really DOES work! Way to go! You really should be so proud of yourself! Everyone here is :)

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MISSYGEEN 3/28/2011 5:58PM

    Great looking photos. You look so fit from the beginning. Love the arms.

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_FITMAMA 3/28/2011 5:25PM

    You look fantastic! Great job!!!

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AMC120 3/28/2011 4:11PM

    WAY TO GO NANCY!!!!!!! You look INCREDIBLE!!!!!! I am so proud of you!!! I wish I lived closer and you were my trainer!!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DVASQUEZ 3/28/2011 3:14PM

    You look GREAT!!! Such an inspiration! emoticon

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CHARLIESANGEL10 3/28/2011 3:11PM


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FITCOFFEEMOM357 3/28/2011 2:21PM

    wow....and your thighs look great can see a big difference.

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LORIBURKS1 3/28/2011 1:27PM

    Amazing! I can't believe how much of your inner thighs are GONE! Good job! I am thoroughly impressed.

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BENJAMINSBABY 3/28/2011 12:37PM

    HECK YEAH!!!!! Nancy, you look fantastic!!! All that in 5 weeks??? You are amazing! Your tummy is so tiny! And you're slimmer and toned all over! Well done, my friend!

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MINENA1 3/28/2011 12:24PM

    WOOOOOW!!!! Congrats!!! You look absolutely amazing!!! Fantastic job!!

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 3/28/2011 12:15PM

    WOW WOW WOW is basically all I can say! You are a powerhouse!!

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JOYINRUNNING08 3/28/2011 12:10PM

    SQUEEE!! Holy crap. You look so wonderful, your waist is "IMPOSSIBLY" tiny. You should be every bit proud of your progress. For real. WOWWW!

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MYLIDDLEDALLAS 3/27/2011 10:42PM

    Whoooo-hoooo!!! Amazing job! I can not believe all you accomplished on your own. That gives me great inspiration knowing that we can do this if we really put our minds to it! Your clients are so lucky to have you in their corner! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

P.S. I would do serious bodily injury for a waist like yours!!! So jealous!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/27/2011 10:43:34 PM

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THEHONESTME 3/27/2011 9:12PM

    Congratulations on your success and thank you for doing it "the right way". You are such an inspiration to us all!!! Good uck with the competition!

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GODZDESIGN95 3/27/2011 8:43PM

    emoticonYou worked things your own way. Congrats!!!

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ONEWAYALI 3/27/2011 7:56PM

    You look wonderful! And even better ... you feel great! I think that is worth even more!

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MIMICOTO 3/27/2011 7:51PM

    You look amazing! Great job - and congratulations on putting your health first and treating your body well! It shows!


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TURBOTIF 3/27/2011 6:07PM

    great job!!! can't wait to see your professional photos :)

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PIP103 3/27/2011 6:02PM

    Wowee!! Those last 5 weeks have made a massive impact! 24 inch waist!!! AMAZING and the smile says it all! You'll have to share the professional pics.

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    You look incredible! Your hard work definitely paid off... and it's so great that you're not going to extremes to make it happen. Your waist is tiny, and I am jealous! haha

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BOBINVA 3/27/2011 4:42PM

    What a great transformation. The hard work really shows. emoticon

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MALAYNASMOMMY 3/27/2011 3:38PM

    You look so amazing! congrats on completing your 12 weeks and your incredible results!

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MUMZY_OF_4 3/27/2011 3:21PM

    Amazing job Nancy! You look absolutely gorgeous!

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HEALTHYME47 3/27/2011 2:56PM

    You looked good before and even better now - LEAN and MUSCULAR and SEXY!!!!!!

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SARAHNICOLE__17 3/27/2011 2:52PM

    Congrats!!! Im so happy for you. You look phenomenal.

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Rachel Mac Progress Pic Challenge - Final Week

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Warning! A lot of pictures ahead! emoticon

As anyone who read my blog from yesterday knows, this past week I both injured my back and was rendered unable to work out AND my nutritionist and I broke up 7 weeks into a 12 week cutting diet. It's been quite the stressful week. Despite that, I have been able to lose 3 pounds of scale weight (157 last week, 154.2 this week- and I did NOT dehydrate) and drop my measurements back down. My hips are back to 41 1/2, and my waist is at right about 26". I'd love for my thighs to shrink more (24". Sigh.), but that will come with time.

The other significant change is that the size 6 pants I bought in anticipation of getting fairly slender during the cutting diet (so that I would have SOMEthing to wear at the end- last time my pants were falling off of me!) are actually zipping up fine and getting closer to being something I can wear outside and not look like I painted my jeans on. So despite all the setbacks, I HAVE managed to make progress.

My method to get things moving downward again was pretty simple: As I said in my blog yesterday, my calories were coming in on average at about 1500/day. I had a gut feeling this was simply not enough for me, followed my instinct, did some quick math, and raised the average to just over 1600 calories a day. I didn't stop there, though- I started to cycle my calories, making the daily number swing widely from day to day, keeping the 1600 or so average. I also started eating (slightly) more carbs than I had been with the nutritionist. I'm guessing it was these little changes that were enough to get my fat loss going again, but it could very well be that it was for some other reason that didn't have anything to do with my food. Only time will tell. I will raise my calories a tad more when I get back into the gym if need be.

So this is all good news...... I guess stress didn't play into it as much as I was hearing it did, because this all happened when I was totally stressed out. Praise God! (No sarcasm, there- I really am giving Him the credit!)

Okay, so now for the plethora of photos:

Start Front:

11 Weeks Front:

12 Weeks Front:

12 Weeks Front, Legs apart (to closer match week 1 for fair comparison):

Start Right:

11 Weeks Right:

12 Weeks Right:

Start Back:

11 Weeks Back:

12 Weeks Back:

Start Left:

11 Weeks Left:

12 Weeks Left:

Close up, Week 4 (12/30/2010- The earliest close-up pic I have during the challenge):

Close-up 12 Weeks:

Just for fun, I also took pics in what I consider one of my two "real" swimsuits (The other one is the red one in my photos). As you can tell, I am not ashamed to be a HUGE Oakland Raiders fan, even living so close to Dallas. (Vallejo California, my hometown, was called "The Little Oakland", and growing up Oakland was just a stones throw away). I like this swimsuit because it gives me more coverage and the racer-back-style ensures the top stays on when I swim. Sting bottoms were NOT designed for high activity, let alone in the water!

First, I took pics from the angle I've done all of my progress pics: With the camera on self-timer, sitting on top of my jewelery box at about upper-ab level (the highest I could get it and still get my whole body in):

Raiders Suit:

Then, I went out to the kitchen and asked my 5'10 1/2" 14-year-old daugter, Lane, to take my pics. Look at the difference a higher angle makes- I look less bottom-heavy. This makes me have even more admiration for those figure gals who have photos taken from below stage level, which isn't exactly lower-half-flattering:

Raiders Suit, 5'10 1/2" person perspective:

Lane, uber tall daughter (this is one truly great kid. As a bonus, I get to live my dream of being 5'10" or taller vicariously through her):

Can't wait to wear this suit this summer! Should be fun in Cowboys territory! (Insert evil grin here.)

I want to thank everyone sincerely for the kind words and encouragement that was left on my blog yesterday. This has really helped me to pull myself up by the bootstraps and forge ahead. This is a pretty awesome group of people, here on Spark. I am grateful for all of you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_FITMAMA 3/9/2011 2:47PM

    You look great Nancy Anne! Congrats! And love all the pics, especially the Raiders suit, and of course your daughter. 5'10! WOW! My oldest may be there some day. She is 11 and 5'2"

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RMREEVESOLIS 3/6/2011 7:26PM

    amazing! great job and looking fabulous!

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    This is kind of late, but I wasn't on SP much the past few weeks. I'm just catching up now. Just wanted to tell you that you look great! I can definitely tell a difference all over. Great work, as always. :)

Have a great weekend.

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FUNRUN25 2/25/2011 3:16PM

    ok, seriously.......WOW YOU LOOK AMAZING!!!!!!!!! You are so toned all over and just stunning! You have the body of an 18 year old! WOOT WOOT mama!!!!! You are one hot mama! :) Your daughter is so cute too! Love her smile! ANDDDDDD........I LOVE VALLEJO. I lived in berekely/albany area and still to this day it's my favorite place in the world. My secret little slicce of heaven. Running in the hills, driving to the red woods, and late night hikes to look over the city........ahhhhhhhh. I miss it. Now I'm back to WI (Madison, where i grew up.) Someday back to Berkeley! Great job Nancyanne!!!!!! You are so inspiring! hugs, Miranda

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CICI510 2/25/2011 2:57PM

    I definitely missed that smile! You look amazing!!!

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MICHARM 2/25/2011 12:18PM

    I can see changes....lots of them...especially the space between your legs!!! Those thighs are getting lean!!!! Way to go! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 2/25/2011 2:59AM

    The thing I love most about your progress pics this week is... your smile! Glad to see it back. And I love the Raiders suit -- it looks FABULOUS on you and really suits you.

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BMRBUDDY 2/24/2011 10:04PM

    I'm so glad to see that smile back on your face. You look fantastic!

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NADJAZZ 2/24/2011 9:49PM

    I agree with STEPHWALKER13, it's so nice to see you smiling in these latest pics! I'm so glad you were able to figure out the tweaks to get those pounds moving again! Congratulations on your accomplishments!

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STEPHWALKER13 2/24/2011 8:11PM

    So happy to see a smile in these last pics!

You Rock!

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FITPRIS 2/24/2011 7:28PM

    Excellent job!!

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JENNFIT24 2/24/2011 7:25PM

    First off, your daughter is stunning!
You look amazing again Nancy:)

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 2/24/2011 5:46PM

    You look amazing and so happy in your latest pictures! You have done an awesome job and I know you are going to continue to rock!!

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AMC120 2/24/2011 4:12PM

    You RAWK!!!! WOO HOO!!!

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TESS6166 2/24/2011 4:09PM

    Competition is a double edged sword... it can leave you soaring, or deeply saddened. But you attempted it, which is what really counts! I also really believe that there are "peaks" and "valleys" in our lives... and that competition is best undertaken in a "peak." It's not your fault that you hit a valley. Stay strong, recuperate, build, and you'll be ready for your next challenge. I believe in you!!!

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PINKBEANBOO 2/24/2011 4:00PM

    You knew what you needed to do cause it worked!
I love the Raiders suit. It looks great on you. The back of the top is perfect for your shape & I also like the bottoms on your bottom.
I've been planning on buying a bikini in black. I really liked the bright turquoise color they offer it in but I was afraid it wouldn't look right on me because I'm 37. When I saw the picture you posted yesterday of the red, I thought maybe I was wrong & that someone of my maturity could wear a bright color cause it looked so good on you. Thank you, NancyAnne, I'm finding myself looking up to you more & more.
PS: your daughter is too cute - how fortunate to be tall & thin!

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LEASH119 2/24/2011 4:00PM

    you are a rock star!

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PIP103 2/24/2011 3:32PM

    So proud of you for sticking to your guns and listening to your body. Great work in a week and fabulous changes in 12. Your back and waist are simply gorgeous. You will do a great job in your contest Nancy and your honesty and persverance despite not seeing the changes at the speed you want for all your effort, is truly inspiring.

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MUSHROOMSTEW 2/24/2011 3:22PM

    You can really tell in the full lengths how the gap between your thighs is growing! And you should thank your daughter for taking such great pics because you look fantastic!!

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MUMZY_OF_4 2/24/2011 2:49PM

    Smokin' hot Nancy! Wonderful progress!
I know what you mean about a camera angle. I do have a big bottom, but my camera sits low when I'm taking pics too (self timer). I think this makes me look more pear shaped than I am.
Thanks for the comment on my blog too. Made me feel good.

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    Your stomach is so flat!!!!! OMG! You look fantastic, I'm going to miss your weekly photo updates!

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THEHONESTME 2/24/2011 2:47PM

    Great pictures and amazing progress over the 12 weeks! Your daughter is beautiful and so are you! Keep inspiring!! emoticon

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GODZDESIGN95 2/24/2011 2:25PM

    emoticonwhat wonder daughter. My sons never want to have me with any techy things. LOL!

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BANKER-CHUCK 2/24/2011 2:12PM

    Congrats on the weight loss and on the great pictures. You are doing great!

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Lunging Without Damaging Your Knees

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My belief is that, after Squats, lunges are the best exercise out there for the lower body- Especially the butt! If yours is flat, lunges will help round it out. If it's too round, lunges will help it look more compact. The folks I've seen who do lunges religiously have nice firm backsides and hamstrings, and flared hips with reduced saddlebags.

But a lot of people are afraid to lunge and never realize the benefits of this compound move. And with good reason- Lunging wrong can cause some serious damage to knees. I avoided them for a long time, then started to do some experimenting and discovered a few very simple things that finally made lunging possible for me again:

1. Do walking lunges ONLY! Forget stationery lunges or back lunges- both types seem to aggravate the knee of my forward foot when going into the backwards part of either motion. (This would be pushing back into start in the case of front lunges, and lowering down in the case of back lunges). The tendency when going backwards is to stabilize with the toes, and my experience is that when I am stabilizing with the toes my knee will instinctively go in front of my toes to balance my body, which stresses it. Walking lunges enable me to leave my toes out of the equation entirely, if I really concentrate on pressing through my heels.

Also, in my opinion, walking lunges simply do a better job of shaping the lower body, since they use all the muscles together through the entire range of motion.

2. Push through the heel of the front foot! Just as with squats, I make a mindful effort to think "heels, heels, heels" when I am lunging. When I push through the toes of the front foot, there goes my knee too far forward again and I feel that old familiar twinge for the next few(or more) days.

3. Take a big, "This-feels-way-too-long" step forward. The farther out you step, the safer the position is for your front knee because it's as far away as possible from being over the toes.

4. When following through with your back foot (bringing it forward), pause slightly, touching your foot to the ground, when your feet come even to regain-your balance and center yourself, before bringing that back foot forward. This will help keep you from landing on your toes when that foot moves to the front position.

One added note- I hate those short lunges people do to better hit quads. They just look to me to be a knee disaster waiting to happen. If you want to do a multiple-joint exercise that focuses mostly on quads, do front squats.

And that's it! In a nutshell, do walking lunges with big, wide steps, pause before you bring the back foot forward, and stay in your heel on the front foot. You'll feel these the next day, and your backside will thank you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEFULIFE 3/23/2011 9:20PM

    I am just completing phase 1 of NROL4W, which calls for stationary lunges. It's actually my rear knee that was hurting, and I found that I could prevent the pain I'd been feeling by intentionally contracting my hip adductors to keep my knee rigidly in line. I guess it must have been flaring out, even though it never felt like it. No matter, as long as I can do what Cosgrove tells me without pain or injury. emoticon

He alternates them workout-by-workout with step-ups. And evidently his wife claims in her book FBB that their gym is known for its trainees' butts!

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PAGATANS 3/14/2011 10:33PM

    Great tips. I'm afraid of lunges because I don't want to hurt my knees. I will try your suggestions. I'd love to have firm buns!

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DOGWALKER215 2/20/2011 2:49PM

    thanks for the tip.I love lunges,they make you so strong. I also have a bad knee so I find the walking lunges better and keep me more balanced.

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JAZZID 2/20/2011 1:07PM

    I am actually the opposite of you... I do stationary front lunges and they don't bother my knee at all.. I just started doing the walking lunges (STS) and I like them. Thanks for the tip on stepping out further, that is key for me too... short lunges really bother my knees and I don't recommend them at all. I love squats... I tolerate lunges because of the results you get from doing them. Thanks for sharing... I have printed this out for future reference. ~ Dee emoticon

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FINEBABY72 2/20/2011 11:58AM

    Thanks for sharing,I recently starting doing the forward lunges and saggital lunges and now I'm hurt pretty bad and need to heal,before I do anymore lunges.

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MISSYGEEN 2/16/2011 9:47PM

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I have issues with balance and often have to hold on something just to do lunges. I'll let you know if this helps.

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BEACHGIRL76 2/16/2011 3:39PM

    Thank you! I'll do that today while I home sit. I can do those anywhere! :)

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BF20PERCENT 2/16/2011 9:23AM

    Thanks for the tip. I've been avoiding it because I have bad knees and the soreness afterward. I usually can't walk for a week (Is that normal?).
I would try walking lunges with your tip in mind.

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NEWNARAYAN 2/15/2011 7:46PM

    thank you! i have knee trouble and just recently took stationary lunges out of my workouts and worked in other exercises instead. i'll try the walking lung, thanks nancy!!! i need all the backside help i can get!

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SUNSHINE667 2/15/2011 1:48AM

    Thanks for the tips! I printed this out to add to my reference file!


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THEHONESTME 2/14/2011 9:58PM

    Thanks for the tips, NancyAnne, I will definitely think heel, heel, heel when I do my walking lunges from now on. And, I'm sure I'm not taking a long enough step, but I'll work on that, too! Keep the tips coming -- I can use all the knowledge I can get! THANK YOU!

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CICI510 2/14/2011 1:01PM

    I love doing lunges but I find the walking ones hurt me more than the stationary ones. Maybe I'm not doing them right?

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MAJORMOM68 2/14/2011 10:04AM

    Haven't tried lunges yet. Getting used to squats. With my knees as bad as they are I've been careful and have gotten to really enjoy squats. Looking forward to the day when I feel that way about lunges

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GENKI_WARRIOR 2/13/2011 7:25PM

    I've avoided lunges because of the knee thing--but walking the lunges makes sense (Gilad lunges and then pushes off the heel of the front leg to go back to standing--I'm not comfortable doing that, either)! I may just move to a point in the room where I have room to walk it out.
Thanks for sharing!

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JOYATLAST 2/13/2011 6:36PM

    My knees started giving me trouble but I didn't equate it with the lunges I've been doing!! Thanks for sharing this.

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PINKBEANBOO 2/13/2011 6:31PM

    I'd better be hitting the walking lunges since my butt is what needs the most work.

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 2/13/2011 6:21PM

What do you think of barre type exercises? They are kind of like lunges. They seem to be helping me with the legs and butt area without hurting my knees? Thank you. I appreciate your advice.

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BECKY_ROWE1984 2/13/2011 4:36PM

    Thanks for the tips, I currently do standing lunges so will def have a go at walking!

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    Thanks for the tips! It'll be nice to do lunges without knee pain!

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BELLABLUE10 2/13/2011 4:02PM

    These tips will help me out so much! thankyou for blogging about this, I had stopped doing the lunges because my one knee, the one going forward as you had mentioned was killing me!! and it was taking so long to get back to having no pain, then it would act up again. So, i am going to try it the way you explained, thankyou!

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Top 12 Things I Wish I Could Say To People In the Gym

Monday, January 31, 2011

1. ASK ME FOR HELP! I'm not going to bite, and I'd be honored!

2. YOU AREN'T LIFTING ENOUGH! If you are still leg pressing the same weight you were pressing six months ago (or one year or five years ago), you aren't challenging your muscles and aren't going to see growth. Women especially are guilty of this. They seem to think "Eight pounds is what I curl", instead of "How much more can I curl?"

3. YOU'RE LIFTING TOO MUCH! If you are losing your form (arching your back, using momentum to get the weight up, or otherwise employing bad technique), for Pete's sake, lower the weight and do it correctly! Not only will you dramatically reduce your risk of hurting yourself and gain better muscle, but you also won't look like an idiot to everyone else in the gym.

4. YOU AREN'T GOING LOW ENOUGH ON SQUATS! Check my blog "Squatting Re-learned" to see what I'm talking about.

5. YOUR BACK ISN'T STRAIT ENOUGH! Hunching when you do ANY exercise is bad form. You're back should feel so strait that it feels like you're butt is protruding. I see a hunched back most often on Dumbbell Bent Rows and Tricep Kick Backs. Look in the mirror and check your form! You should be able to put a 3/4 full cup of coffee on your back and not have it spill.

6. LET GO! When you set the treadmill to an incline and then hold onto the handles and lean backwards while walking, you are no longer at an incline! Let go and do an incline that you can manage withOUT hanging on!

7. GET OFF THE CARDIO MACHINE! As I've said in the past, lifting weights does more for fat loss and body shaping than cardio ever could. Cut your elliptical time in half and come lift weights! We really aren't scary people at the lifting end of the gym.... really! (Please refer to #1)

8. UNRACK YOUR WEIGHTS! Okay, all of you lugheads... Not everyone can take that 45 or 100-pound plate down from a bar that's 5-feet off the ground. And it's just a hassle to have to put someone else's weights away. Practice good gym etiquette and put ALL your weights away after you are done using them. Even if you started with weights that were already racked.

9. READ A BOOK! Or a magazine...... Pick up some literature on correct lifting technique and setting up a program. You'll be safer and see results quicker this way.

10. TRY SOMETHING NEW! Ever seen the big guys that are in their 50's and played football in College and are STILL lifting the exact same way because "I've always done it like this!"?. Notice that they don't look like college football players anymore? This is because they are missing one very key component: Football! Look, when you're out there doing the stuff that a sport, particularly football, requires, you don't have to be as comprehensive in the gym because the sport itself is most of your workout. But when you take the sport out of the equation, you need to change your gym routine to reflect that! (And they wonder why their bodies never change.)...... This rule also applies to anyone who is not getting results in the gym- You can't do the same routine forever expecting to get the same results, because muscles adapt so quickly. Keep 'em guessing and try new moves frequently!

11. ASK ME TO SPOT YOU! I may be a female, but my partner is the most muscular fella in the gym. If I can spot him, I'm pretty sure that between me and you we can get that heavy weight off of you before it falls on your head and knocks you cold or crushes your sternum. I'd rather spot you than perform CPR.

12. SHUT UP! Just stop talking and exercise, already!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEFULIFE 3/23/2011 9:50PM

    Good points all! But I'd like to state one item on squats... lower is better, yes, but we each have our own limit of how far we _should_ go. I, for one, can't squat (safely) very deep for two reasons: (1) because my heels start to lift (partly a form issue and partly an ankle flexibility issue) and more importantly (2) because my lower back rounds out. I think this is due to my limited fore-aft hip mobility (short hamstrings) which I intend to improve if possible (but I have tried before and it's very difficult to do so). So while deep squats are "better", safe squats are best. And for people with limited flexibility in some areas, that may mean limiting squat depth - certainly when they begin training, and possibly forever.

Here's a set of gym rules I like too (I hardcore want to get the tee):

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LORENVER 3/21/2011 4:47PM

    I love this post!


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BETTER_THAN_AVG 2/14/2011 9:04PM

    I never realized this.

7. GET OFF THE CARDIO MACHINE! As I've said in the past, lifting weights does more for fat loss and body shaping than cardio ever could. Cut your elliptical time in half and come lift weights! We really aren't scary people at the lifting end of the gym.... really! (Please refer to #1)

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LAURIE-RN 2/10/2011 7:37PM

    Love this. Thanks for your input.


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GYMRAT_AT44 2/10/2011 5:32PM

    Oh Nancy, I so love this blog! It is like you climbed in my head and started typing! Hello, it was awesome. You missed one. If you are going to use the elliptical with the handles that move, then use the handles! We only have 3 ellips at the gym - 2 are just legs and 1 has the moving arms... don't understand why someone will get on the one that has the arms too, when all 3 are open and won't use the arms! Agh!

You are too funny!

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TB_KITTYKAT 2/9/2011 12:43PM

    Love the squat tips....I was sure I was doing something wrong cause my shoulders come out sore afterwards too...thanks for the link to your site =)

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COOKANDRUN 2/9/2011 11:00AM

    LOVE THIS!!!

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YOGINI18 2/8/2011 10:59PM

    Terrific post!

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HEARTANDMUSIC 2/8/2011 10:58PM

    I love it!! Great blog!

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KASSAY25 2/8/2011 7:49PM

    i love this! I wrote a similar blog several weeks ago. I really can relate to this, although i am not a personal trainer.

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MOMONTHERUN1 2/8/2011 6:59PM

    Love it!! I need to take your advice and get off the elliptical after 30 minutes and do some ST for the other 30 minutes.

Great blog!

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    Excellent post

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MINENA1 2/8/2011 5:08PM

    Excellent!! emoticon

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MEGSFITNESS 2/8/2011 5:04PM

    I love these!! I'd say the same things :D One way I thought of squats and making sure that I'm getting paralell is to remind myself that it's the TOP of my thigh or the bone that should be parallell--not the fat on the bottom!

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DARACOX 2/8/2011 4:58PM

    OMG so true. I'm a trainer and I've worked in gyms for a while. This cracked me up.

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DRLCORNETT 2/8/2011 4:53PM

    Sweet. I like

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KEEPGOING87 2/8/2011 4:45PM


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FLY0NTHEWAL1 2/8/2011 4:45PM

    Haha! This is so spot-on. Definitely good tips, not enough people seem to realize that they have to build a routine and then routinely CHANGE their routine.
Awesome post.

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SKYWATCHERRS 2/8/2011 4:29PM

    HA! The last one killed me!

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STARFISH619 2/8/2011 4:20PM

    Great blog! Great reminders!

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    I like #7 - I'm definitely ready to start adding ST to my routine emoticon

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    great blog. loved the eye kisses in the mirror comment. so true.

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AMBERNICHOLE3 2/8/2011 3:41PM

    I love this!

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ANNE7X7 2/8/2011 3:39PM

    Awesome blog! I especially agree with #6. It drives me crazy. I just want to go karate chop their hands off the darn bar!

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    If only more people thought this way!

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ELFITZPA 2/8/2011 3:24PM

    Love it!! You've pointed out so many of my pet peeves at the gym.

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ABETTERBECKY 2/8/2011 3:10PM

    Love this blog - I agree 100% with everything (and so does my husband!). My pet peeve is guys in muscle shirts who think they are bigger than they are chatting away, hogging equipment, giving themselves eye kisses in the mirror and then NOT putting their stuff away. Oh and 'squatting' ridiculous heavy weight with the worst form possible. You hit a nerve Nancy :)

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LDY_ALI_79 2/8/2011 10:29AM

    Nice, you sound like my old personal trainer. While we would train with her she would have us scope out other people in the gym & ask us about their form. It it wasn't she would tell us what they are supposed to do! She couldn't express the importance of #2, 3 & 5!

Take care~

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FELLE442 2/5/2011 8:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

Really great blog...thanks for all the reminders!


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MELROCKZ 2/4/2011 1:53PM

    I love this!!!

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AMC120 2/3/2011 1:09PM

    Great blog NancyAnne, as always! So, quick question for you! I really need to focus on my lower body..... I haven't been doing the stiff legged dead lifts as often as I should be, but I did start back this week... How many reps should I be doing of this exercise and how often?

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AMERAG 2/3/2011 9:25AM

    I wish you worked at at MY gym! ((sigh))
great Blog, now let me go and read the squating one :)

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LOVE_2_RUN 2/1/2011 10:24PM

    Thanks so much for this blog! Especially the link to your blog about squats, very helpful.

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CHANGING_LIFE 2/1/2011 10:11PM

    Great advice!
What bothers me is seeing people wear jeans in the gym...I'm always afraid they are going to rip!

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JENNFIT24 2/1/2011 8:44PM

    Your advice about squats is spot on. My trainer at crossfit is a power lifter and he makes us go all the way down and will sometimes have the other trainer tell us when we have depth before coming up. When the weight is heavy he also tells us to "knees out" which helps get super heavy weight up. When I workout at the gym at my school I want to scream when I see guys squating 300 lbs but only bending their knees and not going down.

Do you do a lot of power lifting?

Such a good blog again:)

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BELIEVER104 2/1/2011 5:42PM

    Love this!! emoticon

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THEHONESTME 2/1/2011 4:09PM

    I read yesterday's blog and appreciate the new #6. I'd like to print this out and post it at the gym!!

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    GREAT blog! Love it.

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PINKBEANBOO 2/1/2011 2:56PM

    Yes! These are emoticon

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FATHINSN 1/31/2011 11:41PM

    I've been to gym only once and that was when my big brother wanted to try the sauna room in the hotel we stay with our family and I finally have someone with me to the gym (the hotel gym was scary with no one else around and I'm just a little female, haha). Must be nice to have someone helpful like you when either I'm too afraid of the trainer or simply no one looks friendlier!

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ALESHABEE 1/31/2011 8:25PM

    Nice...I love this, lol. esp #8 and 12

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THEHONESTME 1/31/2011 7:51PM

    LOL! I love this blog!! Another good one, NancyAnne!

DH and I were just talking on Sunday about the guy at the gym doing his bench presses. He had so much weight on that when he tried to get it up, he was lifting his butt and back (everything but his shoulders) off the bench. What really bugs me was that the trainer wasn't anywhere to be found. No one was there telling the guy he might hurt himself and correcting his form! OHHHH, and even better than that -- when we went into the gym on Saturday, I heard a groan -- looked over and there was a guy STUCK! He couldn't get the bar back up -- he was trapped there. I ran over and helped get it off him. He said he felt 'stupid' asking for help and thought he could get it, but hadn't been able to. YEAH, well you look real smart now, don't you buddy?!

Anyway, thanks for the blog -- it was a great one!

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ADESSO1234 1/31/2011 7:38PM

  I LOVE this blog post!!! Especially the part about lifting too much omg I see lots of guys like that at my gym-LOL!!

And the Shut up and exercise- I love the people who are sitting on the machine you are waiting to use talking on their cell phones- like the piece of equipment is a chair-lol!


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NWHURLEYGIRL 1/31/2011 7:35PM

    Amen to all of the above, especially #3 - it kills me to see people trying to "impress" by awkwardly hoisting up a weight that is clearly too much for them.

I personally would add to the list "Hanging off the treadmill/stairstepper display panel like your life depended on it". If you have to lean your entire upper body onto the machine to keep up - guess what - you're NOT keeping up!

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LMWST36 1/31/2011 7:09PM

    i wish you were a member at my gym! i would totally hit you up for advice.


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CICI510 1/31/2011 7:04PM

    emoticon emoticon

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THROOPER62 1/31/2011 6:59PM

    emoticon emoticonfor the information

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