I thought of a product that I can take to Shark Tank next season that will surely get me a deal from the sharks: a gym bag fanny pack. Once I get to the gym, it takes me a solid 5 minutes after I put my bag down at the lockers to “get ready” to workout.
First I have to take my pre-workout supplements, then I have to wet my heart rate monitor strap at the water fountain before putting it on so my heart rate reads, then I have to put on my watch. Then I have to put on my wireless headphones and make sure they connect to my ipod, turn on my ipod and clip it to my pants somewhere and make sure a good song is playing. Then I need to review my weight training program for the day and make sure I have all of the “tools” I need for those exercises. Then I need to get my shaker bottle, a small towel, my weight book, my “tools,” my phone and actually start my grueling 60-90 minute workout. The fanny pack would seriously help, because I literally need an extra hand to help me get all of my items from one training station to another. Look for me on season 8. I’m hoping to work with Mark Cuban.
This week, I will share with you all of my gym bag essentials with links to everything, so you can order anything that you think might take your workout up a notch. Let me know if you have questions!
1.) luluemon gym bag. This link is not the exact bag that I have, but you cannot go wrong with any of lulu’s bags. There are so many little pockets for all of your essentials. I especially love that they come with an inner bag that is perfect for anything from sweaty post-workout clothes to spin shoes.
2.) An extra pair of crops because sometimes I am just too sweaty for post-workout errands. Right now, the beat the heat crops are my absolute favorites. I have both colors.
4.) my supplements. I take 2 pre-workout supplements: CON-CRET creatine HCL in pineapple flavor and Shred Her by NLA for Her. Creatine has been associated with increased muscle strength and size, enhanced recovery, and improved performance, and those are the reasons that I use it. Shred Her is a natural fat burner and gives me a little burst of energy. While I am working out, and post weights during my cardio sessions, I drink BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) which prevent my body from using my muscle for energy. I have two favorite flavors: Slap Nutrition Salted Caramel (sweetened with Stevia, use code MARY for 10% off) and Her Aminos by NLA for Her for in Pink Lemonade.
5.) Wireless Jaybird X2 headphones and a backup set of headphones because being without music is just terrible. I got my Jaybirds about 6 months ago, and honestly I don’t know how I worked out with regular headphones before. They are so easy to use. My only complaint is that I have to charge them every two days (after about 3 hours of use). I have forgotten many times which is why I always have a backup set with me.
6.) ipod. duh. I always make sure to download a few new songs each week to keep things fresh. There’s nothing worse than a stale playlist. Checkout Soundcloud and Spotify New Music Friday for weekly inspiration.
7.) Chanel lip gloss. No, I’m not kidding. Who says you can’t look cute when you deadlift?
8.) Ankle straps for my one-legged cable kickbacks. My friend Jess thought I was bringing back the 80s one morning when I was rocking my ankle straps, but I informed her that I was just trying to build the booty. My gym doesn’t carry these, and since this is such a great exercise for the glutes, I invested in my own.
9.) My Haulin Hooks for when I’m doing deadlifts or rows. They allow me to lift more weight without worrying about dropping the weight and injuring myself. I love these, and they are essential for my workouts these days.
10.) PhantomFit bands. I use the black x-heavy one which I use to warm up my legs and glutes each day. It is so important to get those glutes warmed up before you start working them. Focus on the mind-muscle connection. Don’t focus on the grocery list.
11.) Possibly the most important thing that I have in my bag is my notebook of weights. I always advise my clients to carry a notebook with them to keep track of what exercises they performed and at what weight. I like a physical book, so that I can disconnect from my phone for an hour and focus on me. This page shows an old booty day that I did a few months ago. I noted my weight and my rest time, and at the bottom of the page, I repeated the same workout and tried to improve. I also like to write little notes to myself. A little pep talk from me to me, because it’s always ME vs. ME in the gym. I am my only competition.
Fitness is my hobby. I like high-quality items that perform well. I don’t want to mess with chords or uncomfortable pants, or anything that gets in the way of me performing at my best. Start to see yourself as an athlete in the gym, not a girl just doing some bicep curls. You are TRAINING. You may not be training for a fitness competition, but you are training to get stronger, to carry 40-pound bags of groceries up your stairs while carrying your toddler. You’re training to carry a tent, a beach chair, and a cooler on the beach without resting. You’re training to make your life easier on a daily basis because you are stronger and healthier. You deserve it. Your health is your greatest essential.
I feel like a broken record at times when I talk about macro counting, because someone asked me just this weekend “if I eat ________.” The answer: YES. Even in prep, NO FOODS ARE OFF LIMITS…yet.
Despite the fact that I CAN eat ANYTHING I want as long as it fits my macros, when I start to explain it to some people and they hear the words “weigh my food,” their eyes start to glaze over. “Suit yourself” I think, as I dip into my nightly dessert.
Let’s review a scenario. You wake up one morning and you go downstairs for breakfast. Today you are having oatmeal. How do you measure your oatmeal? Do you just pour it straight from the bag into the bowl, add water, and heat? If you do, then more power to you. I am sure that is some delicious oatmeal especially if you are winging the water part as well. Can you sense my sarcasm? Maybe you take out a ½ cup measuring cup like most mortals who are not as skilled at eyeballing said oats. You measure ½ a cup, add water, heat and enjoy. Well counting macros is actually easier than that. Put your bowl on a scale. Turn the scale on. It will say 0g. Pour in the oatmeal (no measuring cup needed) until the grams on your scale matches the grams on the serving side of the bag – usually 40-48g. Add water, heat and enjoy.
We are all having the same oatmeal for breakfast.
But instead, people make judgements about macro counting in the same way that I make judgements about people that “eat clean” all the time or who do 7-day juice cleanses.
Let’s review another scenario. Say you REALLY want a burger for dinner. And I’m not talking about that 93% lean crap that I have been eating lately. You want an 80/20 badly. Think 5 Guys. Well maybe not 5 Guys, but close. I think 5 Guys is more like 60/40, and maybe that’s why it’s so damn delicious. Great. As a macro counter you can have it, and it’s not even a cheat meal. It’s not a “BAD FOOD” in our world. It’s just protein and fat. That 6 ounce, 80/20 burger has about 34g of fat. For me, I can’t have that burger because I am only eating 33g of fat each day, but if your “fat macro” is higher than 34g a day (mine was 61g before prep), then you sure can have that burger as long as you make lower fat choices for breakfast and lunch.
Let me repeat. As long as you stay within your macros, no foods are off limits.
I used to see foods as “good” and “bad,” but now I just see foods as the macros that they are made up of:
Pizza: lots of carbs and fat and a little protein
Chocolate Chip Cookies: lots of carbs, fat and sugar
French fries: carbs and fat
Delicious Ruth’s Chris filet: protein and fat
Apple: carbs, fiber and sugar
Popcorn: carbs and fat
Broccoli: carbs and fiber
Now, am I going to crush some chocolate chip cookies everyday? No. Just because they aren’t “bad” doesn’t mean that they make me FEEL good. Before I really started learning more about nutrition, I ate whatever. I did not realize that there is a REASON that a sugary treat gives me a severe sugar hangover after I eat it. I didn’t realize that I was sluggish after a breakfast of pancakes and bacon because when the white flour and sugar is not paired with fiber, your body sets off a series of events that make you feel like you got run over by a train by the drive home from brunch.
Now that I understand that my body feels like crap after a lot of white flour, white sugar and a heaping bowl of dairy, I choose them a lot less. Yes you will still find me at the Iron Rooster eating a pop tart on occasion, but I usually eat a few bites for breakfast after my egg white omelette (protein) and fibrous carbs (oatmeal).
So what do I eat? Well, 90% of my diet is “clean” because when I eat clean I feel better. Lots of lean meats, veggies and minimal fruit. You can refer to my old post about my phase one prep diet here. I LIKE good for you food. I crave salads. I love treating my body well, because it takes such good care of me each day. I put it through grueling workouts 6 days a week, so I HAVE to use food as fuel or I won’t be able to perform.
Macro counting takes practices. Luckily technology is very sophisticated these days, and there are several tracking apps that make it very easy to record our food. My Fitness Pal has a bar code scanner feature that allows you to easily scan anything you eat that comes in a package. For things that don’t come in a package, like fruit, vegetables and meats, those foods are already populated, and all you have to do is search for them in a large directory. You can even import recipes from your favorite food blogger and search your favorite restaurants for their nutritional information.
The biggest learning curve for most people is the education around what macros make up certain foods. Many people think they are eating a lot of protein when they are eating cheese and nuts, when really they are eating a lot of fat and a little protein.
Macro counting is a high protein way of life. During prep, I am eating close to 200g of protein each day. My diet is made up of egg whites, chicken, ground turkey burgers, protein bread and protein powder. I also get to eat a LOT of carbs, close to 230g to be exact. That’s the equivalent of 20 slices of BREAD. Yes, BREAD! No grain-free lifestyle going on here. Pass the toast and jelly please. My fats are a bit lower than I’m used to, but I can still have 4 tablespoons of peanut butter a day if I really wanted. Peanut butter is my love language. Well, that and pizza.
Does everyday of my life fit my macros? In my normal life, no. I usually take a break from counting from time to time. During prep, I am on point, with usually one treat meal per week that doesn’t fit.
So before you go rolling your eyes about my gram scale, think about how you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits. I literally wake up every morning and plug in my dessert before I get out of bed. I am a night eater, and I cannot go to bed HANGRY. Think about how you can enjoy a slice of pizza and some cake WITHOUT the guilt. That is the biggest selling point of IIFYM and why the women I coach in this lifestyle have so much success on the program. NO GUILT. We are so hard on ourselves in so many areas of our life, that it’s nice to be more relaxed about food. My next macro coaching group starts in a few weeks if you’re interested in learning more about this lifestyle. I hope you’ll open your mind up to the idea of abs and pizza together in a beautiful harmony. I promise you that once you get a taste of the flexible dieting life, you’ll get hooked. Pass the bread basket.
I feel like I have so much to write about this week. Some weeks I struggle for the perfect topic for this post, and some weeks they come right to me. This week, so much happened that I feel like I have to narrow down the events. Instead, I will just tell you about it all, and you can just skim over the boring parts.
1.) I was hangry, a lot.
2.) I trained with Joe and he kicked my ass.
3.) A lady asked me to take my shirt off in the middle of the gym. She was serious. I obeyed.
4.) I had to do some soul searching and choose between two paths.
5.) Sunday morning, I drove to Columbia, for my very first posing practice. Check out my IG page @marydavisfitness for a video.
What would you like to hear most about?
You probably don’t care that I was hangry (hungry + angry). Deal with it, right Mary? In the past few weeks when I have been hungry and haven’t had any food left that I was “allowed to eat” for the day, I still ate anyways. Some days I was over my allotted calories by 200. Those days, I taught spin usually, and my metabolism was just ripping through my food so quickly. This week a light switch flipped in my head when a trainer at my gym, Kelly, said, “You can’t do that during prep.” She probably has no idea that it was because of her comment that the switch flipped. Kelly happens to be the girlfriend of my coach Joe. She has competed in the past and, like Joe, she is super dedicated. The words just stuck in my brain. “YOU CAN’T DO THAT DURING PREP.” She was right. I am training for a COMPETITION. We are now into 15 weeks. Shy of 4 months. It may seem like a long way away still, but it’s really not. 15 weeks will be here in the blink of an eye.
So when I was hungry on Monday and Tuesday nights, I just dealt with it. It was hard and uncomfortable, and I always tried to remember that I could eat more food tomorrow. I had another 1900+ calories waiting for me. I gave this feedback to Joe, and we are trying something this week to see if my hunger subsides a bit during my spin/lift days. We will see. I have to remember that if it were easy, everyone would do it. I posted the picture on the left on my Snapchat (MaryGoNavy) one morning this week after a very hangry night. If you are not following me on Snapchat, please do. I post a ton of content there.
I went back to the Colosseum on Thursday afternoon, and my coach had me try some new lifts that completely crushed me. I did front squats for the first time. We used the Smith Machine for them to ensure proper form, and I did two warm up sets of 15 reps and 2 working sets. Joe had me lift the heaviest weight that I could (95#) for 4 reps, rest for 10 seconds, repeat for a total of 6 times. 24 reps at 95#, and at the end a lot of struggling and breathlessness. My heart rate got higher than I’ve ever seen it during a weight lifting session: 165. I repeated that 4×6 an additional time, and I knew I would be feeling it the next day, and the day after. I also did Sissy Squats for the first time and a new shoulder exercise which left me sore driving home from the session. I cannot wait to incorporate these into my routine this week.
The feedback that I am getting from Joe and others is that the muscle gains over my six weeks of training are very visible. My shoulders are larger and rounder, my arms are tighter. My legs and glutes have more shape, and my waist is smaller. I have lost almost an inch there. That is all great news, however in the bikini division that I plan to compete in, that might NOT be what the judges want to see. In the bikini division, they look for big shoulders, big glutes but a soft and sexy everything else. In the figure division, the judges look for a more muscular and athletic appearance.
At the end of my training session, Nikki, a well-known trainer at the Colosseum asked me to take my shirt off so she could see my upper body and back. The feedback: uncertainty…which leads to the title of this post. Am I trying to be something that I’m not?
Am I trying to be strong and sexy when I’m really just strong and athletic? Am I trying to fit into a division that I really DON’T fit into? Am I really a figure girl?
So for the rest of the week, this is what consumed my mind. I want to WIN a trophy. I want to place. I don’t want to train for 22 weeks, and walk off stage with nothing. My coach wants to coach someone who leaves with a trophy. We have the SAME goals.
On Saturday, I went with my family to Fan Fest at Navy Stadium. My husband is a football coach, and he has been working very long hours lately. This was a great way to spend some time with him and support Navy Football. A women approached me and asked me if I competed and to list the supplements I take. I was taken aback by her comment, and I started to feel self conscious for the rest of the day. I looked at photos of myself from that day, and I noticed my larger shoulders, my bicep vein and the muscles in my chest. I am not sure that I want my shoulders any larger or my veins any more prominent. I don’t want to cross the line of femininity. When is big enough, big enough?
I went to posing practice on Sunday for the first time. I needed to see with my own eyes other figure girls and other bikini girls. I sat there and watched these tall, strong women of all races and ages strut there stuff in the middle of a gym. I look at the demeanor and the poses of each division. I took in the personalities of each division. I sat there watching. I was thinking that my body fit in better in figure. I looked more like the figure girls. They were more athletic. They looked like me, well except for the tattoos everywhere. I was sad. I didn’t know where I really belonged. Finally, I walked up to the clinic coach, and I told her that I wasn’t sure where I fit in.
She asked me a simple question, “What do you LIKE better?” She told me that this was about HAVING FUN and that I had to choose the division that would allow me to have the most fun. The division that excited me the most. Fun. I forgot about fun. For the past 6 weeks, I have been very serious. I take my training very seriously. I enjoy my rest days, but when I am training it is tunnel vision at times.
So I strutted my stuff over to the bikini girls. I put a little swagger in my step, practiced my walk and my quarter turn and smiled a lot. Bikini is where I fit in even if my body doesn’t fit in. Maybe the judges will say that I am too shredded for their soft look. Maybe I won’t place because my biceps are too big, but damn it, I’m working way too hard not to follow my heart and have some FUN while doing it.
So it’s time to be more of a bikini girl. More dresses. More high heels. More date nights. Speaking of, my husband is home from his 14 hour work day, so it’s time to go. Don’t think for a second that just because I’m having fun now doesn’t mean I’m not a competitor. The switch is flipped. Watch out ladies, on November 19th, I’m coming for that trophy.
Have a great week, and don’t forget to have some FUN too.
This past week my daughter celebrated her first birthday. Everyone always told me it would “go by quickly,” and they were right. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant, our first doctor’s appointment, the first kick in my stomach and the day she was born like it was yesterday. Then I blinked and she was a year old.
My husband and I weren’t sure we wanted to have a child when we first got married. We loved to travel and the flexibility to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. As time went on and we celebrated our third wedding anniversary, we decided it was time to add a little person to our happy family of two. I have shared on social media many times how I was very nervous about what would happen to my body when I got pregnant. You can look at my Instagram page for lots of bump photos. I would look at other fit women who still looked super-fit post baby, and their journey gave me the inspiration to trust that I could be the same way.
I had a very active pregnancy. Before I got pregnant, I was in great shape. I taught 5 spin classes a week, including a double on Tuesdays, and I lifted weights 4 times a week. I also had a very easy pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, and I really did not get any more tired than usual, so I was able to keep up this rigorous schedule without many modifications. My heart rate was still very high when I taught class – but I was able to talk and teach. I reduced my weights when I was targeting very large muscle groups – during squats and lunges. Other than that, it was business as usual.
And the belly kept growing…
I described myself as a “laid back pregnant chick.” I did not go to extremes to avoid certain foods. I still had 1-2 cups of coffee a day, occasional sushi and red meat that was not well-done. I drank protein shakes and took my BCAAs along with my daily prenatal vitamins and fish oil. My diet was mostly whole foods, lots of vegetables, green juice, and plenty of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I ate healthy 80% of the time. In the end, I gained 35 pounds after 40 weeks, and I didn’t weigh myself at 41 weeks pregnant when I delivered exactly one week late.
My labor and delivery was again, easy. I was in labor for 8 hours and pushed for 30 minutes. Hello healthy 7 pound 14 ounce baby! My recovery, also easy. I was able to return to my workouts at 4-weeks postpartum.
I cannot say for sure that my health and my diet was to thank for my easy pregnancy, my easy delivery, my easy recovery or my easy BABY – a great sleeper to this day. But I can say one thing for sure – it didn’t hurt the cause.
After I delivered, I still had 12 pounds of baby weight to lose, and the journey to lose it was a struggle for me. Everyone told me it would “fall off” after I finished nursing at 12 weeks, but that was not my experience. Every pound was a struggle. A STRUGGLE. I hovered at 140 for a long time. I remember being very sad some days because I was still very uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t like having to wear loose shirts. I remember crying on a date night with my husband because I felt so badly about my extra layers. He just looked at me and told me that it didn’t matter to him. But it mattered to me. So I got my ass in gear. I set some goals, and at 8-months postpartum, I got to 3 pounds below my pre pregnancy weight for a photoshoot I did for my lululemon athletica ambassador photos: 129 pounds. That lasted for about a day, then I returned to 132 quickly afterwards. Today I hover at 135 pounds, since I’ve made some muscle gains since then.
Now at one-year postpartum, I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life. I am stronger than I have ever been. I have ABS! I NEVER had a six-pack before I got pregnant, but the way that my body has reverted back has allowed me to achieve the six-pack look, which is super cool because I’ve always wanted one.
I never thought that I would be training for a bodybuilding competition at one-year postpartum. I never thought that I would care less about the scale than ever before, because the scale does not tell the whole story. Pictures tell a story. How your clothes fit tell a story. The number on the scale does not represent your fitness level. It is there as a gauge only.
And most important of all. I am grateful that I overcame a huge fear in my life, and I had a baby because the joy that I have experienced in the past 365 days, is greater than any that I have ever known. I mean, who wouldn’t smile when they looked at this face?
So I have said it before, and I will keep saying it. Do not let your fears hold you back from achieve anything your heart desires. Fear is a liar. Move past it. Crush it. Be grateful. I’m off to lift.