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We’re Still Here

Every day, Chris acts more and more like a standard human being.  He has even been baking delicious holiday sugar-laden foodstuffs with me!

A few weeks ago, on a whim, we decided to make S’mores bars.  The recipe has five ingredients and is really hard to mess up.  The first step is to add one cup of graham cracker crumbs to a pre-made sugar cookie mix.  Chris started the recipe while I was in the bathroom, and I came into the kitchen to find this:


Chris was standing next to this bowl on the scale looking befuddled.  He finally asked me, “How do I weigh out one cup of graham crackers on the food scale?”

Because OF COURSE anything involving food preparation would involve the food scale.

I think he was a bit disgusted when I suggested that most people would use a one-cup measuring cup to measure one cup of graham crackers (what revolting imprecision!)…but he agreed to do it.


Measuring food the normal people way

I’m sure you thought the next thing I’d write was that we screwed up the recipe, but we did NOT!  The bars were impeccably delicious.

This was probably due to Chris’s watchful cook’s eye.


We made S’mores bars again for Thanksgiving.

Also on Thanksgiving, Chris agreed to run a charity-sponsored turkey trot with me.  To promote the charity, the theme of the turkey trot was “Hydrocephalus:  It IS brain surgery!” which was a pretty awesome theme.  I love people who have a sense of humor about hydrocephalus.  We now own hats and t-shirts with this slogan.

But I digress from the key point of this story which was that Chris ran with me!  For 3 miles! Our time was 26:30 which shocked me so much (based on Chris’s lack of running training) that we drove the course after we were done to confirm that it was really 3 miles; (it was). There was also a windchill of 11 degrees (F) that morning so perhaps that pushed his pace. He wore the following cold-weather running outfit:

No, he is not praying to not have to run; this is his favorite stretch that he has no qualms about performing in public.

No, he is not praying to not have to run; this is his favorite stretch (seriously).

Not too exciting of an outfit huh?  The night before, I did get him to try on some running tights but he rebelled against wearing them during the actual race.


That’s a finger shaking “no, no, these pants are not for me,” and unfortunately not a finger in the air proclaiming “these pants are number one!”

Sooo, if I got this right, wearing the spandex equivalent of women’s underwear on stage for a bodybuilding competition is totally cool, but full-coverage spandex pants are not?  Okay Mr. Modesty…

Actually, I believe his main objection to the running tights was that they squished his thighs uncomfortably.  He couldn’t pull them up correctly and I was mocking him as a silly man who doesn’t know how to pull up tights correctly but then I tried to do it for him and tried to find loose fabric to grab to pull the tights up his quads and there was none.  His thighs were encased in those tights like a sausages in pig intestine.  As I failed to find any bunching fabric on his quads, Chris smiled and said, “Wow, I guess my quads really are big!”  He said this as if this fact had never before been established.

So in addition to cooking S’mores bars twice over the last few weeks, we also made oreo cookie balls.

Our blender was having trouble crushing the oreos on its own so, naturally, Chris picked up the blender, while it was on and blending, and vigorously shook the thing to help it out.  The shaking was so vigorous that his arm veins stood out.

He did successfully crush all of the oreos in this manner though which makes me think cooking for the very muscular is an area that really should be better explored.  Imagine a cookbook entry:  “Should your blender get clogged, palm the lid in your over-sized, muscular hand, and violently jostle the blender using all of your strength (arm veins should be visible); your goal is for you and electricity to contribute equally and as one to the blending of the food.  For best results, shake food until muscular failure or until food is well mixed.”




After all our baking, Chris and I needed some take-out.  Chris suggested we again try the wings and Mexican food place; that’s right, THE wings and Mexican food place; there’s only one wings and Mexican food place.

This time, he ordered 14 wings and ate only his 14 wings.


And he felt much, much better afterwards this time compared to last time.  He has successfully learned the societal reintegration lesson that 14 extra large wings are okay for his stomach, but over twice that number of extra large wings are not okay.  Way to go Chris!

And that’s what we’ve been up to.

A Reintegration Glitch

Last Saturday, I had just posted about how well Chris’s reintegration into society was going when an reintegration glitch occurred.

If you read last Saturday’s post, you know we hiked up Mount Monadnock.  Hiking up Mount Monadock made us hungry.

As Chris is now a normal human being in society who can eat a variety of foods, we decided to order hot wings from a local place specializing in “super wings and Mexican food”, a common food specialty pairing.

Chris ordered 24 hot wings.  I ordered 12.  Our order came with fries and (naturally) Mexican rice.

The vast quantity of food excited Chris.


In Cape Cod, after his first show, he ate 24 hot wings and, although he then wasn’t hungry again for the next 8 hours that day, he had felt alright.

We thought these 24 hot wings would be an innocent indulgence.

We neglected to account for the superness of the “super wings”.  Apparently “super” meant “huge”.  These were the biggest chicken wings I have ever seen.  I enjoy food and I could only eat 6 of my 12.  Non-dieting Chris, who thinks it’s a crime for a hot wing to go to waste, decided he better eat my remaining 6 along with his 24 … and some french fries.

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I couldn’t believe he could eat that many, but then, he had dieted for 6 months and hiked up the mountain with me earlier so it sort of made sense.

Once he finished, he stood up, rubbed his belly, and said, “Wow, I thought I might have really overeaten for a minute there but I feel okay.”

Five minutes later, his stomach was visibly distended and he was groaning in pain.  For the next four hours, he alternated between lying in bed not moving and well, doing what you do when your stomach is visibly distended and upset.

Eventually he fell asleep and was fine the next morning.

And that was the reintegration glitch.

Dieting bodybuilders who compete and then are no longer dieting, often have trouble with the desire to binge.  I don’t feel like what Chris did was exactly binging though; he wasn’t eating everything in site.  As a man of numbers (see all posts related to his spreadsheets for proof), I think he just got hung up on the 30 wing thing without examining details of the 30 wings; he’s eaten 30 wings before so, in his mind, he should have been okay eating 30 wings this time.  His fatal flaw was neglecting the subjective information; namely, that these wings were huge, and his stomach wasn’t yet adept at handling 30 wings and some french fries after its six month imprisonment in the yogurt dungeon.

He will now know for the future.  When a wing is labeled “super,” it means “super.”

The reintegration continues.

Reintegrating Into Society

Chris “reintegrated into society” this week.  He is doing very well.

While last Saturday he was doing this,


this Saturday he did this:


We hiked up this mountain, Mt. Monadnock, one time before while Chris was contest prepping.  Today Chris commented on how it is much easier to hike up a mountain when you are well fed and your legs are not exhausted.  Who knew?!

Along the theme of “who knew?!” Chris brought four protein bars, an apple, and a banana on today’s hike.  He told me that this was likely more food than he needed, but he’d brought extra bars in case he got hungry.  He told me excitedly, “If I get hungry, I can eat!”  And eating makes him not hungry!  Do other people know about this?!

His workouts have also been exciting.  He feels marvelously strong and energized in the gym. He has stopped doing HIIT so it’s hard to know how much of his feeling great lifting is due to his caloric freedom and how much is due to his not exhausting his legs with sprints.

Today he weighed 192.8 which he tells me is exactly 5 lbs. more than his lowest weight during contest prep.  A five pound gain for someone of his size who was so depleted is pretty reasonable.

From my perspective, I can tell he’s so much more relaxed than he’s been the last few weeks. His life is no longer organized around when he can eat and what he will eat and will his weight drop and should he practice posing and all of that fun.  He’s still sleeping only six or so hours a night and automatically wakes up around 5 am, but he’s been working on staying up later and sleeping more.  Today he took a nice nap against a rock on the top of Mt. Monadnock:

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Although Chris is still using a few too many life-organizing spreadsheets for my personal taste, overall, the reintegration into society is going well.

And now, for the “guess this body part” section!



What is this body part?  Last posts’s answer was “the biceps and deltoid muscle”.  Best. Game. Ever.

A Recap of Show Day #2

Ever since Saturday’s show, the final show that Chris is competing in (for at least 3 years he tells me), Chris has repeatedly told me that he feels like he’s just been let out of prison.  “You don’t know what freedom is until you’ve followed a strict schedule of eating and planning eating and exercising for six months and then suddenly all restrictions are lifted!” says Chris.

Initially this immense feeling of freedom was incredible and joyous and Chris was so excited to be able to not worry about sticking to an eating schedule of specific foods, but this morning, as we were about to leave for work, I encountered him in a near panic muttering to himself in the kitchen.  He said he had been so excited to eat whatever he wanted at work today but now he didn’t know what to choose!  He still wanted to eat food that would make him feel good and be nutritious throughout the day but it had been so long since he’d made food decisions based on hunger and feeling good throughout the day that he was at a loss for what to do!  I calmed him and assured him he could eat a variety of foods and it would be OK and finally he calmed down and packed his lunch box.

When we rehashed this brief food frenzy as we drove into work together, Chris again brought up the “released from prison” analogy and told me that he believes he is now having trouble “reintegrating into society.” You can’t make this stuff up folks.  That’s what he said.  Perhaps we should find a bodybuilder-now-eating-normal-food-quantities-and-variety-and-is-overwhelmed reintegration social worker for him?

So now to recap the events of Saturday.

The day started around 6:30 am with coffee; Chris felt good.



We then drove the hour or so to Amherst and found the venue on the UMass Amherst campus which was in what appeared to be the plant science department.  There was a sign for “Turf-grass physiology” next to where we set down all our stuff.  At one point, a plant professor came down to his lab and when we apologized for being in the way (and Chris being tan and nearly naked and eating rice cakes in his hallway), the professor smiled and said something like, “Oh, we’re used to you people; we see you ever year,” and then he offered to take our picture.  What a nice plant professor!  (I loved the phrase, “you people.”)

A bikini competitor was getting ready in the lab behind Chris.

A bikini competitor was getting ready in the lab behind Chris near the beakers.

Chris went on stage around 11:30 am.  He looked amazing.



However, the other guys on stage looked amazing too.



Chris had the conditioning (meaning he was definitely lean enough), but these guys just had more muscle; they were huge (see pictures below)!  The winner of his class was the champion of West Africa who actually came from West Africa to compete; wow.  (The winner of his class is 2nd from the left in the picture on the right).

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So look at how massive these guys are and then picture then posing to, in order, “California Gurls,” “Call Me Maybe,” and “Oops, I did it again,” because those were the songs playing the entire time these humungous manly men were out there flexing.  When “Oops, I did it again” came on after those other two songs had just played, I believe I actually laughed out loud. Interestingly, Chris said he hadn’t even noticed the music.

After this time when they compare the competitors side-by-side (called “prejudging”) it was time to hang around and wait for the bikini and figure competitors to finish their posing routines.  As soon as we got back down to our plant lab hallway, a show organizer came and told us we needed to move our stuff to an area of the plant department where there was paper on the walls (to protect against the tanner).  The hallways were pretty crowded with competitors so we got the last choice location which was on a ramp by the door to outside.

Chris is sitting weirdly because he is trying to not get tanner all over things.

Chris is sitting weirdly because he is trying to not get tanner all over things and because the chair is on a slant.

As there wasn’t much to do while waiting for Chris to go back on stage to do his posing routine, I amused myself by taking close-up pictures of his muscles which I think will now become a fun “guess the body part!” feature of this blog.  We can start with the picture below.  Who knows what that is?!


Around 4:30 pm or so, Chris went on stage again and did his posing routine.  Around 5 pm, they announced the top 5 giants (no breath holding for Chris here; we knew he wasn’t placing) and then got ready to leave.  Chris, brilliantly, decided to wipe off most his tanner with a towel this time before getting in the car to drive home.

Somewhat de-tanned

Somewhat de-tanned

Once home, he showered with the loofah and baby oil (and some new “exfoliating gloves” he had found at the store which he told me about very excitedly and with a completely straight face), and then we jubilantly celebrated his ability to eat food at restaurants now by going to Texas Road House for dinner and Friendly’s for dessert.

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That ice cream delight you see if called a “Cone Head” and yes it’s from the kid’s menu and has a smiley face made of Reese’s Pieces on it, but ya know, you diet for 6 months, you get whatever bizarre dessert you crave.  (He did ask the waitress for “an adult sized” Cone Head.)

Also, at Texas Road House, we were given this form with our check:



At the last Texas Road House I went to, in Texas, I was not given one of these…  A bit ominous as winter approaches if you ask me…

To conclude, now that Chris is done dieting, there has been some voiced concern over what will happen to this blog.  Well, he’s still “my bodybuilder” and I still live with him right?  Right now watching him “reintegrate into society” is pretty awesome so I’m going to write about that.  If life with him ever gets boring, the blog will stop, but as long as he’s being his bodybuilder self and giving me things to write about, the blog continues.

Show Day #2

Chris is done dieting!!!  Hooray!!!

He is currently in the shower loofah-ing off the tanner.  He, uncharacteristically, switched his plans and we did not go for wings in Amherst but instead are going to the local Texas Road House.  We are going out to dinner!!! Hooray!!!

Thus, this post is brief.

The show was excellent.  Chris did not place, but he did not expect to place.  He looked better than two weeks ago and came in the best shape possible.  He left contented and really, really thrilled that he can eat anything he wants now.

As a teaser for the upcoming show recap post (which I’ll do in the next few days), here are two pictures from today.

His back looked like this (that’s tanner mixed with sweat bunching up at the top; it’s not some skin disease, don’t worry):


And I wore a t-shirt all day with a picture of him in his posing trunks on it.

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And that is all I am going to write today because I have to get to a dinner date with my fiance at a restaurant where we are both going to eat food together and we are not going to count its macros and then afterwards both of us may eat ice cream!!!  Hooray!!!!!!!!

The Day Before Show #2

As this second show is only about an hour’s drive from our apartment, we are leaving for the show tomorrow morning.  Chris has his bags packed and food organized and we are ready.

There are 30 professional men’s bodybuilding competitors at this show, something like 10 professional women’s bodybuilders, and a gazillion bikini and figure competitors so the show is supposed to take all day.  It’s on the UMass Amherst campus and the show promoters sent Chris an email saying that this weekend is UMass homecoming so alumni may be around popping their heads into the auditorium; that should be interesting.

Chris woke up this morning weighing 187 lbs.  It is kind of crazy that he’s still losing weight. As I’ve stated many, many times before, he looks so lean.


That’s him in a side chest pose and a farmer’s tan.

Today was a much calmer day before the show than last time.  Chris’s plan was to calmly get things ready for tomorrow and to focus on relaxing.  He was doing well staying calm until I left to run an errand and when I returned he was out-of-it and not talking much and clearly agitated and when I asked what was going on (assuming he must be getting stressed about tomorrow) he told me he was working on addressing reviewer comments to a paper he’d submitted and I told him that was the most ridiculous thing to do ever the day before a big bodybuilding show when you weigh 187 and have stated that your objective on this day is “to relax” so then he said something like, “Oh right, addressing reviewer comments on papers is stressful!  Thanks for reminding me of that!” and then he stopped addressing the reviewer comments.  He spent the rest of the day watching “Pumping Iron” and ESPN jabber, and lying flat on his back in bed, which is what he is doing at this moment.

And because it’s Friday night and it’s looking like it’ll be a me-and-my-laptop kinda night, as Chris is still lying flat on his back in bed, I decided to compose a short poem:

Twas the night before the second show

Of men cut like sculptures in galleries.

The lean, yet massive, creature was not stirring

Because he needed more calories.


Tomorrow is the big day

The day he will compete

And we cannot wait for tomorrow

Because finally, lots of food, he will eat.




Thursday of Peak Week #2

This afternoon, I pinched Chris’s fat and measured its thickness at various locations on his body.  This is the kind of date we go on these days.  Ha!

Back to seriousness, this is called taking skin-fold measurements.  We were doing this to see how lean he is.

Skin-fold measurements are decently accurate at estimating percent body fat if you know what you are doing and have had sufficient practice.  Being amazing, as I am, I do know what I’m doing and I have had sufficient practice.

I pinched and measured Chris at 7 different sites.  We then put the numbers (in mm) that I got into 3 different equations which are all meant to estimate body density which can then be used to estimate percent body fat.

(I say “estimate” because no body composition method can exactly determine percent body fat; almost nothing irritates me more than someone bragging that he is exactly 7.52% or 9.43% body fat.  No, you’re not.  That is an estimate and you are in that range.  Ditch the decimals.  While we’re on the topic of body comp related things that irritate me, the phrase “lean muscle mass” is way up there.  Think about what you’re saying you ridiculous supplement company or new workout fad promoter!  There is lean mass and there is muscle mass but there is no “lean muscle mass.”  Is there fat muscle mass? If I didn’t do your workout or take your supplement would I develop fat muscle mass?  I don’t think so.  So don’t ever say “lean muscle mass.”  Ever.  Or I will throw messy bodybuilder tanner all over you.  Now, back to Chris and the skin-folds.)

It is stated in textbooks that the density of lean mass is 1.1 g/cm^3 while the density of fat mass is 0.9 g/cm^3.  Using three different equations, we calculated Chris’s current body density at 1.089, 1.094, or 1.092 g/cm^3.  Although of course those numbers are not his exact body density, the range of them all is pretty close to 1.1 g/cm^3, meaning, Chris is extremely lean.

When we calculated percent body fat from these numbers, Chris came out at 4.54%, 2.22%, and 3.31%.  This means he does not have much body fat.  (Again, it does not mean that he is exactly 4.54%, 2.22% or 3.31% body fat).

As far as taking his skin-folds went, it was interesting to see that I could get a good fat pinch from the subscapular site (on the mid back) but was clearly measuring just a double layer of skin thickness at the chest and midaxillary (under the armpit) sites.

Chris weighed 189 lbs. today.  He is, once again, clearly the leanest he has ever been.

After we took the skin-folds, on the way home from work, Chris told me I smelled like salad dressing.  I hadn’t eaten any salad dressing.  Or even been around salad dressing today. The man is so hungry.  Well, with his testosterone levels like they must be by now based on my previous case study of him, at least him thinking I smell like salad dressing could finally peak some interest in me maybe…

Oh, were you wondering if Chris had created a new spreadsheet to track changes in his skin-fold thickness measurements, body density, and % body fat in the off-season?  Come on, you know the monster we’re dealing with here.  Body fat

Please note that he titled the spreadsheet, “Offseason.”  I thought spreadsheeting was ending with the show this weekend.  I really thought that was the goal.  But this is clearly a new spreadsheet and it appears that it will be used in the “Offseason.”  I now think Chris may have an addiction to his spreadsheets.  Along with the cinnamonologist recommendation for Chris that I asked for in a previous post (to cure Chris of his excessive use of cinnamon), I think I now need a recommendation for a good spreadsheeters anonymous group for him…

2 days!