Tag Archives: bodybuilder

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!

22 Days Out

On Wednesday, Chris was 24 days out from his show.  What’s the significance of 24 days out? Here’s the significance:



See that in the bottom left corner?  It says “O.”  As in, “O days out.”  Chris sent me this screenshot and excitedly declared, “The end is in sight!”  Thank. Goodness.

I gave Chris a new scale for his birthday back in August.  It’s digital and reports weights to the nearest 0.2 lb.  Chris asked for this scale.  Chris said, yes, I can switch body weight scales mid contest prep.  I now see that he has been using it (see “new scale” column) but that he is still weighing himself regularly on his old scale (see “old scale” column).  He had told me previously that he would weigh himself a few times on each scale and calculate the difference as a correction factor to apply when recording his weights, but I guess incorrect-weight paranoia has too strong a hold on the man.  Would the compassionate action be for me to destroy the new scale so he can just go back to using the one scale that he is used to?  I now feel guilty that I gave him a present that encouraged the crazy…  Oops.

In other news, our air conditioning system was turned off on September 15th and cannot be turned on again until June 15th.  Did we not pay the bill?  Did we break the unit?  Noooo.  There is apparently a Massachusetts law requiring landlords to switch air conditioning systems off on September 15th.  A law.  I am not making this up.  Chris and I are very happy about this law.


As Chris stood shirt-lessly by the open window last night trying to catch just a hint of cool air to cool the sweat dripping down his body-fat-depleted chest, we talked jubilantly about how happy we are about this law.  We thought we had everything covered when searching for MA apartments:  we asked about security deposits, crazy ovens in the center of kitchens that were also heaters, parking spaces.  We did not, however, think to ask if there was a state law that would require our air conditioning to be shut off on a predetermined, arbitrary date when it was still hot outside.  What else is going to happen?  Is there a state law that will require us to let in the shivering forest animals this winter?  Is there a state law that we can’t run our refrigerator from October to February?  Probably.  Guess I’ll start building the forest animal shelters in my bedroom…  How ironic that what I most feared here was cold, igloos, and polar bears and now we sit here, mid-September, sweltering.

To end, Chris and I have worked a bit recently on our wedding planning.  We took potential “save the date” pictures when we were on Cape Cod back in August.  Here are two pictures that did not make the cut:


Just like in “Titanic”

lindy and chris outtakes (1 of 5)

I thought we’d agreed to smile.  Maybe Chris is smiling?  We may need to work on the meaning of “smiling” before we take wedding pictures…

22 days until October 12th!




From Hypoglycemia to Posing Trunks

Topics to be covered in today’s post:  

1)  Chris’s hypoglycemia, self-diagnosis, and how he fixed it

2)  Where Chris thought it was a good idea to do hill sprints

3)  How the bodybuilder dealt with climbing a mountain

4)  How Chris looks now

Topic 1

I wrote before about Chris’s occasional hypoglycemia during contest prep.  Recently, Chris switched from afternoon to morning workouts.  This switch made the hypoglycemic episodes more frequent.

Last week, Chris was in Florida again when the most intense of these hypoglycemic episodes yet occurred.

I need to pause here to mention why Chris has spent so much time over the last few months at his parents’ in Florida:  his dad underwent open-heart surgery back in June and is still hospitalized as he recovers.  Chris, naturally, has wanted to spend time with his dad and mom during this process.

So one day last week, Chris went to the Florida gym early in the morning, trying to get in a heavy leg workout before driving to the hospital to see his dad.  He ate a high carbohydrate meal 2 hours before lifting and he was mentally pumped up about leg day.  After just a few squat warm-ups, Chris got so shaky and cold-sweaty that he was afraid he’d pass out.  He bought a Gatorade for $2 from the front desk at the gym to raise his blood sugar and then felt fine and completed the workout.

When he got home, he analyzed what was happening:  it appeared that the hypoglycemia only occurred in the morning when a high carbohydrate meal was eaten ~2 hours before lifting.

Based on these conditions, in an email, he explained to me his self-diagnosis:

I think I have a medical condition called “postprandially reactive hypoglycemia” which probably described what I am experiencing. I founds a few pubmed articles on it but can’t get the full texts. This link has the best description and probably describes the situation closest to what I am going through:


It is caused by very high insulin sensitivity in very lean people!

So Chris, who is a “very lean people”  is too insulin sensitive; this basically means his body overreacts when he secretes insulin (in response to carbohydrate ingestion primarily) and causes his body to lower his blood sugar too much.

The good news is, since he has identified the factors causing his hypoglycemic episodes, he has solved the problem.  He is still working out in the morning -it just fits his current schedule better- but he has changed the carbohydrate component of his pre-workout meal from a cup of oatmeal (~60 grams of starch) to an apple (~25 grams of fructose).  This change seems to have fixed things.

I do not like Chris having hypoglycemic episodes but I am very glad that he’s not an idiot and would consume an unplanned Gatorade at the gym rather than pass-out.  Honestly, I’m not sure all bodybuilders would make the same decision.  It’s good to know that my bodybuilder is a smart one.

Topic 2

The gym Chris worked out at in Florida wasn’t open on Sundays so Chris had to do cardio outside.  Someone at the gym recommended he run on the shoulder of the road over a bridge.  Logically, this is what he did.


It is a big shoulder, at least


And it had a good view

Anything to get in the scheduled workout.

Topic 3

Speaking of scheduled workouts, yesterday, miraculously, Chris did something “off-schedule.”  We climbed Mt. Monadnock.  What with the hypoglycemia and Chris’s extreme leanness and mild fatigue recently, I was nervous about his hiking it, and asked him several times if I should bring candy bars to force feed him should his blood glucose fall.  He assured me that he’d be fine and I did feel better when I saw that he was bringing 6 protein bars and an apple and also not eating a high carbohydrate breakfast.  He was fine on the hike and we made it to the top of Mt. Monadnock just in time to see this majestic view:


On the summit of Mt. Monadnock

What a view!  It was kind of neat to be surrounded by fog.  We do plan to go back there, however, when we are not surrounded by fog.

Prior to the hike, Chris had told me he was going to do his scheduled “cardio,” which to him means high-intensity intervals only, after the hike.  I thought about explaining that 5 hours of slippery mountain hiking is also called “cardio” but eh, he’s got his scheduled ways.  I was relieved (and rather astounded) that, after the hike, he said he felt like he’d had a good enough workout and was not going to do the scheduled “cardio”.  He felt guilty about this decision, but, his pedometer said we had gone 17,000 steps, he’d fallen flat on his butt twice on the slippery rocks, and somehow, that seemed like enough for his body for one day.  I believe his exact decision making process went something like, “Well, I’d be fine doing extra high-intensity intervals today, but I just think I might be too sore then to do well during the rest of the week’s workouts.”  Ya think?!

Topic 4

Chris is lean enough now that he felt comfortable putting on his teeny-tiny posing trunks for his Saturday flexing pictures.  He told me these were his practice trunks.  I said, “Why do you have practice trunks?”  He muttered things I didn’t understand about needing two pairs of identical posing trunks.  I think the “show” trunks have tanner on them still from the last show and that’s why he has two pairs? Not sure.  Also, why do those little things get to be called “trunks”?  They are clearly much too small for the “trunk” designation.  Well, anyway, here’s how the man and his trunks are looking:


Chris pointed out to me that his nipples no longer look asymmetrical! Hooray!


This is called the “front abdominal” pose.


We like his back, but are still waiting for those glutes to fully come in.  Oh the waiting!  When will they come in?!  Gluuutes!

Only six more weeks until COMPETITION DAY.

Cinnamon and Coffee

I introduced Chris to cinnamon.  I thought he was strong. I thought he could handle it.  I didn’t know cinnamon would become a contest-prep obsession.

The gateway cinnamon was in oatmeal.  Years ago, I showed Chris how just a bit of cinnamon added to oatmeal and combined with Equal and blueberries is delicious.  Over the years, he started adding more and more cinnamon to his oatmeal; I neglected to notice this dangerous progression.  Around the start of this contest-prep, I showed Chris how I also put cinnamon and Equal in my Greek yogurt; Chris started doing the same…with large amounts of cinnamon.

We don’t buy the modest, cylindrical, cinnamon container; we buy the humongous, we-are-serious-about-our-cinnamon box.  Usually, Chris has back-up cinnamon in the cabinet too (for cinnamon emergencies I suppose).

Despite such cinnamon intensity, I thought Chris was handling his cinnamon OK until the other day when I walked into the kitchen, where Chris had made sweet potatoes, and saw this:


That is only cinnamon on those sweet potatoes.  That is a full half centimeter layer of cinnamon.  A half centimeter.  Tomorrow, I will take Chris to the cinnamonologist for treatment.

To be fair to cinnamon, it’s not his only spice obsession.  As he gets further and further into the diet, all spices are highly exciting.  He has these anonymous mixed spices that he enthusiastically dumps on everything (except, of course, for the foods he has already doused with cinnamon).  Usually, after spicing foods to the extreme, he then tells me how amazing the food is.  What I want to say, when he tells me how good his spiced broccoli in a bag is, is, “Yeah, but know what else is good? Chocolate ice cream,” but that would be mean so I nod politely and then go outside to cough the spice-dense air out of my spice-blackened lungs.

I sometimes contemplate putting drywall crumbles on his food, telling him it’s a new spice, and seeing if he tells me that it is delicious.  Because he would tell me that it is delicious.   Because he’s hungry a lot these days.  The other day I was eating what had aspired to be a taco salad but, due to my hunger-induced meal-prep corner cutting, was basically ground beef and lettuce, and Chris exclaimed, “Wow, that looks amazing!”  Ground beef and lettuce do not look amazing.

Along with excessive spicing, Chris is also very, very into coffee right now.  He recently decided that your standard-sized travel mugs just weren’t cutting it.  Thus, he purchased a mammoth, transportable, coffee container.  The thing is intimidating.  I imagine him entering a meeting at work, where people sit calmly around a table with traditional coffee cups, and Chris, smiling, plunks this monster down.  I then imagine Chris’s coffee monster eating the traditional coffee cups.


Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to work with my coffee pot!

Speaking of work, the semester has not started yet so Chris and I are not going into the office regularly, but, the other day, Chris went in for a few hours.  Below is what he brought to sustain himself:



Monster coffee carrier, little coffee cup, shaker bottle, yogurt mixed with cinnamon, apple, peanut butter, whey, scale, and index card listing what is to be eaten when and in what quantities

This day at the office, Chris’s scale gave him the “low battery” message and shut-off.  Luckily, he had already weighed what he needed to and catastophe was averted.  He bought batteries later that night and was about to put them in the scale when he realized that it was working again.  Wha?!  Eventually he realized, with his brilliance, that he had put the food scale on top of the frozen ice pack in the cooler.  And thus, we all learned that food scales cease to function when put on top of frozen ice packs in coolers.

And that’s the kind of fascinating stuff going on around here…

Please let me know if you need the number of a good cinnamonologist.

A Neat Little Graph Chris Made

The other day Chris sent me the following email:

Here is an updated screenshot of my spreadsheet.  New features include:

-Days out column (2nd column)

-Highlights along the first column denoting days I was not at home

Also attached is a screenshot of a neat little graph I made comparing my body weight last prep and this prep. Yes, I make graphs for fun.


Well, what are we waiting for?  Let’s check them out! sdsfsdfs Good, nice new highlights and “Days Out” column.  “Moving” and “Move into APT” have been added in the highlight column too.  We can see that “Move into APT” was counted as HITT.  I bet gym programmers will see this, be impressed by Chris’s success, and “Move into APT” will soon be the new Zumba.

Gym Goer #1:  “Yeah, gotta get to Move into APT class tonight; we’re carrying mattresses to the 4th floor this session.”

Gym Goer #2: “Oh, right, the 4th floor mattress carry, the 4FMC.  That’s tough but just wait until you get to the pivoting-couch-room-entry.  That’s how I grew these biceps.” sds And there is the “neat little graph!”  We can see a nice comparison of his body weight changes during his 2011 and 2013 (current) contest preps. The part I find most interesting in this “neat little graph” is the steadiness with which Chris lost weight during both preps.  During the 2011 prep, Chris’s schedule was very reliable, he trained in the same gym, he had access to his own kitchen, and, he was not traveling.  During this prep, he’s moved from Oklahoma to Massachusetts and spent time in various other places with an erratic schedule, no consistent kitchen, and training at a variety of gyms.  “How many other gyms?  How many other places?” -you ask.  Well, lucky for you, Chris sent me another email with these fascinating statistics!

Length of Prep:  146 days (21 weeks)

Time away from “home” (in quotes due to changing of “home” during prep which we will define as a place at which we paid rent):  53 of the 146 days (36.3%)

Number of different gyms trained in:  7

States visited during prep:  Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, New Hampshire, and New Jersey (upcoming)

OK so, all this traveling and time away from “home” is kind of a big deal.  Chris had to plan all his meals, find appropriate gyms, and organize his schedule to get the food and get to the gyms to make all this work.  (And he had to not drive me crazy, which, for the most part, he accomplished). And yet, we look at the graph made for fun, and see how his weight loss was steady, just like it was in 2011 when life was simpler.  You’re physiologically fascinating Chris!

I want to end with one more picture from our Cape Cod trip:  Chris thinks he’s good at putting sunscreen on his own back, but he’s not.

Mr. “No Lindy, I don’t need any help putting sunscreen on my back; I can do it all by myself.”

I’m bitter about his sunscreening abilities because he also sunscreened my back this day giving me a similar patchwork pattern of burn.

In conclusion, Chris:  good at spreadsheeting and steady weight loss; bad at sunscreening.

Cape Cod

Last week, Chris and I vacationed on Cape Cod.  We stayed at my grandpa’s house where there is food for eating.  Also, Cape Cod has grocery stores.  We DID NOT stay at a reclusive settlement in the woods where this is no civilization or access to nourishment.  I mention this because Chris packed the following:


Protein Bar Cooler (SEVEN boxes!)


Yogurt and Chicken Cooler (that is a full size cooler jammed with yogurt and chicken)

He also brought a large bag of almonds, an oatmeal cylinder, and peanut butter (not pictured).

After the week was over, Chris said to me, “Hm, I think I only ate Greek yogurt, almonds, chicken, oatmeal, peanut butter, and protein bars all week.”  Yes, hm Chris, wonder how that happened…  (In the interest of accurate reporting, I must write that he did eat broccoli one night but other than that it was a pure sextafood week).

Chris is about 8 weeks away from his competition.  He hasn’t had any more hypoglycemic episodes but he is definitely lacking energy.  On Cape Cod, I like to bike and swim and generally do active things outdoors.  As I like Chris and want to hang out with him, I encouraged (read: pressured) him to do these things with me.

One day we went for a bike ride.  Chris is making me mention that it was a twenty-one mile (emphasis from Chris) bike ride but it was a leisurely ride by some ponds and we took breaks; young children biking near us seemed to be handling the ride just fine.


Looking Good


Riding well…

When we got to a pond near the end of the ride where I was looking forward to swimming, Chris rolled up a towel and proceeded to sleep for 40 minutes.


And crashing.

Later in the week, he did “swim” with me in a pond by flopping around in a bright yellow inner tube.


Chris and large yellow inner tube

He was concerned that the cold water and physical exertion of swimming would exhaust him so he hung out in his tube.

One day we kayaked.  Chris looked awesome kayaking.  Which brought me to a key life question: Did his beauty in a kayak make all his yogurt and lethargy worth it?


Chris, professional kayaker

Along with the activities I made him do outdoors with me, Chris kept up his regular workout schedule and, while he was lacking in energy at times, he never opted out of activity participation and was actually generally very cheerful.  He did tell me though that he is looking forward to going back to Cape Cod when he is not preparing for a contest so he can join me in one of Cape Cod’s other great activities:  ice cream eating.


This is a man who did not eat ice cream on vacation…but who is looking forward to the next vacation when he can :)












Hypoglycemia and Candles

It is mid-July and Chris weighs 203 lbs.  When contest prep started, back in mid-May, he weighed about 220 lbs.  He competes in October.  He feels good about his progress.

When I tell people these numbers (and people want to know these numbers), the logical question they ask is how much more weight he has to lose.  The answer isn’t simple.

Two years ago when Chris last competed, he weighed 196 lbs a week before the competition.  His starting weight, 6 months before that competition, was 227 lbs and by three months into contest prep, very roughly corresponding to where he is now, his weight was 202 lbs.

So how much more does he have to lose?

Well, hopefully, he has gained muscle over the last two years and will appear both more muscular and less fat (“leaner,” we say) when he competes this time.  More muscle increases weight and less fat decreases weight.  So we really can’t predict what body weight he’ll compete at.  A good estimate is “something around what he competed at last time give or take many pounds.”  Helpful huh?  He works with Layne Norton and puts full faith in Layne to help him reach the weight where he’ll look his best.

To find Chris’s previous body weights just now, I consulted the case study we published on Chris’s physiology during his last contest prep.  In this case study, we found that, around this time during the last contest prep, Chris’s fasting blood glucose was low enough for us to classify him as hypoglycemic.  The next time, one week before Chris’s competition, that we measured his fasting blood glucose, it was back in the normal range.  What’s interesting here is that, in the weeks before Chris left for Florida, he had a few periods of mild hypoglycemic symptoms which tended to occur under reproducible circumstances (a meal containing significant carbohydrate followed by an intense morning workout).  In the last few weeks, since he’s been in Florida, he hasn’t been experiencing the hypoglycemic symptoms.  We speculate that what happened last time may have happened again:  his body struggles to maintain his glucose levels initially during the contest prep but eventually adjusts.

Back when Chris was having the occasional hypoglycemic symptoms, we visited the Yankee candle outlet in Oklahoma City.  Chris loves the Yankee candle outlet.  Big-bodybuilder-man loves smelling candles.  Like a hyperactive middle-school girl, he has to de-lid every single scent of candle to sniff it and evaluate.  That day, though, he held himself back from full candle exuberance as he finished sniffing a cinnamon scented candle, leaned back, and told me, “Whoa, I think these candles are making me secrete insulin.”  That’s probably a common bodybuilder problem:  candle-smelling-induced excess insulin secretion triggering acute hypoglycemia.  Oh Chris.

“This is my store.” -Chris (seriously, he really said this)