Tag Archives: bodybuilding

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.

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)

Legitimate Eggs, Broccoli, and Cottage Cheese

Chris is still in Florida.  Fear not!  The egg, cottage cheese, and broccoli consumption continues.  Below, a brief photographic walk through of the processes.  (All photographs are courtesy of Chris’s mom and yes, it’s awesome that she also takes pictures of Chris preparing food and emails them to me.)

First, Chris is making eggs.  Lots of eggs.


Peppering the egg-circle


What a peppered egg-circle!

Next, Chris is making his aforementioned standard “pre-bed” meal.


The start of the “pre-bed meal” preparation


That’s a man-size broccoli bowl


Time to pepper the broccoli


Now we must flavor the broccoli with lemon


Lemon-peppered broccoli is ready!


Chunky cottage cheese from a container is ready!


“Oh yeah I’m gonna enjoy this.  Best. Pre-bed meal. Ever.” -Chris

If dieting bodybuilders judged food competitions, everyone would win (assuming,that is, that you were able to convince the bodybuilders that the food fit into their daily macros).  You made dog food covered in turds?  And it fits into my macros? Best. Meal. Ever.

Yes, I know, I’ve posted on the cottage cheese and broccoli pre-bed meal before, but seriously, the guy eats this every night and those of us hanging out with him have to regularly smell the stench so a mere two posts about it is nothing.   

The other day at the gym, I saw an irritating sign for “legitimate hardcore products” on the outside of a refrigerator full of sugar-dense sports drinks.  Know what I think a “legitimate hardcore product” is?  A regular pre-bed meal of cottage cheese and broccoli.  Also, an egg-circle.

Chris should stand in that gym refrigerator clasping his cottage cheese and broccoli (or egg-circle) with a sign nailed above him stating that his robot-like consumption of nutritious food, avoidance of inappropriate food, and intense workouts are the real “legitimate hardcore products”. (And of course, it’s completely necessary to use the word “legitimate;” I never buy anything that doesn’t use the word “legitimate” in it’s advertising.  You want me to buy that toilet paper?  I only buy “legitimate” toilet paper.)

When the refrigerator door is opened by someone wanting a legitimate hardcore product, Chris would pass out a log of what he’s eaten and done at the gym for the last 3 months.  If anyone asked Gym-Refrigerator-Chris what miracle supplements he boluses, what he ingests mid-workout, or any other variation around the theme of “how do I get muscular without actually doing anything hard?” a ear-splitting buzzer would sound and Chris’s refrigerator door would slam shut.  Perhaps a large pail of cottage cheese could also automatically empty on the inquirer’s head. 

Good idea huh?  My ideas are legitimate hardcore ideas.

Chris’s Nipples

Recently, Chris and I have been spending a lot of time scrutinizing his nipples.  In this post, I let you in on the fun!

First, a plug:  Check out Chris and I talking with Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jake Wilson on Muscle College Radio about the case study we did on Chris during his last diet.

Now back to the nipples.  Here’s his “front relaxed” picture from this past Saturday. 

Week 5 - June 22

See those nipples?  Yeah, I know.

For those of you not used to male nipple scrutiny (I know, they’re vestigial so why bother?), let me show you that picture again.


With a CIRCLE this time!

Now do you see it?  A slightly raised piece of tissue below the right nipple that is NOT found below the left nipple.  Look again:



There is a slightly raised tissue on his right (circled).  There is no slightly raised tissue on his left (arrow).

“Lindy, you promised nipple talk, but slightly raised tissue talk.  What gives?” – you ask

This slightly raised tissue on the right has made the right nipple more lateral than the left nipple.

This slightly-raised-tissue and nipple discrepancy has induced a variant of the following conversation between Chris and I several times over the last few weeks:

Chris (looking at his chest):  Would you look at my right nipple for a sec?

Me:  Why? It’s vestigial.

Chris:  No seriously, check out my nipple.

Me:  Ok fine. (grumbling under breath) Thanks for failing me evolution; couldn’t have done for humans what you did for rats** could you?? Wouldn’t have to deal with his nipple issues then…

Chris:  So see?  My right nipple is more lateral than my left nipple.  I think there’s a tendon or something under the right one that isn’t under the left one.

Me:  Are you flexing poorly?

Chris (disgusted with me):  Of course not.

Me (looking closely):  Well, yeah, I do see the difference.  Why do you think that is?

Chris:  Well, back when we were at Illinois [editor’s note: this means >4 years ago], remember how I couldn’t bench press for like 6 months and how I said sometimes that maybe my chest hurt on that side and how it took me a long time to get back to my original strength on that side and how I thought maybe something was wrong but I am a man and men do not go to the doctor for silly things like large muscle groups that do not work?

Me:  Yes.

Chris:  Well, I think maybe back then, well, maybe I ripped my pec.

Me (in non-committal agreement with a hint of condescending “I probably told you 5 years ago to go to the doctor” thinking):  Huh.

Chris (getting excited now):  Yes, I think that’s it.  I think I just made a little rip in my pec 5 years ago and now that tendon looks like that!

Me:  Probably it.

Chris:  And that’s why my right nipple is more lateral than my left nipple!

Me:  Eureka!

Next time Chris poses for weekly pictures, we’ll have this talk again, looking at the nipple from different angles with different things flexed, seeing if there truly is a discrepancy, and concluding, finally, that there is, and that, yes, it was probably caused by a 5 year old muscle tear.  So that’s the fun we’ve been having.  Scrutinizing the ole nipples.  Thanks for joining us in this fun.


“My nipples are asymmetrical and my pants no longer fit.  It’s a tough life I lead.” -Chris

One final thought: being engaged to someone like Chris with his large muscles and low body fat, it’s easy to get down about my own smaller muscles and greater body fat, but I’ve got one physical trait that I can always hold over him: that’s right, I have evolutionarily valid nipples.  Even a rat did better at evolution than you Chris, you hyper-muscular hypo-adiposcular male human.  So there.  And that’s how I maintain a positive self body image.  I encourage any other significant others of male bodybuilders to do the same.

**Male rats do not have nipples.  I learned that during my 7 years of graduate school.  While we’re on the subject of rats, everyone should also know that male rats’ testicles are retractable. Way to go 7 years of graduate school knowledge!












Hot-Sauce Chicken with Oatmeal and Broccoli with Cottage Cheese

At 10 am Wednesday, Chris ate this:


That is stinky fajita chicken doused with Frank’s hot sauce with a side of giant-bowl-of-cinnamon-and-Equal-oatmeal-with-blueberries.

This meal was obnoxious for three reasons:

1) The Stench. Remember on April Fool’s Day when Google pretended to have a new App that would let you smell through your computer?  That would be so useful right now.  Since it doesn’t exist, I’ll have to explain the smell of stinky fajita chicken doused with Frank’s hot sauce to you with my skills of prose:  it smells like butt.  Intense butt.  And our apartment is 900 square feet so when the butt chicken starts to smell, there’s no escaping.

2) The Timing.  It was 10 am in the morning.  Who eats chicken with hot sauce at 10 am in the morning?  (I know, I know, bodybuilders eat stinky chicken with hot sauce at 10 am in the morning.  This is why this blog has to exist; normal people don’t do this).

3) The Jealously. Despite smelling disgusting, this meal represents a key jealously I have of Chris which is that, when he’s dieting, he still gets to eat so much food!  During his last diet, when we did the scientific case study on him, his lowest caloric intake was around 2,500 calories.  LOWEST.  The stupid man went from 14.8% to 4.5% body fat and never consumed less than 2,500 calories!  I think I speak for all smaller statured women out there when I say, “Jerk.”

“So, Lindy, stinky butt chicken with hot sauce and oatmeal is a pretty nasty sounding meal, but is there anything else Chris eats that you find gross?” you ask.

Heck yes! Check this out:


That is an entire bag of microwaved broccoli.  I’ve always feared scurvy, so I totally support the vegetable eating.  What makes me want to hurl on the carpet though is what he eats with the broccoli:  a huge bowl of cottage cheese.  He doesn’t actually mix the broccoli and cottage cheese but just eating those two in the same temporal vicinity is just, well, not my bowl of cottage cheese brocolli.  (That’s an expression that’s going to catch on, you wait.)


Oh yeah, chunky and watery and weighed to the gram, bring it on

Did I mention cottage cheese and broccoli is his before bed meal?  Because he has a “before bed” meal.  Doesn’t everyone?

At least the cottage cheese doesn’t smell…

If you haven’t already left to go vomit, or, if you’re a bodybuilder, to excitedly go prepare your own cottage cheese / brocolli / hot sauce butt chicken with oatmeal combo, I want to end with a few shout-outs to some other blogs that I like:

1) Hilarious Blog theoretically on motherhood but you’ll still love it even if you are totally against children (and I’ve been friends with the author since 2nd grade and she’s awesome so go read it now).

2) New Informative Blog on why women need to get out there, wear wrestling shoes in the gym, and not listen when their fiances insult their squats; well, that’s what I took from it I guess… her tagline is “The female guide to conquering the weight room.”  Good stuff.

3) Another Blog for some good nutrition and exercise reading.  I recommend gawking at the picture of the peanut butter chocolate chip thing in the bowl – amazing (and it’s the perfect mental antidote to all the nasty food pictures I posted here).

No matter what Chris says, I’m good at squatting. So there.

I just got home from the gym.  I was kind of bummed because this elbow-mildly-painful thing that means I need to stop doing any exercises that stress my elbow was happening again and I had to limit my workout.  I had done 9 sets of squats though so I still felt like the workout was successful and I was feeling admirably (yes, I admire myself) positive about the situation.  I figured, OK, the elbow can recover; I’ll take a week off from any upper body work and it won’t be a big deal;  I had a great squat workout today so I’ll just focus on squatting a lot so I still feel like I’m having good workouts and I’ll be fine.

And then I talked to Chris.  Our conversation went roughly as follows:

Me (sadly, yet admirably positive):  My right elbow is bothering me.

Chris (consolingly):  I’m sorry.  That stinks.

Me (admirably positive):  It’s OK.  I decided to just lay off the upper-body work and focus on squatting for a while.

Chris (emotionless):  Your squats look awful.

Me (outraged):  What?!

Chris (sensing danger):  I’m not saying your squats look bad, I mean, they don’t look bad, they’re not bad, I’m just saying you’ve been bouncing a lot at the bottom and they look bad.

Me (aghast):  What?!  What am I doing?

Chris (scared now but intent on explaining):  No, your squats aren’t bad, I can’t explain what I’m seeing, I just, well, I’m surprised your knees aren’t bothering you.

Me (still aghast):  What?!

Chris (still fearful but intent):  I can’t explain it.  I’ll have to video tape you.  Just know that your squats don’t look right right now.  I’ll video tape you next time you squat OK?  Then you can figure out what I’m saying.

End of conversation.

So basically, the consolation I had, the thing that was going to make it OK that my stupid elbow is taking vacation days, the thing allowing me to act so admirably positive, looks terrible right now but can’t actually be explained to me and it’s a miracle I’m not injured.

The poor man didn’t realize what he’d done.

And that’s one of the (in retrospect only) most humorous parts of any man/woman relationship.

I truly believe that Chris had only good intentions in saying what he said.  If I was going to start squatting more; he wanted to make sure I knew that I should consider some form tweaks so I don’t hurt myself.  While I heard him cruelly yanking away the one thing that was going to make my elbow being hurt OK, he heard himself being helpful and kind.

We ended the conversation with me bluffing, “So, I shouldn’t squat?” and him assuring me that we would analyze my squat via video tape the next time I workout.

with bear

See? We still love each other even if one of us criticizes the other one’s squatting.  I wouldn’t fib in front of the bear overlord.

So the good stuff in this post is over now, but, because I have an ego and my identity as a good squatter* is something close to my heart, I have to defend what I think he’s seeing in my squats.  Unfortunately, unlike Chris, I do not set up a camera on a stool in front of the squat rack before every set, so I have no record of what my recent squats look like, but I know they look nothing like my heavy powerlifting squats such as seen in the video below from a few years ago.

My current squats are a bit deeper and with much lighter weight.  Lighter weight changes the way the bar moves me.  I think the “bouncyness” he sees may be because the weight is light enough that I can easily rebound out of the hole and he’s used to seeing me struggle.

So I’m still a good squatter.  However, I am not a stupid squatter so, next workout, I am going to video tape myself and analyze my mechanics with Chris.  It is, overall, very nice to have a fiance whose idea of a good night at home is to sit around analyzing tape of my squats.

Not done!  This is the post that never ends!

So you know, my max competition squat is 215 lbs not the 198 lbs shown in the video.  That’s just to emphasize the following point which you may have missed: I’m a good squatter.

Now the post has ended.  (Well, unless you skipped over the asterisk earlier and are reading the footnote now, but that’s your fault).

*By “squatter”, I mean “someone who performs squats for exercise” not “a person who occupies property or land to which he has no legal title” as is the real definition, as defined by thefreedictionary.com.