Please head over to Eat Love and Train to get the latest, this page is no longer maintained! Thank you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Getting ready for Spider Games II

I am still getting ready for Spider Games. I am mentally ready, especially after the seeing the guys qualify on Sunday.

Two things I have improved on:
airborne lunges - I can do 30 per leg, with pleasure
push ups - while I still don't kick ass, I am so much better, I can get 16 with great form and 20 with some compromises in depth
My bench is growing, which will affect my performance.
L-sit - 30 seconds, not that hard anymore, are you?

Nov 18 is close! These last few weeks have been very demanding, both physically and emotionally! The sources of strength are abundant! Nature is kind, and so it my music :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Writing vs. lecturing

I've just had a week of heavy writing, that is not yet over. Being a fitness editor for a pregnancy magazine is lots of fun. I have the freedom to take whatever photos I like and include whatever exercises I choose provided I do not go overboard with nutritional strictness. My job also includes lecturing at the motherhood school that some of the readers attend. Today I was talking about postnatal recovery and the need to take charge of your own body just hours after you gave birth.

Here are some random thoughts on observing and talking to the 60 women that attended today:

1. Pizza, ice-cream and juice were the main staples eaten at the lecture. Every time I mentioned clean eating I got a lot of understanding looks and no one seemed to connect what I was talking about to what they had chosen to eat while listening. Waiters were still bringing cake and ice-cream at the end of the lecture. Knowing vs. doing is a powerful opposition.

2. Women care more about weight loss that about lower back health.

3. They will carry a growing baby around and will walk upstairs with a stroller under their arm, but they will refuse to join a gym because weights are not good for them.

4. They would rather take supplements and use anti-cellulite lotion than do a set of lunges, because it takes less time.

5. They will postpone starting an exercise program until they are done breastfeeding. I find that is the same type of women that procrastinated before they got pregnant, found a reason not to exercise while they were pregnant and will look for more after birth.

6. They will eat olive oil, but they won't eat lamb. Did you know that half the fat in lamb is monounsaturated?

7. They will not face the fact that taking care for a baby is hard physical labor, and they need to be prepared. I am thinking of starting a prenatal strength and conditioning program, where deadlifting, barbell rowing and snatching are staples.

8. Doctors fail to give adequate advice and will err on the wrong side. At least Americans have ACOG. We have nothing like that.

9. 100% of the mothers that attended love my articles and recipes. None of them ever tried the exercises or the recipes.

I am working on a large multimedia presentation that I have to show in 12 towns in a month. I will meet over 1000 women. I will repeat the phrase " take responsibility" over 200 times.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Have an apple!

It's Sunday night. I've had a hard medium length workout, two small protein rich meals, a long and fun dinner with friends and a sweet tooth. Why we humans want sweets is not a mystery. Beyond satisfying immediate energy needs through fast sugar pathways we need it to feel loved and comforted. I would be the last person on Earth to urge someone toward eating sweets or have unnecessary carbs, however at the end of my week, my friends, an apple feels just fine! 20 grams of sugar, some fiber and all the satisfaction I need, all rolled up into a premade serving size! 1 apple to rule them all:)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Getting ready for Spider Games

Once a year we have a competition that is entered by some of our trainers, clients, friends and other people who train and want to participate. The main goal is to give trainees something to train for, rather than just going to work out. It also allows us to compare how people have developed through the year. I am doing it this year first because there are only a handful of women competing and also because I want to have fun lifting with and around other people.

I am given a few days break between cycles with Bill and I am working on some of the main lifts.

Here are my numbers so far, and I have three weeks till the competition, which is on Nov 18.

Pull up 1
- I have lost a lot of my pull up strength, first because I am carrying more bodyweight in my lower body and second because I haven't been doing them since we started realigning my back. I use my muscles in new patterns that I am not used to.

Conventional Deadlift
- 87.5kg 1RM - I can do more but I don't want to do maximum attempts right now

Lunge 60kg 1RM - knee should touch floor so I am not pushing for higher loads now

Push ups
15 - I know I can do better, maybe shoot for 25 for the competition

Airborne lunge 20 per leg - it's not hard to get them with the knee hitting the floor, but it's hard on my sensitive knee, so I train those rarely

L-sit on push up handles off the floor - 30 seconds

military press 32.5 kg 1RM

I am going to use this entry as a workout diary, so I can follow my progress till the competition! I have never competed in anything, so this is exciting!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Setting me straight

When you have worked out for a few years, there are goals upon goals of history, some achieved, some not, but having goals is a major drive in the game of training. My goals were always to be healthy, strong and leaner. Strong was going fine, healthy and lean were not. I had some chronic aches and pains, and body fat would not come off. I trained too hard, payed too much attention to diet and missed a major point: my body was not built to do what I wanted it to do.

Back in April, fate was kind to me. I met Bill Hartman, for an assessment of a number of problems that had been ailing me for years.

1. Shoulder pain
2. Anterior Pelvic tilt and low back pain
3. Knee pain (left)
4. Foot pain (left)
5. Difficulty losing fat

After a long and interesting session, most of my fears were confirmed and a few new training goals emerged. We needed to realign my posture, fix the anterior pelvic tilt, loosen the anterior hips, work on ab strength and upper back mobility. My glutes and upper back were happily asleep and needed to be woken up. Interestingly, while my body wasn't functioning properly, I could happily do 10 pull ups and do a 1RM deadlift of 203 lbs. Thinking back, the scary part is I could actually do that weight with half of my muscles not even taking part.

Bill put me on a program as soon as I came back to Bulgaria and we are currently finishing the fifth cycle of it. It involves a lot of mobility work, activation, targeted stretching, strength training, self release and EST training.

Between May and June I dropped 2% body fat, a rate I had never witnessed before. I felt better, lost most of my pain, especially the lower back and shoulder pain. I continued on that path, getting a bit leaner and building muscle. I never wrote about my experience until now, I wanted to wait, but I got very excited by my recent progress shots! At the end of each month I take progress pictures so he can assess my progress. I usually only compare the last month to this month's progress, but I chose a picture from the end of my first month and the difference in posture was truly obvious. I am feeling a mixed cocktail of joy, reward and anticipation for more hard work and results. I have always worried that I never looked athletic, and for the first time in my life I feel like I am working towards a base of developing a body that I would totally enjoy having and working with!

So how do you measure progress: 1)how you look 2) how you feel

If you are working toward a goal of your own, don't forget that pictures are a powerful means of tracking progress! Take them often and compare, but also be prepared that it will take months and months of added effort before you can say wow! I did it. That feeling, my friends, is worth waiting for and working for.

Sometimes I wonder what to say to Bill about how I feel when I run, or lift or stand or get out of bed in the morning. Stability and mobility can be very emotionally empowering. Being able to DO is so much different than wishing or thinking you are ABLE TO DO. Without knowledge no hard work will help you find the difference between the two!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Women that come to me, often point to a soft triceps and say : "I want IT to be firmer, but I don't want to build muscle". IT is an interesting substance in the minds of people who have never exercised. On one hand we have the unwanted fat, the loose skin and the shaky looks, on the other we have the absolute fear of growing muscle and a deep voice. IT is what women want - that sexy substance that's not fat and not muscle, but shines with health and feels hard to the touch!

Thinking vs. Doing

thoughts on training smart people

I had an interesting conversation with one of my clients today. She's in her early 30s, a successful university professor and thriving architect. Wе were discussing how results in the gym are very much related to other results in other spheres of life. If one is successful and responsible as a business person, they usually apply the same qualities that got them where they are in business, to training and nutrition. They will invest their money, time and effort wisely and walk out in better shape and better health. However, there is a catch. A vast majority of successful and intelligent individuals will transfer their habit of thinking to become successful instead of doing to become successful to their training. And this is where they'll fail. Changing and improving your body has a lot more to do with doing than with just thinking about it. I know people that overanalyze, weigh in plans, approaches and more and never get to actually acting out the plan. In business this would be fatal, and since there is no punishment for lack of immediate action in the gym, most people practice this forever and that takes them to me. Now I can act on their plans.

To sum up:

Thinking + Action = sucesss

Brilliant Idea + No Action = possible success in a future moment

Act more on things related to your body! Whatever ideas and plans you have, start putting in the time today. There's no tomorrow when it comes to you!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Training Conspiracy

as seen by Jonas Talkington

We just got done watching a movie called Zeitgeist. The plot in a nutshell: religion, education and the world order have only one goal: to make sure people believe myths so they get enslaved to produce money for the international bankers. Point taken.

I jokingly said to my husband: you know if there exists a training conspiracy, you must know about it, because you avoid working out like you would getting a chip inplanted by your government!

And here is what he said:

1. You are forced to spend money on fitness
2. It gets you used being under someone else's control
3. It releases angst, anxiety anger and aggression that can't be turned towards other things
4. It creates a heavy self-interest, so that social interaction is reduced
5. Creates a perpetual image of I-am-not-good-enough, I-should-be-better
6. It creates a subtle dependence on the medical industry (this was a long rant that went through insurance companies and entering the system as a geriatric patient)
7. It's a form of social control where people who do not possess the physical characteristics of good fitness cannot make it higher in the social hierarchy
8. It makes people believe (indirectly) that physical strength is more important than intelligence

Oh he could go on and on to play devil's's always a pleasure to have a good midnight discussion!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sources of strength

When it comes to living, lifting, playing and following your dreams you can't succeed without the basic pillars of strength. Here, body and mind become one, so it's hard to say which fuels which:

*Food - eat well and you know your results will follow. You'll think better, perform better and look like you deserve for your hard work!
*Supplements - take your fish oil. Just do it!
*Water - a gallon a day keeps you well hydrated, alert and productive, do it!
*Caffeine - I don't consider a drink than makes me feel better, lift heavier and stay awake when I am spotting a client at 7 p.m. bad for me. On the contrary - I enjoy a few cups of coffee each day, just make sure it's mostly organic and I mix decaf and regular in a 1:1 ratio so I don't overdo it and become jittery!
*Sleep - we don't get enough - sleep as long as possible and as often as possible. Mini naps are a killer solution! I had one on our balcony this afternoon and it changed my whole day! Better hormonal regulation, faster recovery and easier fat loss are not to miss!
*Reading- anything from your internet t-nation articles to a good book of fiction will feed your soul the necessary nutrients to thrive, grow and learn. Learning something everyday is what makes you tick!
*Training- one of the core experiences, along with falling in love, finding a soul mate, having children and saving the planet from global warming! We had a discussion about the enjoyment from sex and workouts today. Training is a solo, well-planned battle you win each time! You can't beat it!
*Being responsible- recycle, reuse, support local farmers. Giving back to the planet is a blessing, and experiencing it is easy.
*Allowing to get inspired - let people push your good buttons, let them inspire you! Spend as much time as possible with people you like, admire and enjoy. Learn and grow, charge your batteries as often as possible!
*Spend time in nature - immerse yourself in nature at least every few days. You don't need to go hiking. Watching the bushes outside your window, and appreciating life and nature will do just fine!
*Family time - make sure you communicate with family members, take them out, send them packages, organize surprise parties for them, do anything to see them and appreciate them
*Respect your body- treat your body with love, and it will speak back to you. Never complain with how it looks, never speak bad to it. Your body will always reflect how you treat it and address it.
*Visualize - see everything you want to achieve before you set on the path to achieving it. Images are powerful means. Fill your thoughts with the things and emotions you want to attract and they will come to you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dare to outperform

I was just listening to Dos Remedios on Maxout Radio make a great point: we underestimate how resilient the human body is. Just how much can you throw at yourself so you do better, look better, perform better, eat better, love better? I've had a long day and it hasn't even come close to ending yet. I have to prioritize, perform, enjoy and do it all over again tomorrow. I am tired, but you know what, my writing is getting better and my clients are getting stronger, my legs hurt from training and standing, but you know, they are also harder, and I like how my arms look and I totally dig carrying all my week's groceries 4 flights on my own.