Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Great Article in Women's Health magazine.

On the topic of lifting, check out this great article in Women's Health Magazine this month (with myself and Rachel Cosgrove in it):

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I love to lift

Now that I'm near the finish line, I treated myself to a great workout at my gym after I got done my internship rotation today.

And let me tell you: IT FELT GREAT!

I am in love with lifting. Some people say that they get a "runner's high" from running... well, I get a "lifter's high" from lifting heavy weights.

I started my workout with Clean to Press for 3 sets of 8 with 65 lbs and then 2 sets of 4 with 85lbs (the bar plus plates). Now, since this is an explosive movement, those weights may seem wimpy, but cleaning and pressing them four times is not really that easy. Between sets I did one-leg hip lifts on the exercise ball.

Then, I moved onto my favorite exercise: Deadlifts! I did 4 sets with weights that moved from 155 to 185. That's what probably made me feel so great.... lifting heavy makes my endorphins pour out from my glands. This was super-set (SS) with hanging leg raises.

Next, Standing overhead plate press SS with Bulgarians and Side bends.
Next, One arm splits stance shoulder press with pull-throughs (for my butt) and front planks.
Finally, weighted sit ups with side planks and Burpees.
Then, me in a puddle of sweat and a huge grin on my face.

Some guy even came up to me and said: "Are you training for something? Because you don't see women who workout like that at all"

I smiled at him and just said "That's why I co-authored a book on it so women will lift like this"


What a great day. I feel like a million bucks. :) Life is good.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I see the light!

Great news! I've finally set the date for my PhD defense: April 22nd. Yay!!! In about a month I'll hold the title of PhD that I've worked so hard for over the past 5 years (well, this last year has also been my dietetic internship, but who's counting? :) ).

I've been taking this whole month off lifting... actually, I did work out one day at the gym,... and let me tell ya, it's the worst thing ever.

I don't know how people live a life of work, TV and bed. Really. I have been walking and running outside when I can, and lifting in my house, but my body is really out of shape.

I've had to do this to really focus on two key papers I'm prepping for publication. My brain just doesn't work that well if I work out hard and then try to think about serious things. But... it'll be worth it and I'll feel worthy of the goal.

One other thing I'm doing before I defend is attending the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionist's annual meeting in Arizona next month from April 17-19th. I'm looking forward to attending even though I'll be practicing my defense presentation on the plane and at night in my hotel room.

If any of you are attending, let me know, as I'd love to hang out with you. If you haven't thought of going, do consider it. The program this year looks great and it's a good opportunity to network with some very successful Sports RDs.

Wish me luck these next few weeks as I'm in the final stretch and can see the light at the end of this very long tunnel!

BTW - When I'm done, my life will begin again. I'm looking forward to starting the next book idea and posting videos of nutrition and exercise specifically for women. Also, I'll blog about my progress in my quest to drop the weight I've gained from being so immobile these past few months and my goal of a 155lb bench press :)
Yay! Life is good!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Listen to Iron Radio - taping this Friday

Just wanted to let you all know that I'll be speaking on Iron Radio this Friday, March 13th at 2pm:

Iron Radio with Guest: Cassandra Forsythe
Topic: "Preparing for an Awesome Workout"
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 13th at 2:00pm Eastern
FORMAT: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast -- it's your choice)

The title of our discussion is "Preparing for an Awesome Workout" I'll be accompanied by Lonnie Lowery, Charles Staley and Phil Stevens. We'll talk about how we get in the "zone" to have an effective and awesome workout.

Hope to have you there!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Get rid of the skinny girls. Give me the originals.

Today MSN Lifestyle came out with this article by Glamour pictating 70 years of Women American Style Icons.

As I was looking through them I noticed a few things:
1) The women representing the original woman were extremely young
2) The women didn't do the originals any justice.

Take the example above. In the second picture is the real image of the beautiful, muscular and athletic Brandi Chastain. Who, at 31 in 1999, scored the game-winning penalty kick against China in the first-ever women’s World Cup soccer final, in 1999. Her famous celebratory removal of her jersey is one of the most memorable images in sport. And it should be. Look at that muscle, look at that devotion, look at that love for the sport.

Then, before it, we have a 26-year old, underfed female actress who displays not even the least amount of muscle. Sure, she's skinny, but I bet her body fat is a LOT higher than Brandi's. Her muscle mass sure is less.

And what's wrong with a truely athletic muscular woman anyhow? Is it too MANLY to have biceps and separation in one's quads like Brandi does? Apparently so, since none of the women in the pictoral have any of this. Not even the woman who was supposed to re-create Rosie the Riveter - the true strong woman of the 40's.

Pathetic. Give me a real Brandi or Rosi anyday and save the underfed women for SHAPE magazine or some other magazine encouraging women to develop eating disorders.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Feedback on Athletic Amenorrhea

As I mentioned in my last post, my talk at Univ of Akron on Feb 23rd was on the important, yet unmentioned topic of "Athletic Amenorrhea"

If you (a woman) have ever lost your period (that's why I stated woman :) ), for greater than 3 months in a row and it wasn't due to being pregnant or another condition, but rather due to dieting and exercise, you are someone that has suffered from this condition.

The crazy thing is that as women, we're bombarded by messages to be as skinny as we possibly can day in and day out.

However, what these messages fail to admit to us is that if you lose your period for any extensive length of time, you greatly put the health of your bones, heart and reproductive capacity at risk.

In fact, I received this comment from a reader and her words alone will inform you of the seriousness of this issue:

"Thank you SO much for posting this! I totally agree with you that more info needs to be spread about this to both athletes and non-athletes.

I developed secondary athletic-induced amenorrhea after I started training for my first marathon in 2006 and after I stopped taking oral contraceptives. I was happy at first until I started learning the dangers associated with it.

Now I have to have a nuclear bone density scan and so the docs can see if I may already be a candidate for osteoporosis - at only 35 years old :( I've incorporated strength training in my physical training for the past 2 decades so hopefully that has helped me maintain some bone density - but I truly hope more women understand that just a small misstep in nutritional calculations during figure training or endurance training can lead you down a road to the serious health conditions you touched upon. Thank you!!!!"

I too have been a woman that has been affected by this condition. I didn't know why my period was gone at first and doctors just thought that it could be corrected with the "pill". However, that's not correct. Researchers have shown that replacing the suppressed estrogen due to an severe energy deficit will NOT reverse the negative effects on bone health.

The only thing that will reverse the effects of amenorrhea (which is driven by signals from the brain that tell the ovaries to not produce estrogen and progesterone; hence, no ovulation and no menses) is to bring calories back up to the level that the body needs. There is extensive research being conducted right now at the University of Toronto and Penn State looking at how long it takes to reverse amenorrhea, which nutrients are best, and what ratios of protein, carbs and fat is most ideal. To learn more about this, visit this site HERE

I can't wait for the results of this study to come out and learn what these investigators find. In my journey with amenorrhea it took a lot of de-stressing, refeuling and relaxing to get my period to come back to semi-normal. My bone density was affected to some extent, but thankfully, since I was a weight-training athlete and not an endurance athlete, my bone strength was preserved to some extent due to the weight-bearing activities I did almost daily. Yet, I don't know if I'm at increased risk for osteoporosis or another bone disorder - I have to get more bone tests to find out.

Until these results come out from the researchers mentioned above, I hope women start to understand that being extremely underfed can very negatively affect your health. There is a fine line that you don't want to cross when dieting and if you do, you better come back over it quick or your health really suffer.

Be healthy, be in shape, but don't push it too far. Really. You don't need to break your hip at 40 years old because you didn't eat enough in your 20s.