Training When Pregnant With Adrenal Insufficiency

…is not easy, but so worth it!! Without training, my mood would most likely have been even worse than what it was this spring. I had the chance to experience that I’m capable of something. Getting endorphins from exercise helped with my depression as well. AI wise it’s still weird that physical stress doesn’t affect me as badly as mental kind. Of course it’s easy to just go to the gym, put some good music on and focus on the movement. I still forget almost everything if I don’t put an alarm on my phone and use calendar, remainders and do-it notes. Focusing on complex things was dead poor as well. Only now I feel I’m getting my brains back and am really happy and grateful for even a couple of clearer and more focused weeks during this pregnancy.

I’m also really grateful for the help my husband has given me by driving me to the gym (of course he trains there too), and for friends who have sometimes come to train with me while I’m at my mother’s in Espoo or otherwise traveling.

Resting enough and not having to work has helped to lower my cortisone dose from the really high amounts in the first trimester when everything was a mess in my life, but I still need a bit more than what I used to take when not pregnant. I take Prednisolone 5 + 3.75 mg every day, and if I have something really taxing to do such as a course that lasts for 6-8 hours I need even more. For workouts, I have now taken 10 mgs hydrocortisone for an an hour lasting lifting session. Endurance training I can normally do without extra.

It’s weird that for the first time, summer heat hasn’t bothered me. I can stand being in the sun at midday, and am loving that I haven’t needed to updose with cortisone and stay indoors. Normally I can’t tolerate sunlight and heat almost at all. So the start of this summer with lots of warmth has also helped to uplift my moods ❤ .

I want to share some of my workouts for others to get an idea what you can do when pregnant. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If something feels off, causes pain or discomfort, or if you are just having a day when you are tired, trust your body! Quit any uncomfortable exercise, and rest adequately. You have all the time in the world later on (depending on your child and help you are getting for childcare, of course) to get back into harder training. But taking care of your body and making sure you are keeping yours and your baby’s health at first place during pregnancy is number one. I will write about some exercise guidelines in this post and then share some of my workouts later on.

Latest research has already buffed some myths regarding training when pregnant. Mothers who are used to exercising at moderate to hard intensities can continue to do so as long as they feel okay. And for mothers who haven’t been exercising, NOW is the best time to start! You will lower the risk for gestational diabetes and musculosceletal pains if you exercise when pregnant. You will also most likely deliver a healthier baby, and recover from the delivery sooner. Just begin with really low intensity and make sure to rest enough, and don’t progress over moderate intensity training.

Other myths are that you can’t lie on your back after a certain week. Well, if you feel fine, you can lie and sleep on your back until the end of pregnancy. The risk of the fetus and placenta to pressure your vena cava, the biggest vein to bring blood from the lower extremities to your heart, is not so big as once thought. If you feel nauseous, off in any way, headache, tingling or other off sensations in your legs, then you should avoid lying on your back and use a small incline or side lying positions. The blood flow to fetus is usually good enough if you are performing an exercise on your back and then rise up to sitting position to rest.

Also, if you have been doing high intensity interval training = HIIT, you can continue during pregnancy as long as you feel fine. But if you haven’t, it is not recommendable to start.

A great resource for training during and after pregnancy is Girls Gone Strong and their articles! I’m currently studying to become a Pre- & Postnatal Coach in their Coaching & Training Women Academy ❤ .

Here are some exercises I’ve liked to do during this pregnancy, the pictures are all from second trimester workouts:

Belt squat is a great quad exercise when pregnant and if regular squats begin to feel uncomfortable, as it’s easier for your back

Bench pressing is still okay when pregnant!
Incline pressing is a good alternative for regular bench
Both vertical (up- and downwards) and horizontal rows are a staple in pregnancy training
During pregnancy, different rows are really important as your breasts increase in size – without training your upper back muscles, it can affect your posture negatively and cause back pain.

Half-kneeling side lift is a great core exercise suitable for all trimesters in pregnancy 🙂 :

I’ll also write more about nutrition during pregnancy later on, but I just wanted to add that it has been a big test for me to really think why I’m choosing healthy foods and have a healthy and flexible attitude towards eating. I want to provide the best building blocks for my baby. Even if I’m not able to help having many medications during pregnancy, one thing I can affect is the foods I eat. Eating healthily and enough will not only affect my child but also my possible grandchildren and so on, through epigenetics. You can read a lot about epigenetics online, the main point is that you can affect how the genes your baby (and his/her offspring) has are expressed by how you act during your pregnancy – how much stress you have, what you eat etc. I also want to embrace good eating habits because I will be an example how to eat to my baby boy Leo when he grows up ❤ .

Getting a variety of good quality meals with veggies, starchy carbs and protein as well as healthy fats will provide the energy to train and nutrients for the baby to grow 🙂 ❤

Besides lifting weights 2-4 times per week, I have been doing cardio, mostly walking although it feels a bit uncomfortable now and has been so after about week 16. I started to have light contractions after longer than 30-60 minute walks depending on intensity. Rowing was out of the question also after about weeks 14-16 when my belly started to grow. The best I’ve felt is doing endurance training sessions on crosstrainer indoors, or water running. I haven’t been doing any HIIT training, just walking on basic endurance levels of heartbeat and on crosstrainer. Sometimes I use indoor cycling (usually at my mom’s who only has a bike). I do both basic endurance and some light speed endurance sessions 1-3 times per week if I have the time and feel good. I like the bike, but it has started to cause both tail bone and pelvic pains so the crosstrainer at home is my most precious friend right now when it comes to endurance training 🙂 .

Having a great time at FAF Running Trainer course with my personal trainer friend Eeva ❤

Last weekend I attended a two-day FAF Running Trainer course to learn more about technique analysis and drills, running economy and running training programming with a personal trainer friend of mine. The course was fantastic – I got a huge amount of new knowledge and am thrilled I have a couple of running clients I can start to work my new skills with right away! I also got the chance to get analysis of my own running technique and how to improve. I was a bit surprised but in a nice way, as my technique got praised and the only thing to really focus on improving was to raise the cadence of my running and use shorter stride length. Running with bare feet and focusing on drills and cadence got my running form already into a great shape. We’ll see if I one day decide to start running with my baby after giving birth 🙂 ❤ .

Running technique at slow motion after two days of technique drills and without running shoes, aka “look, a pink elephant is running” !! 😀 :

I was already pretty exhausted from having a short weekend holiday with my mother at Tampere – it’s funny how we adrenal insufficient people need a vacation to recover from a vacation! 😀 And now the really intensive Running Trainer course wiped me out completely. I will now take a break from writing and training too hard and will sleep a lot, and hopefully am in the shape to get back into writing later in June 🙂 .

I wish everyone great workouts, tasty meals and sunny summer days!! ❤ ❤

xoxo,

Veera

A Very Fitness Christmas & New Year

Wonderful Christmas and New Year Holiday time for each and everyone!

I’ve again been working and training through both Christmas & New Year… Could have done without the work part, but after many months of sick leave without pay this year I have to earn a little to spend a little :).

Just before Christmas, I had again such a great time in Vierumäki Sport Institute of Finland in my second part of Finnish Fitness Alliance’s coaching certification course, and got to know our group of fitness coaches a bit better.

We learned more about dieting strategies, fitness and bodybuilding research done so far in the world, evidence-based nutrition and supplement guidelines, doping regulations and many other subjects. We also had to plan and run a posing practice to each other in small groups. My group had kind of advantage as we had IFBB bikini World Champion Anna Virmajoki giving us a couple of hints how to do it 😀 …

At Vierumäki with my fellow fitness coaches

The best lecturer in Vierumäki was one of my favorite dietitian / nutritionists in Finland, Patrik Borg aka Pöperöproffa (The Mush Professor 🙂 ). He is renowned from his work on obesity and sports nutrition and he writes a very popular blog in Finnish: http://patrikborg.blogspot.fi/ . His talk was about eating disorders in sport. Some of best pieces of Patrik’s lecture:

-How do you stay relaxed and keep a normal relationship with food and eating? The answer is not discipline and tight control.

-Food is food. It shouldn’t be a reward or a punishment. Allow flexibility in your diet and make conscious choices by free will – “I could have some cake, but I choose not to today”.

-“Shouldn’t” -type of thinking leads to problems, as well as denying yourself certain foods or food groups or stigmatizing some as “bad” or “unhealthy”.

-An alarm should ring in your head if you notice feeling guilty about eating, or anxious when thinking about eating or about certain foods, or you “buy” allowance to eat by (over)exercising.

I’ve had issues with body image, self image and disordered eating when I was a teenager and exercised a lot. I hope Patrik’s message about relaxed and permissive eating would reach as many people suffering from same issues as possible. Now as I’m older and thankfully wiser I’ve gotten through that phase. Still, many others need therapy and help of a dietitian and other health care providers to heal themselves. A good coach/personal trainer can also help with disordered eating habits, preferably in co-operation with aforementioned professionals.

A few years ago, Precision Nutrition’s coaching program helped me focus on how I perform instead of how I look, and noticing and naming the feelings and thought systems behind my actions that made me overeat junk food or starve myself. If you’re interested in learning more as I’m a certified Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach (and happily doing my Level 2 Cert program!), shoot me a message 😉 .

Finnish winter is long and dark but great teaching, atmosphere and my thirst for knowledge kept me awake at Vierumäki!

I feel so happy about my decision to start the fitness coach course. Fitness is something I’m really passionate about. The sport of fitness, whether it be natural bodybuilding, bikini, physique, figure, etc. requires incredible amount of dedication, determination, patience and self belief, and really teaches you to walk the walk – live by healthy eating habits and regular exercise every day of the year. I’m thrilled and privileged to be able to work with other fitness enthusiasts and famous coaches and athletes ❤ . I hope I’ll be able to finish my powerlifting coach certificate next year, too, though. I still love the bench, deadlift and squat, too (not necessarily always in that order 😀 ).

I’ll be finishing my Finnish Fitness Alliance’s level 1 coaching certificate next February, and have decided to continue straight away to level 2 course that starts only 2 weeks from now! ❤

Aaaannd…. I’m also now a certified personal trainer!! 🙂

http://www.trainer4you.fi/koulutukset/personal-trainer-koulutus.html

I finished my written, case study and live coaching exams this month. ❤ I feel so relieved the long year of studying is finally over. I’m not sure if I learned much new since I had so much past knowledge and experience about training, nutrition and coaching, but now I have the certification to prove it.

The last weekend of studying at Trainer4You was probably the best. We had one of Finland’s gurus of functional movement, physiotherapist and Anatomy Trains -instructor Ari-Pekka Lindberg to teach us movement analysis ❤ . 

When I have the chance in future, I’m want to learn more about functional movement and movement screening. Before my personal trainer studies, I’ve studied fascial manipulation techniques, manual back therapy and acupuncture for my physician’s work. But next year 2018 my focus is on becoming a better coach for my athletes, and learn more about fitness sports, especially the competition prep. I’m happy I have such good contacts and already a great fitness team I can fit – more on that later 😉 .

After New Year I have more time to rest, but just to keep myself in good health and performance I’ve fitted short naps and other relaxing breaks such as cuddling with hubby watching Netflix around my each day.

Me and Franz getting some rest before I hit the gym
Franz takes his naps seriously 😀

I got the spend Christmas with my husband in Hamina – even though I worked, we still went to the gym and had some fun and relaxed time together – that’s all I needed and asked for for this first Christmas as a married couple ❤ ❤ .

We found a new way to put hubby’s medals into use in Christmas decorations! 😀

A very Merry Franz Christmas! ❤

I managed to squeeze in my regular benching session and squats on Christmas Eve :).

After a couple of first hectic weeks of year 2018, I hope I will be sharing more and more often here on my blog about my journey into coaching, how I manage stress nowadays, what’s in my workout program and about my athletic and other aspirations for new year.

xoxo,

Veera

20+ Pictures Is Worth 20,000+ Words..?

I’ve been away from writing for so long I thought seriously should I even bother. Well, I should. Because this break has been important, unavoidable and much needed for me. I really love writing and hope I soon have the time and energy to start doing it again regularly.

My autumn has been spent dealing with several crisis in family, which I hope are soon turning for the best. And studying, I’m soon to become a certified personal trainer and fitness / figure / bikini coach. And training. I’ve seen great progress even though I’ve dealt with stressful situations in my life and have had to travel between two cities all this time.

Today we’re celebrating Finland’s 100st Independence Day. I’m working (on call), but nicely it has been pretty quiet so we’ve been watching interviews and Independence Day’s parade on TV with my mom and later will probably watch Linnanjuhlat, Presidential Independence Day reception.

I wanted to share some pictures from my summer and fall with you ❤ . If I’m okay, I will try to write something new in the becoming days.

I’ve officially moved to Hamina now ❤
I got to meet Mike Tuchscherer in Ireland !!
…and got a hug from Stephen “Screamer” Manuel 🙂
I got to spend an evening with Eric Helms himself!
Franz has been traveling a lot with me
Last summer was busy but great 🙂

I’ve had some great dinners…
..and treats!

 

I started studying for my powerlifting coach certificate

I GOT ENGAGED LAST SUMMER !! ❤ ❤ We had our engagement party at Clarion Hotel, Helsinki.

The bling ring ❤
View from our hotel room at Clarion Helsinki
A summery day view to Helsinki
The Clarion Hotel
Morning swim was refreshing after our engagement party 🙂
On a cruise to Tallinna
This fall we went sightseeing and trekking near Kotka
Independent Finland for 100 years !
Sometime Franz just isn’t up to walking…

AND SOME ADDITIONAL INFO: I GOT MARRIED 10th NOVEMBER !! ❤ ❤

Me with my husband at a friend’s wedding last summer ❤
I’m so happy with him!<3

What else? I’m training physique-style at the moment, for a change. I want to see how big improvements I can get on my look – add muscle and lose fat – for a while. One of my coaching clients will compete in figure next year. And I’m still coaching nutrition and lifestyle for people around Finland, and even have a few abroad clients.

My own journey has been long, but now as I’ve gone through Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach online coaching that I offer as well, as a client to a fellow lifestyle coach, I’ve seen great improvements in my daily habits and how I take care of myself. I’ve started to think and act more proactively, and take active measures to rest and recover better, and have been revisiting my life values and what is important for me, as well as what I have strength to do and what should I delegate or leave altogether.

Even with adrenal insufficiency, I have two great coaches and science behind my great physique transformation and energy ❤

Hoping to write again soon,

xoxo,

Veera

 

 

This Awesome But Hectic Life Of Mine

Hiya! Right after getting my strength back I’ve been living life to the full last few weeks – maybe even a bit too full… I’ve had so much fun, met and hung out with friends and enjoyed every moment of it ❤ .

I was invited to my friend’s bachelorette party near Tampere a couple of weeks ago. I was pretty exhausted from all the traveling I had had to do in the near past but wouldn’t have missed her day for any price. I guess I was also suffering from a little bit of post-travel depression since returning from Ireland. Spending lots of time just resting and sleeping isn’t something that I like to do. It’s something that’s required of me if I want to stay functional but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I normally love being around people and not being able to really gets to me. Being all alone and weak in the bed makes me moody and sad.

I guess I would have been more energetic if I hadn’t spent the previous evening attending my friend’s singing gig at Helsinki, but I really wanted to hear her Dance Storm band play there – we had such a great time there with my friend Johanna ❤ . The gig was awesome, my leg twitched like crazy as I would’ve wanted to dance but really then I would’ve missed the bachelorette party due to total exhaustion.

The bachelorette party venue was Vaihmalan Hovi, a hotel and a spa near Lempäälä. The weather that day was fantastic; the sun shone brightly and we spend lot of time outdoors. The bride to be got spa treatments and we had planned some outdoor activity and a treasure hunt for her to test her wits 🙂 . I really enjoyed getting to know the other participants as I had never met most of my friend’s other GFs.

Our bachelorette party venue
We all got pretty hair pins to match ❤
Front yard at Vaihmalan Hovi

I would really have liked to go swimming but I forgot my bathing suit…

The day spent in sun and having numerous activities totally drained me and I spent the train ride home shaking and popping extra hydrocortisone. I have no recollection of the evening after I got home…

I haven’t been able to lift as often that I would’ve liked. Well no shit Sherlock. If I’m traveling around Finland and Europe, doing my job and hanging out with friends on this and that occasion I can’t split myself up any further. I have to really start to think about my priorities in the becoming few weeks as I miss lifting and 3 times per week – barely, may I say – just doesn’t cut it for long. I want to get to better, to set PRs, get more muscle. The way I’m living now won’t produce those results. I just need to choose what is most important to me in my life.

Still managed to hit the gym both in Hamina and in Espoo at least a couple of times 🙂
Last set of deadlift drop set left, lunges await…

I have missed spending time with friends and traveling, stuff that I loved to do before I got diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency. This spring and early summer I have been in the best shape ever since diagnosis. I think lots of reasons attribute to it:

  • My body is recovering from the long lack of enough cortisone and DHEA
  • I have learned to recover faster by taking small breaks throughout the day and sleeping wherever and whenever I can
  • I’m in better shape thanks to my powerlifting practice and the rowing sessions I started this spring
  • My nutrition is on point thanks to my nutrition coach, Renaissance Periodization’s Dr. Jen Case 
  • I’ve had a lot of help from my mother ❤ who takes care of Franz while I travel and work
  • Last but not least, I have a wonderful officer and a gentleman in my life who takes care of me when I’m tired or sick, walks beside me and supports all my aspirations in life ❤

Due to all the above, I’ve been able to work part-time since the end of my over 3 month sick leave last winter, begin my studies to become a personal trainer and finish my nutrition coach degree so I can help others.

I now have my first online nutrition coaching group that started in June and I have been so happy and amazed by the people that have trusted me to help them get in better shape and health. We have our own Facebook group and do group training and meet-up sessions at least once a month now. I have had much help from Precision Nutrition‘s ProCoacha nutrition coaching software for their certified coaches that helps me deliver daily educational lessons and workshops to my clients and help us monitor their progress and keep in touch. One month in, and many have already noticed big changes in their mindset about nutrition, fitness and life in general, as well as in their waistlines! 🙂

We had a blast in my coaching group’s outdoor training session!
Just hangin’ my hair out on summery pt course break 😀

My powerlifting coach certificate studies begin in August. Thankfully I only study one or two weekends per month and some evenings. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do my doctor’s work that pays for my “pt hobby” now. Hopefully next year I will be a certified personal trainer as well and can deliver excellent and holistic health services to my clients by combining these two professions.

As always, Franz is being his own cute – and at times annoying – self and keeps me company in my both homes at Espoo and Hamina ❤ .

The summer heat gets to even Franz at times
Franz having a little flamingo action 😀

For an adrenal insufficient individual, I think I’ve done more than well managing my life for the last few extremely busy weeks. But my illnesses are catching up with me at the moment and I really need to slow down soon or I will crash and burn. Right after my annual Utti Krav Maga Summer Camp this weekend, that is 😉 .

I will try to post an update next week about my trip to the European Powerlifting Conference as well as the Utti summer camp. Right after I’ve recovered. Already looking forward to spending time just resting, reading and watching movies, and when I’m up to it, hitting the gym again 🙂 .

xoxo,

Veera

New Career Path Ahead

I have wonderful news! I’m since this week a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified nutrition coach 🙂 !!

I finished my studies after two weeks of intense reading and doing online exams. I’m really excited and anxious to get new clients I can use my skills and all the knowledge I’ve gathered about dieting, mass gaining, healthy nutrition, change psychology and making permanent life changes 🙂 . This is all the stuff I’ve wanted to do with my patients as a doctor but haven’t had time as usually appointments are very short and we aren’t allocated time to talk about lifestyle interventions, which is so sad. I’m planning to open an online consulting business so I can help people no matter their location as I’m still living half the time in Espoo and other half in Hamina.

And this isn’t the only change in my life – next week I’ll be starting personal trainer studies!  I’m enrolled to graduate as a Trainer4You personal trainer this December 🙂 . I’m really psyched up about this and extremely happy that all my beloved ones and friends have been really supportive about my new career path. I’ll be also starting studies this autumn to become a certified fitness coach. The course is meant for people interested in coaching fitness competitors in fitness, body fitness (figure), bikini fitness, men’s physique, women’s physique and classic bodybuilding. The Finnish Fitness Alliance is Finnish Olympic Committee member and under IFBB umbrella, and is committed to drug-free sports and competitors are subject to WADA testing. I’ve been a fitness enthusiast since the 90’s and it will be so fun to connect with my old love again ❤ .

I’ll be continuing working as geriatric consult as usual but I hope I can start my side business with lifestyle medicine and getting people in shape and encouraging them to adopt healthy eating habits and maybe even help someone to step on stage in high heels one day 🙂 .

xoxo,

Veera

 

Dieting Tradeoffs

A couple of weeks ago I re-listened to an older episode of Sigma Nutrition Radio podcast where Danny Lennon interviewed John Berardi, founder and CEO of Precision Nutrition. If you haven’t heard of them, DO check them out at www.precisionnutrition.com :).

You can listen the episode here: SNR #93: John Berardi, PhD – Dieting Trade-offs, Applying Science to Practice & the Future of Nutrition

I’ve been a big fan of Precision Nutrition since about 2008 when I first learned about them. I admire the scientific, but personalized approach they have about nutrition, and that general wellbeing and psychology are taken into account regarding nutrition and diet. I’ve previously participated in PN’s Lean Eating Coaching Program and am actually in the midst of doing their Nutrition Coaching Level 1 Certification. Though I’ve really been short of time in advancing with it as I’ve had so much work and other commitments to do – but I’ll get back to it one day :).

What I wanted to write about was the idea of trade-offs. Nothing in life worth pursuing comes without a price tag. Want to be a doctor? You have to be willing to skip parties and other fun events in order to study for hours almost every day during prep and in med school. And – surprise – even after graduating you have to give up some of your free time to keep up to date on latest science and treatment advancements. If you’re more interested in making easy money and having lots of time for hobbies and family, you probably won’t become a professor of neurosurgery.

Want to learn a new skill? Even though the 10,000 hour rule has at least partly been debunked, truly mastering something will take years and thousands of hours of commitment. It’s time away from something else. I know I’ll never be a great, or even good, krav maga practitioner, as I so rarely have time to train it anymore, but I’ll settle for mediocre (at best). Powerlifting and weightlifting are more important to me right now. Though I still wouldn’t miss the annual Utti summer camp for any price :).

What’s important to me might not mean so much to you. This is just the same with nutrition. We all don’t need to eat like a bodybuilding pro or a figure competitor during his/her last weeks of contest prep. My Renaissance Periodization’s diet plan has proved it.

Most people can achieve a toned “beach body” look without eating only tuna, rice and broccoli, weighing every morsel of food and losing their sanity. But don’t think you can look great – or be healthy – if your diet resembles a heart attack on plate…

Image source (and recipe for anyone interested in obtaining coronary heart disease)

But, if you’re fantasizing about totally ripped muscles with bulging veins, washboard abs, absolute quad definition or maybe even striated glutes, you’re gonna have suffer for it. It usually means dealing with hunger, abstaining from party food and eating out – even following IIFYM. You have to be ready to trade feeling good to looking good. In order to make informed decisions you have to be able to jot down the positives and negatives that follow that decision. Precision Nutrition has made a clear infographic to detail some of the things that are needed to achieve a certain level of “leanness”. Of course there are always some outliers, but for the majority of people out there I think this is a very good example :).

Here’s the infographic from PN’s article “The Cost Of Getting Lean”:

You can read the full article here.

I started my cutting diet partly because my boyfriend decided he should go on a diet and I wanted to support him. I also felt I was finally ready to do it. This spring was extremely fatiguing both mentally and physically. Before summer I wasn’t in a place to give attention and energy to a follow a strict nutrition plan. I feel I did exactly the right thing when I concentrated only on two nutrition goals: eating enough veggies and fruit and getting enough quality protein to prevent my health and muscles from deteriorating when my illnesses flared up and I couldn’t work out regularly. But now I am ready, and have been following my diet program 100%, and with great results to share soon :). 

I don’t – yet – have definition in my abs, but my clothes fit better day by day and I feel more comfortable in my body – more like an athlete. My performance is constantly improving. Right now I’m more than willing to trade eating ice cream and not having to count my macros to that great feeling and improved esthetics.

What are your goals, and what are you willing to trade to reach them?

xoxo,

Veera

Bench Presses And Benchmarks

Wow, I’ve now written this blog for a whole year! Thanks everyone for following my journey – I hope to continue writing about my life, training and of course adrenal insufficiency for a long time… 🙂

First off, I have some amazing news: my coach Anni Vuohijoki will be lifting in the Rio Olympic Games!! I’m so happy for her, she really has deserved her spot among Finland’s Olympic Team :). She’s such a great athlete whose dedication to weightlifting and overall attitude I admire and look up to. ❤ So follow women’s 63 kilos class in Rio! 🙂

Follow Anni here:

https://www.facebook.com/annivuohijokiweightlifting/

http://anni.vuohijoki.com/

My training during the past month has gone really smoothly and I’m extremely satisfied with my consistency there. I haven’t really missed any workouts and have mostly hit the designated numbers in all my lifts. Only in the last week before my deload I missed my bench press 5 x 10 with 45 kilos and back squats 5 x 10 with 60 kilos. Partly that may have been due to the fact that I’ve now been dieting for the last 4 weeks, with good results overall. My deadlift hasn’t suffered at all, my mood has been good and I haven’t had any hunger pangs or cravings. What I’m especially happy about is that my boyfriend has been dieting with me and that has made the whole process so much easier as we’ve prepped meals together and have been able to support each other ❤ .

We’re both following Renaissance Periodization‘s Auto Diet Templates. I’ve written about RP before, lastly about my trip to London to the Training & Recovery Seminar. I can wholeheartedly recommend RP’s diet templates – both for massing and cutting – for any serious athlete out there. As their motto says, “Science Is Stronger” :). I’ve never felt better dieting down and the auto templates are so easy to use – my boyfriend who has never (truly!) followed any diet program got the gist of it really quickly and has progressed from total newbie to walking automatic macro calculator… 🙂

I will tell more about my cutting progress after I get some caliper measurements done next week. I’m excited to see how my skinfold measurements have progressed besides my weight.

I recently read a great article at Strengtheory.com about a bench press technique tweak that really “clicked” when I tried it at my last benching session. The bar really seemed to move so much more effortlessly. I usually lift alone and at the commercial gym where I train there aren’t any people well versed in powerlifting who could look and comment on my technique. I try to read articles about lifting technique and watch Youtube videos of good lifters and pick up clues how to better my lifts. This is one of the best enlightened moments since learning how to arch my back and pull my lats back – I was a flat bencher just two years ago…

So what’s the ado all about? Bar movement pattern. I’ve always been pressing the bar straight up. But I now learned that the most efficient bar path – and one all advanced level lifters seem to use – is back (toward your face) and up. Here’s the whole article: Fix Your Bar Path For A Bigger Bench.

I also suggest you read How To Bench – The Definitive Guide – it’s pure diamond and completely free! Greg Nuckols is a genious – a great writer and even greater powerlifter 🙂 I love his stuff and try to learn as much as I can from his articles and watch his lifts.

Now we’re spending my rest day chilling out with Franz at my mom’s backyard :). He’s now fully recovered from his wrist surgery and we’ve been enjoying longer walks in the beautiful Finnish nature again ❤ .

20160724_172157.jpg

After I’ve gotten some much needed R&R, in the beginning of next week I’ll hitting the gym and next weekend hitting other people as it’s yet again time for the annual Krav Maga Summer Camp at Utti…!!

Take care,

xoxo,

Veera 

“Nutrition, Training & Recovery” -seminar in London

Last weekend I attended “Nutrition, Training & Recovery” seminar by Renaissance Periodization’s ultratalented team of Dr’s James Hoffman and Mike Israetel in London.

And – WOW. This broscience attack squad completely overloaded my neurons with knowledge so that I may have to deload a full month before I recover from the information assault… I can’t truly express the extent of my happiness and gratitude for this experience. Actually, I’m almost speechless with awe, and that doesn’t happen very often to me :).

I was so deeply enthralled by the presentations I seem to have only hazy memories of the two seminar days. Without my notes and the picture below to prove it I probably could’ve wondered whether this was all a dream… I’m extremely thankful for our wonderful hosts Steve Hall and Mike Samuels for arranging the seminar!

Me with RP’s Melissa Davis, James Hoffman and Mike Israetel ❤

Dr. Mike Israetel is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science in Temple University, a bodybuilder, powerlifter AND a Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu grappler 🙂 – I’d really hate to wrestle this guy… Though I wouldn’t dare challenge him intellectually, either – his formidable wit combined with clear and precise presentation skills and great humor simply makes this girl all humble and week on the knees… 😉

I also enjoyed immensely from Dr. James Hoffman‘s presentations, especially regarding recovery. With adrenal insufficiency my recovery resources are seriously limited, and while taking good care of nutrition and seeing to that I train smart but hard, it’s extremely important for me to know how I can enhance recovery. He was very kind to talk with me in more detail about cortisol and it’s role in recovery processes, as well.

It was great that James had brought his girlfriend, Melissa Davis with him as she was such a sweet and smart person, I was so happy to get to meet her :). She’s also part of team Renaissance Periodization, a PhD of Neurobiology and Behavior and a Jiu-Jitsu grappler as well – amazing! She also co-authored RP’s great nutrition and diet book for women, more on that below :).

Men and horses, prick up your ears as Dr. Hoffman cracks the science behind recovery!

As a whole, we attendees were a very strength training -oriented and enthusiastic group and were treated royally with absolutely fantastic lectures, for example about proper nutrition, workout principles for muscle hypertrophy and planning a proper strength training program and yearly planning for athletes.

Muscle hypertrophy – it’s magic ( if you’re not Gandalf or Brad Schoenfeld 😉 )

If you want to learn more about how to perform better, I can’t recommend highly enough that you go and buy the RP’s Scientific Principles Of Strength Training and Renaissance Diet ebooks. Also, a must have for us ladies, and for anyone who coaches women, is their Renaissance Woman nutrition ebook. I’m already anxiously waiting for the Recovery book Mike and James are currently writing…

The event was also videoed – thanks again to Steve Hall! Here’s a small taste of the wisdom we were treated with shared by Steve in his facebook page:

 

If you already don’t, immediately begin follow these extraordinary gentlemen as they share absolutely great info to fuel your fitness ambitions:

Steve Hall – Facebook – Macros, Bodybuilding & Powerlifting with Revive Stronger  /  http://revivestronger.com/ 

Mike Samuels – Facebook – Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting  /  http://www.healthylivingheavylifting.com/ 

Mike Israetel – Facebook

Renaissance Periodization – http://renaissanceperiodization.com/

What else did I do in London? Ummm… I slept :). Traveling with AI has previously lead to some near catastrophes even with someone accompanying me. Now I was abroad alone for the first time after my diagnosis so I had to consider my health and make sure I recovered well enough. I didn’t want to experience another near-crisis incident as last year in Copenhagen. (See Copenhagen Mania Part 1 and Part 2 and Pre-Crisis Symptoms And Adrenaline Rushes Part 1 and Part 2)

Well, this time overstressing myself was really not an issue. I was so worn out after both days I simply dragged my weary body to the hotel on autopilot as my neurons were crazily firing all over the place, and crashed on the bed. No wild partying as I fell asleep at 10 PM 😂😂. I have to admit I felt jealous and a bit depressed as I thought about other people – healthy and normal people – and what they would have done, or what would my old self have done when spending a weekend in such a fantastic city as London. But my life is what it is and having a poor-little-girl pity party wouldn’t have changed my circumstances one bit. We all have to make trade-offs of some kind in our lives. I needed to take good care of my wellbeing by sleeping enough so I was able to follow the great lectures we had and learn in order to become a better and wiser athlete.

At least I got to treat myself to a small but effective shopping spree as the seminar was held on Saturday and Sunday, but due to health reasons to get enough rest I had booked my return flight for Monday. I can just say I went totally wild in London’s premium sci-fi and fantasy bookstore Forbidden Planet <3. Later I completed maxing out my Visa and Master Card in Foyles’ flagship bookstore to get some new medicine and exercise science additions for my home library. My strength workout for the day was to carry all the books to the hotel :D. And as it was my last day in UK, and I had been a very good and clever girl with my macros, my diet was flexible enough to fit some Chinese delicacies as well as a “small” dessert ;)…

Lunch in Chinatown 🙂
The SMALL dessert
@Piccadilly in great weather
Leicester Square
Bought just a couple of books…

Overall, last weekend’s seminar was one of the the best I’ve ever attended. Period. And I proved to myself I can travel with AI – alone – and handle it. Though I missed my boyfriend on several occasions as we had so much fun the last time we were in London together and it would’ve been nice to share all my excitement and joy of new knowledge and all my new experiences with someone.

After getting back home I was crushed, though. It took me this whole week to get back to my feet. Literally. During the trip I had doubled my hydrocortisone, but after coming home when I tried to lower the dose I was wiped out. I could only sleep and lie on the sofa. Standing up I was dizzy, mildly nauseous and weak. My muscles cramped. I’m still taking 1.5x my normal HC dose but I hope I can soon go lower. So, traveling was nice for spirit, not so nice for body. I rest my AI case – pun intended.

But yesterday I finally got to the gym after a whole week’s break. And with luck this evening will be dedicated to deadlifting <3. I’m also soon meeting with my coach Anni to discuss our battle plan regarding rest of year 2016 – stay tuned! 🙂

xoxo,

Veera

A Quick Update And Lyle McDonald Interview

Hiya! Again I’m posting irregularly, thanks to lots and lots of work… Sorry about that! First, I want to tell some good news – I’m feeling a whole lotta better now after the fixes in my thyroid meds and starting the iron supplementation. I’ve gotten almost two weeks – wow! – worth of good training done and am if not hundred, then at least 80 percent more energetic :). And, no fever, no flu, no asthma whatsoever. Yippee! ❤

I’ve been absent from the weightlifting school from different reasons such as car breaking down, extreme tiredness before and work duties but will now try to make up for my absences during the last one and half months. I’ve attended also powerlifting school for in Helsingin Atleettiklubi (HAK), which is my new lifting club. I’ve gotten good feedback on my form, which has made me a very happy girl :). Now just need to add more weight to the bar and sky’s the limit… Next Wednesday will be the last part of the powerlifting school and I’m gonna try and get more pointers for my squat which is currently my obvious weakest link.

Now I’ve been at Lahti at my mom’s home and working from there through the whole Easter Holidays. Franz has kept me company. ❤ ❤

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20160326_211011.jpgLast night I had a good squat workout at Fressi Lahti. Did front squats 5 x 5 with 45 kilos, which is a good weight for me :). The gym was almost completely empty – oh, the peace! Then I chilled out with a good book and my own Easter treats – no chocolate for me, as I’m trying really hard to clean my diet to lose the extra weight I’ve gained in the last couple of months due taking massive amounts of cortisone and being hypothyroid.

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But now I want to share this great interview of Lyle McDonald by IceCream4PRs’ Jeff Nippard where they talk about Nutrition and Training for Women – Part 1. Enjoy! 🙂

Happy Easter from me and Franz!

xoxo,

Veera

My Attitude Towards Nutrition

As a prelude to this post, I will tell you a secret. Last Thursday, I messed up my diet. Oopsie. I was in a geriatric symposium with good company and after the day’s lectures we had a dinner buffet and some wine. Well, at least I had wine! Two large glasses. Enough to cloud my judgement. I was in a great mood but also had been suffering from a lot of stress lately. So I figured what the heck. I let go of thinking about macros, my overall nutrition plan and whether it was a good idea to have any more wine. I went off the rails big time.

Instead of going straight home, I went and bought a bottle of white wine and food, food, food. That night I drank almost the whole bottle (ouch!) and ate a loaf of cashew-cranberry ciabatta bread nearly the size of my dog, a handful of chocolate cookies and half a bowl of ice cream. The next day I had a slight hangover. Luckily, only slight! But unlike previously, I didn’t suffer from the often lot more dangerous and longer-lasting mental hangover.

Why didn’t I fall into self pity, despair and self accusations over my dietary mistake? Or begin a week-long binge as I already blew it for one day? Why was I able to forgive my lapse and move on immediately the next day? There are a couple of reasons:

  • I look at the big picture. One night of over-indulgence won’t wreck my whole year. Maybe it will set me back a few days. If so, what the heck? I’m not going into competition right now. I have room to be more flexible on a day to day basis. Of course I have to be more careful if I’m planning on entering a powerlifting meet where I’ll need to be at a certain weight.
  • I’ve learned to forgive myself and move on. There’s no reason to go over past mistakes. Any self mutilation, mental or physical – for example, restrictive eating after a binge – won’t magically erase the calories consumed. It won’t make me feel better about myself or prevent the same from happening again. Instead, I can learn from my mistakes and try to be more mindful in the future. So – less wine for me in the next congress 😀

Looking back, I haven’t really been eating that well this year. At times, I’ve followed my calories and macros, but for a long period I was simply too tired and exhausted to put in any effort or care. I know it’s not ideal. But my life isn’t ideal, either. I can’t dwell too long on remembering how many cupcakes I ate last week, or how many exercise sessions I missed. I need to focus on recovering my strength both physically and mentally. If I want to eat properly and fuel my body, I need to be able to plan my diet, go to the grocery store, and prepare my meals. I didn’t have the energy to do that. I was that tired. That’s one more reason why I need to do what’s really best for me, not what’s best in someone else’s opinion about my treatment protocols for AI, immunodeficiency, asthma, hypothyroidism, back issues etc. I want and need more than just to be able to barely function on a day to day basis. I want to improve my physique and performance.

Flexible dieting for me means flexibility in both food choices and my mindset about eating. I don’t need to categorize foods into “good” and “bad”. I don’t need to binge eat and restrict. I don’t need to cut calories drastically. If I slip from my diet plans somewhere along the way, I’ll get back into the saddle the next day and continue.

Below I’ve added some of the resources that have affected my way of thinking about nutrition. First, here’s a link to a great audio excerpt from Eric Helms’ Nutrition Pyramid book from Sigma Nutrition Radio podcast by Danny Lennon: Your Mentality Towards Nutrition – I really recommend you listen to this.

The Muscle & Strength Pyramid Books can be bought here: http://muscleandstrengthpyramids.com/

Here’s a playlist going over the whole Nutrition Pyramid. Especially Part 6 – Lifestyle & Behavior is diamond!

Here in this episode of Physique Science Radio, Layne Norton and Sohee Lee talk with Kori Propst about the psychology of dieting, nutrition and fitness and eating disoders. Kori is a figure competitor and a PhD cancidate in Psychology. This is again one of my favorite episodes right now – a real treat! ❤

 

Read more about Kori and her work at: https://www.thedietdoc.com/

I’m learning more about my body, it’s nutritional needs and my diet psyche every day. Some lessons obviously need to be re-learned. Again and again. But such is life sometimes. I’m not perfect. But I can strive to be better and smarter. And enjoy eating :).

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Great, nutritious and delicious week to everyone – and remember to be flexible! ❤ ❤

xoxo,

Veera