Playin’ Catch Up……

Well, I’m runnin’ one week behind schedule in terms of adding info to my blog. So I have lots to share! ;o)

Some adventures from a recent trip to the Big Apple, more on the “Recipivity” scene, and just the latest in regards to preparation for the upcoming competition.

So….here we go!

Change of Scenery

I was fortunate enough to have my travels take me to my favorite place in the U. S. of A. – NEW YORK CITY!!

In fact, all of Week 11 would be spent in this happenin’ town! So, the week prior I was on a mission to determine where I would be pumpin’ iron each morning. I mean three weeks out from the competition I needed to keep my trainin’ on track!

One of my SC trainin’ friends told me to check with our club’s front desk for a list of gyms in NYC that partnered with our SC gym. Apparently, there’s a Membership program which clubs throughout the nation participate to offer Gym Rats workout accommodations while traveling. Needless to say there were a slew of them on the list for Manhattan. ;O)

The Gym Score

The gym that caught my eye, based primarily on proximity to where I’d be staying, was CRUNCH. When I looked them up on the internet there was a link for a “Free Guest Pass” – perfect! So, I clicked the link and submitted the required information to begin the process of gaining my guest pass.

Not five minutes later, I received an email from Jared stating that he was glad to see that I was interested in checkin’ CRUNCH out and asked when I would like to schedule a training session. I wrote Jared back explaining that I was going to be in the city for the entire week, was trainin’ for my first bodybuilding competition, was hoping to acquire a guest pass for the week, and if a trainin’ session was required to obtain the guest pass that early Monday morning would be perfect.

Jared replied stating that CRUNCH typically only offered guest passes to city residents, but in light of my circumstances, he was going to grant me a Free Guest Pass for the entire week, as his way of sayin’ “Good Luck!”!!!! I was SO pleasantly surprised I immediately wrote him back to express my gratitude and asked if he would be at the gym that week so that I could thank him in person. I gave him the link to my blog explaining that I was documenting the whole transition and process or preparing for my first competition. Jared indicated that he too knew something about transition, as he had lost 125 LBS.!!! We scheduled an “in person” meeting for that Wednesday. ;o)

CRUNCH – The Ultimate Gym Experience!!

Monday – As per Jared’s instructions, I brought a copy of our email correspondence, print out of the Guest Pass he provided, and my i.d. to the front desk. I was greeted by Anthony who took all the information and entered me in the gym system. He said I was all set for the week and then told me where everything was located. Very Cool! And an Extremely nice guy! ;o)

I headed upstairs to the free weights to train Deltoids & Chest. I got to my max weight on bench press, the max number of reps I could handle on my own, but was hopin’ to get in a few more with the help of a spotter. I had seen several CRUNCH trainers workin’ with clients and thought perhaps one might assist me. I was scopin’ out the area, when one of the trainers near by saw me lookin’ and asked me if I wanted to get in a few more. Happily, I accepted with his client’s permission to borrow him for a quick minute or two.

Little Did I know….

I finished up on weights and was about to jump on the elliptical to get in my daily cardio, when the next thing I know my friendly spotter was standing next to me. He commented on my strong “Workout Ethic” and then my appearance and asked me what I was “up to”. I explained that I was visiting from out-of-town, Jared had hooked me up and that I was trainin’ for my first bodybuilding competition. He then informed me that I was lookin’ at the 2009 NABBA Champion – Mr. USA!!! I about passed out! I mean here I am, this “Newby” to bodybuilding, and Mr. USA is takin’ notice of me??!!!  My head got SO big I didn’t think I’d be able to exit the gym. ;o)

My new-found friend, Richard Louis, trains folks daily so I fortunately I would be seeing him each morning.

As I checked out, I met Diane. Upon returning my ID, she informed me that she was a spin instructor and told me I ought to check out her class the next morning at 6:30 a.m. Yet another super nice person representing CRUNCH.

Tuesday – Spin Class & Weight Trainin’ (Back & Biceps)

Checked in with smilin’ Anthony and headed to spin. Diane was glad to see I took her up on her offer, maybe even a bit surprised. ;o) I told her I couldn’t pass up an invitation to check out a fellow In-Door Cycling Instructor’s class.

Fort-five minutes later I was headed back upstairs to train back. When I was just about to wrap things up with Abs, I noticed Richard wavin’ at me from across the gym. I was rockin’ out my iPod  – so I had to pause to hear him. He said, “I’ll see you in five minutes.”. He came over and offered some constructive advice on improving my technique for Lat Pull Downs – much appreciated!! We got to chattin’ (imagine that ;o) ) on the topic of food, of all things, and he mentioned a franchise throughout the city that I should check out called “Pump”. I went on to ask what his schedule was like for the remainder of the week, that I was plannin’ on workin’ legs on Wednesday and to my delightful surprise he said he’d train me!!  Yet another score!!


I was due to meet a friend for lunch later that day, so I planned to take Richard’s advice and suggest that we check out this place called “Pump. As it turned out the location we chose ended up being called “Fuel”. Kinda apropo since I refer to my nutritional intake as my “Fuel Plan” ;o) Anyway…..the place was AWESOME and had an incredible menu totally geared toward bodybuilders; offering everything from bison, tilapia, ostrich, chicken to 6 egg white omelettes!! It was great! In chatting with the manager, he explained that he had bought that particular “Pump” franchise, changed the name to “Fuel” and expanded the menu – putting his spin on the concept.  Man I wish there was one in my neighborhood!!

Wednesday – Oh Dear Lord Have Mercy!!

I decided to walk the 20 blocks to the gym to be all warmed up for the workout to come. I can’t even begin to express how excited I was to have the opportunity to become Richard’s victim…I mean trainee. ;o) And let me tell you he definitely exceeded ALL my expectations!

He took me through some familiar exercises such as Reclined Leg Presses paired with Hack Squats. Then he showed me a new exercise that really fires up the Glutes paired with an Adductor (inner thigh) move!! He also incorporated some Walking Lunges outside on the sidewalk and we finished up the torture session with chair-less Seated Position against the wall accompanied with exploding Jump Squats. This is when I really began to pray as my legs were literally shakin’!! Schwoooo!! Great Stuff!! I must be sadistic. ;o)

As planned, I met the man who made it ALL possible – Jared! He I had a really nice chat. I was so glad to have the opportunity to express my thanks to him in person!! Jared YOU ROCK!!

Thursday – Chest & Triceps

My legs were not so thrilled to be disturbed upon waking Thursday morning, as I expected, but the REAL brunt of the workout will be felt come Friday. Oh – boy ;o)

Hello’s to Anthony and up the stairs I went to hit the weights, quick conversation with Richard and then cardio was walkin’ the 20 blocks back to my temporary NYC abode.

Friday – Back & Biceps…..& Back to the Sutter SC Scene

As ALWAYS time flies when you’re havin’ fun and this ENTIRE week at CRUNCH has been a BLAST!!

I cannot say enough about the Gym facility, nor the super staff that keeps the folks that walk through its doors motivated to exert their daily dose of CRUNCH.

My SINCEREST thanks to Jared, Richard, Anthony and Diane for the warm welcome and adopting me for the week!

India / Brazil Via New York City

I am and have always been what you might call a “Low Maintenance” kinda girl.

Not one to get professional manicures, nor pedicures and the first time I even had the notion to have my eyebrows shaped up was when my friend set an appointment for me, during a trip to India, to have them “Threaded”….do what??

Facing the sheer fact that come September 18th I will be required to pose wearin’ a mere four triangles of fabric, I decided to seek the guidance from my more “experienced” NYC girlfriends. They recommended a couple different locations, one of which happened to be located near the “Fuel” restaurant mentioned above. So, I decided to stroll on down there to see if they could pamper this untamed dame. ;o)

Unique Threading was located through a single doorway and up a staircase. All of their services were listed as you entered the doorway and come to find out, not only did they offer Eyebrow Threading, but Binki treatments as well. I scaled the stairway and upon entering the establishment asked if they could take me as a “Walk In” for Eyebrow Threading. The answer was “yes”! The nice Indian girl sat me down and I proceeded to tell her that I wanted to have eyebrows after the process – in fact I still wanted to have “thick” eyebrows. I just wanted them shaped up. She ensured me that I would be totally satisfied with her work. And she did a marvelous job! I decided to ask if there was any chance she had time to address the bikini concerns. Once again – “yes”! Fate, well no, Divine Intervention was once again workin’ timing on my behalf. ;O)

The nice girl, once again, assures me that I will not be disappointed and that she will take good care of me. She leads me into a tiny room, just big enough to contain a massage table and the necessary heating elements that warm the “Sugaring Serum”. Sugaring is an “All Natural” method – no chemicals, which is what one of my friends had recommended. I was thrilled that this method was available!

Anyway, she leaves me in the room and says she’ll be back in a few minutes. Meanwhile, I’m takin’ in my small surroundings, takin’ note that there is paper on the massage table, which is makin’ this more and more like a doctor visit (of sorts), but there are no extra pieces of paper – if you follow my drift. So, I continue to stand there pondering what exactly I am supposed to do by the time she returns. Two knocks on the door (similar doctor visit que number 2), I crack the door, peak around and say “Ah – yeah….what am I suppose to do?” She grins real big, asks if this is my “first time”, steps in proceeds to laugh…”I do not mean to laugh at you ma’am, but I am laughing at you ma’am.” Then instructs me to strip from the waste down.

At this point, I havin’ flash backs to my trip to India when my friend set me up for in-home massages. Modesty just gets thrown out the window. There are no strategically positioned sheets – you just get naked and rubbed down. I find myself thankful for having that point of reference to be better prepared for the current circumstances.

I follow her instructions and upon standing back upright she says, “What do you do ma’am? Are you a trainer?” I explain to her the four tiny triangles that I will soon be donning. As I’m asked to lay on the massage table. She says, “You seem like very interesting funny lady ma’am.” She goes on to say, “Ma’am – you have no fat on you ma’am. After having my children I need to lose weight, I cannot lose weight ma’am. How do you lose the weight ma’am? What do you think about smoothies ma’am? I have a smoothie every night.” You can’t make this stuff up I tell ya! ;o)

She proceeds to sell me on goin’ the “whole nine yards” – and I mean that almost literally. (Just kiddin’) Because in such a tiny suit I don’t want to have to worry about any “stragglers” (my terminology – if you couldn’t tell). Sold…..

As she begins the “process”, she promises me that she will be as gentle as she possibly can and explains that at several times she will ask me to take deep breaths. Oh boy…..here we go……

After several “lift offs” and rough “landings”, I reach my final destination…..Brazil.

And once again I find myself volunteerin’ to be a victim. ;o)

In all seriousness, I would TOTALLY recommend Unique Threading on both the excellent, extra gentle care and on the affordable price!!

Latest Recipivity

Two new recipes to share!

One that’s just a spin on my “Apple-A-Day” and the other was a discovery in Tennis Magazine.

Closest Thing to Apple Pie

Core a Granny Smith Apple. Dust it with Saigon Cinnamon and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 35 minutes. (picture to come)

A New Swing – Tennis meets Tapas

Tennis Magazine featured a few recipes of Chef Julian Serrano this month. One in particular caught my attention because it was a new combination of roasted veggies. And after having cooked it a couple times now, I’ve determined that this recipe could be prepared to deliver three different outcomes; an entree side, a salsa of sorts, and a tapenade.

Chef Julian Serrano’s dish is “Escalivada Salad”, and according to him is a popular dish in Barcelona.

Veggie Blend:

Egg Plant




Other Ingredients:

Balsamic Vinegar

Garlic Cloves

Coarse Salt


Olive Oil

While he states to roast the veggies whole and separately from one another, I sliced the veggies and somewhat combined them. In other words, the slices of tomato and eggplant were on the same roasting pan, but not touching each other and the onion ( I coarsely chopped) went in another plan with some of the eggplant slices. I spritz the veggies with the olive oil and season them with the coarse salt and pepper. And I also took the liberty of adding whole cloves of garlic with the onion. This allows for quicker cooking time. If you were to roast the onion whole it would take an hour at 35o degrees, whereas I roasted the sliced and diced veggies at 400 degrees for approximately 35 minutes.

Escalivada Times Three

Basically, you arrive at the three different options – entree side, salsa, or tapenade – by how coarse or fine you cut up the veggies. If you keep the veggies in bigger chunks it’s more or an entree side, cut the veggies finer and it becomes more “salsa” like, and if you were to puree the blend of veggies you would get a spreadable tapenade.

After cutting the veggies add the balsamic vinegar…..doesn’t take much and will depend on how much of the veggie blend you prepare. I’d recommend starting sparingly as you can always add more, but you can’t take away.

Thus far I’ve prepared mine as a side dish, and just as Chef Julian Serrano promises, this stuff gets better as it sets!! (pictures to come)


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