Margie Ellison | 9 Weeks Out – Bodybuilding & Half Distance Ironman Prep | Blog Update

Training and Nutrition log for the week of April 10, 2017 –  weeks out from the NGA Amateur Southeast Natural Championships, 13 weeks out from the Triple Bypass 120mi. cycling race through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

I am currently 9 weeks out from my figure show, and 13 weeks out from the Triple Bypass. Calories and macros are lowering, endurance volume and intensity is increasing, lifting intensity is increasing. Things are getting more serious each week. This week was a roller coaster of emotions and mood swings. The hunger rage hits randomly. Sometimes I feel great and energized in the morning, then later that day I am a hangry monster knocking down anything in my way. As I mentioned in my blog last week, the nutrition is the hardest part for me. While strong cravings hit, I’m finding myself growing mentally stronger each day. I believe cravings are generally temporary, so I try to find tactics that help me tackle the craving.

Each morning I have egg whites, eggs, and oatmeal accompanied with a cup of hot tea. During this meal, Truvia and Walden Farm’s pancake syrup are my best friends. I know you’re probably thinking I put these in my oatmeal. You are half right, I do put the zero calorie pancake syrup on my oatmeal. But, I scramble up the eggs and put a pack of Truvia in with it. Egg whites are a bit tasteless to me, so I’ve found I can do many things with them for flavoring. Sweet eggs like this helps out with my sweet tooth. I also will use a zero calorie caramel popcorn flavoring I found at TJ Maxx. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t think this tasted good if I wasn’t in prep. Tastebuds get weird and funky during prep. It’s weird, I know.

When I cook my chicken and beef, I like to grill it. I love the way grilled meat tastes. I marinade each batch a different flavor. One of my favorite ways to marinade beef is soaking it in Worcestershire sauce and applewood smoke rub, which are both zero calorie flavorings/seasonings. I like to soak my chicken in lime juice, then sprinkle lemon seasoning on it. Throw these bad boys on the grill and it makes delicious tasting protein with no added calories.

Why am I going into detail on how I cook my food? Well, I’ve found the general consensus for strict diets like this are “They’re boring and they suck! I just eat the food because I have to.” I don’t like this mindset. If I eat and think like this, I am lead to binge more to satisfy cravings or to make myself feel better. I just absolutely love food. I think one of the greatest ways to enjoy good company is with good food. I like to make food more than just eating and fueling myself.

So, because of this, I like to make strict diet during prep as enjoyable as I possibly can. When I go to the grocery store, I am constantly looking for new things to make prep diet as diverse in flavor as I possibly can without adding extra calories. I can still get the social enjoyment out of food by grilling, too. I live in Florida, so the weather is beautiful this time of year. Hanging out by the pool and grilling with my friends makes eating on a strict diet more manageable. Yeah, I can’t enjoy a few beers and some homemade baked goods. But I can still eat some delicious chicken while enjoying the company of my friends.

I was even able to enjoy an Easter lunch while staying in line with prep. I let my nutrition coach, Josh Citron, know ahead of time what my mother would be cooking for Easter lunch. Grilling things like chicken, veggies, and salmon, then cooking potatoes, rice, and so forth. She kept it pretty “healthy” because she is also dieting. This made it very easy to stay in line with my goals. We combined my usual lunch and dinner to make one big meal. After that, I just snacked on some spinach in the evening to stomp a small hunger craving. Then I had the usual casein shake before bed. With proper preparation, it’s very possible to enjoy life while still staying on track with your goals.

Training Overview

Monday: Cycling and a chest/shoulder focused lift. The cycling was rough. I was still coming off the emotional and mental exhaustion from the week prior. This 2.5 hour mix of cadence intervals was just a mental game of pushing through. My lift surprisingly went very well. I find myself dialing in on form and technique each day. This helps so much with hypertrophy focus because I’m able to engage and contract my muscles the way I want.

Tuesday: Swimming accompanied with a leg focused lift. Fuck. That’s probably the best word to describe today’s swimming session. 5x500m, each piece with different pacing. It was definitely a breakthrough workout I was not looking forward to. I usually find myself having to push through mentally more than I do physically with swimming. Today it was different. I’d never swam 2500m in one session up until today. On the 4th set, I had to do alternating 50m strong/fast, 50m easy. I found myself getting the pukey feeling about 3-400m into that piece. That made the cooldown feel nothing like a cooldown. Despite that, I felt amazing afterwards for being able to push through it. The lift was equally brutal. Annie continues to torture my legs more and more each week. Heavy eccentrics, hack squat 1.5 reps, occluded leg extensions, pretty much everything that would destroy your legs.

Wednesday: Normally I do a brick workout – cycle then run. Today, I woke up and my knee was very cranky. After speaking with my coach, we decided it was best to switch the brick to tomorrow, and do my 2nd swim session for the week today. Today’s swim wasn’t as brutal as yesterday’s 5x500m. It consisted of some 200m’s to warmup, followed by 2 sets of descending intervals. It sucked mentally more than anything. I was in a shit mood because my knee was being so cranky. I wanted to go home and watch Netflix. I just ended up pushing through and getting it done.

Thursday: Brick workout – cycle and run and a back focused lift. Wow, this brick workout was tough. Just under 2.5 hours on the bike, followed by a 5 mile run. This was definitely a breakthrough workout, as I’d never ran 5 miles immediately after cycling that long. My legs were dead on the run, but I actually felt very good in terms of energy. Normally on these long endurance days, I find myself recovering 3-4 hours afterwards. Usually being dead to the world for the afternoon. Today, I felt very recovered hardly 30-45 minutes afterwards. This put me in a great mood for my lift. Today’s lift was a short session, but suuuper effective. I felt like every rep was a great rep.

Friday: Run and shoulder focused lift. I lifted earlier in the day, which went really well. I love training shoulders, and hardly ever have a bad shoulder day. I was not looking forward to the run at all. I was procrastinating it all morning. Finally, I forced myself to get up and do it. 12x400m repeats. What kind of sick individual programs that? My coach, Mike, clearly. The only words I really had for this are “I hate you, Mike” followed by a photo of my giving him the bird. Torture. Just absolute torture.

Saturday: Normally on a Saturday, I will do a long ride accompanied by a lift. Easter weekend travels made it more efficient to just lift today, then push my ride to Sunday morning. So, today’s lift was a quick arm blast. I was feeling it almost immediately. The kind of feeling where you know washing your hair will be difficult. My arms were pumped and blown up the whole day. So I guess there’s a win in there somewhere, huh?

Sunday: 4 hour steady state ride. I was over on the west coast of Florida visiting family for Easter. This meant I had to find a long cycling path. Thankfully I found one 10 miles from my mom’s house. I decided to risk it and cycle the 10 miles to the path rather than drive my car there. Riding there sucked. I felt like I had no energy and I could not get my legs to turn over for shit. After a few miles on the cycling path, I found a big burst of energy and was feeling amazing. I was hitting great speeds for a good 25-30 miles. The middle part of the ride went SO well. Right as I was getting to the end of the trail where I had to cycle on the main road again, I got hit with a gnarly head wind. This lasted for the last 12-15 miles of the ride. After a few miles of this, I found myself gassed. I went too hard on the middle part of the ride and found myself dying out the last 10 miles.

Follow Margie on Facebook & Instagram!

Interested in coaching from any one of our amazing coaches? View our complete overview of services  offered and sign up today!