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  1. I appreciate that there is another study out there. I'm very disappointed that it is a study that shows 1,000 units per day of D2 or D3 is inadequate to increase deficient serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. We already knew that unfortunately. The study that interests me is which form of D maintains an adequate level and at what dose.
  2. For myself, my water weight can fluctuate by 5 lbs or more depending on sodium and carb intake. If I needed to make a lower weight class then I would lower my carbs significantly for about 3-5 days (that's a random number) and stay away from processed foods with added salt. I also tend to hold onto water if I don't get enough sleep. If you wake up and are lower than your weight class then it's fairly basic math. Don't drink or eat much more than the amount you would need to go over your weight target - unless you know you're going to void it one way or another. If I were carb and sodium depleted on the day of the comp then I would assume that any fluid I drank and any food I ate (by weight) would stay with me for the day - minus a bit of urine. Keep in mind that I am no power lifter but I'm fairly in tune with how my water weight fluctuates. Good luck!
  3. Good to see you're still around - and looking fabulous as always!
  4. Well, you've heard my take on cardio before and I'm definitely in the Chris Aceto camp. Robert's posing coach is a former trainee of my trainer/coach but he's developed his own ideas since his competition days. My trainer and I have talked about this many times and he believes that you need to find what works for you (which takes a huge TIME commitment) and go with it. He's a big believer in a slow fat loss and after sitting with him at some judging tables I think it's obvious (especially amongst the older women) who tried to lose too much, too quickly. Flatness can also come from being carb depleted and/or overly dehydrated. I've noticed that there is no contest between those with smaller muscles and those with larger muscles, all other things being equal. Judges are looking for symmetry and muscularity (which I believe is size and shape as well as striation). While body fat % matters a lot, if there isn't a big enough base underneath the fat then there is no room for the muscle loss that inevitably comes with cutting. The guys I used to train with were about 6' to 6'1" and competed at around 220+ lbs (natural). My trainer believes that a male who is 5'10" (that's my height so we use that as a benchmark sometimes) needs to be 180-185 lbs contest weight to begin being considered seriously. Height is a HUGE liability in bodybuilding since the majority of competitors are relatively short - unless you are tall and big, which is especially impressive. Tall male BBs have it rougher than the women since there is so much competition out there in size. So, basically my thoughts on pre-contest cardio are this - if you are relying on cardio for any considerable amount of fat loss then you need to have muscle to spare because you are going to lose some. If you have enough size then a bit of flatness may not matter much depending on the competition.
  5. I'm not sure how contests are judged in Spain, but here in the US the figure contests have somewhat to do with muscularity and much to do with the genetics of having nice, feminine glutes. Women only need to drop to 10-12% bodyfat. Very doable for a vegan woman who so desires. Most of the vegans I've met do not go to the gym on a regular basis so the chances of finding a female vegan figure or bodybuilder is rare. As for not competing in bodybuilding unless they've done a cycle - WTF? At the professional level those who win the BB contests are most likely using but the vast majority of female bodybuilders stay amateur and remain natural. I am going to assume that you have not been to many contests and/or not seen many female bodybuilders up close judging by your statements. If you're looking for female vegan bodybuilders to inspire you, good luck. We're not likely to speak up on regular BB forums due to the shit storm that comes our way when we mention our diets and we get tired of defending our diets from non-bodybuilding vegans on vegan fitness forums. I don't know how far I'll go with my competitions but I certainly won't broadcast that I eat a plant-based diet until I've been doing this for a few years and have taken first place at the regional or national level. The judges are mostly former BBs, trainers, invested in the BB industry. They are the only ones who truly matter at contests. While your body speaks for itself, when there is a close decision I'm sure other factors come into play. Some would have a difficult time giving a close call to a contestant who speaks out against the supplement vendors (almost 100% non-vegan) who fund the shows. It's a small world in BBing.
  6. Whoever told you that this is a major imbalance of carbs to lose body fat should have to give proof of that statement. People lose body fat eating whole food sources of carbs every day. I think 150 gms of protein is way too high for you. I only eat that much protein 2-3 times per week and I'm over 150 lbs at about 15-16 % body fat - and I got here eating high carb many, many days.
  7. If you were me then you would play that lute to the best of your ability, honoring the animals who made it possible. If more people treated animals and animal products with some reverence, the world would be in better shape.
  8. As always, dose matters most. We come into contact with substances considered toxic every day of our lives and we are not negatively effected because the dosage is small. Some of these toxic substances exist in raw or cooked foods but the healthy substances (phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, etc) negate the effects of the toxins. If you eat a mostly whole foods diet, getting 9+ servings of vegetables and fruits daily, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, then you're doing the most you can to avoid disease. If you worry about every little headline "toxin of the day" then the high cortisol levels caused by your stress will set you up for unhealthy inflammation. I deliver toxic levels of oxygen to my patients every day at work - not long enough to hurt them, sometimes completely necessary to keep them alive. It's all relative.
  9. Solid journal. Keep up the good work! (Always nice to check your progress)
  10. But really, there is no point in belittling a subject broached with sincerity.
  11. Keep lifting! This is my opinion only and what works for me. If I diet and do a lot of cardio I lose lean mass. If I diet, keep cardio to a moderate level and keep lifting like I do when trying to add mass - I maintain more lean mass. It is difficult, if not impossible to add lean mass while dieting (depending on where you start) but it is very easy to lose it if you cut too many calories, do too much cardio and/or stop challenging your muscles with heavy weights. As for your lower body, this is part genetics and part female hormones. You may be a woman whose legs/glutes respond to lifting more than her upper body (in which case I'm jealous as I have a very difficult time adding mass to my legs). If this is the case then you may want to work your lower half with lower weights and up the weights/intensity on your upper body to balance your symmetry. I see female bodybuilders with upper bodies that look like they have 2-3% body fat who turn around and still have fat hanging on their upper thighs. Even the ones who've gone through menopause. Female hormones haunt you for life.
  12. I've found that results depend on the surgical technique and the type of implants. Silicone is better, IMO and under the muscle looks more natural, especially if you plan on competing at at lower body weight. Keep in mind that's only my opinion from the top of the bed, I've only worked with about 20 surgeons and they are the ones with the most important answers. If you've had children and/or breast fed then you may want to consider a mastopexy along with the implants. Finding a surgeon who cares about making them look natural can be a challenge, depending on where you live. There is no maintenance although you cannot work out for 4-6 weeks afterwards and you may need a different type of mammogram. I've heard that they last an average of 10 years but I have yet to see the flood of 10 year implant updates you would expect if they really only lasted that long. The biggest complaint I've heard is that women wish they had gone bigger. There can also be loss of sensation on the underside of the breast but women don't notice it after a few months. Costs can range from a few thousand dollars to over ten thousand depending on the area of the country, added procedures (such as a mastopexy), the reputation of the surgeon and the economy. Plastic surgeons are hurting right now so if you were ever to get a discount it would be in the current economy. As for the scare campaign about silicone implants in the 90s, some great investigative work was done by 60 Minutes to uncover that the studies and "harmed patient groups" were paid for and organized by a group that was a cover for the very lawyers who brought the class action suit(s) against implant manufacturers. This, of course, never made the same headlines that the scare campaign did and it took about a decade to get silicone implants back on the market. We've been implanting various silicone devices in patients for decades with no problems. But you take a bunch of young women with diffuse symptoms, a group of lawyers, a company with deep pockets and mix them all together - you find a class action lawsuit in there. If you have the money and the desire to get implants then go for it! I've watched some of my friends absolutely blossom with new self confidence afterwards, especially those who have been small most of their lives.
  13. Tough question. If you want to maintain muscle then I would not go heavy on cardio (personally, I wouldn't do any non-weight bearing cardio). If you can only lift light weights then you'll need to adjust your caloric intake so that you don't gain or lose weight by much since the gains will most likely be fat and a loss would most likely contain muscle. If you've been lifting heavy on a regular basis then I would expect some muscle loss. The trick is to minimize the loss. Good luck!
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