In Nursing school, almost everything had a mnemonic. You’d be surprised at how many of us passed our boards with these sweet little study buddies.

Today, I was reminded of one while watching a video, and it’s a good one because it applies to anyone, anywhere who wants to better understand exactly what a goal is.

Sure, we know the definition:

“the result or achievement toward which effort is directed”.

But what does that really entail?

The SMART mnemonic is a great tool for remembering to include all aspects when considering one. Let’s delve in, shall we?

S= Specific: you chosen goal should be outcome oriented and very specific. Don’t think “I want to get healthy” instead try “I want to lose 10 lbs.” or “I want to eat a more balanced diet by counting my calories and macros.”

M= Make a plan. Nothing happens without one. A plan consists of several (don’t make so many the steps become overwhelming!) small steps that are geared toward achieving your outcome. For instance: 1. I will cut out soda 3 days per week 2. I will drink 3 full 8oz glasses of water each day 3. I will start monitoring my heart rate and blood pressure daily 4. I will begin counting steps I walk in a day. When you’ve accomplished the ones you set initially- check off those boxes and make the next ones. It’s the only way to get from the starting point to the finale.

A= Achievable. Having a goal is pointless if the means and desire to achieve it aren’t there. For instance, you wouldn’t make your goal something impossible or unhealthy like “I want to make a million dollars this month” or “I want to lose 50 lbs. in 4 weeks”. Instead choose something reasonably possible such as “ I want to save $200  a month for emergencies with a goal of having 3 months’ worth of expenses saved up” or “I want to lose 1-2 lbs. per week until I reach my goal weight of______”.

R= Rewarding. If you make your goal something you know isn’t going to be pleasant for you or puts too much stress on your daily life, chances are you will fail. This is the step where you have to find you “why”, and only you can do that. It could be something like being able to play with your grandkids without getting winded or being able to take some time off work without feeling financially strapped. The reward has to be the key motivation for commitment and will serve as motivation when you are feeling stuck.

T= Time Framed. This is probably the most important part of all, yet it is the one that most people neglect when they start out. If you don’t have a date for the goal to be achieved, it won’t be. Nothing will happen because there’s no time limit, no expiration, no…reason to try! It will stay nothing more than a pipe dream. Remember, procrastination is not your friend.

I am so glad I ran across this gem today because I  truly write these posts more for myself than anyone. I need frequent reminders to stay on track. And short cuts like these are truly invaluable to me! 

Happy Goal-setting and Namaste!

EdwardLorilla, Who Are You?

If anyone has any valid info..please let me know.

edwardlorilla followed by 2361towerbloggercom,2286towerbloggercom2205gmailcom,2209towerbloggercom,2191towerbloggercom,2188towerbloggercom,2185towerbloggercom,2167tower,2145tower,2103tower,2104tower-

All starting in August.

Hey out there in WP land…what is the deal with this guy? I’ve noted that he has followed my blog in at least 20 different forms, yet- there is no real info on him out there. In researching i found the following:

Does he exist? Is he a Bot? or just some crazed stalker?

I’m confounded.

A Day in the Life of a (Novice) Body Builder- Pt. 4

Now comes the skinny.. how much does it all cost? My fourth and final post in this series…

Well, I suppose I will start from the beginning:

  1. The gym- my regular gym =year $200 for the year
  2. The personal coach- $295/ month for once per week session- one on one. This is the biggest expense so far and I will do it as long as I can afford it in order to get better results and avoid injury. My regular gym doesn’t allow outside trainers so the additional gym costs $10/month
  3. Chiropractic care- $45. I go on average twice per month He is also a physical therapist, so I get a two for one with him. This will go down to once per month after my shoulder heals.
  4. Massage- $70 / hr plus $20 tip. I go once per month .
  5. Food- my average monthly food bill is around $350-400 which includes a ton of meat and veggies, plus some misc. items like protein bars. You have to eat anyway, so I buy the best fuel i can afford.
  6. Supplements-. I would venture to say on average I spend around $100-150/ month on these- turmeric, glucosamine, st .johns wort, vitamin c, d3, magnesium, protein powder and just added creatine and DHEA.
  7. Clothes-It is important to be comfortable and have clothing that not only fits well but is durable. I don’t buy top of the line but  have found a few things I like on amazon. This includes seasonal changes- shorts/tank tops, sports bras, pants, socks, and proper shoes. I have acquired these things over time, not all in the same year so I would guess about $300 this past year. I obviously can use them for many years though.
  8.  Therapy tools– heat pads, ice packs, massagers, various pillows, icy hot patches, lotions and creams for soreness, OTC meds like Advil , etc.- probably about $500/year( this includes several expensive pillows and extender contraption for my neck pain).
  9. Various therapies- dry needling, cryotherapy, red light therapy, etc.- unknown currently but average cost for special therapies is about $50 per session. I rarely dabble in these but on occasion will try something new. This is last on my list and is not a priority.
  10. Time= priceless. I value my time and do my best to use it wisely. The gym time alone is around 500 hours per year- more if you are going to compete. Therapy and self-care averages 2 hrs. /5 days a week so also about 500 hours. Then there’s the full-time job, etc. It is a huge commitment.

So, there you have it to the best of my knowledge- about $10-13,000/year (at the most) as it now stands. Sure, you can do it for a LOT less. You may not need a personal trainer, or supplements. Maybe you only need one gym (most people do) and it’s a $10/month deal. You may get deals on items like therapies and or therapy tools. And not everyone feels they need special clothes for a gym. Still others work out at home or do training on their own like hiking, running, yoga etc.  I’ve done all these things and basically could pare the expenses down to maybe $500/year (not including food which is something you must buy anyway).

It all depends on what your goals are, how much it means to you, and what is within your budget. But it also depends on injuries sustained and what your health insurance will cover. Here in the U.S. we have to pay a fortune for healthcare! I must divulge here that $2750 of this is covered by my FSA which I pay out of my check every week throughout the year making it at least tax free. Writing this out and seeing it here really puts things into perspective. Mind blowing, really.

However- let me add one final thought.

This is a pittance compared to what would be spent to actually compete (on top of all of the above). The bathing suits alone start at around $500- they are custom made, and specially fitted and approved for the stage making sure you will not have any wardrobe malfunctions as well as showing off your individual physique to its best advantage. Then there are membership costs for pro cards, organizations, travel, show entry fees, and accommodation costs, as well as tanning, hair & make up and posing coaches. The total cost can be staggering and is something one must seriously consider before committing to. It is also why most pro competitors have other FT jobs, their own gyms, personal training services, lines of clothing and supplements and highly sponsored You tube channels. But these things take initial investments and time to build. I would venture to guess that an average pro spends at least $30 grand per year on their chosen path- including costs of shows, marketing, and promoting to gain sponsors.

I would love to compete, I really would. But for now, I am happy just to train for myself.

I hope you have enjoyed this series and that it was of some use to someone. If anyone has any input, or questions- please feel free to comment below.


A Day in the Life of a (Novice) Bodybuilder- Pt. 3

I call myself a novice because, although I have years of experience behind me, they are 10 years behind me! I dropped out of it as a steady thing around 2011 and now at age 54, have decided to commit again.

This post is my current exercise schedule which consists of 4 days per week, about 2 hours each session. As I am also rehabbing my right shoulder, I include those exercises in between sets on all other days, not just back & shoulder day. Here we go!

Monday– Legs( light)

(warm up)

Shoulder rehab exercises

 2 sets of 15 free squats- bar only ( 50lbs)

2 sets of  15  free squats – bar plus 30lbs= 80 lbs

2 sets of 10 free squats- bar plus 50 lbs=100lbs

(Regular work out)

4 sets of 10 single isolation hamstring curls 10 lbs each side

4 sets of 10-smith machine squats – 50lbs

2 sets of 10 smith machine squats- 70 lbs.

1 set of 10 smith machine squats- 90 lbs.

4 sets of 15 calf raises – 90 lbs – smith machine

2 sets of 10 leg press 180 lbs

2 sets of 10 leg press 250 lbs

2 sets of 8 – leg press 270 lbs

4 sets of calf presses 180 lbs on leg press

4 sets of 10 hamstring curls on machine- 55 lbs ( both legs together)

4 sets of 10 quad extensions 55, 65, 75, 85 lbs successively

Tuesday ( Chest) just added chest so working with personal coach

So far: 3 sets of 15 with 5 lb hexagon dumbbell chest presses(upper)

            3 sets band pectoral presses ( middle)

            3 sets band chest presses ( lower)

Shoulder rehab exercises for warm up

I will be adding more as time goes on. I have never worked my chest previously so taking it slow. Over time this will help build muscles that support my shoulder.

Wednesday- off- shoulder rehab exercises

Thursday -Leg day ( heavy)

 – same as above ( Monday) only heavier weights less reps, also sometimes add in calf raises and adductor/abductor machine

Shoulder rehab exercises

Friday– Arms

4 sets of 10 dumbell curls at 3 different angles for total of 40 sets

3 sets of 10 straight bar

Shoulder rehab exercises

Saturday & Sunday- off- shoulder rehab exercises

Sorry if this was kind of boring but trying to be thorough. Right now the most important thing to me is to not lose muscle that I’ve gained while not exacerbating my shoulder. It’s tough when I have been lifting so heavy thus far, and I struggle with losing time with rehab. But I keep telling myself to be patient- injury is no joke. I have no separate back and shoulder day at present due to this and simply include the rehab exercises every day for a while.


A Day in the Life of a (Novice )Body Builder- Pt. 2

In Part 1, I gave a basic daily schedule of my training days . This post will focus on my nutrition for gaining muscle mass.

First let me mention that I am not shredding or trying to lose weight at this time. I only re- started weightlifting in June of this year after almost 10 years of barely getting to a gym. My process will be different from someone who has been training steadily for years.  While I do have knowledge and a little experience with the nutrition cycle of a pro body builder, I cannot claim to be any authority on the matter. This is just what I have been doing this time around. It will change drastically if I am going to complete.

Since I haven’t decided with 100 % conviction that I intend to compete, my post here is what I am doing to build muscle with that possibility in the future. However, I will be looking at least 2 years down the road for any attempts in that regard.

For the first few months my only focus was on managing to get enough protein in each day. The goal for most female body builders is 1 gm per kg of body weight per day.  There are some who strive for a bit more, but I find that it is too taxing on the digestive tract and can be difficult on your kidneys and liver. Even at this level, I suffer often from excessive flatulence, bloating and other maladies.

Overall, it depends on how much energy you will be burning. Your body will not process excess protein on a regular, ongoing basis if you are barely spending 45 minutes lifting light to moderate weights a few times a week. I recommend this ONLY if you are trying to gain muscle mass. If your goal is only to build a little muscle and maintain it, to tone up or get in shape, lose weight or to increase your energy for cardio – this is not for you. You would do well to research the requirements for your goals specifically.

I currently weigh between 125-128lbs at 5’ 2”. My daily intake is as follows ( on average):

 90-120 gms protein

300-350 gms carbohydrates

100-150 gms fat

For me, this is an average calculated over a period of 6 weeks. If you have read my post about the ABC diet you will understand that I cycle my macros every 2 weeks in a fashion meant to trick my metabolism.. However THIS is what is recommended for my height , age and activity level according to online averages:

PROTEIN: 169 g per day (677 calories)
CARBS: 226 g per day (903 calories)
FATS: 75 g per day (677 calories)

Courtesy of bodybuilding.com

So, as you can see, I am not perfect. This is about what I would need to gain lean muscle mass in addition to heavy lifting 3-5 days per week. Right now I am just bulking as best as I can while not turning into a hippo.

Now, as for the specific foods.

I generally prefer chicken or fish as my main source of protein. But I do dabble in turkey burger, beef, eggs and some pork on occasion. The only restriction I place on myself in the meat category is nothing fried, and no more than one serving of pork 2-3 times a week. Beans I can handle on occasion in chili or something but in general this can add to intestinal distress. I was a vegetarian for about 23 years. I cannot imagine being able to do what I do now and eat like that. But there are some who do.

For carbs I prefer veggies- salads and fresh/ frozen. Stay away from anything canned. I also enjoy oatmeal in many forms but not a fan of rice. I love corn and potatoes but try to limit 2 times a week. Breads are my kryptonite and I try to go 2 weeks without them, followed by 2 weeks with them but kept to a minimum of once per day.

Fats. Oh my. I do indulge in ice cream twice a week and I tend to use butter or margarine in most of my veggie portions. If I have flax or sunflower oil, I will use them but most often I use olive oil. And I love avocadoes- who doesn’t?

Snacks, treats, and indulges: the aforementioned ice cream, chocolate, corn chips, pork rinds with sour cream, protein bars, Greek yogurt with added goodies, and an occasional cookie.

My diet is not that strict overall. I basically gauge myself based on the scale #’s once a week, how my clothes are fitting, what I think I look like in the mirror and, most especially- how I feel. When I say that last bit, I mean energetic or fatigued. What I do NOT mean is whether I am depressed, anxious, happy , sad , etc. Emotional eating is a dangerous road to travel.

In order to make all of this happen I usually spend 2-4 hours in meal prep each week, and then freeze portions for easy consumption on the go.I rarely ever, EVER eat take out. I can make better quality food for way less in my own kitchen and not have to worry whether the cook washed his/her hands or added any unknown ingredients.

Hope this was helpful and Namaste!

A Day in the Life of a (Novice) Body Builder-PT. 1

I’ve been asked a few times what a typical day for a weightlifter/ bodybuilder entails. Usually this question comes from someone who sees me at the gym or a friend who messages me about what I eat, how much I lift, what exercises I do, how many days a week I go to the gym and how long  I work out, etc.

 While this list seems long enough, it barely scratches the surface. No one ever asks what I do for recovery or what obstacles I have run into or how much I spend on this stuff. So, I decided to include a complete run down here. After starting to write it all out, I realized I need to break it up into sections. This is part one- a “general schedule” on a training day

 So here we go:

As I work night shift, I generally get into bed around 8-830 a.m. and get up anywhere between 1230p and 2p depending on any appointments I may have. These appointments may include anything from a session with my personal coach to a massage to chiropractic care to anything related to physical therapy. This may also include life appointments unrelated to weightlifting. I prioritize the ones that are related to advancing my bodybuilding goals while keeping my sleep time in mind. Without proper sleep I would just be defeating the purpose. Sleep is the only time your body heals itself and recovers in a complete way.

Upon rising I consume about 2 cups of coffee with creamer (no sugar) before feeling fully awake during which time I check emails, texts, messages and look at fb very briefly since I sell my art there. I also check posts in a private group I belong to for women’s bodybuilding over age 40. It has been a great resource for me. I then take a bath, listening to motivating music, eat a small snack- usually Greek yogurt, take my supplements and head out the door to the gym. My daily supplements include St. john’s wort, turmeric, Glucosamine chondroitin, D3, magnesium, Vitamin C. I take  2 heart medications. I like to get to the gym between 3-430p at the latest to avoid traffic and their busiest times. I always pop in a piece of 2mg nicotine gum for the work out and always consume at least 16 oz of water at the gym. I am usually there 1 ½ -2 hours. I tan twice a week there as well in a low intensity bed for 10 minutes to keep a little color and to combat SADD, which affects me all year round as a night shifter.

I get to the gym 4 days a week. I make this a priority by making this like any other appointment. I need to be there. This means 8 hrs of training per week no matter what. Some weeks I may have to go in early, some weeks later. I may have to switch up which days I go.  But I always get it in. This gives me 3 other days to spend with my boyfriend, see my grandkids occasionally, run errands and do housework, as well as tend to my budget and cook meals in advance.

After the gym I usually head right home to get things ready for work which takes about 1 hour including packing lunch, eating my 1st full meal of the day (veggies and protein) and mini tasks around the house. Then I go into my bedroom for my self-care/ therapy. I spend about 2-3 hours rotating (every 15 – 30 minutes) my heat pads, ice packs, and shiatzu massager between my neck lower back, right shoulder, and hamstrings. This may seem excessive amount but most of this is because I am currently rehabbing a shoulder injury which, by compensation, has affected my back as well. It is necessary and the only way I can continue my path to my goals. While I am doing this, I watch you tube videos on weightlifting, nutrition, and productivity/time management. I also do my best to get in another 2 bottles of water before work. I always get up and stretch and walk around every 15 to 20 minutes and will eat another meal (usually granola with milk) and one additional cup of coffee before I leave for work.

 I drive to work (45 minutes) and sit in a folding chair for 1-3 hours as this is when I do my nursing notes and my art. Then I switch over to my zero-gravity chair for the next 4 hours and back to the folding chair for the last hour. I get up to stretch and walk every hour and use my heat pad for my back and hamstrings. I eat my 3rd and 4th meal during the shift – protein and carbs- and snacks including a protein bar or yogurt. At this point I still can eat some junk, so a serving of corn chips and a Jello snack are my usual fare, occasionally chocolate. I leave at 7a and drive home (45 minutes).

Once home I put everything away and get my gym clothes out. I write a list of things I need to take care of that day so i am prepared when i wake. I make up my bed for sleeping which entails a heat pad for my neck and a special pillow. I own about 6 pillows of varying uses which I acquired from my chiropractor over the years. My bed set up is constantly in rotation. I try for 4-6 hrs of sleep. I take one heart pill and a mild sleeping pill.

This is a general outline, and I will go into details for specific things in the next several posts. I wanted to focus here on the possible downsides and time spent doing preventative maintenance due to injury which is common to weightlifting. As you can see, my day is not like most. If I had not injured myself I would be spending those 2-3 hrs each evening doing other things. I was lifting way too heavy, too fast because I was over excited about making gains. Lessons are always being learned. With time and vigilance, I can get past this and continue at a more reasonable pace. But for now, I am making the best use of this time to rehab and still build muscle.


Finding Your Puddle

A puddle of water | High-Quality Nature Stock Photos ...

Sure, puddles can be fun on occasion. Jumping and splashing as a child or a fun-loving adult comes to mind. Finding one at just the right time and place can certainly add to your enjoyment of life. But let’s be honest….

Some puddles are just obstacles and no fun at all.

Picture a deep puddle right outside your front door. Every day you know the puddle is going to be there. You have stepped in it more times than not as you rushed out and you have had enough.You have to make a choice as to how you are going to handle it. You know you have to run errands, get to your job, pick up the kids, etc. But you’re going to have to get past that puddle first.  It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, it’s maddening. “Why won’t the damn puddle just go away !” you might think.

When faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles we often forego real solutions and are tempted to find a way to avoid them. Some people stay in this state for months, years or all their lives- never able to move forward and reap the potential rewards available to them.

These obstacles may be related to debt, health, relationships, career/ job, family crisis, addiction or any number of other life challenging issues.But let’s break this down.

Most of the time the first reaction distress is unproductive. It is only human to feel anger, guilt, depression, anxiety, fear, or hopelessness. For the successful person, these are temporary reactions. But for others they can go unchecked, resulting in stunted growth, underdevelopment and/or contribute to life long mental health issues.

For any obstacle to be overcome action is required. But not just any action. For instance, yelling at our boss, accusing/ignoring our partner, covering debt with other debt (i.e. credit cards),substituting one addiction for another , or ignoring physical ailments will not further resolution but will in fact, exacerbate the problem. The action that is required is often the one least desired- measurable, tangible, productive and usually uncomfortable steps toward overcoming the source of our misery..

This is never easy and, in fact, it’s downright difficult. Some steps in the process will feel never ending.

There will be set backs as well and those can be even worse than the original problem in the sense that giving up during those times is intensely tempting. Giving up may feel like the only option. But I can tell you from experience- it is NOT. So what to do? Well, since i like analogies, let’s use puddles.Here are some of your choices:

 -You can choose to continue stepping in said puddle, getting a sense of frustration every time.

-You can try to jump over it, knowing that on some days you might get lucky and land just right.

-You can put on galoshes and walk through it- over and over and over- making the hole deeper and having to clean up your muddy boots on the regular.

-You can (and I am being silly here) use the window instead. Even though it’s a pain in the butt and may lead to injury.

-You can stay inside until the weather changes and hope it dries up…P.S.- it will come back as soon as it rains again.


You can work on fixing the problem once and for all. It might take some time, might require some help, may cost you some money, and you may get a bit dirty in the process. Filling the hole with appropriate material or building a bridge type ramp are options.  But in the end, walking out your front door will be much more pleasant and doable.

I use this analogy because I literally lived with a large puddle right beside my car, in a parking spot with no way of avoiding it. Since we were renting, it made no sense to spend the money necessary to fix it and the landlord wasn’t going to fork over the funds for repairs.

One day, after falling on my butt for the umpteenth time, I knew I had to make a decision. There were, of course, other problems with the property but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I buckled down, saved every penny and bought a home of my own -with a nice little ramp to the front door.I now have a much easier time with everything from getting to work on time to hauling in groceries.

Overcoming obstacles (of any kind ) is similarly fraught with hundreds of those puddles. Just when you think you have gotten past one, you will find yourself hurdling another. Sometimes you may get stuck in the same puddle for a long while. But with time, a solid plan, and persistent, viable action, your path will become clearer and less torturous to navigate.