Women of T Nation

I wanted to start a new thread and welcome everyone to join me here! I am creating a space for the ladies to feel comfortable and free to share their fitness journey and ask questions along the way.

Let’s chat about training, nutrition, supplements, injuries and everything in between.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on the forums so let me start by telling you a bit about myself:

My name is Bronwen Blunt, I’m 35 years old and live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I grew up playing basketball, soccer and track & field. After tearing my Achilles’ tendon I went through a lot of rehab and fell in love with the gym. After high school, I went to school for Electrical Engineering because anything with numbers/calculations has always resonated with me but it wasn’t the right fit for me and I found my place when I enrolled in Athletic Therapy and Exercise Physiology… I knew the fitness industry was where I was meant to be!

Olympic weightlifting became my passion and I was happy to see my body mutate from a scrawny string bean into a lean and muscular physique. It wasn’t long until I decided that I wanted/“needed” to look like a figure competitor and I would buy bodybuilding magazines so I could look at pictures of Erin Stern, Gina Aliotti and Nicole Wilkins. I spent a lot of time around professional and amateur bodybuilders and learned a lot from them.

I have two boys who are now 8 and 10 years old, it wasn’t until after giving birth to them that I decided to step on stage. I was determined to get back in shape as soon as possible after my pregnancy so I pushed myself and was on stage competing in figure just 9 months after!

I absolutely love the journey of competing in figure but my mathematical brain doesn’t jive with the judging format for stage sports… I wanted to find a measured sport and that’s when I stumbled across powerlifting. I joined my first powerlifting meet in 2014 and had a mere total of 700lbs and by 2017 I was holding a national deadlift record and had a 1000lb total. I was always determined to keep a very lean physique while maintaining strength and with the right nutrition and supplementation it can be your reality, trust me.

In 2017 I was asked to join a new sport called Super League and became one of the founding athletes and pro’s in the sport. It was a great concept that involved a lifting portion comprised of 8 exercises as well as a physique round based on measurements/proportions.

Fast forward to 2019 and I was having a lot of lower back problems and stopped competing. I have a long torso with short arms and legs (not great levers for powerlifting!). I don’t have great genetics for powerlifting or stage sports but that never stopped me. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time doing rehab and exercises that I neglected during my powerlifting career… it’s easy to neglect exercises that you don’t like doing and I think we are all guilty of it.

I had an umbilical hernia surgery in 2019. Feel free to ask me questions about that as well (it was repaired with mesh). I didn’t get the hernia from lifting, I actually had it since I was pregnant in 2011 but it didn’t start irritating me until 2018.

Nowadays I enjoy passing on information from my own experiences and helping my clients reach their goals. I still spend a lot of time in the gym (always have and always will) but more often than not you will find riding my dirt bike at the motocross track or out in the trails on my mountain bike with my kids.

Enough about me… tell me what you do and what you’re passionate about!! I love all sports and would enjoy interacting and/or helping any other athletes.

Beginners to advanced—everyone is welcome here!!

**To all the men out there… if you have questions that your girl is too afraid to ask, come here and join us!

**I’ve been using and trusting Biotest supplements for almost 10 years. If you’re curious about trying something new and have some questions, please feel free to ask. If it’s on their website there’s a good chance that I’ve tried it so ask away!!

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Hi! thanks for starting this thread!

I guess I have a couple of questions. I’ve asked on my log, but I thought another perspective couldn’t hurt

I’m currently taking 27-30k steps a day (not including exercise) and have been doing so for the past few years. This won’t be sustainable starting in the near future.

How can I reduce this without having to eat too much less? I’m currently eating 1900-2k, but my maintenance is probably closer to 1800 since I’ve been putting on some (unwanted) weight recently. It’s pretty hard for me to eat less even though 90% of my diet is whole foods.

Edit: Stats
21 yr old Female 5’0 (150cm) 105lbs (106 on a bad day)
Weight training 4-5 days/ week (50-80min), cardio/conditioning (50-60min) 1-2 days/week
Best squat: 100kg, best bench: 65kg paused, best dl: 130kg

Hi Anna!

First of all, thanks for stopping by and congratulations on your numbers. That’s very impressive lifting for your age and bodyweight… keep it up, girl!!!

That is A LOT of steps. I would certainly count this as exercise because that’s a lot of energy expenditure everyday. Do you have a very active occupation? Why so many steps? That’s over 20km in one day.

What is your current goal?

Thank you!

I’m a uni student and a lot of my work is typing and reading so I got a treadmill desk (1% incline, 2.6mph)

It kind of just spiraled upwards. My programme at uni had been very easy, so I just walked around a lot. Pandemic boredom also didn’t help :rofl: I also struggle a lot with boredom hunger (moreso than I already) if I stay still

I’m changing programmes and the workload will be much heavier, I’ll also be applying to grad schools

to get slightly leaner (back down to 103lbs) and maintain strength.
Next semester will be hell academically, so while I’d like to push strength, it’s not the time

I do want a 3 plate deadlift and 250lb squat by my birthday next May

Long term goal: 4x bodyweight deadlift and 3xbodyweight squat

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Ahhhh that makes sense! I struggle with boredom as well and I’m very fidgety… I can’t even talk on the phone without pacing, lol. There’s definitely a fine line between trying to do enough and overdoing it and I agree with you that 27-30k steps is probably not sustainable and possibly hindering your performance in the gym and the reason why you’re feeling hungry.

I’m over here imagining trying to squat heavy after walking 20km and it’s exhausting haha

How much protein/carbs/fat are you consuming daily?

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I don’t track macros, only calories and protein.

I eat 1900-2000 kcal/day (not counting non- starchy veggies) and make sure to get between 80 - 110g protein/ day (although I’ve gone upwards 250 on cheat days :sweat_smile: )
I tend to eat fattier meats (chicken thighs and drumsticks) due to budget reasons, don’t eat out (also budget reasons) and avoid high carb foods, except a couple of gummy bears before training.

I don’t actually enjoy a lot of traditionally “unhealthy” foods like desserts, pizza, chips etc, but I find meat and greek yoghurt hyperpalatable

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You’re going to hate me already… I know its probably going to be a mental strain but I would suggest cutting back on the walking because you’re doing more walking than most people do in a week!! If you want to get stronger you don’t want to be fatigued before you get into the gym.

TRY to eat a minimum of 105g of protein per day (1g/lb)
You’re a strength athlete, don’t be afraid of carbs!! Everyone is different but with the amount of exercise you’re doing every day I think you need them to recover and fuel yourself for heavy training sessions. I understand the budget issues so rice and oats are excellent options!

I’m curious to see a typical day of eating for you. If you eat 110g of protein (440cal) and you avoid high carb foods, that leads me to believe that you consume a lot of fat every day in order to reach 2000 calories. Maybe I can make some recommendations on your nutrition if you don’t mind sharing.

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my nutrition has been off the past week, but normal day

3 low carb wraps (something like tumaros) (~250kcal)
20-24oz (uncooked) bone in, skin on chicken thigh or drumsticks, sometimes I substitute that with 2 cans of mackerel or 12 whole eggs scrambled in 1tbsp of butter (~1000kcal)
4 cups of frozen veggies (not counted but consistent)
2 kirkland signature protein bars (~400kcal)
5 gummy bears(~50kcal)
1/2 scoop protein powder mixed with 1 tbsp honey( ~100 kcal)- my night snack
various supplements (ie fishoil, magnesium, vitamin gummies, ashwaghanda), ~100kcal

sometimes I might replace some of the meat with more “treat” foods like a pint of halo top or some cheese, but I make sure the calories are the same. If I’m having a cheat meal, it’s usually a larger portion of meat. My personal favourite is taking down an enitre rotisserie chicken

for this, would reducing average steps by 1000/day each week be a good way to go about this?

Thank you for sharing!!

The first thing that stands out to me is 12 full eggs, that’s 60g of fat in one shot plus 12g of fat from butter. That’s almost 650 calories in one meal just from fat which is HUGE! You could cut back on the full eggs and just eat the whites and that will give you a lot of room to add extra carbs and stay within your daily calorie range.

Take it or leave it but you could remove some fat and TRY adding 1/2 cup of rice in your pre-workout and post-workout meal and see how that impacts your energy in the gym.

What is your body type like? I don’t want to make any assumptions so it’s better to ask.

Are you currently working with a coach or doing everything on your own?

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I would cut it in half right away and increase your workload in the gym. 15k steps per day (not including cardio as you say) is still a lot of extra energy expenditure. You’re much better off putting that energy into your training.

I understand that would put a lot of mental stress on you by cutting it out but I think you know it needs to be done. If cutting it out slowly is more comfortable for you then do it that way but if you want to increase your strength then its inevitable that you slow down.

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I’d say mesomorph??

I’ve always been on the chunkier side as a kid, but I made quick progress when I started working out.

I’m at 21-22% bodyfat rn

I’ll give that a try!

Okay, should the extra work be conditioning? more sets/accessory work?
Should I adjust nutrition?

Thanks for all the help BTW

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It’s hard to say without knowing a lot about you regarding the training but if you cut back the cardio, eliminate the excess fat and add some carbs around your workout you shouldn’t have any issue adding extra sets and accessory exercises to your current training. I wouldn’t be surprised if you notice some strength gains within the first couple of weeks.

When you make changes to your training and diet you must allow your body some time to adjust to those changes. Don’t jump on the scale 50 times a day to obsess over your weight… everything will be fine!! You can use the scale as a tool but don’t let it control you.

I have looked my best ever at 165lbs and I have looked my worst ever at 165lbs. It’s all about body composition and I personally prefer photos to see physical changes. Try taking progress pics and saving them on your computer so you can look back at them and see changes. It’s hard to be objective because you see yourself everyday but you might just be surprised when you look back.

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Sounds good, thanks!

Hey Bronwen, glad you came back!

What was your most productive hypertrophy split/program back in your physique days?
Did you bulk and cut or stay mostly at ‘maintenance’ and lean?

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Hi Andrew!!

I’m happy to be back. I hope you are doing well!

Picking my most productive program is a tough one and I’d be lying if I said I had a favorite. I have tried a lot of different programs and enjoyed aspects of all of them! My best body part has always my back and when I started separating my back days by doing vertical pulls on one day and horizontal pulls on another day it was a very productive split for hypertrophy. I know that doesn’t exactly answer your question but I could go on allllll day about programs.

I have never bulked and cut… it works well for a lot of people if they are eating properly and not loading up on junk food but personally it’s not for me. Believe it or not, I have a hard time gaining weight and I eat A LOT of food. I don’t like to do anything extreme so I find that making sustainable lifestyle changes that compliment my goals is always the best choice for me. That way I’m able to maintain any gains I make and it’s easier to maintain a lean physique year round (with a little bit of help from my old pal, Indigo!!).

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Hi Bronwen, thank you for the great thread!

I don’t want to waste your time with a life story, but getting a lean physique and being strong is something I have wanted for many years now. Like you mentioned, if I purposefully try to “bulk”, I end up eating a lot of junk food and gaining quickly. I come from a big family, and all of them are over weight. I have always been the smallest/fittest of 5 girls and very much want to keep ot that way.

I have taught myself how to meal plan and cook healthy over the last few years, but this is a work in progress. I struggle with the “life is short, don’t skip dessert” mentality.

My first question is, what does a typical day of eating look like for you?

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Hi!! Thank you for posting, you aren’t wasting my time at all. Feel free to share your story here and ask me questions because that’s what I’m here for.

I always tell people not to beat themselves up over their nutrition plan because we all have slip ups! Once you become aware of what you should/shouldn’t be putting in your mouth you can make conscious choices about your nutrition every day for the rest of your life. Kudos to you for taking it upon yourself to learn about healthy eating habits… it’s a huge step in the right direction. A lot of people struggle with the “life is short, don’t skip dessert” mentality but you’re already a step ahead because you are aware of that!!

My body responds well to a meal plan consisting of high protein, high carbs and a moderate amount of fat. Right now I’m not doing anything fancy so my meals aren’t as structured as I’d like them to be. I usually have 5-6 meals a day and each meal is approx. 30g protein and 40g carbs… I try to keep my daily fat intake around 50g. I will write out a breakdown of my meals today so you can see the types of food I’m eating and the supplements I’m taking.

Random note on tracking: I don’t do “tracking” because that’s not my style but I think it works very well for people who are trying to learn about nutrition and helps people open their eyes and realize how fast the calories really add up. “Just a glass of wine” “just a tablespoon of sauce” “just a glass of juice” turns out not to be “just a bit” when you calculate these extras over the week.

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What are your current goals? Are you a competitive lifter?

This is a typical day for me!!

I’m 5’10 and weight 175lbs

WAKE UP: 1 Hot Rox before I run 1000 stairs (I do this 5x/week)

MEAL 1:
6 Egg whites
1 full egg
1/2 cup oats (sometimes i’ll replace this with a 12 grain bagel)
1tbsp peanut butter (or any other type of nut butter)
Flameout (4 capsules)

MEAL 2:
1 can smoked tuna (or 5oz chicken or turkey)
3/4 cup rice
1/3 avocado

MEAL 3: intraworkout (I’m a HUGE advocate for intraworkout nutrition especially for strength athletes and people who are sensitive to carbs)
INDIGO3G - caps 30min before workout
1 serving plazma during training
**I eliminate this meal on my off days or add an extra serving if I’m going on a long excursion on my mountain bike.

MEAL 4: post workout
1.5 scoop metabolic drive
1 banana or apple
2 scoops Superfood (mixed into shake)

MEAL 5 and 6: My choice meals (I pick whatever I feel like for these two meals… the only rule is that it has to be a “clean” source)
Protein 30g: beef, chicken, turkey, fish, protein shake, cottage cheese etc.
Carbs 40g: my choice
Fat 10g (includes fat from protein sources and additional sources)

**I’m not a huge fan of veggies but I try to add spinach, broccoli, peppers or asparagus to 3 of my meals. Superfood makes up for my lack of veggies.
Don’t be like me… eat your veggies!! lol

When I’m preparing for competition I have scheduled cheat meals or “free” meals but right now I’m not preparing for anything other than looking good naked and feeling good for life! If I feel like eating something, I eat it. I don’t normally crave sweets so I’m unlikely to indulge in cake or chocolate but if someone says pizza… I’ll consider it! We’re all human and get cravings so I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I eat like an angel 24/7 because I don’t. However, when I am preparing for a competition and have a very specific goal in mind then I am extremely strict and serious because any deviation from my plan can cause damage to my results.

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