Inspirational physique transformation Christina Adler has a new mission: she wants to help you get your groove back. Once held captive by depression and binge eating, Christina now lives to help others. Find out what keeps her driven, and how she is looking to motivate you!
Muscle & Strength: Christina, you were recently a featured Muscle & Strength transformation. Can you tell us what you're been up to lately and what your training and progress has been like since you completed your transformation?
Christina Adler: In the last few months I have gone through so much more than a physical transformation. I think I've done almost a complete overhaul on my life! I'm proud to announce that my blog, Redheadlaw7: Getting My Mommy Groove Back, about recovering both physically and mentally from postpartum depression is up and running, and it's getting a very warm reception from so many people. Because I managed to transform my body by doing a ketogenic diet, I frequently discuss my way of eating on my website. And I was very excited to find out that I was named one of the low carb, Paleo and health blogs to watch in 2010 by low carb guru Jimmy Moore from Livin' La Vida Low Carb. I was also very honored to be asked to take part in a podcast with Jimmy that will be aired in a few weeks.
I have also become very active in the mommy blogging community and have been welcomed into several organizations and online networks. Many women have added me to their blogrolls and have even asked me to guest blog about some of my prior experiences with depression and weight gain on their sites. And it looks like I may be turning into the person so many of these women look to now for fitness and nutrition advice. I know that I spend several hours a day reading and responding to e-mails asking for help or sometimes just for a shoulder to lean on and I am always more than happy to help. I know that I have really put myself out there with my site by describing my struggles with drinking, withdrawing from medication and basically falling apart after my second baby. Hopefully, I can reach some people out there that may be experiencing some of these same challenges and I can show them that there is hope. There is a way back and you can turn even the worst of situations around.
Also, since I gave my last interview I was asked to become a moderator and nutrition contributor on www.moarmuscle.com. It's a fairly new site with a lot of great people but is growing and getting better with every passing day. I know that whenever I have a question there is always a bodybuilding veteran around to give me quick tips and advice. So I think it's a great resource for anyone interested in bodybuilding and supplementation.
And I think the biggest news is that I was contacted by LG Sciences about trying out some of their products to see how I liked them and I've now been asked to be one of their spokespeople. They are trying to reach a larger more mainstream market and would like to not only help the small group of people that are seeking to compete but also the everyday person that just wants to be able train hard and look great! So for right now they are helping me with my supplementation and are working to help me get the word out to mommies that they too can get their groove back! We're just in the beginning stages of our relationship but so far I have been taking several of their supplements and I couldn't be happier with them. So we'll see where it goes!
As for training, I think I've gotten to the point where I know that I look fit and I look healthy. I've lost the weight and I've gotten toned. But now that I'm backing my workouts with supplementation, I'm going to see if I can take it to the next level. I was just doing bodypump classes at my gym and doing a ton of mountainbiking but now I've made some additions to our "home gym". I'm planning on lifting as heavy as I can and see what my body can really do. I'm getting to the age where I either do this thing now...or I don't do it at all. So I'm going to try to use all of this momentum and energy to push myself even harder.
Muscle & Strength: Let's talk about the Paleo diet. Can you tell us a bit more about this approach, and how it has worked for you...
Christina Adler: Despite taking several medications as treatment for postpartum depression that are notorious for causing extreme weight gain, I have managed to lose a good deal of fat yet still maintain and actually pack on some muscle mass. I accomplished all of this by following a low carbohydrate, high fat, adequate protein diet. Essentially, I try to eat a gram of protein per pound of lean muscle mass each day, I never eat more than 25-50 grams of carbs per day and I fill in with enough fat to either stay at my maintenance calorie level…or somewhere around 500 below maintenance if I am trying to drop some fat.
Some bodybuilders choose to to a TKD or targeted keto diet which means they refill their glycogen stores around the diet around the time of their workouts and some choose to do a CKD or cyclical keto diet where they refill their glycogen stores during a weekend carbup where they eat a good deal of cabs but very little fat. Regardless of which they choose, it seems to work for most people when trying to cut because it decreases cravings by stabilizing your blood sugar and is rather satiating because of the high level of fat. As far as meals go, I usually eat a few grams of protein with every meal, some cheese a salad and a veggie. It doesn't sound too exciting but I've become creative with some of my meal ideas. For example I make low carb meatballs with low carb marinara and a ton of mozzarella or grilled chicken cordon blue with ham and Swiss. I make a mean white chicken chili.
Muscle & Strength: You mentioned earlier that you will be experimenting with some new supplementation. Can you tell us how your supplement approach has evolved, how you are supplementing now, and what supplements you want to experiment with in the near future?
Christina Adler: When I started my fitness journey I was mainly concerned with getting off all of the excess fat so all I really did was change my diet to one where I was taking in as much protein as I needed to fuel what I was doing. I wasn't really trying to build anything or increase mass so I was just working out and eating a lot of whole foods. Now that I've decided that I want to start tearing some things down and building them back up I realized that I may need to add a few things to my routine. So far I've been taking Lipotropic Protein a few times a day, I've taking BCAAs once a day and I'm using Lipoburn and V2 pills for fat burning. Like I said, I'm really new to all of this but I have just hired a personal trainer and I'm hoping that with his help and the help of LG Sciences, they'll let me know what should be the next move with my supplementation.
Muscle & Strength: Do you find that people treat you differently now that you have your dream body? And if so, what role does self-confidence play in this?
Christina Adler: Well first off, I wouldn't call it my dream body...yet! But I'm working on it. As for whether or not people treat me differently because I have made such a drastic change in my appearance, I think I would say that if anything, I treat myself differently. I don't beat on myself anymore. I don't stare into a mirror and want to cry because I don't like what I see or because I have tried on everything in my closet and nothing fits. I am content with my body and I think that comes across to other people in many more ways than just my physical appearance. I think I'm much more social. I want to be around other people.
I'm happy to be out and about and I most definitely smile more. And I'd have to say that when you are a woman and are comfortable with your body, this makes the job of your spouse or partner so much easier and I really do think it takes the pressure off of them in so many ways. They don't have to keep reassuring you that you don't look fat, and nobody is staring at your fat thighs, and yes they find you attractive. My husband doesn't have to give me pep talks. He doesn't have to convince me that I'm attractive. And I think so many people would love to have a partner that is totally comfortable with themselves. It really makes a world of difference when self consciousness isn't getting in the way of enjoying yourself around other people.
Muscle & Strength: I imagine you get asked quite a few questions from other women on how they can make the same change. If someone wants to turn their life and physique around, what does it take to succeed? And what are some pitfalls that prevent success?
Christina Adler: Wow. Another tough question! First off, so many women and men want to make a huge change in their physical appearance but not all of them are ready, willing, or able to make a huge change in their daily routine. I think it's Laura Harris (Chickentuna) that says if you want an exciting body you can't eat exciting food. And I think she's totally right! I think you have to make a conscious decision that the main priority in your life can't be food or drinking. It can't be reading or watching television either. Your priority has to be eating just enough to fuel your body for the type of workouts that are going to start making the drastic changes in your body. You can spend hours in the gym tightening up your abs but if you're going home afterward and eating fettucini alfredo and half a loaf of bread it's not going to matter how many crunches you do.
The more I try to improve my body, the more I realize that it is not dumb luck or just a little hard work that creates some of the most amazing bodies you see in the bodybuilding world. It is planning, precision, and timing. There is a lot of sacrificing going on. There is a lot of physical pain being experienced...whether it be muscle tears or soreness. Until I started up with a trainer I don't think I knew what killing it in the gym meant. When he told me he would get me to the point where I was either going to vomit or not be able to hold the steering wheel for the drive home I chuckled. And then he took me through a fairly grueling workout. But I survived. And the adrenaline I felt afterward left me feeling like I could do anything. But what I wanted to do was go back for more. I fell in love with it.
I think that's one of the keys to being hugely successful at transforming your body. You may not fall in love with the workouts or the pain...but you can fall in love with the process and knowing that if you do eat the right things and workout like you should that things will start to change. You can fall in love with being in control over how you look and feel. But you need to have patience. More importantly, you have to keep making that conscious choice over and over again that you want to look and feel a certain way. You can not have it all...so make sure you decide what you really really want and go get it. Do you want the piece of chocolate cake or do you want to be a heartbreaker in heels and a strapless dress? Nobody can make that choice for you.
Muscle & Strength: What bodyparts do you love to workout, and why? And are there any bodyparts you dread training?
Christina Adler: I absolutely love training arms. For some reason I see that as the first thing people notice when you start lifting weights especially when it comes to females. I remember when I first started losing a lot of weight, even though I was thin and proportional, people would never ask about how I worked out. They would always just ask about my diet. Now that my arms are cut and you can see muscle popping through even when I have sleeves on people ask how I got my arms to look that way. They want to know about my workout routine.
My second favorite part to workout are my legs. But I must admit that most of my muscle definition in my legs hasn't come from squatting heavy...or from endless reps of straight legged deadlifts. I actually keep the legs in shape by mountainbiking with my family. We have some beautiful trails around our house and I absolutely love hitching on my baby's trailer to my bike and heading off into the woods. It doesn't even feel like a workout! Now...as for the part that I hate working out...it has to be abs. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. I just don't get the same high from laying on the ground doing crunches as I do picking up weights.
Muscle & Strength: Everyone who has ever tried to diet/cut fat runs into those "poor me" days when they are tired, unmotivated, or just want to binge eat because of depression, etc. What advice do you have that might help someone overcome those bad days, and continue forward towards their goals?
Christina Adler: Well I am no stranger to depression or binge eating. That's actually two of the main themes of my blog...recovering from depression and from weight gain. The advice that I have given to people who are clinically depressed and have no motivation to do anything, let alone go the gym and knock out some supersets, is to either to pretend or to surround yourself with people that feel the way you want to feel. What I mean by this is that if you are unhappy, surround yourself with smiling happy people and pretend to be happy right along with them!
There are actual studies that show that when you fake it...sometimes you actually end up experiencing it. Same goes for exercising, I think if you can drag yourself to the gym and see other people hitting it hard, you may find some motivation that you didn't know was there. I also find it helpful to surround myself with pictures and images of what I used to look like and what I hope to look like a few months down the road. I think it helps to put the most unflattering picture of yourself near your fridge and near your workout clothes.
As for eating, pretend that you are a healthy person with a healthy body. Surround yourself with other people that are healthy and taking care of themselves. It helps to not be alone when trying to eat the right things. Encourage your family and friends to join you in switching over to whole foods or take a cooking class or buy a cookbook so that you find new ideas. Keep it interesting so that you don't get bored or stuck in a rut. Also, don't start coming up with excuses for having a cheat day. Trust me, there will always be reasons for a cheat meal...weddings, birthdays, holidays, funerals, dinner parties, sick days, snow days, rainy days, time of the month days, Saturdays. But if you start allowing yourself a cheat here and there it becomes a very slippery slope.
It's these times you have to ask yourself, do I want to eat the wedding cake or do I want to look better than anyone else at the wedding? Do I want to enjoy the food or the way I look and feel? The difference between each decision is feeling good for a few minutes and feeling great 24/7. When you treat your body well and take care of it by exercising and providing it will the proper nutrition, the days where you feel depressed and unmotivated will occur less and less frequently.
Muscle & Strength: Now that you're life is headed in this new and exciting direction, where would you like it to take you from here? What are your goals, and what keeps you motivated and pushing forward?
Christina Adler: Well first and foremost I want to keep working on my blog. When I first started out writing about my experiences I didn't realize how cathartic it would be to open up and tell my story. I really had no idea what to expect when I started. I didn't know if I'd have any readers or if I'd just be chronicling my journey from being depressed overweight overmedicated mom just so I would have a record of it all. Now, I see that every day I make physical or emotional progress and I write about it, I reach someone new.
I get so many e-mails and comments from new mommies and from their husbands that had no hope but then saw my pictures or came across my blog and a spark was lit. It's these messages that keep me going. So where do I want to go from here? I would love to compete. I would love to write a book. And I want to continue to inspire all the mommies I can...and as always to let them know that they too can "get their mommy groove back!" Is that too much to ask?