Washing the Dishes

Clean DishesDieting is Housework

I had this idea when I was first dieting down to my ideal ratio that I would actually come in a bit low and then whenever I had some party food or a small setback, I’d already be ahead of the game.

Unfortunately, it turned out it wasn’t livable to try to maintain under my ideal weight. It was too restrictive and miserable. Even 1-5 pounds lower is too low.

So I actually maintain just a tiny bit over my absolute ideal, photo ready look. And I constantly strive to hit those metrics. And I do!

Dishes are Never Done

Dirty DishesI look at it like doing the dishes.

You can’t wash more dishes than are currently dirty.

You can’t wash tonight’s dishes right now, no matter how convenient that would be for you. You have to go ahead and make dinner and then wash the dirty dishes afterward, when you’re tired, full, and frankly, don’t feel like doing it!

Same for dieting. You can’t get ahead of yourself. When you’re done, you’re done. And then there it is again. Dishes. Or extra calories. And so you do the work, again.

It is not obsessive to be on a diet for life.

In this culture of food being over abundant, of celebrations happening far more often than we even realize, this is how it has to be.

Here is a quick tally of some opportunities to overeat I’ve attended just in January this year:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Monthly club potluck meeting
  • Monthly potluck meeting at my daughter’s choir
  • Child’s birthday tea party
  • Park potluck with friends
  • Child’s birthday party

This list doesn’t even include weekends or fun dinners I made or anything else and January was by no means a light month. My kids actually get hit with even more excuses to overeat. Any sporting event lasting more than 30 minutes seems to require packaged junk food. <insert eye roll>

I have the opportunity to overeat easily  6-10 times every single month. That averages out to overeating every 3-5 days. Sometimes, I am able to plan for it so it balances out but other times, I didn’t know the event was coming or the food was so amazing, there was no way I was going to have all that much restraint.

And knowing that you cannot simply make up for a big overindulgence in one day means you may spend the majority of the other days making up, especially in very fun and socially active months.


Track your food while you diet down to your ideal weight. Then you can wean off the tracking. I screwed it up the first few tries for sure. I just didn’t want to accept at first that I was still overeating on such a regular basis so I would have to skip so many meals per week and experience hunger so often. I kind of wanted to have “graduated”. I think the realization was that acceptance of this is graduation.


These are the carefully selected research based diets I used to transform and will continue to follow for life.

There is Never a Perfect Time to Transform

Short and sweet post.

I sat around waiting for the stars to align so I could begin my transformation.

During this time, I accomplished nothing.

Well, not nothing. I stressed a lot and felt angst and misery quite deeply.

There will never be a perfect time to transform

So start transforming now.

I strongly suggest you consider joining one of these contests. Al and I had excellent results.

Turbulence Training Transformation Contest

Turbulence Training Transformation Contest (yes, that’s ME on the left!)

Al Wins Adonis Index Transformation Contest

Al Wins Adonis Index (for MEN) Transformation Contest

Venus Index Contest Winner Naomi Sandoval

Venus Index Contest Winner Naomi Sandoval (for WOMEN)

MetaZone System

I have been practicing the MetaZone System program for the last few months as I simultaneously worked to recover former strength levels.
I was surprised to get back to my former personal best on squats while not experiencing significant muscle soreness nor injury. I am keen to continue to make strength gains in all areas with faster recovery and minimal injury.
I also tried Bikram yoga (hot yoga) for the first time recently and was pleased to be certain that I was pushing myself at just the right level because of how I was breathing.
Moving to a new activity can leave you wondering how to pace yourself and so far, I’ve been able to complete the classes which are nearly 2 hours long in a room heated to 110 degrees! I come away nicely sore and ready for more, not struggling around like a cripple!
Joe Weaver, the Metazone System author, was kind enough to make himself available for an interview!
Joe Weaver AI Open 2 Contest Winner

Joe, how would you describe the MetaZone System to someone who already lifts weights regularly? What benefits can this seasoned lifter expect to notice and how long will these results take?

The MetaZone System takes the most basic life function – breathing – and shows you how to optimize it for greater performance gains. Most of us have tried everything else… rep schemes, pre-workout pills and powders, FatGripz, special shoes… you name it, and we’ve tried it.

But how many of us have thought to improve the one thing that rules all others – oxygen uptake. Without generous amounts of oxygen everything else falters and grinds to a halt.
Martial artists and yogi’s have known this for thousands of years. And by careful self observation they discovered ways to maximize oxygen uptake while efficiently generating more energy and power.
The MetaZone System simply takes three of these ancient techniques and applies them to strength training.
This is not visualization or playing games with your mind. These are simple physical techniques that fundamentally change the the way your body functions during a workout.
The results are more muscle building power, faster recovery and a much greater enjoyment of the whole process.

One of the main components of this system, Metazone Breathing, is a specific type of nasal breathing that has two amazing effects when you practice it during exercise:

  1. By breathing deeper and more efficiently you’ll get more oxygen into your system. This translates into more energy that’s available to power your muscles.

  2. This particular style of breathing calms your body and mind by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system. The result is a pleasurable ‘in the zone’ type experience. Many of my clients describe it as the eye of the hurricane experience – calm and serene on the inside while dynamic and powerful on the outside.

How long does it take to see these improvements?

Many people report having more energy, less muscle soreness and the ‘in the zone‘ type experience, from the first time they try these techniques. And it usually takes between 2-8 weeks to fully integrate this system with your workouts and start seeing all the benefits.

But, and this is a BIG BUT, if you love to strain and struggle, if you love to destroy your muscles and abuse your body during every workout….then this system will not work for you.

This system is about learning to listen to your body, learning to work with your body instead of against it.

So, WARNING, if your motto is ‘No Pain, No Gain’ then don’t even think about getting this system. It won’t work for you. And if you try it, it’ll take a lot longer for you to get it right.

Also, to anyone who buys this system: If you find it hard and difficult, you are NOT following the instructions and you are NOT doing the system.

Practically anyone can follow this system and get all the benefits outlined on the sales page IF you leave your ego at the door.

Of course it takes practice to change our western compulsion to push and strain and willfully disregard our body’s natural intelligence and the signals it is constantly sending us.

But the beauty of the MetaZone Breathing technique is that you don’t have to think about it in order for it to work. Just practice it as instructed and your body will automatically start functioning in a different way.

Is this program suitable for other activities? If so, please give some examples.

Yes, I have several clients who love using it for cycling and running.

Here is one of Brandon Y’s running experiences:”Went for a long run this afternoon at dusk – right at 10 miles. One of the most effortless and enjoyable I’ve had in months. The dynamic-serenity of the experience is a rare force, and something which I hope everyone is able to feel in some element of their lives. The longer I run, the more I realize that so long as I can fix it in my gaze, and let my breath set the pace, no distance is too far. Feeling boundless.”
Do you have any tricks for helping to remember to use the techniques? When I first started, I found I’d forget for weeks at a time. I’m sure others would appreciate ideas to help them stay focused.

Naomi, my hunch is that maybe you are straining a little with the breathing and not experiencing how pleasurable the whole experience is. The MetaZone Breathing should be done in in an easy and natural manner.

If you are doing it correctly then the experience of pleasure during the technique will drive you to repeat the experience over and over again. 
How did you discover this breathing technique in the first place and how long have you been using it?

Originally, back in 1994, I started reading a book about these techniques, but the system was so complicated I never finished the book. Then in 2010, a couple months after I started the Adonis program, I picked that book up again.

But this time I decided to try the first tip in the book… Do your whole workout only breathing through your nose. When that becomes too difficult then back off till you can comfortably breathe through your nose again.
That one tip changed my workout experience forever. I’ll never go back to the old huffing and puffing and straining mode.
In fact, I felt so good the next day, I decided to workout again even though it was my day off (at age 59 I was working out 3 days a week).
Before I knew it, I was working out 5-6 days a week.
After a few months I had made so much progress, I decided to enter the AI #4 Men Over 40 Open competition. I came in second at 60 yrs. old!! I was blown away.
So, I’ve been doing these techniques for about 2.5 years now. This is the longest I’ve consistently worked out in my life and it’s because my experience is so much more enjoyable and energizing, it naturally draws me to repeat that experience over and over. 

The longer you practice this system, the stronger your mind~body connection becomes. So you become more sensitive to the needs of your body. In other words, by tuning into your body, you become more aware of areas that are becoming over stressed before they manifest into a full blown injury. Also, I’ve noticed in my practice that my lung capacity has increased over time. I think this has positively impacted my ability to recover faster.

Joe Weaver Joe Weaver is an author/blogger specializing in mind-body fitness techniques. He has thirty seven years of experience in strength training, meditation, yoga and ayurveda.

How to Sit, Stand, Walk, Bend, Sleep

8 Steps to a Pain-Free BackIt’s a pretty bold claim to say that this book teaches how to sit, stand, walk, bend and sleep/lie down.

I don’t make bold claims lightly.

I’m tired of back pain.

I’ve been ready to get this figured out, once and for all.

When I read about the Alexander Technique, I was thrilled because I thought I was really onto something. But it turns out that the Alexander Technique (AT) is not something I’ll be likely to pursue. The bottom line is you are expected to see a specialist for a year or more. Also, it’s really geared for performers, which I am not. And lastly, I believe that any coaching should have an end in sight. I believe personal trainers should get you going and you should check in periodically. I don’t believe in baby sitters for life.

Learn the Gokhale Technique

8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot teaches you how to position your pelvis so that your spine falls into proper alignment.

You will also learn how to stretch it out while going about your day. You do not need to carve out extra time to “work” on these things!

Finally, you will learn how to walk properly and simultaneously build your glutes. I’ve already declared 2013 The Year of the Glutes and so should you.

Put your behind behind you! 

No more tucking the pelvis under and exacerbating the flat butt issue.

This book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot, is full of helpful photos of how we are meant to use our bodies and clear, concise explanations of things we knew but have since forgotten. Come learn with me!

Kiya's Transformation Story: Guts and other tender bits...

Reprinted by permission. http://community.venusindex.com/entry.php?10082-Guts-and-other-tender-bits

Guts and Other Tender Bits

by Kiya Black

Kiya 2012 Feb (before)Something that came to me today, as I was out and about, enjoying the gorgeous weather, being social, having fun.

For years – years – I didn’t actually feel like my body was fully MINE. It was parceled out. A bit to the kids (in the future). Then, a bit – well, more than a bit – to my husband. And the bit that was left – the part that was all mine, late at night, when I could not think about anything and anyone else – that bit ate.

Because, really, I like food. I like food A LOT. I like eating. I like the feeling of chewing, of tasting, of things going over my tongue and down my throat. I like a variety of tastes – a bit of this, a bit of that, a bit more a bit more a bit more. I like experimenting with food, and combining things and seeing just what makes something taste even BETTER.

And that’s what I gave myself. That was how I claimed ownership of the parts of my body I felt I still fully owned – I ate.

And I resented anyone or anything that tried to tell me that I shouldn’t eat. That I couldn’t eat carbs. That I shouldn’t love butter. That a rich, dense, moist cake should be something I cringed from, instead of yearned for.

And I resented the world I lived in, that said that I was less intelligent. Less focused. Less aware. Less amazing…..because I was more. Because I was fat, all of the wonder that was inside me was dimmed. My body was a shadow over myself.

And those two resentments battled and fought inside me, and the easiest path was the one I already knew – I stayed fat.

Then, I went through issues with infertility. And I reclaimed that part of my body that I had given away to the kids I hadn’t – and most likely never will – bear.

Then, I got divorced. And I reclaimed the part – the huge part – of my body I had given over to my husband – sometimes with joy, sometimes with regret and sometimes with the apathetic acceptance that this was just how marriage was.

And suddenly…….. I owned myself. All of myself. I didn’t owe a bit to my parents, because my life was maintained and managed by me, or my kids, because I didn’t have to consider their future above my own, or my husband., because he was no longer mine.
My time, yeah, that was still split out – but my BODY was mine.

And I realized that I wanted more from my body. I wanted more from myself. I wanted to not be under the shadow of my flesh, anymore. I was tired – TIRED – of it hiding who I was. It’s unfair, I still think, how the world is arranged to prejudge those who are fat. I don’t know – even as I acknowledge that judgement in myself – that I’ll ever really understand it.
But sometimes – just understanding that it isn’t fair is enough.

And that was my straw. Seeing pictures of myself, and being able to SEE the incredible, vibrant, joyous, self-aware and self-possessed woman looking back at me – and knowing because of my fat, I was most likely the only one who could see it. At least with a glance.

Kiya 2013 Apr (From Now On))I was terrified, initially. I thought I would turn into a bitch. I thought that I would become arrogant, vain, selfish, cruel, petty, and mean if I wasn’t fat anymore. I thought that shedding the weight would also shed some of the good from me.

Instead…. I’ve found that I’ve blossomed. That the simple fact that others can see the joy, the vibrancy, the focus, the intelligence, the self-awareness, the confidence and wonder that has always been inside of me – that people can see it with a single glance – has….. multiplied that.

I think I’m kinder. I think I’m more generous. I think I’m more open. I think….. I think that as I stepped out of the shadow of my flesh, my inner light shone more and more and more – without me even having to DO anything. It’s like there’s a mirror in other peoples eyes reflecting my own light back to me.

I feel so self-conscious, sometimes. I feel like, every time I post a picture, or comment on anything positive and forward moving related to losing weight and getting hotter (cuz, yeah, I’m totally hotter), that I’m bragging. That I’m slipping towards that vain, petty, arrogant skinny bitch that I was utterly terrified of becoming. I’m afraid that my darker sides – the cutting sarcasm, the impatience, the…….anger, that deep, grudge-holding, slow building and incredibly destructive anger – will come out and sully the Joy that I believe my Gods destined me to be.

And then I take a deep breath. And I take ownership of my choices. All of them. And I step out a little bit more into acceptance – that true, deep, heart/body/mind acceptance of utter, nonconvertible truth that I am Joy and Amazement and Kindness and Wonder and Love – and that as long as I CHOOSE those things…. I can be nothing but them.

Well. Okay. Mostly. Sometimes, I’m just a blunt bitch. But, ya know, I try to keep her in check.


I don’t know why I shared that. I feel lighter, but I think just writing it out would have made me feel lighter. I…… Gods. I… don’t know. Posting this just feels… right. I hope that isn’t arrogance sneaking in.

Maybe it’s a bit of honor and offering to the hearts of the other Venuses who have shared their inner bits.

Yes. That is what I will see it as. I feel like I’ve seen tender bits of y’all – bits that generally wouldn’t be shared with others, I think.
And sometimes the comments about how sunny and joyous I am make me feel like….. like I’m projecting an image that is a bit… photoshopped. Because Gods know, sometimes I’m angry and ugly and mean and morose and……all of those things. And they are just as much a part of me as the Joy is, and have just as much of a right as to be seen as the joy.

For more information on how Kiya transformed during this incredible journey, check out these diet and exercise programs.

Bulking Experiment

DXA scans are used primarily to evaluate bone mineral density. DXA scans can also be used to measure total body composition and fat content with a high degree of accuracy comparable to hydrostatic weighing with a few important caveats.

Naomi used a DEXA or DXA scan to measure her results. DXA scans are used primarily to evaluate bone mineral density.

Last time I shared that I had some health setbacks; I started 2012 in the best shape of my life and ended it in much worse shape.  In December I had a DEXA scan which showed my lean body mass (LBM) as 114 pounds and 20% body fat.

I had a second DEXA done to check progress after four months of doing the Venus Index Workout.  My goals were to have increased LBM and to maintain body fat.

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA, previously DEXA) is a means of measuring bone mineral density (BMD).  DXA scans can also be used to measure total body composition and fat content with a high degree of accuracy comparable to hydrostatic weighing with a few important caveats.

Read more…

Transformation Seminar

I Tried Everything

You know how some people tell you they tried everything but if you drill down, you find out they maybe read about everything or talked about things an awful lot, but didn’t do a whole lot of getting up off their asses?

Well, when I say I tried everything, I mean I researched and put into practice, rinsed, repeated.

It was crazy-making!

Transformation SeminarIn an act of utter desperation, I bought myself a ticket to a transformation seminar.

I was finally going to get this mystery unraveled and find out the inner circle secrets of how a 45 year old woman could lose fat and get a strong, lean, sexy body.


If I expected to get the secrets, I was in the wrong place. Each presenter only got an hour to talk up their program. Everyone tried to sell me something. No one taught me their secrets! <smacks forehead> What did I expect?

The Meeting After The Meeting

No problem! We all know the real action happens during the evening socializing and what was so cool about this event was that we got to hang out with the presenters! The rockstars! We’d be able to rub shoulders with the faces we knew and loved from online.

Well, those who bothered to show up, that is.

And then the reality.

The presenters were insular and cliquish. Some were downright rude. I felt like a sad, fat, ugly, unwelcome, smelly old dog.

That said, some were incredible and I’m honored to have met them. I will call out right now the handful of presenters who made an impression on me. These people were kind and 2 of them even bothered to learn my name and remember me after the seminar. They came across as real people who absolutely cared, like I do, about helping others transform. If you ever get a chance to rub shoulders with Holly Rigsby, Isabel De Los Rios, John Romaniello or this awesome Canadian meal-planning body builder who didn’t even make the schedule, you know you are in for a treat.

Unbelievable Presenters

Some presenters did not walk the walk, especially the dude who put the seminar together. I don’t find this credible. His photos look nothing like the real thing. I understand it’s stressful to put on an event but if you are a poster child for fitness, the physical event is your moment to shine!

Why Hold Conferences at the Beach?

Personal pet peeve time. Who wants to be stuck indoors for 2 whole days in a beach location? I’ll never understand why conferences aren’t held during blizzards or rainstorms or in the desert during dangerously hot days. Ya know? I’m now lucky enough to live in a warm climate but still, I find it very odd indeed that we stay in our air-conditioned bubbles instead of getting outside on glorious days.

The Inner Circle Secret to Transformation!

Okay, it turns out this seminar was 100% worth the ticket and hotel price. Even though I’ve just griped like mad, I learned something that turned everything around for me.

I honestly had no idea, none whatsoever, that every single person up there who looked credible had to pay attention to their diet on an ongoing basis.

That was a huge newsflash for me.

Every single complaint above was but a flutter of a butterfly’s wing against my cheek because I walked away empowered. This was the turning point from flailing to success and I am eternally grateful for how it all unfolded!

Have you turned a corner on your journey? When was it? Or what are you waiting for?

Get Up And Get Off Your Ass!

Buncha Nutjobs Waking Up and Hittin’ the Gym

I used to think morning exercisers had a screw loose.
Loose Screw
I went to the gym after work pretty much every night in my 20s. Then I got married and had me some kids and made a number of gym comebacks but nothing that stuck for all that long until I finally made my big ol’ transformation.

Now I’m a Nutjob Too!

Now I think I must have the same loose screw.

Here are some reasons I now prefer to work out in the morning.

  • It gets it done already and off your plate
  • You know you have plenty in the tank.
  • You can have your morning coffee and it doubles as a pre-workout supplement!
  • You start your day with a success
  • Exercise is energizing and invigorating
  • An evening pre-workout boost supplement might keep you up at night
  • Life often gets in the way and you don’t have time to go at night
  • By the end of the day, it requires all kinds of self talk just to show up!
  • The gym is crazy crowded at night, especially Monday!
  • My teenage daughter is now my workout partner so all these reasons go double

When do you work out? Is it working for you?

Eating Clean for Weightloss

What is “Eating Clean”

I recently asked about this term my Naomi Rules FaceBook page and boy, did this open a can of not-clean-eating worms. Turning a way of eating into a lifestyle is not a balanced approach. Trust me, I spent most of my life trying to eat “perfectly”. Now I realize my goals are health and a strong, lean and sexy body.

The bottom line is there is no universal definition of “Eating Clean“.
But the other thing people need to realize is that Clean Eating is not a shortcut to weightloss.

Why Do You Eat Clean? What will happen if you “cheat”?

Some replies from my FaceBook fans:

  • I fall off the wagon. And one day turns into 3. Then a week….then a month. And pretty quick those jeans get too tight.
  • I don’t eat clean, but I would like to in theory. I guess I don’t because there are too many things I’m used to that I would have to give up. Many I can take or leave but others, not. (Hellooooo Ben & Jerry!) But the reason I would like to is that I’m angry that “they” (ha ha!) are sneaking soooo much non-food into our food supply and then trying to distract us with labels about how good for us it is. (Whole grain Froot Loops? Give me a break!)
  • I eat food that doesn’t hurt my body. Well, I try to. I suppose I’m ‘lucky’ in that most unhealthy foods I’m highly intolerant to, so I’m pretty much forced to eat clean. What happens when I overindulge in sugar? I instantly get a huge pregnancy belly!!
  •  In what context? If i ‘cheat’ (which in itself is a poor term as it has negative and guilty connotations) once every 6 months then nothing is going to happen. If i cheat, and we talking about eating high calorie low nutrient density foods really, at every meal I’m likely to consume too many calories and get fat! If i still follow a calorie controlled diet and make poor food choices then it’s likely to affect my progress long term. Both with mental and physical fitness. The reason we cheat is that food, especially sugar laden foods, activate parts of our brains that control reward centres, i.e. It makes us feel good. There is nothing wrong with this just understand that if we do it too often the food will control us and not vice versa.
See the guilt there? And the setup for failure?

Eating Clean

Why “Eat Dirty”

Eating Dirty” is a joke phrase I coined in response to everyone else’s claims of “Eating Clean”.
Some of my personal philosophy on “Eating Clean”:
  • I do feel it is all the more important to eat yummy, nutrionally dense foods when you find out you only get so many calories per day.
  • I personally used to take this to religion and it was very stressful.
  • I still “shop the outside of the supermarket” and use mostly organic fruits and veggies, very little from a box, and meats are ethically raised and usually locally purchased in a coop.
  • I no longer beat myself up when I stray from these guidelines. Having let go of this stress has been a huge health boost.

I’m a Recovering Orthorexic

I’ve been vegetarian, all organic, no red meat, raw vegan, Paleo, and a few others. And all the while feeling more and more guilty for not being able to get my family to do it perfectly, watching them slowly die. Ugh. We’re all slowly dying! It’s time to LIVE!

No More Pancake Butt

Check out my “after” and “more after” photos.

Pancake Butt vs Better Butt

Pancake Butt vs Better Butt


The first is a few months after my initial transformation. Not bad, right? But note the pancake butt.

The second photo is shortly after I added in some additional glute work. This photo is about 2 months into this work and I have since achieved better results.

I am eagerly awaiting the new book, Strong Curves.

Free Research Based Glute Training

While we all wait for this long overdue big freaking hairy deal (I know! What could be more exciting than a whole book dedicated to building a better backside?), we can all get going with this free PDF download sampler from the Strong Curves book! They are practically giving away the book. I got amazing results from not much more than this amount of information so what are you waiting for? Forget the Brazilian Butt Lift and get going with research based glute training!

If you like what you see, then go ahead and (pre)order the book here: Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body