Barbells, Food and Jojo

Join me as I navigate through my love for Olympic Weightlifting, Flexible Dieting and Life

Guys, I haven’t blogged in nearly three months. I know.


I kept thinking, “I really should blog about what I’m going through.” But then, I would get overwhelmed in thoughts revolving around, “How do I explain it all? Where do I start? How do I not sound like a rambling idiot trying to explain everything?” and much more. I have a very busy brain.

For those of you who have followed my journey for some time now, know that I have been dealing with metabolism and fatigue issues for quite a few years. I thought once I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, that I finally had my answer to why I feel the way I do. I believed the thyroid medication I was put on would alleviate it all once my levels were normalized. Well, that wasn’t the case, unfortunately.


Another reason that kept me from blogging about this was, to those of you longtime followers, I did not want to sound like a broken record. But then I realized, this is why I have a blog, to share my experiences, good or bad. And who knows, maybe someone out there is going through what I’m going through and also at a loss.


Well, here we go. First, let me start by asking you fine folk a few questions to let you gauge where I’m at. Let’s say you are following a science based nutrition plan for your goals (adhering to mostly nutrient dense foods),  diligently in the gym Olympic Weightlifting five times a week, including added conditioning, average 6-7 hours of sleep every weeknight (more on weekends), and hydrate with about 70-90 oz of water. What kind of transformation do you think your body would make? The average person that understands what all of the above entails would think, “All of that should yield a pretty healthy, fit person!” You would think, right? Well…

Okay. I’m going to break this up into the easiest way to read that I can think of so that it is not just endless rambles. Warning, shit is about to get real up in here.



Let’s start with my incessant symptoms. I’m going to leave out my allergies (environmental) because I don’t feel they are related to this.

  • Fatigue / Low energy (about 6 years or so)
  • Difficulty losing body fat / weight despite being on track with nutrition and training (about 6 years or so)
  • Acne breakouts around mouth area (since about February 2017)
  • Extreme, uncomfortable bloating / full feeling most days (since about February 2017)
  • Irregular/slow/unpredictable motility (since about February 2017)



You may recall my “nutritional debacle” from my last post from a few months ago. If not, go to that post and scroll toward the bottom to catch up. To summarize, during my post op recovery I was guided into weight gain by my former flexible dieting coach who put me on an aggressive reverse diet when I was still in physical therapy post op. Got to a point where I was eating more than I was pre op when I was fully active. It was around then that the “new” symptoms (on top of my old ones) began.


Here is a list of things that I do that are under my control. Do I come off like a control freak? Probably. But this is my way of checking things off the list that could be causing problems in my body if I weren’t doing them. It’s a pet peeve of mine when medical professionals assume their patients don’t know crap about nutrition or exercise and become dismissive about it. Granted, they probably do encounter more clueless individuals than they do experienced and knowledgeable, but to assume isn’t right.

  • Exercise: Olympic Weightlifter
    • Olympic Weightlifting 5 times a week, for at least 1.5 hours each of those days
    • In the last month, I’ve added extra conditioning about 4 times a week for about 30 min sessions (AMRAPS, HIIT, Intervals, usually without a barbell) in an effort to burn more calories, therefore, put me in a deeper caloric deficit to push progress along
    • I have a Weightlifting coach that programs my weightlifting for me (I do not program hop). I program my own conditioning and try to incorporate things I dislike such as really any cardio.
  • Nutrition: I track every macronutrient that goes into my mouth. After three years of flexible dieting, I am now very well versed in nutritional science, not theories. I am very aware of how macronutrients and micronutrients can affect the body. I follow a prescribed set of macronutrients that are customized to me and my goals based on my level of activity, measurements, body fat and weight. My diet consist of about 85-90% vegetables and lean meats and otherwise “healthy” foods, the remaining 10-15% is for the occasional treats/outings. I was recently on poverty macros for a few weeks and actually gained a little. So after a few weeks on that, I decided it was time to do a very conservative reverse diet, which I am on now, but sadly, still no progress. My body is not cooperating with poverty or reverse. 


  • Sleep: On weeknights, I average about 6-7 hours of sleep, on weekends it is about 8-10 hours. Since I get up extremely early on weekdays to go to the gym, I have to ensure I am in bed early night before in order to get a decent amount of sleep.
  • Hydration: 80-90oz daily, weekends tends to be a bit less.
  • Fiber: about 25g-45g of fiber daily – I have no problem hitting my fiber targets.
  • Sodium: I keep sodium to an average at about 2000-3500mg, usually on lower end.


Exhausting, eh? Well, it is the least I can do to figure out why I’m feeling the way I do. I’m a data freak. More so because I need to know what’s happening and why my body is betraying me. So I figure, the better I track all that I do and consume, the better I can answer questions and have data ready for medical professionals, Western or Eastern, that can help me.


So, what’s my end goal here? To find the root cause of the problem and fix it. I don’t want a band aid. I don’t want someone to prescribe me medication and send me on my way. Or commit to cutting this and that out of my life when in reality, I haven’t found the root of why it happened in the first place. 



Honestly, with how I’ve been feeling these last few months, All I really want is just to get back to my pre-op weight (10-12lbs less), try to retain as much muscle along the way as possible, and to train comfortably without bloat pain/discomfort and get my motility to normalize. That’s all. You may ask, why the focus on the scale, Jo? Well, it turns out I fell in love with a sport that is weight-class specific. And for me to be remotely competitive, I should be in the -63kg weight class (my pre surgery weight class), maybe even -58kg, but that’s a conversation for another time. Short term goals first.



Not sure if you all understand the magnitude of what most my days have felt like these past few months. So let me paint you a picture. Step into my shoes, if you will. Imagine trying to brace for a heavy squat right after a big meal and you’re really full. Or try to be “snappy” in dynamic lifts such as the snatch and clean & jerk where speediness is necessary, when you’re feeling really full.  Or, have you ever had to seek relief by hunching over a bench stomach down between lifts? Walked around in a constant state of physical discomfort? I have not felt “light on my feet” or just normal in quite some time now.


In regards to health and fitness, training is the one thing holding it all together for me. Leg strength has been coming back. As of the beginning of May, I’ve been on a legitimate 5-day a week Weightlifting cycle with percentages based off my pre op 1RM numbers. I’m happy to report that I have squatted 90% of my pre op 1RM, and it did not feel too difficult, which is very promising. As far as squat numbers, I don’t think I am too far off from my pre op 1RM.

Click below to see video on Instagram

Screenshot 2017-06-27 14.00.43

With snatch and clean and jerk, I’m a bit further way, only because we are honing in on technique and getting me used to those dynamics first. And coach wants to build my strength back up first.

Click below to see video on Instagram

Screenshot 2017-06-27 14.12.12

For now, I am still potato status, but at least I’m a potato that’s progressing in my training.


If you’ve read this far, bless your heart. Have you gone through anything like this? Did you find a resolution? Let me know in the comments and please subscribe!

Until next time…

One thought on “Random Rambles: Big Ball of Ugh

  1. Lisa G says:

    Keep on keeping on Jojo! I know the struggles with body comp and energy levels too! Your IG vids are so inspirational 🙂

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