Wednesday, December 28, 2011


My life is absolutely crazy right now. Aside from the holiday hustle & bustle, we are constantly working on our house projects while the weather is still relatively mild, I had 3 good friends get engaged over the Christmas weekend, I'm an aunt for the 5th time on Christmas Eve, my sister gave birth to my beautiful niece Hailey Davis (maiden names are always the middle names in their family), and I have been working like a mad woman at my new job.

My new job has been nutso. There are so many different facets to what needs to get done in this job, its amazing. Last week, I will admit, I had been working so hard and trying to get everything done that I completely went a full work day without food (don't ask) and I think I had to be told to go home no less than 3 times last week. This week is a bit better, starting to get more in the groove, however, I still have crazier weeks to come this January. But this week I have been better with my meal times.

Anyway, if you have emailed me, texted me, facebooked me, tweeted me, called me and I have not gotten back to you... I'm so sorry! Just give me a kind reminder and I will. :) Also sorry I haven't read any of your blogs! Work is really cramping my style right now.

I wasn't real excited about this. I mean, its hard to get excited about an injury but just wanted to show you all the severity of the injury as well as what I am doing to work on healing.

I was also not real excited about taking and showing these photos. But our bodies show the reality of our lives and choices and this is my reality of where I am in starting prep. I discussed my injury with my prep coach and he feels we have adequate time to work on healing and start prep. But that does mean diet needs to be clean right now, which is has been... but  for me right now it means that I just need to be on guard for other random foods around this time of year, instead of being lackadaisical about my nutrition. My FBM content is slightly lower than my last prep, I have about 2 lbs more muscle (which put me at 98.5 LBM, right where I wanted to be), and definitely have my work cut out for me.

At first, like I said I wasn't really excited about taking and showing these photos. But the more I look at them, the better I see myself. I think my mind has been skewed in how I see myself. I think NOT doing my competition in October was worse on my self-esteem than anything else. But at any rate, you can tell I've increased some muscle mass... although my frame shows the fat I've put on, it definitely holds differently. Still mostly in my love-handles and tum tum, but I can still see some V-Cut going on and feel stronger (aside from my low back).

See that horrible scoliosis looking gross spine curvature?! My body is trying desperately to take weight off my hip. These were taken last Tuesday (12/13). But I was walking everyday, like I was told to. And have been able to run a few times in this last week. I even did abs on Monday! I could still feel the strain in my back, so I only did a few sets and listened to my body. But yeah, can definitely tell a difference in my tummy an addition of muscle. :) Kind of excited to see what it looks like underneath!

I'm officially in hard core prep on Monday. Meaning, no option of sleeping in versus am cardio. :) Again, I'm committing to the Emerald Cup in Seattle on April 21st and probably the Empire Classic on April 28th. Also considering the Bill Pearl Classic in Bend, OR on May 12th but we will see (pretty much only if this prep goes smoother than last time, boyfriends only stay with emotional wrecks for so long haha). Yep, still planning on Bikini... May try my hand at Figure at the Empire Classic, just for fun. I'll admit that while I want my body to look more like bikini.... I have a figure back. Its just the truth. I was a swimmer for years and just have a thicker back.

So anyway, since I have taken up 23 minutes of work time typing this up I had better get back at it (okay seriously, this is my only time to do this stuff!) and get some breakfast... Next week there will be progress pictures!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and Take it easy out there on New Years people! ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Most Recent iTunes Binge

I'll have a new update coming in the next couple of days BUT! Thought I'd pass along my most recent iTunes Binge.

1. Epic by B.o.B.
   No reason. I just love B.o.B. His rhymes flow so well to my ears. ;)

2. I'm The Best by Nicki Minaj
    Because I am the best. ;)

3. 7 by the Artist Formerly Known as Prince
    Just to go old school on ya...

4. Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO
    I totally get down to this on cardio... Friggin FUNNIEST video evar!

5. Called Out In the Dark by Snow Patrol
    I absolutely love this song. Something about it, but I find myself playing this song a LOT!

6. Workout by J. Cole
    Its the Paula Abdul remix in it that I love, brings me back.

7. I Am The Champion by  B.o.B
   Just because I think B.o.B is funny as hell.

8. Right Thru Me by Nicki Minaj

9. Blackout by Breathe Carolina
    Because we're all getting started! Don't blackout!

10. Make Me Proud by Drake & Nicki Minaj
   SIGH! I have the biggest crush on Drake ever.... Why is he so sexy all the time?!?!

There you have it! I'll probably have another binge sometime in the near future... just because binging on treats won't be an option! ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Christmas Prayer For All

My sincere prayer for all athletes and non-athletes alike is that you will never have to deal with the pain and stress of a broken back.

(True) Stories.
In August of 2005, after having so much fun rock climbing and developing an invincible ego, I fell while unharnessed and unbelayed 80 feet up on the face of a familiar rock. The move that would forever change my life was my last of the day and completing it would have meant me looking down and walking to my car unscathed. However, that isn't what happened. As previously mentioned, I was 80 feet up a rock face and on my last move. I was in a position that looks like this:
With a leg and arm in a cravasse, the other leg & arm on smooth rock. It only meant pushing my body up and I would have been done with my climb for the day. Except my foot that was on smooth rock had one problem: It was on smooth rock. It slipped and subsequently swung me in that direction pulling my foot and other hand out of its secure placement in the cravasse, which meant only my left hand on smooth rock was placed. And that couldn't last long. And it didn't.

What I get asked a lot, is what was going through my head at that point? Honestly, all I could think about was "How am I going to survive this?" I had a very strange and clear moment, which felt like an eternity, although only a few seconds. I knew I was going to fall. The only thing I could control was how I was going to fall. My first thought was to try to regain my placement in the cravasse, but decided against it as I felt struggling could mean completely losing placement and falling 80 feet to my death. My second thought was trying to fall to the ledge I could see 30 feet below me. During my moment of clarity, I thought "how do I land?" I considered landing on my side, I considered landing on my feet. And with that, my right hand gave out.

I fell 30 feet to the ledge below, skidding on my feet, and landing on my butt. With the force of a 120 lbs woman falling 30 feet to only meet the force of a rock, my L1 vertebrae absorbed the stress of both forces... and burst.

Shockingly enough, with the hundreds of tiny splinters that were now surrounding my spinal cord, none of them actually pierced my spinal cord. Aside from coming very close to death, I was just barely tip-toe'ing around being paralyzed from the waist down. Fast forward 24 hours, and I had already been on the news and in a hospital bed. Although completely humiliated, stressed, ashamed, and hurt, I went through a complete L1 vertebrectomy (removing the vertebrae) and a T12 thru L2 Spinal Fusion (fusing the 3 vertebrae with a titanium cage). I became a whole inch shorter.

(Painful) Problems.
So, let me just explain the vast array of issues associated with the fun experience I had above. If I thought breaking my back would be the worst of my problems at that point, I was dead wrong.

After 3 months off from work, wearing a gigantic back brace all day every day, 4 physical therapy appointments a week for 12 weeks, massage therapy once a week for 12 weeks (By the way, ALL OF WHICH I could not drive myself to) and a cabinet full of muscle relaxers, pain killers and anti-inflammatory's... I was deemed well enough to work again.

As I went back into the work force, I was still in pain... I couldn't stand for more than a half an hour which was a problem at work, and doing chores, and taking a shower (I had a chair for the shower). I couldn't sit for more than 5 minutes, which was a huge problem when driving and going to church. I was on so many drugs I had become constipated which was very very difficult considering there is no "pushing" when you cannot even contract your core muscles. Rectal suppositories was something my mother and I faced daily, and when you are 20 years old it is simply humiliating, but I couldn't twist my back in any way. But my love for my mother changed at that point.

Laughing, sneezing, coughing was all difficult for months. I couldn't eat with friends, sit in a movie, go shopping without being extremely uncomfortable, which was obviously hard for my friends who would want to show me a good time when I wasn't working. Most nights of the week, by the end of the day I was completely hunched over, not able to stand up straight whatsoever, because my back muscles were so exhausted. I gained weight due to being sedentary which made the pain worse. I think you all know the end of the story is that I lost weight and my back pain became controllable. And for the most part, it is.

This weekend (just as my diet and exercise regimen became exciting again, of course) I experienced it again. I woke up Saturday morning with such intense pain I could barely get out of bed. Riding in the car, I had to have the seat fully reclined. I couldn't sit at all. I had to be lying down or standing. Pain levels interest me greatly just because of the great difference people can have in their tolerance. And although you might be in great pain, no one can ever understand what that feels like to you. Doctors even. And often times, I think because they see so many drug seekers, they aren't really sure how to treat your pain as more than just pain. What I seek, isn't to control my pain. I seek to control my pain by making my body stronger and therefore not having pain by eradicating the problem.

After 6 years of working hard to keep my body healthy and make it strong, one wrong move can bring you to your knees. And for me, the pain has literally brought me to my knees multiple times.

I tell you this big long story really just to say:
Take care of your body BEFORE it becomes necessity and BEFORE you can't anymore.

The doctor told me that I have strained my SI (sacro-iliac) muscle which has tightened up around my sciatic nerve. Pain shoots down the sides of my legs to my ankles. I can't really sit on the right side of my hips. When I walk, I look like I have scoliosis as my body tries to contort to take pressure off my right hip. There is no chance I will be lifting anytime soon. I start more rounds of physical therapy, massage therapy and living life only to get the pain down starting today. I would rather my time be spent on bettering my body, but I will take walking over not. I will take mobility over being flat on my back, which always means baby steps. I can't be greedy, that got me where I am today.

There are times when I see people doing only minimum work at the gym, like on the elliptical and not sweating, and I think to myself, "Those people are never going to get anywhere if they don't push themselves!" Shame on me for ever judging a person. Because for a while, I am genuinely only going to be able to do light walking or light elliptical as it turns out.

My Prayer.
My prayer and plea for all of you is that you never have to experience debilitating pain. Much less for the rest of your life. Take care of your body before you aren't able to. Stretch your muscles, warm up before your workouts, drink enough water! I very much encourage yoga to keep your mobility... because our spines were made to bend backward just as much as forward, and stretching those muscles will help with your overall health.

Athletes and non-athletes alike all deserve a healthy body. Most diabetics don't change their diet even after they're diagnosed with diabetes. And most athletes don't begin a strong stretching regimen until after they sprain something. Most people don't start taking care of their bodies until something goes wrong, you owe it to yourself to be smarter than that. You are smarter than that.

I'm off to some massage therapy to hopefully relieve some pain. By the way, even though I'm not working out currently, diet has not faltered. Diet is just as important to the health of the body. :) Isn't it interesting that people used to wish each other good health? That is because it truly is one of the important things in life. Hope you all are doing well and are HEALTHY beyond belief! Merry Christmas! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stuff I Don't Feel Guilty About

1. I don't feel guilty about gym time.

I spend more time in the gym than I do anywhere else, aside from work and home. That is MY time. And I certainly can't take care of anyone or anything else until I take care of myself. :) It is the one place where I find myself both completely capable and yet challenged. Brings out the superwoman in me.

2. I don't feel guilty about spending money on myself.

Ever. I refuse to feel guilty about it. Once upon a time, I was in a relationship with a man that made less than I do... And I would feel guilty about spending $10 on myself. My boyfriend has no problems with how I choose to spend my money, and that freedom is one of the best feelings ever. It honestly causes me not to go overboard because of his trust.

3. That being said, I also don't feel guilty about wanting a breast augmentation.

Part of what makes your life yours, is how you feel about your own body. Its amazing that I lost so much weight and have parts that didn't quite bounce back. Nevermind, I was trying to be somewhat discrete about how I phrased all of this but it just isn't working. I have big time saggy boobs. And I do not feel bad that I want them to match the rest of my curvy body. For a long time, I waged war with myself over it... but what comes down to it is that it is something for me. And Patrick. I don't feel vain and I don't feel guilty.

4. I don't feel guilty about not liking Kanye West.

No explanation. I think he is just plain douchey. I don't like country music (even though I live in the country) but I genuinely saw him as the biggest douche bag ever when he interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the Grammy's a few years ago.

5. I really don't feel guilty about my love of pumpkin things.

Or baking. I just have to regulate how much I bake or Patrick will end up finding me in a mountain of flour snorting sifted sugar, a sink fuuuullll of dishes, and a large assortment of baked goods everywhere. I could easily have been a southern momma in another life.

6. I don't feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

I refuse to feel guilty about the above things. I genuinely think that it is time to let go of any Catholic dispositions of naturally feeling guilty. We can't make progress if we are holding ourselves back. Stop feeling guilty and own the things you love and want in life.

What don't you feel guilty about? :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

So Much Thankfulness

I just wanted to tell you all that I'm thankful for you. I'm thankful for your kind words, slaps in the face, that you laugh at my jokes when I'm certain only I think they're funny, your encouragement, emails full of praise and love, inspiring lives, and healthy lifestyles!

Because what is that old saying, "If you haven't got your health, then you haven't anything at all."

And I think that's true, I'm thankful for my health and the fact that I DO NOT have high blood pressure in my 20's (anymore). And I'm thankful to be surrounded by so many people who aspire to maintain a healthy lifestyle!

Today, as I am making pies and NOT tasting them, and before going into Turkey Day, I am reminding myself to keep my eyes on the prize! While I do plan on indulging in A piece of pie as well as some turkey, there is competition I fully plan on demolishing in a few months and prep is 6 short weeks away. :) SO, I want to share an inspiring woman today:

India Paulino. The reason she stands out to me, is the FACT that she has muscles. Do you SEE those quads? Its easy to say that Bikini competitors don't have muscles and that judges are not looking for any muscularity, but even when she turns to the back, you can see her flexing her triceps, her quad separation is apparent... Aside from her slate flat stomach. :)

I know all of us have the power to keep our goals in mind while spending time with our families for the holiday. Let's choose to be thankful that we have the power to choose health over sickness, and the power to choose our goals. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taking the Bad In With the Good

Very mixed week for me emotionally. Life takes so many turns and throws so many challenges and obstacles. But first....

Shout Outs.
Please go give Amanda some love AND my very own trainer, Jacques Pitcher, are competing this weekend both at Nationals in South Beach, FL! Amanda is a seasoned figure competitor and Jacques is competing in Middle Weight Men's Body Building and both VERY deserving of pro-cards. Good luck!!

The Bad.
My grandpa passed away over last weekend. While in some ways it was a relief, it is still hard to lose anyone you love. We have the funeral on Saturday, which I am sure I will just bawl and bawl at. Reading his obituary was hard enough.

The Good.
I got promoted at work! Was having a really rough time with my job lately and got the much needed boost, as I have been waiting to step into this job for 3 years pending a co-worker's retirement. Not necessarily excited about more responsibility, as the position is one that is very legal and anything produced has to hold up in court, OR could be used against the hospital in court if I make a mistake. *Gulp!* But I am excited about a good raise! :) And just like anything in life we can choose to let it defeat us, or we can choose to let it challenge us! I don't actually step into my role of Credentialing Specialist for another month, but I'm pumped!

Taking It In.
This week really helped me get things in focus. Taking a hard-working attitude from my grandpa, who had a family at a young age, spent time in the airforce, sat on the Chamber of Commerce in a small city and even owned and operated a radio station locally. I don't think my grandpa would want me to just give up on the dreams and things I've been working so hard for regardless of struggles. I've had bereavement time to get my own priorities in order: Working out hard and eating well. Getting in enough water has been huge! I have no idea why, but if I am feeling defeated or self-loathing, I tend to not drink enough water. Maybe it has to do with feeling overly full..? Or I subconsciously know it will make me bloat because I've been eating bad...? Either way, my water has been better and I am not retaining much water. Finally feeling like The Boss in the gym again, and I have been busting it!
 I got in good cardio, although my lungs still feel very out of shape. Pneumonia is really such a killer! But now, everytime I get done with cardio I am saying to myself "That's 30 minutes closer to being in shape." I don't know if you have ever done that, but sometimes we truly need encouragement from ourselves. On Friday I had the chance to do forced reps on a leg day with my trainer: Awesome. And Tuesday? Drop Sets. Holy cow, I love leg days.

I definitely will post my righteous Ab Workout in this next week! I got enough emails requesting it, its intense! I did it again on Wednesday, and I was dying. I'll try to find some cool person to video me. Hopefully they don't steal my iPhone. ;) Because you get all caught up in those TRX bands and am not sure if I could get out of them quick enough to catch a fool.

I've got some good changes coming my way, and T-minus 7ish weeks to prep. If I were to start today, I'd be only 22 weeks out!! Am I excited for prep? Hells yes! Last time around, I think I was nervous I couldn't stick to such a hardcore diet. This time around, I'm excited to see the abs and booty I've been building. Because I KNOW, I've built them. My booty has been sore 2x a week for the last 2 months, and abs at least 2x a week (I'm working them 3). I feel tighter and better than I did last time going into prep... And I still have so much time left to build, its amazing. Taking pressure off of myself, did everything for my training.

It snowed like crazy here last night and today, although I am sure the roads are somewhat clear... they are windey (No, I didn't mean windy... WIND, like wound up? I really have no idea how to explain this. lol) and steep. Trying to find ways around this for the time being, might have to go more out of my way to another gym just to ensure safe travels. In either case, I'm taking cues from this guy:
Travel safe for the Holiday everyone and keep your goals in mind before you down 3 pieces of a pie! Or a whole pie. And the tub of mom's homemade whipped cream. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are you fed up, yet?

Immediately after I posted my last post... I had to start this one. Last week, I found that I was FED UP. I mean, fed up isn't really a word... Its an idiom, for all you English snobs out there. But I looked it up on anyway:

Fed. verb
1. simple past tense and past particle of feed. Clearly, I have been fed. Thus the problem.

2. fed up, impatient; disgusted; bored: They were fed up with the same old routine. Impatient? LOL! Always... Disgusted? Most definitely. Bored? Yup!

The World English Dictionary says....
fed up
informal (usually postpositive) annoyed, discontented or bored. Discontented? Abso-freakin-lutely!

The Free says:
Fed up. Adjective. Unable or unwilling to put up with something any longer.

We are unable AND unwilling to put up with something any longer. What are you fed up with?

And speaking of fed up...
Sugar Detox.
Monday I started to notice the symptoms of Sugar Detox. Anyone else know this feeling? Gah I felt worse than I ever have for a detox. Headaches, weak, nausea, acne... It was bad. I barely ate dinner that night. And didn't even bother making my pre-sleep shake.

TRX Week.
HOLY COW. If you haven't ever tried any kind of TRX training... I STRONGLY encourage it. My shoulders, chest and lats, statically, were sore from supporting my core. But my abs... OMG MY ABS!!! They were sore for 3 full days after only a 25 minute ab circuit! Including OVER the ribs, from my sternum right down to my public bone, my upper obliques, my lower obliques, and my whole core from spine to belly button and back around. Maybe I'll do a video of my circuit sometime! Hummmm.... Maybe if I get enough requests. ;) Either way, this is going to be come at least a once a month thing for me.... Yeah, it was THAT good.

Mindset Change.
I got my body fat taken on Tuesday, and it was right where I expected to be... Right at 14%, which is fine with me. I'd say that is a very reasonable place to be, and I have only gained 5lbs. My LBM hasn't changed much since coming off prep... I was hoping working for a little gain, but still have December to work on that. However, I am positive that dollars to donuts (or egg whites, if you like) I will come in better shape, more conditioned, and leaner come contest time!

But considering my fed-up-ness, I had to think about some things. Although I was fed up with feeling fat...
I think I was more just feeling fed up with myself. The plan was to lean out this month and go thru another sort of bulking in December. After getting my body fat test, heading into the locker room, and looking at myself in the mirror... I found myself really SEEING myself in the mirror. Prior to that moment, when I was looking in the mirror I was seeing: the lovehandles that came back, the lack of definition, exactly where all the fat decided to go, and a person who couldn't live up to her word. 14% body fat is still lean.

And a memory came back to me as I stared into my own eyes. I was brought back to a place about mid-way through my weight loss journey where I was becoming fully engrossed into my Bikram Yoga practice. A moment where I felt like I was seeing myself for the first time. Vision undistorted. And choosing to like the person I saw. Choosing to like my body. And deciding that wherever I am today is perfect.

That being said, I'm not going to go into a cut for this month. I am choosing that where I am right now is perfect for right now. That's not saying I won't bust my ass in the gym! My focus is going to be working hard, drinking loads of water, eating well, and enjoying my off-season... Which only has 8 weeks left to it.

I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect, when where I am right now is perfect... but with the pressure also came the feelings of inadequacy. And maybe its okay to be fed up with the obsession of perfection. We aren't perfect. We can't strive to be perfect. We can only strive to be better than the day before. For me, that means relieving the pressure of perfection, and choosing to be happy with myself and with life!

What are you fed up with? How are you striving to be better?

Friday, November 4, 2011

There's No Way

Help! I've fallen off the wagon and I CAN get up!
Admittedly, I got carried away with food. Everything was tasting SO GOOD! The dragon got me.  However, life has been a struggle lately. Many of you know, my grandpa's health has taken a turn for the worse in the last few weeks so the majority of my free time is with family. And aside from that, I struggle with life and what I want to do in it... I'm pretty sure all of you know how I feel about my job right now. lol!

But I got FED the EFF UP! Does anyone remember what self-loathing feels like? No? Well, its an effing circle that sucks you down. Whirlpool of doubt and suck. I spent a good portion of Thursday letting myself get fed up, crying, and figuring my own crap out. And sometimes, FED UP is the best place to be in. FED UP is what got me to where I am now. So, I started to begin my cut (as planned for November) today instead of Monday. Still had a heavy leg day yesterday to make use of the glycogen in my muscles from excess sugar/crap/carbs/fat/blah.

Also! I am now going to be working with my trainer once a week to two weeks. Having someone to talk to about your issues and help you figure out how to get around them is absolutely priceless! This month without working with him just proved to me that I need my trainers. All the time. Not just on prep.

Prepping for Contest Prep.
So, I feel that I need to explain myself.. I feel like I didn't really explain very well about the pink suit, because I hear from people that they like the pink suit for me... I didn't expect it to be THAT pink... I can handle like a dark coral color and thought that might look good on my complexion, but super-barbie-pink? I'm just not the kind of girl who could pull that off. I'm a little bit more tomboy and PINK-pink makes me feel uncomfortable. lol! I want to feel thrilled about my suit. And whatever, gives me an excuse to shop for a new suit. ;) I haven't decided if I'm going to try to sell the pink suit or not, kinda nice to have an extra suit to pose in.
My newest endeavor has been choosing a bottom. LOL! The rules have changed in some states in what kind of cut a bikini bottom can have... but the lines seem so fuzzy. Was trying to figure out what I can get away with. lol (Can I get a HI-Ohhhh?!) The rules state that the cut has to cover at least 50% of the gluteus maximus, but honestly... I don't think women are doing this much coverage even at local competitions.

Moving on, back when I was in prep, Patrick expressed concern with me doing back to back shows. Just because my man missed me, but there are things to be said about contest prep. So much to notice and learn about yourself. Patterns, thought processes, insecurities.. And at about 9 weeks out, I gave up. I gave up resisting what contest prep wanted to give me.

There's no way I couldn't not get better as a person. Being on contest prep is more or less a Pressure Cooker. You're developing a body that is stage ready but life continues on. There are responsibilities of the real world that cannot be overlooked. And I believe that you can choose to do one of two things during contest prep:

1. You can let your insecurities get the best of you, neglect your relationship, ignore your friends, breakdown crying, complain about prep, and STRESS!
2. You can embrace your insecurities as opportunities and strive to be a better person than you were the day before.

For me, there was no way I could maintain my relationships as I was: Insecure, unsure, OCD, emotional, exhausted, financially frivolous, stressed, STRESSED, anxious, self-loathing, self-defeating, self-depreciating, and selfish. Obviously, my relationship with Patrick is top priority. Going into this prep, I had to make things better. I gave every effort to seeing myself as I am, which is beyond hard. I know that I am a stressed person, and when my stress is bad... It really affects Patrick.

I had to consciously choose my attitude on the daily around him. I really didn't want to make a stressful situation like prep, even more stressful on him. I constantly worked to make it easier on him: tried hard to not complain, still gave him the foods I couldn't eat, offered to do chores I hated, offered to help him with things that I didn't want to, still carried on with my own chores, gave him backrubs when I wanted to pass out, and worked on my attitude in order to not drive this man away.

And Patrick did his best to support me. I know I have given him MANY MANY kudos on here but I don't think I could express the magnitude of how incredible this man is. But will try:
1. When I was too tired to make me dinner, although Patrick doesn't cook he would do his best to cook or at least help me... Constantly asking me what else he needed to do.
2. He offered to help me clean the house so I could be done faster. He began to even put away his own laundry and taking out the trash without me asking. It wasn't that he didn't want to before, I just am Miss Independent and I rarely ask for help.
3. He was always telling me how incredible I looked, even on week 8 when I only felt flabby. Or on week 3 when completely retaining water. Or on week 2 when bloated due to TOM. And on Peak Week when I was fighting sickness, looked like a zombie and would cry at the mention of pumpkin bread or sex.
4. On days I was struggling, he would text me that I'm amazing and can have anything in life that I want.
5. He would tell me that he sees me as a Pro Athlete. (HUGE! When you're just struggling to be enough, hearing that you act and train like a pro was incredible... I'm tearing up thinking about it.)
6. We got really good at communicating, if I was tired and depleted and on the verge of tears... I would tell him. If he needed to not hear about my diet and training for a night, he would tell me. If I was too tired to have a certain conversation, I would communicate. And we would both honor each other in that.
7. He learned not to take my tone personal. Right before Peak Week I was stressing about getting chores done when I was really tired and I was crying about it... And said, "Babe, I have to get it done because no one else is going to do it." And that was never an attack on him, so he has learned that during this time he just can't take my words personally. Ooh, the next day I said something like "Babe, did you feed the dogs? Or is that a chore I need to do?" Simple question, but could have been taken wrong very easily.
8. There were days where he would initiate us going to bed at 7 when he could see I was clearly struggling.
9. Toward the end of prep, we were struggling financially for some of my stage stuff... But he initiated selling things on CraigsList to come up with funds. That man truly does want my dreams to come true.

But my point in all this really, is just to say... Spend time reflecting on who you are, during prep or off-season. Allow yourself the humility to have grace and forgiveness on yourself. Forget the past, forget the future, and live in what you want for yourself right now. Don't wait. Life your life right now.

Back off the rabbit trail.
When Patrick originally expressed concern over my contest schedule in September, we agreed that I would only do 1-2 shows a year for however long I want to continue in it.  But given the fact that I have learned SO much about myself and how I handle stress, I am very much less stressed out in off-season than I used to be. So, I really want this next year to see what I can do and being as I have the best man ever, he understood and is choosing to support me in this contest schedule this year (remember how I like to plan lol):
-The Emerald Cup in Bellevue, WA on April 21st. This is a big show and very big for my first one... but oh well! I'm not intimidated.
-The Empire Classic here in Spokane on April 28th, although not a national qualifier. And depending on my placement at the Emerald Cup, if I still want to try for a National Qualifier...
-The Bill Pearl Classic in Bend, OR on May 12th.
Should I decide I want to try my hand at a National Show, I may do one at the end of next year. I know I will need a break during the summer. I prepped ALL last summer, and think I'd like to have some of the summer next year to enjoy. Maybe Nationals in Florida. We'll see. Always fun to dream about possibilities though. Am I right? :)

PS- I chose blue. Already ordered. ;)

This girls' booty is sore and ready for this cut! Progress pictures are going to wait another week or two... Its a hard thing to post your own booty on a blog for all to see! lol!

But!! Here is a pic of us from Halloween :) We were Joe & Jill Dirt. But NO ONE got it! Eventually I had to take sharpie to his shirt to say "Life's a Garden - Dig It." And then people got it!

Anyone seeing those HAMS?! :D I like it like it..

Have a great weekend friends!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Spokesmodel Search

For a long time, I really and truly did not like being the person who asked for help. And now I find that it is the only way to learn: learn who my real friends & supporters are and learn who I am in how I respond to learning a thing.

And now I am asking for your help. :) I am not going to be the person who continually pesters you for help or asks you EVERY. SINGLE. DAY to vote for me, because I believe that the people who vote should be the ones that want to because they want you to succeed. Although I may mention it on my weekly posts :) And any help in spreading the word for me would be very much appreciated!

I applied for the Spokesmodel search and I would both love and appreciate your votes!

You are allowed to vote for one female and one male entrant every day in November. I genuinely want to see where this could take me :) Because, why not? Why not me? So many bikini competitors were offered fantastic opportunities even when not winning the Spokes Model search! Maybe it will land me a sponsorship!

Please vote for me here:

I really appreciate all of you. I realize that reading my words cannot convey the amount of appreciation and support I feel from all of you that comment and read regularly, but you all truly and honestly give me my greatest motivation to achieve my goals. And I love being the person who both inspires and supports all of your goals and actions, although that is something I need to work on! Thank you so much for your votes and love! I hope to make you all proud this next year!

Friday, October 28, 2011

On the 4th Week of Fitmas..

Donloree tried to kill me... With some crazy thing called Crossfit in which I have no idea why people would want to do this often! It is INSANE.

On Monday, I was due for some Hams & Glutes work... but felt like I needed to give it another day. So, I decided to give Crossfit the ole college try.

I decided on the Run Your Butt Off:
5 rounds for time:
Run 200m
20 pushups
Run 200m
20 pullups
Run 200m
20 situps
Run 200m
20 squats
I finished this in 50:46 and 5 gallons of sweat! OOF!

So, I'm on one more week of building and then into my next phase which is just focused more on leaning out... I'll be back on cardio in the morning, but not much... I don't think I'll need much to get my metabolism going again. I'm excited to move back into high intensity workouts. Building is hard... My booty and abs are always sore.

Building Stories.
Oof building is hard. I miss my definition. I have one week left to my build, and then I plan on mucho MUCHO high intensity workouts... Might even try to beat my time on the CrossFit adventure above! I can't wait to play with some combat classes, TRX training, and cone drills... All the stuff I love to hate to love! Cone drills BLOW and SUCK when you're doing them... but there is nothing like them.
And I'm excited to have a reason to eat really clean again. My body feels fat. I didn't say I was fat, but I just don't feel tight anymore. Le sigh. And even though I feel this way, I still remain at 112.5 lbs and definitely plan on progress pics at the end of next week. I can see some changes, but the changes will be more prominent at the end of November.
10 weeks to prep!

Prep Related Stories.
I'm not sure how I feel about my pink suit. LOL! I am doing my best to embrace my faults, and one of them is indecision... I'm just rolling with it and working on a new decision. Haha!
My pink suit originally looked like a dark coral online... NOT BARBIE PINK! I mean, this thing is NEON!

Your thoughts? Ooh maybe I should get a poll going!

I'm kind of liking these colors:

What would you all vote to see me in? :) Mind you, my hair will probably be somewhat blonder by April.

Have a great Halloween weekend everyone! Patrick and I are dressing up as Joe and Jill Dirt! I have been practicing my Jamie Pressley accent "A HEMI?! Balls to the wall!" Hehehe!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Week of Fitmas

Once upon a time, I got pneumonia. Yeah, that was a month ago. Last two weeks, I've eased back into the gym. Getting my build workout schedule down, re figuring out appropriate weights since coming off contest prep... I committed myself to Fitmas but couldn't hold my own in some serious cardio. I reallllly wanted to commit to the Sweaty Betty's 50 Burpees for 50 Days Challenge. Admittedly, I have Workout ADHD... This is not news... And to not reinforce how flakey I feel like I'm NOT, I won't bring up my Hundred Pushups Challenge or P90x...

I got talked to about my time off from work. I know it is a BAD deal to talk negatively about your work especially thru social media, but I'm straight pissed off. And kinda hoping my rant will get me excused from working ... The anger does not stem from getting talked to about my time off, the anger is based around what my work thinks is the REAL problem. Apparently, if you're really really healthy and still getting sick... You get pegged as too extreme. Serious! I said to them, "I eat healthy, I drink tons of water, I take all my vitamins, and I get plenty of exercise. You tell me what I'm doing wrong, because I would LOVE to take my vacation instead of sick time."  (my work just has Paid Time Off, not designated vacation vs sick pay) Okay, and SERIOUSLY.... if any one of my coworkers gets sick... it absolutely needs to be blamed on their lack of exercise, water, and terrible diet if pneumonia (which is a bacterial lung infection, btw) is being blamed on my very healthy lifestyle. And I am NOT just saying. ;)

Is it weird that I kinda miss contest prep? Yeah? Okay. LOL! I do kinda miss contest prep.
Reason No. 1: Because now, I have to find reasons not to eat crappy at work luncheons etc. Last Monday, we took our Boss out to lunch for Boss' Day to a cute bistro close to the hospital. Something I'm trying for during my off-season, is to continue thru the Gluten-Free & dairy free diet (except cream in my coffee) and saving any gluten or dairy laden foods for cheats, and out of choice! This bistro had a good gluten free menu so I went with a GF Chicken Gyro. And my boss goes, "I would hate to have to be gluten free..." I exclaimed, "Really?! My stomach and body feels so much better without it!" As I was driving with my coworker back to the office, whose husband has Celiac's Disease, she said to me, "You know, just tell people you have a gluten intolerance. Even if you just don't mentally want to tolerate it!" And she is so right! And why should someone's choice to eat healthy be any less respected than an allergy?!
I am gluten intolerant! I just don't WANT to tolerate it! :)
Reason No. 2: I miss my skin being really clear. Loads of water all day long and then sweating hard 2x a day... Yeah. Fitmas helped this, however.

Contest Prep Flash Back: My hot flashes are back. Why? I generally like to believe that the hot flashes are an indicator of my metabolism; seemed like whenever I was losing fat my hot flashes were way up. And I am SWEATING thru the night lately. And since I really haven't gained any a whole lot of weight since contest prep, and believe me... I am NOT trying to NOT gain weight... In fact, I am trying to gain some muscle. I just think my body just really doesn't want to be big again so it is working extra hard to make sure...? Alright, that was really just a hopeful explanation. Does anyone else get crazy hot flashes when dropping weight?

New Goals.
So, I've been having issues with switching my brain off of contest prep... In almost everything. I feel guilty when I don't go do cardio in the AM, or eat something that isn't in my meal plan and wasn't a scheduled cheat. In order to not go crazy I've made a few goals, albeit STRANGE goals:
1. SKIP a workout during the week. Yeah, you read that right. I really don't need to go crazy on my schedule right now. Its time for mental relaxation as well as some physical. Its easy to feel like a slave to your workout schedule. I am still hitting every body part every week and legs/abs still 2x a week.
2. Change lifts to the morning. I want more time at home in the afternoon now that winter is coming around... I love seeing day light in my house! Although, I don't typically like to lift in the morning as I feel kinda shakey... I mean, I don't have a full day's worth of nutrition, water, & supplements to back my lifting. This is just a trial thing. BUT! I did find that I love oatmeal w/chocolate protein powder & almond butter before a good lift. :)
... So basically all my goals are surrounding the need for a mental break. :)

Okay back to FITMAS!
So MY goal for fitmas is just to fit in one of these workouts a week, considering I do have other things I am working on like my abs/arse build... hopefully we will see a difference in pics here soon! :) But I did have to pack all 3 weeks into a few days to catch up!

Where do I purchase this??

On MY First day of Fitmas, Donloree gave to me... A Shredmill for HIIT...
Here is what my shredmill looked like... Can I just say my face was as red as a cherry tomato afterward?!
5 min @ 6 mph (also my recovery pace)
1 set of 60 sec on @ 7mph / 60 sec @ 6mph
2 sets of 45 sec @ 7.5 mph / 60 sec @ 6mph
2 sets of 30 sec @ 8 mph / 60 sec @ 6mph
1 set of 60 sec @ 9 mph / 60 sec @ 6mph
1 set of 60 sec @ 10 mph / 60 sec @ 6mph
2 sets of 45 sec @ 7.5 mph / 60 sec @ 6mph
2 sets of 30 sec @ 7 mph / 60 sec @ 6mph
5 mins @ 6 mph
(Total of 29 mins and 3 gallons of sweating)
I felt SO proud of myself for this! I am serious, I walked around with my head high and trash talked to Patrick later on about how awesome I am; I bet him he couldn't do that run. We'll see if he holds up his end of the bet on doing this with me sometime ;) I just felt so proud that I ran for a complete HIIT. I have always just walked really fast on the recovery periods as I am not a pro on controlling my heart rate/breathing with running.

On My second day of Fitmas, Donloree gave to me... Two Tabatas!
Warm up 5 min @ 6mph (I really love Treadmill HIITs, btw!)
Incline    Speed    ‘Reps’    Work    Rest

0              7.0           1         2:00       :30 (Rest rate was pure rest)
5              7.0           1         1:30       :30
5              7.5           1         1:00       :30
5              8.0           4          :45        :20
1              10.0         4          :30        :15
0             11.0          4          :15        :05
0             6.0            1           7:00 (2 min + 5 min cool down)
Total Time: 28 mins of pure craziness and sweat.

On My third day of Fitmas, Donloree gave to me... Three Kettlebells...
I did a Kettlebell Circuit one day for this, and I can say that I will be definitely doing this again! I had never used Kettlebells before and I was SO sore! My triceps have NEVER been that sore!
3 Shoulders & Arms Circuits:
Kettlebell Rear Delt Row: 3@ 7lbs x 10 reps
KB Kickback: 3@ 7lbs x 10 reps
KB Curl: 3@ 15x10
KB Upright Row: 25x10, 2@ 35x10
KB Overhead Press: 2@ 15x10, 25x10
KB French Press: 15x10, 15x15, 25x10
(I think this took me about 40 mins with rests in between, I also did everything unilaterally)
Wasn't sure how much weight I could handle on these, so this was kind of a trial thing, but I was VERY sore all over my triceps after this... Also my biceps were very sore right at the origin & insertion of my muscles. :) Such a crazy feeling when you are used to being sore right in the belly of the muscle!*
*If you are weight lifting and don't know much about the science of your muscles, it definitely benefits knowing how the muscle works if you have time to look into it. :) I always started with the muscles I wanted to work on first (okay, that and I took Anatomy & Physiology in college so I had some prior knowledge) to help me learn how to develop it.... REALLY helpful for lats, abs & booty!

I will admit... I am a tad scrrrrrd for the Fourth Week of Fitmas which is Crossfit! I am either going to do the Filthy 50 or the Run Your Butt Off. Either way, I think I am going to have to notify gym staff of my lofty endeavors so someone can jump start my heart when I fall off the treadmill/platform because it couldn't take the amount of stress I put it under. LOL!

Ooh, so since I don't have a really cool/witty way of ending this post, I'll just let everyone know what you can expect from me soon! I have so many posts started that I need to finish... Where is twitter when I need it #notflakey
-A post on my most recent iTunes binge.
-Posts on part of my off-season project: The Gluten Free Project - Dedicated to finding gluten free ways of making everything I love. Might try to go for healthy and/or dairy free as well... Just because something lacks wheat doesn't always mean its good for you!
-An Emotional/Girly/Heartwarming/Puke-tastic post on Prep.
-Progress pics somewhere around November 5th... That is kinda scary...

Have a lovely last week of October everyone!! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Heart Mini Meatloaves

I keep being asked for this recipe! :) Here it is for all!

Jamie Eason's Thai Chiciken Mini Meatloaves

1 pound ground chicken (could also substitue ground turkey)
1/2 red pepper, finely diced ( I have actually never added this; I never have red peppers in my house, so will just put in ground red pepper)
1/4 lb finely chopped green beans (Play with this!! I have also added in onion, green onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc)
3-4 serranos, finely chopped (same with the red pepper)
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 droppers (about 36 drops) stevia (or two stevia packets)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 T dried basil OR 4-6 T fresh basil (rosemary and/or chives are also great!)
4 T fish sauce OR lite soy sauce (adding in less will make it taste more like meatloaf)
2 egg whites (or 1/3 c Egg Beaters Whites)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with olive oil spray. Place mixture in muffin tins, dividing evenly between 12 muffins. Cook at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Remove and cool. These freeze and travel really well.

Per Each:
Calories: 73, Protein: 11g, Carbs: 4g, Fat: 0.7g
Still good reheated! 3 makes the perfect lunch!! :)
Woot! Here's to tasty AND healthy food!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Somewhere Between 12 & 16

I had this whole post written out about my off-season plans weeks ago, and I wasn't totally sure if I was going to share this or not, but I'm getting a few emails about my plans... Since we all know that by the time I actually compete... I will have spent... 16 MONTHS preparing for this! LOL! I am starting to feel like this is a team effort to get me to the stage, and you all are my team! :) So, thanks for keeping me going Team!

About 12 weeks away from the Night of Champions, something occurred to me:

I am leaner than I have ever been. In better shape than I have ever been. The last thing I want is to gain a bunch after the most proud moment of my life, only because I dieted for 18 weeks and can't control my binging.

And what does my friend Kari Keenan always say? "Failing to plan is planning to fail." Little does Kari know, I take all her words to heart.

The plan? Well, I only wanted to gain back 5 or 6 lbs. (Update: At the doctor last night I weighed 111.5 lbs, which is actually only up by 3 lbs from my lowest prep weight!)

One of the things I learned in my very first competition prep, is obviously how my body responds to a great many things. I had no clue, let me rephrase, NO CLUE how my body would react to the "stress" of Contest Prep. And by "stress" I mean:
-Different diet than I was used to: Extremely high protein, upwards of 200g per day and very high volume of food.
-Excess cardio: Every morning 6 days a week, and every afternoon 6 days a week, and continuing to go up from there.
-Time! I had no time! EVAR!
-Anxiety: I had some anxiety about competing, strutting my stuff on stage in a teeny-tiny bikini, and fear that I wouldn't bring my body fat down enough. Ha! Why do we worry about dumb things? lol
-Anxiety also led to: insomnia, teeth grinding, crying, neglecting Handsome, forgetfulness, etc.

But the one thing I learned about myself, which is probably the more important thing to take away from this is... I'm curvy. My body retains a curvy shape (thanks mom!). I truly have hip & butt muscles. Hello! :) Also, my muscles get stringy the moment I go off creatine. I cycled off creatine the last week in July and first week in August and those whole 2 weeks, I just noticed that my body almost wanted to go bikini. Kind of like my brunette hair wanting to be blonde.

It became a thought at about 11 weeks out, more of a discussion at 9 weeks out, and a decision at 6 weeks out. I have nothing but love and a special admiration for girls who do figure... I seriously think these women are SO SEXY!!!, but believe that my physique is better suited in the Bikini Division, especially after some posing. The look of the bikini girl is just as hard to achieve as a figure girl, and am inspired by their lifestyles.

I feel that I have made a well informed decision and am excited for what will really be only 3-4 months of off season will bring to my body. Training for figure brought me confidence I could have never achieved in going straight into bikini. I also feel that training for figure has brought me to a more muscular point, which seems to be what judges are looking for (me!)... And I couldn't be more proud of the round shoulders I've built or the nice muscular back I worked on for months.

I have to admit, I have been excited for this for weeks. I began planning my off-season about a month prior to NOC and finalized it that entire week I was out with pneumonia. I had quite a few reasons and ideas in mind:
* Trying to by-pass the post-competition blues by having a plan to move right into.
* Succeed at by-passing the post-competition blues by having a plan I'm excited to move right into!
* Tapering off cardio, so I'm not stuck with loads of new pounds... (but with pneumonia, this didn't happen... Cardio went to a grinding halt and I had to purely rely on diet. A strength I never knew I had.)
* Having a post-comp diet plan to move right into that supplements my tapering off cardio & moving into a build... with loads of foods I've missed so I can be excited about it and not feel the need to cheat all the time.

Kinda funny now, I had all those plans and pneumonia really messed up everything. BUT! I have my diet and workouts planned through the end of the year. Of course I always leave myself the freedom to change whenever I want, but I enjoy having a focus and a plan.

Like I mentioned, my body is in a prime condition to build right after leaning out for a comp, which I had been doing for 18 weeks, shed 15 lbs & went from 21% body fat all the way down to 10% (ish). Before that, I spent 8 months adding muscle. So, my body is getting used to this cycle: Build up, lean out, build up, lean out.

Going back, since I have spent 18 weeks on a very low carb, no fat, very high protein diet... My muscles literally had NO glycogen stores by the time I was home sick with pneumonia. After my first cheats, I was willing to bet my muscles would soak all that up! Might as well use that energy to work on the body parts NOW and not when I think its time that I might be ready for a build. I am ready now!

My first 4 weeks post-prep (I can't really call it post-comp can I, lol?), like I've mentioned before, are moving right into a build.
  1. October: My first 4 weeks (once I'm back from being sicky) was going to be focused on tapering off cardio from 80 mins a day, down to 15-20 by the end of October. However, since I more or less just STOPPED doing cardio, I don't feel a huge need to taper off. Once I get back, I'm sticking to 15-25 mins a day. Diet intake has to increase by quite a bit to build, and that has certainly already happened. I plan to go back on creatine only during these 4 weeks to truly supplement this build. I am looking to add a little muscle in the hamstrings, glutes, & abs. 
  2. November: November is going to be a few things. More cardio just to lean out some of the fat I most likely put on during October. I really want to make more room for other things this month... Maybe some TRX workouts with some old football cone & T-Drills (I LOVE conditioning/cardio work... maybe another reason Bikini is better suited for me), definitely a lot of yoga, and some fighting classes! I do plan on going back into my first phase of contest diet for the month.
  3. December: December will be about building once more. This will depend on how my physique shaped out in my first build. If my trainers and I feel that I need just a little more, then I will go that route. I expect to still need to add a little... I have zero abs right now lol. I want abs.      Abs.
  4. January: January will be much like November, but with less cardio. Because I expect to start Contest Prep sometime in January for heading to the Emerald Cup (& maybe the Empire Classic... its the week after the Emerald... we'll see what Handsome thinks about this...). January 30th is 12 weeks out but when I start will depend on what I look like in January. But I would like to make 12 weeks my goal, which will hopefully keep me focused thru the holidays.
I think next time going into a competition, I will be more excited for prep. I have a lot more figured out this time... Meal prep, what works, what doesn't... I will have a LOT less weight to lose and figure my prep will be 12 weeks and not 18... And probably less cardio because of that as well! :) AND! Patrick and I will be much more prepared financially.

So! What am I working on??
I took the opportunity to have my prep-coach evaluate my physique once I was about a week out. I was finally lean enough to see exactly what I wanted to work on in my own body. I felt like I couldn't really see the muscles until that point. By then, I also felt like I was seeing myself as I was. Its hard to not have distorted vision on your own body during contest prep since you are CONSTANTLY evaluating your body lol! Also by that point, I knew I was going to continue in Bikini.

Although many say that the Bikini division is so subjective, and it is, there is some science to it. Judges are looking for certain muscles to be round, some to look athletic, etc.
* BOOTAY - This muscle will be built. And in Bikini it is a LOT about the booty. Which I have a lot of, but want just a bit more to appear really tight as I lean out.
* Hips & Inner Thighs - No kidding. I feel like I need only just a little more muscle in each, but I feel like it will help my existing fat pockets grip to my body more easily. Will help shape the fat, since I can't always get rid of it. :) Good plan, eh?
* Abs & Obliques - I want to create that definition, and again... give my fat some muscle to cling to.
* Lower Back - Just slightly. I want to also increase strength here, more than I'm looking for size. Will help me stick that booty out. LOL! There IS a reason for this, the fusion in my spine (T12-L2) is directly on my waist, so I can't flex backward much right there. I have to rely on my lower back for this.
* Hamstring Tie-In - I am more or less happy with the size of my hamstrings, but really want to work on that tie in. This will pretty much just be a whole lot of lunges, single leg presses, and split squats.
* Biceps & Shoulders - Both only slightly. Both I would just like more round.
*I am currently very happy with the size of my triceps, my upper back (traps & lats), and quads. 

So, since we are all in this together, I am making a committment to myself and to all of you. You all have given me much encouragement and insight on my journey to the stage, that I feel an avenue for progress is exactly what I need in the next 4 months. You can expect from me (and feel free to yell/slap me if I miss one):
*Progress pictures at the end of every month
*Detailed progress of my previous month, including weight. I really want to be sure I maintain. For those of you who don't know my philosphy on weight, it is just a measurement of progress.... NOT a measurement of
value. I like to know my weight, so I know how much lean body mass I have.

So I am leaving you with these photos, not ones I wanted to share... In fact, I really wanted to keep these to myself, as I feel kind of self-conscious since the physique you see is definitely not my peak.  These two photos are from 12 days out, where I was about 108 lbs & 10% bf (which we can tell I hold almost completely in my lower body). But I feel they will be important for progress. PLUS! How much fun is it going to be for all of us to compare when I go into contest prep and we can see the new booty I've built?! :)

Loads of fun ahead! I might even ask you all to help me pick a new suit! Alright, I'm kinda indecisive and am not sure about my Barbie Pink suit. It really didn't look as bright online as it is in person, but I have no idea how it will look under stage lights and with a tan. Possible off-season project!

I am now cleared to workout consistently so.....
Let Operation BOOTAY commence! Dangerous curves ahead! ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011

What I Learned On Contest Prep

My first contest prep was very eventful. And like everyone who has ever competed in a body building type contest has said, I learned more about myself during contest prep than any other time in my life.

If I was going to describe contest prep in a word, it would be: Crazy.  Life isn't normal, whatsoever, during contest prep. And to be really honest, it has been hard to switch my brain off contest-prep mode.

This originally started out as just a numbered list... but the reality is that there are so many learning things... that a list was simply just too scattered!

* = Special Tip from me.

  1. Cookies CANNOT be in my house at all during any portion of contest prep. Other sweets I can handle in the house like Nutella or Soda. Cookies are a no-go. Other potentially hazardous foods: I had a hard time with Cliff Bars (White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, specifically), Peanutbutter. They were in the house taunting me. Making snarky comments at me. Jerks.
  2. I craved things I never crave, but then the cravings got more simple over time.: Week 16: Garlic White Wine Clams and crispy potatoes (This one I think more because of the texture). Week 11: Apple juice.  Week 10: Pumpkin bread. Week 8: Milk. Week 6: Peanut butter. Week 5: Pumpkin bread. Week 3: Lemons. Week 2: Pumpkin bread. -Alright, I will admit at 12 days out... I bought a piece of pumpkin bread to hoard in the freezer. For some reason it was comforting for me to know I had one waiting for me for when I want it. I no longer obsessed about it after then. ;)
  3. I developed a very keen sense of smell for crispy potatoes and pumpkin bread (LITERALLY smelled this from 30 feet away from the coffee shop, and indeed they were packaging pumpkin bread).
  4. Competition diets seem crazy but work. The large volume of food was very difficult to consume day in and day out but only for the first couple of weeks. But be prepared to have it changed on you... All. The. Time. Also, the volume load seemed less over time. Closer to comp, the same volume of food would NOT keep me full for more than an hour.
  5. I honestly I had no idea I was capable of eating mostly fish, veggies & green tea.
  6. I developed an eating technique. I really was never a person who ate large amounts of meat... Around week 5, eating large amounts became difficult as protein powders were phased out. And then even more so when chicken became phased out into fish, which I had to add a whole extra ounce to. And the technique is used when you have to get down the nutrition that you don't really even want to eat. Cold fish sucks, but it got me to the point of getting down 10 oz of fish in 10 minutes.. And sometimes this helps when you really and truly have no access to a microwave. The technique looks like this and can be employed at any time: *Chew fast. Swallow down with water.* I wish I were kidding, but I'm not. Sometimes we have to eat things we don't want to, and that technique really helped.
  7. The only way I liked fish was: Tilapia (which I would bake at about 2lbs at a time), with onion powder, garlic, garlic salt (was still good without all the sodium when it was time to cut salts), lemon juice, dill & cayenne powder. Broiled center rack for 15 mins (20 if still frozen). Then topped with soy sauce after. *Easy to broil a steak at the same time, if you are feeding someone else with other nutritional needs. :)
  8. I got used to buying frozen fresh cut green beans for my lunches. Buying fresh all the time got expensive, only due to the fact that I rarely had time to grocery shop... So I would only do it every 2 weeks... Buy chicken, tilapia & veggies in bulk... but the frozen veggies stopped all the wastage from extra veggies going bad... Also saved time not having to chop. :)
  9. I used Jaime Baird's chicken recipe every week to prep all my extra chicken (along with P's lunches).
  10. *For those who have a fam and cook for them: Once I was on fish every night, it became clear Patrick couldn't do fish every night. I began to pre-cut chicken and put it in a large tupperware with a simple marinade (that could be changed daily). So, when I was preparing my fish at night, I could just throw some chicken in a skillet for him and it would never be too much.
  11. Weekends were always a challenge. I always had the worst cravings on the weekends, but I also had another dilemma... Getting in all my meals. Typically, M-F I was awake from 345am-830pm. On the weekend, I was only awake from sometimes 9-9... So my meals were condensed. I almost always expected to look and feel bloated on Monday morning, just because there was so much food packed into a smaller amount of time. But this was also good, I could generally expect to have a lot of energy on Mondays... which meant I could push hard. But that also meant that I was generally pretty tired on Tuesdays from pushing hard on Mondays. *Good to know your body's patterns!
  1. I lost strength very quickly on contest prep. I think it really started a couple weeks in, but we do have to remember... its a marathon, not a sprint. The point is to keep your muscles full of blood, not build more muscle. That was what a build is for before and after contest prep.
  2. I found myself zoning out during workouts. If you have people who know you, like a workout buddy or just friends in the gym, ask them to slap or poke you if they find you doing this. :)
  3. Trust your trainer! Don't go off doing your own thing because you think you know better, just do the work they ask - No more, and no less. :) There is a point to everything!

  1. WARNING VERY TMI: Spotting is a very real issue in heavy training. A good relationship with a Gyn is helpful. My own spotting went away at about Week 9 (half way through), in which my body fat dropped and periods in general became VERY light. To the point of where the last one before comp, I started on Saturday morning, and noticed I would barely use a Light Tampon by Tuesday. I think this is from getting really lean.
  2. Competition Anxiety and Contest Prep Insomnia are very real things. A good relationship with your family doctor is also very helpful. I think seeing all of your practitioners regularly is very healthy. I saw my doctor a hundred couple of times for ear infections, sinus infections, anxiety & insomnia, PNEUMONIA - luckily, anxiety passed as my sleep increased. I saw my dentist a few times - oral health is important to total body health.
  3. Constipation increases with high protein. Digestive Enzymes can change your life if you experience this. And if it doesn't, I promise Colon Cleanse will. :) I had to take a Colon Cleanse 1x a week.
  4. My skin never looked better than on contest prep. I think this was a combinations of a very clean, hydrated diet, green tea, and sweating my arse off every day.
  5. I got EXTREMELY forgetful around week 9-8. And again around week 4-I think these were both due to diet changes. Lowering carbs or whatever, or maybe it was the simple fact that I had to concentrate more on my diet? And therefore, was more forgetful? Idk. :)
  6. Again, got used to feeling & looking bloated on Mondays. Was almost always gone on Tuesday. *Pay attention to your body's patterns! It will save you some anxiety about how you are looking. Especially if you practice posing on those days :)
Okay, I knew going tinto this prep that stage stuff would cost a bit of money. I knew this and budgeted accordingly. However... There is SO much more to consider than just your stage appearance. This a harsh, but very real look at budgeting.
  1. Gym membership: $36/mo
  2. Contest Prep Coach: $165/mo -This didn't include personal training, but still VERY worth it- It is absolutely worth the expertise, advice, patient ear, inspiring texts you get. It really takes the thinking and guess work out of it for yourself. If you need advice on what to look for in a trainer, feel free to email me.
  3. Doctor/Chiropractor/Massage Therapy: I went to the Chiropractor 5x and the doctor 7x on prep (3x- getting sick, 1x-knee problems, 1x-gyn appt, 2x-sleep issues). All $15 copays - $105.
  4. Suppements: I took the following throughout my prep: Active women's multi, Glucosamine & Chondroitin (for knees), fish oil (but I didn't take this in my last two weeks, as I was eating 25 oz of fish a day), Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium & Vitamin-D, Vitamin-E, Iron, Green Tea Capsules, Glutamine, L-Carnitine, and Essential Electrolytes as needed after my workouts. Totalling around $60/mo up from probably closer to $30/mo.  Don't forget creatine, pre-workout and intra-workout drinks if you take them. :)
  5. Proteins & Other: I was on 3 scps of whey a day, at first, and 1 scp of casein. This was totalling around $75/mo until powders began to be cut. See #9 Groceries.
  6. Gas: I drove A LOT more for things (more trips to the gym, emergency trips home for my gym shoes, etc). My gas budget pre-contest was $40 a month, moved to $80 a month on contest.
  7. Entry Fee & NPC Membership: Entry fee was $75 and the NPC Membership was $100. But don't forget to buy tickets for your family to the show! That is an extra cost (if you live with your family or bf) that you have to consider, but still... an extra $20 for my man.
  8. Stage Presence: Posing Heels - $30 on Stage Bikini - $200 from Suits For You Swimwear. Extra make-up - $70 (I bought extra foundation from MAC for the stage $26, and extra mascara because I like brand new mascara $8, but my sister who sells Mary Kay did my makeup for free). Waxing - $100 for professional brazillian & brow waxing + tip. Also paid $20 for 2 total body Sally Hansen waxing packages. Tanning - $90 I was going to have someone do my tan but really just wanted to get sprayed and hang out, so I bought 3 competition color spray tans from the show. Hair - $200, I paid $125 for some highlights, paid $50 for a stylist friend to come style it for me the day of my show, and an extra $25 for product (this could/should have been a lot more). Nails - $25 as I was lucky enough to have a friend who does nails professionally and gave me a good deal. Toes - $15 just a simple pedi. Jewelry - I recycled. I used all jewelry I already had. Oh, except I bought a bracelet for $10.
  9. Photo Shoot: $75. I have a friend who gave me a deal, but they generally are a LOT more expensive.
  10. Groceries. Okay, my budget pre-contest was $350 (for me & Patrick) a month for groceries. This easily went up to $550 a month as Contest Prep went further along. You have to remember that as you go off protein powders, your meat consumption, and therefore budget, increases. I had a tendency to buy the LARGE bags of chicken breast & tilapia. (FYI: Wal-Mart sells 5lb bags of frozen Tilapia fillets for $10!) But as I went on, I was eating 25 oz of fish, 8 oz of chicken, and 16 egg whites a day. Aside from ALL the veggies and rice... It is REALLY helpful to have a big freezer. *I always had a large tupperware in my fridge for a place for meat to thaw, because I was continually thawing meat. *Also remember, if you have a family or a live-in significant other: I thought once I started prep, I would be consuming less of a lot of things so therefore my budget would balance out by buying more meat and less... pasta or whatever. I forgot that I am feeding a person who does not eat exactly like me, so that part of grocery buying did not change. I just really had to add A LOT more meat. lol
  11. Other: -I spent a lot more money on flossers, since I was eating more meat I needed to floss more. -I bought body wash & face wash more often since I was working out more often. -I spent more money on laundry detergent since I was doing about 2x the normal amount of laundry.
MONTHLY EXPENSES: $966.00 up from about $600 a month.
ONE-TIME EXPENSES: $1135.00 (remember this is probably less for repeat competitors, since you don't need to buy shoes every time, etc.)

Real Life
  1. Its almost like the second you commit to contest prep, life gets immediately 10x more busy. Suddenly you're feeling confident and you take on everything like normal. Remember, your schedule will get more intense as you get close to a show (esp if cardio increases!), so *be careful not to schedule much, if anything, the month prior to your show.
  2. In fact, the last couple weeks before the show were very busy... I got up every day at 345am, got home from work & working out around 6, and after eating a couple meals, getting ready for the next day, doing chores, and showering... I wasn't in bed until 9pm. Gets VERY exhausting quick! And most of your friends/family will not understand why you are always exhausted.
  3. *Carry a notebook with you, I had a journal type book to write down anything. I was always making lists, scheduling my day out, grocery lists, questions for my trainer, recipes for prep, recipes for after prep, etc. Have an outlet somewhere, so your mind doesn't go crazy with all the stuff you feel like you need your low carb brain to remember! :)
  4. Contest prep has a lot of potential for change in all areas. For me, I am an emotional person. I perceive life through the emotions I feel about situations etc. So, when you're running yourself ragged and eating only foods that give you the bare nutrition of what your body needs to survive... Emotions run a little bit more... Raw. :) Naturally, that can cause somethings to come out of your brain/heart that you don't know are in there. Be careful what you choose to focus on. I will have a WHOLE other post about this, its already in process.
  5. I cried every day in the 10 days prior to my show. All almost for the same reasons, but always exacerbated by something else. Day 10: Because I was tired, but still had to make dinner. Day 9: My boyfriend mentioned the word "sex" and I started crying because I was so tired I couldn't comprehend that. Day 8: Because I was hungry, and I kept getting phone calls at work to where I couldn't eat. It was oatmeal too, I wanted those carbs so bad. LOL! Day 7: Don't feel good. Day 6: There wasn't any hot water. Day 5: I have pneumonia, got a parking ticket, then my dogs got into the garbage and pulled trash all over the front of my house. Then it was everyday just because I was sick...
  1. Worst part about prep: Getting sick at 7 days out. This was the absolute worst. I'm sure there were worse things that could have happened... like breaking a leg... but to be honest, it would have been very similar! Getting down in a way that forces you from being able to pursue your dreams every day was a heartbreaker. Nothing felt worse, and I had a very difficult time with self-sabotage during that week.
  2. Best part about prep: Realizing that you truly desire to be in the gym, getting there, and making your dreams come true. And, (I can have two!) getting closer to your significant other, if you allow prep to do that.
  3. What WILL I do differently next time: *Stock up on everything! LOL! I felt like I was always running out of: Salsa, Egg whites, fish, soy sauce. *I think I will also NOT be scheduling things as heavily as I did in the last month. To be fair, however, I scheduled these things before I knew I'd be crazy with training. *Also won't be making my own suit. Anything that saves time!! *I WILL be taking echinacea, ginseng, and green tea daily next time around. Gotta protect that immune system!!
  4. What will I do the same next time: *Epsom salt baths. Every. Night. *Train like my life depends on it. *Cardio like I don't have another shot at it.
I will leave you with this. I left myself notes. Everywhere. I know this is silly, and the notes thing has been done time and time again. I found things that inspired me, and taped them everywhere... On the visor of my car for the times that I didn't want to drive to the gym, on my bedside table for the times I didn't want to get out of bed. Quotes that would get me to think about my journey and my goals. And it could be anything, from Mos Def to Nelson Mandela, from Nicki Minaj to something someone texted me that was helpful.

If you want something, there are no valid excuses.