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.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The No-Comp Blues?

I got flowers for being bummed, sick, and loved. (Yep, even my dogs get fed well on fish & sweet potato.)
I'm bummed. I really am. I was trying really hard not to be. But I feel that I am faced with an internal conflict. I am torn with how I feel about myself right now. I'm feeling like I can talk the talk but not walk the walk, so to speak. Am I that kind of person? Does gaining back a couple of pounds within the first couple of days make me that person? And OF COURSE we all know that just isn't true... But these are the kinds of feelings I am being faced with.

Saturday I woke up at 5:35 A.M. and knew instantly that is what time I would have been getting up if I had competed. I made my breakfast of just oatmeal and egg whites knowing that I would have been eating pancakes and having coffee right when my sister would have got there to do my makeup. And I went to the show.

The show is at a casino that is close to 10 minutes from our house. All the women up there were amazing. It was incredible to see my girlfriend Ashley from Getting To Goal up there, she smiled bigger than anyone on stage and she deserved to! She worked her ass off to be up there!
It was also awesome to see Carrie (who I know from Twitter @girlandcoconut) win Master's Overall! She was the best poser of all of them! And she worked her BOOTY off on that stage and deserved that trophy
And even watch my own trainers compete! Check out Kris & Jacques' photos! They were awesome!
But I also was very bummed. Figure Class A had 0 women enter!!! I would have won my class. I can't believe that. And I truly believe I would have given Bikini Class A a run for their money.

So do I feel these things about myself? Or do I feel that I am building perseverance? That now is the time not to indulge, but the time to be smart: Taper off cardio, keep up on water, slowly add carbs back in, build, and plan for my next contest. Because indulging really only makes depression worse.

But isn't it easier to eat your feelings? 
My first post-prep treat: A mocha & a maple scone (on my fun halloween plates!)

Sunday treat: French Pressed coffee with homemade chocolate hazelnut scones...
I kind of have a thing for scones lately...

And APPARENTLY, everyone knew I would eat my feelings because EVERYONE seems to have ESP today and have written about their diet getting off-track. Erin at Figure Journal wrote about her own struggles with excuses, Chelsea at Git It Girl even wrote about diet pitfalls written by someone else (Christian Thibaudeau... His diet articles are incredible!)! And T-Nation included an article in their Weekly Email entitled "Choices." Ouch. ;)

Yes. It is easier to eat my feelings. Its much easier to give in. It is much easier to put junk in your tummy, instead of giving it food it needs. Sugar, dairy, and wheat... All the things I haven't had in weeks, I can now *technically* have... but do I want them...?

My first day back to work yesterday, my co-worker asks me, "SO, how does it feel to eat normal again?"

My answer, again, felt conflicted. Because SURE, "normal" foods taste good. But they sure made me feel like crap. And if you have ever tried going a certain amount of time without dairy, any sort of fat (oil, butter, etc), wheat, gluten at all, and refined sugar you would know that the second your body gets used to living life without those things... You never feel the same eating them again. But also, there is a certain amount of emotional conflict eating "normal" foods. Because all of a sudden, you realize that those foods do NOT do anything good for your body... But somehow you still have an emotional attachment to that food.

Example: I LOVE my mother's chocolate chip cookies. They do have tons of sugar, bleached flour, butter and shortening (btw, why doesn't ANYONE call this what it is anymore...? LARD. That is what they called it before they realized it makes you look like lard, so they changed the name to make everyone feel better. Or at least that is my assumption. LOL! Back to my story...). I link a memory to those cookies of Christmases and holidays and sick days. Truly the epitome of comfort food. And now? They taste like sugar, bleached flour, butter and lard. They don't even comfort like they used to. And it is really easy to get stuck putting more in your mouth to achieve the same comforts. But they never will anymore.

Comforts don't comfort like they used to. The feelings of pride in knowing I'm giving my body what it needs comfort now. And I can be satisfied with that. Especially when I cannot do cardio like I could before (before pneumonia, its still hard now..). Not being able to do as much cardio makes diet, and taking pride in my diet,
all that much more important.
So, after my HUGE long rambling about this... Do I still feel like I can't walk the walk?

Not remotely. Because at this point in my "prep" for the stage, the choices are mine. I am NOT being forced into cardio, or weights, or diet. The choice is mine to get to cardio in the morning now. Do I want my goals? Or do I want to sleep in? Do I want to recover on my diet so I can make my contest prep easier next time around? Or do I want to slip back into old nutritional habits... Just because it was a habit?

I make the choices for me ... And I want to step on stage in April knowing I look better than I would have this October. :)