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!