Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NPC Bikini Post-Competition Life: I'm Ready!

"What are you going to do after the competition?"

Hands down, this is the #1 question people ask me lately. I have precisely 3 days that stand between me and show day and to distract myself from the grumblings coming from my stomach, I have been doing a ton of thinking. Thinking about what i want once this competition prep - and competition itself - is over. I’ve contemplated what my new normal will look like. What will make me happy. What I truly want for my life. And here’s the truth. 

Competition prep has quite possibly been one of the most selfish things I’ve ever done. Now that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. It has gotten me in incredible shape, imparted a ton of knowledge as it relates to nutrition and overall well being. I’ve learned how to make better decisions as it relates to food, and I’ve learned to push myself in the weight room. Mostly i’ve come to the self-realization that i am a tough cookie. I set my mind to competing, and i’m doing it. It hasn’t been easy 99% of the time. I quit 100,000 times in my mind. But I somehow stuck it out. All of the nights out with friends, tupperware in tow. The vacations I abstained from, in fear of not having the right foods at my disposal. The short fuse, the impatience from being hangry, the self-inflicted isolation. Running on fumes and still showing up in the gym when I barely had enough energy to get out of bed. 

So yes, I’ve had lots of time to self-reflect and decide what I want once Saturday is behind me. And here’s what I’m ready for:

I’m ready to be a bit more selfless. I’m ready to be a more engaged friend. A daughter who calls more often. I’m ready to be more present in my career. I’m ready to workout for pleasure. Embrace my love of cooking. Entertain in my new home. I’m ready to resume traveling for pleasure. I’m ready to get out there and try all the awesome new restaurants that have opened in Atlanta since I’ve been on prep.  

And quite possibly the most significant, I’m ready to fall in love. Not just the love I have for friends and family. Beyond the love I have for myself. I’m ready for the put someone first, love with my whole heart, even when it’s scary and I’m vulnerable and feel like I’m standing naked in a crowd but it’s SO worth it love. 

I’ve spent the last 6 months being completely consumed with myself - and I’ve learned so very much. But truth be told, there is a whole life I want to live that has NOTHING to do with how visible my abs are. And to that life, all I can say is, "I am ready!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

NPC Bikini: 12 DAYS Out. Someone Give Me a Cracker!

12 Days. 288 Hours. 17,280 Seconds. 
But whose counting?! 

Mental State:
  • We truly all do get by with a little help from our friends. My girlfriends have stepped up in the biggest way possible lately. From coming over for tea, to coffee dates, to hourly check-in texts and helping me whitewash my fireplace - I am beyond blessed with such strong, reliable and loving women. Color me emotional from the sodium, fat and calorie deficit I'm in, but it nearly moves me to tears just to think about all the love around me. I am so grateful each and every single one of you!!
  • Today is the big day! I pick up my suit at Waterbabies! Cannot wait to see that teeny tiny red sparkly suit! 
  • I'm still amazed at the scale. I've been losing a lot of weight - not necessarily the healthiest way I'm sure. My calories are around 1k a day, fat is under 20g and sodium is non-existent. Next time around, I think I can do this with more food... but we're so close out to showtime I am just trying to power through and make it to next Saturday.
  • I can't lie though - it's an emotional roller coaster. I'm still foggy, still weak and sometimes I just want to cry. Other times - like yesterday when I was at LA Fitness and a guy literally came up to me and said, "Hey Gorgeous. Happy Monday. How was your weekend? You party?"... I just want to punch people in the face. Dude, I don't know you. I don't want to talk to you. Walk away! #sorrynotsorry BUT there are days (or moments) where I feel happy and grateful. The other day I was running sprints and an amputee walked by. I couldn't help but look up, and thank g-d for blessing me with the physical ability to embark on this journey. 
Totally normal gym attire, no!?
  • Finding my energy completely zapped. Long gone are my early morning workouts. I just can't get up and energized in time. Now I get up around 7:30am, drink coffee and eat breakfast. I ease into my work day and then workout at lunch and after work. I just can't power through early mornings like I used to!
  • Definitely feeling my strength subside. I'm trying to go heavy, but power lifts like squats and deadlifts are getting harder to PR. 
  • Cardio was upped to 6 days a week, 30 minutes at a time. Considering some girls have an hour 7 days, I don't want to complain. I just listen to a bunch of good music, pray and breathe. It's over soon enough.

  • Yeah, so all sodium is now gone. That means my little tablespoon of mustard to help me choke down fish is gone. My food officially has zero flavor. 
  • I am going to turn into a green bean. Or Asparagus. Or a piece of chicken breast. I've given up on trying to make the food exciting - so at this point I literally eat the same meal 6 times a day (fish or chicken, sweet potato or butternut squash, and asparagus, carrots or green beans). The struggle is real, folks.
  • I've cheated. I'm weak. I've eaten a few quest bars here and there. Good lord the mint chocolate chip is delicious. Sorry Coach Steve. 
  • I am still going at this 100% natural. No fat burners, no diuretics, nothing. 

Saw this quote by Arnold himself and couldn't help but love it. We truly are always stronger than we know. ALL that's getting me through the next 12 days is knowing that I've been strong enough to come this far - it's been a LONG journey - and I just have to keep pushing past the boundaries I've put in my own way. Let's do this!. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

NPC Bikini: 2 Weeks Out. Brain-Dead, Tired and Hangry

17 Days. I can do it. I can do iiiiiit. Can't I?! 

Mental State:
  • Hunger. Intense feelings of hunger - aka HANGRY pains. I literally think about food 90% of the day. The other 10% I'm asleep.
  • Doubt. Am I ready? Since this is my first show, I have no benchmark on how I should feel/look. Am I lean enough? Is my stomach flat enough? Are my glutes getting TOO flat? It's been a hard balance to strike - leaning out while keeping any size on me. I'm losing weight rapidly without really changing much - so I'm almost a bit nervous of coming out on stage looking flat... but I am trusting the process, my coach and my body. Whichever shape I bring out on stage is the shape I'm meant to have on show day. 
  • Fog. Not like London Fog. MENTAL fog. I've gone grocery shopping without my wallet THREE times. I've missed calls at work. I constantly leave the house and realize I've forgotten something once I'm driving out of the neighborhood. I'm just completely OUT.OF.IT. 
  • Grateful. I've worked SO hard since May for this body, and it's been great to me. Thank g-d I've had no injuries - I may be small, but I'm mighty! I'm also greatful for my friends, my coach, my teammates and everyone who has stuck by my side and given me words of encouragement when I wanted to cry, quit or both!
  • Excitement. Thanks to my awesome teammates, I'm excited for show weekend!! As I've mentioned, hair, tan and makeup are all booked. Now it's fun thinking about lounging around with girlfriends and enjoying the event itself.  
  • Guilt. I'm feeling guilty for having thoughts of pushing a small child out of my way for a brownie. Or a Quest Bar. Or a protein shake. Or anything OTHER than chicken, fish, green beans  or asparagus. 
  • So.Over.Cardio. It's not even that I hate cardio (kinda do, but it's a necessary evil) - it's just that I'm so tired. It's hard for me to get motivated to power through sprints and stairmill circuits when all I want to do is nap! I've started taking High Volume by PEScience and love it. Totally helps give you a pump with zero caffeine. If only it would take away my cravings for food other than chicken and asparagus!
  • Still powering through my lifting sessions. I actually got the chance to meet Lee Haney a few weeks ago at my coach's gym - what a nice guy!! He went up to Coach Steve and said "Hey Steve, is that one of your competitors? She looks beautiful." I had no idea who he was! Steve looked at me and said "You do realize that is Lee Haney himself, right?" Color me embarrassed. Here I was, bitching and moaning through 5 sets of pull-ups in front of a bodybuilding legend!
  • I'm trying my best, but hot damn I'm OVER this diet. Eating chicken or fish 7 times a day is just not fun folks. Especially when you factor in zero sodium. Actually, that's a lie. I've been using mustard or hot sauce - but those are gone 2 weeks out. So now it's plain 'ol protein. It's a constant internal battle between I'm so hungry and I hate the way this fish tastes.
  • I want carbs. All the carbs. I've been trying to de-bloat my belly however possible and cutting starchy carbs was the first way. So now I'm eating 4oz of butternut squash with some cinnamon as my carb source for lunch & dinner. I'm still having my WHOPPING 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats in water for breakfast. I swear, I long for the mornings of oatmeal with almonds and a cut up banana. 
  • Like I mention above, I'm trying to do whatever I can to get rid of any last belly bloat before the show. So a new nightly ritual of Dandelion tea and chugging lemon water are now part of my daily routine. 
Life Lately:
  • I went to a friend's wedding over the weekend and rocked a new dress (which fit when I bought it 3 weeks ago but I had to have it taken in last minute!). I was proud of myself for having ZERO alcohol at the wedding, zero wedding cake (although I did try a bite of a french macaron - my all time fave), snacking on a Quest bar during cocktail hour and making good decisions on clean veggies and lean protein during the reception. It was NOT easy - but I made it happen. Mind over matter. . 

Late night abs: 

Friday, October 9, 2015

NPC Bikini Update - We're Getting Close Folks!

Measurements 3 Weeks Out

  • Weight: I'm not even accounting for me weight right now because it literally fluctuates at a moments notice
  • Height: 5’2
  • Chest – 34 inches
  • Arm (bicep) – 9 inches
  • Arm (forearm) – 6.5 inches
  • Waist – 24 inches
  • Hips – 31.75 inches
  • Glutes – 35.5 inches 
  • Thighs – 20.5 inches
  • Calves – 12.5 inches
What I've accomplished this week 
Post-LONG, sweaty gym sesh!
  • Finally took the plunge and bought my suit
  • Booked my spray tan for the night before the show
  • Booked my hair appointment (actually my amazing girl Tiff did)
  • Booked hotel room for night before (sharing with Tiff - who I swear I couldn't even get through doing this show without. Got to love great girlfriends!)
  • Incorporated more cardio (treadmill sprints and stairmill ladders)
  • Kept my energy UP in the gym despite being physically exhausted 
  • Cheating on my diet with a super small cup of sugar-free fro yo (don't tell Coach...) after Cost Plus World Market delivered two dining room tables and refused to take one back, the cable and internet in my new place has been out all week, cabinets were installed with no counter tops, and then I dropped my phone and shattered the entire thing. Tell me you wouldn't treat yourself to $2 worth of fro yo too?!
On The Agenda
  • Get fresh haircut and highlights tomorrow #FreshtoDeath
  • Join/pay for NPC membership 
  • Register for my 2 classes for show day (novice and open)
  • Make mani/pedi appointment
  • Buy nair (yeah, blonde gmaarm hair begone...)
  • Buy competition day outfit (apparently silk is where its at)
  • Buy competition day jewelry 
  • Practice posing in hooker... err I mean clear... heels . Need my sass to match my ass!
  • Up my water intake!
  • Find part time job to support my competition lifestyle (just kidding... sort of)
Being three weeks out tomorrow, this is all starting to feel SO real. It has been a LONG road since May. I've done this prep 100% clean - no fat burners, no stimulants, no crazy pre-workouts or thermos. It's been me vs me the entire time, with an awesome support system pushing me along the way. Even the front desk attendants and trainers at my local LA Fitness crack me up. When I leave in the morning they all yell "See you later!"... because OF COURSE I'm coming back for my two a day... DUH :)
I'm committed to finishing this prep strong - regardless of how show day goes, because like I've mentioned in my last post - my life will go on well beyond show day. I'm in my new home, renovations are nearly over, I've hired a Manager at work to help with my insane workload and I have NO out of town work trips planned between now and show time. Let's do this!! 
Oh, and just because... I'm totally celebrating my FIRST bicep vein! #


Monday, October 5, 2015

NPC Bikini Comp - 4 Weeks Out

4 Weeks Out. You’re probably all thinking, “You can do it! Only 4 weeks stand between you and the finish line!” But here’s the reality. Unless I get hit by a bus on the day of my show (please lord, don’t let that happen!), life will go on. 
Let me say that again. Life does NOT end with my show.
But speaking of my show... I recently went and tried on suit colors and cuts to determine the most flattering one for show day. Here's a little sample of the dental floss - aka suit- I tried.

When I started on my journey back in May, I was nearly 26% bodyfat and thanks to a trip to the Dominican Republic at an all-inclusive resort, I have no clue how much I weighed (probably close to 130!).
Over the past 5 years I’ve conquered TONS of fitness-related goals. I’ve done a triathlon, I’ve competed in CrossFit and began teaching barre classes. And now, I’ve become a bodybuilder.
As a lover of the quote “Life is short, have dessert first,” I’ve never been a fan of depriving myself. I always thought I could out train an indulgent diet. During my CrossFit years I worked out nearly every day and lifted heavy weights. I ate paleo and avoided refined sugars and anything “white” in regards to flour/pasta/bread. I was in pretty good shape – I was just constantly hungry and constantly giving in to my cravings so the body fat stayed put. I also indulged in alcohol 3-5 times a week thanks to an intense social/dating life.
It wasn’t until I started working with my coaches in May 2015 that for the first time in my life I put myself (or shall I say was put on) a meal plan.
For those unfamiliar, you’re literally given a list of foods broken out into categories: protein, carbs, fat, fruit and vegetables and the exact quantities you’re supposed to eat at each meal. The plan is completely void of all oils, butter and sodium so everything you see below is either steamed or roasted with pepper and sodium-free seasonings (Hello Mrs. Dash!). As my show has gotten closer, portions have changed and foods are eliminated. If you’re curious, here is my current meal plan:
Meal 1: (Breakfast) 3oz liquid egg whites, ¼ cup old fashioned oats (cooked in water), 4oz berries
Meal 2: (Before workout) 1.5 oz chicken, 4 oz berries, 6 almonds
Meal 3: (Lunch) 3 oz Orange Roughy, 4 oz. butternut squash, 6oz asparagus spears
Meal 4: (Afternoon snack) 1.5 oz chicken, 6 oz green beans, 6 almonds
Meal 5: (Dinner) 3 oz chicken breast, 4 oz. quinoa (cooked in water), 6oz green beans
Meal 6: (Before bed) 1.5 oz chicken, 6 oz asparagus
The workouts currently consist of weight-training for 60-90 minutes 5 days a week along with 25 minute HIIT cardio 6 days a week. 
Preparing for a competition has forever changed me – mind and body. I’ve shed fat and put on lean muscle. And while I love being in this type of shape, I do strive for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. A lifestyle I plan to embrace next month when I transition out of my “cutting” and into “real life.”
Eating the way a fitness competitor eats during prep (and doing their workouts!) is not necessarily the solution. In fact, such a rigid, restrictive plan could potentially lead to failure because of the difficulty to stay the course. I am currently craving BALANCE, healthy HABITS and freedom. I’d love to enjoy a meal that isn’t weighed or measured. Shit, Quest Bar just came out with a pumpkin flavor that I’ve been legit DROOLING over. I’d love to skip the gym one day just because I’m tired – or because I’m on the road with work and don’t want to get up at 4am every day (cutting/contest prep and traveling with a full-time corporate job is EXHAUSTING – I literally come home sick every single time). I’d love to get the small popcorn at the movies, or say yes to ordering dessert on a date. In fact, obsessing over food is a real thing!
Orthorexia: an obsession with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy
Thankfully, I don’t think I’m developing another eating disorder, but I will say being this regimented with every single morsel of food isn’t the healthiest way to live. I travel everywhere with my insulated food bag - packed with my food scale to ensure I’m eating the right portions of proteins/carbs (I usually eyeball veggies since you can’t really get enough of them so long as they are free of oils or sodium). I'm always sporting a gallon jug of water (which is a super great habit to get into, btw!).
I hope you don't walk away from this post with negative thoughts – it’s just me keeping it real and telling the truth. This isn’t easy – and it isn’t as glamorous as one might think. It’s hard work, dedication, insane will power and surprisingly, the strength doesn’t come from a physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

As always, thanks for reading and following me on my journey. You guys are the best.