The last 6 months: Training, Nutrition, and Supplementation

TRAINING 

My training has been weird. In a nutshell I kept training, my new job was a HUGE adjustment and I was super inconsistent, then hurt my back, then healed my back, then got sick, then got in a car accident, so my “bulk” really wasn’t a huge bulk. It was more like a “let’s keep going as hard as I can and hopefully I am back to normal soon.” I admit, being physically in a funk probably hindered the mental side of things since August. It is just in these last few weeks I finally feel like an athlete again.

I talked to Tyler (my coach) and asked if I could follow “Strong Curves” by Bret Contreras. He is “The Glute Guy” and that book is amazing! There has definitely been a huge change in my derriere even though I just maintained size in my other areas. I did lose some strength since I focused on my glutes so highly, but that’s OK, because the size still stayed. So I am happy. I work my glutes every day now in some capacity and if you read the book you’ll know why. Actually, just read the book because it’s freaking AMAZING.

I also started working with a trainer on mobility things and stuff. I was seeing a physical therapist, and while he was awesome, I just couldn’t afford the sessions but my trainer (who I am done with this month just for financial reasons) is much more cost effective for my needs. And he’s awesome. I have really bad shoulder mobility which is what caused my butt wink. Basically I hurt myself like this:

Poor Shoulder Mobility = Butt Wink = Lower Back Injury

It’s getting better and I have found that for me right now front squats are where it’s at. I will obviously continue to work on the other variations but my main squat exercise will be a front squat to minimize injury possibility.

The rest of my mobility is improving as well, and I can feel a definitive difference in my body which is so nice. I love it! Taking the time after I was injured to do the “Booty-ful Beginnings” program in Strong Curves, work with a trainer, and just lay off the heavy weights until I was better and had better movement was completely worth it. Now I want to gain some more strength and size all around so I am supplementing the “Gluteal Goddess” program in with some things that Tyler had me doing that I used to respond really well too. While I won’t gain much size since I am leaning out for summertime right now, I definitely am excited to gain some strength. Right now since I am on a deficit with food I have switched my training to the morning, before work, since I am more tired (than before) in the afternoons and evenings.

NUTRITION 

Once I got out of my really bad mental funk, I knew it was time to start eating normally again. Cue our first show of the year (mentioned above) however, and my new work schedule really threw me off. And not just my training my nutrition was off as well. If anything I was under-eating most days. But at one point I just got so tired of counting macros! And no that is not blashpemy, it’s totally normal to have those moments. I spoke with Tyler and “loosely tracked” for some weeks. I did pretty well too, because I wasn’t trying to lose or gain (simply maintain) and it was a good mental break for me. Then I got to the point where it was just time to get back on it again. So I began to bulk! I slowly increase my food under Tyler’s watchful eye and while my weight didn’t go up I put on some booty size, which was my main goal anyway. Then I started to not fit into my pants – that was a few weeks ago. I wanted to go until the end of February but I just couldn’t stand not fitting into my pants so I started my cut this last week and it has been a huge adjustment. I forgot how much I rely on things like fruity tea to get me through the cravings, and really planning ahead way more with my meals. I feel confident though that I can handle it. And I am excited to see my booty gainz.

SUPPLEMENTATION 

I have STOPPED using N.O. Xplode and Optimum Nutrition Aminos. Mainly because I just didn’t feel that good taking them, they were simply cost effective and convenient. Supplementation is all about what works for the individual. I have since started doing some research and decided that pre-workout in general is not for me, but other supplementation might be good. Doing my research I came across 1st Phorm, which is a super cool company with super cool values and quality supplements. I actually am waiting to order some because I am getting some other supplementation from my naturopath, and I want to be sure it all will be OK together, but I have my eye on some things… 🙂 My advice to you when doing supplementation is do your research! Even if that means googling every single ingredient on the ingredients list. That’s what I do. Sometimes, the big scary words are not scary things to put in your body. You have to do your research though and a lot of it is trial and error. So go with your gut and do your research!!! The other thing is many times you get exactly what you pay for so paying a little more for a quality supplement vs. always paying for convenience is a good idea. Like I said, this is not all the time, and not all quality supplements will work for you, but just… and I feel like a broken record here… do your research. There. I’m done haha.

Anyway, back to my supplement that I am so excited to get: Anabolic Bridge. I have done a lot of research on it and this is what I have found:

1) The ingredients ARE the aminos. No fillers, flavors, colorings, just the aminos. Which you would expect but it is much harder to find that you think.

2) It is cool because it is not needed every day around the clock – it is meant for those times what you have been without protein for 2-3 hours. For me this is HUGE because most afternoons I will go 5-6 hours before I eat a meal. Lunch is at 11:45, then I don’t eat again until 6-7 after my final classes and rehearsal has let out. If I can help my body during these times, which happen more often than not in my life, than I am going to for sure.

3) It has no hormones in it, or hormone boosters, and is legal in all tested organization. It’s awesome. It literally is exactly what you need, when you need it, and THAT is so freaking cool.

All in all it sounds like a good supplement for me and I am excited to try it out!!!

I’m Back!

WOW, It’s been quite a while! About 6 months to be exact since I’ve last blogged… and there is OH SO MUCH to catch you all up on.

After my miscarriage/competition/beginning a new job, the stress definitely took a toll. Emotionally for a while I was a complete wreck. I even told my coach at one point “I just don’t care, I know I need to get through this but right now I’m just hurting and not handling things well.” And man did I kind of go off the deep end. It took me a while, some good books, some good friends, and some wake-up calls to make my way back.

While I was going through this emotional stress I really had to take a long hard look at myself and what I really wanted. I realized many things:

1) I wasn’t happy but it wasn’t my situation making me unhappy, it was ME. 

Think of a hamster wheel: the hamster will go around and around, but the hamster never gets anywhere. That’s how I felt. But WHY? I had a supportive boyfriend, good friends, my dream job, and everything I needed to live comfortably. I had zero reason to be unhappy. I began (and still am) reading a book called “Emotional Alchemy” and I highly recommend it if you feel like youa re going crazy but you can’t think of WHY you would even need to feel that way. I decided to be happy that I had a supportive boyfriend after we went through a super rocky phase, decided that I needed to lean on my friends when I needed to and that’s OK, and that I would be grateful for the career opportunity I had that is so unique and wonderful. And BAM. It really was that easy. You just have to CHOOSE.

I decided also, that my health was in my own hands: I went off the birth control. Cue the super supportive boyfriend! The thing is, it didn’t work anyway – my miscarriage was proof of that. But I started doing some more research because I just didn’t feel right physically. So I ditched it and began to go to a naturopath, and that is an entirely different post waiting to happen! But once I took charge I felt like I could breath and really give myself at living the best life I could.

2) It’s important to live in the moment and know how to LET GO. 

It is so easy to be haunted by your past and worried about the future all in the same token. What happens then is that you don’t really think about the NOW. Appreciating the smell of the coffee in the air at Starbucks, the wonderful weather while I walk from my classroom to the front office, enjoying the still silence or laughter or environment when in the company of people. Yes I have things from the past that hurt and yes I have fears and goals and aspirations for the future. But in order to really live you need to accept the moment as it is. It makes all the difference.

3) You don’t need nearly as much as you think you need to get by.

Candidly speaking – I am a teacher and I would be lying if I said the amount of money I get paid doesn’t bother me. I do put in a lot of extra hours, extra work, take things home, go hours without eating or peeing or drinking water because I have almost 300 students that walk in and out of my classroom over the course of two days. Teachers don’t get paid NEARLY enough for what we do. That in turn, left me fearing for my financial future, and scrambling to find some way to make extra money. Cue some attempts at other work (Mary Kay and Younique) over the years. And while they are both wonderful opportunities in their own right, I had to realize something: I am NOT passionate about selling makeup. I am passionate about music and dance and teaching. It’s ok to through yourself into what you truly love, rather than try to find things that bring you no personal satisfaction just so you can make a living. Why don’t you do what you love, and make your living that way? In my opinion following your passion… THAT is living. I can do without manicures, waxing, getting my hair done, eating out all the time, shopping for clothes, a house that is so big and beautiful that I never get time to spend there because I am so busy working just to afford it all. I don’t need it. Once I accepted that I felt so at peace. Do I have to budget and be smart? Absolutely. I don’t spend money frivolously because the money I DO make is very, very hard earned. And I am proud of that. And I have more than enough to live. I don’t do without by any means and that is what I am the most thankful for. Not to mention, I have job security in my particular roll as well as health insurance. YAY!

4) Time is the most precious gift. 

Time with my family. Time with my friends. Time with my boyfriend. Time to myself. It all matters. Time is what makes the world go round, and it controls everything. Enjoy it. Don’t waste it. Be thoughtful with it.

Anyway, here I sit, ready to follow one of my passions – dance – something that makes me happy and makes me feel fulfilled to devote my time to. My goal is to be dancing en pointe by next year, so I take studio class as well as do a lot of outside work in conjunction with my training for bikini. Once again, another post for another day 🙂

Not sure how I feel about calling it “Off Season…”

So techically I am in the “off-season.” Currently, nothing feels “off” about my training!!!

This week after having some health and injury and emotional lapses, I am back on and just feel right at home in the game. The current struggle is the reverse diet.

The reverse diet isn’t HARD exactly. It’s more like “I WANT TO EAT EVERYTHING SO I CAN MAKE GAINZ” but if I want to minimize fat gain with the muscle, I need to SLOWLY rebuild my metabolism. So I am doing that. It is going really well, actually. I like it a lot.

Things I want to do… Make my booty grow. Actually, make all of me grow. But if I had to pick… Booty and Shoulders. Those are my priority.

I asked my coach – and the longer I work with him and the more I get to know him and more I learn, I feel comfortable asking things – if my next training plan could really do some high volume stuff to build my glutes, hammies, and shoulders.

My reasoning is this… many of the most successful bikini models have some KILLER glutes, hammies, and shoulders. Ha. My other reason is that my BUTT is my most self conscious part of me, including the back of my legs. And I know if I want to achieve a certain look on a day to day – not just competition – basis, I need to grow grow grow in those areas as far as muscle is concerned. YAHOO!

So, stay tuned. I won’t be posting any more progress pics since I just don’t want my kids to see them (students, I am a teacher) but I will be updating on my stats and progress as I continue on this next leg of the journey 🙂

The Aftermath… Part 2.

So, here it is. Part 2. Do I really feel like I am ready to spill the beans? No. Because saying the words out loud is still hard. So I will type them to the blogging community hoping that at least getting all my feels out on “paper” and sharing with some outside viewers will help. Because frankly, sharing this with people I am close to just seems terrifying…

**BE AWARE I TALK ABOUT LADY ISSUES BELOW** so if you are sensitive to these, tune out now.

Scene: Sitting in the OBGYN’s office after getting blood drawn. Post describing symptoms for the past 8 weeks or so:

-Chronic constipation
-Chronic Fatigue
-Mood Swings
-Constant Bloating
-Missed period
-Period (most painful I can remember) when it WASN’T supposed to happen
-Mini period two weeks after a super painful period
-Odd discharge
-Trouble Losing Body Fat

These were the most prominent things I could describe for her. That couple with my body changing in these past few weeks post show…

-Energy Returning
-No more constipation
-No more bloating
-Metabolism is running normally and faster like it is supposed to
-No more odd discharge

The word that came out of the doctors mouth stunned me: miscarriage. 

No. No. NO. But slowly all the pieces fell into place as I continued describing everything. I broke down upon leaving… ran to my parent’s house. I was in no way fir to drive, my boyfriend was on a fire in Oregon so I didn’t want to burden him while he needed to be 100%, and dads are just a good person to turn to. He got me calm enough that I could make the 45min drive home. Upon getting home I did the only thing I could think to do – I printed a calendar, wrote in the dates of when everything happened… started… etc. I determined the only option was that I was somewhere between 7-8 weeks. I did some internet research on miscarriage, on some other things, and desperately tried to make the pieces fit together with some other answer. Stephie Poo got home. I then broke down in front of Stephie Poo. 

Keep in mind, I had been stressed and teary from fear of thyroid disease. Now, I am stressed and teary because not only did I miscarry, but I had to tell my boyfriend who would be coming home that weekend. He was there for me as much as he could be, but he was also SUPER sick and had an injury. BUt he was there enough that I feel like I can at least put the words on paper. I can’t tell you… anyone… even him… words do not describe how I feel for that man. 

Anyway, I digress. All the feels are still there. If you remember me mentioning I am a very PASSIONATE personality. Very devoted to what I love. And I feel things very strongly, but usually only one emotion at a time is prominent. I had SEVERAL emotions rushing… and still rushing… around in my head and my heart, all fighting to be first, and sorting through it all is taking time. I did not feel motivated to train or track food. I told me coach that. I finally feel good enough right now to go through the motions. I have some goals, but I need to find myself again in all this mess so if I have to fake it ’til I make it I will. Focusing on your fitness goals when you learn that your training most likely was a factor, if not THE factor, in what killed your baby… well that is something that for me personally is hard to reconcile. 

Now that I have put this all out there, I beg of you – please do not impose on me your ideas of how I should or should not feel about losing my baby – a baby that I would have loved and kept and raised with the best man I could hope for to father my children. And I feel a little lost. So please if you read this choose your comments wisely because right now I need ZERO negativity or opinions or thoughts that are “right” thrust upon me. I spent hours researching and asking questions trying to make the answers fit into some other explanation, but they just don’t and it breaks my heart. Overall that is the best way to describe it… if I had to put a generic stamp on my overall state, it would be broken hearted. And I don’t take this situation or the words I put onto this page lightly. 

I have thrown myself this week into my kids – my students – and find myself even more grateful than ever that I have a professional that truly gives me purpose because I have been latching onto that when I feel like I am going to fall apart. I have once again latched onto being the partner for my man that he needs me to be while he is away on a fire. I have once again latched onto being the friend I have ben neglecting to be the last few weeks. I am digging deep, or trying to, and getting up and will NOT let this keep me down but as much as I hurt and as confused as I am and as lost as I feel I know I will come back better and stronger in more ways than one. 

 

The Aftermath… Part 1.

Ok, buckle in for a long post. This is only part 1 of what has happened since the show and it will be a journey even after part 2. 

Post show I was ecstatic. I had this newfound clarity that I hadn’t had in a LONG time. I was planning on competing again at this weekends show, and coming in with a better package. 

Initially I backed out of the ANBC show due to finances. Once my head was clear of prep (and that’s not the phrase I would CHOOSE to use but best describes what happened) I had time to focus on my health. 

In my previous post I mentioned some hormonal imbalance that caused my body to NOT want to lost fat. Now, we are talking dropping my caloric intake a LOT over the course of 4-6 weeks I should have (reasonably speaking) about 5-8lbs more down than I was the day of show in regards to fat loss. And I didn’t. And I finally had a head to be able to confront my health instead of push it away with a show in the forefront of my mind.

Keep in mind… I am a pretty strong person. I don’t cave easily. I am passionate and emotional, but in a good way in that I feel very strongly about things. However what I was sure what was going on with me is a fear I had never truly conquered. I feared that I was developing thyroid disease. This is not too far fetched since I am at the same age all of the other women in my family who have thyroid issues started developing them. This caused me a LOT of alarm… I love my mother. But I have seem the toll that thyroid disease has taken on her not just physically, but mentally, and as awful as this may sound I NEVER want to be like her.  In anyway. I love her… but I do not hold her up as a person I aspire to be. Judge me all you want, but that is my opinion and it will never change and only I will ever understand that sentiment so can it if you have something to say. But I never want to be like her, and when I realized I may have some of these health issues that trigger mental issues I panicked.

I DID stop tracking for a couple of days, which Coach said was fine.  I still trained. I just needed to let me brain relax, and I did, and I was fine. I officially began my reverse diet. Then I went to the doctor and BAM. I got some news that really messed with me. That same day, while sitting in the waiting room, my wonderful and supportive and fabulous hunk of a boyfriend offered to finance this weekends show, which, I talked with my coach, considered, and backed out of. Not because it was HIS money, but because if he was ever to financially support me in a show I would want to be sure I brought my best. At this point, we were still under the impression my hormones were out of wack and I may have to do some extreme things to get ready… and a trophy isn’t worth my sanity or my health. Nevertheless, I will always respect my man as my #1 fan and am so incredibly grateful he is the man that he is. The news that I got really sent me into a tail spin and even further confirmed that I should NOT compete this weekend. 

To find out more… tune in for part 2!! 

I did it! Part deux

My apologies for the long overdue post about my competition, 3 weeks ago! Right now I am sittin gin a hotel, keeping my teamie company, as she is competing tomorrow. And so I figured what a better night than to FINALLY get this done than tonight the night before another show???

Anyway, I will kind of give you the run down of the few days… So you can see. 

11am Friday 

Finalllyyyy I am off work! It felt like forever. Cue the rush home, and getting all my food prepped for the weekend. This week was the second week of teacher training and on Monday we had kids, so not much was done in the way of personal tasks. I made a MAD rush to get my food cooked and prepped. Eek. Word to the wise… don’t leave this for the DAY you check into the hotel. Not worth it one bit. 

Cue the nails… I had experimented with several nail options the weeks prior and finally settled on doing some glue on nails and painting my own toes. For SOME reason, this eneded up as a complete disaster so I made another MAD dash over to the new nail salon by my house. I was in, out, with a french tip on my toes and a full set (and believe it or not they are all still on and pain intact and hardly grown out) in about 30 minutes. YAHOO!! Crisis averted. Went home, did a full body circuit, packed up, and I am on the road! 

4:45pm Friday 

On the road to the host hotel FINALLY. I get there about 5:15, check in, and can finally breathe. It was much less stressful than I had originally anticipated, but hey, I had never done this before! Granted this was a smaller show than some so it was by nature less hectic. Anyway. Did my polygraph… talk about AWKWARD!! I was nervous I would fail purely by the fact that 1) my heart had been racing all afternoon and 2) it was just awkward so I felt jittery and sweaty and clammy. Ha. Im guessing I passed. 

Got up the hotel, got out stuff done, and now it was time for me my teamie Annalise (who I am here with this evening) to go get tanned. OMG. OMG. OMG. Hahahaha. So, we walk into this room and it is tarped up with plastic and there are 5 spray tan pop-up tents all in a row. The last  are occupied… It looked like a science experiment and I even said so out loud. Anyway, we had to wait out turn. Once we got in we were given hair nets, sticky feet things, and told to strip down and step in side! So we did! And promptly got sprayed. We had to keep moving down one tent at a time… which meant scrambling, one a time, in the nude (you don’t HAVE to tan nude but everyone I know does), and hope you don’t get seen (but at that point who really cares you are all almost butt naked the next day on stage anyway). The whole process took about an hour to tan and dry. We didn’t do all of our coats, so we weren’t as dark but it was good to do it that way. 

7:00pm Friday

Annalise and I made our way to the other side of town to meet with Coach. It was kind of funny. We were in our jammies, butt naked, and let me just tell you. You have no sense of propriety or embarrassment once you enter this sport. At least not around people who need to see you 95% unclothed, and for nothing but professional purposes. Anyway. We were told we looked good, told what to eat for the remainder of the day, and then we went on our way and we were STARVING. I stopped and got some ahi tuna and yellowtail (YUM) and Annalise made some food at the hotel. All in all, after we got back it was a pretty uneventful evening since we had to be up early anyway. 

5:00am Saturday 

Up! Eat your first mini-meal! Chug some water! Walk! Then take pics, text Coach, and have all our meals closely monitored for timing and size depending on how we are looking for the rest of the day. YEP. That specific folks. After we walked and took pics, we went downstairs to practice mandatories and t-walks one last time before it was time to step on stage. I had to make a run to get some last minute food at the Coach’s orders, then…

 

9:00am

We were on our way and it was like… settle in, second round of tanning back stage, hair and makeup, and hurry up and wait. Text pictures, eat, wait. Oh yeah, and more hurry up and wait. I was so happy I had some fantastic teammates back stage with me or else it would have been BORING!!! It was fabulous though. Funny story, 2 other girls in my class had on green bikinis. One changed into her pink bikini, and the other girl and I were right next to each other on stage… ha luckily, my suit had some blue stones on it so it sparkled differently than hers did and you couldn’t even tell!! 

3:00pm 

Waiting around for finals to start, it was time to really have fun, relax, and kick-ass on the t-walk. The places are picked during pre-judging (unofficially) so it was a good time. I literally almost fell over during my t-walk but saved it and timed it all just right and no one was like OMG YOU ALMOST FELL in fact, the didn’t even notice or know until I said something. Ha. WIN!! 

I competed in two classes – open and novice. I placed 4th in Novice and 3rd in Open and am very satisfied considering I didn’t lean out to where I should have due to some hormone imbalance that I discovered later. 

OVERALL… 

I would totally do it again. I WILL do it again. I loved every second of it… the camaraderie, the discipline, the experience, being on stage, and I wouldn’t have changed any of it. 

Even better? I now TRULY feel like a competitive athlete. YAHOO!!! 

I did it!

Well… I did it! I competed in my first competition! While I have much to say about the experience in detail, I am pooped and school starts tomorrow.I DID take home some hardware – 4th in Novice Bikini Class C (tall ladies) and 3rd in Open Bikini Class C! AND I got some incredible feedback from the judges. I am actually getting ready to hit the sack, but I will say some choice phrases…

1. I love this sport.

2. I love the people bodybuilding has brought to my life.

3. I will compete again no doubt about it.

4. I got some incredible feedback from the judges and feel much more validated as an athlete.

Goodnight 🙂