Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 53: Roller Coaster of a Week

First, here are some lifting pics from a few weeks ago (no idea how to format so they're kinda all over the place).  I'm slow about uploading pictures, sorry.  I will try to be better about pics :)

The past week has been such a weird, emotional roller coaster.  My monthly friend is coming to visit next week so I'm sure that plays a role in all of the emotions, but here are my thoughts/questions over the past week.

So, last Thursday I hurt my back and I was thoroughly bummed out for numerous reasons:
1) My lifts had been going so well lately and I felt strong and this seemed like an annoying road block.
2) No lifting = less food = unhappy, cranky Rachel.
3) I missed Saturday's workout, which is legs, and is my most important and most necessary lift of the week.

On Friday, as I lay around catching up on The Real Housewives, The Hills, Rambo, etc. I became a little depressed about the whole situation and then I started questionting everything.  I started asking myself: why am I putting my body through this torture?  I'm probably not even going to place in this competition, so why am I risking more injury for this whole thing?  Is all of this worth it--the pain, the sacrifice, the injury?

After I quit sulking, took some muscle relaxers (that basically made me drunk for about 15 hours), and iced my back, I started thinking about why it was that I did want to do this competition to begin with.  It wasn't about winning the competition, or even placing.  It wasn't about being the best.  It was about getting into the best shape of my life and achieving this goal that I set out to achieve.  My body will be fine and, at this moment, it really does all feel worth it.  I feel good, strong, healthy, and am already in the best shape I've been in in the past 10ish years.

I lifted Monday morning, but very cautiously.  My back and neck hurt when I look down or to the side quickly.  It just feels very tight.  I was annoyed that I had to be so cautious and that I wasn't able to lift as much as usual.  But as the week progressed, a few positives came out of the whole situation: 1) I realized that getting up and exercising actually loosens up my back muscles and makes them feel better (the prescription anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers help :) ) and 2) I have started paying much more attention to my form when I lift.  I hadn't realized how much I use my back when I'm not supposed to be, and how much I jerk my neck when I'm not supposed to be.  I had to lower the weights some, but I was doing the exercises more strictly and with better form.

Thennnn, I was randomnly talking to this trainer at my gym and asked him if he knew any local figure competitors/trainers who could help me with posing/preparing for the show.  He told me that there was actually a 3-day figure/fitness/bodybuilding "boot camp" that was happening in the Arlington branch of my gym.  GIGGITY!  I spoke with one of the ladies who would be helping with the camp, who is also a figure competitor, and she said this camp would be perfect for me since it's my first competition.  The camp gives information on strength and cardio training, nutrition tips, posing and routines...everything! 

I, then, had this internal, emotional struggle with the whole competition thing.  It was the same struggle I had when I was prepping for my 1st triathlon.  Do I train half-ass and just finish or do I go the extra mile, which usually means more money, more energy, and more sacrifices to reach the goal, and actually be competitive and do it all to my full potential?

I regretted just finishing the triathlon.  I didn't really train, I didn't invest in a good bike or a nice wet suit...I just did it attempted to finish.  I did finish but was not really competitive.

Talking with this trainer and hearing about this camp made me realize that I don't want to half-ass this whole process.  Not that I am half-assing it now, but it made me realize that I am already making so many sacrifices (financially, socially, etc) that I really should go the extra mile and really attempt to try to be competitive at this competition.  Talking about this camp gave me the boost that I've been needing the past few weeks.  I need something to get be re-excited for the last phase of this training program.  I need something to help me know I'm on the right track and can finish this out.  I am so excited to learn new information and meet some fellow competitors in an often isolating/independent sport.

So that about caps off the ups and downs of the week...I think some questioning is normal, especially when prepping for a first competition, but I have to remember that so much of this is mental.  I have to stay positive and I have to remember that I'm doing this for me and only me, and regardless of the outcome I have done whatever I could to reach my goal.

Greg always tells me to "trust the process" and that's what I'm doing...wherever the process may take me :)

Woah, that was kinda long...lots on my mind.  It's so late for me! (10:00pm!).  Gotta get up early for abs and cardio!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 49: Rough weekend but chuggin along

Just a quick update...
-Weigh 132.5, have lost 11.5 lbs total.
-7 weeks overall completed, 5 of the 8-week cut completed.
-Haven't worked out since Wednesday.
-Going to the orthopedist tomorrow morning so she can look at my back and neck, hopefully take some x-rays and see what the issue is.  Hoping it's just muscular.
-Have basically been bathing in icy hot and ibuprofen, sitting on a heating pad as I type...
-This injury has really bummed me out and has seemed to make every other piece of this journey more difficult this week.  Hoping it's just a phase.
-Still eating well, eating less food now that I can't workout.  This makes me cranky.
-Had a GREAT time at Kat's DC bachelorette party.  This makes me happy :) 

Will update after the doctor tomorrow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 46: Clothing, Confidence, Injuries

It's amazing how quickly all of these days, weeks, and phases are flying by.  I can't believe it's already been 46 days.  Here are a few stats/updates from the past week or so.
-Weight: 133.5, have lost 10.5 lbs. total
-In the middle of week 6 overall, in the middle of week 4 of my 8-week cut.
-4 weeks to go until this phase is finished...then, the home stretch.

So, people who know me, know that I verrrrry rarely wear shorts.  I have always been OK with the front of my legs but I've always hated the back of my legs.  (I don't think I need to remind you of what cellulite looks like...).  My legs were never even really that cellulite-y, but I just haven't really  been comfortable wearing shorts in many years, so...I don't.

As I started losing weight, losing inches, and gaining more muscle, I started to become more comfortable with my body in general.  I started wearing things, like tank tops, more often than I previously had.  I realized that my legs were getting in much better shape and I was tired of staring at my baggy workout pants (which are all 3/4 length) in the ever-present gym mirrors.  In one sense I wanted to show off the progress I had made on my legs, and in another sense I wanted to be able to see my legs better so that I could see what areas still needed work.  So I did it.  I bought a frickin' pair of shorts.  And I wore them to the gym.  OMG.  Of course I had one of the worst, and most awkward, sunburns of my life on my thighs, so I'm sure that distracted some attention from the back of my legs.  Anyhoo, I actually felt pretty good in the shorts.  I was proud that I was wearing them and I was ever more proud that I was OK with the fact that I was wearing them.

I realized that, for me, clothing choices and growing confidence are kind of a chicken-egg situation:  I mean, what came first?  Did I start putting on outfits that looked better than before, thus making me more confident?  Or did I become more confident in my body changes, thus becoming more daring with my clothing choices?  I don't really know.  I guess I probably became more confident in my body changes and started trying on things I either haven't worn in a few seasons or things that I wouldn't usually wear.  I think it really helped that a lot of the things in my closet have become too big for me to wear.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not, all of a sudden, like some slutty hooker-type, strutting around in skin tight outfits.  I just found that it was interesting the confidence that I seemed to have gained from being able to wear new outfits.  I'm proud of my transformation that has happened so far, and I think that shows in some of my clothing choices.  I'll try to take some pics of some of my gym, and real-life outfits for you all :)

I had made it 6.5 weeks without a serious injury...until this morning.  I was doing powerlifts (think Crossfit) and on my second exercise I did a push press (barbell over my head, arms straight), and I felt a twinge in my back.  I did one more rep and I was done like a Thanksgiving turkey.  I sat down for a few minutes, couldn't really look down or look left without pain shooting down my back, cried a couple silent tears, and went home.  I tried to take a hot bath but I just couldn't get comfortable, so I showered, got ready for school, dropped 1/2 dozen eggs on the floor, tried to clean it up (just hoping I would make it back up off the floor), and drove to school without being able to turn my head to the left (thank goodness for turn signals).  One of my co-workers gave me a huge ibuprofen (thanks Selinda!!) and that really helped during the day.  I had to stand pretty erect (hehe) most of the day because that felt the best.  Now I'm home and Greg put lots of icy hot on my back.  It's really just the top 1/3 of my back, mostly on the left and at the base of my neck on my spine.  I'm hoping it's just a bad muscle pull/irriation and will heal quickly.  I think I'll be laid up tomorrow and will obviously not be at the gym tomorrow.  I was supposed to do cardio tomorrow, rest Saturday, and lift legs Sunday, but obviously that has changed.  I'm currently stuck in my recliner chair, hoping I'll be able to at least crawl up the stairs in a couple hours so I can go to bed...will keep you posted!

Thanks again for everyone's support.  Everyone's comments, whether here or in person, mean so much to me.  I couldn't do this without all of you!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 37: Sacrifices

First, here are some more number stats for where I am right now:
-Initial 2 weeks done.
-3 weeks of the 8-week cut done.
-9.5 pounds lost
-Went from 144.0 to 134.5
-Have completed more than I did the first time I tried to train for this competition and have lost more weight in these 5 weeks than the first 5 weeks of last time.

This past weekend, I went to Dewey Beach.  I started the weekend thinking it was going to be realllly difficult to measure out all my food and eat out of tupperware while everyone else was housing cheesesteaks and pizza.  And it was.  But by the end of the weekend, I realized a few things: a) it wasn't really that hard (especially because we stayed in a house with a kitchen and Greg helped me prepare lots of my food) and b) to be successful in all of this, I'm going to have to make lots of sacrifices, so it doesn't really help to complain about it, but rather suck it up and do it...and realize that the sacrifices really are worth it.

I had to lift legs on Saturday at a random gym in Rehobeth and I had to go do abs and cardio at that same, random gym on Monday before everyone else was even awake.  While I cursed the fact that I had to do this, especially on my vaca, I very soon realized that I felt better after lifting and I really started to feel as though the sacrifices were worth it.  They are just part of the deal.  I guess I kind of knew this subconsciously before starting this whole thing, but weekends like this make me truly aware of the sacrifices I'm making to do this. 

Here are a few from the weekend: no drinking (AT DEWEY BEACH, PEOPLE), no eating out (except for 1 salad with no dressing), watching people around me eating and drinking whatever they wanted, going to bed at a decent time so I could get up to work out, using time to prepare food, taking multiple meals with me wherever I went, and the ice cream (you know, creamy, mint chocolate chip with hot fudge while strolling on the board walk *drool*).

As I was lifting on Saturday, I looked up and saw the slogan for the gym.  In huge letters it read, "THE DIFFERENCE IS DISCPLINE."  Ok, kinda cheesy, I know.  But it really is true!  And it kind of hit home with me that morning when the sun was (briefly) shining and all I wanted to be doing was sitting at the beach or playing corn hole, sipping a cocktail.  I realized that I signed up for this and come September I will be so glad I made the sacrifices I did and stayed disciplined through it all.  It's not always easy to realize this, especially since it's only JUNE.  But since I've been seeing results both in the gym and on the scale, all of the sacrifices are beginning to feel worth it...even if that means missing out on some things in life momentarily.

Will update soon :)