Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 87: Posing Part 2: I Know I Need More Muscle...Hurumph

While I was at the posing session (a week ago), a discussion came up about whether I would be better in a bikini competition or a figure competition at this point in my "career."  She (the posing coach) explained bikini to me as "the cover of Shape magazine" whereas a figure competitor would be "the cover of Oxygen or Muscle and Fitness."  She said I would probably be ready for a bikini competition in August and was not sure I'd be ready for a figure competition in September....... this began sounding allllll too familiar.  This is essentially what happened to me back in the early spring when I was basically told (my someone else) I needed more muscle before I began cutting weight.  In the spring, this led me to give up my figure competition training and I headed straight to the Cheesecake Factory.
So, I was encouraged that she thought I would be ready for bikini, but discouraged that I still didn't have enough freakin' muscle for figure!  At this point, it was kind of a catch because I can't really gain muscle while cutting weight...right now, I'm basically cutting weight to bring out the definition in the muscle that I already have.  So, I was left with 5 options:
1) Just go ahead with the September 25th figure competition as planned and see how it goes.
2) Just do the bikini competition in August.
3) Do both.
4) Bulk and gain muscle for a few months and then try for a competition in the spring of 2011
5) Run, not walk, to the Cheesecake Factory

The posing coach, who I really liked, told me to take some pictures, send them to Mike (the guy who does my workouts and diet), and see what his thoughts were.  Then, I would figure out a plan and get back in touch with the posing coach to go from there.  I sent this email on Wednesday and while I waited for a reply, I did some soul-searching, if you will, about what I wanted to do, regardless of what anyone else thought I should or shouldn't do.  I'm not going to lie, I did consider option #5 for a hot second.  Then I scratched that.  Then, I started doing some research on bikini competitions and what I found I was not very impressed with.  It just wasn't me.  For a lot of reasons.  But mainly because I am just set on doing figure--I like that physique and that has been my goal now for about 8 months.  So, that left me with option #1 or option #4.  I talked to Greg, my mom, and friends about the pros and cons of both and then I went to bed.  In the end, I had to decide what I wanted to do.  I'm quickly learning that there are so many people in this sport who give you advice and opinions and ideas, but in the end, you have to sort through it all and figure out what is right for you.

So.... I woke up the next morning and knew that option number ONE was my choice.  I hadn't heard back from Mike.  I hadn't talked to my posing coach again.  I just knew that I had worked my ass off for a long time, I had this September 25th goal in my mind, and I could always be waiting for my body to be more ready than it is now (or will be in 9 weeks).  I also know that this show is through a much smaller organization and, I think, a little less competitive than the big, major organizations, so it will be a perfect show to get "my feet wet" and learn all the ins and outs of this sport.  Everybody has to start somewhere, so why not in Henrico County, Virginia on Septemeber 25th?  I have to reach this goal.  I just have to do it and see how it goes.  I think I will forever regret it if I don't. (I did eventually hear back from Mike and he said that I have more of a figure body and if I did bikini the judges would probably say I had too much muscle.  I was glad I had made my decision before he said this, but the affimation was nice too).

While it is challenging to have not really had one person in the figure world say, "Wow, you have great potentional for figure" or "Your body will get there," I know that my body is getting better and better everyday and I know that all of YOU support me so diligently!  I cannot explain how much everyone's kind words have helped me push through and stay motivated.  You all are absolutely, amazingly wonderful to be so supportive every day and I honestly think I would have given up if it weren't for you all. 

I will continue to work to stay in the figure world.  I enjoy lifting.  I enjoy the sport.  And I will get more muscle, damnit! :)

Oh, and I have another posing session tomorrow!  I really like the posing coach, she is a HUGE help!!  Greg can't come so I don't know if I will get any more pics in my sweet, black heels, but I'll let you know how it goes!!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 84: Posing Part 1: Holy Uncomfortable Poses, Batman!

Everyone I've talked to who has competed in a figure/bodybuilding shows has said that it doesn't matter how physically ready you are prior to the show if you have not practiced your poses multiple, multiple times.  I've even heard that some competitors with a better physique may place lower than someone with a worse physique because their posing was not as good.  It seems like this would be untrue, but after having my first, 1-on-1 posing session with a professional figure competitor, I can believe how crucial every, single movement and placement of your body is when it comes down to the judging.

At first, I was a little embarrassed to be standing in a yoga/pilates room (filled with mirrors), in my Target bikini and some cheap, black heels that were not even close to what I would have to wear.  But my posing coach, who I liked, really helped me relax and just started taking me through everything I needed to know.  It was all very overwhelming because there are different poses for different organizations, so what you practice really depends on the exact show that you're competing in.  It was a lot to take in, but it was a very beneficial introductory session.

What I found most surprising was a) like I said, how much information you have to remember about every move and pose, and b) how FREAKING uncomfortable holding those poses really is!  At the shows I've watched, the women look so relaxed and make their poses seem so easy.  Let me just tell you, my back was sore for FOUR days after posing!  By the end of the session my face was beat red and I was sweating...from posing!!  It was incredible to me how I had to think about how every part of my body was engaged in each pose, and then just when I kind of got the pose, I was being taught how to transition to the next pose.  The whole thing was a whirlwind experience but it really got me on the right track so that I can practice these poses for the next 9 weeks.

Here are some pictures that Greg took of me at the session and then some more pictures I took when I got home so I could send them to Mike (my diet/workout coach).  I obviously still need some work on my posing, but it's much better than before!

PLEASE check out my black heels circa 2000...just look, don't judge :)

Just for fun, let's see a comparison:

Oh boy!  Well, here's to more posing and more improvements!  I have a whole 'nother post about posing/what came from my posing session, so stay tuned!!!!

Thanks for all your love and support!!  xoxoxo

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 81: Fitness Fashion!

The topics on this blog have been a little...heavy (no weight pun intended) today I'm lightening it up and showing you all some samples of my fitness fashion.  I do have another big post about how my posing session went yesterday, but I'm gonna keep it light and fun today!

Now, most mornings, I simply grab whatever tank top, pants/shorts, and bra that doesn't smell like a ball of sweat is clean.  Most all of my socks are white, except for the occasional gray pair, so those take little to no time at all.  As I've worked out more and more, though, I have realized that I do thoroughly enjoy a cute little workout outfit.  I'm not one to spend tons of money on workout clothes, but every time I go to Target I seem to find a reason to swing by the workout department and browse for a new, cute, fitness piece.

So for you, my dear and loyal blog readers who have been SO supportive and wonderful, I took some (hideous) pictures.  I even posed...with some props.  Please don't mind my face/head, I haven't showered yet from my morning workout (yesisitaroundinmyownsweatforawhilesomedaysdontjudge).  I'll group the pictures for you according to clothing piece (i.e. tank tops, shorts, etc.)  Hope you enjoy :)

I used to wear T-shirts to the gym all the time.  Now, I very rarely wear a T-shirt, especially if I'm lifting.  I get most of my tank tops from Target and they are usually Champion brand.  Some have a built-in-bra, which I used to hate (youknowwheniactuallyHADboobsbecauseitmadethetoptootight), but now I don't mind so much.  I've also gotten a couple (the green one) at Old Navy.  I really like the Champion ones with the ventilation on the side (1st pic), you know, so my HUGE boobs can breathe?  I also am alright with patterns...some mornings not so much, but other days I can appreciate a nice, little pattern, just to spice things up :)

Here is me posing in a few of my fave tank tops.

Here is a picture of some of my tanks.  It's not all of them, but they represent what I wear pretty much every day.

Now onto the bottoms.  This is where I have a little bit of an issue.  I do not like full length pants, they bother me and always shrink up any way so I'm constantly tugging them down.  So, I started buying capri workout pants, which are OK.  But I'm getting kind of sick of the capri pants that flare at the bottom, I don't know why.  But I still wear those some days.  My favorite pair is the Nike ones because they are capris but tight all the way down.  Holds everything in nice and tight (that's what she said).  I have, wait for it, started wearing shorts much more frequently.  I even went out and bought 2 pair of those tight booty shorts to wear for when I do legs and cardio.  The shorts are alright.  Still tug them down often, which is annoying, especially on a treadmill.  Anyways, here are some photos of different kinds of pants and shorts I wear (there may be some duplicates from above, sorry I do what I can).

So these are the classic capris with the slight flair that I wear a lot.  Only have them in black and 1 pair of gray.

I got these shorts at the Nike outlet.  Love them.  They have pockets, which I guess is nice, but I haven't really figured out what to put in those pockets while working out...thoughts?

These are my new tight shorts.  They're Saucony brand from a running store.  They're aiiiight.  They ride up a little, which is kinda annoying.

Here are my pants and shorts I wear to the gym:

The next 2 fashion pieces I have for you all is what goes on underneath (rawr) and what goes on on top...

Sports bras are pretty awesome.  I mean, they hold everything in place, you can get them in various colors, they last a long time...I really have lost a lot of my chest since losing weight, but these trusty sports bras seem to have adapted and still (mostly) fit.  They are getting a little old, but bras are pretty expensive, so I usually wear them until the elastic is non-existent.  Here are a few of my bras.  As you can see, I really like the Nike bras.  I've had 1 from Target, which was average, and 1 of these is Adidas, which is fine as well.  But I really like the Nike ones, they're cute, tight, and last.  And they don't judge you on the size of your boobs...too bad more men aren't like a good sports bra, huh?

Every morning, even when it's 85 degrees outside, I wear some kind of cover up to the gym because they feel the need to BLAST freezing cold air at 5am.  Every fan is turned on and the air is PUMPIN'!  So, until I get good and warmed up, I keep on some kind of cover up.  I mean, I'm not trying to show everyone in the gym how I could cut class through my trusty sports bra and my cute top...gotta cover those babies up until they're good and warm.  These are a few of my cover ups.  I also have a pink one that shrunk in the wash and a couple black ones.  I've been going for white recently though, not sure why.  Don't worry, I don't judge on color, right Greg? ;)  Annnnyways, I've gotten a few of these at Target, 1 at the Nike out, and various other places.  I love a good hoodie.  I wear them around the house all the time, too.  My recent favorite is the sheer one I got at Target (blurry picture).  It's a long sleeve hoodie but very thin, good for summer!

This is my trusty water bottle I use everyday, and sometimes I even wash it.
This is my new gym bag.  I'll do a post on its contents soon. 

One day, I'll show you all the pairs of sneakers I've had and some hair accesories.  Don't get too excited!!

Hope you enjoyed the clothes :)  If anyone wants to further my Target addiction, I will gladly accept gift cards or cash donations and I promise I will spend it on fitness goodies!  


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 77: Overtaken

This post may be a little all over the place just because I have a lot on my mind about the whole training/dieting/competition thing. 

I have realized that this whole goal of mine (doing, and being competitive, in a figure competition) has officially taken over my life.  One of my goals before starting this was to try to maintain my "normal" social life and continue on with life as I knew it.  FAIL.  I have realized that this goal is impossible because I basically have a new life(style) and with that comes many new things.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I hate and despise change and everything that it entails.  I am a routine person and could do the same thing every day at the same time in the same way.  I'm one of those people that is OK sitting on the couch all day.  I don't need to be completing chores or tasks.  I'm OK with just "being" as long as no one asks me to change.  I have quickly realized that I am undertaking one of the biggest changes I have gone through in my adult life.  I have changed physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and I'm not sure how I feel about all this change.

Physically, I've lost 18.5 pounds and at least 1 to2 dress sizes (4 or 6 to a 0 or 2).  I've gone from a 34 full C cup to a 32 B cup (why do the good things always go first?!?).  I've had to buy a lot of new clothes and/or been spotted in a lot of elastic pants.  I'm OK with this though.  ME LOVES ELASTIC!

Mentally and emotionally, I'm a bit of a mess, honestly.  I'm having a really hard time deciding if all of the sacrifices are worth it.  Most of the sacrifices deal with not being able to eat/drink at fun events (why does it seem like eating and drinking [alcohol] make events significantly better?!  Is that problematic?!)  When I take a drive through Negative Town, these are the thoughts that run through my head: why am I giving up so much for 1 competition?  Are all of the sacrifices worth what I'm missing out on?  Am I missing out on things?  Am I even going to be competitive with these other women or am I going to make a total fool out of myself.....

Socially, I feel like I don't even really have a life anymore.  I am exhausted ALL the time.  When I do "go out," which usually means showing up somewhere for about an hour or so sipping on my water bottle, I feel like I'm there, but not really there.  I mean, I want to be there and I want to see people and I want to be social.  But often, while I am there, all I can think about it how tired/sore/hungry I am and how much I just want to go home and be a recluse.  Most people my age are out eating and drinking and staying out until 2am only to do it all over again the next night.  I, on the other hand, usually have a protein shake around 8pm and then call it a night.  I don't want to be seen as "lame" and I definitely don't want people to think I don't want to be hanging out with them.  But, this whole process and lifestyle change has completely and utterly taken over my life.  Also, I haven't really met a ton of people who are in this sport, so not many people I know are going through these same changes that I am.

I don't know how to reconcile my "old" life with this "new" life.  And I know that I don't really want all of this to just be a phase.  I love training and exercising and being fit.  Of course, it won't always have to be this rigid and strict, but is my old life gone forever?  Is this new lifestyle my real, new life?  If so, how do I fit them together?

As I've mentioned before, this is a very lonely sport.  I have a lot of time with me, my ipod, and my thoughts.  That gets very overwhelming and kinda depressing after awhile.  I know I have people who support me and are there to listen to me complain and are there to say the most wonderfully, nice things.  And I SO appreciate that.  I think it's just hard for me to really be undertaking this whole process by myself.  I have to get to the gym early in the morning and later in the evening.  I have to eat the way I'm supposed to.  I have to push myself each and every time I'm at the gym.  I have to *try* and stay positive in my head so that I can continue making progress.  I have to do a lot of this on my own.

Other than change, I hate being alone more than anything.  So, for the past couple weeks my whole life has changed (because of the new workout plan and stricter diet) and I've spent a TON of time by myself.  This makes for a nervous, emotional, doubting, moody (whole post coming about this soon) future figure competitor.

After a long talk with my mom (hi mama!) and Greg (xoxo), I came to the following conclusions and got my head on a little straighter:
* if when I go through with this competition, I have to stay positive and remember the reasons I'm doing this competition to begin with.
* change is OK.  Change is good, it just takes time and readjusting.
* now I see why the people on the Biggest Loser cry ALL the time (them bitches are hungry, moody, tired, scared...) and why they have to completely revamp their lives when they leave the ranch and go home.
* I have to realize I'm doing the best I can do each day and that's all I can do right now.
* I can't blame my moodiness on PMS for too much longer...
* I will find a balance between my "old" and "new" lives, and the people who support me will be there no matter what.
* I need to find more ladies in the figure/fitness/bodybuilding world who I can get to know and hang out with so I don't feel so alone in all of this.  Anybody?  Bueller?  We can go to dinner sit and eat out of our Tupperware containers and drink lots of cocktails water.  Doesn't that sound enticing?!  Any takers?!

I know I can do this.  I will do this.  Thanks for all the kind words, they mean more than you will ever know, especially during this huge lifestyle change!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 71: Support!

I have officially reached the half way point.  11ish week down, 11ish weeks to go.  Sometimes it feels like, "WHAT?!  It's only been 11 weeks?!"  And other times it feels like, "CRAP, I need 50 more weeks to get ready!"  It just depends on the day. 

Overall, I feel pretty good about my progress.  I'm 127lbs.  I've lost 17lbs.  I can definitely see changes and I can feel that I'm still continuing to get stronger.  I've been on the new program I talked about for a week and it is INTENSE.  In the mornings I lift for about 45-60 minutes followed by about 40ish minutes of cardio.  Then, I come back in the evenings for a cardio/abs session.  I'm in the gym 11 times a week...yeah, think of the sweaty laundry!  Oh, and my exhausted body :)  The first week was definitely an adjustment period, but I think I can keep it up, especially because it's summer and I don't have a full day of work in between workouts.

What has truly become the most important, helpful, awesome motivator for me is the support of so many people.  I can't even explain how kind and wonderful so many people have been to me about this whole process--especially people who have seen me transform from the beginning.  But I'm going to try to explain.  I know that I'm doing this for me, but damn is it nice to hear the nice and supportive things that people have to say!

Random people from the gym who have seen me over the past couple months have made nice comments, friends have encouraged me and told me they think I look great and am making great progress.  My family asks me every day about my workouts and encourages me to keep going.  People comment on this blog and on Facebook with supportive words (Allison R. you win for blog supporter...thanks girl!!!!)  Numerous people have told me they definintely want to come and see Greg and I at our show, which is above and beyond anything I would've expected.  I say all of this not because I think I look awesome or because I think I'm entirely ready for this competition.  I say this because without all of YOU, I'm honestly not sure I would've made it this far. 

So, thank you, thank you, thank you for: inspiring, motivating, encouraging, and pushing me to reach this goal.  Thank you for: understanding that I have to travel with approximately 75 tupperware containers at all times, understanding that although I love all of you, and I'm trying to maintain a normal social life, I just can't keep up with my old social life (maybe 1 day...), asking me questions about my diet and exercise because you are genuinely interested in what I'm doing, telling me that I inspire you to make changes in your life.  Just, thank you.  Please know that on days I don't want to workout and I don't to step foot in the freakin' gym, I think of all the people who are supporting me and are expecting to see some damn good results at the end of this :)

This is a "sport" that can often be so isolating.  Just you, your ipod, weights, and cardio machines.  That can get very, very old.  So to have other competitors in my life who encourage me, and to have all of you who help me stay positive and focused, it's crucial.

I have to give a special shout out to 2 people who see/deal with me every day of their bloody lives.  Greg and Shea.  You guys are troopers.  You both have been there, at 5 in the morning, for months and months to help me not only physically as spotters, but more importantly as my mental/emotional rocks.  I know 5am doesn't always bring out the best in me (no comments, boys), and I know sometimes my complaints must get old (I'm getting much better!). 

Greg has prepared and portioned out all of my food for me this entire time.  That has taken one of the biggest loads off my back.  He has been in the gym with me 3 times a week and at home with me every day.  He's encouraged me when I cried (especially after my 1st ever group posing session where I felt like the biggest, yet least muscular, tool to ever roam this earth), he's been stern with me when I'm being a big puss, and he's been understanding of my complete exhaustion.  To go through this with Greg has been so helpful.  Of course it's not always easy, but it's so crucial for me to have this support day in and day out.

Shea, while he gets a break from me during the days, has been with me every morning (except when he doesn't hear his 5 alarms in the morning ;) ).  Shea and I are essentially going through the same process...while he won't be decked out in stripper heals and a bikini, he is trying to make a lifestyle change, and that is frickin' hard!  We have many of the same frustrations, worries, annoyances, and excitement when we see growth and change in our bodies.  Thank you, Shea, for all of your support, for getting on the "lame" elliptical next to me just to keep me company, for not killing me when I doodle in your workout book, for being there to listen to the peaks and the valleys of this whole thing.  Don't worry, soon your body will officially be a triangle and your shoulders and arms will be so huge  you won't fit through any doors, Brock Lesnar style ;)

Thank you, everyone!  I honestly could not do this without all of you.  I do have a lot of internal motivation, but the external is so, so helpful.  Keep it coming!  WE're only half way ;)


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 62: Final Stretch!

Wow!  So much has happened in the past week and a half...I won't bore you will all of the exact specifics but here some highlights/thoughts/worries etc:

*I participated in my first ever figure boot camp put on by Mike Davies at Fitness First.  It was essentially a weekend of intense workouts and information sessions to help competitors learn everything they need to know.  It was probably one of the best experiences I've had while training.  Mike, himself, was just what I need...a good kick in the ass!  My favorite quote of his was: "If you ask me if your jeans make your ass look big, I'm going to say, 'No.  Your fat ass makes your ass look big in your jeans.'"  Honesty, baby!  LOVE it!
*I had the opportunity to meet some amazingly wonderful, supportive, and in-shape ladies!  A lot of them were local, so it was really nice to make some connections and know that there are other people out there who are going through the same process I am.
*I felt good during the workouts.  They were definitely challenging, but I felt prepared for them.  We did lots of different exercises, both lifting and cardio, and I learned a lot!
*The posing part of the weekend...well, that was another story.  Let's just say, I was 1 of about 25 women, standing around in a bikini (not a posing suit because I don't have one yet) and some heels, in a freezing cold room.  I was, by far, the least musclar person in the room and was obviously a novice.  In fact, Mike called me "Fresh Fish."  It was a great information session, but it was embarassing, I think mostly because I was so new to the whole thing and the other women were so much more experienced.  I just felt really unprepared for that portion but as I learned more and practiced I started feeling a little better.  I know I can't be too hard on myself...I've been doing this for a few months while a lot of people have been doing this for years...

*After 3 days of camp, which was exhausting but SO wonderful, I headed to Ocean City for a few days.  To say I was tired would be an understatement.  The first day there I took 2 separate body was dead!  I found a local gym down there and lifted 1 of the mornings and did cardio 1 of the mornings.  It was hard to be out of my element and routine, but it was a nice break too.  I realized that watching people eat and drink around me is getting harder and harder.  Let me just tell you a few of the delicious/disgusting items that could be found on the OC boardwalk, mmmmk?  K.  Boardwalk fries, caramel and candy apples, fried oreos, fried cheesecake bites, any and all kinds of ice cream (*DROOL*), all kinds of flavored popcorn...I could on, but let me just stop...

*This past week was my "maintenance week."  Essentially, I was just attempting to maintain my weight and give my body a little break marks TWELVE little weeks until the competition!  I know that sounds like a long time (yeah, it's the whole summer), but, trust me, I need 12 more weeks to get ready!!  I am technically in the last phase of this whole training program.  It will be tough for the first 8 weeks and then crucial  for the last 4.  I'm ready.  Bring it.

*I learned a few things in the past week or so:
-Getting to know other people in my same boat is so important and I'm so grateful I met such awesome people.
-I am doing this competition regardless.  I know I may not be the best, more perfected competitor, but I'm going to give it my best shot.
-I want to be competitive in this competition.  Yes, I want to do it and say I've completed it.  But, I'm past that point now...I want to give those other girls a run for their money.
-I need more muscle.  Will have to do the best I can with what I've got for now!
-I need help with posing...holy moly!
-I need confidence up there!  A huge part of this whole thing is having confidence in your training, in your body, in everything you've done to prepare.
-I need a new bladder.  Seriously.  I don't think I could pee more if I tried.  Example: I stopped to pee 3 times during a 3 hour ride to Ocean City...thanks for understanding, Tanno!!

*Lastly, a few numbers for you:)
-12: weeks left
-84: days left
-129.5: current weight
-14.5: weight lost (so close to 15!)
-10-15ish: weight that still needs to be lost
-16oz.: amount of chicken I brought on a 3.5 day beach trip
-600g: amount of sweet potatos I brought to the beach
-520g: amount of protein powder I brought to the beach
-8: the number of tupperware containers I brought to the beach
-42: the number of eggs I eat in a week (that's 3.5 dozen per week...)
-3: the number of times I've eaten know, at a restaurant, this week!!!!! Wheeeeee!
-20ish: trips to the bathroom each day...can't be a figure competitor and be weary of public restrooms...I have now peed in alllll kinds of places (including the freezing, cold ocean...don't judge, it was a long walk to the boardwalk)!!  (this also becomes kinda pricey at home as far as toilet paper goes...)

**Here are my most recent pics.  Please notice the huge tray of freshly baked chicken on the stove...haha, typical!

Thanks again for EVERYONE who has been so wonderfully supportive.  You have no idea how your kind words have helped me continue on this crazy journey :)  THANKS!  THANKS!  THANKS!