Already Back In Prep Mode

It was not easy to put on my posing suit today and take pictures after eating…not horribly, but eating more than I had in months and at my discretion for the last 17 days. I also had to tell Shelby everything I’ve eaten for the last two weeks.  Definitely felt like I was confessing my food sins (again, thankfully I was not that bad!)

I have gained 7 pounds since the Louisiana Championships but I think I’m carrying it rather well once I compared it to my pictures from week two of working with Shelby for the Camellia Championships…as you can see in the picture below.  I was 117 lbs, 42 days from Camellia and I was 124lbs this morning.

I’m 18 weeks from Nationals so Shelby and I have plenty of time to work together to get the physique I want to bring to the stage. He is however kicking things off by sliming me back down – how much, I don’t know but my diet is the same as it was when I was getting ready for Camellia.

Will keep everyone posted…I’m sure it’s going to be interesting!

The Process of Coping with OffSeason

I was all about getting full again…at first. Now it’s starting to get a little more difficult – particularly when my newsfeed is full of top notch women’s physique competitors’ pictures and updates as they are about to step on stage in Las Vegas for the USAs. Part of me wish I could simply shut off following their progress and looking at their updates but I can’t – for one, many have become friends and I do want to know how they do and do wish them the absolute best.  Second, I run the Women’s Physique group on Facebook so not taking part of the community I have already invested so much into is not an option. Third, being in an offseason is part of the process and a part worth embracing with the same enjoyment as the days before stepping on stage.

No Playing Comparison Games

I also know a few competitors prepping for Nationals – many are looking much leaner and harder than I am, but I know better than to compare myself to anyone else.  This is my first mini offseason so I have NO past experience to compare myself to myself. I’m very disappointed by how quickly my six-pack vanished, since I had been sporting a six-pack for so long…but now I know it might be one of the first thing to go!!

Although not playing a comparison game – I do think and believe it is better to have the fuller, rounder and bigger look in the offseason because it does mean I’m adding on size which is my goal. I have no idea how I will lean out this go round but that is part of the mystery and actually one of the most fun and best part of this sport!

Offseaon Photo Shoot…ARG!

Because of the tempo I was keeping between competing and school – there are many scheduled and planned photo shoots I wasn’t able to do.  I still want to work with all of those amazing photographers and I’m blessed they still want to work with me.  One said photographer, hit me up on Facebook to make sure I hadn’t forgotten about him and it so happens he will be in New Orleans this weekend.  While writing him a list of excuses, it hit me I needed to get over myself and simply get a shoot with him done.  It’s good to work with a photographer on multiple occasions so what if I’m not in “ideal condition” – we’ll work together again and be better acquainted next time.

Then I debated on how much I could do to improve my physique in a short amount of time – like cut carbs for a couple of days (bring back some abs) which then lead me to be clear about one thing: A photo shoot is not worth hindering the progress I need to make for Nationals.

August 1st – Turning the Reigns Back Over to my Coach

One thing is for certain – I am REALLY looking forward to turning the reigns back over to my coach; that is to the new IFBB Pro Shelby Starnes. (So excited and proud of him for earning his Pro Card). It’s been nice the last two weeks to be on my own program however, I am starting to wonder if I’ve screwed things up and set myself back by taking those two weeks into my own hands – I’m sure based on the initial diet he puts me on; I’ll get my answer.

My weight last week reached 127 – that’s 10 pounds more than my weight before cutting down the last few days before a competition.  I’ve been competing at 115.

I’m now at 123 and I keep saying I want to be at 120 before I have to send Shelby a new set of pictures but I don’t want to cut my calories to get there.  The key to dieting is the health of your metabolism. When I have more carbs now, my body heat increases which lets me know my metabolism is kicking again and that’s how it needs to stay.

All that to basically say, if I’m 120 August 1st, I am – if not, I’ m not. Much like the photo shoot, no point packing on pressure to have a certain look for my coach in order to somehow not give him the wrong impression of what I’ve been up to (for realz – I have not been stuffing myself) or feel like he will be disappointed in me.

If I got off track – he’s going to swing me right back on it and because I haven’t been so strict on myself it’s going to be much easier to follow his new diet plan for me.

I’m learning as I go and I’m coping as I go based on the priorities I have established for myself. Happiness if heavily based on having realistic expectations and an understanding of what is reasonable and what isn’t.

Less Than 10 Days Left: Disappointment or Contentment

On April 18th I wrote a blog post called “The Next 100 Days” – the Spring Semester was coming to a close and I was getting deep into competition prep. I looked on expectantly on those next 100 days to be a rewarding adventure and to provide me with answers.

I ended the post with these questions:

Where, how and to what level will my hard work pay off?!?

What door or window will open?

Will all of my struggles, efforts, sweat and tears lead to an explosive, amazing new phase to my life?

Or will things remain as stagnant, unchanging and difficult as they have been for the last 7 years?

The Root of Disappointment is Expectation

I ended my post with questions loaded with expectations. I wanted/expected my life to change and come together in those 100 days. At the end of those 100 days – if nothing else, I expected to see positive progress in my business and financial situation. Ultimately, I wanted a miracle. I wanted there to be an opportunity like none I have ever had in my life.

Your Selection of Perspective Frames Your Accomplishments and Happiness

As those 100 days are drawing to a close, I know it is the perspective I choose to have about what I accomplished and did not accomplish that will dictate my feelings and whether or not I am going to allow disappointment to cast shadows on what did transpire and what I accomplished.

There are still a handful of days left – therefore, it is still possible that the incredible opportunity will come knocking; God can make anything happen!! However, no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in regards to a new door or window opening for me, there’s no doubt the last 100 days have brought incredible changes, victories, and accomplishments into my life.

The Many Rewards

Aside from getting my diploma and winning a few trophies (plus qualifying for Nationals) – the many rewards of the last 100 days have been:

Increased Faith – My relationship with God grew in leaps and bounds the last 100 days.  I have never understood God or felt so close to Him has I do now.  Although my circumstances have not necessarily changed a whole lot – the pain, anger, and frustrations have vanished and been replaced with God’s strength, grace and peace.

I witnessed the works of God in my life and let go of the reigns.  I turned my will to Him and learned how to be more obedient. My times of struggles and hardships have been greatly minimized because I don’t try and solve my problems anymore. I turn to God and I realize I can’t make it without Him.

Amazed by my Family and Friends – I was blown away by the support, encouragement and love I received from my family and friends. The last 100 days brought me closer to everyone who matters in my life. It didn’t even occur to me when I set my “expectations” for those 100 days to seek and want to deepen my personal relationships. My priorities were skewed and I was awaken to it these last 100 days. My soul and spirit clearly needed to be provided for a lot more than my bank account did.

New Friendships and Connections – I made new friends and created new connections. I was able to motivate and inspire others.

Greater Self-Awareness– All that happened really allowed me to gain even greater self-awareness…especially when extremely carb depleted.  I got to see my true colors.  I didn’t like them much but I faced them head on.

Increased Self-Control and Self-Discipline – The challenges of competing and dieting definitely brought my levels of self-control and self-discipline to entirely new levels.

Clear About What I Want – The last 100 days and all that transpired have confirmed I remain very clear and determined about what I want, who I am, how I want to live my life and what matters most to me.

Letting Go of Expectations – Last but not least, I have finally let go of expectations. I have always expected so much of myself and managed to make myself miserable for it. Not anymore. I’m not going to be disappointed for not having the breakthrough I expected or for the lack of progress in my circumstances – I am going to stay happy, joyful and at peace with the many rewards and accomplishments I did achieve through Christ who strengthens me and continue my walk with Him, expecting more amazing things to happen.

Philippians 4:12 states it well: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.


Next Two Weeks Diet

I went and did some grocery shopping a bit ago and decided to post a picture of the type of food I am delighted to be eating in the next 12 days…before I turn the reigns back to my coach.  I’m 16 weeks away from Nationals and I plan on getting started back up with Shelby August 1st.

You’ll see in there some greek yogurt, granola, lots of fruits, veggies and frozen veggies like cauliflower and peas. I love to make cauliflower mash – just nuke a bag of cauliflower, spray some I can’t believe it’s not butter on there and put it all in the “magic bullet” and voila…a very delicious side dish I can’t have during prep.  Peas are also too high in carbs when in prep – it’s one of the few green veggies I can’t have.  I really like having tilapia with peas.

I also can’t wait to put some feta cheese, spinach and tomatoes in an omelet.  The sweet potatoes go well with really any protein like chicken or red meat. It’s going to be a treat to put half a banana into my protein shake again and back off from the protein pudding for a little while.

I still need to go get my proteins which will consist of beef, chicken, tilapia and perhaps even some salmon.

Having all this yummy, yet very healthy, balance and good for me food is going to boost my metabolism, keep my taste buds satisfied and eliminate the need to have cheat meals. The fruits will prevent sugar cravings and the balance of complex carbs and the protein will keep me feeling well satiated.  Although I’m sure I’ll be having some sushi once or twice in the next two weeks. Point being though, that I will not be depriving myself of the foods I love.  Of course it really doesn’t hurt that the foods I love are fruits and veggies!

Eating this way will also improve my mood and increase my productivity.  I don’t foresee gaining much weight…but we’ll see.

Next Three Months: Time to Grow

Many women dread the “offseason”/growing aspect of the competition cycle.  I wasn’t too sure how I was going feel about it either but if the last two days are an indication of what I’m going to look like and feel like – I’m going to LOVE IT!!

I stuffed myself Saturday night and Sunday.  Monday I got back on my diet, the one that includes carbs and had some additional fruits as well. I went to the gym to do a light back and chest workout and some cardio. I’m always sluggish getting back into my training after a competition.  The food hangover zaps my energy and I just don’t get back in there at 100% the first day.  But even after a light workout – my body was all swollen up from the food and I looked huge.

Today, I’ve stayed clean with my diet and returned to the gym with more energy.  I did a medium intensity shoulder workout and the pump was insane!!

I do miss the lean, hard and cut look but I am plenty okay with the full, big and vascular look I’m sporting right now.  It’s somewhat scary looking to be honest.  I can also feel my strength returning, more specifically, I can push through some extra reps again vice having my muscles completely give out on me.

I’m going to finish out this week picking up the intensity in the gym at a controlled pace and going to stay off all supplements.  I’ll start supplementing again next week and figure out my training splits and methodology for the next few weeks to make the most gains.

My main goal is to even out my lower and upper body.  I must put on more mass on my legs in order to lean them down to the same level as my upper body.

I really look forward to seeing the progress I’ll be making!

Misery By Choice. Quit Whining.

I can’t stand hearing myself whine or complain…especially about something I’m doing BY CHOICE. I mostly only hear myself in my head since I rarely verbalize my true pathetic sounding thoughts. I normally catch them before they escape my lips but the more carb depleted and hungry I’ve become; the more my thoughts have been hard to control. Been cussing more as well which is a nasty behavior.

Today I reminded myself that this is NOT the most uncomfortable and miserable I’ve been in my life and I’m this way because of a goal I’ve set so – ZIP IT.  It’s made me realize how soft I’ve grown over the last couple of years.  Sad.

I’ve been more tired before however, this is the hungriest over the longest period of time I’ve ever been.  It’s incredible how powerful the feeling of hunger is…of course in about 3 days I’m going to be reminded how much more powerful the power of feeling thirsty is…

I have definitely been generally speaking more uncomfortable…boot camp, OCS, Iraq and other deployments all come to mind.  Besides my hunger, bad mood and the two hours a day of cardio, what’s been bothering me the most this time around is my general lack of productivity. I don’t have the energy or patience to be productive but I do have the desire to be more productive than what I’ve been.

I’m truly ready to get qualified this weekend so I can shift my focus to some other aspects of my life.  I have many other goals I want to accomplish – it’s high time to nail this goal to the board and move on the next ones.