Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saying Goodbye to All Things Good

So begins the last few days of my normal 4th year college student life. By that, I do not mean I am about to graduate UVa (although these last 5 months cannot fly by quick enough in terms of academics!), but rather I mean I am about to buckle down and start my training for my first ever figure competition. Today is Christmas Day, one of the many days filled with good, calorie- and sugar-laden foods during the holiday season. In just a few days (as of January 1st), I will cease to lead my crazy college lifestyle--think alcohol, fourth meals, and sleep deprivation--and will really begin the lifestyle I need to achieve my 5-6 month goal.

Why a figure competition? Well, the first answer that comes to mind is: Who knows? But in all honesty, it's just something that struck me as an excellent goal to work toward while adapting to a healthier lifestyle. Not only do I attend UVa as a full-time student, but I also maintain two jobs--one as a restaurant server and another as a sales associate at a women's clothing store. You can see how this poses a problem--in a restaurant, I find myself constantly surrounded by food that's literally at my fingertips for the taking; in a clothing store, I find myself trying to look my best in the clothing I am encouraged to sell (to myself).

This past year has definitely had its share of crazy for me and while I saw some bad habits die, I saw others form. I always found it hard to maintain even one work schedule (let alone 2!) and school AND try to fit in time for the gym. So out of those three, guess which was the first to be neglected? You're right--gym it is! In the beginning of June, I knew something had to change, but with school out for the summer, I was stuck without a gym (UVa charges students who are not enrolled in Summer Session to use the gym facilities). Thus, I was stuck with 2 choices--pay for UVa's gym (and pay more for group classes, and more for parking during the get the picture), or shop for a new gym or workout facility. At one point, I considered joining CrossFit, but it did not seem like it would a) fit into my hectic summer schedule, and b) be best suited for me. My brother had, at the time, mentioned registering at Gold's Gym, and after checking it out, I LOVED IT!!

By the end of that week, I had not only gone to the gym every SINGLE day, but I had also signed up for my first complimentary personal training session with one of Gold's trainers, Kevin S. At first, I had no idea what I was getting myself into--I had just signed up for that initial session because that's what they want you to do--try out one of their trainers and hopefully buy more sessions. I was skeptical to say the least, and the first day was really just a questionnaire day. No workout involved at all?! But the next (complimentary) session I tried out, Kevin had me jump right into things. He's really knowledgeable about training, and by the time I left the gym (sore) that day, I was sold. So I signed up for more sessions--and have enjoyed the results I've seen.

But since then, summer ended and school kicked in again, which meant less time for workout. Luckily, I was enrolled in a 1-credit swimming class, but PT sessions went by the wayside (even though I had paid for them). Not to mention, I kept getting sick, so I would find myself out of the gym even when my motivation had peaked to get back into things. For example, following my brother's wedding at the end of September, I started to get back into my training sessions, only to get a flu-like illness 3 days later. I saw all my hard work from the summer slipping away, and by October-November I was fed up.

It was then that I was sitting on my ass (obviously not at the gym) on Facebook, when I stumbled upon one of my brother's groomsmen's girlfriend's profile (confusing, yes, but I hope you got that). She had just competed in her first figure competition, and I become thoroughly intrigued. At the time, I had been making comments to my trainer about my changing physique--my shoulders especially seemed to be getting very muscular and I may have said something along the lines of looking manly. Kevin convinced me that was not the case and pointed out some women in the gym that definitely did not look manly but were frequent competitors in various body building competitions. The combination of these events convinced me that this was something that I wanted to achieve and it appeared attainable at that. Since then, I have continued my PT sessions, but nutrition = not so good.

So here I am, Christmas Day 2010, peak of the holiday season. I decided a few weeks ago that as of New Years Day, I step up my game and really put my heart into this competition. So what have I (and will I) do for my last few days of nutritional and physical freedom? Eat, drink, and be merry! Oh, and hit the gym.

Am I crazy? Maybe.

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