Friday, September 6, 2013

Never Too Late: OCB Presidential Cup Recap, Part 2

It's never too late to finish a half-assed competition recap, am I right? I just needed to keep the suspense high, and I think I successfully managed to do that. Or I just got busy (my usual excuse) and this is my first time logging into Blogger in about a month...

When I last left you guys, I had just entered Laurel High School, sans trainer, to get checked in and receive my number for competition day. They had left some of the competitor numbers home the day before when I actually checked in, mine being one of them, so I waited with baited breath to be handed my badge of honor.
This turned out to be a good thing though, because they had to renumber several competitors the day of the show due to some scratches and no-shows. I was content with my number because it was easily divisible by 5. And 25. Which is also divisible by 5...  But at least it was easy to remember.

Show day is an odd event. It's several days in one, and yet it goes by in the blink of an eye. As Kevin likes to say, "It's a lot of waiting around for nothing." Lucky for me, I already had the "get the toes wet" experience, so I was better equipped to handle the day in its entirety and in its fragmented state.

This go-round, bikini novice (and bikini open) were pretty late in the show--I think out of about 17 or 18 classes of competitors, novice didn't go on until 13th. And open was even later. But even so, the events went by fairly quickly, or so it seemed. Before I knew it, Kevin was backstage spraying me down with a pound of Pam. Don't worry, we weighed myself before and after so I know it was exactly a pound... Almost too much so, that when Kevin went back to his seat and checked out some backstage pictures, he immediately ran back to me to blot some of that shit shine off. Hair = ruined. Although apparently that's something only noticeable to girls.

Nonetheless, I found myself chatting with some of the other bikini competitors as we awaited our fate before strutting out in less than 20 square inches of total fabric and lucite hooker heels. I say this shamelessly, but I now know what it physically feels like to be a stripper--when you step off stage, your entire body hurts! Arching your back, pushing out the booty, engaging your quads and abs, shoulders back yet relaxed. SHIT, son! So much to remember, and yet, with weekly posing practice, I had it to where it came naturally. Note to self: if I ever get let go, I can always be an uncoordinated, stripper. Okay, okay, they're people too.

Anyway, it was such a different atmosphere this time around versus my first bikini experience back at the end of June. I don't know if that was my doing or just due to the difference in shows/venues/etc., but I have a feeling it was because I was more knowledgable about what to expect. It was a calm and collected chaos, if that makes any sense. I.e., no stress about the small things, no "I just want an effing trophy" mentality, and no "Holy crap, what did I sign up for and did these other girls even train??"

Honestly, I have to say that I was highly impressed with the physiques I was up against, and I'm not just saying this because I have become pretty good (remote) friends with some of these gals. The thing about bikini competitions--and really any bodybuilding competition--is that you have no idea what the outcome is going to be. You know how much time and effort you put in before stepping on stage. You know all the sacrifices you made to get where you are, 5 inches taller than you should be. But you don't know how you compare to your competition. I say that not just because the judging is so subjective and can differ from judge to judge, competition to competition, and organization to organization. I'm sure plenty of my competitor friends out there would agree with me--you could get feedback one day saying you need more mass, bigger shoulders, etc., and the next time you step on stage, they say you are too big, tone down the shoulders, etc. There's no wrong, but there's no right either. And thus there is certainly no perfect.
Jennifer, Tiffany, & Yours Truly
(Clearly I need to stop arching my back...)
After a morning of waiting, we all walked out on stage in numerical order, lined up like dominos so we could be compared, critiqued, and compared some more. It was an eternity of moving around, hitting front poses, back poses, walking to the back of the stage, turning around, switching places, walking to the front of the stage, walking to the back of the stage in a smaller group, popping the booty, walking to the front of the stage in a smaller group, hitting a front pose, and walking off. And that was only the half of it.

I mentioned before that you really don't know where you stand when you get to these things, but let me make my point. If you're like me, you're constantly trying to compare yourself to other physiques. By the week of the competition, changes are occurring so rapidly that you don't even recognize the changes yourself and you certainly don't understand how to compare yourself to anyone else. Except in a quantitative sense (ex., duration of workouts, macronutrient consumption). Backstage is no different. And when you get on stage, the last thing you are thinking about is how you compare to other girls. That's what the judges are for. I can just imagine cocking my head around like a hyper puppy trying to see what the other gals are doing... Yeah, that's attractive.
Tough group!
I have to admit, part of the reason that I have taken to long to post this is because I am content with how I did at this competition. In a sense, it doesn't even matter the ins and outs of the day, because they had no bearing on how I placed. It didn't matter that after prejudging, I went back to the hotel to try to blot the excess Pam out of my hair.

It didn't matter that that did not work and I had to carefully wash my hair in the sink and avoid streaking my fab tan. It definitely didn't matter that the chocolate pudding I ate made me feel like I was the devil bringing a little bit of hell to heaven.
All that mattered was that: A. the hard part was over, B. prejudging was over, and C. I had done everything I could to ensure that I brought the best physical version of myself to the stage (so far...).
Happy camping.
The evening show was great though--I finally got to enjoy watching some of the other competitors do their thang, and by the time I went on stage, two of my greatest friends had shown up to cheer me on and watch the result of my 4-month-long absenteeism. Luckily for all of us, it paid off as I collected my 4th place bikini novice trophy!!!!
Words can't express my love for these two!
Madelyn, myself, Celia.
It just goes to show, I have the greatest friends ever! No need to say more. I think they were more excited than I was. And true fact: this is not only my Facebook cover photo and my desktop background, but it is also the cellphone background of Celia's. Not just because she's my wing-girl in recent days...
Thanks to Kevin for dealing with my crazy.
And my favorite trophy photo of all time:
That baby shines even without my pearly whites.
So there you have it--a finished recap (brought to you by a couple of drinks--yes, alcohol and I are testing the waters again)! And because I know you want to see more awesome photos want to share a few more awesome, proud photos:
Tiffany won overall AND received
her pro card!
No T, all A.
A very special thanks to all my continual supporters, including but not limited to: Kevin, Celia, Madelyn, my momma, Melissa, Katie, Felisha, Sissy K, Lacey, Lisa W., Tenecia, Ashley, Stacy, Sara & Jason. To those who I forgot to mention--that was on purpose... Kidding!

Until next time--Spring 2014!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Floored for Four: OCB Presidential Recap, Part 1

So proud. So dang proud! If you had asked me at the beginning of April if I thought I really would step on stage and compete in a bikini competition before the year's end, I would have had the following response: "I hope so." If you think back to that time, I had just started my initial prep--cleaning up diet, getting serious about workouts, etc--and within 3 days, I got rear-ended at a stoplight and had to deal with that whole mess. Luckily for me, it was more of an insurance/paperwork/time-consumption mess than a physical/health mess.
So very blessed that Bug Eyes suffered the damage, not me.
I walked away pretty much unscathed, with a good amount of chest tightness and shortness of breath, but no physical pain. But the incident still left me questioning whether I could actualize my goals. Three days in and already the odds were against me.

BUT I stuck it out, and here I stand four and a half months later, looking the best I've ever looked, feeling the best I've ever felt, weighing the least I've weighed since...middle school(?!?!), AND with not one but TWO bikini competitions under my belt.

I can't believe it. I seriously cannot fathom all that has happened in that seemingly short amount of time--especially between the OCB Beach Classic and the OCB Presidential Cup. I can't believe it's been a week since I stepped off stage. At this time last week, I would have been just getting back to the high school (the venue for the competition) gearing up for finals. Can you say t-walk?! It wouldn't be for another 2 or so hours that I would even strut my solo stuff--I was competitor #75 out of 80, and unlike the first competition, they ran the finals in numerical order, not by class. Hallelujah for excellent planning!

It wouldn't be for another 3 or so hours that I would have found out my fate. Did I even place? Did I do as well as I had hoped? Did I redeem myself from my subpar performance 6 weeks prior?
Is this trophy even mine? Maybe I'm just holding it for someone...
How Did It All Go Down?

It's always my goal to take what I've learned from the past and apply it to the future. So walking into my peak week, I knew what I had coming for me. I knew I would have a caffeine withdrawal and I knew that working on Friday was out of the question. I also knew that I must shave at THE last possible minute before tanning and I MUST wash my hair right before show day.

If I had to choose which peak week was harder, it would be a tough call but in the end, this most recent one would win out over the last. I went into Thursday with an excruciating headache that just would. not. go. away., and resulting back pain from sitting around on my bum all day driving between few and far between offices. The joys of having rural southwestern Virginia offices in my territory. By the time Thursday evening rolled around, I had NO appetite, and I really just wanted to get the first round of tanning over with so I could get in on my bed and sleep. Not the best mindset to have, but hey--if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Lucky for me, with the extra sleep Thursday night, and no set time I needed to be awake (although I woke up at 6:30am anyway--darned internal clock!), I got up feeling much better than the evening before. Upon walking out of my room, I was even greeted with a pleasant surprise from my roommate, who is officially the most supportive roommate in existence. With an estimated departure time of 12:30, I had plenty of time to run errands, shameless reeking of self-tanner and looking just shy of Oompah-Loompah status. Minus the green hair.
Competitor essentials--how sweet is M?!
The rest of the day seemed to fly by. Kevin, my coach, was nice enough to be my chauffeur and I was able to just relax away until we made it into Laurel, MD. After checking in, getting my competitor number, and going through the polygraph, we made it to the hotel and started round 2 of the tanning process. This went much better and much quicker than round 1. Fast-forward a few hours, and the following meal(s) occurred:
The meat and (sweet) taters
I was in heaven. Chicken? What chicken?? I had weighed in a little bit leaner than we would have liked to hit the stage with on Friday morning, so in order to refeed my muscles, a medium-rare steak and a baked sweet potato, lovingly made by the chef at Outback, was just what the doctor coach ordered. And just what my body needed.

Show Time!

Excuse my horrendous abilities (or lack thereof) to properly recap events. With one show and all its preparation flaws behind us, we awoke Saturday morning with a purpose. First thing first--wash the mane that is my hair, avoiding tan streaking as much as possible, and get those last 2 coats of tan on. After all, we were going darker for this competition. Lesson learned from June 29th. The final product:

I wish it were feasible to look like that every day. Sigh. You can tell by the look on my face though that I was already feeling much more confident with what I achieved in the 5 weeks between competitions! Several layers of makeup later, and I was looking like a certified whore winner. At that point, I ate something although I honestly couldn't tell you what because I don't even recall, and I headed over to the venue. Competitors were told to start getting there at 8am, although this is always a massively overestimation of how much time you need. The show didn't start until 10:30 (11 in actuality), and they didn't even open the backstage doors until 9:30. Good thing I brought a book and entertained myself by taking selfies!

Again, the level of support I received was incredible, although this time much more personal/genuine/concise. I never went into competing as a way to garner interest from friends and acquaintances. It may seem that way at times because I have started using my Instagram and Facebook accounts as a way to keep up with my progress, hold myself accountable, and connect with like-minded individuals with the same or similar goals. When I noticed that several people would mention in conversation that I had inspired them or motivated them to better themselves, whether in the gym or out, I kept it up. I was very humbled by the good luck wishes sent my way that morning and felt more ready than ever to step up my game on that stage!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weights Over Dates

You may have noticed that in the duration of my blog, I rarely mention dating. Yes, there's a reason for that. No, it's not necessarily just to keep details intimate about my private life. For me, dating and prep do not mix. I've tried. I've wanted it to work out on some occasions. But at the end of the day, I prefer weights over dates.

Weights aren't confusing. Weights don't leave you wondering if you've captured and held their attention. Dates do.
Google search has done it again. Must have this!
In my experience, it's just as the saying goes: If you can't handle me when I'm bulking, you don't deserve me when I'm cut.

Let me reference a few distinct types of guys when it comes to attempting to date during prep.

Exhibit A. The Aware Guy Who Loses Attention Because You've Become a "Buzzkill"
This is the guy who you know prior to starting prep. The guy that you've told your intentions to and is intrigued by the fact that you're going to start to lean out and look banging in a bikini. Excuse my blatant language. But will he stick around?
The pros: You've clearly caught his first. He likes seeing the progress you're making. He keeps in touch, but it's shallow conversation at best.
The cons: This dude is clearly in it just for appearances. He wants a free ride on your success and wants to be linked to someone who has the dedication, determination, and drive that you do. When it comes to something more substantial, he's not there at all. He will eventually lose interest when he realizes you will not forego the gym for drinks, and you are not full of stories of drunken debauchery. By the end, the only thing that appeals to him is that you are now a lightweight and therefore a cheap drunk.
Too funny not to share!
 Exhibit B. The Before and After Guy
Aka the now and later. Very similar to Exhibit A, this guy seems interested as you're entering prep. He's intrigued by the transformation that's about to occur. He sees you as a caterpillar, but he has no intentions of waiting around while you're cocooning away in the gym. But once you become that butterfly and spread your wings on stage, he's sure as hell blowing up your phone. Next!
What about the during, mister?!
Exhibit C. The Ignoramous
This is the guy that just. doesn't. get. it. Not only does he not understand what you are training for, but doesn't understand why you're not a cardio bunny. This type of male does all he can to "put you in your place" as a female. Really, aside from the first date, there is no reason to even consider Date #2. Unless you don't even mention your training regimen to him during Date #1. Be ready for this jerk to mask insults as "teasing." Toss him like you toss those 45-lb plates around!
No, not every girl does Zumba.
Exhibit D. The Enabler
Much like the ignoramous, this guy just doesn't get it. Diet that is. He doesn't understand that the workout is only 20% of the battle and nutrition is the other 80%. Go out on a date with him, and he will order you a drink the moment you step away from the table. He will constantly suggest, "One bite won't hurt..." Umm, I'd like to see you up on stage in a bikini that cost $10 per square INCH in X amount of weeks! Oh wait, I'd rather not see that... Forget I suggested that--terrible mental picture. Ew, ew, ewwww!
Just think--if this guy is already weighing in on what is "good" for you, that spells trouble down the road.
Exhibit D. The Gymrat/Bodybuilder/Soulmate(?)
With this could go either way. Honestly, this is your best chance at successful dating, but make a wrong move and things could go awry. Especially if you co-gymitate (aka you frequent the same gym). You like your gym right? So does he. Who gets dibs after the breakup??
The pros: This guy gets it. He gets all of it. He will take either one of two approaches--a. he becomes your new spotter. That workout rut you were in? Kicked! All thanks to this guy. Or b. he does his thing and he lets you do your thing. You walk in the gym together and you walk out together. Everything else is on your own.
The cons: Be careful because if this guy is too much of a gym rat, then he will try to outshine you every chance he gets. You PRed by 5-lbs for your 1 rep max? Well he PR-ed by 10. You got a new blister on your palm? He just tore 3. The good news is that if this guy does fall into this category, you can kick his ass into shape and he can handle it.

So there you have it folks, several reasons why I've tried staying out of the dating game during prep. Now, I'm not saying that I've dated all these characters, but I do hear stories. And I was inspired by some people I know that would fit the bill as any of these exhibits. Let's just say it's just not worth it. Not until I bring home some metal. Competition prep is already a physical, mental, and sometimes emotional battle. There's no need to add more to the mind games. If you're in a relationship, that's awesome! I hope am sure that your beau supports you 100-fold. But if you're a single gal like myself, embrace it. Rock that stage for yourself and no one else! And keep this in mind--there may be some single bodybuilders backstage on competition day! I kid.

Monday, July 22, 2013

On A Lighter Note

Wow, somebody has been Captain Serious lately. Guilty. The truth is, while training is not all fun and games--really it's routine, challenging routine--that doesn't mean that I'm not having my fair share of adventure and fun on the side.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you are the most in-the-know about my life as of late. Even on Facebook, I sometimes forget that not everyone wants to hear about my training day in and day out. Outside of work, I become a one-track mind, and that track is the stage. Confession: I do have a Facebook page for my blog, but it's so hard for me to balance both because I'm not readily able to post fitness tips/tricks/updates on the reg during the day. Instead, I typically use it to post links to this blog, and then it's just boring. One of these days, I will get the hang of things and be able to bring the Facebook page off the ground running.

But regardless, now that I have an amazing flatmate, she's been pushing me more to actually enjoy my downtime. And trust me, that is definitely a good thing.
Meet M, aka Twinnie, aka my new flattie!
Oh, did I not tell you? Yes, the better part of the month of July has been filled with slowly moving between two apartments in Charlottesville, luckily within 2 miles of each other. Slowly, until I decided I was prolonging moving in with one of my greatest friends--who would do such a thing?! Thus, this past week(end) has been a whirlwind of moving heavy furniture, haphazardly "packing" and unpacking boxes with the hopes that no glassware breaks as I creep down the road in my Subaru, and getting organized. Oh, and did I mention the furniture that I bought from Ikea?

Yes, 7 boxes were delivered to me on Friday, full of furniture ready to be assembled by yours truly. This is where I wish I had a man an electric screwdriver in my life--that entire process could have been a whole lot easier! Not to worry though, when I get started on a project, I try not to leave it unfinished. I even prolong bathroom breaks until I get to a "good stopping point." Nonetheless, by Saturday the transformation had occurred.
Controlled chaos turned reward.
If you ever need anything assembled, just call this girl anyone else! That was only one of the two pieces I received, the other being my bed frame with under-bed storage. Yes, I really am that excited about my furniture and my ability to assemble it, that I'm still talking about it. Not to worry, a full bedroom picture will be taken shortly after this weekend. I'm just waiting for oneeee opinion before I deem my feng shui complete. 

Let me tell you something, moving is no joke! Especially given that I moved from a top floor apartment in a two-story house to a lower-level apartment in a building built into a hill. In case you don't follow, that's one trip up and down steps for every box I move into my car and one trip up and down steps for every box I move into the new place. Let's just say that I really shouldn't experience any guilt for going easy at the gym the past weekend because I worked out plenty between Friday afternoon and Sunday.

But back to the point of this--so YES, I'm so glad that I've chosen to end my short-lived era of solitary living. It's nice to have your own place, but it can get isolating. And there are just some things that are easier when you have a roommate, especially one you're friends with first and foremost. For instance, now I don't have to practically break my arm trying to zip up impossible dresses! I also have a scapegoat for when I don't feel like doing suggested activities: "Oh, sorry, my flattie and I were planning on having a girl's night in..." I kid! (Oh, and yes, we've decided that calling each other flatmate or flattie is MUCH more fun than "roommate." Silly Americans!)

We've already been on several flatmate dates, including a viewing of Despicable Me 2, which I HIGHLY recommend you go see ASAP, and an indulgent cheat meal on Saturday. She even let me pick the restaurant, gasp! I was so excited to eat some pork barbecue nachos and a turkey burger bowl with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers that I completely forgot to take a picture. Also because I'm just not a foodie blogger. I've tried, just not me.

M and I were in the same sorority for the last year and a half of college. Oddly enough, we were the only two 3rd year students that decided to join said sorority late in the game, and we were also going through similar frustrating situations in our life at the time. We bonded immediately, and our friendship grew after the following:
  • Our birthdays are two days apart--she's the older one.
  • Our mothers look eerily alike
  • We've been asked (by a drunk man) before if we are twins...
  • ...Which led to us realizing we both have very similar facial features
  • We are both "shy" looking to the eye, but SUPER FUN if you really know us... I'm not biased or anything.
So when I found out that she had been offered a job back here in Charlottesville, I immediately jumped on the flatmate ship and asked if she was looking to get a place. The rest is history.

After my our cheat meal, we needed a little exercise, so we took to UVa Grounds to reminisce and take in the view as alumni--something I'm always too "busy" to do. And something I never think to do. Note to self: slow down more and LIVE
Old Cabell Hall from the Rotunda steps
Part of the Lawn rooms/one of the Pavilions
The ampitheater. No filter.
The ampitheater. Filtered.
By then, the temperatures had cooled off so it was nice to just sit around and relax.
I made the right choice.
Other reasons I am super excited to live with M--she knows I've been going a little stir-crazy with competition prep this time, and during my cheat meal, she made it a point to tell me, "Now don't go home and look in the mirror." Yeah, did I mention she caught me checking myself out in a mirror when we were shopping in World Market earlier that day? It's hard not to this close to show day! But honestly, I greatly appreciated her reassurance and that she felt concerned/comfortable enough to tell me that. Not many people would have that much insight, and for once, I can actually say that I didn't immediately go check the mirror when we got home. Instead, I lounged around, wrote my grandmother a nice letter, and hit the hay. Besides, I'd taken enough progress pictures earlier in the week, and as I promised you all, the scale was tucked away until weigh-in on Sunday.
Less of this...
...And this. What good is progress if you can't enjoy it?
I may not have it all right yet, but I'm slowly finding balance. And I think that this move--hectic as it was--is just the positive momentum I needed. Less than 3 weeks out from the stage, and I am embracing all aspects of life.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We All Make Mistakes

It appears as though I've been found guilty. Guilty of being a prep monster this go-round, and not in a good way. I'm familiar with enough bikini competitor blogs and resources to know that I've been making some of the most common--and uncommon--competitor mistakes.

First of all, no prep really goes perfectly. There's always something that can be done more, something less, something to change and something to keep the same. I say this partly from the little experience I have, and partly because it's intuitive. If you were just shy of first place and instead walked home with a second place trophy, what would the first thing be that you would ask yourself? "What could I have done better? Differently? What was I lacking? Why did I not exceed expectations?" Like I said--intuitive.

As I approached the show date during last prep, I already had a good idea in my mind that one competition was not going to be sufficient enough. I knew I wanted to do another, sooner rather than later, but had not decided on which yet. It wasn't until ON show day that I actually chose not one but two more competitions for which to register. I went from a mindset of "I'm going to simultaneously celebrate a paid week off work and finally being able to say that I'm a bikini competitor... no matter how well I do," to a mindset of "Well, now what? Do I really take a week off knowing I'm 6 weeks out, or do I just take it easy?"
Order beer (and a pitcher of water), drink 2-3 ounces.
Call it a night.
The uncertainty and my over-ambition brought me to a very confused state. I was a lost dog, wandering in circles. And because of that, I did not fully "enjoy" my week of freedom, but I did feel good knowing that I exercised self-control during that holiday week(end). The flip-side? I felt like I was overanalyzing everything I ate. It was like the "Eat This, Not That" mentality redefined to "If I eat this, I can't eat that." Not to mention, my protein intake was certainly lower than I'd intended for it to be.
One evening of fun with the new Flattie (Roomie)
This was all in an effort to avoid the post-competition rebound, the one that is infamous among amateur figure competitors. I'd heard horror stories--girls that went wild the night after the competition and by monday morning, they were crying to their coach about legs so swollen they couldn't see their ankles. The girls that only lost 15 pounds to get to stage weight but ended up gaining 30 after the show. I was not going to be one of them.

The day after the show, I felt so IDLE. I had just driven back to Charlottesville and needed to get in some form of activity. So I headed to the gym for a 4 mile treadmill tempo run, snapped the following picture, and officially called on the Booty Sculpting Offensive.
Work to be done.
The rest of that week, while I did not train at the intensity I had been during prep, I did not miss a day. Well, aside from 4th of July--an unplanned, but needed rest day. While I was at the beach visiting my mom, I still managed fasted cardio. Back up in Charlottesville, I hit the gym and went on some runs. It's not that I was overtraining, but I may have been a little too eager to jump back in and probably could have benefitted from the extra rest. Mistake #1.

Mistake #2--as I already mentioned, I was very careful to avoid the weight gain. And I did (and have). I fluctuate between a 3 and 5 pound weight gain from the morning of the competition til now. What does that mean? That means that I'm stepping on the scale wayyyy too much. Thus relying on the scale as an "indicator of progress" wayyyy too much. Not good. It's a bad habit and not at all indicative of good gains or anything.
Two days pre-show. Within 2 pounds of stage weight.
A bad habit I'm trying to break. Typically, I start my day with fasted cardio, go home and weigh myself pre-shower, and compare to previous days. And also again after my afternoon workouts, at which point I'm also typically slightly dehydrated. In case you don't see what's wrong with that, let me point it out to you--WAY too excessive! So this morning, I kicked the scale. Ideally, I should take out the batteries and hide them until Sunday mornings--my actual weigh-in days.
Better indicator of progress.
This hasn't affected much in terms of my training, aside from mentally. It's a lot harder to go through prep when you are in constant comparison of two versions of yourself. So rather than look to the scale, I've started to turn to my iPhoto as an indicator of my progress. Why let the number define me? Instead, perhaps I should be looking to compare my current physique to that which it was 4 weeks out from my last competition.
Then: 4 weeks out from OCB Natural Bodyz
Beach Classic
Now: 4 weeks out from Presidential Cup
Tell me: Do you see any differences?? No need to filter responses to make me "feel good." Clearly, I'm working on posing and thus the posing between then and now is completely different...another mistake I'm working hard to fix!

What mistakes have you made in your fitness goals/training/etc??

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's All Crystal Clear Doing Laundry in Hooker Heels

It seems as though I have set a negative precedent amongst friends. It's no one's fault and everyone's fault at the same time. It's a Saturday night--a birthday weekend amongst one group of friends--and I'm sitting here more upset than I'll let myself let on, having just finished folding my gym laundry and posing in my mirror. This has become my norm.

Muscle definition! Excuse the monstrous bruise.

Before I go any further, I feel the need to give a little background, so let's rewind a bit. Last prep was an experience for me. I use no adjectives to describe "experience" because there are so many, and some contradict others. It was the first time I had fully committed to the grind that is competition prep, and I took every moment in stride. And now, in hindsight, I see that I was testing the waters for what I am and am not capable of during prep.
Fridays are for wandering around Target contemplating
tempting purchases.
Four weeks prior to the Beach Classic, I was becoming very anxious about the competition. I wasn't sure that I would be ready, wasn't sure that I would lean out enough, wasn't sure that I would be able to pose at all (though that one, I learned, was not far from the truth, ha). I was putting so much into this--time, money, energy, and I knew that I needed to step back from certain things. So I stepped back from socializing as much as I had been.

I didn't entirely remove myself from my group(s) of friends, or so I thought. Nowadays, almost everything is technologically driven, so it's only fitting that most of my friends have created Facebook groups or messages so as to more easily communicate upcoming events, etc. Couple that with the fact that almost everything in Charlottesville costs money to attend, even if you are not partaking in the perks (food/alcohol) that come with the entrance fees. It was with hesitation that, after several mentions of different (costly) events, I posed the question of whether or not anyone would be upset if I temporarily left a particular group message until post-competition. With everyone's blessing, I hit the "Leave message" button. And it was easier--I didn't feel guilty for having to say no most of the time. I didn't yearn to just suck it up and pay $30 just to hang out with my friends. And most importantly, I got through prep.

Now I sit here questioning whether that was a wise choice. I never chose my lifestyle with the intention of isolating myself. I chose to compete (and then to compete two more times in the coming months) to prove something to myself. I go through training every DAMN day not because anyone is forcing me to, but because it's what's important to me, it's what I like to do, and I have fun doing it.
I sweat and I smile. And then I sweat again.
Many don't understand it. They ask basic questions about training/competing/fitness, and they ask about limitations, but they never bother to ask about what I can do/what I'm not restricted with. There's a very distinct ignorance about it, and because of that, I find myself no longer getting any invites--even to events that I initially suggested. Plans are being made as though my training coincides with my non-existence. This, after just coming back to the land of the living and indulging everyone's curiosity about all of the competition recap details.
Philip Ricardo Jr. putting me to shame
Like I said, it's no one's fault...and it's everyone's fault. Is it mostly mine? I will not deny the fact that yes, I am at fault but am unsure as to how much blame I can take. All I know is that I sit here, having missed out on half a weekend full of festivities, not to mention those events that took place during the week, because lack of knowledge about my lifestyle led many to believe that an invite was not necessary. Am I being passive-aggressive? Perhaps a little, but I'm hurt.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--Charlottesville is lacking in resources for fitness competitors. Several larger cities have it all, from competitor-oriented gyms to actual storefronts where you can buy your competition bikini off the rack, something unheard of to me. So it's not like I can walk into a gym and find all these like-minded girls to buddy up with during prep. Heck, I realized a few days ago that I go to a gym that's all-male. I kid you not. Aside from the occasional girl that comes in (usually "lifting" with her bodybuilding boyfriend), I'm the only thing with T&A walking through the doors of Total Performance. Don't get me wrong, I love my gym--it's super inviting, the guys are mostly decent, and I can do my thing in peace. But I'm never going to make any of those BGFFL (Best Gym Friends For Life) friendships there. How do I find balance?