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 attention...at 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 guy...it 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?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Waking Up to a New Mindset

It's Flex Friday, and I woke up to the sound of rain this morning. Although it may have been some of my best quality and longest sleep cycle this week, I had to battle the urge to stay cool under the covers and let the sound of the rain hitting all the surfaces outside be my white noise. But guess what? Prep has no business sleeping in and missing fasting cardio. That's what the weekends are for--sleeping in...NEVER miss fasted cardio on the weekends!

I decided to try something a bit different this morning. I nixed the usual Ab Ripper X video pre-gym and instead incorporated my own ab routine. Some moves from the video, others I know from various sources. I liked it. I'd been in a rut and have been using that ab video as a crutch. Don't get me wrong, IT WORKS, but it's not enough and it's sort of like eating peanut butter and jelly chicken every day... It gets old quickly.

Twenty minutes of core work later and I was off to the gym. My mornings are by no means my most glamorous sweat sessions, but I do what I need to get done and I leave. Quick, easy, painless. I let the heavy heavier lifting come later. Always will. It's what I prefer.

Normally when I get back from the gym, I create this rushed state in my mind and I hurry into the shower, hurry to apply makeup and make breakfast, only to relax for an hour before leaving for work. Today? I decided screw the rush because progress pictures are in order. And again, it's Flex Friday.

I'm still not feeling 100%. Aka the bloat feels like it's still working itself out of my system, but these pictures gave me a realistic perspective on where I'm currently at.
Clockwise from top left, my thoughts:

  • Back: My back is staying pretty lean. You can tell especially through my lower back. It's all very compact and even though the picture quality is terrible, the definition is continuing to come in.
  • Obliques: Although a little puffy, you can tell that not much has changed in the oblique area. Still some good lines, although I would prefer to be a little less "wide." I'm pretty sure this is due to water retention, and I won't see the full definition until I deplete my water and sodium again during peak week. Still a work in progress but also something to strive for during off-season.
  • Biceps: I think the picture pretty much needs no explanation. Arms have never been my issue, although now that the faux tan is washing off, I feel a little self-conscious and flabby. It certainly holds true that muscle definition looks better when tanned. Maybe I'll use this as motivation to lay poolside during my off-time (and now that my new apartment complex has a lovely pool...and lakefront beach).
  • Frontal (abs, legs): Still a little puffy in the midsection, but I think things are getting a little denser. Aka more lean muscle?? I'm not as unhappy with this picture as I thought I would be. You can tell that my legs are really taking to the extra work I've been putting in to shape them and accentuate their strength. I've been doing a lot of hamstring/glute work, but have been neglecting quads except for leg extensions--which means I need to add more quad work to keep balance and bring the full package to the stage.
So there you have it folks. I apologize for the poor picture quality--even though I have plenty of windows, I'm generally lacking natural sunlight in the mornings. And the overhead lighting is a little dull. The move to the new place should yield much better progress pictures! And don't be afraid to weigh in--I'm 4 weeks, 1 day out from Comp #2. Do you see any areas that I need to work on? Work less on? Just maintain??

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday Things

Oh gloom--that's practically all I've seen when I look out the windows every morning this week. Thunderstorms every day. Don't get me wrong, there's some sun thrown in there at times, but I'm getting a little sick and tired of this inconsistent weather. Last summer was hot as the dickens, this summer is stormy and savage.

I've been a little lax in posting about my second competition prep (of three), and while there are some changes to training and nutrition, I am still settling into a new schedule. For those of you who don't know, I had a week off of work (mandatory--LOVE it!) last week, so I'm getting settled into a new semester. It definitely helps with motivation when you get in your sales results from Semester 1 and you see that you finished well above 100%! <--That was last night at 10:10pm for me, although I should have been in bed. I was too anxious!

Another reason I've been lax about posting (and mostly about progress pictures) is because I had gotten used to a certain look the last couple of weeks of my last prep. I'm mentally at a point now where I feel like I'm not physically where I want to be. I feel puffy still--although it's not necessarily because I am--and I want the abdominal definition I had less than 2 weeks ago!

By no means did I rebound last week, but I did enjoy several treats. I'm one of those picker-chooser types--when I want something unhealthy, I do not eat it in addition to a healthy meal. Rather, I'll eat healthy for most meals of the day, and replace one meal with the unhealthier choice. I did that a lot last week, especially with my beloved froyo. I can go for weeks without the softly frozen decadent goodness, but I cannot go a lifetime without it. So sue me.

Because of this disconnect between my mental and physical states, it's actually helped increase my motivation and the rate at which I'm working at the gym. Almost too much so, but that was also due to a misunderstanding I had with my new training regimin. Apparently "add in sprints in place of steady-state cardio" does NOT mean to do sprint/speed work every day. I learned this yesterday morning after the following sequence of events:

  1. Skipped fasting cardio in favor of an extra hour of sleep since I had to be on the road early/be at an office early that is 2+ hours driving distance from my apartment.
  2. Googling "best cardio for butt" while stopped red lights in response to my exhaustion and #1.
  3. Texting my coach asking about "speed walking on an incline to target butt because I can't sprint every day."
  4. Receiving a text back saying "With long strides... Sprints weren't meant to be every day..."
Duh! Silly me--I was opting for either speed work or hill sprints or stair mill intervals on the reg. Stair mill intervals, while brutal, are easy-peasy for me. But the response I got definitely mirrored what I was already thinking: "HOW am I supposed to sustain this level of energy at 5am every morning?!"Phew! I just want a better bootyyyyyy!

If any of you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you know what I'm talking about. And you know that it's rare for me to post something non-fitness-related these days. Which is why you should check out one of my current posts, or the following mash-up of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines and The Cosby Show intro:
Respect for the genius that pieced that together.

I think another reason for my disconnect is the couple stressors that I can't escape at the moment. In an effort to save money--like actually SAVE money...in a bank account or some other fashion--I have decided to leave my AMAZING downtown Charlottesville apartment in favor of moving in with one of my best friends in an apartment community less than 5 minutes down the road. While I'm excited for this change, and the new place has it's perks--such as a heavenly view of Carter's Mountain Orchard and a lakefront location--the move itself has me pulling myself in many directions. On the one hand, my current lease runs until the end of August, but on the other hand, I would like to be moved out of here by the end of July. I've contemplated doing a slow move, first taking the items I don't immediately need, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to just get it over with.
I will miss this view next Spring
And with this move comes a change in gyms. For those of you who remember, I joined a second gym in February so I would have somewhere within walking distance to do my 5am cardio. Well, this move negates the perks of having that second gym membership. Not to mention the clubhouse for the new apartment has a FULLY-EQUIPPED gym--another way to cut costs and save money! But I've been having the unknown consequences of breaking my gym contract weighing on my shoulders, and I also don't want to fully cut ties until I fully move into the new place. You would think that all of this would light a fire under my butt, but with the aforementioned thunderstorms every afternoon, it's hard to get a dry chance to actually move stuff. And I need motivation to pack.

A Workday, Gym Sesh, and Some Packing Later...

Well apparently some of the worry and stress got to me and I moved a little bit more over to the new place. Remember those thunderstorms I was telling you about? Well, I managed to miss the ones that blew through this afternoon, and let's just say my kitchen is pretty bare right now. This happened to be somewhat in place of the gym for a few reasons:
  1. When I got to the gym, I realized that aside from Round #2 cardio, abs was the only thing on my schedule today.
  2. I got in 20 minutes on the treadclimber when I got a text about going for a run. See #1. (Although the run ended up not happening because I thought it was about to downpour and I needed to stop at Sam's Club...and start packing stuff.)
  3. I am still feeling bloated like crazy!
That puffiness I mentioned earlier? Make that "bloat." When making the changes to my nutrition plan, my coach mentioned that the oats we were adding in (only 1/4 cup one time a day) may make me bloat. I've tried adding it in 2 of the past 4 days, and it seems like regardless, I get a puffy stomach. Add in frustration here. My coach thinks it's the greek yogurt. I'm skeptical and I think it's either the pickles I added back in or the whey protein that was also added in. Need to get to the bottom of this sooner rather than later!
Flat stomach, come back!
Hopefully in a few days, I will figure out the culprit and be able to provide you with something other than text to read (i.e., progress pics again). Until then, please weigh in on my bloat dilemma if you have any insight! Oh, and it doesn't help that my faux tan is unevenly coming off...I'm so pale!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

It's about time I stop procrastinating and actually recap the OCB Natural Bodyz Beach Classic from last weekend, don't you think? I apologize for the lag in posting--I know many of you have been very eager to hear how the show went. Truth be told, I've had this past week off of work (corporate shutdown, yay!) so it coincided nicely with a week to recoup and figure out next steps. It's so funny, because now that I've gotten my first bikini competition under my belt, I feel like the day just flew by and almost like it didn't happen at all. But it did, and here is how it went down.


A work day like none other, my plan Friday was to get through my offices as quickly and efficiently as possible and make the drive from Manassas (where I was that day) to Virginia Beach. GPS said it should take about 3 hours. Traffic upon traffic upon traffic later, I finally made it to the Westin Town Center, where I would be checking in for the competition and staying for the night. Just in case you're unsure, traffic upon traffic upon traffic equates to about 6 1/2 hours. Give or take. (Give).
Cooler packed full of chicken, naive to the traffic ahead of me.
The show had a very nice setup for accommodations--the host hotel was directly across from the venue, within walking distance. When I finally made it to check-in, I made the split decision to cross-over into bikini open. If you recall, I'd previously decided to register for bikini novice and was on the fence about crossing over. Well, I was pushed off the fence and landed feet first into both divisions. I was then presented with a lovely competitor's packet and the button of the day.
Potentially lucky #47??
At that point, I only had about half an hour to relax in my room before my polygraph test--yes, apparently the OCB makes you pay for take a polygraph test to ensure you have not used performance-enhancing drugs in the past 7 years. Let me tell you, that's a great way to up the cost of a show! And even though I can honestly say that I have never taken performance-enhancing drugs, I still got a little nervous strapped up and down with wires, blood pressure cuffs, etc. What if it somehow said I was lying?! All that worrying was for naught though, because the polygraph went off without a hitch duh. After that, it was back to the room to wait for my coach to arrive--because of my work schedule earlier in the day, we had to drive separately. Although in hindsight, it would have taken probably the same amount of time had I just opted to detour to Charlottesville instead of taking I-95. Oh well.

Less than half an hour later, my coach made it through the traffic as well, and we got to work on Coat #2 of 3 of ProTan. There really wasn't much time to relax at all, and by the time we finished up it was around 11pm, aka bedtime. Unfortunately for me, being the light sleeper that I am, I tossed and turned all night. I am pretty sure I woke up unable to fall back asleep more than I actually slept that night. This was due to several reasons--the obvious (nerves, excitement, etc.), and poor sleeping conditions (the ice machine RIGHT down the hall from my room beeped the ENTIRE night). I also kept switching between hot and cold, and I for the life of me could not get the thermostat and my thermoregulatory system to agree.

Saturday--Show Time!

Of course, I woke up well before my alarm the next morning, anxious as anything. It was 6:30 and I still had to eat my breakfast chicken, apply another coat of tan, and do my hair and makeup before walking across to the venue at 9am. It didn't seem like there was enough time, and my best friend was arriving at 8am to help me with makeup. I kept feeling like I was running behind and didn't get started on my hair until about 7:45. Thank goodness for my level-headed BFF who listened to me freak out, calmed me down, and managed to apply my fake eye lashes like a pro. Love her--such a trooper!
How adorable is she?!
Did I mention that she just shy of surprised me by coming down for the competition? Initially, she was unsure whether or not she would be able to make it, because she and her husband have been crazy busy with visitors (including myself) up in Philly practically every weekend for the past month or so. When I travelled to visit her 3 weeks prior to my show, she mentioned that she was going to try to convince her husband to come down with her this weekend but wasn't 100% positive. Then a few days before the show, as I was talking with her dad (they really are my second family), he told me the exciting news that she was indeed coming down. I'm so lucky I have such a supportive group of friends and family!

So 9am rolls around and my coach and I headed to the venue, and my BFF and I parted ways (only to be reunited after prejudging). Walking into the dressing rooms backstage, I was at first a little lot nervous...until I realized that I just happened to walk into the room full of figure girls. Most of the bikini girls were in the other dressing room. Then the waiting game began. I kept practicing posing in the hallways until it was time to oil up and hit the stage.
Sending IG love to all my supporters!

When I stepped behind the curtains, I realized I wasn't the only girl there that was trying to hold it together like a ball of yarn about to unravel. And yet I this sense that I was the most out of practice. The time came that we were finally called out on stage and I did what I was told to do--strike a pose. Hold it. Change. Hold it. "Turn to the back." Pivot. Flip the hair (I forgot to flip the hair SEVERAL times). Hold it. "Now take 5 steps to the back of the stage." Strike a pose. Hold it. "Turn to the front." Strike a pose. Hold it. #__ and #47 change places. Wave. Saunter. Strike a pose. Hold it.
Let's not comment much on my terrible stage presence...
It seemed like it went on forever, and there is no room to "check out what the other competitors are doing." No, no. When we stepped off stage, I already didn't have a good feeling about my placing. You can tell who the judges are watching, and I didn't seem to be a favorite. Not to mention, despite the long drawn-out description of the exact poses that the OCB was looking for (especially with back poses), there were several girls that took to other poses. Yeah, that sounds confusing, but basically, the rules said they were looking for rear poses where you have your hip popped to one side or the other, looking over one shoulder, and yet EVERY other girl on the stage either hit a straddle-legged (I don't really know what it's called) pose or one with their legs crossed together to accentuate their glutes/hammies.

I remember meeting up with my coach backstage practically fighting back tears because I didn't think that was fair. It was one of those "had I known" moments. I had one of the best physiques out of the girls in the bikini division. Heck, I was the only bikini competitor with legit abs! Okay, well maybe one of two... And yet, I lacked the stage presence, I lacked the posing confidence, and it killed my placement.
One, two, three, four, five, six. Yup, that's a 6-pack!

The Waiting Game, Evening Show, and Beyond

Captain Cole! (How is it that I don't have pics with my own family??)
After prejudging, I met up with my BFF, her dad, my mom, and my sister. It was interesting to hear their opinions of the competition, especially my mom. Let's just say strutting your stuff on stage in next to nothing isn't exactly her cup of tea. But she was also a trooper and stayed through the entire show, as did my BFF and sister. We "celebrated" being done with the hard part by going to get a little lunch and unwind. Before I knew it, it was time to get back for the evening show. At this point, I was a little bummed, as I already knew the odds were not in my favor. When it came time for my T-walk, they started playing house music until the cut into the music that I provided, which threw me off and I kinda blew that too. Well, not really, but there was a LOT of room for improvement.
Caption explained: I felt gross
and desperately wanted to shower.
After awards wrapped up, it was already 10pm(!!) and my BFF's dad invited me over so he could grill me up my first post-competition food--a delicious burger with a side of her mom's fabulous berry cobbler. I kid you not when I say I dreamt about that cobbler that night! Well it sort of turned into a nightmare of "I ate a pan of cobbler and now I need to workout...Yes, I have odd dreams.

Now What?

In the end, I think I placed 8th out of 9 girls in the novice class. Frustrating, but I'm well aware of why. And yet, I am not discouraged. Back to the drawing board! The next day, I was ready to get back at it. No, I don't mean a Sunday morning fasted cardio session, but I did hit the gym when I got back to Charlottesville that evening. I was ready to fix the things that need fixing. I was ready to revamp my training and nutrition plan, get in contact with my posing coach, and exhaust all my resources/contacts between now and my next show. And then I made that decision, which I knew I'd made long before--another show is in the works.

Not just another show, though. Another TWO shows. One larger, in Maryland. The OCB Presidential Cup on August 10th. Another, probably about the same size, by the same promoter, again in Virginia Beach. The OCB Battle for Tidewater on September 14th. The second is still a little tentative because I had committed to an obstacle race team with a couple of friends, and I don't want to leave them in the dust. However, I explained my intentions and we are working on finding a replacement for me so we can still all have our competitive moments that day.

It wasn't until Friday that I finally met with my coach. We weighed in, checked BF%, and made some tweaks to the training plan. Only 3 pounds up from competition weight (I was VERY cognizant about what I ate/drank afterward because I've heard my fair share of horror stories), and BF% was right in check. We've kept most the same because we don't want any drastic changes between now and the next two shows, but I'm cutting down my cardio from 20-30 minutes steady-state (more or less) to 15-20 minutes of HIIT. Luckily, both my old (current) and new apartments are within walking distance of two different local school tracks. Can you say TRACK SPRINTS?! Oh yeah, did I mention I'm moving about 3 miles down the road during this next prep??

Along those lines, I'm also trying to shape up my derriere a bit more, so I've started what I've termed BSO: The Booty Sculpting Offensive. This rear better shape up or ship out!

So all-in-all, I'm excited, I'm invigorated, and I'm raring to go! I have my first competition under my belt, I know the ropes, I know what to work on, and I'm fixing what must be fixed. August 10th, you better watch yourself!