Thursday, June 30, 2011

Exhaustion...Or Confusion? Both??

Both. For sure. First, I'm Exhuasted with a capital "E" today! I got up at 5, went to the gym, got in calve extensions (up to 90lbs!!), shoulders with Kevin, cardio, and then abs! I have to admit, I just didn't want to leave the gym today! It felt good being there. Felt RIGHT. As previously mentioned in my V-blog, I split cardio between the treadmill--WHAT WAS I THINKING doing HIIT?!--and the stairmill--a necessary evil cardio companion. I'll admit now that I actually love the stairmill. I'd take it any day over the treadmill. And so I do. But there are times when I feel like I'm pushing myself harder on the treadmill, so I make sure to get a bit of both in. Well, during the last 5 minutes of the stairs, I really wanted to hop off and call it a day morning. I didn't. I finished strong. And then some (abs). I left pleasantly sweaty :)

However, once my egg beaters omelette breakfast was settled in my stomach, reality came crashing upon me. I was exhausted! Did I mention it was only 9am at this point?? WAY too early for a nap! Excessive caffeine consumption and a tanning bed session later, I was still in the same boat. And scheduled to be at work at 3:15. Unfortunately, by the time I left work at 6:15, I had to raincheck my plans to do Body Combat with my friend Megan. I just didn't have the energy. I think it's a mixture of the no carbs this week and the hour of sleep I deprived myself of by staying up til 11 last night. So I am sad that I didn't get to do Body Combat (or I should say that my body wouldn't let me??), but I am very pleased with the intensity at which I worked out this morning. Seriously, I was at the gym for 2 hours! And was planning on going back for an hour-long butt-kicking!

So that's what I mean when I mention exhaustion. As for the confusion, I hope you all can help me out with this one! Now, I know everyone's individual competition prep diet is different, but I'm sitting here scratching my head on this one. Basically, I think I'm eating too much, especially on my low carb days Wednesday - Saturday. Typically on these days, I only have 1/4 cup of oatmeal for carb intake and the rest comes from green veggies. What confuses me is my protein. I'm supposed to eat ~22g protein at every meal, but I have this cross-listed for me as, for example: 1 scoop of protein/8 egg whites/9oz chicken. That just seems like SO much to me. At first I saw my weight dropping and now I don't. I've tried doing my research, but once again--every prep is different. Confusion.

Anyway, my brain is shutting down, so I leave you with a picture of my new shower curtain...purchased from the children's bathroom aisle in Target.
Doesn't this make you want to shower in my bathroom?
LOVE sea critters!

Happy (Shoulder-Training) Thursday!

Enjoy my lovely face for the next 7-8 minutes haha. I'm pretty scatter-brained & still getting used to the video posts. If it was working for me yesterday, it would have been a much more organized post, but alas, it wasn't. Anyway, off to go tanning & hopefully not fall asleep in the tanning bed!

Oh and I meant to ask--for those of you doing two-a-days, do you wash your hair all the time?? I get SO sweaty and I can't stand the idea of skipping a shower. So I normally only wash my hair (aka shampoo & condition) once every 3-4 days, but I condition my hair EVERY time I shower (twice a day). Does that seem normal? I don't want to dry my hair out!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Only an Hour Left for WILW!

I lost track of time this afternoon at the gym! Hence, this post is so late. But I promised you a What I Love Wednesday, so here it is!

Love List

  • Birthdays-- My not-so little sister turned 19 on June 19th. I love birthdays! They're so fun! Getting together with close friends and family. Giving presents (or receiving them if you're the birthday girl). Good food, good company. There's a reason they are considered celebrations. And Eleanor's birthday was no exception. My mom, sissy, her friend Amanda, and I went to PF Chang's for a late lunch. It was delicious! I made sure to look online at the menu and find something on track with my nutrition before we went. It actually worked out really well!
Happy Bday Lovey!
Sisterly LOVE
I turned it into a photo shoot of yours truly ;)
  • Workouts that make you wanna vom & hit someone-- These are also the times when you should watch out because I get in a bit of a pissy mood from being pushed so hard, and I generally want to cry half the time during them. However, there's just something so rewarding when you finish. Tonight's workout was exactly like this--leg day! Managed to get REAL deep on squats--it helps when you have someone besides your trainer watching you/critiquing you. My initial reaction was (out loud) "I don't give a s*** what you think!" Yeah, that was the pissy Liz talking, oops! Only squats (up to 155), box steps (with 25lb dumbbells), and deadlifts (with 10lb plates on each side to keep low) and I was done for! 
  • Hitting ALL your workout in a week, and hitting them HARD-- Self-explanatory? Rewarding! So very rewarding. And no guilt = YES please!
  • Road trips with pups-- My little guy Archie and his brother, Murdoch, were so well-behaved on the drive to Syracuse and back. They were also pretty amusing. Especially Archie. It's getting late, so I'll leave you with numerous puppy pics:
Archie napping on Sissy
Murdoch wanted to sit in the front seat
Archie was amusing the other drivers on the road.
Silly boy :)
Waiting for Mommy to get back from the rest stop
Fave Archie pic? Um YES!

And for being so good--vanilla ice cream
courtesy of Joanie (my mom)

I'm Back (And Photobooth is Being a Jerk!)!!

Hello, hello! I'm sooo glad to be back! Back to blogging, back to Cville, back to my gym! Thank you so much for all your advice regarding nutrition during my travels and for your kind words about my grandma. You'll be glad to know that she is doing really well. Besides some poor circulation in her legs that causes her legs to swell (I can't even begin to imagine going through that!), she's a real go-getter!

I tried about 4 times this morning to record a video for you all because I figured that would be quicker than typing everything out, but Photobooth wasn't having it! It would only record between 10 seconds and 2 minutes, even though it said it was recording the entire time. Grr! So I figure I would have been done typing this by now had I just gone that route.

I actually got back into Charlottesville on Sunday, but I've been quite busy with a Loft store meeting, working, trying to catch up on reading blogs, getting my butt back to my gym and making sure I kick it good each day, and interviews! I will get to more about the interviews in a bit, but first--Syracuse!

Visiting my grandma was a lot of fun. Granted, I got a little crabby not being in my routine and not having internet, but we got to do a lot! I'm not used to being so go, go, go! Monday we drove all day and didn't get in until around 7. Tuesday we went to Finger Lakes Casino & Horse Races. So much fun! But I'm bad at gambling aka playing slots. And none of my horses won (or got "Show")--my luck was better the last time we visited, 4 years ago! Wednesday we visited some other family members, Thursday we went to another casino--Turning Stone--and Friday we went to Carousel mall--all 7 or 8 stories of it--and did some shopping. I'm sure there were other things that we did, but my sense of time is so completely off right now.

While I was up in New York, I did make sure to get to the gym every day (there was a Gold's in Liverpool), but unfortunately I wasn't able to go twice a day. I felt guilty taking so much time away from my grandma and my family. In addition, nutrition was HARD! As soon as we got in, my grandma kept asking about things I could/did eat.
"Can you eat tomatoes? They're fresh!" 
"No, Grandma..."
"Do you eat strawberries? I have a nice loaf of fresh bread..."
"Sorry, Grandma. My diet is really strict and I can't have that." 
 I just felt so bad saying no all the time. Grandmas always want you to eat and want to make sure that you're getting your proper nutrition (though not proper for a figure competitor). After a while, it was just easier to say yes, so I did. BAD Liz! But you can't blame me for wanting to be a good grand-daughter, right??

So now, I'm trying to make up for lost time and nutrition. I'm making sure to go all out at the gym this week. Higher reps, more reps. More intense cardio. NO CARBS at all this week, period! It's working. I'm feeling good and my energy is high for now. Luckily, since I found out the show was a week later than previously mentioned, I am not freaking out as much. That's not to say that I'm not freaking out and stressing, because I totally am. Totally.

So now, about those interviews--Tuesday on the way to the casino, I was checking my email on my phone and had an email from one of the companies I applied to for a position as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. They wanted a phone interview with me--yay! I had the interview on Monday... I hate phone interviews! They're terrible! It's so hard for me to gather my thoughts, I don't feel like I'm actually talking to someone, I stumble over my words, and no matter what, I just don't feel like I'm saying the right things. I didn't bomb it, but I wish I would have done better/been less nervous. That being said, I got the email yesterday saying I wasn't going further in the interview process. BUT THAT'S OKAY. Because...

Sunday at our Loft store meeting, I was supposed to talk to the girls as their credit coach and my managers kept saying afterward how well of a job I did. Then they mentioned that they want to promote me to sales lead sooner than they planned (which was August). So today I have a phone interview with the manager of another store--I'm not nervous at all about this interview because this job comes natural to me. I've known that I've wanted this promotion for some time now and I think it will be a great opportunity to continue to grow my experience and sales/retail skills. I already know how to do most of the things the position requires anyway, just from observing for so long--I've been with the company for 2 1/2 years! So that change is going to happen soon! I'll be good to go before my competition--yay!

In addition to that, I had an interview with a new restaurant opening downtown that's going to have a sky bar (rooftop bar). What you should know about downtown Charlottesville--this area is a pedestrian-friendly mall with a lot of local businesses. All the restaurants are, for the most part, higher-end. People go to dinner to enjoy it--meaning they take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. These places are pricey. They are fine dining. And they are where there is money to be made. I met on Monday with the hiring manager and the executive chef--they seemed very eager to include me in their new venture and although I initially applied to be a host and/or server, they suggested being a cocktail server. I am in love with this idea! The chef even said I definitely have the personality for it. :) Yay! I was initially hesitant to serve because of the competition--I'm not awake at 2am!!--but they are not opening until after my competition (literally the week after), so I don't have any schedule conflicts, phew!

So I think I'm going to welcome both of these opportunities and take a few months to a year to figure out what the heck I really want to do. Grad school is an option. So is some sort of full-time job. But I need to figure out what I want that job to be. What do I love? Or at least what would I not mind doing? Right now, I'm just clueless. As most 21 year-old recent college grads are/should be. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but the only reason I ended up in Environmental Science is because I started in engineering, and after 3 semesters I decided that wasn't for me... But with all the science credits, another science major seemed like the best option and my mom refused to let me major in something classified as a liberal arts degree. So I'm going to take these opportunities and this time to figure that out. What do I want to do? Where do I want to be? Where do I want to go? All questions that I don't think I have to rush to figure out.

Lastly, today is Wednesday, or better yet: What I Love Wednesday! Check back later today for a Love List! And I hope you find some things today that you LOVE!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

S.O.S. Mayday! Help!!

Okay so I'm freaking out a bit a lot here!! I had to leave Charlottesville pretty suddenly today to drive down to Virginia Beach. Tomorrow is my sister's birthday, but after that, we are heading straight up to Syracuse on Monday to visit my grandma. I didn't have time to prep ANYTHING!!! I don't have time to prep anything! I managed to bring my tubs of protein powder and oatmeal (and glutamine), but that's all I have. I can't do any sort of prepping tomorrow because my family will be too busy. Monday I'll be bored/stuck in a car fighting temptations to eat out of boredom.

What do I do about my meals!? At this point, what is most important?? Obviously I will be closely monitoring carb intake, but I find it very unlikely that I'll be able to get in all my protein and eat all my meals at the given times this week. Cue freak out please!

I'm going to try my best to get in my workouts--I already googled the nearest Gold's Gym(s), but I also don't think I will actually have the time to get them all in. I already feel guilty for being concerned with all of this instead of keeping my thoughts on my grandma.

Basically, I need advice & lots of it! Please please please send me some suggestions! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Thought It Was Friday Like 4 Days Ago...?

This week has seriously flown by! On Monday, I thought it was later in the week than it was, but then I remembered "Oh yeah, I'm still 4 days away from pay day..." Now that Friday is finally here, I really just want it to be tomorrow night. I'm getting excited to go home for my sissy's 19th birthday! Actually, I'm more excited to give her the gift(s) I bought for her. I'm one of those people that--although I really do enjoy receiving gifts--loves giving gifts. The feeling of giving the "perfect" gift to me is just so great. The joy that it brings to another person, the smile that appears on their face, the first time they actually use the gift and think back to you. That's what I love about gift-giving. Granted, I spent a bit more than I intended to on my sister, but she's worth it :) And I would feel bad getting her just one small thing, even though I'm very tightly budgeted right now. Can't wait to see her & my momma!
Just a cake I made for sissy's bday 5(?) years ago!
Seems like it's the weekend to get away--Kevin is out of town this weekend (duh, Father's Day is kinda important), so I'm on my own for training. I don't mind though--it's just today and tomorrow that I have to get through. Oh wait, and Monday since I'll be coming back Tuesday afternoon. Kevin was kind enough to get me in for a workout yesterday before I had to go into work and test my strength by redesigning the windows in Loft. It involved a LOT of ladder climbing, hanging crepe paper balls, and balancing. If you stop by a Loft anytime soon, admire the sale windows please--that's what I had to do. My managers keep telling me they put me on visual shifts to do windows because I'm the only one strong enough (as in experienced enough) to do it, but I think what they really mean to say is that I really am the only one strong enough to do it! Or so I tell myself...
Our windows look eerily similar to this...
Okay, getting off topic--back to yesterday's workout. It was a back day. It was also the first time in a LONG time that I did pull-ups. Assisted (by Kev) of course. Toward the end of my workout, I really wanted to cry. I got frustrated at one point and said "I can't do anymore, I'm going to drop it." Kevin didn't take that as an answer, so I finished the 2 reps I had left. There are definitely moments when I think he's just trying to torture me (not really), but at the end of the day, I really can't complain. He's there to spot me, to make sure I don't hurt myself, and most of all to make sure I'm pushing myself hard enough. Why would I want him to accept my "can't's" and "don't want to's"? How is that going to make me stand out on stage? It won't. So though sometimes I want to just throw the weight down and walk out or shed a tear just out of frustration and move on, I don't. I hold it together grimace a little and finish my set. Besides, what kind of person would I be if I didn't live by my blog name? It is Just Another Rep anyway--it's not gonna kill me.
Because we all know I'm this badass, right?

Going through the gloomy, miserable day today, my body has been feeling more and more sore/tired from yesterday's workout. And I can't help it, but my mood is definitely matching the grey skies outside. I was on the phone with my mom yesterday (for a hot second when I was at work), and she told me she got a phone call from my Aunt Carolyn earlier. Well, let's just say my family is not Carolyn's favorite. I should have known that it was going to be bad news when my mom said she called. And it was. Turns out my grandma's health is degrading--her lips are turning blue and she is one of those people who doesn't go to the doctor unless it's really really serious. Her birthday is on the Fourth of July, so I'll be taking some time off work to head up there with my family and celebrate another year older with her.

But the circumstances are just so unfortunate. My mom mentioned visiting grandma for "what could be the last time" and although I held it together on the phone--I think I was in shock--I got rather emotional afterward. Good thing I saved my tears when I was at the gym--there's no use in crying over silly things like a hard workout when there are more important things to cry over. I've found myself thinking about it at the most random times and it's really hard not to get upset. My grandpa, her husband, died when I was in middle school, so it was a bit too early on in my life to really get emotional. My dad's parents passed away over the past few years, but we aren't really close with his side of the family, and I'd only met them a handful of times, so it wasn't a huge deal to me. But not only is my grandma the last of my grandparents that's living, but she's also the closest to me. I'm hoping and praying that it's not that bad. I don't want to tell myself otherwise.
Summer 2007--Me & My Granny
Another heavy post. Sorry folks. I should really call my mom right now--it's the last day of school for her, and apparently her students this year were terrible, so I should really congratulate her for getting through it. And try to keep my mind off other topics.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bear With Me Please: First Video Post!!

Okay, so this is completely long-winded, but I'm trying to be more active with my blog. Especially since I have so much spare time right now. Today's topic is: Breakfast! Hopefully I'll be posting more shorter videos on a consistent basis. Enjoy!!
Phew! To those of you that actually watched the entire thing, congratulations! And I love you--you are amazing for wanting to watch me talk about food (since my next meal isn't for another hour)!

P.S. Check out my facebook page! Just search "Just Another Rep"!!

It's the Little Things

Good morning! Scratch that--GREAT morning! I slept so well last night--didn't wake up once, not even for a bathroom break. And trust me, that happens all too often lately. Despite my best efforts, I always end up chugging the last 1/8 to 1/4 of my gallon before bed. You can only imagine the pressure on my bladder while I'm tossing and turning in my slumber.
Don't need this Big Daddy scene to happen to me at night!

Although I did wake up a bit on the sleepy side this morning--I blame two nights ago when I decided to be social mid-week--I got to the gym relatively early for me (about 5:20). I've gotten in the habit of setting out the things I need for my AM shake the night before, so all I have to do on my way out the door is toss the ingredients together in my Magic Bullet-like blender, grab a straw & my keys, throw on some clothes, and head out the door. There are some mornings where, no joke, I don't even look in the mirror. I can only imagine what my fellow gym-goers think. Oh wait, they are probably looking the same!

This morning, I decided to switch up my protein shake a tiny bit. And it made all the difference! Normally, I put about a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or half that with water), a little less than equal amounts of sugar-free chai latte concentrate, and a scoop of (currently cookies 'n cream) protein powder, along with 3-4 ice cubes. Yesterday when I was making one of my meals, I was craving one of the beets that I have in my fridge. It must have been fate that I didn't eat it, because when I was doing my second cardio last night, I read an article about the benefits that beets have during your workout. Immediately, I had a eureka moment--I'll throw one of those suckers in my shake in the morning! Can't be that bad, right??
Ready to Drink--in a shake!

Oh.My.Goodness! It was terrific! I loved it! I'm hooked! Now the only downside is that I only have one beet left. And I get my beets from Trader Joe's. Of which we do not currently have in Charlottesville. If I was feeling brave, I would venture to the new Whole Foods and check out their selection there, but they just opened in a new, HUGE building and for the past week and a half, the parking lot has been CRAZY. So no thank you to WF at the moment, but soon hopefully... I'm just waiting to see if the hype dies down. Worst case scenario, I'll be down home soon, and I can stop at TJ's then and pick up a package or two. Can't wait!

In addition to the shake modification, I have made a couple more changes. I've been switching up my cardio a bit this week because, to be honest, I'm just not feeling the treadmill this week. And I'm actually feeling 100% better than I did last week! I think my body just needed that change. Just for the week. Next week I'll get back in the saddle (or back on the treadmill...) and start running again. The cardio I have been doing--StairMaster, elliptical, recumbent bike--has been targeting my lower body, and I've definitely felt it. While running is great and I'm all for it, I do need to focus on my lower body at the moment, and I don't think I've sacrificed anything by doing so. In fact, my legs are slowly but surely feeling stronger, if I do say so myself!

Last but not least, I have found a new favorite flavor of gum! And no, unfortunately, it is not the Dessert Delights Orange Creme Pop I blogged about last week. Believe it or not, it is the new Juicy Fruit flavor! I haven't had Juicy Fruit in years, and the last time I did, I had a horrid experience with it practically breaking down in my mouth. Ick! This new flavor is called Juicy Secret--a mystery flavor of sorts *cue Halloween howling...* and it is Amazing!! I'm terrible at guessing mystery flavors, but if I had to fathom a guess, I would say it's some sort of blueberry something-or-other? That's beside the point, because right now I'm just calling it "delicious!"
Gee, I wonder what flavor...
Go out. Buy this (I got mine at Walmart). Unwrap it's flavor. Put it in your mouth & savor the mystery!
...I should be a spokesperson for them. Or a suggestive seller. New calling??

Do you have any unusual food concoctions that taste soooo amazing?? How often do you switch up cardio & what do you do? Are you actually going to try this gum now that I've convinced you it's not-so-secretly fantastic??

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Turning In Early

Way early! It's only 8 and I'm already exhausted! Could be because I decided to be a little social last night. My weekend plans fell through this past weekend, and since today was pretty much my day off of work I decided it couldn't hurt. I still managed to wake up by 5am for some early morning cardio, abs, and calves--the usual--but I also feel like I had more caffeine than usual today. Sigh, oh well. Kept me up and going. And I felt good! No harm, no foul (I think).

I hope you enjoyed the WILW post from earlier! I realized I meant to touch on some competition-related things, but they just didn't fit with the post, and I forgot until right after I hit the "Publish Post" button. So here's round 2 for my blog today:

Monday I met with Pleasants so we could go over my nutrition and make some changes. Changes were also made to my workouts. But first--this past Sunday I gained a pound during my weigh-in, and although I know the culprit, and it was my own naivety that brought on the weight gain, I was not very pleased. This week, Pleasants decided to cut carbs even further!! Now, on my low carb days, I'm only down to 1/4 cup of oatmeal once a day. My only other carb intake is in the form of fibrous green veggies on my low days. Even my high day is maybe half of what it was when I was starting off. Not complaining though, because I'm seeing progress!

He also thinks I'm coming along well and everything is tightening up. That's music to my ears! The only thing I need to work on according to him is hamstrings. So now, in addition to abs and calves every day, I'm supposed to do 4 sets of leg extensions and leg curls after every workout. Can you say "eek!!!"?! Although, I will say that they're not as bad as when I do them during my leg day workouts. By the time I get to them then, my legs are done-zo! Time will tell if they do their job correctly.

In other news, I keep leaving my gallon jug at work! I'm practically living there now--been trying to pick up hours like crazy since I'm on the prowl for a full-time job still. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel (for now)--I applied for a job at a new restaurant downtown and the hiring manager has been corresponding with me via email. In the next few days, I should be set up with an interview! The only potential downside is that the restaurant is open from 3pm to 2am. So whereas I would normally apply for a server position, I'm mainly applying for a hosting position for now, because I don't think I could handle going to bed at 2am and waking up at 5am for cardio. Wish me luck, y'all!

Oh, but back to the water jug. Yes, I've now managed to leave it 2 days in a row, so I'm relying on a handy-dandy plastic cup to keep me hydrated! Since I'm at my desk most of the day it's like my right-hand man (hehe). Thank goodness for crystal light! Or the store brand version--same difference when you're on a tight budget. I've found that my meals are coming along better, and when I'm drinking something besides my Xtend-spiked water all day, my hunger in between meals is practically non-existent. I'm still being careful though, because I know that all those mix-yourself drinks are sweetened with Splenda...

That being said, I was reading a blog today and one of the comments made me doubt whether my--ahem--"problems" were actually due to the artificial sweetener or just the nutrition I've been following. I can't actually bring myself to say more, because it's embarrassing. Although I'm sure many of you have been through it too. Okay fine... If I were to Google this to figure out what's going on it would look something like "gassy during bodybuilding diet." Because I'm unoriginal when it comes to Googling and  hey, it is what it is. Don't judge.

So now that I've thoroughly embarrassed myself, I might as well go on to tell this funny little occurrence that happened yesterday when I was on lunch break with my assistant manager at work. We were chatting and finishing up our lunches, when out of the corner of my eye, I see here take something out of her lunch bag. I immediately knew what it was, even as she kindly turned around so as not to make me feel bad. BROWNIE--it was a brownie! Oh dear god, I love her for hiding it from me. However, my mouth was running quicker than my brain (duh--it was being powered by my deprived tastebuds!) and before I knew it, I whined, "I just wanna look at it!!!" Complete with a pout and everything. I think we both looked blankly at each other for half a second before we busted out laughing! I STILL can't believe I said that! I didn't mean to say it out loud! It was too late--I sounded insane. Good thing my managers don't really think I'm crazy I hope. Needless to say, the rest of my shift was a piece of cake (now here I go mentioning sweets again!).

While I'm at it talking about my work managers/friends, I just want to mention how supportive they have all been during my training. Don't get me wrong--my training doesn't interfere with my work, but there have been a couple of days where I've been a bit moody or lethargic from a lack of energy. I try my best to power through, and it's worked out fine. Normally, those moody, lethargic days are also due to my own decision to pick up shifts, leaving me with not much in terms of a day off. Retail has no weekends. In fact the weekends are like the work week of a typical business--hectic! But yes, my managers, Caroline & Kaylee, are great! Every single time I come in, they always compliment me on how good I'm looking, how muscular and lean I'm becoming, etc. It really feels good to know that others can see a difference. I'm not one to fish for compliments, but when they are given to me, I don't complain.

In addition to being a morale booster, the compliments they have thrown my way are also really helping me to see the progress I've made. For the first time in weeks, I CAN notice changes. Abs are really coming in nicely and my biceps...well they may need their own zip code on my body. Kidding! But in all seriousness, I do think I will be able to see one of those vein-pop (or whatever the actual term is for it) things by show-time!! I'm seeing the beginning of one now, and I SWEAR I say it during my tricep workout the other day. No joke this time! Not to mention, being fake tan definitely helps.

If this post were an alphabet, I would have completely murdered it--B, X, J, M, D...?? In other words, I hope you were able to follow along :) Nighty night!

P.S. Thank you to all those that posted wonderful, supportive comments on my heavy blog the other day! You all motivate me so much every day, and it means a great deal to me that you even check out my blog, let alone comment. Much love! To show my appreciation, this:
is for all of you that commented on Sunday's post!



Hey there dear readers! So this is the first of my official WILWs--What I Love Wednesdays!! Most of you seem to be enjoying my love lists, so why not designate one day a week to dish about what I'm loving?! Feel free to hop on the bandwagon! Also, I'm aware of WIAW--What I Ate Wednesdays--but I haven't read about WILW anywhere before. So if this is not an original idea, I apologize. I'm not trying to take credit for an idea that is not mine...

Here goes nothing!

WILW Love List!

  • My new Under Armour hoodie: Words cannot describe how AMAZING this hoodie is! Technically I think it's a yoga coverup kind of thing, but I just love wearing it to the gym in the morning! Especially the past few days, it has been a bit chilly in the mornings--I've even had to turn on my heat in the car on the way to the gym. So aside from the fact that I'm LOVING that the weather isn't torturous, I love that I'm able to wear this in the chilly morning, into the chilly gym, and while I warm up. Not gonna lie, I even throw the hood up sometimes. Just for that extra "cool" factor...not. Not to mention it's super soft and not too heavy so I can even wear it to the gym in the afternoon too!
Comfortable to the max!
  • Discounted protein powder: Today I realized I am running low on protein powder. Although I was up by the Vitamin Shoppe when I was tanning around noon today, I decided to hold off on stopping by. Good thing I did! About an hour after I got home, I received an email from the store with a coupon for 20% off my ENTIRE purchase! Cha-ching!! So naturally, I got back in my car and drove to the store. Walked right to the ON Whey Protein & walked out with a 5lb tub of Double Rich Chocolate powder for--get this--a whopping $36!!! Saved about $9 on that sucker.

Love is: protein powder larger than your head :)
  • Cooking perfection: So despite going in (willingly) to work for a couple hours to finish up 5 boxes of shipment at the store, today was my day off. With all my extra time, I decided to do some mid-week meal prep. In the form of baked chicken. Sprinkled with some Mrs. Dash seasoning. Now normally I either throw my chicken in a crock pot (so easy!) or pan fry it on the stove. Today I decided to bake it--after all, my oven was already on from roasting some zucchini for lunch. Set the timer twice, for a total of 50 minutes. When I uncovered the pan, I was welcomed with the delicious smell and even more delicious look of perfectly baked chicken! I'll let you see for yourself:
I really enjoy my seasonings...
  • Melissa & Gifts: Last night, my two friends Melissa and Keri came over. We were supposed to watch a TV show (cough, Pretty Little Liars, cough), but unbeknownst to me, my TV remote was not working, and when I tried to change the channel manually, somehow that was the only channel that I could not get! ABC Family is channel 42 here, and when I went to turn it on, it skipped from channel 40 to 43! Eek! That's okay though, because we had a good time anyway, and Melissa even brought me a graduation gift!! I was also messing with my new iphone at the time, so I took a picture of her lovely face.

She painted the glass & wrote me a sweet letter!
  • New toys (aka iphone): After the debacle that my Droid put me through last week--all of a sudden thinking that I had a headset plugged in?!--I received my new white iphone! So many gadgets are dark colors these days--shades of black or grey--and the white is just so refreshing! Granted, I'm looking for a cute case to cover it up (so I don't scratch it when I ultimately drop it), but I'm still loving it! I do have to say, the switch from the Droid to the iphone is a little confusing because I'm used to all the Google-based apps on the Droid, but the iphone has a lot more to offer.
Out with the old...

...In with the new!
Well folks, that's what I'm loving this week!

What are you loving this Wednesday?!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

You Can't Get Me Down!!

You know those people that thrive on others' upsets and try to degrade your self-esteem? Well I was lucky unfortunate enough to "date" one of those people about a year ago. For 10 months, we were never "in a relationship" according to him, which caused me loads of turmoil at the time--for far too long. Looking back, the day that he left me for another girl was the best thing that ever happened between us. And I do try to not look back--the negative really does outweigh the positive.

Well, a few days back, said boy contacted me. And tried to start up the same shenanigans--saying he would give anything to see me again, asking what he did that was so bad, etc. Did I mention I received this text at 3:30am?! Yes, you read that right--3:30am!!! Today he starts up the same thing, except this time trying to cut me down--telling me I suck when I say I don't want to be part of his life, calling me a "stupid little girl" and a "stereotypical scornful woman," saying I'm hateful and immature. In the past, this would have gotten to me, but I took a different approach today. First, I did not say a hateful word to the guy. Second, I didn't let him get a rise out of me--I took the high road and stood up for myself instead of retaliating with "hateful" words. It really is the best "revenge" to let someone know you are better off without them (when it's the truth). Today I was told, "You suck." And today was the same day I spoke the truth and believed it when I said, "You're the only one that thinks that, because I know I'm 100% awesome."

I definitely have to contribute my renewed, proud sense of self to all of the training I've been doing. Not to mention the people I surround myself with (both virtually--love you bloggers!--and physically) on a daily basis. Reading so many of your words of honesty is so encouraging. I've only lived a short time, and I know I've only been through a fraction of what some of you have been through on your journey through life, but it does seem like a lot to me. Especially because I seem to go through the phases of bad company, and I don't realize it until after the fact. I'm so grateful that I've met the people I have during my preparation for this competition, and I think that is what is going to help drive me to the first stop on this road. The first stop being my first competition. I can't honestly say that I see an end to this road, because it isn't going to end after I compete. I truly believe that.

I also believe that you can have great self-esteem no matter how you look or how much you weigh. That being said, I do think my self-confidence is greater now that I am fit and trim and kicking major butt at the gym. Do I think it is because of how I look? Not really. I think it is because I know all of the energy I put into myself each day--going to the gym twice a day is a commitment. Buying healthy (more expensive) groceries is a commitment. Drinking a gallon of water a day--commitment. Going to sleep by 10 at latest and waking up at 5am--commitment. I know I still have a ways to go--6 weeks eek!!--and I know that I may not be exactly where I want to be right now, but I sure as hell am far from where I started and am really close to where I want to be. And that makes me prouder than you will ever know. You can try to come at me with hateful words, but I know the truth because I am the reason that I am where I am today.

**I know this post was a little out of the ordinary for me, but I hope you enjoyed it just as much and were able to get a bit of an insight into who I am. I think more so than anything, if you are training for a competition, a race, etc., you should be doing it for you.

I challenge you to think about why you are REALLY trying to reach your current goal! Was it your idea? What gave you the spark to really get going? If you have reached one of the stops on your road, what have you learned about yourself??


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Hi friends! I hope you're enjoying the start to what will be a glorious weekend! Why do I say this? No reason really--I'm working a split shift at LOFT today, but choco-cherry belgium waffles (made with  an egg white/steel-cut oatmeal base), and an egg white omelette with spinach, hot sauce, and green salsa has put me in an excellent mood. Not to mention I got in a great run this morning. I've only been out running in the am (versus hopping on the treadmill at the gym) twice since I moved. Not that my route is/should be much different--I only really moved about 2-3 blocks away from my old place, but it's kinda on a road I used to never run down, so I'm not sure about the timing of it all. I used to be able to run a huge loop and that would give me my 30 minute cardio sesh that I needed.

Half of my breakfast! Soaked the oats in the
egg whites overnight... Delish!

This morning I am a teensy bit tight on time, so in lieu of going to the gym, which opens at 8, I decided to do cardio outside. Started on a run and then ran the dreaded hill/stairs at nearby Washington Park. You may recall my experience with the stairs last month, and how I was not much of a fan of them because of awkward strides in order to get up them. Well today, I decided to run alongside them, with the exception of 2 intervals. I was able to run quicker just on the hills, but I definitely felt it more when I ran the stairs (maybe because there's more movement involved??). So I managed about 15 minutes of hill/stair work and then finished with a hilly run home.

This was one of my better runs this week. Not that I didn't enjoy my beach runs, but something has just felt off. I think the change in scenery, although necessary, has been having its effects on my body. My hips generally feel pretty sore when I'm running on the treadmill--I tell myself it's due to the heavy pounding--but I noticed it during my leg workout yesterday, and that generally doesn't happen. I don't know if my body is just tight from running on sand, hills, treadmills, and climbing the StairMaster, but I don't like the feeling. Not to mention I've been having er...issues...this week. Let's just say that I've felt bloated all week. Although, reading some of your blogs has helped me reveal the culprit--too much artificial sweetener!!! Either that, or I had wayyyy too much caffeine the other day. I couldn't help it--I was majorly lagging! I'm about 95% certain it was the artificial sweetener though, and while I rely on it too much to cut it out entirely for a couple of days, I'm limiting myself so my body will hopefully go back to normal. By tomorrow--my weigh-in/check-in day--PLEASE!!

I have managed to come to a few different conclusions over the past few days:

  1. I'm going to make the drive home at least every couple of weeks until I find a job, because this helps give me peace of mind. Although I am a bit nervous about doing so when it gets closer to the competition date (6 weeks, y'all!!)... At the least, I can meet my mom halfway and, say, go shopping in Williamsburg at the outlets or find something fun to do in Richmond. After all, her summer break starts soon too--oh, the perks of being a teacher!
  2. I am going to take any opportunity that comes my way. This could be employment opportunities or leisurely opportunities. Given that this does not interfere with my work schedule at LOFT, obviously. Forget "Seize the day." Seize the minute! (Ok, corny...)
  3. I need to get myself into prime shape for promotion at LOFT. Not that I'm not really there already--I'm a great worker (I hate to toot my own horn), and I'm the associate that has been there the longest that works regularly (2 1/2+ years!). I've already spoken to my manager and we are sitting down to talk on Tuesday. That being said, one of our sales lead positions is opening up in August and I'm really gunning for it! If I manage to get the promotion, I can still continue my full-time job hunt (or work another part-time job in the meantime). And I'm hoping to save up some cash money to start on that PT certification!
  4. Tada! Cute, right?!
  5. I will learn to be more resourceful! Working in retail, I'm one of those girls that has to have the new items when they come in. Though I will admit I'm getting better--I've only bought one outfit in the past 6ish weeks--yay me! There was a pair of longer jean shorts that just hit the knee that I wanted, but my assistant manager bought my size (0)--grr! Then this morning I had a fantastic idea! Take some jeans I already own, but rarely use, and make those into shorts! The result:
Oh yeah, and since my Droid was completely messed up... I know have an amazing new white iphone!! Expect more pics :)

Have an amazing weekend! I hope the weather is nice where you are! Now I must get ready for work--makeup, gym bag, food...the works!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fail & LL

No matter how many times I try to make protein pudding, it always comes out terrible. Just when I think I find a decent recipe for it and mix it up, it has a water-like consistency. So what do I do? Add more ice. And what happens then? Still watery. So I gag it down eat it anyway. So not delish! Note to self: give up on protein pudding. It's better than the alternative of having to eat it...

Now for a recap: I'm feeling a lot better since my job search freak out yesterday. And I'm back in Charlottesville, where even though it's upwards of a 100 degree heat index, I feel like I can be more proactive in my hunt. And my training. I forgot to mention that a guest pass to my mom's gym is now $15...a day!! Can you believe that?! And unfortunately, they switched all the former Gold's Gyms to some sort of New Life Fitness or something like that. How frustrating! The good news is, once again, the beach is just a short drive away (less than 5 minutes), which means the majority of my cardio sessions were on the sand. This time I actually ran with my Vibrams on the sand and it felt so nice! Not to mention I didn't have to worry about getting my feet wet running so close to the water or getting sand in my shoes. Perfection!

This morning's view!
I do have to admit I was a bit distracted this time--there were SO MANY seashells! The water must have been rough overnight the past few nights or something because the shoreline was littered with them. And of course I had to stop mid-stride to pick up a few. Yes, I'm from the beach, and I will still collect an occasional seashell. That being said, I left the 3 really cool ones that I found at my mom's house. Without fail, I always manage to leave something there--last time it was the new workout gear I had purchased at the outlets.

I don't know if I'm just anxious without a full-time job or what, but if you haven't noticed, I've been making the 2 1/2 hour drive to my mom's house pretty often recently. Last weekend, the beginning of this week, and I have another trip planned 2 weekends from now for my sister's birthday. I'm not really one of those girls that likes to go home all the time--I've been comfortable in Charlottesville and I actually consider this my home now. But amidst all this uncertainty, maybe it just makes sense that home (VB) is the only thing that is certain. Or comforting and my mom will buy me things. Before I made the trek back today, I kinda sorta raided my mom's freezer--it was stocked with meat and things I can eat on my crazy nutrition plan. So the good news is: I don't have to go grocery shopping this week!! Although, the cashiers at Giant are probably going to be sad that they aren't going to see me buying massive amounts of protein. I think they'll live...

And now, LOVE List, Version 3!! It's been a while since I've done one of these, and given recent events, it's necessary :)

My Loves

  • Trader Joe's: Charlottesville does not have a TJ's (yet), so I made sure to take advantage of the one back home. It was a bit of a hike from my mom's house (~15 minutes), but well worth it! I do have to admit, in my opinion they are more of an organic retailer than they are for natural/hard-to-find foods, but I found prep-friendly foods all the same
  • Family time: It was very coincidental that I received my bad job news on my way down to visit my mom & sissy, but it felt good knowing that I have their support. My mom said something along the lines of, "You're not used to failing/being rejected." So true. I'll take it in stride.
  • Pajamas: I would be lying if I said the first thing I do when I get home from the gym in the evenings is shower and put on pajamas. In fact, if people ever want me to be social, they really have to twist my arm in order for me to do so. Getting ready to go out and hang out with people after an evening workout is almost like work. I can usually get ready pretty quickly, since I have the same routine every time, but I much prefer lounging in pajamas.
    Bahaha, high school. Baggy "PJs" and Twister (don't mix).
    Feel free to judge...
  • Netflix: A necessary evil love. I debated signing up for this a few weeks ago, and I finally gave in because I knew I would have a lot of free time during my job hunt. This doesn't mean that I'm not putting as much effort into finding a job, but I normally just listen to whatever show I'm "watching" and browse job sites, Facebook, Google Reader, Blogger, etc. Recent faves: Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock.
    Tom Haverford = Aziz Ansari = amazing!
  • Water: I slacked off on water a bit in lieu of other no-cal beverages when I was home, and I feel like death today! The heat is getting to me more than it should, and I know that if I was adequately hydrated, I wouldn't be feeling so lethargic. I almost took a nap this afternoon--and I am NOT a napper! Also, I should say this also applies to cool post-workout showers. SO refreshing!!
    I can has?! This shower plays music & has a light system!!
  • Jennifer from Capella Flavors: I ordered some flavor drops last week when the site was having a 5 for the price of 3 sale. Apparently one of the flavors I ordered is still in production, so Jennifer emailed me asking if I wanted another flavor or just to wait. I was unsure if this meant that the entire order would be shipped out later if I just wanted to wait. She said the in-production flavor (Vanilla Cupcake, yum!), would be shipped separately. I love great customer service. And I let her know so--I think I made her day :) 
You'll have to wait & see what flavors I ordered!
Review coming soon!
This is just a taste of my current loves. I think I may make this a weekly thing. I know other foodie bloggers have WIAW (What I Ate Wednesdays), but what about WILW (What I Love Wednesdays)? Or some other day of the week... THOUGHTS??

P.S. If anyone is blog savvy, I really need a revamp--I currently just use a blah template, but would like something more navigable. Help?!

P.P.S. Thanks for all the kind words on yesterday's post. I love you all :) and can't thank you enough for your positive thoughts!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Down In the Dumps --> Rebuilding & Replanning

I haven't posted on here for a few days, and I promise I have a legitimate excuse. I've felt a little bit down these past few days, and no, it has nothing to do with my prep. You all know that I've been looking for jobs and I had my interview for a customer service representative at a local company a couple weeks ago. I thought it went pretty well--it was my first interview for a full-time job, and I thought I had responded to their questions adequately. My friend works for the company, and she kept giving me updates regarding them interviewing other candidates and taking the job listing down, etc. So I knew that they interviewed about 10 candidates for 3 open positions, and I kept thinking to myself that "It's a client services representative job--I have plenty of customer service experience so I'm sure that's good enough..."

Well folks, I thought wrong. I tried being optimistic, then I was realistic, then pessimistic, and finally I was optimistic again. But I was put in my place. Fortunately--and I say that in a relative way--I was on my way home to my mom's when I received the news. This meant that I was able to spend time with my family and find solace among them. My insider friend texted me, "So I have some good news and some bad news." I immediately knew what that meant--that I didn't get the job. Correct. She went on to say she heard through the grapevine that they extended offers to 1 girl and 2 boys, and as of then (approximately 10am), 2 of the offers had been accepted. The good news was that more positions within the company are opening over the summer, so I should keep applying and stay positive. Eh, not quite what I call good news. I'm tired of playing the waiting game. I need a job NOW. I don't mean to be pushy or anything, but I'm just so frustrated and stressed--financially and emotionally.

I keep trying to think this over, but within the past couple of weeks I've been doubting my decision to stay in Charlottesville. Not because I don't want to, but I'm unsure if it was the right decision to make both financially and in terms of the job market. I only have one part time job currently and I have to pay for rent, utilities, groceries, gas(!!!), and somehow come up with the money for all of my competition-related expenses. The last thing I want to do is postpone my competition--again--and I'm sure as hell not going to. But sometimes it just gets really really stressful when all I can think about is how I have limited funds and I still have to go to the grocery store and picks up pounds and pounds of chicken. 

I apologize for my down in the dumps attitude, but I really just need to let it all out and push on. These past few days, I've managed to put in applications for 3 more jobs--one is a pharmaceutical sales representative position (which my mom found) and I think it would be perfect for me. The second is a position within LivingSocial, which is coming to the Charlottesville area, and the third is a part-time intern position doing clerical work for an environmental consulting company. I keep trying to find more opportunities out there, but I haven't had much luck finding entry level positions, especially within my field. 

Since putting in applications for the other 3 jobs, I feel a bit better, but now it's just a matter of playing the waiting game. And I'm a very impatient girl. I'm just so glad that I have such an amazing family and wonderful friends that know just what to say to cheer a girl up. And now I'm slightly impatient to get back to Charlottesville so I can at least find another part-time position. I have a few ideas in mind for the time-being, so I will see what happens. 

P.S. I will have a cheerier post in the next day or so to counteract this downer post. Expect tales of puppies and the beach and sissy time :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

For Becca! (And Then...A Showdown?!)

Yes, I mean you Becca! I was in the grocery store tonight and I found this:
Orange Creme Pop!
Obviously, by the lack of grocery store goodness in the background, I am now the proud owner of Extra Dessert Delights newest flavor: Orange Creme Pop! You're not the only one obsessed in love with gum and trying new flavors :) I must admit, I have yet to actually pop in a piece (it's kinda late here, and I should actually be brushing my teeth now), but I did unwrap the plastic so I could take a decent pic. And let me tell you something--judging by the smell alone, this gum is gonna be bangin'!

Note: I just googled to see if Extra released any other new flavors (I wasn't paying attention at the grocery store really, but the orange Dessert Delights package caught my eye at literally the last second), but both the Wrigley and Extra websites have not updated with this new flavor. Neither has their Facebook page. I'll let you know tomorrow if it's any good! And seriously--I'm addicted to gum! At one point, I bought 3 or 4 of those 3 packs of gum at Target. I received a coupon for $2 off 3 more 3 packs... When I went to use it, I got another! Both the cashier and I thought it was funny. Gotta love Target for enabling rewarding my gum-chewing habits.

On a non-gum related note, I met with Pleasants earlier today. We talked about my cookout craziness, my sore lower back, and just had a "mid-week" check-in before my weigh-in and stats on Sunday. I was definitely feeling like a guilty little 5 year-old going in there and telling him how bad it was, but after seeing that I'm not far away from what I was last week, we both think I'm gonna be okay. Granted, that doesn't mean I'm not still kicking myself, because at this rate, I could have been down more instead of re-losing what I (probably) gained. Lesson learned--can't say that enough.

Pleasants also told me exactly what I wanted to hear some good news regarding my back workouts. Let me first mention that deadlifts are not on them, and while I don't necessarily go heavy, I'm not supposed to do them. I didn't exactly realize that part of it (Pleasants has my workouts written out for me, and although it's a 4 day rotation, it can get a bit old sometimes)--that I'm not supposed to stray from the workout plan too. I already knew that about the nutrition plan, obviously. He said to save those kind of heavy lifts for the off-season, but right now with me having limited carb intake, it's not good for me. Words of an angel, right?! I HATE deadlifts! I've mentioned this before--hate them, hate them hate them! If I try to go heavy, I break form. If I try not to break form, I'm pretty much lifting pillows. Being ordered told NOT to do deadlifts was like music to my ears! Right now, Liz is a happy camper (oh yeah, but my back is still sore...)!!

Oh, and one last thing before I go to bed past my bedtime... What's a girl to do when she doesn't have a washer and dryer in her new place and is freaked out by doesn't want to waste money on laundromats??
Buy Febreze Sport, of course!! 
Stinky clothes, watch out! I'm coming for you!!
(And I need a manicure...)
Okay, yes, the Febreze was necessary. Was the photoshoot? No. But I decided it was a good idea all of 5 minutes ago. After many many a few attempts, this is what ya get--ta da! Yes, it's dimly lit, but I also don't have great lighting with the burgundy-red walls and all. May have to change that soon--the walls I mean... This stuff better work though! I was used to washing my Vibrams twice a week, but can't really do that anymore. Do you know what sweaty Fivefingers smell like? Well trust me, you really don't want to know!
Good night, friends!

Never-Ending Battle

It's a never-ending battle between me and my back. I say, "Yes, Liz, go for it!" My back says, "I choose to be weak. I'm done. Give me a break!" It's not that I'm going too heavy or anything, but I just think my back--my lower back to be specific--is my trouble area. And I'm over it!

I'll go weeks with my back acting normal, and during these weeks I'm able to do deadlifts, good mornings, and wide-grip bent over rows with no problem. I breeze through them. Then all of a sudden, I get a week or two where my back decides "Eff this, let's show this girl some real pain!" Not cool. The first few days I try to push through it and do my cardio and lifts like normal. And while the lifting actually isn't that bad (for the most part), it's the cardio that has me wanting to yell in pain and go slower instead of faster. After all, my legs and lungs can handle it, but I just don't think pounding the treadmill is doing much good for my back.

This morning I tried a bit of a different approach. I went to the gym and did my calves and abs like normal (weights later tonight), and instead of doing my usual run on the treadmill, I walked at an incline. It was okay--boring. I'm not a slow-paced kinda girl. I didn't really feel too much difference regarding my lower back. Maybe I should have tried the elliptical. Who knows. All I know is that I'm frustrated and last night, even doused in icy hot, I was having a hard time sleeping (it doesn't help that it's pretty hot in my room and I don't have central AC). So we will see how I feel by tonight. I meet with Pleasants in about an hour, so I will see what he says and go from there.
I kinda enjoy the smell...
In other news, it doesn't appear that my cookout craziness has really affected anything terribly. I got on the scale this morning after the gym (note: after protein shake & crazy amounts of water), and I'm half a pound off from where I was last week. And I still have today and tomorrow to go before I weigh-in on Sunday morning. It was a close call this time, but I think I'm good to go! AND I'm nearing my high school peak cross-country season weight! This is an exciting thing for me--I feel like I've accomplished so much already, and I still have over 7 weeks to go!

In fact, those shorts (which I never gave back...) are too big now!
That reminds me--last night Kevin and I were doing 21s during our workout... He pretty much turned these into 24s by doing 10 full lifts at the end. I wasn't feeling it, so I just did 21...until he pointed out that those extra 3 might be the difference between 1st and 3rd place. I said that all I really want is to place. To which he responded, "Why just place? Why not win? You're putting in all this hard work, you gotta go to win!" Point taken (and increased my 21s to 24s)! Now I just need to keep up that mentality for the next 7+ weeks!

Have you had any of those motivational moments where the lightbulb comes on and you have that renewed drive/determination to win? Do share (please)!