Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Supporting Fellow Competitors

I have noticed that things can get ugly in the world of competitions. I am not quite sure why I never felt this way before, but I am seeing a lot more of the sides of things that I don't particularly care for. 

I remember when I first started, I was given this advice for backstage: "Keep your headphones in, just sit, listen to some music and chill. They can get catty".

I didn't take that advice, because I was too nervous, too anxious, too wound up. I ended up talking to many different women, some I have developed lasting friendships with.

I never really noticed it too much before, although there was always a "group" that would hang out together,  and they would all stare at anyone they thought might be competition to them, but I never paid attention, they could be in their own "small" world as far as I was concerned. 

I have always sought the friendship of fellow competitors  even though we are competing against each other, it really doesn't matter, because everything depends on me. On how I look, how I have trained and dieted, how I present myself at the competition. Ultimately there will always be someone who places better than me. I have been in competitions where one gal placed ahead of me, and the next year I placed ahead of her. It's very fluid and all of our life's events will mold our look for that one day.

I think that we should all encourage each other, support each other and offer help where we can. Really, it's "us" against the rest of the world isn't it? And it's a lot easier when you have someone on your side to commiserate with. 

Recently I saw a fellow competitor say something very negative about another competitor on Facebook. I was shocked, how could she do that? 

I realized that I look at the competitions differently than she does. I look at it as competing against myself, to be better each time, to be better than I was before, to be better than ever. She looks at it to win, pure and simple, and at any cost.

I think their motivation for competing will tell all. I compete because I train. I train hard and I want a way to showcase all of my hard work and effort, someplace outside of the gym. Training is my passion.

Many people train only to compete, the training is not their love, but the result is. They don't enjoy training, would prefer to do other things, complain about it and the diet all the time and if they could compete without training, that's probably what they would do.

Of course, placing above someone else, and winning is fantastic, it makes all the hard work a bit easier to accept. But not placing does not mean I have failed. I was still the best I could be at that time. I still have the knowledge that I look absolutely stunning, ripped, healthy, fit and amazing and am very proud of it. I work hard everyday to maintain this, and no plastic trophy (or lack of) is really going to change anything about that.

If I had ever gone into a competition and hadn't prepped my very hardest, that may change the way I feel about it all, but I have never done that. My attitude has changed a bit about them all, I know that. I think I am more easy going, less stressed, less worried about it  all, but that doesn't mean I am not busting my butt day in and day out still. I am just doing it without all the whining and complaining! I am still doing everything I should be to create the physique that I want, and hopefully, that the judges want too.

But my own interests are most important, that's why I decided to go into Physique. The Figure look was becoming softer, more feminine, less muscular.  Although I do not want to look like a Bodybuilder, I also decided that I wanted more than the Figure competitor look, I wanted more muscle and to be leaner. 

I do it for myself. I also do it for the interaction and wonderful people I meet. I have developed many friendships with women I have met at competitions, or because of competitions. 

I love helping others reach their potential, or at least believe that they can. I want to surround myself with happy, successful, beautiful friends who are proud of their accomplishments. I don't want to be standing on an island, alone  holding my plastic trophy. 

It's all winding down, or winding up! I guess it all depends on how you look at it! I feel like I have gotten a second wind, I have a new found energy that had been lacking for several weeks. I am sure it's the strain of the diet, the two a day training, the constant wondering about how I am doing, how am I looking now? Am I getting too old for this? (NEVER!!) ha ha ha 

It's 11 days till my competition, I am looking forward to some good, quality food. Once a day at the gym, and mostly, training just for the fun of it! Roy, if you are reading, I want to push the sled! Or use the battle ropes. Chains, oh we did that, and they were hard, but I will have more calories soon, I will have more energy. Hmmmm, the heavy bag is gone, maybe we should just spar? 

I know going into it that I will meet many new faces, some I will connect with and continue the friendship, others I may only see again at another competition. 

I know going out of it that I will be stronger, have more confidence, feel accomplishment and quite a bit of happiness. The feeling of sticking through something so demanding and strenuous, something that has a definite ending date, a final chapter, is difficult to describe. 

And then, then the cooking and recipes shall begin!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Three Weeks Out till Women's Physique Competition

Yes, I am still here! Busy, busy, busy! When I post this it will really be only two weeks from my competition, but I just got around to doing this. It's been a fast and furious few months in preparation of my first Women's Physique competition, I almost feel like it's my very first show, but it's not, I should be calm and collected, but the thought of this new REAL posing and a dance/posing routine to music is starting to make me a bit anxious. 

I spend as much time as possible practicing my posing, videoing it and critiquing myself. There is always room for improvement. Luckily I have some awesome people nudging me along and checking in now and again. It's exciting that my friend Sakura Barrientos and I will be sharing a room the night before. We have our tans scheduled together and we can talk and laugh all evening long. Usually I am all by myself, posting pictures on Facebook of my cheesecake that I am eating, which drives all the other competitors absolutely crazy! I get lean, super lean and that's my "secret" to filling out the night before. That  along with a huge baked potato and steak. Then I eat the same thing in the morning. The fun is just about to begin.....

I have maintained my weight higher than usual on purpose. In these pictures I am 124 pounds, but as I write this I am at 122 and have been for almost a week. I will drop only a little bit more and hopefully, will look perfect once I dehydrate. That will make the skin tight and hard looking, it already looks thin. In fact, Wednesday night as I sat attempting to breathe (after Roy had me doing squats with a whopping 162 1/2 pounds!!!!), he looked at me and said "Your skin on your arms and chest is paper thin" yes, it looks white, translucent, delicate and....thin now. The only part left is the abs and upper hip area a bit, but it will go shortly.

I have not curtailed my lifting, at least not intentionally. No weights have been lowered, but Thursday at 5:00 a.m. as I trained hamstrings and lower back on my own, I felt so fatigued, that at times I wanted to crumple to the ground and just cry.

Then I thought of my dad who has been struggling with real fatigue, brought on by his Acute Myeloid Leukemia (bone marrow cancer). His will not go away when he rests or eats a cheeseburger, mine will. It made me cry a bit thinking how selfish I was being and reminded myself that I hate whiners. I pushed on and finished my training, at the dictated reps and weights. I know I was making a lot of noise as I performed set after set of back extensions on the Glute Ham Raise, while holding a 50 pound dumbbell to my chest, people were looking, but I didn't care, I never do.

I have been training two, and sometimes (often) three times a day. I don't do a long bout of cardio, the 20 minutes on the stairmill or treadmill has turned to 30 minutes. Then the stairs at work, usually 3 times a week, but not for long, I don't have the energy to run up and down, and jump rope for more than 20 minutes.

So any free time I have is spent grocery shopping, preparing food, eating or sleeping. That's about it. 

And there is the lifting, the part I love, every single day, sometimes twice a day just to fit it all in. My shoulder training has changed a bit and I have added in cables to round everything out. So on Tuesdays I have to go back to the gym after work to finish up shoulders. Then on Fridays after I train shoulders with Roy, I eat and make sure I have fuel, then it's back into Gold's to finish on my own. It's not a good idea to train for a long extended period of time, just like fasted cardio - you are just making your muscle eat itself all up!

My suit bottoms should be back to me Saturday, so Sunday I have to take some video of myself posing in my suit. It does make a difference and I haven't had it this whole time, so I am only guessing how I will look. I sent it back to Celeste Harsa of Suits by Celeste who made my suit for me because....my glutes have changed. They have gotten bigger (this is a good thing) and more muscular, so when I lost bodyfat they pretty much stayed bigger than usual. My suit did not care for that, it wanted to be a permanent wedgie and those are forbidden in the rules! The funny thing is, most of the suits look like wedgies anyway!

So I have been wearing some "boyshort" undies when I pose. It doesn't seem to bother anyone and allows me to see my body better.

I am also very fortunate to belong to a gym where so many people support me. It's almost all men, there are very few gals at the gym (who lift) first thing in the morning. But they're all encouraging, tell me how great I look, offer advice and are generally fun guys to be around. 

Below is a video of my posing, if you are an email subscriber you will need to click on the blog link at the top to go directly to the blog to view this (that means you dad!)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Training Motivation

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
~ Maria Robinson

The future has many names: For the weak, it means the unattainable. For the fearful, it means the unknown. For the courageous, it means opportunity.
~ Victor Hugo

For success, attitude is equally as important as ability. 
~ Harry F. Banks

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.
~ Napoleon Hill

Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future. 
~ Denis Waitley

"Experience has taught me that there is one chief reason why some people succeed and others fail. The difference is not one of knowing, but of doing. The successful man is not so superior in ability as in action. So far as success can be reduced to a formula, it consists of this: doing what you know you should do."
~ Roger Babson

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, April 15, 2013

Training Motivation

"Our entire life consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are."
~ Jean Anouilh

"Great minds have purposes; others have wishes."
~ Washington Irving

"Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing."
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

"It is a sign of strength, not of weakness, to admit that you don't 
know all the answers."
~ John P. Loughrane

"Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which 
is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding 
will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: 
what is soft is strong"
~ Lao-Tzu

"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they 
can't lose."
~ Bill Gates

"I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his 
dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet 
with a success unexpected in common hours."
~ Henry Thoreau

"Better to live one year as a tiger, then a hundred as sheep."
Madonna Ciccone

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Woman Belongs In The Weight Room

A lot has been going on in my life. I am sure everyone has just as much going on in their lives as I do, but we all handle it differently don't we? I think as I get closer to a competition, my focus becomes laser sharp, I concentrate on the task at hand and I start operating on auto pilot. I pretty much do one thing and one thing alone, I have to.

I have so much to do because I am training twice a day, every day. That means every single morning I am at the gym when it opens (5am on weekdays, 6am on weekends). Then two weeknights a week I train with Roy, and on Fridays at noon. The other weeknights I am on my treadmill at home or back at Gold's to train shoulders, or do some cardio, and on weekend afternoons I schlep back to the gym for posing, routine practice and cardio.

Weekends are jam packed with food shopping, cooking, weighing and packaging. And then since you cannot cook all the food for a week, it gets done again in the middle of the week.

All my supplements need to be re-stocked into the daily containers for the week, I have five different ones, pre training, post, lunch, dinner, bed. 

And don't forget that little thing that seems to suck up most of my time, it's called a full time job. Yes indeed, a lot of people do all this, don't have a job and still say they don't have enough time!

It's almost like having a child again. The "thing" needs constant attention. But just like a child, I love it. Absolutely love it!

I thought that after my son left home I would have so much extra time, and somehow I seem to fill it right up! Just gotta figure out how to get out of working full time and then I would have enough time in my day!

I feel so at home in the gym, especially this one, Gold's in Campbell. It's big and open, huge high ceilings, lots of old equipment and all the free weights and benches I could possibly want. There are three cable crossovers, two dual cables, a Glute Ham Raise and five squat racks; five!  The only thing it is missing is a sled and a full set of kettlebells. I know so many of the people by name and they are all welcoming, encouraging and fun to joke with.

I love when some of the guys will come up to me and say things like "You didn't look like this a while ago, what's going on?!" Then I have to explain the competitions and "the process", and it all starts clicking in their heads why I am so intense in the gym, I am on a mission.

People ask "how can you do that?" or "How do you find the time?" and my thought is how can I not? I believe we all find the time to do what we really want in life, we MAKE the time.

It's my passion in life. I have found it and I am lucky.

My body starts changing considerably the last few weeks. These were taken on Saturday, April 6, 2013, 5 weeks from the competition. The body fat has really dropped quite a bit, and I don't have much more to lose, maybe one pound at most. I never really had much to lose anyway, but a small amount makes a huge difference on a small person.

I had hydrostatic testing done again, the day these pictures were taken. I am at 7.1% which means I have lost a pound of bodyfat and I actually gained 1/2 pound of lean mass. This is great news as it is so easy to lose muscle when dieting, it's actually my biggest fear. I have a whopping 8.85 pounds of fat on my entire body. I like to concentrate on the lean mass though, I am almost all muscle, 117.15 pounds of it.

Here is the latest test:

My training has changed a bit now, I am doing higher reps with lower weights, targeting the shoulders. Everything else is about the same, it's just rounding out the shoulder area so I actually have to split my training into two workouts each of the two days I train them. I cannot fit it all in at once, and it is not good to work that long without rest and fuell anyway, so Tuesdays I do half the workout before work, then back to the gym after work to do the rest. Fridays I train shoulders with Roy, then eat and head back to my gym to finish off with the cables on my own again.

I have had some feedback from Michelle Brent, IFBB Pro about my posing and have made changes, she has been a great help. Below is a video of the latest mandatory poses, and we chatted again after she saw this about a few tweaks I will be incorporating.

I have a few pangs of anxiety here and there, but for the most part I am excited and looking forward to the event, to the day where I finally get to see my finished product, have fun with all the friends who will be competing along side me and then celebrate with friends and family afterward.

Moving into the Physique division has been an exciting change for me. I prefer more muscle and less bodyfat than what a Figure competitior carries, it suits me as a person. I like how I look.

Having attainable goals are often something people only have in their work lives, and few people actually have measurable goals established in their personal lives. I find that by have goals like this for myself, I have a better sense of direction, purpose and fulfillment in my life.

Not everyone needs to compete, it's a difficult process to go through and it's not for the thin skinned or whiners, but for those looking for an amazing way to interact with a lot of other like minded people who have a passion for training, it's a great way to prove to yourself just how wonderful you really are. 

Train hard!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Training Motivation

No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent.
~ William Ellery Channing

I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life.
~ Melody Beattie

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
~ Samuel Johnson 

Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage. 
~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

If you get up one more time than you fall you will make it through.
~ Chinese Proverb 

If you are not getting as much from life as you want to, then examine the state of your enthusiasm.
~ Norman Vincent Peale

There is nothing in your destiny, nothing in your future that you cannot accomplish.
~ Larry King 

We live in deeds, not years: In thoughts not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
~ Aristotle

Monday, April 1, 2013


It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself,  you can’t be comfortable with others.
~Sydney J. Harris

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
~ Pamela Vaull Starr 

I am in competition with no one. I run my own race. I have no desire to play the game of being better than anyone, in any way, shape or form. I just aim to improve, to be better that I was before. That’s me and I am free.
~ Unknown

Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.
~ Ella Fitzgerald 

The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.
~ Bruce Feirstein

Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny.
~ Alfred A. Montapert 

Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives:
where we focus our attention.
~ Greg Anderson 

As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery