Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bringing It

It's Saturday night and by all rights, I should be watching Avatar 3D right now. But the East Coast got hit by a snowstorm today, and we didn't make it the theatre. So I'm sitting home surfing the Net before jumping on the treadmill for some cardio.

That's right. I'm gearing up to do cardio at 10 pm on Sat night. Who DOES that?! Well, me apparently. Today is the first day of double cardio sessions, and this was my last week of a Treat Meal and a complete Off Day. I need a moment to mourn. Ok, I'm finished mourning, and I'm ready to work my butt off the next 4 weeks. I have a show to win!

We took progress pics this morning after my first cardio session. We're going to start taking them in the boxing room at the gym now because we discovered that the lighting there is much more comparable to the stage than the lighting is in my bedroom (where we were taking the pics before). So I put my suit on in the locker room, had a quick conversation with some curious ladies who were passing through, and then ran through my quarter turns. The pics are still on my camera, so I'll upload and post them tomorrow.

I had my final Treat Meal today. It took us an hour, but we made it to our favorite sushi place. I'm not sure if I get any treats next weekend, but I'm not planning on it. So if, by some chance, I do get some treats, it'll be a wonderful surprise!

I start a new job on Monday ... one that's only 10 min from my house and 2 min from the gym. I couldn't have asked for anything better! So I'll be switching my longer cardio sessions to the morning, and then only a shorter one in the evenings. I've been very frustrated with my lack of energy and difficulty with asthma during evening cardio. I'm hoping the morning will be much easier on my body. I seem to have more energy in the mornings, so I can really push hard through cardio.

Only 5 weeks to go ... 4 weeks of hard, intense, focused training, and the final week to recover and tweak my training, if necessary. My head is on straight, I'm focused, I'm determined, and I'm willing to put my body and mind through pure hell to get through these next 4 weeks. BRING IT ON!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Low Point & Support

It's the middle of the week, and I'm at a very low point right now. Cardio was very difficult tonight. I was literally hanging onto the treadmill to keep from falling off. I stumbled around the gym, and cried in between cardio sessions. But I got it done.

Some subtle changes in my diet are really taking their toll on me this week. I know the changes are necessary, but for the first time, I really feel like I'm suffering. I'm struggling to find the energy to get through each day, and to give my all to everything I do, whether it's working on a project at work, holding a conversation with my boyfriend, or pushing through some difficult cardio. I'm desperately clinging to the fact that tomorrow will be my last workout of the week. Friday is an Off Day, and I'm just praying I can stay awake long enough to close the gym where I work on Friday nights.

We took progress pics on Saturday morning before my Treat Meal of sushi (YUM). I think I weighed about 112 lbs in these pics. I'm not absolutely sure, since I didn't weigh myself on Fri or Sat.

I feel like I'm even tighter now than  I  was when these pics were taken, and it's only been a couple days. As I look at these pics, I realize I really need to practice my posing! Posing is tough!! And it's not much fun to practice, but it's absolutely necessary to practice before stepping on stage. I didn't practice enough my first year, and I shook like a leaf on stage cuz I was trying to squeeze my muscles so hard. I was positive the judges could tell I hadn't practiced.

I need to publicly thank my boyfriend for being so supportive and encouraging. He watches me cry nearly every day, and then gives me a pep talk and tells me he's so proud of me. As I write this, he's at his place cooking my ground turkey for the rest of the week. Since we made changes to my diet, I ran out of food mid-week, and he offered to cook more for me tonight. Thank God for him!! I sat down and just cried at the gym when I realized I needed more food and wouldn't be able to get to bed early.

I've always approached my contest prep with an individualistic attitude. I figured it was MY prep, and I didn't need to burden anyone else with it. So I know I can do it by myself. But I have to say ... life is so much better with a strong support system. Jerry believes in me, motivates me, and does everything he can to make my life easier. Every day I thank God that he's in my life.

I've stayed up late enough, and now it's time to try to get some sleep. Hopefully I'll have more energy tomorrow. If not, oh well. I can look forward to Friday! :)

Motivation

I'm gonna be brutally honest right now. I'm not complaining. I'm not whining. I'm just stating a fact.

I feel like absolute shit right now.

I'm tired. I'm sore. My feet hurt. I'm having a tough time keeping my droopy left eyelid up because I'm sleepy. It takes energy just to breathe. I'm having a difficult time walking in a straight line, and I've been tripping over things and walking into furniture.

Why do I feel this way? I'm 5 weeks out from the most important show I'll have ever done. In order to make sure I'm on track to bring my best conditioning to the stage, we made some changes to my diet this week. Yes, I feel this way voluntarily. Crazy, I know.

Why in the world would anyone voluntarily put themselves through this kind of hell?! Because I want to win. Simple as that. I want to stand on stage with Arnold, my hands raised in the air, my Overall trophy at my feet. I want to know that I worked my hardest. That I gave everything I had, and then I pushed further. I don't want to have any doubts that I "could've" or "should've" worked harder. When I'm standing on that Arnold stage, I want to be 100% confident that I look the best I ever have in my life, and to feel like I DESERVE to be standing next to the greatest bodybuilder of all time.

When I'm stumbling on the treadmill, desperately trying not to fall off ...
When I'm pushing the pedals of the bike, climbing the hill ...
When I'm heating up yet another meal in the microwave at work ...
When I walk right past the bakery aisle in the grocery store without stopping ...
When I run up the escalator at the Metro just to squeeze in a little extra cardio for the day ...
When I practice posing until my calves cramp and my lower back aches ...

I picture my competitors. I imagine them working harder than I am. I imagine standing next to them on stage. I imagine them getting up earlier in the morning.

And I find a little extra strength. A little extra motivation. A little extra surge of adrenaline. And I push just a little harder. Because I want to know that I pushed myself past my natural boundaries, and I did my damnedest to win that Overall title.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Progress - 7 weeks out

As promised, here are my progress pics from this week. I'm now 7 weeks out from the Arnold Amateur. I'm making better progress than any of my previous preps, which is really exciting. Jerry's got a few more tricks up his sleeve to try as we get closer to the show too. I'm finally posting a back pics ... please try not to laugh too hard!


I'm carrying a couple pounds of water this week, which should be flushed out by next week. I'm still continuing to drop weight, despite the extra water. I was one pound heavier on Sunday, after Saturday's Treat Meal, and today I'm 3 lbs lighter, to my new low of 112 lbs. PROGRESS!! :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Numbers Game

As of today, the Arnold is in 44 days!! Which is about 7 weeks left of prep. Time seems to be flying this time, perhaps because this is the earliest in the year I've ever done a show. Or maybe it's because my prep is going so well. I can see my progess from week to week, and sometimes from day to day. It's so motivating to look in the mirror and see my body changing. I'm the girl who practices posing in between sets, making adjustments and checking out progress. I'm glad the people at my gym are used to that kind of behavior! I can only imagine the odd looks I'd get if I did that at some ritzy "athletic club"!

Despite my boyfriend's reluctance, we calculated my body composition on Saturday morning using cheap plastic calipers (you know the free ones you get from bodybuilding.com when you place an order of $75 or more :) ). We both knew the readings wouldn't be completely accurate, but I wanted a measurement nonetheless. I like knowing my body comp at various stages of prep, just for comparison and baseline purposes. I'm well aware the judges don't care about my weight or my body comp; however, it's good info for me to track just cuz. I'm also well aware that some people don't track those measurements because they feel it's unnecessary or because they get too caught up in the Numbers Game and focus on that instead of how they look. That's not the case with me.

I'm at about the same body comp I was when I won the Contra Costa 2 years ago; however, I look very different now. I have more muscle on my frame, and I have a picture in my mind of how I want to look on stage - and I'm not there yet. I know the areas I want/need to improve, and the areas that are coming along nicely.

My workouts are going well. I train 5 days and do cardio 6 days a week. I have one day that's completely off. Reason for that is to let my body have one day to fully recover, and also because any training doesn't fit into my schedule that day. Gotta love working 2 jobs! As I get closer to competition time, I'm sure I'll have to add in another day of cardio, because that's been the trend in the past. Then again, this prep is different than any others I've done (it's better!), so I guess we'll see what Jerry decides for me.

For those of you who like numbers, here are my current stats:
Height: 5' 1.75"
Weight: 113 lbs (as of 1/12/10)
BF: ~12% (as of 1/9/10)

My starting number were:

Weight: 121 lbs
BF: Guessing bout 17%

So I've lost about 8 lbs and bout 5% body fat in 6.5 weeks. My progess should pick up a bit as we tweak the diet and training.

Jerry and I feel I'll look best on stage at about 102-103 lbs and ~9-10% bf. Those numbers are just guidelines; it doesn't matter what they are as long as my phsique looks like we think it should look.

I've been really tired this week because I haven't been able to get the amount of sleep I need due to my job and life in general. I started taking Hot Rox Extreme to help keep me awake and functional during the day. Not really sure if they're effective for fat loss (as they're marketed), but they work to keep me functioning at work. I also swear by green tea and BSN's Endorush.

I was thinking of getting a new suit for this season, but I really love the one I have, and I haven't been able to find a reasonably priced one that I like better. I'm still keeping my eyes open for any used ones on sale, but for now, I'm just planning on wearing the one I have. It's all sparkly and blinged out, PLUS Mary Elizabeth Lado won the Arnold Figure International wearing it a couple years ago, so I'm hoping it's gonna be my good luck charm at the show. :)

I'll post progress pics and another update tomorrow. I promise a back pic will be posted this time!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Schedule

Wow, I didn't realize it's been almost 2 weeks since I've posted anything! My new job blocks all blog-related websites (along with 15 million other website categories), so I haven't been able to update this during the day. In the evenings, I've been getting home after 10 pm and have been so exhausted, I just check email and head to bed. So that brings me to the topic I want to discuss today ... schedules!

Everyone who competes has experienced the restrictions of a tight schedule. Trying to successfully juggle everything in life and making everyone important to you happy can be a difficult task!

My day begins at 6 am when my alarm goes off. Fifteen minutes later, I actually drag my tired, sore body out of bed and get ready for work. My boyfriend has been graciously driving me to the Metro station every morning at 6:45 am so I save money on parking (he's such a sweetie!!). I ride the Metro for an hour, changing trains once, and get to work around 8 am.

I work 8 straight hours without a "lunch" break because I don't necessarily eat "lunch." I eat Meal 2 around lunchtime, but don't stop working while I eat. Normally, I'd be able to leave at 4 pm; however, I've been making up some hours I missed while I was home for Christmas, so I've been staying an extra 1-2 hours each night.

The days I put in 2 extra hours, I leave work at 6 pm, ride the Metro for an hour, and meet Jerry at the Metro stop near the gym at 7 pm. If he's working at the gym that night, he gets someone to cover the front desk for 15 min while he picks me up, and then goes back to sitting at the desk when we get there. I'm usually starving by the time we get to the gym, so I heat up my chicken or steak and take a few bites of a pickle, then change clothes to start my training.

He gives me instructions for each exercise and will sometimes come spot me for heavier sets. (The gym is very laid back and doesn't require him to be behind the desk at all times.) I train for about 45 min, then grab my book and hit the cardio deck. I do 60 min of cardio, sometimes varying the machines for 30 min each. If the gym is really slow, Jerry stands by me and chats with me to keep me company and to distract me from the grueling nature of the evil treadmill or recumbent bike.

By the time I've finished my workout and cardio, it's about 9-9:15 pm. Since the gym closes at 10 pm, and I need to bring Jerry home, I either stay at the gym and eat another meal or go home to pick out my clothes for the next day, then go back to get him.

He drops me off at my place, then heads over to his place to let his dogs out before heading back over to my place. By the time I shower, check my email, get everything ready for the next day, and finally crawl into bed, it's about 11:30 pm.

And it all starts again the next day.

I have no idea how I'd balance having a family and doing contest prep. There's barely any time for my relationship, which is frustrating and sad. We do everything we can to spend time together, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. I'm lucky to have such an understanding and supportive boyfriend who's involved in the industry and knows how time consuming prep can be.

As far as my meal times are concerned, I'm trying something different for the first time this year. The past few years, I've eaten on a schedule - every 3 hours. This year, I eat when I'm hungry. So I eat about every 3 - 4 hours. And let me tell ya - it seems much less stressful! I'm not so concerned about eating a meal during a meeting, or having to wait until I'm off the Metro. I've been eating at roughly the same times, though, and it works out quite well.

Meal 1 - 8:15 am
Meal 2 - 12 noon
Meal 3 - 3:30 pm
Meal 4 - 7 pm
Meal 5 - 11 pm

We took progress pictures this weekend, so I'll post those tomorrow. I might just be brave enough to post a back shot. We'll see!

Time to turn in. Legs and cardio tomorrow! I want to hit it hard and have lots of energy. Let's put today's carbs to work!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Go Time!

This isn't my first time dieting, so I know what to expect. I know to expect certain changes in my body and my mood. What I didn't expect was to feel the changes so soon.


As I sit here, I feel like I have zero energy. Every limb on my body feels like it weighs 100 lbs. I'm tired, but not necessarily sleepy. You know that groggy, heavy feeling you get after waking up from a long nap? That's how I've felt all day. I literally just want to lie in bed and not do anything at all. I know I'm not my usual perky, energetic self, but I can't seem to find the energy to do anything about it. This is the end of the 5th week of my diet, and usually at this point, I feel ok. Normal. Right now, I feel like I'm only a couple weeks out from the show. Perhaps this is a good thing, as it means I'm probably ahead of schedule.


It's been over a week since I've had any carbs, and I'm really craving the Lindt white chocolate truffles that are sitting next to my computer. I've saved up a couple other treats for my carb day tomorrow, and I'm really having a tough time keeping my hands off them. My last carb day was last Thursday, Christmas Eve. Tomorrow we're planning on sushi and maybe another carb meal too. My mouth is watering for some sugar and sweets!



We took progress pics this morning. I'm definitely making some progress, which is motivating! I've dropped about 6-7 lbs so far, and I can feel my body tightening up all over.


 


I'm still too embarrassed to post my back pics. My back is definitely leaning out, but my lower body as yet to catch up.

I just bought a couple bottles of Endorush today so I can function during the day. I just drank some a little while ago, and have a bit of energy (meaning I feel like I can actually get up and walk around as opposed to just lying listlessly in bed). Gotta love contest prep!

Oh, and I've received the official invitation to compete in the Arnold!!! So now it's definitely GO TIME!!