Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prep Update: 2 Weeks Out from the Maryland Show!

The Maryland show is coming up fast! J and I recorded a video update about how prep is going, how we feel, and what we're most looking forward to after the show.

If you're in the Maryland/Virginia/DC area, we'd love to meet you at the show! Check out for show information!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Obvious Changes

In the past few weeks, since I've been on the keto diet, my body has tightened up quite a bit. The changes are fun for me to see, as every day, I discover something new:

  • "Oh look! The veins in my arms show all the time now!"
  • "Hmmm ... my leg didn't used to dip there before."
  • "Can't believe I have a 6-pack for the first time in my life!"

This, for me, is one of the most rewarding parts of prep. I can literally watch my body change as a direct result of my hard work. How empowering.

Apparently, I'm not the only one noticing my body changing. People have been commenting and asking more questions than usual lately. Here's a sample of what I've been hearing:

"You're looking good!"

"Do you work out?"

"I should follow YOUR diet! Ha ha! You should hear what I ate today: chocolate cake!"

"Keep up the great work!"

"Ever since you quit bodybuilding, you got smaller." (Huh?!)

"Are you also competing in that show that everyone around here's doing?"

"Look at you! You're so tiny now!"

The comments are mostly positive, which I'm grateful for (negative comments just make the mental battle during prep even worse). My usual response is simply, "Thank you." Other times, I just smile and walk away with a puzzled expression on my face. I realize that this sport is still far from mainstream, and I'm looked upon as an oddity at times. I've come to terms with that and have embraced it. Besides, who wants to be normal anyway?!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Help! I'm Trapped in My Belt!

Yesterday during my workout, I got trapped. No, it wasn't under a bar, with dumbbells, or on a machine. I got trapped in my weight belt.

Yes, you read that right. I got trapped in my weight belt.

It looks so innocent. Looks can be deceiving!
I was squatting very heavy yesterday so I put on my weight belt to support my lower back and give my whole body more stability. I don't wear it very often, but when I do, I wear it properly: TIGHT.

I finished my squat sets then tried unsuccessfully to unhook my belt. I tried again and still couldn't pull it enough release the prongs. Because it's so tight, it's not meant to be worn for much longer than the exercise and it was beginning to mash my ribs.

Desperately, I ran over to J, tossed the end of the belt into his hands, then sucked in my tummy so he could pull the prongs free. He managed to get the belt unhooked while his client laughed at the spectacle. Oh well; at least I know I provided some entertainment!

Do you wear a weight belt when you train? Have you ever gotten trapped in your belt (or am I the only one?)?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Contest Countdown: Only 3 More Weeks!

The countdown continues!! Only 3 more weeks until the Maryland show! It can't come soon enough for me!


The last few weeks I've been kind of crabby and negative, and I finally realized why: I'm sick of feeling crappy all the time. I realize there are some people who contend that you should never feel like crap during prep, yadda yadda yadda. I'm happy for those people, but feeling crappy has always been a part of prep for me.

  • It's not the diet - I'm eating more calories now than when I started dieting 20 weeks ago.
  • It's not the cardio - I'm doing less cardio now than I did in the off-season!
  • It's not the training - my strength is still up and I feel strong.

The issue is that my body does not want to let go of the fat. All the calories I'm consuming are being used to pull fat off my body, and that leaves very little left for other functionality. It's NORMAL; it's what's SUPPOSED to happen in prep. The whole point of prep is to prepare to present a lean, muscular look on stage, and the process to achieve that look means I feel like crap a lot of the time. I expect it and deal with it, but I'm most certainly looking forward to having more energy!

Happier Things

All that aside, what I really wanted to talk about today were some exciting things!! As my friend Tenecia wrote last week, packages in the mail are a sign of the times!

The official tanning company of the Maryland show is Liquid Sun Rayz. Since I've never used their products before, I needed to order their skin prep package. It was an exciting day when that package arrived! I'm looking forward to seeing how their tanning products work on my skin and what color I'll be on stage. I always use Jan Tana and I know what to expect, so I'm a bit apprehensive about trying LSR, but I've heard only great things about them. Maybe the tan will dry faster than Jan Tana - that'd be awesome!

Liquid Sun Rayz Skin Prep
Despite doing everything I'm supposed to do to have healthy hair, our hard water pretty much ruined my hair. I had 4 inches cut off last time I went to the salon, so my hair is a little too short for the stage right now. I need to be able to sweep it all over one shoulder, so I decided to try extensions for the first time. In the interest of not spending ALL my money on the show, I bought a Jessica Simpson/Ken Paves clip-in hair extension (instead of paying hundreds for real hair extensions). It arrived last week, so of course I immediately had to try it on! It looks awesome and matches my hair really well!!

The most exciting thing to arrive in the mail was my suit! Since I ordered it months ago and the picture on the website isn't the greatest, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It's utterly stunning!! It's glittery, sparkly, and just simply beautiful. I tried it on right away and just stood and stared at myself. I looked like a Figure Competitor. What an amazing feeling. Seeing myself in the suit gave me the extra push of motivation I needed to work through Leg Day with a positive attitude.

Another exciting thing is that I'm scheduling all my final pre-show appointments. So far, brows and hair are scheduled! I just need to make a nail appointment, and I'll be ready to hit the stage!

For those of you who compete, how do you feeling during prep? Do you get uber excited about getting show prep things in the mail too?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Q & A with Kari, Part 2

I had so much fun doing the Q & A session with Jerry a few weeks ago that I decided to do another one! I got a few questions from some of you, so last week, I answered them in a new video. I meant to get the video posted last week, but due to technical difficulties (Apparently there's a "right way" and an "upside down way"  to record videos with iPhones. Did you know that? I didn't.), I'm just now able to post it.

I answered questions about diet, training, and contest prep in this video.

Please keep the questions coming; I love hearing from you! What would you like me to answer? Post your questions in the Comments section and I'll answer them in my next Q & A video!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mental Strength

Do you ever have one of those days where just getting through your workout is an accomplishment? Yesterday was one of those days for me. I felt quite good for most of the day. I even had energy when I got to the gym! I was my usual smiley and bouncy self. And then I started my workout and somehow, my energy just disappeared!

I was surprised to discover that while I had zero energy, my strength wasn't affected! I moved the same amount of weight I usually do, and didn't fatigue in the middle of any reps. In between sets, however, was a different story.
Mentally gearing up for another round of lunges
I discovered that resting between sets restored enough energy to propel me through the next set. While I rested, I gave myself mini pep talks.

"You can do this!"

"Think SWORD."

"Other girls are giving 100% right now. You need to give 110%."

"You've done this before; you can do it again."

"You've felt worse and still pushed through workouts. Now stand up and lunge your lil butt off!"

The importance of mental strength during prep is often overlooked. It's a vital part of preparing to stand on stage! When our bodies are being pushed to extremes, mental strength is necessary to continue pushing. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we give them credit for! They are amazing machines!

Yesterday, while I was gathering energy between sets, I put my mental muscles to good use. I told myself that I believed in myself and that I believed I could give 110% to my workout. And guess what? I did! I impressed myself!

What do you do to push through a tough workout? Do you ever give yourself mini pep talks while training?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Whiny Toddler

I have a confession to make: I've been sort of crabby lately. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how little patience I had ... and now I have a feeling I have even fewer patience than before. I've been trying to come up with blog topics, and all the ideas I've been thinking about are more like rants. I really don't want my blog to be a negative thing, but sometimes my feelings are negative toward many things.

Things that currently bother me:

  • Pictures of food. (stupid Pinterest)
  • East coast drivers. They don't use their signals, they cut me off in traffic, they drive too slowly in front of me, they don't let me change lanes when I need to take an exit, I could go on and on.
  • Dumb questions. Why ask dumb questions when Google is the best thing ever invented? Use it, love it.
  • The bakery at the grocery store. I want ALL the bakery goods.
  • Delusional people. Sometimes I wonder what goes through people's heads. That's all I'm going to say about that.
  • People talking about all the "haters" they have. Stop posting aggressive messages about how much better you are than everyone else and I bet all of a sudden, you won't have any "haters" anymore.

I realized yesterday that I've been having sort of a negative outlook lately, and I don't like it. I'm normally a positive, upbeat person, but that seems to be the exception rather than the norm lately. Honestly, I'm just over prep at this point. I don't want to diet for another 4 weeks. I just want some dang cookies! Waaaah! Even to my own ears, I sound like a whiny toddler!

Focusing on the Positive
Changing gears, I'm choosing to focus on the positive right now: my diet and training are right on point and I'm really happy with my progress! I switched from a moderate carb diet to keto in the middle of the week 2 weeks ago. Why the middle of the week, you ask? Because I live with my trainer and made the unfortunate choice of voicing my progress concerns with him at midnight one night. Next thing I knew, my diet had drastically changed.

I felt both excited and upset about it. Excited because I know that keto is extremely effective for me and I get into shape quickly on it. Upset because I wasn't anticipating the abrupt change, and the planner in me wasn't prepared to deal with it. As always, the first few days were a bit rough, as my body transitioned from using carbs as an energy source to using fats instead. I've seen some exciting changes in the past 2 weeks, though, and I'm looking forward to bringing my best physique yet to the stage!

For the next 4 weeks, I'm making a resolution to have a more positive attitude. Instead of getting upset or frustrated, I'm going to try to see the positive in each situation. I don't know how successful this endeavor will be, but I'm going to give it the old college try!

When you're in prep, do you find yourself having more negative feelings than usual? How do you deal with it?