Friday, July 27, 2012

A Little Bit About Me

Since I've been uninspired to write lately, I'm gonna piggyback on a post my blogger friend, Dani, wrote the other day.

How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?

I've been writing all my life. I started this blog in 2009 as a place to publicly share my thoughts and feelings about competing and living a fitness lifestyle. I'm not quite sure where/how to classify my blog at this time (this is something I think about quite a bit). I guess it would still be considered fitness, but there are some definite lifestyle elements to it as well. I'm not quite sure which direction it will continue to go. For some reason, people really seem to like to follow my contest and prep journeys, but that's just a part of what makes me who I am. I may post more lifestyle-type entries this year. Maybe a good question to ask YOU is what do YOU want read about?

Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?

Yep! I have a BA in English Language and Literature from University of Minnesota, Morris. I usually joke that my degree affirms that I can indeed read and write.

Where have you traveled?

Thanks for my parents' penchant for travel, I've been to most of the states in the U.S., the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Mexico. I lived in Spain for 4 months during college and traveled to England, Ireland, France, and Italy during that time period.

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

Christian Louboutin shoes! Then I'd pay off my parents' office building and buy them a home in Key West.

What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?

I have oh so many pet peeves!

  • People who don't use their turn signal.
  • Getting cut off in traffic.
  • The sound of chewing food. *cringe
  • People who talk with a mouth full of food.
  • Being interrupted.
  • Dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is empty.
  • Stupid questions that could be answered by a simple Google search.
  • Snap judgments without all the information.

I could keep going, but I'll stop there.

What is your favorite movie?

The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, Love Actually, Pretty Woman, The Devil Wears Prada, Million Dollar Baby.

What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?

Water flavored with Crystal Lite, Diet Coke

What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?

Sit on the porch with my kitty and read a book.

If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?

TARGET!! I can never leave with just the items on my list.

Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past. Or present.

I can't think of just one incident. I'm sure there are many and I just haven't realized it.

What day would you love to relive again?

Some days from our cruise trip last year and our Mexico trip this year. Family, fun, and sun!

If your life was turned into a movie … what actor would play you?

Me, of course! Cuz I want to be a movie star.

What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?

I babysat and nannied all through high school and college. That was so much fun! I also worked at Fanny Farmer candy store.

Show us a picture from high school or college.

I don't have one on this computer. There were no such things as digital cameras then ... does that make me sound old?!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?

Greece. I've always wanted to go there!

Show us the most current picture of you or you, or your family, or anything of meaning to you.

J and me in our best shape ever
Where do you see your life 5 years from now?

This is always such a tough question, because I don't necessarily have a plan for my life. I embrace changes and opportunities, and there are so many unknowns all the time that how I picture my life now could be completely different than what it'll actually be in 5 years.

I'd love to hear your responses to these questions! Write your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Got Picked!

Remember back in elementary school gym class when the teacher had two kids pick people for team activities? Are you still scarred from always being "picked" last or near the end? I have a few memories of disappointment from when I wasn't among the first few picks, even though I realized my obvious shortcomings in specific sports.

In baseball and softball, I can run decently fast around the bases, but I tend to hit balls directly AT the outfielders. This makes it fairly easy to field the balls and throw me out at first. Same thing with kickball.

In soccer, I always tried to pick the ball up instead of kicking it because it was too frustrating not to be able to use my hands.

In basketball, I discovered that you actually have to be able to make baskets more than 15% of the time in order for people to want you on their team. And apparently, it's considered bad form yell "MOVE OUT OF MY WAY!" and shove the person guarding you.

I learned that I'm great at individual sports like tennis, skating, skiing, and bodybuilding.

In those sports, there's not much picking of teams.

But when it comes to competing in Figure and in getting sponsorships in the fitness industry, there is a form of selection and getting picked. When I stand on stage, some of the things that run through my head are, "Pick me!" and "Please call my number!" (Seriously. It's true. Next time you see me on stage smiling my heart out at the judges, you'll know that I'm silently pleading with them to pick me.)

Not only did I get picked at the Maryland Show, I got SERIOUSLY picked!! (Can you tell I'm still on Cloud 9?!)

And last week, I got picked again!

Big Bitch Formula, a growing supplement company, contacted Jerry and me and offered us a place on their team of sponsored athletes! We got SERIOUSLY picked! We're so excited to be able to say that we're now Big Bitch Formula sponsored athletes!

This company has a straight-forward, no-bull approach and offers high quality supplements that taste great! (Plus, the names of the protein powders are awesome! You can't beat "Kick-Ass Cake Batter," "Cinna-Bun Blast," and "Rocky Eff'n Road" for product names!)

We're so excited about this opportunity, we made a video!

Thanks to Rob Kreider and Bobby Haire for believing in us and for picking us! We're thrilled and honored to be part of the team!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Journey

A few months ago, I decided to step out of the proverbial box and join Toastmasters. If you haven't heard of it, Toastmasters is an organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. I've been wanting to join for a few years, but it just recently became feasible for me. I've given two speeches so far, and am preparing to give my third, hopefully later this month.

I want to share the last speech I gave, because I think many of you can relate to it. As a frame of reference, I gave this speech on June 27th, three days before the Maryland State show.


The Journey

Think of your favorite food. Now think of your second favorite food. And now your third.

Now imagine yourself standing in the middle of a room that's filled with all of your favorite foods. Your mouth waters. Your stomach growls in anticipation. And you reach for ...

chicken and broccoli.

You stand in that room for five long months. Twenty weeks. Surrounded by ALL of your favorite foods. But you don't eat any of them. Instead, you repeatedly reach for chicken, turkey, egg whites, almonds, broccoli, oatmeal. For five months. While all of your friends and family are standing around you eating YOUR favorite foods.

That's kind of how it feels like to prepare for a bodybuilding competition. In order to decrease their body fat levels to ridiculously low amounts, competitors often prepare for a competition for 12-20 weeks. I'm going to use 20 weeks as a guideline, since that's how long I prepare for shows. I'd rather be ready early than be behind and stressed right before the show.

Part I
When you first begin prep, it's exciting! You feel anxious, nervous, excited. You don't know what your body is going to look like in 20 weeks, and you're looking forward to the journey. Kind of like starting a new hobby or project. Everything is all fun and games for the first few weeks, right?

One challenge at this point is to eliminate bad habits you didn't even know you had. We call those BLT's: bites, licks, and tastes. When you bake, how many of you lick the spoon? I do! When you go out to eat with friends, how many of you ask to have a bite of your friend's meal? I do! You can't do those things while in prep!

Contest diets are very strict: you eat specific foods at specific times of the day. Nothing more, nothing less. There are 13 almonds in a half ounce. If you eat 14 almonds, you just cheated on your diet. If you're supposed to have 4 oz of chicken and you have 5 oz, you just cheated on your diet. And I'm not even going to talk about that Girl Scout Cookie!

Another challenge at this point is keep the end goal in mind. Five months is a long time! When you start prep in February for a June show, it seems like light years away! So it's important to stay focused on the long-term versus the short-term.

Part II
A few weeks go by, and you've settled into a routine. You cook all your food for the week on Sunday. You measure, weight, and package your food each week. Your refrigerator begins to resemble a Tetris game, with all the Ziploc baggies and plastic containers.

You still have quite a bit of variety in your diet. You've started to see some changes in your body, and that's keeping you motivated.

The challenge at this point is to continue to resist peer pressure from well-meaning friends and relatives. They may offer you treats and tell you it's not a big deal to have just a bite. But one chip can lead to two chips, which can lead to the whole bag of chips.

"Just one cookie won't hurt you!" No, but one cookie leads to two cookies leads to the entire box of cookies. And that will set you back. Each setback adds up until all of a sudden, instead of being right on track, you're behind in prep. And that's NOT where you want to be!

Part III
A few more weeks go by, and now you've officially entered what I call The Dark Ages. This is the point during prep when life just sucks. You're tired, you're irritable, and you're hungry. You've come too far to quit, but you can't quite see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

Your diet is more restricted and your cravings kick into overdrive! Things that you normally would never eat suddenly look delicious to you. Pop Tarts? Yes please! It seems like every time you're on the treadmill, the only things on TV are ads for food! You don't even like Taco Bell, but that Dorito Taco looks divine! And Papa John's cheesy bites pizza looks SO good! And don't even get me started on Olive Garden.

In addition to having out-of-control cravings, you're also very irritable at this point. EVERYTHING annoys you. And it seems like you're surrounded by stupidity and ignorance. You become an expert at pasting a smile on over gritted teeth, while visions of punching people in the face run through your head.

It's at this point that fatigue really starts to set in too. You're tired. Everything seems like a chore. Some days it feels like you can't take another step. But you push on and take two steps.

Part IV
And finally you're in the last part of prep. Just like that, time seems to have flown by! Even though your diet is very restricted with little variety, you don't care anymore. Your food is bland: no Mrs. Dash, no salt, no Crystal Light, no stevia. But it doesn't matter anymore; you're focused and excited about the show. You can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and you can't wait to get on stage!

You've sculpted your body into a work of art. You took a chunk of marble and chipped at it for 20 weeks until you now resemble a Greek God or Goddess. You made it through the journey and accomplished things you didn't even think you were capable of. You're proud of yourself.

And when I stand on stage in three days, I'll have those same feelings. I'll know that everything I went through for five months - every moment when I didn't know if I could push any harder or even take another step forward - was totally worth it. And that, in itself, is the reward.

The best reward: Being proud of what we went through


Competitors: Do you have a similar experience when you prep? Which parts do you identify with most? What's the most rewarding thing for you in prep? What do you think is the most ridiculous part of prep?

Non-Competitors: Have you ever considered doing a show? Did you think prep would be similar to how I described it? Do you think competitors are ridiculous for doing this? :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gym Life: It's Showtime!

If you've ever wondered what it's like to get ready for a show and to compete, take a look at the latest Gym Life videos from BioS3 Training.

Part 4 shows the final weeks leading up to the show; it details training, diet, and the mindset of competitors.

Part 5 shows what life is like the day before the show, and gives an exclusive sneak peak at what goes on backstage during the show.


Do you enjoy these types of videos? Are you surprised about anything that happens behind the scenes and backstage?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Miss Maryland Figure 2012

Do you ever think of time in terms of "at this time next week" or "at this time two years ago"? I do it all the time, especially when thinking of big events or important milestones in my life.

At This Time Last Week
At this time last week, J and I were on our way to Towson, MD to check into the host hotel for the Maryland show. The morning started off busy for me. It felt weird NOT to do cardio immediately after waking up, and I headed to the gym to do a final shave before getting tanned later in the day. I met up with Jenny, one of my friends on the Bio-Built team (Jerry's training company), and we headed to Georgetown Cupcake to pick up some post-show treats.

Cupcakes anyone?
I also picked up another (super cute!) sports bra from Lululemon for a potential photoshoot following the show. Then I headed home to finish packing.

Ed helped me pack
After making our way through heavy traffic, J and I checked into the hotel and settled down for a nap. We were both nervous and irritable. The Bio-Built team met for a brief meeting before we headed down for the Check In/Weigh In at 5 pm.

J likes to hang out in the Weigh In room and visit with people he knows. I'd rather check in and get out of there. I get nervous seeing other competitors, because I always think everyone else looks FAR better than me and I psych myself out. While J chatted with friends, I headed into the spray tan area.

This was the first time I'd ever used Liquid Sun Rayz products and I was nervous about it (I'm a Jan Tana girl). But I have a new favorite tanning company now! LSR products and staff are awesome! They thought of small details, were friendly and professional, and the color turned out beautiful! The best thing? The tan dried in under 5 hours! VICTORY!!!

Up All Night
We were up most of the night. We were both exhausted, but barely managed to get any sleep due to several reasons:
  • Jerry needed to eat every 2 hours thoughout most of the night.
  • A ginormous storm/tornado ripped through the East Coast and knocked out power to most of the surrounding states. Luckily, the Sheraton didn't lose power; we think it switched to a generator for a day or so, though.
  • A group of high school Lacrosse players in the room next door decided it was appropriate and polite to blast loud music at 1 am and run around the hallways, yelling at the top of their lungs. Jerry called the front desk THREE times to complain and finally put on his Adult Panties and went next door to yell at them. Note to the Sheraton: Next time you host bodybuilders at your hotel, do NOT put rowdy kids in the room next door. The two groups do not mix well together.
Show Day!
Despite being up for most of the night, when 6 am rolled around, we were both bright-eyed and bushy tailed. It was finally FINALLY show day!! I put my on Competition Face (stage makeup), clipped in my new hair extensions, and was ready to rock and roll!

Competition Face and Hair
Like most shows I've been to, there was a lot of sitting around and waiting. Because of the widespread power outtages, there were some unexpected last-minute issues and the show started late. We chilled backstage most of the time, visited with friends, and occasionally snuck into the auditorium to watch parts of the show.

Team Bio-Built
One of the coolest aspects of this show was having friends backstage. Team Bio-Built consisted of Jenny, Beka, Mary, me, and Jerry. Jerry trained all of us Figure girls for the show, and we were all ready to present our best! This was the very first show for the other girls, so I'd worked with them on posing, presentation, and other girly information, while Jerry did their training and nutrition plans.

Jerry and His Team Bio-Built Girls
Bio-Built Girls: Me, Beka, Mary, Jenny
I also had several other friends backstage, including Debi and Kelly. I met a few online friends in person, which was very cool also!

Debi and me

Shelly "The Birthday Girl" and me
Mary and me
Beka and me
Jenny and me
Jerry and me with Kevin Levrone

Stepping on Stage
One of my favorite aspects of competing is stepping on stage. And owning it. Knowing that I look my absolute best and the 20-week journey to get to this point has all been worth it. My smile is brighter. My shoulders go back, my chest goes out, my chin goes up ... and I shine!

My Moment
It was so great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd! I could hear people cheering for me and yelling my name. I tried to acknowledge people to let them know I heard them; it means SO much that they were there.

As I said in my last blog, I WON!! I placed 1st in the Maryland State show and 1st in the East Coast Classic. The Maryland show was only open to Maryland residents, while the East Coast Classic was open to all U.S. residents.

1st Place, East Coast Classic!
I also won the Overall in both shows! I think I'm still in shock and awe! After I won the East Coast Classic Overall, I walked off-stage straight into Jerry's arms. I started crying and saying, "Baby, we did it!!" That was my favorite moment of the whole night.

It was truly a team effort. Jerry and I both had moments of struggle, random breakdowns, and periodic episodes of intense self-doubt. But we both stuck through it and helped the other stay strong. I can't thank him enough for his support and encouragement. Not only is he the best coach, he's the best boyfriend!

We did it!!
After all was said and done, Team Bio-Built walked away with 5 swords and 2 Overall trophies! Jerry placed 4th and 5th in his classes, and Jenny placed 5th in her class.

Our hardware. Swords are in the boxes!
Team Bio-Built after a long, fun day!
Everyone brought their absolute BEST to the stage, and I'm SO proud of my whole team!!!

Thank you SO VERY much to all of you who supported me, encouraged me, and believed in me. You helped me take two steps forward when I thought I couldn't take another step. Thank you to Jerry, Mom and Dad, Jaimee, Jeffrey and James, Team Bio-Built, Angela, Donloree, the Bobettes, Debi, Jessie, my bloggy friends, my Facebook friends, my co-workers, my gym friends, and so many others.

Jerry and his swords
It's time to enjoy the summer!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Won Some Swords!

Where do I begin?! This weekend was amazing! I'm going to write a few posts about the weekend and the experience instead of trying to cram everything into one long post.

We recorded a video on Sunday evening, talking a bit about the experience and the prizes we won. (SWORDS! TROPHIES!)

I got a sneak peak of one of the professional stage photos!

Can't believe this is me!
I still can't believe I'm the Maryland State Figure Champion and East Coast Classic Figure Champion!!