Monday, December 31, 2012

Highlights of 2012

Happy New Year, friends! It seems like 2012 just flew by!

At the end of each year, it's always fun to look back at all the fun times and then to look ahead to a new and exciting future. 2012 was a good year in my world!

Some Highlights of 2012

The entire Keenan family went to Cozumel, Mexico in January. It was so much fun to spend time with J, my parents, and my brother and his family. I love quality nephew time, especially when it includes sand, sun, and the ocean!

Keenan Family in Mexico
J and I took our yearly pilgrimage to the Arnold in March. I finally got to see the Figure International pre-judging on stage! It was the first time I'd seen Nicole Wilkins and Erin Stern compete. It was a thrill to see them in top shape!

Figure International
I decided it was high time for a change in hair color, so in April, I dyed my hair jet black. Turns out I LOVE the color and have gotten a ton of compliments on it. The bonus is that the dark color keeps my hair healthier and not dried out, like when I was highlighting it all the time. I had a photoshoot with an old friend, Dan Norman, while I was in Minnesota in April.
Dan Norman Photography
After prepping for 20 (miserable) weeks, I competed on June 30th at the Maryland State/East Coast Classic Championships. And I WON!! I won the Overall for the Maryland State AND the Overall for the East Coast Classic!

Hardware!
A few weeks after the Maryland show, Big Bitch Formula invited J and me to join their team. We're thrilled and honored to be a part of such a wonderful and welcoming company. Shameless plug: If you're looking for a high quality, great tasting protein, order a jug of BBF TODAY!!

BBF Crew with Jay Cutler
In August, J and I were asked to pick up Jay Cutler from the airport when he flew in for his Jay Cutler Classic show. We were both so excited! It was really nice to be able to chat with him as a person, not as a celebrity. He's very down to earth and friendly.

This Fall, I started doing Bikram yoga and Krav Maga. It was fun to branch out to some other fitness areas and learn new things, although I ended up spraining my ankle in Krav. It still hurts. :(

Ed helped
A few weeks ago, J and I went to Minnesota to visit my family, and the following week, went to Rhode Island to visit his family. As always, it was wonderful to visit and spend quality time with our loved ones.

Keenan Family Kristmas
Looking Ahead to 2013

I've already begun prep for 2013 shows in May. Prior to that, we're taking our annual trip to the Arnold. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2013 brings!

What were some highlights of your 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Friday, December 28, 2012

It Begins

And so it begins ... prep is now in full swing! After a few weekends of enjoying lots of Christmas meals and goodies, it's time to buckle down and make some progress!

On Saturday, I will be 18 weeks out from the Pittsburgh show. I'm starting with a week and a half less time than I did last year, and will have a week-long interruption in January, so my diet will be very tight, and training will be intense. Not that my diet and training aren't usually intense; it's just that we had some wiggle room before if something didn't work that we don't have now.

We took progress pictures yesterday morning and we definitely have some work to do! Instead of crying or getting upset about the pictures, I'm actually kind of motivated by them. They're going to be a great contrast to my "after" pictures in May! I'm excited to shed the layers of water and fat and see what's underneath. I think that's the most rewarding part of prep for me: seeing physical results of my hard work in the off-season. One of my friends compared prep to unwrapping a present to discover the beauty underneath. I love that description!

We're starting with a keto diet again. My body responds very well to a high fat/zero carb diet, so that will kick start my metabolism. I'm eating five meals a day; eat meal contains protein and fats. Most of the meals also contain green veggies. I won't feel very good for a few days until my body adjusts to the diet and re-learns how to burn fats instead of carbs for energy. After a few days, I should be feeling just fine again.

As I mentioned before, my workouts are plyo-based and high intensity. I just started having regular training sessions with J so he can push me a little harder than I usually push myself. Last year, I didn't train with him very often because I felt I could focus better when training on my own. Because my workouts are so different now, it really helps to have him there to keep the intensity high.

I'm excited to start this prep journey! Each year is a little different and I learn new things about myself. I wonder what this year will bring?

What's your favorite part of prep? For how many weeks do you typically prep?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Plan for 2013

Hi friends! I bet you all thought I fell off the face of the earth! I'm still alive; I've just been swamped with work and the holiday season.

A few weeks ago, I did an informal poll and asked people if they'd be interested in following my prep journey for 2013. I got an enthusiastic and overwhelming response of "Yes! We want to know what you do!"

I have to admit that this baffles me. While I have a positive self esteem, I don't think that the things I do are particularly interesting. I mean, c'mon. I sit at a desk all day, eat 4-5 times a day, go to the gym, and then go home to my fur babies. That's about it! I fail to see how that routine can be exciting and interesting to someone, but who am I to judge? I'm more than happy to share and overshare with you if enjoy reading about it.

2013 Plan

The plan for 2013 is to make May a memorable month. It's already my favorite month because I'm a May baby. But I have some big competition plans for May 2013. My first show will be the Pittsburgh at the beginning of the month, and then a couple weeks later, I'll head down to Charleston, SC to do the Jr. USA's. Two very competitive shows.

I've been sort of dieting since November, but have allowed for some off-plan indulgences. I'll turn on the heat and kick the prep-mobile into gear after the holidays. Last year I did a 20-week prep, and it was extremely effective (see also: I Won Some Swords and Miss Maryland Figure 2012). This year, prep will be a few weeks shorter, so my diet may have to be a bit stricter. By "stricter," I mean zero carb for a longer period of time. Last year, I had carbs in my diet for quite a few weeks.

2012 Maryland State & East Coast Classic
Training

My workouts the past few months have been very different than what I've done in the past. For the first time in 15 years, I'm not trying to build more muscle. I really like the size I am, and we discovered that when I add more size, I lose my shape and begin to resemble a brick. NOT a good look for me. My workouts are a combination of plyos and weights. I like the variation because I feel like an athlete again. I've always been athletic, and sometimes I'd get frustrated because weight training for shows didn't allow me to do other athletic things that I also enjoy. The gym isn't my only passion in life; I simply love to be active.

My training schedule has remained the same for quite awhile: I train Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri. Wed, Sat, and Sun are cardio-only days. I do cardio twice a day: in the morning before work and immediately following my workout in the evening. I've gotten some grief about the fact that I do cardio twice a day. But think about it this way: I sit at a desk for 8-9 hours a day. Walking on the treadmill for a total of an hour a day is barely a sufficient level of activity. I do what works best for my body to get the results I want.

What Else?

What else would you like to know about my prep? I'm more than happy to answer questions or dedicate blogs to a specific topic of your choice.

Do you enjoy following other people's preps? What aspects interest you the most?

Monday, December 3, 2012

BBF Flavored Pancakes

Compared to most people I know, I eat a very boring diet. Not just in terms of food choice, but also in variety. I see so many recipes with ingredients I wouldn't even dream of combining, cooked and baked in ways I'd never imagine. It would never occur to me to microwave protein powder. Or to combine it with a few different things and then put it in the freezer. Who thinks of things like that?! I'm in awe.

The one cooking thing I AM good at is making pancakes. I love egg whites and protein powder, so I'm always looking at ways to combine them into different pancake varieties. My latest concoction involves Big Bitch Formula and some frosting flavoring. Check it out!

BBF Flavored Pancakes

Flavored Pancake Ingredients
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 scoop Big Bitch Formula - Cake Batter flavor
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 drops vanilla liquid stevia (or powder stevia or Truvia to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp frosting flavor (Duncan Hines) - pick your flavor

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into blender or Magic Bullet and blend.
  2. Blend and then pour into pan on the stove.
  3. Flip when one side is cooked.
Notes:
You can top with sugar-free syrup or Cool Whip, although these are so good, they don't need a topping. Makes one pancake. You could also include xanthan gum, almond milk, Green yogurt, or cottage cheese, depending on your diet requirements.

The coolest thing is that the pancake is pink, although it's tough to tell in this photo!
I have no doubt that you all are much more creative than I am, so if you have any (carb-free) suggestions of other ingredients that might make a tasty pancake, please share in the comments! Also, if you give these a try, please let me know what you think!