Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jr USA's Behind the Scenes Perspective

I had planned to write a longer recap of Jr USA's weekend, but I'm slammed at work and won't have time to write it today. I do, however, have a video I want to share! J created a video with snippets and a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to be a competitor and a coach going to a National show.


Here are a few pictures from the Evening show.

Class B Top 5!
Team Bio-Built!
2 of my Favorite Things: Cookies & Weapons
Keep checking back for my recap of the weekend, my thoughts on the show, and some pictures of beautiful downtown Charleston, South Carolina!

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Won a Dagger!


I'm so excited that I placed 4th in my class at Jr USA's this past weekend!! All along, my goal has been to place top 5, and I not only met my goal, I exceeded it!

It felt amazing to be up on the Winners' Platform at a National show.

The awards for top 5 in each class were genuine daggers. So cool!! Apparently, I like to collect weapons.

After the show, I grabbed some cookies from backstage and celebrated with cookies and a dagger.

I'll have more updates in the next few days so stay tuned for more details of the fun weekend!

Thank you to all of you who have supported and encouraged me along the way. It means the world to me!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thoughts After Jr USA's Pre-Judging

I'm writing this on my phone as I sit at the Jr USA's venue, waiting for the evening show to start.

I feel happy, calm, and excited to stand on stage again tonight. Pre-judging went REALLY well this morning! My goal all along has been to place Top 5 at this show, so when I got 1st call-out this morning, I was ecstatic!! There were 6 of us called out. I wasn't in the middle (no box like in Pittsburgh), but I wasn't on an end. I'm taking that as a good sign and will be thrilled if I place 5th or higher.

I went into this show with a calm and happy mindset. I've put in a lot of hard work and now is the time to celebrate it. Like I've said before, regardless of placing, I already feel like a winner.

I'll post an update tomorrow with my placing. Now I'm going go chill in the audience with the Bio-Built team until it's time to shine on stage again!

After pre-judging

An upstoppable duo!!

J pointing out my ASSets! What a boy! Haha!

Thanks for all the well-wishes, support, & encouragement! It means the world to me!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Avoid Post-Contest Weight Gain

It's a common thing both in the fitness industry and in the mainstream ... someone goes on a diet for a period of time, achieves their goal (competition or goal weight), and then a few months later, has gained all the weight back and maybe then some.

Why does this happen? There are many reasons, but the simplest one is this: the "diet" didn't become a "lifestyle"; therefore, it was a short-term fix for bigger issues.

I'll be the first to admit that I've fallen into this mindset plenty of times after show. Even when I have a post-comp plan to follow, I still fall off the train tracks and wander around in the weeds for awhile before realizing I need to make some changes before getting back on the train.

J came up with a really good analogy about how to tackle diet, training, and cardio after a show. Since I'm a visual learner (and I figured many of you are as well), I made a video explaining the concept.

I'm asking for YOUR support! And if you're competing soon, please let me know so we can all support each other.

Have you ever fallen off the cliff or taken the rocky way down? What was your experience? Do you have any stories or helpful hints to share?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Countdown to Jr USA's: 3 Days Out

In only 3 more days, I will be standing on stage at Jr USA's in Charleston, SC!! I am so excited about the show!!

I'm feeling more relaxed and calm about this show than I was before the Pittsburgh show. Mainly because I felt overwhelmed with the amount of errands and things I had to do before we went to that show. This time, I was able to get the jump start on tasks and errands ahead of time.

My suitcase is nearly packed - I keep all of my contest things together (sheets, towels, hair supplies, makeup supplies, clothes for after getting tanned), so it's quick and easy to pack everything. I even remembered to pack my stretchy band to pump up backstage (I usually forget it and end up swiping someone else's for a few minutes before going on stage). I have a lot of my food cooked and packaged already too. I have a bit more cooking to do, but it shouldn't take long.

I'm happy with the look I'm bringing to the stage, and that alone makes me feel like a winner.

J'adore hot pink!
We're flying to Charleston, SC on Friday. Shortly after we get there, we'll check into the hotel, check into the show, and then relax until my tanning appointment. The hotel is attached to the venue, which is the best setup, in my opinion. I'm all about convenience!

The day after the show is my birthday!! What a wonderful way to celebrate!

We're staying in Charleston on Sunday and then fly out on Monday morning. I'm so excited to have my Birthday Breakfast the morning after the show! Then we'll spend the remainder of the day sight-seeing.

For those of you who've been to Charleston, do you have any tourist recommendations? What are some fun things to do or must-see things while we're there?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Workout Video - Last Delt Workout Before Jr USA's

This past Friday was my LAST delt workout before Jr. USA's this coming Saturday! I love all the "last" things before a show. It feels like checking things off a really long, multiple-month to-do list. And I do loves me some check lists!

Today I have a special treat for you! It's been awhile since I've posted a training video, and J's BioS3 Training YouTube channel has really taken off this year! He wanted to do a feature video about my workout on Friday, so we filmed some commentary and exercises. Check it out!


This is my second "Peak Week" ... you know, I really don't like that phrase. First, it sounds silly. Second, it implies that things will drastically change this week. In my case, not true. I'm already in shape so there's very little to change at this point.

What does my week look like?

I'll do cardio through Thursday morning. I'll train full body routines Mon - Wed (usually Wed is a cardio-only day). My food and water stay exactly the same. No changes. Why mess with things if we're already happy with how I look? Too many competitors make the mistake of completely changing things up the week of the show, and they end up looking worse on stage than they did the previous week. I'll let my fellow competitors do all that crazy stuff and I'm going to just keep doing what I'm doing because we know what works best for ME.

I'm really happy with how I look, and I'm excited for the show! I feel like I look my best ever, and regardless of how I place, I already feel like I've won!

Do you have any questions about my workout or my final prep routine? I'm more than happy to answer them!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pittsburgh: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I'm still on such a high from the Pittsburgh show 3 days ago! I feel energized, focused, and simply thrilled!

I promised more updates and stories from the weekend, so here we go with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good
The Box
I won 1st in my height class! My goal was top 5 - I wanted to improve on my placing of 7th from 4 years ago. When we went on stage, I thought there were 9 ladies in my height class, which means the person in the center of the stage would have 4 competitors on either side. There was a blue tape box in the center of the stage that marked where we were supposed to do our model turns, and it also denoted the center of the lineup.

When we lined up (there were no callouts because of the size of the class), we got moved around, and I ended up to the right of the blue box. Believing that there were 9 in the class, I thought the girl in the blue box was in the center of the lineup and was going to win the class. I walked off stage thinking I'd placed 2nd or 3rd. I was thrilled!

Figure Class A. See the blue box?
I talked to a few people who'd been watching, and they all thought I'd maybe take 1st. They had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned "the box" and thought I was confused. They'd also seen that there were 10 competitors instead of 9, which meant there was no one person in the center of the lineup.

I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I started thinking, "What if I DID win my class?" I'd be in contention for the Overall! I knew I had to keep things tight, so I stuck to my diet plan and prepared for the evening show.

When the placings were called out in the evening, I kept expecting to hear my number called for 3rd or 2nd, but when it wasn't called, I realized I'd won! I really hope there are pictures capturing the expression on my face when they called my name for 1st. I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped and I got a huge, dopey smile on my face!

1st Place!
Ginormous trophy!
Bio-Built Team
I love competing with other teammates! For the first few years I competed, I trained on my own and was used to being by myself backstage. The last 2 years have been such a cool experience - being part of the Bio-Built team of BioS3 Training! It's so much fun to have friends and teammates backstage with me, chatting, putting on lipstick, gluing our suits to our butts. I love the positive energy and camaraderie we all shared!

Team Bio-Built! Megan, me, Jerry, Jenny
Jerry's Girls
The Bio-Built Ladies
Quality Time with Friends
We have some good friends in Pittsburgh whom we see every year, and this year was no exception. Melanie and Damon came to watch the show and to cheer me on, which meant a lot to me. We spent some time visiting with them on Sunday after the show.

Me with Melanie (and baby!)
I also got to see one of my online friends, Lisa! She lives in Pittsburgh and came to watch the show also. It was fun to see her again and to have her support in the audience.

Lisa and me. She ran a marathon the next day!!
The Bad
I realized this weekend that I really really really despise being cold! Even though I spent 30 years of my life in cold climates, I'm definitely a warm weather girl! One of the worst parts of the competition was being cold for almost 48 hours straight.

Because the competition tan needs to "freeze" to the body in order to dry, I had to stand in front of the AC, shivering for an hour. I finally laid down, but my feet remained ice blocks. I have circulation problems in my hands and feet (I think the official name is Reynaud's), and the only way to warm them up is to place them against warm skin. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that because I couldn't muck up the tan. This made me feel irritable in addition to being frozen.

The discomfort was worth it, though, as my tan was perfect on stage!

I LOVE being on stage!
Almost Scratched?
Apparently, I miscalculated when my class would be lining up backstage at pre-judging. I knew Pro Figure and Bikini would take awhile, so I wasn't stressing about being ready and lined up. When I found my place in line, the expediter said, "Oh good, you're here. You were almost scratched." WHAT?!

I couldn't even imagine doing all that work in the gym, dieting, traveling, being AT the show, and then not being able to compete because I didn't manage my time well! Yikes!!

We ended up standing in line for a half hour, waiting for the Pros to finish. Note to self: be ready early for the evening show! (Which I absolutely made sure of that evening!)

The Ugly
Caffeine Withdrawals
"Hi, I'm Kari, and I'm addicted to caffeine." I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the majority of American adults are addicted to caffeine (check out the lines at Starbucks in the mornings!). I openly admit that I loves me some Endorush, and I sip on it throughout the day. Because we needed to tighten my conditioning in the days leading up to the show, Endorush was removed from my diet. That lead to caffeine withdrawal headaches, including on the day of the show. I felt like I didn't really enjoy myself as much as I could've because I had a headache all day and was really tired.

Attitude Check
The combination of caffeine withdrawals, lack of sleep, lack of food, and lack of water made for a rather grumpy Kari the day of the show. I didn't feel like moving much, so I stayed glued to my seat in the audience for most of pre-judging. I wasn't outwardly crabby or snappy to anyone; I just wasn't as outgoing and social as I normally am.

After pre-judging, all I wanted to do was to take a nap for several hours before the evening show. I knew we wouldn't be on stage until rather late in the evening, so technically, we didn't have to be at the venue until later. But others in the group wanted to watch other portions of the show, so we agreed to arrive back at the venue at the beginning of the evening show. This cut into my nap time, and I whined about it to J. I also whined about the fact that the hotel cleaning service thought they were doing me a favor by stripping the bed of my own sheets and folding them up neatly next to the pristine, white hotel sheets. I had to unmake the entire bed and set up my own sheets again because I didn't want my tan to stain the expensive hotel sheets.

At that point, J looked at me and said bluntly, "If I were you, I'd be on top of the world right now." Whoa. That was the reality check I needed to ditch the crappy attitude and look at the bigger picture. We figured I'd placed well, so I needed to focus on that instead of acting like whiny jerk. After my nap, I felt a bit better and had a wonderful time at the evening show.

My biggest fan!
Band Concert?
We knew our hotel was on the route of the MS Marathon, held on Sunday, but we didn't realize a full BAND would set up across the street and play the SAME tunes over and over and over at a loud decibel from 7 am - 10:30 am. They were playing for the marathon runners (whom I greatly admire!), but it was so disruptive for all of us trying to sleep after a very long Saturday. Love the idea, not so crazy about their choice of location.

What's Next?
As I mentioned in the video yesterday, I'm back in prep mode for the Jr USA's in 2 weeks. It's been 5 years since I've done back to back shows, so it's an interesting experience. I don't feel lost, I don't have the post-contest blues, and I'm not retaining a camel's weight in water. I'm back to eating my turkey and almonds, doing cardio, and training intensely. It just feel normal and routine - my chosen lifestyle.

Doing my thang!
Back Pose
I'm ready for 2 more weeks of intense focus and determination. I'm so excited to bring an even better package to the stage in Charleston, South Carolina!

Monday, May 6, 2013

2013 Pittsburgh Figure Class A Champion!!

I WON MY HEIGHT CLASS at the Pittsburgh Championships this past weekend!! I'm still over-the-moon-super-excited about it!! I can't stop smiling!

Totally excited about my ginormous trophy!
My goal was to place in the top 5, so winning my class was COMPLETELY unexpected! I swear my jaw dropped when they called my number for 1st!

J and I made a video last night, talking about the weekend, our plan of approach, and what's next. Check it out!


I have a bunch of stories and pictures from this weekend, so keep checking back throughout the week!

I want to thank Jerry, my boyfriend and coach (shameless plug: check out www.bios3training.com); my family and friends; my sponsors, Big Bitch Formula; my Bio-Built team; and all of my blog and online friends. I couldn't do it without all of your support and encouragement. I value each and every one of you and appreciate you more than you know. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!

Winning Team!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Show Time!

It's Show Day!! This past week has flown by in a flurry of work projects and deadlines, beauty appointments, final workouts, and packing preparation. Now it's the morning of the show. I'm laying in a tan-stained sheet on the bed, realizing I forgot to sew the strap of my suit. I'm thinking a safety pin may have to suffice.

I feel ready. This is a huge show - 350 competitors! All the big names come to it because the promoter is the head honcho of the organization. It's THE place to be this weekend.

We drove up to Pittsburgh yesterday morning. I took a short nap before going to check in at the venue. Check-in was so well-organized! I was in and out in less than 5 minutes! I love well-run shows!

I got spray tanned at 6 pm, then spent the next few hours shivering while the tan dried. It was to "freeze" on the body, so heat makes it melt and cold air sets it. Miserable thing for someone who's cold all the time anyway, especially with low body fat. Once I was sure the tan wouldn't streak, I laid down on my tanning sheet (the one I bring with me to every show) and watched TV. It was so relaxing to know that all the hard work was done.

This is my favorite part of prep.

Since Figure is one of the last divisions at pre-judging, and THE last division at the evening show, it's going to be a very long day. I can't wait!