Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Consistency Gets Results

I've gotten a few requests to write about what a normal day looks like for me. At this point, it's not very exciting, but low-key and routine usually gets me the best results on stage, so I'm not complaining. After my show, I have plans to take on a few more activities and to try some new things.

Morning
6:40 am: My alarm goes off.
6:49 am: My alarm goes off again.
6:57 am: My alarm goes off yet again.
7:10 am: I drag myself out of bed. I like to think of myself as a "morning person" but I really hate getting out of a nice warm bed.

7:15 - 7:45 am: I begin cardio at some point during this time frame. We have a treadmill at home, so as soon as I can move my feet without tripping, I climb aboard for morning cardio. The cats and dog "help" by either looking out the window or sacking out for a nap on the floor next to me.

After cardio, I get ready to face the world. I make a BBF shake and grab some almonds, then hop in the car and head to work. I consume Meal 1 in the car.

Startin' the day off RIGHT! BBF Shake
9:00 - 9:30 am: I get to work. I'm an eLearning Specialist/Instructional Designer/Business Analyst. Basically, what that means is that I create and design online training courses, assist in website redesign projects, conduct website usability testing, and work on web analytics reports. I enjoy my job most of the time (which I feel is important, being that I spend 40+ hours a week doing it). I feel challenged in a good way and like the variety of projects.

11:00 am: My tummy starts telling me it's staaaaarving. I tell it to be patient and wait an hour.

12:00 pm: I race to the kitchen to heat up Meal 2.

Afternoon
I finish eating while working on various projects or attending meetings.

3:00 pm: My tummy starts telling me it's staaaaarving. I tell it to be patient and wait an hour.

4:00 pm: I race to the kitchen to heat up Meal 3.

5:00 - 5:30 pm: I pack up and head to the gym. I drink my pre-workout drink in the car when I'm about 10 minutes away from the gym.

Evening
6:00 pm: On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I train and then do cardio immediately after. On Wednesdays, I just do cardio. On those days, sometimes I head home and do cardio at home instead. I have to admit, the closer I get to the show, the less time I want to spend at the gym. Plus, I can multi-task at home by throwing in a load of laundry when I start cardio.

8:00 - 8:30 pm: I chug my post-workout shake and leave the gym. Most days I head home, other days I run some errands or go tanning (don't judge!). It really depends on how I feel (most days I'm wiped out by this point) and what I absolutely have to do that evening.

8:30 - 9:00 pm: At home, I get my clothes and food ready for the next day. I very rarely cook during the week - I'd rather cook on Sundays. Sometimes my food is portioned out already; sometimes it's not. Most of the food I eat right now doesn't need to be cooked, which also saves me time and stress. Meal 4 cooks while I get food ready for the following day.

I like to visit with J, catch up on Facebook, read, or watch mindless television shows while eating my last meal of the day. It's my wind-down time, when I can finally let my body and mind slow down.

10:00 - 11:00 pm: I crawl into bed and read or surf Groupon while Ed tries desperately to get my attention. He chews on my hair and walks all over me like I'm his jungle gym.

Ed absorbing wisdom from Arnold's book
Lately, I've been trying to get to bed closer to 10 pm because, as I mentioned, I seem to need at least 8 hours of sleep in order to be fully functional all day.

That's pretty much how most of my weekdays look. Add in 7-10 restroom trips to account for all the water I drink, and a few more trips to the kitchen to refill the water bottle periodically throughout the day.

Weekends
Weekends really vary, depending on our plans and commitments. I do both morning and evening cardio on our treadmill at home, and I stick to my meal plan. I have my progress pictures taken on Sunday mornings. Apart from that, every weekend is different. At some point, we go grocery shopping. I usually make a trip to Target or to the mall for essentials and non-essentials. We don't go out to eat, but we do go to movies for Date Nights. I bring my own food in my little purse cooler and eat in the theatre at my meal time.

I try to make my life as consistent and stress-free as possible when I'm in prep. Routine is a competitor's best friend.

Do you have a daily routine? What things vary in your routine?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Prep Update: 6 Weeks Out!

As of tomorrow, I will officially be 6 weeks out from the Pittsburgh show. Time seems to be flying! I've gotten several questions lately about prep, progress, and how I've been feeling.

I gotta be honest ... two weeks ago was the first time I was actually happy with my progress pictures.

I'm impatient by nature and just want to be stage ready already! I also realize it takes time and there's a process to follow. And that process is working. So here's what's been going on this week ...

Weight
For a few weeks, I seemed to be stuck at one weight. I was getting frustrated with my lack of progress, and explained to J how I was feeling. He added 4 minutes of cardio to my daily plan. That's it: 4 minutes. I was skeptical about it actually working, but was once again reminded of the fact that he really knows his stuff. My weight started dropping and my body tightened up. I was relieved and excited.

Cracking
Last weekend marked 7 straight weeks of the keto diet. I was reaching the point of mentally cracking. My mouth watered whenever I smelled food. I was worried that I'd unconsciously reach out and grab something that wasn't on my diet, and then not realize it until later. I was having dreams that I'd accidentally cheated on my diet. In short, I was reaching my mental cracking point.

J and I had a discussion, he checked out my weight and progress, and determined that a treat meal on Sunday night would be a good idea. O.M.G. I hadn't anticipated getting any treat meals at all! (See how I did that? Set myself up to not be disappointed if I didn't get one.) He told me what the meal should be and when to eat it.

And you guys? It. Was. SOOOO. Good. I savored every bite!

Shifting
After that one meal, I was back on my diet, but felt renewed. I felt mentally ready to tackle the next 7 weeks. The only difficult hurdle was shifting back into ketosis. I felt great for the first half of Monday, then started to feel worse in the afternoon. Tuesday was a tough day - I was tired and my body was fighting the shift (like it always does). I felt a little better on Wednesday, and much better yesterday.

The best part? I was up 3 lbs on Monday from the meal, and by Wednesday, I was down 4 lbs. So the meal clearly spiked my metabolism and sped up the fat burning process. Win-win!

Sleep
The biggest factor for me feeling well is sleep. I need to get at least 7 or more hours of sleep per night, or I have a tough time functioning during the day. My body either feels heavy and draggy, or I feel sleepy. The days I feel the best are the days I get 8 or more hours of sleep. Then it almost doesn't feel like I'm dieting - I have energy, I'm alert, and I'm in a good mood. I'm making it a new goal to get plenty of sleep for the next 6 weeks. I truly believe that will make the biggest difference in how I feel and my frame of mind.

Training & Posing
Training has been going well. I'm able to push myself to my limits during each workout. This is important to me, because I only have a limited amount of time before the show - each workout counts and needs to be intense. Some days I get to the gym and wonder how I'm going to make it through my workout. But ya know what? I make it through every single time. Mind over matter.

I've started teaching posing classes to J's other Figure clients. I feel like posing is huge part of competitions - how you present yourself and your body is a factor in how you are scored on stage. Why go through all the time, energy, sacrifices of prep only to present yourself poorly on stage? Practice makes perfect!

Planning
This weekend we're going to watch the NPC Baltimore Gladiator Cup show near Baltimore. I love that there are so many shows within driving distance! (That was not the case when I lived in Montana!) I'm looking forward to meeting a few people in person with whom I chat online.

This week, I need to make hotel reservations, sign up for my shows, and start making travel arrangements for Jr. USA's. Time is flying!

Do you have any questions about my prep or anything I've mentioned here? I'm more than happy to answer them!

Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 Arnold Expo, Part III

I have a bunch more pictures from the Arnold, so here is Part III (Have you checked out Part I and Part II yet? If not, you prolly should do that right now.).

Saturday

Entrance to the Expo

Saturday is always the busiest day

Never leave home unprepared! We brought all our food with us for the weekend. J lugged this cooler around with him every day in the Expo hall.
Our good friend, Dave Pulcinella, and his beautiful lady, Kaila

Winner of Ms Fitness International, Tanji Johnson!

Felicia Romero chatted with us for quite awhile

The Warrens! Trish and Branch. I told him his arm looks huge!

Candice Lewis was very sweet and took time to chat.

The famous and inspirational Tosca Reno

IFBB Men's Physique Pro, Craig Capurso

Heather Dees, 2nd place at the Figure International

We ran into these two beautiful BioS3 teammates!

BioS3 teammate, Katie, and me with Amanda Latona

Candice Keene, Ms. Figure International
ANIMALS!!

Online friend and fellow Minnesotan, Jerome Dinh
Sunday

We meant to leave around noon on Sunday, but didn't end up heading out until about 2 pm. We're glad we stayed, though, because we ran into quite a few more people we wanted to talk to.

Jess Paxson - beautiful inside and out

Yeshaira Robles, Bikini Pro

J and me with Rob Bailey of Flag nor Fail

More online friends! Lindsay, Heather, Michele, Ashleigh

Jay remembered us from last year when we picked him up from the airport!

Jaime Baird, Bikini Pro

Oksana Grishina, 2nd place in the Fitness International

Camala Rodriguez and Adela Garcia

Diana Graham, Bikini Pro

We ran into our friend Brad Rowe and his beautiful lady, Stephanie
The famous Ah-nold! Second from the left
The end of another fun and exhausting Arnold weekend!
Did you go to the Arnold this year? What was your favorite part?


2013 Arnold Expo, Part II

I know I'm a few weeks late, but here is Part II of my Arnold experience! (Have you read Part I yet?)

When I saw that we went to the Arnold, what I mean is that we went to the Expo. We didn't pay to watch any of the shows and we didn't go to any of the parties. We simply walked around the Expo Hall Friday through Sunday. We met new people, we said hi to friends we haven't seen in awhile, we took some pictures with our fitness celebrity crushes, and we collected some free swag.

Here is our experience ... in pictures!

Friday

Nicole Nagrani, Ms Bikini Olympia 2011 is one of the sweetest people in the industry!

Steve Kuclo, my fitness celebrity crush

I was surprised to meet Chelle, one of my favorite bloggers, in person! Check out her blog: http://blog.recipeforfitness.com/

WWE Superstar, Aksana, aka Živilė Raudonienė, who won the Figure Arnold in 2009

J with his fitness celebrity crush, Nikola Weiterova

IFBB Men's Physique Pro, Mark Anthony Wingston
The famous Dana Lynn Bailey

Jose Raymond and I had a bicep showdown. I've almost got him in size. Haha!

Flag nor Fail crew

We ran into Dusty Hanshaw!

Big Mike O'Hearn
My fellow BioS3 teammate, Jenny!

Caption This!

Representing Big Bitch Formula at the Arnold!

Look at the huge grin on Jenny's face! She's in awe of Jay Cutler.

I met up with online friends! Heather and Michele

Another online friend: Robin!

Another online friend: Jen!
The Animal booth always puts on some fun events


Yum! My favorite bars!

Many booths have creative marketing techniques

I got to watch (online) my friend, Tanji Johnson, win the Fitness show and finally get to shake Arnold's hand
I realized I have a TON of pictures! For more, check out Part III!